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Rokugan SRIU Episode 6 “Flowers at the Ki-Rin Shrine” (L5R Campaign Report)

3 September, 2015

Leaving behind the Inquisitors and hunted peasantry, our yoriki continues their travels arriving at the justly famous Ki-Rin Shrine where they meet up with Otaku Akilah who comes bearing messages from Doji Akira (their superior).  Which contains the news that Doji Otaro has been murdered by a nun whom, it appears, that he tried to take advantage of and that they should take some time to rest at the Shrine before returning to the capital.

Things were nice and relaxing until, on their way back from their evening meal, they spotted something the size of a child running across the rooftops towards the shrine.  As they headed off in pursuit, a figure called Akodo Akina’s name and she paused to see Ikoma Masaji, looking very haggard and expressing a desire to speak with the Bayushi priestess, if such could be arranged, the distracted Lioness agreed and then raced after her companions.

Holding unpleasant thingsThey arrived at the shrine just in time to see the figure slipping in after sprinkling black sand across the threshold.  They rushed up to the door and then paused, as the Lioness stepped over the sand, it gathering itself into the shape of a scorpion and stung her.  The Hida and Bayushi dispatched it, and it turned back into sand, but not before it stung the Crab as well.  Fanning out into the Shrine they call for the tenders of the shrine who appear and they search the shrine, not finding the intruder but finding a canopic jar hidden in a corner of the shrine.  The characters do not recognize it as anything other than a foreign thing, the Otaku thinks it might be from beyond the City of Stories, but luckily there is an Ide merchant visiting the shrine and he is summoned.  He is able to identify it as a Senpet grave good of some sight but claims no further knowledge.  They move the jar with bamboo poles, which proves to be a wise precaution as by the time they get it to the guest house, the once green bamboo touching the jar has desiccated and is shattering.

They get a large container and pack it with earth around the jar and set a guard over it.  Wuya returns and lets the others know that children have been going missing from the local area and the local peasants are spooked.  This does not reassure the characters.  Later in the night, they hear a scrabbling, scratching sound from outside.  The Hida and the Otaku go to investigate while the Akodo guards the jar (the Bayushi and Wuya are asleep upstairs).

Outside, they see a small figure climbing in through a window, while another one waits on the ground.  It looks to the Otaku, it is an emaciated and obviously dead child with white flowers for eyes, it then turns its head all the way around -vertebrae snapping in the process- to look at the Hida.  Then it leaps at him with a kama.  The Crab fends it off and shouts for the others to wake up as there are things coming in.  The Akodo is distracted by a small figure sneaking down the corridor towards the jar and move to engage.  It is a small but very fast unliving child with vicious claws and at the end of the corridor stands a woman in shadow, blood dripping from her arm.  Wuya and the Bayushi arm themselves and move to investigate and opening the door to Ikoma Masaji’s room, only to find him surrounded by four of the flower-eyed children who have obviously been torturing him.  They look with their soulless eyes to the new arrivals and then brutally kill the Ikoma.

Upstairs, Wuya and the Bayushi attack the children who move to flee, loosing most of their number before one escapes.  Downstairs, the Akodo and the fast child exchange blows as the dark woman tears into her own flesh to call curses down upon the Lioness.  Outside the Otaku and the Crab quickly dispatch the flower-eyed child, only to have another one leap on them from above; it ends up impaled on the end of the Crab’s hammer, slashing at his arms before it is finally pounded into the ground.

Everyone rushed down and in to see what is happening, just before the Akodo kills the fast child, and it turns into billowing sands, and is struck down by a deadly curse as the dark woman peels the flesh from her forearm to empower the magic.  The dark woman is brutally killed but her magic still tortures the Lion.  The Hida notices that the jar is missing, having been spirited away through a hole cut in the wall.  He follows and see the Ide’s two gaijin workers dragging it away.  They draw knives and move to engage the Crab.   It does not go well for them, the first having his skull crushed and the second is set on fire by the Ide, using a spell that manifest as the blazing tail of a dragon.

It takes some time to untangle, but it seems that two forces were at play here: the dark woman was a peasant whose village had been destroyed by the Lion -the characters had seen here with the other displaced people back in Mulberry Grove- she had created the flower-eyed children to enact he vengeance on the Lion and must have fixated on the Ikoma.  While the two gaijin were enacting some plot of their own, using the ghul child (for that is what the fast unliving creature was) to act where they could not.  But the threat seemed to be over now.  The jar was to be turned over to the Asako Inquisitors and the Ikoma’s goods, including a small wooden box which he had tied tightly shut, returned to the Lion.  The yoriki remained on guard for the next few days before the Inquisitors could arrive and take away the jar.

Notes: The basic structure of the campaign here Rokugan SRIU and the previous episodes: Episode 1 “. . . and a monkey, Episode 2 “Cherry blossoms fall . . .“, Episode 3 “Tigers, Temples and Trouble“, Episode 4 “Paper Street and Episode 5 “Promises Made”.  C1 did no show up for the game, so the poor Suzume was sick and unable to help out.

Canopic Jar photo trimmed from one by savagecats and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

 

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