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 Bright Wind Geisha House, Evening I

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Posts : 67
Join date : 2014-09-14

PostSubject: Bright Wind Geisha House, Evening I   Wed Jun 24, 2015 12:04 pm

Letter sent to Usagi Kenotu, Ashidaka Koutetsu, and Spectre. Insert proper name into greeting. (Character name-san), I feel that we need to get together and discuss the events that are transpiring. There is much that we can do for each other and much to understand about our situations. I will be at the Bright Wind Geisha House tonight. Let Madam Niko know that you are there as my guests when you arrive. Asamiri is performing that evening so it will be quite loud but I have arranged a room just close enough to let us enjoy the music while still allowing us to hear each other. I look forward to your company. Sincerely, Doji Ejio

Kyle Patrick Smith

The Crane swordsmith responds with a simple letter. Doji Ejio-sama, Tonight would be the excuse I am in need of. Signed, Ashidaka Koutetsu [CHOP] That evening Koutetsu arrives at the Bright Wind at the appointed hour. The Blade of Execution is no where to be seen as he carries Katsujinken, the sword he forged on his gempukku. He is otherwise in the trappings of a Crane lord: covered in luxurious silks from head to heel. While handsome by Crane standards, he lacks any sense of warmth; no smile, no light in his eyes, no air of curiosity. His demeanor is seemingly cold as if some burden had stripped away the pleasantness that had been there before.

Jonathan Logan Turman

The Hare bushi sends back a simple letter. Doji Ejio-sama, I would love some relaxation from yesterday's encounter. Signed, Usagi Kinotu [CHOP] When Kinotu arrives at the Bright Wind on time, he seems a little worse for wear. He has bandages on his forehead, his arm is in a sling inside his kimono, and is walking with a slight limp. His kimono is plain with his clan colors of red and white and his clan mon on his back. He constantly scans the room as if he is not trusting of everyone. He is carrying a single scroll case in a white knuckle death grip.

Doji Ejio sat and studied the cup in his hand. Simple and elegant, he admire the shape. It wasn’t until a feminine voice broke into his reverie that he noticed the two men he had invited were in the room. Only the quick flicker of his eyes away from the cup betrayed his lack of attention as he smoothly stood and smiled warmly while taking in the disparate appearances. “Good evening, gentlemen. I apologize for my rudeness, my mind was elsewhere. Please, join me. Shoyoko, please bring us the house specialty this evening. No doubt my guests are hungry. And sake. Thank you, lovely.” Ejio smiled warmly at the serving girl who blushed and bowed quickly before running to get what was asked. Motioning once again to the table, he spoke again. “Please,sit, enjoy.”

Jonathan Logan Turman

Kinotu sits down and places the scroll case in the middle of the table. He bows to Ejio, "Thank you sama."

Kyle Patrick Smith

The swordsmith, who had relinquished his daisho at the entrance, found himself in an uncomfortable state. He did not attend gesha houses, or sake houses for that matter, so he felt naked. He tried not to wear his uneasiness on his sleeve as he bowed to the Doji first and then the Hare. "Arigatou gozaimasu," Koutetsu thanked Ejio in a low, formal tone. His eyes slowly panned the room as he considered the prepared arrangements. He was slow to settle down, folding his hakama beneath his legs as he sat down. Despite the occasion, he favored the martial styling to his attire with a haori that complimented his lordly vestments. The Crane slid his hands into his lap and exhaled, forcing himself to relax.

Ejio bowed in response to the formalities offered before taking his seat and sipping from the cup he was studying, his eyes lingering with a hint of sadness at his lost perspective before returning to his guests. In a cheerful, open voice he spoke.
“Be at ease, here. Madame Neko is incredibly picky about who is allowed within these walls and we are too close to the music for anyone outside of this room to hear what we say so long as we are not overly exuberant. Outside of this establishment, we are the scions of our fathers. In here, we are friends and hopefully soon to be very drunk. Before we hit that stage, however, we should probably go through the necessary evil of serious pragmatism. Yesterday was a horror unlike anything I have ever seen and if I am lucky, I will never see its like again.”
The Crane lordling drained the cup before continuing to speak in his inviting tone, careful not to sound too trained, too much like the courtier he was expected to be and not enough like someone with a genuine interest.
“Many things seem… off… to me about the incident but I am no investigator. I wanted your opinions to see what, if anything, we need to do and where we need to go from here. Our efforts to this point have simply been too scattered.” Pausing, Ejio looked at each of the other two and waited for a response, his fingers turning the cup within his hand absently, fingertips tracing the same lines as the original sculptor who made it.

Kyle Patrick Smith

"I had a brief... Exchange with Kitsuki Moru in the Candle House," Koutetsu offered in his low tone. He lacked any sense of attention to his words as he seemed to stare off into the distance. While a scion as the lordling spoke of, he seemed anything but. To those familiar with the Crab or Lion, he possessed an innate quality common to their select ranks. It took him a moment to find his composure before he looked up to Ejio and Kinotu. "Between us the Imperial Judge is suspicious of actions taking place within the district. He feels two forces are at work here... Someone within Juramashii working against the Governor and someone outside," he tried to explain. "I don't grasp who is moving pieces or to what ends, but we are all pawns to the machinations around us."

Jonathan Logan Turman

Kinotu motioned toward the scroll case, "Open it. I "procured" it from a man I chased into the tunnels last night who seemed to be someone who knew the full extent of the ritual that has been trying to take place. This is the full list and proper order for the victims for the ritual. It appears as though there is someone high up in status that is part of the whole thing by looking at the expert calligraphy, high Rokugani language and the quality of the paper it is written on. I was unable," he motions to his injuries, " to question the man further before the tunnel we were in collapsed. At least we don't have to worry about him anymore and his followers will be even more unorganized and less successful in their future attempts."

Ejio nodded in agreement with Koutetsu, remaining silent as the tortured swordsmith spoke, recognizing some extent of the damage that was happening. Even as one trained with words, Ejio knew that he could not aptly describe the look of someone staring into Meido but he could feel it. He knew it intimately for a reason all his own.  Restraining his comments for the moment, he turned to face the Hare as he spoke and looked down at the scroll upon its mentioning. Hesitant at first, Ejio steeled himself and reached for the document. Unrolling it, he read through the contents and continued to remain silent for several uncomfortable minutes. He found his voice reluctantly and looked at the pair before speaking.
“Well, at least my chance of being murdered has only doubled.  Thank the fortunes I wasn’t born a woman or it would have tripled.”
Setting the scroll down in front of the Ashidaka, Ejio waited for him to glance it over before speaking.
“So we have several conundrums to figure out.  The Kitsuki would not lie about his suspicions, I believe, and he is very observant. So he is probably right. And we now know that our enemies of the blood are higher than we could have guessed.
Ejio turned towards the door and motioned for the servant to bring in the food and poor the sake.  Once the attractive servant left them, he turned to his friends again and took a sip.
“So what do we do?”

Jonathan Logan Turman

Kinotu looked at the artisan," It is clear that this group is using the tunnels under the city to navigate the city while keeping themselves hidden. We need to adequately investigate the tunnels and try to map them out as well as find out where all the openings are in the city. This will help us to better find out where they might pop up and better figure out where they might strike next as they will more than likely do it near these escape routes. "

Kyle Patrick Smith

The swordsmith picked up the scroll and looked over its contents with a studious glance. After reading through the contents he set the scroll down, feeling a sickness ball into a tight knot in his stomach. "The cycle continues," he commented. "And just as displeasing as the first half. I do not see how any under the Governor's employ is like to last the winter at this rate..." The mentioning of the tunnels only caused him to pause. He was hesitant to respond as the words echoed through his mind: Your entire family will be murdered within a month's time. He looked down to the sake and not waiting took a heavy drink to wash away his fears. It did not work. "I... Fought off a horde of the undead who chased me beneath Candle House," Koutetsu spoke carefully. "I reached the tunnels by chance... I outpaced them, fortunately, and found an exit into Juramashii." He omitted his encounter with the masked Mistress, her chained (and unknown yet intimidating) companion, and the armed men for fear of his family and close friends.

Jonathan Logan Turman

"Well that's one less area we have to search then. At least we have one opening that we have an ally in possession of. I can spend my days when I'm not needed exploring the tunnels stealthily to try to map out some of the tunnels under the city and try to secure some of the openings with doors and locks. So were any of the other high status individuals hurt by the horde?"

Kyle Patrick Smith

Koutetsu quirked his mouth but said nothing before he peered down into his sake cup. He refilled its contents and reflected on the face staring back at him. "I did not see any guests come to harm due to how busy I found myself handling the... Unexpected guests," the swordsmith managed. "Though I heard that due to Ejio-san's quick thinking, the lives of many were spared. The night could have went considerably worse, all things considered." He drained another cup with the restraint of a Hida before he set it down empty before him. It burned down his throat though the sensation was dulled compared to the first cup. "I don't have time to be going down tunnels while I am working on my latest series of projects," he said bluntly. The recent news regarding the request for Chi-Yomi to forge another 100 swords, of a much higher quality, had only soured his disposition. "But if there is anything else I can do, I can likely oblige your request." Of course Koutetsu wanted nothing to do with encountering the masked woman again.

Ejio let the others talk for awhile, taking in what they said and trying to consider what it all meant.  Finally he responded, a pensive expression tilting his lips.
“We could probably spend years in those tunnels and not find what we need. Or simply just get murdered by cultists. It may be better for us to try and find someone who already knows the information we seek.  I might be able to arrange that.
Another drained cup of sake and a few moments to refill it passed before Ejio continued.
“And I did nothing in the house to save the others.  I screamed and I yelled much like most of the others. I just yelled more politely. People like it when you do things politely. So besides the tunnels, what else do we have to work with? Were you able to recognize the man you chased, Kinotu-san? We know he was educated and high-born, but do you recall anything that might have given away who he was or where he was from?”

Jonathan Logan Turman

"I do not believe that the man I chased was the one who wrote the scroll. He was merely the one out of the five cultists I ran into that seemed to know what he was doing. I do not ask you two to explore the tunnels. I will in my spare time as I have more experience as a scout and not being noticed. I would certainly welcome any information that you may have on anyone who might know these tunnels better. I do not remember much of his face as he jumped into the pitch black tunnels. I will ask the monk Osai if he knows anymore about these tunnel systems as he knows a lot about the goings on of the city. I also have a meeting to arrange with a shugenja who is part of the order that the dead Asahina was a part of. When I talked to the head of the order, who of his members approached me afterwards with a look of concern and an interest in talking to me more about the ritual. This could bear fruit in our investigation. "

Kyle Patrick Smith

"I'm fresh out of shugenja with the death of Asahina-sama," Koutetsu noted. "Before I would work on forging a new sword, I would ask that he bless the work to better align the spirits to my craft. I will need to speak with the order and seek out a new priest. When you speak with them, Usagi-san, I would join you to gain a new ally. I am due to start a new blade soon."

Jonathan Logan Turman

"Of course sama. I will notify you of when and where the meeting is. Would you like to join as well Ejio-sama? The ritual that we are trying to stop will also be one of the topics discussed."

Ejio shook his head slightly, dismissing the offer gently.
“No, unless I am necessary, I don’t believe I would be of great use to the investigation there. I have other avenues that I need to pursue. So we have a vague set of directions for what we wish to do. Now let us set aside the investigation for a moment and consider ourselves.  What are we doing and what do we need? I know that right now, we need entertainment.  And more sake.”
Ejio pulled a string beside him and an immaculately prepared geisha entered the room, along with a serving girl with more sake.
“Let us discuss with our companion our woes and our wants, shall we?”
With a delighted smile that reached his eyes and was difficult to refuse as anything but genuine and infectious, Doji Ejio leaned back and listened to the soft music offered by the geisha and whatever conversation his companions brought forth.

Jonathan Logan Turman

Kinotu closed his eyes and enjoyed the geisha's wonderful music. After some time, he opened his eyes and downed half his sake. "Ejio-sama, I had a thought as to us possibly working together for a dual performance of my acting and your artwork especially sculpture. The inspiration is art that becomes life and life that becomes art. I can use my makeup and acting skills to pose as an intricate statue and you create a bushi sculpture to scale that appears to be interacting with me in some way. We could both be put on display at one of your art shows and then one your art "pieces" comes to life at your cue seemingly coming to life. Some of those who were at the party of 100 candles can a test to my abilities and skills. What do you think?"

Kyle Patrick Smith

Where Kinotu wanted to discuss art, Koutetsu wanted to think of nothing more than burying his woes under a mountain of sake. In a moment when his struggles dwarfed him he considered his sake and the opportunity the night presented him. He felt the city was against him and life was much worse since his arrival. In a place of golden opportunity he found nothing but displeasure. Well, almost nothing and even that felt meaningless compared to the mounting sensation of pain and suffering. In all his life he never had considered such melancholy. How could he suffer still? He felt a tangible regret, a fear, a sorrow welling up within his soul and he could not understand why. All it did was anger him, balling up a sum of negative emotions he wished away. He didn't quite realize the serving girl pouring his next cup, or Kinotu speaking of statues, or Ejio's smug look of satisfaction. As much as the song and music drowned out his surroundings, a darkness blanketed him as he dwelled on his unhappiness. For a moment there was very little else in the world. So he drank as so many others before him had in search of happiness at the bottom of his cup. The swordsmith brooded over circumstance, his attention elsewhere as his companion spoke, as he considered better times. A time without a haunting blade, a time without a grisly duty, a time without a furious family, a time without a string of murders, a time without a orchestrated hell...

“I think that is a splendid idea, Kinotu-san. I will begin work on this as soon as I wrap up my current project. Give me about three weeks to complete it and then we shall put our heads together and create something wonderful. I have a great idea already for it.” Ejio nodded to punctuate his agreement, his eyes half closed to follow the music more clearly while still thinking. As he listened to the geisha, he couldn’t help but note the absence, the darkness of presence that was Koutetsu. Genuine concern flickered across his face and he motioned for the geisha to stop playing her soft melody.
“Ohana-chan, our friend could use a lightening of his burden. Though I could listen to your deft fingers dance across your biwa, I fear he needs you more than I.”
Bowing slightly with a compassionate smile bending her lips, the beautiful geisha turned to the dour Crane.
“My lord Koutetsu, what shall I play for you to lift this cloud? Let me help bear your burdens so that you may walk upright.”
Her gentle voice washed over him, begging his reply and implying the depths of sadness she would feel if he did not comply.
Once the geisha turned her attention to the Ashidaka, Ejio turned back to Kinotu to continue their conversation.
“So tell me, Kinotu-san, what is it you want to accomplish here in Otosan Uchi? What are your thoughts of the city so far?”

Kyle Patrick Smith

Koutetsu of the Ashidaka, Vassal to the Kakita, was not so easily roused from the depths of his thoughts. The darkness that permeated his aura blinded the Crane in his darkest moments. Where his companions found pleasure in the sake and fair company of the geisha, waking dreams filled him with blood and entropy. Like the light at the end of a tunnel a voice echoed, distant yet soft, turning his gaze away from the overwhelming shadows. He blinked as he realized the biwa player was addressing him. The swordsmith's eyes widened a moment as he chased back the encroaching darkness. "Play," Koutetsu murmured, the word very much a question. Play what? The biwa was an instrument of melancholy and sorrow. Sweet yet beautiful in its somber melody. How could it blow away the fog that threatened his spirit? "A long time ago, when I was very much a boy, I learned a truth. In life there are two paths and a warrior walks his path with a sword in his hand. For you see, his sword is an instrument of his ideals. He who shall hold high the lives of others shall walk the high road; he who shall hold low the lives of others shall walk the low road. "I chose to uphold the high road, holding sacred the lives of the many. Yet how do I maintain my post when I am demanded to take that which I hold ever so high?" His tone was low, haunted, and pained as he wrestled with the philosophical debate. "Find me a song that can answer this question... But I fear no such song can soothe that which troubles me," he whispered. The contents of his cup were washed away with his words. For a moment he opened up, his conversation with the geisha quiet, as he finally aired his frustrations for the first time since his arrival.

Jonathan Logan Turman

"Well I was assigned here originally by my brother, the Hare clan Champion, to investigate recent murders in the city for maho activities. Luckily my recent appointment works well with that. I have also been receiving training from a monk named Osai in the field of athletics. Currently, I want to eventually start my own small dojo utilizing some of the training that I have learned from Osai. I find the city interesting. There are certainly more opportunities to interact with high status individuals than Hare lands. In one day, I was able to meet two Imperials and three Governors." Kinotu glances at the swordsman at his response. He feels a similar since of struggle at his own situation, but chooses not to say anything knowing that nothing he could say would lighten the Crane's burden.

Ejio half-listened to the conversation between Koutetsu and Ohana, a deeper understanding of his Crane brother’s disposition and despair while attending to his hair companion’s words as well. It was a good thing his training as a courtier carried into mastering the art of conversation or he would have been lost to the moment trying to keep the words separate. Koutetsu’s lament spoke to Ejio personally, the taking of lives something he knew that he could not do though he could not trace it back to something so noble as a philosophy.  He just knew in his heart that his hands were not meant for violence, something his father abhorred about his youngest child.  A flicker of sadness crossed his face that may have betrayed his split attention, but he doubted Kinotu would know it for anything more than a reaction to their conversation.

“Yes, there is definitely plenty of opportunity to interact with those of high station here in Otosan Uchi.  Some of it amazing, some of it… less so.  Not everyone of high station is terribly fascinating to associate with.  Or beneficial.  I do have some good news for you, however, that relates very much to this topic.  As far as I am aware, you are not currently betrothed, correct, Kinotu?

While the two samurai spoke, Ohana bowed her head slightly in response to Koutetsu’s inquiry and chose a melody of wistful sadness, laced with rising hope. She listened intently and interjected only to keep the Ashidaka speaking, allowing him the release from station and expectation that was not acceptable outside of these walls.  Compassion was openly displayed upon her face, a welcome change from the stoic nature and false sincerity that surrounded the lives of samurai.  The serving girl came forward and refilled their cups each time they were emptied, returning to the wall and remaining silent as the group continued their evening.

Jonathan Logan Turman
"I am not as of right now. Constantly being out on patrols before coming to this city didn't give me much time for such things unfortunately. I assume since you asked that there is someone interested or is interested in marrying their daughter to me? I am very intrigued, " Kinotu said with a small curious smile on his face completely forgetting the Ashidaka's woes at this point.

Ejio's eyes glittered with amusement at the shift in Kinotu's demeanor. He nodded slightly and sipped some more from his cup before replying, drawing the moment out just to the brink of Kinotu speaking again.

"I do indeed have someone that might be interested in chasing rabbits. She is an accomplished hunter, I've heard.  I could be fun."

Jonathan Logan Turman
"Well I do always give a good chase. It is interesting that she would have you ask me and not herself or someone in my family. Is this someone I have met before is will she be a mysterious hunter waiting to pounce on her prey?" Kinotu finishes another cup and glances over to the other Crane to see if he is also in on the information.

The Doji laughed, letting the sake loosen his sense of propriety, and shook his head.  Ignoring the most polite ways to have responded, his words came out tinted with amusement.
“No, no, little Hare.  I admit to a lack of knowledge about marriage practices among the Hare, but you are actually lucky you even know you are being pursued before the arrangements have been active.  It is a sign of her regard that she gives a damn about whether you are interested in being caught or not. You should be immensely honored. And you have met.  She seems impressed with you so far.  And I can pretty much guarantee you will not find a better offer any time soon.  So tell me, what were you expecting from marriage arrangements prior to this conversation? What did you expect your bride to be?”

Kyle Patrick Smith
For the depressed samurai the geisha's biwa produced a melody that eased the burdens he carried. The soft suggestion of hope amidst despair was the antidote he needed to rise up from his darker state. While the barbs of misery and anger had sunk into his soul, companionship relieved Koutetsu enough to find solace in that evening. The swordsmith nurtured his sake cup with a less aggressive manner though his cheeks were flush from the spirits earlier imbibed. In darkness he found the momentary comfort of a candle's gentle flame.
"The Fortunes are so mystifying in their ways," he mused as he contemplated the contents of his cup. He glanced up to the geisha, his expression hard as he worked through his thoughts. "Do you believe in curses...? By chance my forebear's sword fell into my possession... Yet, I feel the spirit of it is angered... I was given counsel to break it, purify it, reforge it... But I do not possess the ability to restore it to its former glory.
"Three hundred years," he sighed, sipping his sake. "A relic, an antique, an heirloom. To cast it back into the flames of the forge... I-I just cannot."

Ohana replied slowly in a pensive tone, her gentle face contorting as she considered the problem.

“My lord Koutetsu, if you were unhappy with yourself, with what your actions wrought, would you not strive to become better? You are the scion of your father, the product of your ancestors but you are also your own man. Have you not crafted the person who sits here now. You have borrowed your families honor, but you are also its protector and its bearer.  If it were damaged, would you not strive to restore it? I am told that the katana is a symbol of your soul. Would you not seek to mend your soul, no matter the difficulty?  I am just a simple geisha so I apologize if my words are clumsy or unwanted, but I cannot imagine a man such as you settling for a darkened soul.”

When she finished speaking, Ohana realized that the music had stopped.  As if startled by the silence and her lapse, she immediately began playing again and smiled contritely as if in apology.

Kyle Patrick Smith

“Some find wisdom in the Tao, others find wisdom in the experience age gives, and here I have found it on a geisha’s lips,” the Crane swordsmith spoke, his tone seemingly bewildered at the revelation. Koutetsu sighed and finished his cup before setting it down again. He tapped his fingers upon his knee, quirked his mouth and murmured, his tone thoughtful, as he considered her words. The candle in the dark grew larger, brighter, chasing away the shadows that surrounded him. He let her smile and sweet melody buoy him as he floated on a sea of uncertainty. Could he undertake the task? He lacked the confidence needed to begin such a journey but a few words began to cast away the doubts that plagued him. “A sword is just a tool,” he whispered. “It is the hand that brings it to life. It is the hand that delivers death…” He hung onto those words, that mantra he had carried from his youth, as he considered the seemingly impossible task of reforging the Blade of Execution. Unknowingly the malign spirits of the sword had infected his soul and only he could purify the spirits and thus purify his sword. Still, doubt lingered… He sighed again as he glanced aside, looking at the ornate paintings that marked the walls. “Yet my woes do not so easily end, dear Ohana,” Koutetsu spoke, his voice resigned. “Where I sought to relieve another of their burdens, I have found I have only helped condemn them to another hell. What is art if it becomes your prison? What is life if your only love has become the bars that line your cell? Passion becomes duty, duty becomes regret… A blessing is anything but.” He let himself slink back into the shadows, losing sight of that candle once more.

Jonathan Logan Turman

Kinotu scratches his chin and looks at the floor very contemplative . "A woman I've already met that is impressed by me and is apparently the best offer I will have for marriage? Well obviously it would have to be one I have met in the city. The only high status women I have interacted with was at the 100 candle party but which one. Aw well, I will find out eventually. I will notify my brother and sister of the good news once marriage preparations are underway. To answer your question Doji-sama, I really haven't thought about what my wife would be like. Until I came to Otisan Uchi, I always assumed it would be a Hare bushi of considerable skill that could hold her own in a fight. Being the third son from a minor clan even from clan champion lineage doesn't usually guarantee good marriage prospects. " Kinotu leans back and agrees with the swordsmith's revelation. "Sometimes it takes someone from the outside looking in to understand what troubles plague a person and bestow some enlightenment from an unbiased mind."

Ohana continued to play, the song changing but the themes remaining the same. She replied softly to his question, reassuring, but firm.
“I would not pretend to be able to cure all that ails you, my lord, but I can help make the burdens bearable.  But I know that art is not a prison. Circumstance, perhaps, but not art. And how, if it okay to ask, have you crafted another’s hell? Surely the act was not yours, but that of another?”

Ejio listened, his eyes half closed still as the music washed over him and kept his spirits dancing back and forth between the sorrow and hope that Ohana elicited. He shook his head in response to Kinotu’s pondering.

“I did not mean for this to be a mystery for you to solve, Kinotu-san. Shinjo Hayasu has asked me to look into your value and availability as a husband. I simply wanted to make sure that you were a willing participant before I went forward, as a courtesy to a friend. Since you are not opposed, I will speak to your brother and move forward with the arrangements. If there is anything you are looking for, this would be the time to bargain but I don’t suggest pushing too much. Hayasu may like you, but she is a shrewd woman with enough options to simply look elsewhere if she thinks you are being too difficult.  Still, I think a few demands will let her know that you are confident enough in yourself to find value. Is there anything you would like me to convey to her?”

Jonathan Logan Turman

Kinotu had a warm smile cross his face. "I couldn't help myself. I always loved solving mysteries. She is certainly a fine woman for any man to marry. I do suspect that if you are doing this for her as a friend then you will get some sort of favor out of this as I don't think you have known her long enough to do it for free. Thus, my only real thing I would like to bargain for is a small request but with a lot of personal meaning for another that involves you, her, and the monk Osai. My request is this: Shinjo Hayasu arranges for the emperor to receive a small landscape statue crafted by you able to be held in two hands of what I call "the heart of Juramashi" which is simply the Natsu Togumara Shrine to Koshin- the Fortune of travel and Roads to be delivered personally by the monk Osai to the emperor directly. The only other thing that I would request from her is one Unicorn Riding horse, a young stallion of great pedigree, to be gifted to my brother. The horse is optional but the delivery to the emperor is firm and I will not budge on that. It is of personal significance to me and helping my friend reach enlightenment. I understand the gravity of this request not just for Hayasu but for you as well. Thus the delivery doesn't have to be made until up to six months after marriage arrangements are finalized. This will give her enough time to arrange the delivery and for you to ready your skills and make time to create a masterpiece for the emperor. In this request, it would seem that you are doing me a favor so that I may do you a favor by greatly increasing your Glory after the emperor accepts one of your art pieces as his own thus making us even. My family of course is open to negotiations that she is willing to propose in return for one of our family marrying someone of such high status. I hope that this request does not inconvenience you too much. I merely have tremendous confidence in your abilities and skill as an artist." Kinotu picks up his sake and takes a drink waiting for the Crane to have some sort of rebuttal.

Ejio blinked several times, his training in the courtly arts attempting to assert themselves in his reply before being overruled by the fourth cup of sake he drained and plopped on the table.
“Are you serious? You want Hayasu to give a gift that comes from me and is given directly to the Emperor? As in put in his hands?”

Without waiting for a reply, he spoke again, his voice skeptical but the wheels already turning in his head of how such a thing would be arranged.

“You realize that virtually no one can put anything directly in the hands of the Emperor. Most aren’t even allowed to be within touching distance of the Son of Heaven. This is more than a minor thing you ask.  The horse, done. That will be easy, though he will receive a gelding, not a stallion. The Unicorn do not grant breeding horses to other clans. Even the Crane do not have a stallion from the Unicorn herds. Even gifting the Emperor anything while he is in attendance is a difficult task. I can bring this before Hayasu, perhaps she knows something I do not, but I think it highly unlikely that even a governor of an Otosan Uchi district will be able to accomplish such a task. Would you be willing to accept it being gifted to his presence? I believe I can convince her to work towards that. Also, eight months, not six.  I need time to produce something of legitimate worth to be presented to the throne and the time frame will suit success for more.”

Ejio arched an eyebrow and took another sip from his newly refilled cup, exhaling slowly as he continued to think about how to accomplish the task requested and awaiting a response.

Kyle Patrick Smith
"In some ways, no matter who may truly be at a fault, there are those who shoulder the crucibles of others," he murmured. "My sensei, after laboring in Otosan Uchi for twenty years forging 200 swords for the House of Seppun, has been 'rewarded' by forging 100 more for the Emperor. What reward is such? The swords are only to be carried by a favored Kitsune and his men, their reputations stained in blood. The purity of the craft - the art - is lost..."
He wanted to go on, to cry over the blood that would be spilled, and lament on how many more Blades of Execution would become of the undertaking. Koutetsu wrested with Chi-Yomi's struggle as if it were his own. He drained another cup as he spilled his grievances on the poor geisha like flowing sake. His eyes were set in a storm of anger, sorrow, and loss. Honor struggled with personal views and ideals, creating a struggle within his soul.
"If I can alleviate the woes of my vassals, no less a friend - a sensei - who am I to assume such a mantle?"
The question came as the crux of his ordeal. He sighed as he sank into his despair, desperately clinging to the light to stay out of the darkness that threatened to swallow him. He closed his eyes and set his cup down, taking a deep breath; he inhaled and exhaled, meditative.
"I need fresh air," he spoke, pushing himself to his feet. He stumbled ever so slight as the world spun but he held onto his dignity. Koutetsu took his leave, searching for a balcony or a garden to recompose himself. A mountain rested on his shoulders bit in the very least, it then felt as a hill.

Jonathan Logan Turman
Kinotu nodded his head understanding. "I meant directly in the sense of attendance as in he is physically present instead of just some imperial taking it and going inside the palace to give it to him. My apologies for the misunderstanding. Eight months is fine. I would even be willing to go one year if it will make things easier for you. If not one stallion then two geldings. One for my brother and one for my sister. Does this sound more plausible?" Kinotu noted the Crane's departure. "Water please," he said to the geisha as he motioned to where the swordsmith was just sitting.
Ejio nodded in response, his eyes following Koutetsu briefly before flicking back to Kinotu.

“No worries, my friend, the sake has me thinking grandiose thoughts and imposing them on others.  It is I who should apologize for failing to comprehend.  Yes, I think your requests are reasonable and I will present them to Hayasu-sama.”

The Doji prince shook his head slightly in amusement at the request for water but said nothing, returning to slow sips from his sake as he listened to Ohana play.

“Ohana-chan, play me something lively while I wait on my late guest.  Hopefully he will show and teach young Kinotu-san here how to properly spend an evening drinking and carousing.”

Jonathan Logan Turman
Kinotu smiles and raises his cup to that. "Yes. It has been forever since I've been able to just relax and enjoy some sake with friends. Perhaps after a few cups, I might feel up to an impromptu kabuki performance for everyone to accompany this lovely woman's music." He drinks his cup and motions for more sake.

Kyle Patrick Smith

"Impromptu kabuki... Sounds like one of those Crab draw lot plays," the drunken Crane said as he sauntered back into the room. Koutetsu sat down and looked down at the cup of water, mistaking it for sake. He lifted it up and took a sip, frowning at the taste. "Came here for top label sake... Get me another of what I had before, please." He set the cup down and gestured to Ejio. "Arigatou gozaimasu, Ejio-san," Koutetsu rumbled. "The evening has been much better than I expected... Much more, it has been a bit needed." When a fresh sake cup was poured he raised it a toast. "To Juramashi, and we unlucky few," he spoke.

Jonathan Logan Turman

"Kinotu raised his cup with him."To Juramashi!" Kinotu has a small smirk on his face. "Master swordsmith, I would be honored to recreate the duel of Kakita and Mirumoto. You are of better skill in iajutsu than me and Mirumoto was no match for Kakita. It is merely an act of course. One of your skill would put me to shame. What say you?"

Kyle Patrick Smith

The Crane scoffed at the Hare's remark. "I'm too far into my cups to be drawing steel," Koutetsu mused. "Further still to educate you on the intricacies of dueling history. Kakita and Mirumoto are dead and the truths behind their tales died with them. I wouldn't be stirring old rivalries less a Mirumoto the room over challenge over some agreement." He laughed and drank from his cup, the sake burning less as he filled his belly with it. "And I'm no Crab, I'd much prefer to watch a play than stumble through the lines."

Jonathan Logan Turman

Kinotu laughed. "Very well. It's good to see you in such better spirits. So Master Swordsmith, what is it that you value and enjoy in life? You are a much more skilled samurai than I so I would like to know what someone such as yourself seeks in life."

Kyle Patrick Smith

"Skill is relative, Master Hare," the Ashidaka mused. "I'm no less skilled than yourself. I imagine our strengths merely differ." He inclined his head with a smile and nursed his sake with a thoughtful look as he reveled in the light, forgetting the shadows behind him. "I value many things. I enjoy many more. A touch broad, no? But alas, I come here for a father's debt like many a son, seeking opportunity. To learn, to live, to grow. A journey is only as meaningful as its destination, so they say, Master Hare." He smirked and settled back, making himself comfortable. "To leave a legacy? To be worthy of a Heavenly Son? History is written here, Master Hare, but naught am I on any kinder scrolls..."

Jonathan Logan Turman

"And what destination awaits you? What debt do you leave for your son? You are correct that are strengths differ. You do things that I could not, and the same goes for me but that what makes us better for what we strive to do.

The Crane artisan’s mind wandered off, his eyes focused again on the cup between his fingers while his companions spoke. The random lines created by the fingers that crafted the cup were steady, but not perfect.  This was meant to be a tool, not a piece of art, but its imperfections were a beauty all their own.  His mind did not focus on the conversation again until he heard Koutetsu speak of legacies.
“The scrolls will not dictate our legacies. This cup, the man who made it, there is a scroll somewhere that records his birth, and perhaps another that records his death. If he is lucky, it may even make mention of things he has done. But this cup, this tells me more about who that man was than any scroll. It is how we are depicted by the things people see that will decide our legacy. There are grand statues throughout this city that tell of powerful people. We know this because their statues are grand. Their scrolls… are unread.”

Ejio took another heavy draught from his cup and watched as it was refilled, his eyes turning again to follow the grooves beneath his fingertips.

Kyle Patrick Smith
"Then a day might come where my likeness is immortalized in stone and my good deeds with it," Koutetsu rumbled. He lifted up his cup to inspect it as if he were to look upon he very man who had made it as Ejio alluded to. He murmured, his tone thoughtful, as he carefully considered the Crane's words further.
"Art is immortal," he mused, "And perhaps the steel I have folded will tell a story all its own. These are the legacies we leave our grandsons after all."
He lifted up his cup in another toast. "To legacies, past, present and future."

Ejio raised his glass in response, inwardly smirking as his trained voice slurred despite his best efforts, “To legacies.”

Jonathan Logan Turman

Kinotu joins the two in the toast. "To legacies."
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PostSubject: Re: Bright Wind Geisha House, Evening I   Wed Jun 24, 2015 9:56 pm

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