A Distant Sound of Thunder

The Oracle of Death

Before we return to Otosan Uchi, Toturi invites us out on one last hunt. The guards capture and bring him an insane man who has wandered onto his land. Kokuei thinks he might be a Phoenix monk. He mutters something about “the tree of Fu Leng” and says we “will all die of laughter”. The shugenja attempt a few spells to make him more lucid, but nothing seems to work. A few minutes later, a dead tree falls on the path; the madman seems to think that Toturi’s death has been averted, but ours is still assured. Tatianna tries to understand further what “die of laughter” means. We do know that the castle jester has been rather depressed lately.

In the early morning, during the changing of the guard, the alarm is raised as one of the guards turns up dead. We find a place near the wall where it looks like a big heavy box has been dragged. Susumu summons a kami to help track where it was taken. A water kami shows us that after killing the guard, someone bundled up in winter clothes hauled a big crate over the wall into the shiro. One of the guards saw the crate get dragged into a building. A water kami has seen the suspicious person around the shiro several times before. We track the crate to a barred door that may be the armory. Torako brings a gunso to try to get the door open, but we determine that a weight has probably been put up against it.

We finally get the door open to find the jester standing with two lit sparklers over the open box, which is filled with gray-brown powder. A couple of guards quickly get Toturi as far away as possible. Hidetaka tries to talk the jester out of it. Eventually he is convinced to hand the sparklers to Lily, and Susumu casts a spell to douse the crate with water. Hidetaka gives the jester an honorable death. We go back to talk to the madman and find that he is gone.

At the Topaz Championship, Torako notices that the other Matsu seem to both love and hate her, including Suko. There seems to be an intense rivalry between the Scorpion and Sparrow contestants, and they end up fighting a duel. Daiken tries to train the Sparrow a little bit, and Hidetaka tries to talk the Scorpion out of it and succeeds in getting him really flustered. The Sparrow succeeds in delicately slicing the Scorpion’s face, and the Scorpion hacks into him. Susumu is able to heal the Sparrow. The Scorpion loses his first official contest duel against the Crane and immediately leaves; the Emerald Champion is afraid he and his chaperone are going to get an army and crush the Sparrow Clan.



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