Heroes of Rokugan

 
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Jacob
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 16, 2013 2:35 pm    Post subject: Heroes of Rokugan Reply with quote

Listing of the current PC's, Sons of Kitsuki Hideaki, in the Second Year of the Kyoshi Dynasty by order of birth. Parenthetical names indicate pre-gempukku.

Kitsuki (Kurin) Issho - Eldest of the sons of Kitsuki Hideaki, Kurin has an open and inquisitive mind, attempting to learn all that he can. His ability to speak to the Kami revealed at a relatively young age he studies with the resident Agasha Shugenja in the ways of the priesthood. He attempts to be a dutiful son and a responsible brother, helping his younger siblings when they need. He would do anything for his family.
Isshou has taken a position in the court of Kyuden Kuroganehana befitting his place as eldest son. He studies under Agasha Kurako, honing his command of the elements and understanding of the rites and rituals of a Shugenja.
Using his command of the Elements he fought the shadow lion in Yurei ni Ankoku using the power of thunder in a desperate attempt to drive it off after much of the village had abandoned the site of the bridge. He was also instrumental in fortifying the remaining villagers inside the barracks, preventing further deaths.
When new Unicorn and Scorpion emissaries arrived at the court of Kyuden Kuroganehana, Isshou was there to welcome them and recieved a gift of ancient pots from the Unicorn (of which he opened only one) and rebuffed the crane gift of a netsuke belonging to the "false" Emerald Magistrate during the Scorpion Clan Coup. He attempted to mediate through the bloody events that followed, when Shinjo Shimoku appeared to have murdered the Crane Delegation his spells helped to bring the fleeing Unicorn down.
The pots, ever a fascinating object for Isshou, were taken and found to contain a Pennagolan from near the dawn of the empire. While Isshou was studing with Kurako his brothers confronted the monster and destroyed it, but it transported them into a strange twilight realm. With the help of Yogo Daijiro, newly returned from that realm, and Agasha Kurako, he found his way back to this mysterious realm, where he and his brothers are attempting to find a means of escaping again. Bounded on one side by a monster in the lake, awakened when Isshou carelessly threw a rock into the water, the only escape seems to be to descend deeper into the labyrinth of chambers that lie beneath the Green Leaf Tea House.

Togashi (Nichi) Roukai - Nichi was always a thoughtful child, preferring to watch and listen rather than take part. This introspection has led the Togashi to take an interest in the young Nichi and send a member of the order to begin observing him. Spontaneously manifesting the phoenix tattoo and it's powers during a near-death experience whilst on a boar hunt, the late Togashi's interest seems confirmed, though what happened to the youth after the activation of the tattoo is yet unknown. During the Bon festival, Roukai began to see the character for death etched onto his face and racing against time chased the spirits causing their stories to come true into the surrounding areas of the castle, only to see Togashi Ume destroy it.
Roukai, after being discovered the next day, was disturbed by the fact that he remembered nothing of the night before and took it as a sign to be more cautious about boar. He has since, under the tutelage of Togashi Ume, continued to study the mysteries of life and attempts to attain enlightenment in the eclectic way unique to the Togashi. He used his speed to chase down the monk Ofumi in Yurei ni Ankoku, and saved the life of his brother, Isshou, knocked unconscious by the shadow lion, and is the only one to know the true nature of the mysterious hair-shirted monk.
After the arrival of the Crane and Unicorn, Roukai pursued Shinjo Shimoku and seemed to be killed by his heavy scimitar. He awoke the next morning with no memory of what he had done the night before, but Shomoku's travelling companion had had his face scooped out, a fact which Roukai observed with trepidation. In the following days, Roukai went to look for his missing brother Matsukaze, finding him in a cave with the pots gifted by the Unicorn. Taking the advice of Ume, he wove a reed belt and meditated on the pots. Eventually he and his brother submerged the pots in water, releasing an ancient Pennagolan which he was able to wrestle to immobility while his brothers destroyed the beast. Unfortunately it has trapped Roukai in an alternate twilight realm as well, inside the Green Leaf Teahouse. He alone refused to venture deeper into the bowels of the structure, choosing instead to care for his wounded sibling on the surface, where, after being struck by the awakened thing in the lake he chose to join his brothers in exploration.

Kitsuki (Atemi) Matsukaze- Third-born of Hideaki's first wife, Atemi is quiet like his brother Nichi, but leaned less towards to enigmatic and often distant philosophies of the Togashi, and more towards the Brotherhood of Shinsei. He has yet to take his vows but has begun studying the brotherhood's methods of Ki manipulation.
Matsukaze, finally inducted into the Brotherhood of Shinsei, performs a unique role in his family. His classification as Eta allows him latitude that normal samurai do not possess in many matters, while his former status as samurai and current status as seeker of enlightenment give his words and presence a weight beyond his status.
In Yurei ni Ankoku, Matsukaze's engineering experience was invaluable in attempting to finish the bridge they had been sent to complete. But the bridge was not the only fascination the village held for Matsukaze. He was interested in what he saw as the monk Ofumi's control of the lions, and in an attempt to commune with them, allowed himself to be tied to a tree to face the beasts down. Narrowly rescued from evisceration by his brother Renzo, he went on to face the Shadow Lion and eventually choose to retreat, as it's power was too great.
Matsukaze submerged the pots they recieved from the Unicorn, awaking the Pennagolan within and fought it valiantly. He escaped the monster in the lake and entered the green leaf tea house where he was horrified by the Obaba offering them women to play games against and when they lost, the women would slit their wrists into large brass bowls, offering them to the Samurai. He overcame a room of sentient sand with a mighty Garden Rake, retrieving an integral piece of the Kanji Table in another part of the tea house, and performed as a Taiko drummer for the Noh play they composed. Facing the some would say overly critical Obake demon and defeating her, he joined his brothers in exploration of the tunnels under the Green Leaf Tea House. He saved Hanzo in the room of chains and helped to discover several pages of the journal of the mysteriously named Ellen Tradewinds. He also retrieved a twilight lantern from the Maho library and used it to fight the darkness surrounding the crystal lantern. When Hanzo was trapped in a magical mirror with a faceless horror, it was Matsukaze who went after him, overcoming it and helping to find the correct mirror. Now he searches with his brothers for the crystal artifacts that belong in the court chambers in the northern end of the tunnel system, hoping that if they can reinforce the spell that binds this place that it may release them.

Kitsuki (Montaro) Notai- Notai has done nothing signifigant of note. His Gempukku was lackluster and his deeds seem to fade into the background when compared to those of his brothers. He never seems to be in the correct place at the correct time when deeds of honor and glory are at hand and suffers, as many middle children do, the risk of being forgotten.

Kitsuki (Jiro) Renzo - Renzo and Hanzo are twins, doing everything together, from their skill at negotiating at court to learning how to handle a Katana. As a child he witnessed his brother's apparent murder of a young child and has said nothing about it. During the Bon festival, he fought a clump of snakelike sentient hair and along with his brothers finally destroyed the spirit that brought their stories to life. He and some of his brothers were transported to a strange spirit realm after being hurled off of a cliff, meeting the strange fox spirit Bisento who led them through a terrifying tower floating in a void.
Since he and his family reached Kyuden Kuroganehana he and Hanzo have been in their element, learning the flows and eddies of court maneuvering. On their first assignment as Samurai in the village of Yurei ni Ankoku he helped to resolve the problem keeping the bridge from being built, discovering Ofumi's shrine to the local spirits with his brother Hanzo and rescuing Matsukaze from evisceration by a lion, receiving terrible wounds in the process.
When the Pennagolan emerged from the pots in the lake, Hanzo and Renzo both charged and faced the beast down, borrowing Katana from their gate guards to do so, and were trapped with their brothers on a floating island in a sea of stars. He has helped to face the evils of the Green Leaf Tea House, solving the Kanji Table as well as performing in the play Hanzo composed to free Yosho. He now seeks an escape from this place, but not without his brothers and not before he is sure that whatever is trapped here stays that way.

Kitsuki (Hiro) Hanzo - Hanzo and Renzo are twins, doing everything together, from their skill at negotiating at court to learning how to handle a Katana. Haunted by his apparent murder of a boy in childhood, Hanzo suffers from dark dreams. During the Bon festival when his family's castle was visited by spirits, he was attacked by the ghost of a boy whose story he told earlier that evening. He and some of his brothers were transported to a strange spirit realm after being hurled off of a cliff, meeting the strange fox spirit Bisento who led them through a terrifying tower floating in a void. In the village of Yurei ni Ankoku, he struggled to prevent lions from attacking the villagers, confronting the shadow lion and, acknowledging a superior opponent, chose retreat rather than death.
He helped to recieve and entertain the Unicorn and Crane delegations, and smoothed things over when the Crane Delegation was murdered. Using his relationship with Doji Ronshuko as well as his keen investigative skills he was able to first capture Shinjo Shimoku and interrogate him. However, Yogo Daijiro killed Shimoku before he could come to a conclusion. Shimoku told Hanzo that he was the victim of a framing by the scorpion, revenge for something an ancestor had done, while Daijiro told Hanzo that Shimoku was a part of the Kolat Conspiracy and an enemy of the Emperor as were the crane that he killed. Not finding enough evidence to support a conclusion either way, Hanzo chose to believe the Scorpion, earning a strong ally and the emnity of the Unicorn.
When the Pennagolan emerged from the pots in the lake, Hanzo and Renzo both charged and faced the beast down, borrowing Katana from their gate guards to do so, and were trapped with their brothers on a floating island in a sea of stars. Hanzo composed the play that the others would perform in the stage room, as well as almost dying to chains and a faceless killer in a mirror. He impetuously grabbed a crystal conch shell an almost drown himself and his brothers. Now he and they search for a way out while recovering the journals of Ellen Tradewinds alluding to some deeper darkness sealed away within these walls. And Hanzo intends to make sure it stays that way.

Kitsuki (Tenchi) Yosho - As a child Yosho was responsible for the burning of a stable, killing some of his father's finest horses. Never getting over the tragedy he has always had a firey temper, cooled only slightly with his study of the Tao with the reclusive Taoist Swordsmen. He is constantly bullied by his older siblings but does his best to take it all in stride. He was against using a dying man as bait in Yurei ni Ankoku, finally agreeing only if his daughter, Enigo was made samurai, but tortured by her disappearance after their combat with the Shadow Lion. He followed his brothers into danger, fighting the Pennagolan and being captured in the Green Leaf Tea House when his brothers attempted to refuse the Obaba's gift of blood. Forced to wear a Tengu Mask and bound on stage his brothers freed him by composing and performing a Noh play incorporating him as a character. Now he searches through the depths for a way out.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:53 pm    Post subject: Green Leaf Teahouse Reply with quote

Deep within the labyrinth the brothers discovered several crystal artifacts as well as horror in the form of rooms with waterfalls of blood, a Maho library, a room with moving, terrible chains, as well as a faceless horror trapped within the reflection of a mirror.

Worse, the crystal artifacts the the brothers found, believing they would lead to their escape, released the terrible Goju Adorai, trapped in a prison of crystal, who indeed helped them return to their world, but not before issuing a sinister thanks for his freedom.

The brothers returned to Kyuden Kuroganehana seemingly only moments after their departure, although it seemed to them that days had passed in that dark otherworld.

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Last edited by Jacob on Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:20 pm    Post subject: Hindsight Reply with quote

Not long after their disturbing adventure, and worried at what horrors they may have unleashed on an unsuspecting Rokugan, the brothers were sent to the Island of Silk to investigate the murder of Togashi Nobue, an ise zumi who was last seen alive there. Upon their arrival they run into trouble with an irritable member of the Storm Legion who attempts to take advantage of their position as "mainlanders". After struggling with this difficult captain of the guard, the brothers got down to the business of investigation and find evidence that the victim was actually the third in a series of ise zumi troubleshooters who came to the islands, working under the cover story of educating the populace in Shintao. The first two monks disappeared, but left clues for their successors, and the investigators, in the form of coded Shinseist doctrine taught to one of the local boys who kept the temple. These clues lead the brothers to discover the ruins of Kyuden Gusai. Here, they find Nobue's notes.

Nobue was tracking Togashi Akuro, a renegade ise zumi who went mad after seeing a vision of the future. Her assistant in the search was Kakita Kumpei, an artisan who, unknown to the brothers at that time, was actually an accessory to Akuro and helped him to murder the three monks. Kumpei sent them into a trap on a deserted island, the brothers fought free of a house that was collapsed upon them after finding the missing monks skinned in its' basement. Renzo intimidated and fought off the bandits on the island while Atemi was able to agressively drown several bandit shugenja and follow a third to their deserted island, where he tackled him into a fire, allowing Renzo to finish him off.

On the island, after travelling along a river with older and older carvings, the brothers were finally able to discover what had become of the monk's skins. They had been stitched together and used as a canvas to create a time portal between the island and Otosan Uchi of the past.

The brothers emerge from the painting in time for Renzo to save a young nobleman from being killed by his Seppun bodyguard, thus beginning the legend of the Greatest Swordsman in All Rokugan. The man, they soon learned, was Emperor Hantei....the sixth!

With the blood of Togashi powering a Kakita artisan painting, Akuro and Kumpei had created a portal to the Imperial Palace in teh year 400, when the Emperor was a puppet, gaijin were a common sight, and the gozoku rule of three Clan Daimyo determined the fate of the empire. Hantei Kusada did not seem nearly as important at court as the corpulent Bayushi Atsuki, the young Doji Tomeko, and her champion Seikidera, and the war hawk SHiba Katsutoshi, the Phoenix behind the ruthless recent purges of the gaijin.

The Brothers tried to keep their secret from the nobles even after being lauded with accolades by the Emperor and becoming the talk of the court. They realized that anything they say or do could warp Rokugan's past, and even themselves, causing instability in their timelines. Worse, the painting's magic had decayed when the Brothers found it, meaning that Akuro arrived a week earlier. After currying favor with the court and the Gozoku, finding the court of this time much different from the refinement of their own, they are able to deduce that Akuro had taken the appearance of Shosuro Matsuo, the right-hand man of the Scorpion daimyo, Bayushi Atsuki. After searching the eta village and discovering the corrupt bodyguard, Seppun Ushimo, revealed that a second traitor urged him into it: Gusai Iami, a Mantis Bushi financially hurt by the recent purge of Gaijin and a previous incarnation of the difficult Storm Legion captain that the brothers had encountered in the present.

The brothers learn from the Crane Champion Doji Sekidera that the false Matsuo was heading to a small hunting-lodge castle called Shiro Izumida. While Hanzo and Renzo attempted to repair the damage done to the Seppun family and ensure they will still be the bodyguards of the Emperor, the other brothers scouted Izumida and found scraps Akuro stole from the Ikoma library six hundred years in the future...the entire outline of the Rokugani strategy for the battle of White Stag.

The Brothers realize that if they say and do nothing, Rokugan is doomed to fall to the gaijin.

They see a Gaijin horde marching up the coast, while Gusai Iami forms an alliance that will let the cannons of the gaijin bombard Otosan Uchi unopposed.

While the brothers attempted to organize a defense, Doji Seikidera, the Crane Champion who history books say was instrumental in gathering a merchant fleet to win the battle, has left court to talk peace with the foreign sailors. The Brothers race to retrieve him but Akuro knows just where he will be and as the brothers catch up with Seikidera's ship, Akuro, Iami, and a pack of Mantis betrayers shoot Seikidera dead. Atemi holds Akuro, enduring his spider tattoo, while Renzo kills him, furthering his legend.

All hope seems lost, but the brothers devise a desperate plan, managing to stop the horde on land, convincing Seikidera's brother to take his place in the merchant fleets, the Mantis were convinced that allying with the Gaijin was folly, and manage to save Isawa Asahinia to boot. Finally through the smoke and cannon fire they manage to keep history more or less intact, and force him to paint them a way back home, refusing honors, accolades, and rewards that would alter the history of Rokugan.

Upon arrival, they find Rokugan more or less as they left it, with one important difference. It seems that their Scorpion mother was lost in the forest and was presumed dead several years ago.

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Jacob
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:32 pm    Post subject: What is in a Name? Reply with quote

After returning to the present, several months pass. Until one fateful day wen a wandering Sohei arrived ad Kyuden Kuroganehana amidst dark tidings from Togashi castle. Hanzo, encountering Doji Ronshuko in a clandestine meeting with Doji Ninku, exchanging pleasantries while his brothers look on. Suddenly they are distracted by a disturbance at the gate. A wandering monk had arrived during the night and was begging entrance. Isshou granted it, and Matsukaze, interested with this wanderer, arranged to meet him tomorrow.

Ninku sent a message to Renzo, clearly influenced by Ronshuko the night before, requesting a Crane Clan member be appointed Chief Artisan of the castle. Before the brothers can deal with this latest foray by the Crane, they are called to the main hall of Seto palace to receive yet more newly arrived monks. They wear the tattoos like the Togashi but bear the name Kaze. Their leader, Togashi Kokujin, a tattooed monk whose skin appears almost blue with the swirl of ink, brutally kills a Togashi in front of the family, and demands that all Togashi, including Togashi Roukai, take the Kaze name or die. Horrified by this display the brothers debate what to do, as Roukai refuses to renounce the Togashi name, until Togashi Ume suggests what seems like a mad plan. He suggests the brothers head to Togashi Castle itself, insisting that it is the last place for which they will be looked, and that they will find help and answers there.

Though the brothers have misgivings, they set out along the road to what may be their brother Atemi's certain doom.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 6:43 pm    Post subject: Into the Dragon's Maw Reply with quote

Upon the road to Kyuden Kaze, hearts are heavy as the brothers debate whether this is the correct course of action. They encounter a terrible storm and happen upon an inn by the roadside, which contains several different members of different clans. The brothers take succor and shelter there for the evening. There is a murder during the night which Renzo is blamed by a Kakita duelist, who challenges Renzo. Renzo defeats him, barely, slaying him, but the Crane with him swears vengeance. When they return the body has mysteriously disappeared and the brothers continue on their way.

A few days later, nearing Kyuuden Kaze, they are surprised to find a golden eagle circling high above their debate who swiftly flies down and snatches the brother's travelling papers, taking them to the top of a nearby mountain. The brothers pursue, with Atemi falling into darkness and fighting an earth Kami with different colored crystals lodged into its back and the other brothers having to make their way up the mountainside through nests of Giant Wasps. It seems that the border between realms is weak here and Chikushudo, the realm of animals, has begun to bleed through. Atemi solves several puzzles and finds the eagle at the top of the stairway, almost urging him onward as it flies deeper into the mountain. Above, his brothers slide down into a large forest of Birch trees that Atemi emerges into. Inside this forest the trees scream and vibrate, forcing the brothers to sprint through into the darkness beyond. The stairs go both upwards and downwards, and the eagle leads them up. to find a giant snake has cornered the eagle's chick in a crack in the mountainous wall. The brothers vanquish the snake, but not before it lodges a giant fang in Tenchi. The eagle, grateful for the assistance, returns the brother's travel papers and they gather some feathers.

Before returning to their journeys, the brothers decide to take the stairwell down they had ignored before, and find it leads to a massive gate that they are able, through a combination of clever investigation and good luck, to unlock and enter. Inside they find an ancient city and a crystal prison holding a faceless black clawed horror that has taken the form of their mother. Shaken, the brothers recoil and return to their path, some will always wonder if that was in fact their mother, or if it was merely a trick of the creature yearning for freedom.

Upon reaching Kyuden Togashi, the brothers are issued into a waiting room where Togashi Hoshi sends a representative to intercept Roukai before he is brought before Kaze. In a cave deep below the castle the half-dragon imparts secrets to Roukai, telling him that Kaze's mind is being poisoned by Kokujin, the Obsidian Hand, and the spirit of Togashi all warring for dominane in his mind, and that the only way to stop it is to acquire the Artifacts of the Moon and bring them together, the moon's bones, blood, and mirror. Only together will they have the strength to challenge Kaze and perhaps save the Dragon Clan from him and him from himself.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:22 pm    Post subject: The Enemy Within Reply with quote

After a couple narrow escapes along the road, the brothers attempt to determine a plan of action once safely away from Kyuuden Kaze. They debate everything they've ever heard about Lord Moon and devise three possible courses of action: To attempt to gain access to the Imperial Archives during the upcoming Winter Court and research the artifacts, and perhaps the ritual, there. To seek spiritual help from a monk who is rumored to be on the Cusp of Enlightenment in Phoenix Lands, or attempt to discover and explore the "Ruins of the Moon", a rumored temple to Onnotangu legend situates in the Seikitsu Mountains that divide Northern and Southern Rokugan.

The brothers decide to seek the council of the Monk as that seems most attainable and closest to their current location. Along the road, they meet a Shiba Duelist who has heard of Kitsuki Renzo and challenges him to a duel which he quickly loses, but eventually they reach the village, which seems unnaturally hot. The village is by and responsible for a persimmon grove and in the mountains behind it they believe they will find the monk they seek. The peasants wear patchwork red and yellow "Boro", cloth sewn together from scraps too good to waste and are kind but wary. The brothers meet the head man, Kaki, and he welcomes them to the village. The village is a new one, and the brothers discover Hida Akane was here recently, bringing aide from her husband's clan to her old family, and that she often talked about how the village "Felt" strange. The heat wave that they are experiencing occurs every summer and is embraced by the villagers. Hanzo spends an enjoyable night drinking in a hot spring while Atemi witnesses a strange ritual in the Persimmon grove that appears to idolize Lord Moon, and discovers some bodies among the tree roots. After touching the black stone in the middle of the grove he wakes up buried in a thatch roof, with his brothers readying for departure.

They ascend the mountain, to find a small monastery with a very uncharacteristic monk who, after it becomes clear that the Brothers are seeking the Artifacts of the Moon or information related to them, effortlessly subdues the lot of them, binding them and torturing them with crystal-tipped iron implements for answers to why they seek this knowledge. After some unknowable sign, he releases the brothers and is willing to give them the answers they seek as well as an explanation for his actions. Hanzo and Renzo, unable to reconcile what they have just experienced with their own concepts of honor and Bushido, believe that their brothers are mad for listening to the monk and resolve to abandon them and attempt to find a way to put their skills to use for the Dragon that does not involve colluding with torturers. Without a word to their brothers they make ready their ponies and ride off to find the nearest Magistrate.

Meanwhile, within the monastery, the monk reveals himself to be significantly more than a monk. He apologizes for torturing them but cryptically states that the darkness must be sated, and that sometimes it can be subtle in others. He explains that he was once a high-ranking member of the Scorpion clan and that this was his post. He killed the previous monk and was here to intercept any who would use the artifacts of the moon for their own gain. But something had been happening to him for a long time. His arms pulsated with a dark writhing mark, and he recoiled from crystal. His visage flickered back and forth between blank nothingness, a geisha, a monk, and a young man. He explained that what was coming was bigger than any of them and that he did not know how much longer he could resist. He gave them his name, or what he thought was his name. He could no longer remember for sure. Nanashi.

Upon leaving the temple, Roukai, Yosho, and Matsukaze are struck by the absence of their brothers, and ride hard and long to find them. When they reunite, they are unwilling to speak to them or their plans and answer any questions with stony silence or deflections, but do not refuse to share their fire, although they do refuse to share their destination or plans, and refuse to listen to any information gained from Nanashi or help their brothers further. During the night, Bayushi Sozui arrives and offers Roukai admission to the Emperor's Winter Court in exchange for a favor to be redeemed later. Roukai agrees, to the horror of Hanzo and Renzo in the morning. Thinking their brothers have gone mad they argue, with Roukai making impassioned arguments of brotherly love and loyalty, and Renzo refusing any debate. Roukai reasons that Winter Court is the best place to be to help their clan and complete the misson given to them by Togashi Hoshi, and that they will need Hanzo and Renzo at court. Hanzo and Renzo argue that their courses are now set and there is no changing them. Roukai, Yosho, and Matsukaze resolve to follow Hanzo and Renzo, helpless with their Winter Court invitation and indebted to the Scorpion Clan, desperately trying to change their minds.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2016 7:43 pm    Post subject: Servants of Darkness Reply with quote

Still refusing to share their plan with their brothers, Hanzo and Renzo continue toward Violence Behind Courtliness city, the closest place where they will be able to carry out their plan. Upon arrival, they realize their lack of travel papers will be a problem, as they refuse to use the papers provided by the Scorpion, hoping that at least will spare them somewhat from personal obligation to the Emperor's Left Hand.

They hope to report to the local Emerald Magistrate, as they must as samurai arriving in a large holding, but are rebuffed by the Magistrate's Karo. After some maneuvering they learn that the Magistrate's interest is currently tied up in a Dragon ship that will not submit its manifest for inspection, and the captain will not leave. Hanzo and Renzo offer to help the magistrate with her problem in exchange for an expedited appointment and head down to the docks. They meet the local dockmistress and her Doji guardsman outside the ship and offer their assistance. They are brusquely told to try their luck and the dockmistress and her entourage leave.

Inspecting the ship the brothers find nothing unusual, and Renzo stands on the dock, refusing to work with any of his brothers. However once Hanzo, Matsukaze, and Roukai manage to break the lock below decks they find the Captain, suspicious that they are agents come to steal his cargo. He throws a clear prism to them each in turn before trusting them as "True Dragon" and passing off his cargo: A large, sealed scroll case with a hastily scrolled note on the outside: "DO NOT READ THIS". At this point the "Dock-mistress" returned and asked Renzo to accompany her back to her offices, Renzo stepped off the barge and pushed it off into the river, setting his brothers adrift and perhaps finally getting rid of them. Meeting up with Yosho on the way back to the dock offices, Renzo and Yosho are attacked by the "dock-mistress" who has turned into a faceless horror. They are just barely able to kill her with a crystal letter-opener when more guards burst in and ask what they are doing in the office holding a weapon with a dead official behind them.

The guards waiting on the dock however, jumped to the barge, revealing themselves as horrors as well, and attack the three brothers, downing Matsukaze in a single crushing blow to his shoulder. When it seems they are about to be killed by these creatures, the barge slams into the riverbank, throwing the monsters into the water and allowing the barge to continue downstream.

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