• 📅 April 2023 is YE 45.3 in the RP.

RP Tsuya's Heart and Mind: Yamatai Gokoro


Head in the Stars
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RP Date
RP Location
Empress' Palace
Samurai House

Rei’s lithe body tucked out from the early morning fog that had swept around Kyoto, including the Empress’ Palace. Her stark red hakama were immediately the most striking part of her amongst the pale grey mist surrounding her. Her dark brown hair flung about behind her in a foxtail like a knife slashing at the fog as it ebbed away around her. Her hair clipped the katana, wakizashi, and nunchuks that her owa-obi held at her lower back. The over-abundance of weapons were the only belongings she had brought besides for the crimson haori on her back.

The brunette samurai briskly ascended the stairs into the samurai house and out of the brisk morning air. She had once been one of the armed guards of the palace, but had found it frustrating menial and was allowed to become a ronin, then a yojimbo, surprisingly, to the sixth daughter of the Mistress Taisho.

Though Rei hadn’t always perfectly protected the Ketsurui, she felt she had learned from the one major mistake she had made—unwittingly letting her charge kept captured by the enemy. So to find out her captain had requested further training from the head of Rei’s own sect of samurai shaken the battle-worn woman’s confidence in a way she hadn’t experienced before. Her step was slightly unsteady before she bowed deeply at the entrance to the building.

Tsuya stepped forward to greet her, her katana sheathed at her side, and her own haori adorned with the emblem of her house. "Welcome, Rei," she said with a nod of her head. "I am Tsuya, the leader of this samurai house. I understand that you have requested to train with us again. It is an honor to have you here."

She gestured for Rei to follow her as she led her deeper into the building. "As you remember, our house is known for its strict discipline and training methods, but I am confident that you will thrive here. You have a strong spirit and a dedication to your duties that I admire. I have no doubt that you will become an even more formidable warrior."

As she spoke, Tsuya couldn't help but feel a sense of pride in her samurai house and the legacy that she had helped to build. She had trained many skilled warriors over the years, and she knew that her house was respected throughout Kyoto and beyond. She was eager to see what kind of warrior Rei would be under her guidance.

Tsuya's praise was almost too much fo Rei to reply to. It was certainly enough to quell the feelings of self-doubt that had budded within her on her journey to Samurai House. She bowed deeply in thanks. After doing so, she took a moment to fully take in the visage of the head of her house.

Tsuya was short, at just five feet tall, with black hair that was kept in a simple ponytail off to the back-left of her head. Her red, narrow eyes gave her an intense, focused look, and her cat-like ears were furless, a mark of her Nekovalkyrja heritage.

Despite her small stature, Rei could sense the power and strength that Tsuya possessed. It was clear to her that Tsuya was a skilled warrior in her own right, and she couldn't help but feel a sense of respect for the samurai leader.

"I am deeply honored to be training here once more." Rei said from the bottom of her heart. "I hope I do not disappoint." There was something quite strange to Rei about being self-assured up until meeting someone that made her rethink why she felt that way, but the eminence Tsuya exuded certainly made Rei recognize that there was a chance she could further disappoint. Her own red eyes —they were once pale white but she had changed them to red after her ward had been captured— stayed on Tsuya respectfully despite her wavering feelings.

Tsuya listened to Rei's words with a sense of satisfaction. She could sense the sincerity in Rei's tone, and it pleased her to know that her words of praise had helped to ease any doubts that Rei may have had about her abilities.

"You have already proven yourself to be a skilled warrior, Rei," Tsuya said, her tone warm and encouraging. "And I have no doubt that you will continue to grow and improve as you continue to hone your skill set--both body and mind. You have shown great courage and determination, and those are qualities that we value highly in our samurai. What are you interested in working on, or asking about today?"

Rei had intended on bowing deeply and taking the compliment wordlessly. She had already been more verbose than usual and she could already feel herself wanting to bite her tongue. But at Tsuya's question, the yojimbo's thin brows pushed a crease into her forehead.

"Eeto..." Rei said as she thought. "As a shadow and protector, I rarely do much besides protect. Can I make a difference beyond that?" She didn't know if her words were clear, but her intention was certainly one she had been thinking about for awhile. "Should I make a difference in the universe?"

Tsuya listened carefully to Rei's words, nodding slightly as she considered them. "Protection is a noble and important task, but I understand your desire to do more. The universe is vast, and there is always more to be done. The question is, what do you feel called to do?"

She leaned forward slightly, her gaze intent. "You are a skilled warrior, Rei. You have proven that time and time again. But there is more to life than fighting. Perhaps there is a cause or a mission that speaks to you, something that you feel passionate about. Or maybe there is a skill or talent that you have yet to explore. The key is to find your purpose and pursue it with all your heart."

Tsuya paused, studying Rei's face. "Remember, there is no shame in asking for help or guidance. You do not have to go on this journey alone. We are all here to support and encourage each other."

Finally, Rei was lost for words. She simply knew that what Tsuya was telling her was true and nodded her head as she thought deeply about what the samurai daimyo had said. It was true that she had felt supported by her fellow samurai before. Their support had been paramount. But what she didn't know was her own purpose to pursue and what lay between her now and when she found such.

Tsuya nodded thoughtfully, considering Rei's dilemma. "It is not uncommon for us samurai to feel a sense of restlessness and a desire to make a greater impact on the universe," she said. "Protecting those we have sworn to protect is a noble and important task, but it is not the only way we can serve. We Nekovalkyrja are not merely robots as some would suggest. There are many opportunities for a skilled warrior to make a difference."

She paused for a moment before continuing. "I do not know what path is best for you, Rei. Only you can determine that. But I will tell you this: it is important to always strive for growth and improvement. That is the way of the warrior, and the way of the Ketsurui samurai. Whether you choose to focus on protecting your charge or seek out new ways to serve the universe, always strive to become a better version of yourself."

Finally, Tsuya added, "If you're not sure, consider the many problems that are presented to you and to the Empire, and find one of those to chase after and conquer. If someone has to step forward and be the one to change the universe, why not you? If nothing else I think it's a waste to spend so much time developing and then wait for something to happen. What I am saying is sometimes we can pick our own enemies, and those can also be conceptual."

"You are certainly wise," Rei said, mind swimming. Rather than allowing herself to hold onto such an enemy, she tried to put down her supposed role as protector and thought more about what she had done outside of that. What she had done to serve the empire beyond that came simply in the faces of many of her students. First at the high school where she had been a teacher, then on the Kaiyō ships with the crewmen, and even with Aiko and especially William. She had always been teaching throughout those years.

"I've gained much from teaching others," Rei said. "And having students. Eeto... I've given a part of me to the Empire through them." The answer had seemed obvious in her mind, but upon saying it she was less sure. "Can that really make a difference?"

Tsuya smiled gently. "Teaching and sharing knowledge is a noble pursuit. It is through teaching that we can create change, even if it may not seem obvious at first. Every student you have taught carries a piece of your knowledge and your spirit with them, and who knows what impact they may have on Yamatai and the greater universe in the future? Perhaps one of your students will become a great leader or a fellow warrior who defends the Empire with honor. Your impact on the universe may be indirect when you're teaching, but it is no less important."

Tsuya paused for a moment, then added, "Besides, the Empire needs good teachers just as much as it needs skilled warriors. In some ways, teachers are the foundation of our society. Without them, we cannot educate and inspire the next generation of Yamataians."

OOC: JP by Wes and Ametheliana