Legend of the 5 Rings Smoking Waters

Session 25 7/12/2017

BACK IN SMOKING WATERS

Akodo Tokaji, Asako Boladai, Isawa Asano, Shiba Kasai, and Hotaro climb though a small crack in the hill and end up in ANOTHER bamboo forest. There are two moons – one half full, and one full. The rabbit in the moon is missing – the moons are completely different. No stars.

We hear no birds and no insects – but then Akodo hears an insect noise . He pads silently into a shadowed glade and finds a large carpet of flies covering a mounded up SOMETHING. We get into a huge fight with the flies and maggots. We win, but barely. The corpse is a wolf, that was killed by something from the shadowlands.

We hear a wolf’s weird angry howl, and faintly a baby’s cry. And then this weird gecko-person runs up to use in a panic, and then sees the torch and runs the other way in a panic. Isawa Asano thinks it’s a human that has succumbed to a hitsu, and is becoming a gecko. He says the woods are his domain. Says his name is Chuda Dakano. (Chuda are the snake clan, dedicated to combating Maho from Isawa Chuda. But clan faded away a few centuries ago.) He can lead us to the O-Kami. The bear spirit that was here is dead, likely at the hands of the O-Kami.

We’re going to walk along the ridgeline, near Tanuki territory. Involves a lot of climbing. Slept really well and are very refreshed. It never gets full daylight, but gets to a lighter darkness.

4 XP
3 XP to Ben for dinner
3 XP to DJ for sour cherry cake

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Session 24 6/28/2017

The bandits demand Doji Bakuto and have no reason to let the rest of us go. Rather than submit to the bandits Doji Bakuto commits seppuku perfectly, and Asako Fumio takes his head. We wait in the road for peasants to come by.the illusion cloaking the thickets fades away, revealing a tiger trap. Isawa Mattyu strides over to talk to the air kami. The kami reveal that the horsewoman leader was called a psychopath, a murderous whore, and Kooga.

Shugenja looks like a distinctive man with scars down one side of his face. (Tanemono). Ronin shugenja, notoriously active on all sides of the clan war. Burned up by weird Dragon alchemy. Murdered Dragon prisoners out of hand. Scars attractive opponents.

The leader Kooga has some scars and a very plain faced. Resting rage face (Kuga).

We find out that all but one horse were illusions. Mark the trail where the ashigaru went into the bush.

When we get to Kyuden Asako, the gates are shut and a guard captain must be summoned. It’s Shiba Nakuto. He asks us questions to confirm our identity. An assassin was killed inside Isawa Shingen’s house, outside his chamber doors. It looked just like his secretary. When killed the body turned to ash. This happened 3 days ago, warning was sent 5 days ago.

When Shiba Hatchi gets home, a lovely young woman is singing his wife a funny song and playing the samisen. His wife is super chummy with the young woman and giggling. The young woman is very conscientious, and draws him a bath. His wife is convinced he is with the young woman and he has NEVER EVER seen her. His wife is mad and throws him out of the bedroom. He goes to sleep as the young woman sings him a song. In the morning, Shiba Hatchi and she come to the agreement that her name was Tsubaki.

Asako Fumio finds a young woman, a servant, poking around in her room. The woman says the chief servant has her carry a letter to Asako Fumio’s room and fluff it up for her return. She says she thinks it’s from Asako Fumio’s lover. A note in a somewhat familiar hand. I deny your charge that the baby is mine. It’s immensely insulting. It’s in a fancy calligraphy. She identifies it as Doji Bakuto’s hand.

Lady Ayame sees Shiba Fumiko. She got the message and warned Isawa Shingen.

Agasha Hotaka goes to check in with Yoritomo Nasue. The Yorotomo offer a formal friendship with the Agasha. Doji Inoue aggressively chats up Agasha Hotaka.

Isawa Mattyu got bills. LOTS of bills. 200 koku of bills.
Accepted: Yasuki Takai, Whole Crane delegation. Isawa Tsuko, Shinjo Todaji, Shiba Takeshi and Shiba Fumiko, Miya Haruka, Katsuki Jukoe, Bayushi Taka. Shosuro Ken, the Shosuro from the road. Shosuro Tasuya. The Shosuro have an open invitation.
Declined: Isawa Shingen, Asako declined – they have duties here.

Shiba Nakuto interviews us in the morning after his game of go. Asako Kaiten is there as well. The Crane are wroth, and we are told to stay in the area until the crane are satisfied.

Merchants assure Isawa Mattyu verifies that FUCKING TEIKO charged all the bills to Smoking Waters.

Ten days to the Bon festival. Courtiers are setting out in five days. Three days to get to Smoking Waters.

Lady Ayame takes her leave.

3 XP for Ben for dinner
1 XP for Ben for music
3 xp for Paige for sake
3 xp for DJ for fancy cookies

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Session 23 5/24/2017

At the Two Bucket at Kyuden Asako. Our mission was to settle down Isawa Kaho.

Shiba Nakano (general), Asako Kaiten (plays go every day). Shiba Hachi tries to tempt Asako Kagura into coming to Kyuden Asako for winter court. In the process, he finds out that Isawa Kaho seems to be of much more settled mind.

Lady Ayame believes that getting the maid Isawa Kurenai to get her into see Isawa Kaho. Isawa Kurenai usually goes out in the morning to get things for her lady from the market in the morning.

We make it to Tranquility by sunset and it’s bustling. A permanent theater is being constructed. Shiba Hatchi’s dad is talking to a statuesque scorpion woman in a form fitting kimono. Nearby is a wiry young man with a no-datchi with his daisho.

Shiba Tadashiro is helping build the theater in Tranquility. He says that there’s going to be a huge Bon festival in Smoking Waters with hundreds of monks chanting and fireworks and luminaries. He also says his patroness is Shosuro Tasuya.

Leave the next day. Get to Compassion around noon. Scorpion (Shosuro) are building a warehouse. Are given samples from Dr. Han’s House of Ten Thousand Remedies.

Shiba Hatchi spends a half koku.
Asako Fumiko spends FOUR koku.

He says he’s a master of exorcisms. Can drive off trickster spirits and can drive out hungry dead. We invite him to Smoking Waters. He also knows of the Bon festival.

As we get back towards the castle, a howling bulb arrow streaks towards us from behind, and six calvary are in front of us, and six archers to our south/left 50 yards away.

They yell “leave the Crane, and the rest of you may pass…”

Do we fight? Do we run?

And that’s where we stopped.

3 XP for adventure
1 XP for journal
3 XP Thank you DJ for SOUP!
4 XP thank you Ben for champagne and music!
3 XP Thank you Paige for mochi!

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Session 22 4/19/2017

Isawa Mattyu thinks the shugenja Shiba Hachi sold his ass to is Isawa Obito. The presumptive new master of air.

In Tranquility, Isawa Mattyu meets up with the Shrine Maiden of the Bamboo Princess Shrine. The Shine Maiden says that she thinks the young woman is mostly sad. The pregnant woman was ill and was in the care of Old Baba, but came to the shrine to ask where she could get her child blessed or purified. She suggested a spring in the Isawa Mori that the woodcutters could guide her to.

Isawa Mattyu calls up an earth spirit to question. It says that two riders came by.

We ride to a small village with wheat fields, rice paddies, and vegetable gardens. There is a field of flowers. The road splits northeast and northwest. Tiger Lilly Village. Their major cash crop is lilies for ikebana.

A couple of villagers come this way. They say a young girl and her protector came through yesterday. They headed northeast to the village of Ten Thousand Fragrances taking crazy old Tuko, a ginseng hunter. They intended to go to the Isawa Mori, which the peasants all know is haunted. The village of Ten Thousand Fragrances is a leatherworking village peopled by Eta.

There is a large village with large herds of cattle. True to it’s name, we smell Ten Thousand Fragrances, and ALL of them are bad. The young woman and her protector came through looking for Old Tuko yesterday. We make our gruesome way through town. Leads us to a path that will take us to Old Tuko’s. The Isawa Mori is about 10 miles away.

There are astrological symbols on the sides of the house to count the equinox. Small pond with a weyr. The house is small and neat and well stocked. Tucco is long gone – as is his daisho.

Isawa Matyu notices a stream which we suspect may lead to the sacred pond, and attempted to converse with it. With a spell, Matyu was able to see the shugenja – who appears to be a man! – and the servant woman. And Tucco, the guide, who dresses in shorts, a bamboo cape, and a big pack. He appears to be a jolly fellow. The two riders follow as Tucco guides. Next, he asks of the spring of where the spring that is good for children is, and it shows us a fish that makes the journey along the stream until it hilts a very silty area. Clearly all we must do is follow the path.

As for what happened to make the silt happen, it appears as if the corrupt Okami have ruined the spring. There were three different visions: one of a child being blessed, one of a collapsed human being pulled away from the water by an okami – seems like someone was killed at the pond to pervert its magic, then the water started to become corrupted, and then a child was dunked into the corrupt water which caused it to turn red.

We decide to go into the forest with only a few hours of daylight left. We cross the stream and head along. After about an hour and a half, we hear someone up ahead – an old man singing about how he has not corrupted the land. We roll up on him. Tucco says that he led the shugenja and the woman to the spring, but found that the spring was no more, and decided to head back southeast. We ask Tucco to take us to the spring, but he says we are not pure. And the way to the blessed spring is no more, and the spirits have fled this land. He does not seem to desire much of anything other than an almanac.

Eventually, he leads us up to where the stream was. He says that he led the pregnant woman to the spring, but did not accompany her. She never returned.

We get to where the spring was, and it’s just a bowl with smooth stones and no sign of where the water came from. Tucco claims that the water just fell from the sky.

Matyu summoned forth an earth spirit, who said the connection to the spirit realm has been severed here. The only way to help is to open the portal, which was closed from the other side. Which can only be reopened by a being of great power by sacrificing themselves. As for the motive – “better a few flowers should die than the whole forest.”

Shiba Hachi coaxed a giant firefly to work with us, and Isawa Matyu found a dried bloodstain that was a markedly different consistency from the rest of the dried pond area. It is crumbly and ashy in that area. The closest we can figure is it is like when the kuni purge the taint from an area. The dirt looks like it would never be able to support life. It seems like the blood tainted the land, and then the taint was purged. We had Tucco lead us out of the forest, and we rested a bit outside the forest before we needed to decide if we would head to Tranquility or if we would head to Kyuden Asako directly.

We get back to Tranquility (to get back to the main road) shortly before dusk. We get rested and cleaned, and then head back to Kyuden Isawa since that is where we think that the man in the broad brimmed hat and the handmaiden went. In the morning, the innkeeper comes and a says a woman was asking after Shiba Hachi, who was naked and beautiful. The innkeeper’s wife came and shooed her away and lashed him for the beautiful, shapely naked woman. Shiba Hachi told the innkeeper to tell the woman where he was going and where he lived. The innkeeper accepted a gift to stay quiet.

We get to Kyuden Isawa two hours before sundown because we get food to go from Tranquility and press on through Wisdom. We come to find that the Mantis have returned from Soaring Gull, and the board with the rules on it has been torn down. Among them is Yoritomo Hanako, who previously got into a fight and fled before all the stuff could be torn down.

The Yoritomo are drinking, playing games, singing loudly, and breaking all the rules. The innkeeper is very nervous that a big fight is going to happen between the Yoritomo and Isawa. We heard that the guy with the big hat is headed toward Soaring Gull. The man, named Zabuto the Hound, is a ronin bounty hunter. He has been hired plenty of times by clan samurai. When he passed through, he was in a fine mood when he set off with a caravan this morning.

The Shiba arrive, but Hanako pulls out a piece of paper and they leave angrily. Later, the hatamoto comes and speaks with Hanako, and the hatamoto declares that the daimyo of the Phoenix has extended hospitality to the Mantis and they are to stay at the Two Bucket to all of their custom until their local storehouses and homes are rebuilt in Kyuden Isawa. Of course Doji Bakuto speaks up and says he is glad because they are dumb rules, which got a good glare out of the hatamoto and a cheer from the Mantis. Shortly after, the hatamoto and his posse leave, and the place erupts into party, and Doji Bakuto is celebrated. Lady Ayame also performs and expands her information network.

Lady Ayame finds out:
Yoritomo Kasue is a good man, a great merchant, and an honorable man.
She also speaks to the captain, who is interested in bedding Doji Bakuto. The Peacock’s mother was a Crane. The captain offers us berth on a ship if it isn’t much of a problem or inconvenience for her. Zabuto became shipless Mantis when he killed his Mantis captain. Zabuto’s still a good tracker, and never known to short change a business partner or break his word. The captain mentions that Zabuto had a taste for the sea again, and is heading toward the Mantis Isles. Zabuto is not really a ronin.
She pimps out Doji Bakuto to Yoritomo Hanako “Mama cat has a ball of string.”

After a wild and passionate night, Doji Bakuto finds out…
“What’s the deal with the Moshi Tetsu?” They are the powerful shugenja who are the smiths of the Mantis Clan. She can’t think of anyone who would have an animosity against them. They live on the Iron King Island.

After he asks that, she seems more distant despite the advice to “Tongue pound her tuna box!” To which Doji Bakuto tells her about the shipment of lodestones that went missing, which is a big deal for them. After he says that, Yoritomo Hanako gets up and calls over three sailors, and they go off privately.

Doji Bakuto is grilled by the captain and the sailors about what happened, and spills the beans: the Peacock asked his associate Nasue to bring a shipment of lodestones to Kyuden Asako so he could show them to Phoenix shugenja so the Peacock could get the Phoenix to learn their secrets or how to find more in Phoenix lands. Then that Nasue was captured by the ronin, and then there was supposedly a mantis involved – when it is revealed about the weird way the shugenja spoke and her leather slicker, it sounds a lot like a Moshi Tetsu.

After some time, The Captain asks that we do not share this information until the captain talks to the Peacock.

The Mantis monopoly on lodestones gives them the mastery of the sea that they enjoy. Only one ship in 20 has a lodestone, and have a great strategic and military importance to the Mantis.

And after that peace is reached, the Mantis strongmen fuck off so that Yoritomo Hanako and Doji Bakuto can lay pipe. When the three Mantis return, the party goes back into full swing.

The old fart Phoenix eventually come in and the party grows.

+1 XP for a log
+3 XP for Ben for dinner
+3 XP for Paige for dinner
+3 XP for DJ for dessert
+1 XP for Ben for music

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Session 21 4/12/2017

Shiba Hachi apparently was looking into the bandit captain. He came into town in a good mood with two horses, but no woman. No mantis in town, enclave torn down. Yoritomo Hanako, bum leg. Mantis leader prior to the purge..

Visit the eta. Number 10 Ox explained what happened and a couple of goat proves that the guy was probably killed with short curved blade slitting his throat.

The town peasants indicate Mantis and Phoenix had a shouting match because the Isawa wanted to destroy the Mantis warehouses and goods. Yoritomo Hanako belted a Phoenix magistrate, possibly Isawa Zanpachi. The Phoenix went for reinforcements and the Manits GTFO. The Phoenix tore down the Mantis enclave.

Isawa Kaho is closeted, dealings through her maid Isawa Kuranai. She came by a month ago. She was in a good mood, but her mood soured after arrival and asking around about people who knew her husband. Then she quit talking to people and her maid started going around asking questions of rough actors – ronin, Mantis, the Shosuro. She left going west toward Kyuden Asako. a day or two ago with an unknown figure. He sold them the dead ronin’s horses.

Doji Bakuto think that the murder was done to specifically taint the Mantis enclave.

Doji Bakuto thinks that maybe Isawa Shingen asked his old master for alabaster for statuary when each of his three children was born. He asked for a fourth one about a year ago. He was out in the field with the wars a year ago, presumably near Toshi Ranbo. We could go back to talk to Isawa Jigen and see if he has the letter still.

The earth kami at the murder scene were banished at the time of the murder.

Asako Kagura talked to Doji Bakuto and wants the murder solved so that the restrictions were lifted.

There is a discussion of what Doji Bakuto should talk to Isawa Kaho about. They have tea. Doji Bakuto bombs out big time, alienating Isawa Kaho. She says that she’s already taken care of the matter of her husband. Shiba Hachi freaks and immediately goes to the palace to find a Master of Air who will have the air kami transfer a message to Shiba Takeshi.

Shiba Fumiko, I celebrate the care and protection the Shiba have always given our guests.

He doesn’t give his name. Shiba Hachi knows this a problem for later. He asks Shiba Hachi to keep a paper swan on his person.

A big discussion is had about what to do. We need to try to solve the murder for Asako Kagura, because we’re humped with regards to Shiba Fumiko’s request. She suggests we go to Soaring Gull, a Mantis town on the coast. Asako Fumiyo says that she has to go to Shiro Shiba to return the swords.

One day’s ride to Shiro Shiba. It’s a good road but rainy and blustery. Shiro Shiba is a very sturdy forces. Evidence of explosions and battle magic. Monks are performing rituals and peasants are digging up stuff. There are many military camps and finding the Rushing Winds are easy to find.

Taller than average woman with broad shoulders. She’s strong and had a deep voice.. Walked with a bandy legged gait. Broad brimmed hat and a shiny cloak and boots that repelled water. She had a mushy accent. She never gave a name.

We have a terrible realization that maybe SHE is the one in the broad brimmed hat headed to Kyuden Isawa…

We fetch Agasha-san out of the drink and head out the next morning.

As we head back, in WIsdom we hear the maid and the woman in the broad brimmed hat asked about a pregnant woman named Shiba Hitome. Hitome was 5 months pregnant, traveling on foot. About 20 years old. She was a warrior and carried the Daisho. She had a fever and it didn’t respond to medicines. Baba suggested Hitomi seek the blessing of the Bamboo Princess. Tranquility is even busier. There’s more samurai and more acts (jugglers, fire tamers, animal show). We find out that the Asako Jigen and the Broad Brimmed Hat went north after talking to midwives in Tranquility.

Talk to midwives (there are 3).
And figure out why Asako Jigen went north.

3 XP
1 XP for the log
3 XP for Ben for home made potstickers
3 XP for DJ for soup
3 XP for Paige for Phoenix cakes

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Session 20 - 4/5/17

We begin in the town outside of Kyuden Isawa, where we are staying at the Two Bucket Inn. We are faced with the challenge of either using proper or backchannels to reach the Isawa Kaho. We think we could reach Asako Kagura to discover what is going on. Conveniently Ayame plays Go and Shogi, so she could work her way in so we can discover what is going on.

The first murder ever at Kyuden Isawa occurred a few days ago and the Isawa in charge are dismayed about how it puts a stain on the castle.

As we talk about what to do, a bunch of old Isawa men come into the inn to play games and be rambunctious. Ayame goes to play games, and Fumiyo, Hotaka, and Bakuto go to learn how to play Go and Shogi while we chat the older Phoenix up.

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Doji Bakuto chats up the older types about the Isawa woman, who reveal that she has been asking around about the teachers of the artisans (physical, crafty types). Before the murder, she used to send her servants about – her head servant is named Isawa Kurunai. We find out Kagura is here, and Doji Bakuto goes to approach her.

They play a game of go, and she beats him soundly. As they play, Bakuto finds out she is a canny courtier. Kagura offers to set up an interview with Kaho. We take her up on that, and Kagura asks Bakuto to do what we can to loosen up all the rules that the Isawa hatamoto, Isawa Zanpachi has instituted. Of course, this means to investigate the murder, and come back to talk to her when we know something. She’s set us up to meet Kaho day after tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning, we are meeting a guardsmen for breakfast who may have information about the murdered ronin. We play games for a while and then go to sleep.

In the morning, we are invited to the Orchid Room for breakfast, where there is a woman to meet us but declines to introduce herself for propriety and honor. She tells us that she is concerned her superiors are in the wrong as they have not investigated the murder and were more involved with removing the body and cleansing the area.
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She tells us that seven days ago, a cry went up near the Two Bucket Inn where a body was discovered by a wagon driver. The guard was called, and when the captain arrived (she was the sergeant on duty). They found the body of a man in his early 40s, lying face down with his throat cut from ear to ear, between two warehouses. His daisho, undrawn, was still on him. The guards did not find any tracks on the hard ground. There was a spray on blood on the left hand wall consistent with a throat slitting. After the guard secured the scene, they were joined by shugenja, who made sure the body was taken away – and the shugenja asked the spirits about the murder. The shugenja said that the spirits said no murder has happened here, so that the body was moved – which was against the blood spray but the shugenja were beyond reproach.

Quickly after, eta took the body to be burned. We find out where the eta village is. We find out the names of the shugenja who came to investigate – Isawa Higaraki and Isawa Asuma – the number of shugenja for this is a wide list, so it is highly unlikely they were in on it. The warehouses where the body was found were both torn down, and started the whole deconstruction effort in town.

The man had an old daisho – very well used and well-maintained. He had old, worn clothes that looked like it frequently had armor over it. Old and well-used sandals with thick socks. Left-handed. High shaved head like a lion samurai. The wound was very gaping, from ear to ear.

If we need more information from the guardswoman, we can get a note to her through Kagura. She leaves through the side door.

We have suspicions that the same shugenja who banished the spirits while we were searching for the ronin company. Ayame plans to go speak to the eta, and invites anyone to come with her. We also plan to talk to Yoritomo Kasue about the ronin who held him captive to get an idea of what the leader of the bandits was named and looked like. His name was Genki – he was short, hair in the lion style, with thick soc—- ah fuck, he was the guy who got killed. We suspect that he was killed over the lodestones that were stolen from Kasue.

Kasue tells us is he heading on to Kyuden Asako. The goods in the Yoritomo warehouse disappeared when the warehouse was torn down, so he finds himself at a loss and needs to leave town. Of course, the Mantis warehouses were where Genki was killed, and had to be razed following the murder. Yoritomo Hanako, the Mantis clan factor of Mantis stuff in Kyuden Isawa was run out of town following some kind of brawl. She was run off to Soaring Gull Port.

Yoritomo Kasue leaves town, and we gain him as an ally – 1 point of influence and 4 points of devotion.
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We split up – Doji Bakuto, Isawa Matyu, and Agasha Hotaka go to investigate the crime scene. There are four monks doing cleansing meditations and chants to clean the stain of murder around the area.
Matyu summons up a earth kami, and the kami has been there for less than seven days. The kami lets Matyu know that he is not particularly bothered, like there is no taint in the area.

Ayame and Asako Fumiyo go to meet with the eta.
Eta town is made of recent construction. The eta elders come to meet with us, and Fumiyo has Ayame speak to the eta about the murder. Ayame says she is an associate of the deceased, and they take us to where his things are and then they fuck off to watch. We find in his belongings his daisho, some shuriken, a jar of dapper dan, a few bu and zeni, and a few other items. We take the items with the plan for Fumiyo to return them to the ronin.

We meet up and share information. Matyu investigates the sword, but finds that the spirit in it has been purged as well. We decide to divine for a direction, and Hotaka breaks the wood to get direction on stone, wisdom, and children. We decide this may mean we need to speak to a sculptor.

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Lady Isawa Kaho sends a note to invite Doji Bakuto to join her for tea at three bells.

Fumiyo goes to speak to the Two Buckets innkeeper about sculptors and how to get into the castle. We go to get purified and enter the castle. We go to the gates, and are purified by monks and allowed into the castle area. Once inside, we are greeted by a functionary who takes us to the artisan district. We are guided to speak to a stonesmith apprentice, Miho, and Bakuto works his wiles. We find out that Isawa Kaho has come by three times to find Isawa Jigen, an old, blind, master artisan.

We go to see Jigen, who is in his little hut working away, and of course he immediately latches on to Ayame. Ayame says she is a friend of Kaho, and Jigen reveals that Isawa Shingen was a student of his a long time ago before he became a general. When Kaho found out about a request of Shingen’s of Jigen, she was very sad. Jigen also says that Shingen was a tender soul before he joined the Shiba. The request was for an alabaster rod, which would signify he had a child – this would be the fourth rod he requested, but he is only known to have three children. Which reveals A BASTARD! Jigen asks us to convey a message to Shingen when next we see him. He impresses upon Fumiyo and Ayame small stone figurines – to Fumiyo a kingfisher about to dive made of ivory, and to Ayame a hairpin in the shape of a dogwood blossom.

Fumiyo gets Hotaka to show Jigen the cobblestone, and he is most impressed with it. He says the weight of destiny is heavy on it.

That night, we hang out with the old samurai again, and the next day we think about how to continue our investigation.

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Thanks to DJ for the food
Thanks to Ron for sake
Thanks to Ben for music and dessert

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Session 19 3/29/2017

Various shenanigans occur. You don’t want to know.

The next morning comes easily. Yoritomo Nasue leaves his wagons in Wisdom and heads into Kyuden Isawa. He recommends Two-Bucket Inn because it’s boisterous and fun. It’s very large and has accommodations for up to 200 people.

We set off with Yoritomo Nasue and he’s good company. He recommends noodle shops and teahouses. Court is very formal and spends their time on high matters. They’ve been serious about restoring peace in the empire. Isawa Zanpachi was proper, stern, and strict. Isawa Kaho? Maybe he saw her train as she was coming to take residence in the palace. Bunch of Crane merchants shuttling between the port and Kyuden Isawa. Fistfights with the Mantis merchants because they’re after the same contracts.

On the road meet a couple of cowardly Lions that insinuate that Lady Ayame is a prostitute and that she’ll be fined in the city as law and order is being restored. Run into Phoenix and Unicorn laughing it up on the way out of the city. They’re drunk and they say that Isawa Zanpachi has outlawed drinking (fighting, gambling, music, girls, dueling, and noise.)

One of the Unicorn says “we’re gonna go see our lady. Our lady is back and yours isn’t coming back.” He says that Lady Shinjo is back and she’s pissed off. Rallying all the Unicorn out in the desert somewhere. Shiba Kiba (of the broken nose) says that they’ll be at Tranquility watching the show.

We get to Kyuden isawa. It’s a big monastery looking palace with many temples. The town outside of the wall is being torn down – with shugenja. The Two-Bucket Inn is outside the wall and and people are building a wooden wall around the cluster of buildings that is the Inn. A small merchant town has been isolated from the surrounding town. There are farming villages a couple miles away. There are small squad of Isawa troops come up and ask our business. We leave the explaining to Isawa Mattyu. (Our mission to recover Isawa Kaho is secret.)

They let us know that the Rule of Harmony has been reinstituted. The rules are on the city wall and at the Two-Bucket Inn. Yoritomo Nasue says that this is pretty sudden, but that it’s not entirely unexpected. It used to be a monastery. All kinds of peasants and notes go back and forth through the wall.

No drinking, gambling, no loud noises, no fighting, no dueling.
No music after dark.
You must be purified at the gate to come inside the walls.
No weapons inside the walls except for guardians on duty.
Plus fidgety rules about prayers and proper conduct.

Inside the Two-Bucket Inn, Yoritomo Nasue is everybody’s best friend.

Fumiyo takes drinks with Nasue and friends, and finds out the inciting incident for the recent unpleasantness – murder most foul! A body was found the morning eight days ago. Despite the war this is the first violent death in Kyuden Isawa in forever. The ronin’s throat was slit. Isawa Zanpachi has decided that this has polluted the whole place so he’s purging all negative influences. They were seriously thinking about abandoning the place. (The Shiba have kept the war away from Kyuden Isawa, often at great personal cost during the war).

About 10 pm a bunch of old farts in Phoenix colors come in. They are somewhat rowdy compared to the crowd.

+1 XP to all for a log
+3 XP to DJ for awesome Korean tacos
+3 XP to Ben for Sake
+3 XP to Paige for Crane Cakes
+1 XP to Ben for music

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Session 18 3/22/2017

We identified 3 ambush spots. The first location yielded nothing but that the lode stones had moved by.

North, rolling hills and plains. To the south, in the distance, a green furze of vegetation. Midway between Tranquility and Wisdom about 5 pm (1-2 hours before sunset). Thickets and dells might hide people. Sarnai finds a game trail with only 3 days of deer tracks. What kept them off the trail? Isawa Mattyu summons an earth spirit on the north side of the road and asks it two questions.

How long since lodestones have been by? It cannot answer because it has not been here long.
How long have you been here? Four days. #banishment, AHA!

Story of Bamboo Princess – Woodcutter cuts down bamboo and finds a baby. The couple raise her and she’s beautiful. The parents marry her off to a jealous suitor who locks her in a tower. She and the land start dying. The suitor lets her go and she ascends to heaven and blesses the land. Beauty is meant to be shared. Metaphor for spring. Her main ability was softening hearts hardened by selfishness and greed.

Agasha Hotaka casts a divination by beating wood to a pulp and reading the fortunes in the splinters. He suggests going south. We go a couple hundred yards to the south and Isawa Mattyu calls up an earth spirit.

A figure of bracken and brambles rises from the ground. Four of the stones which love iron have gone south, and four have gone east in the days since. These were the same stones and they were carried with great haste. They circled around the edge of my domain carried by eight feet.

One lodestone is a worth kobune (trade ship) and four lodestones is enough to buy a manor and lands.

Original caravan was three carts, each pulled by two oxen, three drivers and Yoritomo Kasume.

Do we head south to recover Yoritomo Kasume? Or east to recover the lodestones? Sarnai and Shoto find a trail of cart tracks.

We sleep rough, keeping watches. In the morning there are calisthenics and everything is frosted over.

The trail goes to steep bluffs and there is a canyon that would otherwise be hard to spot. Find a ronin camp for “The Rushing Winds”. They have horses and a couple dozen tents. Camp discipline is lax.

Leave to go get the party. Come back and walk up to the camp. The camp scrambles onto immediate war footing. A man and a woman agree to parley with Doji Bakuto, Asako Fumio, and Lady Ayame.. The scarred woman is ostensibly in charge. She calls Doji Bakuto a Crane dog and says she’s unwilling to cross her most recent employer by dealing with Crane. She might think the war is still going on.

Sakake Gunso of the Rushing Winds Company. Her aide is Left-Ear. She says she’s acting commander while the officers are on the road. She offers to send a letter to his family asking for ransom. She says that she doesn’t believe talk of the new emperor or peace. She calls bushido an antiquated tradition when Fumio challenges her to a duel. She says she knows the value of the people that are her guests. She also says that she’s unwilling to work with the enemies of her most recent employer. Lady Ayame knows that the most vicious fighting was between the Mantis and the Crane. She confirms that she took the caravan and that her patron says they were stolen and she is returning them (also indicates that her employer is female).

Lady Ayame invokes the Bamboo Princess and a breeze ruffles her hair. (She has 5 raises on her next roll to convince someone to be generous.) Lady Ayame makes an eloquently sincere speech. Sakake says we can confer with her guest and she will negotiate in the morning.

Lady Ayame and Shiba Hachi walk in to camp and to a man that looks a lot like Yoritomo Nasue. He talks loudly and gestures by hand signals that he was betrayed and he doesn’t know by whom. (He uses a secret hand signal language.) He’s very concerned for his men and says they must come with him too.

Sakake shows Lady Ayame and Shiba Hachi their quarters for the evening. They send a runner to our camp to get Lady Ayame’s biwa (and see two Unicorns, two phoenix, a crane, and a dragon hanging out). Shiba Hatchi is funny, ingratiating, and pours sake. Lady Ayame takes Sakake’s measure. She wants to take care of her men. She is angry that the empire has gone from a path of strength to a path of dissolution and decadence. She has a personal animosity towards the Crane. She is worried that the captain might not come back, and has been seduced by their employer.

Next morning, Lady Ayame talks Sakake into selling them Yoritomo Kasue, his men, his carts, and his oxen. He wants to go to Tranquility.

On the road, Kasue tells his tale. He’s been carrying goods back and forth with no problems. He was carrying lodestones to the Phoenix from the Mantis isles so that the masters of earth could learn more about them. The Rushing Winds seized them. A hooded woman cast a spell. He thinks she might have been a Moshi Windcaller. (Was this the female mantis that the ronin were working for?) She didn’t seem at home in the saddle. Spend a good deal of the ride in conversation with Sakake (not Sakaki, the captain-db). Immediately took lodestones and left the next morning and rode out (eight feet). Without the captain camp discipline became lax. While lodestones are valuable finding a buyer is hard. The Crane have tried to learn the secrets of compasses. He’s not sure why a member of the Mantis would do this. He says he has no particular enemies. It is a significant loss. Agrees to go to Wisdom because it’s closer to our errand and that way he can offer thanks to the Bamboo Princess.

We roll in after dark to the young man with a lantern and a spear. We get into an inn. Lady Ayame and Nasume settle their business and provides a letter to Kasume saying he was ransomed for 40 koku. There is also a letter to the Rushing Winds for 30 koku (for his oxen, carts, and goods).

Lady Ayame has a dim memory of the name Raddish. Hatchi confirms that poor Raddish was into smuggling. 5,000 koku worth of Jade Tea, enough to keep one person safe for years.

Thank you Ben for stir fry +3 XP
Thank you Paige for sake +3 XP
Thank you DJ for cookies +3 XP
Thank you Ben for music +1 XP
Thank you Paige for a log +1 XP

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Session 17 2017 03 15

Things to do:
1. Recover Isawa Kaho for Shiba Fumiko – either help her figure out her problems and deal with it or calm her down.
2. Find the missing caravan Yoritomo Nasue – might be just late. Has lodestones.
3. Bayushi Taka – just wants to know whats in the caravans. Asako Fumiko and Doji Bakuto believe that it is in their best interest to do this because he knows stuff about them.

Utaku Sarnai (young woman who bragged she could ride to Smoking Waters in a day) and Shoto (storyteller).

Three villages on the way, Compassion, Tranquility, and Wisdom. Tranquility is the nice one. Set out on the road. The Unicorn are very wary.

Two ronin merchants notice the party on the road. They have a ribbon from the Emperor’s coronation robe and a cobblestone that was the first he stepped on after he became Emperor. Agasha Hotako buys the cobblestone for 10 koku. The ronin is a shugenja. He casts the I-Ching. Says that we are on a mission of intrigue and the hands that shaped the stone hold the answer.

We get to Compassion on the road later. Has warehouses and a couple of tea houses. Also a carpenter, smith, and wainwright. The wainwright is likely the wealthy man in town because of the wagon business. Doji Bakuto checks in on Yoritomo Kasue. (Lady Ayame suspects that Kasue is a brother to Nasue).

Isawa Zanpachi is the Major Domo who runs the castle. He’s been really cracking down on everything. Run out the ronin and a bunch of peasants. Trying to get back to peace and quiet. Forbidden dueling. A crab and unicorn were publicly flogged for fighting.

At the wainwright’s, we discover a busy shop. She knows Kasue. He had an axel replaced last month. She says she hasn’t seen him since he bought lunch 15 days ago on the way to Kyuden Asako. This is backed up by other merchants and the headman.

Make Tranquility by nightfall. Walled manor house. Symbolic gate where they ask for our papers. 2 samurai inns and 3 merchants. One inn is phoenix (Quiet Pool of Reflection), and the other is for everyone else (Wayfarer’s Rest). Theres a grilled fish place along a small river. Yoritomo Kasue was here just about 2 weeks ago. New garrison commander is collecting taxes for the Isawa. There is going to be a play tonight. Kabuki style and people are excited. Probably a gambit by the commander to distract from the taxes. There are stands for a small number of people. Few guards nearby. The play is good and the intermission is taiko drumming. The second act is wild and makes not sense. Lady Ayame makes friends with the family of Shosuro. Isawa Zanpachi expedited their travel by boat. They’re telling people that they’ll be here for a week.

Lady Ayame offers to trade gossip with the Shosuro. She gives up the info on Yasuki Takai and they say a high ranking lady’s servant came to them and offered them four digits of koku to assassinate someone. They don’t say who. They do mention that it’s gotten a lot more restrictive at Kyuden Isawa.

Asako Kagura – a fixer in Kyuden Asako. Retired courtier. Permanent seat at a Go emporium where the old farts hang out. Respects people that can give her a good game. The innkeep’s brother in law runs the Two-Bucket inn. Outside the city walls. Recommended to Lady Ayame.

The night passes uneventfully. Wake up and get grilled fish to go. Sarnai and Shoto want to gallop a bit to get ahead of the pack. Road to ourselves until midday until we meet people coming from Wisdom. We get to Wisdom just about midday. Surrounded by bamboo groves. See a stone tower among the bamboo. Find out that Yoritomo Kasue was here 6 days ago. Two inns (samurai and merchant), wainwright, teahouse, and restaurant. Stone pillar suggest there is a shrine nearby. See a Shosuro and an Isawa chatting at the restaurant. They perk up when Yoritomo Kasue is mentioned. Shosuro Ken introduces himself and macks on Lady Ayame (he’s Bayushi Taka’s brother in law). Says he’s a friend of Yoritomo Kasue. The other is Isawa Heihachi.

At the inn Asako Fumio at the inn finds out that Yoritomo Kasue was here 6 days ago.

At the shrine of the Bamboo Princess Isawa Mattyu and Lady Ayame get the blessing of the Bamboo Princess. Divination: the man you seek is alive and well, but his fate hangs by a gold thread. He is somewhere high, but not cold. Dark, but open to the sky.

We head out back towards Wisdom. While we find nothing, Isawa Mattyu talks to rocks. This is an ambush spot, but hasn’t been used recently. They did sense lodestones go by.

Thank you Ben for sake +3 XP
Thank you Ben for music +1 XP
Thank you Paige for bao +3 XP
Thank you DJ for dinner +3 XP

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Shadowrun Anarchy Interlude

It’s Thanksgiving in NYC. Everyone has a reason to get out of town. Happy Jack calls everyone. The Johnson wants to meet us at the Soybucks at Grand Central Station. He will have a white hat and blue flower in his lapel. Gives a round-trip ticket to Vladivostok and gives us the name of a guy who can get our guns aboard.

Hardpoint – dwarf rigger, sunglasses and a big coat
Kix – elf razorgirl, fetishwear and gloves and tats
Coydog – elven coyote shaman, hippie throwback
Bit-bucket – ork decker with some serious attitude
T-Rex – small arms dealer, dapper with a gatorhide jacket

The Johnson buys us coffee and says that the job is to retrieve something someone on the train has. We agree to take the job and he explains. A student of his has stolen some research material. Work on improved firewalls for comments. He stole the prototype and erased the research notes. Sends us a com photo of a young, clean cut Asian guy with a data jack. Toshiro Owada, a grad student. Bonus for live recovery – a new firewalled comlink. Erika elite comlink and any other data files should be returned. He gives us a comcode to contact him.

Rico the baggage handler stacks up our illicit goods and gives us the info for his man Snoopy. Snoopy will be able to get us our gear on the train.

A bunch of Columbia students are in the car with us. Lots of metahumans. Train is a double-decker. Dining car is also the observation car. The train rolls out. It’s a vacuum assisted tube train. Coach is 2/4/2 seats for most. We’re 3/2 near the bathrooms and the vending machines. Each car is 8 m wide and 20 m long.

Engine, 4 cargo cars, 2 sleeper cars, 9 coach cars, diner car, 2 first class cars, engine. We’re in #3 coach.

Columbia students are going home, and a lot of them are going to a conference/vacation sponsored by Evo. They are have a public persona of being very pro-transhuman rights and trying to making the world a better place.

T-Rex talks to undergrads to look for Toshiro Owada. No luck. But he does find out that Evo has sponsored this conference, but that it’s undergrads only. Toshiro Owada was a grad student.

+3 XP for everyone’s L5R character except for Ron
+3 XP to DJ for Korean Tacos
+3 XP to Jack for macarons
+1 XP for the log
+1 XP to Ben for music

Dramatis Personae
Hardpoint – dwarf rigger, sunglasses and a big coat
hardpoint.PNG

Kix – elf razorgirl, fetishwear and gloves and tats
kix.PNG

Coydog – elven coyote shaman, hippie throwback
coydog.PNG

Bit-bucket – ork decker with some serious attitude
bit-bucket.PNG

T-Rex – small arms dealer, dapper with a gatorhide jacket
trex.PNG

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