voidbearer: (The Void)
[personal profile] voidbearer
 As the thunderheads began to rumble in the twilight sky, Saori found herself sitting quietly within the central shrine of Beppu, breathing in the humid air that heralded the coming storm.  July on Kyushu was always a wet, sticky affair with tsuyu in full swing: the perfect time of year for meditating under a wooden roof.  The gentle pit-pat sounds of the first raindrops quickly gave way to a rushing torrent as the bloated clouds unloaded their contents on the landscape.  The sliding door to the honden was held open by fraying pieces of rope tied to the edges to prevent the wind from closing it, but no rain dared cross the threshold to dampen the tatami being used by the Daughter of Wind and Rain.  

Blankly, the divine champion’s eyes fixated on the landscape, as several more massive cloudbanks further darkened the world, blotting out even the moon.  Below the clouds and central to her vision were the ancient trees surrounding the temple complex stoically accepted the downpour. No electrical lights, car horns, or other modern nuisances spoiled the scene, the sheer wildness of the place she dwelled was positively overwhelming.  It was peaceful here, like stepping back five hundred years, when this area had been more than a park and place for teenagers to hide out and smoke.  That at least had stopped the moment Saori had taken up residence in the sanctuary.  

High in the rafters, Samjeok quorked and ruffled his feathers in the dim light cast by the candles burning along the fringes of the room.  The crow’s head twitched slightly as a bolt of lightning slashed through the twilight, illuminating the exterior of the grounds.  Saori’s sharp eyes narrowed as she spotted something moving through the torii arch and into the sanctified space.  A small fox slinked its way across the complex, unaware that something not entirely natural was observing it.  Cautiously, the animal skulked around the edges of the light coming from her candles, hopping boldly onto the covered porch of the shrine to escape the rain.

Saori was not fond of foxes, finding the earthbound canines to be not unlike their kitsune brothers, cunning and untrustworthy.  As the creature grew even braver, perhaps thinking the lit room to be empty, it peeked it’s snout around the corner, testing the air before peering around the edges.  When its sharp, yellow eyes met with hers, the fox let out a terrified yelp but didn’t move.  Saori’s own eyes, almond-shaped pools of shimmering brown, shone coldly in the firelight.

“No.  You may not cross that doorway,” she stated flatly, in a tone that indicated he’d regret it if he did.

Whining slightly, the animal inclined its head and stretched out on the porch, out of the rain but far enough away from her to indicate its deference to her command.  The divine champion closed her eyes and breathed in deeply, taking in what she could of the fox.  She sensed fear, awe, and respect, as well as a feeling of satisfaction.  It was glad, it seemed to be out of the rain, but in awe of her.  High above them both, Samjeok fluttered his wings once more, chirping smugly at the canine.

“Now now, the only reason I put up with you is because I can’t get rid of you,” Saori reprimanded the self-important crow.  She wouldn’t turn the fox away, as all creatures deserved the chance to sit under a wooden roof in a summer storm, even nasty things like foxes.  Perhaps it would look back on the experience of sharing a summer’s night with a storm-god, and remember her kindness.  Or perhaps it would be one of the next little problems she had to deal with, a mad fox with a grudge against her.  In this modern era, who could know anymore…

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木村沙織

August 2015

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