Prodigal Prodigy V
"What about this woman, my Lady?"
A stone cold hand grabbed Togashi Fuyako's chin and a two-colored face leveled with hers. One of the eyes looking into hers was cold and hard. The other surrounded by dark obsidian.
"Let her live. Her child will serve the Clan, just as will she." Hitomi let Fuyako go and turned to the kneeled samurai before her. "Understood?!"
"Yes, mistress! But what of the Two-Sword Crane," one of the samurai asked as he indicated another man leaning against a nearby wall.
Hitomi sighed, "He is ready… Take him to the tattoo chamber."
* * *
Okugi yawned as he woke up from his vision-sleep. So his mother's name was Togashi Fuyako, now he would only have to meet her. He stood from his sitting position and walked out of the guest room and into Shiro Mirumoto. He knew his way around from his days before his gempukku. Unlike most he had received his training from a Tamori-sensei at Shiro Mirumoto, instead of following 'classes' at Shiro Tamori. Okugi made his way to the audience chamber, he went past a courtyard and watched for a moment as young bushi trained.
Okugi recognized his old Mirumoto-sensei, but the man could not recognize him, he had never seen Okugi's face, let alone his body. It occurred to him that he knew none of the young bushi and he realized that the one who passed their seppuku would probably be aiding the refugees from the volcano eruption.
He felt a bit guilty, that the people here were in great need and he came here to request a audience with Togashi Hoshi to learn about his past. He was granted the audience and because he could not be late, he had to leave the thought of guilt behind for the moment and continue towards the audience chamber.
Okugi came to a large hall with tall double doors blocking the way into the chamber. He was received by an ise zumi woman. She motioned to one of the tatami mats as she bowed to Okugi.
For a moment Okugi looked the woman over and suddenly he recognized her.
"Eisai-sama," he said as he kneeled before her. He looked up to see her confused face, her eyes asking 'have we met?' Okugi shook his head and his eyes returned the message 'not personally' with a smile. Eisai nodded and left Okugi to the silence of the large waiting hall.
Okugi sat down in the lotus position on the mat and closed his eyes. Sinking away in quiet contemplation, waiting for his host to meet him.
* * *
Okugi was quickly allowed to speak with Togashi Hoshi, he had only waited for three hours. The large doors opened, but there was no one near to open them. Okugi stood and walked through the doorway and up the steps to the meeting room. Behind him the doors closed again. Though he had seen this place in his vision, it still instilled awe in him.
"Good day, Okugi-san." The voice was rich and filled with the weight of centuries. Okugi finished the last steps and came face to… well his face was at the same height as Hoshi's middle, as long as he wouldn't stand on his hind… legs.
He was a bit shaken at seeing Hoshi's true form himself, but he quickly regained his composure and kneeled. "Hoshi-sama."
Laughter filled the gigantic chamber as Hoshi laughed heartily, "Stand, son of the Dragon. You wanted to speak with me, I will allow that, but only if you will look at me when we speak."
Okugi smiled relieved as he stood and look up so he could meet Hoshi's gaze. He was quite impressed by the man-dragon, and with what Okugi had seen he was impressed that he was impressed at all. "Hoshi-sama," Okugi started, "I came here to find my past. I have strong belief that my mother lived here as an ise zumi."
Nodding Hoshi replied, "You have had a vision about her?" He smiled when he saw Okugi frown in confusion. "You are not the only one that has knowledge of a great many things. And news such as yours travels fast, especially when given wings by Imperial courtiers. But I digress. Your mother is indeed an ise zumi and lives in a monestary nearby to this day, yearning to see you again. I will guide you to her, under one condition…"
* * *
"Agreed Hoshi-sama. It is a small price for my history."
"Then I will arrange a meeting with your mother. Tomorrow, in the gardens." Hoshi turned, finished talking to Okugi.
"Many thanks, Hoshi-sama," Okugi said as he bowed deeply. When he looked up again, Hoshi was gone and all he could do was descend the stairs and go to his quarters to meditate.
* * *
Okugi was nervous about meeting his mother. He had only one vision and it was from her point of view. But somehow he knew she was his mother, though he had not seen her or gained anyother sort of information. He just knew.
He entered the garden as tense as a readied bow string and walked towards the center with lead in his feet. Each step was an opportunity to turn back and fly away as if given wings, but Okugi would not have it. He was determined to meet his mother and face his past.
He finally came to the center of the garden. He found a woman sitting next to a pond, her hand idly tracing through the water. She had long gray hair hanging loose down her back and he could see tattoos on her arm. She looked up at a butterfly and held out her hand for it to land upon. With her other hand she petted the little creature, and it was then that she noticed Okugi's still form.
Okugi swallowed and stepped forward. He kneeled beside her and stammered, "Mother?"
The woman turned and looked at Okugi. Her face was aged, but the life of a
monk gave her a healthy look, and she was not old at all, judging from her eyes.
As she saw Okugi as smile grew on her face. Both of them shed tears of joy as the embraced each other, for the first time since many years.
They had cried for a long time before either of them found a voice to speak with. "Mother," Okugi whispered, "there is so much I want to ask, so much I do not yet know. Please, Mother, tell me."
* * *
Lord Yakamo had left to make room for Lady Hitomi and Lady Hitomi's pale light had gone away to let the Sun's rays roam free. For many hours Okugi and his mother talked, at the end of those hours they had learned much. Okugi had told how he had lived since he was left at the monestary. His mother had told him his name, Togashi Masurao, and all about her life.
"But what about my Father? Who is he? Where?" Okugi was burning inside to know this as well.
His mother turned away and looked at the pond. "Let's just say that your father is very special and you will meet in due time. That is all I can tell you." She looked up again, but this time her gaze settled on someone else. Looking back Okugi, now Togashi Masurao, saw Eisai standing at the edge of the gardens. It was clear that the conversation was over.
Masurao and Fuyako stood and embraced each other for the last time. As his mother walked towards Eisai, Masurao watched her go with a heavy heart. Though he was filled with joy, he would've rather stayed with her. Just as his mother was about to leave his sight she turned and said, "Masurao-chan, before I forget… You have a twin brother!"
Before Masurao could even stammer his mother had left and he was alone again. A brother? Had he learned about his mother and solved that riddle, only to even the score by gaining the riddle of a brother? His mind spun and he sat down to meditate, it seemed that was all he could do lately.
[To be continued]