Okay. We're one session away from the end. So, I think I can tell everyone what's going on.
Two years ago, Otomo Ryogo married a Crane woman (Doji Akore) in secret, despite the disapproval of both families. After the passage of time (irrelevant), the secrecy began to tear him apart and Ryogo-sama took his daisho and his name and traveled West, believing he could achieve glory in the Shadowlands by defeating a monster — any monster — and returning with some kind of trophy (yes, he is a confused little noble with no concept of what the Shadowlands truly is).
Some research uncovered tales of an oni that could shape itself into anything. Believing this to be a great threat to the Empire, Otomo Ryogo made the monster's defeat his mission. More research revealed a temple on the east edge of the Shinomen forest where wayward monks studied arcane lore. Visiting the monastery, he approached the leader of the order and asked for their help in
a. disguising his appearance
b. branding the otomo mon to his arm
c. securing the power he needed to defeat the oni
Not understanding the true nature of the temple (they were bloodspeakers afterall), Ryogo woke several days later, branded and disoriented. He also found that a large portion of his tongue was removed to satisfy some sick ritual of the temple monks. But in Ryogo-sama's addled thought-process, this was a small price to pay for the power he was "given."
Unbeknown to the Otomo, however, his soul was how inextricably linked to Jigoku and the taint of maho. Rather than give him the power to destroy the oni, they made him a vessel of unquenchable rage, unable to ascend into the celestial heavens alongside his most honorable ancestors. In a twisted joke, they also took enough of his tongue, so he could never speak of it to anyone.
Trudging into the Ox lands and finally into the blasted Kuni plains, Otomo Ryogo hunted the beast he sought... or whatever he would find…
Months later, disoriented and devoid of his noble bearing — he lost his daisho — Ryogo stumbled into a remote Unicorn village on the edge of the Empire. Believing himself possessed and tainted, he sought jade to cure himself (again, naive). Seeking the aid of two ronin, Otomo Ryogo offered what little wealth he still had.
This would be the final mistake Ryogo would make.
During the transaction, the ronin used a painful and exotic poison that would slowly erode his mind and eventually his nervous system. Otomo Ryogo would die a horrible death 12 hours later in the middle of a rice paddy on the edge of a Unicorn farm, while the two ronin made off with his armor, wakizashi, and scant remaining zeni.
Enter the PCs
On the edge of Rokugan, a noble's body is discovered, picked clean by the elements and discovered by an unmotivated and unsavory Unicorn Magistrate (Shinjo Hanri). Reporting the death at his convenience, it would be six weeks before the PCs would arrive to find the body and a few scant details about what brought this unknown Otomo was doing so far from the heart of the Empire.
How would five lowly Jade Legionnaires piece together the scattered details of this random and inexplicable murder? And why is it that the Crane already know of it?
The plot thickens…