Joined: 03 May 2016
|Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2018 12:51 am Post subject: Virtues and Sins
|Ichiro Kage of the most Tenacious Tanuki Clan entered the makeshift hospital. It was empty apart from a man wearing what appeared to be Swain-san’s brown coat. He had never been formally introduced to the man but his duties had led him here. He considered his options, was this man a bandit? Should he apprehend him or give him a chance to explain? Or was he an ally? He had his mission and could not be deterred. The man was rolling up bandages. The injured wanderers had obviously moved on and apart from this man, the room was empty.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
“I am doctor Jekyll, and who might you be?”
“I am Ichiro Kage of clan Tanuki, yojimbo to Lord Chosokabe. You wear similar clothes as Swain-san.” The Tanuki stated. “Did Swain-san give it you or did you take it from him?”
“Ah, I see. No I am a shipmate of Swain. This is another brown coat.”
“Like a uniform.” Tanuki nodded.
“Well sort of… I am guessing they were once uniform. We are more freeform now.”
“You are Jekyll-san. I have heard my lord say your name.”
“So you must be Tanuki-san.”
“Yes, I am called by that name too.” Tanuki watched as Dr Jekyll poured liquids into bottles but he did not drink then. He pondered what this could be.
“Do you have an interest in alchemy?” Dr Jekyll asked.
“It is an art that I have no knowledge of.”
“Alchemy is a science, not an art. Making potions allows me to enhance the body.”
“Like magic.” Tanuki said.
“Do the potions make you stronger?”
“Stronger, quicker, resilient. They can even cure wounds. “
“So you are a healer too.”
“I can heal through medicine and alchemy. I have a curiosity for unnatural biology such as yourself and your lord. With study and time, I could enhance your frame and make you so much better.”
“It sounds like magic. Although my code does push me to become better.”
“I see, so we have a common ground. At the moment these potions are fleeting in duration but I have plans for more permanent augmentations. Although it will take time.”
“I must strive to augment my mind, body and soul. We could talk on the road if you follow me. Dozo.”
“Yes. An enlightened approach. I am fairly certain that I could help with that too. Potions are merely the first step.” Doctor Jekyll held a few of his potions in his hand.
“What does that one do?” Tanuki asked pointing to the green potion around his neck.
“This potion of grace also helps me with my condition.”
“Condition?” Tanuki said but before Dr Jekyll could answer a large hornet landed on his shoulder and stung him. As it flew off Dr Jekyll gripped his shoulder in pain. He gestured for Tanuki to stay back and then after a few moments he stood up straight freed from pain but it was not the same man. The posture was different as was his frame. This man, although similar was shorter and wider. His scent seemed different too.
“Who are you?” Tanuki asked.
“Now aren’t you a perceptive one. Most don’t spot the difference until I speak. Even then… some mistake me for him.” Hyde explained.
“Where has Dr Jekyll-san gone?”
“Away for now. It’s about time too. I’m Mr Edward Hyde.”
“I am Ichiro Kage of the most Tenacious Tanuki clan. This is an unforeseen complication.”
“If you say so.” Hyde grunted. “So badger samurai, why are you here?”
“I was collecting something that my lord requested. But it no longer appears to be here.”
“Lies.” Hyde remarked.
“A samurai does not lie! I have spoken with honesty.” Tanuki growled.
“That may be, but that’s not a whole truth.”
“This was indeed my errand.”
“Then why aren’t you gone by now? Are you scared?”
“A samurai is courageous, not fearful.”
“It takes just a moment to check a room for items. This place is pretty empty. Yet you are still here. Are you avoiding extra work?”
“A samurai is sincere in his duties and loyal. Your words are insulting to the code of bushido.”
“Then why haven’t you struck me down yet?”
“That would be discourteous and not compassionate. A hasty retaliation would be unfair.”
“NOT compassionate? Unfair? To whom?”
“To the Dr Jekyll who is trapped in there with you. He doesn’t deserve punishment. It would complicate my purpose.”
“Now that’s interesting. Few people think like that. You wouldn’t strike down a defenseless man. That could be a fatal weakness you know.”
“A samurai is honourable. To hit an opponent unable to defend themselves would be dishonourable.” Tanuki said with a tinge of sadness. Hyde smiled.
“Ah… I see. Have you broken your honour code?”
“Not as such. It was questioned by a creature that sought to exploit me though. But he was tricking us. Even so, it was unpleasant. It's accusations against my honour made me pause and I… hesitated, which endangered others. Having my honour questioned brought back bad memories.”
“Something tells me, you weren’t always such a boring little samurai.” At this Tanuki glared at Hyde. “It’s alright. Your secret’s safe with me.”
“You know nothing of my past! But, in truth, I also know nothing if you! How come you share a body with Jekyll-san?”
“An alchemical experiment gone wrong. That is the short version. Jekyll is an annoying fragment. Now we are at war with each other over control of this body.”
“I know war.” Tanuki nodded.
“I bet you do. I want to know more about your honour code.”
“I follow the tenets: honesty, courage, sincerity, duty, courtesy, compassion and honour. That is bushido and I live to serve.”
“I couldn’t live like that.” Hyde chuckled. “I have my own tenets: greed, gluttony, lust, pride, envy, wrath and sloth.”
“They sound like sins, hardly virtues or tenets to live by.”
“In Salem perhaps but they have strengths. What of Thunderese sins?”
“Our sins are: Fear, Desire and Regret.”
“Do you regret your past then?”
“That was a nice try to trick me into sinning. No, I do not regret. But the echoes of past actions remind me to strive to be better.”
“Listen, badger. You look like a nice samurai thing. I tell you what, you take all the time you need to contemplate your honour and your failures here and I’ll be on my way.”
“I cannot let you leave until I am sure that Dr Jekyll-san is OK. I have unfinished business with him. When will he re-emerge?”
“What? I wouldn't waste your time. Jekyll is… not in charge. This is MY body. He won't be coming back for a while.”
“You may be lying. A greedy man will lie, an envious man would steal and a prideful man would refuse to explain.”
“I see you're no stranger to ideology. Clever… but wrong. I'm going.” with that Hyde walked towards the door. Tanuki intercepted him and drew his katana. Before he could pull the blade free of the saya and with a flash, Hyde launched his knee blocking the draw and knocking the blade back into the saya. As Tanuki looked down in surprise an elbow smacked him in the jaw. As he fell Hyde jumped over him and through the door. Tanuki drew his wakizashi with his off hand and swung it around without needing to look at his target. Hyde dropped to one knee as his hamstring was cut by the blade.
“I suppose you think that’s achieved something.” Hyde said in a low voice as Tanuki slowly approached from behind. With surprising quickness Hyde sprung to his feet undeterred by the injury. With a club in hand, he struck Tanuki’s arm with a numbing blow and the Wakizashi clattered to the floor. Face to face with the badger, Hyde gritted his teeth as Tanuki snarled. “You gave me too many chances. Your honour is a liability!” At this they both looked down to see Tanuki's katana through Hyde's gut.
“Do not seek to manipulate me gaijin.” Tanuki claimed. “I knew more about you than you assumed and you underestimated me because I follow a code.”
“Whatever happened to saving Jekyll?” Hyde whispered as the blood seeped out of what looked like a lethal wound.
“My blade missed your heart and lungs. Shugi-san will patch up Jekyll-san after you pass out.”
“You tried to trick me?” Hyde smirked.
“You assumed I was here for items. I never said that. I told you I had unfinished business with the doctor and you were a complication. It never occurred to you that the something I was retrieving for my lord was doctor Jekyll. My lord has need if his services and I am escorting him back to camp so we can leave Frontier safely all together. That ‘weakness’ you see allows us followers of bushido to take care of others. For without the community, we fight for nothing. Who takes care of you Hyde? Who do you fight for?”
A poignant pause drifted through the scene. Hyde looked up and spoke.
“That's a good question. Then again I've never needed attachments before. Chains can be comfortable but they remain chains nonetheless. You are a tamed beast and I am a wild one.” With this Hyde pushed himself off the katana leaving a trail of blood. Tanuki frowned in disbelief and concern at the damage this was causing Hyde's shared body. He stepped forward and was hurled back twenty yards into the room with a swift kick from Hyde. Hyde's voice boomed into the room as Tanuki slowly got up. “I could have crushed your spine badger. Truth be told on a different day I would have done it. But I didn't today. I guess your compassion is infectious. Maybe you'll adopt one of the sins eh. So long.”
“No!” Tanuki yelled. “Your wound needs treating!”
“I've had worse.” Hyde yelled back. “Do convey my apologies to Lord Chosokabe. I won’t be joining your party today and neither will Jekyll. I have some unfinished business to conclude.” With that he was gone.
Tanuki stepped out of the makeshift hospital. He looked around, Hyde was gone and the blood trail stopped dead a few yards away. Perhaps he really had cured himself or Tanuki had grossly underestimated his opponent's ability to withstand and recover from damage. Hyde was far stronger than he had assumed. A serious challenge for the samurai. Part of him wanted to track Hyde down, he seemed like worthy prey. But in truth he was more of a dangerous predator. The decision of whether to give pursuit was not his to make: His duty demanded he return and report back to his lord first.
Tanuki recalled the fight and the conversation again. Both of them were holding back in the fight. Both did not see each other's true strength or weakness until it was too late. He would have liked to converse more with Dr Jekyll, even if he didn't understand the science words. Tanuki wondered about the martial prowess of Hyde. Was Hyde too strong for him? He remembered that a warrior does not lose himself in pride. That would be a sin of regret and desire. It seemed a sad karma to be trapped in the same body as an enemy. Healer and Hunter. Warrior and Scholar. He wondered whether the Celestial Dragon would judge their soul separately for Jekyll and Hyde’s actions or as one entity.
OOC: Joe H
IC: Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde
IC: Ichiro Kage of the Tanuki