After liberating the fortress of Seinaru Heikiko of bandits and mercenaries, Hirabashi Jiro and his ronin were able to take up residence and begin to clean up and fortify the keep. Sandru and the rest of the caravan also came inside the keep for security and to settle in as he had trade endeavors he wanted to negotiate.
The land of Minkai offered many opportunities for trade across the Crown of the World into Varisia, so it made sense that he and Koya would take the time to establish a significant trade post here with Ameiko’s new found allies.
The cliff fortress, though originally foreboding, allowed other villages to send supplies in turn for protection from the borderlands’ ronin. And a place of rest and security for the rest of the Amajitsu Scions and their friends.
With spring approaching, Jiro has set several tasks for the Scions to accomplish if they have any hope of conquering the Jade Regent and his oni allies. First, to the south, the were to travel to the trading city of Enganoka. There, they were to arrange a meeting with the heads of the three ninja clans that operate in these lands. Known as the ‘Three Monkeys’ by the populace, having them ally with those against the Jade Regent would be crucial for success.
After saying their goodbyes, Ameiko now in her new role as heir, geared herself up and headed out after her Scion companions with Shelelu in tow. The elven ranger would never let Ameiko out of her sight and though she was concerned for her safety, she was pleased that she began actively training under her for swordsmanship and battle prowess. Skills she would need in the days and months to come.
Several days in the plains gave way to rising hills filled with tall grasses, a nearby river and more smaller settlements. Most of the people carried on about their lives, not really interested in the Scions as the land seemed morbid and somewhat depressed.
Eventually the small trail leading away from the borderlands became a more pronounced road that took them to the outskirts of the city of Enganoka. Only a small wooden wall seemed to separate the inner part of the small city from the rest of the settlements, but there were garbed police guards at the gate, and a bustle of wagons and people milling about.
As Ameiko, Eolion and the others approached, they overheard that entrance into the grand trading hall, which stood a good 75 feet high, required an entrance fee of 3 silver pieces per person. So as not to tip off who they were, the group anxiously paid and walked in – but their wonder of the place was soon taken as a situation developed right in front of them.
Here at the Kuroi Yane market adorned with silk dealers, market stalls and huts, the Scions notice a well-to-do commoner haggling with a shopkeeper. Suddenly, without warning, a half-dozen police officers surround him. The shopkeeper retreats to the back of her booth, and the commoner looks visibly frightened.
One of the police asks the man," You there, are you a trader from the village of Kokomugi?" The man bows deeply and answers affirmatively, breaking into a servile grin. The officer responds, “You are a liar!” That village doesn’t exist!" The man’s eyes grow wide in horror.
Immediately, the police officers grab the poor trader and force him to his knees. The crowd moves away forming a wide circle around the scene. as one of the officers unsheathes her sword. “You are a smuggler and a spy!” cries the officer. With a swift stroke and a collective scream of the crowd, the man’s severed head rolls across the floor. No one does anything to stop the police, after swaggering through the market as people scurry away from them.
Nemitu stops a nearby passerby. “What is the meaning of all this?” he asks in a hushed voice.
The tian responds, “They are the daikan tetsuku, the governor ordered them here to put down rebellion or dissent. Your tongue will kill you before you know it. I suggest you keep your mouth closed, and your eyes to the road in front of you!”
With that he quickly pulls his tunic up around his face and stomps out of the market.
Something didn’t settle well with Nemkitu, their attitude and fighting style seemed a bit odd for humans. Placing his manacles over his eyes, his gem of true seeing revealed who these so called police really were: Kuwa Oni. Monsters with golden skin, claws, horns and other monstrous features.
He turned to Eolion and Hazuki, “They are not what they seem… these are some form of oni in human guise! I suggest we pick a fight, my blades are thirsty!”
Hazuki grinned pulling Sushien out of its scabbard. “Indeed, this one wants death to come to these fiends quickly!”
Rushing ahead, Scions pounced on these police erupting into a massive melee!