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Tell Me if Blood Comes from a Stone

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic   printer-friendly view    Red Dragon Inn - Dragon's Mark Forum Index -> From the Dragon's Mouth -> Reminders of Rain
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The Dark Man
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Joined: 06 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 7:45 pm    Post subject: Tell Me if Blood Comes from a Stone Reply with quote

There was more to life than the sword. There was art, there was the bonsai and there was meditation. There were activities woven into his days, sometimes dominating them. It was meditation that felt like home, where the long silent moments told him how the heartbeat of the world felt and who he was in that moment. Not what he thought, not what made him yearn or shudder, but what the pattern-smoke of who he was felt like.

It drifted. His eyes opened in time to see a small lizard slip under a rock in front of him.

“Wonderful, isn’t it?”

From where he sat back on his knees he twisted, looking up at his teacher with one eye because of the sun. Once he knew it was him, his gaze dropped to his teacher’s knees.

“Man does not like freedom, just the idea of it. That’s why the system works.”

He didn’t say anything, he knew that it wasn’t a discussion, but a thought his teacher wanted to muse out loud to something more satisfying than a wall. There were times he would ask what he thought, but that was rare. No, the moment was one being shared to him and he kept his eyes, like his shoulders, bowed. As far as statues went, he was one of the best, his breathing as imperceptible as a breath compared to a breeze.

“A man gets stressed when there are too many choices. What he should do. Who he could marry. Where he should live and what he should believe. People think that they want to decide it but the truth is that a man is an indecisive creature. The angst and responsibility of those decisions are crippling.” At this point his teacher moved, walking closer to Kusinage, his body stopping in front of him with his weight leaned to one leg, “The men who are not told? They spend their days tortured, never knowing what they should have done and if they fulfilled their destiny. They wonder if they picked the right wife.” To the latter point, he chuckled. Kusinage wasn’t sure if the laugh was because there was a humor to that situation he didn’t understand or if it was because they never intended for him to have a wife. The story came and went with the same impact of a turtle meandering past them.

With better meditation, he wouldn’t have heard anymore of the monologue.

It was just was well, his teacher’s steps went away, “You lead an intended life, one the free man tortures himself to find.”

That was all his teacher had ever had to say to him about the rebellion. About what it meant and what it would do to the world, socially. He pressed his palms to the ground like a prayer and pushed back up to his feet. His teacher was gone like an apparition, somewhere on the other side of the fence, minding his way on the path to home.

A small, sharp pain hit his foot. He looked down, seeing a line of ants marching in a straight line. One had strayed and found him. He nudged his foot ahead, causing them to bend around his big toe.

Softly, in a voice he hadn’t used for days, “I want to interfere.”
_________________
One day you will ask me which is more important?
My life or yours? I will say mine
and you will walk away not knowing
that you are my life. (Khalil Gibran)
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The Dark Man
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 06 Feb 2009
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Jobs: Caretaker, City Guard
Can Be Found: Rhy'Din
10641.08 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She was a streak of bright colors, a promise of Summer on Spring’s cool breeze. A scattering of cherry blossoms picked up and thrown like confetti by a fickle and capricious wind. Her laughter was high and clear, like spun sugar, her cheeks rosy pink with exertion and high spirits. It matched the bright pink of her kimono, its long tailed ribbons come loose and trailing in the wind behind her, mimicking the tails on her kite. There were no storm clouds on the young girl’s brow just now, her eyes shining as she ran herself breathless, trailing the elegant paper kite behind her like a reluctant animal.

Somewhere behind her trailed an even more unwilling governess, puffing clouds of steam from her swelled out cheeks as she sought vainly to keep up with an exuberant six year old, her pleas for decorum falling on entirely deaf ears.

It was on her third pass that she noticed him, still as he was there along the railing. Her smile spread with delight, and she only narrowly avoided calling out to him. Bouncing up and down in place instead, her kite jostling ominously in the sky above, she wanted his attention. She wanted him to see, to notice, to remark. More than that, she wanted him to join her, and so when he looked in her direction, she pointed proudly up at her kite and the waved her hand towards her, beckoning, beseeching. Come.

A kite could promise anything, and he looked towards the promise for what felt like a long time. What did it mean and where had it come from? Was a man happier being given his fate and grumbling about it, or was he miserable selecting it himself and never feeling, truly, that he had achieved his imaginary goal? The kite jumped, a colorful punch in the sky, despite all of his concerns.

“Shhh,” it was the closest thing to a word she had from him. And he was there, her shadow, at the helm of her kite, reeling it into submission before the reins of it were returned to her. He seemed all at once there and then not, a blinking impression that spoke of assertion and relaxation.

It was the closest thing to a word she had ever had from him today, in any case. She grinned brightly up at him, pleased that he’d come, and for a moment she was content to watch him reel in the kite, to save it from its perilous fate at her inexpert hands only to return it to her once more. “It isn’t raining,” she said, and though the words were simple, they positively brimmed with unspoken emotion. There was the joy of being outside, the freedom of being able to run, the sheer pleasure of his company.

Takara turned, her expression serious as she tried to navigate the kite without tangling its strings. She backed up on reflex, bumping into his leg as she did. She did not apologize or move away, only giggled and leaned against him. “You are like a tree,” was her explanation.

He had the immediate impulse to step away from her when she leaned back and then gazed up. His eyes found hers, and he didn't know that he had ever seen such a small smile look so bright. At first he didn't want to move but stay as he was, rooted in place like the enormous tree she thought he was. His right hand dropped, fingers fanning out against her upper back so that he could support her as he took a half step away. He waited for her to stand on her own and take the lean away.

His eyes went to the governess who had, at this point, secured herself nearby them and kept her eyes locked on him sternly.

Takara felt more than saw the way her shadow moved, manipulating his position to protect her while also establishing a more decorous distance. She was too little to understand the why of it, only assumed that he did not feel like being a tree today. The young girl made a face that was not altogether a pout, but she straightened herself up anyway.

Even so, she could still feel the warmth of his finger tips where they'd pressed into the soft material of her kimono, an echo of his careful and caring touch that pleased her.

The governess started towards them once she'd caught her breath. It was Takara's current disheveled state that drew her, or so the child presumed. Her long sleeves had picked up hitchhikers here and there, the trailing ends of her simple obi perilously close to coming untied. Her hair, too, was in complete disarray.

She cut off any further advancement with an imperious lift of her chubby little hands, temporarily releasing her kite in the sure and certain knowledge that her shadow would not let it escape. “No. I will do it myself.”

The slip of color moved, danced, the reel of string spinning energetically in the air like a warning. The little girl knew him instinctively, perhaps because she had always known him. His steps took him around her, his left hand reaching through the sky, stretching to catch it before the paper fish jerked its way to freedom.

It was only in the last moment that his finger tips clamped down on the side hand of the reel. The kite dove hard to the right with the disruption, but he was quick to correct it. The moment sparked a childlike joy that, without thinking, caused him to smile over his shoulder at her. He remembered what it was like to be a child, he remembered this sort of moment more than he meant to.

Her efforts to make herself more presentable were halfhearted at best. She could not right her hairstyle on her own and so she pulled the ribbon from her hair instead, letting thick cables of black fall where they may. The wind plucked at what was left of the woven styling, coaxing it loose until it tumbled freely. The hair was long and would assuredly become even more tangled, but that didn’t disturb her in the slightest -- if only because it wouldn’t be her job to brush it. She stuffed the ribbon up into the pocket inside one of her long sleeves and busied herself picking off the bits of grass and twig that had been snagged by the fabric.

The sleeve fell from her fingers, her task forgotten, as she watched her shadow pluck the kite’s strings from mid air, bringing it back under his infinitely more skilled control. The little girl gave a squeal of delight, lifting her hands to her face, her bright eyes round and shining when his movements made it dive and then level out again. She was grinning as she moved closer to him again, trailing ribbons and sleeves and glossy waves of black now like a long lost princess of the forgotten woods. “How did you make it do that?”

“I kept reaching, even when it seemed lost.” His smile was replaced with a statue’s decorum. When she approached him he became a knight, easing down to one knee so that he would not be standing over her as an enormous tree anymore. Doing it that way made it easy to keep his eyes even lower. He was trying not to visibly register the princess’ handmaiden whose glowering had the sort of weight which peeled the skin off someone’s body.

Rare as his words could be, Takara tended to hang on every one of them. She listened intently, her young face drawn and serious, taking it to heart and memory with much more care than she did any of her lessons. I kept reaching, even when it seemed lost. She nodded, but did not speak on it again.

He knelt beside her and she took a half step closer but did not make the same mistake again, she did not actually make contact. For her the governess was a forgotten nuisance, a buzzing insect that had irritated her for a time but now it had flown away. She was absorbed in watching the way he manipulated the kite, studying the way the careful movements of his hands impacted the colorful fish in the sky. A soft giggle stole from her as the kite bobbed against a sudden wind. “It looks alive.”

“In a way,” his attention moved to the sky, to the paper fish caught on her line. He made a small motion of the reel and then twisted his hand so that one of the handles was open, ready for her to take. Once she had he rose back up to his feet and then moved to the side, avoiding the path of the kite’s string.

At that point he turned, feet still pointed ahead but his eyes over his shoulder towards the house. There was her father in the doorway, him and her mother looking on at what their daughter was doing. He couldn’t make out the exact temperature of their conversation, only that they looked relaxed. The world, in one tiny breath, felt content. It felt like the most important thing in the world was that the kite was flying.

She continued to watch, her brows drawing together in concentration as her gaze moved in a continuous back and forth, from his hands on the reel up the length of the string into the sky up to the kite. Gradually, she began to better understand the relationship between the two, how the movement of one hand made the kite move one way, a sudden flick of the other to bring it back.

It wasn’t that no one had ever shown her the subtle nuances of kite flying before, but maybe just that she’d never paid quite this much attention.

The one handle came open and she took it, her grip rearranging itself to more closely match his, and as he stood she took the other one from him in time. Takara was so focused on trying the things she’d seen him doing, clumsily mimicking the movements he’d made with his hands in an attempt to replicate the expert way he’d made the kite dance among the clouds, that she had no spare thought for either the governess or her parents. For her, world had three elements: her shadow, the wind, and the kite.

There was a point that the kite wiggled in the sky before turning sharply in the air and diving towards the ground. The long strips of paper in its tail whipped at the air loudly, a warning as it shot towards Earth. His dark eyebrows came together in concern, but he didn’t reach to take control of the reel. Instead, he watched her hands struggle and turn. It looked like the dart-like tip of the kite intended to stab the earth.

At the last moment, her hands mimicked what she’d seen his do. They were still soft from her youth but they gripped the reel with a newfound certainty. She leaned back, the line grew taut and her hands twisted. The kite turned on itself and climbed back into the air with one more tear of its paper tail.

The kite reached up, as far into the sky as she let it without being lost.

((rped live with Takara. Thank you.))
_________________
One day you will ask me which is more important?
My life or yours? I will say mine
and you will walk away not knowing
that you are my life. (Khalil Gibran)
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