Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

Session 5: Echo Chamber

In which the Echoes bounce all over the damn place.

The Echoes fragment,
And spread across the Empire.
Truths learned, shared, and changed.

Session 5 was a long-awaited return. After a break of almost a month to do factors outside the group’s control, we finally gathered together (minus a player, but we were still going to play damnit!). It was mostly getting back into the swing of things, because we ended Session 4 with great momentum but now we had to regain it. And regain it we did!

Session 5 picked up the morning after the events of Blood in the Water. An emerald magistrate and friend to the Echoes, Kitsuki Hiro arrived, using his peculiar method of evidence-gathering. Yamala spoke to the kami of the area, Sanjuro (Deceased) questioned local peasants, and Toshiro offered what assistance he could. Sakura (whose player was absent) decided to travel north to answer her mother’s summons.
Goju house guard

Both Toshiro and Sanjuro discovered that a strange man in a brown kimono had entered town. They pressed the local peasants for more details, but every one told the two samurai that not a single detail of the man’s face could be clearly recalled. It was suspected that air kami had helped mask the man’s features.

Yamala, on the other hand, discovered more than she bargained for. Speaking with a water kami in a small basin in the dead lord‘s chambers, Yamala saw a vision of non other than her friend Sanjuro sneaking in and dealing the death blow to Toshiro’s late master.

Not willing to deal with the issue at the time, Yamala gathered her belongings and on the next morning fled through Chikushudo (the Spirit Realm of Animals) back to her family’s lands in the south.

Meanwhile, not knowing where their friend had gone (and Toshiro still unaware of Sanjuro’s role in the death of his lord), the two remaining Echoes headed north, where they knew Sakura to have gone. Along the way they found Sanjuro’s ronin pal, Kuno (Deceased).

Upon reaching the Unicorn lands, Toshiro found that his father was already there, with his younger sister, Hinata. The Crane Echo learned that his sister was to be married to the uncouth Unicorn who had plagued Sakura previously—Hong (Deceased). That wasn’t the most shocking news, however. Lord Katashi also insisted that Toshiro find his lord’s murderer himself, and bring him to justice by Winter Court or, to protect the family’s honor, perform the three cuts.

Meanwhile, in Fox lands, Yamala had told her family of what had befallen the foul Crane lord Hakura, and spoke to her father of an interest in marrying her friend, the Crane Echo Toshiro. While doubtful that he could sway the young man’s father, he wrote a letter, sending it north to the Unicorn lands where Yamala knew the man to be staying, She also convinced the young shugenja Keitaro to write a letter to his people, letting them know he was safe and had chosen to run away to see the world.

Within a week Yamala decided to return to her friends, again taking shortcuts through the Realm of Animals to speed her journey. Upon reaching Unicorn lands, she was shocked to discover that her father’s letter had beaten her there, and that Toshiro had somehow—against all odds—convincedImages his father to approve of the marriage. She also learned of Toshiro’s problem—bring in his lord’s killer (Sanjuro), or be forced into seppuku. She spoke with Sanjuro, who said he was attempting to find someone to take the fall.

The session ended with a play by the great Doji Hakai (MIA), who pulled members of the audience on stage (the Echoes) to perform an epic tale of the hero Sanji, who had protected a village of peasants—and his true love—from being terrorized by a vicious lord. The tale was oddly similar to the events of Blood Moon Rising.

Afterwards, Sanjuro learns an odd secret about his friend, Kuno.


Someone had to die. Only a death could pay for the ‘dishonor’ of Hakura’s murder.

Toshiro had to find the true killer and bring him to justice before Winter Court or else he would have to ‘greet the sun’. I wasn’t sure how he was going to do that since Sanjuro was the murderer. My Ronin friend was looking for a scapegoat, someone to take his blame, but that still meant someone had to die.

My happiness and a great deal of my future rested on this fact. Against all odds, Toshiro and I had managed to secure a betrothal proposal between the two of us, under the condition he find his former lord’s murderer and bring him to justice. If he didn’t, he would have to die.

My Love, that stubborn, honorable fool, I don’t think I could convince him to not commit ritualistic suicide and instead become a ronin. Join another clan. My father and uncle would both accept him in a heartbeat.

The issue with Hakura’s murder was not something I could directly deal with right now, not unless I wanted to condemn my friend to death. There was still time to find a solution. The Fortunes had been smiling favorably on me as of late; I had to have faith that they still would in the future. Perhaps I could even make amends to Hotei for whatever I did in the past to gain his ire.

Making amends with the Fortune of Happiness would be easy compared to impressing Toshiro’s father. I couldn’t be quite sure I had made a good impression but I got the feeling that he was a man not often lost for words. The story I had told about the time Kakita Akito got a lucky blow on Kuragama and the present Akito left with my grandmother had made quite the impact.

I was glad I had the forethought to reword the story to make Akito the hero. The version I learned as a child, the version I read in my grandmother’s… my journal, always made him out to be the villain.

Toshiro’s little sister Hinata, who will become my sister if all goes well, is due to be married off to that oaf, Shinjo Hong. Shinjo didn’t seem like a bad man, just lacking in manners. His betrothed should be someone with a stronger personality, someone who can keep him in line. From what I’ve seen, that isn’t Hinata-chan.

Perhaps I could talk to Sakura-chan’s mother, Utaku-domo, and see if Sakura has any brothers or cousins that would be a better match. Technically it isn’t my business to be involved with, but all of that honor and propriety gets in the way of getting things done. It is something I can help with, something I can do now.

I was also troubled by the darkness seeping into the world, if Teian was right, from a rift Isawa Kage caused when he escaped Jigoku. If I could find the rift I could seal it … somehow. Just how did one seal a rift in the spirit realms? How did one find a rift in the spirit realms to seal it? It was something I was going to have to figure out and soon.

I wonder if anyone could tell I was absolutely terrified of everything right now. I sincerely hope not. Despite my fear, there were things to be done. Some might call it courage; I called it keeping myself moving.

Session 5: Echo Chamber

I am definitely not cut out to be an actor. My first time on stage is going to be my last. I have much bigger things on my mind however.

A minor lord is dead, and I am his killer. Don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets about ending his life. Hakura was a tyrant, and the world is better off without him. My problem is my friend Kakita san has to find Hakuras murderer by winter court, or submit to hara-kiri. Knowing Kakita san, he will willingly do it, I wont let this happen. I am in the process of finding someone to take the fall for killing Hakura, but if one cannot be found, I will give myself up and face my own end.

Yamala-chan let me in on something else. We have bigger problems. Some kind of past evil is returning, and only me and some of my companions may be the only ones who can stop it. Apparently, in a past life we stopped it before.

Seems like things are only going to get worse for us. However, I will continue to do what I always try to do, do the right thing, even in the face of absolute destruction.

Session 5: Echo Chamber

By all my ancestors, by every Fortune, and by all the Stars, I will find the killer. And he shall face Justice.

There is no place for him to hide. If I must chase him from here to Jigoku’s gates, let him live in constant fear of my vengeance. I will be one step behind him, waiting.

For I will not let him deprive me of this unlooked-for hope, and a true chance at Love. The Fortunes favor the bold, and now I must step forward to accomplish this task.

And perhaps remind myself not to be so persuasive in the future. I had looked forward to being courted, to the delicate and careful maneuvers of a courtly love. Now, I rather feel as though I have been thrown over the back of a horse and traded over for a pretty story…

Session 5: Echo Chamber

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