The son of Shosuro Genji and Kistuki Hisayo, a young courtier among the Scorpion who has shown promise. Chosen at a young age to be put forward as a Bayushi courtier by Bayushi Setsuko over the objections of his mother (and initially the boy himself, though he seemed to come around during Winter court), Genjiro proved Bayushi out when he turned out to be a prodigy. Affable and intelligent, he has a rare gift among the Scorpion to engender some level of modest warmth from other Clan courtiers and cool professional diffidence from the rest, making him a good front negotiator for the Scorpion. When he petioned for the chance to join Miya Ansho's entourage, it was because of this that he was allowed to join and serve.
- Year of Birth
- 1139 (18 years old)
- Gender Identity
- 5' 6"
- 148 lbs
Session VI - Are we not entertained?
September 16th, 2018
Before departure, Chiyoko also contacts the Fortunists to get their blessing at the festival.
-22th of Hare, 1157-
Taka and Haundo, along with 2 soldiers, head to Koso Mura.
Chiyoko, Kazue, and bodyguards arrived in Kaso Mura after midnight, then up and moving the next day. The to-do-list: paper for general invitations, a blessing from the Shintao, entertainers... possibly food and attire. Also might contact Moshi Masako (if there) and Iuchi Lassat about presenting at the festival, with formal invitations going later. Would have to go off to a village on the way back to invite Doji Takozawa. Also contact the chef, Otsu, in Koso Mura about building the menu / assembling a team. Take 6 to 8 troops with to escort the paper back, escort a message on resources back from the contacts in Koso Mura, and have two to four left for other messaging.
Chiyoko will seek out paper and talk with the monks. She stops in with the the paper merchant, Nanato, who has good quality paper in quantity for the rest of the invitations and can have it delivered by the 23rd to Toshi no Naisho. She also asks about entertainers; he mentions the Moshi, as well as Doji Takozawa, the gokinen of Mujitsu Mura, whom we knew about.
Chiyoko goes to meet the Shinsei monks, and meets Goro. Gets the tour, agrees to give the blessing.
Kazue goes to speak with chef Otsu. He's honored by the request, but would need the governor's permission to do so. Seems conflicted by the offer.
Kazue and Chiyoko meet up and head to Itsuki's for kimono's. He's knows their names already. Nice fabrics and designs, so they get theirs along with Daisuke's. Seem a touch more provincial, closer to what the locals wear.
Kazue and Chiyoko then head to meet Shiba Gaijitsu. Kazue lets him know Ansho-sama is keeping him a governor, the disposition of the legions, and tells him about the festival. She asks him about letting Otsu cook for the festival, to which he agrees. Chiyoko asks if he has any questions for Ansho-sama? He does bring up the matter of the "embargo" on goods from outside the province that the merchants of Toshi no Naisho have enacted on Koso Mura. It started a year ago, he can't say exactly when. As to why it started, he says there seems to be a rivalry between the cities; the villages seem less concerned about keeping things within their tribe like Toshi no Naisho residents do. Locals prefer to go to Koso Mura since they don't get sneered at or looked down, giving Koso Mura an advantage in local goods from the Kawa forest and Taru mountains. He provides a list of the major goods that they have difficulty getting. Also a bit of the rivalry based on Fortunists vs Shinsei. He says the Moshi is out of town, and Iuchi Lassat is in town.
They go back and tell Otsu that the governor will be coming with them to dinner, and has approved of him serving for the festival. As to any other plans he'll need, they'll meet again in the morning.
Kazue and Chiyoko also stop by Iuchi Lassat's house. Explain that they've heard of her art, interested in looking at the sculptures and bonsai she can display. Her sculptures are frequently a mix of stone and wood, looks 8k4 at both. She is interested in being at the festival, and would like to deliver a piece created just for the ball. She's also having issues getting things from outside the province through Toshi no Naisho; Kazue says she'll see if the can help; gets a list of what she needs. Talk about Lassat's shugenja school, the Horiuchi. Back in the burning sands, had to synthesize local magic that dominated the kami with their commune magics to capture the will of the kami into a talisman. She also tells about the pieces she can send now.
Taka and Haundo arrive and meet up with the rest. Group gathers together at Otsu's restaurant with the governor, have a very nice dinner. Then the covered market opens up to become the entertainment district. Watch the acrobatic troupes, and see a good performance. Haundo approaches them to see if they are willing, and given Gaijitsu's permission. They also spot a good jester.
Sou and Genjiro talk about Jottei's... reluctance to perform. Can't think of a graceful way to get Jottei out without too easily providing a way for the Crane to take offense. Sou goes to speak with the head Crane courtier, Doji Shunpei, about getting the service of Jottie's noh troupe. He is very agreeable, and will send the missive to Jottei.
Kasuga Hitsuko is waiting for Sou when he gets back to the palace. She wanted to offer her and her delegations assistance if we need any help with the festival. Also wanted to gauge his opinion about gifts; Hitsuko asks if he is familiar with "The curse of Ichinori Mura?" He's not aware; she says there is a rumor of a village in the Kawa forest that spend a night in the village are cursed to stay; they can't leave, or drop dead when they leave; stories vary. She thinks they can break the curse. Sou estimates it's a fitting gift, lifting the curse. They don't have the insight at present, so it could be easy, medium, or very difficult based on how real it is. Sou says it sounds good. She asks if there's anything we need? Sou asks for help with entertainment for the later evening samurai quarter festivities.
Sou identifies the locations back in the mansion for the artwork displays while Genjiro works with Obaasan to hire servants. For Genjiro and Obaasan, a long tedious day, but we weed out some. She slowly opens up through the day. That evening, Genjiro and Junko head to the geisha house to interview Hichihiko. Junko is impressed with her voice (10k5), so Genjiro offers her an engagement to perform at the festival. Sou and Genjiro sync up; will talk with Kikuko about hiring her apprentice to perform around the samurai quarter tomorrow.
-23rd of Hare, 1157-
Chiyoko and Akemi head out to Moko Mura to talk with Moshi Mosako, will take two days to get there and will arrive on the evening of the 24th.
Haundo and Taka visit Gaijitsu, and he easily approves the acrobats and jester for the festival.
Kazue checks in with Otsu, and he wants to ask for help from some locals to help. He knows of them, but doesn't know them, but wants to check on Kouki from Shizu Mura (Kawa forest), Kazue from Botsu Mura (swamp), and Suzu from Sujuko Mura (Taro mountain pass). Kazue also mentions Youta, who runs the governor's kitchen, will be assisting. He wants a good 5 days to prepare in Toshi no Naisho and is good with the help he mentioned vetoing and replacing ingredients.
Kazue sends two troops back to Toshi no Naisho with an update, Iuchi's pieces and the request for her materials, the plans for the chef and the ingredient list, and a request to send someone to Shizu Mura to ask for Kouki. She also sends a bird messenger to Chiyoko to hit Botsu Mura.
Haundo and Taka will head to Sujuko Mura to talk with Suzu, and Kazue and Daisuke will head to Mujitsu Mura to talk with Doji Takozawa.
Genjiro and Obaasan interview more servants, also continues working logistics for the party. Genjuro is requested to meet Bayushi Itaru for dinner, so he recommends a local wine, produced in a village half-day ride from Inari Seido. Knows we haven't gotten as much chance to see around as he has on the west; says Moko Mura is pretty. Also says Shizu Mura is interesting; a lot of fascinating superstitions. He does say he will provide a license to cultivate opium from the Shoshi cartel for the province. Also offers a Scorpion ko escort for the party.
-24th of Hare, 1157-
Haundo and Taka make it Sujuku Mura. Very rough mountain pass to get there. Head of the village, Takahiko, greets them with appropriate ceremony and welcomes them to the village. He says he does know of Suzu, takes them to the Happy Traveler inn. Haundo says she is invited to represent them, will give them a chop for tax breaks in her absence. The village is happy that she is recognized outside the village. Haundo also gives her the supply list to review and correct if needed. Haundo also asks the headman if they've had any issues; he mentions the lack of a magistrate visit since the tax collection. He does say the winter was more snow than usual, no major rock falls in the pass, aside from the Scorpion army that came through, no real traffic. Leaves a pair of imperial soldiers to bring Suzu when she's ready.
Kazue and Daisuke get to Mujitsu Mura. Very tiny farming village, along with Doji Takozawa's estate. Go to his estate, check in with a servant, and are greeted by Doji Takozawa. Kazue compliments his landscape painting; he says the area was the reason he decided to settle here. Kazue estimates his skill around 9k4. He could make some paintings available; the prior governor was a great patron of the arts, and he hopes Ansho-sama will be as well. Kazue picks up that he would like the governor's patronage to display arts during the ball (maybe commissioning him to paint a mural in the palace, or fund it traveling, etc). He notes a painting of his is hanging in Kyuden Doji. Kazue talks to him about what drew him here, what he likes about this place. Talk to him about Kakita Maliko, the one who painted the mural in Naisho, but he believes that is the only piece of hers in Naishou. There are pieces elsewhere; one in the Kakita academy of fantastical creatures and spirits of the air, one in Yasuki lands in the Black Crane Castle of forest spirits and creatures that she saw in the Shinomen forest. She was said to have seen the spirits themselves. Were Asahina in her family, but she herself was not a Shugenja. Meet his wife, Doji Natsuki, and Doji Urashii, his son. Kazue thinks they can make an arrangement.
Session V - In war, as in party planning...
July 29th, 2018
Consider the list of invitations as we head towards Toshi no Naishou. As we ponder the poetry competition, several consider the idea that the mythology of the local tribes could be close to blasphemy for some of the standard imperial points of view. Decide to have three prizes - one overall most moving, one specific to Naishou, and one spiritual. The reward recommendations for the poetry contests are priority in the selection of housing within Toshi no Naishou, if the poets so choose (with the best choices being at the top level, but all in the Samurai district). If the winners have no interest in moving, then they can either pass that reward to another of their choice, or they can be given a minor political favor of similar influence. That would include negotiating with the other towns for housing, if they wanted.
Talk about the invitees from the Clans. We have a good feel for who is who of the delegations, and we know how to invite the taisa and their command staff from the armies. We all agree to extend invitations to all the local samurai. Will have a 250 head count dinner at the governor's manor, and the rest of the samurai invited to a festival in the Samurai quarter. We would be short on servants, serving ware, and cook ware for the 250 headcount at the governor's manor. Considering headcount, consider allowing the clans 8 major clans and the minor clans each invite up to 10 headcount, making for a maximum of 90. We word the invitation in such a way that excluding the taisa from the invitation would be dishonorable for the three clans with armies in the province. Invite the local ronin to the festival, 5 or so, and the other 65 local samurai to the dinner. 12 of Ansho's party, the magistrate and his wife, 5 yoriki with 1 wife, and ask Konomi to send representatives of the Imperial legion, capped at 10. Max 26 for Imperial representation.
For the samurai quarter, the 150 other samurai that came with the delegations, as well as the other Clan samurai not invited to the dinner. Also allow the armies to each extend 50 invites to the soldiers of the 4 legions for the festival, 50 for the Phoenix.
Agree on sending out resources to the major settlements for festivals for the local, non-samurai caste. Also consider a festival for samurai not officially in the invite for dinner at the governor's manor. A week before the Imperial held ball, funding and supplies would be provided to the 12 largest settlements to have smaller festivals for the locals, in whatever fashion the local leaders think reflect the local’s idea of a good festival. Considering a military strike by any party on this ball would signify much larger problems in the empire that Genjiro believes are currently afoot, if Konomi (our Imperial legion Taisa) will agree, small detachments of our imperial samurai (at least 3 to 5) should go with the messengers delivering the invitations and escorting whatever supplies / funds are provided for these. In addition, those samurai will be pleased to wait and escort any guests back for the Toshi no Naisho imperial held festival.
Extra logistics. We will need to bolster the count of the guards and assistants helping polish blades surrendered when going into the governor's manor. We discuss having check points at the main entrances of Toshi no Naishou, including both the north and south docks during the festival. Will also have to look at getting support for the stables. Probably have entertainers brought in as well. In the decoration, make sure something from the three native tribes should probably be represented in the decorations.
We'll deal with the shenanigans of seating after we have RSVPs, aiming for 8 seat tables as the ideal.
Arrive in Toshi no Naishou that evening.
Deliver our recommendations to Ansho-sama, who seems pleased with the plan (including letting Konomi decide whether she sends herself or not). He'll write out the proclamation tonight and arrange the legionnaire to deliver the kits for the festivals. He will announce tomorrow where he wants the different clan legions moved to, with the Lion staying in Sujuu Mura, the Crane move to Moko Mura, and the Scorpion near Shizu Mura. He also intends to leave the governor of Koso Mura in place. Also tells if we need any help for the setup of the festival, bring it to him.
-21th of Hare, 1157-
A full night's sleep! Two weeks until the festival.
Next morning, think we should probably write the invitations in local paper / ink. Several folks identify that the best sellers are Taro, the best local paper merchant in Toshi no Naisho, Chuko, the best ink provider in Toshi no Naishou, and Nanami, best wax merchant. We will also need to identify the invitations which are best written by Ansho directly, or just stamped. He would want to do the 10 major invites at the least, as well as the acting Phoenix head of Toshi no Naishou and governor of Koso Mura, the Jade Magistrate, the local Otomo, the local Miya (and his sons). The rest we'll write. There will also be messages for the taisa to send their 50 troops to the festival, as well as the proclamation for the city announcement.
Considering the other logistics on the additional staff, serving ware, assistance for the polishers, room for the extra swords, servants to help with the horses, etc - several of us agree on the numbers we need. We learn the largest pottery seller in town, Kokuro. We talk with Obaasan about the additional staff, and she agrees with the numbers and has recommendations on how to recruit them for the evening. Also agree on the quantities of the food - regional fish in the lakes, muscles in the lakes, game birds all across the province, unique apples in the Taru mountains, apricots in the valley, steamed dishes and dumpling wrapped in leaves, mushrooms from the omikura forest, sake, plum wine, apple cordial, and different chefs. What to wear - silk made in Naishou province, tailors in Naishou, etc. 3 tailors in Toshi no Naishou - Akashi, elderly tailor, Shou, middle-aged, Rena, leading influence in local style. Tailor in Koso Mura, Itsuki.
Sou doesn't think he should acquire any of the servants or goods. Also in paranoid considerations, with the hustle and bustle going about, there could be a good opportunity to have nefarious actions going on.
Today, Chiyoko goes to acquire paper, Taka and Haunda go to acquire ink, Genjiro will acquire wax, and Sou and Kazue will work on wording for the notes for Ansho to write, the rest of the missives for those coming to the governor's manor, the city announcement, and the missive for the taisa's.
Taka, Kazui, and Haundo go and speak with Chuko. Says the best inks are made here in the Nobu valley, and she can supply the quantity. Taka and Kazui agree on the type, and get the highest quality ink for all the invitations. Pay what is asked. Success!
Chiyoko goes to meet Taro. He knows about paper, but has little of it since its made in the Kawa forrest, and traded in Koso Mura. Price seems high to her, triple the price, but purchases his high quality for Ansho's invitations and some durable paper for the city announcements. Will have to look elsewhere for the rest of the invitations.
Genjiro goes to meet Nanami (40s, pretty, spends a lot of time outside), who started as a bee-keeper, and has a monopoly on the best waxes in the valley. Genjiro agrees with the quality and price she's asking, so purchases. Genjiro also asks her about suggestions on the local honey, and she has a number of suggestions.
Sou works on the primary invitations for Ansho to write. Adds in the headcount, the theme, the local focus, and Sou works in an emphasis on the stewardship of the land. Next, he writes the invite to the Imperial legion. Then the letters to the governor of Koso Mura and the acting head of the Phoenix in Toshi no Naishou.
Group reconvenes at lunch. Paper is the most pressing issue (ha!), since if we left on horse now, we would get to Koso Mura around midnight. Discuss what else would be needed in Koso Mura. Paper, a blessing from the Shintao, entertainers... possibly food and attire. Also might contact Moshi Masako (if there) and Iuchi Lassat about presenting at the festival, with formal invitations going later. Would have to go off to a village on the way to invite Doji Takozawa. Also contact the chef, Otsu, in Koso Mura about building the menu / assembling a team. Take 6 to 8 troops with to escort the paper back, escort a message on resources back from the contacts in Koso Mura, and have two to four left for other messaging.
Plan is to send Chiyoko, Kazue, and bodyguards will go immediately with 6 soldiers. Taka and Haunda will follow, to Koso Mura along with 2 soldiers, after Yukika (dragging Sou), Akemi, Taka, and Iamiko look at kimonos from Rena. Ansho chooses to go with Takashi, as will Kano and his wife, as will Haunda. Genjiro and Junko will get an outfit from Shou. Sou and Genjiro will work on cooking ware, local entertainment (Geisha and Noh), a gallery display for the artists, and start interviewing servants.
Rena is happy for the business, happy to meet everyone, slightly sad that Haunda isn't getting one there. About 6 koku per kimono. Haunda goes to Takeshi's for fitting, very professional, 4 koku per kimono. Genjiro and Junko go to Shou's. Also professional, has the colors we're looking for. 5 koku per kimono. Each case, they should be ready in a week.
Genjiro and Junko, after fitting, go check on some cooking ware. Meet Kokoro, who is assisted by her two sons and daughters, with the largest crockery selection. Does not have stuff to match the palace, but quality stuff and some stuff from elsewhere in the province. When she hears of the quantity that we're looking for, she won't be able to acquire the stuff that the palace is looking for in quantity. She's got enough for about 150 seats of different styles; 16 from the forest, 16 from the mountain, 16 from Koso Mura. She explains with some regret that its been a challenge to stock those styles over the last two years; there have been trade disputes with Koso Mura. Mix that in with the Nobu valley, then she has enough if we do a mixed Naishou them for the tables. She quotes what Genjiro sounds like a high price, but purchase it considering the difficulties with supplies.
Sou and Yukika go to the Noh theater to attend a show; mixed samurai and heimen, but different entrances and exits. Both agree it was a skilled and moving performance. Meet up with the head of the theater, compliment him, and invite to perform at the governor's for the festival. Sou gets the feeling he is sincerely grateful for the compliments, but not as sincere about the invite since he'd likely need to get approval from the Crane leader's in the province's permission first. Sou's opinion is just that he's not interested in the job. Sou makes sure he understands the delicate nature of the request. Jottei seems to believe its his duty now to carry for, though it's clear to Sou that he's not interested. Sou also notices the arrangement, and Jottei mentions his sister did it, both trained in the Kakita artisan school. Sou offers that they do the arrangements instead, so he invites his sister over. Sou praises the subtleties of the ikebana, drawing her into conversation, with the subtext that this is something he wants to showcase at the ball, gauging her interest. Oh boy, is she! She is quick to agree, happy to learn more about what would be required. 6 to 8 arrangements in the court would probably be what would be needed.
Genjiro and Junko go to the Geisha house to gauge some of the talent, listen to them perform. The exterior of this house is very plain, unlike most he's seen. Right on the shore of the river. However, the interior is pure opulence. The madam, Kikuko, greets us very quickly, greeting us by name. 7 private rooms, 7 geisha, no more, no less. Apprentices in training at all times. Tells this history. Suzuko is the most saught after, followed by Hichihiko. Kikuko wants to know what he's looking for, so Genjiro asks for a lovely singing voice. It's her opinion that Hichihiko has the best voice, but all are lovely. Hichihiko is occupied tonight, but will be available tomorrow, so schedule her. Suzuku is booked for two weeks. Fourth girl, Hanako, is skilled; Junko thinks she's about a 5k3. Also plays the shamisen, and is better at that then singing. With Suzuku being booked until the festival, mentions to Kikuko that if Suzuku's customer cacncels for the festival, then we would be interested in having her for the festival.
Session IV - A question of justice
July 15th, 2018
Ansho calls us back just an hour after the ball discussion. He's changed his mind about something with Panchu Maru - the murder of the monk, due to the power of monks in this area. He wants us to round up the four peasants that murdered the monk after getting a lecture about being a drunk. The headman swears he sent word to Toshi no Naishou, then punished the people responsible. He wants us to round up the peasants for an execution in the morning when Ansho arrives with all the peasants assembled. Also wants our recommendations for the announcement of a new headman. We have the names of the perpetrators, and know where the headman is. The murder itself happened in the winter, several months ago.
Usually execution requires a confession of the crime; technically the headman, but not ensuring justice was done for this and not protecting the monks, also could have his life forfeit. If there is no confession, tradition dictates torture to get one. Will also need to arrange for the execution. Go to talk with Masashi about getting access to an eta torturer - Horuto. Masashi also says that if we do not wish to behead the peasants, Horuto can. We get ourselves cup of torturer, roll up the group, and head out to Panchu Maru.
The general plan is go speak with the surviving monk, find out what he knows of the situation, if he knows where the peasants live, and if he has recommendations on a new headman. From there, we will split up, gather the peasants and the headman, then question them at one of the abandoned houses.
Arrive in Panchu Mura around midnight; a little noise from the geisha, sake, and gambling house, but very little. Arrive at the monk, Ippei's. No answer immediately; enter the shrine. Knock at his room. He wakes up, asks us what we want. He says that the old abbot had been preaching to a crowd at the village, and some of the villagers did not care to be lectured. Drunk as they were, they assaulted him. He did not witness it, but was told that they carried it too far, and killed him. His understanding was the crowd broke up when the assault began, the headman was summoned, but he doesn't know what happened afterward. He says the headman sent work to Toshi no Naishou; they awaited word, and when it did not arrive, two weeks later Isamu (the headman) had the men whipped in the center of town as punishment. He did not know the men personally (Yoshi, Kenshin, Jiro, and Asuka). There have been no other incidents, but he also has had his hands full as the sole monk doing what needs to be done, and not been lecturing. Let him know that Ansho-sama has called for their execution, and ask for him a recommendation of a headman by morning. Chiyoko also asks if there are any healers, teachers, or the likes that would potentially qualify. Would also ask that he gather some of the community leaders and meet around 7am.
More detail he has on the ones responsible - Yoshi and Asuka are brothers; both work at the Dry Lotus. Jiro works at the Phoenix nest. Kenshin works at the Blessed waters, and is both Jiro's brother in law and Kenshin's son in law.
Chiyoko passses on that Ippei's message has been passed on to the monastery, and two young monks are being sent to help him.
Sou sets up Silent Waters to allow him to silently cast the Kami's Strength under contingency.
Haundo, Daisuke, and Junko go to the prior empty house we stayed in and put on armor. The rest of us head to speak with Kaku and his sisters. Sou and Yukika look for anything out of the ordinary around their home. Chiyoko asks for their assistance, starting with gathering primary people still invested in the town for a meeting at the temple at 7am. He agrees to go at sunrise. When Genjiro ask, he says he did not see it, but relays what he heard. Abbot preaching in village center, some drunk villagers took offense, attacked him, and killed him. Doesn't know if it was their intention. The headman told everyone afterwards that he had sent word to Toshi no Naishou. Two weeks later, the headman reassembled the village and stated that he had not recieved word, so he would take action to punish the men responsible, so had them brought out and whipped. On consideration, it's not on the headman to dish out punishment of any kind. However, he could have given the situation to any other samurai to get done. Kaku knows the same info that Ippei did about the perpetrators, and also knows the houses the men would be associated with, though not if they sleep there regularly. Doesn't believe there would be more than 5 or 6 adults in any of those homes, mostly mid to late twenties. Their families don't run the breweries, but much of their extended families do work there. When he heard, he was shocked that they would kill a monk, but not surprised that they were drunk. He was not surprised that they were violent in general. Also notes that Jiro's sister is married to Kenshin's brother.
Split up; Genjiro and Junko will go for Kenshin, Chiyoko and Sou will go to Yoshi, Haundo and Taka with Asuka, and Kazue and Daisuke to go after Jiro. Whether successful or not, will meet back at the house. Yukiko keeps an eye out around the town as much as she can.
Chiyoko and Sou go to Yoshi's. Greeted by a man, not Yoshi, and she asks for Yoshi's location. He's here, he's asleep; the peasant goes and fetchs him. Yoshi shows up, Chiyoko has him come along as she escorts him to the house. Yoshi asks what's this about, but they give him the silent treatment.
Haundo and Taka have a similar experience with Asuka. Arrive, someone else answers, Asuka is summoned and goes with. Tries to talk, doesn't get much aside from him being a witness to a crime. Arrive at about the same time as Chiyoko, Sou, and Yoshi.
Kazue and Daisuke know at Jiro's place. Young woman answers the door; says that Jiro is still at the Phoenix Next, he works there. Kazue says there is nothing else, and leaves.
Genjiro and Junko to to Kenshin's. Door is answered by a young woman. She gets Kinshen. Genjiro tells him to come. He asks what it is about, Genjiro tells him we represent the new governor. Here to provide official word of the murder of the Abbott. He says it was a terrible mistake; they were drinking, and it was an accident. Says he fell, hit his head. Says they were just drunk. He says it was afternoon; there was always extra sake. Arrive with everyone else.
Genjiro, Junko, and Sou remain with the peasants and Hotaru. Haunda, Taka, Kazue, Daisuke, and Chiyoko head to the Phoenix Nest to collect Jiro. Walk in, see him, and when Kazue says she's looking for Jiro, all eyes turn to the bouncer with a club (which Chiyoko and Haundo spotted when they walked in). Collect him, disarm him, and head back to the house.
Genjiro goes to question Kenshin. He says he has nothing to add. They were all friends, which is why they all attacked the abbott. Genjiro knows he's lying about something, but that will suffice as a confession for the moment.
Genjiro, Chiyoko, and Sou go to question Jiro. He remembers the abbot preaching, like he did a lot, they were all drinking. He was angry with them and preaching at them. He doesn't remember who started it, but they all ended up shoving him and swinging at him, then he fell, they hit him some more. He was drunk; he doesn't remember it very well. He's lying. Says the four of them attacked him. No one else tried to stop him. Gives the name of the owner of the Phoenix Nest, the madame of the brothel; says she was angry after the incident. That will also suffice as a confession.
Genjiro pulls in Yoshi next (Chiyoko and Sou still there). Works at the Dry Lotus; says there's a group of families, and provides the list. His and Asuka's family is one of them, but none of the rest. Gives the names of the three families that run the Blessed Waters; Kenshin and Jiro's families run the Blessed Waters. If he tells the truth, we don't have to torture him, right? They were drinking, the abbot was lecturing them specifically because they drink a lot. It wasn't anything they planned; it just sort of happened. They were all drunk and angry and had enough. Doesn't remember which struck him first, but they all attacked him. Kicked him when he was down on the ground. They killed him. Sou and Chiyoko don't believe him, but Genjiro does. The headman didn't question them; everyone knew what happened. No response, so the headman said he would punish them so things could get back to normal. Before then, they were confined. There was a lot of upset in the village. This counts as a confession. He's not aware of their brewery getting funding from the visiting armies. No rivalry between the brew houses; enough business for both. Names off his siblings.
Then pull in Asuka next. Says they started drinking at the Phoenix Nest. Also drank outside. Started drinking at lunch. Paid for some, some was the free they have access to. They say they drink like that regularly; not really that expensive, according to him. Says the abbot was yelling at them, which he did a lot. He thinks he singled them out because they drink so frequently. When he started yelling, they hit him. He doesn't have an excuse, he can't explain it. We believe he's lying about something. Get 8 or 10 names of folks that were there. Good enough for a confession, but he's lying about something.
Kazue watches them all while they wait in the house in silence while each is interrogated elsewhere. She feels that Yoshi seems relieved, and the others feel resigned.
Group gathers up out of earshot while the peasants wait, and discuss findings. Generally agree the four peasants are guilty; Chiyoko is uncertain they acted on their own, but we don't have a thread to unravel with them. Genjiro thinks the part to solve now is did the headman lie about sending a missive, and if so, did he do it for his own reasons (daughter or son-in-law?), or due to pressure from the breweries?
Chiyoko, Sou, and Genjiro go to get the headman. He answers, comes with. Isamu asks what is happening, Genjiro mentions Ansho-sama's interest in the return of law. In the incident, he agrees rule of law was not carried out. He sent his 16 year old son to deliver the message; left the day after the incident, returned a day and a half afterwards. Said his son delivered it to the governor's palace; handed it off at the gate, wasn't allowed in. Chiyoko and Genjiro believe him; Sou is not so sure. Since there was no answer, he felt something must be done, and it wasn't in his authority to have anyone executed. He did what he felt was in his authority to do. Chiyoko asks what the headman saw. He found the four men beating the abbot. He had been preaching; when the assault began, the crowd scattered; it was the commotion he heard. When they stopped, he checked the abbot and found him dead. He informed Ippei to have the abbot's body seen to. He had the four of them put into the rice store houses and the door locked. Then he wrote the message to the governor and his court, explaining what happened, and that they needed samurai, and sent the message with his son to deliver it and return immediately. He kept the men locked up. His son returned with no additional message, but had the name of the samurai who delivered it to. When no samurai or message came, he decided he needed to get the village back up and running again. So he decided it was in his authority to have them whipped, many were anxious to have something done. Sou asks, do you feel justice was done? He answers, he feels like he did what was within his power to do; whether it was just or not is not for him to say. Genjiro believes him; he seems to have some regrets. Certainly counts as a form of confession. He gives us the details of what was in the missive he sent to Toshi no Naishou. It strikes the group that with as helpful as Izuna was, odd that she would not have mentioned the unpunished murder in Panchu Mura if she had known about it. Talk through what we know so far. He had the chance to bring it up when we were with him, and did not. When asked who he would recommend to replace him, he recommends a woman not related with the 7 brewery families or the madame. When Haundo asks about how the breweries came about, Isuma doesn't think any one person came about. It was his responsibility to stop it, and he didn't.
To verify the delivery, we wake up Isuma's 16 year old son to talk about the delivery of the message. He was working in the field of the time of the attack on the abbot, didn't see it. His dad gave him the message, said to return back as soon as possible if there was no return message. Ran the way; got to Toshi no Naishou early in the morning, before dawn. Called in with the samurai at the samurai quarter; got escorted to the governor's manor. The sergeant on duty, same name as his dad provided, took the message and went into the palace. He was gone for 10 to 15 minutes, then came back, said the message was delivered, no response. Boy doesn't know who the sergeant spoke with. Says the missive was sealed. Genjiro believes him.
Kazue works with them for confession for cleansing before their execution; Yoshi is willing to confess. Asuka is accepting; acknowledges they did wrong. Jiro is resigned to his fate, but by the end of their chat, willing to admit he'd done wrong. Kenshin remains resentful and spiteful - places the blame on anyone else. Isamu is receptive as well, and is given the chance to write a message for his family.
Tea is made, some of the group sleep an hour or two, then we meet up with the shrine and the recommended people. Kazue and Daisuke stay with the condemned, the rest go to talk with folks with recommendations for new headmen. Six people show up from the monk and Kaku's list. The woman that the headman recommended is both on the monk and Kaku's list. She is the matriarch of a family, mid 50s, widowed, and farm rice. Tell those gathered that the headman will be executed, Ansho-sama will name a new headman, and their assistance will be needed in keeping things running smoothly. In talking with the others gathered, they do also seem to agree she is a good choice.
When Ansho-sama arrives, present the confessions of the four in the beating of the abbot, and the confession of the headman in abrogating his responsibility to the town. For execution, the headman is eloquent and remorseful. Hopes the village will not continue on this path, and the next head will lead the village back to its proper path. He is beheaded, as are the three who have sought confession. Yoshi is remorseful. Kenshin blames the samurai and celestial order, is beaten and beheaded. Some villagers look resentful, some pleased, some sick to their stomachs. For the replacement, the woman matriarch - Yuri - is named. And promises a new magistrate will be assigned.
Genjiro also reports to Ansho-sama about his miss in the monk's report, that the headman only said the murderers were punished. He brings up the gap between the delivered missive by the boy and Toshi no Naishou reporting it, which will need to be followed up on.
Session III - Preperations begin
May 20th, 2018
Genjiro continues working on the logistics of the arriving imperial forces, as well as waiting for the arrival of the Crane army representative. Genjiro also seeks some assistance from Obaasan in coordinating the efforts. Chiyoko goes to notify the monastery of Kinro-ni-jin of the current state of the monks, including one murdered by peasants. Next, she goes to check on the flooded district; due to the high river from the run off of the rough winter in the mountains. This is the eta district, so not much has been done to deal with this. She investigates further, and even without the flooding the village seems swampy, not on firm ground, and generally in poor condition. The eta living here seem fairly miserable. On the afternoon of the 15th, the peaceful silence of the samurai quarter is broken by Doji Iyumi and Bayushi Itaru, then 40 or so Crane and Scorpion. Invite them into the palace. Itaru and Iyumi enter alone; Genjiro greets them, then starts with reading the proclamation. Iyumi is steamed. She asks what she should do with her legion. Genjiro asks if she has any concerns; she does not. She asks if there is anything else; Genjiro says there is not. Chiyoko chastises Iyumi's men about their action. She storms out, on her way out, Itaru mocks her with "I guess we'll never know who would be better." Itaru says no concerns (but we both sense that he is disappointed in this particular outcome). Genjiro invites Itaru to dinner; Chiyoko goes to spar. Itaru is a charming conversationalist; draws a lot of attention. Genjiro provides him with the materials and informs him that Bayushi Yojiro has put Itaru in charge, and passes on the evidence the Scorpion clan had gathered. He enjoys sake, not to excess. Junko goes with, stands watch outside.
Kazue is getting a tour form Shiba Gaijitsu. He's upset about the discovery of the Emperor taking the province from the Phoenix, but not with her (just not good at hiding it seems more soldier than governor. He's a bit nervous about his place, now that there is a new governor. More concerned about the town than his personal outcome it seems, though. Universally well respected, and often quite liked. Shinsei-ist monks seem in particular fond of him. Walks her through the districts, out to where the laborers and farmers. Tours her through all 5 elemental temples, all of the same relative size and prosperity. She also notices some fetishes of leaves / twigs and such, which comes from the Morakawa tribe (from the Kawa forest) - supposed to keep bad luck and spirits away. At they are heading back for lunch, approached by a Mantis clan samurai - Moshi Masako. She brings forward a concern - seems Toshi no Naishou is not allowing certain things to proceed from the harbor; causing her some difficulties - possibly because of the difficulties between the cities? He promises he will bring it up to the new governor when he can. He introduces Masako and Kazue, and Kazue finds out she's a painter. Go and have lunch on Water upon the Stones. Patrons are almost entirely Phoenix, with one lone woman wearing purple (looking Unicorn). Crowd seems subdued. Go out later to the covered market place, and there's a monk preaching fortunism. Some of the more remote villages prefer to come here than Toshi no Naishou to sell their goods and raw materials. Kazue thanks Gaijitsu for the tour; he asks her to let the governor know they have pressing concerns in the city, and would like to meet with him as soon as he's able. Daisuke thinks if they left tonight, they could ride out tonight and still make it to the border in time without endangering the horses. Would still be safe to leave in the morning, but might just be a little late. So they stay the night to see the entertainment in the evening. A mixture of entertainment and refreshments for most budgets. Jugglers, jesters, acrobats, performers, games, a bit of gambling, some open air sake houses, open air tea houses. Sees the Unicorn, three or four ronin, but far more peasants than samurai. Daisuke notices that they are the subject of quite a bit of attention, considering they are the representatives of the new governor. Kazue offers to write to some of her teachers to come visit the elemental temples, which Gaijitsu appreciates.
Sou and Haundo are riding south, intending to meet Ansho at the border on the 18th. Pass along several villages, scattered all across the plains, some around the forest itself.
-16th of Hare, 1157-
Afternoon as they travel, Yukika first, then Sou and Haundo spot a reflection in the forest like sunlight glinting off glass. It's ahead in the path; Haundo is concerned that it could be spyglass and believes they need to go investigate. Sou agrees, and they try to head in that direction with minor path adjustments to hide the intention. Found the signs of a presence of someone that has left, maybe no longer than an hour in the camp. Had a horse, looks like it was likely male, and while could potentially be tracked, would be difficult and slow. If they had armor, it was small. Looks like they left when they were noticed, but had been here doing something before that. Haundo nails a proclamation to the tree that the person had been next to. Sou communes with a fox - what were they wearing, color of clothes? It says human male, wearing clothing (no armor), earth tones, beard and long hair. Maybe a peasant or ronin, or someone concealing their clan. As to his emotional state, was attentive, curious, and before he left, anxious. What was he doing? Standing in the place, holding up something that occasionally caught the sunlight to his face, looking back and forth. Probably scouting? When he left, though, he rode off due west, not in the direction of Shizu Mura. Sou asks them to watch him, sits down and starts meditating. Falls into a deep trance, then a small fox springs out of the ground next to him. Looks at everyone, nods, then trots off following the path of the lone horseman. Fox-Sou follows the trail west; following for many hours. He finds and creeps closer to a small camp, about 13 or so men and women, a little bit of light or ashigaru armor, a few swords, but weapons for all (bows, tetsubos, axes), 3 horses - a well established camp. 3 are talking; one, an older man that appears to be the leader; long beard, who appears to be who Fox-Sou followed; and a woman. The scout argues they should pull up stakes and relocate the camp somewhere else in the forest; seems clear he had seen them and saw them coming towards him. She doesn't see any reason to uproot - just got here; should hear 4 samurai coming long before they sneak up on the camp. Older man lets them argue it out for a bit, then says he agrees with Nimuro - let's relocate the camp. The woman, Mei, agrees, calling the leader's name as Sononsuke. They effectively break down the camp quickly; reasonably well coordinated. They head out to the northwest. Sou dismisses the fox. He informs the group that it looks like ronin; well organized and savvy, but he doesn't believe there were any shugenja.
Kazue sets out from Koso Mura, and Chiyoko and Genjiro head out from Toshi no Naishou.
-18th of Hare, 1157-
Borders of the province, meet up with Ansho, deliver our reports. He contemplates them, then lets us know about what he's currently fighting off all the clan delegation requests to supercede them to Toshi no Naisho; need to sort that out. Akodo Konomi was going to set small groups in the major cities from the Legion.
Discuss how to split up the various legions to keep the optics of the populace of Toshi no Naishou from having to stare down 3 legions in spitting distance, as well as keep from having a legion force a new village from popping up around it. After some discussion, the proposal is to keep the Lion at Sujuu Mura, the Crane at Oichi Mura, and the Scorpion at Moku Mura - Ansho-sama will consider. Haundo recommends a check point along the road to the south to be established; Sujuku Mura acts at the check point in the north; then a check point at the bend of the river on the west side to be able to watch the camps. Kazue asks Ansho-sama; squad of Phoenix samurai sent by Gaijitsu was who officially notified the emperor. We bring up our lack of knowledge in regards to river boats; recommend Ansho-sama and Konomi-san check with the Mantis, maybe? Genjiro passes along that Itaru may already be looking to purchasing real estate. Ansho-sama thinks we'll leave the negotiation and purchase of the real estate to the Phoenix, which would help compensate them for their current situation as well as molify them. Kazue does note that Koso Mura and Toshi no Naishou may have to be handled separately. Haundo recommends we have a final review, just to verify pricing is reasonable and not terribly favored / disfavored for someone. If any of us want homes, let Ansho-sama know.
Only one known Phoenix magistrate in the province; Ansho will be delegating some additional clan magistrates along way stations. And, one way to co-opt the clans is to have them put forth candidates for clan magistrates that we get to review and approve, then assign them to a particular place or settlement. Plans to co-opt all of them into the maintenance and administration of the province, so that any short-sighted foolishness impacts them directly and helps him determine the longer term view of who is the better magistrates.
Ansho is also planning on giving guest rooms in the palace to the delegations, so they can choose to stay close or have options for late nights or guests. Team gets a large estate with separate house for Sou and Yukika.
Ansho intends for Toritaka Kano to investigate the dead Phoenix, since the body was in Unicorn lands.
Ansho says, we should reach Toshi no Naisho on the 20th. He will announce on the 21st that he will hold a ball with the theme of celebrating spring time and new beginnings. Each delegation (all 8 clans and the minor clan alliance) will be responsible for bringing a gift to the ball for the province. The refreshments and festivities will be local. He would like to have a poetry competition. He would like a first draft of the guest list by the evening of the 20th. A small province ball would be 40 to 50 -- this will need to be much larger to accomodate all the clans.
Session II - Assessing the situation
March 25th, 2018
Two Shiba samurai are present, guarding the gate. Asako Izuna is who they say is in charge, will take us to her. Says she's holding court today, and introduces us before the court. Izuna is sitting close to the governor's empty seat; longest serving courtier in the palace. Screens with landscapes, as well as mythical creatures storied to be found in the river at various times. Show her the proclamation. She asks what they can do to assist. We note that we'll need assistance lodging Miya-sama's entourage and the legion. That we'll need help getting the proclamation spread across the province to villages of 200 people and over (everything on the map). The Crane and Scorpion are maneuvering around Tosho no Naisho, and the Lion were in and around Suuju Mura. Ask about other clans operating, tells of the Mantis acting as mercenaries.
Top floor of the palace is for the governor. 63 guest rooms in the palace for samurai (can easily support married couples). 2 others occupied by Asako Izuna and Shiba Yamiko. No servants quarters in the governor's palace; they all live in the heimin's district. The district the barracks can hold 2 companies (a legion is 7), a little over 300. Two other barracks that can hold a squadron, 21 each, 42 in total. The samurai district has 197 homes and estates of varying sizes, 160 are unoccupied, some might need minor repairs (all would need to be aired out). There are two inns in the samurai district that can potentially hold 24, 48 in total. Four inns in the merchant district; could hold 18 each, or 72 total. When Sou asks about why so many abandoned houses; she said that those were built over 500 years ago. Carpenters in the province are famously skilled. 2 squads in the main barracks. Izuna does ask about disposition of the real estate and existing Phoenix; Genjiro says we will do our best to honor existing conditions.
The closest flat land to setup a military camp is several hours outside the heimin quarter. Izuna says that there is more room in Koso Mura. Phoenix have about 80 in the city, and 3 companies (450 soldiers) at Koso Mura. 70 to 75 representatives showing up to lobby for their clans, with probably 150 guards / followers along with servants. Haundo asks about the grain stores, and Izuna presents the figures, can easily absorb the arrival of the armies. Current population is 90 to 95 thousand before the arrivals. Last census on Panchu Mura was 248 citizens, and just shows farming. Ask about the mural on the screens; artist is Kakita Maliko, and claimed they could see things in the rivers others could not. Kazue and Sou recognize several of the spirits, as well as some of the kami represented; kappa and ningyo. It was painted about 500 years ago. Chiyoko asks about how the Phoenix have taken the armies arrivals; Izuna says unfortunately, they have received no response back to their repeated attempts to contact the Phoenix about this situation. None of their messengers have returned; 4 different messengers dispatched over the course of 7 months. First was a single messenger (18th of Dragon 1156 - day after Hiromoto's death), sent south along the river. Expected to get a reply by Goat, 3 months later. When no response, 21st of Goat 1156, dispatched a pair of samurai north via Dragon lands with travel papers. Expected to hear back faster; dispatched third messenger 17th of Dog 1156, also a single messenger, south along the river. Independently, Shiba Gaijitsu dispatched a squad of 10 soldiers via the Dragon route on the 23rd of Dog. Says the Crane arrived near the end of the month of Dog, a few days after the third messenger left. The Lion arrived shortly after, still in Dog, and the Scorpion didn't arrive until Boar. She first became aware of the Mantis in Boar also. Kakita Seisho arrived in Toshi no Naishou the 23rd day Goat 1156, just after the second messengers were dispatched. He is the one attributed to reporting the lack of governor in the province. His Daidoji was dispatched a few days after with the message to the Crane. Emperor announced on 16th day of Ox, 1156.
All 3 armies did announce their arrivals by sending a squad to the palace and reassure that they had no intention of battling the city or damaging the infrastructure of the province. All suggested given the relative inequality of troop strength that the Phoenix not attempt to stop them. Each army suggested that when they dealt with the security situation, they were going to claim Toshi no Naishou and Koso Mura. Sou asks about governance philosophy used by the Phoenix; while rich in resources, its isolation means not rich trade. Kazue asks about the other clan samurai in town when the old governor died; 2 dragon, 1 lion, a mantis, a crane, several phoenix visiting Toshi no Naishou when the old governor died. All but the Mantis and the Phoenix were passing through, paying respect, but going to a monestary. Mantis was here for business, was successful, purchased some timber, rare plants, dried flowers, herbs, swamp plants.
Chiyoko asks about any issues she has concerns with, and Izuna is concerned about sending isolated samurai to remote areas for things like census taking, with concerns arising from the assumed fate of the failed messengers. Says the native three tribes are unlikely to intermingle; more likely to reach out to their same tribe then send word to the capital. A lot more common among the villages in the mountains. Kazue asks about Koso Maru - 10,000 pop, where Toshi No Naisho is 35,000 pop. Koso Maru is Shensai or daoist, and consider its a strenght to intermingle between the tribes and others. Recommends the covered market place. Giajitsu was named governor of there a few months after Hiromoto became governor. Get names of the Taisa of the Clan armies - Doji Iyumi, Bayushi Itaru, Matsu Tadanobu. Get to pick rooms themed after the fortunes: Iaimiko, Junko - Bishoman; Sou and Yukika, Taka - Benten; Daisuke - Jurojin; Haundo, Musashi, Genjiro - Hotei; Chiyoko, Kazue - Fukurokujin; Akemi - Jurojin.
To try and hit the armies, different groups will need to head out. Sou, Yukika, Haundo, Taka heading northwest to find the Lion, then head back to the border. If they make great time, maybe check out Shizu Mura or Inari Seido. Kazue and Daisuke head north to Koso Mura, then return. Iaimiko, Akemi, and Masashi head west to find the Scorpion, possibly the Crane. Chiyoko, Genjiro, and Junko remain in Toshi no Naishou.
-14th of Hare, 1157-
Group splits up.
Chiyoko and Genjiro go north and south of the town to read the proclamation. Izuna recommends both merchant quarters, both docks, the Three Winds Inn, parks in the samurai district. Genjiro also works on logistics for laborers, lumber, materials for housing. Airing out the existing housing.
Late in the day, Kazue and Daisuke arrive in Koso Mura. Get in no problem, are escorted to meet Shiba Gaijitsu. He takes the news, but is angry. He asks how the emperor found out about the situation. Kazue says we do not know, nor the fate of his men who were dispatched. She asks for a chance to read the proclamation to the city, and he agrees. He gives a report on Koso Mura to take back to Miya Ansho, as well as some pointers on local flavor. Recommends a meal at the Water Upon the Stones, mentions the covered market.
-15th of Hare, 1157-
That morning, Sou, Yukika, Haundo, Taka meet a Lion patrol. Hail them, ask to meet the Taisa to deliver the proclamation to Matsu Tadanobu. Get to Sujuu Mura, and find it well fortified by the Lion. New wall built. Escorted in, get to meet with Tadanobu, read out the proclamation. When Tadanobu asks about further orders, Sou requests that an envoy be send to Toshi no Naishou, where Miya Ansho will be setup by the 21st. Sou politely declines the invite for hospitality to head back south to meet up at the border. Head out south, to skirt the forest on the way back to meet up with Miya Ansho.
Session I - Arrival in Naishou province
March 18th, 2018
The trip takes 2 months. A month and a half in, staying at a way station, about 2 weeks out. Ansho-sama summons us after dinner, including Toritaka Kano (new Emerald magistrate of Naishou province), his yoriki Toku Masashi, and Ansho's daughter (Iaimiko). Asks us to learn local customs, state of settlements, important peasants and samurai, and current lodging available for the samurai, current samurai in Toshi no Nashou. He also wants to know the disposition of the Crane, Scorpion, and Lion army and what damage has been done, if any. He is giving us magistrate status to do this investigation, and sending us ahead to check on these things. Konomi will continue on with him; in 10 days, we'll meet up at Panchu Mura. Lastly, Iamiko-san will give this proclamation to each settlement and the armies in person if posisble; troops will be sent to the settlements we don't make it to. Chiyoko, Sou, Kazue, and Genjiro each get jitte as a sign of our deputy status, as well as copies proclamation (saying Ansho's current status as governor ruling in the emperor's name, and all must present themselves to him to make a case).
Yoriki are samurai that has all the rights and privileges of a magistrate, but can only report crimes they witness. Doshin are deputies, have no authority to do anything on their own.
-8th of Hare, 1157-
Head out. Iaimiko is wearing Ansho's mon on a back banner as we head out.
-10th of Hare, 1157-
The river is a rushing torrent; usually supposed to be wide and slow. Must have been a bad winter up in the mountains for that kind of flooding. With investigation, we catch a whiff of something dead / (hunting) see buzzards circling overhead. Spot the disturbance much closer to the river, a few hundred feet up. Sou, Yukika, and Masashi go check it out. It's the remains of a person; greasy hair, bits of kimono, body is a slurry. Hounda and Genjiro also go to investigate. The corpse has daisho, Phoenix and Shiba mons on the blades. Evidence of both stabbing and slicing in the skin and on some of the bones. Probably a man, average build, long hair. Masashi retrieves an arrow head from the remains; looks Crane to Genjiro. Masashi believes he's been dead for 4 to 5 months. Crane arrived about 8 months ago. The daisho are good quality, about average; decent shape for having been in the muck for months. Looks like the body was buried here. Sou communes with Earth - was the violence committed here, how many people buried the body, and how strong the victim was in earth? Violence was within a couple of hundred yards on the road; half a dozen dug the whole; guy was an Earth ring 2. Kazue also communes with the Void after we look it over; it replies the individual had strong elemental connections, most of the victim's connections were to Naishou province, and a strong sense of duty (both to the Phoenix and the entire event, which probably means the others as well). Decide to go check the road, just to see if there is anything left after several months. We do find a number of signs of large groups, maybe armies, passing along the road. Discarded equipment, etc. We put the body at rest (Masashi puts the body in) before moving on.
-12th of Hare, 1157-
Arrive in Naishou, and arrive in Panchu Mura in the afternoon (supposed to be a day from Tosho no Naishou). Very few of these fields have been cultivated, and quite a few of the farm houses look to be abandoned. Even the ones near the cultivated fields look in poor shape. As we approach the village proper, the rate of cultivated farms and houses increases. However, even in the center, several fields uncultivated and houses abandoned. Town center seems larger than makes sense for a farming village, and several two story buildings in the center. They look fairly new, and in reasonable repair. A lot of activity in the village center; sake brewing, and Crane and Mantis colors evident in the village, as well as carousing. Hear drunk voices, cat calls, wolf whistles, propositions. Approach; Toku Masashi looks angry. Half dozen Crane samurai heckling 3 peasants, one brawny who has stripped Two sneering Daidoji are bracketing a peasant girl, and another is forcing a peasant girl to drink. On the ground around the peasants are several bundles and parcels, like they dropped them.
Genjiro approaches, addresses the Daidoji. He's the corporal in charge of this squad. Daidoji Hirofumi. He reports to Doji Iyumi's legion. It's encamped north of here. Arrived last fall to claim it. Ask him to send a runner to Doji Iyumi to report to Toshi no Naishou for the emperial edict. Let the peasants leave; notice they have a book. Mantis are here as mercenaries; currently not employed by the Crane as far as he knows. Plenty of carousing on the way. Offers to take us to the Phoenix Nest; ask he take us to the head man's house. Sou thanks the Crane, dismisses them.
Chiyoko notes the headman's house is not overly prosperous. The headman shows us the inns, Dry Lotus and Blessed Waters, both associated with the Sake breweries. Village has become more prosperous with the samurai that have arrived. Previously, they just farmed. Started producing sake last year, 5 months ago. Food production is still sufficient, and the koku can be used to pay taxes. He has seen the Lion army as well; hasn't seen them come through here. Has seen the Scorpion, but never the same time as the Crane. Never more than a squad or two at the time. Village does not seem overly prosperous. No Phoenix have passed through since the armies started coming; not that he can recall. Village is about 250 people; how much rice they normally account for; were notified when he passed away, but nothing since then. Taxes were collected in the fall by a Phoenix, just before the armies started coming. There is a ronin who lives here; hasn't signed on with any of the armies -- Takamuri. Tells us where he lives. Inns have loud and obnoxious common rooms. Some of us will stay in the headman's house; some in the abandoned houses. The brewery and geisha houses have taken jobs, and some people want a quieter life and have relocated to other villages. Get some names of families and villages that they left to.
Offer tea with the headmaster; Sou, Yukika, Iaimiko, Genjiro, Taka, and Chiyoko go for tea; Hounda stands outside. The rest go to find an abandoned farm house to setup lodging for the night. Sou asks about culture and custom in the region, confirm the shrines, etc.. Headman does so, Panchu Mura is descended from the Takanobu tribe, the dominant tribe. The village has been here for hundreds of years, he's been headman for a decade; his father before him. Always been a farming village. Temple of Kinro-ji-jin, kami of soil. Spring of 1156 is the last time they were trained by the Phoenix in spear usage (headman coordinates the practices with staves after). Sou asks about the Phoenix' rule; how were they as stewards of the land? He thinks it seemed fine - taxes were reasonable, the farm land was good, and the Phoenix trusted everyone to do their duty; appeared when they needed to, stayed out when they didn't. He supposes that the samurai have been that rowdy since they've been coming here. It was quieter under the Phoenix. He tells the story of Taimon (evil north wind) and the maiden. Says they experienced average winter here. Festival on the first day of Autumn where Taimon and the maiden are celebrated.
Evening, ring the bell, wait for peasants to gather for the proclamation. Chiyoko sees the 3 peasants that were being harassed earlier, as far as from the other samurai as possible. Iaimiko reads out the proclamation. The Crane don't seem pleased, and the Mantis seem indifferent. Chiyoko and Genjiro, Junko follow the peasants. We introduce ourselves. He invites us in. They try not to go into the village anymore. Since the sake breweries and inns have opened, there are more samurai in the village regularly. Better if they can keep to themselves. Clean house, small hut, two books in the house (one of poetry, one on the fortunes), family shrine. He agrees that is the reason for the families leaving; has been happening since the sake breweries started. Doesn't know who taught them how to brew. Says many peasants in the village have learned to read; something that is passed down here. They would relocate if they could. Young man is Kaku, and the two sisters are Anzu, Makiko. Says all of the samurai coming through seem to be making life more difficult for the samurai. Genjiro offers them some payment to keep Miya-sama's agents up to date on the treatment on the peasants. He says that Takamuri largely constrains himself to theft.
Gather Sou, Taka, Hounda and head to the common room of the Dry Lotus. There is a raucous good time happening at the inn - mostly peasants, a couple of Mantis. Not the cleanest place. Order food, sake; conversation on the new governor coming, what that will mean, happy that they have the sake houses in place. The two Mantis belong to Junko's Arrows, been here since just before the winter. Mantis dispatched them to see what they could do here. The unit is between contracts right now, but have worked for both the Crane and Scorpion. THe last they heard, the Lion are up in the north of the province. The Scorpion and Crane have been maneuvering around each other to the north since they got here. They've been trying not to destroy the place; the armies, that is. 50 Mantis. Only know of skirmishes with the armies. Lion have largely been removed; crane and scorpion have been at it since last fall. They each are about a legion in size, 750 give or take. Phoenix have a few squads up in Toshi no Naishou. Also in Koso Mura, which has a proper castle. Toshi no Naishou isn't really defensible. Innkeeper says, they import the dry lotus seeds from Moko Mura. The Mantis are also interested in gossip. Gambling house, two of them. Roll out, and on to the Blessed Waters.
A lot like the other. 3 Mantis in here! Here same gossip, though murmurs from the "new" sake house that it might be bad for them. Masashi goes on to the Phoenix Nest.
Kazue goes to the Kinro-ji-jin temple that night. Talks with the monk there; the shrine has been there for 900 years. She talks with him some, contributes a bu to the temple. He believes the village is in need of good and active governance. Hopes the new governor stations a magistrate here to ensure order. Asks to let the other temples of Kinro-ji-jin to know that he is the only monk left in Panchu Mura as we are about.
-13th of Hare, 1157-
Get up in the morning; head back to the shrine. Iaimiko asks what happened to the other monks? The previous abbot died of old age last summer; two died of fever during the winter, and the other monk was killed by drunk peasants who didn't like his sermonizing about their laziness and neglect of the shrine. We have also seen very few small children. Head on down the road.
Reach the outskirts of Toshi no Naishou by early afternoon. This town is well run; tidy, well cultivated. Up ahead of us, muscular samurai steps off the road, has a brown kimono with no mon or markings on it. Bows respectfully as we reach him. He offers his service as a local guide, introduces himself as Junzo. Sou agrees; hires him. Guides us from the heiman district to the merchant district, then the samurai district. Each district wrapped around each other, all up against the river, with the governor's palace in the center. Fisherman live along both sides of the river as well as in boats. Walks through the merchant districts, talks about rivers having had large flooding every few years, though it has been awhile. Junzo has been here for a little over 5 years. Phoenix are governing here in the city, but not far beyond. As we proceed, here sounds of fist fighting. North port handles all province traffic coming this direction, and south handles all traffic coming into the province from outside. This has been a long fued between the doc workers for as long as he's lived here. The Seven fortunes temple is raised, protected from flooding, proper monastery with students. Recommends the tea (Hotei's favorite) at the Three Winds. Dutiful Daughter allows multiple castes to visit at the same time. As we approach the samurai district, tells that their is a custom to loudly announce yourself before you enter. Some decent housing; the other armies have steered clear of the town so far. Very few of the houses are currently inhabited. Possibly 100 to 200 samurai and families could live in the Samurai district.
Arrive at the governor's palace; palace is large for a remote province, but the grounds are cramped. Junzo takes his leave, saying if we ever need him we can contact him at his place; offer him a bu.