The Burning Sands - Tainted in a Foreign Land

The Pillowbook of Usagi Ariso, Part VII

Ariso versus Four Armed Oni

1171, Month of the Hare, Twenty Seventh Day

We’ve been following Kenzofor a few days now. He stole most of our food and water, so I stayed to protect Niomi and Myrial while Tiru and Yeshpal of the House of the Mighty Rat went back for supplies. They caught up today, and now we can go after Kenzo faster.

Month of the Dragon, Third Day

Myrial found a campfire, and there was a burnt falcon carcass inside. I’m afraid the dumb bastard has unwrapped the sword, and it’s tainting him.
Month of the Dragon, Thirteenth Day

We came to the edge of the Western Wastes. Myrial found that Kenzo had ridden his horse to death. We left the guide and Jenmaxwith the horses, and Niomi led us after him on foot.

We climbed down the rocky hills that mark the boundaries of the Wastes. I managed to lower the others down, as they weren’t very sure on their feet. At the base, we found the ruined remains of a strong hold, and the flicker of a campfire. Niomi went ahead, while I tried to keep the clutzes quiet.

Niomi headed inside, and spoke with Kenzo for a bit, but then she shot and we rushed him. He has apparently become a shugenja, as he cast a spell and there were four of him. They took off into the ruins. Yeshpal seemed able to tell them apart, but Noimi ran after one, and I couldn’t leave her undefended.

We followed Kenzo into an old room containing a throne. He hid behind the throne, and spoke of himself as “he” and “we”. “We can’t give you the sword,” and “He wants to fight you”. Then he vanished from sight and came out as my father.

“Why are you such a disappointment?” he asked.

“We may never know,” I told the spectre and struck, trying to Freeze his Lifeblood. It shrugged it off, and I saw some glowing white eyes behind the throne. The thing that looked at my father struck at me, but I jumped back, and then leapt at the eyes, smashing it’s face with my foot. It flew back into the wall, smashing into it. It was the Four Armed Oni from the Mountain of Fire.

It surged forward, cutting into me, while the thing that looked like my father came at my back. I jumped around, avoiding the monster as best I could. Hundreds of Chibi-Four-Arms rushed out at us. Niomi fired arrows all around me, cutting down the little monsters as I smashed into the big one. When I dropped Four Arm, I noticed Niomi was under one of the Chibi-Four-Arms who had been hiding in the darkness. It slashed at Niomi with its dark claws, and hit her hard to the ground.

Four Arms was so badly hurt it couldn’t stand, so I rushed forward to protect her. I jumped at the demon, and flipped over it, and broke its neck, kicking its head clear off with only my mighty foot.

“You should be safe now, Niomi-chan,” I told her, and then beheaded Four Arms with my katana.
At the entrance we met Tiru and Yeshpal. Tiru was moping more weeping than usual. They gave Niomi a wakazashi. Tiru must have killed Kenzo. It appears the ronin was in the Shadowlands employ all along. Niomi was obviously effected, but kept her On. Yeshpal had the Obsidian Blade, and wouldn’t hand it to me. He gave me his word that he wouldn’t let it go back to Rokugan.

He’s no match for Tiru, let alone me. As long as we keep him close by, the sword should be safe.
Myrial knew Moto Tarkael, nearby. We may see them for help.

Month of the Dragon, Fourteenth Day

Few things are as pleasant as tending to Niomi-chan’s wounds.

Month of the Dragon, Fifteenth Day

Myrial and I were talking about ca-mus, and told me she’s against spitting. I like Myrial. We hope to reach the Moto soon.

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