Thanks for the views and the thanks, it may seem unusual to have the story start like this but bear with it Chapter 1
The smell of wet dirt lingered in the atmosphere. He clamped his hands together in front of his teacher's portrait and closed his eyes. The clamoring on the roof was part of the silence within the room that he had possessed for the past six months. The continuous prayer and practice controlled his life as a samurai for the Suzuki. Toyozumi was attached to belief of bushido and led his life following the many before him. However, he cursed his flaws when he heard the cries in the other room.
"Toyozumi, please tend for you wife, she is going into labor." The maid called out breaking his prayer to his teacher.
Hurrying to the maternity room, the odor of his wife's pain entered into his mind. Surrounded by women, he pushed them away to grasp her brittle hand. He could see the color escape from her face as her smile kept him warm from the torturous weather swarming outside. The maids excused him from the wife and sat patiently as the baby was being delivered.
Crossing his arms, the storm didn't let up its attack on the house as he heard the clattering on top. He imagined the future for his child while the cries couldn't penetrate the exterior wall. Handing down his sword, practicing continuously, pushing him into a popular spot among the clan; the images were beautiful to his eyes. Glancing back at the crowd, the maids were a flock of birds looking down at the chum below. Their heads bobbing up and down until it halted for a moment and the cries continued but the signal from the lead maid gave him a knot in his stomach.
"Ooya, what is wrong with my wife?" His cry echoed in the room but none turned to face him.
Rushing towards the crowd, he observed the blood flowing into the cracks of the tatami mats, creating a small river away from the area. Her smile as grand as their marriage day, it was an image of the future crashing before him. He watched over the scene feeling the knots tightened by the two hands that he hated.
He saw the ghost of his master appeared next to his wife, extended hand out to her, his throat parched wanted to yell out her name but the ghost disappeared. The cries echoed louder than usual. The maids covered the woman with a white cloth as the mourning began over her pale body. Suddenly, the baby cries stopped as the child was handed over to the father.
"Curse you, a baby without the power to take over my status." He said softly. "You only have the curse of your mother."
"Sir, please let her live." The maid pleaded.
"Reason to the others to let her live." He commanded as his hand touched his short sword. "She shall be killed upon the sixth day after the full moon.
The maid peered through the open door and saw the moon bright staring back at her. She turned back toward the priest and confirmed it was only time to determine her worth. Taking the baby back from the man's arms, she went to the next room where the wet nurses were held up and offered their bosoms to the hungry child.
Toyozumi paced back to the training room and sat down with his legs below him, crossing his toes at the back. His heart pumped with hate at his master, the question lingered in his mind, but his lips felt heavy as he held his hand closed. He tilted his head down facing the crown towards him. He loosened up his fist, laid them to the ground, and bowed deeply.
"Master Suzuki, have I failed to satisfy your daughter?" He asked with his eyes guarded from the master's picture.
"If so, I shall commit hara-kiri in front of you as I disgrace you and your family." He lifted his head up and loosened up his clothing exposing his chest and belly.
The door opened behind him catching his attention before drawing his dagger. The arms constricted him from going further but his strength was too powerful as her sister saw the blade in front of her. Her feet were covered by the light blue kimono as he saw the fear in her eyes.
"Master, my sister gave her life for an heir." She spoke with her lips quivering as he held the dagger towards her.
"The child is no heir," he said as the dagger returned to its sheath. "She can only inhibit the power and pleasure the many hungry uncivil men."
She lunged forward loosening up her clothes before feeling the warmth in her. Shifting her hips, she let out pleasure cries realizing her erogenous zone was commanding his mind. He froze as he watched her command her own faith in front of him. Releasing his seed, she collapsed into his arms with a grin on her face. In anger, he pushed her off and drew the dagger again but released it again into the mat.
"I want to bear an heir as a gift for you." She held her midsection. "My sister couldn't do it and died for her sin."
"Do you think I shall trust you?" He questioned as he closed his kimono hiding his grown manhood. "If you do bear a child with power, you cannot marry me."
"I know." She admitted defeat. "But the name can be succeeded if we keep this secret with everyone."
He turned toward the picture and bit his lip as the mind started to feel the disgrace again, seeing her father watching his other daughter get pregnant in front of him. He couldn't bear the stern look he gave as his portrait looked at both of them. Toyozumi stumbled back to the seating position and bowed again to him.
"Master, we must go back to my room." She commanded.
Avoiding another look at the master, he leapt to his feet and escaped the training room to the warm arms of his sister in-law. The night was dominated with cries in the Suzuki household. Ooya could only bear a good fortune for the new child named Kanon.
The storm dissipated the next morning but the cries of the child awoke the father from his rest. Drawing his sword, he tore through the room where the wet nurses were exhausted from the feeding the child had needed for the night. Lowering his sword, the child's cry disappeared as he held the child once again. The smile melted the mask of anger he had held in front of him.
"Master, sorry to awake you." The nearest one to him apologized.
"I don't care about this child because I will get my heir but she won't be killed." He said catching the women's attention.
"What shall you do with her?" She asked hiding her face from him.
"She will be sold off at age five." He said with a smile. "Six days can pass as long as she can keep me happy."
The baby giggles were his only obstacle from not killing her on the spot. However, the stench from the adjacent room gave him the aches again and left the baby with the wet nurses. The "tainted people" had gone into the other room spreading lavender powder over the body. He could only feel the lingering effects of the death as the woman to bear his heir clamped onto his right arm.
"Poor sister struggled for an heir." She commented as her skin rubbed the master's kimono. "But she could never accept the responsibility."
Her hand reached under the kimono rubbing the master's area. She couldn't resist temptation again and dragged him into the room again where disrobing had been done many times before and threw her body again towards him. He could feel the elegant grip onto his member and let his mind go into the trance as the two went into a marathon of continuous intercourse.
The baby continuously was whining for the father's touch with the week gone by. Wearing down on the once full bosoms, she had become a nuisance to the nurses leaving Ooya to calm her down. Frustrated by the father's lust for the sister in-law, she had become the stand in mother until he would come out drunk from ecstasy to coo the daughter he once regarded as bad luck.
"Ooya, Kanon is yours to choose." He passed the child off to the lead maid. "Oyami has agreed to become my new bride and with the new heir in her womb, I have decided to list her off the books."
The maid handed the baby off to the first nurse and unleashed the frustration onto him. Toyozumi stood erect towards the maid, his hand on the handle of his weapon, but the way prevented him from drawing his sword against the perpetrator. Knowing his own issue with the new bride would become the handler of the Suzuki, he laughed at the maid. "It is still yours to choose, let her become a geisha in the dirt pit. She can only take. She can never give pleasure like her mother."
As he left the room, Ooya had given his choices to thought but couldn't let the girl live out her life in the pleasure quarters. She took her on a trip to Osaka, where her family shrine was located. Against the elders' consideration, she took the trip out of Edo and followed her only ally, Ishiaki, a tall, handsome ronin who had loved Ooya as a young maid but with his wife passing, he couldn't let her beauty take over his heart but generosity was always first in his mind.
"Missus, master Suzuki shall be angered by your trip." He said in a low tone.
"This child is mine. He can't do anything unless he wants to know why this child is going to be special." She proclaimed as Ishiaki took his horse from the stable.
Ishiaki took the main road out of Edo hiding the two in the back below the bales of hay he was required to send out to Kyoto. A few miles out, Ooya stuck her head out from the hay and looked over at Ishiaki seeing the horses gallop at full pace, she held the little one close to her chest as her cries were cancelled out by the hooves hitting the hard ground. Despite the pace, night fell quickly leaving the ronin to find shelter and arrived at an inn run by a close friend, who shared the same faith as him.
"Toshiyaki, are you present?" He yelled with the heavy set man came walking out holding kimono from the ground exposing his unhealthy feet covered with mud.
"Ishiaki, on another delivery again?" He asked with a cheerful demeanor looking at the tall man seeing the woman with a baby.
"Runaway?" He whispered.
"Visiting the shrines in Osaka." He replied as Toshiyaki let them have the lone room left for his friend.
Ishiaki opened the room for them. It was plain four by four mat room that was covered by a thin layer of mud-encrusted slime. He couldn't bear leaving them in a filthy room but it was a friend's choice for him. Ooya politely smiled and took a seat in the middle of the room and opened her kimono to feed her. Her small mouth clamped onto the tender breast and drank the fresh nectar from the maid. She had dreamed to have such responsibility to care for a child but became cursed with failed pregnancies leading to her exile.
Ishiaki covered his load with a thin layer of material protecting from the drizzle that was coming upon the cart. He took the horse to the stable where another horse was standing idly neighing at him. He looked at the horse feeling the urge to leave his strong stallion to the young mare but the action between them left a weird urge in him as he hooked him up in the stall across of the mare.
"Hey, come in for some drinks." His friend called as Ishiaki entered through the backdoor.
Despite his size, he was soft-hearted and a family man. After his wife's passing, he had decided to relinquish his title and take on construction work. Every day for ten hours, he built houses for the community especially the plundering streak that was happening in Edo at the time. However, his sword had become a lifeline he didn't have to give up and caught a glance of the thievery. He saw the red river he had created but couldn't stop the droves from coming towards him. Every strike was clean like cutting down bamboo and he finally left the carnage to walk to the police where he gave himself up.
The trial to him was swift and he had left with little defense on his part but the villagers supported him as a defender of their rights. However, the punishment was to hard labor as he had given up the right as a samurai. The first few days were rough working in the mines but soon he had earned the respect of everyone leading to an early release, which was rare to the few who had received it. He wasn't offered his job because of the behavior but was given a job for more money as a transporter of hay.
Then, the night he wished it had not happened. As he return from his trip, his wife fell ill with his eldest son watching over her. The rain penetrated the ground creating a hole as he felt his feet sink into the pit. He could only feel that pain that seemed to tear him apart as the last of her smile disappeared from her face. Closing her eyes, both he and his son decided to part ways, Ishiaki had faith in him to become a policeman, and accepted his path truthfully to become a sergeant.
The innkeeper poured the first cup for Ishiaki and he poured one in return. Knocking cups before downing the watered-down liquor into their virgin throats. Toshiyaki was a samurai with the Tokugawas before giving it up for the sake of the people. Being a merchant, he could acquire the best items with the incoming foreigners but in return he had to trade sake and rice for the best liquor. Hearing that he was being cheated with the quality, he mashed the rice into the sake soaking the alcohol before handing off the lesser quality sake to the unknowledgeable foreigners.
“Is that a new woman?” The innkeeper asked.
“Nope, a friend that needed help.” He said as he downed his cup.
“She is a beauty.” Toshiyaki elbowed the friend. “How about asking for more?”
He put his hands up waving them side to side. The thought was normal for his younger self but being at his age, he couldn’t chance a rejection, and his son would disown him as being a womanizer. He never cheated on his wife but in spirit she was still connected to him and didn’t want to contradict his saying. Another cup opened up the truth to his life and the two men confessed that their lives were dedicated to bushido that it was no fun.
Ooya disregarded the laughter as men displaying their affection to the only thing they could ever cherish. Kanon lay quietly on top of blankets protecting her virgin ears from the laughter. It was only time until Toyozumi would be on the hunt for her, if he cared about his daughter, but it seemed to be the last thing on her mind as the cries would appear many times throughout the night.
Ishiaki returned to the room filled with the elixir and collapsed to the ground. With a drunken smile, he closed his eyes into the deep slumber leaving Ooya to look over the baby with her eyes gleaming like two full moons. The light came through the room waking the man from his sleep. Ooya gathered up her items and held the baby in the blanket as he rolled over to his feet.
“Osaka will take the rest of the day.” He admitted as he felt the aches of the night before. “I’ll get you there before nightfall.”
She nodded her head slightly as he paid his friend a small package of fermented fish paste before leaving the inn to head toward the open countryside. The pace was swift for Ooya but the baby cooed with every change in the road. The sun spread over them like a thin blanket of warmth.
The vast fields were a welcome sight to the maid as she promised to return one day to speak to her parents but time led to a period of darkness and forgetting them was etched into her mind. She wanted to bring the only thing that brought her the utmost happiness, the little girl that her master didn’t want. She climbed over into the seat, carrying the baby like bread, and enjoyed the view from the front with the dust from the dried ground hitting up into their faces. Ooya joyfully heckled at the man as he control was limited with the residual liquor in his body. He pulled up into the town and helped the maid down from the cart.
“If you need a ride, I’ll be back here in a day.” He informed her.
“I’ll be here for a while.” She said with a smile. “I intend to stay here until I get my answer.”
Ishiaki nodded as he went off to Kyoto. The baby screamed with the cart gone and she was left to visit the grave that she had once forgotten in Tokyo. Strolling through the fields, the manure lingered in her lungs but the calm of the town made the baby into an angel. Ooya was glad to be back, no one knew of her identity, and she could travel without issue. The grave was next to the house where she had lived for half of her life.
Inside was barren. Dirt covered the floors where the tatami used to be placed. The people tilted their heads at the sight of the woman with the child. She quickly escaped to the two graves side by side and placed the baby between them as she sat with her toes crossed below her. Bowing deeply to her parents, she stared at the graves hoping for an answer but was left to ponder over her guilt,
“Gomen, I wish I was here earlier.” She started with her head barely above the grass. “I have bequest you this child and offer you her as your own.”
Sitting up she glanced at both of them. A chill ran down her spine as she imagined the ghosts touching her shoulders. The hands were forcing her to come closer but her body stood still as the north wind picked up the loose leaves, battering the woman. She grabbed the baby and guarded the leaves from her but the child didn’t respond normally. She giggled at the leaves and it seemed to create a layer of protection from the spirits.
“Ma’am, are you Ooya?” The elderly woman asked as she put down her basket of vegetables. “You look exactly like your mother.”
Before she could confirm her identity, the woman escorted them into a house filled with scrolls and swords. She forced Ooya to sit down on the mats and out came a middle-aged man with a mole on his cheek. His toothy smile and plain clothing was unusual for her status and anticipated an unusual explanation.
“He has collected the heirlooms for your family since your parents had passed.” She introduced the man.
“I’m Hirohata. I was required to hand it over when you returned back home.” He deeply bowed to the woman. “Marriage was a requirement until their death but since you have a baby…”
“This isn’t my child.” She admitted.
“I see. You must know that she will be your apprentice if you acquire her through the right means.” He explained. “The geisha house I have acquired through donation will be yours.”
Her jaw froze in place as she heard the news. She had left with a small fortune and to acquire a business after she left for Tokyo. It was a view she truly wanted but looking at Hirohata, she had to take time to decide on it. The woman bumped the man and his smile disappeared from his face.
“We are advisors only to take a small bit of the fortune before we let you take over the business.” She informed Ooya.
The agreement was a year-long collaboration between the three adults. Ooya hired the maidens from the surrounding areas and opened it up to the public. She quickly understood that the house was more for entertainment rather than pleasure and used the approach to gather the wary samurai on the road to stay for the night. It quickly grew over the five year period and she found herself with a problem.
Could Kanon become a worker or a boss’ daughter? Ooya had to instruct along with managing the business. However, she faced the challenge before of caring for her and she could only draw the essence of what she was bounded to be.
I guess the question shall be who will be the surrounding cast