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by Neale Sourna
Kyoto, Japan; 1600s
were encamped within in sight of our lord’s favored family temple. His entire
core retinue was in attendance, to be of service to his every noble whim. He is
a good lord, a great lord, who is extremely clever and most brave, and
one of the many ladies of his high court, it is a joy and a thing of great
hidden tears to merely glance upon him, even at a distance, as I kneel when he
passes and I bow in fullest respect to such a superior being.
it is rumored that his heartbeats are set upon the noble Lady Ko, a wealthy
cousin of our emperor with many liege knights at her call. She is a widow, and
mature, but highly valued for her fine lineage, wealth, and lasting beauty.
am but a courtier’s daughter, fair at the athletic defensive skills of katana,
bow, and court wit. I’d more than willingly give my life in preservation of my
lord’s; and yet, he will never look upon me as he does the refined and delicate
Lady Ko, who supped and laughed with him, as I continued my unfortunate display
and regrettable knack for breaking my Koto strings.
I could but kiss his feet, as his handmaiden, I would be in joy’s embrace.
* * *
maid brushed out my hair, after removing my best robes, which I’d worn for the
formal dinner affair. I’d made light of my performance when the instrument’s
strings had broken; and everyone had laughed with me, except him.
my lord abruptly glared at me, and then called my father to his side. Father
immediately sent me, in mid course, from the banquet, with all eyes upon me;
and I’d languished in full ignorance of my misdeed, pacing in my private
pavilion, until my maid said I should rest, and why not, I’m banished from the
mere glorious sight of him, while he converses in whispers with HER.
the normal guard father keeps nightly outside to protect my purity, my lord has
requested be sent to protect HER, the “incomparable,” and MATURE Lady Ko.
* * *
could not rest, as I listened to the night, and my maid’s sleeping breaths,
entered! He loomed large in the darkness, but I pulled my unsheathed dagger
from near my headrest to defend my life and my honor.
are you? You have no business here.”
I not, my lady fair?” I’m afraid that in hearing his fine voice I dropped my
He moved forward across the mats to me, and I quickly put my weapon away.
lord, I beg your pardo—.”
I beg yours, fair lady.”
glanced at my maid, who no longer sighed in her sleep; clearly awake at this
noble intrusion, but dutifully pretending oblivion, until my call. Then, his
hard warrior’s hand gently touched my face and I knew not what to do, but to
freeze and fight down the countless possibilities coursing through my mind and
heart, which all ceased when—.
kissed me. I know not why I did not faint!
kissed me again, longer, with more ardor and I kissed back, for it might be my
only chance to do so. He tasted of sweet wine and … wonderful, as his warm
kisses sent startling, breathless shocks through my body. But, he parted from
me, leaving my novice lips longing for his, as I feared that I had displeased
I stay, my lady fair?”
smiled, as if relieved that I welcomed him, as if HE, the most superior, could
be turned away by small, insignificant me.
lord’s glorious kisses were soft and tender; as I sighed in undisciplined
delight and my tired maid softly snored, with no worry for me, as I boldly
clung to him in earnest and he, with utter tenderness, escorted me into sensual
delights I had not known existed, and when the morning came, I woke alone,
slightly sore, and wholly bereft of his great warmth and immensity of being;
and yet I was the most happiest of women, in body and heart and spirit.
* * *
knew, and mother as well; and they came and asked if I’d pleased our master,
and had I allowed him “his full way” with me. They were quite eager, clearly,
for a yes; amusing that, as I bit my lip, for if any other man had slunk into
my covers at night, my august father would have beheaded me at once for shaming
said, “Yes,” and they began wild speculations of how high our lives would now
be, once the full negotiations for my concubinage, as our lord’s mistress, were
not thought that far. I’d never considered being any man’s concubine. My
station and personal assets—social and physical—are fine enough for marriage,
as a nobleman’s first wife, but I’d never truly considered being our great
lord’s own, not until now.
will do and be whatever he desires of me, as long as I may be his own; even if
only in the deepest shadows of night.
was encamped within sight of my favorite family temple. My entire core retinue
was in attendance. I didn’t need them all, but it was the most certain way to
have HER there, and have no one discern the full interest and possible plans I
had for her.
clever in fierce conversation, brave in battle, and exceedingly beautiful every
moment, and yet has a blushing innocence beneath her sharp wit that intrigues
me to no end. It has been pointed out that she would make a most exceptional
concubine. It is even a consideration her parents clearly entertain, having
singled out her best assets to me, on more than one occasion.
could make a high match of matrimony for her. I’ve had several underlords, and
even a rival prince or two, beg a blood alliance, sealed by her graceful hand.
have said, “No,” and I will always say, “No.”
own betrothal prospects have been argued and betted upon for some time. My
ally, Lady Ko, is the frontrunner, and a marriage alliance with that wealthy,
imperial cousin would prove advantageous; and she is a woman in whom I have
lovely Ko is not HER, who I could not keep my gaze from, at my banquet for Ko,
not while she was so well presented in her finest robes and brightest smiles.
She sings and plays the Koto well, although she believes she does not, and even
played well, despite suddenly broken strings, and did a brave thing of humor to
cover her playing errors, which most women would have been far too mortified to
repeatedly distracted me from my necessary duties with Ko, and so I had her
father send her from table, for a slight with Ko could start a little war; and
if I do not make mutual agreement with Lady Ko to wed, I must compensate with
something of equal value to her; and that could prove costly.
those thoughts are not for now, for my blood is hot and tonight is the night I
taste my fair lady’s unblemished, maiden’s love and see how deep and lush it is
for me, and how willing she is to be mine.
ordered her father to send his nightly guards from her to Ko, and the man,
normally so astute in matters of subtlety, became positively crestfallen, until
I said I would look in myself to confirm his daughter’s safety, and he lit up
with a glow not unlike a holiday lantern.
ultimate lord and master, but I certainly didn’t want her parents accidentally
interrupting, and this was their chance if there were the smallest possibility
of any disagreement with my interest…?
a lesser lord they would have shrewdly bargained, hard, for one as finely
superior as she, beforehand, but….
father’s fierce, loyal eunuchs were not at their accustomed stations,
protecting the priceless jewel, his peerless daughter, as I slipped into her
private pavilion, under a moonless night sky, to test her love’s mettle.
was asleep, but woke quickly at my stealthy entrance. She bravely seized her
dagger to protect her sweet life and sweeter honor, and so I waited till my
eyes adjusted to the darkness and she fearlessly demanded of my wayward
are you? You have no business here.”
I not, my lady fair?” She dropped her sharp blade at recognition of my voice.
lord?” It seems she couldn’t quite believe it, but her voice sounded … pleased,
and hopeful, which warmed me inside to no end.
I moved slowly forward across the mats, and she put her weapon away.
lord, I beg your pardo—.”
I beg yours, fair lady.” She glanced at her sleeping maid. Then, I touched her
glorious face, framed with the blackest of hair. Such soft, warm skin. I kissed
her exquisite lips, with my heart pounding like racing horses’ hooves, and yet
I kissed her again, longer, with great passion, and she kissed back with
apparent and earnest desire, her whole body melting against my own.
I stay, my lady fair?” I asked, placing my tender love in her hands, but she
answered with eager promptness, without question of my full intentions.
lips were receptive and her kisses full of fire. She sighed in delight as she
clung to me and I took her, gently, but I took her for my own.
my pleasures in her knew no bounds.
kissed her until she slept, with a smile on her perfect lips, and I crept from
her like a love thief, before the sun warmed the dark night’s secrets to bright
day, and I immediately felt cold, without her, as I returned to breakfast with
was no doubt now, of the pleasures SHE held inside her, nor of her glowing
eagerness for and full delight in my touch. Sincere delight, and not merely
because I was her lord; that is a thing of deceit I can tell.
parents see gold chaises and bond servants in abundance before their eyes at my
interest, but SHE sees only me, for I asked and she’d cried in the telling; and
she is a lady without deceit, as her sincere, warm tears bound tight my shrewd,