Musha Shugyo

One Horned Devils

The battle is fierce, but brief. The highlights are Hida Takeshi forcing his Axe into someone with such force, he had to wrench the blade out of the hard ground beneath him. Followed by Takeshi then beating the next unicorn (who already had multiple arrows to the spine) with his flaming weapon until he was indistinguishable.

The fortunes smile on the heroes as they defeat the unicorn with minimal scathing. In his most weakened state, Moto Shigaru muttered for healing but seemed surprised when, instead of healing waves, he was bathed in lightning. The voice of Uichi “The Fallen Star” rang out around him “This is the price of failure”.

That night at camp, Tsuruchi hears footsteps in the night. He wakes the others and they are confronted with a wiry looking man who tries to escape the moment they mention serving the emperor. It turns out Nariyaki, for that is his name, still thinks the war is on. He reveals that the mines are under the old temple of Ibisu which has been destroyed and his people have been enslaved.

Nariyaki leads them to the other dozen or so Dragon survivors. They spend the night in the shelter and in the morning, decide to head to the temple to witness the atrocities themselves.
Just outside the mines, Tsuruchi spots Iuji, The Fallen Star’s apprentice riding towards it and heading in. As they wait to see and discuss what to do, they witness a guard in an entrance on the mountainside throwing someone out it to his death and then another man proceed to piss over the edge.

Nathan – “Are you Dragon?”
Alex – “No, I’m lifting him.”
Alex proceeds to look perplexed at why everyone laughs.

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The Crystal Palace
Continues

• Next day, Ryuki and Iko (monk) go to small shrine in town
• Earth spirit refuses to answer questions about the strange crystals
• Kakita tries to find out about mines and Moto Fume from Jinchiro
• Hida takes horse riding lessons from Shigaru
• Jinchiro announces he will escort us to Moto Fume the following day
• The journey takes almost 3 uneventful days to reach a well manned outpost of ‘Fumetown’
• ‘Fumetown’ is busy with a new, very defensive Castle
• Fume wants us to leave the message we have for the Unicorn champion with him. We respectfully refuse
• We go to ask the Crab engineers about the stone used for building the castle. They were unhelpful
• We are being obviously followed
• We go to the new shrine to the fortunes. “salt” “12 dragons stand at the entrance”
• Kakita, Tsuruchi and Moshi talk to Miya messenger at the restaurant
• Miya tells us Emporer will be ‘Wintering’ in Miya ‘Progress’
• Hida and Shiba discover ‘bandit bodies on spikes removed on the morning of our arrival’ and ‘castle building suddenly stopped’
• Moshi gets drink spilt on him by same girl (Shinobe) who spilt on him at the Topaz championship. He goes after her
• Kakita, Tsuruchi and Moshi are tracked while on the way to find Hida and Shiba
• Hida sees a woman and chases after her. He returns and chops at a tree
• Tsuruchi overhears a scout message that a patrol has been ambushed
• Kakita writes a note to the Emporer
• A carving of a moth is spotted in the rafters of the Inn
• Next morning the note is handed to the Miya messenger who leaves shortly after
• On returning to the castle, Moto Fume tasks us with guarding a gold (tax) shipment. “Bullshit”
• Tsuruchi spots an unusual ‘pipe’ with as yet unknown significance
• Jinchiro informs us his brother Shigaru will join us on the mission
• We begin. It is very difficult terrain
• At camp Ryuki suspects one of the unicorn of having Iko the monk’s flute. The unicorn become ‘distant’ to us
• Shigaru receives a message “Miya captured, betrayed, EXECUTE”

Quote

Moshi Ryuki “Where did these crystals come from?”, Earth spirit “Your pocket”

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The Dark in the Woods
The Vision

The eta burn the bodies of the slain ronin and are reassured that they will be safe from harm;

The money that the ronin carried was found and given back to the villagers;

The woodcutter Hachiro showed the samurai the clearing where the wood was being cut when the first attack took place;

Raoki communes with a water spirit to investigate what happened in the clearing that day;

Tsuruchi finds signs of struggle and also the vanishing woodcutter’s axe. He informs the others that the woodcutter’s body was seemingly dragged towards the shrine;

Kakita Shun indicates that there is a possibility that Maho is involved in this situation. Not everyone agrees;

The samurai reach the shrine. It is a single building that has been burnt from the inside some years ago. The structure looks sound. It is in a clearing and surrounded by a stone wall;

Raoki communes with the spirit of an old woman…suddenly the samurai are transported back in time in a vision by the spirits, a time when the shrine was still intact a Moto contingent took over the village after the Unicorn Clan had invaded the Dragon territories. Many villagers fled to the shrine. The samurai find themselves in the bodies of some of the players of those events as they unfold. The Moto contingent marches on the shrine and kill anyone that tries to oppose them. They are led by Moto Fuma the son of the daimyo of the region and also father to Moto Hariuki from the Topaz tournament;

The people in the shrine are convinced that the Moto would not attack the shrine itself, nobody would show such impudence. Conviction though did not do any good as the Moto rush inside the shrine, killing or enslaving anyone that opposes them. The defenders are soon overwhelmed. Two of them, a strong farmer and a woodcutter are taken away to work at the mines;

The samurai come to but find themselves in a clearing with mud and weeds. Taksehi approaches and his legs are immediately wrapped in weeds as these try to pull at him. He sees a face forming in the mud beneath him and also realises that the weeds are infact human hair. Soon after several undead creatures attack from the mud and seem unstoppable as mighty blows that would cripple a normal man have no effect on them. It is clear that that this is an unmatched fight that the samurai are set to lose. They fight on doggedly but are being overwhelmed. Takeshi and Kakita are both wounded as is almost everyone. The corpse of the woman from the vision speaks that the spirits want justice and want the death of all the Moto that were involved in the massacre;

Kakita Shun sheaths his weapon and strikes a deal with the undead on his Honor to mete out justice to Moto Fuma and whoever was responsible for these events. The spirits agree and expect the Kakita to honor his word;

The samurai discuss at length what should be done but also realise that they need proof and witnesses in order to back their claims of what happened. They soon remember that two of the surviving villagers are working in the mines and these could be the key to bring justice where it is needed. The initial part of the plan is to rescue the two surviving villagers from the vision.


Memoirs of a Moshi

Having promised the dead of the Dragon village vengeance and the ear of the emperor we set off into wilder lands north and to a place where the road passed between a ridge and a slope, a scene of slaughter, some five caravans all destroyed and being rooted about in by four bakemon. I climbed the ridge while the bushi ran forward to attack the twisted goblins ( in panic apparently two died and two ran away) Satoru and Genma ran up the slope. From on the ridgeI could see fifteen or so more goblins coming towards us from the ridge side and moving very very fast! I asked the air Kami to lift me into the air in the hopes that I would limit the number of goblins attacking me to those with ranged weapons, Genma summoned the fires of purity upon Kakita Shun wearing the topaz armour he made a fearsome sight. Encouraged by a hulking leader the goblins charged scrambling down the ridge to attack the bushi, all but the leader, five of the foul creatures armed with bows slings and rocks, and a goblin with a bandolier of skulls (a maho sukai we think) they stayed on the ridge. One of the goblins leaping into the fray was a hulking monstrosity, clearly abnormal, Hida made short work of it slaying the monster.
Arrows and sling stones pummelled me and soon I was drifting in the wind too wounded to help.
Genma climbed the slope and into a tree igniting fires of purity over himself managing to kill a goblin and frighten off two others. Poor Kakita Shun got caught at the bottom the ridge and went down in a hail of arrows and stones an expression of shock and dismay frozen on his face. Hida struggled with his arm weakened to fight off three of the remaining goblins and an animated corpse of a caravan guard raised by the sukai. Satoru killed several of the monsters his arrows and his siht unimpeded bythe driving rain that hindered the rest of us.
When all seemed lost the beasts fled! Satoru put and arrow in the shaman but the goblin plucked it out and smeared something over the wound turning to flee as he did so.
Shiba Genma encouraged the water Kami to heal both myself and Kakita Shun, an impressive display indeed.
We ordered the servants to gather the bodies with as much dignity as we could and attempted to prepare a pyre for them, the tainted in their own pile, but the rain convinced us to camp there and wait a little.
A short while later a band of Unicorn clan rode up and demanded to know what happened, after they found out who we are they treated us with more friendliness. A shugenja lady Uichi know as ‘the falling star’ and her apprentice went immediately in pursuit of the bakemon, but failed to find the shaman.
The wagons were carrying barrels of rice with water proof containers hidden in them containing yellow crystals (smuggling?). We asked our host about them but he doesn’t know of any mines in his lands. The village we were taken to was clearly once dragon clan by its architecture. Our host’s lord is Moto Fume, but we have been treated well and even given a gift of rare exquisite spices and an offer to speak with the clan whose duty it was to guard the caravan we found

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The Dark In the Woods
Part 1

We are now topaz magistrates.
The emperor sent us on a mission to the moto lands.
Delivering agreements made during the unity festival.
Ken and Ryu are 2 eta servants sent with us.
We are looking for a village to rest, it is marked as nearby on the map we have.
We see smoke and locate the village.
Riding our ponies we send Deo ahead , the people of the village seem scared.
The villagers tell us of the murders in the woods.
Some ronin were paid to investigate the murders but did not return.
Hashiro the drunken woodcutter recounts what he saw.
Hashiro is to be our gouide and not to drink on penalty of death.
The servnts tell us about the peddlar in the woods who rotates between 3 villages.
There is a nasty smell.
Women attendants come and give us food and firewood.
The villagers must be cold.
The smell is a tannery.
Iko an iterant monk joins us.
He has a reed hat covering his face and plays a reed.
Read his thoughts he wants to reach the shrine b4 he dies.
A large moth lands on a shoulder it recoiled from the jade wakisashi.
We found tracks of a cart.
It is foggy in the forest.
We find the peddlar’s cart at the base of a cliff.
It must have fallen.
We follow the tracks and are attacked by a man whose face has been eaten.
Lots of moths.
We kill him.
Moths coalesce innto abominations made of moths.
We kill them
Genma almost dies.
Iko heals him.
The kakita saves the day.


Memoirs of a Moshi

In the pouring rain we trudged through the mud lanterns lit to fight the darkness of the drab landscape around us. I sent Dayo ahead to announce us to the dingy run down village we approached. Their reaction was one of delight, it seems that the chonan of the village had sent out messages for assistance and assumed we were there in answer, of course we asked what the problem was and they told us how a week earlier a woodcutter had gone missing, the fellow he was with had fled and spoke of the sound of fluttering wings and sudden darkness.
Apparently a short time before we arrived a band of five ronin had come to the village and taken all of the village’s money to venture into the forest and retrieve the woodcutter, but they hadn’t returned.
The next day we could see that much of this village was run down and dilapidated, on the way out we realised that though the current villagers work is the production of leather, clearly silk had been worked here in earlier times and I noticed the large grey moths fluttering round those old buildings and to my surprise they spelled the word ‘death’ to me.
We were joined by a monk, a man called Ikko who chose to travel with us, we also took with us the woodcutter who fled and asked him to guide us to the place where his friend was taken.
After circling the woodcutter led us to the place by a stream, that noble water Kami granted me a vision of arms coming from the darkness and snatching the missing man. We followed tracks in the direction of the shrine of the village and found the shredded remains of the five ronin, the servants set about gathering the parts. The grey moths gathered in ever greater numbers until a giant mass of them actually became one huge moth which promptly attacked us, a further two huge moths joining the first slashing and wounding us left and right, I took the opportunity to unleash the fire Kami on them and surrounding myself with the fires of purity, as they were destroyed the final one called us ‘defilers’.
We headed for the shrine Satoru spotting tracks for us to follow until we arrived outside a burnt and broken shrine, almost a temple with a high wall around it now toppled and burnt.
Thinking that danger might lurk inside I picked up piece of the burnt shrine, we couldn’t help noticing the moths carved on the wood. My intention had been to burn the wood and ask the fire Kami for their knowledge as to what happened here. Instead we were all granted a vision of an old lady Grandmother Mei who apologised for attacking us explaining that she would lash out at any in her sadness and pain, tis apparition granted us another vision that of the past, a time when the village was inhabited by dragon clan folk and when silk was their pride. We witnessed the final moments of five of the villagers, each of us reliving the past of one. We saw the slaughter of the village, total destruction even the shrine and the monk who tended to it, and even the children of the village except that a few it seems were taken to work in mines. The leader of this massacre was one Moto Fume who must pay for his actions that day.
As the vision faded we found ourselves in a place where the grass was hair and the dead rose between our feet to claw and grapple with us all the while calling for vengeance and the life of the unicorn woodcutter. Kakita Shun took it upon himself to talk to these angry dead and promised them that the emperor would hear of their story and would give them vengeance

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The Hunt continues

• The Earth house spoke to ‘Iron Wing’. He said ‘he knew too much to live’, ‘loyalty to the Empire and loyalty to the Emperor were not the same thing’.
• Kakita Shun, Shiba Genma and Tsuruchi Satoru surrendered themselves to take the place of the 4 injured hostages.
• All boats were destroyed, Moshi Ryuki sent message to his servant to come with a boat.
• Moshi Ryuki and Hida Takeshi attempted to return with the 19 remaining wolf pelts, but were challenged by Akodo Asuki, Seppun Gunzo and Moto Hariuki. They returned to where the injured had been left.
• ‘Iron Wing’ moved his men and 3 hostages to the north beach, where they had killed the Lion Ashigaru, to build a raft.
• A strange ‘Ninja’ type followed.
• Matsu Ichizo, Miya Meiko and Utaku Megumi attacked ‘Iron Wing’ and his men.
• Kakita Shun, Shiba Genma and Tsuruchi Satoru released themselves from their bonds using a ‘dagger’ which had appeared from the tree-line.
• Kakita Shun shouted a challenge to ‘Iron Wing’, but he chose to jump into the water and escape, leaving his men to die.
• The 19 pelts disappeared and 4 pelts were left on the south beach. 1 member of each house returned with 1 pelt each on Moshi Ryuki’s boat.
• Akodo Champion punched the Matsu in charge of organizing ‘The Hunt’.
• Next morning the Matsu received ‘Seppuku’.
• The Final Event – The Duel
• Winners – Akodo Asuki, Awake, Didoji Junji, Hiruma Goemon, Kakita Shun, Mirumoto Kumiko, Moshi Ryuki, Seppun Gunzo and Tsuruchi Satoru.
• Overall result was a 3 way tie between Kakita Shun, Seppun Gunzo and Akodo Asuki.
• Judges decided to have Duel-off
• Seppun – Akodo drew, Kakita beat Seppun, Kakita beat Akodo.
• Next morning Kakita Shun was crowned ‘Topaz Champion’.
• All contestants were proclaimed ‘Topaz Magistrates’ under direct order of the Emperor.

Notable Quotes
On hearing that Seppun and Akodo would be healed after their duel, Nathan “If they go in healed, I want tea!”. They don’t get healed, he doesn’t get tea.
On finding out Ronin Haruki is actually Emperor Haruki, Moshi Ryuki “My yojimbo”. :D

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The Hunt Begins
14-12-2015
  • All characters went to sleep except Shun and Raoki;
  • Raoki met his brother Tetsumaru early in the morning to discuss Haruki the Ronin and what happened to Genma during the Etiquette contest. Seeks employment for Haruki with Tetsumaru. Tetsumaru is suspicious of Seppun Gunzo;
  • Shun practices his Iaijutsu meditation during most part of the night;
  • Following morning Raoki meets Haruki and offers him the job with his brother but he refuses as he is not good on water. Raoki want to know Haruki’s story but the Ronin is evasive but promises to tell Raoki the whole story after the tournament. He also offers Raoki to become his yojimbo;
  • Satoru goes to his clan dojo. On the way sees Lion Ashigaru carrying cages with people in it. Recognizes one of them as the Iron Wing, scourge of the North Sea, his uncle who supposedly committed seppuku 7 years before;
  • Takeshi goes to Crab pavilion to ask the servants about Shinobu but he discovers nothing except that she was with child before she was sold. He then goes to his father but also gets nothing from him even though he is drunk;
  • Shun gives some Iaijutsu tips to Bu;
  • Genma speaks to Tamori Hinako about Seppun and she doesn’t like it. She mentions that Seppun might have access to some Imperial Scrolls that helped him throughout the tournament. Genma suggests that Seppun is an Ishiken (void mage). Their small talk shifts on Bayushi Shinji and how overly friendly he is;
  • That evening Ito lays the tables outside for his guests to enjoy the sunset. As Earth group is chatting Bayushi Shinji interrupts them and stays with them.
  • The following day sees the start of the Horsemanship contest. Everyone from the Earth team gets the victory with special mention of the very close contest between Kakita Shun and Shiba Genma which ended in a draw and both being awarded the point;
  • That evening a servant girl spills Shochu on Takeshi. The Earth group is suspicious about the drink and think it is poisoned. The serving girls disappears and no recollection of her is obtained from the other servants;
  • The following morning everyone is woken up and at ungodly o’clock for the hunting contest;
  • The teams are shown an island upon which are 20 wolves they are told. The team with the most pelts wins the contest;
  • Upon arrival on the island it turns out that the prey is in fact men dressed as wolves;
  • The Earth group follow the shore rather then go blindly in the woods. They find a hollow log which they suspect was used to smuggle real weapons for the ‘wolves’;
    Satoru and the group agree to try and talk their way through to the Iron Wing. They find a bear trap and then are attacked by 6 ‘wolves’. 5 die but Takeshi manages to stun one with his masakari. He agrees to take them to the Iron Wing;
  • The Earth group ends up in a clearing and are surrounded by wolves. The Iron Wing approaches them and talks.

Quotes:
Raoki in a very unusual conversation with a horse – I have been given this apple with much respect and I am giving it to you with much respect…
Horse: Just give me the fucking apple.

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The Topaz Championship
What happened so far

For three hundred years, the fishing village of Kanegasaki sat quietly at the intersection of the Three Sides River, making a quiet profit in ferrying travelers across the waters and immediately capitulating to whomever turned up with an army claiming to be their new lord. In more modern times the villages location made it a valuable centre for trade between clans. The huts became houses, the paths became roads lined with warehouses, inns, tea-houses and counting halls. The population swelled with the arrival of merchants, artisans, sailors, geishas, troupes of entertainers, diplomats, spies and ronin.

As part of the Imperial reforms and celebrations, the Divine Emperor Heiwa Haruki has decreed the creation of an annual Unity Festival to be held at Kanegasaki. The river allows for people to reach the place with ease and the wide Eastern plains allow for plenty of room for each clan to host it’s own pavilion. Furthermore, the Emperor intends to revive an old tradition, not celebrated for several decades: the Topaz Championship.

A summary of the first four sessions

The contestants were put into teams. The teams were as follows

Team Fire- Akodo Asuki, Hiruma Goemon, Mirumoto Kumiko, Moto Hariuki, Seppun Gunzo
Team Water – Awake, Bu, Daidoji Junji, Otomo Kunio, Shiba Hachi
Team Air – Bayushi Shinji, Matsu Ichizo, Miya Miko, Tamori Hinako, Utaku Megumi
Team Earth – Hida Takeshi, Kakita Shun, Moshi Rauki, Shiba Genma, Tsuruchi Satoru

Some names were unusual as although the two most promising youths were chosen from each clan, the introduction of the imperial families as well as the Monk Bu were unexpected.

The tests were as follows throughout a set of weeks with rest days in between each competition day. Events marked in bold are team events.

Day 1 – Weapons & Athletics
Day 2 – Lore (Etiquette, Law and Bushido) & Jiujutsu
Day 3 – Go & Heraldry & Poetry
Day 4 – Artisan & Courtier
Day 5 – Kyujutsu & Spirit
Day 6 – Horsemanship
Day 7 – The Hunt
Day 8 – The Duel

On day 3, on the way to the Heraldry tournament, Team Earth saw a group of unicorn Bushi harassing a group of vendors, in particular a friendly Apple merchant the heroes had come across but a day previously. Satoru ran on but the others meted out justice in a semi pacifistic way and taught the bushi a lesson in manners (with the help of the Ronin Haruki).

During the tournament of Spirit, Shiba Genma was critically burned in a pit of Fire, but restored thanks to the powerful Dragon healing Magic.

Throughout the tournament, cheating and dirty tactics have been abundant. During the Athletics challenge, Team Air attempted to sabotage everyone in order for Team Fire to win. In the Artisan challenge, some foul play on the behalf of the Seppun was suspected (with Tamori Hinako later revealing that access to Imperial Scrolls gives the Seppun an exceptionally unfair advantage). Even the Heraldry test allowed the Bayushi to hand out much welcome pass marks to some of the heroes. The Bayushi’s intentions (and his seeming fondness for the Moshi) remains a mystery.

The night before the hunt, there was a poisoned brew placed in the sake of Team Earth which they managed to catch in time. The identity of their mysterious servant however remains unknown to all, including the house staff.


Memorable Quotes

Green: I’d like to point out that this guy [Hiruma Goemon] took disadvantages that directly relate to beating Alex
Johan: Jealousy?
Alex: Sworn Enemy?
Nathan: True Love.
Adam: I want to find a chink in your armour!
Nathan: I want to be a chink in your armour…..


Nathan to Johan: I don’t think the Mantis will take very kindly to you casting spells to slow our opponents.

Johan: Yeah. If this were Scorpion organized, I would just cast a fireball. And I don’t even have that spell.


“Drink with us!!” The Hida fanboys urge Hida Takeshi.

“Only the one, I have a competition to attend.”
“What? Oh come on! What about —”
“HA-HA!” Hida ambushes a bottle of Shochu.


N – “Did you know they use glutinous rice to help plaster the walls in Japan.”
Al – “I should go to Japan.”
N – “To eat the walls?”
Ian – “ You could do that anyway. It’s ricepaper isn’t it?”


N – “Where are the women?”
Adam – “Actually, you realise none of the women are here.”
G – “Of course! They must all be in the bathroom!”


They approach the Akodo’s painting:

Judge: And what is this?
Akodo: A waste of my time.

They approach the Tusurchi’s painting:

Judge: And what is this?
Ian: A waste of your Time.


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