The chilling touch of winter seems to linger over the empire. Heavy ice storms coming in from the south have played havoc with the road network and linger outbreaks of flues have closed off many cities. As the fortunes would have it, this staggered thaw sent two of our dragon heroes, Kitsuki Ryoma and Mirumoto Takezo, from the mountain passes and forced them through Phoenix lands on their way to Kaia Osho Mura. As the fortunes would have it, this led them to Takezo’s cousin Mirumoto Kettou, who was escorting Isawa Takkeji to Fox lands on the same mission as Ryoma. The band traveled together south, through Toshi Ranbo, where they met Akodo Yoshihiro. Finding the Dragon and Phoenix good traveling companions (better than being a lone Lion trying to make his way through Crane lands) he joined them. The arrive in Otosan Uchi where they have a chance meeting with Ide Hitomi and book rooms in the same inn where she is staying (as is Shosuro Seizetsu— though the boon of their congregation is not yet known.
Meanwhile, the twins, Shosuro Sen and Shosuro Sadako attend one of the last Winter Court events for the season. There they discover that the Crane representative to the Emerald Envoy is Doji Mizuko, who is in attendance. Mizuko for her part notices Sadako and sends one of her lackeys to invite the pair over to her. They join her and her betrothed Daidoji Hikaru. As the party winds down, they are invited to the home of Kakita Hannako, who entertains the group into the small hours— when it is revealed that she is the product of a Bayushi mother and Doji father, making her all the more likable to all gathered.
The next morning all parties receive an invitation to tea. It would seem that word has reached the Emerald Champion that multiple members of his envoy have arrived.