... now they must watch their abundance of luxuries fall away, making room for the tools of survival, and witness this time of relative peace wither into the same fears that harper's ballads had warned them about for generations.
 
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 A Sheath for the Sword -Toshiro

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Eloaene

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PostSubject: A Sheath for the Sword -Toshiro   Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:58 pm

Late in Turn 495
Part 7



“There are those who believe that in order to achieve a greater good, one must sometimes facilitate that which is abhorrent.”

“You, also, believe that? So you have made him the embodiment of of that concept?”

“You could say that.”


The distant, but still thoughtful voice of the Guard Commander replayed like an echo through her mind. Kesa remembered back to when Toshiro’s commanding officer had come to her, asking her thoughts about marrying Toshiro. The Commander could see the breakdown of Toshiro’s spirit as the months and turns drew on; it was the effect that his job as a man-hunter had on him at such an impressionable age. Though he knew what he -what the Guard- had asked of Toshiro was reprehensible, at the time the decision had been made to employ Toshiro in such a manner, there was nothing he could do to stop it. Even had that decision been in his hands, there was no saying that he would have. The few that took on the task that Toshiro had proudly taken onto his own shoulders, all fell into that category of abhorrent things which must be allowed to make room for their great and worthy ends.


The Commander had gone on, “What is done, is done. The Uprisings have had a ghastly effect on us all. Some more than others. Unfortunately, the toll has been heaviest on your ‘husband’, and others who walk the same path as he.

“I don’t know how much you know about him, but you’re very lucky to be alive after running into him the way that you did. He has lived an unusually violent life up to now. Because of that, he is at a point that he needs to be protected from himself. In essence, he needs a sheath. If I cannot find him one, then he will never stop fighting. I’m afraid that he will lose the last bit of humanity that remains in him.”

Kesa couldn’t help but be caught a little off guard, unsure of what to make of the request. “You’re sure you need my help? But how can I...?”

“I need you to become his consort. Or better yet, like the two of you have had fun playing it off, I would like for you to marry him. For real. I’m afraid that he would become a lost cause if you don’t. I know that a part of him is crying out for something more meaningful to come into his life. You are the only person who has ever touched him, so I believe that you have the best chance of being able to help.”

Kesa was nodding, considering the man’s words as her gaze fell into her lap.

“You have no idea how relieved I would be if you would do your best to help him. I know he would be in good hands, and he needs most is a good woman to shield him from his inner self.” Smiling kindly, the Commander offered a final thought which might work to persuade her, if his play on her compassionate, nurturing side as a woman didn’t. “Given your own current situation, it wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. I’m sorry to hear that your family were all killed by the Rebels. With a husband though, you will be taken care of. And a husband is something that many women no longer have, these days.”


After that, it hadn’t taken Kesa long to agree, and a couple days after, the man had followed up on their agreement, going to add their names to a new family and wedding registry so that everything was set in stone. Kesa couldn’t believe it had been almost a full turn since that day. And every one of those days, many of them having proved trying, she had worked very hard to make a difference in Toshiro’s life, so that she could protect him. So that she could become his sheath.

It had taken such a long time, but at long last, he had begun to reveal his great heart to her. He was sharing a bed with her now, and just like a husband and wife, he even held her sometimes. There was so much comfort to be found in the strength of his embrace...she let that be her reward.

Kesa couldn’t help but sigh audibly, smiling, as she was so pleased by the happy turn of things. Pleased that she was able to help him, even if Toshiro had no idea that his commanding officer had had his own uses for her from the very start. Now that things were working out pretty well, thinking back on it all excited her. She felt so sneaky.


Still feeling Toshiro in bed beside her, Kesa rolled over, laying her head on his chest. While she lay there listening to his breath and the steady beat of his heart, she started tracing lazy little figure eights across his chest with a fingertip.

The tickling sensation roused him enough that Toshiro slipped an arm about her shoulders to draw her against him; the other hand took her own, interlacing their fingers loosely so that she was unable to tickle him any longer.

“Good morning.” Kesa sat up enough to kiss his lips, quickly inching back down into her cozy spot.

Toshiro only groaned, mumbling a reply in his groggy state -the sun was still barely beginning to show itself over the distant horizon.

Giggling at his groggy response, Kesa sighed once more, nuzzling up against him. While he was half asleep, she figured it might be a good time to share some of her thoughts out loud with him; she was learning that typically he didn’t remember much told to him in that half-asleep state as he was either trying to go to sleep, or trying to wake up. So, she mused to him softly, “If you could let me love you, I will become your sheath. I will protect you from those things you need to be protected from. I will make it so that you won't have to fight anymore.”  

Her eyes turned up to him to see if he was awake or not; his breathing was still so deep and relaxed. “Husband. Don’t fight me anymore. Let me be a part of you. Let me be your sheath.” Imploring him in a whisper then, Kesa assumed that he had fallen back to sleep, but since she started talk, Toshiro had been listening. And without interrupting, he had let her speak.

The two of them never spoke very intimately until recently. It was a whole new experience for Toshiro. Considering how good and kind Kesa’s words had been, how thoughtful she was of him and how patient she’d been with him as a husband, he couldn’t say he disliked it. He might be uncertain about opening up to others, but in this case,...he could allow it.


Letting Kesa know that he was awake, Toshiro gave her shoulders a squeeze and rolled onto his side to kiss her forehead affectionately. His hands worked up into her well-tousled hair, tugging it gently so that she would tip her head back, bringing their lips to kiss. And speaking of sheaths, Toshiro could see himself becoming a morning kind of man; Kesa’s loving, teasing manner had him worked up quickly. By the time they kissed, he was already hard, eagerly pressing his wife onto her back while his hands worked to remove her night robe.



____________




After their lovemaking, Toshiro lay in bed a while longer, holding his wife in his arms. She felt so good and warm to him.

Since he had allowed her to open up to him earlier, she felt more free about doing so again. Going back to tracing figures on his chest with that same, teasing index finger, Kesa started talking again. Toshiro had closed his eyes, but was obviously still awake, just basking in the afterglow of sex. “When I see your scars, I am left wondering, what is the last thing that your victims see before they die? You say that you bring death to some people so that others may live happily. But,...”

Hearing her voice stop, Toshiro’s eyes opened to see what was wrong; but it seemed to him that Kesa was simply thinking that her words might offend him somehow. Curious, Toshiro encouraged her, “Continue.”

“Well, it doesn’t seem as though the way you choose to live brings you happiness at all.“

To Toshiro that seemed not to matter at all, “People die every day. And I don’t choose my victims at random.”

“But, it’s not even you who chooses your victims, is it? You hope you are killing men who deserve to die, but you’ve entrusted that decision to someone else.”

“It’s better that I not know exactly why they should die. The only assurance I need, is to know that there is a reason.”

The detached manner in which he approached the subject made it seem almost rehearsed to Kesa. It was something he thought about with at least some regularity, she could assume, and he’d been trying -or been taught- to distance himself from that reality he’d been made to suffer. Suddenly, his entire presence felt much colder again, and she didn’t like that, so she hugged him closer, digressing to divert the mood. In any case, looking over to him, Toshiro didn’t seem upset at all -she supposed it was only she who was being too sensitive about things. “Well, today is when the Runner comes with word from Southern Telgar. I wonder what news they will have for us?”

Smiling, the young woman sat up in bed, throwing the covers off of her so that she was naked, leaving the bed to dress and prepare herself for the day. Since they’d just had sex, Toshiro would be especially hungry, so she would need to have breakfast prepared soon, too.

Toshiro followed suit, finding himself little to do until Kesa had breakfast ready, so that together, they could sit and eat.



____________




Late in the day, a message Runner arrived with the letter they’d been expecting from Southern Telgar Hold. Toshiro always took the notes and read them in private, just in case the contents had anything to do with more sensitive information that Kesa was not privy to. Not to mention, the inside of the letter would be addressed to him by name; and the two of them were still clinging to their own tradition of not having to call eachother by true names. Even if, by now, it might just be more for the sake of old sentiments.

When he’d finished reading the letter, Toshiro went out from the house to find his wife. He seemed shocked, but there was also a peculiar light in his eyes that Kesa couldn’t say she’d ever seen before.

“What is it?” Leaving her garden tools in the dirt, Kesa wiped her brow with her apron, walking over to him.

Whatever it was, Toshrio was having quite a time processing it all, because it took him a moment to speak up; and he made himself sit down on their front porch first. At first he spoke wistfully, or perhaps simply with much disbelief. “It’s all over. The leader of the Chorong Rebels has been killed in battle. They are in disarray now, and ...they have retreated from the the major holds. The fighting has come to an end.” At least in most areas. Some residual conflicts might still arise here and there, but as far as the Loyalists were concerned, the war was won.

Toshiro didn’t know how to feel just then. He couldn’t know how to feel in that very moment until it had come. Certainly he and everyone in Telgar had looked forward to a day when peace would return -that is what they had been fighting for. It had been so long in coming though, Toshiro wondered if they had all forgotten what peace felt like. Perhaps he had forgotten how to live without fighting?

All he knew, is that he was glad his diligent efforts had paid off, even if he would have to look to the Guard to know what to do with himself now. He was sure that he and Kesa would soon be asked to return to the Hold and they would be able to continue living together while Toshiro served the Guard by helping people rebuild their lives. Thinking back on it, that was also a reason he’d wanted to join the Guard, wasn’t it?

Seeing the conflicting emotion in him, Kesa was hugging him then. “It must be difficult for you. But don’t worry. We can only be happier this way." Kesa didn’t let go of him just yet. She could feel, even in herself, that it would take awhile for that new reality to sink in. "
This is what we’ve all been waiting for -for it to end at last.”


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