Real Time: 6 December 2016
Game Time: 6-7 March 1175
Location: Shorai no Kiban
With some difficulty the party manages to row out from the hidden island cove, through the rocky passage between the cliffs and out into the open water. Akiyama’s sailing knowledge and Utamuro’s brute strength are instrumental in saving them from being dashed against the rocks. Thankfully, the White Sparrow, alerted to something amiss by Akiyama’s signal arrow, waits just outside the passage with lanterns to guide the way.
The Mantis ship has clearly just finished fending off an attack of their own, and the crew is dealing with the aftermath (making minor repairs and sending two of their fallen to their final resting place in the water).
As the party debriefs the captain and first officer, they report seeing the passage of a large number of heavily-laden ferries from the Lion side of the river crossing towards the Crane town, followed by their return to the Lion side. When the white sparrow nears the dock, they note that only one ferry boat remains at the dock. The late hour and turbulent waters cause Moshi Chiroku to hold off returning to dock until the following morning, though she posts round the clock guards to watch for enraged water spirits and zombies.
Toshiro communes with the river and asks:
“Is there danger near that has made people move the boats from the docks?” to which it shows a blurry image of a yellow and blue samurai fighting
“When did this happen?” to which it shows an image of the sun directly overhead
“Was there blood magic?” it repeats the original image with sinister shadows far in the background
In the morning, the White Sparrow approaches the docks of Shorai no Kiban. Shosuro Soh’s barge waits at anchor significantly further from the docks than previous. As the White Sparrow passes, Soh’s half-masked female attendant fires a bow with a signal arrow at the deck of the White Sparrow. The arrow lands at Toshiro’s feet with a message tied around it. The note reads:
A once friendly shore
Left unattended for long
Turns quickly leonine
The party shoots back a message arrow in return
Thanks for not piercing
my heart with that long arrow.
How many ashore?
Scorpion stay away
From the troubles of others
We shall observe here
As the docks near, the party notices that only the beached kobune Dawning Moon, and a single ferry boat remain, with a pair of samurai guarding each. While tying up to the dock, they see a squad of armed and armored Lion troops patrolling the docks, with the usual dockmaster nowhere to be seen. Careful observation also shows a Matsu banner flying above multiple buildings along the dock, as well as a column of smoke rising from near the town center.
When the party attempts to disembark, they are halted by a group of the Lion bushi who order them to surrender and relinquish their weapons in the name of Daimyo Matsu Fubatsu.
Utamuro & Masataro take umbridge with the invoking the name of the Matsu.
The Matsu explains that her Lady has taken protection of the land after gross mis-management of the land. When asked to take the party to see their daimyo, they again laugh it off, but offer to take the party to her commander Matsu Genichi if they leave their weapons behind.
Masataro asks that in trade 6 of the lion remain on the ship unarmed. Masataro leads the party boldly off the boat, intending to shoulder past the Matsu.
Utamuro lays out the squad leader in one round, while Toshiro rebukes them. Byakuya skillfully disarms one of the spear-wielders in an intimidating manner, and Shoutaro follows up with the same. Masataro follows up with a blistering rebuke which further cows all but the last began to rage but Akiyama shot an arrow through his eye before the Matsu could attack.
When requested, the Mantis offer to guard the captured lion as long as a crane representative stays for legitimacy, as the Mantis are technically neutral in this conflict.
After the battle, the party notes a series of bills posted along the dockfront. These propaganda posters tell a scathing story of dishonor and betrayal, claiming that the Crane clan have failed in their duties to protect the region, and have unlawfully detained Matsu Umasu, the son of the Matsu Daimyo, and after his escape, infamous Daidoji Akiyama found him and shot him in the back, only to dishonorably dump his body on the Lion shores. At the bottom of the notice is an open warrant to arrest or kill Akiyama for crimes against the Lion Clan.
On seeing the captured Lion being hauled onto the White Sparrow, the two lion guarding the ferry react, with one running towards town and the other taking off in the ferry. Akiyama (after a few shots) severely wounds the ferry-operating lion, who starts drifting downriver. Akiyama directs the Mantis to set out in their ship’s boat to retrieve the ferry and offer “humanitarian aid” to the wounded lion.
Toshiro rushes to the far side of the White sparrow and invokes the air kami to knock the running lion into the water. The rest of the party fishes him out of the water, disarm him and force him to lead the party to the commander.
The bedraggled guard leads the party in towards the town center, increasingly closer to the pillar of smoke previously observed, which turns out to be a party of ~12 lion bushi besieging the barricaded off Crane Garrison. Near the front gate, a large bonfire has been set up, and a matronly Lion warrior, flanked by a pair of war lions (the animals) oversees.
Matsu Genichi – Matsu Garrison Commander
Soh’s female scorpion attendant
Honor: +3 Facing down Lion incursion with grace
Glory/Infamy: All players receive +1 glory (or +1 infamy for Akiyama)