Rokugan SRIU Episode 9 “To the North and Winter, Part 1” (L5R Campaign Report)27 August, 2016
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.
The thief is question, he readily admits to being hired from Toshi Ronbo to steal the shrine and that they had been following the group since Dragon’s Guard city. He did not know who hired them only that they were offering a lot of money for its retrieval. They decide to keep him as a prisoner, and bind him tightly after his wounds are treated.
The two Crane check over the shrine and are relieved that it has suffered no serious damage. Bayushi Kaeru, as a priestess, politely demands to be told who this antique shrine is to. Asahina Chiaki explains that it is to the almost forgotten Kami of Truth and that the sacred mirror incorporated into the shrine is suppose to reveal the true nature of those reflected in it. Suddenly, all the characters, except the Bayushi, suddenly decide to not be where they can be reflected. They are taking it to the Phoenix winter court because it is believed that there is bloodspeaker there. Unsurprisingly, this news does not make anyone happy.
By the end of the day, they make it out of the pass, arriving at Bird’s Nest Village, which is used as a staging point for those traveling through the pass. Several small merchant caravans are there but room is made without complain at the one inn for the samurai. The team talks with the merchants, who mention that the Phoenix have been very aggressive against bandits of late and that the snows have come a little early in the North.
The team is just settling into to get some sleep when the thief, tied to a pillar in the common room starts screaming “Get it off! Get it off!” And is thrashing about. Something shiny and obsidian black is climbing up his chest and plunges into his throat. He chokes and shakes with the team moving closer, and everyone else in the common room moving away, the black thing extends from his mouth and it is the first link of a chain made of obsidian and then the their explodes and a massive man-shaped thing emerges through the gore. It looks like the corpse of a massive, muscular human who had been bloating in water and only the obsidian chains wrapped around it kept it from bursting at the seams.
It is a nasty fight, with the sheer horror of the creatures arrival unsettling most of the samurai. The Bayushi summons the Sun’s wrathful glare to burn it with holy light. The samurai engage it, rotating in and out to apply jade paste to their weapons. The obsidian chain oni cuts a swath of destruction through the inn, heading towards the rooms the Cranes have taken. The Lion, Dragon and Unicorn all take savage slashes but keep fighting. Finally, the burning light of the Sun destroys the Oni,causing it to implode only leaving behind a pile of obsidian fragments, which the Crab pounds into dust with his jade covered hammer.
And with that final scene, the session ended. Part 2 here.
Notes: J3’s new class keeps him away so no Dragon this time but at least our Unicorn is back. Good to get back to L5R after a long break.
The basic structure of the campaign here Rokugan SRIU.