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.
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.
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.