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Established February 2010
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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: i'm a machine, an emotional being  (Read 167 times)

Description: (iwai) (nara; the izayoi keep; a meeting with the clan matriarch)

Offline Iwai no Izayoi

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i'm a machine, an emotional being
« on: Jul 15, 19, 03:00:52 AM »
Iwai knew that it was not the state of the security webs and otherwise within the Izayoi Keep that had seen them call for him. That fact alone meant that he took his time to answer the summons. Even when he had, when he had reached Nara and the Court that had once been a home for his family, he still took his time. They did not call him for work, for him to see to the security system that he had put into place, but that did not mean he would not perform its upkeep.

“Prince,” called a Purple Dusk-Jeweled witch, clearly not impressed with the fact that he was all but ignoring her with how she had used craft to amplify her voice. “Our Matriarch has requested your presence.”

He simply cut his eyes towards her and raised an eyebrow. “Then the Matriarch,” said Iwai, watching as her eyes widened at his deliberate word choice, “can wait until I verify that all of this is still in good condition.”

“That was the work of one of our most talented Black Widows!” she snapped finally. “How do you expect to even--”

“I would advise,” hissed Iwai, turning from his work, “that you think wisely of what you say next.” His mood was already foul, had been simmering since his arrival, and the outburst was the only thing standing between this witch and Iwai doing something foolish. “I will meet with the Matriarch within the hour.”

Wisely, sensing both his mood and feeling the chill in the air, the witch only nodded and turned away. It was for the best because Iwai truly wanted to do nothing more than to destroy all that he had ever done for this Court. Her presence would have ensured it but with it gone he could truly set to work.

At least the aura of agitated Sapphire Prince kept anyone else away.

All pretense of Protocol and Etiquette had gone out the window with the words of the Clan Matriarch, Mitsuru no Izayoi. A Queen, she wore the Opal and was--in the aftermath of Izayoi’s massacre--the one who had stepped in with Sae no Izayoi’s death to guide the clan as its Matriarch.

“Please,” said Iwai, though there was nothing pleasant in his voice, “repeat yourself. You want me to what?”

Snapping her fan open and fanning herself with a lazy swish of her wrist, Mitsuru looked upon Iwai as if he was boring her. Or that he was particularly stupid. It was probably both as Iwai doubted she thought highly of him. “I don’t think your hearing is failing you, Prince. I spoke both openly and plainly: the Izayoi have lost many and our numbers need to grow. You are of the mainline, a Prince who wears the Sapphire, and so it is expected that you will help.”

It was worse than Iwai anticipated: she thought him breeding stock; a stud that could be brought to heel.

“You are correct,” spoke Iwai, “as my hearing is fine. Your memory, however, must be faulty.” She looked affronted at his words but he continued on regardless. “We were banished from Nara, cast out, and you somehow think that I’ve forgotten that? Or why it happened? My presence was not wanted then, I doubt that it is wanted now.” His temper was back in full force having not been satisfied earlier.

“What happened in the past--” started Mitsuru.

Still applies now,” gritted out Iwai, staring at the Queen. He wasted no time in throwing up a shield--an old habit--as he tugged off his ring. “My mothers were cast out because they would not send me away, a fledgling Black Widow.” Where his scent as a Prince was cool and calm, the same could not be said of his Black Widow nature. It was sharp and cloying, kept hidden as it often was.

Watching realization dawn on the Queen’s face was not nearly as satisfying as Iwai wanted it to be. It meant that Sae had done her best to ensure most, if not all, had no idea of the truth of him. She had all but done away with him when it came to ensuring no one knew he was a Black Widow.

“Sae no Izayoi called me an atrocity, a blight upon the Izayoi, and I am certain you are of the same opinion.” He watched as she flinched, knowing his words were true. Iwai pushed himself up and slid the ring back onto his finger as he spoke onward. “Then you will understand if I excuse myself. There is no need of me here as I have seen to the security webs that I’ve in place and confirmed they are still working properly.”

The Prince held to the vestiges of Protocol and Etiquette by just a hair, going through the motions of a mostly proper goodbye before he removed himself entirely.

Strangely he was not stripped of the Izayoi name for his behavior. That, Iwai decided, was unfortunate but then probably for the best. If he was to serve Xiong, in any capacity, his being of the Izayoi--even if an outcast--would be beneficial.

On the other hand, not being affiliated would make his visits to the Wolf Castle, to spend a small measure of time with Ryuki, that much easier.

There were moments in visiting Ryuki that Iwai did not feel right. Not for any other reason than the ring on his finger that ensured his caste stayed hidden. His Queen knew the truth, accepted him, so was it possible that the Warlord might do the same?

Upon him was a Widow’s web, after all. Something or the other about him just as hidden in plain sight as Iwai was. The time was not right, his instincts whispered, and so he left it. At least with the Warlord, he found a measure of happiness.

The specifics of no longer hiding himself could be worked out later.

Iwai expected the Izayoi messenger that requested his presence. He had felt the snap of one of the security webs within the Izayoi Keep which was, in of itself, peculiar. It was also enough to ensure that he returned back to Nara. While he might not claim a love of his Clan, he took pride in his work and would ensure that everything was as it should be.

What he did not like was that it looked as if the web had been deliberately broken. The viewing crystal had been burned out--another tick in the box of agitated Black Widow Prince--and the very same Purple Dusk witch from his last visit was of no help in discussing the chain of events that lead to its destruction.

Releasing a breath, Iwai pushed it aside and set to work. They could be petty, they could destroy his work if they wanted, but what he put back would not be destroyed by the same methods.

In the morning after he had taken his tea and was cleaning up, Iwai recognized the portent visible in the drying leaves. An old habit, to read the tea leaves, and something that Misae had taught him. There are portents and omens everywhere, she told him, and you must learn which are worth listening to.

It had been a warning that he had seen and the Black Widow Prince recognized that he should have heeded it.

Called before the Clan Matriarch again, Iwai found himself sitting across from her at the same low table as he had only a few weeks previous. His posture was stiff and rigid, not at ease, as he warily watched their tea be poured.

“I’ve already spoken with the Mistress of the Guard,” said Iwai, taking the cup offered to him and probing it with a gentle touch of Sapphire; there was nothing detected and so it was fine, “and have left a revised instruction on the care and upkeep of the security systems in place.” He never bothered--and never would--explain how they worked precisely. That was his business beyond that the last time he had tried to explain it--to his mother--she had looked at him utterly perplexed.

Some things, she had told him, are just that way because you are both Black Widow and Prince. The way you see craft is not the same way I do even if we do share a Caste.

“I thank you,” said Mitsuru, “for your work in ensuring our home is kept safe.” She took a sip of her tea, smiling at him as she set the cup down gently. “You caught me off guard last time, Prince, and for that I wish to apologize.”

Iwai opened his mouth to speak and the Queen held up a hand to forestall him from speaking anything. It snapped shut and he took a drink of his tea to let her finish whatever it was she had to say.

“You were right about how Sae no Izayoi looked upon you. I cannot say that there are not others who share her point of view,” she continued, and Iwai snorted derisively, “but such a thing should not stop us from preserving our family. You are descended from Izayoi no Amaterasu herself, you wear the Sapphire, and you are blessed to be both a Prince and a Black Widow. Things that we would gladly see passed on to your children.” She smiled at him as if she honestly thought her pretty words would somehow sway him.

As if they would undo all the years that his mothers--his family--had been shunned.

“It would be an honor for any of our--”

“Stop,” said Iwai, his voice low. “You speak as if those words will somehow sway me. They are pretty, yes, and perhaps if I had heard them years ago they might have moved me.” His fingers were tight around the handle his teacup, the porcelain whining under his grip. Iwai let it go. “They will not,” he affirmed, “and I will not be some stud to warm the bed of whatever Izayoi witch you’ve found willing to sleep with me to better her station.”

He was not going to even begin to discuss that a witch was the last thing he wanted in his bed but they already disliked him enough.

“Prince, surely you understand the position that we are in? If something is not done--”

“You have asked me twice now,” though it was a stretch to say this was asking, “and I’ve rebuked both. If you wish to afford me respect, befitting of who and what I am, then honoring this decision, as both an Izayoi and a descendant of our beloved ancestor, is the least that can be done.” A breath. “Please.”

The Queen studied him for a moment, watching him carefully.

“I will consider this for a time,” she said and Iwai wanted to groan, “and ask that you do as well for those very same reasons.”

“My stance will not change,” he said, “so perhaps it is foolish to hope that yours might.” Taking another small sip of his tea, the cup half-empty, he found it did nothing to ease the dryness of his throat. Not when it was the topic of the conversation that was making it so.

“Perhaps,” sighed Mitsuru. “I will not keep you any longer, Prince. Thank you for coming home so promptly.” There was no missing the way that Iwai looked at her sharply when she called Nara home.

“Thank you, Lady,” said Iwai, his goodbye slightly less stilted than it had been the last time. He could not leave fast enough.

“For a Black Widow,” said Mitsuru’s handmaiden in a conspiratorial whisper after Iwai left, “he is not a very good one.”

Mitsuru snapped her fan shut against her palm, smiling as the tea set on the low table was gathered. “To be expected,” she spoke, “as he is a male.”

The handmaiden looked into the Black Widow Prince’s cup, showing it to the Queen. “He only drank half of his cup, my Lady, is that enough?”

“More than enough,” answered Mitsuru, smiling. “I am sure his stance will change once the safframate takes effect.” Reaching out along a thread, she called to her Court Seer, to trigger what had been inert in the Black Widow Prince's drink. If he would not be brought to heel with her words, then he would be brought to heel by his own actions.

Even if they were spurred on by another.