It is the day after the battle against undead on the walls of Shiro Koatsuki.
Healers have come and attended the wounds of the party members. A modest meal is provided for the group. There is a new addition to their group: a bounty hunter archer of the Wasp Clan, TENSI (new character, played by K.D.) He is just arrived in the city and was directed to these barracks.
Their Crab hosts will make no demands on the group’s time today. Tired from his travels, Tensi decides to rest the day in the comfort of the barracks. Kenshin takes a walk around this quadrant of the fortress city, observing life for both peasants and for Crab soldiers.
Omar finds himself a tavern of median quality. He spends some coins to drink. The Forest Killer listens in on the conversation of others, gathering information while avoiding notice.
The crafty bushi learns that the plague is still running rampant in Crab cities and in the countryside, diminishing the Clan’s population and defenses. And he hears that many ronin who started the journey to Shinsei’s Last Hope did not make it there. Omar relates this information to the others in the barracks later that night.
Takeshi, meanwhile, looks in on the Crab chui whose life he saved in the battle. He has made a friend of significant importance; the grateful chui gives the ronin bushi a letter attesting to Takeshi’s heroics. Seeking out a Crab quartermaster, Takeshi uses his favour to obtain some items of importance for the journey to come.
Dinner is provided and sleep that night is restful. In the morning, following breakfast, the group is directed to a supply caravan headed for Shinsei’s Last Hope. A Crab clan sergeant, the master of the caravan, accepts the ronin to his service.
With ponies to ride, Omar, Takeshi, and Kenshin will scout for the caravan. Alternating roles, two of the mounted bushi will ride far ahead and scout while the third man maintains a position between the advanced scouts and the caravan itself. This arrangement is efficient and permits the maximum coverage of the territory ahead of the caravan while maintaining communication between the scouts. Tensi will escort the carts and provide for their security.
On the first day out of Shiro Koatsuki, Takeshi’s advanced scouting discovers a charnel pit. The bodies of undead have been burned here, after a pitched battle probably against Crab forces. Later in the day, on his foray, Omar will discover another such pit. This one still has warmth to it.
The scouts reach the end of the day. Turning back with nothing dangerous to report, the scouts halt at the intended campsite for the night. They await the arrival of the caravan. Looking around, Kenshin finds a Crab Clan mon. Always eager to uphold the honor of a Great Clan, the bushi cleans and shines the lost insignia. He will turn it over to the caravan’s sergeant that night.
The caravan arrives and its men set up camp. The scouts are excused from this duty, already having performed their own service today.
The night is uneventful.
The next day, as he scouts ahead, Takeshi sees a green flash in the near distance. Taking no chances, he rides back to Kenshin. The two bushi cautiously ride in the direction of the anomaly.
Off the road, hidden behind trees and in the floor of a steep-walled gully, the bushi scouts discover a horde of undead. The zombies are milling about absently, as if waiting for something. The road veers near this gully. The caravan would have passed this place, and been ambushed by the zombies hidden off the road and out of sight.
Kenshin and Takeshi are detected; ranks of zombies lurch towards them. Not wishing to lead this horde back to the caravan, Kenshin and Takeshi take off away from the true direction of the caravan. They circle back toward the caravan when out of the undead’s line of sight. However, the zombies have not fallen for the ruse.
Riding back at breakneck speed, the scouts find Omar waiting. The trio returns to the caravan and warns of the peril ahead. Before long, the undead forces approach. The caravan’s defenses deploy.
There is a green flash. It is a spell, cast from the attackers. The effect strikes fear into the stalwart hearts of Omar and Kenshin. There is another flash. The caravan sergeant falls to the earth, stricken with paralysis.
Mass combat ensues. As the best available tactician, Takeshi assumes command of the defenders in the paralyzed sergeant’s stead. The ronin warrior engages a goblin in combat, and bests it.
Momentum in the battle swings from bushi to undead and back again. Tensi is hit with a spell from the undead horde; he falls to the ground screaming, losing two points of Honor as he loses face in combat.
From the melee emerges an Ogre. It stomps over to Kenshin and Omar. They engage in pitched battle. Tensi’s stamina wears out; he slips from consciousness. Deft Takeshi joins the fight against the Ogre. His effort well exceeds the damage inflicted by Omar and by Kenshin. The Ogre is slain at last. From there, it is short work to cut down the rest of the undead.
The combat is ended. More than a hundred enemies, including the Ogre and two goblins, litter the site of battle. The caravan is safe. Before rest comes the work of piling up the dead and burning their remains.
(end Part 6)