While Shosuro and Akodo had wandered off to see the town, Kakita and Kitsu headed to the paper sellers that Kakita had noticed on her way to the kimono shop. Purchasing enough paper for her needs, Kakita and Kitsu made their leisurely towards the old Yasuki shrine.
Meanwhile Shinjo and Hida come to the realization that perhaps a Phoenix, renowned for their studies of the kami and Tao, could assist in translating the book. Shinjo, remembering seeing a Phoenix run incense shop while browsing, leads Hida over before making their way to shrine. The interior of the shop was filled with a variety of smells and colored smoke making both of their eyes water. Sitting behind a small counter was a small Phoenix man smoking a manchi-kanshisha. After Hida and Shinjo look around the shop for a bit they ask the shopkeeper if could assist them in something. Expressing his consent Shinjo demonstrates the “book” he had and asked if he could translate the words by any chance. The Phoenix eyed the contents for a bit and expressed that he did not possess the ability to do so. When questioned about any one knowledgeable, the Phoenix says that there are many great scholars in the Phoenix lands and perhaps they would have better luck there. As a parting wisdom he told them that “To know and understand something you must first understand the pieces it is made of.” Nodding their understanding the two samurai thanked him for his help and made there way to the Shrine.
As the two groups approached the shrine they noticed each other and joined one another before proceeding onwards. The trail goes to the shrine went thru a series of Torri gates before coming to a small clearing. They clearly see the ruins of a large structure that was once there but had clearly been destroyed. At the back is a small altar and bell. As they look around the remnants they spot an elderly couple, with the Kakita and Doji mons upon their shoulders, sweeping the area. They approach and converse with them and discover that they are caretakers of this shrine. The four of them approach the shrine and each give a small donation and make a prayer. Kakita notices a couple of small jade figurines in the shape on an old wise woman. Kakita quickly and deftly makes a small origami crane and places it next to them. To the side Kakita spies a small bench with more of the figurines. It turns out that the old woman makes them from pieces of jade, sent by a Yasuki merchant, that were not big enough or strong enough to be used in the fight against the Shadowlands. Kakita purchases some as does Hida and Shinjo. After the prayer Hida and Shinjo comment on the beauty of the new kimono that Kakita is wearing and wonders if Kakita would escort him over to the shop to maybe get one of his own. During this Kitsu has made his way to overlook the ocean behind the shrine and has sat down and communes with a series of spirits that inhabit the area. Seeing that the shugenja was busy, the rest of the group decide to go on their way and leave a message with the old couple and proceed back into town.
On the way back into town Kakita, Shinjo and Hida converse on a few topics of interest. As Hida was quite interested in unarmed martial arts of the Empire he talked to Kakita about the Mizu-do style that was practiced among the Crane artisans and diplomats. Kakita explained that Mizu-do was a defensive oriented style designed to defend yourself and incapacitate your enemy. Although it could defend almost indefinitely against a single opponent it was easily overcome when faced with multiple ones. Hida finds this fascinating and talks about kobo ichi-kai, the unarmed fighting style of the Crab. After giving a brief description of its rather bloody development and birth, he goes on to describe how the style is used to defeat one’s opponent in the quickest and deadliest way possible. Although he offers to teach Kakita this style, Kakita decides that such a style is not meant for her. As Hida continues to talk about his interest in unarmed martial arts he happens of the circumstance that created this interest: a sibling rivalry between him and his older brother which drove him to train for hours by hardening his fist against the Carpenter Wall. Kakita said that she also had a older sister whom never really seemed to respect her. Her sister was a courtier, like their father, and had made a name for herself due to her wit and skill in the courts. Shinjo was a bit perplexed by this. He also had older siblings with whom he had quarreled but it seemed to him that Kakita had proved her ability beyond a doubt and had clearly surpassed her sister. Kakita answered sadly that this was not true; although her speed and skill at Iaijutsu was great, she had still not proven herself in the realm of the court which was the preferred domain of her father.
At this point they had arrived at the kimono shop and Shinjo entered but Hida and Kakita stayed outside to continue talking. Shinjo looked around the shop and made his way to the area with the Unicorn style kimonos. Kakita Hayate eventually strolled over to see how he could help this new customer. Shinjo informed him that the kimonos came with high recommendation by his traveling companions who had visited earlier and was wondering if he could find one for himself. Shinjo mentioned his role as a scout and wondered if there was anything that would help serve him in this role. Kakita Hayate actually did have a very dark kimono with the Shinjo mon in a continuous circular pattern around the kimono which made it blend in quite while with his surroundings. Regretfully, after some haggling, it seemed Shinjo was unable to afford such an item at that time and had to make due without. After going back outside the three of them decided to head back to the inn for some lunch and rest. Upon their arrival at the inn they see Shosuro waiting for them there.
Meanwhile Shosuro and Akodo had continued watching the “Tales of Hoshi” performance at the open aired theater until the ending a couple hours later. Shosuro excused herself from Akodo and informed him that she had some women duties to take care of. Making her way thru the town she looked around until finding a Scorpion sake house sign with four Mons and black and red bordering. She went inside and found a table in the corner for herself. After some time an older woman, in a very small kimono and a scorpion pincers styled mask, made her way over and asked how she might be able to help the beautiful Shosuro Shinriko. Shosuro asks her hostess if she might have any information about the attack that occurred some nights ago. Her hostess, Shosuro Chouko, informed her that she knew a little bit. The raiders themselves were simply experienced pirates that had plagued the surrounding northern waters for some time now. But it seemed that their captain had been something more. He received his orders from somewhere else on occasion but regretfully Chouko did not know any more on the subject. She did say that she knew of someone who might though. There was a information broker who went by the name of Kurogane who might have some more information about the captain. Although Chouko could arrange a meeting with him she advised Shinriko that the man was dangerous and very chauvinistic with little to no respect for samurai-ko. Shinriko assented to a meeting and thanked her hostess. After conversing about a few other topics of interest and enjoying her sake Shosuro slowly made her way back to the inn to await her companions. She did not have to wait long for shortly after Shinjo, Hida and Kakita made their entrance soon after followed by Akodo.
Akodo, after watching the “Tales of Hoshi” with Shosuro had gone around the town to see what there was to offer. First he made his way over the courier station next to the magistrate office to send the kimono to his father. There were quite a few clan magistrates around with man-catchers and jitte at their sides. After finishing with the courier he made his way around the town. Although he was not looking for anything in particular a few things did catch his eye. Not to far from the magistrate office, and for good reason, was a traveling circus with quite a few large cats including some tigers. Akodo spend some time looking at the big cats which his clan was styled after. After a bit he once again made his way thru town. The only other thing that really caught his interest for a time was a shop of ornamental weapons. The shop had weapons made from gold, obsidian and other rare metals and were clearly designed, for the most part, as ornamental pieces and not for use in combat. A particular item, an obsidian blade tanto with a hilt of jade and a jeweled incrusted gold tsuba, caught his eye. After some haggling with the shopkeeper Akodo felt it better not to spend money on such an item even if it was quite spectacular. After a little more time eying the town he made his way back to the inn finding the rest of his companions, minus Kitsu, had already arrived.
After Hida, Kakita and Shinjo had left the shrine Kistu spend a couple hours communing with the variety of spirits in the area. Finally he bid them all a good day and looked around discovering that his companions had already left. The elderly couple, seeing the slight confusion on the face of the sodan-senzo, informed him that his companions had said that they would go back to the kimono shop and then proceed to the inn and await for him there. Thanking them for their time and patience Kitsu made his way thru town directly back to the inn. Upon his arrival he found the rest of his companions seated in the main common room about to start a meal.
After the arrival of Kitsu the group was finally able to enjoy their meal and talk to each other about their separate activities of the day.