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By the time all the invitations were sent out, the event was no longer very much of a surprise. It was no secret that Chieftain Sigrun of Clan Askr and Vakstyra Halvard of Clan Breen had hit it off very well ever since their first meeting in the Saarvergerg Arena, and fast became more than friends. The fact that their homeland was split by a civil war, however, intruded inevitable delays on anything official. Not to mention the somewhat complicated politics involving Clan Breen’s public neutrality in the matter of the war, while Sigrun and Clan Askr were very much on the side of the Loyalists. Many tedious months of politics later, however, and Halvard had finally managed to shift his Clan’s position, and considerable resources, behind the King’s cause. As these were not inconsiderable in amount, the ceremony itself would be made a fairly extravagant affair, the marriage of the two now seen as a symbol and lynchpin of their clan’s alliance. Which meant, of course, that their wedding was now further delayed by the amount of planning that had to go into it… *Good thing I’ve never been one to shy away from logistics.* Halvard mused, smiling as he completed the last double-check of the mead supply. Sigrun wasn’t one for fancy and frou-frou, thank the gods, but an abundance of guests required an abundance of food, drink, and space. Running his eyes over the hall, and comparing the numbers on their guest list, he pursed his lips. *Well…. Two out of three isn’t bad. Hope the foreign guests don’t mind the crush.* At least the native guests wouldn’t. After all, it isn’t a party until everybou’s up in each other’s faces! Whether from joy or fighting really depended on the mood and the mead. Hopefully, this all wouldn’t be too much… ~~~ While Caribou weddings weren’t exactly the same ceremony as one generally saw in the southern lands, there was a general commonality between them, in that the groom and bride didn’t come alone. Each would bring either a close relation, or a close friend, representing all the relationships surrounding the pair that would intertwine. Halvard had thought long and hard about who he would bring, but ultimately settled on what he felt was the best, and only choice. “Are you ready, Calder?” The bull called out to the one whom he had come to think of as a son. This was not a trivial question, as the younger bull had many quite legitimate reasons for being nervous about publicly appearing back in Whitescar. Halvard had strongly encouraged him to come out with him, though; partly for his own good, to face and conquer the demons of his memory, at least in some ways. The other reason, however, was one he wouldn’t say to his adopted son, as it had to do, again, with the politics of the situation. Calder wasn’t exactly a stereotypical bull, in many ways, but Halvard felt that what he himself was fighting this civil war for was to make a place for caribou like his son. This was a public show of solidarity for the family, and the gods have mercy on any who’d have a problem with it!
Haungjing City; the political and cultural capital of the great Empire of Long Guo. Anyone seeking the key to this ancient civilization would have to start here, and many did. Artists, writers, reporters, traders, and ambassadors congregated here, meeting the voluminous streams of local inhabitants, pilgrims, supplicants, and travelers in one large cataract of a city. It could get a little wearisome for those not used to urban environments. Of course, Halvard of Clan Breen was fully aware than cities even more congested, bustling, and discordant existed, but he had never had to spend so long a time in one for any reason. Right now, however, he found himself significantly bogged down in trade and political negotiations. It wasn't that he couldn't understand the hesitancy on the part of the Long Guo Bureaucracy; after all, caribou did not exactly have the best of international reputations, and the New Direction his clan (along with some others) wished to follow under the new High King was... disputed, to say the least, by the more unreformed elements of Caribou society. Thus, after a long day of sweating over endless reams of paper in a dusty room, Halvard had left the confines of walls and streets for an evening stroll outside in the gardens and woods surrounding Huangjing. He sighed happily, shaking his blue-dyed coat to feel the sunset breezes. All adults of his clan had their fur dyed blue; it was one of the most recognized clan signs in Whitescar. Breen were the traders and guardians of the roads, those whose sails the other coasts dreaded not, for they brought goods to trade, rather than warriors to raid. Not that they weren't warriors themselves, gods no! They just had a tendency to fight more defensively, helped by the fact that their wealth from trade enabled many fighters to afford heavy armor. Halvard wasn't wearing his, currently, or anything much for that matter. Just a satchel, along with what looked for all the world to be a cross between a pickaxe, sledgehammer, and a shovel. It was technically a weapon, but could be used for work as well. *And honestly, if any peasant here desired my help, he'd have it. I need to do something after all this... sitting around!* Snorting at the thought, he continued, in search of something interesting, beyond tiresome negotiations.
The seas raged along with Calder’s heart, The sky was dark as his mood, the rain as heavy as his feelings. Yet he pushed on as wave after wave crashed over his head and the stones tied to his body tried to pull him down but failed as a flaming rage stronger than the hiding sun boiled inside of him. Death was unacceptable, no only one thing was. Staying alive so he undo ALL of his father's work… And that worthless brother. No, ALL of the clan was going to go down with them! No matter how long it took, no matter how low he must bow his head or how deep he most lie. They were all going to suffer like he did for so long. But to do that he must live today and onward he swims to the flickering glow of a settlement on land all through the night until his hooves touched sand and dragged his body out of the sea and onward inland and there he passed out, sleeping on the sands of beach to be found in the morning. ---- Calder’s eyes opened too glimmer of a mooring, his body felt sore and weak. He was in no shape to run or hide and that worried him… But it can be a strength. He was helpless and just maybe that can pull on the heartstrings of the eon or few to help him… He just had to hope he was not to rusty speaking to the ones that lived here, slaves are hardly the best teachers for new languages. But soon he will have put them too the test as he heard the town slowly coming to life, it will not be long before somepony spots him. “Please don’t be the same bloody mare that took my leg.” He hummed to himself with a dry chuckle.