Session 1 began with the Samurai in a philosophy class, in the Blue Tiled Room in the town of Nikesake. It opened with Isawa Kuki outlining the religion of Rokugan and the tenets of Bushido, and asking the students (the PCs) to contribute to the discussion. Susumu Zeshin began contrasting Bushido with Shourido and began suggesting that the Empress’ actions regrading the Colonies demonstrated some of the latter virtues. To everyone’s surprise, his views were endorsed and expanded upon by a beautiful Crane Samurai-ko, Doji Akiro. Her Crane friends try to silence her and take her out of the seminar, claiming she is ill. The Bushi attend a Noh play in the evening, ‘the Gaijin son’, at the Graceful Phoenix Theatre. The theme of the play is a son returning from the Colonies and bringing dishonour to his traditional Crane family. On the way back to the Blue Tiled Room, Akodo Toki, a Lion Bushi, taunts Shiba Sakamoto and accuses the Phoenix of being naive lapdogs to the Crane. Shiba-san challenges him to a duel. Meanwhile, the Shugenja commune with the kami, seeking answers and find that Doji Akiro’s element of fire, her rationality, is being smothered and controlled by kansen. Shiba Ujime, with the aid of Tamori Endo, opportune the kami through a powerful fire ritual, burning fragments of beautifully written poetry, and manage to weaken the hold of the kansen, freeing Doji Akiro, at least for a time. They notice one of their fellow students returning through the rain to the Blue-Tiled room, a white patch of skin newly visible on his face, as if rain had washed away some make up. The next morning, Akodo Toki and Shiba Sakamoto meet to duel, under the watchful eye of the staff and students of the school. In a dazzling display of Iajitsu, Sakamoto lands the first blow on Akodo Toki, who apologise for any slight he made against the Phoenix. The first session ends with the PCs being summoned to attend the Crane embassy, Asahina’s Grace, at the request of the Ambassador, Doji Shini. He explains that Doji Akiro is his daughter and that her companions have brought him news of her recent ’embarrassment’. He is grateful to the PCs for helping her recover but is concerned. Doji Shini had been negotiating a deal with the governor of Nikesake, Shiba Ekken, to allow some Crane samurai to accompany a group of Asako Loremasters to the Second City. The Crane have been slow to get a foothold in the colonies and are becoming anxious that this lack is impacting on their political influence in the Empire. Shini is concerned that his daughter’s recent behaviour may have led to Shiba Ekken having a worse opinion of the potential Crane delegation, plus a scroll he’d asked his daughter to give the governor has gone missing from her quarters in the Blue Tiled Room. Doji Shini asks the player characters to both help his daughter recover her honour and to find the missing scroll.
Session 2 began with the players at Asahina’s Grace, and they were joined by the nephew of Doji Shini, Doji Niro, cousin to Doji Akiro. The Samurai returned to the Blue Tiled room and began their investigations. At the agreement of the Crane, they searched Akiro’s room and confirmed that the scroll had indeed gone missing. Doji Akiro had returned to her senses yet was unaware as to how the scroll could have been lost. Communing with the kami, the Shugenja determined that a Samurai only bearing one sword had entered the room. Temur was able to track some sandled footsteps arcing away from the compound. Shiba Ujime spoke to the heimin who’d been serving the students food, whilst Moto Mongke Temur, suspicious of the belligerent Lion, Akodo Toki, found him exercising and practising his swordsmanship. Temur engaged in some sparring with him and together they discussed the purity of battle and gained mutual respect for one another. The day progressed and the students ate together in the common room. Sakomoto and Niro returned to speak to Doji Akiro to find that she was absent from her room, outside the window they saw further tracks, this time accompanied by smaller footsteps of a woman. Meanwhile, one of the servants passed a note to Shiba Ujime, ostensibly written by one of the heimin, Saya, asking the shugenja to meet her outside the compound. As the evening drew on, Endo, Ujime and Temur left to meet the heimin. As they approached the meeting place, they detected the smell of decay and the shugenja spotted that the individuals they were to meet wore white porcelain masks, the mark of kansen-controlled zombies…. The shugenja leapt to the attack, calling on the cleansing power of the fire kami to aid them – Ujime lashing at the zombie with a whip of flame, Endo with a katana of fire and bolts of jade. Temur, meanwhile, entered the fray, his scimitar slicing down the undead. As the zombies attacked, Niro and Sakamoto found that the tracks looped back towards the Blue Tiled Room and the accommodation of Asako Oda, one of the students and who they’d noticed to be wearing some kind of make up in the rain the prior night. They peered through the window, seeing to their horror Doji Akiro standing passively as Asako Oda held a blade to her porcelain throat, a patch of swirling, coalescing darkness in the corner of the room. The brave bushi launched themselves through the window, but not fast enough to surprise Oda who slit Akiro’s throat, dropping her body to floor, blood spilling. The darkness formed into an oni, the killing maw, Kamu no Oni, his appearance instilling fear into Niro. Unfazed, Sakamoto draws his katana and attacks Oda, killing him with one blow. The Oni attacks, grabbing Sakamoto and lifting him above his gaping maw. As Niro tried to save Shiba Sakamoto, drawing on the virtue of Yu to overcome his fear and slash at the demon, Ujime, Endo and Temur, hearing the shouts, found their friends. Ujime, calling on the water kami, staunched Akiro’s bleeding, knitting her cut throat together. Temur and Endo attacked the Oni who was biting at Sakamoto, the samurai’s life force draining away. Temur’s blade hacked into the oni, as Endo called on the earth kami to send jade strikes into the creature of Jigoku. Ultimately, Sakamoto banished the oni himself, thrusting his katana into the throat of the creature….