- Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 40.
- Mid Spring (Month of the Dragon).
As the Samurai gather themselves up, and hand off the city to their subordinates, Tonbo Naoki pleads with his sister Tonbo Suzume not to leave because he doesn’t want to loose her. They liberate a finger of jade for each samurai from the stores as they prepare to head out.
Bayushi Kenzo receives a missive and says that he must remain behind by a day or so, and the Governor allows him to be delayed.
The rest of the Samurai then head off into a constant drizzling rain, and take refuge in High Slope Farms and stay in Kisuki Riku’s keep. they have dinner with the local lords there, each jockeying as Lord’s do for the honor of serving in better positions and promising their youths to training in Toi Koku‘s dojo. Kistuki Rikujou offer’s her eldest son who is training to become a Justicar to take over as lord of Great Fall Mines, but is rebuked for the time being. Rikujou says she will send her son to the dojo in a few months, while Mirumoto Rando says that his children are almost of age, and at least one of his two children shall attend. The next day the band departs for the Great Fall, and the rain seems to pass into the south. Suzume’s practice of throwing stones suggests bad fortune lays ahead.
As the band of samurai climb from the low hills of the Dragon lands into the Great Falls, they can see that much of the area is locked in the chill of winter ice which will not thaw until summer. The going is rough and hard, and the group is forced to slow due to the pace of those who are not used to the rigors of mountain climbing and hiking. The snow drifts often get to knee height, which is fortunate due to the snow fall’s slow rate Mirumoto Kinji is able to find two strong set of tracks with a few minor ones. One which is almost a month old told of a great many of creatures passed through, only able to tell from their deep drift they made. A second one, much fresher seems to have moved down the mountain slope, and with not as many within it’s band. A few looser light tracks can be found but they could be game or others who scouted ahead. Kinji rightfully thinks that the large drift heading in was Yoku’s unit, but he is unsure who left in such numbers. Hoshi Ryojiro feels that the answers they need lay within Great Fall and so the samurai pass deeper into the snows.
Suzume’s fortunes suggest deception then lay ahead, the day before they encounter another band of samurai that are searching through a valley floor, unearthing objects from the snow. Kinji can spot that the group is in Dragon armor, and sees no good way to sneak up on the group which is remaining in a military formation. Ryojiro decides to go confront the Dragon, and the band prepares for the worst.
The larger unit spots them, and they form up preparing for an assault all their own. Their leader separates and wades though the snow towards the smaller band of samurai from Toi Koku. The leader of the Dragon bushi stops in shouting distance and he and Ryojiro exchange some tense words, they exchange some pieces of jade and that action immediately eases the situation.
The two groups quickly combined their information and join forces. It turns out Mirumoto Kushin, one of Mirumoto Yoku‘s lieutenants was leading the southern group of bushi that was to wait for a single that never came. They waited until their stores of food were naught, and then dislodged themselves from their perch to look for signs of what happened to the other two groups. The moved back to this valley, which is where the main camp was. Along the way they found a band of their brothers, but they didn’t know their own names or the name of Yoku so Kushin ordered them fired upon with arrows, and saw things moving under the nameless bushi’s skins. So he set fire to their corpses, and rushed down. They found signs of a battle, and have been picking through the area trying to reclaim fallen blades and burn the bodies of the dead without touching them. They just had found a cave, and knowing form Yoku’s own words, half of the Toi Koku bushi went to investigate while the rest opened their packs and handed out food to the starving Dragon.
A quick survey of the cave found that Yoku’s revelations were accurate, it would seem a bear’s corpse lay on the ground, its wounds show signs of a black fine powder flowing from them. The cave was filled with blood, but no bodies, and ruined gear scattered all about, once more confirming Yoku’s strange story.
Suzume then contacts the Water Kami, and is shown a fantastic series of visions where Yoku’s main unit was assaulted during the night by the Northern unit, and the worms were within them. During the battle, an older man was there, wearing peasant cloths who was using blood magic. When the danger had passed, he called out a small girl, in peasant clothes who had worms seeping out of her mouth, and the worms would crawl into the corpses of the dead and reanimate them, then they left heading down the valley.
Ryojiro then unites the two groups and travels south, and knowing that the Dragon were starving, Isawa Nozomi draws what food she can from her prayers. They then head towards Distant Fall Village, needing to get more food to allow Kushin’s unit to return to it’s duty. So they climbed the side of a mountain and found a village resting in the cup of an extinct caldera.
When they arrived to Distant Fall Village they saw the village getting ready for evening, as farmers left their fields and shepherds took their herds into their pens, and eta spreading night soil and worms into the fields. They also saw a few Dragon samurai standing about the city, and as they got closer Kitsuki Sanpo, the long lost traveling magistrate approached the group. The samurai of Toi Koku told him of their plight, and he briefly explained the plight of the village, and that a sickness is in the village. He has had to stay and maintain order, and that the infected are being held in the old mines. However, first he sees to the feeding of the Dragon, and takes them to the tavern.
There the dragon are being served fried rice and eggs while being served sake, and Kushin’s group tucked in. Sanpo then took Ryojiro’s group to the mines. He explains that the sick have been held here for a while, and when they arrived, they found two Dragon bushi standing at the door of a pen where a few peasants are bound with ropes and worms are burrowing into their skin. They look sick and near death.
The group is shocked and still talk to Sanpo, asking him if he sees what is happening her. Sanpo explains that as a Kitsuki he was aware something was amiss, but he never saw the worms in his food. When he died, he already knew it was too late. With that confession, the two groups attacked one another. The shugenja purified the corpses of their kinsmen with jade bolts, and in one terrible display Agasha Nyokazu saw what lay under the skin, a colony of worms moving in unison, making the bodies move, and trying to repair flesh. Something that sickened him.
The battle was over briefly, and then from somewhere in the cave, they heard many voices calling out as a single consciousness, telling them that it is sad that they had to stop playing village so quickly with them. But it will wait for them to come out, and have more fun and play.
The samurai worked quickly to save the peasant,s and pulled the worms from the sick, and began to think of a plan…