L5R RPG : The Shadow of Hoken

June 26th Part One

Fourteen dead.

Tsuruchi Shun bowed hastily as she strode past Konashiko, carefully pulling his flesh-rippers from Akodo armor, and tossing aside those which were no longer of use. Their strategic placement and preparations had paid off, but not without a cost. The body of the young Shiba lay lifeless along the roadside, his fingers curled towards the heavens, as if pleading to the fire kami to spare him.

“A fool,” Fumei muttered, knowing that the shugenja had taken the very blows which could have removed him from this mortal realm as well. With a small gesture he closed his eyes, lighting a small gaijing sparkler.

Disoriented, Nangen shook his head. “The magistrate Sanada warned me that I had been slandered in my absence. I sought a temporary refuge amongst the Tonbo, but I did not imagine Chuda Rintaro to have taken hold there.”

“Hot Udon lasts longer than slander,” the Hida barked, as Hideaki’s body erupted into flame. “The tales of your heinous crimes will be forgotten soon enough, old man.”

Nangen smiled, accepting the Crab’s attempt to comfort him. Others in the group seemed utterly baffled by the Hida’s lack of tact. Nangen brought his Juzu to his hands, and took a seat under an aging wisteria to meditate.

“I will utilize brevity sister, lest they become suspicious,” Minami whispered behind his fan, bowing deeply. The Akodo troops were completing their withdrawal at Kyuden Tonbo, but the threat of being overheard by their scouts was imminent.

Slight in size, the Kitsuki investigator nodded. “What exactly have you found?”

“There will be a temporary annexation of the tower, but the Imperial Court will certainly protest. I had been working to negotiate the release of the Dragonfly elders, but it appears this is all a show.”

“A show?” It was hard for Korimitsu to believe that Minami was Kitsuki at times, with his soft, diplomatic approach to things. Nonetheless, she patiently pursued her information.

“I overheard Akodo Bukarou waiting for a rogue shugenja, and a book. Almost all of the deployment and troop allocation is currently being delegated to his chief of staff.”

It was difficult for Minami to hide his emotion.

“I am not sure how much more I can do in this situation, sister.”

Korimitsu’s eyes narrowed. “A book.”

The thought of Ario making it into Dragon lands with the Tao of Fu Leng was conceivable in terms of travel time, but strategically disastrous. If he could safely make within either a Tamori or Isawa compound there may be hope. If corruption had already sunk in however…

“Oi,” Fumei grunted. “It appears that you under some sort of affliction, old man.”

Nangen opened his eyes and smiled. “When you are old as I am, young Bayushi – it is a common compliment for one to say that you appear to be cursed.”

Over the last hour, Nangen’s skin had darkened dramatically, and his robes were damp with cold sweat.

“No,” Fumei bluntly retorted. “I too am a shugenja. There is something wrong with you.”

Doji Konashiko looked on with compassion, subtly concealing her concern for her stricken ally. In her peripheral, the ronin Hozumi was introducing a large Monkey Clan bushi, as he prepared to leave in search of treatment for the Hida’s wounds.

Many rose to attention as the Kitsuki rode back into camp, eager to hear of her findings.

“Hoken may be seeking the Tao,” she said. As she dismounted however, Nangen body began to seize, as he shrunk into a fetal position. He began to call out to the Kitsuki as they moved to his aid.

“Shaitung yo,” he whispered, raising his prayer beads in the air. “The Juzu.”

Korimitsu handed the beads to Fumei, but frowned deeply. “This is beyond my ability – we are in need of someone more experienced.”

Weighing their options, the group opted to head south to the river in search of the boat meant to be used to ferry Nangen to the Spider delegation. They would attempt to then head down river to the Iuchi lands, in hopes that someone less aware of Nangen’s reputation would be able to purge Rintaro’s curse.

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Souhou and Sanada

“Ni bu nian qing le,” declared the Ide, mockingly. “You cannot evade us forever, Souhou.”

Unmoved by Sanada’s language, Souhou stared down at his friend of 20 years. Higo had a young child, and didn’t deserve to die like this.

Sanada scoffed, tugging at his reigns to ride in front of Souhou. The young magistrate stared down at the ronin, smirking with dignity and pride. The bodies of his bounty hunters however, made it slightly more comedic.

Souhou’s eyes darted up angrily. “This was a good man.”

“In the land of peasants you may be a hero, Souhou. Get out of the barley farms, and you will find that my words have made you a murderer.” The young magistrate chuckled, “A brilliant swordsman, defeated by carrier pigeons.”

“Most children are warned to ignore wild men on horseback,” Souhou remarked. He knelt to the ground, and removed his comrade’s daisho from his saya.

“Cheh!” Sanada sneered. “In my school, Higo would be considered a dog!”

“In my school, we throw our Nodachi at young men on ponies,” Souhou replied.

The magistrate paled, backing his steed slowly in horror. He tugged at a cord from his belt and tossed a small coin purse to the ground.

“I’ll give you a month to relocate your people across the river Souhou. Only a month.”
Souhou stared at the Ide, attempting to gauge his motive.

“Relocate, and your villagers will live comfortably. Stay…” Sanada glared, “Stay, I shall see that even the Crane will know you as a king of bandits.”

Souhou watched the magistrate quickly turn to ride away. He could tell that Sanada’s task was to clear these lands, and that there was no ill will toward the villagers. The fate of his reputation however, was something he was much less hopeful for.

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Group 2 - Session 3
Tori Ansatsu Jiken

The days following the attack by the tainted Mantis were spent in meditation and preparation. While Akodo-sama rested from the rigors of the previous days’ battles, the other Great Clan representatives discussed strategies, and consulted Kuni Kaizen’s wisdom about the Shadowlands and what dangers they might face within Kitsune Mori Mura. Doji-sama met with the Fox Clan representatives to reassure them of the Crane Clan’s support, reminding them that the movement of Lion troops was only at the behest and allowance of the Crane.

The day before the tournament was set to begin, the Great Clan representatives left Kitsu Kibou-sama in the capable hands of the others who would stay behind to protect the Great Clans’ interests at the Tournament of the Emperor’s Chosen. Rather than enter the forest, Bayushi –san opted to remain behind Phoenix Clansman, Isawa Tetsuya, would venture into the forest in his stead.

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Group 2 - Adventure Log 2
Session 1/23/11

Resuming the night of the previous game (5 days before the tournament) the representatives from the Great Clans met with the Lion Clan representative, Akodo Daisuke, and the Dragon Clan representative, Hoshi Kozo. Ultimately, a consensus was reached on how to best handle the newly-arrived Dragon Clan bodies that had been expelled from the forest. During the inspection, Hoshi-san illustrated his enlightened lack of concern with social norms by closely inspecting the bodies and collecting some of the strange mushrooms.

In the meantime, Akodo-sama spoke with the town marshal to further discuss the future plans for the the young ward, Kitsu Kibou. Previously, Doji-sama had convinced Ikoma-san to evict Kitsu-sama for the safety of the town, but was readily convinced the best course of action would be to house all of the Lion Clan representatives under one roof at Ikoma-san’s home.

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Group 2 - Adventure Log #1
Session 1/17/2011

Game 1 Minutes: (5 days before the tournament)
- Party met up in Meidouchi with Miya Shintarou and Daidoji Akaji. Light information gathering, but relatively uneventful.
- The party leaves for Kitsune Mori Mura to investigate Agasha Nangen’s involvement in an alleged murder ring, and arrives 1 day later.

-Kitsu Kibou is seen in the village giving a lighthearted form of entertainment to villagers who have been going through tough times. Karl frowns on the display of magic, and Charlie jumps on the opportunity to flirt (collect intel).
-Charlie seeks an appointment with Doji Nire, and finds him to be a wealthy and unsympathetic traditionalist. Nire holds Nangen in high regard.
-Josh investigates the deaths, and finds that villagers have been the primary target, rather than visitors. The deaths which occur in town have resulted in bodies missing from the mortuary.
-Conversely deaths in the forest have turned up with bodies covered in tiny white capped mushrooms.

-Moto Xian believes that Kitsu Kibou has attempted to mend differences with his family and Tsuno, and unknowingly opened an unstable rift to the Toshigoku. He requests that Charlie speak to Ikoma Kousuke, the acting marshal to find the truth.
-Chuuda Aoiko, from the eradicated Snake Clan, was available to translate Moto Xian.
-Ikoma Kousuke agrees to evict Kitsu Kibou for the betterment of the village, and places Charlie as acting marshal. The Lion also informs Charlie that Agasha Nangen has been dead for over six years.
-Karl communes with air spirits to find that Nangen is heading into the forest. Josh communes with water to see Nangen drinking from the fountain.
-Investigation of Nangen’s house shows a building whose roof has decayed, and has various plants which are typically from the depths of Shinomen Forest. Chuuda Aoiko is brought to identify them, but she ends up taking samples for herself.
-Karl and Josh take Aoiko to the undertaker’s to examine a mushroom covered body reportedly delivered by Agasha Nangen just this morning. The Chuuda places her pipe on the mushrooms, and the pipe bends as if it were a live twig. She claims that the mushrooms are an evolved form of fungus that she has never seen before.

-Two Dragon Clan bodies arrive fresh from the forest, covered in tiny mushrooms. The party plans to return the bodies to the forest and go on overwatch, to see if anything will happen to them.

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