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.