Late in the afternoon, Shino traveled home along a hot and dusty road near the river Kamo. After fighting in the employ of a wealthy war landowner in a skirmish in Kawachi Province, he was weary. Increasingly, he’d begun to feel soiled, as if he’d never be clean again after fighting battles for lords who held little honor. They were willing to kill for advantage and power, but less so for what was right.
Over the past couple of years, Shino had become disillusioned. He doubted he’d ever find a lord who understood honor or one he could respect enough to be willing to permanently align with.
He scanned the crowded road ahead of him. A string of conveyances were returning from a local festival heading the same direction. He kneed his horse to increase his speed and pass the travelers.
As he trotted next to one particularly striking carriage with a red lacquered finish, a woman pushed back the fine silk curtains seeking fresh air. He slowed Kazuki and her eyes fixed on him. He nodded and she smiled back before unhurriedly raising her fan with a coy gesture.
She didn’t close her curtains, instead let her eyes follow him as he passed.
Wanton images of her invaded his thoughts. . . Her single glance and stunning eyes following him inflamed his thoughts for the rest of his journey home. He couldn’t stop imagining the woman’s body and the pleasures it might offer.
Oh yes, I want substantially more from that woman than a flirtatious glance.
Reaching home later that the evening, he made inquiries. He quickly learned she was Lady Hoshiko, famous courtier, renowned for her beauty and powerful influence in the court of Empress Fujiwara no Koshi. After a few days of lusting for her, he could take it no longer and sent her a haiku poem.