A Tale of Five Kingdoms

Session 1

Can we walk down the road? Is that something people do?

We set out in the tenth month, myself and the boy swordsman Shinji. Fortunately, the weather was fair enough for travel and we began our journey to Jinsho.

After traveling a short time in the company of other travelers we found ourselves alone again as we came upon a shrine in the forest. There we were approached by a man who styled himself an herbalist, Matsumoto. Though his bearing and many details about him did not match his story, he seemed to have no malicious intentions and so it seemed wisest to not question his introduction. He told us that he was traveling to the south, and offered accompany us on our way. Having just arrived, I thought it wisest for us to rest and eat before journeying on, and so apologizing that he could not delay, the herbalist bid us farewell.

Some time later, Shinji and rose to set out again. As we prepared to leave, a horsed samurai came down the road. He wore finely lacquered armor of red and black and as he approached I noticed that he appeared to have cut down a peasant in some sort of altercation. He exchanged no greeting as he past, acknowledging me only with a look of veiled disdain. I can’t help but wonder what his business on the road was.

Having left the shrine, we traveled well for a time until the weather turned and we found ourselves caught in the rain (something which I must say Shinji seems to be quite distressed by). As the storm passed we met a weathered and travel worn looking samurai named Jiho. He is a man of few words but seems solid enough. He revealed that he to was traveling to Jinsho and we resumed our travels together.

Upon exiting the woods further down the road we passed peasants working in the rice paddies. It quickly became clear that something was amiss with the scene and soon we were surrounded by militant peasants turned highwaymen. After some failed negotiations, Jiho simply cut down the peasant blocking his path, but then the rest attacked.

Jiho fought quite ably, as would be expected. Astonishingly, Shinji displayed incredible proficiency with his blade, cutting his foe in one smooth stroke even as he drew the weapon. Unfortunately, we were outnumbered and Shinji was soon accosted from to many sides to fend off the the enemy. As the blows landed I realized that if I did not make use of my gifts, he would soon fall. And so twice I had to call upon the power of the kami to heal his wounds. I am sure that Shinji and Jiho noticed something outside the ordinary was at work, though I am not sure what they made of it.

Despite the prowess of our swordsman the fight was not going smoothly. It turned worse when the muddy earth caused Jiho to lose his footing and he fell into the fields and out if the fight. Luckily, our friend the herbalist had been along the same stretch. Out of nowhere he struck with a grace and skill that clearly gave lie to his tale as he danced between the peasants, deftly slaying them with a strange, short blade.

When the peasants had been vanquished, each man cleaned his blade and the four of us were then faced with the question if how to proceed.

- from the papers of Matsue Takiyo

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