Kindred of the East: the Song of Lanterns

The Package

Truths about the mission:

Deliver the Package to Lo Pan in Hong Kong

1. The Sword is the Dragon of the Night.
2. The Pack of the Fiery Pinion is meddling with the Wu
3. Thrace’s name is mentioned again
4. Ninja Warrior!
5. Lo Pan is underground
6. There is a fight at a park
7. Lo Pan’s body is abandoned…
8. Jake finds Asuka
9. The only way to get into Lo Pan’s lair is through the Umbra
10. Kumo show up
11. The Hungry Queen of Alabaster shows up to help.
12. The First ONI tests the Wu
13. The Sword does not want to reach Lo Pan
14. The Fourth Storm asks for the Wu’s help

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The Ceremony of Names
My New Family

The Naming of new Kuei-jin in the Tokyo Court is no small affair. There are courtesies and etiquette that need to be followed.

It has been two weeks since your Fire and Water Test.

You are expected to have done what is required of your chosen Direction.

Hakari, the Revered Ancestor of Tokyo will be receiving you with a Lantern Festival within the hallowed halls of the Forbidden Shrine, deep below the Imperial Palace.

There the convergence of Dragon Lines have been manipulated to create a pocket dimension of Yin and Yang energies. This world is set on an endless tide pool, where it is said beneath the surface are the faces of those the Court has decreed to drown for eternity. In every direction, only a giant waterfall can be seen in the distance, stretching into the clouds and giving the whole place a refreshing mist that only adds to the ethereal qualities of the realm. Floating stones rise just above the water, forming into a courtyard toward the only building in sight, a massive shrine the color of blood and fire. Great gold statues of samurai and scholars and strategists of Japanese history adorn the floating courtyard all the way up to the steps of the Shrine.

Here the newest members of the Court will be named and given their place- Their Dharma, Direction, Guanxi, and Wu.
__________________________________________

Player Knowledge!
Each Member must announce their new name, and renounce their old one, then recite the specific passage of the Great Principle they will protect and lead their wu into understanding.

The proclamation goes in this particular order:
“I, who was once (Human Name), no longer exist. Only (Court Name) remains. I accept (Wu Name) as my one true family, and accept (Names of your fellow wu-mates) as my brothers and sisters in mind, body, and spirit. (Your Specific Tenet of the Fivefold Way). Of this I will remind my family, and accept my role as (Direction). Together we will uphold the tenets of our Dharmic Paths, the Laws of the Court, and the Great Principle or else Face the Eye of Heaven.”

Then the new wu will be given it’s first official task, and ceremonies of celebration will ensue.

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Mixing Kan & Li
(the Fire & Water Test)

It has been almost a year of training. You know the ways of the Kuei-jin, the nature of your existence on the karmic wheel. You are no longer heimin, one of the “non-people” after tonight… if your survive your Fire and Water Test.

You are to represent a new company, a research and development firm called Sasori (Scorpion) Corp. It is just a front, where new disciples can prove their worth to the Bishamon genji.

The Test is at the Imperial Palace, where the Corporation’s Inauguration Celebration will take place in the East Garden. Rumor has it the Bishamon Ancestor of All Japan, Hakari, will be there.

May you live in interesting times. May you gain the notice of those in higher places. My your every wish come true…


This is the big one, guys. Where you pick your Dharmic Path, Direction, and receive your court name. Let’s make it epic!

Here’s the deal:
Dire Peril rule is in effect.
*You (the player) have to actually recite (aloud) your specific passage of the Fivefold Way at this gala without help.
*You may use any amount of Style you have accumulated to make truths about *who
is at the party, but not who is not at the party.
*This is a very public place with lots of news cameras and human witnesses.

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Dance of the Thrashing Dragon
R'e- Part 5

In early times in Japan, bamboo-and-paper lanterns were used with candles inside.

A blind man, visiting a friend one night, was offered a lantern to carry home with him.

“I do not need a lantern,” he said. “Darkness or light is all the same to me.”

“I know you do not need a lantern to find your way,” his friend replied, “but if you don’t have one, someone else may run into you. So you must take it.”

The blind man started off with the lantern and before he had walked very far someone ran squarely into him. “Look out where you are going!” he exclaimed to the stranger. “Can’t you see this lantern?”

“Your candle has burned out, brother,” replied the stranger.


You are almost done with your time of instruction. The Disciplines you have learned and the abilities you have refined are now a part of you. It has been almost a year since you started learning how to be a Kuei-jin. It is almost time for your Fire and Water Test. Only the sensei of the Thrashing Dragons has yet to teach you…

As you get to your quarters, hundreds of colorful clothes fill the hall.

Pink Fox, the sensei of the Thrashing Dragon, has sent you a hand crafted invitation to the parking lot at 8pm. Apparently she wants you to dress up…

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Reflections

Yoyogi park was clear for the first time in a long time that early Wednesday morning. the deaths that had occurred had scared most of the usual patrons away. It was only me on the green at that point. I had been incapable of returning that night to check on the young woman who I had let die.

Who I had let die.

Her death had been my fault.

My Doing!

For a day and a night after the events I repented. I cleansed myself of my failure. I could not cleanse my soul however. As I performed the rituals over and over again, images of my father and mother from my childhood flashed through my mind. Then my mind followed the path of my damnation to that fateful day when the man and woman who had raised and loved me had been turned away by their own beloved son. I saw in my minds eye their last few days, their own sadness slowly killing them. I saw my father, holding my mother’s had as she slowly closed her eyes once more, whispering my name as pained tears poured down her face. I saw my Father, tying a rope to the rafters of their tiny house. I would have wept had I had the tears to do so. No hell had been as painful as these images. The Hell of Upside-Down Sinners had only been bad because of these very images. Finally the young woman’s face had gone back into my mind. Her joy at seeing her idol, the adoration and pride she felt at being near me and supporting whatever it was I was doing. Then I saw her at her final moments trying to defend me from that beast. I saw the mask bisected as she soared across the park. I felt total helplessness.

Total helplessness.

I had never known her name. It took me another several hours to find it out. I had retained a tiny shred of hope that maybe, just maybe, mortal medicine had been enough to save her. I had been wrong. There were relatively few deaths that night. Three belonged to me. The young woman, and her mother and father. They had jumped off a bridge after finding out about their daughters death. Three of the flock are dead because of the shepherd.

I was quick, luckily what I was looking for had landed in a hedge near the park bridge. No one had yet retrieved it. As I lifted it in my hands, a deep rage built in my dead heart, a cold controlled rage. The Rage of the Just.

That Kahn was a wolf to my flock. The shepherd must kill the wolves to protect those he watches over. I knew this wolf would be too much for me now… but I would have a wolfskin cloak before long. That I was certain of.

For my Mother and Father, for that young woman and her parents. This wolf would die.

I wrapped the two halves of the oni-mask in a silk scarf that I had brought for this purpose and carried it reverently back to the castle.

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Song of Shadows
R'e Part 4

Taiko, a warrior who lived in Japan before the Tokugawa era, studied Cha-no-yu, tea etiquette, with Sen no Rikyu, a teacher of that aesthetical expression of calmness and contentment.

Taiko’s attendant warrior Kato interpreted his superior’s enthusiasm for tea etiquette as negligence of state affairs, so he decided to kill Sen no Rikyu. He pretended to make a social call upon the tea-master and was invited to drink tea.

The master, who was well skilled in his art, saw at a glance the warrior’s intention, so he invited Kato to leave his sword outside before entering the room for the ceremony, explaining that Cha-no-yu represents peacefulness itself.

Kato would not listen to this. “I am a warrior,” he said. “I always have my sword with me. Cha-no-yu or no Cha-no-yu, I have my sword.”

“Very well. Bring your sword in and have some tea,” consented Sen no Rikyu.

The kettle was boiling on the charcoal fire. Suddenly Sen no Rikyu tipped it over. Hissing steam arose, filling the room with smoke and ashes. The startled warrior ran outside.

The tea-master apologized. “It was my mistake. Come back in and have some tea. I have your sword here covered with ashes and will clean it and give it to you.”

In this predicament the warrior realized he could not very well kill the tea-master, so he gave up the idea.

__

You congregate in the courtyard.

There is no moon in the sky.

An unassuming monk in white robes walks toward you, standing at approximately 5 1/2 feet tall with a small and wispy frame. He could be called anything but intimidating. Were it not for the pale white pallor to his skin, he could be just another indiscernible face in the crowds of the Middle Kingdom. His head is bald with the exception of the black queue hair braid falling from the back of his skull to about mid-back. Both eyes being so deep and dark shades of brown, they’re nearly black. Beneath his usual attire, he bears the muscular toning and physical stature of a practiced and maintained martial artist, although he looks as if he disdains physical conflict and fighting. He bears no unusual markings of modifications. No piercings, tattoos, or even surface scars.

He is the Frightful Scholar, the sensei of the Song of Shadow. And you tremble in fear of him.

His voice is calm, almost serene. He gets straight to the point.

“Go to Hashima. Bring back a Nure Onna (Snake Woman),a Nukekubi (Removeable Neck Woman), a Nopperabou (No-Face Woman), a Aka Manto (Red Cloak),and a Kuchisake Onna (Slit-Mouth Woman). Ask for Tenome when you get there.”

He rolls several smoke bombs at your wu.

When the smoke clears, you stand on the deserted dock of Ghost Island. The soft wail of crying echoes in the deserted city…

__

Character Knowledge!
Hashima Island (端島?, or correctly Hashima, as -shima is Japanese for island), commonly called Gunkanjima or Gunkanshima (軍艦島; meaning Battleship Island), is one among 505 uninhabited islands in the Nagasaki Prefecture about 15 kilometers from Nagasaki itself.

The island was populated from 1887 to 1974 as a coal mining facility. The island’s most notable features are the abandoned concrete buildings and the sea wall surrounding it. The island has been administered as part of Nagasaki city since 2005; it had previously been administered by the former town of Takashima.

It is known for its coal mines and their operation during the industrialization of Japan. Mitsubishi bought the island in 1890 and began the project, the aim of which was retrieving coal from undersea mines. They built Japan’s first large concrete building (9 stories high),a block of apartments in 1916 to accommodate their burgeoning ranks of workers (many of whom were forcibly recruited labourers from other parts of Asia) and to protect against typhoon destruction. According to a South Korean commission, the island housed 500 Koreans who were forced to work between 1939 and 1945, during World War II.

In 1959, the 15-acre island’s population reached its peak of 5,259, with a population density of 216,264 people per square mile for the whole island, or 139,100 people per square kilometer for the residential district.

As petroleum replaced coal in Japan in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima’s mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closing of the mine in 1974, and today it is empty and bare, which is why it is called Ghost Island. Travel to Hashima was re-opened on April 22, 2009 after 35 years of closure.

The island is increasingly gaining international attention not only as one of the modern international heritages in the region, but also as the housing complex remnants in the years from Taishō era to Shōwa era. It has become the frequent subject of discussion among enthusiasts for ruins.

Since the abandoned island has not been maintained, several buildings have already collapsed. Other existing buildings are subject to breakage. In this regard, however, certain collapsed exterior walls have been restored with concrete.

While the island was owned by Mitsubishi Material up until 2002, it was voluntarily transferred to Takashima town. Currently, Nagasaki city, which absorbed Takashima town in 2005, exercises jurisdiction over the island. A small portion of the island was re-opened for tourism on April 22, 2009. A full reopening of the island would require an enormous amount of money to make the premises safe, due to the aging of the buildings.

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Path of a Thousand Whispers
R'e-Part 3

A Zen master named Gettan lived in the latter part of the Tokugawa era. He used to say: “There are three kinds of disciples: those who impart Zen to others, those who maintain the temples and shrines, and then there are the rice bags and the clothes-hangers.”

Gasan expressed the same idea. When he was studying under Tekisui, his teacher was very severe. Sometimes he even beat him. Other pupils would not stand this kind of teaching and quit. Gasan remained, saying: “A poor disciple utilizes a teacher’s influence. A fair disciple admires a teacher’s kindness. A good disciple grows strong under a teacher’s discipline.”

Anima  daimah miko by wen m

The spirit manifests as a young girl with Donkey Ears and a Tail, then winks and jumps out the window, into the sunlit courtyard. She then bows and jumps over the palace walls toward the Shibuya District, toward the old Olympic Stadium at Yoyogi Koen (Park).

The Path of a Thousand Whispers sensei Hungry Queen of Alabaster appears from the shadows, wrapped in white robes like a desert nomad. How did you not see her in the darkness?

“Heimin, you are to wait until the sun sets, then find that spirit. You must capture it and put it in a new mirror for the next fool to set free.

She visits Yoyogi Park and causes mischief, so be on your guard. You will be around mortals, so be on your best behavior. You will be in the territory of the Hengeyokai, so be mindful. You will be watched by the Kuei-Jin, so be worthy."

She then disappears into the shadows. It will be thirteen hours before dusk…

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Way of the Resplendent Crane
Re'-Part 2

Gudo was the emperor’s teacher of his time. Nevertheless, he used to travel alone as a wandering mendicant. Once when he was on his was to Edo, the cultural and political center of the shogunate, he approached a little village named Takenaka. It was evening and a heavy rain was falling. Gudo was thoroughly wet. His straw sandals were in pieces. At a farmhouse near the village he noticed four or five pairs of sandals in the window and decided to buy some dry ones.

The woman who offered him the sandals, seeing how wet he was, invited him in to remain for the night at her home. Gudo accepted, thanking her. He entered and recited a sutra before the family shrine. He then was introduced to the woman’s mother, and to her children. Observing that the entire family was depressed, Gudo asked what was wrong.

“My husband is a gambler and a drunkard,” the housewife told him. “When he happens to win he drinks and becomes abusive. When he loses he borrows money from others. Sometimes when he becomes thoroughly drunk he does not come home at all. What can I do?”

I will help him," said Gudo. “Here is some money. Get me a gallon of fine wine and something good to eat. Then you may retire. I will meditate before the shrine.”

When the man of the house returned about midnight, quite drunk, he bellowed: “Hey, wife, I am home. Have you something for me to eat?”

“I have something for you,” said Gudo. “I happened to get caught in the rain and your wife kindly asked me to remain here for the night. In return I have bought some wine and fish, so you might as well have them.”

The man was delighted. He drank the wine at once and laid himself down on the floor. Gudo sat in meditation beside him.

In the morning when the husband awoke he had forgotten about the previous night. “Who are you? Where do you come from?” he asked Gudo, who still was meditating.

“I am Gudo of Kyoto and I am going on to Edo,” replied the Zen master.

The man was utterly ashamed. He apologized profusely to the teacher of his emperor.

Gudo smiled. “Everything in this life is impermanent,” he explained. “Life is very brief. If you keep on gambling and drinking, you will have no time left to accomplish anything else, and you will cause your family to suffer too.”

The perception of the husband awoke as if from a dream. “You are right,” he declared. “How can I ever repay you for this wonderful teaching! Let me see you off and carry your things a little way.”

“If you wish,” assented Gudo.

The two started out. After they had gone three miles Gudo told him to return. “Just another five miles,” he begged Gudo. They continued on.

“You may return now,” suggested Gudo.

“After another ten miles,” the man replied.

“Return now,” said Gudo, when the ten miles had been passed.

“I am going to follow you all the rest of my life,” declared the man.

Modern Zen teachers in Japan spring from the lineage of a famous master who was the successor of Gudo. His name was Mu-nan, the man who never turned back.

The 5th Mistress of Calligraphy approaches, now that you are more civilized and able to control yourself. Her twelve attendants bring scroll upon scroll to your Wu, and several brushes and ink. She speaks calmly, yet coldly.

“The leaves break the bandage of the green stem,
stretch themselves and form a green pool with untidy
edges. Now the flower comes from out of the vast surface of water,
like a beautiful woman coming gracefully from her bath."

Answer this riddle and your academic education has begun…

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Howl of the Devil Tiger
Re'-Part 1

The tree that was a man sits on Mount Togai.
He waits for a bird with rainbow feathers.
When she arrives, the world will end.
The sky weeps for the sound of her wings.

You open your eyes, and you are being cleaned. Groomed. Dressed. You are to be presented to your first teacher, the First Oni. He will teach you how to control your Demon.

But you hunger. when you were found you had the taste of fresh meat on your breath. You just ate some stranger. You can’t hear your heartbeat; you don’t have one. You can’t feel your breath; you don’t need to…But you do need to eat…

Thursday Wu

The First Oni Locked you in a room and told you the last one standing would get to feed that night. He taught you how to use your demon chi, your P’o energy.

You fought each other tooth and nail, first the Young Man Wu Kuan Jin was knocked unconscious, then the Young Woman Yumi.

After some effort, the Quiet One and Daichi took out the Budokan wrestling giant, Koso. Unfortunately Koso landed on top of the Quiet One, leaving Daichi the sole survivor.

The First Oni took Daichi and taught him How to use Yin and Yang Chi in Equilibrium.

Saturday Wu

The First Oni Locked you in a room and told you the last one standing would get to feed that night. He taught you how to use your demon chi, your P’o energy.

You fought each other tooth and nail, first the Young Ueda Toshi was knocked unconscious, then the Young Woman Akito Kyoko.

After some effort, Asuka and Junichiro took out the Sumo wrestling giant, Uetake Kenta. Unfortunately Kenta landed on top of the Quiet One, leaving Junichiro the sole survivor.

The First Oni took Junichiro and taught him How to use Yin and Yang Chi in Blood Shintai.

Everyone

For three weeks the First Oni tutors you in how to harness your inner demon. teaches you the nuances of your P’o Nature. Sometimes he seems more evil that any of your Demons put together. The time grows near for you to meet your next teacher, the 5th Mistress of Calligraphy

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