Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

Session 25: Overture

As the crowd gathers,
And the artisans warm up,
Echoes start to rise.

This session is ramping up the Echoes to face their foe for hopefully the last time. It also is me tilting the story just slightly to “fit” official cannon. Since the Fox Lord is different than the published storyline, I instead had Yamako’s father open the ancestral Fox blade and read the Black Scroll. The player LOVES me for this…

Kage has struck again. Visiting Yamako’s father in disguise, the undead sorcerer convinced the Fox Lord to open the newly recovered ancestral blade of the Fox, and read the Black Scroll of Fu Leng hidden within. Hoping to keep Yamako and her husband busy in the south while he moved his army of undead and Lost into the Burning Sands so he could consolidate his forces.

His plan succeeded and failed. He bought himself enough time to move his forces to the Burning Sands, yes. However, he was counting on Yamako and Toshiro to stay in the south. He thought they would continue to stay out of worldly politics as they had recently taken to doing. What he didn’t count on was Yamako’s temper. Enraged at the destruction to her family and lands, Yamako used her ability to walk the spirit realms to quickly gather up her friends, as well as an army of Mongoose samurai, to head into desert beyond Rokugan and put an end to Kage and Ineko.

The Echoes gathered at the border of Rokugan, and as they crossed over, all felt the change. Perhaps Akuma (once Hida) felt the change most of all. Once outside of the Empire, he felt his connection with Jigoku fade. It wasn’t gone completely, but many of his dark powers were inaccessible, and more human emotions crept back into his mind.

They traveled the sands until they came across a trading village, a small town that deals with the Unicorn on a regular basis.

The town was empty.

The place had been emptied of citizens, though the Echoes found tracks of hundreds of people heading deeper into the sands.

The only living person they found was a small, frightened boy named Razir. He told them that the undead came to his town, killed everyone, and a beautiful woman came and… brought them back.

So the Echoes, Razir in tow, look to the deep desert, to their destiny, to the end of their journey.


Autumn Leaves Falling
Fox Blade held hidden Darkness
Sickness sweeps the Land

Now is not the time to deal in what-ifs. Now is not the time to grieve.

My uncle. My father. My .. my elder brother. My cousin. One way or another, they are lost to me now. My ties to Ningen-do are being swiftly severed. Death. Kage. Kolat.

Mother is leading the Clan for the time being. She and Hina are watching over Toshiaki and Masuhiro, as well as Takuma, and keeping them safe. The Kitsune Spirits of Kitsune Mori, my other family, have agreed to watch over the Clan if trouble comes; the Forest will provide.

The plague is dealt with as best as I can right now. The plague that came from something in the hilt of the Kitsune Ancestral Sword that was gifted to my Father. Something that Akuma knows, but is unwilling or unable to share.

Now is not the time to lay blame.

Now is the time to track down Kage and Ineko. Track down whatever Tainted creature my Father has become. Now is the time to END them. If that means locking them in the Egg of Purgatory and protecting it for the rest of my days, so be it. If that means Akuma dragging them back to Jigoku, so be it. If that means the loss of the not-quite-thousand Samurai under Sanjuro’s command, as well as the rest of us…

So be it.

I was my Father’s heir and now that he’s gone …

Something to take care of if I survive this Hunt.

Youngest child is Heir
Torn between a Future Choice
Mortal or Spirit?

Session 25: Overture

“Do nothing which is of no use.” -Miyamoto Musashi

There is no use in blaming anyone… Hida’s choice, Sakura’s choices, Yamako’s choices, Sanjuro’s choices… my own choices. There is only what was done, and what has come of it.

But while there is no use in blaming… our choices make us who we are, and whom we will be.

Hida chose to take on the mantle of Hell’s Jailor, thinking he could beat back Jigoku’s influence. He sought to save our friend, and perhaps end his own friend’s torment.
Sakura chose to use the Lying Darkness as her ally, thinking she could contain its influence and prevent its takeover. She sought to enable our victory over Jigoku, at the peril of her own soul.
Yamako chose to open her mouth on several dangerous occasions: Ineko’s fall, Sanjuro’s rise… She sought to help in her own, skewed fashion.
I chose not to kill Kousei, or to assassinate Ineko in her garden. I chose Honor before family, friends, and opportunities.
Sanjuro chose to… the list is long, as it is for all who must lead. He has murdered, saved, sacrificed, stolen, fallen, risen, dishonored, ascended… He is my brother by marriage, my brother by arms, and my friend by nature. But…

There is a Scorpion parable: some animal agreeing to carry the scorpion across a stream, but only if the scorpion promises to not sting. Halfway across the stream, the scorpion breaks its promise, killing the creature carrying it. “It is my nature… and I can swim.”

I need to speak with my brother, but words will not be enough after all that has passed. So I must use the lessons I have learned from my own mistakes, my own choices, and let our swords tell of our character.

Session 25: Overture

As I have become mortal of sorts once again, the fog that seems to have clouded my mind when I am Hell’s Jailer lifts. This might be only temporary however since I am beyond Jigoku’s influence. Once I return, I will be the same as before. What happens if I die here? Will I die as a mortal man and join oblivion since my soul is still cut off from the Karmic Wheel? Or will I return to hell? I do not plan on dying here but death is always a possibility no matter how hard you try to avoid it.

Since the fog has lifted from my mind, it seems as if mundane matters are beginning to concern me again…those “mortal affairs” that has never bothered me since I became Hell’s Echo; such matters as this shifting of blame towards Sanjuro for allowing Ineko to live and then escape from his watch. As Akuma, I was merely annoyed by the shifting of responsibility rather than taking immediate action to stop the chaos that has been amassing. As Hida, I am upset. I am upset that these two have the nerve to shift blame on Sanjuro while they spent most of their days selfishly hiding in a forest trying to withdraw from the world! They could have easily joined Sanjuro from the beginning when he was ready to take action instead of dragging this situation out by hiding away from the worldly matters! Yamako seems so dead-set on leaving this world and taking her “possessions” with her. She may have grown in power, but weak as a person in my opinion.

But none of that matters now. We are here, now, in the Burning Sands and I believe everyone has accepted the fact that we are all, in a way, responsible for this crisis that has befallen us. However, I am uneasy about the tension in the group. When we were the Echoes before Toshiro and I “died”, we got along harmoniously, we sang as one; now, we sing out of tune.

If we cannot get over these petty problems, Ineko and Kage will see this weakness and exploit it. However, I do have faith that we can overcome anything, including each other’s differences (like we did before) and triumph over Kage and Ineko’s plans once and for all. Hopefully, assuming we all survive this, we will all be stronger in our hearts when we return.

Session 25: Overture

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