Ho! Hear my tale of new companions in this land beyond the Empire.
After learning one can cook blue crabs by the fire of a burning samurai we hiked to the ridge of this ancient Troll city to view a lake in what was once a city’s heart. Along the ridge in this place blessed by the presence of many fire kami, in a land where almost everything seems to die in a ball of fire, we discover black trees. How do they survive here? By being hot as a street vendor’s wok, do not touch lightly.
Here on the ridge we do spy a fortress, with waterfall, and a round tower to go with the theatre temple on the ridge. We travel to the short tower to learn it has a powerful spiritual draw. This mightily effects the Tamori, who apparently carries another spirit within her. The spirit is pulled away, on Takeda Endo, uncle to the Mantis. He informs us the Kolat plotted his death and the Scorpion clan is vulnerable to manipulation. Mantis is in danger because of her eyes? This I ponder.
The tower houses a well that all but the disturbed Mantis enters, I am first down the spiraling ramp. Filled with the crumbling bones and grave goods of simple coral of Ningyo in niches, one speculates were great heroes slain in war with the Trolls. Here is their story of war carved in relief around the well – The Troll, mighty in fire magic call down a colorless fire and stones from the sky to boil a land of lakes into a land of salt, killing their enemy.
Fire burns at the bottom of the well, filling it with an unpleasant stink. Ah, but around the well words in many languages, one of which the able Mirumoto recognizes as ancient, high court tongue, a copy is taken. A key for a door not yet found?
Before the tower stands a stone of rosy crystal, all of a piece without facets. On it the rendering of a hand. Lo, there is chalk in the hand print as from the Phoenix the companions seek. It acts for the Shugenga, a trap and a gift – much fire spirit is given, must be spent to free herself from the hold of the stone. This power returned wakens what? The group is disturbed by the rude behavior of the Mantis who places an arrow to bow at the head of the shugenja. Grieving, she wants her uncle, now departed, back for more words, perhaps not knowing how to say farewell properly.
We walk from well to fortress wall. Here I learn Crabs do not climb. Wisdom is learned, it is better to climb when high, then seek a low place. To enter the fortress by the stairs next to the waterfall, down we go to the lake edge. Here wisdom is won again. If you wish to bait a Troll, stroll next to his water. Ambushed out of the water by 3 trolls. Here more is learned – there is more then one kind of troll as these are kin, but not the same as the first. No great slug like tongue or shocking touch. To learn grappling though, apply one self to the trolls. Again wisdom is greeted when in the ensuing fight the Crab mightily damages the troll and my humble self, a monk, gifted with the shugenja’s fire heals them. The Mirumoto, gravely wounded, is aided by the faithful ashigaru Ernestu, prevents the troll from going to a grapple with the Dragon warrior. He greatly assists this monk in his grapple with a troll by relieving the troll of its right arm, allowing me to throw it down. Franku, faithful guard runs his spear though the Dragon samurai’s opponent. The Tamori attempts to balance fates with an arrow, killing that same troll. All the while the Crab has attempted to beat out fires on the trolls with his hammer and the Mantis to slay with fine arrows. The remaining two retreat to stand in the water. What wisdom shall enlighten the dark folds of our days next?
One experience point