L5R : Jade Winds
Conversations at New Moon Inn
I ponder to myself “How blessed are the Family of Togashi! Because I am sure without the eternal dragon’s ever watchful eye…the clan as a whole would walk off a cliff side.” I hide in my room. I slide a note out under the door with Yonaka written on it.
It is important that we be away from here. Business is moving as planned. Please ask the Matron to reclaim the Crab’s armor with all speed. Don’t get friendly, it is bad for business. We shall meet with the heimen and be on our way.
ps dont forget to burn this AGAIN
When Yonaka picks up the note I will slide open the door, whack him on the head with my fan and mouth the words
“YOU LEFT HIM WITH THE TEA POT, WE NEED TO GET OUT OF HERE”
and then close the door.
Then open the door and hand him some silver. “ARMOR”
and slide the door shut.
I pack my things, including the mask from the room. Then I sit and meditate.
I show the following to the Hida before going to pick up the note, and am holding it up in front of me for Ato to read before I take the silver. (No, you’re not so quick that you can snatch it from my hands, I know your reach.)
All Ronin of Rokugan
Bring this to the North Wall City
Join the Free Banners and
Overthrow the Tainted Emperor!
All will be accepted and be
worthy of service!!
Hidden City Towers | Badger \\ Yobanjin // \\ | // North Wall Castle | North Wall City ----- Lake Fort | Shuho (we are here) | | Miho (where we were) Stone Forest // // Hitomi Castle
At the moment Ato has the presence and ear of 3 Jade Yoriki whose mission is to serve justice.
What I will also note is he does not have the ear of the Kitsuki. This works both ways for both us and for you.
And that I have not yet decided if we’re leaving the town of Shuho quite yet.
SO… if there’s something about the murder of his troupe of actors he’d like to tell us, and what it may have to do with the rest of the research we’re doing, now would be a really good time because even if we can afford to take you with us, it may not be safe for you and it would be disappointing to see you get hurt… again.
Either way the teapot will go where it needs to go, with us or without us.
The Scorpion/Ronin comes out and respectfully bows to all the assembled members. Checking all the possible spots that may have someone listening in then motions the Miramoto, Hida and Tamori to the center of the room to sit quite close.
I straighten the Hida’s Kimono. “Can you ever look comfortable?” softly spoken “if you do not know that the walls have ears and eyes by now, trust me on the one thing, they do. And especially this place.”
Unfolds a cloth holding a scorpion mask.
“This mask was hanging in this room..the Kitsuni room. It was a mask worn by someone from my troop. I do not need to stretch my imagination to guess that some of these Scorpion may have had other duties here besides acting…please hold the witty remarks until away from these walls.” (looks at the Tamori)
“What duties they were I was not privileged to know. But even this far away from my Clan, would any magistrate be willing to incur the wrath of the Scorpion by killing a whole troop to the man and woman? Would any magistrate be so bold as to hang the Masks of the victims in public? Also would any magistrate be able to completely cover up any records of such a mass murder that a half a town knew nothing?”
“I humbly submit to you that this is a very highly connected individual. Of high status and very informed.”
“I have no evidence (stops and looks realizing the Kitsuki is not there) that this individual is connected to the gaijin invasion or the Minanaka clans traitorous behavior, but it is hard to believe such a person is not involved somehow.”
“So understand that I truly appreciate your concern for my safety (was there the smallest of movement away from the Tamori?) but I would suggest it is not safe for any of us here. I can also say I am somewhat con (cough) cerned about the Kitsuki.”
“How easily did you find me? How easily did Hida-san get you a clue? Would you think a Magistrate who has done all this would not see through (straightens the Mirumoto’s Kimono) our less then well thought out disguises?”
“I do wish to return and exact a certain revenge on this slight to my Clan, and I did promise Hida-san that he could kill all the bad people if he didn’t talk too much. I just don’t think right at this moment is the best time. If you wish to stay, I will bow to your wishes. I may have to adjust, but I understand you must do you duty.”
“Please tell me if you have information that might change my opinion.”
The Scorpion covers up the mask and puts it in a Kimono sleeve then pulls out a flute and silently fingers a tune, waiting for a reply.
While we are waiting for the armor to return…
And the Hida tells us the name of the Blue Sky we buried…
And while the Tamori puts info into a cypher…
When are you to meet with the man you, um… are supposed to meet? This evening, yes? No? And what is the name of the magistrate?
As for how we found the Hida, he is his own clue and all we had to do was ask a fellow Crab. Would a Yasuki risk the safety of his sons to betray the safety of a Hida Yojimbo? (I do not think so, but… if things are as bad as you say…)
As for this little town of Shuho and it’s magistrate, please forgive me when I say that unfortunately you and your testimony ARE now evidence.
The problem is, are you enough evidence?
How are your wounds? If you are well enough (The Tamori has made sure your bandages are clean.) then I think that once the Crab is armored again we should take a polite evening stroll to help us digest the fine dinner we’ve had. Maybe even to meet someone along the way and contemplate the gentle waters of the lake.
The Crab clumsily pats the Scorpion on the shoulder, and attempts to speak quietly.
“You are distraught, little brother. You have forgotten why you chose me in the first place. Of course I am Crab, I cannot pretend any different. I am large, and people stare. But if they stare at me, they do not stare at you. You are forgotten. If they think of you at all, they do not think -” even quieter “- Scorpion”. A Crab serving such a one? It is unheard of. I mean no disrespect."
Here he bows slightly to the Scorpion.
“But you puzzle me. You pretended to be Crane to that magistrate. Why? A Crab and a Crane — it is even more unheard of. Was it meant to confuse? I am not like most Hida, as my clan often reminds me. Perhaps the magistrate would then think that I was only pretending to be Crab? This is a deep game. It makes my head ache.”
While on the other hand, a Mirumoto who had been bested by a Kakita would have a reason to do some service, but of course the more likely is the Mirumoto who had injured a Crane in a duel (note the very convincing limp) would of course serve to protect the injured Crane while he got better.
It makes some sense, tho’, that a Mirumoto would be “old friends” with a Crane. (Maybe I have sought you out to finish the job? I kid, of course, but the Long Duel is not unheard of.)
But I believe Ato-San wishes others to observe that he is pretending he is not a Crane…
Yes, this game is as deep as a well. What else shall we throw into it?
The Scorpion sits rigid. In a monotone quiet voice “It is the utmost sincerity that I apologize.” Bowing very low “I have forgotten my duty to the mission assigned to you by the Jade Magistrate” Low bow “If I may clarify some information, the gentleman I have discussed information with is no magistrate but a middle man book keeper, similar to who I have portrayed myself. He is a corrupt politician, the type of individual I am here to guard your honor from. This man is of little consequence except that he has shown how well information and events can be covered up in this town. The information I gave him was make him believe I was here to set up an illegal shipping network, and that I had to assure my superiors that this man’s fencing network was secure, also that my superiors were worried about possible outside agents. He was efficient in presenting proof and I was forthcoming with money. This is how it should be. He knew nothing of the Scorpion Acting troop or their deaths, even after investigation. He was either told to say nothing which, he did not appear to be, or he knew nothing of the murder of some 20 samurai and heimen in this town.”
“The Magistrate who is the patron of this establishment is unknown to me. I have not inquired because any such questions so soon after our arrival would draw immediate attention and questions to us. From the information shown by Mirumoto-sama, Shuho is the gateway to the to Northwall City and Castle. It is my humble assumption that anyone here who controls the coming and going of information is likely placed here to guard the secrets of the North. Also it is probable that the Magistrate lives very close by. If the Mirumoto would like a complete psychological assessment of this man, I will need some time to draw that up.”
“My concerns have been stated. I require no more attention. I shall not deviate from my assigned duties again.”
The Scorpion sits rigid, looking straight forward.
The Crab makes a frustrated noise and goes to get his armor. IT HAD BETTER BE READY.
The Tamori bows gracefully to the Scorpion.
“I also humbly beg forgiveness. I did not understand the depth of your devotion to Bushido. Please forgive me.” Rising, she meets his eyes. “We are unsure of our proper course, and you are wise in the ways of subtlety. Would you enlighten us as to the course of action we should pursue?”
Yonaka looks like he has made some decisions, but quietly folds pieces of paper (making ash out of some) while he listens and considers his words…
Yonaka folds a small paper boat and sets out a fan, a pair of chopsticks, and a pebble.
He then places the paper boat in a shallow pan where it mills about aimlessly.
Fans the paper boat, pushing it to one side or the other according to whim.
Uses a pair of chopsticks in the other hand to move the boat willingly and purposefully.
Places the pebble in the boat, and it becomes immovable.
Hands a single chopstick to each of his companions.
“Now you understand why I will not have us separated for very long. To get anywhere we will need to remove the pebble, and to move purposely we must row as one against winds that would seek to separate us and do their bidding instead of our own, and if we are not quick our little boat will soak up too much water and become ruined.”
“Of course, I am neglecting to take into account the flow of the river, but for now the river does not flow.”
“And that, my friends, is a pebble too large for us alone.”
Tamori looks pleased and replies “To seek the roots of the Mountain, indeed! Then if I might humbly beg the necessary pass of Shosuro-san, I shall fetch the Kitsuki at dawn while he makes what preparations may be.”
Shosuro retires to his room for a few minutes and returns with a pass for the town. All stamped and in order. Shosuro sits before the Shugenja and slides the paper for her approval. “I received several of these from the kind administrator. The choice of names was ‘limited’ so you must remember while you carry this, your name will be Bakana Jubei. I hope this will accomplish what you need.”
Shosuro turns to the pan of water and looks to the single chopstick in his hand.
“Mirumoto-sama, your story shows beautifully the course you see for us. I still trust my opinion of you, there is great wisdom in your heart. Believe me that it was not for want to be apart from you, but a sense of urgency, and to deflect any dishonor to anyone’s clan or family. It is my duty to serve, to assist with my…” Shosuro turns and lights the end of the single chopstick, and then lights the paper boat. “Talents. My personal concerns…” dips the lit chopstick into the water, extinguishing it with a pop and sizzle. “will not come before my duty.”
Shosuro slides back and bows to the Dragons. “Please return the Kitsuki. If my cart could be brought, I would most appreciative.”
Shosuro bows and does not raise up until someone moves.