Emperor: The 4th year of the reign of Hantei XXXIX
Emerald Champion: None
Clan Champions: Hida Kisada (Crab), Kakita Yoshi (Crane), Togashi Yokuni (Dragon), Matsu Tsuko (Lion), Shiba Ujimitsu (Phoenix), Bayushi Shoju (Scorpion)
The Toritaka have been exploring the Shinomen Mori in the hopes of finding what had been moving around within. Their explorations discover an ancient city within the forest but the Toritaka are attacked and only a single samurai manages to escape. He brings tales of a race of serpent people living within the forest who attacked his group
Mirumoto Takishi, Kitsuki Smith and Kuni Matsuda discover that Miya Hiroji was searching for documents that detailed an unknown indiscretion by an early member of the Hantei family. Hiroji had found the last part of the document, held by a Mantis named Zhao, but Zhao demanded that Hiroji manipulate the Crane and Phoenix into a border dispute, distracting the Crane from their taxation of Mantis fleets. The discovered the plot with the help of an Ikoma Spymaster named Ikoma Teiko who ensured that the documents were destroyed to prevent shame falling on the current Emperor.
Hantei Sotorii announces to the assembled courtiers in Otosan Uchi that, one year from today a tournament will be held to determine the next Emerald Champion.
Yakamo gives orders to his men to begin preparing to march against the Dragon in response to Mirumoto Hitomi’s actions the previous year. Yakamo has not been seen outside of Kuni Yori’s fortress in months, and many believe that Yori has come up with a way of returning Yakamo’s hand.
Needing to get into Ryoko Owari to search for Kitsuki Smith’s father, the Magistrates called on the aid of Shosuro Rei. She managed to get them attached to Asako Meharu’s team that were investigating hauntings in the former Hare clan lands. There they found that the ghost of Usagi Oda had arisen, worried for the safety of his family, and that a group of people had been recently searching amongst the ruins of Usagi Castle. It was discovered that many of the recent hauntings were actually the work of a maho-tsukai member of the conspiracy, and, after confronting him within the Shinomen Mori, the magistrates discovered that the conspiracy was maintaining surveillance on Usagi lands for the return of Usagi Ozaki.
The problems in Usagi lands solved, the magistrates found themselves assigned to Ryoko Owari on a full time basis. After an encounter with Kitsuki Smith’s father that resulted in Smith walking into a room trapped with gaijin explosives, the magistrates began tracking down who may have set up the trap. On their second day as the city magistrates, their attention was drawn to the arrival of a Kaiu samurai afflicted with the Shadowlands taint. He claimed that the ghost of his ancestor had appeared to him and was urging him to find and destroy a map that lead to a fortune in jade.
A merchant named Bokusei was also searching for the map and, with the help of the magistrates, he was tracked to Teardrop Island. During a fight with Bokusei’s bodyguards, Kaiu Joji went berserk and started calling upon the taint within him to enhance his attacks, forcing the magistrates to kill him. After speaking to Shosuro Mina, whose ancestor was believed to have last owned the map, the magistrates found the map within Shosuro Sanzo’s tomb. The ghost of Sanzo appeared and made Mirumoto Takishi swear to protect the map from harm.
During this period, shugenja across Rokugan were awoken during the night by a ripple in the magical forces they utilised. Similar to the ripple felt a few years previously, shugenja find it harder to communicate with the kami for some time afterwards.
During a meeting of court in Kyuden Kitsune, Ryosei, daughter of Kitsune Gohei, the Fox Clan Daimyo, arrived bearing the lost sword of the Fox Clan. She claimed to have found it within a trapped set of caves north of Otosan Uchi. Presenting it to her father he proclaimed that she had passed her gempukku and retired to his quarters. That evening, Ryosei was woken by the ripple of magical energy felt across Rokugan. Rushing to see her father she found him surrounded by the dead bodies of twelve guests of the court.
As she stared on in horror, her father turned to face her, his face twisted and misshapen. In one hand he held the ancestral sword, in the other an ancient scroll that had been hidden within the sword. Ryosei attempted to kill the monster her father had become but he was possessed of dark powers and the abilities of those he had killed. Ryosei was saved a similar death by the actions of a Kitsune spirit teleporting her away. By the time Ryosei had summoned the guards, Gohei had gone. The following day, Ryosei officially proclaimed herself the new Daimyo of the Fox and vowed to find her father.
Nearly a year after departing Phoenix lands, Isawa Tadaka returns to Kyuden Isawa. Shortly afterwards the five Elemental Masters retire to discuss Tadaka’s findings. Those that suspected Tadaka of journeying into the Shadowlands note that, upon his return, he now wears a mask covering the majority of his face, and wonder what he may have learned.
During the annual Bon Festival, the magistrates discover a plot by the Cult of Lord Moon to destroy the city’s Temple to Lady Sun. A Scorpion merchant had stolen a crate of magical porcelain masks belonging to the cult, and the Cult had unleashed an Oni on the city to track down the maho artefacts. The magistrates were able to defeat the Oni but were unable to prevent the Cult from retrieving the masks and using them to raise an army of the dead. At the Temple of the Sun, the magistrates were able to defeat the head cultist, Isawa Orimono, and triggered the city’s sun globe, ending the undead threat.
The magistrates found a larger porcelain mask in Orimono’s satchel. Unable to destroy it, it was taken by Kuni Nisei to Crab lands to see if Kuni Yori could destroy the artefact.
Fade, the bandit that had been attacking Scorpion holdings for the last few years, attacked key sites in Ryoko Owari’s opium trade. However, unlike his usual tactics, Fade framed the other Opium Cartels for the attacks, sparking a war for control of the city. The magistrates were able to obtain confessions from key individuals in the Soshi cartel, destroying their opium trade while Soshuro Hyobu removed the Bayushi Cartel’s license to store medicinal opium. Once the dust had settled, Hyobu held sole control of the Opium trade in Ryoko Owari.
Returning to quarters, Kitsuki Smith was confronted by Fade, who revealed himself to be his long missing father. Fade revealed that he had started this war against the Scorpion because he wanted to hide his real target, the head of the Soshi cartel, Soshi Seiryoku. Fade revealed that Seiryoku was a member of the conspiracy that the magistrates had been hunting and provided a name for this group: The Kolat. He confirmed that the Kolat was a criminal organization that sought to take control of the Empire using underhanded means.
The magistrates, unable to find any legal ways of apprehending Seiryoku, contacted Soshuro Rei to help find evidence. Rei confirmed that she needed the magistrates to switch their focus to finding Usagi Ozaki as there had been recent developments in that case.
The armies of Hida Yakamo march on Dragon lands in revenge for Mirumoto Hitomi’s actions. Hitomi leads her Dragon forces and the two armies clash on the Otaku Plains. Despite the brute force of the Crab armies, the finesse of the Dragon armies combined with the magic’s of the Agasha proves stronger. However, during the fighting, shugenja on both sides find their spells failing. The Crab bushi push forward and the Yakamo and Hitomi meet on the battlefield.
To Hitomi’s surprise, Yakamo has found a replacement for his hand – in its place now lays a huge crab-like claw, obviously the work of some dark magic. The two fight but Yakamo uses his claw to crush Hitomi’s right hand, destroying the Ancestral Sword of the Dragon at the same time. With the Dragon armies faltering, Yakamo pushes forward, leaving Hitomi to bleed to death on the battlefield.
With the loss of their magic and their commander lost on the battlefield, the Dragons faced defeat. However, the battle was saved by the sudden arrival of Toturi and Hoturi, leading their army of Ronin. The former Akodo and Doji warriors were able to force the armies of the Crab out of the Dragon territories. With winter fast approaching, Yakamo returned to Yori’s fortress to plan his next attacks.
The Dragon shugenja that survived the battle report having felt a series of three ripples in the magical forces they command, similar to those felt in previous years. For days after the battle, their prayers to the kami go unanswered. With the loss of Hitomi, her brother, Mirumoto Daini takes control of the Dragon armies.
While the Northern Crab forces attacked the Dragon, Crab scouts report a large army of oni, ogres and goblins attacking the wall. The ripples felt by the shugenja seem to whip the shadowlands creatures into a battle frenzy and their forces assault the Crab forces nonstop for five days. Fortunately for Rokugan, the wall holds but the Crab suffers huge losses of life.