Description: Tairyu meets with the unlikely benefactor who gave him his sister's location, and they discuss philosophy, trust, and the malleable future.
Parked out front of the unassuming office building is a sleek black Mercedes sedan, shadowed by a second. The luxurious backseat of the lead vehicle is Kain's destination, with the door held by a suited driver until Tairyu catches up.
The ride out of the city is largely an expedient thing, with access provided to both first aid should Tairyu wish to dress his wounds a bit, and refreshment in the form of expensive sake and snackfoods. As the metropolitan surrounds give way to expansive forest dotted with large estates, it's towards one of these secluded manses, past a reinforced, well guarded gate, that the small convoy turns.
"Tell me, Katashi Tairyu." Kain inquires with a tangible measure of intrigue, "The Aizawa-gumi fell once, to the vengeful machinations of a creature few would call your mentor's better. Why tie your destiny to an organization that's already failed? What do you hope to rebuild better, to preserve?"
It might seem like a condescending position, but the curiosity is quite genuine. The devil is in the details, and there's perhaps a hint that Heinlein understands such ties better than one might initially believe; though his own opinions and motives on such groups are withheld. For now.
Basic bandaging applied and shirt and jacket reacquired before Tairyu slipped into the car with Kain. Most would be understandably apprehensive about the notion of getting into a car with a high-level Syndicate operative on their own, to be taken to parts unknown.
But perhaps Tairyu is counting on the idea that if killing him was on the cards, he would already be dead.
The question the man presents in the car doesn't draw a visible reaction from Tairyu's features. The ever-present scowl isn't necessarily an indication of any emotion directed at Kain specifically, either.
"Aizawa-gumi is not as shattered as you make it out to be with your words," he says, voice level in spite of the ease at which he could have taken offense there. "I still have men under the Oath. Men who want justice for our Patriarch just as much as I have, and holdings they are looking after. As long as they persist, I have a duty to them."
Subtly, he leans his weight back against the seat he's settled on. Faint sign of the lingering pain from the wounds he sustained earlier.
"... It was never about money or power for many of us. Call it foolish idealism and us a dying breed if you will. But for us it's not something we can simply call quits on like a part-time job."
"Not shattered, but beaten; diminished." Kain acknowledges, after a fashion. "But you misunderstand me. I do not disregard the ways of the Yakuza, I have far less venom for your traditions... than for those driven by avarice and power beyond their ken." The statuesque blonde similarly relaxes in his seat, either unconcerned with the deadly force wielded by Tairyu-- or similarly certain that if imminent lethality were on the menu, it would have already been delivered.
In this case, in the car with Kain may well be a far safer course than stubborn solitude, however satisfying honorbound animosity to all affiliated with the Syndicate may seem on an emotional level... to them both, truth be told! ... but we'll get to that. Perhaps. "What was, was already corrupted by those such as Masuda before Duke elevated him beyond his ability." Corruption leaks into every organization; there's a pointed lesson in that.
"This is not a conversation on how you should get with the times and acclimate to the ethos of others-- you are here because you refuse to do that, even when you need to pretend. The point, Tairyu-san, is how you intend to rebuild better. What you see before you to guide this 'dying breed' back to prominence; society is sick, dominated on all levels by narcissistic, soulless deceivers."
Kain makes no apologies for the harsh assessment. "A mass of entropy, apathy, and unfulfilled promise herded by those leeching it. A grotesque death of a thousand cuts. Will is not enough. Strength for its own sake is a lethal trap-- for you, for others. Do you have vision, Yakuza?" One platinum brow arches, quizzically, as the winding drive curves towards the estate's massive front doors.
"Masuda was a plant in the first place, but... you are not wrong."
It's a fact of life that Tairyu couldn't deny. Even if The Syndicate didn't have such a grip on the underworld of Southtown, Yakuza would still draw in people who don't share the same ideals as the romanticization of the brand of criminal would allude to. People who hold power and money over everything else.
The question is a heavy one. One he has to think about.
"...The vision can wait until operations have returned to normal." That's the pragmatic side of what Tairyu sees ahead. Even without his gambit, all the chaos that waged through Southtown in the recent times would have brought normal operations to a slow. There's a lot of work to be done, either way.
"But you can tell without me telling you, can't you?" One dark brow arches up, slightly, just as the car rolls to a halt in front of the mansion proper. "Independence and growth. To give the strays, the lost of Southtown more to fall back on than the Syndicate. This city would choke on that monopoly. ... But that requires trust. Both from the people who oath up under the entity, and the civilians affected by the operations thereof."
"Masuda is a dime a dozen, interesting only for the proliferation of those such as he in key positions, desiring control and authority they lack the wisdom to apply. A placeholder; were he in any way unique, he would not be such an alarming picture of the problem." It really doesn't matter -when- that particular boss was shoehorned into the Aizawa-gumi-- the dead man will neither be the last, nor was he the first.
The car door is opened for both Kain and Tairyu, enabling exit from the Benz and ascent up the estate's stonework stairway. "But you are incorrect, Tairyu-san. Vision cannot wait; a return to the status quo will serve no new outcome."
It's all too easy to erode a channel, to travel within it. To fall back into the same old ways of doing things. "The Syndicate is no more monolithic than the Yakuza, despite the current balance of control. No organization will save this world-- the future can only be reclaimed by those with will and vision, true strength born of discipline and talent, not stolen might or hoarded wealth. Those who would uplift the promising, destroy the maniacal, and seek evolution outside the distorted priorities of culture and tribe."
The doorway opens before them, admitting the pair into a massive foyer dominated by a split, lofted staircase reaching upwards and adorned with fine art, a quiet concerto filtering through concealed speakers. The dominant piece in the room is a massive portrait centered above the first landing, a young woman who looks unmistakably similar to Kain himself. "The world you see must be seized by those willing to do all that is necessary, with honor and purpose."
THe slide out of the car is much smoother than one would think all the injuries Tairyu accumulated would allow for. There may be a perceptible wince from the motion, but the Yakuza gets himself on his feet there regardless.
"Don't mistake my intentions for letting things be as they stood," Tairyu rumbles. "But I can't go anywhere if I can't ensure the base to be solid and functioning, first."
The japanese man follows alongside Kain, either way. Through the massive doors into the even more massive foyer. Eyes draw over the painting itself, with a curious frown, but he elects not to comment on it.
"You make it sound like you are seeking to create cults of personality more than anything else," he rumbles then, with a look sent back to the other man. The irony of the statement is, of course, that it's easy for many to view the older school of Yakuza to be exactly that. Where the members of the Family are expected to be all but devoted to the Head.
"It's quite the line to walk, isn't it? Facilitating impact with the resources and traditions of a world one wishes to reshape to its core. Without succumbing to the delusional vices that surround us." The logistics of running a business in the marginal spaces of an already complicit society are complicated, to be sure.
Heinlein steps in small, almost reverent strides to the foot of those lavish stairs, scanning his own eyes upwards to fix on the prominent portrait. "A cult demands obedience, adherence to template, near or absolute worship of a figurehead and their own philosophies, Katashi Tairyu." Kain corrects simply, frankly.
"What I see is a world where life is not a choice of proper, trodden path, but where each is motivated, enabled to actualize potential; self-forged destiny. Where that is the strength we revere, while the abusive and murderous are brought low amid our rise. To cut through the overgrown tumult clouding humanity's vision." Finally, Heinlein addresses the obvious curiosity... and perhaps lends more light to his own stake in these events than anything else he's shared. "She was my sister." He informs Tairyu with the slightest nod towards the portrait.
"The Syndicate had her murdered for what she knew." The pain barely registers on the blonde man's austere features. "I have little doubt you believe I returned your own sister in deluded belief that it would give me leverage over you, that you would owe me more than a favor, that you would be easily manipulated. But it was done because it was necessary; because such a yoke must be broken, if we are ever to be something greater."
"Aizawa-san didn't speak too differently from you," Tairyu observes then, on the way towards the stairs. "Even if the philosophy behind his methods was... less forceful." And the kind that would have lead him to not kill Masuda. Much like Tairyu didn't have any true intentions to kill the man. But he chooses not to bring that up, now.
The stride of his feet slows down, and halts entirely when his host does. For the sake of addressing the portrait. The usual scowl fades a bit, while his gaze draws over the vision of the man's sister, eternalized in the large canvas.
What could he possibly say, after that? After his own sister avoided the same fate.
He shakes his head there, before turning back to facing Kain. "Even so, Heinlein-san. I'm sure you didn't bring me all the way here just to talk philosophy."
"The entropy of this world is not shifted by flourish of speech or politick, much as we tell ourselves these things will change the status quo, they are servants of it. Illusion and dream-- every revolution in mankind's history is born... in fire." Heinlein may have pity for the innocent, resentment for the predatory... he is no murderer, but remains a killer.
"Quite on the contrary, Tairyu-san... The philosophy is /everything/. Trust is earned, and within it, respect is essential. I do not want your servitude, but knowing you have the will and wisdom to push to something better is paramount if we are to be allies." Something which stays a bit undecided, but that is why they are here; seeking accord, or discovering the absence thereof.
"As my representative told you, there is no obligation to the hostage we returned to you. You may walk your own way, and seek to hold to your own organization, and reclaim its lost power. Or we can align our aims, and turn vendetta into a thing of surgical precision; restructure Southtown and beyond with those who would use their strength to build a greater world... rather than loot the ashes of the old." Kain's angle, his ire for that brutal standard of business is likely clearer than ever.
"In such an arrangement I would stake you in rebuilding your club, and offer recruitment and training channels that yield... a class of operative significantly superior to the norm." Evidently, there is promise in Tairyu, in Kain's eyes. At least enough to risk further steps.
"'Beyond'." The word that Kain slipped in there, and that Tairyu repeats is a significant one. "Me and mine-- our ambitions are not quite as grand as 'the world', Heinlein-san."
But that offer. The alliance, and the personnell resources. That brings the Yakuza to narrowing his eyes at Kain.
"That sounds awfully like it would come with strings attached," he is quick to point out. "What exactly would this... recruitment channel of yours entail? Because I am not comfortable without having my men vetted by myself or my lieutenants."
"Good. The idea is to inspire and enable widespread shifts in society and personal evolution." Kain notes simply, and oh so complexly. It's the paradox of some things. "Not to seize more than one can possibly do justice; not to replace one limited ruler with another." No, Heinlein has no ambition to lay claim to the world... or even Southtown, truth be told. Simply to dramatically change both, "Such shifts are generational, Tairyu-san. Only hubris suggests I will be the one to see it. But I /will/ kindle the flame."
The statuesque blonde turns to face Tairyu more fully, musing at the question. What strings -are- attached? It seems to be a query that Kain needs a moment to consider. "If my aim were to fill your organization with those who answer to me, or to supplant your leadership with my own, my methodology to date is rather self-destructive or idiotic, wouldn't you agree?"
Far easier to simply step into the vacuum left by Duke's removal than to facilitate the rise of Tairyu and Alba. "Should you prove to be something other than you seem, should you betray me, my support would prove conditional indeed. My personal offense dramatic and inexorable." It's less a threat, and more an honest explanation of just what Heinlein expects.
"You can choose to believe I seek a better future, a nobler class of 'criminal', or you can mistrust that agenda and distance yourself from it." Freedom is, after all, somewhat paramount. "I would only warn you that you are not strong enough to do what you seek to do alone; not yet. If it is not me, you will need others. Beyond any who follow -you-." As established... such a following is a different sort of alliance.
"Not necessarily." The two words come with a roll of Tairyu's shoulder. "But I suppose it's not useful to deliberate on that now."
His eyes lid down slightly with that -- somthing glinting within the green irises. "Especially if you are saying you prefer a more direct kind of effort, if it came to that."
His arms fold up oosely over his chest, nose wrinkling slightly. Everything Kain has said has... a great deal in them, to consider. Uncertainty's not easy to settle, here. The man is hesitant over the arrangement, at the bare minimum, if not suspicious.
"Then one other question," he eventually comes up with. "What do you expect *in return*?"
"No part of me prefers it come to that, or relishes such an outcome. Some things are larger than any one person." It's the tragic reality of the situation-- at least in Heinlein's book. There's a musing half-smile at the question of what Tairyu would be expected to do in return, and Kain shifts to pace unhurriedly towards an adjoining den, its walls lined with books, lit by ample windows and gentle, warm light.
"To be perfectly frank, neither your strength nor that currently possessed by the Aizawa-gumi is of particular use to me. I have ample resources of my own, and personal power to match. Your 'use' at present is that of a rare seedling, full of promise for what could be; what the future may yield." In truth, Tairyu already has a picture of what sort of operation Kain might turn his way. To date, they've been largely tests, laced with boons.
"Your philosophy, your care with that organization, your potential to rise beyond where you are, and have been-- that is my interest. Perhaps when that is fulfilled, there will be a great deal we can accomplish together. Perhaps you will decide all this is smoke and mirrors and choose to walk away. I rather believe you'll come to respect me, and be an asset of your own accord; but I have been quite wrong before." There's patience in, essentially, reiterating his angle yet again-- Heinlein understands how difficult it is to have faith in such an ideal amidst their lifestyle, and the harshness of this world.
"For now, you're a better choice than the malevolent puppet, a more likely fit than many who now claim the streets. Do not betray your honor, and your desire to improve more than yourself-- but that strength as well-- and you will be serving my ends. I would claim some piece of your income, but I do not need it; better it rebuild something of use in the shriveled husk that remains now."
"So your plan is to play philanthropist and see if things will work out according to your interests." Tairyu lets out a heavy breath of air with that, and his arms loosen up to the point of letting them fall away from the fold, once stepping into teh den proper. He... doesn't seem to be in any hurry to find any seating anywhere, however.
He still has his doubts. That much is clear even before he says anything, and it is a few good seconds of him remaining in silence, just to consider things. Inspect the angles in his mind, weigh the risks.
"... Even if you claim otherwise, I do still owe a debt to you, at the very least," he eventually admits, with a low sigh. "But if I am to accept your... support, I need to be able to choose my own recruits, even if I use your... 'channels'. Or be able to delegate to the men I already trust."
His eyes roam, for a moment, over the books lining the walls, before his gaze returns to Heinlein once again. "You must understand I do not feel... *good* about being tied to anyone. Even someone who claims to not want anything directly in return. But you're not wrong in your assessment of where Aizawa-gumi can go, in it's current states. Masuda's folly destroyed a lot of our old contacts."
"If there is a more predictable way to elevate those of purpose and rewrite rules that have only solidified throughout mankind's sordid history, I'd be enthralled to hear it." It's dry, a clear note of disbelieving sarcasm to the topic; but truly, Kain -would- love to know. Even if he does doubt such an option exists.
"What Duke did to you was predictable, from many fronts-- but accomplished nothing but encouraging his own downfall, past the immediate gains in income and territory. This ladder... is a decidedly more chaotic climb. "I will force no men on you; you will make your own decisions, and vet anyone according to your own methods."
It's an accommodation so easily given without caveat that it may be easier to believe that Heinlein is indeed not seeking to set up his own coup from the inside; or that any choice Tairyu makes will not forestall it. "We are all tied together, Katashi Tairyu. Your pride and sense of self have gotten you this far... but they will also limit you. Were it not for a similar opportunity to shirk ego for shared wisdom, strength beyond what I had thought myself capable of... well."
Heinlein perhaps thinks better of telling the entirety of that story, and punctuates, "I would not be here, so very close to justice for Marie, and turning everything her betrayers built to new ends." It's an admission Kain has made to few. Another test of Tairyu's motives... or just a degree of certitude that of all the possible choices the Yakuza makes in the coming days, selling Heinlein out to the Syndicate is a rather unlikely extreme.
The books and the rest of the decor in the den have fully lost Tairyu's interest, by now. He's fully focused on Kain and waht he has to say. Even if he can't quite give an answer to the... alternative he seemed to think he might be able to provide.
The mention of Marie. His sister, then? It brings him lowering his head briefly, lips pursing momentarily in some rueful thought. "So your payback isn't so much bloodlust," he murmurs, having come to some conclusion in his mind. "But rather turning them into something different. More consructive than they could ever have been."
A heavy sigh, and he turns his back to Kain for now, while he wanders over towards one of the windows. Arms cross over his midsection again, while he peers to the yard beyond. "... Very well, Heinlin-san. I would still take the measures I mentioned, but... though I can't claim to fully trust you as of yet, I cannot in full conscience deny what you are telling me, either. And one day, I will have to pay the debt from helping me get my sister back, as well. Even if you claim there to not be one. That sense of duty and self you lauded in me so just now..." A quick peek back over his shoulder, to the other man. "It would not let me have it any other way."
"Blood lust could have been sated some time ago." Kain confirms simply. "But removing one murderer from the world is nothing." Even among the most powerful, there's always another monster ready to take that place. Subversion and redirection is a precise art.
Kain turns to consider Tairyu in turn, and after a moment's careful analysis, crimson eyes seeing more than most as they lock on the Yakuza, the statuesque blonde nods once. "Then let it be no other way." Heinlein concedes. "And if I do not misjudge you, one day soon you may be in a position to repay that favor impressively, indeed."
For now, it's a token, a step towards the trust, the respect of the proud, embittered scion of the Aizawa-gumi. A benevolent act from a place of personal trauma and understanding of the offer's weight. "For now, let us eat, and you can tell me more of your fallen Oyabun, and what you may or may not know of the Scarlet Dahlia."
Log created on 16:02:41 11/26/2020 by Kain, and last modified on 00:27:35 11/27/2020.