Posts Tagged politics

Second Daughter, pt. xvi

Kaori does not cry when she reads the response from the governor. She also cannot bring herself to be angry at her brother. She knew it would be a gamble, big risk and big rewards. She pushes it away from her mind, focuses on the daily activities of the household. Much of that is helping her mother with the preparations for the wedding. The message had not come the way the first had, there was no armored rider carrying the banner of the province. This time it was just a humble messenger from the nearby office of records. Kaori knew of him, the record-keeper. He had grown up with Kaori’s father, the younger brother of the now-patriarch of the Sengicha family. Kaori’s father and him had talked for hours before Kaori’s father finally came to her room to deliver the letter.

“Thank you, father.”

“I am sorry your work will not be featured this time. These events have put me to wonder though, how was it that governor heard that verse of yours?”

“I imagine one of the men that were there. Perhaps big brother will know, he was much more observant at the time than I was.”

“He mentioned a man in green brocade, but also that no one there held the seal of the province anywhere on their person.”

“If I was casting suspicions, I would also have to say the man in green brocade. He seemed the only one out of place. Perhaps a courtier at the governor’s offices?”


“Is there anything else, father?”

“I have asked for a copy of the Provincial Poem, once it is available to those who could not attend the ceremony, I wish to see in what company you would have been.”

Kaori’s fan comes out. It flutters slowly, lazily. “Is that, perhaps, why big brother saw fit to take the gamble?”

Her father sighs. “It is why I did not stop him. The company you keep as a poet, especially as a young woman and a poet, should be of almost as large a concern for you as finding a husband.”

Kaori watches her father as her fan keeps moving. He smiles gently at her. “Why don’t you come join us for tea?”

She smiles back at him, “I would not intrude upon your meeting.”

“Our business is concluded, and he is a good character for you to know.”

“If you insist, father.” Kaori rises, the pastel yellow of her clothes settling around her, long sleeves flowing across the front of her sapphire sash. She walks with her father to the sitting area, her fan tucked into her sleeve. The gentleman there is just slightly younger than her father, perhaps her mother’s age.

Kaori bows as she enters, “Good afternoon Mister Sengicha.” Her father steps forward. “Hensei, this is my daughter, Kaori.”

“It is a pleasure to meet the blossom of my good friend’s eye, you have grown quite a bit since I last saw you.”

“I must have been just a tiny sprout, certainly to young to carry the memory of the meeting.”

Hensei laughs. “She’s quick too, Kage. You’ve done well.”

Kaori’s father smiles. “Thank you old friend. Please, sit, let us all enjoy our tea together.”


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Second Daughter, pt. xii

Full moon hangs unseen,
cloudy skies and autumn noise.
A good time for talk.

Kaori’s father smiles. The verse is good, better than some of Kaori’s other verses, including some from this evening. She makes a mental note to write it down later.

“Well done, daughter. Your verse is dense, yet subtle, and your meaning unclouded by the metaphors. Furthermore, it helps that you are correct in your point. Your mother and I have discussed many things without you, even your siblings an your parents seem to be making plans and you are none the wiser. This is no way to treat a soon-to-be-lady. I forget sometimes that you are not your mother, and then I am thankful when I remember.”

“But mother is an excellent lady, I should strive to be like her.” Kaori’s fan comes out, it flutters slowly, curiously.

“Your mother is, but she can be forceful and nosy, and often gives an opinion on matters that do not concern her, nor that I would like an opinion for. Don’t mistake me, I love your mother very much, but I thank Heaven that I can simply tell you what is to be without responding to an inquisition about it.”

“Will my husband appreciate my servility?”

Kaori’s father frowns. “Yes and no. You must learn carefully when to balance servility and action. A good wife is informed of the household’s actions, understands what is happening and what needs to be done to support her husband, often without asking or being thanked. For this you must be forceful and imposing. But there will be times when your husband requires you to be still, and quiet; to allow him to make plans without input. It is a balance that can only be learned after much time with one another.”

“Thank you, Father.” Kaori’s face remains neutral, unchanging, the fan works it way back into her sash. She looks down into her teacup. Her voice does not echo through the room, she is not performing anymore. Her father almost does not hear.

“When is my sister’s marriage?”

“In two weeks time your sister will be married. The vagabond I thought she was spending her time with is none other than our distant neighbors son. It will bring our houses closer together, and help us to avoid conflict with anyone.”

Kaori thinks. She has not spent much time with the neighbors. She knows their children from spending time together at festivals. Often they would invite Kaori to play in public, just as often they took her refusal as an insult. It was not that she didn’t like them, but there was just so much to see, so many things to make verses out of. So many verses to keep inside in order to write down.

“But if my sister marries into the Ippintsu household, will not our other neighbors be jealous?”

“The Sengicha household has no desire for our land. Even now, they are making deals two prefectures over to marry their oldest son to the daughter of a warlord. They see the recent conflicts as opportunity to become closer to the powers that rule, instead of what this chaos really is.”

“And that is…?”

“The opportunity for death to take all you hold dear.”

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