Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

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…

Comments

During my watch on our first night in Shinomen Mori was when I first felt movement from within. I had two thoughts almost simultaneous of each other:

I want to share this with Toshiro.

I wish Isan was here to share this with.

A year ago I was still a child, playing games with my twin, not thinking about the future too much, preparing for my gempukku. Now he is gone, I am married into the Crane Clan, I’ve changed my entire name, I have a Karmic Duty to fulfill and I am expecting a child of my own.

I wish my Twin was here to share this with me, to confide in.

It saddens me that Isan and Toshiro never got to meet, and that my husband knows very little about my twin. Whenever the subject comes up, it gets changed. He doesn’t want me to hurt; I’m not sure what to say.

At least we’re proceeding with our Karmic Duty. Sitting around doing nothing is frustrating. At least traveling and doing nothing has different scenery. While crossing the Spine of the World, Sakura noticed the remains of an old camp and four dead bodies. We tracked down a kwaku-shin-gaki to his lair on behests of a Yuki Onna .

Toshiro’s killing blow on the ghost snapped his sword, his Kakita blade. Since none of the men in our party would accept the Yuki Onna’s offer, she gave my husband a new blade forged from spiritual ice that will not melt.

We also learned from Sakura that she had accepted the whisper’s offer, this Lying Darkness, this Nothing. While she is now immune to the Taint of the Shadowlands, I worry about what effect the ‘Lying Darkness’ will have on my companion, especially since the Faceless Man was in league with it as well. It is troubling, but something we can get through. I’m just glad to know for sure now.

A secret destroyed the Songs; I was not going to let one destroy the Echoes.

I just prayed that the secrets I knew, the ones that didn’t pertain to the Echoes or our Karmic Duty, the ones that pertained to my family, I prayed that in keeping them, I wasn’t dooming us as well.

With the Fortunes’ favor, we would find the map here in Shinomen Mori, the one Utsukushi once held that should help us locate the other scars. The dreams I’ve been having about the ruins and the three eyes haven’t stopped yet, so I believe we’re going in the right direction. At least it’s a direction.

This forest reminds me too much of home and the fact that I know exactly where one scar is, but we’re not strong enough to take on Kuragama yet. I fear and grieve for my friend, for my home.

And I really, really miss my brother.

Session 12: Frozen Heart
 

As I sit and meditate over my new blade, I must balance recrimination against exoneration to discern a meaning for my future. I slip deeper into the Void.

On the side of Yin, I hear the voices of many elders and their ancient teachings. ‘A sword is a samurai’s soul.’ ‘The foremost duty is to those within our household, to the future of our family. ’At most, the Kakita Family produces only two such Blades each year. Bearing one is a great honor.’

‘I trust you to lead our family well when I am gone.’

I turn to the Yang, and hear voices full of hope and promise for the future. ‘The Sun’s tears fell to us, and are our greatest weapon against the Darkness.’ ‘You have much promise for whatever you set your hand to, child..’

‘To make the world safe for our children.’

The two meet, and merge: they are not opposites, but balances on the same scale. With the balance of Light and Dark, Yin and Yang, my eyes open.

My old blade is gone. One of the last connections to my life as Kakita Toshiro, child of Katashi. That piece of my soul is gone at last.

It makes me wonder at what the Kami may be planning. The only connections I have to the Kakita family are my mother and sisters, now. Sanjuro, my brother in arms and by marriage, chafes at the family’s restraints, and I think Hinata would follow him if he left… am I destined to leave, as well?

That lies in the future, though. And I will remain focused on the here and now, with my friends, my family, and my wife, all united in one Task. I will face whatever the future holds without fear. Without regret.

Session 12: Frozen Heart
 

It’s nice to on the road again and far away from the drama of politics. Though some of my companions are still carrying the burdens with them, I rarely have to deal with it myself other than hearing about it every now and then…a double-edged sword for me, but at least the honesty is working out for us now.

Sakura-san has opened up about being connected to the Lying Darkness, which could pose some problems in the future as long as she continues to permit it to corrupt her further but to an advantage, she cannot be tainted like I am. Despite the afflictions we are affected by, we have a lot in common. So when she opened up under the fear we may condemn her, or worse, the others accepted her (though she may be under their scrutinization now) while I said nothing but I did feel more akin to her than the others.

Kakida-san (Toshiro) lost his sword but immediately gets an enchanted one that he has now began to become bonded to whereas I am still without my soul. I could easily buy one forged by the Crane merchants…but it does not feel right to have a blade forged and be bound to it by anyone outside of my clan.

And it seems Yuki-Onna, a frozen spirit of sorts, has taken in interest in me. I feel as if no harm will come to me for we have rescued her and she is indebted, if I were to submit to her seductions. It was a very enticing offer but my companions and I were in a hurry to move on to her next mission. Still, I remember her last words to me…”Perhaps in the future…” Can a frozen spirit manage to find me?

Such thoughts must now be on hold as now we rely on Kakida Yamako-san to negotiate our way through lands held by suspicious nagas.

Session 12: Frozen Heart
Deathfrisbee2000

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