Sept 2, 2011
(Tosa nikki copied by Teika from wikipedia)
We made it through those tunnels and came out facing a walled village those smelly little rock goblins called “Last Village”. Coming down through the winding paths we came upon a sheep tied to a post. We found out later that the villagers put it there, to give giants a bribe to not attack the village.
The village sits on a promontory overlooking a large salt flat with scattered water pools that stretches off toward the horizon north. They rose to our right as we continued toward the Village gate. Walls on three sides, fourth being taken by the cliff down to the salt flats, approximately two thirds of a mile (3500 shaku). Walls are irregular, built between large stone piles. The gate definitely appears to be a later addition.
Approaching the village, we passed through cultivated fields with melons, squash, radishes, plum trees. Young children tended sheep spread through out the fields. All appear to be of Rokugan birth, but are very weather beaten. The expression of shock or surprise, at our caravan passing, lent to my belief that these heimen see very few visitors. But their expression did not change at the sight of the Dawaru. So they are not unknown here. Maybe more regular visitors to Last Village than Rokugan.
Before reaching the gate, we all saw that a dry moat surrounded the outside wall and it was filled with a thorny tangling vine. Where the vine tried to grow out onto the village wall it appeared to be burned back. The Hida said “Be careful, Shadowlands” He is a Crab, and so I trust his overly wordy opinion on any subject like this. That grumpy, scar covered, exterior covers a rather intelligent mind. He did seem somewhat distracted in the tunnels. He was on fire at the check point and he crushed one of the samurai!
We heard the sound of chants and prayers as we entered through the open gates, no guards, minimal defensive reinforcement at the gate, but still the best option to siege this village because of the moat…if that were warranted, but I digress. The majority of the town adult population (approximately 45 adults, 63% male to 37% female <cough>) were at an altar set with white cloth, some effects, and a lock of hair.
After we were seen, an older gentleman in tattered robes approached us. I, being an attentive Mantis attendant, intervened myself and asked if I could introduce the man to Mirumoto Yonaka. The man, the village leader, was named Haru. He offered no family name. His mannerism denoted a certain air of sophistication that was out of place in this desolate landscape. Mirumoto and Haru exchanged pleasantries. Mirumoto Yonaka has a wonderful presence but his clothing was covered by vests he had to wear for the little goblins. Although he has done very well on tea ceremony, quite a diamond in the rough. He was on fire too! and selflessly pressed himself into the door of the guard house!
We were escorted to a guest house by a young boy named Shuichi. There were several people that seemed very interested in our arrival. Some seemed content to follow us in the open, one or 2 seemed to pace us less conspicuously. Shuichi needs to learn not not stare. Very obvious, singling out the Tamori and myself. It was a 4 room quest house on stilts, the Dwaru immediately took to one of the rooms. I did not even get a chance to look at all the rooms, trusting the rude little goblins could fend for themselves if anything was out of place. Serve them right.The house had a steeply pitched roof, and narrow slit windows. The doors are hinged, not sliding. It seemed that Shuichi had actually never left. He rambled on, and I escorted him out. Again, he has a rude stare. After he stopped staring at my Kimono and actually looked at me…oh the puppy dog eyes. He waited outside at the well. Silly boy. Has it been so long that I have played that game? What circus tricks would he do?
Haru arrived to see that we were well attended to and to say that food and tea was being brought. Haru and the Tamori exchange a series of completely evasive questions, standard fare for the Tamori. Haru’s questions came around to inquiring if the Tamori could help investigate the fate of a Phoenix samurai explorer named Kikinimoto. This was the one the vigil was for when we arrived. Haru seemed to question that I being a Mantis should know about the trade boats, crewed by Mantis. I think I persuaded him that I was new to the area and from the far south. Haru left to acquire some personal effects belonging to the lost Samurai, maybe to help in the Tamori’s augury. Haru also mentioned that Shuichi may have information that he could not get. When the majority of the room looked at me, I hope I didn’t flush. There was no need to ask, I knew my duty. The Tamori spoke saying “I think we know someone who could talk to the boy”. I wonder if it was Tamori who said it.
A young woman named Taryo arrived with food and tea, bean cakes and similar fare. Her curiosity and want for information of the outside world made her so simple to tease information from. Quite the chatterbox, secrets-ha! She could not guard a bean cake! But then she let on that she waited, both she and her twin sister, they both waited for their father’s return. He had missed their gempukku. Oh, I had to steady myself but I gave no indication. The important point was she knew of North Wall City and her father was a high ranking Samurai, this confirmed later by Shuichi. But their father had secreted them away here for 2 maybe 3 years! How high up and how long had the Mitanaka conspiracy been in place?
I did hope to console her some, her sadness of being exiled touched me. But she hurried away when Haru returned with the personal effects of the lost Samurai. Haru took a moment and struck a pose very much like the courtier of high courts, maybe even imperial. He composed himself quickly but there was no mistaking that posture. The Tamori sifted through the items. A letter was included. It seems that the Emerald Champion has interest in this village and uses it as a source of information. The Tamori got a far-off look. She mumbled something about the lost Samurai being at a cul-de-sac. Honestly, I do not know if this is divination or the normal way dragons speak. I can be evasive to a question but sometimes Dragons just make me want to scream. But I again kept my composure.
The rock goblins set up a table of wares, trinkets and such to sell. I casually observed one of the goblins doing a curious type of ledger work that I worked out to be some kind of accounting, I watched for a while while the Mirumoto, Hida, Tamori and Kitsuki went to the baths. Oh how I wanted a bath! I actually started to understand the basic math of the Dwallu, when I saw Shuichi. He was skulking, a poor job of it too. I delayed the bath to question him, it was not hard at all to gain his confidence. I am sure he would set a sheep on fire if I worded it right and added a little smile.
He told me about our lost Samurai, a Phoenix that explored and was making maps. He told me of the trade boats, manned by Mantis. I must remember to rerun my history again before we run into them. He showed me an impressive piece of crystal with water in it. He said that there may have been trolls that left this around and that there was more. He mentioned the giants and the tied up sheep. He also told me that Haru had some items belonging to the lost samurai. The girl Yea came up in conversation and I confirmed my information about them. The Mirumoto and the rest returned from the baths. Oh, had I chatted with this boy for that long?? The information was good but, UGH! even the Hida was clean! His hair needed work but it was clean hair! I can say I am not jealous of the Tamori’s lack of hair…except right then. I could maybe do something with her face, some make up or such, but not with her guest.
I continued to chat with the boy. The Hida seemed broody, well, maybe more than normal? He hadn’t screamed in the night for a while but he did last night. Oh, but then the Hida started talking to the rude little goblins. He gestured wildly and then started drawing or writing. It was a funny sight, him towering over the stubby goblins, jabbing his finger, pointing and the goblins drawing and pointing. I must admit I was not attentive to my duty, the boy was dragging on and on over the same information. He would not stop staring at my breasts. I could tell because I would inhale deeply raising my chest, his conversation would falter and his head would bob with my breathing. Then I heard one of the Dwallu say “…and salt squid, very bad don’t go there”.
The Tamori and others had gathered around the fountain. The Tamori spoke to the Kami, I was not sure why. She then pulled a rock from the fountain and the rock wept water. Not fast but still a bucket full in a few minutes. And it only came from the one edge. This explained the constant source of water to the village. The rock goblins became very agitated, and waded through the fountain and pulled a large rock from the fountain, this rock wept more water! I think the Dwallu would have dismantled the fountain but Nakamuro stepped in, and insisted they replace the stone. He also informed Haru that they should watch the fountain so the greedy little goblins did not steal the stones.
I have a feeling there is no bath for me. But I will write more later. I hope it is a quiet night for us.
ONE experience point