A gentleman, perhaps. Certainly a member of the affluent class. His face was not handsome, but open and friendly, and he bowed politely to Akitada before telling the monk, Oh, no.
There are just the two of us. This gentleman is a stranger to my sister-in-law and myself. The woman moved impatiently, extending a smooth white arm from under her rain cape to gesture to her companion to hurry. Multiple layers of fine silk, in shades from russet to lavender, peeked out from under the cream-colored satin sleeve of her robe. The embroidery on the sleeve and hem was of autumn leaves and chrysanthemums. A very rich lady indeed, thought Akitada, who was tying his horse next to their mounts and noting the costly saddles.
Bowing deeply to her, he hoped she would remove the veil so he could see her face. But he was disappointed, for she abruptly turned her back to him. He told the monk, Please accommodate your guests first. I shall wait for your return. Are there many visitors here tonight?
Oh, mostly ordinary, said the old man, turning to shuffle barefooted down the long covered corridor to the right. They followed him. Akitada stepped up under the gateway to watch them walk away. And a group of players who put on bugaku dances for the local people.
The Convict's Sword (Akitada mysteries Book 6) - Kindle edition by I. J. Parker. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. The Convict's Sword (A Sugawara Akitada Mystery Book 6) - Kindle edition by I. J. Parker. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or.
They are in a different building. She pursued the topic, but Akitada could no longer make out the words. He reflected ruefully that she had evidently not approved of him either, when she saw him in his cheap rain gear and on a hired horse. Underneath the straw cape he wore a sober brown hunting robe over fawn-colored silk trousers which he had tucked into his leather riding boots. A long sword was pushed through his wide leather belt. His slender, deeply tanned face with the heavy eyebrows might have belonged to a scholar or a warrior, but was to his mind ordinary.
And he thought his narrow straight back and waist and the broad shoulders lacked both grace and muscular bulk. He laid his wet straw cape and hat on the railing of the balustrade and looked out across the large courtyard toward the main temple hall. Memories stirred of visits to this place back in the days of his childhood.
He had been accompanied by his imperious mother and two younger sisters, along with nursemaids and servants. How would he find them now? Was his mother still alive? The message of her severe illness had reached them two weeks earlier, on their homeward journey, and Akitada had pushed ahead alone, leaving his wife and small son to follow more slowly with the luggage and servants.
Akiko, the elder of his two sisters, had married an official during his absence and moved away, but Yoshiko was still at home. He tried to imagine his mother ill, her fierce strength gone, and only the bitterness remaining. He sighed. Steady streams of water descended along the chains suspended from the monstrous snouts of rain spouts above him and splashed with a great din into pebble troughs.
Across the courtyard the tall pagoda rose into the mist, its top lost above the clouds. The scent of pines hung in the air and mingled with the sweetish odor of wet straw and sedge.
Akitada's Holiday. Philip Reeve. Sugawara Akitada Series , 6. She returned her attention to the dark, wet courtyard outside. He stumbled with tiredness and disorientation. The Assassin's Daughter by I.
But for this miserable rain he would have made better time and arrived home this very night. Instead, he and his horse were near physical collapse after hours of trudging through deep mud and roaring torrents. The gatekeeper returned, his soles whispering softly on the smooth boards of the gallery. Has your honor come to worship or for lodging?
Akitada produced a visiting card and handed it to the monk, who peered at it and bowed deeply. Akitada suppressed a sigh. He was bone-tired and in no mood for courtesies over fruit juice, but the visit was obligatory for men of his rank. This time the monk turned to the left and led the way to the inner courts of the temple and its monastery. After an eternity of galleries and corridors, he paused before an unadorned door made of beautifully polished wood.
It was opened by an acolyte, a boy of ten or eleven. In the room behind him sat a very old man on a small dais. Genshin was frail, almost skeletal, and his skin stretched like yellowed paper across his shaven skull. He wore a dark silk robe and a very beautiful stole patched from many-colored pieces of brocade. A string of amber beads slid slowly through fingers thin as the claws of a bird. His eyes were closed, the lids almost transparent, and the thin, pursed lips moved silently.
A bead moved as they waited, and then another. Finally the thin lids lifted and faded eyes looked at Akitada. Sugawara no Michizane? Michizane, long dead though never forgotten? No, Your Reverence, said Akitada stepping forward and bowing deeply. I am afraid I have little in common with my illustrious ancestor. I am Akitada, most recently provisional governor of Echigo. He said it with an odd mixture of pride and humility. Echigo had been a punitive and punishing assignment, and only he knew how hard-won his achievements had been.
The abbot shook his head confusedly. I thought … His voice trailed off and the lids closed again. Apparently the courtesy visit was going to be more difficult than Akitada had anticipated. He sought for words that might wake the old man to some semblance of conversation. I have been recalled to the capital. A few years ago I held a minor position in the Ministry of Justice. The lids lifted marginally. Genshin pursed his lips thoughtfully. Why not? Please be seated, Akitada. I am delighted that you have come to see me. Akitada suppressed his puzzlement and sat, wondering how to explain to this senile cleric that only the accident of a rainstorm had driven him to this Buddhist temple.
Aloud he said, I am here for a brief rest only, your Reverence, a chance to gather my thoughts and refresh my spirit. And that was not far from the truth. Genshin nodded eagerly.
Of course. Then listen: He who seeks the Law will find it in the mountain groves. And remember, that which seems real in the world of men is but a dream and a deception. Though the reverse is also true. Now be at peace, my son! He gave Akitada an encouraging nod and raised a frail hand in farewell, then closed his eyes again and resumed his prayers. Disconcerted, Akitada looked at the gatekeeper. If you will follow me, my lord, the man whispered, I will conduct you to your quarters.
Akitada got up, relieved that the visit was over, when the abbot said suddenly, Show him the hell screen! The monk acknowledged the order, and Akitada followed him out, chafing under the need to view some painted screen before being allowed to retire. The lateness of the hour and the overcast sky made the light poor. They passed through a labyrinth of dark, quiet corridors, emerging now and again into the grey light of covered galleries. Akitada caught glimpses of wet graveled courtyards and heard the sound of steady rain, before delving again into the silent obscurity of another hall or corridor.