Game Time: 4 March 1175 (Late Afternoon)
Location: Bridge encampment & road to Shorai no Kiban
After a few hours rest to recover from the lack of sleep and early morning battle, the party gathers to return to town. Domogu has been cajoled into offering to guide the party to the island, but they need the services of a boat. Captain Shara and her ship, the Akenotsuki (Dawning Moon) are due to arrive on the 4th, and may be available to help.
The Otomo sisters ask the party to dine with them before leaving. As an expression of thanks, Otomo Mizhime brings forth a tea set she claims was used by the late emperor Toturi I and attempts to perform a tea ceremony for the party. She clearly is not particularly skilled at this act, but assistance by party members salvages some face, and the party manages to save face for her by acting as if there are no issues, although Utamuro doesn’t know his own strength and cracks one of the cups.
As the party finally leaves the encampment, Hachi also expresses his thanks and admiration for dealing with the zombie attacks. He suggests that Tomus may have something to do with the attacks, as “something just isn’t right about that one.”
Outside the camp, a peasant has piled up the zombie corpses on a pyre and lights it on fire. Before the party can object, he also douses himself with oil and jumps onto the fire. Brother Osen and Togashi You explain that the peasant wanted to ensure that he would not succumb to the taint, and would rather send himself to the afterworld in purifying flame than live on after handling the undead.
Akiyama brings Domogu into the command tent in order to determine whether or not Domogu and Tomus recognize each other and/or whether Tomus has anything to do with the attacks. This interrogation doesn’t reveal any connection between the two, but does cement the supposition that he may be a Gaijin. He speaks very poorly, and when pressed mentions that he’s from an obscure village in the north of Dragon lands, but mis-pronounces the name of his own village. The party does nothing with this supposition at present, though it may be useful information given the extreme xenophobia of the Rokugani empire, and the less than legal status of foreigners.
Mizhime also gives Akiyama a case of mapping supplies for his use on the island in the hopes of surveying it for the empire.
As the party treks back past the site of the Unicorn ambush, Akiyama notes that someone else has been by this way, disturbing the scene. The bodies have been burned, but there is also evidence of odd tracks, as if something (or things) had been dragged across the path. Further investigation reveals both that the weapons crate in the hidden valley has been removed, as well as tracks which appear to be of an extraordinarily long snake. Utamuro finds a large green reptile scale which causes Akiyama to recall a children’s fairytale about the races of old.
Akiyama recalls that the various children’s stories sometimes included mention of Kenku, a race of bird-men who were generally friendly, and Kitsu, a race of lion-men who were also generally friendly, as well as other races such as trolls and Naga. The Naga, a race of snake-men were an odd breed, as in some stories they were seen to swoop in and help fight evil forces, and other times they were an enemy of the Rokugani people.
The trail is followed until it disappears into the river, in the vague direction of the river island. Returning to the road back to the city, the party approaches the Thirsty Heron sake house (the first major building on the way back to town) in the mid evening.
All Players receive 2 XP