Legend of the 5 Rings Smoking Waters

Session 29 10/4/2017

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.

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.

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.

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.

5 XP
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

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Session 28 9-27-17

In Chikushido, we wander closer to the volcano. As we come over the rise, we spy a stream that is black and flows like molasses. On the edge of it, there is a black smear and the plants are misshapen. Chuda Dakane points out it would be best for the group to head toward the head waters to see if they can find the source of the taint that is running through the land and purify it.

Bolodai spots something long and swimming in the stream, and Akodo Tokaji calls out and a head on a long, serpentine body emerges, oily and gross. They converse a bit, and while doing so, Dakane and Isawa Asano converse and think it’s an oni, potentially a very powerful one.

We press on along he ridgeline, with the snake following us in the water. We also think we are being followed by something else, but trying to figure out what takes time we don’t have.

As we press on, we see something bobbing in the stream. We investigate but the snake shoots forward to consume it before we can see what it is. We talk to the snake more to find it plans to expand through the whole realm.

On the other side of the river, we see something coming our way. It is walking drunkenly and going into the river upon occasion. Akodo Tokaji fires an arrow at it as a warning shot – and then it shoots back! We scramble because we did not expect that! It keeps firing and we discover it is a goblin. On the second round of combat, the snake creature goes to converse with the goblin. Dakane goes “this is bad,” and makes jade rocks fall out of the sky onto the snake and the goblin. And the goblin goes splat but the snake is perturbed by the strike. Isawa Asano fires void at it. It spews venom at Dakane, who makes a lucky dodge, and then sinks into the water.

We press on, and find a fog-covered valley where we believe the water is coming from. We see some washed up bones on the shores of the fog. As we go, a ways behind us we hear a feline roar behind us.

We press on, and hear a second roar which sounds pained. Up ahead in the fog it looks like an impact crater. Akodo Tokaji and Chuda Dakane elect to climb, and we see the crater is all dammed off by what looks like bones. We also hear things scrambling around at the top of the foggy dam – probably goblins. One goblin leaps down and stands up, stunned, and Akodo Takaji shoots it and blows its brains out.

A second goblin starts climbing down and Takaji shoots it, too. He kills the second one, hail the conquering hero. Takaji climbs up to scout. At the top, he finds a lake (from the dam of bones). In the center of the lake is a spire of rock with a cave in it. The cave is very dark, surrounded by black water that is very still. There is a grey haze filling the area around the area, and there is a dark black smudge that the sludge seems to be coming from and then a goblin came out. The goblin looked around and then went back into the patch.

The shadowy form of the wolf pokes out of the cave mouth. After a long moment, she catches the scent of Takaji and rushes him across the water. As he starts to climb down, there is the sound of a child’s cry that rips through the air like thunder.

Takaji frees from the thunder, leaps down, and flaps on his skin opens and he sails away while the wolf approaches the rest of the party.

3 xp
Thanks to Ben for sake and the log and music
Thanks to DJ for DELICIOUS COOKIES

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Session 27 8/3/2017

Wake up and Shiba Kisai is too grumpy to join us.

Tsugumi says that her people are all over. Including over toward the Sunswept Plain and the Windswept Sea.

As we travel, Tsugumi is tackled by a Kitsune and flies off. We agree to host her in the real world and she will be our guide. She says Yama-Neko is really mad at mortals because he says that mortals started the trouble with the O-Kami.

She indicates that perhaps we should visit the Well of the Moon – an oracle. We get to a cedar forest and are very tired. It’s very dark. Hotaru believes we’re in Yama Neko’s territory. Kitsune suggests we sleep outside of his territory.

Find a big spring, but it’s dry and a cracked stone lays on it. Kitsu says that the world stone used to float at a height of ten men above the spring, Black splotch on the far side. The Ishken-do finds an alabaster hair pin with a sun and flowers and a broken tip, and a partially severed umbilical cord. It’s not likely that the mother lived through it.

O-Kami found a human child at the well. She took it away. The waters turned black and the world stone cracked and fell. Suneyes killed her packmate when he told her to leave the child be. When her packmate rotted, the flies and maggots spread through the land. She wants to make sure the whole world feels her loss. She lives to serve the child and give it what it needs. The insinuation is that the baby from the well ate the baby from our village. He will seal all the gates to the realm of mortals with mortal blood, and the child will starve. Isawa Asano says that Yama Neko is contaminated.

Kitsune says that Yama Neko, Ossuma, and Suneyes were the three strongest beasts in Chikushido. For all three to be infected is a bad sign.

Some of the O-Kami went to the mortal realm because they heard the time of the Kami was over and they wanted to set it right. Not all of them came back and there was sad howling.

That night Suneyes attacks but runs off after Chuda Dakano hit her with a spell – though she started healing.

We head into O-Kami territory. By this point Moto Bolodai is fully peacock and Hotaru is fully a brindle cat. We jump down to join the fight with Suneyes like the animals we are. Isawa Asano sets Bolodai and Hotaru on fire. Dakano hits her with a huge jade spell, and Asano hits her with the force of his void.

+3 XP for DJ for dinner
+3 XP for Ben for sake
+1 XP for log
+3 XP for Ron for ice cream

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Session 26 7/26/2017

We wake, and we’re not hungry. The land seems to sustain us, but some decide to eat anyway. The tea made with local water is very refreshing.

Fukuro the Owl says that there are only five, five and a half mortals in the realm right now.

We continue to travel Akodo Tokaji starts climbing trees and throwing nuts at people. Hotaru starts getting fastidious about her appearance. We start seeing a pinkish glow on the horizon from the Sun-Swept Savannah. Chuda Dakano says that there might be horses and lions.

That night we hear the death scream of a rabbit and most of us take off running like idiots. No one is harmed, but Moto Bolodai is looking handsome and proud. Hotaru realizes that her hair is sleek and beautiful. Akodo Tokaji is hiding nuts in the loam.

We climb the ridgeline up to go toward the O-Kami territory. As we go to cross the ravine, we hear a howl below us. Moto Boladai bolts but Hotaru grabs him before he can run far. We see a great horned silhouette in the distance. A mountain goat spirit the size of a horse says that this is the area of the Yagi Tribe. Hotaro wrestles Yagi himself for the right for us to pass. He says that he used to hear many voices from the O-Kami singing to the moon, but now he hears only one voice full of hate and sorrow.

Yagi points out that maybe the Bird Folk know more. They live in the Oak Forest with the Tanuki.

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Isawa Asano tumbles down the hill, but the rest of us get down fine. A bird asks him if he was trying to fly. It flies off when Isawa-san says that he’s human.

A tanuki happens upon us. Says that he was going to ask us to cure the O-Kami. We go up to their village. It’s got a perimeter of shrine gods, some with incense, some that are familiar – many that are not. The tanuki says his name is Oyabun. Once we get the “gods working” then he’ll take us to the village.

Tsugumi the thrush girl says that Yama Neko – Wildcat – saw it all

Shiba Kisai has regal hair and a short temper.
Akodo Tokaji has a black twitchy nose and can climb without assistance
Moto Bolodai is super beautiful, and his hair is all lustrous.
Hotaru – Whiskers, and sneaking up on people, imperious, bossy, good darkvision, triangular ears and a white tip to her braid.

3 XP for adventure
1 XP for log
3 XP for jack for food
3 XP for DJ for Banana pudding
3 Xp to Ben for beer

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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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