So, ignore the Topaz Championship that I ran a while ago. I’ll throw up a proper outcome of that later (none of the PCs won, though they did all come pretty high up in the rankings).
After the Topaz Championship, the three Crab PCs were given honour guard duty – the niece of Hida Kisada was a bride-to-be, and having well-known young Crab in her household whilst her wedding was organised would look good to those outside the clan. And being the high profile affair it was bound to be, having three Crab samurai who placed higher in the Championship than its Crane clan hosts would no doubt snub them in just the right way too!
In the mid-Autumn, Hida Hino-kansai and her escorted headed north from Shiro Hida, making their way to Shiro Kaosuki no Higashi – Face of the East Castle.
As this is the commercial hub for the Crab’s dealings with outsiders, and part of the way towards the groom’s family lands among the Unicorn, it seemed the best place to hold the wedding.
On the way, near the edges of Shinomen Forest, the group were attacked in the middle of the night by a small band of goblins. The bride and the Kuni shugenja used their magic whilst the Hiruma and Hida bushi fought hand-to-claw with the interlopers. Without taking any losses to their ashigaru escort, they defeated the goblins, and summised they had either somehow passed through the Twilight Mountains and headed south, or else they were some of the goblins said to haunt the Shinomen itself.
Arriving at Face of the East, the bride was given a house and servants for her stay, courtesy of her cousin, Yasuki Dofu, who would be the officiate of her wedding ceremony.
Reporting to the local watch commander about the goblins, nearby patrols were stepped up, but with little to show for it.
Meeting the groom’s younger brother, the PCs were given a tour of the town. Otaku Zhao wore a fur-lined kimono, and a necklace of ancient coins. Arriving at a sake house, he bought the group a bottle of fine sake and a private room, and while a geisha played her samisen nearby, he recounted the tale of the groom’s swords, and how the wedding came to be.
During one of his adventures, the groom found himself in the Shadowlands, helping to fight against the returning scourge of the Kesu-no-Oni, named for the stolen face of Hida Kesu which it wore.
Having found the ancient Hida Kesu bound to a tree and being forced to spawn the oni from himself with each of its rebirths, Otaku Kiyomaru offered to be his second, and Hida Kesu saw the honour in killing the oni before it could harm another again. As his second, and lacking any other heir, Kiyomaru took up the ornate sword of Kesu, and after returning to the Great Bear Kisada, he foretold it would one day return to the Hida family, in the traditional method. Being unwed, it would be easy to engineer this outcome, and coming from a matriarchy like the Otaku, it would even be traditional for him to join a new family and become a Hida.
After the story, Otaku Zhao explained that his family would see the wedding as further blessed if it could uphold a tradition of the wandering Unicorn clan, even if the groom himself was to leave them. The group would have to seek out and find a few items for the bride to wear about her person during the ceremony: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. As the first members of the bridal party to arrive (her family had not yet travelled north, and Yasuki Dofu was away on business), the PCs were asked to help boost the luck of the marriage and track down the items themselves.
Escorting the group back to their household, Zhao gave a gift of a lucky cricket to the bride, which he gave to her before returning to his lodgings.
Part 2 up soon!