The Night-Dimmed Day – Part II – Game Session 4

(The following is the subjective date – to the players it appears to have stopped)

July 3rd 2000, Monday

1:35 pm

(The following is the chronological date)

November 6th 1614, Sunday

5:00 pm

Unnamed Village at Akumagajikko Mountain Pass, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

The PCs, along with General Yuki-me, eventually come up with a plan to take back Koriwayama Castle and kill Hotaru, the evil sorcerer who took it in the first place. But first Yuki-me asks Yojimbo to take them to see the Maker in the Mountain1 (the same one he got his already legendary spear from). Yojimbo acquiesces but informs him that no one can find the Maker if he doesn’t want them too.  He instructs Yuki-me to give him a basket with slings and several different types of food as well as saki. Several hours later Yojimbo leads them to a nearby mountain and sits under a tree, drinking saki even offering the tree some saki at one point. After a while, a path seems to “appear” in the rocky snow-covered terrain and the small group begins the tasking of walking up the winding path to the mountain. Several hours later, they finally come to an opening in the mountain, a cave with a “Heaven and Earth Gate” carved into the mountainside itself. Yojimbo leads everyone inside the long passage. The sound of a rhythmic thrumming echoing off of the stone. Eventually they come to a small room with a cot, table, and tatami mats. Yojimbo places the food and the saki on the table and waits. Moments later the rhythmic thrumming stops and the sound of cantered footsteps can be heard getting closer. Eventually a small rotund man dressed in a soot covered kimono and apron appears and sits at the table. Speaking quietly with Yojimbo he polite nods to the rest and begins to eat and drink. After a time he stands and then heads back down the dark passage beckoning the others with a hand. Once inside the PCs can only marvel at the huge cavern they find themselves in. Behind them and to the left and right the walls are filled with weapons and armor of all make and hue. N front of them a massive stone forge heated by the power of a volcano can be seen. Though it takes some time all the PCs and Yuki-me are shown around the room and find a seemingly perfect set of armor and weapons. The equipment fitting so well it seems to be made for them. The Maker gives Yojimbo a piece of advice2 and then bows respectfully to the others before going back to his work.

After they get back to their village the PCs begin to put the finishing touches on their plan of assault. Realizing they’ll have to ford the Hyogan River Yojimbo suggests creating light rope bridges and using heavy arrows and pulleys shot by Gelar to cross the river at the shallows without ever getting wet. Liking the plan the entire group of villages and warriors begin making rope bridges. Gelar continues working on the bow he had been creating to give to Madoka Kou, the priest that took him in. Eventually he realizes that the bow he was making is actually the bow that he had been given in the future by his own teacher, the same one he gave up to the Eyeless.

November 6th 1614, Sunday

10:00 pm

Hyogan River Shallows, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

After bringing the ashigaru and samurai to the shallows the PCs, along with the SEAL team, Marie, and Yojimbo get into position. Gelar quickly sends to arrows streaming into a tree across the river and using his chi silences the impact.  The SEAL team pulls the first bridge into place and the PCs quickly rush across surprising the ground forces while Sergei and Marie quickly take out the guards in the makeshift wooden towers. Despite the fact that they were outnumbered by nearly two-to-one and the opposing force included a group of oni the battle is over in seconds. After securing the opposite side and disposing of the bodies they help the army cross and set up the rest of the rope bridges. The PCs and Yuki-me’s forces then split up.

Alex Hamilton and Yojimbo

November 7th 1614, Sunday

12:50 am

Kuroiki Forest, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

Since Minninnewah is capable enough to carry three riders Alex, Jestinius, and Yojimbo make their way to Kuroiki Forest where Jestinius had hid the workings of a portal in a stone carving on the forest floor. While it does take some time to find it Minninnewah is so fast and capable of literally running on the wind they easily avoid many of the guardians Hotaru had set there. Once he does find it, it only takes a bit more work and some of his blood to create a shimmering rift in the air – a gate3. On the other side his carefully trained and highly equipped forces are waiting and begin to march through the to the other side. The reinforcements then make their way to the Hoyoki Hills where Yuki-me’s forces are waiting till they make on Koriwayama Castle.

Angelique Ashur, Gelar Ohanzee, Jonathan Valerius Baksheesh, & Sergei Romanova

November 7th 1614, Sunday

1:50 am

Koriwayama Castle, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

While the others gather reinforcements the rest of the PCs go to sneak into the castle itself and free Otawana, a local dragon spirit that Hotaru has enslaved by desecrating a local shrine with innocent blood. The PCs must sneak into the castle proper and from there into the shrine without getting caught and then perform a ritual of exorcism to sanctify the shrine once more. Getting into the castle proves strangely easy as Sergei leads their way in. Once in, they head for the snow-covered shrine silent as shadows in the early morning hours. While the ritual normally takes at least three hours, Gelar (and Angelique, acting as a miko) decides to go for the “short-short” version. Once they are done both Gelar and Angelique decide to visit the “spirit world” (the mirrorwall aka the astral plane) to speak with the dragon. Otawana is thankful they freed him and though he wanted to simply leave Angelique convinces him to stay and fight for Yuki-me when they retake the castle. The PCs quickly leave, using the same way they got in (a unguarded section of the walls facing the river) to get back out. On their way back to the meet up location they discover a rather large force of oni, hannya4, jikininki5, and ninja6 heading towards the encamped army. Angelique decides to go around them and instead make Yuki-me aware of the situation.

November 7th 1614, Sunday

4:00 am

Hoyoki Hills, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

Thanks to the intelligence gathered by Angelique and the others Yuki-me and his officers manage to turn the tides on the force that was trying to ambush them and instead turn a surprise ambush into a rout that utterly destroys the other side and remarkably leaves Yuki-me’s forces completely unharmed (mostly thanks to the quick thinking and skills of the PCs and their allies). Deciding to take advantage of the failed attempt to surprise them Yuki-me leads his army along with Jestinus’s forces towards Koriwayama Castle to assault it just as the sun is rising.

November 7th 1614, Sunday

6:36 am

Koriwayama Castle, Ishikari Mountains, Japan

The PCs all lead a small group of soldiers or samurai as the assault begins. Jestinius having held his magic back for so long (so Hotaru would not know he was there) calls silver lightening from the sky killing all the archers on the top of the walls and utterly destroying the castle gates. This allows the allied forces to quickly enter the castle and swarm over the opposition in huge numbers. By the time the sun has fully rose the castle again belongs to Yuki-me. The PCs find Hotaru cornered in the courtyard but before they can dispatch him for his crimes he smiles and turns into a hundred crows escaping for the second time. During all the fighting Yojimbo found the man that killed his family, Akuro Kumori a ronin and bandit leader. Having challenged and killed him to a duel, he took his father’s armor back from the evil warrior. As Yojimbo turns around, still alive despite the Maker’s warning the earth begins to tremble and a crack appears along with boiling water and steam. From the crack a huge demonic octopus7 makes its way out and begins to attack the allied forces until the PCs step in. The fighting is fierce but thanks to some timely intervention and quick thinking the PCs manage to send the monster back to hell. Yojimbo, believing that he had managed to escape his doom celebrates to early as a tentacle comes whipping from the hole in the earth dragging him downward and into hell. The last things the PCs see are Yojimbo’s eyes close as he accepts his fate and jumps down to fight the creature that is his doom.

Despite the relatively few losses Yuki-me suffered he is contrite at the loss of life, not only to his samurai but to the villagers that had been suffering under Hotaru’s rule. Inside his small throne room, they find the piece of the crystal skull that they had come for to begin with. Getting their remaining things they take the fragment to the hills where they were originally found and after saying a farewell bring the crystal to the original spot activating the portal back to their own time and home.

Angelique convinces everyone not to say anything about the fact that they time traveled and all agree, even Ecks the SEALs leader.

July 3rd 2000, Monday

5:35 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

Once back in their own time they learn that approximately four hours had passed. They tell Viktor and the others that they ended up getting trapped in a area in the Dreamland that mirrored the warring states era of Japan. After the debriefing, they go to their respective rooms waiting for the techs to recalibrate the machine for the next piece of the skull.

July 3rd 2000, Monday

6:00 pm

Undisclosed Island in Michigan Lake

1 The Maker in the Mountain is a legend among the people of Hokkaido going back several hundred years. He is a maker of weapons and armor for those who need them, giving them freely in their time of need and asking for nothing, or perhaps occasionally a meal and saki. Some say he is Inari or perhaps the son of Ishikore-dome, yet others whisper he is Masamune himself giving immortality by a peach from Seiobo’s garden. Whoever he is his methods and techniques are unparalleled, though not magical – just highly skilled. His methods are even better than some modern ones.

2 The Maker gave Yojimbo his spear when he was a young man with vengeance on his mind, though it came with a warning. If he continued down the path he was on it would lead him to his hated foe but it would also signal his death at the hands of the sea. He murmured to Yojimbo that there was still time, he could take the spear back and Yojimbo could go and live a happy life with Saski.

3 Because Jestinius had time to prepare (nearly 30 months) before he ‘meet’ the PCs again in the past he created a stone circle that he empowered to act as a focus for a gate he then built in his own domain in the far north. Though the traditional method of creating a permanent or semi-permanent gate usually involves a doorway or some other portal it can be done using walls, floors, and other solid surfaces. He used his own blood to anchor the gate in place so that no other being could possibly open it without also breaking it. Since this took place in the past the ‘psychic turbulence’ of the Blackout in ‘modern day’ had no effect on his opening and maintaining it.

4 Hannya are similar to European hags. They usually start out life as mortal women who have been scorned or hurt in some other way by a man and then die. But when they die they rise again as a form of demon who goes out of their way to taunt and hurt mortal men and women. They have a piercing shriek and claws so sharp they can rend a samurai’s armor apart from the sheer impact.

5 Jikininki are essentially ghouls, though they have several distinctly Japanese traits. They for instance can paralyze others by the mere sight of them instead of having to touch them and can create a human seeming that allows them to live “normal” lives by day. They still crave human flesh however.

6 There are a total of nine great shinobi clans and several hundred lesser clans. When one ninja clan destroys another those that are left alive become “rogue” and are usually not accepted into other clans. These “rogue” ninja lead short brutal lives typically as work-for-hire killers and spies. These ended up in Hotaru’s service  as he promised that he would  “form a new clan”.

7 This creature is a tako-oni, a terrible beast with a hunger for human flesh who delights in destroying ships and terrorizing sea side villages. Similar to the Norwegian legend of the kraken.

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