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May found Co-Build NPC realms | 55 ≤ Buildings < 120

  • RE: Mods for the Second Iteration

    I have little to no opinion on the mods we do or don't add, I'll be happy to play most anything.

    posted in Legal Discussions
  • RE: Range of History for the Second Iteration

    My reasoning for voting 7000 years is because it gives more freedom for lore-writers to say how a region came to be, how dialects and cultures shifted. I love having that option available and don't see how it would limit myths and legends. Those can exist regardless if they accurately represent history. I extremely dislike 1000-3000 years and am willing to die on this hill. For example: How much does Greco-Roman culture influence us still to this day? How many thousands of years have passed since then?

    The other factor that I think warrants a larger timescale is that, as the poll showed, most people want to pause time and have a range of years to write in. There is no "modern" era or year that projects have to interact with. If two projects want to create lore about how the diaspora and conflicts within a people led to different regions and beliefs 5000 years ago, I believe they should be able to. Confining it to 1000 years is extremely limiting.

    If a project wants to only work within a range of 1000 years, I don't care. It's making all projects conform to this limit that I hate, especially when we have the freedom to write at any point in the timescale.

    The bare minimum I would be happy with is 4000.

    posted in Legal Discussions
  • Mods for the Second Iteration

    The recent poll had the 24 pretty much split down the middle between quality-of-life mods and server-side mods, so having a discussion of what to include or use is probably a great idea. Have at it!

    posted in Legal Discussions
  • Range of History for the Second Iteration

    In a recent poll 24 people filled out on how many years of canon history we would allow for Projects in New Candarion, this is what people felt:

    7000: 20.8% (5 people)
    6000: 0% (0)
    5000: 8.3% (2)
    4000: 12.5% (3)
    3000: 16.7% (4)
    2000: 16.7% (4)
    1000: 25% (6)

    As it's pretty all over the place, I think it's worth discussing and giving reasons for positions.

    posted in Legal Discussions
  • Delirium

    The dreams had gotten worse. Often enough, the process of merely falling asleep would be too challenging–tortured thoughts and visions of cyclical delirium being sufficient cause for tormentous half-sleep that kept one’s body indefinitely ragged and on-edge. After a few nights of this, though, biology would take its course. The deep sleep would come, and thus infrequent as it had been, was no better.

    Dreams of inscrutable mechanisms, of cycles of the stars and of dizzying suns, the swell of peaks and troughs of a warm iron-tasting sea–consciousness fluttering through a cryptic limbo that fundamentally disagrees with the psyche of mere fragile mortals. The rest what could be had on these nights–where the body can finally restore itself–comes at the cost of the mind: caught inextricably in a cyclone of impossible, drunken haze, mind adrift amidst cacophony with no protection by the body’s will to subconsciously fight for wakefulness against the pull of the pandemonic depths of this sisyphean sleep.

    A few days of the body fighting the depths of sleep, the mind flirting with this rose-viscid delirium. One single night where the body has no will left to fight, and while it rests the mind is plunged into a neverending avalanche of thought and somersaulting imagery.


    So it had been for years, now, and so it was tonight. Turning down in such a manner had always been difficult, so she often preferred to stay awake when she could, weathering the erosion to her mind and body that doing so would cause, lest her brain be pried open to the delirium yet again. She had been awake for a few days, now.

    The sun had set and the cold night had overtaken Ighodia, its lanterns flickering below as its denizens began settling in and warming–or drinking–before sleep. Bansse had begun his march to Gharix Pass only an hour before, the sound of the war drums, the marching boots, the rattling sondel and spears an eerie lullaby echoing throughout the city. The war band had passed by her camp only a few minutes outside Ighodia, and only by a dozen meters.

    She hadn’t been able to resist the depths of her delirious sleep tonight. As her willpower gave way so that her mortal body could find rest, her mind was left unshielded to the might of her master.

    Her mind was exposed, yet again, to the torture of the machine. Of spinning flighty sleep, of spears swung endlessly and of her bobbing amidst the swells of the iron red sea. Her mind battered against the surf of deceitful purpose and dizzying

    When she awoke, she found had wrested her helmet from her head. The pre-dawn light illuminated the snow she had tamped down with her feverish rolling and sleepwalking, relics of her somnolescent communion. A passing nausea washes over her, and she chokes back the stinging bile rising in her chest.

    She had to make haste.

    She stands and forces her slush-covered helmet over her head, taking brief revel in the familiarity of the act, before turning to Ighodia.

    Her master must be pleased.

    posted in Coghan
  • RE: Lowborn Rank Advancement and Relinquishment thread

    As of 6/12/2022, I formally declare DevTheFishViper (Commoner) to be relinquished from Coghan.

    posted in Legal
  • To What End

    Previous Post

    Adam was helping fetch clean water for the chloinne ceabain when he overheard two osyaba and Fionn discussing a celebration of hatching. He curiously sat the large container on the floor and leaned in. His grasp of their language was tenuous at best, but he could get by.

    “The elders will be cranky, having to attend the festival in this cold.”

    “Ha! I can see it now, ‘my bones ache, why couldn’t this be held in my cabin?’” the three chortled at the small joke.

    Adam, seizing on the gap in conversation asked, “What is this celebration?”

    Fionn responded, “Oh! It’s a celebration of how many years have passed since our hatchings. They’re spread out through the seasons and a lot of fun.”

    The golem smiled and thought back on how many seasons had passed him by. Five winters had passed during his time at the laboratory and one had passed during his and Radish’s journey south.

    “I think I’ll be seven this winter,” he happily told the other three, who quickly stilled.

    “Are you certain?” Fionn asked, her gaze deadly serious. “Are you sure it’s seven?”

    Adam was puzzled at the steel in her voice and the looks of fear the other two were exchanging. “Uh… I think so? I don’t know the day. Just that there was snow the first day, and six other winters after,” he shifted uncomfortably, “...why? What’s so important at seven?”

    Fionn’s tone was grim, “That’s when the talamh nahm become feral.”

    “Feral?” Adam had heard Father deal with failed experiments on occasion. It never occurred to him that he was capable of the same level of violence that left the experimentation chamber in shambles. A cold shudder ran through his aching scars as the night he murdered Father flashed through his mind. If that hadn’t been feral, Adam didn’t think he knew the definition of the word.

    “Hey,” Fionn interrupted his spiral of fear, “you, Radish, and definitely Deirbhile are different. Nothing might happen. We don’t know.”

    Adam and the two osyaba didn’t look like they had the same confidence.


    The whispers spread like wildfire, gently lighting the tinder of the more suspicious of the osyatao, and as they began to blaze their reactions ignited the more middling of the villagers. Soon the children who had once been so eager to play with the little golem were hidden behind skirts while fearful eyes followed Adam as he would walk through the village. Fionn was stalwart in her defense, arguing that they didn’t know what would happen, that Adam and his children were clearly distinct from any talamh nahm they had ever encountered. Those villagers who resisted the inflammatory whispers found comfort in her words and sided with their leader, chastising those who questioned the wisdom of Fionnaghal. A schism clearly divided the clan and there was little room for those caught in between. Insults were exchanged and rocks were thrown at buildings and passersby alike. Fear and distrust were rampant and Adam couldn’t blame any of them.

    Adam stared at his palm as he sat outside Fionn’s cabin in the swirling blizzard that had beset the village shortly after the divide. His fingers slowly opened and closed as he contemplated the situation.

    He’d heard mention of the golems father had worked on eventually expired, but Adam had seen none of it. After his awakening, all of Father’s creations had refused to animate as he had. But for the few snow golems Father had made for him to play with, he’d not encountered another golem, other than of course, Radish.

    His eye shut as he thought of his child. If he would go mad, lose his mind and strike out at the village around him what would happen to the little golem? Had he doomed Radish and Deirbhile to a fate just as his own? Would he be able to stop himself when he turned into a monster?

    ”Aren’t you one already?” A voice asked in his head, “Remember the bleats? Your clay stained with the blood of your father as you mercilessly tore apart his corpse? It’s only a matter of time before you destroy them and the village. They don’t have to worry about the snow monster in the coming storm, you’ll do the job yourself.”

    His hand clenched into a fist as Adam desperately tried to deny the guilt that flooded over him. He had done those things, he was more than capable of murder. All the things father had done for him, and Adam had broken him as the man begged for his life. And with the best of intentions, he had accidentally crushed the little bleat.

    The purpose for which he had been building Deribhile rushed back to him. He had needed a caretaker for Radish, as he clearly could not do it himself. That had been lost in the recent months as life with the osyatao had given him hope that he was capable of being a father and boon to the community. Now he was disbarred from the chloinne ceabain and shunned by the majority of the village, he was a rock out in the middle of a frozen lake. It was only a matter of time before he crashed through.

    Radish needed someone to care for him. And with his inability, Deirbhile would be the one. Certain in his task, Adam opened his eye and released his tensed fist, some frozen clay flaking off from the tension and cold. The clay giant stood and turned to walk inside, squaring his shoulders for the difficult conversation ahead.


    The door to Deirbhile’s room creaked open as a gentle knock echoed from the hall. She lifted her head from (insert osyatao hobby) and saw her father’s face in the small opening.

    Even with the recent tension, a small smile crossed her face. “Hello, Father. Do you want to speak with me?”

    A sheepish look crossed his face as he pushed open the door and entered, but faded quickly into the most intense expression she had seen from the large golem.

    “Yes, on a very serious matter,” Adam sat beside a now very concerned Deirbhile, the sturdy stone floor holding their weight just fine. “I…” he faltered, worrying her even further, “I need to tell you… why I made you.”

    Adam had begun to gain steam, resigned but determined to accomplish his goal, “You were made for a purpose, Deirbhile. I was reaching a point where I felt I could no longer care for Radish.” He looked away, staring into a horizon only he could see. “I created you to do what I could not, raise my son.”

    He placed his arm around her, even as his hardened gaze met Deirbhile’s shocked eyes.

    “I need you to do this, to fulfill the purpose I made you for.”


    Deirbhile was shellshocked. Her entire existence was relegated to a single purpose, one that her father was pleading with her to dedicate her life to. What could she say to that? What could she do? If she didn’t complete her purpose, was she meaningless? Thoughts whirled around her spirit. Then, as if someone else was using her voice, her mouth opened and the words poured out.

    “Yes, Father.”

    posted in Aiolia
  • A Quiet Evening in the Tavern

    It was a quiet evening in the tavern. Only a few regulars and two of the town guard were quietly sipping their booze by the fire as a bard strummed her lyre quietly. It was a small tavern appropriate for a small village. At one end of the building was the barkeep tidying up, and in the center of the room was a fire surrounded by a few benches and a bearskin rug at the front. Not a lot of traffic, but the locals kept the place running just fine.

    The doors burst open, interrupting the serene scene and in stumbled a samurai and a wealthy young elven woman with pink skin. Everyone jumped to their feet; the lounging guards were first up to help. The boy was cradling his arm and the young woman helped him sit down on the animal skin rug by the fire.

    “What happened?” exclaimed one of the guards as he ran over, he was wearing light leather armor with no helmet. He had longer than average horns and a round face.

    “Our caravan was attacked! Sam and I barely got away!” exclaimed Kichi.

    “Get the Goteni,” said the other guard, and the pretty bard ran out the door. The two elves helped the grimacing Sam take off his armor and put it all in a pile next to him. They also helped him remove the green kimono he had underneath, leaving him wearing only cream colored pants and a flowy shirt. He screamed when they tried to take off the armor on his left hand. The barkeep grabbed a bottle of something strong and let Sam have a swig before they pulled the armor off his hand.
    He yelled again and reached for the bottle when it was finally off. He winced as the burning liquid slid down his throat. Just as he caught his breath, a seemingly older elven man carrying a bag came rushing in. He was wearing a nightgown and had dark purple skin. The man filled the room with aromas of incense and medicine, this was the small town's goteni, a doctor and alchemist. He first went over to Sam and grasped his arm with care.

    “You're alright. I'm here to help,” his voice was steady and reassuring.

    “Please oh gods, tell me it's not broken,” Sam pleaded with the roof of the tavern.

    The doctor took a moment and felt the arm Sam winced as pain shot through it with each gentle touch of the man.

    “What happened to it son?” said the goteni as he continued to examine Sam’s injury.
    “There was a woman, she had an odachi, I was trying to protect Kichi but she was so fast. She grabbed my arm and twisted it. It hurts, I don't know how she was that strong,” he said through struggled breaths.

    “Alright. It doesn't feel broken but to be sure I’m gonna set the bone. Can you grab me a spoon Ruisu?” he said, motioning to the barkeep. The man cut the remaining layer of cloth away from Sam's arm. The bartender grabbed the spoon and handed it to him.

    “Alright, you're going to need to bite down on this for me,” said the doctor, placing a wooden spoon in Sam's good hand.

    Sam winced, took the spoon, and bit down. The doctor reached into his bag and pulled out a bottle with a slimy mixture. He took it and smeared the viscous contents onto Sam's arm. It was a puke green color and smelt like swamp grass and citrus. He tapped the paste at the top of Sam's arm and whispered some strange words, tapping again on the center of his forearm, the sludge took on a hazy glow, the third tap came the base of his wrist, and the goteni blew on it. The sludge hardened and Sam let out a muffled yell, biting down hard on the wooden spoon. The sludge had straightened the bone and muscles into place.

    “There. That should set the sprain. I don't know who you are but you're going to need to take it easy for a few weeks and try to see another goteni to reapply the kyasuto in a week.” Sam spat out the spoon and the man wrapped his arm in white bandages, more to cover the sludge than anything else.

    “Thank you, sir,” Sam said, taking a deep breath.

    “Do you have any other injuries?” the man asked, Sam shook his head, “and how about you miss? Are you alright?” he said, turning to Kichi who had been sitting next to Sam trying to comfort him.

    “I'm fine. I think I hit my head in the crash but nothing major,” she said, rubbing her forehead with her hand. There was a small cut just above her eyebrow.

    “I see. Let me patch that up for you, and I've got something in here for headaches.” He said rummaging in his bag. He pulled out a small vile with a mixture of herbs. Kichi didn't know most of them but could recognize some brilliant orange petals that were from ‘Amber Hana,’ a beautiful flower that grew outside the temple to Emiko. They smell like citrus and rose and tasted sweet with a pleasant sour aftertaste.

    “Oh is that Amber Hana? That makes the best tea.” Said Kichi pointing at the vile. Her distinct refined accent shone through her words. It was evident that this graceful young elven woman was out of place in the musty tavern. The man smiled at her.

    “That's a perceptive eye you have. Here,” he said and gently took Kichi's hand in his, he took some of the mixtures and ground them into a powder in his fingers, he then spread some onto Kichi's fingertips.

    “Just take a few good smells from that if your head starts hurting,” Kichi raised her fingers up to her nose and deeply breathed in. It was a delicate aroma that smelt flowery and pleasant but distinctly medical. Her headache was already doing better as she took several more deep breaths of the mixture.

    “Thank you so much!” Kichi said to the man. Just as everyone began to calm and the dust settled, several men burst into the tavern. They were Samurai and had the royal guard insignia on their chests.

    “Sam. We need to speak to you,” said the one in the center. Sam recognized him as a wealthy noble’s son who got promoted after his brother took a seat in court. Sam carefully stood up and glanced at Kichi. He nodded to her and walked over to speak to the group in private.

    “Sam we are talking to you first out of courtesy. Tell us what in Noriko’s name happened at the caravan” said the noble’s son. He held his arms crossed and stared at Sam expectantly.

    “The caravan was attacked–” Sam began before he was interrupted.

    “We saw that. By who?”

    “There was a group of them. The only one I got a good look at was a woman. It was dark and she was wearing a mask, but I didn't see any kind of insignia on her armor,” Sam said and he began examining the knots in the wood floor.

    “Hrm...” The man took a moment to think. He turned to his compatriots and the one on the left nodded. “Sam,’ the man sighed, “there was also an attack on the Empress. An assassin got all the way to her chambers.”

    “What? Is she okay? What happened?” Sam asked looking back at Kichi.
    “She killed the man but there was a letter on the body,” said the noble's son.
    “Look, it implicated the princess as the one who hired him,” said the man on the left. Sam didn't recognize him.

    “Oh I see,” Sam looked back at his sword and shield on the ground.

    “You can either let us do our job, then come home and get an honorable death or…” he took a deep breath, “you can run and get as far away from us as possible, the princess and her personal guard were taken in the caravan attack,” the man looked Sam deep in his eyes. Sam nodded quietly and turned around and walked towards Kichi. He grabbed his armor and did his best to put it back on over his injured arm, sheathing his sword and strapping his shield to his good arm.

    “What's wrong Sam?” Kichi looked up at him with wide eyes.

    “I'll explain later but,” he took a deep breath to steady himself. He had always promised himself one thing, he would never be a traitor, but, he couldn't let Kichi die.

    “There was an attack on your mother, she's fine but, there was a letter that implicated you. These men are here to kill you unless we run. Now.”

    posted in Kintsugi
  • The Princess Journey Part. 2

    “A fire? On the road? But…” She trailed off a moment. She grabbed Sam's hand and peeked out the window. She could see the gentle golden glow flickering in the distance against the deep purple sky. As she peered into the dancing sparks and shadows, she thought she could see a figure embroiled in the heat, becoming clear as it stepped out of the light, a tall armored silhouette wreathed in flame.

    Kichi ducked back into the carriage and grabbed Sam's hand tight.

    “Sam, I saw someone.”

    “What who, do they need help?” Sam stuck his head outside a moment then ducked back in and knocked on the front window.

    “Go,” he said and Hori drove the ibex forward and then started to turn around. The Ibex whinnied and then stood up on its back legs. It ran forward then the car hitched a moment before everything went dark.

    Kichi slowly open her eyes, she was lying on the floor no wait, she was lying on the roof. Her entire body ached especially her head. She tasted copper and could hear the faint sounds of metal clashing against metal. They had been flipped over. Sam got onto his knees then sat up and saw Kichi.

    “Shit.” He breathed “ It's ok I got you.” He said and reached to help Kichi. “Are you alright Princess?” He said scanning her for injuries.

    “Yes.” She took a deep breath. “I'm fine.” She reached up and grabbed her head rubbing her forehead. Everything still felt thick and slow. Sam took a breath and swallowed.

    CLANG! CLASH! Then a shout. A thud and the carriage shook as something was thrown into the side of it.

    “Oh, princess?” Says a voice. It was feminine and raspy, She said it drawn out and with a chuckle.

    “Shhh Stay here please.” Said Sam. He grabbed his shield and put his forearm in the strap and pulled it tight. He maneuvered around Kichi and crawled out of the upside-down carriage.

    As he stood up he looked around to see fire everywhere. The entire caravan was ablaze and the flames were getting closer to Kichis carriage, but not touching it yet. And in the distance, he could see blurry figures pouring heavy dark liquid on the ground. The bodies of Sams's commanding officers were scattered throughout the flams. The sun was just dipping behind the mountains and the flickering orange light was all that was left. The fire was crawling along closer to the trees surrounding the sides of the road as soon as he stepped out it encircled him licking his boots. He could feel the intense heat of the flames juxtaposed against the temperature drop of nightfall. And then his eyes landed on her. She was on fire, her feet, her armor, and her hair, were on fire but all her focus was on Sam.

    “Heh. You don't look like a princess little boy.” Said the woman. She was tall and covered head to toe in armor. Her muscled physique was evident despite it. The hulking figure wore a helm of polished silver, reflecting the flickering flames around her. It was rounded at the top, flaring wide around her neck. Two horns curved from the back of her head, plated in more silver, ornately carved with patterns of flames. The front, rather than flaring like the rest, left a wide-open trapezoid-shaped space to the face. And what a horrendous site the face was. A crimson mask glared out of the opening, its mouth curled in a snarling grin, fangs protruding from the corners of the lips. It projected confidence, a sick pleasure, and doom for all those who met its terrifying gaze. And she wielded a ginormous two-handed katana.

    “Fuck off.” Sam spat at her.

    “I’d say I don't wanna hurt you but that's a lie. Gimme your best shot kiddo.” She said and she raised her hand, palm towards the sky, and curled her fingers, taunting him to come forward.

    Sam yelled and rushed the woman with his shield. He lifted up his arm and jammed the spiked bottom into the woman's chest. He swung his sword up and hit the side of her arm clashing into the pauldron on her shoulder. The woman lurched backward.

    “A shield is a little boy’s weapon.” She laughed then lifted up her sword above her head and swung. She was fast and terrifying as she swung over and over again her long sword twirling and dancing around her body. The fire reflecting on the sharp blade. With each swing, Sam rose his shield, and a clang of metal radiated throughout the quiet forest as night fell. Sam yelled out with each hit the force radiated throughout his body. Even though his desperate deflections to keep the blade away, a fire of anger ignited in his belly. She was toying with him. Using the rage as a focus and predicting her next strike, he readied his own blade. Again the sword clashed against his shield with a metal clang, but rather than resisting the blow he stepped to the side, letting the force carry away from him, forcing the woman to stumble. Sam swung his sword, slicing under her arm but again colliding with the plate.

    “Maybe not so little after all!” the woman laughed as she quickly recovered, her fist colliding with Sam's face, knocking him backward. He landed on the ground hard and before he could catch his breath he raised his shield just in time to block her blade as it swung down on top of him. He rolled out of the way of another swing and scrambled to his feet on the other side of her. The woman looked at him a moment then she saw Kichi poke her head outside the carriage. She took a few steps forward toward the princess.

    “No!” Sam yelled and charged forward with his shield again. The woman chuckled and raised up her sword but not in time before Sam jammed the spike into her chest again. She stumbled back and took a breath. She spit on the floor and laughed.

    “Alright, no more playtime.” She decisively stepped forward and grabbed Sam's sword arm. He tried to move his wrist to strike at her but before he could his arm was wrenched into an unnatural bend behind him. A scream erupted from Sams's lips as he fell to the ground. The woman laughed, then dropped him and continued on her path to the Princess.

    Out of the burning corpses a figure struggled to stand up, the blonde guard from earlier, now bloody and his helmet broken revealing his terrified face, raised a broken plank of wood and crashed it against the woman's head. He unsheathed a dagger from his thigh. The woman lurched forward and snapped her head to the other guard. She growled and quickly snapped her sword up, catching the elf in his unarmored throat. But his distraction had not been in vain. The princess was gone, as was the foolish boy, lost in the billowing black smoke of the burning caravan.

    posted in Kintsugi
  • The Princess's Journey Part. 1

    “I want you on your best behavior, no tricks, no shenanigans. Are we understood?” the elven woman sternly asked her daughter. The woman pursed her lips and brushed her silver hair out of her eyes to rub the wrinkles on her forehead. The woman was draped in extravagance and every movement was deliberate and graceful. The young woman rolled her eyes, the black irises, and her dusty pink skin a striking image in the dark elven Empire of Kintsugi. She shook her head slightly, exasperated, a few unruly thin black strands of hair sticking to her face, the rest styled up in a delicate bun.

    “Yes mother, I promise to be positively perfect,” Kichi said glibly. Her mother paused for a moment, pulling her aside and leaning in close.

    “I love you my little sakura. Go out and fulfill your responsibility to the empire, be the radiant beacon of hope our people know you as, and of course, have fun” she said, placing a gentle hand on her daughter's cheek, silver bangles clanging and sparkly rings shining in the morning sun. Kichi cradled her mother's hand and said,

    “I love you too mom.” Aia smiled at her, released her face, and nodded to the man who stood just behind Kichi. The man helped her into the elegant carriage waiting for them. Aia waved at them as they set off.

    With two mundane carriages on either end, the royal carriage was sandwiched in the middle, with intricate red and gold designs and the Empire’s insignia on the doors. Each carriage was pulled by a beautiful ibex, its horns adorned in gold filigree. The inside had two seats sitting across from each other, they had red velvet cushions the height of comfort and elegance. Kichi sat on one side her guard on the other. Behind the guard's head was a curtain covering a window to communicate with the carriage driver. Kichi lounged in the carriage, sitting across the seat resting her head on the window and her shoes crossed on the fine velvet.

    “She’s out of sight, so you can breathe again Sammy,” she said, turning to the man sitting across from her. Sam was a young elven man. He had light grey skin and long black hair which was in a high ponytail at the top of his head. He was wearing all his soldier getup. His left arm was heavily plated and he had a large shiny breastplate. His right arm only had chainmail. He also had heavy plates on his shins. He carried with him a shield which sat beside him on the seat. A Pavis shield he had told Kichi, it covered his whole left side and had a dent so that his arm could fit snugly inside. At the end was a sharp metal spike and the front was painted with the royal insignia. Sam also had a katana at his side. In his right hand, he carried his helmet.

    “You know she doesn't like us talking. I don't want to get you in trouble,” He said with a sigh.

    “Pshh. Hush now, the two guys in the back, their new right?”

    “They were hired last week, recently graduated I'm told.” He said.

    “Haha!’ Kichi laughed. “Perfect! Let's play a game at lunch, we should make them feel welcome,” said Kichi with a smirk and a giggle. Sam groaned and shook his head.

    The princess was traveling to visit the city of Pinku No Umi, famed for the brilliant cherry trees planted all around the city. It was a two-day journey from Agsuma. She planned to arrive a day before Hanami when everyone in the city gathers around the trees to watch the blossoms fall. It's an honor for the city to host the princess and she will be treated with the greatest respect. Kichi is most looking forward to the revelry when the sun goes down when she can drink sake and dance till the sun rises.

    After a few hours of discussing the upcoming holiday and the best ways to win tic tac toe, the carriage slowed to a stop. Sam clumberd out of the carriage first then helped Kichi step out ever so gracefully. Everyone was out of their carriages and two guards stood at either end of the caravan while a young elven woman set up a fire and started cooking. Soon the smell of roasting salmon wafted through the camp. A few of the guards set up makeshift tables and chairs including Sam. They had stopped just outside of a small fishing village by Funadama’s river. It was a hot day the blistering sun beat down on them, and the salt spray from the river was a refreshing gift from the gods. Kichi could hear fish splashing in the water, children playing inside the village, and most importantly her stomach growling. Kichi pulled up four chairs to her table and slyly walked over to the two new guards. They were dressed in full armor and had katanas at their side, along with a distinct lack of shields. They stood facing the lake.

    “Hello good sirs,” she said and tapped one on his shoulder. He jumped and pivoted around to face Kichi. He stepped backward, eyes wide as the moon. His friend turned around and bowed his head. He nudged his friend in the ribs and the man bowed. Kichi gave a small bow with her head.

    “Are you two new I don’t believe we've met?” The two hesitantly lift their heads and the blonde on the left says
    “Uh-Yes ma'am we both arrived last week.”

    “Mhmm, Me too. What can we do for you Princess Kichi.” said the brunette on the right. Kichi giggled.

    “Well, I like knowing the people who are valiantly protecting me. Myself and Sammy were going to play cho-han. Would you care to join us?”

    “Would you like us too?” said the brunette, a tremble in his voice.

    “Of course!” said Kichi with a laugh. She turned around and marched to her table where Sam was sitting holding a cup and absently mildly shook it. The boys cautiously followed. Kichi took her seat next to Sam and the two guards sat down.

    “What is your name good sir,” Kichi said sweetly to the brunette boy sitting beside her.
    “Ike ma’am.” He said.

    “Ike, that's a beautiful name.” She said and patted the boy's arm. “It's been a while since I've played. Hopefully, I haven't lost my edge.” She said with a giggle. Sam rolled his eyes.

    “Do you bet m’lady?” Said the blonde guard.

    “Of course! It's no fun unless there's a risk.” She said,

    “Of course not.” Said Sam under his breath.

    “Oh hush,” She said, pawing at the bamboo cup Sam was holding.

    “I'm putting up three copper on odd” Said Sam placing three copper coins in front of him.

    “Only three? You are no fun, my friend.” Said Kichi. “I'll place three gold on odd. She said and tossed three gold coins on the table. The two guards sat up and stared at Kichi in disbelief.

    “I think I’ll go five copper on even? Said the blonde.

    “I'll take five copper on even as well,” Said the brunette looking at Kichi. Sam shook the cup and then slammed it face down on the table. He carefully lifted it up to reveal a six-face and a three, no wait a two-face. Only Sam noticed the small gesture the princess made as the three suddenly settled onto a two. Kichi giggled gleefully as she took back her three gold and her guards’ copper. The game continued for several more rounds and Kichi won every time without fail. The new guards, now short a day's wages, sulked back to their carriage now aware of Kichi's legendary luck. Kichi and Sam head back to the carriage after eating lunch.

    They set off again and as they traveled Sam fell asleep. Kichi leaned forward and poked her head out through the front curtain.

    “AH! Oh hello princess what can I do for you?” Said the carriage driver as she composed herself.

    “Oh well my guard fell asleep so I wonder if you could engage in a little conversation with me. It's so dreadfully boring to travel.“ Kichi said settling into a more comfortable position.

    “Of course ma’am.” The carriage driver said with a swallow. There was a pause before Kichi said,

    “What's your name dear?”

    “Oh, it's Hori.” The woman was a short elf with dark purple skin that glistened in the dusk light.

    “Hori. That's a lovely name. How did you like being a driver? You must be pretty skilled to get this job,” said Kichi.

    “Uhm. Yes, I’d hope so. I like driving fine. It's what my mom did and I like ibex a lot.”

    “Your mother was a driver too? Did she teach you?”

    “Yes. I used to go with her when I was little. I started driving on my own when I was about 15.”

    “That's so young! How'd you go to school while going on long trips?”

    “I had to stop going to school when my mom got real sick. I take care of the family now.” Kichi paused for a moment and looked at the floor. She frowned and said,

    “Do you miss your family when you go on long trips like this?”

    “Yes very much. But it's a good job and pays well enough so my siblings don't have to work.” Said Hori, she said with a small smile.

    “That's good. I’m sorry about your mom,” said Kichi solemnly.

    “Thank you, princess.” Said Hori. Kichi ducked back into the carriage. Inside she found Sam yawning awake and stretching. Kichi sat back and stared out the window as the sun fell below the mountains and she fell asleep.

    Kichi was jerked awake, as the carriage suddenly stopped. The Ibex began huffing and crying. Sam was already awake and stepped outside the carriage motioning for Kichi to stay inside. The head guard came over and spoke with Sam for a moment. Sam climbed back inside and said,

    “There's a fire on the road ahead is all, they're going to scout ahead and see what's up. I'll stay in here with you.”

    “A fire? On the road? But…” She trailed off a moment. She grabbed Sam's hand and peeked out the window. She could see the gentle golden glow flickering in the distance against the deep purple sky. As she peered into the dancing sparks and shadows, she thought she could see a figure embroiled in the heat, becoming clear as it stepped out of the light, a tall armored silhouette wreathed in flame.

    posted in Kintsugi