Petrie Clan

Of War and Rice

Morning breaks as once again the seven gathered before a weary Daimyo Daidoju Kohiro. What was to be a celebration of the ancestors had become a nightmare for the Daimyo. Now he had to ask them for help again. The Mantis clan representative had slipped away and Daidoju Kohiro knew that he was heading right for the Lion lands. The Lion would use the death of their Representative as justification to take, by force, this Daimyo from the crane clan.

The seven debated the best course of action to save the Daimyo. The two chooses were either to head to the Crane sword academy or to the imperial stronghold to request neutral aid. The final plan was to make way to the academy first to provide warrior support for the Daimyo.

The plan hatched they headed with haste to the Academy. The lion clan sprung an ambush upon the Seven by making their presence known. The Lion scholar Ikoma Hibki backed away from the seven. Then Kakita Tokotsuken stepped forward and challenged the leader Hokbo Nabu to a duel to first blood for safe passage.

The two warriors began to face off. The cool autumn air sent a lone golden leaf sailing between the warriors. Then faster then any eye could see Kakita Tokosuken’s blade in a beautiful strike to Hokbo Nabu’s cheek drawing the first blood. Hokbo Nabu stood in surprise the blood dripping from his cheek.

The Lion Clan honored their agreement and withdrew from the crane lands. Ikoma Hibki choose to leave with his clan. He was then sent to deliver the Lion Clans demands to Daimyo Daidoju Kohiro. Ikoma Hibki worked to buy the beleaguered Daimyo time for reinforcements to arrive.

The six arriving at the out skirts of the academy. The beautiful idealistic setting of a crane village was not what greeted them. The village was in flames and a Ronin stood among the rebellious villagers.

Shosuro Xun Si stepped forward called upon the Kami of fire and quenched the fires saving the Village. Ide Sayuri charged through the villagers and placed her lance in the Ronin. Kakita Tokosuken charged forward and in a stroke of beauty struck a villager. Hida Grom charged forward with his mighty weapon and began to cleave through villagers. The shear number of villagers seemed overwhelming and managed to land several blows upon the honorable warriors. Togashi Ryuu stepped forward and fire leapt from the simple monk and three villages were encased in flames.

The tide seemed to be turning when a second Ronin arrived and began to strike at the warriors. Brother Tron began to do what he could to help those injured. Togashi Ryuu managed to send a blast fire again before being knocked to the ground. Ide Sayruri rode down the first Ronin and began to strike at the nearby villagers.

The Second Ronin Came up and struck Hida Grom. The mighty Crab warrior fell to the ground as the Ronin fled. The villagers took the opportunity to take their anger out on the fallen Crab and killed him and dragged his body into the night.

The warriors were able to to remove the rest of the rebellious villagers. Shosuro Xun Si noticed pamphlets that some of the villagers had. He pointed out the pamphlets and the subversive message contained within.

The warriors turned and moved towards the rising moon and the Academy to get help for the besiged Daimyo Daidoju Kohiro.

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SESSION 2 Recap - Togashi Ryuu
"He's dead, GM!"

“He’s dead, GM!”

Gathering behind Daimyo Daidoju Kohiro we seven samurai (no relation to the venerable film) beheld an unusual sight. Lying prone on the tatami of his room encircled by a ridge of sinister black powder was the body of Matsu Tetsuko, a warrior of the Lion Clan. I hoped his spirit had safely traveled to Meido (the realm of waiting) as his body was no longer fit to house it. It looked as if some alien thing had torn its way out of his torso, flinging blood and spattering gore around the room and across the fusuma (opaque sliding panels) which divided the upper floor into guest quarters. The burning lamp shed light on his futon and personal belongings which were still neatly rolled by the rear wall near a small round window. I remember an old saying, A living dog is better than a dead lion but I do not know if my new companions have a sense of humor, and so I choose not to share this thought aloud.

The Daimyo commanded us to investigate this matter and report to him our conclusions. I wondered WWKD, What Would Kitsuki Do? So I asked the Daimyo, “Who rests in the rooms to either side?” “The Crab Shugenja Kuni Miro to the left and the Unicorn Warrior Ide Sayuri to the right,” replied Daidoju-dono. {He must be a devout man. Even though he out ranks me so, he never stares in my face but looks modestly to the side. I have noticed my new companions also do this. I am humbled by the honor they all show me.)

We bowed as the Daimyo left. Hida Grom and Brother Tron went to inquire of the Crab Shugenja. Ikoma Hibiki, having observed the body and the strange powder, left to go and search his scrolls for information to aid us. Shosuro-san summoned a servant to take his intricately carved obsidian hairbrush gift to his room for safe keeping. He then carefully observed the scene, taking due care not to come into contact with the unclean remains. I followed the Unicorn to her room and she declared that her possesions were undisturbed. The Scorpion searched the Lion’s belongings and discovered a paper which he politely choose to keep safe. The Crane deigned to speak to the servants but learned little. Feeling in need of the calm blessings of the tea ceremony, the Crane Kakita Tokotsuken invited us to join him as he performed it. Ide Sayuri accepted and they left. Hida-san and Tron-san informed Shosuro-san that the Crab Shugenja had felt a terrible dark presence in the next room and marshalled his strength to oppose it to try to protect the household.

The Scorpion Shugenja turned to the lamp and cast a spell to ask the flame what it knew of the man in the room. He learned that a woman came to see the man and he was happy when she arrived, then afraid, then dead. Having used much magic and it being late, the Scorpion went to his room to retire for the night. Sliding his door open, he beheld the unwelcome sight of the female servant lying dead on his tatami, still holding the precious gift from our hostess, but no longer wearing her face in its accustomed place. He sighed and calmly slid closed the portal. Nothing could help the servant and he could not sleep in an unclean room. He walked to the door of the living Lion and tapped politely. “Ikoma-san it is I, Shosuro Xun Si.” When the Scorpion explained his discovery, the Lion politely offered to share his humble room.

The next day we were at table when a servant cried out stridently, “She’s dead and the Scorpion killed her!” As our gazes shifted to Shosuro, Ikoma commented, “they must have found the servant with the hairbrush.” At that remark, we rose and went in a group to view this new corpse. I stared at the smooth expanse where her face wasn’t and thought hard. “This servant was killed by an oni, not a samurai,” I announced to our group. They turned their attention to me, then in honor of my knowledge, glanced modestly away. “This is the work of an oni who steals the faces of those it confronts who show it fear or other emotions.” Shosuro said, “Thank you, Togashi-san. I fear that the oni was drawn by the gift your wife honored me with. Perhaps it was meant as a trap for her.” The Crane and the Scorpion with the Lion went to speak with our hostess and the children.

Ikoma-san informed his companions that his research showed that the Lion Warrior may have been killed as part of a summoning spell which could have brought an oni from Jigoku through him. The Scorpion gave the Crane the paper he had found among the Lion’s belongings. The Crane was dismayed to learn that the wife of our host had written a love letter to the dead lion. When they were allowed into the family’s room, the Crane cleverly asked the boys to fetch their kendo swords to show him. When they happily left, Shosuro Xun Si, Kakita Tokotsuken and Ikoma Hibiki confronted her with the letter. She tried to blame it as a forgery by a commoner, apparently forgetting how few commoners can read or write at all, let alone eloquently and gracefully. This defense was not believed.

We seven were gathered later that day making plans to get more information when we were interupted by a guard bearing the body of our hostess. She too, had lost face. Literally. Kikita Tokotsuken, Ikoma Hibiki, Brother Tron and Ide Sayuri raced into the family’s rooms looking for the oni. I, (Togashi Ryuu), Shosuro Xun Si and Hida Grom raced in the direction the guard had come from. In the ornamental pool in the courtyard below the coy floated papers. I quickly gathered them and read what was written. I learned that our hostess had been sent a year ago as an ambassador to the Crab lands with her brother, Tsuni. Sadly he was hurt and infected by a monstrous oni. Refusing to let the Kuni priest save his soul at the cost of his life, she instead tried to save both and kept neither. His loss seems to have unhinged her, Shosuro and I believe that she tried to summon him fron Jigoku but instead called the face stealing oni. The Crab warrior read only the first sentence and became angered by the phrase “Barbarous Crab lands” and so did not grasp the meaning of the pages.

The Crane hatched a plan. Kakita suggested that Hida,Shosuro, Ide, and I wait nearby incase of conflict while Ikoma, Brother Tron, he went in to talk with our host. Reluctantly the Daimyo granted permission for the three of them to enter the family’s private room and search. Sliding open the door from the roka (wooden floored hallway which surrounds the partitioned rooms)to the Daimyo’s quarters, the three samurai were surprised when his wife turned towards them and demanded, “What are you doing here?”

“What are you doing here since you are dead?” the Crane inquired pointedly. The oni shrugged and shifted, its face sliding from the aristocratic hostess to the brush carrying servant to other countenances it had stolen. Grabbing Kakita, the oni threw him bodily through the exterior wall. Ikoma called the rest of us to the fight with the demon. Ide whistled for her horse. Hida flourished his mighty axe. Shosuro cast a spell. I bared my dragon tattoo. Brother Tron moved in.

ONI REVEALS SELF
POOR CRANE FLIES OUT THROUGH WALL, OUCH!
FIGHT, SAMURAI, FIGHT

We seven samurai successfully whip our foe.
What adventure awaits us next month?

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Session 1 Recap - Tokutsuken
Haiku Recap

sent for honors sake
gifts for hosts and ancestors
sleepy little town

meals and poems enjoyed
witness to a secret shame
Mantis and Crane clash

Shrines of honored dead
silent prayers like smoke rise
screams pierce the silence

attend,samurai!
darkness slips through this village
duty binds our swords

reckless abandon
passion unchained leads to wounds
perhaps wisdom gained

honored dead walk here
undaunted, glory shines bright
hooves and flames rend flesh

perfectly silent
the void, stillness precedes thought
one heartbeat, attack

clans fight together
overcoming fear and death
a samurai’s call.

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Festival of Ancestors

“You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

The town of Ichikai, a small Crane village bordering both Lion and Imperial territories, hosted a Festival of Ancestors. Invitations were sent to each of the Great Clans, who reciprocated by sending a representative to celebrate with them. The Festival’s host, Daimyo Daidoji Kohiro and his wife, Asahina Mitsuo, welcomed guests upon their arrival and had their servants show them to their rooms.

Several guests had already arrived prior to the players:

The remaining representatives had just arrived and settled into their rooms before heading to dinner:

  • Ida Sayuri, a fierce Battle-Maiden and the Unicorn Clan representative
  • Kakita Tokutsuken, a Crane warrior-poet who settles for nothing less than perfection.
  • Ichoma Habiki, an eloquent historian and bard from the Lion Clan.
  • Togashi Ryuu, a disturbing and knowledge-thirsty young monk experiencing life outside the Dragon’s mountains for the first time.
  • Tron, a Brotherhood of Shinsei monk from the Temple of a Thousand Fortunes with knowledge of healing.
  • Hida Grom, a Crab mountain of a man wielding a lumberjack-like axe as if it were a toothpick.
  • Soshuro Xun-Xi, a Scorpion shugenja eager for revenge against those who caused the death of his wife.

Once the party had settled, the Feast of the Ancestors began! As night fell, a rainbow variety of colored lanterns could be seen lighting up around the village from within the Daimyo’s home. Seafood and rice dishes were brought out for the many courses of the meal, and guests were informed there would be a haiku competition to honor their ancestors.

Unfortunately, Daidoji Kohiro’s recorder and historian was missing while the haikus were recited, and they have gone missing. The recorder, one Kawasa Shima, has been summarily executed for the loss of such great gifts.

The winner of the haiku competition, the honorary Shosuro Xun-Xi, received an intricate Obsidian Hairbrush from the Lady Asahina Mitsuo for his eloquent poetry and sincerity to the Festival of Ancients.

Following the Feast, the guests were taken to the town square where statues had been erected to each of the Kami:

The center of the square contained a stonework seal of the Emperor inlaid into the ground, and the Kami were set into a semi-circle north of the seal. A small shrine to Shinsei stood opposite the Kami in the southern portion of the square.

As the guests approached the statues, a few were individuals notably missing: Yoritomo Kanachi, Kuni Miro, Matsu Tetsuko, and Asahina Mitsuo. Regardless, each present representative kneeled/prayed/meditated at their shrine, they felt a serene calm come over them as if the Kami themselves were looking down on them. The peace didn’t last, however; screams erupted from the village moments later. Daidoji Kohiro stormed forth with his men to deal with whatever problems might lie ahead.

Left alone in the darkness of the village’s square, a few of the more perceptive samurai noticed decomposing forms emerging from the darkness. As they shambled closer, their formless faces emerged into the light: no eyes, no noses, no mouths…just smooth skin ironed over an otherwise normal body.

The following fight was bloody, and Hida Grom suffered grevious injuries as one of the zombies landed a nearly lethal barrage of blows from his spiked club, but was saved as the protective spirit of Hida himself granted him mystical healing. Soshuro Xun-Xi launched the Obsidian Hairbrush at one of the zombies, and the spectral form of Bayushi himself appeared from behind the zombie to cut its throat and ferried it off to the spirit realms.

After the battle concluded, Soshuro retrieved the hairbrush and discovered a packet of parchments on the ground where the zombie had been: “A Farmer’s Guide to Rice.” Daidoji Kohiro returned, having succeeded in fighting similar creatures, and bid everyone return to his home to ponder the sudden arrival of Jigoku’s creatures so far into the Empire. Upon arriving back at his home, a servant informed him that there had been a murder in his home while the village was being attacked…

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