Legend of the Five Rings: The Fallen Mountains

Session One: Sedition Revealed

Session Haiku:
Through ancient forest
Guided by emerald light;
Sedition revealed

The group, Emerald Magistrates under the authority of Governor Bayushi Saburo, have been dispatched to stop the extremist monk ‘Blade’ Terrel who has begun enforcing a strict view of the celestial order. Having travelled into the mountains they discovered a small camp populated by a mixture of monks, peseants and a lone ronin. Rather than charge in they approach openly from the path and request discourse with the ronin, who they assume to be in charge. Bayushi (Hida) Hotaka, married to the Governors niece, takes the lead.

Soshin, the ronin, invites them to join them to discuss matters over their midday meal to the visible displeasure of Okari, a monk from the same order as Terrel. Hotaka is clear but polite – he would avoid rather avoid bloodshed by having the camp disperse but other magistrates may not be so lenient. Soshin meanwhile is clear that the members of the camp seem set in their path under the leadership of Terrel. He, however, does not seem to be entirely comfortable with the situation and seeks to avoid bloodshed by suggesting the party should seek out Terrel. The monk is apparently heading towards the Redemption Peaks, the temple complex that dominates the southern portion of the Fallen Mountains. He lets it be known that Terrel believes that there is a great spiritual imbalance in the region and that the monk claims to be guided by a series of visions.

Having finished their meal the magistrates prepare to leave, with the situation no closer to resolution. Shiba Chiaki takes the opportunity to discretely scry on the camp. She discovers a cache of weapons concealed in one tent and more troublingly spots the outline of a body in another. Bayushi Shin’ichi meanwhile, sensing an opportunity, challenges Soshin to a duel even though no slight or insult has been given. Soshin accepts, if he wins the magistrates will head south to the temple. If Shin’ichi wins then the ronin will depart from the group and find a new path. Facing off against one another the Soshi magistrate easily gets a read of his ronin opponent but is unable to use it to gain the initiative and the two samurai strike in sync with each other. Soshin’s attack is direct and draws blood from the arm of his opponent. Shin’ichi, in contrast, is surgical, nicking his opponent just above the eyebrow. It is clear that had his blade fallen even slightly differently he would have administered a killing stroke.

Taking direction from the will of the fates the ronin declares he is leaving, angering Okari into action. He attempts to attack Soshin from behind but is swiftly stopped when the tetsubu of Hotaka breaks his arm with one fell swipe. Declaring the monk a criminal for daring to attack a man following the will of the heavens he places the right to administer justice with Soshin, who promptly decapitates Okari. The remainder of the camp, their moral broken by the loss of their leader, accept the order to disperse.

Tamori Naruto, Shiba Chiaki and Bayushi Shini’ichi, disturbed by the possibility that there is an uncremated body in the camp investigate further. They find an individual Chiaki is deeply familiar with, the love of her life lying dead in the tent. She manages to get out his name, Shosuro Takenshi, before breaking down into a flood of tears. Takenshi is laid out in a formal style, wearing his scorpion armour and with his daisho by his side. A scroll beside him, marked with the Imperial and Dragon mons declares that the body must not be burnt until 4 weeks past the death of the individual carrying it. Soshin confirms that the deceased had joined the camp almost 3 weeks prior and that they had found him like this the next morning. Not willing to disobey an apparent Imperial order most of the camp they have left him be and have avidly avoided the tent, thus not noticing that there are no apparent signs of decomposition or decay.

Naruto, seeking knowledge as to the origin of the scroll summons the earth kami residing within it. He learns that it was carried from the city and never left the side of the one it was meant for, a soul sundered in two of which Takenshi is one half. Chiaki, already inconsolable, believes this to refer to herself.

The investigation of the weapons by the battle maiden Moto Shugeki determines that they are of high quality and likely produced in the forges of the city to the north. It is interrupted by the arrival of Shini’ichi who inform her of the identification of Takenshi’s body. It takes a second but she finally recognises it, the name of her new betrothal and twin brother to true love who died only recently. Rushing to the tent she finds herself confronted by an all too familiar face while outside the attention of Shini’ichi and Hotaka is drawn to a plume of smoke rising from the north…

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Setting background

In mountains fallen,
Secrets hidden wake from sleep,
Order is challenged.

Taoreta Sangaku, the Fallen Mountains, stretches almost 80km end to end and forms one of the many disputed borders between provinces of the Great Clans. Despite it’s treacherous terrain and limited number of crossing points the mountain range is claimed almost in its entirety by two Clans due to the rich metal deposits scattered across it, with active and abandoned mines dotted across it’s lengths. The peasants that inhabit the temporary hamlets of the mines share the peaks with friends and foe, with both the Brotherhood of Shinsei and countless bandits attracted by the isolation of the peaks. Only the southern most portion lays uncontested, controlled by the Dragon Clan and Brotherhood of Shinsei. Together they guard and maintain the temple complex honouring Otomo Kei, the younger brother of Hantei XIV who, alongside an entire Imperial Legion, gave his life in defence of the region.

To the north of the mountains lies the great Lake Ishi, fed by the numerous streams coming off of the mountains and named after Miya Ishi, senior herald of Otomo Kei’s legion. Local legend tells that a month after the legion disappeared into the mountains Ishi alone walked out along one of the rivers leading to the lake. Instructing the peasants to gather the nearest samurai she proceeded to the lake, where she began the ritual cleaning of her armour and daisho in preparation for her final duty. When a small group of ronin residing in the village approached Ishi charged them with delivering a single scroll to the nearest Imperial representative before requesting a second so that she could commit seppuku on the shores of the lake. Looking back towards the mountains she spoke one last time before plunging the blade into her stomach.

“We acted for the good of the Empire. May the heavens be merciful in their justice, for I bear the sins of a thousand upon one soul.”

Shirayama Toshi, the White Mountain City, sits upon the northern banks of Lake Ishi and is as disputed as the Fallen Mountains themselves. A hub of activity that has grown up around the port it is the centre of traffic in the region and co-ordinates the shipping of ore down from the mines and out to the empire at large along the Tamu River to the north. Over the years its ready access to high quality metals and quasi-unaligned status the city has attracted craftsmen, blacksmiths and merchants eager to obtain the patronage of Clan samurai and as a result the city has sprawled far beyond the original city walls, which now forms the Samurai quarter. Following repeated clashes between the Great Clans over ownership of the city control was granted to the Scorpion Clan under an Imperial mandate. With no provinces of their own nearby the Scorpion have gained a valuable foothold in the region while their reputation and limited military options ensures their opponents remain weary without being overtly threatened. The Scorpion, currently led by Governor Bayushi Saburo, have sunk countless koku into the development of the city, cementing its position as the political and economic hub of the Fallen Mountains while ensuring its success is reliant upon their continual presence.

Seeking to maintain the delicate balance of the region the Governor has recently appointed a group of samurai to serve as his Emerald Magistrates. Drawing together samurai from across the Empire they are tasked with maintaining the peace, beginning with the hunt for a monk who has taken up arms in order to enforce his interpretation of the Celestial Order.

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