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1. Shinjo Takuya

Memoirs of a Bushi #1

Played on October 7th, 2018

Year 1123, Isawa Calendar

It has begun. My journey, both physically and mentally, towards reaching my gempuku. I have travelled for many days with only Jinsoku Yajirushi to keep me company. It has given me ample time to wrestle with my troubled and conflicted thoughts and feelings. My Ninjō tells me to seek revenge on the cowardly crane clan for the dishonor they have brought my family. My Giri however directs me to representing my clan to the maximum extent of my abilities and bring honor to my family by winning the Topaz Championship. However as the first brave blossoming lotus flowers, slowly but steadily, other contestants have joined me on the trip to Tsuma.

While travelling, I try to judge my fellow competitors, but to little avail. Some of them, like the dragon monk Togashi and the Lion bushi Akodo are trained equally well in keeping their compsure as I have been the last years or, like the Scorpion courtier Bayushi, hide theirs behind a mask constantly. The fair Phoenix Shugenja Isawa, is hard to understand since she is dabbling in the spirit world, which is still a large unknown to me. I try to steer clear for now from the Crane courtier. Ofcourse the stars have aligned in a way that resulted in her being a Doji. She might be able to see through my calm and notice my deeper motives.

The road to Tsuma, along the river Tangu is rather uneventful. The only mentionable fact is a peasant whose inexcusable inability had resulted in his handcart toppling over blocking our way. He mutters something about seeing the face of his master, the late Emerald Champion Doji Satsume, in the waters of the Tangu while bringing his masters belongings to his family. Most likely he just drank some bad sake that causes him to hallucinate. Yoshi and myself, with the help of Jinsoku-chan, quickly upright the cart and we get on our way again. Just as the peasant is ready with putting all the items back on the cart, a small piece of paper blows into Akodo's face. I am not sure if she read it or not, but her face does not provide any insight to the note's contents.