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File: 1542153136422.jpg (209.18 KB, 1277x721, tumblr_o4ti8ceOFI1uqcakjo10_12…)

Morning Light: Thread 1: In Media Res The Foreword!jSaxman3BgCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41550358[View All]

#ask/invite #canon: lost light universe #era: six hours before high noon #no but for real it's a fantasy au #era: morning light

It is a time of legends.

The world has never known more peril than it does in these halcyon days, nor has the sun above it ever shone brighter for the brave and noble souls that stand against the forces that want the mortal world for themselves.

Twenty years have passed since the greatest of Man's princes turned traitor and took up the mantle of the Lich King, sitting in his citadel of ice and bone in the far north of the world, plotting the downfall of all things good and pure in existence, and yet all his necrotic might and icy hatred has been for naught against the heroism of the cities that were once his and the arms and armies of other cities still that never trusted him, even in the days where he yet possessed a soul of his own.

It has been ten years since the disaster at Kaprika, an entire civilization vanishing overnight, sucked screaming into the realm of Chaos and leaving behind a frigid hellscape of capering demons and embittered, haggard survivors, a place where the veil between material and immaterial is treacherously thin and the unknowable things that wish to gnaw on the bones of the myriad mortal races and spit the gristle out claw feverishly at the bars of their cages, shrieking and gibbering where none can hear, but for every demon that bursts through reality like a swollen, diseased pustule, there are twenty silver-armored figures of the Seventh Legion to stamp it out, purple bolts of witchfire splashing off their armor like greasy smoke and tortured, inhuman shrieks falling on deaf ears as these few elite among Stormwind's countless defenders condemn the beast to another eternity of seeking an entrance into the materium.

It has been five years since the formation of the Orders, fraternal organizations that seek to look beyond border disputes and age-old blood feuds to protect their various homes and ensure all are ready for the next inevitable crisis, for there are always more crises, more than could ever be put into words; those named are but a few among innumerable, just as the glories and honors of these days. The orcish warriors of Orgrimmar raise a shout of joy and pride to rival any cheer of Stormwind's human sons at news of slain titanic beasts or repelled demonic incursions; the archmagi and nether-scholae of the College work tirelessly to bring new arcane wonders into the world just as eagerly as the dwarvish blacksmiths and runesmiths of Ironforge show off their newest inventions to the merchant-lords of Reeve. Every war sees new wonders created and discovered in tandem, every spat between Horde and Alliance is in spite of how well their soldiers have overcome the Fallen Son's latest plans. It is a world of contradictions and sureties, myths and mysteries.

Rejoice in what it means to know honor and glory, for these are words that mean a million things to a million beings but have never been more universally understood. Marvel at the wonders of the age, for to live here is to witness an epoch of discovery and remembrance, to see gods and science existing side by side.

It is a world where adventure can be found wherever it is sought, and where the battle must never be forsaken, no matter how dire.

It is merely a matter of time.
426 posts and 297 image replies omitted. Click View to see all.

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558572

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>>41558570

>Amazons. Castell had seen more than his fair share of muscular warrior women in his time at the temple, though that wasn't in any service to a God. The Eteran pantheon he'd heard of was an...odd one, but he was hardly in any position to comment, as ignorant of Religion as he was.


>His face didn't change as he calmly took another bite out of some of the dumplings, but some of the wind had been knocked out of his sails somewhat at the knowledge that their second sight to see would just be some strong people, regardless of their ability to send letters.


Very well, perhaps if they are as strong as you claim, I will have less work to do protecting your life.

>Another brief jab at Sherry's expense as he continued to eat, and he thought. There was a small part of him that was interested in how these warrior women fought, and what they were capable of, but his Fighting Spirit had...dulled, somewhat over the years of his time at the temple. It was considerably less loud than the call that it was merely something he'd seen before.


>But a new world was full of surprises, perhaps this would be one for him, as well.

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558654

File: 1569628762700.jpg (209.51 KB, 850x1202, __murasaki_shikibu_fate_grand_…)

>>41558572
>Sherry simply pouts and mumbles something under her breath before digging into her cuts of meat. Her mother continued to conversation however.

The area is mostly peaceful because of the amazons yes, but the Erymanths still populate the area as well. They're ork folk with boar-like features instead of the green skin of more widespread orks, the dense forest was their territory exclusively before the Amazonian people came in and claimed the lands for themselves long ago.

Ever since then, their has been hostilities between them and travellers can get caught up in the skirmishes...


>Barbara sighs before she takes a sip of her glass of wine.


Animosity and War have been a part of life on Etera for far too long now, that for many of us it's as normal as the rising of the sun and moon, but you see why I insisted my dear Sherry hire a body guard before she travelled yes?

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558699

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>>41558654

That does make sense, Ms Palomino. Were I in your position, I would want my children to be as safe as possible.

>Castell ate some more of the seafood. The local flavour was simply delectable, he'd had seafood before but it was very different here. Very fried. Aside from the food, his interest had been piqued by the addition of something new to the table. Orkfolk. He blinked in surprise while finishing off his food.


I've heard of these, there are some that congregate on the mainland near our island. They're known as Inojins, in my native language...I heard that they tend not to stick to defined territory and were more inclined to travel and to raid?

>It was second hand knowledge, but it's all he had to go on. 90% of his mainland assignments had been guard duty of some description, which lead to bandits more often than not. The fact that he was getting to see some of the boarfolk, and in their native land no less, was absolutely fascinating. Maybe they were aggressive and powerful raiders and maybe it would end up with a fight, but it'd be nice to see something so new.


>That was way more interesting than Amazons.

Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558757

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"..." Using the roots of a tree as a chair, a young woman sat watching the animals roaming the woods around her. Lifting a hand up as a bird landed near her, it left it's current perch to rest on it as she gave it a smile. Turning away from the bird, she cast her gaze towards the elven city of Alterwood she was currently seated outside of.

Setting the bird atop the leafs she wore on her head, she let out a yawn before rising to her feet. Turning away from the city, she decided to head into the woods to look for supplies for dinner instead of going in. Greeting everything she passed with a silent wave, Yggdrasil started to search for mushrooms to start with. On finding a bunch of them, she started to inspect them when she heard someone nearby. "!" Ducking behind a tree, she peeked out and waited to see who was heading her way.
This post was edited by its author on .

!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558758

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>>41558757
>whatever it was, it moved through the canopy, not touching the ground and instead moving across the branches like a monkey.
>concealed by the shadows of the trees, there was a pair of glowing yellow eyes in the darkness. Then, as he grew closer, his form was revealed.

>a slim man, whose form was a potpourri of different animals.

>a human like body, the legs of a tiger, orange tiger colored hair, and accompanied by a green serpent; a quick glance would reveal the snake was actually his tail.
>those familiar with Castians would recognize the boy as none other than a Nue.

Greetings.

>he said with a sly tone, looking down from the high branch he stood on, perfectly balanced. Meanwhile his tail flicked its tongue at the girl, stoic and cold, contrasting with the monkey-like man's personality.

Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558766

File: 1569823753082.jpg (2.68 MB, 2480x3508, d9b90e2caaf69417c120d57a458a0b…)

>>41558758
....?
>Looking up at the man from her spout, she squinted a little to examine his form. The tiger like features along with his snake tail gave her pause before she got a look at the rest of his body. Walking out from behind the tree slowly, she stopped as she bird on her head started to panic.

>Reaching up, she took it into her hand before petting it to calm it down. Gazing up at him again, she waved in greeting at the man. Casting a wary glance at the snake tail looking at her, she shook her head and held the bird close to her. It seems she thought the snake might be after her bird friend. Lifting her hand up, she motioned like she was asking why he was up in the tree instead of walking on the ground.

!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558767

>>41558766
Not talking huh? Are you deaf?

>he said, moving to a lounging position, now relaxing on his side, still up in the tree branch. The snake remained up right, still locked onto the girl.


Don't know if you can here this, but my friend here won't bite... Unless I tell him too.

>she said with a grin.

>looks like he didn't quite get her question, mostly due to the language barrier between the two.

Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558775

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>>41558767
>Is she deaf? Shaking her head, she pointed at her mouth and then shook her head again. Setting the bird on her shoulder this time, she looked at the snake again with a slight frown. Pointing up at him, she pointed at the ground then up as him again.
>It seems that she wants him to come down from there.
.....!
>Folding her arms as she looked over his position from her spot on the ground, she tapped her foot on the ground and waited to see what he would do.
This post was edited by its author on .

!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558789

>>41558775
...

>Tenzen looked at his snake, still lounging in the tree. Then, he nodded, as if the serpent spoke to him in a language only he understood.


...Oooooh, I getcha!

>turning over, Tenzen appeared to fall out of the tree, only to catch himself by grabbing the same branch who was standing on earlier. Now, with his feet just a foot or two from the ground, he was hanging by one arm.


I prefer the trees. But anyways, what's a gentle looking gal like you doing out in a place like this?

Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558795

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>>41558789
?
>Watching as Tenzen seemed to communicate with his snake, she gave them a confused look. Lowering her arms back down to her sides,she quickly brought them back up when it looked like he was falling out of the tree.
!!
>Starting to rush over, Yggdrasil stopped when he caught him self and held on to the branch. Lifting her hands up, she shook them like she was yelling at him for the stunt. At the question, she stopped before looking around.

....?...!
>Spotting what she was looking for, she headed over to the roots of a tree and knelt down to pick something up. Rising backup to her feet, she held up a hand full of edible mushrooms.

!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558801

>>41558795
>he wasn't one of the smartest out there, but he was a survivalist at heart. As someone who lived in the forest since he was a baby, he recognized what was edible and what was poison.

I see, you're like us? You live here, don't ya?

>soon, the branch no longer able to hold his weight, broke with a audible snapping noise. The tiger legged boy landed on his two paws, still holding the branch like a staff.

>with a grin, he bowed to the tiny tree girl.
Tenzen is the name. Entertainer, survivalist, and lover.

Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558804

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>>41558801
!~
>Nodding enthusiastically at the question, she pointed back in the direction she came from. Turning, she took a few steps in that direction before turning to face him again.
....
>Looking up at the branch, her eyes widened as she heard it start to creak before snapping off of the tree,
!
>Rushing towards him, she would then pass Tenzen by to look up at where the branch snapped off. Lifting up her free hand, she placed it on the trunk of the tree and patted it as if she was comforting it over what hat just happened. Turning around after the introduction, she bowed before giving him a confused look. She was currently wondering what he meant by that last part.

Tenzen!2/0gPatch.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558835

>>41558804
>setting the branch aside, the odd man crossed his arms. He frowned a bit when she was shown to care more about the tree than she did him. Not that he was in any danger, even if he didn't fall on his paws.

Sorry, did I hurt one of your friends? Family?

>he said as he gave the tree a small pat.


Eh, pay me no mind, just running my mouth is all.

>even he honestly was confused by what he said sometimes.


What about you? What's your name?

<"If you can even speak?"

>looking to his snake, hoping he could speak tree... Didn't look like it.

Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558842

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>>41558835
>Pouting, she pointed up at where the branch snapped off then at the discarded branch. Going to pick it up, she looked up at the tree then back over to Tenzen when he patted it.
.....?
>Shaking her head at the family part, Yggdrasil looked at the branch in her hands. Walking over to a clear spot in the area, she dragged the branch along the ground as if she was writing something. Once she finished, she rushed back over and pointed at what she wrote.

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41558875

File: 1570320668301.jpg (227.9 KB, 850x1176, __murasaki_shikibu_fate_grand_…)

>>41558699
For Inojins, that's correct. They have no strong ties to a particular location and will go where they believe the spoils will be the richest. The Erymanths are nothing if not stubborn however and being driving out of their lands by the amazons is not a defeat they've been willing to accept. Thus many stay in the territory and continue to do battle with the Amazons.

>By now Barbara had finished her plate of food and was working on her second glass of wine.


The main roads into the territory should be perfectly safe however, trade continues to be unaffected by the skirmishes and I can only hope it stays that way.

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559123

File: 1571965761656.png (315.9 KB, 558x490, Dramatichairblowing.png)

>>41558875

>Turf wars seemed to decide an awful lot of things in Etera. Perhaps that was just the way of things over here. The plate of seafood had been cleaned and Castell had moved onto the comforts of home as a palate cleanser, his bowl of noodles emptying as Barbara continued to explain. So far, these boars seemed a mite different than the ones at home, which by all accounts, was good news for Castell.


I concur. While I am confident in my skills, it is always ideal that conflict be avoided in the first place. With any luck,our journey should be an uneventful one, save for some sightseeing.

>And he meant that most sincerely. Frankly, the image painted of the amazons wasn't exactly interesting so far but, perhaps his mind would change when he got there. Maybe there was more than just fighting, and food. Maybe Etera would surprise him. To give as much credit as he could to the continent, it had been very consistently surprising.

Barbara Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559216

File: 1572748351907.jpg (71.1 KB, 1500x938, dd813cee3e9f4f1a70f8c1e6b9a4b1…)

>>41559123
>Dinner continued one for some time, everyone enjoying their meals and the conversations had during the feast. Though eventually things started to wind down, night fell on the vineyard and it was time to turn in for the day.

>Sherry had already hurried off to her room wanting to imprint the memory of her comfy bed into her mind before the long journey. Which left Barbara to guide Castell on his bedroom for the evening. Like the rest of the manor the lady lived in it was had its share of decorations and other niceties scattered about, all items Castell had learned were part of the Palomino's long family history, made by the family, for the family. Really it was more like a museum the family lived in, though perhaps lots of rich people were like that?


Here we are, your room Castell. All your things should be inside, please let me know if there's anything else you need. Anything at all.

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559225

File: 1572908097626.png (1010.86 KB, 1432x1078, Deepinthought.png)

>>41559216

>A big ass museum of rich ancestors wasn't really all that different to the temple. A lot of dead old people that did something or another that had changed things. Castell listened, but only out of politeness to his host. If it had been a tour on the important monks of the temple, he probably would have fallen asleep already.


>Fortunately, he'd been lead to his room before he had the chance to truly drop off, or betray his lack of interest. Shaking himself back to full consciousness, Castell nodded to Barbara, bowing his head low and smiling when he came back up.


Thank you very much for your hospitality, Ms Palomino. I've greatly enjoyed your kindness and warmth as a new guest. I couldn't take more advantage of your generosity, lest I begin to feel bad. I must rest off your excellent cooking as well as the journey here, so I shall bid you good night, and give my thanks.

>And so, he made his way into his room, which was exactly as she said. His meagre luggage had been neatly put away in the expansive, tastefully decorated room. Yet another far cry from the communal bed chambers he was used to. Castell cautiously stepped through it and to his pack, fishing out a breathable top for sleeping in and a pair of underwear. He was starting to find the lack of noise...eerie. The transportation had been just as cramped, and the inn at least had the noise from the tavern section but this? Deathly quiet, deathly private.


>Castell's nightly ritual was not too long. Studying his 'homework,' getting changed for bed and basic hygiene followed one after the other easily, before he got comfortable in the gigantic extravagant bed. As sleep began to take him, and he enjoyed the unfamiliar comfort, he looked forward to a restful night.

!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559326

File: 1573677220030.jpg (45.81 KB, 960x539, 4737520-1931050189-anoth.jpg)

>>41559225
>Though the bed was comfortable and warm, the room lavish and inviting, the silence and unfamiliarity might have made things creepy. Sounds seemed to be amplified as the generations old manor creaked and groaned as it continued to settle on it's foundation.

>Maybe it was because of Sherry talking about seeing the ghost of her great grand uncle when she as a child at dinner, but a lot of those creaks and groans sounded a lot like foot steps, and every shadow seemed to move in odd ways...

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559328

File: 1573692811415.png (460.3 KB, 740x487, Worry.png)

>>41559326

>Castell had somehow managed to fall asleep eventually. It had taken much tossing and turning, and discomfort, but he'd managed to drift off into unconsciousness. But his sleep was not sound. The ambient noise of the very old house was enough to invade his rest, with every errant creak and shadow across the window tormenting his sleeping mind.


>One errant creak of the floorboards too many, and Castell was up, panting heavily and eyes flitting about the area. The noises...they had to be playing tricks on him...Or maybe just Sherry, if that story at dinner was anything to go by. Castell drew the covers closer to himself as he kept his eyes moving between the window and the door.


>The creaks almost seemed like they were travelling up the hallway next to his room...But they couldn't be. They had better not be. Castell's highly trained senses were on high alert, frantically searching around for any sign of what might be coming up besides the room.


>Obviously it was just so he knew better than to just charge out there and fight it. There was very little he couldn't beat, after all so he just needed to be sure that he wasn't fighting some poor manservant that came knocking! He was just being considerate to the Palominos, really!


>Castell mumbled under his breath to himself and stared at the door apprehensively. He wished he was wearing more than a pair of underclothes.

!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559394

>>41559328
>As he stared at the door, the creaking became louder and louder. Only when it was at it's loudest, right in front of the door to his room did it stop. Only to be replaced with more sinister omens. Such as the door handle being rapidly turned left and right, the sound making a fair bit of noise in the silence.

>This only happened for a second at most before it stopped as the handle was properly turned and the door started to swing open painfully slowly, creaking the whole time as the tension was to building to it's apex.


>The opening door revealed a figure standing in the door way, a dark silhouette with curling tendrils and two long pointed horns, or maybe ears, sticking out at the top. Castell could have also sworn he saw faintly glowing purple specs for eyes in the otherwise totally dark figure!


>It did not speak, it did not move. It only stared at Castell and stood there in the door way, menacingly.

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559422

File: 1574189368754.png (1.68 MB, 1577x1078, Ontheoffensive.png)

>>41559394

>The noise grew louder and louder and now Castell knew that it wasn't just his imagination, or a wayward servant as the creaking deliberately stopped in front of his room. His breath caught. He stared at the door. And as the handle started moving, a hand slapped against his mouth in a bid to suppress the cry of alarm that threatened to escape.


>He leapt out of bed, and stood ready, sweat already beginning to run down his body as the door handle continued to rattle. Castell tensed up immediately and prepared for whatever came through.


>What came through however was far different than he could imagine, the door opened and there it stood. A tall ominous figure with horns, shadowy tendrils and purple pin-pricks for eyes, and it merely hung there, glaring into him.


>Castell was very tense right now. Sleeping in such unfamiliar comfort had not managed to aid his sleep, coupled with the creaking sounds that managed to invade it. A combination of lack of sleep, and the sounds in an unfamiliar locale giving him the heebie jeebies lead the poor unfortunate man to make what could probably be called a rash decision.


>As such, he jumped forward and took a swing at the menacing figure, in full on self defence mode. Whatever this thing was, it would trouble him no longer, no matter what he had to do!

!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559428

File: 1574305143086.jpg (Spoiler Image, 123.89 KB, 850x1135, __murasaki_shikibu_fate_grand_…)

>>41559422
>The shadow seemed to flicker into nonexistence as the punch passed into the space. Though rather then having disappeared, Castell could see from the corner of his eye that the creature was right next to him, it's pinprick eyes flashing envelopment intent as it tackled him!

>The force of the impact put him off balance in his compromising position and Castell and the creature both fell down to the ground. Though instead of feeling teeth, claws, and tendrils ripping into his flesh, he felt a whole lot of weighty softness om him and restful breathing. Looking up at the form now, it was clear who had intruded on him! ...though the outfit, fake rabbit ears, and the fact she looked like she was currently fast asleep only created a new mystery.

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559436

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>>41559428

>The punch missed, which already another terrifying weight laid upon Castell's mind. What kind of horrifying beast could just simply dodge an attack as though it were that of a child?! Castell's punch swung wide and although he could see the figure move next to him and tackling him to the ground, he had no ability to dodge it.


>Once he was knocked to the ground however, he was confronted with whether or not he would have wanted to.


>Now without the shadows obscuring the features, he saw precisely what had decided to disturb him. Castell's face flushed and his breath caught as the pleasantly soft body kept him pinned to the floor while it breathed in a tranquil way. He wasn't exactly unhappy about the situation, though typically whenever he imagined being pinned underneath a woman, she was more conscious and more enjoying herself.


>He attempted to wriggle out of her grasp, but to no avail. She had a surprising grip on her that made it hard to get up without disturbing her. And her...not insignificant weight would also require some concentrated effort to actually lift. Castell slumped back against the hardwood floor and sighed. As much as he disliked it, it might be better to just...let her stay there for now. The floor wasn't as uncomfortable as he thought it might be, and the hassle of waking her when it looked...less than good for him seemed like a minefield he was unwilling to trip.


>As Castell began the long arduous journey back towards the realm of sleep, there was just one burning question on his mind. Is this what she normally wore for pajamas?

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559455

File: 1574790825075.png (75.38 KB, 256x254, hahaha,woops.png)

>>41559436
>The following morning.

Uuuuuhhh, yeah sorry. I should have warned you that mom has a bad habit of sleep walking... while wearing the outfits my eldest sister Liquor sends her... Soooooorry~

>Sherry could only awkwardly laugh at her body guard after seeing him in the situation he was in when she came to check on him in the morning. Now both of them were sitting in the lounge waiting for Barbara, blissfully unaware of what happened last night, to make tea.


She's been like that since I was born, no one knows why though...

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559485

>>41559455

Well, I'm certainly not any closer than you to finding out.

>Castell didn't like mornings, and it showed as he groused to Sherry while they sat waiting for her mother to reappear. Miraculously he had received some measure of restful sleep, but his mood had soured somewhat after feeling like he'd made a complete idiot of himself. Nobody had seen, but he knew that Sherry knew, and more importantly, he knew. Which meant he'd never forget.


At least I know she doesn't wear that usually. That outfit was almost as shameless as...

>'Yours' managed to not escape his lips as Castell caught himself, eyes widening. He cleared his throat and tried to avert eye contact with Sherry while continuing the conversation.


Well. It takes considerable effort to change clothing while asleep. Have sleep aids not helped?

>Nailed it. This should probably distract her from the massive blunder, at least for a little.

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559598

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>>41559485
Oh we've tried everything we could think of! But nothing seems to work, in fact sometimes it makes it worse! One time we tried to calm her down before bed with these herb things that are all the rage now and we woke up next morning to find her riding a horse around the vineyard! It wasn't even one we owned!

>The neighbouring farm was none too amused by it either, but a few bottles of wine made them a little more forgiving.


But still... it's rare that she changes into one of those outfits my older sister sends her and wander into a guest's room.

>She hums in thought, thinking about the time her own sleep was uninterrupted by her mother wearing her own dancer outfit!


She usually only does that with people she likes....

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559772

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>>41559598

...It's nice to be liked.

>Was all Castell managed to come up with as he sat and continued to wait. Call him a weirdo, but telling somebody you liked them tended to be a lot easier to do than by getting into skimpy nightclothes and menacing them in their room. It was...appreciated in many ways, but a disturbed sleep was hardly how he wished to know that he was liked.


>...Maybe it was a western thing to be that over friendly. Or maybe a Palomino thing. Either was likely.


That does sound quite the spectacle. She's...very mobile while asleep.

>Surprisingly so, Castell thought. Being able to take a horse out for a ride and dodge a proper punch while sleepwalking was a remarkable talent. Admittedly the punch was panicked and she had been in a non-standard state for the horse but...Still. Considering she managed to trip on a staircase when they first met, it was quite the contrast.


>He considered Sherry as well. Less clumsy, but no less adroit at moving around. Were the Palominos just a physically gifted family? Well, physically gifted in multiple ways, he added to himself with a tinge of pink to his cheeks.


>Sherry had mentioned something before, and this line of thought had him curious. This family was an interesting one all right...


You mentioned your sister was a mercenary. Could you tell me more about her?

>There was one at least, who knew combat. Who could fight. If she was as good as he suspected...Well, let's wait and see.

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559777

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>>41559772
>Sherry, always delighted to talk about her family was more then ready to share!

Sure! She was always the tough one of us, even as a kid she was really strong but also really kind! There were this group of boys that'd be mean to us but she'd always ask them nicely to go away. It wouldn't always work but after she lifted two of them over each shoulder and tossed them both into the harbour they listened to her without question. I think they all work for the city guard now?

>Though as we got older those boys left Sherry and Liquor alone, but always seemed to want to talk to her for one reason or another... something about wanting to know what she liked? Maybe they wanted to apologise to her?

>Boys are weird sometimes and this wasn't about them anyway!

As we got older, Brandy started to train with swords and stuff, taking part in competitions and winning a lot of them! She then got noticed by a talent scout for a big mercenary company and they wanted to hire her on the spot! She's been with the League of Lions ever since!

>She points to a large painting conveniently placed on the wall over yonder.


Momma had a painting commissioned for that day and she hasn't changed much since that day so that's what she still looks like!

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559809

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>>41559777

>What painting-was that always there.


>Castell blinked as he looked up at the portrait. His first instinct was that yes, that was indeed a Palomino. A figure that anybody could be jealous of and strikingly beautiful features. This one came with a shock of red hair and seemed to be from Sherry's school of fashion rather than their mother's. She was also standing proudly with a sword and a shield.


>He listened intently to Sherry's story, nodding along while she spoke, and when she finished, he pondered. The theory seemed to be correct, the level of physical fitness seemed unnaturally high for the family, enough for her to be scouted for a guild nearly immediately. She'd been strong from a young age too.


>Castell let out a low whistle. The amount of potential they had to fight was staggering. Dancers were usually physically gifted, but Barbara's instinct and one of them out and out being a mercenary? If he was a teacher, they'd be practically a goldmine.


>But he wasn't. And he wasn't interested in seeking the Greater Heights of Martial Prowess either. Besides, Castell reasoned to himself, it's not like any of them had even mentioned it. It scarcely showed up on their radar, it was just a fact of life for them. It probably wasn't worth dwelling on for him, it hardly was for them. Still though, perhaps training in the temple would have felt easier with Sherry and her family around to...observe.


>He cleared his throat, having been lost in thought for far too long


Your family...Has a lot of accomplishments. All very different too. It's very enviable. Our order doesn't encourage personal glory.

>Castell trailed off, looking at the floor. A morose silence came over him as he once again felt a profound burst of envy towards the Palominos and how they'd lived their life. It was unfair he knew, but that freedom, that eagerness and willingness to try anything until they found the right thing.


>He coveted that.


>Castell sat there in quiet. Dearly hoping that Barbara would show up soon to break the silence.

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41559876

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>>41559809
>Barbara seemed to had heard his mental plea and she emerged from the kitchen with tea, muffins, and a bowl of fruit. She did not recall anything that happened last night, but at least she was in her normal clothing again.

Pardon the time that took, I needed to chase some rabbits from the garden.

>On the bright side, the silence was broken now that she set the tray on the table before them and Sherry already grabbed an orange to peel. Though she has also brought something else as well, a map of the continent that she rolled out onto the table next to the tray.


Now then, there are well traveled two routes
into the Amazonian territory... which is the normally used trading road. Plenty of small settlements along the way, and the safest way to go.


>She pointed at the illustration of a long road that appeared to be a southern approach into the land before making a sharp turn north towards it's capital. Then she points to one that entered from the northern portion that was clearly shorter, at least on the map.


And this road borders the Ashlands where several expeditions have encampments there. Many wealthy explorers and scholars with workers starved of entertainment, but also less patrolled roads and the occasional cloud of toxic gas being carried on the wind.

>Sherry, munching her orange, ponders the pros and cons of each. The south road would take longer, most certainly a sight seeing route. But the North road was faster and had potentially well paying patronage, though with risks all it's own.


Hmmmm.... On one hand the Ashland expeditions sometimes have neat little trinkets to sell, but the south road is much safer...

>Sherry of course thought more of souvenirs then her profits.

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560059

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>>41559876

>Well, her dress was a good start.


>Castell reached over and grabbed an apple, crunching into it with ease while he listened along.


>Two routes. One potentially more rewarding but more dangerous and the other, safer but less so. It seemed something of a no brainer to him.


Ma'am, I have to encourage that we travel the safer route. Neither of us are particularly prepared for any kind of toxic gas, and while I have no doubt that I'd be capable of fending off the odd group of bandits, I cannot do it with any degree of frequency.

We should stick to the most well travelled road, and seek to ply your trade there.

>And for a second afterwards, Castell thought that would be fine. That there needn't be anything more to say, and they could all move on with their lives. But then he realised what Sherry had said, what her primary concern was. And he knew that he needed more. He needed to summon every ounce of his brain power in order to try and steer Sherry somewhere safer, to keep his charge from harm. It would be risky, but he had to try.


...We can acquire souvenirs from the village once we get there.

>Nailed it.

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560201

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>>41560059
>They were indeed not prepared for toxic gas clouds! But it's not like they couldn't get gas masks on the wa--
>"...We can acquire souvenirs from the village once we get there."
>Oh yes! That's right!

Ooooooh that's a good point! If we take the south road we can go to that place with the fancy tiny sculptures! You can even pose them too, you just got to see them Castell!

>Barbara breathed a sigh of relieve, thanking her lucky stars and Castell knowing how to play into her daughter's habits.


Just try not to buy too many dear.

>She didn't want to dedicated yet another room to them...

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560219

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>>41560201

I'm sure I will enjoy them, ma'am.

>Castell replied neutrally, as inwardly he relaxed. No toxic clouds and gas or bandit attacks for him today. Just a relaxing ordinary journey with his...eccentric charge. That'd suffice for now.


>Barbara it seemed, shared his relief judging by that sigh. Win win for both of them really if they could reign in Sherry's particular brand of spend-happiness. Now his only hope was that Sherry would remember this particular line of thought when they got out onto the open road. Speaking of...


At what time are we intending to set out, ma'am? Your family's hospitality has been truly spectacular, but you seemed to have rather a full itinerary when we discussed it on the boat.

>They couldn't stay here forever after all, not if they intended to pay off Sherry's debts. And on a more personal level, Castell was starting to feel a bit cramped by the opulence of the house and the freedom of Sherry's family. The sooner he was out, the sooner he could feel less like he'd missed out on 90% of what life could be.

Jackson Romero!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560287

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>Jackson prided himself on his patience.

>He thought it was an important quality to have when you made money. You had to be patient as for when the money would come in, and with your employees that make the money come to you. Employers on Arcadia who were impatient tended to find themselves at the business end of a knife and very angry workers shortly before having to find a new home, on this plane or the next.


>But his patience was not infinite, and workers that managed to continually get into more trouble than they were worth required a stern talking to.


So. After weeks of attempting to find something simple enough that the pair of you could accomplish it, I send you on an errand to grab some cheap beer to keep the customers happy. And after waiting at least two hours for it to finish, two hours longer than it should have taken, I go out to see what's become of you.

And what I do I find? I find three ruined kegs of beer, completely bereft of their contents, two roughed up gophers, and Elegi is screaming at me that thanks to my 'riff raff' he's down three bouncers for the forseeable future. I have no booze, my cushy little operation here is now being eyed up by my neighbours since I clearly have grand designs on owning this ramshackle piece of shit boat like every other mouth breather who starts a casino and Elegi's bodyguards are eyeing me up something fierce every time I walk down a street on my own.

...So? What do you two have to say for yourselves?

Ramiel!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560288

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>>41560287

>Sitting across from Jackson were the recipients of his scolding. And at least one of them had an idea of when he was being told off.


>Sitting in the chair uncomfortably, scraggly wing spread behind it and twitching involuntarily as he flexed it and the pain came back, was Ramiel. He was covered in bruises, one very prominent black eye and had a morose, somewhat embarrassed expression covering his face while Jackson laid into him.


>He only had one thing to say for himself.


They started it.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560289

>>41560288

>on the other hand, there was Aurisa. she also knew when she was being told off

>she just didn’t care
>she did her usual weird crouch-on-a-chair-instead-of-sitting-on-it thing, cool as could be while the boss man layed into them
>sure, she had as healthy of a respect for Jackson as she would for most anyone, but her pride as superior elven royalty wasn’t about to let anyone make her feel small
>even though, objectively speaking, she was pretty small barring a few key features, but semantics

>when called on to defend herself, she just grunted in affirmation with Ram, then added


They try to steal. We stop. They break beer running. Their fault, not us.

>and with that, she just went right back to picking little bits of person out of her fangs with the tip of her knife, perfectly content with that summary

Jackson and Ramiel!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560290

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>>41560288
>>41560289

>Jackson sighed once more. That was about the long and short of it, he thought. They didn't really have the capacity to lie in his experience of them, or felt any need to do so. That was probably what happened.


>And that also meant that they probably neither knew, nor really cared about the delicate balance of power here that had been upset, placing all eyes squarely on him. The lands of Arcadia made their bread and butter on discrete power plays, backroom sabotage and whoever could creatively abuse their workers the right way. After such a long time of staying out of it, a move like this would for all the world look like he'd attempted to make his move in 'The Game.'


...Yeah, you're probably right. Nice going trying to protect the stock kids, lesser people than you would have ran.

But skies above, did'ja have to beat them that badly? Poor bastards are going to be nursing wounds for weeks on end, never mind the one who's currently got a chunk bitten out of his shoulder.

>He gave a pointed glance at Aurisa


People are going to start thinking my staff are assassins.

>Well, some of them were, but he wasn't the type of person to judge if a contract killer wanted a change tending bar, or tending to...certain needs of his customers as long as they did the job right.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560291

>>41560290

>if Aurisa noticed the look she was getting, she didn’t show it

>she just turned and plopped herself down onto the seat, stretching lazily across the arms of the chair like a cat

He hurt Ram. Should fight to protect friends, yes?

>well, that and he attacked Aurisa’s pride, but the idea that she did it purely out of protectiveness for a loved one was a much more flattering story


Besides, healed him anyway. Elf magic. Will be fine.

>and to so perfectly underline that sentiment, she picked out a little bit of something red and fleshy from her teeth and finger-flicked it off across the room


>”People are going to start thinking my staff are assassins.”

>at that, she just gave a dismissive, amused snort
>she propped her head up on an elbow and gave Jackson a little smirk

Pfft. Jackson ridiculous. Who possibly mistake Aurisa for assassin?
>she gestured at her own blood-stained, animal-fur-wearing body for emphasis and smugly noted
Much too regal for common criminal.

Jackson and Ramiel!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560292

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>>41560291

>Ramiel nodded along with Aurisa as she explained. All of it made perfect sense to him, having never seen a princess, or an assassin before. But if Aurisa said that assassins didn't look like princesses and she was a princess, then it was something to keep an eye on.


I thought you'd have met princesses before since you go all over the place.

>Ram addressed Jackson innocently enough, but to Jackson's ears, he wasn't sure if this wasn't some elaborate practical joke or they really were just that stupid.


Well, maybe the princesses I've met aren't quite up to your lofty standards, haven't got the royal wealthiness to spring for the thug splattered animal pelts you see, have to resort to silk.

>Jackson neither knew nor cared if they even understood he was being sarcastic but it certainly made him feel better in the moment. For now the question of what to even do with the troublesome twosome was still burning itself ever clearer into his mind while he scrutinised the pair of them.


...Where'dya learn to fight like that anyway? Both of you. That wasn't just some common street thug beatdown, I heard the whispers.

Dad taught me how to fight. Protect the farm.

>Ram answered quickly and simply, which made Jackson's job a lot easier even it raised an eyebrow that the twiggy bird was so damn strong before he turned to the regal criminal he had. Elves were funny creatures all right, but he still didn't buy that she was one. Most of them weren't that short for one, but she seemed more like a pointy eared barbarian than the graceful tree huggers he remembered from Etera.


>It didn't matter that much anyway where she came from. He wasn't the type to pry but if he could figure out that talent for fighting...Then there was something they could do for him all right, and it might just shut everything up if he could be sure of it.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560294

>>41560292

>judging by the smug, self-satisfied look on Aurisa’s face, the sarcasm was lost on her entirely

>as for his question, though:

>she grunted irritably and shrugged as if it weren’t a particularly interesting story, but went on anyways

Hunting. Hunt elk, hunt wolf, hunt bear.
>and people.
>but Jackson didn’t need to know about that one.

And father – elf-king – want strong heir. Make us fight when young.
>she put on a sarcastic, mocking tone, as if imitating a parent telling a child to clean their room
“Cull weak”, he say. “Kingdom strong, make forest bigger. Make elf pure again.” Make us fight even more when grown.

>she sighed, looking down at the wooden knife in her hand for a long moment

>eventually, she looked back to Jackson and noted in a tone with, for once, no hint of egotistical pride

Aurisa fight many brothers and sister. Aurisa win.

Jackson and Ramiel!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560303

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>>41560294

>That was remarkably more sombre than Jackson had intended for it to be, with that...disturbing little revelation. He went quiet, brows furrowing in deep thought as he tried to recall even the slightest bit of knowledge he had about elves that were so...well, barbaric.


...I see.

>Was all Jackon supplied to that topic. Ram meanwhile looked over at her, confused. That wasn't right. Dads weren't meant to make their kids fight other kids, they were meant to stop them. That's what his dad said. Was there something wrong with her dad? Maybe he needed fixing.


>He was about to voice such a thing, when Jackson cut across him.


Well, if the pair of you can fight, I might have an idea. One of the boats in this flotilla is all about watching people do that. Beats the pair of you going and grabbing things, and I get to use you as productive members of my crew.

...But I thought you said fighting's bad.

>Ramiel piped up, clearly puzzled, Jackson turned to him and shrugged his shoulders


Fighting's bad when I don't ask you to do it. Now I'm asking. You get in there, you beat up whoever the other person is, capiche?

>More importantly, he could pass them off as just being his new overzealous arena combatants who just didn't really know when to calm down! That ought to satisfy everybody thinking about his supposed power plays...

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560357

>>41560303

>Aurisa hummed thoughtfully to herself at the proposal

>sure, she enjoyed a scrap as much as the next red-blooded wood elf warrior-princess, but the whole reason she had ended up here (as in Arcadia in general, not necessarily Jackson’s office mid-tell-off) was because she wanted to be better than constantly mauling people to varying degrees of almost-death
>she hadn’t necessarily had any fun beating up on the random hired goons earlier; she had just been doing her job and protecting a friend – and even then, she had still taken the time to patch up the worst of the damage she had done
>but if Jackson wanted them to fight, then she was bound by her honor and pride to accept the challenge

>man, this was a tricky situation to think through, especially for someone not very accustomed to thinking.


...Aurisa accept.

>she finally said after a few moments of silence

>but then, she rose one finger to punctuate an announcement

On condition! Aurisa done hurting people unless have to. Not fight anyone not deserve to hurt.

Jackson and Ramiel!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560374

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>>41560357

As long as Aurisa does it, I will too.

>Ram nodded along. He hadn't quite the same level of reticence that she had, only a general sense of not wanting to be hurt. Fighting had been a part of his life when defending the farmstead and something he had to get used to once his father started to age. Nothing more worrisome than a nasty scrape here and there or a broken bone.


>But if it was what he could help with then he'd do it. He was strong for a reason, right?


>Jackson meanwhile, wasn't in the habit of lying, but he also couldn't just let her out to make a meal of every other task that he had available for a new worker. He couldn't guarantee that everybody she'd fight would be somebody who 'deserved it.' The criteria was vague as to be untenable.


>Or, was it? Jackson leaned back in his chair as he thought. This was hardly the place where the noble and good made their fortune. There were no shortages of cutthroats and backstabbers that came to Arcadia for the fun that it could offer without the confines of law. And its colusseum was certainly more relaxed than the ones that populated mainland Etera as to allow for less savoury practices and the chances of death. Plenty of people chose Arcadia to enact their more...unpleasant desires legally.


...I can't guarantee that, but I can definitely promise you that there's no shortage of people that are far from a model citizen in any society. If you're not looking to fight anybody and everybody, then how about a compromise? You win a few fights and prove that you're capable of pulling your weight for me, and I give you the chance to learn how to do something that isn't that. Properly, with teaching and everything.

I've got plenty of strings I can pull outside of the Medusa as long as it's in Arcadia...So, do we have an accord...?

>He extended a hand towards the Elven 'princess' as he scrutinised her.


>He wasn't sure how to bargain with somebody when he didn't know what they wanted but Jackson Romero was not a quitter. He had reasonable expectations and aimed for them by gum.

beatCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560462

>>41560374

>despite Jackson’s assurances, Aurisa still looked a bit wary

>sure, she still wasn’t super psyched up to go hurting people who didn’t need to be hurt, but the latter part of the offer was tempting
>her main goal since she had wandered into the world outside the forest was to try to learn as much as she could, absorb every bit of these incredible new ways of life as she could, all in the hopes of bringing them back home to drag her people kicking and screaming into the modern, not-pointlessly-murdery world
>it was a tricky little moral conundrum; hurt a few people in exchange for knowledge that could potentially avert ten times as much violence in the long run


...Mhm.

>Aurisa likewise extended her hand

>not that she got out of her seat to do it, so there was still a few feet of empty space between them
>she still didn’t quite get the intricacies of the whole “handshake” thing, but she got the relevant parts

Jackson and Ramiel!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560512

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>>41560462

>Jackson rolled his eyes and leaned forward, clasping his hand around Aurisa's own and shaking it firmly. What kind of elf didn't even know what a handshake was??


It's a deal. And I make good on my deals.

>Not that those words meant anything, given that everybody said they did so as to encourage people to make deals with them, Jackson distantly remarked to himself in his head. Not that he would voice this to the princess because that was not how one negotiated.


Anything goes out there, not that anybody's used 'anything goes' as an excuse to not kill the other guy, but who knows, maybe you'll get famous for not immediately stooping to murder.

>Which suited Jackson just fine. Any kind of famous brought in every kind of profit. He didn't know where this would lead or what would happen, but he was absolutely sure that for right now, it was necessary. Both for him, and for her. If necessity forced this together, then at the very least both of them should benefit.


>It's the key to a healthy business.

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560740

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>>41560219
Hmmmm well, if we leave the city at noon most of the caravans will be heading out as well. We can hitch a ride with them and save some foot travel time I think. It'd also be a little safer to travel in numbers like that...

>Though there was one last thing that needed to be done prior to that.


But first, I need to go to the Collage and speak to the headmaster. She said that it was important that I come see her before I leave on my journey proper...

>She never said why, but she had that glint in her eye that meant she was planing something grand.... maybe.

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41560837

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>>41560740

Your...old teacher wished to see you?

>How very informal. Castell had never met the Master of Mugen Temple, at least not personally. Was this a western thing? Or maybe it was just a non-monk thing. Either way, Castell's eyebrows raised and he nodded, clearly confused but not in any position to say otherwise.


Very well then. I'll follow as you go.

Though I have to confess, I am quite interested to see the college up close.

>And he was. A shining golden theatre sounded so entirely unlike anything that he could see at home that he just...wanted to see the full scope of the decadence, of what this place of learning was supposed to be. Part of him was also curious to see if there were more people like Sherry there, but he was trying to keep that voice quiet in his head.


Whenever you're ready, ma'am.

Sherry Palomino!aLEJudith.Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41561235

File: 1585022407548.png (205.98 KB, 512x724, __mata_hari_fate_grand_order_a…)

>>41560837
I can give you a tour! I promised to show you some interesting stuff in Haar before we left and the Collage is very interesting! And Headmaster Claudia is even more interesting.

>While Sherry was excited, Barbara could only sigh as she thought about the Headmaster. That little woman was such a paradox.


Headmaster Claudia Augustine not only founded and runs the Collage of Prefomance and Musical arts, but has used it's success to gain a seat on the Gold Council, the government body that runs Ashore. For all her... eccentricities, she's a very influential person.

But we'll be fiiiiiiiine, she'll probably be delighted to have someone else admire her greatness!

Castell Rayaki!Ren/VL7f/QCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 41561236

File: 1585066954034.jpg (89.64 KB, 649x636, Ohdear.jpg)

>>41561235

>A very interesting college and a very interesting headmaster. Truly nothing less could have produced his charge for today.


Well, I'll have to see if her greatness is one to admire.

>Business was not his strong suit, and this particular part of the world seemed very focused on it. Perhaps this was one of the few things he should thank about his upbringing, Castell thought to himself. Money came and went and none of it was of particular importance to him, beyond what he earned in his tasks for the Temple.


>It was freeing, in a strange way. It was certainly freeing him from the shortcomings of what having an abundance of money could do to you, as Sherry proved upon her arrival to Kuka. While it didn't make up for the other problems the life presented, Castell couldn't entirely ignore the few positives it had.


>So, for now he'd just coast on that interest he had, and look forward to seeing that big golden building up close. Just how it looked alone was enough to make it entirely different from home, and that was a good start.


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