A Country at War

This is an internal RP only. Unless given specific permission, please do not join.

By the Trukyan Emperor reign of Tsedeki 24 (Traditional Date 2018), civil war had finally reached Trukya after years of internal strife. Damiyo no longer worked with Daimyo. Large scale peasant revolts began to take place in major cities like Nama and Horitoshi. One of these cities, Nama, has already fallen to fanatic religious rebels. Horitoshi was barely held on to by a coalition of nearby Daimyos. The lack of government response in the defense of Horitoshi was noticed by nearly all Daimyos of Trukya, save the Daimyos located on the distant islands. In September of this previous year, Sendo Kenshi refused to make the expected trip to Chang’li to pay respects. This caused a wave leading almost all other Daimyos to give up the practice. Even though this united the Daimyos against one enemy for a short period of time, this was not a military enemy and soon it was largely forgotten about.

Petty squabbles over land and food soon began to break out between small Daimyos. These small battles were slowly evolving into something much more. As larger and larger Clans were becoming dragged into the conflict, the fighting became more fierce. The first recorded skirmish between two major clans (major being large enough to be featured on the map) was between the Hamaku Clan and the Mujihina Clan due to smaller vassals fighting over small amounts of land and food. This fight can be said as the true tipping point of Trukya. After that, Trukyan policy and control slowly slipped.

The control of Alexei Nakashima over territories not directly near him was almost totally destroyed. Government control and say had almost no sway over the local rulers anymore. The complete distrust of the daimyo in the National Government was now too large to simply brush aside like a minor problem. The power of the Government was now an ancient relic of a time long passed in Trukya. The National Army could no longer keep the Daimyos under control. No threat of consequences from the government could scare the Daimyo into submission.

Now, war has begun. Armies underneath Sendo Kenshi begin to march towards the lands of the Pro Emperor Daimyos. Imperial forces underneath the Emperor Mujihina march towards the capital, Chang’li. Socialist forces underneath Konsegu Riku were marching into the neutral territories of the Otaka. Truly, this was a country at war. All signs pointed to an outcome only shaped by violence.

The first to strike would be Sendo Kenshi. With his large army of 20000, he would march into Imperial lands to stage a direct attack. Even though Daimyos across Trukya were planning out the exact same attacks as Kenshi, it was still a terrific blow to all of Trukya. It was a great shock to all Daimyos of Trukya, with a single thought manifesting in each of their minds almost identically. The war has finally begun.

March 27th, 2018. Kashimasen Province, Trukya.

Sendo Kenshi stood at the top of a densely wooded hill. As he gazed into the distance the fog from his breath occasionally rose up in the cold and clouded his sight. As he turned around he signaled to his officer directly near him. Kenshi crossed over to the large man and whispered,“Gather your men. We must make haste while the enemy still sleeps in their camp.”

“Right away my lord.” The officer went across the hill towards the field where the men he commanded lie in wait. The officer emerged from the treeline and entered into the camp. At the sight of him, the soldiers sprang up and began to prepare for the march. Tents began to be taken down and armour was put on quickly. The officer began to circle around the camp and shout orders to any soldier who appeared to be lagging behind.

“Faster! Faster I say! Put on your equipment quickly!”

“Yes Officer Musameno!”

“What are you doing man!? Stop lying about and get in line!”

“Yes Officer Musameno! I am sorry Officer Musameno!”

These cries Musameno directed towards his men. Unlike his lord, he was not a calm man. Before Musameno could break the silence of the forest with his orders once more, he could hear the sharp cry of a thrush in the distance. Musameno, however, knew better than to think this was a real thrush. Thrush were not in this area. It was Kenshi’s whistle to let them know that time was up. The march had to begin now or never.

As the army slowly crossed through the woods, the various signals and sounds coming from the commanding officer kept the men in line. Sharp whistles and soft drums kept the men in line and able to know their orders. As they began to approach the river lying directly between Shogunate and Imperial territory, Kenshi could see the soft light of a camp straight ahead. He turned to Musameno and softly spoke, as if afraid the enemy would hear him from so far away. “Alert the men. The enemy is here. Sound the signal.”

“Of course my lord.” Musameno turned and nodded slowly to his drummers. He raised his right hand in the symbol of a one, and quickly raised his left in the signal of a two. The drummers began to softly tap out a beat that alerted the soldiers of an impending battle. They had been trained to identify this tune. Their ears were keen to its soft beat and its driving call. Now, they would go into battle to it.

“What shall we do to attack them my lord?” whispered Musameno. “The enemy lies on the other side of the river, it would be difficult to cross it and attack quickly.”

“Yes. You are correct. It would be difficult. Which is why they will never expect it. Look at the camp, Musameno. Do you see the walls protecting the side bordered by land alone? It would be madness to attack such a fortified position. No, we shall attack by the river.” Kenshi declared this, and as he did Musameno gave him a quick nod.

“You are correct my lord. I couldn’t see this defense because of my untrained eyes. How shall we attack them?” Musameno looked at Kenshi. The Daimyo was not young, being of the age of 57. He was much more trained in the art of war and had been engaged in several large battles. Musameno knew this was a man he could follow into battle.

“Gather the cavalry. We shall make quick haste across the river before the enemy can notice. As for the crossing, order the men to cross only at the shallowest of the water. We shall ride across the river as fast as we can.”

“Right away my lord!” Musameno quickly turned to the cavalry and gave them a quick signal with his hand to let them know to move into position. Each horsemen gathered with around 50 others to form a large triangle shape. The most experienced of them went in the front, the less trained in the back. The plan was now in place.

“The men are gathered yes?” Inquired Kenshi, “Good. I see that the tent in the middle appears to belong to their Daimyo. Gather up 500 men to charge with me on that position. We shall attack and surround him.”

“Right away my lord.”

The tent of a Daimyo was often a high target for attacking armies. Tents could be surrounded by forces, entrapped with deadly weapons, or could not even contain the Daimyo at all. Often, the Daimyo lie in a completely ordinary tent while 20-30 of his men sleep in his tent. This proves to be difficult for attacking Daimyos. If the enemy is truly in the tent, he will likely be killed. If he is not, a fierce battle will likely break out around the tent and the Daimyo will escape. This is the peril that was before Kenshi.

As Sendo Kenshi sat upon his horse, a bodyguard comprised of 30 great samurai gathered around him. They too sat upon horses with long spears and bows upon their backs. Each carried a naginata and a yumi. Two of them carried the clans mon upon their backs on a flag. They were ready to sacrifice their lives in defense of their Daimyo, but this would not be necessary today. The supreme tactics of Sendo Kenshi would ensure that as few of his men as possible would die.

In the camp below, the forces underneath Meiyo Takeshi slept for the night. The long marches of the previous days ensured that each man was fast asleep, and would be hard to wake. Usually Daimyos tried to not make their men so tired, in case of an attack by night. Meiyo Takeshi, however, felt it necessary to do so in order to counter the Shogunate armies he assumed to be invading.

Takeshi now sat in his tent along with 4 of his officers, Sabaoka Kenichi, Naratera Fumihiko, Moshitoshi Jokichi, and Sideki Mikuni. These four officers had been recently recruited for this recent campaign against the Shogunate forces. These were able men, capable and skilled in battle. They had proven their cunning and skill, and as such had been promoted into positions that reflected their abilities. It would not be easy for them to fail their lord. The cunning of Sendo Kenshi, however, was also hard to get over.

This battle would decide the owner of a great amount of either sides lands. Both armies were putting their entire weight behind this attack, and only one could win in this fight between two great clans.[edit_reason]mollusks [/edit_reason]

March 28th, 2018. Kashimasen Province, Trukya.

Sendo Kenshi sat upon his horse overlooking the camp below. It was still night, and reinforcements had arrived in the form of armed Shinobi, skillful and cunning warriors of the shadows. He had sent them into the enemy camp with the objectives to capture any important persons they could find, to destroy all weapons they could, and to sabotage all important buildings.

An hour had passed since Kenshi had sent his Shinobi in. So far he had no word from them, and he began to worry only slightly that they had failed. Kenshi began to let his mind drift. He thought of all the possibilities of his Shinobi attack. As he looked down the hill he saw a building near the center of the enemy camp slowly become enveloped in bright flames. At first he thought that his mind had begun to allow his thoughts to spill into reality, but the light of the burning building started through the inky blackness of the night as the very much real fire consumed it. Kenshi slowly allowed for a slight smile to break on his face. They had indeed done well for him.

Far in the camp, several men clad only in black marched out of the camp. Their attire matched the moonless night almost perfectly. Their outlines were welcomed and they were protected by the darkness. Two of the men in the back carried a figure bound in rope. They had discovered the Meiyo officer Sabaoka Kenichi in a non marked tent near the center of the camp. They marched on through the night towards the forest that concealed the rest of the Sendo forces.

Sabaoka Kenichi was put under the guard of three of Kenshi’s most trusted Samurai until the battles between their Clans were over, or until an agreement was reached ensuring the release of the officer. The latter would most likely not occur. Kenshi had no people held prisoner by the Meiyo, and Takeshi would most likely not give up land or other goods for a single man. Either way, the Meiyo had still lost one of their four officers. This was a devastating blow to the command of the Meiyo army, but Sendo Kenshi had a much larger devastation in plan. This devastation would be unleashed tonight.

Musameno and Kenshi each sat upon a horse overlooking the enemy camp. Kenshi turned to Musameno quickly, “Is the cavalry ready to attack?”.

“Yes my lord.” Musameno turned and gestured towards the horsemen that had gathered behind them. They sat in groups of 100, with the best man of the group going in front with the less trained men forming behind him, doubling each time. This formed a large triangle, capable of smashing through even the strongest of infantry. This would be Kenshi’s key to winning the battle. Horses would dash in and dash out. An attack capable of leveling their camp would only take 10 minutes. He was sure of it.

In the camp down below, Meiyo Takeshi and his men had long gone to sleep. As they lay in their cots, each in their group tent, a distant sound of thunder could be heard. This was not much to alert the men. Storms often came through parts of this land, but rarely had the wind speeds to do damage to the tents. The most any man did within the camp was look up for a brief moment before drifting back to bed. The thunder, however, got closer much too quickly. As Takeshi himself got up he could hear the distinctive sound, not thunder, but something else he could not recognize.

Suddenly he recognized it. The individual patter of each hoof hitting the ground. Horses.

Kenshi and his men had already reached the outskirts of the camp by the time Takeshi had reached his far too late conclusion. The drive of the horses led the men deep into the camp towards the central tent of the Daimyo. Kenshi had archers take position and begin to fire shots into any tent they could afford ammunition for. Large waves of arrows soon cluttered the sky with their elegant shapes, appearing to softly glide into the target the marksmen had carefully decided for it. The tents on the outskirts of the camp were soon tarnished. Their cloth that had been stitched so patiently now blew in the wind as a flag in the breeze.

Meiyo Takeshi began to run outside of his tent to alert his men before being pulled back inside by one of his bodyguards. “Don’t go out there sir! It is far too…”. The bodyguard was cut off by the sharp whistling of arrows soaring through the air. The distinctive sound was a frightful one, driving terror into all nearby people. Takeshi was shoved behind a large table by the very same bodyguard just as the first arrow tore its way through the soft fabric of the tent. Arrows buried themselves into the wood of Takeshi’s shield, and Takeshi could see the tips of the arrows sticking out towards him. He stood up slowly and surveyed the room. The bodyguard who had saved him twice was directly hit in the chest, as well as three others. Five of his bodyguard had merely been grazed by the arrows. Takeshi began to yell orders to his men.

“Gather your bows! Strike the enemy while he rides! Aim for the horses!”. As he commanded this, wave upon wave of his men ran to the storage house for weapons. As they threw open the doors they began to step back in shock. The weapons had all been destroyed. Hacked to pieces by an ax that now mockingly stood against the far right wall of the room. All of the bows were gone.

Kenshi could see the men staggering back away from the door and gave a slight smirk. His Shinobi were better than he thought. He would have to reward them for this.

“Lord Kenshi! Lord Kenshi I have news from further into the camp!”

A horsemen began to ride up to Kenshi’s left, going quite fast for a battlefield like this. Just as the man began to approach close enough to relay his information a projectile caught Kenshi’s eye. The man was directly struck in the chest by the arrow, and as he began to fall off the front his horse was hit by another stray arrow. Kenshi barely managed to turn right in order to avoid being caught in the tumble. Kenshi quickly spotted the rogue sniper, a lone man who must have had his bow with him. Kenshi quickly ordered his men to fire upon him and the lone Samurai was hit by an arrow in the chest. He crumpled to the ground, his bow still in hand.

The stampede of Sendo Kenshi began to methodically tear down every tent they could see standing. Horses were merely driven straight through them, and horsemen with long enough pikes cut down the main pole holding up each tent. Soon, a blanket of tan cloth covered the entire landscape. This battle, however, was not done. Only the outskirts of the camp had been ravaged in such a way. Fierce fighting still was taking place in the very center of the camp. Almost all of Takeshi’s men who were not killed had gathered near the very center of the camp, forming a near impenetrable force of men defending their central tent.

Now, Meiyo Takeshi was scared. His fear could not be contained to himself. The men around him could clearly see his breathing rise much more than usual, and they began to have doubt themselves. Sendo Kenshi was a man of steel, forged in the fiery crucible of war. They began to believe that this legendary man would slaughter any who defied him. Groups of soldiers began to quietly sneak away into the inky night, the darkness covering their cowardliness. This was stopped, however, when Takeshi caught his first sight of a deserter. He ordered the man executed on the spot. This stopped the desertion for now, but he had lost over 100 men without realizing.

Most of the Meiyo soldiers were only carrying cheap yari spears, made of lesser quality wood and steel. These weapons were almost nothing compared to the sharp naginata of the Sendo Clan. The Meiyo had access to much better weapons, but this access was permanently put down by the Shinobi who had came to the camp over an hour ago. All weapons of high quality had been taken or destroyed. Now, the Meiyo starred at pathetic odds. Meiyo Takeshi tried to think of a plan to save himself and his men, but he was too late. Kenshi had already executed a plan ensuring the opposite.

Massed arrows soon greeted the already terrified Meiyo troops. Due to their clumped formation, droves of soldiers began to fall before Takeshi ordered them to get in line formation to decrease their losses by arrows. This only played to the Sendo cause. Sendo horsemen quickly came crashing into the lines of the Meiyo. The Meiyo weapons were quickly of little use, and their line became confused and broken. The men were thrashed and their formation was utterly broken by the amazing triangle groupings of the Sendo. Takeshi quickly tried to rally his men and began to shout orders and encouragement. “Do not let them break you! They cannot thrash the honour of the Meiyo Clan!”. His words were of no use. Even Takeshi could hear his own voice begin to falter.

Three horns were sounded quickly and the Meiyo broke totally. The men began to route in every direction they could try to find safety with. As luck would have it for the Sendo, Takeshi and his bodyguard fled straight towards the forest where the rest of the Sendo forces lie in wait. Meiyo Takeshi was put under house arrest by the Sendo, forced to stay in his stronghold in Kashimasen province. He was now a vassal of the Sendo Clan. Fighting between the two clans, however, did not stop. Meiyo Dashimaste soon took the place of his brother.

It was now a war with the Sendo in the lead. Only time could tell if the Meiyo could lead against the Sendo again. All of Kashimasen province was at stake. This battle would set off the very fragile Trukyan political setting. All of the work over 200 years to build it up was gone.

The Trukyan government was now awakening from its 200 year ignorance. They had lost all control. They would pay dearly for this mistake

March 29th, 2018. Chang’li, Tsaiden Province

Alexei Nakashima sat in his chair behind his desk. Made of beautiful mahogany, the desk could easily withstand the blows Alexei was providing it. Word had just reached his office that Sendo Kenshi had attacked a neighboring clan despite receiving no such orders to do so. Kenshi had gone rogue. Alexei could barely bring himself to speak to the advisers in the room with him. He carefully picked up a glass of water, and with shaking hands brought the glass to his lips. His throat felt good enough to utter a single, strained word. Why? Alexei slumped down in his chair and buried his head in his hands. This gesture was quite familiar with him, he had almost too much experience with such disappointment and shock. He began to slowly look around the room at his advisers. All of them were the same, he thought. Fools. Fools. Fools.

“President Nakashima, really it is not a big deal! We can still curb…”

“Not a big deal…” Alexei chuckled softly. “Not. A. Big. Deal. You can tell that to the hundreds, no, thousands of government civilians that will get caught up in this petty fight. You can tell that to the Daimyo when they have you locked in a prison, the key thrown down some ravine, all because you worked for the government. No, this is a very, very, big deal. And when this country is on its knees because of idiots like you, you too will think it is a very big deal.”

“Sir I…” The man began to stammer his words.

“Get out of my office.” With this, Alexei sank back into his chair. “I need my generals. Get them.” He sighed once more and listened until he heard the sound of the door to his office close. He turned his chair around and looked outside. His view was obstructed by the rain falling against his window. He sat there for a long time. A very, very, long time.

When the Generals finally arrived in his office, it was clear Alexei was deeply stressed. An empty carton of cigarettes sat on his desk, and his jacket had found its way to the other side of the room. They quickly sat down in the four chairs that were positioned near the desk. Alexei gave them a quick glance and went back to starring out the window. “I’m glad you’re hear” Alexei offered quietly, “I am sure you’ve heard about the rebellions.” Each General only offered a quick nod in answer. “At least I don’t have to explain to you then. I want all of out forces mobilized to take care of this. Every clan that participated in this must be taught a lesson. Who were the aggressors again? The Meiyo. Yes, it was the Meiyo. I want all forces to head towards Meiyo lands.”

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March 29th, 2018. Kashimasen Province, Trukya

With the Meiyo out of the way, Sendo Kenshi had opened up his route into the other areas of Trukya. He now had an avenue towards other clans not associated with the government or with the shogunate. It wasn’t that Kenshi didn’t want to fight the government, he just couldn’t possibly attack them at this time. Kenshi would have to swell his forces much larger before he could do that.

After Sendo Kenshi’s victory against the Meiyo, Moshitoshi Jokichi joined the Sendo after being amazed by their superiority in the battlefield. This brought the Meiyo command down to a measly two officers, with one of the two being out of combat due to an arrow shot to the chest. Clearly, Kenshi did not even have to fight the Meiyo to brush them out of the way. He could march past them and let them dissolve on his own while he was gone. Kenshi, however, was not this kind of person. He had already drawn up plans for a second attack on the following day. Only time could tell whether he would be successful.

While Sendo Kenshi regrouped his forces in Kashimasen province, the government extremist Kobamatsu Clan, who controlled the territory that included the National Capital, Chang’li, now began to march out to subdue the Daimyos. Strangely, instead of the troops marching towards the more valuable Sendo lands, they marched towards the shattered Meiyo lands. This was advantageous to the Sendo Clan. They still remained in the Meiyo lands, hidden in the forests where they would not be seen. Their skill in sneak attacks and sabotage could prove useful to defeating the Kobamatsu. If the Sendo could gain a hold of Chang’li the moral boost would be amazing. All Daimyo would bow to the might of his armies. Nobody would dare to look down upon unless they were prepared to match his cunning. Sendo Kenshi had his eyes set on the Shogunate. Nobody would stand in his way.

March 29th, 2018. Soru Province, Trukya.

On the other side of Trukya, the Mujihina Clan saw a new opportunity in this war. The Emperor, Mujihina Takuya, knew that he could finally restore the power of his family to its former glory. News reached fast to the Mujihina court of Sendo Kenshi’s surprise attack on the Meiyo. Mujihina Takuya had extremely mixed feelings on the matter he was now faced with. The path of warfare to restore the Imperial reign was now open, but he would also now have to defend his lands against the oncoming wave of other Daimyos seeking to increase their lands and influence. Takuya would have to be extremely careful in how he handled this situation. Every Daimyo would seek to either destroy or take over the Imperial throne, and he could now allow that to happen. If an Emperor were to take over Trukya, it would have to be an Emperor of Mujihina descent. Takuya quickly organized his army and prepared to march out for other lands in Trukya. He would have to be swift in order to catch his many, many enemies.

Mujihina Takuya sat in a small room with his generals. The room may have been small, but it showed just how elegant the Mujihina could be. The walls were decorated with amazing and stunning art native to Trukya. Glorious paintings of various Mujihina victories in war and otherwise, portraits of fantastic Emperors who had watched over Trukya with a caring hand not seen since the rise of the ‘Republic’. The walls were made of only the most elegant of wood, finely polished and coated to look as spectacular as possible. Here, the generals sat on the floor before Mujihina Takuya. Takuya sat on a slightly raised pedestal so as to not sit on the same ground as his generals. Takuya spoke to them in a careful and peaceful way, “When can our troops reach the Makana Clan?”

“Four days at the earliest my lord. We will be sure to quickly send them off tonight to get them there the fastest.” The general to the left most side of the room looked quickly to see if his answer pleased the Emperor. It would be madness if the Emperor made him go faster, but if it pleased the Emperor it would be done.

“Yes,” Mujihina replied, “This is good. Make sure you have the men on the march tonight. We can not afford five days.”

“Of course my lord. What you ask shall be done.” The general quickly stepped out of the room and crossed towards the barracks where his men slept. They would have to march out as quickly as possible to please the Emperor. His will was to be carried out.

A large bell in the corner of the barracks was struck three times. Almost simultaneously, the soldiers all jumped out of their small cots and began to put on their armour. A line formed and each man grabbed a single naginata, a single yumi, and 25 arrows. This would be their gear they used until the supply carts were able to catch up to their forces. This could be anywhere from 1-2 days after their departure. After this, they would receive larger and better gear. The things they grabbed now were simply for speed. The Mujihina marched out of the Imperial capital under the watchful gaze of each star in the night. The moon shone brightly on the lands in front of them, and the march finally began as the gates to the capital closed behind the very last man exiting the walls.

March 29th, 2018. Bashimen Province, Trukya

While the forces on the main island of Hontosho were fighting for scraps of land, the clans on the other islands of Trukya were first getting word of Sendo Kenshi’s feats in battle. The Shogunate supporting clan of Sentako prepared to march against the Tsurutacho Clan. Both clans were located on the Trukyan island of Kayamono. This closeness rose to unique rivalries between them. Due to the surrounding water, a sort of arms race came to be on the island in the form of nautical technology. Each clan strove to outmatch and outwit the other to strike a decisive naval blow to the other. If one could totally destroy the navy of the other, their lands would be open to a full invasion. This led to a discovery that would rock the warfare in Trukya.

Sentako lands experienced frequent shipwrecks on their coasts. The lord of the clan neither knew where they were from, nor what they were carrying. Only on special occasions would he permit the search of crashed vessels. In 25 years, a single ship had not been searched by Sentako men. Laws were passed in Sentako lands in order to find and punish those who pillaged shipwrecks without direct permission from the Daimyo. Permission came from the Daimyo quickly, however, when he heard of the great inventions that appeared to be aboard this particular ship. A group was quickly sent out to search the ship and report back as soon as possible.

Sentako were used to small ships crashing, stray Trukyan cargo ships, a passenger boat headed for the mainland, a warship on its way towards some other, distant clan. This ship was very different. It was black, darker than any ship they had ever seen. Traditional Trukyan ships were not painted and were left in their natural, brown colour. The most striking appearance of the ship, however, was the large barrels sticking out of its sides. The soldiers sent to inspect them had no idea what they were. They were extremely large, and the same striking night-like colour of the ship. Stacked in the corner of the ship was much smaller barrels, these in a familiar brown colour of true wood. These were longer, and small enough to be held by a man in his arms. The ship was promptly put under the guard of a few hundred Sentako soldiers. The weapons were quickly sent back to the province’s stronghold to see if they would be of use to the Sentako in warfare. They had no idea just how useful they would be.

March 30th, 2018. Soru Province, Trukya.

Mujihina Hokio stood in front of a block of soldiers. His crisp uniform had been straightened and polished so that every button reflected the light of the sun in a dazzling fashion. His bright shoes touched the grass and as he walked through, the soft rustling of each blade could be heard. The men he stood in front of were highly disciplined Mujihina soldiers, capable of taking and carrying out any order within possibility. He could order one of them to run the day journey back to the Imperial capital and they would do it. These were men who gave their lives to the Emperor. The Emperor would make sure they received the reward they deserved once he was the ruler of Trukya again. Mujihina began to speak his orders to them before they began their daily march, “All proper soldiers never forget their weapons, are you proper soldiers?”

“Yes sir!”

“All proper soldiers never forget their armour, are you proper soldiers?”

“Yes sir!”

“All proper soldiers are willing to die for their Emperor, are you proper soldiers?”

“Yes sir!”

“Ok! Move out! I don’t want to see any feet dragging behind! This is for your Emperor, the Emperor of all Trukya! We must remind all of his might, of his glory!” Hokio turned his back on his men and began to march forwards. Each soldier behind him picked up their gear and followed his lead. The tremendous thud of each foot hitting the ground could be heard throughout the countryside. As the men marched, an officer approached Hokio to tell his report.

“General Hokio, we have marched now for one day. We are set to arrive in roughly 3 days.”

“Good,” murmured Hokio “How far can we expect to march today?”

“Perhaps 30 kilometers, 40 if we really strain the men.”

“This is good. At this point, they will never know what hit them.” Hokio chuckled under his breath. His younger brother had done an excellent job leading this clan to greatness. Their Uncle had chosen well when he needed a new person to take his place on the throne. Hokio would do all he could to ensure his brother’s reign was as great and prosperous as possible.

The march continued for hours, the army occasionally would stop at the many granaries that dotted the Trukyan landscape, picking up food from locals eager to support the Imperial cause. They marched this way for 5 hours, stopping and starting. They took long and short breaks to ensure the men would not become severely fatigued in their walk. They only ceased this endless stopping and starting reaching the embankment of a river nearby to their stop. It was perfect for resting, they would not have to worry about any force attacking from the side with the river. Unlike the river Sendo Kenshi had attacked from, this one was much larger. It would not allow cavalry through its sweeping current. A sea of tents soon rose from the flat soil nearest to the river. The soft light of the campfires lit the night and warded off the cold from the soldiers. Their distance to Makana lands was now a 2 day march.

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March 30th, 2018. Bashimen Province, Trukya

In Sentako lands, the guns discovered by the group allowed to board the boat arrived in the province stronghold. Many hours of thorough inspection concluded that the adding of the powder and metal balls found with the guns allowed for the projectile to be fired out upon the application of pressure to the trigger. This discovery amazed the lord of the province, and he immediately called all who worked on it into his court. He had to find if this strange object could be used to benefit his armies in warfare.

When the soldiers arrived with the weapons, Sentako Takara sat waiting. Like the seating of the Mujihina, he sat on a slightly raised pedestal above the floor. The walls around him, however, were quite unlike the Mujihina. There was no amazing arts of even more amazing battles, but rather the walls were plain. The man was quite like the walls. Sentako Takara was a plain and simple man, not made for the luxurious life often enjoyed by his fellow Daimyo. His clothes matched, they were simple and plain. He did not wear the less elegant clothes of a peasant, but this was only because he wouldn’t appear to be a Daimyo. As he sat watching the door, he thought of all the battles he had faced in his life. He had seen great, terrible things. Weapons of fire. Weapons that could destroy entire villages. His soldiers, however, told him this was a weapon that would make men shudder in fear. This was a weapon that could destroy entire countries. He couldn’t help it, he was interested.

The soldiers came through the large door sometime later. In one hand, each carried a long barrel shaped object. In the other, they carried a box with a rope handle attached. Each man lay down these items down once they approached the Daimyo and bowed in a sitting position. As they began to rise the first soldier spoke, “My lord! We have brought these weapons to be of use to you in the battlefield!”

“I see…and how exactly do you expect them to be of use to me. I hear these are amazing weapons! How do they work?” Takara looked almost too eager to figure out the weapons. His looks of impatience made him look like a child, his eyes shone with wonder and delight.

“Well my lord, you see, you hold the weapon like this,” The man rose from his seated position and hoisted the rifle on his shoulder. He aimed at a wooden post on the other side of the room. “You stand the weapon so its barrel is facing up and put in the powder and ball,” The soldier carefully and deliberately inserted the powder into the gun. He took the ball and dropped it into the barrel. He then put the weapon back on his shoulder. “You light this fuse and put it here, and you squeeze this trigger to light the powder.” He aimed at the pole and fired. Takara nearly jumped out of his seated position. The weapon let out a great roar that blasted his ears with its infernal noise.

“What kind of weapon do you think I’m interested in?!” Takara’s ears were still ringing from the shot, “I do not seek to only deafen my enemy. What good will an enemy who can’t hear do if he can still attack me?”

“My lord,” responded the soldier, “I think you will want to look closer at the post.”

“The post…” Takara rose slowly and walked to the pole. In the center of it, the metal ball he had seen his soldier use was lodged deep into the wood. “But…how did it…” Takara ran his fingers over the ball. It had gone in far, and he could not remove it with his hand. “We need more.” he demanded. “Get many more. If we cannot find any, take this to a metal worker. We must make more.” The 5 men in his court bowed once more and hurried out.

Takara sat upon his seat and sighed. This weapon would bring great destruction on his enemies, but would it also bring destruction on him? His eyes wandered to the ball lodged within the wood. That impossible metal ball, that metal ball which worked against anything he had believed possible.

March 30th, 2018. Kashimasen Province, Trukya

Sendo Kenshi and his army lie in wait still, deep within the forests of Kashimasen province. Kenshi was a master of secret warfare, striking out at the enemy when they were their most vulnerable. As his men lie in wait, Kenshi set in order planning his next attack after the pro-government forces were eliminated. If he marched on the capital while it was undefended, he could strike a decisive blow to the moral of all Daimyos of Trukya.

The tent Kenshi sat in was crucial to the secrecy of the army. Like all other tents his men lie in, it was made of the most plain colours. The tents were in no way vibrant and were not easily seen from the outside of the forest. This was the greatest part of his plan. Government forces often wore the most vibrant colours Trukya could offer. They were so bright, Government armies are often seen approaching in the darkest of night. This is what Kenshi planned on. An enemy that strode in the light with no worry and an enemy that strode in the darkness.

“My lord, the men are capable of staying hidden for another 10 days before we must retreat for supplies. Are you sure we will be able to attack the government forces by then?”

“Of course. Our scouts have reported they head towards our position at an alarming rate. They should be here in only 4 days. Don’t worry about supplies Musameno, I will make sure the men are fed.”

“Are we sure the government forces will take this exact route, my lord?” questioned Musameno, “There are many ways they could enter these lands.”

“This is the only road to the Meiyo’s new stronghold. They must take this route to defeat the Meiyo.”

“Of course my lord. It was wrong of me to question you.” Musameno looked down quickly and stepped out. The soldiers of the Sendo were scattered about the forest, in a intricate manner that ensured that they would both not be found and that they could group back into a large fighting force very quickly. Musameno softly chuckled to himself. This battle would be over quickly.

As Musameno stepped over each leaf on his trip back to his tent, he could hear just how quiet the forest was. He paused for just a moment to soak in the beauty. Every leaf, every blade of grass, every insect. All of these things were connected in the most beautiful and harmonious of ways. This is how a country should be run. All should work together in the ways that helps the entire country, just in the way each thing of the forest contributed to its growth. This was the way of all things.

March 31st, 2018. Bashimen Province, Trukya

Sentako lands had been in great uproar since the discovery of the matchlock. This weapon was solely in the hands of the Sentako, and they had no intention of letting it go to waste. Already soldiers trained with these new weapons in the fortress of Kaigo. Samurai yelled sharp orders at their men in a vain attempt to train them better with this weapon. In truth, nobody knew how to train with this weapon. All that was known was to point and pull the trigger. The weapons soldiers were usually trained with took so long to master, all thought that it simply couldn’t be as easy as this. These weapons must be even more powerful when trained with endlessly. All of the orders and training would do nothing. These were not weapons of skill, but weapons of innovation.

“How is the progress coming?” Sentako Takara stepped out from his Tenshu with a sudden rush. He had forgotten his eboshi inside in his hurry, and proved his difference from his fellow Daimyo by his utter lack of care. Few could have such patience, however, to care when a powerful weapon like this was exclusively in his hands. “Are the men proficient yet?”

“Proficient my lord? Yes I suppose you could say that.” The Samurai responding took off his helmet and undid the straps on his mengu. He turned back to Takara and spoke again, “I don’t understand it my lord. The men, they are able to hit the target with such accuracy.”

“Is this a bad thing?” Takara seemed to know the answer but asked anyway. There was perhaps something this Samurai knew he did not.

"My lord, when we trained the men in yari fighting, or bow shooting, it took them weeks to even become average. These soldiers here could kill a fully trained Samurai with the pull of a trigger. They are but peasants. They have been training for a single hour.

“I see. You are afraid of this weapon?”

“We should all be afraid my lord. This weapon can do unspeakable things.”

“Yes I suppose you’re right. This weapon will do fantastic things. The question is for who it will do these things for.” Takara turned back towards his Tenshu and began to walk back. “Make sure the men are still training. We don’t know what kind of potential hides in these weapons of smoke.”

The Samurai put his mengu and his helmet back on and turned to his soldiers. He saw a few of them lagging behind the others in their firing. “What are you doing?! Do you think your lord would be pleased in your slacking?!”

“No, Master Samurai!”

“Then get back to firing! If you become masters of the matchlock nobody on these islands can stand to our might! A Sentako Shogun will rule over these lands! You want this right?!”

“Yes, Master Samurai!” The peasants began to fire and work at twice the speed they had been stuck at before. It was partly because of the thought of a Sentako Shogun and partly the fear of the blade on the Samurai’s hip. He would not be afraid to use it on a peasant, especially if they shamed him by not following his orders.

The wind was speeding through the Sentako stronghold. As soon as the smoke rose from a fired matchlock, it would be carried away by the strong wind. A consistent, heavy barrage sounded every 10-20 seconds. Each shot echoed along each carefully laid stone of the castle. As Takara sat in his Tenshu, the steady beat of the shots put both worry and amazement in his mind.

[hr] [hr]
March 31st, 2018. Daigo Province, Trukya

Farther up on the Trukyan island of Kayamono, the Tsurutacho Clan planned an attack on the Sentako. Their Daimyo, Tsurutacho Awaeno, gathered his Generals to plan the assault on the Sentako. They sat in the Tsurutacho court, a court specified in the culture of the waves. The Tsurutacho were renowned masters of the sea, and their art showed this. Great paintings of boats and naval battles covered the walls. The Daimyo also showed on himself a love of the sea. His clothes were made of the finest blues Trukya had to offer. As he sat now, the Generals from his army walked in. They were all of noble bearing, their clothes neat and their walk matched their elegance. Two of their outfits were blue, indicating they were planners of the waves. Two of their outfits were green, indicating they were planners of the land. As they sat, Awaeno began to speak. “We will be attacking the Sentako by land. I want all forces gathered and prepared to attack.”

“My lord! This is madness! We excel against the Sentako in our mastery of the waves, would it not be wise to attack by sea?” The blue wearing man looked to his lord. He was careful not to fully question the Daimyo. He would be removed from his post no matter how great his talents.

“The sea. No. They would be expecting an assault by the sea. I hear in Sentako lands, every port is guarded by a hundred men, with another thousand within running distance. No, the sea will never work. We must attack them by land where they will never expect it. We will cut through Sentako lands, avoiding major conflict until we reach their stronghold. We will attack and capture it. This should be the end of them.”

“My lord, I must say this is madness! We will lose in every possible way! The Sentako will easily crush our forces!”

“With what armies? I see no motivation for war within Sentako lands. Their armies are no match for ours. Do not forget we have the backing of the National Government.”

“Of course my lord. I forget where my faith should lie. I will leave now that an attack by sea is not necessary.” With this, both of the men clad in blue stood and withdrew from the chamber. Awaeno turned to the two remaining men clad in green.

“Gather the men today. We will march as soon as possible.” Both Generals stood and bowed. They retreated from the court and each traveled a separate path to the two barracks located in the fortress. Both arrived at the same time and rang the bell nearest to the door three times. With the soldiers gathered, they departed from the gates out towards the Sentako territory. They had no idea of the hidden power the Sentako wielded.

March 31st, 2018. Soru Province, Trukya

The forces under Mujihina Hokio had now marched a combined total of 75 kilometers in the past 2 days. At this rate, they would reach their destination within the next day. Mujihina Hokio stood within his tent and talked with his officer. The officer was brisk in his talking, quick to read out his report. “Sir, our food supplies are good, the men have the rest they need. It seems we are okay for a march tomorrow.”

“Good,” replied Hokio, “If we arrive in enemy lands tomorrow they will definitely not expect an attack. We will take them totally by surprise. How are the weapons?”

“Better weapons have been given to the men, sir. We have naginatas and yari at our disposal.”

“Good. Make sure all men have access to these weapons. I want all to be informed and for all to hold their own weapons in their tents. We cannot allow what Sendo Kenshi did to happen to us. We are too powerful to befall a pitiful fate like the Meiyo.” Mujihina Hokio stared at the maps sitting on his desk. He knew he could not fail his brother. No matter who stood in his way, Hokio would make sure they would be defeated. Even if it was the legendary Sendo Kenshi.

The tents of the Mujihina were lined up nicely. All in one row, neatly along the plain. The man sitting on top of the hill almost liked how well they looked. He sat for a long time. He looked at the camp and he observed. He saw each man grabbing his weapon, he saw each man grabbing his nightly meal, he saw each man heading into his tent. He looked and saw the locations of the food storage, of the tents of each officer and general. He saw each guard and how they moved within the camp. He saw each barrier made to stop cavalry. He saw. He watched. He observed. He was Yoshihiro Nagaharu. He was the greatest Shinobi Trukya would most likely ever see. And right now, all he did was see. This was how he worked. He belonged to no major clan. He swore no loyalty. His loyalty only lie in which clan could pay him the most. Right now, that clan was the Hamaku. They had no stake in this fight, but he would report to them anyway. He pulled himself onto his horse and rode towards the Hamaku agents nearby. They would need to know of this.

April 1st, 2018. Bashimen Province, Trukya

The Tsurutacho arrived at the castle earlier than they expected. It hadn’t been a long march, neither a difficult one. They faced no hardships or enemies on their way and it would appear to any soldier or noble of the Tsurutacho Clan that this battle would be just as any other, maybe better. Soldiers were grouped in formations that would allow them to attack with the most efficiency, equipment was handed out to allow for men to climb over the walls of the castle, every officer and lord presided over their forces with an efficiency normal and expected of every officer and lord of Trukya.

The castle they marched on was also normal. Made of stone, the castle towered above the landscape. It had been built on a hill, giving the area even more of a defense against attacks. The walls were completely normal, with a slight angle to ensure the walls could not be climbed without skill. The Tenshu rose above the walls in a splendor, making a magnificent blend between practicality and beauty. Every thing about the castle and the attacking army were standard of Trukya. This could be any battle already fought hundreds of times. The only thing not normal was the men defending the castle. They could only be described as exceptionally un-normal.

“My lord, the Tsurutacho our at our gates. They demand our surrender or they will storm our walls.” The Samurai kneeling before Sentako Takara spoke. The helmet on his head had not been polished today, perhaps out of nervousness. It was hard to face such an army as the Tsurutacho and not be afraid. Their forces numbered some 15,000. The defending forces were only 8400 soldiers. No wall could keep out an extra 6600 soldiers. Only one thing could save the Shogunate cause on Kayamono. Sentako Takara would use this to win.

Within the army of the Tsurutacho, Tsurutacho Awaeno sat upon his horse. He strode with his personal bodyguard of 30 people, each with their own horse, armour, weapons, and banners. He overlooked as his men marched towards the castle high upon the hill near the Sentako castle. They were now only a single mile away. They would reach the castle in minutes. They saw no signs of resistance from any defending Sentako forces. There was no early skirmishes to throw of his army. There were no pelts of arrows from unknown sources. There was merely the silence of the land around them. The absolute, devastating quiet.

In the Sentako Castle, the forces began to gather along the walls. A Samurai stood beside Sentako Takara and gave him a detailed report of what was happening. “My lord! The soldiers with the matchlocks have gathered along the walls! They have their orders to fire when the enemy reaches our position.”

“Good. Very good. We have never used these weapons on the battlefield. Do you think they will work well, Master Samurai?”

“I have confidence in these weapons, my lord.”

“Yes. As do I.” Takara stepped back into his Tenshu and ascended the steps to his balcony. He would watch over and direct his men from here. His heavily guarded Tenshu would ensure he did not fall during the battle. If either side were to lose their Daimyo, it would be devastating to both moral and the command of the battle. All of the features of the castle would ensure that this did not happen.

The Tsurutacho were now only half of a mile away from the castle. Tsurutacho Awaeno rode in the middle of the army, still giving last minute orders and corrections. As the army approached a forest, Awaeno thought of a way to get further towards the castle without being seen. The forest was a small one, but it extended almost all the way towards the walls of the castle. Once exiting the forest, they would be only 500 meters from the wall. They could quickly run up and take the castle before arrows or other projectiles could be fired. Only a few hails of arrows would be able to be shot in this time, and they wouldn’t be able to kill as many men as intended.

As the Tsurutacho entered into the cover of the forest, each Sentako soldiers stood along the wall of the castle. Each held a matchlock in their hands, either one found originally or one made by the blacksmiths of the Sentako. 4000 of them in total were armed with these guns, the other 4400 were armed with naginata and yari in case the enemy got over the walls.

The Tsurutacho had almost reached the exit to the forest when they received a last order from Tsurutacho Awaeno, “I want all soldiers over the wall as quickly as possible! We will lose many to arrows, but the enemy will lose more to our blades!” At this, the Tsurutacho left the cover of the forest. They emerged slowly, each group filing behind the other in a march towards the wall. It took almost a minute before they had all emerged from the cover. This is when the firing began.

Each group of 100 Sentako soldiers had a Samurai to see over their firing, reloading, and general readiness with their matchlocks. Since the Tsurutacho were only approaching this battle from one side of the castle, all 4400 matchlocks were concentrated on a single side. The matchlocks were stuck outside of the wall and placed on the stone to allow for steady firing. Each Samurai looked at the other and only nodded. Sentako Takara stood on his balcony and held up a green sign with his left hand. Every Samurai knew what this meant. They ordered their men to fire.

Tsurutacho Awaeno heard the faint, popping sound of the matchlocks just as they were being fired. Before he had time to question what the noise was, the first of his men fell. Although it was only 50 or so men per group who fell in the first barrage, Awaeno did not have time to rally his men before the second barrage began. As the bullets cut into their formations, Tsurutacho soldiers began to fall in too great of numbers. Within the first 30 seconds of the battle, 500 Tsurutacho men were dead. Great waves of metal poured over the attacking army, men fell like hay before the sickle. Awaeno knew he had to do something about this terrifying new weapon he was faced with. He rode towards his officer and spoke with an urgency he had never had to use in a battle, “What is this weapon? What is happening here?”

“I don’t know, my lord. The men are being slaughtered. The reports coming in suggest that over 1000 of our men have died so far. The farthest any of our men have gotten to the wall is 100 meters from it.” The Officer quickly moved to his right to avoid a dead horse, its owner was nowhere to be seen. “At this rate, over 2000 of our men will be dead before we can begin to climb the walls.” A sudden grouping of trees forced the Officer to break away from the Daimyo. Awaeno was now alone to think of a plan. He decided to keep the charge on the castle going.

“All soldiers of Tsurutacho! If you are as honourable as I think you are, you will attack this castle for your lord! Storm the walls, destroy the defenses!” Tsurutacho Awaeno rode behind the ranks of his men and shouted orders to them. The first Tsurutacho soldier laid his hands on the wall and began to climb. Soon, hundreds of Tsurutacho soldiers began to climb the wall. 5000 Tsurutacho were dead so far.

The Samurai of the Sentako kept the matchlocks by the wall. The Tsurutacho were about to learn that they should have retreated. Each matchlock was stuck out of the wall pointing down. As every Tsurutacho soldier climbed, they began to look up and see the barrels pointed right at them. It was too late for them to retreat. The sharp crack of a matchlock sent a Tsurutacho soldier tumbling back down to the point where he had started climbing. The Tsurutacho had no where else to run. They were forced to climb up. By the time the first Tsurutacho soldier had stepped foot inside the castle, 6500 Tsurutacho were dead.

The Tsurutacho quickly began to overrun the defending matchlocks. Despite only having 8500 soldiers left, the Tsurutacho began to push the Sentako more and more towards the Tenshu. The Sentako were forced to retreat behind the second layer of walls within the castle. These walls were better defended, but they were much shorter than the outermost walls. As the Tsurutacho began to charge towards the secondary walls, more barrages were fired into their ranks. The melee troops of the Sentako were called froward to defend the secondary walls while the matchlocks again retreated, this time to the innermost walls surrounding the Tenshu.

Tsurutacho Awaeno rode into the newly opened gates and made his way quickly over towards the troops that were gathered behind the second wall. He addressed them with the usual orders, “Quickly! Climb the wall and capture this castle! This battle will prove to me who is the most honourable among you!” The soldiers clambered over the walls only to be met with a wall of naginata awaiting them. The sharp steel cut away at those who tried to oppose its domain and superiority over the area. The sharp cut of each blade sent another enemy soldier tumbling back down the wall, sometimes hitting his fellow soldier on the way down. 7000 Tsurutacho were now dead.

The Sentako soldiers were able to hold off the Tsurutacho for a considerable amount of time before being forced to retreat back behind the innermost wall. The first of the Tsurutacho began to route upon seeing the third wall looming before them. Tsurutacho Awaeno tried to gather them, but it was no use. His men had abandoned his cause due to pure fear. “Don’t retreat until we have the Sentako’s heads!” Awaeno shouted to try to gather his men back, “If we can beat them here, our clan will have glory for the years to come!” It was no use, however. The Tsurutacho soldiers were now breaking away in larger and larger amounts. Only 3000 soldiers remained. Over 5000 of the men routed out of the battle.

As the rest of the Tsurutacho began to route, Tsurutacho Awaeno began to group his remaining men for one final charge. The soldiers were lined up in columns perfect for charging into the enemy. Awaeno himself would participate in this attack. If it were to fail, he would die knowing he was surrounded by his most loyal men. As his remaining men began to charge over the walls, Awaeno dismounted his horse. The bodyguards who followed Awaeno followed his lead. All of the soldiers climbed over only to meet a familiar covering of matchlock fire. Awaeno charged straight towards the enemy and climbed up the innermost wall. As he reached the top, his feet touched the ground and he drew his sword. He did not know where his enemy was before he was shot in the chest. Tsurutacho Awaeno collapsed as the rest of his men clambered over to meet similar fates.

By the end of the battle, 10,000 Tsurutacho soldiers had died. 5000 had routed due to utter fear and contempt at Tsurutacho command. They couldn’t imagine why they had not retreated upon hearing the first shots of this strange weapon. Tsurutacho Awaeno was dead. He had been shot straight through his heart. He was given the traditional, respectable burial of a Daimyo on orders of Sentako Takara. Of the Sentako troops, 1000 had died. 47 soldiers had routed from the battlefield. Of the 1000 who died, 856 of them were melee troops armed with naginata. The remaining dead were matchlock troops, except for a single Samurai.

The battle had been won, quite amazingly, by the Sentako. This would be the end of the Tsurutacho Clan. Despite some of their forces still remaining in the stronghold of their province, it was only a matter of time before another clan came in to destroy them once and for all. This would be the second clan crushed by Shogunate forces. It would also be the second clan destroyed in the entire war. The Shogunate cause shone bright upon Trukya.

April 2nd, 2018. Bashimen Province, Trukya

With the Tsurutacho almost defeated, the Sentako realized they had to make their move. Sentako Takara gathered his army and began to make preparations for an attack upon Tsurutacho territory. Unlike Awaeno, Takara was not going to directly attack any castles he may encounter along his way. His plan instead was to lay siege to the stronghold of the Tsurutacho Clan. Due to their weakened position after their failed attack on the Sentako, the Tsurutacho would be in no position to withstand a lengthy siege. A lack of food, water, and other necessary supplies would most likely lead the Tsurutacho to surrender in a matter of days. Under normal conditions, a defending army could hold out for months if needed.

Tsurutacho Awaeno had been severely overconfident in his abilities as a leader of siege battles, as only the greatest of fools would attack a standard Trukyan castle. Trukyan castles were heavily guarded fortresses meant to obliterate any hostile troops who who would step foot inside, an almost a perfect mix of stunning architecture and deadly practicality. Guard towers, sloped walls, special slots for spears, and many other astounding features allowed for the absolute destruction of anyone foolish or brave enough to enter into one of these castles.

Tsurutacho Awaeno, however, was no complete idiot. The castles of the Sentako were at a great disadvantage to their peers on the mainland and elsewhere on Kayamon, mostly due to the lack of stone. Stone was a extremely vital material in the construction of a castle, with most of the deadly features of a castle requiring this important building resource. Due to this lack of stone, the Sentako had to import much of theirs from the other Shogunate allies on the mainland of Trukya. This means of giving stone was extremely inefficient and expensive, with massive fleets of cargo ships being needed to transport the amounts of stone needed for the building of a castle.

The main reason that Sentako Takara would not be attacking any Tsurutacho castles was because Tsurutacho lands contained, if only in small quantities, the necessary material of stone. Tsurutacho castles were able to conform to the standard rules kept by almost all other Trukyan castles, making Tsurutacho castles just as deadly and terrifying as the Trukyan castle could be. Tsurutacho were able to export their stone, and often traded the building material to other clans on Kayamono and the other, less main, Trukyan islands. Due to the great amounts of trade and money coming into Tsurutacho lands, more and more features to their castles were able to be constructed. This made Tsurutacho castles possibly more frightening than other clan’s castles.

The influx of trade into Tsurutacho lands also allowed for Tsurutacho to hire even greater amounts of Ashigaru into their ranks. Ashigaru, unlike Samurai, mostly cared about the money of war. They could join one clan for a day and switch to another clan on the next, only because the other clan would have a better chance of winning a battle. Ashigaru were more mercenaries than they were soldiers, but this mattered not to clans like the Tsurutacho. At desperate times like this, they couldn’t worry about the morality of the soldiers they hired. The most important trait for a soldier in times like this was simply that he stood where he was told, shot where he was told, and stabbed where he was told. An Ashigaru could certainly do these things, but they were neither well trained soldiers, nor soldiers that had the courage to fight in battle.

This planning of an attack on the Tsurutacho was carefully planned out by Sentako Takara. He had gathered his 2 most loyal generals into his court and began to lay plans for a great assault on Tsurutacho territory. The occasional murmur would and thought would be said allowed as all three gazed over a map of Kayamono and laid their plans.

“Perhaps a frontal assault here?”

“This area right here would be good for attack, the banks of the river would shield us.”

“These mountains could protect us against being spotted, as could this forest.”

“An assault on this land right here could be satisfactory for us.”

These comments went on far into the night, and by the end of the intense pondering and planning, the Sentako attack on the Tsurutacho was completed. In truth, a plan was hardly needed. The Tsurutacho had been almost utterly destroyed by their attack on the Sentako. It wasn’t that they couldn’t gather men to fight, but almost their entire chain of command had been wiped out. Tsurutacho Awaeno had been killed, all 3 of his Generals had been killed. 7 of 8 of Tsurutacho Officers had been killed. An all out attack by the Sentako would ensure that the Tsurutacho were officialy, and rightfully, taken over by the Sentako.

[hr] [hr]
April 2nd, 2018. Amano Province, Trukya

The Mujihina soldiers underneath Mujihina Hokio had finally reached the lands of the Makana Clan. They had required a single day of rest before their attack on the lands could begin. Due to this one day of break, the Mujihina were finally able to attack today. Although food and grain was hard to come by in Mujihina lands, in Makana lands the soldiers were finally able to eat as much as they could possibly desire. This was not due to the fact that in Mujihina lands there was no food, but rather that they couldn’t take food from their own peasants like they could in hostile territory. Although this created a rift between peasants and soldiers in normal circumstances, the Mujihina always took just small enough amounts for it to not be noticeable.

The Mujihina, like the Sentako, did not use the attacking of castles in their military doctrine. Almost all Clans of Trukya except the Tsurutacho excluded the attacking of castles in their standard battle plans. Instead, the Mujihina would lead a series of guerrilla like attacks on the Makana. Large bands of soldiers would strike out against small bands of the hostile forces, leading to extremely one sided warfare. This type of warfare was extremely unused by other Daimyos in Trukya, mostly due to the thinking that such attacks were not only shameful, but also indicated that one was far too weak to attack head on. Mujihina Hokio, however, was nothing like his fellow Generals. He had no interest in the honour that was held so dearly in the Trukyan mind.

The Makana, like Mujihina Takuya had so wisely predicted, were completely undefended for any kind of attack. This was not to say that the Makana were weak, but rather were disorganized in a way that provided the Mujihina an advantage in attacking them. If the Makana were able to hear about this assault, the Mujihina would surely be defeated by the Makana’s superior forces. The Mujihina army numbered only some 10,000, while the Makana army numbered over 20,000. This great amount of soldiers would mean that if the Makana were able to group back together, the Imperial cause on Trukya would be defeated in its very source. The Emperor of Trukya would be vulnerable to attacks due to the loss of his army. This is why Mujihina Hokio did not care about honour. He cared more about keeping his brother on the throne.

By now, the Mujihina cut across Makana lands. They did not make much noise in their marching, nor did they make any sign of their presence. No fires were started, no peasants were contacted, and no messages were sent between camps for supplies and other materials. The Mujihina had effectively cut themselves off to start a guerrilla campaign that would last throughout the coming weeks. The effects, and whether or not the campaign would succeed, would not be known until the coming weeks had passed.

April 2nd, 2018. Kashimasen Province, Trukya

The army of the Sentako still lie in the same, peaceful forest that they had been hiding in for the past 4 days. Their position was still the same, tents stacked upon tents in order to conceal their location. No more than 100 men were grouped together to allow for an even greater ability to blend into the landscape. Although they could still be seen from perhaps 100 yards away, the Sentako soldiers were far enough off of the main roads for this to not be an issue.

Even though the resources in this area were scarce, Sendo Kenshi had been sure to provide enough food for his men to survive for the next 9 days plenty of time before and after the government forces would arrive to attempt to take over the Meiyo lands. Sendo Kenshi and his men had fought far too hard for the government forces to take their lands over. The battles Kenshi had fought in order to take these lands would not be washed away as dirt in the stream.

A daring counter-attack had also been planned by Kenshi if they won the battle against the government troops. The Sendo army would split into two forces, one approaching the national capital of Chang’li by the east, one approaching by the west. If Kenshi could take Chang’li, the government cause would be severely, if not permanently, crushed in Trukya. The Shogunate cause would also receive a major boost in its cause, probably prompting many of the neutral clans to join the side of Sendo Kenshi. If Sendo Kenshi could accomplish this, this truly magnificent and awe-inspiring feat, he would surely be the Shogun before any other clan could react or try to stop him. Sendo Kenshi knew what he wanted to accomplish. Nobody could stand in his way, not even those who aligned themselves with the Shogunate cause.

April 3rd, 2018. Amano Province, Trukya

The Mujihina army within the lands of the Makana had been insufferably nipping at the heels of any hostile forces that they met. Within the last 24 hours, they had faced off with around 500 soldiers to their 10,000. The fights were extremely one-sided, which led to the problem of Mujihina Hokio’s honour being at stake. Daimyo in Trukya had to rely on an honour system for all things. Making sure their trade was not disrupted, ensuring that peasants could safely travel between Clan’s territory, and even relying on food from their fellow Daimyo if a harvest had not been plentiful. Due to this heavy system of honour, any act considered to be dishonourable was considered to be of the highest acts one could do against his fellow Daimyo, only followed by actually attacking them.

No Daimyo in Trukya had heard of Mujihina Hokio’s guerrilla warfare because nobody had lived of the Makana to tell of the attacks the Mujihina were subjecting them to. Mujihina Hokio was deliberate, careful, meticulous, and he was absolutely ruthless. He had no intention of letting a single Makana soldier escape from his attacks. It did not matter to him who they were, what pleas they offered, no matter how many times they tried to surrender, he would make sure they could not talk. Some would think that such actions were completely unnecessary, but in a country where honour is all one must be careful to make sure he is held with the highest thought. To keep this thought, Mujihina Hokio made sure none would survive who would speak of him as a dishonourable man.

While the Mujihina marched secretly in the lands of the Makana they were careful to not do anything to greatly upset the peasantry. It was basic thought that the peasants, although of a different clan, were still Trukyan. The spirit of national togetherness was still strong in the Trukyan mind, despite a corrupt government and broken land. It was still thought that Trukya was a land, rather than a country defined by its government. The biggest reason however, was simply that the Mujihina did not want to destroy lands that might soon be their’s. If any kind of disruption to the peasantry occurred in an area recently taken over, it would not be worth holding onto the newly claimed land.

Mujihina Hokio and his army mostly ignored the peasantry in the area, instead making their way stealthily through the land through the use of forests and other cover. The peasantry were bound to the same honour system as the rest of Trukya. If a peasant saw the Mujihina armies marching through the land, they would report it to their lord. Most peasants, however, behaved quite like the Ashigaru. If enough money was involved, the peasant would forget that they had ever seen the army in question. While this arrangement was ideal for most situations, the Mujihina had neither the time or resources to pay every single peasant they would come across if they took less secretive methods of travel. Although the passages of the forest were less than ideal for quick movement, it would have to do.

Centuries of forests being used to conceal armies led to a new kind of road being formed in the middle of Trukyan wilderness, the forest pass. These kinds of makeshift roads were well known highways for troops to move in a concealed manner. These roads were not always known, and some were discovered by passing armies hundreds of years after their creation. The Mujihina now traveled along one of these roads. At best guess, it was most likely less than 100 years old due to the growth of trees along the path. It was probably used by a passing army during a time of peace, not an army on a march for war. As for why they felt the need to be hidden in their march, these lands were certainly not peaceful feeling towards the army that made the path. Now, a century later, the Mujihina used this path as their own.

Marching through a forest was no easy task, even for a professional army. There were always obstacles to block the approach of forces. Fallen trees, poisonous plants, and even wildlife would be enough to stop an armies advance dead in its tracks. Wolves, bears, all of these animals were a man’s worst nightmare during a long march, especially at night when no one had their weapons at the absolute ready. A bear could sometimes be considered a worse enemy than the enemy army, mostly due to the raw strength of a regular black bear. No man could possess the terrifying force that a bear could produce, nor could a man kill with the amazing speed or agility of a wolf. These were the enemies of an army at march.

The Mujihina, however, met no such obstacles in their march. They were able to march through Amano province with amazing speed and carefulness, with almost no wildlife being encountered. The Mujihina kept their march up at a steady pace, with no tolerance for lagging behind or stopping for rest when it was not needed. At this rate, they would reach the less organized armies of the Makana in merely a few hours. When the scraps of resistance were cleared up, the Mujihina would begin a siege on the Makana stronghold. An all-out attack on the stronghold would be an absolute massacre, due to the Makana having ready stone and other building materials to form their castle into the standard Trukyan fortress.

When the Mujihina did finally find another band of Makana soldiers, it was a mere 500-700 troops. It seemed that they were on a regular patrol, or perhaps they were on a special, but not extremely important mission for their lord. Either way, it was up to the Mujihina to make sure they were eliminated. At this point, the Makana had been reduced from their original 20,000 to 19,400. Although this was not much, the Mujihina victory here would mean that they would be reduced to 18,700. This would be 1300 less soldiers that would have to be dealt with in an attack. As Mujihina Hokio sat overlooking the enemy forces, he called his Officers over to begin discussing the attack.

As the Officers of the Mujihina clan sat around the table with Mujihina Hokio, he began to discuss what would be done about the Makana down below. “The Makana below are in much smaller numbers than us.” He began to plan, “I want the men to split up into groups of 2000 and surround the enemy on all sides. We will run in and surround them on all sides to ensure that they will not escape.”

“My lord, how shall we communicate between the groups without letting the enemy know of our position? Surely flags and banners are out of they way, the enemy would see these immediately and escape.”

“We shall communicate by way of horse. One man on a horse will always be running between two of our groups so we have a way to communicate. If the horseman does not return to us within the usual 5 minutes it should take to ride, we will form back into our main army and abandon the plan. It should be assumed that the enemy knows of our position and our attack would be severely weakened.” Mujihina Hokio said this as he continued to stare at the map.

“If the enemy already knows about our position, my lord, would it not be wise to continue with the attack and charge in? If the fact that we are in this province reaches the enemy, he will gather his army and we will be defeated. Surely it would still be worth attacking to ensure that the enemy cannot escape to tell of us?” This time, it was the officer farthest from Mujihina Hokio who spoke up. Despite his nervous appearance, it was clear this man was merely hiding behind such a false image.

“Yes,” said Hokio, “I suppose you are right. If any horsemen does not return in 5 minutes, the attack should be started immediately. All flags will be raised and the charge shall begin.” With this, the map was abandoned as each Officer moved towards his troop section. The army was immediately split into 5 parts, with 2000 in each section. Each went its separate way and began to form the surrounding formation around the enemy.

As the horsemen continued to move between each station, the attack showed no sign of stopping. At last, the messengers had passed the message along that the time to attack had begun. Each formation suddenly burst out of its covering in the trees with a charge straight towards the enemy. The Makana soldiers quickly began to try to find an escape upon seeing the great amounts of Mujihina soldiers before they realized they were completely surrounded. Each soldier drew his weapon and went into battle formation. It was no use, however. The superior forces of the Mujihina smashed into the far smaller Makana forces with a great force. Steel clashed against steel, and soon the Mujihina began to overwhelm the Makana soldiers by staggering numbers.

As the ambush continued, the sound of each sharp blade hitting another rang throughout the forest. Makana began to fall in greater and greater numbers as the Mujihina utterly thrashed them. In only 30 minutes, almost all the Makana were dead. The remaining were finished off in the last 15 minutes of the fighting. At last, when the Makana had been destroyed, Mujihina Hokio gathered his troops back and set to collecting the weapons of the fallen Makana. In total, they gathered 734 naginata, 432 yumi, and 543 katana. The battle had been won greatly by the Mujihina.

There were now only 18000 soldiers of the Makana they would need to worry about. As they camped for the night, Mujihina Hokio could only think about how he could accomplish such a feat. He stared at his map far into the night, plotting, thinking, planning. He would need to do much of this for the upcoming battles he would be faced with.

April 4th, 2018. Kashimasen Province, Trukya

Yoshida Musameno paced between his tent and a nearby fallen tree. The attack from the government forces was coming much later than expected. The enemy was supposed to have arrived yesterday, and there was still no trace of any approaching armies. Constant scouts along the main roads, even some along lesser known roads, all confirmed the same fact that there was no enemies within sight. There was nothing but the regular line of trees, the calm grass, the normal animals of this environment. There was no sign an army had passed by undetected, neither were they any traces an army had ever passed through the main roads at all. There were no great amounts of foot prints, there were no wafts of smoke from fires, there were no tattered pieces of cloth that may have been tangled on a branch. There was nothing.

As Musameno paced back and forth, he stopped momentarily to adjust the mengu covering his face. It had begun to get hot where they were hiding, and constantly wearing his armour proved to be extremely uncomfortable. He had to remain at ready, however, as did all of the men hiding in the forest with him. They had to be at the ready at all times in case of a government attack. If the armies from Chang’li marched while they were unprepared, they most likely wouldn’t be able to catch them in time. This is why constant vigilance was key.

As he sat waiting, one of his Samurai ran up to him quickly. The small man bowed deeply and spoke the words he had to. “My lord, we have reports that the army of the National Government is within 10 miles of us. At the speed they are marching, we should expect them to pass us within the next 3 hours.”

Musameno quickly rose up and walked over to his tent. While he walked, he rapidly gave orders to the Samurai, “I want all men in battle ready positions as quickly as possible. Under no circumstances can we allow for them to get by us. I want all Officers alerted at once!”

Once Musameno had finished his talking, the Samurai gave another quick bow and departed to inform all of the other Sendo Officers. As he made his leave, the Samurai had to be careful to not trip over any plants that crept into the makeshift path the Sendo had created. He adjusted and strapped his mengu onto his face as he hopped away, he had to make sure that he was ready for the battle. If he was caught without proper gear or readiness, he would be disciplined accordingly.

Musameno and his men were able to gather along the forest edge almost perfectly, along a straight line so the ambush could go as planned. With his best men gathered in the front, Musameno was assured that a charge straight into the enemy would go as quickly as possible. Sendo Kenshi sat with his bodyguard near the front of the formation. He turned towards Musameno and began to ask a series of quick questions. “Do all the men have their gear?”

“Yes, my lord. I have made sure each man has gathered his naginata, yari, yumi, and katana. They knew of the consequences if they did not have them. I have also made sure that each man has enough arrows to last throughout the fight.”

“This is good, so I assume that armour is being worn by each soldier?”

“Yes, my lord. Each man has the amount of armour he needs. I have made sure that each man has at least a helmet and covering for their chest. Each soldier also has proper footing equipment.”

“Good. As long as every man sits in his position, we will be good to begin the ambush.” He crouched low in the overgrowth with the rest of his men, his traditional hat barely showed from the bush that he was concealed in. Most of the Sendo were in positions like this, in a bush, behind a tree, hiding in tall grass, behind another person hidden like this, they were all hidden in a manner so they would not be seen from the main road. This formation, although tiring to get into, would allow for stealth until the very last minute. This would be ideal for their attack.

As they continued to sit in wait, Sendo Kenshi was finally able to see the approaching forces of the National Army. The steady march of soldiers could be heard coming over the hill, their footsteps drowning out the nearby birds and other wildlife making their calls heard into the otherwise noiseless wilderness. As Sendo Kenshi sat watching, a sight sat before him he was entirely unprepared for. There were more soldiers in the National Army than he had prepared for, over double the soldiers his scouts had reported. Just as he was turning to scold his scouts for the highly incorrect information, he realized something about the road. It met only a half a mile away from where he was sitting. There were two roads. His scouts hadn’t been seeing a single army of 10,000, they had been seeing two.

Kenshi now gave a signal for his army to back away. There was no way he could fight an army of such superior size, especially when he was both unprepared and unready. As he and the rest of his troops backed away into the familiar cover of the forest, he noted that most of the enemy’s troops were peasants, Ashigaru. Kenshi could use this to his advantage. If he could send recruiters into the Government camps, he could pay off many of the Government troops into joining his side. Even if he couldn’t bribe enough of them, they were merely peasants who stood little chance in a conflict between a well trained soldier. The Sendo army now retreated under the menacing march of the Government.

Sendo Kenshi had now gathered his Officers into his tent in order to plan his next move. The way he handled such a large army would be crucial to his success, and if he handled it poorly, it could mean an end to the Shogunate cause in Trukya. Kenshi wanted to spare no thought on pondering how to overcome such a terrifying enemy as the Government forces. In order to plan, Kenshi now sat and questioned all of his Officers on his best move.

“20,000 men seems like an extremely large number for the National Army to have, is it possible they called all of their reinforcements from nearby allies of theirs?” Sendo asked this question to none of his Officers in particular, but he really aimed the question at his most trusted Officer, Musameno.

Musameno took this hint and was the one to answer, “Yes, my lord. We can assume that these forces are all that the Government could possibly muster. If these forces are defeated I have no doubt they will not be able to get more. I assume that all of the other Government loyal Clans in the area have given up all but their most needed troops in order to aid the National Army.”

“If we can expect this army to be beaten, just how easily will the Government Clans be defeated?” Sendo Kenshi did not look up as he asked this question, instead choosing to remain looking at the map sitting on the table in front of him. The map was detailed, showing almost all of the Trukyan provinces in their entirety.

“We should expect for them to be easily defeated almost instantly after this army’s defeat, my lord. They most likely only have 1000-2000 troops guarding their fortresses at this time. It will be easy to siege their fortresses.”

“While this is good news, how will we be able to defeat their main army? They outnumber us a staggering 2 to 1. If we meet them in equal battle we will surely be defeated.”

“Yes, my lord. I can only think of one way we can beat them. Our Shogunate allies on Kayamono tell us they have discovered a new weapon. One with deadly and striking efficiency that they used to destroy the Tsurutacho Clan. They call it the matchlock, and they say they will send us one to copy its design.”

Kenshi was now extremely interested, he began to speak much quicker, much more excited, “What kind of weapon, how does it work?” He quickly stopped looking at his map and looked directly at Musameno instead. The glee on his face was absolutely readable, he almost lit up the room with his immeasurable excitement.

“Well, my lord,” Musameno could read Kenshi’s face easily, seeing the Daimyo’s eagerness, “The letter that they sent did not describe much. They merely referred to them as ‘Weapons of Smoke and Fire’. They said these weapons can fire out a small projectile at incredible speeds.”

“Like a metal bow…” Kenshi seemed lost in wonder at his own incorrect description of this weapon he had never seen.

“Yes, my lord. I suppose you could describe it as that. If we can get enough of these weapons to arm our men with, we could possibly strike a victory against the Government forces.” Musameno looked to see his lord put his gaze back on his map.

“We need them. Get them.” Kenshi returned to his previous task of tracing the map for possible ambush locations. He looked up again at his Officers and gave them another order, “You are dismissed.” Each Officer took a bow and excited his tent.

Musameno walked back to his tent and began to write a letter to the Sentako. He would let them know that Sendo Kenshi wanted as many matchlocks as they could afford.