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'what rough beast, its hour come round at last' - Off the Cliff

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Mon Dec 8th, 2008


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11:11 am - 'what rough beast, its hour come round at last'
Sunday's 31_days challenge. 'I trip along the way, I follow after Chieko.' And now we're back to the work week.

Erm- possibly a bit graphic in the blood'n'guts department. Squeamish, be warned.

'And what rough beast, its hour come round at last'

Goujun tries not to draw conclusions any more, since all the conclusions he formerly drew have proven baseless. Now he observes only what is and postpones making a cohesive synthesis for some later date. This is a new world and he's still learning what rules it follows, if any.

The kami, or rather some kami, have shown a surprising fondness for blood-letting. True, it's surprising only if you thought the kami credo "we do not shed blood" was absolute and were unaware of the rider, "but we sure wish we could." Some kami, possibly the same ones, become hysterical to the point of insensibility at the physical results of blood-letting. Thus Goujun dispenses with an escort when he goes to view the places where his subordinates died. It isn't that upsetting for him, in fact. The way these engineered beasts take their meals isn't much different from the way a hunting dragon takes his, but that's not something the kami need know. Goujun looks carefully over the blood-washed room and the enormous bodies of the other Natakus. The beast that did for Kenren was at least a tidy eater, or very hungry. Nothing remains of the general but pieces of his leather uniform and his feet; the Nataku evidently could neither deal with boots nor digest them.

Goujun proceeds down the hall to where another heap of bodies lies. These are all kami with Tenpou in the middle, marked by the curling stinking links of his intestine. There's quite a lot: the kami body has more innards than your average fish or seafowl. Goujun observes the scene dispassionately, and returns to the main hall.

"Send a squadron of men to clean up the bodies here as well."

"Clean up, sir?"

"Pick up the pieces. Bury them or whatever you've been doing with the corpses of the first and second squadrons back on the upper level." The men look a little green but obey. Goujun goes on, aware of a small lack. Dragons are mortal and have their own customs when one of their kind dies. Kami have proved to be mortal but have none. There should be some rite-- some way of marking these fallen men, his men; but there isn't. Such is the way of Heaven.

He passes a cortege carrying the body of Konzen Douji on a litter. Not one of the army; no concern of his. The kami have met the fate Goujun saw so clearly for them when he was their prisoner, and that's the end of that.

Except it's not the end and can't be. Everything is changed now. Heaven is another place than the one it's been for as long as Goujun can remember. And Goujun feels what he can only liken to an ache in his brain, a kind of stiffness, as of long unused muscles made to work, and work hard. The dragons of the oceans live for millennia. Very little changes in the course of their lives; seasons and years pass like moments, flickering as daylight does when clouds blow quickly over the sun. Therefore dragons don't change either...

'...any more than Heaven does,' Goujun thinks. And stops, and corrects himself. 'Than Heaven did.'

Change has happened now. The marble perfection of Heaven and his own cold dragon sinews have both been compelled into motion again. Simply to be is no longer an option. He and Heaven are back to the process of becoming, and Goujun has no idea what lies at the end of that.

(6 comments | post comment)

Comments:


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From:flemmings
Date:December 8th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC)
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Is it deliberate that you've written him to be the sanest of the four brothers

Goujun is Minekura's and I have to present him as she does: conventional, unimaginative, relatively phlegmatic. The others are bits of myself and can therefore be as batshit complex as I am.
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From:i_am_zan
Date:December 8th, 2008 07:33 pm (UTC)
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I hurt and ache all over again, for Kenren and Tenpou but with a certain kind of detachment!

I haven;t yet seen the Konzen passing (my Ward comes in tomorrow evening and I will not be able to collect till next week when at last the in-laws have left.

Simply to be is no longer an option. He and Heaven are back to the process of becoming, and Goujun has no idea what lies at the end of that. - Perfect.
[User Picture]
From:flemmings
Date:December 8th, 2008 11:33 pm (UTC)
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FWIW none of us have seen the Konzen passing. It hasn't happened yet. I think it's being saved as the great fifth act climax.
[User Picture]
From:incandescens
Date:December 8th, 2008 09:48 pm (UTC)
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There's a lovely balance in your writing, between the detachment and the awareness of the sheer brutality of events. It's great.
[User Picture]
From:flemmings
Date:December 8th, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
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And quite unconscious, but thank you anyway. ^_^
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From:rasetsunyo
Date:December 11th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
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Ouch. Lovely companion to the comic.

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