Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

Chapter 3: Lord of the Mongoose (Session 21 and 22)

Tiny, simple wave.
Amidst the endless ocean.
Now, a wave no more.

Chapter 3 picked up about 5 months after we left off. Yamako had her twin boys, Sanjuro was busy starting a minor clan, Hida, now Akuma, was adjusting to his role as Jigoku’s Jailer/Bounty Hunter. Toshiro’s player had a new character, a falcon bushi who is an absolute thug, and Sakura had left her family in the Unicorn to join with the Mongoose clan.

The invitations had spread throughout the Empire. Samurai great and small received invites to the first Court of the newly formed Mongoose Clan. The seal of its champion, Sanjuro, stamped on the invite in deep brown ink.

Many were to attend, in fact all the surviving Echoes were to be there. However, one Echo, Yamako, could not bring herself to go. The pain of her true love’s death, 5 months prior, was still fresh in her mind. She had already decided to leave the mortal realm and become a spirit once more, with the help of the fox spirit Aishiro.

However, old enemies still stirred, and Fate decreed that she be shaken from her own darkness. Kage no Oni was summoned to Fox lands. With the help of Akuma she slew the demon, banishing it back to Hell. This wouldn’t last long however, as she discovered that a witch—fitting the description of her nemesis Ineko—was teaching Maho Tsukai the ritual needed to summon the shadow demon.

With Akuma, she decided to travel north to Mongoose lands. She had deduced that Ineko was heading this way and hoped to cut her off. Oddly enough (and because a split party is never fun), this brought her to Kyuden Toshiro (named after Sanjuro’s fallen friend), just in time for the Mongoose Court!

While there they discovered that Kage no Oni had been summoned yet again, and had traveled to the Northwest, towards Badger lands.

Towards where they had slain their foe, Isawa Kage.

Most of the Echoes—minus Sanjuro, who was stuck at his own Court—decided to travel to the Badger lands, and not simply to catch the demon. While she slept in Kyuden Toshiro, Yamako had had a dream that Toshiro was not dead. That he was alive and living atop an unscalable mountain with a group of Kenku—bird men who had lived in Rokugan before the Kami fell.

While the others traveled north, Sanjuro was entertaining guests at home. It was clear he was uncomfortable in this role, but his guests were polite and pretended not to notice the stammering and stuttering, or the slight slips of etiquette. However, one breakfast stuck out. He was meeting with both his biological father—a Scorpion lord—and Kousei. One man wanted to elevate him within the ranks of the Kolat with which Sanjuro worked. The other wanted to aid Sanjuro in destroying the Kolat. Both thoughts had crossed the Mongoose lord’s mind.

Which would he side with?

Comments

The more things change, the more things stay the same. Sakura and Sanjuro are the same people when I returned; I was a bit surprised that they reacted to me as if I was still the same Takeshi, but that is who they are. They were always different in the way of thinking as to “normal” people in Rokugan; I guess the “old me” wouldn’t have it any other way…although he could still use some work with his peasants’ mannerisms. There are other samurai that uphold the “code” far stricter than me to make my “bullying” as Yamako once called it, to look like I was treating them all to dinner. This is the one thing I am grateful for being what I am, I no longer have to worry about mortal affairs that still hound everyone else.

Speaking of Yamako, she assisted me in sending Kage no Oni back to Jigoku. She has become much more powerful when I last saw her. Her detached mentality seems to have kept her very sharp as she was not bothered by the distractions she tended to be involved with in the past. I must admit there’s a small part of me that was amused by her new “attitude”. Even in my twisted mind I still do not like how she got to this frame of mind since I am aware of Toshiro’s passing caused it, yet I like this change in her. Perhaps it is because she is much like me in a way; shedding off the mortal coils that bogged her down before and casting off her mortal body for an immortal form to become a spiritual guardian. Although we are worlds apart in the details, there are similarities. However she still has some ties she refuses to sever, she has her offspring and I sense a part of her still holds some hope that Toshiro is not dead as lots of people think. There is still some Yamako that lingers in those cold eyes of hers and the part of me that still cares for my friends is…glad.

Perhaps there is still hope for the Echoes…

 

In a few more months I would start the rituals required to become a spirit again. Five full moons that cannot be skipped or I will be locked into my current form. Father disapproves but then Hiro was never that close to the spirits.

Toshiaki and Masuhiro need to be a little bigger first. Then I will be able to protect them, my clan, and my forest.

I’ve already had to do my duty to protect my clan. Not only was Ineko still practicing Maho, but she was teaching peasants how to summon Kage no Oni.

He wasn’t at his full power yet, but it did feel good to send him back to Jigoku, where he belongs.

Hida-san has become the Jailer of Hell. Akuma.

Sanjuro-san has become the Daimyo of a Minor Clan. Much too busy to watch over the errant Bloodspeaker the two of them saved.

Ineko was given a new start, a second life, and she squandered it. I wouldn’t give her another chance to do it again.

Redemption Wasted
Blood Magic comes too Easy
Death stalks on Fox feet

Deathfrisbee2000

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