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Welcome to TWSQ, a quest set in the nart verse.

"Damn it!" Yuki yells. She throws her hands up at the gray sky in frustration before pulling off a blanket from the driver in the back. Nobu, as you've come to learn, is a rather sound sleeper and won't wake for anything short getting trampled on or run over. Or so that last day went, him having fallen out of the cart twice now. He won't miss it, or even notice. "Why is it so damned cold?!"

"A south wind and an arctic current wrapping around the peninsula firmly plants us in a polar vortex for most of the year," you answer. You are Eliko of the Land of Iron, apprentice to the legendary Master Mifune, recognized by the Oshiro Clan, and apparent heritage from beyond the western ocean. On top of that you lack chakra entirely, unable to to even muster a reaction from chakra induction paper. And you're enjoying the winter's bitter bite in nothing more than a bare blue yukata and wooden sandals.

"How can you stand it?" Dressed in some of the heaviest and least revealing ninja gear you've ever seen and now a woolen blanket, it's any wonder how she's not suffering heatstroke. With a hefty looking black flak jacket, arm and thigh protectors, and a purple parka she probably weighs more than yourself by a noticeable margin. "I mean, I like the cold but this is just painful."

"You get used to it." The wagon and foot train moves along at a slow pace, kept so as to not tire out the footmen or oxen. Twelve miles a day, making the roughly eighty mile journey take much longer than needed. Six days to be precise and it's only been two and a half. Two hundred footmen bring up the rear while sixteen samurai take the lead. You place just behind the samurai, taking up the radio cart. "Or you don't and you freeze to death."

"Reassuring." Yuki huddles up against you with a sigh. "No wonder you're not cold, you feel like a heater. So when are you going to put on the armor?"

"When it's needed I suppose."

"But everyone else is wearing theirs. Besides, isn't it a gift from your Lady friend?" She wiggles her eyebrows at you as if to suggest something. No more than an arrangement with an acquaintance. Though, perhaps some more thought into the matter is due. It can very well spell the Land of Iron's future after all. So long as a coup or the sort doesn't happen.

>cont
>>
"Correct," you answer. "But I've only been recognized by the Oshiro, none of the other clans. Apprentices have no armor and unless the clan's agree or Master Mifune declares it, I'm not a samurai."

"Sounds like a bunch of bureaucratic nonsense." She stretches out along the bench and dangles her feet off the side. Her glossy red eyes reflect the dull sky for a moment before she blinks away the cold with a yelp. "I hate it!"

"Didn't you bring any goggles? With all that winter gear one would think-"

"Don't be stupid!" Yuki sits up in a hurry and dives into the cart's bed for a moment, only to climb back up with one of her smaller gear packs. She rummages through it only to pull out a set of goggles with polarized amber lenses. Instead of wearing them she lets them hang from her already scarfed neck. "If I use them the cold wins."

"You're-... alright." A section of footmen take up both of your flanks, eight in total and each a heavily dressed spear-men. While the regulars typically work in lines they still make camp and form smaller units in groups of eight as to more easily compartmentalize command and supply. So much more can be done with it though, more independent squads like the samurai. But as grand a strategist Master Mifune is he takes little consideration for regulars and linemen.

A lull sets in. No training, no walking, just the sound of two hundred men marching and twenty carts rattling. The Land of Iron can sure use a train line or at least some actual roads. Better infrastructure can help daily life if the Clans put their heads together and work out a plan. Instead they just squabble among themselves, dragging the rest of the Land down with them. Yuki's headband catches a break in the clouds, glaring for a brief moment before the gray fills back in. Otogakure not Hoshigakure. A turn coat, though she might have a good reason for it. Or a bad one. Either way hopefully she'll realize Nobu has the portable heater on in the back.

>Ask Yuki about Otogakure
>Ask Yuki about her swordsmanship
>Change out with Nobu
>>
>>3246876
>Ask Yuki about Otogakure
>>
>>3247014
>Ask about Otagakure
Writing.
>>
You take another look at the forehead protector. The Land of Sound, while an older country under the name of the Land of Rice Fields, has only recently gained a hidden village. Not much is known about it, as it should be. But with your curiosity peaked there can't be much harm in asking. "So, what's with the headband?"

"Oh..." she answers with a half smile. "Well giving away a priceless artifact tends to make some people hate or like you. My friend liked the gesture so much he invited me to the Hidden Sound."

"Sounds like a dangerous game."

"Well, it was all to find you and my brother." Yuki puffs out her cheeks and pouts. "You could appreciate it a little, you know?"

"So, what's the village like?"

"It's... well, it's not really like the others. A lot less centralized for one and everyone really likes to keep to themselves."

"Makes sense, it's a ninja village after all."

"Yeah, I mean no, there's not really a community. A few clans and a lot of other sorts." She sighs and sits up. "Honestly, it's kind of lonely."

"Suppose you just need to make some friends then."

"Suppose I do. Maybe you do to, huh?"

"You're plenty."

"Shucks, you sure know how to make a girl blush."

"A handful, I mean."

"Ass." Yuki slouches into the bench and for a long while silence once more overtakes the caravan. Footmen murmur to themselves and oxen snort and grunt in the cold air. Something rumbles in the distance, an avalanche somewhere among the vast surrounding mountain ranges. None of the lookouts are calling it so surely it can't be a problem. But something nags in the back of your mind. Avalanches are easy to start and impossible to stop, a perfect ambushing tool in the right hands. "I've only been in the Land of Iron for a little while but is it always like this? Cold, quiet, uneventful? It's kind of nice."

>Have Yuki scout the mountains just in case
>Have some Footmen scout the surroundings
>Scout ahead yourself, no sense loosing men to a bad feeling
>Keep at it, probably just paranoia
>write-in
>>
>>3247202
>Have Yuki scout the mountains just in case
Where is everyone?
>>
>>3247276
Other players? Not sure, i'll give this another half hour. If you mean characters then Captain Okisuki is four carts in front with a squad of samurai taking each of the four leading carts. Footmen make up the 'rear' so to speak, everything behind your own cart.
>>
>>3247276
>Yuki scouts
Alright then, writing.
>>
It's probably nothing, avalanches happen all the time in the Land of Iron. But better be safe than sorry. "Yuki, up for a job?"

"Finally!" She shouts while throwing the blanket back into Nobu. "Assassination? Sabotage? Maybe-"

"Scouting." You point up to the mountain side and nod. "Follow the peaks along our path and make sure no one is setting up an ambush. Careful of setting off an avalanche too, otherwise you'll wipe out the entire troop."

"Fiiine," Yuki groans. "Don't miss me too much though." She disappears in a blur, still somehow moving unbelievably fast in her heavy gear. You return your senses to the road. Wagons and carts creek and groan while a low wind howls through the valley. Otherwise, the silence is deafening. The footmen aren't talking among themselves, it seems like everyone is holding their breath. With the lack of white puffs coming from most of them it might be more literal than not.

Something is off to the air, you can feel it, everyone can. A stiff yawn comes from the back and Nobu climbs into the bench next to you. A younger regular, with a wiry mustache and beard. Trained well in pole arms, better than most thanks to his upbringing in a family of boarder stationed regulars. "Two hours," he says, "best nap I've had yet. Thanks boss."

"No problem," you answer. He takes over driving, giving you plenty of time to stand up on the bench and look around. Four carts lead up ahead, each filled with their respective squad of samurai while another twenty or so stretch on behind. Supplies, men, gear, they all fly the same standard on their left, Master Mifune's iteration of Three Wolves, and their respective families on the right.

"Something wrong?" Nobu asks. "Everyone seems a bit on edge."

"Something like that. Just keep driving and stop if I tell you to."

"Understood." He laughs a bit nervously but does his job. Two months is as long as he's been part of the regular forces. While skilled with spears and staffs, he lacks in actual combat experience. This is his first real military action, an open ended deployment with no return date. That could also take him anywhere in the world. He's right to be nervous. "So, ah, wheres the Ms Yuki? Lovers quarrel?"

"Scouting." You sit back down, satisfied with the lack of activity. The movement shakes off some loose snow from your clothes, showering the driver. "Sent her to make sure no one sets off an avalanche on us."

"A woman who does what you ask and pretty as fresh snow, you're a lucky one." He pops a soldier pill between breaths and you notice his pupils are already a bit dilated. It's not uncommon for those on duty to do so, especially not if they're expecting a long day. Or night. His speaking speed picks up. "You know, I've heard stories about wars fought over such rarities. Some hero from the west trying to save his wife, resulting in the destruction of his country. Another was a fisherman's-"

>cont
>>
"Enough, Nobu," you interrupt then snatch the small jar of stimulants. Non chakra enhancing and reduced dosage, they won't kill him but they sure won't make dealing with him any easier. Ahead the wagon train slows a bit, and in a few moments you see why. A frozen to death foreigner half buried in a snow drift. Every extremity black from frostbite and frozen solid before gangrene set in.

"Damn fool," Nobu continues. "No one should die like that. You know, one of my uncles lost an entire arm to frostbite one time. Said it was the worst burning sensation he'd ever felt. Weird, huh?"

"Indeed." With a guiding hand you point out a soft spot on the road's edge, one that would lead to a sharp drop deeper into the valley bellow. Nobu expertly avoids the pitfall and returns to his ramblings. Footmen come up on either side in grater force, a nervous look about their eyes.

>Join the footmen, see what's got them bothered.
>Find Captain Okisuke and let him know somethings got the footmen on edge
>Stay in the cart
>write-in
>>
>>3247516
>Join the footmen, see what's got them bothered.
>>
Gonna have to call this one here tonight. Next update will be out tomorrow at 1pm PST. Feel free to vote until then.
>>
>>3247516
>Join the footmen, see what's got them bothered

Oh man, this could be fun.

Welcome back op!
>>
>>3247967
>Welcome back op!

Good to be back. Hopefully a few more will share the sentiment come tomorrow afternoon.
>>
>>3247510
>Join the footmen, see what's got them bothered.
>>
>>3249922
>>3247967
>>3247609
>Join the footmen
Alright, looks like you guys are taking a walk. Update will be out in 4ish hours after I get done with my morning shit.
>>
"Watch out for hazards." You pat Nobu's shoulder and step out of the cart, careful to match it's deceptive pace. The nearest footmen flinches then seems to calm. He gives a quizzical looks, as if woken from a stupor. "What's the problem, footman?"

"Ser?" He asks. "Wait-where did... The mountains were alive just a moment ago."

"They're very much frozen solid," You answer. "Now fall in."

He nods and returns to his post near the carts. You shake several more from their strange hypnosis, each with the same wired glassy eyed look. Each with a different story. Some saw a slow motion avalanche rolling down the mountain, others claimed a pack of wolves were watching from the peaks, and still a few claimed the very mountains were breathing and speaking.

Not a moment later a purple and black blur nearly tumbles into you. Yuki and she has the same glassy eyed look as the rest. No more than a few minutes have gone by, she can't have scouted the path already no matter how fast she is. "We've got to go," she says in a hushed tone. "They're watching."

"Who?" You ask, grabbing her shoulder. She snaps out of it and looks at you, confused.

"Miss me already? How did you get up the mountain so fa-..." Yuki looks around in utter bewilderment. "What happened? Where'd they all go?"

"Who?" You ask again.

"The invaders! I saw a huge army up in the mountains-" An avalanche rumbles somewhere nearby and her eyes to go glassy once more. You prod her in the arm, snapping her out of it. She furrows her brow and snarls. "It's a fucking genjutsu! How the hell are you breaking it?"

"Shouldn't you be more worried about who's doing it?"

"The avalanches, dummy." Yuki jumps into the cart and digs through one of her many bags. A moment later she reveals a headset and throat radio. "They're using the sound to mask the jutsu."

"We find who's causing them and we find the caster." You do the same and pull out your new radio mask. A basic model, unlike the set incorporated into your Oshiro pattern armor. With Yuki around to help, putting it on will only take a few short moments. But someone needs to warn Captain Okisuke.

An eagle swoops out of the clouds, massive in size even compared to those of the foreigner's. But the same color and shape with ice growing off each feather from the weather. It disappears back into the clouds a short second later, deathly silent. Someone is waiting ahead.

>Put on your armor with Yuki's help
>Have Yuki warn the Captain and put on the armor yourself
>Forego the armor, warn the captain and begin the search
>Write-in
>>
>>3250651
>Put on your armor with Yuki's help
Send a soldier to warn the captain. We need to make sure were prepared since we're the only one resistant to genjutsu
>>
>>3250651
>Forego the armor, warn the captain and begin the search

We've done just fine without the armor, and we don't want the other Samurai to dislike us for putting it on. I'll change votes if a tiebreaker is needed though.
>>
>>3250719
I didn't even think about that as an option, seems I need to wake up a bit more.

>>3250738
>I'll change votes if a tiebreaker is needed though.
Appreciated. I'll give this vote a bit of time as i did post two hours early.
>>
>>3250719
>>3250738
Looks like a tiebreaker is needed. I'll give it thirty minutes for one of you to change your vote. If not I'll roll for it.
>>
>>3250738
Support. We can do this.
>>
>>3250719
>>3250738
>>3250913
>Put on armor with Yuki + Write-in
Alright, good stuff. Writing.
>>
>>3250924
...I was supporting the Forego option though...
>>
>>3250943
Thanks for pointing that out, fixing.
>>
That means I'm gonna need some rolls. 1d100 if you all will. DC 55
>>
Rolled 6 (1d100)

>>3250961
Let's see if I remember how to roll.
>>
>>3250968
...remind me not to, next time.
>>
Rolled 69 (1d100)

>>3250961
>>3250968
fuug
>>
Rolled 19 (1d100)

>>3250961
We should really consider using the armor. We always get injured, which we can't afford on this mission, and the other samurai aren't gonna like us whether we wear the armor or not.
>>
>>3251003
>>3250983
>>3250968
>69
Good shit, writing. That 6 and 19 though, oof.

>>3251003
>the other samurai aren't gonna like us whether we wear the armor or not.
Correct. Who knows though, do well enough and they might respect you for it. Also most of the samurai on mission with you are under Mifune's personal command, making them more tolerant of you than most others.
>>
>>3251003
Probably, but better to not give them anything for free. We're making a legend here.
>>
>>3251003
That's a fair point. Still, I feel like we can earn some respect by showing them that in spite of all the shit they give us, we're just as capable, if not more capable than them for not needing armor.
>>
You pull on the mask and shake Nobu out of his genjutsu and stimulant induced stupor, handing him his own radio and headset to ensure it doesn't happen again. His compulsive chattering breaks through over the radio, prompting a switch to another channel. "Captain Okisuke," You say.

"Go ahead, Eliko," he answers monotonously.

"Most of the caravan is under a genjutsu, Yuki confirmed it. Someone is using the sound of avalanches to mask it."

"You're sure?" He asks. "I noticed the men were acting strange but... alright, I'll trust your judgement."

"As Yuki and I have taken precautions to avoid it's effects, may we perform a scouting operation? I believe this is a setup for an ambush."

"Dispatching a squad of samurai could very well lead to it being sprung early. Go ahead, and be mindful of straying too far. We're in no blizzard but the clouds sure like to play hell with our comms. Good luck." His end cuts off, leaving an audible snow of sound. Dialing back to your proper channel only brings Nobu's incessant talking.

"Nobu, quiet," you say while moving behind the cart. With a bit of effort your sandals come off, landing in the cart's bed. They'll provide no advantages among sheer rock and compacted snow. "Yuki, step lightly we're scouting."

"I'm a nin-err Kunoichi, boss, light on our feet is what we're know for." Her heavily masked form leaps from the cart and lands next to you. Somehow she'd put on even more layers. A second scarf-thing tightly winds around her head to better protect against the wind and she wears the amber goggles having finally given in to the cold. Her Hidden Sound headband is still present, as all ninja tend to do. Somehow wearing your allegiance so openly as a clandestine operative seems counter productive. But you're no ninja, so what do you know?

With a nod you break into stride and begin the climb, careful of every foot placement as to not disturb the snow too greatly. So much as a wayward cough can disrupt it's cohesion to the point of catastrophe. Yuki is significantly less worried, simply standing atop the snow rather than in it. As the summit grows steeper and steeper her confidence seems to lessen. Far bellow the caravan travels, seemingly slowed to a crawl as the head cart 'fixes' one of it's axles.

"I still cannot comprehend how you, a ninja, is scared of heights," you say.

"I'm not scared of heights!" She shouts back, her microphone peaking. "I'm scared of falling, there's a difference."

"How? I watched you jump-"

"Trees are sturdy, statues are sturdy, they don't collapse unless you make them. Cliff faces and snow collapse if you so much as sneeze. It's fine as long as I'm the one who made the choice."

"So it's a control problem, not a heights problem."

>cont
>>
"I'm not talking about this with you." Yuki's serious tone shuts down the topic immediately. Clearly she has some issue, perhaps one day she'll open up about it. But now she's right, now is not the time to talk about personal issues. That's caravan talk.

A low hanging cliff face meets you with straight verticality. But with a hop and some good foot work you manage to pull yourself atop the small plateau. Yuki stares at you for a moment as you offer a hand, probably fuming at the idea. It would be so easy for her to just jump up, any genin can do it. They're basically super humans after all. But after a solid second of mulling it over, she accepts the offer and grabs your hand. With a grunt you heft the normally light girl up and return to the climb.

Fortunately it turns horizontal rather than vertical as an old wear in the mountainside makes traversal much easier. Though what you find along the makeshift path is unwelcome. Bedding areas, now being drifted over with snow. No more than three or four to a encampment with the leftovers of small campfires.

"Well?" Yuki asks. "Gonna call it in?"

"Captain Okisuke," You say after switching channels. After a moments explanation your met with a long pause.

"Troubling news indeed, though not unexpected," the Captain says. "I'll stop the caravan in the next gully and send out advanced parties. What about you? More scouting is always useful though if you run into an enemy encampment it could spell trouble."

>Return to the caravan and help defend against any possible ambush
>Keep scouting, you need to know what lies ahead
>Split up, have either Yuki or yourself keep scouting while the other returns to the caravan
>Write-in
>>
>>3251153
>Keep scouting, you need to know what lies ahead

We're already here, so we might as well. Not too keen on splitting up, either.
>>
>>3251153
>>Keep scouting, you need to know what lies ahead
If they're relying on genjutsu, it means they're not confident in directly attacking the convoy. At least, not without everyone getting ear niggered into a stupor.

Let's fuck them up.
>>
>>3251163
>>3251181
>Keep scouting
Gonna need some more 1d100s. DC60
>>
Rolled 41 (1d100)

>>3251251
>>
I suppose this is a good time to get some food then. BRB in an hour.

>>3251303
Go ahead a re-roll if no one else does in the next hour.
>>
Rolled 94 (1d100)

>>3251251
>>
>>3251419
>>3251303
>98
oof, great success. Next update will be out in a while after I get back.
>>
Alright, back. Writing.
>>
You gesture to Yuki to continue onward. After several minutes the path retains it's natural path, seemingly worn in from many generations of use. An old sheep or goat path, one that will be extremely useful for any potential flanks. So long as you keep your head down no one from either side is visible, the path itself providing the only lane of sight. Dead shrubs hang along the sheltered route. No doubt it'll be blanketed in greenery come spring, even if the harsher weather refuses to let up.

"You know," Yuki says. "I'm curious why the genjutsu didn't effect you."

"No idea," you answer.

"Maybe it's because you don't have any chakra?"

"Possibly."

"Mind if I test it out later?"

"Hard no."

"But-"

"No. I'm not keen on being under someone else's influence. At least not right now."

"I-... understand."

Several long minutes of silence go by. Until you find another corpse half buried in the snow. Rather, a dozen, most completely covered with snow. Each one is in some state of decay, with undisturbed tags hanging from their faces. Too cold for foreign machinations, so cold infact their shambling masses freeze in place. After making quick work of the tags to ensure no unwanted attackers during the thaw you continue on.

It doesn't take long. White smoke wafts up from a gully opposite your side of the mountain, only to be blown away by wind. Twelve or so men, all dressed in foreign armor, hunker down in their small protective inlet between the mountains and huddle around fires. Wet and frozen wood brought up from the coast, anything more is impossible to find this time of year. Not the genjutsu users though, none of them even have eagles. And with no signs of an avalanche anywhere nearby they're probably just advanced scouts or some sort of flank guard. Given how small their clearing is it's probably all they managed to squeeze in.

"Should we kill them?" Yuki asks. She works a scroll pouch, pulling out a small work titled 'sword'.

"It might alert more to our presence," you answer. Cycling through the other channels only gives you static, bad weather doing what it does best. Making a report will require some substantial backtrack. "But it could also make for a good distraction if anymore are nearby. Or we can push past so long as we don't get found out."

>Start an avalanche atop them then wait in ambush
>Engage them in melee, you can probably take them all out without alerting any more
>Continue on, if they haven't noticed you then no one further up will be on guard
>Retreat and report to the Captain
>write-in
>>
This one will be my last for tonight. Updates will resume at the normal time of 1pm pst tomorrow. Hope you're all enjoying it so far.
>>
>>3251587
Get close but stay hidden, try to eavesdrop to get intel we can take back to the captain
>>
>Continue on, if they haven't noticed you then no one further up will be on guard

Footsoldiers are pawns. We need to figure out where the ear niggers are or hurt the bird boys-- they're the force multipliers.

If we can get deeper into their numbers it will be a better distraction
for when things do go hot. If Yuki has any explosive tags though, could we use them like landmines and set them up to protect us if they hear our trouble up the road and try to come from behind us?
>>
>>3252140
IC Eliko wouldn't know the full extent of what Yuki brought but I'll say she's basically a walking armory thanks to a certain snakeboi. It's reasonable to assume that anything commonplace in a ninja's arsenal she has.
>>
>>3252140
>>3251780
Doesn't seem like there was a consensus. I'll roll for the tiebreaker in an hour.
>>
>>3251587
>Continue on, if they haven't noticed you then no one further up will be on guard
>>
>>3254017
>>3252140
>>3251780
>Continue on
Cool. Going to need some more 1d100s DC 65
>>
Rolled 29 (1d100)

>>3254022
>>
>>3254075
Always with the bad rolls. Let's hope someone else can pick up the slack.
>>
Rolled 53 (1d100)

>>3254022
>>
There's still room for a third. If someone else doesn't do it either of you feel free to do a reroll in half an hour.
>>
Rolled 5 (1d100)

>>3254022
>>
>>3254160
>>3254086
>>3254075
>53
A for effort I suppose. I'll get the update out in a bit, today's going to be slow.
>>
"Don't even think about-" A very distinctive pwoosh sound echoes between a lull in the wind. Yuki's eyes widen and she mouths a thousand apologies. Bellow it seems another heard it too. One foreign soldier scours the mountain side, a scant hundred feet away while another alerts the rest. You grab Yuki by the nape and pull her bellow the peak. Making a noise is one thing, they might just pass it off as some oddity with the terrain or weather. But sky lining yourselves will only ensure the alarm being raised.

"What's that for?" Yuki sputters while shaking off snow.

"Sit still and shut up." You say in a low tone. She does as you climb back over the peak. Not the worst case scenario but close. A team of seven climbs the mountain while the rest prepare to run an alert to any nearby camps. As unfortunate as the situation may be, some information is still gleamed. Three prepare to head further north towards the shore, while another two face a congruent mountain range to the west.

"Well?"

"Seven coming, the rest are runners."

"Should I intercept?"

"Let me think." Having Yuki intercept the runners will prevent the alarm from being raised. Unless she messes up again, in which case you'll both be stuck out in the open while an entire army searches for you. Or you could hide, burry yourselves deep into the snow or something. She's a damn ninja after all, they're supposed to be good at that kind of thing.

>Hide, let them think it was just a random sound
>Wait in ambush, Yuki will have less time to take out the runners
>Take on the search party yourself, Yuki can probably take out most of the runners
>Write-in

I'm going to be trying something different with more personal action scenes. Less long winded reads and more decision making. Also gives me the opportunity to put out more updates.
>>
>>3254199
>Take on the search party yourself, Yuki can probably take out most of the runners
>>
Rolled 88 (1d100)

>>3254213
>Take on the search party yourself
Going to need another set of 1d100s. DC50, it's something Eliko's good at after all.
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>3254304
Ah, crap.
>>
Rolled 47 (1d100)

>>3254304
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>>3254304
>>
>>3254409
>>3254402
>>3254366
>65
Glad that worked out. Writing.
>>
"Intercept the runners, northbound first" you order. By the time you turn around she's already gone. You draw your sword and stand ready, waiting for the first to stumble over the top.

It doesn't take long until a wiry looking man does just that. He takes notice and shouts to the men behind him then scrambles down and draws his own weapon. Another five chase after, their swords drawn, then circle as a group. No exits and their attention is firmly placed on you, but where is the last one? There should be seven total.

One of them shouts something in an unintelligible language while the rest inch closer. Give up maybe? That will never happen. A gray sword flashes from the side only to be met with a blue blur. Metal clangs and your sword hums from the blow to it's flat. With a quick swipe the man's hand is split in two, forcing him to drop the now handeless weapon.

He yells out in pain, prompting the rest to take more cautious stances. Going on the offensive could prove fruitful if they hesitate but waiting them out might be just as viable.

>Press the attack
>Sit and wait with a general stance
>Sheath your sword and prepare and Iaido quick-draw.
>write-in
>>
>>3254455
>Press the attack
Be aggressive. Make our crazy-ass ancestors proud.
>>
>>3254455
>Press the attack
But be ready for a strike from a hidden foe, the number of enemies doesn't add up.
>>
>>3254628
>>3254573
>Press the attack
Alright, going to need some more 1d100s. DC50.
>>
Rolled 24 (1d100)

>>3254641
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

>>3254641
>>
Rolled 35 (1d100)

>>3254641
Have at them!
>>
>>3254699
>>3254720
>>3254753
>60
Success! Glad I don't have to kill Eliko yet. Update will be out in a while, afk at the moment.
>>
Before they have time to organize themselves properly you lunge into the closest, impaling him through the chest. A gust of wind kicks up a flurry of snow, blinding the rest for a split second. Long enough for you to withdraw your weapon and take out the next with a blindingly quick slash between the collarbone and neck. He bunches up, both hands around the squirting wound. Less than a minute is all it will take to bleed out.

Another sword meets your own, providing some resistance to the otherwise under prepared and ill trained scouts. Three remain, all very uncertain about the confrontation. One of them shouts something as loud as he can muster, the words barely audible with a now howling wind. But it's enough to send their final member, who was hiding along the summit, to retreat. With Yuki disposing the other messengers she could be too preoccupied to stop him.

A flurry of blows clang against you but both aggressors get caught against the guard in a strange, who-moves-first situation. One slip-up could end with loosing a finger or even hand. However, the same is just as true for them as it is you. If only the katana was made with a wider guard, with an actual cross section. The third and final opponent circles around behind you, preparing to strike while you perceived defenses are down.

>Disengage and chase down the runner
>Keep pressing them, trust Yuki to complete her objective
>Write-in
>>
>>3254825
>Keep pressing them, trust Yuki to complete her objective
Yuki's got this.
>>
>>3254825
>Keep pressing them, trust Yuki to complete her objective

She may be a ninja, but it would be a bit silly to leave these ones able to run off too.
>>
Rolled 83 (1d100)

Alright, you guys go ahead and vote on this. It'll be the last update for tonight, probably a bit lengthier than the last few. Don't mind this roll.
>>
>>3254853
>>3254845
>Keep pressing them
Alright, seems to me these'll be the only two votes. Give me one final 1d100 roll.
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>3254973
>>
>>3254973
I really hope that 83 is Yuki's roll
>>
Rolled 2 (1d100)

>>3254992
Woops.
>>
Rolled 64 (1d100)

>>3254973
Fucking hell. Here's to the divine blade.
>>
>>3255011
Decent? Nice save anon
>>
>>3255011
>>3254998
>>3254987
>64
Success, good stuff. Update will be out in a few.
>>
Yuki can do her job, she has to, and while she's a bit of an airhead she hasn't really done anything worse than being a little anxious and annoying. She can handle one more. If you chase down the runner, it'll just give the ones in front an opportunity to escape. And that will jeopardize the entire caravan.

"HA!" You bellow, startling one of the men in front of you. With one taken by surprise you flick away the other's weapon, only to spin around and catch an attack from the rear. A solid kick to the chest throws the flanker back several feet in time for you to return to the startled man. His sword comes down in a dull blur, but not quickly.

A sidestep takes you out of harms way and into the perfect position to counter attack, a diagonal cut through his neck. With one down you catch the second's strike with a parry, once more deflecting him into the dirt but this time with an upward followup. Split from gut to face with his own weight the man falls limp. The last shouts something in his foreign language and still holds his saber like sword high. Fearless, even in the face of defeat. Appreciable, if for nothing else he at least shows courage.

You take a low stance and hold the katana vertical. He inches forward, inching becomes stride, and stride turns to a screaming charge. You feint out an overhead strike but beck step at the last second, using your back leg to kick up snow in his face. His own attack comes in clumsily and the saber harmlessly passes through the air. With a fully intended overhead, you bear down upon his neck. As the head plops into snow with a spatter of red you flick off then sheath the surprisingly rust resistant katana.

A scream pierces the air and by the time you can see back over into the enemy's camp, the final runner is hoisted into the air by an unseen foe. Yuki stands bellow him, hands pressed together in a strange sign. She says something unheard and the man is ripped in two. She smiles and waves, then launches into a great leap from standstill. Not a moment later she slams into the ground next to you, kicking up a cloud of powdered snow.

"Got them all," Yuki says as the snow clears. Blood stains more than one part of her. "So, still want to keep going?"

>Continue scouting
>Return to the Caravan
>Write-in

And that's it for tonight, hope you're all enjoying. I'll pick back up at the normal starting time tomorrow, or not, probably will start earlier when I get impatient.
>>
>>3255132
Make contact with the Captain via our radio mask to tell him which directions the scouts tried to go when alerted. And ask what the situation is with the caravan.
>>
>>3255159
You're currently out of effective radio range due to the weather. That'll be something I'll include regardless when communication can be reestablished unless you guys say specifically not to.
>>
>>3255132
>Return to the Caravan
>>
>>3255132
>Return to the Caravan

Passed out, sorry. We won't be able to scout for much longer once the other soldiers find the bodies (or lack thereof). Probably best to retreat now.
>>
>>3255132
>Continue scouting
We've got to find the Genjutsu users. If they know their advantages are blown/aren't working they'll probably escape.
>>
Looks like return to the caravan for now. Voting will be called in an hour and then I'll get to work on the update.
>>
Rolled 40 (1d100)

>>3256207
>>3255516
>>3255186
>>3255159
>Return to caravan
Shits fucked, time to get out of dodge.Writing.
>>
"We're retreating," You say. Yuki's cheery expression changes to one of confusion, a cocked eyebrow and frown.

"What?" She asks.

"It's only a matter of time until the bodies are discovered. If we bury them then the empty camp will be of suspect. If we take down the tents, then they'll assume deserters or traitors. We're reporting back to the caravan."

"I'm going on," she says in a low tone.

"Alright, how about we update your job, something fitting for a ninja. Kill the person or persons casting the genjutsu then return."

"You'd only get in my way anyways." Her form fades, leaving you alone on the mountain with a burst of wind.

Doubling back the path is easy, a downhill slide mostly after the summit path. The challenge lies in not aggravating the snow and alerting any potential observers. The caravan digs in several minutes further up than where you'd left them, in a wide gully high enough in elevation to lessen any sort of catastrophic disaster like an avalanche. Encamped in an old mountain pass for that matter with a good view of the many valleys still ahead and the northern coast.

The ocean is dyed a deep gray and churns with the storm. Ice floats smash together and break apart in an endless cycle of self annihilation and growth. Few besides the hardiest of animals live within then northern waters, great pike and sturgeon capable of swallowing whole fishing boats and sharks that do just that. But with the lack of arable land within the Land of Iron, such beasts are a welcome blessing. Some of the older fishermen tell tails of great leviathans coming and feeding on the monstrous fish.

While in view, the coast is still several days away. Over a dozen mountain ranges sit between it and the caravan, each as inhospitable and dangerous as the last. Only small game trails and Shepard's paths continue forward, the caravan will have to be split up to continue with good time. A few dead foreigners pushed off the pathway in a pile, cleanly dealt with. "Eliko!" Captain Okisuke says while waiving you in from in front a rather large tent. He disappears inside, prompting you to follow him in. "Report?"

"We dealt with a team of potential scouts and their runners," you say. "Of which they were aimed north and west. Yuki will eliminate the genjutsu user."

"And not you?"

"Assassination is a ninja's specialty, I'll only get in the way."

"Indeed. I'll dispatch kill teams immediately. For now you're off post, we're leaving before dawn."

"Do I not have anything else to do?"

"You'll only get in the way." He looks down at you for a moment then walks away, joining other samurai around a table to further plan. A single convoy by the looks of it using the largest path. A path that will only permit intermittent travel in small groups. A topic of heated debate from the sound of things.

>cont
>>
A tinge of frustration builds in your gut as you exit the tent and move through the camp. All around people stake down tents and prepare warm meals over kerosene burners or their own fire based techniques. A gross misuse of energy and supply. Nobu sits with his head lulled back on the cart's bench, wide eyed and silently watching the storm clouds. The oxen are posted nearby and a single eight person tent with a chimney pipe sticking out the top. He set it up himself judging.

"Nobu," You say. He jumps with an audible gasp. Gear sits scattered around and in the cart as if he'd lost motivation and energy halfway through.

"S-ser!" He says while shooting up like a ramrod. "Cart five has been encamped!"

"You good?"

"Good, ser?"

"Yes, are you acceptably rested or do you need to sleep?"

"Oh... uh..." He looks around, heavy rings around each bug eye. He's been on shift for at least twenty hours, the two hour nap from earlier his only rest since early in the morning. "I'm fine?"

"Get some rest."

"Right away!" He plops right back down into the seat and his head rolls back immediately. He's not staring at the clouds but sleeping with his eyes open. Good thing you took away those pills.

>Finnish setting up the area and make sure Nobu actually set up the tent right.
>Go in the tent and meditate, not much else to do until Yuki gets back
>Go around the camp and help those still setting up
>Write-in
>>
>>3256776
>Go in the tent and meditate, not much else to do until Yuki gets back

Again, will change votes if there's a tiebreaker.
>>
>>3256776
>Finnish setting up the area and make sure Nobu actually set up the tent right.
Well that's disappointing, I didn't realize we were hunting down the genjutsu user. I wouldn't have voted to return if I remembered that. Fuck.
>>
Rolled 65 (1d100)

>Finnish setting up the area.
Writing.

>>3256787
Tie so I'll assume yours is now
>Finnish setting up the area
>>3256811
>Well that's disappointing.
I might have not made it clear enough.
>>
You set to work on combing over the camp. Put up before most others had even gotten halfway, a single person setting up an eight man tent is quite the feat. But still, as much as Nobu did he still made mistakes, some more noticeable than others. Many of the ropes weren't properly tied down and the center pole was just resting in place with tension instead of being planted firmly with a base or in the ground. The oxen also don't have a proper share of food, easily remedied by digging out the rest from the cart. Great sacks of unappetizing maze and other things. Mostly imported from some western country like the Land of Earth.

Nobu slowly leans further and further over until you decide to boot him in the tent. Inside is protected enough from the wind and snow so the heater stays off, it's fuel better used at night when the temperature really drops. After, the cart's cover is pulled free and staked in place to offer a makeshift shelter for the oxen. Even such hair beasts born to live in such climates are still susceptible to freezing to death.

Next comes stowing away the gear properly. Everything like food or other basic supplies are left outside, the near constant bellow freezing temperatures perfect for preservation. Personal belongings, gear, and weapons are hauled in to prevent theft and provide easier access in case of an attack. Your own things are limited and easily managed, put away in a corner pocket of the tent near your cot. Sleeping on the snow is a sure way to get hypothermia. Nobu's is just as easily managed, him have only a little more to deal with. But when it comes time to haul Yuki's in is when the problem starts. Her packing has no rhyme or reason, every bag haphazardly thrown together.

A piece of metal on a cloth catches the light. Her Hoshigakure headband, it's star gouged out to an extreme with only the barest of hint's at it's origin. Not the typical mark out found on missing-nin's headbands but an aggressive defacement. You put it back and finish offloading her things, leaving the mess piled atop and around her cot.

Daylight fades, leaving the barest hints of evening orange on the gray horizon. The temperature plummets almost immediately. And then you see it after marching up to the pass. Hundreds of lights burn in the ocean and rocky shore, evening meal time and light to stay the creeping night. Not just raiders but an invasion force, one many times bigger than the small army you faced in the Land of Demons. At least finding them won't be a problem.

>
>>
Lightning cracks in a distant cloud and the oceans turbulent nature only aggravates. A storm far great than the one eternally facing the country approaches but fortunately you're not the one stuck on shore or the ocean. There's a reason why most fishing villages were built atop coastal cliffs instead of the beaches. A pack's howl echoes through the valley and over the mountains, prickling the hair an your arms and neck. There are no wolves in the Land of Iron, all hunted to extinction lang ago.

>Three Wolves Samurai Quest #6 -End-

And that'll be it for today, as best a stopping point as I can manage before I get too burnt out. Hope you all enjoyed this weeks thread. If you have any questions, comments, or criticisms then please feel free to let me know.
>>
And we're archived. http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/3246873/

This was a rather short thread, only made it to a little over 6k words.
>>
>>3255186
>>3255516
...god damn it.

>>3256952
I liked it, but that last bit is pretty unfortunate. I think it's mostly us anons who are fault though. My only suggestion would be to plz understand we're dumb, but ultimately want to do cool things. So instead of choice between a cool thing and nothing, maybe a cool thing or another cool thing might keep the interest up.

That is to say, continuing to scout could have led us to the genjutsu users. Instead of just going to camp, maybe choosing to return wuld have ran us accidentally into the eagle boys.

Different results, but a bit more fun then just going straight to wrap up.
>>
>>3257929
Nah, you guys are fine. I've been on this board long enough to know how players act. I do feel the need to apologize for the ending there, though. While I don't write things without purpose, it was pretty boring and rather abrupt. Some meta knowledge, if you guys had continued searching you wouldn't have found out about Yuki's headband anytime soon, while if you had retreated earlier you would have helped defend against the small raiding party, etc.
>>
This weekend will be busy so I'll start the next thread probably Monday or Tuesday.
>>
QM Update
There will be no thread this weekend or week as I'll be out of state for family stuff. I'll be back by Friday the 22nd, and TWSQ #6 should be up that Saturday at 1pm PST like normal.



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