Lord Toyotomi rants about his failure in battle. Introduced to Eizo and Tamamo No Mae.
Leaving the tattered remains of his soldiers and Samurai in the fields outside the main gate, Lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi marched into the main courtyard of his castle. He stopped in front of several servants who bowed. The servants clamored around their Lord to remove his battle worn Samurai armor. Soot and blood were smeared across his face. His tattered clothes would have to be burned.
A servant tried to direct his Lord to the springs, to get clean. Lord Toyotomi brushed the servant aside and marched to the main doors of his castle, leaving the servant bowing for his supposed impudence.
Castle Fushimi, my castle. Lord Toyotomi thought. I built this castle from the ground up, just as I have built myself up from a peasant.
He strode to the main floor. I have created the Toyotomi Clan. I am unifying Japan. I will be Japan’s Emperor.
Lord Toyotomi climbed the stairs to the main keep, feeling each and every pang of battle in his body. He needed to rest, but not until he talked to the izado. Pausing, he felt his side where the bandages had been placed to see if there was fresh blood. His hand came back clean. He knew he was lucky the soldier’s spear only left a shallow slice across the side of his stomach.
That izado knows I need his help and the help of his yokai to defeat the Tokugawa Clan. Why did he not keep his promise! He continued up the stairs with his thoughts. Tokugawa Clan, heh! They think they should rule because of some kind of royal lineage. No! Japan is for the people. I represent the people and will be their Emperor!
Lord Toyotomi threw the heavy wooden door open to the main keep. “Where the hell, did your dragons go!?” he demanded.
The room filled Lord Toyotomi’s senses with strange smells and even stranger sights. Herbs hung from various spots of the ceiling, shelves of spices followed the length of the wall from the door, and different bouquets were placed among the herbs and spices to warn off certain mischievous yokai.
Little puffs of light floated through the keep. Things quickly slithered from one spot to another, to hide from the loud Lord. A crow with red eyes sat in the window, next to a bird with four wings and a plumage that stood up, swaying in the non-existent breeze.
A little creature that had the form of a woman with green skin, large black eyes, and pointy ears flitted in front of Lord Toyotomi on buzzing wings. “Yeah, he’s mad.” She announced in a high pitch to her master, Eizo.
Lord Toyotomi swatted the little yokai away from his face. “Eizo! How dare you disrespect me, by not standing and bowing when I enter the room.”
Sitting at his desk, under the window, with his right leg outstretched on a stool, Eizo turned his head around inhumanly far to see his Lord. “Please forgive me, my Lord. At the moment my leg is mending and I cannot move it.”
Lord Toyotomi stomped closer to the izado. He peered over the back of Eizo to see a clear gelatinous mass with eyes and a smile wrapped around the man’s leg. The gelatinous thing vibrated and hummed. Under the ooze was a spear wound. The Lord could slowly see the seams of the wound growing closer together.
“What kind of yokai is that?” Lord Toyotomi asked, in amazement.
“This little fellow,” Eizo proudly said as if showing off a grand treasure, “is a symbiote that lives off of dead flesh and a little blood. In return it has great healing capabilities.”
“Could it help my men?”
“Yes, he can.”
“Then send it down to the fields, now!”
“I’m sorry my Lord, this one is already attached and cannot be removed until it is finished, but I can send for more of its kind.”
“Then do it!”
Eizo looked up at the red eyed black crow, which stared back at the Izado. The crow turned out of the window and took flight.
“It is done my Lord.” Eizo said, “I recommend you send message to the field explaining what is coming, so the men do not try to kill the yokai.”
Lord Toyotomi felt a new wave of fatigue wash over his body as his knees trembled and his shoulders slumped. The pain in his side flared. Instinctively Toyotomi Hideyoshi placed his hand on the wound.
He looked around for a place to sit. There was no mat to kneel on, nor a traditional Japanese table. What there was, was a large wooden table that Eizo sat at on a large thick wooden chair. Next to the table was another heavy chair. The Lord moved in front of the chair. Not knowing exactly what to do and not wanting to make himself look foolish, he carefully turned around, trying to keep an eye on the chair to make sure he was in the right spot. He then slowly lowered himself to the edge of the chair. Making sure the chair would not collapse from under him, he scooted back a little. The Lord remained sitting straight upright, with his hands firmly placed on his knees.
Eizo looked over to his master, with amusement and a slight smile.
“I do not know why you like this furniture from the Dutch merchants so much.”
“I find it very comfortable.”
The Lord regained his serious composure. “Why did your dragons run from the battle? You told me they would help us defeat the Tokugawa.”
“That was what the black crow was here to tell me about.” Eizo replied. “The dragons were overwhelmed and hurt badly. There are so few dragons left in the world and they know this. It is more important for the dragons to protect their numbers, than your men.”
“Then your dragons are worthless to me!” the Lord exclaimed. “I need a strong force that will stand for the entire battle. We were pushing Tokugawa back, but when those dragons took off, we had to retreat from the surge of the Tokugawa horde. Especially, when Tokugawa Ogimaru and his small group snuck in from around the back and attacked. That is not an honorable way to fight a battle!”
Eizo was surprised by the ingenuity of the enemy battle tactics. “My Lord if I may, it would have been better to have ambushed one of the larger groups of Tokugawa the night before. I still do not understand why you felt it was necessary to attack a smaller group.”
“Attacking Tokugawa Ogimaru had nothing to do with today’s battle. Your dragons had everything to do with today’s battle. It was my hope to decimate Tokugawa Ogimaru’s forces last night, so they would not join the battle. It would drive a wedge further between him and his father, Tokugawa Ieyasu. This would weaken the Tokugawa Clan’s chances of unifying Japan.”
Eizo was impressed with Toyotomi’s foresight, but the Lord’s gamble did not pay off. Lord Tokugawa was more resilient then they had planned. “My Lord, with respect. This was only one battle. The war continues and I suspect it will for a long time.”
Toyotomi closed his eyes. His stone face still betrayed his anger. With a deep breath, “I want you to put together an army of yokai that can help defeat the Tokugawa clan, for the next battle.”
Toyotomi raised himself from the big wooden chair, quickly grabbing his side as his wound sent fresh slices of pain through his stomach. The lord straightened himself further and marched out of the room.
Behind the lord the door to Eizo’s room swung shut, with a metallic click of the doors locking mechanism. Inky blackness grew from where the floor met the wall next to the door, pushing up towards the ceiling. Once at the ceiling, the black lifted off the wall and moved across the room towards the wizard.
Eizo took a deep breath and let it out quietly. The wizard knew the closing door and the black enveloping the room meant he was being summoned. Eizo pushed himself up from his chair, to steady himself on the table. The gelatinous blob on his leg squeezed tight, to keep from sliding down from the wound.
Eizo hobbled to a clear spot in the keep. His wound and the blob fought the movement down to the floor on his knees. Tears welled up in his eyes from the pain. Eizo quickly bowed his head and wiped the tears. No weakness must be shown, before his master,
As the black moved over his kneeling body, Eizo reminded himself to keep his senses closed off. The one time he opened his eyes in the middle of the transition, the wizard was overwhelmed by being in two places at the same time. Seeing two different places overlapping each other, feeling two different floors, and other realities competing for his senses was too much. He could not help but to throw up and pass out. It was the last time he showed any weakness in front of his master, who laughed at him, all the while making him clean up his vomit.
Remembering how long the transition took, Eizo slowly counted the seconds until it was safe to open his eyes. “Ojosama Tamamo no Mae, it fills my heart with comfort to be in your presence once again.”
The izado looked up to see the usual giant grey boulder shot through with pure white. He eyes continued up to where his master Tamamo no Mae sat. She relaxed on the massive smooth river rock, while she entertained herself with combing her long black hair. Eizo could not help but to be enthralled at the rhythmic movement of her hands and the silky glimmering shine in her hair.
Tamamo no Mae’s fox ears flicked in the cool breeze. Her nine tails lay splayed on the boulder behind her. There was no sign of joy in any of her tails at seeing the lowly human below her. “Tell me of the battle between the two human clans.”
Eizo straightened his back, so he was resting his weight on his kneeling legs. He raised his head to look at Tamamo no Mae and bathe in her unmatched beauty. “My Lady I am sorry to report that it did not go well. Omo Toyotomi Hideyoshi had me attack Tokugawa Ogimaru the night before, in the hopes he would not be able to assist in his Father’s battle and drive a further wedge between the two men.”
“It seemed to strengthen Tokugawa’s resolve. He attacked Omo Toyotomi from the rear, while they were facing the main force. The dragons were injured and retreated, before their lives were endangered. This left Omo Toyotomi defenseless and outmaneuvered. He had to retreat, losing most of his men.”
Tamamo no Mae stopped combing through her hair, resting her hands in her lap. “This is disappointing. First, you should not have killed Omo Tokugawa’s wife. That is what stoked his resolve and strength in the battle.” Her fingers played with the teeth of the comb. “Are you sure you have picked the right human to help us yokai?”
“It is still my belief he will help us. He not only talks about the yokai and his fascination for them, but he displays it as well. Once he is Emperor, I have no doubt he will give you lands in the human realm.”
“This may be true, but it will do us no good if he cannot overcome the Tokugawa Clan, to become Emperor.”
“My Ojosama, the Tokugawa clan is formidable and outnumbers the Toyotomi Clan three to one. It is an uphill battle, but one I do believe that can be won, with the help of yokai, dragons, and oni,” with a pause to form how to politely put forth his suggestion, Eizo continued. “Maybe my Ojosama, if you could meet with Toyotomi Hideyoshi you could persuade him to follow your advice, better than I can offer it to him.”
“You know very well, since my death in the human realm I cannot return, until we are able to open their realm into the yokai realm.”
“Forgive me my Ojosama, for not explaining myself better. Could we bring Toyotomi to you?”
This gave Tamamo no Mae pause. She might be able to win the man over with her beauty and charm, but it also meant he would have access to her. The last time she was around man, it did not go well for her. “I will consider it. Now return to your realm.”
“Yes, my Ojosama.”