A Distant Sound of Thunder

A Brief Respite

After finishing our business at the Wall, the party splits to attend to various family duties, agreeing to meet back up in Dragon lands to report to Togashi Yakuni. Susumu checks in on his family, making sure his little sister stays out of the “family business” (she’s doing their books). He’d like to set her up somewhere away from them, but leaves for now so as not to upset the family.

The bulk of the party travels through Bayushi lands; Hidetaka’s grandmother is impressed that he “stole an army”. In Matsu lands, there’s still tension over Matsu Suko’s engagement, but things are generally cheerful since they’re stomping the Daidoji. Lily heads to Unicorn lands to try to acquire a dog. In Phoenix lands Kokuei continues his training and begins researching a new spell. We discuss sending Susumu’s sister to Winter Court somewhere, and perhaps getting her married to Hida Shiroi.

We arrive at Kyuden Tanbo. The hatamoto tells us that Yakuni has not come down to meet us, and we are not allowed to know the way to where he is. Before Susumu can suggest blindfolds, Hidetaka requests that a messanger be sent to Togashi, then attempts to follow the messenger, but misses his departure. Daiken suggests blindfolds, successfully this time. We also agree to let tattooed monks carry us up the mountain. We hang out with the monks at the temple for the first day.Hidetaka is invited to spar with the monks training in jiujutsu.

In the morning we are expected to meet with Yakuni; he comes to our rooms at dawn and kicks Hidetaka in the head. Hidetaka grapples him and after several rounds of Yakuni failing to break free and Hidetaka inflicting damage, Hidetaka releases him. Yakuni bows and leaves; Kokuei is told to meet Yakuni in a certain garden the next morning at dawn. They spend the day in meditation. Torako has a conversation with a monk standing on a parapet overlooking a cliff, who then flings himself down the several thousand foot drop. According to another monk, “he does that to everyone.”.

Tatianna gets Susumu to cast an identifying spell on the sword she found with Hichi. It is Awakened but has no special powers. It has been passed from Dragon to Dragon, none of whom have lived in Dragon lands. It “needs to be used”. Lily is asked to meet Yakuni at the stables. Her horse is there, somehow. They spend the day riding. Tatianna meets Yakuni in the practice yard and they do katas together. He plays around with imitating her style or not. Torako meets him in the practice yard. He draws his katana and falls into a stance. They spar; he hits but doesn’t really hurt her. When she finally hits him, she pulls back, but not much; he seems startled. He meets Susumu in the library and asks “Do you think the ogres can be redeemed?” They spend the day discussing the Shadowlands. Daiken meets Yakuni in his office and they play go; Daiken is soundly defeated. He is told “This skill will save or destroy the Empire within the next three years.” We are then told that we are welcome but no longer obligated to stay.

We arrive in Seppun lands for Daiken’s wedding. Since the battle of the Wall, many important Seppun have belatedly decided this wedding is worth their time after all. Many burly Seppun seem to be scoping the place out. The next day Bayushi Shoju, Hida Kisada, and Doji Satsume arrive. Kisada talks to Susumu but not Daiken; Satsume doesn’t talk to anyone. Akodo Arasu and Matsu Suko arrive in separate entourages an hour apart. Twelve Togashi monks (including the guys who carried us up the mountain) arrive. The Unicorn clan champion arrives about five hours before the weddings starts. Everyone’s parties are arguing over who is going to handle security.

Daiken invites the Asahina who raised him and our entire party to the wedding ceremony. Asawa Suke, Master of Fire, performs the wedding. At the reception, Daiken is placed at the lowest ranking table. For an hour and a half, the reception guests are not seated. Then, the Emperor and Bayushi Kachiko arrive. The Emperor looks at Kokuei and asks “Where do I know you from?” Kachiko reminds him of the controversial play Kokuei performed at the Topaz Championship. The Emperor asks his hatamoto if he’d seen the play. “No.” “You should.”

All of the clan champions give Daiken and his wife a gift of lands. Kisada additionally gives gifts of weapons and armor to the party. Apparently the Emperor ordered him to give Tatianna a Kaiu blade, so she can wield it in place of her own without dishonor. The party’s salary is also raised. Retroactively. The Unicorn give a gift of horses and the rest of the party are given lands bordering Daiken’s.

As we resume our travels, we hear a rumor that Doji Kuwanan’s fiancee killed herself. We then hear that the Doji that Daiken dueled on behalf of a while ago has been attacked across the border by the Lion and he has moved to stay with a neighboring landholder. We go to speak with him. His daughter is a “guest” of the attacking party. They attacked in the middle of the night–not usual for Lion. Most of his few samurai died defending his retreat. It was someone flying the Akodo colors. He knows of no other grievance than his clan affiliation. We ride out to the contested lands. As we approach the border to Akodo ride out to meet us. We nod and ride past, and they make no attempt to stop us. We visit the hostage girl and speak with her captor. We glean that these lands had been taken from the Akodo several years ago and he is now taking them back. He and Torako haggle the rest of the day over terms for bringing the girl back.

In the middle of the night, the house is attacked by Daidoji. Most of the party fall back to the girl’s room, but she’s not there. Torako goes outside and defends the front door with other Akodo. The party find the Akodo leader threatening the girl directly. We attempt to talk him into letting her go and surrendering. He seems extremely agitated. When he moves to hurt the girl, Hidetaka interposes himself, and Kokuei attacks with a spell to daze him. Everyone in the party gets in line to kill him. Instead, Hidetaka and Tatianna subdue him. Susumu has to exert a great amount of willpower not to attack. When Daiken tells the other Akodo what happened, one kicks the Akodo lord in the face. The Akodo withdraw and the Daidoji move in.

Kokuei believes the Akodo was a pawn in a larger plot. He likens his behavior to Hiruma Makasu’s. He claims he was only as twitchy as any Akodo would be with Daidoji attacking in the middle of the night.



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