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* Plot Information for Tacea

Tensions are rising in Tacea after the destruction of their Territory Court at the hands of its Queen. Unable to continue their traditional cycle of succession because of accusations of treason, Tacea must find a Queen capable of uniting the land while building bridges to the world outside its borders.
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Author Topic: duty is heavy as a mountain, but death is lighter than a feather  (Read 477 times)

Description: tag: Ryuuen

Offline Naoji Kirijo

  • Character Account
    • bo2green
    • warlord
    • Role

      First Son

    • Faction

      Ureshi-sa

    • Territory

      Tacea

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Zen

    • Posts

      14

    • View Profile
Naoji had not been permitted to attend the funeral for Kagen Clan's fallen, but that was to be expected. Despite his Bond to their upcoming Queen, he held no formal, official attachments to the clan and he hadn't personally known any of the three who had perished, so even if it had been merely in support of Yumi, it would have been inappropriate.

The last thing he would've ever dreamed of doing was bringing such dishonor to his Queen or to Ureshi-sa, so he had accepted the news graciously and instead remained in Ito to oversee the okiya for the day while Ryuuen (and Zhihao) attended the processions. There was a heaviness in his heart not only for those who had passed, but at the mere notion that his Yumi would be facing it alone. Not truly alone, obviously; surrounded by her family, her other Bonded and her clan, but Naoji felt that his presence would have added an additional comfort for the duration of an otherwise somber event and he lamented that he was unable to provide such this day.

It mattered not, in the end, as he'd already made plans to go visit with his beautiful Queen during the following days and offer what support he could then. In the meanwhile, the Warlord simply did what he did best and channeled his flurry of emotions into his art. More specifically, a memorial shrine for one of Ureshi-sa's own fallen geisha: Shun. He'd been a Dagger for Ishiyo no Izayoi and had been among those that she'd slain in her rage.

Everyone had been fond of the man as well as his exceptional skill with daggers on a martial level, so it was a melancholy day within the okiya as well while Naoji worked. The other geisha had retired for the evening but he remained awake and continued his efforts, determined to have it completed by the time Ryuuen returned, determined to make him proud.

There was a plaque in the center of the memorial, upon which a death poem of Naoji's own creation was inscribed, sitting upright next to a more recent picture of Shun. Candles surrounded the plaque and the photo, though they were to remain unlit until the morrow. In the very front rested one of Shun's most beloved daggers, the blade having been polished until it shone good as new, and next to that a music sphere imbued with the man's favorite song during his lifetime (a composition of old that was played exclusively on the shamisen). The poem had perhaps taken the longest as it had come from the recesses of his mind, and then of course to find someone who could permanently etch it upon the plaque on such short notice had been a task, but ultimately one that he'd succeeded in.

It was perfect, at least in Naoji's opinion.

Cross-legged and carefully arranging the items more to his liking, Naoji had been concentrating on his thoughts to the point that he didn't notice the approach of another and would've been caught rather unaware were they to make themselves known.

Offline Ryuuen Kirijo

  • Character Account
    • ss2opal
    • wp
    • Role

      Otou-san / Hinata's Dagger

    • Faction

      Ureshi-sa / Kagen Clan

    • Territory

      Tacea

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Rated Em

    • Posts

      29

    • View Profile
Leaving Zhihao behind, to attend to their Queen and the coming changes, had not been easy. Not after the funeral, not with the heavyweight within his heart that barely eased. There were thoughts too of Yumi, of her soon to be enthronement, and the weight that would come to bare upon her shoulders. She had been stunning at the funeral, just as Hinata had been, and the words poignant.

Still, the need to keep Zhihao within arms reach was strong and it was only after a hurried kiss - the kind that came when they might be seen but Ryuuen was being ridiculous and could not be sent on any other way - that he had left to return to Ureshi-sa. It was not that he did not want to return to the okiya, it was his home, but that as he grew older the desire to want to settle grew.

To have a place where they could simply be and not be concerned about anything. It was, Ryuuen thought as he caught sight of Bento and Tobi (the two cats of the okiya), something that had no place in his mind. Not with the Integerrum coming to be and the need for him to be, as he always was, a steadfast support and Dagger. His fingers scratched under too fuzzy chins as he slipped inside Ureshi-sa.

Ryuuen did not have to truly focus to find his son, not with the Hunter's Mark upon him, and instead let his feet guide him. When he came to the room that housed not only the memorial but his son who was putting the final touches to it, the ache in his heart increased. Shun Kuroda had been a remarkable geisha, truly worthy of his placement as a Dagger. He had meant to seek out Naoji, to let him know that arrangements had been made for both of them to be at Yumi's enthronement but instead he had been caught off guard.

Crossing the threshold of the room, Ryuuen sunk to his knees beside Naoji upon the the tatami floors. Words could not be spoke and instead it was upon Opal that he reached for his successor and son. *This is most wonderful, my son, and truly captures your lost brother.* While Shun had not been Naoji's aniki he was still his brother in the way any within the house were. Some were closer, their bonds tighter, but the connection remained all the same.

Ryuuen's head bowed in that moment, knowing that Shun Kuroda would find his peace with the funeral that would contain most of the Territory Court.

Offline Naoji Kirijo

  • Character Account
    • bo2green
    • warlord
    • Role

      First Son

    • Faction

      Ureshi-sa

    • Territory

      Tacea

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Zen

    • Posts

      14

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Naoji had been so ensconced in his thoughts and inward prayer that he hadn't initially picked up Ryuuen's presence when the Warlord Prince returned. The pitter-patter of feet as Bento and Tobi scampered to meet his otou-san registered in the back of his mind, as did the slow shuffle of Ryuuen when he entered the room and lowered himself onto the tatami mats beside him, but on a more conscious level the noise didn't click immediately.

Instead, it wasn't until the psychic brush of Opal against his barriers that the young Warlord became solidly cognizant of his mentor and friend's presence next to him, though his eyes didn't open and he remained still for several, long moments afterward. Not out of disrespect - and he knew Ryuuen would understand it as much - but simply because he was in contemplation and concentration. Eventually, a small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth and he offered a reply. *You honor me with your praise. I'm pleased you agree that it reflects appropriately upon our lost brother.*

Slowly, Naoji pushed back from his knees and crouched flat on his feet for a few moments before standing upright once more. Surveying the room out of habit, he could only assume it was fairly late given that any other presence he sensed seemed to be asleep at the moment. Walking over to a different corner of the room, the Warlord swept a hand over one of the tea kettles that sat prepared to use and started to heat the water within it with a small ebb of his Craft, withdrawing two cups as well before moving to sift through the assortment of tea that sat up in a nearby cabinet.

"How were the funeral processions? I hope your Queen was well - she has my deepest condolences for the losses of her family and Clan." How is Yumi? he desperately itched to ask, but didn't wish to appear impatient, instead broaching a singular subject at a time.

Offline Ryuuen Kirijo

  • Character Account
    • ss2opal
    • wp
    • Role

      Otou-san / Hinata's Dagger

    • Faction

      Ureshi-sa / Kagen Clan

    • Territory

      Tacea

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Rated Em

    • Posts

      29

    • View Profile
*I am certain,* said Ryuuen along a thread still, *that his brother will find this most fitting.* Shinobu Kuroda had departed to the Territory Court as well, though it was to pay his final respects to his brother. He had been the younger of the pair, Shun older by two years, and while he did not outwardly show that he was affected by his brother's death it was clear that it pained him.

He stayed in position himself, head bowed in reverence and silent prayer that the darkspark of his now dead son was able to rest. Once the moment of quiet prayer was done, he moved as Naoji had just done, a soft hum of approval given as his son's hand passed over the tea that would be preferred at this hour.

"They went as well as could be expected considering the losses suffered. There will many more in the coming days, not just for the Kagen but the other clans as well." Ryuuen's head tilted, a glimmer of amusement there as he studied Naoji. He knew the unspoken question, just as he knew how much the Warlord's mind rested upon Yumi. Stepping forward his fingers brushed against his son's shoulder, a spark of Opal in his touch, as he reaffirmed the Hunter's Mark left upon him.

"Your Queen is doing as magnificently as my own is. Both Hinata and Yumi serve as an example on how to compose and carry oneself during a time such as this." His hand fell away from Naoji's shoulder only after a reassuring squeeze was given. Ryuuen was not one prone to touching without permission but this was his way. The one manner in which he was assured that which was his was safe and sound, in both body and mind.

Beside: he remembered too many days, now long gone, when Naoji had been far smaller and tucked against his side as he read to him when he could not sleep. "Things will only get busier, however," continued Ryuuen. "What have you heard so far, my son? What have wagging tongues seen stretch outward from Black Immortal all across our land?"



Offline Naoji Kirijo

  • Character Account
    • bo2green
    • warlord
    • Role

      First Son

    • Faction

      Ureshi-sa

    • Territory

      Tacea

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Zen

    • Posts

      14

    • View Profile
Ryuuen's words along the thread brought a small smile to Naoji's features in that moment, his heart swelling with pride even if it was still laden with sadness at the tragedy. Shun was taken too early from them all and the Warlord couldn't possibly imagine what Shinobu had been feeling because of it. He wore his mask well, if nothing else, having been proceeding around the okiya as normal, but Naoji was someone who tended to be particularly in tune with the emotions of others and beneath that solemn, casual facade the remaining Kuroda brother donned was a deep-rooted grief.

Even the most carefully-written and thoughtful words Naoji could produce were not something that would fix the other man's sorrow, much as he wished it to be the case.

Naoji heard the quiet rumble that left Ryuuen's throat as his hand swept by a particular brand of tea kept within the cabinet - a Jasmine white tea - and he took the canister out, setting about preparing the two cups of it quietly. There was no pomp and circumstance about it at this hour, no ceremonial flair as it was just Ryuuen and Naoji rather than the reputable otou-san and first son of Ureshi-sa. A fine line, but a line drawn nonetheless.

"I am glad it went well despite the circumstances. I know the clans Ariake and Shingetsu are to be holding their own funeral processions within the next week. I've heard word of a larger, encompassing memorial ceremony being held by the Territory Seat here in Ito as well," he said, taking absent note of the flicker of Opal energy that flared briefly before settling back into the subtle, pinging thrum that he was accustomed to. The Warlord Prince's Hunter's Mark had been a feeling he was long used to, something that brought him an extra feeling of safety.

Exhaling a breath that he hadn't entirely been aware he was holding at the news that Yumi was fine as well, he allowed a more easy smile to cross his features before he turned around with the now-prepared cups of tea, handing one off carefully to Ryuuen. "I would be shocked if anything less were the case. They are both the epitome of their castes and training," he complimented genuinely.

Tea in hand, Naoji stode casually over to one of the mats on the floor and took a cross-legged seat upon it, considering his mentor's inquiry for several moments. As geisha they tended to be privy to all kinds of gossip, mostly from their own clientele, which was capable of coming in handy. "Many are displeased and concerned with Prince Corro's new station, finding it a bold breach of tradition even with Lady Kagen's open support of it. Others still are far more amenable to it, thinking it a change upon the wind for Tacea, so to speak. From what I understand, Lady Mori of Black Immortal herself is tentatively favorable towards it, so having such a high-ranking member of our society will indeed play in their favor, I'm sure."

Offline Ryuuen Kirijo

  • Character Account
    • ss2opal
    • wp
    • Role

      Otou-san / Hinata's Dagger

    • Faction

      Ureshi-sa / Kagen Clan

    • Territory

      Tacea

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Rated Em

    • Posts

      29

    • View Profile
"Shun will be honored at the memorial held by the Territory Seat," said Ryuuen. Times like these he quite enjoyed the lack of pomp and circumstance. Enjoyed more that it was simply him with a treasured son and talking, without concern about appearances or otherwise. Sometimes, even as a highly sought after geisha, that life became tiring. Appearances were everything and sometimes one wanted to care not at all about appearances.

The compliments for his Queen and Naoji's brought a smile to Ryuuen's face. He chuckled softly as he took the cup of tea from Naoji, warmth glittering in his eyes as he blew carefully over the top of the cup. It was an old habit, born of many years and from his youth. Ryuuen only let it be seen in the comfort of privacy offered by Ureshi-sa. Settled comfortably, he enjoyed the warmth of the tea. Let it soothe what it could, as only a good tea could.

He, just as his son had been, was quiet and contemplative. "That is in line with what I have heard. The defining factor of all of this is whether or not those, much like Lady Mori, give support to Prince Corro's plan. Though there are many that will likely rankle against even the temporary idea of a Dragon Father." Ryuuen had a look upon his face as he said it but it was true all the same. That was, for the time being, what Seung Corro would be. "I have the utmost faith in my Queen, however, and believe this is truly the best course of action."

Then, as if considering it, he sighed and set down his cup. "I will have to prepare a statement for you and the others of Ureshi-sa. As I have no doubt we will have to face questions." Ureshi-sa was favored by Hinata no Kagen. As such that meant they felt under scrutiny often. It was also why they had a protector in Chie no Kagen, the Healer that kept an eye on things. "That will make it easier for your younger brothers to be able handle that which will come."

Offline Naoji Kirijo

  • Character Account
    • bo2green
    • warlord
    • Role

      First Son

    • Faction

      Ureshi-sa

    • Territory

      Tacea

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Zen

    • Posts

      14

    • View Profile
"As he should be," said Naoji about the mention of their fallen brother being recognized at the larger ceremony within Tacea's capital city. "I know Shinobu will undoubtedly wish to attend and it would perhaps be a wise representation of Ureshi-sa if your own presence was there as well." Not that Ryuuen needed to be told such things from the First Son, it was more matter-of-fact and conversational than any sort of instruction.

"It would be my honor to keep an eye on things here for the duration of whatever necessary absences you may need to take within the impending future." Funerals, duties for his Queen and anything in between as was expected from someone of the rank that the Warlord held within the okiya.

Politics weren't something Naoji tended to enjoy necessarily, but as much as it was within his realm of responsibility to be a connoisseur and a demonstrator of the arts that he favored considerably more, being at least abreast of what went on in the world outside of Ureshi-sa was a trait of a keen and well-trained geisha. Moreso the ability to navigate such murky waters coincided with the young man's hope that eventually he would be able to officially hold a place within his dearly beloved Yumi's court. For what would his worth be if he was unable to be knowledgeable of their political world in addition to protecting her and tempering her natural, beautiful, Queenly edge?

None whatsoever, of course. And that much couldn't be so, it was beyond unacceptable in Naoji's mind.

"Dragon Father," he repeated, letting the moniker flit across his tongue as fluidly as the warm tea that he sipped at in between breaths. "I am personally unfamiliar with the honored Prince Corro, but something tells me that is not a nickname he has fashioned for himself?"

The outrage of such a thing that would come from much of the public would be egregious if opposite had been the case, he was certain of it. Naoji was neutral about the entire ordeal, if anyone were to ask his opinion about it. While he was content with the male station in their beloved homeland and wouldn't have traded what he'd accomplished for anything in the world, he knew many were not quite as much. Only time would tell if this seemingly new, progressive era would be a boon or a detriment.

The sigh from his otou-san drew Naoji's gaze slowly upwards and his mind away from his more thoughtful state, his features solemn in the current moments as he nodded in understanding. "I have already received questions about such things and handled my responses accordingly, though as far as I am aware my younger brothers have not yet been subject to such precarious inquiries. Being on the same page throughout would be better for everyone involved."

Offline Ryuuen Kirijo

  • Character Account
    • ss2opal
    • wp
    • Role

      Otou-san / Hinata's Dagger

    • Faction

      Ureshi-sa / Kagen Clan

    • Territory

      Tacea

    • Character Sheet

      [Link]

    • OOC

      Rated Em

    • Posts

      29

    • View Profile
"Shinobu has already spoken with me," replied Ryuuen, pleased to see Naoji already grasp the situation without him ever having to guide it. "We will be leaving in the morning and while I will return come the evening, he will be back the following afternoon." To spend proper time, to grieve as he could because they were all geisha - they had given up their families and their names - but Shun was his brother and they still had had one another within Ureshi-sa. "While I would like to devote more time to such things, with all that has happened I cannot."

Not with the political climate changing, not when he was needed both at Ureshi-sa and by his no longer retired Queen. That certainly rankled his senses, made him somewhat agitated, but his son knew that and knew it well. "I have no doubt that you will do well in handling the affairs of the okiya while I am away." As Naoji would know that while Ryuuen would return, he would likely be called away again just as easily. Truthfully a small part of Ryuuen longed for the days when he was not the Otou-san of Ureshi-sa but simply his Queen's Dagger.

It certainly meant more time with Zhihao, enabled them to be together more often, as well as ensured he spent time with Hinata whom he loved just as much and just as dearly. Ryuuen's heart was often overfull as it was, the love and affection that he felt for each person that was his deep. It was only made stronger because of his ability to mark each that was his. To know their feelings and state of being, to know the warmth of their affection for him. Truthfully it was a skill he had wished he could have passed to Naoji, so that he might have been able to share it with Yumi, but Mother Night seemed so particular sometimes when it came to the skills that were unique to the Castes.

"No, it is not," agreed Ryuuen with a sigh. "I am not sure where it started but it never takes the Clans and others to speak up or start something when they are all in an uproar." Truthfully, the Warlord Prince was content with his life, with the way of things within Tacea, but he knew that it was not truly what he wanted. It was not fair, in so many ways, that he had to hide himself so. That he could not - like women were free to do - speak freely of his love, his husband. The thought was pushed away as, truly, it was probably something that he would not see within his lifetime.

Even if he hoped it would be.

Parchment and ink were called to hand, Ryuuen always prepared with such tucked away in his psychic cabinet. "All it takes is one courtier asking the wrong thing ..." His expression was wry. "I have the utmost faith in you, my treasured son, and I believe in your brothers as well, but - yes - the same page. Work with me, let us draft this, and then see it to the rest of the okiya and then, perhaps, there might be time yet for respite." There was amusement again, the glimmer of it his gaze, but it was tired as well.

No matter. Ryuuen enjoyed what time he had with Naoji, his son, and they would see Ureshi-sa through this period of unrest and into what was beyond it.

The End.