This is from Constantine's point of view. Dialogue in quotes is in English, in this case, in angle-brackets is Japanese, and slashes is Thari.
Kenjiro stares at a battered metal mirror, then steps forward into it!
Tanith hobbles to that mirror, following.
Tanith stares at a battered metal mirror, then steps forward into it!
[You concentrate on the image in the battered metal mirror, then step forward]
You are on 163rd Avenue in the Redmond Barens of Seattle. This area is the definition of urban decay. The buildings are mostly old and are constructed of acid rain pocked brick. The sides of the street are piled high with garbage and refuse. The pedestrians look hungry and feral. The few businesses that remain all have bars on their windows and pull down metal gates above their doors.
Tourist Info Booth Banshee Gun Store South
[The rain is pouring down. A stong wind blows the rain under overhangs and
manages to drench you. As the black rain sits on your skin you begin to notice
that the the acid rain is iritating your skin.
You hear the sound of automatic weapons and several screams.
You hear the sound of a DocWagon ambulance in the distance.]
Tanith draws herself inward. "Gah."
Constantine glances about, taking the scene's measure.
Kenjiro greets 5 people in a tight group wearing longcoats and carrying suitcases and a carry-on each.
The group of five cluster around Kenjiro and they talk in low tones.
Kenjiro turns around. "We are ready."
Tanith steps closer to Constantine, almost leaning against him. "Okay."
Constantine says "The laws of the United States to which we're headed cover interdimensional travel; I assume your friends are prepared to comply?"
Kenjiro says "As much as you have ever complied, Mr. Aspnes, and your Newspaper friend, Chris, and your various other people like Azuth Hendrake and company."
Constantine says "That's not what I asked, Kenjiro."
Tanith says "As long as they don't do anything illegal they should be okay. They'll need to get visas, though."
Constantine nods. "That's all I meant, as well."
Tanith says "They do something illegal and SAT will deport them the slow way, or maybe just the police."
Kenjiro says "I had not realized you have all suddenly become
so law-abiding, but they are ready to comply to the laws."
Kenjiro looks back silencing them all.
Constantine glances at Tanith, nods silently. "Alright. Link hands, please." He offers one hand to Tanith, one to Kenjiro.
Tanith says low to Kenjiro, "This thing we're breaking isn't legal." She takes Constantine's hand.
Kenjiro allows one of the others to hold his hand on either side and holds Tanith's hand. He says nothing.
Tanith stiffens when Kenjiro takes her hand, but says nothing.
[As you stare at the image before you, it slowly becomes more real.]
Constantine OOC notes that we aren't at the Quad; assume an anonymous urban park, near a street.
[Somewhere in Berkeley near the house of Tanith's parents, in a version of the Before Breakfast Earth.]
Constantine glances at the men. "Are they to be present at this?"
Tanith says "No."
Kenjiro hands the men something.
Kenjiro signs the thing he gave them one after the other.
Kenjiro says "They are called traveller's cheques..."
One of them, an older one, nods his head as if he already understood the concept.
Kenjiro says "Fine."
Constantine says "If they're in need of an escort, I'd be pleased to assign someone."
Kenjiro says "They will contact my father."
Constantine walks to the edge of the park, an arm supporting Tanith; it's only a few hundred feet. A car waits. Constantine allows Kenjiro and Tanith to get in first.
Kenjiro ducks his head into the cab.
Tanith gets in after, face paling.
Tanith sits very still in the middle of the seat, eyes closed.
Constantine gets in after, and murmurs, "Fifteen minutes." The driver takes off, much as if he knew where he was going.
Tanith avoids touching Kenjiro during the trip.
Kenjiro sits stiffly in the cab his sword held between his leg against his shoulder.
The car arrives, pulling up outside the Miramoto residence; Constantine is out quickly, turning to help Tanith.
Tanith retrieves her crutches, squares her shoulders and looks at the house.
Kenjiro climbs out and looks around breathing the air.
The door opens and Mieko is standing there, Mrs. Yamaguchi not far behind.
Mrs. Yamaguchi rushes out to hug her son.
Mieko draws up short at the sight of Tanith, then follows quickly to hug her.
Kenjiro hugs His mother and grimaces looking back at Tanith and
Still probably touching each other. He whispers to his mother in rapid Japanese.
Mrs. Yamaguchi admonishes Kenjiro in rapid-fire Japanese, about how he is the custodian of the Yamaguchi line and shouldn't risk himself.
Constantine takes a step away, giving Mieko room; not more than a step.
Tanith hugs her mother carefully.
Mieko gives Constantine a cold look, then bustles around Tanith like a worried hen, also talking very fast in Japanese.
Kenjiro <Hello, mother, yes, I understand I didn't call or write, I tried to but someone took much pains to make it so I couldn't contact you. Lots of time has passed and I sent some things over to father, He should treat my guests with good care and help them with immigration. This is Tanith's...'boyfriend' ..etc..>
Constantine's posture doesn't change, but he withdraws, somewhat, into himself.
Mieko stands in front of Tanith, hands on her shoulders. She looks up into her face and says, <Are you prepared to do your duty to your family?>
Mrs. Yamaguchi whispers to Kenjiro, <It's good that you're home. We'll settle this engagement thing tonight. Once that is settled, we can speak of the future.>
Kenjiro nods to his mother and stands respectfully and dashingly to the side.
Tanith draws away. <I'm not going to marry him, Mother. I'm engaged to Constantine.>
Mieko responds, <Kenjiro has prior claim.>
Tanith reacts as if slapped. <You didn't think that when you moved here.>
Constantine glances to Meiko, to neighboring houses, to the front door. His face is neutral.
Kenjiro stands unmovingly behind his mother. He towers over her and has a big sword strapped to his back. But he is the less dangerous of the two.
Mieko says, <It's not just you at stake here, Ichiko, it is the family honor and our art.>
Mrs. Yamaguchi stands quietly, her eyes cold and calculating. She is, indeed, the more dangerous.
Tanith takes a breath, her face very strained. <I am no longer a Miramoto.>
Mieko slaps Tanith sharply.
Kenjiro looks at Tanith, surprised.
Tanith twists away, almost falling back after she's slapped.
Constantine is only that one step from Tanith, and more than close
enough to support her.
Constantine says, voice utterly soft, <Don't do that again.>
Kenjiro also moves to support Tanith. He ends up way too close to Constantine. He takes an unconscious step back and then after a glance toward his mother stays where he is.
Mieko says, savagely, <You stay out of it, gaijin. Ichiko, this
is not your choice to make.>
Mieko says, <You cannot cut off your family as easily as you can cut off your hair.>
Constantine doesn't respond, his bearing and face perfectly poised.
Mrs. Yamaguchi watches Constantine very alertly.
Tanith says very quietly, <I'm not a fey anymore anyway. And I never can be.>
Mieko says, <You are still Japanese and you are still Miramoto.>
Mieko says, <If you abandon your family the art dies with you.>
Tanith says, <I'm not Japanese. I've changed. I've died.>
Tanith says, <Train Kevin.>
Kenjiro looks at Tanith.
Tanith looks angrily at Kenjiro, then back at her mother.
Kenjiro says "You are changing paths again."
Constantine breaks concentration a very slight amount. Most people wouldn't notice. Anyone here might.
Mieko says, <You're being a child. You're too old for temper tantrums. Come back to the family.>
Tanith glares at Kenjiro. <I want a choice.>
Tanith repeats to her mother, <I want a choice.>
Mieko says, <That's what I get for raising you American. You think I had a choice? No. I did what was right for my family.>
Constantine shifts, a silent presence behind Tanith.
Mieko says, <And look how well it turned out? I love your father. Kenjiro is a good boy. You will come to love him, too.>
Kenjiro looks quiet and solemn.
Tanith says "I love Constantine."
Mieko says, <You can love him. You marry Kenjiro.>
Tanith looks extremely shocked.
Kenjiro takes a deep breath.
Mieko looks at Tanith sharply. <That's not what I meant.>
Constantine's attention is fully here.
Mrs. Yamaguchi moves a little closer, nodding supportively to Mieko. Coicidentally, there's a line between her and Constantine with no one in the way and no one behind him.
Tanith says, stubbornly, <No. I won't marry Kenjiro.>
Mieko says, <You are a child. You don't know what's best for you. In time you will see that this is all for the best.>
Constantine says, more to Mrs. Yamaguchi than to anyone else, <The driver is mine.>
Mrs. Yamaguchi smiles and says, <I have the stone technique. I am impervious to all known threats. Thank you for alerting me.>
Tanith says, <I'm not a child anymore. You can't make me do anything.>
Constantine smiles, slightly, and nods.
Mieko sighs, <Tanith, you are very ill. Come into the house and let us take care of you. You don't have to marry Kenjiro. You are not, however, going to marry that man.>
Mrs. Yamaguchi stiffens in displeasure, her attention shifting to Mrs.
Miramoto with a glare.
Mrs. Yamaguchi says, <Are you repudiating our bargain, Mrs. Miramoto?>
Mrs. Yamaguchi says, <By your word as a Miramoto, Tanith marries Kenjiro or Tanith marries no one.>
Tanith says "Hey, wait."
Tanith switches back to Japanese. <I want a choice.>
Constantine shifts, still very poised.
Mrs. Yamaguchi focuses her attention back on Constantine.
Kenjiro looks at Constantine.
Mieko says, <Go into the house, Ichiko.>
Tanith shakes her head shortly.
Kenjiro holds his hands behind his back.
Tanith says to Mieko, <I love you, mother, and I love my family, but you can't do this to me.>
Mrs. Yamaguchi glances once at Kenjiro and nods.
Mieko says, <We can and we will do what is best for our family
and for the honor of the Miramoto name.>
Mieko says, <I gave a sworn and solemn oath on the Miramoto name. I will not sully the honor of my house. If you repudiate my oath, you become a stranger to the family. You must find an honorable answer to this.>
Tanith closes her eyes, trembling.
Constantine takes a step, touches Tanith soft, on the arm.
Kenjiro tenses, ready to grab them at any moment.
Tanith looks back, meeting Constantine's eyes. Hers are wide and scared.
Constantine says, <You have a choice. Always.> His expression is completely calm.
Tanith says, in Thari, /It's outcast and cut off from my family if I leave. They'll throw me out to keep their oath and their honor./
Constantine says, in pained Thari, /Is there anything I can do? I don't want that to have to be your choice, my love./
Tanith swallows. In Thari, she says painfully, /There may be a way./
Constantine says, simply, /Anything./
Constantine is still in Thari, of course.
Tanith whispers, in Thari, /A duel./
Constantine says, in Thari, quietly, /Not to the death. And who?/
Tanith says, uncomfortably, /Challenge the engagement. If your art is better than the Yamaguchi.../
Constantine says, carefully, /I'm a better choice? Or I earn the right? I don't think you're a thing to be earned./
Tanith makes her hands into fists. /You earn the right to become a Miramoto./
Constantine touches one hand. /Do you want this?/
Tanith says, /No./
Kenjiro just stares at the two talking.
Constantine says, /Do you need it?/
Constantine nods, turns, and looks for eye contact with first Mrs.
Yamaguchi, then Meiko.
Constantine says, precise and formal, <I challenge this engagement; I believe that my art is superior to that of the Yamaguchi clan.>
Mieko says, coldly, <That will have to be proven in honorable combat.>
Mrs. Yamaguchi nods once to Kenjiro. <Choose your weapon, my son.>
Constantine says, mildly, <Of course it will.>
Kenjiro looks around, <How much time do I have to choose?>
Constantine says, <My strongest weapon is the sword. I am weakest in, probably, flail and certain Chaos dueling weaponry. Is there other information I can provide that might help you choose?>
Mieko says, <We have sufficient witnesses.>
Mrs. Yamaguchi starts marking off corners. <We want to finish this tonight, before Mrs. Miramoto runs away again.>
The two mothers exchange glares.
Kenjiro says, "I choose the two-handed Japanese sword."
Constantine steps a step away from Tanith, begins limbering, flexible.
Mieko looks at Tanith, then goes into the house.
Kenjiro looks to Meiko, <Can we provide Aspnes-san with one?>
Constantine asks, /Do I need to be better, or as good?/
Mrs. Yamaguchi comments, <I hope she is not packing.>
Tanith glares at Mrs. Yamaguchi.
Tanith blinks at Constantine. She says, uncomfortably, /Better./
Kenjiro examines the markers and chooses a spot near the outer door.
Constantine nods, accepting, shifting easily into leg stretches. <What constitutes victory, formally?>
Kenjiro unsheathes his sword and feels the heft. He looks at the lighting and falls into a stance. He then looks at Constantine and stands still.
Tanith says, <You can't leave the dueling area. Fighting continues until one person yields or is unable to fight.>
The marked area covers most of the front 'lawn' area, which is
actually gravel with boulders and a few succulent plants littered
artistically through it. Water conservation, y'know.
It overlaps the sidewalk, as well, and is about the size of a wide basketball court.
Mieko comes out of the house with a large Japanese two-handed sword.
Constantine looks up at Kenjiro, from his stretch, expressionless. Slowly, he comes out of it, shaking out his limbs.
Kenjiro just looks at Constantine.
Mieko sets the sword down at his feet, then retreats to the sidelines.
Mrs. Yamaguchi stands at the street edge, opposite Mieko.
Mrs. Yamaguchi says, <Whether you win or lose, son, do it with honor.>
Kenjiro bows to his Mother and to Mrs. Miramoto.
Constantine bends, picks up the sword. He tests the weight, the balance; studies the marked area, taking his time. When he's done, he moves to a position roughly opposite Kenjiro, ten yards or so out from a corner.
Tanith stands, a little wobbly, at the end of the arena near Constantine.
Kenjiro bows to Constantine.
Constantine bows, matching it, maintaining eye contact.
Kenjiro raises his sword to Guard position. The Sun is behind him.
Constantine drops into a low stance, sword cutting a diagonal line across his body.
Kenjiro has a classic Kendo stance the sword running up the middle of his body held at waist level.
Constantine simply waits, watching.
Kenjiro watches Constantine.
Kenjiro advances watching his shadow.
Constantine circles, letting Kenjiro close if he wishes.
Kenjiro takes two sudden steps in, He slashes down on Constantine's left side twice. If Constantine parries he uses the momentum to lash down on his right side once and sweeps chest level to sweep side a counter-attack and leaps back to guard.
Constantine parries the first slash with his blade angled down and left, slips right away from Kenjiro's blade, pulling back left at the right side attack; there's no counter attack at all, just a continued and speeded circle left.
Kenjiro swings on Constantine's right angles upwards.
Kenjiro twists to move with circle so his sword is always on the right of Constantine.
Constantine slides, dropping stance lower for the parry, always moving.
Kenjiro steps back.
Kenjiro watches Constantine carefully. His stance is lighter now.
Kenjiro seems very intent on something. Planning...
Constantine drifts higher, slowing his movement, and uncoils in a feint to the left, followed immediately by a pull back rightwards.
Kenjiro moves his sword from Constantine's left upper corner and circles up to his right corner to see him pull back.
Constantine loops his blade around, tip pointing now upwards right, and steps forward on a snapped downward cut at Kenjiro's thigh.
Kenjiro brings his blade down with both arms smashing the sword down into and out of his thigh with more force than 'tine intended bringing the sword down to the ground. He uses the momentum of Constantine's blade bouncing off the ground to slice up into 'tine's midsection.
Constantine keeps moving forward, keeping to his planned attack, not losing his momentum. Kenjiro's blade hits him, perhaps further towards the hilt than expected, as Constantine flips his blade and lets it cut back up into Kenjiro's thigh. Failing quick movement, Constantine is about to body-block Kenjiro hard.
Tanith watches, expression taut.
Kenjiro twists his body towards the right. He pulls his sword back cutting lengthwise, rather than slashing. He bends his knees to take pressure off his legs before shock wears off and uses a kneeling motion of the knee facing Constantine's left to pin down his blade. The kneeling also serves to lower his center of gravity so he's harder to bowl over and there is a chance Constantine bowls over his back.
Constantine draws up and across with his blade, slicing deep, hopefully into muscle; his face is tightset, as he backpedals, blood flowing down his side.
Kenjiro presses down on his knee on the blade taking the pressure off the blade as it pulls across his thigh. There is heavy blood pouring from his leg. All his weight is on the outer left leg facing Constantine. His sword is pulled back on Constantine's right.
Mrs. Yamaguchi watches the fight quietly, expressionless, in unconscious stance.
Constantine moves back further, pressing his right arm to his side, stance forced. Slowly, he begins to circle to his left, leaving lots of room between him and Kenjiro.
Kenjiro breathes deeply. Favoring his leg.
Kenjiro moves backwards also to the left so Constantine will hit the edge of the line before he can outflank him.
Constantine drifts back right, after a moment, in response, watching Kenjiro.
Kenjiro watches Constantine and advances two steps forward. He has an odd stance where his injured leg is infront ot his strong one, as if in a permanant cross side step. He could either use the stance to spring off a pivot or use it to support his injured leg.
Constantine calmly moves two steps back, diagonally right, keeping up the pace. There are drops of sweat on his forehead. He bleeds, still, past the makeshift pad of his arm.
Kenjiro pivots on his healthy leg. He is studying something again.
Constantine speeds up, moving towards a position where the sun will be at his back.
Kenjiro is in a fighting crouch. He positions his sword up parallel to the floor at forehead level reflecting the sun off his blade into Constantine's eyes.
Constantine glides back left, faint smile on his face.
Kenjiro pivots looking at Constanine.
Kenjiro lunges foward and swings hard on Constantine's right hoping he'll be slow unbinding his arm from his side.
Constantine simply drops back, diagonally left. If an opening presents itself for an attack, especially a leg cut, he'll take it; otherwise he maintains defensive posture.
Kenjiro falls backwards again looking at constantine curiously.
Kenjiro goes back into the same position with his leg being supported by his other leg so that the knees overlap but the feet are seperated.
Constantine returns to the patient circling, back and forth, switching directions if he comes too close to an edge.
Kenjiro moves into the rhythm of rest rest, 'tine is too far to my
Constantine speeds it up, drifting faster with each switch of direction.
Kenjiro twist his sword, cutting into the grass, watching Constantine move.
Constantine reaches what was before the end of his left-hand arc and swoops in without a break in speed, presenting his left side, feinting high and low and slicing at Kenjiro's arm with the very tip of his blade.
Kenjiro lifts his sword from the ground to guard position. A piece of grass and sod flies between him and 'tine. He swings at Constantine's sword!
Constantine twists his wrists, pulling his sword back up to the left, and down and forward, slicing vertically at Kenjiro's unwounded leg.
Tanith stands nervously at the edge of the ring.
Mrs. Yamaguchi watches Constantine intently. Mieko watches the fight, and Tanith too.
Constantine's wound bleeds freely again; it hadn't clotted that much, and this pulls it open.
Kenjiro pivots! He moves using his unwounded leg like a compass point, swinging his sword around behind him pivoting as Constantine extends his sword down, an extended sword whistling towards 'tine's left side.
Constantine fades back out, aborting the cut to dig into earth if he didn't have the speed to get it in. He stands, right arm pressed to his side, in stance.
Kenjiro pushes off on his hind foot and advances hop forward
Constantine says, voice with an edge of ragged, "I can run circles
around you, avoid you all day. Might have hit an artery. Probably last
Constantine eases back, moving to maintain backing room.
Kenjiro says in a quiet voice. "I am worthy. My art is firm and strong. I won't lose."
Constantine nods, no signs of surprise, some of respect. He puts another few feet between him and Kenjiro.
Kenjiro moves no farther, resting again.
Constantine rests himself, watching, breathing slow.
Kenjiro rests. Both his thighs are bloodstained though the pants on his left leg is shredded to show a muscles and blood.
Constantine rests. The grass and sod beneath him is stained with droplets of red; he's vigilant.
Kenjiro moves away from Constantine toward a corner... the one with boulders.
Constantine advances, maintaining that same distance.
Kenjiro reaches the bouldes and bends his wounded leg completely.
Supporting it against the rock. He smiles at constantine.
Kenjiro has one leg on the ground. One leg pressed bleeding pressured by both the lower leg and the boulder and a sword in two hands.
Constantine drops back another ten feet or so, and bends to pick up a
handful of larger gravel, watching Kenjiro.
Constantine uses his left hand.
Kenjiro lowers down so he is knees and arms
Constantine finds a boulder, rests his sword against it, rips off a
longish strip of shirt.
Constantine says, without looking away from Kenjiro, /Fair?/
Kenjiro lurches forward and hobbles with a sword raised stopped by the
Kenjiro looks at the sword against the rock.
Kenjiro frowns and doesn't understand Thari.
Tanith shifts uncomfortably.
Constantine takes the strip of cloth between his teeth, rests his
right hand back on the sword hilt, straightens.
Constantine says, carefully, <I have a makeshift weapon. I will not use it if it's cheating.>
Constantine picks up the sword and moves back.
Kenjiro closes in eyes in the middle and advances in a mockery of a
Kenjiro tries to get the sun behind him again.
Constantine shakes his head, drops the gravel and cloth, and resumes two-handed stance, the same one he had before. He takes a moment to breathe.
Kenjiro nods and flashes the sun into 'tine's eyes with his sword and waves the sword into a complicated weave.
Constantine breaks forward right, almost a run; he hits a boulder, pushes off it to reverse direction, fluid and smooth, center of gravity low, at an angle to Kenjiro; as he comes to his closest point he stops, flexing his knees hard, and erupts into an upwards slanting attack on Kenjiro's groin.
Mrs. Yamaguchi glides along the sidelines, moving closer to Kenjiro and Constantine.
Kenjiro pivots as 'tine takes off into the run a weave of steel still before him. He stumbles as Constatine launches himself at his groin and does a simple sidestep. However he is sidestepping on an injured leg which crumples underneath him. He tries to roll away from Constantine recovering.
Constantine overextends, flowing over Kenjiro and whirling, turning, regaining balance; a hesitation barely there before he strikes at Kenjiro's right wrist, harrying him.
Mieko walks around the side, still watching the fight, to join Tanith.
Mrs. Yamaguchi is as close as she can get and remain without the lines, expression intent.
Kenjiro uses the guard of his sword and his left arm as much as possible. He gets his good leg beneath him the injured one still extended.
Constantine takes any chances to wound Kenjiro's arms he can, short quick cuts, until he gets his leg underneath him; at that point, he pulls back again, breathing shallowly. Blood's leaving his face.
Kenjiro's arm is black with shallow cuts crossing the entirety of
his forearm Turning the dove grey of his gi dark.
Kenjiro screams and lunges doing a half circle up harshly down as he throws himself at Constantine.
Constantine clenches his teeth, jaw set. His right arm is pressed in
its familiar place at its side, and he's barely in stance before the
attack; he throws himself backward, going down over a boulder,
resetting and pushing himself backwards with his feet against it. His
sword is raised, tip weaving ragged circles in the air.
The tip of the sword falters, dropping slowly, as Constantine's arms tremble.
Constantine spits blood.
Kenjiro has his blade come down on Constantine's it angles down catching the guard at the tip and 'tine's tip under his guard. He lands with a "whuff" on both swords and lies there.
Tanith starts forward abruptly, her face very white. Her mother catches her shoulders and holds.
Constantine drops his blade from nerveless hands, closes his eyes, barely
Constantine mutters, "Best be enough."
Mrs. Yamaguchi pauses a moment, enters the ring, and moves smoothly to Kenjiro's side.
Constantine slumps over Kenjiro. There's a slight froth in the blood welling from his side.
Tanith twists free of her mother and rushes over to Constantine, letting her crutches fall. Mieko follows right behind.
Kenjiro lies face down over a pair of swords. The tip of Constantine's sword has bit into him and twisted off a knob of flesh as he landed. He still clutches his sword. His thigh is mangled and he's bleeding from deep cuts on his forearm.
Mrs. Yamaguchi lifts Kenjiro free of the swords and Constantine, turning him over and giving first aid.
Tanith presses shaking hands to Constantine's side, face utterly white.
Kenjiro looks very pale... well compared to Constantine, anyone would look pale, but deathly pale.
Sirens rise, down the street. Mieko, moving fast, gathers weapons and goes into the house.
Tanith, Lady Protector of Haven -- the section of history this log takes place in.
Log: Kenjiro and Constantine Duel
/ Gretchen / Flick
Last modified: April 23, 1997 / email@example.com