Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

Session 7: Triumph

True heroes move mountains...

Wherever they tread,
the Echoes bring hope, fear, change.
Who knows what the future shall bring?

Session 7 was one of the most intense games I’ve ever run, much less played in. It began simply enough, but as the tension grew, characters really began to shine, until it ended in a choice that was at once both out of left field, and completely in character. In fact, it was so dramatic, I felt it appropriate to break the session haiku at the end. Enjoy.

The session started simply enough. Yamala gathered all the Echoes (minus Sanjuro Keitaro (Deceased) and Kuni Hachiro (Bound)) on a small hill overlooking the beautiful Unicorn prairies. There, she shared with them her thoughts on the Songs of Rokugan, and how they each were the reincarnation of one of the legendary magistrates from 300 years ago.

Her lecture was punctuated with a sudden appearance of The Gardener, a simple monk named Teien who had subtly aided and advised each Echo at some time in the past. He confirmed her suspicions, and helped each in the party connect with their previous incarnation in a simple spirit journey.
Eighth legion

Each awoke in the body of their Song. The ronin Sanjuro was now the beautiful Bayushi Ai, leader of the Songs. Kitsune Toshiro was now Akodo Mitsusho, Sanjuro Sakura became the powerful, one-eyed Moto Khan, Yamala became the fox-spirit Utsukushi, and Hida Takeshi (MIA, presumed deceased) didn’t change much—his Song, Hiruma Do looked and acted exactly like his reincarnation.

Together, the Songs discovered one of the Spirit Scars, and defeated a vicious shadow oni, and a powerful Maho-Tsukai. After the battle, they closed the Scar, and when the Echoes awoke, Yamala had the knowledge of how to close the rifts from Jigoku.

With the Scar taken care of, Toshiro returned to the town, having spotted his uncle’s entourage (as well as other Crane) arriving. Unfortunately, his uncle had already been given the news about both his sons, and was in no shape to receive visitors. Instead, Toshiro’s father Katashi told him to prepare for Sanjuro Hinata’s gempukku ceremony, which would be held the following day, so she could be married to Hong (Deceased) the day after.

It was obvious Hinata did not wish to marry the Unicorn samurai, Hong. She confessed this again to Toshiro, and fell into his arms crying. She expressed her desire to marry someone more honorable and heroic… someone like Sanjuro. At this point, Toshiro put two and two together, and figured out his sister had slept with his brother in arms. To avoid murdering his friend, Toshiro took a walk outside of the city.

Once he returned, calmer, he happened across his sister’s fiancé, bragging loudly in a sake house. Yamala convinced him to enter, and she began to subtly goad the large samurai into offering insult to the Crane and his friends and family.

Toshiro went quickly to his lord and father, Katashi, and requested permission to duel the insulting Shinjo Hong. He was refused and reprimanded. Katashi needed Hong’s horses in trade for Hinata to help him against the war he was sure was coming with the Lion clan.

Ok, people. This part coming up is what gave everyone the OMG moment.

However, after his daughter’s successful gempukku, he was in a slightly better (read: drunk) mood. This was when Katashi said something that clicked with Yamala and changed history. The Crane lord turned to Sanjuro, mentioning his wish that if only a skilled and honorable warrior like the ronin were with a clan, he would have other choices. A duelist who could defeat a Kenshinzen was worth more than several herds of horses.

Then the Fox opened her mouth. The words came out, suggesting that, hey, Sanjuro could become a Crane.

Katashi was taken aback by such an audacious request, but the more he mulled it over, the more he liked it. Sanjuro had proven himself a master of the blade, more so than many Crane. So he put the question to the ronin. Could Sanjuro put aside his freedom, his most valued asset, and join with the Crane to marry his daughter and serve under him?

The ronin agreed.
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The world froze for a beat, then resumed turning. Toshiro forgot himself and kissed Yamala in public, Sanjuro ran to tell Hinata, and even the stern Lord Katashi smiled. Then he turned to his son and asked him if someone had recently insulted his family. The young duelist smiled and sought out Hong. And readily defeated him. The unicorn was now short one eye.

The following day was a whirlwind. Sanjuro was rushed through a gempukku before a wedding that bound him to Toshiro as family.

Comments

Toshiro joked once that we should find a match for Sanjuro. I didn’t think it would actually happen.

One of my oldest friends has joined into the Kakita family and married Toshiro’s little sister Hinata, meaning there was no dishonor from the night they spent together (without his knowledge of her identity until afterwards), Hinata would not be miserable being married to a brutish oaf, and the Kakita family would not be miserable if Hinata decided to become a Ronin.

The idea came to me on a whim, spawned by an idle comment Kakita-dono said about if only Sanjuro was part of a clan. Somehow I managed to convince him to ask Sanjuro to join their family. I knew how much Sanjuro liked being a Ronin, but he still agreed.

Despite being happy for the couple, I also found myself resentful that their union was rushed while Toshiro’s and mine wasn’t even officially announced yet. Their marriage fixed a number of problems though, including Hinata not having to marry that oaf Shinjo Hong.

It was rather fun to bait the Unicorn, getting him to insult Hinata and Sakura within the same breath, and me not long after. After his betrothal to Hinata was called off, Kakita-dono gave Toshiro permission to defend our honor. I would have healed Shinjo after Toshiro defeated him in the iaijutsu duel (that Shinjo had no place participating in), but he insulted me.

I finally told Sakura, Hida, Sanjuro, and Toshiro about my theories of our past lives and Teian helped us remember parts of our past. Back then we were also in the Unicorn lands, tracking down a maho-tsukai who was trying to summon an oni from the spirit scar.

I wonder if the boundaries between the realms were weaker in those areas, making them easier to break through.

I enjoyed having a clear memory of my grandmother, though the vision—if I can call it that—raised more questions in my mind than it answered.

Through what we saw, I learned how to close the spirit scars made when spirits broke free of Jigoku. I wasn’t able to do it myself yet—I still had problems with Air Kami—but I would be able to soon. It did mean that I would have to spend some time away from Toshiro and my friends to visit home and my Sensei.

Perhaps I could also close the scar somewhere within Kitsune Mori while I was there. After that, I was going to find the Faceless Man so Toshiro could restore his honor. My happiness depended on it.

Session 7: Triumph
 

Kakita Sanjuro, I am never going to get used to that.

I am laying next to my new wife, Hinata. We are sharing a bed together after being married just hours ago. She is sleeping soundly, I on the other hand am staring into the darkness, sleep eludes me tonight. I didn’t join the Crane and get married because I wanted to, I did it because it would help people. I’m not in love with Hinata, I just didn’t want to see her miserable for the rest of her life, or run off and make her family suffer. I care very much for her, and I’m sure soon, I will love her as a husband is supposed to love his wife. seeing as we are married though, I won’t be unfaithful. No more going to geisha houses were I will probobly lose controle, no more finding a new women in every port.

It was clear Toshiro was ready to cut me down after he found out about what happened between Hinata and myself at the geisha house. I wasn’t about to run away, I would have let him destroy me, but he decided to stay calm and figure it out in a more civil maner. Yamala and Toshiro baited Shinjo Hong into bad mouthing not only Hinata, but Sakura as well. It was agreed Shinjo and Toshiro should duel. At first Kakita-dono didn’t want it to happen, he wanted the union between the Crane and the Unicorn for some horses. Apparently though, he would rather have one swordsman than all those horses. He accepted me into his family, and gave me Hinatas hand in marriage. After of course, some convincing from Yamala (thanks Yamala -chan).

I am now a member of the Crane clan sigh. My absolute freedom as a ronin is over. In the end though, I really have no one to blame but myself, I’m the one who said yes. While I may not entirely enjoy this, I will try and make the best of the situation. I know that there will come a day when Kakita Katashi will demand I do something I will not agree with, but I will deal with that on the day it happens.

Something interesting happened, we learned more about our past lifes. We were actually shown this other time through magic. I was apparently a Scorpion clan, wait for it, women. It seems we need to start learning how to defeat or enemys now, by seeing how we defeated them in our past lifes.

Our world is spinning out of control swiftly. I’m going to train Hinata in swordsmanship as often as I can. I’m thinking I might not be alive much longer. I want her to be able to defend herself in a moments notice.

Session 7: Triumph
 

Wakes up rubbing his throbbing head from too much sake Ugghhh…what a night…where the hell am I? Who the hell is this next to me?

Session 7: Triumph
 

I…

So much has happened.

My hatred for Hida Takeshi? Replaced by understanding and acceptance.
My unreasoning fury at Sanjuro? Explained, and forgotten.

My sister’s behavior is covered up by her outstanding gempukku performance and her honorable marriage. Through the machinations of Yamala-chan and the stouthearted resolve of Sanjuro-san, her marriage was annulled and the fool Shinjo Hong cast down. And now, Sanjuro is my brother in arms and by blood.

I do not Regret my actions. I do not Envy my brother. But I feel a new fire within me, driving me to train and succeed beyond my brother’s abilities. I will train, and we will be two matched blades, fighting for the honor of our Family and Clan.

I had not cared about my previous life in any fashion before I saw life through his eyes, and I still do not. He held a sacred duty: for this, I honor him. But this is my life, to live as I choose.

I am not an Echo of a greater Song. I am a new Verse.

Session 7: Triumph
 

Oh Overlord_Hupp, I shouldn’t give you an XP point for that, but I’m just too tickled by the previous session, and it fits so well.

Session 7: Triumph
 

So much has happened since returning home. Yamala-chan had come to gather us, which then we rode out to one of the hillsides that over look the city to discuss some important matters. One that we are the reincarnation of something much older. We are the Songs of Rokugan. That was when the mysterious Gardener found us and enlighten us a little more, with magic (drugs) that us Unicorn are use to he was able to show us the past. That was interesting, some of us looked about the same as back then, other wise Yamala-chan was more fox spirit like and very bouncy, Sanjuro was that of a beautiful women of the Scorpion, Toshiro-chan was of Lion clan, and I was that of the Moto family, big and burly and missing an eye. We had learned that five of us would die an honorable death, one would betray us and one would make a noble sacrifice.
After returning home and noticing a lot of Crane and beginning to wondering if I was still in Unicorn land I found my mother and asked of the new visitors that we was getting, she told me that Toshiro-chan’s sister Hinata-san was to speed up her gempukku and marry Hong. I would wish no lady to marry that bafoon, and glad mother is not pushing me so much to marry, though she tries. I did manage to make her satisfy her for a moment. To get my two suitor off me for a moment and it sort of works, I asked Takeshi-chan if he would be my suitor tell a make up my mind.

That evening we went to the sake bar to take a load off, only to discover that was a mistake. Hong was there already enjoying himself. Oh, what am I saying, HOW DARE THAT PIECE OF HORSE MANURE SAY THAT ABOUT HINATA-SAN AND MYSELF. Only if only no one was around I would have shown him is place. With Hong’s slip of the tong Takeshi-chan and Toshiro-chan was on their feet ready to confront him on his language and respect (challenge). We went to go ask Toshiro’s father, but he declined on the challenge, that of politics.

The next evening after Hinata-san’s gempukku, that was interesting. The five of us was out in the garden talking among ourselves, when Katashi-sama found us saying thing to Sanjuro that he was a very valuable samurai and that if only he was part of a clan, then he would allow Sanjuro and Hinata to marry. Then Yalama-chan more or less said that if that’s the case why not adopt him into your clan. With everyone at a loss for words Katashi-sama found himself again, and after agreeing to it, it was just down to Sanjuro would he give up his freedom, surpisingly he gave it up for Hinata-san.

No longer that of a sparrow who flies the wind from place to place, but that of a Crane to be seen in a cage

So Sanjuro in the morning had to take the gempukku test, granted he was a little rough on some of the test he did make it. Then we had their wedding shortly after. But now everyone is going their way for a few weeks, weather to train or to get resettled.

Session 7: Triumph
Deathfrisbee2000

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