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Game System

Legend of the Five Rings


  1. What's new in this game
  2. Rin frowned at the interruption, but said nothing instead she leans toward Zoyu. "You seem to have a better handle on this. I will go and see if i can find my usual source of information." she said as she tapped the dragon tattoo on the shaved side of her scalp. With one fluid motion she stood sketched a meager bow toward her companions and spun and walked away from the table. She gathered her daisho and the long sword and stepped out into the sunlight. Daisho in obi and longsword across her back with her half shaved tattooed head Rin made quite a sight and it was hard for any one to not glance at the imposing samurai. She watch the throng and in short order found what she sought, a group of children running and playing underfoot as they were wont to do. Shrugging her shoulders she marched up to the children and singled out the one who looked oldest a girl with big brown eyes about 10 or so. "You come here." Rin called Several of the children ran away but the girl stood her ground. then approached the samurai and bowed. "Your brave and mannered unlike some of your friends. I need your help. I am looking for a place that does tattoos," she laid a finger on her dragon tattoo, "do you know of such a place?"
  3. Traveling through Lion lands, Zoyu had carried herself straight and proud, head elevated to a haughty angle, still melancholy to have left Tsukiko so soon. The animosity between the Lion and Crane was well known, and even more so between the Lion and the scions of Kakita, such as her beloved Toshimoko-sensei. She had pride to match any Matsu. She shook her head in amused wryness as Rin bluntly invited the innkeeper to join them at their table - Rin was always readily treating peasants as practically equals. But Zoyu kept her silence. As able to dissemble as any Crane, and better than most, Zoyu found it near impossible to voice an untruth and besides, the others were already leading Abun to questions they wished answers to - no need for the fellow to face the full attention of four magistrates. Though she preferred sweet sake to dry, Zoyu affected interest in the dry Well in the Stream variety as much as they others.
  4. Smiling demurely behind her translucent veil, Kamiko produced the empty bottle and presented it for Abun's inspection. "It truly was a most excellent taste, and so difficult to find," she explains softly. "Though I do not wish to trouble you, do you happen to have any?"
  5. Kaze sat back, giving a sigh of appreciation at the meal laid in front of them. Something about being back on Lion land. It was nice. Especially after the events of the last while. Even if Ikoma's Eye was a bit more ostentatious than he was used to for Lion lands. Kageko looked a bit more relaxed as well, though he supposed that she would have been trained in the area, so this was a bit of a homecoming for her. Smiling at an offhand comment from Kageko, he quiets as the proprietor speaks. The offer of Crane sake was unsurprising, given the makeup of their table. He is in the process of shaking his head when Rin beats him to it. "Let's not overly alarm the man, Rin-san. I'm sure he has other guests to be seeing to and we would not want to keep him from his own duties." He turns a bright smile to Abun. "A few questions answered would sate our curiosity. We're new in the area and would like to learn more of where we will be staying for the next while. As far as alcohol goes, though, she has the right of it. I at least would appreciate some Well in the Stream, if you have it. Recently came across it and have developed an interest in it. Hard to find a good dry Sake outside of Lion lands."
  6. "No, do you have this sake," Rin gesture to the Scorpion sister who had the empty bottle indicating that she should show it to the inn keeper, "If this is a brand you keep, bring us each a bottle and one for yourself so that you may join us."
  7. Ikoma's Eye Kyuden Ikoma, (Ikoma Palace) or "Sacred Watch Palace" as it was commonly known sits on the shores of the Three Sides River. Directly across the river sits the Mountain of the Seven Thunders at the very foot of the mighty Seikitsu Mountains (Spine of the World Mountains) that divide the Empire in two.At one point Kyuden Ikoma served as the outpost on the furthest edge of the Empire, hence the name Sacred Watch Palace. With the return of the Ki-Rin, now Unicorn Clan, that changed slightly, but the name still remains. The palace was a place in name only, much in the same way as Kyuden Hida was a "palace". It did not possess the opulence of most palaces in the empire, and in fact, was a simple and spartan castle designed with practical military defense in mind, housing a sizable garrison of Lion bushi. Due to the simple fact that the Ikoma are the most diplomatic and politically savvy family of the Lion Clan, Kyuden Ikoma also served largely as the major point of diplomacy for the Lion Clan, by default. It was also home to the vast Ikoma Libraries, the greatest library and record of the Empire's history, surpassing even those of the Miya and that of Otosan Uchi. The Ikoma Librarians were well known for maintaining the library as an historically, and more importantly, factually, accurate record of the empire, not allowing the embellishments of events, nor unfounded rumors to make their way into the library. Kyuden Ikoma was charged with protecting the Venerable Plains, which surrounded Kyuuden Ikoma and Ikoma's Eye, and was known to be some of the most fertile land in the Empire, and thus providing much rice and grain for the Lion Clan. ith the Lion Clan accounted for a full quarter of all the samurai in the empire, it took a great deal to keep them all fed, thus making fertile land a precious thing to the Lion. With the Scorpions across the river, and the Unicorn and Dragon to the north, large, well-armed patrols were a frequent sight to travelers in the area. The city surrounding Kyden Ikoma, known as Ikoma's Eye. It was built up as a place for visiting diplomats to be housed until their could be seen by the Ikoma. As such, there are no permanently stationed diplomats and there are no estates, large residences and only a few holdings of other Clans within the city (and certainly none possessed by the Crane). To compensate, Ikoma's Eye boasts a large number of tea houses, geisha houses, and theaters as well numerous sake houses and breweries, allowing visiting dignitaries to pass the time while their await their meeting with a degree of entertainment and comfort one rarely finds within the lands of the Lion. As such, Ikoma's Eye also serves as a frequent stop over for those traveling through the Lion lands especially to or from the Unicorn and Dragon provinces. It is a well supplied "last stop" before moving on to the mostly untamed land of those two Clans, and often the first place with all the comforts of the empire for those coming from those areas. Also within the city one could find the dojo for the Omoidasu (Historians/Bards) of the Lion Clan, well known for their stories and as being a rare class of samurai permitted to open show their emotions. The Hundred Scars Dojo, the training place of the Ikoma Brawlers who carry on the traditions of Ikoma (prior to his service to Akodo) can also be found within the city. Ikoma's Eye has become something of a destination for Lion samurai to enjoy their rare R&R. All understand the need for samurai belonging to a Clan as strict and disciplined has the Lion to have a time and place to relax (which often involves copious amounts of dry sake for the Matsu), so it is the Ikoma Brawlers that serve in many establishments withing the city (as bounces) keeping things safe and peaceful for all. The city boasts very few temples to the Fortunes, and certainly no large ones. And though it may not be obvious at first, the city is utterly devoid of any shrines to Shinsei, for the kami Akodo's contempt for "the little master" was well known and mirrored by the rest of the clan. Virtually the only reference to Shinsei one could find within the Lion lands would be the copy of the Tao of Shinsei sits within every Lion dojo (placed there by order of The First Hantei), even though none of those copies have ever been opened for the entire history of the Empire. Instead, the Lions practice a form of ancestor worship far exceeded that practiced by any clan, with shrines to various venerable ancestors, many of them largely unknown outside of the Lion, dotting the streets. Probably the oddest thing about Ikoma's Eye is that it was not an "official" city, lacking any sort of formal government. The city slowly developed around the castle as a way to house and entertain those visiting the Ikoma on business and grew from there, having never been formalized with any sort of Governor. The city had always kind of just ran itself with a small force of doshin (appointed peasant police) and the occasional patrol of Lion bushi. By and large though, the city seemed to function just fine though. Given its function and general lack of trade beyond sake, grain and rice that took place nearer the river, there was little to no crime. Public disturbances, often from drinking too much, were the most common disruption to the calm of the city, but even they were often swiftly handled by the doshin and Ikoma Brawlers with speed and care. All in all the city had a rather relaxed, jovial atmosphere, which one would find odd for a city of the Lion, but the focus of the city made it so. Good theaters, inns, sake, and geisha kept the majority of the people in near perpetual good spirits. Ikoma's Eye Inside The Golden Pony Inn At The Golden Pony inn the young Magistrates found lodging for themselves, as well as care for their horses. The Golden Pony was a larger than average inn, though from from the largest in the city. It was well adorned, for an inn within the Lion lands, There were, of course, finer inn to be found in Ikoma's Eye, but they lacked enough empty rooms to house all of the Magistrates together. Since it was decided that it would be best to remain together, the Golden Pony was the best option able to accommodate them all. Like most inn in Rokugan, the ground floor was a large dining area with several private dining rooms along the sides, kitchen, and housed the baths and quarters for the staff, with the rooms located on the upper two floors accessible by stairs on opposite sides of the building. The proprietors were two brothers. Abun and Taru, and and their families. They were not samurai, but were skilled in the arts of hospitality since their family had run the inn for many generations. The brothers often cooked and did some of the more demanding labor, with their wives greeting patrons and taking orders. Their teenage children did most of the menial tasks of the in and the youngest could sometimes be seen playing in or around the inn. Though not an actual sake house, the Golden Pony did have a better than average selection of sake, with that Abun was rather knowledgeable about the varieties. The magistrates, a bit tired and weary from their voyage, and having secured lodging in the establishment, were enjoying and meal of fresh fish, noodles in a fish brother, and rice as Abun stepped forth. "Would you like any sake to accompany your meal?" Abun inquired. Abun then leaned in closeer, and speaking just slightly more softly, as if to share the secret with only the Magistrates added, "We have a modest selection of sake. We even keep a small supply of some of the harder to find varieties on hand just for special occasions and fine dignitaries." He then straightened up again and resumed speaking in his normal volume and tone. "Might I humbly suggest some sweet crane sake to enjoy with your meal?" he offered.
  8. "Oh, I agree," responds Kamiko, "I do hope you can hold your drink. The least conspicuous way to learn would be to partake, no?" The shadow of a smile could be made out through her veil. She then pointed out the nearest sake house, not far from the docks...to serve the thirsty sailors, no doubt.
  9. Though not a sailor, with her dancer's grace and swordswoman's poise, Zoyu had adjusted to the motion of the boat with elegant aplomb. But it had amused and not quite scandalized her that Rin had so readily, almost eagerly, joined the sailor's in their work. The Crane might treat their peasants well, but they did not take their tasks upon themselves. The snow-tressed Crane nodded at Kageko and Kamiko. "We may do both at once. We are new to Ikoma's Eye, no? Well, then, we are simply looking for an establishment to suit our needs. We are particular sorts, interested in a particular Sake while we are here. Come, there must be a district that caters to visitors or the sake enthusiast."
  10. Kamiko let her veiled gaze linger on the bottle, which she then tucked away into the sash of her kimono without further comment. With a parting bow to the crew of the ship, the Scorpion shugenja followed the other samurai at an unhurried pace towards the town.
  11. After they leave the boat Rin pauses and and gestures for Shosuro Kamikoto join her. She reaches into her Obi and pulls out an empty sake bottle, which she hands to the Scorpion. She taps the embossed front showing the brand of Sake, nods and winks, then whistling a sea shanty walks off to join Zoyu.
  12. "Ah, I've put you on the spot, Captain. Please accept my apologies. Thank you for your suggestion as well." She gave Kageko a nod. "Our friends may wish to keep a low profile, but I'm sure if we keep our eyes open we'll find them soon enough. Lets find a place to stay and decide where to go first."
  13. "If you seek dry sake, then I am certain that any of the sake houses found within the city will suit your needs. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend one, for I am not very familiar with Ikoma's Eye as I am with posts such as City of the Rich Frog or Ryoko Owari. And for that, I apologize, Shosuro-sama." Captain Michiyo answered with a polite smile and small bow. "If you seek a local variety, then I am sure that the sake houses could assist you in locating the brewer." he offered. "Hmmm.., Considering our quarry, it may be best to do what investigation we can through more casual means, lest we tip them off too soon to our presence and allow them to surry off into the night." Kageko mused.
  14. "Dry," agrees Kamiko. "Dry and has a generous capacity...enough to fill a large order within a short period of time. Is there a particularly famous brewer here perhaps? A renowned local recipe?"
  15. Captain Michiyo nodded to Rin. "And if I or my men may be of any assistance, you have but to say the word." he offered and bowed to Rin before turning to Kamiko's question. "That would depend on what you like in a sake. Unfortunately, I am not as familiar with Ikoma's Eye as I am with other ports, but there are many sake houses within the city." Captain Michiyo said, motioning toward the city. "Though I have heard that generally those of the Lion Clan prefer very dry sake. I am certain other varieties can be found here as well, of course. Is there any specific type you seek?"
  16. "I would trust a sailor to know." Kamiko glanced at the captain and asked lightly, "Where's the best place around here to find sake?"
  17. Rin smiled at the Captain. "It has been a good voyage and I thank you for all that you have done for me. I count you as a good friend Michiyo-san." She bows "I will send word of where we are staying. I do not know how long this afffair will take or where we will be going after. If you find you need to sail do not delay on our count, but do let me know when you are sailing I may have messages I would like you to carry for me if you are going to where i need to send them." She smiles broadly and clasps the good captain on the shoulder. Then departs the ship to join her companions at the horses. "So here we are. Do any of you know where we go now to finish this?" Rin asks of her fellows.
  18. The trip of the River of Gold took several days, each filled with activity on the deck of the ship as the Tortoise adjusted sails to make best use of the wind and aided their trip up river by rowing for hours with large oars. The current was rather lazy in most spots, allowing for a relatively quick tip of days up river, rather then weeks overland. The to call the accommodations 'spartan' would certainly be an understatement. It was painfully clear that the Steady was no passenger ship.The majority of space was allocated to cargo, with the peasant sailors sleeping in hammocks or on straw mats on the deck, while the Magistrates were given room in the cargo hold and mats to sleep on, though the Captain also offered to anchor in a town or village each night if possible, but doing so would increase their travel time by days. Even though Captain Michiyo offloaded most of his cargo to make space for the Magistrates and their horses, space was still at a premium and contributed to the general crowded feeling on the ship.There was a smell too. The combination of horses and sweaty, peasant sailors, for whom bathing was not a daily activity, mingled with the scents of their gaijin influenced food as they cooked, giving the ship a unique aroma. The Captain and his First Mate were the only Tortoise samurai on the ship, with the rest of the crew comprised of peasant sailors in service to the Tortoise Clan. Even though the Tortoise, and their peasants, were not generally attractive, by Rokugani standards, one had to admit that they were fit and strong from their life spent aboard ship. They were more outgoing and gregarious than most samurai as well, and often passed time singing while, gambling on games of chance, paying instruments and singing folk songs, or simply talking with their passengers, if the Magistrates were so inclined. It did not take long to see that even though the crew was mostly peasants, the Tortoise samurai treated them virtually as equals, which was only seen as even more odd for a clan who's daimyo had always been the Hantei Emperor. For the Son of Heaven to rule over a clan of apparently mixed blood, who accepted in ronin without question, treated their peasants as near equals, gambled, served as merchants and even favored the weapons of peasants over the daisho was certainly a difficult thing to grasp. They certainly honored and respect the Hantei though, and it was that duty to their lord that earned the Magistrates, handpicked by the Emperor himself, a berth on the Steady and their willingness to go out of their way to assist them. It should have come as little surprised though, that Rin, all throughout the voyage, worked alongside the sailors, paying for her lessons in sailing with sweat, sore muscles, and bruises from the work. The Dragon samurai-ko seemed to be at ease among the Tortoise, happily working along side them, learning their songs of work and terminology as much as she was able, while also relaxing with them when the wind was cooperative. Perhaps it was the lack of pretentiousness of the Tortoise, or maybe it was the simple satisfaction in the fruits of a days hard work, but for whatever reason, the other Magistrates had rarely seen their Dragon companion at such ease. Kitsu Kageko happily shared information abut their destination over the course of their trip as well. Built at the base of The Mountain of the Seven Thunders, at one point Kyuden Ikoma (Ikoma Palace, aka "Sacred Watch Palace") served as the outpost on the furthest edge of the Empire, hence the name Sacred Watch Palace. With the return of the Ki-Rin, now Unicorn Clan, that changed, but the name still remained. The Venerable Plains surrounding Ikoma's Eye are some of the most fertile land in the Empire, and thus provide much rice and rain for the Lion Clan. The palace itself was home to the vast Ikoma Libraries and served largely as the major point of diplomacy for the Lion Clan. The city surrounding it, known as Ikoma's Eye, was built up as a place for visiting diplomats to be housed until their could be seen by the Ikoma and boasts a large number of tea houses, geisha houses, and theaters as well quite a few sake houses and breweries. Within the city the dojo for the Omoidasu (Historians/Bards) of the Lion Clan can be found, as well as well as the Hundred Scars Dojo, the training place of the Ikoma Brawlers who carry on the traditions of Ikoma, prior to his service to Akodo, who she warns often serve in many establishments of the city, keeping things safe and peaceful. There was once another pass through the mountains besides Beiden Pass, named Shinnomen Pass, and it led right to Sacred Watch Palace. Many centuries ago, Akodo was the last of the Kami, and while visiting the palace heard of a large shadowlands army marching through the pass. So he gathered what few men he had at the palace at the time, and marched into the pass to meet the shadowlands army. They knew it was a battle that they could not win, but every moment they halted the progress of the shadowlands army was more time for reinforcements to gather at Sacred Watch Palace. For each Lion samurai that fell, many times more shadowlands created were felled with them, but it did not take long for Akodo to see that they could not possibly mount a proper defense to an army of this size. So Akodo summoned the last of divinity and let out a mighty roar that caused an avalanche, wiping out the entire shadowlands army and sealing the pass. Finally, after several days, the ship reaches a fork in the river. With a smile Captain Michiyo calls out, "My friends, further up river once can find The City of the Rich Frog, but if you look down this other fork in the river, to the south, you will Kyuden Ikoma! Gather your things, we will be there soon!" The crew burst into hightened activity as the ship turns and makes it way down the other fork, heading to the South with the aid of the current, while drawing quickly closer are walls and towers of Sacred Watch Palace, and the small structures of the sprawling city of Ikoma's Eye all around it. On the opposite bank of the river stands The Mountain of the Seven Thunders at the fork in the river with the rest of the Spine of the World Mountains behind it, serving as a virtually impassable barrier coupled with the swift current of the river at their base. In under an hour The Steady is docked at Ikoma's Eye and the crew sets about offloading the Magistrates' horses while Captain Michiyo addresses the Magistrates himself. "If you like, we can remain in port until your business is concluded, in case we may be of further assistance. If when your business s concluded, you have no further need of us, then we will be on our way." he suggests with a smile and a bow, adding, "Besides, I think the crew could use some time in the city." with a wink to Rin.
  19. Actially i have a post written. Forgot to post it. And tjen sick and everything else popped up. Eill post tonight.
  20. "Ah, there you are." Shosuro Kamiko's voice was as delicate-sounding and soft-spoken as ever. She offered the ship's captain a courteous bow, then paused on noticing who he'd stopped to speak to. "Mirumoto-san..." she bowed again, more deeply. "Please accept my apology. I did not mean to interrupt. I will ask Michiyo-san where I may set up my things later." In her hands the Scorpion shugenja still had the demon mask, wrapped in a bit of black velvet. She hadn't let it out of her sight once during the trip to the docks.
  21. Rin smiled at her friend, the familiar rocking of the ship welcome to her senses. She could get used to this, in her mind she saw herself throwing away all the things which weigh her down and becoming a sailor maybe even captaining her own ship. A fantasy, but a nice one. "Hmm, Michiyo-san we are probably going to Ikoma's Eye, but I will check with my companions and seek their input before the final decision." She sniffs loudly, "I will let you know. Now where do you want me? I won't be carted around the empire without pulling my own weight. So, up in the lines, or on the oars?"
  22. Rin led her companions and, somewhat begrudgingly, the Scorpion twins, through the streets of Ryoko Owari the short distance to the docks. The streets were once again crowded and busy, giving the city a certain vibrant energy as all manner of trade and commerce took place. To the uninformed, it would be difficult to even tell such a dramatic incident had even taken place at the end of the Bon Festival. Some spoke and gossiped here and there about what had happened, the accounts sometimes varying wildly with distortion and exaggeration, as often happens. As the Magistrates walked down the crowded streets though, the people seemed to part for them. Other samurai stood aside and bowed respectfully, while many peasants dropped to their knees and bowed as they passed, only to rise and occasionally cheer or anomalously call out their thanks or offering prayers as the Magistrates passed. Once at the docks, Rin searched for a moment and located her quarry docked and taking on a few goods in sacks and barrels. A mildly portly man, with a long, thin mustache, oversaw the loading of the cargo. The mon on his shoulder was of the Tortoise Clan, and tucked into his obi was a sai. He was not exactly the samurai idea of handsome. His features hinted at some gaijin blood, as did his thin, facial hair, much different from thick mustaches and beards of the typical samurai. And his weight, though not considerable, was still beyond what most samurai would consider acceptable. Everybody knew that the Tortoise Clan was reviled by some Clans, while others often just regarded them with a mild disgust. They were tainted with even more gaijin blood than the Unicorn Clan, and it was know that they accepted ronin and peasants into their ranks, further soiling their reputation. In addition, they were a clan of merchants, not warriors, shugenja, or even artisans. They dealt with matters of commerce daily and always sought a profit. They even showed their peasant influence by favoring the weapons of peasants themselves. The fact that the Crane, Crab or even Mantis had not already wiped out the Tortoise was known to be owed to one thing. The Emperor. Though a Minor Clan, since their inception after The Battle of White Stag and Battle of Raging Seas, the Emperor, by tradition, has been the Tortoise Daimyo. To seek permission to duel a Tortoise would mean asking the Emperor himself, something which few are willing, or even able to do, and nobody would dare to seek to eradicate a clan with the Hantei himself as their daimyo. So with the protection of the Emperor himself, the Tortoise Clan is generally tolerated, though rarely liked, by most samurai. "Ah, Rin-san! It is so good to see you this fine day." the man said to Rin with a polite bow, somewhat strangely using her given name, which would normally indicate a closeness or friendship. "And these are your fellow Magistrates?" he asked as he looked to the others. "You as well, Michiyo-san." Rin said and bowed. "And yes, they are." "Ah! Then welcome! Welcome!" he said with a deep, respectful bow before Rin began introductions. Once she had introduced them all to him, the somewhat portly man bowed again. "I am Michiyo, Captain of the Shikkari (Steady). It is an honor to be of service to the Jade Magistrates, the saviors of Ryoko Owari, especially hand picked by the Hantei himself! Even the Topaz Champion herself! You honor me and my humble vessel. Please, board and we will depart at the earliest possible convenience. I do apologize for the accommodations though. Unfortunately, this is not a passenger vessel, but I have taken every measure to accommodate." he said, motioning to a narrow gangplank leading to the ship. The ship itself had dual masts and oars. It was just large enough to be seaworthy, as long as it stuck close to the coast, but also just small enough, with a shallow enough draft, to be able to navigate the many rivers of the Empire. The addition of a half dozen passengers made space somewhat cramped, but the ship had taken on little cargo to compensate. The crew were primarily peasant sailors of the Tortoise, with Michiyo and his first mate overseeing them. Once all were aboard and settled in, Michiyo approached Rin and asked, "So, do we have a destination? City of the Rich Frog or Ikoma's Eye? You need not decide between the two right now, if those are the possible destinations, but I will need to know before the fork in the river."
  23. "That would be most kind," Zoyu replied, a pleased curve to her lips as she dipped her minutely towards the innkeeper. Holding the sleeve of her fine kimono clear of the page with elegant grace, Zoyu inked a courteous missive of gratitude to Kitsuki Jotomon for her gift and lessons, adding that she hoped to visit her dojo again at a later time when she passed through Ryoko Owari once more. The lovely Crane spent a longer moment considering her letter to Bayushi Tsukiko, her lips pursed in thought. Once more, duty calls To save the City and You, Till I return, dream Zoyu contemplated the words for a moment, then nodded. She sanded the ink to dry it then shook the sand free neatly back into its pot. She folded the letters with precise strokes, inked who they were addressed to, than handed them to the innkeeper, adding where she believed they could be found. "I am most grateful." Zoyu hefted her back on her shoulder and nodded at her companions. "Thank-you for your indulgence. I am ready to depart now."
  24. "Of course, Kakita-sama." the innkeeper said with a bow and then shoot a look to his wife who disappeared for a few moments and returned with a small, slanted tabletop writing table. Withing a drawer at the base was several sheets of a paper, an inkpot, a stick of ink and a brush. She placed it on the table and bowed before backing away. "Please, be my guest. If you are in a hurry and so wish, I will hand deliver your messages myself." the innkeeper offered.
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