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Summer Silk (Grand Isle, Raoharenga), 6/20/4142
House Amaterasu
House Amaterasu

Sentinel - Yomi
s= she | her | hers


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All Accounts Posts: 11
Ten years ago.

Amaterasu no Komachi-heika was twenty, newly adult and living on her own for the first time. Independence was still a luxury to be savored daily - no tutoring sessions at dawn, no high courtiers currying favor so she might influence her mother, no self-defense training that left her bruised and drenched in sweat.

Her duties at the embassy had more impact than her childhood training had, but it also left her more time for leisure, and far fewer observing eyes. Her mother had kept Komachi's new assignment discreet, and few people on Raoharenga knew her face - especially outside the Yomijin enclave surrounding the imperial embassy.

Komachi's imperial dress was obvious - twelve layers of brightly embroidered silk, hair long enough to drag the floor, pale foundation and painted eyebrows high on her forehead. In the last six months, Komachi had learned that her imperial dress was all people knew. 

If she dressed like a commoner or a lower noble in a jumpsuit and a wrap-around tunic, with her long hair bound back in buns or braids, no one knew her face or voice. Few Raoharengans even recognized her by her name; they seemed to assume that she had been named for the princess, or that it must be a common Reijin name.

The first time a commoner bumped into her in the street, she had panicked, assuming it was some sort of assassination attempt. It had taken long seconds for her heartbeat to slow, as others passed close by, their shoulders brushing hers as her frozen body blocked their progress between market stalls.

She had never before been ... unremarkable.

It had been only a few days before she returned to the crowded market square.

This afternoon was a hot one, the air thick with humidity and the smell of salt. Komachi had settled in the shade between a silk-seller's stall and one selling polished stones, nursing a sweet bun from the corner bakery as she watched the people.

There was a native festival this week which she didn't yet fully understand, but which had filled the market with people, all buying food, flowers, and decorations before the market closed for the holiday. Many of them had garlands of flowers in their hair, or carried more flowers to decorate their homes and families.

Komachi's tutors, she thought, would have broadly disapproved of this people-watching. The risk of kidnapping or injury in the crowd was too high, when she had no special ability to defend herself, and no guards close enough to stop a malicious hand. Even an unflattering paparazzo might ruin her reputation, weakening her mother's holy rule and her own fitness for the crown. 

Perhaps nothing had happened yet, but, they would have said, that was no excuse to keep rolling the dice.

The silk-seller's patrons were often Reijin, but the patterns he sold varied week by week - sometimes the traditional dyes and embroidered patterns of Yomi, sometimes emblazoned with large Raoharengan flowers, and sometimes even embroidered with geometric designs that reminded her of Hormuz.

The stone-seller would accept more haggling, but her patrons were largely of Raoharenga, and her stones were cheaper things - well-polished and colored, but semi-precious stones at best. Komachi thought they might be for some religious purpose, but that was another thing she didn't fully understand. 

(How could her tutelage have missed so many things? She had learned every work of poetry in the literary canon, every bit of symbolism, but outside the court on Yomi, she was lost.)

It felt... good to see how people really behaved. How they swore, bickered, and sang, when a princess's presence didn't keep them on their best behavior.

If she was to rule one day, wasn't it right that she learn who her subjects really were, what they wanted and needed?

She took another bite of her sweet bun, and settled in to watch.

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