The Emperor's Service

Summary

Chasing Rumors
After returning from the northern island and reporting to Captain Hachi, the party is ordered to report to the Imperial capital and obey Imperial Inquisitor Soga Shina. Travel to the capital is easy on well patrolled roads and they present their passes to the city guards who direct them to Imperial Army Headquarters. But at Army Headquarters, they are shuffled in and out and taken out a side door to the Imperial Trade Ministry and shown to a small waiting room in the basement. But it is Inquisitor Soga's secret offices. She questions the party one by one on their encounters with the Bloodspeakers. After the interviews are complete, she sends them to a nearby hotel with orders to report back in the morning. A little off balance by the interrogations, the party samples the pleasures of the capital: fine bars, theater, gambling.
The next morning they report to Soga's waiting room and she takes them through a secret door into a more elegant conference room and speaks a few words of Power. Glyphs light up on the wall and the wu-jen realize the room is magically shielded. Soga explains that she has been collecting rumors about the mysterious Bloodspeaker Daigotsu. She believes he started his quest for power at his home in the village of Anan in the province of Shinmiya. She orders them to investigate and report back and hands Mai a stack of orders, travel passes and a coin string for supplies. Soga gives Mai a small magic item and tells her to break it in half and say "Show me the past" when it is used. She dismisses them and the party goes out to buy supplies for the journey and departs the next morning.

Poisonous Pilgrims
On the road to Anan, the party meets a group of monks travelling on a pilgrimage. But when the party draws alongside, the monks throw off their robes to reveal they are ninjas! They begin throwing poisoned shuriken at the party and Miki is struck. The party draws weapons and attacks, Jeffakou activates his Dragon tattoo and kills two ninjas with Fire Breath. Mai, Hiro and Konni and Jeffakou close to melee while Rei and Riku throw spells. Two wounded ninjas escape with flash bomb grenades, but the others are slain and searched. Unfortunately, the leader was burned to a crisp by Jeffakou…

The party reaches the small village of Anan with out further difficulty, there are villagers working the fields, but the old manor house on the hill is partially burned. When Jeffakou heads for the manor, three of the village women attack him. But they are not humans, they are hideous Rokuro-kubi, human like creatures but with a 20' foot long snake like neck. Jeffakou fights back with the strength of his Tiger tattoo, but one wraps her neck around him and begins to constrict the monk. Hiro and konni fire arrows killing two of the three and Jeffakou kills the third. But its a distraction, invisible Jikki-nikki-gaki attack from behind and the party is surrounded. The Gaki are no match for the party and are quickly slain.
Finally they approach the manor house. It seems the end with the living quarters was the heart of the fire. They cast Detect Magic and find there are several magic items in the manor, one is moving… They advance inside and are attacked by two humanoid monsters, like giants with the heads of bulls but with two sets of horns. They wear armor and carry large curved swords, but also cast spells. While engaged, a third appears behind the party, but this one is of lighter build and casts more spells. The party is wounded and all but Hiro deafened by spells. Miki is struck by the massive swords and collapses, Jeffakou goes down also and Konni gives him part of a healing potion while Nagai heals Miki. Riku stabs and paralyzes one of the warriors with his Spear of Venom, Konni and Rei defeat the second while Hiro kills the spellcaster with help from Mai.
With the monsters dead, the party moves into the rest of the manor and finds what appears to have been a magical laboratory. Mai breaks the spirit statue and the room fills with an illusion. The walls are covered with anatomy and blood magic charts, a man is crucified and dissected on a wall, apparently while alive. In the center of the room is a map chart, several Bloodspeakers examine it. One is the mage they killed at the Naga Tomb. The leader is a tall man in black and red robes with white hair, his face is covered with a white and red skull like mask. The map is marked with the same locations that the map they captured showed, but one of them, the quiet battlefield they visited is marked with the magical symbol for a portal… When the illusion ends they are left in the remains of the manor again. They gather treasure from the dead giants and head back to report to Inquisitor Soga.

Silly Quotes and Smart Remarks
Off to see the Imperial Inquisitor
JoAnne "No one expects the Spanish Inqusition!"

Mike is buying extra arrows to share with everyone
Lee "No one is going to let you touch their arrows, they're just going to snap"

Matt "All expenses paid trip to the Emperor's prison"

Taken to the Imperial Trade offices
Lee "What is this? The Phantom Menace?"
Jim (bad Japanese accent) "Our blockade is perfectly legal"

Matt "Half our party is flammable because they're all drunk on saki"

Discussing the hotel
Jim "The rooms are terrible; the walls are paper thin"
Lee "Sleep number bamboo mat. It has 2 settings: zero and one"

Discussing weapon laws in the capital: no armor, missile weapons, polearms
Matt "Who's got a polearm?"
Michael "That's what she said…"

Mentioning Fight Club
Lee "Just stop talking about it, Jesus…"

Matt "I will take one geisha"
JoAnne "Now, now"
Matt "You're right, I'll take two"
Jim "Just to stomp it out now, there is no geisha training school where you can have one for half price"

Looking for a potion shop
Lee "Does everything have tiger penis in it? I'm allergic to tiger penis"

Matt was talking about opening a magical dry cleaning shop with the Clean and Mend cantrips
Matt "Rico Yakasuave dry cleaners"

The ninjas attack, and Lee starts singing
Lee "Twelve throwing stars, nine ninjas attacking"
Matt "And a ninja hiding in a tree"

Lee "Cloudy, with a chance of ninjas"

Lee "I sneak up fast"
Matt "Worst. Monk. Ever"

Attacked by monsters who look human but have long snake like necks
Matt "Hiss hiss rawr"

Spotting the manor house
Jim "Its only a model"

Lee "Why are there no Japanese bards?"
Matt "Because the Japanese invented karaoke and we know how that turned out"

Circling the last paralyzed monster to stab him like Julius Caesar
Lee "Et tu, Pinky?"