Legend of the Five Rings: Silk & Steel

Session 23 - If You go Down to the Woods Today...

Something’s fishy on dry land.

Before the next event in the Topaz Championship – the hunting contest – Hideo Mirumoto of the Dragon Clan decides to go and see the Lion Clan with a view to talking to them about all of the sabotage that seems to be going on and how it must be effecting the Lion too, since, y'know, they're doing so badly and all. 

In return, Hideo gets reminded as to the war footing that exists between the two clans and a door slammed in his face.

The hunting contest happens out in the woods on the outskirts of Beiden town, in a more low-lying section of them than the Athletics contest the day before. Omaru Miya the master of ceremonies is there, along with everybody else bar the Empress and the lord and lady of Bayushi Castle, next to an impressive natural standing stone next to the edge of the woods. Omaru explains that the game the contestants will be looking to bring down will actually be… An amphibious fish. Or to be exact, the eggs of the Tsu fish, which is something of a local marvel and is actively conserved by the Scorpion Clan. Their eggs can either be eaten as a delicacy or used as a extract to remove ink from parchments. 

The contestants are released into the woods in search of this elusive quarry and they all make their way down the tree-covered slopes to the nearby river banks. Minako Ide of the Kirin Clan is on the look-out for any more paper bags full of wasps and Hideo is keeping his eyes open to anything out of place too. Yashiro Hiruma of the Crab Clan is the first to find the allotted number of three Tsu fish eggs and starts hot-footing it back up the hillside, leaving the other contestants diving down creeks or rooting around in mud banks. Making is way through the trees, Yashiro notices a shape next to the path moving. It turns out to be a dirty figure dressed in weathered clothing, holding a katana. The unsavoury type demands that Yashiro hands over his Tsu fish eggs. Yashiro responds by drawing his Tetsubo and clubbing his would-be attacker down in one hit.

Minako is similarly way-laid and an unsavoury type forces her hand – which is holding a katana – to cut him down right there as well.

Further down the hill, some of the other contestants are returning too. Endo Moshi of the Mantis Clan notices Mitsuhiro Shiba of the Phoenix clan ahead of him on the path, along with another unsavoury figure creeping towards Shiba-san through the undergrowth. Endo decides to not intervene… for now. The figure demands Mitsuhiro's Tsu fish eggs. The scholar lies, says he hasn't got any and the brigand swallows it. Still tense, violence breaks out and Mitsuhiro ends up gutting his assailant with a wakizashi. 

Covered in varying amounts of blood and viscera, the contestants all make it alive back to their starting positions to deliver their fish eggs to Omaru (and score points, natch). Yashiro subtly tells the assembled Yojimbos to head into the woods to look after their masters. Omaru turns white at the prospect of a bandit attack on his competition and dispatches Miya officials and the Bayushi Castle guardsmen into the woods.

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