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Update out! An early one since I couldn't post last week.

@Xaltwind
I'll reply soon to our collab. I pramis! ><
Honoka's House

EMPTY BASKETS

~ @The Irish Tree (EUL) ~


"Hello. I am here to reclaim the food that you've stolen. I suggest that you allow me to do so. Failure to yield your ill-gotten goods will result in me needing to resort to violence,"
Eula


All the bandits were startled into action by Eula uprooting a whole tree all by herself. They all gathered before the Automaton, and all present when she is snapped the fully-grown tree into two like a twig.

The bandits flinched, they were ready to hightail it out of there rather than face a monster this strong. But when Eula demanded their food, their hunger made them hesitate. They all took one look at each other, wondering if they were of the same mind not to hand their supplies and face starvation. The Automaton would also notice that their weapons were simple swords and spears. None of those fancy glass swords or foreign crossbows.

Soon, one brave bandit stepped forward. With a gulp, he decided to confront this mechanical monstrosity. The others looked at him in awe. "That's some bold accusations, girl! What makes you think these are ill-gotten? We stole these from the Varjans! That's hardly ill now, is it?"

The bandits knew they could not best Eula in combat, so perhaps they could best her in words. A bad gambit, however, since the Automaton can simply exert her strength some more to achieve her objectives, regardless of any words thrown.



Kozukata Cemetery

YURINE, DEATH KEEPER

~ @Restalaan (SKA), @Hammerman, @AzureKnight (HIN & ATS) ~


Takeshi nodded at the plan, they would stick together with him at the front. "Alright. Stay close to each other, okay? The mist is thick and a bit of distance might be enough for us to lose each other."

And with that, the group ventured into the foggy cemetery. The mist was chilly but that did not deter the party from exploring. What might deter them, though, was the lack of detail they can see under the thick cloud over the area. Since they were also together, it would take them a long time to find anything in this graveyard. And it was not a guarantee that they would actually find what they were looking for, instead of something unwelcome.

Still, the group soldiered on and in a few moments of walking, Takeshi stopped in his tracks. His gaze was locked on a gravestone to the side. This memorial stood out from the others, it was more decorated and cleaned up compared to the other graves. The young Lord Oja silently approached the grave and kneeled. "Mother..." He muttered.

"I never knew her, you know?" He decided to reveal to the yokai. "She died giving birth to me. She was loved and remembered by everyone she knew, my father most of all. As for me, I just know that she loved me. Well, was told that she loved me. Loved me enough that she didn't mind dying so that I could be born."

Before the taskforce could say anything in reply, a female figure obscured by the fog approached the group quickly with a masakari axe in hand. "How dare you!" But upon seeing Takeshi, her grip on her weapon slipped. The figure was an old woman with graying hair, wearing simple purple clothes. "Young master? Oh..." She fell on her knees, prompting Takeshi to go to her. "I thought you were dead...!"

"I came here looking for you. It's good to see you, Yurine." Takeshi replied. "Have the Varjans been here? Have you ran into any trouble?"

Yurine clicked her tongue. "No Varjans yet, just bandits. Nothing I can't take care of." The old woman then looked at the taskforce. "But... aren't those yokai, milord? Don't tell me they have captured you?!"

"Not captured, rescued." Takeshi quickly cleared the misconception. "They are here to help us. Everyone, this is Yurine."



Terauchi Temple Training Grounds

HEAVENLY TRAINING



(Currently in collab)



Terauchi Temple




(Currently in collab)








~~ TAKESHI'S JOURNEY ~~






~~ TAKAMORI TALES ~~




~~ SORAE TALES ~~


*Finish 'Pre-Emptive Strike' to unlock next tale*

~~ TALES OF SHIZUYAMA ~~








~~ LEGENDARY TALES ~~



Hey all! Post will be delayed because I ran out of time preparing for my flight. However, I'll still try to write a post while waiting for my connecting flight.

Sorry for the delays.
Update out! Next update might be delayed though because I have to fly.
Terauchi Temple ---> Kozukata Cemetery

YURINE, DEATH KEEPER

~ @Restalaan (SKA), @Hammerman, @AzureKnight (HIN & ATS) ~


"Say, Takeshi, what do you think Yurine? Feels weird that she's a grave keeper yet from your words, sounds like she was a fighter before that. Also, kind of skewed priority or there's something else within those cemeteries. You know, with the fight all."
Skarsneek


"I'm fairly sure I said this already, but we sent Yurine to the cemeteries of Shizuyama to take care of our buried ancestors. Make sure they're impossible to desecrate, even long after the Varjans kill us all and occupy the island." Takeshi answered Skarsneek. "But as you can see, things have changed. We might no longer need to protect the cemeteries, so we're moving out to pick up Yurine so her efforts can be put elsewhere."

As the party set out, Takeshi continued to answer the question. "Yurine is a fighter still, you know? She can swing her axe pretty well in combat but her long-standing job was to watch over the 'seppuku' of the warriors who have shamed themselves. After the dishonored warrior has killed themself, Yurine would lop off their head to quicken the death and save them from further pain."

"She would also be in charge with burying the dead warrior along with the latter's family. Thus, she knows a lot about graves and tends to them along with people like her. But besides being a gravekeeper, Yurine was also a retainer of Clan Oja for as long as I can remember. So she helped my father raise me since he's always busy managing all of Shizuyama." Takeshi finished.

---

After a rather uneventful trip to the south of Onrai region, the group finally reached their destination. "Kozukata Cemetery. One of the largest graveyards in Shizuyama." Takeshi said. "Most of the Oja Clan are buried in Oja Cemetery up in Saikoten. But my mother was buried here, her home region, like she always wanted."

The taskforce would see rows upon rows of gravestones... if not for the thick fog that enveloped the area, revealing only a dozen or so as well as the stone paths granting comfortable access to visitors. "Quite the mist, though." Takeshi remarked. "It's probably not natural. Maybe this is Yurine's but it's too risky to assume that. Tread lightly."

Indeed, it was nigh impossible to see all of the cemetery with this fog, much less spot Yurine. "Do you guys think we should split up? We'll cover more ground, but we might get lost. Especially you, yokai, since you've never been here before."



Terauchi Temple Training Grounds

HEAVENLY TRAINING



(Currently in collab)



Terauchi Temple




While Relica was setting up her own workshop in her own little corner in Terauchi Temple, a visitor came by to see her. It seemed the Gremlin need not search for Ayu.

"Hello there! I hope I haven't interrupted you or anything!" A woman with short, white hair and golden eyes greeted Relica with a proud grin. "I heard you were looking for me, so here I am. Not really sure why you want to, though. I also heard that young Lord Oja himself welcomed you personally so you're probably already briefed and know the current situation."

"But you probably have other questions so you called for me. Ask away!" Ayu finished. "Err, let's not make it too long, okay? I'm a busy woman, handling all... this, you know?" She gestured to the entirety of Terauchi Temple.








~~ TAKESHI'S JOURNEY ~~






~~ TAKAMORI TALES ~~




~~ SORAE TALES ~~


*Finish 'Pre-Emptive Strike' to unlock next tale*

~~ TALES OF SHIZUYAMA ~~








~~ LEGENDARY TALES ~~


Updoot outto!

My time ahead's gonna be busier than normal so answers to any questions might come delayed.
Honoka's House

EMPTY BASKETS

~ @The Irish Tree (EUL) ~


"I was told that you were in danger of starving."
Eula


"I... I shouldn't be talking to yokai..." Honoka started. "...But I'm so hungry."

Swallowing her pride as woman of Shizuyama, the villager woman relayed her story. "Bandits, Madam Eula. They took my food a day ago. Every last scrap." She sobbed. "They went into the woods. They probably have some camp there." She pointed to the forest near her home.

"If you really are here to aid us, please get that food back before they eat it!" Honoka begged the Automaton. "Oh, ah, but please don't harm them. They're just as desperate as I am. We all suffer under this invasion." She added.

---

Honoka was quick to send Eula away, not letting the Automaton get anymore words in. Perhaps she just couldn't wait a second longer for a meal. Regardless, Eula made her way into the forest in search for the camp of bandit thieves.

Fortunately, she did not hav to search for long. Past some bushes, she came upon a shallow pit in a clearing where some humans have set up camp. The camp was crude, but serviceable. A few small wooden tents here and there as well as a fire pit in the middle. The camp was occupied by armed men, maybe seven from what Eula could see. These were probably the bandits that stole Honoka's food.

Five of the bandits were out and about, patrolling the area above the pit while two slept soundly in some mats, near the largest tent among all others. It appeared the large tent also housed their supplies, Eula could see sacks and a couple of crates within. This was likely where the bandits stashed their loot, as well as the stolen food.

Now then, what would be Eula's plan of attack?

"Satoru spotted an old woman and her grandson slowly making their way to the temple. He thinks they have food." The Automaton overheard the bandit. "Maybe we should greet them on the road..."

The suggestion elicited laughter. "...Things aren't bad enough to steal from old people and children."

"We'll see how you feel once we finish the rice."



Terauchi Temple Training Grounds

HEAVENLY TRAINING



(Currently in collab)



Terauchi Temple


~ @Restalaan (SKA), @Hammerman, @AzureKnight (HIN & ATS), @Xaltwind ~


"Oh, a Gremlin! My apologies, I haven't exactly met and know a lot of yokai in my life. Well, until now..." Takeshi admitted, scratching the back of his head. "But regardless, we're glad to have you with us. To help Shizuyama despite our attitude and policy towards your kind." The young lord bowed at Relica. "Grelden, huh? I believe I have heard of that land..."

"If you're looking for Ayu, she's the girl with the short white hair." Takeshi added. "She's pretty impressive for keeping this temple together under the stress of the invasion, with all the refugees pouring in nonstop. Had she not been a yokai collaborator, she would probably be appointed to a nice position for her efforts."

"But as Skarsneek said, we are on our way on a mission. I've been gathering people I know to help us in our cause. You can come with us, for your first mission." Takeshi continued. "Or you can relax first, get to know the place. The other members of the taskforce are somewhere around here. I believe in training."

"I admit, I am intrigued by your... mechanical pack. I believe we have a mechanical yokai among us, in fact. She's out on a mission right now, but you should see her once you get the chance."








~~ TAKESHI'S JOURNEY ~~






~~ TAKAMORI TALES ~~




~~ SORAE TALES ~~


*Finish 'Pre-Emptive Strike' to unlock next tale*

~~ TALES OF SHIZUYAMA ~~








~~ LEGENDARY TALES ~~


~ The Eon Tower ~




After Donovan answered their questions, the party was on their merry way to the rocky landscape where the factory was located. Einer had been playing some rather catchy tunes during the trip, to keep the monotony of the journey away.

Upon reaching the destination, Einer had to whistle at the sight of the destruction wrought on the factory by some sort of skirmish. Likely the skirmish that ended with the bunch of weapons being stolen. The damages were currently being repaired by a crew, all of whom were busy and frantic and paid little attention to the arriving group of Reavers.

Well, all except one, who directed the group to the director's office; the director being Josef, the name dropped by Donovan. All was well until Leon scooched beside him and started whispering.

"Einer was it? Don't look now but I think we're being watched. I'm gonna hunt them down after this meeting and find what's up. I need you to keep face and keep the others at bay, You think you can cover for me?"
Leon Hyskos


Oh, dear. Were the perpetrators still here? The gall to be still around well after the big weapons have arrived impressed Einer a bit. Altough, such information should be shared to the entire party, no? But Einer was perceptive enough to know that Leon intended to only share this with him. The Fae looked like the covert sort, he probably wanted to keep this secret as much as possible so as not to alert the culprits and maybe get their guards down. Quite devious, Einer thought.

Still, it rather irritated Einer that he was ordered to be the distraction while Leon goes off to handle the real problem. Still, personal grievances had no place in the mission and the musician winked at the Fae to signal his answer.

---

”You already know our situation, so we’ll skip that part. Right now we’ve been so focused on repairing the plant and keeping this out of the public eye, we haven’t had time for much else. I can tell you by the entry points and guard casualties, this was done by a team of professionals. Since no word has gotten out about the prototype weapons they stole, we’re thinking they’re current base of operations is some within the outer badlands At least, we hope… They’ll probably plotting their next move, at least that’s the only reason I can think of as to why they’ve been quiet for the past few days…”
Josef


Director Josef seemed up to his neck with stress regarding the raid. Still, he was thankful that the Reavers have arrived.

Leon offered his sympathies before taking off to take 'first watch'. Einer had to roll his eyes, what was 'first watch' supposed to mean in this context? Sure, one could infer that the Reavers will be guarding the site for another robbery attempt, but shouldn't the director be told of that first? Whatever, it fell upon Einer to explain the situation and keep attention away from the Fae.

"Forgiveness for my compatriot, he is... like that." The musician apologized. "Let us focus instead on questions - Can you describe to us about, in as much detail as you can, the raid?" He asked. "Were there any strange happenings before it? Any strange happenings after? Any information you give us will be useful for the investigation."
My mistake, hee hee
Update for the New Year! Happy New Year's, guys!

---

@Restalaan @Hammerman @AzureKnight

Sorry for delaying the mission but I felt this was a good opportunity for @Xaltwind's character to make her entrance to the taskforce.
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