|Posting for my records
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|Author:||SimonB [ Tue Mar 30, 2021 9:53 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Posting for my records|
The adventurers took their leave of the Monastery of Eternal Dawn, embarking on the journey back to Sukaro village, along with their precious cargo of good nutritious seaweed. They had also determined that the best way to free Hoichi from the supernatural demands placed on him was to get him away from the Monastery.
The senior monk, Shino, accompanied them on their trip, as much to supervise his young charge, as to make sure that the proper supplications were made to the Kami, as well as that the seaweed was used most effectively.
Two days passed and the party rode past the castle of Lord Moritano. Perhaps this was not the time to return to the castle, and the adventurers rode on.
At night, the troupe gathered round a campfire. With an autumnal chill coming in, perhaps this was best. A light drizzle of rain fell, but the blaze kept the party dry. Tuning his shamisen, Hoichi played a variety of tunes, accompanied occasionally by the conch blasts of Yoshie.
Looking at the look of glee upon Hoichi’s face as he played, the party wondered whether there was a story behind the young foundling’s origins. Shino would not be drawn on this, only saying that Hoich was found abandoned.
A further two days passed and the bridge where the Anzai gang had been thrashed loomed ahead. Sharp eyes spotted two figures looming by the bridge, but as the party neared, they were spotted, and the figures ran. Their trail couldn’t be found.
The party reached the bluff over the valley of Sukaro village. The sole sprig of cherry blossom still hung. Yoshie and the other monks determined that life was coming back, but how fast would that happen? Looking down into the rice fields, where folk could be seen toiling, there still looked to be a pestilence.
Down the incline into the valley went the party. As they neared the fields, they could see that there was an improvement, but still there were flies and green scum. What looked to be the whole village was at work in the fields. They were hailed and could tell that working with the villagers was Lord Masakano, vastly improved from when he was last seen, and his wife.
Masakano greeted his ‘uncle’ Iwa and explained what was going on. The party elected to help the villagers clear the fields. Those who needed to change went to the Lord’s house, accompanied by Old Man Kojiro. The house had changed as much as the lord, both were not as would be normally expected, worn out and tired, but was clean and in better repair.
The party rejoined and set to spreading the seaweed out, under the direction of Iwa and Shino. With all the seaweed distributed, the monks set to a ritual with the setting of the sun. Looking at them, the party could tell that this ritual meant a lot to them. Perhaps more to Shino. Finishing the smudging and burning of sutras, Shino told the party that he would say a final set of prayers with sunrise.
Retiring to the lord’s house, the party met with him for a meal. Less formal than when they met the false lord, there was no passing of notes. The new serving maid, certainly less pretty than Lady Kyoko, only had eyes for Hoichi. The handsome young monk didn’t notice though, being oblivious to her homespun charms.
Masakano spoke with the party, and got news of his family from his ‘uncle’
The young man thrilled at the stories from Makoto about swordsmanship. This drove home to the party just how young he was.
With a good night’s sleep, uninterrupted unlike the last night in the village, the sunrise ritual began, Yoshie heralding its onset with several loud blows from his conch.
Shino determined that he had made the correct supplications and that now the fate of the harvest was in the hands of the spirits. Certainly, the most efficacious application of seaweed would help.
Iwa and Shino stood with the lord. Though this harvest was diminished, perhaps it would be right to make sure that the following year would be more bounteous. It was determined that a further supply of seaweed would be sent. The matter of bandits along the trail was also discussed.
The monks and party took their leave, heading back to the castle of Lord Masakano. Small diversions were made along the way, taking in small villages, all of whom confirmed that there had been problems with bandits.
Reaching the bridge, the party tried to follow any trails left by bandits, but decided that they would make their report to the lord on the situation.
The party rode close to the castle gates...
|Author:||SimonB [ Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:24 pm ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Posting for my records|
Travels in Yamato
The party ran and escaped the collapsing complex. As rocks crashed down at the cave entrance, the party looked at what lay in front of them. The bandit camp looked as if it had been abandoned for a long time.
Makoto, Okin and Iwa looked around. Aged skeletons lay around. The camp was in tatters. Looking behind them, the cave entrance looked as if it had been collapsed a long time. Peculiarly, late summer appeared to have been replaced by spring.
There was no sign of Yoshie, their monk friend. He had taken charge of a blade and tetsubo taken from the complex. The three resolved to make their way to civilisation, and set out to go back to their lord’s castle. That being a day nearer than Sukaro Village.
In the absence of horses, the journey had to be made on foot. Poor Iwa, weak from poison, had to take advantage of a friendly shoulder to lean on.
By nightfall, the three had made their way to the bridge where they had encountered brigands before. Shock. The bridge was in tatters, but just up from it was a new bridge, much better constructed. As the party passed by, they failed to note a small piece of graffiti on it. Anzai lives.
The three went on, stopping at settlements on the way. Clever Iwa discovered in polite conversation that they seemed to be in a different year than when they set out. Some thirty years hence.
They neared the castle and were met by ashigaru. The head of the guard was sent for, and to the three’s surprise, they recognised him. One of three guardsmen who had accompanied them on the trip. He was now much greyer.
They were ushered to a waiting room and cleaned before being presented to their lord.
Sakoda no Moritano sat in front of them. Not his father, Masakano, who had perished years before. Small talk was had and some small explanations were made, until they were dismissed. Lord Moritano had some brief words with his uncle – now they were much the same age.
Come the morn, Lord Moritano had words for the three. He wished them to go onwards and search out what had transpired. Their first task was to make their way to Thousand Year Monastery, hidden in the mountains of this Hito Island, there to seek advice from the abbot. Next was to make their way to Sieyoku and speak with the shugenja of the Heike clan, the clan of his wife.
With a few days to prepare and heal, they would be off. To assist them in their mission, he had arranged the services of a blond haired outlander, Luth. She would accompany them.
They set off and after a few days reached the foothills leading to the mountain. Leaving their steads behind, they made the trek up, until, reaching the peak, they found themselves on a great plateau. They made their way forward to the monastery, dodging in and out of martial practice, until they met a senior monk. He took them to an audience with the abbot, who turned and greeted them like an old friend. Which of course, Abbot Yoshie was.
The three stood slackjawed. Yoshie was here. But this wasn't the Yoshie they had left but a few days before. This was a man who had lived thirty years since they had seen him last. He smiled. He was glad to see his friends.
He explained to them that he had tried to get back into the cave as the entrance collapsed. A boulder had almost knocked him insensate. He had made his way back to civilisation and riding back with the young lord had not managed to gain access.
He took the sword and tetsubo to the castle, but was bid to take them to the monastery. Over the years he had made a small study of them, and believed that they were the ancestral weapons of the clan. The old lord and then the young refused to take them back. Lady Sakoda's family had divined that it would be ill omened for them to return to the castle at this time. They still had a duty to fulfil. That duty was now.
The abbot smiled at the party. He took the sword and gave it to Makoto, then took the tetsubo and gave it to Okin. "Take these and use them honourably."
He would talk with them later. For now, they should rest. Avail themselves of the abbey. Visit old friends. See the training (Luth was keen to do so)
Iwa requested a private audience with the abbot. The others moved on. Tomorrow would be their first steps on the road that presented itself to them.
(Note. In the previous instalment the party escaped from a cave that was being shaken to pieces by the struggles of an imprisoned celestial dragon. Menaced by a foul spider-woman.)
This one goes out to Abbot Yoshie (a.k.a. Derren Flood)
Don't ever move house and pack your campaign notes away..
|Author:||SimonB [ Mon Jul 26, 2021 10:36 am ]|
|Post subject:||Re: Posting for my records|
Makoto, Okin, Iwa, as well as Lugh, found themselves back in the presence of Abbot Yoshie. Well rested from their night’s sleep, Yoshie discussed their options. Iwa was most happy as his conversation with the abbot the previous night had given him back one of his most treasured possession, the ancestral tea service.
Their lord had bid them visit Seiyoku, city of the clan of his wife. The great library of the Heike Clan might hold information, both about their travels through time and the appearance of the great dragon.
Yoshie revealed that during the past thirty years, divinations had shown that the weapons he had taken away from the cave were of great import. Answers to this could be found on Iki island to the west. The companions pondered this. Had they knowledge of Iki Island?
Yoshie reminded them that in past times it had been occupied by the Yaranoto clan. This was strange as their lands lay to the east? An outpost. Regardless, now it was not visited. Strange mists envelope the island, even on a summer’s day. The waters were becalmed, and not visited often by fishermen. The only thing that he could say about this reputed haunted island is that once a brother monk claimed that from his lofty mountainous vantage point, he could see movement.
Should the companions wish to start their journey there, it would need them to descend and visit Yomogita Village and take a boat. He would write them a letter to Headman Hatake.
The party discussed amongst themselves. Though the island was nearer, Lord Moritano had bid them travel to Seiyoku. Perhaps once their mission was done their, the Heike clan might allow them the use of a boat to travel directly to the island?
Yoshie nodded. Their reasoning was fair. The journey to Seiyoku would take several days, depending on route. Should they travel through the mountainous shonin province, home of the once proud Yaranoto clan? The party balked at that. Once proud? It seemed much had changed in thirty years. Or take a walk through the foothills and head west, crossing plains?
Whatever route they chose, he would bid them take companions with them. He summoned before him two newcomers, Yogitsune, a tall amberskinned man clad in armour and Chikaaki, a slight young man, clad in robes. “These two will aid you in your journey. The journey will aid them in their destiny.”
The party decided to take the lesser path, a journey past the monastery, more of a slog at first, but then an easier trek. They descended the path to where they had left their mounts and retrieved them, heading back to the monastery and then around.
Onward went the party, slowly up mountain paths. It would be a good days travel at least before they reached the lower hills. They would have to overnight on the mountain. They took the pace slowly and safely, their mounts with them, as well as travelling asses. Chi, the young man took a pace near the back. He had not had much experience of women, and was shy of the outlander, Lugh. The same with asses. Perhaps they bit?
As the day went on, the companions talked amongst themselves, growing to know each other. Lugh warmed to young Chi, and offered him a drink from her flask. Purely medicinal. The drink of liquid courage seared his throat. He took another draught, and the flask was quickly retrieved. “Powerful medicine!”, he thought.
As night neared the party determined that they would either need to travel on in the dark or make camp. Making camp won, as who would travail mountain paths in dead of night?
Determining between two likely locations, a nearby cave and an outcropping, the outcropping one. Bears lair in caves.
A campfire was made, and watches were set. The young mystic was spared a watch as surely he would need to study his spells.
The night passed. They huddled around their fire, winter’s chill not long gone from the air, one at a time watching. Past midnight, the wind raised, and a shrill piping filled the air.
The party awoke, the wind rising higher and the rain starting to pour. The fire hissed as the wet poured into it. The sound of wings was in the air. “It’s the dragon!” declared Lugh. She was happy of that. She had long suspected that magic was around. If it wasn’t dragons, it was lime to be little folk. The wind raised more. The horses and asses went wild. Brave Chi, buoyed by his liquid courage went to calm them, and moved towards the shelter of the cave.
Lightning flashed and up the mountain, finally they saw what was making the piping. A great long nosed figure with huge outstretched wings looked down on the,
Iwa made supplication as the others readied for battle. “Great mountain spirit. We beseech thee…”
The figure paused as the downpour went on and one great wing was stretched out in the direction of the cave. The bold companions took the hint and went in.
The cave was deep and dry. Big enough to hold all. No evidence of bears was found.
As they ventured further, a form was spotted, prone at the back. Iwa and Chi investigated. A skeleton, long dead, his bones (for it was that of a man) gnawed by something. Iwa determined that the cause of death was likely to be a dagger up past the ribs, as there was a distinct hole in the tattered garb. The gnawing gave him pause, and he looked for ratholes. Lugh settled down back to sleep as she realised that there were no little folk here. Iwa reminded her that the rats seemed to become great big folk, as he noted no ratholes.
Chi called Iwa. He had found something on the body. Around the neck was a knotted cord. As it got pulled, a distinct chop was pulled. That of the mon of the Sakoda clan. But to have hidden. Surely something was amiss here. Was this some past messenger or servant of the clan who had been done to death here?
After resting, the party looked down the mountain path. A clear day, their destination was clearly ahead of them. A quick descent, a few days travel and they would reach Seiyoku!
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