This is a nutty AP report. My week has been crazy so thing has ended up being done in fragments. Some of it is detailed, other parts are very sparse. I think I got it all but if I missed something let me know in the comments.
Sodano Shiko returns the Tsurichi Nadu’s Daisho, which Miyazaki quickly hides.
A discussion of Bayushi Hakuseki, including the Jade Magistrate, but no conclusions found.
Ikoma Li interrupts and ask for us to take her on a “pony ride”.
Tea with Utaka Nikku. She was very apprehensive of speaking with Al-Saleen but eventually reavlead that she was related to Utaku Nayan four generations back. Our ancestors must have some connection to each other.
Shiko carries the body of Yoshi from the field to his quarters. The Hare rifle through his belongings and find the Nemuranai. Shiko cannot identify it, so they take it elsewhere…
To the Mantis Scoundrel of course. He spoke with the Kami and found that a powerful earth kami of destruction resided inside it. Potentially capable of destroying all those nearby. Bribed 50 koku
Al-Saleen gains favor with the Dragonfly by impressing the history of the clan upon Ikoma Li.
Miyazaki gives the Kasuga back their helmet. Bribed 100 koku.
Sodano Shiko competes in the Toku tournament. Poor monkey. 5 points. Banzai!
Kakita Shimzu visits the Kamori and smokes out on opium. Visions of Kakita dance in his head.
Al-Saleen, Shiko and Shimzu all compete in the Horsemanship competition. Al-Saleen is a sure win his horse unexpectedly stumbles forward breaking both of its front legs and sending Al-Saleen sprawling. In the ground he can see that a hole had been dug and then covered up, revealing a tunnel, clearly constructed by Number Two. A Morito charged onto the field, screaming furiously. Al-Saleen attempted to prevent him from realizing what caused the crash and deflected the blame on him. Better for the Morito to hate Al-Saleen then to know that Shimzu’s charge had sabotaged the tournament. Sodano Shiko stopped to defend Al-Salin, while the others raced on.
Walking back on foot Al-Saleen saw the ghost of Takeko. She was delighted at his failure and reminded him of the punishment he would receive once he went to Meido. She expressed her anger at Al-Saleen for preventing her from punishing Utaka Nayan, but promised to repay him by scarring Utaku Nikku so she would never be beautiful again.
With pain in his heart Al-Saleen did… nothing. He could have saved Nikku perhaps by warning her or tried to stop Gaki Takeko, but instead he walked off the field, unwilling to interfere. It was wrong, but secretly Al-Saleen was happy that Nikku would be scarred, she would no longer remind him so much of Nayan.
Kakita Shimzu won the race. 5 Points. Banzai!
Yoritimo Miyazaki attempted to mediate with the bat. He fared well until the gongs came out, then his concentration was broken. 3 points.
Al-Saleen enter’s Shimzu’s quarters to give him a dressing down over Number Two’s interference but Shimzu was unable to respond, for his grief over his mother. Because of their Karmic ties, instantly Al-Saleen and thus Sodano Shiko also felt his pain. Quietly they all agreed to band together in routing out Number Two and any who aided him.
Amazingly very little transpired over dinner. Shiko and Shimizu are dirty and worn out from following Number Two’s tunnels. Al-Saleen seems wearier than usually, and Miyazaki wonders why his friends all have long faces. Shimizu is still unable to speak so Al-Saleen leads Miyazaki away.
As Miyazaki and Al-Saleen walk outside they encounter the Morito. He is drunk and angry. Without warning he changed Al-Saleen ready to remove his head with a great No-Dachi.
Al-Saleen stepped to the side, his blades drawn instantly. “By assaulting Sapphire Magistrates you have raised your hand against the Emperor. You will never do so again.” With a flourish of blood and steel the No-Dachi fell to the ground, the Morito’s hand still attached. Sheathing his wakazashi, Al-Saleen grabbed the Morito’s kimono, shaking him violently, “Remember, Morito, your quarrel is with me and me alone.”
The Ox, was furious and wild with hatred. With his good hand he drew his Wakazashi and made a feeble attempt to cut down Al-Saleen. Unskilled with using his left hand, Morito failed.
Yoritomo Miyazaki was surprised not only by the attack but also by Al-Saleen’s bizarre form of justice. He gathered his wits about him and cut down the drunken Ox.
After the fight Miyazaki stayed behind to give testimony, while the three bushi went into the woods with the Hare and killed every Nezumi they could find. It was a bitter night, fueled by pain and loss. The Sapphire Magistrates did horrible, horrible things.
All the debts people don’t even know they owe each other. Good and bad. Shimizu gave up his mother to avenge Miyazaki, but hasn’t told him. Al-Saleen made an enemy to protect Shimizu’s honor. Miyazaki has taken possession of Yoshi’s nemuranai.
The tragedy with Utaka Nikku was great. She is a shadow of Utaka Nayan, but still it hurts Al-Saleen to see her, so he does nothing while she gets scarred.
Takeko is got to be one of my favorite NPCs. She is so full of hate, even in death.
I loved having Ikoma Li present. A totally innocent child (even if spoiled) is a great juxtaposition to the horrors that we were facing.
It looks like Miyazaki is getting in bed with the Toritise. But it was Sodano Shiko’s allies who deciphered the letter and returned Nadu’s Daisho. Who will be the Champion’s favored?
What could have been improved
This write up for one. I’m sick and haven’t had any good opportunity to work on this so it’s been really patchwork. Very detailed in some areas, very minimalist in others.
Al-Saleens response to the Morito wasn’t exactly what I was going for. I was attempting to protect Shimizu’s honor by taking the blame for the horse collapsing, but it turned into me casting the blame back at the Ox. It’s fine I guess, but in retrospect I would have just lied and said “Yes, I rode the steed too fast and hurt it”. Ah well. Having a one handed Ox that hates me is cool too.
I’m still angling to have a Toku personality but haven’t either a) spent enough time with one of them or b) found someone that stands out. I’m hoping that one of the Bushi who was running the match will end up standing out, or perhaps the sensei. Either way, I’d like to meet someone before we leave.
I’m not sure if I’m going to be spending my month off wisely. Shimizu invited Al-Saleen to make a pilgrimage to the Two Generals (Hojatsu and Kakita), which will be cool, but as it will happen over a “montage” scene, I’m not sure how it will affect our characters. The two things I’m thinking of are a) a chance to train Akimoto (which should be very fun) and b) a chance to look at the statues and see what it means to be a hero. Part of that is not letting your suffering stop you from doing what you know is right.
“Protect My Daughter, Mirumoto.”
“Protect My Empire, Kakita.”