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 Breakfast at Tiffany's: Ode to an Omelet

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kpsmith
Nikutai
Nikutai


Posts : 99
Join date : 2015-04-19
Age : 28

PostSubject: Breakfast at Tiffany's: Ode to an Omelet   Tue Oct 13, 2015 2:22 am

Jason Weeks
Doji Ejio took a deep breath, inhaling the scent of the delicacies provided by the unmarked tea house, grateful that last night’s revels had not left him regretting waking up this morning. No one outside of the Juramashi district even knew this place existed, much less knew that it was one of the finest tea houses in the city. The proprietor, Shiba Kyomori, was a perfectionist worthy of the Kakita Artisans but had little interest in the fame and responsibility that usually came with such skill. Instead, her motherly nature ensured she did her best to provide a haven for the residents of Juramashi. Ejio smiled in appreciation at the woman from across the room and sipped his tea before returning his attention to the Crane across the table.

“Thank you for joining me this morning, Koutetsu-san. We have a great deal to discuss and plans to set in motion. Don’t worry about discretion here. Lady Kyomori and her staff are above reproach.”

Kyle Patrick Smith
The Crane raised a brow at the comment but otherwise made no remark. He arrived in his usual punctual fashion and as Ejio would have noted, he dressed less the spartan warrior and more the governor he was expected to be. Simple, thick fabrics were exchanged for more stylized Crane silks. He righted himself in his seat and surveyed the tea house before glancing to his companion.

"Well, I'll trust in your judgment," he said simply before peering down at the menu. He looked it over but otherwise seemed attentive to him.

Jason Weeks
Ejio replied with more than a hint of mirth in his voice.

“That may not be the wisest of decisions, Koutetsu-san. Still, I appreciate the sentiment. Congratulations on the promotion. I do not envy your position, even in its temporary state. This district is… volatile. Even beyond what I have seen among the others. Still, with the puppetmaster gilding the strings, hopefully it will be a moderately peaceful reign. What do you intend to do?”

Kyle Patrick Smith
"Learn," was his modest reply.

He flipped the menu over in his hands. "Its an opportunity to sharpen my skills and build connections. I am not a politician but I feel these days I had better quickly learn how to be one. I have more on my plate than ever before without the appetite for it."

Jason Weeks
"That is an excellent goal. Perhaps you could spend some more time at the Tower, as well. It could use the support and there is plenty to learn there in regards to navigating the political quagmire that is this city. Artisans are nothing if not adept in the political arena. Usually."

Kyle Patrick Smith
"Is the Tower presentable...? I would be amicable to displaying my own works there," he noted quietly to Ejio. He casually glanced up to measure his response. "My presence in exchange of you displaying my work once every few months."

Jason Weeks
“Of course it is presentable! I would never ask such an august presence to grace an establishment unworthy of him. It still has some of its original flavor, but it has been reinforced and cleaned up to a more appropriate level. Truly though, I would be honored to have one of your works displayed within the tower. Would you like it to be the same piece or a rotating display?”

Kyle Patrick Smith
"It takes me months to finish a sword. A quality sword may take two months but something extraordinary? Half a year at most," he explained quietly. "I don't believe you have seen anything I have forged and I must confess, my work had been more function than form... But, I'd like to begin forging works of art. I have a final sword to forge for Chi-Yomi..."

He exhaled and looked away as he pushed his menu aside. "Orange spice tea and rice," he managed. He composed himself, still struggling with the death of a mentor and friend.

"Then I offered to forge Kitsune Sojin a sword in exchange he not invite me to the Mondai Ketsu... So, I suspect in four months I'll begin working on something to display in the Tower. Something worthy, something to advert the rumors."

Jason Weeks
Ejio listened intently, taking in the details of the speech almost as much as he was taking in the mannerisms of his friend. The fact that Koutetsu still walked among the living was a testament to his will that Ejio admired and respected… even if he would probably never say it.

“Whenever you see fit to place one within the walls of the Tower, a place will be waiting for it. Do not worry about it on my behalf. So how is it that you had to bribe your way out of an invitation to one of the most elite units in the empire? And why? I know they have a reputation that is a bit… darker than you would like, but they could make formidable allies. Especially Sojin-sama.”

Kyle Patrick Smith
"Would so sterling a reputation as the Mondai Ketsu benefit me knowing I have been denounced heir to my house? I think not. Before the thought of their bloodshed saddened me... But now I feel nothing. Blood will be spilled, I cannot prevent that, but I still live my life as I see is fit to justice."
When his tea and rice arrived he fanned it with his hand. "Kitsune-sama owes me a favor for my offer to forge him a sword. He seems enamored with me, my reputation and the sword used to help slay Lord Metsumoto. I have his aide should I ever call upon it."

Jason Weeks
The son of Satsume shrugged.

“It all depends on who you are asking. The Mondai Ketsu get results, both physically and politically. There are more than a few courtiers within their ranks. Still, I do understand your reticence and if they can prove useful to you without requiring membership, perhaps you have gained the best of both options. Perhaps we can put it to use soon for you. The Crane need the Ashidaka to be strong and whole, which is not the case at this moment. I can’t help but feel there is more to all of this than just the ambitions of two.”

Kyle Patrick Smith
He sighed and poked at his rice with his chopsticks. He was bothered a great deal by the entire ordeal. "Its all so much, so quickly. "My father announces his retire, names me Regent, tasks me to arrange marriages and gives me the "Honor" of Master Smith when another man takes hold of my birthright. What Honor is that...? You don't commend a samurai," he murmured but let his words trail off.

Jason Weeks
“No, you are right. It is not an honor, it is a maneuver. A backup plan. He has given you a year longer than is normal to arrange things so that you can regain your position. Now it is a matter of finding a way to make that happen. I have already had Neko moved to the Tower with a host of servants tending to her. I inquired about the symptoms of giving up liquid void and been told the first days are often terrible to witness. That is a first step. We need to discuss how we truly intend to deal with the other hurdles you face. Do you have any preferences on Ichiko? I already know your ideas on Akedare, though that will be more… complicated.”

Kyle Patrick Smith
He didn't like to hear the term, 'Liquid Void.' It was foul and made him shudder in shame. Koutetsu finally found the appetite to take a bit and chewed as he thought. He was convinced the Scorpion were using his own family against him.

"I need her to be as disconnected from Akedare as possible. He appears in Juramashi without announcement and spends far too much time with the twins. We need to ensure he is unwelcome where my sisters are found."

Jason Weeks
Ejio took a bite from his own food and considered Koutetsu’s words carefully. There was a great deal that could go wrong if they were clumsy in their attempts but this was important enough to risk such repercussions. Ejio’s own brothers were not close to him; they certainly did not need him. They were almost a different part of the family entirely as far as he was concerned. But these girls were vital to Koutetsu and Ejio would do what he could to assist.

“He will visit the tower, but the scrutiny will be more than he finds comfortable so I doubt he will do so often. And I can arrange for Neko to be too occupied to spend time with him. I can bring Ichiko into my direct retinue which will pull her from his side but it will be up to you to keep him from following. As the governor, you have the ability to restrict travel but I would not do so in an obvious manner. Delays and suspicion and escorts will be the easiest way to keep him from wanting to make the trip any more than necessary. But there will be repercussions.”

Kyle Patrick Smith
"I'll heed your advice, Ejio-san."
Koutetsu bowed his head, sighed and watched his friend eat a moment before returning to his own meal. He was learning a great deal from his position but he needed to understand the limits of his power. Though he was feeling he would have to take large steps soon: his family and birth right hung in the balance.

Jason Weeks
Ejio ate more of his meal, picking through it deliberately but without hesitation, letting his thoughts flicker from point to point. Without looking up, he addressed his Crane brother with an almost wistful tone.

“So when vengeance is had and honor is set aright, what is it that you want Koutetsu-san?”

Kyle Patrick Smith
"I just want to fold steel," Koutetsu said simply. "I want to forge swords. I am an artist after all. Its my life's dream to forge a sword worthy of an Emperor. Honor, glory and duty will all come through it."

Jason Weeks
“Ah, but those are not the same thing, my friend.”

Ejio laid his chopsticks flat on the plate and pushed it to the side of the table to be picked up before speaking again.

“Do you seek honor, glory, and duty; the folding of swords simply being the way you are best equipped to seek them? Or do you seek to fold steel and simply hope the others follow? If they don’t follow, is it still your wish to fold steel?”

Kyle Patrick Smith
"Folding steel is a sacred art. There is much honor in creating a sword that will be carried by a young samurai, even more by an esteemed samurai. Glory is found in producing blades that awe. It is my duty to do this - it all comes through my work. The natural demands of my life may and have given me this elsewhere."

He nodded his head slowly and smiled. Koutetsu sipped his tea and picked up his rice bowl again. He didn't feel he wanted for much, only that which he was owed and that which he could achieve through his station.

Jason Weeks
Ejio laughed softly in response and took a slow draught from his tea.

“I see that you have become more skilled in your evasive speech, Koutetsu-san. Your time as governor is serving you well in your courtly skills. I suppose I am mostly just wanting to know what angle I should be working on. Should I be focusing on helping you make blades? Should I be focused on enhancing the honors you receive for your works? My methods are at your disposal but it makes it easier if I know to what I am putting my efforts. On that note, how was your meeting with Hiroshi?”

Kyle Patrick Smith
"Agasha-san and I are yet to convene. Duty finds our schedules in conflict," Koutetsu spoke.

"I will note that if you can spread word of my works, that can do much for my position. Someone has cast down my name and dragged it through the mud. I need you to do the opposite."

Jason Weeks
Ejio's eyebrow lifted with an inquiry before his lips ever moved, a thought obviously having just occurred to the artisan.

"I suppose this may be a stupid question, but I'm afraid my knowledge of swords is rather limited. If one were left in the elements, would it deteriorate?"

Kyle Patrick Smith
"If one left a sword outside then yes, a sword could rust from the wind and rain."

Jason Weeks
"What if it were maintained? Would a daily oiling keep it safe? Or is there a way to make one that would prevent such deterioration?"

Kyle Patrick Smith
"Well," Koutetsu began as his entire focus shifted. "A sword requires regular maintenance to ensure it continues to work efficiently. Like you would inspect a set of armor, a sword should be regularly inspected. Oiling helps keep the rust away and any attentive samurai will clean and oil his sword on a regular basis. Of course this is all based on use. I for one had kept the Blade of Execution maintained after every execution. I will clean my own sword after every use. A simple wipe down will do in the event a full sharpening and oiling cannot happen."

Jason Weeks
"Splendid. Then I have an idea. I know it is your goal to put a sword into the hands of the Son of Heaven. What about putting one into a statue of the Son of Heaven? It would have to be magnificent, though. Something that when word got back to him, he would not be angry at how audacious an act it is. Something that would make him want to either claim the sword for himself, or have you make a sister sword for his own. Do you think you could make such a sword? More importantly, are you willing to?"
The excitement in Ejio's voice was muted to match the setting of the tea house, but it was evident in the lordling's mannerisms and the suddenly rapid manner of speech.

Kyle Patrick Smith
"I can only imagine you have a statue in mind," Koutetsu murmured. He stroked his chin thoughtfully and looked at his rice bowl in contemplation. "If it is maintained daily... And perhaps if we can do something more to reduce any effects of wear... We could certainly try. I just don't know if my skill is sufficient enough for the Son of Heaven yet..."

Jason Weeks
"Your skill is more than sufficient."

Ejio took another bite and set his utensils down to focus on the conversation.

"I do have a statue in mind. It will be the Emperor's father holding one of your blades. It will be given to the Mondai Ketsu as a gift to bring them honor and prestige, basically giving the Emperor's vassals something they will honor and care for as long as they persist. The Emperor will see the statue, see the blade in his father's hands and either want the blade or want one made by the same man. You will get your chance to put your blade in the Emperor's hands before we are done, my friend. So long as we live that long, of course."

Kyle Patrick Smith
"Come the spring we can put a sword in your statue's hands then," Koutetsu murmured with a stroke of his chin. "By then my work with Hiroshi-san will be complete, leaving my schedule clear. Admittedly, a sword of this caliber could be readily done in a month at this rate..." While O-Ka no Kami was fueling his forge, his crafting time was greatly reduced - he was fashioning swords faster than ever.
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