... 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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 Alternative Perspectives -Toshiro

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PostSubject: Alternative Perspectives -Toshiro   Alternative Perspectives -Toshiro I_icon32Fri Jun 14, 2013 2:32 pm

A Brief Exordium

Looking back on it now, the months he’d been married to the young lady Kesa, reclused in the hillsides of Southern Telgar Hold, was a time Toshiro had grown a great fondness for and yet, he had been unable to fully appreciate it back then.

One might contribute it to the possibility that emotionally, Toshiro was much more vulnerable and childish at that time than he could ever admit. Having spent his entire life rushing to grow up, he’d never had the chance to nurture that equally important child’s nature, even if there was no real moving past it until it had been explored. Instead, though, it was simply repressed and lay dormant until, by chance, there came some opportunity for it to express itself. For, like any other part of one’s self, it never ceased to exist. Each facet of a person is simply either nurtured or restricted, growing or shrinking to whatever proportion the individual allows. And yet, no matter what path in life is chosen, there is a time in each person’s life that every one of those facets of human nature will be explored to some degree. As they should be explored.

At that time though, Toshiro thought differently. For, as many puppeteers may have had hands on his marionette strings during the Telgar conflicts, Toshiro had chosen to be there. Regardless of how one wanted to argue the matter of how his young mind and his skills had been used, he had wanted it. He would say he knew what he was getting into. There had been nothing more important to him than making a difference in the world by being able to put to use the only great ability that he had. And the Guard of Telgar gave him that chance.

Going to live in the low mountains of the Westerly parts of Telgar, young bride in tow, provided a much welcomed, and yet unwelcomed, change of circumstance. Though he had gained some freedom there, no longer catering to every whim of his superiors, Toshiro had been sent there outside of his own compulsion, when he could have stayed in Southern Telgar Hold to fight. Right up until the war had been won. For that reason, at that time, there was some amount of resentment regarding his retreat. It was at that time more than any, that Toshiro felt out of sorts about everything, because only then, when the strings were finally let go, had he felt that orders had been given unfairly -orders in which he had no say.

It was an ironic perception that causes him regret now, because there was much more joy to have been had in the company of his wife, Kesa if he would have just opened his heart to her sooner.

Turn 495 
(Part 6)

A child’s wind-up top lay still on the floor beside Toshiro where he slept sitting up against the wall, his weapons poised to stand against one shoulder. Shortly after they began living together, Kesa had watched him idly play with it many times before he slept. The two of them never slept in the same bed. Toshiro would rest there against the wall, and Kesa would sleep alone under the down-filled comforter of their bed. Tonight though, unable to sleep, Kesa thought to take a blanket to him, the air having turned a bit cool.

After watching him sleep peacefully for a moment, she picked the top up off the floor and then finally reached to nestle the blanket gently around her husband. But sensing that light touch, Toshiro had roused from his sleep, having quickly moved to take her wrist captive.

That grip on her wrist though, was not kind. Awoken unexpectedly, it was instinct that took over him. Before Kesa could even blink or cry out, Toshiro had whirled them both to their feet, knife drawn and set against her throat in a reverse grip.

Surprised to find Kesa there, Toshiro thrust her away, instantly withdrawing the weapon. The motion sent her off balance and she sprawled to the floor. The toy clattered after her, the blanket dropping into a pile at Toshiro's feet. The force he’d used to send her there was as much to put her out of reach of the knife that had nearly carried through, as to remind her of the fact that it was not safe to sneak up on him. There was a possibility he could have slit her throat before he ever realized it was her.

Kesa tried to catch herself with both hands as momentary fear took hold of her. A plaintive and apologetic glance back up at him, assured her that he had not meant her harm -she’d just startled him. So, she drew her legs back under her to pick herself up from the floor.

Relieved that he had not seriously hurt her, Toshiro offered quiet apology, “I’m sorry. But you should be more careful.”

“No. It’s my fault. I just...thought you might be cold.”

At her words, Toshiro was nodding, trying to be appreciative, but the circumstance still created an uncomfortable tension between them.

Kesa tried to smile, wanting to put the mood at ease, so she picked up the rogue top that had rolled away, bringing it back to him. “You always have these toys. Do they bring back fond memories?” The young woman had hoped that Toshiro might respond positively to the change in subject, knowing that she had not taken his reaction personally.

“No. It’s not that.” Taking the toy from her hand, Toshiro’s walnut gaze turned down to it. There, Kesa caught a glimpse of secret torments. “I’m just a killer. A killer has no need for such things.”

“You know, you don’t have to go on living that way. You can choose not to. No one can go on killing people forever. Let this be a place of peace.” Kesa was hopeful that here, with her, tucked away where no one could find them, that he could decide to do so. It would hurt her if he chose not to. “There is no more need to sleep with a sword by your side.“

“I’ve been doing that since I was a child. I wish that sleep was my only fear.”

“What is it that haunts you, then? We are far from where there is any fighting.”

Toshiro was quiet for a moment, taking the time to tuck the toy away under the collar of his thick-woven wrap-around tunic. He hardly seemed to consider the words before answering, “I won’t live a long life. I have already come to accept that. You waste your time worrying about it more than I do.”

Bending to pick up the blanket, Toshiro folded it and handed it back to her. “I thank you, but please keep it. Nothing of yours should ever smell of blood like I do.” 

Kesa paused, and then lowered her head a little sheepishly, wondering if she was wrong to worry for him. She was his wife after all. But if he didn't want her to...then she couldn't help it. "I was rude to speak to you in this way. I should know not to meddle in matters I don't understand."


Sitting on the small porch built up around the entrance of their humble home, Toshiro was busy appreciating the pleasant shade it offered while the noon sun shined its brightest. Squinting his eyes, he looked out over a garden grown tall with vegetables, watching his wife stand from where she’d bent over to pull some tubers from the ground for their dinner.

Kesa paused long enough to wipe sweat from her brow before placing the root vegetables in her hand-basket, then turning to bring them to the house. Setting the basket down on the porch, Kesa smiled in her adorable, bubbly way, causing deep dimples in her almost child-like face. “Why don’t you go fishing? That would be a very nice addition to dinner tonight, don’t you think?”


Such curt replies were about all she would get.

“It would.” Voice un-lilted by enthusiasm, Toshiro had answered only to be agreeable, in show that at least she was not being ignored. Toshiro got up from his place on the porch, going to reach for his fishing supplies then, before heading off to the creek.

Since he was apparently going to disappear without much more than a passive glance her way, Kesa quietly harumphed her frustration out as she plopped herself down right where he had been, that cheery smile fading. The young woman’s wavy hair had been done up in a loose braid, a bandana cloth tied about her head to keep it out of her way -though she’d let a few wisps of curls escape about her face and neck to tease him. With few belongings to their name, clothes were relatively the same day to day, so there were limited ways of dressing that might be more sensually appealing to a man beyond simply removing them. Kesa still wanted to please Toshiro though, and in her own sweet, innocent way, had been trying to make that unabashedly clear to him. Unlike how she wanted to imagine a husband and wife being together though, Toshiro had only ever made love to her out of physical necessity. She knew it to be true. Since they were married, Kesa had hoped to change that. Kesa wanted for Toshiro to see her as someone he could love -even if their relationship had not started out in the ideal romance.

Honestly, the longer the two of them were together, the more Kesa’s heart had come to truly care for him. For her, that transition seemed to happen much more quickly than it did for him. Sometimes it made her worry for Toshiro, the way he was, so quiet and so cold. Even in bed.

Watching Toshiro walk down the well-beaten path toward the largest of the nearby creeks, Kesa sighed. After a moment, she decided there were things that could be done inside, and that would keep her out of the heat for a little while. Taking up her basket again, she stepped up onto the porch and took them to a corner of their cottage home where she would wash and prepare them for their meal later.

Going to open the shutters and small side-door connecting the secondary room of their small house to the outside, Kesa let the breeze through, carrying much of the stifling heat away with it. Since Toshiro would be away for awhile, she could spend the afternoon dusting and cleaning.

Moving back into the main room to start, Kesa first began to pick things up off the floor. Bending to collect Toshiro’s things from the corner by the front door where he slept gave her pause for thought. A wound-up top and a open-faced box with a labyrinth constructed inside of it, holes drilled to create obstacles for the marble that would be dropped inside and guided to roll from start to finish. Just children’s games. 

Though they both appeared to be about the same in age, Kesa always preferred to assume she was the younger. Sometimes though, the things that Toshiro did, made her wonder. She might just be a few turns older than him. When she watched him entertain himself quietly, Kesa couldn’t help but see him more as a child. She didn’t want to think of him like that necessarily, and seeing the weapons he carried, she knew that there was nothing innocent about him...but then she supposed that even children could be driven to murder in times like these.

Though Toshiro may be growing into adulthood and he never neglected his duties concerning his work or as a husband, Kesa found it curious to consider how young and what kind of person he might really be. What kind of life had he been made to struggle through in his few short turns? Simply making it to adulthood must have been trying for him. When they were outside, he easily stepped into the battle-hardened limn of a soldierborn, ever alert and undoubtedly fierce. Yet, when they retired within doors at the end of the day, having only the company of one another, he often sat near the door with weapons leaned into one shoulder, while in the other hand he played with toys. In a way, it was as if his body had been made to mature beyond his turns, but for all that he’d been through, his mind had not been allowed to.

Since he was not a young man of many words though, she could not press him to tell her anything. After innumerable attempts, she’d stopped trying to open conversation of any sort with Toshiro unless he spoke to her first.

All she could do was be patient and keep sight of hope. One day, she would find a way to get him to open his heart up to her.


Several months had gone by since their departure from Southern Telgar Hold. Toshiro and Kesa had taken only what things they could carry on their backs to the hillside cottage prepared for them. There, time seemed to pass very slowly as they built a new life for themselves -or at least temporarily finding reprieve from the one they’d left behind. The remote, rolling hillsides had proven to be the perfect place to hide themselves away at, and though they could not see nor hear the battles that still waged, the days continued to feel gray.   

Together, they had started a garden so that they were able to remain mostly self-sufficient. It would be difficult to survive, especially through the winter, if things had not turned out as well, but their garden was growing beautifully, thanks to Kesa’s expertise. Toshiro had managed to build a stone fence around it  to keep at least some of the critters out, and the fish he was able to catch from nearby creeks offered  welcome variety to their largely plant-based diet.

The pair only ventured in to the nearest cothold for Gather every couple sevendays. Sometimes even just once a month. It took a long day’s walk to get to where they could treat themselves to a meal that included meat and then spent the rest of their time bartering for whatever meager amenities were needed to live by. Though Toshiro was constantly alert during their ventures into town, that remained the extent of any real excitement they might see.

For Toshiro, such prolonged quiescence seemed almost unnatural. He looked forward to the periodic couriers who delivered word from the Southern Telgar Hold Guard headquarters. Updates were a welcome link to the life he was supposed to be in hiding from. But, as time went on, the letters became fewer. Eventually, word of any continued fighting ceased to make its way to them at all.

The days to follow, gradually began to usher in a sense of peace that Toshiro hadn’t felt in as long as he could remember. The quiet voice of nature as it spoke through each  breeze and rustle of leaves, seemed much more welcoming. The faint, but constant flow of water in nearby creeks, observing the life that teemed in and around them, reminded Toshiro that for once, he was glad to be alive. He was finally starting to see that life was pleasant here, tilling the soil and walking the banks of lonely little rivers along-side the woman who was his wife.

In the garden that he and Kesa nurtured together, Toshiro had learned to find a deep appreciation for being able to nurture life instead of take it. Kesa, having grown up on a farm, was able to teach him many things about agriculture. The process was magical to him. It seemed so simple, and yet there was a rich complexity to it all that granted such fulfilling gratification. Gratification that began a whole new process altogether -the process of healing.

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