Legend of the Five Rings: Echoes

Session 17: Shadows of Kitsune Mori

The Fox’s forest,
Touched by a darker power.
Now cleansed by Jade’s light.

This session was a big one. An obvious threat a player had known about was getting stronger, and she decided it was time to face it. A nice little mini-boss fight, if you will. The game started with everyone going home to their lands to train, and having a little mini-adventure of their own.

Sanjuro/Yamako/Toshiro: The other Unknown 1three Echoes returned to Crane lands, though not to train. They wished to visit Hinata, before continuing down to Fox lands so Yamako could train and they could meet up to face the tainted guardian of Kitsune Mori, the great bear spirit Kurogama. However, they ran into a few snags. First, they discovered that the tiny town of Kishi Mura had been slowly becoming more tainted, ever since the actions of the crazed Bloodspeaker from earlier in their adventures. Also, Hinata was once again targeted by assassins. Thankfully, Yamako was able to cure her, and the trio set out for Fox lands.

Sakura: Sakura returned to her unicorn lands to train. Her mother noticed something was wrong, and asked her daughter to see a priest. She mistook the subtle signs of the influence of the Lying Darkness for illness. When Sakura saw the priest, he knew something was amiss, and sensed great darkness within her, thinking it the Taint. Before he could run to tell anybody, Sakura killed him, and hid the body.

Takeshi: The Crab Echo went home a glorious hero. Not only had words of his Talisman of chikushudoexploits reached his clan, but he brought back with him three oni skulls, which he gifted to his family. In return, he was given an unbreakable katana of Kaiu steel.

Eventually, however, all the Echoes met up in Fox lands, and entered the forest to defeat it’s one time guardian.

The fight was brutal. Kurogama’s might was enhanced even further by the Taint of the Spirit Scar. They managed to defeat the beast, but at great cost. Toshiro lost his arm, swallowed by the bear in the skirmish.

When the final blow was struck, Kurogama’s will reasserted itself over the Taint, and with his last act he cleansed the forest of the taint from the Scar.

Comments

Oldest Friend now gone
Forest lies unprotected
But safe from Darkness

While I was training with my Sensei, the Forest kept calling out in pain to me. I was able to block it out while I was busy during the day but at night, it was near impossible. I had a lot of nightmares. A lot of old memories rose to the surface.

On the last night, before we journeyed into the forest, I remembered the first time I met Kurogama.

~

I was young, on my first tail still, and brash. Fearless. I had come across a group of hunters, Ronin I believe, and stalked them through the forest as they hunted. I had never seen humans before and I was fascinated. I got careless. I got sloppy.

One of them spotted me and if not for my quick reflexes, would have put an arrow in my side. As it was, it grazed my side, injuring me slightly. I fled. They followed.

I went deeper into the forest, deeper than I’d ever gone before on my own. Still the hunters tracked me.

When they cornered me, one of them noted my eyes—the bright green of Chikushudo. The one who struck at me said blasphemous things and took aim. There was a tense moment as we stared at each other; the hunter taking aim and me in my fox form, preparing to move as soon as I sensed he would let go.

A great roar reverberated through the forest just before a great black shape broke through the trees. The hunters save one all screamed and ran; Toshiro and Hida would say they had no honor. The one taking aim at me let his arrow fly and if not for a well-placed paw, it would have struck true.

It bounced off Kurogama’s paw just the same as the hunter’s skull bounced on the ground.

Damn Hunters.

~

Kurogama was my oldest and dearest friend. He was there for me when I decided to pose as human and became a Song. He was there for me when I was forced to return to Chikushudo, broken hearted, when I posed as human again much later, and all of the years in between.

He fought the darkness within him the best that he could but the pull of Jigoku was just too strong. The fight was quick, intense, and cost my husband his arm. I was having trouble calling the kami, so great was my hesitation in harming my friend.

~

I was going to have to talk to my Sensei about ways to protect my children from Jigoku and to stop Kage, Ineko and their lot from finding them. It was one thing for us to throw ourselves into danger; it was another for our enemies to use our children against us.

Future looking Bright
But shadowed by the Darkness
We must Light the Way

 

Karma. I accepted this Duty when I still had both arms and a father. Their loss will not affect my resolve. Merely my aim, for the time being.

I worry for Sanjuro. He must be wracked with guilt over… so many things now. Jiu, the Kolat, the number of times we have protected him to our own detriment…

Yamako… my wife… I will help you bear this burden, the onus of killing your oldest friend.

Sakura. The next time she gives in to the Darkness…

Courtesy. Sincerity. Compassion. Honesty. Courage. Duty. Honor. I walk this path as a Samurai should, without Regret, without personal Desire, and without Fearing what lies ahead.

Jibun ni totte hontō ni taisetsuna mono wa
tsurakute mo kanashikute mo
ganbatte ganbatte, tatoe inochi wo ushinau yō na koto ga attatte kono nihon no ryōude de mamoritōsunda!!
Soshitara, tatoe shundatte otoko ga ikita akashi wa soko ni nokoru, eien ni.

Deathfrisbee2000

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