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  1. #1
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    EXP: 14,903, Level: 5
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    Level completed: 16%,
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    Sukoshi Kitsune's Avatar

    GP
    1,824

    Name
    Lilith Kazumi
    Location
    Corone

    Let Loose the Fox of War (Closed to Philomel)

    Akashima idled away the years as ever it did. Though free of the tyranny of the Shogunate, its people found new chains to bind themselves in. Freedom of thought, as Lilith discovered, had its own shortcomings. The populous had never had to think for themselves, following law and dictate blindly since Akashima gained its independence.

    “I’m getting tired of being blocked in Senate over trifling differences.”

    “This is what you asked for, Mistress. You must find a way to overcome these challenges.”

    The nekojin sat opposite smiled and bowed, dutiful to the last. Even as her family scattered to the winds and the very fabric of her home came undone, by her side he remained. Even death had not stopped his servitude, too stubborn to die if she still breathed.

    “Neko, you’re unsufferable sometimes.” Lilith looked out the window at the downpour. “But I welcome your loyalty.”

    “A contradiction if ever I heard one,” the cat smiled. “Shall I pour us more tea?” He gestured with a paw to the tea set on the table between them.

    “No thank you. Even tea has become less a ritual and more a burden. All the things we used to find peace in are gone.”

    “…you are going off tea?”

    Lilith had spent nearly a decade as the paragon of the Senate, guiding it towards the true return of democracy in her homeland. Resistance at first was strong, a bastion of ignorance baring progress. Only once the Shogun’s palace was burnt to the ground and the restorations complete from the wrath of the Oni did she gain ground.

    “It’s just not the same anymore. I think it’s time for a change of scenery.”

    Neko wrinkled his snout. “You are nestled in the lap of luxury amidst a new frontier. No one dare touch you. Yet, forgive me mistress, you want for more?” He began to clear away the cups onto a bamboo tray.

    “Oh don’t lecture me, I know how it sounds. Let us go out.”

    “Out?”

    “Out. You know what I mean. Go out on the town. See the city we’ve worked so hard for come alive.” Lilith pushed herself up from the mound of delicate pillows and stretched her legs.

    “If you’re referring to the naitokurabu on the east side I have to decline.”

    Neko referred to the entertainment district, a hodgepodge of okiya and bars in which the hard-working citizens, as Lilith oft put it, ‘let loose’. Neko had only heard of the tales spilling out from them like nightmares. They were the very epitome of freedom of expression.

    “Then allow me to rephrase,” Lilith waved her hand over her face and a delicate porcelain mask appeared in the visage of a fox. “You and are are going out.”

    Neko finished clearing away their afternoon tea and rose, tray in hand, and grimace on his face.

    “You’re already drunk on power, mistress.”

    “There is always, always room for more alcohol.” She nodded. “Put that down, we can worry about it in the morning.”

    Lilith twirled on the spot and her simple nightgown transformed into a nine tailed mix between her two selves: fox and geisha. It was the perfect disguise for a world of masquerades and misanthropy. It was also the perfect veil to allow a senator reprieve from her own infamy.

    “But mistress, I have nothing to wear.” Clad in a simple tunic and loose pants, Neko looked every bit the spirit-warder. “You go on, I’ll finish the speech for the summit with Corone.”

    Lilith stared intently, light dancing outward from behind her mask. The expression on her friend’s face was a mix of sour disgust and fear.

    “Fine. Suit yourself. I’d say don’t wait up, but I know you will.”

    She flicked her tails one after the other, flexing her muscles and channelling her newfound power into the air before her. Lilac and lavender filled the air and lingered in Neko’s nostrils long after Lilith stepped through the fiery portal. Neko stared at where she had stood for several minutes, wrestling with following her or retiring early to meditate. Torn, he set the tray down and ran off to his chambers to find something suitable to wear. Every step he mumbled curse words in ancient tongues, wishing for a return to the days when swords did the talking, not senators.

  2. #2
    Administrator

    EXP: 111,887, Level: 14
    Level completed: 53%, EXP required for next Level: 7,113
    Level completed: 53%,
    EXP required for next Level: 7,113


    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    15,775

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

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    Springtime. A Monday. The weather was turning dreary and the streets were quiet at the naitokubaru.

    People were few along the cobbles. Politeness and practicality meant that those who were not working in the middle of the day as it was, or they saw the greying day as an ill omen. Either way, the faun who clopped her way down one of the main alleyways felt a little put-out as she saw less than she had been expecting.

    There was little to nothing of the bright colours and the entertainment that the faun had come here to distract herself with. Recently times in her life had led her to bed such distractions; her home city of Radasanth had surely suffered enough under the siege by her lover (and now, by strange circumstance, ally) Shinsou van Osiris. The would very much had rotated recently, and not simply in the ways of welcoming a new day. With the strange apocalyptic recent events of the volcano at Lorenor and the striking meteor that broke up as fiery rain over Corone, life seemed all grey-skied. Thus, Philomel had come to the old country of Akashima, a place she had previously found peace, and where she hoped she would find it again.

    Of course no journey would be but without her soul's other half. His paws barely made any sound as he tiptoed over the cobbles with her, a silent partner to her heavy hooves. He was, literally now they knew, the brother to her soul, and even though he took the form of a fox the two of them never had felt closer in kinship.

    Are you okay? Veridian asked softly as they turned a corner.

    Philomel's eyes glanced along quickly the length of the street before she let out a frustrated sigh.

    "Okay as I'll ever be, beloved," she said in gnarled voice.

    The fox's ears twitched a little. Letting it a little huff he swung his brush tail and looked up at her with bright golden eyes. It's not all that bad, Philomel.

    "Oh really? It's not. Just my thoughts in tatters, my heart in tatters, Shinsou gone for now, this Arius dangerous, and-"

    The city of our home struggling to get back to normality? Safely, the earth-spirit nodded his vulpine had. Indeed, and that is why we have come here. To find distraction. Now even though the promise of rain has kept some off the streets it is not the end of the world.

    We've already lived through that.
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

  3. #3
    Newcomer

    EXP: 14,903, Level: 5
    Level completed: 16%, EXP required for next Level: 5,097
    Level completed: 16%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,097


    Sukoshi Kitsune's Avatar

    GP
    1,824

    Name
    Lilith Kazumi
    Location
    Corone
    Yoro Umezawa, after the war with the Greater Oni and the grand skirmishes with the last of the Shogun’s ronin had settled. Unlike many in Akashima, what he settled for was to hold himself to the self-same esteem that had guided the ninja clans to survival. Though he had, reportedly, hung up his blades he fought his own private war in another, new, and exciting battleground: the night clubs of Capitol. He owned the two finest, most reputable, but also most debauchee of establishments. Lilith had it on good authority those blades were not, in fact, on his mantel. They still swung in the moonlight to napes of those who disturbed the peace or brought shame to his house.

    Though he seldom made an appearance in person, patrons would spend hours amongst the carnival of lights and sensations in the hopes of catching a glimpse. In truth, Yoro spent most nights on the floors, masquerading as one of the clubs many fantastical creatures that had torn open the boundaries between reality and madness. One night he was a spidery hag, the next a lithe lizard faced brute. Nobody in Capitol had seen his true face for decades.

    “Which one are you tonight,” Lilith mused as she crossed the bustling street and came to the front of the Golden Dawn.

    Needing no introductions, the bouncer pulled aside the barrier and let the geisha in. The swirling sensations of Capitol’s ever busy entertainment district fell away to echoing bass tones of distant drums. Lilith composed herself as she descended a wooden staircase lined with traditional art. It was a remnant of the okiya once housing the city’s prospective meiko, left as a nod to the old ways.

    “Probably in the paintings…” amused, she counted the matrons who had spurned her all those years ago and stopped in front of the last photo. “Good lord.”

    Staring back at, the face of Tashiro Umezawa was unforgettable. A stern, cold figure, she had moulded Lilith into the woman she was. The senator had seemingly forgotten the ties that bound the famous and noble of her home.

    “That’s why he keeps saying it’s good to have me home.” She had always presumed there was another motive, but now she remembered the shy, aloof boy who had spent the summers with his grandmother the connection was clearer.

    Leaving the corridor behind, she pushed against the paper wall that served as a feeble barrier to the wonders beyond. The moment she opened the hidden door music spilled over her, the distant drums sudden and looming and the sound of a hundred voices high on life and darker things excited her.

    “Kazumi-sama,” a serving call said seemingly appearing from thin air. “It is good to have you with us.”

    Lilith bolted about, and relaxed when she saw an old friend. “I am pleased to you so too, Aki.” They bowed, Aki’s greeting lower to remind Lilith she was long past being able to sneak in unnoticed. “Oh, stop. Titles aside, you are equal in my eyes.”

    “Not here, Kazumi-sama. Not with people watching. Shall I see you to a table?” With pleading eyes, Aki returned to tradition and waited for her orders.

    “Suit yourself. Yes please, a booth with a view of the stage if one is available.” Lilith looked beyond through the gloom and smoke veil. She could see the booths were full.

    “One just became available,” Aki said, scuttling off with a gesture for Lilith to follow. “Your usual table in fact.”

    Lilith sighed. She was not used to such treatment. Democracy was supposed to bring equality, but some habits died too slowly. Following, she wove through the crowds of stern housewives and wastrels. She checked each face against her known list of aliases for their patron and her heart sank when she did not see him.

    “This table is reserved,” Aki said, a dangerous edge to her voice that Lilith knew was sign she had pledged her heart to the Onobi clan. Their agents held sway over men that defied reason. Others called it magic, but in Akashima, Aki was a Spirit-Warder and held sway over things far beyond the Tap. When the patrons laughed at her, they soon scuttled away abandoning their seats at the site of her eyes burning with umbral fire.

    “Aki, a few coins under the table would have sufficed.” Lilith rested her hand on the girl’s shoulder when she finally caught up. “Change may have come, but you’re still vulnerable.”

    “I am, Kazumi-sama, but less than last we met.”

    Lilith felt for the girl, though knew the allure of the clans had its power over all orphans. A sense of belonging when the world had spurned you was what drew her to the Kazumi clan. Though they were technically rivals, no war had made friends of old enemies.

    “I can see that.” Lilith said proudly. “One day you’ll let me address you Aki-sama without running out of the room.”

    Aki flinched. “No, Kazumi-sama, I will never be as you are. You are a senator.” Aki edged away, bowing ceremoniously and as Lilith noted, far too low.

    “Mark my words, I’ll change your mind one day!” Lilith remembered why she came. “But if it pleases you, I’ll have sake, the house platter, and whatever Yoro has left behind the bar for me.”

    Aki made a mental note of the order and disappeared into the crowd. Lilith chuckled behind her mask, wishing she had chosen a less auspicious masquerade. Just as the nightclubs retained semblances of their old ways, she had fallen afoul of her own moniker and now everyone in Akashima knew who the White Fox was. She edged gracefully into the booth then sat with an unceremonious slouch.

    “I am so looking forward to this.”

    All around her, on plinths and traditional stages dancers performed old and new arrangements from all walks of life. Geisha to the east in golden trimmed dress praised the summer. Spidery tendrilled hags to the south screamed out high opera. Street performers performed magic to the west. Strange magic throughout the bar made sure only those who were close heard the truth, leaving strange pockets of silence and sobriety covering the booths. Business, as well as pleasure, was blossoming in Akashima’s nightclubs.

    “Your order, Kazumi-sama.”

    Appearing once again out of thin air, Aki set out Lilith’s drink and sashimi before her with grace and dexterity. Another flurry of bows signalled the girl’s departure before Lilith had time to mutter another offence to her stature. The white fox blinked, tried to form words, and gave up.

    “Thank you Aki-sama,” she said to no one in particular.

    Reaching for the chopsticks, Lilith settled down to her dinner and made short work of the sake. No matter how much she poured, though, the bottle never cooled or emptied. Soon enough, her head was electrified with ideas and markers of diminished responsibility. The geisha wished her newfound divinity did not so expertly combat the mortal inebriation she had, for so many years, relied on to escape the troubles of the day. She was so engrossed in preparing for her first performance in years she did not see she wasn’t the only fox in the Golden Dawn that night.

  4. #4
    Administrator

    EXP: 111,887, Level: 14
    Level completed: 53%, EXP required for next Level: 7,113
    Level completed: 53%,
    EXP required for next Level: 7,113


    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    15,775

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

    View Profile
    He pricked up his jet-tipped ears at the clitter-clatter of bamboo flooring. Tatami, he reminded himself was what it was called, intricately and tightly woven material that was a hell to clean because of all the tiny crevices. Glad we he that he was not the one who needed to get down on knee and elbow to scrub it until the dried vegetation shone.

    Their attendant took small and gentle steps over the flooring in their geta, tapping out a rhythm that made a stark contrast to Philomel's own stomping beats. The faun - despite being in a place of honour and pleasure, and being all-round respectful of cultures - did not dull her hoofbeats to calm them to a limited volume. Keratin and bamboo naturally did not work together well, for it produced the most ungainly of sounds. But the Matriarch would not abstain on making at least some form of announcement in this small paradise that was the entertainment house they had wandered into.

    Veridian nosed the air, punctuating her strides. He wondered at the bright and fantastical colours that dressed the attendants and imagined Philomel in something similar. The very idea made him begin to chortle, and as the guttral sound started to emerge from his vulpine throat he found himself beginning to not adhere to the conditions of social interaction here. Perhaps his laugh would be the accent that her hoofbeats were becoming.

    But his laughter and amusement quickly feel to naught. Their finely dressed attendant halted suddenly, all to purse rose red painted lips and then smile. She leant over to a wall, at a hand against the surrealist cherry blossom and gently pulled back the sliding partition. In there was a small eating place, with a low table, chairs, an exquisite room heater.

    "I guess this is us," Philomel grunted, stepping into the small alcove of a room.

    The geisha smiled and inclined her head.

    "I will be back with tea," she said in the gentlest of voices. "Madam and fox."

    Veridian flicked his tail as he headed right for the cushion cloest to the heater. He let out a soft nicker, stretching out before making an effort to splendidly lounge.

    The attendant smiled at them briefly before turning to leave. The partition wall was slid back, revealing a painted scene of a picnic on the other side. Philomel rubbed her cheek, wondering if coming into the Golden Dawn was the right decision or not; it was too late now.

    "Hmm," she said, gazing at the plush but plain decor and preparing to take a seat. "This is different from when we were here last with Sakura."

    "Sakura is a midwife," Veridian said in a grumble of a voice, still not quite used to the fact he could use it. "Not an entertainer."

    "That makes no difference," the faun said, "she's my friend." Slowly, she began to sit, with her fox watching with golden eyes.

    Her soft rump met material, her hooves scraped on the ground. She had to bend her swords back to avoid stabbing the tatami outright.

    Of course it was only when she was comfortable that the crash happened.
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

  5. #5
    Newcomer

    EXP: 14,903, Level: 5
    Level completed: 16%, EXP required for next Level: 5,097
    Level completed: 16%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,097


    Sukoshi Kitsune's Avatar

    GP
    1,824

    Name
    Lilith Kazumi
    Location
    Corone
    Three bottles of sake down and still only pleasantly buzzing, Lilith cursed the changes in both herself and her home. She swirled the dregs of her last cup and watched the crowds ebb and flow around her. She cursed the magic which kept conversations out of earshot and added scenarios to each booth based on what she saw. Still nothing. No excitement. No release. No drama.

    The crash was exactly what she needed to hear. A thundering roll followed by a clatter; somebody, somewhere, spilt their drink in surprise. Pricking her ears and narrowing her eyes, Lilith rose from her seat and scanned the club for clues. What she saw filled her heart with gladness and sadness at the same time.

    “Neko, you great oath, get over here!” She waved at her companion feverishly.

    As he entered, the nekojin had been swift overwhelmed by the barrage on his senses. Everything he saw shattered his conservative world view. The people of Akashima had, according to he, come undone from their senses.

    “What in the kami’s name is this place?” he seethed as he approached. It took him several minutes as he had to bow apologetically to everyone he passes.

    “The best place in Akashima to blend in.” Lilith sat then corrected herself. “Unless you’re you.”

    “I did not see the…whatever that was until it was too late.”

    Lilith wished she had seen him go arse over tit. “Are you hurt?”

    Neko pouted. He sat opposite and inspected the three empty sake bottles. “Not as much as your liver will be tomorrow.”

    “You know full well I can drink gallons to get the same drunk you get from a thimble.” She did not wait for him to object. “Meiko, drinks on table twelve!”

    In a heartbeat, a serving girl appeared by their booth and bowed. She beamed a smile from behind humble make-up and the tell-tale lesser dress of a geisha in training. She cleared away the empty bottles and appeared to vanish the dirty plates with a wave of her hand. Though not yet skilled in entertainment, Yoro’s staff were hired for other talents. Many had been spirit warders or shinobi before the war ended.

    “Aki sends her regards, Kazumi-sama.”

    “Yet hides in the kitchen rather than be fetched another compliment.”

    The meiko smiled meekly. “You are too kind to her.”

    “Aki?” Neko’s ears twitched. “She works here now?”

    “I’ll tell you later, after this beauty tells me her name.”

    “Nuri, of Clan Oshiro.”

    “I knew your father, Nuri – a man wise as he was stubborn.”

    “They say The White Fox was once a ninja.”

    “They say many things about me. But tell me, Nuri-sama, what do you think of the Senate?” She smirked. “Of the senator.”

    Nuri’s smiled faded into a dour grimace.

    “It is not my place to spread rumours, Kazumi-sama.” She took the compliment better than Aki but still appeared uncomfortable. “I can however spread good cheer, if you would permit me to take your order?”

    “Fine, fine, have it your way. Let us move on to something stronger than sake. As fine as Yoro’s is it doesn’t excite me.” She turned to Neko, the only person in the room who looked like he was about to die of embarrassment. “Ambrosia, perhaps?”

    “That will be fine.” The nekojin appeared distracted, ear turned to one of the closed booths on the eastern wall.

    Lilith pouted. “I’m not going to argue with that. Ambrosia, if you would please. Perhaps if it is still open, we could have some fire chili ramen also?”

    Nuri did not wait around for long. She vanished into nothingness and a wisp of smoke. Lilith watched Neko in silence, trying to guess what was on his mind. Defeated, she reached across the table and bopped him playfully on his nose.

    “Hey! What’s that face for?”

    Neko bristled his whiskers. “Can’t you sense it?”

    “The electric atmosphere and the prospect of a night to remember? Of course I can.”

    “Not the debauchery, mistress. That thing in there.” A shaking paw pointed to the closed booth ominously.

    Lilith sighed, expecting it to be nothing. But as she turned her senses to the booth and focussed on what lay beyond her heart quickened and her eyes narrowed.

    “Oh. How curious. How curious indeed.”

    Though she had clocked the fox masked geisha performing traditional opera on the northern stage, she had not sensed the literal fox who gleamed with light through the spirit world gloom all around them. Like the denizens of the club who were kami in human form, whatever the creature was out of view appeared like a blazing sun to Lilith.

    “I thought the Kitsune was the only one?” Neko moved his paws slowly to his concealed weapons.

    “So did I, Neko. But that is not a Kitsune.” At least, she did not think it was. It felt different to the creature that had twinned with her soul. It was freer. It possessed a sense of self that went beyond congealed ideas. “At least not as we know.”

    Less concerned than her companion and more curious, she stood and shuffled out from the table. She pointed to the booth.

    “Where are you going?”

    Lilith chuckled as she advanced.

    “Why to introduce us of course!”

    Before Neko could object, Lilith was at the paper divide and knocking politely on the entry panel.

  6. #6
    Administrator

    EXP: 111,887, Level: 14
    Level completed: 53%, EXP required for next Level: 7,113
    Level completed: 53%,
    EXP required for next Level: 7,113


    Philomel's Avatar

    GP
    15,775

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

    View Profile
    It was a rhythm of three thuds that spoke of a previous adventure and previous joys. As Philomel looked up to see the figure in the space where the sliding door would open and close off their encapsulated world, she had a memory come to her. Of a forest, and tea. Of her and two women, and a dragon. Of fine sun, of speeches and appreciation.

    The Matriarch gaped upon seeing an individual she had not been expecting, in any way. The geisha whom she had known once well, but had not seen for several years.

    At least, someone she had not seen since the fall of ash from the sky, since the end of the world, since her city had been sieged by her best friend.

    Philomel stood, eyes wide, as Veridian nosed his way towards the figure - no figures - and his brush tail swept side to side. A small gasp left the faun's lips, forgetting the crash from before that the two of them had still been debating who should investigate it.

    "Ruby! No that's your sister. Lilith?!"

    Veridian let out an excited yup before jumping onto the table. He looked at the two Akashimans with golden eyes before nodding and agreeing with Philomel's statement. He opened his mouth, testing the words before they came from his mouth freely.

    "Hello again friend. Friends!"

    Philomel gestured, "please, join us for tea. We were just about to ... Look at what had caused the crash. I do not know if you heard it." She was eager for distractions, so very eager.

    "Please," she invited them again, sitting down as Veridian grinned madly. "We'd love to share this with you. We need the familiarity."
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

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