Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

Session 14: The Session That Time Forgot

So this session was a month ago and I had forgot to throw it up. Basically, craziness happened and they closed the Spirit Scar in Scorpion lands!

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Session 13: Memories of Shinomen Mori
Memories unbound
An Echo finds the knowledge
But his thread is cut

Lucky number 13! This is an episode where I not once tried to screw over the players! As Yamako’s player put it, they “got shit done!” They all know have the tools they need to face demons (in the terms of appropriate magic items, or the ability to bypass Invulerability), as well as the knowledge to quickly find and close the remaining Spirit Scars. Hmmm. I should probably figure out where the other 7 of those are…

The session opened on the players following the Naga they knew as Third Eye into a small community. Their, they discovered that the Naga’s pearl that contained a portion of the Akasha (Naga’s ancestral and shared memory) pertaining to the Echoes had been stolen by a tribe of Nezumi (rat-men).

Tracking the ratlings down was not difficult, and after some quick talking, the group realized that the Nezumi were just as dependent on the memories held within the pearl. Without any memories, the ratlings would quickly become easy prey for the Naga and other beasts of the forest. As the group learned, the Nezumi had horribly short memories, lumping all their past into a single Yesterday, and all the future into Tomorrow.

The single Rememberer of the village told the group that a human had stolen his other memory sticks Yesterday (how many yesterdays was a chore to figure out, which Yamako quickly learned), and that he would give them the pearl, if they retrieved the sticks for him, which they agreed to.

Several more days of travel through the dark, frozen Shinomen Mori found the Echoes outside a large camp of bandits and ronin (around 700 worth). Though an obvious threat, it was not their intent, and so the group ignored the army, and snuck their way (with the help of some local Earth kami) into a cave where they found the memory sticks, as well as a Tainted bushi who was more monster than man who was feeding on the Taint coming through a Spirit Scar.

After a fierce battle in which Toshiro almost lost his life, the group managed to defeat their foe, grab the sticks and head back. From there they got their pearl and returned to the naga, who told them that one among their number could use the pearl to merge with the Akasha and have access to the memories stored within (those that pertained to their particular Song, that is). The problem was, that whoever was to merge with the Akasha would sever his or her tie to the Kharmic Wheel, never to pass on to the Realm of Ancestors, or indeed reincarnate. After this life was up, they would be apart of the Akasha instead (Third Eye didn’t mention that last bit).’

After much debate, Takeshi finally merged with the pearl, placing it above his chest where it sunk into his flesh. Immediately afterwards, he knew what Hiruma Do remembered, and told the group that the nearest Spirit Scar was in Scorpion Lands…

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Session 12: Frozen Heart
Enchanted crystal
Sharpened blade of frozen death
Tool against shadow

Gaki of desire
12 was a short session, and not a lot happened. Mostly the party travelled to Shinomen Mori, to find a map that could accurately guide them to the other Spirit Scars. Along the way they had a “random” encounter that—in the long run—will aid the party. There are now 3 nemuranai in the PC’s hands…

The session opened on a bored-looking Sanjuro, overlooking his wife, Lady Hinata, daimyo in the Crane, while she dealt with lesser lords and their squabbles. On her other side sat her brother; both men advised her. Though she desired their help, she did not wish to keep them from their duty, and soon released them on their way.

They travelled south, through the mountains. They were to cut down through Scorpion lands and into Shinomen Mori, the Empire’s largest, least explored forest. However, near the peaks the ran into issues. They found the remains of a ravaged campsite, and evidence that it was the party of a samurai merchant patron who had hoarded his food away from the others for only himself. When he finally succumbed to starvation and cold, he became a special type of undead, a hungry spirit that was partially a boiling hot cauldron. He, and the two spirits of the others that perished, Forest of shinomen 1found a Yuki-Onna and began to feed on her. Thankfully, the Echoes were there and helped rescue her. To show her thanks, she gave Toshiro an enchanted blade of ice, the nemuranai Frozen Heart (Broken).

After the battle, they continued their journey, passing quickly through Scorpion lands until they reached the massive, dark forest in which lay their prize. As they travelled through, however, they were beset by snake men. Before chaos could break loose, however, Yamako told the naga she wished to speak with them, and as she did, the naga’s leader slithered forth. She recognized the three-eyed face from her dream…

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Chapter 2: Winter Court (Session 11)
Cold and soft it falls,
A new season has arrived.
Fresh blood on the snow.

This was the first session of the second arc of our Echoes campaign. I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked, but judging from the players, it was a success. The actual group events were small, and I’ll only focus on those in the post. If players want to mention dreams or side conversations with NPCs, they can put it in their comment.

The session was the character’s first glimpse at a Winter Court. To make it easier, it was the Court of Toshiro’s father, Lord Katashi, so at least they were in friendly territory. Katashi had asked them to speak up the Crane to the visiting Imperials. He asked this because the Lion were there as well, and the discussion was War. Both sides were accusing the other of aggression.

Once court cordially started, all were asked to participate in a contest of artistry—poetry and storytelling to be precise. As well as everyone did, the people were mildly shocked that the Crab, Hida Takeshi’s, poem didn’t suck.

After that, the parties broke off to discuss treaties and point fingers. Hida Takeshi, fed up with politicking, took a walk, where he noticed masked men infiltrating the party. He immediately rushed back in to warn the others. While the rest of the Echoes kept up the appearance of normalcy, Hida rounded up the servants and Sanjuro rushed off to check on his wife.

Unfortunately, when he found his home, his wife had been poisoned by an assassin. But before he could cry for help…

Having rounded up the servants, Hida quickly found those who had infiltrated the party, posing as the servants. Before anyone could react, however, they revealed that they were packing their pockets with gaijin pepper…

…and blew up the party.

Sanjuro’s cry for help was drown out by the blast that rocked the whole city. Inside the remains of Katashi’s estates, a thin, tall man approached Yamako. He smiled, and told her this was a message from Isawa Kage. However, this was no man, but a Pekkle no Oni, who exploded, spreading Taint throughout the area. Hida Takeshi himself took the brunt of Jigoku’s darkness, though no one escaped unscathed.

However, Yamako, who had to choose which of her two fathers she could save, found a rage building within her. Isawa Kage had been a thorn in their side for too long, and she knew—since both Isawa Keitaro and Kuni Hachiro were here, that Isawa Kage was somewhere among them. She gathered all the Echoes together (including the Phoenix and Kuni), and took them to a secluded forest, where she summoned Kanshu, the jailer of Hell they had met in the previous session. With her own abilities, as well as those of the Dark Hunter, it was revealed that Kuni Hachiro was Isawa Kage, and after a brief battle, Hachiro escaped.

Though surrounded by grief and death, the Echoes now knew the true identity of their ancient enemy, and the hunt could start in earnest.

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Session 10: Destiny
The Songs' Return
A test completed.
A secret shared. The truth told.
The Songs now reforged.

This was the conclusion of the first chapter of the campaign. The goal was to bring the Echoes together, rediscover their past lives, and take on their kharmic duty—also, introduce some bad ass villians. Mission accomplished.

The session started with the arrival of the Emerald Champion—the leader of the Imperial Legion, and head of the Emerald Magistrates, the highest ranking “police” of the Empire. As Sanjuro and Toshiro completed the quest put forth by Katashi in Conflict of Interests, the Crane Lord was willing to let them have the freedom to undergo their kharmic duty. However, they had to pass a trial. The Emerald Champion asked them to find one of these Spirit Scars they spoke of, and bring him proof.

They decided to go after the closest Scar, in Crane lands. But before they could, Sanjuro and Yamako had to speak with Toshiro about the truth of his previous Lord’s murder. He took the news… stoically. Though he alluded to dealing with the issue when their duty as the Echoes was dealt with.

With the air cleared, they traveled to an important Doji city, home of Doji Ineko, the foolish girl who almost got Toshiro killed with her inappropriate behavior at the Court of Kimusu in the Fragile Peace session. Yamako and the other Echoes already had reason to suspect Ineko of blood-sorcery, but, as deputies of the Emerald Magistrates they had no power to accuse a powerful lord’s daughter.

So, they followed protocol. They searched through the town, finding little to no clues the first day. As night fell, they were all invited to dinner and a tea-ceremony performed by Ineko herself, though both Sanjuro and Takeshi found reasons to politely refuse.

It was fortunate for them, as Ineko was indeed a blood-sorcerer, and without their knowledge, she slipped several drops of her blood into the tea. This would come back to haunt them later that night.

Even though they found no clues, Fate appeared to be smiling on them, because Yamako was awoken for no reason, but saw a dark, flitting shadow in the garden out her window. The Echoes followed it through a hedge into a small secret garden. Here, they encountered Ineko and her two handmaidens—who were actually lesser bog hags. She snuck in the first attack, almost petrifying Toshiro in the first moments of battle. However, after almost losing both Yamako and Toshiro, the Echoes were victorious.

Their trial complete, they traveled to Otason Uchi, where Emperor Hantei XXXVIII himself swore them in as Emerald Magistrates. They were now truly the Echoes, in name and deed. Again, Sanjuro found himself in an unlikely position as he was appointed head of the band.

Now they have kharma and society on their side in the battle against the darkness. One fact still alludes them, however…

Which of them is Isawa Kage?

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Session 9: Conflict of Interests
Evil grows nearer
But which is more important
Honor or Empire?

I apologize to Hida-san’s player. I was fumbling with my smartphone and accidentally deleted his masterful comment below. That being said, this session was a bit more relaxed on the player vs. player intrigue—a bit. I’ve seen a few players have been overloaded with all the drama (completely my fault), so I’m working them towards some fun hack’n’slash of the Spirit Scars and their tainted guardians. But first, they had one dilemma to overcome…

We started the session out with dreams. Everyone had their own, and if they wish to share, it can be in their comments. However, all their individual dreams melded together into one massive shared nightmare. They stood in the center of the Empire, able to see into all corners, watching while the Spirit Scars bled their taint into the world. They caught glimpses of the twisted guardians standing sentinel over each rift of darkness. And they were forced to watch, helpless, as one of their own friends, though they knew not which, freed another dark soul from Jigoku, causing another Scar to appear.
Takaharu
When they awoke, Sanjuro was surprised to see a man wrapped in black leaping down from the ceiling, knife slashing for the Crane’s throat. After a brief skirmish, which Sanjuro’s wife ended with a thrust of her spear, everything calmed down—until the morning.

First, the Echoes spoke with Teien about their dreams, and Yamako even studied maps and histories of the places she had seen—and discovered that a nearby Spirit Scar was located in Crane lands. They agreed they needed to leave, and quickly, to deal with this menace.

But then, they were summoned by Lord Katashi, who told them that he had tasks for them. His son Toshiro was told he would be leading men into battle, and was to head away to train with the military. Sanjuro was told to head the opposite direction to train with the Crane’s elite scouts. Takeshi and Sakura were both permitted to stay in the Crane city as long as they wished, as honored guests.

Yamako tried to convince the Daimyo that they had a kharmic duty, as the Songs reborn, to stop this evil, but Katashi only thought they were children’s stories. Besides, he said, they were all needed to help strengthen the Crane in the inevitable war with the Lion that was on the horizon. Even the great Hida Takeshi tried to convince the lord, but Katashi only scoffed. Something within the Crab snapped, and he threw the Crane lord to the ground. Others came running, and Takeshi fought against them like a mad man. Eventually he was disarmed, literally, by his friend Toshiro, who removed the Crab’s hand from his wrist. Thankfully, Yamako was there and was able to convince the kami to reattach the limb to the now unconscious warrior. But not before she discovered a secret about Takeshi’s new tetsubo.

It was cursed. Kukanchi no kansen

The heroes had retrieved the artifact after a dark ritual had been placed on it (by none other than the reincarnation of Isawa Kage). A kansen—a twisted spirit of the Shadowlands—had been bound to the weapon, and though Yamako was able to bind it so it would not influence Takeshi any further, she was not able to rid the weapon of its Taint. The little monk known as The Gardener, had ideas, however. He knew of a prayer to force the kensen out of the tetsubo, where Takeshi could physically duel the creature itself.

So a small arena was set up, with Yamako herself taking precautions to keep the kansen from escaping, and Takeshi was released from custody to fight the being.

The fight was deadly. The fight was short.

After receiving numerous injuries himself, the Crab was at last victorious. But unfortunately, though he forgave the Echo for shoving him, Lord Katashi still did not believe the “nonsense” of the Spirit Scars. But he did have respect for these people, and offered them a chance. He admitted that if he had the resources of a small town on the Crane/Lion border, he would not need Sanjuro and Toshiro to lead his men. So, a small group was sent to deal with the issue.

Before that could happen, however, the group noted the absence of Sakura, who had taken a ride on Tamoki without telling the others. While she was out, she was accosted by three maho-tsukai, who were young Crane ladies. Though she eventually was freed, Sakura learned that they all served a “mistress” who was after Yamako for an unknown reason. But, the group was at last ready to deal with the Lion/Crane village.

Unfortunately, though not present themselves, the Lion had hired a small mercenary force of ronin to protect the village. These ronin were led by Sanjuro’s father, Tatsuya. Love stayed Sanjuro’s blade, and he instead showed himself. He admitted to Tatsuya the reason he was there, and brought the ronin out to speak with Toshiro.

A deal was struck. Now they had only to wait on the response from Kakita Katashi…

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Session 8: Truth and Lies
...and another damn wedding!
With Honor restored,
two Echoes find Happiness.
But lies stain the love.

Session 8 had a few minor moments of importance, and one explosive big one. A player has dodged a big bullet… for now.

The Session started with everyone off training and dealing with down time .

While in Crab lands, Hida Takeshi (MIA, presumed deceased) was approached by none other than the Crab Champion, Hida Kisada, the Bear. The Lord of the Crab told Takeshi that he had heard of his situation, and that he was the reincarnation of one of the Lord’s personal heroes, the Song Hiruma Do. From the Bear, Takeshi learned of the location of his previous incarnations personal weapon, a powerful nemuranai Hida’s Judgment. He immediately sent letters to his allies.Heavenly tetsubo of the crab

So, he led the Songs into the Shadowlands themselves, to the remains of Hiruma Kyuden, the lost fortress of the Hiruma family. Within the tombs, where the weapon was stowed, they ran across the shadow demon known as Kage-no-Oni battling The Faceless Man (Deceased?). The room looked like a Maho ritual had just taken place.

Without hesitation, Toshiro cut the Faceless Man—wrestling with the shadow demon—down. As he died, the servant of the Nothing showed Toshiro the true face of his lord’s killer—Sanjuro’s, adding that Yamala had known as well.

Unfortunately, he could not turn and face his friends just yet, as they had a demon to defeat. The problem was, the creature was not hurt by mundane weapons. Yamala’s spells still worked, and for some strange reason Sanjuro’s blade damaged the creature, but nothing else worked.

Leaping across the battle, Takeshi snatched up the tetsubo of his ancestor, and golden light exploded through the room. With Yamala’s spells, Sanjuro’s blade and Takeshi’s tetsubo, the demon was quickly defeated.

Toshiro was oddly quiet the entire trip back to the Empire, but once clear of the Shadowlands rounded on Sanjuro and Yamala and demanded the truth. Both lied (or omitted truths), causing conflict within the Crane samurai. One one hand, he trusted his friends implicitly; on the other, the Faceless Man’s words rung with truth.

Eventually, however, the group made it back to Crane lands, to present Lord Katashi with the Faceless Man’s head clearing—in Katashi and his son’s minds—Toshiro’s Honor. In a few weeks time a wedding was held, officially binding the Fox and Crane Clan’s.

Yamala is Yamala no longer. Now she is Kakita Yamako, leaving behind a piece of her Fox, and Mantis connections both, behind.

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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.

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Session 6.5: Harem Time!
In which Sakura can't figure out what to wear...
Cherry blossom clings
Tightly to the tiny branch,
Afraid of the fall.

Session 6.5 was hastily thrown together on a night we don’t typically play L5R. As such, it was kind of rambly, and I feel I handled a few things a bit sloppily. We’ve focused so much on weird little political things lately, that I HOPE the next session is some good ol’ down and dirty monster slaying.

We started off immediately where Session 6 left off. The Echoes walked in on Kitsune Toshiro and his father preparing for what they thought was the Crane Lord’s seppuku. Instead they discovered Toshiro’s cousin Kakita Noboru (Deceased) had been killed in a scouting mission. After the funeral, the Echoes went their separate ways.

Hida Takeshi (MIA, presumed deceased) chaperoned Sakura and her Lion suitor, Akodo Honzo, on their ride through the prairie. The Lion seemed to make a better impression on the battle-hardened Crab than the woman he was hoping to woo. However, she appreciated his gift, a masterfully crafted hunting bow, which she immediately used to bring down a stag for the evening dinner.

Toshiro pulled Sanjuro (Deceased) aside to speak with him about his little sister Hinata, who has taken to hero worship of the ronin. Sanjuro is all she dreams to, a strong, compassionate warrior free to make his own choices. The fact that the ronin defeated her father in an iaijutsu duel hasn’t helped her infatuation. Afterwards, Sanjuro enjoyed the company of a geisha, who—unknownst to him—was actually Hinata in disguise.

Yamala spent the morning praying at an altar to Hotei, the Fortune of Happiness, who seems to forsake her at every turn. It was here that Toshiro found her, and the two took a pleasant horse ride to discuss their upcoming engagement. On the trip, the Fox shugenja saw signs of a spirit scar.

During the rest of the day, Sakura-chan found herself beset by suitors, each asking her what kimono she would wear to the upcoming lantern festival, so they could match her.

The next morning, while everyone got ready for the festival, Yamala snuck off (surprise!) to deal with the spiritual wound in the world. She was forced to slay a tainted stag, and found that she could not close the scar on her own, so returned to her fellow Echoes.

Everyone enjoyed the festival, with Sanjuro and Hida winning prizes for nearby children and Toshiro winning a beautiful Unicorn quiver in an archery competition. As the sun set, however, screams ruined the festivities.

An oni had attacked.

The Echoes leapt to everyone’s defense, and quickly struck down the demon.

It split into two smaller demons.

And so the battle raged, until the oni’s spawn, the size of a small children, could no longer split. A few heated words from a Crane samurai, Noboru’s brother Kakita Itachi (Deceased), and another duel was to take place. Unfortunately, the Crane was still injured from the fight, and fell to Hida’s blade. Toshiro had lost both his cousins in the same week.

This concluded the session, which, like I said was pretty rambly. However, the group now gets to figure out who summoned the oni, how to heal the spirit scar, and not forget that one of their number has to find a murderer or kill himself.

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Session 6: Gathering Storms
Darkness gathers, and Honor pulls the Echoes in a hundred different directions...
As the storm gathers,
Honor shackles the Echoes.
Their foe, not so bound.

This session picked up with a little backtracking, getting Sanjuro Sakura‘s player caught up on what happened last week, and passing Sakura’s mysterious “Cold of Absence,” which kept her out of last session, to Kitsune Toshiro (his player was out and about). This episode also saw the return of Hida Takeshi (MIA, presumed deceased), whose player’s work shift has allowed him to return to us!

Gathering Storms started with Sakura’s mother, Utaku Rumiko asking her about her various suitors. Rumiko is a proud, strong woman, who is not about to force marriage upon her only daughter, but did express the values of the various political connections that could be forged with such connections. Sakura let her mother know she did not feel ready for marriage.

Hida Takeshi also returned, with the magistrate Kuni Hachiro (Bound), who spoke with Kitsune Yamako about their possible kharmic connection. The Fox shugenja explained her theory about the The Songs of Rokugan and The Echoes, with which Kuni agreed.

While working in the stables, Sanjuro (Deceased) and Sakura were approached by several of the young Unicorn’s suitors, including Gayan, and a young Lion samurai.

After small pleasantries, Sanjuro decided to seek out Toshiro’s younger sister, Hinata. Her recent engagement to the lout Hong (Deceased) could not be easy for her, the ronin figured, and wanted to help her relieve stress with some practice dueling. However, it did not go well for the Echo, when the young Crane’s father, Kakita Katashi, arrived, and berated the man for teaching a lady how to fight. The ronin couldn’t help but open his mouth, and soon found himself challenged to a duel with one of the few legendary Kenshinzen.

The duel drew a large crowd as everyone came expecting to see a master duelist (the Kakita Lord) in action. To everyone’s surprise (including the group’s… damned dice) Sanjuro, a ronin, Shosuro hirobumi in a dueldefeated the master duelist, a sliver of red appearing on the Kakita’ Lord, his own blade stopping millimeters from Sanjuro’s throat when he was beaten. Katashi turned and stalked back to his estates in disgrace.

The rest of the Echoes (minus the ill Toshiro), went to the local sake-house to celebrate Sanjuro’s unlikely victory. Sanjuro’s ronin friend, Kuno (Deceased) was oddly quiet, and when confronted, he said he was just remembering family. In the morning, the ronin had departed Unicorn lands.

After the sake-house, the Echoes staggered back to their guest rooms, though Sakura was interrupted by her cousin Ide Ruko, who told her of a possible revolt building against her mother’s lord. He offered her a solution, and then bid her good night.

Unfortunately, the Echoes weren’t allowed to sleep off their drink. They were assaulted by a group of tainted assassins, similar to the one faced on the Mantis isles weeks before. After the shadowlands threat was dealt with, the group was finally able to rest. But it was short lived.

In the morning, they were all invited to the small Crane guest estates. Upon arrival, they saw Lord Katashi dressed in funeral garb, with his son, Toshiro, behind him. They had arrived to witness the Crane’s seppuku…

And we ended it here. We needed Toshiro’s player here for what was about to happen, but I feel it was a good cliff-hanger.

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