Shattered Empire: In the Shadows of the Dragon Mountains

Prelude to the New Regime
Chapter 4: The Center Will Not Hold
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of ???.
  • Year 1145 early Spring

With the great changes over the Shinjitsu Province a new set of leaders arrives within Toi Koku.

All join the remaining leaders of the community:

The two groups learn to work together, as the Governor turns the city upside down following a rumor of a riddle, Hanzo and Munemori design the city to their ideals, Maemi battles with the criminal element and walks away with a bloody nose, Shen visits and then departs for the capital to finish his training.

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Year 1143 (late summer) to Year 1145
Chapter 4: The Center Will Not Hold

Year 1143

  • The Dragon and Pheonix skirmish over the death of Naka Kuro. The Phoenix, still struggling to recover from their gruesome losses in the Clan Wars, are caught off-guard and their outlying mountain territories – including the Shrine of the Ki-Rin and the Shrine of Jurojin – are overrun and taken by Mirumoto Junnosuke. Asako Toshi the new Asako Diamyo is slain during the taking of the Shrine of the Ki-Rin.
  • The Naga remaining awake sense the destruction of the Kazaq, travel across the Empire (leading to a number of incidental clashes with local Rokugani forces) and assail the Dragon lands. Along the way, Togashi Mitsu and many of the Togashi and Hoshi order unite with the Naga. Their assault on the Dragon forces Hitomi to re-allocate many of her troops from the Phoenix lands to defend her southern border. The Naga attack cuts off the Dragon from the Dragonfly Clan and closes the main passes into the Dragon Mountains, threatening the Dragon lands with starvation. This allows the Phoenix to rally and even to retake some of their lost territory.
  • Lion Champion Ikoma Tsanuri proclaims the time has come for the Lion to resolve their longstanding grudge against the Dragonfly Clan. Despite protests from the Miya and the Crane, the Lion armies invade the Dragonfly territory in full strength, completely overrunning them and razing their settlements to the ground. Most of the Dragonfly are killed, with only a few score managing to escape and scatter across the Empire.
  • Matsu Agetoki takes a portion of his forces to assault the Phoenix, but becomes lost in the Dragon Mountains. His forces instead find and assault a band of anarchists called the Kolat, and destroy their hidden dojo. Through out the Empire, a number of samurai are found dead with the moniker of kolat left near their remains.
  • After several years of planning, Shinjo Yokatsu, the lord of the Unicorn Clan, decides the time has The Unicorn suffered the least damage of any of the Great Clans during the Clan Wars, their armies are nearly at full strength. The Unicorn armies march on Otosan Uchi, advancing up the south bank of the Drowned Merchant River into Lion territories, and Yokatsu officially proclaims his intention to become Emperor. The Crab and Mantis offer Yokatsu political and economic support, as do the covert Scorpion (in return for a promise to drive the Lion out of their lands and return Ryoko Owari to Scorpion rule).
  • The Legion of the Wolf, based out of Nanashi Mura, is forced to flee to Phoenix lands when Lion troops, lead by Matsu Ferishi, arrive and burn the village to the ground.
  • Ikoma Tsanuri, determined not to let a “barbarian” take the Throne, marches the Lion armies to confront the Unicorn. The two clans wage a lengthy campaign with several large battles. The Lion receive modest non-military support from the Crane and Phoenix. For a time it appears the Unicorn will win through, but the Lion finally pin down their main force at the Battle of Three Hills. The battle inflicts grievous casualties on both sides, and Tsanuri is killed, but afterward the Unicorn are too weak to advance further and have no choice but to withdraw.
  • The Togashi and Hoshi families break away from the Naga, so unnerved at the sight of their former family dying so readily. Shortly after Lady Hitomi disappears form the High House of Light.

Year 1144

  • During the winter, the Broken Shinbone Tribe joins the Dragon in their assault against the Naga, and assault them throughout the bitter snow clogged winter storms.
  • Kitsu Motso becomes the Lion Clan Champion until the child of Matsu Ketsui, the heir to Matsu Koetsu, can come fully of age. Motso declares the Lion will not rest until the Unicorn and all their supporters are punished for Yokatsu’s “treachery.” Ikoma Sume becomes Kitsu Motso’s hatamoto and Ikoma Daimyo.
  • Lady Hitomi seeks out Togashi Mitsu and Togashi Hoshi, seeking to unite the Orders of the Dragon into The Three Orders. After a tense conversation, Hoshi bows to Hitomi, and Mitsu bows hesitantly.
  • The non-stop aggression of the Lion prompts increasing pressure within the Crane Clan to abrogate their treaty with the Lion. Doji Kuwanan resists such urging, arguing the Crane armies have not yet properly recovered from the Clan Wars.
  • The Naga, heavily outnumbered and without allies, are finally defeated and driven away by the Dragon forces. They flee back to the Shinomen Forest, abandoning all remaining contact with the world of mortal men.
  • Togashi Hoshi gives his son to the Three Orders to be raised and cared for.
  • During the winter, Lady Hitomi is wed to Doji Reju, and before the year ends, she is with child.

Year 1145

  • The Brokenshin Bone are recognized for their efforts and given land officially within the Dragon territory, as well as a duty.
  • Summer has come to Tio Koku with a new generation on the rise…
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Chapter 3.5 - An Emperor's Ambition
The Story of the Capital

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.

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Chapter 3 - The Shadow Within
Dragon Civil War

The samurai of Tio Koku hear of the earthquake that rocked the capital, and send a procession of Dragon to help the city in its time of need, sending Kitsuki Suko as the lead.

The Kazaq visits the city and gains entry and permision to climb the Mountain, wishing to share his vision with Lady Hitomi, worrying that darkness lays ahead for the Dragon.

Otomo Banu arrives in Tio Koku, wishing to gain the Thunder Mirumoto Hitomi‘s blessing for his claiming of the throne. HE brings with him a host of followers from the Crane, the Mantis and the Phoenix. During this time of hosting Kitsuki Yasu’s word arrives about his concern and wishing to depart the Dragon Lands. Kitsuki Ryojiro however objects and asks for more time to climb the mountain and discover the truth. The governor then orders Agasha Nyokazu to bring all the crystal within the city and prepare his followers for the climb.

Under the pretense of visiting Still Water Temple, Hitomi Kobai assist the governor is taking his guests away while the samurai of Tio Koku travel to the Great Climb. Along the way they discover that any and all messengers are being detained by the Mitumoto guarding the pass, under orders of Hitomi Kokujin. The governor then dismisses all of the messengers and leads his followers up the mountain.

The climb is hellacious for the Dragon, who see darker aspects of their mind played out before them. The harrowing climb leaves many of them shaken and in a few cases resolved. However, as the climb ends, with Tonbo Suzume witnessing the death of the naga team and Kokujin tattooing the Kazaq, thus severing him from the communal network of the naga known as the Akasaha, making a vision of Suzume’s come that much clearer to her horror.

The party arrives finding that the darkness of the Lying Darkness is indeed closely knitted at the heart and mind of the Dragon in the High House of Light. The monks within have been altered and changed by Hitomi and the darkness seeks to break her will, although not as clear before, they realize that Kokujin has been assisting the Lying Darkness in this task. His latest action against the Naga, he claimed to have done so to make Hitomi’s visions come true and thus become a god. In a fight of insight given by the samurai of Tio Koku she casts Kokujin out. Seeking to banish the darkness from the great temple the party seeks to preform a ritual to sever the Obsidian Hand from Hitomi and place a hand of crystal upon her. Before she will undergo the ritual she plans on questioning a prisoner of the High House of Light, and wishes the samurais assistance.

They find buried deep within the ancient temple is a crystal prison that holds Shosuro the Thunder from the First Day of Thunder …. yes you heard right. That Shosuro. She apparently survived the First Day of Thunder with the Lying Darkness’s aid, and it extended her life and cursing her in the same breath, she is lost to the Nothing now, and as the samurai find out has been advising Hitomi.

Hitomi wishing to make use of the Obsidian Hand once more to force information out of Shosuro finds that the Nothing had infiltrated enough of her to use the hand to destroy the prison and release the captive, just as Shosuro announces that there are now three avatars of the Lying Darkness, and that Hitomi is the Avatar of Fear. The party is drawn into Hitomi’s nightmares as they relive her greatest fears, and begin a battle of the soul of their Champion and Thunder.

Although this cataclysmic battle went in their favor, it left Hitomi nearly destroyed. When they collected themselves, they realized that Kokujin had used the situation as a distraction and he stole the Ancestral Blades of the Dragon in the confusion. The smaurai cut the Obsidian Hand from their Champion and fused a crystal hand to Hitomi, saving her life and she promptly fell into a deep slumber.

While recovering from their traumatic experience, and while they waited for the Lady to revive, they found that roughly 1/3 of the order of the Hitomi seems to have disappeared, and it is believed that they join Kokujin, although some worry they joined The Lying Darkness.

Agasha Nyokazu feels a strange calling and yearning sensation that nearly causes him to climb out of a window from the tenth floor, and he cannot explain it at all. Shortly after they discover that Hitomi has awakened. She thanks her vassals for their aid, begins to make major changes for the Dragon. She knows that Kokujin’s actions have started a war with the Naga, and she tells the Kitsuki and Mirumoto to prepare for war. She tells the order to receive the banished Hoshi and Togashi after the war, and welcome them back into the fold. She needs time to recover and adjust to the brilliant crystal hand, knowing that much of her chi has been drained by the banishment of Lying Darkness’s direct influence form her soul, and explains she knows it is still within her, but the Crystal silences it and allows her to think and see more clearly. As such she gives a horrid and very vital task to Kitsuki Rokuro to purge the tainted Dragon from the land.

Bringing the good news down from the mountain, the samurai find that not all is well within the Dragon. Numbers of Dragon from all of the major families have gone missing, also Kokujin has sent about massive amounts of misinformation to cause the Dragon to be in disarray. Nyokazu lets slip that the Dragon have been shamed with Kokujin stealing the ancestral blades, and the information causes a major morale loss.

Arriving back within the city of Tio Koku, Otomo Banu senses things will not play out as he hopes, and before the Governor can oust his would be guest, news arrives of rising conflict with the Phoenix. Banu then excuses himself and heads back to the capital, wishing the Dragon luck.

With war on the way, Ikoma Kiobito offers aid to the city and arranges for a number of Lion forces to come aid the Dragon. The Dragon recall all of their armies, and array them in preparation for what is to come. While the Dragon of the city see to their tasks for what is to come, Tonbo Suzume instead goes to the Phoenix to discover why they are at war with the Dragon. Meanwhile Agasha Meiling tries to contact The Mara and find a way to end the war before it begins, the Mara is in tears but explains that the Naga are too angry to listen and they have blocked her pleas out. As such, the Mara has chosen to stand with the Dragon.

As the armies gather, political infighting becomes worse, and soon enough the Dragon are fighting with steel against one another, and it seems to be at the behest of the Lying Darkness. The Kitsuki Justicars are dispatched to end the feuds and root out the darkness under Rokuro’s guidance.

Suzume discovers that the Phoenix have accused the Dragon of killing Naka Kuro, and with the Grand Elemental Master’s death, they plan on avenging him, and cannot talk them out of going into war. Along her way home she takes cares to avoid the direct rout and instead goes north to the blossoming conflict with the Phoenix, and finds that Mirumoto Junnosuke is burning Phoenix Temples. Frustrated she turns to finding the Naka’s remains, and through the use of the Obsidian Mirror she discovers that the Naka knew he was being lured into his death, but wished to save his students lives. So he went willingly with what she discovers to be Shosuro and the Naka tries to kill her and preforms an impressive ritual to draw all of the minions of the Lying Darkness to him within the Pheonix and the Dragon (save perhaps for the strongest) and then he called down flame to purify himself and the Nothing and scour them from the world. Impressed and sad Suzume goes to find Mirumoto Daini hopping to end the conflict that way. When she find him on the way to the battle field, she finds he is with Agasha Tamori and she convinces the two of them to end the war with the Phoenix, however Kokujin appears and somehow controlled Tamori into awakening a volcano into awaking and nearly killing everyone in a storm of fire. Suzume was distracted in trying to stop Tamori, and only turned back in surprise to see that Kokujin had slain the Mirumoto lord, and then withdrew. Unable to face the tattooed traitor, she instead used all of her might to contain the flow of magma and saved the rest of the war unit however she falls unconscious. However, with Daini dead and Tamori seeming to have lost control of himself, the war party continues on to do it’s duty, unaware of the fact that they are being manipulated.

Meanwhile, the samurai of Tio Koku brace for the Naga attack, but find that the Naga did not use the bridge and instead swam the river. Prepping to move, they find the Lion led by Matsu Agetoki arrive and that Ikoma Tsanuri has gone to raze the Dragon Fly lands for ages long vengeance. Agetoki doesn’t seek to battle Tio Koku, but instead wishes to use their lands to attack the Phoenix for some slight. The Governor denies him, and the Lion forces split, as he leaves Koritome Toruko who seeks vengeance for Suzume’s betrayal, and not finding her decides to destroy her city. The samurai of Tio Koku then make war against the Lion, and in a display of fierceness both sides manage to only bloody each other’s noses, however Toruko is slain by Mirumoto Kinji, however a number of Lion Elite Spearmen capture Agasha Meiling. This leaves Matsu Ferishi in control, of the armies, and she uses Meiling as hostage to have her armies gain access to the Dragon lands, and allows Agetoki to slip by towards the Phoenix while Ferishi burns No Name City to the ground, destroying the ronin haven.

Agasha Nyokazu wishing to end the plight of Kitsuki Yasu’s son who had become a minion of the lying darkness, he goes to Kitsuki castle to find that the Order of Togashi and Hoshi have aligned with the Naga, and they are all caught in a horrible situation where Nyokazu is found to be tainted by the Lying Darkness. He then is offered a swift death, while the Naga burn and sac the Kitsuki Castle.

When Suzume recovers, she finds the Lion are in the pass with her. When she and the Dragon are discovered the Lion send Ikoma Kiobito to talk with her, and her brother Tonbo Sukari duels him to force the Lion to withdrawal. Due to his honor he cannot refuse, but due to his love for Suzume he will not draw his blade on her brother. Sukari cuts down Kiobito, who looks at Suzume with his loving smile one last time as he dyes and she can do nothing but watch her life gutter before her.

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Year 1134 to Year 1143
Nine Years of Peace

1134

  • Facing an ongoing food shortfall, the Lion Clan moves troops through Beiden Pass and seizes control of much of the central Scorpion lands from the Mantis Clan. The Mantis are forced back into the Southern Scorpion territory and the neighboring lands of the Wasp Clan. The Scorpion, who have been quietly ruling much of their territory without officially revealing themselves, undertake a campaign of sabotage and assassination against the Lion forces, and initiate covert contacts with the Unicorn, the Dragon, and the Crab, seeking alliance against the Lion.
  • Yoritomo’s Alliance fractures and breaks apart.
  • The fallen shugenja Kuni Yori emerges from the Shadowlands at the head of an army of undead. He assails the Kaiu Wall, but thanks to Kisada’s preparations the attack is completely repulsed. Hiruma Kage, aging daimyo of the Hiruma, confronts and kills Yori, but is badly Tainted in the process; he commits seppuku soon after rather than allow the Taint to consume him.
  • Lady Doji appears to Doji Yasuyo in a dream, setting her on a path to ending the curse of Chukandomo. She meets the mujina Fuhao, who leads her to the kenku Kozue. Kozue takes Yasuyo toChikushudo, where they begin her training.
  • As Yoritomo’s piracy begins to take a serious toll on the Empire’s shipping, the Crab and Phoenix form a temporary alliance to further strengthen their navies, and officially proclaims the Moshi and Tsuruchi as members of the greater Mantis Clan, and claims their territories. The few allies the Mantis have left recognize this claim, although their enemies persist in claims are illegitimate.
  • Agasha Nyokazu reads the Celestial Agonies and becomes tainted by the Nothing.

Year 1135

  • Hiruma Nikako becomes Hiruma Daimyo
  • With the Lying Darkness’s Avatar destroyed utterly, the Dragon’s withdrawal from the Empire is almost complete, save for the city of Tio Koku being the sole exception which feeds the Dragon. No pilgrims or visitors are being allowed into the Dragon’s territory.

Year 1136

  • Tonbo Suzume embarks on a long journey to try and discover magic that might wound the Lying Darkness should it ever come about again. Coming along with her is Ikoma Kiobito, wishing to be by her side. This action alienates the Matsu family who see Suzume’s actions as insulting.

Year 1137

  • Asako Toshi becomes the Asako family daimyo.

Year 1138

  • The Castle within Tio Koku is completed, and a grand celebration is held.

Year 1139

  • The growing scale of anti-Lion sabotage in the occupied Scorpion lands leads to a series of vicious reprisals from frustrated local Lion commanders. The Miya family, whose lands are adjacent to the violence-torn Scorpion territories, tries to intervene and mitigate the violence; although the Lion still offer respect to the Miya, they prove increasingly unwilling to defer to their authority.

Year 1140

  • Miya Hatori is granted the post of caretaker of the Imperial Histories.

Year 1141

  • Shinjo Shirasu and all of the Emerald Magistrates assaults a long forgotten temple, discovering it to be a major bastion of a Blood Speaker cult. Shirasu and many of his followers falls during the strike, but the Temple of Blood is destroyed and it cult routed. The few Emerald Magistrates cannot decide upon any leadership, and disband returning to their respective Clans.

Year 1142

  • As the Lying Darkness slowly tightens its grip on the Dragon lands, daimyo Kitsuki Yasu recognizes many signs of the strange evil described in the fabled journal of Kitsuki Kaagi. He dispatches a series of messengers to the High House of Light, asking Lady Hitomi to confront the danger which seems to be slowly consuming the clan. Many of the messengers fail to return; those who do are changed in sinister ways.

Year 1143

  • A terrible earthquake shakes the Imperial City Otosan Uchi.
  • After over a year of agonizing debate, Kitsuki Yasu and his followers conclude they have no choice but to leave the Dragon Clan, lest they be consumed by the Shadow. With a guilt wracked heart Yasu goes to speak privetly with his governors.

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Chapter 2 - May You Live in Interesting Times
The Hunt for the Shadow

The samurai of Tio Koku embark on a journey, traveling south with two goals in mind. Firstly, to try and end the war between the Crab and the Crane Clans. The second goal seems to be poised towards hunting the shade Agasha Tsuru.

Along the way, the samurai are drawn into an internal clan strife of the Lion, and uncover an oni worshiping cult led by Kitsu Okura, and the oni they worship is Akuma no Oni who is bound within a castle. Kitsu Motso excuses them from the Lion lands after their aid.

Afterwards the samurai realize that the Lion are matching upon the Mantis who hold the Scorpion lands. The smaurai find that Yoritomo is conflicted towards the minor clans which are being consumed by the Crab. They help him decide to abandon the minor clans to their fate and focus upon the Mantis and the Scorpion.

Finally making it to the coast line of the Crane lands, the smaurai find that Hiruma Yoshi seems all too eager to settle down and deal with the Crane. While all of the lords are being called into the peace talks, the samurai deal with a murder mystery within the Song Bird Cage. Turns out an assassin was posing as the chief adviser, and although his plot was foiled, a few within the group fear the assassin worked not alone or something else took advantage of the situation.

The peace talks ended with the Crane keeping what territory they had left and surrendering the rest to the Crab, this turns out to be exactly what the Crab wanted and the Crane left unable to expel the larger force agreed to these terms. They do get the Crab to agree that when an Emperor sits upon the Throne that their lands will be returned, as the Crab wish their lands to fuel the defense of their Wall. They agree with a careless laugh, and the Crane immediately offer their support and deceleration to Otomo Banu as Emperor.

Following the path of the assassin, the white ninja and the trail of Agasha Tsuru, the group heads towards the Fox Lands, which are under crab siege. They however are delayed by a hurricane and must rest in a recently captured crab village in what used to be the Crane lands. There they are faced with the haunting of a Hida who had gone mad and killed almost all of his unit. With fear of the shadowlands taint upon the investigator’s mind, the smaurai of Tio Koku fear the Lying Darkness. The haunting ends with the Lying Darkness killing the wife of the mad hida and nearly killing two of the samurai. Try as they might to warn the Crab of the threat of the Lying Darkness, the Crab are confident it was Shadowlands Taint.

Within the Fox lands, Tonbo Suzume makes a terrible sacrifice to get access to Agasha Tsuru who is within the Fox libraries (one of the largest and most untouched library outside of the Dragon lands currently), and convinces the Fox to surrender to the Crab. Meanwhile Agasha Tsuru is confronted and slain, but they discover that he had gathered an obscure and dark series of writings written by the scholar Goju, called The Celestial Agonies. They also manage to capture the head librarian who is half tainted by the Lying Darkness and move with the Unicorn to steal him away to Mirumoto Hitomi.

The epic journey to Lady Hitomi is fierce, and dark riders constantly hunt the party at night, and whittle them down each evening. The Unicorn pay for this ride with their blood and loose one of their shugenja is the process. However the captured librarian arrives to Lady Hitomi who has moved the Dragon armies to the south. After an intense interrogation, the librarian is slain but the Dragon at last have the location of the hide out of the Lying Darkness’s Avatar, Goju Adorai. Agasha Meiling is charged with wedging the Dragon through the Lion and the Mantis at the climax of their war.

The samurai manage to press through, deflecting the Lion and the Mantis, and press into the mountains to find the hidden citadel known as Seven Stings Keep. There they confront and slay Goju Adorai, who is amazed to find himself capable of dying. In the spoils of the war Hitomi Kokujin finds and claims the Anvil of Despair and the Dragon with drawl back to the mountains.

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Hitomi's Arrival
Dancing with Shadows
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 134.
  • Early Summer (Month of Akodo)

The Samurai of Tio Koku settle in as the spring gives way to summer. While two allies, newly weds, of Agasha Nozomi come to see her libraries, the Clan Champion comes to address the disrespect of the governor in privet. The two come to an agreement and she orders her governor to stem the blood between their allies in the south.

Meanwhile, the visiting Agasha Tsuru (husband in the newly weds) turns out to be a sinister minion of the Lying Darkness, and it tries to kill all of the local shugenja. They are able to drive it off, before it managed it’s task.

The samurai of Tio Koku are brought into the knowledge of the Lying Darkness, but they still know very little of it or its goals.

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Battle in the Warrens
The Fangs if Tomorrow
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 130.
  • Late Spring (Month of the Sun)

The Governor decides to make a pact with the Broken Shinebone Tribe, and he chooses to make this pact secret. With only his closest of advisors aware of this alliance, a small group forms and goes to drive out the rattlings from their warren deep under Great Fall Mines.

The battle is a success and the Fangs of Tomorrow flee, but their chieftain, shaman and remember get away, as their warren guardian died in a bloody battle. The diasho of the fallen wolf is reclaimed.

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The Plague
The Ratling
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 126.
  • Late Spring (Month of the Sun)

As the Samurai of Toi Koku try and move beyond the wars occurring between their allies in the south, a new issue arrives in the thawing Dragon lands. The plague from the Clan Wars seems to have risen up in two communities. The complicate matters, Mikio is found dead on the road side, his blades missing and his body arranged in a odd way.

As the group divides their resources to best combat these issues, one group discovers a tribe of Nezumi that seems to be bent on slaying the world of man. Worse they seem to be carrying the plague and Tonbo Suzume contracts it.

The other group discovers peasants have been feeding the Nezumi, thinking they are spirits, along the way to the site of their allies death. As they find clues to his final moments and begin to track the killers, a Nezumi approaches them and offers Allaince with his tribe (The Broken Shinebone Tribe) to rid the world of an insane tribe, The Fangs of Tomorrow!

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The Battle Tested
Chapter 2 - May You Live in Interesting Times
  • Everyone gained 4xp, xp count of 122.
  • Late Spring (Month of the Sun)

The Samurai of Toi Koku are enjoying the fruits of a time of plenty and expansion across the Sinjutsu province. Marriages have resulted in children and old friends write fondly of times past as the rest of the Empire seems to be on the brink of something vast and damaging. The Dragon prepare for war, a defensive one for sure, but war none the less. While we catch up with everyone from the long three years, we find the castle nearing completion, the dojo is expanding as its fame rises, and the Koku is flowing in.

Things shake up with the arrival of Hitomi Dojin, an adviser from the Order to aid the province, and the arrival of Kitsuki Yasu who is there to review the readiness of the Dragon army in the lowlands. Agasha Meiling performs amazingly and gains a promotion to leader of the Kitsuki armies.

However not all is well with news of the Crab invasion, as they consume two minor Clans and the southern Crane lands!

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