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