In search of answers

Yuan made his stiffened way through the grave markers, lingering a moment at rosiform cross with the date of his awakening on it, October 31, 1885. Up the cathedral steps he made his way, pushing gently at the center door and pausing for a time to take in the alien beauty of the interior. Europe, especially Medieval Europe, was outside his architectural ken, but he felt a certain nostalgia for the intricate woodwork of the temples of his youth.

He walked toward one of the dozen small side chambers, drawn by the image of a woman in speckled marble. She was obviously a kuang shi, a Chinese vampire, and her clothing and hair style betrayed great antiquity. Yuan was filled with a thousand questions that no one had ever been able to answer for him... how long had his new kindred walked the earth? How many of his former countrymen had been a part of this clan that he now called his family?

Still trembling from the promise of the initiation he had just gone through, he yearned to speak with the Elder of his clan, to burrow in her wisdom, to free himself somehow from self-doubt.

Mai. Mai. When will you deign to speak with me?

Mai 16 years ago
Mai walked out into the night from the depths of the catacombs, breathing in the flower scented air with a sigh of something very close to relief. Stuffy and dusty. It made her nose twitch with the promise of a sneeze just thinking about it.

Reaching out, she plucked a low hanging cluster of purple fuji flowers from the vine that wound around an old tree in the graveyard. The scent was as delicate as the tiny blossoms and Mai cradled them gently in her small hand.

The new arrival was intriguing, He was the closest vampire to a fellow countryman in Anantya that she had seen in a while. She took a moment to wonder at that. Was it a matter of restraint? There seemed to be plenty in the west who seemed to lack any of that quality, including their creation of children, perhaps this was why there were so many of them compaired to her own people. It was not her nature to take an interest in contemplating such things for long and Mai continued her appreciation for the fine summer weather as she walked up the cathedral steps.

Pressing open the door on the right, she entered quietly, letting the large oaken portal slide shut with a sound that echoed across the vast chamber. Sensing her way to the new Anantya, Mai came to stand just outside the alcove.

She regarded the man for a moment before speaking quietly.

" Will you permit company?"

((OOC: Mai smells of fuji flowers all the time. Here they are called Wisteria ))
Qu Yuan 16 years ago
Yuan bowed humbly before the Elder, sensing the power behind her deceptively small, youthful form.

She is so much older than I, and all of it lived. So much experience, so much wisdom.

As he straightened and gestured for her to enter the alcove, he noticed the fragrance of wisteria, and it brought back memories of his youth.

Mai-sama, I am humbled at your presence and courtesy. Please excuse my hesitation: it has been so long since I have encountered a... vampire with such poise and grace. I made the acquaintance of many nihonjin brethren in the early 20th century on the West Coast, but they were, for the most part, coarse fieldhands who had been turned by a man bent on dominating San Francisco... in the open, letting all know what he was. A terrible time full of terrible, uncouth denizens of the lowest castes.

Mai seemed almost distracted at this monologue, and Yuan quickly moved on to his real concerns

In fact, I have spent many years torn over condition as a result of those early encounters. I have tried refusing to accept being kuang shi, and I repeatedly made myself sick by not feeding for weeks on end. I was hoping that I might find some answers here, in Nachtown... perhaps you could assist me to some degree. For example, I desperately need to find a justification for feeding on humans... do you ever find yourself wishing you were mortal again? How can I deal with this shame I feel?[/i]
Mai 16 years ago
Mai returned his bow and entered the small room. Setting the blossom on the bench, She tucked her kimono neatly under her as she knelt in the floor. Watching him with calm white eyes, his speech filled her with interest, there seemed a questioning about him. He spoke a great deal, much like her Ba-di, which made her smile. Eventually the nature of his concerns came to light. It was not so very uncommon for the young to feel such qualms. However, He did not seem like the vampires of today, Mai could not place the reasons but perhaps there was a timelessness about their cultures that made him seem older than his questions appeared.

"What use is it to lament something that you no longer have? Does a butterfly regret no longer being a caterpillar? We simply are. That is the way of things."

She pondered his concerns with a bowed head, looking at her hands resting on her thighs.

"Feed on that which is available. All creatures provide nourishment for another and our dust shall one day help a tree to grow. You life is of no less or greater importance."
Qu Yuan 16 years ago
"What use is it to lament something that you no longer have? Does a butterfly regret no longer being a caterpillar? We simply are. That is the way of things."

Her words seemed echoes of something familiar. Yuan let each syllable drip upon the surface of his mind, ripples spreading in all directions.

"Feed on that which is available. All creatures provide nourishment for another and our dust shall one day help a tree to grow. You life is of no less or greater importance."

The ripples became a roaring wave, and Yuan remembered. Chapter 16 of the Dao De Jing, that majestic ur-text of Taoism, left by the sage Lao-tzu before he disappeared from humanity's midst. Softly, he began to recite the verses in ancient Chinese (a tongue he was certain Mai would know, his people having begun immigrating to and trading with the land of Wo [Japan's ancient Chinese name] during Yuan's lifetime). After his death, later studies had told him, Japan had taken on more and more elements of Chinese culture. Certainly during this era Mai had learned the scholarly tongue.

"Attain utmost emptiness,
Maintain utter stillness.

The myriad creatures arise side by side,
thus I oberve their renewal.
Heaven's creatures abound,
but each returns to its root,
which is called stillness.
This process is the renewal of fate.

Renewal of fate is perpetual...

To know the perpetual is to be enlightened;
Not to know the perpetual is to be reckless"�
recklessness breeds evil.

To know the perpetual is to be tolerant"�
tolerance leads to aristocratic impartiality,
such impartiality to kingliness,
kingliness to heaven,
heaven to the Way,
the Way... the Way leads to permanence."

Mai's eyes betrayed only the slightest hint of surprise. She appeared to have understood his every word, but she perhaps she believed him "younger," in vampire terms, than he appeared now to be. At her unspoken question, he explained, with the quiet detachment her presence seemed to demand, how he had been turned in 278 B.C. only to be sealed away by a Taoist priest, unaware of the passage of time and space, until 120 years ago. [/i]
Mai 16 years ago
Mai nodded at the words of wisdom. One so young, was well prepared for life if he had such advice to pull from. She looked at him quizzically wondering why he had asked her such a question if he already knew the answer.

"Hai, The way is forever and he that possess it,Though his body ceases, is not destroyed."

To be sealed away for so long, was enough to make Mai shiver. Such a trial he had been through, there was no wonder he questioned the nature of things. She could certainly forgive him his confusion. He was old and yet young. She knew though that wisdom could be found at any age or not at all.

"It is time for you to live again, Yuan-san, and in living, find purpose."

She tilted her head to the side and looked at the statue beyond him.

"Perhaps it is that this time needs you."
Qu Yuan 16 years ago
Yuan wondered for a moment, tracing the path of Mai's glance, whether the statue of the Anantrya kuang shi held some special significance for the Elder. But he dared not ask: the old ways reigned in this meeting more than they had for Yuan in at least a century. Rudeness was unpardonable, and unwanted probes were the worst sort of rudeness.

"Perhaps it is that this time needs you."

Yuan's eyes opened at her lilting words, so casually uttered, like a breeze slightly shifting reeds beside a river, yet full of import and weight. He had never considered this possibility. Twice he had been banished from Chu, twice his attempts at patriotic preservation of his homeland had been frustrated. The first time, in 313 B.C.E, an official from the odious kingdom of Qin had bribed Jin Sheng, the king's chief minister, and the king's favorite concubine (a irksome wench, if ever there was one) to form an anti-Qu Yuan clique within the court. Their machinations had gotten him exiled, but only for a year. When, years later, the king died at the hands of the Qin, his arrogant snipe of a son had assumed the throne, married the daughter of the king of Qin, and permanently banished Qu Yuan for his criticism and proposals. Thus had his country fallen, with Yuan's hands tied by the very liege lords he had sworn to protect and serve.

But perhaps Mai-sama was right. Perhaps his turning had been for a purpose. Where the land of Chu had not known to use him well, perhaps the Anantya clan would. Half a world away, the Chinese people celebrated him as a hero. Now, maybe, he would have the chance to really be one.

"I could make a difference here, couldn't I? My knowledge, my diplomatic and linguistic skills... my order can make use of them to protect and promote our clan. Ought I to speak with Sorin? What can I do?"

Mai 16 years ago
Mai nodded with a pleased smile. "Hai, Anantya is family. Not always perfect but that is why it must be protected. You protect with your words, Yuan-san, and I protect with my sword."

Thinking of Sorin and his ways made her believe that it would be better for Yuan to meet another of his order someone who was less likely to offend him before he met with the elder. Sorin might discourage him from the right path with his heavy words.

"I do not know the ways of the Order of Night but if you wish to know more about them Thaddeus-san would be good to ask. You and he are like two petals on the same flower. I believe he will understand you best."

She stood slowly and reached down to pick up the fuji blossom. Laying it carefully in his lap, she bowed slightly before turning to leave.

"Welcome home, Yuan-san."

((OOC: Mai Out))
Qu Yuan 16 years ago
Clutching the wisteria blossom to his chest, Yuan watched Mai's small form dispassionately move away. Like the flowers, something fresh and new was beginning to bloom in the depths of his soul, the hun or human soul that had entered his flesh upon birth. As a child he had been taught that kuang shi lacked their hun soul, that all that remained within them was the p'o, the animal soul that grew within the fetus as it developed within the womb. Kuang shi were little more than k'uei, emotionless and irrational zombies, they had told him. But he knew now that this was a lie, for hope "�pure, human hope"� had come alive in the depths of his human soul.

"Thank you."

As Mai opened the door and slipped from the cathedral, lines from one of Yuan's poems surged triumphantly to his lips:

Then give me green-horned serpents for my steed,
Or dragons white to ride,
In paradise with ancient kings I'd roam,
Or the world's roof bestride.
My life should thus outlast the universe,
With sun and moon supreme.

((OOC: Yuan out))[/i]