Rokugan: Shadow Creeping
Travelogue of Togashi Zunika
The journey to crab lands has been a silent walk of frustration on my part. The lack of forethought and planning of my companions will surely lead us to unneeded trouble and attention. I am enjoying the company of my brother I find him to be very honorable. However, I hesitate in confiding my secrets with him. Knowledge is a heavy burden. I find myself often walking close to him unconsciously. At night I dream of glowing eyes and a great danger threatening his life. I feel that his purpose is greater than our small mission.
I have had little time for meditation, but I take every available moment to refocus and pray for our party. I also yearn for my daughter and regret leaving her for so long. I must send a message discretely to let her know of my travels. I cannot die in the Shadowlands without sending word. although she is young I sence a great understanding in her. She is aware and more powerful than any of of us know..
One thing is very clear to me.. I am unable to leave my brothers side. I am somehow bound to his fate now. I find that I am also growing a certain fondness for Shiba Zejuko. She is quite remarkable. Hopefully I will be able to stress the importance of getting more jade before we enter the shadowlands.. We must consider splitting our party. We will not come out of the shadowlands untainted if our course does not alter.
Shiro Kuni (Kaiu Wall) is a very impressive castle. The Kuni Osaki wall is rather a 100ft tall fortress that stretches as far as the eye can see. It is a strange comfort however it feels of death and determination. I feel poised for battle and yet my enemies have refused to reveal themselves. Every shadow holds a threat. We are all on edge.
Hira Makasu has granted us two guides in addition to light armor, mounts and jade for our party as we prepare for a swift flight into the shadowlands. I am troubled, even though we are as prepared as we can be, the sudden absence of Kitsu Busaru at the moment of departure is a ill omen. His seemingly instant change in travel and duty is hard to understand. As is Shiba Zejuko’s change in demeanor this morning. The wall fortress has changed our party beyond imaging and yet we journey further. I pray for all our heath, success, and guidance.
With urgency I write to Kira and find a person to deliver it to the Ise Zumi Order. She must read it.. I hope she can read it soon.. So much of her future depends on the actions of others. I pray I have done enough.
Land is corrupted and the taint is absorbed by jade.
Unknown creatures plants etc.. that will infect one with taint
Eat/drink nothing from here
Traps in river beyond wall for shadow creatures
Keep moving at all times- make sure we are spaced 30 paces while traveling
Flesh eating grub under rocks logs etc
Fire doesnt burn
Hard to contact Kami- dangerous
Casting is challenging
Our fist night out from the gate Seki was attacked by 3 Nikuizu slugs. I removed them but was unable to save his life. His last mutterings were to his lord for shaming him some how in Otosan Uchi.. I prayed for him at his passing.
It was with a renewed vigor and wariness of how deadly the shadowlands are that we continued. I am always alert and vigilant in surveying the terrain. On our second day I spotted a goblin scout. our scouts had us pretend to make camp while they circled around the creature and caught it. After questioning the creature was killed and decapitated.
Upon arriving at Hirsuma Castle our scouts depart. We survey the surrounding areas and the destruction on two sides of the castle. We know for certain there are ogres at one rubble entrance. There are also two white objects on the main gate which we cannot make out. Near dusk we are deciding the best course of action and discover a rat creature approaching us. It is drawn to Shiba Zejuko and she somehow, through gestures, translates its desire to aid us in attacking the castle. There are more rat Nezumi that approach our group. Shiba Zejuko decides to risk calling a Kami to investigate the castle. We guard her while she is meditating.
It is full dark when she awakens. We decide to sneak into the castle at the oger entrance. The master chamber is on the forth floor. The rohnin Shugenja has three ward and places two of them at key places so the at if we sound an alarm we have a chance to escape… Despite our great number and the general lumbering about of my brother, Doji Isoroku, we make it to the master chambers. The rohnin has one ward left.
As we open the door we find Ugu prepared for our arrival. There are two ghosts. Their skeletons are at Ugu’s feet except the heads.. Doji Isoroku attacks one of the ghosts and upsets Usagi Ozaki because they are his ancestors, Usagi Nidei and his lost crab samurai-ko love. Shiba Zejuko tries to call another kami and fails. I see an opportunity to dodge between the two ghosts and attack Ugu the Exalted. I rush forward with blazing fists and deliver a deadly blow to his face killing him instantly.
I present Kenno to Usagi Ozaki and remove Ugu’s ring. Chickinic the rat Nezumi Leader takes the head of Ugu and bows to me. I feel I have made a deep impression on this group and could call them an ally. The Nezumi leave and I search the room finding several Koku and a Kuni Talisman. Shiba Zejuko is insistent on collecting the bones of the Usagi ancestors and we decide to collect the heads from the gate.
We descend to the lower levels and make way to the gate. Stopping at a corridor we see goblins with spears so Masago makes a ward taking Ugsagi Ozaki to guard her. She betrays our party and blocks herself and Usagi on the side with the goblins and attacks him. Doji Isoroku and I break down the ward. I kill the malicious betrayer with a flaming fist of justice!
As she dies we see a tongue crawl out of her mouth.. We fight the goblins and head for the gate. We hear sounds of battle in other parts of the castle. The Rats come to our aid and we fight out the gate. I grab the skulls from the gates and we run off into the night. The Nesumi lead us back to the wall. We are in the debt of these creatures..
We have survived the shadowlands. Surely we have been preserved and guided for a higher purpose..
At the wall we are refreshed and well fed. Shiba Zejuko investigates the findings from our journey. She is very excited about the crab scrolls discovered. The ring of Ugu the Exalted I gave to my brother and I kept the Amulet of the Jade magistrate. They are intriguing items and I am thankful for our discoveries.
A crane samurai-co appeared before us. She addressed Doji Isoroku and encouraged him to continue on his path. The sword he carries was originally hers.. A most surprising visit and brother I have. There is much more for me to learn of him.
We are warned of a large scorpion force attacking the Hare clan Castle. Usagi Ozaki thanks us for our aid and tells us that he cannot ask us to further endanger ourselves. I thank him for his concerns but insist that I will accompany him home because it is our duty and the agreement we made upon leaving his father. I tell him “You cannot die well if you have lived poorly.” He accepts our continued help and we depart with haste accompanied by 2 crab scouts.
As we come within sight of the castle we see a huge force attacking the western wall.
Ozaki leads us to the river and to a secret cave entrance that leads to the heart of the castle. Our group finally assembles as one since our Lion’s sudden departure from the wall.
We all engage in a heated debate on our next course of action. Oda wants us to leave with his children to preserve the Hare clan. The Lion reveals that a Emerald magistrate is due at dawn to hopefully stop the attack… I argue that it is the most honorable and right course to stay and defend the Hare’s honor and to wait for the magistrate.
Doji Isoroku and Kitsu Busaru agree to duel to first blood because of Kitsu’s departure from us minutes from entering the shadowlands… The draw first blood and mend the slight creating a sort of bond between them. It is agreed that we stay.
The next day we engage ourselves in battle and I duel an worthy scorpion bushi. I kill him with my fist blazing with fury. At noon a high trumpet sounds and the scorpions slowly withdraw from combat. On the horizon I see a woman leading twenty Imperial soldiers.
She stops at the scorpion troops and the begin to withdraw. She then gets an audience with Usagi Oda and our party. She has three stipulations for us to meet to end the attack.
1 when speaking of this battle the Hare must praise the grace and mercy of the Mighty scorpion clan
2 the original scroll must be given to her immediately
3 The Scorpion General Tomaru will marry Tomoe to add the ‘story’ of his victory and might seeing the beautify Tomoe .. Etc.
Oda agrees to the terms and we begin to plan our return to Matsu Chokoku…
A herald announces the next morning: Travel through Scorpion lands is restricted due to plague, dead are rising … villages disappear..
Crane and Lion are in open war set off by the death of Doji Sei.. ( Doji Isoroku’s wife. )