The Conscripts and the Festival of Amaterasu: (12th Feb 2017) Edit
After returning from the Apiary, the heroes set to work as they had agreed. Ashira and Hisen went to Hisen's father's library and began to study. Ashira read about the details of the prophecy "When the last Akodo Falls, so falls the last of Hantai". He learns about how this prophecy was spoken at the tournament of the Kami, by the Kami Togashi. He also checked the description of the vision that Nobarah saw and noted that it was almost an exact match for the current Dragon clan champion. Hisen studied the details of Uikku. It was said that most of his prophecies were enshrined within a great library. However that library was attacked and burned down by the Snake clan. The snake clan were wiped out by the Phoenix clan in a display of unprecedented thoroughness as they had been corrupted and possessed by a Shuten Doji, the manifestation of the sin of Regret and heavily practised Maho. When the phoenix had finished with them, the ground was salted, every living thing was dead and no stone larger than a fist remained.
Nobarah went to visit the magistrates office where she spoke with Doji Kazumi and asked about the 4 Justicars that had visited the village 13 years ago. Kazumi did not know much, but pointed out that the previous magistrated had retired to the Jade Tea Village in Crab lands. She read the notes and found that the Justicars claimed to be pursuing a heinous criminal, who stole something from the Traitors Grove (A place of ritual punishment and exectution reserved for traitors against the clan) and described them as being large, muscular and mortally wounded. Nobarah privately suspected this might refer to Blue Mountain.
She returned to meet the others at the library where they consulted with Isawa Kenji. He said that there was no chance that anything from Snake lands would have escaped the purge and that the trail of the lost prophecies has been cold for centuries and the commonly explored avenues of investigation have been well-explored.
Afterwards Nobarah went to the refugees and started to help build an obstacle course.
Hisen and Ashira went to see Shinjo Xian Chi and after consulting with the magistrate, together they went hunting down the main road through the next couple of villages, but returned with nothing more threatening than a pheasant.
The following day was the festival of Amaterasu. Hisen and Nobarah particularly needed to make many preparations.
Nobarah overslept by accident and missed most of the early morning activities. Hisen had to rehearse along with his sister for the upcoming ceremonies they would be expected to perform at the festival its self, especially at sunrise and sunset. Ashira was practicing Go.with his elderly servant.
They were collected by the twins and Xian Chi and taken to the Governors mansion where he asked their opinions on the refugee situation and invited them to help conscript the refugees into forming a military unit for some upcoming War games near Beiden. The governor stressed that they should not be warned in advance of the conscription as he did not want any of them to flee as if he needed to conscript 100 spears from the village and was unable to make it up using refugees, he would need to start recruiting from the local peasantry.
Despire Nobarah's many reservations, they began their planning to conscript the peasants discretely. The plan was for an obstacle course, starting by the temple, across the Plains of Thunder, over the pool and up the cliff-face and then over a specially made bridge to be greeted at the governors mansion by the local Ashigaru and Samurai of the guard.
Xian Chi managed to take some of the money and purchased a large amount of rice for a knock-down price from a passing Mantis ship coming up from the Crab lands, which had experienced an early harvest and had a surplus to sell. A small portion was to be made into rice balls for all of the participants. The larger amount would be about 5 days rations of rice to give to their families, which would allow everybody else to follow the newly minted guard unit until they could reach the town of Beiden where the war-games were due to take place.
Hisen and Tomo tried to lure the crowd in, Nobarah and Tomoko made rice balls, Blue Mountain, Xian Chi and Ashira set up the obstacle course.
Hisen fumbled his delivery and blanked out for a few moments. Tomo came in a tried to salvage it, but found the crowd unresponsive until they increased the offered rewards significantly. Eventually managing to sway the crowd.
Nobarah and Tomoko tried making the rice-balls that would be offered as a part of the prize together. However Tomoko was more useful as a critic than as a cook. However her advice did help Nobarah to make sure that each rice ball was the same size and shape and curbed her desire to make the portion sizes larger.
The other three constructed an obstacle course which cleverly required about 5 people to work together to move a large block that would fall back into place once they passed it. Meaning that when they reached the governors palace, they would be exhausted and in easily controlled groups of five.
Finally the day came and the obstacle course was a huge success. 106 people completed the take.
The rest of the days festivities went well. Ashira entered a Go contest and only lost out in the penultimate round to Doji Kazumi. Hisen went to the theater which was somewhat ruined by Tomoko's constant critiquing and Nobarah went around with Tomo as he sampled a bit of everything.