Fragments III: Faiytale Festival
Just another pointless drabble. I don't think I'll get around to a Christmas chapter this year, but who knows. In either case, with 2012 winding down, I hope everyone had a good year, and that next year will be great.
I hope you enjoy.
Heavily inspired by:
Keotsu looked up towards the sky, watching the as the jewels hung there, still as ever. They shone an ethereal color, some shade between silver and gold. The air was cold, even through his festival clothing, but despite that, was not uncomfortable.
The cream colored scarf and dark, chocolate colored hair swayed lightly in the breeze, becoming dusted with diamonds, as the gentle winds picked up the powdered snow, resting gently on the ground.
Lost in his thoughts, Keotsu slowly came back to reality, aware of the rabble of the crowd, and general brilliance of the winter festival, some ways to his right.
Turning to return, he reflected on the past year, placing his hand on the cold hilt of his trusted katana, Nagareboshi. The beautiful katana, named after the shooting stars, seemed the most stunning on nights like these, where it could resonate with its namesaske.
It had been eventful. He had been in fights, many won, many lost; made and lost friends, and become even close to those comrades he already called his brothers.
He had killed more than he had liked, and seen the face of death more than once – he had also seen the miracle of life, as he had witnessed not one or two, but three new lives ignite the world.
His navy blue kimono stood out against the white snow, but was nearly invisible against the blackness of the night sky – what created contrast there, though, was the insignia emblazoned upon his back, and on his left breast: a simple seal of four white diamonds, with a white flower resting on top – it was the “Coat of Arms” that had come to be associated with the swordsman.
The gentle melodies of the bands from within the festival drifted to his ears. The low, warming base line; the rich, popping drums; and the invigorating, yet soothing, twang of that string instrument he so loved. The velvety voice of the singer carried only faintly, flittering into audible range, but giving his voice an even more alluring quality…
”…the cold outside, got myself alone…..heaven, to you….Auahauah….”
“Hey! ‘ketsu! There you are! Get over here!” came a piercing voice of one of his friends from the crowd. It was one of Keotsu’s closest friends, and one that was admittedly drunk at the moment, holding a large bottle of sake in one hand, and with a gorgeous woman wrapped around the other arm.
Keotsu approached his silver-haired friend, who thrust the bottle of sake upon him. “Get that grimace off your face, and go find yourself a woman!” he said with a sly smile, before wandering away with the woman on his arm.
Sniffing the liquid, Keotsu poured the cheap sake out, and discarded the clay bottle. Several women wandered about, and they were indeed eye catching, but Keotsu had no need or desire for that sort of companionship tonight, and, so, walked along the cobblestone path that was lightly dusted in white.
The aroma of fried pastries and grilled foods wafted through the air, and the entire festival had a…tempting aura about it. Which, was, after all, the point.
In the midst of the barren death that accompanied Winter, something that could kindle the fires in the spirit were appreciated, and often sought after.
Unlike his silver haired friend from earlier, though, Keotsu was quite content to just wander about in the atmosphere, and to become lost. While he loved and longed for comradely with his friends, simply being in this environment would satisfy him for the night, and succeed in boosting his spirits…
If you closed your eyes, even over the music, you could hear the ocean in the distance.
But, the ocean was not his destination, and so the swordsman kept trotting down the cobblestone path.
A small, quaint stand with a red curtain blocking the interior sat between two stalls, one for fried dough, and the other selling children’s toys. Lifting the low hanging curtain, Keotsu walked inside the small shack, taking note of the two other customers, leaning against the dark, wooden walls in the dim lantern light, silently sipping their drinks, one with a plate of half eaten dumplings.
“Oh, if it isn’t the Shooting Star Samurai?” came a soft voice from the back. A young woman, only two years older than the swordsman, stood behind the counter, in a quaint black kimono with a coy fish coming over her shoulder and ending on her left breast.
“’ello,” said Keotsu, bowing politely, before taking a seat closest to her cooking station, looking up through the skylight above the fire pit at the stars above.
“What’ll it be?” said the blone-haired woman in the black kimono, making her way over to Keotsu.
“Well, I believe I owe you. So, two ‘Rice and Roses’, please.”
The woman smiled, amused, before brushing a loose strand of hair from in front of her brown eyes. “Rice and Rose, coming right up, Ryusei.”
Ryusei. An odd term, when compared to Nagareboshi. One meant shooting star – the other, falling star. While Keotsu was unsure of which meant which (the distinction lost long ago), he could help but think there was a somber poeticism to the words. But, at the same time…there was something enthralling.
Taking the katana named after that celestial phenomenon, Keotsu unsheathed it slightly, and then placed it on the dark wood table, looking into its mirrored surface: now, the blade looked as if it contained the cosmoses within it, and Keotsu swore he could feel the steel – the iron within it – reverberating. For, Nagareboshi was forged with steel, from iron mined from a meteor.
The infinite darkness of the cosmos could be a terrifying thing. It put into perspective just how small, and ultimately meaningless we were. Keotsu believed, though, that like the stars, we shone brightly, and that was all that mattered. Not believing in fate – destiny – Keotsu was intended to live his life well, and the way he wanted – whether dimly or brilliantly, he intended to shine. And, like the stars, or even the moon, he would be a light in the dark, just like all those he loved, and was close too.
There was a soft clank, as a clay cup and saucer was placed in front of him, a cup of tea with a white rose petal floating in it. The blonde haired woman set down across from the Samurai, holding her head with her left hand, and looking contently at the swordsman, a smile pulling on her face; she too had a glass of tea, with a red rose petal. A single bottle of sake stood in the middle of the table.
A shooting star ran across the table, across the blade, and across the sky, as Keotsu looked up from the sword to the woman, with a polite smile.
Tapping the petal in her cup lightly, the young woman met her eyes with Keotsu’s. “Flower petals and Shooting Stars, eh, Samurai?”