L5R JYSB Campaign Report 710 April, 2010
Challenge of the Crimson Hawk
Having been send north by Otomo Takama to the Southern Hub Villages around the capital of Otosan Utchi to investigate reports by the Governor, Bayushi Tonshi, of bandits operating in that area. Passing through the fields, they see that the lands are blessed with exceptional productivity, well maintained roads and everything one could wish for . . . until they arrive in the village itself, really a town, where everything looks like it has been unpainted and minor repairs neglected recently except for the shrines and the governor’s mansion. Our heroes have been assigned three doshin (peasant deputies) to assist them whom they dispatch to get the lay of land when they arrive while they go on to meet the governor after cleaning off the dust of the road.
Bayushi Tonshi is a nephew of the Scorpion Clan champion and a man of no small political ambition. That bandit attacks are taking place in his area is very distressing for him potentially causing him a huge loss of face, which is why our heroes are here rather than a full Imperial Magistrate or the Imperial Legions, their actions and the report can be kept quiet as needed. Our heroes learn the following information, some directly and some pieces by implication:
- The bandit leader is known as the Crimson Hawk and he wears a mask, an irony not lost on the governor.
- Only the governor’s convoys are being attacked. The governor does not say it outright, but these are his tax convoys.
- The Crimson Hawk and his bandits have not killed anyone. The guards have always been knocked unconscious. (The Hare noted several guards with healing bruises on his way in.)
- The post of governor of each of the hub villages is rotated ever year or two as they are prime political assignments, close to the Imperial capital, real money spinners and very low-risk.
- The local populace feels that they are being overtaxed. (Reported by the doshin.)
Our heroes also meet Bayushi Minhzang, daughter of the governor, a young and fiery woman. Bayushi Seitaro, the recently promoted -and nervous- Captain of the Guard (the previous Captain having committed sepukku over his failure to capture the Crimson Hawk). The Moshi maidens Junko and Naoko, Junko is betrothed to Tonshi and her younger sister, a committed student of the Tao, accompanied her. Yogo Ren, the governor’s treasurer. And Kamome Suzu, a Gull Clan mercenary who commands Moshi Junko’s guards.
Soshi Utami talked with Minhzang while the Toku played go with Naoko (who won two out of three). The next morning they talked with the guards who had been attacked, and mentioned that their attackers had used the spirits, and watched Kamome Suzu beat up on practice dummies with a particularly brutal style.
They talk, they plan, and convince the Governor to let them take a fake convoy out and try and lure out the Crimson Hawk. The plan works! They are on the most barren stretch of the local roads when one of the carts wheels breaks. Investigating it, the Kiau see that it was broken by an earth kami just as he is about to pass this information on, the Crimson Hawk appears and taunts them. Soshi Utami wings an arrow toward the Hawk but misses and the Scorpion guards are ordered to pursue as the Crimson Hawk withdraws with a dramatic whirl of his cloak.
Our heroes wait, suspecting another attack and they are almost right. From the other side, they are approached by the Crimson Hawk accompanied by a large and a small person, each in jingasa and robes. The Crimson Hawk says, “You have been brought here to end the banditry of the Crimson Hawk. I, too, need the Crimson Hawk ended. Let us work together.”
There is some discussion. The Crimson Hawk offers them ‘a Crimson Hawk’ to take back and promises to stop his banditry. Our heroes ask why they should trust a bandits word, he replies, “Because if I broke it, it would shame you, your magistrate and the governor and then the Imperial magistrates and legions would hunt me to the ends of the Earth as they took their vengeance.” They agreed that is a good point and agree.
Before the Scorpion guards return, then are led off the road to where there is another Crimson Hawk who is awoken by the real Hawks companion. Confused the flase Hawk draws his katana and combat is joined! Our heroes quickly dispatch him, only to find the real hawk and his companions have vanished. The Scorpion guards return and are annoyed that their revenge against the Hawk has been stolen.
However, the governor is overjoyed. He publicly lauds their accomplishments and gives each a weapon of their choice from his armory and sends them back on their way to Kyuden Otomo. On arriving back, Soshi Utemi finds an origami of a hawk made of red paper among her things . . .