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  2. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    "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.
  3. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    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?"
  4. 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."
  5. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    "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."
  6. "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.
  7. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    "May your journey be swift and sure, and may the providence of that foul mask be made clear at its end," Zoyu said, offering her well-wishes to Taka, Akari, and Okimoto as they left to make their preparations South. Zoyu collected the few belongings she had brought to Ryoko Owari and made her way downstairs. She was about to make a request to the innkeeper when he presented Kitsuki Jotomon's gifts to her and Rin. She studied them with clear praise and gratitude. She was a swordswoman and daughter of a bladesmith, she knew quality when she saw it, held it. She dipped her head towards the innkeeping, thanking him for delivering them. "Kitsuki-sama has made an impression on these ones as well," Zoyu replied smoothly, a ghost of grin curving her red lips as her mismatched eyes cut to Rin for a moment. "I wonder how long it may be before the wakizashi earns an impression of its own by being thrown and hitting its mark. If possible, could I be provided with paper and ink? I would like to write a missive expression my gratitude for Kitsuki-sama's gift and well as a letter to one other." It was cruel that she had just reunited with Tsukiko and now was leaving the city. Duty was heavier than a mountain, lighter than a feather, but always, it called, regardless of the heart's yearning.
  8. "I think that may be the best course of action. It seems these moon cultists were rather sure of the success of their plan, and rightly so. Had it not been for the Shosuro... acquiring... the masks, and our fortuitous presences in Royoko Owari for the festival, and at the same inn as the Cran merchants, it world have almost certainly succeeded, so they had every reason to celebrate with the sake they most enjoyed, so the sake is the best lead we have at the moment, if somewhat vague. Akari-san, Okimoto-san and myself will bring the large mask we collected to Tsuma for safe storage and study, and likely eventual destruction. I believe I can arrange for swift travel with a Yasuki vessel. There are many here in Ryoko Owari, and they can be.. discrete. Given what has happened, I think I shall then return home and seek to learn the ways of the witch-hunter to better assist us, as well as inquired with my Clan to see if they have seen anything like the large mask. I must say, it troubles me.." Kuni Taka said as he rose from the table and bowed, excusing himself. The twins sent for their things with the other packed, cutting short their several day in Ryoko Owari that was meant to be reward for all of their hard work. The irony was not lost on them. As they gathered downstairs, the innkeeper stepped forward, holding two sets of bokken daisho. "Kakita-sama. Mirumoto-sama. I did not wish to interrupt your private conversation earlier, but these arrived while you were out." the man said, bowing his head and offering up the sets of wooden daisho. "They are gifts from Kitsuki Jotomon. She wished to present them herself, but I informed her that you were out on business, so she left them with me to deliver." he explained as they each took a set. The sets were finely made and balanced, and each had an inscription carved into the blade. On the katana 'blade' was written, Do not practice until you get it right and on the wakizashi was written, Practice until you cannot get it wrong "It would seem that you made an impression on Kitsuki-sama." Kageko mused with a faint smile.
  9. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    Kamiko paused just long enough to survey the others at the table to see how they were reacting to Rin's impetuousness. On seeing general assent, she nodded. "We took the precaution of bringing what we will need with us," she said. "Lead on."
  10. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    Rin stood as the silence grew then took a deep exasperated breath. "Gather your things if you wish to come, we will be going to where the wine is made. The swordmaker has a varied clientele, and is not likely to leave his forge if we find nothing at the breweries when go go find him. These dogs, drank this wine religiously, one does not develop that sort of attachment to wine if it is not something you have been familiar with for a very long time. I believe that the chances of finding something that will lead us to the end of this mystery will be found there. So let's go we have a ship to catch I want to be on the next tide."
  11. "A makers mark?" Kageko said in surprise as she looked at the mark, hoping beyond hope to place it somehow with her rather extensive knowledge of heraldry "That is brazen indeed." After looking at the mark for a moment she passed the mask along for any of the others to examine. "So what is our destination going to be? North by river to Ikoma's Eyes or City of the Rich Frog, or south by road to the lands of the Bear to speak with this smith?" the Little Lion asked.
  12. Yeah. Was one of the first questions I posed to Noir. "I wonder how many flavours of special dice they're gonna force you to buy in order to play it". It certainly tanked any interest I might have had in the system. Shame. 4th Edition was a magnificent system.
  13. We are going to sick with that we are doing. The FFG version is very different and, of course, they want you to buy their special, re-faced dice.
  14. Interesting. Are we going to transition to the new rules or stick with the old ones?
  15. Ohhhhh! The new edition of L5R? I wonder if they're following the CCG and doing a full reset. Can't wait to read. Thanks Nina! =D
  16. got this in the mail thought i'd share https://www.dropbox.com/s/pkj1pgn3951vpzn/L5R00_Beta_Rulebook_for_DTRPG_(12563104).pdf?dl=0
  17. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    With quick movements Kamiko produced a brush and inkjar and with quick precise motions she traced a copy of the mark she'd found onto a blank spot on one of the scrolls; apparently a collection of notes or a journal of sorts. "I have seen a device like this before, but I didn't have an opportunity to examine it for long. They are potent, but expendable. The kansen within possesses one corpse only, and departs if the mask is broken. For them to have so many...very troubling." She holds up the scroll page with the mark on it. "This was very carefully worked into the porcelain though. A maker's mark, perhaps. If the one creating these vile things is as skilled as they seem, that skill seems to come with commensurate arrogance. We must be on the lookout for other things bearing this mark as we investigate."
  18. The mask was something that Kamiko had heard of and seen once before, essentially a foul version of a tsangusuri, and a malevolent kansen trapped inside that would animate the dead body as a zombie when place on the face of a corpse. They were certainly nothing new, but always seemed rather rare, and hearing of a crate full of them, supposedly freshly manufactured for the moon cultist plot in Ryoko Owari was certainly a bit alarming. As Kamiko examined the mask she noticed something... an impression shallowly stamped into the smooth porcelain... as if somebody were so brazen as to add some sort of maker's mark to such a foul item as one of the zombie masks... The mark...
  19. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    Kamiko inclines her head gratefully, and very carefully reaches out to turn the mask around so its chin faces her and her brother. For a moment she simply scrutinizes its substance...the fineness of the porcelain and polish. She then turns it over to see the inside surface. "A moment, please." With a few movements she takes a small vial of crystal filled with clear fluid, and taps just a droplet onto the mask. It flashes immediately to steam, and the steam forms into a peculiar and ominous-feeling sigil in the air before dissipating. Kamiko then dips one of her fingers into a tiny sack, and pulls it out with a blue powder stuck to the end of the digit. She touches it to the mask, but none of the blue stuff sticks to it. The shugenja is quiet for a moment, then says, "Interesting." Then she fishes a tightly wound sheaf of scrolls from her pouch and fishes through them.
  20. Kageko excused herself from the table and disappeared upstairs, returning s couple of minutes later with a small bag. She sat at the table and opened the bag, pulling out the simple porcelain mask. "This is one of the masks that the moon cultists were after. We were told that they were of exceptional quality." she explains as she sets the mask down toward the two Scorpions. "Please, examine if you wish. Anything, no matter how small, might be helpful."
  21. "We do have an intact mask that you could examine. We have it stored with some jade, just to be sure." Kageko mentioned. "It might be best, Rin-san, to see if their examination of mask the might yield additional clues before we decide which direction we will be going." the Little Lion suggested.
  22. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    "Perhaps, if you have any intact left for me to examine, I can try to learn more about the magic that went into them," Kamiko offers. "I can do that as we investigate other avenues though."
  23. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    Zoyu tilted her head slightly to the side, considering the question, then shook her head. "If there was something added to the sake afterwards, I am not aware of it, but this one is neither alchemist nor brewer, or even a... prolific imbiber of sake. The merchant I spoke to did say both brands of sake were particularly dry varieties, if that holds any meaning for you." The oddly coloured Crane nodded at Shosuro Kamiko. "Perhaps the disposition of the masks would be a greater lead, but we learned little of them in our first encounter. They seem to similar to the ones we encountered at the Temple of Amaterasu, but we learned nothing of their manufacture or providence. The craftmanship of the masks are quite exquisite however. It may be possible to track down their artisan, if not the one or ones who infused the foul sorcery into them, if the artisan and maho-tsukai are not one and the same."
  24. L5R: Blood and Jade - With A Single Step

    It was a good question, and one that had slipped past Kamiko. She'd been so focused on the magic that she'd missed the human element. There was one simple possibility of course. They imported not just any sake, but their favorite sake. And since it wasn't local... She nodded at Miren. His insight had not failed them.
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