This is a companion piece to the [url=http://www.unicornclan.com/forum/viewto ... 12#p20912r[\url] of Chasing the Winds. This was not written by me, but by Akodo Kibo's player from Winter Court 5. Reposted with permission.
Winter, 1234 – Shiro sano Ken Haya
Four days was how long Zetsubou had left him. One day to determine that it would be impossible to make the entire journey. One day to hide his worry in work. One day to make plans for the future. One day to prepare for the event itself. Akodo Kibo sat silently in the empty shrine of Shiro sano Ken Hayai. The shrine deep within the rebuilt castle itself built upon the bones of the last Kitsu.
Fitting, he thought, for such a place to be where he rested now. Perhaps this had always been their destiny. For all the times the old lion had nearly died in battle. For all the scars and old wounds that now kept him from active duty, this was to be his purpose. Meditation in an ancient place, granting another what feeble assistance he could gather.
Time had only strengthened their bond, even now he could feel that the time was fast approaching. Somewhere far away, the younger lion was preparing himself. It would be Zetsubou's strength alone that could do this thing, all that the old lion could do is send his brother quiet confidence.
The distance made it difficult, the connection was tenuous at best. If only- No, no regret should taint these moments. No desire to see the younger man again. No fear that he would not succeed or live to return. Those things Kibo banished without a thought, feeding them to the void.
Focus on the thread. The thread is all, breath in the nervousness, breath out only confidence and encouragement.
His body tensed almost immediately as he felt the strain begin. This was it. Hold on to the thread, breath in the stress, breath out only calm and relaxation. The strain built slowly from a twinge of stress felt distantly, to an uncomfortable cramp in the soul.
The distance is infuriating. So very little that he is able to pull, like trying to suck a noodle through a straw. The only solution that Kibo knew of was to pull harder. He strained, trying his best to relieve even some small piece of the pain. Accepting that into himself, and giving back only relief.
The strain grew more intense, from an uncomfortable cramp to a jagged wound. Kibo exhaled raggedly, then pulled deeply on the thread. He wasn't doing anything, no…no regret! Not now, not ever.
It took everything that he had simply to maintain the connection. He wanted so much just for a moment of relief, to disconnect from the furious burning that he felt within himself. He knew that this was nothing compared to what Zetsubou was going through, so there was no hesitation.
Breath in Fire.
Breath out Water.
The connection was growing dimmer. He held fast to the thread. If it broke, there would be no remaking it. He breathed deeply of the fire and agony pulling the noodle through the straw and then exhaled for what felt like an eternity. His strength, his willpower, his essence given freely even as the thread slipped from his grasp forever.
Breath in nothing.
Breath out nothing.
The Old Lion falls,
Heart broken beyond repair,
The shrine bell rings out.
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