Sengoku Horizon

Look towards the Horizon

The Warring States Period: Fierce warlords fought for control of Japan, and many would perish. When a warrior falls, where does the passion they once held go? Possibly into something dear such as a favorite weapon or heirloom. These heirlooms have been labeled as “relics”, and those that carry them are labeled as “Scions." Recently more and more of these special relics have been activating, signaling the start of a great change as ancient power meets the modern world!

Now For The Local News, 06/01/2018 The Chinese delegation have now arrived at the city of Edo. Making friends and learning about Edo Culture is their current aim! In other news it is also time for the school dance event! Please bring your characters along!

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 Made of Honor, Open
Aideen
 Posted: Nov 6 2017, 07:52 PM
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There was so much Junko didn't understand about his place in the world. If he were to inherit the clan, he didn't know if he would be able to lead it properly. Certainly, a good amount of his upbringing wasn't exactly noble, disgraceful probably. His life was full of missteps and odd occurrences. No amount of lion slaying was going to make up for the tea ceremonies, dances, and dresses. So honor was already a tricky subject even before he took his first steps on the new path he saw ahead of him. A path of social work.


His time after the war and his missions into the so called suicide forest had opened his eyes to something truly shameful. It greatly affected him to see people left in such a state, forgotten and alone. Surely somebody cared for them somewhere. Surely there was some respite for the lost souls. He had been told that there were expeditions that went out once a year. From personal experience, he knew that it wasn't enough. The strings weren't enough. The number of people they sent out, the skills they carried with them, none of it was enough to really make a difference. Every lost soul in that forest was a stain on his country's honor. A stain he wanted to erase.

Trouble was, dealing with the dead wasn't very honorable either, especially with the taboo of suicide being a taint that stained everything hit touched. Likely that was why efforts in the forest were so pathetic, nobody wanted to be tainted and likely some families would rather never know than have the stain of dishonor touch their name. Disgusting and selfish, it made him sick. They had failed the family once and now failed them after they had died. He desperately wanted to do something about it all but, perhaps with good reason, he wanted to avoid the taint himself. Junko didn't want his behavior to bring any shame to his family name, especially since he would be doing good works, maybe even holy works.

Then Junko had an idea, he would go straight to the nearly top. Not the emperor, he had better things to do than give any attention to some kid, even if it was an Edo student. But the Shogun might be able to grant a special dispensation. Something that said that Junko could do this good and charitable work without loss of honor, maybe even gaining honor for his clan. But he had to frame his arguments right, he had to be passionate without sounding desperate. He had to present his argument with points and counterpoints. He needed examples from history to support him.

For this reason, Junko was in the library. He planned to spend all weekend there. So he'd not really bothered dressing up, or at all. He'd arrived bright and early in his pink and sea foam patterned silk pajamas, a blanket, and lots of notepaper. And since the library opened, he had been there in a corner on a soft chair skimming texts and making notes.

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Shoy
 Posted: Jan 5 2018, 05:22 PM
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Nearly all of Ripley’s spare time that wasn’t spent in club activities or hanging around with others was spent in the library. Ripley often came here not even to partake of the books but simply to set up shop at one of the tables or in one of the big comfy armchairs with pen and paper and sit there to write. Ripley found that even simply the atmosphere in libraries just made them feel at ease in a way that few other things could, and this was an atmosphere that, surrounded by the great works of others past, was nothing but conducive to writing.

Ripley didn’t have any other plans today, and had made sure to arrive at the library nice and early. It was a weekend and they'd wanted to sleep in, but they also wanted to finish a longer script they’d been working on for far longer than they should have and if they let themselves sleep in then they’d forgive other procrastinations and once you started down that slippery slope you never stopped and the script would never be finished. So the solution was to get up early and start working early and get the damned thing done as quickly as possible. They could procrastinate afterwards.

Almost as soon as they library opened, Ripley was there. There was no way Ripley could be stuffed to wear uniform on a weekend, so they were dressed casually in grey jeans and a dark T-shirt, though they also had their relic, a blue strip of cloth, tied in a band around their thigh and they’d taken care with their makeup that morning with bright red lipstick and just a touch of eyeshadow.

The library was fairly empty so early on a weekend, though there were a few people around here and there doing various things. Ripley was just taking a seat to start working when they noticed one such person sitting not too far away wearing what looked like bright pink pyjamas. Odd choice of an outfit. If you were going out in public you’d think that you’d at least like to get dressed first. Ripley would not be caught dead in pyjamas. The kid did seem pretty studious, though; all this paper everywhere, reading avidly and taking notes every now and then. Ripley wondered what he was doing - studying, maybe? Ripley felt the kind of people who would study that intensively this early on a weekend were the kind of people eccentric enough to go out in pyjamas and even bring a blanket, though on the other hand that sort of person also seemed more serious than the sort of person who would wear bright pink.

The notebook which contained Ripley’s script lay unopened on their lap. Ah, fuck it. They’d spend the rest of the morning and probably the entire afternoon wondering what that kid was about, even after he left. They may as well go and scope him out now so it didn’t keep distracting them.

Ripley stood and made their way over to the kid’s chair and cleared their throat. “I see you’ve got a, ah, a unique sense of fashion there.” It was said in an innocent enough tone, though the emphasis placed on the word “unique” gave it clear connotations that were not quite so innocent, bordering on mean-spirited, even. Ripley settled into another of the chairs next to this odd kid’s one. “Not one to follow traditional styles, ey?”

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Aideen
 Posted: Jan 7 2018, 07:52 PM
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Junko had been making a good amount of progress, probably. It was actually really hard to tell how far along you were when you didn't know where the finish line was but he'd written at least four pages of notes, not including the occasional doodles. Still, it felt like a lot of progress, there was so much about honor and leadership and the duties of a clan that he'd never known. Of course, probably all the other future clan leaders were expected to take over and not actively separated from the opportunity.

Still, it was that feeling of accomplishment that kept him going and that pushed him to keep going, even if it took all morning, maybe even all day, he was definitely going to get out of here early. Probably wouldn't take longer than that, after all, how hard could this honor and protocol take for one letter? Still, he had been mostly locked up in his own little world so he didn't notice the occasional glances from those around him. He mostly ignored the people passing around him as well so it was very much a surprise when one of them opted to speak to him.

He turned to face the girl. Obviously it was a girl, she was wearing lipstick. "Good morning." he replied with a bright, cheerful, and energetic smile. Far too energetic for this early. "Thank you." If he noticed any veiled meaning or disdain, he didn't show it. "It's not really that fashionable, they're just pajamas. My mother sent it to me." The smile never left his face. "I like what you've done with your make up. It makes your lips really pop." She could use a touch of mascara though, to help pull attention and add that extra touch to the eye shadow. Right now, the eyes were definitely drawn to her lips at a glance. Oh well, hardly his business and he didn't deal with make up any more.

"Actually, tradition and stuff is what I'm researching right now. Can't make any mistakes but there's no tradition for studying so I figured I'd just aim for being comfortable." He patted the blanket wrapped around his waist. "It's super interesting though I might be overdoing it. Not like I need a kataginu if I'm just sending a letter to the Shogun." He laughed.

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Shoy
 Posted: Jan 13 2018, 10:38 PM
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Ripley cocked their head, bemused, at the way the boy responded to their comment. Surely the teasing note in it had been quite clear, but he appeared to have either realised it but ignored it completely or sincerely missed it altogether. Interesting.

He was very perky and happy as well - must be a morning person. In general, Ripley hated morning people. They were often happy to the point of being annoying, though of course, every rule has a thousand exceptions and they were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It just meant that the chances were he would either be fun and cheerful to be around or insufferable. Ripley couldn’t tell which at this point.

A smile spread across Ripley’s face at the compliment to their makeup. “T’was kind of the idea. Makes me stand out a little more, you know? Hah, I guess we both stand out, we could start a club or something.” Despite the joking and the lack of a thank you, Ripley did genuinely appreciate the compliment. Ripley would appreciate any compliment; ego-stroking flattery was one of the best things anyone could give you in Ripley’s opinion, but this compliment was particularly notable because it showed that this kid wasn’t too bothered that they were wearing makeup even though they lacked any obvious female physique. It showed that he might not be so staunch about the ideas of strict gender roles, or at least that was the conclusion that Ripley drew from it. They didn't consider that he might have thought they were a girl.

The thought of the still unwritten script lingered in the back of Ripley’s mind but they paid it little heed. Any moment they chose to they could excuse themselves and leave to get started on it - it was hardly urgent, anyway, as long as they got it done sometime today, that was good enough, and this kid was pretty interesting. Well-mannered and well-meaning, it made him cute in a childlike way. Absently, Ripley wondered how old he was.

Ripley chuckled. “That’s the spirit. No point being less comfortable than you need to.” They frowned. “Wait, a letter to the Shogun? The mighty, all-powerful, ruler-of-our-nation Shogun? What the hell for?” What reason could he possibly have for writing to the bloody Shogun? And did he seriously think that the Shogun would care or even read it? The chances of either seemed slim to Ripley. Wouldn't one of the Shogun's aides likely read it, dismiss it and toss it away as casually as if it were a sweet wrapper? They must get so many letters that surely the Shogun wouldn't read them all. It wouldn't be possible with all the other business he had to deal with.

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Aideen
 Posted: Jan 14 2018, 01:22 PM
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" Aclub would be a lot of fun, but I'm kind of in a bunch of stuff already. Maybe an unofficial club or something." Junko agreed. He seemed to take the statement at face value rather than the jest it probably was. But he would, he liked being in clubs and meeting new people and hanging out. There was something magical about it for the kid who grew up isolated out at the edge of a village in the forest wilds. So obviously he jumped at the opportunity to try something new with somebody.

However, as the question turned to why he would be writing a letter, his smile dimmed just a tad. It was a very serious thing he was working on, for very serious reasons. But doing it pleased him and nobody could fault his moral standing. Maybe this was an opportunity to present his case. It was like practice.

"Well, not too long ago, I did a school mission for the government." he began. The letter seemed to require backstory. After all, coming out and just saying what it was likely would draw the response of why. "I hunted down a criminal who had disappeared into Aokigahara." He shook his head slowly. "It's a sad place and it really made me think about stuff." He tapped the stack of books about honor and duty.

"There are all kinds of rules in here that I never really bothered learning about being a clan leader and stuff. My mom never wanted me to be a scion or the head of Matsudaira so I learned," he paused and his eyes darted to one side, "other stuff. But I think maybe I can use my position to do some real good." He turned his whole chair so he could face Ripley directly and look her right in the eyes.

"Do you know how many people died in the forest over the last few years? Nobody does. The Metsuke do a quick perimeter sweep once a year. Just once." He shook his head. "And I bet it's gotten worse after the earthquake destroyed people's lives and families, then even more after the ikko attack." He licked his lips and steeled his voice to stop any tremble before continuing. "When I was hunting, I found that the thief had been robbing the dead, a disgusting thing. But one of the victims was a student from this very school who disappeared after the earthquake. Isn't that sad?"

Junko was trying his best to sound factual but really, the emotions kept taking over. It was just another reason he was trying to make this a letter rather than a personal request. "It's a stain on the honor of the entire country, there's nothing I can personally do for the people who will still keep going to the forest to die, but I think maybe I can convince the Shogun to let me create a group to go and sweep the forest more often. Maybe bring closure to the poor souls who I couldn't help in life."

He turned away quickly, wiping his eyes. "But working with the dead is dishonorable and stuff. So I thought that the Shogun is the most honorable person and if he says it's ok to do, then that's good too." With practiced ease, Junko pushed the emotion back down inside him and put the smile back on as he turned back to Ripley. "It's a clever loophole, don't you think?"

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Shoy
 Posted: Jan 23 2018, 05:42 AM
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God, this kid really was oblivious. Anyone would have known that the club remark was a silly little joke, but he said it completely straight-faced, or as straight-faced as you could call his smile. Ripley felt bad that someone so innocent would be thrust into Edo Bugei, full of those obsessed with status and those training to fight. It seemed unfair to put him in a position where that innocence might be seized from him so easily, but then again that was just the way the world was: unfair. Ripley knew that better than anyone.

Ripley settled into the chair a little more. Any story that started with “not too long ago” was bound to be a long one, but Ripley was interested to hear out the whole thing. They listened with head cocked in an interested manner.

So this story would take place in Aokigahara? That was an… interesting starting point. Ripley wondered where this could be leading. Stories that began in the suicide forest didn't have high chances of being happy ones.

From what he was saying it seemed like he was an heir to a clan? Ripley never would have picked it from his appearance and manner. He had none of the hallmarks of one: no show of wealth, no snobbish, serious nature. Sure, there were so many future clan leaders at Edo Bugei that it was only to be expected to encounter them everywhere, but this kid seemed more oblivious and naive than clan leaders ought to be. The Matsudaira or whoever he was would be in trouble if he was their future head and he wasn’t able to grow as person before then. It would be pretty easy for other clans to take advantage of them otherwise.

But the comment that really had Ripley curious was the mention of "other stuff", whatever the hell that was supposed to mean. There was no knowing what it referred to without asking directly but he was already continuing on with his story before Ripley got the chance to ask. Oh well. Ripley made a mental note about it for a later.

But then was the real thrust of what the letter would be about and what he was trying to do with this all: simply find a way to treat the dead in Aokigahara with more respect than they were currently being treated with. It was a fair enough plan, noble, even.

Here it was: the dead in Aokigahara. That was what this was all about. Sure, it was sad, but it wasn't really any of Ripley's business and they were more than happy for it to stay that way, though the kid seemed to think it was dishonourable or something.

Though this kid had mostly managed to keep himself in check, Ripley could see the depth of emotions lying beneath it in the way they crept in every now and then. It seemed he genuinely wanted to do something about the problem. It was touching that he would go to all this effort for something he truly cared about; it was rare enough that people took the initiative when it came to these kinds of things.

And so the idea was to see if the Shogun would give permission for such an endeavour to occur. Ripley still doubted that the Shogun would pay any real attention such an issue, especially when half the country was essentially still in shambles after the events of the Ikko rebellion. Ripley raised their eyebrows upon the story’s conclusion. “I guess I can see your logic, and yes, you've picked a clever little loophole. But you’re going in on the assumption that our dear Shogun will even bother to read your letter. He must be a very busy man and the issue you’re trying to bring to his attention is among hundreds, you know what, thousands would be more accurate, of other issues he has to deal with daily." Ripley stretched their arms out and sat up properly. "Do really think you’ll be able to get his attention? What do you plan on doing to make sure he notices your letter and even reads it in the first place rather than passing over it like junk mail?”

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Aideen
 Posted: Jan 23 2018, 11:41 AM
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That was the tricky part, making sure the shogun or somebody with the authority to make decisions for him saw the letter and made a decision on it. It was, to say the least, not an easy task. Nobody, certainly not Junko, was able to just waltz in and make casual requests, especially not since the fighting and the first attempted assassination on the family. But Junko had thought about this too. He had a plan, or what could reasonably pass for one.

"Well," he tapped his lips, "I've got a couple things going for me on that front." He held up his other hand and raised a finger for each one. "To start with, I'm a student here. The academy is pretty prestigious and basically directly under shogunate control. Secondly, I'm basically a hero. I got a letter signed by the shogun saying something to that effect for my actions after the Ikko attack. I mean, a lot of us got that letter but it's something more than a person on the street." He'd also met a lot of people in the rescue field and personally shaken their hands since he'd been so integral to the search and rescue of many people.

"Thirdly, I'm Matsudaira. Most people here in the main land ignore us up there in Hokkaido. But we're loyal, don't really have any kind of black marks on us, and keep to ourselves. But we're just as important to the country as any other clan." He said that quickly, as if he had to convince Ripley as well. "So I couch this all in formal writing, use official seals and message protocols, then it'll be bound to be read by somebody important, even if it's not passed directly up to the shogun. The rarity of contact or requests from my clan will help get noticed too." It probably was a good idea not to ignore messages from clan leaders, present or future and, by going at it in an official style, he was bound to get some kind of official response.

Junko put his hand down and smiled wide. "The last is probably the most important but the other parts are gonna help me get the answer I want." He leaned back in his chair and looked smug. "Plus, the mission in the forest was hunting down the thief who stole an artifact. Nobunaga's fan." He paused to let that sink in and hopefully see Ripley's reaction. "It's a pretty big deal, you know?"

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Shoy
 Posted: Feb 6 2018, 12:51 AM
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((OOC: sorry for how long this took))

At least it seemed he’d tried to put some thought into the matter, even if Ripley wasn't particularly sold on the ideas he presented. Yes, being a Bugei student automatically gave him some degree of prestige, but that on its own didn't mean the Shogun would listen and enact this kid's every whim and it didn't do much to single him out from the rest of the Bugei crowd. And as for the letter, he said it himself: lots of people got them, showing it was more of a formality than him being singled out for anything special.

The argument that he was the heir to an important clan was the one that might hold he most water. Loyalty to the Shogun wasn't something that was so easily dismissed as far as Ripley knew and if they had to make a guess Ripley would agree that it would be enough to at least get the letter read by someone. But it wasn't enough for the letter to be read: it had to be well-written enough to be taken seriously and acted upon.

Ripley raised their eyebrows at the mention of Nobunaga’s fan: the kid seemed pretty eager about it so they figured they may as well humour him with a response. “Is that so? Sounds like you must have done something pretty important.”

“Tell me though,” Ripley said, leaning forward, “I still don't think he’ll listen just because you're from some fancy-schmancy clan. What’re you gonna say to him to convince him that your plan is worth putting the effort and resources into? You do have a plan of how to convince him, right?”

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Aideen
 Posted: Feb 6 2018, 04:34 PM
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"You bet it was important. Somebody stole an artifact belonging to the Oda Nobunaga, can you imagine how bad it would be if somebody bad got hold of it and was able to use that power? Or the loss if somebody never got to be a scion because it had been stolen?" His eyes were wide in shock. The idea of missing out on the opportunity to be a scion, well, it was his finding an artifact that had allowed Junko this chance to become his own person. Everyone deserved that same chance. "That would be just awful."

It took a moment to figure out what the girl meant by listen in this case. Everything he'd said before was why the emperor would listen to him. But she had actually meant why would the shogun do what Junko wanted. "Ohh." He said as comprehension dawned. "I'm gonna be really really convincing." He said with a smile and complete sincerity.

Junko turned to his papers and ruffled them around as he looked for the already completed notes. "So like, there's honor and stuff which is probably important to him, and then there's the whole emotional plea, then I need to figure out some kind of logical benefit plea too. It's like writing arguments for school, right? I'm just trying to put a draft together right now". He pulled out several maps that had been written all over.

"I'm not really good at the numbers or the logical side of arguments though. I may need to do a lot more research for those. But I know how to write an emotional plea and I think my most convincing skill is my management." Which was going to take even more explaining.

"I think that if I show the shogun that there's a plan for getting the job done already developed, one that is efficient, uses skilled labor, and is cheap, he'll be more likely to at least try it out. If there's one thing I know, it's how to hunt in a forest." People were a lot more likely to buy food if it was right there sizzling, smelling, and looking delicious right there in front of them. So Junko was going to have the plan ready from the grill for the Shogun to feast on.

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Shoy
 Posted: Feb 18 2018, 10:57 PM
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Ripley could agree that a relic from Oda Nobunaga should be tightly controlled because it held a lot of power that, in the wrong hands, could be catastrophic. They didn’t quite see the sense, though, in being upset because someone might lose their chance at becoming a Scion. The person in question who had lost that chance probably didn’t even realise there was a possibility they might have had it to begin with - Ripley had never guessed, not even once, that anything would change or happen simply by touching their aunt’s piece of cloth. The Scion, or rather, the person who didn’t become a Scion wouldn’t feel like they’d missed out on anything so the point was moot. Even without that the point was moot because it was a silly notion to think that people should be pitied for missing out on something that no-one was really entitled to to begin with. Ripley didn’t bother to voice a word of this - they felt that it would just confuse this luckless kid and it wasn’t worth the time to try and explain and re-explain what they meant. “Hah. Sure is lucky you found it then.”

The thing about the artifact that couldn’t be denied, though, was that it was important and Ripley now did wonder if it might be enough to grab the Shogun’s attention. Without personally knowing the Shogun’s processes, they couldn’t claim to know for sure but it certainly might be something that would give him enough of an edge to get noticed.

At least he had some idea of how to write an argument - it wasn’t the most precise thing, and it definitely needed some work, but at least he had the right idea: attack from both emotion and logic and it would be hard to lose. However he didn’t seem to have a thorough plan of exactly how he was going to make a logical appeal and that was quite a concerning hole in his ideas. Even with a draft, even with research, if he couldn’t make the case in a way that was supported by the facts and the evidence, it wouldn’t make it very far. It might with some people, but Ripley doubted that the Shogun would be swayed so easily by emotions.

But Junko said something odd then, and Ripley frowned. “Your ‘management’? The hell does that mean?”

He mentioned having a plan lined up, which would certainly help if the Shogun and his aides didn’t have do the legwork of sorting all of that out and only had to provide some manpower to fulfil it. But still, it was hard to say anything for sure without seeing what this kid already had to offer. “That draft,” Ripley said. “I’m interested to see it. I’m not that up on clan politics - actually, you might want to get a strategist student to help you look over it - but I do know a lot about writing, and a fair bit about people; when you've got that, you've cinched it, don'tcha?” And then: “I could help.” That last sentence was very off-handedly spoken, like it was just something cursory and not worthy of attention. Ripley was somewhat intrigued by this kid's mission and was interested now in seeing what he'd done, and trying to guess what he might be able to do. They didn't plan to help any more than just reading what he had so far and giving some feedback on it.

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Aideen
 Posted: Feb 19 2018, 07:25 PM
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"Super lucky they sent me." He held his head up proudly. "Nobody else was gonna manage that. The metsuke wouldn't even go into the forest. But I'm really good in forests, I grew up with them." Junko slid a few of the papers he had toward Ripley. "That's what I meant by managing." On the papers were maps of the forest, split into sections and labeled with random names. It was the start of a division for what might have been a wide scale invasion on the woodlands.

"My mother taught me about breaking a job down and monitoring things and managing people. I was pretty good at it." He shrugged with a devil may care smile. "She intended me to use it on servants around the estate but I think it's far better used helping the lost souls of Aokigahara. Don't you?"

Junko picked up a long pencil and pointed at the map. "The metsuke generally don't go far into the forest." He ran the eraser against the edge of the forest closest to the city. "They'll pick up a few bodies but only enough to say they've done something. It's pitiful. In less than a single day, I found people who had died years ago, bodies desecrated by thieves and bandits taking refuge in the trees." He was not as bothered by the rot or the animals that had fed on them. That was just how nature was. He'd seen it before, though, not with people which is why it still did occasionally haunt his dreams.

"So you create your team, once a month at least or every other weekend. Then you split into groups based on the amount of people in each." He pointed to the first area, closest to the main path of Aokigahara. "It will be slow going, nobody has experience and there will be a large number of clustered bodies that time has ravaged. The large the amount of teams, the faster it will all go, but hopefully by the time we hit sector two," he pointed at the next outlined space, "we'll be faster and more experienced." Junko turned his gaze to Ripley. "There's more to it than that but by the time we hit the deep woods, each squad should be working very quickly and the bodies will be far more sparse that far from civilization. That fact should make it a lot clearer and, if I send new volunteers to sweep previously cleared sectors, I think we can make real progress."

He twirled the pencil around in his fingers and lightly tossed it onto the table where it rolled against a book. "So I make up a brilliant plan, I have a logical argument, I have an emotional argument, and I have a few favors." But that didn't mean he wouldn't accept help or was willing to do it entirely on his own. This was for the greater good of all of Japan.

"But you're totally right. Once I've got the whole plan written down in detail, I'll have to find a real strategist to look it over. Just because I know forests doesn't mean I know everything. And I'd love to have you look over my argument, if it isn't too much trouble." Junko looked down at his notes. "But that might have to wait until I've actually written it." He turned back to Ripley and put on an embarrassed grin. "I've just been reading about how to write it so far."

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Shoy
 Posted: Mar 5 2018, 08:25 PM
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The kid yapped on about how lucky it was that he had been sent to go and retrieve that fan or whatever, citing that because he had grown up with forests he was perfect for the job or something like that. To be honest Ripley didn’t care about any of that: he was kind of just bragging about it more than was needed for current situation. He should save the bragging for that letter to the Shogun.

Ripley leaned forward to get a better look at the map that Junko presented, picking it up and studying it with a frown of concentration as the boy explained his skills at managing. Given the prompt to agree with Junko’s position on what those skills were best used for, Ripley shrugged and put the map back down. “I mean, someone’s gotta do it. Manage estates, that is. Sounds boring as fuck but as long as they aren't underpaying anyone I can't see anything wrong with it. Has to be said though, it is pretty admirable to attempt what you're trying to do. Not enough people stand up for what they believe.”

Junko ran through the plan in more detail. Ripley was glad of that, because even with the map divided up into sections it still wasn't exactly clear what he planned to do with these areas. It seemed like a fairly reasonable plan, though; it wasn't like Aokigahara was used enough to need more than a monthly or fortnightly sweep, and it was divided into easy blocks that would make those sweeps systematic and simple. It was quite a clever plan, actually. There were a couple of things Ripley was concerned about, though, and while he did say there was more to the plan Ripley wanted make sure that the things they had noticed were included in the plan. It had to be watertight if it was going to get any support, after all. “Brilliant plan. A couple of things, though. Bodies are pretty wieldy. How are you gonna transport them out of the forest? Some of it might be pretty dense. And what if you run into some of those looters you mentioned? They could lash out at you, how are you going to be prepared for that?”

But coming back to the writing of the letter, it seemed Junko had all of the pieces he needed to pose a serious chance of convincing the Shogun to follow this plan through. Now he just had to assemble those pieces. Which, considering that he claimed to only just be learning how to do, was probably where he was most likely to fail.

Ripley raised their eyebrows. “You’ve been reading about how to write it, ey? What have you learned about that so far?”

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Aideen
 Posted: Mar 6 2018, 08:02 PM
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Junko nodded vigorously, "Yeah, super boring. But useful like a lot of things you gotta learn growing up." He smiled again. He was a very smile-y person and the bit of praise about being admirable filled him with even more determination to see it all through. "Good questions." Junko said, still nodding. "At the start, I don't think it will be much of a problem since we'll be focusing on the souls closest to the main paths but it will get harder over time and as we go further."

Junko folded his arms. "It's all well and good to hope and expect people to follow their animal instincts and travel the path of most ease, but sometimes that's just not going to happen." He stared at the map. "The hope is that by the time we start moving teams into the deep woods, they will have the experience to navigate hard terrain with a body and create alternate paths when needed." He thought back to his time in the forest and his face became serious. "I followed a single string of homecoming when I was hunting the thief. Before the morning was over, I'd seen over a dozen bodies, including a student from this school." Then he brightened up as he went for the positive side of things.

"So there will be time to gain that experience for everyone on a team. I don't expect to see much in the way of looters until the deeper areas either but just in case, I want a special make up for the teams. One I want to be knowledgable about forests and surviving and maps and stuff, one I want to be strong, probably like an experienced fighter, and the last I want to be versed in the treatment of bodies, what's proper, what's improper, what rites need to be performed immediately." He counted them off on his fingers. "That's bare minimum though, more is better and maybe over time or even earlier they could learn each other's jobs too so they can work together super good before taking on newer and less experienced people out."

"So the fighter guy can make that decision if a bandit shows up, whether to give the bandit what they ask for which is kind of encouraged, or fight back. I mean, I don't want any more loss of life in the forest but sometimes you have to protect yourself. I get that." He shrugged. "If I could get away with also having a Metsuke along with each time, I would. They might recognize a murder rather than a suicide but after their dismal failure right now, I don't know how much I want them involved. It's a hard decision." He sighed.

But then there was all the stuff he'd learned. "Oh, I know tons of stuff now. Like how a clan leader is supposed to serve the citizens on his land and how to couch a formal letter and how you need to appeal to some aspect of a person when you're trying to marke them do what you want them to do. Emotion sounds like the easiest, everybody has emotions but people tend to react to stuff differently so it's also kind of the hardest?" He rubbed his chin. "There's also a bunch of stuff about writing from weakness, like, because I'm just a clan kid and writing to the Shogun, I need to be all convincing and sound like I know stuff without implying that he doesn't or being impolite. It's hard."

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Shoy
 Posted: Mar 20 2018, 07:42 PM
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Ripley supposed he had a fair enough point about the bodies not being too much of a problem early on, where there were paths that could easily accommodate some kind of vehicle to carry the dead. But it would be brutal once his team reached the deeper forests without paths - they would have to deal with bodies that had been there for longer, and thus were more decayed, and they would have to drag them through denser trees to get them to a suitable transportation out of Aokigahara. But Junko seemed to have that under control.

And he had a thorough plan of how these search teams would be made up and chosen. Which would solve the question of any potential looters Even if all did it was make the any of the group who weren’t experienced calmer in the face of such a situation that was enough to make the situation a lot better.

“You have thought this out...” Ripley muttered to themselves. It really was hard to find a flaw in Junko’s plan. And sure, Ripley may not have been an expert on how such plans ought to be designed, but they were increasingly realising that there was a real chance this whole thing would work.

“Look,” Ripley said to Junko’s dismissal of the Metsuke. “I don't care if you hate the Metsuke. Get one on your team. Sometimes you just gotta work with people you hate and here someone with a tad more training could really help you out.” They paused. “Huh, training, that’s a good point. You gonna train any of you new team before you send 'em out in wilderness to die?”

Junko explained what he knew about how to write the letter. Ripley sighed. It was a start, at least, but he still had a lot to before he’d get a perfect letter. “Sound advice. Yeah, it’ll be hard, but that’s why you get to write it, then rewrite sixty thousand times. You get it right eventually.”

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Aideen
 Posted: Mar 22 2018, 05:44 PM
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"I don't hate them." He looked away guiltily. "I just don't think they've done a good job so far. I did say it would be best to have one metsuke in each group, didn't I?" He glanced back at the girl and put his head down in his hand, elbow resting on the table. "They'd be able to tell us if the body was a suicide or murder. I don't expect it to be murder but the forest would be a good place for it. Not to mention that there are some bandits in there. Who knows what those people are capable of."

Junko pursed his lips. It wasn't a happy thought, but the world wasn't always sunshine and rainbows. "That's a really depressing way to put it. I'm not sending anyone to die. Especially without training. I'd be part of the first group, forests are something I have a lot of experience with." There weren't all the same but he'd been doing quite a lot of studying of Aokigahara and figured he knew all he could get without more first hand exploration.

"New people are assigned to more experienced groups under whatever role they'll be. Fighter, ranger, or priest. Then when they're ready, they get sent out with other trainees and one senior squad leader." He held up his fingers to count them out, trainees on the left hand, experienced on the right. "So it's like one trainee, three or four experienced people. Then three trainees, one experienced person. Then just the trainees go it alone because they aren't trainees anymore. Eventually they'll get a trainee and there you go." He nodded. It made perfect sense to him.

"Unless you mean the very first group. That's harder but it'll be me and anyone I can recruit or hire all together, not split into groups yet. Then maybe we can assign groups. I mean, nobody has done this before so there's bound to be some trial and error you know?"

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