Session 18

The group sits around the Fragrant Fern and complains about the state of local politics - specifically about how hard it is to get an audience with the daimyo. They decide to head to the Shrine of the Southern Wind, Fujiwara’s oldest shrine, with the hope that they can persuade the shinkan to take their case seriously.

Saeko and Asami help Kumiko to get dressed up in order to make the best possible impression. This gives Kumiko advantage to any Charisma checks when she meets the shinkan.

The group heads to the shrine where they donate a sizable amount of money and then pray. As money buys influence almost anywhere, they are quickly introduced to Sagawa Sadako. Sadako, a kitsune with 4 tails, relates that she has been with the shrine since she was a shrine maiden, and has watched the city grow up around her.
 
Miyo and Saeko both fail their arcana and religion checks and are of no help in building a case for the threat that Kobayashi represents. Kumiko, though, manages to convince her that the threat is genuine and that she should recommend them for an audience with the daimyo. Before they leave, Kumiko invites Sadako to the performance this evening.

The group spends the rest of the day preparing for Saeko’s guest performance at the theater. She intends to perform "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword,” a retelling of one of the City Guard’s great victories against the lizard-riding barbarians of the horde lands. While Saeko is busy getting into costume and Asami is preparing to accompany her on the biwa, the rest of the group scans the crowd to see which VIPs show up.

They see that the daimyo’s younger sister, Fujiwara Shizu, is in attendance, along with Watanabe Isako, the captain of the guard, and two of her lieutenants, Enari Sakura and Oku Kotaro. Each brings an entourage, so the performance is well attended. When they met her, each of the characters immediately realizes that Isako looks exactly like Reiko of the Jade Fist, but without a tail and horns. The group notes the similarity, but makes no mention of it, then takes a set of seats near Isako and her retinue.

During the performance, Kumiko notices that Enari leans over and whispers to one of her sergeants, who gets up and leaves. It seems noticeably out of place, bordering on disrespectful, so Kumiko and relays this to Miyo. Miyo then uses the message cantrip to notify Saeko and Asami while they’re on stage.

Saeko does an amazing job and wows the crowd, thereby predisposing those in attendance toward the characters, granting them advantage on subsequent Persuasion checks. Kumiko leverages the goodwill to build up her clan in the eyes of Isako. She agrees that they are a honorable force for good and will recommend presenting them to the daimyo.

Saeko invites everyone to an afterparty at one of the trendy restaurants nearby. People crowd her and ask for autographs as she leaves the stage, and Shizu pushes through the crowd to lavish praise on her performance. After a few more minutes of chatting, most of the crowd leaves the theater, at which point they notice a fire burning in the distance. It appears to be coming from the Yellow Lantern district.

They bid farewell to Isako and Shizu and head toward the Yellow Lantern district to investigate.