Balance

Dreams

Flit tossed and turned in his sleep, the dreams haunted him

A ship

A ship filed with men

A ship filed with men dressed in red and black

A ship filled with Fire Nation Men

A ship filled with Fire Nation men in a harbor

A ship filled with Fire Nation men in Rehumes harbor

A ship filled with Fire Nation men explodes in Rehumes harbor

An exploded ship in the Rehume Harbor has Fire Nation men pouring out

The water is on fire, the buildings are on fire, the men tear through the streets murdering women and children, guards and warriors. Hundreds are killed in the raid. Rehumes largest ship yard is in ruins.

Then black

Not black, a very dark room, a dark that no vision can easily penetrate. The only light comes from a crystal ball, it castes a dim glow of the fires of Rehume Harbor. A man stands over the crystal ball looking down upon it. He is tall and well-muscled from behind. He looks up, like he knows he is being watched he turns.

IT’S STRAHD

Flit’s eyes popped open, if Grippli could sweat he would be as his little heart raced. It was like no dream he had ever had before, and it chilled him to his very core

View
The End of the Begining or the Beginning of the End, PT 3

Leslie looked at the mayhem that the ally displayed. Four dead guards, two unconscious, a dead judge, a frightened gnome and Halfling and an unconscious wild elf who was quickly bleeding out.
.

“You killed a judge, a JUDGE! They will be here in swarms soon!” the Gnome was starting to freak out. Leslie nodded grimly pulling his dagger and walking to the two unconscious guards. With the efficiency and skill of a seasoned killer he drew the blade across their throats ending their lives. He turned to the Gnome and Halfling pointing the knife at them.

.

“Take your coat, tear it up, apply pressure to his wounds… stay with him until I get back” Leslie was a seasoned officer he knew from the looks on their faces that his orders would be followed, he wiped the blood off his knife on the cloak of a dead guard, spared a few moments to take their coin pouches. And then hurried out of the ally and back up the street to the house he’d been at. He pulled the key from his pocket and entered. The room was bathed in a warm glow of far too many candles. The lush reds of curtains and carpets contrasted with the maple furniture that had been polished to a fine shine. The room screamed comfort and content.

.

“OMG Leslie, what is going on out there!” the voice game from a well-manicured man in a thick white fur bedding robe. “I heard gun shots, are you ok” each time the man spoke it appeared that he was closer and closer to stepping of the edge and falling into a sea of panic.

.

“Be calm Dillion…” Leslie said as he looked around the room and sighed coming to an unpleasant decision. “I need you to go… now”. Dillion cocked his head to the side in a look of surprise and mild shock

.

“Go? Go where? And at this hour? I’m not even dressed!” he said ushering to his state of near undress, “Besides… we were going to cuddle and…”

.

“There’s no time! Out the back door. NOW!” the words were barked, with the force of an order, and Leslie watched and noted with self-loathing the point where Dillions heart broke. He steeled himself and moved forward, roughly grabbing the man by his arm and escorting him to the back window. He opened the window as he spoke “you can come back after lunch tomorrow”.

.

“I can’t believe you… I never… How dare you…” Dillion stammered as he was pushed out into the street and ejected from his own home. Leslie didn’t respond, he slammed the window and locked it. Casting his gaze across the room. The kettle was already bubbling away, they had plans for tea. He hurriedly pulled out some bedding and sheets to cover the sofa and carpeting before turning and heading back into the street to fetch Ungle and the little ones.
View
The End of the Begining of the Begining of the End Pt 2

Gavroche turned the corner and skidded to a halt. His eyes popped wider as he saw four more City guards wearing Drumpfs personal insignia surrounding Cassidy. He reached down and plucked up a stone and without a half a thought sent it hurdling.

BING

It clanked loudly off the helm of one of the guards.

“CASS RUN!” he called, and let out a sigh of relief as she used the distraction to roll past the guardsmen. One reached out grabbing for her, her coat ripped but she made it to him. “come on, they’re all over the place” Gavroche said and he grabbed her hand turned to flee the ally. He stopped cold. Two more guards came around the corner, each with naked steel in their hands. The taller human of the two spoke

“They are runners for the resistance, if you can take them alive you can have the girl, I will question the boy or his corpse afterwards” the men at the far end of the ally chuckled the kind of laugh one never wishes to hear whilst in an dark Don-Tonian ally at night. They put away their bats and drew out their short swords, fanning out. at their leader and his companion blocked the only exit.

“You will get nothing from us!” Gavroche yelled, his heart beating furiously “La Résistance Will Live On! So long as the dead walk freely, Free Men Will Fight!” Bamatabois had told him that the words of the resistance could bolster men to great feats… Gavroche found him to be a lair. The guards closed him, leering at Cassidy and laughing to each other Gavroche tried to place her behind him, but they were to many. A guard reached out with a lazy swipe just missing the gnome as he threw himself back, things appeared hopeless…”

CLANG

Gavroche could not believe his eyes, he had thought himself dead, but the Gods had rescued him this day. He saw a thin but well muscled, soaking wet, elf standing over the guard’s leader as he appeared to have just slammed their helms together. He walked forward towards the other guards with a sickly grin, the kind of cocksure grin you hear about when a knight is about to slay a dragon. The elf reached behind him and pulled a large axe from its sheath, he seemed to be mumbling words to himself, something like

“Come on, ya filthy dried out cunt cream, come and get me you cowardly pieces of shit… one of ya’s got to have some know how… come on…” Gavroche wasn’t sure who his savior was, he had thought he knew every warrior in La Résistance but he cleared his throat and spoke as the elf took large confident strides towards him and his attackers

“Thank you good sir I am….” He barley got the words out when the elf put a hand in his face and pushed him aside

“out of my way kid…” he mumbled but then to the guards yelled “COME ON!!!!! KILL ME, WHICH ONE OF YOU IS GONNA DO IT!!! YOU? YOU?” as he roared at guards almost a head taller then him Gavroche watched amazed as the four took cautious steps back. The elf’s hair was wild and his eyes were crazy. His tirade continued until mid sentence his axe lashed out with astonishing speed, Gavroche had missed the movement but noted the odd crunch noise as the axe split a standard issue Don-Tonian helm in two. The three remaining guards rushed the elf, which seemed to be what he wanted as the fey like creature laughed with crazed eyes each time a guard landed a glancing blow and would curse and cuss each time he felled one of them. “IS THERE NO ONE LEFT? NO ENEMY WHO CAN END MY TORMENT” he said as he flipped his axe around taking the head from a guard and kicking another his stomach. The last guard dropped his sword and raised his hand in surrender but the left was not done. He merely dropped his axe and followed through with a punch, then a kick, the several more punches. Gavroche held Cassidy as she looked away from the bloody gruesome mess that was his savior. He whispered to her

“Come on, let’s get out of here Cass, while we still can” and began to lead her towards the exit when he saw him. The figure wore black clothing with a long thing black sword, his helm was gold, as were his boots, and most importantly his badge… this was a Judge

“HALT” the tinny voice came from within the helm, “you three have assaulted or murdered the City Guard, and your presence here indicates terrorist links, surrender now and you may live out your miserably lives in prison” the elf looked up from the body he had been punching and turned looking the judge up and down. He picked up his axe as he stood up

“And if I don’t surrender?” he said in that same half crazed mumble

“Then I will put you down like the feral dog you are”

“HA!” the elf laughed as be began to lift his axe, but the judge was faster, pointing his sword and releasing a powerful bolt of lightening sending the elf flying back into the wall. The judge did not let up as it nimbly sprang forward and knocked the axe from the still dazed elves hands, the elf lost his axe but staggered to his feet as the Judge ran him through with the black sword. “HA!” the elf screamed with a maniacal laugh as he grabbed the Judges arm and pulled him close forcing the blade in deeper, then proceeded to headbutt the helmed Judge. To Gavroches shock the judge lost grip of his blade and fell back. “NAH NAH NAH… WE AINT DONE… YOU PROMISED!” the elf said throwing a nasty gut punch. He lined up and threw a second but the Judge was quicker catching his one hand, and drawing and stabbing with a dagger with the other. The dagger slashed the inside of the elves arm causing him to real. The Judge showed no mercy though slashing arm, mid, leg, mid, arm in rapid succession. The elf fell to his knees as the judge grabbed the dirty bloody matted hair and looked down at the assialent.

“You are sentenced to…”

CLICK

Gavroche had not seen him approach, a tall human with dreaded blond hair and a scruffy goatee. He held a pistol to the back of the Judges neck just below the helm

“You would kill a Judge to save this hooligan? We won’t stop coming” the tinny voice said without fear

“He’s my boy,” the human said

BANG

View
The End of the Begining or the Begining of the End?

Please Listen While Reading

17th of Sunnsebb 381 ONT, Champions Boot, Dry Dock, DOn-Ton

Ungle looked down at his tiny unblemished hands, soft hands, hands that had never wielded a weapon in battle or worked a day in their life… elven hands. He traced them over his delicate body, a frail little thing that an orc would snap over his knee. He took a heavy corded rope from the deck of the ship and walked up to the bow. The ship in dry dock stood a good thirty feet from the ground and faced towards the city. Giving him an excellent view of this wretched hive that had stolen all he was. He flaked out about eight feet of rope before tying it off to the prow point.

“Evening Ungle” he turned and saw Belinda, just a little bump showing now under all those winter furs. She walked up the plank and waved from the midship

“Evenin’ Ms. Linda” he said back, hardly recognising his own voice, it was soft and light now, lacking its usual growl the accompanied his words, he even had that pranny elven accent caused from the lack of tusks

“I must say Ungle, whatever they say about this new body, it isn’t hard on the eyes at all” she said with a small giggle as she waved and worked her way towards the First Mates quarters. He forced a nod and a grin as she toddled off. She had not meant offense, and he wasn’t in the mood to take it. He waited until she was gone before tying the knot at the end of the rope. It was odd, he really had to think about tying the knot, these hands had not muscle memory; they didn’t understand ropes like his Orcish body had. He looked around the deck of the ship once more before blowing out the bow lantern. He then placed the noose around his neck and looked out over the evil city once more. Tears began to well up in his eyes as he stared at the thing that had taken all from him. He let in and out a series of quick breaths working up his nerve and then stepped off the edge of the ship.

Noose.jpg

The rope ran taunt but his neck did not break, he kicked out willing himself not to fight. He needed to die, to just let it all be over. His face turned red as his body demanded air, he tried, he forced all his will into just giving up. Then, when things got desperate, when is life was truly on the line, something took over. His hands raced towards the rope and with terrifying rage induced strength he ripped the rope apart. His lungs sucked in air as he free fell the thirty feet and rolled nimbly to his feet. He panted and coughed for a few moments leaning over a crate while he did so.

“Bit too much of the drink tonight lad?” Thitmid said as he and Belinda walked down the gangplank. “I can see yer getting back to yer old self again… tha’s good, though don’t push too hard too soon now” the dwarf said as he and Belinda began to walk towards the pier. The elf raised a hand and managed a small grin and nod as they left, hearing Belinda speak to Thitmed as she left.

“That’s our Ungle”

His pranny hands traced the rope burn on his neck… he was such a coward he couldn’t even give himself a cowards death. If he were to die he needed a way that there was no coming back from. He looked out to the sea and began to swim. His anger and rage fueled his lean body and he tore out in the freezing cold water. It would not take long he knew. His frame was smaller and had less fat than before, the cold would soon lock up his muscles and then he would down. Even if he chickened out he would have no way to escape. His breathing was steady as he took consistent powerful strokes, his front crawl carrying him farther and farther from the shore. His arms began to numb as he pushed onwards. His head turned slower and it was hard to get air. His legs stopped kicked and began to drag and he forced himself forward.

ocean.jpg

Soon, he could go on no more. He stopped took a last breath before forcing the air from his lungs and allowed himself to sink beneath the waves. He looked around as he sank, his stupid elven eyes not nearly as kind in the dark as his former orcish ones. But the moon was out and it did not take much to see the unmistakable shadow of a shark. He allowed himself a small grin. Mordakka had smiled upon him, he would meet his end in combat after all. The Shark speed towards him, he wound up for a punch, but at the last minute the shark dove running just below him and then lifting him with his body. Seconds later he was on the surface and involuntarily took a breath of rejuvenating oxygen.

“Damn it you stupid shark” he cursed, now recognizing Bitey “Leave me be, just leave me alone” he wept as the shark carried him towards the shore. After he had been dropped off he had tried once more to go out, but the shark kept bringing him back like some demented game of fetch. He cursed the foul fish with ever verse he knew, but his pranny elven voice made it sound songlike and he found the shark actually trying to nuzzle him. Ungle stomped from the water in disgust, quickly collecting his axe and marching towards the city.

He knew where he was going to go, he marched right up the 6th spoke. He knew how to take action. In this city if one wanted to meet death there were those who were willing. He would find and try to kill a Judge!

View
Lazy DM Info Dump Pt 1
Sorry Guys, will try to do better when I got somemore time

Krieger looked at those assembled before him as they unveiled the drawings from the runes. His brow furrowed as he looked over the facsimiles of the gateway.

“What do they mean?” Hiro asked eager to learn more

“They are runes, likely of travel, they form a gateway” Krieger replied eyes carefully tracing each of the ancient runes.

“Thanks,” Flit said sarcastically “we’d figured that out already” Krieger looked up and glared at the Grippli.

“You can’t just show up at my door with three sheets of interdimensional runes and expect me to know what they do at a glance.” The Grippli raised his hands in apology as the wizard looked down again “I will need sometime with these to figure out their destination, but I have better news.” He placed the scrolls down and lifted the paper with the number

“This here is an order number from the Omar Corporation, after a little light probing it shows a prescription date, this one is set to renew on the 29th of Coldeven, and it renews at the Omar Primus on the third circuit. I recommend we be there when Armsy collects his renewal, then we can follow the Omar to where he needs to go”

To Be Continued

View
Battle of Arashi Tora Valley

23rd of Floodtime 379 ONT: Arashi Tora Valley, 15 miles NW of Kaiden Academy

Thunder rolled overhead and rain slashed down on the huddled troops. They waited for Hikaru’s command and he in turn waited for the return of his scouts. Lush with vegetation the steep sides of the valley left little room to manoeuvre and thus was the perfect place for the soon-to-be graduates of the academy to learn how to react and fight when the terrain and weather were against you. He had them pressed to the western side, out of the shallow creek and cleared ground from untold years of use. Night was descending on the group and they had yet to engage the other side. Another hour and the time limit would be up. Another hour and his troops could rest for the night. Then it would be only another day before they could return to the academy victorious as they had eluded their pursuers for four days.

The exercise was the culmination of all their training and Hikaru had rose through the students to be seen as a leader and given command of the 15 student infiltration force. Unfortunately for him the command of the light horse unit was given to Batou Ishikawa. They were given ten days of supplies and a head start told to roam Arashi Tora valley until the 24th. There was an instructor with the light horse to rule on any engagements without actual fighting based on position and weapons in hand. Hikaru had managed to peel off fifteen of Ishikawa’s troops for only a loss of four of his own in their only meeting on the second day and had since remained in hiding. Those fake dead were sent back to the academy and given other assignments.

The hour passed and still no sign of his scout and friend, Natsu. Hikaru was worried but had them set up camp for the night with tarps and braziers banked to keep the light from going too far. The instructor would ensure the Ishikawas and their lackeys played nice even if they caught Natsu. So setting the watch he returned to the small tent and slipped inside. Warmth greeted him along with a plate of hard tack and his maps. Sighing he knelt and absently began to chew on the dried out food while staring at the maps again. Crossing to the eastern side tomorrow would be better as it had trails where the horses could only go single file but the west has a few more escape options. The last he knew the horse were spread out on both sides of the creek and working south so it would be difficult to slip past but maybe a distraction would work?

The tent flap opened and Yukiko slipped inside. Her hair was plastered to her head and face and the grueling eight days racing around the valley had left dark circles under her eyes. Yet she was cheerful and held a scroll tube in her hands. A flick of her wrist and the now familiar sensation of magic being used on him and Hikaru was dry. A moment later and she was the same. He sighed and leaned back from the maps to rub his eyes.

“Getting tough to see commander?” Yukiko joked and settled in beside him. “One would think you were worrying too much with less than a day between you and victory.”

“We’re close, yes, but they aren’t going to hand it to us. Going back in defeat will do more than sting for them so I am guessing at an early assault tomorrow.” He sighed and rubbed at an eye. “I’m just grateful that the others saw it my way and agreed on avoiding any more confrontations after day 2.”

“Well you don’t have to wipe them out to win and your goal has been survival against a better equipped and larger force.” She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. “I’ve got news of my own.” He glanced at the sealed cylinder and noted the family crest on it. They both knew what it was and the fact that it was still unopened meant Yukiko was delaying the inevitable. For the longest time they did not speak enjoying the warmth and closeness. The letter meant her time at Kaiden Academy was at an end for her grandmother had been ill and the letter would mean she passed on. It meant that Yukiko was to return and take over as head of the Omori family.

“I’ll visit when I can.”

“I’d like that.” She pressed closer to him and his slipped an arm over her.

Two years had gone by in the blink of an eye for them and it would be strange not to have Yukiko close by. Hikaru knew he relied a lot on her good judgement and she never let him get a big head or get too riled up at the stunts the Six pulled. Though over the paste half year they had all but stopped and Hikaru hoped that it meant he could put it all behind him. He had something to look forward to now and didn’t want to lose it.

“HIKARU!!” A voice bellowed through the night, “HIKARU! COME OUT TRAITOR AND FACE YOUR JUDGEMENT!!” Ice gripped Hikaru’s spine for the voice was Batou’s and it meant something had happened to Natsu.

“No, he means to draw you into something. Stay, he can do nothing to us until morning.” Yukiko’s words rolled off of Hikaru and he pulled away from her. She would be right and they should be safe for darkness had come to the valley but Batou’s presence hinted at something more. Ishikawa was going to lose and his honour would not stand that so he was going to try and force Hikaru into something. But what that was he didn’t know yet.

“HIKARU! COME SEE WHAT AWAITS YOU!”

Picking up his bow his hands pass over the blunt training tips and settle on the small quiver meant for hunting the game to supplement the rations. These he slipped under his cloak and settled it into place. He knelt and kissed Yukiko on the forehead, “You are right, this I know. But I fear for Natsu and those they might injure getting to me.”

Hikaru ducked out of the tent and into the downpour. Soaked through almost instantly for the storm had increased in intensity in the time he had been inside Hikaru moved to where he saw a half dozen horses alight with magical torches near the creek. They circled and shone the light about them as if unsure of where he was and he grinned. They’d not seen the camp yet. He motioned to his troops to stay and stepped into the clearing a little ways down from where the camp actually was.

“There you are. So the snake slithers from its hole to meet us.” Batou’s horse pawed the ground restlessly as lightning struck a tree to their right. The others brought their own mounts around and Hikaru’s hand tightened against the bow hidden under his cloak. Laying unmoving over the neck of Hayate’s horse was Natsu.

“What do you want Ishikawa? Night has fallen and my troops are safe. You gain nothing by being here.” Hikaru tried to portray a calm he didn’t feel. His eyes roamed around the Six and didn’t see the instructor. “Does Captain Rugenji know you are here?”

Gon spit and Batou laughed, “Ha! That old fool was easy enough to get rid of. We sent him off with our scouts in case they ran into you up north. Then we came across your friend here and he just didn’t seem capable of getting out of the way of our horses.” Hayate kicked Natsu free of his horse and the body dropped to the ground. He groaned once and lay still. The light from the torches showed Hikaru that they had done more than run him down for the way his arms and legs were meant he was suffering greatly. But he was still alive.

“What do you want?” Hikaru repeated his voice shaking with anger.

“Your head on a platter or a pike traitor. But seeing as how we have not the time to do it right I’ll settle for your death.” The sound of many blades being drawn only made Hikaru angrier. They had come close to killing his best friend and tormented the three of them for the better part of two years and all to kill him here where they could cover it up away from Kaiden. That the sons of those who murdered his father would do the same to him brought the anger to a white hot rage inside him. If he was to die tonight it would be with his arrows in their throats.

A blinding flash of light sent the horses screaming and rearing with hikaru trying to blink away the spots in his vision. Yukiko knelt beside her cousin, two others from his unit picking his unconscious body up. “Run Hikaru! Don’t let them catch you!” She cried and raised her hand setting off a second blinding flash before retreating.

His mind was set though as he’d seen too much and knew it wasn’t going to stop here tonight. They wanted him dead and once home they would employ less direct methods. No, he would stop them tonight and get a measure of justice for Natsu, for his father and for himself a measure of vengeance. His first arrow took Hayate in the throat and then he was running towards the creek. Behind him came shouts of surprise and anger. Horses were brought under control and as he turned to loose another arrow. It hit Gon in the shoulder but did not stop them from charging after him.

The night became a blur of lightning, trees, horses and blades for Hikaru but by the time the blush of dawn filled the sky he sat panting under a tree near a riderless horse and the body of Batou. He winced and finished tying the wound on his ribs and began the long process of collecting the bodies and horses to take back to the Academy. He did not feel much at this point and staring at the corpse of the young man he’d killed did not feel like justice to him. It felt like survival and that was something he didn’t like. Hikaru had wanted to feel some sense of elation or something that their evil was ended. But he was numb and only felt a pang of sadness at the unnecessary loss of life. He still needed to check on his friend and troops and face what awaited him back at Kaiden. Without a doubt though his time at the Academy was at an end…

View
No longer Armed Pt 1

“AHHHHHHHHHH!!!” “OH O GODS!!!! AHHHHHHHHHHH!” the blond haired priestess looked down wiping the sweat from the brow of her screaming patient and once again wiped the sweat from his feverish brow

“He’s still at it, boy’s got grit, I’ll give ‘im tha” the thick accent of the dwarven priest said as he softly walked into the room. Sabine turned.

“Prefect Lief? I had thought your duty shift ended hours ago” the Preistess of Selwyn said in surprise

“Aye, it did, but I cannot leave a warrior in pain, especially one whom I’ve sworn to watch, Lord Yolo forbids it…” the Prefect reached a hand out and pinched the rubbery skin on Prancer’s forearm “Besides, this lad is a fighter true and fierce, I can hardly believe he is still fightin’” the dwarf leaned over the bed and continued his examination. Sabine was quick to help him along

“His pupils have been focusing and unfocusing at seemingly random consistency, with no noticeable changes when exposed to light or darkness. Same with pain receptors, sweats and chills. He has lost control of his bowels several times, and just ten minutes ago started bleeding from under his toenails.” The dwarf nodded his agreement with her assessments

“You’ve delayed poison twice on him, and given numbing elixirs for the pain… fine work Curative…” Lief turned the wounded arm over and then noticed the necropsy starting to appear. His let out a long low whistle as his shoulders slumped. “By Amanamachras Frozen Slit!” he cursed, drawing a gasp from Sabine. The Prefect looked up and nodded in apology “I had thought we’d caught it in time, damn!” he looked long and hard at the little black dots before looking at Sabine again “Please have a room prepped for surgery, I am afraid that lad is going to lose his arm”

View
News

Paper1.jpg

View
Encounter at Farpoint Pt 2

8th of Wealsun 377 ONT: Kaiden Academy, Fire Nation

Hikaru learned quickly to protect what little gear he had as the ‘pranks’ and harassment did not abate over the coming days. He also learned to check his bedding for ‘presents’ both living and otherwise that ended up in there. Even meal time was a challenge with the entrance blocked by the Six if he came too late and difficult to leave on his own unless he stayed late. They wanted him to make a scene, to attack them out of frustration and helplessness and in doing so be removed from the Academy to no doubt live in shame with his mother on their estate. But Hikaru was determined to make it and began working on ways to counteract the various problems he faced.

With the practice weapons, armour and other training gear, Hikaru made certain to never get attached to a particular piece or set. This meant that the sabotage did not always land on him and made no new friends for the Six. It didn’t curb their efforts either. With meals he went a different route and instead offered to help out in the kitchens for a chance to eat first and early. It meant more work but meant that the Six could not touch him or his food anymore. The final piece was changing his route regularly to and from the barracks to the various training exercises and classes. In a way Hikaru enjoyed the challenges and trying to outthink his opponents and that kept him from becoming complacent as he put real effort into learning everything taught to him. Who knew what would end up being useful?

With shadows stretched long and the sun heavy on the horizon Hikaru spied movements in the shadows of the Phoenix gate. He tensed as it moved to black his path but relaxed as the silhouette dissolved in the light to reveal Yukiko. An annoyed Yukiko by her expression and Hikaru stopped to let her close the distance between them. She stopped a few feet away and crossed her arms. “Well?”

“Well what?” Hikaru was confused. She expected or wanted something of him but he had no notion as to what it might be. By the stony expression on her face and the silence that stood between them it was the wrong thing to say. “Right so I missed something here.”

“It’s been more than a couple of days. I know you’re not that dense so why?”

Now Hikaru was annoyed. She had toyed with him at their last meeting and now she was here mad at him for not following after like a puppy to answer her questions about what he did wrong. He wasn’t sure if the fact that she was here now meant that she might like him or she was one of those girls who desired attention and got mad when they didn’t get it. He was hoping for the former over the latter and tempered his words to match. “Honestly it felt like it was going to be a poor game to play and I’ve got my hands full with training and other unfortunately necessary things.”

“Like avoiding the Ishikawas and their lackeys.” Yukiko nodded somewhat mollified. “Tricky to do as they seem bent on tormenting you.”

“You have no idea.” Hikaru sighed, “The worst is the instructors turn a blind eye to it. The most I’ve gotten out of one of them is a threat to the training group that we will all spend a month cleaning and repairing the field gear if any more of it is tampered with.”

“That just means they will start to get more creative. I’ve seen a couple of close calls where you didn’t know it but your change of direction fooled them and you missed some bad stuff behind some tents. Luckily it sounded like they will be gone for a few months on training manoeuvers with the light cavalry so you should get a reprieve.”

“So you’ve been watching me have you?” Hikaru grinned as it meant this wasn’t just a chance encounter meant to make him look bad. “Stalking me around the Academy to learn where I’d be.”

“I-I haven’t done anything of the sort!” The evening shadows hid her face but the change in posture suggested he was close at least. “The stuff between you and the Ishikawas is so obvious one cannot help but see it. Who else rushes from the classes so fast or takes extra duties when they don’t have to.”

“Well I need things to keep me distracted and productive so they have less opportunities to harass me. If I had someone like you to talk to and spend time with then maybe I’d be less busy with other things.” Hikaru shrugged and looked to Yukiko, “That is, of course, if you have time to spend being distracted by me?”

“What makes you think I want to?” Yukiko crossed her arms, “Maybe I just came out here to confirm my first impressions of you.”

Hikaru grinned, “That you wanted to do even that much is an encouraging sign so how about we start over without any outside involvement or anything.” He straightened and gave her a proper formal bow as one would from a high house, “Hajimemashite, I am Hikaru Yamamoto and you would do me great honour if you would name the time and place where we could meet again for the chance to get to know you.”

Yukiko stared at Hikaru for the longest of time before she sighed and turned shaking her head. “You are a strange one Yamamoto. Three days from now as the sun meets the horizon be at the lightning tree.” And with that she walked away and Hikaru stared after her wondering what it all meant. But at least he would have the chance to speak to her again and he liked that very much.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

14th of Goodmonth 377 ONT: Kaiden Academy, Fire Nation

“I’ve had it!” Natsu stormed into the kitchen where Hikaru had his head buried in the large pot he was scrubbing. The resounding bong noise let Natsu know that he’d surprised his friend. With a groan and a glare Hikaru extricated himself from the pot and asked, “Had it with what?”

“Gomen, Hikaru. The six have gone too far this time.” Natsu was pacing and Hikaru looked around to make sure they were alone. Thankfully the others had left content to let him finish the dirtiest and largest pots on his own. “They want me gone and by Ymeri they might just do it too.”

All trace of the normal humour that was such a part of Natsu was gone and Hikaru noticed the blood on his hands. “Who? What happened?”

“They replaced my dulled practice blade with a real one designed to look like a practice blade. Right up until our swords met and the pewter came off. But that wasn’t the worst part as I was sparring against Kita and he’s better with the blade than I am. I prefer to use my own weapons. But right at the point in the dancing snake combination where you have to commit to the lunge and your opponent goes for the high parry he suddenly twisted into the path of my blade. I-I pulled it, tried to change my direction enough but I still scored the hit down his side right to the ribs.” Natsu’s hands were shaking. “I dropped the blade and called for a medic or a healer but I couldn’t stop it.”

Hikaru thought about it for a few moments and shook his head, “Not good my friend. How is Shiro Kita?”

“He’ll live but it will be a week before a true healer can get out this way so that’s good.But they were calling for my head from the moment the blade struck and Kita fell. I know it was them though, the way he was grinning even as he fell he knew they’d won something.”

“Hmm, at worst they send you home and at best you get lashed and confined to the barracks for a while before rejoining the others. Not good options either way.” Hikaru frowned, “I think we need to speak to Yukiko and see if she knows anything that can help and talk to Captain Rugenji. He knows this isn’t something you would do.”

“I could have killed him. He knew that and still he smiled.”

“Yes because they knew either way they win something and you are better with the blade than you believe or you would not have been paired with Shiro Kita. He was counting on the fact you would pull the strike.” Hikaru grabbed the pail of soapy water and held it out to Natsu. “Wash and we will see what can be salvaged of this. Then we can talk about how we get them back.” Yukiko would disapprove he was certain but they could not just let the Six get away with stuff like this. If they did then he and Natsu would be better served quitting in disgrace and Hikaru was not going to back down.

View
A Hero's Farewell

Duemathaday the 16th of Sunsebb 381 ONT. High University of NOULA, main campus

Captain Folas Cailana exited his inn room and looked to Belinda and Thalion who’d been awaiting him. He smiled a thin smile adjusting his uniform.

“It is a little tight, not bad for a garment that had not been worn in almost two centuries, thank you again Thalion for your aid in mending it” The official fleet uniform of the Armies of Argyle looked odd and out of place, but the A of A had been an army wrought of necessity and many divisions never were given a dress uniform, those that were, had been done hastily. The Captain fiddled with his belt adjusting the ceremonial sabre that hung there before nodding that they should depart.

The three worked their way across town towards the university quarter. The streets were busy, and one could tell at a glance that many had come from all across Argyle to pay their respects to Sir Myles of Oula and NOula. By clothing alone you could see many from Pelegious, Rehume, Eiradun, Don-Ton, even the Fire Nation was present. They rounded the bend and stopped to behold the university parade grounds. Thousands of Dwarves and Dactyls, standing at perfect attention wearing their old Armies of Argyle Uniforms. They stood beside elves, fey and humans, beside Trolls and Orcs and Honalians, they stood in proud silence and unity, and others arrived they walked to find their place and joined the display.

“Who was this man, that so many pay their respects, to mobilize battalions and move them in the winter months? I thought he was a Knight, not a general?” Belinda asked as her head swiveled trying to take it all in.

“Sir Myles of Oula is the man who began the end of the great war, without he, none of us would exist, and like a true knight, he asked for neither title nor wealth for her service, he is a credit to this realm” the Captain said as he worked his way towards the elven lines.

At the front several of the High Thanes themselves stood at stoic attention, as did Governor Varrik or Rehume, The Speaker of the Sun, Alana of Eiradun, the Fire Lord and even Lord Strahd. Many of these great people were mortal enemies, and yet here they stood side by side. They found their place, the Captain standing with his people, Thalion and Belinda finding a nearby spot to the side of the ground. Again Belinda was shocked when she saw those leaders of Argyle walk the length of the parade ground and each act as a Paul Bearer carrying a casket of simple dark oak to the front raised dais. As the casket was placed down no words were spoken, instead each of the Paul Bearers stepped forward, and when they did, their assembled people sang a song of morning, it began with the sailors and fey of Rehume. Then the dwarven pipes and drums took up an ancient dirge worthy of a fallen king. The elves sang a tale of Sir Myles’s accomplishments, while the Haunting Beauty of Don-Ton performed a heartfelt ballad of Myles’s great stand to liberate their city. The Fire Nation drums and dancers took on a display of magnificence. While the Cyrmeery flutes pulled at the heartstrings paying homage to the man that was a father and steward of the land. At last Alana, the Lioness of Eiradun stood forward and on her own, sang a soulful soliloquy, she was not a professional singer, but her soul poured into her song as she grieved her lost father. Through it all, almost three hours, not a solider wavered, not one stood easy, they maintained their strict attention and discipline, giving the man who had gifted them with “a Chance” every once they could muster.

Belinda had known little of the Sir Myles of NOula before this day, she had heard his name in passing, but not in any of the epic tales or ballads of the Great War, and yet now, here on this day she wept openly feeling a loss more profound then she had thought possible. The man had been hope, for so many, and now, he was gone. As the official funeral ended, they reconvened with their Captain, they walked slowly back to their inn, feeling that the world had changed now, that one of the last bastions of peace had passed, and that Argyle would be long in mourning that passing.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.