Indie Pete as… Lady Kuga Nobuko, the Kagemusha
Leo as… the Black Chrysanthemum, previously Lady Kuga Seiko, the Metal Heir
Indie Rich as… Lord Kuga Tadamichi, the Spirit Heir
Simon as… Hatano Masamori, the Samurai
Scene 1 – introducing the Metal Heir, supporting the Samurai
We started with a scene of Seiko the Metal Heir being disowned and cast out of the castle. She was called to the steps of the castle by her mother, Lady Kuga, the regent of the domain. This happened mere days after Seiko recovered from an accident that cost her an eye. Lady Kuga announced that a ruler represents their domain and a crippled ruler shall surely cause the domain to be crippled as well; she therefore declared her first and only child to be unfit as an heir. Seiko was shocked, but her mother was adamant although seemingly suffering as well. A number of vassals declared their loyalty to the princess and followed her as fellow exiles. The Samurai was present as a silent force in the background, showing his disapproval of Seiko’s weakness by turning his back to her.
Scene 2 – introducing the Kugutsu, supporting: the Spirit Heir
Here we learned how a year after Seiko was cast out, a mysterious visitor clad in a cloak of raven feathers and a wide-brimmed straw hat completely hiding his face visited Lady Kuga, bringing her an infant who would in future be named Tadamichi. The infant could already speak – he called out for his mother – both the Lady and her double reached for his tiny hands with love. (This was intended as Act Zero for the Spirit Heir, but we decided that it introduced the Kugutsu better, so we went on to…)
Scene 3 – introducing the Spirit Heir, supporting: the Samurai
We saw Tadamichi observing Masamori practising his art by repeating katas and slashing through straw bundles. Tadamichi, puzzled by the Samurai’s actions, asked him for the purpose of the practice. Masamori explained that this was a preparation for the war where he would cut down anyone opposed to his lord as if they were bundles of hay. We decided that this was when the Spirit Heir learned of the importance of ruler/vassal relationshps.
Scene 4 – introducing the Samurai
Finally, we discovered what happened on the fateful night when Lady Kuga was assassinated. Masamori’s higly tuned sixth sense woke him up in the middle of the night. He didn’t waste any time, grabbed his great gemblade katana and, half-naked, sprinted to the Lady’s quarters, as scared servants scattered around. He found the Lady already dead, blood seeping out of a great slash across her body. A black-clad figure kneeled next to her and held a mirror to the Lady’s face in order to capture her soul! Masamori found himself unable to save her – between him and the soul-thief stood a samurai wearing a Demon Mask (the greatest samurai from the rival domain to the east), whose very presence froze Masamori in his tracks. (We used Emotion Matrix here to find out how Masamori felt about Demon Mask the samurai, getting a result of “Master”).
(…to be continued…)