The New Emperor
YEAR OF THE
The Emperor is dead. Long live the emperor.
As the Tatsu flies off into the sky, Lord Xinji stands and walks over to the unconscious body of the Lady Amora. He has noticed that the dagger she was using is the famous Sweeping Swallow. A wakizashi from a daisho forged by the master sword smith XXXX. Lord Xinji demands from Lord YYYY why the blade which was gifted to him was in the hands of the assassin. The Lord YYYY failed to give a satisfactory answer and was escorted to Yedo prison.
Lord Xinji then demanded an explanation from Lord ZZZZ why his wife had tried to assassinate Lord Tenwa. Lord ZZZZ had a glum look on his face understanding that he would have to commit Seppuke to clear the dishonour his wife had caused his family. He answered that the Lady Amora as the daughter of Lord Hikidunot had wanted to participate in the blood feud between the Hikidunot and the Tenwa. He had forbidden her to become involved, but she had disobeyed. Lord Xinji ordered him to take his wife and return to his quarters to await punishment.
MeBe wanted to prevent the Lady Amora from being taken but could not intervene in Xinji clan politics.
Meanwhile Lord Krappi and Lee Ho had approached the young first son of the ex-emperor. The young boy was rapidly scribing a note which the Minister of the Left tried to appropriate. The first son was in obvious distress, so Lord Krappi intervened by suggesting he could deliver the note for the young heir. The Minister of the Left retired in bad grace and allowed the note to be delivered to Lord Krappi. Surprisingly it was addressed to him and said "Lord Tenwa you must take me to Kyoto immediately". This was strange since the the Emperor's plan called for the eldest son to remain safe at Yedo.
Whilst Lord Krappi tried to read the shorthand Kanji of the hastily scribed note, Lee Ho distracted the imperial court from leaving by addressing the young heir with his condolences. Lord Krappi then tried to take the heir into his own custody but the Kuge bodyguards blocked his way and Lord Krappi could not bring himself to do dishonour by attacking their august persons. So he declared he would escort the first son with his bodyguard and summoned them to accompany the imperial court.
Lee Ho sat on the ground and started a prediction
Unfortunately Lord Xinji approached at this time and apologized for the actions performed in his castle. The imperial court took this distraction to slip from the courtyard, frustrating Lord Krappi who did not wish to be rude to his host. So he invited Lord Xinji to join the escort. The party walked back to the imperial compound but although Lord Tenwa tried to bluff his way in, he was refused entry. So instead Lord Krappi suggested that to Lord Xinji that they meet for a tea ceremony as soon as possible. Lord Xinji agreed and set a time that afternoon.
|MeBe being suspicious of Lord Xinji's motivations shape changed into his cat form and followed the Lord at a discrete distance. After Lord Xinji had walked out of sight he threw an apoplectic fit, snapping his baton in his bare hands. He then spent half an hour galloping his warhorse pell mell around the castle grounds whilst his retainers vainly pursued him on foot. Fortunately nobody was hurt. Lord Xinji visibly purged of anger then dismounted and retired to his keep to prepare for the tea ceremony.|
Lord Krappi took out his frustrations in a different way. Hearing that the Lady Amora was another facet of the Hikidunot blood feud decided to seek vengeance on their clan for its actions which (maybe unwittingly) led to the death of the Emperor. Mounting his bodyguard on horses they charged down into the city to the town house of Lord Hikidunot. There they took axes and chopped through all of the main support beams of the building, collapsing it into an untidy mass of wood, tiles and paper. Lord Krappi then returned to bath before the tea ceremony and met up with his hatamoto for a discussion.
In the absence of everybody else, Tokyo has wandered inside the Imperial compound to find out what was happening. He discovered that the Emperor's brother was, after much argument, being elected regent. Tokyo decided to leave but was found and escorted from the building by a couple of Shin'to priests.
Lee Ho however had decided to interview the Lord ZZZZ to see if any further light could be thrown on the situation. Lord ZZZZ was in a foul mood and wished to kill his wife for her disobedience and insulting him by sympathising with her old family rather than his own which she had married into. Many articles were broken even though Lee Ho tried to calm him down. Eventually Lee Ho healed the concussion of Lady Amora and interrogated her motivations using his rhetoric and fearsome intellect. Her confession matched a letter found in a lacquered box which was the case used for the Sweeping Swallow. The letter was an instruction from her father, Lord Hikidunot, to use the antique blade to slay their enemy Lord Tenwa. She could not say who delivered the wakizashi to her.
Thus Lee Ho followed the scent and interviewed Lord YYYY where he was imprisoned. The Buddhist priest had to bribe two Yakuza prisoners to clear some space for a private conversation. In return he'd carry a message to a loved one outside the jail for them. One of the Yakuza agreed and once again Lee Ho interrogated a suspect.
Lord YYYY was a very angry and bitter man. This was not surprising as he was once promised to be married to the Princess Easiko. The motivation and guilt behind his actions was easy to extrapolate, as was his hatred for the 'scum' known as MeBe. Lee Ho then took a message from the Yakuza and journeyed into Yedo. He then passed the message to the criminal's wife, but also added his own. A reward of ten gold would be given to the Yakuza clan's boss if he could succeed in a task set for him. The boss was to meet with the Buddhist at the castle.
With such a ludicrously large reward the crime boss couldn't believe this could be a trap and so met up with Lee Ho. The priest requested the presence of the person responsible for manufacturing the poison used in the assassination attempt in the castle. The boss jumped at the contract and sped off to follow up this intuitive guess work.
He then returned to the Tenwa compound to join in with the heated discussion. Lord Krappi and his hatamoto were trying to figure out who was responsible for the murder of the Emperor. MeBe presented a scroll he'd found on the body of the female Ninja. It said "Take your Cue from Lady Amora.". Tokyo saw the handwriting was so fine and distinctive that it must have been written by the Minister of the Left.
This placed a new slant on events. It indicated that the Lady Amora was setup as a unknowing diversion to facilitate the Emperors assassination. This idea revealed that the plot was far longer running and devious that originally thought. Whomever was behind the plan was very cunning indeed.
All the known evidence was listed
Then the party concluded all of the unsubstantiated evidence.
Only one thing made no sense to Lord Krappi and his hatamoto. What was the Minister of the Left gaining for killing the Emperor? The Emperor's brother was now regent, so temporal power had passed into his hands. Lord Krappi decided that as the Emperor's brother had been the kind patron of the party for many years, he was the only person who could be trusted in the entire imperial court. He was also the only person with enough authority to remove both the Minister of the Left and the Minister of the Right from their positions so that they could be punished for their crimes.
But to gain entrance to the Emperor's brother Lord Krappi needed to speak with Lord Xinji. So Lord Krappi went to the tea ceremony and had his bodyguard contemplate the beautiful gardens the tea house was set in.
The tea ceremony was masterfully completed and a great sense of peace settled on the occupants of the tea house. Lord Krappi believing himself in the morally superior position waited for Lord Xinji to speak. Lord Xinji apologized once more for the disobedience in his clan and presented a gift. It was a Portuguese 'bang stick' which Lord Krappi had seen many, many years before. Although unsure of how to use such an implement Lord Krappi thanked Lord Xinji and placed the gift to one side. Lord Krappi explained that he was unhappy to see such a fine clan dishonoured by a 'spider' within his castle's walls. Lord Xinji (not the most cerebral of men) took a while to understand the reference and asked who the spider was. Lord Krappi went on to say that the spider was highly placed and was out of reach of both Lord Xinji's and his own reach, although if Lord Xinji could sent two messages into the imperial court he might be able to deal with the problem and clear the dishonour brought upon the Xinji clan.
The first message was a request to be granted audience with the new regent. The second was to meet with Lady Mi-Lan. Lord Krappi then asked for the location of Lord Hikidunot's fiefdom, which Lord Xinji gave.
The tea ceremony then finished and both lords returned to their respective keeps.
Back in Lord Krappi's quarters a disreputable group of escorted Yakuza delivered an old crone to Lee Ho. Lee Ho paid the criminals, thus gaining a sin and then healed the old woman who'd been severely beaten about. He then retired afraid of the methods which might be used to make the woman talk. Lord Krappi interrogated the petrified woman indirectly via MeBe. She admitted making a herbal poultice which could have been used as a lethal poison. The Lord Krappi managed to trick her into revealing who'd paid her for the poison. It was the Emperor's Brother!
Lee Ho and some Buddhists from the Imperial court prepare the dead Emperor body for the next days burial. Lee Ho notices that one of the Buddhists has a strange scar on his face that has been covered up with flesh coloured make-up. He asks his Yamabushi guard to watch him.
In the early morning the Scared Priest throws a small poison bomb into the centre of the room. In the first round all but four fall to the ground. Lee Ho somehow managed to not take a breath as did his Guard. The 'Ninja' then punches the two other priest in the stomach and they go down at the end of the round. A fight starts between the Yamabushi & and the Ninja. Lee Ho can not stop himself from breathing and he is overcome by the poison.
The Yamabushi somehow defeats the Ninja before becoming overcome and runs outside into the clean sweat air. After recovering he discovers that everyone has been knocked out by the gas. He goes and gets Lord Krappi and the rest of the Hatamoto.
The Ninja in fact turns out to be some form of Bakemono with a grey skin that is wearing the skin of one of the Buddhists Priests. Lord Krappi + men guard the Emperors body & there attended priests all night.
Lord Krappi + Hatamoto are invited to the burial more because they are there with the body more than for any other reason.
Just as the pyre is about to be light, Lee Ho & Tokyo notice that there is a Tatsu descending at great speed. Lord Krappi looks around for the Ninja attack and does not spot one.
Tokyo fire a massive metal storm at the Tatsu, but it dodges.
Three Tiger like creatures with flaming tails jump from the back of the Tatsu. MeBe & Lord Krappi run to attack.
There is a melee on top and around of the Emperors funeral pyre. Lord Krappi seams to glow with divine light, one of the fire tigers is stunned. The Tatsu swoops down and blasted MeBe he is fried with a critical burn and collapse on top of the now burning pyre. Lord Krappi dispatches his and jumps / climbs on to the pyre. Quickly kills the two fire-tiger. Tokyo kills the Tatsu with large fire show of his own. Lord Krappi throws MeBe off the pyre and Lee Ho slowly runs to heal him (MeBe has 8 hp left).
The party then start investigating the fire-tiger that is stunned by the aura of Lord Krappi. They find out that the Emperors body was supposed to raise and attack them as well. The disgusting though is crossing there mind about a grey Bakemono and human skin when the Regent approaches. Lord Krappi demands to have a audience with the Regent. It is granted for the afternoon.
Later that Morning
Lady Easiko comes to see her brave fiancee after delivering the invite to Lord Krappi.
Lord Krappi has decided that the Regent must be killed and 1st Son rescued from his evil clutches. A plan is hatched with three Samurai made invisible and guided to the 1st Son by Tokyo. Whilst Lord Krappi & Lee Ho go to the meeting with the Regent, where Lord Krappi will confront Altuzu's puppet.
The invisible guard wonder around the keep under Tokyo instruction but instead of 1st Son being in his room he is in the garden with the Regent & Lord Krappi.
The Regent thanks Lord Krappi for his help that morning and grants him the Governorship of the port of Amori. And he declares that Altuzu has broken the compact and grants Lord Krappi 'Right to War on his Enemy' i.e. Shogun (General in charge of an Imperial War). This seams to change Krappi's plan and he decides not to attack the Regent.
There is a discussion between Regent, 1st Son & Lord Krappi about the mission. The Regent objects to the 1st Son going but does not stop him leaving with the party. It ends up with Lord Krappi + party + 1st Son leaving for Kyoto on a Kirin.