2017-11-25 - By the Blade Restored

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Title: By the Blade Restored

Kasagami Araki, the Engaged, first draws the Sword of Dios.


Kasagami Araki, Anthy Himemiya


The Araki Family Estate

OOC - IC Date:

Sat, Sept 25, 2017 - Sat, Mar 7, 2015

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The Master of the Araki Estate has not stirred the sheets of her grand bed this past night, either. Anthy's seen little of her since the veterinary event gone wrong; she's still finding soft stray bits of kitten fur, clinging to her school bag and drifting to find new homes in her bedding and school uniforms. The cot creaks as she leaves Chu-Chu snoring away on her pillow.

She doesn't need to see its envelope to know the letter has arrived. The air holds a different charge, this morning.

A meandering walk through the rose gardens eventually takes Anthy to the dojo. Just outside the door she pauses, splaying slender fingers to set the tips against the external wall, as if she could sense what happens within through structural vibrations. Or maybe she's just delaying going inside.

She peeks around the door head-first, hair curled neatly as always, glasses clean and shining. "Good morning, Araki-sama." The rest of her follows Anthy's smiling face into the room; the incongruity of her crisp Ohtori uniform, even on days off, even so far from the campus, may be fading by now. "You've had a long night."

Green eyes remain on Kasagami. If the letter or its envelope are in evidence, she gives them not a glance, and that lack is itself notable. "Perhaps you have something on your mind?"

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's not the first Letter she's received, but perhaps it's the most important one. No, scratch that, second most. The first time she got one, and it's enclosed ring? The singular gift to drag a scarred girl from the ashes, and let her burnt, burning heart finally blossom like the dark crimson rose she embodies.

This one hangs heavier somehow, with the weight of destiny. And despite how late she's been up this particular night, there's renewed energy. It doesn't stop her tears, long dried though they are. Her suffering for the two Queens she would have as her right and left hands is marked on bloodshot eyes. The Letter itself is on the desk in her room, folded back up with the kind of reverance she'd treat her family's sword with. Or a dear lover. She knows not where these Letters come from, but never has she once let go of a single one. In her darkest hours absent anyone else, they've given her at least that much to go on in pursuit of her dream.

But the words themselves of this most recent Letter has made for quite the distraction. Her journey, agonizing as it's been, is not over yet. And judging by the tone? Not by a longshot. Most of all it's a heavy reminder: her status is as fragile as glass. Everything could be taken from her in an instance of weakness, of lack of focus.

Or could just as easily raise her higher, as her mind traces those golden-penned words. They're enemies, but her fellow Duelists are strong. She knows that from experience, given how close they came to beating her in her Duels. How Takeo defeated her, brought her low.

Couldn't any single one of them find strength in their defeat? That single conclusion weighs heavy on Kasagami.

It's in the Dojo of her estate that she considers the words, utterly absorbed in training. The wooden sword in her hand is far smaller than usual: sleek oak, smoothly polished. And for once, having a hilt.

She has no targets today, instead, it's a series of katas. Slow and careful, that wooden sword is gripped in two hands. Both eyes are closed tight as she swings again and again. Slash, spin slash. Parry, step, pull, thrust! There's a sense of history in this restored building. Of others having gone through rigorous training for their own dreams. Effort, duty, blood and sweat dripping for family, or government, or just pure perfection of swordsmanship.

Anthy opens the door, and peeks in. Kasagami, perhaps startled, slams down her booted foot mid-kata and there's a black streak upon the sparkling wooden floor beneath. One hand brings up her sword almost instinctively, the wood shining as her legs look taut to the point of springing. She too is dressed in her uniform, though her coat now sways on the rack near the entrance. Her hand lowers as recognition kicks in.

A deep breath. In, out. And then she flicks sweat off her forehead, light cast upon her as morning golden rays filter in. Dark hair flutters for just a moment.

It's only here as she stops that she finally feels tired. Exhausted, even, four times over. She manages to keep the trembling out of her knees, but her breaths come fast. The tip of her wooden blade falls forward, and she leans on it.

Still, Kasagami manages a small smile. "'On my mind', huh?" Teeth grit. Slowly, she falls to one knee. Two spikes lay in her heart. An inadvertant reminder.

"Come in, Anthy. I..." More breaths. Her arm clenches, starts to burn. She refuses to fall. Not in front of her Bride.

"It's been a terrible few days. Tell me something? Ever felt like the people you love are being torn from you? That your..." Anthy is here. A servant. Surely, for once, she can be open with this girl? That so bravely saved those innocent lives not long ago?

"That your lovers are being ripped out of the palm of your hands?"

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

A boot's bottom streaks the hardwood dojo floor, and Anthy's eyes drop to that mark for a moment before returning up to the face of her Engaged -- only to lower again, slowly, as Kasagami kneels. Thus bidden, she enters, stopping just a few feet from the young woman with the wooden sword and the sweaty brow.

Such questions, her Engaged asks of the Rose Bride. Anthy draws a breath and finds a reply for Kasagami Araki.

"Lovers?" She repeats the plural. "No, I'm sure I haven't. But..."

Here she sinks to the same level, letting both bare knees press against the unyielding floor. "If your hand feels empty, you should fill it: with the power to take everything..." A long pause, then, "back. Isn't that what you've wanted all along?"

Her gaze leaves Kasagami in favor of the ceiling, though the faraway look in green eyes suggests a more distant focus. Something in the sky beyond, perhaps?

"You're closer than you've ever been, Araki-sama. Perhaps you just need an extra edge." Anthy smiles a smile of secrets, and their tellings.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The wooden sword falls from her hand, and her good eye closes. Finally, she chuckles. "Of course not. Yeesh, I really am terrible, aren't I? You're a good girl, not like me. That's fine. Virtues are for Princesses, loyal Servants, Knights, and...a Prince." Her smile wavers at the thought. Pink burns in her mind's gaze, and her fist clenches for just a moment.

But it's fleeting, as Anthy continues on. Her good eye snaps open. And she's suddenly looking Anthy steady-on, Kasagami blinking.

That smile offering of secrets only entices the curious Duelist. Her other knee falls, the pair kneeled before each other. The taller Kasagami keeps her head up. Lips purse. And then she holds out a hand. It's her right hand. Her glove creaks, for a moment.

"How did...nevermind. That's right. Ever since my parents were taken by that filthy youma...ever since I realized what kind of damage this world does to innocent people, I've yearned for a Crown. To become a powerful King that will lead the world into a Utopia where no one will have to suffer. With wise and loving servants to support me!" She smiles, wide. She lays her dream bare before her Bride.

Perhaps gaining her Revolution requires trust in her Bride. There's no hesitation.

"Your Engaged can be dense despite herself. Show me that edge?" Her voice is full of wonder.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Anthy Himemiya, virtuous and loyal servant, hood ornament and sheath, gives her Engaged a sweet smile. She replies, "I've never heard it said that Kings cannot be terrible. They probably are, to their enemies." She thinks but does not say that a girl cannot be a King, and tries not to think about Princes at all. None of it shows beneath her smile.

Kasagami extends her right hand and, with the poise of a lady granting her favor, Anthy lets her fingers descend onto the offered glove. Depending on its thickness, the touch may be so light as to go unfelt.

"You have a place for everyone in your kingdom already." She's still smiling, so that must be approval. "All that is left is to claim it, then."

Kasagami humbles herself and asks, and it must be said, the Rose Bride's smile widens just a fraction, sweetens just a smidgen. "Power belongs to those who demand it, who take it -- like you have, Araki-sama. It is that way in battle, too. If you'd wielded the true power of the sword last night, well..."

She lets the smile fade, and green eyes shimmer like a pond ruffled by stormwinds -- a faint reflection of the vivid fear Anthy showed amidst kittens and falling debris. "That thing would not have stood against your first blow."

She blinks, then continues. "The sword lies within me. Draw it, use it, and see what having true power in your hand is like." Now Anthy lacks expression altogether. The wooden floor hurts her knees, but she ignores that easily. "Command me to, and I can give even greater blessings to the blade.

"Keep me close, and see what the Rose Bride can do." Anthy squeezes with those thin fingers, and another of those warm and sensory tingles runs up Kasagami's right arm beneath the scar tissue.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Kasagami smiles all of a sudden, and latches onto Anthy's words. There's an honest breath of relief. For once, perhaps, someone understands her. A swift nod.

"That's right! Whether they're called Lionheart, or Tyrant, it's all the same! A King at times must be cruel, to save their subjects high and low from suffering!" She speaks both of absolute certainty, and perhaps belief given sparks of renewal once again.

Hands are taken, and she /listens/. Anthy offers power, if she should just demand it, take it for herself from the Bride. A blade lies within Anthy, and Kasagami knows it's true.

She saw it's lustre in her would-be Prince's hands. Her own lets go, that leather glove falling to the floor. Thin fingers squeeze, and life stirs in scarred flesh. Then, one leg too burns as she pushes herself up with visible effort, and magic stirs.

Anthy is pulled close, and she looks to the girl. Gaze hardening, her arm slips to the woman's waist. It's not the embrace of a lover, but rather the embrace of one dancer to another. Her good arm upon Anthy, her gaze burns into the Rose Bride's own!

"Anthy! Show me the power that lay within you! So I might draw it from within you, let loose the Power to Bring World Revolution, and remake this world to my own desire!" She cries out with imperious command, both eyes wide. Her hair flutters behind her, strong legs finding renewed solidity, and her right arm ready to draw forth that most peerless of swords from her Bride!

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Once Anthy would have thought being saved from suffering sounded nice. Now she doesn't even consider it a pleasant daydream. She doesn't consider it at all. Kasagami draws her up and draws her in, and Anthy moves like a dancer herself, executing her own set of steps. She lets her face go blank and her mind empty, becoming the ritual.

The girl in the Ohtori Academy uniform rises through a mist of golden particles and stands clad in the grand red gown of the Rose Bride, a crown upon her brow. She rotates like a music box ballerina within Kasagami's arms, to face away, to speak the words.

"Rose of the noble castle," and splayed fingers curl to cradle a blooming spark of light.

"Power of Dios that sleeps within me." Is it wind that pushes the Rose Bride's skirts to flutter and rise, or does the growing sphere of white before her have its own strange gravity?

Eyes closed, throat bared, back bent, she calls: "Heed your master and come forth!" One of many swords within the Rose Bride stirs. From red-rose pommel to gold-wound-black the hilt of the Sword of Dios emerges, its power ready to grasp.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

It's breathtaking, this little Doll so near, this ballerina of pure Power! Kasagami's good eye watches without blinking, enraptured by the dance before her. And the pure /idea/ that she has a hand in it. This...is the Power she's been searching for. Or so she thinks.

That spark is enough to cause her eyes to close briefly, as she too bends on her knees. To act as a fulcrum for Anthy to lay upon, cradling her own altar just barely about to be forged. The words her Bride speaks? She etches them into mind and heart alike, and lets the sensation of the magic flow through her. Fluttering skirts meet brilliant strands of hair soon painted crimson, and Kasagami gives herself over to the Bride she's claimed.

That hilt, wrapped in gold and black, emerges. And finally, her scarred hand reaches for it naked and without hesitation. It's wrenched forth, and held high in glory, her eyes snapping open to witness the light it calls forth.

Her voice is both whisper, and calling endlessly to Bride and Engaged alone.

"Grant me the power to bring World Revolution!" In her hand, her Rose Signet Ring shines with mystical light. Sword in hand, she shudders.

And with an almost gentle push, urges the Bride back to her feet.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

The girl balances upon the curve of her back atop Kasagami's arm, as light as a rose petal and as heavy as the cost of ambition. The sword slides out easily enough, as if from a fresh wound. The Rose Bride bleeds light.

She clasps her hands over her chest as Kasagami gives her that almost gentle push, uncurling like a waking fern to stand straight and step away with hardly a whisper of long skirts against wood. The shining finish of the dojo floors picks up the color of her gown, reflecting a shimmer of red beneath her.

Two light steps and half a spin have the Rose Bride facing her Engaged. She nods once, solemn. Kasagami Araki reflects twice in large green eyes, a conquering figure in miniature with a shining sword and shining hand raised high.

<Pose Tracker> Kasagami Araki [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Roses flitter across the dojo, drawn in from the henshin the two participate in. As the light about them fades from utter blinding brilliance, to reflecting off of the sword of Dios, Kasagami is left in that black sable coat snapped about her with hawk-shaped clasps of gold. The red heraldry on her back is noble, royal in it's blood-red rustiness of crossed blades and beautiful bird of prey. Kasagami's breath is stolen away.

There's a feeling of life in her. Of energy that she hadn't known for so long. The first sensation is a feeling of being /whole/. It takes her a moment to process everything. Silence from the talkative Duelist, the Engaged's gaze turning from Anthy, down to herself. She grips the Sword of Dios, admiring it's beauty. She takes a swift slice of the air. The mere act has wind fluttering throughout the dojo, the merest motion of her hand leaving behind afterimages and the merest effort of swordsmanship making the air protest.

In Kasagami's hands, the Sword is longer than it was in Utena's, though far shorter than her chosen blade. Still, Kasagami handles it with an expert's touch: her skills with a sword have put her here at this point. Almost instantly she handles it well.

But her mind is too busy spinning to concentrate on finer points of polish she needs. The words of the Letter echo in her head. And then, she blinks. The world focuses, sharper, more complete. Her free hand goes to her cheek, her arm. She blinks again, and finally fixes Anthy with a look of dawning joy, and bewilderment.

"Anthy...I...My body...my eye…" Comes Kasagami's whisper. Tears drip from her eyes, and she falls to her knees to cradle the Sword of Dios in her arms.

"The pain is gone, Anthy! I can see with both eyes! How...did?" her words fall away from her, as she descends into pure laughter. The kind of laughter of a dying, dehydrated person finding a fresh brook of clean water. Her entire body trembles, and she peers at Anthy with newfound interest. She takes the girl in as if it's the first time she's laid eyes on her.

"Huh. You're...actually very beautiful, Anthy. I never really looked at you that much." A moment of weakness, in her joy. The Rose Bride has pleased this fiery-hearted Engaged indeed.

<Pose Tracker> Anthy Himemiya [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Clothed in her vestments of red silk and mystery, the Rose Bride makes a grand audience of one. She stands in still and quiet attendance to that first powerful sweep of the Sword of Dios, and the wind of it sets every tassel and ruffle on her gown fluttering. Her eyes roam Kasagami, absorbing these new and expressive details of a freshly empowered Engaged. The vivid crimson hair and the gold-clasped coat, and most especially the heraldry, all speak to the swordswoman they adorn.

Like shards of color shattering through a prism, each Engaged shines with their own particular inner light with the Sword to hand. Sometimes the change reveals something new; sometimes it accentuates what was already visible.

In Kasagami's case it is both transformative and amplifying, as may befit a person who wants so much, so vividly. The Araki heir has never been shy about her ambitions, and neither is she in the way she wears the power she has claimed.

The second layer of realization dawns visibly on the young woman, that the mysteries of Sword and Bride and Castle in the Sky can restore as well as empower. For the second time, the girl with the purple hair follows her Engaged to kneel upon the dojo floor. The ceremonial serenity of her features fades like frost from a windowpane, revealing a smile.

"Did you think that we would stop with making your Estate whole again? Your goals do not stop there, Araki-sama."

Her smile widens at the compliment; the smooth gold of her crown gleams. For her Engaged, the Bride expresses nothing but gentle approval and admiration in this, a moment of personal glory and power realized.

Beneath she feels another sharp and stabbing pain, an addition to the dull and roaring multitude of agonies she carries with her. She is only beautiful, only seen, thanks to this moment of supreme and mystical utility; she tells herself it does not matter. None of this shows in her face; with long practice, her voice betrays no flutter or wince.

"Thank you, Araki-sama. And congratulations." Her eyes are big and green and bottomless. "Like us... don't stop here."