Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

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…


15 Rat 1122

Memories left here
Have been found and reclaimed now
Karmic Wheel broken

I never thought I would be jealous of Hida-san, but I am. Just a little.

He became bounded with the Pearl of Memories we recovered in Shinomen Mori, breaking his ties with the Karmic Wheel. In exchange, he can access all of the memories within the pearl, including all of Hirumo Do’s.

How much more useful would it be if I could access all of Utsukushi’s memories, especially since she lived for so much longer? I’m not even supposed to be in the Karmic Wheel! But Toshiro objected, even before Third-Eye pointed out that he wasn’t sure how bonding with the pearl would affect my little ones.

Ones. Plural. Twins, at the very least.

Oh Spirit, I miss my brother.

I thought this was just going to be a side trip to gather knowledge, but we also discovered a Spirit Scar and closed it while recovering the Pearl of Memories. I thoroughly destroyed the Gaki that had attached itself to Sakura’s shadow in the mountains. We reacquainted ourselves with the Naga and the Nezumi. The Nezumi shaman restored Hida’s true name, removing the Shadowlands taint from him and let my husband rename his sword; it had a new wielder and so a new purpose.

One of us had to bond with the Pearl, breaking our connection with the Karmic Wheel. Our lifespan wouldn’t be affected, but when we died, there would be no reincarnation or ancestors for us.

I was with children and Toshiro objected.
Sakura was too affected by the Lying Darkness, and it may destroy the memories within the Pearl.
I objected to Toshiro removing himself from the Wheel. It took some pleading, but he finally agreed to not bond with the pearl.

That left Sanjuro and Hida. It was decided that there would be three contests, and the winner would be the one to bond.

The test of speed was Iaijutsu, in which Hida was the victor.
The test of strength was Sumo, in which Sanjuro was the victor.
The test of wits was shogi, in which Hida was the victor.

Now Hida knows where each of the Scars are, and we can work on closing them. Our next stop is in the Scorpion lands.

By my count, we have about three months, four would be pushing it, to try and close as many of the seven known scars. At that point, either we’ll have to draft Keitaro and I’ll teach him how to close them, or we will have to take a few month break, at least.

The future ahead
What legacy will we leave
Our precious children?


The wheel of fate will always continue to turn, but no longer for me…

Even though it was a moment’s flash of a decision for me to join with the Pearl of Memories, I reflected very long at what the Naga said about joining with it. I would be broken from the Karmic wheel, never again to be reincarnated. The soul that dwells within this shell of flesh will be no more. However, my soul was already fragmented the moment Hanzo-san shattered my blade. I felt I had nothing to lose.

In my reflection, I began to wonder, “What is reincarnation anyway?” By belief, it is the rebirth of a soul in a new body. However one usually does not remember their past life or lives unless they are really unique, mystical, or just simply liars.

I am connected to— or was, Hiruma Do, yet I do not remember anything about being him. Although the Pearl does indeed connect me more to his memories, I never remembered anything prior. Although the essence of what I am are one in the same, I feel as if we are two different people (despite the argument that Hiruma Do and I are exactly the same); Hiruma Do is Hiruma Do and Hida Takeshi is Hida Takeshi. The sentience that gazes through my eyes do not recall gazing through Hiruma’s, it was as if he might as well be a stranger.

I guess what vexes me is the fact that oblivion will come for Hida Takeshi when I die regardless if I am in the Karmic Wheel or not. Assuming I was still tied to the Karmic Wheel, Hida would still cease to exist and my soul would not remember what I was as if Hida was an altogether different person as well.

As the wheel is broken, I simply hope that they no longer need the Echoes for any future generations…


I feel a vast, incalculable change approaching. Is it in me? Is it in the world?

Where this feeling comes from, I do not know. But it tells me that everything which has happened of late is but the ripples before a mighty wave.

My friend Hida-san sacrificed his place in the Kharmic Wheel for our quest… no future chance to join his ancestors, no opportunities to make up for the failures of this life, no future Song if we fail. So I now have another responsibility: to aid my friend in gaining the notice of the Kami, and help him carve out an honorable seat among his ancestors.

All of us volunteered, save for Sakura-chan. Each of us was willing to give everything up for the sake of the Empire. That Sakura was unable to, thanks to the foul presence she made a pact with, vexes me greatly. So I have another responsibility: to aid my friend in defeating the Thing’s tainted grip upon her soul, to help her free herself from its hold over her.

Sanjuro and I stood back as our friends charged ahead: Sakura sacrificing a piece of her soul to clear the path of foes, Yamako single-handedly closing a Scar, and Hida-san breaking his ties to reincarnation that we may find complete our Kharmic duty. I will admit to feeling… useless, even as my ‘death stroke’ was in the cave. But if my kharma is to stand behind the others and urge them on, then so be it.

Change is coming. And I must be prepared, and help the others prepare, even as my ties to the material world fail and vanish.


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