Time of the Drowned Swords.

Go Tournament

After escorting the Imperials to Toshi RonToshi Ranbo wo Shien Shite Reigisaho, the topaz champion and his honor guard went to the town of Rusashi for a simple Go Tournament. There was a interesting group of samurai there for the game, plus a Thrane. During the preliminary games, it was noted that the scorpion used chopsticks to move his stones and that the Thrane had the horrid habit of chewing on his fingernails and tips of his fingers to everyone disgust. Several of the samurai presented him with gloves as gifts to stop his habit while playing.

It was lunch on the third day when the Thrane approched Takata Nagori and went into the rock garden for a quick talk using his broken rokugan and gestures he got across the fact there was poison in the holders of the go stones, as a Thrane he knew if he brought it forth he would be dismissed, so it fell to several on the Topaz honor guard to quietly look into this while not disturbing the tournament or its honor.

After a long search overnight they found there was a opium based poison that slowly clouded and addicted the mind of the user in the oil used to polish the stones and bowls that held them. Discreetly informing others they arranged for the bowls to be replaced. The quarterfinals for the game where Isawa Akiro vs Utaku Animarie and Togashi Sakura vs Bayushi Yoshikazu, Isawa Akiro and Togashi Sakura advanced for the finals on the last day. After the morning blessing but before the game started a skirmish broke out as some ronin attacked the city and tournament area with fire arrows. The group split up to deal with both sides, narrowly defeating the ronin before heading back to watch the final of Togashi’s win over Isawa. It was later reported that the ronin where part of a military maneuver that had gotten lost and attacked the wrong area instad of a preset area they where suppose to.

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A Path of Honor

After a few days rest from the Topaz Championship, the group is summoned by Shiba Yahiko the Emerald Champion. It seems a ronin was murdered overnight, and normal investigations have no leads. The Emerald Magistrate Kitsuki Hiroyuki, has asked for permission to use the case as a test for Kitsuki evidence to be allowed in Imperial Courts and Law.

After a quick discussion with Hiroyuki about duties, they investigated the scene they discovered two bloody fingerprints on the window and ledge, and a scrap of dark green silk. In the room they found a bag of coins, a number of travel orders and a book with strange calligraphy. The body itself showed one wound, and that the ronin had a bleeding disease. There was traces of heavy opium use in the mouth and defensive wounds on his hands. The shugenja could not crack the cipher of the book. They also found several cherry blossom petals that seemed different that others. Isawa Akrio and Shiba Tsuned noted that they seemed to be from the House of the Silk Flowers, a geisha house in the town. His daisho set seemed to be rather new and had marking from a crane weaponsmith.

Questioning the six samurai in the Inn, was not very productive, but takata nagori, did learn and get the basics of how to fingerprint someone down. He managed to sooth a courtiers anger about ink stains.

In discussions with Kakita Maroshi and his assistant Kakita Etsuko, they learned that Haraiki was considered a honorable man, and that he was going to be offered into a minor family of the crane. His duty this year was to assist in guarding the encampment of the Fox clan during topaz championship. Last year, Haraiki was instrumental in preventing a major robbery and was gifted a new daisho by the crane and unicorn for service rendered.
His commander for this year daidoki shika, let haraiki lead the night watch with two ronin to command. They reported nothing strange during the topaz, but Shika did inform the party of Haraiki’s eight year old daughter.

The party then did split up as several attempted to find the undergrown opium trade, shiba and isawa went to the house of the silk flowers using the invitation they had to interview zenmi, who also informed them of the family connection and history, shiba and isawa then set up a morning appointment with the madam Kaminako for rest of the group as to not disrupt the evening activities at the house.

The next morning the group interviewed Zenmi with Kaminako present, the line of questioning about opium brought forth another geisha who mostly served the ronin passing by but received larger and more elegant gifts than most. Questing her they discovered that she was passing out opium to those who knew a code word, a ronin named Kuroka , had set it up so she was gifting that which was gifted to her. Bypassing the spirit of the opium trade laws, the amount she had was much more than personal use, but did have a crab tax stamp on them. She pointed the group to a fireman known as the Orchid of the Steel Blossom, as who picked up most of it.

after spending most of the day not being able to find the fireman, the group retired to a tavern and attempted to arrange a meeting with them through a waitress, after a couple of hours the group was approached by a peasant using various bribes and threats they attempted to gain their assistance and arranged a meeting in two days.

Returning to the inn for the night, the group found waiting for them Shiba Yahiko , Bayushi Yoichi, and Kuni Hideko, explaining what evidence they had found, and what they where looking for Yoichi asked for a showing of fingerprinting, then asked Kitsuki to show his fingerprint. At that point there where shocks as Kitsuki’s Hiroyuki fingerprint matched the bloody one, and inside his saya was blood as he predicted, further checking in his room found a torn kimono that matched the part found on the window, Haraiki’s travel log and a opium pipe and small amount of opium. Hiroyuki was unable to explain how this had come into his possession, Hideko and Yoichi then informed the Emerald Champion that they had witnessed Haraiki suppuku , and that they had planted the evidence to show that the so called Kitsuki evidence was not worthy of Imperial courts. Hideko and Yoichi had given a sealed scroll of their plan to the Emerald magistrate before the topaz championship of their plan. The ronin’s daughter while in the yogo lands had shown signs that she was awakened and able to become a shugenja, in exchange for his life, his daughter was being adapted by a yogo sensei as her own daughter, and she would be raised and trained as a yogo shugenja in a prestigious house. Hiroyuki nodded in disappointment and handed his sash back to Shiba Yahiko as he failed in his mission to allow kitsuki evidence to be used in courts. She thanked him for his service, and as he was leaving, she re offered the position to him, he thanked for for the honor, but wished to return to his own clan duties, she asked if his son would be interested, but he also had duties, he recommended that any of his yuriki in this investigation would be honorable enough to serve the Empire. Yoritomo Taiko accepted the offer.

The group then prepares to head out the next day with the imperial contingent to Toshi Ronbo, then over into the Lion lands for a simple go tournament.

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Test of Steel and Honor
Topaz Championship

The best and brightest of the Samurai have come forward for the year 1500 Topaz championship, hosted in the village of Tsuma, in the crane lands. This year had the honor of seeing many of the Imperial family and champions,
Toturi Nagana, female, eldest daughter of the Emperor ,Toturi Yanagio, Male, eldest son of the Emperor, nicknamed “Kukikami” Air Spirit, Miya Daiyo, female, Daimyo of the Miya and Imperial Herald, Jade Champion, Moshi Tako, Emerald Champion, Shiba Yahiko, and Imperial Treasurer, Kasuga Tsukasao.

The first days activities of Sumai, Heraldry, Athletics, Horsemanship with bow and sword, and Law went uneventful. That first evening, both Totrui children and the Miya slipped into the inn where the contestants where staying to meet and talk with them. Isawa Akiro played go with Totrui Nagana, and defeated her, she was impressed enough with him to gift him her personal go board. Afterword a quick discussion was held as Nagana forgot she was suppost to gift that to the winner of the go tournament the next day, her brother told her not to worry and left to get items arranged.

The second days events of personal combat, Poety went without a issue, then Yanagio announced that instead of a go tournament, there would be a kite tournament to honor the kami of the air that where very playful for the last couple of days. Then the quiz of court and etiquette was held. That evening, during the great Tsi Egg hunt, Kitsune Kurako went missing, a search party found her dead in the river, she died from the Maho spell no pure breaths. The Jade and Emperald Magistrates questioned all the contestants, the only ones that where separated from their groups where Kakita Sakimiko and Matsu Itoeko, however they confessed that they had arranged a duel between them, which explained why they where wounded. It was announced the following morning to all the spectators that Kitsune drowned in the river tragically.

The iaijutsu tournament came down to Shiba Tsueno and Akodo Yasamura, as the two favorates Kakita Sakimiko and Matsu Itoeko both bowed out of the tournament. In the end Shiba Tsueno won and became Topaz Champion.

Before the naming ceremony as everyone was starting to relax and enjoy the beginning of the festivities, a group of Shosuro guards approached covered in grime and blood, they explained that Iuchiban attacked Shiro Shosuro and caused the hill to collapse upon itself, killing all there, Shosuro Shizueko who was in the tournament was now the family champion. The unicorn gave steeds to her for her to use to get home as quick as possible and the crab sent a gift of engineers to the castle also. The guards did have a message for the Miya to give the empire, Iuchiban had claimed the title Dark oracle of Earth….

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