Greetings Esteemed Ikoma Akiyama!
I humbly offer this, my latest contribution to the collected Ikoma Libraries. This is the fourth entry in my annals of heroism that I have witnessed on my current travels.
Following our previous encounter with the rebellious peasants, our group investigated a hut filled with large bags of rice. Inside one of the bags, we found a Mantis warrior, drugged and unconscious. Under the bags lay a tunnel going off into the darkness. It was decided that this matter involving the uprising and the Mantis warrior, Strider, should be taken up with the local Daimyo.
We presented ourselves with our new Mantis companion to the Most Excellent Crane Daimyo Daidoji Kohiro. He was most concerned to hear news of the uprising, especially since it was incited by treasonous words found in a widely distributed manual on rice. I was able to draw upon my calling as a historian as I expounded upon the history, methods and goals of the organization apparently responsible – the Kolat.
Although he was greatly concerned over the news that we reported, his greatest concern focused on one of our assailants from the shadows – a ronin wearing a Lotus emblem – the emblem of the Daimyo himself. The Daimyo readily identified the ronin as one of his sons, Makoto. We were then commissioned to discover the source of the rebellion and informed that if the Daimyo’s sons were involved, we were to deal with them appropriately as they would no longer be considered his sons. However, he expected conclusive proof of their wrongdoing – a consideration we would keep in mind.
Investigating the tunnel seemed to be the most promising lead, but two problems presented themselves – scouting the tunnel and providing transportation for our valorous one-legged Battle Maiden. The Scorpion, in a surprising act of teamwork, provided the solution to both by summoning an earth kami, who not only provided insight into the terminus of the tunnel, but also, for the price of two week’s manure from the Battle Maiden’s Utaku steed, he would serve as her mount.
The tunnel lined with wooden beams led to an immense room filled with a huge dome of granite. The only breaks in the smooth surface of the dome were stone doors bearing a carving of an eye, barely open – the symbol of the realm of dreams. Upon entering the room, the kami/mount found a glowing rock and proclaimed it, “Good stone.”
Our Unicorn companion, Ida Sayuri, took it and immediately felt new strength from what was revealed to be the Stone of Water. Similar stones were found by others – Strider experiencing greater quickness from the Stone of Air; Soshuro Xun-Si , the Stone of Earth giving greater stamina; and Togashi Ryuu, improved agility bestowed by the Stone of Fire. Our Crane brother, Kakita Tokutsuken, however, immediately fell into a deep trance from the Stone of Void.
Moments later, the granite doors opened, revealing a second interior dome. Between the domes ran a corridor with two stone tables in each of the four areas between the doors. On each of the tables rested a representative from each of the seven clans with an additional Crane samurai. At the head of each prone figure stood a figure robed in black, chanting. Ryuu, Brother Tron, Strider and Xun-Si entered through the openings to stop the black robed figures, since both our Scorpion and Dragon companions sensed the evil spiritual manipulation that was taking place. The battle to “kill the black robes” was fierce with many of our warriors seriously injured. They were able to triumph with the assistance of our new companion’s arrows and Tokutsuken fighting for us in the dream realm. Even the earth kami aided us by carrying Sayuri through a wall and eating the leg of one of our enemies. We were able to eliminate all of the black robes before they were able to complete their vile task, save one who may have finished his efforts on one of the captive Cranes.
Finally, triumphant but bloodied, we entered the inner sphere to find ourselves confronted with a giant carved spider embellished with the stink of Jigoku. Between the fangs, glowing green, stood Makoto the Daimyo’s son.
Regrettably, Esteemed Sensei, at this time I must step away from this history of our adventures to take care of some pressing business. I will finish this particular story in my next missive to you.