Saren’s Rest is where Hunter and Ardul live when they’re not doing something else and where an increasing number of other Iyesgarthian’s… not live but convalesce. It’s also a place to train, such as if say one is a human learning the delicate arts of mastering a plasma sword as indeed one might if one wanted to not cut one’s own arm off.
At the moment Penelope and Sophia are not present which is probably much to Kaji’s relief and at present Hunter is doing something that can best be described as ‘lounging’.
Lounging with with a big cup of iced tea in front of an open doorway in the warehouse Ardul uses to train. Because it’s July. And it’s HOT. And he has fur.
His jacket tied around his waist, Kaji’s given up on going through sword forms with his nifty light stick and has collapsed into a chair himself. “Good thing we didn’t go wandering out to Vanished Point in this weather,” he mutters, grasping a fan that’s folded itself into being before reaching his hand.
He’d love to go swimming or something right now. Or have it rain. The former would probably be easier, but given everything that’s been going on lately, they had plenty of more important things to do than go for a dip somewhere.
Kaji wouldn’t enjoy swimming around here, there are things that lurk in the water that had big gnashy teeth and other things.
Ardul had been watching as Kaji moves through his forms, assessing him with her cool grey eyes. She … doesn’t seem to be bothered by the heat but then her wings move slightly and stir the air around her. “Are you done practicing then, Kaji?” she asks quietly. There’s something different about the blonde since they returned from saving Penelope.
Which is evidenced by the way she smiles at Hunter and says “What do you think, Hunter? Will we make a soldier of him yet?” Not … my Lord. And what’s that mark on her hand – on the fleshy part between her thumb and forefinger?
“Eeehhhhhh. Soldier?” A fighter sure. A duelist even. Kaji could be a formidable duelist. But a soldier? Hunter doesn’t know that the young man has the temperament for it. Maybe after Rifts Earth has hardened his outlook a bit, if indeed it does.
Hello Kaji-dono. The voice comes from behind Ardul and sounds like a stringed instrument taught to speak. And it kind of is. A slender, almost ethereal foxlike being with silky white fur is laying on a cushion on the ground that simply wasn’t there before. In front of it is a koto which it plucks at with its claws filling the whole room with oriental music.
Hello Ardul-san, Hunter-san.
“I’m wiped,” Kaji sighs, fanning himself, futile as it might be for how small the origami fan is that he’s made and how generally warm the air within the room is. He’s still not sure what all had happened in their abrupt trip to get Penelope some help after being infected by nanites, but he can only assume it’s gone…well?
Ardul at least sounds more like herself, although if the necromancer’s noticed the mark she sports on her hand, he’s not figured out a good time to ask about it. But then it’s hard to when you’re thrown back into routine.
He wipes the back of a hand across his forehead, leaving his hair sticking up oddly. It’s gotten a bit long and shaggier in general, but he keeps forgetting to have it trimmed. “I don’t wanna be a soldier~~” he says, letting his chair tip back a bit on its rear legs. The voice that speaks up, even without the accompanying strain of music startles him all the same, and his chair sets down on all fours rather loudly as he jerks forward in his seat. “Ah! Kazue-dono… Um. What brings you here?”
“Fighter than. Perhaps a Knight. Sophia would think that was rather romantic, don’t you think?” The Winged Woman moves to stand next to Hunter and loop her arm through his. She’s certainly teasing the youth, just a little bit.
The sound of strings has the blonde lifting her head. “Greetings….” She hasn’t met this creature before but Kaji seems to know it.
“Kaji, will you introduce me to your … friend?” She’s not worried, clearly. She trusts Kaji.
As to Penelope, she’s healed – in a way. Things will become clearer when Kaji sees her again.
There’s a face made at that suggestion. Sophia’s nice and all, but a little too…much. Yeah. “…although a friend of mine once offered to train me to be a cyber knight…” He smiles faintly, wondering where ol’ Ted Mercier could be now.
“-oh, right! Ardul, Hunter, this is Kazue- um… Arachne mentioned her, kind of,” he explains, glancing back towards the fox-creature. “Or at least, she mentioned ‘Breath of Kazue’…”
We will meet before now, soon. Kazue nods to Ardul with a rather enigmatic smile. I came because you’ve yet to learn the name of the wind, though you have found the one who will teach you.
Multicolored eyes fix on Ardul when she says that making Hunter stand and frown slightly.
“Ardul knows the name of the wind?” Beat. “What… exactly IS the name of the wind?”
It is that which cannot be known, only taught.
Well isn’t this creature just a fun bundle of contradictions. Hunter’s expression says that clearly. Well that and ‘I wonder if I can eat it.’
“Cyber Knights…” Ardul smirks at Kaji biting her tongue on anymore teasing and bows her head in Kazue direction. “A pleasure to meet you.”
That’s all she gets out before she looks at the creature strangely “Before now, soon? Thaaaaat doesn’t make sense…” She murmurs to Hunter, looking to see if he caught that. What follows is even more perplexing and she frowns.
“Just how will I teach Kaji something that I do not know myself?” The wind. Does this have something to do with flying? Because really, Kaji doesn’t have wings and … she’s not fashioning him any.
Kazue’s response, typical as he’s come to know them to be, already has Kaji rubbing at the spot between his eyebrows as he squints.
“Uuuh, wait, Ardul will?” He blinks at the supernatural fox-creature before glancing down at his hand and what he holds. Come to think of it, she’d said something about the name of the wind when he’d first met her.
“…does it have to do with that fan you lent me? -crap, I forgot to bring it back to Sanka’a…”
Kazue smiles as Kaji mentions the fan and Ardul might well… ask about that. Which should be entertaining given her attitude on magic and magical things. Iyesgarthians don’t always… get along well with them.
“If she doesn’t know it now how is she supposed to…?” Hunter rubs his ears and frowns.
The Name of the Wind can only be called forth by one who has forgotten who she is. Kazue says, strokes on her koto seeming to turn serious. Ardul-san will teach it to Kaji-dono, but she must first apprehend it herself. It lies with a Queen who has lost her kingdom and her name. It is held in the shards of Ardul-san’s broken oaths. And it is nearby. Hunted so that it might show those who would master the wind her wings.
What… is she talking about?
Ardul’s head … hurts from Kazue words and she gives Kaji a look. “Fan? It’s in your hand. What does the Captain of the Guardsman want with that?” No, not that fan, but the blonde doesn’t know that and she’s totally and utterly confused. Just wait till Kaji mentions magic.
“A Queen who has lost her kingdom and her name…” That can only be Nina, surely. Has Nina forgotten who she was? Or are Kazue’s words more metaphorical? The Winged Warrior quivers at the mention of broken oaths and turns troubled eyes to Hunter, it bothers her still that she’s oath-sworn. Not that she’d change things, of course.
“You … mean Nina, don’t you? The Princep-Elect of Iyesgarth. Showing our wings, Kaji, is our way of abeyance … ” Which means this has something to do with Nina’s uncle and … all of that.
But where to start?
Pulling himself out of his seat, Kaji tugs at the knot of his jacket sleeves tied about his waist before tossing the jacket on the chair so he can have easier access to the pack behind him that he wears on his belt.
“Not that one, this fan,” he clarifies as he pulls out the slender bar of teak edged in metal. He’d tucked the thing into his pouch with the intent of returning it, but if it wasn’t the captain of the Armsmen going missing then the matter had simply just slipped his mind.
He looks from Hunter to Ardul, and then shakes his head. Kazue’s riddles make even less sense to him, really.
Her name is her own no longer. She must be given a new one or lose herself forever. If not you, the Name of the Wind may pass into darkness. You will find her among the ghosts of those taken by the ancient watcher, Croatoan.
The fox thing bows once more and then just vanishes as if she were a mirage to begin with.
“What… the… actual… hell?”
“My … thoughts exactly …” Ardul mutters looking to where Kazue had been. That Kaji has not one, but two fans is not lost on the Iyesgarthian and she’ll deal with that in just a moment.
“It has to be Nina it’s referring to but I don’t know about this Croatoan. Does the name mean anything to either of you?” Why does this sound like another quest they’ll be embarking on? And why does Ardul feel that Penelope and Sophia might be needed?
“Kaji, why do you have two fans?”
Kaji sighs at Kazue’s departure, shrugging along with Hunter’s reaction. “Yeah. It’s kinda like that all the time with her,” he admits. “I have no idea what or who a Croatoan is either, though…”
Chuckling a bit, he shakes his head and lets the origami fan unfold itself and reform into a crane, sending it fluttering back to his jacket pocket. “One fan.” He opens the real one with a deft flick of his wrist, revealing the silk previously folded between the wood and sharp steel tines. “I got this from Kazue, back when we were preparing to fight against the Harvesters. She kept making it sound like she’s known me from before, somehow. And that this is mine. …anyway, it’s not just a regular fan.”
He demonstrates, giving a careful, graceful wave almost like a dancer would, to summon the gentlest of breezes to cool the room, impossible for the single motion he’d done.
Hunter frowns and rubs his metal arm. “I remember something about a pre-rifts legend involving an island somewhere around here. Something about… travelers or… colonists or something. It’s a clue. We can ask at the Academy.” Or ask one of the information brokers here in town.
“We should… probably do that soon. Kazue made it sound like Nina is in danger of being found and… repurposed.”
“I wonder if it’s just Kazue’s way of speaking…” Ardul frowns. “Or if she has a delicate grasp on time…” The fox-thing seems to have a casual relationship with the terms at least. “But it does, doesn’t it, Hunter? We can see an Information Broker but Kaji, if you’re heading back to Vesper, maybe you could speak with the Academy?”
The fan demonstration definitely draws a deeper frown from the blonde. “And that was supposed to help you fight the Harvesters?” She sounds … doubtful. Magic, after all, isn’t her thing.
“I’ll question my people some more. If you’d both like to help me, that would be good but we shouldn’t delay…” Something isn’t sitting right with the Winged women. It’s probably just worry for Nina, right?
Kaji frowns. “Colonists? Hmm…” Something about it seems vaguely familiar, but he can’t outright recall anything. “Too bad the internet doesn’t work here. Then I could just look it up on my phone.” Checking the Academy or something sounded like the next best thing though.
Snapping the fan closed again, he smiles almost darkly over at Ardul. “Using it at full power in here would be a pretty bad idea. And paired when paired with fire?”
He slips the fan away again, fastening the pouch closed. “I should head back to check on things anyway, so sure, I can stop by the Academy. I’ll see if I can catch the next ferry across.” He’s in agreement that the sooner they figured things out, the better, for Nina’s sake especially.
“I’ll help. Let’s get moving though.” Hunter rolls his shoulder and glances upward as if thinking. Then he beckons to Ardul and heads on out. Time to get to work. Again.
Ardul, Hunter and Kaji have an unusual but not completely unknown visitor who informs them of tasks they didn't realize they had any part in.
July 16, 2411