Five Rings Rising

Letter to Matsu Katsuo

Governor Matsu,

In lights of the recents events I felt it was most prudent not to wait until my return to share with you what has transpired.

Master Satoru had a patient under his care named Isawa Masaka that had been corrupted by the powers of the maho. Shortly after our arrival the poor man succumbed to this evil and proceeded to attack the residents of the household. The shugenja had turned into a kyonshi, but of a stronger form than those we had encountered. It had retained some of his knowledge of his prior life, and thus, was able to cast spells. Fortunatly, ever valorous, Mirumoto Takeshi once again rose to the occasion and slain the abomination before anyone was seriously injured.
Undead chuda final sm

I inquired to the other guests, Master Shosuro’s apprentice, Nambu Musashi and Isawa Arika, the victim’s nephew, if they knew the circontances by which Isawa Masaka had been corrupted. Unfortunatly, they did not know. The man had been brought to Master Shosuro’s home and left their door steps, it not known by whom. I could not establish if the Isawa Masaka had fell victim to a maho-tsukai or if he was a practitioner himself, consumed by the black art.

Master Satoru interrogated the eta at length but he was not able to enlighten us further in the manner the dead heimin were slain and corrupted or in the nature of what was at play. Unfortunatly, his knowledge of the Taint seems to mirror mine. However, he did have some medicine he provided Takeshi-san, which should chase away any trace of the Taint that might have taken hold in his body. Master Shosuro offered us hospitality, but it was not the last of the perils we had to suffer that day. In the middle of the night, we were attacked by three assailants armed with ninja-to. I was lucky to escape any harm but if it were not for the stalwartness of my companions I would have not seen another day.

I fear this assassination attempt is related to our investigation on the maho-tsukai activities since we were attacked indiscriminatly. One of the attackers was captured and I will try to interogate him to see if I can confirm my suspicion. My host spoke of using torture to extract information out of him but I will try to let me convince the assassin to tell us what he knows willingly. A desperate man will say anything to save himself but someone who want to save his soul has no reason to offuscate his heart.

I must apologize that I this moment I am not able to bring you more answers. I will endeavor myself to be your eyes and ears on this matter.


Le Voyage d'Isawa et le lotus Fantôme

Somme toute, il est vraiment hors du commun de s’engager dans certaines actions à n’importe quel temps. Me voici donc à voyager en hiver, vers la ville de la Riche Grenouille afin de recueillir un parent de la famille. La route est longue est ennuyeuse, parsemer trop souvent de vérification de passeport de voyage – je suis samouraï, je suis honnête, pourquoi toujours ces défis d’identité. Enfin, c’est un mal nécessaire afin que la société puisse être en harmonie.

Je suis finalement arrivé chez Maître Shosuro, où mon parent a été recueilli généreusement. Je me suis présenter et ai agi selon le code normal. Par contre, je sens une certaine tension, une certaine déférence à mon endroit qui ne devrait pas y être, je ne suis qu’un simple Samouraï, pas encore reconnue pour mon honneur et mes accomplissements, pourquoi me traite-t-on comme maître à part entière – ceci mérite réflexion. Mon parent doit avoir la priorité de mes actions.

J’ai remarqué que mon parent ne semble plus touchés par les Kami, il est en quelques sorte une zone vide des éléments. Cette situation particulière fait en sorte que maître Shosuro reconnait une possible situation très rare chez mon parent. Je dois trouver une fleur spéciale, le lotus fantôme, qui devrait être en mesure de le guérir. Pour cette quête, maître Shosuro offre les services d’un de ses samouraïs: Nanbu. Nous partons donc le lendemain à la rechercher de cette fameuse fleur de lotus.

En route, nous avons la désagréable surprise de se faire voler par des va-nu-pieds sans honneurs. Nous avons tôt fait de les retrouver, de leur remémorer leur place dans ce monde et ainsi affirmer notre honneur et place. Suite à cette rencontre, nous avons pu déterminer l’endroit où il est probable de trouver ce lotus fantôme.

Nous avons finalement trouvé le lotus en pataugeant dans le marécage. Lorsque nous étions prêts à prendre cette fleur, surprise, nous fûmes attaqués par une plante bizarre sortant de l’eau marécageuse. Cette créature sortie de nulle part essaye de nous terrasser – sans succès immédiat. Le combat fit range quelques secondes, ma maîtrise du feu a rapidement fait son effet et le corps créature a sombré dans l’eau. Cette escarmouche était sans compter la faculté de contrôle mental de la créature, qui a saisi mon compagnon de voyage Nanbu dans sa perfidie sournoise. Encore une fois, ma maîtrise des éléments et ma grande connaissance des plantes fur à la hauteur et je réussis à arracher Nanbu du control de cette créature et empêcher in-extremis la transformation de celui en lotus fantôme (j’imagine maintenant que Nanbu est mon obliger pour une faveur, puisque mes connaissances et compétence lui on directement sauvé la vie). Une fois le control rompu, le coup de grâce de la créature fut asséné par le katana de Nanbu.

Le retour à la ville de la Riche Grenouille fut humiliant : sale, frigorifier par l’eau du marécage et fatiguer, nous fûmes encore contrôler pour notre voyage. Mais nous avons finalement pus atteindre la ville et remettre de l’ordre dans notre vie. Maître Shosuro commença à faire la mixture afin d’aider mon parent, tout en écoutant avec une certaine perplexité les nouveaux éléments connus du lotus fantôme. J’espère que cette mixture aidera mon parent et que je pourrais rapporter de bonne nouvelle à mon clan.

Takeshi - Log 2
Takeshi log 2

Takeshi Log 2

During a quiet day at my village, I was summoned to see my father, Yuuta. He told me that the that Governor, Matsu Katsuo and his son, Ichiro of the Lion clan had extended an invitation for me to spend the coming winter season as a guest among their family.

Now why would they invite a young Dragon to spend time with them? Matsu Ichiro was a pretentious young Lion Warrior who defeated me at the Topaz tournament. As I recall last time, Ichiro was a self-centered, egotistical babbling idiot who was too sure of his himself. If I went, it could prove to be a very long summer! But maybe this could be an opportunity to learn some of their techniques. The young Lion did have some skills and it would also shift my mind to other things. Father also encouraged me to go as it would permit me to start following my own path. So it was settled, I would go and meet up with Ichiro-san.

During my travels south, I made my way to Toshi sano Kanemochi Kaeru, the city of the Rich Frog. The culture is very different and it is impressive to see all the strong riders and their war horses. Travel was pleasant.

After many weeks of travel, I entered the Lion kingdom. The culture here is very different. I can’t believe the number of times that some random patrol of Lion Samurai stopped me to ask my travel papers. It was surely exasperating! In any case, I finally arrive at the Matso village, and was greeted with a warm welcome.

I met up with Ichiro and was caught off guard to see how he had changed. He was longer the babbling idiot I had once met. I was shown a to a nice room on their family’s estate. When I met up with Ichiro later, he showed me around the village and the local dojo. I was pleased to learn that I would be able to practice thereat my leisure.

Ichiro explained to me he was apologetic of his attitude during the Topaz Championship. He also explained that his new found vision on life was because of a monk called Dōsan, advisor to the Governor. Ichiro later introduced me to Dōsan, an elderly man. One could see by the way he spoke that he was full of life’s wisdom.

During my stay at the Matsu’s, I was well treated as their guest. I attended their family dinners and most of the time, I was a quiet observer. But one evening, I found the discussions to be particularly insulting. The courtiers seemed to be speaking out against the Governor and some harsh words were said. I could no longer take the attitude of some and spoke out to one of them. I am sure I offended the courtier, but his words were equally offending to the Samurai way. The rest of the evening was agonizing as you could feel the tension in the room.

Later during the winter, I was invited by Ichiro-San and Dōsan to visit the countryside and investigate the disappearances of some local villagers. The road was long and particularly hard on the ears. Not the most entertaining. But just when I thought things could not get worse, I spotted some dark birds circling in the sky and perched on nearby trees.

Our group decided to investigate and as we went over a small hill, we saw terrifying picture. It looked like a mass grave of butchered, bloodied people that were piled one upon another. And just then, we were taken by a greater surprise as three of the dead corpses stood up and attacked us. During the battle, Dōsan yelled and said we could kill the foul ones by cutting their heads. With great agility, Ichiro and I quickly dispatched these walking dead abominations. During the battle I was scratched by one of the undead and could see Dōsan worried look.


We quickly formed a perimeter and summoned the Governor. Matsu Katsuo. He seemed worried by what he saw and immediately demanded explanations. As we explained what happened, his worried look grew. I was told that my wound may be infected. The governor instructed that I should go to the City of the Rich Frog to seek healing. I travel quickly and escort the eta and Dōsan to the city. We were also instructed to not speak of what had transpired here to anyone, except to the people we were to meet in the City of the Rich Frog.

Little Bird and the Ghost Flower

One morning, I discovered an older Phoenix shugenja at my master’s doorstep. The man was catatonic and feverish but had no wounds on his body. My master informed the Phoenix clan of this and word came down that they were sending someone to pick the man up. In the meantime, the older bird took a turn for the worse.

The bird’s nephew, Isawa Arika, arrived approximately two weeks after the first missive was sent to his clan. Isawa Arika and my master spent a lot of time discussing the bird’s condition. Having little healing knowledge, I did not understand all that I heard but at the end it did not matter. The bird’s condition required a very rare and special flower, called a Ghost Lotus to treat his infliction. As a result I was tasked by my master to go with Isawa Arika in a swamp south of the city where this flower can be found. As we need to keep the situation very discreet, both Isawa Arika and I will have travelling papers to go to a temple south of the city and I will accompany him in the role of a yojimbo.
Before we retired for the night, I listened while my master explained to the little bird the reason of the current dispute between the Lion and Unicorn around Toshi sano Kanemochi Kaeru and the possibility of war the coming summer. This may explain why the level of crime has been reduced to a bare minimum in the city. Each side is planning and preparing their forces for the upcoming conflict.

At first light, we both get underway. After a day of travel, we stop at a traveler cabin before we enter the swamp on the following morning. We both assumed that no guard duty would be required for the night… We were wrong, as a thief came into the cabin to steal some food from my pack. With my hunting skill, we were able to track the thief through the swamp. After a long pursuit we nearly caught the thief (a mere child !!!) but it evaded us. We continued to follow her when we were caught in some traps… and ambushed by several children and teenagers.

After some negotiations with these orphans and scum, one teenager guided us through the swamp closer to the area were we could find the flower. After some time, we did find the location of a multitude of ghost flowers. I approached the flower to be able to pick it up when something grabbed my ankle and all hell broke loose. The flower was part of a creature of the like I have never seen. In the following combat I have learned very important facts: some creatures are resistant to the damage from a katana and the little bird has several terrible powers such as bursting into flame or creating balls of fire and some useful ones such as healing damage taken in combat.

According to the little bird, I was unconscious for 30 min when the creature tried to take possession of me but the little bird intervened to keep me safe. That is frightening, to be at the mercy of any bird for so long… and if it is true that he saved me from the creature, I owe him my life. This is not acceptable. I will have to discharge this debt asap.
When we walked out of the swamp, we forgot to clean ourselves up and disgraced ourselves when investigated by a samurai from the Unicorn clan.

Upon my first contact with Isawa Arika, the wisdom of my elders seems justified. Birds from the Pheonix Clan combine arrogance with incredible power but they can be manipulated with ease as I was able to draw a fountain of personal information from Isawa Arika. Still, I am not used to dealing with shugenja and I am uncertain if the success of my manipulation is due to the tired state of Isawa Arika after a day’s walk or inept social skills (due to his physical appearance). I need to proceed with caution when dealing with this little bird.

The Tao of Heiwa (part 1)

Learning is to a man as the leaves and branches are to a tree, and it can be said that he should simply not be without it. The heavens have blessed me with curiosity and anamnesis, and for my whole life, I have endeavored myself to not have this gift be squandered.

During my time at in Four Temple Order, I met people from all walks of life and took an interest in the trade of all willing to impart of their expertise. Some of this only serves to satiate my inquisitive mind but at other time this knowledge helped me in my duties. A great many time I was able treat cases of poisoning due to my knowledge of wild plants and mushroom which I acquired from peasants and hunters.

During my tenure as a healer, I tended cases of all sorts, from the benign chickenpox to the virulent and unforgiving pneumonic plague. Of all the things I’ve seen, nothing compares to the horrors of the maho-tsukai. Five years ago during Daigotsu’s invasion of Otosan Uchi, I did see the wounds inflicted by the creatures of the Shadowlands and the foul deformities of those corrupted by the Taint. While I had not gazed with my own eyes a maho-tsukai or any of their abominations, I did hear first hand, from the bushi and shugenja that had fought them, the power of the undead and those who control them. This experience possibly saved my life and that of the Young Master and his friend, Mirumoto Takeshi.

While we were investigating the disappearances of some of my flock, we stumbled upon a group of kyonshi up on a hill. It was a terrifying sight and it took all my willpower to maintain my composure. Luckly, I recalled the words of a seasoned Crab bushi I had once under my care. He had told me decapitation was the most expedite way to dispatch them. I yelled this instruction to Ichiro-san and Takeshi-san who rapidly complied. In the span of six breaths, the battle was over.

Following this encounter, we sent for messengers to governor Katsuo asking for him to come as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we enlisted of a young Eta named Junkei to burn the kyonshi and the other corrupted corpses lying around. Sadly, the Young Master’s friend had been wounded by one of the kyonshi during the battle and there is a possibility that he has been infected. While my knowledge of medicine is extensive, it is not without boundaries. I had seen the ravages of the taint on those that fought this evil but there is much about the Taint I do not know. I could not determine if an infection had indeed taken place or what to do about it. Katsuo-sama suggested to Takeshi-san to have his wounds be checked by a healer of renown residing in the City of the Rich Frog, Shosuro Satoru. Additionnally, the governor ordered that Takeshi-san and I escort Junkei, the eta, to the healer so that he reports on what he saw on corrupted bodies. The governor specifically requested that no one in our escort address the eta on what had just transpired. I understand the need for secrecy on this matter, but my heart is not at ease. I fear that once Junkei-san has transmitted his information to the healer, they choose to dispose of him. I can only hope his fate is not already sealed. Eta

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