Kyuden Caerdydd - Champions of the Sapphire Throne
Charge of the Baraunghar
The group were invited to accompany Seppun Munemori, the Seppun daimyo, to witness the Unicorn winter maneuvers. Miya Hanzu, the Imperial Herald’s personal aide, requested the group accompany him into the desert where he was to meet with a Senpet ambassador, Al-Azar. There, the group were attacked by armed Senpet warriors attempting to kill Al-Azar.
• Kakita Kenichi was given a pendant by the merchant Al-Sayyid. On the surface of the pendant was inscribed bas-relief of a heart and a prayer in Senpet that translated as a curse against “those who walk without souls.” The same pendant was seen on the people who attempted to kill Al-Azar.
• The Grand Melee between the Unicorn soldiers was won by Shinjo Kotoku which came as a suprise to everyone as, up until this point he had shown little aptitude for the role of daimyo he had inherited when his father had died several years earlier.
• On the way to the meeting with Al-Azar, the group briefly spotted a dead body caught in a sandstorm that Bayushi Ichizo was convinced looked like the Shinjo Kotoku, the Shinjo daimyo. On their return to camp investigations confirmed that Kotoku had been present the entire time. Based on his sudden success in battle, the group believe he may have been replaced
• Isawa Satomi met Shinjo Akujin during the celebrations and shared a night of passion with him. Satomi was unable to find him later and rumour amongst the other Unicorn samurai was that Moto Temujin had sent him away on a special mission
In Search of the Future
On their way to Swift Sword Castle for the Boys Festival, the group investigate the disappearance of Akodo Choujo. It became apparent that Choujo had headed north into Dragon lands seeking her destiny. After a hard journey, hampered by bad weather and other hazards, the group managed to catch up with Choujo and learned that she was seeking the High House of Light. Togashi Kane recognised the early signs that Choujo had been chosen to join the Hitomi order of monks and she was welcomed into the Dragon Clan. Akodo Wabiru, Choujo’s father, unhappy that the group had failed to return his daughter spread word of their failure in the courts.
City of Honour’s Sacrifice
Mountain Shadow Village
Castle of the Swift Sword
• Shiba Sakkiko, the tejina illusionist with the Korede Gokko Theatre Troupe, used her magic to show the group’s story to some of the boys at the festival. Some elements of the story may have been made more fantastical than those that actually happened
A Day’s Sail
The group visited Wall Above the Ocean Village for the White Lotus Festival. The group’s enjoyment of the festivities was interrupted after the local lords two children left the village to seek the foul sea creature causing ships to disappear in the area. The group investigated and discovered that Thrane smugglers, working with rokugani criminals, were spreading rumours of sea monsters to hide their illegal activities.
Wall Above the Ocean Village
Doji (Hanagensai) Nobuo
• Kakita Kenichi, realising the group would be outnumbered in a fight against the smugglers, managed to intimidate their leader into letting them leave with the children. He later returned with the town soldiers and was able to kill the Rokugani criminals but the Thrane smugglers had already fled
• The group met Daniel Hatcherman, known as “The King’s Hand”, a gaijin from the Thrane lands. He initially indicated he was in the town to enjoy the White Lotus Festival but, once the smugglers were found, he confirmed that he was there to investigate rumours of Thrane smugglers in the area.
The group accompanied Kesu, an abbot from Dragon lands, who had been guided by visions to the plains of Otosan Uchi where he intended to restore life to the wasteland. Bayushi Nishari, a Scorpion trapped in the Realm of Thwarted Destiny, warned Togashi Kane that the abbot’s visions were false. They were sent by the Obsidian Dragon who planned to possess the body of the abbot’s assistant, Koe. Kane was able to fight through the Dragon’s defenses and killed Koe before the possession could become permanent. Kesu died of a heart attack shortly afterwards
Skipping Rock Lake
The Plains of Otosan Uchi
Hajite (Shiba Jizen)
The Obsidian Dragon
• During the journey to Otosan Uchi, a group calling themselves the Sons of Destiny attempted to kidnap Koe. The group questioned one of the Sons, a Phoenix bushi called Shiba Jinzen, and learned that they believed that the Fortunes were not worthy of worship as they were mortals who attained godhood. Jizen did not know what the Sons wanted with Koe, only that they were supposed to keep him safe until they were next contacted. Kesu forgave Jizen for his actions and indoctrinated him into the Brotherhood of Shinsei as the monk Hajite.
The group visited Kyuden Bayushi to experience the Scorpion Clan gempukku ceremony. During their visit, a nearby grove of trees was burned to the ground. Togashi Kane recalled Scorpion Clan legends of Traitor’s Grove where disloyal Scorpions had their souls forever trapped within the trees. It became apparent that Bayushi Ippei, one of the Gempukku contestants, had been possessed by a spirit from the grove, his brother Bayushi Hakuseki. Realising they would be unable to convince Hakuseki to willingly return to the grove, the group were forced to kill the child he was inhabiting.
• Bayushi Ichizo was asked to track down Bayushi Tamaji, the son of Bayushi Kyodai. Tamaji was due to duel Shiba Yota on the following day and had fled the palace knowing he would likely be defeated. Tamaji saw that he would dishonour his family by his actions and returned to Kyuden Bayushi where he was killed by Yota.
• Bayushi Tomoru challenged all the samurai present to find their way through the Bayushi hedge maze and the first one to emerge would receive a flute once owned by Bayushi Kachiko. Togashi Kane managed to just beat Hida Kengo to the prize
• During the challenge, Daidoji Asami was killed. A Crab Clan dagger was found at the scene and suspicion fell on Yasuki Kado. Kado furiously denied these allegations, accusing the Scorpion of planting the dagger. The Scorpion hosts demanded Kado leave before his actions cause him further dishonour
Winter Court: Shiro Hanagensai
The group spent the winter in Shiro Hanagensai, home of the Crane vassal family of the same name. As part of the festivities, the Hanagensai hosted a grand Go tournament, presided over by Kakita Fujimuru and O’Doji Koneko. Also, in the hopes of improving his family’s standing, Doji (Hanagensai) Shirotaka announced he would be looking for husbands for his six daughters. The Go tournament was won by Bayushi Tsukiru and marriages were arranged for Kakita Toji, Daidoji Reyoku, Bayushi Ichizo, Otomo Hiroshi, Hida Kengo and Yasuki Jin. Unfortunately, the harsh winter weather had driven a white tiger out of its usual habitat in search of food and Moshi Hinata fell victim of its hunger while enjoying a stroll outside the castle. The group managed to hunt down the beast and ended its threat to the other guests.
• During the festivities, Kuni Aya fell seriously ill. Examining her condition, both Togashi Kane and Isawa Satomi were convinced she was channelling forces from the other spirit realms. Kuni Otango confirmed she had suffered from debilitating visions for most of her life but never had the control to be able to repeat what she had seen. Kane gave Aya the Talisman of Yume-do which helped her recover.
Winter Court: Kyuden Doji
• The Mantis Clan petitioned the Emperor to break the trade monopoly the Tortoise have with the Thrane. After much deliberation, it was decided to allow the Mantis the opportunity to open trade talks with the Gaijin. The Tortoise Clan requested that the Emperor publicly confirm that the Mantis are not allowed to form a monopoly with the Thrane but he refused on the grounds that a decision could only be made based on what would be best for the Empire.
• The Dragon Clan attempted to rally the other clans in support of their war with the Badger Clan. In this regard, they were only supported by the Crab, Crane and Scorpion Clans. While it there was little surprise that the Lion and Phoenix opposed the petition, many were shocked at the Unicorn Clan’s decision to protect the Badger, especially since their champion, Moto Temujin has never supported Miya Shikan’s peace treaty. The Mantis sided with the Unicorn in thanks for supporting their negotiations over trade agreements with the Thrane and, without the support of the minor clans, the Dragon were unable to gain the support they needed.
• The Emperor has proclaimed that a new road should be built across the northern Empire, linking Otosan Uchi with Unicorn lands. The Lion Clan have proposed that the road should travel south of the Drowned Merchant River. The Dragon Clan have pointed out that such a road would simply be an improvement of existing route and would not meet the Emperor’s goals of improving trade in the Northern Empire. The Scorpion Clan expressed no opinions on the location of the northern road, but have proposed that a second road be built by re-opening Beiden Pass. The Emperor decides to follow the Dragon’s advice and orders the road be built north of the Drowned Merchant River. He also agreed with the Scorpion’s suggestion, and work to reopen Beiden Pass will begin next year
• At the end of Winter Court, the marriage of Doji Sarutomo to Kitsuki Akane took place. Unusually, O-Doji Koneko, Sarutomo’s mother, was not present at the wedding. Many attribute this to her still being in mourning over the death of Moshi Hinata earlier this winter.
While visiting the Unicorn Clan this spring, Togashi Kane spoke to a gaijin beggar who claimed to have seen a vision of destruction for both the Burning Sands and Rokugan
I have seen the great serpent arise from the desert, and its chest was an empty shell, and upon its head was the face of one of your folk, the folk of the yellow skin and slanted eyes. It gazed into this land, this place of green and blue, and where its gaze fell the land withered and turned gray, and foul demons climbed out of the soil to feast upon the people. And the serpent made its nest in the empty land that was left, like a maggot nesting in a corpse. A mighty steed arose from the desert, and its eyes were like balls of fire, and it trampled the serpent – but when the serpent died, its blood poisoned the steed, and it fell to earth, and the stench of its corpse rose up and blotted out the sun
During Winter Court, Kane managed to help Kuni Aya make sense of the visions that had been plaguing her for years
The great hunter rises in the north, and we are all his prey. None shall stand against him, for Honor has become as nothing, and those who defend the truth are become corrupt, weak and vile and contemptible. The heavens will bleed, and the Dragons themselves will bow their necks before his power. All shall fall into ruin, and the hunter will turn all the world into an abattoir. Only Honor can change fate, but Honor is dying, a corpse whose stench poisons the heavens themselves