Kyuden Caerdydd

1128 - A New Oracle

A New Oracle

At the invite of Shosuro Rei, Kitsuki Smith, Mirumoto Takishi and Kuni Matsuda visit Kyuden Shosuro. Upon speaking to Shosuro Hametsu they discover that the Oracle of Fire had gone insane and was attacking Scorpion lands following a visit by Scorpion Courtiers. Suspicious of what the Scorpions may have done to anger the powerful Oracle, the magistrates investigated and found that the Oracle had fallen in love with one of the Scorpion courtiers and felt that his love had been stolen from him. The Oracle asked the magistrates to perform two deeds: return his lost love to him and find his chosen successor, a young eta gravedigger named Tomuko.

Unable to find the Scorpion courtier, the magistrates had better luck with the eta but were hounded by Scorpions who felt that the Oracle should not bestow his power to an eta, effectively giving the power of an elemental dragon to a non-person. Eventually returning to the Oracle’s home they were able to stop the object of the Oracles affection, Shosuro Shiriko, from plunging a magical dagger into the Oracle, draining his power into her. The Oracle, dying from the wound inflicted transferred his power to Tomoko and ascended to the Celestial Heavens. The new Oracle promised the magistrates they would not suffer retribution from the Scorpion for their actions.

The Hidden Conspiracy

Speaking to Shosuro Rei the magistrates were able to discover that Bayushi Tomaru, the man sent to retrieve the scroll from Hare lands had disappeared shortly afterwards. Usagi Tomoe, taken captive by Tomaru had also disappeared as well.

Unsure who to trust, the magistrates used their connection to the Oracle of Fire to answer some questions about the conspiracy.

Who is the master referred to in the message? – He is one of many but even I cannot percieve who they are. They are hidden by powerful magics – magic that has protected them for centuries from man’s view.

What level of involvement, if any, does Shosuro Rei have with the master’s conspiracy? – Rei suspects a conspiracy exists but knows not of the message’s content. She is no more a pawn of the conspiracy than yourselves?

Where is Kitsuki Smith’s father? – Ryoko Owari

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1127 - The Lost Sword

The Lost Sword

Kuni Matsuda, Mirumoto Takishi and Smith were sent invites by the Mantis Clan Champion, Yoritomo, to visit his islands to help solve their pirate problems. Over the last two years, the shipping lanes between the Mantis and the Crane had suffered a number of attacks from pirates. Within the last three months the attacks had increased in frequency and left no survivors to tell the tale.

Investigating the attacks, the magistrates discovered that they were the result of Matsu Shindoku paying local pirates to attack the ships. His plans involved planting evidence to lay the blame at the feet of the Crane, causing further problems for the clan. However, a complication occurred when local fishermen discovered an ancient katana in the waters of the local bay. Yoritomo discovered that the sword was the Lost Sword of Doji Yasuguri, and hoped to return it to the Crane to gain their favour in court. However, the ship carrying the sword was attacked by Shindoku’s pirates and the sword stolen. The samurai guarding the sword were all murdered and, having failed in their quest, returned as yorei. These spirits were the ones carrying out the current attacks, searching for their missing cargo.

The magistrates eventually discovered the pirate’s hideaway and managed to capture Shindoku. Attempting to return the sword to the Crane, their ship was attacked by the yorei and they were forced to hand over the sword to stop the attack. With the sword returned, the yorei returned to the land of the dead, and Yasuguri’s sword returned to the ocean’s depths. The magistrates received Yoritomo’s thanks for dealing with the piracy problems even though they were unable to save the sword for the Crane

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1126 - The Unicorn Clan Coup

The Tournament of the Emperor’s Favoured

Mirumoto Takishi, Kuni Matsuda and Shinjo Smith were invited to take part in the Tournament of the Emperor’s Favoured, an annual tournament organised by the minor clans to forge alliances between themselves and the major clans. Each minor clan hosted a single event, highlighting their specialities. The events were:

Badger: Jiujutsu

Centipede: Theology

Dragonfly: Divination

Falcon: Hunting

Fox: Healing

Hare: Athletics

Mantis: Armed Combat

Sparrow: Iaijutsu

Tortoise: Sadane

Wasp: Kyujutsu

At the end of the event, the top 8 contenders took part in a final challenge: to enter the Kitsune Mori and search for a hidden shrine. There they would find tokens representing the minor clans. The first person to return with one of these would be declared the tournament’s winner. Shinjo Smith was the first to enter the forest and emerged first, carrying the token of the Mantis Clan.

The Unicorn Clan Coup

Shinjo Yokatsu’s armies ride through Lion lands, leading many to believe he has decided to join them against the Crane. However, his target is the Imperial City of Otosan Uchi. He is confronted by Doji Satsume who challenges Yokatsu to a duel. Yokatsu cheats by having his men shoot Satsume with arrows before the duel. The city gates open for the Unicorn and the city’s mystical defences do not trigger. Yokatsu’s men quickly seal off the city, preventing anyone from leaving. Yokatsu enters the Imperial Courts and, in front of the assembled courtiers, kills Hantei the 38th. Yokatsu then provides his soldiers with a list of names with orders to kill everyone on the list.

Iuchi Karasu learns too late of his Clan Champion’s plans and sends word to Kuni Yori of the attack on Otosan Uchi. Yori in turn sends word to Yogo Junzo who is able to send Scorpion messengers to all the other clans. Yori also contacts Kuni Matsuda to warn him that Hantei Sotorii, who was the guest of honour at the Tournament of the Emperor’s Favoured, may be in danger. The magistrates manage to save Sotorii from Unicorn assassins and provide protection for the Emperor’s son until he can reach Crab lands.

The armies of the Great Clans converge on the Imperial City. The battle lasts for seven days with many casualties on both sides. The battle ends when Akodo Toturi manages to best Yokatsu in a duel. Their leader defeated, the remaining Unicorn flee to their lands.

The Coronation of Hantei the 39th

The threat of the Unicorn ended, Hantei Sotorii is officially declared Emperor. As his first edict, he banishes the Unicorn from the lands of Rokugan. The Crab will be gifted the Unicorn lands to protect the same way they protect their lands from the Shadowlands. Shinjo Smith and Iuchi Karasu are allowed to join other clans for their services to the Empire.

Hantei the 39th’s second edict is to address Akodo Toturi and Doji Hoturi. The Lion and Crane are supposed to protect the Emperor from harm, yet they allowed the war between their clans to distract them from their duty. Hantei the 39th strips the Akodo and Doji of their family names, and denies Toturi and Hoturi the right to seppuku. Toturi and Hoturi will be ronin, and all other members of their clans must either become ronin or join another family of their clan. Matsu Tsuko and Kakita Yoshi become Clan Champions of their respective clans.

Finally, after Kuni Yori declines the position, Hantei the 39th assigns Yogo Junzo the position of Imperial Advisor.

Togashi Yokuni

Before the Tournament of the Emperor’s Favoured, Yokuni appeared and spoke to Shinjo Smith. “It begins today – fate has brought you to this time and place and you will need to make a choice. You decision will either save or doom the empire. Choose well!” Smith was offered the chance to join Yokatsu’s troops by killing Sotorii, but Smith refused.

After Sotorii’s coronation, Yokuni appeared again. “The Empire is changed. The Unicorn’s actions have placed a new Emperor on the throne, but not the one they intended. I came to you months ago, and told you that you would lose everything. You family, clan and lands are all gone, yet you still live. Your honour is intact and you still hold the position of Imperial Magistrate.

“Your destiny is still yet to unfold. You will be called upon to protect the Empire from the greatest evil it has ever known. Before then you will have to make one final choice. The teachings of the Empire will tell you to do one thing, but you must do the opposite. Only once this choice has been made, will you be in a position to save the Empire from itself.”

Courtly Intrigue

As well as the death of Hantei the 38th, the Unicorn also killed anyone who was related to Hantei by blood. It is unknown why they would wish to do so, but they have attempted to eradicate all traces of the Hantei bloodline. Doji Satsume was killed by Yokatsu’s dishonourable actions, leaving the Empire without an Emerald Champion. Hantei the 39th allows Akodo Kage to keep his family name in recognition of his position as his father’s sensei.

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1126 - The Legacy

The Unicorn prepare

Word from Unicorn lands is that Shinjo Yokatsu has ordered all able bushi to begin training maneuvers at the City of the Rich Frog. Some say his forces will aid the Lion in defeating the Crane, while others claim that Crane courtiers have brokered a deal with Yokatsu to allow him to claim control of the neighbouring Lion lands.

The Crane / Lion War

Mirumoto Takishi, Shinjo Smith and Kuni Matsuda journeyed to Toshi Ranbo to provide a magistrate presence at peace talks between the Lion and the Crane. During the proceedings, the magistrates were visited by Tankenka (formerly known as Noshin – see The Battle of Kenson Gakka) Since they last met, Tankenka had been researching who had been manipulating this war and discovered Bayushi Sozui’s interference in a number of key events. Sozui had been seen in a nearby Kitsu library and Tankenka feared she would interfere in the peace talks.

A few hours later, the leader of the Lion delegates, Matsu Agame, requested permission to commit seppuku. Word around court was that he was being blackmailed about his relationship with the daughter of a Crane general. Sozui, dressed as a Crane solider, sabotaged the seppuku by killing Agame’s son resulting in the Lion attacking the Crane forces. During the fighting, a number of strange events occurred. The ghost of Akodo Arasou appeared to the magistrates, indicating they should go to his shrine immediately. There they found the dying body of Tankenka and evidence of a ritual performed by Sozui. At the same time, the Lion and Crane soldiers began behaving erratically, attacking their own forces, lost in the bloodlust of battle.

In an attempt to discover why Sozui had performed the ritual, the magistrates travelled to the Kitsu library at Swift Sword Castle. There, Matsuda found that the ritual used would have summoned spirits to Rokugan, but the specific rituals were missing. Before the theft could be investigated, the magistrates where drawn into a trap by Sozui’s assistant, Kitsu Goden.

Trapped in Meido, the realm of the dead, the magistrates found the ghost of Tankenka who explained what had occurred. Sozui had summoned the Legacy, a war band of spirits from Toshigoku. These spirits existed only to cause as much death as possible and were possessing the soldiers, forcing them to attack the nearest target. If these attacks continued, the Legacy would spread across the face of Rokugan, killing thousands. Tankenka explained that his assistant, Matsu Shimesu, had hidden the ritual scrolls in an outpost on the Plains of Battle and helped the magistrates return to Rokugan.

Hounded by Crane soldiers, the magistrates eventually recovered the ritual and found that to banish the Legacy, the ritual needed an epic battle and someone to lead the Legacy back to Toshigoku. Learning of a nearby battle at Shiro no Yojin, the magistrates began preparations for the ritual. As the Legacy began possessing the two armies, Sozui attempted to kill Matsuda before the ritual could be completed. Shinjo Smith managed to dive in front of Sozui’s attack and Takishi dealt a grevious blow, forcing Sozui to flee. In the final moments of the ritual, Akodo Arasou reappeared and sacrificed his place in the heavens to return the Legacy to Toshigoku.

The Aftermath

While the threat posed by the Legacy had been ended, the Crane and Lion are no closer to ending their war. The Crane were able to gain control of Shiro no Yojin during the battle but their hold of Toshi Ranbo is weakened due to their heavy loses there.

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1125 - Twilight's Battle

Twilight’s Battle

Mirumoto Takishi, Shinjo Smith and Kuni Matsuda, journey to Crab lands following a request from Togashi Yokuni to visit the Kaiu Wall. There they found that the commander in charge of the wall’s defence, Hiruma Makasu, was making several ill-informed decisions regarding the Empire’s defence. During a patrol of the Shadowlands, Makasu walked his men into an obvious ambush. They were able to escape but not without heavy casualties.

While Hida Shiroi went to fetch Hida Kisada to judge Makasu’s actions, the magistrates were sent into the Shadowlands again. There they discovered that the Shadowland’s forces, lead by a spawn of Oni-no-Akuma, were based out of Haikyo-no-Hiruma. Shortly afterwards, the Shadowlands assaulted the Kaiu wall and, despite the valiant efforts of the defenders, they were able to breach its defences. When all seemed lost, Hida Kisada arrived, giving the defenders time to prepare for the enemy’s final assault.

During the Battle for Shiro Kuni, Shinjo Smith managed to force back the goblin hordes by rallying the Crab soldiers, and destroying their means of climbing the castle walls. Mirumoto Takishi assaulted the threat posed by the numerous Oni and Ogre in the Shadowlands armies, killing a gigantic scorpion oni and Muago, the leader of the Ogre troops. Kuni Matsuda aided the Crab troops by providing much needed healing and bravely leaped at the opportunity to prevent the enemy from breaching the castle’s main gate. In the dying moments of battle, Takishi was forced to end Makasu’s life when the general attempted to open the gates to allow the Shadowlands Hordes to enter the castle.

After days of fighting, the enemy forces were defeated and repairs began on the Kaiu wall.

Togashi Yokuni

Following the successful defence of the Empire from the Shadowlands Horde, Takishi, Matsuda and Smith were all visited once more by Togashi Yokuni. Takishi and Matsuda were thanked for their work in protecting the wall and gifted with Crane and Crab tattoos respectively. Smith was given a panther tattoo, but Yokuni brought words of prophecy as well. “I am sorry. In the days to come, you will lose everything” After Yokuni had gone, Smith discovered he had a second tattoo, a kanji representing the word “Thunder”

The Crab and the Unicorn

The head of the Yasuki family, Yasuki Taka, was seen visiting Unicorn lands this spring. As with much of Taka’s dealings, it is difficult to find information on what he wished to discuss with Yokatsu, but, considering the Yasuki clan’s reputation as merchants, it is likely to do with organising trade routes between the two clans.

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1125 - The Darkfever Plague

The Darkfever Plague

Shinjo Smith, Mirumoto Takishi and Kuni Matsuda, together with a large group of junior magistrates, were sent to Phoenix lands after an outbreak of a mysterious disease. The disease, soon known as the Darkfever, caused horrible nightmares and slow painful deaths for all infected. Upon arrival at Kyuden Isawa, the magistrates discovered that the disease was being spread by shugenjas calling on the kami. An ancient scroll details events 200 years previous when Isawa Kuzushi summoned an oni to learn its secrets. The oni managed to overpower Kuzushi and destroy large areas of Phoenix lands before being banished.

Eventually, it was discovered that a decendent of Kuzushi, Isawa Aruka had been tricked by Kuzushi into returning to the site of the original summoning. There, Kuzushi possessed his decendant and began preparations for his return. The Darkfever was the result of Kuzushi’s spells used to open a portal to Jigoku. The magistrates managed to kill Aruka, severing Kuzushi’s link to Rokugan and ending the threat of the plague.

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1124 - The Courtship of Otomo Yoroshiku

The Setsuban Festival

Each year during the last days of autumn, hundreds of Shugenja gather at the Shrine of the Ki-Rin to take part in a grand tournament. The prize is a chest containing one scroll from each of the shugenja schools of the empire – a prize anyone would be proud to have. Mirumoto Takishi and Shinjo Smith were given the duty to protect the chest by Shinjo Gidayu, a Unicorn Daimyo. A band of ronin, lead by a man named Niban, stole the chest and managed to broker a deal with the magistrates to allow Koan, a ronin shugenja, to enter the tournament.

Winter Court

This year, the Emperor had announced that his niece, Otomo Yoroshiku, was eligible for marriage. As the second in line for the Emerald Throne, anyone who married her would hold considerable power. Over the course of the Winter Court, many suitors attempted to win her hand, including Shinjo Smith and Mirumoto Ryuden (Takishi’s Daimyo). During the court, Shiba Himitsu loudly made accusations about Yoroshiku’s lineage. Ryuden challenged Himitsu to a duel which Himitsu accepted for the following day. However, during the night, Himitsu is murdered and testimony from several guests puts Ryuden at the murder scene.

The Magistrates investigation discovers that one of Yoroshiku’s handmaidens has become corrupted in some way, turning into a shape-shifting monster. With the help of Shosuro Tage, they track the creature to the basement and kill it. Before its body crumbles to dust, its features dissolved leaving a blank face. Realising that if they we’re to reveal to the court that this creature was associated with Yoroshiku, it would bring great shame on her, and, by extension, the Emperor himself. Ryuden decides that the honourable thing to do is to accept the blame and commit seppuku, avoiding any shame on the Emperor.

Additional Information

Himitsu had come into possession of information regarding Yoroshiku’s true lineage. 16 years previously, Shinjo Gidayu had an affair and Yoroshiku was the result. Gidayu had committed a grave crime in stealing an heir from the Emperor. Gidayu’s karo, who had helped deliver the child, was commanded by his Daimyo to commit seppuku to prevent anyone knowing of the crime. The karo refused and fled Unicorn lands, eventually taking the name Niban. It was Niban who provided the information to Shiba Himitsu.

Courtly Intrigue

At the end of the Winter Courts this year, it is announced that Otomo Yoroshiku and Mirumoto Hanzu will be married in the spring. The marriage promises to bring considerable political power to the Dragon Clan.

The Crane

With his clan at war with the Lion, Doji Satsume realises that he cannot continue to be Crane champion and Emerald Champion. This winter he relinquishes control of he Crane clan to his son, Doji Hoturi. Many see this as a shred move, as Hoturi was childhood friends with Akodo Toturi. It is hoped that their friendship may help end this war

The Scorpion

Following on from last years meetings between Yogo Junzo and Kuni Yori, this year Junzo travels to Crab lands. Word around the courts is that Junzo travelled with a larger than normal group of samurai and that his group were carrying some sort of artefact for Yori’s attention.

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1123 - The Battle for Kenson Gakka

The Battle For Kenson Gakka

Mirumoto Takishi, Shinjo Smith and Kuni Matsuda accompanied Kitsuki Kaagi to the Festival of the Humble Turtle, held each year in the Lion town of Kenson Gakka. The festivities were disturbed by a number of bad omens and strange occurances. It became clear that a number of key members of the Daymio’s court were acting strangely, including the Lion General Akodo Ikare. When Ikare’s son was kidnapped, clues at the scene implicated the local monks, and Ikare promptly rode out and order their slaughter. Some of these monks managed to escape to nearby Scorpion lands and an army soon appeared, demanding that the Lion hand over Kenson Gakka due to Ikare’s actions. Knowing his forces would be unable to win the fight, Matsu Kioma ordered Kenson Gakka to be abandoned.

Additional Information

The magistrates noticed that a number of people at the festival had a tattoo at the base of their necks. Akodo Ikare, his personal guards and a number of the monks killed by Ikare all had these marks. It was discovered that there were numerous undergound tunnels beneath Kenson Gakka – as the town was built by the Scorpion it was likely they would know how to exploit these to allow easy access to the town. It was this knowledge that forced Kioma to abandon the holding.

To complicate matters, the leader of the monks, a man named Noshin, had been possessed by the kami of the local river. This lead to him achieving a form of enlightenment that allowed him to discern some of what was occuring at Kenson Gakka. He survived Ikare’s attack and, together with the Zokujin Kakera, he seeks a way of returning the kami to its rightful place

The Battle on the Plains of Gaiju Shindai

In retaliation for Ikare’s actions, the Crane attack the Lion and the two armies meet on the Plains of Gaiju Shindai. Over 500 samurai are lost in battle between the two armies.

Courtly Intrigue

When Ikare ordered the slaughter of the monks, amongst their numbers were visiting Crane monks who had come for the festivities. Ikare’s actions are branded as cowardly and bring great dishonour to his family. At this years Winter Court, tensions between the two clans are high as negotiators attempt to broker peace.

The Crab and the Scorpion

During the Winter Court festivities a number of meetings are arranged between the daymios of the Kuni and Yogo families (Kuni Yori and Yogo Junzo). It is not known what the two could be discussing but rumours circulate that its must have something to do with the Shadowlands.

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1122 - The Disappearance of Kakita Hachi

The Disappearance of Kakita Hachi

Shinjo Smith, Mirumoto Takishi and Kuni Matsuda are dispatched by Kakita Hojin to investigate the disappearance of Kakita Hachi, a courtier in Matsu Ino’s court. Initial investigations indicate that Hachi had run away with his lover, a Scorpion courtier named Shosuro Kujiko. However, after investigating sightings of a blood-covered ghost, they discovered that Hachi, under orders from Hojin, had killed Kujiko to prevent information linking Hojin to Ino’s betrayal of his brother.

The magistrates found Hachi in the nearby monastery and, after hearing his testimony, aided the dying man to commit sepuku. Reporting back to Hojin, the magistrates chose to report only that Hachi had joined the monastery.

Additional Information

Returning from Ino’s lands, the magistrates encountered Bayushi Yojiro who explained that Kujiko was his cousin and he thanked them for determining what had occurred. A month after the investigation into Hachi’s disappearance, both Matsu Ino and Kakita Hojin were found dead in their living quarters. No witnesses saw who killed the two Daimyos and no evidence was found to indicate who may have done this.

Courtly Intrigue

Word from the Crab courts is that Hida Kisada is displeased with the way the Emperor is dealing with the Crane and Lion situation. Kisada believes that the two clans should be allowed to fight and settle their differences.

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1121 - Murder at Kyotei Castle

Magistrate Graduation

Shinjo Smith and Mirumoto Takishi, having completed their training the previous winter, are amongst the latest recruits to join Doji Satsume’s Emerald Magistrates. Other graduates this year include Kakita Ukyo, Bayushi Sugai and Kuni Matsuda.

Murder at Kyotei Castle

Shinjo Smith, Mirumoto Takishi and Kuni Matsuda are assigned to travel with Daidoji Uji, the Daidoji Family Daimyo, to the holdings of the Tsume vassal family for the upcoming Bon Festival. Tsume Retsu, the Tsume Daimyo, is murdered after the festival, and suspicion falls upon the other local Daimyos, all who have had recent problems with Retsu. The magistrates uncover the tale of how Retsu forcefully took Kyotei Castle from its previous owner; a Lion Daimyo called Damasu Kojima, killed his sons and sold his daughter into slavery. It was discovered that a local geisha called Reika, claiming to be Kojima’s daughter, is responsible for the murder.

Additional information

The magistrates were able to bring both Reika and her protector, the ronin Itto to justice. Itto claimed to be a former Damasu samurai and had told Reika of her heritage. Further questioning of Itto before his execution revealed that he had been able to track Damasu’s daughter to the geisha house using information bought from a Scorpion merchant who used to live in Chikuzen village. The validity of this information cannot be determined.

Courtly Intrigue

While it cannot be conclusively proven that Reika was Kojima’s daughter, there are those amongst the Crane that see Retsu’s murder as a further sign of Lion aggression against their clan. Matsu Tsuko petitions the Emperor to allow war between the two clans, but the Emperor refuses.

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