Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

Finale: Session 26: Souls of Rokugan

This was the campaign’s finale. I had a blast playing this game, and it spawned it’s own spinoff, where some of us are playing the offspring of our previous PCs, here.

An echoing song
A new morning brought by the
Souls of Rokugan

Now fully in the Burning Sands, the Echoes of Rokugan realized they must split up. A small group would go find Ineko, and with her, Kage’s heart. The rest would lead their small Mongoose to hold back Kage’s large force of undead and bloodspeakers. In the end it was decided that Yamako and her husband Toshiro, along with Takeshi would face off against Ineko. Sanjuro would lead his force against Kage’s, while Sakura lead her tiny cavalry against the horde’s flanks. Keitaro would take a handful of men and throw themselves against the undead army to give the Lord of the Mongoose time to set up his forces—it was a suicide mission and everyone knew it.

Before they could split, however, Teien, now realized as the Dragon of Thunder, walked into their midst. He revealed to them that they were no mere Echoes. They weren’t even the Songs of Rokugan. After all they had done, all they had sacrificed, they were indeed the Souls of Rokugan.

Their names and deeds would never be forgotten.

So the plan was inacted. The first group found Ineko’s camp, and while Takeshi bravely held off the squadron of undead left behind, Toshiro and Yamako managed to sneak up on Ineko, killing her before she realized they were there. Yamako immediately set to work disabling the many magical traps laid on the chest that contained the shriveled heart of their kharmic enemy.

Keitaro was slain, but his fire magics and the swords of his Mongoose fellows slowed the enemy advance, giving Sanjuro and Sakura the time they needed to prepare.

And then the battle was joined. It was brutal and bloody. Sakura was swarmed by undead, barely managing to escape. However, her first true love and horse, Tamaki, was not so fortunate.

The mongoose put up a brave fight, but were quickly being ground down. Not even a hundred remained when Sanjuro spotted Kage across the battlefield and shouted a challenge to him. The two fought, Kage’s wounds healing as soon as Sanjuro could inflict them. The battle was lost, Sanjuro would die and Rokugan would burn.

But then…

Back in the camp, Toshiro’s blade of crystalized ice, gifted to him by a spirit of winter, shattered as it pierced Kage’s shriveled heart. A soft breeze sighed out of the tent, traveling miles in moments, until it stirred through the battle, whipping around Kage. At once the undead sorcerer knew what had happened, and threw all he had at the simple ronin turned Lord, Soul of Duty. With a single stroke, Sanjuro struck his old friend’s head from his shoulder, and the undead army fell apart. The few bloodspeakers were easily handled by the surviving Mongoose.

However, as Kage’s soul was pulled from his body, Sanjuro knew that he could escape easily if something wasn’t done, and so threw himself at the dark, lethal energy. It killed his body, but his soul was now bound to Kage’s. The two appeared in Ineko’s tent, Yamako’s Egg of Purgatory beckoning the sorcerer to its trap. As it did, Sanjuro was able to appear and say his goodbyes.

Akuma, once Hida Takeshi, looked upon his friend’s soul and knew what he must do. He was already damned, already cut off from the Kharmic wheel. He would never get to Yomi, though Sanjuro still could. With what was left of his power, Takeshi swapped places with Sanjuro. Binding himself to Kage in the final moments as they were both pulled into the egg.

The Souls had done it, though at heavy cost. Sanjuro, Takeshi and Keitaro lay dead. Toshiro and Yamako knew they were soon going to leave behind the Empire to become spirits bound to Kitsune Mori. Sakura’s soul and body had been ravaged by the Lying Darkness and she would never be the same again. But, Rokugan was safe.

But the story isn’t over. It echoes forward into eternity.

Comments

To my dearest Hinata.

Soon we will be moving into battle, if the letter reaches you, then I have perished. I know that life hasn’t been easy since we gor married, and I with there was a way to make it up to you. all I have now is this letter.

Tell Yurika and Daichiko good bye for me, tell them their father loves them so very much. Raise them well, make sure they never stop learning.

I know you are a strong, independent women, but please promise me you will move on and find another. It’s not fair that you should live alone.

So long my love.

Your devoted husband, Sanjuro.

 

I let myself into my brother’s house. Hina and Takumi were staying at the castle; they hadn’t contracted the plague yet but it was better to be safe. The servants caring for my brother had already been exposed to the disease—no harm would come to them.

Kirin weakly smiled when he saw me. “Hi little sister.”

I kneeled next to him. “Hi Oneesan. How are you feeling?”

He coughed. The weakness in his body from saving his son had been exploited by the plague. It was advanced enough that if he didn’t get treatment soon, he wouldn’t last the night. “Pretty bad, but better now that you’re here.”

I slowly nodded, bringing forth the teapot I had brought along, pouring him a warm cup and passing it over. He sipped at it.

“Any sign of Father?”

I shook my head. “A few sightings but nothing recent. It’s looking like he’s gone.”

Kirin grew somber at that, still sipping the tea. “So you’ve taken over as Lord?”

“Until our unborn sibling is old enough to take over, yes. Mother and Toshiro will help me with the politics side of it since things tend to happen when I open my mouth.”

He laughed at that, then coughed and struggled to breathe for a moment. “You’ll do well I think. And how went your…” he paused to cough again, “.. adventures beyond the borders of the world?”

“Empire. Three of my Friends were killed, the fourth lost her animal companion, my husband’s second katana broke and I killed a pregnant bloodspeaker.”

He paused mid-drink at that. “I’m sorry little sister.”

“Don’t be. It was our Karmic Duty to stop Kage and we knew the risks. As for the bloodspeaker, the child growing beneath her heart would have been as tainted as she. It was kinder to allow it to be reincarnated and hopefully free of the Taint.”

Kirin weakly rolled his eyes at that. “Karmic Duty.” He spit. “You’re just a .. young woman.”

“I am also the reincarnation of our Grandmother, Kitsune Satumi. She wasn’t allowed to tell anyone her true name as a Kitsune Spirit, which is Utsukushi. I have her memories, all five hundred or so years of them. I will become a Spirit again very soon so I can protect Kitsune Mori.”

He looked at me like I was mad. “Horse shit Yamala. The Celestial Order doesn’t care about mortals. The Spirits don’t care either. Look what happened to Isan. Our Brother.”

“YamaKO, Oneesan. I know the Order cares – I’ve met Lady Shinjo personally. As for Isan’s death ….. he will likely be reincarnated, if he hasn’t already, and will live again.”

He broke into a coughing fit and I moved around to rub his back. “Uncle sai-“

“Uncle died a long time ago Oneesan. Did you know that before he confronted Sanjuro on that field, I tried to talk to him and he attacked me?”

“I didn’t know that, no.” Kirin looked at me with a piercing gaze before breaking into another coughing fit. “I’m not feeling any better Yamal..ko. I don’t think the tea is working.”

“That’s because it’s just tea.” I slid back to my original spot.

“Just tea? Just tea!? Why haven’t you healed me yet?”

“Why Oneesan, so you can become Master of Coin? So you and the Kolat can destroy Sanjuro’s Legacy?”

Kirin glared at me. “You confronted Uncle. That’s why he attacked you.”

“I did. I had hoped to talk some reason into him, but he died a long time ago.” I gathered my things and stood.

“You’re leaving? You’re not going to heal me? Your own brother? Your own family!?”

I looked down on him, the man I had respected and loved all of my life. “Oneesan, I love you. You are one of my closest friends. But it is my Duty to protect our clan, to protect my forest, to protect my children and my nephew. You are a member of a group that wants to destroy what I’ve sworn to protect.” I turned and walked to the doorway.

“You would condemn your own brother to death.”

I turned back. “Kirin, if you weren’t my brother, I would kill you. But you are my brother and I love you. I can’t accept your actions or what you’ve become. I can’t allow you to dishonor your Wife, Son, or Clan. I won’t kill you,” I turned away “but I don’t have to save you either.”

Kirin began swearing at me before devolving into a coughing fit, struggling for breath as the servants rushed to help him. I walked away, tears pouring down my face.

 
  • Hinata folds the letter sent to her from Sanjuro, and opens another. On the outside of this letter reads, " for Sanjuro Hinata’s eyes only."*

Hinata, there is something you must know.

I’m sure by now, you know of an organization called the Kolat, and I’m also sure you are aware of their ambitions. You have to be made aware that I have had dealings with them. I did things for them, assassinated people, made others look socially bad. However, I eventually decided I didn’t like their methods, and tried to cut ties.

The most recent attempts on my life, including the one in wich you were compelled into killing me, were the results of my defection. As was the duel with Kousei.

Now, this is another letter that you should have only received in the event of my death. If this is the case, the Kolat got what they wanted, my silence. However, they may not stop there, they may decide that they are not safe until all of the Mongoose clan is thoroughly crushed.

The Kolat have eyes and ears everywhere, so it would be wise to go back to the Crane with the children in the event you belive you may be in to much danger.

I don’t expect you to forgive me for my actions, all I want is for you to be aware of your surroundings, and be safe.

With love, Sanjuro.

 

I have done my duty. Twenty years of constant war and struggle, fighting to uphold Bushido and Honor as my home threatened to crumble around me.

Sakura-chan and my dear sister Hinata have kept the Mongoose strong, throughout war and this inexplicable famine. They have upheld their Duty, and brink Honor to the name of my brother and old friend. In the brief time after the Battle of Oblivion’s Gate where he was with us, he wept tears of joy to see them strong, and to hear of their deeds. The deeds of his family.

Hida left the Empire, searching for Ineko, convinced she still lived and could be saved. I do not know, but I feel his quest has yet borne some fruit.

Keitaro remains alive, spreading his wisdom within his clan. We send letters often, and it is mostly our influence that have kept the Phoenix and Crane at peace for these twenty-three years. And though he has no children, his legacy will live on in the entire Clan he fosters.

Kage is in Jigoku, and stripped of much of his power. I shall be watching for his return, from my place beside all good and honorable samurai.

For now, though, my service has ended. Emperor Toturi has dismissed me for the time being, and a new Emerald Champion has been selected. The Emperor claims my intent to become a spirit would create too great a conflict of interests, given the recent tensions with the Returned. I have served with Honor, and I welcome the time to spend with my family.

My children, Sanjuro’s children, my sisters, my father, Sakura-chan, my beloved wife… It will be good to spend time with them all.

Deathfrisbee2000

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