Legend of the Five Rings: Judgement

Moshi Akemi Journal Entry 3

Three days in a Crab village, perhaps I wrote too soon that it should not be all bad. The heimin here show little respect of non-Crab samurai, unless you’re paying them, and even then their attitude is barely friendly. There are few distractions from work other than battle and drink, what temples and shrines exist are drab and can only be described as “efficient.”

Through the days I have spent time with Toritaka Tasune, the ghost hunter, as we have waited for the Kuni to arrive and purify the blade. Tasune-san is a large man, and his eyes dart about the room as if expecting trouble to leap from the walls. However, he is wise in the lore of ghosts, and I have learned much from him, including how to better handle the people of the Crab Clan. As each day closes, we are forced to part ways as heimin pour into the sake house by the dozens, making conversation impossible.

Through the evenings I worked on a painting for Lord Hida Samano-sama, a beautiful landscape of ocean and rocky beach with a forest and pagoda atop the high cliffs. In the surf there is a large crab, shell scarred from fights, but clearly resolute in his place as master of this setting. When I presented it to Lord Samano-sama, he smiled politely, barely acknowledging my work. I politely shared the details of the painting with him so he may see the beauty of the work, but he may as well have patted my head and told me to run along and play.

That third evening we finally began the ritual to purify the Seppun daisho. The swords were reforged and looked as if they were new, but a hideous danger still lurked within. As Kuni-sama recited the words to remove the blight, a green fog began to emanate from the swords and from that fog a gaki appeared, clad in ancient armor and wielding a darkened blade. The Gaki emitted a loud hiss and I felt a discomfort swell inside me, but was able to suppress it and continue with the battle. I petitioned the fire kami to engulf this monster while the others in my group slashed at it with steel. It could not stand up to our might and was dispatched. Kuni-sama captured the spirit in a jade crystal, and the swords were clear of their taint. I can only assume that gaki was the tortured essence of that prestigious Seppun who died valiently defending Otosan Uchi. Something tells me that his demise was not as glorious as history remembers.

As we leave Lord Samano-sama’s care we have little choice but to release our captive Seppun. She will not disclose any information, and we would surely be chastised if we bring her to another Seppun. I share Keikaze’s feelings that this is wrong, but I feel that Kenzo is correct in that letting her go free is our only choice. I hope that she learns from this encounter, and does not return to the same path she was on, but from my experience with her, I fear that is the only path she knows and is too afraid to leave it.

Now we are to head to a small shrine in Crane lands to gain a fortune’s blessing upon the daisho. From there we will finally make our way to the Bon Festival, late, but with a reason that belies the true cause of our tardiness. I now truly understand why mother chose to stay in the mountains.

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The Fabulous One's Journal part 2

As we made our approach towards the young woman, a stream of arrows filled her torso. While holding our ground, we spotted 2 shadowy figures run towards a small hill. Me and the ronin climbed upon horseback and started our chase.

A sound came from behind us, I stopped and turned to notice a figure riding towards us. I noticed the colors of the Crane, and continued my chase. When we finally made it around the hill we swarmed with bandits. As we held our ground, I was grazed by a crazed bandit. I pulled my katana back and stabbed him through his eye. Remorsefully, I sliced out the side of his face. A vile image I will not soon forget.

We assembled after the squirmish, and bounded back to the home of Hida Samanu. There we rested, after speaking to a Witch Hunter. We were told it would take 3 days, which of course upset me. But one of my stature dare not show my outrage over such a trivial thing.

For 3 days I visited the markets, walked the palace, and found a beautifully secluded area of the palace gardens. I spent most of my time there, playing. After the first night I sent a message to Shotaro. Telling him of my unfortunate situation, and my tardiness to the festival.

Finally, the third day arrived, and the witch hunter wished to forge the blade. The thought of forging this blade to new, gives me a sense on unease. I follow them to the forge, but on high alert. During the ritual, I stood, with blade ready.

After a few moments, the blacksmith turned to use and spewed forth green smoke from his orifices. A being of ethereal might spewed forth from the circle. I make my attack, and I graze him. A few moments the ghost reached out and touched the Daidoji. His face seemed to have turn black, then shifted back to normal. I felt a sudden rush of power wash over me.

I turned to see Hayabusa fire an arrow, the attack bounced off the ghost. The ghost brushed his chest off, leaving me a opening. I attacked again, only to miss. I then turned and saw the Daidoji ready an attack on the other side. We both stuck at the ghost’s midsection, and cut him in half.

The witch hunter sealed the lost soul in a crystal of jade. The daisho repaired, and the blacksmith recupperating. We set back off to the festival, after we agreed to let the Seppun go. I have a feeling the Shosuro was up to something, but saddly I have no evidence. I must make sure to keep an eye of him as much as possible.

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Hayabusa cont'd

One of my companions, a Phoenix, reacted quickly and called upon the spirits to heal the fallen thief. Another companion, the young Centipede, charged up the hillside and rained lightning down on the enemy. Three of us re-mounted our horses and headed around the hillside apparently towards the bandits ambush. We rode down the bandits, capturing a pair, and returned to Wachimasu with our prisoners to resolve the matter of the stolen property. From Wachimasu we will be heading on to Seppun-sama’s Bon Festival Party.

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Moshi Akemi Journal Entry 2

When we finally caught up to our mysterious thief, we witnessed her attempted destruction of Haruki-sama’s Seppun daisho. I still am not certain that whether she knew of its scars and was trying to release them, or simply seeking to dishonor Haruki-sama. In either case, we approached her at last, confirming her Seppun mons, and attempted to politely inquire about her activities. Her disdain for us, her inferiors, was quite obvious, and she refused to give us much information. Before we could begin to break her uncooperative nature, she was suddenly struck by arrows.

We looked to a nearby ridge in time to see two archers retreating from view. Chieh-san seemed dazed by the event, and I called to her to entreat the kami and heal the Seppun’s wounds. As the group took defensive positions, I heard the distinct sounds of a rocky retreat over the back of the hill. I swiftly dismounted and scrambled to ascend the rocky summit in order to see the attackers. Kitsuki Keikaze quickly followed me, beating me to the top by just a few seconds, and relayed signals to the rest of the group. Once I gained my footing and saw into the next valley, six more men were lying reading to ambush any who took the path of the road. I made a quick prayer to the kami, invoking the fury of Osano-Wo on these bandits, crippling them and their efforts to surprise anyone.

Keikaze-san charged down at the retreating archers, but most have had trouble finding his footing, and failed to land a forceful punch upon one of them. I now followed him and charged into the melee, also with some trouble on the rocky surface, I landed a kick, but without much power. The archer pulled a knife and stabbed me with a solid swipe. I entreated the kami to quickly end this battle with a tempest of air, blowing both archers upwards and outwards onto the road, where they fell in an unmoving heap.

As Keikaze-san moved to assure that the archers would not be able to join their comrades in battle, I turned my focus to see Hayabusa, Kakita Seiji, and another Crane I did not recognize dispatching the last of the bandits. Later it proved to be Daidoji Hiro, sent from Crane lands to assist us. I moved back to the top of the hill to see Shosuro Kenzo and Agasha Chieh tending to our Seppun captive, who seemed to still be unconscious.

I returned to my horse and rode forward to the ambush site. As Hayabusa and Keikaze-san placed two captives on horseback, I made sure that the bandits bodies were searched for any useful information, and that the dead were burned to prevent any maho. There was a note found in the possession of the bandits, which was later deciphered to show that bandits knew to expect the Seppun and take the daisho. I also reminded the group we must all be purified before returning to town as we had encountered blood.

And so we have returned to Crab village, and met Lord Hida Samano-sama. Kenzo-san spoke very eloquently on our behalf about our purpose in Crab lands, and Samano-sama has agreed to help us reforge the swords. It will be three days here, which will make us late for the Bon Festival, but we shall be able to present the daisho in all its glory, even if we cannot share our tale of its return. I wrote the letter to Haruki-sama we agreed upon, informing him of our success and unfortunate delay in making it to the Festival. Now what will I do here for three days? I suppose it could be worse, the accommodations are pleasant, and there is plenty of sake.

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Letters to Kenji (1)
Keikaze

My dear sensei Kenji, Sorry I have not sent a letter in a few days. My time at Doji Haruki’s home was interrupted and I haven’t had the time to write. You were right. Very soon after I began my travel on my own the winds of the fortunes of course blew my plans off course. Luckily, as you taught me I was expecting such changes of plans and was prepared for them. As I traveled alone to Doji Haruki’s home to rest on my way to the Bon Festival I did as you had taught me, listening to the stories the world around me is trying to tell. I shared a couple mid-day meals with workers from rice fields. There is much insight to be found in the daily labors of the empire that often go unnoticed.

My days’ travels passed mostly as you and I had always traveled. I walked slow to take things in and paused every couple hours for a few moments to find something new, or read a passage, to contemplate as I walked.

I was pleased when I got to Doji Sama’s home to see that the fortunes had gathered some companions with which to travel. The little Moshi Akemi was there, and it was nice to see her again. She seems spoiled to me, but something about her reminds me of my little sister. It has a way of making you protective of her… like when I used to let my little sister win at Go. There is another shugenja that joined us as well. She is from the phoenix clan. She must be very in tune with the Kami as she seems perpetually distracted, as if they constantly whisper in her ear. I hope she is getting the best training because surely that level of distraction would lead to insanity over time. There is a young courtier from the scorpion clan with us. He has been very quiet thus far not sharing much of himself with the rest of us, but he has done an amazing job navigating the hurdles we have faced recently traveling between different cities who were not on the best of terms with one another. His name is Shoshuro Kenzo, and I think while in court I may stick close to him. You know how nervous I am in at formal events and the like…I just hate the dance of lies, half truths, and false niceties that take place at those things. There is a crane who is very very flashy, even for a crane. So much time spent preening at first I thought he was trying to start his own peacock clan. Aside from that he is humorous and usually a joy to be around. We now travel with another, more down to earth, crane as well but more on that in a bit. Haybusa, the traveling ronin who we’ve met on our travels in passing from time to time, I was surprised to see was also at Doji Sama’s home also on his way to Bon Festival festivities at Seppun Ayamu’s estates. He is as loud and brash as ever. It is sad to me the way he seems to constantly be trying to gain the approval of those around him. I hope he learns what so many of the brotherhood monks we have met learned, that peace and joy does not come from a family name or the esteem of others, he will only find it when he is fine with who he is.

We sat around the tea house on our second day here enjoying getting to know those we had not yet met, and catching up with friends we hadn’t seen in a while. It was quite fun and we begun in the late afternoon/early evening to retire to our very luxurious quarters at the estate of Doji sama. As we approached the estate we heard a cry come from a welcoming foryer. When we entered a very disheveled and upset Doji Haruki was crouched over an empty sword stand. I had noticed the very fine swords that were displayed on the stands when I had arrived the day before. He took a moment to compose himself in private I didn’t notice but little akemi took a moment to come in. She said she had asked the kami what was going on outside while the others, and myself, ran fool-hearty into the room. She said the kami were acting very strange, what very few were present at all. Our distracted phoenix confirmed.

Hayabusa and myself noticed someone had entered through the window and Hayabusa noticed they had exited the same way and headed west. Doji sama told us he had received the swords as a gift from Seppun Amyamu and he could not go to the Bon Festival and say they were lost. I excused myself and asked that when they made ready to give chase if Hayabusa please bring a horse for myself to ride into town, as I was going to go talk to the gate guards. The first guard I cam to was an idiot who misunderstood my question so I continued towards the west end of town hoping that the guard on the otherside was less a fool. I ran into a lower level samurai I had had a small conversation with in the tea house earlier walking down the street as I passed. Our previous conversation had convinced me he was a fairly astute man and even drunk he told me he had seen an attractive woman riding far to fast to not be on the run to the west. The others caught up to me before I reached the other end of town.

I am still bothered by what we found there, and that was nothing. The guard was missing and I think perhaps the woman who fled killed him… though we never found a body or sign of blood he was just completely absent, and no sign of him was ever obtained. If she murdered this guard it makes me a little ashamed of how things ended up. I hope to ask Doji Sama when we get to the Bon Festival if any sign of this guard was found and perhaps before I send this letter to you will have a relieving post script on that to add.

In anycase we rode through the night, crossing over into crab lands. We ran upon a Crab patrol (I will admit I was afraid the ronin would do something brash). Shoshuro Kenzo was able to plead our case and we were taken to their village. They had recently been raided by goblins and much in the way of repairs were needed. It broke my heart to see how the Crab suffer for the empire and I wanted to pitch in, but time was limited. We picked up the trail of the thief again at the inn. She had stayed the night. The ronin and I went outside to block any window exit while the others went to apprehend her in her room. We noticed she had already gone, and the others confirmed. It seemed she had run off into the hills, which I had read were filled with bandits. Perhaps it was a simple theft after all..but not a usual bandits style to ride more than a day from their home to steal an item they could hardly sell I would imagine.

We caught up to the thief but as we did we watched her destroy the swords. As we had traveled Moshi had told us that the kami said something dark had passed before us, and we were fairly certain that the swords were the cause of both the kamis strange actions back at doji samas home and what the kami along the path had experienced. Because of this it wasn’t such a shock when we saw that the destructive thief was a Seppun trained for destruction of tainted items. While Kenzo tried to convince her to give us the blades she was shot from behind a hill with arrows. While the phoenix shugenja saw to her wounds I noticed Akemi scrabbling up the hill. At this point we also found we had been followed by another Crane, an iron warrior, who quickly joined to assist us. I, always feeling th e protective older brother, scrabbled quickly up the hill ahead of Akemi and found an ambush awaiting for anyone coming around the hill on the other side. While the two crane and the ronin headed around the hill I tried to shout a warning and indicate the number of people awaiting them on the other side. Once Akemi reached the top, always one to surprise, she seemed to call down the entire anger of osono wo to confuse and deafen the ambushers. Then she and I engaged the two who had taken the shots. Soon they were all dealt with and we found that the scorpian had immobilized the Seppun. We had learned before that while she thought she had destroyed a tainted item she had doubled the number of tainted items, as the taint remained. We could not, in good conscious, return the blades tainted to Doji Sama nor tell him he had been given a tainted gift. That could create a rift of honor that could lead to open hostilities. We returned to the crab villiage. Such villages which face constant barrages from the evils of the world and the shadowlands keep ghost hunters around, and we knew they would know what to do. The sword had to be reforged and that took time. That is why I am so long between letters. While we waited for the reforging of the swords I helped in what ways I could to help repair the town. I also helped give advice to the few who would take it on better ways to arrange their homes to increase better good chi flow….maybe it will help deter goblin attacks, but I doubt it. I do think the local brewer will be surprised at how pleasant his customers remain from now on and how much more money they spend.

During this time, through objects found on the bandits, we found that in fact they had been ordered to kill her and take her all weapons….and we are fairly convinced that person is at the very least from Seppun Amayu’s estate. Once the blade was reforged we found that it had been possessed by a spirt of a hungry dead. We don’t know what the poor spirit wanted revenge for, but we did loose him from the mortal coil and I hope he finds peace.

As I write this we travel directly from the Crab village to the estate of Seppun Amayu. We got word to Doji Haruki that he should meet us there and we would bring the didoji. Hopefully he will make excuses for our tardiness. This puts us in a precarious situation. It seems most likely, my short time in magistrate training and life under my father’s roof tells me, that the Seppun woman was most likely sent by some one from Seppun Amayu’s own house. Therefore it is most likely that someone at the home of Seppun Amayu knows that the gifted blades were cursed, making them a potential danger and the gift giving a potential mark on the honor of Seppun Amayu. If any details of this ordeal were to become public knowledge it could be damaging to all involved. If someone is aware of the swords previous condition then when we bring the swords back untainted it will be very obvious to whoever laid this plan out that we know too much. We will become a risk….but perhapes that will force them to play a risky maneuver. In Go loosing your focus and feeling trapped can often lead to stupid mistakes…hopefully they will be made before any of us suffer.

We let the Seppun woman go, which is a concern as we did not find out who informed her of the where abouts of the swords or that they were tainted. I feel that Seppun Amayu will want to know who attempted to steal his gifts…though if he doesn’t that tells us a great deal. Further, I know the law says that she should be brought to Doji Haruki to explain herself and to Seppun Amuya as she tried to steal his gift. If Doji Sama has been truthful with Seppun Sama about why we are late there could be great and unhappy discussions about why we didn’t bring this woman to him. Seppun Amuya is very tight with the emperor and such an oversight could look very bad on us. There could easily be suggestions that we colluded with this woman for some nefarious means. As things stand no one need suffer dishonor. But, in this case I fear that whoever sent her will be at Seppun Amayu’s home for the feast and bringing her puts her at risk. It would not be fair to her to bring her to answer for her actions now, and as we know the law is not always fair, and what is proper and fair is not always the law. Further, bringing her in and forcing her to answer for her actions would force us to be completely open about the state of the blades when we found them. While I both the bringing of her to Seppun Amayu and the discussion of state of the blades could be done with care, we do not know who Seppun Sama might confide in, and if the information got to the wrong people it could again lead to open hostilities and improper accusations of errors of honor. Bringing the swords back untainted and mentioning nothing of it outside our circle will allow us to hold a few ma-jong tiles that should be a boon to us. We will be able to see who holds the matching tiles and know they were the snakes waiting to strike the whole time.

Well Sensai it seems we are saddliing back up now. I will send this letter as soon as we reach Seppun Amuya’s estates and do my best to keep you updated. I hope all is well with you in the temple and until next we meet may the winds of fortune keep you safe, but not so safe as to be uninteresting.

Kiekaze

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Gift for Shosuro Hisao

Honored Sensei,

Forgive the briefness of this message. The matter that Doji Haruko asked us to look into took longer in resolving than I first thought it would, and now we must hurry to reach the estates of Seppun Ayamu in time.

You will be pleased to know that we were able to successfully resolve the matter. In addition, we took part in a sacred ritual and laid a lost spirit to rest. It was more than we could have hoped for. Haruko-sama will be very pleased when we return his property. I’m sure Seppun Ayamu-sama will be equally pleased that we are able to do so in her home, during the festival.

I am saddened that you will be unable to join us this year, Sensei. I have sent you a small token as a keepsake from our travels. The weaponsmiths in this village are astounding. They can reforge blades as if new, and their skill in the crafting of traditional Crab weapons is unparalleled. Please take the time to run your hands over the fine detail work in this tetsubo, and know that I will represent you with honor at the forthcoming festival.

Yours,

Shosuro Kenzo

Shosuro Cypher: Seppun Kazumi was not dead.  My shugenja companion was able to reach her in time and heal her wounds.  I defended Kazumi-sama while my other companions dispatched her assailants.  --  While I stood guard, I quickly devised a ploy that would keep most of the information gathered from becoming public.  I bound Kazumi-sama and placed her unconscious body on her horse.  I then wrapped the now shattered daisho carefully in a cloth and tucked it into her belt.  My goal was to return to the Hida estate and ask for the aid of the Lord's Kuni witch hunter.  Should questions be asked about the daisho blame could easily be placed on the samurai-ko.  I think it best to involve Doji Haruko as little as possible in this, as his discovery of the curse upon the blade would ruin any leverage it might give us against Seppun Ayame.  --  Upon our return Hida-sama was suspicious.  There is truly no love lost between him and Doji Haruko.  It would behoove us to gather more in-depth intelligence on this situation.  --  I was able to convince him that we were not there as agents of Haruko-sama and that we placed no blame on him for the thief's dishonor.  We merely sought his aid in destroying a cursed artifact.  He seemed mollified by this, and to my great pleasure, much too distracted by the situation to inquire too much about the daisho.  As far a he is concerned, we were on a mission to catch a thief, and when we did, we discovered she had a cursed daisho in her posession.  That the daisho was, in fact, the item she stole, seems to have slipped his notice.  --  When we searched the bandits, we found orders upon their bodies that commanded them to kill the samurai-ko that would be traveling by that road, and to return to their master (who remains unknown) with her weapons.  Furthermore, I discovered Seppun Kazumi's orders while I was tying her up.  Although they are also unsigned, the hand that wrote the two notes is clearly the same.  I have included the note I found with this letter.  Perhaps our more learned scribes can glean more of its origins.  The other note, unfortunately, is in the posession of Moshi-san, and I would not be able to send it to you without arousing suspicion.  I will recreate the markings of the cypher and send them along, in case you may recognize it.  -- As for Kasumi-sama. I released her, but warned her against returning home.  I hope she heeds my warning, as she may prove a valuable asset in the future.

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hayabusa's journal

Raichou, I arrived at Doji Haruki’s estate. After a few days of lounging around, Doji-sama had an item stolen from his house. I was asked by doji-sama to hunt down the thief. We chased the thief through Wachimasu in the crab lands, and identified it as a samurai-ko. When we found her she was ranting about her honor or something, wouldn’t return the stolen property, and seemed about to attack us. Then she was shot twice in the back by bandits and fell like she was dead…

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From the journal of Kakita Seiji

Along the road, the wind is gently blowing. Blossoms fall out of place, and are guided slowly across the ground. Shotaro bends down to pick the blossom from it resting spot upon his foot. He glances back towards me with a loving yet nervous stare. I walk towards him and slowly bend down next to him.

He whispers into my ear, “I have been given to another.”

As he stands, I notice a tear from from his cheek. I lead him off of the road, behind a couple of trees. Holding him tightly, he hides his face from me. Pushing his head farther into my neck. His sobbing breaks my heart, I couldn’t bare to tell him I too was given to another.

We stayed there until he was able to compose himself. I gently rubbed his cheek and kissed him gently. Never taking my eyes off of him. We just stared, never once saying another word. Just needing to be close to each other.

Before embarking again, I stared into his eyes and said ever so gently, “We will never be apart Shotaro. Our love is strong enough to weather the greatest storm. I will always be with you, no matter the circumstances. Betrothed or not.”

I held him one last time before we left for the estate of Doji Haruki. When we arrived, it was close to dusk. We were welcomed warmly. I spent time speaking to Doji-sama of his travels and of his times with my father. We were shown to our rooms, both Shotaro’s and my rooms were next to each other. We spent the night together.

As the sun rose, I left for the tea house. There were many miscreants from all over resting on their trip to the Bon Festival. I sat as far back as I could killing time before seeing Shotaro off. He was meeting his father at the festival earlier then I needed to be there. It was nice to have time to sit and ponder the events happening so quickly in my life. So I sat and played in the corner.

Game: I left to the tea house to ready my things, and see shotaro off. I met him at my room and we kissed goodbye. Wiping a tear from his eye, I stared into his eyes and smiled. He left the room, and I readied my things. As I left, the miscreants were also heading toward the main house when blood curdling scream echoed through the courtyard. I ran and readied my blade, only to find Haruki-sama bent down crying. A blade given to him, was taken. I helped Haruki-sama back to his room, after intertogations from the Scorpion. I distrust the Shosuro, I have a feeling he is up to more then just riding to a Festival. After leaving Haruki-sama, I went and interrogated the groundskeeper to find that a woman with long black hair rode by in a hurry. I met back up with the others, and traveled through Crab territory chasing after the woman. We found her room, only to find nothing.

Along the road we found her, she had broke Haruki-samas blade.  She was Seppun.
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Letter to Shosuro Hisao

Esteemed Sensei,

This has been an interesting week. We arrived at the states of Doji-sama earlier this week. He was pleased with the war fan you gifted him with, and he looks forward to the next time you are able to visit his estates.

There was a minor problem, one my companions and I are currently helping Doji-sama resolve. A thief entered his home while we were away, and stole a treasured relic. The thief fled West, towards the nearby Hida village. After a hurried investigation, we chased the rogue and finally tracked her down.

I believe we may be close to resolving the problem, and hope to have more pleasant news for you in my next missive.

Shosuro Kenzo

Shosuro Cypher:

Doji Haruko has owned the daisho of Seppun Daiori for twenty years. It was a gift from Seppun Ayumi. There is strong evidence that it carries a strong curse. Our historians would do well to look into the history of Seppun Daiori, as there is likely more to his heroic acts than we know. Such information may be valuable in our dealings with his family.

We uncovered the thief, a samurai-ko named Seppun Kazumi. She claimed that she was sent to retrieve the daisho and destroy it. She would not give the name of the one who sent her, though all indications point to Seppun Ayumi. I would assume that Ayumi-sama discovered the true nature of her gift, and attempted to destroy the evidence in order to save her honor. She would, no doubt, be very grateful if this information were to be kept secret.

Kazumi-sama was killed after shattering the daisho. My shugenja companions do not believe this has destroyed the taint, however. In fact, they fear that shattering the cursed daisho may have simply created four cursed artifacts where there were once only two. We will seek out the help of the local Hida lord’s witch hunter in the destruction of the tainted swords, once we deal with Kazumi-sama’s killers.

As an additional bit of information, the local Hida lord and Doji Haruko seem to hate each other. While this is, I’m sure, public knowledge, it might be important to keep track of theis feud, should Hida-sama suspect Doji-sama of having been corrupted by the daisho’s influence. I do not think, with my present companions, that I will be able to keep his long association with the cursed relic a secret.

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Moshi Akemi Journal Entry 1

I arrived at Doji Haruki’s estate just before mid-day. The weather is hot and humid, it is no wonder that nothing of note happens here, for it is too oppressive to want to do anything. It seems that I will be travelling with a menagerie of others to the Bon Festival, as was discovered at the local tea house. The Dragon I have met before, Kitsuki Keikaze, we have sparred several times. It is always fun to see the surprise on his face when I surpass his defenses.Shosuro Kenzo is an odd Scorpion, quite nice to watch and listen to, but perhaps a little dense. Kakita Seiji is far too fancy, it makes sense why so many call them a clan of pretty ladies. The Phoenix Shugenja seems too aloof, maybe she was dropped on her head as a child; many times. Then there’s a ronin, Hayabusa, who not only has the eyes of a wolf, but smells of one too.

Regardless, the sake at the tea house was not too bad. I would have expected a finer craft from a town which clearly has the time to avoid being outside though. Then just as I was beginning to enjoy it, I caught that my drinks were being watered down, dishonorable dogs.

As dusk was settling, and we were leaving the tea house behind us, we heard a scream of true pain. It was jolting, and I immediately consulted the kami to find out what had happened, but their attitude was very bizarre. Not only were they frantic, but seemed uncharacteristically displeased to even be in the area. When I arrived at Lord Haruki-sama’s residence, the rest of the group I find myself with was busy investigating the scene of the crime. Apparently a thief had stolen the Seppun daisho that Haruki-sama was gifted.

We discovered that a lone woman, a rider on horseback, had been the one to take the daisho, and was already some time ahead of us, to the southwest, and into Crab Lands. We chose to pursue her though the night, going through the forest the straddles the Crab/Crane boarder. The whole time I watched the underbrush off the path, looking for the remains of dead children, as for some reason I expected to find that, and I have no idea why.

We encountered a Crab scout patrol who inquired what we were doing in the woods at night. I told them of our pursuit of the criminal to which they seemed dissatisfied, then wolf-man spits out a chain of lords and samas that leaves the scouts stunned and obedient to our wishes. They escorted us to the Crab village, where we continued to make inquires about the mysterious samurai-ko.

While we here I took advantage to visit a local sake brewery that did have some very good brews. Time was unfortunately limited and I don’t really recall what happened after we left there, but we followed several leads that turned fruitful. We found out the Inn she stayed at, then pursued her on a northern trail until, at last, we finally caught up our mysterious thief.

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