Aslann, October 1, 1920
It was a glorious time to be alive; Aslann was changing socially and politically, but for the Kari clan the drastic transformation was forcing a debate about whether or not modernization would taint their traditional values.
At the forefront, Eishun Kari stood as a pillar of strength for the reform of his people and his nation. He believed that without change the clan would succumb to time and cease to exist; progression was needed and necessary.
The traditionalist of the Kari saw Eishun as a nationalist. A reformer, preparing and welcoming a future without the foundations of value and tradition laid forth by the god Kazuma himself. They didn’t see his thinking as progressive only disruptive. Debauchery and chaos brought forth by forward thinking was not needed or wanted.
With so much unrest, Eishun had very little time to himself. Unlike many of his kin, he had yet to settle down with the right woman or have children. There was, however, someone special in his life. They had met one sunny spring day while he was visiting Mount Celiabai.
Most of the time his mind was clouded with thoughts of bringing the Kari into the future along with the rest of the nation, but there were reprieves now and again when her lovely eyes would invade his thoughts rather violently. He had never known a woman like her before; born of the Shima and the Ishi she had the bluest eyes he had ever seen, but there was no hiding the fact that she was of the snake clan even though she did not have their rather telling silvery hair.
Eishun had braved asking one time why it was her hair was not typical of the Ishi. She lightly teased that a lady must keep a little mystery about her. As curious as he was, Eishun agreed and never broached the topic again.
That lovely autumn day, there was a whimsical air about him. He was excited to see her. It felt like years of distance between them, but his endeavors and her clan were hardly the least of their obstacles. The woman he had fallen in love with, had a son and a child on the way. Still, he wanted to marry her someday when his blood and the nation could accept an Ishi and Kari union.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw her walking the path toward him, though that feeling only lasted a mere moment as his eyes settled upon the boy at her side. Eishun, knew him by name alone. He was Togore, her six year old son.
The child carried himself as a man would; exuding confidence, dignity, and pride. As much as he wanted to keep his eyes fixed upon the woman he loved, it was difficult to pull his gaze away from Togore who clearly thought himself the man of the house. Eishun could respect that.
As they gradually moved toward him, there were several things he quickly observed. The first and most important was that Togore was almost as tall as his mother at nearly six feet tall.
His pants were far too short. Rising just above his ankles which suggested to Eishun that the Ishi child most likely grew a few inches since the last time his mother purchased him clothing. With hard features to go along with his height, the Kari man was certain that Togore would become rather intimidating as he got older.
When they finally came to a sudden stop before Eishun, they both fixed their gaze upon him. The Ishi eyes could be cold and calculating; his kin many times warned of the dangers of bedding a snake. Of course they were speaking figuratively, but there were admittedly some days that Eishun thought he might be looking upon the most dangerous creatures in the universe.
Perhaps he was the only man in Aslann that had a healthy respect for the snakes of the Ishi and he considered this as his eyes settled upon the young boy. “You are your mothers pride and joy; it is a great honor to finally meet you, Togore.”
The Ishi child glanced away with a remarkable amount of disinterest. “Don’t be rude,” His mother scolded.
Eishun hushed her words, “Nene, it is alright. I am very happy you brought him today, but there is no need to force things. I am stranger to him after all.” His words fell silent for a moment as his eyes returned to the young boy, “I believe there are swings nearby … unless of course Togore is not interested.”
The child only offered a subtle shrug of his shoulders and it would be his mother who would ask, “Should we walk in that direction then?”
There was no need to agree; Togore had darted off ahead of them and it was the first moment of their encounter where some enthusiasm seemed to liven the boy. “I am sorry, Eishun.” Her words were elegantly spoken, but deeply pained, “Maybe it was too soon to bring him.”
“I don’t believe that. To be truthful, I am happy that you did. It assures me that you are ready for us to become a family.” He paused a moment, “How are you and the baby doing?”
“We are both quite well.”
It made him happy to hear that even though the child within her womb was not his, “Have you spoken with Kuro about us?” He reached down and grabbed her hand when she did not initially respond, “It is alright, you don’t have to tell me.”
She sighed, “I did and he just stared at me. Never asked me why or how long. It felt as though he already knew that I had moved on. After we spoke, he said his goodbyes to Togore and never came back. I am not sure if he is trying to give me space or ….”
“The relationship shared between the two of you ended not that long ago. Perhaps he was holding out hope for rekindling. I suppose that means I got in the way of that happening.”
Her laugh was soft and brief, “Eishun Kari, I hear a haughtiness in your tone. I thought you were above such prideful conquest.”
“What can I say, I am Kari. We like to win.”
Eishun is Hiko’s great uncle. One of his brothers was the father of Azu Kari who is the grandfather of Hiko Kari. Eishun and Nene are Hiko and Tationy’s past life incarnates. After their deaths, when Togore is 10, they go to the Land of Souls and eventually are born again to the land of the living. In The Exiled Prince Story, Tatsuya talks about how some people are born over and over again. Tationy and Hiko are two of these people.
While Eishun and Nene were a couple, it was all unofficial. It was not excepted by either the Ishi or the Kari. They never married, never had children, and only shared a home together for 4 years before they were both killed.
Nene’s hair is red in the story and it should be noted that it is dyed. It was a common practice among the Ishi during the 1920’s to 1950’s. It allowed them to “fit more neatly” in with Aslann society which had widespread prejudices regarding the disfigured, Ishi Clan.
Nene is survived by her brother Oro and her two sons, Enzo and Togore. Though I doubt very highly we will ever see Oro in the story. This short muse was written because I do intend to bring in Enzo and Togore. Their relationship with their mother and “father”, Nene and Eishun, heavily influence their encounters with Tationy and Hiko in chapters to come. I hope you enjoy. ^_^