LEGEND OF THE FIVE RINGS – A CLASH OF IDEOLOGIES SESSION #5

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Last session we left the Samurai in Inari Seido, meeting Mareshi, the half-Naga husband of the former Dragon Clan champion. He confirms that his mind becomes filled with dark visions at night, of attacking his brother monks and destroying their fields, and pleads for the samurai to aid him, reiterating his wish to be locked in his room until he controls himself.   The Abbot asks the players for their advice – he tells the Samurai that a Crane delegation is on its way to the monastery, offering to protect the monks from the Ningyo, the leader, Kakita Matabei, has written to the Abbot saying that the wisdom of the monks will see that the Crane are best protectors of the Fortunes and the Province.  Shiba Sakomoto recognises the name of the Crane – the Kakita killed his brother in a duel several years ago.

The Samurai approach the bank of the Itochu River as dusk falls, Temur leading the way on his horse.  They are set upon by feral Ningyo and a fierce battle ensues.  The battle ends by a Ningyo from the rushes calling out to the samurai in Rokugani asking them to desist – Sakamoto and Temur kill the last resisting Ningyo and speak with the new arrival, who introduces himself as Nolus.  Nolus tells the players that his people had been told by Itochu no Kami that the samurai would be coming to their aid – he informs that his people are battling one another, and some of the Ningyo have changed in nature, becoming more bestial.  He fears what the Empire will do if the Rokugani remember the Ningyo and seek to destroy them.  The Shugenja know that there is a myth that eating the flesh of Ningyo grants the eater immortality.

Ningyo

Ningyo

The Samurai remove their armour and many of their weapons and accept Nolus’ invitation to follow him and meet his father.  The players find that the Lapis Lazuli amulets given to them by the Kenku Taro allow them breathe and communicate underwater.  Nolus’ father is Athon, ruler of this nest of Ningyo.  He tells the samurai that many of the feral Ningyo have left their home and are attacking his people, he keeps many of them imprisoned and is clearly saddened by the civil war wracking his people.  The Samurai return to the surface, remembering Taro’s promise that Soni would help them resolve the Ningyo’s problems.

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On returning to the bank, the players see the Crane delegation have arrived. Kakita Matabei and Shiba Sakamoto argue over the death of Sakamoto’s brother, Matabei insulting his honour.  A duel is called.  As the samurai prepare, Sakamoto feels a creature rub up against his leg and sees Soni, in fox form.  She speaks to him privately, offering to help him in the duel in return that he marries her and leaves Ningen-Do with her.  Soni has sensed his religious doubts and wishes to show him the reality of the spirit realms.  Soni imparts some knowledge of Kenku swordsmanship to Sakamoto.  The duel begins with Matebei being very skilled, however, Sakamoto draws deeply on his own Void and that of Soni and is victorious, Matabei committing seppuku with honour.

Kakita Matabei

Kakita Matabei

At the end of the duel, Soni hands over a clear, almost translucent, large pearl to the Samurai asking them to take it to Athon. Soni now calls in on the promise – asking Shiba Ujime to marry her to Shiba Sakamoto – and they leave the mortal realm together.  The samurai return to the Ningyo’s home, giving the pearl to Athon and, as they hand it to him, both Shugenja feel an intense wave of rage and hostility and get an impression of a dark presence, far away, in a tropical jungle.

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We leave the Samurai with being thanked by Itochu no Kami and returning to Taro, where he begins to train them.