From the Pillow Book of Shiba Izo

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From the Pillow Book of Shiba Izo

Post by Shiba Izo on Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:42 am

January 25th

I bought a new pillow book on the way into the city. This is the first real time that I have been away from home, such an occasion is worth spending a few zeni. I always had a silent admiration for some of the authors back in Kyuden Isawa, and a good samurai should have many talents, so perhaps I shall come to master the pen as I have the sword and spear. Court is being held tomorrow by “Chiji”[1], so I will stop my entry here for tonight.

Until the morning, Izo

[1] In pillow books the names of individuals are often replaced with pseudonyms so to protect the writer from the ire of anyone he or she happens to insult or slander. Chiji is the Rokugani word for governor, hence the name.

January 26th

What an arduous day it has been, the serenity of my bed is a much needed comfort. I will try to keep the events of court short in this retelling.

Upon arrival in Chiji's domain, he did not waste time to make it known that he would be hosting three tournaments to fill his personal court. The first assignment of Majordomo was hosted out of sight, so I didn't see who joined or what the test consisted of. What I did see was that the position went to “Lady Kay”. She seems much like the element she masters; often calm, sometimes dangerous. Following that tourney, there was a small break before the Masters or Arms and Elements were chosen. I went with “Lord Kai” to the tea stall that the Crane were supporting, the “WL”. There was some small conversation and I met a few of my fellow samurai there. Noteworthy, I met “Jay” who was a Yojimbo to Lady Kay as well as her husband. It was pleasant to meet another man with the same vows as I, and with the same skills I would wager. He had a certain calmness to him that I could only compare to that of a duelist. We spoke and I wrote him a letter hoping to meet with him again in the future.

Finally it was time for the Master of Arms tournament. This event was public and I sat in on it with Lord Kai. There were a few who presented themselves, and almost all of them were laughably confused by Chiji's question “How would you use your skills in time of peace, to maintain peace?”. I was thankful for my balanced temper, lest I lose face laughing at the struggle of a crab to explain peace. What stood out to me though was the “Feathered Crab”. Considering his descent, I expected he would meet Chiji's question with ease. But it seemed the time on the wall can make a man forget what peace is, his response was the most laughable. In the end the position went to a Dragon, who impressed Chiji with her talent of Origami.

Lastly was the Master of Elements, and a test that truly tried my patience. I would not dare to question Chiji's judgment, nor Lord Kai's skills, but a lesser man might comment that the position was misplaced. Only two showed up to the test, Lord Kai and “ Raibaru”. The question presented was a question of how each shugenja interacted with the Kami. I could tell from the beginning that the contest had been decided before it had even begun and regretted wasting my time watching the unfolding of events. Lord Kai gave his answer, Raibaru hers, and Chiji chose the samurai he wanted. A disappointment, but Lord Kai seemed to take the defeat with honor. Truly he is a nobler man than I.

The night was drawing to a close, but not before the final event of the night. It seemed that one of the disgruntled participants of the first tourney had started a malicious rumor against Chiji. You could feel the fires of shame and anger from every samurai in that courtroom when it was brought to light, but the burning lash of Chiji's tongue raged most rampantly. “Wamu” was dismissed from court and presumably made ronin. A dramatic end to a tiring day. If I had been the one to pass judgement, I would not have been so merciful.

Perhaps that is why I am not meant to be part of the Kuge.

Until the morning, Izo
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A Poem for "Goman"

Post by Shiba Izo on Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:42 pm

A Poem for "Goman"[2]

Three little crabs crawled into the sunlight.
One shook his claw towards the sky,
And cursed at those who flew above.
Only two remain.


[2] This poem is not a Haiku for a reason. Izo wrote it as part of a common game played at court called "The Game of Letters". In this game, the writer pens a  31 syllable poem criticizing or insulting the recipient. It is expected that the recipient will write back with a counter argument in the same form. This continues until one party cannot think of a sharp remark, which acknowledges the other party the mental superior.
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From the Pillow Book of Shiba Izo

Post by Shiba Izo on Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:45 pm

March 21st

It's been two months since my last entry, though I have good reason. In a series of events, which I will leave untouched, I have found myself working constantly. The Festival in February, and the subsequent events have left me and Lord Kai busy from dusk till dawn. I have barely had time to pen out a proper poem, let alone update this book.

Still, our efforts proved fruitful. Just in time for this month's court, the work finally started to lessen. I spent my free time at the WL with friends, and even managed to prepare a poem for the Game I've been enjoying with Goman.

I was late to arrive, a few complications prevented me from reaching the Chiji's domain. I was shocked to see Lady Kay speaking on Chiji's behalf, apparently he was preoccupied this week. More shocking though was the absolute disdain with which our new arrivals treated her. Truly Lady Kay is a woman of high temperament, expected of a Crane.

She and "Damasu" retired to conduct some business, and myself and Lord Kai set upon our own plans. I mailed my letter to Goman, and another letter I had penned out. A love letter no less, but not my own. It's a strange thing to turn another's passions into your own words. But the man who instructed me was not the most apt in poetry. We'll call him "Suki". Two letters out, one letter back. An acknowledgement of my victory in our little game. I was very pleased, and she had handled it so gracefully. If you are reading this, dear Goman, I congratulate you.

You must understand my shock when one of my poems to Goman had reached the hands of "Shimai". She must have lost it, or more likely thrown it away. Shimai confronted me, asking me if I had wrote it. Of course I had! I had signed the paper and marked it with my chop. If I was not the writer, then who would be? I amused her for a short time, but was latter drawn away with another matters. A matter of the heart.

Later in the evening, Shimai made her intentions known in a display of what I assumed to be subtlety. It seems she had received Suki's letter and was very eager to find it's writer. Her tactics were very Kitsuki, and I knew she would be pestering me soon enough. I was disappointed, she was clearly only interested in using her "talents" to punish Suki. But as morose as I was about that news, I could only imagine Suki would take it worse. It is to be expected I suppose, we can't change a person's nature.

That is all for this entry.

Until the morning, Izo
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Final Poem To Goman

Post by Shiba Izo on Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:48 pm

Final Poem To Goman

Pride is like a beautiful fan,
Elegant and charming.
It brings attention to its wielder,
But it can often be misplaced.
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A Poem For Katsu-chan

Post by Shiba Izo on Tue Mar 24, 2015 9:50 pm

To Katsu-chan

A beautiful vase sits on the shelf.
A passerby wonders,
What mysteries it holds.
He looks within,
Only to find nothing.

Love, Izo-nii
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From the Pillow Book of Shiba Izo

Post by Shiba Izo on Mon Apr 20, 2015 1:39 am

April 18th

Love is a paradox.

A blessing and a curse, something to be exalted and hidden, a tragedy and a fortune.

Love is strange.

And yet, for all my steeling against such things, I have fallen victim to Benten's piercing arrow. Dead and yet somehow now more alive than I have ever been.

Today I consummated my love for another. A moment that lasted a lifetime, and still felt far too short. Seconds to centuries and back again. Two bodies becoming one, and then going their separate ways. A feeling of being complete and then, just as soon as it came, emptiness. Benten's curse, and her blessing.

So then, I find myself venturing into this bizarre and enticing world of love. Intoxicated as I draw deeper into her world, and she into mine.

Until the morning, Izo

My exquisite rose,
stands tall with all her beauty,
and all of her thorns.
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