Jump to content

Mutants & Masterminds: The Unlikely Prophets - Swords And Sorcery: Larissa/Kenshin


Charlotte

Recommended Posts

It took Larissa a while, but she found an article on Yoshitsune Sanada. Unfortunately, it was an obituary. He'd died a few days ago.

He was survived by his wife Michiko, and his son Kenshin. A quick enough search turned up Kenshin's number - it turned out that he was a history professor at Tokyo University and his phone number was listed. There was a photograph of him on the university's web page, too, with a very clear picture of a doorway in the background.

Larissa ignored the doorway. She wasn't... quite ready. But a phone number? That was nice and normal.

* * *

A few hours had passed. Kenshin had spent that time holding the mask, staring at it blankly, idly tapping the sword's scabbard on his knee. When the phone rang, it startled him - the first thought that entered his head was that it was the Mathemagician, about to call him and say 'just kidding.'

The phone continued to ring.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 87
  • Created
  • Last Reply

"Ahhh!" The mask and sword tumbled to the floor as Kenshin was startled out of his dazed state by the incessant ringing of the phone. He stared at it for a moment wishing it would stop. Instead it rang again, and again. "Fine ... Hello?" He tried to keep the irritation out of his voice as he answered but wasn't entirely successful.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fine?

The extra word threw Larissa off balance, and for a second she paused, then rushed ahead, talking too fast. "Uh, hello! I'm Larissa Taylor, I hope this is an okay time. I mean, I know it's not, but..." She collected herself and bulled on. "Is this the residence of Sa, I mean, Yoshitsune Sanada?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larissa winced. Good one, Lari.

"No, not exactly..." she sighed. "I'm really sorry, this is awkward. I'm Larissa Taylor. My father recently passed on too, and I found a note from Saneda in a book in his storage. I guess I just wondered...who he was and how they knew each other. If you want to see the note, I'd be happy to show you. We could meet for lunch somewhere?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kenshin shook his head, "I do not think so. I am sorry about your father's passing but I have my own grief, I doubt some old note will ease it. Thank you for your call and I wish you well and my condolences." Kenshin hung up without further preamble and found himself staring at the two artifact's once again. "Why father? Why did you not tell me about this while you still lived?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Thanks, but we really..." Larissa stopped when he hung up on her, shocked. Weren't Japanese people supposed to be concerned with courtesy?

You little -bastard!-

Simmering with frustration and anger, she called him back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Listen, I'm really sorry to be bothering you," Larissa began, "But this is important. The note from your father was in a book, a book that shouldn't exist. It's unbelievable. You're the only lead I have now to finding out where it came from and what it is. Please, can we talk? This concerns your father too, you know."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She'd struck a nerve. Elation!

"He did, didn't he? Listen, I -saw- him. The Mathemagician. Just before I found the book with the note in it. It was really weird, like he could see me through my TV. He asked me who I was, and why I was here...and then disappeared. I don't know what the connection is, but like I said the note was the only clue I had so I had to try. If none of this means anything to you, I'll hang up and not bother you again. I know it sounds crazy."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kenshin turned away from the phone and stumbled towards the bathroom. He didn't make it there before he retched. The sound, awful and wet, transmitted through the phone to Larissa. Though she could tell the line was open she heard very little for a few minutes. When he finally returned his voice was wavering, raw, he sounded out of breath. "I ... are you still there?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kenshin too a few long deep breaths, "Did you say The Mathemagician spoke to you?" Larissa's reply was far from affirmative but it was certainly indicative of the possibility. "We, ah ... we should maybe meet. I'd like to see those papers of my father's." He was lying he didn't give a damn about the note, but he needed an excuse to get off the phone. A Watchman had been concerned about his father's estate and now this. Kenshin felt fear and anxiety grip his guts and twist them into knots. I'm not a traitor, I'm not an enemy of the state!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Yeah, through my TV...okay, great! I'll bring it. Where do you want to meet?"

She shuffled through the untidy stack of mysterious receipts and notes written in enigmatic shorthand that probably made sense at the time, but now just inexplicably stated, 'ND 2 GO FIX' and '84 wfx is sick.' Finally she found a blank slip and grabbed a pen from the coffee mug set there for just that reason, and readied herself to jot his location down.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How doe he...oh hell, right, he can see my number.

"I don't think it something I could really make you believe just talking to you. I'll show you when we meet though," she promises. "When's good for you?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larissa hesitated, but what choice did she have?

"All right. Okay, I'll see you there in an hour then."

She hung up the phone and went to make herself presentable. An hour was enough time for a good shower and a chance to change into something nicer than her dusty work clothes. She spent the last twenty minutes checking out photos of the Museum grounds online, looking for a suitable door. It had to be close to the one here, but not exact...and if it was locked it would be just as locked after the spell...so it had to be open, but not too public.

Finally she decided to use the door to the backroom in the museum's souvenir shop. It shouldn't be too trafficked, wouldn't be locked during business hours, and while it might seem a little weird for her to be coming out of it she could explain she went in by mistake. Plus, the shot of the shop on the website had a really good look at it off to one side. She was pretty sure it'd work.

And so, just a few minutes before the hour was up, Larissa started drawing more symbols, this time on the inside of her bathroom door. If it worked again, she'd have to hurry to make her meeting with Kenshin. If not, then she'd have a real awkward phone call to make.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first door opened perfectly. So did the second. Larissa felt a brief wave of disorientation upon being halfway around the world, but it passed as she entered the museum.

* * *

The museum wasn't busy at present. There was a group of students being escorted through, and there was a man with sunglasses and a cane sitting on the bench in the lobby, and there were a few businesspeople taking a break from work. Kenshin would have no trouble spotting Larissa in the mist of all this.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kenshin grabbed his jacket and was headed out the door when he remembered the relics his father had left him. Not taking those with me. He grabbed both items and simply stuffed them into his closet, on the high shelf. With the door closed he felt somehow a tiny bit safer. He shook his head as he left his home to catch a train into the city.

An hour later Kenshin had calmed down some at last. As soon as he had left his apartment he had felt like he could close his eyes and point to the forbidden artifacts. The feeling was unnerving and when it had finally faded away completely Kenshin had started to hope he had been imagining it entirely. Now he slowly walked through the outside park as the evening lights came on. He was perhaps fifty meters from the sculpture called The Gates of Hell when he saw a woman in a long brown coat.

It didn't feel right. The timing was too coincidental. This was a setup. The Watchman must have suspected that there was more to the doll. How else could some woman in America have gotten here in less time that it took him? Kenshin sat down on a bench near the Gates and began studying the sculpture before him. Out of the corner of his eye he waited and watched.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Five minutes after the hour, Larissa was nervous. She paced a bit, looking compulsively around. He'd seemed reluctant...what if he was going to alert the authorities instead of coming? What if it was a trap?

She scanned the crowd, but there was simply no way to be sure who he was, or if he was even there.

Which isn't exactly true. She paused as the idea blossomed in her mind. It wasn't foolproof, but it would be better than pacing anxiously waiting.

Larissa produced her cellphone and a bit of paper that she'd written Kenshin's number on. It was a gamble. If it was a landline, this wouldn't work. But if it was his cellphone number, she was hoping that there might be an answering ring right here in the museum.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kenshin saw the young American woman pacing nervously and wondered if she was nervous about the trap not working or about being caught in a trap herself. His head spun from the complexity of the nested logic. When he phone rang he jumped, having not seen the woman pull out her own cell phone. Without thinking he answered, "Hello?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She heard the ring overlapping...in her ear, and out near the statue. Quickly Larissa spun to look, but he'd answered it too fast for it to ring again. Still, there couldn't be too many Japanese men over by the statue talking on their cellphones.

"Hi, it's me. Sorry, I thought you were standing me up."

Larissa walked over in the direction of that one ring, scanning the people as she talked.

"Getting cold feet?"

Then she saw him. It had to be. He was on his phone, and staring right at her with a distinctly worried expression. Larissa offered him a wan smile, and a little wave of her free hand.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

His discomfort was perversely comforting to Larissa. It was a reminder that the awkwardness she felt wasn't just her own. She imitated his bow in return.

"It's okay. This is a really...really unusual situation. Is there somewhere more private we can go? Or..."

She fished the note from his father out of her handbag. When she'd tossed everything in that bag out, the Book had just fit. She'd need it to get back after all. And she didn't want to leave it lying around either.

"Here. This is that note I was talking about."

Hope it's legit, or I just wasted a lot of two people's time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Click to reveal..
Edward Taylor -

Your donation of rare and notable texts to the Tokyo University's historical studies department is vastly appreciated. I of course understand why you would choose to, as your last letter put it, 'hang on to a few that were dear to your heart.' I of course do not need to warn you of the dangers of hoarding any documents on the ban list; the New Order's eyes are many and sharp.

Work finds me well. I am adjusting to being a father to my son Kenshin. I feel the same anxiety that all fathers doubtlessly do, the hope that I will bring Sanada Kenshin up properly, to honor his family. I know things are different in America but I am sure that parental anxiety is universal. If you ever become a father I look forward to saying 'I told you so.'

We will have to get together next summer. I look forward to arguing with you.

- Sanada Yoshitsune
Tokyo, Japan
December 2013


Kenshin read the note over twice and then looked at the strange woman, "Is there anything else? I don't understand, what about this note made you feel that you needed to seek me out?" He looked down at the letter again, it was clearly his father's hand writing but it seemed a rather banal note between acquaintances and nothing more. That he was mentioned, and that his father had, even then, wished to make sure that he raised Kenshin properly did make the young man feel the pang of his father's loss that much more. He kept his sorrow in check and hidden, it would not be proper to grieve in such a public place.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Larissa looked furtively around and lowered her voice.

"It's because of the book the note's talking about. The book I found the note inside. And what the book is, or does, or...it's complicated. I can show you, but not with people around. We'd both get in a lot of trouble."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"What does this have to do with me? My father's note is nothing more than a letter to an acquaintance, I hardly see a connection here." Kenshin looked around as well, doubly paranoid, wondering just what he was supposed to be admitting to, wondering what it was that this woman was after. Are you an agent of the Order? What do you want from me?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"It doesn't have anything to do with you directly," Larissa admitted. "Alright, just...look in here."

She opened her handbag, enough for the Book's cover to be visible to someone peering in.

"Did you ever see this book? Do you remember your dad doing anything with it, or talk about it or...anything?"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kenshin peered into the bag, half expecting to be gassed in the process and loaded in a van. Instead of being disappeared he saw a big thick old book. He looked up at the woman, "Looks like a book. Could be any one of many. What is this about Miss? Clearly this book hasn't been in my father's possession recently and, no, I don't ever recall having seen it. What are you playing at? Are you trying to get me to admit to having contraband? Or to admit that my father did? What is this about?" Kenshin was growing agitated, his hands flexed and he surprised himself by wishing he had his father's sword in his hands.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Right, let's get this over with."

76f0679.png

The man with the sunglasses on the bench ran a finger over a braille watch, and opened up his suitcase, taking out two pieces of sandwich board and slipping the straps over his shoulders.

Already, he was attracting attention, and whispers.

" - is he - "

" - hell - "

" - asking for it - "

" - dead - "

It was pretty obvious, once someone read what was written on the board, with lettering so sloppy a blind man must have done it.

fuck-the-order.png

The man took his cane, and extended it, tapping along the ground. He walked towards the sliding automatic doors, and out into the street.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"What?" Larissa could only stare stupidly at Kenshin in the wake of his accusing questions. Was that what he really thought this was about?

Then the realization. He didn't know anything. She'd wasted time after all. Hers and his.

She zips up her handbag. "I'm not playing," she replies. "And I don't care what you or your father did or didn't do. I'm not a Watchman and I wouldn't be if they begged me to be."

"As for what this is about, I've said. It's about this book. It's no ordinary book. I just wanted to learn more about where it came from. Your father owned it before mine, so..." Larissa shrugged. "Anyway, I'm sorry for wasting your time. You won't be hearing from...what the?"

She trailed off as the blind man revealed his sign and started towards the door. Larissa hurried after him.

"Wait! Sir, I'm sorry, I think someone's playing a sick joke on you. They changed your placard to read...uh...something you don't want it to read."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Kenshin's head spun he felt like he was being twirled like a top. "Wait, I ... I didn't mean to ... I mean I did but ... What the ...?" Larissa's action drew his own eyes to the blind man, My god, is he crazy?

"My son ... this is a message, and if you are watching it, it means that I am gone." Kenshin stumbled as the vision flared in his mind once more. He looked around, he saw with horror as the blind man calmly produced a cane and began to walk toward the museum exit. "It is said that a samurai ... may complete one deed even after his head has been cut off. I am alive, now, but I feel that my head is being cut off in a far less bloody sense ... I regret never being able to teach you of all this properly, as I should have. The world soon will not allow it. I can sense it leaving me quickly. I will have forgotten it all by the time you are born."

Comprehension dawned on him. For the first time in days, weeks even, Kenshin felt a profound sense of clarity. The message hadn't been his father's spirit it had been something he had laid down as a birthright, something that he knew he would be unable to do later. Kenshin was born soon after the time of troubles, soon after the Order.

Fuck the Order

... I regret never being able to teach you of all this properly, as I should have. The world soon will not allow it. I can sense it leaving me quickly. I will have forgotten it all by the time you are born.

Kenshin studied history as a way of life. He ate slept and breathed history and now he realized the fool he had been. Sixteen years of history had been erased, destroyed, redacted, edited out of every man woman and child alive during the time. Including his father. "Know this. Many samurai fought for a lord. I did not. I fought for an ideal, an ideal I fear is going to be in short supply, an ideal that within a generation no one may even remember. I fought for justice, my son. I stood with many others who felt the call. I hope you are so blessed to fight the good fight, with such men and women as I knew."

Kenshin was running for the man before he understood what he was doing or why. His whole life he had been no more than a scholar, and now he felt something awaken in his blood. Distantly he could feel the barest sense of his birthrights. He could not draw on their power, could not rely on any strength but his own. Still he ran. He fumbled in his pocket for the tiny blade he kept there. It saw more use in cutting boxes or envelopes open than anything else but Kenshin had no intention of making a weapon of it now.

"All I can hope for is that the cloud over this world lifts just enough to let this through. If it does, I will consider myself blessed a hundred times over. Blessed that my son will remember his father: Sanada Yoshitune, the Scarlet Samurai.

I remember you father, I will honor you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...