Legend of the Five Rings: Suikoden
Journey to Shiro Usagi
- Early this year, the heroes split into two parties to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. This follows the occurences of Otonashi, Renketsu Katashi and Katsuo
- A diplomatic entourage traveled from the Broken Tower to Shiro Usagi to strengthen relations between the Broken Lands, the Three man alliance and the Hare clan. Otonashi was tasked with the role of Ambassador of the Three Man Alliance. Ebi Ieyasu acted as Ambassador of the Tiger Clan. A samurai known as Jubei, formally named Hideyori, ronin and diplomat of the Oda family served as ambassador of the ronin Oda family. The Uesugi family from Swan village also sent a representative along with this entourage. A Uesugi diplomat by the name of Ken’ichi was also present on behalf of Swan village. He was not invited so much as forced his way into the envoy. Renketsu Katashi and Katsuo also joined the envoy as protectors of the diplomatic envoy.
- The diplomatic envoy reluctantly opts to skirt the border of the Scorpion Lands on their travel North West to Shiro Usagi. A few days in, they encounter a Scorpion Magistrate by the name of Shosuro Rei. She wore a mesh metal mask in the shape of a spider web stretching diagonally across the left side of her face. A spider shape is cut out of the mask over her left eye. She was weary of the envoy at first, which resulted in her following the envoy. She was clearly tired, given the puffy bags under her eyes. The envoy confronted the magistrate a day later, where she learned that Otonashi was an Emerald Magistrate and clearly recognized his name and seemed to show great respect. Even so, she had a lot of questions for them about where they were going and why. After the envoy had enough of the friendly interrogation, they parted ways and continued toward Shiro Usagi.
- Just a few miles out of Hare Lands, the envoy encountered a skirmish between a lone young Hare Clansman and an Ogre. The young Usagi was clearly wounded, as was the Ogre. The distraction provided the Usagi an opportunity to finish off his enemy. He reached down with his sword arm to grab the scabbard from the Ogre’s saya, as his other arm dangled from the wound. He studied the sword with amazement. It was the scabbard of the long missing ancestral sword of his family. He asked the envoy to help him drag the Ogre back to Usagi Castle, and then passed out mid thought.
- The Envoy continued on with the young and unconscious Usagi bushi until reaching the castle, where they learned that this was the heir of the Usagi family. His name was Usagi Ozaki, and his father Usagi Oda appeared thrilled with the good deed the envoy had showed him. It seemed the diplomatic envoy was starting on good terms. They also met with Usagi Tomoe, Ozaki‘s caring sister, and shugenja of the Hare Clan. The envoy is greeted with the luxury of personal beds and the comfort of soaking in the bath. Conversation would continue at Dinner. During this downtime, the envoy also met two retainers of the Usagi Family. The first was Oda’s right hand man named Oda Takeshi. They also met Seiki, a hairy and unkempt bushi who appeared disgruntled about a recent demotion to the castle guard. Suki was the chambermaid who cleaned the castle and helped with meals. She was very shy, but sweet to speak to.
- Dinner started out on a good note, but quickly changed for the worse when discussion of minor clan relations were involved. Specifically, the Usagi Daimyo seemed reluctant to speak of negotiations with the Three Man Alliance, a group that held their rival Fox Clan in high reguard. It was clear that Oda also felt the pressure of being isolated from the allied minor clans while on the western side of the Scorpion Lands. This topic changed when Ozaki presented his father with the scabbard found on the ogre. Usagi Oda told the tale of the missing sword: 500 years ago, was worn by Usagi Gohei with only 50 samurai holding this castle. The enemy was the dreaded black sorcerer Iuchiban and the Blood Speakers. His wife Usagi Furiko returned with Lion reinforcements, and she took the sword from her husband’s corpse and struck down Iuchiban with it. 200 years ago, there was an amorous entanglement between Usagi Nidei and a Crab clan samurai-ko. Nidei begged his mother for permission to pursue her, but was refused, so he fled the castle. With him went the sword, lost without a clue…until now. Usagi Tomoe communed with the Kami of earth to determine the sword’s location, holding the saya in her hand. The kami told her Hiruma Castle, on the wrong side of the Carpenter Wall that separated the Empire from the dreaded Shadowlands. Ozaki and Usagi Oda argued about sending a retrieval party, and Ozaki left the argument while exclaiming he would retrieve the sword with or without his father’s resources. A portion of the diplomatic envoy remained behind as the others agreed it was best served to aid Ozaki in Hiruma Castle.
Into the Shadow
- The Envoy caught up with Usagi Ozaki and set out for Crab Lands. In their travels, they would face poor weather that would draw them deep into the Shinomen Mori, passing a corrupted marsh within the forest, and facing shadowlands oni that had found their way out. Dealing swiftly with this threat, the retrieval party. They chose to attempt to cross over the wall at Razor of the Dawn Castle in Crab Lands, but were faced with a Yasuki samurai-ko diplomat by the name of Yasuki Chiharu. Chiharu wanted favors to allow the samurai across, and the retrieval party was nearly at their wits end on how to pass. Nevertheless, the old man whom which she spoke with identified himself to the others as Hiruma Yoshi, Daimyo of his family. He spoke with Chiharu alone and the two worked out an approval for the retrieval party. The retrieval party were gifted one jade necklace each, and sent forward to the wall with a letter of acceptance.
- Across the wall, the retrieval party would spend their time swiftly and silently moving across the lands, facing a long river ride as well as skirmishing with goblin spies, keeping one alive long enough to speak of what they were looking for. The goblin explained they were looking for what the retrieval party understood to be a ronin woman. Continuing on, the retrieval party came across a dangerous encounter with a makeshift log crossing in combination with a shadowlands creature that threatened to burrow into the skin of the retrieval party. Overcoming this, they would take note of the rat creatures following them. The Nezumi or Ratlings appeared to have made home in a dwelling at the bottom of a cavern beneath the log crossing. The retrieval party was caught in an ogre ambush moments after, and the Nezumi came to their aid. The retrieval party made great attempts to make peace and communicate with the Nezumi, even after earlier confusion nearly led to hostilities. The Nezumi were members of the Silent-Silent Tear tribe, descendants of the Black Moonset tribe that remained after the Maw destroyed their lands, and the rest of the tribe moved on. They were led by Ti-kik’cha, whom was clearly the most fit of the bunch. He was of all gray hair. The one with the stick with chew marks was known as Chu’cha, the Rememberer of the tribe. He was Gray with a brown belly. Next was Bu’rah’kik’cha, the young bushi whom had Gray fur with brown patches and a black patch around the right eye. Chet’tep’bu the scrounger was covered in black fur, with gray patches around his eyes and mouth. Rik’tik’tichek was one of two young scroungers of the Silent-Silent Tribe with a good mixture of gray and brown, with his left eye missing. Finally, there was Rop’cha’chet’tichek, the youngest of the lot of them with a mix of gray and brown on his body, with a brown patch of fur that rolled up his right arm in a swirling pattern.
- As the retrieval party neared Shiro Hiruma, they would encounter a band of ronin led by a samurai-ko with a black hand print over her mouth. Her name was Masago, which quickly reminded Otonashi that this was a woman with a bounty on her head, though he couldn’t recall the detail around it. The retrieval party now had unsavory ronin allies and a nezumi pack to aid them in infiltrating the castle. They devised a plan in great detail to approach the castle from different angles, only fighting when it was absolutely required. The retrieval party would face a number of complications including skirmishes, gap obstacles from the castle that was crumbling around them, and a maze of halls that would leave them confused as to where to go. Midway through this encounter, the retrieval party nearly fell apart as Otonashi and Katsuo went into heated debate over the opportunity to seek enough goblin heads for a Twenty Goblin Winter, or to stick to the task at hand. The party came to again when they realized Ozaki had gone on ahead while they debated, so they pursued him. The Retrieval Party defeated the Exalted Ugu, the goblin shaman at the lead of the castle and gained access to the sword. On the way out, the ronin Masago betrayed the retrieval party, which left the party scrambling to exit while under heavy pursuit. Rik’tik’tichek was shot by a bow and fell to his death on the exit. Masago nearly got away with the Ancestral Sword of the Hare before she was hunted down and executed for her betrayal. With the sword retrieved, the retrieval party returned across the wall and started back to Usagi Castle.
The Fall of the Hare
- Often times, mistakes come back to haunt the careless. Usagi Ozaki accompanied his sister Usagi Tomoe to Otosan Uchi in 1122, when their father sent Tomoe to the capital to find a suitable husband. While they were there their retainer Seiki was seen entering the den of vice known as the House of the Winter Moon. Ozaki went there in disguise to retrieve Seiki, who was needed to accompany Tomoe. Ozaki found Seiki, but then also noticed his old friend Matsu Akira apparently being blackmailed by a figure in dark garments.
- Ozaki followed the figure who he later recognized as Soshi Yukio, a known enemy of Matsu Akira. Ozaki got his sister Tomoe to follow Soshi Yukio while he followed Matsu Akira, attempting to help his friend without him knowing. Soshi Yukio and Matsu Akira met again, but this time Akira paid Yukio large bag of koku and gave her “new orders”. Ozaki and Tomoe followed Soshi Yukio, but she spotted the hare siblings. Yukio tried to flee but was killed in the chase. Ozaki recovered a cryptic scroll, and the siblings returned home with no news of marriage. Tomoe started trying to decifer it with no luck.
- After the successful return of the heroes from Shadowlands with the Ancestral Sword of the Hare, the Scorpion sent an army to attack Shiro Usagi, led by an enemy of the heroes, Bayushi Tomaru. The Scorpion army outnumbered the Hare defenders significantly, and the seige lasted six days before the castle was overrun. The castle was destroyed and the Champion, Usagi Oda, was killed. The daughter of Usagi Oda, Usagi Tomoe was captured by Bayushi Tomaru, but his son, Ozaki, escaped with the Heroes and Kenno, the Ancestral Sword of the Hare. On the three hundred and seventy third anniversary of their clan’s founding, in the Month of the Hare, the Emperor disbanded the Hare Clan upon hearing sworn testimony from four sources of the clan practicing maho: Kitsune Hamato, Daidoji Unoko, Toritaka Bonugi, and Yasuki Taka testified that the Usagi were Maho-tsukai. The youngest son of Usagi Oda was supposedly killed during the siege, but he had been passed to a farmer who adopted him upon the name of Otu.
- In the final days of the siege Tomoe was able to finally decipher the scroll. It was apparently an order to kill a magistrate in Forest Shadow City, making it look like suicide, who was interfering with an agent’s work there. It also mentioned a “master”.
A Glimpse into Darkness
- Early this year, the heroes split into two parties to accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. This follows the occurrence of Toru and Matsu Ryu
- Toru and Matsu Ryu stayed behind in order to administrate and plan the future of the Broken Lands. As Chief Emerald Magistrate and Assistant Chief Emerald Magistrate, the two were responsible for the entirety of the Broken Lands, not just Ebi Mura and the Broken Tower. Together, they met with the Suzume daimyo of the Sparrow Clan as well as the Oda, Uesugi, and Takeda ronin families of the Broken Lands. Toru acted Ebi Hoshen represented the interests of the Tiger Clan in the discussions. It was clear that the Uesugi and Takeda family’s hostility was at an all time high, but through a clever combination of diplomacy and warnings, no war broke out this year in the Broken Lands.
- Immediately after the diplomatic sessions, Toru received a letter from Akodo Toturi, the Akodo Family Daimyo, and Lion Clan Champion. The letter spoke of a proposal to meet in person to discuss the potential of marrying Matsu Ryu into the Renketsu family. Toru and Ryu packed quickly, taking only a personal guard escort with them as they left for Castle of the Swift Sword Dojo in Lion lands. The negotiations went well, and it seemed as if it was in Ryu’s future to become a member of the Renketsu family.
- At the end of the negotiations, Toturi was interrupted by a messanger of the Dragon Clan with an urgent letter. He accepted, asking Toru and Ryu to finish their tea as he read over the letter. After the tea, Toturi invited them on a journey with him to the mountains of the Dragon Clan. The letter was a call for the three to travel to meet Togashi Yokuni. After traveling through a mountain path that was dangerous and daunting, the three found themselves at a quaint teahouse where they met Togashi Yokuni. It was here that Yokuni explained his purpose. He wished to speak with Toturi in private, and intended to show Toru and Ryu a glimpse into a potential future. It was unclear as to what he was referring, but the three trusted the wise Dragon enough to finish their tea. It is unclear if they passed out or simply fell into a trance, but this was the last point of the meeting they remembered.
- Toru and Ryu began their journey in a land of One Thousand Years of Darkness, as older versions of themselves. Their memories combined with the memories of their counterparts, and they learned that Fu Leng had returned to Rokugan, collapsing the old empire and nearly conquering the remainder of the resistance. The resistance was led by Toturi, who used Ryu “The True Lion” and Toru “The Marked Tiger” as generals of the resistance. Here, Toru and Ryu fought alongside a living Inu, a dangerous as ever Otonashi, and a seasoned version of Katashi. The army of the resistance overan their Shadowlands enemy, thwarting a significant force and seiging the former Ebi Mura. In this battle, Ryu ‘The True Lion’ slew his corrupted sister, a painful memory that would remain with Ryu after his return. Despite the minor victory, an overwhelming sense of dread and despair was felt. It was clear that this was a very insignificant victory in the grand scheme of danger that lay ahead. Toru and Ryu returned from the glimpse with faint memories of the dread, but details were harder to come by. Even so, they remembered that Toturi was a true leader, a feeling that would later result in the downfall of all they had worked for up to that point.
Months Before The Fall
- In a distant land, in an age long forgotten, the darkest treachery is born…
For a thousand years, the Scorpion Clan has served the Emperor, jealously guarding the secrets of the Empire’s most important families. But now, Shoju, Scorpion Daimyo, has discovered a secret too dire to hide, too powerful to ignore. Fate forces his hand; now is the time of treason. He must lead his clan against the Emperor himself, for if he does not, the Emperor will bring doom upon the land, and a thousand years of darkness…
- Daidoji Aiba gladly accepted the gracious offer of the Crane to depart with her brother Toru for the Tiger Clan. She is now Renketsu Aiba.
- Matsu Ryu and Renketsu Aiba were wed just a month ago, allowing Ryu to join the Renketsu family of the Tiger.
- The pirates plaguing the waters of the Crane Clan, the Tiger Clan and the Mantis Clan were defeated by a joint effort of the Three Man Alliance, the Mantis Clan and the Emerald Magistrates. The effort was led by the Emerald Magistrate Minoru and Emerald Yoriki Usagi Kai. The mastermind behind the raids was apprehended. The mastermind was Matsu Shindoku, and the announcement of this greatly increased tension between the Lion clan and the Crane clan.
- There was another exchange at the border of Lion lands south of Shiro Akodo. It is rumored that another castle changed lordship in the Crane clan’s favor. This has brought tension between the Akodo family who serve their champion without question, and the Matsu family who have started making accusations openly about Toturi being unfit to lead the clan.
- Toru, Clan Champion of the Tiger Clan, has been invited to the Imperial Court held within the Imperial Palace, inside the Forbidden City located in the heart of Otosan Uchi. It is presumed that Toru’s most trusted retainers, yojimbo’s and magistrates would also be welcomed.
- Renketsu Ryu received a similar invitation, on behalf of Akodo Toturi. Though it was obvious to anyone that Ryu would be welcomed within Toru’s entourage, this seems to be a very bold statement by the clever Lion Champion.
- Otonashi received orders from Tsuruchi to attend the Imperial Court on behalf of the Wasp clan. He will serve as the Wasp Clan ambassador to the three man alliance. One representative from each clan has been asked to join this year’s court.
Scorpion Clan Coup, Day One
Rooster 14, Morning: The Tiger Arrive by Sea
- The Renketsu personal entourage and standing army arrive at the port in Kosuga District’s docks, one of the southern most ports of Otosan Uchi. The entourage consists of Toru, Renketsu Ryu, Otonashi, Katsuo and Renketsu Katashi. The advisors are Ebi Daipu, and Ryu‘s new wife and Toru’s sister Renketsu Aiba. The Daimyo’s Personal Guard consists of Sanosuke, Renketsu Takeo (Toru‘s older cousin) and Aiba’s yojimbo Renketsu Shingemori. Also in attendance are Emerald Magistrates Minoru and Kai. Their military outfit consists of thirty Renketsu bushi of various schools and ten Ebi bushi.
- From here, the majority of the Renketsu standing army are asked to find stay within the city. Ebi Daipu recommends that Katashi be assigned to give orders to the standing army left behind in the outer city. Katsuo stays behind as well to roam the Imperial City, and Aiba insists that perhaps an advisor should stay behind as well. She volunteers, though it should be obvious to Toru that Aiba’s courtly skills would be better suited within the Emperor’s Court.
- Toru, Ryu and Otonashi lead the remainder of the Renketsu entourage into the Forbidden city, passing first into the well fortified and mid-walled Eternal City through a 15’ tall torii arch, forged entirely of crystal. Though the Tiger Clan are now established, they receive great scrutiny form the Akodo bushi guarding the gate. The Renketsu Entourage continue through the entrance of the Miwaku Kabe, the inner wall of Otosan Uchi warded against evil. They pass to the Forbidden City within where only the most esteemed of Rokugan reside, including the Emerald Palace.
- Upon arriving and finding their lodging, the heroes determine something happened. Courtiers seem to be standing around in groups, whispering behind well placed fans, and the servants look off put. Digging, they determine that the only Dragon ambassador at court, Kitsuki Yaruma was found dead by Seppuku the night before, with a death-poem written on a sheaf of rice-paper wrapped around the blade of his wakizashi.
“On a withered brand
A crow has settled
- The heroes continue to pry from the fringe of the investigation, and find out that Yaruma was the only emissary from the Dragon, and word has just been sent to Togashi Yokuni, requesting a new ambassador. Agasha Mukai offers to fill this role temporarily. Overhearing the crowd: It seems that some insist he took his life to protest against the Lion and Crane war. One particular Crab argued that it is the work of the Hantei to divert courtiers from Rokugan’s true problems. Three Kitsu shugenja were summoned by the Emperor for an investigation. A brief investigation revealed that the Ambassador hosted a visitor last night: Bayushi Togai, a powerful general. Togai claimed to know nothing of the Dragon’s seppuku and blames age and weakness for the man’s death. A general sense of distrust for the Scorpion Clan and keen detection skills led the heroes to determine that he was indeed hiding something. Pressing Togai, he explained that he visited Yaruma’s chamber last night to quiz the ambassador on his Daimyo’s lack of presence in the Emperor’s court.
- Back in the Kosuga district, Katashi, Katsuo and Aiba struggle to find lodging for their standing army. Failing in the Kosuga district, Katashi and Katsuo continue on to the Tsai district, where they meet the Governor Bayushi Tsai walking. Governor Tsai wears his identification mons and mask proudly. In introductions it is clear that Tsai is the most informal samurai of such a proper position they have ever met. Hearing of their housing dillemma, Tsai offered an exchange of housing and feeding the guard for this matter of duty. He also offered Katashi and Katsuo his private room at the Hidari district’s Inn known as the Inn of the Last Rise , a place he frequented after a night of drinking in the Hidari district.
- With the matter of the standing army settled, Katashi, Katsuo and Aiba continue on to the Hidari District, where they cross path with an old man traveling on the roadside, who struggled with a pony that refuses to continue onward with his wares. He called for help to the samurai. When they come to his aid, he thanks them and offer them a gift. To each, he handed a small crystal figure. He insisted three times, when properly refused. This crystalline samurai carving will protect them later at the forbidden wall, though they do not know that yet. He also provided them with a Map and guide that he ‘picked up at the gate’. Katsuo leaves with the old man who feeds him a meal and the two talk.
- Traveling to the Inn of the Last Right, Katashi and Aiba have a chance encounter with a particular ronin who claimed to have previously served directly under Toru, and would like to speak to him about working with him once more. A drunk ronin named Ginawa was also found at this establishment, minding his own business. He gave a friendly nod, though it seemed his mind was elsewhere. By now, word of the death of Kitsuki Yaruma was spreading through the city. An entourage of Dragon bushi were found here, receiving food. They talked loudly about how they must uncover the mystery. The dragon explains that the orders were for Yaruma to leave the city, but now he’s dead.
Rooster 14, Afternoon: Shoju’s entourage and standing army arive in Otosan Uchi
- By the time Katashi, Katsuo and Aiba are finished, the drums sounded to celebrate the arrival of Shoju and his standing army. The army itself was just two hundred Bayushi soldiers, though they were well adorned, with mons and personal effects revealing their high clan prestige. Within the entourage was Shoju himself, accompanied by his wife, the beautiful Bayushi Kachiko, and their son, Bayushi Dairu. Bayushi Aramoro was present, but not recognized, though Katsuo did recognize Soshi Takeshi‘s eyes. Soshi Takeshi was one of the two major figures that worked with Sugai to kill the Badger Daimyo. In the entourage, their immediate family could be found: Bayushi Tetsuo, cousin and personal advisor of Shoju. Bayushi Sugai, cousin of Lady Kachiko. Other perhaps noteworthy faces included: Soshi Banataro, Yogo Junzo, Bayushi Tomaru, and Bayushi Tangen. The Scorpion Clan standing army broke from the entourage in the city proper, while Shoju’s entourage made for the Forbidden City.
- A feast was announced for tonight by the Imperial Herald in celebration of Shoju’s arrival. Toru, Ryu and Otonashi noted that Bayushi Kachiko made greetings with the Emerald Champion’s son, Doji Hoturi behind a well placed fan. Sugai made his way over to Ryu and Toru immediately. He smiled wide, pulling his arm from his clothing enough so that it can be seen that Sugai has a glove wrapped right hand. He moved the fingers about and asked them if they liked the embroidery of the ornamental glove. The rest continued on to the Scorpion Clan Guest Home, save for Bayushi Kachiko. Akodo Toturi seemed to be heading off into town, without his prestigious garb that would make him recognizable as a Daimyo. He seemed to be going alone. When asked, he will simply say that it’s a ‘personal matter’. While discussing this, Lady Kachiko walked over, her clothing suiting for court, but her demeanor like a cat on the prowl. She added: “They say he has found love in a geisha. I wonder what his betrothed thinks, or his men that watch the Crane armies steal his lands…” After a short time, Doji Hoturi leaves court, with a small entourage. He also would not speak on where he was going. Gossip within the court revealed that the Crab have not been invited to this evening’s feast, at the request of Shoju, the honoured guest. The Crab courtiers were in an uproar about not being invited to the feast.
- On their way torward the forbidden city, Katashi, Katsuo and Aiba hear a major feud with a guntai (10-men) of Matsu soldiers, a similar force of Crane soldiers and five or so Akodo right off the Main road of the Hidari District. Approaching, they caught the arguments: “You have purchased Akodo honor, but you will not have ours!” the Matsu samurai-ko speaks boldly. Her name is Matsu Misato. It appeared the Akodo were trying to mediate the situation, but were also arguing words spouted against Toturi such as ‘traitor’ or ‘weak’. They considered it none of their business, but paid note to it. At this point, a servant tripped before Katsuo’s feet and apologized over and over… perhaps too much. He looked very nervous for such a minor mistake. The peasant’s name was Biki and he saw them with the Tiger forces earlier in the Tsai district. He distracted them to continue on, stating “You need to go, and get your men out of the Tsai district now, before terror strikes.” The peasant though a spy, did not know the true purpose of this coup, so he suggested that it is a move on the Lion soldiers outside of this city, since his masters seemed so concerned with Toturi. Paying note to the concern, they leave their men in the inn as it serves as the most strategical point for escape, and the best to serve their Daimyo Toru within.
Rooster 14, Evening: The Scorpion Clan Coup Begins
- The Emperor’s feast is lavish on the particularly cold night, with music and performances by the most legendary acting troupe in the land. The troup was performing a tale of honor and duty, ending in the death of a great Matsu Lord in order to save his Champion. After the performance, there is a great applause. The emperor ate with delicate chopsticks as Lady Kachiko sat at his side. His food taster, Bayushi Togai, knelt on the dias beside him, dutifully fulfilling his role. After the meal, the young Prince Satorii retired to his chambers in order to prepare for his journey to the Phoenix lands in the morning.
- At last, Shoju and his retinue arrived. The Scorpion daimyo wore the rich robes of his station, and his soldiers are arrayed in their finest armor. They held no weapons, for only the most trusted samurai in all the land may wear a daisho…But Shoju has always been allotted that right by Hantei the 38th. Shoju spoke: “I have found an ancient prophecy,” he says gravely behind his mask “It says the greatest among us will cause the Empire to fall, and release an ancient evil into the world. I need your blessing to take every action necessary to avoid this fate.” Hantei the 38th replied: “You have it,” the Emperor says: “But who, my trusted friend, is more powerful than you.” Shoju bowed, a final reverence heralding the darkness to come. “Only you , my Lord Emperor.” He said as he draws an ancient katana and removed the Emperor’s head with a lightning fast draw. A brilliant flash of lightning, and with a tremendous clap of thunder the Scorpion attack began.
- The court erupted into panic. Courtiers screamed as the Scorpion guards and saboteurs sought to seal the chamber. The Emperor’s bodyguards fought to the death, as did the Seppun in the place, but both are caught off guard and overwhelmed. The heroes had three immediate choices as dignitaries and bushi alike fell around them; fight, flee, or surrender. They chose at first to fight, and went toe to toe with Shoju and his entourage who were both superior in number and matched in skill. Here they faced Shoju‘s entourage, including Bayushi Aramaro, Bayushi Togai, Shoshi Takeshi and Michi. Shoju’s commented: “The Imperial Throne has been defended,” Toru made note of the missing dignitaries in the Crane and the Phoenix. With the fight going downhill, the heroes chose to tactically retreat, despite Renketsu Ryu’s will to do otherwise.
- Cutting their way out, the fleeing heroes found one of the many hidden passages that lead between rooms, entry ways. While wandering through the dark halls, they overheard Shoju’s voice echoing through the palace. Shoju was addressing the ‘hostages’ and Crab emissaries. The attiude of the Scorpions was uncompromising, unwilling to submit to explanations or offer justifications. In one particular hallway, seven Scorpion guards pitched a furious battle with a Lion bodyguard – one of Toturi’s men. The Lion was captured, the took his life in seppuku to retain his honor in death. Those fighting were being sough out, overwhelmed and detained eventually, forced to flee the Imperial Palace or take their lives in seppuku if they did not die in battle. Any bushi who made an attempt at the life of Shoju faced his entourage and elite guard as well as two shinboi and the notorious Sugai. Crab hostages appeared to be favored in their treatment.
- The heroes continued upward in the palace, encountering choice conflicts as they went. Eventually they reached the The Seppun Miharu whom sequestered themselves in the Shadow Maze (Level 4 of the imperial palace), waging guerrilla warfare. It was in the Shadow Maze that they found Daidoji Yashu, former yojimbo of Toru who was believed murdered by Sugai. Together, they were in a good place to rescue some hostages at night. Any hostages being transferred later in the evening were intercepted by the Miharu Resistance, allowing them to escape. They had been communicating with a heimin Ozuki that has brought them requested food and supplies. At night the Miharu prepared a plan to try and free all the hostages left in the armory, leading them out of the city by way of the Shi-kojin garden. From there, they intend to lead the refugees through the Imperial Water Gardens. This plan was that of desperation, as there was no clear way out of the Forbidden City without passing the massive fortified walls.
- At this point, rumored whispers began to circulate of the heir, Hantei Satorii’s death as it spread by communicating survivors and the servants that supported them in secret. Near twilight, a group of dignitaries of each clan were brought together to bring testimony to the account of the death. Though the scorpion celebrated this as outright victory, there is an obvious price on their souls such an action. The bell tolls across the city, signifying the confirmed death of Emperor’s son.
- At this point, the heroes, Seppun Miharu and rescued hostages break free of the Imperial Palace. Daidoji Yashu leads the fleeing parties into a secret passage that leads them to the undercity, allowing them to flee without requiring the breach of the massive barriers in their way. The trip through the undercity is deadly, leading to many Scorpion traps. Many escaped hostages and Miharu fall. All of the heroes are hurt here, especially Otonashi and Katashi who receive great wounds. Entering the first passage up they find, they find themselves at the backs of many Crab Bushi who remain desperately fortifying a Opium Den. There are hopeful exchanges between the Crab and the Heroes, before the Heroes are convinced to continue fleeing via the undercity. Reaching an exit, they find themselves at the river that runs through the city. With Scorpion skirmishers at their backs, they choose to take quickly to the water, stealthily evading the drawbridge checkpoint and returning once again to the Kosuga district.
- A great explosion is heard at this point as the missing Phoenix and Crane entourage breach through the northern gate, collapsing the wall nearby. Though the heroes are a great distance away, they recognize that it was clearly the magic of shugenja. This gives them hope, that other survivors remain fighting. Pressing forward, the heroes evade several units of Scorpion Skirmishers by sticking to the night shadows. Katsuo notices a peculiar glint of moonlight shining on the old man’s house. He leads the heroes to investigate. Though they find an empty house, a passage has been left open for them. Katsuo tells Toru of the old man, and it is then that they realize the fortune Megumi has revealed himself once more. The heroes follow the passage out of the south wall, finding a small tent village outside. The mon of the Tiger can be seen. The remnants of the standing army of the Renketsu can be found here. It is here, that they find their rest.
- Elsewhere the Scorpion Clan release prisoners form Kyuden Kokai in the Toyitomi district, but did not anticipate the event to spawn into a resistance under a Phoenix samurai-ko by the name of Shiba Akutiso. In the Hayasu District, a Unicorn mother gives birth to the son of a legend within the legend’s dojo. She cannot be moved. Ten samurai remain loyally behind to protect her and the baby. Battle ensues; the mother and the son lose their lives, and those students who did not fall in battle take their lives in seppuku.
Scorpion Clan Coup, Day Two
- The next morning, the Renketsu wake early and begin to assess the situation. The Phoenix forces are joined by the new arrival of Unicorn forces led by the Unicorn Clan Champion, Shinjo Yokatsu. Yokatsu was adamant that the Unicorn, Tiger and Phoenix ally to launch an immediate surprise attack against the Scorpion, giving the Unicorn a chance to test the enemy and check for a weakness, a tactic for which they were known. An entire squadron of Unicorn cavalry breach the northern wall and begin to skirmish with the forces within, using their superior speed for a game of cat and mouse. Outside the walls, the Scorpion send a Shosuro ambassador into their midst under a flag of peace. The Phoenix wish to open negotiations, but the Unicorn wish merely to cut the Shosuro ambassador down. Despite the best efforts of the mediating Phoenix, the Unicorn capture the Shosuro and his entourage, offering Shoju an exchange of prisoners.
- Inside the palace, more dangerous intrigues begin. One group of courtiers deduce the presence of a Scorpion spy among them. None of the courtiers really knew one another well, as they are guests from different parts of the city. In reality there was no spy. The Scorpion were monitoring the room from a secret tunnel network that runs through the walls of the palace. The Scorpion had a man positioned there, listening to everything the group said and did, since shortly after the Emperor’s death. The spy could only observe half the room, however, so they were left with incomplete pictures of the plan.
In the afternoon, the Scorpion lost control of one small section of the palace to a hidden group of Emerald Guards. They were determined to overthrow Shoju from the inside – or die avenging their Emperor. The guards were desperate, as willing to die as to cause any real harm to the encamped Scorpion. But they were doomed to fail without effective leadership, with the highest ranking member being nikutai.
- Elsewhere, inside the city, three young samurai, no older than twelve, rested behind a tattered shoji screen. One wore an enameled ‘do’ which is much too large for him, bearing the soot-stained mon of the Crab. The other two were sleeping when they were found. They were not all Crab. The youngest was Akodo Osuzo. The other two were Hida Yetsigi and HIruma Kadu. The three boys were formerly foster children at the house of a Scorpion named Shosuro Jitaka. When the Coup began, the house was spared because the Shosuro had been working secretly with Shoju. The boys discovered their foster parents’ deception when Bayushi troops arrived to congratulate the local Governor of the Higshikawa district, Shosuro Mukai, and seized control of the district. The boys immediately fled their foster parents’ care, and now needed a way out of the city – with little or no training, and nothing but equipment they were someday to inherit. The boys were more of a hindrance to their rescuers at first, with very few capabilities, but using knowledge of the city they had lived in for the last 3 years, they navigated for their rescuers, and this group escaped the city by nightfall.
- At noon on the second day, a Scorpion outpost just inside the Forbidden City collapsed, the walls undermined. Confused, Bayushi in the area believed that perhaps a daidoji scout has caused this. Yashu who had disappeared in the tunnels, was believed to have been behind this. More patrols scoured the city to bring the saboteur back in chains. Three patrols were destroyed to the last man, which further stymies the Scorpion and infuriates their leaders. The spy was too difficult to locate. He was wily, and left no trace of his intrusions or escapes. Daidoji Yashu returned outside the walls later that day. The saboteurs were Daidoji Rubaiten and Ikoma Nejire, a shugenja trained at the Isawa school. The two were courting Shiba Akutiso who died at the prison the night before.
- Inside the walls, the Unicorn unit was last seen near the district they are in, and the Scorpion soldiers are aggressively looking for them.
- The Unicorn who breached the wall earlier find the Ambassador (and the few hostages who escaped on the first day) and bring them back out of the city. In the afternoon, a Scorpion Ambassador named Yogo Ahaira traveled through the city under a flag of truce during the hour of the Monkey, not long after the failed Unicorn assault. He wished to speak with the Unicorn and test their resolve once they learned that the emperor and his heir were dead. Within the Ekohikei, a group of Imperial Guardsmen attacked the Northern Gate, attempting to hold off the Scorpion long enough for the Phoenix to pierce their defenses. They were unsuccessful, mostly due to overwhelming odds – and the presence of the powerful shugenja named Banataro. Afterward, rumors claim that the Scorpion were using blood-magic (maho) to guard the gate, and few in the city dare go near it. The bodies of the fallen Phoenix troops were arranged on spikes, up and down the river banks near the gate, as a menacing threat to those who would follow their example. Meanwhile, Bayushi Hasuken, a Scorpion commander, placed a spy among the newly-arrived Unicorn troops. He stole battle plans while preparing to assassinate Shinjo Yokatsu, the Unicorn Champion. Posing as Ide Shiguji, the spy encountered the ‘lost’ Unicorn legion, providing a delightful irony. They have delivered an assassin to his quarry.
Scorpion Clan Coup, Day Three
- Inside the palace the courtiers and ambassadors who viewed the heir’s body yesterday are summoned again. They arrived in the throne room, only to find its enormous dimensions vacant now, except for Shoju, his Scorpion guard, and the rest of the ‘hostage court’. A Scorpion shugenja appeared, Soshi Banataro. He remained standing within eyeshot of the assemblage, looking distant, uncomfortable, and wary of those assembled courtiers. A map was rolled out on a nearby table. It contained details on many blockages and traps. The map is not the reason that Shoju has summoned the courtiers…
- The ‘New Emperor’ had brought his court together to determine what they might know of such saboteurs, or possibly of other captives working for them. The sabotage was mainly targeted at Shoju’s tactical and magical defenses, so he assumed the work of the Lion or the Phoenix, or perhaps both. Lion courtiers responded to inquiries with cold silence or quotes from Akodo’s Leadership. The phoenix were elusive, using circular logic to weave around questions. After, they were retained after the other clan diplomats are dismissed, and interrogated briskly. Regardless, they would not return to the third floor. Instead, the Scorpion locked them within one of the chambers on the fifth floor. From this point on, two Scorpion remained to watch over them constantly, and they remained solitary. Looking out over the city…the eastern quarter of the city was going up in flames…
- During the early hours of the morning, at the hour of the Hare, a group of Lion guardsmen who escaped the palace launch a strike against the Scorpion. They withdrew from hiding to avenge the death of Matsu Okimoto, the wife of their aging general. Sworn to protect her, they have failed in their duties to their commander and now seek Scorpion blood to avenge their dishonour. Their unexpected attack overwhelmed nearly an entire squad of Bayushi bushi, but the Lion were eventually captured…The Scorpion commander, Bayushi Sundokai, decided to make an example out of them. They were tied to wooden stakes in the center of the Toyotomi District, which was set aflame. The Scorpion engulfed Toyotomi District in flames, in an attempt to flush the remaining Lion out. What they didn’t know, is this also flushed out Akodo Toturi. Hatsuko had hidden the Lion daimyo in the Kosuga District, and as the fires spread, he was faced with an impossible choice – confront the Scorpion in their own territory or let the Matsu die…The fire begins during the hour of the Hare, and continued through the hour of the Dragon. Over the hour of the Serpent and the Horse, it grew, engulfing many innocent heimin homes across the Toyotomi, Meiyoko, and Hojize Districts. The Scorpion kept the fire from damaging their own homes, to the best of their ability. By the end of the hour of the Dragon (midday), the Lion would have been lost to the flames. Toturi and the ronin Ginawa by chance and dispatched the Scorpion bushi who started the fires.
- Back at the tent city forming outside, the Lion army arrives under Matsu Tsuko, Daimyo of the Matsu family and general of the Lion in the absence of Akodo Toturi (who was lost within the Kosuga District at this time), arrived with her armies early afternoon on Day Two. Shortly after her arrival, scouts to the south reported the banners of the Crane approaching. The commanders of both armies met with Shinjo Yokatsu in the afternoon. In attendance is Shiba Tsukune of the Phoenix, Shinjo Yokatsu of the Unicorn, Matsu Tsuko and Matsu Gohei of the Lion, Emerald Champion Doji Satsume and his son, Doji Hoturi of the Crane met with Toru and the heroes. The meetings went poorly, and after a scarcely-concealed insult to the honor of the Lion, Matsu Tsuko rallied her troops including Renketsu Ryu and attacks the city – alone, but not before exchanging crude words with her former vassal, Renketsu Ryu. There were only a few hours of light left when the Lion stormed Otosan Uchi from the south gate. From the north, shortly after the Lion flooded the Emperor’s Gate and engaged the Scorpion forces there, an army of Crane assaulted the city. This assault was not in coordination with the Lion, by any means, but did contain the heroes in cooperation with Emerald Magistrate. Throughout the city, arrows and spells flew between attackers and defenders, eventually forcing the Lion out of the city. As the Lion retreated, the Scorpion wheel their full might against the Crane. In this assault, Doji Satsume, Crane Clan Champion and Emerald Champion, received a grievous wound. It was a belly wound he would not recover from. Doji Hoturi now commanded the Crane forces outside the wall. This causes a great imbalance of political power, as Hoturi is regarded as neither forceful nor capable in Rokugan standards. The Lion continued their press into the city after nightfall, and their forces were promptly slaughtered, forcing a tactical retreat. Even a brash Tsuko came to this realization, perhaps a bit too late.
- Akodo Toturi arrived with the ronin at the tent city and assumed his place as the general of the armies of Rokugan, but not before Tsuko made certain to doubt him publicly. The heroes and Doji Hoturi defended Toturi’s honor with testimony of their own. Finally, the armies were willing to cooperate. All that was left now, was the absent army of Hida Kisada.
- At court, a young geisha named Hatsuko was dragged through the palace, en route to Kachiko’s chambers. Kachiko immediately demanded to know Hatsuko’s part in Toturi’s escape. The geisha defended her love for Toturi, and threw herself on Kachiko’s mercy, ‘woman to woman’. Offended, Kachiko ordered the guards to dispose of her. Hatsuko was dragged away, kicking and screaming. She hurled herself out the nearest window, and the body is never found.
Scorpion Clan Coup, Day Four
- Early in the morning, all the Crab hostages within the Imperial Palace were brought before Shoju and his finest general, Bayushi Togai, rounded up by Shosuro Yuuto. There was no pomp and circumstance this time; everyone knew why they have been gathered. The Scorpion waited for the Crab oaths of fealty…And they never come. Instead, Kuni Fujiko the Crab Ambassador to the Hantei Court; stands proudly before the pyre, refusing the enemy demands. “The only Emperor I will have,” she says staunchly, “is Kisada himself.” With that, she spits at the Scorpion captors and leaps from the second-story platform onto the spires of the wall surrounding the palace grounds. Her defiance is a message to all other Crabs. Submit to death or conform to the dishonour of the Scorpion regime. Every Crab samurai gathered follows Fujiko.
- From outside the walls, the heroes reformed as the personal advisors of Doji Hoturi. Toru assumed what leadership he could, but is seen for the first time in a long while as inferior in standing to the many primary families of the Great Houses of Rokugan. Kisada arrived a few hours before dark, and loud horns sound over Otosan Uchi. There was a long pause, as Kisada’s messenger approaches the city. He held a large red flag, symbol of Kisada’s alliance. With a slow, deliberate motion, the Hiruma messenger stood before the palatial gate to the Emperor’s Road, and raised the flag. Then, just as slowly, he lowered it, pointing towards the encampments to the west of the city. The Crab turned, and joined forces with the Six Clans. The combined might of all Six Clans stood ready to face Shoju’s minions, and the final strike fell upon the Imperial City before it was too dark to fight. Within the walls, many Scorpion committed seppuku in response to the decision of Kisada to join the other clans, ensuring their demise inside. The morale of the Scorpion traitors was at an all time low. Victory was certain for the allied Great Clans of Rokugan, but at what cost?
- Inside the walls, during the Hour of the Horse, a great and sudden battle erupted across the Toyotomi District. Ikoma Nejire was killed in the battle, his body is stripped of all possessions, and left before the Temple of Lord Moon, where crows fed upon it. This evening, skirmishers inside the Forbidden City set fire to the Imperial Palace with several amazingly lucky indirect shots. At least that’s what the Scorpion claimed. In truth, a lantern in the Shadow Maze had been disrupted by the earlier saboteur. A section of the maze burned out of control, and hot ashes ignited parts of the lower floors by dusk. Though the palace’s superstructure was largely undamaged, there was a great deal of concern for the first several hours. Shoju, Kachiko and any prisoners on the fifth floor of the palace were moved up to the roof, where the smoke is less thick. The hostages were subsequently shifted into the abandoned Otomo palace. Help arrived in the form of a heimin servant (actually a Crane samurai in disguise). He was one of the group assigned to lead the hostages from the Imperial Palace to the Otomo stronghold, taking them to the Emperor’s Shintao Garden, which held a cache of tanto, dai-kyu and peasant weapons. From there, the Crane spy led the hostages off the Imperial Mound and into the training grounds, intended to flee the Forbidden City through the northern gate. Unfortunately, the gate was guarded by a small cadre of Scorpion guards, and many of the courtiers fleeing lost their lives in the battle to escape to.
- Within the city Daidoji Rubaiten prepares his final act crawling into a narrow passageway behind the Moon-shrine, then collapsed it behind him, leaving no trace of his passage behind. Daidoji Rubaiten held a single wrapped bundle of ‘black pepper’, intending to light it beneath the altar within the shrine. This act was almost certain to draw down the wrath of Onnotengu (Lord Moon). A loud explosion echoed throughout the city during the hour of the Dog. Fire raged through the shrine and if legends are correct – there is little time before Lord Moon’s wrath will be felt by all.
- During this day’s battle, the Six Clans and the Heroes capture the Outer Walls of Otosan Uchi, but cannot penetrate the immense structures surrounding the Forbidden City. The fighting was fierce, and many Scorpion troops die to the last man. The Crab produced siege engines which they had brought form the Kaiu Wall. Inside the palace, the Seppun Miharu are finally found and killed, along with the heimin Ozuki’s wife and child. Ozuki went on a rampage before meeting his fate as well.
- The Scorpion had planted a spy among the Unicorn troops previously, and through this days battle, another in the Renketsu at the advising of Bayushi Sugai. They were both ready to assassinate their marks, Yokatsu of the Unicorn and Toru of the Tiger. Both marks were prepared to deliver blame onto the Crab, providing major doubts of treachery.
Scorpion Clan Coup, Day Five
- Each of the heroes had prophetic dreams that early morning…
- Katashi had a terrible dream about his sister in which he watches her fall in battle before him. It’s very real, and he watches the arrow fly in slow motion, unable to reach her in time.
- Yashu had dreamed of Shoju and the words he spoke before he killed the Emperor. He explained of a terrible omen, and that the greatest of all would bring about the end of the world. Perhaps in the end, Shoju did seek duty. As a harrier, duty before honor was something Yashu could relate to.
- Ryu remembered something from his meditation based visit in Dragon lands that he had previously forgotten. It’s a memory of the village where he meditated. In this dream, he was but a Ronin, wandering the countryside. He had considered seppuku for his state of dishonor, but had not yet resorted to it. As he reached the Tent City in the Shadow of the Mountains in Dragon Lands, he remembered why he was there. He was there to meet with Toturi the Black.
- Katsuo pieced together the Scorpion path of treachery that led to this, starting with the death of his daimyo. He went through the various events including those he was not there for, watching the Scorpion create tension between the Lion and the Crane while the Underhand moved tactically into position for what has already come. The last event relived was that of the death of his Daimyo, and as he turned to look elsewhere, he looked out to hear the cries of his clansmen in the north. Finally, he found himself an aged sensei, teaching new Badger bushi how to fight the way intended.
- Otonashi dreamt of the death of Shoju‘s son Dairu, watching his mother Lady Kachiko sob. He dreamt of his wife and then the dream shifted to his wife waiting for the Lady Kachiko and another masked figure who came up out of the water onto their ship… This was followed by more interactions with Kachiko. In the latest of the dreams, Kachiko sat at the side of a veiled and sickly emperor, as the emperor’s wife.
- Toru had dreamed even before Kisada’s arrival. It was a lingering dream that occured inside him, even after the attempted assassination. The dream was a combination of two memories. He watched in slow motion as Shoju removed the head of the emperor. He watched as a crow stood in the window. The crow began speaking to him, and he understood it. " Shoju was right, but he missed the mark", something he recalled now from his visit to One Thousand Years of Darkness. The second dream was a conversation he had with Toturi. Toru asked him if there was anything he could do for him. That is when he turned to Toru and said “If ever, my honor is on the line, and you are certain of good intentions, I would ask that you bare testimony to my intentions. There are few names with more honor than yours.” His dream changed landscapes to a Tiger and a Lion resting on a hilltop. Toru watched as an arrow came from seemingly nowhere, landing firmly in the Lion. He watched the Lion die. Another arrow is fired, and as it travels towards the Tiger, Toru wakes up with the sharp pain from his assassin, and a cry that wakes the other heroes from their dreams. Both assassins are foiled, and the remainder of the Scorpion raiders are foiled, but not before they manage to thin the Phoenix Shugenja unit of their most capable battle shugenja.
- After their sneak attack, a single bushi in Scorpion armor is discovered approach the Crane camp. He was not a part of the assault squad, so he was not slain on sight, but was cleverly able to escaped the city walls under cover of the attack. The disguised bushi was Akodo Toturi, the Lion Clan Champion. • Reaction varies among the six clans. The Crab Clan respect Toturi, the Crane Clan suggested tat his dishonorable approach would need remediation at a later time. The Dragon were the least surprised to see Toturi, handing him a crafted suit of armor by Togashi Yokuni himself. The Phoenix were wary and untrusting, and the Unicorn realized the need for him. All accepted Toturi, but Matsu Tsuko and the Lion, who needed to be forcefully removed from her position in order to allow Toturi to take command. Rallied, the armies march on the walls of Otosan Uchi, and make breaches at several locations. The heroes breach through the damaged wall to the North, using the siege tower as a means of avoiding the danger of the Scorpion archers that line the walls. It was during the morning that news came to them of Shoju‘s son, Bayushi Dairu’s grave injury while defending the south wall. Rumors of Doji Hoturi’s valor reached the ears of the heroes. It was just the sort of good news needed to redeem the new Crane Clan Champion for a bad reputation.
- The battle raged on through the afternoon as more armies found their way through the exterior walls of Otosan uchi. A group of 7 Scorpion approach the heroes, led by Bayushi Taeru. They were there as deserters, willing to betray the plans of their commander, Bayushi Sundokai. Six of the seven were sincere, save Yogo Boku, was planted here to watch Taeru in the first place, and used this as an opportunity to kill Renketsu Toru, but the attempt failed. It was during this fight that Katsuo recognized Soshi Takeshi in disguise as a Bayushi deserter. Without warning, Katsuo went to him, wrapped him in a sleeper hold, choked him out and killed him, earning the revenge on the assassin of his late Daimyo. After the action, Katsuo revealed himself as Ichiro Katsuo of the Badger Clan, explaining his actions, which the Heroes remembered from the Topaz Tournament where their life as bushi began. At the main gate, Mirumoto Hitomi runs across the field of battle, disobeying orders to challenge Hida Yakamo to a duel. She did not defeat him, but removed his hand in partial payment for taking her brother’s life. Rumors ran rampant, as the Scorpion saw this as a victory. The allied Great Clans were arguing. Kisada was furious, demanding the samurai-ko’s life, but the small Mirumoto legion refused, standing firm against the Great Bear. A traitorous Scorpion by the name of Shosuro Gisako offered to help a group of courtiers escape if they disguised her and passed her off as one of their own. Gisako lead them out through the Shikojin garden. Pearl divers arrived in Otosan Uchi to save Shoju’s favored on behalf of Yoritomo. Shoju remains behind, sending his most loyal retainers away. Dairu returned to his father where he suffered from his grievous wounds through the rest of the day. Throughout the day, numerous battles took place in the city streets as the Scorpion fell back behind the Enchanted Walls surrounding the Ekohikei. The fighting went well for the Six Clans, and Toturi was heralded as a hero. By sunset, the Six Clans fully occupied the Outer City, and Crab siege engines move through the streets. Toturi with the might of the crab armies, made a tremendous difference in this struggle. In the evening, Bayushi Sundokai is captured in the Higashikawa District, and later commits seppuku.
Scorpion Clan Coup, Day Six
- In the morning, Bayushi Dairu dies, and the Scorpion Clan lose what little morale they have left. Meanwhile, Toturi and 6 Clans gathered to attack the Four Walls and capture the Forbidden City. Toturi gave his orders: “Take the south wall, and trust in the Fortunes that the enchantments there will know the hearts of those who are loyal.”
- A renewed vigor surged through the allied armies as Megumi, the Fortune of Heroic Guidance could be seen flying overhead in the form of a blue crane. The heroes rallied against the entrance way and it is here that the last true stage of fighting occurs. The False Chikazane and the Rune Vampire Michi pose a threat for the heroes. False Chikazane is deeply wounded, taking to his dragon form and exiting the fight. Bayushi Tetsuo lets loose a well aimed shot at Katashi’s sister Otaku Taka, killing her. Renketsu Katashi takes revenge, killing Tetsuo in turn. It is at this point that Phoenix Shugenja pierce the South Wall using a mass spell. Passing through the gate, each hero faces their own enlightened state of mind, gaining a vague memory of the alternate reality of One Thousand Years of darkness, an age they hope to never see. Within the gate, Renketsu Toru and Bayushi Sugai have their final showdown in the form of an Iaijutsu Duel. Toru makes short work of his greatest foe.
- The heroes cut through remaining Scorpion forces and reach the throne room of the palace just after the final moments of the duel between Akodo Toturi and Bayushi Shoju. They see the wounded Toturi standing over the body of the fallen Shoju. Wedged within the crack of the throne was the broken blade of Shoju‘s bloodsword, Ambition. Pouring from it’s twisted blade, a stream of blood ran across the dais. The throne was covered in crimson, the ground, tapestries and delicateely painted screens were covered in blood, and the floor was sticky with residue from the sword’s death. Blood surrounded the dais, and only Akodo Toturi survived to tell the tale. Toturi claimed to have defeated Shoju in honorable combat, and that Shoju should be mourned as a man who died in the name of duty, no matter how misdirected. The Champions gathered after the battle to face an empty throne while eta labored to cleanse the gore-spattered throne room. Knowing that there was no living heir, the daimyo argued: “There must be an Emperor, or there will be war.” But before their swords were drawn, Toturi stepped before the Emerald Throne. “I have defeated the Usurper,” he cried “I will stand as your Emperor. No other can claim that right.” The others fell silent, and Toturi stood for a moment, awaiting any challenge. None came. Then, in utter silence, Toturi withdrew the Bloodsword’s hilt, throwing the broken blade to the floor. With a solemn face, he seated himself upon the broken throne.
- Within seconds of Toturi’s claim, the jade doors of the throne room opened again, and the Elemental Masters of the Phoenix entered. Between them, escorted by young Isawa Kaede stood Hantei Satorii, the young son of the fallen Emperor. For a moment, the court was thrown into chaos, and Champions of the clans fell to their knees in shock and amazement. Toturi rose from the Emerald Throne, his face ashen. The secret of the young Emperor’s return this: the Phoenix Master of Void, Isawa Ujina and his daughter, Kaede, used their magic to reform one of the young Prince’s playmates with a semblance of the Hantei’s features. They left the boy behind to die with honor protecting both his friend and his Empire, and spirited the true Prince away from the palace with another great spell. The Phoenix spell took the boy to their lands, safe from Shoju’s grasp. Knowing that the boy Prince could never hope to defeat Shoju, the Phoenix offered the Hantei his gempukku, thus crowing the thirty-ninth Emperor of Rokugan. Gathering their troops to protect him and using their magic to keep the Hantei informed of the battle at the palace, the Phoenix served the Empire’s needs. The young Hantei chose to keep his survival a secret to prevent Shoju‘s assassins from discovering him and completing their task to end the Hantei line. The Emperor also claimed that he wished to test the loyalty of the Crab, though the Phoenix suspect he did not have faith in the victory of the Great Clans against Shoju’s mighty army. To speak such words about an Emperor’s courage would be treason. Whatever their reasons, the Elemental Masters quietly obeyed the commands of the new Hantei. When the victory of the Great Clans seemed assured, Phoenix magics once more brought Hantei the Thirty-Ninth back to his palace, with Kaede and the Elemental Masters at his side., to return the Empire to order and restore the line of the Hantei Emperors.
- These are the historic commands given by the newly crowned Emperor. The Scorpion Clan is pronounced anathema, their descendants and liege men to be hunted across the land, their lineage destroyed. The Crane will inherit Satsume‘s responsibilities as Emerald Champion, are commanded to see that the Scorpion lands and titles are returned to the Emperor. Although the place of the Emerald Champion is empty due to [[:doji-satsume-2 | Satsume]’s death, the Crane Clan inherit the responsibility of maintaining Satsume‘s duties until such time as a new Emerald Champion can be chosen. In order to completely erase the line of the Bayushi, the young Hantei marries Bayushi Kachiko, stripping her of her heritage. Still, she keeps her family name as a badge of dishonor and a constant reminder of her clan’s failure – she is not deemed worthy to bear the name ‘Hantei’. Her life as his concubine and the mother of his heirs is one of slavery to the Hantei line, returning lives to pay for those taken by her husband’s treachery and greed.
- It is widely believed that the new Hantei destroyed the Akodo because he believed Akodo Toturi to be a traitor to the Imperial Line. The Emperor’s announcement was brief, and cold, and not a word arose from the watching samurai nobles. As Toturi rose from his throne, the Hantei began to speak, stepping up to the dais as the Akodo general fell to his knees on the floor of the bloodstained throne room, beside the other Champions of the Six Great Clans. " Akodo Toturi , I know of your dishonor and your treachery. Now I will speak of your crimes against the Empire, so that all will understand when I show you no mercy. Do not think that a boy Emperor is blind to the truth, or that I have not been watching as my city was destroyed and my throne was claimed – first by Shoju, and now, of all my servants, by the one who claimed most to serve my honor." The words were bitter and filled with hatred. “Hear the deeds of glorious Akodo Toturi ,” the Hantei spoke, settling into his Emerald Throne. “The man who abandoned the Lion Clan in their time of greatest need, allowing himself to be trapped and influenced by a geisha. He chose the embrace of a heimin woman over duty to his Lord and to his Empire. He spoke in Shoju’s favor after the usurper was killed, and proclaimed that Shoju deserved an honorable burial despite his slaughter of the Hantei family. And last, he is to be reviled for his treachery – daring to speak a false claim to the Hantei throne. For resting where none but the Hantei have been allowed to remain – upon this, the Emerald Throne. For these, the actions of a traitorous man, the samurai known as Akodo Toturi is dishonored. He is to be denied a true samurai’s right to an honorable seppuku, and must live on in shame. Your shame shall destroy not only your own honor, Toturi.” the Emperor snarled, “but your entire traitorous line. It is said that the Akodo live as brothers, and so let them die as brothers. We shall see how the Akodo stand by their oaths to you when they learn of your black and corrupt heart.”
- Renketsu Toru considered carefully this moment, as he knew just what it meant to interrupt an Emperor. Even so, he spoke his testimony in defense of Akodo Toturi “My Emperor, I do not know of Akodo Toturi’s meetings with this geisha, but I do know personally of this bushi’s duty and loyalty to the code of Bushido, and the empire of Rokugan. If none of the Daimyo of the Great Clans dare to speak of his valor on the battlefield, then i will do so.” Hantei XXXIX snapped, ending Toru’s testimony with a shout “You are bold Renketsu Toru! Speaking in defense of Toturi reveals to me that you are no more honorable a Daimyo than the two pretenders who have tried to take my throne. For such defiance and false loyalty, you will share his fate. Your Broken Tower will remain a fallen title to show of the dishonour of the Tiger Clan forever!”
Game One Ends
Interlude Between Games
Toru and Ryu leave for Totur’s Tent Village
- Toru and Ryu travelled first to the Broken Lands, to retreive Ryu’s wife Aiba (Toru’s sister), and to look for Toru’s former mistress and their infant. Toru granted Oda Nobunaga with the charge of keeping the peace in the Broken Lands from this day on, and left the Ebi family to return to keeping the economy of the Broken Lands in order.
- Toru and Ryu retrieved Aiba from the Broken Tower, and were surprised to see that Toru’s former mistress Kimiko and infant child were already there to greet him. The party agreed that the Broken Lands were no longer a suitable place for a settlement. They went north to the Tent City in Draogn Lands, a rumored ronin settlement that has formed after all the displacement that took place after the Scorpion Clan Coup.
- Toru‘s brother-in-law, Otomo Shen caught up with the party before they could leave heading north. Shen had information he believed would lead them to the dwelling cave of Ryukujou. Toru, Ryu and Otomo Shen agreed that the next step given what they knew, was to consult with Toru’s ancestor and former lover of Ryukujou.
- Though the Tent City was technically Dragon Clan controlled, the Dragon have taken no active part in managing the ronin within. Toru and Ryu were surprised to find a regiment of peasants and ronin forming under one banner within the village. They were even more surprised to find their old friend Toku, as well as Toturi the Black Lion. Though both were curious of what the village was up to, they were here to settle their families. Once they secured long term lodging for their wives and Toru’s kid, they set out to Lion Lands to find a Kitsu Sodan Senzo, or Ancestor Shugenja.
- Toru, Ryu and Otomo Shen met with a Kitsu Sodan Senzo, and communed with Toru’s ancestor. Though his name in the pillow books was Ji, his name in history was Daidoji Takuma. Takuma offered to join Toru and Shen on their quest to find Ryukujou and end the trouble she was causing Takuma’s descendants. It was here that Ryu explained his intentions to Toru. This is as far as their journeys would continue together. He returned to the tent city just long enough to gather his things and say his goodbyes, naming Toru responsible for the wellbeing of his son and explained that he had decided his fate would be tied to the battlefield. As a Deathseeker, he planned to cross the Kaiu Wall and die in honorable battle alongside many dishonored Akodo bushi. Toru was torn between talking his friend out of his decision and the urgency of rescuing his sister. Realizing Ryu would not be swayed, they parted ways.
Ichiro Katsuo and Ando’s Journey Begins
- The heroes disbanded, and Ichiro Katsuo began his travels alongside his Ashigaru companion Ando, seeking to master the art of jiujutsu. Katsuo first traveled through Lion Lands, until he found his first worthy challenger, Matsu Gohei. Gohei was an up and coming high ranking male officer of the Matsu family who had a well rounded package of skills, wits and brawn. It wasn’t until the two met in a grapple at the quaint Matsu dojo that Katsuo realized just how strong the Matsu officer was. Katsuo faced what was likely his strongest opponent thus far, and the result was Katsuo‘s only loss in his travels besides Matsu Ryu. The two were equal in skill, but the Matsu’s focus of regimented strength training clearly gave him the upper hand. Katsuo learned from this disadvantage, and vowed to himself to resolve this for their next meeting.
- Katsuo traveled next to the mountains of the Dragon Clan, passing through a small ronin village called Nanashi Mura as well as a Tent City operated by former Akodo bushi. It was here he found Toturi the Black and Toku, two allies of the heroes prior to the Scorpion Clan Coup. They seemed to be settling here, preparing what looked to be a small ronin regiment. Katsuo tested many brave warriors in the way of jujitsu, but found not formidable opponents. Trusting they were up to some good, Katsuo continued on his warrior’s pilgrimage. It was a small mountain village that Katsuo met his next opponent, Togashi Mitsu. Mitsu was a former ally of the Heroes, but one that Katsuo had never met. The match was short, as Katsuo was the superior wrestler.
Otonashi sails to Mantis Lands
- After the Scorpion Clan Coup the heroes disbanded, but Otonashi stayed behind in the Imperial City of Otosan Uchi. It was in one of the villages nearby the imperial city that Otonashi was able to meet with Kasuga Kemmei, the son of the Tortoise Clan Daimyo. Otonashi and Kemmei shared honest feelings about the weakened state of the empire after the late emperor’s death. It’s clear that they both have doubts of the new Emperor, despite never having to say so. They also discuss the Lion and Crane hostilities and how it might lead the Empire to full scale war. There was talk of a great Wasting Disease that spread through Phoenix and Crane lands. Many feared the disease would reach the Imperial City soon, and so Otonashi made plans to depart the mainland.
- Kemmei and Otonashi traveled to the Mantis isle together, where Otonashi served as an ambassador to the Mantis Clan. Yoritomo, the Mantis Clan Champion met with the two figures representing their respective small minor clans. Yoritomo voiced similar concerns with the state of the Empire, but was far more direct in his speach. More specifically, Yoritomo voiced concern for the stability of the Empire after the Scorpion Clan Coup. He drew attention to the fall of the Hare clan, and the the swift demise of the newly founded Tiger. He also predicted that open warfare would soon come to the Empire, and the lands of the Minor Clans would be fodder for the armies of the Great Clans. Yoritomo names Otonashi’s wife Okichi his advisor on the subject, and tasks the three to return to the mainland to seek answers from the minor clans concerning a proposed alliance of arms.
Katashi returns to the Unicorn Clan
- On the final day of the Scorpion Clan Coup, Toru spoke out in defense of Akodo Toturi to the young Emperor. The result was the elimination of the Tiger Clan and Renketsu family from the imperial histories, as well as the removal of office of the Chief Emerald Magistrate Toru, his Second in Command Ryu, and the removal of the Emerald Yoriki, Katashi his position and title. The Broken Tower was reclaimed by the Emerald Champion and used as the seat for a division of the Emerald Legion. Katashi met with his pregnant wife, Kaori; and after much convincing on her part, the two departed for Moto lands.
- Using her pregnancy as a term of sympathy to her father, Kaori and Katashi were accepted back into the Moto family under the guidelines that the matters of betrothal never finalized. While this wasn’t entirely honest, there was no one left to dispute the testimony on the behalf of the Renketsu family. It was during this time that Katashi’s frustration with Toru began to stew into hatred.
- With a first born son, and acceptance into the Unicorn once more, it seemed that Katashi has little reason to hate Toru any longer. But the matter of pride and honour that ripped away everything he had fought for would not allow him to sleep. He began to stay up late at night and plan. His hatred shifted from Toru to the fallen Scorpion Clan.
Elsewhere in Rokugan
- Isawa Uona becomes Master of Air.
- The Darkfever Plague spreads over the Phoenix lands after an Eclipse.
- The Oracle of Fire ascends to the Celestial Heavens.
- Yogo Junzo opened the first Black Scroll. Much of the Otomo family died, terminating the various side-branches of the Hantei bloodline.
- The Koebi family is destroyed by a monsoon.
- I’kak becomes the Chieftain of the Third Whisker Tribe.
- The Heimin who would be known as the Hooded Ronin is told by Tetsuya of his true lienage and ancestral duty.