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So, the point of this whole exercise in reinc was that it was meant to be free form, out of order, in bits, drips and drabs, and however else it came out. I, however, have been trying to impose order and structure. The story has been rebelling. >.< Tav concedes. Have an out of order chunk, with a hella significant conversation.

It would help if you've read A Meeting of Kings first.


~*~*~

"Your retainer... Toril, was it?" King Skander began, when the others had all left the room.

Kougaiji nodded, trying not to frown thoughtfully. "Although he would not appreciate being called a retainer."

"Ah," the King murmured. "You have a rather informal court."

"I have an army," Kougaiji said, not as pointedly as Doku might have. "We have had no time for courtly manners for two decades now."

The King sighed softly. "My apologies. We cling to such things here, for fear of losing everything."

"That is entirely understandable," Kougaiji replied, softening his tone.

"He is... of mixed blood?" the King asked, after a moment.

Kougaiji nodded. "Such as he are considered children of taboo. Many believe the red hair and eyes to be proof and warning of that."

The King's eyes flickered over Kougaiji's hair. Their eyes met, and Skander didn't try to hide his question.

"My father is the Ox-king," Kougaiji said, unapologetically. "My mother is a fire mage."

"Ah, forgive my curiosity. Your people have never been common in this region."

The Prince smiled slightly. "You are hardly alone in it."

"I feel as though I have met you before," Skander said, studying Kougaiji with his head tilted ever so slightly to one side. "It is no excuse for my possibly excessive informality."

He hadn't been looking, earlier, at the threads of fate woven in the room. Hadn't wanted to look, with so many lives present, tangling and weaving. But now, with only the King here, he saw without meaning to and had to close his eyes for a moment.

"No, Your Majesty," Kougaiji said, unable to keep the weariness from his voice. "We have not met."

"You see beyond the visible world."

Opening his eyes, Kougaiji smoothed his expression. "I see connections. Threads. It is part of my heritage and inheritance."

The King's strange blue eyes narrowed slightly. "What did you see?"

"With all due respect, you have no right to ask."

"Ah." The King leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers before him. "No, I suppose I don't."

It was disconcerting to see such mannerisms in such a young man. He bit back the urge to ask about things better left unsaid and sighed again.

"And if I told you I dream of wings, of flight... that I feel more comfortable in Meiru's company than with my kin, would that sway you at all?"

"I cannot give you answers, Your Majesty," Kougaiji said, trying to put the edge of certainty back in his voice. "Such things are best forgotten."

"You speak of reincarnations, then?"

He blinked, realized too late that he'd been trapped, and pressed his lips together in a thin line.

"Kougaiji --"

He could only blink again, too startled by the sudden familiarity of his own name to summon a response. A deliberate attempt to throw him. Unfortunately, it worked.

"-- who and what I was may not matter, but who and what Toril was matter a great deal. You will not be able to defeat Gyumaoh without his help."

Surprise was going to become a permanent expression if he was not careful. "You know?"

"His mission is unfinished."

Kougaiji bit back a short bark of humourless laughter at that. "His mission was a complete and utter failure. There is no finishing that."

Skander's smile was baring of neat white teeth. "He cannot stop the resurrection, no, but the restoration of this world is still his duty."

"Why?" Kougaiji asked, leaning forward impatiently. "His life is not such... the weight of karma... how can you presume to know?"

"Can you not look at him and see it?" Skander asked, somewhat sadly.

Kougaiji had no answer for that. Rising to his feet, he paced restlessly before the King's desk.

"Has he found the others?" Skander asked quietly.

"You should not remember!" Kougaiji exclaimed, turning abruptly to face him.

"I have a dragon soul. We remember," the King answered evenly. "And even were that not so, the fabric of this world has been rent so greatly that arguments relying on the past and the proper order of things are rendered all but useless."

With an inarticulate growl, Kougaiji sank back down onto his chair. Leaning forward, he braced his elbows on his knees and stared down at his clasped hands. "Gojyo," he said, his tone weary with defeat. "Johar. He was appointed General in Doku's absence."

"I see," Skander murmured. Shifting his gaze to the near distance, the lines of his youthful face softened with a faint sadness. "Not what I expected."

Kougaiji raised his head and fixed a dour look on the King. "It is presumptuous to have expectations of reincarnations, Your Majesty."

The King snorted, turning his attention sharply back to Kougaiji. "And Heaven forfend I should presume against it?"

"Reincarnation is no business of Tenkai's," Kougaiji said slowly. "It is a far older process, not to be ruled by the whims of kami."

"Ah," Skander murmured. "Nor subject to the bodhisattva's intervention, I suppose?"

"Is that what happened to you?" Kougaiji asked despite himself.

"With all due respect," the King began.

Kougaiji chuckled and nodded. Leaning back in his chair, he studied the young king intently. "This alliance you propose, then... it is not military."

"We will never muster numbers enough to defeat him," Skander replied, inclining his head. "We must find another way."

Another way meant returning to Hotoujo, confronting the demons of his past, and his future. Kougaiji tried not to sigh. "And you believe you have found a way?"

"No," the young King replied. "I believe I have found a possibility. I have no plan as of yet. Only a hope, my intuition, and a few like-minded allies." He paused, meeting Kougaiji's gaze directly, and added, "May I count you among their numbers?"

"Yes," the prince replied, without hesitation.


~*~*~


Comments would be much appreciated. Anyone (besides Narsus ^_~) still reading? any thoughts? ^_^;

Date: 2005-12-09 09:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] akisawana.livejournal.com
I read, but am usually too in awe to comment.

Date: 2005-12-10 08:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nekonexus.livejournal.com
thanks for commenting anyway. *^_^*

Date: 2005-12-09 10:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kintail.livejournal.com
I love this chapter so much. We'd discussed before how Goujun being reincarnated as other-than-human for the first time would have a hard time with simply being human -- species dysphoria, so to speak. I love what you do with it here, and how Skander uses it to keep *other people* off balance, he makes it a tool or weapon instead of a weakness. *fanboys him madly*

I also really like the discussion of Toril's importance in what is to come -- that the plot must be something that *requires* him and may even be centered on him, rather than just having him along as a participant and observer.

I wonder how much Skander remembers and how much he's fishing for pieces to fill in the blanks... and just *what* he expected for Gojyo.

And I love how Kougaiji finds his equilibrim again quickly and plays turnabout. "With all due respect" indeed. Awesome stuff.

And I'm left with a craving for Kougaiji/Skander UST and subtext, AU as that may be. The dynamic between them! They're so well suited to each other!

Date: 2005-12-11 08:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nekonexus.livejournal.com
*pokes you* rabid Goujun fanboi, you. *smirk* But I agree, he deserves much love for his deviousness in this chapter. And more to come, even.

Toril keeps surprising me. I didn't expect so much to hinge on him, but there you go. I just cringe at the thought of them all meeting Rajesh at this point... ~_~ Raised to be his father's son, indeed.

As for what he expected... it wasn't necessarily what he expected from Gojyo, as what else he was expecting. (like... Sanzo would have found Goku, and of course he's got to be wondering wtf is his Tenpou?)

and you see what you've started now with the UST and fanboi'ing? *points at TJ's comment* hmph. ^_^;;


Date: 2005-12-10 06:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tj-dragonblade.livejournal.com
...Nngh. *_*

*is left ridiculously incoherent*

*is also quite ashamed of all the chapters left un-commented-upon*

Y'know, all up until A Meeting of Kings I was expecting Skander to be Goku. Then we met him, and-- *fwoosh* Straight out the window with that notion. *happy sigh*

*seconds Kiro's craving for Kou/Skander UST-stuff*

Ahem.

I'm particularly loving the elegant, world-weary snarking between them. Though it's really too refined to be called 'snarking'. ^_^; Dynamic. Very very contagious dynamic between them. That you gave him his memories, at least this time around. *so in love with the old-soul feel, particularly when lodged in a young form*

*ponders visuals for Skander, and aged Kou, and all the rest, and Skander again in particular*

*tries very hard not to factor the Age-Gap Kink into the rapidly-blooming Kou/Skander fascination*

"I have a dragon soul. We remember," the King answered evenly. "And even were that not so, the fabric of this world has been rent so greatly that arguments relying on the past and the proper order of things are rendered all but useless."

Such frank and forthrightly blunt wisdom. I mean, we've all but barely met him (in this form at least) and I'm just all in love with the guy already. ^_^; *rubs sheepishly at back of head* And all embarrassed to be so squeeish and fangirly and rambly and offering so little substance. Eheh.

It would be Goujun who pokes me out of my feedbacking apathy, if only for a moment and not very articulately...

Date: 2005-12-11 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nekonexus.livejournal.com
you know, if you'd even just said the *is left ridiculously incoherent* part and left it at that, you would have made me happy. ^_^ as it is, thank you for taking the time to say more. ^_^

Right. ^_^

I didn't mean to write this chapter (of course, I didn't mean to write Toril reacting to Meiru so very violently, either >.< ) but Skander had his own thoughts, and Kou lost his footing just enough to get swept along.... There's more to this conversation, obviously, but. yeah. world-weary snarking indeed. ^_^

Skander is, of course, a descendant of Alexander the Great. *Classics-geek* So take from that a physical description if you will. ^_~

*grins over your squeeing and age-gap kink* I don't know that I can satisfy that, but as Kiro suggested, some omake might be in order. ^_~

And don't be embarrassed. *hugs* I like fangirlish and squeey and rambly and there was plenty of substance. Tell your Inner Critic/Editor to take a hike.

thank you. ^_^ and hooray for Goujun!

Date: 2005-12-20 08:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tj-dragonblade.livejournal.com
Skander is, of course, a descendant of Alexander the Great

Mmmh, I see. *nods happily* Very good, very good. Incidentally, that's who AJ is named for, in part.

And, if you'll indulge me for a moment: The King's strange blue eyes narrowed slightly

Ahem. *composes an utterly serious contemplative face* Would this classify him as a Blue-Eyes White Dragon, then? *ducks*

^_^;

Date: 2005-12-20 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nekonexus.livejournal.com
...

...

... I have no words for how utterly you have just slain me. *^____^*

*SPORFLE!*

Date: 2006-08-29 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nightengale.livejournal.com
Okay, so I read through using the timeline, then discovered there's more than the timeline includes! Then -

Blue-Eyes White Dragon

*DEAD* *uses appropriate icon*

And I now feel like I should apologize to Gojun for thinking at first that he was Iisou, but I stick by my reasoning as to WHY: He throws people off on purpose, uses balance as a weapon.

Now the 'follower' is un-cast again, at least till I read the next chapter(?), and Meiru needs a role...And Goku is STILL Out There. Like the Truth, but more genki. XD

Loving it, Tav.

Date: 2006-08-30 10:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nekonexus.livejournal.com
*giggles* I want an icon that says that! Like the Truth, but more genki. hee...

Of course I'm still reading

Date: 2005-12-10 08:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] y-sanada.livejournal.com
Sorry I have been so rude as not to comment, but I am still reading and anxiously awaiting updates. I was a little confused by Toril's extreme reaction to Meiru (still am) when they met and being somewhat dense from time to time didn't figure Skandar to be Goujun until you spelled it out quite clearly for me in this chapter.

Having Skander and Kougaiji both able to make connections with past and present lives has given this story a delicious twist.

I still haven't figured out why Zenon, Shien & Nataku were looking for Doku, but when the time comes to reveal it, I am sure it will be worth the wait.

Re: Of course I'm still reading

Date: 2005-12-11 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nekonexus.livejournal.com
ah, I don't think it's rude. I just wonder sometimes what people think. Thanks for taking the time to comment. ^_^

Toril is... strange. And still revealing aspects of his character that I haven't got a grip on yet, though. Part of it is because, as a half-breed, he's between worlds and walks in both. But that will get explained later. ... I think. ^_^;

As for the kami, they were actually looking for Kou, but seeing as Nataku is the one who sealed Kou along with the rest of Hotoujo, they figured it better to approach Doku.

... that meeting should be ... Interesting. ^_^

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