Real Time: 9 February 2017
Game Time: 7 March 1175
Location: Shorai no Kiban
The bedraggled Lion 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.
The Crane defenders have engaged a lockdown of the garrison, erecting strong walls locking them in, and the Lion out while the Lion assault force hurls insults over the walls and prepares a bonfire to burn down the structure.
Moments after arrival, Akiyama arrives, explaining that he was able to convince the Mantis crew to hold their prisoners with a copy of the party’s Magesterial writ as authorization. He quietly climbs to a nearby roof and oversees the proceedings, ready to unleash hell in fletching if required.
The party initially cows some of the Matsu bushi for a moment, before their leaders step forth to parley.
When confronted, the Lion commander (Matsu Genichi), and her lieutenant (Akodo Namboku) (who the party has met before), brusquely demand that the Crane party surrender their arms and submit to Lion commands. Genichi cites the same story written on the propaganda posters at the docks, that claim 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.
Both Genichi and Namboku cite that they saw Matsu Umasu’s body washed up on the beach two days prior. Namboku even states that they have evidence of foul play. Nearby, the Kitsuki (Dragon) duo with whom the party had previously quarreled, look on with seeming amusement.
After a little bickering back and forth and posturing, it is suggested that the dispute can be settled by a duel. Byakuya steps forward and takes on Matsu Gudeta, a mountain of a man. Despite becoming enraged by the naga voices in his head, Byakuya skillfully and mercilessly hacks away at the resilient lion until he slowly falls to the ground, with Byakuya’s katana lodged in his neck. As the giant warrior falls dead to the ground, his off-hand drops a folded origami crane, which Byakuya retrieves, after chopping off a spot of blood on the beak.
As Matsu Genichi begrudgingly leads her troops away towards the docks, she states that they will be back soon, when their case is formally heard at court. Akodo Namboku stops and reiterates that they have evidence of Crane deliquency. The observing Dragon representatives also state that they’ve seen the evidence and arguments and think the Lion claim is strong.
Shortly after the Lion entourage have passed by, some of the party recall that a female Lion attendant who limps past seems oddly familiar. Eventually someone recalls that they think it is the Soh’s Scorpion attendant whom they have seen a few times previously. Oddly, though, they just encountered said attendant shooting message arrows back and forth from Soh’s barge just a few minutes prior, and without a limp.
Byakuya calls through the barricade to Commander Bakin, who reveals that he and a small handful of his men are barricaded inside the garrison, but it will take them some time to disassemble the defenses.
As the party begins to turn back towards the dock, a series of thunderclaps can be heard coming from that direction. Shortly after, a large billow of black smoke can be seen as well. The party hurries forward, emerging onto the docks to see a horrifying sight bearing down on them from downriver. A fearsome dark creature(?) with great wings swoops along the water, teeming with motion and belching fire and smoke, while the northernmost warehouse is already burning. Cries of “Demons!” erupt from the various Crane, Mantis and Lion around.
After a brief moment of confusion, Shoutaro, Utamuro and Byakuya see through this fearsome façade, and realize that this creature is in fact a very unusual-looking ship, teeming with black-skinned humans (or at least humanoids).
Matsu Genichi – Matsu Garrison Commander
Akodo Namboku – Lion Squad Leader
Matsu Gudeta – Lion duelist
Kitsuki Lixue – Dragon investigator
Kitsuki Doreni – Dragon yojimbo
Honor: 5 for facing down a large number of imposing Lions and allowing them to retreat gracefully
Glory/Infamy: Akiyama +2 Infamy for raging accusations of murder; Byakuya +5 Glory and +5 Infamy for winning the duel with a crazed ferocity; Everyone: +2 glory for facing down the Lion in front of the Dragon