The sound of the sand storm seems to be dying down, so we discuss how to get out of these caverns. Both exits are now blocked with sand, but Fujiko is able to call on her magic to start shifting it with blasts of air. Eventually, with a lot of effort, Fujiko manages to clear out a passage for us. Most of the rest of us sit around and drink tea whilst waiting for her to finish.
Whilst outside, Fujiko notices a bad omen - an eclipse of the moon where none was expected. Exactly what this signifies isn't known.
Crossing the Desert
We head off with the people of Chun towards the Golden Horde. After a few days, we see tracks of large horses, though can't tell how many since they are in single file to hide their numbers. That night, ahead of us, we see a glow over the horizon - something large is burning.
The next day we head towards the burning. As expected, it is a city that is currently under siege, though it looks like the siege is pretty much over. The walls of the city have been breached, and the beseiging army has taken up residence inside.
The last bastion of defence is confined to a citadel within the city, which is built on a hill. Burning balls of fire are being chucked into the citadel, and a large earthern ramp is being built up the hill. All this is about a days travel away. We can see this from the top of a valley, and are looking down onto the battle. There seems to be quite a bit of heavy cavalry down there.
Next morning we head down into the valley, dressed in our best armour and carrying our largest weapons in order to look impressive. We meet some infantry (doing standard looting and pillaging) who don't say anything we can understand. It is then that about a dozen cavelry ride up. They are women, riding real horses. I introduce myself as Utaku Bortai, their leader identifies herself as Otaku Kazu. She speaks a very old dialect, but we can just about understand her. They seem to be descendents of the people who the Unicorn Clan are descended from.
We talk war and horses. Apparently the war is going well. We explain that we are here to see the Khan. The Khan is not here - he is far to the west, teaching some upstart nations a lesson in diplomacy. There is a general here, and we are taken to see him.
After waiting around for ages, we have to leave our weapons outside and go in to see him. The audience room has paintings of Rokugani battles. We say that we are here to see the Khan. He tells us that the Mahesavara is not here. He agrees to sending us on to see the Khan. He will provide a guide, Bayushi Ohan, to show us the way. In the meantime, we are free to join in the battle or partake of the eating and drinking.
Bortai takes part in a few skirmishes, just to keep her skills up, and because it's fun.
Heading West to Esana
We head west, taking advantage of the postal system set up by the empire of the horde. It's about 10 days travel to where we are going, and we have an escort of about 25, including Bayushi Ohan. We get to a city with towers and domes which is brightly coloured with lots of patterns. There seems to be a new door at the city gate.
We are taken into a palace which has lots of pools of water and fountains. Very plush and expensive looking. We are shown through to a small courtyard.
We are shown in to see the Khan. The court seems to speak an old version of Rokugani. We leave Fujiko to do most of the talking. The court has a translator who we talk through. Fujiko explains that we are here with a message from the Arbiter, and the letter is handed over to the translator. When asked who the Arbiter is, Fujiko says that he is the Master of Miygo Munuti. At this point everyone goes into stunned silence, and the translator runs to a brazier and throws the letter in. Several courtiers try to rescue it.
In the confusion, we get the impression that the translator is actually the Khan. The letter is rescued, and the Khan storms off.
Afterwards we manage to have a conversation with someone who clarifies all this.
After that, we meet the Khan in private. He refuses to accept the letter, but when told that the Arbiter will then choose, he decides to choose himself, and decides to select the Sword rather than Oblivion.
At this point, I ask “What is going on?”, and actually get a straight answer. Jugoku is apparently beseiging the heavens, and it's going to win. What is allowing this is Otasan Uchi in Rokugan, and the only way of stopping it is for the Khan to invade Rokugan to put things right. He asks us to go back to Rokugan and explain to the Emperor that he must either bow down to the Khan or die.