Game Time: 4 March 1175
Location: Bridge encampment/hidden cove
In the aftermath of the zombie attack, as the party dispatched the last of the fallen foes, some began to notice a thick, oily sludge seep out of the bodies. This fluid then began to creep slowly, uphill at times, towards the river. Once the fluid stopped leaking out of each body, the corpse would cease its previous restless twitching. Utamuro grabbed a torch from the encampment, and held it against some of the puddles, which eventually caused the puddle to dissipate with a haunting screech. Others suggested he try to attack the puddles with one of the jade tantos, which he did to similar effect.
Following the zombies’ path back towards the river, the party rounded a copse of trees towards the hidden cove which Utamuro and Akiyama had previously searched out the day before. Waiting near a small rowboat was a man, seemingly waiting for someone to come round this very corner. Clearly a party of armed samurai was not who he was expecting, and as soon as he caught sight of the party he attempted to flee into the boat.
While most of the group charged forward to stop the man, Akiyama calmly loosed an arrow into the man’s shoulder, but he was undeterred. Closing the gap with the fleeing man, Toshiro called forth the wind to pick the man up from the boat. The air kami responded unusually vehemently, ripping the man from the boat and simultaneously throwing the boat into the air, to shatter on the river below.
Msataro begins to coax the man out of the water, and Utamuro drags him to the beach for questioning. As the questioning begins, some of the party members recognize this bedraggled, but fairly well-dressed peasants as the younger of a trio that they had altercated with on their arrival to Shorai no Kiban.
The man (Domogu), amidst much sputtering and stammering, claims that he was coerced by “The Master”, a cowled figure who has Domogu’s family held hostage, to ferry him to and from the large island in the center of the river. He says that the Master must have heard/sensed the party coming and run away instead of returning to the boat to make their escape.
During this conversation, at times the river briefly rises unnaturally before subsiding, and at at least one point Domogu attempts to run away, which prompts Utamuro to break one of his ankles, and at another point he pulls a knife which Byakuya deftly disarms. As he begins to answer questions, Toshiro summons water kami to heal Domogu’s hand and is surprised as the somewhat dirty-looking water practically leaps to the subject and heals him more effectively than usual. During the questioning, the party also searches Domogu for any tattoos, and does find one of the character for “water” on his right hip, which seems to match a fairly common practice of sailors and fishermen having luck tattoos for their profession.
In order to confirm Domogu’s story, Toshiro communes with the water kami, first asking why it seems so eager to help this man. The kami show him images of fishermen and dock-workers and the like dutifully making offerings at the water temple on the docks. When asked to show them the master, the kami shows an image of Domogu, and an indistinct, cowled figure approaching the beach in the rowboat (presumably earlier that night) and eventually the vision clarifies with the master’s otherwise indistinct face sporting vibrant inhuman eyes.
Byakuya notes that the pool of still water with which Toshiro is communing appears to be oily, rather than clear, and stabs at it with a jade tanto as the session finished. The pool of water reacts violently, spitting and hissing as if boiling briefly before dissipating.
The party then drags Domogu back to the construction camp for holding until they can find a boat for him to take them to the island. Hachi is surprised at his morning pee, but takes in news of the attack and this new prisoner in stride. He locks Domogu up at one of the construction huts guarded by peasants and organizes other peasants to burn the zombie corpses. Meanwhile the party retires to sleep for a few more hours.
Back at the hidden cove, Akiyama and Utamuro search for the tracks of the Master but fail to find them (despite finding tracks of the boat, Domogu and the zombies). It is possible that the Master’s tracks are obscured by some of the other activity in the area, but also seems possible that there was never another person there (Utamuro proposes).
Toshiro Importunes the Legacy of Kaze no Kami to send a message the 50 miles to the Daimyo regarding zombies and need for peasant laborers for the bridge. Akiyama asks Mizhime about maps of the island, but she mentions that they haven’t explored it because the sides are too high to dock at and the peasants seem spooked, but once the bridge makes it that far it will cross the southern portion of the island.
Domogu – captured ferry operator
Hachi – Imperial Yojimbo
All Players receive 3 XP
Toshiro: +5 for aiding a wounded enemy
Byakuya: +2 for showing kindness (in not killing Domogu when disarming him)
Masataro: +1 for showing kindness in offering Domogu a fair hearing