Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

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.

Comments

I don’t think I’m going to get used to the amount of death that happens around us.

Sanjuro and I were wrong about Kakita-dono committing seppuku, thank the Kami, but Toshiro’s other cousin, who had just lost his brother, was accidentally killed in a duel with Hida-san. There was nothing I could do for Itachi-san, but at least the Kami were merciful so he didn’t suffer long.

Several Samurai and peasants lost their lives when the Wakeru no Oni attacked during the Lantern Festival. We were able to stop it with only some injuries on our part. At least a stag and several smaller animals had been lost to the dark rift I found in the Unicorn’s hunting grounds. The rift I couldn’t figure out how to close, at least not on my own. I stopped the stag, barely, but it got a single glancing blow on me. I shouldn’t have gone out alone, but it hadn’t occurred to me until I had already left.

There were so many problems. The rift, whoever summoned the Oni, whoever sent the assassins against us (who may be the same as the summoner), our past lives, the fact that Hinata-chan was infatuated with Sanjuro and was being much too obvious about it, the deal with Sakura’s suitors, Toshiro having to find Hakura’s murderer, and the whisper that Sanjuro heard during his duel and I heard at the rift.

As much as it terrified me to do so, it was time to tell all of the other six about the Songs of Rokugan, all of my theories, and all of the implications they brought. We were all in this together and keeping secrets wasn’t going to help us. It was secrets that got the Songs in that mess to begin with.

I still couldn’t tell Toshiro what the water kami had shown me of Hakura’s murder. That was a secret, and not my secret, that I had to keep. We were going to pay for it later, I just knew it.

Session 6.5: Harem Time!
 

Poor Utaku-san…she is constantly bombarded by suitors. They are so eager to please her that I can’t help but wonder what these men are really like when they aren’t trying to impress anyone. As if she didn’t have enough to worry about with the tainted beings trying to kill her along with the rest of us (i.e. the Echoes). With her attention being distracted and the fact that I hate political functions, I decided I should watch her back in case more tainted beings try to attack. Even though she is (seemingly) constantly surrounded by her suitors, they too are distracted and are focused on wooing her, not on protecting her.

Akodo-san seems like a decent man as we were traveling together on horseback. Like a typical Lion, he seems to appreciate battle as much as I which is an admirable quality. But I am still suspicious that he is not all he pretends to be because most Lions are usually all talk. He gave Utaku-san a good courting gift however, a finely crafted bow which she seemed to like so much that she couldn’t resist trying it out.

As we returned, I was requested to meet with Utaku-san’s mother (Rumiko). Apparently she has misunderstood my actions of watching Utaku-san’s back that she thought I intended to be yet another suitor for her! Having no original intentions to woo Utaku-san, I did not wish to offend Utaku-san’s mother nor Utaku-san herself by strictly saying “no”. I also recalled Utaku-san stating she did not really wish to marry anyway so I tactfully allowed the Utaku family to decide for themselves if I am worthy by allowing Utaku-san to decide whether I would be her suitor or not. Thankfully, Utaku-san’s mother was not opposed nor offended by that idea; Utaku-san herself even surprised me by not flatly rejecting me either when I mentioned to her what her mother talked to me about. I guess I am now one of Utaku-san’s suitors. I must admit, I am not opposed to the idea. She is a lovely woman with a good personality and a good warrior; although the stipulation of the marriage would be me joining the clan (meaning I would no longer seek glory at the Wall), the Unicorns are a good clan that I probably wouldn’t strongly oppose to joining them. The question is how will the other suitors handle the news when they find out that I am now an opponent for her affections? Akodo-san is from an important family from the Lion clan and he has mentioned that this marriage will help his clan, so I am certain he will take his courting business to the next level, which in the world of the samurai is not pretty.

I managed to get to enjoy myself at the festival, I won a test-of-strength contest and awarded the prize to some children (that I would bet Kitsune-san would still accuse me of trying to “bully” them). However, the festival was interrupted by an Oni.

We did manage to defeat the Oni but then Kakida Itcahi started insulting my entire clan about not doing our jobs. Since this man did help heroically help us in combat against the Oni and the fact that he was Kakida Toshiro’s cousin, I kept my anger in check and formally challenged him to a duel. He wanted to start the duel right away but he was injured and to me there was no honor in fighting an injured opponent so the duel was agreed to on the following morning.

I heard some voices in my head during the duel about lending me strength to defeat my opponent however I refused because I wanted to defeat him with my own strength alone. There would be no honor if I accepted help. I managed to defeat him but I intended only to strike a blow that he would never forget, but instead…he fell. Perhaps my rage could no longer be contained in my one, quick action and it made me miscalculate my strike. I have no love for the Crane clan, however Kakida Itachi fought with honor and I respected that and I gave him a bow and departed to meditate on what has transpired.

I realized that Kakida Toshiro had lost two of his cousins and many villagers have died…Death seems to be stalking us.

Session 6.5: Harem Time!
 

From Hida’s recollections: “Death seems to be stalking us.”

M’yes. MUAHAHAHAHAHA!

Session 6.5: Harem Time!
 

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live”. My adoptive father and former master said that to me. Normally, I would agree with him. Honestly, it just doesn’t feel like that’s the way it is these days.

As I looked down at the body of the slain Kakita Itachi, I just couldn’t help but go back and analyze the duel in my head that just took place between him and Hida-san. Of course it is sad that Toshiro and Hinata lost another cousin, but as a man who does alot of iaijutsu duels, I feel almost obligated to go over what happened. I have no idea how many duels Kakita-san has been in, but it seems to me he might have been somewhat inexperienced (I could be wrong, but that is the feeling I got from his strike). Hida-san on the other hand, I know doesn’t do many of those at all. He’s more inclined to use his Tetsubo and turn his opponents head into mush. However, I have seen Hida-san in a iaijutsu duel were he didn’t kill his opponent, so I know he can do it. Unfortunatly this can be result of two people who are relatively inexperienced in iaijutsu duels. It might not be to the death, but it could still happen.

Then there is the little matter of Kakita Hinata, whom just got taken out of here screaming and crying after witnessing her cousins death. Poor girl, I wanted to go and comfort her, but I can’t. She has become infatuated with me, and I need to keep my distance from her. Young Hinata is getting ready to enter her gempukku ceremony, and is betrothed to Shinjo Hong of the Unicorn clan. Hinata does not want to marry this man. admittedly I don’t know much about him, but what I saw of him at the Court of Kimusu, he seems a bit oaffish.

Anyway, Hinata now seems to idolize me as some great swordsman. At one point I did try and raise her spirits by teaching her a few basic katas (if you want to know how well that went, refer to the gathering storms adventure blog post). Now thanks to that incident, and a few others, she has been aggressively pursuing me. The part of this that could potentially get me killed is when I went to the geisha house for a little r&r. After a conversation with Toshiro-san, I learned that my buddy Kuno had payed the house to give me a little extra “entertainment”. I might not me lecherous like Kuno, but dammit I’m a man and I like to have a little fun with the fairer sex. So the geishas that I was set up with and I did our thing, had a good time, and as they were leaving I noticed something. One of the geishas was Hinata! SHIT! By the time I could do anything about it she was gone. Damn.

I need to tell her that this has to stop. I just dont want to hurt her, she’s going through so much hardship as it is.

Then last night at the Festival, we were attacked. Some poor souls were killed by a creature. some kind of Oni. My friends and I were on the scene to destroy it. the problem was when we thought we killed it, it would just split into two, then when we thought we killed them, they split again. Lucky, we took care of it before it split too many times. Yet another attack. Yet more deaths. Things are getting more dangerous. Our unknown enemy is becoming more brash. we must be prepared.

Session 6.5: Harem Time!
 

Ah, but that was because the first duel was only to the first blood. There were no stipulations for this duel…as far as Hida was concerned, it could have been to the death…for him.

Session 6.5: Harem Time!
 

Lately, I’ve been having the inexplicable urge to smite Sanjuro.

There is little to no reason behind the feeling, unless some Kami is taunting me with something, and I see no reason to act upon it. Sanjuro is my friend, and I hope to continue matching blades with him for some time to come. Though if Hinata doesn’t stop pursuing him, I’ll be forced to deal with it. Personally, as I think my father would be less merciful.

And now I must write a letter to my Uncle, who has lost both of his sons within the space of a week. With my father’s permission, I will go to him personally with my condolences. I do not doubt that he will require the company of family to get him through these trying times.

I cannot blame Hida-san for what happened. Though I might wish either of them had accepted a more-skilled champion, what’s done is done. As long as Hida goes back to his Wall and never shows his face around me again, there might not even be any bloodshed.

Session 6.5: Harem Time!
Deathfrisbee2000

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