Legend of the Five Rings: Accursed Destiny

Session 1 - A Lesson in Courtesy

Mirumoto Fumiko sent out invitations to every other Major Clan, and several of the minor ones, to her court at Shiro Mirumoto. With the Dragon being the only Major Clan not involved in the Spirit War, the other Clans saw this as an opportunity to sway them to one side or another.

Fumiko was mindful of this, and eager to get her sons and adopted-son/hostage Sanjuro Tatsuya experience in Courtly ways. She specifically invited the youngest and most inexperienced courtiers, giving her children an edge while still allowing each Clan to pursue its own agendas.

The delegations arrived over the course of a day, each escorted by Tatsuya up the single winding path to the Dragon stronghold. As soon as the last guests, Tsi Daichi and Sanjuro Yuzuki, had arrived, the first formal dinner of the Court began.

Dinner, Night 1

The Scorpion courtier, Shosuro Akemi, flirted outrageously with everyone, particularly Tatsuya, and drugged her yojimbo, Bayushi Mamoru, purely out of habit. Mamoru, for his part, chatted with the Crane yojimbo and Tatsuya on little things, getting to know them both better.

The Mantis ambassador Moshi Akira stayed around the edges of the room with her yojimbo, Tsurichi Ai, and kept silent company with Sanjuro Yuzuki.

The Crab courtier, Yasuki Yori, attempted to make conversation with the Crane courtier, but was repulsed by the latter’s terrible manners at dinner. His yojimbo, Hiruma Tarou, kept a watchful eye on the courtier the entire time, rather than watching for any dangers to the man.

The Crane courtier, Asahina Minoru, displayed terrible manners throughout dinner, got drunk off of the little sake served there, and made several inappropriate suggestions to his yojimbo, Kakita Kiyo.

The Phoenix courtier, Asako Tsubasa, grew increasingly upset as her yojimbo, Shiba Sagura, continued to outshine her in Court functions. For his part, Sagura spent dinner getting to know the other yojimbo and, toward the end of the meal, preventing Kiyo from drawing a blade on her charge after numerous disgraceful suggestions.

The Unicorn courtier, Ide Hui, spoke to almost no one, seemingly bored with the entire affair. Her yojimbo, Utaku Chou, spoke of nothing but the upcoming Iaijutsu Tournament to take place the next day.

For his part, the Lion courtier, Ikoma Taichi, made easy, peaceful conversation with everyone nearby. His yojimbo, Matsu Vash, said nothing, choosing instead to sample the sweets and delicacies of the table.

The Tortoise courtier, Kasuga Kiyomi, kept up light conversation throughout the meal, managing to bring Tsurichi Ai and Sanjuro Yuzuki into a story about the Echoes of Rokugan. Her yojimbo, Toritaka Hitomi, watched dispassionately, noting only the strangely intent looks being sent her by Mirumoto Jirou.

Fumiko’s sons, Hideyoshi and Jirou, sat at the head table with their mother, while Tatsuya chose to eat at the lower tables and get to know the guests. Of especial interest to him were Kiyomi, who knew many stories of Tatsuya’s father, and Yuzuki, a member of his clan and daughter of the Echo of Courtesy.

The Tsi Forgemaster, Daichi, eschewed company: any who happened to sit nearby were ignored at best.

The Evening Hours, Night 1

Traditionally the time for discussion and planning, the making of alliances and the beginning of schemes, most of the delegations were too damn tired after a full day of travel to do much of anything.

Mamoru and Tatsuya attempted to get to know Tsi Daichi, and found that he chose to sleep by the forge, guarding a strange, lumpy bundle. Yuzuki spent the majority of her time staring off into the distance, though she exchanged a few words with Yasuki Yori and Tsurichi Ai on the subject of her mother.

The assembly had pretty much dispersed by the time Mirumoto Jirou had gathered the courage to approach Hitomi. As soon as she turned her eyes on his diminutive form, though, his carefully-prepared speech disappeared into the Void, and he did nothing more than blatantly proposition her. Kiyomi saved her from the social faux-pas of smiting him, and the Dragon disappeared off for the night.

The Morning Hours, Day 2

Shosuro Akemi ordered her yojimbo into her bedroll to be ravaged until the hour before dawn. While everyone else took the silence as a chance to rest, she stealthily crept to the kitchens and poisoned certain meals according to the seating arrangements. Among her intended victims were Mirumoto Jirou, Mirumoto Hideyoshi, Bayushi Mamoru, and Hiruma Tarou.

After a light meal, Mamoru and Tatsuya together visited the sleeping Tsi Daichi, bringing him food and drink and alerting him to the beginning of the Iaijutsu Tournament, which the old artisan was supposed to judge.

Almost every delegation was awake and alert for the first match of the day, Sanjuro Yuzuki vs Shiba Sagura. Itwas not a good start to the Tournament, however: Sagura, an experienced duelist, easily defeated Yuzuki before her sword cleared its scabbard. Both duelists comported themselves with Honor, though, and there was much applause as they left the dueling circle.

The second match, Mirumoto Jirou vs Toritaka Hitomi, ended with a kharmic strike: Jirou’s stroke missed, however, while Hitomi’s struck true, and drew perhaps more blood than was required. The two bowed, and Jirou stumbled off to the healers as the next dueling pair approached. Unnoticed by most, the Mantis courtier and her yojimbo finally showed up at this point.

Unknown to any save Shosuro Akemi, Hiruma Tarou had been poisoned at breakfast and was delirious. He stepped into the ring with a dai-tsuchi, wearing his heavy metal armor. Bayushi Mamoru kept to the heart of the event, and took an iaijutsu stance. The Crab struck first, swinging his heavy weapon on a perfect course with the Scorpion bushi’s head. Mamoru was the only one who saw a tiny needle fly through the air and into the Crab’s ear, causing the poisoned man to stumble and giving the Scorpion an opening. Mamoru drew blood, and the Crab left the ring in disgrace, storming off to another portion of the castle.

There was a break before the next duel began, but eventually Utaku Chou and Sanjuro Tatsuya stepped into the ring together. The Unicorn, eager for a glorious victory, underestimated the speed of her Dragon-trained opponent and suffered a humiliating defeat. Tatsuya treated her honorably, though, and was a credit to his Clan… both of them.

The Afternoon, Day 2

After the noon-day meal, the Court gathered to watch the second round. Sagura stepped into the ring to demonstrate that he could still duel, a formality since he had no assigned opponent, when a tall, dark-clothed figure with abnormally pale skin, silver hair, and a crystal no-dachi kicked his way through crowd and buildings on his way to the ring. He stepped inside the dueling circle and glared at the suddenly-pale Tsi Daichi, then at the shaken Sagura. The figure paused and began to speak, but Sagura kept to the rules of a duel and sliced the figure across the knuckles, damaging the man but drawing no blood. The silver-haired figure looked down at its injury, grinned at Sagura, and vanished without a trace, leaving his priceless weapon behind.

The Falcon, Toritaka Hitomi, recognized the ‘man’ as a spirit, though none she had seen before. While everyone else was unwilling to touch the fallen blade, Hitomi stepped forward and placed it next to Tsi Daichi. Kasuga Kiyomi stepped forward with a song to lighten everyone’s hearts, and Shiba Sagura encouraged everyone to put the event behind them.

Things progressed quickly after that: Mamoru lost to Kakita Kiyo in a hard-fought duel filled with graceful dodging and precise strikes. Hitomi was sorely wounded by Matsu Vash in a skirmish after a kharmic strike. It was at this time that Tatsuya found Hiruma Tarou decapitated: he quickly ordered the body removed, though no one could find the head.

The final duel of the day, and the determining match for the semi-finalists, put Tatsuya up against Hideyoshi. His surrogate-brother’s years of experience were countered by his growing hatred of Tatsuya, and the two met on equal footing: Hideyoshi’s attack struck a single hair from Tatsuya’s head, while Tatsuya’s attack barely drew two lines of blood along Hideyoshi’s side. The duel concluded, Hideyoshi dishonorably struck his surrogate brother in the face, leaving the circle in disgrace.

Dinner, Night 2

While Tatsuya was ordered to take Hideyoshi’s seat at the table, since Hideyoshi was missing and still disgraced, everyone else sought seats among those who knew them best. Shiba Sagura volunteered to perform a few graceful kata with his naginata, a Phoenix tradition that Mirumoto Fumiko welcomed after a day of such strange omens. After that, Kasuga Kiyomi volunteered the story of Toshiro, Honor’s Echo, and his duel for the hand of Kitsune Yamako. Such a legendary duel and its far-reaching consequences amongst the Minor Clans drew people’s thoughts back to politics, and the mood of the Court returned to normal.

Tsi Daichi left the meal early, begging exhaustion. Tatsuya made sure a guard accompanied him back to his ‘chambers’ by the forge. With the various courtiers busily plotting and planning, it was several hours before the young Mongoose hostage could find his way to the forge. Before then, he and every courtier attended the Haiku Competition, hosted by Fumiko herself.

Just prior to the contest, Shosuro Akemi’s hunt for Sagura was foiled as he walked to the gardens with Yazuki. She set her sights on Kiyomi, instead, and it was only Hitomi’s timely intervention that saved the young Tortoise from Akemi’s ‘vile’ clutches. The highlights of the competition were Tatsuya’s poem:
Born of Mongoose blood/
A home amongst the Dragon/
Mongoose needs her pup/

Kiyomi’s poem:
(Insert here)

and Sagura’s poem:
Red and brown petals/
Forgotten in the moment/
The touch of Benten/

Fumiko was almost ready to announce a winner when her younger son stepped forward with his own love poem:
A peerless beauty/
Twin mountains of majesty/
The silent falcon

Sagura was declared the victor as Kiyomi again restrained Hitomi from smiting the presumptive Dragon.

When he was finally free, Tatsuya arrived at the forge to find the ronin Forgemaster unconscious, with his guard dead of poison. The strange bundle Daichi had so closely guarded was missing, and the only clue was a scrap of silk matching Tatsuya’s own torn robe…

Session 2 - A Lesson in Swordplay

Despite a day of dishonor and the breaking of tradition, the evening Court held much promise.

Kasuga Kiyomi spent the evening charming everyone, as well as discussing some rather disturbing possibilities with the Mantis Courtier. Shosuro Akemi was just as charming, if slightly more aggressive. Sanjuro Yuzuki spent much of her time discussing how to secure rice for the starving Mongoose Clan: her agreement with the Crane courtier inadvertently bound the Mongoose as a vassal family. Asako Tsubasa made several excellent deals, and wound up befriending Akemi despite the presence of Shiba Sagura looming over her shoulder.

Meanwhile Bayushi Mamoru and Sanjuro Tatsuya sought out clues to prove Tatsuya’s innocence in the theft of Tsi Daichi gifts. They sought out the one who stood to gain most with Tatsuya’s disgrace, Mirumoto Hideyoshi, but were unable to find him anywhere on the grounds. While Tatsuya discussed things with Mirumoto Fumiko, Mamoru coordinated with Akemi on their Scorpion-ly plans, ultimately roping Sagura into his and Tatsuya’s search.

When the Court finally let out, Fumiko invited Kiyomi for a private cup of tea. There, she informed the Tortoise that the dead Crab yojimbo’s armor had originally been meant for Toritaka Hitomi, and was being cleansed for her. The daimyo and the courtier verbally sparred until Kiyomi offered her assistance in returning the stolen weapons, which Fumiko gratefully accepted.

Tatsuya and Mamoru ran across Yuzuki out near the Shrines to the Fortunes: the Mongoose was worried that the Curse of Lady Moon would affect her that night, as the moon was almost full. Kiyomi and Hitomi breezed past them as the Scorpion complied with Yuzuki’s request and tied her up. Meanwhile, Sagura’s search for Hideyoshi yielded a secret passage within the Shrine to Benten. Hitomi discovered it, as well, and the two groups teamed up to search it.

The passage lead to a forgotten vault beneath Shiro Mirumoto, where Hideyoshi and two of his guards had hidden a cache of pillaged Ivory Kingdoms booty. Fumiko had given Hideyoshi permission to discuss trade with a lost caravan from the Ivory Kingdoms: he and his men slaughtered them all and stole their belongings, but told his mother that a deal had been brokered. Kiyomi convinced him not to attack, as she was only searching for the stolen Tsi weapons, which were not there. What she did find was an intricately-ciphered scroll with the Mantis Clan Seal on it.

As she tried to puzzle that out, the other samurai discovered that the only way out of the vault had been silently blocked by a mountain of rubble. While Hideyoshi and his men started digging them out, the others perused the stolen Ivory Kingdoms gear, pondering the story behind its arrival here. A few minutes of searching later, they heard a scream and turned to see Hideyoshi scrambling away from the pile of rubble, his two guards missing and his sword broken.

The mountain of earth and stone revealed itself to be a Lesser Terror of Earth, Toichi no Kansen. A strange gaijin appeared from thin air as it slowly advanced, and offered them a deal: one of them would be left alive, in exchange for the Mantis Seal. The party refused, and the Terror rushed forward with all the deadly speed of an avalanche.

Their weapons breaking on its tough, stony hide, the samurai could do nothing to prevent it from grabbing Tatsuya, Sagura, and Mamoru. Again the gaijin appeared, and made the same offer: Tatsuya and Sagura answered him with steel. The two were them dragged underground by the Terror, though Mamoru managed to escape its grasp.

Her bisento broken, Hitomi spotted something within the beast: the stolen Tsi weapons. Diving in through its eye, she hurled the bundle of weapons out to the others.

Taking up the weapons, the remaining samurai began carving up the kansen, Hitomi dealing the final blow with an obsidian bisento. The Lesser Terror dead, they immediately tried to rescue their buried companions, only for Hideyoshi to stop them. Driven to madness by fear of the Terror, the Dragon samurai blamed everything upon Tatsuya, telling them to leave him buried.

The others refused, so Hideyoshi stabbed his broken katana into Mamoru, who, with Yuzuki, managed to restrain and knock the madman unconscious. After minutes without air, Mamoru, Hitomi, and Yuzuki finally freed Tatsuya and Sagura from their tombs of earth. Taking Hideyoshi and the Mantis scroll to Fumiko, the party were healed and rested after giving her an explanation, and Tsi Daichi his weapons.

The next morning, Mirumoto Fumiko ruled her eldest son, Hideyoshi, dishonorable beyond what could be borne, masking the sentence behind mercy for his sustained madness. He was given the opportunity to commit seppuku, and in his final moment of clarity sent a glance filled with regret to his second, Sanjuro Tatsuya, before making the first cut.

The final duels of the Iaijutsu tournament were the last hope for Honor in the Court, and they proceeded fantastically. Shiba Sagura struck a bare instant before his Lion opponent, and advanced to the final round with his opponent’s enthusiastic blessing. Kakita Kiyo faced off with her nephew, Tatsuya, and struck at the same moment as he: her strike took several hairs from his head, while his drew the faintest line of blood from her shoulder.

The final duel, between Sagura and Tatsuya, was a breathtaking event. Sagura and Tatsuya both called upon the Void, centering themselves in perfect unison as a chill wind passed through the circle. Time seemed to stand still as the equally-matched duelists sensed for the perfect moment to strike. There was a flash of steel, the whisper of parting silk, and the duel was over.

For winning the Duel of Winter’s Breath, Sanjuro Tatsuya was presented with an Emerald Daisho.
For presenting a haiku whose beauty would be remembered for generations, Shiba Sagura was presented with a Jade Mempo.
For the amazing retelling of the Lesser Terror’s death, and for delivering the deathblow, Kasuga Kiyomi and Toritake Hitomi were gifted a gilded warfan and the obsidian bisento.
For their persistence and Honor in battle and in Court, Bayushi Mamoru and Sanjuro Yuzuki were each gifted a gaijin weapon: an Obsidian Blade and a Meteor Hammer, respectively.

Session 3 - A Lesson in Strategic Repositioning

After one final, quiet evening, Mirumoto’s Court was declared to be at an end.

Sanjuro Tatsuya, at last knowing that he was the cause of the Mongoose Clan’s famine, went to Mirumoto Fumiko and asked for release from his bondage. She agreed, but set terms: he had one year to save the Mongoose Clan from the famine. If he succeeded, he would be freed, and the debt between the Dragon and the Mongoose would be forgiven. If he failed, though, he would be adopted into the Dragon Clan, and the Mongoose would go extinct.

Bayushi Mamoru and Sanjuro Yuzuki promised to accompany the young samurai on his journey. As they gathered to leave the next morning, Shiba Sagura, Toritaka Hitomi, and Kasuga Kiyomi, who were to take the same road as Tatsuya and company, agreed to travel together as far as Mongoose lands.

At the foot of Shiro Mirumoto, the travelers were halted by Mirumoto Yoshi and an army of Returned Spirits, accompanied by a Yuki-onna. Yoshi refused to allow them to pass until Fumiko surrendered the castle, and the party waited in the Returned war-camp while the two Mirumoto debated. When at last Yoshi returned, they were allowed to proceed, though his Yuki-onna kept them awhile longer to discuss them, and their Curses.

The path from Dragon lands to Mongoose territory was difficult: an historic blizzard, and hordes of Gaki blocked their path. After a terrifying battle with the O-toyou haunting a nearby battlefield, the party found themselves protected by an unseen force, as the o-toyo and worse prowled nearby. Arriving at Mongoose lands, Tatsuya and Kiyomi attempted to find their unseen protector, driving it away… just as the Gaki attacked.

Sagura took great wounds during a last-stand, giving the courtiers time to flee. Yuzuki, Hitomi, Mamoru, and Tatsuya ran back to save him, and they began a fighting retreat to the Mongoose border. They found a watchtower there, where Kiyomi again attempted to corner their mysterious protector.

The next morning, after Yuzuki killed all of the surrounding Gaki with her bow, the party was invited into Mongoose lands, and taken to Kyuuden Toshiro, where they met Sanjuro Daichiko and her sister, Sanjuro Yurika

Session 4 - A Lesson in Careful (Family) Planning

Sanjuro Yurika quickly decoded the courtly language used in the Mongoose-Crane treaty Sanjuro Yuzuki had negotiated, and came up with a startling truth: Yuzuki had provided the Mongoose with plenty of rice and grain, but at the cost of becoming a Crane vassal family.


Bayushi Mamoru, Sanjuro Daichiko, and Sanjuro Tatsuya balked at the revelation, but the treaty was signed. With Sanjuro Hinata still at the Imperial Capital, no one could figure out a way to countermand the treaty without sparking a war between Mongoose and Crane. Even Kasuga Kiyomi felt stumped by the well-worded treaty, though she kept poring over the document for a way to save this newest Minor Clan.

Buruburu: The Hungry Ghost of Fear

Guests were shown to their rooms, and Daichiko took Shiba Sagura out into the gardens for a refreshing walk. The talked of little things and grand plans, away from almost every prying eye. Meanwhile, Tatsuya and Yuzuki went to the old ronin Kakashi for training. Tatsuya spotted that the ronin used some form of makeup to make him appear older, while Yuzuki was simply grateful to have some instruction on her foreign weapon.

Eventually, everyone went to bed. Everyone slept peacefully, save for Sagura and Toritaka Hitomi: these two were tormented by horrifying nightmares, unable to awaken or truly get restful sleep. This continued for several days, while everyone else tried to think of a way around the treaty’s conditions.

One possibility, that the Crane would renege on their end of the bargain, vanished when a large, heavily-guarded caravan piled high with foodstuffs crested the hill. Kakita Kiyo was extremely proud of herself for negotiating the treaty, and her father Kakita Katashi was pleased to bring one of his daughters back to the family, while also strengthening his clan and extending their reach.


Festivities began between the jubilant Mongoose, who up until this time had been starving almost to death, and the smug Crane caravan guards. Doji, Daidoji, and Kakita were everywhere, wooing all the womenfolk and guarding the treaty from Mamoru’s attempts to ‘see’ it.

The festivities culminated in the reading of several Haiku, which Sagura and Kiyomi excelled at, and finally an iaijutsu display. The many Crane desired a duel between Kiyo and Tatsuya… but he quickly invited Hitomi into the ring, trying to avoid his aunt’s swift and furious blade. The Mongoose and the Falcon dueled, invoking a more formal and slow-moving style of fighting that was pleasing to the eye – for everyone but the Kakita duelists present.

When Hitomi stepped from the ring, however, a great wind came up and circled the dueling circle. Trapped within, Tatsuya looked on in shocked confusion as the Soul of Honor, Kitsune Toshiro, stepped from the gusting cyclone into the circle, taking up a dueling stance. Tatsuya prepared to duel, but knew he was utterly outmatched by the experienced Spirit. The two spoke: Tatsuya asking Toshiro’s forgiveness for his crime, and Toshiro taking the measure of his brother’s son. The Spirit of Honor declared that he would take Tatsuya’s measure through a single perfect strike, and they dueled.


During the duel, his katana awakened, immersed in the young samurai’s sense of Duty and Honor. Seeing this, and finding Tatsuya’s measure admirable, the Spirit of Honor named his price for forgiving Tatsuya.

Meanwhile, Mamoru had managed to sneak past the Daidoji ‘Scouts’ guarding the troublesome treaty, and swapped it with a pre-created forgery, complete with an easy escape from the Mongoose’s end of the bargain. When Sanjuro Hinata returned the next day, she found Mamoru’s clause with ease, and Yuzuki was lauded as a great courtier, and a master of subtlety.

All was not happy, however, as Hinata had not returned home alone. Accompanying her was Miya Houki, Voice of the Emperor, and he was there to have a quiet marriage with Sanjuro Daichiko…

That night was filled with hijinks and potential dishonor, love and loss, comedy and tragedy. Sagura got what he wanted, without getting anything he wanted. Yuzuki found a new friend, but became beholden to another. Kiyomi learned of many things, and finally got into some mischief of her own. Hitomi at last found rest, the buruburu banished by Isawa Keitaro, but was unable to prevent her charge’s urge to make trouble. Tatsuya found the path to forgiveness, but only from his victim’s father: he realized that the child’s mother would be an entirely different story.

The wedding the following morning was subdued, but ritually perfect. Afterward, the party boarded Kasuga Tomo’s ship, preparing to leave for Fox Lands, and the possibilities that lay there…

Session 5 - The Last Day of Lessons

More foes from the past
block the path to destiny.
Are they foes at all?

With only three weeks to cross a significant portion of the Emerald Empire, Tatsuya and his friends, Mamoru and Sagura, accepted the generous offer of Kiyomi to board her father’s boat and sail to the Kitsune Winter Court.

Accompanying them from the happy wedding were the Mongoose representative Yuzuki and her yojimbo for the upcoming Court, Sanjuro Aiyu. Already aboard were the Falcon Clan Champion, Toritaka Benkei and his daughter Hitomi, as well as the renowned captain of the vessel, husband to the Tortoise Daimyo, and self-proclaimed greatest sailor in Rokugan, Kasuga Tomo.

Tatsuya immediately sought out Lord Benkei and begged his aid for the young Mongoose’s quest. Since the Falcon had been fighting spirits since their inception, should they not have the most complete records on them? Could they know of a way to restore the Kitsune Yukiko’s spirit to her mortal shell? Benkei was unsure, but promised to aid the young samurai he had once guarded.

The Slain Child

Their pace abated by meddling Great Clan magistrates, a full week’s travel saw them bordering Scorpion lands. Hitomi spent her time watching over her charge, Kiyomi, with growing concern. Yuzuki, Tatsuya, and Mamoru trained with the old ronin Kakashi, while Sagura meditated with The Spirit of Honor, Kitsune Toshiro.

At last released from the final checkpoint, their path was blocked by a half-sunken junk. Mamoru dropped down to see if he could save any of the passengers, finding a murdered Crane courtier with her still-living babe. As soon as their ship slowed to a halt, however, men in brown robes discarded their breathing tubes and attacked. Many clambered up the side of Tomo’s ship, assaulting the passengers.

Sagura took up his naginata and fought those on the lower deck, Hitomi and her bisento clearing the upper deck to his right. The two fought as a matched pair, as though each knew the others’ movements before they were even begun. Soon, the dozen ronin who challenged them were either dead or driven from the ship.


Tatsuya and Yuzuki charged to held their friends, only to be jumped by a pair of ronin armed with strange daggers. After briefly tangling with Yuzuki, who dealt them several near-deadly wounds, they focused their attention on their true target: the son of Sanjuro.

The assassins ignored the wounds Tatsuya inflicted upon them, slowly cornering the young samurai. Just as they prepared to strike the final blow, Mamoru leapt over the railing and cast one of them overboard to a watery grave. Tatsuya ducked under a gutting strike and beheaded his final opponent: even then, the assassin’s headless body attempted to finish its task, only to be knocked aside by Mamoru.

The child they had saved, a week old at most, kept a deathly silence as they raced downriver. Hitomi held onto the baby boy as everyone else debated the identity of their attackers: most were ronin, battered and poor, but the two who had singled out Tatsuya were clearly a cut above. Their gear, though worn with use and age, was of foreign make: on each blade was engraved in gaijin script ‘Quolat’. One of the attackers wore a strange ring, styled after a Lotus: Kiyomi claimed it was the sign of the recently-reforged Kolat’s Assassins, and Mamoru confirmed her suspicion.

The closest friendly city was Kyuuden Kakita, home of the Kakita family and its Lord, Kakita Katashi. With no way to feed the starving infant short of a miracle, Tomo broke speed records and several laws to pass 35 leagues in a day. Safely arriving at Kyuuden Kakita, all of the passengers save Yuzuki departed to visit the beautiful lands of the Crane’s premier artisans and duelists. And of course, to find the poor, silent babe something to eat and someone to care for him.


Sagura used his father’s long friendship with Katashi to gain them entry to the city and an audience with the Kakita daimyo: the infant was seen to, and everyone welcomed with exquisite hospitality. The ladies bathed, with Kiyomi taking particular joy in the available hotsprings, as did Mamoru and eventually Sagura. Before that, though, the young Phoenix went to the doorway of the Kakita Dueling Academy and offered challenge to passing students. He won a fair duel against a student his own age, and the two parted on respectful terms.

When everyone was rested and refreshed, they joined Lord Katashi and his youngest daughter Kiyo for tea. He welcomed each guest in turn, and asked for news of their exploits. Tatsuya informed him of his quest , and Katashi offered whatever aid his grandson may require. Provisions were sent to the ship, and the company departed to continue their journey… save for Kiyo, Sagura, and Tatsuya.

The young Phoenix asked Lord Katashi’s permission to court his daughter: looking upon his suit with favor, the daimyo accepted the proposal and sent Kiyo as Sagura’s “yojimbo”, that the two might get to know one another better.

Katashi asked his grandson to stay behind, that he might introduce the most recent addition to their family: the daimyo’s only great-grandchild, three-week-old Kakita Taiki.

Back aboard Tomo’s vessel, a bored Yuzuki went fishing. Catching a minnow barely the size of her hook, she threw it back to use as bait. After several hours of waiting, her fishing pole gave a mighty tug and threatened to snap. She lashed it to the railing and pulled out a knife, leaping into the frothy water near her catch only to come face-to-face with a large shark.

I see you

She battled the mighty creature, tooth against knife, and ultimately claimed the victory. She hauled herself aboard the ship, and the Tortoise crew quickly reeled in her catch. While they stripped and cleaned the carcass, however, a careless knife-stroke opened the thing’s belly and spilled forth hundreds of coins, mostly koku and gaijin gold. Yuzuki ordered the gold sent home and the shark eaten.

The crew and passengers at last assembled, though nearly leaving Tatsuya behind, the vessel set sail once more. The next morning, they passed within sight of the Imperial City and were out into the open ocean. A vast thundering filled their ears, though the sky was empty of clouds.

At last, what they had taken for a mountain in the sea moved, revealing itself to be a vast, terrifying beast. It cast the object of its wrath, a four-masted gaijin frigate, through the air to land near them, and moved to attack its newest target…

He Comes

Session 6 - Dealing With Monsters

The mountain rose from the sea and Kasuga Kiyomi, pulling from her vast education, identified it as an Uzu-me-boshi. It was a troll shaman bound to an oni, and if they could defeat the troll inside, the vast creature would dissipate.

As the others steeled themselves for battle, Bayushi Mamoru escorted Kiyomi below decks as a non-combatant. Believing he would perish in this fight, he surprised her with a kiss before rushing back above. Seeing an opportunity, he climbed into the ship’s catapult.

Sanjuro Yuzuki dashed to the crow’s nest, firing off an arrow that seemed to have little effect on the beast. Sanjuro Tatsuya decided to take the direct route and dove in, swimming to the beast. Toritaka Hitomi, knowing she would be unable to swim in her heavy armor, tied herself to the mast with a long length of rope. Shiba Sagura attempted to climb the rigging, but got tangled.

The Uzu-me-boshi’s back began sparking and a wave of steam engulfed the ship, trying to cook them alive. Kasuga Tomo, the ship’s captain, launched Mamoru at the beast, a gleam in his eye. Yuzuki fired off another arrow, striking the beast, who barely noticed the tiny arrow. Mamoru landed on the chest, his blades digging deep in the creature’s flesh, just as his cousin Tatsuya reached the beast and started the long climb up.

Hitomi tried to reach out and strike the beast with her bisento, but between the distance and the ship’s movement, she was unable to strike it. The beast inhaled deeply, releasing a torrent of water of water onto the ship, cracking wood and nearly washing many of the sailors overboard. Sagura, frustrated with being tangled and inspired by Mamoru’s own flight at the beast, severed a taut rope holding him bound, flinging himself towards the beast. He landed very close to the eye and began stabbing.

Tomo, being the self-proclaimed ‘greatest sailor in Rokugan’, maneuvered around the beast and the Gaijin ship, getting closer, trying to avoid the steam and water jets. Toritaka Benkei, seeing the mast his daughter was tied to start to splinter and crack, wrapped his large arms around it, stabilizing it. The Tortoise sailors began quickly trying to repair and plug the holes in the boat, preventing it from swamping and sinking.

As they were finally close enough to the beast, Yuzuki set her bow down, taking up her meteor hammer, walking the short distance to the same shoulder Sagura was perched upon, swinging her hammer and knocking out one of the beast’s teeth.

Mamoru went to the other shoulder, reaching up with his obsidian weapon, this time in the shape of a scimitar, and popped the beasts eye, warm red liquid spilling out around him. The beast gave a mighty roar. Seeing his opening, Tatsuya jumped in the beasts mouth, surprised to be swimming in dark water and forcing his claustrophobia and an epileptic seizure away, swam downward to the beast’s belly.

Finally close enough to use her weapon, Hitomi sliced open the beast’s side, spilling light into the troll inside. Angry at the damage it had taken, the Uze-me-boshi clawed at Sagura and Yuzuki. She got out of the way but Sagura took the brunt of the damage and began to fall. Shaken, Yuzuki missed striking the beast with her meteor hammer.

Mamoru, seeing his cousin jump down the beast’s throat, quickly followed, just as Tatsuya struck at the troll inside. The beast roared and flailed, the cause of its pain not easily visible. Hitomi, acting out of instinct, reached forward just further than she could reach, snapping the rope holding her to the ship but catching Sagura and saving his life. He managed a quiet “Thank you” before passing out and being set on the deck.

The troll attacked Tatsuya, the beast moving to fight something no one else could see. Feeling a surge from the Void from somewhere, Tatsuya struck again, stabbing the troll. Tomo began steering the ship into the beast’s belly. Yuzuki and Hitomi continued to strike at the beast.

Mamoru, being a sneaky ninja, stabbed the troll from behind in surprise. The troll’s own defenses shocked Mamoru, rendering him unable to fight. The troll, ignoring the wounded Scorpion, instead struck at Tatsuya, almost slaying him. Tatsuya impaled the troll, killing it, getting shocked himself.

The enormous beast roared one final time before starting to fall apart and dissolve just as the ship hit its belly. Mamoru and Tatsuya were washed out of the belly through the cut Hitomi had made. She grabbed Sagura and Mamoru, preventing them from falling overboard. Tatsuya crashed into Benkei. Yuzuki calmly walked back into the crow’s nest, retrieving her bow.

The battle was won and the beast defeated, everyone tired, sore, and soaked.

The Gaijin ship, recovered from their battle with the beast, approached closer. Weary, everyone began to ready weapons for the next pending fight. Kiyomi assured them she could handle it and scrambled up the gangplank, barely hesitating, her father following. On board she met the ship’s captain, Edward Teach from Thrane.

Speaking strictly in Thane, Kiyomi directed the Gaijin away from the Imperial City and towards the Isles of Silk and Spice, specifically Honor’s Anchor. She portrayed herself as naïve, talkative, and not comprehending what she was manipulating him towards. He offered a gift of a cannon, which she had to reject, if only because her ‘companions’ would insist on its destruction. He then offered a gaijin cutlass and barrels of Rum, which she took, offering her old war fan in exchange. Tomo, proud at his daughter’s performance, left two of his sailors on board Teach’s ship.

Yang’s Honor limped to port for repairs. Sagura wrote a letter to the Fox Daimyo and sent it off ahead. Mamoru tried to get on Kakita Kiyo’s good side, with mixed success. Yuzuki, bored at being in port, went fishing and caught a whale.

Deciding not to kill it, she swam next to it to remove the embedded hook. A Ningyo, a Rokugani mermaid, swam up and thanked her, handing her a small pearl.

Kiyomi, watching the battle but not participating in it, told the story of the fight with the Uzu-me-boshi, mentioning everyone’s name but focusing on the deeds of the Minor Clans, especially Sanjuro Tatsuya. The well-spun tale has begun to spread across the empire already, and many now look with interest and some trepidation upon this newest generation…

Session 7 - Making New Friends

The remainder of the party’s journey to Fox lands was spent in reflection and thought.

Kasuga Kiyomi spent much of her time considering the kiss Bayushi Mamoru had surprised her with. Eventually Kiyomi and her yojimbo, Toritaka Hitomi, quarreled over lies and a lack of communication, ending with the two unwilling even to see one another.

Sanjuro Tatsuya found himself overwhelmed. In such a short time, he had lost a man who was almost his brother, battled hordes of evil spirits, seen the destitution his acts had wrought upon his birth Clan, been the target of Kolat assassins, and fought one of the mightiest beasts of the sea. Yet ahead of him lay his greatest challenge: healing the wounds left by his ignorant actions as a child.

Mamoru had little time in introspection, choosing instead to spend time with Kakita Kiyo and lift his cousin Tatsuya’s spirits. The Scorpion knew his Duty, and took solace in his continued performance of those tasks.

Shiba Sagura meditated during most of the voyage. He built upon his ‘Way of the Leaf’, and sought to find peace after his life’s recent, immense upheaval. His yojimbo, Kiyo, meditated alongside him, undergoing her own emotional trials. The only ‘fun’ activity he undertook was the crafting of a play, detailing their exploits, to be performed by Mamoru.

Sanjuro Yuzuki spent the voyage as she always did: living life in the now, and living it to the fullest. She fished and laughed alongside the Tortoise sailors, refusing to worry about the upcoming Court… or possibly forgetting about its existence. The truth, only Yuzuki knows.

When at last the group docked in Fox lands, they were greeted by the 9 still-living children of Kitsune Yamako and Kitsune Toshiro. Tatsuya felt the weight of their judgement, especially under the furious gaze of Kitsune Ayaka, and knew that any attempts to befriend them would indeed be part of an uphill struggle.

As they were escorted to Kyuden Kitsune, Mamoru ingratiated himself with the eldest Kitsune twins, Toshiaki and Masuhiro. They helped him secure the materials he would need for Sagura’s play, and the Scorpion began to prepare for a performance that very night. When they entered the Citadel of the Fox Clan, they were greeted by Kitsune Daisuke, Lord of the Fox, fresh from his iajutsu lessons. They were warmly welcomed and given rooms near to one another: Tatsuya was informed that Yamako would eventually summon him for their audience, but only in the Forest Guardian’s own time.

After the ritual greetings, and the manner of Tatsuya’s ‘execution’ were handled, Sagura stepped forward to address the informal Fox Daimyo. The Phoenix heir humbly requested permission to attend the Court as a representative of his own Clan, and not simply as a guest. As no Major Clans had been invited to the event, Daisuke was understandably concerned about offending every other Clan not represented there, but was swayed by Sagura’s words of friendship and the Brotherhood of Duty. He agreed to endorse the Phoenix as a delegate if and only if Sagura could convince his three main opponents to relent:

Ujina Suzuka, Hare representative, who opposed him out of pure contentiousness.
Seppun Kenta, who opposed the inclusion of a single Major Clan at an event meant only for Minor Clans… and Imperial oversight.
And Suzume Riko, diplomat of the Sparrow, found the entire situation, and Sagura’s personal reputation, totally objectionable.

While Sagura went around the Court, desperately attempting to gain the endorsement he needed, Yuzuki acquainted herself with her fellow courtiers. She immediately struck up a rough friendship with the Badger and Monkey, and a mutual dislike with the Hare. With Mamoru’s help, she learned a little of the Court’s format, and the nature of the other courtiers: forewarned is forearmed, and Yuzuki already felt herself ill-prepared to handle the demands of representing the Mongoose at this Court.

Hitomi roamed the castle, reacquainting herself with the Foxes and training with her father Benkei. Benkei made mention of his upcoming marriage, and hinted as subtly as he could that Hitomi had best find herself a mate soon. This in mind, Hitomi set to sharpening her skills, declaring that she would only marry the man who defeated her in single combat. Sezuka of the Hare obliged her with an athletic duel, and the two quickly built up an understanding, perhaps even a friendship.

Kiyomi stayed behind the scenes, greeting Foxes and paving the way for her agenda within the upcoming Court. When she heard of Sagura’s ambitions, and his successful inroads toward his goal, she began to plot around that, as well…

Just as he was finishing his preparations for the play, Mamoru noticed a familiar presence: Shosuro Akemi had come to visit. Disguised as a servant, she claimed that her purpose was simply to help Mamoru achieve his own goals at this Court. The Scorpion didn’t believe her for an instant, and immediately began testing his food for poison with a growing, and not-unfounded, paranoia.

After dinner, Sagura performed his artistic kata for those present, followed by Kiyomi demonstrating the art of the Voice with a warm, happy song. The evening’s climax came when Mamoru flawlessly performed the humorous play reccounting their adventures, delighting old and young alike with a good tale told well through action and the dance of painted fans.

Late that night, with everyone else asleep, Tatsuya was summoned into Kitsune Mori to meet with Yamako, Guardian of that Forest, and mother of the kitsune he had fatally wounded as a youth. There he begged for her forgiveness, and was told what he must do to achieve it. A task so daunting, the Mongoose preferred to fight another Uzu-me-boshi alone than attempt it.

Session 8 - Keeping Track of Allies

While Shiba Sagura worked to undo centuries of mistrust and poor treatment, aided in secret by Bayushi Mamoru, someone else worked behind the scenes to deny the young Phoenix’s efforts. Sagura’s efforts to secure Suzume Riko’s approval fell flat, though she did express an interest in seeing how truly he kept to his words of friendship and mutual respect between Minor and Major Clans.

Hitomi chafed at the inaction as everyone prepared for Court, while Tatsuya morosely pondered the Task Yamako had set before him.

Trouble reared its head when Yuzuki was declared missing: several servants had seen her run into the forest the previous night. Hitomi, Sagura, Mamoru, and Tatsuya grabbed Kitsune Toshiaki as a guide and set off into the forest to find her. Toshiaki turned out to be a poor choice of guide, and they soon became totally lost.

After several terrifying battles with predatory gaki, the group was pinned down by several shozai-gaki. Bloodied, beaten, and deprived of his katana, Sagura took up a tree branch and struck out at the hungry ghosts. In his hands, the branch warped into a naginata, glowing with unearthly might, and he drove off the gaki before collapsing from his wounds.

Hitomi and Sagura were wounded terribly, and had to be carried from the forest in haste, as more gaki smelled prey and chased after them. The group emerged on the opposite side of Kitsune Mori, into Crane lands, and sought sanctuary in the lands of Doji Hakura the Second.

After another harrowing adventure, this time involving a senile shugenja and a monstrous lord, the party spent three days circumventing Kitsune Mori. They arrived back at Kyuden Kitsune in time to see themselves enter the forest for the first time: the magic of Chikushudo had twisted time, making them arrive no later than they had first left.

As Court at last began, Sagura went before all the delegates together to request admittance as the Phoenix representative. The room was silent for a short while before Kasuga Kiyomi and Suzume Riko spoke with one voice: No.

Meanwhile, Yuzuki awoke in the forest, finding herself nude on a pile of conspicuously large feathers…

Session 9 - Duty and Dishonor

Kitsune Daisuke, Daimyo of the Fox, decided to take advantage of his guests’ “abilities” by charging them with clearing out the Gaki of Kitsune Mori. Bayushi Mamoru, Sanjuro Tatsuya, Sanjuro Yuzuki, Shiba Sagura, and Toritaka Hitomi agreed, accompanied by Kitsune Ayaka and four Kitsune Rangers.

The First Great Gaki-Hunt went amazing well at first, with Sagura and Mamoru taking the only major injuries, which were immediately healed by Ayaka. Dozens of gaki fell beneath their concerted efforts, and after a few hours the forest around them went quiet.

Ayaka was concerned about the sheer number of gaki: usually, her mother kept their numbers to manageable levels. She set aside her worry, stepping into Chikushudo with Yuzuki to ensure her arrival at Court on time. On the way back, however, the two young women noticed a feeling of dread and the scent of blood on the air: they stepped into the real world to see a pair of beautiful Crane women having a maho duel. The first, identified as Ineko, Song of Blood, spoke of a plan to ‘escape the bonds of Taint and mortality both’. The second maho-tsukai flung scarlet lightning at her, which was deflected and claimed several of the Kitsune Rangers, drawing the rest of the party to their location.

There was a brief but terrifying fight: the second maho-tsukai was revealed as an akutenshi, a dark ‘angel’ in the direct service of Fu Leng. The party proved equal to the task, however, as their skill and their Tsi weapons caused the tempting demoness to take flight. When it came to Ineko, however… the party balked. Injured, many of them almost to death, Sagura felt it was still their duty to deal with the powerful blood-mage. Tatsuya and Yuzuki, whose Clan specialized in slaying maho-tsukai, realized it was an impossible task without casualties, and outvoted the Phoenix. Ineko made pleasant conversation, and then fled before the Guardian of the Forest arrived.

They returned to Kyuden Kitsune, the brooding Phoenix continuing on to stay at an inn within the town. The others proceeded to enjoy a relaxing bath, debating about their actions, and the nature of Duty.

Sessions 10 and 11 - Court and Courtship

(Sessions 10 and 11 are all but lost to time due to GM mistakes and cupcakes. Summary here.)

After their adventures in the Forest and around it, the party returned to the Court, taking the time for a quick bath and an explanation of where they’d been. Yuzuki decided that she was far too traumatized/exhausted to properly represent the Mongoose at the Court, so Tatsuya went in her place.

Things immediately heated up as Ujina Suzuka brought forth the first order of business: purging the Kolat from the Mongoose peasantry. The Hare representative proposed a method much like separating chaff from wheat: cut them both down, and figure out which is which later. Tatsuya protested vehemently.

The argument escalated quickly: Suzuka claimed that Tatsuya was too ‘Major Clan’ to understand what must be done, and Tatsuya declared that Suzuka was too bloodthirsty and filled with hate to properly see what should be done. Eventually, with the rest of the Court watching in resignation, Tatsuya challenged the Hare to a duel, and she accepted.

Hitomi, having sparred with the Hare before, was sought out as a teacher in preparation for the evening duel, and Sagura volunteered to help the young Mongoose practice his iaijutsu. Kiyomi, still busily plotting behind the scenes, met with the Hare and discovered the true purpose behind the duel.

Yuzuki blew up at Tatsuya about causing such an event at the very beginning of the Court, but when he explained the threat and insult to their Clan, she forgave him and helped him to train.

By the time Tatsuya arrived at the dueling circle that evening, his iaijutsu skills were honed razor-sharp. He looked a little ill when Suzuka presented the weapons for the duel: twin knives, in the style of the Ujina family.

The duel was declared unto the death, or until one party admitted they were wrong and withdrew their comments in disgrace. After the first exchange of blows, Tatsuya knew he was heavily outmatched. It quickly became apparent that the Hare was toying with him for some reason, and this enraged the Dragon’s hostage.

Choosing to focus his rage, Tatsuya struck a low blow, targeting not the agile Hare, but her obi. Forced to hold her kimono shut or be utterly shamed, the Hare fought on with deadly intent until Tatsuya was completely at her mercy. And then she stopped. In a hushed conversation that no one outside the ring heard, she complemented him on doing whatever it took to gain an advantage in a losing battle. As the Mongoose looked on in confusion, she bowed and departed the ring to retrieve a new obi, leaving Tatsuya as the victor.

Before people could recover from their confusion, Hitomi forced her father to speak for her, welcoming the challenge from Kitsune Toshiaki to face her in a duel and possibly win her hand.

For the young Fox, everything became clear as crystal in that moment. Despite minimal training with a bisento, despite his disadvantages in reach and strength, despite facing an accomplished and heavily-armored foe… Toshiaki struck true, defeating his soon-to-be wife in a single blow.

Congratulations began among the Minor Clan representatives, and Court was pushed off until the following day. Suzuka returned and lured Tatsuya off into the garden, explaining her purpose behind the duel and generally getting to know him. The two left the garden much later, blushing.

Sagura and Kiyo commiserated over the lack of a ‘proper’ duel, and went out beneath the stars to appreciate their light and the beauty around them.

Mamoru, stymied in his every attempt the turn the duel in Tatsuya’s favor, shunned as a Major Clan interloper, and excluded from the events at Court, finally gave up and enjoyed himself, flirting and drinking the night away.

Over the course of the next months, Court ran fairly smoothly. A plan was formed to purge the Kolat from Minor Clan territories, aid was sent to the Badger Clan, dozens of deals and arrangements were made, and Yuzuki was pursued by the Badger Clan champion. Tatsuya and Yuzuki swapped the task of a courtier between each other, representing the Mongoose as an ever-changing and adapting force. Suzuka and Kiyomi plotted to deflect Scorpion attention from Hare lands. As a matter of fact, Kiyomi plotted with just about every representative over something, weaving and intricate web of favors, alliances, and friendships in preparation for some great act.

Suzuka was occasionally escorted around the garden in evening hours by Tatsuya, though the servants’ gossip confirmed that they had never done anything truly inappropriate.

During the Court’s final week, many important relationships took center stage. Mamoru finally tracked down Yuzuki and blackmailed her into telling him of everything that occurred at court. Suzuka declared that she would assist Tatsuya in passing through and around Scorpion lands on his quest. Hitomi of the Falcon staked her claim upon her Fox, all but securing an Alliance between those Clans.

And Kiyomi’s web was at last complete when she secured an agreement between all Minor Clans, and even those that were once Minor. A re-envisioning of the Three Man Alliance, sharing support and manpower as needed in these tumultuous times.

The final night of the Court was celebrated in an immense party, for what could go wrong at this most joyous of events?


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