L5R : Jade Winds

Words and Swords (Part 2)
Both come to a point

Arrowed samurai
(illo from Throne of Blood)

Following the fall of the first samurai Kitsuki Kanko leads a charge on the ashigaru retreating to the blockhouse of the border post, even though his stony skin has disappeared in this world, facing down the remaining bow-armed samurai.

Arrows are exchanged and the Mantis Shosuro ends the life of the ashigaru Mio. The remaining samurai retreats into the blockhouse doorway where he is faced down by the still aflame Mirumoto Yonaka who wounds him.

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Words and Swords (Part 1)
Storming the checkpoint

The PCs head eastwards into the highlands.

Mitanaka check point

The group, escorting three rock goblins and their mules, with the ashigaru carrying the seriously wounded Tannouchi come upon a Clan Mitanaka checkpoint in the early hours of the morning. A brief discussion ensues in which the name of the Kitsuki features as a “person of interest” on a certain document.

The Kitsuki then directly insults the clan of the samurai and ashigaru with him, and the fight is on. Takeda seizes control of the drunken Tamori and adds her wakizashi to the fight. The Crab and the Mirumoto toss alchemical potions of fire down their gullets, causing them to become bathed in lurid green flames. The tincture swallowed by Kitsuki Kanko causes his skin to become grey and thickened, resisting damage, which prevents the second spear thrust from damaging him.

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Tea with the Maturyaruku-sama (Matriarch)
The Tamori has a chat with the dwarven Matriarch. Then packing and leaving.

Tokugawa coinage

After the group has been poisoned and our kimonos searched, Tamori Yuriko has just enough time to clean up and go to keep the appointment Yonaka had made with the Dwarven Matriarch. On the way the 2 dragons witness a dispute settled between 2 dwarves. A wrestling ring is drawn on the ground and the combatants duke it out with the elder of the 2 apparently winning the dispute by technique rather than strength. Yonaka wins a bu by betting on the 3rd fall.

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A Dance of Dragons
The Dragons gather their wits and forces

Daimyo

Each Dragon Clan’s daimyo met at Shiro Tamori to discuss in emergency session, the recent and sudden incursion of gaijin from beyond the North wall. The Towers of Flame are still there, but no warning was given by them. Furthest Fortress is silent and the Mitanaka family has allied with the gaijin and have provided valuable intelligence to the invaders.

The High House of Light has even been taken by storm, perhaps plundered of a thousand years of irreplaceable treasures. The Damiyo of the Hitomi is missing, presumed dead. His heir is is closely questioned, and after General Mirumoto Kei arrays the armies of the Dragon to slow and contain the gaijin, the Togashi Champion declares a commando strike right into the heart of North Wall City, capital of the Mitanaka, using what is left of the Hitomi.

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The Tamori's Guest (Part 3)
Blessings of the Fish Spider

Tamori wakes up from the summoning induced zazen with her new friend Takeda Endo calmly sitting in the corner. The Hida has words with Tamori about being possessed.

Rice gruel

Dinner, a rice gruel with fish and pickled vegetables is served by the PCs as the cook is absent (her day off). Everybody except Scorpion realizes they were poisoned which causes challenging rolls to made (raw will? vs. TN 25, then 20, then 15) and the Scorpion was busy making conversation while the Tamori served the meal, she was not poisoned!

The effects are lassitude followed by by swift paralysis of the major muscle groups (the victims lie there, quivering).

Once the PCs were immobilized, unknown parties in ronin garb appeared outside. As an archer keeps the Scorpion covered, another ronin quickly and efficiently searches the PCs with the end of a jo stick, looking for Red Dog tattoos or something? on their skin or under their clothes. The searcher never touches anyone’s skin with his hands. Two other ronin keep an alert watch from the shadows, they appeared quick and efficient.

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The Tamori's Guest (Part 2)

Yari ashigaru!
Illo from Shogun: Art of War

After she collapses after the highly successful summoning, a vigil is held over the unconscious Tamori that night, by the Crab and the Mirumoto. Dawn brings slowly increasing rain. A certain tension has enveloped the Crab, who trains all day in the rain with his newly minted Ashigaru and then, after they collapse from sheer fatigue, alone. The Hida does daitsuchi katas, over and over.

Dwarves come by at one point to look at the Tamori and they shake their heads, coming back later on with an odd female dwarf who does some kind of ritual over the Tamori. The Tamori wakes up over the course of the next night, somewhat unsure of the previous days events.

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The Tamori's Guest (Part 1)
What the Crab Saw

Mask 3

At the Scorpion’s request, the Tamori shugenja attempts to contact the deceased owner of a Kabuki mask. In the closed room, the Scorpion undresses and plays her dead mother’s flute (a shakuhachi) in order to help draw the spirit. The Tamori is astoundingly successful, so much so that she becomes fully possessed by the angry spirit of Takeda Endo, the slain acting sensei of the Mockers Party acting Troop.

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The White Tigers Revolt (Part 5)
Lying amongst the seedlings

Japanese wooodblock print

Shosuro (in Mantis togs), Kitsuki Kanko and the two newly minted Ashigaru cross the newly sprouted wheatfields at night, trying to evade the alarums being gonged from North wall City. After watching the patterns of the lanterns and other search groups the Scorpion carefully leads them into a darkened path which leads towards the Custom House. after a short walk, they are confronted by a young, hidden samurai who had been placed there in hopes that fugitives would run into him. He shouts and leaps out of hiding, causing one ashigaru to run off into the darkness in panic.

Kitsuki Kanko, carefully points out that he and the samurai-ko were “merely out walking”, managing to imply that they were not doing that at all. The “Mantis” hurriedly arranges her clothes and does not allow the samurai to see her face… or the knife she has readied in her sleeve. Embarassed, the bushi grudging points out that they need to go over to a nearby road and then report to a group of lights near an intersection. Having saved the group’s asses, the Kitsuki thanks him and they ease off into the darkness, not really hurrying.

Meanwhile, Genji Al-Salat, gaijin interpreter, speaks to to the Crab, Tamori and Mirumoto back at the Customs House. After he leaves, the Tamori asks an earth kami to aid the Shosuro and Kitsuki in their efforts to arrive. Ah, so; an elevated path appears just for them and leads them straight to camp. The path then fades back into the tilled fields.

Everybody is back together at the Customs House/dwarf camp (the GM cheers!).

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The White Tigers Revolt (Part 4)

Temple dog
The Foo Dog is the protector of sacred buildings.

Kitsuki Kanko takes delivery of red jade lion dog from a porter who delivered it in thanks from “a patron”. Meanwhile he is bathing and changing into clean robes in preparation for an interview with the Chamberlain of North Wall City, complete with an ashigaru escort and the Shosuro/Mantis who showed up (from locations unknown) and waited downstairs for him. On their way through the city, the Crabs new Ashigaru find them and accompany them onwards to the NWC Daimyo’s residence (NOT the castle).

After a few twists and turns the Shosuro/Mantis slicks whips a knife across the astonished NWC ashigaru’s throat (horrifying the other two ashigaru) and drags his corpse into a small alley.
After some quick "planning"on one of the stunned Ashigaru’s advice, they go to a humble gaijin “spice merchant” in the Black Quarter who, after some serious haggling agrees to hide them for 5 koku AND keep a few items they would have to leave behind. As his Rokugani is pretty decent, and his wife is roku as well, the PCs listen in as he argues a bit with her about “having to leave another city” again and whatnot. His spices are mainly preservatives and various surfactants. He has skill with bodies of the dead? WTH? they are hidden under the house until dark. While there a NWC yuriki sto[ps by the business and has a bried chat with the proprieters. The Spice merchant takes the PCs extra stuff and plans to use it to frame an honest yoriki, later. After night falls the PCs escape through one of the myriad small tunnels under NWC into graveyard, being guided by the careful directions from the Merchant. They emerge in a small village graveyard through a beaten up wooden grate that is in better shape than it looks.
The fields and villages are swarming with search parties.

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The White Tigers Revolt (Part 3)

The Hida sends his Ashigaru back into North Wall City to find the Shosuro/Mantis and Kitsuki and Bring Them Back Alive. They go. Meanwhile the the Shosuro/Mantis re-enters North Wall City from the Eastern Road via an empty gate and an eerily silent street, smoke hangs heavy in the air. She then goes back to inn, which has been tossed by Parties Unknown, who have somehow not found or needed the Side Handle Teapot of the Moon.
While this is going in, in parallel, the exhausted Kitsuki interviews with some deputies of the Chamberlain. They are interested in his firefighting deeds and request him to come to the Chamberlain later that day, after he is presentable. He then heads back to inn with an ashigaru escort to prepare for his interview after firefighting all night. He walks right by the newly disguised with Shosuro/Mantis who is loitering outside.

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