Petrie Clan

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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