2. Doji Ren
Tea with Doji Satsumi
Played on October 21st, 2018
Topaz Championship Day - 1
We continued on our way to Tsuma. The village was beautifully decorated with banners of all the clans, flags and dragon kites flying everywhere in honor of the upcoming Topaz Championship.
We wandered the streets to find the Magistrate house to register for the tournament. Then we continue to the House of the Laughing Carp Inn, where we all had reserved a room. In the courtyard a Mantis clanmember was talking loudly to the innkeeper. "Forgive me, honored samurai," she says, very dryly. "All my rooms are spoken for." The Mantis Samurai was yelling that this is unacceptable.
At the same time she welcomes us and tells us our rooms have been prepared and are ready. To avoid any further consternation I direct the Mantis to the shadiest inn we had passed today, the Poisoned Water Sake house. No need to have people like him close to us while preparing for the championship. He thanks me and asks for my name. I introduce myself. After more thank you's and wishes of good luck at the tournament from Hitoshi, the Mantis Samurai, we part ways.
As he wanders of, Shinjo says to him "May your efforts be worthy to your clan". I think to myself that he doesn't have to do much then...
As we check out the courtyard, we notice a female Unicorn samurai sitting there all dark skinned and with curly dark hair. Shinjo approaches her, as he represents the same clan. She introduces herself as Moto Batbayar and she appears glad to meet Shinjo. She welcomes the challenge he can provide as it will bring honour to the clan.
The innkeeper meanwhile thanks me for my help in the situation with Hitoshi which could have turned pretty ugly otherwise. I ask her if she can lead us to our rooms. As we want to go inside, she can barely dodge a sturdy Dragon clan female samurai who comes storming out, with a much smaller balding Crab clan samurai in her wake. Togashi introduces himself to the Dragon clan lady who is named Mirumoto Hinata, the Crab clan guy's name is Yasuki Jun. More nice to meet you's and good luck's are exchanged.
We are then pointed to our six bedrooms. Beside our rooms, there are six more. I go to bed early to get a good night rest for the tournament tomorrow.
I wake up that night seeing an older man preparing for a tea ceremony under the moonlit sky. All six of us appear from our room and the older guy invites us to sit with him. I quickly realise we're in the presence of the ghost of Doji Satsume, the recently deceased Emerald Champion. I quickly accept his invitation and so does the rest, although a few somewhat hesitantly. Bayoshi starts pouring the tea.
Doji drinks his tea and looks at us expectantly. Isawa asks "Why is your ghost still lingering here?". Doji responds that he is no spirit and he actually is here. She continues to ask him about the championship and what we can expect. he explains that a samuray needs to rely on his own strength, but as this is about duels, learn to know your enemy.
Bayoshi then asks him how he can't know he's dead. "I'm not, how else could I drink this tea", while taking a sip. Shinjo wonders why Doji wants to drink tea with us. "Perhaps I see more in you than in the others, although you don't say that out loud. And perhaps you could do me a favor. You might have already met this other samurai Hitoshi...". I almost choke on my tea when I hear that name. "He needs to become as big a samurai as his father."
Togashi: "Who was his father?" Doji responds "The fallen blossom can never return to the bough, yet all can see from whence it came."
A sweat breaks out and I focus on my teacup in front of me. Shinjo makes a remark about how warm this night is. I nod vigorously...
I ask him why Hitoshi is so highly respected by the Emerald Champion, thinking that the Crane clan really isn't too fond of the Mantis; "Words, like cuts of the sword, can never be called back once spoken." What have I done, sending an Emerald Champion protégé to such a shady inn?
At this point the ceremony is done (really glad it is, to be honest), but not before Doji asks us if he can count on us. The others, nodding, state "Of course you can". Shinjo adds that we'll put in the required effort. I take a last sip of my tea and nod slightly.
We stand up, look around and all of a sudden, the ghost of Doji is gone, leaving behind a cold teapot and an unused teacup.