Suzu kept many things from her clan: her future plans for bringing in more sisters and attendants, setting up her son, and, most importantly, the truth about her past. Not once did the story escape her lips. Most of the women of their village were born into this life and Suzu was the first in many years to start a brand new clan. No one pried into her secrets (well, before her death, Lady Caliente tried many times). Once she came close to telling Tatiana but the moment was interrupted by shouts from the courtyard where the fire pit had spread to the grass (a common occurrence). Suzu did not try again.
Yes, Suzu was quite thankful no one knew of her past. It was safer this way. Truly, to remain anonymous, she should have ditched her first name but she could not bring herself to do it. She decided at that time to name her clan after herself instead of her family name. She would pass her name onto her daughter, making Suzu her new surname (or something like that).
Despite escaping her future as an obedient bride, Suzu still wondered about the fate of her family members. Sometimes she would stare at the moon and dream about what her sisters were up to. Perhaps one of them was also staring at the same moon. Suzu would quickly push away those sentimental thoughts. It was cliche, she knew.
She often thought about the husband she left behind as well. Almost two decades had passed since she escaped. How long would he have searched for her? Would she have been disowned by her parents or considered dead? Surely he would have remarried by now. Their marriage was legally binding (although there was no consummation). She didn’t care. She never even saw his face or heard much of his voice.
She also often thought about the time she spent six months away from the clan when Rigel was a toddler. She told the clan she was going on a sort of sabbatical to train in the healing arts. She promised to write and left Rigel covered in kisses. She hated leaving him but it was the only way to keep herself from gossip and shame…
Several months prior she had taken a trip to another village, one that was a bit more… traditional. She dressed in her finest clothing and went on with her business, no one the wiser. While in a market, her eyes met with those of a man dressed in dark robes standing across the room. To her surprise she felt her heart flutter. He approached her and bowed low in greeting. She bowed in return and listened to him speak, even more surprised that he knew her name.
Firstly, he told her he meant her no harm but that he had heard rumors and that he wished to speak to her about her past. Worried about causing a scene if she fled and him blowing the whistle on her, Suzu suggested they talk somewhere else. He agreed and they went to a tea house where they met in a private room. Suzu was surprised to find he was telling the truth and meant no harm to her.
Hours passed and Suzu found herself enamored with the mystery man. She felt so strange but she craved the intimacy she had felt with Orion only two years before. She spilled the beans on her new life and told him about her son, about Tatiana, the attendants, and how respected the clan had become. He listened, nearly on the edge of his seat with every tale; he seemed so impressed with her. Something about him made her feel like she had known him her whole life. Granted, he didn’t tell her much about himself but Suzu didn’t seem to mind. Things happened quickly after that…
It was late when they departed the tea house and Suzu intended to return to her lodging for the night. Instead she went to his lodging.
Much later, Suzu would feel embarrassed that she had let her physical desires overcome her mind and senses: she was pregnant.
Suzu knew that there were rules in the village and those regarding children were more enforced than others and had dire consequences. She thought If she had found out a little sooner she might have been able to bring in another man and pretend that he was the father but at this point she was too far along; there might be suspicions and the risk was too high. She weighed her options and decided the best path would be to go away for a while and give her child away to a family to raise. That was the plan, at least.
She went to the remote country village where Orion was living peacefully on his own and begged to stay with him. He felt strange to be seeing her in the state she was but also still held a deep affection and respect for her. He agreed and there she remained until she gave birth to a little boy she named Masaru. During her stay they had come to an agreement: Orion would raise the boy and train him to become an attendant like himself. He wasn’t to tell Masa who his mother was but he could talk about her all he wanted. In exchange, Orion would be able to visit their clan to see Rigel as he grew. The fates allowed Orion to visit only four times while Rigel was growing up but the exchange was definitely worth it for him.
Suzu, on the other hand, would never see her son again.
AN: This came from my desire to enter someone into PammieChick’s Amazon bachelor challenge.
As you probably already know, Masa didn’t make it very far but you can find out about him here and read his story with Tribe Wahine from this link.
Also, I’m on the fence about including this mystery man in the rest of the story or not. I have some ideas…