L5R : Jade Winds

The Emerald Way

Emeraldmagistrates5ik

Using pregen characters and pregen adventure “Writ of Justice” plus some stuff kugelblitz made up, originally posted on LJ

The group:

Our group, having discharged the greater duty of delivering the lovely Asako Ryoko to Pale Oak Castle (L5R flyleaf map P8) now leaves the Phoenix lands and travels to the nearest Dragon Shugenja Temple, which is oddly enough, in Nanashi Mura; No Name Village (L5R flyleaf map D13) which the PCs passed by earlier. The Dragons intend to deliver the head of the dishonored shugena Tonbo Uiski to a temple there, now that their yojimbo duties are completed. The trip is a wet, long walk but the samurai know that a wet spring will bring a good harvest, come fall.

No Name Village (Nanashi Mura) is actually more town sized and is rather unique in that it is administered mainly by ronin.

Once there the PCs settle into the Silent Garden Inn for some rest and gambling. Meanwhile the two Dragon samurai make their way through the misty rain to the Temple of Ebisu. Once they arrive they are taken past the point where mere visitors or locals are allowed, by a young freshly tattooed shugenja to a small guest room. Their swords are put aside and soon a much more tattooed middle-aged monk in a plain kimono displaying earth and fire kami arrives to inquire as to their visit (it is late) because what do samurai want here? The two Mirumotos offer a brief explanation of Tonbo Uikya’s dishonorable end.

Ah so desu.

They are then conveyed further into the small complex of walled compounds with stone gardens and cherry trees to another, larger single room building where three much older shugenja await them on a small platform. Their tattoos nearly cover their entire skin, one has a small wispy white beard and appears to be dozing quietly.

The two Mirumotos pass the head over and explain their presence more carefully this time. They are questioned by the right hand and left hand monks as to particular details of how the Asako’s viewed the incident and also how they were treated at Pale Oak Castle by the Jade Champion’s people. A brief mention is made about Tonbo becoming an unperson.

Having been informed they acted honorably they are offered a small libation of milky sake of a modest quality and are then shown the exit. Except that now the heretofore somnolent shugenja opens his eyes and asks one small question. Baring his right arm he wants to know if Tonbo Uikya displayed the same styles and types of tattoos there (clouds, sunbeams, butterflies, coiling spirits of earth).

The Mirumotos humbly reply no, he did not.

Ah, so desu ka? There is a brief exchange of unfathomable looks among the monks.

The Mirumotos stop by the Shrine of Honest work where they can reflect and offer some incense before they leave. They return to the inn to find that most of their fellow PCs are gambling except for the Crane who is getting crushed again at Go (simplesimonsez never reads this anyway-oh yeah, and he was dancing on the tables and shaking his elegant man boobs at the innkeeper-those wacky Cranes. I am kidding, Cranes cannot dance.)

The next morning, early, as the PCs are breaking their fast with a few sips of broth and some rice balls, a very young boy arrives with an invitation to visit with Kitsuke Yukihira, the tenacious and highly energetic Dragon Magistrate. Once they arrive at her fortified house she shows them to a veranda and then manages some nice, careful conversation which conveys no favor to anyone in particular. Unmentioned for some time is a folded letter on a small tray near her. Once she has satisfied her curiosity, the letter (recently arrived from the Temple of Ebisu) is given to the Crane, since he seems to be the most serene (is she commenting on the Mirumoto’s behavior? why does she ignore the fine etiquette of Dohi, here in of all places the most ronin-oriented town in the north? What does this mean to the Crab? Hellooo Crab? [Ugh. Horses. Pretty?] These are the kinds of layers that can just drive you batshit, neh?). An anonymous shugenja watches the letter exchange from a corner.

In a beautiful, classically flowing hand, upon excellent rice paper is written-

“If you want peace, work for justice” which is followed by the personal mon of Tamori Shigaru, a relative of Tamori Shimura, the Tamori family damiyo. Under this is the almost careless note, Go to Ryu Bannin Toshi.

This note is passed around and admired both for the calligraphy and the mystery of the contents. Kitsuke Yukihira can offer no clues, but she will dutifully supply the PCs with horses and tack (Dragon styled, of course) and the necessary passes for their journey to Ryu Bannin Toshi (Dragon Guard City Rokugan flyleaf map A4). Anonymous shugenja quietly leaves.

While simplesimonsez and edwardstanford are discussing routes (go east or west?) I say, “OK so you are riding into Dragon Guard City” which represents a serious contraction of events on my part. Shocking, I know.

The PCs arrive in a driving rainstorm which abates to a mere sprinkle as they come upon “The Smiling Bowl” a noodle stand featuring fresh, hot noodles and an ebullient cheerful chef. Ah, perfect, especially with the chill wind wind whipping in from the nearby ocean. A peasant quickly takes their shaggy horses to a nearby stable as they belly up to the bar. Noodle orders fly, broth and ingredients are whipped into acceptably decorated bowls and soon communal slurping happens. A cheerful pudgy Lion bushi shares the moment with them as the hot food warms everyone up. The proprietor uses a slightly larger bowl for the Crab without being asked, two other peasant patrons also eat, all are standing around the oblong kiosk.

As chitchat with the Lion ensues, the ronin Doji notices an Imperial courier running up the main street from the south, his banner flapping soddenly in the breeze. He is spattered with mud and he is ducking into the various businesses, looking for someone. Aaah, it is the Lion he seeks.

Message, for the Emerald Magistrate! The two peasants choke down their noodles, grab their bundles and ease off, watched by the Crab.

Mirumoto Yonaka hands his steaming bowl to the Courier, who happily tucks into it (he is slightly less happy when he discovers that it is spiced Dragon style with those little white peppers). The courier tells the Crane that a Scorpion gave him the message to deliver. (Yay. A Scorpion).

Akodo Torokai reads the message, ponders, and then finishes his noodles gazing at nothing. After some reflection, He turns to the PCs. “I may need assistance. are any of you samurai able to donate your time and energy to an Emerald Magistrate?” If there is a graceful way out of this, the PCs don’t know of it, yet (cool).

Of course they will ride most of the day to Mura Chita Chushin. Torokai nods abruptly, all business now, and marches over to the stables where he conveys some urgency to the staff. Horses are hastily arranged (none of you are horseman so was there an upgrade? The new horses are less muddy and tack is moved from one group to another. PCs follow the now energized Emerald Magistrate on a brisk, uncomfortable ride southwards to North Hub Village, arriving during a brilliant sunset.

Torokai, after navigating the crowded streets of North Hub which is packed with tea houses, sake establishments, inns and other businesses (geishas implore you to come visit them) rides into the upscale western residential area, where he is headed off by a white-masked Scorpion rider who detours them to the Gentle Blossom Geisha House. Note that country rube type samurai might be a little bedazzled by the large, bustling town here, maybe.

The Scorpion is Shasuro Adoka (yeah I know Akoda, Adoka) a Scorpion who is a friend of the Lord Otomo Sojin. The Scorpion fears the Lord’s house is being watched and has offered a room at the geisha house (which just happens to be available) as a meeting place for the magistrate and the Lord. Discussion happens as Doji warily looks for eavesdroppers (Shasuro does not take offense).

Geisha

It soon becomes apparent that one Otomo Sojin sama’s only heir, Kokare, was kidnapped last night. The criminals left a note on his doorstep this morning (Otomo Sojin’s).

“Otomo Sojin. We have your son. If you wish to preserve your family’s bloodline and reputation, you will pay us the debt he owes us either in koku or through favor and assistance. If you wish to see your son again, come to the well in the Square of Mingled Paths at midday tomorrow, Come alone and do not seek the help of the authorities, or we will know and punish your son.”

The calligraphy is uneducated, and the paper is cheap.

Comments

original comment by Chickenhat

Nice pic of the 2 dragon clan members. You even got the hair mostly right.

And, yes, I expected about 10 to 15 minutes of rainfall and muddy traveling while contemplating the new growth buds on the cherry trees as we passed them, etc… and suddenly no, we arrive at a noodle stand and our butts hurt.

(“I may need assistance. are any of you samurai able to donate your time and energy to an emerald Magistrate?” If there is a graceful way out of this, the PCs don’t know of it, yet (cool). )

Ne, we were HOPING he’d ask for our help. (Shaddup, yes we were.) After getting to Dragon City/Port/Whatever we didn’t have another path to follow, but Buddha provides. If he doesn’t provide then we’d have to make our own trouble…

And I’m NOT dressing as a geisha, I’m escorting one who needs to “return a fan the lord left behind”.

Also, I might be struggling with the honorifics and the manners, but the pacing is fine.

The Emerald Way
 

original comment by edwardstanford

I certainly had no trouble with the travel compression. It was a surprise, being normally so totally out of your ouevre, but not an unpleasant one.

I, too am struggling with the honorifics and manners, but practice will help. I’m struggling harder to make the Dragons mysterious and mystical and incomprehensible, as is their wont. Since the world still feels strange and bizarre, it is hard to make myself stand out in those regards. But no doubt that will come with continued immersion.

The Emerald Way
 

original comment by Chickenhat

What?!?!

Well, damn. If mysterious and incomprehensible what we’re going for I’ll stop trying so hard to be otherwise! :-)

The Emerald Way
kugelblitz

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