[Oki, Plangori Compound]
Calling the Plangori compound a castle, while not wholly inaccurate, would fail to describe the eccentricity of its structure. Kulrick and Seigyo had no idea of the place until the Menti leading them brushed aside a curtain of hanging vines and revealed a door tall and wide enough to let a full cart through. It appeared to be carved out of a single piece of what must have been a massive purple-heart tree, and had no visible mechanism for opening. The wall around it appeared to be of similar materials, with no trace of crystal--but it was hard to tell, as no one had bothered to clear the jungle around the door, and the shadows of the lower story seemed to swallow the wall on all sides.
The warrior stopped for a few seconds before the door, eyes closed. Neither of the pair were willhammers, otherwise they might have sensed the thin thread of psychic energy passing between whoever was behind the gate and the menti. Then, with a groan and a grinding of gears, the door swung upward on hidden hinges. The menti montioned for the two to come inside.
They found themselves surrounded by two high walls that cast them into almost night-like shadow. The menti unhooked a lightstone lantern from the wall and went ahead of them, casting a pool of light that illuminated the wall’s strange construction. It was made of bamboo and purple-heart, and painted with some sort of lacquer, but instead of straight panelling, the walls had been constructed along the natural grain of the dark maroon wood, creating a dizzying patchwork that still managed to have a chaotic beauty about it. As they progressed through the compound, they passed several smaller versions of the door they had come through. Higher up on the wall, downward curving blades of crystal sparkled in the light.
A castle, maybe not. But surely a fortress.
[Oki, Herupa Compound]
There was little remarkable about what Jiyu showed me. Heck, I had been dragged to the place in my childhood and found it insufferably boring. And yet－
"I like it. It's very...breathable, compared to where I grew up. "
I nodded at his suggestion to go eat.
[Odaiba, Inside Ageru Lands]
Hatchi had learned in her long years on the caravan how to read the pauses in a person’s speech--and there was something about the way the menti had paused before friendlier that alerted her. She mulled it over as they walked side by side comfortably; the menti seemed content to appreciate the day without filling the air with chatter.
The heaviness of the pause likely indicated there was something complicated about their relationship with the Taajar. Then there was her speech--perhaps she simply took quicker to grammar than to pronunciation, but then, there was also the possibility that the accent was affected, a possibility that seemed more and more likely the more Hatchi turned Tama’s specific around in her head. Her command of the language was too instinctual, as if she had known it from a young age. That left two possibilities, and Tama did not have the look of hodja mudra and neither did Hatchi remember that name mentioned as one of the outcasts. Technically, they were not supposed to be talked about--but in reality word spread like wildfire.
No, Hatchi thought, silently comparing the menti’s face to those she knew from the closest clan to their current position--Ageru Tama was likely a halfcast, with a parent formerly of Angavur if that jaw was any telling. Now that Hatchi had the information she did not know what to do with it. It would be rude to press the menti about her heritage, and Hatchi did not enjoy bring up sore subjects with total stranger. She had faced her fair share of abuse and had no desire to participate in it.
“What I truly am?” she said, smiling somewhat wistfully in a way that suggested her pause had been devoted to mulling over the menti’s statement. “I think neither of us know that, Lady Menti.”
And that was a little too close to the truth.
[Sado, Market District]
Yukie sighed with audible relief as the Hogo guardswoman came down smack in front of the dashi and Toroshu pair. His breathing moment was short lived, however, as he soon found a sword streaking towards his head.
Luckily, both instinct and the virtual weightlessness of his shield allowed him to bring the glowing construct up in time; the weapon bounced harmlessly off, and it hurt his arm a lot less than the paving stone had.
Despite just avoiding a skewering, he allowed himself to feel a little cautious optimism. They had the would-be escapees for all intents and purposes cornered, and even if they escaped--well he was pretty sure he knew where they were heading. He attempted to move, methodically testing the mental bonds around his ankles to find a weak point.