This is a very unfiltered post to catch us back up on the game as it has unfolded. You will note that I have not colored this with decoration. I’m just trying to get things out in the open for the players so that we might be able to gather our wits about us when next we play:
“The primary goal of an Emerald Magistrate is to maintain civic order. In many ways, a reliable criminal is preferable to an unpredictable ‘hero.’” – Daidoji Yayoi, Emerald Champion to Hantei XI
The World At Large
- Yoritomo Aramasu’s betrayal – while within the confines of the Imperial Palace, the Mantis Clan Champion, former Scorpion and child of Bayushi Aramoro, Yoritomo Aramasu, is assassinated. It is widely believed in Scorpion circles that Bayushi Kamnan performed the deed. It is also believed by those in the know that Yoritomo Kitao, the new Mantis Champion, was culpable in the killing. The Emperor, for his part, does not seem to mind that one of his most highly placed servants was slain right beneath his nose.
- The Famine – takes hold across the Empire, but most noticably in the major cities (like Ryoko Owari Toshi). The higher ranks of nobility are not untouched by the pain of the common class. As the peasants starve and the eta scrounge for food, the economy of the Empire is upset, turning on its head. The fledgling wars, the stifled fields, all combine to create an environment of extreme want. Koku prices soar through the roof and even the most meager of new kimono costs before what it would take to feed an army.
- The Water Fever – along with the plague, the Water Fever, a disease most commonly associated with overpopulation and poor hygiene, has resurfaced. Within the walls of Ryoko Owari Toshi, only the most crowded of areas suffers, but they suffer mightily. Fully 30% of the city is ill or dead because of the disease.
- The Yasuki War engages, full swing. Kakita Noritoshi, the Kakita Dueling Academy Master and head of the Kakita family, kills Hida O-Ushi in the first major battle, but not before O-Ushi is able to find Daidoji Uji upon the battlefield and take his head.
- The Wrath of the Kami (Volcano) – has heightened tension between the Lion, Dragon, and Phoenix to such a degree that the Emperor sent forth Shiba Aikune and the Last Wish to deal with the situation. Aikune wipes out an entire Dragon Legion with the power of the Wish and then disappears, guilt-ridden.
- The People’s Legion – The Emperor tires of hearing of Peasant Revolts and sends out his Shogun, Hida Tsuneo, the Stone Crab, to deal with the situation. Tsuneo begins a Sherman’s March to the Sea eradicating all remnants of the peasantry associated with the Legion. In response, a major riot erupts within the walls of Otosan Uchi while both Aikune an Tsuneo are gone. The city burns and the peasantry are helped along by the arrival of the powerful Tsuno, led in secret by Daigotsu. The Forbidden City is pillaged and the Emperor is forced to flee. Currently, he resides in Kyuden Seppun, seeking to expunge his shame.
The Otomo move into Crane lands at the welcome behest of Doji Akiko.
Ryoko Owari Toshi
- Kakita Sasuke – Sasuke’s path has become corrupted, but he is not entirely certain what catalyst is to blame. After his test of skill with Meiyoshi (Toturi Tokumi) it seems as if the woman is avoiding him at all costs. Each time they are together for any length of time, she becomes sickly and ill, as if his mere presence is sapping her strength.
Sasuke has killed numerous members of the Kensai Dueling Academy upon the streets of Ryoko Owari while trying to ferret out their leadership. Rumor has it that the young duelist is on the offensive and will see the streets drowned in duelist’s blood.
The arrival and teachings of Shiba Ren, an infamous duelist associated with the Crane Champion’s new wife, Doji Akiko, does nothing to better Sasuke’s mood. In fact, the teachings of intimidation and Kenburo’s Way (the Butcher’s Gaze) seems to worsen the young duelist’s disposition. Shiba Ren beats the Kakita on a daily basis and the day is soon to come when the Kakita has had enough.
Sasuke becomes aware of the suspicion that his Clan Champion and half-brother, Doji Ginchiyo, is being manipulated by his new wife, the Elemental Master of Water, Doji Akiko. The woman is suspected of Gozoku leanings and Sasuke fears that her power is corrupting the Crane Clan as a whole.
Slain by Doji Tanaka’s Blade (Sasuke’s Blade): Ootoro (Gov Ball); (MIrumoto) Rabban (in the streets); Bayushi Bushi (at Furuyari’s estate); Kitsuki Baragi (Gozoku Sympathizer); Gurumei (Kensai Duelist); Venku (Kensai Duelist)
- Hiruma Shotaku – Hida Raiden continually attempts to get Shotaku to see the error of his ways, trying to embolden the young Crab away from the dark side of his habits in an attempt to lead him on the path of the hero.
During the First hunt, the Crab spends quality time with Moto Jinn-Sahn and comes to the understanding that the young Moto is not entirely what he seems. Instead of being just the front of defense for the Unicorn in the city, Jinn-Sahn intimates that he knows of an impending assault upon Ryoko Owari Toshi and that his betters (leaders of the Unicorn) are tied to a nefarious source that may also seek the PCs deaths (the Gozoku). Later, Jinn-Sahn, Miyoto, and Shotaku experience the Tsuno firsthand.
- Mirumoto Miyoto – Miyoto combines with Shosuro Yusuko and Hiruma Shotaku to remove Otomo Oniwabanshu from his seat of power. The withdrawn Imperial has taken for the last month to doing nothing but studying the dark tapestry placed upon his wall. The scene before him is of an ever-damaged Yomi succumbing to the dangers of the Tsuno as the Returned Spirits refuse to refill its home.
Miyoto arranges for Fyomi, head of the Mantis delegation, to attempt to assassinate Furuyari, unaware that the Mantis and the Gozoku leader were allies. Instead of assassination, a false trail of bodies and deception is left behind. The Mantis disappear from the city and Miyoto is left knowing that Bayushi Atsuki, the Spider, is one step ahead.
Later, Bayushi Otado meets openly with Mirumoto Miyoto during the First Hunt. Otado, the Shark, was held as the primary candidate to become the next Governor of the city and was backed by Atsuki. Otado tells the Dragon that he has no wish to betray the Empire or the Emperor and is seeking allies against Atsuki.
- Shosuro Yusuko – The Otomo is quietly removed and Yusuko pretends to serve in his place, meeting with the new Emerald Champion, Horiuchi Senai. The ruse works, for now.
Mirumoto Tsunake asks to meet with the young actress. “I fear I am going to lose myself, Yusuko-chan. Maintain this portion of my soul…”
- Daidoji Hei – Assigned to the office of the Emerald Magistrate in response to the damaging assaults by members of the city. Hei has his work cut out for him, as it seems that every power group within the city is seeking to defy the Emperor, damage the Otomo, or otherwise thumb their noses at the samurai in charge.
Hei has an interaction with the Mad Prophet about a secret scroll that the Emperor does not wish the Empire to see. The Scroll details a secretive spell that would allow an individual to forcibly turn a Returned Spirit Mortal.