Fiction: A Lady's Prerogative Book I: The Yearning And The Learning Part II by Brian Joseph Johns

Continued from A Lady's Prerogative Book I: The Yearning And The Learning Part I

Warning: This story deals with some mature situations. Reader discretion is advised.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Part II

Unraveling A Mystery

Mila examined the remains of the portal, which slightly wavered in the air though remained in exactly the same point in space while the room itself seemed to move ever so slightly. Her eyes caught details and of its shades and color and she concentrated intensely trying to get a fix on Yirfir.

"Have you got anything yet..." Nelony asked, Mila shushing her quickly.

There was silence and for a moment, the gateway fluctuated, as if Mila had reached into it.

Mila felt a buzzing in her ears that seemed to grow intensely. There was a tug in her solar plexus, and she felt startled momentarily but then quickly regained her focus. It was as if the entire room was pulled away, along with the country side below her which flew by in a flash and then she was in a dark and quiet place. She was floating, nothing under her feet and in a strangely eerie place, the air twisting with her vision like a fluid. When her vision cleared, She spoke. Her lips moved where her perception had manifested itself but the sound come from her body thousands of miles away for Shaela's and Nelony's ears.

"I'm in a large room with a fountain and what appears to be a bar. Two people are talking below me, they're drinking wine. A man, very tall and... Yirfir, it's Yirfir." Mila spoke as she tightened her eyelids in concentration.

"Great, Yirfir's left us for a date. He'd better be a hunk!" Shaela said sarcastically, Nelony giving her a friendly tap in the shoulder.

"Where are they Mila. Can you see any signs of their location?" Nelony asked.

"They're in a mansion. Very extravagant. Elaborate wood carvings in the interiors. The designs, I know them. The paneling. If I can just get a closer..."

Mila found herself moving at high speed and was suddenly tugged as if a tether had pulled her very quickly over a large distance. Still under the illusion of momentum she fell to the floor.

"Are you OK?" Nelony asked her.

"Fine. Fine. Let me think!" Mila turned onto her side, and then her feet, while deep in thought. She was onto something.

She stood up quickly and ran through the kitchen and down a hall into her library and retrieved a book from the bookshelf. She opened it, splayed onto the desk in front of her and shuffled through its pages hurriedly. The book detailed a large series of design styles as used across the ages. She flipped through the pages to the middle of the book, backing up a few pages and then stopping.

"That's the style. That's the style of the relief work on the walls." Mila exclaimed pointing at it excitingly and smiling, quickly catching Nelony's wine glass as she bumped it nearly knocking it onto the floor.

"Great! Where is it then." Nelony asked again eagerly.

"Yes we certainly have some smiting to do and my kitty's so very, very hungry." Shaela's fingers crackled with energy, which arced and jumped between her fingers.

"Not before I get a look at Yirfir's hunk!" Nelony exclaimed, a yellow tail butterfly fanned its wings on her shoulder.

Mila smirked at the two of them before continuing.

"I don't know where it is, it doesn't say where it's from. It's only about the style" she explained.

"Who wrote the book?" Asked Shaela just barely catching Nelony's wine glass as she slid it back onto the end table near the book shelves.

Mila fanned through the pages to the publisher's notes in the front.

"We have to go. I know where we can find the answer. We can be there by tomorrow midday if we leave now." Mila exclaimed.

"Who says we need to travel the long way?" Shaela grinned as if on cue.

Before Mila could answer, the air in the room started to move, books fluttered in the wind and each were enveloped in energy before completely disappearing and momentarily thrust out of this world into that of the half space.

"I hate it when she drives!" Nelony exclaimed before the volume of crackling energy encompassed her and she disappeared.

A few sparks passed through the walls of the room, arcing through the shelves and finally through the air at Nelony's glass. It ever so slowly teetered over and shattered onto the floor.

Jasmer's Gambit

Jasmer had left the Yirfir to her own company momentarily, disappointed with Yirfir's initial decision. He had almost been certain that she of all people would have seen what was happening around them, to the world, to people, to values. The night was still early and his charms were still fresh. He had the advantage of knowing Yirfir like few he thought, after they were once...

He turned at the end of the hall into the station of the Uxgard and closed the door.

A cloaked figure stood, his back to the door but menacing all the same. His height equaled Jasmer's and then some.

"Well?" the floor resonated as the cloaked figure spoke.

"She's proving a bit more tricky than I thought" He answered.

"You said she could be persuaded to join us..." continued the cloaked figure.

"I said she would. And she will!" Jasmer spoke boldly and confidently, trying desperately to maintain the confidence of the cloaked figure.

"I think that you are putting too much credence in her..." the cloaked figure barely had time to finish.

"You said you'd let me handle all things to do with her and the other Ladies." Jasmer stated furiously, holding his ground.

"I said that I would allow you to try, and that if you failed, she would die along with all of the others." said the cloaked figure, whose calm unsettled Jasmer.

"She will be convinced by the night's end." Jasmer continued, a bit withdrawn.

"And what of the Ladies' scrying, what do you know of that" the cloaked figure continued in question.

"Scrying? There was no scrying, except by that of your foolish Uxgard Norbids and their Tether-world passages. Probably trying to get a peek at our embrace. Sick beasts! Perhaps you should have hired sorcerers rather than voyeurs!" Jasmer bluffed, increasing his impatience a notch.

"I will see to them and deal with them. Go and convince your friend to join our allegiance. There is much to be done and the Merival Lords await a reply as do the Culdar Rath. This plan has taken ages. Don't fail. If you do, you fail her." the cloaked figure turned, and through the opening of his cowl Jasmer saw nothing but complete nothingness.

Jasmer held his ground, though shaken.

"I shall do as I planned and it shall happen. She can't resist me." Jasmer continued waltzing on his ego precariously, while standing his ground against an impossibly more powerful foe on nothing more than his feelings for her.

The cloaked figure suffered from no such weakness as ego or emotions. Just time but not aging and obstacles often begat by the frail meandering of the mortal kin.

When Jasmer left, an Uxgard Norbid entered the room quietly, one of those who took part in Yirfir's capture.

The cloaked figure growled in a language full of cutting consonants and slashing sibilance and the air itself seemed to seethe in pain.

The Norbid nodded in subservience and proceeded to its assigned tasks. The girls were to be brought here, without Jasmer's knowledge. Jasmer's trust had been lost, but he was still needed.

Sato And Barris

Sato lay in his bed upstairs above the shop, deep in a restful slumber, ever trustful of Barris' watch over his life's work. As a preserver of rare treasures and the lost art works of time, Sato had traveled much of his way around the globe several times in his youth, and had seen more than his share of the wonders concealed beneath the surface of reality's veil. His shop was a testament to this and to most it was a trinket shop located just off the Thames in West Shepperton, where he had settled after a life of adventure.

Weeks after moving into the shop and slowly filling its rustic spaces with his wondrous treasures, a young man in his late twenties had arrived to peruse his wares. The young man examined the shop, a twinkle in his eye for he had never in his life seen such a collection of wonders. It spoke to him that same way that each piece in the shop did of Sato, for each piece held a part of his story, and its wonders were the very narrative of his life's adventure.

Barris would show up every day, and every day that he did, Sato would tell him one story, each that spoke of the voyage that brought him to the particular item now in his possession. Before long the two had become friends, like they had been all of their lives and not long after that, Barris offered his service as a volunteer. Sato accepted the service and rewarded it every day with one of his treasures and its story and before long, when word had spread and business had started to pick up, Barris was an employee and business partner in training to Sato.

Barris had one day been minding the shop when some of the hoods from a local hangout had dropped into the shop to pick on Barris, whom they'd heard was working for the uninvited "old man" as they referred to him. Barris had asked them to leave when one of them had dropped and chipped a delicate vase, which had broken Barris' heart as he saw it fall, for it was like seeing a piece of Sato's past dropped carelessly to floor. They had turned to Barris at his challenge of them to put him in his place when Sato arrived. One held Barris by the shoulder against the wall, insulting him and calling him names like they had all throughout school. Barris in his fear had remembered noting how they'd really not changed much at all, before there was a blur of motion and the pressure on his shoulder subsided.

All three were spread out on the floor of the shop but none hurt seriously. They all three of them rose to their feet and quickly left the shop, never to be seen again by Barris or Sato. That was when Sato had told Barris one of the most profound truths of his life.

"You were hurt because the vase broke. But the vase is not you or me. You were hurt because it broke after all of the trouble I went through to get it." Sato paused.

"The vase is only the end of that journey. It is only a thing. The real treasure is in here, in us and cannot be broken, stolen or removed from us in any way. Even if the vase is gone forever, we still have that story." Sato looked at Barris with great compassion and concern.

"But what if we lose us? What if we die?" Barris asked.

"The story is still there as is our effect upon the world." Sato replied.

"Even if you and I are gone and the vase is gone. We have left a path upon the face of everything. That is never gone. Even if everyone denied we were here at all. They too will be gone, but their effect upon everything remains." Sato paused and then continued.

"If you are a boat that passes through the waters of life, you leave a wake in your path and the water that you affect leaves waves that never stop moving, ever. Even the most calm and still waters are moving with the effects of every rain drop that has plucked the surface of that water like the strings of a koto." Sato finished.

"You mean..." Barris paused, looking intensely at Sato.

"Yes, continue." Sato waited patiently.

"We are never gone." Barris replied, a smile of relief crossing his face.

Sato smiled, and continued.

"The vase is the artist's story. Seeking and finding the vase is mine. The artist in making the vase and me in seeking it are each boats that leave their wakes upon the waters of life. Even if the vase is gone, neither the artist that created it nor the lover of that vase is gone, for we have etched our creation into the very face of everything, so be gentle with that brush, for she is very delicate and beautiful. Protect her." Sato stated, his presence and wisdom settling.

"What about us? What do we become when we die?" Barris asked Sato thoughtfully at ease.

"I do not know. That's a good question to ask a philosopher or theologian. I believe that we are eternal, by way of our effect here and beyond. I am here, so I focus on here. If I plan to go somewhere, I make my plans and deal with them when I arrive there unaware of what might change those plans. You may find a different answer when you look for it." Sato replied, the serenity in his voice accented.

From that moment Barris settled into his life in a way that he hadn't since he'd learned to walk, unafraid of being... gone, and more concerned with being. He also recognized Sato and his profound effect upon what was to come ahead.

Barris returned from his reflection of the past to his whereabouts and his book. It was by one of his favorite authors, a writer named Poe, from whom the term Poetry was named after his style of verse, which in his time had become very popular.

Even if Poe was gone, there would still be poetry. Even if his books were burnt to cinders, and the ashes spread to the entirety of the world, the effects of Poe's words upon the emotions of us all would ever be there, present like Poe's yearning for his lost love.

Barris had left home at the age of nineteen seeking his own path in life. He'd been the son of a seamstress and a factory worker who'd lived north of the Thames their whole life.  His parents were both creative and hard working and enjoyed each other's company immensely as they had enjoyed raising Barris.

Barris had run into his first real troubles in school in the form of an overzealous administrator, one who'd been taught that physical discipline and the fear of God was the only way a man could live and thrive in this world. The man had been a devout and zealous man, having limited Barris' and other students' reading rights for their whole school lives, allowing them only books approved of by the clergy.

Two of Barris' other school teachers, Mrs. Fallows and Mr. Jerens would secretly bring Barris' other books, and hide them in his desk. Their private little library as they'd call it and this had opened up Barris' mind to the world of possibility. Furthermore, it allowed Barris to explore the world in many ways without actually taking the physical risks to gain new experiences or consider different points of view that he might never have been exposed to otherwise. His first favorites were the works of Mary Shelley then followed by Herbert George Wells and Jules Verne. He's also grown fond of poetry too reading the likes of Emily Dickinson and his favorite, Edgar Allen Poe. He'd often curl up with a good book and become lost in the worlds of the author and good friends with the characters within.

Barris' parents encouraged him too in this way and he pursued this aspect of his life fully. At school though, it was a little bit different and though there were great teachers who kept the vigil over such reading, there were the tyrants whom stood against it. Barris most profound encounters were with just such a man whom sought to limit Barris by such notions and by Mrs. Fallows and Mr. Jerens, who stood in defense of reading and the freedom to chose. Barris was most certainly a product of a generation who sought freedom such smothering points of view. On television, Doctor Who would allow him to escape his world through the travels of a Time Lord and the Tardis, and occasionally have eyes for the Doctor's beautiful companion, Mary Jane. On Tuesdays he'd watch Dave Allen At Large and then on Friday nights he'd watch the comedic parodies of Tracy Ulman and Benny Hill, both of whom he adored enormously.

During the week he'd once again be at odds with his oppressing administrator at the school while himself and some of the other teachers would share books and ideas freely between one another. He`d find himself victim to local bullies, and occasionally find himself under attack for what he was reading. This kind of pressure had slowly pushed Barris into a world of his own and had often left him secluded. When he was nineteen, despite the fact that his home life was good, he left in pursuit of his life and his future.

He'd spent most of his time working odd jobs to earn his living and to pay his way. Over the course of years until he was twenty six, he'd wandered without much direction. When he'd happened upon Sato's shop, it was like a light had shone from the shop and led him there through the darkness. Sato was a little bit wary of Barris at first but soon thereafter had learned to appreciate Barris' company and wit for it was similar to his own. Barris would come in to the shop and look around, checking some of the older books Sato had procured through his travels. Sato would watch Barris carefully and whenever he took interest in something, Sato would come over to him and tell him the story of how he'd acquired that item. From that point their friendship was bonded and would be as such for the times ahead.

Sato on the other hand, had grown up in much different beginnings. He was born in Osaka, Japan in nineteen twenty two, the son of a family of traveling entertainers. As such, Sato had spent most of his life exposed to music, dance and even martial arts (which he picked up on quickly). By the age of seven, he was a very accomplished acrobat even taking part in the family's onstage shows in small parts that often garnered him laughter and applause. He had also started his formal training by that age and by the age of twelve he was a black belt in the Shotokan school of Karate. He expanded his martial arts training from there seeking tutelage from the likes of Morihei Ueshiba himself in Aikido.

When he was sixteen, his family was asked to attend a by command of the Emperor performance, where he and his family performed the show they'd developed for their tour for the Emperor himself. There was no audience other than the Emperor and his entourage which was much different from all of their shows. Audience participation had always been a big part their performances. During the show the Emperor responded very little though the performers had done the best show of their lives, in terms of skill, timing prowess and pure artistry. When their performance was finished and for the first time in history, the Emperor responded by applause, and even stood for the performers. They of course immediately dropped on the stage lowering themselves before his eminence. If the show had turned out that well, it was merely the will of the Emperor and Sato and his family had been so very honored by that moment.

By the age of twenty one he was a martial arts master, having studied under five different teachers achieving a black belt status in all the corresponding arts. Not to mention he was a skilled acrobat and musician too having learned the taiko drums and percussion. Just before his twenty forth birthday, he was conscripted by the Imperial Japanese Navy and in training as a copilot and gunner for the light bomber squadrons. Three months later during his first mission which was part of a bombing mission upon an American carrier, his Mitsubishi was shot down while in combat with a P-38 just offshore from a small island in the pacific. The two planes had become entangled in a vicious aerial dogfight. Both pilots were skilled and creative in their approach to aerial combat and their fight actually lasted for a nearly ten minutes. Ten minutes in aerial combat might as well be an eternity when compared to anything else because when you are in aerial combat, every aspect of your being is in full tilt. Those moments

It was no different for the two men flying those planes and they fought valiantly each trying to disable the plane of the other (a common respect among pilots was to shoot the plane, not the pilot). An honor among warriors and the two peoples, the Americans and the Japanese were not so different as they pretended to be in this way. Kinai, the Japanese pilot had managed to end up on the tail of the P-38 in a long fought nose pointing battle between the two. The P-38 had the advantage technically in almost every way with its twin engines and dual fuselage. Kinai had somehow managed to outmaneuver the enemy pilot. Sato sat in the back of the plane watching for that opportune moment when he could take out the P-38 with the tail guns of the Mitsubishi. There was little else he could do while their plane tailed the other. Kinai fired his guns and clipped ailerons of the P-38 and hoped that would balance the combat between them. He quickly swayed as the P-38 zigged and the zagged trying to lose him. He fired again once again clipping the ailerons and the elevator, puncturing the plane with holes.

The P-38 dove right and the Mitsubishi could not follow in suit. Instead Kinai turned the opposite direction hoping to keep his distance from the P-38 enough to find the P-38's tail again. The P-38 gained speed in its shallow dive which it converted once again to altitude as it climbed to meet the Mitsubishi. 

Kinai realized he had taken the turn too quickly and was going to beat the P-38 to their meeting point which meant that the Mitsubishi would lose their tail. They'd now become the prey of the P-38. Sato's senses returned to normal as they exited the high G turn, the blood vessels in his head eased and his vision returned to normal. There behind them he saw the P-38 in all of its magnificence. It looked like a savage bird ready to pounce on its prey. He fired a volley from the tail guns of the Mitsubishi, narrowly missing the inside wing. For a moment, the P-38's cabin passed directly in front of Sato's cross-hairs and he could have killed both the pilot and gunner in a single shot. His finger tensed on the trigger as he watched the plane pass into the kill zone. Instead he held his fire, for he was a warrior, not a murderer. It was the plane, the P-38 that was his current enemy, not the men inside. Sato hoped that he did not make the wrong choice and that the P-38's pilot and gunner was as honorable a warrior as he.

The Mitsubishi quickly converted its speed gained from the hard turn Kinai had taken them on into altitude as he aimed the Mitsubishi at the sun. He was attempting one of the most difficult aerial maneuvers under the cover of the light. The light of the great sun, like the glorious flag of their country to which the Mitsubishi rose. 

The P-38 turned to follow the Mitsubishi into its climb but was less responsive as a result of the earlier damage to its elevators. The pilot fought with the controls and managed to keep the P-38 directed at the Mitsubishi but could not get into position to fire immediately. Nor could the pilot see the Mitsubishi accurately for the sun had obscured his view, blinding him as he followed. As the two planes slowed in their ascent and gravity took hold, the Mitsubishi yawed right and the plane's attitude quickly redirected downwards, directly at the P-38. Kinai had once again turned the tables on the P-38 and while the P-38 was blinded, he fired. The bullets ripped into the fuselage of the P-38, hitting the leg of the pilot. The pilot panicked and squeezed off a shot from his guns which in turn hit Kinai ripping across his chest. The two warriors saw each other clearly for the first time as the two planes closed in distance, and for a moment the two men shared more respect for one another than anyone could ever have known. Two warriors who'd fought beyond their limits and met their equal in each other on the field of battle. The Mitsubishi impacted the fuselage of the P-38, instantly killing both pilots, leaving the copilot gunners to fend for themselves in the now rapidly descending and burning wreckage.

It was Sato who'd managed to eject first, his shoulder clipping the canopy sending a shaft of pain down his side. He spun through the air descending as the the Mitsubishi and P-38 slowly separated from each other, breaking into their own independent spins towards the ocean below. A moment later and much to his relief, the other copilot and gunner had managed to eject from the P-38. The fell and when perfect calm had settled into them, their chutes opened. They watched each other a few hundred meters from each other as they slowly descended towards the ocean and the small island below. The two planes plunged into the shallow and sandy shelf of the island, breaking apart into pieces with no explosion. For Sato it was the most peaceful moment of his life and a moment that had changed him. He took a moment to be thankful for the two men who'd given their lives in battle and without whom, he and his descending counterpart from the P-38 would not be alive.

A few minutes later they touched down and despite the pain in his shoulder, Sato swam out to the point where the other man had fallen. That man whose name he later found out was Borden Gaines, had become entangled in his own chute and with his leg broken, he was unable to free himself.

"Get away. Let me die in peace you Sap filth!" the man sputtered trying to stay above the water.

Sato looked on and reached to his belt, pulling forth a large knife presenting it to the man.

"Oh, you're gonna cut my throat eh? I always knew you pricks had no honor. Go ahead!" Gaines spat.

Instead of advancing for Gaines' throat, he cut the lines of the chute that held Gaines and were pulling him out to ocean. Sato then collected a bit of the chute, wrapping it up in his arms and throwing it over his good shoulder while he dragged the man back to the island and beach thereupon.

When Sato got to the shore line with him, Gaines had gone into shock. Sato worked quickly to set his leg, making a splint from some palm branches he'd found and securing it with line from the parachute he'd managed to salvage. With the remaining parachute, he made a make shift tent and shelter for the two men far from the shore and tidal lines. He left the man in it as he surveyed the island for food and water. The two men became reluctant friends and lived there barely surviving for seven months before they were rescued by an Imperial Japanese Naval carrier, which had been conducting a search and rescue for a lost flight in the area. Sato was given a hero's welcome aboard the Hōshō while Gaines was sent to the brig as a prisoner of war.

Sato would periodically go to see Gaines, bringing him food and sometimes even Saki that he'd sneak past the brig guards, or bribe them to look the other way. Gaines appreciated every bit that he got but had lost his faith that he'd ever be free. When the news of the second attack by the Americans upon Nagasaki by the super bomb reached them, the carrier proceeded at full speed to protect its homeland of Honshu and Japan. Some of the crew had formed a coalition to kill all of the American prisoners on board. The coalition planned to kill each one by decapitation and discard the bodies to the sea. When they'd arrived to kill their American prisoners, it was Sato alone who stood them down.

"Out of our way Sato. You saw what they did! The American scum! To our homeland!" one of the coalition officers barked at Sato.

"Silence! You would give these honorless Americans the respected death of a warrior when they know nothing of the Bushido?! I will not see you deface our traditions by giving them such an honorable death!" Sato yelled back at the members of the coalition.

Sato stood ready to draw his katana should the need arise placing himself between the entrance to the brig and the coalition soldiers who numbers were around twenty.

The coalition soldiers returned their sabres to their belts reluctantly.

"What has become of you Sato! Have you forgotten your allegiance? Do you disobey the will of the Emperor?" one of the officers screamed at him as he spit on the floor.

"No. I only remember that I am a warrior, not a murderer." Sato stood keeping his vigil over the brig.

"Thanks for what you did, Sato. I really mean that." Gaines said through the tiny opening near the top of the door to his cell.

"Silence! Do you think I did that for you or your sake! You do not deserve such a death! You know nothing of the way! I've only proven that your head is only worth the spit on that floor and nothing more." Sato yelled back to him.

Gaines knew immediately that Sato had to do that, in order to ensure that nobody suspected that Sato was protecting him.

By the time of their return, on August twenty first, nineteen forty five, Japan had already surrendered and were scheduled to sign the treaty formally on September second in 1945 bringing an end to the war. Gaines had no living family and decided to stay in Japan with Sato's help of course. Sato spent the next seven years with his new friend Gaines helping to clean up the damage in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. One day after most of what they could do to assist in the work of rebuilding Nagasaki and Hiroshima was done, they walked together through the ancient city of Nara, Sato's old neighborhood in Japan.

"Sato, my good friend. Can I ask you a question?" Gaines walked with a slight limp from the injury he'd sustained during their aerial battle.

"You may always ask me a question. I may not always answer though." Sato responded.

"Look Sato, just cut the philosophy for moment and let me ask you a question as a friend. We've been through a lot together." Gaines said stopping, a tall and dignified pagoda stood in the background behind Sato.

Sato smiled at his friend's comment and replied.

"My friend, there is no philosopher because what you see and hear of me is what you get." Sato smiled his hands behind his back.

"That's what I mean. Did you really mean what you said on the carrier? When I was in the brig? Do you remember? They were going to kill me and you defended me, but you told me that I had no honour. No substance or whatever you regard that as being in Japan. So did you really save my life because you thought I didn't deserve a warrior's death? Or were you stopping them from killing me?" Gaines asked him looking deep into Sato's eyes and perhaps his soul.

Sato stood silent for a moment as he pondered the question once again looking for the words to describe the answer. His English was good, but being able to translate was not good enough when the words that you needed to say did not even exist in the language that you needed to say them in.

"My friend. You have honor in what it means to Japan. More so than many I've known and I've known many more who by their experiences should, but don't. You have courage and yet you have a heart for the suffering. You could have left Japan after the treaty had been formally signed. Instead you saw the destruction that war had brought to our door step and you chose to help us rebuild. I remember when I saw you caught in the parachute, helplessly being pulled out to sea by the undercurrent of the island. You thought I was going to cut your throat when I pulled my knife. Instead I cut you free from what would have killed you. My words were just as sharp as that knife on that day in the brig, yet they saved your life rather than taking it though I fear that in doing so, I damaged you my friend and that was not my intent. The men I addressed had lost their honor, their way. The Budo. The Bushido! They were there as murderers, like shooting a ferocious predator while it is trapped inside of a cage. There are no words to explain the shame that this brings us, when one does as such. There are no words in English for such a travesty for it is without honor to do so. Yet in order to save you from such intent, I had to say some things that I did not mean to be so sharpened to cut you so much as save you. Like the knife I used to free you from the parachute that was dragging you out to sea. The parachute saved you from the fall, but not the sea. The knife could have been an instrument of your death, but instead was the instument used to free you from it. Like my words. They were there to save you, not harm you but it is understandable that you felt that way. You stayed even though you did feel that way and you never asked me for such resolve until after you'd given your help, not before. You my friend have more honor, more real honor than most people could ever conceive of because you sought reprieve by asking me not before, but after you'd given your help to us. Your enemy and one that attacked Pearl Harbour to start this conflict and at the cost of a great many lives. I have learned much from you my friend and for that I am ever so grateful and humble before you. We have done our part here. You've given your time in helping us to recover. As we are done here, I must go to your America and there I will do the same for Pearl Harbour. There will be many who spite my presence, but there were those who were resentful of yours here. Especiallly after the damage the super weapon of your country's war effort caused to our cities and the soul of Japan. You stayed anyway and you helped us to rebuild. To heal the wounds of war. We'd neither of us be alive if not for the actions of the pilots on that fateful day for they were the last time that either of us, you and I drew our weapons against each other. Let's keep their sacrifice an honorable one for they serve to let us know the high cost of being out of words to solve our problems. So much so that we must resolve our differences with violence. I will know how you felt these seven years when I spend the same in Pearl Harbour and give my help there. Then I will ask you the same question that you just asked me. You my friend are a true warrior and you have restored my faith in the Budo. I've relearned the Bushido through you. My words in the brig were not meant to hurt you, but to save you. You did not turn and flee once you were free, you offered your hand to a fallen foe. I did not cut your throat while you were in the water but instead saved you from the sea. We are one and the same. My friend and brother." Sato replied to Gaines.

Gaines eyes welled up and the both of them were once again at peace. Gaines had known the answer before he'd asked the question and the truth was that Gaines had asked the question not for his sake, but for Sato's for Gaines knew the end was nigh. In nineteen fifty two, Gaines died of Cancer of the colon and was laid to rest in Osaka in a funeral that was paid for by Sato.

Sato kept his promise and traveled to the United States and to Pearl Harbour where he lived and worked for eight years helping the people there to renew their lives. Most of the people there resented his presence, but there were a few who loved him for his help.

Sato spent the next forty years adventuring around the world, visiting other countries and learning their traditions. In every one of his adventures, he'd acquire something that often symbolized his adventure or trip and as he accrued these set pieces from the story of his life, he stored them each one until in the late nineties, he opened a shop in Shepperton just off the river Thames. A shop that one day a lost man in his early twenties would stumble upon and form a bond with its owner. Barris and Sato were two of a kind, both lovers of art and literature and most certainly destined to be friends. Where Sato's adventures had ended, so would Barris' adventures begin.

Friend Or Poe

Barris had been eye deep in a book of poetry, its words consumed one by one by his voracious appetite and renewed vigor. Barris had been a conundrum all of his life. A poet after his favorite and the namesake itself. A warrior yearning after the Knight's soul of Chivalry and the Bushido, married happily into one. Sato had introduced him to the possibility of it all and overwhelmed him by its magnitude, but he was happily at home in his struggle to understand and learn its virtues nonetheless.

"Take this kiss upon the brow, and in parting from me now". Barris spoke as he read from the book.

The store was quiet as the early morning around him and he pondered the Poe's words like a glass of the finest wine, likely poured by Dickens, whose was likely poured in part by Shakespeare and both with a dash of Clemens or more aptly Twain as he was known by most.

"This much let me avow." he continued reading, savoring the words which let him know that he was alive.

A moment of eerie silence engulfed him and the air stood still as if it had suddenly become stale.

Something seemed a bit off and a strange sensation found him.

As if on queue, the store sparked to life literally. The store began to glow as the static energy spun about the walls like the magical ladders of Tesla's coils.

Barris shielded himself with the book momentarily as the energy crescendo-ed and a shape, the shape of a beautiful woman emerged from its center. He thought of Poe's lost love thinking she's here.

Barris jumped away from his book, first seeing Mila, in all of her majesty materialized before him like a goddess of old. Her eyes caught his, and he stared in disbelief of her beauty.

"Uhhh. Hi there." she said trying to sound in control but only tripping over her tongue, and blushing a bit too.

Barris stared at her in the paralysis of awe of her. He tried to mouth his words, though they left his throat quietly and dryly.

"Mr. Sato, I think you'd better come down here quickly." Barris reeled back into the dark corner from the desk at which he sat.

Another shape emerged from the shape of the static maelstrom and she too was shapely and angelic though different from the first lady. Nelony would be considered heavier by some men, but she was shapely and beautiful and appeared as if she had walked right out of a renaissance painting, a work of art herself like the buxom of mother nature herself.

"Well then you'd better wake up now, love" Nelony winked at him, a couple of butterflies leapt to life from her shoulders and towards his face.

A third lady materialized near Nelony from the out of the maelstrom which had died to the size of a sparkler and Shaela took form behind the elements that preceded her. A cloud climbed from behind her, and then slowly crept into the shadows modestly. Her shape like that of a slinky cat, ready to pounce and she bore her appeal like a dangerous and untamed beast.

"Is this the cute one that you saw in all of his hunkiness? He's a bit young for Yirfir isn't he?" Shaela asked, staring Barris down as if she was ready to devour him.

"Yirfir is charming enough to date men half her age if she so desired!" Nelony shot back as Shaela defensively.

"What is the meaning of this! How did you get in here? I will not have this of my... our shop!" Barris exclaimed, startled away from Poe, which was sacrilege to him.

"Sato!" he yelled reeling behind his book.

"Poe, your book! You read Poetry?" Mila stated.

"Huh? What about Poe?" Barris asked, looking at his book and then back to her, afraid that he had missed a moment of her by glancing away.

"I mean Poe, Edgar Allen! You know who I mean" she stated to him.

"Yes I do. And by whose passage should I expect an Angel such as you? Benny Hill?" He asked quizzically.

"No. I'm Robert Frost you buffoon! Do I look like Benny Hill? Or maybe you think I'm one of those girls who'd chase him around do you?" Mila shot back at him playfully.

"Are you saying you don't like Benny Hill?" He asked her carefully, evaluating her.

"I love Benny Hill. I loved the little bald gentleman running away from..." Mila continued carefully.

"What about the Doctor?" Barris asked.

"You mean Dr Zhivago?" asked Nelony.

"No. She means Doctor Frankenstein" Shaela interrupted, her accent accentuated her hands imitating two bolts from her neck.

"No dammit. I mean the Doctor! Doctor Who of course!" Barris exclaimed.

"Exterminate! Exterminate!" shouted Shaela, pointing her fingers at Barris.

"No, no. The Daleks are long gone! Er, sort of. It's all different now!" Barris replied.

"Look! We're here looking for a number two Wayne-Scott forty-seven link Oakchest tile! I came here because you're the experts!" Mila exclaimed, leaning slightly to one side her arms crossed.

"You mean the one used by the Merical's?" Barris asked carefully.

"I think its the Merival de Gennre's developement circa sixteen ninety-two Mila replied confident in her knowledge and her artisanship.

"I'd better get Mr. Sato. Uhhhh, don't leave... You especially. Please?" Barris said spying Mila.

Before Barris could leave, Sato emerged from the shadows.

"I understand that, you have interest in a wall tile from one my books." spoke Sato, firmly and calmly addressing the inquiry of the ladies.

Mila stood in place, as if in awe of Sato's presence.

"Sato? The Mishima Sato?" she asked, bowing before him respectfully.

He paused momentarily and did something that shocked Barris.

"Mila? Mila Rendebelle? You mean the Mila Rendebelle?" Sato said, pointing at a painting on the wall, bowing before her, lower and lower.

The painting, the moment Sato had pointed it out seemed to glow with magnificent colours and shades, depicting what appeared to be a ballet dancer whose form emerged from the clouds, before entering into a pirouette in the sky.

Mila paused a moment and then smiled at Sato and Barris, blushing.

"Look, we have a friend that needs rescuing and we need your help! Would you two just get to the point!" Shaela exclaimed, thinking of Yirfir and the men who had abducted her.

Nelony nodded in agreement with Shaela despite their prior spat.

"Mr. Sato. I need to know where the number two Wayne Scott number forty-seven tile described in your book, Legends Of D'Auberge And Other Architecture was used in construction in the estates of Europe." Asked Mila, reeling from the fact that the legendary Sato knew of her existence.

"Yes I know and now I am aware of what you seek. That form of building is very prominent in France, though legend holds that the estates that used such materials and methods of construction are hidden well within in L'Arbres De Noire." Mr. Sato replied.

"I've heard of the Noire." Shaela responded, her expression grim.

"It contains the sacrificial sites that were used to eradicate the Aerth Mother Order. Legend has it that the last of the Aerth Mother Order were shipped from the port at West View in the mid sixteen hundreds where they were sent to a ceremonial burial grounds in the forest and executed. Definitely by the early vestiges of the forces of Lorr." Nelony finished for Shaela.

"Has everyone around here gone completely nuts? You're talking about goblins and witches and forest critters like they're real? And what's a Lorr?" Barris asked looking around completely lost and somewhat maniacal.

Mila looked to him compassionately feeling a little bit of pity for him. That and she was even beginning to like him. He'd need to be educated and being educated was a little bit of a frightful process.

"Lorr is the originator of the Power Lords, the Norbids and rumour has it, the Culdar Rath. He represents all that opposes the forces for the preservation of life, peace and freedom. He's long been our enemy and we keep things safe from him. Let's just put it that way." Mila explained to Barris.

"When we graduate that is." Nelony continued modestly.

"I'm not waiting until I graduate to deal with Lorr or anyone on his side." Shaela said impatiently looking angrily to men.

"Uhhhh. Am I sensing that its a bad time to be a man right now? There seems to be a tad bit too much anti-testocerone sentiment in the air." Barris said uneasily.

"I can fix that for you if you'd like!" Shaela said to him fiercely reaching for the lower extremities of his body.

"Don't you dare touch him! Or his..." Mila defended Barris.

"...fragile ego?" Nelony finished for her.

"Perhaps you need to focus on the problem at hand rather than my friend's ego?" Sato stepped in.

"Exactly! I like my ego exactly where it is. Thank you very much!" Barris backed up folding twisting his legs together defensively.

"I think Sato meant the forest. L'Arbres De Noire? I mean Yirfir needs us and we'd better find it." Mila stated thoughtfully and compassionately looking to each of them.

Barris looked to her and smiled clearly and silently mouthing the words thank you.

Charm And A Night Cap

Yirfir cradled the wine glass in her hand, eying the room, the shadows playing with her perception. The fountain still quietly shimmered and filled the air with mist. The music of Franz Liszt filled the background silence and kept her company while Jasmer was in his absence of her. She had tried summoning a Waether Ward without success. She'd attempted to breach the forest veil unsuccessfully. She'd even tried to phase herself between the walls of the estate without luck, as if they'd contained the very means to diffuse her abilities.

In the meantime she'd douse herself in drink and enjoy Jasmer's company when he returned. They had been lovers long ago, before the Reign Of New and the collapse of the Sanctum. She had lived through that, though just barely escaping the wrath of the Uxgard Norbids and their ever thirsty Power Lords. The Reign was a common house that held the peace between the families, and independent orders or the world, forming a law between them that each adhered to and that each benefited from in both the learning and yearning, which appropriately referred to knowledge and the arts.

The Norbids were a vile order who'd learned they could extract power by pitting learning and yearning against ignorance. That is, they would benefit by pitting knowledge and and the arts against those whose ignorance was easily turned to ire. Everywhere there was something to be gained by the conflict between our learning and yearning and ignorance, you'd find the Norbids. The Power Lords, a very powerful order had started the wars that lead to the collapse of the Reign Of New and consumed the powers of the Sanctum and all of its secrets by pitting those who didn't understand it against it.

Jasmer had been a much different and more principled man, that Yirfir had fallen for. His determination fully paved the way for the the Sanctum to accumulate its wealth of the arcane arts before his lust for liberation gave way to a lust for power, and like the Norbids and Power Lords he ultimately fell before his own greed for it. She'd barely escaped his clutches then though she longed for him, still in love with the man he was more so than the man he'd become.

By the time he'd returned from his absence, Yirfir had all but given up, her glass empty as her spirits.

"I must apologize for my absence my dear. I haven't forgotten about you." he smiled.

"How could you?" Yirfir asked, her charm never lacking lustre.

"You're right. I never could. Care to join me for a nightcap?" he asked her seductively and as a gentleman, though there was something coded in his inquiry and she knew it.

"Just one drink though, you know what happened last time." she replied, unsure of his motives or of her own.

"Of course my dear." He agreed.

They strolled the distance to the bedroom suites in the north west wing of the manor together, her arm looped around his. Their night continued though without conversation and went on until the next morning. There were many things in life that simply got better with age.

Continued in A Lady's Prerogative I: The Yearning And The Learning Part III

Brian Joseph Johns
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 2012 Brian Joseph Johns