Entries of Ryoko Owari – By Genzo of the Falcon Clan.
Written by Kullan Cordes, Edited by Mark Biffin
Year 1121, Late Autumn,
More Samurai are arriving and I stand watching them with Tonbo Toryu from the Dragonfly Clan. Night has fallen over Teardrop Island, and as it is late in autumn, the breeze is fresh, the night itself cold.
As of yet, I haven’t seen any spirits in the city, yet I remain hopeful that I may observe one. Who knows, maybe one of these new samurai may find something that I have missed.
I have moved inside the House of the Morning Star, a large geisha house that also serves as a banquet hall, near the docks. As far as I can tell, all the Great Clans appear to be represented here; Crane, Crab, Lion, Phoenix and of course Scorpion. However, I have not yet seen any Dragon clan members here, a slightly worrying thought as we have gathered here to discuss the future of the “minor” clans such as mine. I have also discovered that a wedding is to soon happen amongst the Crane, though I have yet to learn of their names. The Crab meanwhile have sent only two of their own to represent them, perhaps the Shadowlands is attacking the wall? I will need to send a letter to Hiruma Megumiko once more, it has been a while since I have spoken with her. Not many Phoenix are here, only three have arrived at the island. They remain elsusive as ever, yet their speech appears to be of light topics. Despite nothing happening amongst the samurai, the island is still abound with…interesting characters. There appears to be some kind of scuffle between two rival gangs of some kind, the names elude me at the moment, but we shall see what comes. Some Lions seem to eye me wearily, as if my note taking is unnerving them…I’m not sure what to make of that. They are enjoying the sake from the looks of it…it is becoming too noisy in here.
I left the House of the Morning Star, noting that a Scorpion was looking at me when I left…I may need to keep an eye on her. I moved into the House of Veiled Promises, an interesting tea house with games of chance and even more sake. I’ve found a single member of the Dragon clan…yet the Scorpion ko I noticed before has seemed to have followed me…it makes me miss the katana by my waist, and I grow suspicious.
I have just met Bayushi Akitoshi, a Scorpion clan member who introduced himself to me as I sat down at his table to watch a game of Go. He seems interested and intrigued as I write down about this interaction…this amuses me slightly. The game fares poorly for the black stone player, he is ready to concede. This place has now become rather busy, many people taking refuge in its warmth. The Phoenix members are appearing to antagonise the Lion, not wise now they are at war. I wish that conflict would stay out of this place, there is too much at stake.
I got into a game of go with the Daimyo of the Fox clan, Kitsune Ryosei, who can be considered a beauty of looks and personality. The games itself was educational, Kitsune-sama herself being a good and patient teacher. It was encouraging to hear that she appears to hold a familiar stance as I do about the state of our clans, and hopes like me to remain independent. However, overhearing other samurai who unfortunately hold a view of “every clan for themselves”…as well as many samurai who appeared to be getting drunk, becoming very rude and speaking their minds all too freely. It is a shame that these samurai are allowing themselves to be dishonourable. When I told them that behaving in this manner leads to suffering in the afterlife, the laugh and scoff at my words.
Ikoma Shinjiro, a Lion clan member who introduced himself as he observed my writings…he told me that the Lion wish the same things I do…safety for the minor clans and our continued independence. While he was telling me this however, I did not feel he was being honest…at least, he didn’t sound convincing. We continued talking of matters of no real consequence before heading off to our accommodations for rest.
The new Day has begun, and a lot has happened. More violence between the gangs, ending with the death of a townswoman at the hands of a samurai, and a play, “The Dawn of the Empire” continued on from last night. I have also met representatives of both Lion and Crane clans, informing me of a meeting about the fate of the minor clans, happening after lunch. Both clans supposedly believe in the security and independence of the minor clans, but that remains to be seen. Kitsune Ryosei informed me that she is proposing an alliance between the minor clans…something I find myself in agreeance with. If all the minor clans were allied with one another, it would be unlikely a massacre of the proportion of the Hare clan would happen again, and we would be safe.
The meeting has begun, with all the minor clans in attendance except for the Tortoise clan. It seems that the major clans have all approached us with ideas of deals and promises. We all worry for the safety of our clans, and us minor clans are currently not trusting the major clans. We all listed out strengths, what we could do to help one another, despite being far from each other. We had the Lion talk to us first, once again saying what they have said before…our independence and security. However, the Lion seem not to think an alliance is necessary…this thought worries me. Do the Lion think we will be a threat against them? While the Lion have no qualm with treating with us individually, they seem uncomfortable treating with us as a group. They also feel that it would be better if we only joined them in agreements…which to me seem selfish. We, the minor clans have agreed to a mutual Defence Pact and mutual trade with one another. We will announce this later, as we believe the major clans will be more willing to treat with us if we appear independent.
We are meeting with the Crane now…it seems they will support us supporting one another, which is encouraging. They also appear to believe we are equal in the term that we are all samurai, which is also encouraging, having heard rumours that some consider us “lesser samurai”. For support of the Crane with us of the Falcon Clan, we will be sending them copies of all knowledge that is allowed to be shared if the Shadowlands…I will confirm if this agreement will go through, and what they mean by support.
The meeting adjourned soon after, supposed threats of a shugenja attack that possibly stole Miya’s blessing made us decide to adjourn, especially as we lost privacy with a Crane duelist watching over us as a bodyguard, our weapons denied to defend ourselves.
Suzume Yugoki, heir to leadership of the Sparrow clan, intrigued me during the meeting. Described as a “playboy” and having a thirst for Scorpion women, he appeared quiet and well thought out with any argument. It was unfortunate however, when I talked with him, and he told me he had not seen or heard of any spirits in town.
The delegates and representatives have been allowed back our weapons, as the violence has now esculated. Thunder guards have been slaughtered and we now fear for our security. The meeting of minor clans will continue after the evening meal. We will have guards, but they shall remain outside.
The samurai have returned with distressing news. It appears that unnatural creatures attacked them, with the help of bandits. These creatures seemed to not be of tainted origins as Jade did nothing against them, and they also appeared to be immune to fire. Great strikes with heavy weapons appeared to be the only thing that damaged them. From the description I received, they were not spirits either. Whatever they are, we appear safe for now.
Whilst watching the third part of the play, tragedy happened that made us minor clan members worried. The Tortoise representative was first poisoned (then quickly cured by Lion and Crane healers despite apparent Scorpion protest?), but then later found dead, stabbed with a geisha dead nearby. From what I gathered from Akitoshi, I now suspect the Scorpion of foul play, and now am even more determined to work together with the other minor clans. Kitsune Ryosei then called us all together to figure out the finer details of our agreements, though we could agree on nothing and took a break for refreshments.
We have now met and heard from both the members of the Dragon and Phoenix clans…both the answers we received from them did not surprise me, except one thing. A Phoenix by the name of Isawa Kotatsu said he would commit seppuku in protest if he was ordered to enter any minor clan’s land for an aggressive reason. Otherwise, the Dragon and Phoenix wish for things to remain the same. As for the agreement made with the Crane, the details have now been confirmed. In exchange for the available information our clan has about the Shadowlands, we will be protected from attack by any major clan attacking our territory…unless ordered by the Emperor. I also made agreement with the Wasp, Fox and Sparrow clan to join their alliance, creating the new “Four Clan Alliance”. Sleep is beginning to take my eyes, I doubt I have any more entries for tonight…
This entry comes late in the day, too much happening that I only find time now to write. It was decided that a group of samurai (myself included) would go through a network of tunnels discovered under the temple of Daikoku. These tunnels ran underneath the entire city, and we were to use them to attempt to navigate and find a Scorpion samurai apparently stolen by the “Dark Men” (information I gathered on them shown at the end of this entry). However, while we were gone, Miya’s blessing was stolen by gang members, and in the process of fleeing downstream, killed the Miya samurai guarding it. We reached the end of the tunnels and found ourselves in one of the main Daikoku temples in the Ryoko Owari. We were set upon by monks armed with weapons, some of them appearing to be enchanted (see the Dark Men entry). We responded by killing them in their temple (a regrettable course of action), though we found and saved the Scorpion Samurai, as well as other samurai tracking him from the surface. We headed back to the island through the tunnels, as the docks had been torched by rioters in the street. When we arrived back, we discovered that a spirit had been impersonating the Governess of the town. I was unable to catch its name, for it ran and fled back to its own realm. I was tempted to follow and learn more, but I remembered my duty to my clan required me in the mortal plane, and despite me being pushed in and subsequently pulled out, I remained. I shall be heading home, also now keeping correspondence with Kitsune Ryosei, as we both share many interest, including the spirits of the land.