Life Goes On (Hanya)

[ \Sakura Hiroba | Kamiza | Yomi/ ]
The capital city of Raikou no Kuni, nestled between mountain peaks in the center of the country. Its altitude and location lead to common snowfall, though it is not necessarily cold throughout the year, clear days often leading to be as warm as summer. At the southern end of this star-shaped city lies a great stone bridge spanning a large lake, connecting to the road back down to the rest of the world. The home of both the Daimyo and Kamiza, the Onigami Compounds.

Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Raika » Tue Feb 12, 2013 2:50 pm

A soft puff of warm mist. A clean downward cut, faintly whistling in the air. A steady beat of footsteps: step forward on the swing, step back preparing for the next, over and over again in the snow-crusted garden, the katana's blade gleaming in the morning sunlight.

Calm amethyst eyes peered through blonde bangs, visualizing the line he cut again and again through the air, ignoring the chill seeping into his chest as sweat trickled down from the exercise, the top half of his kimono hanging around his waist.

He'd been practicing since sunrise, and... how long had it been since then? An hour? Two? Maybe more?

His brother was probably awake by now, though. Maybe.

"Sakura-sama?"

A flick of the wrist to rid the blade of non-existant blood, a practice drilled in by his instructors, before he sheathed the katana with a slow exhale. Slipping his arms through the sleeves of his kimono and pulling it back into place, amethyst eyes finally turned to the elderly woman who had called to him, a faint softness entering his gaze as he recognized her. She was a servant who had often looked after him in his younger years.

"Miru-baachan. What is it?"

"Tsurugi-dono is calling for you and your brother to join him at breakfast, but...."

"But you can't find Keiichi-nii? I'll find him."

"Thank you, Sakura-sama." She bowed, blue eyes glistening as her face creased into a relieved smile before she shuffled off.

Otou-sama wanted them to come to breakfast.... If they ran late there'd probably be a quick lecture before they could eat, and--

Grrrrrr

Sakura placed a hand over his stomach with a faint grimace before darting back to the palace, running along the open-air hallways as he began to run a check of his brother's usual hiding places.
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Hanya » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:25 pm

"Open air, warm sunlight, rushing water, ahh this is the life"

Brown eyes flicked open gently, watching as the leaves of the evergreen trees lining the back courtyard rustled in the wind, dancing like the women of court. Keiichi was dressed as normal, the high collared black shirt and red sleeves standing out against the green grass. Beneath him, his yellow jacket served as a makeshift blanket, allowing him to relax to the fullest.

"Yes... This is the life... But I feel as If I should be doing something else.... Eh... It'll come to me eventually."

Again he closed his eyes, enjoying the sounds of the nearby stream.
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Raika » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:44 pm

Sakura raced along wooden floors, running up and down stairs and even carefully picking his way through the attic.

Not inside the palace.

Careful steps brought him through a trapdoor of sorts and onto the roof, picking his way along its tilted surface to check first one side, then another, until he looked to the northern courtyard to spot his sibling leisurely laying atop his jacket on the grass.

...unsurprising.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The blonde carefully picked his way to the edge of the roof and swung down to land on a lower roof, jumping to a nearby tree and climbing down that to finally reach the ground, dusting off his kimono before approaching.

"Keiichi-nii...."

GrrrrRRRRrrrrrrr

Sakura grimaced as he stood a few feet from his older brother, amethyst eyes focused on him. He was hungry....

"Otou-sama wants us to come to breakfast."
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Hanya » Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:53 pm

Keiichi's eyes opened quite slowly, his younger brothers approach noticed even before he had said a word. It was the way of the world that whenever someone was genuinley just relaxing that someone would always have to intterupt. It was true of the commoners, it was true of the samurai, and it was true of even the nobles. Still, being disturbed for food was one of the few times that he would accept it with dignity. Slowly sitting up, he smiled, eventually getting up, and grabbing his jacket. The light dusting of snow in the courtyard gave a nice ambiance, but it also had made his jacket wet, so he threw it over his shoulder.

Usually, though everyone was friendly and on good terms, they never ate together, father always busy, Sakura always training, and Keiichi always... well, doing nothing. It was a rare occasion that they did eat together, usually when there was some sort of diplomat or emmisary present, or before a festival. Keiichi couldn't think of any special occasion this day held though, but who was he to turn down food.

"Breakfast eh... Look at us trying to be a family today... Whats the occasion?"
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Raika » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:17 pm

Sakura shrugged. Miru-baachan has just said that they were wanted at breakfast, nothing more. It wasn't festival time, but Sakura didn't usually notice politics when he was focusing on training, so... he really was just as clueless as Keiichi-nii was.

"Does it matter? If Otou-sama wants us to join him, we'll go join him."

A gentle hand rose, brushing bits of grass and dirt out of his older brother's hair. They both needed to be presentable, at the very least, in case someone important was visiting.

As the two fell into step, heading inside, amethyst eyes gazed forward as Sakura quietly asked, "Have you visited Okaa-san yet today?" He had lit incense for her before the sunrise that morning, spending the last few minutes before his daily training began talking to her picture. It was part of his daily routine. And the quiet room holding their mother's memory felt... calming.

A light hand rested on the pommel of his katana out of habit as they walked through the great palace that was their home, appreciating the chance to talk to his older brother, however short the chance would be. When was the last time they'd had the chance?
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Hanya » Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:35 pm

Keiichi always wondered why his little brother was so quick to follow orders. As laid back as he was, Keiichi always asked questions, he had since he was little, but Sakura was something of the opposite. He always seemed to be deep in thought, so focused, so tense, and yet he did without question, without hesitation. It wasn't hard to figure out from that why he chose the life and teachings of the samurai, but why.

"You never do ask little brother... but then, I guess it is just breakfast right?"

His own brown eyes moved all about the hallway and palace, examining the decor of the walls, the lighting, looking the people he passed in the eyes with gentle caring smiles. As they walked past one of the maids, she bowed, dropping a small rag. Keiichi didn't hesitate to pick it up for her before continuing on with his brother.

"Have you visited Okaa-san yet today?"

The question wasn't an odd one, they had both been quite close to their mother before she had passed, Sakura more so because he was a bit younger and so more attached. While he visited her shrine every day, Keiichi tended to do so less frequently. Still, he cared for her deeply, and missed her, and so when he did visit he stayed for quite some time.

"No, not today... I can only assume you have already though."

As they walked past the gilded doors, he noticed the light smell of incense that had seeped through the door. It was faint, but he knew it quite well.

"Chamomile... Its tuesday then?"
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Raika » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:22 pm

Sakura watched from the corner of his eyes as the young maid blushed before hurrying along on her duties. Keiichi-nii always had been popular. Meanwhile, he....

It was only the elder servants who knew how to get around the natural wall he always put up. Like Miru-baachan.

Amethyst eyes shifted ahead again as his brother asked what day it was, a slight nod being returned in answer.

"You really should pay a little more attention to the passing of time."

An old argument: Sakura lightly chastising his older brother for losing track of time, Keiichi-nii usually shrugging it off and giving some variety of excuse. It brought a slight smile to his lips.

The brothers paused before the closed doors that led to the dining hall, Sakura catching the sounds of their father's and one of his advisor's voices, waiting a few moments before sliding open the door and walking inside with Keiichi-nii, whatever they had been talking about switching to silence.

Sakura bowed slightly. "Otou-sama." Amethyst eyes turned as he straightened, giving a more curt nod to the advisor. He was new... and something about him was just unpleasant to the young samurai in-training.

The man was sitting on the Daimyo's left. And so Sakura took up his usual place by his brother on his father's right, sitting one seat down from his father's side while Keiichi took the one right by the strict-faced, aged man with his gentle green eyes and grayed hair.

"Keiichi. Sakura. It's good to see you."

Sakura respectfully inclined his head in their father's direction, knowing that there would be a smile without the advisor's presence.

It didn't matter. And it was only a matter of time before the reasons behind the advisor's presence would be revealed, after all.
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Hanya » Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:44 pm

As usual, while Sakura's eyes found the more obvious things in the room, their father, the adviser, Keiichi's found the others. He could remember the last family breakfast they had, rows and rows of serving dishes, glasses of juices and tea and water, light music and bright lighting. This time, there was none of that, causing Keiichi's normally pleasant face to take a slightly more sour look. Still, Just as his brother, he greeted those present, all honorifics included.

Slowly taking his seat next to his father, he found himself directly across from the adviser, a man he just barley remembered seeing once, right after the incident in Kumogakure. From what he could remember, this man was the sole survivor of Kumogakure's elder council, though the circumstances of his survival escaped him. A quick glance at his brothers face saw a soured look on it as well. Seeing his brothers tension, he fixed his own face, nudging his brother to relax. Whatever it was that they were feeling wouldn't be resolved by looks.

"Sakura, Keiichi, I would like you to meet my newest adviser, Saizo Marishiten. He will be assisting me in my duties as Daimyo from now on, and i feel it high time that the two of you become a bit more active in them as well... To that end i have arranged for both of you to shadow him and I, to get a real sense of thee ways of the world...."

The man's face held no smile, only a firm grim look that screamed of something dangerous. Maybe he was a shinobi at one point, that could have been the reason he put Sakura off so much, but then, Keiichi had no real disposition towards the shinobi. It had to have been something else.

Again he caught himself frowning, but quickly found a stray hair to pull from his face, again changing his look a he placed it more neatly.
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Raika » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:16 pm

The gentle nudge from Keiichi-nii resulted in Sakura's face smoothing over into a calm, polite, unreadable mask.

But the introduction and Otou-sama's wishes... were less than appealing to him. Still, he tilted his head forward slightly in assent. If nothing else... shadowing Marishiten-san would allow him to keep an eye on the man that reminded him of a snake.

At least the tension had stopped his stomach's growls for the moment, until the food would be brought in.

Amethyst eyes flicked to the door as Miru-baachan slid it open with all the proper etiquette, bringing in tea and tea cakes and setting down cups and plates with practiced movements: first the Daimyo's, then Keiichi-nii's, then Sakura's, and lastly Marishiten-san's, the elderly woman filling the tea in the same order before bowing and backing out of the room to close the door once again.

The tea was a sign of breakfast soon being ready. If it had just been Otou-sama, Keiichi-nii, and himself, the food would likely have been ready by now. Or if a noble had sent word he was visiting. Had Marishiten-san given far less warning, then?

Sakura waited in silence for their father to take the first sip of tea and bite of tea cake, amethyst eyes flashing briefly as the new advisor reached for his cup first--

But the Daimyo paid the small disrespect no mind, smoothly drinking before the others and taking a small bite of the tea cake, chewing and swallowing before he nodded. It was only then that Sakura lifted his cup to take a sip of the tea and began eating the tea cakes to assuage his hunger.

This was an old tradition here. The Daimyo ate and drank first, showing his guests the food was safe. A Daimyo of Raikou no Kuni looked after his people, though Sakura had heard of some in the past having taste testers in case of poison. But that wasn't how their father did things.
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Hanya » Wed Feb 13, 2013 11:02 am

Indeed it was an old tradition, one that Keiichi saw no reason for, but still, even he observed it, and for this man to blatantly ignore it, it was truly a disrespect, however, he remembered hearing that a shinobi villages leader, though his power and influence could rival a daimyo's, their methods were quite different. While the daimyo was equivalent to an emperor or king, the kage, they were like a commander, or a CEO of a large company. Of course they had the power, but without all the tradition tied into it. Luckily, his father seemed to have either not noticed or come to the same conclusion, and as he began his meal, so did Keiichi.

hmm... Jasmine tea and....Apricot....i think this is Apricot tea cake.....

Again, Keiichi's thoughts wandered to the details, the fine sugar and cinnamon of the cake mixed with the sweet bits of fruit, the steaming tea with a hint of the same spices, prepared in tandem for one another, though the ingredients would normally not be found even in the same region of the world. This was indeed some sort of special occasion, and he wondered, was that small message the cause of this, or was there more.

Another sip of tea, and Keiichi glanced at his fathers hands, crossed right over left with a slight bend in them, thumbs touching.

He was thinking about something...
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Raika » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:30 pm

The simple sweetness of the tea cakes distracted Sakura from the tension in the room, enjoying each and every morsel of the treat, his composure faltering for a moment before Keiichi-nii nudged him again and Sakura calmly ate the last of the cake he had been currently enjoying and sipped at his tea.

He... needed to better control himself around sweets. He really did....

Otou-sama cleared his throat, and Sakura gently set his cup down on the table, amethyst eyes giving the Daimyo his undivided attention.

"There will be a speech in Sakura Hiroba today, an hour before sunset. I expect both of you to be there for it... Today our country takes a step towards real peace."

As if on cue, as soon as their father had finished speaking, Miru-baachan and some of the younger maids brought in breakfast: a small feast of fish, rice, pickled plums, miso soup, natto, nori, rolled omelettes....

Again, the plates were set down in proper order, and Otou-sama was the first to taste, the snake-advisor taking his cue to wait this time....

The Daimyo nodded, and Sakura wordlessly began eating, amethyst eyes focused on the food as he listened to the quiet.... Their father's words held weight, but the atmosphere suggested silence, and so it was followed. What was Keiichi-nii thinking about now, perhaps...?


It was only a matter of time before the meal was done, and the brothers bade farewell to their father and his advisor before departing back out to the halls of their home, quiet between them.... Though Sakura could sense Keiichi was thinking more than normal, even without looking at him.

"What's on your mind, Keiichi-nii? The advisor? Or the speech? Or something else?"
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Hanya » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:05 pm

Indeed, breakfast came as scheduled, and though he could feel some waves of tension crashing around, Keiichi had other, more pressing concerns. His eyes found his food appealing and like his brother and the sweets, his vice was the savory dishes of every meal. The grilled fish was by far his favorite and he watched as his father took one of the smaller pieces, though still exceptionally large compared to what the commoners would get. It was this odd sort of respect that had drawn them close, each's attention to small details. It was in this detail that he had learned to read people, something passed from his father with very few words. Now, even within the thralls of luxury and pleasantries, he was reading everyone, his father and the new adviser the most. Still, no words were being spoken, and so he held his own tongue, and when breakfast was dismissed he left, deciding to simply ask his father later.

"What's on your mind, Keiichi-nii? The advisor? Or the speech? Or something else?"

They were the first words that had been broken in some time, and though they seemed innocent, he could hear the concern within. His brother was an easy read, that was for sure, but it was not a bad thing. His intentions and demeanor were without deception or argument, his word and will never finding themselves at end with one another. It made him easy to talk to, because he didn't ave to spend energy reading him for the truth behind his words.

"You read me too well. There is something I don't like about that adviser, though I cant put my finger on it. He just seems like he has a lot of secrets, dark ones that stain his eyes and weigh on his heart. I could tell by the way he ate, by how he formed his lips to words, everything about him seemed... off, and yet I did not sense any evil intent towards us... It was weird."

Then, as usual, Keiichi smiled and continued his walk.

"So, how is your training coming along brother. All this talk of speeches and words... It makes me want for action..."
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Raika » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:31 pm

Sakura frowned slightly at his brother's words, nodding quietly in agreement. It was a certainty that neither of them liked the advisor, but... neither could quite understand why. His brother spoke of the visual details hinting to something being off, but Sakura couldn't even explain that far... it was something in his... gut, perhaps? Instinct? It was a feeling that he was trusting, above all.

But when Keiichi-nii asked about his training, Sakura smiled slightly.

"I still have a long way to go, but it feels like I'm making progress, little by little...." he paused for a moment before pressing on, his smile and eyes widening slightly with a sense of childish excitement. "It's been a long time since we last sparred in the dojo.... Shall we? There's still plenty of time before the speech this evening."

When they were kids, no matter how hard Sakura tried, Keiichi-nii would always win their bouts, even without his older brother practicing much and Sakura practicing night and day; perhaps now they would be on more even footing.

It was one of the few things that could excite the quieter of the two.
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Hanya » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:42 pm

"Hahhahah, of course, but how about outside in the training yard. Its such a nice day out after all, why not enjoy it?"

His smile was different this time, focused on the future, looking ever forward. The samurai were excellent teachers, and he could remember honing his skill under their own tutalage, but also having the luxury of other teachers as well. It was with them, during his rather extended absence, that he developed his love of things, before that being a simple daydreamer unconcerned with all things.

"Meet me there in 10 minutes, and we can begin from there."
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Re: Life Goes On (Hanya)

PostPosted by Raika » Tue Mar 05, 2013 11:38 pm

Sakura grinned suddenly and nodded, darting off lightly through the halls to retrieve his bokken from his room, finally slowing to a walk when he approached it, panting lightly from his run.

As he slid open the door and entered, amethyst eyes swept his personal space; his futon and blankets folded up neatly in the corner, a few scrolls hanging from the walls illustrating mountains, sunrises, and even the blooming cherry blossoms that were his namesake.... A set of shelves held various small treasures--an unusual rock Keiichi-nii had given him when they were little, a painted feather bearing a snow leopard on the prowl, the fang of a Chiroptera wolf from Otou-sama and a pressed cherry blossom from Okaa-sama, among several others--as well as books and scrolls.... A simple desk held a scroll on which he had been practicing his calligraphy, as well as his brush and a pot of ink, the bristles of the former clean and well cared for. Some of his teachers suggested taking on poetry as a hobby to help organize his mind, but Sakura could never quite manage it, though he took to ink drawings and painting quite well.... Finally his eyes came to a rest on his sword rack, from where he gently retrieved the well-worn and dented bokken of his youth.

The trusty wooden practice sword in hand, Sakura departed his room, gently closing the door behind him before walking at a slower pace to conserve his energy in preparation for what was to come. Through the winding halls, outside to a simple stone courtyard where he stopped and closed his eyes, listening and waiting for the first signs of his older brother's approach; and when he heard Keiichi-nii's tread, Sakura turned to face him, calmed amethyst eyes meeting brown.

They would share a bow, and then Sakura would watch and wait to see his brother's first move....
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