花隠れ, 忽焉香水

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Sansa Stark, Dec 9, 2014.

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    京, 1756.
    天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink It was a crisp, warm autumn morning when Akakiyo learned her life no longer rested in her hands. The sun had risen with promise and splendor as it had so many other times before, days that brought better news on the wings of her father's whims and wishes. She found herself yearning desperately for those times more and more as each second ripped them farther from her grasp. But there were no smiles anymore, no promises of fruitful mornings playing among the flowers or rushing to the nearest temple for early prayers. Her future was written on the scroll with a name, signed in perfect hand following words of designated betrothal.

    Minamoto Morichika, she read in the back of her mind, etching the name into memory as it would soon be etched on her soul. With nothing but defeat to cling to, Akakiyo let the paper fall to the surface of the vanity and looked into the gilded mirror, seeing a porcelain doll for sale blink twice and stare back at her.

    "Must I marry, okaasan?" she asked with a simple frown, feeling the weight of royalty crush such fragile shoulders. "I don't even know him yet."

    "You will, little garden. You will." The empress slid a several more combs of jade and dangling sterling into the intricate weaves her daughter's hair had become.

    "Have you met him?" she inquired again, looking to her hands as they fumbled nervously with each other in her lap.

    "More than once, Akakiyo."

    "What is he like?" Kiyo bit her lip. "Is he kind, at least?"

    "Do you think your father would marry you off to someone who wasn't kind?"

    "I think he would marry me to whomever would offer him the most political gain."

    Her mother chuckled softly at that, adding a final comb resembling a cherry blossom to the hive of black hair encircling the princess's head. "That is a smart answer, dear one. But don't bite your lip, the paint will smear." The fussing mother gripped the girl by the shoulder and spun her carefully around, dipping the long brush into a scarlet substance and reapplying what had been distorted. "The two of you will be very happy together, Kiyo. Why do you doubt your father's judgment?"

    "I don't doubt his judgment," the girl pouted when her mother had finished the deed. "I doubt...I don't know. I just doubt."

    "Well, stop." The woman chuckled, taking a step back to admire the vision of beauty and innocence Princess Akakiyo embodied. Silks in a rainbow of colors wrapped around her petite frame and hung from her arms in long, elaborate sleeves, and her face was painted in blacks and reds around dark eyes and pale lips. Kiyo had quickly grown into one of the most desired young women in all of Kyoto, the face of purity and tender desire, and a part of her looked forward to entertaining suitors and choosing the one that the gods had set before her to bring further life to the world. All of it had slipped from her fingers in a matter of seconds, however, and with time she knew it was something she should have expected. Her sisters had all suffered the same fate. It was only a matter of time before she would be forced to do her duty as well.

    "When will we marry?" Kiyo asked with a gentle frown, examining herself in the mirror with a bittersweet gaze.

    "On the eve of your fifteenth birthday."

    "What?!" The princess turned desperately to her mother, eyes widened with powerlessness and fear of the inevitable. "But--But that's so soon--"

    "Less than two weeks," the empress agreed, and it seemed as if she was displeased with the speed of things as well. "Your father has already arranged it. There's nothing else to be done."

    "Nothing else to be done," Kiyo repeated in a low whisper, and she would have bitten her lip again had she known better than to encounter her mother's scorn. "I thought I had more time..."

    "You have plenty of time, my daughter." The queen held out her hands pulled the girl close, giving her a sweet and maternal kiss atop her forehead to bolster a sense of confidence in whatever way possible. "He is the son of the strongest man in Kyoto. You will be safe, and your sons will be great warriors." She chuckled, "besides, he is a noble man. I have no doubt he will treat you with loyalty."

    "I don't want mere loyalty." Kiyo lifted her dainty head from her mother's chest, and there was a dwindling spark in her eyes that suffered to dust with each passing second, but she knew there was no point in arguing much further. Her honored father and mother were clearly on an agreement in the matter which meant there was nothing to be done except to swell down into humble obedience. The princess pulled away and stood steady on her wooden shoes, folding her hands politely before her frame and meeting her mother's noble gaze with strength. "...I will do as you and my father wish of me."

    "That's better. Come now," the empress said as she gestured for her young daughter to follow suit. "The emperor awaits us at the gates. He has requested to introduce you to Minamoto himself, if you can believe it. There is no greater honor."

    For my betrothed, she thought helplessly, or for me?
     
    #1 Sansa Stark, Dec 9, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
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  2. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen

    The quiet wind greeted Morichika, the stony silence of the meeting room a strangely disquieting phenomenon to be greeted with. Meetings such as these were often the quintessence of the noisy gale of arguments and feuds between the generals. Many blood feuds and old wounds existed between the men in this room- wounds they defended noisily and with much coarse language. But today it was silent. Some faces held smiles but as he looked his father in the eye, there was only a exasperated defeat. It did not bode well.


    He took to his knees as directed and reviewed quickly the issues at hand. He blinked once, then again, before his eyes widened and his eyebrows drew to their highest height, as if they sought to brush his hairline. "This is..."

    "A marriage contract, yes. A marriage both fortuitous and significant, for you are the Chief Samurai's First Son and she is the seventh daughter of the Emperor. How could such a match be denied?" Morichika had always hated the older men who ran the council meetings, stuck in old ways and old traditions that sacrificed much for peace. Including a fourteen year old princess. "She is fourteen!" Morichika argued, trying to ward them from this match but knowing it would go ahead- and soon.

    "She is nearing fifteen and the most auspicious day falls on her fifteenth birthday, the autumnal miko rites. This match is final- with or without your consent." There was a loud clang as his father brought down the butt of his katana down on the oaken table. "So it is. The match will proceed." Bowing stiffly from the floor, Morichika excused himself and exited, heading for the nearest place of silence he could find. The Pansy Pavilion was the nearest thing he could find, the gentle sounds of the wind chimes a welcome balm.

    Tenno Akakiyoniwa. The daughter of the empress, the name of the woman who would be by his side for the many years of his life to come. A young girl, merely entering the years of fruiting but already married off to him of all people. She was the most eligible and desired woman in Kyoto at this time, a heaven child who could seal treaties with any number of influential families and clans. Instead, they had chosen to strengthen the bonds between the Military sector and the Imperial Palace.

    As a tactician, he could understand quite readily. But as the man whose life was sealed, and quite easily the thoughts of the girl who would be his bride, it was unthinkable. A soft sigh caught in his ears and he turned to see his mother, her eyes sad but firm. It was only then that he remember that she too had faced this situation, married off to the man who would rule many armies but only as the sixtieth daughter of the previous emperor. "Oh my son, do not look at me so. I wish we could change it, I wish we could. But we must face our challenges as they come, not as we would wish them to be and appear."

    "Have you met her, mother? Is she unruly, as some are?"

    There was the soft laughter of his mother then and a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Mori-kun, you worry so much over so little. She is gentle and beautiful, as kind as her mother who you have met and the emperor is quite beloved of her. She will be a fine wife, a good mother and your children will be raised in peace and prosperity."

    Morichika could only sigh when faced with his mother's words and nodded begrudgingly. "I understand and will respect her, as is her due. I just..." He cast his eyes over the gentle pond and the ibis that picked at the reeds, envying it's freedom as it escaped the palace grounds and spread it's wings.

    "I wish there was more time."

    His mother just sighed and set her hands on his shoulders, looking him in the eye and forcing him to look there. "You are my son and you are a brave warrior. This is the ultimate test of your courage: your gall and your bravery is being tested here and you will not be found lacking. The Emperor is meeting you after all. A high honour is bestowed upon you- you mustn't leave it in the dirt." He thought on those words as he left for the Imperial sector, accompanied by both of his parents and his younger siblings. Dressed in fine silks, they made their way through pavilions and temples, praying and lighting incense for luck and prosperity. As they arrived at the Palace gardens, he too arrived at a conclusion that might have been construed as treason if he ever repeated it aloud.

    'Honour has no worth,' he mused silently, 'Unless I wish it so.'


     
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  3. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink Each slow step was a fatal sentence to eternal companionship, the death of solidarity and privacy for as long as the gods allowed her life. There was, at the very least, a visible attempt to keep a sense regality and calmness about herself that Minamoto and his family would hopefully be receptive to. She had no desire to bring shame to her father by acting poorly or leaving a degrading impression on the future of her belonging. The match was set in stone, approved by gods and ancestors alike, or so it had seemed to the princess. Though each slow-moving minute was filled with more crippling anxiety than the last she drew from her father's strength and pressed onward, yet what was meant to be a celebration felt more and more like prison.

    Is this how a songbird feels, she thought wistfully with a glance toward the palace floor, when it is caged and locked within?

    "Kiyo-chan," came the deep voice of her father from the main gates, and despite her devastating predicament Kiyo found the room to smile. She left her mother's side and rushed to the open arms of her father, trying not to move too much in fear of loosening her hair or smudging the paint her mother tried so hard to apply delicately on her gentle features. The most beautiful of all the emperor's daughters and the most loved by her father, Akakiyo had been blessed wit the gift of seeing the ruler of Kyoto once every month since the day she was born. It was rumored that his attention was due to a rare and deep love between the emperor and Akakiyo's mother, thought it mattered little to the young princess. She was grateful to every god and goddess in the world for the gift of parental guidance in the form of her beloved father, in the form of the emperor, and more importantly in the form of affection. He looked down upon her with an admiring gaze, pressing a kiss to the crown of her head. "You look so much like your mother, little garden. I almost didn't recognize you."

    "I'm still me," she chuckled. "Well. Almost."

    "What is wrong?" The king knelt before his little daughter and took her hands in his, brushing her knuckles with the toughness of his thumbs. "You look as if you might burst into tears."

    "Not tears," Kiyo sighed. "I'm frightened, otousan. How can I be brave when I'm so afraid?"

    "Fear is the only time you can be brave." He smiled and kissed the tops of her hands before rising to his feet. "There is nothing to fear from Morichika, I promise you. And as a princess you must do your duty for all of us."

    "Yes, otousan." Kiyo swallowed the lump in her throat and held her head high, proud, as she always did when in the presence of her mother and father. They gave me the gift of life. It is the least I can do to give them the gift of a proper marriage, and grandchildren when the time arises. She placed a fragile hand over her lower abdomen and wondered when exactly the time to bear children would be.

    "With me, my daughter." The emperor gestured for the girl and her mother to follow in his wake, and the foreboding walk across the courtyards began. The monarch found a spot by the outer gates, created at the mouth of vast gardens and courtyards of weeping trees and arched bridges, of koi ponds and bursting flowers in every imaginable hue. Akakiyo had no way of knowing, but she looked a goddess herself among the blooms and brisk golds and oranges of autumn. Silently, the family of three currently present stood in waiting for the arrival of fate itself.

    Akakiyo closed her eyes and held them shut, not wanting to open them until the month was over and she passed through unscathed, and more importantly, unmarried.

    Gods, give me strength.
     
    #3 Sansa Stark, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
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  4. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen

    Morichika never did get over the pure opulence of the court of the emperor, sweeping and majestic hallways of carved touji wood, patterns of the kagome kagome, gentle swaying pattern silks separating the long hallways. The tori and the tsuru and the kame sat in their expertly carved shelves, followed by the sweeping works of the court artisans and the gentle beauty of the sheer colours around them. It was a slow journey, though perhaps it did only take a quarter of an hour. But he walked as one who walked to his death, slow and measured steps that provoked thought as each foot impacted the ground.

    For it was death, to the end of any other romantic pursuits he may have otherwise followed. For he had loved someone, with the very depths of his heart and she had loved him as much and more. But she was a hand maiden, a woman beyond his reach even as a general's son. So they had parted ways. Her, to the house of her father's chief and him into the tactical army. He had obscured his love in the artistry of the map and the waka and the haiku. He had drowned himself in the wonders of the world but his heart had yearned for another form of beauty.

    They approached the court gardens quickly enough, even as the slow beat of his heart drummed a funeral beat. And yet again, he was struck by the beauty of the gardens but was almost immediately distracted by the sight of the Emperor and ducked into a deep bow, seeing his parents on either side emulating him. There was a soft chuckle and a gentle acceptance of their deference, before the deep voice of the emperor bid them stand.

    And there she was, the famous Imperial Iris. And it seemed the sayings were true, that the heavens had truly touched the earth in the emperor's favour. Stunning was a word that came to mind but Morichika dismissed it immediately. It was if Amaterasu herself had been placed on earth, in all her radiant beauty. She was of small stature, slim and effortlessly drowning in the silk kimono of a variety of colours, as radiant and glorious in colour as the garden around them. Though even the beauty of her faded with the prospect of what this night held.

    "Ah, the Minamoto family is ever welcome here!" The Emperor declared loudly, greeting them as if they were old friends- and indeed, the two families had long known one another, due to the nature of their Imperial System. "Tenno-sama, it is truly pleasant to see you looking healthy and to see your beautiful family." His father was formal, though a cheerful tone ran under the formality and it was joyful meeting as his mother and the Empress exchanged pleasant words. Other's were beginning to enter the gardens as the afternoon began to fade and the tea ceremony was beginning to be set up.

    Morichika sent a soft smile at the younger girl, a smile that spoke volumes of their situation. It spoke of sadness and fear and the courage he struggled to develop, the fear bordering on terror of the engagement they were about to enter. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Tenno Akakiyoniwa-sama."
     
    #4 Quiet Souris, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
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  5. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink The expensive combs in her hair jingled and sang together like chimes as she moved her head to view the coming family. She tried not to seem eager or anxious simultaneously, but fighting off any emotion whatsoever was slowly becoming impossible and Akakiyo fidgeted with her small fingers in attempt to ease the growing agony. She thought briefly that it might be better to never know who he was, what he looked like and smelled like and slept like and ate like, the way he kept himself or the way he treated others. To remain a mystery was to stay apart from her almost entirely, and Kiyo shamefully admitted that there was nothing she wanted more than that.

    Forgive me, father. I have already failed you.

    Akakiyo knew her wishes were too foolish to be granted. The eldest of the Minamoto family peaked over the crest of the nearby hill and instantly the princess lowered into a gentle bow. She felt uneasy with every eye in her direction, watching her for any sort of drastic reaction that would throw the entire arrangement off it's hinges or proving herself unworthy of the general's son. In the end, however, her prayers for strength won out and she lifted her gentle head to look upon the face of her betrothed.

    He was handsome, that much was clear. Morichika had strong features with the build of a samurai to match, broad shoulders that showed how often his swung a katana, thick muscles on his arms to compliment his dedication to his craft. She felt half his size and found herself panicking mildly at the aspect of what their wedding night would be like, but seeing as that was still weeks away she forced the bile of realization back down her throat and created a smile on scarlet lips. It wasn't anywhere near as magical or instantaneous as she read about in romantic tales from the west or from various haiku throughout Japan itself. It was emotionless and frightened. She couldn't decide whether it eased her or brought more fear to know he felt almost as horrified as she did.

    "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Tenno Akakiyoniwa-sama." His voice was as pleasant as his face was, and the princess tried not to blush despite herself.

    "A-And you as well, Minamoto-san." The silver in her hair tinkled together in various notes that could sound like music if one wasn't paying enough attention. "It is a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance."

    Fool, that's what he just said! She bit her lip, thankful that the paint had dried enough to refrain from rubbing away under her teeth. "I mean, it's nice to meet you as well." Now he will think I'm a halfwit as well as a fool. "Apologies, I seem to have lost all sense of language. I hope I am not a disappointment to you, Minamoto-san." Akakiyo looked anxiously towards servants setting places for the geisha and little tea tables, as well as silk cushions for sitting on, but the thought of a break for tea left no comforts in her heart as it usually would. Still, she kept her hands respectfully folded in front of her while her mother and father engaged in excited chatter with the general and his wife. At least they appear to have something to talk about.

    "...I am sorry we had to meet on terms such as these," she blurted finally, only too late had she realized her mistake. "Not that I'm not thrilled at the prospect of becoming your--I mean--I just wished..."

    It was truly a blessing that her father could not hear her making a fool of herself.
     
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  6. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen

    There was a painted smile on the girl's face, brittle and frightened and entirely fake. It reminded him of his own smile at this moment, at the thought of the meaning of this meeting. They had met and acknowledged each other as their betrothed, formally and spiritually and now, there was no way to return.


    From the sly smiles of their parents, he knew his marriage would go ahead no matter what fortunes befell the world. Come hell or high water, they seemed set on marrying him to this girl. A frightened child just on the cusp of womanhood and betrothed to someone above her age, and so soon to be wed. They would be strangers still, on that first night. Strangers who would marry and produce heirs but never fully know each other.


    And it rattled Morichika's spirit, right to his bones, when he realised he didn't mind that. He would fade into the background and never truly known her. She would do the same to be sure but as he looked upon her, he knew that such a thing would never work. It was not in his nature to allow other's to be afraid, to have fear where there should be none and he would never allow a woman to fear him. Either for his temper or his physical build, he had sworn as a samurai to uphold bushido and never could a true warrior let a woman fear him, not for any reason.



    The stumbling of her words finally broke at least a little of the tension that hummed in the air and he smiled a little more openly. But still there was a shadow behind it but he would try to make a pleasant time for his partner, otherwise this partnership would be broken before it started. "It's perfectly o-okay. I stumble across words all the time and am often rebuked by my father for it. I should speak more like a 'man' he says but I am not even an adult yet. The twentieth ceremony seems so far off..." He cursed his tongue for the stumble near the start of his words, berating himself for the lapse of discipline and the return of his stuttering. It had earned him many a berating and sometimes a punishment from his sensei in bushido at times for the 'un-manlike' behaviour.

    ~"...I am sorry we had to meet on terms such as these,"
    "Not that I'm not thrilled at the prospect of becoming your--I mean--I just wished..."~


    Her voice was sweet and gentle, still young in pitch but strangely composed and mature for one her age. Sure, if their parents had heard such words while they were here, they would have had a fit but personally, Morichika whole-heartedly supported and agreed with those stammered words. He saw her look anxiously and quickly at the tea ceremony pavilion and extended a hand toward the Peony Pavilion. "Shall we discuss this over tea? Such heavy thoughts need discussion after all."

    As they began to walk to their tea ceremony, he examined the gardens and the Peony Pavilion in which their tea ceremony was to be conducted. "I-I understand, I really do. This is my... 'duty', to marry for connections and never for love, however much I would wish to marry for the love of another." He sat gently on a silk cushion, glad for the respite and watched as Akakiyo took a seat just next to him, as was the design of the tables they were sat at. A geisha approached as they conversed and began the tea ceremony as they spoke.

    "You just wish? Is your wish the same as mine? To be able to choose, to have a small vote in the outcome of your own life? Sometimes, I wish I had been born in a lower family. For then, such treaty marriages would never have been necessary. But we are betrothed for life now, and I should like to think we can at least be friends. And you don't have to be thrilled. I understand, you are young and I am... less young. I protested at first, though futile it was, because I did not want to strip such a beautiful young woman of her former life so quickly."
     
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  7. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink The princess respectfully and dutifully took her place beside her husband-to-be, folding delicate hands in her lap and watching the geisha move through the tea ceremony with great interest. The life of a geisha was similar to the life of an emperor's daughter and the lessons were the same; beauty is pain and love is loss. Akakiyo wondered if she could have been a geisha as wonderful and graceful as the one before her in some other life, some other time.

    I would make a better geisha than a princess, and a better princess than a wife.

    "You just wish?" Minamoto inquired, looking to her gently. "Is your wish the same as mine? To be able to choose, to have a small vote in the outcome of your own life? Sometimes, I wish I had been born in a lower family. For then, such treaty marriages would never have been necessary. But we are betrothed for life now, and I should like to think we can at least be friends. And you don't have to be thrilled. I understand, you are young and I am... less young. I protested at first, though futile it was, because I did not want to strip such a beautiful young woman of her former life so quickly."

    His words lightened her. She felt a little smile tug at the corners of her mouth and lift her dampened spirits considerably--to know that he felt as trapped as she made the burden easier to bear, knowing it could be shared by the two of them. Perhaps it was a test sent by Uzume herself, the goddess of revelry and persuasion, or maybe it was fate resting a gentle hand on her shoulder to assure the princess that all would remain right with her world. It mattered not to Akakiyo. She still considered it a cruel jape, incredibly unfair that their lives must be dictated for them. She glanced over to the geisha once more and wondered if she had a danna of her own.

    "I am glad to know you find me beautiful," she stated at last with a small and hopeless grin. "I was granted with the gift of flowering at the young age of twelve. I have a woman's form and a woman's abilities. Should you wish it, I will not hesitate to bear you many sons and daughters, all as noble and just as our two great houses."

    Akakiyo gently turned her head to look upon his handsome features. "And you should know that I protested as well, Minamoto-san, but it is not for us to fight the will of the emperor. I will do my duty as your...wife," she sighed, "and I will honor you until my dying breath. My mother says we could find love with each other in time, as she did with my father. Be it love or mere friendship I will say prayers every day and night that we grow fond of one another, for the sake of our children."

    She spoke each word as if they had been rehearsed, fluidly and now without the stammers and stutters of her anxiety, but Akakiyo could only justify her courage with nothing but the gods.
     
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  8. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen
    Beautiful were the movements of the geisha, slow and measured so very carefully, as if a small mistake would ruin the beauty of the performance- and indeed, that was the case. The entire beauty of the cha-do was it's attention to detail, the gentle manner in which movements flowed together, much like the strokes of the Four Gentleman in a painting, to create a beauty that one rarely found elsewhere.
    It was equivalent to the chiburi of the samurai way, the cleansing of both blade and spirit through the simple beauty of movement. The flicking of blood from the blade, both symbolically and physically, was the purification of the spirit through movement, the same infinite concept behind the infinitesimally small and precise movements of the geisha.

    Morichika turned his gaze to the young woman beside him, delicate hands folded in a delicate lap and everything about her seemed so fragile- except for her spirit, for he could see it gleaming from behind the porcelain doll painted across her face. Her eyes held the fire of Amaterasu, the fiery nature of one born in the year of the Fire Tiger and a most beautiful fire was it to his eyes. One could never truly respect a woman who hid her true nature and in her eyes there was no hiding. It was one of the most truly beautiful aspects of Akakiyoniwa, he surmised.


    "I am glad to know you find me beautiful," She stated quietly, a small smile of hidden meanings playing at the edge of her lips. "I was granted with the gift of flowering at the young age of twelve. I have a woman's form and a woman's abilities. Should you wish it, I will not hesitate to bear you many sons and daughters, all as noble and just as our two great houses."
    Morichika smiled back, a little more pleased to know that she was as mature as his mother had told him. "How could one not find you beautiful? But it is not only my decision to have children. I know our society says it is the man's decision but I abhor this tradition. Children will be born of our union only if you wish it and are accepting of it. Yes, children will be born at some point as our parents will not allow for nothing to come of this marriage. But I would wish you comfortable, more so than you will be at the dawn of our marriage, before sons and daughters become a plan or even a thought."

    "And you should know that I protested as well, Minamoto-san, but it is not for us to fight the will of the emperor. I will do my duty as your...wife," She turned to look at him with soft eyes, a sigh gently playing along her breath. "And I will honor you until my dying breath. My mother says we could find love with each other in time, as she did with my father. Be it love or mere friendship I will say prayers every day and night that we grow fond of one another, for the sake of our children."

    Those words flowed freely and he allowed himself to nod along to them, assured of their truth through the way she had spoken, with great conviction and honesty. "And I shall do my duty as your husband, until our dying breaths and remain faithful, as is my conviction. Honouring you will be my priority, in everything life provides for us to overcome. I too will offer up prayers, for children in an unhappy union is the last thing I desire. My mother also grew to love my father, even as she was married off against her will. She too was an emperor's daughter and she married the son of a samurai. I will pray night and day that we will make a peaceful union, be it of fond friendship or love."

    Morichika felt those words in his bones, settling like the oaths they were into his soul and binding him to his words. He sent a silent bid to the Ujigami, the ancestral gods of his clan, a prayer for peace and prosperity and a happy home, as was tradition.

    'Please, grant us happiness.'
    ••••••••••••••••••••••
    Kazunomiya could not help but glance intermittently over to where her son sat, looking like the great warrior she knew he was but there was still the slightness of defeat to his shoulders that she could see. She shifted her kimono sleeves as she turned her attention back to the Empress across from her, smiling when she saw the similar actions of the mother of her son's bride.


    "I wish this was not happening so fast," She mused gently, sipping the tea provided to her by the geisha with a grateful smile. "This whole union is being rushed and I am afraid it will ruin any chances of our children being happy together. Both are gentle individuals, strong and so very young. I am afraid this, while it will strengthen our allegiances, will only introduce hardships into the lives of those so young."




     
    #8 Quiet Souris, Dec 10, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2014
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  9. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink Honor, she thought with a frown. Is honor worth more than love? Can it hold me close at night and bring light to my darkness, to make me smile through the hard times? She could never remember such honest tales of honor doing those things, but it was not her place to ponder too much. Honor made the world turn, not love. It was a fact she would learn to accept.

    It seemed so early to be exchanging such strong vows, official or not, but Akakiyo was glad for the seriousness of Minamoto's maturity. He was strong and handsome, nearing his nineteenth year if what her mother said was true, and he would be the general of the Imperial Army when his father passed on to the next world. Their sons would be strong and sturdy as he was and their daughters as elegant and beautiful as she. The gods could not have devised a better match.

    It was this that she kept in the back of her mind to calm the little fears that spawned there.

    "I think I would like to have children as soon as possible," she stated despite how much her heart fought promising those words. "I want to make my father and mother proud. I want to honor them by keeping up a healthy family line, and I want to honor your parents as well by gifting them with many healthy grandchildren. I could do nothing to prevent a loveless marriage, but I can do this at the very least. I can give us happiness through the gift of life." She smiled sadly over to him, taking the tea that was offered and sipping it with delicacy. "My mother says that the greatest joy anyone can behold is the gift of their children. It would be my greatest pleasure to provide that to you, Minamoto-san. To me. To us. To all of us. And perhaps, like my mother says, love can grow with the gentle passing of time. I do not think that the gods would want either of us to feel lonely for the rest of our days, as so many in this vast country often feel."

    I want to feel like this match is worth something.

    Akakiyoniwa drank pensively from the porcelain cup and averted her eyes from his gaze, hoping her words of prosperity had not gone against some holy virtue he harbored.

    太上天 • 皇光格天皇, red Oh, he was proud of her, so very proud of his precious Akakiyoniwa. She held herself with grace and poise and dignity, all noble qualities to be found in a woman of the modern era. She was beautiful beyond compare and stronger than she knew--a bit shy, but even Sukehito had to admit that no one was perfect. She was one of his few children that made him feel more honorable by the moment, and while her mother had originally protested to such an early match it was not uncommon and Sukehito would not see this opportunity wasted. There were plenty of men in various ranges of occupations who sought the girl's hand in marriage since the day she flowered, but it had all been saved for this. He straightened his back and thanked the geisha when she was done with her ceremony, picking up his golden teacup and bringing it to his lips for a drink.

    She will do her duty, he thought with a great swell of pride. She has never failed me before, and will not now.

    "I wish this was not happening so fast," stated the mother of his future son-in-law. "This whole union is being rushed and I am afraid it will ruin any chances of our children being happy together. Both are gentle individuals, strong and so very young. I am afraid this, while it will strengthen our allegiances, will only introduce hardships into the lives of those so young."

    "Nonsense," the emperor fired back immediately. "Their union is of the perfect timing. She is a bit young, yes, but she won't be for long, and I would rather see her off young than make her suffer through other suitors less worthy of her. I made a bold decision to give my daughter to your family, Kazunomiya-san. Do not make me change my mind."

    "Hush, dannasama." The regal empress chuckled and placed a hand on her husband's knee. "I agree with Kazunomiya-chan, I think this has been a bit rushed, but I also wholeheartedly believe that they will grow a love more legendary than any can imagine. They will be a match that songs and poems will praise and all of Japan will look up to."

    "You think so?"

    "Without a doubt," the queen stated with a smile. "They simply don't know it yet."
     
    • Love Love x 1
  10. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen

    Morichika did not know which of his words had caused the frown upon her lips but he immediately regretted it. He should not have spoken so strongly so soon. Who knew what she was thinking now? Was she surprised, taken aback or annoyed? As strong a warrior as he was, he had never dealt with women so closely and in such a context. Their minds were like the path of fireflies in this autumn season, beautiful and bright but so very unpredictable. It sounded like the words of waka to him but true they were. His mother had advised him once, a very long time ago, as to the heart of a woman and still that advice weighed heavily on his mind.

    Any fool knows men and women think differently at times, but the biggest difference is this. Men forget, but never forgive; women forgive, but never forget.

    It was true, in many cases. He had seen his clan torn apart by the mechanisms of no forgiveness, families ruined and broken because someone refused to acknowledge that they were in the wrong. He hated it, the terrible things the people of this world did to each other, the terrible and the horrific things they said, sometimes even worse than their actions.

    "I think I would like to have children as soon as possible," Akakiyoniwa is saying, her eyes guarded and the emotions hard to read."I want to make my father and mother proud. I want to honor them by keeping up a healthy family line, and I want to honor your parents as well by gifting them with many healthy grandchildren. I could do nothing to prevent a loveless marriage, but I can do this at the very least. I can give us happiness through the gift of life." Tea was offered to them and they both accepted with small smiles, sipping at the bitter drink and waited for his intended to speak once more. There was a sad smile playing along her lips and it matched the one he was not allowed to show here, as their families looked upon them. "My mother says that the greatest joy anyone can behold is the gift of their children. It would be my greatest pleasure to provide that to you, Minamoto-san. To me. To us. To all of us. And perhaps, like my mother says, love can grow with the gentle passing of time. I do not think that the gods would want either of us to feel lonely for the rest of our days, as so many in this vast country often feel."

    Her words were wise, far beyond her years and he thanked his mother for the match before him, knowing she would have made sure a match would never clash against him in maturity. "Then children there shall be. My parents and your own family will be truly honoured by the gift of a long line. I too wish to make my parents proud but there is much I must do before I can call myself the head of the Minamoto Clan. If we are united in the cause of at least providing a home of friendship, perhaps love will grow from the passing of time, as the Empress and indeed, my own mother, has said." He took a gentle sip, viewing the beautiful designs on the interior of the cup and marvelling at the craftsmanship, befogging flicking his gaze to meet the gaze of his intended. "Joy will run through our house on small feet, for it is as you say. Even my younger siblings bring joy where they go and to see our own children will bring a greater joy than any. It would be my pleasure to assist in providing children for our home. The gods are not cruel and perhaps... This match has their blessing, so they will invest in it's fulfilment."

    I want to feel something. To be stuck in the dreary world of an unhappy relationship... That truly is the death of the heart.




    影竹源挙党一致一郎, darkgreen


    Kagetaka could only look upon his son with the bitter mix of pride and sadness, the feeling of betrayal sitting deep in his belly. He did not want to see his son so guarded, when he was so free with his inner self commonly. But he turned his attention to the deep voice of the Emperor and lay a gentle hand on the hand of his wife, soothing her emotions.

    "Excuse her, Tenno-dono. A first child is hard to marry like this. But the honour of accepting your daughter into the Minamoto family is second to none and we are eternally grateful for this gift of trust. But love is the emotions I wish all could marry for but alas, it is rarely found at the beginning. Their love will blossom as the wisteria does, with great zeal and the beauty renowned by the whole country and even those beyond."

    Kazu leant her head gently against his shoulder before straightening her back, nodding apologetically. "It was not my intent to cause offence... I just remember my own few weeks of marriage and the way in which we both felt in that time. I will pray for the happiness and love my husband and I have found through our marriage and wish them many children in the years to come."

    She delicately sipped her tea and sighed inwardly, the bittersweet feelings of joy and worry swirling in her bosom like two birds in a cage but truly, her son and his bride were the birds.

    Trapped but so very beautiful.

     
    • Love Love x 1
  11. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink Joy will run through our house on small feet.

    Her sad smile grew genuine and peaceful to hear those words come forth from the samurai's lips, and it took all her restraint not to reach over and take his hand in her own. Instantaneously, her connection to him grew. The happiness of motherhood was one Akakiyo had looked forward to even as a little girl, when her mother's belly would swell with the promise of a new sibling and burst with the joys of an infant's little wailing. Her favorite part was the fingers and toes, how small and miniscule they were from the day of birth. She placed a hand on her lower abdominal space and smiled inwardly at the promising idea of carrying children, no matter how frightening and dangerous the topic could also become, but like all things Akakiyoniwa would face the challenges of conception, pregnancy and birth with grace and courage and wisdom. Just as her mother had before her.

    "I do not like to think of people as investments," she said, turning to the left a bit more to face him fully. The princess set the cup atop the bamboo mat, to better use her hands in speaking. "It makes life seem too much like business. Life is beauty and art and wonder. Business is cold and dependent, while art is eternal. Like your hand." She gestured softly for him to hold out his palm to her, and when he did she delicately traced along the lines etched in the folds in his skin. "This is not business. This is art. Each line on your hand is different from mine. Different from your mother's or father's, different from your brothers' or sisters', different from the world's. People don't invest in art, they nurture it and cherish it and flourish it into a better state of being. I think the gods view people the same. It is not an investment in the fulfillment or our marriage, but two hands sculpting something precious."

    Akakiyo looked up to meet the eyes of her betrothed, and almost instantly she drew her hands back to her lap in shocked realization.

    "I-I apologize if that was too forward, Minamoto-san. I was simply answering your statement to the best of my ability."

    Some men liked their women silent and obedient, and she had not known which was his preference. The girl turned back toward the geisha, who was now twirling her fan in elegant dance, and picked up the porcelain to drink tea once more.

    欣子内 • 親王, lightskyblue "It was not my intent to cause offense," stated the queen's dear friend. "I just remember my own few weeks of marriage and the way in which we both felt in that time. I will pray for the happiness and love my husband and I have found through our marriage and wish them many children in the years to come."

    "You gave no offense, Kazu-chan." Yoshiko offered a beautiful smile in response to the concerns of her companion. "I remember my first week of marriage as well. I imagine being a wife of the emperor is much different than being the bride of a samurai, but the same senses of nervousness must undoubtedly remain in tact. My little garden is a strong girl--a strong woman, too. Young, yes. But full of spirit and joy. Nothing can dampen her mood, not even a situation as seemingly unfortunate as this. The gods will make this marriage a beautiful one. Of that, I know for certain."

    "No you don't." The emperor sighed, placing his teacup atop the small table. "The facts remain that only prayer can intervene. None know the will of Amaterasu or her kin."

    "Very true," the empress replied. "But look at them, my love. Look at our daughter. See how she smiles, now?"

    "Hmph," was his response, eyes cast toward Akakiyo as she traced the boy's palm with her fingertips.

    "Hmph is right." Yoshiko chuckled and shook her head, turning her attention back toward the Heads of the Minamoto clan. "Shall we distract ourselves with a bit of dance by the lovely Chiyokichi?" She gestured with a gentle hand to the young geisha, who smiled and bowed low to her emperor and his bride.

    I wish my husband would not remain so factual and negative, the woman thought pensively as she watched the artist dance.

    I have no doubt the Minamoto boy will surprise him yet.
     
    #11 Sansa Stark, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014
    • Love Love x 1
  12. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen That peaceful smile truly opened up her face. It was if he had only glanced at the noon sun before and this- this was the sunset of the crimson sun. There was true happiness on her face, as if the thought of children had given her a joy unending- and it ran through his veins also. It was heart warming feeling, to think that they would bring life into this world, children with bright eyes and small noses. Minuscule, fragile beings that would be theirs to raise, to be beautiful daughters and strong sons. Her hand rested gently on her stomach and he knew that same pride from the movement. There would swell the roundness of a new life, the soft curve of life that would be a great joy beyond all others. He knew his own duties towards his wife, to keep her safe and prosperous and healthy and happy. And he would do it gladly, as his ancestors had done down their lines.

    Morichika was distracted by the small, genuine smile on her face and it was a huge shock as she traced his hand in his own and ghosted the lines as she spoke. It had been a long time since even the briefest of contact had occurred with him, the hands of a samurai a tool for killing but also, as she said, for the art of the floating world. Her words were not restrained- no, they were passionate and alive and in that moment, he truly knew what who she was. Not in all her forms or intricacies but her heart shone through those words, impassioned and brave beyond her gender, role in life and even her physical form.

    As she drew away, he started forward and reached once again for her hand, shocked at his own forwardness but continuing nonetheless. "No, don't draw away. Please, you are not too forward. I would never wish you to silence yourself on my account. Always be free with your words, for a relationship begins with words and the actions they embellish." His hand dwarfed hers, his hand an ugly tool against the living art of her porcelain pale hands. They matched in the artistic form, of the beauty of one compared to the practicality of another. "I do believe the gods would have us be happy. Our hands are art together, so the heavens will invest in us also. Our relationship, new and young as it is, is art and love is an art form above all else. These two hands. These hands, my hands are calloused and tough and the hands of a warrior. Your hands, the pale hands of a gentle but strong woman, the hands of a creator. Together, we can create the joy our hearts seek, children that these hands will guide through life."

    His eyes were drawn to the dancing geisha, her movements as free as the wind that was stirred by her fan and as beautiful as the harmony of life and peace. He took a gentle sip from his tea, revelling in the peace the bitter tea gave him. It was a mind clearer and he was glad they served maccha at these events, when such pressure could make one loose their propriety so very easily.

    源 娃鬟守 至尊助 彦愚女 和宮 親子内親王, lightyellow
    "I remember my first week of marriage as well. I imagine being a wife of the emperor is much different than being the bride of a samurai, but the same senses of nervousness must undoubtedly remain in tact. My little garden is a strong girl--a strong woman, too. Young, yes. But full of spirit and joy. Nothing can dampen her mood, not even a situation as seemingly unfortunate as this. The gods will make this marriage a beautiful one. Of that, I know for certain."

    Kazunomiya laughed, knowing well the feelings she spoke of. "Oh, yes I suppose. We were so young then, just as young as those two but twice as shy. Though one would never expect what would happen in a samurai home. So many things were different, as well as the many things I had to learn. The women of the samurai houses as just as capable in combat as the men, as is tradition among our clan. Your daughter too shall make a fine Minamoto member, strong in spirit and graceful in body."

    Kazunomiya watched the exchange between the Empress and the Emperor carefully, smiling as she watched the dancing geisha perform the 祇園おどり, the Maple dance. It was a customary dance of the Autumnal Many Moons festival, meant to usher in the new season and the bountiful rice harvest from the mountain paddies. It was a beautiful dance, difficult to perform but the geisha performed well, hardly skipping a beat as her hands twirled with the rhythm.

    As the dancer slowed into the final steps of the dance, she smiled gently at her husband and nodded her head in the direction of the two young intended, as the younger girl traced gentle fingers across the calloused palm of her son. "Taka-kun... I remember doing the same to you, one day a long time ago. I told you that my heart was a secret, that the rest was shadows, the rest was secret. I remember your face, so confused and puzzled."

    It enticed a low laugh from the man seated next to her and he nodded in fond recollection. "Aye, and I remember hounding you for an answer for a very long time. I seem to recall that you left me hanging for quite a time, yes?" She laughed and lay a gentle hand onto the hand of her lover. "Yes, I remember love. I remember..."


    As she will remember, many years from now.

     
    #12 Quiet Souris, Dec 12, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2014
    • Love Love x 1
  13. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink Akakiyoniwa let a little gasp through painted lips as Morichika took her hands in his once more, and the touch sparked tingles in her nerves. They contrasted beautifully, the rough callouses on a soldier's palms to the gentle fragility of a pampered princess's skin. The words which followed brought an even stronger peace.

    It is a wonder indeed, how such sweet words can carry me away.

    "I do believe the gods would have us be happy. Our hands are art together, so the heavens will invest in us also. Our relationship, new and young as it is, is art and love is an art form above all else. These two hands. These hands, my hands are calloused and tough and the hands of a warrior. Your hands, the pale hands of a gentle but strong woman, the hands of a creator. Together, we can create the joy our hearts seek, children that these hands will guide through life."

    His voice was intoxicating alongside the feel of each crack in his palm, and it seemed to the princess that Minamoto was the pure embodiment of strength itself. He was durable and she was beautiful. Together, their match would inspire many.

    "You think so?" Akakiyo smiled. "I think so, too. Love is art and art is life, and life is beauty and beauty is love. It is all a grand circle created by the gods themselves. It will be an honor to become a part of it."

    Is it so possible for me to feel for him already?

    The food was served when the geisha's Maple Dance was done, platters of little savories and sweets and all manner of finger foods. Playfully, Kiyo picked up a slice of shabu-shabu and held it out to him.

    "Open your mouth," she chuckled. "I promise I won't hurt you. It's just beef, after all."
     
    • Love Love x 1
  14. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen
    There was a strange peace now, a comforting feeling he had long found in the solace of his own company but in these moments, the company of his future bride inspired a tranquility that surpassed much he had felt in his life. The little gasp from her lips had made him regret his actions but of course, her words once again inspired his confidence to return.

    He smiled to the geisha who served their food, watching as she prepared the small foods that would carry them through the waka and haiku composing, as the twilight settled in and the firefly lamps were lit in all their thousands. Morichika was shocked though, as gentle fingers picked a piece of cooked shabby-shabu and held it out to him, chuckling in her sweet harmony as she told him to open his mouth.

    "I can't!" He shut his mouth as tightly as possible, aware that he looked vaguely comical but he could imagine the Emperor's face if he accepted... He imagined it would equal somehow the rather frightful insistence on the face of his intended. He smiled nervously and opened his mouth, grinning at the taste of shabby-shabu, delicate on his palate and he took a deep sip of his tea. He nervously glanced to meet her gaze, before slowly grabbing a piece of tamagoyaki and holding it up, blushing and looking to the side as he offered it to the smiling woman, blushing but grinning playfully anyway.

    "H-here. I shall r-return the favour... "

    He distracted himself from her smile, flustered as it was making him, by partaking in a persimmon sweet and revealing in the flavour difference between the umeboshiko and the bitter maccha green tea.

    Our hands are art indeed.
     
    • Love Love x 1
  15. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink The princess chuckled at how shy the strong Morichika had become at the mere notion of feeding him shabu-shabu. It struck her as slightly odd in a humorous, comically pleasant sort of way that he would react so shyly before the emperor when the monarch was hardly looking to them. It made sense, of course. To offend him would bring the entire match and the Minamoto family's honor to an abrupt end. But as he picked up a piece of tamagoyaki, rolled and spiced egg omelettes in a compacted bite-size portion, she knew that her spirit of playfulness was beginning to effect him despite the pressure.

    Akakiyo had the small feeling that he would never have shown this side of himself to her unless she had shown him the courtesy first.

    "H-here," he stammered. "I shall r-return the favor... "

    "Okay." Akakiyo's face lit up and she slowly opened scarlet lips, letting her husband-to-be place the small piece of poultry on her tongue. The flavor was exquisite, as she expected no less from the palace chefs who were renowned for their craft and the princess found herself humming in delight. "Mmm," she chuckled, swallowing Morichika's gift. "It's delicious. All of it is, I'm sure."

    The princess cast her eyes out toward the bruised sky, smothered in deep purples and navy blues as Amaterasu prepared the world for a few hours of sleep. Stars were beginning to litter the sky like diamonds thrown carelessly toward the heavens, and soon the moon would rise to cast an even greater glow on them all. Akakiyo took one final sip of her tea and turned to look toward her mother and father, who were preparing their own observances at a further distance to allow the princess and the samurai a greater sense of privacy.

    "I'm not very good a haiku," she warned with a foolish grin. "I'm actually quite terrible at it. I'm much better and painting and artistic expression than poetry and words. I hope that will not be too great a disappointment to you."

    Though, she thought inwardly, I wonder if there is anything I could do to disappoint him with how much kindness he has shown me.
     
    • Love Love x 1
  16. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen

    The time of the haiku was upon them and it was one of the things he truly loved about the moon festivals. Waka was a genre he enjoyed, a classic style that had waned in popularity with the emergence of the haiku but still he loved it so very much. Such meaning was conveyed, with simplicity and elaborate language together in one sentence.

    "No, do not be so harsh with yourself. Though I too enjoy the arts of the brush, the gentle rush of waka and haiku are my greatest treasure of the arts. Calligraphy is still and the ukio-e fleeting in beauty, the living river of waka is a gentle balm to a warrior's soul. Just as the gentle curve of the fude brush can enrapture a viewer into the world of an artist, so too can the words of the waka and we are drawn into the mind of the writer- and we see what they see. I don't think any words that are heartfelt could ever be disappointing to me, if they came from you." He trained his eyes on the moon as it crept over the bruised darkness of the sky, the soft yellow tone fading into the pure white of the rabbit moon.

    And indeed, the rabbit sat on the moon in it's glory and the gentle sound of crickets brought to mind the playful songs of childhood, as the rabbit pounded mochi on the moon. Paper was passed around and ink wells set up, as verses swelled to mind and gentle words formed in his mind. Gentle with the brush, he began to compose his tsuki-waka, a poem to comment on the changing seasons and the moon that guarded the tides.

    Show Spoiler

    Unnoticed,
    the passage has occurred;
    as I brood,
    autumn dusk dewdrops
    fall on my pillow.


    When autumn comes,
    even the pines
    aging on mount Tokiwa
    deeply change
    their hues.


    The clear-toned cicadas
    have exhausted their voices
    on the hillside,
    when again
    the evening bell startles.


    The voices of insects
    and a stag by the fence,
    as one,
    disturb me to tears
    this autumn dusk.


    The paulownia leaves
    are hard to make a way through
    so thick have they fallen.
    Although it's not as if
    I'm expecting anyone.


    In my garden
    where no one comes,
    wrapped in sedge,
    in the depths of dew,
    a pine cricket cries.


    Away from home
    over the dewdrops
    fragile on my pillow
    lightning at dusk
    gleams intermittently.


    Flowering pampas grass,
    again dew-soaked;
    I thought I would not be out
    and gaze
    in autumn's prime.


    Watching, I have grown lonely.
    If only I had a lodging
    outside the autumn!
    The moon lives
    in the field and on the hills.



    It flowed out in a gentle stream, as if gifted to him from the God's and as he read it through, he turned and watched as his partner composed her own. Perhaps not as long as his waka, perhaps a haiku but it was beautiful to watch those gentle hands create the words she saw around her. Gently tapping her hand, he passed the writing over and grinned.

    "I know it is long but should I submit it to be read, once the time of readings comes? I am not sure, perhaps you could give me an opinion?"
     
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  17. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink It was one thing to watch a samurai practice his craft amidst specified grounds and purified rings, striking swords or learning hand-to-hand combat, or reciting the various codes of honor that littered their esteemed ranks. It was another thing entirely to watch a soldier practice art. Morichika swept the brush with impeccable grace across the scrolled paper, an artist in his own right, entirely contrasting the brutality and physical prowess that was the cost of loyalty to the katana. Akakiyoniwa watched him intently throughout the entire process, wholly forgetting her own haiku except to offer her blank page the occasional sideways glance.

    By the time he had finished, she had only written a few characters and fallen desperately behind. Akakiyo took the paper that Morichika offered to her and met the eyes of her intended, noting how they seemed to gleam with pride and anticipation for her words.

    "I know it is long but should I submit it to be read, once the time of readings comes? I am not sure, perhaps you could give me an opinion?"

    "Of course," the princess chuckled. "I would be honored to read it." She took the page in her hands and let her eyes drift over the magnificence of his words, long though they were, and by the time she was done Akakiyo beamed brightly to her lover-to-be. "I think this will be the greatest one ever read," she chuckled, passing it back to him. "You should submit it if you so desire, but we should frame it and hang it up in our home. I fear mine won't be as magnificent."

    Akakiyo moved her own haiku over towards him, so that he might read it with better clarity. "Don't judge," she warned with an aura of amusement.

    colors of pumpkin,
    vermillion and deep gold
    veiled mysteries air

    branches intertwine
    in a sea of canopies
    harvest moon rises

    gilded by the dawn
    and swayed by a seasoned wind
    shades of art abound
     
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  18. 源 • 大名助 • 正一郎 • 盛親, lightgreen

    The art of writing was a truly soothing one and it was such a pastime that he had long spent much time attending to. He had attended the strokes of the Four Gentleman, how each stroke was beautiful in it's simplicity and how even the simplest of strokes could be combined into the most beautiful of characters. For though his hands knew well the hard grain of the boken and the grey steel of the katana, softly his fingers in the dark would always know the brush.

    For the samurai way, the warrior's way, was an infinitely complex path in life. For both beauty and brutality must exist in consequence to each other, both the soft wind and the immutable stone must be in balance for one to be a great warrior and a strong man. Art and beauty, waka and delight... All were the way of the samurai. Boken and brutality, katana and finesse. All these and more were required to be a samurai, to be a man of a warrior clan.

    "Thank you. It shall be framed in our home, I believe. Tonight it shall be read and added to the Royal Annals but this first touched blessing of our union, in beauty and meaning, will live in our home. And nothing from your hands could be disappointing to me, whether it be a haiku or a child to be gifted from the Gods."

    He read the gentle waves of the haiku, emotion that shone through from the words and he nodded thoughtfully, returning the paper to her hands with a bright smile. "I love it! Your style is as unique as your features and is so different from mine. This too we shall frame and hang! For together we have described this night in it's many facets and as we wish it to be. Perhaps in the poetry of life, it is not magnificence we seek but the pure, utter truth that we cannot otherwise say."

    The night was rising higher into the night, a sign of the passing time and soon, the poetry would be read allowed but small savoury dishes continued to be served during the observation times, as Morichika merely watched the beauty of the moon but reflected on the true beauty next to him by which the moon paled in comparison to.
     
    • Love Love x 1
  19. 天皇 • 京都守 • 天皇愚女 • 赤清庭, pink The readings came and went, passing as swiftly as the words that were given voice. Princess Akakiyo and the samurai's son spent the remainder of the festival exchanging little jokes and tales from their young childhood, talking about food preferences as they ate what was given to them, even discussing the things they always wanted to teach their eventual children and hold within their marriages. The little buds of friendship had blossomed between them in a matter of hours, the undoubtable chemistry one she would cherish for many years to come.

    He will make a fine husband, she decided at last. I should be honored to take his name.

    When the festival had ended, they said their goodbyes and parted ways, both with the weight of their looming marriage on their young shoulders. Akakiyo refused to admit it, but after growing close to Morichika through the festival and all they had shared, she began to wonder if, perhaps, their marriage could bring such joy after all.



    "How are you feeling?" came her mother's coos, taking Kiyo's gentle, trembling hands in hers. "Little garden, look at me. You mustn't be frightened."

    "I'm not." Akakiyo adjusted the pale white kimono, her wedding gown, and tried not to chew at her bottom lip. "I'm just...nervous."

    "Every woman is nervous on her wedding night," the empress chuckled. "I certainly was."

    "Does it hurt?"

    "Initially. But try not to think on that, hm? This marriage will bring your father and the Minamoto clan much honor. I'm sure the gods themselves will celebrate tonight."

    "Yes, okaasan." Akakiyo slipped her slender feet into tall wooden shoes and took a deep breath, knowing that Morichika, her father, and a procession of priests and priestesses awaited her outside the palace gates. It was better to face her fate than run, despite her instincts and their lies. Her mother pushed open the paper screen and Akakiyoniwa walked out into the sunlight, a pale blot against scarlet gates.
     
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