Author’s Note: I wrote this chapter using Sims 3 for visuals because my Sims 2 game is currently having some technical difficulties.
The day thus far had been relatively quiet. Baito and Kin had spoken to Zen and Iashi early that morning about Sesiago. Baito in truth was hoping that Iashi would be able to convince him that this was the best course of action for the Kari. Though he had little hope that such a thing would go over so well with the middle-aged Kari man.
Baito sighed deeply. “You’re worried about my father?” Kin voiced as he stood at the side of Baito.
“Amongst other things.” Baito responded. “I have a bad feeling that this day is not going to go how I wish it and that your father is going to be right in the center of it all.”
Kin brushed his hand through his hair. It had gotten considerably longer since the last time he saw his father. Tationy had told him just after their escape from the Saitama attack that she thought his father would be proud of him. He wished he could believe it, but the truth was, he was certain that his father would not have a single kind word to say.
Baito must have gauged what Kin was thinking because he quickly spoke, “You stand as my shield now Kin. Out of all of the candidates amongst the Kari, you were the most deserving. Iashi did well training you while you were in his care and you are an honorable young man that has stood as a pillar of strength for your sisters. If your father is not proud of you, Iashi and I certainly are. You have grown into a fine young man. Not to mention if you get any taller, you are going to put me at a severe disadvantage.”
Kin did not smile, but he knew that last part was a joke about how tall he had gotten in such a short time. He was now fourteen years old and stood as the shield for the new Elder of the Kari a position he would remain in until the day of his death. He would not fall in love, marry, know the joys of children. His attention must never waver and always be on the task at hand, protecting the Elder of the Kari.
The two quickly grew quiet as footsteps approaching them halted their conversation. They were not surprised to see Sesiago up bright and early. He stopped suddenly crossing his arms as he looked over the two of them. “I take it you have spoken with Iashi, this morning.” Baito voiced.
“I have, though I am still surprised to find that you have been made Elder.” Sesiago responded, though did not even give a passing look at his son at this point.
“If you have something to say about it, do so now because after this day if the conversation is brought up I will be forced to have you disciplined.”
“Is your new hair part of this ridiculous contract and ‘new direction’ of the Kari? Have you forgotten the ways of our people?”
Baito ignored everything except the last question. “I have not forgotten, they simply no longer work.”
“Because you say so?” Sesiago questioned.
“Bickering and different visions of what it meant to be Kari divided our clan centuries ago. Now we stand together, two factions of the same clan destroyed by our own foolishness. We thought that we Kari could remain hidden away from society and not get involved in political squabbles unless we decided to, but the truth of the matter was no matter the way things were planned to go we were going to be dragged into war because we have something far more valuable than most clans, we have Kazuma.”
“Kazuma is valuable and now that Terra has returned, it makes our clan more susceptible to invasions by other clans.” Kin responded.
Sesiago frowned, “I do not need a wet pup, talking to me about the travesties that might befall us because of the return of Tearra.”
“This wet pup, stands as my shield, Sesiago. He may be your son, but show him the respect that a shield deserves.”
“You Maiba sure do stick together.”
Kin frowned as Baito spoke, “Throwing insults regarding the Maiba is easy, but someone with Shima blood has no place to speak.” Baito’s words only made Sesiago frown more, “If your intent is to exchange petty words, then this conversation is over. I have more important things to do. However, I feel it necessary to mention that you of all people should not speak so casually about the ways of the Kari, considering you are currently living in carnal sin with Tationy and have been for months now. Your choices are to fall in line Sesiago and move forward with the Kari or become a relic of the old ways. I imagine, your decision is already made, but I feel it necessary to speak these words to you so you understand your place in this clan if you choose to not move forward.”
As they walked away Baito sighed again. Kin smiled briefly as he brushed his hair from his face speaking softly, “I imagine that went as you expected it to?”
Baito briefly chuckled under his breath, “Yes.”
“What do you think he has decided?”
“I imagine that Sesiago is going to remain comfortable in his old ways. Unable to let go of the past and forever forced to be smothered by it. You were probably hoping for a different answer, yes?”
“A little.” Kin responded, “He is still my father and…”
“I understand. A Kari is taught from the time they are small that the clan is important. Losing Sesiago’s leadership will be a massive blow to our clan, but we cannot force him to walk a path that he is not ready to walk. I wish I knew more about him sometimes. I wish I understood the depths of his devotion to the old ways, but I was just a baby learning to walk when he was a young man amongst the Kari. By the time I grew into a man that would encounter him, he was already the man he is today. I was told by Elder Erobus, that Sesiago was once hot-headed and willful. Knowing what I know about him, I cannot picture it no matter how hard I try.” Baito sighed noticeably, “Let us not speak of this any further, we have things we must attend to and it is best for neither of us to be dwelling on your father any more than we need too.”
“Of course, Elder Baito.”
Sesiago had found Tationy sitting where he left her that morning. He frowned, the Shima always overdid everything and the residences they were allowing the Kari to stay in were too much for the simple ways of the Kari. He watched her a moment as she fidgeted with her clothing. “You should get used to wearing that attire.” He told her as he stepped into the room.
“Why?” She asked, “I have seen many of the women of the Kari wearing less traditional clothing.”
“They have forsaken the old ways, we will not do the same.” He voiced as he took a seat across from her.
She sighed and he watched as she adjusted the way she sat. She was much too casual. He still had difficulty reading her. Even though there were times he thought that he understood her the truth of the matter was far more conflicting for him. He hated knowing that he did not know what made her tick. “I take it that you exchanged words with someone.” She voiced.
Her words broke his thoughts and he sharply glared at her. “Why would you think that?”
“You’re tense. Well more tense then you usually are.”
Her words made him frown even more. “If you must know I exchanged words with Elder Baito.”
“Baito is the Elder now?” She questioned and he simply gave a nod of his head. “Never would have pictured it.” She added.
He had to agree, he felt that the Kari had truly lost their way if they were allowing low-life Maiba to lead the clan. He glared at her when he realized she was laughing softly. “What is so funny?”
“I am not surprised that you exchanged words, though I must admit I expected it to be with Zen.” The look he gave her told her that he was unhappy with her ‘childish’ amusement. “Come now, do not give me that look.” She teased him, “You said last night you and Zen exchanged words, it would not be that far-off to assume that you might exchange words again.”
He sighed, relaxing his form, “You think you got it all figured out do you?” He questioned.
“Ahh, I imagine I do.” She voiced with a nervous smile, though his relaxed state did not remain as he stood quickly and pulled her from the chair.
“What did you just say?” He questioned as he gripped her wrist tightly his face fueled by anger mere inches from hers.
“I just said I suppose I do. I was joking.” She voiced. She had seen him upset before, but never angry. This was something she had not seen coming.
“That is not what you said.” He voiced, his tone rising. “You said ahh in front of it.”
“Did I?” She questioned, “It has been a while since I have done that. It must be nerves.” She voiced.
“Well I guess so. My mother was Yamada.”
He pulled away from her as she stared at him, his anger not subsiding. “Leave the Kari, I don’t want you here.”
“Sesiago,” Her voice raised, “Did I do something wrong? I am sorry I was only joking.” She responded as he turned his back to her and she had reached out to stop him only to find herself sitting uncomfortably on the floor.
For a moment the real him appeared as he reached his hand out to her, then quickly pulled it back. “Don’t make me repeat myself. I don’t need no worthless Yamada woman.” His voice was cold and harsh.
“Take it back.” She demanded.
He found his resolve as he looked at her sitting on her butt on the floor, staring up at him with a combination of emotions all over her face. It was the first time he could read her well and it happened to be like this. It made his insides hurt as he opened his mouth, “A woman like you is worth less than nothing. If you remain in the Kari, I will have you killed.” He told her and Tationy could hear it in his voice. He was not trying to fool her. He meant every word he spoke as she watched him turn and leave her sitting on the floor.
She managed to barely bring herself to a stand, as she adjusted the folds of her dress by straightening the fabric. She took a deep breath as she took an uneasy step forward. She did her best to hide the emotions that were on her face until she was outside the building. The moment she was free of anyone that might see her she took off in a run down the long winding stairs that led toward the docks. Once inside the makeshift little building, which were used for small rowboats to dock, she collapsed to her bottom. Even though her face was neutral she could feel the tears falling down along her cheeks. “Ahh, a woman should never have that look on her face.” She heard a voice say, and she realized much to late that Iashi was sitting next to her.
“Please go away.” She whispered.
“Ahh, I find myself unable to do that.” He responded, “What happened between you and Sesiago?”
“What makes you think something happened between us?”
Iashi considered her question a moment, “Ahh, he is the only man amongst the Kari I know that can put that sort of look on a woman’s face. Are you going to tell me what happened?”
“He told me to leave.” She voiced.
He contained his surprise at her words and collected himself before speaking. “Ahh, I know he has been a little stressed over things, but I cannot picture him telling you to leave, certainly you misunderstood him. What happened?”
She was certain she did not want to talk about it, especially with Iashi who was possibly Sesiago’s closest friend, but before she could stop herself her mouth opened. “I was just teasing him. Last night he was pretty tense because he exchanged words with Zen, then this morning he had words with Elder Baito. I was not making fun of him, but he blew up at me. I still do not really understand what happened.”
“Ahh, blew up at you over what?”
“We were just talking and I said something and he got angry. Told me to repeat what I said, so I did, but he said that was not what I said. That I had said ahh at the beginning of it. I mean it slips sometimes…”
“Ahh, you’re Yamada?” He asked her.
She frowned as she turned to look at him. “That is what he asked. My mother was born Chilè Yamada. Why is it such a big deal?” She questioned.
Iashi sighed, he understood now what had transpired. “Ahh, your eyes have been deceptive, so no one has realized you were Yamada. Tylo Clan and Yamada Clan are the only two clans with your hair color, it is pretty much the rising sun of Torgahdah. Easily recognizable. The differences between the two clans are minuscule. The Tylo clan can have eyes like yours, though some are not born with the eyes of the Gods so the two clans can be confused with one another. The Yamada are easy to recognize when they speak because of their vernacular. I am curious how is it you have managed to hide it?”
“I was not hiding it,” She said. “My mother had speech classes when she was young and when I was young she put me through them as well. Now and again it comes out when I am nervous, but we were trained not to speak like that.”
“Ahh, so like Hiko you were taught not to use it. Though with Hiko it still crops up in his yes responses.” He voiced then sighed, “There is something about the Yamada that the Kari particularly dislike.”
“What is that?”
“Ahh, it is difficult for them to have children. They can try for decades and never have one. My father when he married my mother, he heard about it from the entire village that she most likely would never give birth. It took them fifteen years before my mother finally became pregnant. It was a difficult pregnancy and there were times when they were certain that I might not be born. It makes me a little happy knowing that the Yamada survived to your time, but I am sorry Tationy, Sesiago is right you cannot stay among the Kari. Sesiago, by telling you to leave has given up his claim on you and once the other Kari discover why, you will not be accepted by any man here. A woman is valuable because she can bring life into this world, the Kari have long believed this and a woman of Yamada blood, there is no guarantee. It is complicated though.”
She wanted to be angry, but what Iashi said actually made sense to her with what she knew of the Kari. “Why is it so complicated?’
Iashi looked to the water for a moment, “Ahh, I imagine he did not tell you, but I suppose someone needs to. Sesiago is Kazuma’s reincarnate.”
“That explains a lot actually. I had wondered what he had been keeping from me. I really did not understand entirely what the Mark of Kazuma meant, but I guess in the end, Sesiago was never mine to begin with. Someday he is going to see Tearra right and the two will live happily ever after in the Heavens?”
“Ahh, he already saw her though and she has not seen him. He most likely figured that even if she did not remember that the two of them could live together as Sesiago and Tationy until they did.” Tationy stared at him in shock as he spoke, “Then he realizes that that dream is false. That the body that Tearra decided to be reincarnated in goes against everything we know of Tearra. She was a loving god, and when she was mortal nothing meant more to her than being a mother, yet she was reincarnated in a Yamada, someone who might never know the joys of children. I imagine that Sesiago’s whole world came tumbling down around him.”
She stood feeling a great amount of guilt, frustration, and anger within her and Iashi followed suit. His head turned and took in her posture, her arms had crossed over her chest as she stared out over the water. It was getting dark, they had been talking for hours and he realized that her cheeks still showed signs of tear stains even though she was no longer crying. “I just accept everything because it is easier. All those times when I got dragged one place or another, I never put up a fight. It was not like they were going to ask me why I was not resisting, but the truth is, it was easier. The Elder of the Kari in Aslann, Tatsuya laughed at me once when I told him the world was conspiring against me. If he was here now I wonder if he would laugh and tell me how silly I am to think that the world truly is conspiring against this time-displaced mortal. I know nothing about being the Prince of Aslann and I know even less about being Tearra. I have said it many times before and no matter how many times I say it, it is as though it is not even heard. I am Tationy and I don’t want to be anyone else. If what you say is true and I am Tearra’s reincarnate, then hear me clearly Iashi, Sesiago can go to hell and if I have anything to do with it, she will never see Kazuma.”
“Ahh, I imagined you would say that.” He wished he had the words to say to her as she turned her back to him and took a step.
She had stopped suddenly, “I thought when he came after me that I had finally gotten the guy. That I was finally going to be happy. Sure Sesiago is cold and distant when people are about, but he is a different man entirely when it is just the two of us. Maybe that explains why sometimes I was comfortable around him and sometimes I was annoyed. Maybe the love of Tearra is what made me fond of him and yet hate him at the same time. Iashi, I know it is not my place to ask you, but do you happen to have any coin on you, Sesiago paid for everything, and I will need to find a place to stay in Shimragata.”
“Ahh, let me escort you. I will help you get settled in.”
“No, I…just can’t look at any of you right now. You understand?” She questioned.
“Ahh,” He said as he pulled out is coin bag and set it on a nearby bench. He moved to walk by her and had to force himself to not look back at her, no matter how much he wanted to. He felt guilty for allowing her to leave. He was angry at Sesiago for doing this to her. There was a part of him though that was angry at himself even more, he supposed it was too late to change things now, the past was the past. Back then when they tested everyone in the village he had purposely failed the second to the last trial and Sesiago was determined to be Kazuma. If he had tried his hardest, he wondered if her life would be different now. He was certain in the end that he would not have been able to beat Sesiago, there was a reason he was given the Mark of Kazuma, but that part of Iashi that was his mother could not help, but to feel responsible for what had transpired.
She hadn’t said anything to Zen, in fact she did not even go back to the place where the Kari were residing in Shimragata. She walked toward the market square, she knew the way having been looking around as they journeyed there after Yayoi had told them where they could find the Kari. She kept her head down and only ventured to look up if she heard footsteps. Her mind and body felt exhausted and she was conflicted on everything that was said by Iashi. She knew Sesiago though, he meant what he said to her and there was simply no way she could remain. Tationy was certain that Zen would have fought for her to remain amongst the Kari, but if Iashi was right her being Yamada would keep the Kari from allowing her to stay. “Tationy.” She heard a voice call out her name and she looked up coming face-to-face with Moromari.
Out of all of the people she could cross paths with, he was the last one she expected. He must have been equally surprised because he stiffened at first when her arms flew around his neck. It took him a moment to recover when he realized she was crying and her arms were tight around him. He sighed inwardly as he brought his hands up, placing them gently on her back as they wrapped tightly around her. Her face was buried and her hot breath tickled along his neck as he found himself closing his eyes and taking the moment in. He was Saitama, moments like these where generally non-existent. Moromari knew better than to ask her what was wrong, he simply waited for her to pull away from him or speak. Neither came right away and he was content in his decision to just hold her, because it seemed to be what she desperately needed at that moment.
When she finally forced herself to pull away from him neither said anything to each other, he simply wrapped her arm around his and walked with her arm and arm through Shimragata. The people still out and about at that hour would assume what they wanted about the situation as he led her to the palace of the Lord of the Shima. She did not dare glance around and people looked to her as they passed by servants bustling through the corridors. He used an old key to unlock a door, opening it, and gesturing for her to enter. “You may stay here.” He told her.
“What makes you think I need a place to stay?” She questioned as she looked around. The room was bare with just a bed, couple of nightstands, and some candles to light the room.
“You told me.” He voiced simply as she turned and eyed him suspiciously then quickly looked away.
She imagined she was unsightly at the moment. Her eyes felt puffy, her hair a mess, her clothing disheveled despite, having done her very best to straighten herself out. “I have money, I can find a place.”
“Lord Shima would rather you stay here.” She did not question it even though she should have. “Until I can inform him of your arrival, you can reside in my quarters. My post is at night, so I will not be here.” He voiced as he turned to leave.
“Please don’t.” She voiced and he turned back to look at her. “I thought I wanted to be alone, but I don’t think I really do. Do you have to go?”
“I do, as a General of the Military of Torgahdah, my responsibility is to protect Shimragata. I will return in the morning.” With those words she watched him walk out of the room.
Moromari had gone back on duty, resuming his post. He had hundreds of men under his command, but most nights he walked the grounds alone. It was not as though he was not capable and even though he held the rank of general, the truth of the matter was he was not really respected amongst his men. He had gotten a battlefield promotion during the war, he was young, not much older than Tationy even though he looked as though he was in his late twenties. War and stress will do that too you and this night his mind was calculating all of the possible odds for what might have transpired to bring Tationy into Shimragata and away from the Kari. He looked up when voices and footsteps broke his thoughts catching site of a familiar face, “Son of Rin.” He voiced and both men had stopped suddenly before Moromari.
Kuro brought his hand up, smirking as he brushed his hair out of his face. “Who wants to know?” He questioned as Moromari stepped into the light and Kuro smirked widened, “Oh the lapdog of the Lord of the Shima.”
No emotional response graced Moromari’s features, “The Lord of the Shima wishes to speak with the Sons of Rin.”
“The negotiations during the war.” He responded.
Hiko looked to Kuro a moment, “I assume he is referring to the negotiations that the Maiba and Zenaku oversaw.”
“He is Hiko.”
“Hiko…” Moromari responded, “Commander Hiko Kari of the Ruthlbahdo?” He questioned, which resulted in a simple nod from Hiko. “There is someone that wishes to see you as well.” He voiced.
Hiko eyed the man suspiciously, but gave a simple nod of his head. “Well I guess we will meet with your Lord.” Kuro responded after noticing Hiko’s response to the man’s words.
Moromari led them both to places they might rest for the evening and get cleaned up. He sent word onto the Lord of the Shima about the arrival of Tationy, Hiko, and Kuro into the inner city of Shimragata. From there a meeting was prepared for early in the morning.
That morning the large group of men gathered, though the Lord of the Shima said nothing at first, simply waited. Eventually Moromari, entered the room and took his spot next to Yayoi. “She will be here in a moment, Lord Shima.” He voiced.
He had come back that morning as he told her he would, with something for her to wear. He had waited patiently for her to dress then led her through the palace belonging to the Lord of the Shima, Seiji. She had stopped just outside the door and Moromari had turned to look at her realizing she needed a moment, so he entered without her and after a moment the door opened and she entered. She knew that others were going to be there, though she did not know whom until she stepped into the room. Her attention was drawn to Oro, who gave her a quick smile. Next to him stood Nao, he still gave her a shiver up her back every time she recalled the dreams she had about what he did to the Prince of Aslann. On the other side of the room, stood Moromari and next to him Yayoi. Seated behind a desk was the Lord of the Shima, Seiji and right in front of the desk stood two men. Both men turned slightly so that they could see who had entered. The one she knew as an Ishi, she thought his name might be Kuro, but she could not honestly remember and the other Hiko.
She did not know if she would ever see him again. She wondered often how she would react if she did and that question was quickly answered as she moved across the floor and slapped him across the face. Her hand pushed into his chest, her finger came up and pointed at him. For a moment her mouth did not open, but when it did everything she felt came out in droves. “Kari men think they can do whatever they want with no regard to the feelings of the woman in their life. They talk all high and mighty about how important a woman is supposed to be and yet they cast her aside so easily as though she is nothing. I have seen a lot in my world. Men who treat women badly comes in an abundance of different styles where I come from, but I have seen nothing like you Kari men. You’re the worst sort. You talk about how important women are, how you value them, but you don’t. Not one of you does. If a woman cannot have children she is worth nothing to the Kari. Well I will say this Hiko Kari, my Yamada blood spits on the Kari and there is no clan more deserving of being destroyed than yours.”
He could not hide the shock on his face. His mind tried to quickly process what had transpired, but the fact that she said she had Yamada blood explained things all too well for him. “Tationy I can explain.” He told her.
“I don’t need or want your explanation. There was one point I would have relished the thought that I might hear from you, why you left the way you did, but I understand it now. You’re Kari and when you look at me, you see nothing, but some woman that reminds you of some dead girl. You should have manned up and told me the truth instead of walking away and leaving me with them. There is nothing you can say at this point that will change anything, make it better, or make me feel like I have not been ripped apart a hundred times over by the people who have promised to protect me. You gave your word, you broke it. That is all I need to know.”
Kuro turned his attention toward Hiko, inwardly frowning. He could see it in his eyes the guilt of having abandoned her. “As interesting as this is, let’s get this meeting going.” Kuro voiced, trying to settle the situation in his own way.
“I agree.” The Lord of the Shima spoke. His eyes drifted to Tationy’s face for a moment, as she turned away and moved over toward the side of the room with Moromari. He could see it, all of that emotion that she had been locking away was flooding out and she did not know how to shut it off. He could only imagine what had transpired amongst the Kari, but talking about it with so many men around he determined was not the best course of action. He was certain she would also not speak with him on it, but had been rather forthcoming previously with Moromari, so he made note to ask Moromari to speak with her. When the situation was finally settled and the room calmed, the Lord of the Shima spoke. “Your kin has asked for asylum, I am hesitant about giving in to such a demand, especially with a clan like your’s Son of Rin. Your clan has served the Emperor of Aslann for a very long time and your loyalty is questionable. We could give you asylum and have you betray our nation, what do you have to say?”
“We Ishi serve the Prince of Aslann, not the Emperor.” He responded. “We did a blood-oath with the Prince and only Tatsuya Tylo commands us.”
“A blood-oath, why would you do such a thing.”
“We were promised her.” He voiced gesturing over his shoulder at Tationy. “The vassal that is Tearra.”
Seiji let his eye’s wander to Tationy, his brow creased. “I want to know what transpired at the negotiations. If I do not like what you have to say, I will have your clan executed. I have men standing by. Are we clear?”
Kuro sighed, “It started long before those negotiations, when the Prince of Aslann was a child of no more than six years of age. The Saitama had already come to see her by that point. Sometime after that the cursed eyes developed and the Prince of Aslann became aware that the reason the Saitama were sent was so that they might obtain Tearra, who they believed would be reincarnated in the body that the Prince of Aslann chose after her death at the hands of her countrymen. Tatsuya could see the plot, as the Dragon Lords hid themselves amongst clans like the Takahashi, Kensuku, and Waichia. The Dragon Lords had sent word out that half-breed Saitamas were going to be put into power and used as scapegoats, it ensured that the Prince of Aslann would react and make deals with these clans in one form or another. She had her guardian Sohma of the Hamara, engage the Takahashi and Kensuku, binding their loyalty so that they might someday stand against the Emperor. She went to speak with the Elder of the Waichia, making certain that he was the only Waichia that would be in her company. It ensured that when she returned that he would do his duty and lie, saying that this girl here is the Prince of Aslann. Every single thing the Prince of Aslann did was to ensure that the Dragon Lords would not be able to obtain Tearra, if and when she returned.”
Moromari, kept himself from looking at Tationy’s face. He could hear her breathing and understood that she had a lot weighing on her, but hoped that she was listening. He spoke up, “What purpose does it serve to keep Tearra from the Dragon Lords?”
Yayoi smirked, “You will not hear me say this often, but Moromari and I have the same question. Tearra must see Kazuma, so that the Gods can rise to the heavens. Without this happening, war will plague these lands.”
“This is true.” Kuro voiced. “As time passes we will see war, like we have never witnessed before, but the greater danger lies with the Dragon Lords. If the Gods rise to the heavens, they will grant the Dragon Lords further power, making them omnipotent. From there, they will systematically destroy anyone who might stand in their way as they claim supreme domain over Torgahdah. Right now, they control much, but Lord Shima still has more power than they do, which has forced them to remain hidden. Once they have the power granted to them by the Gods, they will be able to move against the Lord of the Shima and destroy him.”
Moromari frowned, his calculations told him that this was a hundred percent prediction. “How are you so certain this woman is not the Prince of Aslann?” Moromari questioned.
Nao smirked, it was not often that his expression changed much, but when it did the ‘evil’ that was this man could clearly be seen. “The Prince of Aslann and her guardian the one called Abe, were cornered by my men. It was all well planned in advanced and the Prince and her guardian were taken. With her guardian securely locked up, she met with us Ishi, myself along with Kuro and Mikio. There was also Togore and a Waichia called Maito who a blood-oath was also obtained from. The latter and myself, performed a soul transference technique, forbidden and dangerous for centuries. We placed part of the soul of the Prince of Aslann in the body of a male of the Tylo clan. One with the most potential to develop the cursed eyes, called Agito.”
“Agito.” Seiji voiced up then frowned, “He was a good man trying desperately to make this world a better place. Why would you do this to him?”
“Like I said, his body had the most potential within it and met the requirements of Prince Tatsuya. The technique went well and what remained of the Princes natural body was destroyed by my men as was ordered by our Prince.”
“You’re lying.” Tationy shouted, “What kind of Prince is so callous to have that done to her body?”
“The Prince wanted you to suffer, it was to make certain that your mind would be fractured from the assault to hide the fact that only an essence of the Prince of Aslann remained.”
Tationy frowned as she bowed her head and Moromari once again spoke up, “I know of this technique, but it requires Shima blood.”
“You should chose your next words carefully.” Yayoi voiced.
Kuro sighed as he spoke up, “The Prince of Aslann knew that there was only one way to end the war and obtain what she needed and that was to seduce the Lord of the Shima. What man could resist the Prince of Aslann’s virtues, there are three in this room that could not,” He said then smiled, “You were a means to accomplish her goal, Lord Shima and you gave her that means.”
“So there was a child?”
“There was, the unborn child she called Osa.”
Moromari frowned, “Revenge.”
“Fitting don’t you think?” Kuro questioned.
“The two commanders of the military, Hiko and Oro, did you know about this?” Seiji questioned.
Oro smiled causally, “Well I am Ishi, so I knew much of it. I knew whom Tationy was the moment she came to the Ruthlbahdo and I did as I was instructed. I kept her hidden from the guardians Sohma and Taku who were looking for her, as well as the Dragon Lords.”
Hiko frowned, “I was unaware of any of this until just recently. I feel rather foolish knowing that this stuff was going on in the background and I was blind to it all. I imagine even with all of us in this room and what we knew then and now, there is still much that is hidden. I don’t normally trust the Ishi, but I believe them to be speaking the truth. I believed at first that Tationy was the Prince of Aslann, but as time passed I realized that there was more going on and that she was just a fraction of the woman I knew. I do not understand why Tse did what she did, but I believe that she had good reason to do so.”
“Of course you do because your blinded by love.” Tationy spoke up. “Do none of you see how selfish the Prince is? Look what she did to me? I am trapped in this world, being tossed around from person to person, manipulated and used, and not one person in here as ever spoke the truth to me. Secrets, that is all this world has. Why would you follow someone like that? Why would you follow someone so willing to use you and manipulate you?” She questioned, “Is Tearra really worth it to all of you?”
Kuro turned his attention toward the girl, looking her over for a moment, “Who would you have us follow?”
“Someone that treats you with respect. Someone that you respect. Not one of you respect the Prince, yet you follow so blindly. Don’t be foolish and keep following someone that will easily sacrifice you to make sure that what the Prince wants to happen does.”
“You think you are so benevolent?” Kuro questioned.
“I am not perfect,” she said. “I make mistakes because I am human, but I would never hurt anyone on purpose, not without a really good reason and even then I would not cower behind the body of an innocent. The Prince of Aslann should be in this body right now, suffering and being used. No though the Prince of Aslann took the cowards way out and jumped into the first body with the right amount of potential. It sounds to me that Tse is just as bad as the Dragon Lords.”
A brief smile passed over the lips of Seiji as he sat listening to Tationy and Kuro going back and forth. He was silent through the majority of the discussion and eventually Kuro went into detail from the beginning of what he all knew, and the other Ishi also gave what they knew. It painted a picture, one that he was not particularly fond of seeing. As everyone waited for him to speak, he quietly contemplated his decision. What was clear was the Prince of Aslann was potentially alive and in the hands of the Dragon Lords. That the Prince was currently in the body of Agito Tylo and that the Dragon Lords were housed in the bodies of Gurien Takahashi, Oji Waichia, and Toshiko Kensuku.
If what they said was true, it was not war from beyond the water that they had to worry about, it was the ones started from within. Tationy was Tearra and not the Prince of Aslann, yet at the same time, she had within her a small part of the Prince of Aslann and his unborn child Osa, which made her the future ruling body of Shimragata and potentially even Torgahdah. He went over every little bit of information, forcing them to stand quietly and wait. “I have made my decision.” He finally spoke, “The Prince of Aslann, Tatsuya Tylo currently housed in the body of Agito Tylo has committed heinous acts against the Nation of Aslann and its people, against the Shima, and against several innocence including, but not limited to, Tationy Tylo and Agito Tylo. For this reason, the Prince of Aslann will be stripped of his title, and pursued. Once captured, he will spend the remainder of his life locked away where he can do no harm.”
Kuro had moved forward in protest, but was stopped by Hiko. “Certainly you can show leniency.” Hiko voiced.
“This is leniency. If I had my way, he would be put to death.” He paused a moment, “Shimragata will continue to give sanctuary to the clans and people of Aslann that request it.” He looked to the Ishi known as Kuro, “Who speaks for your clan Kuro of the Ishi.”
“If Jin is not available, then Nao speaks for the clan. If Jin is dead, then Mikio does. If Mikio is not available, I do.”
“Well as long as we do not know what has become of Jin of the Ishi, Adviser to the Emperor of Aslann, we will move forward on the assumption that he is still alive. Nao of the Ishi, you have a blood-oath with Tatsuya Tylo, formerly the Prince of Aslann, if you wish for asylum for your clan, you must break that vow and bind your clan to the future ruling body of Shimragata.”
“If we refuse?” Nao questioned.
“Execution.” Seiji responded simply.
“The future ruling body, who might that be?” Oro asked.
Seiji looked toward Tationy, “I am sorry that I was so foolish and could not protect you, Osa.” He said, “I know that you carry a heavy burden Tationy of the Tylo. You came to this world because of lies and deceit. You are right, not a single person has been honest with you, we have all kept secrets. The burden you carry is the fact that you are not just one person, you are four. I found it interesting when you were here, how your personality was ever changing. There were moments when you seemed young, younger than you are now, then moments I am sure that these men can attest to that they were certain that you were the Prince of Aslann. I imagine that is why I annoy you so much, seeing the Prince of Aslann, used me as a means to accomplish a goal, then you are Tearra, the beautiful Goddess, who ran across a battlefield to save the Kari children from harm because you could not stand by and see an innocent victimized. Lastly, you are Tationy an insecure girl who bottles up her emotions and does as she is told to, without question because of your intense need to be accepted and perfect.”
“You are four people. One of them is Osa, my child which means I cannot allow you to leave Shimragata. You are the future of my clan and will lead the people of Shimragata after I am long gone. You will be trained and prepared for this position. However, I cannot forget that you are also Tearra and the Prince of Aslann. Even though what remains of the Prince within you is small, it is still reasonable to think that you might someday recall more of the memories of the Prince. It is also reasonable to believe that if your memory through the ages returns you might well know more about what is going on and the guardians of the Prince. Having control over the guardians is important because they can denounce you as the prince. They are the only ones with the power to say that you are not the Prince of Aslann, so we will ensure that the guardians are brought before you, and it will be up to you to solidify their loyalty. When and if war comes upon us, it will be the Prince of Aslann who has to rise up and make sure that the clans of Aslann pledge their loyalty to the Shima to fight against any who might oppose them. This is why the loyalty of the Ishi is so important.” He voiced as he looked to each of them. “I cannot overlook what Tatsuya Tylo has done. However I can ensure that his plan is accomplished on my terms. The Dragon Lords will not rise to power and control these lands and everybody standing here is needed to ensure that will not happen. I cannot promise you Tearra. She is housed in an individual, who has rights, but I can allow the Ishi to remain close to her until such time as Tationy decides that it is time for Tearra to be resurrected.”
“Forcing her to do something she is not ready to do, will accomplish nothing, accept the rise of the Dragon Lords to power.” He voiced and then paused. “Hiko of the Kari, you served the Emperor of Aslann as the Commander of his military along with Oro of the Ishi. I cannot offer either of you positions so high, but a soldier is always a soldier. You will have to pledge your loyalty to a new lord, if you are found betraying that loyalty you will be put to death, but the Military will need help in preparing for anything the Dragon Lords have planned. Consider it, I ask none of you to rush into a decision, but I will need your answers by the end of the day.”
“We accept.” Nao voiced and Kuro turned quickly. Before he could ask Nao what he was thinking, Nao spoke, “Tatsuya mentioned that this might happen and informed me out of the millions of possible outcomes, if this one in particular was to happen, we were to accept. It was not his wish to see the Ishi sacrificed and understood that only we Ishi are equipped to truly protect Tearra. Kuro, he also had words for you.” Nao voiced, “Never say no to the Prince of Aslann, support her, and stand at her side as the voice of reason to her young untrained mind. Prepare her for what is to come and never be easy on her. Turn her into a snake capable of making uncomfortable decisions, for she has not the ability to stand on her own. Her weakness lies within the fact that she is so accepting and never ask questions. She is too trusting and her mind confused. Only you can help her unlock her eyes so that she might see the truth. If you do not do this, then you might as well allow yourself to be executed.”
“Are you sure you do not wish to consider your decision?” Seiji questioned.
“No.” Kuro voiced.
“The words of Tatsuya have such a hold on you Ishi?” Yayoi asked.
“I wondered why it was if Prince Tatsuya knew that he would be taken, why he did not run. His message to Nao tells me why. If he had not been taken, I would not have had any reason to come here. Nao and Oro would most likely have been executed because neither of the Sons of Rin would have arrived to this point in time. He knew that I would go after him and that Hiko would join me. He sacrificed himself to the Dragon Lords to ensure that we arrived here. It is hardly a hold over me, it is admiration,” He said simply.
Hiko made note to speak with Kuro when they had a chance, but he responded quickly to the words of Seiji. “You are right, a soldier is always a soldier. Perhaps it is the old soldier in me that is unable to refuse a chance to fight, either way I cannot tell you no.” Hiko voiced, “I accept your terms.”
Seiji’s eyes fell upon Tationy. All attention was quickly on her and like the moment that Atsuki had asked them to introduce themselves ages ago she was lost in thought. She realized much to late that everyone was staring at her and she blushed. “Is this how it is, I am just suppose to go along with this?” She questioned. “Things are no different, a bunch of men standing around in a room talking about me as though I am not even here, making decisions without even asking me, at least you talked to me directly once.” She voiced staring at Seiji of the Shima.
“Quit being a child.” Kuro voiced.
“Make me.” She responded and he turned his attention completely on her.
“If you insist.” He voiced taking a step toward her, but Moromari stood in between the two, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword.
“Who does this Saitama serve you or the Lord of the Shima?” Kuro questioned.
“I do not know you would have to ask him.”
“I am asking you.” Kuro voiced.
“He serves who he wishes to, he is a free man. I have no more power over him then I do you.”
“Somehow I have difficulty believing that.” Kuro voiced as he took a step back and Moromari returned to his position, removing his hand from his swords hilt.
“Kuro is more than capable of assisting her in unlocking her eyes and training her with a weapon. Her cultural, political, and military training is better suited for someone that comes from both Shimragata and Aslann. Someone who has lived in both places and has moved freely in both. It will allow her to better understand the clans involved, the people, the political struggles.” Nao voiced.
“I agree.” Yayoi added. “There is one who can educate her more thoroughly than any of us here.”
Seiji nodded his head, “Have him summoned here.” Yayoi bowed his head and quickly departed the room. “Moromari, take Hiko Kari and Oro Ishi with you. I want you to personally instruct them on the military and assign them to a post.”
“Understood.” He voiced as the three men quickly departed leaving Tationy alone with Nao, Kuro, and Seiji.
“I will make preparations for where you can do the blood-oath ritual.” He voiced to Nao. “Any of your clan that comes here must go through the blood-binding ritual before being allowed to remain in Shimragata. “I also am aware of your reputation as a torturer, would you mind if I call upon your services?”
“Not at all, Lord Shima,” Nao said.
“Then I will make the arrangements and have someone send for you.” He added as he watched Nao leave. “Kuro, I will also make preparations for a place where you might train Tationy. If there is anything you need, you need only ask,” Seiji said and Kuro gave a simple bow of his head as he to departed leaving the Lord of the Shima alone with Tationy.
Seiji had asked Tationy to walk with him and she did so, silently until they came to a stop near a balcony that overlooked the room they had been just meeting in. “Is there anything you wish to say?”
“Lots of things.” She responded.
He could hear it in her voice. “You can talk to me, I will listen.”
“I am not interested in talking to you about my issues.”
Seiji sighed, “You must think I am a cruel and heartless man. When Moromari and I discussed what might have transpired to bring you here, we truly never even imagined the lengths the Prince of Aslann would go to. Everything we came up with was speculation without confirmation until today.”
“Do you truly believe you can trust the Ishi?’
“No, which is why I wish for them to be bound to you. They are currently blood-bound to the Prince of Aslann. There is a part of you that still contains within you the essence of the Prince, which means they cannot currently harm you, if that is their wish. By having them do a blood-oath directly with you it ensures that they will be unable to attack you and will be more likely to carry out your wishes.”
“How easy is it to break a blood-oath?”
“There are only two ways, death and an old ritual.”
“The Ishi seem to have a lot of old rituals.”
“While the majority of Ishi are not chalta’s, many of them have developed chalta-like skills. It is said that Rin had powers far beyond the norm of mortals and they were comparable to the chaltas.”
“Do you think Kuro can teach me to use these eyes?”
“I do not know. He and his brother are old, born during the time when the Gods had first become mortals. I imagine if any two people walking this world understood the power of the cursed eyes of the Tylo, it would be them. Is it going to be an issue, the two of you together?”
“Probably.” She responded.
He chuckled under his breath before growing serious again, “Is there anyone I should contact to let them know where you are?”
She thought about it for a moment, “I would like Zen to know I am alright, he will tell those that need to know.”
“Do you….you and that Kari…”
“It’s over. He decided having children was more important than loving me.”
“I am sorry. Not all men are like the Kari, not all Kari are like him.” He added.
“How would you know?”
“He’s my brother.”
She turned quickly and faced him. “I don’t understand.”
“My mother before she was picked to marry the Lord of the Shima, fell in love with a Kari man named Katsu. He was picked to assassinate my grandfather, who was then ruler of Shimragata. He fulfilled his duty, but not before he bedded my mother. When she found out she was pregnant, she traveled away from Shimragata so that no one might know. Having a child out of wedlock was taboo, is taboo, but her greatest sin was allowing a Kari to have her. After the child was born, she had him carried by a Saitama named Ainar, who delivered him in secret to the young elder of the Kari, Erobus. Ainar informed him that the child was the son of Katsu and that his name was Sesiago. Sesiago is a Shima word, meaning river. She never saw him again. Nearly ten years later she gave birth to me, and on her deathbed she told me her story and the story of Sesiago.”
“Does he know?”
“I am sure he is aware that we are kin, but he is Kari. To acknowledged that bond, means he has to acknowledge being Shima.”
“Doesn’t that make him the rightful ruler of Shimragata?”
“It does. Tell me do you think he would accept his role as Lord of the Shima?”
She shook her head, “No you are right. He only sees himself as Kari. Not just Kari, but unrelenting in the old ways Kari.” He seen it, for a moment her eyes watered and she took several breaths in to get control of herself. “I am sorry, I am feeling all of these things right now and I am having a hard time processing it all.”
Seiji was grateful she was talking to him, even if it was just a little. “You have spent far to long not reacting to the things going on around you. It was bound to happen. No one person can lock everything away forever.”
“I know, I just don’t like this side of me.” She voiced.
“It is good that this is happening. It allows you to come to grips with being four people and learn to accept who you are as a whole instead of fighting it.”
“Maybe I do not want to accept it.” She voiced.
He sighed a far-off look gracing his eyes, “It concerns me that you think you can go without accepting it. I know that you just want to be Tationy. We all know it, but you are not now, nor ever will be, just her. There will be times when you will not understand why you reacted a certain why. It will seem outside of your personality to you, but it is you. It just depends on who is in charge at any giving point.”
“You make it seem like I have some sort of multiply-personalities.”
“That is one way to put it.” He voiced taking the term for what it was, not for any medical definition discovered thousands of years later. “Things will get better Tationy. With time you will have a clear image of whom you are and be able to command an entire nation.”
“Does not matter if I do not want any of that, does it?” She questioned as his hand reached out and brushed a strand of hair to the side.
“I am sorry, this is one thing I cannot let slide. Even though, it has been thousands of years since you were the woman being killed, you still carry within you Shima blood. Your birthright, is all of Shimragata. Though to you it must seem silly. The Shima probably no longer exist in your time, but here and now, it is still important and knowing that…”
“I get it, your dieing.” She voiced.
He choked as he stared at her. Seiji had opened his mouth to lie to her and tell her that, that was not the case, but instead a defeated smile passed over his lips. “I thought I was covering it pretty well. How did you know?”
“Your fingers.” She voiced. “They look like my grandfathers, just before he was diagnosed with tuberculous.”
“Is that what it is called in your time?”
“You should be limiting your contact with people, it is transmittable to others. It might take them weeks to show signs, but it has over a fifty percent mortality rate in my time, I can only imagine what it is like in this world.”
“You sound like Moromari,” He said with a smile.
“When my grandfather became sick, I learned everything I could about it. I never imagined I would see someone die from it again.”
“Don’t put me in a grave just yet. There is a lot of life left in me.”
“I will do it.” She voiced, “Don’t expect miracles though.”
He knew she was referring to taking her spot amongst the Shima. “Thank you.” He managed to whisper.
She only responded with a simple nod of her head.
To Be Continued