Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Onna Bugeisha - Chapter Five

It is Tuesday already - that means it is time for a new chapter! In case you are just joining us, here is the link to Chapter One...for the rest of you, Chapter Five awaits.

In his home under the ocean, Susanoo capered with glee. After centuries of searching the key to regaining his father's favor had finally appeared. In response to his mood the seas foamed, monstrous waves toppling fishing fleets and washing away villages. The people crowded into the shrines, praying to Amaterasu to calm her brother's ire and protect them.
The sun goddess stretched languidly. She was torn between her desire to save her people, and her aversion to spending time in Susanoo's presence. Duty won out and she reluctantly made her way to his underwater home to plead her case.
"Brother, calm yourself. You threaten to destroy all that our father created.”
"Like I care about those puny islands or the pitiful worms who inhabit them. My grand plan will soon take effect, then the people's hearts will turn to me and you will be forgotten.
"Unlikely. Beauty will always triumph over brutality.” Amaterasu turned her back on her sibling and ascended to her rightful place in the heavens.

Dai Go Shou
Dawn spread fingers of fire across the heavens, ribbons of rosy light painting abstract patterns on the shoji and rousing Hiroshi from a restless sleep.
"Time for morning kata.” Kenshin's too cheery greeting rattled the bones of his apprentice's skull.
"It's barely dawn. Why do we have to start so early?” Hiroshi groaned, pulling the covers over his face and snuggling deeper into the futon.
"The day is most productive when it starts with exercise.” Kenshin yanked the covers off his slumbering apprentice, prodding him off the futon with his foot. “We rise at this time every day, I'm sure in time you will get used to it.”
"I seriously doubt that.” Hiroshi scrubbed a hand across his eyes, squinting up at the mirthful face of his master. “You are getting far too much enjoyment out of this.”
"What do you usually do in the morning?”
"I sleep through the morning, like any civilized person.” The curt reply was a sharp contrast to the whirlwind hair and pillow creases marring otherwise perfect cheekbones. “Couldn't we skip morning practice and start after lunch?”
"And then you'll want to wait until evening. You've spent enough years dawdling in bed, time to actually do something.” A strong hand latched onto Hiroshi's rumpled yukata and heaved him to his feet. “Your father expects me to turn you into a warrior. Get dressed and meet me in the dojo. The sooner we start, the sooner you get breakfast.”
The strappy ties on his hakama were a puzzle he couldn't decode in his half asleep state. Forty minutes passed before Hiroshi entered the dojo, hair roughly scraped back into a bushy tail, hakama tied in an impatient knot barely restraining his crumpled yukata. The sight of his new master peacefully meditating, hair and garments perfectly arranged, was enough to drive him to despair.
"I see you finally made it.” Dark eyes opened to study his reluctant student. “Tomorrow I will expect you to join me for meditation. Clarity of mind is crucial for productive training.”
"Clarity of mind assumes I am actually awake,” Hiroshi quipped. “I'm not sure that is possible so early in the morning.”
Kenshin's laugh was open and unexpected. “Let's get started.” He selected a bokken from the weapons rack. “Show me what you know.” He handed the wooden sword to his student, ignoring the electric tingle that rushed through him when their fingers brushed.
Hiroshi wobbled through the first of the simple kata he remembered, conscious of the poor showing he was making. As much as he disliked the warrior arts he wanted to make a good impression on the man who was giving up so much to train him. His attention was focused on Kenshin's reaction, further distracting him from what he should have been doing.
"Just stop,” Kenshin snapped. “Obviously we need to start at the beginning.” He snatched the bokken from lax fingers. “Lesson number one, how to properly hold a sword. Like this, see, all the work is done by these fingers, the others are just a guide.”
He handed the weapon back and watched critically as his apprentice tried to duplicate what he had been shown. “Better, but more space between your hands. It's a lever, you get more power that way.” Calloused fingers wrapped around Hiroshi's pampered digits, sparking another frisson at the contact.
The next few hours passed in a blur. When Kenshin finally called a halt the bokken needed to be pried out of his student's hands. “I think I'll be doing that cut in my sleep,” Hiroshi grumbled.
"Just make sure you soak your hands after we eat. I wouldn't want you to be unable to practice tomorrow.”
"Are we done for today?” The hopeful look directed in Kenshin's direction had him feeling momentarily guilty.
"We're done for this morning. Let's get something to eat and then we'll work on hand to hand skills for awhile.”
"How many of hours do you practice each day?”
"That depends on my duties. Eight to ten hours when I'm home, less if we're in the field.”
"Just kill me now,” Hiroshi declared. “There's no way I'll survive the week.”
* * *
The daimyo stared at the captain of his guard in disbelief. “Yes, Hiroshi's assignation was unseemly. That does not give you leave to assault his whore. The issue was settled, but now...well, now I'm waiting for the backlash. If this turns messy it is on your head.”
"But if you'd seen him. All painted up like a geisha and proud of it. Vanity like that is understandable in a woman, in a man it's an insult.”
"At least tell me you didn't kill him.” The daimyo's hand clenched on the hilt of his katana. The urge to punish this man for undermining his plan was nearly overwhelming. Several deep calming breaths passed while he waited for an answer.
"He was breathing when we left. Do you honestly expect me to go check on the creature?”
"Check on him. Get him to a healer if need be. Hiroshi will fly to his defense if he finds out and then all my efforts to separate them will be for naught. If you need further incentive keep in mind I just apprenticed my son to Yakushi-san. I imagine he would react strongly to anyone hurting his charge.”
"How did you trick Kenshin into taking your brat under his wing? He's turned down a dozen apprentices that I know of.”
"It was a lifetime favor. Why do you think I'm so determined it works out? Now go find that actor and make sure he'll keep his mouth shut. And not by killing him.” The daimyo turned and strode out of the hall, leaving his guard to figure out how to undo the damage.
* * *
By the time night fell Hiroshi was more exhausted than he thought possible. The afternoon passed in a blur, 'falling training' mostly consisted of Kenshin throwing him into things at high speed. His bruises were bruised. All he could think of was a long soak followed by sleeping for a week.
When he failed to appear for dinner Kenshin went looking. The last thing he needed was his apprentice escaping from his home on the first day. When he went to check the bathhouse he found his wayward pupil sound asleep in the furo, head barely above the water line. His fingers hovered above black clouds and half a flower intricately inked on an exposed shoulder. Of all the secrets his student held, this was one he never expected. “Oi, wake up, time for dinner.”
Hiroshi woke in a world of pain. The hot water did little to relieve the ache of muscles pushed far beyond their usual bounds. “Huh, what?”
"I would not have expected you to have a tattoo. Such a rebellious student I've managed to end up with. Sakura at dawn, and done by an irezumi master.”
"It's permanent, of course I went to a master.” Kenshin's gentle teasing picked at his student's last thread of patience. “Is nothing in my life private anymore?”
"Not from me.”
The smug smile on his master's face pushed the normally reserved Hiroshi over the edge. “You have got to be kidding me. As if being relegated to this mausoleum isn't enough, now you're spying and prying for my father as well?”
"My questions are my own,” Kenshin retorted. “And what I find is for me as well. You flatter yourself. A boy like you isn't worthy of such a grand plot. Now get out and dress, our dinner is getting cold.” He reached out to give Hiroshi a hand, only to have his arm slapped away.
"I'm perfectly capable of getting out of a tub on my own. Now turn around, I don't need you ogling me.”
"You think an awful lot of yourself. Why sakura? I would have pegged you for a dragon or perhaps yokai. Something more obviously manly, in any event.”
"It was Jun's suggestion,” Hiroshi admitted. “He thought it suited my personality.”
"Indeed.” Kenshin stepped behind his student, tracing the pattern with calloused fingers. “It is beautiful. New life from the darkness. I approve.”
"Thank you, I guess. Not that I need your approval.”
"Sit.” Kenshin pushed his student down onto the bathing stool, then knelt in front of him. “I want you to be able to walk tomorrow.” Strong fingers began kneading tired feet, pushing into tender arches until they relaxed. “Next time tell me when I'm pushing you too hard.”
"I did. You laughed at me.”
"My apologies, I forget not everyone works themselves as hard as I do.” Knotted calves gradually eased under the insistent pressure, and Hiroshi groaned, curling into the painful bliss. “After we eat I'll give you some lineament for your hands. It will toughen the skin so it doesn't tear. For now we will alternate days, swordsmanship one day, hand to hand the next. Just until you get used to the routine.”
"I'll try harder, I promise.”
"You did very well for your first day. I just set my expectations too high. We will find a balance, I'm sure.” Kenshin stood and hoisted him to his feet. “Better? Do you think you can walk to the table?”
"I'll manage. Give me a few minutes to dress and I'll join you.”
Over dinner they spoke of inconsequential things. Their mutual disdain for the pageantry of rule had them giggling into their cups at Hiroshi's uncanny mimicry of some of the daimyo's advisors. For the first time Kenshin thought that, perhaps, this arrangement might work out and he let go of some of his lingering resentment over the change in his routine.
* * *
Hiroshi was exhausted, yet sleep eluded him. All his plans of sleeping for a week fled the moment he stretched out on the futon. Instead of wandering in the land of dreams his mind kept flashing pictures of his new mentor. His cock lay hot and heavy against his thigh, stirring to life at the thought of the corded muscles of Kenshin's back. Yet again he couldn't help but wonder if his new master's ass was as impressively sculpted. So he's attractive. Lots of men are. Jun is devoted to me. I owe him my fidelity.
Despite his internal monologue, the nagging thoughts of Kenshin unguarded, eyes dark with lust and twinkling with amusement, niggled at his control. Hiroshi's cock twitched against his thigh, filling with blood against his wishes. He wrapped his hand around his straining erection, a squeeze and a single stroke from balls to tip had him arching off the futon with a passionate sigh. Another slow stroke further inflamed his passion. The thought of his new master overhearing him masturbating evoked a strange mixture of lust and embarrassment, and he bit his lip in an effort to stifle any further suspicious noises.
His eyes fluttered shut, his cock swelling as he pictured Jun sprawled naked on tangled sheets. Despite his intentions, the man he pictured grew taller and heavier, sleekly feminine features growing more rugged the closer he came to orgasm.
* * *
Kenshin listened to the sound of his apprentice pleasuring himself, oblivious to the fact that paper walls did nothing to keep his actions private. The steady strokes and occasional low moan only served to remind him just how long it had been since he'd sought release with another. Hiroshi had made his displeasure with such an arrangement between them crystal clear. As unappealing as the prospect was, perhaps the time had come to seek out a temporary assignation. His friends had spoken highly of the local pleasure district. Anything would be preferable to spending his nights listening to the sound of masturbation.
He tried to remember the last time he had even thought about sex, let alone touched himself. In the first few years after his master's death it had been a common practice. But as time passed he found his thoughts turning in that direction less and less. As best he could recall, it had been at least a year, possibly more.
So it's settled, he decided. Tomorrow I will go and see if the willow world holds anyone of interest to me.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Onna Bugeisha - Chapter Four

Sorry today's installment is a bit late - I have been on the run since before my eyes were actually open this morning. Still, better late than never (and it is still Friday). So, without further ado, on to chapter four.

Dai Yon Shou
"This will be your quarters.” Kenshin slid the fusama aside to reveal a large room, floored with fresh tatami, with several zabuton arranged around a low table. The butsudon held a simple vase with a willow branch. Shoji panels on the far wall had been opened onto the central courtyard, highlighting the view of an elaborate koi pond and single weeping sakura tree. It was everything Hiroshi admired; simple, restful, and decorated with exquisite taste. “Get settled in. We will talk more over the evening meal. If you need anything my housekeeper is at your service.”
Hiroshi nodded. “Would you mind if I looked around a bit?”
"This is your home now. If you have need of me I will be in the dojo.”
The fusama had no sooner shut than it slid open, servants delivering several elaborately lacquered chests filled with all the belongings from both his father's house and Jun's simple rooms. The message was clear, his old life was over.
He ignored the remains of his past, choosing to explore his new prison. The house was set in the traditional square pattern. The front wing contained public rooms, pristine tatami and the sparse but elegant decoration hinted that these were rarely used. His room and the room of his new master were in the right hand wing. To the left he found the kitchen and servants quarters. The inner walls all slid open to reveal the courtyard, the outer walls opened onto an encircling hallway whose outer walls also opened onto an engawa. In the summer all the doors could be opened to allow cross breezes, keeping it cool and comfortable even when the weather turned sultry.
Across the back stretched a massive training hall. Racks of weaponry and highly polished floors made it clear this room was well-used. Hiroshi watched as his new master went through a series of elaborate kata, each movement crisply precise, his gaze turned inward. His eyes lingered on Kenshin, tracing broad shoulders down a muscular back to a narrow waist. He couldn't help but wonder if the ass hidden inside baggy hakama was as well-developed as the rest of the man. Hiroshi shook his head to clear it of such thoughts, trying to hit on the man in charge of his life was probably the quickest way to guarantee he'd never again be free.
Kenshin finished the last of his kata, bowing to the shrine at the end of the room before turning to address his new pupil. “Are you getting settled in alright?”
"As well as can be expected on such short notice. Once my father decides on something there isn't much time to wrap your mind around it. In his world delay is a weakness.”
"It was as unexpected for me as it was for you,” Kenshin admitted. “I will try to make the transition as painless as possible.”
"So what, exactly, will we be doing?” Hiroshi knew he should have paid more attention to his father's lectures. The martial arts had always struck him as vulgar. When talk turned to battle he usually retreated into his own mind. Now he found himself at a disadvantage.
"How much training have you had?”
"The minimum I could get away with.” The admission wasn't easy. A man of his age and position should be competent in all the disciplines, yet Hiroshi could barely wield a blade. “I can ride well enough, and I've mastered some basic sword kata. Beyond that I'm hopeless.”
"I hardly imagine you're hopeless. Uninterested, perhaps.” Kenshin turned sharp eyes on his new apprentice. Hiroshi certainly had the physique to be a superior warrior, not terribly tall, but nicely proportioned and well-muscled. In hand to hand combat he would have a decided advantage. “Tomorrow morning we will start training in earnest. First we should talk about expectations, yours and mine.”
"I expect to be miserable.”
"I sincerely hope not. Your father expects me to train you, but I have no intention of being a tyrant about it. We will assess your strengths and work on those areas. At your age anything else would require too much backtracking.”
Hiroshi slumped against a support pillar, relief rushing through him. “Thank kami. I was afraid I would punished for my lack of skill.”
"That would be counterproductive. Neither children or adults learn well from punishment.” Kenshin rubbed the back of his neck, unsure how to open up the more personal part of the discussion. “What do you know of masters and their apprentices?”
"Not much. Most of the apprentices I've seen have been boys. I've never heard of anyone taking a student of my age.”
"That's true. Usually by the time a boy reaches adulthood he goes off on his own, although master and apprentice generally remain close. In your case, however, your father believes this arrangement will be beneficial to both of us.”
"Well, I can certainly see the benefit to him.” Hiroshi tried, and failed, to mask the bitterness washing through him. “And I guess it will be of benefit to me, assuming, that is, I ever find myself in a battle. I have to admit I am more likely to run in the opposite direction. What I don't see is any benefit to you. An unwanted intruder who will take up most of your time and energy isn't something most people would wish for.”
Kenshin took a deep breath to steady himself. “There is another aspect to our relationship. One which your father considered before asking me to undertake your training. Have you heard of wakashudo?”
"Old men taking advantage of boys.” The disdain Hiroshi felt toward such a thing was obvious.
"Masters and apprentices sharing love,” Kenshin corrected him. “I had such a relationship with my master and I assure you, I was never taken advantage of. I loved him and he loved me.”
"I am neither a child or a woman. I will not be used in such a fashion.”
"So you prefer to give? I know about your dalliance. Sex with a man is no mystery to you.”
"I am a man, of course I prefer the dominant position.” Hiroshi straightened, preparing to defend himself from being forcibly taken. “So, you see, we are at an impasse.”
"I will not pressure you into anything,” Kenshin assured him. “Although your father hoped that I could turn you away from your lover.”
"My beloved is beautiful and graceful, a talented performer in and out of bed. I can only hope he will forgive me for abandoning him without even a goodbye.”
"Some things are beyond our control. Surely your lover can understand that. If not, perhaps he is not worthy of your devotion.”
"It is I who am not worthy.” Hiroshi dropped his head, stress was muddling his thoughts at the moment he could least afford it. “I am resigned to this apprenticeship. In time, perhaps, we will become friends. I could certainly use one.”
"That is all anyone could ask for.” Kenshin stepped forward and clasped forearms with his new student. “Enough talk. I, for one, could use a good soak. I will be in the furo if you care to join me.”
* * *
Jun woke in an unfamiliar room with a stranger leaning over him. Panic surged and he struggled to push himself away from the threat.
"Don't.” A hand pushed down on his chest, keeping him in place. The image in front of him resolved into a wizened old woman. “I have done what I can, but you are still hurt. Stay as still as you can so you don't undo all my work.”
"Thank you for your kindness, but I will be fine on my own,” Jun insisted.
"You were near death. Relax and let yourself recover. No one will bother you here.” She lifted a small bowl to his lips. “Drink, it will help with the pain.”
He downed the contents, questions bursting in his brain. “Who are you? Where am I?”
"My name is Aoi. I'm a healer. Your neighbor saw the soldiers leaving your house and went to check on you. It is good he brought you here, without treatment you would surely have died.” She turned away and ladled broth into a bowl. “I had almost given up hope. It has been several days, and this is the first time you have been conscious.”
"I owe you a debt I cannot repay.” He sunk back into the futon and shut his eyes, feigning sleep while he contemplated his new turn of circumstance.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Onna Bugeisha - Chapter Three

And now - on to chapter three...

Amaterasu and Tsukiyomi soon fell into a comfortable relationship. For several hours every morning and evening they lingered together, exchanging ideas about how they could best improve the lives of the creatures living on their islands. Susanoo refused to join in their discussions, preferring to work his wiles on individuals and reveling in the chaos they introduced into his siblings' plan. Inside, however, he hankered for their acceptance. This conflict drove him to ever greater heights in an attempt to garner their father's undivided attention. He spent his days looking for the lynch-pin, the one human who could throw the entire nation into turmoil. Once he had his pawn, then he could make his move.

Dai San Shou
Jun was pulled from his misery by the sound of footsteps on the engawa. “You came back.” He ran out into the hall to greet his lover, only to find the entry filled with soldiers. “How dare you break into a lady's home,” he hissed. “Leave at once.”
"We are here to collect Murakami-san's belongings. Step aside or we will have to restrain you,” the leader of the group explained.
Soldiers filled the space, pawing through chests to create a messy pile of male clothing. “Stop that.” Jun threw himself against the nearest samurai in an attempt to snatch back the garments clenched in an armored fist.
"You would be smart not to fight us,” the leader of the squad insisted. “We would prefer not to restrain you.”
"Take your hands off Hiroshi's things. He'll punish you for this insolence.”
"Murakami-san will not be returning.” The commander's grip on Jun tightened. “His father will no longer tolerate this assignation. Hiroshi is being sent to live with Yakushi-sama. It is past time for him to be trained in the way of budo. Do yourself a favor and forget you ever met, for it is certain you will never meet again.”
"Hiroshi would never abandon me,” Jun sobbed. “We are eternal lovers. We swore never to be parted.”
"That is not a promise he was free to make to a woman like you. The daimyo's heir needs a match worthy of his family name. No street whore, no matter how lovely, could ever hope to win his hand.”
"I am no whore.” Jun rose to his full height, glaring imperiously at the men surrounding him.
"You aren't a woman, either,” the guard realized. “Hey, this girl is a man.” The atmosphere in the room turned dark. The samurai amused themselves by shoving Jun back and forth between them, stripping off layers with each pass. Finally he was naked except for remnant face paint smeared across his cheek and a single kanzashi caught in the tangle of his hair.
"You'll pay for this.” Jun found himself pressed onto the tatami, rough hands leaving bruises on soft flesh. His protests faded under the onslaught, all his energy focused on weathering the storm.
One by one the soldiers took their turn, filling Jun's mouth or ass. He gagged as semen blocked his throat, thrashing and coughing. His lips were turning blue when he finally vomited up the contents of his stomach on the man currently using him. The punch to the head that followed rendered him unconscious, not that his abusers cared.
When the last of them had taken his pleasure they gathered Hiroshi's things and left. The battered man on the tatami would never again be thought beautiful. And deep in his ocean lair, Susanoo smiled.
* * *
Mai added water to the inkstick, swirling the mixture with her brush until the consistency was perfect. She eyed the blank page with trepidation. This was her one chance to convince Kenshin to meet, a mistake could leave her relegated to the women's quarters in the Shogun's palace. I'd rather be dead. She made a mental note to visit the herbalist, surely there was no harm in being prepared for the worst.
She shook her head to clear it, shutting her eyes and picturing the future she wanted. Then she lifted the brush and began to write. Defying all logic, she decided to eschew the flowery phrases and subtle innuendo so favored by the court. Instead, she spoke from the heart, going into detail about her dreams. She hoped Kenshin would read between the lines and realize the plan meant freedom for both of them.
She folded the letter carefully, melting wax to seal it with her chop. The last thing she needed was one of her brother's councilors opening her plea. Mai delivered the sealed message to her attendant, asking that it be delivered immediately. Then she went to the shrine to light incense and pray.
"Amaterasu, grant me this boon. Turn Yakushi-san's heart in my direction. As your daughter I ask this blessing. In return, I will devote my life to honoring you and becoming the warrior you need me to be.”
* * *
Hiroshi glared sullenly through the window of the carriage, ignoring the scenery in favor of plotting revenge on his father. He was pulled from his introspection when they turned off the road down a drive lined with old pines. He distantly noted the serenity of his surroundings, carefully manicured plantings highlighting swirls of sand. Craggy rocks punctuated the scene, mountains writ small, their texture emphasizing the whole.
The door to the carriage opened, his guard eying him warily. “Are you coming, or do I need to carry you?”
"Don't be ridiculous.” Hiroshi stepped onto the path, unconsciously straightening his garments. If he had to be here it was best to make a positive impression. Good behavior would be the quickest path to regaining some freedom. Thoughts of Jun's disappointed face when he failed to reappear tore at his heart. He quickly pushed them aside, no point in dwelling on what he couldn't change.
"Welcome to my home.” Kenshin bowed politely, deep enough to acknowledge Hiroshi's family ties, but shallow enough to make it clear who was in charge.
"My apologies for intruding.” A deeper bow, held a fraction longer, acknowledged the status quo. “I hope my father hasn't caused you too much trouble.”
"I am honored to be tasked with training Murakami-sama's only son.” The cryptic response gave no indication of the samurai's true feelings. “Was your journey pleasant?”
"As much as any unexpected travel could be. My father sprang this on me without warning. I can only hope his lackeys collected all my possessions.”
"Anything missing can be sent for,” Kenshin assured him. “You will be here for the forseeable future, I want your stay to be a comfortable one.”

Friday, March 18, 2016

Onna Bugeisha - Chapter Two

I have decided to try and post chapters twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays...with luck I shall stay ahead of that schedule! Now, On to Chapter Two

Dai Ni Shou
Mai waited patiently for the emperor’s attention to turn to her. “Brother, you look tired.”
"My councilors believe it is time you were married,” he said without preamble. “The Shogun is looking for a new consort and they think it best it were you. It would strengthen his loyalty to our house.”
"I shall not,” she declared, eyes flashing angrily. “I am not some piece of meat to be bartered at your whim. The Shogun is old and ugly. Besides, he already has a wife and a concubine. Surely the sister of the emperor deserves better than the position of third plaything. Is that really the future you wish to sentence me to?”
"Do you have a better suggestion? I am open to other alliances, but it is high time you were wed.”
"I have thought long and hard about it,” Mai admitted. “My preference would be never to marry, but I know that is not an option. Still, there is one man I would consider.”
"Who is this mysterious man my sister deems worthy of her attentions? And what benefit does such a joining bring to our house?”
"Yakushi Kenshin, my lord. He is the chief retainer of Murakami-sama, a strong warrior with the ear of his liege. A marriage to him would solidify your ties with that region. He is also still single. The position of first wife is certainly more appealing to me.”
"It would be a marginally acceptable match,” the emperor admitted. “But he has always avoided the ties of marriage. What makes you think you can convince him?”
Of course, that had been part of her plan. The fact that he had no interest in marriage made it less likely she would be forced into a traditional relationship. She hoped to convince Kenshin they could form an alliance of convenience. She would be his wife in appearance only, with no obligation on his part to visit her bed. In return, he would help her become stronger and give her the freedom to train openly, perhaps even fight at his side. Just in case, she had picked a man who would appeal to any woman – strong, fair of face and relatively young. If he insisted on consummating the relationship it would not be offensive. “I believe I have more to offer than the average candidate,” she replied. “Arrange a meeting and let me try to convince him, at least.”
"I will consider your proposal,” the emperor decided. “You will be notified if a meeting can be arranged. Until then I expect you to consider other possibilities. One way or another you will be wed this season.”
"Yes, my lord. Thank you for your patience.”
"You are my sister. I would like to see you happy, if such a thing is possible.”
Mai made the required formal prostrations, backing out of the room as quickly as possible while keeping her face averted to hide the gleeful smirk she could not contain. Once outside she raced to her rooms, heedless of the disdainful looks she received from her brother’s concubines as she passed. She had been subjected to more than enough lectures about how a woman of her status should behave. The thought of spending her life wrapped in elaborate silks and tittering behind a fan filled her with contempt. She had no desire to act the simpering fool, even less so if it meant she had to suffer a man’s heavy hands and sour breath in her bed. She would make Kenshin accept her, whatever it took. The alternative was too grim to contemplate.
* * *
Kenshin swept through the corridors of the daimyo’s palace, the look on his face causing everyone he passed to fall back in fear. It was obvious the powerful samurai was angry, beyond angry, he was livid with rage, and the pampered courtiers did not wish to provoke him further. No one wanted to risk losing their head over something they had no part in.
He roughly yanked the reins from the servant holding his horse, vaulting into the saddle and galloping off. As he rode he cursed the kami for his change of fortune. He passed a small shrine and decided to stop, lighting incense and clapping his hands three times before bowing his head. “Amaterasu, you have withdrawn your warmth. Tsukuyomi, you no longer light the darkness. You have abandoned me to my fate and delivered me into the hands of your brother Susanoo with his penchant for chaos and destruction. I curse you and these islands to eternal darkness. May the yokai come and devour all your faithful. May their blood run like rivers across this land while I watch and laugh.”
Then he was back on his horse, speeding for home. The last thing he wanted was his new charge to arrive before he did.
Once there he gathered his servants to inform them of Hiroshi’s impending arrival. “He shall use the rooms next to mine. Have them aired and fresh tatami laid. We do not wish to make our guest feel unwelcome.”
"No one could look at that face and feel welcome,” one of the maids whispered. “Yakushi-sama looks like a storm cloud.”
"How our master looks or feels is none of your concern,” the housekeeper hissed. “Your job is to follow his instructions, not meddle in his affairs. Murakami-sama is an honored guest of our master. Make sure you treat him as such.”
Kenshin quickly retreated to his own rooms, his mood improving as soon as he exchanged the too formal kimono for his more usual hakama. Once he stopped to think about it, the situation didn’t seem nearly as dire. He tried to picture his new charge, but the only memories he could conjure were of a small boy in a grass-stained kimono with a smile like the sun.
* * *
Jun studied his reflection in the small hand mirror, tilting his head from side to side to make sure the illusion was perfect. “How do I look?”
"You look beautiful, as always,” Hiroshi assured him. Indeed, with his makeup applied and dressed in layers of silk, Jun could rival any courtesan. “Are you off to the theater, then?”
"No, silly. I'm going with you.”
An icy frisson crept up Hiroshi's spine. Jun might be beautiful, but the thought of passing him off as a woman to his father was one he couldn't contemplate. “That would not be wise. If you are discovered we will both suffer for it. Just wait here for me, I will be back soon.”
"But if he thinks you've found someone he will stop pushing you to marry. I do not wish to lose you to another.” Jun pressed himself against his lover, using all his skill to convince Hiroshi to go along with his plan.
The heady scent of sandalwood and sakura left Hiroshi breathless. It was all he could do to fight the urge to unwrap the layers hiding his lover from view and carry him back to bed. For a moment he was lost in contemplation, picturing that perfect mask smeared across pristine sheets. The consequences of being late to a meeting with his father, though, outweighed his burgeoning erection. “It is impossible. Even if he were to believe your disguise, you lack the pedigree he demands. I will deal with my father. I've managed to evade his matchmaking this long, I'm sure today will be no different.”
Jun's smile slid into a pout. “But I get so lonely when you're away. You wouldn't want me to have to seek another's company.”
"Threatening me isn't going to change my mind.” The blatant manipulation turned regret into anger. “Perhaps it is time I find a more suitable consort.” Hiroshi pushed his lover away to continue dressing, pulling on his heavily embroidered kamishimo and sliding his swords into the proper place. And then he was gone.
The mirror smashed against the wall, followed by an assortment of bottles and boxes as Jun vented his fury on the contents of his dressing table. Rage dissipated and turned to tears. The illusion broke, leaving a weeping mess crumpled in its wake.
* * *
"You summoned me?” Hiroshi knelt before his father, head bowed subserviently.
"Your rebellion has gone on long enough,” the daimyo declared. “I have made arrangements for you to apprentice with one of my samurai.”
"I respectfully request you reconsider. I am far too old for such an arrangement. It would be unseemly.” Inside Hiroshi was panicking. An apprenticeship would put an end to his freedom. Instead of long lazy days in the arms of his lover the future would be filled with hours of tedious practice and meditation under the eyes of a dour warrior.
"What is unseemly is your behavior. Did you think me blind, that I wouldn't notice your dalliance with that actor? You will do as I say, today. I have already sent some men to gather your belongings and take them to your new home.” The daimyo was unmoved by his son's protests. In his heart he hoped Hiroshi would find happiness, but he couldn't allow that wish to compromise his actions.
"And if I refuse?”
"Refusal is not an option. You will do as I command. Go willingly or suffer the insult of being bound and delivered. The choice is yours.”
Hiroshi briefly considered resisting, if only for the pleasure of seeing his father discomfited. The daimyo would certainly suffer more from the loss of face caused by him leaving under duress. But then he realized arriving at his new home bound and gagged would eliminate any chance at freedom. Perhaps, if he cooperated, he would be able to slip away and at least bid his lover farewell. Regret threatened to overwhelm him. If he had known what awaited he would never have passed up a last chance to lay with the man who had captured his heart. “I will go willingly. Anywhere is better than here.”

The daimyo nodded to the waiting guards. They flanked Hiroshi, leading him out of the hall to the carriage that would deliver him to his future.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Onna Bugeisha - Chapter One

In the interest of pushing myself to keep making progress I have decided to post my WIP chapter by chapter. This one is taking me forever, probably because I tried, and failed, to plot it in advance. I did plot it...but the characters have their own ideas about how the story goes!

This is Onna Bugeisha, set in 17th century Japan, a twisted quadrangle of love and revenge. Mai sets her sights on the stoic samurai, Kenshin. Kenshin desires his new apprentice, his master's son Hiroshi. Hiroshi longs for his lover, the cross-dressing actor Jun. And Jun, well he just wants revenge. Duty, honor, love and bloodshed collide in this tale of homoerotic love. 


Izanagi was tired. Creating the islands of Japan took more energy than he had anticipated. He looked down on them and tears gathered in the corners of his eyes. What would become of the men born on these most beautiful islands? Three tears escaped, one falling from his left eye, one from his right, while the last slid down his nose before dropping to earth. As the tears landed they transformed into powerful kami, his sons and daughter, Tsukuyomi, Susanoo and Amaterasu. 

“Look at the beauty before you, my children,” he entreated. “Guard these islands and their inhabitants. Keep them safe and bless them with your gifts.”

Amaterasu was quick to agree. “Of course, Father. I will bless them with light and warmth.” She ascended to the heavens and took her place as the sun goddess. 

“I, too, wish to help,” Tsukuyomi declared. “Even at night they will need light to keep evil at bay.” He took his place next to his sister as the moon.

Susanoo, however, was more reckless and less well mannered. “You make it too easy for these puny humans, Father. They need conflict to grow and reach their potential. I will give them the gift of unpredictability.” He descended into the ocean and whipped up fierce storms and raging seas.

Dai Isshou

Step, slide, twist, swing. Stray beams of light flickered across the blade of the naginata, a counterpoint to the soft shush of bare feet on tatami. Mai shut her eyes and concentrated. The sound of the blade reminded her of wings in flight. She envied the freedom of birds, she couldn't even train openly. Nothing in her life was more hateful than the sneaking around and hiding she had to do. All across Japan, samurai women trained, and even fought, side by side with men. Surely she deserved the same privilege.

Muffled voices resolved as they grew closer. Mai doused the single candle and slipped behind an elaborately carved jade screen. Hiding like a dog, again. Resentment bubbled up inside her, and she forced herself to bottle the urge to strike out at the source, settling instead for eavesdropping. She held her breath, recognizing her brother's airy tones. His patience with her had been growing thin of late, and getting caught listening in on his private discussions would not help her position.
Mai shifted cautiously, trying to get a better angle on the room through the perforations of the screen, and watched her sibling pace back and forth. Concealment was well worth the discomfort of being wedged into such a confined space. Son of Heaven, indeed, she thought with a sniff. If he was a god he would know I was here.
She didn't bother trying to see the speaker. It didn't really matter which one of her brother's so-called councilors it was, they were uniform in their desire to get her safely married and miles away. Mai shivered when the emperor's eyes seemed to meet hers, wondering if his anger would be as much for her state of dress as for her eavesdropping. Of course, subterfuge was to be expected in the palace. A princess dressed like a man, on the other hand, was a serious breach of protocol.
Of course, she immediately regretted her harsh thoughts. She loved her brother and hated the thought of disappointing him. Perhaps I should start giving some thought to who I would be open to marrying. If I choose wisely it might not be so bad.
Mai immediately crossed the Shogun off her list. True, he wielded real power, but he was also an old man, one who preferred his women docilely locked up at home awaiting his return. That wasn't the future she wanted. After a lifetime cooped up in the palace under lock and key she longed for the freedom to come and go as she pleased. Of course, that same reasoning also excluded all of the daimyo from her consideration.
She scooted back from the screen, curling into the corner while the discussion droned on and concentrating on the issue at hand. One by one she considered, and rejected, the prime candidates. Surely there must be one man in the entire country she wouldn't despise as a husband. And then it came to her and Mai smiled.
* * *
Murakami-sama better appreciate this.” The low grumble went unnoticed by the hangers-on he passed in the corridor. They might be dressed alike, but it was very clear these so-called advisers would not pose a challenge, should he find reason to oppose them, so they faded to the side to allow him to pass.
You summoned me?” He straightened from his bow to look his liege in the eye.

I need a favor from you, my friend.” The daimyo paced restlessly, eyes fixed on the floor as he concentrated on how to explain what he wanted. “It's my son.”
Hiroshi-kun?” Kenshin was more than a little surprised. The boy was obviously his father's pride and joy. He couldn't imagine what sort of problem he could have caused. “What did he do, get some pillow girl pregnant?”
Not exactly.” The daimyo hesitated to reveal the reason behind his request. In truth he was more than worried about his son, he was furious. “He’s eighteen now, it's time he left home and lived life away from his mother's influence. As a friend I ask for this favor. Take Hiroshi under your wing. Teach him what it means to be samurai. Protect him from my enemies and his own foolishness. There is no one else I trust to do this for me.”
Kenshin bit his cheek to keep it from twitching. This was exactly the sort of entanglement he'd worked hard to avoid. He'd neatly avoided marriage, claiming his duty to the man now attempting to foist an even deeper involvement upon him. “My lord, I do not think I am the right person for this task. I am but a simple soldier, I know nothing of the demands of court or the burden of leadership.”
I know exactly what you are. Besides, it is high time you found a suitable bed partner. You can’t keep denying yourself, it is unhealthy. I need you at your best, and I need a son worthy of assuming my position. You have the strength needed to mold him, and sufficient gentleness not to break him. My mind is set.”
You would bargain your child as a bed toy?” Kenshin spat the words out without thinking. He bowed low, murmuring his apology. “My lord, forgive my insult. I did not mean to question your decision. I will gladly commit seppuku to atone.”
Do not be ridiculous.” The daimyo reached down and tilted the samurai’s face so he could meet his eyes. “Hiroshi has been spending his nights with an actor, an out-caste. As his father I want him to be happy, but I cannot allow such an affair to continue. You are much more suitable. Love between a master and apprentice is acceptable, even encouraged. You have never married and you do not have a pillow girl. I felt it safe to assume women do not appeal to you. Surely you do not wish to spend the rest of your life alone?”
Kenshin’s mind whirled. He thought he had been discrete in his desires, looking, yet never acting upon them. True, there was no shame in taking a male lover. His teacher had introduced him to the pleasures of such a relationship. But as the older, more experienced party he would be expected to take the dominant role, and the thought filled him with trepidation. He also feared this was the start of a slippery slope that would force him into taking a wife as well. Up to this point his life had been nearly perfect. Change was something he avoided, especially a change of this magnitude. “I live to serve, my lord,” he replied. “If this is your will I shall abide by it.”
Good, it is settled then. I will send my son to your house this afternoon.”

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Made for This - erotic or appalling?

This short is part of the wonderful Uncommon Bodies anthology, but as I am now free to share it, I shall. It grew out of a 250 word free write, and has engendered more negative reactions than anything else I have written...which is strange considering how many boundaries I usually break. So, take a couple minutes, give it a read, and let me know if you agree that I am the most disgusting person ever to put pen to paper.

The irony of his situation was one of its most pleasing aspects. He was, after all, a creature made for submission. To be tied to a master who desired domination almost made up for the past. Almost.
The incident itself was two decades behind him.
He barely recognized himself as the shyly snarky pseudo-intellectual who had so earnestly argued gender politics in an attempt to impress some silly coeds. That he had survived the psychosis his words inspired was, truly, miraculous. Or so he had been told. In truth, most days he considered his current life a cruel joke by an angry god. Personal vengeance, perhaps, for some grand transgression he had already forgotten.
His transit from cocky grad student to genderless thing had been swift, not subtle. He'd walked through that park a thousand times without encountering anyone. It never occurred to him that such seclusion might come at a price. To this day he still marveled that so much loss came so silently. He never even heard the shot.
Looking back, he hates how surprised he was to be confronted by a girl he had so easily cast aside. The trauma surgeon refused to try and rebuild the shredded lump of flesh, realizing that salvaging a gnarled stump of cock would be pointless. The bullet had merely nicked his scrotum, but there wasn't much point to balls without a cock, and the repair was simpler with a single graft.
The surgeon had argued the advantages of gender transition. Hormones would be a part of his life now, no matter what. But it was easy to arrogantly argue the benefits of such a thing when not faced with the reality of it. In the end he knew playing at female would be even less satisfactory than accepting his sexlessness. He still had the heart of a cocksman, even if he lacked the necessary equipment.
At the trial, she laughed when they handed down her punishment. Ten years against his life sentence seemed like a good bargain.
Afterward he tried to go on as if nothing had changed, subsuming his anger in pain pills, liquor and futile, chaste dalliances with women. In the end he found himself neither wiser nor calmer. Even the debates on art and culture he had once so fervently engaged in lost their meaning. His facility with words had vanished with his cock. Listening suited his newly passive nature, until even that required more of himself than he had left to give. The thought that everyone knew drove him into seclusion.
A chance encounter led him to a place he never imagined finding himself. After all, what use is a sex club to the sexless? Five minutes was enough to confirm he longed to be the one wielding the whip. The fact that he was willing to dole out such pain sent him running for the exit.
"Are you leaving because you hate it, or because you despise yourself for not hating it?” The hand latched onto his arm in a death grip forced him to actually consider the question.
“I shouldn't even be here. This is no place for someone like me.”
“On the contrary, I think this is exactly where you belong.” The retort on the tip of his tongue melted away as he got his first look at man behind the voice. “Why don't we sit down and you can tell me why you don't think you belong here.”
Ten years later that voice could still bring him to his knees.
“Aren't you a pretty thing.” Such notice from the faceless crowd jerked him back to the present, to the role he was expected to play. It was a toss-up as to which was more unsettling, the crop in his hand, or the massive phallus studded with shiny balls of stainless steel protruding from the codpiece he wore. Both were symbols of how far he had fallen, or risen, he was as conflicted about that as everything else in this scene.
But, as always, that voice had convinced him to push past his conflict with an ease that baffled him. Had he been this easily lead when he was whole? But now was not the time for such philosophical contemplations.
Up on the platform his master shivered in his bonds, inked trails oozing out of the tight corset wrapping his midsection, leather pants jerked down to his knees to expose the pale silky flesh of his ass for all to admire.
Master, the heart of his confliction. The man who had simultaneously saved and condemned him. The sun around which he now orbited, a wayward planet still tugging at its leash. Muscles tensed and twitched in anticipation as he traced idle patterns, afterimages burning a trail that flared into need.
“Are you ready?” As ritual demanded he broke his silent contemplation, more sure of the answer than his question.
“Yes.” The husky tremor in his master's voice spurred his resolve. The crop snapped against porcelain flesh, leaving a mark, his mark, and the demon of rage slumbering inside him tore free.
When he finally stopped every inch of exposed flesh bore the record of his madness, reddened welts mixing with tribal tattoos in a cacophony of frustrated desire.
Now came the part he dreaded. The beast inside him tamed, for the moment, leaving him without the will to finish this passion play. That his master was willing, prepped and waiting gave him no comfort. The murmur of the watchers spurred him into action, burying the ridiculous faux-cock to the hilt.
His fingernails dug ragged furrows into reddened cheeks as his mind trumpeted the futility of his actions. Pegging was a game for women, not men. His cheeks flamed as he realized all the silent watchers must know of his peculiar lack. In an effort to disprove that knowledge he redoubled his efforts, plowing into the writhing figure with greater abandon.
As with all good things, his frustrated rage couldn't last. Absent sexual satisfaction or the driving force of anger, their copulation became just another task to complete. He found himself counting the indentations on the soundproofed wall, picturing towering mammatus clouds in their place. When the figure beneath him began to whimper he breathed a silent sigh of relief. The sticky spray of his master's semen meant he could, at last, put aside this facade.
The transit from top to bottom was mercifully brief. The cruel cock discarded, he was stripped, spread, bound, and his soul absolved. Freed from the need to think, able to lose himself in the sensations of the moment.
This was the moment he now lived for, his desire released from the cage in which he kept it securely locked up.
As the first cock slipped inside him his breath caught, by the fifth he was panting, by the tenth, at last, transported. He shuddered through what passed as orgasm and fell into darkness. His last thought that, perhaps, he could stay cocooned in the soft richness of this moment.
His eyes snapped open, Master slumbered beside him, ointment-coated welts glistening in the dim light. And so, it began again, the futile race to oblivion that trapped him in the present. His joy, his terror, his destiny fulfilled.