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