The Tanaka Trading Company has been running a huge trade caravan from Supai prefecture all the way down the east coast of Soburin to its final destination in Ikari prefecture. On the Imperial road through the mountains between Yokuba and Ikari, General Hu Ban called a halt. He gathered a small group of 5 caravan guards from different places along the train of carts and wagons. He told the assembled group that scouts had reported possible bakemono activity in the mountain pass ahead and that it was a dangerous place to take the caravan. General Hu commanded the small group of caravan guards enter the mountain pass and destroy any bakemono or other threats in the area and then report back.
The group included a young male Soburi Samurai Lord named Subotai Korusu with beautifully crafted Tosei Gusoku armor bearing the code of arms of the Korusu Noble Family. A finely crafted family Katana was sheathed at the samurai’s hip also noting his noble birth from Korusu prefecture. Another member was a male Soburi yamabushi sorcerer from the deep wild forests of Sukochi prefecture Wang Shu. He wielded a huge Naginata with intricate calligraphy carved along its wooden haft.
The third member of the group was a yet another male Soburi who was clearly trained in the martial arts. His arms and legs were covered with vivid tattoos of coiled snakes and he carried a stout bo staff. He said very little responding to most questions by spitting or shrugging. But he did in fact say his name – Kataashi Kikku.
The fourth member of the group was a beautiful and graceful Soburi female Yamabushi wielding a katana, longbow, and steel fans. Her name was Kai Winding.
The fifth member of the group was a male Soburi warrior with a wide brimmed straw hat that kept the sun from his face and kept an elaborate samurai demon mask coverin ghis face in shadow. He went by Wei Tai.
There was little introduction to one another before setting to the task of their work. For not long into their scouting of the mountain pass, they encountered a large group of bakemono led by a shikome. The creatures were waiting in ambush where the road turned through a mountain pass with large cliffs on either side. Three bakemono archers hid some 50 feet up the steep cliffs.
A large group of 10 bakemono swarmed out from hiding to attack . The goblin like creatures were led by a large Shikome who wielded an Odachi – a Katana with a 5 foot long blade.
The archers rained arrows down upon Subotai Korusu who was in the lead. The arrows either missed their mark, bounced off his ornate Tosei Gusoku armor, or was cut in twain by a swift swing of his Katana. The bakemono on the ground swarmed forward and tried to overwhelm Subotai Korusu and Kataashi Kikku. Kataashi was fast and quick enabling him to dodge most of the blows. As he fought his hands and feet seemed to smolder with red energy.
Subotai Korusu cut bakemono down like wheat with clean strong swings of his beautifully ornate Katana. Kataashi Kikku used his staff to smash the faces of the bakemono and used powerful kicks to kill more. Kai Winding gracefully moved across the battlefield using her magic to bless the attacks and saves of the assembled heroes. Later she fired her longbow to great effect – putting an arrow through a bakemono’s throat.Wang Shu called upon his magic to summon lightning around another bakemono electrocuting it. Later he cut down another with a mighty swing of his Naginata. Wei Tai hurled kunai – specially weighted throwing knives to bury them deep into bakemono flesh.
Everyone fought bravely but the bakemono were too many. Another group of 6 were charging up the road to join the fight, replacing those that had fallen. An arrow struck Kataashi Kikku and then a small bakemono blade found its way into his back. The martial artist pitched forward to the ground blood pouring out of the horrible wound in his back. Kai Winding said a prayer and cast her arms towards Kataashi and his wounds were magically healed. He was able to get back up and rejoin the fight. Later Wei Tai was cut down a with a viscous jab from a bakemono blade. He fell to the ground apparently bleeding to death. But a minute later he miraculously stood back up having rolled a 20 on his death save. Finally the shikome swung his huge Odachi and got past Subotai Korusu’s guard. The blade cut deep into Subotai’s shoulder as the mighty samurai fell before the shikome.
Things were looking very grim when suddenly a group of 3 bakemono fell asleep for no apparent reason. A round later another 3 bakemono fell asleep again – some sort of magic was at work but no one seemed to know the source of it.. The party fought on with renewed vigor. Kataashi Kikku sent a powerful kick completely though the chest of the shikome to explode out his back in a shower of gore that covered the fallen body of Subotai Korusu in its filth. Kai Winding used her dagger fan in one hand to block and parry attacks while in the other her Katana cut down bakemono with clean and precise strikes.
The tied had turned as another 2 bakemono suddenly fell asleep like the others. Shortly thereafter the last of the bakemono were slain. Wang Shu drank a healing potion himself as his wounds were mighty. He then tended to the fallen Subotai Korusu and told everyone that the noble samurai still lived and that he was stable. Kataashi Kikku casually walked over to one of the sleeping bakemono and stomped on his skull crushing it beneath his foot. Wei Tai drew his knife across another sleeping bakemono throat to bleed him out. Suddenly Kai Winding yelled a command to stop. The sleeping bakemono were under her protection and were not to be slain. She drew her katana and unfurled her dagger fan stating that anyone who wished to further harm the bakemono would have to go through her.
Everyone stared at her somewhat dumbfounded. Wang Shu quickly came over to her side and said that he agreed. He would defend them also. Wei Tai said that the bakemono had no honor and should not be allowed to live. Kai Winding replied that all life was precious and that the creatures were under her protection. Kataashi Kikku simply shrugged and spit on the ground.
Kataashi Kikku searched the fallen bodies of the bakemono and the shikome. He found 36 CP and 22 SP total amongst the bakemono and 12 GP on the shikome. The Master Treasure List was updated. While gathering up all the coin he noticed something moving in the shadow of the trees up on the mountain. Wang Shu lit the area up with a dancing lights spell and Kataashi investigated. He only saw some small whisps of smoke gently floating on the breeze through the trees lit up by the dancing lights. He sniffed the air and it smelled of tobacco.
Kai Winding and Wang Shu spoke aloud their thoughts that they had been visited by a benign Kami spirit. They even posited that the Kami had cast the magic that put the bakemono to sleep. In order to honor the Kami spirits of the area, they worked together to build a small shrine with bits of wood and rock. Inside the shrine they each put an offering the the Kami. Wang Shu placed 2 copper coins. Kai Winding placed 6 copper coins. Kataashi Kikku placed a tiny wooden donkey he had whittled. And Wei Tai placed a bowl of bakemono blood in the shrine. After that Wang Shu used his Saxian – stringed instrument to perform a song to honor the Kami. He sang of the far away forests of Sukochi prefecture. He loved their peace and beauty and wished to return there some day.
And with that Kataashi Kikku tied up the bakemono by their hands with a leash like rope so he could control them. Wang Shu and Wei Tai carried the still unconscious body of Subotai Korusu. And Kai Winding kept a watchful eye as the group marched back towards the Tanaka Trading Company caravan. After an hour of travel, Subotai Korusu regained consciousness and walked using his own power. Wang Shu filled him in on what had happened after he fell to the Shikome’s Odachi.