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NEWS [UO.Com] Isamu's Legacy

Discussion in 'UHall' started by UO News, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. UO News

    UO News RSS Feed
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    July 17, 2015 - 6:36pm

    Greetings,

    As we continue our lead up to the Time of Legends release we are excited to present the next installment of our epic adventure! Check out shard Event Moderator websites and in-game town criers to find out when these events will be held. Without further ado we present,

    Isamu’s Legacy

    Written by: EM Malachi

    Sho Hill burned. Rondorin Castle was gone, devoured by a sinkhole caused by the nascent volcano. Falling ash filled the city streets, and hundreds packed the northern roads to escape the approaching molten flows. Messengers from the various daimyos had come with similar reports. Only tiny Zento was said to be safe from calamity. As the natural world tore itself apart, the odachi that had served Kimura Isamu so well was without purpose. All Isamu could do was follow the final orders his daimyo had given him.


    The samurai was drawn from his brooding by a crash. An apprentice sailor had dropped a crate, spilling the contents across the pier. He looked up at Isamu with panic and started to frantically pick up handfuls of emeralds. Lost in worry, the sailor didn't notice the wealth he was haphazardly tossing into the broken crate. Rather than reprimand him, Isamu stooped in his armor to help gather up the treasure.

    As the bezaisen set sail for Zento, Isamu checked the worn scroll case strapped to his back. The scrolls were the legacy his daimyo had died saving from the archive: war journals, kenjutsu techniques, writings on Bushido, and the family registry. While only a dozen scrolls out of hundreds, they were what remained of the history and wisdom of the Rondorin Empire. Isamu was to bring the scrolls and the war treasury to Zento.

    The youngest member of the crew noticed the danger first: giant coils smashing angrily against the waves. Isamu had heard stories of the Ikuchi, a great eel, so long that even a fast ship would need a day to run its length. The Ikuchi had been driven to the surface by the same chaos that had woken the volcano, and the water around the injured serpent was slick with its oily blood. The crew changed course, but the endless coils surrounded the ship in all directions. The skilled crew tried to keep distance from the coils, but they knew that the heavily laden ship would find no escape.

    Hoping the eel would ignore a smaller target, Isamu ordered the crew to lower and board the ship’s hashike-bune. At the samurai’s insistence, the captain reluctantly stepped from the bezaisen into the small boat. Isamu entrusted the scroll case to the captain and explained its importance.

    Isamu steered the large ship away, knowing the eel would follow. He hoped he could move the flanking coils, to create an opening for the hashike-bune to escape. It reminded him of when he and his fellow samurai had ridden against the army of the Akalabeth tyrant, and superior skill had won against superior numbers. Still he had lost his war horse then, and he expected he would lose even more now. His patience presented an opportunity in the tender flesh around a gill. After roping off the rudder, Isamu drew his great blade. As the ship came close to the monster, the honed steel cut deep into the Ikuchi’s flesh. Miles of coils writhed in pain from the slash.

    The great head of the Ikuchi rose out of the water like a tower. All the sea monster’s ire was directed at the samurai. The mouth of the great fish opened to show row after row of deadly teeth. Isamu bowed and raised his sword. The great head fell down against the waiting warrior, and neither hesitated. Isamu stabbed his sword through the Ikuchi’s lower jaw, pinning it to the deck. The Ikuchi’s teeth struck Isamu like hundreds of knives, but the odachi remained in the samurai’s grasp. Bleeding heavily where the teeth had pierced his armor, Isamu held the great eel at bay as the sailors rowed out of sight; his heart slowing, until it finally stopped. Sensing its enemy was dead, the Ikuchi wrenched itself free. The giant coils slammed against the sides of the ship from all directions, smashing it like an egg. Wooden planks and treasure clung to the eel’s flesh as the Ikuchi pulled the samurai’s body beneath the waves.

    When the overloaded hashike-bune reached Zento, it went unnoticed and unremarked with so many other refugees, but the surviving sailors completed Isamu’s duty. Five hundred years later, those Rondorin scrolls remain some of the oldest and greatest treasures in the imperial library, still referenced by the warriors and scholars of Tokuno.

    *****

    Kaito felt uneasy as he secured the rigging. He couldn’t explain his feeling of dread, The night sky was clear, and the trade route between Isamu-Jima and Makoto-Jima was usually safe. Still, his family had sailed the waters of Tokuno for over twenty generations, and he knew not to doubt his instincts.

    Kaito stepped to the edge of the ship and stared into the deep black water. Far under his ship, he saw strange flickering lights in the water rising up toward the surface. As they moved closer, he could make out the ghostly faces of the Funa Yurei.

    He tried to make a count but quickly lost track of the number of spirits swirling under him. It told him enough. He ordered the crew to change course back toward Zento, full sail. When his son asked for an explanation, Kaito told him: "The Ikuchi rises…”

    勇の遺せしもの

    ショーの山は燃えていた。ロンドリンの城は活動を始めた火山によってできた穴に飲みこまれて消えてしまった。街の通りという通りは灰で埋め尽くされ、北側の道は迫り来る溶岩から逃れようと何百もの人々が詰めかけた。大名からの使者は皆同じような報せを持って来た。小さき禅都だけが災害から逃れていると言う。まさに自然界は自らを切り刻んだのであり、木村勇をよく守って来たこの大太刀にも成すすべはなかった。もはや勇にできることは、彼の仕える大名の最後の言いつけを遂行することだけであった。

    侍は何かにぶつかって我に返った。見習い水夫が木箱を落とし、桟橋の上に中身をぶちまけたのである。彼は狼狽した様子で勇を見上げると必死にエメラルドの塊を拾い始めた。怯え切った水夫は彼が無造作に壊れた木箱に投げ込んでいる富に気づくこともなかった。勇は彼を戒めるよりも甲冑のままかがんで宝を拾い集めるのを手伝ってやった。

    弁才船が禅都に向かって出帆すると、勇は背負っていた擦り切れた巻物の箱を確認した。巻物は彼が仕える大名が死と引き換えに保管庫から取り出して来た遺品であった。戦記、剣術の書、武士道の書画、そして戸籍である。何百もの中のたった十二本の巻物が、遺されたロンドリン朝の歴史と知恵のすべてであった。勇はこれらの巻物と戦利品を禅都に運ぼうとしていたのである。

    最初に危険に気付いたのは最も年若き水夫であった。巨大なとぐろが腹立たしげに波を叩いていた。勇はイクチの伝承を聞いたことがある。それは巨大な鰻のようであり、どこまでも長く、高速船ですら全長を走るのは一日がかりなのだと。イクチは火山を目覚めさせたのと同じ混乱によって水面に押し上げられたのであり、傷を負った海蛇の周囲はその油ぎった血のために滑りやすくなっていた。水夫は針路を変えたが、船は全方位を終わりのないとぐろに囲まれていた。熟練の水夫がとぐろから距離を置こうと試みたが、誰もが積み荷を満載にした船が脱出し得ないであろうことを知っていた。

    海蛇が小さな標的を見落とすという望みをかけ、勇は乗組員たちに艀船を下ろして乗りこむよう命じた。侍の揺るがぬ決意を前に船長もしぶしぶと弁才船を後にして艀船に乗り込んだ。勇は巻物の入れ物を船長に託し、その重要性を説いた。

    勇は海蛇がついて来ることを見越し、大きな船の舵を取ってその場を離れた。艀船が脱出するための隙間を作ろうと、立ちはだかるとぐろを動かそうとしたのである。それはかつて同志の侍たちとともにアカラベスの圧制者が差し向けた軍と馬上で戦に及んだ時のことを彼に思い起こさせた。彼らの優れた武術は敵方の数に勝ったのである。彼はその時に軍馬を失ったが、これからさらに失うであろうことを予感していた。彼の忍耐は海蛇の口のまわりの肉の柔らかい部分に好機を見出した。舵に縄を張って固定した後、勇は彼の大太刀を抜いた。船が怪物に近づくと、磨き抜かれた鋼がイクチの肉に深く切り込んだ。長いとぐろが斬られた傷みでのたうった。

    イクチの巨大な頭が水面からまるで塔のように突き出した。海の怪物の怒りはすべてこの侍に向けられた。巨大な蛇の口は開かれ、びっしりと連なる凶器となる歯を見せつけていた。勇は一礼すると刀を振り上げた。巨大な頭が待ち構える武者めがけて振り下ろされ、両者とも一歩も引くことはなかった。勇は刀をイクチの口腔から下顎へ向けて突き刺し、それを甲板に突き立てた。イクチの歯が何百もの短剣のように勇を突き刺したが、大太刀はまだ侍の手の中に握られていた。イクチの歯に突き破られた甲冑から激しく血を流しながらも、勇は小舟に乗った乗組員たちが視界から消えるまで、彼の心臓の鼓動がゆっくりになり、やがて止まるまで、巨大な海蛇を沖合いに留め置いたのである。敵が死んだのを感じ取ったイクチは身体をねじって自身を解放した。巨大なとぐろは船を全方位から押し潰し、卵のようにたたきつけた。イクチが侍の屍を海の中へ引きずり込むと同時に、木片と財宝も海蛇の肉体にからみついて沈んだ。

    定員数を大幅に超えた艀船が禅都に辿り着いた時、あまりに多くの難民たちに紛れて気付かれることも、注目されることもなかったが、生き残った乗組員たちは勇の任務を果たしたのである。五百年後、ロンドリン朝が遺した巻き物は最も古く、偉大な宝として帝国図書館におさめられ、今もトクノの武術を生業とする者や学生たちに参照されているという。

    *****

    カイトは船具をとめながら胸騒ぎを覚えていた。彼はその恐ろしい感覚をうまく説明できなかった。夜空は澄んでおり、勇島と誠島の間の航路は通常は安全なはずであった。しかし彼の家族は二十代にもわたりトクノの海を航海して来たのであり、彼は直感を疑うべきでないことを知っていた。

    カイトは船の端に歩み寄ると、深く黒い水面を覗き込んだ。彼の船の遥か下の方から明滅する灯りが水面に向かって浮上して来るのを彼は見た。それが近づいて来るにつれ、彼は船幽霊の不気味な顔を見て取ることができた。

    彼はその数を数えようとしたが、すぐに彼の下に渦巻く霊たちをいったいいくつ数えたかわからなくなってしまった。それは彼に十分すぎるほどあることを示唆していた。彼は乗組員に針路を変えて禅都に、全速力で戻るよう指示した。息子がカイトにどうしたのか訊ねると、カイトは答えて言った。「イクチが目覚めたんじゃ……。

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    Tamais likes this.
  2. Kirthag

    Kirthag Former Stratics Publisher
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    ahhh... a sea battle cometh!
     
  3. Seelendolch

    Seelendolch Adventurer

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    Its just an oarfish.... :p but seriously, this sounds amazing, i hope i get back from work conference before this rolls out on oceania :)
     
  4. Tamais

    Tamais Lake Austin Reporter
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    Oh boy, :) *checks ammo*. More cannon balls, fuses, and powder. Now where did I leave my ship.
     
    #4 Tamais, Jul 18, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  5. Barok

    Barok Grand Inquisitor
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    Treasures of Tokuno coming back?
     
  6. Sunseri

    Sunseri Journeyman

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    Molten flows? The pyroclastic flows would have caught anyone in the city long before the actual lava got there.