May You Forever Live in Interesting Times

Entering the troubled city

Day 1

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.

Comments

Miyako stopped Khabob with a word forcing him to obey as rage and hatred for the Maho coarsed through his veins. Unable to bear the weight of the insults to both Otomo Miyako and Matsu Jun, Utaku Khabob turned to Miyako and spoke. “Otomo-Sama we willingly serve you but I humbly ask that you release us from this calm” his voice low and contrite. Several of the Scions glanced his way perhaps surprised to hear Khabob speak this way and not his normal jovial tone.

Entering the troubled city
 

As a plan was being formed a scream and a terrible sound not heard before by any of them echoed through the quiet afternoon. Several of the samurai leapt in reaction and rushed the courtyard. Utaku Khabob was the first to arrive on the scene his mighty tetsobu at the ready, on the ground before him there lay a guard with his chest cavity burst open. Raised by the Hida side of his family and having served on the wall like a Crab, Khabob was no stranger to the sight of blood magic immediately his demeanor changed gone was the laughing giant replaced with steel resolve. Khabob called forth a servant to fetch his armor and his yumi, as his eyes scanned for signs of another attack. Asahina Jun and Matso Jun soon joined Khabob searching the courtyard for intruders. Estate soldiers arrived in minutes to secure the area, the gruesome scene gave the warriors pause for a moment. Soshi Mika lead Miyako forward where they prayed over the body. Matso Jun questioned the guards about where they were and what if anything they had seen. The dead guard was a member of a lower family called the Nonami, He had just returned from an escort mission to the willow district, whom he was watching was not known to the other guards. Meanwhile 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 throat and out through his lungs and chest.

Entering the troubled city
 

“You are harboring a Maho-Tsukai within these walls and will answer to your crimes!” said Matsu Jun but Shu merely turned and walked away as the woman spoke to him the doors slamming shut on her words. Matsu Jun was infuriated, but Asahina Jun desperately tried to hold his cousin’s anger in check. The distraction that this scene was causing allowed Hakuri to maneuver himself onto the roof of a nearby building and as he readied his leap, chanting could be heard from within.

Entering the troubled city
 

Matsu Jun showed the head of the offending leader, “For rudness to the Imperial family, using profane magics, endangering the lives of everyone in this city, and insults to my person, I took his head.”

Entering the troubled city
 

Moshi Osano-Wo had found what appeared to be the center of business amongst the Ronin in the district, with many men dropping by with payments to the barkeep. After observing the barkeep and his interactions for a few hours the three men left the Geisha house and made their way down to the docks. Moshi-san wandered the length of the docks under the guise of procuring fish and supplies from the many vendors. He spoke at some length with a few fellow Mantis sailors learning that the smuggling trade was keeping honest men away. Meanwhile Utaku Khabob was surprised by a former fellow Hida Bushi Student on the dock. The man’s name was Rokurao and he had been made Ronin some years back by the Crab clan. Rokurao greeted Utaku-san warmly like they had been friends, it set Khabob aback for he had only known of this man because he was Ronin and exiled. “Brother!” exclaimed Rokurao “It has been a long time. You should come to my house and I will introduce you to my master. Noise rose from the end of the pier forcing the shady man to return from whence he had come. “Ask for Rokurao” was the last thing Khabob Heard. They procured servicesand 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.

Entering the troubled city
 

… When Miyako-sama and the others had departed, and before Doji had retired from the hall, Asahina Jun and his cousin Matsu Jun approached to speak to the man in private.

Asahina sought answers to the questions swarming in his mind; were the rumors he had heard whispered upon the hushed lips of other samurai from many nearby realms in these Crane lands true? How had the city become over-run by the ronin even under the leadership of Doji-sama? In his heart, he knew that he must know whatever Doji was willing to discuss with him. If the rumors were true, then he wanted this solved, inasmuch as possible, within the care of the Crane clan. After all, his grandfather Asahina Hiroshi would have seen to it that this chaos would not ever have stood in the Crane lands, would he not?

Inquiring boldly, Asahina-san opened his mind to Doji-sama. After asking Matsu to retire from them briefly, Doji, knowing the honor of Asahina’s father and grandfather, confirmed to him the truth of the rumors. Asahina recited the words of his grandfather in an effort to make the path of action clear, but sought to do so in a way that would not seem to scold or offend the Doji governor, and offered to help in any way possible. Despite the young samurai’s boldness, Doji appreciated the young man’s loyal offer, and after the exchange, they each went their way.

Meanwhile Utaku Khabob was making friends in the Willow District…

Entering the troubled city
 

… Asahina Jun responded aloud, proclaiming the battle oath of his family, “For the Honor of the Asahina, and of our Most Honorable Friends, the Matsu, and of all the Emerald Empire in its Glory; for their Honor’s sake, I draw my blade!” It was the first time that any of his compainion samurai had heard him proclaim this aloud. He brandished his naginata in the air, and then turned towards the men under his command. “Forward March!” He ordered the doshin forward…

Entering the troubled city
Bzaj Fleshman

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.