The core unit is back in the capital, having sorted out the mystery of the missing paving stones (and covered up an embarrassment to the Crane). It is now late Autumn and the skies have become grey and the winds howl, winter is almost here. They are looking forward to a relaxing winter in the capital but it is not to be. A new member arrives:
Tonbo Sanetomi, a Dragonfly without talent for speaking to the kami or divination and thus trained as a Miromoto swordsman. Unfortunately, he is prone to be both argumentative and less than truthful and after a small altercation at a minor court has ended up with the SRIU. (Mirumoto bushi 2, played by M back from exile.)
Just in time to join the next mission: to take a set of files to the Imperial Magistrate Togashi Shisõ (the only Togashi to serve as an Emerald magistrate) at Kyuden Isawa. And, as they are already going to Kuyden Isawa, they can escort Doji Akira’s cousin, Asahina Chiaki, to the Phoenix Winter Court being held there so she can meet her husband to be. Chiaki is accompanied by her Yojimbo, Kakita Noriko, they are also transporting a portable shrine in semi-secrecy though they do open it every morning to preform prayers and sacrifices.
As they pack up their horses the next morning, Doji Akira gives each bushi a pot of jade paste and Bayushi Kaeru, a scroll of Wrathful Glare of the Sun, with a note from one of her sensei. Hida Kenta explains the use of jade paste to his companions as they travel. The route takes them north, a road out of the capital they have taken many times already. They travel first to Dragon’s Guard city, then to the Palace of the Emerald Champion (who was absent) and into the mountains.
The travel through the mountain pass is slow and unpleasant due to rain and mist. On the last day of travel through the pass, the last watch notices that the shrine is missing! The Tonbo shouts an alarm and casting around, see a shape moving away in the mists. He points this out to the others and get two shuriken in the chest for his troubles. The Akodo, Hida and Otaku (who leap strait from her bedroll to her horse) close and find a line of grey clad men between them and the group carrying away the portable shrine. The thieves trying to slow the samurai are not warriors and two are quickly cut down and another badly wounded. The ones carrying the shrine drop it and run when the Scorpion summons the air kami to disperse the mist around it. Most of the thieves vanish away but the injured one is captured by Hida Kenta who prevents the thief from taking his own life.
Read the rest of this entry ?