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Return of a Legend (Yanaihara)

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Masaru practically fell out of his bed, barely working up the energy to walk. It was sometime in the afternoon, the sun piercing through the windows of his bedroom. While he still had responsibilities as a member of the Yanaihara noble family, Masaru was not the most timely person. He had a habit of scrambling to get somewhere on time unless it was something he actually enjoyed. Thankfully he had nothing on his schedule today, so he could wake up as late as he wanted. He could be slow to wake up with no repercussions.

Masaru’s quarters allowed the young noble to be very self-sufficient, resembling a large apartment by modern standards. Hekishoku Palace was a beautiful piece of architecture, but its vintage exterior was a wonderful mask for a well-equipped establishment. It had running water and functioning electricity (albeit at an average quality). Masaru even had a stove installed in his living space. He wasn’t one to be waited on, usually fixing his own meals and choosing his own outfits. He only asked so much of the servants; usually to clean the restroom and to make sure his quarters were clean in general.

The second son of the Yanaihara clan was very counter-cultural at heart, and it showed in his  general living space. When anybody would enter, they’d be met with a beautiful view of the Pond of Shizukana as half of said space had open windows leading to a balcony above it. Masaru was always one for nature and the sound of the waterfalls calmed him. The rest of the space was rather simple; an assortment of Masaru’s wildlife sketches adorning the walls with simple blue designs mixed in painted around them. A traditional dining table stood out in the middle of the room while a chabudai and accompanying tatami mats sat on the balcony. A small contemporary kitchen space rounded out the space, with a bathroom and Masaru’s bedroom out of direct view.

Masaru’s routine was simple. Get up, shower, clean himself up, start hot water for tea, figure out breakfast-  “Master Masaru, you have a guest.” That was unusual, he thought there was nothing on his schedule today. He was hoping his mother didn’t set up something dumb for him. “Who is it?” he said, the irritation present in his voice. The answer made him groan in realization; he was expecting to meet someone, yet he didn’t think it was today, “Yagyushi no Teppu.” A man notorious for both his skill with the Kusarigama and for his disgracing of the clan’s reputation, resulting in his exile from Yanaihara territory. The man lost an arm in a duel using a weapon he loved while representing the society he loved. Masaru had found his banishment rather dumb and undeserved; clearly his loss was a poor reason for exile. So, Masaru made a decision unbeknownst to his parents and summoned Teppu back to the clan. Such skill shouldn’t be let go at the slightest flaw. He consulted nobody when doing this, so it took a long time to track him down. Regardless, he felt that it would be worth the effort.

However, at the moment Masaru was nowhere decent enough for a formal greeting. Yet he didn’t have it in him to get himself prepared. He was in his nightclothes, he hadn’t completely woken up and he was about to start up hot water for tea. In his mind, it was better to just greet the man now and not postpone anything. He was still decent, even in nightclothes. So he grabbed his tea kettle, went to the sink and started filling it with water, “Let him in!” He might as well have some formality in this scenario, and tea was simple enough.

@The Rabbit Emperor

Edited by Animal

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Teppu had received word just a few short weeks ago - the second son of his former Lord had asked for his presence! In the twenty years he had been away much had changed about the Midlands, not least of which was their ruler; but much had also remained uncomfortably the same. The murmurs of the townsfolk when Teppu arrived wasn't unexpected, but it was somewhat surprising they even remembered the disgraced ronin. "Yagyushi no Teppu?" A female voice called out from near the entrance to the large estate that was Hekishoku Palace. Teppu nodded in response, his memory searching for the face of the older female maid that was looking him up and down like a common peasant.  Her face told him she was not pleased with his attire, the black uwagi and hakama making up the primary of his outfit, the hakama tied tight to his ankles by kyahan more common among nefarious folk to keep the fabric from making noise while in movement. The dull, unadorned colors and utilitarian, shinobi style of his attire was hardly appropriate for a retainer of the Yanaihara. "I'd tell you to remove your geta Yagyushi, but as your wearing tabi I'll ask you just not get the floors dirty instead." The servants complete lack of respect, using no honorific and demanding tone wasn't lost on Teppu, but it wasn't something he was particuarly offended by. Whatever noble blood once flowed through his veins had long since been expunged, the shame of life as a ronin stealing from him any pride as a warrior. 

"At least you are wearing a haori; is that not the one your wife gave you after she became pregnant?" The maid asked, her tone dripping with the venom that left little doubt the reminder of his family was meant to hurt him. The bright white haori Teppu wore open like a western jacket had indeed once been a gift from his ex-wife; Yaeko. Yaeko had been the daughter of a minor noble house, considered under his station when he was a Master. Famously strong willed and fond of masculine pursuits she was considered an uncouth woman by the gentry. She was also famously beautiful, and Teppu had taken her hand in marriage despite her reputation. They had proven very compatible, and the pair were rarely seen apart. 

He had not seen her since his exile, and never knew what had become of their child. She had refused to see him after his failure, and the divorce had been announced to him by letter. "It is, Saeyonji-dono." Teppu finally replied, giving the older maid a much greater honorific then she deserved. "I will bring you to Yanaihara-sama." Saeyonji stammered, unsure of how to deal with even a disgraced noble showing such deference. Teppu followed close to the woman as she lead him through the massive estate, her eyes occasionally glancing at the tattoos which marked the perimeter of Teppu's head. "A Terric brand, a symbol of a ronin." Teppu explained after catching her glance. not bothering to explain to the woman that it was only such a thing among the criminal underworld of Weland.

Best the woman didn't know his life as an assassin and shinobi. Her exchange with Masaru-sama left Teppu somewhat concerned, for it seemed the youngest son of his lord was not expecting him. Eventually he was guided in. As he entered Teppu bowed, allowing his eyes to scan the room while eye contact was not expected. It was a unique abode, showing a personal flair that many Yanaihara nobles and their branch families did - an artistic people, self expression wasn't frowned upon as long as it was not shameful. Teppu did not even bat an eye at Masaru's attire, his age lined face remaining like granite. It was unorthodox, assuredly, the kind of thing he imagined Saeyonji would love to scold were her position to allow it. 

"Masaru-oji, it is a pleasure to see you again. Last we met you were but a boy." Teppu said, his tone and wording somewhat clumsy, it had been sometime since Teppu had spoken formal Genesari Midlander, the subtle differences between it and Welander blending in his mind and causing his word choice to sound somewhat strange. "You have called for me after some time, how can this ronin be of service, heika?" In truth Teppu had expected this meeting to be a suicide request, a need for a deniable warrior to do something for which he was not expected to return alive. Teppu relished that idea, to die regaining his honor was the best he could possibly hope for after so long away. 

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