The lands of the Ikoma are further thrown into chaos in the wake of the death of Ikoma Ryozo. After weeks under the Regency of Ikoma Ujiaki, the players are sent to escort the aging scholar from his post at the Ikoma Histories back to Kyuden-Ikoma. Along the way, the Shiken met Kuni Kokuri “The Laughing Kuni” on the road. The newly formed quartet decided to join forces and walk towards the histories together as the tale of the dark shadow which had crept across the land unfurled for the newly arrived Kuni. Suddenly, the party was ambushed by a pack of Lion patrolmen who drew steel in a rage. It was quickly made apparent that these men had fallen victim to the hitherto unknown locust infection, the first instance of samurai being effected by the dark parasite.
After dispatching of their enemies and taking Kitsu Ikatsu prisoner for further questioning, the party arrived at the Ikoma histories to find the area burned by a lightning fast assault by the locusts. Ujiaki himself had been in the histories recovering the last will and testament of the fallen Ikoma lord when the attack occurred. The sage had been assaulted from behind and knocked unconscious as the true target was revealed: the will of Ikoma Ryozo was burned, creating a question as to who would rule in his stead.
After returning with Ujiaki to Kyuden Ikoma, the party found the court in distress. Matsu Tsuko and Akodo Toturi were arguing over who was to take the throne of the Ikoma family. Tsuko supported her student Ikoma Tsanuri while Toturi backed the son of Ryozo, Ikoma Rin. After a lengthy debate Toturi proclaimed that Rin should serve as Regent over the lands until a compromise between the familes could be reached. Also, due to his extreme expertise on the subject of the taint, Toturi elevated Kuni Kokuri to the position of head investigator in the lands of the Ikoma.
After the scene at the court, the characters moved to interrogate the captured Lion from the party which had ambushed them along the road to the imperial histories. In front of Kitsu Ikatsu’s cell the characters had their first encounter with Brother Ikyo who explained that he often visited the prisoners of the castle to spread the word of the brotherhood to the poor souls imprisoned within.
Upon passing into the cell, the characters found Ikatsu to be near catatonic, her clothing ripped and her hair covered in dirt and grime. Thinking the girl to still be infected with the taint, the characters proceeded with their interrogation. The woman claimed not to have been tainted, to not remember the time before her imprisonment, and further testing with jade proved this to be the case. As it was evidenced that the girl had been raped, the characters moved to find the culprit, eventually finding that it was Ikyo who was responsible for the girls violation, and also for her cure. Searching for the monk, revealed nothing of his current whereabouts.
The next day, the characters were called to the first court of Ikoma Rin’s rule. Rin made several declarations, not the least of which being that the body of Ikoma Ryozo was to not receive funeral rites, instead laying at the crossroads of the castle to rot. After the court the characters were approached by Ikoma Tsanuri who asked them to give the body of the fallen lord a proper funeral. The characters, who had decided to burn the body for the safety of the lands anyway, agreed to perform the ritual. Tsanuri and a handful of men were present as the body of the once great Lord of the Ikoma was set to rest in Yomi.
The next day, while bathing, [[:Daidoji Karo | Daidoji Karo]] brother to Daidoji Jiro and betrothed of Ikoma Rin entered the bathhouse and struck Jiro, demanding satisfaction for his brother’s and the party’s disregard for the edicts of his intended. Jiro dressed and moved to meet Rin and his brother in her private quarters where terms for the inevitable duel were set out. If Jiro was to lose, then Jiro, working under the orders of Tsanuri would be held responsible for disobeying the edict.
During the duel, Jiro fought valiantly, drawing his steel faster than his brother, but in the end failed to hit his mark. Despite crying out in rage (and losing face) Karo drew first blood and was proclaimed the victor. Rin then announced that for her insolence Ikoma Tsanuri would be stripped of her rank and title, condemned to wander the lands a ronin. Durring the fallout Kuni Kokuri fell from favor in the eyes of Rin, and while nothing was expressly said, it became evident that the witch hunter was no longer welcome in the castle as his luggage had been moved from his rooms.
Deciding that they would plead their case with Akodo Toturi the party struck out for the monastery at Satoshin-Mura where the honored lord of the Lion was reputed to be meeting with his sensei, Akodo Kage. While en route to the monastery the characters came across a messenger riding hard for the castle. The peasants, he explained, were in open revolt because the season’s harvest had yet to be released for consumption. The characters redoubled their efforts towards the monastery to save the besieged Lord. After arriving close the monastery, the characters found two scouts laying in ambush for them who were able to loose a signal before being stopped by the party. They explained that they had been sent by Lord Toturi as scouts against the encroaching peasant rebellion and that very soon the cavalry of Tsanuri would be riding to the road. After making peace with the scouts, the characters continued on towards the monastery where they were stopped at the gate by a young monk and a bow. They identified themselves and asked to see the lord Akodo. The gate guard contended that just moments before there had been a large contingent of shadowlands creature battering at their gates. The characters realized that the scouts had in fact been laying in wait to send a signal to the locust horde.
After being showed into the monastery, the characters were able to meet with Toturi and Tsanuri who explained the tactical situation of the valley. When Toturi called upon the council of the abbot, the characters realized that the man calling himself the abbot of this place was none other than Brother Ikyo. Taking the monk by surprise, the party was able to subdue and capture him. Interrogating the man revealed that he claimed to be the first of seven hands sent by the Dark Lord himself into the world of man to presage his coming. He was a herald sent to spread the word of Fu Leng. The characters decided that they would take him back to the Castle and let Kitsu Ikatsu deal with him. Along the way he made several attempts to communicate with the party, hinting that something may be wrong with the grain supply stored at Satoshin-Mura.
Upon reaching the town surrounding Kyuden-Ikoma the characters decided to visit a local merchant to purchase a wedding gift for the upcoming event. When they approached a merchant who seemed to stock several bells of different varieties they met once again with Otu who spends his time manning the outdoor shop when not traveling the river. It was made clear that his small store was a front for his illegal sake operation which he had been running for some time. After purchasing a few bells and an enormous amount of sake for their wedding gift, the characters begin to turn their eye to the wedding of Ikoma Rin and Daidoji Karo, with only vengeance on their mind.