Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

Session 16: Oil and Water

For this session we were missing Sakura’s player. However, since she’s slowly falling to the Lying Darkness, it was a good chance for her to mysteriously disappear. When the player comes back, who knows if she’ll wake up to a scene of carnage that she created, or if she just had a bad dream… Also, we find out what happens when, with tempers flared and ideals tested, a man of extreme Honor like Toshiro butts heads with a strong-willed pirate who’s used to being in charge like his new uncle Kousei (Deceased). I also have to thank Kitsune Yamako’s player for creating such an awesome NPC for me to play with.

Honor. Ambition.
Two opposites. Like a flame
in Gaijin Pepper.

After their victorious defeat of the Tainted army that was about to sweep through Kousei’s island in the Isles of Spice and Silk, the Echoes celebrated late into the night in their own ways. Keen to return to the mainland to see their family and train (the PCs leveled), the magistrates had to cool their heels a while longer while Yamako’s ship was being repaired. Eventually, it was, and Kousei asked the group a favor before they left. He also told his niece (on the side) that it was a good chance for her to test her crew, and perhaps get some booty into their hands—a time-honored method for the Mantis to earn crew’s loyalty. The lord spoke of a pirate nearby, set up in a hidden cove, with spoils of war from Mantis and many other vessels.Unknown 1

It didn’t take long for the magistrates to agree. As they hit the open waters, Yamako revealed that the ship had gaijin weapons called, “cannon,” and she prepared them to be used against the pirate. Toshiro disapproved—after all, the use of gaijin weapons and the deadly “gaijin pepper” was strictly forbidden by the Emperor’s Decree—but he knew of his own clan’s Harriers, and their use of such items, so kept his mouth closed.

When they reached the island the battle was short and brutal. The pirate wasn’t expecting company and Yamako’s cannons easily dealt with most of the threats ashore.

Making landfall, the Echoes headed into the island’s interior, searching a large cave. What they found was a man sitting on a throne in a treasure room, with two guards and a large, pet tiger. The man was none-other than Master Coin, the person who had been contacting Sanjuro with targets who were threatening peasants or were the worst examples of samurai. When he saw them Master Coin sneered, commenting that Kousei was wanting in on his territory, revealing to the Echoes (sans Yamako) that the Mantis lord was also a pirate (and Toshiro quickly surmised if Kousei was a pirate, then so was Gayan, and that Gayan had been raiding Crane villages).

The fight was short and brutal, Hida Takeshi (MIA, presumed deceased) laying about with his tetsubo, smashing the Master’s guards. It ended with one of the Kolat masters dead at the party’s feet. When they returned, Kousei thanked them, and privately asked Yamako to return a specific piece of booty (a large crystal ball) to her brother in Fox lands. However, Toshiro, disgruntled that the magistrates had been used as pawns to simply make a pirate power grab, confronted Kousei, who repeatedly told him to leave, growing angrier when the Crane accused him of dishonor and piracy without proof. The Mantis lord was not without fault either, however, as his temper got the better of him and he resorted to base threats to attempt to get Toshiro to leave.

Eventually, a fight broke out. It was quick. It was painful. (Toshiro was THIS close to dying) Toshiro emerged victorious, having severed the Mantis Lord’s hand and almost killing him.

Needless to say, Toshiro is no longer welcome in Mantis lands.


Sensei once told me that to truly know a man, one must cross blades with him.

I now see this was the truth. I should not have doubted him.

Yamako once told me of her aunt’s death at the hands of a Lion lord. Because there were no credible, or high-ranking, witnesses, the lord was left unmolested by the law.

Kousei did not forget. He held his fury, his Regret, close to his heart, and gradually it tore away his Honor. He kept the hatred and let it draw him away from Bushido, his Duty to his Lord and Emperor, claiming to be doing what he did for his people.

The people would have been far better off with an honorable leader, who kept Bushido close and knew Compassion. Perhaps the sad tale of Jiu and his actions can be laid at the feet of the Honorless Kousei.

I challenged him to a duel, to prove his Honor and to make my point. The choice of weapons was his. Instead of dueling, choosing kama to put me at dishonorable disadvantage, he attacked me viciously, filled with wrath at my challenge.

I fought with Honor, keeping my Duty as a Magistrate foremost, acting with Sincerity and Honesty. And for my actions, I have been told to leave. To never return to that island.

Should I have clung to Wisdom? Should I have ignored the slight for the sake of political gain?

NO! I am no lord, to compromise my Path along Bushido for politics. I am the Song… the Echo of Honor. Kousei dishonored both of us with his actions, as well as the Emperor he FAILED to serve. And I answered his actions with a lesson… that I hope he will take to heart.

Session 16: Oil and Water

I knew that when I decided I wanted to be with Toshiro that there would be some friction between his Honor and my Family.

I never expected it to come to blows between my Husband and my Uncle.

I’m not sure who I’m more angry at; Kousei for his pride and temper, Toshiro for his honor and inability to leave things lie, or myself for not realizing that I should have never left those two alone before it came to violence.

I suppose my Husband and Uncle would not be the ones I Loved if they were not Honorable and Prideful respectively.

And if I knew my Uncle, Time would not assuage his anger on this matter.

I was displeased my Uncle treated us as one of his vassals at best, or children at worst, but such arguments should have been kept between us. Taking out one of the Kolat was something that had to be done, especially the one who had been manipulating Sanjuro, but my Uncle manipulated myself and the other Echoes into it. By his orders, he claimed at first.

I agreed to do it at his request. I was angry at him until he explained himself to me.

He has been given quite the task from Lord Yoritomo. Had I had time to tell my lord husband about it before the violence, perhaps it could have been prevented. As it is now, it will have to be one more Family secret I must keep from my beloved. As if I didn’t have enough of those already. Had I been there for their ‘talk’, maybe…

… I shouldn’t dwell on could-haves and what-ifs.

I have never been as scared as I was when I walked into that Dojo, blood of two men I love covering the walls. Not when I got lost in Kitsune Mori the first time. Not when I encountered Kurogama the first time in this life. Not when I walked out of the forest to find Isan’s pyre. Not when I presented myself, alone, to Lord Kakita Katashi. Not during the duel between Toshiro and Suzume-san. Not even when Toshiro and I almost died at Ineko’s hand.

That bloody dojo was going to haunt my dreams for some time.

And I can only assume that closing the Scar in Kitsune Mori and facing… and defeating .. one of my oldest friends will be all the worse.

Honor faces Pride
Neither one is the victor
Fox caught in between

Session 16: Oil and Water

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