It was pouring rain on the night I dragged Kyoshi back to James' estate, the both of us battered, bruised and soaked to the bone. I had been walking for about an hour and a half on a fractured ankle and with two broken ribs, dragging the poor kid behind me through the mud and filth. By the time James' housekeeper Mrs. Flores opened the door, I had pretty much reached my limit, and we collapsed in a heap onto the marble floor of the front foyer. James' personal physician made a hasty house call and I was patched up all right, but Kyoshi well he was still in an awfully bad way. At first the doc thought he had been hit by a truck, but James knew better and after a knowing look quickly changed the subject. If there is one thing we crimefighters know, it's the scars of battle. While Kyoshi laid unconscious, I relayed the story of the nights' events to James as best I could. How I found him beaten to a pulp in an alley. How I fought off a 7-foot tall samurai named Hachigoro who aimed to finish the job. How our mysterious foe disappeared in a puff of green smoke vowing revenge. All weird stuff, even by Khazanian standards. I don't really know why I took him back to James' instead of the hospital. I mean in all honesty, Hachigoro said that Kyoshi had taken something from him, so for all I knew I had saved the bad guy. Still, and to this day I can't really explain it, I just felt like I had to take care of him. Now, months later, I'm glad I did. Who Kyoshi is, where he's from and how he came to Looking Glass is still a mystery. His link to Hachigoro and what he took from him is as well. Really, after all this time we know next to nothing about the guy only that he is a loyal friend who has risked his life for us time and time again. Maybe he feels like he owes us for saving his life. Maybe he just has nowhere else to go. Maybe fate finally handed me a bit of good fortune for a change. I really don't know. People have asked me how a man who never says a word can be my best friend. Easy. By listening. By being there for me when I need him. For caring about me even more than he cares about himself. Though he may be the Silent Samurai, his devotion and kindness speaks volumes.
A Samurai's Duty
Iron Will: Superior
Those first few days were pretty tense. Kyoshi hadn't regained consciousness, and as his bruises started to come up we could finally see the extent to which Hachigoro had beaten him. I had seen much of the battle first hand and even I was shocked I can't imagine what James was thinking. The doctors were amazed that he was still able to breath on his own, though I suspect they were even more amazed that he could breath at all. I sat in the grandiose guest room of James' estate watching over this complete stranger for hours at a time. Really, with my ankle and ribs torn up as they were, there was little else I could do. As I sat and waited for some sign of life, I began to look through Kyoshi's meager belongings for clues as to his identity. His armour was pretty torn up from the battle, but his swords seemed no worse for wear. In a thin sack, he had a change of clothes, a bottle of ink, some brushes and a rolled up scroll. It took me some time before I opened that scroll. As a person who cherishes her privacy, I worried that my snooping might cause him offence, but in time curiosity got the better of me. On the aging parchment was a delicate ink painting of a young woman beautifully robed in colourful, exotic garments. As I looked upon the worn paper, trying desperately to make sense of the foreign writing below the portrait, I was surprised to have it snatched from my hands. He was awake. Kyoshi stared at me for a moment and then to the scroll. As he ran his battered, bandaged fingers gently across its delicate surface it was apparent that it was deeply personal to him, and I immediately felt guilty for opening it. With unsteady movements, Kyoshi slowly got out of his bed until he stood calmly beside it, his eyes betraying only the slightest suggestion of the pain his actions must have been inflicting upon him. As I futilely urged him to stop and rest, he approached and looked me straight in the eyes. With great effort, he bent forward into a low bow, and then with only the faintest groan, managed to bend to one knee before me. I guess that's how it all really started. It was his way of saying thanks.
Closed Mind: Standard
So the girl of your dreams moves in with you and everything is going great until one evening, she drags home an unconscious samurai. Sound like a typical relationship issue? I didn't think so. Welcome to my life. I tried to be all cool about it y'know and I got him a doctor and let him crash at my estate and everything, but deep down I was a little intimidated. Here's this mysterious stranger a brave and skilled warrior-type... at least, that's what we had assumed. I'm just a science geek. My shaky self-esteem couldn't take that kind of competition. In hindsight, it all seems so silly. I mean sure, Kyoshi and Molly are very very close, but they are more like brother and sister than anything else. At least, they'd better be. Anyhow, once Kyoshi woke up I distracted myself by trying to find out about our guest. It was clear from the beginning that he didn't speak, but he seemed to be able to understand a little of what we were saying, which helped. My first thought was to get him to write stuff down for us, but he could only read and write in what I assumed was Japanese. Still, I managed to track down a Japanese translator and handed him a few of Kyoshi's poetry scrolls, but that's where the mystery really got weird. Turns out the language wasn't Japanese at all. Well, not really. It's kind of like a hybrid Japanese, only the translator had no idea what it was mixed with. He couldn't read a word either. To boot, the design of his other possessions seemed to be rooted in a Japanese-like culture, but they too were not quite right. So we were stuck with this guy who couldn't communicate with us, and of whom we knew only his name. Even today, Kyoshi has given us a ton of questions but no answers. Where is he from? What's with the psuedo-Japanese stuff? Who the heck was that Hachigoro guy? Who is the girl in the portrait? How did he get here? Every time we ask about his past, he just shuts off we don't even bother anymore. He is a mystery. A puzzle. A rubik's cube that's missing most of the coloured stickers. I only hope one day he trusts us enough to fill in the blanks.
Sword Master: Supreme
As soon as Kyoshi was well enough to walk, he began practicing with his swords. Even though he wasn't anywhere near well enough to be engaged in such activity, I could understand why he did it. My ankle still hurt like hell, but I had been in the gymnasium for a week. For people like us, it was therapy a way to expunge the demons of our past. For Kyoshi though, I think it went deeper than that. It was reverent, almost like prayer. I got the impression that it was normally something he did in private too, but after being stuck in a house together for so long and unable to really converse, I think he let James and I watch as a way to reach out. He was trying to let us into his world a little. As he began, it was clear that he was good... very very good. As he attacked the training dummies we both just watched in awe at his skill and grace. His swords moved so fast and so fluidly we could barely keep track of them, and the training dummy was quickly being torn to shreds. James bless him was a little jealous of Kyoshi and not wanting to be upstaged by the new guy he set up his own targets. As Kyoshi watched on in what I thought might be amusement, James proceeded to hit bullseyes all over the training room with his crossbow, checking back now and then to make sure I was watching. Kyoshi simply continued his training, but with a hint of mischief stepped it up a bit. An extra spin. An added bit of flourish to each stroke. A playful smile towards James as he landed a difficult blow. Naturally, James reacted in a typically juvenile male fashion by increasing the difficulty of his trick shots. Off the wall - bullseye. Over the shoulder bullseye. Two bolts in rapid succession bullseye, bullseye. All to impress me. It was unnecessary and silly, but it was terribly sweet. Finally, Kyoshi arranged ten dummies around him in a circle and sat directly in the middle with his swords across his lap. We both watched as he sat there motionless for what seemed like forever until suddenly, he leapt up and began striking. As he would pierce the vital areas of two dummies, he'd already be looking at the next pair. As he spun to strike those, the next move was already planned. In one fluid motion lasting only seconds, all the targets had been hit in at least 2 places. James looked disappointed as Kyoshi finished his trump card, but was nicely surprised when our guest turned to him and bowed with a seriousness and respect that exceeded the playfulness of the workout. I gave James a little peck on the cheek as well, just to remind him where he stood and then we all sat down to our first meal together. That's where it began I think the moment a team was forged.
The Armour Ceremony
Body Armor: Standard
Before Kyoshi dropped into our lives, I used to like patrols. Honestly, I did. Quickly filling up with rounds of specialty bolts, adjusting my goggles' light sensitivity, pre-setting my crossbow. Molly would load up her shotgun, strap on the Kevlar and we'd be off. Bingo bango boom. 10 minutes, tops. Ever since Kyoshi started coming with us though the entire procedure has turned into a logistical nightmare. I don't know if it's a samurai thing or what, but putting on his armour has an entire ceremony to accompany it. Forget all the time he spends mending, cleaning and adjusting the stuff just putting it on takes at least 40 minutes. He has to lay them out on the floor in a particular order and with great care. If a piece is not placed exactly, he'll pick them all up and start again. Once they are properly arranged, he sits and thinks. And thinks. And thinks some more. Molly says he's meditating and that may be, but whatever he's doing it's time consuming! After he's done he carefully puts on each piece in a specific order and with specific movements, I might add until he is fully equipped. Then, more mediation. By this point, I've usually been in costume and ready to go for 15 minutes at least. I sweat. The costume starts to get itchy. I tinker with the crossbow, checking and re-checking the calibrations just to pass the time. Going absolutely out of my mind. Molly is much more patient about it. She can be a bit of a control-freak herself, so I think she understands his need to go through his ritual. Unlike the both of them, I'm too practical. Criminals aren't out there waiting for us to show up. Time is money. I can't take it... let's GO already!
The Sword Controversy
Slicing Attack: Superior
- Ranged and Melee Attack
It is a sort of unwritten law in the house that no one is to touch Kyoshi's swords. Although he has been polite about it when it happened in the past, it clearly bothered him. I think he just made an effort not to offend us, especially James who was kind enough to let him stay with us. Really, it is James alone who continually forgets and touches them, even now. I watch Kyoshi grit his teeth and quickly but politely snatch them up from James, and then humbly bow to him as if to deflect any notion of rudeness. It's not James' fault though he's just curious. He's done a lot of research on Kyoshi's swords, trying to find out something about him. He said he discovered that Japanese samurai traditionally carried a long sword for battle and a short sword to commit suicide. Kyoshi carries two short swords. James sees this as evidence that our friend is not really from Japan at all, and probably isn't even a samurai not that he even claimed he was one. I'm not so convinced. I think maybe Kyoshi understands what the swords are for. I think there is some symbolism there that we just can't grasp, not knowing his history. Every time he polishes his swords, he first gazes upon the woman's portrait he carries with him. There is a link there... I can't say what exactly but it's there. Was the sword hers? Was that what he took from Hachigoro? Maybe using the swords meant for suicide means he yearns for death in battle? Maybe just the opposite maybe he fears death and so he uses the suicide swords on others. And what happened to his battle sword? Did he even have one? James thinks I'm crazy. We debate the topic at length to no resolution. Kyoshi certainly isn't offering up any answers. Maybe James is right... maybe my life is so messed up and complicated that I'm imposing that dysfunction on everyone else. Maybe I am crazy. Or maybe I'm right.
Petals in the Wind
We've been working as a trio for some time now and after a brief adjustment period, I think we are jelling pretty well. As good a team as Molly and I were, I think we are even better with Kyoshi in the mix. I'm the cerebral one, Molly is the passionate one and Kyoshi is glue keeping the whole explosive mix under control. He's just like that, really. A calming influence. A wise observer. It's kinda weird having a mute as a team's voice of reason, but that's exactly what Kyoshi is. He just kinda gets into this zone y'know and stays there pretty much all the time. Nothing fazes him. Nothing surprises him. He's just supremely aware of everything that's going on. No matter how softly we whisper, Kyoshi hears us. No matter how small the detail is, Kyoshi sees it. Hell, sometimes I think he can smell trouble approaching. Seriously, I'm being literal here. He's THAT in tune with the world. It's kinda eerie and cool all at the same time. I remember once I was watching him mediate in his room. He sat kneeling with his sword in front of him and his eyes closed not moving save for expanding of his chest as he drew in long slow breaths. Carefully, he lifted his hand and tossed maybe a dozen rose petals into the air. As they haphazardly zig-zagged their way to the floor, Kyoshi grabbed his sword and swung it precisely. He had snagged each one mid air without so much as opening his eyes. Can you believe it? I mean, forget for just a moment how fantastically difficult it is to stab through a petal mid-air with the tip of your sword... he did it with his eyes closed. It's like he could hear them falling... or maybe he FELT them falling. I don't know, but either way it left me speechless and it got me thinking. That first night that he arrived, as he was dragged by Molly barely conscious through the storm... somewhere in the depths of his labyrinth mind was he counting the raindrops?