The Twelve Scrolls Of Hantei

Tsuruchi Yaichiro- Introduction

I am a Mantis.
A Tsuruchi Samurai.
My life is a lie.

Among the Mantis I am truly a mixed breed. More than I can even let others know. Each generation of my mother’s line seems to marry into another family, or have a samurai marry into hers. Her line has had bad luck with the fortune of wealth and has always found it easier to keep status and wealth through politics and marriage. While the Yoritomo may descend from the Crab and the Lion of generations past, I have Samurai of both clans within the last six generations of my blood. I descend from Yoritomo, Mochi, and Tsuruchi within the last four. This has always been a point of pride for me, and I have always worshiped my ancestors with great reverence. While I was always as strong as any of my fellow Samurai, my devout nature lead me to the path of the Shugenja. While not the most skilled, I excelled in my training, gaining great insight and ties to the water kami. I also found a natural talent for with fire spirits as well, so much so that I seemed to have the blood of Osano Wo and be blessed by Moshi Azami herself, and I have tried to reflect her devotion and faith in my actions. I had many reasons to take pride in myself and my heritage, but pride is a sin and a weakness in Samurai, as it is often an illusion of arrogance.
After my Genpuku, my summoned me to discuss something that would shake my faith and destroy my pride. She had wed my father not out of love, but of duty, as is not uncommon for samurai. This was not unknown, however, when she married, there was great stress to bear him a child. While she tried, she was unable to, and went to a Shugenja with particular insight to find out what to do. She was told that there was nothing wrong, she had not offended the spirits, her body was capable, and she should be able to bear a child, but the Shugenja had divined that my father would never be able to have a child. When she told me this, her head sank and she fell silent, so in my confusion I asked what she did. She said that I was not my father’s child, and that I was in fact the son of a family servant, not even a vassal but a peasant. I was filled with emotions; shame, anger, disgust, and fear alike. I wanted to lash out, but even though I was of peasant blood, I was a still Samurai, I was a man, and I could not tell my mother what I thought. I could not betray my family and tell anyone, even though I had learned of this dark secret. I merely bowed to her and left without saying a word, and I have not said one to her since.
I sank into despair, my dreams haunted by nightmares, and my meditation clouded by doubt of myself. I began to question many things, and even questioned if I should petition for seppuku. The one thing I held onto was faith. I was a Shugenja, and my connection to the kami stayed strong. I knew that the spirits, the fortunes, and my ancestors would guide me, even if the living could not. I decided to forsake the material concerns and politics of my clan as best as I could without faltering in my duty. However, it is hard to be an aesthetic in a clan whose power is derived from wealth. My Lord was gracious in allowing me to go on a journey to find the truth of the balance between wealth and faith. In truth, nobody expects me to ever return, even though I am not officially an outcast. For him, it was a way to have me leave and release me from service without putting shame on my family. For me, it is a way to find my true path, and for that I am grateful.
While I am still plagued with doubts and nightmares, they are fewer and I believe I will find the answers I seek in the mainland, even if I must first find the right questions.

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Sand Crab
His a crosses the desert to punch a Dijin in the face.

I have embarked upon a strange quest indeed. We are traveling out beyond the Motorola lands into the Sea of Sands. Not long after we departed we were beset upon by bandits and the undead. The undead were no real challenge, but the bandits were many indeed.
We tried to resist but were easily overcome.
We teavelled for days unending across sands, and scrub rarely stopping for water and never for supplies.

We travelled by night to avoid the worst of the heat.

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Godaigo in the Burning Sands

I am Mirumoto Godaigo. I am recording what already may be my final days, and what most certainly is my final journey. I can not rely on my allies to tell my story, for they too face dangers that may kill us all. I have hesitated to record our mission, in fear that others may learn of our purpose and thwart it. However, I prey that if we fall, other more honorable and skilled warriors may take our cause for the sake of all Rokugan. I know longer fear the other clans plotting or stealing information for their own, not when compared to the enemies far more dangerous and honorless that may doom us all. The scrolls of Hantei are no mere legend, for I have seen them and their power. Two of my companions have read one themselves, one blinded by its power, but able to see through the void, and another whose fear has been taken from him, and has turned into a warrior ferocious and powerful as any I have seen fight. I fear what such power could do in the wrong hands, especially if one man or beast held them all. If they were any other artifact, I would destroy them myself, but I can not wish such ill on such holy writings. It is to our benefit and our detriment that the scrolls can be used to find each other. If that was not the case they might be hidden, but it is only a matter a time before they are gathered, whether it now or a hundred years I know they will be. Our quest is to find them, and it has led us into the burning sands.
This land is as wanting in water and honor, and only a handful of gaijin have offered us either. Our possessions and the scrolls themselves have been stolen by a group of gaijin bandits called hassasins or such. We go to their very den to destroy them, but they have the land and numbers against us. They will no doubt fight with no honor, as we have already been ambushed twice by slavers and bandits in this land. If we die, then may fate allow they can not read this and it finds it’s way to Rokugani hands. A group of gaigin merchants had led us to believe they exist in an oasis by the submerged city of [player memory lapse]. We have traveled with them as far as our paths crossed, and now we have left to find the city.
I thought we might find the bandits at the submerged city, but we have instead come across a wayward spirit. It is bound to this world by some curse of his own doing, but I still feel the honorable thing is to help this spirit rest. The spirit has offered us what lies in his tomb as a reward, but only a staff and gem are required to be taken. Fortunately, the very gem is required to summon an evil spirit that we have also sworn to destroy, as if fate has aligned our goal with this spirit. We are preparing to enter his very tomb in order to do so, and I have a feeling that I have done this once before. I shall not allow my allies to die this time. If the dead try to take them, I will see they can not, even if I have to sacrifice myself to do so.

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Book 2 Chapter 6
Out of the Fire and into the Grease

I was poisoned by a snake recently, the poison and heat made me delirious, yet still more then capable of convincing the Tsuyo to drop his weapon so as not to follow the same fate of Shinji. Of course I wouldn’t have lasted much longer had they not given me antitoxin for the bite.

I feel better but I believe that in this instance, it is better to stay quiet, listen and learn, then to struggle. I hat this desert and these barbarians. But now our quest for the Scrolls has been waylayed by a quest for some silly gems so that we can kill some demon for the barbarians. Which means that it will take even longer for us to return home. These, well I can’t call them people and I’d rather not keep using the word barbarians over and over again, I suppose I’ll just call them ‘things’; these ‘things’ are rather revolting, they almost never bath, they where way too much perfume, and while we were walking to the house that had been provided for us by the headman’s man I witnessed some of the most debase actions I have ever seen, things even the lowliest eta wouldn’t even do.

We were robbed, in the middle of the nite a very talented individual or group silently creep into the house we were given and stole just about everything they could get away with. Including the scrolls. While this only further serves to keep us here in this accused place longer, it may prove to be a blessing in disguise. This individual that stole the scrolls is very talented and my prove useful in expediting our departure if some of the rumors about what we will be looking for are true.

Oh and recent events have helped me to compose a new poem
Birds fly near the ground
Crabs shell crack from the pressure
Scorpion sees all

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Beyond the Embrace of the Mother

http://www.portfolio.tokyographics.com/?portfolio=beach-sumo
That is something along the line of what Hida Tsuyo had in mind from the Burning Sands.

Zen thoughts by Hida Tsuyo
It sure is hot out here in the day, but bracing cold at night. Balance even in this broken land.

And Now a Haiku.
Sand sand sand
look there; a giant bird
Its hot here

Private cosmic humor. The Scorpion was poisoned. ( would be less funny if she died)

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Book 2 Chapter 5
Family letter part 2

THAT WAS A DISGRACEFUL MESS! Akihiko, it is no wonder Hotui is the black sheep of the family, he has no sense of subtly, he just walks in and slauters everything in his way with no mind to anything but blood.

That however wasn’t even the worse part, the worse part happened after the battle, as I went to secure the stolen merchandise the a fore mentioned Phoenix, Isawa-san, a Mantis, Yoritomo-san, and Bayushi Tsubaki all swarmed the storeroom. Isawa-san found a large box of something requiring the attention of the Magistrate herself. Before I left i bore witness to Tsubaki, with all the subtly of a Hida berserker , demand to know what was in the box. When I returned with the Magistrate Isawa-san took her aside obviously to tell her what was in the box. Her reaction was to open the box stick a rope in it, which shocked Isawa-san to the point of arguing with her. The magistrate was so frustrated that she left it’s disposal up to him. I fear that I will have to spend so much time covering for everyone that I will miss my opportunity to advance my courtship with Yiting-san.

Well I suppose I need to start preparing for the backlash I know will come from their actions, so I end this letter with my best wishes for your safety.

Your dotting sister

Shosuro Akiko

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Book 2 Chapter 4
Family Letter part 1

Dear Onee-san,

Thank you for your letter, so much has happened since my last letter. I told you about how my companions and I protected the Moto daimyo from evil spirits that were causing his garden to die. Well due to my actions he introduced me to his niece, Yiting-san’s aunt. We talked for quite some time and coordinated more time for Yiting and I to be together, I would greatly appreciate it if you would be my chaperone during these meetings. I’m so exited I think I’ll get a new kimono, but that will have to wait because first we will be traveling to Matsu lands for a tournament. I have met more of the company I am traveling with, including a Shugenja of the Phoenix clan that didn’t introduce himself, and a cute little Crane Daidoji who flaps his wings so hard because he thinks he is flying into the wind. It is fortunate I have no reason to turn the winds on him, it gives me time to work on his preconceived notions.

Oh! But back to the tournament, it is being held by Lady Katara, and after much traveling we arrived to find a lowly merchant complaining about how his storehouse was robbed. Aikhiko his story moved my companions enough the majority of them decided to help him. that night we ran into cousin Hotui, you know “that” guy. Apparently he was also invited to the tournament as well. While we all had dinner that night I convinced him to assist us with finding the merchant’s stuff.

In the morning I went to see Lady Katara’s personal assistant to see about offering our services to take care of her bandit problem. I convinced her that we were the best option, apparently I played up the companies abilities pretty high because she made us temporary Emerald magistrates. At the same time I decided to take the opportunity to introduce Daidoji-san as the company’s champion, when I said that he looked completely terrified for a moment then regained his On, but that is irrelevant.

Well Hotui has found the merchant’s silk, we will be heading out momentarily, I’ll continue this letter when we return back.

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Book 2 Chapter 3
Scorpion letters Written by aikiko

Dear Yiting-San,

Onee-San tells me that you two have been attached to the same unit in the imperial legion. It warms my heart to hear that the enemies of the empire have to face the combined might of both you and my brother.

My caravan comes here from the temple of Oso-wono where we met a rather rambunctious Hida bushi and an obtuse Mirumoto bushi.

The Hida however did “attempt” to preform a tea ceremony when we met him, then we began our travels to Shiro Moto. Along the way a lovely Utaku Battle Maiden, she and I got to talking and she mentioned that she wanted a new dress. I remembered the dress shop that you told me about and helped get her a very beautiful and faltering dress.

The next day we received an invitation to see Moto-Osama at his garden. The place was a wreck and dying. He was fed up with the condition and tasked us with finding a famous Gardner.

And Yiting-San, those… Those uncultured animals had me walking like some peasant, I thought at one point they would simply leave me behind. However the reality of what happened was far worse, and Yiting, that Hida picked me up and carried me, he smelled so bad, I was so embarrassed by his actions I thought I would die. However if Hida-San hadn’t carried me I would never have had the opportunity to embarrass a sad little Crane bushi in the arts of court. My haiku was thus…

Almost spring
A silk of wind
Through trees

By winning thg Gardner agreed to come with us to see Moto-Osama and fix his garden. When we returned I began looking for a gift for the Moto Osama and found a spyglass for him and I got some shashish.

Moving on, at the garden the Gardner sprinkled something out and found out that spirits had infested the garden. They attempted to attack the diamyo but I defended him and in return Moto-Osama gifted us with Moto steeds.

Well I believe that just about covers everything so I will close this with a haiku…

Love is not complex
It demands an abstract mind
And a present heart

Shosuro Aikiko

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Book 2 Chapter 2
Hare Dances With Scorpion: Try not to get stung.

Cousin Rin,

A Hare and a Scorpion walked in a field one evening. The Hare, young and naive, remarked to the Scorpion,“How wonderful these stars, see how they dance above? Do you know any dances, my friend?”

The Scorpion replied “I only know the one dance, and I hear you know many, show me one so that I may learn.”

I forget how the rest of the story goes, but the Hare gets stung and dies. Apparently the only dance the Scorpion knows involves it stinging you with its tail, while its claws provide percussion.

On they way home I encountered a troupe of entertainers and Geisha. She and I walked under the stars and asked me about the “Hare digs for Radishes”. I blushed and she insisted, and well, she was persuasive in her arguments. Turns out I should have payed more attention to the lesson of the Turtle and the Scorpion. She drugged me and rifled our bags. My companion is missing his scroll. This is most vexing indeed.

Head well the warnings of the Kami. There are strange goings on afoot.
Remember the lesson of the Oni in the Cave.

I cannot wait to see the look on the Mirutomo’s face when you dance the Tiganza for him. You should get all the girls in the village to join you. I think he may break from blushing. Who knows you may even get to dance some of the more interesting forms with him ;-)

It is almost time for us to go now. I wish we could move faster, but our luggage train is slow. I would run the whole way home, but the others could not keep up.

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Book 2 Chapter 1
The Hare dances with the Dragon "Try not to look tasty. "

Cousin Rin,

There is a proverb Usagi-osama san used to tell us kits, “When the Hare dances with the Dragon he should be wary of the tail as well as the tooth.” Another I always liked was “When Dancing with Cranes the Beak is the most dangerous but pay close attention to the Foot as well.” I find these always to be good advice.

Unfortunately, none of these cover my current problem. I have avoided the Dragon, head and tail, but have become entangled in its middle. So now how do I get the Dragon to dance with me? Well, to paraphrase something else I once heard,“If one expects to be the ruler of Hares one must expect to wear floppy ears”, I have put on the Dragon’s scales and tied back my ears but she still will not dance. Perhaps I have to pull her tail?

I think that is what it will take, I have behaved poorly, but now I must correct her as well. This is my problem and no amount of wooing will fix it. Gifts, songs, flowers, none of these have worked. So now I must pull the Dragon’s tail and be prepared to dance.

In Other news I was presented to the Dragon’s Claw and avoided getting scratched by using Cousin Wa-ren’s method. Strike true and fast. Granted my meager advance caused her no mind, and She redirected me easily. Better Parried than squashed I say. And now I have a different partner that I need to worry myself with.

Oh! Good news, on our journey we are passing south generally, and I may be able to convince my Bothers to come home to us. A Daidoji comes with us! I am sure Cousins Mae and Yukari would just hop to see him. (And he has the most impressive Spear!) A sullen Dragon has also joined us, but he is FAR to eager to Dance the Claws for my taste, he is just a Kit but he will do nicely for any of the girls. Good family there.

My Best and Always,
Kenji

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