Session Report: 28 August 2020

A Wish Misworded

General Summary

In this session of Tsuwamono, the following events transpired:

The Scene of Tomoteru's Murder (Part 2)

11/14/1559: 21:00 (Evening)

Owari Castle

Historical Entry: The Scene of Tomoteru's Murder (Part 2)

  As Ryūzaki Sanosuke had promised, Shigeaki Fujino was quick to return with Shibai in tow. The arrival of this stranger was enough to pull Hashinara Yoshitakatomo and Takenaka Hanbei away from their discussions of the looming war between Takeda and Uesugi. Having never met the Samurai Detective before, Yoshitakatomo began with some questions and introductions, learning that Shibai was a thief-taker with few solid affiliations. She was currently working a case in Nijō Castle and, in thanks for the Castle Lord's hospitality, had agreed when Sanosuke asked her to lend aid to this investigation.   There were few clues that hadn't already been discovered, but Shibai fortunately knew the right kinds of questions to ask. If the murder weapon was accounted for, the method and culprit known, then the next step was to determine who had orchestrated the event behind the scenes. Everything, including the out-of-place Gehennan reference sheet and Takayama Tomoteru's immaculate summoning circle pointed to the existence of such a conspirator. Shibai began by asking who might profit from such an event. After some erudite discussion, with Hanbei's advice and Akechi Mitsutoshi chiming in on behalf of the Oda, the group determined that Takayama Tomoteru was not likely to have been the target himself. Such a dangerous act as demonic summoning could, and did spill over, endangering everyone in Owari Castle. That made it seem more likely that the Oda Clan itself had been the target of this scheme, especially considering representatives of the Hashinara Clan being conveniently present to take the fall. Thinking back on Raym's attack on the audience chamber, Yoshitakatomo recalled that the demon had, with uncanny accuracy, sought to kill every Oda general in the room. The only non such attacked was Saitō Dōsan, who retained strong ties to the clan as a prior affiliation regardless. It had also happily occurred when Oda Nobunaga, the clan's most powerful force against Demonkind, was not present to defend them.   The matter of target and goal seemed handled. Then, who would benefit most from the Oda Clan's downfall? The Hashinara would to a significant extent, and Takenaka Hanbei voiced as much. It was obviously no plot of Yoshitakatomo's, but the ranks under her* were growing ever larger, and little oversight existed to prove that such a plot had not come from a rogue element within. Yoshitakatomo dismissed this, however, and instead asked Mitsutoshi who might wish the clan harm. The younger Akechi did not hesitate a moment before answering: the Ashikaga Shogunate. Nobunaga had repeatedly snubbed the Shogun's power without consequence. Ashikaga Yoshiaki, chafing under the circumstances which had brought her to power and stripped it away all in one breath, had every reason to wish for the Oda Clan's destruction.   That seemed the most promising candidate, but there was little evidence to go on. Nothing in the room linked the event to the Shogunate, or any other power. Even Shibai seemed stymied and unable to proceed without further evidence. With all mundane paths having reached dead ends, Takenaka Hanbei suggested that they try supernatural means to learn more about the mastermind. Yoshitakatomo had previously cast Telemetry on the summoning circle itself but not the sigil-bearing parchment. This she* now did.   At first, there was only a vague sense of fire, demonic screeching, and hurried footsteps. The sound of battle. The Palace of the Firebird, no doubt. Silence for a moment, then Yoshitakatomo was assaulted by a vision so vivid that it was as though she* were there, witnessing events through the sheet of parchment itself. Across from her* point of view sat the Shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiaki, expression grim as she spoke to an unseen visitor. Indeed, the person holding Yoshitakatomo was not visible, nor could the Princess-Daimyō sense anything about them except a voice, which was husky and feminine; the voice of a mature woman.   It was obvious that this was a clandestine meeting of great import. Yoshiaki expressed her doubts about a plan to snuff out the Oda, but Chitosemaru, the holder of the parchment, stated that everything was in order. Solomon, the conspirator claimed, was very willing to trade secrets with mortals if it would make the situation in Japan more "interesting." This, then, was the origin of the sheet of sigils. Further, Chitosemaru claimed to have been monitoring the state of Takayama Tomoteru for some time. With only a few nudges from her embedded agents, she claimed, he would play right into the role they had prepared and unleash a demon upon the Oda Clan. None in Owari Castle would be able to stand against a force like that, and Oda Nobunaga would not be there to save them. There would be, Chitosemaru suggested, no survivors.   The rest of the parchment's embedded memories were a blur, but Yoshitakatomo did get a glimpse of an unassuming samurai delivering the parchment to Tomoteru. He did not seem like anything special, but the Princess-Daimyō could pick him out later if it became necessary. As she* returned to the present moment, a few things occurred to Yoshitakatomo. Firstly, the Hashinara's presence had not been part of the plan. Indeed, their arrival within Owari Castle at that time was probably the only thing that had prevented a full-scale slaughter. Second, Ashikaga Yoshiaki was working with Solomon. With demons. The petty Shogun had until this point been little more than an annoyance with no real power, but Takenaka Hanbei confirmed Yoshitakatomo's own thoughts. This made Yoshiaki a threat, and a dangerous one, as the girl had much to resent in the Hashinara and all their allies.   That was a sobering discovery, but the mystery had indeed been solved. They knew the culprit behind Takayama Tomoteru's death, and with it the attempted assassination of an entire clan. Shibai had, at some point, lost interest, and so Yoshitakatomo drew her back into the conversation. After confirming the thief-taker's purpose and profession, the Princess-Daimyō then asked her to investigate the Hōjō Clan. They had been dealing in Absodium, a deplorable metal crafted from hellfire and human souls. With the rift in Mikawa Province now closed, they would either have to stop use of the metal, or find another supplier. Yoshitakatomo wanted Shibai to go undercover amongst the Hōjō and determine whether such an alternative supplier existed. After understanding the implications of Absodium and its use, Shibai was quick to agree. Following her job in Nijō Castle, she said, she would infiltrate the Hōjō.   With all that covered, Yoshitakatomo returned to her discussion of politics with Takenaka Hanbei. They had been interrupted before, but one topic still niggled at the Princess-Daimyō for attention. The Mōri and Takeda were perhaps the two most powerful clans in the land right now, aside from the Hashinara. Together, they could be too great a threat to deal with. While Yoshitakatomo's clan was currently friendly with Takeda Shingen and on tense good terms with Mōri Motonari, she* wanted to know how likely it would be for the two to ever work together.   Not likely, was Hanbei's response. The Mōri and Takeda were far apart, both geographically and ideologically. While Motonari wished to unite the land, Shingen aimed to conquer it. Their goals might be similar, but their reasons for pursuing them were very different. Different enough that Hanbei expected them to clash violently, rather than ever work together. Neither Shingen nor Motonari were the type to back down, and if they ever found themselves in conflict, full war was likely to follow.   She might have said more on that topic, but their discussion was interrupted again, this time by the arrival of more Hashinara generals. They had been due a meeting for a while now, and Shigeaki Fujino was there to collect, bringing Ryūzaki Sanosuke, Aotsuki Tsukamoto, and Maxim with her.
The Mysterious One Night Castle (Part 3)

11/14/1559: 21:00 (Evening)

Kannonji Castle

Historical Entry: The Mysterious One Night Castle (Part 3)

  Aotsuki Tsukamoto was running out of questions to ask, and he wasn't much closer to figuring out the mystery behind Shōtei and the mysterious nightly reappearance of Kannonji Castle. There was one thing still bothering him, however: the mochi dish. Aotsuki had heard it mentioned more than once now, and had even seen the shadow of a yōkai carrying it away during his impromptu sojourn into the castle. What significance could it hold?   Very little, as it turned out. Shōtei was happy to explain, albeit a bit annoyed with the Council member in question. Rokkaku no Teiko was currently banned from the kitchens as punishment for being unable to control her strength in pounding mochi. This broken dish was but a new victim in a serial line of split earthenware. Apparently Teiko had sneaked into the kitchens while everyone else was asleep, drawn by the siren call of mochi, and the tragedy had repeated. While an annoyance, it had little to do with Aotsuki's mystery. Shōtei did promise that the culprit would be appropriately disciplined. Meanwhile, Abe no Seimei and Maxim were having a clandestine mental conversation. Seimei had shown a curious interest in the foreigner up to this point, and now asked him how he would handle it were he and his King in a similar situation back in Albion. After some pondering, Maxim stated that he would first try to forge an alliance with the offending group, rejoining them to the King's lands and power. Should that prove impossible, he would eliminate them. This answer came as a surprise to Seimei, who had expected a barbaric answer from the foreign barbarian, but she thanked him for it all the same.   Aotsuki was trying a new tack. That is, he contacted Saitō Dōsan back at Owari Castle and asked him to get Shibata Katsuie on the line. Katsuie was tied up in all of this, as the general responsible for razing the old Kannonji Castle, but it proved fruitless at first. His target had already retired with Oichi, and it wouldn't do to intrude upon them unless it was for something urgent. Aotsuki was about to drop this line when Shigeaki Fujino informed him that she had gone ahead and intruded on them anyway. Shibata Katsuie was now part of the Hashinara Clan mental network, and was willing to answer his questions.   The Golden Boy of Ōmi wanted to know about the events surrounding Kannonji Castle's fall, and so Katsuie told the tale as she remembered it. The Rokkaku, she claimed, were no great warriors. At the same time, they would not submit to the Oda Clan, so Katsuie slew each of them and burned the castle to the ground as an example of what those who offered obstinate resistance could expect. The Oda suffered few casualties, and Katsuie was able to confirm that she had slain Yoshinobu, now Shōtei, as well. Better that, she said, than to allow a rival Daimyō to plot and nurse a grudge.   Aotsuki went on to ask Seimei about the details of who exactly could remember the province as it was, and who had been affected by the perception-altering qualities of the Nightly Castle. The result was largely the same. Those with enough spiritual power could see through the farce, while those with less were convinced that it had always been there. Katsuie, it seemed, was in the former camp. She boasted a comprehensive strategic ken of Japan, yet had no knowledge of "Kōka Province" at all.   This all left them about where they had started from, with no new clues to proceed on. Seimei took the opportunity to advise her lord of the one clue they did possess: the "Buddha" that Shōtei claimed granted her such power. Aotsuki ventured to ask about the significance of the number "6" that repeatedly appeared in the Rokkaku's wake, but the answer was nothing monumental. The name "Rokkaku," broken into its component characters, could be read as "Six Corners." The Rokkaku ascribed great significance to their name, and their fixation on hexagons was a direct result of that.   It seemed there was little left to do, and so Aotsuki made ready to end the discussion. Just like his previous host, Shōtei insisted that they stay the night, but Aotsuki politely refused. Without revealing the Hashinara technique of teleportation, he confidently claimed that they would have no trouble returning to Ōtsu before sunrise. Before they made to leave, however, Seimei advised Aotsuki on her recommended course of action. Her plan was, no doubt, informed by her earlier discussion with Maxim, yet she somehow did not volunteer this bit of information. Agreeing with the first part, at least, Aotsuki took on his mantle as the Lord of Ōmi and offered the Rokkaku vassalship under the Aotsuki Clan. It was a compelling offer, especially considering that Shōtei would be allowed to keep her castle, reinstate trade, and would have the protection of a greater clan. The other, however, refused outright.   Shōtei was thankfully not shy in revealing the reason for her refusal. The Buddha, she said, had promised her that the Rokkaku would never bow to the power of another under the sun. It would be foolish of her to give up such a supernatural opportunity with the blessing of the Bodhisattva. Shōtei hoped, at least, that her refusal had not offended Aotsuki. A pregnant silence followed, in which two of the Hashinara made a few mental calls to iron some details out.   Mostly silent up until now, Ryūzaki Sanosuke called upon Mary Lyn, who still toiled in the depths of Wakigami Castle on some forbidden project. Mary proved eager to talk, and to take a break from the "Mugen Gauntlet" project. Once Sanosuke explained the details of the situation, her mind went unsurprisingly to magical explanations. That it was a plot against Aotsuki and perhaps the Hashinara she had no doubt, and suggested that powerful Time or Creation magic might be behind it. Shōtei, it seemed, was being programmed to believe whatever was most convenient, so Mary suggested that she could not be trusted. A quick check with Ōtomo Sōrin added the Illusion school as a possibility. A godlike illusionist could create a complex "fake reality" to fool all the senses. However, even with all this in mind, Sanosuke couldn't see a wisp of magic with his S.P.E.C.T.A.C.L.E.. That didn't mean it wasn't there, but if it was a powerful spellcaster had taken some trouble to hide it.   At the same time, Aotsuki called out to Imamura Naiku, his priestess within Enryaku-ji at Mount Hiei. She was able to fill him in on the Bodhisattva, mortals who were so close to attaining ascension into Buddha-hood that they could accomplish it at any time. For personal or empathetic reasons, however, they had chosen to remain in this realm to help others along their own paths to enlightenment.   Sanosuke went into smooch-debt only to learn that Tsukijō Hanahane didn't know anything about Kannonji Castle except that it should still be a burnt wreck upon the "loins of Ōmi." He too, apparently, was powerful enough to resist the glamour. Or perhaps he was merely out of its range.   Abe no Seimei's advice was to crush the Rokkaku if they refused his generous offer of vassalship. That was more suspicious than anything, only adding to her suspicions that this may be some kind of Ikkō Ikki plot. "Non-violent colonization" seemed like it'd be up their alley, after all. Even so, Aotsuki could not bring himself to declare war on these innocents. Even with Seimei's warning that the problem was only likely to grow, his mind was made up. He instead asked Maxim and Sanosuke for their opinions. The Knight Commander agreed with Seimei, and added that it was a mistake to not take action after Shōtei's clear disrespect. Sanosuke, instead, spoke to the monk herself.   The Silver General first asked if there was anything that they could do for her, in return for her hospitality. In response, Shōtei repeated what she'd said before. The lack of trade and traffic in this area worried her, and she'd like them to work with their trademasters to remedy it. It was obvious to everyone else that the castle's semi-real existence was the reason behind that, but Shōtei continued to be completely oblivious to that phenomenon. After that, Sanosuke suggested that, in order to facilitate trade agreements, they could take a member of the Council back with them for a day or two. He suggested Rokkaku no Yasutsuna, surely with nothing but pure motivations. This idea did appeal to Shōtei, but she claimed that the castle could not function without Yasutsuna's presence currently. Instead, Rokkaku no Jakusai would go with them. She was likely to follow Aotsuki out anyway, badgering him until he truthfully claimed to like her. This wasn't the answer Sanosuke was hoping for, but it worked for his purposes, and so it was agreed.   After that, each of the Hashinara said their farewells, thanked Shōtei, and made ready to depart. Sugihara Hidemitsu and Ka-ten Agni were still in the kitchens, but met them with Jakusai shortly after the group exited the tea house. There in the courtyard, it came to light that Agni may have destroyed the Rokkaku's oven with her divine fire, and Aotsuki may be responsible for replacing it. He fenced with Agni a bit about crafting a new one, but the God of Fire was not reasonable in her suggestions. Eventually, Jakusai chimed in with an obsequious offer to take care of the whole thing for Aotsuki. Sanosuke, meanwhile, was quite engrossed with Inu no Seimei. His behavior of crouching near Jakusai and whispering into her thigh eventually drew some negative attention, but the Councilmember was quick to forgive. Sanosuke, too, was drawn a little bit more into her charms.   Shigeaki Fujino managed to pry herself away from the events in Owari Castle, and made to pick them up. They all had places to be, but nothing urgent, and so she took it upon herself to deliver them back to Owari instead, dropping all but the top generals off at Ōtsu Castle on the way. It was high time, she claimed, for the generals to have that meeting they'd been talking about.
Politics on Pentagrams (Part 1)

11/14/1559: 22:00 (Evening)

Ōtsu Castle

Historical Entry: Politics on Pentagrams (Part 1)

  With the aid of Shigeaki Fujino, a group consisting of Aotsuki Tsukamoto, Ryūzaki Sanosuke, and Maxim arrived in Takayama Tomoteru's room at Owari Castle just in time to interrupt a strategic meeting between Takenaka Hanbei and Hashinara Yoshitakatomo. There had been whispers of a great meeting between the Hashinara Clan's top generals for some time now, especially with Maxim's sudden return from Gehenna. Fujino had taken it upon herself to make it happen, and so it was. Abe no Seimei offered some brief telepathic objections at the stealing away of Aotsuki, but he was able to reassure her, and the meeting could begin.   Yoshitakatomo began by sharing the plot she* had uncovered using Telemetry on a parchment found on the late Tomoteru's bookshelf. Shogun Ashikaga Yoshiaki was no doubt behind the elder Takayama's murder, and it appeared to be part of a larger conspiracy to end the Oda Clan in its entirety. This was not entirely shocking news to those present. The Ashikaga Shogunate's animosity toward the Hashinara and their allies was no secret. It did, however, mean that Yoshiaki suddenly represented much more of a threat, especially if she continued to work with Solomon. With that out of the way, the discussion could turn to the war rapidly brewing in Eastern Japan. Thanks to the efforts of the Tea Bucket Men, Takeda Shingen was ready to begin his assault on the Uesugi Clan to his north. He had sent a missive that same day requesting Hashinara assistance in the battle to come. While it seemed that Yoshitakatomo had little intention of openly granting that assistance, it was agreed between those present that they also had an interest in not allowing the Uesugi to win. While they had occasionally landed on the same side of a conflict as Uesugi Kenshin, the Champion of Bishamonten's unyielding stance against darkness would no doubt prove a monumental problem if they were allowed to succeed and expand their power.   Some among the Hashinara had their own reasons for wanting to rebel against the gods, so Nikola Tesla's "God-Slaying Weapon" was also of great interest. It would likely be out of their reach, however, unless they ensured that the Takeda survived the coming war. Yoshitakatomo remained understandably hesitant to split the Hashinara's attention from the Mōri Clan, but her* allies, Aotsuki, Oda, and The Wolfpack, had no such compunctions. Aotsuki Tsukamoto was not particularly interested in violent action against the Takeda. He had enough to worry about regardless, with the Ikkō Ikki at his doorstep, Kannonji Castle appearing every night, and the Shogunate apparently after his life.   Hanbei suggested, therefore, that this would be an excellent chance for the newly-refounded Wolfpack to participate in a show of strength and loyalty. As they now claimed control over Shima Province, they could reasonably act as their own geopolitical entity. Most importantly, if anything went wrong, the Hashinara could deny any involvement. This idea seemed to appeal greatly to Yoshitakatomo and Sanosuke both. Maxim, however, was not entirely convinced. He would have to risk his allies in a dangerous battle against a god. A god he had a grudge against, but a divinity still. Hanbei suggested that some members of Maximum Force could be returned to Maxim's command, but that wasn't wholly what he was after. It seemed Maxim wanted something more in exchange for his involvement...
From Court to Cats: A Sword's Journey

11/14/1559: 22:00 (Evening)

Ulthar

Historical Entry: From Court to Cats: A Sword's Journey

  Fubuki returned to the Matsumoto Black Galleon after a few other errands in Wakigami. One had been placing two quality Hu Die Dao, weapons favored by Matsumoto Hiei, outside of her* stubborn brother's door. The second was delivering a heavy metal door, forged by Masamune to her* specifications, back to the ship. That would be used for a future plan. With those done, Fubuki's attention turned to the Oriab Ruby that she* had found abandoned in the ship's hold. Tsukijō Hanahane's advice was simply not to sleep near it. It was a dangerous item, apparently, but not immediately dangerous unless one was dreaming. Deciding to heed the words of an experienced Dreamer, Fubuki magically conjured an opaque box and set the ruby within it before sealing the thing in a tangle of chains. With that done, she* settled down in the ship's hold. The rest of the crew had either gone to sleep or to pursue other hobbies on their own, and so it was quiet. Fubuki began to meditate, but found herself* slipping deeper into the trance. Soon, it wasn't unlike sleep at all.   When Matsumoto Ooawagaeri awoke, he could immediately tell that something was wrong. His body felt odd, flat, and heavy. More importantly, he couldn't move. His vision was blurry at first, but even after it cleared, he found it largely fixed in one direction. All he could see was a tile floor, sporting an elaborate diamond mosaic. Sometimes, his weight would shift without his control. Wary of this strange new situation, he called out to anyone who might be listening. It was a surprisingly familiar voice that answered him; that belonging Alice of Diamonds. She was just as surprised to find Ooawagaeri on her back as he was surprised to be there. He recalled in detail the wish he had made to Kuranes after the White Rabbit Bowl: to become a Dreamer with Alice as his link to the Dreamlands. It had been granted, but interpreted in a mischievous way, as such wishes often are. He had somehow inhabited Alice of Diamonds' sword, just as his ancestor inhabited Jigenmaru. The family tradition continued.   Alice was able to explain that they were in the Dreamlands. More specifically The Enchanted Wood, in the castle of the Queen of Diamonds. She was now waiting for an audience with that selfsame Queen, presumably to discuss their next step in cleaning up the leftovers from the fall of the Court of Hearts. When Maxim killed the Queen, it left a tempting power vacuum in the Enchanted Wood, and each of the other Courts were scrambling to take advantage. The Queen of Diamonds was no exception, and Alice, her most loyal knight, had just returned from a quest to gather up more of Hearts' refugee guards. That explained the Card Soldiers Ooawagaeri had seen in the corner bearing the suit of Hearts.   Before they could continue their conversation, Alice was summoned within. The Queen of Diamonds' throne was not overly ostentatious, but that was made up for by the rest of the room. Soaring architecture, unrealistic in its fine complexity, framed an enormous window looking out over a cliff face to the forest below. Indeed, this was the first window Ooawagaeri had seen. None other seemed to decorate the interior walls of the castle. The Queen herself was a regal figure. Tall, commanding, and with a head of long royal purple hair, she somehow lacked a certain quality that had made the Queen of Hearts seem so formidable. Still, Alice showed her great deference, and explained the situation.   The Queen's next orders would not allow her knight much time to rest. She had discovered that the King of Hearts was alive and well, most likely in the hands of The Dodo. It was Alice's next mission to retrieve him and bring him back to the castle. As the last remaining figure of power from the Court of Hearts, he would be a useful tool in asserting their control over the Wood. Alice of Diamonds took the orders on her knee, honorably accepting them without complaint. They were about to be dismissed, then, but Alice nudged Ooawagaeri in his unyielding metal side. Taking the cue, he grinned as hard as he could at the Queen.   It's hard to say what, exactly, a sword looks like when it's grinning. Still, the expression had the desired effect. The Queen of Diamonds demanded to know why Alice's sword was showing her such glee, and the two explained the situation. This didn't overly faze the Queen. When one rules over such a chaotic place as The Enchanted Wood, it likely takes more than a talking sword to throw one off. Ooawagaeri was welcomed on the mission, and the two departed the chamber.   As they made their preparations to depart, Alice asked rather bluntly what Ooawagaeri could bring to the table. On such a dangerous and uncertain quest, she couldn't have her sword just hanging around as dead weight. Opting not to explain that all swords did just that until they were used, Ooawagaeri found that he could indeed tap into his magic. He couldn't change his shape or move under his own power, but the spells and his own mystical energy should be at his disposal. He said as much and, satisfied, Alice asked if there was anything else he'd like to do before they left. That was, again, a strange question to ask a sword, so Ooawagaeri said no, but thought to enquire about where they'd be heading.   Ulthar, Alice explained. She had no idea where to begin her search for The Dodo, or if he even existed. She wasn't about to say that to her Queen, of course, so Ulthar was the next logical destination. Just a few miles outside The Enchanted Wood, it was said to be home to cats that could offer counsel on many esoteric matters. They might be able to tell her where to find her quarry, or at least point her in a new general direction. Ooawagaeri was more of a fox person, but he had no issue with cats. So, they set off.   --   The journey from Ex Arce Adamantem to Ulthar was a strange one. Ooawagaeri noticed as soon as they left it that the castle was buried beneath a twisting canopy of thorny vines. That explained why there were few windows within. Any on the sides of the castle would only look out onto a wall of brambles. The road they traveled from there was well-worn, but the scenery inconsistent. Sometimes giant flowers loomed up along the sides of the path, looking down at the travelers with an unseen gaze. A few times he heard the sounds of something chittering and darting from bush to bush, but only caught a glimpse of a shadow. None of that seemed to bother Alice of Diamonds, who strode down the forest road with unerring confidence and purpose.   Eventually the forest thinned out, and the things Ooawagaeri witnessed from Alice's back became more reasonable. It took not more than an hour from there for them to arrive on a rise overlooking a hamlet by a river. This must be Ulthar, and at first glance it looked like an ordinary village that wouldn't have been out of place on Earth. Something still bothered Ooawagaeri about it, and eventually he was able to place the feeling. Each time he counted the cottages, he came up with a different number.   Alice started down the hill without delay and flowed onto a cobble path leading over a bridge and into the center of town. Sitting on one of the bridgeposts, a widely-grinning man stood and spread his arms joyfully. He welcomed them to Ulthar in a booming voice and, rather more strangely, encouraged them not to kill any cats during their stay. Alice muttered a thank you and swept past. The humans, after all, weren't what they had come for. The girl and her sword made their way further into town before arriving at a grassy knoll running up against a treeline at the hamlet's edge. No other villagers stopped or even spoke to them. Apparently, their purpose was known.   Following some unknown script, Alice sat on the grass and stared into the forest, waiting. Across from her, stark white against the treeline, a cat sat on a stump. It watched back. A silent few minutes followed and Ooawagaeri felt the distinct impression that they were somehow being tested. Eventually, their reverie was broken by the feeling of whiskers brushing against his hard shell. Alice nearly jumped, but Ooawagaeri's composure was like cold steel. It was another cat, this one orange and fluffy, with a certain sense of poise and power. He spoke, then, accusing Alice in a commanding baritone. She had committed the crime of bringing a weapon into the town of Ulthar and he threatened to evict her for such an insult against the Cats.   Ooawagaeri thought fast. While his normal method of transforming himself was not available to him here, he was still able to do so with magic. Casting Metamorphosis, he transformed himself into a cat similar to one which had plagued the Hashinara Clan many moons hence. This was the right move. The cats immediately changed their attitude, and a third arrival spoke in a goblin's screech that he had adopted the "Holy Form." From there, Ooawagaeri explained their purpose. It quickly became obvious that Alice could not understand them for reasons unknown. While the cats spoke elegant and thoughtful to Ooawagaeri, to her it sounded like a chorus of meows. She attempted to meow a few times to keep up her end, but eventually held back and let the sword-cat handle it.   Once Ooawagaeri revealed himself to be Holy in Form, the Cats of Ulthar had no compunctions about offering their aid. They did not know where The Dodo might be, as they never ventured deep within The Enchanted Wood. Within the forest, however, was one who could likely help. A Forbidden Cat that was just as likely to lead him into danger as to his goal. Still, it was the best lead they had, and Ooawagaeri agreed to pursue it. Alastair, the apparent leader of the cats, offered to paw a Letter of Reconyandation for him. This, at least, would allow him to speak to the Cheshire Cat.   Voicing his thanks, Ooawagaeri ventured if there was anything he could give in return. This question seemed to catch the Cats of Ulthar off-guard. They chirped amongst themselves, but then stated that they expected nothing in return. To help one of the Holy Form was reward enough. With that, and a meowed thanks, Ooawagaeri brought Alice up to speed. They would need to return to The Enchanted Wood, but this time they had a purpose, and a pawprint on parchment that should introduce them to someone who could help.

Rewards Granted

  • Various Elan bonuses and penalties

Report Date
28 Aug 2020
Primary Location
Owari Castle
Secondary Location
The Enchanted Wood


Cover image: by ソメイよしのり

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