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420 years after the fall of Ozai, decades of tranquility have brought about an era where peace is no longer only a mere philosophical abstraction. However beyond the grasp of the Four Nations, a long lost legacy resurfaces.
 
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 An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)

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Orow
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PostSubject: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:01 pm

"You really can't beat the view from up here, can you?" The Watch Lieutenant said as he waved his hand over the vast expanse of forest and hills that lay before them. It was nearing noon and the sun had been tempered by high clouds and a light breeze. All this combined made the high wall watch almost enjoyable.

"Yes, it's not all that bad...." Orow said with a sigh before straightening up from where he had been leaning against the inner wall. "But it's nothing like gazing out over the ocean from atop the main mast of the larger fishing vessels. The whole world seems to stretch out in all directions." He finished as he stared off into the distance. He had seen much since he had left his home and joined the army. His talents for climbing and moving quickly had made him a prime candidate for joining the group of scouts that served as information runners and infiltrators here in the castle.

"How on earth did you get stuck with watch duty anyway?" The Lieutenant asked knowing full well that the scouts were exempt from certain duties around the castle.

"Run out of bandits and pirates to find i guess?" He shrugged, "Your guess is as good as mine." It was a few minutes later that the handheld radio the Lieutenant had blared to life.

"All scouts to the barracks, on the double." No mistaking the voice of the castle's commanding officer.

"Best not be late." The Lieutenant said sharply, jerking his head towards the stares.

"Right..." Orow replied, "Late to what though?" He continued under his breath.
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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Wed Feb 21, 2018 11:38 am

Nobutada Ezofuji
Crown Prince
Sei-i Taishogun of Nippon

"Fate is in heaven, armor is on the chest, accomplishment is in the feet.
Always fight with your opponent in the palm of your hand, and you won't get wounded.
If you fight willing to die, you'll survive.
if you fight trying to survive, you'll die.
If you think you'll never go home again, you will.
If you hope to make it back, you won't.
While it is not incorrect to consider the world uncertain, as a warrior one should not think of it as uncertain but as totally certain."

Spoiler:
 

Nobutada arrived without all the pomp and circumstance typically awarded to a General of his position. Sei-i Taishogun. Supreme Leader of the Expeditionary Force Against the Barbarians. Leader of the Imperial Second Army and Ruler of Nippon.

Not to mention Crown Prince.

And yet, Nobutada rode in only on his black warhorse, dressed in his armour.

No one announced his arrival. No trumpeters or massive columns of guards and soldiers. No honour guard. No ninja with him. No banners flying or bands playing.

No massive receptions waiting.

Nobutada appeared, silent and quietly, surprising the commander of this military fortress.

He arrived with a few aides and soldiers, looking to recruit new men for the Imperial Second Army.

Recently men had finished their tours, or had been wounded in battle and been transferred back to the mainland to recuperate. Some had left the army because their mandatory two year service was up. Some transferred back to the First Army after the horrors of Nippon had scarred them.

But either way, Nobutada needed to fill the ranks of his soldiers. Too much was never enough when it came to fighting the demons.

He sat out in the drill yard on a raised dais, and waited for the men to assemble before him.

He stared each of them down. He was going to hit them with silence first. Watch what they do when they expected and anticipated something...

Let them figure out who he was... Then...then he'd tell them why he was here.

These men needed to be prepared to face the worst. Needed to be hard as steel.

This was his first test.

Any man could react to noise--but how did they react to silence?

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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Wed Feb 21, 2018 10:22 pm

Rank and file had never been Orow's strong suite, which was another reason he was put into the scouts. They operated on a mostly independent bases and had little need for standing straight and looking good for military commanders. But as Orow entered the drill yard what he saw made him pause. All of the men assembled were standing in rows, looking straight on at the man standing on the sergeant's platform.

The instincts Orow had unearthed over his time in the field kicked in as he observed all he could about the man. In his mind he tallied them; Tall, black hair, sharp features, beard, quite impressive armor.
Has to be a high ranking officer from the islands...
The islands being a local reference to The Sun Empire proper.

It is unfortunate that Orow has a tendency to look away from a subject while reconstructing them, to better help memorize their features. So while everyone else was at full attention, Orow was staring down and holding his chin in his hand as he guessed on the origins of the visit. A quick elbow from the man next to him set him straight as he adopted the same position as the other men.
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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Mon Feb 26, 2018 1:04 pm

Nobutada Ezofuji
Crown Prince
Sei-i Taishogun of Nippon

"Fate is in heaven, armor is on the chest, accomplishment is in the feet.
Always fight with your opponent in the palm of your hand, and you won't get wounded.
If you fight willing to die, you'll survive.
If you fight trying to survive, you'll die.
If you think you'll never go home again, you will.
If you hope to make it back, you won't.
While it is not incorrect to consider the world uncertain, as a warrior one should not think of it as uncertain but as totally certain."

Spoiler:
 

Nobutada watched every man and woman standing in line for a minute each. Most did nothing but stare at the sky. Or at the men on the dais. Some at the base's commanding officer. Some at Nobutada. One or two at each other. But only one man looked somewhere completely unique.

This one man held his chin in a pensive pose. He looked as if the wheels of his mind were churning, spinning at full speed. He was analyzing the situation. By his lightweight, dark-coloured armour, Nobutada could deduce he was a scout.

Leather armour that made no noise. Lightweight for quick movements and escapes. Dark colours to blend in with the surroundings at night. Light weaponry for self-defence in case of being caught more than full on battle.

He analyzed Nobutada likely. He kept peaking over at him and going back into thought.

Someone who analyzed a situation...someone who thought before leaping. His cohorts and normalcy be damned. He wasn't a man about to die on the battlefield without a cause. This man wanted to survive and win--but not out of desperation, but pure strategy.

If he died on the battlefield, it wasn't going to be because of some careless mistake. It was going to be because his opponent was smarter, quicker, more clever, more skilled or had cheated.

Nobutada smirked, but tried his best to keep it hidden.

This man would be perfect...a shame he was the only one Nobutada had his eyes on from this base. But hopefully there'd be others he could recruit from the Mainland.

"Major, disburse your men. They may return to their posts and duties," explained Nobutada, "I have what I came for." He pointed at the thinking man. "Bring that soldier to my tent outside the walls. I wish to speak with him personally."

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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:03 am

As the finger pointed in his direction, so did every eye that had gathered there that day. Orow stared right at that finger and the man it was attached to as he walked off the stand and out through the gates.

What sort of trouble have i gotten myself into? He wondered as the Major walked up to him with a look of displeasure and a subtle hint of pride. "Of all my men he picks you, hunh?" He said with his usual straight forward grit. "Well, we had better not keep him waiting too long, follow me." He finished as he started out for the gate.

"What exactly is this about, sir?" Orow asked as they passed through the gates. He could see the tents just a short distance away and now apprehension had gripped him. This all felt like a job gone wrong and he was being swept down the drain with the fallout. "I mean i'm almost......"

"Wait to pose a theory until you talk to him yourself, he will probably want to know what you make of all of this.." The Major interrupted as they stood in front of the tent flap. He reached over and peeled of the leather helmet Orow had still been wearing from watch duty. "My father always said it's bad luck to wear a hat indoors, plus these helmets are all ugly..." He said as he tossed it to the side and pulled open the tent flap and gestured with his hand.

Orow walked in, the major following, and stood at a loose attention his eyes focused on the man. No more room for strategics or critical thinking, it'd have to be instinct and a touch of luck from here on out.
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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:53 am

Nobutada Ezofuji
Crown Prince
Sei-i Taishogun of Nippon

"Fate is in heaven, armor is on the chest, accomplishment is in the feet.
Always fight with your opponent in the palm of your hand, and you won't get wounded.
If you fight willing to die, you'll survive.
If you fight trying to survive, you'll die.
If you think you'll never go home again, you will.
If you hope to make it back, you won't.
While it is not incorrect to consider the world uncertain, as a warrior one should not think of it as uncertain but as totally certain."

Spoiler:
 

Nobutada sat at a simple wooden table, atop his general's seat. A simple x-shaped, folding wooden frame with a strip of white cloth acting as a seat suspended between the two farthest points. The tent was simple as well.

A red tent typical of a military officer. It was large. There was a small stove and a pile of wood. A teapot sat bubbling atop it as the fire gently purred within. A cot off to one side of the tent. Standards of the Empire, the royal family and the Crown Prince draped from the walls.

A chest to one side, with a towel, a porcelain bowl, and a jug for warm water atop it. A mirror to the left of the chest. An armour stand where Nobutada placed his armour at night. A tin bathub off in the far corner, behind a simple shoji screen.

A small shrine atop another chest elsewhere in the tent, adorned with rice, sake, active incense sticks and sakaki leaves. A mirror at the center, and a picture of the flame god, F'yr, patron god of the Empire, it's royal family, Fire Benders, the sun, and ancestor to the Fire Lords and Emperors of the nation.

The floor had not been rugged over, surprisingly, and two porcelain cups sat atop the simple table, while a chair sat across from Nobutada. He looked at the Major.

"Leave us, Major," said Nobutada calmly and authoritatively, "That is an order from your Crown Prince and a superior officer."

The Major didn't argue further, and quickly exited the tent with a quick glance at the man he accompanied.

"Have a seat soldier," said Nobutada, more warmly than before, "Tea should be ready in just a moment. Can I get you something to eat as well? What is your name and rank?"

Nobutada would keep the questions simple at first. Then...he would press harder--he wanted to know this man. His future recruit.

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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:00 pm

"Orow Rikken, Second Scouts Division" Orow listed off from in-ground memory. Basic training had seen to it that he at least remembered his name. He took the seat opposite the man and adopted a relaxed position leaning forward onto the table. "I'll gladly take tea, especially with the crown prince of the whole of the Sun Empire." He was playing his hand, all his information laid bare. Orow had been in situations like this before and it was usually best to fold while you still had something to grasp on to. He wouldn't make himself look the fool for his own pride.

"To be fair you have me at a disadvantage. Being from the provinces I really have no experience with royalty. I know my boundaries with the higher ups around here, but for your highness, i have no frame of reference on how to act." Orow explained to him as he shrugged his shoulders and straightened up.

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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:26 pm

Nobutada Ezofuji
Crown Prince
Sei-i Taishogun of Nippon

"Fate is in heaven, armor is on the chest, accomplishment is in the feet.
Always fight with your opponent in the palm of your hand, and you won't get wounded.
If you fight willing to die, you'll survive.
If you fight trying to survive, you'll die.
If you think you'll never go home again, you will.
If you hope to make it back, you won't.
While it is not incorrect to consider the world uncertain, as a warrior one should not think of it as uncertain but as totally certain."

Spoiler:
 

Nobutada laughed.  "Excellent," he exclaimed, "Then I don't have to worry about any of that formal 'Your Majesty' or 'Your Highness' bullshit I've been getting from the Major all day.  Honestly, it gets tiring."

Nobutada poured tea for himself and Orow.  He sat there, silently, sipping his tea as Orow sat there, unnerved and uncomfortable.  Nobutada couldn't help but be a little amused by this, but it was all part of his test.  He kept his composure.

Without smiling, without talking, Nobutada sat, and watched and observed Orow.  Taking in his every action, his every movement.  Trying to understand what he was perceiving of the situation, what he was thinking.  How he was reacting.

If it was anything like the man Nobutada had seen in the courtyard during roll call earlier, Nobutada would know he had the right man.  

And so far he had not disappointed.

Nobutada always found the most important part of a battle, and the most nerve-racking was the preamble before battle.  The calm before the storm.  It always foreshadowed the outcome.

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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:25 am

Orow took the tea, grateful for something to wet his mouth. There was no tension in the air yet Orow still felt the presence of the man in the way he had not felt any other's. He exuded an air of certainty and calm which almost unnerved him. But, his curiosity peeked before his nerves did and he decided a request was in order.

"Sir, i know this may be unorthodox, but i was wondering if i could open my pack?" Orow said as he motioned to the large pack setting next to the entry flap. He had set it down as he entered and now it was visibly moving shaking from left to right slowly. "She hasn't been out all morning and she must be going stir crazy in there, especially with the smell of tea and food." He finished and sat still waiting for his hosts response. He has given no information as to what was in his pack, nor would he. If this was what Orow thought it was then he'd play the game he had been taught well by the bandits and pirates. The game was information and the stakes were always high. Give too much and your opponent would see right through you; too little and they'd loose interest.

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PostSubject: Re: An unexpected Arrival (Orow Kouzai)   Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:01 pm


Crown Prince
Sei-i Taishogun of Nippon

"Fate is in heaven, armor is on the chest, accomplishment is in the feet.
Always fight with your opponent in the palm of your hand, and you won't get wounded.
If you fight willing to die, you'll survive.
If you fight trying to survive, you'll die.
If you think you'll never go home again, you will.
If you hope to make it back, you won't.
While it is not incorrect to consider the world uncertain, as a warrior one should not think of it as uncertain but as totally certain."


-------------------------------------------------------------

Nobutada smiled as Orow requested to open his pack.

"Not many people would bring pets into the army with them," smiled Nobutada as he raised his cup of tea as if in toast, "But, to go and give your life for one's country is no easy task.  We all need something to keep us sane."

Nobutada sipped his tea.

"But of course," he stated, placing the tea down, "If the she you refer to is a pistol, and this is how I may go out.  So be it.  Our lives are limited to be a half-century on average.  It's nothing compared to how long our souls linger in the Afterlife.  Everything that is born, dies.  That is life.  It is necessity."

Nobutada sipped his tea once more.

"Though, I'd be warned that even with my death, you would not get very far from this tent.  But of course, you must know that..." added Nobutada, not unkindly, if anything it was too kind and informal for the type of subject he was discussing, "You are no fool.  So.  To shoot me so close, and to know you would never get away...one so willing to die for his country would be just as willing to die for a cause he believes is greater than his country.  A complex individual--a loyal man dedicated to a cause.  A rare thing nowadays."

Nobutada froze.  Downed the rest of his tea, and began laughing at the look on Orow's face.  Confusion, maybe a touch of worry for Nobutada's sanity.

Nobutada had done much in his life to ensure he emulated his father.  A crazy man on the surface, with just enough genius to shine through.  The trick was to never show too much genius, or too much madness.  Keep your opponent guessing as to which you truly were, when the truth was both.

Hit them with madness, until they expect it, then hit them with genius to get them off balance--and bring them to their knees with it.  The adverse was also true.  Hit them with genius, then unbalance and finish them with madness.

"Know I am merely kidding," added Nobutada, "I do not think you will kill me.  But someone as you must understand that these considerations must always be made when you sit in a position such as myself.  Would your pet, whatever kind of small creature it is--for it must be small to fit in a bag--enjoy some food?  I have meat, if it eats that.  Or some fruit if it would prefer that?"

After another long pause as Nobutada poured more tea for both him and Orow, he looked at Orow, this time seriousness filling his every crevice and wrinkle.

"So now I must ask you," continued Nobutada, "Which are you, the Eagle or the Osprey?"

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