The great indigo dragons of night fell upon Japan, silent and warm. Their bellies shining with the glistening dew of stars.
The fireflies, feeling it was their time, came out and danced among the wildflowers on the soft shoulder of a grassy hill. The soft winking of their bottoms, soothing and melodic with out sound. A breeze, carrying all the smells of heaven glided effortlessly across this hill like hot honey over creamy coconut ice cream. It climbed up and over, spilling into the face of Hana Shiroshi.
Hana Shiroshi sat on a large flat rock over looking the small city of Kaito, just below her and gave her a beautiful view of the country lying just beyond. The rice fields making a checker board pattern she could just see through the dusky half light of evening. Below her the city began to quiet itself, yawning and shifting about. Children were called in and fed sticky rice buns, sweet sesame cakes and whatever small amount of fish or meat was available to them.
Hana Shiroshi was quite comfortable on her perch. Her breath was deep and smooth. She felt calm and collected in her favourite spot, the day seeping away from her like it had never happened.
She frowned lightly.
But it had.
Hana Shiroshi had done an unforgivable act and now she was to be killed for it. Her place as a Geisha did not protect her now.
She recalled the events of the day with distress.
Kappatsu ran through the dusty streets of Kaito, her delicate feet seeming to barely touch the ground before being lifted again and dropped a few feet ahead. Her name suited her well, considering she was the bounciest and most lively of the girls still residing at the school of Giesha. The Master had chosen her to become a Giesha simply because she had such fine features and was truly one to become very popular. Over time she had been broken to fall into very quiet bouts of utter calm and peace when the time was right. But the time was not right. In fact at this very moment as she ran, Kappatsu’s mind was not on the refined calm of the giesha but on her friend and life time companion Hana Shiroshi, who brought more fiery life into her than anyone else.
Kappatsu picked her way expertly through the streets, dodging a water buffalo here, and a cart full of delicious steaming rice, sweet patties, noodles and steamed fish , there. On any normal steamy day she would have stopped and handed the man or woman of the kiosk a few coins and gladly sat to enjoy a fresh snack from the steaming cart.
But today was not the day for wasting time.
A man astride a large black horse with golden reigns and a beautiful saddle had come to the school in search of her friend a few moments ago.
The man had smiled a crooked smile at the young Geisha sitting and talking in the centre of the school, admiring their smiling painted lips and dancing eyes.
The girls were surrounded by exotic flowers, beautiful examples of their calligraphy, and art. They giggled and hid their faces behind their sleeves and fans, whispering about this fine looking man.
He was a fine looking man indeed, tall and only a little thick, with towering broad shoulders and long black hair tied into a thick bun behind his head. His uniform was crisp and bright, making his lean body appealing and young. The young mans face was not very striking, except his eyes. His eyes were a deep brown, almost black, perching upon high cheekbones and they made a perfect frame for his dazzling white teeth.
The school was small in comparison to the ones further south on Japan, but it was widely known for turning out the most prosperous of Geisha.
The style was typical of any Japanese school, rectangular and enclosed around the outside, opening into the centre at a courtyard. The wooden floors of the school were littered with mats and low tables. Beautiful mahogany cabinets were full of brushes, inks, lutes, and other instruments of beauty that the Geisha were required to learn. On some tables sat delicate teacups and kettles, all very plain white with a small flower painted on their sides.
The courtyard was grassy and soft. A small pond sat in the centre surrounded by small shiny pebbles and filled with cool glistening water. Large gold, orange, white and black fish glided serenely just beneath the glassy surface.
Kappatsu sat just beneath the place where her master and the young man spoke.
The messenger bowed stiffly to the Master and he returned it. “My name is Yuki Shugo, I am a messenger for Emperor Koukeisha Shishi. He has requested the company of the Geisha Hana Shiroshi at his palace.” the young man announced and then held out a fine piece of rolled parchment to the Master.
“Well Yuki Shugo,” The Master smiled, took the parchment and rasped, rather than said. “The Geisha Hana Shiroshi is across the city tending to her ailing sister. We will send this on to her at once and I am sure she will come immediately to join our prestigious Emperor.” Yuki Shugo bowed, and thanked the master, then turned and left.
Immediately Kappatsu was on her feet and before the master. “Sensei Shirakawa, please, let me deliver this letter to Geisha Hana Shiroshi!” Kappatsu bowed her head and folded her hands submissively.
Shirakawa patted her on the head and laughed scratchily. “Indeed, I could think of no one fleeter of foot than you, young Kappatsu. You may deliver this to our Geisha Hana Shiroshi, and you must take with you something else.”
Shirakawa turned and disappeard into his private room. He emerged with a small silk bag and handed it to Kappatsu. “You must not spill a drop of this bags contents!” He said with a fervour. “This medicine is strong against the fevers of Geisha Hana Shiroshi’s sister’s sickness.” Kappatsu nodded and bowed carefully. “I will be back before nightfall. And if something detains me I will send message to you Sensei Shirakawa.” Shirakawa nodded, his thin white hair shining against a small pocket of light, filtering through the leaves of the tree outside.
Kappatsu bowed once more and left the compound. As soon as she was outside she broke into a run.