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[dream] Week 11, Day 6

You go to the gakumonsho.

You go to the gakumonsho like all the other children whose families have a high standing and are rich enough to afford it. Samurai children. You have a nameplate there. It says the name of your family first (proud family, one of the few samurai clans that's been in Edo for generations) and then your own.

The classroom is part of a bigger room, separated through sliding screens. Young and old students study together according to skill. You're good for your age. One of the youngest here. You can be proud, for the teachers often praise you, though frequently they have to laugh a little awkwardly while speaking some hollow praise-words at your creative way of solving problems. You write short poems in which princesses ride on dragons and foxes throw up because they ate too much inarizushi in erratic script.

But you don't do that today. You want to, because you wrote a new poem, but when you get into the classroom, it is empty. Empty for people, that is; no teacher and no student. Only nameplates floating in the air where the students would sit -- and suddennly you realize that you aren't there, either. This is an in-between world in which no humans exist, only their imprints, only their names to indicate that they ever existed. The sliding door behind you closes with a quiet tap, and then the room is all closed, all shut-off from any other world that might exist outside it. Still, a rustle goes through it, a slight breeze in the closed room. It's a spirit, maybe; a tricky spirit.

A nameplate vanishes, and then another, and then they all do, one by one, and they are circling in on yours. Poof, into thin air, not even a sound. Just a short fading period before they are gone. If you actually existed, the hairs on your neck would be standing on end, and you would feel a cold shudder going down your spine: you don't want to vanish, too. You have no other hold here.

But then it fades, and fades, and it's gone. There is a terrible moment when the room is empty and still and dead, all color running from the walls and the furniture, too.

Then it's all a blur, and the room changes. You're still stuck in a room, and you know it.

It's that one room, the one with your father's blood that's seeped deep into the tatami and the echo of your mother's screams that will be trapped there forever. The blood doesn't go out, not even after you changed the tatami; only because you know it was there. The sound won't go out, even though you have often kept the shōji open; only because you can still hear it. But the shōji is not open now, and you can't move to make it so. It's just you and the room, you and the fear creeping around the corners, curling around the edges of you, the patient fear that they are still out there, and he still sends you letters every day, keeping you informed of his presence, without ever telling you where he is -- and so he's everywhere. Everywhere and nowhere at once, they've surrounded you from all sides, but they're certainly in no hurry to get you now.

It's just an empty room. The only piece of furniture is a lamp that is burning in the dark. You have to squint a bit, but you can see the bloodstains there. Dried and dark. You kept the lamp, but you can remember that you put it into a closet. Why won't it stay in the closet now?

But you want to, you do want to hold on to that lamp now, because now the room starts crumbling around you, and falling into a bottomless depth. You lose your footing. That is, you think, that is what you get for never letting go. For never giving in. For not being willing to make do. You also think these may be your last thoughts as the dark depths swallow you.

Somehow, you keep being enough to keep thinking. Your floating in nowhere now. In a deep, dark, light, gray, colorful sea of nowhere at all, and then you are grabbed by a wind that carries you far above the streets of Edo, a dandelion seed among many, many, something that people blow away and then forget about.

You leave the streets and the sea of roofs that is Edo behind and you fly to a new country, to plains and rivers and mountains and a willow tree in the center. Kannagara is beneath you, far, and it is empty. You don't see animals moving, you don't see people moving. It's eerie quiet. You don't know if there are gods, you've never truly known. You can't reach them even now that you are the sky; it is, after all, still a worldly sky. That's why you were thought a kanji for sky and one for heaven -- one is a thing people permit themselves to dream of reaching, the other is where you'll never be.

It's just you and wide lands and empty houses and forgotten shrines. That's all there is to the world, and that's where your journey ends.

[Rin doesn't wake up easy tonight. A few times, she thinks she is waking up, she thinks she is falling from the empty Kannagara-sky and her whole body twitches, but she can't get up. She can't get out. Except for the twitching of the fall, her body won't move, it's trapping her and holding her down instead. For a horrible moment, she quasi-thinks that maybe she is dead, not permitted to return to her body, to return to being a moving, feeling thing.

It's a long while later that she finally opens her eyes and blinks drunkenly at the Hitomi that's leaning against the lamp next to her futon, recording her. She's not altogether sure she put it there, but she does remember that the Hitomi does what it wants. That's when she realizes her dream has probably been recorded for all to see. She rubs her eyes, not really caring very much, and extends a hand to shut it off.]

(OOC: Google tells me that the gakumonsho was a big public school in Edo which upper class children, often samurai children of Edo went to. It popped up also in contrast to the terakoya, which was apparently more a kind of school where children of commoners went. Thus I believe Rin was more likely to go to the gakumonsho.)


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
[With the frequency of the dream posts- as well as the fact that Iskierka has to see them, since she has been holding onto the Hitomi constantly since receiving it- it's no surprise that Iskierka has grown accustomed to them, even after a couple days. Dreams, memories, whatever they are, they're not too concerning to her: they are the past, and not even her past, and beyond asking a few curious questions at first she hasn't bothered to respond to many of them.

But then she finds out that this dreams belongs to someone she knows. Well, someone she has met, at least, and that piques her curiosity. But she chooses to wait until a more reasonable hour, as she wants to get sleep when she can, in-between short bursts of sleep that can't really be called sleep at all. She hasn't had a good night's sleep since she arrived, since she's worried about missing her captain if he shows up while she sleeps.

So in the morning, Iskierka finally sends a message to Rin. It's a voice message, since she hasn't figured out texting yet.]

Do all humans have curious dreams like that?
Sep. 15th, 2010 09:08 am (UTC)
[And thus, when she gets Iskierka's message, Rin is already awake. She hasn't slept much more since the dream, has been fitful and restless and half-conscious, which is why the first faint break of dawn has found her getting up and brewing some tea.

She's neither surprised nor shocked about the message, not anymore; she vaguely registered that her dream had been recorded, and she's gotten used to people seeing them. Sort of, anyway. It means more of her exposed to the rest of this world than she'd personally reveal, so she'd only thankful she doesn't have too much to hide.

Voice message is fine with her, as she isn't in a mood to text. She replies with a tired voice.]

Mh... well, most dreams are a little strange. Though I suppose some make marginally more sense than others.
Sep. 15th, 2010 11:48 am (UTC)
Are they? My dreams have always been memories of the past, though sometimes they were a tad convoluted.

[Meaning that sometimes great battles turned out differently than in real life, and of course Iskierka is usually the hero in said battles, but they're not in the realm of 'tripping on acid' strange.]
Sep. 15th, 2010 11:55 am (UTC)
Well... [hesitation; she knows what she's admitting here] often they're a jumble of memories. Both important and trivial. But yeah, sometimes they just plain don't make sense.

[Sadly, this one, for all its trippiness, does make sense to Rin. It's very telling of how she's been feeling since she returned to Kannagara.]

Edited at 2010-09-15 11:55 am (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2010 12:37 pm (UTC)
I see.

[Then that means that her father did die after all, doesn't it? Iskierka isn't particularly attached to her own father- she left the Ottoman Empire, where he lives, before she had even hatched- but she knows that some humans love their parents more than life itself. In her mind she has likened to to the bond between dragon and captain, which is something she can understand, and decides not to ask about it. Instead, she goes with something else.]

So this 'samurai' business. Are you one?
Sep. 15th, 2010 12:44 pm (UTC)
[And for Rin, it's just as well that Iskierka's not asking about it. She wouldn't have gravely minded talking about it, but she doesn't need to so much anymore.]

I'm not a samurai, but I'm originally part of the samurai class. Uhm. I hope that makes sense.

Edited at 2010-09-15 12:44 pm (UTC)
Sep. 15th, 2010 01:28 pm (UTC)
What is a samurai class?
Sep. 15th, 2010 01:52 pm (UTC)
It's a social class. The upper caste of society in Japan, to be exact. They're warriors, but they do administrative jobs too. A lot rule under a piece of land, and they're all obliged to each other in a hierarchical system. A samurai who doesn't have someone to answer to is not a samurai; he's a rōnin. Depending on the circumstances, that can be kind of a disgrace.

Thing is, this class is made up of samurai, and a samurai is generally... well, a man. Women are mostly housewives.
Sep. 15th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
Oh! I know of that, there are men in England who are like that as well. But women can become more than housewives, if they decide to go into the military service.
Sep. 15th, 2010 02:12 pm (UTC)
Woman can officially enter the military service there?

[Genuine surprise in her voice.]

That's... that's kind of unthinkable back home. I mean, I've seen woman warriors, and really good ones, but they weren't so... official.
Sep. 15th, 2010 02:36 pm (UTC)
They can, but only in the Aerial Corps- that is to say, they can work with the dragons as a captain or part of a crew. A handful of breeds will only take women as captains, so women are allowed to serve for that purpose.

[And really, they're a small percentage of the persons serving in the Corps anyway. For every crew of thirty, there may be only one woman.]

But I don't see what the fuss is about women serving in the first place. A woman may be as good as a man with a gun, sword, or whatever weapon she chooses to use, so why should they not be allowed to serve? It is downright silly.
Sep. 15th, 2010 02:42 pm (UTC)
So humans work together with dragons in the military where you're from? Hum. That's interesting. In the legends at home, dragons are more aloof creatures usually. Some are even deities.

[A few moments of silence as she ponders that.]

I'm not really sure why it's that way. I mean, I've seen some women who were amazing with a sword. I guess it's just ingrained in society that a woman's chief purpose is to bear children. Guess you don't have much time to go out and find wars when you have to take care of the offspring.
Sep. 15th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
Some dragons are aloof, it is a matter of if they wish to work with humans or not. And it is still silly, as not all women need to bear children. Even the ones who do can still work, they just need wet nurses while they fight. That is what Harcourt does, or so I am told.
Sep. 15th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
It's just how it works at home. [A gentle huffing noise.] I don't really think women are capable of any less than men, in general. But I never really thought about it, either. I was raised to walk that path, and I guess I wouldn't have minded to.
Sep. 15th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
There's no reason why you shouldn't, if that is what you want.

[She is surprisingly liberal, given the time period she's from. Though it is moreso because dragons are raised apart from society, so she hasn't really learned the social constructs of early 1800s life.]
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Kannagara - The Way of the Gods

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