The Eta and the God – A Lo5R alterverse tale
I decided to write this because I was bored and because it amused me. It
discusses the Lo5R game we are currently playing, which happens almost 1,000
years after Fu Leng was banished through the Black Scrolls. Unlike the standard
meta-plot, The Hantei still rule (but as figureheads) and the Mantis never
became a great clan… although this may soon change. Otosan Uchi still stands.
And I play Shigure, the Eta. Sort of. Every peasant or eta in the empire is
going to have a Samurai ancestor, but lacking combat training or proof they have
no status. Shigure has both Scorpion and Crane ancestors, as well as some
respected Ashigaru in recent history. However, he doesn’t admire Samurai very
much, as they mostly act like jerks.
His parents Roda the leatherworker and Tensu had six children: Tamioko (girl,
died young of fever), Sagiri (The Maiden of Flowers), Shigure (He Who Fears Not
Death), Raudi (The Mighty One), Lunn (The Princess of Gold), and yougest brother Nisan (Who Remembers All). Their “titles” reflect the destiny or talents written by the fates or spirits. Suffice it to say that in the absence of formal
Shugenja training, their Soshi heritage has some… unusual consequences.
Shigure and his siblings travelled from a village owned by Bayushi “The Torch”
Kurufu, after losing most of the other family members of The Torch’s mood
swings. They settled near Otosan Uchi and quickly left to bring his parents
there. A small but vicious argument between the Crane and Scorpion led to the
borderlands villagers fleeing, and Shigure now had to track them down. He never
did find them, but continues to search. he eventually went to Ryoko Owari and the
on to Lion lands, where he saved the Shugenja Mirumoto Alex (named for a pushy
Unicorn warlord ancestor who liked naming things after himself) from an angry
Lion. The pair went on into Dragon lands.
The story really begins with them saving the Dragon from an angry Ice Demon. The terrible winter seriously harmed northern Rokugan (-50 F* acros the Dragon and some Phoenix/Lion/Unicorn lands). This was bad, but Mirumoto Alex was gained a fief for his services. Shigure got nothing, as usual. Of course, the fief has 13 people and a whacked-out Monk/Shugenja who kept summoning strange kami. A
traveling Scorpion on Mugya Shuso (Bayushi something-or-other, whose Bland-ness extends even to the players’ memories) came to live with them.
With the advent of spring again, a handful of adventurous Lion bushi came up the
mountain pass to attack us, more for glory than gain. Shigure was watching the
pass and managed to smash three with a boulder. He then had to flee the other
five like scared little girl. Alex and Bayushi and Shigure fought them and
managed to get the Lion in a huge heap in a freezing stream buried under their
own retainers. The kami of vacations (see the whacked-out monk’s note above)
fulfilled their wish to get warm and be far, far away. They vanished, and we
learned to be careful of our wishes around the kami.
Mirumoto Alex was next called to investigate a mysterious murder in one of the
Dragon’s few cities… Travelling to this Dragon city on the border of Lion and Unicorn lands, the party is joined by Mirumoto Kochige the Dragon Shugenja/Sumo and Ryo Okari the Fox Monk/Shugenja. Shigure started to feel normal in comparison to everyone else. The group arrived to discover the Unicorn emissaries were the victims of a brutal murder. However, the Unicorn did not believe the Dragon’s protestations of innocence. You see, someone crept into the fortress guarded by Shugenja, Samurai, and Ashigaru and butchered the entire 8-man Unicorn delegation, guards and all – without making a sound. Since there was no evidence of Maho, this seemed rather implausible.
The group quickly ascertained the innocence of a madman accused of the crime by the Dragon, despite his being found with the murder weapons and generally
seeming like the type. Their investigations also began turning up suspicious
activities by some Ashigaru guards. The assassins began to attack more openly,
striking at guard patrols in the city. They party hunted them, but were only
able to locate small porcelain masks left in the killer’s wake. The Nether Gate
After some research, they were able to track the assassins to their lair,
ironically beneath a revered temple to the a fallen Phoenix Inquisitor. The
traitorous Dragon family she slew had returned! They slipped beneath the temple,
found the secret entrance, investigated the strange fleshy masks, and evaded
several nasty traps and zombies. Then they discovered the Phoenix Inquisitor –
only it wasn’t the Dragon family who had turned traitor! After a terrible
battle, the party emerged victorious, having faced the enslaved spirits of the
Dragon scouts and a frighteningly powerful Maho user. The madman died in the
final assault, and no one cared. They blackmailed the Phoenix to force them to
try and undo the bindings on the enslaved Dragon family, and some were restored
to life (never technically died). The Unicorn accepted this justice and decided
to avoid a potentially nasty diplomatic and military feud with no purpose.
The group enjoyed each other’s company and soon decided to travel south and
involve themselves in a dispute between the Crab and Mantis They sailed
downriver, crossed the mountains, and made on to Ryoko Owari. Shigure has been
here before and advised they stay on the boat. His advice was proven out when a
mysterious Scorpion bushi leaped onboard in the middle of the night. One brutal
fight later, and they captured the fool and his “prize” – a mighty scroll of
evil magic. The party fled the city aboard ship, wanting to get the Black Scroll
far away. The Bushi managed to escape in the confusion. However, they soon
realized they had been followed by the Scorpion, without knowing whether their
pursuers were traitors or not. With few options, they snuck overland to the Yogo
fortress and hand-delivered the evil artifact.
It was a fake. Now in serious trouble but with the Yogo assuming an actual
traitor would not hand-deliver a fake sure to be spotted, they returned to Ryoko
Owari and began tracking the real scrolls: three were stolen! The Yogo lent the
services of the beautiful and deadly Bayushi Sakura (not Bayushi Blandness). They
traced the movements of the mysterious bushi, who had been killed. They also
investigated a seemingly unrelated matter, a tainted Crab samurai who butchered
his own fellows. The two dark magic coincidences proved to be related, and soon
pointed to a maho cult in the city’s poor district. The party converged on the
center, and Bayushi Blandness BLEW UP the leader’s HOUSE with the highest damage roll ever seen by man. Our attack came so quickly they could not respond until we already killed the leader, which took much more than the house (he was
substituting his health with that of the undead he’d animated).
Then the city guard and the Crab showed up. After being ground to a mealy paste between the Crab, the guard, and us, the remaining few cultists fled. We explored their very disgusting base and found the scroll, which we triumphantly returned to the Yogo.
This time we tracked the fake’s movements before it arrived in the city and
found that it must have been switched with the real one. The man who received the fake, the Maho leader, had simply done the same thing the original thief had
done! And he was powerful but not very lore-wise, and never noticed he had a
fake himself. Both fakes had been made by drawing off evil power a prepared
scroll vessel. The Black Scroll was simply so potent as to easily make such a
And this left only two perps: the two Shugenja council members who refused to
attend in person. We headed for their fortresses. The first turned out to be
clean, but the second was planning something BIG. He was going to wipe out
everyone who had harmed or insulted the Scorpion, which was a VERY long list,
with a plague of terrible power. We defeated and slew his guards, nearly getting
killed in the attempt. But we could hardly hope to kill him while he had the
Black Scroll. So, we tried to convince him. We pointed out that many “enemies”
of the Scorpion had been friends and would be so again in the future, and that
HE, not them, had endangered the mission of protecting the Black Scrolls. When
he realized that the Scrolls themselves were awake and had manipulated him, and
took it up for a final strike – against Fu Leng! Judging by the backlash, Fu
Leng felt that one.
Shigure got a gift of over 100 Koku from Bayushi Sakura, taken from the
fortress. He offered it to the Yogo leaders, as it really belonged to them. This
was neither the first nor the last sign that Bayushi Sakura was less honorable
than the Eta scum. Shigure snuck in to see a somewhat inquisitive Emerald
Magistrate, warning him that his investigations were likely to prove fatal if
the Scorpion got worried. Shigure did this by sneaking into a second floor
window behind the man’s desk, walking past him, and coughing once he got nicely
situated. He never noticed until I got there.
Now well and truly outliving their welcome (which, come to think of it, hadn’t
been very warm), the party decided to continue on their way swiftly. They
battled pirates alongside the Crab, sinking one vessel and killing plenty of men
on the other. The brutal fight saw a nasty conclusion as the heavy Crab ship and
the pirate vessel lay locked in mortal death, the latter sinking and pulling
down the former. Pirates spilled from the hatches, desperate to escape and
trying to overwhelm the Crab with numbers. However, Bayshi Blandess, Shigure,
and Bayushi Sakura did a deadly work of carving up the pirates from behind while
the Shugenja dropped boulders on the skeletal spars piercing the Crab hull.
Victory was sweet, especially sa the Crab took only two serious casualties.
The party continued south and soon arrived at the Crab clan palace. Continuing
their habit of investigating murders, they took a look into the mysterious
deaths, mutilation, and exsanguination (“total blood loss”) of several people.
Shigure elected to guard a Crane clan actor, but the killer outwitted him.
During the night, a particularly tough Crab bushi was killed; Shigure wnt to
investigate, and the killer murdered his charge in the half-hour he was away.
However, the man’s several bodyguards failed as well – and the Crane lost his
face as well as his blood. Shigure, feeling very guilty, tracked the killer on
his own. The party chose their own route, but both eventually discovered the
killer’s identity: the greatest physician of the Crab. He was draining the blood
and choosing the greatest individuals. He took the latent magical power and the
heritage of the gods from their bloodstream and their best “parts.” He was
trying to revive a god – the dead god Ryoshun, as a champion against Fu Leng.
But we did learn one thing. He was a madman but he wasn’t wrong. Fu Leng is
Mirumoto Alex wanted to see the Kaiu Wall. For no sane reason, everyone else
went along with this nonsense. Why they would is a good question, but I knew it
was madness. The Wall is a military post, not some tourist attraction. And
everywhere we go, disaster strikes.
I hate being right. Bayushi Sakura got angry and left along the way, but the
rest of us arived. We got the Wall just as they were building a major attack.
Ashigaru and Samurai were rushing in, but they represented a thin line compared to
the goblins. Sure, they weren’t strong, but they were vicious and backed by Maho
and strange creatures, not to mention light siege weapons.
Since Master Alex wasn’t backing down, it was time to play. While Ryo Okari used his powers to protect Bayushi Blandness, who spent his time picking off goblins by the dozen with his bow. Indeed, the Scorpion samurai apparently survived not one, but two, direct hits with a ballista – as well as dozens of lesser wounds. That didn’t hurt our reputation.
Meanwhile, I used a tiny, half-hidden exit (for assaulting the enemy after they
charge) to creep into the Shadowlands. I spotted the enemy leaders: a goblin
trio of one Maho user, a general, and some adviser or priest. Good targets. In
fact, given they were using some sort of primitive Gaijin Pepper, very good
targets. All I need to a bit of that, toss it over…
They weren’t quite dead, but their big weapons were burning and the charge had just received a nasty setback, as well as nicely outlining the goblins against
the fires. I decided discretion was the better part of valour, and did not try
to engage the three goblin leaders. Instead I charge THROUGH the ranks of
goblins, hoping to climb the wall. I’m very good at that. From behind, they had
a bad chance to escape my crushing Bokken blows.
The leaders following me discovered it was a bad idea to concentrate on the Eta
while samurai were shooting at you, and died quickly. Meanwhile, I noticed that
huge centipede-like insects were charging ahead, straight up the Wall. The
goblins were hanging on handily and looked to use it as a living scaling ladder.
Time to get creative.
I noticed the gobs had set up a nearby heavy crossbow group, and rushed over in the melee to use them. As Bayushi Blandness demonstrated his utter command of the arts of destruction by decapitating the living siege engine, I sunk a
yard-long bolt into another one’s flesh. Bayushi Sakura showed up again, and
began the killing spree.
All in all, it was not a good day to be a goblin. When the mess was over, two
things became apparent. First, the Crab decided that the whole 20-Goblin Winter
especially applied if you kill all 20, plus some big monsters and spellcasters,
in one go. And Second, Bayshui Sakura had gone crazy. I challenged her to a duel
after she loudly declared that Shugenja weren’t even true Samurai. If she’d had
any honor remaining, she would have lost it. It came down to her Tainted sword
versus my Bokken.
When I decapitated her (Bayushi Blandness casually lent me one a legendary
katana… which was a spare to him ), she burst into flame and burnt to ashes.
The Crab took her Tainted sword to destroy it. The other blade, a Jade weapon to
destroy evil, we returned to her Family.
The Crab Clan Champion welcomed us honorably, and even required my presence (which made ME very uncomfortable, I can tell you). He was trying to sign me up as a Crab Samurai. I declined on the grounds of “not being worthy.” It sounds better than “I have better things to do than sit on a Wall and wait for death, you overgrown crustacean.”
But we did get his help for our next project, publicly humiliating the Mantis
With the Crab interested in us and us interested in them, it was time for some
fun. The entire point of our journey had been to help out the Crab for our own
amusement. The Mantis had “lost” a cargo they had promised to the Crab, and
refused to replace it. The angry Crab had demanded some villages in return. The
Mantis then promised to let them have the place – if they could march across the
sea and claim them.
This was too tempting to resist. We designed, with the Kaiu crafters, a
paddle-boat. It was slow, almost unseaworthy, and maneuvered like a beached
whale. But she’d get pushed across the sea. In order to keep the thing secret,
we dropped rumors and strange hints. BY the time we left, it was reputed to be
(a) a secret weapon against the Shadowlands navy, (b) a secret weapon against
the Crane navy, (c) a secret weapon against the Shadowlands in general, as the
paddles were going to mach across the ground, (d) a vessel to sail the skies,
(e) a a vessel to go to Tengoku, (f) a haunted sacrifice to appease angry
spirits, (g) a ship to – well, you get the picture. Suffice it to say the Mantis
had no clue we were coming.
And surprise them we did. We ran into one Mantis ship which asked to wait while they “returned with orders.” Since we figured those orders would involve
“mysterious pirates” and “all hands lost” we waited until they had left and
simply went on. And we landed, had a duel, saw Bayushi Blandness carve a much
higher-ranking Mantis Bushi in two, and claimed our prize.
The Mantis were not pleased. We, however, had such a grand old time at their
expense that we decided to go to their court and see what we could help.
So I was stuck in court. Which sucked. People ignored me, which was good, and
generally made me do annoying things like pay attention or help. Given that my
education largely involved removing skins from animals and turning them into
straps and saddles, I was a bit out of place. Why did the party make me learn
how to read? I was happy not knowing what all those signs and things meant. They never helped me: I’m beneath the law and anyone I pissed off enough would just
kill me anyhow.
I amused myself by practicing my staff skills. I prefer using two finely-made
Bokken. They train strength and it looks more impressive to decapitate someone
with a wooden stick than a sharp sword. When it was important, I represented
Master Alex in the daily activities or games, mostly the physical ones. I won,
for example, the boat race. Apparently they figured I was some kind of Budoka, to
be ignored but not dismissed if I had talents.
Ah, and the race was a story and a half. The day was pretty nice, but hot as Fu
Leng’s codpiece. What made it most interesting were the goings on around the
mess. Some strange Cat Clan samurai was hanging around, watching the Scorpion
load a suspicious chest onto their boat. I snuck about, keeping an eye on the
The Conversation between, however, must be recorded in full. It’s too insane to
Cat Clan S (CCS): I’m here to inspect your cargo.
Scorpion: … This is a yacht race. We’re packing lunch.
CCS: Well, it might be dangerous.
Scorp: Our lunch is dangerous?
CCS: Well, you might be smuggling something!
Scorp: (Ignores insult from petty Cat Clan samurai) Yeah, we’re ssmuggling
something halfway around the island. In fact, that pretty much takes it back to
where we brought it from this morning!
CCS: Well, I have a direct commission from the Emperor to investigate the
Scorp: (Twitches hand toward blade to avenge insult but doesn’t pull) And you’re
saying we’re part of the underworld?
CCS: Well, I have to check.
Scorp: Ah-huh. We’re leaving now.
CCS: Hey,. I’m the harbormaster and you have to obey me!
Scorp: (dumbfounded) You’re wearing the Cat Clan mon in Mantis lands, and the
harbormaster’s a man whereas your chest pretty clearly indicates your feminine
nature… and he’s standing right over there.
Scorp: Hey harbor-master!
Scorp: This girl says she’s you.
Harbor-master: I think you better get gone.
CCS: Well, I have authority over you! I’ve been ordered by the EMperor to
investigate the underworld!
Scorpion: (About ready to die laughing)
Harbor-Master: I am going to kick your booty to Jigoku and back.
CCS: Fine! But I’m using… uh, two knives, in which I am a lethal specialist.
Harbor-Master: Fine. (Grabs two knives, cuts the Cat Clan girl to ribbons)
CCS: Ouch, uh, even though you just brutally wounded me and I have no chance of
succeeding, I will try to attack again!
Harbor-Master: Fine. (Grabs two knives, cuts the Cat Clan girl to ribbons)
CCS: Uh, I apologize! (Runs away)
The other Samurai consider having her killed but decides they madwoman wasn’t worth the effort, and go about their lives wondering where she came from.
Meanwhile, I use the distraction to knock a loose board on the chest open, and
find out they’ve got writing supplies and some strange magical apparatus in
The actual race itself was a bit of excitement. The Crab, Mantis, and ourselves
managed to stay in the running. Meanwhile, the Scorpion lazily travelled on
down, mapping the coastline extensively, and the Dragon and Phoenix casually
went about sailing. When the Crane overturned, we went back a bit and picked
them up. We and the Mantis took a nasty shortcut over the reef, but avoided
losing our ship’s bottom to the coral blades. The Crab swung out and caught a
stiff breeze which left them in third place. Meanwhile, we and the Mantis went
head to head, but I pulled ahead by a few feet to win the day!
Master Alex wanted me to wear a silly Dragon costume, but I told him that I’d
sooner remove his chance of siring any children before agreeing to
Then we met the Gaijin.
The Gaijin of Merenae are a funny people who look weird, but they are friendly
but the ones we met didn’t bathe very often. That might be because they were
sailors. They also have some strange magic which totally freaked out the
Phoenix, who were not in the least happy to learn that(a) the Gaijin have Void
magic, and (b) they have better Void magic than in Rokugan, and (c) the Phoenix
can’t have it, period.
Let me back up.
After our last mess, we discovered why the Phoenix had bothered with the race at all: they had sent several Shugenja (far more than was really necessary) to the
Mantis Islands for their less-important court. This was odd. The Phoenix,
however, needed help to locate what they viewed as “dark magic.” And they didn’t
trust the Mantis. So, during the race, they took a look at the area and saw who
could help them sail around.
And I won the race. And was in a group of three Shugenja, as well as one bushi
who’d studied with the Shiba. Phoenix translation: Jackpot!
So they bullied us into making a trip later that evening. In the meantime, I
went to practice my bokken. A Mantis samurai who used the Jo decided to play
with me. Not wanting to make a scene, I faked the fight well, pretending to
never have a chance to hit him. Given that he could quite legally whip out his
sword and decapitate me, I didn’t want to humiliate him in public.
At night, we (me, the bushi, 3 shugenja, and 2 Phoenix) went out for a sunset
cruise, whereupon some mist just HAPPENED to whirl up (the spirits must have
just decided on that, and the 5 shugenja were not responsible). The Mantis
escort lost us in the fog. We made our way toward the center of the “distortion”.
We found something all right, covert trading with the Gaijin. The Phoenix were
upset, but we knew they did their own anyway and had little reason to make a
And the Gaijin were neat. They had big ships with higher sides and many sails.
Creeping around, I met a strange woman with secret powers – the ability to see
without seeing and to “chart the seas of destiny.” I don’t know what that means
but it sounds pretty good. Then we had trouble.
The Cat Clan girl showed up.
Apparently, after being humiliated on the docks, she had foregone jiggai in
favor of running to the other end of the island. Oddly, this turned in her
favor. She discovered a secret warehouse of Gaijin goods (not that this was
totally secret) and started to commit mass murder in her investigation. When
captured, the Mantis allowed her to live in exchange for becoming their
permanent agent… in Gaijin lands!
So they took her to the secret trading island. Once let loose, she immediately
started talking to the Gaijin… about being a spy on them and having a direct
commission from the Emperor, and other idiocies. The Mantis took one look at
this and our arrival, loaded up the remaining cargo, set fire to the buildings,
and left. The Cat Clan girl either was left to fend for herself or went with the
Gaijin; nobody much cares.
The old Merenae woman left the Phoenix a book (although she seemed to find them amusing for some reason). They, not speaking Merenae or understanding what was written in it save that it had the secrets of Void magic they didn’t understand, were not pleased. But their curiosity was momentarily satisfied.
We left in our ship. The Mantis undoubtedly learned of our expedition
eventually, but decided that if we weren’t making a point of it, they would
pretend it didn’t happen.
Public humiliation and the fear thereof wins again!
Pain and Suffering
With the mysterious Gaijin and the unnamed Cat Clan girl out of the way (we
later found she was Neko Washi, who had gone mad from serious fever), we
returned to the Mantis Clan Palace. The weather grew hotter, but the rains
helped keep hings comfortable towards summer’s end.
I busied myself with keeping Master Alex under guard, practicing my skills, and
the occasional event while the Shugenja investigated. During one training
session, I awas the surprised recipient of some visitors. Several small
children, almost ready to enter bushi training. One wanted to play. So I did,
avoiding hitting the kid. In fact, he surprised me and nearly got a few blows in
himself. This caught the eye of the Captain of the Palace Guard, who seemed to
find me and my companions “interesting.” And it’s never a good sign when the
guards take an interest in you.
Unfortunately, right then the Shugenja started sensing the mysterious dark power again. And without the Gaijin magic affecting their sense, it was becoming more clear. Yet still hard to trace – it had to come from somewhere nearby but was being masked. What could possible mask it? Ah, the holy shrine under the ancient
mountain? That would be a good place to start.
So we checked it out. The Captain of the Guard brought a few soldiers, while we
made our way into the mountain shrine. As a dormant volcano, only very senior
priests were allowed to enter, as a botched ritual might anger the sleeping
spirit and unleash a rain of fire o’er the land. Never mind the dangerous dark
magic being tossed about down there.
So no pressure, friends.
As we entered the caverns, the far off drip, drip of rainwater washing inside
echoed like a crash. Our own movements sounded the silent tunnels even louder,
and I felt like we must be warning every creature within ten miles. Fortunately,
it was the silence that made things so noisy, and we actually managed to get the
drop on our enemies.
Well, well, look at who’s drawing those patterns of evil in glowing blood? Is
that Iga Suki Kago down there with her demon pets and undead servants? Why, it
IS Iga Suki Kago! I don’t think we were properly introduced before. Let’s go
make friends, shall we? I mean, how hard can it be to get on the good side of
the dessicated husk of a maho-using hell-witch?
On the other hand, she did have a lot of guards. On the other, other hand, there
was a nice sloping tunnel… and we had a Shugenja who could summon a boulder…
rumble rumble Rumble Rumble RUMBLE RUMBLE CRASH!
Well, that certainly surprised her. Now to finish off her guards and take down
the incompetent rot-queen. Hey, where did those extra Oni come from? And…
thsoe Oni. And that other Oni..
In the Sun’s name, we’re in trouble. Maybe we should have checked out the
symbols on the walls. Something about mass summoning, maybe? Well, too late for that! Fight! Oni appearing, oni appearing… These suckers are tough as a Crab
on a three-day drinking spree. You guys handle the Oni if you want to, but I’ve
got bigger game in mind.
I waited out joining the battle. Instead, I crept around the edges, slipping
through a dusty hollow as silently as the grave itself. Iga Suki Kago was a
fiendish horror… but if I could hit her hard enough, she might not be able to
summon more minions, at least not easily. And the way this was going, we’d be
overwhelmed long before we reached her. Even Bayushi Blandess (Hey, wasn’t his
name Bayushi Michio? Maybe.) couldn’t take them down, and that meant I had no
chance of even scratching them. But if I hit right I might swing the tide for
It was the “other people” which worried me. As I approached the dark maho-using witch from behind, I remembered the last person who took a wild death-swing at her. There was hardly enough left to identify him by. Not good. But someone had to do it.
So I did. With a hair-raising shriek which did in fact startle the damned, my
borrowed No-Dashi took off one filthy leg and a good chunk of her torso, though
her power supported her weight. The skeletal bodyguard took a wild swing at me,
but failed to do any serious damage.
As the others battered down the oni surrounding them, the filthy sorceress called one
final oni, but failed to summon the beast. “Shigure!” cried Alex, “the altar!
Destroy it!” I looked down, some unholy relic inside a blackened case did
pollute the alter. I swung.
And didn’t hear anything after that for a bit. Just a sort of rush and a
pressure. It was like being swallowed by a whale and thinking you’d never see
the sun again. But I did, a little sooner than I hoped. Force at the very heart
of the volcano in the only direction left: straight up.
I shot up into the afternoon sunlight, thinking for a moment how warm it suddenly
got, out of the cool cave air. Arcing up over the Mantis islands, I was struck by
the beauty of it all. Then I hit the palace.
Fortunately, I only went through the upper three floors, which were all wood! I
finally came down in the library, battered unmercifully but alive. As it
happened, the Phoenix shugenja we journeyed with were there. They were
researching ways and methods to ward and fight against the the power of Jigoku
and the Taint, and I fell face-first into their scrolls.
Well, these things will happen when you turn a Black Scroll of Fu Leng into
I later learned that the others had been nearly crushed in the cave-in. Iga Suki
Kago escaped via death… again. But she’d be back I’m sure. The undead and Oni
were consumed by the raw explosion of power, absorbing more than they could
handle. Meanwhile, my friends survived unTainted, though it took some time for
the courtiers, Mantis bushi, and laborers to dig them out. I was mercifully
drifting in and out of consciousness and had two near-heart-attack Shugenja
tossing healing spells on me, so the agony of having most every bone in my body
smashed to powder didn’t last long.
I took the rest of the afternoon to sleep.
The next morning, I went to practice my skills. Bandaged across my aching ribs
and with numerous welts from the roots and rubble smashing my face, I went out
to the courtyard. Hundreds of spectators turned out to see the invincible Eta,
Life was good
-Copyright 2007, by Patrick Bryant