2019-06-03 - Longevity and the Ephemeral


Fandral and Hiroto meet in the Botanical Gardens and discuss longevity, and the beauty of the ephemeral.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Jun 3 17:06:06 2019
Location: Botanic Gardens

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There are a lot of places in New York City that Fandral has come to enjoy since he began his explorations, and the gardens in June were one of them. He wanders the pathways slowly, dressed in his more traditional Asgardian attire, sword at his side, dagger in his boot, tunic and doublet making him seem archaic enough that a couple of tourists mistake him for a re-enactor in the Shakespearian garden, which only seems to entertain him. He poses for selfies, not bothering to correct them, allowing the group their photos before they wander off and he's once more left to his own devices. Hands folded behind him, there's a little amused smile on his lips as he drifts beneath the blue skies and bright sunlight.

A man sits on a bench in the pond garden, watching the koi. The white, orange, golden, and black fish swim gracefully through the water, looking for food. This man merely watches, not offering them any. He's clad in a black trenchcoat over a neat white button-down shirt, tucked and belted into black trousers, with black dress shoes on his feet. Though his clothing is neat and conservative, his hair is rather tousled. As Fandral comes this way, now, there's no doubt he catches the eye, and Hiroto can't help but look up from the koi to take in the traditionally-dressed man. He has to smile at the sight, if only a little.

Fandral makes his way toward the pond, drifting down to the water's edge where he crouches and dips his fingertips into the water. The fish scatter briefly and then return, startled but then curious about the digits dipped in the water. He chuckles a little bit to himself before settling back to just watch them for a moment or two. He notices Hiroto then, and dips his head, returning the smile easily enough. "Afternoon," he says in greeting before straightening.

Hiroto's posture is exceedingly straight as he sits on that bench. He almost looks like a statue. "Good afternoon," he greets, his voice soft and lightly accented. There's a pause before the dares to say more. "I like your outfit." A glance to his hip. "Your sword, is it real?"

Fandral, by contrast, has a much more relaxed posture, seemingly perpetually at ease. His lips tick just a little bit as he glances down at his outfit and extends his hands outward to his side, giving a slight bow. "Thank you." His smile only grows a little at the question of his sword, "Yes, it is. Quite so." His own accent is somewhat British sounding though not quite. If Hiroto is familiar with an Asgardian accent, then it sounds something of a mix, between the two, likely from all of his time spent in the UK.

Hiroto's English, while not that of a native speaker, is quite good. Practiced. "Ah, how interesting." He smiles a little more, not showing his teeth. "Do you engage in Western-style fencing? Or is there another style you favor?" He bows his head a little. "Forgive me for asking a stranger so many questions."

"Nothing to forgive," Fandral starts out with as he wanders over toward where Hiroto has settled himself. He, however, settles himself on the grass, stretching his legs out in front of him, one booted ankle crossed over the other, resting his palms behind him on the ground, basking in the warmth of the sunshine. "I've learned many styles over the centuries," Fandral says. "Many throughout the nine realms. Several from Midgard. I tend toward traditional Asgardian more often than not, though I find being adaptable and tailoring one's approach to the encounter at hand is usually the wisest course of action."

Hiroto watches Fandral do this — one might even say he's admiring it. He looks so free and easy. "Oh, so you /are/ an Asgardian," he says softly, nodding a little. "I thought I recognized the accent. I am not sure I've ever seen your style of swordsmanship. I can only imagine it is quite magnificient."

"Yes," Fandral says, "I'm here with the dipolamtic contingent to Midgard, staying at the Embassy." It's a practiced statement that slips through his lips automatically, his usual introduction. But the smile never leaves his lips. "In the end, they all share the basic premise of utilizing the sharp end, and holding onto the one that is not," that flicker of humor on his lips, downplaying the amount of practice and skill with which he performs his craft. "And you? From where do you hail?"

Hiroto laughs at Fandral's little joke. It's a soft laugh, but a laugh nonetheless. He nods slowly, the smile lingering on his lips. "Too true. Ah, how rude of me — my name is Hiroto Shimizu, and I am originally from Kyoto, Japan — more recently via Tokyo. It's very nice to meet you." He's very polite. And very formal.

"Ah, Tokyo. I've been there once or twice over the centuries. It is truly something to behold these days," Fandral says and then adds in, "My name is Fandral, and it's a pleasure to meet you." While polite, he is very casual for a diplomat, but then he's not currently on official business of any sort, just enjoying lounging in the gardens. "What brings you to New York?"

"Yes, it is very…" Hiroto frowns a little, like the word that comes to mind is not one he's terribly fond of. "…busy, these days." But he is smiling again once Fandral introduces himself. "The pleasure is mine, Fandral. I — " He hesitates. "I came here on business. I actually know one of your compatriots, through my line of work. The Asgardian Thor." Hiroto glances out at the pond. "I suspect I will be here for quite awhile. New York City is as busy as Tokyo."

"It is," Fandral agrees easily. He's spent a bit of time here and there all over the globe, though considerably more time in some places than others. He notes the small hesitation, but doesn't seem to react to it other than to nod when Hiroto mentions business. He chuckles at the mention of Thor and says, "Yes, many are familiar with Thor Odinson and his brother, Loki. They are, of course, among the most famous of us." He then nods, "I will likely remain here for a while. Perhaps I will spend my next lifetime here." By which he likely means the span of a mortal human life.

"It is interesting to think in such terms," Hiroto murmurs. After another hesitation, he makes a confession: "I, too, live a life that is longer than the human average. But it has been hard for me to adjust to the notion. I was born an ordinary human, like any other, but now I do not know when or if my life will end, if at all." The light catches his dark eyes, bringing out the warm brown in them. "Tell me, Fandral, how does one live such a long life?"

Fandral tilts his head to the side as he looks back over toward Hiroto, "I live a lifespan that is normal for my own people." That seems to be his explanation for how one manages to live for as long as he does without it seeming strange, alien. "What was difficult for me," Fandral admits, "was realizing how very short the lifespans of Midgardians are, and how they must pack so much into such a short time." There's something almost wistful in it as he says it, looking out over the pond. "It took me longer to learn to appreciate the urgency in everything that they did, and to appreciate the possible depth of the beauty that can be found in something so ephemeral."

Something melancholy clouds Hiroto's expression, though it's soft. Subtle. Like he's picking up on Fandral's wistfulness, and mixing it with some of his own. He nods slowly. "Yes — the greatest beauty is ephemeral." There's a small smile again. "My people believe it to be so, and emphatically at that."

Fandral laughs then, a little bit ruefully, and says, "Look at me, sowing melancholy on an otherwise beautiful day. Forgive me. Sometimes, my memories wander back to other times, other places, and I find myself indulging in nostalgia." He lifts a hand as though to brush away those particular cobwebs and then says, "I enjoy this place though, and its people. Enough that I continue to return, time after time, and I'm here now to act as one of the liaisons between our people. It's a position I've enjoyed. Besides, this is the first time I've been in New York for any length of time, so there's much to explore, still."

Hiroto shakes his head. "Not at all, Fandral. There is always a little sorrow in joy, and a lot in beauty." But he does smile and nod as Fandral continues. "Yes, it is a large city with many people. There is no shortage of interesting things here." He continues, "How else do you like to spend your time?"

"Wandering, visiting different restaurants, venues, shops, and establishments around the city," Fandral says. "Meeting people and learning about them, sometimes randomly on the street. And then the usual assortment of activities one might expect of a swordsman of the nine realms. Right wrongs, thwart foes, and go on adventures when they present themselves." He smiles sidelong. "And yourself?"

The usual assortment of activities. Quite. Hiroto smiles back, charmed and amused. "Mm, yes, I suppose I have my fair share of righting wrongs and thwarting foes." With someone as open about his stature as Fandral, it's hard to labor under any secrecy. "I am a swordsman myself."

Fandral is extremely open. He's a public figure, a known diplomat from another realm, and makes absolutely no bones about who he is, what he is, or what he does. It's possibly why he was chosen for the position — his natural gregariousness, and empathy, particularly with the people of Midgard. "Well then, you know how that goes," he says with a flash of a smile. "Are you? Excellent! Eastern Midgardian techniques, perhaps?" He's not so much making the assumption, but genuinely asking.

Hiroto is likely translating that in his head — once he gets far enough, he nods. "Ah, yes. Japanese sword arts, such as kenjutsu. Do you know these arts?" There is genuine curiosity there, Hiroto tilting his head and examining Fandral keenly.

Fandral smiles a little then and switches over to Japanese, "I am familiar with the styles in passing — as an observer, but not trained or practiced in them." His Japanese bears a hint of the Asgardian in it, but it is skilled and fluid, a byproduct of his natural ability to communicate in any language on Earth.

Hiroto's smile grows a little as Fandral begins to speak to him in his native language. Naturally, he replies in turn. Just as he mentioned earlier, he has a slight Kyoto accent. "It is likely quite different from the kind you are used to, but I would be interested to see the differences."

"Well, as I said, I'm not trained in them, nor practiced, so I couldn't duplicate them for you — I could only tell you what I might observe as differences if I saw them both being performed," Fandral smiles somewhat apologetically.

Hiroto gestures towards Fandral. "If you would ever like to see it demonstrated, I would be happy to do so." As though this were the point he was trying to make. "Do you have many friends in the city, Fandral-san?" He uses the honorofic in his native language. "I can only guess a being like you, in your esteemed position, is very popular."

"I would, actually," Fandral agrees with some curiosity, definitely seeming interested, at any rate. When asked if he has friends in the city, he considers for a moment and then says, "I have many acquaintances in the city. A couple of friends, I suppose." He shakes his head just slightly at the compliment, and says, "I'm not certain the position is as esteemed as one might think. People aren't all supportive of our kind 'meddling' about in the affairs of Midgard."

"That is a pity," Hiroto muses. "I would think that having the direct advice and participation of kami and spirits would be very welcome." His small smile grows a little wider. "I have enjoyed meeting you, at least. But I am only one…Midgardian."

"It has been nice to meet you too," Fandral says, and finally begins to pull himself to his feet. "Unfortunately, the hour grows such that I do have some appointments to keep." He turns then and offers a formal and polite bow to Hiroto before straightening. "Contact me at the Asgardian Embassy sometime. I look forward to hearing from you again."

Hiroto stands himself, returning the bow. "I would like that very much, Fandral-san. Safe travels to you." Rather than sitting back on the bench again, he continues down the path of the garden, hands in the pockets of his trenchcoat.

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