The party spent a few days in and around Otosan Uchi gathering as much information as they could about how caravan travel worked in and around the city. Fukurokuma in particular spotted that inbound wagons were wearched at a higher percentage than outbound, unless they were Scorpion-owned. Records indicated that the disappearing caravans didn’t seem to belong to any specific clan – all clans were impacted more-or-less equally.
Daredemo visited the Dragon Consul, Mirumoto Sayaka, in search of a fight – and she sent him to a Lion Dojo, where he dominated early, but faded quickly. Yarou was there to observe at least part of the sparring.
The party spent the evening before the caravan left dining well. Almost too well, as two party members had more than a little too much to drink.
The caravan set out without problems. It consists of four cargo wagons:
Two wagons of rice
One wagon of raw ore
One wagon of luxury goods
Goso, the caravan master, explained that the party would be eating some of the rice as part of their provisions. Along with the cargo wagons are a handful of other wagons, including a cookwagon and a bunkwagon. The cookwagon is overseen by “Cookie,” who is a terrible cook. Every time the caravan stops in a village, the guards take great pleasure in eating in the village.
After one small village stop, several PCs noticed that one of the rice wagons was leaning to one side a bit, as if it were unbalanced. They confronted Goso about it, and he was unconcerned. And clearly already aware of it.
A few days into the forest, Chaya caught a whiff of something foul. Upon investigating, she found a small clearing that was liberally spattered with blood. In the middle of the clearing were several human and horse hides – skins only, no bones or innards. The hides did not appear to be Tainted (but that doesn’t mean that whoever or whatever killed and skinned them wasn’t Tainted).
She summoned a Water spirit to ask what had happened and where the killer had gone. She received an image of knives and spears (or swords and spears), followed by a river or stream running between some hills.
What body remnants remained were dealt with appropriately (burning, salting, burning, salting, prayers), and the party rode on.