Title: Sky and Wind
Story by: decorera
Contents: © August 29, 2011
Summary: The character of Sky is barely plumbed in the movie, "Hero". Besides one kick-butt fight scene, we get nothing else. So this is my little idea of how the single of the four assassins to survive the movie lived on during the new era. Warning: SLASH, IE: My version of Sky has him appreciating the beauty of a male form. Nothing Explicit. Don't like, don't read.
Disclaimer: This story is a non-commercial work of fiction based on the movie "Hero". Original copyright of "Hero" belongs to Zhang Yimou, Sil-Metropole Org. China Film Co-Production Corp, Elite Group Enterprises Inc., Zhang Yimou Studio, Bejing New Picture Film Co, and Miramax
AN: In this chapter, I reference historical figures Long Yang and Mizi Xia, both who became symbols of same sex love in ancient china. Their names and allusions to their stories are used throughout Chinese historical literature. At the bottom of this chapter, I am including explanation for those historical figures. If you are interested, go read those first so that the allusions make sense.
"Sky and Wind"
The spring blossoms of the black peach trees were luminescent in the moonlight. Their petals drifted along the surface of the wide river like clouds in a storm dark sky. The spearman, Sky, took in all this poetical beauty as he sat on the river bank below the glowing windows of a fine house. The house's windows were open to allow the cool spring night's breezes in and beautiful music out. Unhampered by useless chatter, the melodious sounds drifted out of the windows to fulfill the promise of the night. Sky allowed himself a rare smile of pleasure. It had taken him some time to determine the perfect spot to enjoy this evening's entertainment. The fact that he had not been invited to the party mattered little to the spearman. Had he been discovered by the guards, the clang and clash of the swords against his spear could create a most marvelous counterpoint to the music.
Unfortunately a series of low heated whispers and a rather obnoxious giggle destroyed his peaceful contemplation of the music. Sky glared through the thick foliage which concealed him from obvious view at the disturbance. His eyebrow rose as he once again beheld the Lord of Shang; however the widely smiling boy that pressed lewdly into the flush faced lord could not have been further from the beautiful boy that still haunted his most private of dreams. Sky looked away and tried in vain to ignore the oblivious pair. Unfortunately their tryst grew more heated and with a heavy sigh, Sky rose from his seat on the bank. He ducked under the sheltering boughs of the bush and halted abruptly as he caught sight of the beautiful courtesan waiting patiently on a low stone seat. The boy smiled at him and the reality of the smile cast aside Sky's dream memory like a child casts away an old toy in favor of a bright new one. The boy rose and bowed low; completely unsurprised or concerned by the appearance of a peasant assassin at the Lord of Shang's party. A particularly loud cry broke the still night and the boy flushed; turning to look at the river rather than reveal his embarrassment over his lord's indiscretion. Sky stepped up beside him and, without a word, the two of them followed the river bank down to a sheltering willow. Beneath its ancient limbs, the world was caught in a singular hush.
The courtesan knelt gracefully; a practiced flick of his wrists settled his sleeves in a spread array. Sky sat beside him; more concerned with his spear than his garments. The boy smiled, a faint flush on his cheeks, and spoke to Sky for the first time. Sky almost missed the object of the words completely in his contemplation of the utter musicality of the boy's voice. "It seems I am not as lucky as Long Yang. Perhaps I should simply be pleased to not have offered my lord a half-eaten peach."
Sky's smooth baritone slipped out of his mouth before he could censure it. "Lord Shang must be a fool."
Inky brushes lowered over the courtesan's dark eyes as his plum lips curled upward in pleasure and gratitude. "Many men, once safety married, seem to lose all of the cleverness that made them attractive to begin with. This would not be the first time." The disdainful curl of his lip finished that statement without the words gracing the air. 'Nor do I believe it will be the last.' With a flick of his head and a careless shrug of his shoulders, the boy announced, "There will be other fishermen ready to cast their nets for a pretty fish."
Sky simply watched him and said quietly, "You are afraid. Why?"
The boy started and his contrived gaiety fell away. His pale hands twitched and then settled onto his lap. His smooth face looked away towards the shining river "I know state officials easier to deceive than you. It must be your discerning musical ear. I saw you listening to my playing … that night." A faint blush rose in his pale cheeks at the mere mention of the long ago evening. "Did you enjoy it?"
Sky paused, enough for the boy to understand that the spearman knew he was being put off and was allowing it. "I did. You must have studied long to become so proficient."
The boy smiled again, warmer and more real by the moment, "I think, for the sake of my face, I must leave you. But before I go, I implore you to return to your 'seat'. I am soon to be called upon to sing. I should very much like for you to hear me." He rose and bowed. Sky caught his hand before he could slip away. The spearman was struck dumb but his eyes carried his message plainly to the boy who blushed fiercely. Even his ivory neck turned a pale rose as he twisted his face away. Sky released him and the boy gracefully slid through the willow bough curtain with no more sound than a whisper of wind.
Sky slowly counted twenty deep breaths before following the boy's example. He caught sight of Lord Shang and his graceless boy stumbling back inside. With a shake of his head, the spearman quietly returned to his musical enjoyment just in time for a lyrical voice to float out above the instrumental melody.
1. An unnamed King of Wei is featured in one of the canonical tales of homosexual love in China. This king had a favorite named Lord Long Yang, with whom he enjoyed fishing. One day, Long Yang began to weep. When questioned, Long Yang said he saw his own future in how he had treated a fish. Happy to have the catch at first, Long Yang had wanted to throw it back when he caught a better fish. He wept, "I am also a previously caught fish! I will also be thrown back!" To show his fidelity to Long Yang, the King declared that, "Anyone who dares to speak of other beauties will be executed along with his entire family. [Hinsch, Bret. (1990). Passions of the Cut Sleeve. University of California Press. p. 32.]
2. Mizi Xia was the favored courtier of Duke Ling because of his beauty. When Mizi Xia got news that his mother was ill, he forged an order from the Duke to use a ducal carriage to travel quickly to see her, and was praised for his filial piety. Another time, Mizi Xia bit into an especially delicious peach and gave the remainder to the Duke as a gift so he could taste it as well. Both acts ingratiated him further with the ruler. However, once Mizi Xia's looks faded, the Duke turned against him, claiming he stole the carriage and then insulted the Duke by offering him a half-eaten peach. [Hinsch, Bret. (1990). Passions of the Cut Sleeve. Published by the University of California Press. pp. 20–22]