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.
Green: I’d like to point out that this guy [Hiruma Goemon] took disadvantages that directly relate to beating Alex
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.