As the last opponent is dropped and the group takes stock of their surroundings the Captain thinks quickly and has the Tortoise group of the weapons flying around. The Tortoise move quickly to comply and gather the weapons and bodies. As the Tortoise do their work Kakita goes back under decks to try and find a dry place to rest for now. Kitsu instructs the Tortoise to search the bodies for any indemnifying items, messages, etc. The only thing of interest found is a small crystal tear in the captain’s obi. When everyone gathered around to examine the item it causes Shinjo a great deal of mental pain. He was unable to bear the sight of it and was forced to retire down below deck. After all the bodies were searched and the daisho collected the Tortoise tossed the corpses overboard. Seeing this the three kabune quickly departed and headed north west backs toward shore. Since several of the crew and party were injured one of the barge officers, who had some medicine training, offered to help them heal over night. Kakita offered her small knowledge in assistance as well. In addition to this Hida offered one of his doses of healing tea to help them as well so by the next morning Shinjo and most of the crew were fully recovered although Akodo and one of the bodyguards was still recovering a bit.
The next morning was a magnificent day under Amaterasu. Clear skies, wind from the north blowing into the sails and no sign of the storm from the night before (have to love Rokugan weather patterns!). As the group ate their breakfast they noticed Isawa come out from under decks, take a big breath of ocean air and proceeds into the middle of the deck and assumes a lotus position. After the group finishes eating he beckons them to come and join him in meditation. The group agrees although Akodo uses his sheathed no-daichi to assist him in walking over. The group sits in a circle and goes thru meditation exercises along with Isawa. Shiba of course is sitting prone behind his charge.
After the meditation finishes Isawa congratulates them for their first victory together as a group. He mentions that the future will probably hold many more such encounters and that the six of them would have to learn how work together as a team and that the faster reaction based individuals would have to earn to work together with their slower counterparts. He then proceeds to ask them what each one of them had learned from the experience. Kakita answered with insightfulness that “it is not only wise to watch one’s enemies but also one’s allies.” Akodo commented that being sliced open is about as unpleasant as it thought it would be. Hida made the very Crab remark on how his fists were almost as effective as his weapon. Shosuro said she had much to learn and practice concerning combat. Shinjo said that it was a valuable lesson that he could not always rely on his steed to aid him in times of need. And lastly Kitsu lamented the fact that shugenja do not wear armor. Kitsu also took the opportunity to show Isawa the tear shaped crystal from the previous night. When it was shown Shinjo was able to stand the sight of it and commented that he had seen one before but could not remember where or when. Isawa studied it for a bit and used several kamis to study it. He concluded that he did not know what it was either but that it was definitely evil. After some debate Kitsu went downstairs and put it in a small pack of jade dust.
After his first question was answered Isawa wanted to go into more detail about certain topics that had been mentioned on the road from Kosaten Shiro to Shiro Daidoji. The first was the concept of the importance of duty vs honor in a samurai’s life. Everyone except Akodo, who was not sure of the answer due to his inexperience, and Kakita, who asked is not dishonorable to forsake duty, answered that duty was essentially more important then honor.
After the concept of honor and duty were discussed Isawa decided to move on to a more lighthearted topic. Isawa himself had a great love for traveling traveled extensively throughout Rokugan with the other two members of “Nature’s Fury” (Hida Reiha and Doji Chuai) on a variety of exploits and adventures including to ends of the Badger lands overlooking the Burning Sands. He mentioned that once this Setsuban festival was finished he would journey back there and spend his last days exploring the lands outside the Empire. Everyone besides Akodo had traveled a bit in their youth. Hida had traveled to the Mantis islands and had a opportunity to study a little in the Lion and Unicorn lands as well. Shinjo had traveled a bit to the neighboring clans of the Lion, Dragon and Scorpion during his training. Shosuro had trained with a traveling acting troupe and therefore had visited most of the lands of the Empire. Kakita also had used traveling as training; visiting several different courts with her father and sister on diplomatic missions. Kitsu, who had completed his genpuku a year earlier, had traveled thru Crane, Dragon, Scorpion and Phoenix territory with his grandfather as they performed exorcisms and other necessary duties.
Isawa was pleased with these answers but was curious what actions brought them to the attention of their daimyos in order to participate in the Topaz Championship, and of course congratulations once again to Kakita Hikaru for winning. Hida answered that during his travels thru both the Lion and Unicorn lands he had proven his worth in mock battles and horsemanship and somewhere he earned himself the “title” “Wall knuckled Kengetsu”. Shinjo was challenged to retrieve a deer as a trophy for his master without damaging it since it would be used as a trophy (“It’s a Unicorn thing”-Kitsu). He was able to get close enough to it on horseback to put an arrow thru its eye. He also proved himself in other “Unicorn” ways to the slight disgust of Shosuro. Kakita was a top duelist renowned for both her skill with the blade and her tongue. She also demonstrated her wit and skillful tongue while visiting courts with her father and older sister. Shosuro was able to convince an entire audience that she was a noble MAN to the amusement of her peers and in admiration of her family’s founder. And Akodo was actually there by accident; the original candidate had died in a accident while riding his horse.
After this Shosuro amused everyone with some different Scorpion superstitions; not sleeping with her head facing north, if a samurai looked like their mother they would be trustworthy (“Mine died when I was too young to remember her face”-Kitsu), never leave in groups of three, never let someone step over you for it will shorten your life span, and many others. Kakita answered with never sleeping with mirrors uncovered near her, throw rice and passing foxes for good luck and serve sake to the right and never serve your self.
The captain then informed them that thanks to the good wind from the north they would make landfall late night instead of tomorrow morning. The group spends the rest of the day relaxing, Akodo was helped healed and awaiting their arrival to Yufuku na Heigen. Finally late that evening they arrived. The group found an inn for the night and quickly went to sleep. Tomorrow they would have opportunity to shop, investigate the mysterious crystal and maybe visit the Yasuki shrine.