L5R JYTB Campaign Report 8

24 April, 2010

Culture, Rice and Lions

Having defeated the masked bandit known as the Crimson Hawk, our heroes return to Kyuden Otomo.  The magistrate current overseeing their actions, Otomo Takama, is pleased with their work (and the favor he is now owed by the Bayushi) but not with the team’s manners and limited social graces.

Therefore, he sends them to Otosan Utchi, the Capital, for a week of culture and training with the jitte (the weapon and symbol of a yoriki).  (In my notes, this was phrased as “Get some culture, backwood hicks that they are.”  T who plays the Toku objected to being referred to as a backwood hick.  But from the point of view of the Otomo, is not almost everyone?)

They travel to capital, passing back through the Southern Hub Village on the way, and end up escorting Bayushi Mingzang as far as the Capital where she has some shopping to do.  The characters are a bit overwhelmed by the vast size of the capital, especially as both the Hare and Monkey Clans would be swallowed whole and lost in it.

That evening they meet their social tutor, the foppish Doji Masayuki, who seems to know everything cultural in the city.  He takes them to geshia houses, plays, poetry readings and even a moon viewing party in an attempt to expand their social horizons.

The next day, they meet their weapons trainer, the inscrutable  sensei Tourou Odai, a warrior-mystic of the Mantis Clan, who instructs them in the art of fighting with a jitte.  Thus establishing the pattern, days of weapon practice and nights of social events.

After a very long week, they meet with Miya Kishin, Imperial Cartographer, who they are to escort to Bishamon Seido, the greatest of the shrines to Bishamon, the fortune of strength, deep in the Lion lands.

Their journey is uneventful, Lion lands are exceedingly regimented, until they reach the village of White Rice Shrine . . . Which has two Lion armies (small ones, about 300 samurai each) facing off against each other.  They are ‘invited’ to stay at the local inn by the two opposing Taisa.

White Rice Shrine is small but very productive village by tradition, the produce has been split equally between the Hirai Family of the Matsuand the North Plain Matsu Family.  However,  Matsu Hajime, the new damiyoof the North Plains Matsu has decided that the village should belong entirely to his family and is willing to spill blood to ensure that.  Hirai Seijirō, Daimyo of the Hiraim is happy with the status quo and seeks to calm the situation but will not give up his rights.  Thus the two armies.

Taisa Hirai Atō, commanding the Hirai forces here, approaches the characters to ask them if they would be willing to broker a solution to this problem as it would be a terrible waste of the Empire’s resources if the two families go to war.  The characters, tacitly supported by the Miya, agree.  The Toku asks for the documentation that the Hirai have on the historical situation.

According to the Harai, they were formed when two brothers were granted lands, the older one founded the North Plains Matsu and the younger, the Harai family.  White Rice Shrine stood precisely halfway between their two castles and it was agreed to split the taxes from it.  But the agreement was informal.  Taisa Matsu Asano agrees, when asked by the yoriki, to send for his daimyo and documents supporting his contention that the village rightfully belongs to the North Plains Matsu.

The next morning the characters are awoken by the Lion running kata and shouting loudly at each other as they did so.   The Monkey got the papers from the Hirai and found that, yes, there was an agreement and no, it was never formalized.   The shrine seemed to predate even the village and thus, the agreement, so the Toku and the Soshi went to investigate it.  After a careful investigation, the Soshi discovered that the statue of Oinari’s rake was in fact a disguised scroll tube.  Carefully removing it and breaking the ancient seals.  As she slowly unrolled the scroll, the two daimyo arrived.  The scroll details the history of the shrine, in an ancient illustrated style, and the founding of the current shrine by the two brothers.

The Toku presents the case, arguing that the daimyo should follow the example of their illustrious ancestors and share the lands as his been done for generations.  As a sign of good faith, Hirai Seijirō offers the scroll to his brother daimyo and Matsu Hajime accepts with slight reluctance and the matter is settled without bloodshed.  To celebrate, the two Lion armies engage in a grand melee with blunted weapons (those wacky Matsu).

Travel to Report 9.

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