Private Tales Forastero

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Amorea Delarosa

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"Perhaps if you wore silk kimonos you would not might the summer heat so much," Amore smirked in return, recalling her hand back within the broad sleeve of her own robes.

"Seems the snow is pleased with your return, though I wish I could share your favor with the cold." The Priestess tugged the blanket more snugly over her shoulders.
 
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Kishou

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A quiet snort.

“No. No silk.” His tone was flat, but Kishou wore a small smile.

“Even then, I can only persist for so long. Shall we go in, then? I just put a kettle on before I came to get you.”
 

Amorea Delarosa

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"What -" she blinked, looking around toward him, "what's wrong with silk?"

Her chuckle filled the cold air and she nodded, "Tea would be perfect. I've been chilled all morning."
 

Kishou

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“Great,” the swordsman beamed. The Priestess didn’t need a guide to show the way anymore, at least not on the temple’s grounds. Knowing that, Kishou still laid a gentle hand on her back as they walked side-by-side across the snow-covered grounds, snow crunching beneath their feet with every step.

He enjoyed the silence between them for a short while.

“I didn’t wear silk for the first time until I was, what, nineteen? I became too accustomed to wearing less... delicate clothes that a silk kimono felt strange.” He wryly smiled. “Though, being a young man born to poor farmers, I wore silk every chance I could, even if I never came to enjoy it.”
 

Amorea Delarosa

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She thought she could hear the smile in the man's tone, but even now it was still more an intuitive guess than anything else.

"To be honest, as light as silk may be I prefer linen in the heat of summer. It breaths far more easily," she could recall the heat of their trek here in her silk robes, wishing they were linen. Had her journey here been by choice, it could have been - she reminded herself - but they were beyond such regression of events.

Arriving at the small housing unit where she and Kishou kept their rooms, Amore doffed her sandals at the threshold, left her staff to lean in a corner at the door, and carefully mounted the steps to the base floor, "Do the winters last long here?" she asked aloud, one hand following the line of the wall as she traversed a short hall to the communal room where they shared meals.
 

Kishou

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“Three to four months,” Kishou answered and as they arrived at the room, followed Amore in, sliding the screen door closed behind them. Above a small flame in a sunken hearth in the middle of the room, a small kettle rested on a metal stand.

Next to the hearth was a small wooden table with cushions on either side of it, and a ceramic pot and a pair of cups waited for them on the table. Kishou sat on his knees on one side, and using a hand towel that sat on the table, grabbed the kettle. The swordsman lifted the lid on the pot and poured the boiling water into it.

“The war that I fought in,” he spoke up, “it ended in the winter.” Kishou stared at the pot, quietly counting in his head. “The capital, blanketed in a layer of snow, was bloodied, and the Emperor was beheaded.”

He quietly alternated pouring between their cups, and as he finished slid Amore’s across the table to her.

“Careful. It’s hot.”
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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Careful, measured movements brought Amore to her seat at the low table across from him. Settled on folded knees, the Priestess quietly listened to the sounds of his progress with the tea, now able to recognize the distinct noise of each unique piece he touched.

"Did your people replace the Emperor with a new one?"

She touched her fingertips to the table and gently smoothed them forward until they found the saucer set before her. There they rested around its base, waiting for his response and for the tea to cool.
 
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Kishou

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“The royal family kept their status and the Emperor’s young heir rose to the throne, but he was only a puppet.” Kishou idly twisted his cup on its saucer. “A boy so young, he could hardly swing a sword. Thrown to the wolves.”

The swordsman fell quiet then raised the cup to his lips, softly blew over the tea, and quietly sipped.

“How is the treatment going?”
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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"How unfortunate."

It was likely that poor boy's childhood ended that day. Amore wasn't so sure that her own life was much different. She hadn't much in the way of normal children to compare to - her childhood had been spent in the Church. Learning, apprenticing, listening, watching, repeating.

"It's ... going," a sigh, she decided to bypass that discussion completely, "Does he rule still?" Was he able to get that sort of information from the old man? Was this rural town out of touch with the main of the Empire. Did these people go their whole lives, generations even without ever seeing their ruler?
 
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Kishou

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“I known that he still sits on the throne.” Kishou answered with careful wording. To say that the young man ruled, well, was a stretch. “I don’t know a thing about my own homeland.” He softly spat.

Kishou didn’t often ask about her sit-downs with Toji. He didn’t know what they did, what they talked about. He didn’t doubt that if any progress was made, Amore would remain silent.

“How would you like to visit the hot springs?” The swordsman suddenly asked, “they’re only a short walk from the temple, and the weather is perfect for it.”
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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She frowned, gently taking up her cup and lifting it to her face, "You have been away for many long years. I would not expect you to be well-apprised of its current state. Thought perhaps you and Toji may have spoken ... or with the people of the village below."

A sip found the tea to be the perfect warmth for indulgence. She took a deeper drink, eager to melt the chill that had permeated her entire being since the early morning.

"Hot springs?" a perk of curiosity. She remembered Toji talking about the purity of the water within the springs near the shrine but she'd yet to visit them. "I would love to."
 

Kishou

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"Great," he smiled into his tea as he took a quiet sip. Set the cup back on the table just as quietly. "I think it would be best to go before it gets dark. Back when the temple had frequent visitors, they would bathe in the hot springs. I imagine that it hasn't been used in quite some time."

The warrior leaned back and supported himself with his hands.

"My tasks for the day are done. We can go when you are ready."
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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Amore wasn't entirely sure just how long they had before the daylight was gone, so she sipped her tea with a bit more haste.

"Does...Toji not use them for bathing?"
 
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Kishou

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"The path to the hot springs is as steep as the path between here and the village. I can't imagine he does so often, if at all."

It was easy to forget his age, given how easily he moved about the temple grounds. The swordsman quietly finished his tea, and with a few hours of daylight remaining, the pair set off. Kishou carried a woven basket with towels in one hand and excitedly pulled Amore along with the other.

The walk was indeed a short one. They came upon an old, almost rundown hut. Behind it, steam billowed from the hot springs. There was no door, but instead, a noren hung in the doorway. Kishou parted the fabric as they stepped in. As expected, abandoned for years. He didn't wait and stepped across the room, opening a panel door across from the entrance.

The door opened up to a small wooden patio, and the spring just past it was nothing short of inviting.

He turned to Amore. "I can wait inside while you get in first."
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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It had been some time since she'd taken a full bath. Coming from a life of what may have been luxury compared to the common folk, it had taken some adjusting for Amore. The prospect of a cleansing dip in the hotsprings was a welcome one, but now that she was here, alone with Kishou, the Priestess suddenly felt very self-aware.

The woman uttered a thank you to Kishou in his native tongue and made her way outside onto the patio with the guidance of her staff tap-tap-tapping ahead of her. Hearing the door slide shut behind her, Amore let a long sigh part her lips. With quiet and practiced movements she began to unweave the layers of cloth, of which she wore many.

With her robes in a neatly folded pile she found her way over to the edge of the spring. She was, perhaps, a little hasty getting in - or maybe it was simply the tremors from the cold making her movements quick - but the spring was deeper than expected and she dropped in and sank to well over her head. The shock of going from the frigid, bone-chilling air to the high heat of the water was enough to make her limbs tingle in remnant chills.

Amore surfaced with a sputter, slicking hair from her face, "Oh-" she laughed, "so this is what the Handmaiden's meant when they said the water was too hot."
 
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Kishou

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Kishou stepped out from the building, a small towel in hand, modestly and unnecessarily covering himself in front of the Priestess. The air pricked his skin, chilling him down to his marrow. The swordsman shivered and taut muscles tensed as he lightly skipped over cold wood. His foot entered the hot spring with a deep "plop!" as he rushed in. As he sunk in the steaming water, Kishou folded the towel and placed it atop his head. He pulled one end of the ribbon that kept his hair tied back, and it fell over his shoulders, the ends dipping in the water.

Amore's laughter was a hot spring for the soul; As Kishou heard it, his chest warmed from the inside. The corners of his eyes wrinkled as he beamed.

"It is not that hot." Kishou spread his legs out and leaned his head back, letting a shamelessly loud, content sigh escape. "It is perfect."
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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"For someone who has never known the sting of heat it is very striking," Amore witheld a mild giggle, her face quite pink. Difficult to say if it was from the temperature or the situation, but the reality was she was making a good effort not to think about a Kishou devoid of his wardrobe.

She'd nearly forgotten her own modesty and turned to the rim of the spring opposite of where she could hear his voice. There she turned her back to him and folded her arms over the edge where she cradled her head and instead tried to picture in her mind what her surroundings looked like.

"Hm ... is there a snow spirit?"
 
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Kishou

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"Asashoryu," Kishou answered and let himself sink until the back of his head touched the spring, "the 'morning blue dragon'. Diety of rain and snow. As he descends from the heavens, the air left in his wake is so cold, rain becomes snow. Farmers honor and pay tribute to him in the hopes that the next winter will be a forgiving one."

He looked straight ahead, then to Amore. A shimmering curtain of crimson fell over her back, but his eyes traced her shoulders and down her arms to the tips of her elbows. Beyond her, a blanket of snow covered the leafless forest, coating the ground and bare branches of the trees in white. As if the color of her hair were not striking enough already, their surroundings brought it out even more. Though he could see nothing but hair and shoulders and arms, the swordsman found her to be breathtakingly beautiful.

"When Asashoryu ascends, spring returns."
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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Contained to the world of senses beyond sight, Amore could only judge or appreciate people and places in an abstract way. Much like she enjoyed the serenity of the temple with Toji; the smell of tea brewing in their small, shared hut; the sounds of the woods as she traversed the various trails between locations; the comforting energy of the small village below. All these things and more made her yearn for the very same of the places she knew deeply in her heart.

How she missed the smell of the flowers in the courtyard garden; the sound of the people praying in unison at mass; the feel of the wind in her ears when riding her horse; and the soothing nature of the shore at dusk. The sensation of homesickness had followed her since she'd left Cortos on her journey for a cure. Anymore it was a petulant child in her heart - at times rearing to painfully strangle her, at others quietly sulking in a corner. Today it fell somewhere in between.

On nights that she had trouble sleeping Amore often wondered if this was how Kishou had felt, too, ever since leaving his homeland. How did he ever learn to cope?

"What a lovely fable," she remarked quietly, pressing the rise of those emotions back down from the surface.

"I do not remember if you already told me this but ... do you have family here?"
 
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Kishou

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“Ah,” Kishou settled back further, resting the back of his head on one of the many stones lined around the spring, “Perhaps I do, somewhere. I left my village at a young age, to fight in a war waged between men I didn’t know. When I returned, the village was gone. I like to think my brothers have families of their own. That my mother and father grew old and passed on without any regrets.”

Kishou vaguely recalled what Amore had said about him a long time ago. He was a faithless man. A man with no place he called home, nor any family to return to.

“I wonder if they would recognize me, if they saw me now.”
 

Amorea Delarosa

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"Why not look for them?"

Truly a most innocent, simple question of a complicated thing. Where to start? Did he even want to? Had Kishou disavowed himself of family as well as the faith of his people?

"If they are still alive, would you not wish to know?"
 
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Kishou

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The swordsman looked straight up and let the silence that followed Amore’s question hang in the air for a short while.

Where would I start, he asked himself? Should he just travel to every village, every city until he stumbled across each member of his family?

“I was the youngest of four brothers, but was the only one to leave the village. I loved watching my mother carve statues from blocks of wood. While the other boys in the village went outside to play, I stayed inside to watch my mother create her beautiful sculptures. She taught me...” Kishou’s voice trailed off. He closed his eyes and suddenly felt the desire to sink to the bottom of the spring. “But I was a poor learner. I had many sleepless nights during the war, and at those times what my mother taught me was the only thing to bring me comfort.”

Kishou recalled one year he carved a crane for his mother. It was a gift. He had spent several hours carefully shaving away at the wood, and even then it had turned out to be an ugly thing.

He would never forget how his mother wept when she received it.

I can see how much care you put into making this.

And she took his hands into her own.

What gentle hands my son has.

“I believe that my brothers are alive. That... is enough for me.”
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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She wondered if in his silence his mind churned over memories of family and in that moment she was envious of such things. How wonderful a family must have been. Siblings, a mother. Amore shared a secret smile with herself, one that diminished at his dismissal.

Belief was a strong thing, but...

"You are the closest to your family you have been in many years," was he not the least bit wanting to see his brothers again? Amore lifted her head from her arms, brushing hair from her face, "I am not going anywhere. I can walk the paths here on my own, I can take care of myself. You could go, search the nearby villages and cities."
 
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Kishou

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"Maybe I would get lucky," he spoke to the sky, "and what then, I wonder? They probably have wives by now. Children. That would make me an uncle, wouldn't it?"

Kishou's stomach twisted. Gentle hands. Would his mother be disappointed to know that the same hands that carved her treasured crane did all manner of unspeakable things to men on the battlefield?

How could he hoist his nieces and nephews up in the air with those hands that killed no less than a hundred men?

"It's scary," he mused. "To imagine facing the children of my brothers."
 
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Amorea Delarosa

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Luck. Did luck have anything to do with the bond of blood? Was it not an innate compass of the heart that lead a brother to his kin?

"But imagine the wonder of seeing all that your family has become," she warmed to the idea of children, "the stories you could tell them all of your adventures beyond the realm. The amazing things you've seen and done."

Imagine the regret of never even trying.

Amore tipped her head faintly in his direction, glazed silver eyes staring off, "You have faced far more frightening things than that."
 
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