Closed RP for Jolt
How long had it been since the father and daughter had returned to the lands of Han? Mi Zun was once a proud traveler that had seen the world over twice. His daughter Mi Jia , was born of Roman parents and due to a number of incidents ended up in Mi Zun's protection, she accompanied him from his return from Da Qin. When they returned, the pair made a slight impact on the world. Mi Zun befriended many men and women of the fragmented empire and eventually was able to serve the Han by the grace of another Roman by the name of Julian Maximus, but he had never met the man personally. He served the Han as well as he could and rose to become their Protector in time, but by then it was too late. The surrounding warlords saw the weakness that Mi Zun's predecessor's soaked into the land and attacked. Though they fought bravely and valiantly the Han was dismantled. After the prisoner releases Mi Jia was the last one to see the King of Han weeping that their bid for power had failed. The pair never saw him again.
The wizened traveler did not give up hope. There were still various people loyal to him and the cause of the Han. And if the King would have returned then the chances of a Han Revival were not extinct. Mi Zun went from this lord to that, before deciding to serve Gao Wu as he was the successor to the valiant gentleman Huo Li, but Gao Wu was a fool who ignored his vassal's urgings and decided to act on his own initiative. Mi Zun tried to play the faithful vassal but could not stand it after a point. Though he served as his lord's diplomat to a farcical summit his heart was not in the matter discussed or the warning he was meant to give and when he and his daughter were once again placed on the battlefield Mi Zun fled from the war on Wu. Gao Wu was executed by Wu, but the war was of his own doing. Ironically enough this effort managed to secure peace as Kan Ze and Yu Nanren never went to war again, thus Mi Jia's dream of peace in the Southlands was achieved in an unexpected manner.
In a time long past Mi Zun and Jia befriended several people of a far removed village as he sought and failed to solve an ancient mystery. But he kept true to his word that he would return to settle down in this little hamlet should he grow weary of the maddening world about him. The last official the former Protector spoke to was an old friend of his in Sun Zhiyun who encouraged the man to allow Mi Jia to play a part on the world stage. The man could not agree or disagree with the sentiments placed forth.
Though Mi Jia may have wanted to serve the state in some capacity she was not blind to her father's declining health. Every year there appeared to be a new warlord that sent yet another tax bureau and the people paid them as they always had, uncaring of whomever declared themselves to be their new liege lords. Many years had passed. Mi Jia spent her entire life alongside her father as she always had. She was seen as an outcast, no matter her father's protests no one would accept the measly bride dowry he could offer and no man would choose to marry her. So she grew up lost and lonely, her only friend was her father. The years passed in sadness as the young girl grew into a woman and twenty years from the Mi family's last meeting with Sun Zhiyun already she had begun to show signs of aging.
The time for her to serve in office in any capacity had passed. Her father's name, which was at one time renowned throughout the land with several of the highest leaders of the land clamoring for his service was nothing more than a footnote in a historian's journal if even that, her appearance would assure that she would be laughed at if she would try her hand at politics. Had she only been more assertive and left her father... but then she would be abandoning him to death. The strong man of fifty was no longer and his senses seem to be fading as the days passed. For the last seven years she was in charge of the family's independent farm and her father's activities in his old age was spent more and more within his Han Shrine, as he made sure that if he would forget everything else, he would not forget the loyalty he owed to the fallen Dynasty. The woman became more miserable as her tone became shorter and in time she began to feel something she had never felt before, hate. Hate for the land that had rejected her, and hate for the father who doomed her to a life of servitude to him alone, as he weakened by the day. At times Mi Jia wished for the sweet release of death should it be delivered to either herself or her father. The excitement of her formative years faded like a foggy night. Certainly the destination was further uncertain but there was always the exhilaration of what lay in the distance and her exceeding intelligence, to carry them through. Surely she must have been intelligent to at one time speak so expertly with the great men and women of that day. But all of them passed, and with the years her extraordinary intelligence was trapped, as if in a coffin. The only joy she found was writing, she wrote commentaries on all of the classics. The Analects, The Classic of Music, The Classic of Rites, The Book of Changes, etc, each of them were rolled up underneath her bed, with only her father's approval since she feared rejection as she had been rejected all her life, did not show them to anyone else. Thus her life passed in this cycle.
As the traveler said long ago this age would continue into another Warring States with no clear winner, only the Han or another Qin would unite the land. He had not paid attention to politics or the land at large for so long. Though if one man or woman had arisen to hold the world in their thrall the world at large would celebrate. But the rumors that crept into town were always of more wars, more death, more hatred. How blessed it seemed to him that he chose such a locale to settle down and how despairing it was for the lady to live life with no change.
It was a chilly morning in early June. This high up in altitude it was ordinarily a chilly morning. At her writing table could be seen Mi Jia as she penned at Xiao Min's biographies that he had written shortly after leaving his maddened kin's service of Luo Yang.
Mi Jia's Observations: Lord Xiao Min's thoughts on Lord Yu Houyi of Bei Ping and the reasoning for Lord Huangfu Chu's invasion seems to be of a flawed nature. Lord Yu Houyi and Lord Huangfu Chu enjoyed amiable relations and when the young lord wished to safeguard his land and drive out the destructive and rebellious elements from the north why did Lord Huangfu Chu not express any misgivings to the Jade Ruler? Had things been settled diplomatically rather than false measures about the "power of jade" that Lord Xiao Min inexplicably rises, then Huangfu Chu may not have been so marred in his power. Lord Yu Houyi served the Han nominally when they reigned in Luo Yang and after its fall. His love for Jade did not obstruct his love of Loyalty, therefore I suggest that Lord Xiao Min's thoughts, while likely held to be true among those he speaks of, were not the reality as future events would attest to.
Mi Jia rubbed her eyes, wiping away the sleep in them and set about watering the plants. The foreign looking woman was about to leave when her aged father's voice echoed through their home. "Jia..." It was everything in the woman's power not to roll her eyes. It was so early, what was he
doing already awake? "Yes father."
She spoke in an exasperated tone. "Please... help me up." The lady grabbed her father's staff and cloak and used what little strength she had to take her ailing father out of bed. "Thank you." The venerable old man could tell that there was not much time left for him, so now seemed as a good of time as any. The aged farmer's voice cracked through his words, "Do you think it's time for a trip, Jia?" the woman quirked an eyebrow as a mean smirk showed on her face. Not that her father's eyes could see that at this rate. "What do you mean?"
Smiling the old man hobbled his way over to the window, his voice was fanciful, almost as if he was speaking to no one.
"I had a dream Jia. I was in the Imperial Capital Luo Yang..." The middle-aged woman's eyes fired up as she walked closer to her father. He had not spoken of Luo Yang for at least fifteen years. "We were all together again, the King of Han, yourself, and I." He turned towards his daughter as a kind and soft smile showed on his highly aged face. "You were once again but a sapling, as you held onto your father's hand." A fit of coughs racked the elder's body as Mi Jia ran to get him water from the basin in the kitchen. She came back and handed the water to Mi Zun who took the water and slowly sipped it down with shaking hands. Having finished he nodded his head in thanks, he continued to speak of his dream. "The King of Han spoke of his family's holdings before..." He wheezed. "Before he had ascended. He and His father lived in Maicheng..." Another coughing fit broke out, but Jia was too enthralled in her father's uncharacteristic dream to worry about it. It passed momentarily. "And that they used the surname Ran to avoid discrimination." He rose from his seat and leaned on his staff as he turned towards his daughter. His tone was sad. "I am old Jia... too old. I do not have long left... therefore I ask you to do one more favor for your father. Please accompany me to Maicheng. I know it may just... just be a dream though it is the only thought to where the King could be. If I could see his face just one more time, I could die happily..."
This all came as a shock to Mi Jia. At one turn she was concerned about her father and another could not wait for him to die and yet if he could finally reach peace upon meeting with the man he placed all of his hopes in what seemed a lifetime ago, who was she to deny him. She bowed her head. "I have stayed by your side all of my life father, for better or worse. I would not abandon you now. Let us see if this was but a dream or a true memory."
The old man allowed tears to flow freely down his cheeks unashamed. "You have truly been the reason I have lived this long. Without you my daughter, I haven't any idea where I may have ended up." Mi Jia gave her father a practiced bittersweet smile.
Within an hour they were packed. Mi Jia was dressed in a hood that covered her features, gloves that covered her hands and arms and a normal robe, this had been her choice of outfit when going to market since she was nearly twenty years old, to avoid the gawking of the world. Her civil official's robe had long been outgrown. Mi Zun however refused to go out into the world again without the character of Han emblazoned on his slashed rustic armor, the cape that bore the insignia fluttered upon his back and he placed back on his foreign helmet which was deathly cold to the touch. Whispers soon rose as they made their way through the quiet hovel with many of the younger generation wondering who these two strange people were. One was all but cloaked from head to toe and the other was a clearly sick old man that was wearing a light slashed armor and a cape that hobbled upon a staff.
The pair did not make good time. They carried a substantial amount of taels on their persons, so an inn was never far off. And it seemed to continue this way for several months with June they passed the Yangtze at Baima and through much trial and tribulation they in turn made their way through the cities ever at war and by the grace of Heaven managed to avoid any conflicts with anyone. In another two months the pair had arrived to Maicheng and even that was difficult to find as it did not appear on many modern maps. From the start they were assured by others that the place, did exist, just that where it was, was a seeming mystery. But they had eventually stumbled upon it in finding directions from Han Dynasty map.
Within the city Mi Zun took a deep breath and spoke in his raspy tone. "Peaceful... calm, quiet... " He turned to his daughter, "Could it be that he also had... had found solace in the advantages of a peaceful life?" The lady shrugged her heavily covered shoulders as they began to explore the town. Mi Jia knew that marketplaces were always a lifeblood of a town and she told her father just that. "Let us ask the merchants if they know of any Ran family in the local area."
The hobbling man nodded, "Yes, that seems like a good idea." Mi Jia got the attention of a fruit salesman and bowed appropriately. "Pardon me sir, my father and I are looking for members of the Ran family. Would you happen to know of any that keep their abode around here?"
Mi Jia waited for a response from the shopkeeper as her father scanned the horizons with blurred vision.