While the samurai of Tio Koku are dealing with force’s largely greater then themselves, it does not mean that this is the only story worth telling. There are other’s in the Empire that struggle to see the Empire restored to her former glory and to see the Dragon rise to new heights in the name of their Champion. This is one such tale…
Kitsuki Suko leads a band of Dragon across the northern Empire to give aid to the Imperial City after its earthquake. Within his followers are healers, craftsmen, and a number of guardians.
On the band’s way they find the roads are closed off because Otomo Banu is having the roads cleared for his passing. So diverted through the Pheonix lands, where they find Kitsu Motso and Isawa Daizu arguing about Otomo Banu, Motso then leaves the argument promising war within one month’s time.
Jitsuna Jomiico and Jistuna Kyoten discover that Agasha Gennai has sold the recipe of Dragon fireworks works. They inform Agasha Togusa who confronts the thought to be dead Gennai, and a struggle ensues that results in Gennai’s death and the work reclaimed. Shiba Ekei is convinced to purge the city, which he does but it darkens his soul dramatically.
While passing into the Moshi lands, the group is assaulted by goblins, who manage to kill Commander Suko and a healer named Nozomi Masatoo. Murimoto Satomi takes command, and she leads them through the new Mantis territory towards the Seppun lands. There Otomo Suki becomes involved in a plot to turn a meeting of Seppun against Banu. Jomiico however scores a major win and discovers the Seppun Family’s plans for the future.
Meanwhile Togusa comes to realize that Kasuga Manabu seems to have been smuggling the stolen fireworks for years, and goes to the capital intending to set things right.
When the band arrives to the Capital city they do find it is in a half ruined state, never having fully recovered from the Clan Wars, and now the earthquake. However more distressing they find Tamori Shaitung, their ambassador and the one day Agasha leader is turned against them. Forced out of the inner city, they make due and start making waves and allies.
Over the course of the next few weeks, each of them makes a great name for themselves, they restore their relationship with Tamori Shaitung and are all quickly becoming enamored by the courts, however they find that the city is a nest of rumors and that the slightest misstep or comments are leading to war or death.
Kyoten and Jomiico have found themselves in the middle of the Mantis and Scorpion war, which has become bloody and the Lion who are in control allow it to continue. They side with the Scorpion privately, while backing the Mantis publicly. They do back Tsuruchi Hiro and Tsuruchi Nobumoto who wish to form a society of Clan magistrates to act as Emerald Magistrates until an Emperor is named. They also discover the traces of the lying dakrness and try and figure out how Suzume Roshi is being used.
Meanwhile Otomo Suki managed to manipulate Kakita Yoshi and convince him to give his position of Imperial Adviser to her aunt Otomo Hoku.
Agasha Togusa not only had his revenge, but managed to land the Clan a prominent shop along the most prestigious walk in all of the Empire selling fireworks. He also discovered a strange birth of a boy with tattoos who looks to have been born with them, and they are Lady Hitomi’s style of tattoos, and his eyes glow like hers. Hitomi Maya gives the child to Togusa to see to his care naming him Vedau.
Murimoto Satomi meanwhile discovered the hiding place of Togashi Hoshi, and was the first non-Hoshi to be made away of the birth of his son, and meet his wife. She laters convinces the Dragon and the Togashi and Hoshi to come together and celebrate this, healing old wounds between the three groups. She later then assists Asahina Keitaro, Asahina Sekawa, Doji Yasuyo and Isawa Fosuta find and defeat the last of the survivors of the Temple of Blood led by Asako Kinuye. Making her and the others legendary stars in the Capital.
As all of these successes mount, Seppun Daiori arrives in the capital, gives up his position of daimyo, and challenges Matsu Koetsu the Imperial Regent to a duel to prove himself worth of being Emperor, and he wins the duel. Daiori is very much a traditionalist, and wishes to roll back the Mantis, turn back the tides of the Crab now that the threat of invasion has passed, speaks of limiting the vassal families of Bayushi Goshiu and his children, and seeks to have each Great Clan send someone to challenge him. Many grow to respect and love the would be emperor. Matsu Koetsu sends most of the Lion away, and begin to hand over the capital, much to Ikoma Tsanuri‘s disapproval. However, tragedy strikes when Koetsu’s wife, the Matsu Daimyo and his heir are slain in their attack on the Phoenix at Honor Treaty City, although it is whispered that they were attacked from behind and their throats slit.
When Otomo Banu arrives the court is found split between himself and Daiori. Banu has even found a few allies torn between their allegiances. Banu however doesn’t let any of this bother him, he calls upon Doji Kurohito to be his Champion, a move that makes the Crane who had been siding with Daiori reserve their position. However, Daiori does throw a party, to welcome his distant cousin and to celebrate one more challenger. However, the party turns deadly when the Tsuruchi of the Mantis attack during a toast, slaying Daiori and a number of guests. The tensions within the court explode during this assassination and all of the guests seek out their enemies and have at it. As the court tears itself apart, Jitsuna Jomiico, Jistuna Kyoten and Agasha Togusa find the Lying Darkness is using the confusion to slay Bayushi Goshiu using Suzume Roshi’s likeness and Goshiu’s grandson, Bayushi Ogura, to act as the knives. The three of them manage to stop the Lying Darkness and gain the old Scoprion’s friendship.
Sadly Murimoto Satomi dies dueling Shiba Kai in a challenge of hand to hand combat. A shrine is made by Togashi Hoshi for her.
After the chaos, the Lion are expelled from the Capital for their failure, and Otomo Banu takes control of the Capital. Ceasing many hostages.