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 Dark Places

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Join date : 2014-09-14

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PostSubject: Dark Places   Dark Places EmptyMon Jan 25, 2016 12:49 pm

The soft flow of the river brought a strange comfort to the Crane artisan. Ever since his foray beneath the Imperial Palace, he had felt at home in or near the water. He was certain he could thank the lady behind the falls for that and he was grateful for her continued blessing. The air around him was wet, causing the darkness to feel like it was clinging to his skin. There were no shadows as there was no light. Ejio couldn’t help but be amused by the implications. Here, there was no morality. No honor and no glory. Here, there was action. There was purpose. The only judgment came from those who acted. To bring the light was to bring the scrutiny of witnesses; to be beholden to more than just one’s own inner balance. Tonight was going to weigh heavily upon him but then again, there was already a weight from the moment the magic coursed through the Flame and left it broken.

The sound of movement caught his attention, the soft dragging of cloth against rock moving in a panicked gesture. Then the breathing became uneven before finally settling down as the individual gained control of his senses. A garbled attempt at harsh words was cut off by the realization that speech was not going to be a possibility without a tongue, which again brought on panic. Standing, Ejio took flint and steel from his obi and struck a spark at the candle he knew to be beside him. He drug the stone slowly at first, heightening the terror he could feel in his captive’s every breath, flicking his wrist at the end to create the needed flame. The candle sputtered in the damp air before flaring to life and revealing his face.

Even in his current state of abuse and confinement, Isawa Tenjaku looked upon Ejio with a hint of condescension. The artisan could see it as the mask it was, the trembling of facial muscles giving away just enough to those who understood. Surprise was also there, masked behind arrogance and authority that meant nothing in this place. Ejio turned and lit the candle to his right with deliberate care before returning the first candle to its place and settling back into his relaxed kneel as though waiting for tea to be served.

“It is good to see that you are awake, Tenjaku-sama. Ah, I mean san. My apologies, it is sometimes difficult to remember how far I have come. And how far you have fallen. I would offer you some tea, but I don’t imagine you are truly in the mood to enjoy it and I would not have it wasted.”

Tenjaku’s eyes glanced down then locked there upon the tea set sitting between the two men, rage somehow overcoming the prior fear as he returned his baleful glare to the Doji.

“Ah, I see that you recognize this. I suppose you should, since it was yours. I cannot imagine that you don’t know the tale, but I will tell it anyways just to be sure. That, and I do so enjoy hearing myself talk sometimes. Mostly when I know I have such a receptive, captive audience. When Shiba met with Isawa to get his help in battling the dark god, the two spoke over tea in a ceremony performed by Shinsei himself. It was there, before this very tea set, that Shiba kneeled before Isawa. From what I hear, you served Shiba Kagi with this very table once, as a rather unsubtle reminder of Shiba subservience. You know, Tenjaku…san, you are not a terribly nice person. Regardless, given your predilection for destroying beautiful things, I have seen fit to remove this from the control of you and your family. Oh, don’t worry, it will be in very gentle hands, I promise.”

With utmost care Doji Ejio began to clean the cups and pot, performing the ritual slowly while he spoke.

“You were right, of course. When you said that I was weak, I mean. You see, it is not in me to carry a blade or wield a hammer. I have no desire to see blood drawn or spilled upon the ground. Thanks to you and a few others, I have seen more than my fair share and I am sure more than most who spend their lives within this city. Except, of course, for those who seek it. Luckily for me, there are those who have bound themselves to me who are not so… squeamish. Not so weak, if you will.”

A rough grinding started behind the maimed fire tensai, the sound of immense weight bound in leather being drug across the stony platform. It made its way around the pair, only flickers of scales able to be seen through the dim candle light. Tenjaku’s eyes widened and he pulled against the confining ropes, forcing them to tighten and dig deeper into his flesh.

“You see, Tenjaku-san, sometimes the terrors in the night are not the dark deeds of a twisted man. Sometimes they are so much more. You should have found another way, my friend. You should have burned me, cast aspersions against my name, against my family. You should have done a great many things but you should not have destroyed the Flame. You are a destroyer, Tenjaku, and I cannot forgive you. Your ambition sees no casualties, only obstacles. You see me… saw me… as a tool to be leveraged and when you failed, you destroyed a thing of beauty for no purpose besides revenge. For your sake, I hope it was sweet. As for me, this is a bitter medicine. A reminder of the boundary I will walk the rest of my life. You have no idea the pain this causes me. Because I am weak. Because even your life is precious. But you are a danger to the world I am working to create and the damage you have already done is unforgivable. You will die here; alone, forgotten, failing in every carefully laid plan you set. All the abuses you handed out and all the lives you crushed because you had strength that others did not. All lost. I hope when you are spun back into this world, you will be wiser. And perhaps prettier. Thank you for the Inn, by the way.”

Doji Ejio, third son of Doji Satsume, Turquoise Champion, reached down and grabbed the precious tea set then turned without another word, his hand reaching out to brush against the albino naga as it came into full view between the candles, connecting himself in spirit further to this act. The speechless Isawa Tenjaku could be heard thrashing in terror, meaty screams slipping past his mangled tongue. His knees banged violently as he attempted to stand but failed. Ejio’s head sank further, his heart aching as he walked away. A small, soft hand took his as he crossed the threshold into darkness once more and guided him away just as the wet sound of teeth finding flesh added pain to the powerful emotions in Tenjaku’s screams.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Places   Dark Places EmptyWed Jan 27, 2016 2:15 am


Much love.

+5xp to spend or give away as you see fit!

C Thomas Hand
GM/Storyteller/Swell Guy

The wisest words fit into pithy sayings.

Legends of Rokugan on Obsidian Portal
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