The Lord Father

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A paranoid lord attempts to keep his city afloat during a siege, enemies surround his city from all sides but help is also nearby. Will he accept the aid or wait for others to take action?

Submitted: June 21, 2017

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Submitted: June 21, 2017

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There was a time of strife and penury, when most are mandated to live day by day performing various arduous labour in order to sustain their city’s livelihood. During the Sengoku Jidai (Feudal Ages) of Japan, there was a besieged city called “Iwakabe” which had a state of welfare that was exponentially worse than that of its neighbours. The city had fallen into a state of gradual disrepair due to the constant need to defend its walls against its many enemies. Numerous attempts by the enemy have been made over the previous two years to either storm or starve out the population. None yielded any measure of success. The city`s greatest strength was its gargantuan walls which ranged from six to eight meters high, it spanned the entire perimeter of the city, and situated at its center stood Iwakabe Castle. The lord of Iwakabe was one Nagai Tomoyoshi, who spent from sunrise to sunset mapping out his city and ensuring that the city was kept impregnable. The years have eroded away his people’s morale and worse yet, he was too doubtful of his allies’ and officers’ loyalty to trust in their strategy. He was a calculating and careful man, but he had never once planned for how he would liberate his city from the swarm of invaders. Night fell on the towering walls and in the cloak of dark, the armor-clad militia at last drew breaths of relief. One of them muttered under their ragged breath “If we are half as invulnerable as we appear to be, we may yet last another week”. Another said “How long till they decide to smash in and slaughter our children?” This air of desperation was shared by most, if not all of the guards and citizens in Iwakabe, and was especially true when describing the zealous attitudes of the lord’s son and daughter, Taro and Tomoko. The two desired quick and precise action against the invaders. Moreover, they had grown weary of their father’s stagnant tactics and his paranoia towards his military advisors, so one day they took action. Meanwhile in the decorated great halls of Iwakabe Castle, the lord held court to discuss the many concerns of his advisors. Most debates ended with either the lord vetoing a motion or kicking a court member out furiously. One particular advisor named Gogen proposed a solution to send for help and offer whatever was demanded in payment. To this, Lord Nagai replied in rage, “Leave my sight!” as he abruptly stood from his bronze seat. “Try to steal from this city’s own reserves once more and I would see you hang myself!” With that, advisor Gogen was escorted out of court. On his way home he noticed he was being followed. He glanced back and stood but a few paces behind him were none other than Lord Nagai’s two children. “Apologies my lord and lady, you’ve startled me! How may I be of assistance? After a moment of silence, the lord’s daughter, Tomoko spoke up. “We heard your proposal and we believe it may well work.” “Thank you kindly” said Gogen. “But I’m afraid your father would not sanction the idea.” “This is why we want you to personally find help” stated Taro. “You know your way around Japan and it is your idea after all” “But your lord father would notice if I went off, he sends off couriers every day to send reports back to him stating every noble and advisor present. He would not risk betrayals or deserters during a siege” Gogen claimed. “Alright, we could do it then” said both Taro and Tomoko. “Though we do not know the way.” Gogen nodded and held out a detailed map of all the secret routes that lead to exits out of the city on one side. On the other is a map of their region and all the surrounding cities. “Use this, when you leave the city walls, pray to the ancestors that you can slip past the enemy.” “Good luck to you both. May your courage save us all.” With some amount of luck, the daughter and son manage to somehow successfully slip past the enemy army and  they then swiftly rode into the night.  Over the next few days they find neighboring nations eager to aid their city. With the fantastic news, they journey back to Iwakabe. After days of fruitless debates and unsuccessful skirmishes, Lord Nagai grew impatient and commanded the entirety of the city’s people to bear arms and prepare for a last attempt to drive the enemy away. Men and women, young and old, healthy and sick, took up arms and stationed themselves accordingly. On walls, turrets, in houses and streets they readied themselves for the order. Before Nagai could sound the horn, the enemy commander bellowed at him from below saying “We have your son and daughter, it appears they sneaked passed my sleeping men but a week ago, but there’s no need for you to punish your children. I will.” Nagai looked down to see that his two children were tied to large wooden stakes and each were held at the throat by blades. “Unless you would like to witness the deaths of your kin, I suggest you open the gates” said the commander. “Let them go and I will take their place at once.” said Nagai but the commander repeated sternly “Open your gates, my lord. No help is coming.” he shouted as he turned towards the children, “isn’t that right? You two were refused by them all, were you not?” He then signalled his men to press their swords against the hostages’ throats. All stood still and before the commander could repeat the query, Tomoko screamed “Help will come, never yield! Allies are marching!” With that, the soldiers slit the children’s throats as Lord Nagai, filled with grief and rage, called his people to arms. Nagai orders the archers on the walls to commence firing until they run out ammunition. He then commands his infantry to hold their ground until relieved. The deaths of his children awoke him from his psychotic slumber, so he immediately ordered his advisors to assemble, and in collaboration, they planned a final strategy to end their captivity. The men on the walls held for many hours until they heard the horn coming from behind the enemies, it appeared to be the allied army. Nagai opened the gates and charged his remaining soldiers at the enemy. Together with the aid of the allied forces, they surrounded the enemy army. Most of the enemy routed and some were imprisoned, including the enemy commander himself. The enduring war for the city of Iwakabe had ended with a triumphant victory, but at what cost? A year after the great battle, after the city rebuilt what was lost, Lord Nagai revoked his own lordship over the city and granted his loyal advisors full administration over it. They would guard it from any future conflicts and Nagai believed they could retain the peace far more efficiently than he ever could. He regretted the atrocious decisions he’s made which eventually lead to the deaths of his own children and wished that he could have taken their place.

 
 


© Copyright 2017 Ocean Tsai. All rights reserved.

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