And… now I’m rummaging through my story drawing folders and thinking about all the story ideas I came up but never put down to words. This is one of the good ones. This is concept art for a Sesskag AU spin story based on an old Chinese fairy tale and movie.
The tale here isn’t exactly fairy. It’s a revenge story. The main character is the son of a governor, whose family is massacred by a gang of assassins because they happened to hold a treasure. The son escaped death on mere luck and tried to seek revenge on the assassins who killed his family.
The son seeked out a famed doctor and had his face transfigured into a new one so that he could pursue his enemy in secret. he looked far and hard and after many years arrived at the Southern citadel. There, he met a woman, fell in love with her and married her.
Ironically, he woman he loved was actually one of the assassins. After many years of bloodshed and killing, the assassin regretted her crimes and wanted to live a normal life. She too found the same doctor and got her new face from him.
These two lived with each other as husband and wife for many years until the truth came out.
This was actually a pretty mediocre story in the ghost story staples of China, but funnily, in 2010 , John Woo decided to make it into a movie (named Reign of Assassins, starring Michelle Yeoh). I went to see it and got a big surprise. The movie changed many aspects of the original story, giving soul and depth to the characters and really made me think about it. It also incorporated many other Chinese folktales ( The killing bride, death powder, one of the many myths of the Bhodi who visitted China, etc…)
The best part of it, imo, was the incorporation of a Buddhist love story into the plot. The story is about Buddha’s disciple who fell in love with a beautiful woman. Buddha asked him:
“How much do you love her?”
And the disciple answered:
“I would turn into a stone bridge… and endure five hundred years of wind, five hundred years of sun, and five hundred years of rain. I would only ask that she walk over that bridge.”
This story within a story became the emotional focal point of the movie and changed the ending. Instead of the tragic ending, the couple managed to overcome their grudge and their bloody past.
A revenge story became a love story. An old tale made new.
I decided that I liked it so much that I wanted to draw something inspired by it.
The above scene is a depiction of their marriage: Sesshomaru wearing Inuyasha mask and Kagome wearing Kikyo mask. All the things that they built together were lies, but somehow their feeling for each other remained the only truthful thing. That’s why Sess is reaching out for Kagome, almost like he’s about to take off her mask, but also like he’s afraid… what’s behind it? The future? Nothing?
The red sash between them is an old Asian symbol of marriage and love.
I never wrote it into a story. I never had the time. I was super busy back then, having only just become a journalist and spent much of my time on the road hunting for news. This is… bringing back a lot of memories…