Tokaji alights in a tree a half mile away (Jack suggests a whomping willow).
We hear Yamaneko grumbling behind a rock how our blood will cleanse the taint. He steps out from behind the rock. He looks like an oilslick in the shape of a cat the size of a rhinoceros. He’s slopping taint out into the water and the woods behind him. He’s much further along in taint which means he’s been calling on taint powers, which means he probably has a suite of “exciting” taint powers.
We convince Yamaneko that it’s O-Kami’s fault and he agrees that she’s got to go. He charges us and people scatter heading for O-Kami. Chuda Dakane goes up the cliff yelling the equivalent of “fuck fuck fuck”. Isawa Asano goes scrambling up the cliff. Moto Bolodai tries to ride Yamaneko up there. He misses at first but flaps his mighty pinions and lands astride his back. Yamaneko keeps on going, but is clearly trying to buck the Moto off so he can murder him to death.
Hotaru, jumps up to the dam, balances, and then bounds across the lake like a cat, with her tail puffed up. She skitters across the island, and whacks O-Kami in the snout with her Jade Dai-Tsuchi. She connects with earth-shattering force and the jade explodes inside the wolf with green fire. The jade fragments and bits go spinning off into the night. She bares her claws and hisses at the wolf, and spots a baby with a huge head glaring at her from inside the cave. Chuda Dakane summons up a magical jade Ono for her and she whacks the wolf again, but the wolf tears her up and she falls.
Isawa Asano summons up the power of the void and the wolf tears itself up from the inside, turns into smoke, and the smoke tears itself up. He is cheered on by pink, green, and gold fireworks in the sky. The baby tries to push up, and poofs away.
Akodo Tokaji sees people coming down the stream in lantern boats as the fireworks burst overhead.
In the meantime, Yamaneko and Moto Boladai are locked in a dance of death. Chuda Dakane picks up the Ono and faces off against Yamaneko. Isawa Asano sets Moto Boladai on holy fire, which Yamaneko objects to most strenuously.
Hotaru lays in a pool of her own blood, and is hallucinating that the lantern boats contain people. An old man in phoenix colors with a hammer mon stares at her. He has a wrinkly face, marred by sparks from the forge, and has his hair in a old-style topknot. Hotaru bows the the ancestors, and asks them if she can help them. They’re wearing red and yellow kimonos, one with massive shoulders is wearing a gray kimono, they all have hammer mons. We don’t recognize that mon. The grey-kimono one is the most important, and regards Hotaru gravely. The rest sneer at Hotaru.
Chuda Dakane heals Hotaru and hands her back the axe. She leaps up to get between Yamaneko and Isawa Asano and calls out Yamaneko as the source of the taint. From behind her, an explosion of void energy tears into Yamaneko. Akodo Tokaji fires a shot at Yamaneko but it seems to do no damage.
Moto gets flung off of Yamaneko’s back when he went into the water and rolled. He spears Yamaneko in the chest and his roar is cut off in a choking cough. The cat is damaged, but not done. He keeps getting larger and larger, and is just a swollen mass of black filth, with a long fanged mouth. However, Chuda Dakane casts a spell that makes Yamaneko dissolves into a black mass. A massive multistage firework goes off, lighting the sky in red, gold, and white light. The white light from the fireworks catches in the water and along the filth, and along the crater. More figures and boats seem to be pushing against something, and as the boats go downstream and the water clears. They kick down the dam, wiping the bones and black sludge away except for the areas where Yamaneko and O-Kami died.
Chuda Dakane casts a spell for an hour to clear taint from the crater. The boats hang up at the mouth of the lake waiting for the spell to conclude. Once it’s done, the boats continue through, but they taper off. One, in Phoenix colors, gestures for us to come upstream. See one moon above, and it sparkles on the snow and ice as we get to the snowline. We see a pool, which sparkles with moonlight as if it was a pool of silver. Kitsune san reminds us of our promise to let in a fox when the fox needs help. Our guide looks like a more-or-less modern Phoenix man with smith’s scars and he gestures us into the pool. We find ourselves standing knee-deep in a pond in a moonlight glen. There’s a red-orange flicker of torchlight. Chuda Dakane is still with us! Hotaru pokes him to make sure he’s real and he shrieks, as is normal. Moto Boladai, Chuda Dakane, and Hotaru all retain characteristics of the animals of Chikushido.
We follow the stream towards town. Second harvest has been brought in, and the fields are full of tents. Crowds of people and torches and bonfires. We see acrobats and jugglers and musicians. We smell grilled food and priests are chanting and kids are running around with masks on. We have arrived in the middle of the Bon festival. Paper boats and lanterns still fill the stream. We are treated well, and given food and drink, and bowed at. Perhaps three weeks have passed – and three silos are now built. Some seriously noble people are here – a palanquin goes by. Handsome woman in her middle years smoking a pipe with a handsome young samurai. It’s extremely cold. One of Madame Yuki’s entertainers sees us, and takes off.
We are each greeted by a geisha who chivvy us up to the bathhouse. She says it’s been a year.
After the Bon festival last year, there was an earthshake. The foundation for the castle cracked and swords and tools were found. The Crab Miners got excited and locked themselves in the forge. When the farmers got impatient and broke down the door. Iron Shou and the crab miners were dead. Three sons were unconscious, fourth son missing. They were slashed to death, nearly to death, but there was no blood at the scene.
Isawa Asano flees to the spot where the obsidian was being mined, but it’s just a buckwheat field now.
1 XP for Log
3 XP for Bao for Ben
3 XP for Pumpkin Soup for Paige
3 XP for Cake and icecream for DJ