Blood Rites

Terreille => Tacea => Topic started by: Ryuuen Kirijo on Apr 07, 19, 05:24:14 AM

Title: spot the geisha as he balances
Post by: Ryuuen Kirijo on Apr 07, 19, 05:24:14 AM
Travel to Kamuzawa was something that Ryuuen was intimately familiar with. The use of a favored wind--a Summer Sky one no less--was one that had carried him time and time again to the Kagen Clan Court. It had become more frequent in the past few months and now ...

Now he was ferrying his son there. Ryuki was due to take his place within the Wolf Castle serving the Clan Queen, Yumi no Kagen. Yumi who was, in many ways, a daughter to Ryuuen. Yet where Ryuuen and Zhihao had never been able to steal away Yumi to raise. Not like they had done with Ryuki, so much put into being able to care and look after his son no matter what.

So was it a surprise that there was a part of him--those instinctive parts of him as a Warlord Prince--that was feeling some kind of way about helping his son move to and settle in at the Kagen court? No, no it was not. At least he was keeping tabs on it, even as he had fussed more than once over everything.

There was so much that could go wrong, so much that could see Ryutaba hurt if things did not go according to plan. He just wanted to take him back to Ureshi-sa and keep him safe. Except that wasn't necessarily a good idea either as there was the Prince that seemed rather intent upon his child. Why did the world not understand that he wanted his child safe and unfettered? Clearly it was a conspiracy but it was one he could do nothing about.

Ryuuen sighed, pulled his glasses from his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. Ryuki was giving a rather exasperated, albeit fond, look. It wasn't as if he didn't know his father well enough to know what some of his annoyance was. The Warlord Prince simply shrugged with a smile as he slid his glasses back on.

"They should be expecting us," said Ryuuen, not giving Ryuki the chance to tease his father or otherwise about his empty nester behavior. Not that it would stop him but perhaps he would take pity on him and not comment. At least he was not picking invisible things from Ryuki's clothing anymore as he did before they had left the okiya. So clearly this current behavior was an improvement.

(That Ryuuen was open about such things would fade the moment others were spotted. The mask of Otou-san firmly in place. Here, in these last moments before they truly stepped foot within the court, they were father and child for a little bit longer.)
Title: Re: spot the geisha as he balances
Post by: Ryuki Kirijo on Apr 08, 19, 05:04:42 AM
There weren't many parts of Tacea that Ryuki hadn't seen. Traveling the Territory as part of his uncles' retinue as a young man, then sneaking and spying about as Futaba as a young woman, had given him quite the worm's eye view of his homeland. In some cases, it was the worm-in-the-dragon's-claws-eye view, but in all cases, he hadn't had to hide his interest. He didn't hide it now, either, as he stopped down from the carriage step and peered up at the high pagoda of the Wolf Palace, one hand up to shield his eyes from the winter sun. "Sure," he said, as if Ryuuen hadn't fussed and primped and preened Ryuki to the first of the seven hells and back.

As Ryuuen led the way inside the castle, Ryuki rolled his eyes at his father's back. Trust the old man to find one of the only ways to get Ryuki all het up about something that might not even happen! What were the chances that Yumi would reject him on the other side of all this? They had to be low. (Ryuki chose to believe they were low up until the point where it became clear they weren't.)

The grand entrance hall of Wolf Castle was three stories tall, and on the other side of red wooden railings he could see plentiful males and Ladies going about their business. Some of them stopped, suspicious, until they spotted Ryuuen and relaxed; then they moved on as his otou-san guided him up several flights of stairs to the very highest public level of the nine-story pagoda. The room where they were to await Yumi-hime's pleasure had a great window overlooking the channel out to Minami Bay and Port Island, and Ryuki peered out at it for a long time before he heard raised voices from the hallway outside.

"I'm going to greet my new Escort, Prince Ii," said a high-pitched voice. It sounded, strangely, like the taste of cherries in the back of the throat. "Thank you for your kind offer of protection, but I'm sure that I'm safe enough in the Court of my foremothers, thank you--"

The shoji screen door slid open, and there was Yumi no Kagen: slightly taller than Ryuki now, hair done up, wearing a kimono as red as the heart of a coal with a pattern of running white wolves along the hem. "As you say, my lady," said the Blood Opal Warlord Prince behind her, but his gaze was hungry upon Yumi's back before he slid the door closed behind her with a soft click.

Yumi-hime smiled. "Ryuki-kun," she said, offering both her hands. "Night, it's been so long! I'm sorry about Prince Ii. He's... attached. My Triangle has given him ideas."

"So I see," said Ryuki, sliding his hands beneath hers. There was a vague shiver of recognition in the touch, less a sibling relation than that of two Blood who'd shared a creche. "Fun ideas? Or sorrowful ones?"

"I'm sure I couldn't say with Prince Kirijo here," said Yumi primly. "He might be displeased."

"Ah, of course." Ryuki bowed his head. "It's my pleasure to join your Court and save you from possessive Warlord Princes, Lady Yumi." He cast a glance, brows lifted, at his own father. "I promise, I'm much less a bother than I used to be."
Title: Re: spot the geisha as he balances
Post by: Ryuuen Kirijo on Apr 10, 19, 11:26:41 PM
There were no others like Ryuki. Naoji was his First Son, yes, his heir apparent within Ureshi-sa, but he was not truly Ryuuen's son. When they touched, when he had been a child and Ryuuen tucked a lock of hair back into place, there had been no frisson along his senses that recognized the other as kin. Ryuki--his Ryutaba--was all the family that Ryuuen had; something that was rare to a geisha. So was it a surprise that he was being a touch out of sorts? Probably not.

Warlord Princes were a possessive lot and he was no different.

He had been about to speak to Ryuki, to say something, when he felt annoyance sing out along the Hunter's Mark that was tied to Yumi. Close as they were--within the same building--it was not a gentle murmur but nearly a shout that had him staring at the wall as if his eyes could follow the pathing that the Queen was following.

The shouting certainly did not help with his feeling that something was not right. Especially when it was a Warlord Prince that Ryuuen made no disguise of watching carefully as he interacted with Yumi. That hungry gaze was not missed, nor was the spark of his emotions that he had caught as the door was closed and his presence receded.

There were thoughts already turning in his mind as Ryuki and Yumi reaffirmed their introductions to each other. Ryuuen moved to the sliding door, fingers pressed to it and lingering.

"Prince Kirijo is already displeased," said Ryuuen finally, with a sigh; speaking in third person was never a good sign from him, "but that may go without saying." He moved away from the door and made his own greetings to Yumi. Ryuuen shot Ryuki a look. As if Yumi-hime was in need of saving from him! (Ryuki, on the other hand, was another matter entirely.)

"My son," because he was proud of him, alright, "is rather adept at dealing with Warlord Princes. Particularly ones that do not know how to stop themselves." Was he speaking about his over functioning in preparing Ryuki? Probably. "And will be more than adept at saving you from them." The corner of his mouth twitched upward into a smile. "Myself included if the need arises."
Title: Re: spot the geisha as he balances
Post by: Yumi no Kagen on Jul 01, 19, 04:09:14 AM
Yumi's day was not going well. She'd started it fairly positively: her favorite breakfast, her favorite tea, a letter from a village Queen or three to answer. Then her Triangle had returned to their favorite song-and-dance. Yumi-hime, it is time that you marry to secure the line. You must have a child to secure the main line. They'd come up with their offerings, two Warlord Princes with the names of Kagen vassals slung about their necks like chains. Of the two of them, one of them had not bonded to her at all. That left the man she'd just escaped: Prince Shuji Ii, who wore the same Jewels as her cousin Shiro. It would be an excellent match if Yumi's heart didn't already belong to her Naoji-kun. The arrival of her newest Escort, Ryuki Kirijo, had provided her the excuse she needed to escape... only to find she needed to manage riled males and their tempers there, too!

Her queendom for an afternoon free of Warlord Princes, honestly. She slanted a displeased glance at her dear Uncle Ryuuen. "Prince Kirijo," she said, "I am also rather adept at handling Warlord Princes. Even those who don't know how to handle themselves." Tucked into her golden obi was a heavy metal fan. She drew it from its resting place and flicked it open, revealing a lethal edge. "My Triangle simply feels it is time for me to marry. After the disaster at the Territory Court, the Kagen line is not as secure as they would like." The main line flowed through the Queen of the Clan. With Naruko dead and one of her two daughters mouldering in the ground in Dena Nehele, the main line was looking rather unstable at the moment. She couldn't blame them, in all honesty.

She turned her attention back to Ryuki. His down-to-earth Warlord caste would be a pleasant change of pace compared to Prince Ii and his fellows. Why the Triangle felt the need to fill her Circles with Warlord Princes and Black Widows was beyond her, but she didn't see a reason to gainsay them just yet. "Lord Kirijo," she said--and oh, she wished it were another Lord Kirijo she addressed--as she held out her left hand, palm-down. "Uncle Ryuuen. Shall we retire to my parlor for tea?" She held out her right hand for her uncle. Thus escorted, she guided them both to the Queen's private solar with its shining view of Kamuzawa. She called for tea and snacks, and then smiled at her newest Escort and his okiya otou-san.

"I'm told that your Ryuki-kun is the shining exemplar of a geisha's talent and beauty," she said, sliding a glance towards Ryuuen that would have been coquettish if he'd been another man. "How did Grandmother convince you to let him come serve in my Court? Was it hundreds of gold marks?"
Title: Re: spot the geisha as he balances
Post by: Ryuuen Kirijo on Jul 05, 19, 05:49:49 AM
The look upon Ryuuen's face was a touch chagrined, having earned a bit of Yumi's frustration with his remarks. Truthfully, he knew that she could handle herself quite well--it was to be expected given who she had grown up around--but with her court pushing at her ... Well, the more that were not afraid to stand up to a Warlord Prince that were around her, beyond just herself, the better.

Still, Ryuuen bowed his head in acknowledgment. "It would be foolish to ever think you couldn't, my Lady." Though she was not his Queen it rolled off his tongue all the same. When she had been younger it would have been Small Lady, as she had always been a Queen even when she had been a child who could barely around her fingers around one of his. Regardless, by claiming her at that moment, the Opal-Jeweled Warlord Prince was both acknowledging and apologizing to her for his words.

There was a flash of something in his eyes, worry perhaps, at what her Triangle was pushing for. Ryuuen understood the political reasons behind it, for the most part, but Yumi's heart was spoken for. He had no desire to see her suffer hiding her love as Zhihao and himself had to do, especially when there was no reason for her to do so.

With Yumi escorted by both Ryuki and himself, Ryuuen holding to her hand like a proper escort, they quickly reached the private solar and were situated. For all the ties that Ureshi-sa--that Ryuuen held--to the Kagen, his time within Wolf Castle was not as much as it could be despite being familiar with its layout.

His eyes glinted at Yumi's words, pride visible even as he let out a soft chuckle. "You have heard right," said Ryuuen, "as Ryuki is second only to Naoji." Truthfully, Ryuki actually surpassed Naoji when it came to beauty and the opinions of their clientele. "I would not say that there was much convincing ..." The Warlord Prince smiled. "It was more that the time has come for Ryuki to stretch his wings and what better place to do so than within your Court?"

Never mind that part of it was Yumi needed someone she could trust. Someone that held no loyalty to the previous Queen but to her and her alone. It was a necessity if Yumi was going to continue to move forward as she ruled as Clan Queen.
Title: Re: spot the geisha as he balances
Post by: Ryuki Kirijo on Jul 13, 19, 04:14:34 AM
"Do your wings require much stretching, Lord Kirijo," asked Yumi, all solemnity, but Ryuki could see the way her brown eyes danced beneath her thick dark lashes. Before Ryuki'd left the palace creche, Yumi had been... well, not ungainly, but the eyes that were enticingly large, dewy, and lashed on an adult had been nearly bug-eyed and protuberant on a teenager. Ryuki had always been comely, limbs and features gently manipulated by the best Healers into perfect symmetry, but Yumi had had to grow into her beauty. It seemed to have benefited her, too; she seemed perfectly at home in her own snow-pale skin.

He mock-sniffed, pretending to be put out by her questioning of his Uncle Ryuuen. "As my father says, so I believe," he said, but once the servants had delivered the afternoon tea service his face turned serious. "There is another reason why I am being entrusted to your service--or rather, why you are entrusted to my keeping--if you will permit me to explain?"

Yumi frowned, but gestured freely with one hand. Go on, the delicate little gesture said. Ryuki took a deep breath, and looked over to his okiya father. Once Ryuuen had protected the room, Ryuki nodded. "I haven't been entirely honest with you," he said. "There is more to me than I seem." He held up a hand, which served two purposes. It forestalled Yumi's hot-tempered retort, and it allowed her to see him as he removed the ring that concealed his psychic scent. Rose witch bloomed like the flower after which his Offering and hers was named.

"You're a woman," said Yumi, dumbfounded. Ryuki squirmed, uncomfortably, but nodded. "Then what is your name? Ryuki is a boy's name."

He grimaced. "My name is in the registers of Blood as Ryuki Kirijo... but my name as a woman is Futaba." Ryuki fiddled with his teacup for a moment before forging onwards. "There are people who don't want you on your throne. You know this already. I have the same Jewels as you; we look like sisters enough already. All we need is a spell-web that conceals my true Caste and allows me to mimic your psychic scent, and I can serve as a body double for you. A last-ditch line of defense." He put the ring back on his finger, and relaxed as his feminine psychic scent receded.

She looked at Ryuuen then, her gaze confrontational. "You knew Ryuki was a girl this whole time?"
Title: Re: spot the geisha as he balances
Post by: Ryuuen Kirijo on Jul 14, 19, 09:42:04 PM
There would be, in Ryuuen's summation, no ideal time to reveal the truth of Ryutaba. They had discussed it and the Warlord Prince had agreed that it was best to do so whenever Ryuki felt it was right. That and it was better to move forward in this relationship with Yumi with honesty than to reveal it later. Even if this was still many years of her not knowing the truth all over again. Ryuuen could only hope that she would understand--when it was discussed--why he had done all that he had when it came to his child. Uncle he may be but Ryutaba was his child in all the ways that mattered.

He was quiet as Ryuki spoke, watching both him and Yumi--the apprehension from him, the flicker of agitation from her--and shielded the room at the look from the former. The scent of Rose witch filled the room kept contained by Ryuuen's craft. There was a flicker of a frown on his face at Yumi's words but he was still quiet as Ryuki spoke on.

Without the craft hiding Ryuki, with Futaba revealed, it was far too easy to see the similarities between them. Yumi and Futaba were of the same height, shared many features, and one might've thought them siblings without a second thought. Yet even Ryuuen's posture relaxed when Ryuki slid the spelled ring back on.

It was a small blessing that he could sense that Yumi was not truly mad at him even as she stared at him with accusation in her eyes. "Ryuki is mine," said Ryuuen and then corrected himself. "He is my nephew, thrust into my arms by his dying mother when he was a newborn." For once the Warlord Prince looked his age as he spoke about this.

"Family--blood family--is not something often found," he spoke softly, "and I was not willing to give it up." Not after what had happened to Zhihao. Not after seeing his dying twin bring him the child. "If I wanted to keep Ryuki, if I wanted to not lose my family, then she would have to be he so that I could keep him with me." A young witch? No, she would never be allowed to be raised by a geisha even if he was a Dagger of the Dragon Mother.

"So, yes, I have known, since the moment Ryuki was pushed into my arms and I was asked to look after him." The specifics, he thought, of Ryuki and their gender was potentially a topic for another time but it was not his place to discuss it. "As far as the world is concerned Ryuki Kirijo is my son and a geisha of Ureshi-sa and Futaba ..." A breath was let out. "The hidden flower of our okiya." Ryuuen raised a hand and pulled off his glasses to clean them with a cloth that he conjured to hand.

His glasses were perfectly clean.

"We never anticipated that this would be a scenario but there is no one else I would trust to carry out what my child speaks of. Until I can send Naoji to you, it is Ryuki that I hope will keep you safe in this den of wolves." The words were a deliberate, if only because Yumi was a Kagen, yes, but those within the Court were not necessarily her allies. Not yet. "... and that you understand why this was kept from you."