A Tale of Two Strongholds

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A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 1:51 am

I cry out in utter rage as I feel someone else steeping in here with myself. "Spirit! You all lie!" I flail harder determined to cut the girl in half with one swipe; it would be so easy.

The door slide and clacks open to reveal an empty dark room. Little wooden lanterns turn on to reveal another set of sliding doors. This one, is almost the same as the last one though it has minute differences. Before she can even step into the room, the next set clacks open and more lanterns light themselves. This second room skews though and forces itself forward to take the place of the room before it. This continues on and on, faster and faster until the the opening and closing of door becomes one in the same. The once still painting becomes alive with movement as the blossoms bloom and sway in an ethereal breeze. The bird from before about the branch before landing on it once more.

A low groan deep groan of wood echoes through the hallway and the rooms stop moving forward. By now the blossoms have died off and the picture appears to be in the throws of winter.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:24 pm

Slipping to a knee, dizzy with the sensation of movement without movement, Lily growls under her breath. The touch of the polished wood floor adds a sense of security in the moving environment, and despite an urge to close her eyes against the march of rooms, she forces them open, up to the last wall. Rising unsteadily to her feet, she touches the final panel, the cold startling her as the image seems almost real beneath her touch.

Shaking off the unsteady emotions she feels, Lily takes a moment to explore the room, examining the lamps, boards and scant decoration.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:38 pm

Slowly at first, snow begin to creep through the edges of the door's panels. From the opposite side, snow lands on the rice paper image and melts. As the paper absorbs the snow it begins to making the painting run down itself.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:00 pm

The sound of dripping water draws Lily's attention back to the painting, and she steps back a moment in shock at the sight of the once bleak but beautiful door now ruined, the ink flowing if rivulets to its base and the water stains showing like tears on the rice paper. Approaching with caution, she draws the door aside in a quick movement, stepping out of the way as the wind cast a probing tendril of snow and ice across the smoothed floors and walls, causing the lamps the gutter and fall dark, one by one.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:12 pm

The other side of this door held an expanse that seemed as though it were real. Snow moved with the wind about a temple up ahead. For now at least, it appeared to be uninhabited. However, there was a faint trail of smoke billowing from the adjoining building's chimney.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Shivering as the snow brushes her bare skin, Lily crosses her arms and looks out on the piled snow; groaning inwardly, she steps out into the falling snow, the ice crystals already on the ground feeling as needles running her uncovered feet through. Taking a deep breath, she dashes across the empty space, looking back only upon reaching the portico of the temple. Her foot prints had begun to already fill with snow, only the dimmest of blue-grey against the white showing her path through the hip-high drifts. The dark shadow of the door she came through, without frame or structure, flashes a moment with the light of gas fixtures before the door slides shut and disappears in swirl of snow.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:08 pm

The temple's own door rattle against the wind as the snow continues to slowly fall. now that she has reached the temple, the wind slowly dies down to a point where the snow is only softly falling. Whispers of voices echo through on the air now that the wind has finally calmed down.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 5:45 pm

Shivering against the cold, she pulls at the door, ignoring the pain as tiny sliver come off in her hand and the numbing effects of the snow on her feet, now bleeding from a number of small, icy cuts. The door gives way grudgingly, the ice relinquishing its hold on the wood as she pulls with all the strength she can muster. An inch, a foot... and she slides through a gap just large enough for herself into the darkened interior of the temple, the smells of old incense and perfumes heavy and cloying on the air. Gasping at the reprieve from wind and snow, she pushes the door closed behind her and collapses against the wall, listening in the dark to the low sound of the wind as it slips over the drifting snow, tiny voices mingled with the mournfully muted sound of chimes.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:02 pm

The room she's in seems to groan as it seems to adjust to the new occupant. A bronze statue of a woman wearing a draping kimono and six arms stands before her. Each hand is in a different position or holding an object. A shuffling outside the room brings to light another doorway as a person walks by the inner hallway with a lantern. "Are you sure the monks said today is the most auspicious day? I find myself worrying that this is not a good day. I don't want my whole line ruined because of one head monk terrified of Tokugawa." It was a man's voice; gruff with hesitation.

As they walked by the room it illuminated the offerings that had been made to the statue. One of which was a clean white kimono.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:36 pm

Lily listens, forcing her teeth to stop chattering as she watches the lamp continue down the corridor with the voices. Standing, her feet numb, she stumbles to the alter and fumbles the kimono, pulling the folds out of the soft, white robe while looking about her, half expecting a boogie to jump from a dark corner. Pulling the garment shut and bobbing a haste curtsy to the statue, Lily limps to the door and looks down the hall after the voices.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 6:47 pm

The two continue to take their discussion down the hall and towards another room. Although they are not that far from Lily, their voices are muddled and garbled as though they are too far to make sense. There's a rushed pitter-patter of little feet and a little girl slides to a squeak beside Lily. She couldn't be more than two years old and was done up like a doll in a pure white kimono; hair up in two little buns.

Their voices return to normal. "I mean think what it could mean if the man is wrong. The whole Kunishi line is at stake here." The other man sighs and shakes his head. "These are trying times. The world is changing and we are all falling to the wayside in the name of a progress we do not need." The older man nodded and turned as though looking at Lily and sighed. "Kiou... Come here... Did you escape your mother again?" A sad smile crosses his lips as he makes his way back towards Lily and Kiou.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:12 pm

Lily steps aside, watching the old memory unfold, smiling down at the child. Wrapping her arms around herself she watches and waits.

'A memory?' she scowls, contemplating the portent. 'so near the surface?'
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 7:39 pm

Kiou beamed at the old man and ran to him with her arms spread wide. The moment they hugged they exploded from the memory like sumi-e ink in water. The whole memory sped up like a whirlwind. Ghosts of the memory moved up and down the hallway and rooms shifted from place to place. Hours passed in moments before coming to a halt and returning to normal speed.

Behind her, what had once been a quiet, dark, room with a statue filled with lights of candles and chantings of monks. The head monks held the procession; carrying his voice above all the others. Kiou stood before her watching the monks and appearing to watch Lily. Her brow furrowed and there was a glimmer of understanding.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 8:50 pm

The swirl of color eases, as for the second time, the disorienting effects of memory cause Lily to put a hand to her head and lean against a wall, only to have it stop in a moment, the young girl standing before her, eyes fixed somehow both on and threw her. Swallowing and stepping aside, Lily moves herself to see what Kiou would be watching, standing next to the child as the events of her life unfold in memory.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:17 pm

The monks chanted loudly before the both of them. Their voices resonating through the building. A group of armored men appear briefly in the hallway but their form are fuzzy and fluid as they go into the room behind them. "It's time sir. I will be your second." There's a pause as a man responds. "Very well."

Kiou slowly begins to turn and look at Lily seemingly about to ask who she is but a woman's voice echoes through the halls suddenly. "Kiou!? Kiou, now is not the time for games!" The sound of the woman's voice makes her jump lightly and look around for a place to hide. Turning around, she throw open the sliding door to reveal a man on his knees.

Around the man are the armored people Lily had just seen. The man's kimono is draped open so that his stomach is exposed and the tip of a blade he is holding is pressed against it. Kiou smiles instantly at the sight of the man. "Found you!" Her young voice echoes awkwardly through the tense situation and she takes a step towards the man in the middle.

Setting his jaw, he plunges the blade deep into himself and draws it across his belly. Before a word can be spoken, the man to his left beheads the kneeling man. Blood splatters across Kiou's body diagonally as red begins to stain the mats below the corpse.

Confused and startled, Kiou begins to cry loudly and the woman, whose voice was heard before, appears suddenly and picks her up. Assessing the situation she looks away sadly and carts off the crying child. Even though she has left the room, another Kiou remains standing in the room with her little fist balled up at her sides; fighting tears.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:27 pm

Lily steps back and turns to follow the mother and child. Conflicting, terrifying emotions, a demon, blood red and grotesque, lays a huge, clawed paw on the little girl that remained behind. Shivering at the image, she turn and pursues the other pair as quickly as she can.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:44 pm

Kiou's sobs from her mother's shoulder echoed through the wooden hallways of the temple as she was carried away. Her mother's swift but restrained steps took her down a myriad of winding hallways. Eventually she came to a sliding door with bamboo and cranes painted on it. The moment they crossed through, they poofed like ink once more.

Where they had gone looked like a house in the middle of spring. Cherry trees were blossoming everywhere and sunlight warmed the grasses and flowers that lined the well trodden path that led to the house.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:54 pm

Arriving at the door, Lily glances behind her a moment, then tentatively steps over the threshold, into the deep grasses of the field. Closing the door behind her, she makes a twisting motion, as one might turn a key in a lock, before turning to look once more at the house among the trees. The bright light forces her to squint at its unaccustomed intensity, and she draw the kimono closer about herself, as if to protect herself from the openness of the surroundings, before picking her way to the path, enjoying the feel of the flowers as they brush her bare feet.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 9:59 pm

On her way to the path, she just about tripped over a girl about fourteen years of age. She looked at Lily as she lay there and smiled. "What are you doing here?" The warm sun above seemed to make her smile that much brighter.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:07 pm

"I've lost my way," Lily smiles back. She looks around her, "The beauty and the road swept me away, and somehow, I seem to have come here." She pulls at her kimono again, watching the girl closely, gauging her response.
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:11 pm

"Lost?" She sat sat up with a smile. "Do you live in the village nearby? I feel like I've met you before."

A woman's voice calls out softly to them from the house. "Kiou, time for lunch. Come inside."
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:14 pm

"And you," Lily looks to the house. "I should be on my way though; your mother calls."
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:16 pm

Kiou stands quickly. "No, please. If you're lost then you should come in and have lunch with us. At least let us give you some proper clothes."
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Djehuty on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:22 pm

"I would," Lily again pulls at the robe, a worry etching her brow. Fighting, she smooths it. "You don't know who I might be, but you are inviting me in... The master of the house wouldn't agree to that, would he?"
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Re: A Tale of Two Strongholds

Post  Kamurei on Thu Jan 19, 2012 10:29 pm

Kiou smiles and chuckles as she reaches for the woman. "Come on. Grandfather says it is our duty to care for others as we wish for them to care for us. Come, my mother makes the best grilled fish." Tugging on Lily's hand lightly, she begins to lead her back up towards the house.
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