Rise of the Obsidian Throne

Episode 12: The Yobanjin Campaign - Part 3-4
Chen, the Phoenix and the Wyrm

The Tiger’s Maw Elite ventures deep into the Dragon Lands, meeting with Togashi Mitsu and all of his followers and allies. There the samurai of Rokugan were briefly reunited with their distant cousins, before Chen of the Mountain Wind Tribe arrived with his tribe.

The meeting was long with Matsu Nobu laying out the battle plan and what he needed of all. Chen was quick to put down his proposal. He wished for the Wyrm Baned Katanda to be found and returned to the Yobanjin people, with such a relic on their side The Beast would be destroyed. Wishing to aid in this quest, Isawa Tadaka and Shiba Tsukune would aid them.

Re results of the meeting also determined these important factors:

  • Fan of the Small River Tribe made a deal with the samurai to throw her support behind them, so long as all documents and knowledges gained in the Yobanjin lands would be turned over to the Small River Tribe, and they would choose what the Samurai would be allowed to given.
  • Shosuro Hametsu who leads the Shosuro sabatures and Ginawa who leads an army of former Akodo now ronin would wait in posible reserve. Knowing that if they were used, they could not return to the Dragon Lands least they expose the fact that the Dragon are no longer possessed of the Lying Darkness.
  • Mirumoto Satsu’s armies would remain unused unless it was vital. The might of the Dragon could change any war front in the favor of the Rokugani, but the Dragon Lands and the refuge they offer would be contested and possibly lost.

The group headed out, Hakumei leading to attend Akodo Tsudao once more. Nishimura, decided to work with the scouts, and wished to return valuable information on the Army of Fire, so he departed with Hwang of the Children of the Frozen Peaks Tribe. Now they had Isawa Tadaka and Shiba Tsukune.

Kuni Hisui was excited to talk to the supposedly thought to be dead Tadaka, and found out that Tadaka had died, but was restored to life by the Last Wish and some how fused with the artifact to become whole. They (refering to Tadaka who now refers to himself in the multiple) had also reversed the aging of Shiba Tsukune, wishing to keep her with him always. This revelation disturbed Hisui and he withdrew not knowing how to react.

Tadaka also explained that he had aided the surviving Isawa in the Yobanjin lands, and hid them away far in the north where there are some 20-30 of them. The Isawa have formed their own Elemental Council, and it was their magics that have stymied the advancing forces of the Obsidian Emperor to the north, but that they are growing close to an end of their resources in this prolonged war. As such, he left them to gain enough support to aid his people and their Yobanjin saviors.

To find the sword though Tsukune would need to find the ancestral sword of the Phoenix to find Shiba’s soul, knowing that the soul would know where to find the blade. So the unit went to the small farm where she had hidden it. While searching for the blade, it would appear that the Army of Fire, now led by the fallen champion Baxing – Warlord of the Sons of the Mountian Tribe was also hunting for the Wyrm Baned Katanda. Just as the blade fo Shiba was found, a small band of three of the Army of Fire found and fell upon the warriors, resulting in a very brutal melee that left the unit limping.

Afterwords the unit took to skirting into the woods. They knew from the Soul of Shiba that the Wyrm Baned Katanda was hidden in Geshi Toshi, a city that was hidden shortly after the Broken Day of Thunder. So they did what they could to hide their trail, but they knew that they were being followed.

As the party broke their cover, growing closer to Pale Oak Castle’s ruins, and the entrance to the hidden city of Geshi Toshi, they stumbled upon the hulking and wounded figure of Okura no Oni. The beat was surrounded by dead obsidian samurai and the army of fire. Much to the protesting of the Crab, Nobu chose to spare the wounded Oni, and offered it a chance at redemption and allowed it to travel with them and join the war with the Shogun’s Army.

The Unit arrived at the gates of Geshi Toshi to discover that Baxing and his Army of Fire was indeed close behind. Tadaka and Tsukune told them to go within and get the Wyrm Baned Katanda and take what they could form the other shrines to deny them to their foes.

The group rushed in together and claimed Wyrm Baned Katanda, then broke apart to take: Yajinden’s Scrolls and Journal, the Egg of Panku (which Nobu has concealed), and a Bronze Lantern. After that they fled before the army of fire, and Tadaka destoryed the hidden city least it be despoiled by their filthy hands.

After that the unit withdrew to hide in some caves. There Tadaka and Hisui took time to talk and learn of one another. They also decided that when the two Elemental Council’s meet that they would decide who was the true masters by a test of skill.

Hisui also began to read from Yajinden’s works, succumbing to their influence and needing to learn more.

The next day Toku Gattsu left to take the Wyrm Baned Katanda back to Chen and he took Okura no Oni with him.

The rest of the Unit, not wishing to loose any time, immediately began to look for survivors of the Daughters of Fire Tribe. The Unit began to delve deeper into the caves and mountain chain that was once the seat of the Daughter’s power. They found that two of the mountains had awoken, and one of the eruptions supposedly claimed the daughters.

While searching the tallest of the sleeping mountains, they spotted a dead body of a samurai on a shelf a few stories bellow. There they found a small cave that had trips and traps set up through out it. At the end of the system they found a kneeling figure with his head bowed. It was a corrupted samurai but Nobu’s blood chilled when he recognized that it was Bayushi Aramoro. Easily one of the best assassins of the Scorpion Clan and one time guardian of Hantei Kachiko. Scrawled around the crave was the phrase, “She is mine,” and resting near his hands was a final phrase, “She is not his, she is mine.” As the Unit cautiously approached the kneeling figure, they were sure he was dead, but cautious as they were they feared he was undead, but when they touched him he crumbled to dust. At his feet was a simply red cloth, look to have been torn from something, and Nobu recognized ti as Bayushi’s mask. At his other side, away from the scrawling was the ancestral blade of the Scorpion. Nobu said a brief prayer and the group puzzled over the strange message Aramoro left behind. Some thought it was referencing the Empress, but Tadaka didn’t think so. If he was so enamored with the Empress still, why was he not with her? That left everyone thinking hard bu there were no more answers within that stone tomb.

Together the unit pressed forward, and used Favorable Wind to help them find the tribe. And it turns out that the group was hiding in one of the active volcanoes.

When the unit arrived they were thought to be a threat, but showed that they were indeed allies. Yu of the Daughters of the Flame Tribe decided that she needed to see the strength of the samurai, a test to know that they could actually oppose the fores of Zurong. So, they chose to test Hiruma Genshu against one of the wyrms. The fight was over in a matter of moments, the hulking beast was no match for the quick and nimble Hiruma, and he managed to slay it. The creature’s spirit was sent back to the token from which it had come.

The Daughter’s of Fire, who had been strengthening their magics had hidden in the volcano, and thrived. They pledged themselves to the cause and showed that they had been busy. They had made many tokens and created many such things to make wyrm riders available to the forces of the Shogun. In reward to the strength that Genshu had shown, he was given the wyrm he beat.

With now four tribes united, Nobu sent word for the scouts to find the rest of his unit and prepare for what followed next.

View
Episode 12: The Yobanjin Campaign - Part 2
The Rise of Toshiro

Much occurred within the Obsidian Championship, villains rose, fell, heroes strove and fought, and honor was lost and gained. I will not recount every action that occurred, nor recall every battle, but will instead recount this epic struggle of the Obsidian Samurai with telling results.

  • Okura no Oni was cast out of the tourney as a ronin, and left to wander masterless forever due to her declaration of restoring the honor of the Empire.
  • Gurifisu was recognized as Hantei Gurifisu, his blood line connected to Hantei Jama, otherwise known as Iuchiban. His minor Clan was accepted into the Crane Clan.
  • The Dragon Clan is dissolved, for being in liege with the Lying Darkness and is to be purged. The Crab will man the Wall of Bone now.

Meanwhile, Matsu Nobu, Toku Gattsu, Bayushi Hoitsu, Nishimura and Hakumei managed to steal the ledgers from Miya Satoshi’s tent, and get it back to the old scribe. He used magic to copy the books into near identical books. Nobu read through the ledgers and realized there were subtle changes, where the Emperor disappeared during the year of 1130 for nearly a month.

The ledgers were just finished as Kitsuki Kaagi was reveled as a minion of the lying darkness, and a witch hunt began. The mysterious figure who seems to have hired the old scribe came to warn of this event, and although remained hidden, Hakumei identifies the master of this plan to be either an Obsidian Magistrate in full armor, Naseru or Shoje.

The group manages to get the ledgers in place, but Hoitsu gets caught by Satoshi who starts accusing him of being a minion of the Lying Darkness. Nobu goes to his defense, and almost seems caught when Bayushi Tesaguri appears before the gathering and comes to Nobu’s defense, sending Satoshi on his way. Tesaguri warns Nobu to be more careful and then departs.

When the tourney is over, the group gathers to say good bye to Shinwa who will remain behind protecting one of the children of Toturi.

The Tiger’s Maw Elite then returns to the Dragon Lands, just before the Obsidian Magistrates arrive to purge the Wall of Bone. There they meet Mirumoto Satsu, who welcomes his old friends. He leads them to the High House of Light to meet the the Dragon, the Scorpion, the Akaodo Armies and to meet the Yobanjin.

View
Episode 12: The Yobanjin Campaign
The Obsidian Championship

The Tiger’s Maw Unit Elite hear the tactics that the newly proclaimed Shogun Kaneka makes towards undoing Hantei the 39th’s forces in the Yobanjin lands. They will have a single season to accomplish their mission of gaining information, reuniting the Unbowed and getting in position for the arriving armies. The group spends time with their family, loved ones before they depart on a dangerous task.

Matsu Nobu spends the day with his son, who is being trained to be an Akodo, and eventually with his wife Matsu Yofun. Kuni Hisui spends the day studying and romancing his wife, Kuni Osako, and eventually has a large meal with many of his allies and friends. Hisui ended up assigning K’mee to hold his place in the Elemental Council. Hiruma Genshu hangs out and plays Go with Heichi Shinwa. Nishimura meets with his wife, Kaneko discovering that she is the head of the infiltration Family now. They both decide to send their child to train with the Dragon, allowing him to choose his way. Finally Toku Gattsu spends the day with his friend and her care taker, Shaym who thinks she is nearing a break through, but that she is haunted by a demon.

The group gathers together, and Isawa Sezaru transports them to the outskirts of the Dragon lands. There they meet Akodo Tsudao and Hakumei. While Hakumei tackles Shinwa and excitedly tells him everything he has missed, Tsudao and Sezaru talk about the going ons in the Empire. The exchange a number of letters, reports going back and forth, and Tsudao talks of the Obsidian Championship that is going on in the Empire, along with one of her spies being compromised. Sezaru suggests that the Tiger’s Maw Elite can help and then disappears in a bolt of lightening.

Tsudao makes a deal with Nobu, offering to gather up the Dragon and the Yobanjin she can while they go to the Obsidian Championship, interact with whoever is offering aid, and to spy upon the Championship. She says that Ginawa is already working it, but perhaps he can offer some aid. She also reveals that she is Kolat and one of their masters, working for Akodo Kage. Hakumei offers to go with the group to by pass the traps of the Dragon lands, however many suspect she has missed Shinwa.

Spending a week in travel, they arrive to the tourney grounds outside of the Obsidian Champion’s castle, north of the Seppun lands. The group breaks apart, with Hisui and Genshu gathering up a ton of information about the tourney, and on the Empire’s movements. They discover how the Crab used jade on the oni and won the war, they know the Lion and the Hawk are skirmishing and threatening war with each other, that Yogo Junzo and Tsuruchi are seeing the down fall of the Gijain lands across the sea, and a number of minor topics.

Nobu, Hakumei and Nishimura find the tent in a secluded part of the camp, and find an old man who keeps his back to them and when they give the pass phrase he wishes them to gain entry to Miya Satoshi’s tent and steal the log books of the years 1129 and 1130 and then bring them back, and then a short time later, he will then wish them to take the books back so they are not missed. The group then departs and scouts out the Imperial Tents, and discovers that a number of nearly mindless undead Seppun wander the grounds. Analyzing their weakness, Nobu thinks he knows how to pull it off and will need to wait for the Tourney to start.

Meanwhile, Gattsu and Shinwa take a seat at a tent food and sake house on the main thoroughfare, and scope out who is getting accepted into the tournament:

Crab: Hida Jūbunna and Hida Matyu

Crane: Gurifisu and Diadoji Tsukuro

Dragon: Kitsuki Kaagi and Togashi Okkio

Lion: Ikoma Kazue, Ikoma Ujiaki, the twins Matsu Anga and Matsu Hisan, Matsu Toshiro, and Matsu Daoquan.

Mantis: Yoritomo Haruka

Unicorn: Ide Hiro, Moto Tsume, Otaku Kamoko, and Moto Sada.

Scoprion: Bayushi Tesaguri, Bayushi Setsu, Bayushi Ken, Shoshuro Himitsu, Bayushi Hisa, and Bayushi Paneki.

Imperial: Myia Satoshi

Ronin: Ginawa

Oni: Okura on Oni and Yakamo no Oni

The two are feeling slightly overwhelmed when Gurifisu comes over and challenges Shinwa for taking more then a passing glance at a lady. The challenge nearly comes to its conclusion when the woman comes over hearing the bold words and it turns out to be the princess Hantei Shoje. Suspecting that Shinwa came here to compete, she suggests that he answer the challenge in a way that serves the Empire, and face the Hawk Champion in the tourney. Shinwa agrees, not fully thinking it out. The Hawk withdraws, promising a swift victory for himself and Shoje gives the young bushi a token of luck for saying she was pretty.

The group comes back together, talks over the plan, but that is derailed as Shinwa confesses what occurs at the tent. Feeling that he must go through with it, the group offers what support they can, and Nobu figures this may actually aid their plans. Hakumei however grows angry and Shinwa doesn’t realize she has romantic feelings for him, which only intensifies the issue. In the end Hakumei wants to help him, although she clearly has her reservations about it.

Nishimura and Gattsu goes with Shinwa to try and get into the tourney, and both manage to fail the tests. Shinwa however gains entry, but only because the Hawk Clan paves the way, as Gurifisu appears to want to have the eye of the Princess as he undoes this challenger.

Matsu Gohei arrives just before the end of the registration, having regained Toshi Rambo, and makes it clear his hate of the Hawk. He then joins the tournament, and the Emperor calls together the challengers, and tells them that one of them will be the Obsidian Champion, he then goes on to say that he will elevate four of the challengers to become his personal body guards, having tired of the rotting Seppun, should any of one of the four impress him so.

And so, the Obsidian Championship has begun!

View
Preveiws of Ep 12: The Yobanjin Campaign
1149 (3 years have passed, 20 years of ruler ship)

In the years that past, the first year was a harsh one. The combined might of House Singh and the Samurai of Rokugan were caught in a battle of desperation in House Rafiq within their own lands. There were many ambushes, a small army of the Destroyers, whole towns of peasants slaughtered and their blood used to fuel dark rituals that had been passed on by the Hawk Clan. By the years end however, both armies stood victorious and confident that that House Rafiq’s power was broken forever. What few members remained, fled into the burning sands.

This victory meant much for the Samurai of Rokugan, the young Kaneka had successfully lead his people into war. Many had little to no confidence in the young man, but by the end of this all were captivated by his understandings of tactics, as he leaned heavily upon the original manuscript of Sun Tao, which often caught his foes completely unaware. His mentors were all pleased with him and lent their strength to him. Kaneka had his units face more then just House Rafiq as well.

He directed the Mantis, under the new leadership of Yoritomo Aramasu, made battle with the Ninth Legion which tried to take the Ivory Kingdom’s coast early on, but when the Singh and Surresh joined in, and Yoritomo himself liberated the Rafiq fleet, the undead horror Tsuruchi beat a retreat, leaving a nest of corrupted orochi for the fleets to battle with.

The Crab were directed to leave the fray to aid House Surresh who found the Maw’s forces had tried to push through the Jungle of Evil Torments. The Crab set up battlements, and had begun on a construction of a hastily built wall. During that siege, the Crab and House Surresh found common ground and the two became close allies in holding the Wall of New Alliances. A wall that would change form makeshift over the course of the three years into a formidable defense structure.

In the year that followed, the Ivory Kingdoms underwent a change, as House Chander was created, as House Singh and House Surresh gave over the best of their vessels, so that balance might be restored. Mahavira Singh and Pranay Surresh were told to marry, and become the first members of House Chander, in honor of the dead royal guard who helped to foil the plot of House Rafiq. The Emerald Samurai were invited to help settle the lands with them, as they turned teh ruin of House Rafiq into something greater. To aid in its recovery The Maharaja allowed magics of the Emerald Samurai to be permitted, under the careful observation of the Gurus.

Over the course of this period shifts within the Emerald Empire continued to occur, the Council of Elemental Masters took this chance to organize, and press its own magical teachings. Agasha Boutou is made the Master of Fire, Isawa Shinpani becomes the Master of Air, Kuni Osako is made the Master of Water, her husband Kuni Hisui becomes the Master of Earth and Isawa Sezaru becomes the Master of Void. With the Guru’s the Council aids the Ivory Kingdoms greatly with its magical prowess, Shaym becomes the Voice of the Elemental Council.

The the year is not without strife, word comes from Medinaat al-Salaam, that the Immortal Caliph was offered an ultimatum from the Jade Throne, and she chose to join the Obsidian Empire. This announcement came after the capture and imprisonment of Moto Shoan, the Moto fought free of the trap lead by her young son, Moto Chagatai declares himself Kahn shortly after, at the age of 9. The Unicorn Clan is now being hunted, caught between the Jewel of the Desert and the Empire of Rokugan, the Unicorn ask for aid, and Kaneka gives what he can by releasing the Battle Maidens from his care to reinforce the Unicorn Clan. The Unicorn however will need more, and Kaneka begins correspondence with the Kahn, in earnest as they look for allies within the burning sands.

Word comes from the Spider, that the Obsidian Empire has not stood still, the attack on the seas by the Ninth Legion was a diversion, Tsuruchi and Yogo Junzo have taken to the seas and are using the Black Scrolls on the nations of Thrane and Merenae. The two nations had been locked in a war that had lasted for two hundred years, however they were close to resolving the war peacefully, due to Yoritomo Liliana-Cornejo. It seems some of the Mantis had fled to that nation when they were cut off during the Battle of Lightening City. It would seem that peace was coming in the form of realizing that Rokugan may be a threat. Junzo unleashed the Wasting Disease upon the two nations, and the Ninth Legion has created a blockade to seal the giajin within white the wasting disease makes a new united nation of undead.

The Spider also have seen that the Oni lost the war with the corrupted Crab, and were forced to cede the Twilight Mountains to Hida Matyu. However, the Oni have been taking to their new war with the Ivory Kingdoms, and the Crab have been dealing with now very ambitious Hawks.

The final word from the capital is that Toturi’s youngest son completes his Gempukku becoming Hantei Naseru, at age at 12. More interestingly, much to the Court’s surprise, that Yakusoku the daughter of Fu Leng, took the name Hantei Shoje (female version of Shoju) during her Gempukku.

With the Ivory Kingdoms are once again strong, Kaneka now looks to undoing the swelling might of the Obsidian Empire, and how to best bright the giant down. He calls upon his mentors of the Tiger’s Maw Elite, as he unfurls his plans.

View
Episode 11: A Brave New World - Part 3-5
The Final Days of the Ivory Court

OOC – Sadly the new year took its toll on me keeping up with this.

Two days later, the Tiger’s Maw Elite Unit found itself drawn further into the plots and machinations of the Obsidian Empire with the arrival of Gurifisu and his Hawk Clan. He was well revived by Feydn Rafiq and the two remained close.

Disgusted, Toku Gattsu went to the gardens to clear his head but instead found a further complication in the form of Shiba Emiko laying face down in a fountain with a knife in her back. He was accused of murder by Devadas Rafiq, but fortunately Chander Surresh arrived and took over the investigation releasing Gattsu. He however was still seen as being involved.

Meanwhile, Matsu Nobu and Kuni Hisui went to meditate with Shaym. They spoke of magics and the history of the abuse that was done at the hands of the evil rakshasa, and the liberation of his peoples by a little old man. Nobu could not help but notice the similarities between this old man and his Shinsei. In the end, the meeting did not change anything, but both sides have a deeper respect for one another.

At lunch a poetry contest was about to be held, and suddenly Hisui found himself involved, as a judge. He was able to realize that Ide Hiro and Gobind Surresh had laid their revenge for him, from his earlier triumph over them. He felt he may have had what it took to over come their maneuver, but quickly found all the decks were stacked against him. The poetry contest ended in a clear Obsidian Empire victory on all sides, as Hisui looked like a rambling fool.

Just after the lunch, Togashi Kasumi spouts nonsense at Gattsu and Nobu, about the Hawk Clan, as the two watch Gurifisu and Feydn walk into the Rafiq wing. She departs looking as confused and frustrated as the other two.

As the Unit reconvenes they decide to investigate the death of Emiko. Nobu goes to talk with Rama Singh, and they decide to show the evidence of the treachery of house Surresh to the The Maharaja, Manish Singh will take the information that evening to his master. Gattsu talks with Kavi Singh, the only friend of the late Shiba and discovers that the Shiba was depressed. Hisui goes to Emiko’s room, and finds all of her letters burning, and someone did this recently too. K’mee helps them track the person who burned the letters, and it leads them to Kavi and Hisui interviews her as well, but she becomes defensive. Gattsu and Hisui let her go though, so that they can talk with Nobu, confident they can find her later.

Nishimura goes on a walk and encounters Kasumi, and recognizes her as a Spider Infiltrator. She relates that she doesn’t think House Surresh plans on cheating any, but winning through sheer ability. She however has noticed that every blood mage at Court seems to find favor with House Rafiq, and warns that something sinister may dwell there.

Nobu hears their report and ask Rama to have Kavi brought before him, but it appears she has fled the Singh wing and headed into the Rafiq wing. When the Unit inquires upon her with the Rafiq guards, they say they know nothing about her. Stone walled, the group goes to the play being shown that evening as they stew over what must be done.

The play is a heavily edited version of the Tournament of the Kami, where Fu Leng is cheated of his right to rule by the other Kami, and the Ivory Court was amused and enjoyed it for the art it was. The Emerald Samurai mock it as a joke, and the Obsidian Samurai try to make the Emerald look like uncouth fools, but the tables are turned when Kuni Tsuma in drawn into the conversation by the insulting Yasuki Tsuneo. He levels an insult to her, and the aged crane courtier punches him in the nose, reminding the court of Crab Politics, which everyone gets a great laugh at, and the Emerald Samurai claim a victory.

While the play went on, Nishimura got to over hear Mahavira Singh and Hiro talking, and it appears his advice and talk with Pranay Surresh seems to have taken hold as the General of the Ivory Kingdoms expresses concerns with the Obsidian Empire. He wants to meet these famed heroes of the Unicorn Clan that the Obsidian Samurai love so much, this Moto Tsume and Otaku Kamoko. Hiro realizing that he is loosing departs in disgust.

Returning to the Singh wing, they go and search Kavi’s room. As the group turns it over, they find letters long since burned. About to give up, Gattsu manages to find a hidden blade that has strange and dark marks upon it. They show the blade to Rama, who turns white with fear and rage, and informs the royal guards. He explains that this is a knife used in the Cult of Rhamul, and is a heresy.

When the royal guards search the Rafiq wing, they find Kavi who draws a blade and tried to end the life of Feydn. In response Chander, the royal guard locks down the Winter Court and puts House Singh under direct scrutiny of being worshipers of Kali-ma. And their accusations about House Surresh find they cannot go before the Maharaja.

Two days pass, and the Emerald Empire and its Patrons of House Singh had reviled in the courts, all of their gains ash in their mouth. House Rafiq is angered and pressing closer to the Obsidian Empire, who is on top with Surresh. Things look bleak, until Chander comes to the Unit to ask for their aid.

He explains that he can tell when he is being bullshitted, and feels that House Rafiq is hiding something. He knows that the guards must had been involved in getting , Kavi near Feydn. He also notices that House Rafiq is not upset with so much Surresh control, something any great House would be upset over. When he goes into the wing of the Rafiq he finds himself led form room to room under the guidance of his guests. So he has come to the honorable Samurai of the Emerald Empire to ask for them to investigate while he is being led about. They agree.

The group goes into the courts, and for once is not drawn into scandal, although they do watch everyone preparing for the sadane contest. While the court is preparing for it, they are going to use it as a diversion with Chander to get into House Rafiq. Something Nobu feels sad about missing, as he is sure the sadane contest will be amazing given the groupings.

On a whim Nobu goes to confront Bayushi Ken, hoping to find out if the Hawk did kill his supposed lover. However, as the conversation unfolds, the mourning Scorpion suggests that he killed her out of duty, despite his love. Unable to do anything with that turn of information for now, Nobu leaves the man in his terrible despair.

As the contest gets underway, the Unit moves with Chander towards the Rafiq wing, but they lag behind as the royal guard rushes ahead. When Chander is taken inside with one of the guards, they then approach the second guard and ask to follow inside. The guard locked in a situation where he cannot leave his post and needs to allow the royal guard’s guests inside is forced to allow them to go inside unsupervised.

Inside they find Chander is asking all of the Seurresh guards present and the Rafiq guards to gather before him for questioning. The Unit they takes time to explore, and using their ratling’s nose and their own skills find signs of a fight and death in the halls up stairs. They follow the scent of blood down stairs and to a false wall hidden behind a mural. They go to inform Chander, but before they round the corner, they over hear the guards talking about someone will need to impersonate Chander now that they were forced to kill him. Nobu knowing he will need evidence that is strong enough to explain why they are where they are not supposed to be, and their only person to give testimony is dead, he chooses to go behind the false wall.

They find that it leads to a stair well, which stinks of death, and find that at the base of the stair well are meany dead men, naked. It is theorized that House Rafiq is replacing the Surresh Guards with their own men. They find that there is a further hand polished cave system ahead. They follow it into the darkness. Eventually they find themselves heading into a single lit chamber that stretches into darkness and a massive statue dedicated to the Destroyer Kali-ma stands before them. Along with a table that shows exactly where everyone will be on the wedding, and a listing of where their men are, and it appears that almost all of the House Surresh Guards are their own. They also find a letter from Fu Leng, personally crafted and shows them that what they found before was a forgery. The Emperor has offered Kali-ma placement in Jigoku, along with oni to help supplement her army in purging the Ivory Kingdoms of all non loyal followers, in return that he become the sovereign ruler of the ruins there after.

As the unit goes to leave, they find two massive iron statues that had flanked the door come to life. There is a brief battle, and with some minor difficulty the group cuts there way free to the stair well. Where the Cult of Rhamul has prepared an ambush for them, distracting them at the top of the stairs, while some of their men lay naked on the pile of corpses and go to cut at them find behind. Hiruma Genshu however sees the ambush coming and saves the life of the wards that were standing in the back.

With their assassins dealt with, the unit by passes the objections of the guards who give chase as the Tiger’s Maw Unit moves into the main chamber of the winter court. They then interrupt what looks like the greatest sadane contest ever, and quickly present their evidence that House Rafiq worship the destroyer. Feydn then stands up, shouting, “Kill them all!” All of the Surresh guards turn on their masters, and a few Obsidian Samurai join the attack. House Surresh is caught flat footed along with many of their Obsidian Samurai. House Singh being further away is able to rally with the Emerald Samurai, and move to protect the others.

Nobu launches himself at Feydn and the two become locked in a personal duel to the death, with the leader of House Rafiq laying dead before he could kill his Maharaja. Hisui and Genshu rush to the ruler of the Ivory Kingdoms and protect him from all incoming attacks. Gattsu sees Devadas slay Manish Singh, and that the royal guard is about to try and attack his master from behind, and Gattsu cuts the false drunken man in half. Nishamura comes out of no where, doing a flying kick to shatter the bones and ultimately kill the blood speaker Isawa Masashi.

When the fighting is over, the Maharaja calls on Nobu to explain in full what occurred. When his tale is told, the Maharaja commends him and says that he has earned the favor of the Ivory Kingdom. He asks how he may repay this favor, and Nobu knows that part of this is to help him choose a bride. Nobu wisely tells him to select one of his concubines as a new wife, and that he trusts him to choose the one he loves the most. The ruler looks upon his lovers, and chooses the most intellectually stimulating of them. He then asks Nobu how he wishes to call upon his favor. Nobu asks for aid in their war against the Obsidian Empire. The ruler nods and then steps forth and gives a royal proclamation. The Obsidian Samurai have over stayed their welcome and are to be escorted in banishment from the Ivory Kingdoms, by House Surresh. They are to take with them his concubine that was supported by House Rafiq as he cannot trust her anymore. She leaves in tears. House Sing and his guests the Emerald Samurai will help purge the Rafiq territories of all members of House Rafiq, and that the great house is disbanded. Then once this is done, and the lands resettled, the Ivory Kingdoms will aid in removing this demon Emperor from his throne for his treachery.

View
Episode 11: A Brave New World - Part 2
Welcome to the Winter Court

The Unit awakens to find that the Winter Court has already drawn them in, as numerous letters awaiting them.

Court1.jpg

Kuni Hisui is having breakfast when he realizes that he is late for a breakfast with his mother, Kuni Tsuma and rushes off with Hiruma Genshu in tow. They get a chance to meet with his mother, pass on the diasho of his father and meet his very brash younger sister who is training to be a bushi for the Hida. The two then drift off into the courts, where they offer to train dueling stances with Mirumoto Yoshiaki and Soshi Harumi. They then find Gobind Surresh and Ide Hiro arguing with each other about the modesty of Togashi Kasumi. Hisui makes a spectral of the situation, trying to import his ‘wisdom’ of mediation in the courts, which catches the two courtiers flat footed. The pairs day ends with the Go competition.

Nishimura writes a spirited letter back to the Imperial Chancellor, Shosuro Nobukazo. He then goes about the court, asking after the Surresh with the servants. He then is drawn into a conversation with Shaym, the Guru, about his championing the common folk. He then latter entertains the lunch of the Maharaja with an epic retelling of a heroe’s sacrifice, and it astounds the Ivory Court. He then ends the evening with judging the Go Tournament with Pranay Surresh and Mohinder. Mohinder remains unimpressed and barely feigns interest, meanwhile Pranay begins a covert talk with Nishimura, expressing her concern over the Obsidian Samurai, and asks for guidance for her great House. The two part under good terms.

Toku Gattsu mean while looks at the courts with near contempt. He talks to the servants, and then skulks about. He eventually decides to leave the Courts, and sneaks into the Surresh wing, slipping in when no one was looking and manages to get up stairs. There, he finds a number of documents and some poison that cast a dark shadow on House Surresh. It would seem they have made a pact with the Obsidian Empire to murder the Maharaja, and then they would assume vast amounts of wealth and power within the new Empire. He then sneaks it back to report to Nobu and take the poison to the doctors over seeing Goshui.

Matsu Nobu finds the courts welcoming, with the bubbly Yoritomo Haruka introducing him to everyone and taking him on a tour of the Winter Courts. He is then stopped by Yasuki Tsuneo who immediately, uses the chance to talk very flatteringly to the Matsu but rubs in his face about his Uncle in Law’s new appointment and corruption into the Lion Clan Champion for the Obsidian Empire. Nobu passes it aside, and moves on as the Cheat, Bayushi Setsu, leers at him from under his mask. He is then taken aside by Gattsu, to hear his finding, but discovers that Shoshuro Himitsu is hanging about. He talks with her, but finds that the new Scorpion Champion has drawn her concerns under his sway and she is loyal to him now. He sends her off, and then learns what the Surresh plans on doing. He draws his Unit together to discuss this over dinner, saying he will give it as a present to the Maharaja on his wedding day. He then attends the Go competition, and wins against the Guru. The Guru and he plan on playing a game of tiles the next day.

The evening ends with Nobu getting a letter back form the respective would be leaders of the Army, written by Isawa Shinpani who has also entered into the fray and says that if he wants to talk to them, he must come to them.

View
Episode 11: A Brave New World - Part 1
Arrival

The Tiger’s Maw Elite Unit arrives to the Ivory Kingdom, being escorted a Ra’Shari Caravan and some Desert Moto. The are welcomed by the Tiger’s Maw Unit, which quickly brings them up to speed on the goings on within the camps of the Emerald Samurai.

Beyond the normal bickering one would suspect within the Samurai cast, there is a long over due power struggle for leadership within the camp, spurred on by the mounting pressure that the Emerald Samurai may be forced to leave their refuge. Yoritomo has been acting as a defacto leader, but has stated openly he shall not lead the army. His pride and ambition has caused him to nearly break this alliance before, and he has the wisdom now to see that he is a man of great action on the battle field, but outside of it his brashness could spell ruin for this struggle.

The would be leaders are currently: Yoritomo Aramasu who very much desires to lead his people to salvation, Matsu Yofun who feels her status demands she take over after the death of Toturi, Bayushi Tangen whose legendary luck could spell the undoing of the Emperor, Kuni Osako who is well respected and loved by her people. Tangen and Osako both do not desire the position, but seem admit on helping end the dispute, while Yofun and Aramasu both seem intent on claiming the position.

Meanwhile, a winter court held in the honor of The Maharaja is underway, as three factions compete for hit Favor. Currently the year of mourning has ended for the Maharaja, and the Traditionalists and Obsidian Samurai have put forth brides for him to consider. In three weeks time, the Emperor will choose a bride, and the Winter Court will end with the royal wedding.

If the Obsidian Samurai win the favor, the will gain the Ivory Kingdom’s as an ally, and continue the purge of the Emerald Samurai. If the Traditionalists win, they will exile both Samurai factions and the Ivory Kingdoms will become isolated again. If the Emerald Samurai win, they gain an ally and have a place to reestablish themselves at long last.

The Emerald Samurai were winning, until Bayushi Goshiu was poisoned. He lay dying form the after effects of the poison, respecting the Ivory Kingdom’s dislike of magic being cast. He has called upon the Tiger’s Maw Elite to help gain more favor within the Court.

The Unit met with those vying for power, while Kaneka was taken by his half brother to meet with the Camps. Daidoji Uji went to go see his harriers he was separated from for many years ago. Heichi Shinwa took his sister to see his father. The Elite Unit only had a few moments to catch up, and then Rama Singh escorted them from his palace to the Ivory Court, half a days ride from his own holdings.

Second_City_2.jpg

There they meet with Goshui, on this death bed, and he tells them that the Emerald Empire must suggest a wife. Matsu Nobu suggests that they back the Traditionalist’s choice of his chief concubine. Goshui also suggests that the Unit search the chambers of the Suresh, thinking that if there is anything suggesting duplicity it would be housed within. Then the old Scorpion passes out.

The Unit then considers what must be done and gets some rest for the next day.

View
4 Years of Peace? Timeline
Down Times

Year 1143:

  • During Kuni Osako‘s legendary duel, she made a massive swell of water to try and save the last refugees flee on their make shift fleet, the swell pushed the ships out of the swift lanes of current and instead crashed upon the mainland of Rokugan. The samurai left their ruined ships, and slipped into the Empire, with the Obsidian Legion’s distracted with their conquest.
  • In late spring in the Yobanjin provinces, word comes of a major revolt. Given the fall of the the Mantis Islands, the Yobanjin seem to have been caught in a bad way. Baxing – Warlord of the Sons of the Mountian Tribe, tried to take leadership of the failed plot led his tribe and what few tribes would follow him still, against The Beast of the North. The Sons of the Mountain Tribe was burned alive and slaughtered to a man by the Beast, and then through its darkness, rose them again to serve it. Sending its burning legions of Unbowed upon all who would dare oppose it’s will. This is a devastating blow, given the massive size of the Sons of the Mountain.
  • As summer arrives, much within The Emerald Empire returns to normal. The Obsidian Empire is fresh with three victories, trade resumes and the boarders open. The Great Clans return to their lands to reap their rewards and attend to their duties. Trade begins in earnest with the Jewel of the Desert and many ships travel back and forth between the Ivory Kingdom and the Empire. Already the remainder of the Mantis who were pulled from the waves as undead horrors, begin to build a new fleet.
  • The Tiger’s Naw Elite winter in a hidden store house within Biden Pass upper reaches. It is well stocked and is a perfect refuge to train and prepare for the coming Spring.

Year 1144:

  • As the new year arrives Kaneka explores the caves near the hidden store house and discover’s Sun Tao’s forgotten main camp, a roomy monastery long lost to a land slide. He finds the drafts for the original Sun Tao’s Journal. He then takes up reading and writing with Hisui, wishing to learn the contents of these old records.

Year 1145:

  • As Spring arrives, Kaneka comes of age and completes his Gempuku. The Unbroken Crab and Spider are in attendance and welcome Toturi’s son fully to the fight.
  • Forgotten Shores – Word comes through the Spider that fisher men spotted activity on the Island of Silk. Before the Unbroken Crab can mount an expedition, the Obsidian Legion sends three shop to the Island. Reportedly, there was a battle that claimed 2/3’s of the three ships crews. It would appear survivors led by the Wasp Champion Tsuruchi made a heroic last stand beside a very powerful shugenja. In the end the archer fell then rose to join the Obsidian Legion’s ranks.
  • Unrest in the Crane Lands – A peasant revolt rose in the Hawk’s governance. As the peasantry died in scores, ronin flocked to their banner to champion them. It would appear that many of the ronin were former Toturi’s army who had crashed a shore two years before. However the ronin’s actions were anticipated and it seems the Hawk Champion has laid a trap to draw out the remainders of Toturi’s army in his region. When the slaughter of the ‘ronin’ was over, many captives were taken prisoner, their leader Matsu Gohie was chief amongst them.
  • Strange Dreams – The dreams came of the old naga ruins. Every night the same dream, and they were shared too, but not by everyone. Genshu, Hisui, Nobu, Nishamura and Gattsu all dreamed the same thing. When you woke up a longing to go there, to the city of courage. In the end, it looked like a trap. The dreams persisted for two weeks, then on the second week of dreams, each of them dreamed of the Mountains of Shadow, the Nothing. Then you dreamed of the ruins of the naga with the minions of Goju taking it stone by stone until a brilliant ball of fire forced the shows back and you wake up with the light of the ball rising high in the sky. The five of you awaken looking to the direction you know the ruins to be, as a dawn rose three hours early that day.
  • The events of the The Hunt occurred here.

Year 1146: The Kistu send word that they must return to the realm of the spirits. Fu Leng has sent forces into the other realms bent on conquest. He has apparently begun war with the Tsuno, and they must work to confine him and his forces.

  • The events of the Reprisal occurred here.
  • Word arrives from the Kistu that Yume-do has been lost.

Year 1147:

  • Tiger’s Maw Elite Unit arrives in the start of the new year in the Ivory Kingdoms.
View
Episode 10: Battle of Lightening City
Part 1

After leaving the island of Silk, the fleet makes its way to the island of Spice. Along the way, Kitsu Okura attacks the fleet. In desperation, Yoritomo tries to save his people from the Dark Elemental Master of Water, and calls about the young Irchiro, who has the Mantle of the Thunder Dragon upon him. The young shugenja to be, gives the Son of Storms the power to confront the Elemental Master and succeed. The cost is great, and Yoritomo falls, his chi expended and no clear sign of the true cost of this. Seppun Matsuo takes command of the fleet.

With a moment’s reprieve, the group catches its breath. Akasha is taken away to rest, and Kaneka speaks with his half brother (both are age 12, I found my notes at last). Daidoji Uji says that the groupo must land on Spice to find and protect Toturi. Heichi Juyo asks Matsu Nobu to find his family, as he is wounded and he cannot abandon his men, and Nobu agrees. The group then finds that the 8th Legion is attacking Spice and they move the Mantis Fleet in between the waves of ships and doing so allows the third wave of escapees to flee from Spice.

The Tiger Maw’s Elite takes a small vessel and tried to land on the island, but The Maw’s rising form the sea throws their efforts into chaos and many of their followers are swept overboard into the Skull Tide. Shoshuro Himitsu has not been seen since, but Hida Jūbunna, Isawa Hakana, Matsu Anga and Matsu Hisan made it to shore along with their Crane allies, although many were separated into smaller groups and forced to face the horrors of the island divided. Jūbunna and Anga fought off waves of goblins and ogres, while Hakana and Hisan stood against Yakamo no Oni and his undead hoard.

Nishimura and Hiruma Genshu found the City of Lightening burning and in ruins. Isawa Tsuke had hung Isawa Keade’s corpse form the towers and started burning everything. The Maw was razing the island, and Miya Satoshi was dueling any samurai who got in his way. The followed refugees fleeing form the battle through the black smith’s shop, and found Kuni Nodai had died defending the area.

showimage.jpg

Toku Gattsu, Kuni Hisui and Nobu arrived at the docks to witness Kuni Osako in a great duel with Yoritomo Makashi. During the duel, Osako allowed herself to be injured to save the fourth fleet escape, and in a moment of hubris Makashi was defeated by the shugenja’s swordsman skill. The 8th Legion backed away to find other targets, with their champion lost. Saving the docks, the group retreated into the jungle to find Toturi.

Kuni_Osaku__KYD__2.jpg

Everyone united with Toturi who had some 40 followers still with him, most of which were eta and hemin. Fortunately the Tiger Maw’s Elite gave him better news since he saw his dead wife and had assumed his youngest son was dead. He rallied those there with knowledge of a hidden vessel and told everyone to sail to the Ivory Kingdom. On their way out, fate intervened and Hoturi the Heartless was waiting for them with a massive showing of force. Many of their recently recruited allies were there too, their wills stolen by The Heartless.

Toturi made a deal with the Heartless, in return for his staying to a duel, his men would give chase in 20 minutes, along enough for his people to escape. He handed his daughter to Hakumei, and gave Uji the command, and told them to run. Uji then gave command to Osaku, who led the people to safety. He held the Tiger’s Maw Elite Unit back, and quickly they cobbled together a plan to kill The Heartless. They would use the Ashura Blood to put it into the cavity in the chest of Hoturi, and someone would strike it to destroy him for completely.

As soon as the two Thunders stood face to face, and entered the duel, Hoturi told him men to follow and kill all of Toturi’s followers, saying “It ends here.” Already locked into the duel, the two moved… but the Heartless was faster and cut the Lion Thunder near in half. Taking a moment to watch, savoring the near death of his rival, the Heartless was irritated by a foot solider walking up to him saying that there was a problem. Tuning in annoyance, the Obsidian Champion was startled to find a katana arcing at him in an awkward Butter Sword of Lies style from the hands of Kaneka as he shouted to leave his father alone.

showimage.jpg

The Tiger’s Maw unit left to life, spells seemed to slip off of the Obsidian Champion, and arrows were of little effect, and even Nishamura found the Crane Champion nearly impossible to strike. Gattsu however started to rain blows on him, pushing the Heartless back towards a tree in the center of the field. Uji jumped down on him, and seemed to wrestle and try to close to cut the head from Hoturi, but instead he threw the Iron Crane off. Ranting and raving, the Heartless demanded to know what was the point of all of this, but failed to notice the battle lodged in his cavity.

Nobu and Nishamura took up their firing stances, and unleashed a volley of arrows. Hoturi must have sensed a trap, and spun out of the way of the arrows, with Nobu’s arrow sailing through the hole in the cavity, but unable to strike the vial. Knowing that if they waited any longer, the Heartless would renew his attacks and perhaps kill them all, Genshu charged the Crane with the Talon of the Celestial Dragon in hand. He jump and struck with all of his might and skill, striking the vial, and he and the Crane Champion both were consumed by the flames. When the smoke cleared, Genshu lay burnt to near non recognition, a mass of black and red oozing flesh. But the Heartless…. it was gone, taken by the immolating flames.

Hisui rushed to his body guard’s side and revived him with prayers to the kami, giving him just enough life to stand once more. Kaneka dropped to his father’s side, and the two talked for just a moment:

“He found you,” Toturi whispered weakly. “Toku found you.”

Kaneka could say nothing. He only nodded at his father, clasping his hand in his own.

“Kaede saw you. . . ” Toturi whispered. “She said that you would save us.”

Kaneka bowed his head, unable to meet his father’s eyes.

“You must promise,” Toturi said. “You must promise that you will not abandon them. The people of Rokugan need a leader. They must not lose hope. . . ”

“I promise, father,” Kaneka said. “I promise I will not abandon them.”

Toturi nodded. He smiled a final time at his eldest son and died.

showimage.jpg

The Unit then gathered themselves up, Uji dispelled the fear that they were trapped on an island of the damned, and fled towards his hidden vessel, it could not take them to the Ivory Kingdoms, but it could make it back to the mainland.

Along the way, they searched for Juyo’s fmaily, and found Heichi Shinwa and his half sister, his step mother had died somewhere on the beach. They joined the group and made it to the caves. They built a pyre for Toturi, “I will not abandon them,” Kaneka whispered, touching the torch to the pyre. They them rowed away into the turbulent seas, as they watched scores of Ashura pouring form the heavens onto the Island of Spice, knowing no one would remain alive who remained.

showimage.jpg

View
Ep 09: The Calm Before the Storm - Part 5
Everyone Dies

As the village recovered, and gathered the dead to burn, a number of funerals were preformed. Kaneka was given Toku’s sword to hold and keep on the way to the island. The fallen corrupted samurai’s blades were given to the Tiger’s Maw Elite Unit, as well as a grand crystal that held some scroll within it. They retired for the evening, and found that Daidoji Uji and Hakumei were resting down stairs in the morning. They have arrived at the guidance of Favorable Wind, who knew that Kuni Hisui had been trying to desperately reach him. The two explained that their safe house was assulted by the Obsidian Legion and that Daidoji Tancho stood fast to allow the two time to escape. Uji heard what happened and looked at the crystal, Hisui determined that maho was involved with the protection of the crystal, and Uji suggested that they go see a ‘friend’ of his in South Hub Village. The unit gathered up, and left the nameless village, after they helped the farmers find spirituality once more with the Fortune of Rice.

On the road, they encountered few to no samurai, this gave them a chance to catch up, and start explaining to the curious Kaneka the code of Bushido. They also discovered that he had a wild and reckless style of fighting that was unrefined. So bit by bit the unit took a chance to advise the boy, teach him a lesson or two and ask him of his own life. The boy had been inducted into the Forest Killers early, and learned the sword under the bandit lord Fade. He can count, but cannot read, he is good at ambushes and deception, and lacks a true understanding of honor. Matsu Nobu began to teach him honor and Bushido, Kuni Hisui gave lessons of how to read and write along with knowledge of the spiritual order, Toku Gattsu taught him the blade, Hiruma Genshu began with go and also katana work. Uji taught knives and refined his deception, while Hakumei ranged ahead to keep them aware of danger.

As they entered the Scorpion lands they noticed a great deal of change. The land was recovered from the brutal march and much of the castles, homes and towers were being restored. Near the Scorpion Capital, the unit found that a number of peasants were fleeing from the south saying that the Oni of the Legion of Jigoku were swarming the The Unbroken Crab in waves of darkness. Leading them was the new little teacher Honzo. He spoke with the group, gave them guidance and wished them luck as he made sure the peasants were being led far from the battle that raged in the south. Nishimura, unable to stomach the threat to his allies, his lord and his wife, bade the unit luck, and headed south to aid how he could against the oni. Hisui also bade Favorable Wind to go find out what happened in the south and the group, knowing that even if they pressed forward with all of their might would arrive well after the battle was over, continued towards South Hub Village.

There, for the first time in days they started to see signs of other Samurai, and they were still few in number. There they went into a bar and Uji asked for the group to see Tiger. Uji warned them that they could not trust Tiger fully, but he was a nessisary thing. When the unit was taken to the back they found Akodo Kage, the kolat master. He was looking at a table of clay figures in three groups over the map of the empire. He greeted them warmly, and disarmed them with is charming words and smile. The former sensei, noted that he felt that the false Emperor can be fought in other ways then with swords and finding the death trap riddled 12th Black Scroll. He claims to have already inspired rifts within the court and that these will sunder the Dark Lord.

Setting aside talk, he got down to business and took up the crystal scroll, noting that the Empire now uses these to secure messages. He handed the crystal over to an aid who took it, and said that his blood speaker in a cage will open the device up. Nobu expressed his dislike of this tactic, but Kage explained that the leisure of time is demanding otherwise. While the scroll was away, Kage tried to offer Uji a job within the Kolat, saying that ‘the Temple’ had fallen and new masters were needed to guide the hand of man against the gods. Uji dismissed him, but Kage continued, and offered a way for his to have revenge on Hoturi the Heartless, and produced a bottle of ashura blood, preserved before its death. As Uji eyed the bottle, the aid returned with the letter. The letter was passed about, and the letter was a recall of all samurai for the Obsidian Legion near the capital. Nobu noticed that the bottle of blood had disappeared while everyone was distracted reading and reacting to the letter. Kage knew that this meant that the Emperor was going to strike at the Islands of Spice and Silk, Uji agreed and asked the older man for a ways to get to the islands. Kage knew of a way, but they would not be able to arrive before the armies, they would arrive with them. His aid brought out the black armor of the Obsidian Magistrates and everyone donned them, and as they left Kage told them that should they survive any of them are welcomed to join him in the kolat. The unit disguised took the papers of recall with them to the capital.

Before they were at the capital they were met on the road and sent to the Tower of the Dawn, and found the massing army along with a fleet made of the wood of the Fox Lands. The massive army was swollen with almost ever samurai in the Empire. Uji gave lead of the unit to Nobu, as Uji could not hide his blue eyes with his armor, and Nobu registered them with the army…. and their registrar was Kitsuki Kaagi. He apparently had been saved form death somehow, and claimed to be free from the clutches of The Lying Darkness. Nobu did not probe further, but Kaagi did ask if there would be an ‘issues’ while he was here, and Kaagi said he would cover them up best he could.

The unit then met back together and they broke apart into three groups to better explore the camps. Uji, Hakumei and Gattsu left for the docks to sabotage boats (disabling three before they were forced to quit) and Kitsuki Kaagi seemed to cover up their interference. Nobu and Kaneka went about the camp city gathering rumors:

1. A Dragon was overheard saying that the gathering was for attacking the islands, but obviously since the Wall of Bone has fallen, the Imperial Armies will march north instead he is sure.

2. The Crab and the Legion of Jigoku is at odds over territory. Skirmishes may devolve into war between the two factions. The Crab wish for their ancestral lands returned.

3. The Kitsu Tombs have fallen into disarray, with the Kitsu attendants, guards and now investigatory magistrates found dead and in some cases scattered about the Tombs. The Lion worry that the ancestors do not approve of their wars.

4. The Crane who is being tortured by the Heartless, he is one of Uji’s students. All the sabotage as of late, it must be him. If Uji is here… do the Islands know we are coming?

6. The Necromancer, Isawa Tanayama, has presented a bounty to any who will give the location of Traitor’s Grove.

9. The Lion have noticed that Minor Clans lands have become a nest of trouble. They should be purged completely, in the name of honor and glory.

Meanwhile Hisui and Genshu both made their way to all of the food carts and found the main pavilion, and there found Daidoji Tancho strapped to a post and was being tortured and questioned by Shosuro Nobukazo, while the Heartless watched on. An issue was that his tongue had been removed, so his questioning and torture were pointless. The pair then overheard Hantei Kachiko and the Heartless get into a courtly argument to end the torture, and just before the Empress one her debate, Hantei the 39th ended the fued, stating that Yogo Junzo would end the Crane’s life with a ritual meant to fuel the coming attack. The two left at that point and returned to meet with the group and all exchanged what they had learned.

The gongs were sounded, summoning the unit and all of the assembled samurai together before the assembled court of Fu Leng. There Miya Satoshi spoke before the troops, allowing the unit a quick view into the world of the Imperial samurai. This is a summary of what he said:

“Crab: A Hida has always ruled the Crab, and a Hida will again. Kuni Yori shall select someone pure of blood to take up the Hida leadership. Should none alive be worthy… perhaps tensions with the Maw will lesson and one of his prizes shall be able to be bartered with from his display. In that effort, the Empress has suggested that the coveted southern Crane lands be gifted to the Crab to expand to. (Hoturi looks angered) His magnificent and divine lord has agreed.

Crane: Gurifisu step forward. Due to your daring and resourcefulness in taming the rebel Crab you shall be recognized. You are made lord of a minor Clan. The Hawk Clan Champion, and your duty is to watch over the Crane Lands, for the Crane Clan Champion.

Dragon: Togashi Okkio, step forward. Due to your courtly favor and often insightful words, the child of heaven and hell shall make your Champion of your Clan. Your responsibility shall be to contain your ancestral lands. The command of the Wall of Bone is yours. Take what supplies you have need of, after the war and hold it.

The Lion: Ikoma Uijaki, your responsibility to the Obsidian Legions and acting as defacto leader of the Lion has been commendable. However, his most majestic of kami, needs you to be one mind. You shall find a Champion worthy of the Lion. And the Emperor is willing to forgive the Akodo their sins and recognize them once more, should Toturi the black be brought before him to beg for mercy. Alive or dead.

Phoenix: Isawa Tsuke, your influence within the court has been delightful beyond belief. You have the honor of hosting a championship, to determine who the Grand Master of the Elements shall be. Before winter court is called, this shall be done.

Scorpion: Yogo Junzo, the Scorpion are without a Champion. The Ninth Kami offers you the chance to redeem your fallen lord’s work. Seek out a Bayushi, or raise one.

Unicorn: Moto Tsume, an alliance has been struck with the Immortal Califf, trade shall begin with the Jewel of the Desert. This is a great moment of triumph for your Clan. Your clan shall establish a strong rout of travel to our newest ‘neighbor.’

Minor Clan Mantis: The minor clan known as the Mantis has largely been in a state of rebellion, however a few of this ancient clan still know their allegiance. Your islands shall be returned to you, and the seas will be your undisputed homes. The Mantis shall inherit the weight of producing the greatest navy that the Empire has ever seen, and vengeance shall be had for the Battle of White Stag."

The Heartless then took the stage, and began as war speech that invigorated the samurai, and during his speech told of the death of Hida O-Ushi and the breaking of the Unbroken Crab. He then surrender Ikoma Ujiaki the command. There, he stated his strategy and asked for the Emperor’s blessing. As the Emperor came forward, Hisui and Genshu saw that the Emperor was not a young man caught in immortality, but he was an aged man. He was getting older. Finally the Heartless left control of the Obsidian Magistrates remaining behind to protect the Emperor and his family in command of Matsu Toshiro, who was not as dead as when the Unit last left him. Then Yogo Junzo used the the youngest pure Crane left alive, and made a hurricane mixed with the Skull Tide, and sent it before the fleet to destroy the Islands of the Mantis.

The Unit made its way to the docks, when Gattsu heard his name being shouted. He stopped and the Unit turned to see a massive black oni that loosely resembled a hound. It was sniffing the air and spoke, saying taht he felt ‘he’ was near. Then The Hawk, Gurifisu was upon the creature, berating Gattsu no Oni for straying and commanded that it follow him. The unit gave an unsettling look to Gattsu, who suggested they get on the boat.

The ship was the Sea Spear, captained by a Yasuki who had been corrupted since the Crab’s great fall in the Clan Wars. The Unit made their way onto it and met the crew. 10 ashugaru who looked more frightened of their captain then the coming war on the islands, were a number of fresh recruits:

Hida Jūbunna (a big man with dim wits and smells like a horrid swamp)
Matsu Anga and Hisan (brother and sister, one angry and looks normal the other repentant and the start of a hard growth is started on his arms)
Shoshuro Himitsu (she is pale as death with fair looking white hair and secretive)
Isawa Hakana (with glowing eyes and a serene look upon his features)

The young samurai are all eager to speak with the Obsidian magistrates, assuming they have gone through great battles, know stories of the rise of the Obsidian Empire, and seem to also long to hear stories of what it was like before. Nobu and the other became convinced they may be able to sway the younger soldiers, but they knew that the Captain was too far gone. They were to stage their uprising deep at sea before the battle.

Just before they left the coast line, the saw the great current of the sea spider, and to their horror and relief the current ended and it seemed for a moment that the sea spider was coming for them, when they realized it was The Maw, with the freshly slain Sea Spider, headless, in its jaws and he left it on the beach with as the crabs swarmed around it as the Maw took to the sea once more to the cheers of the Obsidian fleet.

The time for the mutiny was at dinner, and the unit was quick about it, and keep control of the ship, convincing the young men and women to join their cause in redemption. The ship then was taken captain by Genshu, and he followed the fleet into battle the following morning. The Island of Silk had been hit hard by the storm, with ships unprepared for the winds and waves taken into the skull tide turned the seas into a nightmare of gnashing teeth. The first wave had been repelled by Yoritomo’s First Storm, but the second wave attacked on the heels of the other fleet and the Mantis Champion faltered. As the Sea Spear was making its way toward land fall, it stopped to save a sinking ship’s crew of Mantis, which gained the ire of the Obsidian Legion and they were forced to beach the ship a few miles from Kyuden Gotei.

As the crew of the Sea Spear crawled ashore, they saw Isawa Kaede over head on the sheer cliffs above, as she cast a massive spell that summoned up fog, allowing the Mantis Fleet to retreat. The Unit made its way towards the Phoenix, as they over heard her talking to her youngest son, which was interrupted by Isawa Tsuke, Kuni Yori and Yogo Junzo. Kaede bade Jiro run, as Yori moved to take the child, knowing that Kaede could do nothing as an Oracle, was violently set ablaze by the Phoenix, clearly showing she was not the Oracle of Thunder any more. Tsuke then took her down, relishing in the chance to have vengeance upon her and who ever she passed the mantle of Thunder onto. Yori, in his anger of being set ablaze awoke the sleeping volcano in Silk, setting the earth to tremble and sway as the violent eruption of the island began to build. Junzo gave chase to Jiro, and only Gattsu got close, but was not fast enough to save the child from being abducted by the Dark Master of Air.

Behind them unit, a wall of ash began to swallow the island and they ran for the Mantis docks, praying that there was a way off the island. Along the way, burning rocks began to pelt the jungle, and they heard bushi burning to death as they fled towards safety. They arrived at the Mantis capital to find it largely abandoned, bu they heard screams and the strange sounds of oni within the city. They had three avenues to choose from to get to the docks, and chose the rout that took them into the Temple district, they saw the great Temple to Daikoku burning and fall into its self. As the group passed by New Amaterasu Seido, they heard fighting within, and a massive shriek of something inhuman, and a call for aid. The Unit left the Obsidian Legionnaires to watch the ground level, and the Tiger’s Maw Unit took to the temple. Within the Library of the Fiery Centipede the unit found Yoritomo Wakiza and 8 of her Moshi subdued and almost slain by a very old Wanyudo. The Unit fought quickly to end the blazing undead’s terror, and save the Moshi and as many of their scrolls as possible, as they knew the ash cloud was behind them.

79472276_2454993_wanyudoweb_b.jpg

After the fight, they gathered up the injured Moshi and what scrolls they could carry and moved towards the docks, which were in ruins. The hurricane had been savage and quick, Yoritomo’s fleet had been at anchor and smashed against his own harbor. A number of ships were being discarded and scuttled after the battles, as the Flag ship The Storm was the last one in dock and preparing to leave.

However The Shashakar was laying on the docks, injured and dying along side a battle maiden. It explained in its odd telepathic way that, that Furu no Oni had come for his Naga and it had all but slain them all. They saw a vision of Furu no Oni, a parasite of flame that had hunted and taken Naga from a time before man, stealing not only their corpses, but removing all of the Naga from the Akasha. The battle maiden had attempted to save the Naga’s life, and she had been nearly killed in the process. The Shashakar managed to escape with her, and pulled out a pearl, in an attempt to save his people’s legacy of the Akasha he used the pearl to merge his essence with hers, and then he died. The Unit took the young lady, just as Furu no Oni came bursting through a wall for the dead Naga’s corpse.

Furu_no_Oni.jpg

The Unit poured onto the ship, as the ash cloud consumed the city, and headed out to sea. As the ship sailed past the reef of destroyed ships, the mysterious woman recovered from her ordeal with the Pearl and dealt with so many memories in her mind. Lacking a true identity for herself, she named herself Akasha.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.