Legend of the Five Rings: Suikoden
Onto Boulder Village
- At Otosan Uchi, they determined that Boulder Village was located deep in Scorpion lands, which left them with one of two options. The first was to travel through the Spine of the World Mountains along a very dangerous pass that was only available in the warm months. Kuni Joben was familiar with it, and it led through Lion lands. The second would be to ride through the long route of the Scorpion Lands, passing every check point. Since the Magistrates had terrible trouble with Bayushi Sugai in the past, they decide to risk the mountain pass.
- The Magistrates came across a series of obstacles. The first was fording the Drowned Merchant River, where Bayushi Yoshimaru would nearly drown, losing his horse for the remainder of the trip. Inu lost his horse, but was able to recover.
- The second obstacle was a village that seemed to be taken over by bandits. They used the peasants as a front for their operations, and raided the villages on the outskirts of Lion Lands that offered very little resistance, even from the most militant clan in the Empire.
- The third obstacle was a terrible oni that spewed molten lava from it’s mouth. The creature resembled a centipede, and caused a bit of grief for Inu in his heavy armor, by melting the armor and searing his skin.
- As the group climbed further into the mountains, the weather proved a major factor for everyone but the injured Inu, who was able to resist the cold and snow as if it was not present. On the way back down the other side of the pass, they passed a woman’s figure in the blizzard. The heroes chose discretion over curiosity and opted out of investigating it further.
- At the bottom of the pass ahead, lay what was Boulder Village. A massive stronghold was built into the side of the mountain. It was strange architecture that more resembled that of a Unicorn palace than what the Scorpion Clan are known for.
Investigation in Boulder Village
- The Magistrates entered Boulder Village only to hear more from the mysterious Kuni Joben than he had offered previously. The Witch Hunter noted that long ago, he had faced Akuma Jou and was the only one to survive. His memories had been stolen from him somehow. He knew that he was hunting the beast and felt compelled to find him, but he did not understand while until he set foot in the village. The heroes were sceptical about this, but had little reason not to trust him.
- The heroes agreed that the first point of action was to meet the local Scorpion Clan Magistrate. Since Bayushi Yoshimaru was a Scorpion Clan Emerald Magistrate, he would be best suited for the position. They made plans to sleep the night and left for the Magistrate building, a large building in the center of the village. Entering the building, they noted a series of armed guard. The perceptive Magistrates grew worried at how on edge the guards were. The planned for blood to be spilled, but not before diplomacy was attempted.
- The Magistrate turned out to be Minashi; Otonashi’s brother, who was no Scorpion at all. He did not even present himself to be a member of the Scorpion Clan. Four men followed him as he acknowledged his brother, Yoshimaru, Toru and the others. Yoshimaru grew furious when Minashi claimed that this village was not a Scorpion Clan holding, but Akuma Jou’s. He announced Minashi to be an imposter and weapons were drawn. Collapsable walls came down and the Magistrates found themselves amongst an ambush. Thanks to the quick sword of Toru, Inu, Toshiro, Yoshimaru and the quick bow slinging of Otonashi, all but Minashi were defeated.
- When Minashi started to see things take a turn for the worst, he made an effort to escape, leaping to great supernatural heights into the rafters and up to the snow covered roof above. The pursuit ended when Otonashi took an impressive shot with his bow, piercing his fleeing brother and sending him to the ground below. Though he was quite obviously a Rune Vampire, he did not turn to ash as the others did.
- Kagome left a note in private for Inu that she was pregnant with his son, and had to leave. Toru was hurt that Inu was provided a letter while he was not, and that Inu was unwilling to share it’s contents with him.
The Castle of Akuma Jou
- The Magistrates took the morning to heal, and discussed with Kuni Joben what they had learned. Knowing that Akuma Jou had more influence than what was seen here, they thought it best to brave the castle and defeat Akuma Jou once and for all. Kuni Joben took the lead, warning the others of the potential dangers inside.
- On the main level of the castle, the heroes braved a dark corridor with nothing but a lamp to guide their way. A trap was sprung beneath them as part of the floor gave way. Kuni Joben, Kuni Uindo, Inu and Ryu managed to evade the trap entirely, sensing something suspicious just before it was sprung.
- The remaining members of Kuni Joben’s unit were all impaled on the spikes below. Kuni Kabe, the group Hida trained Bushi took a spike through the throat. The Kuni Shugenja, Kuni Boufuu; caught a spike through the heart. They were not the only ones. Bayushi Yoshimaru (Dave) was unable to get out of the way in time, and was impaled on the spikes below. The spikes did not kill him instantly, and he struggled to find a way to pull himself off the spikes without killing himself. He attempted to use his Rune on the trained Hiruma Scout, Kuni Uindo; but the return of health was not much. Inu and Ryu offered to pull him up, but he would need to be careful in doing so. Unfortunately one of the spikes that pierced him in his midsection did a great deal of damage as he was pulled up, and he died quickly in response.
- Mirumoto Toshiro, Toku and Otonashi fell from the trap, but avoided the spike pit entirely. They found instead, a ramp that left them rolling to the basement below. The three heroes found themselves in a dimly lit room, surrounded by naked beauties that referred to themselves as ‘the Wives’. They attempted to tempt and seduce the heroes into forgetting their purpose for being here to enjoy their company instead. The Magistrates were able to resist their charms just long enough to escape the room, locking the door behind them and fleeing for their lives into the unknown. The three were able to climb a bell tower rope that would lead them to meet up with the others above.
- The Door to the sanctuary of Akuma Jou had a Crescent shaped moon symbol with a hare (that could be shifted above or below) on the left hand side and a fox (that could be shifted above or below the moon) on the right hand side. Otonashi recalled in his readings, a story about a fox who hunted a hare through many reincarnated lifetimes, and finally caught the hair after chasing him over Lord Moon. The heroes positioned the Hare and the Fox both above the moon, turning the Hare key first, and then the Fox key. The door unlatched.
- Inside, Akuma Jou played a strange, large instrument foreign to this land (an organ) that sent an eerie howl echoing through the halls of the castle. This was the source of the eerie music they had heard earlier when entering the village.
- The Magistrates did not bother with diplomacy this time through, raising weapons, spreading out and attempting to best Akuma Jou in combat. What they got was one of the most difficult fights they would face, as Akuma Jou was strong and old. He did not suffer normal wounds unless they were particularly well placed. The bushi fanned out, and attempted to swarm Akuma Jou while Otonashi took shots from a distance. The bushi each landed a hit, though the only hit that seemed to truly harm Akuma Jou was the sting of the Star Dragon Sword.
- Akuma Jou retaliated, killing Kuni Uindo, and critically wounding Kuni Joben who stood guard for Inu. Toshiro, Ryu and Toku all suffered severe wounds as well. Otonashi was out of Akuma Jou’s range, and he had more immediate threats to deal with. The group laid into Akuma Jou again, retaliating with a vicious counter assault. Though Akuma Jou was showing obvious signs of injury, he was far from done. This disheartened the heroes who were not prepared to deal with such a terrible foe. Another round of Akuma Jou’s assault left Inu as the only one truely capable of carrying on the fight. Seeing that he was in a losing situation, Inu improvised, cutting off the right hand of Akuma Jou, separating his soul from the Blue Moon Rune. Akuma Jou immediately turned into a bat, and fled the building. Otonashi attempted to take the bat down, landing two clean arrow shots that did not seem to fully penetrate the bat’s skin. The heroes watched as the bat made for the horizon…
Personal Matters After Boulder Village
- Inu and Toru spent a few weeks searching for Kagome was not found. It was apparent she fled to Scorpion lands. Mirumoto Toshiro left to speak to his Daimyo in Dragon Lands. He took a leave of absence and remained a permanent Yoriki within the Emerald Magistrate.
- Daidoji Toru was recalled to service in Toshi Ranbo wo Shien Shite Reigisaho (Violence Behind Courtliness City) to deal with a few minor but important matters as an Emerald Magistrate. The City has been contested for hundreds of years between Lion and Crane. The Crane controlled it at that particular time. Daidoji Toru received a letter requesting his participation in the Bon Festival at Kyotei Castle; a castle owned by the Tsume family (a vassal family of the crab). He was offered open invitation to as many as six guests. His family would be present, and this would be the opportunity to have Toru read his poetry.
- Matsu Ryu was recalled to Matsu lands in the Lion lands where he learned that he had missed the birth of his first son. His wife (Toru’s cousin) Matsu Kisa (once Daidoji Kisa) died in labour removing the only official bond the two young samurai had. He also was offered enrolment in the Imperial Magistrate Entry Exam to replace the rank of Bayushi Yoshimaru. He accepted this offer and passed the test with flying colors.
- Hida Tsairentosu’n (aka Inu) was recalled to Crab Lands to help plan the wedding. And what a wedding it will be! His betrothed Hida Ranmei is a niece of “The Great Bear” Hida Kisada, the Crab Clan Champion. As a result, Inu would be leaving his family to join the status of his wife’s family. The chosen grounds for the wedding are the Temple of Osano Wo in the Shinomen Mori (forest). The Temple of Osano Wo houses the most militant monks of the Brotherhood of the Shinsei following the path of Osano Wo. The wedding ceremony would be the closing event of the Tournament of Thunder that is taking place at this monastery. The primary event was set as a first-yield open-arms tournament.
- Otonashi has learned of the rune of life and death within him and traveled alongside Kuni Joben in search of Shoukei, the original holder of the Blue Moon Rune. They found Shoukei who ritually removed the Rune of Life and Death from Otonashi, sending it shooting across the horizon in a ray of dark light.
- Bayushi Yoshimaru ‘s funeral was grand in the Bayushi province.
Murder at Kyotei Castle
- The Magistrates arrive as guests to Daidoji Toru who is set to present his poetry within the opening night festivities. Toru read his poetry with great expression and articulation, and it was well received by the crowd. Noteworthy guests included Ikoma Ujiaki, Shiba Katsuda, and Daidoji Uji.
- During the dinner Tsume Retsu, the daimyo of the Tsume vassal family and lord of Kyotei Castle had a heated argument with his son Takashi. The heroes awoke to the sound of significant movement in the castle very early the next morning. Further investigation led them to discover that Tsume Retsu had been murdered.
- The Magistrates are summoned to an audience with Tsume Takashi who wished for them to take over the investigation. Takashi was very frank about his father’s death, forgetting the ideal of ‘face’ and being bluntly honest with the Magistrates that he was not the one who murdered his father. He fears that his own men would all believe him to be the murderer and therefore would not do a proper job with the investigation.
- A servant lady was cleaning up the murder site. Investigating the room, the heroes were able to find a non-Crane coloured obi bead in a corner and a note that a ceiling tile had been disturbed. Speaking to the servant Ojuno who found the body of Retsu. She was very forthcoming with information about the investigation. Ojuno had entered the room that morning to find body laying the way it was. Retsu was a widower and slept alone. Retsu occasionally visited a geisha at the Chrysanthemum House. Ten guards stand outside Retsu’s room at night. Tsume Retsu met in private with Daidoji Uji the previous night.
- The Magistrates thought it best to start interviewing the denizens of Kyotei Castle as well as the visiting nobles. The key denizens interviewed were Taskashi, General Shizuma and the Guards. Takashi invited the heroes for an early morning rabbit hunt. He revealed to the Magistrates that his father fought frequently with him over trivial matters and that he was in his own room the night of the murder. General Shizuma admitted that he wasn’t impressed with Retsu’s plan to attack a nearby Phoenix Clan stronghold and presented that he too was in his own room the night of the murder. The Guards outside the room claimed not to hear or see anything. It was also apparent that one of the guards at the gate knew something extra, but wasn’t revealing the information to the Magistrates.
- Interviews with the Visiting Nobles focussed on Ikoma Ujiaki, Shiba Katsuda and Daidoji Uji. Ujiaki caused a scene when he was asked politely to stay for the investigation. Ujiaki admitted that he hated Retsu for destroying a minor family of the Lion twenty years earlier, but wanted to see Retsu lose his life in battle against the Lion, not to the blade of an assassin. Shiba Katsuda welcomed the Magistrates and admitted he was trying to convince Retsu to move his troops away from the nearby Phoenix border. One of his plans was to marry Takashi to Katsuda’s daughter. Daidoji Uji was quite indifferent to the Magistrates. He admitted that he was communicating the Crane Clan’s unhappiness with Retsu’s moves toward Phoenix lands, since the Crane and Phoenix were allied.
- The heroes were not certain of where to go next, so they decided to look into the local town of Chikuzen. They learned that there was a local gambling parlor which Retsu owed a lot of money. The town gossip was based around Retsu’s death. The hot gossip was that Takashi had a geisha lover, who was also seeing the ronin Itto. Looking into Itto revealed that the town’s people look up to him as their protector.
- With the mention of the geisha for a second time, they decided to look into The Chrysanthemum House which was visited by Retsu. The investigation at the geisha house led the Magistrates to meet the Ochaya of the establishment, and old woman named Akiko. Akiko answered their questions concerning Retsu politely, as well as which geisha he had seen in recent nights. She also proclaimed that all her geisha were busy and accounted for within the Chrysanthemum House last night. When they asked about which geisha Takashi visited, she revealed that Takashi frequently visited the Pine House two doors down, and had never set foot in her establishment.
- At the Pine House, the Magistrates received some resistance from the establishment’s Ochaya (Kumiko), but as they revealed their position as the ranks of Emerald, she was more forthcoming of information. A peasant named Big Yoji stood guard at the door and watched for trouble as the Magistrates spoke with his employer. The employer revealed that Takashi frequented the House’s geisha known as Reika. Takashi had been at a party with an old visitor (to whom she would not reveal) when he saw Reika and fell for her. That was the point he became a frequent customer. The Magistrates asked to speak to Reika who was not found in her room. Kumiko seemed concerned about Reika not being in her room.
- Unable to find Reika, the heroes decide to start looking for the ronin Itto. They find out that he does a lot of odd jobs around town, usually protecting the caravans of local merchant, guarding warehouses, and generally acting as a problem solver. The Magistrates learned that Itto can be found at the Golden Peony Inn, where he spent his off hours. The heroes find Itto who seemed generally elusive about the subject, but it’s obvious they struck a nerve when they brought up Reika. He admitted to a relationship, but acted too busy to provide any further information.
- With it being a very late hour, the Magistrates felt as if they were making progress and made plans to return to the Pine House the next morning. On their way back to the Kyotei Castle, the Magistrates were ambushed by a dozen or so thugs in the street. Amongst the thugs was Itto, who was quite skilled, but not nearly as much as the Heroes. It didn’t take long for the heroes to defeat the thugs. Itto was wounded, but managed to escape through shortcuts and familiarity with the town.
- The Magistrates spent a couple of hours searching for Itto but did not find him. They decided it best to return to Kyotei castle and inquire with Takashi for his part in the murder. Takashi admitted that he was seeing Reika. He professed that he was in love with her. He admitted that he believed her to be the assassin sent to kill his father. He pleads with the Magistrates not to harm her. When Ryu inquired about the location of Itto’s home, Takashi revealed it’s location near the shirne of Osano-Wo.
- The Heroes decided it best to pursue this avenue right away, despite the late night. Arriving at the shrine, they find Itto and Reika. Through a fit of madness, Reika reveals that Itto and herself are the sole remnants of the destroyed house of Damasu of the Lion Clan. She reveals that she was the daimyo’s daughter, and Itto was a yojimbo of the house. Reika revealed their desperate situation in detail. Itto explained that he would rather die here by the Magistrate’s blades, then be turned in, while Reika begged that the Magistrates turn a blind eye allowing them time to flee.
- The Magistrates talked the situation over, but each of them was able to sympathize with the two in their given situation. In the end, Toru, Ryu, Inu, Toku and Toshiro turned to return to the castle, leaving Reika and Itto to escape.
Inu’s Wedding and the Tournament of Thunder
- The Heroes arrived at the Temple of Osano Wo in the Shinomen Mori in Crab Lands. The Crab faces of note were Crab Clan Champion, Hida Kisada and his children, the famed and feared Hida Yakamo, the prized Hida O-ushi and the sickly Hida Sukune. Standing near her uncle Kisada, Inu’s betrothed Hida Orouhime stood vigilant as any Hida bushi with her daisho at her side. The bushi Hida Kabe was also invited as a guest of Inu’s family. Hida Fujizaka traveled here along with the heroes
- Inu’s guests included Daidoji Toru, Matsu Ryu, Otonashi, Toku, Hida Fujizaka, Doji Kuwanan, and Balun. Togashi Tofune, formerly Mirumoto Toshiro arrived as a guest of Inu’s and a participant in the tournament of Thunder. Daidoji Yashu arrived presenting himself with orders to Daidoji Toru as his stand in Yojimbo. He was dressed as one of the legendary Ise Zume (Tattooed Monks) of the Dragon Clan, but still carried his daisho at his side.
- Other notable names that were present on the first day consisted of the remaining participants of the Tournament of Thunder. This included the various monks of the Temple of Osano-Wo including Shimisen, Arashi, Kibamaru, Orochi and the famed Tamaishi (Little Pebble). Other invited participants included Seppun Naka, Matsu Itoro, Mirumoto Chosei, Shiba Sousui, Shiba Goei, Shinjo Guan-hi, Ichiro Gekijou, and Akodo Kansai. There was also mention that the Scorpion participants had not yet arrived.
- The opening ceremony started with an announcement from Shimisen, the directing monk of Osan-Wo on an introduction to the Tournament of Thunder. He laid out the events and rules of the events. There was no drinking or debauchery inside the holy shrine or the nearby property. All participants in the Tournament of Thunder had to fast from this evening forward until the tournament was over. Failure to do so would result in disqualification. Bayushi Sugai arrived with an entourage of Scorpion including the tournament participant, Shosuro Arifureta. The heroes were not happy about his presence and worried for what chaos he brought with him.
- On the next morning, the heroes woke to the sound of the gong signalling that it was dawn. The announcement that Open Arms Tournament would start shortly. The first day of the tournament went well, as Inu, Toru, Tofune and Ryu all did well. Otonashi did not do as well as the others did, as he was kept to close confines with his bow by the opponents he faced. By dusk, round two of the Open Arms Tournament came to a close.
- A few key events occurred the second day, including the elimination of Otonashi and Togashi Tofune. Daidoji Yashu defeated and eliminated Bayushi Sugai from the competition with one precise strike that would sever Sugai’s left hand. Sugai was a left handed bushi, and this mark was quite celebrated by the Magistrates. There was no easier way for Daidoji Yashu to find acceptance amongst the heroes than leaving Sugai without his sword arm. Inu was matched against his betrothed. The match was close and well praised by the crowd until Inu swung his practice Tetsubo at his opponent’s chest, missing the mark and connecting with her head instead. His betrothed died instantly on the tournament grounds. Kisada and his family did not look pleased by this, and great gossip followed the tragic event.
- The following contestants would go on to participate in the championship round starting early the next morning: Daidoji Toru, Matsu Ryu, Doji Kuwanan, Hida O-Ushi and Tamaishi (Little Pebble). The third round was well paced and well received. Hida O-Ushi defeated Daidoji Toru to win the Open Arm’s tournament.
- Hida Fujizaka invited anyone who would not be participating in the Tournament of Osan-Wo to join him in the nearby village. Anyone who participated in the Open Arms Tournament was invited to participate in the Tournament of Osano-Wo. This tournament was heavily favoured towards the Monks due to the unarmed nature of the tournament. Inu, Ryu and Tofune all participated in the tournament, but Ryu was the only one to do well. Hida O-Ushi lost to Tamaishi (Little Pebble) in the finals. Her victory in the Open Arm’s Tournament and placement in the Tournament of Osano-Wo was enough to be declared the victor of the Tournament of Thunder.
- The ending ceremonies of the tournament were awkward as this was the point where Inu was due to marry his now dead fiancé. Sugai made his token entrance with his entourage. They revealed a ‘gift’ for Inu…and as they presented the gift, the woman behind Sugai was revealed to be Kagome. Sugai announced Kagome as Bayushi Kagome, his sister, and the mother to Inu’s illegitimate heir. Inu accepted this truth publically which brought shame to him and his family on top of the death of his betrothed. The moment was heated, but Kisada’s presence kept the Magistrates weary of drawing steel. Kisada insisted that the gift be accepted by Inu. Inu requested in turn that Kisada oblige his request of marrying Kagome, making the kid and wife legitimate. Kisada agreed and a replacement ceremony was held in quiet in the couple of weeks that followed.
- Matsu Ryu, Daidoji Toru, Otonashi, Inu and Togashi Tofune were all invited to Winter Court in Matsu Ryu’s uncle’s home. On their way to the winter court, the heroes received a new set of orders to investigate the disappearance of a Kakita bushi named Kakita Hachi who was due to report into his lord and had not done so.
- The Magistrates had dinner in Suboten Castle. Ryu’s uncle, Matsu Ino was present, along with his karo Ikoma Katsu and Ino’s grandfather Matsu Kuno. Matsu Ryu’s sister, Matsu Ishimara; was the guest of honor at this dinner. Ishimara won the Topaz Championship the year after Toru defeated Ryu.
- Matsu Kuno told a story about his dead grandson, Chonoku. Chonoku charged into battle against the Cranes who were threatening to take Matsu land, but the wily Cranes must have had spies, for they were ready for him. Kuno told the story well, and cried when he told the part of Chonoku’s death. As the night wound down, Inno recommended that the Magistrates spend the night in town with the headman Sakkuan. The Magistrates inquired about the murder and though the Lion host did not seem pleased about the change in mood from the ominous news, he did seem to agree that it was rather peculiar. Ino ~Dead: Matsu Ino~informed the Magistrates that it was two ambassadors that disappeared, not one. The other ambassador was a Scorpion shugenja and samurai-ko by the name of Shosuro Kujiko. Toru and Otonashi are able to assess that Ino wanted the matter dealt with quickly, so that the shame did not spill onto his household. The magistrates asked to see the ambassador’s old rooms, and Ino facilitated that request. Ikoma Katsu is asked to show the Magistrates to the rooms.
- The Magistrates decided to investigate Shosuro Kujiko’s room first. The magistrates uncovered love letters to Kujiko. The letters were written with a dark brown, almost black ink. A sealed envelope under her pillow was uncovered. Matsu Ryu opened it to reveal that it seemed to be a ‘good-bye’ letter written in what appeared to be Kujiko’s handwriting. Investigating a drawer nearby they uncovered a bottle with a peculiar liquid inside. As per their past dealings with the Scorpion, the Magistrates speculated the liquid was poison.
- The heroes proceeded on quickly to look at Kakita Hachi’s room. They noted that Hachi’s room was rather Spartan. There was a bloodstain on the windowsill. There was also a bottle of ink on Hachi’s desk that seemed to match the letter under Kujiko’s pillow. They also noted that the armor stand and sword rack were both empty. There was a peculiar burn mark under his bed mat.
- When the Magistrates finished with both rooms for the night, Ikoma Katsu took them into town to meet with the headmen of the Village, Sakkuan, who offered the heroes great hospitality. Sakkuan urged the heroes to look into a ghost that has the village people spooked. The ghost was covered in blood and mumbled “You’ve killed me.” over and over again as she wandered to the south. Sakkuan was asked by Toru if he knew of the Crane or the Scorpion. Sakkuan spoke that the Crane was a “generous and kind man”, and that he “Even wrote me a poem once!” The poem he proudly produced on his wall that stated “Sakkuan at night Carrying rice balls and win Feeds forbidden art.” By the time dinner was over, it was late so the Magistrates decided to sleep and start again in the morning.
- In the morning, the magistrates made their way to the Shrine to Benten. Two eta known as Norii and Tujii are at the shrine, and they are drunk. They seem frightened as the Magistrates approach. As the heroes begin interrogating the two eta, the gravediggers confess that they were hired to bury a body, which sat up. They said that this body was the ghost everyone was talking about, and they fled . The etas give directions to the cave at which they were burying the body.
- On the way to the caves, the Magistrates encounter three scorpion. The front bushi presents himself as Bayushi Yojiro. Seeing more scorpion, the heroes instantly get their backs up, and blades are almost drawn at this point before the lead Scorpion, without a mask, settles the matter slightly. He spoke that he is only interested in uncovering what happened with his missing Scorpion Ambassador. He then moves on with his investigation, stepping out of the Magistrate’s way and allowing them to proceed as well.
- There was a lot of physical evidence at the cave that the Magistrates uncovered. The grave that Norii and Tujii were digging was easy to find, as was their shovel. The shovel had blood and hair on it, something the eta neglected to mention. There was a piece of a kimono found here. There was also a silk package she was carrying, which had a damning strategy map from the battle at which Ino’s brother was killed. The magistrates uncovered a hidden message on the map by holding it in the sun that read: “Ino is the creature we suspected.”
- Though it seemed as if the gravediggers were in part responsible for Kujiko’s murder, there seemed to be something missing at this point. They could have easily put the blame of both missing samurai on the eta, but they felt they needed to uncover more information. They didn’t know how to do so without a shugenja. They decided on a plan to summon a shugenja from a nearby winter court and bring them to speak with the kami in the cave. Toru suggested his sister, Otomo Beiru; who is attending winter court in Swift Sword Castle in Lion Lands. Until Beiru arrived, the magistrates relaxed and enjoyed the festivities of winter court. Upon Beiru’s arrival, they took her to the cave to speak with the kami. Beiru found nothing of note in the caves, but uncovered great emotion in Hachi’s room from the fire kami. She uncovered the burn mark on the floor, and seemed to indicate that it was linked to the scorpion woman who was a known shugenja. As the plot thickened, the magistrates asked Beiru to check the kami at the Shrine of Benten as well as they were still without knowledge of what happened to Hachi. They found an answer from the kami of water, with mention of something at the bottom of the lake. Inu immediately took off his armor and went down after it, finding the body of Kujiko preserved by the cold of the winter lake. Her body was tied down in Crane armor to force her to sink quickly to the bottom.
- With this knowledge, they began to piece the plot together. The Crane was behind the Scorpion’s murder, and they knew it likely had to do with the map and her message. That meant the Crane was likely still alive, so they began to consider places in town they hadn’t been. Realizing there was a monastery nearby, they decided to head there to investigate. At the monastery the Magistrates uncover that a new monk was recently accepted, who goes by the name Kuji. The heroes pressed that they’d like to meet him, but the head monk Dogan, refused their entry to see him. Togashi Tofune used his enlightened speak to reason with Dogan who was much more reasonable at that point. Toru added notes of honor, while Ryu threatened to draw steel. In the end, they met with Kuji who was very badly burned. It was in fact Hachi, and he proceeded to tell the whole story as he was likely in his last few days of life. The story from his perspective, still lacked reasoning as to why he did it, but Toru was able to piece together that it was an order from his lord.
- Learning of the coup set up by Ino and Hachi’s lord, Kakita Hojin; Ryu insisted on taking Kuji with them to confront Matsu Ino in his home. Kuji testified about his part in killing his lover Kujiko, and implicates Ino in his brother Chonoku’s death. Ino was of high enough rank to ignore the accusation. Later that night, the heroes were approached by a cloaked figure wearing a mask. They determined that it was likely Bayushi Yojiro from their previous encounter. Yojiro introduced himself as ‘a friend’ and told them not to worry about Ino. “Everything is taken care of.”
Events Elsewhere in Rokugan
- Akodo Toturi becomes Lion Clan Champion.
- Kitsuki Kaagi disappears, taken by the Lying Darkness.
- Toshi Ranbo wo Shien Shite Reigisaho is seized by a Crane general.
- The Lion Clan fails in its attempt to retake Toshi Ranbo.
- Asako Oyo escapes from the care of the Asako Henshin.
- Crane guests are slaughtered by the Lion while visiting Yaruki Jukko monastery near Kenson Gakka.
- Chizaro no Oni is summoned for first time.
- Asahina Yajinden wipes out Kami no Okasan.
- The Four Masks of Iuchiban are gathered by Asahina Yajinden.
- Asahina Yajinden disappears. Iuchi Shahai becomes the leader of the Bloodspeakers.
- Kyuden Isawa hosts Imperial Winter Court.
- Akodo Toturi and Ikoma Shotai thwart an assassin attempt on Hantei XXXVIII.
- Soshi Seiryoku is kidnapped and her name used to bind Seiryoku no Oni
- Shosuro Yudoka
- Akodo Arasou
- Akodo Ikare
- Daidoji Anitano
- Doji Usiina
- Isawa Kinto
- Isawa Orimono
- Isawa Shinriso
- Kuni Visten
- Yasuki Shozu
- Yasuki Togai