Legend of the 5 Rings Smoking Waters

Session 6 11/9

Meet with Mother Azoku. She has conditions. We have to listen to her advice and don’t break up families. She suggests that the woodcutters are afraid of the Isawa Mori and that there’s a rumor it’s haunted. She says that a Monk of the Thousand Temples, Teiko, in the Lucky 8 Cricket dice house might know more.

Agasha Hotaka tracks the rumor down to Madame Yuki. She says that everyone knows the woods are haunted.

Find the monk in a room full of drunk samurai. Maybe he’s for real, maybe he’s a drunk. Shiba Hatchi almost believes him, and is going to punt it off to Iuchi Kazai.

Agasha Hotaka and Isawa Asano find a dice cheat that was beaten up and his dice cracked. Would take a good eye to find the cheat, and a strong hand to crack the die. Isawa wants to heal the commoner. Shiba Hatchi nopes out. Agasha Hotaka and Isawa Asano save the peasant’s ass using magic and he’s forever grateful.

3% of logging and/or papermaking profit (after taxes and everything else). He will stick to a schedule, in exchange for room and board, booze, and time with his apprentice. Suggest recruiting eta.

When we buy rice, gain 50 koku from Golden Huei. Nesting Swallow and Blue Well have been chosen to be patronized by young samurai. The samurai in charge of Blue Well was rude to Golden Huei. He wants to know where their staging grounds are.

Get the rice and deliver it as needed.

Isawa Goemon, Asako courtier. Glad that Nesting Swallow is away from Isawa Mori. Isawa Mori has bloodthirsty spirits. Married a dragon bushi recently.

Isawa Asano finds out that the Saru (monkey) tribe inhabit the forest near Smoking Waters. Standard agreement of clothes and jewelry (gaudy) in exchange for staying out of the area in sight of a tori arch. They’re very straightforward. Don’t give them alcohol.

Need farmers and eta. Get more carpenters and master farmers. Maybe a mason. Charcoal burners. Prospectors.

Pair of young phoenix visited Shinjo Todaji. Wagons delivered to a certain warehouse in town. In three days, they’re to bring horses. He’s happy to help how ever he can. He will allow the Blue Well Phoenix to travel with them to Smoking Waters, and then take the yurts to Blue Well. Will supply 20 wagons and patrols to Smoking Waters. Must check in with Utaku Chiendo.

Utaku Chiendo will come by about weekly until summer is over, and maybe once a month during the winter. May have to stable horses for a courier service.

Iron Shou wants a mason and charcoal burners. Hotaru wants a half dozen carpenters and 50 koku of tools.

20 woodcutters, 3 carpenters, 3 prospectors, 3 stone masons, 6 charcoal burners, 3 woodcutters

-10 koku spent on bribes

8 whores worth of gaudy kimonos and jewelry for offerings to the monkeys.

3 XP for the game
1 XP for the adventure log

Thank you Paige for glass noodles.
Thank you Ben for sake.
Thank you DJ for mochi.

Comments

Asako Fumiyo considered the sake before her, and held the cup up to gaze upon. It was unremarkable porcelain, whatever Madam Yuki had been able to procure here in the ramshackle tea house in the refugee camp. She studied the mark upon the porcelain – a few strokes of green meant to be bamboo. To her fellow samurai, Shiba Hachi, she asked, “if the bamboo grows where it should not, is it not our place to trim and guide the growth of the garden? No matter how high the bamboo grows?”

She asked but it was clear that the Phoenix samurai was not speaking of the bamboo. Instead, she spoke of the meddlesome Isawa Goemon. The Isawa-born Courtier had been speaking poorly of Smoking Waters of late, and while he was influential enough to be stationed to the post of the northern watch, Kitamihari, he was generally an unknown and unworthy of particular attention. Still, he had a position which could aid or hinder the traffic to Smoking Waters, and had chosen to hinder it. Would righteousness and steel be what could set him on another path? Fumiyo’s wakazashi was heavy with the burden of capability to challenge his claims with the purity of steel.

Fumiyo was loathe to spill the blood of a fellow Phoenix – she had made her name with her steel against the Lion – but her sense of justice weighed on her as well. She had invited Shiba Hachi to the Plum Blossom, where two samurai could speak more freely than inside the walls of Kyuden Asako, to help determine which of the two could tip the scales of balance.

She didn’t wait for him to answer before she drained the cup, set it down, and reached to pour for them both again from the hot, unmarked porcelain carafe.

Shiba Hachi was drinking very slowly, another Scorpion mannerism that was merely part of his life now. “Hai, it is our duty,” he stressed the word faintly, “within Nosubu-sama’s direction, to… prune, to reap, and to replant as needed to maintain her plan for the garden.” He gestured with his sake cup, “and sometimes it’s best not to bother her with small details. As long as we maintain our goal as her vision, we maintain our purest duty to her.” He sighed, and opened his mouth to continue then sipped sake instead when the Badger Brothers (and sister) passed by the table, boisterously yammering about events at the Lucky Eight Cricket. Shiba Hachi watched them pass with a faint roll of his eyes.

“I think perhaps after Goemon-san learns the error of his ways that there is a certain crab’s shell that should be cracked,” he said, the faintest touch of a snarl tinging his voice. He said nothing, but in the table he traced the kanji for Yasuki Takai. “With him gone, his protégé might be willing to help us.” While on the surface Shiba Hachi was discussing this from his typical view of ‘what helps me is good, everything else is irrelevant’, there was a slightly deeper, nastier, personal shade to his anger.

“We have work to do, then,” she answered, and gave a passing nod to the badgers as they went by. “If Goemon-san is lead Kitamihari, he may leave before winter. It would do best to issue the challenge over his statements publicly to get the most effect for the challenge. As for the Crab…” Fumiyo tapped the side of her sake cup, “he may be extraordinarily rude and demanding with her, but he has yet to do anything that would invite challenge. Not that I think our fair Doji is beyond enraging him into something. It is possible, though,” she brought her cup up to sip from, and poured it back. After she enjoyed the warmth of the alcohol, she continued, “he may name the Kaiu as his champion.”

“Goemon-san first, agreed. Although he hasn’t said anything particularly incendiary.” The tall, lean man snorted in frustrated amusement. “He hasn’t even said anything particularly untrue! It’s just annoying.” His voice held a tone of grudging respect for the victim. “The Isawa Mori is full of spirits, and we know for an actual fact we’ll need a spirit tamer or two or more to help intercede with the kami in Smoking Waters. He’ll have to be caught out for something more than that.”

“Duels have been fought over less than what he has said, and if he isn’t stopped from whispering it, he may grow bolder in his comments – perhaps even to a potential daimyo. And it’s not that they are incendiary – it is that they are insidious and he is not even skilled enough to not be caught. That’s almost more insulting.”

“He’s an Isawa,” Shiba Hachi said, with a derision so fine and so sharp you could cut yourself with it. “Of course he’s clumsy at it. They have neither the temperament nor the training for any sort of subtlety whatsoever. You can’t underestimate them – bad practice anyway – and they know things. That’s what they excel at, but subtlety?” He shook his head and finished his cup of sake and poured again for them both. “Just not what they do.”

“Such assumptions are curious coming from a Shiba trained among the Scorpion,” Fumiyo parried back.

“I don’t underestimate them,” he said, with absolutely no fire in his voice, “I just see them for what they are. While the Scorpion might pride themselves at being surprisingly good swimmers, that’s not how other clans work. They have their ideal, and they strive to live up to it, and they don’t like surprises. The Isawa…” he made a frustrated gesture. “If you’re not a shugenja, then you’re second rate. And that preys on their minds.” He shrugged. “They’re strong, to be sure, but subtlety isn’t a tool they’re used to using.”

“I would have said something other than swimming, but to each their own,” she answered. “In which case perhaps we should see if one of ours wants to defend our honor against him. But we can muse about that after we learn more. What is your plan for the other?” She looked to where he had drawn the design for the Yasuki.

Shiba Hachi smirked and used a napkin to wipe up the symbol. “I think we let Doji Bakuto do what comes naturally. He doesn’t like the bully any more than I do, but he’s better at letting the bully make an ass of himself in public.” Shiba Hachi’s smile got actively venomous. “I like Doji Bakuto,” he said with no small measure of respect. “He’s got talent.”

“Of Bakuto-san isn’t careful it might go too far. Most of the Empire is tired of war but the Crab are always eager for an excuse to bloody Crane noses,” Fumiyo commented. She took another drink and set the empty down, “but you’re right. He’s got talent. I can’t deny that – might even give me a chance to work with something other than bokken since I got here.”

In a stunning breach of social protocol, Shiba Hatchi caught Fumiyo’s sword-calloused hand in both of his, palm up, and gently spread her strong fingers open wide like a lotus opening to the sun.

“I don’t think that the Crab will have an easy time bloodying you,” he said in a charged whisper, “whether you’re Crane or Phoenix or both or neither.”

Fumiyo looked down at his hand on hers, touching her, and blinked. Then with her free hand, she poured another drink and slugged it back. Then she looked back down at their hands before she stammered out, “what… what are you doing, Hachi-San?”

He stroked one thumb against the palm of her hand, and withdrew gracefully with a self-deprecating smile, “some days, I have to ask myself that, too, Fumiyo-san.”

Session 6 11/9
 

now ’shipping Hachi-san and Fumiyo-san

Session 6 11/9
Scorpienne

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