Requiem of the West

The Price of Progress
Of Lords and Mercenaries

Session I: New Rivalries

Following negotiations with the lady regent of the Koku clan, the party set off to stop and hopefully acquire a shipment of coin and supplies that House Tsutsui was providing to a group of mercenaries in exchange for their loyalty.

With little time to prepare before the shipment’s arrival at its destination, the party set out at once, stopping by the small settlement of Chisana for information. There they met the corpulent magistrate, Fuhai Shita – a mountain of a man in the least flattering way possible, with a pale peak and enormous girth.

In exchange for the shipment, he agreed to help the party gather bandits from the surrounding region to attack the caravan, which was guarded by a supposed force of 150 soldiers. The next day two small groups had gathered under the leadership of Yoi Kinpatsu and Mikiui Tuko respectively. The first is a handsome warrior of Islander heritage, as belied by his platinum hair that he keeps pulled back in a short ponytail. A long leather Haori coat covers his battered armor, and a set of ancestral daisho on his belt belie a noble ancestry.
Conversely, Tuko is a disgruntled spud of a man, his homely features best likened to that of a pug with a broken nose. He carries himself in a way that inspires immediate distrust in those around him, despite his often obsequious nature. Despite this, he too carries a battered daisho beneath the tattered pile of rags that he apparently wears to protect himself from both positive first impressions and the elements.

Following a brief contest to prove their capabilities and alleviate boredom, both Kinpatsu and Jyuurouta finished a duel with live steel having gained new-found respect for one another. Throwing this into contrast was the one-sided competition that Haji made with Tuko, utterly humiliating the bandit in front of both his men and the spectators from the town.

A planning session was then interrupted when a messenger burst in, shouting that the bridge the caravan would have taken was out and that they had changed their course into the coastal forests.


Session II: Failed Ambushes

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Incident at the Pink Lotus
Or, Alcoholic Avenger Assassinates Asinine Asker

After the previous night’s revelations, morning comes. Jyuurouta, even more haggard than normal, barges into Shiomai’s room. His hair is down and covering his face, his kimono barely covering his chest, and his eyes are wild. He is frantic, and in a rare unguarded moment actually takes hold of Shiomai while repeating that “He’s here!”. She manages to calm him down enough for him to explain that Seiji left a calling card that night, and for them to talk. Deciding that there is little to be done, if he wanted Jyuurouta dead he would have done it, they focus on the plans at hand. Namely, meeting with the Regent.

A day or so passes as the group prepares. Then a messenger from the Pink Lotus arrives at the dojo, obviously distraught. Shiomai, who had been staying there as Lady Inara, goes down to meet her. As master of the dojo and having offered his protection, Jyuurouta calls out his students and does likewise. The rest of the group has also gathered to listen. The girl explains that a young noble and his men are at the Pink Lotus causing trouble and refusing to leave until the madame arrives. Jyuurouta arms himself and calls for Sakura and Haji to join him as he accompanies Inara, along with two of his students. Arita comes along as well.

When they arrive, they find a crowd has gathered on the scene. Jyuurouta and the Second Wind identify themselves as police and disperse them enough to push through. Inside they find the place has been trashed, with several drunken samurai loitering about and a young samurai sitting on a couch in the center, a serving girl and boy on each arm. They clearly are not comfortable. The young man bears a scar on his chest that just peaks out over the top of his kimono. Jyuurouta’s eyes go wide, then harden as he recognizes him as Iisamu Yokio, the man he has been hunting for the last 6 years.

Yokio notices them, specifically Inara. Arita notices the glassy stare of a man obsessed in Jyuurouta. Yokio manages to get out a “Hey! I want to talk to you!”, before chaos ensues. With little thought of defense, Jyuurouta launches three strikes at the three guards closest to Yokio. Two go down in an instant, throats cut. The third manages to duck. Haji, who had stayed close to support Jyuurouta, attacks the three samurai on his left and grievously injures one. Sakura moves to intercept the three on the right and does likewise. Arita draws his sword, but attempts to seem like he has wandered into other people’s business. Haji takes a blow, but is protected by his armor, and otherwise defends himself from his opponents, as does Sakura. Having forgone his own protection in his rage, a blow glances off of Jyuurouta’s armguard from the surviving samurai. Then, though ordinarily not a spectacular swordsman by any means, Yokio draw-cuts into Jyuurouta’s chest. Most of it is absorbed by his armor, but still draws blood.

The combatants prepare their next moves before they are interrupted by Shiomai’s voice, calling loudly for them to halt. Suprisingly, Yokio and his men pull back. It is obvious that continued attempts at violence will be met in kind, but for the moment they will not attack. A brief lull ensues before Yokio asks ‘What the hell! You wanna take this outside?". Jyuurouta collects himself and ask if he remembers him. Yokio says he doesn’t. Jyuurouta asks him if he remembers a girl and a tea shop in Mihama, but Yokio responds that he’s been a lot of places. Finally Jyuurouta challenges him, pointing to Yokio’s scar and says it was he who did that. At this Yokio completely loses composure and demands they fight. Jyuurouta agrees with a grim smile, insulting Yokio as he does so. Yokio attacks without warning, but Jyuurouta is prepared and expertly blocks his strike. He taunts Yokio with having broken an honorable arrangement, and this seems to shake him. He agrees to continue with the duel.

As they set up, a crowd begins forming. In the distance the banners of the Shonin no Keisatsu are seen and they quickly arrive to enforce order and ensure the proper forms are followed. Jyuurouta strips off his armor and the two men face off. As the challenger, Jyuurouta lists his grievance against Yokio, relating how he killed his fiance and destroyed his father-in-law’s tea shop. Unaffected, Yokio explains that he wants satisfaction for being mutilated by scum off the street. The duel begins and the two men move into draw range, hands on their swords.

Jyuurouta moves first, drawing with blinding speed. Yokio attempts to react, only to stare stunned as it sends his severed arm flying off into the crowd. Then Jyuurouta shouts “HER NAME WAS IZUMI!” as he slashes brutally into Yokio’s chest, opposite the scar. Yokio stares up, quickly losing consciousness, as Jyuurouta leans down and whispers “I’m glad you got a good look at what I did to your arm before you died. I wish I could have done worse…and by the way, I’m practically a Daimyo.” Arita, despite being far off in the crowd, somehow manages to hear this. Then Jyuurouta savagely drives the point of his sword into Yokio’s neck and finishes him off.

The crowd mills about as Jyuurouta sits there, unmoving. Shiomai goes over and tells him it’s over and she is proud of him. He barely responds, but accepts medical attention. Then he rises and moves off in the direction of the dojo, pushing through people without a second thought. His students move forward and begin expertly clearing his way, as Inara and Haji follow. Haji moves beside Jyuurouta and says “I don’t know what that was all about. I do know about death though. And whatever it was, it’s done.” He finishes with emphasis, then walks ahead. Arita slips off and returns to the dojo on his own, and Sakura stays behind to check on the staff of the Pink Lotus.

The first group returns to find Arita waiting for them. Shiomai notes to herself he could have used this opportunity to take the documents and run. He makes a crack at Jyuurouta, who brushes by him without seeming to take notice and walks onto a second floor balcony. Speaking for the first time, he asks to be alone and places his swords and sake jug in front of him before locking the door. He then sits and stares out over the balcony, touching neither.

Sakura returns and is informed of Jyuurouta’s behavior and whereabouts. She climbs the balcony from the outside, bringing him rice and tea. Without looking up Jyuurouta asks which part of “Leave me alone” she did not understand. Sakura just informs him she will be outside and leaves. No sound comes from the door as Jyuurouta sits still until nightfall. Then the sound of him singing is heard throughout the dojo.

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Visit to Maruboru
Or, This Isn't Me Pretending It's Call of Cthulhu

Pre-tavern Recon:
Corpses found missing eyes. Don’t know what kind of corpses they are.
Group in questionis called Toitsusa Retainu
Peasants don’t seem to like this group, apparently fairly heretical and subversive stuff
Peasants told not to talk to Samurai about it
The group is able to keep the Yakuza and Triads out by supporting the working glass.

Jyuurouta (dressed as a ronin) is approached by a man named Takuchi, who says he looked like an individual down on his luck. He offers him space and food at a tavern called Maruboru.

After discussion with the rest of the party, the group decides to go to Maruboru in shifts. Shiomai and Sakura go first, followed by Jyuurouta and Haji. Arita arrives last.
*
At the Tavern*
The tavern is large, close to the forbidden district. There is maybe a space for a garden out back. It could support a basement (and it is worth it to note that the city is built on five other cities).

We are greeted by a woman in a plain gray kimono, and then by the patron of the establishment. Sakura notes that he is pleasant, but Shiomai and others note that there is a strain in his voice, tension in his shoulders, and is missing his index and middle finger. They have been cut off, recently.

Shiomai notes and shares with Sakura that there is a black moth, not from this area, that flies in and flings itself at a candle flame, killing itself.

Jyuurouta and Haji are followed to the tavern. By whom, I have no idea.

Shiomai notes that there is a basement in the establishment.

Everything is fine until one patron gets drunk—startlingly quickly. He is taken rather quickly upstairs, by the nervous patron. The man is slightly richer than one would expect to be at such an establishment.

Shiomai and Sakura are paranoid as hell, so they decide to try and get a room upstairs AKA spy on the man. Shiomai hears snoring from a room and a snippet of conversation:
“Do we know?”
“Too often?”
The voices stop as soon as they hear Shiomai approaching.
She also hears footsteps above her. On the roof. Because that isn’t suspicious at all.

Against Sakura’s paranoid better judgement, they decide to get a room and spend the night.

Shiomai and Arita hear a door at the end of the hall slide closed and lock.

There’s a girl guarding the door downstairs. This annoys Sakura. They can’t go downstairs untill business is concluded (but I guess being locked upstairs is better than being locked outside.) This really bothers Sakura.

Downstairs, the rest of the patrons stream out. A ragtag group of peasants come in, wearing the grim disposition of people prepared for violence. Tend to be in 30’s, but broad range of age. No visible weapons, but seem worn out. Group of about 30 individuals. Takuchi introduces Jyuurouta and Haji as other named individuals. Talk of inducting them, discuss wanting to celebrate another day gone by.

Evening passes—above, we hear the sound of partying going on below. Down there, there is, indeed, partying. Jyuurouta senses in that they are not unwelcome, but they don’t trust him or Haji yet. People are starting to slip off. The more hardened seem to slip off back into the kitchen, down into where the basement might be (about 10, of a total 40 individuals).

Jyuurouta is gestured to come aside. Inkeeper offers that he might feel a little more disgruntled than he initially let on. Inkeeper wants a reason to trust Jyuurouta, so that he could introduce him to those who could help. Jyuurouta says “hey I’m good at doing bad stuff.” this is apparently enough for an inkeeper (who can be swindled by apparently any scruffy looking nerf herder), who offers to take him downstairs. Haji looks mopey enough that the inkeeper will take him downstairs too. Ooh. Scandal.

There is a sliding door with robes and masks. Jyuurouta and Haji put on masks and robes. I lose my mind and scream CALL OF CTHULHU I HAVE DONE THIS THING BEFORE AND THE ONLY WAY WE ALL GOT OUT WAS MY ME TANKING THROUGH A FROG DEMON.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, there are barrels of sake and a table. Everyone sits around it.

Sakura was a smartass, finally succeeded a roll, and realized we no longer hear snoring from the room where the man was. I instantly lose my mind.

There are the basic militant plannings of a revolution. The members of the group want to find a reason for Haji and Jyuurouta to be trusted. Going to be taken to the place of initiation. I continue to lose my mind over this because I’m not having flashbacks. Not at all.

Of Note: the Lanterns that line the wall each have a clan crest on them. One of three. Hironobu, Kageyama, and Shino.

So now they’re being taken to some initiation room. Take them downstairs to the tunnels. Are led somewhere in the inner city. Come out into a larger chamber, somewhere in the basement of another building.

They smell something acrid, like tanning solutions. Also recognized as being in the forbidden district, where the untouchables live. Fantastic.

As I continue to rage mightily about calling it, the drunk man from before is bound to an x-shape cross. He looks otherwise unharmed.

They claim that the man is a spy, and that he should be killed for his crimes. And that Jyuurouta and Haji are the ones to do it.

Down below there is a fresco with a kageyama symbol featured prominently in it.

Then a man appears behind jyuurouta, wearing an agent’s garb, a white mask, with golden eyes. This sends one of us into squeals. Jyuurouta’s blades are heavy and humming softly. The figure looks smaller and younger. As he glares, there is a slight distortion around him. Oh fun. Oh delight.

Upstairs, Shiomai distracts the maid so Sakura can get into the room where the drunk man was. Sakura doesn’t find a secret passage, but Arita does, and eventually Sakura, Shiomai, and Arita go down the hole.

We see a wall that seems to be lit from behind. Arita hears the conversation between Jyuurouta, Haji, and the cultists. He relays this to Sakura and Shiomai. Shiomai, Sakura, and Arita, manage to sneak into the room. Shiomai notices there is someone in the shadows, in the tight black clothing of an agent, with a white mask and gold eyes. He motions for Shiomai to be quiet, but she just kinds of snarks at him.

We find a cultist (I think?) and follow him down a hallway. After losing Arita, we come to a screen, slide it open just enough to see through, and see the scene with Jyuurouta and Haji. Arita, who got lost in the tunnels, joins us.

There are 11 other people in the room. We don’t know how well armed they are.

Jyuurouta gives Haji the “WHAT” face. Haji attempts to talk his way out of it. We all end up seeing the figure that Jyuurouta is talking to, and we note some distortion in the air. We’re frozen in time. The moth flutters off of Jyuurouta’s shoulder

We all, have collectively, lost our minds at this.

Jyuurouta and Seiji have a heartwarming reunion. I mean. Jyuurouta presents him with the oragami he gave him. But Seiji insists he is just there to have jyuurouta realize his full potential/observe.

Time snaps back into place. Those of us in the doorway realize the door is open, and the sword is out, and a cultist is out and attacking another.

Shiomai acquires a delusion.

And a fight breaks out, Jyuurouta insists that we KILL THEM ALL.

Sakura groans.

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