Wednesday, 19 August 2009
10:12:28 AM (GMT)
Eichiro seemed pleased for a change, and stuck his head out to call the whole group
in without missing a beat. Hwaga later explained that since Teren talked so slow, and
thought so long before speaking, everyone jumped into action after he was done to
make up for it.
Everyone did their best to pile inside- even the horses. Mana had never
really seen a horse before meeting Eichiro, but she assumed that how they were acting
in Solem was what people meant when they said horses looked distressed. Fortunately,
Hwaga apparently loved horses and took them out and around the back of the shop to
calm them down.
That left just over a dozen people trying to stand in the cluttered shop,
Fishi included. Kiri started to ask if there was, perhaps more room in back that they
could talk in, but Eichiro stopped her with a smile and a shake of his head. Teren,
Mana noticed, was starring very fixedly off into space when the back of his shop was
mentioned. The idea of chairs was briefly entertained, but one of them cracked when
Kiyomi tripped and fell on one, which made everyone laugh and further lightened the
mood. In the end, everyone settled the best they could in such a crowded place;
hardly anyone had to stand in boxes at all.
Finally everyone was, if not seated somehow, at least comfortable, and Teren
began staring at Eichiro. A few moments passed, and a note of expectancy entered
Terens gaze. Almost a minute went by, in which no one quite knew if they should say
something or not, but they weren't traveling at least. Takuya caught Kiri's eye from
the trunk he was sitting on behind Teren's back, and mouthed something. Then he
placed his hands on top of each other and wriggled his thumbs.**
Finally, when Mana was about to say something, Teren burst out "Weill?", with
the air of someone who couldn't take the suspense any longer. As much as it was
possible for a fish to shake his head, Fishi did so. Teren seemed to have no
sense for what a proper pause was!
"I'm afraid there isn't a great deal I can tell you, old friend. I wouldn't
want to put you, or your assistant, in danger." Eichiro said in a pleasant tone.
Several seconds went by, and then,
"Aw, dun give me nun of that! Ya been gone four years, I deseerve te know why," Teren
countered in a slow, friendly tone. Mana wondered how long Eichiro must have known
him to get used to such a speech pattern.
"Alright... Suffice to say that I was the member of royalty who had least in
the way of protection," Eichiro responded with appropriate slowness. As soon as the
last syllable was formed, Teren responded, speaking fast. Mana's head was turning
back and forth between them as if she was watching a tennis match.
"Yeh mean te tell me you were stolen? Who could kidnap our Prodigy
Prince?" Around her, the others were beginning to lose interest. They'd been
traveling for awhile, and the dusty shop didn't require them to be at full alert.
"Would you believe I had actually forgotten that nickname," Eichiro stated,
"I was... Careless. I wanted to be alone, and far away, so I was without any
protection but Taheiji, who was much younger then. I knew my family had enemies, but
I didn't think they'd come after me, I didn't think they'd be more then I could
Unnoticed by Teren, Sera swatted Ato's hand away from a small swatch of
cloth. Ato stepped away, looking only slightly guilty. Sera arched a brow and stuck
out her hand, forcing Ato to remove an identical piece of fabric from his pocket.
Teren continued speaking, without giving Eichiro's statement quite the meaningful
pause it deserved.
"Who nabb'd ye, laddy? I'll rip the bastu-" "Why, Teren! Just a couple
minutes ago you were surprised that I wasn't ten." Eichiro said jokingly. Mana
thought his smile looked strained, and wondered if Eichiro was entirely ready to talk
about what had happened.
"Hang on, ye said ye wanted to be away. Who're ye runnin' from?" asked Teren.
Luck seemed to have let him time the question properly for once, and Eichiro was
caught off guard.
"If ye were worried about the marriage, Muskinatu was imprisoned, last I heard. Of
course, we don't hear much 'round here these days, so we tend te assume that people
who were missing before are dead now..." "She's probably still alive, as if that's
much comfort. I heard she was fine at the last town we stopped at, anyway. Now when
you say "missing before", before what?"
Mana leaned forward, but wasn't sure how she could enter the conversation.
The topics had changed so fast that even the two actually involved in it seemed to be
backtracking a lot.
"Shikuro Ma- No, I ain't ganna say it. He sent his guys in, and they closed up the
town. He blew through us like dust about a year ago, just checking that all wus
'calm'. Repressed is more like it. Anyhow, he changed out the men who were stationed
here, got a couple lads who were old enough to hold a sword, young enough to want to,
and left again, not a day after passin' through," Mana leaped at the chance to speak,
and ended up interrupting Eichiro.
"Ah, sorry Mana, what was that?" Eichiro asked politely, "I asked how many kids
he took?" Mana said quickly, "I inquired as to why he would want Solem." Eichiro
"Ah, las, ye don't know enough about boys. He didn't take the lads, he just
made a speach to the townsfolk 'bout how he hoped they'd noticed how calm things had
been since the soldiers came in, and soon there might be a war, and he only hoped
that we were all out of it, yata yata, then after expressing his sincerest
wishes that it not come to fighting, and no fighting come to the people of Solem, he
asked if anyone would join him. Got six takers, all said, none older than twenty."
Why are their so many kids involved with this? Mana wondered mutely, as
the conversation moved to talking about Solem geographic point leaving it open to
such a siege.
Rising slowly, so as not to distract Teren during his pause, Mana walked to
where some of the others had drifted. Hwaga was appearntly trying to teach them to
play a card game.
"Mana, wanna get dealt in? The games call nait pyge, but it's basically like rat
screw, 'cept the cards are funny looking," Said Sera, sliding to make room for Mana
on the box she was perched atop.
"No thanks. You guys should listen to this, this stuff is important..." "I'll
deal with whatever they're talking about when it's standing in front of me with a
sword." Ato said easily. "I'll deal with it once it's important enough for Eichiro to
tell us about, and once Ato's already pick pocketed its sword hilt." Takuya said,
thus receiving a friendly elbow from Kiri.
"Sorry Mana, I hear them talking about how to protect places and people I've
never heard of and tune out. I couldn't find the Moon Isles with three maps and a
compass, so I can't save anyone there." Hana said apologetically. Kiyomi just
"You left too, Mana. So common, deal in, before Eichiro learns that
something else went down the toilet while he was gone, and we have to keep going."
Sera said. Mana, still unsure, turned to Hwaga who said "What with the state of
things, it's been awhile since I really got to play..." So while Eichiro and Teren
caught up, Mana got to relax, even if it was just for a little while.
"Course, I actually have a motive for keeping you occupied here," Hwaga
said mischeivously. Shiki flipped her card onto the table. "Are we going to die in
the immediate future?" Shiki asked, as play continued,
"Well, no my motive isn't that bad. As a kid, Eichiro Maji would
leave his family and travel around for months. Apparently, the Prince was in the
woods, lost and alone, when he and Teren met. Teren was trying not to be killed by a
wild animal at the time. According to legend, the Prodigy Prince's fears were driven
out of his mind when he saw his subject in danger, and he killed the beast with
magic, at the tender age of eight. Then he got upset that the creature had died, and
Teren had to guide him to this very shop, with the Prince sobbing tears of beautiful
compassion for all living things."
"Then again, this legend also says that sprites were born of those
tears, so it's been exaggerated a fair bit, but the point is clear. Those two owe
each other their lives, and have known each other for years. Teren was nearly at the
point of suicide when he heard that Eichiro was missing. That's why I started working
here in the first place, so he wouldn't be lonely. I just want them to be left alone
for awhile." Hwaga spoke softly, because everyone was watching Teren and Eichiro.
Mana played her cards, wondering what sort of person Eichiro had
Well, one things for sure- things started happening once Eichiro was gone. I'm
amazed that so many lives were affected. Who else knew him...?
** If no one caught this, Takuya was doing the "awkward turtle" hands.