On the path to the shrine, the characters are ambushed by bandits. Kenzō points out they are members of the infamous Black Riders, which have been causing much chaos in the area as of late.
The characters find the shrine but it appears to be encased inside a giant bulbous tree! They must overcome this bizarre ward and find a way inside.
After disarming the ward, the characters discover the shrine to be little more than a nondescript circular mound of hardened soil with a humble wooden stand with offerings to the spirit Fushimi. Once they all set foot on the center of the altar, the primal energy released by the ward activates a malfunctioning teleportation circle.
The teleportation circle transports the characters into a chamber several dozen feet below the shrine, where they find themselves under attack by viscous swarms of rats!