20. Doji Ren
Slow Tide Harbor
Played on March 10th, 2019
A 'warm' welcome in Slow Tide Harbor
We board a ship in Otosan Uchi and not long after we see Slow Tide Harbor appearing on the horizon. Empty fields surround the city, no farms in sight. There's no wall to protect it, but the marshlands will likely protect it from any invading army. Ten to fifteen ships are docked in the harbor. The captain points us to the governor.
I quickly visit the harbormaster Kasuga Nagato who says he's honoured with our visit, but it clearly shows he's annoyed that we're bothering him while doing nothing. It seems he's had his share of Sake today already. We then continue the the governors house, which is the biggest of the city, consisting of two stories and a walled garden around it.
We request an audience and are asked to wait. Finally after two hours a very thin man enters the room flanked by two helpers.
Honoroubale magistrates, what is your purpose in Slow Tide Harbor?
Aki tells him about our assignment to assess the Goblin situation. I add in an explanation who we are and that we received this assigment from the Emerald Champion himself. The governor confirms there are issues indeed in Burakumin village, the area of the hinin. People have apparently died to the goblins, but he's not really to interested in the Hinin faith, even though he was the one who requested the help from the Emerald Champion.
It seems he's not too eager getting helping with the situation and appears uninterested. He offers us a stay in the Inn of Many Paths, which is a nice coincedence, considering our additional assignment.
Next up is a visit at the local magistrate. He lives in a somewhat smaller one-story house. After only ten minutes we're taken inside. There we're welcomed by a big woman with a poofy face, the magistrate Kasuga Mikoto. We ask her if she's got anything to add to the governors story; Not much unfortunately. She can add that they know little of what happens in Burakumin village, and they are not skilled enough to deal with the issues. She looks at me with a filthy look, most likely for me being of the Crane Clan. Her goal is mostly to "not rock the boat".
Aki asks about how many reports there have been, but those aren't counted, coming from the Hinin. Reports vary from five to many goblins. And the rumours have been going on for about two weeks already. Tichuki asks if there have been other Shadowlands influences reported in this area. But she responds irated that it's obviously not the case! It is also the first time goblins have appeared here.
Kyo then asks about Doji Hirushige. Now she looks really flustered. He turns out to be one of a series of Samurai who have vanished, but she really doesn't want to talk about it. Aki asks her who the other sAmurai are who have gone missing and we get a list of names. She doesn't know where they all lived in the city.
Kyo wonders if someone researching these disapperances and the magistrate responds it is progressing steadily.
It seems the magistrate is acting somewhat and that she's smarter than she appears to be. Acting somehwat high from opium. She's clearly not too happy having us around as we might pose a threat to the power balance. She knows more about who pulls the strings in the city.
Kyo, who also noticed this using his courties charms to praise her leadership skills which cause here to be willing to tell us more. She goes on to tell us that a Crab Clan Samurai Yasuki Suzaka was found murdered in an alley not too long ago. Even for Slow Tide harbor that is quite an extreme event. She goes on to explain that she doesn't expect there to be a mastermind behind the disapperances. She expects "bad luck".
She now also explains about the powers that be in the city, mentioning some imprtant people and finally she explains she's at our disposal to navigate the turbulent currents of Slow Tide Harbor.
The Inn of Many Paths
We cross the market to reach the Inn. A lot of Gajin are manning the stalls. As we enter the inn I wonder if this is the best Slow Tide Harbor has to offer as it's really a crappy place. Half the tables are occupied by Samurai and Heimin. The waitress asks us if we want something to eat and a place to sleep. We are pointed to a table and are served a basic meal.
Aki immediately asks about Doji Hiroshige startling the waitress. This might require a more subtle approach as she doesn't want big discussions in the inn. We go on to explain we were expecting to meet him here, but apperently he has vanished. But where?
She tells us others have also asked about his wherabouts. Even some people who had lend him money. The waitress has kept his belongings which he had left in his room as collateral. He stayed here for four months.
After the meal we are allowed to take a look at the belongings. They consist of a bundle of scrolls, some Sumi-e drawings. We ask her if this is all?