... 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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 The exchange of destinies -Toshiro

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PostSubject: The exchange of destinies -Toshiro   The exchange of destinies -Toshiro I_icon32Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:46 am

Turn 489
(Part 1)

The evening sky was filled with unnatural clouds. Shades of orange bled across the horrizon, painting it into a picture that, by Toshiro’s imagining, could only resemble Pain and Fear. It was dreadful to think that not even a mile away, beyond those black clouds of smoke and the garish light of unseen fires, people were suffering, and there was nothing Toshiro could do to help them. Homes were being burned by the rebels, and livelihoods were being destroyed. Families were being ripped apart and those who remained amoungst the living would go on, lost in their own despair, unsure of any future for themselves.

Toshiro’s hand gripped about the scabbard of his sword so tightly that his knuckles whitened. He was furious about how what used to be much more peaceable demonstrations had turned into violent uprisings and warfare. Couldn’t people see that everything would be better if they stopped fighting and trusted in their Lord Holder? The minor holders who’d been the cause of their malcontent had already been removed and reprimanded for their actions; Lord Matoi had tried to set things right. Yet tensions were still high. People were still angry. There was still fighting.

Things are only getting worse. And the fighting has come this far -at this rate, it’s going to breach the walls of Telgar Hold. I have to do something!

A young man of 18, Toshiro had been kept safely within the walls of Telgar Hold, continuing his training at the side of his Swordsmaster. Master Kondo had refused to directly involve himself in the more violent affairs of the Hold. But Toshiro didn’t agree that not getting involved would make things any better.

The Guard was looking for capable men to join them. At an age now that he could do so, opportunity seemed ripe for the taking. Considering that young hearts always ran with intense passion, and Toshiro was more than a little confident of his fighting skills, why shouldn’t he join them? Toshiro could take hold of his own life, his own future, and make a difference in the world by lending his skills to a good cause.

His entire life had been spent in the Guard Hall, working and training. How could he not be expected to join them? What good were the skills he’d been taught if he only watched from the sidelines? There were people out there who needed help! If he didn’t go and fight, even more homes would burn and even more lives would be taken. The rebels might even take Telgar Hold. Someone had to put a stop to it!

Toshiro couldn’t go on feeling useless forever!

Toshiro packed his things into a travel bag, throwing it across his back, taking his sword up in one hand. He figured that if his adopted father and teacher, Kondo, didn’t approve of his joining the Guard, having his things already packed would make it easier to walk away. He was determined to hold to his decision to leave this place and to go where his skills were needed most.

Setting his expression into one of determination, Toshiro tried his best not to falter under Kondo’s hard glare; his father figure knew what was coming. He’d anticipated it. They’d had this discussion before, yet Toshiro and Kondo never saw eye to eye.

“I’m going to join the Guard. I don’t know when I’ll be back.”

“I already told you, I cannot allow you to waste your life by doing that.”

The voice was stern, and for a moment, Toshiro thought he heard a tinge of worry or hurt even. So, the boy looked up into the eyes of Kondo, searching...

“But I have to. There are people suffering. Dying! If I don’t use my sword, what other skills do I have to save them? The rebels will keep -”

“Don’t be arrogant! You fool! -”

“But I have to do something!”  Toshiro’s eyes brimming with tears, he was practically shaking with fervency.  “What kind of terrible person would I be if I didn’t do anything to help them!? How could I live with myself, when all this is over, knowing that I did nothing!?”

The boy was so vehement. Kondo understood those feelings better that Toshiro probably expected him to, but he still couldn’t agree with the boy’s decision. Yet, as things stood, there was no way Kondo could deny him, either. Toshiro’s heart was already too far down that path to turn back. There was no way Kondo could keep him at the Hall, where he would be safe -not only from rebels, but from himself.

A long moment of silence passed between the two of them; silence that was pregnant with the tension of both their stubborn rage.

Kondo wanted to hold his adopted son in his arms and kiss his head, having the assurance that Toshiro would do the right thing and stay with him instead, where he wouldn’t make a mess of his life. He wanted Toshiro to realize that what he was saying and hoping for, could never happen in the way that he was imagining. Toshiro was choosing to learn the hard way, though.

He would learn by his own life experience that even if he could help a life by taking one, at what point did that cycle end? At what point did saving a life justify the cruelty it took to end another? In the end, Toshiro would be losing more than his boyish innocence. There would be a much heavier price to pay for all of it than he could begin to imagine. That was the life he was choosing though. Toshiro was making himself clear on that now.  

The grave disappointment evident in every one of his features, Kondo couldn’t help but feel a sense of great sadness for his apprentice-son. Barely able to keep his own tears in check, his mind frantically looked back, searching for exactly where he’d gone wrong in Toshiro’s training that would have led him to make such a decision. Of course he would blame himself for it.  “Go, then. Don’t get yourself killed, and don’t think you can come running back to me the moment you find yourself in trouble. If that’s what you want, do it on your own. Don't expect me to help you.”

Toshiro’s eyes lit up in that briefest moment where Kondo agreed to letting him go. But when he understood there was no real agreement between the two of them, that Kondo had simply cut their ties, the light in the boy’s eyes began to diminish. Witnessing Kondo’s utter disappointment stung him deeply.

But it wasn’t something that could be helped. In Toshiro's mind, this was something that he had to do.

Toshiro had begun to speak some words of gratitude to try and ease the mood or perhaps mend their bond in some way, but as his adopted father turned his back on him, walking away in moody contemplation, Toshiro realized that nothing he could say would be enough to undo what had just been done. Toshiro swallowed hard against the rising emotion in his throat. He had to accept that an exchange had been made. The life that Kondo saw fit for him, for the one he thought he desired most. And Kondo had made it clear that he would take no part in it.

Now there was no choice but to see that life through. There was no returning to how things had been. There was no returning to this place. Not as an apprentice, nor perhaps even as a beloved son.

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