While the PCs wrap themselves around the hospitality of the Usagi Clan, Ozaki sneaks off to Shadowlands, filled with heroic zeal to find the Usagi heirloom sword. Using his advantages of birth, he secures a fast boat and crew and departs downriver. He is headed for the Wall, and will not be deterred! Uh oh.
The Usagi family are trying to deal with current events, a failed effort at a betrothal offer, the unfortunate misunderstandings that resulted in Ozaki killing a Lion, the appearance of an Oni and worse, guests. Also there are indications that those schemers of note, the Scorpion, may be planning something.
Of course the Usagi Clans daily attentions regarding the pursuit and destruction of the Kolat must be attended to as well. While all of this is going on, the Tamori tosses the room of Tomoe, after getting some spiritual hints about the missing scrolls approximate location. It is on a black case sealed by the Akodo, as described. Of course the group opens it and discovers that while richly endowed with a crimson an gold leaf border, the damn thing is in some kind of cypher. The Ise Zumi memorizes the cipher.
The castle, meanwhile has started become agitated over the disappearance of the heir. After some discussion, and another day, the PCs set out in lukewarm pursuit, also utilizing the riverboats. After several days and nights, a pretty hefty bribe and some sneaking they arrive at a riverfront village that is on the northern edge of the Crab Clan holdings. With the Hida’s urging, they procure horses (!) and zip over to the nearest Shadowlands gateway. A 20 Goblin winter is underway, and the non Crabs take the pledge in order to get through the wall, which they do, underground, blindfolded and escorted by two Hiruma scouts and one Kaiu 3rd Apprentice Trap Guide. The tunnel debauches in a rocky ravine on the far side of the river which parallels the Wall and after waiting for dark the group takes up for the presumed location of the Usagi Heirloom weapon.
They travel three days until a brief melee alerts them to the presence of goblins, which leads them to a stronghouse formerly owned by the Hiruma. They attack as the sun rises, fighting their over one Ogre, many goblins (males, females and sprats) and into the keep proper. Their attack coincided with that of a nearby Nezumi Clan so things go rather well for a bit. The fight carries them into the keep and into the dread presence of Exalted Ugu. Oh and a second Ogre shows up outside, and more goblins. Attrition has been taking a toll of the Ratlings and the PCs are tired and wounded. A kitchen has a half eaten Crab samurai-ko in it, and Ugu who is intent on sending ghosts after the PCs but who is instead slain by the Tsuruchi before he can muster any maho. They find the sword and Ozaki as well since he was nearby when the melee started, with one dying retainer and one intact one. Great, but now the putraged and alrert Goblins plus one seriously pissed off Ogre are waiting downstairs for the PCs. What to do?
Go to Chikushudo! Somehow (was it the Sword?) the PCs are drawn to a rabbit hole (was it the Nezumi?) and there they speak with both an Usagikami and a Kitsunekami, being asked to choose one way or the other through Chikushudo. After some discussion, the choose the Rabbit road and some riddles and are soon leaving another exit near the Shinomen Forest, Usagi Prefecture.
There they are treated to the opening duels of the Castle Usagi being reduced by the Scorpion. A three way duel of Champions happens between Usagi and Scorpion fighters which the Usagi manage to draw.
- PCs pursue, Crab lends a hand in crossing under Kaiu Kabe
- PCs track Ozaki to Hiruma Stronghouse #5