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Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite]
|Subject: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Sun 25 Mar - 17:05|| |
Old men chattered loudly as they stooped over one another, each of them desperate to see the cluttered table. On one end, was a seasoned Shogi-player, a man of about 60 years of old, head nearing baldness with a stern but wise look. On the other side, a complete contrast. A boy, lazy body posture, but piercing eyes, fixated on the board. The two of them stared at their pieces, each calculating their possible moves, and their next plans of attack and defence. Then suddenly the boy had thought of a move. Reaching his hand out, Hiro ventured with his knight, his hand firm as he placed the piece down, threatening his opponent's right flank.
Some of the old men shook their heads as they whispered incessantly to each other. His opponent wasted no time, and immediately captured Hiro's knight, plucking the piece away as he placed a bishop over the same square. Chuckling the man said, "Heh looks like you made a blunder. That's a pity. You beat my friend at Igo, and you've demonstrated that you're good at Shogi too, but Igo and Shogi are two different games. Looks like you are just a jack-of-all trades after all..."
Hiro gave a wry smile as he turned his face away from the board towards his opponent, making sure to meet eye contact unblinkingly, but instead of replying, he decided to keep quiet for now. There was no need to talk when his response could be made through the game itself.
"Yep saw that coming, but you don't achieve anything," said his opponent, who promptly defended.
"Check," said Hiro again as he continued to pile on his pieces into the attack.
Again the man moved the necessary piece.
"Check," said Hiro yet again.
The man paused and scratched his head, finally in realisation of the situation that had enveloped. A hushed silence had descended among the bickering watchers before one of them cried out, "Aha well done boy, a good knight sacrifice indeed." And so it was. Three moves before the unfolding of the board, Hiro had noticed how important his opponent's bishop was in the structure of his opponent's defence. It covered the safety of quite a few pieces and important squares and was therefore vital in preventing any mating nets and loss of position. Unfortunately, when a piece like that was involved in so many areas of the board, it meant that it was vulnerable to being over-worked. From its original position it could exert a number of influences, but once dragged out of position by the sacrificial knight, it became committed to that one area of the board, and its whole system of protection collapsed.
Although not as obvious at first, the next couple of moves quickly showed the flaws and cracks once the bishop had been moved, and what was an even game had now devolved into a game where Hiro had the initiative. True, he was a knight down, which would normally be crippling but with the opponent's king exposed and with a mating combination that he thought he could foresee, it was all worth it.
A few minutes later and everyone could see the inevitable result on the table. The man continued - if only for formalities' sake.
"Checkmate," said Hiro, as he suppressed a cocky grin. The balding man appeared to take the defeat well-enough and responded with some joviality, "Ah youngsters these days...why I guess my mind must be getting slower. I should have taken more time to see what that knight move was all about. It was wrong of me to just assume it was a blunder, heh."
"Yes, and it was also wrong of you to underestimate Igo," replied Hiro, as he began to pack the board up, gently tidying the pieces away, "I actually first learned to play Shogi, and it took me a long time to pick up Igo. Tactically, Shogi is far more fun and exhilarating, but on a strategic level, Shogi does not really compare to Igo."
"Ah yes, I should have guessed that you were good at Shogi. After seeing you beat the others at Reversi, Gomoku and Igo, it was hardly going to be a surprise now was it?" sighed the man before he stood up and gathered himself to check out the other games. The group of old men had also dispersed and like a flock of crows they had descended upon another table where two aged veterans were battling away. The noise, even from a fair distance away could be heard, and Hiro's ears twitched in response.
He called this place: the Shogi courtyard. Each afternoon, bored middle-aged men and retired old men would relax under the sun, and sit themselves amongst many of the tables, playing each other at Igo and Shogi to pass the time. It seemed like the older they were, the better they were, which made sense from an experience point of view but Hiro always thought it was always surprising how well some of them played when they were already getting a bit senile. Recently, he had set himself up on one of the tables as a regular too, and had begun challenging some of the others at any sort of strategy-related board game that was available. Now however, he wanted to face a different sort of opponent, the type that was more innovative and refreshing - someone who was closer to his age perhaps.
Reclining on the wooden chair, he waited, laying down two empty boards on the table, while he gazed up at the clouds in the sky. There was no need to look for anybody. He had written a sign in as good calligraphy as he could on a noticeboard that he had put up near the table, which read, "Challengers wanted. Reversi, Gomoku, Igo, Shogi, Checkers - will take on all comers." Now it was just a matter of time for someone to confront him - and someone surely would, no doubt wishing to punish Hiro's seemingly cocky attitude.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Wed 28 Mar - 16:23|| |
Kira wasn't entirely sure what he was doing at this place. He looked around only to find old men playing board games and relaxing and talking to one another. It reminded him of the times he used to watch his grandfather and his friends play games like Shogi, Checkers and Reversi. He would remember being scolded for not being very good at them until his father had thought him. He was still not as good as he wanted to be, and decided this would be the perfect place to practice. He would run his hand through his bright blonde hair, trying not look suspicious as he would walk by old men, trying to find a decent table to play. He could hear his feet hit the wooden ground as he passed tables by, it seemed to sync with his heartbeat, showing how relaxed he was.
After walking through countless numbers of filled tables, Kira would finally spot an empty one. There was someone there who seemed to be his own age. He decided to approach the table, hoping the young boy sitting there was actually there to play and not just to watch his grandfather. Before reaching the table, he had finally noticed the sign that was hung on a notice board near the table with the young boy. It was calligraphy, something Kira had always admired. The sign had read that challengers were wanted to play Reversi, Gomoku, Igo, Shogi, and Checkers. Perfect..., he thought as he would be able to play all of those games.
His pace slowed down as he finally reached the opposite end of the table the boy was sitting on. It would have been disrespectful to just sit down and start playing, and he didn't plan on doing that. "Hello, how about a game?", he said while keeping his eyes on the table where all the materials needed for the game were kept. Everything was organized properly, something he wouldn't expected from a person his own age. Usually they all were lazy, however Kira was an exception, maybe this boy was too. "I'm Kira Ghubier, from Kirigakure.", he would introduce himself shortly after challenging him to a game.
Kira would not wait anymore for permission to sit, now that he had formally introduced himself and revealed his intentions. He would shift his attention to the boy, looking straight into his eyes while playing with his hair. He waited silently for the boy to respond.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 8:11|| |
Today was a clear day, save for a few wispy clouds, and thus the magnetic quality of the ocean in the air had drawn his eyes upwards. Blue...everything was blue. There was nothing blocking the warm rays of the sun and best of all, it meant that there wouldn't be rain in Kirigakure for at least a week. A rare sight needless to say.
Hiro had nearly fallen asleep watching the sky scenery when he heard the clattering of steps. Somebody was approaching. Shifting his gaze, Hiro turned towards the boy and listened carefully. He wanted a game? Excellent. Hiro could definitely provide a game.
"Kira Ghubier is it?" he replied to the blonde-haired boy while simultaneously getting out three boards and putting them on the table, "I'm Hiro. Sumashū Hiro. Obviously I play any game that's on the sign. Reversi, Shōgi, Gomoku, Checkers, Igo, any of them are fine. So if you want a game, I have to ask...which game? Or do you perhaps...wish to challenge me in all of them?"
Playing someone closer to his own age would be a fresh start from playing all the old folk around the courtyard. Maybe this time he would be able to see some refreshing and innovative play. Then again, he doubted whether there was anyone particularly good enough to give him a challenge. He was still learning Igo and Reversi though, so he wasn't going to rule out the possibility of being beaten.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 8:22|| |
After listening to his opponent closely, he would have to choose the games he wanted to play. He wasn't good at anything there but chess, and that too wasn't something he expected to win at. This would finally be the time to practice and improve. After thinking it through he had come to a conclusion, he would play the boy in all the games. It didn't hurt just to try. "I'll play you in all of these.", he would say. Kira would now be debating on whether he should help the boy set everything up, or just sit there and wait.
Kira, never being the patient one decided to help the boy set all of the games up. "I have to warn you though, I'm not very good at these."
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 8:30|| |
"All of them? Haha, well you aren't boring at least," said Hiro as he started setting up the first game. The grid-like board was already there, so all that he needed now were the stones. He had them in two pots, one of them filled with black stones and the other filled with white ones. It was the standard set for Igo but it was also used to play Gomoku or Reversi. Placing the pots on the same table, he opened the two lids before setting up the starting positions.
"We'll play Reversi first then. Recently it has been my favourite game," said Hiro as he grabbed a black piece from the pot, "I trust you know the rules? We take alternate turns placing a piece. A piece can only be placed where it allows the flipping of a piece of the opposite colour. The winner is the one who has the most pieces their colour by the end of the game."
Reversi was one of the simpler games to grasp in terms of its rules. Only Gomoku was conceptually easier to understand but despite the simplicity of Reversi, there was a lot of depth to it. Through this game, he would be able to test his opponent's understanding of positional value and mobility.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 8:47|| |
Kira listened carefully as the young boy explained the rules to reversi. It hadn't been his favorite game, but he didn't mind trying to play. He saw the boy reach for the black piece and decided to go for the white ones. After setting the pieces up according to the rules of the game, he would wait for the boy to start. After all, black had the first move.
"Black first.", he would say with a small grin on his face. He wasn't entirely confident on winning, he didn't know how good Hiro was. He would soon be finding out.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 9:12|| |
" said Hiro as he made the first move, placing his black piece and flipping over one of the whites, "Best of three of course."
In the first game playing as black, he had taken all four black corners, it was quite simply annihilation:
They had placed at a quick pace and before he knew it, he had won the best of three, demolishing his opponent in the second game too, and doing so in quick succession. While his opponent understood the rules, it appeared that Kira had not grasped the concept of mobility. Reversi was not a rash game of capturing but a game about forcing your opponent into making bad moves. Mobility was therefore a key element. The winner was the one who had the most available moves, not necessarily the one dominating early. The essence of Reversi, a game where with each move you made, you limited the total number of moves possible, was in other words...a type of tactical damage limitation.
Still... Kira Ghubier would have other opportunities to prove himself.
"Next, we'll play Chess," said Hiro as he started setting up the chess pieces, starting with the pawns, "Best of three. I'll start the first game as white. Hehe, who knows, maybe you'll impress me this time?"
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 9:25|| |
After the first two games of reversi were played, there was no doubt left in Kira's mind that either he was one of the worst reversi players, or Hiro his opponent was one of the best. It could very well have been both as well. Next up would be Chess, this was probably the only game where Kira could have done something, but he was still unsure, as Hiro seemed to be a master at these games. He wondered if the boy would play these games everyday.
Kira had not got the chance to completely observe the boy's build, maybe he would have been able to tell if he was a ninja or not, but he had planned on asking these questions after the games would be over. Kira then shifted his attention to the chess board in front of him. The boy again would start first by picking up the white pieces, Kira would then take the black pieces and set them up.
He then silently waited for the boy to start.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 10:27|| |
"Hmmm," thought Hiro as he surveyed the chess board - the battlefield upon which he had won another engagement, "You're better at chess than you are at reversi that's for sure. You can grasp simple concepts and think about 1-2 moves ahead but your tactical scope is very limited and you try to do too many things at once with just a few pieces."
He paused for a few seconds before, clearing the board of the pieces with a flicker of his hand and then continued:
"First of all, development is key in the early stage. You must allow yourself to develop mobility amongst your pieces, that is why opening moves are so crucial. It is a lesson, I thought you would learn in playing Reversi first. With mobility, you give yourself more opportunities, without mobility, you are stunted to a limited pool of moves. You rush too quickly into playing around with your Queen and castling, both of which are moves you tend to do later on in the game. Still you didn't play too badly, and you did make me think a few times. You also missed some moves which would've capitalised on my mistakes, but I guess that's to be expected.
You may not have noticed, but you also had a tendency to try and defend too many areas with too few pieces. Again, your stunted development did not help in this regard. Too often you would catch the bait and fall into a trap or your pieces would get dragged away. This is the weakness of being overworked.
These lessons ought to be learned as a Shinobi too. Fools will try and do too much, thinking themselves heroes, only to endanger both themselves and their team mates. Doing everything by yourself recklessly is foolish. There is nothing wrong with learning to rely on the support of your team mates.
Those who rush out are dragged into the hands of their enemy or dragged into isolation where they cannot help their allies. It's true that if you're strong and skilled, you can handle things alone. But it never hurts to be part of a team.
This is one of the most fundamental lessons in being a shinobi."
It was time to show this Ghubier boy, that the same rules applied in real life, as well as in Shōgi and Reversi.
"Come out, Jin," said Hiro softly with a loud click of his fingers as he pushed his chair away and stood up - his Kaguya bodyguard would soon pop out from somewhere to provide support, "Kira Ghubier. What if I told you, that you were lured here, have fallen into my trap and that I have an offer for you?'
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 10:43|| |
Jin, at the sound of Hiro's snap stepped out from the shadows as though the darkness had birthed the young warrior. He'd move swiftly and in a matter of a second he was behind Kira, arms hanging limply at his sides, ready to act on a moment's notice, either a notice from Hiro or Kira, whom had been lured here by Hiro. Jin's cold steely blue gaze focused on Kira and as a he felt a soft breeze begin to kick up around the courtyard his voice slowly rose from the awkward silence that had seemed to slowly envelope the area.
"My master, Hiro, is living prodigy. His intellect is beyond the scope of most shinobi alive today. I'm sorry to say that you, my friend, never stood a chance against him in a game of strategy such as this."
Was he referring to the board games the two had been playing or did he mean the trap that Kira had fallen into? Or maybe the Kaguya simply meant both. The Kaguya narrowed his eyes as continued to focus on Kira but kept his senses open and remained alert for anything that could have disturbed this rather clever set up that Hiro had devised.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 11:31|| |
Kira remained speechless as he was completely destroyed at everything he played with the boy. "How are you so good?", he would mumble as the boy would flick the board pieces. He listened quietly as Hiro pointed out each and every mistake he had made, along with how he could improve so as it not make it again. It was exactly what Kira needed, but he would've expected it to be coming from someone with more experience, someone more aged. However it was quite clear, Hiro had higher intellect than almost anyone in the whole courtyard. However, the last few sentences were the ones that Kira had thought he heard wrong. However, his doubts were cleared as another young Kaguya appeared and stood behind him.
He had no intention to fight anyone, however he needed to know how exactly he was lured here, and what offer was going to be made. He chose not to listen to the young boy behind him, thinking it would be nothing but praise, and he was correct. If he needed to, his sand could cover the Kaguya in a matter of seconds and kill him.
"How exactly was I lured here? I'll start with that first, then you can tell me the offer.", he said maintaining eye contact with the boy in front of him. He remained sitting throughout this whole time, not worried about the fact that he was surrounded.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 11:45|| |
Hiro gave a soft chuckle. It looked like the Ghubier boy was not perturbed by the situation. Good - because Hiro had no intention of turning this into a fight. He was here to make subordinates and allies, not enemies and besides, he had no interest in fights that did not challenge him. He clicked his fingers again, this time not for any particular purpose other than the fact he liked the sound of his middle finger slapping into the flesh of his palm.
"It's said that a Magician doesn't reveal his tricks, but if you want to know how I lured you, I guess I could enlighten you a little," said Hiro as he pushed his chair underneath the table and brushed some dust off his shirt, "To be quite frank, I did not intend to lure you specifically. Although I am highly intelligent, there are some things that are beyond me. This situation was set up for Genin of a particular type. The sort that I wanted. The curious, challenge-seeking sort that would recognise my strength without a single drop of blood having to be shed. My bodyguard - Jin - was henged as one of the old men, so as you can see the trap would have worked on anyone.
"Still...I had a feeling it would be you. Although you may not know it, you may have been...how should I say it, a little trusting. There are little birds everywhere you know...especially of the female sort. I have my contacts and allies across the Genin population and I know that you have been interacting lately...perhaps at a certain...drink stand.
Well, it was not like he had an intelligence network or anything...he was only a Genin and in that sense, he was exaggerating - however it was also true, that he had fellow Genin friends - friends who didn't need any prompting to give him information. That was how gossip worked after all. But heh, the trap was not really a trap at all in the sense of putting someone in danger. Rather, it was a psychological trap of sorts, though something like that was a concept a little difficult to explain to his fellow Genin.
Name: Natural Born Leader
Description: There are some who become leaders through their authoritative manner. Others are charismatic. Then there are those who simply have a magnetic aura about themselves that draw others to them. Hiro is the latter, drawing to him, both friends and enemies alike. (No effect in battle, RP-related purposes only)
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 11:58|| |
Jin continued to stand there, looking somewhat like a large scarecrow with how he let his arms simply dangle at his sides as though he had lost the ability to manipulate the limbs. He'd listen as Hiro spoke, his mind still focused on Kira and his surroundings. As soon as Hiro's explanation ended Jin would speak up from behind Kira.
"You have abilities that would be a valuable asset to us. Joining us would not only benefit us but would also be to your benefit as well."
Jin would continue to stand there, despite the fact that it didn't seem like there would be any sort of fight. He wasn't about to lower his guard as any situation that posed a potential hazard to Hiro was something that Jin took very seriously.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Thu 29 Mar - 12:10|| |
Kira smiled as the boy explained his whole plan. It was quite genius, and he wondered who had saw him at a drink stand. It was true, he had been there. The qualities that Hiro described seemed to match the personality of Kira. He was indeed curious and a challenger, however he knew when challenges would not be needed. He smiled at the boy and looked down. He truly was amazed, however he was not going to show any signs that indicated him being so.
Soon enough he could hear the boy behind him say that he had things they would find useful. He wondered if they were talking about his sand. After all, there were only a few who had his ability. All this talk had suddenly made him more curious about what the offer was, but it was quite obvious now. They would be asking him to join them. However, he wasn't sure what they were planning to do as a group.
"So what exactly do you need me for?", he said now looking at Hiro.
|Subject: Re: Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite] Fri 30 Mar - 11:07|| |
"Kira Ghubier," said Hiro softly, pronouncing each word clearly and succinctly, "I am setting up an internal group within Kirigakure. It's not a team, so do not worry if you are already committed. Instead, it shall function more like an organisation - or perhaps a school of a particular style or way of thought. Each person shall retain his individualism or autonomy, but we shall pool our strength and skill to support an ideology."
He paused for a second to let his words sink in before continuing:
"My ideology is nothing more than this: Whatever style, whatever speciality, whatever skills you have, I shall take it in in order that we may all become stronger. In other words, we are opposed to the prideful who value their style above all others. Where they see the purity of their sword or their skills, I only see limitation. We transcend such limitations through incorporation, taking in only skills that strengthen us and doing away with so-called tradition. This is my way. The Wasabi-ryu.
What I value is strength and honour. These shall be the two key precepts. In this world, only the strong survive and only the honourable can be respected for it. Some may think this is unfair, that change is necessary. But change is not possible without power. Power is not possible without understanding the system. That is my personal goal. To get to the top of the summit and then to change things when I am at the top.
It would be no lie to say that Wasabi-ryu is part of those ambitions and that I need the support there. But each individual may find their own individual goal within our group. Whether they merely seek to get stronger and stronger, or whether they wish to make the world a better place, I shall accommodate all these different sorts of people, so long as they follow my way.
Wasabi-ryu currently has no concrete objectives, but it is simple what we must do. Secure the current strength of our fledgling organisation by making it better known. Recruit the strong and finally defeat those who would stain Kirigakure's reputation or who wish to oppose Wasabi-ryu."
Shogi Courtyard [PM for invite]