Saturday, 4 May 2019

Legend of the Five Rings, Episode 2

Legend of the Five Rings: Set in a location which is startingly similar to feudal Japan, a bunch of weebs play at samurai.

Legend of the Five Rings is bought to you by:

Ken - Mantis Clan face and master of words. A ladies man trying to save himself for one particular woman; the duality of man embodied.
Togashi Chiho - Dragon clan monk of the Togashi order; filled with Wisdom. Required to check her fists in as lethal weapons.
Mirumoto Same - Dragon clan duellist; according to him, the best in the land, the trouble is not killing everyone in his way. A distant relative of the Jade throne, and also your narrator!
Yogo Asuka - Scorpion Clan Shugenja.


Before we all arrived: Yogo Asuka of the Scorpion Clan was seconded to the Crab Shugenja, Suzune. The Crag Shugenja are uncommonly forthcoming with their mystic skills -- all the better to arm people with knowledge to fight yoma, we suppose.

She was witness to the arrival of the Mantis delegation and the Dragon delegation, and sized us up.

She's awoken in the early morning by Suzune; there's been an incident. The murder.



The Crane are flipping out, slinging accusations, and calling for the Mantis delegation to just commit seppuku (if those gaijin even know how)

Asuka calms them down, informing that it's unbecoming to sling accusations before any testimony is laid. They accept this chastisment gracefully.

Ken leans into Nogomi, reckons it's time to leave and do a headcount of the crew. Nozomi announces the Mantis to be blameless, and that they will retire.

As they're about to go, there are footsteps; Shingen and his yojimbo arrive, heavy of tread as they are large in stature. He's livid, and asks Ken if the Mantis did it, to which Ken (eventually) directly says no.

Shingen calls us all to the conference hall immediately.



We all traipse back into the dining room; no food this time, just business. It's 7am.

In short, it's not good for the Mantis clan so far; it all seems to be against them. Ken admits the blade used looks like a mantis blade, certainly.

Crane Daidoji's assistant, Doji, testifies -- in the early morning, two hours prior, he saw someone in Mantis robes vanish around a corner.

Ken challenges this; was he sure he saw someone in Mantis colors, at that hour of the morning?

I think about the murder scene; I was looking for blood splatter, but on second thought, there wasn't that much, and the whole scene was odd.

The aide explains it with his lantern, but Ken continues to cast doubt on it; he insults the aide, offering him spectacles. Everyone tries to conceal their humor.

I want to tell Ken that I believe he didn't kill Daidoji, but there was no need to prove it by killing a man right here and now.

For context, while Mantis and Dragon both wear green and yellow / gold, Mantis is primarily green with gold trim, and Dragon is primarily yellow with green trim.

The aide continues to be insulted, and demands a duel to satisfy his honor. Asuka tries to calm him down, but to no avail.

Ken lacks a daisho, but accepts anyway, opting to duel with just a wakizashi.

The Cranes ask Crab Shingen permission to use the courtyard for the duel, and he agrees; we all traipse back out.

I comment that Daidoji's not even cold yet, and here we are, spilling even more blood. It's too early for this shit.



Asuka slips away with Shizune to go examine Daidoji's corpse.

Meanwhile, everyone's prepping for the duel.

Kakita moves first with a lightning fast strike; Ken's almost caught by it, and drops his wakizashi, only to pull a flaming katana out of thin air and slashes at Kakita with it.

The Mantis delegation's seen this party trick before, but everyone else sure hasn't.

Unfortunately, the stress of summoning it has left Ken off-balance, and Kakita has his opening. He darts past Ken, and whirls; a thin slice glides up across Ken's chest.

A single drop of Ken's blood pools at the tip of Kakita's blade and falls to the ground; he is the winner.

I begrudgingly applaud his victory. Show-off.



At the murder scene, Shizune breaks taboos and rolls Daidoji's corpse over; there's an amateurish cut on the neck, likely the cause of the bleeding... and the wound on the back hardly bled at all. Odds are good the knife was planted post-mortem.

Also, the blood's super dry -- certainly not just two hours old, probably from after dinner the night before. So there's definitely a setup somewhere.

They go find the guard on duty at the gate last night, and Asuka inquires as to who he might have seen last night.

The guard obviously saw Daidoji and Doji come in. A few aides, but otherwise nobody of note.

There is the servant's door, but... only servants would use it!

Asuka sees fit to question the servants; with some difficulty, between all the kowtowing, but they claim they've not seen anyone, at least. Nor did they hear any signs of a struggle.



After the duel, an apology has been meted out. Ken asks if I'd have won the duel; I declare that I would have. But on a related note, is the Mantis clan missing anyone?

Ken confirms that they are indeed missing one man -- he is not a dishonorable assassin, however. I counter -- he may have been mugged for his clothes and weapon, and framed.

Shingen calls us back to the conference hall, but I'd really rather not. I ask my lord for leave to go investigate the missing Mantis Man.

In the hall, Shizune and Asuka report their findings. This clears anyone who has external witnesses after dinner, which would be Ken, Chiho and I.

Unfortunately, the same is not the same of anyone else in the Mantis clan. Ken is to return to their lodgings with the rest of them, and report to the hall again in half an hour to team up with us.



The Mantis clan returns to their lodgings, and find a very sheepish Daigo wearing a kimono that's clearly not his. He can explain everything. His room was ransacked, his robes and knife were stolen.

Ken asks what exactly he was doing last night. Or rather, who. Daigo whispers his answer.

Yasuke Shingen's daughter.


He regroups, and gives us the short version -- the missing man has been found, and definitely didn't commit the murder, although his things were stolen.

Asuka wants to question Kakita. I hail a nearby servant, and ask him where "the effeminate man with a sword" is. Kakita was walking out of the castle a few minutes ago, so we go track down Kakita -- Kakita Isamu.



We question his whereabouts; he didn't see or do much, simply noted that a missive had been delivered to Daidoji prior, and he retired to his room next to Daidoji's. He's not a deep sleeper, and a warrior to boot; I'd expect that even here in Rokugan, a fight on the other side of the wall would be noted. So there definitely wasn't a fight.

Asuka and Kakita speculate as to the content of the missive; matters of commerce, he didn't really note it.

Anyway, the list of suspects is getting narrower; someone whom Daidoji was familiar with, and so didn't struggle against them. Sounds like Doji to me, but character testimony says he's 100% loyal, so we need a bit more than a wild guess.

I vote to search Doji's room. It's not exactly honorable, but to borrow more wisdom from Togashi-Dono: "If a Bear shits in the woods, and nobody is around to see it, did it happen?"


Doji's room is on the other side of Daidoji's room, and we head there.

I knock gently on the wooden frame of the door. "Excuse me, housekeeping des~"

There's no response, so we head on in.

Asuka searches for secret compartments; she doesn't find any, but she does find a bloodstain by the futon. We look at it further, and find the pillow is thicker than usual -- it contains a bloodstained green-and-gold robe!


We convene and sort out the chain of events. After the show at dinner, Daidoji returned to his room to prepare a letter. But Doji saw that, and felt that the Crane shouldn't compromise; so he left, and stole from poor Mantis Daigo to acquire a mantis robe and knife; he approached Daidoji, and killed him with a cut to the neck. The murder committed, he planted the knife, and stowed the robes in his own room for future use to park the bus.

It's unlikely he was set up -- whoever hid the robe did so in his pillow, but if Doji ever went to sleep, he'd notice it immediately.



We take the evidence to Shingen; everyone else lays out the story, with Shizune backing them up; meanwhile, I fetch Doji, on the pretense that we need him to visually identify the culprit. I bring him to the room, accompanied by Kakita, and show him a mirror with the bloodied green and gold robe. He demands to know the meaning of this.

Shingen informs him that the truth is out -- he should confess. But he continues to deny it, demanding to leave. I ask permission to cut him down if he runs, and am granted it.

We further pressure him to confess, but he resists. Ken-san needles him, and he breaks down -- "I WOULD HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH IT IF YOU HADN'T FOUND-"

Kakita can't believe what he's hearing. Shingen tells the Crane to get out by sundown, and stay gone. Doji tries to run, and I let him... but Kakita doesn't, and takes his head.

Kakita falls to his knees, and begs forgiveness and permission to kill himself. Shingen denies his request and tells him to get the fuck out.



At dinner, we celebrate the new trade deal. Our lords get sealed letters during dinner; they all look at us and tuck the folded letters away. Mysterious.



After dinner, our respective lords inform us that we've been summoned; we're lead to a shrine. Only we are to continue; our lords remain at the threshold.

We advance further; in the main building is a lantern, and we see the silhouette of someone reclining.

Our guide, Miho, carefully slides the door open. Inside, garbed in huge, sumptuous and lavish robes, embroidered with Chrysanthemums and bamboo shoots... one of the three royal families, the Seppun! I hit the deck, as does Togashi. Asuka's still figuring it out, and I pull Ken down quickly.

She bids us to rise, addressing me as "Cousin".

"I am Seppun Yumiko. And I have a job for you."

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