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The Spy[m]aster

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Offline Kei

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She could feel the awestruck feeling coming from the man she pulled along with her and smiled to herself because this was exactly how she'd reacted the first time she'd stumbled upon this place as well. She tilted her gaze back to him after a while when he finally spoke up again it was to ask about a special place here and she only grinned. "Oh there are a few places, here I'll show you." She excused herself quietly from the friendly crowd and gently pulled him with her down another alleyway before pressing her hand against the stone again and opening up another path.

From the moment they stepped through it was clearly different from where they been. For one it was nighttime and they were up on a cliff instead of the daytime busy marketplace. Once the door closed behind them they were surrounded by thousands of stars and a warm breeze with the scent of the ocean carried on it. She pulled him further and settled them down into long grass that was an off shade of dark lilac purple and smelled like apples. She released his hand then once she got him to sit down next to her and urged him to be still.

It wasn't long before little sparkling lights started floating up from the ground and down from the sky around them. They lit the colors in Evanna's eyes and seemed to be the stars coming down to greet them. She spoke quietly to him, though she was clearly distracted by the view around her. "This is Starlight Peak, it's one of the most magical places in the land. Only certain people can even find it as it takes a certain kind of magic. It's always night-time here and the stars shine brightly, singing to those souls that know how to listen." She never took her gaze off the sky even as she ran a gentle hand down his arm without really realizing it. There was something familiar in the movement though if she'd realized she was doing it she'd have stopped herself.

The world seemed to hum around them and the intimacy of the place made it easy to believe they were the only two people in the world. Eventually she dropped her hands into the grass again before dropping onto her back to look up through the grass into the starlit sky above. She loved this place so much, and if nothing else came from this annoying man, at least she'd gotten to visit here again.


Offline PendragonXeno94

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As he was pulled along once again, Isao quietly followed until they reached a cliff and there was nothing but a sea of stars around them and the smell of the sea and apples. He stayed perfectly still as sparkling lights surrounded them. His eyes remained on the sky as he felt her hand run down his arm.

Perhaps she wasn't as callous as before?

At any rate, he slowly moved to lie on his back and he simply took it all in. This place was certainly beautiful and he couldn't feel any more content. "This place makes you forget about the outside world," he said softly. "I wouldn't mind coming back here to meditate."

With everything that happened within the last few hours, he couldn't help but feel as though he and this woman were fated to meet one another.

"I have something for you." Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out what looked like a small compass with the north star covering most of its face, repurposed as a necklace. There were only a few of them, and he had one. "Should you ever need aid, whisper 'Watashi no tasuke ni kite, gado' and help will come." Of course, it would ruin the surprise if he told her what would happen if she did that.

*the wearer of the necklace is basically saying "come to my aid, guardian"*
The dragon becomes me...


Offline Kei

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Evanna realized her mistake in being so kind to the man as his commentary began again. Oh for the love of freedom what was he suddenly in love with her or something? This was ridiculous. Maybe it was an Oni thing, who knew. Still, it was only for tonight so she could deal with it. "Well...you need to know the path in order to get here as well as a certain type of magic to open the door. It's not somewhere everyone can get to. It's a place meant to soothe a worried heart and ease the burdens of life. Gift showed me the way." Speaking about her familiar made a gentle smile flit across her face for a moment before she shook her head and looked back up to the sky.

She didn't want to encourage him but something told her he was stubborn and she'd have to leave before he'd take the hint and leave her alone. This thought was proven correct when he suddenly offered her a compass looking necklace. She rose an eyebrow at him, feeling the magic in the item, before rolling her eyes. "I don't need anything from you for giving you a bit of time, you know. Kindness doesn't come with a price, after all." And clearly he thought she'd be nicer to him if he gave her gifts, it was frustrating. Well whatever. She started at him at his offered gift and understood the offer of protection and assistance for what it was. She didn't want to lead him on as she wasn't that sort of woman so she shook her head. "That is a gift best given to someone precious and that isn't me."

She shook her head and rose gracefully back to her feet, the warm breeze lifting her short hair slightly as she shut her eyes and lifted her face towards the sky and stars. This was the core of her magic and she loved to just bask in it sometimes.


Offline PendragonXeno94

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He smiled softly. While he knew that he would likely not be able to return unless she helped him come back, he was glad to at least experience this place. Even if it was just once.

Seeing her roll her eyes at the gift and hearing her say that it was only for someone precious did sting a little. He let out a soft huff, knowing he had his work cut out for him. "It's not that kind of gift," he said. "You're the first person in years that I actually consider a friend. That's why I want to give this to you." Well, while he knew she was someone special, he didn't want to take her to bed right away or try to sweep her off her feet.

Dropping his gaze, he took a deep breath. Really, he knew she thought little of him, but her reaction was completely unnecessar. "Look. I know we started on the wrong foot. I know what I said made me sound like an idiot. But even if we only stay friends, that's more than enough for me." He brought his gaze back up. "Did I speak plainly enough for you?" He kept the necklace in his hand, obviously hesitant about putting it away.
The dragon becomes me...


Offline Kei

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Evanna blinked once, then again, trying not to be confused by this very wishy washy man. Any treasure that nice was worth giving to someone important so yes it was that sort of gift. Also, friendships weren't made just on a feeling, they took time and effort and she knew that very well. He said he felt like she was a friend, that was ridiculous since they'd just met but at the same time at least he was being upfront about the things he wanted. She looked him over again, then sighed before pushing her hair back away from her face. "I think friendship takes time and mutual trust and understanding, and I think you are very bad at social interactions. Also, that necklace is a small treasure to be very careful who you offer it to lest someone misguide you so they can steal it. "

She watched him drop his gaze at her refusal of his gift as he tried speaking plainly; which she appreciated. When he finally looked back up at her she knew he really wanted her to have his treasure and didn't want to leave without her having it. Still, she was no thief to take something she didn't deserve. She mentally cursed herself for her morals and shook her head again before stretching out and turning back to face the man by her side. "Look, I appreciate you trying to speak plainly since it seems hard for you. But you move too fast too soon for the things you are asking of me. We are strangers, you seem to forget that." She placed a hand on the one of his that held the necklace, closing his fingers back around the gift to keep it safe and gave him a small half smile. Mentally cursing her kind nature once more, she drew a quick rune on the back of Isao's hand and watched it glow briefly with her magic before disappearing. Nodding to herself, she looked back  up at him.

"How about this as a compromise. That rune will allow any letter you write to me to find me no matter where I am in the entire world. Write to me, get to know me, let me get to know you. Then if you still feel we should be friends I'll let you send me the necklace. Sound fair?" It allowed him to keep contact with her in a way which was more than he'd have gotten from her before. She hoped he appreciated it in the very least as she didn't use her magic for many people these days.


Offline PendragonXeno94

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Isao fell silent, feeling so defeated at that moment. Was he really that out of touch in a social setting? Before he could say anything else, she took his hand and drew a quick rune on the back of it, explaining that they could write to each other while they were apart as a way of being able to get to know each other.

He nodded. "That's fair." Well, it was the best thing he could have for now. And he knew that if anyone caught wind that he was trying to talk to a woman, they would be all over it and never let him live it down... or leave themselves out of wanting to help him in his endeavors. He put the necklace back in his pocket and smiled at her. "I... I hope that you don't always find me awkward." He couldn't believe that he was so caught up in his work that he forgot how to charm a woman! Still, he had time to try and get that back.

At least she was willing to give him a chance and put up with him, even if they started off on the wrong foot.
The dragon becomes me...


Offline Kei

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She almost felt bad for the guy at the defeated expression on his face, but it wasn't enough for her to change her mind about what she thought of him. She was an Air Pirate, it was in her nature to be brutally honest and to value her own freedom over all else. If this man thought he could chain her with pretty words and offers of friendship when he was very much a stranger then he had another thing coming. Still, she wasn't unkind.

After straightening herself up and dusting herself off again, Evanna let herself stretch before she went another round with this awkward and wishy-washy man. "Alright then, that's settled and your time is almost up. Remember, address any letters you write to 'Rose' and when I feel like you've earned it then I'll give you the proper name to call me. Until then, let me lead us out of here so you don't get lost." She grabbed his arm to lead him, and also to comfort him in her quite way since he seemed so upset.

She let them walk back to the hidden entrance in silence and didn't speak until they were back on their way to the docks. "Look, it's fine to be awkward, but maybe think a little harder about what you're saying before you say it when speaking to a woman; especially an Air Pirate. We prefer blunt honesty to beating  around the bush and sometimes we're stubborn and hard to trust, but once you earn that loyalty there's nothing we won't do for you. Your title isn't who you are, it's what you are so Isao,"

She looked up at him, eyes swimming with so many thoughts and mysteries that had yet to be unraveled. They were warm though and a strange spark was hidden behind the green depths. She was special in more ways than one, that was for certain. "When you write to me, let me know you. I don't want to know the spy, I want to know the man. Think you can do that for me?" She gave him a half smile and reached up to brush his hair from his face before pressing a gentle kiss to his cheek. "There, that's for at least trying to be better. Now walk me back to the dock so I can retrieve my familiar."


Offline PendragonXeno94

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Isao stared up at the starry canvas for a moment before he heard her speak again. "I will remember that," he said gently. Well, he hoped he could at least sound better when he wrote to her. Before long, she pulled him up and led him back to the docks, all the while letting the silence settle between them. He certainly never met a woman like her before, and he never met a woman who was able to hold her own.

When their eyes met once more, he saw that hers held a certain warmth to them... almost as if she let her guard down, if only just. He would have to try and capture the charm he once had before even attempting to draft a letter for her. He kept himself from commenting about her eyes as much as it hurt him, though he was able to conceal that.

When told that she wanted to know the man and not the spy, he nodded. That shouldn't be so hard. Before he could speak, he felt her fingers brush his hair away and her lips press to his cheek. He knew then that she would see how much his cheeks would darken. He hoped that none of his colleagues was witnesing this... he would never hear the end of it.

"Yes... I'll, uh. I'll walk you back." He began to head to the docks as he felt a little giddy over the kiss he received. "I hope that you have safe travels," he added.
The dragon becomes me...


Offline Kei

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The blush her kiss to the cheek got her had Evanna grinning brightly in the first real and brilliant smile she'd given him that day. This one reached her eyes and lit them with warmth and amusement. Before she shook her head and kept walking next to him. "You're sort of adorable when you're embarrassed, just so you know." She was feeling cheeky and the amusement was better than the wariness from earlier as it let her relax a bit more.

She nodded to his comment about her travels. "Thanks for that, looks like we'll have good winds and if we get out on time we might avoid the storm that's coming which is always a plus." That and she wouldn't have to use her magic to make certain the ship stayed in the air where it belonged if they hit rough skies. It had happened before and was one of the reasons the captain had asked her to join them.

As she neared the ship her expression gentled and warmed as she sensed the mind of her familiar brush up against her own as Gif dropped out of the sky to land on her outstretched arm. He moved up to her shoulder crooning gently and began to nuzzle against her cheek; something that had her nuzzling against him in return and shutting her eyes as the warmth of his affection for her washed over her. She did love her familiar very much and that was clear.


Offline PendragonXeno94

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Isao blushed even more when he saw Rose grin and heard that he was adorable when he was embarrassed. Well, at least she seemed to lighten up a little more. And the smile suited her, though he preferred to keep that to himself for the time being. As they neared the ship, he looked on as her familiar nuzzled against her cheek.

Knowing that she would soon leave, he looked to her one more time. "May the winds be in your favor." Oh, it sounded a lot better in his head. "Safe travels, Rose." After a few moments, he turned to return to the palace, looking over his shoulder every now and then to catch a glimpse of her until she was out of his line of sight.

He entered through the gates and made his way to the large zen garden where his tower stood. He thought over what he would say in his letter over and over as he went to sit under the cherry blossom tree. He pondered over what had transpired that afternoon and touch his cheek a few times as if her kiss left an imprint on it.
The dragon becomes me...


Offline Kei

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Evanna snorted in laughter at the darkening blush on her companion's face and snorted in amusement at his attempt to wish her well. "Hey, just so you know, when we part ways with another Air Pirate, we say 'Fair winds find you.' So you don't worry over what to say each time." He was such a strange man and his awkwardness was something both she and - now that they were reunited and he could see what had happened from her memories Gif - found highly amusing.

She waved at him as she turned and moved up and boarded her ship, greeting the crew as she went and grinning brightly at some of the comments which she brushed off and explained away with good humor. Honestly she didn't expect him to write to her since all he'd wanted was some of her time, but some small part of her sort of wanted him to write to her if only to amuse herself with his awkwardness.

It wasn't long after that the ship pushed off from port and once the warm air hit her face again as they ascended into the sky Evanna hummed in contentment because once again, she was home.


Offline PendragonXeno94

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"Fair winds find you. I'll remember that for next time."

He spent the rest of the evening contemplating over what had transpired. She probably didn't want him to write to her, though he would likely humor her by sending her just one and see where things went.

Sitting at his desk, he tapped his finger on the paper, his head reeling. How long had it been since he sent a personal letter? How long had it been since he sent a letter to a woman he was interested in? He thought it over carefully before he finally set the pen to the paper.

Rose,

I hope this letter finds you well. I promise I won't sound as awkward as I did when we first met.

I have a view of a large garden from my window. I like to go there and just sit and meditate. It helps my clear my head whenever I need an escape from work. I also sometimes sit on the roof and look up at the sky. I find it calming. I especially enjoy it when a storm comes around and I can see the lightning in the distance. It is something I have enjoyed since my boyhood.

I have lived in the palace for roughly eight years. I was a foot soldier for a small warlord and a poor farm boy before then. Leaving my parents wasn't my choice. The last time I saw them was before we marched across the country.

I would have bled out on the battlefield if not for one of Hikurai's spies.

But I realize you wouldn't be interested in knowing how I became a prince's spymaster. You said you wanted to know the man, after all.

But a spymaster leads a more interesting life than a farm boy, no?

Also, you have a beautiful smile. You should wear it more often.

Fair winds find you,
Isao


With that, he sent the letter out, hoping to get one in return.
The dragon becomes me...


Offline Kei

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Given how far out they were it took a few days for the letter to find her even with her magic all over it because of the rune she'd embedded into Isao's skin. Still she did get it and read it over with an amused roll of her eyes over how awkward this man really was. Honestly she'd much prefer the words of a farm boy to a spy because at least then he'd be honest about himself, but that was another matter altogether.

She admitted to herself she was surprised he'd written to her at all considering how badly their first meeting had gone. Still he had written to her indeed and she was kind enough to decide to write him back. It seemed the man wanted her time still and so long as it was only through writing letters she didn't mind giving him that. It did no harm and gave her something to do.

So as she sat high up in the crows nest at the highest point of the ship she could get - other than the top of the sails but the captain made her swear not to go up there after the first time - she decided to take her rest up there as she usually did and return a letter to the strange male she had met. It took her awhile to decide what to say to him, and eventually Gif joined her and she nuzzled against his warm feathered body; taking comfort in the familiar press of his mind as she always did. At last she began to write.

To the adorably awkward spymaster,

It does find me well now that it's found me, and I'm certain you shall remain in my minds eye as awkward as the day we met. I could never understand someone that prefers to stay in one place such as you do, is it hard being tied to that room even with it's view? Do you ever feel trapped in place? I do not ask to be cruel but merely as a curiousity given that we Air Pirates are nomadic I could never imagine belonging to one place as you do.

I can relate to watching the sky, but my magic is part of that sky so it only makes sense. I've stood at the eye of those storms you watch from a distance and basked in the chaos of them. Being so close to the danger and raw power of it is one of my life's greatest joys. I have thrown my power into that sky and watched the storm rage around me out in the open sky, and I never felt more alive than when I felt that power accept my presence there as part of it.

Being allowed to share in the wild joy of the sky, it's one of the reasons I became an Air Pirate. I've been one for three years now ever sense I threw my magic into the sky the first time and saved the ship from a massive hurricane field. Granted I passed out after that since I was still learning my own magic, but it granted me the freedom of the sky and friends I'll cherish forever so I can never regret such a thing.

Honestly, fighting for something you believe in is a noble thing to me, but I'd rather hear the honest words of a farm boy than the guarded lies of a spymaster. I do hope one day you get to return to see  your parents, that can be a difficult thing if they loved you at all. Being a spymaster must be lonely, but that's your choice I don't tend to judge the choices of others. As to the smile, I do so often and readily to those that deserve it. You might be adorable and fun to embarrass, but you also threatened me and mine and that isn't something I can easily forgive. I give you a chance in writing to you, don't forget that.

I will admit to a curiousity though, if you'll indulge me. What is an oni doing so far from where they usually roam? Because your life was saved? The horns threw me a bit at first, I'll admit, but I've met your lot before so it wasn't too much. Is being a spymaster so important to keep you so far from home? Or did you make that place your home? As I don't just, if that kingdom feels more like home to you, then I wish you well. Be that as it may I hear the others calling for me; the life of a bard is never boring. Until next time.

Fair winds find you,
Rose


She brushed a rune across the letter for protection and sent it off. This man had a lot to learn if he ever expected to become a friend to her. As it stood he was just as likely to find out who she was and turn her back over to her kingdom for the reward as he was to show her loyalty of any sort. Still, the fact he was an oni was something she found curious and reluctantly intriguing. She grinned to herself, betting he'd blush if she told him that. It was too easy. Still, now she had work to do and she pushed the letter and the male attached to it far from her mind.


Offline PendragonXeno94

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It was few days before a courier brought a letter to him while he was charting a map based on a few tips he came across. He thanked him and went off to the side to read it. He shook his head over her reply; of course she still found him awkward. Although... he could try to be better.

After rereading the letter a few times, he quickly penned out a letter.

Rose,

I apologize for threatening you and yours. That was never my intention, and that was out of line for me.

It's not so much that I stayed because my life was saved. It's more out of feeling that I belong somewhere. I went from place to place from age fifteen up until eight years ago. I grew tired of not staying in one place, but I am happy to hear that you find some solace and freedom of not being tied to one place. If I was honest, I do feel trapped from time to time. I do eventually want to go to other places again so long as I have somewhere to come back to. But yes, it does get lonely. I haven't even tried to court a woman let alone be intimate with one for almost ten years.

This will sound strange, but I was not born as an oni. I can't explain how I transformed. I was tortured for disobeying orders and after I awoke, I noticed that I changed. I wish I knew how that happened. The warlord I served was always creative with his punishments... sometimes torturing someone almost to the point that they are about to die.

I plan on seeing my parents eventually, it is just a matter of tracking them down. I recently found out that they no longer live on the farm I grew up on. I've been scouring for anything I can find about them. I hope to learn of their whereabouts soon.

I am curious: what's like being a bard? I doubt you just sit there and sing for everyone. Where did you learn your magic? I find it fascinating that you know how to use it.

I hope you are faring well in your latest voyage. It sounds like you get to have all sorts of adventures.

Fair winds find you,

Your adorably awkward spymaster


"Who are you writing to?" a voice behind him asked.

Isao's body jolted. "Just a friend."

"Is that all? Then why are you blushing?"

He turned to see Hikurai behind him, grinning from ear to ear. "Who is this friend you're writing to?"

Isao rolled his eyes. "Her name is Rose."

"Oh, so you-"

"Stop. We're just friends." He had a courier come in to send the letter out.

"Just friends?" asked Hikurai. "Are you sure?"

"I'm sure..."
The dragon becomes me...


Offline Kei

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It again took more than a bit of time for the runes she'd planted on Isao to lead his letter back to her. Once it did she rolled her eyes and headed for the hammock in her quarters to read it. She'd explained to the others the man just wanted someone to talk to a bit of her time so she didn't get teased about it because they all understood that sometimes people got lonely. After reading the missive over a few times she at last settled in to writing her response. Gif was hunting so he wasn't with her - a fact she felt acutely - but that was alright at least she had something to distract herself with.

Master Spy,

Intent and action speak for themselves and yours were clear in what they meant. Be that as it may, this correspondence isn't about that it is a mutually agreed upon thing so the incident is neither here nor there. At least you acknowledge that what you did was wrong in what you did so that is something in your favor. Doesn't mean I forgive  you, but it is a start.

That aside, it's good you found yourself a place to belong. Everyone should have that place. Having a place to call your own and knowing you can go back there no matter how far you roam is a good feeling. Even a nomad like myself has a place to belong, my home just happens to move constantly. The ship is my home; it is my place to belong. It might seem strange to you, but it is who I am.

I'm sorry that you get lonely, I hope my letters do help with that. I may not like you much, but that doesn't mean I am cruel. No one deserves to be lonely if it can be avoided. Perhaps you should focus on finding yourself your hand to hold instead of pursuing friendship with me. I'm sure there are plenty of women who would love you given the chance. It would help you not to be so lonely, just a thought.

So then...if you weren't born Oni then were you human once? Oni are immortal so it must seem like such a curse if you were human before. I myself am Fae so such things are second nature to me. Violence begets violence so I've no doubt your life has been full of it if you came from the realm of man. All species are capable of violence, don't get me wrong, but I've found that often the most violent comes from the realm of man.

Being a bard...it's challenging at times. It is more than just singing yes, it's history. Music to soothe troubled hearts, quiet words to cool hot tempers, and the memory to tell the stories of those that have come before us so we learn from their mistakes and our own. As to my magic...well I was born with it. All Fae have magic at the core of them and each draws power from a different source. Mine just happens to be sky. I learned on my own, no one taught me. It was hard at times but I've managed just fine. It drew me to Gif, my magic did, so I can never regret it.

Life is an adventure,  you know, being an Air Pirate is just part of that adventure. I hope you find out what happened to your parents, and remember what I wrote earlier about finding someone. Don't be alone, that's sad.

Fair winds find you,
Rose


She rolled up the message and sent it out, feeling strangely nostalgic at the mention of him finding a hand to hold. It was an old phrase not many used nowadays and was considered old fashioned at times but that was fine. Also if he found someone maybe he'd leave her alone. One could hope, at least.