The Winds of Time

Session One
The Fifth Day of the Month of the Tiger, 879

Players: Post your Haiku for bonus xp as a comment here. Feel free also to comment here to add more detail, fill in things I missed, or ask questions.

The day began as expected with the Sumo competition finals. Just as they were about to start, however, riders were spotted approaching the castle. Shohi-en signaled the go-ahead, and defeated his opponent before preparing to meet the riders.

The riders ended up being Miya Kei and her entourage. So far as anyone can recall, this is the first time any Imperial presence has been noted at Shohi-en’s winter gatherings.

That evening at dinner, Shohi-en was preparing to introduce the next day’s calligraphy sample, when Yogo Angai interrupted him with her gift. It was a fragment of a scroll written in the hand of Togashi himself to his son while his son was studying with his mother in Scorpion lands. It appears to be the last line of a haiku, which is a significant portion of how the two communicated.

It read, “We pursue Nothing”

Upon seeing this, Shohi-en paled and fled, retreating first to his library. When the party followed, he was nowhere to be found.

The next day, Iuchi Chaya won the calligraphy competition and was awarded a very fine brush and ink set. She also spent some time communing with the scroll, and discovered that the ink for the word ‘nothing’ was different – it was not there to all magical senses.

Upon realizing this, Chaya retreated to the library to do some studying, where she started to piece together things that she’d thought were known only to the Unicorn were also known to at least some of the Dragon and probably the Scorpion as well.

Meanwhile, Suzume Oharu and Mirumoto Daredemo began searching for Shohi-en, who was last seen entering the library the night before. As they searched, they eventually called upon the aid of Togashi Tedibea, who showed them were a secret door was located.

They discovered how to open it just as Chaya reached the rare books room, and all four party members explored the tunnel which ran to the waterfall just East of Dragon’s Fang Castle. Along the way, they discovered a small room with a pool and several storage rooms containing large sealed clay jars, one of which appeared to be missing.

A mile or so up the winding road behind the mountain, there was a shrine to Shinsei, where the party found Shohi-en and the jar.

After brief discussion, Chaya returned to the castle and the others stayed the night. In the morning, Shohi-en continued to the top of the mountain, where he broke the jar open revealing treated wood of some sort which he placed into a stone brazier. A bit of help from Tedibea, and the fire was lit. After a short time, Shohi-en then returned to his palace with Daredemo, Oharu, and Tedibea in tow.

Tonight is the Unicorn-style feast.

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Session Zero
The Fourth Day of the Month of Tiger 879

Mirumoto Shohi-en’s initial invitation was written in a clear hand:

You are invited to spend the winter among friends.

Ryu no Kiba Yosai (Dragon’s Fang Fortress) is open to you on the Tenth day of the Rat in this Imperial Year of 879. Join us for feasting and celebration as we give thanks for the year we have survived and prepare to welcome the New Year with a winter filled with warm companionship and a few friendly competitions.

It then went on to detail how large a retinue was appropriate and lists the other invited guests. (GM Note: Feel free to make an Etiquette/Perception roll when you get here to see if there are any notable guests who were left off of the invite list)

We understand that occasional disagreements have occurred within the last year between some of our honored guests, and so we humbly request that the spirit of hospitality extend beyond the traditional three days. All guests are welcome through the fourth day of the Month of the Hare, in Imperial Year 880.

Also attached is a schedule of events – tournaments, other competitions, feast days, and the like. As always, there are a few feast days that you don’t recognize on the calendar.

Shohi-en seems to like any excuse for a feast.

My library will be open to all those who truly wish to study.

The local Dragon families were the first to arrive this year, followed by the Unicorn. Everyone else arrived in fits and spurts as the snow gradually made travel more and more difficult. The Scorpion were the last to arrive.

Upon arrival Shohi-en greeted each member of each arriving party by name and presented them with a small gift. Most of the gifts were small hand-carved figurines. Higher-status characters received different gifts.

The leaders of each party also provided gifts for Shohi-en – with one exception. Yogo Angai bowed deeply with a smile behind her lacy mask. “Shohi-en-sama,” she began, “I have a gift for you, but the time of its giving is not yet right. I beg your forgiveness for this delay, but you will understand when the gift is given.”

Taken briefly aback, Shohi-en blinks a few times, “Old friend,” he said, “You have spent many winters in my home, and I have learned to trust you. I hope you do not keep us in suspense for too long. Enter and be welcome in my home.”

The next few weeks are a bit of a blur. There are numerous competitions and ceremonies, from haiku to sumo to ikebana (using silk flowers, of course) to shogi and go. The results of each competition are duly recorded by one of Shohi-en’s servants, and you have a hunch there is some sort of secret score being kept overall somewhere.

Today is Shouting Day for the peasants. It’s also the last day of the sumo competition (which Shohi-en himself is winning handily). Tomorrow, the Calligraphy competition is scheduled to begin, and there will be a Unicorn Feast at the end of the week.

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