This part contains...a LOT of notes at the end. ...Yeah, sorry about that. And this will be the final update on Whisper. All the parts are now updated with notes at the end of each page. The original LiveJournal notes are still linked to my profile page.
Thank you, all. Whisper's been a really great journey to the end. :)
Whisper: Addendum II
(July 18, 2011)
遁走曲: 輪廻 (둔주곡: 윤회)
Fate is a wheel.
No life, once cut down, disappears. Through death, it merely reenters the cycle of birth and rebirth. The soul gains a new body and a new identity. However, the soul, though refreshed, is not recreated. Once it enters the world, until the day it leaves the fate's wheel, it remains bound to the world.
Ever turning. Never ending.
His life is over - before his time - but cut off from the body with a swift and clean strike. But the soul, damaged by the shock and burdened with grudges, lingers, lost in fury and the pain of death. Blood, violence and betrayal - the memories, too bitter and too powerful, do not slip away from the soul as they should, but cling to it like cobweb. And the thirst for vengeance holds it fast even after death, like shards of broken mirror piercing through the soul, pinning it to the living world.
Fragments of white stone. Red blood. Black earth.
A matching ring of white stone, this one whole, slips from the folds of cloth and falls to the earth, stained scarlet with blood. The body is becoming cold as life seeps away from it, no longer hospitable. But the blood on the ring is still warm, and calls to the soul like a savage lullaby. The soul reluctantly abandons the body, but hesitates before touching the ring. So fragile, this - yet it is the only thing that holds anything of the soul, and the only place the soul can find refuge. If he doesn't enter it, he will fade away. And he cannot fade away until he has his revenge. So the soul grasps for that link, desperation lending strength to his hold.
Sunlight glints on the red blood covering the band of white stone. Another moment, and the soul is fully contained, bonded to the ring. It will be a long time before he finds his quarry, and even longer to complete his vengeance. But he can rest inside, and bide his time until then.
Outside, the ring of white stone is dyed in dark, rich red. As it lies on the earth, forgotten, the color slowly turns duller, darker, until it is the color of rusted blood, all but indistinguishable from the earth that surrounds it.
Cradled within the ring's dark circle, the soul waits quietly for the fate's wheel to turn.
A/N: This part contains all the notes for Part VI and the two addenda below. This is the official end of Whisper, because there are other projects that will demand my attention full-time. In particular, RE:Play (Yugioh) which has started posting run this month, and Et Cetera (Prince of Tennis) which is taking off in my WIP journal, will be the foremost priority. There are also two other fanfiction I want to start writing: Sea of Hidden Dragon (Prince of Tennis) and Key to the Kingdom (Yugioh). I don't know if I will actually get to either one; they are both slated to the longfics and editing is an exhausting process for me, especially 60K words fics like RE:Play and Et Cetera.
There was a fic with working title of Karma, which I started writing before Whisper ever came to existence. Later, as I was writing Whisper, I realized Karma would be a perfect sequel for it, so I changed some of its settings and planned it out to completion.
Unfortunately, I never did go back and finish it. I probably never will, and if I were to go after all of my unfinished Prince of Tennis fanfiction, there are other stories that have higher priority than Karma does (the Sandcastle arc, for example).
I have been posting some of my other stories in my WIP LiveJournal (linked on my profile page). This is because I am terribly insecure about my writing. I never feel like it's good enough and always fear no one will like what I write. Also, I get terrified of letting other people see my fics without extensive revisions (mainly because, um, my first drafts are never very good). If you want to see my works-in-progress, email me or PM me, whichever works better for you. But please do not simply friend my WIP journal; if I don't even know who you are, I may assume it's one of the spam journals and disregard the friending notice. I also have a DreamWidth journal mirror for those who dislike LiveJournal – and a bunch of invite codes for DreamWidth – in case anyone is interested.
Lastly, thank you so much, everyone who has followed, favorited, recommended, and reviewed Whisper!
[Part VI Notes]
- 落花流水 (낙화유수). Literally, "fallen petals on flowing water," this phrase can symbolize end of spring and also the love between a couple (flower being the usual symbol for a woman), in that falling petals would find their way to the water, and the water would carry them in a symbolic union. Another interpretation is of course the coming of an ending or ruin.
- Tenjin shrine. Tenjin (Sugawara no Michizane deified) is a Shinto god, and a patron of scholars. He had a particular affinity for plum blossoms, and legend says when he was exiled to Kyushu, his beloved plum tree flew from Kyoto to Kyushu to be with him. (So here is my tie-in with the side story, where the red plum blossoms play a part during Akizuki's meeting with the Samurai's son. :) There are Tenjin shrines throughout Japan, but Kyoto in particular holds one of the two major shrines dedicated to Tenjin: Kitano Tenmanguu (北野 天満宮).
- There is a brief cameo appearance of Karupin in Part VI. Can you spot him? (I didn't expand on it because it is highly unlikely they would have had seal-point Himalayan in Japan at this time, but it was too good to pass up!)
- 追記: 鏡花水月 [추기: 경화수월]. Addendum: Flower in the Mirror, Moon on the Water. Jehzavere was the one who supplied this title (taken from a Bleach chapter), which I then dutifully looked up. This phrase refers to something beautiful yet unattainable, like a flower reflected in the mirror, or the moon reflected on the water. It could also be interpreted as something that seems beautiful but is ultimately an illusion.
- Lotus (Nelumbo nucifera; NOT water lily) has a lot of cultural importance in Asia, much as rose has in Europe. It has religious connotations in both Buddhism and Hinduism, and is highly prized for its beauty (in fact, beautiful women were often compared to lotus blossoms). Putting this together with the title, you can interpret their conversation here in any way you like. Feel free to tell me all about it. I'd enjoy hearing how you guys interpret this scene.
- For the banquet scene, the guests had small individual tables set before each one, with all the food already set up on it. It had to be a miniature silk flower in the bowl (which was probably placed on Sanada's table at certain someone's direction) because the real lotus blossom tends to be fairly big!
- 遁走曲: 輪廻 (둔주곡: 윤회). Fugue: Samsara. Fugue is a musical composition in which a theme introduced in the beginning recurs throughout the course of the piece. Samsara, meaning "continuous flow," is the cycle of reincarnation (birth, life, death, and rebirth) in eastern religions.
- See notes in Part V for jade. Although I am not sure if both China and Japan had the same custom, the jade rings in Korea were often created in pairs (both worn on the same finger). It was a popular romantic custom for lovers to each take one at parting, because the clarity of the jade symbolized unchanging devotion of the heart. Though this part is never mentioned in the main story, the ring Kikuchi gave Akizuki is also one of a pair. Kikuchi kept the other in the pair as a token of love.
- The possession depicted in this part is largely pop-culture influenced, which nonetheless carries all the longstanding, traditional ideas on it: being unable to let go causes a soul to linger after death, and the restless soul, unable to rest, tends to haunt places/people/objects that had strong ties to them in life.