Chase a Bandit
"I am disappointed." In the 3rd year of Eiroku era (1560), one of the Grand Iga Lord Tanba Momochi sat in dark surroundings. His ears picked up a soft hiss; the doors behind him slid ajar, and the daylight could not reach fully into his quarters. He could feel crisp air that herald the month of plums, the coldest days heading towards their end.
As he faced a hanged scroll upon a wall, Momochi's response was low and disgruntled.
"I wait, and this is what the Tsuge brings," he said.
"We come like dogs, and you are discouraged Lord Momochi?"
Momochi was still as stone, legs in lotus. He did not turn to look at the two young men behind him. He had an impression that he was in his usual mind exercise, or if the next words sent to him were without skill, the result would end up disastrous. The Grand Iga's words and tone were bitter. He meditated over what went wrong, why, and what he should do. Bearing discontent heavily, he could not help but reflect on the trials of his son. One of them. Swaying from a master's example was thanks to the curse brought by the current war era. An era that was free and where weapons decided.
A mass amount of pride was needed to live through such days. As such, Momochi believed, that the disgrace he felt was due to a desire of "feeling free".
The master was shamed; he fed someone with his hand, and was bitten.
"Seasons change," Lord Tanba Momochi finally replied. "The decree of Iga has it that we remove the drifting ones." Both Iga and Koga shared a rule: The Punishment of Ronin (浪忍の処罰) was reinforcement against bad predictions, and compulsive and repulsive impurities. Against those who were humiliated honor and courage. It was a way of helping another reach true freedom – through death. No more or less different than the samurai's seppuku ritual. Momochi knew he had to carry on, and that he had to put a halt to someone he knew before fate took a turn for the worse.
"However. It is a waste to send you brothers." However, Momochi wasn't pleased with his company.
"Are you saying that we should be afraid?"
As expected, he heard hubris. The Shimotsuge of the Tsuge clan were young twins Kizaru and Kozaru. Many Iga, especially the Grand Lords, looked up to them highly for their skill in the wilderness; in addition to that, Mochizuki found them suicidal.
"I say that you know nothing. Are you willing to face a possessor of the Tenmon?" he asked.
One of the twins gave out a light laugh. "Your 'son' thinks little. Wandering across Japan with no lead, he will easily become prey to our traps."
Momochi grunted. "Then you better leave now," he said. "The more foolishness purged, the better." He heard the clicking of the tongue and the doors behind him snap closed tightly. The brisk feet of the Shimotsuge moved further and further.
"Three should do" He said. He scrutinized the wall once more. Upon the scroll was a poem, signed by one called Sogi Iio:
Yo ni furu mo (世にふるも)
sara ni shigure no (更に時雨の)
yadori kana (やどり哉 )
The world passes,
take shelter from
The slow, light shower