Chapter Sixteen

Chapter  16
Irian stared into the case.  These were the people he had trained his whole life to join, never truly believing himself good enough, and here was his invitation, carved in wood and sitting on his foot.  He was a bit shocked.  Tenshu was slowly divesting himself of the tea ceremony persona, and was watching his student in great interest.

However, a knock at the door startled Irian, and Teishu quickly put his tea face back on.


At the door appeared a face Irian had not seen in more than a year.   Sticks and his younger sister stood in the doorway, removed their geta, and stepped into the tea room.  They bowed low, foreheads touching the floor.  In labored Japannic, they made their obeisance to Teishu, prostrating themselves and hoping to restore some of their honor after interrupting the ceremony.  Sticks said something quietly to his sister, and then picked up a large box behind him.

“Irian, we have a small problem here…”

Irian, who had now seen it all, was nonplussed.   He crossed his legs on the floor and looked at the newcomers.   “What has happened now?”

“You have the wrong box.”  Irian and Teishu burst out laughing.

“Musashi-sensei, may I present him his true gift?”

“Why do you ask my permission?  It is yours to present.”

“It is your dojo.   You are master here.   I am merely a transgressor.”

“Ouray, you are always welcome here.  Go ahead, make your gift.  I had guessed as much already.”

Irian was rather lost.  These men were talking like old friends, and why was Sticks (Ouray, he reminded himself) here with his sister?  Was it really a mistake that he was being offered a spot as a Redemptor?

“Irian, you have the wrong box.  That is Namid’s invitation.”

“That explains a lot.”

They all laughed at that, and Sticks closed the box with the bow, and Namid took it.  He pulled out the box behind him, and presented it to Irian.

“Musashi-san, is he true Yagyu?”

“You would have trouble finding his equal in Japan, even before the Harvest. “

“Then he will be pleased.”

Irian opened the box.   Inside was a blade, heavy and curved like a katalan, but carved of a glassy substance.  The heavy grips were wrapped in shark skin, and menuki befitting a Yagyu adorned the handle.  The hilt had been modified for a tsuka, and this one depicted weeping willows overarching a bridge spanning a river, black iron inlaid with gold.  Beside the blade was a strange glassy stick.  Irian picked it up, and it fell open, a beautiful fan carved of a pearlescent glass, heavy but thin.

“A tessen?  How did you know?  But what are they made of?”

“Obsidian.  We found an ether-charged volcano, and this substance came of it.  It’s harder than regular glass, holds an edge better than anything else, but it’s still a bit fragile.”

“So that wasn’t an aether blade?”

No, I’m afraid it wasn’t.   We still need to study more technology to understand those.  However, I hear you may have cracked the code.”

Irian was dumbfounded.   Was he actually right?  There was little time to dwell on that.  Namid shifted uncomfortably.  “Is he ready to go yet?”

“No, sister.   Be quiet while Teishu serves us.  Respect the master of this house.”

And Irian sat, watching the mastery of the tea ceremony.

Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 3:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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