The Friday magical samurai serial continues!
These game journals come from what we called “B Team”. Basically, Dan Wells is the GM of this campaign, and he had a tough week so wasn’t able to have anything ready for game night. So I threw together and ran a quick game, set in the same campaign, at the same time, but everybody just grabbed one of the minor NPCs. In this case, it was a few of the Paper Lanterns, and they got to rescue a caravan and defend a village from bandits.
You also may notice that Ide Todo is getting rather famous. That’s what happens when you’ve got a hyperbolic bard following you around.
Two letters for Ide Todo
To the most noble and legendary son of the Unicorn, brilliant magistrate and bold commander of the Order of the Paper Lanterns, Ide Todo the Great, whose honor and bravery knows no bounds, from the humble monk, Michiba.
Oh, mighty Paper Champion, I have dared to write this poor letter to you in gratitude for the recent actions of four of your courageous samurai; Yoritomo Buwa, Daidoji Fujo, Tamori Fubatsu, and Matsu Barbosa. These four warriors were on the way to join your side, when they saved a caravan of the Jolly Crab Trading Company from villainous bandits in the service of the foul Dark Oracle of Fire, and in the process rescued my useless and unworthy life, as well as a young Yasuki caravan guard.
However, rescuing a poor monk was not nearly enough heroism for one day for such stalwart souls and they were hungry for more. When I told them that the village of Red Falls could be in danger from the villains, and the Yasuki reported that his father, the caravan master, had been kidnapped, they immediately set out to defeat all the bandits. There was a minor setback while some of us were set on fire, but that is only because the noble Matsu seemed to relish living life to the fullest at all times. Inspired by their bravery, I eagerly accompanied your men.
Upon discovery of the isolated village, Yoritomo Buwa volunteered to scout ahead while the rest of us meditated peacefully on the nature of heroes such as yourself. During his search, he found that the village’s women and children were being held hostage in the granary, and that the men were counted every night and morning to make sure no peasants fled for help. Most of the bandits were out on a raid. The cunning and stealth of the Mantis was astounding, and I can only thank the Fortunes that he is such a kind and honorable soul (surely inspired by your greatness, Todo-sama) and he taught many of the bandits lessons in humility and sacrifice. (mostly by beating them with rocks and sticks)
We charged the village and your noble samurai easily routed the bandits there, saved the children, saved the peasants, saved the Yasuki hostage, and even saved the livestock. That act alone would have been enough to ensure that from now on, the peasants of Red Falls will speak of the Paper Lanterns in hushed and reverential tones (as they well should anyway!) but oh no, that wasn’t enough for your mighty men (and one terrifying woman). They decided that they would stay, fortify the village, and defeat all the bandits. Truly, such courage is only possible when inspired by Goemon, Fortune of Courage, or perhaps the example set by men such as Ide Todo.
(by the way, I was blessed enough to watch the very first showing of the new kabuki play about you, performed by a group of travelling actors and based upon the writings of Ikoma Katsu. It was riveting)
Needless to say, your Lanterns were not only brave, they were clever as well. The Matsu and the Daidoji came up with a defensive plan, while the Tamori and the Yoritomo turned the villagers into an effective fighting force. (though I’m certain the peasants were quick to return to their proper place in the celestial order as soon as their services were no longer needed by their betters). Matsu Barbosa hid herself in the fields, so that she would be in a position to attack the powerful bandit leader, while the others prepared to hold the bridge.
Wisely, the first horsemen of the returning bandits were allowed to enter the village before being set upon and destroyed.
There were forty bandits! Yet your Paper Lanterns held firm. An enemy duelist, a man so terrible in reputation and visage that he struck fear into the hearts of all the villagers, challenged the Tamori to a duel. Tamori Fubatsu disemboweled the duelist and let him fall in the river. Normally Red Falls gets its name from the iron ore in the mountainside, but tonight it would flow red with blood! (if Ikoma Katsu chooses to use that line in his narrative, I would be so extremely humbled and honored. I am a huge fan of his work)
The enemy charged the bridge, but your Lanterns held them back until the bodies were stacked knee deep. Distracted, the enemy leader was struck down by Matsu Barbosa! Yet, the leader was unbelievably strong, surely blighted by the power of the Dark Oracle, and she turned and slashed the brave Matsu with a lethal blow. Now this next part you might think I’m exaggerating, but I am as truthful as Ikoma Katsu when I say that I believe I saw the very Thunder Dragon form in the clouds to bless the heroism and sacrifice of the Lion Deathseeker. Nearly dead, but inspired by the void, she ignored her wounds and cut down the enemy leader. Who luckily exploded like a Yobanjin, right in the middle of the enemy archers, scattering them!
The enemy was routed and fled like the cowards they are.
The peasants of Red Falls are building a shrine on the very spot where the noble Lioness died. I will personally return to Red Falls every year on the anniversary of the battle to leave offerings to the memory of your brave servant.
Oh, thank you noble, Ide Todo, for in these dark times, the empire needs heroes such as you to inspire us all.
– As always, your humble servant, Michiba, monk of the Shrine of the Blaze.
To Magistrate Ide Todo,
I hope this letter finds you well. I am Yasuki Murato, Caravan Master of the Jolly Crab Trading Company, which as you are certainly aware, is one of the more prosperous and profitable merchant companies in the Empire. Recently one of my personal caravans, bearing valuable goods to the warfront at Shiro Tamori, was betrayed by our guide, and assaulted by a bandit group known as the Purity of Fire. My drivers were killed, and my son proved to be a lackluster caravan guard and allowed me to be taken hostage.
Four of the samurai under your command rescued me from the Purity of Fire, and then battled the bandit group. One of your troops was killed, as were several villagers, and one of my favorite oxen was struck by a stray arrow, but most horrifically a large portion of my valuable merchandise was damaged in the battle. This was very upsetting to me, but as a loyal Crab, I am aware that sometimes a pragmatic sacrifice must be made in order to survive. I thought about including an invoice with this letter for the fine Kaiu forged armor that one of your men decided to use as a club, as the kabuto is now hopelessly dented and thus must be sold as used, but my son begged me not to and pointed out that if I were to have been murdered by bandits, I would not be able to sell any of our remaining merchandise at all. Every now and then young people will manage to come up with something wise.
So instead of billing you, I am writing to thank your men for rescuing me. In the future, I would hope to be able to repay the favor, and I would hope that the resources of the Jolly Crab Trading Company may be able to somehow assist the Order of the Paper Lanterns.
To demonstrate my thanks and willingness to ally myself with you, as a token of my friendship, I have sent one wagon of goods with this messenger. You may keep both the wagon and the messenger. I have included much of the armor and weaponry damaged in the battle, as I would lose face for trying to sell goods with such obvious cosmetic blemishes to the Dragon, the local smiths would rob me blind for repairs, and by the time I purchase new oxen and hire new guards and drivers, it would be unprofitable to ship them anywhere else… but the equipment is still in good working order and I hope it will prove useful to your order.
The messenger is my youngest son, Yasuki Boketsu, who has no head for commerce, is a terrible salesmen, but was a student of the Hida bushi school and possesses a passable ability at hitting things with a dai-tsuchi. He was “inspired” by the show your samurai put on, and has requested that I allow him to join the Paper Lanterns for the duration of this conflict. Being able to say that one of my fourteen children is bravely fighting in the War of Dark Fire will only help boost sales, so I have granted him my permission. If he should die in battle, I will not hold that against you, especially if it is while doing something heroic that would help the image of the Jolly Crab Trading Company.
I look forward to a long and happy friendship. Should you need any deals on anything, I’m your Crab.
Jolly Crab Trading Company
To be continued next week with NIGHT OF ASSASSINS http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/the-burning-throne-episode-25-night-of-assassins/