- Catherine – Kitsu Jiro
- Mark – Matsu Tashiro
- Fee – Ikoma Kazumi
- Rob – Kitsu Takahashi
- Jenny – Kitsu Tara
The party have a long lie in after their fight the night before. Haruna and Mariko, who look after the magistrates home, do what they can to clean the party’s clothes. When eventually they go out into the town they see lots of Ashigaru moving around town and that all the business’s are shut. When they enquire of Kameko as to why, they are told that it was under the orders of the governor. Takahashi is less than impressed as the blacksmiths being shut is slowing down the development of his poleaxe.
The party head for a meeting with the Governor, unfortunately he is indisposed but they are allowed to enter the palace by Oda and are given a room to wait in by Ichi, the manservant of the Governor. They are served tea by his loosed tongued wife Utako who lets slip that the governor is having a meeting with the Matsu Brothers responsible for the men who attacked the magistrates.
After a short delay the door to the room slides open and the governor and his yojimbo Shoko enter the room. As usual the governor is unarmed as are the guests, only Shoko is wearing the full daisho. He explains that he has spent the morning letting the Matsu brothers know his full displeasure at the previous evenings events. The governor is fully satisfied that the attack was not planned by anyone other than the foreman of the attackers – who had quite rightly died for his dishonour. When quizzed about the lockdown the governor says that it was necessary to ensure that no more ruffians were loitering around the town and now that he is satisfied that the threat has been removed he is happy to send the order to allow the town to reopen once again. Satisfied the party leave, Takahashi quickly goes to the blacksmiths to see what they have done so far. They show him their design and although acceptable it lacks the scale that he wanted. The blacksmith and cooper go back to work on a larger sized axe.
The party go to the stables and get ponies along with directions and head out to visit the Matsu Brothers. The journey does not take long and they easily find the marker on the road that indicates the turn off for their farm. The Matsu brothers home is … rustic in appearance. No women are on show. Five riders on superior mounts ride out from the ranch to meet the party. All the horses stop facing one another – except Jiro’s who’s horse does a neat circuit of the party with her bouncing this way and that and sawing at the reigns for the damn beast to stop. Eventually the horse finds a nice piece of grass to eat and decides to stop there. The eldest of the brothers introduces himself as Matsu Unkei and wants to know who they are. They introduce themselves as the magistrates deputies and when Tashiro mentions that he is also of the Matsu family Unkei visibly relaxes and invites them to his home, such as it is.
While talking to Unkei the party get some of his family history. Both his parents died protecting Lion lands from a Unicorn incursion, he has raised his family as best he could but he admits that all the brothers were lax in their discipline with Takuro. He had hoped that Takuro could have become one of the governors guards or perhaps even his yojimbo as Takuro loved to dress to impress and hang around the town rather than work. Unkei has been trading mares with Shinjo Ryoko for a couple of years trying to improve his own stock of Rokugani ponies. Takahashi suggests bluntly that Takuro was responsible for his own death but in the interest of goodwill and the acceptance that her daughter was also responsible but innocent of killing Takuro, Shinjo Ryoko might gift the Matsu family a stallion of a quality horse so that the family are not hindered by the loss of their brother. Unkei agrees but the brother nearest ages with Takuro stomps off in disgust. Unkei says that he can deal with Sosuke and his moods.
The party return to the village and make arrangements to leave in the afternoon to see Shinjo Ryoko as it is a long ride, Tara gets the prisoner to give her one of her mons to identify themselves to the Unicorn clan. They ride to the ford and set up camp away from the road on the Lion side. At dawn they feel the vibrations of a number of horses and get up, they see six Unicorn riders approaching. Takahashi stands up and approaches the riders, Kara and Tashiro notice that the clan colours are slightly wrong and that the riders are on Rokugani ponies and not quality horses as they should be. Jiro runs to the side and tries to unleash kami inspired hell while Takahashi and Tashiro run towards the riders to take the brunt of the impact. Tara and Kazumi hang back to deal with any falling riders. All the riders attack the two bushi unsuccessfully and travel on by the two courtiers where an argument appears to break out among the pretend Unicorn. The two bushi run to their bed mats and withdraw their bows, each taking a shot at who appears to be the leader. Both shots strike true and the leader falls from his horse. The others attempt to flee but one has his horse struck and he falls – he is captured and after revealing nothing of importance other than he knew the leader from his time in the Scorpion lands he is executed by Tashiro for his crimes. They do find that the leader brought down by the two expertly placed arrows is in fact the ronin Oda.
The party makes its way into Unicorn lands and are met by a Unicorn patrol. They identify themselves as Magistrates and show the mon of the prisoner. They are taken to a castle in the mountains that Tara and Tashiro identify as being of Lion clan origin. The Unicorn clan are staying in the grounds but are not using the castle itself, instead they are staying in tents. The party talk to Ryoko and are stunned by her blue eyes but after a protracted discussion she agrees to give an excellent quality stallion to Matsu Unkei in recompense for the loss of his youngest brother. She is totally dismissive of the dead boys place in the problem, in her eyes he brought a knife to a sword fight and paid the price for his stupidity. She agrees to return with the party to gift the horse to Unkei and get her daughter. The party get to stay in the fort and see many mons carved into the woodwork, some they can identify as Lion and Ikomo but the specific mons identity elude them.
The next morning Ryoko and fifty of her men mount up and ride out with the party. They are followed by two wagons which slow the line of warriors down. The party don’t ask what the wagons are for and Ryoko doesn’t say, she is too busy laughing at Jiro bouncing around on her pony. Eventually the snaking line of horsemen arrive in the village but to their horror the governor has taken it upon himself to deal out justice to Ryoko’s daughter. In the centre of the square he has erected a gallows and Shinjo Ai is kneeling on a table with the noose around her neck. Shinjo Ryoko deploys her men and the townsfolk bolstered by the men of Unkei and other surrounding farms line up against them. The outcome could be a bloody affair.
The party ride up to the governor and demand to know what he is doing. He informs them that in their absence Kameko had been abducted, most likely at Unicorn hands, and to stop any further hostilities between the clans he has decided to execute Ai bringing and end to the affair. Takahashi publicly insults the governor and his yojimbo Shoko steps forward and takes up an iaijutsu stance to defend the governors honour. Takahashi ignores the invitation to an honourable duel as set in the bushido code by the emperor himself and instead attacks Shoko. The Matsu brothers are horrified at this breach of etiquette, Ryoko not so much (Shoko is a ronin after all), and move to help the governor, Tara runs forward and explains that they have brokered a deal with Shinjo Ryoko and that they have in fact agreed that Ai is not guilty of the crime. Unkei is unconvinced and asks Tara if they intend to harm the governor. Everyone else has been stunned by Takahashi’s actions.
Meanwhile Takahashi may have bitten of more than he can chew. Shoko was not as surprised by his attack but unfortunately for Shoko, Tashiro also decides to get laid into him and between them Takahashi and Tashiro take Shoko down. The governor is horrified at the complete lack of honour shown to his yojimbo, he refuses to pick up a sword and fight Takahashi and instead moves towards Ai either to use her as a hostage or to deliver his sentence. Jiro and Kazumi have by now cut Ai down and the governor, left with few choices and fearing for his life, instead calls his ashigaru around him and retreats into the governors palace.
The stallion is given to Unkei and he performs the ritual of refusing three times and then accepts the gift. Unkei then announces that he is satisfied that justice has been done and bears no ill will to Shinjo Ai. Shinjo Ryoko takes her daughter and leaves with her samurai. The town goes quiet and people start to return home. Tara sees Matsu Sosuke leave but looks less than impressed with proceedings. Takahashi performs some medical services on Shoko and with luck the ronin looks like he may live. He does tell the party that the governor did have meetings that he did not attend, Oda attended those in his place and that the governor had a strong box in which he kept a map that he seemed to study a lot. Shoko is allowed to leave and makes his way out of town, passing Kameko on the way. She had been held in a tent for a day or so and then transported in a wagon until suddenly she was released within site of town.