Gozoku

Prelude-The Fall of the Gozoku

Session 2

Otosan Uchi, 4-12th of Togashi

Over a week the young group of samurai investigates many strange events. A matchmaker, Tansaku Ryobe, gets involved after meeting with Soshuro Miki, an encounter with undisclosed details.

Miki dug a lot about the upcoming event, learning that the list of guest wasn’t limited to Doji Raigu’s hostages: many provincial daimyos and their katos would risk Winter to attend, as would Shiba Gaijushiko, the Imperial Scribe and the regent of the Otomo daimyo, Otomo Tohojatsu.

Kakita Naomi faced the cold of Winter to find her older brother, Katsura, unable to stop thinking on words half-said the previous day. Her voyage cost her a nasty cold, but she learned that Katsura expected her to be soon invited to join the Shinsen-Gumi – something that he saw with apprehension.

Asako Inu, trying to stay away from the courtiers and close to the refugees. Still, the warning of Otomo Kyabetsu was fresh on his mind, and he inquired around about the magistrate. Inu learns that Otomo Kyabetsu is part of the influential Senzo family, that has many holdings and magistrate positions all across Rokugan. He also finds that Kyabetsu is an Otomo from marriage and his origin is unknown.

Otomo Tohojatsu is an uncle of emperor Hantei Fujiwa, and regent for the Otomo daimyo. He is a very sick man, with a frail mind and forgetful. He seems to have a very positive on-look on the Triple Alliance and likes to see the Great Clans working together.

Not satisfied, Inu looks into another source of information: In the privacy of his quarters, Inu asks for the help of the air kami. The explosion of laughter and sound is a bite disturbing, very unlike the water kami he prefers to deal with. Still, he manages to keep the kami entertained enough to get some interesting tidy-bits from them: It seems there are many whispers amongst those courtiers that have been here for “some time” and they are all “sad, angry and afraid”, specially the “ones on yellow and green”. They also say that everyone is whispering about that “nasty business with all foolish mortals killing themselves, the princess lady and the one-armed man.”

Doji Mikan tried to obtain an audience with Doji Raigu. Asako Inu, Asako Manabu, Asako Masami are having tea with the Emerald Champion and she is invited to join. They have a pleasant time, and Manabu learns between words what Raigu plants to do with all the hard work he and Masami have put together: he is trying to seize some land in a lawful way. Inu makes a small plea for rice that goes ignored and Doji Mikan slips a letter to Doji Raigu: a letter detailing the findings of Otomo Kyabetsu and his suspicions.

The day of the event finally arrived, and everyone move to the playhouse near Doji Raigu’s estate. Doji Raigu seems to have reacted to Doji Mikan’s letter by closing all the streets to and out of the quarter. All the guests are very interested, not in the play itself- an endeavor of mediocre quality – but on the new improvements made upon the building and the application of three stages and multiples corridors to kabuki. Doji Raigu and Shiba Gaijushiko seem to have created an additional measure of safety: a balcony full of guards with no visible access.

The play goes on, dreadfully, until the entrance of a humongous actor playing a Crab – no wonder, considering he must’ve been the tallest man in Rokugan. He enters the stage and interrupts the play, jumping and slamming his tetsubo. While the guests panic and their yojimbos try to defend them, Naomi and Matsu Susumara try to engage the “Crab”; a well placed call to the Earth kami by Inu probably saved a few innocent lives. A hidden trapdoor installed during the latest addition opens on the roof, and a shugenja and a mysterious archer appear. They disable the combatants and try to assassinate not Doji Raigu but Otomo Tohojatsu. And arrow flies and pints the old courtier to the ground.

Inu rushes and heals Tohojatsu of his wounds and any possible poison that might be on his poison. Mikan rushes to the arrow, and using the unique secret skills of her family, sees the face of the archer assassin. Naomi rushes in pursuit of the shugenja and the archer, while Susumara and other yojimbos finish the “Crab”.

Unable to catch with the assassins, Naomi returns to see Doji Raigu challenging Otomo Kyabetsu; like everyone of the kuge, he only half-explains his reasons, upon implications and brash words blaming the attempt on Otomo Tohojatsu as one of his plots. A duel to the death ensues, and after a karmic strike that leaves Doji Raigu bloodied and Kyabetsu on the ground dying. Doji Raigu calls the Imperial Scribe and declares House Senzo and its head Kyabetsu traitors, their names to be purged, lives extinguished and proprieties seized. Raigu refuses to land the last strike, ordering Kakita Katsura to do it.

Doji Raigu then turns his attention to the young samurai involved in the plot. Otomo Ideko, Kyabetsu’s yoriki and niece, throws herself at Raigu’s mercy. She pleads they are innocent, involved in the plot by her fault. Raigu orders her to be arrested and executed on the morning; him and his Shinsen-gumi take the young samurai to his office.

There he reveals that these young samurai are living Paragons of the exalted virtues of the Triple Alliance; they are to serve as a perfect representation of what the Gozoku stand for. As they accept this, Raigu gives them their first mission: to find the last members of House Senzo and anyone that is helping them escape justice. Doji Raigu promises this is only closing loose end: he reveals a model of Bakufu – a city of the future. And he hopes the young samurai will help making it a reality.

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