Between Crimson Skies

Overheard in the Halls of Gisu Castle

Two young Samurai walk the halls of Gisu Castle, one a petite and demurely attractive Kakita girl barely a year past her Gempukku, the other a tall and lanky Doji boy who tries to leverage his full year’s seniority over the girl as much as possible. They walk together in some small degree of awkwardness. The boy walks as closely to the girl as possible and his quickly darting gaze rests everywhere but upon the newly minted woman beside him. It is obvious to everyone but the boy himself that he is falling deeply for his onetime childhood friend. For her part, the white-maned girl seems well aware of her effect on her companion, and enjoys the power it affords her. Despite this, she seems less than interested in his romantic notions. They speak only in fripparies, she guiding and controlling the conversation with ease, until a Crimson-robed girl runs suddenly around a corner in front of them, undecoriously flushed and out of breath.
“Did you SEE it Mina-chan ?!!? Did you SEE them ?”
The Crane girl’s carefully practiced dignity evaporates in an instant as she rushes to grasp the Phoenix girl’s hands in hers, “What Shikki-chan ? What ?”
The Crane boy briefly considers being put out by this turn of events, but he actually finds Isawa Shikara distractingly attractive, and so decides rather to rejoice in his good fortune. This does not stop him from donning a sour expression though.
“You two really should stop rushing about like little girls and start acting your age, you know.”
As one, the two young women turn and glare at the youth in the way that their sex has for centuries at other offensive males. He closes his mouth with an audible snap. They once more turn to each other, and share a secret smile at the shared power of womanhood before taking up their gossip with gusto.
“The newly arrived Unicorn, the one with all the hair and the eyes, and the Dragon and Lion suitors as well – they were all getting ready to compete in some kind of horse race, when HE came down and accepted the challenge as well !”
“Who did Shikki-chan ?
HIM ! You know ! The … WASP.” The phoenix girl can’t help but glance around as she relates this, she would die if she knew anyone heard her talking so about a man.
Kakita Minasu attempts to adopt a scolding expression, but she looses concentration and blushes bright red as she is taken by a sudden realization, “Ohhhh, was the Daidoji with him, the one with all the shoulders and the muscles ??”
“Him ? Oh no, he was with with Imperial Niece.”
“NO ! She chose him already ??”, the Crane girl is crushed, but not entirely surprised. The Yojimbo seems far too perfect to her to not be the obvious choice among those who compete for Otomo Yoroshiku’s hand.
“What ? No, of course not, she hasn’t CHOSEN anyone yet ! The Phoenix was up there too. "
“The Phoenix ?”
“Isawa Takimoto ! Really, Mina-chan, you should pay more attention ! I swear, if you were able to take your eyes of Daidoji-sama for one instant ..”
“I DO pay attention Shikki-chan ! I’m not the only one who forgets Isawa-sama ! I swear he could be standing right next to one and you would never notice. Not like Daidoji Jiro …”
“The were all up there with her, once the fighting started.”
“Fighting ? What fighting ?? Did they DUEL ??” Mirusu cannot believe she would miss a thing like that ! And because of a silly flirtation with Bakkasun of all people ! She can’t imagine how she will live with the regret.
Sensing the conversation rushing past him like a churning river as he stands in the middle, the Doji boy finally sees his chance to gain a surer footing than the fast-eroding sandbank he flounders upon.
“A Duel eh ? Well, I can’t imagine the Shugenja lasting long against the STEEL CRANE !”
His smile turns once more to dust as the two young women favored him once more with their withering scorn.
“That just shows how LITTLE you know ! Isawa-san has brought GREAT honor to our family ! Did you even SEE the competition at the festival ? To have put on so great a showing and at so young and age AND at his first competition ! If not for that dirty little Ronin he had the great generosity to sponsor, he would have MADE it to the closing rounds.”
“Well, there WAS the Crab, he seemed very creative …”
“Ooooh, all of those … Kuni …. give me nightmares !”
“But he’s not like that, really ! He’s always really nice and smiling, not like that other one at all, the one with only one eye. I even got to hear him tell one of his stories – and remember, he was SO BRAVE – letting the Wasp shoot the apples right off of his shoulders !”
“Ooooh, I wish you wouldn’t keep showing off that YOU got to see that when I has stuck practicing my prayers with sensei …. I bet his hair was really shiny that night.”
“The Crab’s ? How could you tell, he always has that hat on ?” The two girls pause briefly at this interruption, consider another sharp look, but abandon the idea as pointless and rather continue as if the boy had not spoken.
“But you said there was a fight, Shikki-chan ! What happened ?!”
The Young Phoenix Shugenja pulls herself up in assumed importance, subconsciously mimicking Kuni Kokuri’s own posture when he spins tales.
WELL, the competition was glorious, the horseman spurring their mounts to breakneck speeds while simultaneously loosing their arrows with stunning accuracy,” her eyes begin to sparkle, " and NONE more elegant in the saddle, nor as effortlessly deadly in his aim than the great Tsuruchi Kyotan … " She trails off a bit and her eyes gain a far-off look.
The look is shattered as Kakita Minasu snaps her fingers loudly and demands, “And THEN ?”
The Phoenix girl attempts to regain her composure, but instead begins to gush in a rapid torrent of words “Oh Mina-chan ! It was HORRIBLE,” she smiles, “BARBARIANS ! GAIJIN ! FILTHYHONORLESSPIGDOGWARRIORS !!”
Doji Bakkasun suddenly becomes alert, “What ? The barbarians are invading ?” His hand drops immediately to his Katana, and he nearly draws it before the Phoenix girl can stop him.
“No NEED,” she interjects triumphantly, “THEY have it all well under control !”
SHIKKI-CHAN, do you mean ALL of them fought, together, as they say they did during the famous ambush ? Did Jiro-sama take command ?”
“I saw it ALL Mina-chan ! First, the heavens shook as the Barbarians appeared out of nowhere, galloping at full speed across the frozen lake, interrupting the glorious competition just as the Magnificently-maned Tsuruchi-sama was about to claim his rightful place as the most proficient Bushi in all of Rokugan. A HAIL of arrows fell around him, but he was miraculously unharmed as he turned to face the foe ! His honorable rival, Moto Tomuri, joined with him as a brother as they wheeled their two horses to face the numberless enemies bearing down on them, certain of a terrible but heroic death in battle. Though Tsuruchi Kyotan’s arrows fell upon them with deadly accuracy, slaying scores of them, it seemed hopeless. But then, just as the horde of unwashed brutes threatened to break upon the handsome Samurai as a Tsunami upon the shores, the heavens cracked open and the very mountains fell among them. Boulders the size of the great houses in Otosan Uchi crushed hundreds of the Gaijin, red blood rising from the carnage as a cloud at the peaks. The great Kuni Kokuri’s wrath was not to be denied as his skin took on the appearance of granite and he grew to the size of three men ! Then the very fires of the nine Hells sprang up amongst the survivors, roasting them in the cleansing flames, sparing none of their vileness to remain. Isawa Takimoto had been replaced by an army of Shugenja, all bearing his grim countenance. Of the few dozens of remaining enemy warriors, only the fiercest and most vile still stood, and they broke upon the Unicorn and Wasp heroes, felling the Unicorn’s noble steed and nearly splitting the towering Wasp with an arrow the size of a Yari ! But still they fought on ! Another unit of expert Gaijin assasins assaulted the very imperial Niece herself, but between her and the horde stood the STEEL CRANE ! Daidoji Jiro shrugged off blows that could shatter lesser men, and beside him stood many of Isawa Takimoto’s legion ! When the battle seemed to turn and the cringing dogs had been bested by the Honor of the Emerald Empire, THEN the Barbarian Sorceror appeared above them, looming among the jet black clouds, seething with the powers of …”
The girl, near shaking with intensity at this point and her rapt audience are suddenly thrown off of their feet by a tremendous thunderclap of sound, followed quickly by a wave of wind that flattens them against the floor.
They look about themselves dazedly as several Scarlet Armored Shiba rush by with a Lion Bushi at their head. another group of the Phoenix Warriors rushes down a nearby hallway, appearing briefly at the intersection as they rush through with a Dragon Bushi in their midst, his two blades flashing. The three young samurai struggle to their feet, the girls for once grateful of the Young Doji’s assistance. He starts to follow the Shiba, wanting to give aid, but the girls clutch his kimono sleeves, unwilling to let their protector leave.
As they make their way quickly away from the chaos the castle, they completely miss the significance of the figure that opens and shuts the shoji screen ahead of them, leaving a small, blood red handprint on the clean white paper …

Comments

Best… adventure… log… EVER! Seriously, I loved the whole thing. Well done Bo, well done indeed!

 

You just like the idea of a barely-legal aged groupy who loves your DREAMY HAIR !!!

Thanks though ;)

 

That part was sweet of course! But I really did like the whole thing. I loved hearing the perspective of all our characters from the standpoint of groupies lol.

Ecce bowolf

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