L5R - The Great Dusk
Siege of Mura Sabashii Toshi (1150, Fall)
MCA (Yoritomo Yoshita) against Crane (Daidoji Gento)
Result: MCA Victory, moderate casualties
Battle of Haku Pass (1150, Summer)
MCA (Ichiro Hachigoro) against Crane
Result: MCA victory, significant casualties
Notable Casualties: Ichiro Hachigoro
Seeking to offset the advance of the Crane into Hare territories, the Minor Clan Alliance met the forces of Daidoji Uji on several fields of battle, with Ichiro Hachigoro’s 13th legion making its stand at the treacherous Haku Pass.
In spite of the fatiguing forced march required to reach the Pass on time to meet Crane troops, Shireikan Ichiro Hachigoro had no choice but to proceed after the one surviving scout—from a special bushi-shugenja company designed by Gunsos Yoritomo Yoshita and Usagi Kenchi—was able to send word via the air kami that Crane forces outnumbered the Minor Clan Alliance companies by a three-to-one margin.
With little time and six Crane legions rapidly approaching, MCA forces were nonetheless able, guided by Ichiro Hachigoro’s cunning, to adopt a multifaceted strategy: Usagi Kenchi’s forces raced to Haku Village and, after evacuating its residents, had its dam burned in order to flood nearby rice fields in order to force Crane troops through the slim crevasse; Yoritomo Yoshita’s tsuruchi archers scaled the steep mountain in order to provide support to the bushi below via a storm of arrows; Heichi Masu’s 1st company had the unenviable task of meeting the Crane head-on, holding the front lines for as long as possible; and Kitsune Tokaji’s shugenja had the arduous duty of providing support to not one, but all three disparate companies while also using spells to mire the path of the frustrated Crane.
All progress seemed for naught, however, when the Iron Crane appeared to ensure the defeat of Minor Clan Alliance forces. Though they fought bravely and relentlessly, Shireikan Ichiro’s army was inarguably delivered from annihilation through the unexpected appearance of the Order of the Morning Star, who repeated “All homage to the enlightened Shinsei…” as they quashed the forces of the Crane with a single-minded focus. Eventually, even the Iron Crane was left with little choice but to withdraw.
Still, the victory of the Alliance at Haku Pass came with a hefty price: the 1st company was, as expected, devastated, with many Boar lost; Ichiro Hachigoro—who would later be referred to as “the Mountain” in ballads sung—fell after holding his line for what seemed like an eternity; a substantial number of shugenja, including Gunso Kitsune Tokaji, were left with no choice but to surrender in honourable fashion…
Battle of Sanada’s Island (1150, Spring)
Result: MCA loss, moderate casualties.
Notable Casualties: Toritaka Yama, Morito Kuroi
The MCA army, seeking vengeance for Musume Mura, tracked Sanada’s forces to his island stronghold with the assistance of Naizen. The MCA launched a distraction attack under the command of Morito Kuroi to the island’s southern shore in hopes of lessening the number of enemies at the islands primary port, while at the same time sending a unit of scouts under the command of Toritaka Yama onto the north shore of the island to work their way south and attack the pirates from behind or possibly free the hostages.
The main army made a bold assault upon Sanada’s bay. Unfortunately, they did not confirm if Naizen’s descriptions of the defenses were accurate and were caught off-guard when their ships were trapped by the bay’s new harbour chains. Bombarded by siege weapons, the MCA assaulted the beach, only to find that Sanada’s pet shugenja had turned the sand into a mire. Heichi Masu, leading the assault troops made it through the beach, taking heavy casualties and launched a daring attack upon the enemy shugenja, ultimately falling before his enemies. While Sanada’s defenses caught Toku Ryofu off-guard, the Monkey was soon able to turn the tides of battle somewhat. Ultimately this proved insufficient, although Kitsune Tokaji killed the enemy shugenja in single combat before a retreat was declared.
Yoritomo Yoshita’s archers provided ample cover, but Yoshita failed to capitalize on an opportunity to eliminate the Captain with a clear shot, who returned to strike down Tsuruchi Raiko.
The MCA escaped the bay with the timely intervention of an orochi, abandoning the forces of Toritaka Yama and Morito Kuroi, who were working their way from behind the pirate camp from different landing spots. The pirates briefly pursued, but ultimately returned to their base to await the inevitable Daidoji attack.