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After recovering from the shock of seeing the complete unexpected murder of Toritaka Koiso, the Magistrates fumble for their weapons, only to realise they are not permitted to carry any! Toritaka house guards rush to defend their Daimyo and some of them have the smart idea to give their guests spare weapons (after being bullied into it by Hida Buruke).
The two shugenja have more luck as they cast their spells and thereby hinder the Maho Tsukai greatly.
Meanwhile the Maho Tsukai complete the ritual that will summon a powerful Kansen... however, they appear to have been mislead by an infiltrator as the summoned creature is no Kansen at all but a Shuten Doji!
A chaotic and desperate struggle ensues as the Maho Tsukai try to make the best of it while The Shuten Doji posesses one victim after another. Taint, Maho and gallons of blood from all involved parties fly across the stage.
Toritaka Ichu is seen melting trough a wall with an evil grin on her face, seems she was lost to the Shadow even before our heroes managed to free her.
When the violence finally ceases, 3/4th of the Toritaka Clan is dead. The Magistrates discover that a shadow agent has planted the scroll to summon the Shuten Doji with the Bloodspeakers.
Toritaka Tokimasa survives the fight and speaks to his brother Hideaki about joining the Crab Clan. Hideaki is reluctant to do so but at the moment has no resources to aid his fallen clan...
The Toritaka and the Crab magistrates have been dealt a crippling blow. They decide to head towards the Phoenix Clan, in the hopes of finding answers to their questions.

 
 
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1132

Kuni Yori enacts a perverse magical ritual. The undead general Moto Tsume, slain during the fighting on the 2nd Day of Thunder, is restored to unlife via the power of Fu Leng's skull.
Afrer months of silence, Yakamo suspects that Yori will soon assault Hiruma Castle again. He sends scouts to Kyuden Hida to summon reinforcements and supplies. None of the scouts reach their destination alive.
Moto Tsume and Kumi Yori lead a brutal assault against Shiro Hiruma. Legions of undead, ogres, and bakemono Surround the fortress. The Crab are nor prepared for this assault, yet somehow, through a combination of resourcefulness, determination, luck, and the aid of the Third Whisker Nezumi, they survive che onslaught.

The Naga armies invade Dragon Clan lands. The Naga fight back only when engaged, but are brutal and merhodical in their passage through the mountains. The Dragon likewise tenaciously defend their homes, initiating a prolonged campaign of brutal mountain warfare.

The Mantis begin to occupy the abandoned Scorpion lands, but face fierce resistance from the Crane. Daidoji Uji does not fully trust Yoritoos motives, and suspects thar once the Scorpion lands are secure he might turn on the Crane. Yoritomo knows that the Crane forces arc not large enough to sustain a prolonged attack or hold the Scorpion provinces wirhout weakening the defense of their own borders, so he withdraws into Beiden Pass to fight a defensive battle and wait. After many long weeks, Uji bitterly withdraws his forces.

The Mantis withdraw from Beiden Pass and continue their inexorable march north. Doji Kuwanan continues his pursuit of the Mantis north across the Empire. The Lion are outraged at such effrontery from both of the other Clans, but their voice in courr goes unheard. The Lion army is likewise unable to oppose such an offense, as they are split between battling the Unicorn and aiding upon the Kaiu Wall.
Though Yoritomo has had ample time ro recover from Kuwanan's surprise attack, his proximity to Crane lands only serves to further push the Mantis into a disadvantage, and Yoritomo finds his path home cutoff. Seeking the only logical course, the Son of Storms opts to skirt the Crane lands and retreats to the edge of Phoenix territory. Yoritomo hopes the Crane will not be so willing to send an uninvited army into the lands of their longtime allies without proper protocol, and the Mantis are given time to regroup.

 
 
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Hida Buruke awakens with a spider clan ninja sticking a sword in his gut. He promptly fights, naked and bare-handed but is still victorious.  Meanwhile Kuni Shidjiro has a not-so honourable duel with his scorpion enemy and he is victorious as well, the false ronin is imprisoned underneath the caste. 
The Katana of Toritaka Tatsune goes missing and is later found in the quarters of clan champion Toritaka Mai. She claims she has nothing to do with it and a rigorous interrogation by Inquisitor Kyoshi reveals she is not lying.
Meanwhile General Noburo produces a Maho user from the Hare Clan who confesses the Hare have been responsible for the Kidnapping of the Daimyo's youngest daughter. However, our heroes don't believe it but unless they can find some evidence to the contrary, it looks like the Toritake are heading toward war with their neighbours.  Apart from that, in a talk with the new head of the monks Motohaki, the heroes learn of terrible disturbances in the spirit world. apparently there is a full fledged war going on between the realm of slaughter and the realm of the ancestors.
The marriage ceremony is now in full effect and the Magistrates have no choice but to postpone their investigations and attend the feast. That evening, renown Kabuki actors are bringing the classical play: Closing Night. A legendary play from Hiruma Nabuko, dealing with the dangers of the shadowlands. Before the play ends, one actor suddenly leaps forward and slashes the throat of Toritaka Koiso, wife of the Daimyo. Before they know it, the entire stage is wielding blades and casting Maho spells...

 
 
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The heroes recieve an invitation to attend the festivities of the Marriage of Toritaka Hideaki's Brother Toritaka Tatsune to Moshi Kimiko of the Centipede Clan. 
This marriage will cement relations between the Falcon Clan and the Mantis Clan, who have absorbed the Centipede into their clan following the Second Day of Thunder, where the Mantis achieved Grat Clan status.
On their way to Tani Hitokage (The Valley of Spirits) the heroes encounter the ghost of Toritaka Genji, the former High Priest of Sonzoku Kara Satsu (Temple of the Noble Ancestors).  He pleads to them to save his corpse and soul by recieving a proper burial. His corpse is located in the Hall of the Boar.
Upon arrival in Kyuden Toritake, the heroes are greeted by Hideaki's kid sister Ichu.
"The Falcon flies, learning winds of distant lands, weary wings rest."
The following morning, during breakfast the shocking news is announced that Toritaka Ichu has been kidnapped. Naturally, our heroes investigate and find that Maho users are responsible. In the attack, the friend of Ichu, Seppun Hori, son of Seppun Fujiwara the Imperial Tax collector, has died. All blame goes to the Yojimbo: Toritaka Kenzo.  

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The heroes follow the trail of Maho users to the Twilight Mountains, where they find the abandoned castle from the long lost Boar Clan. A great host of fresh bodies is found in the Hall of the Boar. Most of these are eta, missing villagers or wandering Komuso monks. Suddenly the heroes are attacked by Maho Tsukai as well as the massively tainted form of Kuni Chinatsu. After a brief but brutal fight, Chinatsu and a Maho Tsukai are killed but another Maho user manages to escape. The corpses rize and the Bushi have a hard time fighting these undead. In the end they are victorious by locking the zombies inside the abandoned Castle and by waiting until the resurection spell dissipates.

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The samurai return triumphant and take part in the festivities. There is still the small matter of seeing Seppun Fujiwara's honour satisfied and Kakita Yorito decides to duel for the honour of Toritaka Kenzo. Sadly, he is no match for the Seppun-trained Yojimbo duellist. 
- A contest is declared among the Ronin to have a new Yojimbo for Toritaka Ichu. 
- The Mantis Clan seeks to invade the abandoned Scorpion lands and want to know the Falcon's position.
- The Dragon ronin Hatamoto is found floating dead at the Lake of Cherry Blossoms, talking with the Kami reveals that the Kikage Zumi Hitomi Sakashi is responsible, he is nowhere to be found.
- The secret love between Toritaka Hideaki and Doji Hamaki becomes dangerous as they discover that a secret loveletter to Hideaki did not arrive and has gone missing.
- Hida Buruke and Toritaka Tatsune are both fed drunk and goaded into a friendly game of Go, during the course of this game Tatsune insults the big Crab and both are ready to draw steel. Yasuki Kyoshi quickly fetches the Daimyo who puts an end to any foolish bloodshed that was about to happen.
Angry Buruke returns to the Geisha house of the Crystal Rose where he enjoys entertainment and sake away from court. In the Middle of the night he wakes up with the leering face of a ninja over him and a blade embedded into his gut.
At the same time in the castle, Kuni Shidjiro faces his arch nemesis in a corridor...

 
 
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A short overview of what happened before.

The story so far:
Our heroes meet eachother on the Great Carpenter Wall, they are tested by their Nikutai (Corporal) and Gunso (sgt) and they do battle with creatures of the Shadowlands. Their actions on the wall attract the attention of the Kuni Daimyo Kuni Utagu. 

Strength From Weakness.

His son, a Hida-trained bushi named Kuni Yakuto, has failed his gempukku ceremony, fleeing from the field while the rest of his class stood and faced the horde of goblins and other creatures. Because Yakuto is a daimyo’s son, he is to be given one more chance, and he will accompany the heroes into the Shadowlands.
With the fate of his own son at stake, Utagu has assigned a highly experienced Crab scout, Hiruma Noiyama, to guide the group heading into the Shadowlands. Unknown to anyone, however, Noiyoma is a servant of the Oni Lord Kyoso no Oni, and has been sacrificing her fellow Crabs to this Oni to protect herself.
After a dangerous journey, the heroes finally discover the true allegiance of Noiyoma and while the others battle and defeat the Kyoso no Oni spawn, Kakita Mitsurugi defeats the traiterous scout in a duel to the death.

Winter Court in Kyuden Hida.

The crab clan decides to hold its own Winter Court, away from Otosan Uchi and proclaim a 20 goblin winter. The heroes are summoned to this court in recognition for defeating the Kyoso no Oni. The heroes assemble an exquisite gift for the Crab Daimyo Hida Yakamo and each of them recieves a gift in return from the Kuni Daimyo.
When Ichiro Nobefusa, an emissary of the Badger Clan is found murdered, presumed by Maho, the heroes are called in to investigate. They find a hidden letter at the murder scene which details information about the Lying Darkness. To obtain more information, they decide to trade the information contained in this document to Hitomi Sakashi, a Kikage Zumi who expresses much interest in the contants of this letter.
With Sakashi's information the heroes quickly find out that a Mantis Samurai-ko called Yoritomo Momoso is responsible for the Badger's death.
However, when confronted, the Mantis bushi claims to have no knowledge of the deed. The Inquisitor Yasuki Kyoshi uses his magic to confirm that Momoso indeed acted outside her own will.
Despite this, Yoritomo Momoso asks, and is granted permission to commit sepuku. In their investigation, the heroes stumble accidentally on the true culprit, a Maho Tsukai from the Unicorm clan called Iuchi Xanpan, who himself is being possessed by the Oni no Nanbanfu.
After a brief but brutal struggle, the heroes prevail and destroy this Oni.
For their success and defeat of the Oni, the heroes from Crab families are given the status of Crab Clan Magistrates.

The first task as Magistrates is to investigate rumours of a haunting in the remote region of Kyuden Toketsu, however, before reaching it, rumours about a Lion invasion cause them to investigate. They battle these invading Lion but soon discover these invaders aren't human at all but formless shapeshifting evil beings. Since the lion have no taint, our magistrates are unsure who or what this new enemy is but they start to have their suspicions.
Furthermore, they are threatened by Hitomi Sakashi the Kikage Zumi to release the Badger letter to him.

Lesser of two evils.

The heroes arrive in Kyuden Toketsu.
Once there, the samurai meet the castle's lord, Yasuki Nori, and learn that an evil is plaguing his home. Rumors abound of an evil in the swamp. The peasants fear the worst and the venerable lord is unable to quell his people's fears. Recently, minor earth tremors have begun to worry the populace. The samurai are probably unfamiliar with the valley's history. Most of this information Nori keeps from the PCs for fear that he (or his family) will be suspect. His apprehension is due to the ministrations of his new councilor: his geisha Suko, who has become a great help to him of late. Her knowledge of the village and the temple have proven invaluable to him (and have cemented his fears). In his old and feeble state he accepts her advice as he would that of a sage. In reality, Suko is the bog hag Higashato wearing the skin of a geisha. A few months back she murdered the geisha and claimed her skin, drawing closer to Yasuki Nori. Her plan is to draw powerful samurai to the valley so she may expand her collection of skins.
The heroes, on the train of the Bog Hag find a hidden temple in the swamp, filled with taint, shadowlands creatures, minor oni etc... They find out that a powerful uni is sleeping under the earth and is being awakaned by the corrupted abbot of the temple and the Bog Hag. They confront the Bog Hag and defeat her after a deadly battle. Kuni Shidjiro decides to use the Blood Stone, a powerful tainted nemuranai, to cast a 1000 years of sleep over the awakening Oni Kussate Iru. He uses his magical Kuni tanto to cut the taint out of him, leaving a permanent scar on his forearm. Hida Buruke retrieves the Armour of the Sun and Moon that was being guarded by the Crystal Samurai.

Meanwhile Yasuki Nori has comitted sepuku and with no heirs, the castle is presented to Toritaka Hideyaki with the idea to use it as a staging ground for Crab Magistrates. The Yasuki immediatly send a troupe of The Botherhooed of the Scaled Carp to assist, the Kuni send Shugenja, who will guard the Temple and the Hida and Hiruma send a minor force as well to defend the keep.

At this time, grave and terrifying news holds Rokugan in its grip: The Emperor is missing! All evidence points to the Scorpion. Imperial Chancellor Takuan, decides to banish the Scorpion to the Burning Sands.

 
 
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1130, month of the Hare,

Clansmen,

I bear grave news.

As a gesture of unity, Emperor Toturi held Winter Court at Otosan Uchi so that all clans may meet as equals. At the end of the court, he intended to hold a second coronation, now that all of the clans have recovered somewhat from the horrors of the Clan War, so that all servants of the Empire can reaffirm their loyalty ro the throne. The night before this intended coronation, Emperor Toturi vanishes from his chambers! Two of his guards, including his personal yojimbo Mikio, are found dead at the scene.

Emerald Champion Kakita Toshimoko investigates the scene, and comes to a disturbing conclusion. A large number of unidentified Scorpion samurai were seen entering the palace shortly before rhe kidnapping, but vanished without a trace. A red silken scarf, of the sort frequently worn as a Scorpion mask, is found at the scene of rhe crime. The Imperial Court is outraged.

Kakita Toshimoko spoke thus: “Your sentence is not in my hands, but in the hands of the Fortunes themselves. lf you will not return the Emperor, then you will be lost to the Empire as well. Until Toturi the First is returned to his throne, unharmed, the Scorpion are forever banished from the Empire. Let all those who have allegiance to the Bayushi and their house journey to the north, through Exile's Pass, to the wastelands beyond. The Empire has no place for traitors.”

“And if Toturi is brought back to us, Lady Kachiko,” he continued, “then you, as well, are welcome to return. We could not be so cruel as to subject your children to such a harsh journey. The Crane will gladly take them into our care - and educate them in your absence.”

Shortly after the Scorpion are exiled, Kakira Toshimoko abandons the Emerald Armor on the cliffs near Kyuden Doji, along with a final haiku. He must have taken his own life for his failure to protect the emperor.

Even though this news is grave indeed, there are still duties to perform. News reaches us that the Toritaka holdings see an unprecedented increase in Yorei hauntings. As I understad you have taken control of Kyuden Toketsu which has been transferred into the Toritaka care. As such I can find no better suited candidates to investigate.

Kuni Utagu.  
 

 
 
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27-06-2012 (1st letter)
Sons of Hida,Welcome to hell. That is the reality of our lives that has been taught to you over and over again for the past few years of your training. You have doubtless become tired of hearing of it. Horrors beyond imagining have been described to you with such frequency that you no longer have even the slightest reaction to them. This is the unfortunate reality of your teaching, but it must be done. Still, for all that, the first time you stand upon the Kaiu Wall and peer south, deep into the madness we stand guard against, you will know that you are not prepared for what awaits you there.

Winter comes soon, and with it, the dreadful quiet months. Some believe that they are worse, far worse, than the hot summer days when the scent of blood hangs in the air. You will stand atop the Wall in the freezing cold and stand guard, the chill sinking into your bones even as the quiet slowly erodes at your attention. And when you think you can bear it no longer, and you look away just for a moment, you will die. This is the forge in which you will be tempered. This is the process by which you will truly become samurai. It is a trial that no one else in the Empire faces, or could endure. But you will endure it.

Because you are Crab.

Hida Yakamo
Crab Clan Champion & daimyo
Dear samurai,

It has come to my attention that you have aided our most honorable Kuni Utagu with a personal problem. Now that the Unnamed One is defeated you would undoubtedly be eager to join the punishing excursion into the shadowlands, to reclaim Shiro Hiruma, the castle of daylight. However, since the breach of Kaiu Kabe in the Clan Wars, many shadowlands creatures and practitioners of Maho have been allowed to roam the Jade Empire and, since our clan cannot turn a blind eye to the repercussions of our actions, we are in dire need of Maho Tsukai, and any who would stand with them. 

You are hereby commanded to join the festivities of winter court at Kyuden Hida,the Kuni will attend, as they do every year, to perform their gathering. You will not be attending as an official invite to the Crab winter court yet the possibilities & prestige of attending the fringes will prove ample opportunity to enhance your status.

Do not mistake this missive, 

it is no request, failure to attend will have dire consequences.

Hida Kisada, the Great Bear



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07-11-2012
Brothers,

It is a dangerous time for Rokugan.

A new age has dawned, and a new emperor has claimed the throne. Toturi has raised his banner across the empire - a banner of jade. 

Our fight has only begun. We have torn down the terrible banners and destroyed the dark magics that once tempted our brothers, but there is still much of the Shadowland left outside the Wall. Root out this evil! Rebuild the barrier that stands between Rokugan and the darkness. We must remember the oaths our ancestors swore and this time, we must not fail them. Among their ancient voices I can hear the battle shouts of the Great Bear, and I know he will give us strength to recover what we have lost. 

We have driven the Dark from the Emperor's halls. Now, we must destroy it where it lives and breathes. The Crab and Naga allied together and resolved to move against the Shadowlands to end it's threat once and forever. The Naga Leader Qamar has followed our Daimyo towards Shiro Hiruma, where battle is fought even as you read my letter.

For a thousand years, the Kaiu Wall has separated the green fields of Rokugan from the horrors of the Shadowlands, and for a thousand years the merciless samurai of the Crab have held true to our ancestor's oath: that no shadow of that dark land would be allowed to tread upon the soil of the Empire. During the Clan Wars, the Crab abandoned their ancient charge and allied with the darkness, but now, under the uncompromising leadership of Hida Yakamo, we seek retribution against our ancient enemy. 

We have a great deal of land to magistrate, my friends. Let us get to work.

Kuni Rashomon, 

Commander of the Crab Magistrates.
 

Tetsubo
28-11-2012
Clansmen,

Forty three days ago, my brother Yakamo took three hundred of our bravest warriors and fiercest samurai, and led them into the Shadowlands toward the castle of the Hiruma. Not a word of their fight has reached us, and there has been no lessening of the Oni against the Kaiu Walls.

As his ancestors before him, Yakamo has traveled into the Shadowlands and not returned. Therefore, until he does, I am acting in his stead as the Champion of the Crab. If he can be found, we will find him. However, out first priority is to defend our borders against Tsanuri’s armies. The Lion march on Crab lands, and we must be ready.

With the last breach of the Kaiu Wall, we discovered that dealing with darkness has a price — and no longer will we be tempted by that power. The Lion, thinking to take advantage of our weakness, send their troops toward our fortresses. Already, Tsuru tells me that his men have been cut down by Lion forces, slaughtered as they attempt to parlay. The Unicorn Magistrates assure me that if we attack, there will be no consequences, no repercussions from the Imperial Legions. We act in the Emperor’s name.

Remind the Lion that they are no longer the Emperor’s right hand.

Hida O-Ushi



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01-01-2012
Brothers,

As you may know by now the armies of Ikoma Tsanuri, champion of the Lion Clanhave started to arrive on the great wall. As I understand you have had a hand in clearing up the confusion surrounding the Lion march I hereby thank you in name of all the Crab. However, there is still much doubt as to who is responsible for the near outbreak of a Lion-Crab war so I advise you to be vigilant and record any suspicious activity in your current region. I also know you are currently investigating troubles at a Yasuki border keep so I will hereby inform you of the state of the empire.

Kitsu Okura has won the title Jade Champion after defeating the Doomseeker Iuchi Karasu much to the surprise of those who knew him. Rumours spread of Okura's power being owed to dark allegiances but he was still awarded the post. We must be vigilant as the corruption of the Lion can spread. Otaku Battle Maidens of the Unicorn are already marching towards Lion Lands.

Meanwhile our clan has received great honour from the Emperor himself, he has gifted the Jade Throne to the Crab saying that all Clans should donate jade in order to help defend the Empire from the Shadowlands. Kaiu engineers are already crafting a steel throne to replace it.

The Phoenix have opened their borders, in an attempt to recover from the Second Day of Thunder, they offer fealty to any Bushi or Shugenja who prove themselves. Dragon Ronin who did not come to us will certainly accept this edict.

Rumours have come to us that the Mantis Clan is stirring and preparing for war, we do not know against whom but we will follow the events in their lands with great interest. 

The Elemental Dragons withdraw their influence from the mortal world. However, the Dragon of the Void finds it cannot completely abandon the mortals it has come to cherish and instead leaves behind a nemuranai that bears a fraction of its power. This is the Dragon's Claw Katana, which is left with the Crane Clan. 

Men will lie to you. Your eyes will deceive you. Steel never lies, nor deceives, not hides bitter reality. In the sword, you can find truth!

- Kuni Utagu, Daimyo of the Kuni, Head of the Tsukai-Sagasu.