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Many warriors on the musha shugyo, seek not only to improve their mind , but to test their skills. The Kenjutsu masters of Rokugan are sought after for their knowledge which is often passed down from many generations. This is the story of a Hida clan Samurai...

I was meditating on Mt. Shugano when a vision came to me. A beautiful maiden was walking through a garden when a white snake with amber eyes crossed her path. She ran away terrified and told the villagers. Do not fear him they said, for those that see him shall receive Benten's blessing. I realized I had seen a vision of the goddess herself and thanked the Heaven's for my good fortune.

Near Tsujina a Nihonto master designed a Tsubo for my sword , a white snake design with amber eyes inlaid. My vision became my sword, and my sword became me. I have trained many years learning the forms of Kenjutsu, but I could never find perfection in any one style. I have blended the speed of one style, with the movement of others, and perfected techniques that no one had dared to change.

In the morning I left the village with two travelling companions to journey to the mysterious Heii dojo. The competition at the dojo was not for the faint of heart as many warriors have never come back alive. I am a warrior of few words and listened to the conversation of my companions with amusement. They had fought in the last war together some five years ago. Hyori gave some rice to a traveller along the road. "You have not changed" said Sanzo " always concerned for the welfare of the peasant. "And you are the same old Sanzo" Hyori retorted. "You have gambled all your koku away." Well you know what I say" laughed Sanzo, " for a few koku more...".

We each gave several copper coins to an old man on the Heii river ferry and were joined by others on the way to the Dojo. A rather surly Samurai proceeded to rough up a youth on the ferry and I observed his bullying with disdain. He kicked a rattan travelling case and some cooking pots off the boat and proceeded to threaten Hyori. With blazing speed Hyori twisted the man's arm and sent him spinning backwards into the river with a huge splash. We all laughed and carried on into the sunset.

The Master of the Heii dojo put on a spectacular feast that night. I remarked to Sanzo that I felt uneasy about this place. He drank some rice wine and pretended to be nonchalant , but I could tell he sensed danger as well. The Master welcomed us to the competition and several Samurai were selected for the next morning's opening demonstration. Both Sanzo and I were selected.

Sanzo could not resist the opportunity to wager on my fight. The Master had set me up with a hand picked champion of his , a skilled man of brutish physical size. What I lack in size I have in determination, and managed to deflect his most punishing blows. He tried to kick my feet out from under me and finish me off with an underhanded, sly move. With Benten's blessing , I was able to wound him as he closed in. I spared his life although I had no doubts as to his evil intentions. The Master glared at me and left hurriedly to his inner chambers.

The preliminary fights continued throughout the day. Sanzo won his match with consumate skill. I admired his swordfighting form, quite different from my own. We retired to our quarters in the late afternoon. It was at this point that we realized Hyori was missing. I was about to search the grounds for him when the Master's bodyguards appeared. "It is forbidden to leave" they said and barred our way.

GM Notes: You can use this story as the background for your adventure. The first thing to do is decide whether to fight it out now or face a second day of fighting the Master's champions who will certainly not spare your life. The next thing to do is find Hyori if he is still alive. Then the adventurers will have to face the Master himself to discover what evil purposes he is up to. Co-operation between the players will be crucial to escape the dojo alive.

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