Guess you never know when it all ends he thought.
And it would end, he knew. The hounds were drawing near, of that there was no question. He had been a key player in this new Gozoku, perhaps its most important member in this province. He knew nearly everyone, could readily establish a rapport with others, make plans and invent or break code and signals with ease. Like so many things, his natural gifts allowed him to do this. Allowed him to notice, nay feel the need of the others. So he adapted himself, did what he could, which was so much, and moulded himself into what other people needed.
That had been his way of life since he could think, even before his Gempukku. Other people needed, and he gave. Tried to be what they wanted, what they needed.
These other people were rarely ever good stewards of him. They did not recognize the value of what was so freely given, or what it cost him. They pushed, and pushed, and kept going and drained, warped and depleted him. As the Shadow court had drawn him in, shaped him, used him. He had known then, as an adult, where that might lead. But he agreed anyway. The current forces at work in the capital were disdainful of the Crane, shielded their enemies and toyed with Naishou province until it broke. Their callousness and ambition would plunge the empire into misery, and Toturi Tsudao did not have the wherewithal to stop them.
Seisho had realized this. Grasped this one way out that he saw, and used his talents to support it. Knew that it would sap him, use him, maybe even destroy him. But so much would, and maybe this was worth embracing destruction for. Even now, knowing how it ended he did not regret it.
There were other things in his life he regretted.
His escapes into drink, to numb himself. The escape of stupor. Of carnal pleasure, often feeling more hollow afterwards than before, but unable to resist his cravings. Him slowly chipping away at himself just to hold back the pain for one more day. That was one regret.
Matsu Retsuhime, his betrothed. He'd tried to be more responsible for her. To guide her, because she needed it, but also because the province needed it, Lion needed it, his Clan needed it. And despite her violence, she really tried. There was an idealism, a naivete, an honest, innocent sincerity to her actions. She tried so hard, and Seisho felt almost shamed in her company. Not sure this was right, as damaged as he was. But he also realized that she needed him to be as strong as she was. And now...he'd leave her, and the marriage that might have bound a peace that was already fragile. Leave this woman who was so admirably dedicated to that peace, in her own way to fend for herself. That was another.
Shosuro Chizuru. A scorpion, and unrepentant. Cynical, maybe, a bit cold. So unlike himself in many ways. And yet probably the most reliable person he'd found in those last few years. A companion in many ways. Always with her own plans, and maybe even her wants and needs in plain view, but she was not greedy, not boundless. Not careless with him like many others were. Chizuru just...was. He might have turned her away for what he thought were good reasons, but now realized was an unnecessary cruelty to them both. That was another regret.
His old friends who'd seen him, spoken to him before. Saw, perhaps, a bit of his pain. Tried to pull him back from the brink, step by step. But once things got worse in Naishou, once days were dark and he embarked on his way they fell away. He had hoped that, perhaps, he could draw on others, for a while, find a way out of this without burning himself up, as usual. He had had good friends, and he was grateful to them, and their absence hurt him. He wished that, at the moment he faced this dark road, he had not been quite as alone. That was the last regret.
He blinked away a tear. Knew that he was, for all his gifts, never a strong man.
he wrote. Not the most creative of final Haiku, he was afraid, but...it would have to do. The hounds drew near after all, and he had no illusion that he could hide from them, or hold out under their torture. And he knew too much, too many names. He'd taken care of matters as best as he could, but now, if anyone around were to have a chance to live...he could not. And once again Kakita Seisho saw the need, and gave of himself.Petals in the spring
Seen and brushed by careless hands
Floating to the ground
One last time. He looked at the sake bowl in front of him. Friendly traveller...and something extra. Just a little thing. They had assured him it was quick and mostly painless.
"Kampai" he said.
Maybe the pain would end now.