Three Feet from Death
Tournament of the Samurai
The Tournament of the Samurai was a competition hosted by the Phoenix Clan in Pale Oak Castle during the First and Second Day of the Month of the Dog, 1170.
The tournament was held with the intent to quell the current border tensions with the Dragon Clan. The Phoenix hoped that by holding a tournament dedicated to arts and culture, they could bridge the hostilities with the Dragon.
The tournament was divided into four main parts. The first two were poetry and painting, and were adjudicated by the famed artisan Doji Yujiro on the initial. The final two parts took place the following day and consisted of dance and tea ceremony. Both these competitions were judged by the courtier Isawa Masahiro.
- Asako Toshi, Phoenix Clan Asako Daimyo (Deceased 1170)
- Isawa Masahiro, Phoenix Clan Karo
- Asako Keiko, Phoenix Clan Historian
- Isawa Hitsukawa, Phoenix Clan Shugenja
- Shiba Reikun, Pheonix Clan Taisa
- Doji Aiko, Crane Clan Courtier
- Doji Yujiro, Crane Clan Master Craftsmen
- Mirumoto Rai, Dragon Clan Chui (Deceased 1170)
- Ikoma Katsu, Lion Clan Bard
- Bayushi Ejiro, Scorpion Clan Courtier (First appearance)
- Hida Fuya, Crab Clan Bushi
- Kitsune Retsu, Mantis Clan Shugenja
- Kitsune Sanae, Mantis Clan Bushi
- Shinjo Agui, Unicorn Clan Shugenja
- Shinjo Shujiri, Unicorn Clan Bushi
- Kakita Kenshin, Ancestor of Kakita Isamu (First appearance)
- Yoritomo Sukune, Emerald Magistrate Mantis Clan Bushi
At the start of the tournament, Masahiro presented the assembled guests with a gift intended for all of them. It was a sculpture of jade, gold and ivory depicting the mons of all the Great Clans and a large Imperial mon in the middle. The intention was that the sculpture would travel from the courts of the Clan Champions, spending each winter at a different court. Later Utaku Amaterasu’s gift haiku to the Phoenix Daimyo was engraved in the back of the stone tablet.
During the first evening’s dinner and socializing, Asako Toshi excused himself from the gathering. Later that evening Masahiro is alerted by a servant of Toshi’s murder. When announcing the death of the daimyo of Pale Oak Castle, Ikoma Katsu and Hida Fuya announce that they witnessed Mirumoto Rai leaving the area near Toshi’s quarters. Rai, unable to obtain an alibi due to his affair with Doji Aiko was consider to be the prime suspect and arrested preemptively.
The investigation revealed that it was actually Shiba Reikun who had slipped away during the dinner and stolen Rai’s kimono. Reikun had covered his face and allowed Katsu and Fuya to see a man in the colors of a Dragon leave Toshi’s quarters. Testimony from several servants identified Reikun as the individual leaving the daimyo’s quarters, but such testimony held no weight. Bloody clothing was hidden under Reikun’s bed, the kami witnessed the act and informed Kuni Taru and the others of the events. Eventually the evidence of Rei’s bloody kimono was enough to confront Reikun. Angered he challenged his accuser, Kuni Taru, to a duel. Kuni Taru accepted and asked for Kakita Isamu to duel on his behalf. Isamu won the duel by beheading his opponent, but ultimately suffered a weeping wound on his left side. During the last moments before passing out from his wound Isamu realized the ghost of Kakita Kenshin guided his hand during the duel.