We’d left for Tokuno two days after my wounds had healed. Left family and friends and just… walked. I had promised her an indepth look at my homeland. Ever since I told her of how the moon rising looked, cresting the forests. The songs of the cranes as they swoop across the gently lapping waters at the shoreline. Or… of how the wind will dance around with cherry blossoms and surround you with their sweet calming scent.
Arms and armor we left behind, save for our twin Katanas. I, clad in a kimono of sunset red. Venora in her own, newly obtained kimono of robin egg blue. She had yet to become acustomed to traditional Tokuno clothing, and for the first day stumbled a bit. But with my hand in hers, by the next, one could swear she had grown up in the palace of the Empress herself.
I could tell she was excited the moment we stepped through the moongate and arrived in Zento. Her lips parted slightly as she took it all in. Sosaria is a beautiful place, this is true. But Tokuno in the winter has no equal. She took a step and turned to me. I could see it in her eyes.
“Isonu, it’s-” Her words cut off as my lips pressed to hers. Our kiss was short, tender and though we drew several stares… None interrupted our moment.
“I know.” My words soft, breathing them into her ear. “And this is only a glimpse of what I have to share with you.” My smile returned as I wiped a tear from the corner of her eye. “I can think of no one else I want to share this with.”
Nodding, her radiant smile returned and we began our tour of the city.
Night, in Tokuno…varies from Britannia or Malas. Paper lanterns are lit and Zento lights up. Our pace was slow, I had seen the festivities before and she had not. Children in masks ran around, some wielding bokken that had been crafted in the form of legendary weapons from our myths and legends.
We paused on the waterfall bridge so she could watch them a moment longer. Three boys, having a mock battle against a terrifying paper dragon. I smiled, remembering when I would run around with my friends. Dreaming of becoming a samurai in my own right.
Venoras eyes were riveted on them, a shadowed smile gracing her delicate features. A moment passed, then another. Finally, we became aware of a young girl tugging on Venoras sleeve. Her makeup running as tears trickled down, she reached up as her lower lip quivered.
Like the caring soul she is, Venora quickly picked the child up. Sadly, we havent begun her learning of my language yet… So the childs pleas were quickly lost upon her. On her, but not me.
Leaning in, I murmered to her. “She lost her family. Her mother to be precise and cannot find her.”
“Poor thing…” Venora held her close, turning to me in the process. “Does she know where her mother was last at?”
I asked the girl, and soon enough we were heading for the western side of the city. Venora singing softly to the child as we walked. And though she could not understand the lyrics, the child calmed and eventually fell asleep with a grip on Venoras sleeve.
Finding the frantic mother proved easy enough, for she came running as soon as we rounded a corner. Her thanks flowing from her lips quickly, she took her child and left for home. But not before tucking a flower into Venoras hair. Saying one word in the common tongue as she did. “Luck”
“…Luck?” She turned to me, holding my arm.
“For bringing her daughter back safely… Its a rather nice thing to do actually.” Smiling, I led her onwards into the night.
Floating lanterns, folk tales, song and dance… She loved every moment of the night. I had never seen her happier. And as the first light of day started showing in the distance, we hurried for the inn.
She left for the indoor hot spring as I paid for our room, being assured we would not be interrupted till evening once more. I moved slowly once I glimpsed her form through the rising steam. And I had to pause in step as I took in her dazzling body.
Water cascaded down as she poured it over her head, flowing evenly back into the pool. The lanterns were lit low, shadows playing across her as I neared. At times, I forget she has senses equaling mine now, for she turned and smiled at me with an arm across her chest.
“Come to join me?”
I needed no further invitation. And for the next several hours, we learned each others bodies slowly and passionately as if for the first time again before finally settling in for a much needed rest. Her naked figure snuggled against mine, my lips brushed the top of her head. The first day of our trip coming to a close, and yet…So much left to see…