A Tale of Five Kingdoms
Taking in the smells and sounds of the teahouse, the clanking of porcelain, the pushing and shoving of people clamoring to put in orders with the servers. Jiho stands out in that he takes no action but instead writes his orders on a piece of parchment before dropping it onto a serving trolley passing by. He is not in a hurry to get anywhere fast. Once he sits down for tea, the world may end before the cup is over but the relaxation found within the tea resonates within. As he looks at the dregs he clangs his cup saucer back on top in appreciation of the atmosphere and tea. Erecting himself to his full height he feels his age, especially in his perpetually gloved hand. He is proud of the wound to his left forearm and ligaments that he sustained defending his village from a bandit raid after a landslide made it an opportune target for the bandit invasion. Never one to take a day off training he leans upon his heavily recurved hardwood bow rubbed to a near mirror sheen and walks out the door with poise towards the edge of town where the horses are stabled. As if taking the bow for a walk he takes it through its paces and releases feathered shaft after feathered shaft while ambling a semi circle around the target. Not one to be satisfied with perfection he aims not for the bullseye but instead to create calligraphic symbols, specifically Dao. His self centered, he continues back the main road enjoying the callousness that town offers, the controlled chaos. He takes in a deep breath, this is how he has always lived his life: as the eye of the hurricane. He stays calm but consistently puts himself in the way of life events that are set to change not only himself but his surroundings. His imposed self discipline has led him to take offense at the slightest of lies that are untrue to a person’s character. Unnecessary lies poison the mind by altering true character he thinks to himself kicking a stone mid step. Partially annoyed by this unnecessary alteration of the world he rights a cobblestone further down the road to restore order to the road.
The rest of Jiho’s day goes calmly and according to form. As he sleeps he is haunted by grotesque form of a field woman captured by a corrupt governor that was mutilated to please his sadism. Her limbs lopped off at the joints of elbows and knees and her tongue cut out. When this woman was found it was decided that samurai would be hired to oust the corrupt governor. Jiho took part in the raid of his house as a hired samurai and stepped into a world he never wanted to see. As the main force stormed the main door went around the perimeter and entered a tertiary building on the property. Still to this day he sees the faces of those who were captive there. The woman who the governor had gotten bored with and had been left to die was not the worst of them. One of only two who could speak begged for death for all of them and for their shame to be buried with the ruins. He accepted the man’s plea for pride and locked the door behind him and burned the rooms of pleasure by knocking over the oil lamps and incense holders. He prayed for their souls and watched the flames until the building collapsed in front of his eyes. When asked about what happened in the building, all he responds with is that he hopes their souls were able to return to the forests surrounding the house and not trapped within the bodies that no longer expressed their own wills.