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About Windwright

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  • Birthday 07/30/1987

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  1. FYI, my intent is to let (at least) all the foals go, then have Si Jin count heads (also assuming we have at least a couple of NPC foals) and do a quick 'rules' rundown, then fade into the background and let Lian be the gracious host. (Which is not to say I won't be actively posting, just that most of Si Jin's actions are likely going to be herding foals along, acting as an interpreter for bonus NPCs, and conversing quietly with Mac.)
  2. Sī Jīn listened idly to the chatter around her while the traditional pleasantries were exchanged and Qing stepped forward to taste-tes-Aiya! The hoofmaiden stands from her seat with as much deliberate haste as she could manage without being obvious about it. The chaos allowed her to snag a dumpling from the serving tray and get back into her seat unmolested, her fan covering her muzzle while she tested it herself to identify the...poison..? 'I don't taste anything.' she thought to herself as she chewed. When it didn't provoke a reaction, she swallowed. When THAT failed to cause a reaction, she suddenly understood. A quick nod to Lián confirmed the theory he seemed to have reached already, and she stood to obey his directive to seek out Discor-oh. Liviel had that covered too. Well. If she didn't need to assassinate an assassin, and she didn't need to diplomate...diplomacise? quell the spirit of chaos's (completely understandable) frustrations... A laugh broke through the tense air. Not a quiet chuckle or a demure giggle, but the delighted sort of laughter the Ancesters usually gifted only to foals who were first discovering the joys of life. A triumphant squeal of jubilation. Sī Jīn laughed and dabbed at her eyes with a kerchief. "Goodness, well done Lord Discord! That poor crustacean looked so small there at the end. A wonderful trick!" she exclaimed, less for the draconequus's ego, though she hoped it would help Liviel's efforts, and more to clear the tension before someone said or did something that they'd regret. She fanned herself as if all the excitement were getting to her, though the makeup she wore was as perfect as it had been when she walked in, and added "If this was the main course, I cannot WAIT to see what Shèngjià has planned for dessert!"
  3. [Age of Heroes] A Walk in the Park (semi closed)

    102316.2844 Mauser scratches the back of his neck and glances aside sheepishly. "Eh, heh. Would you believe not? If I'm not on a mission I spend as much time napping as anything else usually. Not that there are many of those days." he says, muttering the last mostly to himself, though he was under no illusion he couldn't be heard. The big dog stood up and stretched, the muscles under his fur rolling visibly, to his full height. "For now though, let's get moving." ---- 152812.1171 And move they did, spending a couple of hours walking the city and exploring the museums. Mauser spent most of his time on two legs, though once or twice he bounded off on all fours to pursue a sound or scent that caught his attention briefly, always ending with a slight frown and a silent moment staring off in a random direction. He led the group to one or two family-oriented museums, and insisted on taking the stairs and paying for everything with bits and bobs from his satchel, then to a sprawling botanical garden on the roof of one of the highrises, and then to the municipal district with no real urgency or plan to his movements. Eventually he calls a halt at the head of a long set of marble stairs before a government building of some sort, silently studying the shadows and nodding to himself. "Just about time now. Take a look at that map we bought and pick a couple places for next time. Too much of the city to see in one go, and we'll have an abundance of opprotunity."
  4. The elderly dragon nods and settles into place at the table, giving the apprentices ample space with which to work. "I favour the blackcurrant myself, though there are merits to a nice cup of chamomile after a long day. Today I shall enjoy the peach blossom though, since these two were kind enough to bring some and I would hate for their efforts to go to waste." she says, gesturing with a claw at the assembled chinaware for the aforementioned apprentices to begin preparing the requested refreshments. "Now, on to why I invited you, xīn'ài de zhínǚ. As you are no doubt aware, We have done something unprecedented in Our history this past year. We have made not one, but FIVE Gifts of Breath to heads of state. One to your...counterpart in Neighpon, and one to each of the four active Princesses of Equestria in the West. And yet there is one Gift conspicuous by its absence." the aged Long starts, using her claws to form five perfect spheres out of the cloudy not-ground arrayed in a hexagon missing the corner nearest the Empress. She pauses a moment, waiting until Yu Yue's face showed a dawning understanding of the implication. "We have power enough for another Pearl," she continues, pulling the five orbs into a single ball, "but it is not yet made. This was not intended to sleight you dear, but to fit you properly it could not be made ahead of time." Yuchou sighs as she takes the ball and works it into an equid shape, followed by a slightly smaller one. "Ordinarily We spend the Emperor's twilight years cognizant of who his or her successor will be, and are able to deliberate amongst Ourselves as to how best to empower and guide the next generation." "However though We applaud your father's choices," the Matron smiles proudly at Yue here, banishing the clouds back to the not-ground, "he sprang it rather suddenly on not only your Empire but us as well, and at a time when Our own council was recovering from the departure of Ao Shenlong." She leans in over the table, lowering her voice to an almost conspiratorial sotto voce that the other guests would need to be deaf not to hear, "We had been prepared that if that one of your eldest siblings ascended we would have provided a Gift to temper some of their wilder habits or to ignite their nobler aspirations, but you caught us rather embarrassingly and somewhat pleasantly off-guard. So rather than embarrass your Court by delaying the ceremony through Our sometimes endless debating, I wanted to ask for your input. Where do you think you will need help the most?" By this point, the tea was ready, and the Matron settled back with her cup nestled delicately between her claws. Granted it would likely scald any pony that held the steaming cup, but Long claws were somewhat inured to heat thanks to the plating.
  5. Short and sweet: I'm looking for Clan Chiyo operatives, contracts, contractors, family members, and Kakikara villagers. Main families are Kaze (no relation), Josei, and Chiyo, but others do live in the village. And of course all of this is OOC Council of Elders: Chiyo Hayate - code name Storm, associated with the colour black Chiyo Akane - code name Crimson, associated with the colour red - The two have at least two foals, one of whom (Hitomi) is persona-non-grata in the village. Chiyo Fumiko Josei Mami Kaze Himeko - has at least one foal, married or mated to Kaze Ichiro Elite Shinobi: Kaze Ichiro Unknown Chiyo sibling At least one shinobi capable of bilocation, at least one capable of sending scrolls via Breath magic. Exiled Shinobi: Chiyo Hitomi - Code name Si Jin, contracted to protect a foreign prince. Current contracts: Hitomi is contracted to protect a foreign prince, was originally contracted to protect Ryuichi's prospective fiancée who is now Empress of Long Guo. It's complicated.
  6. [Age of Heroes] A Walk in the Park (semi closed)

    102038.4228 Mauser nods again. He'd chosen an easy task for the first run so he'd fully expected Mutt to pass the pop quiz. Now for the demonstration. Mauser waits for Rosetta to seat herself again (though he makes no move to take back the bell) and says "Good. Simple enough task, isn't it? You can also use that same sense of hearing to do more advanced things, like count that there were six ground-ponies, two pegasi flying, and a griffon that went by when Rose was out, or if you can focus in some dogs like Mom can tell when some lucky mare is expecting by hearing the extra heartbeat. Admittedly, not a trick I have a lot of practice at. What we're gonna do is this: Each time we come to this cafe, I'm gonna ask you a question, the next day I want you to find the answer. Usually, it'll be a matter of counting, like next time I want to know how many workers are in the back, but eventually I'll ask things based on scent as well." The giant dog leans back on his stool and cushions his head in his big paws. "For now though, why don't we just explore the city? I don't think you guys have had a chance yet, and it's a good opprotunity to do all the tourist things without embarrassing yourself, since nobody but you will remember you doing them. We can start the serious training stuff in a loop or two."
  7. Who Wants This Doge?!

  8. [Age of Heroes] A Walk in the Park (semi closed)

    101546.1285 Mauser nods understandingly. "Yeah, reliably finding food is lesson three, I think. Lessons one and two are the difference between hearing and Hearing and the difference between smelling and Smelling. Like I said, not gonna put you through the training we got, though I think it might not be a bad idea for after, but I want to make sure you know how to use your senses and avoid getting overloaded." He picks up his staff and rummages around without looking, then pulls something out and passes it under the table to Rosetta. There's a tinny little jingle as he does so, since the bell could only be muffled so well by a beefy paw. Especially one being passed to someone who could only hold it because of the thaumicite tag it was attached to. "Rosie's gonna walk up the street, wait, and head back. Your job is to raise a paw before she reaches the door, but after she's past the window. Catch is, you need to look at the delicious meal in front in front of Bahamut I guess. Speaking of, d'you know I caught his tail fluttering once when I called him a 'good boy' as a joke."
  9. Sure enough the prince slept soundly. Lian was a quiet and peaceful sleeper, picturesque some would say. Though he was also a fairly heavy sleeper and at times was as difficult to wake up as a hibernating Long. This day however was not one of those days. The soft rustling of the curtain and the faint beam of light that slipped through coupled with the curious scent of flowers stirred the qilin awake with a soft yawn and a looooong stretch. Through the curtains of his bed he saw the familiar figure of Si Jin. Likely with breakfast, but was she wearing perfume? He didn't take for for the type. Rubbing the sand from his eyes, Lian exhaled and the curtains around his bed parted. "Ahhh. Good morning!~" The hoofmaiden's head jerks up quickly. "Aiya! Oh! Good morning, my prince. S-several matters await your attention after breakfast." she says, tucking the scroll behind her back and cursing her decision not to wear a robe yet. Her mane was already in the tight bun she used before she'd gotten her armor and clothing on, but she had neither as she'd intended to get dressed while Lian did. Ancestors take the timing of it all! The one morning Lian slept lightly. "I trust you slept well?" Lian gave a little nod and a smile as he grabed a brush from his bedside stand and began to comb. "Like a babe. But something is on your mind." he replied as he glanced over at his friend. "You don't usually jump even when I surprise you." The mare blushed a little and, not for the first time, wished she could use her Pearl to store or summon things for her own benefit rather than only for another's. "Some late mail is all, my prince." She said, regaining her composure. "I was not expecting it and it caught me off guard." Not technically untrue. "Oh? Well I certainly hope it was good news! I won't pry into your private matters though." Lian sniffed at the air once more and smiled. "I take it the smell in the air has something to do with the letter as well?" "It was perfumed, yes." She answers, distracted again but more at ease now that she knew Lian wasn't in a teasing mood. She wasn't sure she could handle that just now. Nor how much of Chiyo's inner workings were safe to reveal to him. Well, the clan's inner workings anyway, her own were hardly a mystery. "My waking thought was to ask when you started wearing perfume." he said with a coy little grin. "But I figured better to hold off on that." The prince finished with his mane and rose from his bed with another hardy streeeeetch! "I usually do wear perfume, you just prefer subtle scents. It's easy to lose it in the palace, my prince, with so many lovely mares trying to get your attention." She casts a glance at him from the corner of her eyes and nodded to herself, internally. She'd chosen a poor stallion to fall for, but she'd chosen a good stallion to fall for. The qilin chuckled. "Well should you change your mind on subtle, I'd not argue with a scent like this." Lian grinned as he sat about towards the washroom to brush his teeth and continue his morning routine. Si Jin sighed and wiped the sweat off her brow. She took the opprotunity while Lian was seeing to his ablutions to get herself dressed and the letter tucked, what DID this thing mean..? She understood the message, but why now? And why was she being REWARDED for breaching the contract? She sat in front of Lian's uneaten tray and stared at the letter. It wasn't long before Lian returned. He always had this bad habit of forgetting his meal, brushing his teeth then having to eat and just repeat the process. "One of these days I swear I'll get this." he said with a laugh as he bit into the toast. He was silent for a few moments as he chewed and afterwards as well. "There's something more to that letter. Isn't there?" Si Jin shook her head and sat the letter on the empty tray. "Sorry, prince Lian. It's complicated and I'm not sure I understand, but it bothers me. The letter is from...well, who is not important, but they have the authority to reassign me. Which they have. I think they found out about your sister's...manuever." The prince let his toast clatter to the plate as he looked up at Si Jin. "You're not. Ahem, that is. Your reassignment. It's not taking you far, is it?" The hoofmaid frowns and gestures at the letter, explicitly granting permission for the princec to at least attempt to decipher it. She waits until he starts reading it, then says "The code should be simpler to understand knowing that it's a code. And that the inks are different colors." The prince reads over the letter, studying it quietly. Knowing there's a code does indeed help, but it takes him a few moments to decipher the meaning in his head. When he does though he breathes a sigh of relief. "If I read this right, you've been reassigned to me?" Si Jin nods and smiles , then frowns as she takes the letter back "It...shouldn't have happened though. My...employers don't work that way. It's important to know my original contract was for ten years, not five. That bit of code is a Kachinonai...well it's like an exile, I suppose. I'm not welcome in their village, even if your business should carry you there. That is...light, compared to what others would have received for not reporting a mission's outcome." Lian frowned and stayed quiet for a few moments. Si Jin had her secrets, and the prince was polite enough to never pry deeper than he felt the need. This was one of those times it was best to not ask too much. For now though, the qilin did something he hadn't ever really done before, and embraced Si Jin in a hug. "I am truly sorry if I am the cause of your exile..." Si Jin leaned into the embrace. This was one of the many things in which she was trained that she was more than happy to do with Lian even if she hadn't been. "No, it was a difficult situation, and it was my fault. I should have immediately reported the fact that the Empress had her own bodyguards and...and allowed myself to be reassigned. However things were not so simple as that and I let m- I acted with a complete disregard for the customs of my people." "You and my sister are alike in some ways you know. She too tends to disregard that she is a pony first and a figurehead second." the prince sighed softly. "This is one of those situations where I wish I knew more, but I respect you enough to not ask. Despite really wanting to ask. Regardless though. You are your own pony first and foremost." "Lian, there may come a day when you will know everything there is to know of Clan Chiyo, I truly wish that were today. What I can't tell you would fill an entire library of burned scrolls." Si Jin mumbled to herself, forgetting her inside-the-head voice for a moment. The prince chuckled softly and pulled back from the hug slowly, gently brushing a strand of mane out from Si Jin's face. "Prehaps another day then." She'd said that out loud. Ancestors preserve, she'd said that out loud. She pulled away and scanned the room quickly, straining her ears. "I'm...I'm sorry, that was-That was wholly inappropriate, and you shouldn't have heard that." she said, straightening herself up and glancing out the window as if she expected a kunai to come back through it. "Heard what?" he asked with an innocent face as he continued eating his breakfast finally. "The last thing was said was just me saying that you are your own pony." Lian smiled and drank his juice. There was a long, pregnant pause in the air while Si Jin calmed herself down. She wasn't used to being out of sorts like this. She was a Shinobi. Kunoichi of the Chiyo clan. She'd been trained to maim and kill with the barest of efforts and nerves of steel. And here this stallion was, able to waltz through her nerve and her defenses like she was the vapid little courtier she pretended to be. Kami blast her she even thought like them more often than not! "Hitomi." This was not tradition. This was not what "Chiyo, Hitomi." was trained for. But if she was going to really do this, she had to trust him sometime...right? "The new silk screens you ordered. They will need to go back, someone will have slashed a hole in one by the time it arrives. It will have been ugly anyway. And you have a poetry reading with your half-brother." "A lovely name." he said with a nod after finishing his drink. "That's a shame, they looked so delightful in the catalogue. But I suppose pictures can't do some things justice then. I've always loved those poetry readings you know? I've never been good at writing them as he has, but it's always a good time to just...relax and unwind and forget about the world even if just for a few moments." "Just a mare from a tiny diving village." Si Jin responded, cagily. Then she shook her head, "He does it to show off you know. 'See how much more creative and cultured I am than these pretenders?' Did we ever figure out if he was behind the bees or if that was your cousin?" "I'm sure she's more than that." he said as he sat about brushing his teeth again. "He does, yes. But it's a mask to hide insecurity. As for the bees? I'm unsure. I believe it was my cousin, but there's no proof one way or the other." "If there was we'd need to keep an eye on one fewer Feng..." Ahem, not counting Yu Yue's 'secret' suitor. "Regardless, you'll be there most of the day, which is when I'll address the woefully damaged screen. A shame someone ruined the poison." Lian looked up quickly, toothbrush hanging in his mouth. "Poison?" he questioned before rinse-spitting. Si Jin waggled a hoof. "I don't know who, and I think it would have just made you sick, unless they switched the poison. My...supplier mentioned that someone had bought out all of their stock. I was able to follow it to the silk workshop who's handling the screen. If it turns out the poison was used somewhere else I'll let them go through." The stallion arched a brow and shook his head. "I'll never understand why ponies feel like trying to poison me will avail them anything." "They want to hurt Yue. I don't let them find out about failed poisoning attempts so that they think no one else has ever tried. So everyone thinks they came up with the idea first, makes thwarting it easier." "Makes sense." the prince sighed. "I sometimes wish her and I had stayed with mother...This whole...royalty thing is so much more difficult than needs be." Si Jin blushed and stared out a window. "There...are some perks." she says, thinking about the idea of never having met the two of them. She'd certainly be less conflicted, at least. "Regardless, you don't need to worry about this attempt. Or any other if I do my job." "True, I'd not have met you." Lian rubbed his chin as he looked in the mirror. "Hmm, mane up or mane down today?" "Up, you're going to need to change outfits several times." she says, pulling out the spare set of armor she hid under Lian's armoire's base and setting about equipping it. "Joy, Dress-Up Lian, everyone's favourite." he said with a chuckle, pulling up his mane as he hummed to himself. "What is it the Prench say? Noblisse Obligé?" She pulled on the last of her armor and slipped a yukata on over it, silk and steel once more. "Besides, think of it as being one area where brother dearest can't hope to keep up with you: Style." "Oooh that is so so true. And his hoofmaiden isn't nearly as beautiful and deadly." he said with a nod as he finished his mane. "I think that eats at him just as badly." "Pfft. The fewer who know I'm not just a pretty pearl on your arm the better. It makes my job easier." she replies, bringing out a simple happi coat and hachimaki headband. "Dockworkers' guild first." "Well at the same time, if everyone knew, I'm sure no one would try." Lian replied as he got dressed to impress, while still remaining appropriate for the location. "I'm not immortal, my prince." Si Jin answered, making a couple of adjustments to the set of the coat. "I must sleep, and eat, and I can't be in two places at once. Some of us didn't get THAT talent." Her tone was somber, but not rebuking or reproachful. "And there ARE shinobi more skilled than I am. There are rules that can protect you, but only while I live, and only if I'm in the good graces of my mentors, which I remind you I am not." "Fair enough. But at the very least, were someone to try and harm you, let me remind you that I'm certainly not harmless myself, and would do my best to defend you, should the need arise." "I know, I just worry." she replies offhoof. She had to admit to herself it probably didn't sound like a professional concern, but her tones were always neutral and guarded, so it might pass for that. "I likely have more knowledge of electricity than any Kirin or Ryuma ought to thanks to your training sessions. We need to restart those soon, by the way, but the Watchers seem to have discovered our previous dojo." It was an empty quarry, Hitomi, don't act like it was in Longri-La. "It's hard not to be discovered when bolts of lightning shoot out from 'nowhere'." he said shaking his head. "I don't understand why they cannot just let us train in peace..." "Well, from their perspective, you vanish for hours at a time, doing dangerous exercises. And their job is to keep you and the palace safe. They just aren't as good at it as I am." "Dangerous perhaps to them or my siblings. But I didn't spend years at the Monastary making tea cozies..." "Another thing to consider, then. Their duties also require they protect your siblings." the ninja said, picking a loose thread off the shoulder. "Well it's not as though I go out of my way to harrass my siblings. On the contrary, I try to play nice with them to the best of my ability." "No, but politics being what it is..." Si Jin sighs and shakes her head. "I don't think there's anything else I can do for now. I'll have a few spare outfits for you through the day." "It's alright, thank you for everything. I'll do my best to stay out of trouble today." The prince said with a wink...pausing on his way out to give his friend a kiss on the cheek before making his exit. Si Jin stood still for a few moments with a hoof on her cheek, then hurried after Lian, summoning a fan from somewhere on her person to cover the blush. Today was shaping up to be a good day for an unexpected change.
  10. [Age of Heroes] A Walk in the Park (semi closed)

    Mauser nods to Rosetta and opens his muzzle, then perks an ear and holds up a paw. He sighs after a moment and walks over to the counter, where he pays for the food and carries over a tray of something slow-roasted over a rotisserie and smothered in spices. He slides the tray onto the table with a practiced ease and speaks, "Hey, sorry for springing that up. I know it's probably a sore point still, but I'm not exactly in control of what I say during and right after a Read like that. When someone's destiny is balled up enough or big enough whatever gave me my powers likes to peek out and poke fun at me trying to understand things. Didn't think it'd happen again, last time was...well, let's just say I'm not on Hopesguard records because I got lucky." He spins the tray and deftly plucks out a plate of chicken for himself and Mutt, then nudges it so the third plate and the tray itself settles next to Bahamut across the table. "So, it's tricky to go from a sight-base to smells and sounds, but we're gonna change things up a little and I'm gonna take you on myself for a couple cycles to teach you how to be a dog. After that I'll turn you over to Rosetta and Bahamut to teach you how to be a hero. We'll work on your powers somewhere in there too. For now though, you ever wonder what these things are for?" He opens his maw wide and taps a very decidedly pointy canine tooth. "Diamond dogs aren't like ponies, inside. We need to eat things ponies don't. Dragons too, but they can cheat and use gems. Us though? We need meat. Chicken and fish are both pretty safe bets, without upsetting ponies too much, and some griffon settlements have other stuff we can eat too. First rule of Diamond Dogging: Learn when to indulge without upsetting ponies, because everyone gets along better that way. But we DO need to indulge in things like meat, and sniffing things, and occasionally chasing something. We make good heroes, when ponies let us. We're wired different, and we're made of different stuff. Our instincts aren't hard to fight for a little while, but if you don't ever give in, it just builds up like an itch."
  11. The day had started so well. Sī Jīn had risen and gotten dresssed, straightened out her chambers, then picked up breakfast for prince Liàn. She lay it on the nightstand next to his bed and was walking over to the curtain to let the light in when she caught the sudden and distinct scent of the ocean. In a swirl of cherry-coloured petals a scroll appears and clatters onto Liàn's tray. Red wax seal, one she recognizes as belonging to her cover identity's home village, and a whiff of chrysanthemums. A change in contract? Why? She stares at the scroll, one hoof holding the curtain and both ears straining to make sure the prince was still asleep. Were they recalling her? Surely not, the perfume would be roses. A rebuke? That would have been her father's black wax, not the red. Hesitantly, she creeps over and breaks the seal to unroll the missive. The hoofmaid blinks and rereads it. -When did they find out? It doesn't matter. How did they learn? It's not important. What does this mean? It means they know and approve, baka.- Thoughts chased each other like a dragon eating its tail. One thing was certain though. Things had changed, and in a way that Chiyo Hitomi found almost liberating.
  12. Situated on one of the smaller islands in the Neighponese archipeligo, the village colloqually called Kakikara-mura or "Oyster shell village" has a thriving pearl-diving business, and is known for exquisite jewellery and a historically excellent finishing school for geisha worthy of the Shogun, or even foreign courts. And these things are obviously true, as they produce tangible results. Measurable by anyone who wants to. Objectively. In truth, while the fisheries and finishing schools do produce pearls and coutresans, the true purpose of both is and has always been the training of a highly specialised breed of ninja. In addition to the rigorous training all shinobi and kunoichi receive, the Kakikara village trains assassins who master the courtly arts in an effort to get closer to the most difficult targets: nobility. Historically, the Kakikara kunoichi were dispatched to dispatch Long warlords and Viking Jarls with a more militaristic bent. When the nations established more peacable relationships and the ninja arts no longer became necessary the two leading clans, Chiyo and Kaze, convened a council. The Kaze clan was the controlling family in the area, but when they proposed assasinating the then-current Shogun in order to install a Daimyo with a mind toward continuing the aggressions, the Chiyo staged a successful coup that has left them in charge since. The Chiyo clan, now head of all branches of the Kakikara shinobi, immediately put into practice a new code and approached the daimyo one by one to establish a formal relationship with certain rules: The Chiyo could be hired for their original purpose against any target who is not a daimyo (and eventually the shogun once a clearer shogunate emerged), but they would accept no lethal contracts against members of the Neighponese government. The Chiyo could also be hired as bodyguards by anyone who negotiated an appropriate contract. Lastly the Chiyo could be engaged as instructors for whatever the individual shinobi was skilled in, save for the clan secrets. In exchange, the village's true purpose and the clan were to remain secret. The clan was to be a neutral entity with regards to any specific ruler or government, and while they could be employed as spies or assassins, they would not cleave to the shogunate or any daimyo. Security for independance. The Neighponese government was safe from the village clans, and the clans were independent from the government. In the decades following unification, the Chiyo honed their arts even further, developing three signature weapons, and two combat techniques utilising them. Sticking to the shadows, they developed dreamdust, a powdered soporific capable of rendering an adult Kirin or Ryuma unconscious within minutes of exposure to a dose no larger than a breath. Next they developed the tessenjutsu, a set of martial arts utilising iron-bladed folding fans. Finally they developed a technique called mibojin no hoyo, a sharpened ridge of serrated blades hidden along the shoulders and flanks that allowed for a seemingly innocuous leaning gesture to cause severe wounds in the intended target. Some shinobi were further trained with this weapon to make acrobatic leaps and tumbles capable of disabling multiple attackers in short order. They are also inoculated against several common toxins, trained to hold their breath for extended periods, and given lessons in courtly manners and foreign languages above and beyond most shinobi. Accordingly, a Chiyo candidate is not considered ready for deployment until much later than rival clans' agents even starting younger. Currently, the Chiyo's main branch still oversees training and controls the Elder council, though two branch matriarchs maintain seats among the five. The current Elders are Chiyo Hayate, Chiyo Akane, Chiyo Fumiko, Josei Mami, and Kaze Himeko. Currently, only Chiyo Hayate and Akane and Kaze Himeko and Ichiro have foals, though exact numbers for either couple are closely guarded secrets even within the clan. Typically, contracts are handled by any of the Elders, who interview prospective clients and negotiate cost, duration, and other terms, then the Elders collectively nominate and deliberate on assignments. The clan takes contracts very seriously, and for a Chiyo shinobi to breach the contract is considered a grave offense. Rumors abound of shinobi disowned or hunted for breaking a Chiyo contract, though most happen to a friend of a cousin. Notably, the Chiyo prohibition against government officials has only been breached once, and those with the unfortunate confirmed that the officer in question had been the aggressor in the rather brief exchange.
  13. A lone kunoichi lay in a niche at the base of the ornamental Long atop the Huangjing Palace. She was dressed in loose fitting clothes secured at fetlock, gaskin, and hock with straps holding all kinds of interesting toys, and a mask lay beside her on the roof bearing the mark that those familiar would identify as belonging to the Chiyo clan. She was staring up at the kite traditionally flying in the breeze from one of the Long's horns, a vaguely disquieted expression on her muzzle. -Lian will be growing bored soon. Once he catches up on palace gossip and gets tired of verbal spars with his siblings. He'll get restless then. Can I keep him safe? If they find out who I am can I still protect him? Will I be allowed to stay? I can't leave him. I can't disobey an order to withdraw. I'm technically following the contract since Yu Yue asked me to watch Lian. The Elders won't see it that way, the contract was to protect her not obey her. Ancestors take the contract! Without it you'd never have met...- Around and around her thoughts went, while her hooves alternated between plucking the kite string and moving the mask. She shakes her head after a few moments. -Baka! Laying here moping accomplishes nothing. You'll just need to find something to keep him busy, that's all.- She thinks as she pulls the mask back on and covers its top edge with the hood she was resting on. Then she leaps off the roof and uses a rope to swing down and into the attic rafters, where she could make her way to the Palace proper.
  14. [Age of Heroes] A Walk in the Park (semi closed)

    101010.1010 Mauser blinks and snickers. "Oh no. I wouldn't dare let you off that easily. You two are gonna be the ones who get to show him the letter. I'm gonna be the one with a camera." he says, wiping a tear away from his eyes as he calms down. "That was the only thing I've had time to make sense of. What did I actually say this time?" he asks. He wasn't sure he'd ever actually told Rosetta how that part of his snooping worked, he usually needed to stop time and replay it in his head, but with her nearby he could probably skip that part, especially if he wanted to not be exhausted for the next five hours. Once Rosetta had repeated it back to him, he scratches his head a little. "Well that's not ominous or vague or anything." he complains, mentally reviewing more of the timelines he'd followed. "He's in for a rough ride. Watch him, and watch out for him, while I'm doing my thing today. Try to focus on finding out where his power gaps are, so you don't exploit them accidentally."
  15. A shadow falls over the congregated guests, followed by a table. Or rather, the table falls into a space between everyone present, borne on the back of the Matron, who continues her dive through the cloud layer. The table is followed by a tablecloth, several saucers, a small bowl filled with honey, an empty teapot, several teacups, and a bowl of orange slices. The Matron surfaces again some distance away while several bedraggled long desperately try to catch up with a few cushioned stools and a kettle of water. "There," she says, settling in near the round table, "now we can enjoy a nice tea ceremony without needing to bother our guests with the garden." Around this time, the cups stopped wobbling and spinning and settled into place while the younger Long offered their apologies and set about warming the water for the tea.