A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Re: Rokugan In the Shadows - Islands of the Mantis

    Donovan seems more interested in what's behind the man, eyeing the commotion behind the doorway.

    "Is something amiss here, my good man? Anything I can help with?" He asks innocently, despite knowing perfectly well that the two fey had gone this way and this likely involved them.

    Spoiler: Bluff (if needed?)

  2. - Top - End - #512
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: Rokugan In the Shadows - Islands of the Mantis

    Calmly explaining to the woman what is to happen, Erus keeps up an easy-going smile: "Someone who will lose more than you, should their words prove untrue, but for now I will retrieve what has been promised to me and you are free to pursue whatever sort of action you prefer. You stand accused of forcing some into sexual slavery, if this is not true by the words of the victims you will lose nothing and I will gain a greater price. So, let us retrieve the slaves and see what they have to say."

  3. - Top - End - #513
    Troll in the Playground
    ~Corvus~'s Avatar

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    Jan 2009
    Perched in a tree

    Default Re: Rokugan In the Shadows - Islands of the Mantis


    A north-bound wind blows through the streets of Kyuden Gotei. Huguma Ichin walks the streets south of the massive capitol tower, looking at the stones still stained with oni blood despite attempts to clean the streets. Ten months after that confrontation, they finally had time to replace the stones, but the new ones had shown the stains. Shugenja said the ground remained without Taint. Huguma adjusts his uniform, unused to the extra tightness of the shoulder-ranking knots gave, and makes a quick sign to the Fortunes. Huguma turns and walks a short distance to the carp garden nearby, chooses a sculpted stone to sit on and review the intelligence report. The last month of the year required one, and he'd been tasked to submit one about the Yokai to his superiors; Lady Yoritomo had hinted at her personal attendance to this report. There was little time to review every document of evidence, but surely he had to make sure the summary was well-balanced.

    1225 Akodo 28

    In the Lower City (the Northwest), a Yokai had killed off Uga Saionje, the noble tasked to repair the (previously sacked) walls to the city's land approaches. It had turned out Uga had been embezzling funds, had been giving his peasants nothing, in exchange to giving them false information; the Yokai had incited peasants to riot against his control, and woefully many of the peasants ha been put down. Uga had been discovered dead in his own castle several months later, and many of his soldiers, working along with their families and other peasants from his lands, had quickly taken ownership of doing repairs, and were happily working for little or no money, counting on each other to lend support until other nobles understood what had happened. Behind it all, not one but two Yokai had guided the peasants to better action and enlightened thought. What a strange world, and the tip of the iceberg in odd events.

    Three Yokai, including two of the three that had attacked the Barracks and then been halted in front of the castle, had seized a Mantis vessel and fled soon after the Blessed Elite patrolled the streets of the city to restore peace. Scout ships lost the Yokai in pursuit but they'd been lucky to find a flotilla of Oni vessels. The scouts brought word to the Capitol to rally a defense just before the initial attack, and although a nine-month siege had ended with Oni defeat, the Lower city--including Heaven's Bank--had been lost. Where the Yokai had fled remains a mystery.

    Huguma was secretly pleased he hadn't been tasked to work on the massive recovery project, even as many scribes, his brothers included, had been ordered to do so. The speculative reports that followed this next section could be construed as an oddity, but led to competent guesses.

    Following the break of the siege, Mantis sailors scoured the Islands for evidence of where Oni might have created ships; primary findings are elsewhere, but this mission did yield evidence of the Yokai. An elderly scout visited a condemned section of land near Kyuden Gotei. He brought back the body of a gaijin sailor, who was found dead, and his journal. Scribes have confidently translated the text. Relevant passages are below.
    [Editor's note: the Gaijin's measure of years is at odds to ours, but estimates of the man's recent passing and his astrologically accurate entries of the seasons put him 19 years behind our calendar. He does not observe the 5 holidays, so his years have 5 less days than ours.]
    Year 1203 Summer, day 89 [Rokugan year 1224, Month 6/Shiba, Day 29]
    Winds and water are cooling and the reeds are slowing. Jupiter continues West; Autumn comes soon.
    Summer harvest is done! Had some help the last two days: A sailing mate from Kyuden Gotei and what I believe are two cleverly shifted magical creatures masquerading as humans. One of them plowed furrows for the Autumn field faster than even the best horse or ox would not be able to; no man, even with Divine aid, could keep such sustained stamina and strength. The other disguised creature plowed all day, and badly pretended to be tired for too little time during "breaks". Happy for the help, and had a sense I could trust these creatures. Offered them a chance to sail and look for ol' Komb, but they declined. The itch is fading.

    Tomorrow will finish planting and seeding, although more has been done today than I thought possible. It's going to be a good winter harvest.
    Year 1203 Autumn, day 6 [Rokugan year 1224, Month 7/Bauyshi, Day 6]
    A black fog passed yesterday. It sucked the light from the sky and the ocean. Hid in the brush, but no trouble happened. Woke up with cramps and bites. Checked the waters; some of the reeds and kelp in the ocean withered with the cloud's passing. I pray Kyuden Gotei will survive. Prepared skiff to leave if quick exit is needed. I still think of those magical creatures. Will they aid the Rokugani?
    Year 1203 Winter, day 86 [Rokugan year 1224, Month 12/Kami, Day 24]
    Finally returned! Our pursuit and destruction of the bastard is complete, and for the first time in a long time I find my heart weary and old. Oh, I have missed this poor old shack and the simple tides, and the modest garden I left mid-Autumn, and the few sailors I could barter with. In the fight with ol' Komb, my companions revealed themselves to be the same magical creatures I'd encountered earlier this year. One had a pale complexion, glib mouth, and powers over water and air that transformed into mystical ices that hurt and fended away the savage beast. Another was a swarthy[dark-skinned], hairy beast of bones and stretched flesh with incredible speed and toughness. A third, quite reserved, showed a remarkable ability to-dare I say it-sicken the great beast simply by his presence.
    Several wild and detailed accounts from soldiers that survived the Siege closely match the descriptions of the Gaijin Sailor. Further inspection of his island revealed a few tracks of large, three-toed feet that match two partial tracks on the muddied plains outside the city. By other accounts of the soldiers, the bodies of the Yokai could have been lost in the Tainted Pit.

    Finally, a ship arrived at port Akodo 26 with mysterious cargo. They claim to have been given a gift by a pale, glib-mouthed gaijin man: A mysterious compass that pointed instead to what they desired most, and a lily which they were told to keep safe. Soon after their "objective" had been found and cargo reclaimed, the crew came under attack by Thrane military. They thought themselves lost, but then a pale "gaijin" mysteriously appeared on their ship with none other than a reserved man whom is described as capable of nauseating an entire crew. Finally, and quoting directly from a sailor, "As I sat bleeding on the deck from my head-wound, the large Gaijin appeared, only from the furtherst corer of my eye, like a dark-skinned and hairy beast with stretched flesh that moved with inhuman speed and ran with birdlike, three-toed feet." This same one "took fifteen blows to the chest and still did not retreat from the battle."

    Our scholars report that Yokai are the only known creatures capable of moving between the Spirit Realms to reappear in different spaces in our world; Not even Daigotsu or FU Leng himself have this ability.

    Prepared faithfully and with great pleasure by attendant to Magistrate Kyorlin:
    scholar Huguma Ichin.

    It was a lengthy summary, but it would do, considering the amount of work facing his superiors. He also didn't need to reveal that he served a Magistrate now presumed dead, but it could give the document more weight. He didn't need to reveal all the facts, like he'd also scrubbed the dockside prison of three-toed prints, or that he'd met these Yokai, or knew that they'd missed accounts of at least two other Yokai. He would certainly keep to himself the most dangerous secrets of all, the three that would get him killed without second thought.

    These Yokai had also stolen four powerful weapons from an Armory within Gotei's own Tenshukaku. One of the nobles to emerge from the Tainted Pit had borne three new weapons, and had ordered slain everyone that had seen him perform this presumably heroic deed. Of course, the third secret is implied.
    GreedLing avatar by Ceika


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