Kyuden Caerdydd - Champions of the Sapphire Throne
As Part of Miya Shikan’s agreement with the Crane Clan, the group were tasked with escorting children from Minor Clan families to Kyuden Doji. Having collected children from the Tortoise, Tiger, Fox, Sparrow and Hare Clans, the group were awaiting transportation in the Crane village of Jukami Mura when it came under attack from an army of Crab Clan bushi. The group were able to escape the assault with their wards and safely delivered them to Kyuden Doji.
North Hub Village
Kitsune Mori Mura
Ojji (Tsume Tsuge)
• The group deduced that the attackers were actually Lion bushi in disguise from the tactics used. The leader of the group appeared to be Akodo Mako, a general in the service of the Akodo family daimyo, Akodo Gintaku. While the group brought this information to Miya Shikan, it is still widely believed that the Crab were responsible due to the sheer amount of testimony provided by Crane samurai. Akodo Gintaku also provided testimony that Akodo Mako was in Lion lands at the time of the attack so could not have been the person seen.
• Just before the attack, the group became aware of a plague affecting the local peasants. Testing them with jade determined that they had been infected with the Shadowlands taint. Evidence pointed towards someone within the group or their entourage being responsible, as the plague had affected other villages visited recently. The attack prevented a thorough investigation of the plague and, by the time this was possible, Kasuga Minami had disappeared. Bayushi Ichizo’s suspected she was pekkle no oni, able to hide her taint from detection and able to change her appearance to blend in.
• Amongst the dead of Jukami Mura were a large amount of ronin that were in the village to find work. Kakita Kenichi was able to determine that this group were actually the remaining members of the Tsume vassal family who had been coming to Jukami Mura annually to renew their family bonds. The majority of the family, including the last member of the ruling family, Tsume Tsuge, were killed in the battle, but a few survived having been asked to investigate rumours of nearby bandits by Kenichi
• Hida Hei, a Sapphire Magistrate assigned to the task, resigned his post after seeing what he believed to be Crab bushi breaking Shikan’s peace. It is believed he has returned to Kyuden Hida to confirm Hida Gojiro’s intentions and to offer his support to the impending war.
• Kenichi saw Hoshi Haitoku, a Dragon Clan monk with unorthodox views on bushido, talking with Tsuge before the attack on Jukami Mura. It is unclear why Haitoku was there or what he discussed with Tsuge.
Into the Darkness
At the request of Miya Shikan, the group were asked to investigate the disappearance of his niece, Daidoji Yamiko. Yamiko has disappeared nine years earlier during a trip to visit her husband, Daidoji Tokiru, in the Mantis Isles, but recent evidence indicated that she may have ended up in the Shadowlands. The group were able to find Yamiko, but she had become tainted, allying herself with someone called “The Master”. The group killed Yamiko and the Lost bushi accompanying her and returned to the Empire to inform Shikan of his niece’s fate.
• Tokiru explained that he had blamed the disappearance of his wife on the Mantis Clan, suspecting them of attacking her boat to steal the cargo. He had publically spoke against the Mantis Clan Champion, making many enemies amongst the Mantis and, with this new information, Tokiru faces the prospect of having to apologise for his actions.
• Bayushi Ichizo realised that Tokiru was the person he framed for the murder of Kitsuki Tanako before having to implicate the Badger Clan. Fortunately, Tokiru had not seen Ichizo during their earlier interaction and had no knowledge of his involvement.
• Mirumoto Kane noticed that the Lost bushi and Yamiko all wore a mon of a two tailed snake. No known group or individual uses this mon, so it is uncertain as to the allegiance of these Lost
• Before they attacked the lost, the group observed them collecting oysters from the Sea of Shadows. After defeating Yamiko and her yojimbo, the group noticed she had a large number of grey pearls identical to the one that tainted the water supply of the Lion village Sakura last year.
• The group were able to rescue Yoritomo Xu and Kamori Hisumi, the daughter of the Kamori family damiyo, from the Lost, an act which will help the Crane to improve relations with the Mantis Clan
Duty and Honour
With war looming across the Empire and increased pressure on the three branches of magistrates to uphold the law, the decision is made to split the group. The Emerald Champion, Kitsuki Jiro, sent Hida Kengo and Bayushi Ichizo to investigate rumours that Moto Samaji, a provincial damiyo, was involved in banditry, smuggling and illegal trade. While their investigation succeeded in implicating Samaji, he revealed that the group was being manipulated by Jiro to cover up the existence of his secret marriage to Samaji’s daughter and the child she had of their unison. If Samaji was executed for the crimes, Jiro’s daughter would never gain the acknowledgement she deserved. Despite this, Ichizo chose to follow his orders, choosing duty over honour.
Sato no Uma
• Ichizo and Kengo were tasked with training a batch of newly recruited Emerald Magistrates. These recruits include Daidoji Kojima, Kitsuki Tenzo, and Shiba Reju.
• During their investigation, the group defeated a bandit gang, rescuing a number of females taken from a nearby monastery. Amongst them were Jiro’s daughter, Kanahara, and an elderly mendicant nun. The nun later revealed herself to be Bayushi Nishari. She explained to that she had been allowed to manifest in Ningen-Do in this form by Jizo, the Fortune of Mercy. Ichizo speculated that this may explain the tales from the most recent Winter Court of a mendicant nun helping various samurai.
• In the months that followed this investigation, Kengo returned to the monastery and offered to adopt Kanahara now that her mother was dead. He arranged for her to live with his family in Crab lands until her gempukku, when he intends to explain the truth of her parentage and allow her the choice of what to do.
• With the Crab Clan having declared war against the Crane Clan, Hida Kengo received word that he would be expected to lead a squadron of bushi this summer. Amongst those under his command is the Emperor’s son, Toturi Kobe.
• As the group chose to follow their orders in bringing Samaji to justice, Jiro’s reputation remains untarnished. As such, he is able to continue with his plans to marry the winner of a tournament to be held at the upcoming Winter Court.
With war looming across the Empire and increased pressure on the three branches of magistrates to uphold the law, the decision is made to split the group. At the request of the Imperial Herald, Kakita Kenichi travelled to Musume Mura to attend a political marriage between Daidoji Miyui and Hida Junzo. It was soon discovered that Kagekaze was in the town and it looked likely that Daidoji Isamu, the local governor’s brother, had hired him to assassinate someone. During a play by the famed Kyozou theatre troupe, the group confronted Kagekaze and were able to distract him long enough to prevent him from shooting his target. The group confronted Isamu about the assassination attempt and, after Kenichi pointed out the risks to his loved ones, he committed seppuku.
Daidoji (Hida) Junzo
• Kenichi was tasked with training a batch of newly recruited Sapphire Magistrates. These recruits include Soshi Ogura and Suzume Mako.
• The Kyozou Theatre Troupe put on a performance of the play “Duty” in honour of the wedding. Ogura recalled that the Emperor’s third daughter, Toturi Hisako, was a member of the troupe but it was difficult to confirm for definite if she was present due to the identical appearance of the main actors.
• The group became aware of Kagekaze’s plans after the murder of Bayushi Kenno. They suspected a connection to one of Kagekaze’s earlier assassinations, as Kenno had come from Toshi Aitate. Kagekaze later confirmed that Kenno has attacked Kagekaze after recognising him as the person who killed the governor of Toshi Aitate, Bayushi Kisai.
• While confronting Kagekaze it became apparent that he had not received full payment for the assassination. He was quite frank in pointing out that if his patron was no longer around he would be unwilling to complete the contract. Kenichi realised that this was Kagekaze’s way of providing the group with a way to prevent the assassination without directly fighting him, indicating that he did not agree with the reasons behind the assassination. With Isamu’s death it is assumed that Kagekaze will no longer pursue his target.
• The target of the assassination was never determined but the group narrowed it to three people: the governor of Musume Mura, Doji Hideyoshi; his wife, Doji Kokoro or Toturi Hisako. Based on Isamu’s behaviour during the build up to the attack the group believed it was most likely to be Hideyoshi or Kokoro.
• Kenichi heard news that Kakita Saburashi, the Sensei of the Kakita Dueling Accademy, had accepted a challenge by Mirumoto Kanjo to a duel at this year’s Winter Court.
Fall Before the Master
With war looming across the Empire and increased pressure on the three branches of magistrates to uphold the law, the decision is made to split the group. At the request of Hoshi Karasu, Mirumoto Kane and Soshi Satomi travelled to Unicorn Lands to help him investigate rumours of a healer with miraculous powers. The healer, a former Scorpion called Yogo Hiroki, was spreading the Taint due to the source of his powers: one of the gray pearls. Hiroki explained that he had been recruited by “The Master” to search for Naga eggs in the Shinomen Forest and the group set out to stop him. Within the ruins of the Naga city of Navikazin, the group confronted “The Master”, a Naga abomination called Two-Tail, and the resurrected Daidoji Yamiko, preventing them from creating an army of corrupted Naga warriors.
Roku no Mura
Hashi no Mura
Yitsu no Mura
• Kane and Satomi were tasked with training a batch of newly recruited Jade Magistrates. These recruits include Kuni Ayabe and Moshi Matsui.
• Moto Gahin, the provincial daimyo of the local area, was searching for Hiroki to help his injured son, Moto Gaheris. As reward for saving the Naga eggs, the Kosh gave the group a golden pearl capable of healing any injury. The group decided to give the pearl to Gaheris, healing his injuries.
• During their search for Hiroki, Satomi asked Gahin a number of questions about Shinjo Kotoku. As well as confirming the fact that Kotoku’s aptitude for leadership had improved in recent years, Gahin revealed that his recent return to the Burning Sands had not been authorised by Moto Temujin.
• The group heard rumours from the capital that Miya Shikan has announced he will be wed this winter. Unlike Kitsuki Jiro, who will determine who he marries via a tournament, Shikan has announced he will be following the more traditional method of choosing which Clan his wife will come from. Many expect him to choose a Crane wife in reward for supporting his recent agreement with the Minor Clans.
A Summer of War
Crab Clan vs. Crane Clan
• The Crab Clan mobilise their armies to attack the southern Crane provinces. They call upon their allies in the Lion Clan to attack the northern Crane borders while additional support is provided by the Mantis Clan who send a large number of bushi to support Hida Gojiro’s war.
• The Crane call on aid from their allies in the Dragon, Sparrow, and Unicorn Clans. Knowing that the Phoenix Clan have a defensive agreement with the Lion Clan, the Crane request that the Dragon only attack the Crab Clan forces. Mirumoto Daikabe, unwilling to pass up an opportunity to gain a measure of revenge against his enemies, agrees to only delay action against the Lion for one month.
• The Crane manage to prevent the Crab forces from making large gains this year but sources within the Crab camp indicate that Gojiro will send a much larger army next year to ensure success.
• Hida Kengo led his squadron in an assault on Anshin provence in southern Crane lands. They came under attack from a group of ronin that seemed to target both Kengo and Toturi Kobe, who had been assigned to Kengo’s squad. After the battle, Kengo realised that one of the ronin had delivered a message from his mother, Hida Taeruko, earlier that day and suspected that there was a spy within the Crab command providing information on his squad’s movements.
• Speaking with other members of the Crab army, the style used by the ronin leader was identified as the Tsuruchi archery school.
• Investigating this further, Kengo discovered that his mother had been seen speaking to a number of generals but, when he confronted her, she claimed no knowledge of plans to attack either of them. Kengo later followed her to a rendezvous at the city docks where she met with a man Kengo later recognised as her brother, Yoritomo Manzo. It was clear that Manzo had requested something of Taeruko that she was unwilling to do and she began to leave but, before Kengo could act, Manzo caught Taeruko and slit her throat. Manzo escaped aboard a Kobune registered to a Yoritomo Maruken preventing Kengo from gaining his revenge.
Dragon Clan vs. Lion Clan
• After waiting a month to honour their agreement with the Crane Clan, and several attempts to goad the Lion into attacking them directly, the Dragon Clan decide it is the time to strike. Towards the end of summer a large force lead by Mirumoto Jintei march on the Lion controlled city of Toi Koku. The Dragon are successful in their assault, killing the small Lion garrison to the last man. It remains to be seen if the Phoenix Clan will join their allies against the Dragon
• As well as providing military support to the Crab Clan this summer, the Mantis also provide support to the Dragon in the form of weapons and food.
• The Lion Clan, already committed to supporting the Crab Clan, do not retaliate against the Dragon this year but it looks likely that they will attempt to reclaim Toi Koku from their enemies next year.
Essence of Toshigoku
The group visited the ruins of Shiro Usagi to attend a joint celebration for the withdrawal of Crab Clan troops from Hare lands and the laying of the foundations of a new castle. After a number of incidents involving local samurai, the group became aware that a portal had opened to Toshigoku. Venturing into the portal the group discovered that a pack of Tsuno were responsible for keeping the portal open. The group were able to defeat the Tsuno and recovered the katanas belonging to Toturi Hatsu and Toturi Kobashi, believed lost several years earlier.
• Kitsu Mokuna alerted the group to the portal into Toshigoku and explained that he had come to the area searching for his sensei, Kitsu Heiji. Heiji had sensed a spiritual disturbance in the area but had failed to return and Mokuna suspected he had entered the portal. The group were able to rescue Heiji from the Tsuno, preventing them sacrificing the near pure Kitsu blood within him to the realm of slaughter.
• During their time in Toshigoku, the group encountered the spirit of Daidoji Eriko, sister of Daidoji Miyui whose wedding Kakita Kenichi had attended over the summer. Kenichi was able to break the effect Toshigoku held over Eriko by telling her about her sister’s marriage. After his sensei was rescued, Kitsu Mokuna decided to remain in Toshigoku to help Eriko find a portal to Meido.
• During the fight with the Tsuno, the ravager attacked Mirumoto Kane and, as the group had witnessed before, tasted the blood on his blade. The Ravager was heard to say “He shares the blood of the Toturi whelps” but the exact meaning of this phrase was not determined
The group journeyed to Shiro Toritaka at the request of Kuni Yuriko, the Kuni family daimyo. She explained that Hiruma Scouts had reported a large group of Lost bushi forming near the Festering Pit and Yuriko required the group to investigate. On their way to the Shadowlands, the group were met by Bayushi Nishari who explained that the leader of the Lost was her former lover, Taro. The group confronted Taro but were unable to prevent him recovering from any wound inflicted. Realising that Taro was drawing strength from herself, Nishari requested that the group kill her and Hida Kengo delivered the killing blow. The group were subsequently able to defeat Taro and escaped while the Lost were in disarray.
The Festering Pit of Fu Leng
• A few days after reporting back to Kuni Yuriko about Taro’s death the group all shared a dream where Nishari stood before Emma-O to receive her judgement. Before this was to pass, Bayushi appeared and convinced Nishari to give up her chance at re-entering the Celestial Wheel to join him in protecting the Empire.
• During their stay at Shiro Toritaka, the group encountered Akodo Mako who, despite having never met Soshi Satomi, seemed to recognise her. Mako’s reasons for being in Crab lands was not determined but believed to be linked to the Crab and Lion Clan alliance.
Winter Court: Shiro no Shosuro
Bayushi Ichizo, Hida Kengo and Soshi Satomi accepted an invite to spend winter in Shiro no Shosuro. Their Winter Court was interrupted by the murder of Kitsuki Nobuto, an Emerald Magistrate from Dragon lands, and the group began an investigation. After more murders were committed, the group were led to Soshi Jusuke, who they discovered had been possessed by the spirit of his ancestor, Shosuro Kumade. The group were able to prevent Kumade from assassinating Bayushi Tamoru and handed him over to the Scorpion authorities.
Shiro no Shosuro
• The group were accompanied in their investigation by the Emerald Magistrate Kasuga Gyuuho, a former student of Nobuto. The magistrates were also assisted by Kitsuki Tenzo, and Moshi Matsui, two of the trainee magistrates they have been instructing this year.
• Also present at Winter Court was Shiba Yota, a Phoenix Clan duelist who the group encountered several years ago during a gempukku ceremony at Kyuden Bayushi. The Scorpion Clan enacted revenge on Yota for the death of Bayushi Tamaji and laced his food with hallucinogens, causing him to attack his hosts towards the end of Winter Court. Shamed by his actions, Yota committed seppuku the next morning
• During the Winter Court, Hida Kengo was approached by Bayushi Tenburo who gave him a puzzle box as a gift. Within the box was a carving of a dead crab which Kengo realised was a declaration of intent to destroy him. Subsequent research revealed Tenburo was the son of Bayushi Tenkai, the Scorpion general Kengo’s unit had killed during the Siege of Shiro Usagi.
• Shosuro Adoka approached Satomi during the court and explained that they were worried about her safety in this time of war. As such, Adoka has assigned the ronin Takahara to act as Satomi’s yojimbo until the current time of strife has ended
Winter Court: High House of Light
Mirumoto Kane and Kakita Kenichi accepted an invite to spend winter at the High House of Light. It became apparent to the group that the monks of the Hoshi and Hitomi orders were acting oddly. Believing Togashi Imasu to be possessed by the Obsidian Dragon, the group confronted him and weakened the Obsidian Dragon’s hold on him by arguing that honour still had a place in the Empire. Imasu’s physical body was killed during the confrontation but he survived by transferring his soul into Otomo Torakage, a tamashii destined to save his life.
High House of Light
• During the festivities, Hitomi Choujo actively pursued a relationship with Kuni Ayabe, who had accompanied Kane to Winter Court. By the end of the three months in Dragon Lands the two had developed a fondness for each other but their relationship has not moved beyond these early stages.
• During their confrontation with Imasu, the Obsidian Dragon revealed to the group that Shikan had consorted with foreigners to gain immortality and had committed murder to ensure his ideal of peace. While Kane and Kenichi already suspected this, it is unknown how Ayabe or Doji Reikan, one of Kenichi’s Sapphire Magistrates, will react to this information. It was also implied that Kane’s family were in part responsible for the Emperor’s current withdrawal from active running of the Empire. The exact meaning of these comments was not revealed.
• At the end of Winter Court, a duel took place between Mirumoto Kanjo and Kakita Saburashi. The victor was Kanjo, who had managed to learn the perfect strike technique during his musha shugyo. Following the duel, Saburashi announced his retirement, claiming he had been walking a false path. Saburashi’s student, Kakita Amiko, called off her duel with Kenichi when she realised she had been following the same path as her sensei.
• Prior to Winter Court, Miya Shikan had requested that Kenichi deal with the potential threat posed by Kane’s parentage. Kenichi decided to go against his orders and arranged to fake Kane’s death. On the final day of Winter Court, Kane and Kenichi journeyed into the surrounding mountains and only Kenichi returned.
Winter Court: Shiro Daidoji
• This year the Imperial Winter Court is held in Shiro Daidoji. Many see this as the Emperor showing support to the Crane in their war with the Crab. The main talking points at this year’s court were the marriages of Miya Shikan and Kitsuki Jiro.
• Jiro held a grandiose tournament to determine who he would marry, with the winner being from the Scorpion Clan. There were some rumours that the Scorpion had managed to manipulate the results of the tournament, with some even suggesting that the clan of secrets had some information on Jiro that swayed his decisions on who would win each contest.
• In the lead up to Shikan’s marriage, many had believed he would reward the Crane Clan for supporting his treaties to protect the Minor Clans, but, instead, he chose to marry a member of the Phoenix Clan. While this decision was questioned in quiet by the Crane, the general consensus is that Shikan hopes to use this to apply pressure on the Phoenix’s allies in the Lion Clan to cease their war with the Dragon Clan.
• The only other notable wedding this Winter Court was between Akodo Soto, the son of the Akodo daimyo Akodo Gintaku, and Asako Ryoko. The union strengthens the bond between the two clans which has suffered recently due to the Phoenix’s reluctance to involve themselves in the Lion’s war with the Dragon Clan.
• The Dragon Clan announced that they have built a Shrine to Inari in Kaitou province, near the border with Lion Clan territories. The location of the shrine caused outrage from members of the Lion Clan who claim the position was chosen to mock the troubles the Lion Clan have had with poor harvests and peasant revolts over the last few years.
• An incident occurred at one of the Winter Courts held in Phoenix lands that has led to increased tensions between them and the Unicorn Clan. Rumours indicate that several Unicorn steeds were killed by a Phoenix Clan shugenja who was later discovered to be a maho tsukai. The Unicorn Clan hold the Phoenix responsible for this crime and many believe the Khan will attack them next year.
• Following a gathering of representatives from the Minor Clans it was announced that they had decided to reform the Minor Clan Alliance. They Minor Clans have pledged their support to the Hare Clan to help them rebuild after their war with the Crab Clan last year.