To continue the Actual Play report for the last session, we look towards the adventures of Tarathiel23’s Matsu Broli, who was also in Dragon lands at the time, albeit in the Mirumoto lands seeking out a certain Dojo belonging to his sensei’s old friend, Mirumoto Nobu.
At this point, Matsu Broli had sought permission from his own sensei to undertake a Musha Shugyo, a warrior’s pilgrimage where a samurai travels the empire to test his martial skills, while being bereft of his usual support from his clan. As such, Broli took to the Dragon Lands as a ronin, having shaved his head to avoid being easily identified as a Lion from his dyed hair.
His arrival to Mirumoto Nobu’s dojo was not with much fanfare, and he handed over the scroll that his sensei had given him, and Mirumoto Nobu stepped out to greet him. The two spoke for a while, and came to an agreement: Nobu would instruct Broli in Kenjutsu should Broli prove himself against Nobu’s best student, a samurai-ko named Mirumoto Makoto.
The two faced off with the use of wooden training weapons in the dojo, with all the students present for the match. The battle was fierce, but Broli superior talent won over Makoto’s training, and after two passes, it was clear that Broli was the winner of this contest. Nobu came forward and bowed to Broli, and said that he would honor his agreement with Broli and Broli’s sensei… As such, Makoto would be Broli’s bride.
Broli wasn’t exactly expecting that.
After taking a moment to compose himself, Broli met with Nobu in a private room of the dojo to try and make sense of things. It turns out that the scroll his sensei left him had that as an extra stipulation… that the bearer of the scroll would be as a son to him, and that he would make a worthy husband to Nobu’s only child.
Broli then submitted, relenting to what was his sensei’s wishes, as well as the hopes of the old Mirumoto master. The now-engaged Matsu Berzerker also spoke to Makoto, to find that she was thankfully not spiteful towards this turn of events, and knowing that he was on a Musha Shugyo, had offered to accompany him on his journey. Broli in turn promised to care for her as a proper husband should, and the two were wed in a simple ceremony in Dragon Lands, before he began his studies in Nobu’s dojo.
Of course, he also took the time to read through the rest of his sensei’s “Gifts” as well, just to make sure that he didn’t have OTHER promises of marriage to the other clans as well.
Hikkikomori’s Akodo Kenji, on the other hand was over in Crane Lands, following up on a request by Kakita Mai for a favor. If he should assist her in a trifling matter in court, she would give him the whereabouts of Shigure, mistress of the Three Leaves Merchant House. This particular favor put him smack in the middle of Kyuden Doji, just in time for the premiere of an up an coming playwright’s work to be reviewed. The playwright, Kakita Mirai, was a young artisan with a lot of potential and talent, but Mai was not quite so enthusiastic about such a debut.
And this was where Kenji was brought in. As an Omoidasu of the Lion Clan, Kenji is also a performer, and Mai has positioned him to be one of the critics involved in the first viewing of Mirai’s work. Having met in private, Mai requested that Kenji scrutinize Mirai’s work to the best of his ability, as the play was a satire of various elements of Rokugani nobility, lending so serious seditious undertones. Add the fact that the play was meant to be viewed by the common man, and Mirai could potentially stir up the kind of civil unrest that tend to upset the Samurai caste in general.
Kenji took the task, and found himself in the presence of several others: a snooty Isawa, an excitable Otomo and the presence of Doji Kurohito, Champion of the Crane Clan along with his wife Doji Akiko. Kenji knew that he had to tread very lightly to not come off as some patsy, but thankfully he had insulation in the form of his social excuse for emotional outbursts as an Omoidasu.
The Play had proven to be more subtle than he had anticipated, but he saw the undertones as Mai has noted. The Isawa was more than happy to lend his seal of approval to it, appealing to high art, while the Otomo praised the wit and comedy of the piece. Kenji had also noted that Doji Akiko was quite displeased at the play, the daughter of Isawa was most likely also able to see past the smoke and mirrors, but Kurohito was inscruitable.
Kenji made his bid then, criticizing the play as best as he could, deconstructing elements used in the play as opposed to pointing out the seditious undertones. A tactic that Mai had not anticipated. Rather than use the information fed to him, Kenji found a way to turn the tables on the structure and presentation, as well as critical choices made that were insulting to the caste as a whole. This approach saved Mirai face, while achieving the other objective of preventing the play from being performed in public.
Mirai was quite unhappy about this, but was not in any position to protest. The critics had spoken, and the Champion was to bestow judgement. At this point, the critics were taken away, but Mai secretly led Kenji to an adjoining room where he could listen in on the conversation and judgement. Kurohito and Akiko both judged that the play was excellent in mechanics and form, but Kenji’s argument was strong, and they had disallowed the play from being performed.
Kakita Mai chose this moment to interject herself, stepping into the room with a counter-proposal… clearly Mirai had talent, but insufficient guidance and care from her sensei. Mai volunteered to serve as the young playwrights sensei instead, with a promise that she would influence Mirai’s growth and nurture her maturity as a responsible artisan.
Mai later returned to Kenji, thanking him for his assistance in the matter. While she had originally hoped to end Mirai’s career, the turn of events had resulted in her being wealthier by one more apprentice, which was by far a better option. She gave Shigure’s location, who had been hiding in Kitsu lands, using front companies and her money to keep herself hidden, while trying to find more information on those who had killed Gonta, obviously plotting revenge.
Each of these stories took place at roughly over the same period of time, and all of the player characters received a message from the Clan. The Unicorn had mobilized and were approaching Lion lands, with a clear intent to attack. As such they were all being recalled for an emergency War Council to consider what tactics the Lion should use to fend off the imminent assault by the Unicorn Khan, Moto Chagatai.