The Crane Ascendant

Sins of the Father
The Death of Daidoji Kenta

Daidoji Tadasu and Daidoji Sakura decided to follow a lead on what happened to their father, Daidoji Kenta, and took a path out of the village into the woods. After an hour or two of wandering, they found a clearing with many broken branches, several of the higher ones smoothly cut. Just outside the ring of the clearing, they spotted a glint of metal, several feet off the ground. Upon investigating, they found a mound of dirt with a ninja-to jutting from it. Tadasu spotted a scrap of blue cloth, barely visible beneath the dirt, and pulled on it. He pulled a decomposing arm free from the mound. He lept forward, digging through the mound to unveil the body of their father. Upon seeing the decomposing corpse, Sakura fell to the ground in an epileptic seizure. Meanwhile, Doji (Saito) Katsu was seeking out the siblings on the forest path. Tadasu picked up his sister, and ran towards the village, seeking help. He ran past Katsu, who decided to investigate what had “frightened” them so. Shortly thereafter, Sakura revived from her seizure, and they returned to the clearing and met with Katsu. Katsu remembered seeing Shosuro Yukiko and Shosuro Miyako passing through the village disguised as peasants. Tadasu admitted to setting up a meeting with them. Katsu was sent to bring Daidoji Jun so that Kenta could be given proper funeral rights. Meanwhile, Tadasu went to Kukurere Huyushemura to meet with the scorpion. Tadasu asked the scorpion to deliver the swords of the fallen Lion to their homeland. In exchange Yukiko asked that Tadasu marry Miyako to “foster good relations” between their clans. Reluctantly, Tadasu agreed.

After Kenta was cremated, it was decided that Jun would go to the monastery and allow Tadasu to take his fathers place, once the imposter was dealt with. Sakura decided to accompany her to see what she could learn about the faceless creatures that they have run up against. Her plan was cut short when Tadasu returned home and began dressing for war. Tadasu, Katsu, Sakura, and Hayate went to Kenta’s sitting room to find the imposter. The imposter gave a suprised look as they attacked, and revealed itself to be one of the faceless creatures. Durring the battle, Tadasu attempted to use Jade powder upon the creature, but, other than blinding it, it had no real effect. The creature retaliated by launching and orb of black/purple energy, striking Tadasu in the chest.

After defeating the creature, Tadasu, Katsu and Katsu’s father went to meet with Daidoji Kikaze, who gave Tadasu his father’s titles and land. He also gave Tadasu permission to marry Miyako. He also stated that war with the Lion may not be avoidable, as the Lion had somehow already found out about the deaths of their representatives.

Prelude to War
Daidoji Kenta's Questionable Mission

After Winter Court, the group headed back to Kaitekimura. They passed the messenger sent by Doji (Saito) Katsu on their way home. Upon arriving home, they gave their report to Daidoji Kenta. Kenta told the group he would investigate the attempt on Doji (Inoue) Saya’s life. He also stated that he did not receive Katsu’s letter, but gave him permission to marry Yoritomo Sumiko anyways. Katsu and his father, headed to Mantis Clan lands to secure the wedding. After successfully setting the wedding up for the next Winter Court, they returned home.

A month after giving their report to Kenta, Daidoji Tadasu was called in to meet with his father. Daidoji Kenta gave Tadasu the option of taking a questionable mission. There was a group of Lion Clan samurai in a local village who were part of the plot against Doji (Inoue) Saya. They had also convinced the village to defect to the Lion Clan. The orders were to eliminate the Lion Clan Samurai and anyone who witnessed the event. Tadasu spoke to the others, who agreed to take part in the mission.

The group arrived in the village, where the peasants cleared the street as they came into view. They spoke briefly with the headman of the village, and had him lead them to the inn. Upon entering the inn, they found the Lion Clan samurai, Akodo Rin, Akodo Yoshitaki, and Kitsu Nobu. Upon speaking with the Lion Clan samurai, the group learned that the Lion were supposedly going to Kyuden Doji to exchange history scrolls with one of the scholars there. The group talked the Lion Clan samurai into traveling together to Kyuden Doji. While stopping for lunch, Daidoji Tadasu sprung an ambush on the Lion Clan samurai. Though he disagreed with the mission, Doji (Saito) Katsu still did his duty and carried out the distasteful actions.

After returning home they were congratulated by Daidoji Kenta for a job well done. Shortly thereafter, rumors began to spread that the Lion Clan had decimated a village (the one the group found them in), and that the group had exacted vengeance for this crime. Due to these actions, the Crane Clan is preparing for war with the Lion. The group returned to the village to find it burned to the ground. After some searching they found a body, killed by claws, and a metallic claw stuck in a door-frame. After speaking with some water kami, Daidoji Sakura determined that those responsible for destroying the village are the same creatures as what attacked Doji (Inoue) Saya at Winter Court.

I Fell Asleep in the Garden
Winter Court in Shiro Akodo

Daidoji Sakura, Doji (Saito) Katsu, and Kakita (Nakashima) Hayate were awakened by a crash and a scream from Doji (Inoue) Saya’s room. Upon investigating, they found a figure in black standing over her. Katsu charged the figure, throwing him through the window. After searching, they found that the body never hit the ground, and was nowhere to be found. Saya was stuttering out that the assailant had no face. The group was then moved to a new room, where they were eventually found by Daidoji Tadasu. Tadasu explained that he had fallen asleep in the garden.

The group then went to greet the Phoenix Clan contingent. Isawa Kiyoshi showed interest in speaking with Daidoji Sakura. Isawa Ayumi turned out to be an old friend of Doji (Saito) Katsu. After greeting the contingent, the bushi of the group entered a kenjutsu tournament. While Doji (Saito) Katsu defeated almost all comers, he was eventually deposed by a Lion Clan bushi.

Doji (Saito) Katsu and Yoritomo Sumiko moved their relationship forward, as Sumiko seduced Katsu, causing him to miss his shift of the watch, much to Kakita (Nakashima) Hayate’s discomfort. Upon his return, he explained that he had fallen asleep in the garden. Meanwhile, Daidoji Tadasu and Shosuro Miyako had dinner, and a fight with one of the local Tongs.

Away for the Holidays
Winter Court in Shiro Akodo

The group was called before Daidoji Kenta two weeks after their last assignment. They were informed that they will be wintering in Shiro Akodo as guardians of Doji (Inoue) Saya. They were provided travelling papers to allow them access to Lion Clan lands, and informed that they are only permitted to carry their Daisho, which must be peace-bound. After gathering their gear, they headed out on horseback. After their first day of riding, they stopped at a roadside inn. Upon waking, Doji (Saito) Katsu found a note warning of an assassination attempt on Doji (Inoue) Saya, which is to take place at Shiro Akodo. After discussing the note with the others, they set out once more.

While traveling to the meeting point, Daidoji Tadasu noticed signs of an ambush ahead. While discussing how to handle the ambush point, the group did not notice that the bandits had encircled them. The leader stepped forward and requested a toll from them. He was rewarded by being struck with a spell from Daidoji Sakura. After a brief fight, 4 of the bandits lay dead, and Kakita (Nakashima) Hayate lay unconscious. The bandit leader sounded a retreat, and while the rest of his band escaped, he was taken in the throat by Tadasu’s thrown wakizashi.

The group arrived at the meeting point, a small village in northern Crane lands. They informed the local yoriki of the incident with the bandits, and went to meet with Doji (Inoue) Saya. After informing Saya of the threat to her life, she told them that many at court may have issue with her. After their next night of travel, they once more stopped by another roadside inn. During the night, while a watch was set, a rock was thrown through the rice-paper window for Saya’s room. The only sign of who dd it were a set of footprints in the dirt, leading back to the inn. The group arrived in Shiro Akodo without further incident.

When the group went to introduce themselves to the Lion Clan Champion, Akodo Shigetoshi, they were turned away and told that he was very busy at the moment. While being led to their rooms, Daidoji Tadasu overheard as the Scorpion Clan emissaries were shown right in. After looking over a guest list, Saya found many people who had reason to take umbrage with her: Ikoma Koji, Shosuro Miyako, Yasuki Hiroko, and Yoritomo Sumiko all had possible cause.

After settling in, Doji (Saito) Katsu and Daidoji Tadasu escorted Doji (Inoue) Saya to mingle. Katsu made the acquaintance of Yoritomo Sumiko, who he arranged to have tea with later, meanwhile Tadasu went for a walk in the garden with Shosuro Miyako. Meanwhile, Kakita (Nakashima) Hayate and Daidoji Sakura took an uneventful trip to the local temple to Bishamon.

At dinner, Shosuro Yukiko made a thinly veiled insult against Daidoji Sakura, which caused Sakura to respond angrily. After dinner, Katsu performed a lovely tea ceremony for Yoritomo Sumiko, and they spoke at length about various subjects. After a small amount of mingling, everyone then headed to bed . . .

The Tale of Chiyo
Session Review

After Ryota fled, the peasants came out from hiding and cheered at the sight of the surviving samurai, and the creatures arm laying bloodied in the grass. The group burned the arm, and set up camp for the night. In the morning, they decided to search for the creature’s den. After questioning the villagers, they learned rumor of a spirit named Chiyo who is said to live in a cave in the area. After a fruitless search to the west, the group turned north into the foothills.

Two hours after they left town, and after a difficult climb, the group came upon a cave. Katsu and Hayate headed back to town to gather up lanterns. Meanwhile, Sakura and Tadasu searched the surrounding area. Near the entrance to the cave, they found the dehydrated corpses of several animals. Sakura wandered further out, finding a small clearing with a stream running through it. In the stream she found a large oilcloth pouch with a coarse glass like powder, and a vial of a thick liquid. When Sakura attempted to commune with the earth spirits contained in the powder, they betrayed her, turning half of the powder an ashy black. She was, however, able to identify the liquid as a temporary adhesive.

When Katsu and Hayate returned, the group entered the cave. They quickly came upon a large chamber with natural pillars. In this chamber, they spied Ryota, attempting to catch fish in a small pool. Sakura enticed the Void to distract the creature, allowing her companions to make quick work of him. They followed another passage out of the chamber, deeper into the cave. Sakura was convinced they would find the things mother if they continued.

They found themselves entering into a chamber, who’s floor was covered with a foot of standing water. Tadasu scouted ahead, seeing a beautiful woman painting a portrait of Wada Hisashi. He crept back to the group and motioned for them to follow him. As they got close, they saw that she was now sitting, facing them. She told them her story, that the headman had lain with her and then abandoned her and her son in the cave. When dialog did not disuade the group to leave, she finally struck at them. Her fingers had grown by 1’ each and her face was half the beautiful face of before and half a rotting skull. Quickly, the group found them on the losing end of the battle as their weapons merely scratched her porcelain like skin. Sakura remembered that spirits bore a weakness to jade and crystal, and thus made the connection of what the coarse powder she found was. She quickly coated the weapons of the others and they banished Chiyo back to Gaki-do.

They returned to the village and spoke with Hisashi about what they had been told. After a short deliberation, they determined there was nothing that could be done, as Hisashi had violated no law in his actions. They then headed back to Kaitekimura via Kukurere Huyushemura. They learned as they passed through Kukurere Huyushemura that no progress had been gained on the slaughter of the lumberjacks, nor had any other murders happened.

The Beast
Session Review

For the first time since they left for school 4 years ago, the group is back together. In honor of their return, and Doji (Saito) Katsu’s victory in the Topaz Championship, Daidoji Kenta held a festival. As Kaitekimura is a small village, the peasants were invited as well as any visiting samurai. During the party, an exhausted looking peasant burst into the hall and collapsed. Kenta had the peasant taken to quarters where he could rest, and his message received. Near the end of the party, one of the doshin came to Daidoji Sakura and told her to bring her yojimbo and meet with Daidoji Kenta first thing in the morning.

In the morning the group gathered and met with Kenta, who explained the previous night’s disturbance. The peasant had carried a message from Shikkansato, two days away. The headman, Wada Hisashi was requesting assistance, as Shikkansato was under siege by a spirit that was devouring the residents. The group gathered their gear and set out on horseback.

Near the end of their first day of travel they found themselves in Kukurere Huyushemura on the night of the full moon, to the delight of a couple of the members. After eating a meal and catching up with Yamagata Sumiko, the owner of the dumpling house, Kakita (Nakashima) Hayate and Daidoji Sakura decided to meditate, while Daidoji Tadasu and Doji (Saito) Katsu headed to the sake house. In the sake house Katsu rekindled his feelings for Mie Yumi to the chagrin of her brother Mie Dai. While they were enjoying their sake Katsu overheard some of the lumberjacks making lewd comments about Yumi, and interjected himself. He commanded the peasants to apologize to the girl, which they did before scrambling out of the sake house. Daidoji Tadasu headed off to bed, while Doji (Saito) Katsu stayed behind to speak further with Mie Yumi regarding a possible future together. He then joined the others at the inn, where they slept for the night.

In the morning, the group was awakened by the sound of panic coming from a nearby wooded area. Upon investigating, they found the remains of the lumberjacks. The bodies appeared to be torn apart, although the local eta pointed out where the bodies had been slashed by both blade and claw. After questioning the peasants for a short while, the group learned that no one had seen the incident. Several of the peasants were looking at Katsu with suspicion, therefore, it was decided that he and Hayate would check the outskirts of the town for signs of whatever had slaughtered the lumberjacks. Meanwhile, Daidoji Sakura communed with the Earth Spirits in the area and learned that there was only one perpetrator. They also learned that this was the first such attack. Once they had exhausted all means of finding a lead, they decided to continue on to Shikkansato, fearing that these murders were a sign of Shikkansato’s problem spreading.

They arrived in Shikkansato at the end of the second day, and were greeted by exhilarated peasants cheering for them. They were quickly introduced to Wada Hisashi, who told them what was happening. The beast, Ryota, began attacking the village approximately a week ago, slaughtering a few peasants each night. The beast refused to touch the Headman, himself, and always strikes at midnight. After a bountiful banquet in the group’s honor, they gathered all of the peasants in the center of the meeting hall. Hayate and Katsu scouted outside the hall, while the others guarded the peasants. At the edge of the woods north of the meeting hall, a mist began to gather and the translucent figure of Ryota could be seen as it passed through the trees (literally). Katsu raised an alarm, calling the others to battle. As Ryota reached the edge of the wood, his translucence faded and he became solid, the grass now bending beneath his feet as he walks. Hayate let an arrow fly at Ryota’s chest, and the battle was joined. After a brief but intense fight, Tadasu left his charge’s side and removed the beast’s arm with the blunt force of his tetsubo. The beast howled in pain, and shifted into the form of a cockroach, scuttling away through the grasses.

The Topaz Championship
Session Summary

Daidoji Tadasu and Doji (Saito) Katsu were invited to participate in the Topaz Championship, a prestigious tournament for those who have just obtained their Gempukku. The Topaz Championship was hosted by Doji Masumi in Tsuma. On the way to Tsuma both Tadasu and Katsu stopped to purchase gifts for their hosts on the way to Tsuma. Tadasu purchased a pipe and pouch of fine tobacco for Doji Masumi, and a courtier’s fan with a design of the jade and obsidian dragons entwined for Doji Megumi. Meanwhile, Katsu purchased a tea set for the couple, with the intent of performing the tea ceremony for them.

Upon arriving at Tsuma, the group presented themselves to Masumi and his wife. Tadasu was introduced first, and his gifts were met with affection, Katsu was introduced second, and his gift was also well received, and his ceremony was scheduled for after dinner. They were then left to their own devices until dinner. Katsu decided to work on his Kata after finding a room to stay in during the competition. Meanwhile, Tadasu found his way to the sake house and a pair of crab contestants, one of whom, Hida Amaya, was the sister of his friend Hida Toson. After the dinner, Katsu performed his tea ceremony for the Shikken and his wife.

The next day began the Topaz Championship. The first event of the day was a foot race around the village. Akodo Cho won the race. The second event was a contest of creativity and artistic ability, in which the subject of the piece had to be cherry blossoms. Doji (Saito) Katsu won this event. The third event of the day was a Go competition. The contestants were paired off, and each winner was awarded a number of points to their score. Both Katsu and Tadasu won their matches. The next event was a last man standing skirmish. Tadasu and Katsu decided to team up until they were the only remaining bushi, and then would fight one on one for the event. They succeeded in being the only remaining contestants, and Tadasu quickly took the event. The final event of the day was an archery contest. This event was also taken by Akodo Cho.

The last day of the tournament consisted of an Iaijutsu tournament. After several duels, and several surprise upsets by Tadasu, Tadasu and Katsu squared off for the championship. Katsu’s mastery of iaijutsu quickly asserted itself, and he was named champion. He was awarded Hayaitou as a prize for winning the tournament.


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