Having arrived at Lonely Shore City, governed by Doji Kajiro (I think) the Scions of the Shrine made their way directly there. The last bit of surprise came a mile from the gate as Togashi
Wei-yin, a tattooed monk of the Tagashi order, joined the group. The mysterious man was simply dressed and carried only the tools he needed to lend aid.
Kento, Tetsuyari, and Takezo were asked to secure a place to rent for a month. They made their way to a decent area of town near the center and procured a place.
Khabob, Osano-Wo, and Hakuri were asked to wander the Willow District and get a feel for the land. The rest went to meet the governor.
At the gate there was a bit of a ruckus that was quickly put to an end by the city’s magistrate. A samurai of a vassal family and all around tired man. Finally led into the room of Doji-sama, Asahina Jun made introductions and confirmed that the individuals were aware of their issues.
When he did not hear the proper information he wanted, he questioned Miyako as to it. She requested that the group wait outside as she and Soshi Mika spoke to the Governor.
The information about the possibilites of Maho in the city were not lost or forgotten, mearly hidden by Miyako during the trip. The future wedding between the Crane clan and the Imperial family that was set to happen soon, was also in jepordy; so Doji-sama was quite tired and agitated. Asahina Jun and his cousin Matsu Jun spoke to the man in private.
Meanwhile Utaku Khabob was making friends in the willow district. He, Tokaguri Haruki, and Moshi Osano-Wo had found what appeared to be the center of buisness amongst the ronin in the district, with many men dropping by with payments to the barkeep.
They procured services and rested for abit. When they felt they had observed enough, they returned to the rest of the samurai who were setting up living arangements that Doji-sama had provided on his personal grounds.
As a plan was being formed a scream and a terriable sound not heard before by any of them echoed through the quiet afternoon. Several of the samurai lept in reaction and rushed the courtyard. There a guard lay on the ground with his chest cavity burst open.
The gruesome scene gave the warriors pause for a moment. Then Soshi Mika and Miyako went forward and prayed over the body. Mika was able to convince the air kami in the area to show the scene that had just happened and the illusions were quite macabre. Air kami had been forced down the man’s throught and out through his lungs and chest.
Miyako’s prayers were to the fire kami in the area, she asked them to work with the air spirits and light a path back to the source of the spell. This created a glowing yellow/orange path of light through the city; right to the willow district. The fire kami incinerated the dead man so that his ashes could be lain to rest.
With a furious anger of justice and disgust, the Scions quickly followed the path lit by the kami. Peasants, craftsman, and eta all quickly shyed away from the light, not knowing what it was. It led to the door of an inn.
Several doshin (pesants that serve the magistrate) were surrounding the area with spears ready, facing off against armed ronin. As the Scions entered the scene, Asahina Jun took command of the pesants and calmed them. Giving order to their chaos, he had them form up into a tight spear weilding formation, ready to pounce against the maho users.
Several words were spoken quickly and Otomo Miyako stepped forward. Brandishing her fan (with a little help from Mika, to make sure her mon was showing) Miyako introduce herself and demanded to speak to the leader. He introduced himself as Shu.
“Surrender the Maho users that we know to be here.” she commanded.
“Little woman, there are no maho users here, begone from this area.” he replied disdainly.
“Soshi Mika and I have spoken to the kami and they have led us here. Do you think we are inclined to believe the elements that make up reality or a masterless ronin?” The Imperial child quickly fell into old speaking habits as she tried to bring the weight of her family against this man.
His will however was much stronger and he mearly turned and walked away as the woman spoke to him. Matsu Jun was infuriated, but held her anger in check. The distraction that this scene was causing allowed Hakuri to manuver himself onto the roof of a nearby building and as he readied his leap, chanting could be heard from within.
“Release us from this calm” Utaku Khabob asked with a still and low voice.
“Show them how the Empire deals with traitors.” Miyako spoke as she moved behind Mika and Osano-Wo.
Matsu Jun and Utaku Khabob quickly rushed the samurai at the door. Tetsubo and Akodo blade at the ready, the ronin quickly retreated. Asahina Jun responded with a proclimation and oath, then turned towards the men under his command. “Forward March!” He ordered the doshin forward. They moved onto the building, confused but not daring to disobey orders. When the line was half way there the order to make ready was given and every spear was raised in an attack formation.
“STRIKE!” Asahina led the strike with his naginata as the men shredded the wall of the inn. Inside the surprised ronin stood in various stages of donning armor. Without hesitation the Samurai lept into the fray.
Asahina Jun, Matsu Jun, and Utaku Khabob struck quickly and deadly. Three of the ronin fell. Haruki took this moment to leap across and through the wall. He stood in the second floor area and witnessed three men cutting their arms and allowing their blood to swirl into a vortex of dark magical powers. Maho-tsukai! He launched his spear on a chain to try and distract the men, but they were allready locked in their trance. Downstairs, the monk focused his chi and the tattoos on his arm came alive. The fire on his skin seemed to move as he struck another one of the ronin.
Outside Moshi Osano-Wo tried to convince the men to stand down, “Drop your weapons and surrender, you will be spared. We only want the maho users.” The ronin hesitated, but would not surrender. This hesitation was the opening the men needed. Not willing to allow any more discourteous behavior, Matsu Jun brought the full extend of her rage into the fray. Throwing caution to the wind she expressed her anger in the way only samurai are allowed. She roared a lion’s roar and cleaved a man in half. This only encouraged her fellows to follow her lead. Her cousin struck a man deep in the shoulder and their 3rd cousin Khabob knocked a man nine feet to the side, breaking most the ribs on one side of his chest.
The remaining ronin however were able to form up, their backs to each other and they struck out. If their attacks hurt the samurai, they did not show it. Each able to absorb the damage. Some through training, some with honor, and some just absorbed it with acceptance of the pain through the void.
Mika and Miyako heard the chanting and Miyako identified the spell as a maho spell to raise the dead. “Fire” Mika said to herself and willed the fire kami in the area into the shape of a katana. She then asked the fire kami to spread into the building itself, thus causing a torch sized fire on the roof.
Though fire was dangerous, maho is an affront to all samurai and the young shugenja had done well. She then took her katana of fire and started forward to lend aid however she could. She smiled to herself as she thought of a plan. She took her katana and struck the building, allowing the pure fire blade to cut and ignite the walls.
Upstairs Haruki motioned for the other samurai to come upstairs, “These sorcerers have some kind of protection.” Khabob cursed himself for not having any jade.
They rushed the second floor, leaving the monk and the doshin to finish with the last remaining ronin. Even Moshi Osano-Wo entered the fray.
Then the maho spell took effect, the dead men who had just fell, rose up and attacked again. Now the strikes of the samurai seemed to not bother them and the line of doshin started to break. Their training and nerve insufficient for this battle.
Upstairs the three men and lion woman surrounded the casters and with openings, they struck. Like their anscestors before them, they worked together as a the will of the heavens given flesh on Rokugan. If not for dark pacts and promises made, the casters would have lost their heads. Well one did.
Miyako feeling useless outside decided to use the one offensive spell she had learned. The kami that swirled around her begged to be released, so she carefully made her way to the door.
“Moshi-san, please attend me.” She called out as she made her way to the door. “Soshi-san, make ready to recieve the wounded.” She had hoped that the bright young woman was near as she often was. Soshi Mika had helped Miyako many times these last few days, staying at her side and describing many things to the blind shugenja. She was there again and spoke acknowledgement of the request.
“Moshi-san, run. I am about to let loose fire.” The shugenja spoke after the Mantis helped her into the building. The dead had started to move against the men who had returned down stairs to deal with them. Hakuri and Matsu Jun were upstairs dealing with the casters the best they could. When the Scorpion realized his weapons were causing minimal damage, he changed his stratagey and with the chain end of his weapon he tripped one of the casters. Matsu Jun pounced upon the filth.
“RUN, I am releasing fire!” Miyako warned. Several of the samurai had served with shugenja and knew to fall back when told to. She drew in her breath and when she released it – fire erupted everywhere and fed into the flames Mika had started. Several of the brave men were singed at the edge of the blast. Haruki had lept through the walls themselves to try and get to safety. The flames brushed his back as he landed and rolled out the way. Only Matsu Jun, lost in the way of the sword and her cousin, standing by her side were there to recieve the brunt of the firey blast. Miyako herself was burnt, but she breathed in again. She could still hear the dead moving. The Juns moved to stand between the dead men and the helpless shugenja. Even Khabob looked back, ready to spring into the inferno again. Miyako breathed out and released the fire again. She could hear the dead burning, the living burning, and the kami gleefully laughing as they ravaged the very air around them.
“We have fell them Otomo-sama” Asahina reported. Rising up once more she breathed in, the samurai drew in a deep breath and made ready for another eruption of fire, but this time Miyako called upon the Void and asked the fire kami to return to her. “Carefully and quietly, return and I will release you once more for havok, when the time is right.”
For whatever reason, the kami listend and all fire in the area withdrew and went out. The building stood, the woman did not. Matsu Jun finished the last one as the Crane helped the shugenja woman to her feet. The last spell had drove her to her knees and the cinders on her fingers and singed hair showed that the fire kami keep no one safe.
“Please take me upstairs.” she weakly asked.
Asahina Jun led her upstairs as his cousin, the Crab trained Unicorn, Mantis, and Monk returned. Soshi Mika started to inquire the water kami to lend aid in healing for the more wounded samurai.
Miyako moved nearer the fallen men, two of them were not dead. Shu had died in the battle, in fact his head had been cleaved off his shoulders and claimed by Matsu Jun as a trophy of battle.
Miyako whispered to the men, trying to get information from them with their last breaths. Whether they knew nothing or took the secrets to the grave, she did not know. She knew only that they took their words answered none of her questions and she slit their throats with her wakazashi. She took their scroll bags for further investigation.
With that the group returned to the Governor’s home and to the building he had designated as their quarters. Mika and Miyako retired for an hour to rest and attend to the wounds that Miyako had recieved. The other samurai set up the room to recieve court. Asahina Jun summoned the Magistrate, Matsu Jun cleaned her blade. Moshi Osano-Wo, Togashi Wei-yin and Utaku Khabob took positions in the room as guards in the room.
With Mika’s help once again Otomo Miyako felt strong and presentable. She had come to rely on the young Scorpion very much in a short time. She took her place in the court room they had set up for their groups meetings. The magistrate was there, sitting and waiting in a polite manner.
Miyako started the debriefing by explaing what had happened that afternoon, the path that led them to the maho users, and one by one, she called upon her comrades. Asahina gave witness and report of the doshin’s bravery against the ronin. He forgave them their fear against the undead.
Utaku Khabob gave a grizzly report about the dangers of both maho and undead. His words turning many of the samurai pale.
Moshi Osano-Wo gave report of how many ronin there were and their hesitation to surrender.
Soshi Mika reported about the kami’s involvment with the murder of the Crane guard and she collaborated the charges of maho against the ronin inside the inn.
Tokagure Haruki gave the third report of the maho tsuki, describing their methods and the magical powers he witnessed being fed by the caster’s own blood.
Matsu Jun showed the head of the offending leader, “For rudness to the Imperial family, using profane magics, and endangering the lives of everyone in this city, I took his head.”
The magistrate accepted these reports, at times in shock and other times in awe. Till the end, he stated simply, “Thank you very much Samurai. I will report this to the Governor.” He stood and bowed deeply as a sign of personal grattitude.
When he left, Miyako spoke to Osano-Wo, Khabob, and Haruki, “Return to the Willow district, rent a room and rest. I want you to relax, but observe what you can in the area.”
She stood to leave the room, “The Governor may not feel this is urgent, but any one can learn the ways of blood magic, we must scourge it from this city. Even if it means scourging the city itself from the face of Rokugan.” She turned to Wei-yin, Asahina Jun, and Matsu Jun. “Please start drawing up plans for battle or skirmishes. Think of many ways we can face these enemies and how we can apply the best amount of pressure.”
The three samurai in town would need direction soon. Miyako wanted to hold them in reserve in case their strength was needed soon. She also wanted to make sure the rented home was available and stocked with supplies in case the Doji keep was comprimised or the group had to leave.
She was not sure if her disicions were wise, nor did she know if she had extended past her rights, but the group needed a leader. With her in charge she was able to appoint individual samurai to lead when their strengths were needed.
For now, Mika and she needed to retire and rest. In the morning they would start to decipher the scrolls the maho-tsuki carried, destory any maho scrolls, and salvage any mystic learnings they could. Brave young Mika was a strength Miyako was learning to count on. The others were still a bit of a mystery, but she would not forget their bravery, their courage, nor their dedication to her and her honor.
On top of all that, they had a festival to participate in and that took planning as well.