The Uxinta-Kyuuden

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thijihiguri·5 days agoText

Disclaimer: it is highly recommended that you read up on the previous chapters prior to reaching this point, or you will find yourself lost in the narrative.  They are posted below for your convenience.


Part 1a:

Part 1b:

The capital of Hyoga was tranquil this time of year.  Everyone waited out these remaining few weeks before the first snow.  Winter was the most active time of the year for the Land of Glaciers, and the first snowfall heralded the changing of the seasons.

On the western portion of the capital, in the residential districts, there stood a lovely mansion which could easily be spotted from anywhere in the district.  Other than the architecture heavily contrasting that of Hyogan make, it was teal.  From chimney to foundation, every brick and shingle was the same color.  Within this monocolor abode was a theater, which was empty save for one woman, who was enjoying a pleasant dessert beverage over a movie, seemingly about a special girl who could harness the powers of the rainbow.  Her hair was wrapped in a towel and wore a bathrobe – all of which was teal.  She sighed with content as she watched, almost as if she was reminiscing over days long past.

Just as the movie was seeming to get interesting, the picture was beginning to distort.  The woman ceased the enjoyment of her beverage and stood up, watching as the screen was beginning to shift into an image of a white-haired maid in blue-and-white, who greeted her with a smile.  Knowing her as Sakuya, the woman robed in teal sat back down and put her drink aside…

Sakuya: Madam Shuji.  Sorry to have interrupted that grand movie; it was getting to the best part.

Nora: It’s no problem, Queen Mikazuki!  If you’re here, then somethin’ big must be goin’ down!

Sakuya: Have you been made aware of your pupil’s recent excursions?

Nora: Who, Thiji?  I heard somethin’ about him fightin’ a bunch of ice people lately.  Why, may I ask?

Sakuya: Is your estate empty?

Nora: Yup!  All my appointments and meetings have been taken care of for the day!

Ripples began forming on the screen as the Eternal Human then walked through it as if it were a portal, appearing before Nora in person as the movie resumed behind her.

Sakuya: Then I can speak to you about this personally.  But first, let’s finish this film, yes?

Nora nodded in agreement, and the two ladies watched the rest of the movie to its end, conversing and laughing all the while.  They regaled each other over the days when Thiji, Koyuki, and the others were yet young and full of creative energy.  Once the movie ended, they relocated to Nora’s office (take a guess at what color it was).  Nora shut the blinders and Sakuya closed the door to maintain privacy, during which time she would give her pitch to the Teal Quaintrelle…

Nora: Wait a minute… He’s doin’ what?!  How was I, Elementa’s #1 socialite, not made aware of this?!

Sakuya: That’s partially my fault, Madam Shuji.

Nora: Please, Your Majesty!  Just “Nora” will do for you!

Sakuya: I’ve only been sharing this information with the Handmaidens of Peace so far, but Thiji has accelerated through the Trials much faster tha new anticipated, which can only mean that he is as anxious to become a God as are my sisters.  But if you can get the word out on this, it would mean a lot to me.  Not to mention it could bring untold amounts of publicity to Shuji Studios.

Nora: As temptin’ as that already sounds, I’d have done this without such delicious bait!  To think that the boy I tutored so long ago became an Emperor of an entire continent, and now he’s gonna become a bona-fide God of Winter!  You don’t need to ask twice, My Queen – I’ll happily tell the world!  And it’s gonna go down here, before the First Snow!  They’ll be callin’ it the “Winds o’ Destiny” once this whole thing blows over!

Sakuya, chuckling: I’m glad you saw things my way, Nora.  Just a reminder that you cannot disclose the full details of this event until the moment it starts.  If too much information gets out, it’d spark a lot of undue tension throughout Elementa.

Nora: As if I need to be reminded o’ that!  Gimme a week and the Borealis Stadium will be so filled to capacity that there won’t even be room for SRO!  Let this be known as Shuji’s Finest Hour!

Sakuya: Thank you again, Nora.  I’ll be looking forward to your report.

Nora: Oh, one more thing!  I’m gonna need footage o’ Thiji kickin’ ass across the multiverse!  I know you have some holo-footage lyin’ around somewhere!

Sakuya: Anything you need to get the word out, Nora.  I got you covered.  I must attend to our Eternal-to-be.

Nora: Then you’ve got yourself a signal-boostin’ deal!

After they shook hands, Sakuya’s form began to fade out of the material plane, leaving behind a small orb in the palm of Nora’s hand.  This was no doubt the recorded footage of Thiji’s recent accomplishments.

Nora searched for her hyperdimensional purse and whistled a special tune.  Out from within jumped a fully-equipped stage crew, complete with cameramen, stylists, clothiers, and every other possible accoutrement.  They all seemed eager and raring to go, for they have not been called by their mistress in what felt like ages.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s been one hell of a ride with y’all so far,” Nora told them, “but we’ve got the biggest scoop to have ever graced Elementa, and we’ve only got a week to get the word out, so let’s get to work, because once this is all over, even unborn children will know of the Shuji name!” (3:10:36 - 3:16:14)

Everyone cheered and scrambled throughout the estate, setting themselves up for the biggest report ever.  Meanwhile, within the Spiral of Time, Thiji had just returned from his final leg of the Trials of Winter.  He had contended with other god-like beings that commanded a great deal of winter’s might, and has learned (and re-learned) just about everything there is to know about ice and its many facets.  The sheer amount of knowledge he had unearthed intrigued him, and that alone motivated him to learn all he could about winter so that he would be that much better off for his ascent.

With his final battle in the Trial thus settled, the Proofs all gathered, circling around Thiji as the latent energies reacted with his body, instilling their knowledge and memories into him.  All he could do from that point was heave a great sigh of relief and fell backwards, landing on his back.

After a few long moments of rest, he rose to a sitting position and noticed a familiar figure walking out of a portal, greeting him with applause.

“Congratulations, Thiji,” spoke Sakuya, “the Trials of Winter have been conquered, and you are now one step closer to achieving your destiny.  How do you feel?”

“As if a two-ton weight was placed upon my shoulders…” Thiji groaned as he struggled to stand, the adrenaline in his body finally giving way to massive fatigue.

“You worked tirelessly to make it this far, and it shows,” Sakuya stated.  “Now it is time for you to rest; your final Trial is near.  Within one week’s time, when the first snows fall upon Hyoga, your penultimate task will begin.  Until then, you may find solace in my domain, and recuperate unperturbed.  Remember your training; trust your instincts, and ready yourself in mind, body, and soul.  This last trial will undoubtedly be your most daunting.”

The Eternal Human waved her hand and placed her nephew in a stasis field, rendering his body motionless.  The Emperor wasted no time in surrendering to the sweet embrace of slumber, his body drifting through the limitless expanse that was the Spiral of Time.  Meanwhile, Nora was already hard at work getting everything set up for the big broadcast.  She spent the entire week signal boosting and utilizing her various media techniques to inform not only Elementa, but to their allies from other realms as well.  When it came to the power of media, Nora Chelsea-Izumi Shuji could command the attention of even Gods!  Her face was seen on every poster and every television; her voice was heard on every radio and podcast.  There was nothing stopping Shuji Studios from seizing the radio waves.

“Goood mornin’, Elementa and beyond!  This is Nora Shuji here live in the Borealis Tundra to give you what is perhaps the most special report ever!  If you’ve been livin’ under a rock, in a cave, or under the sea all your life, then fear not!  I’m here to enlighten ya!  Our lovable Emperor of Hyoga, Lord Thiji Higuri, has been undergoin’ some grueling trainin’ recently to be bestowed the rarest of honors: ascension to godhood!  He’s been goin’ across the mysterious multiverse and kickin’ the cans of all the guys, gals, and creatures that consider themselves to be masters of winter!  But he’s beaten every single one of ‘em, and now the time has come for him to face his final test against an unknown adversary!  Is it a person from Thiji’s past?  Or a long-lost rival lookin’ to settle a score?  The only way you’ll find out for sure is if you head on over to Hyoga yourself to witness this monumental event!  Tickets are on sale now, and you’ve got only one week before showtime!  But even if you can’t make it, Shuji Studios has you covered: we’ll be takin’ control of the radio waves so that everyone in Elementa can watch the spectacle from the comfort of their own homes!  Are you lookin’ to see what a real battle of ice and snow looks like?  Then you’d better tune in, because this is a once-in-a-hundred-lifetimes chance!  The Borealis Stadium is expected to be filled to capacity, so you’d better act fast and start makin’ your travel arrangements!  This has been Nora Shuji reportin’ to you from the icy bosom of the Land of Glaciers, and remember: If It Ain’t Shuji, It Ain’t Worth Jack!”

From the subaquatic city of Arazsha, to the capitals of all thirteen continents and even the Soramori, news of Thiji’s ascension spread like wildfire.  People from all around the globe began to flock towards the Land of Glaciers, where the greatest moment in Elementa’s history would unfold.

A week’s time had passed, and it was a peaceful, sunny morning in Hyoga.  Atop the glistening walls of Yukiga-To’s outer gates, the leader of the Brides of Winter, Confessor Sylla, sat upon the parapet.  Two more individuals approached her, meeting her gaze toward the horizon.  They were Celuwen, the Virtuemother and Shijima Yukino, the Voice of Winter, and together with the First Bride, they were the highest-ranking individuals of the Handmaidens of Peace.  They watched as the Hyogan skies were dotted by airships and various flying creatures eager to witness the spectacle – one of which was a large airship bearing the image of a multicolored, exploding star upon its sails.  This was the War Star, the airship belonging to the Battle Vixens guild, with the entire crew on deck with their warrior elite: Lupi Flametress, the hot-blooded Knight; Aege Stonemantle, the steadfast Whitesmith; Elua Windgaze, the free-spirited Sniper, and Heal-Do, the calm yet fierce Assassin Cross.

Approaching the Frozen Shore were seafaring vessels and seaborne fauna who have befriended the people of Hyoga – the most important of whom being the Glacierfin Naga, led by Queen Mizu and her council.  Accompanying her was the Mist Queen, Shiro Reina, Mizu’s old friend and former master.

“I knew that man was something else,” Shiro stated, “but never in my life did I imagine him joining Elementa’s pantheon… I’d like a few words with him when this is over before he parts.”

“To ssee a sshorewalker grace the very heavenss would be a sssight for any Naga to behold,” commented Z’hira.  “Let uss make hasste to the sstadium!”

It was truly a sight to behold from the city proper: people from all corners of Elementa and beyond, flocking to one singular location, the stadium slowly filling in its seats.  The Borealis Stadium itself was impressive, to say the least, easily accommodating at least half a million people, including exclusive club seating, skyboxes, and luxury suites – one of which housed the Eternals themselves, and even Nora.  The Teal Quaintrelle wasted no expense in having as many people filling the stadium as possible, and to attract such a crowd could only be possible for a media mogul like her.

And on the far side of the fields stood a solitary ice block, the man of the hour himself within.  Thiji awaited the coming battle, taking this time in solitude to gather himself and focus his power.  It appeared to have been under control - no paling skin or abnormal protrusions from his body.

“Looks like it’ll be a full house, sisters!” Raiko excitedly pointed out.  “This stadium is freakin’ huge!  It should be a landmark!”

“It is,” Homura and Sakuya said simultaneously.

“Where the heck’s Mizore?  She should be watching her son’s finest hour!” the Eternal Succubus asked as she took a big gulp of her drink.

“She’s got her reasons for being tardy,” Sakuya calmly replied.  “For now, let’s get comfy.  Thiji’s battle will be approaching soon.”

In the premium club seats were Princess Seraphina and her entourage: her cousins Kasui & Kasho, along with the Generals of the Tundra Force.  She was excited to see her father’s final performance, along with Queen Shiro and the others – everyone of Hyoga’s Finest had arrived to bear witness to this occasion.  Turning to her immediate left, she would find herself being greeted by a beautiful silver-white fox with nine tails, swinging them eagerly.

“I know he’ll succeed – I will see him in the heavens!” she thought aloud.  This was Da Ji, Purity’s Envoy, and Guardian deity of Amatsu.  A close friend of Thiji’s, she was more eager than anyone to watch Thiji’s performance.

With everyone in place, the time had come to commence the event.  A large teal dirigible flew over the stadium, and titantrons began activating along the outer edges of the stadium, allowing comfortable viewing access from any and all angles.  The Glacierfin Council “seated” beside Shiro and Mizu gazed in awe at the enlarged visage of Nora, and the technology she boasted.

“Thiss woman iss… eccentric,” Zhira commented, “but her pressentation iss not wanting!  Thiss is the marvel of sshorewalker technology!”

“And she’s a fierce fighter besides,” Shiro commented.  “In fact, she taught Thiji martial arts, among other things.”

“PEOPLE OF ELEMENTA AND BEYOND!  ARE YOU READY?!” cried Nora from the airship.  The crowd let out a jubilant uproar of cheers and applause in response.  “To all tunin’ in today, you’re in for the more delectable treat in Elementa’s history: the hour of Thiji’s ascension!  The Emperor of Hyoga himself, Thiji Higuri, has been rampagin’ all over the multiverse to beat all contenders who would get in his way of bein’ Lord of Winter, and now he’s back in the world of Elementa to face his final trial – and you’re all invited to witness it!  Any moment now, his final opponent will make their appearance, and the most epic battle of your lives will commence!  Now let’s hear it for our lovable ice man, the Emperor himself: Thiji Sorin Higuri!”

The ice block shattered and the man of the hour rose to his feet, gazing upon the countless masses applauding him.  He could make out familiar voices cheering him on: his daughter; his niece; Da Ji, and even Shiro.  He couldn’t help but smile at all the people whose lives he touched and changed motivating him one last time as a mortal.  Because after today, he would become a God.

As the hour of judgment drew closer, the Handmaidens’ leadership began to make their way towards the stadium.  However, they would only be able to take a few steps before Confessor Sylla felt a wave of dread wash over her.  She frowned as she laid a hand upon her heart, giving her sisters cause for concern. (1:45:29 - 1:47:37)

“Confessor?” spoke Celuwen.

“This pang upon my breast…” she whispered.  “Is this truly Winter’s will…?”

“What did you see?” Shijima inquired.  Sylla remained silent, only pointing towards the heavens above the Borealis Stadium.  The clouds were beginning to part as a single pillar of amethyst-colored light shone through – it was finally time.  Thiji readied himself as a lotus flower fell from above.  Its descent was blindingly swift, and as it touched down, a storm of petals danced throughout the stadium, wowing the audience.  The flower itself grew in size until it was tall enough to fit an adult male, and once the petals parted to reveal its passenger… the world stopped.

Everyone – from the spectators in the stadium, to the people watching from all corners of the realm, to even Thiji himself – was utterly frozen.  Not a single breeze blew through the arctic.  All was still; all was silent.

“Psst.  Hey, Sakuya,” Raiko whispered.  “I know this is for dramatic effect and all, but we kinda need time to move again.”

“This isn’t me, sister,” the Eternal Human defended.  “Even the families of Heaven of Hell are aware of this moment; all of Elementa is still.”

Out from the flower strode a maiden in a violet qipao, her hair and skin flawless.  Angel wings were seen protruding from her back and in front of her ears.  In her right hand she gripped a decorative jian, an oriental broadsword, and flowers began to blossom through the snow upon which she stood.  Her face was tense – not with anger, but with determination, as she glared daggers at Thiji.

Once the perception of time went back to normal, Thiji’s focus shattered.  He beheld his final opponent, his penultimate obstacle standing in the way of his rightful ascension:

The Snow Flower herself, Koyuki Kazahana, was his final opponent.

“Hello, my lord,” Koyuki greeted firmly.  “It is finally time for you to embrace your destiny.”

“The High Empress…?!” gasped Celuwen and Shijima.

“That I did not foresee this until now…What is Winter plotting…?” Sylla asked herself aloud.

“I am certain we will find the answers we seek once we make it to the stadium.  Come, sisters!” Celuwen ordered, and with a strum of her oud, she brought the winds of the north to heel as they swirled around herself and the others, carrying them to the Borealis Stadium.

“My mother… She was an Angel all this time?” Seraphina inquired.

“Always has been, Princess Seraphina,” Shiro replied.  “In fact, she is a Seraph, an Angel raised and trained for battle.  Note the two pairs of wings.”

“Just like my name!  It makes so much sense now!” the Princess giggled.

“That she is a Seraph can only mean that she went to the Dawn Academy at some point… which implies that our Empress is a lot older than she seems!” Hira deducted.

“Preposterous!” scoffed Chui, General of the Wavemenders.  “That’d mean she’d be half a century old at the least!”

“Normally you’d be correct, Wavecaller,” coolly spoke Galetracker Yori Honshou, General of the Hailvolleys, “but if there’s one thing I know about the Kazahana Clan, it’s that they hold a lot of skeletons in their closet - the Pure Branch, especially!”

“You’re not just saying that because your bow was blessed by them, are you…?” the Spring Elf Arasil questioned, rolling her eyes.

“He has a point, though,” Hira followed.  “The Kazahana Clan are the most powerful and prominent family in Elementa for a reason.  Some even say that their capabilities border on the unnatural.”

The others shrugged off the notion and fell silent, refocusing on center field.

“Koyuki, my flower, what are you doing…?” Thiji questioned.  He took a step forward, but would be met with only a blade pointed toward him.  He looked upon his wife and immediately took notice of her demeanor: she wasn’t the cheerful and demure lady by which she was so known and loved.  No, this Koyuki was far different – eyes burning with fervent determination, a fury quelled by the serenity her very presence brings.  He had surmised that she has awakened the Kazahana blood within her, turning the Snow Flower into a weapon of war.

“Doing what must be done, my lord,” she replied.  “You have completed the Trials of Winter, and now your final test is upon you.  Did you think you were the only one training, my Emperor?  I, too, have been honing my skills, preparing myself for this fateful day where we would meet each other – as opponents.  And as many are wont to say: the more beautiful the flower, the deadlier its thorns, and I have been touted as the most beautiful in all of Elementa.”

“But I’ve sworn an oath to defend and uphold your purity!” Thiji interjected, taking a stance.  “Laying a hand on you in aggression is sacrilege of the highest order; the Kazahana Clan is the most powerful in all of Elementa, and drawing their blood is original sin – especially the blood of a Pure Branch member – most of all its head!”

“You’re right: you are still oathbound to protect me, my lord,” Koyuki pondered, “which is why I declare upon this day that you, Thiji Sorin Higuri, shall protect me no longer.  I deem you freed from the manacles by which this oath has bound you, sworn no longer to safeguard my purity!”

The entire stadium gasped; some of the Handmaidens were so taken aback that they began fainting on the spot.  As for Thiji, he was crushed by this so that he collapsed, falling to his knees.  The Eternals watched silently from their box with anticipation, counting on the Snow Flower to carry out their mission.  Thiji wanted to feel utter sorrow, but his heart was not as affected by this as he had thought.  In fact, he was not even brought to tears.  But the same sadness lingered as he rose his head to the heavens, wondering what cruel hand fate had dealt him to come to this occasion.  After loving, serving, and protect his beloved Snow Flower – his destined, star-crossed wife – she casts his oath aside like an old toy.

His head felt heavy now.  The weight became too much to bear that he would once again lower it to the ground, seemingly losing all energy to move.  He was still, as the first snow had finally begun to fall upon Hyoga.  Thiji had shut his eyes, hoping that it was all a nightmare.  But a voice broke through the silence.

“Thiji.  Draw your sword.  If you are to claim your destiny, then you must strike me down.” (3:16:14 - 3:19:26)

These words came from Koyuki’s lips.  But it only hurt him further.  Again, the emotional blow was softened by some unknown force.  No response from the Emperor of Hyoga.  Koyuki pressed the matter once more.

“Raise your head, Thiji.  Draw your sword and meet me in battle.”

“What madnesss is thiss?!” Z’hira gasped.

“What corruption has befouled the High Empress?!” Deshir followed.

“Koyuki is incorruptible,” Queen Mizu said telepathically.  “She’s plotting something, but it involves battle.  I know Lady Shiro and Lady Koyuki well; they wouldn’t do things without some ultimate goal in mind.”

Seraphina only watched on in silence, unable to say a single word from the sheer emotion wrought by this moment.  Thiji, again, did not speak or budge.  Thus did Koyuki resort to more direct measures.  With a beat of her wings, she took the the skies, grasping her blade as gravity gave way.

As she descended, memories of Thiji’s past surged through his mind – all of which involved Koyuki.  His most cherished moment, when they were mere children, replaying over and over in his mind.  How tenderly he held her that cold day… how icy wet his face was from the tears he shed for her… and the words he spoke to her:

“Please, Koyuki… don’t go.  I need you.”

He kept that memory closest to his heart all his life, and now it seemed to have been for naught.  Of all the opponents he could have faced, he never once dreamed of raising a blade against Koyuki.  But just like the other assaults upon his heart, yet again, the blow was mitigated.  Why did not feel so crushed as he originally anticipated?  Was his warrior’s spirit taking over?  Whatever the cause may be, he found the strength to rise back to his feet, conjuring a katana of ice just in time to clash blades with Koyuki, a loud ring heard throughout the stadium.  The resulting force sent the falling snow blowing in all directions, pelting the crowd in a flurry of frost and angel down.

“Good, my lord,” she congratulated as she stared her husband down, that same determination in her eyes.  His eyes, however, were filled with something else – cold yet raging.  He did not question why he acted in such a way, only that it felt right.  “For the glory of Hyoga, unleash your soul and face me!”


And thus the battle had begun.

“Game on, sisters…” Sakuya declared, reclining in her seat.  The two concluded their deadlock and forced each other back to opposite ends of the arena.  Thiji made the first move and sent blades of ice toward the Snow Flower, who answered with graceful dodges to the left and right.  She performed another wingbeat, sending flower petals forward and strewing them about the arena.

Thiji rose his katana and charged, watching the petals explode in a small radius as he came close.  She had set a floral minefield to deter Thiji.  Stepping directly atop a petal, he was sent flying upwards, throwing him off balance.  Koyuki took the skies to meet him, ready to greet Thiji with a series of blade attacks.  He was able to recover from the explosion he triggered to meet Koyuki in a clash of blades once more, parrying her blows with his katana.  Seeing an opening, Koyuki performed a lunge with her sword, aimed at Thiji’s chest.  The Emperor was able to spin in midair to avoid it, sheathing his blade for a brief moment before unleashing stored energy to perform a blinding iai slash at the Empress’ midsection.  The attack hit its mark, but Koyuki’s form vanished into flower petals.

“A flower clone…” he thought to himself.  He made a quick 180-degree turn as soon as he felt Koyuki’s presence, though try as he did to react, the Snow Flower had already grabbed him by the arm, whirled him around, and threw him straight downward.

Utilizing his newfound strength, Thiji turned to face the ground, clenching his free hand into a fist and slammed the ground with all his might, upheaving the floral minefield and detonating all the petals in a beautiful display of flower and snow.  The audience could not help but cheer at the spectacle, scattered cheering for either side to win.  Everyone was beginning to get into the fighting spirit, it seemed.

“You’re gettin’ all this, right, boys?!” Nora shouted to her crew, who all gave a thumbs-up.  “Good!  Ain’t nobody’s takin’ this moment away from us!”

“Thiji… One way or another, I will help make you see,” Koyuki thought as she looked down at Thiji.  She began her descent, seeking to meet Thiji head-on once more.  As they clashed blades once more, she stared once more into his icy-cold eyes.  “Dance with me, my lord,” she invited aloud.  “Bring me the beauty and grace of battle that only you can provide me!”  Her husband pushed her away, and she performed a somersault before sticking the landing, sliding several meters back along the snow.

“Then I shall lead…” he coolly replied before wreathing his katana in frost energy.  She did the same for her blade, enveloping it in a violet aura of floral energy, and their dance began: a graceful and frenetic flurry of steel, as gusts of snow and flowers whirled around the stadium.  The crowd cheered them on as their dance went on, with either side showing little sign of letting up.  For Seraphina, however, the residual energies they were giving off reacted with her own body – so much so that it was beginning to feel as though they had counted on this to happen.

The Alabaster Rose hugged herself, unsure of what was going on with her body…

“Cousin!  Are you well?!” Kasui said as she hurried to her side.  She would then be pushed back as the halo which levitated behind her illuminated, and focused her energies into the heavens, drastically altering the scenery.  Kasho caught Kasui, after which they would look up to notice that the clouds had parted, revealing a sunless sky, with the glorious light of Tsukuyomi illuminating the area.  Once this atmospheric phenomenon occurred, all jubilation ceased, and only silence followed.  All were entranced by the dazzling display.

“What… What is this…?” General Hiro gasped.

“In all my battles, I’ve seen nothing like this before…” Snowmistress Hira stated.

“C’est magnifique…”

Everyone turned toward the source of the voice: the newly-ordained Duchess of Yukiga-To, Masao Inkina Muyo.  “A rarity unlike any other: a joining only made possible through the Higuri Clan and the Kazahana Pure Branch; a vibrant and mystical dance of twirling petals and snowy zephyrs beneath the silvery gaze of the moon: the Beauty of the Four Seasons: the Setsugekka no Utsukushi-sa.”

“How do you know of this, Duchess?” inquired Mikomi Toushou, Nomad of Hope, who sat right beside Su Da Ji.

“I’ve served the Royal Family long enough to learn of the unique bond shared between the Higuri Clan and the Kazahana Pure Branch,” she explained.  “With Great Empress Kaiyuki’s blessing, I was the one who oversaw a young Lord Thiji’s rise to Prime Minister of Yukiga-To before his 15th birthday.  The Higuri have always been the most loyal retainers to them, and of the many bonds that form between Clans, theirs is the most graceful and beautiful in all of Elementa.  The Great Empress told me this secret, and I’ve kept it well-guarded until the time was right.  Their very powers alter the world around them: Lord Thiji, of the snow; Lady Koyuki, of the flower… and Princess Seraphina, of the moon.  Together, they complete this rarest of dances…”

A singular tear fell from her face, compared to the countless others who also shed tears from the serene beauty of the sight – even the Glacierfin Naga cried, never witnessing a more beautiful spectacle since the coming of their Queen.  And up above, Nora and her crew were practically bawling.

“D-Don’t stop filmin’ this, gentlemen – no matter how w-watery your eyes get…!” Nora ordered, choking back tears with little success.  The Eternals, too, were moved by this sight, though Homura was trying her hardest not to show her tears.

“Man… I oughta slap the white off of Mizore for not witnessing her own flesh and blood doing this!” Homura grumbled.

On the eastern section of the stadium, the Handmaidens leadership arrived just in time to witness the show with Nisou and the others.  The Handmaidens either fainted from the overwhelming beauty or were praying in reverence to Winter; Sylla felt utter bliss, hurrying to her nieces’ side to watch with them; Celuwen and Shijima were simply stunned.

The length of their dance was reaching its end; the Borealis Stadium and surrounding area darkening as a sign, until the moonlight was focused only on the circumference of the arena.  The two warriors disengaged to focus all their respective energy into their weapons again, before zooming towards center field to meet one another in one final clash beneath the lunar spotlight.  The ground then began to shake as the residual energies focused onto a singular area – the stadium itself.  A raging blizzard of snow and blossom petals filled the area, contained in a transparent veil of moonlight which protected the audience.  The storm rose to the very heavens, until the barrier would finally break from the resulting explosion, releasing a flash of light which temporarily blinded all who gazed upon it.

Once the light had faded and the skies returned to normal, the crowd beheld the last vestiges of the dancing iceflowers, as both contestants laid on the ground.

“Did… Did he win…?  Is it over…?” Da Ji asked hopefully.  Thiji and Koyuki slowly rose to their feet after recovering from the shock of the explosion, barely a scratch on them, save for a small cut on their cheek.

“Well done, Thiji…” Koyuki said in her mind.  “All under Heaven and above the Underworld will remember this day.  And with this dance concluded, you’re one step closer… But still you must see.  You must further be catalyzed.  Only then will the truth be revealed.  Jenivieve… Liliana… Dr. Rieleigh… everyone… after all we’ve done for him… I pray that you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.”

Grasping her blade, she took to a piercing stance, wings outstretched.  Taking this moment in her hands, she charged at Thiji with all her might, her blade aiming straight for his heart.

“MY LORD, TAKE CARE!!” shouted Da Ji, reaching out to the man she loves.  Try as he could, he was unable to react, his body feeling… cold.  Rigid, even.  He only watched as his beloved wife came toward him at full speed, bracing himself for the inevitable blow…

… But destiny had other plans.

A loud clang resounded throughout the stadium, which such force that the wind generated from it blew everyone off of their seats (figuratively, of course).  Thiji slowly opened his eyes, gasping at what he beheld: his heart was untouched, a strange barrier holding Koyuki’s blade a meter from it!  He rose his head to meet Koyuki’s gaze, who shut her own eyes in response.  And in the midst of it all, Thiji could not help but think that Koyuki felt… relieved by this.

Setting the notion aside, he released his pent-up energy in a radial wave of force which knocked the Snow Flower back towards her end of the arena.  Koyuki caught herself, getting to her knees as she watched Thiji’s body… changing.

“It’s done…” Koyuki quietly cheered under her breath.  The Emperor’s eyes shut as he winced in pain, clutching his chest as he saw his body crystallizing!

She did it!” Sakuya cheered with a fist pump.  “It’s all on her now.”

“I-Is this a result of the dance, Duchess Muyo?!” Mikomi asked.

Non,” she answered.  “This is something entirely different; a first-time occurrence for us all.”

As Thiji fought his hardest to stop this process, he dropped to his knees, clutching his chest desperately to stem the pain.  It was then that he heard a voice in his head:

“Thiji… do not fight it.”

His eyes opened, scanning the area for the source, but he saw only Koyuki, and the masses who gathered today to watch him.  The voice called to him again:

“Give in to it.  This is your destiny.  Your time has finally come.”

“I know that voice…” he whispered…

“Come to me… and all will be made clear.”

A protective dome of permafrost formed around Thiji, leaving everyone stupefied.

“The plot glaciates…!” Nora exclaimed.

Thiji reopened his eyes and found himself in a different realm – far from the Borealis Stadium – far from Hyoga – and far from Elementa.  A vast forest blessed by eternal winter; trees turned white and blue by snow and frost; arctic fauna both normal and magical roaming the land.  Light snowfall persisted no matter where one went in the forest, and the wind was calm and serene.  Thiji was beyond awestruck at the stark beauty of this land.  His reverence would be cut short, however, as a snowy owl landed before him, staring at him expectantly.  It lifted a wing and pointed it to the path behind it, gesturing him to follow.

Thiji threw caution to the wind and proceeded down the path, until he would eventually come to a glade of pristine snow and ice.  Waiting for him in the center sat a lone woman robe in an ornate white-and-blue kimono.  Her waist-length hair and skin were as white as the very snow, and icicles decorated her form – from hair ties with red ribbons to lining her obi in a manner akin to strings of charms.


The owl perched itself on a nearby nest, alerting the woman to Thiji’s presence – though she already knew he had come.  She rose from her seat and turned slowly to gaze at Thiji, greeting him with a smile warm enough to melt the snow around her.

“My son – my sweet Yukinko…” she greeted with the most gentle of voices.

“Mother…” Thiji replied under his breath.  He broke into a sprint towards his beloved parent, and memories flashed back in both their minds, to a time when Thiji was a mere child.  This mother of the Emperor of Hyoga was none other than Mizore, the Eternal Yuki-Onna of Ice, and by proxy, Empress Dowager of Hyoga.  He embraced his mother tenderly, for he had missed her so, just as she missed him.  “Where am I, Mother…?  What is going on?”

“Be still, sweetest son,” she replied.  “I will explain.  Firstly, this is my – and soon to be, your – domain: the Antarctic Glade.  I summoned you here personally to help you on your final step towards your ascension.  First, I would ask of you to create a reflection.”

“Yes, Mother,” he immediately acknowledged.   Mizore then used her powers to conjure a large slab of ice before them, while Thiji utilized the powers of the Glacial Guardian to project his memories onto the ice, replaying them as though it were a television.

“Thiji,” Mizore began, “do you recall a certain crucial moment in time where you changed drastically in demeanor?  I will give you a hint: it was during your burgeoning adult years.”

Thiji thought for a moment, which caused the ice to react.  The reflections began replaying a younger Thiji with Koyuki, whom he was on the verge of proposing to, and the actual wedding.  Then it replayed a moment in time with Thiji and Koyuki again, a few years older, but with a third familiar face: flowing, platinum-blonde hair; stunning violet eyes…

These particular moments kept playing over and over as Mizore continued her explanation…

“Your destiny was delayed due the love you shared with the Snow Flower and the Dragon Empress.  Though they may have given you power through love, they had, unbeknownst to them, been holding you back.  This was not your fault, nor theirs, for your love was star-crossed.  However, you have learned all you could, and now you are at the crux of your power; the zenith of your potential.”

“So Koyuki and Liliana… them changing my heart affected me so?” Thiji asked.  Mizore responded with a nod.

“Love is powerful, Thiji,” she said.  “so powerful that it can soften one’s resolve.  Elementa is in need of new protectors, and it is unanimous that none are a better candidate than you to ascend to godhood.  But in order for this to occur, you had to undergo the Trials of Winter – they served as a means of reminding you of your roots as a child born of Winter.  You bear it in all forms: its savagery; its ferocity; its serenity; its beauty.  Your heart needed to be re-hardened, and you have done just that in record time.  To ascend to godhood, you needed to become the undisputed mortal ruler over all things cold and frigid.  This… is the Diamond Prophecy.  You passed yourself off as the Diamond Emperor, but now you can truly be the Diamond Emperor.  This will be your first – and final – transformation.”

That is why my body was crystallizing!” Thiji realized.  “It was a diamond cocoon!”

“Precisely!” his mother affirmed.  “Koyuki knew of this, and now she stands between you and your ascension.  Though you are among the incredibly rare few to have multiple true loves, you must learn to let them go.  Koyuki wanted you to see that; in time, I am sure Liliana will understand as well.  We are living forces of nature; the limits of our strength far surpass even that which love can bring.  So I ask you, Thiji: will you strike down the Snow Flower – your greatest love – to ascend?”

“I will,” he immediately stated, his expression turning cold.  “I must.”  Mizore took note of this, smiling in approval – not a single bit of doubt or remorse present on his face.

“Then I have done my duty.  Now I’ll just need to give you a little jump-start!”

She lifted her index finger, and condensed the glade’s latent glacial energy into a small orb, resting on its tip.  As it drew closer to his heart, Mizore gave her parting words to her son:

“When next I see you, Thiji, you will be a God.  For now, I think it’s time you left; you have one last show to put on!”

As soon as she touched his heart, the energy discharged and quickly enveloped his body, consuming him in a white light that transported him out of the glade and back to Hyoga.  Everyone watched with bated breath over the glacial dome that has now been hardened into diamond.

“What could be goin’ on inside that dome?!” Nora shouted.  “If you’re still holdin’ your breath, then you’ve got the lung capacity of an Olympic gold medalist!”

“Think she did it?” Homura asked Sakuya.

“For sure.  Look at the dome,” she replied.  The dragoness looked back, noticing that cracks were forming along the dome.  The crowd gasped as the cracks began splitting, growing in length and width.  Light broke through the fractures, which made everyone grow concerned.

“That dome’s about to burst!  Watch out, everyone!!” Nora warned.  The crowd did not have much time to react until the dome burst, sending shards of diamond out in all directions.  The audience and Nora and her crew did their best to shield themselves from horrible lacerations and puncture wounds, only to find that the shards have been trapped in stasis before it would strike anyone.  They looked around and beheld nothing but a glistening stadium of diamond, as Thiji emerged from his cocoon, completely transformed: his normal garb has been replaced with regal clothing; it along with his hair took on an ice blue-to-white gradient; his skin, pallid and pure white, like the snow.  Upon his head was a crown made of pure diamonds, with the shards of the selfsame mineral dancing about him.  Koyuki smiled at the sight of her lord – remade whole once more – his former self, restored.

“Is… Is that Lord Thiji?!” Nora gasped.  “Ladies and gentlemen and everybody tuned in: the unthinkable has happened!  In the heat of battle, the master of ice himself has undergone a PHENOMENAL change, and has stilled the power of winter itself with a mere glare!  This can only mean one thing: we’re witnessin’ the first – and last – transformation of Thiji Higuri, the Diamond Emperor!!”

The crowd cheered loudly once more, chanting “Diamond!  Emperor!  Diamond!  Emperor!”  Regaining her composure, Koyuki picked up her blade and assumed her best fighting stance.

“Are you prepared, my lord…?” Koyuki called out.  He rose his head and slowly opened his eyes, revealing cold orbs of ice blue to match his emotionless countenance.

“Time to find out…” he answered lowly.

With a few slashes of her jian, she called forth miniature petals which gleamed in the light, as though they were tiny blades in disguise.  She sent them forth to assail Thiji, who responded with a mere tilt of his head, forming a barricade from the diamond shards.  The sound of numerous tiny blades clashing against rock was heard as Koyuki’s attack was nullified.

This, however, was merely a distraction.  Koyuki flew forward at full speeds, drifting around the barricade and kicking up snow as she did to strike at Thiji’s blindside, using her deceptive combat style to find a hole in his defenses.  Fortunately, he was very focused on the battle, effortlessly deflecting her attacks with his katana, now made from diamond.  Koyuki then wheeled around and swung her blade in a clockwise arc, but Thiji easily no selled her attack by planting his blade in the ground.  With his free hand, he made a swiping motion with his index and middle finger, shaving off some of the barricade to send a cloud of diamond towards Koyuki, who had to fly to evade. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen this side of Father before,” an awestruck Seraphina mused. 

“He was… a different man back then, Princess,” Shiro followed.  “He was far more cold and calculating in his ways before he was reunited with your mother.  Thiji was well on his way to becoming one of - if not, the most - powerful practitioner of ice in Elementa.  But now, it looks like he’s done just that.”

“How poetic - Elementa’s progenitor of winter, he must first rule it as a mortal,” Sylla thought aloud.  “A pity we will only see this once in our lifetime.”

Thiji then retrieved his sword and slashed it behind him, sending a wave of frost in an arc towards the Snow Flower, who barely rose a floral shield to fend it off, an ice shard or two cutting her face.  Koyuki then planted more lotus flowers on the ground, sprouting into man-sized plants into which she would enter.  As she did, that flower shrunk into the ground, effectively teleporting her to another one nearby, utilizing this tactic to get the element of surprise on Thiji.  Again, it seemed to provide little effect, as he reacted quickly to where she would appear, clashing swords with and forcing her away as she fell into flower after flower to repeat the same tactic.  Another clash, and Thiji pushed Koyuki high into the air with his newfound might, using this time to disable her means of teleportation by shredding each and every flower with his diamond shards.

Running thin on options, Koyuki called upon the heavenly host to fill her with light, swooping down to meet Thiji once more in a deadlock, the resulting force causing another shockwave of ice and flowers to spread, though they were contained by the diamonds which formed a barrier around the arena.  Thiji slid his blade toward the guard of her sword, using his leverage to pull her down to the earth in a kneeling position.  She gazed into Thiji’s eyes as their blades remained deadlocked, and she felt her very soul running cold.  They were devoid of feeling – empty save for the unforgiving chill that his very presence brought.

The Snow Flower stilled the quickness of her heart, keeping her gaze fixed on the only man she ever loved.  She was completely helpless; if she lost this deadlock, this battle was his.  But she saw no point in reasoning with him now, for she had already gone too far – which is what she had wanted all along.  She braced herself for what was to follow.

“I’m ready, Thiji…” she said in her mind.  Everyone watching stood up from their seats, some even on the verge of falling over the arena.  Seraphina couldn’t bear to watch and shielded her eyes.  Mizu and the other ladies covered their mouths in shock at what was going to happen.

“Sh-Should we keep filming, ma’am?” asked the cameraman.

“YES!  No matter what!” Nora immediately replied.  Thiji sent the diamond cloud into the blade, fusing with and hardening its surface, thus increasing its strength.  So much so that he applied just a bit more pressure, causing her sword to split in two… The memories of their teary farewell surged into her mind.  She remembered it all: the words he said to her; the way he held her; the countless tears he wept for her…

… Then, time stood still once more, as the only sound that followed… was steel piercing flesh.

1 notes · See All
thijihiguri·17 days agoPhoto






Yes, lets imagine a world WITHOUT MUSLIMS, shall we?

Without Muslims you wouldn’t have:

  • Coffee
  • Cameras

  • Experimental Physics

  • Chess

  • Soap

  • Shampoo

  • Perfume/spirits

  • Irrigation

  • Crank-shaft, internal combustion engine, valves, pistons

  • Combination locks

  • Architectural innovation (pointed arch -European Gothic cathedrals adopted this technique as it made the building much stronger, rose windows, dome buildings, round towers, etc.)

  • Surgical instruments

  • Anesthesia

  • Windmill

  • Treatment of Cowpox

  • Fountain pen

  • Numbering system

  • Algebra/Trigonometry

  • Modern Cryptology

  • 3 course meal (soup, meat/fish, fruit/nuts)

  • Crystal glasses

  • Carpets

  • Checks

  • Gardens used for beauty and meditation instead of for herbs and kitchen.

  • University
  • Optics
  • Music
  • Toothbrush
  • Hospitals
  • Bathing
  • Quilting
  • Mariner’s Compass
  • Soft drinks
  • Pendulum
  • Braille
  • Cosmetics
  • Plastic surgery
  • Calligraphy
  • Manufacturing of paper and cloth

It was a Muslim who realized that light ENTERS our eyes, unlike the Greeks who thought we EMITTED rays, and so invented a camera from this discovery.

It was a Muslim who first tried to FLY in 852, even though it is the Wright Brothers who have taken the credit.

It was a Muslim by the name of Jabir ibn Hayyan who was known as the founder of modern Chemistry. He transformed alchemy into chemistry. He invented: distillation, purification, oxidation, evaporation, and filtration. He also discovered sulfuric and nitric acid.

It is a Muslim, by the name of Al-Jazari who is known as the father of robotics.

It was a Muslim who was the architect for Henry V’s castle.

It was a Muslim who invented hollow needles to suck cataracts from eyes, a technique still used today.

It was a Muslim who actually discovered inoculation, not Jenner and Pasteur to treat cowpox. The West just brought it over from Turkey

It was Muslims who contributed much to mathematics like Algebra and Trigonometry, which was imported over to Europe 300 years later to Fibonnaci and the rest.

It was Muslims who discovered that the Earth was round 500 years before Galileo did.

The list goes on………..

Just imagine a world without Muslims. Now I think you probably meant, JUST IMAGINE A WORLD WITHOUT TERRORISTS. And then I would agree, the world would definitely be a better place without those pieces of filth. But to hold a whole group responsible for the actions of a few is ignorant and racist. No one would ever expect Christians or White people to be held responsible for the acts of Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma bombing) or Anders Breivik (Norway killing), or the gun man that shot Congresswoman Giffords in head, wounded 12 and killed 6 people, and rightly so because they had nothing to do with those incidents! Just like the rest of the 1.5 billion Muslims have nothing to do with this incident!


I couldn’t be happier to reblog this.

this is amazing.

I’ll be dead when i dont reblog this

We damn sure would have even more deplorable fashion sense without Muslims, that’s for sure.

856K notes · See All
thijihiguri·a month agoText


Within the mythril-blue halls of the Higuri Regalia’s Main Branch Headquarters was a vast dinner table made of that same blue metal.  Precious fabrics of tulle were placed evenly along the length of the table, as plates of exquisite food from all corners of Hydaelyn were being placed.

The Angels – Lord Thiji’s personal retinue of assassin-maidservants – were gathered around the table.  At the head was the Mythrite Sultan himself, being poured a glass of his Winter Lassi by his Main Branch Advisor, Veeveena Veena.  He and his Angels were regaling one another over their recent success in the Bloodsands…

Lilina: So how’d it go?! I wanted to witness the spectacle myself, but I have been so busy with my Summoner training…

Veeveena: Oh, it went quite well, Miss Lilina!  In fact, we would be honored if Miss Susuna could recall the story for us in full detail!

Susuna: Hey, can I at least get in a glass or two of wine first?!

The Angels chuckled as Susuna gulped down her caelumtree wine.  All the Angels were garbed in the uniform of their respective branches, save for a few who were wearing items from the PiB Catalogue: Veeveena in her Impurity’s Sampot as per usual; Isja in her Life-Warden’s Veil, and Himmeya in the Griffin-Mistress’ Choil.

After a good half-bell into their feast, Veeveena popped the question to her fellow Angel once more, who took another long sip of her wine before jumping up to the table in a dramatic fashion, startling her sisters.

Susuna: So there we were, surrounded by the typical Ul’dahn crowd of nobles looking for bloodshed! Even Ishgard’s own nobility came to spectate!  The Mythril Cup was nigh, and it was here that our latest operation would unfold: Violet Steel!

Luluma: But wait, I thought Miss Himmeya didn’t use weapons?

Susuna: I’m getting there! So anyway, the contestants were lined up in the Bloodsands: a big, burly Sea Wolf Gladiator; a not-as-big but just-as burly female Sea Wolf Marauder; a Midlander soldier of the Immortal Flames; a female Duskwight Lancer; a Sun Seeker male from the Black Shroud – a Redbelly Wasp; a pair of male twin Dunesfolk Thaumaturges, and a Highlander Thief!

Isja: Hm… I counted nine, including Himmeya.  Who was the tenth?

Susuna: She was a Far Easterner, by the look of her armor.  She had a pink scabbard which obviously housed a Doman Steel katana.  At the time, she was masked, so her face was obscured from view.  So as they welcomed the combatants, I placed a hundred thousand gil on Himmeya winning. The odds at the time were 100 to 1.

Lelena: What?!  Then that must mean –

Susuna: That’s right! Ten million gil was going to belong to the Regalia once Himmeya won!  Of course, the real victory was getting word out on the PiB Catalogue, which my sisters and Miss Shiro were manning just outside the coliseum at the time.

Umimi: Oh, when does the fun part come?  Let’s hear about the fighting!

Sesena: Oh, don’t be so impatient, Miss Umimi!  Suna’s gotta set the mood first!

Susuna: Whaddya mean? The mood is already set!  The fight started and everyone was goin’ at it! The Gladiator and Marauder ganged up on the swordmaiden while the Lancer and the Redbelly Archer did their thing.

Umimi, taking a sip of water: Now that’s more like it!

Susuna: The Flames soldier made good use of his shield, deflecting the elemental onslaught from the Thaumaturge twins!  Then here comes the Highlander Thief from out of the shadows, looking to draw first blood by taking out Himmeya!

The Angels gasped as Himmeya simply shook her head, biting into another piece of baklava.  The Enforcer was amazed by the taste that she had to stop and appreciate the flavor for a moment…

Himmeya, thinking: Damn.  Now I see why this is Lord Thiji’s favorite dessert.

Susuna: Unfortunately for him, Miss Himmeya was in her exclusive Fists of Ice stance!  When the Thief jumped onto her shoulders for an Assassination attack, she caught him off balance using Arm of the Destroyer, then quickly grabbed him by the leg, hung him upside-down for a mean Touch of Death to the gut, and chucked his tattooed ass across the arena, taking a shield bash and Scathe combo as he was sent flying into the wall!

Umimi & Veeveena: Nice!

The other Angels applauded Himmeya’s performance.  The Fist of Rhalgr disciple found it difficult to respond to such an ovation, so she simply waved sheepishly.

Isja: Who knew the Treasurer had such a talent for storytelling?

Sosona: Susuna may be the youngest between the three of us, but her expertise at information gathering and gossip is second-to-none.

Susuna: With the first combatant knocked out, Himmeya took up a new stance: the Fists of Water!  The Lancer incapacitated the Miqo’te bandit with a straight kick and went straight for the Flames soldier!  Meanwhile, the Thaumaturges enhanced their defenses with Manawards as they prepared a mean spell to throw at Himmeya!

Lelena: How would she be able to close the distance in time?!

Susuna: She didn’t have to. Much like the Fists of Ice slowing down opponents she struck, this stance had a unique effect as well!  The Fists of Water increased her effective striking range by at least ten yalms!  So she was able to instantly break their barriers with another antiquated technique: the One-Ilm Punch!

Meriri: Goodness, lass! Ye be puttin’ Pugilists to shame with yer skills!

Koyuki: It was at this point that the crowd had its eyes fixed on Miss Himmeya, and some had even inquired as to where she obtained her clothes!  You can only imagine what we told them in response!

Shishira: Lord Thiji dearest was spectating from the other end, cloaked in black and violet, signaling the next phase: bringing in the masses!  But for now, Miss Susuna should continue.

Susuna: Thank you, ma’am! So, with the Thaumaturges’ defenses shattered by a single hit, the Archer managed to recover and shot an arrow at the older brother, which really pissed off his younger sibling!  He gathered his might and dropped an orbital laser on his head – the Skyshard!

Isja: Heavens…!

Umimi: He died, right?

Susuna: He should have!  It’s a Limit Break, for Thal’s sake!  But capitalizing on this, the Marauder chick took out the exhausted younger with a mean Overpower, wrapping up the triangle knockout!

Meriri: So how was the swordmaiden doin’ in the midst of all this?

Susuna: She held her own no problem!  In fact, I was going to get to her in a minute!  So, the roster was down to half at this point, with only Himmeya, the Far Easterner, the Roegadyns, and the Flames Soldier remaining!

Yuanji: But you missed the Duskwight – what happened to her?

Susuna, taking another sip of her wine: Oh, right – her.  She got slashed right below the tits by the Flames soldier.

The Angels broke out into laughter yet again from the Treasurer’s remark.  Umimi nearly spat out her water as a result.  Thiji only shook his head, the only thing escaping his lips being a soft chuckle.

Susuna: Which is even funnier considering how she was talking so much good shite to Miss Himmeya before the fight began! 

Himmeya: Said I was better fit for ballroom dancing.

Lilina: Ballrooms can be arenas, too!

Susuna: Well-stated, Miss Lilina!  Very true! So anyway, he was up next. Himmeya readied her third trump card: The Fists of Lightning!

Lilina: Ooh! Ooh!  That stance had to have paralyzed her foes, right?!

Himmeya: Correct. Though my attacks kept hitting his shield, he would eventually find it harder to hold it up as the electric current danced around the metal and eventually shocked him.

Susuna: And that was when she gave him a double Tiger Claw Strike!

Himmeya: “Couerl Paw”, Miss Susuna.

Susuna: Eh, semantics! The point is, he was knocked on his ass and was eliminated!  All eyes were on Himmeya now, and the nobles were starting to see the meaning of “Power in Beauty” through our star performer!  So we directed them outside to the booth we had set up.  Those who stayed, however, were in for a treat! That Marauder chick was furious now, and charged at Himmeya full speed!  But she was able to stop her dead in her tracks with the Steel Peak technique, stunning her long enough to charge her power move… Uh, what did you call it again?

Himmeya & Sosona: Chesed (pronounced “heh-sed”).

Susuna: Thanks to Sona’s fine-tuning, Miss Himmeya overclocked her Fists of the Fiend and brought the full power of life and growth onto the face of the Marauder, sending her bouncing into the wall where she made a nice Roegadyn-sized hole in it before landing on her neck!

The Angels winced in pain.

Susuna: That left only Himmeya, the Gladiator, and the swordmaiden.  At this point, the Roegadyn was getting frustrated as her opponent was getting the upper hand, so he tried to draw her away with a Bloodstain – or Circle of Scorn, if you prefer!  But then she did this thing where it looked like she foresaw the incoming attack and instantly evaded it, sliding backwards a full 360-degrees before advancing and retaliating with a slash which disarmed him!

Luluma: So some sort of… Foresight Slash?

Susuna: Yeah, that’s what it sounds like!  Anyway, she sent the man into the air with a Tsubame-Gaeshi, then bisected the fool with an Ougi – some Far Eastern word meaning “Hidden Technique”.

???: The Hana-no-Fukei – the Scenery of Blossoms.

Everyone looked around to find the source of the voice.  Then from the entrance to the dining hall was a petite Midlander Hyur wearing the uniform of the Othard Branch, with a pink scabbard identical to the one Susuna described in her retelling.  She had auburn hair tied in a ponytail and golden eyes, flawless skin, and an air of poise.  She greeted everyone with a bow and immediately took a seat beside Himmeya.

Susuna: Introducing our newest Angel: Kaori Hanabira, the Petaldancer!

Kaori: Truly, it is an honor to be part of such a wonderful company.  It is grand to see my old friend Himmeya again.

Meriri: Wait, you’re the same lass who cut down the Gladiator?  Then how’d the rest of the match end?

Kaori: After I struck down that ruffian, I revealed myself to Himmeya.  We had befriended each other during the Rhalgr’s Beacon operation when she was still in the Resistance.

Himmeya: She stowed away on an East Aldenard vessel all the way to Limsa Lominsa, where she sought to return the favor of the brave westerners who helped liberate Doma.

Thiji: We are honored to have you among us, Miss Kaori.  You will serve us well as the Othard Branch’s Enforcer.

Kaori: I shall not disappoint.

Umimi: With all due respect, my lord… who won the Mythril Cup?

Thiji: That honor belongs to Miss Himmeya, of course.  They had shared a dialogue before sparring.  Both gave their all, but in the ensuing clash, Miss Kaori’s blade would shatter upon Himmeya’s enhanced fists.  Without a weapon with which to fend herself, and her own martial arts proving inadequate, the only logical choice was to concede.

Kaori: But it was an honorable duel, and I only entered to find Miss Himmeya in the first place. She enjoys fighting – as do I.  So I thought a coliseum battle would be the ideal event to find her.  The kami smiled upon me that day to find her there, though I was unaware of a greater scheme in the works.

Yuanji: Ahh – of course! Miss Sesena’s team was swamped after the match, were you not?

Sesena: We would have been were it not for the fact that Miss Shiro is a master assassin!  She gave everyone a copy with lightning speed!

Sosona: And now we have an easy 10 million gil in the bank; more exposure for the Regalia, and a new Angel. An awesome profit was won that day.

Susuna: The bookmaker was appalled by the outcome, but that’s the thing about gambling: sometimes –

Sesena and Sosona join in: You lose!

Umimi: But not for the Regalia!  This gamble was a victory for us all!  A toast to our success, and to our newest Angel – Miss Kaori!

Thiji: To Miss Kaori.

Yuanji & Koyuki: Kampai!

(Picture commissioned by Dizzyfuture)

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thijihiguri·2 months agoText


Under a moonlit night within the Near Eastern nation of Radz-at-Han, the people and servants of the Higuri Regalia slumbered.  All save for one, however.  As the silvery light of Menphina illuminated the halls leading to the Mythrite Sultan’s bed chambers, a lone Lalafellin figure stood vigil.  Dressed in silvery-white, she felt the light of the Lover kiss her skin and golden hair.  She opened her eyes to gaze upon the star, revealing limpid aqua-blue orbs.

She greeted the moon with a grin, enjoying the silent scenery of the starlit sky.  Veeveena was her name, and though she is an Advisor to the Mythrite Sultan, she was his most loyal.  While most would be asleep at this hour, she ensured her lord’s safety by standing watch in case of unlikely assassins.

The silence would be broken a few ticks later, when footsteps were heard from the halls.  She turned her gaze to the source of the noise, waiting for the silhouette to be revealed before the moonlight.  “This otherwise dull night was going to become interesting,” she thought, and her hand slowly trailed down to part the folds of her dress, revealing a pair of bladed fans.  Without hesitation, she took one of them up, unfolded it to brandish the blades, and threw it into the darkness.

The steel glimmered in the moonlight, and as it struck the shadows… nothing happened.  No sound of a body hitting the floor.  Perhaps an apparition of sorts?  The only sound that followed was that of a voice as softer as voile silk.

“Very good, Veeveena. You are truly deserving of the epithet ‘the Visceral’.”

She gasped as the individual drew closer, revealing an ethereal beauty of a Lalafell woman wearing a Near Eastern dress of mythril blue and silver, with a veil to match. Her eyes were snow white, with hair of similar color that stopped past her upper back.  She grinned at Veeveena as she flashed the fan she threw, tossing it back her way.

Valide Sultan…!” Veeveena gasped as she instinctively caught the weapon. “My deepest apologies –“

“Now, now, Veeveena,” she interjected, “there is no need to apologize.  You were in the right to respond in such a way.  But I did not come all this way to spar.  I wanted to speak to you as a beloved friend and confidant. So please, you need not address me as ‘Valide’, ‘Queen Mother’, or anything of the sort. Tonight, I am speaking to you as Mimizo.”

Veeveena nodded in response, accompanying the Valide Sultan as they made their way out of the Main Branch Headquarters.  Mimizo’s strides were dignified and graceful, and her hands were folded at the center, giving off an air of regality and refinement.  Veeveena mirrored this as they enjoyed their tranquil stroll through the moonlit halls of the Main Branch.

“It is awfully late, Lady Mimizo,” Veeveena stated.

“Which is what makes this the most opportune time to speak with you,” Mimizo replied.  “Veeveena, I have watched the Regalia blossom into the prosperous empire that it is now, and I could not be any more proud of my dearest son for his efforts – as well as the efforts of the Angels who have served him unquestioningly.  My beloved husband also expresses his praise, and was all the more elated to help contribute with the birth of the Mythril Wavetraders.  However…”

She paused as they exited the massive estate and arrived in the courtyard entrance.  She took this moment to collect herself, for what she would say next would not be easy.

“Is aught amiss, Mimizo?” asked Veeveena.  The Valide Sultan shook her head.

“It is concerning my dearest Thiji,” she answered.  “He has grown into a fine young man, full of ambition and genius.  But if there is one thing I cannot suffer overlong – especially as a Mother – is watching my dearest son live out a loveless, lonely existence.  While I cherish each and every one of the sons and daughters of the Higuri – all of whom have only made this world more beautiful through their arrival – Thiji is my pride and joy.  Of all present, he has fulfilled much, and has sacrificed far more to get to where he is now.”

“I agree wholly, my lady,” Veeveena replied as she gazed up into the moon.  “Seeing the Regalia succeed is such a grand sight to behold all its own.”

“Which is why,” Mimizo began, “I have decided to play a more active role in this dilemma.”

The Valide Sultan turned towards Veeveena to face her.

“My son has lived for twenty-seven winters now, and he has had little to no luck in finding his Sultana, as he loves to put it.”

“We are all aware, my lady,” Veeveena replied.  “Not a turn of the sun goes by where I do not think of how we may alleviate this. While it is of the highest of privileges to directly serve the Mythrite Sultan, I still feel inadequate that I cannot bring him true happiness.  The Regalia has everything for which it could ever wish… save for a Sultana for my Lord Thiji.  And he has been doing quite well for so long, but I truly feel that having someone by his side would be the greatest morale boost for everyone under the wings of the Regalia.  Which, in turn, makes me wonder if the Angels were created because of this…”

“Are you implying the Angels would be without purpose serving him and his intended?” Mimizo questioned.

“Of course not!  But… it just feels right aiding him as he is now,” Veeveena answered.

“Even still, my son will not be living this lovelorn life while I am around,” Mimizo explained.  “It is selfish, but as a Mother, I want what is best for my young, and for my family.  Finding the right woman for Thiji is imperative to fulfilling this.  She must be strong; she must be graceful.  Delicate and refined, but also deadly and willful.  She must protect my son just as competently as he would protect her.  But above all those traits… she must also be fecund.”

Veeveena reflected upon those words.  There was truth behind them all, but it made her wonder just who in this great world of Hydaelyn would be capable of meeting such criteria.  After another long pause, Mimizo approached Veeveena with an honest smile, lifting her chin so that she was eye level.

“Should my dearest son reach his thirtieth Nameday and still be single… I would ask of you to take his hand.”

Veeveena’s heart skipped a beat.  A gasp parted her lips as she slowly backed away from the Valide Sultan.  To embrace the Sultan she so fervently serves in an intimate manner… she would feel no greater euphoria than this.  She shook her head and regained her composure, pondering over the ultimatum.

“Lady Mimizo,” she began, “with all due respect, Lord Thiji strictly forbids himself from courting his own Angels.  We were established primarily as his auxiliary force – never as a harem.”

“And I understand and respect that in the highest regard,” Mimizo immediately replied.  “However, I can think of none more suitable for this than you, Veeveena.  You are a delicate flower, born and raised in Thavnair; your skills are many and your prowess is deadly; you spend the most time with my son whenever he is home, and defend him with unwavering loyalty; you command the respect of all your fellow Angels, and they would surely rejoice at the thought of you taking my son’s hand.  Furthermore, your youthful beauty accentuates your fertility; you would produce many strong and extravagant heirs for the Higuri clan.”

“Lady Mimizo…” Veeveena said in a hushed breath.  “This would mean standing down from not only my service as an Angel, but as an Advisor. There must be someone to take my place should this come to pass!”

“Some of our Near Eastern-born Angels would be interested, I am sure,” Mimizo stated.  “But yes, you would indeed have to step down from your status, but you would then be elevated to something greater.  While I do apologize for placing such a burden on you –“

“No, Lady Mimizo,” Veeveena interrupted.  “There would be no greater honor than to serve my Sultan… as his Sultana.  And perhaps this will spark his imagination into even higher heights of fashion!”

“That’s the Near Eastern flower I know and mentored!” Mimizo giggled.  “Thank you for considering this, my old friend.  But until that time comes, I ask that you continue to care and protect my dearest son as you have.”

Veeveena bowed her head with a smile.  The Valide Sultan would return a grin of her own, but it would quickly dissipate after a moment’s silence.  She looked around the courtyard for a moment and had just recalled that it was night time, and certain nocturnal creatures are active during such hours.

“Nyra!” Mimizo sternly called.  As if on cue, the beating of wings was heard.  Veeveena turned and saw the shadow of an owl making its way towards them from above.  It would circle the courtyard twice before landing in Mimizo’s arms.  A snow owl with pristine white down and the symbol of Nald’thal etched upon its breast greeted her with a coo.  “No matter what happens, no matter what my son says to you: do not disclose this to him. Understand?”

Nyra immediately bowed in response.  Mimizo grinned once more and kissed the owl on the crown of the head before raising her arm upwards, sending off the owl.  With that conversation thus settled, Mimizo had returned inside to reunite with her husband lest he worries overmuch about her disappearance.  As for Veeveena, she returned to the chambers of the Mythrite Sultan.  Cracking open the double doors, she saw him in peaceful slumber.  Veeveena placed a hand to her heart, hanging her head as she did.

“My Sultan…” she whispered to herself, “I pray that three winters from now… you’ll accept me as yours. Until then, I will ever be by your side… as an Angel.  Your Angel.  May your dreams be filled with bliss, my lord.”

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thijihiguri·2 months agoPhoto


In spite of the treatment Lyriah Karnelle, first of Lord Thiji’s honorary Angels, had faced by his two wardens, the Mythrite Sultan took it upon himself to order the two to be her personal seneschals for an entire sennight, in honor of Little Ladies’ Day.

The two would tend to her every desire, and was even given her own throne room so she could become the princess she was meant to be.

Never mess with Thiji’s Angels - honorary or otherwise.

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thijihiguri·3 months agoText


Salaam, children of man!  I am Susuna Suna, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of the Higuri Regalia!  I am also a proud Angel and daughter of Radz-at-Han, born and raised in the Near East! I’ve some big news for you all, but first, some backstory.”

“For those of you who’ve been living under a rock in the seabed of the Indigo Deep for the past five summers, the Higuri Regalia is one of the foremost companies originating in the Near East.  We have made numerous appearances throughout the years since the advent of the Seventh Astral Era, and have offered a great multitude of wares far beyond what even I can count!”

“Because of everything we’ve done for the citizenry and adventuring public alike, we have an incre-he-he-hedibly large reserve stock from our big giveaway events, as well as whatever our field operatives and merchant fleets find during their travels!  Believe me when I say that the monetary value from our items alone would make even the Syndicate’s wallets shriek in terror!  As a result, Lord Thiji Higuri is one of Hydaelyn’s wealthiest philanthropists!”

“And wealthiest bachelor, but don’t tell him I said that!” *wink*

“But all this information may not seem all that great to you.  That’s all right, too.  I’m sure the burning question in your minds are: ‘What does all this mean for me?’  Well, if you hold your horsebirds for a bit, I’ll be happy to tell you!”

“Despite the usual solution of otherwise selling these products, we don’t feel like killing ourselves trying to fight everyone else on the market boards. Seriously, that crap’s for the cloudkin, and y’all know who y’all are!”

“Said items are extortionately expensive for the common folk to purchase, which is why I’ve cleared it with the Mythrite Sultan to commence our own initiative that I am calling: The Sultan’s Opulence Service, or SOS!  Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?  This was inspired when our Sultan was bored one day and made some items from our reserve stock.  I asked to borrow them and gave them away to some lucky people who came across me in the Royal Promenade a few suns back!  And that’s when it hit me: we could do this on a more frequent basis in between our bigger events!  Unless of course you would all prefer to spend millions of gil to own the ever-so-well-sought out clothes of our people!”

“Didn’t think so! Most of you are too thrifty for such practices!”

“If we come across anything in excess – items, cuddly pets, furnishings that are damn well too large to fit in one’s inventory – I will be making appearances around Hydaelyn every sun, every sennight, or whenever we’re off-duty and just feel like showing ourselves!  The items we have available will change from time to time, so if you don’t like what we’re offering, don’t fret, because there’ll be another chance in the future!  Which also reminds me: they’re first come, first served, so if we’re out of stock for the day, you’ll have to try again another time.  Or if you ask nicely enough, I can put in a request for the Mythrite Sultan to have it mailed your way!  Lastly, you can only choose one item!  We don’t take kindly to greedy folk!  Trust me, we smack those types of people around on a regular basis.”

“Yours truly shall be around the Royal Promenade in Ul’dah.  I won’t be the only one, though!  Other Angels have agreed to pitch in to the SOS as well!”

“Isja, our beautiful model, shall be posted in Gridania, usually around Mih Khetto’s Amphitheatre and the Greatloam Growery!”

“Miss Himmeya, our badass Enforcer, will be in Rhalgr’s Reach (Yeah, that place still exists), watching her former colleagues train around Chakra Falls!”

“There’s no set time in which we’ll show our faces, so you’ll have to keep an eye on that thing you adventurers call the ‘Party Finder’ to partake of our services!  Per protocol, tips and donations are always appreciated, but never mandatory!

“We hope that you can take full advantage of the Sultan’s Opulence Service: because Servants Can Be Rich, too, And So Can You!”

“… Otherwise you’re waiting a whole ‘nother year until the next Largesse.”

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thijihiguri·3 months agoPhoto


[[ Lalafell Parade~! So many friendly faces! So many new faces! I added so many people by the end of the night… ]]

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thijihiguri·4 months agoPhoto


Pg. 26: Priyatama Jaama

With all the other conceivable areas of Hydaelyn making their appearance in the realm of fashion, it seems that this latest clothing line has finished its debut!

… At least, that was what everyone was led to believe.

In an unexpected turn of events, the Mythrite Sultan has brought the only other region yet to be unveiled in the Hydaelyn Runway: the Near Eastern island nation of Thavnair, and its ruling capital, Radz-at-Han!

Presenting the twenty-sixth and final portion of this clothing line is a quintessential garment made from the purest Mythril and finest Mulberry, Charmeuse, and Muga silks found exclusively within the Near East.  This ensemble has been coined by the Mythrite Sultan as the “Priyatama Jaamaa” (pronounced “PREE-yaht-mah JA-muh”), or “Beautiful Gift” in the tongue of his people.

This breathtaking dress is made exclusively by the Mythrite Sultan, and as such, is spared no expense in its creation, resulting in perfect condition from the time it is made to when it is delivered to the customer, sent personally by the Mythril Wavetraders Merchant Fleet.

It can be dyed in any color, but its primary is ice blue and silver-white.  This dress is so exclusive, in fact, that there is currently only one in existence, and it is worn by the Mythrite Valide Sultan, Lord Thiji’s Mother, Lady Mimizo Higuri.

As a disclaimer, this jewel of Thavnairian make is precious in both style and heritage, and as such, will require special recommendation by the Advisor and Head Secretary of the Main Branch. 

Those who are fortunate enough to win over the Regalia’s leadership, however, may find themselves one step closer to haute couture enlightenment when they don the Priyatama Jaama.

“May those who wear this Precious Gift know the true meaning of Power in Beauty!” - Lady Mimizo Higuri, Mythrite Valide Sultan of the Higuri Regalia

(Credit and thanks to for the creation of this masterpiece!)

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thijihiguri·4 months agoText


To the west of Aldenard lies a realm that - for some reason - has yet to be charted by modern-day cartographers.  No area is too far from the long arm of fashion, however, as the Hydaelyn Runway presents to everyone the twenty-fifth addition to its fashion lineup.

The Cerulean Dress of the Whalaqee has a unique twist on the New World style of clothing, paying homage to their cultures and practices - primarily mimicry of various flora and fauna through aetherial manipulation.

This discipline of magic has been coined as “Blue Magic”, and has become a popular trend in recent days, with adventurers the realm over becoming ones in their own right after hearing news of a certain purveyor in Limsa Lominsa.

Whether you are a practitioner of Blue Magic or not, the Cerulean Dress of the Whalaqee will be sure to make you the center of attention, while bringing the New World the respect it deserves as we welcome it - and you - into the realm of fashion!

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thijihiguri·4 months agoText


Within the continent of Othard lies a region filled with rolling plains, towering mountains, and vast deserts.  Much like the sun rises to bring forth a new day’s promise after the moon’s nightly vigil, the Hydaelyn Runway offers the twenty-fourth page to the seekers of fashion.

This ensemble is dubbed the Deel of the Khagan, and pays tribute to the numerous Xaela tribes of the Azim Steppe.  The complex designs depict the Dawn Father and the Dusk Mother in their eternal cycle, and its gilded glow is a symbol of the wearer’s dominion over the Steppe.

Modeling for this pinnacle of Xaela fashion is an Auri female named Ethel, formerly of the Tumet tribe, who sought to stake her own claim in the realm of fashion in a way that did not involve physical battle.

No matter the time of day, this Deel will let all who bear witness know that you are the true Khagan of the Steppe.

“You know, this would be a most fitting costume for their annual Team Deathmatch.”

“You mean the Naadam?”

“Yeah, that’s what I said: Team Deathmatch.”

-Sosona Sona, CAO to Susuna Suna, CFO

(Credit and thanks to @unwaveringstar​ for the creation of this masterpiece!)

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thijihiguri·4 months agoText



Presenting page twenty-three of the Hydaelyn Runway is a set of attire most unique!

After taking a still-popular Far Eastern ensemble into consideration, the Mythrite Sultan and his Angelic entourage embarked on an expedition down The One River to visit the many villages which make their homes along its banks.

Once their liberation was all but assured, the Regalia established trade with the people of Yanxia and Nagxia with the promise of their own region representing themselves in the realm of fashion.

And boy, did they deliver on that promise!

The Non Quai Thao/Ao Tu Than costume is the Regalia’s take on the One River’s fashion.  The prototype Apa Gown that was created when the PiB Catalogue was taking form served as the basis of this graceful outfit. 

While the palm hat is available to both genders, the Ao tu Than (“Four-part Dress” when translated) is a traditional dress worn primarily by women, and carries a great deal of symbolism with it.

Modeling for this provincial gem is a lady by the name of Trix, a native who was eager to represent her region.  The generous souls of the Regalia could not help but oblige her.

Even the humblest of smallfolk can look their best with these elegant and carefully-crafted pieces of the Far East.  May all in the realm of fashion bask in your beauty (and superior balance)!


(Credit and thanks to for the creation of this masterpiece!)

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thijihiguri·4 months agoText


Whispers and rumors were spreading like wildfire when the Regalia descended upon the Doman Enclave sennights before the PiB Catalogue’s third clothing line release.  About what could they have been murmuring, do you ask?  This would be none other than the twenty-second page of the Hydaelyn Runway, and Doma’s mark in the realm of high fashion.

With numerous ways to depict Far Eastern aesthetic, devising a suitable design for the restored kingdom of Doma was a paltry task for the Mythrite Sultan. This outfit is known as the Nobleman’s Hanfu.

The precious Rhea and Damascene cloth (along with Lord Thiji’s own secrets) are what make this traditional garb stand out.  Doma’s emblem is displayed upon the obi, and fits snugly around the wearer’s waist.

Modeling for this gem of the orient is an equally precious gem of Doma known as Hiromihime, of House Hiten.  She is under the watchful eye of the Lion Order and her retainer, Shiro, as she works to rebuild her home with her fellow people.  Upon hearing news of the Hydaelyn Runway, she was happy to offer her services, although she was initially shy as per her nature.

From the One River to the Ruby Sea; from the great Dairyu Moon Gates to the Gensui Chain, the Nobleman’s Hanfu is an outfit that is sure to bring honor to the realm of fashion.  Add a kanmuri to the ensemble, and you will surely project an aura of majesty and power that would even rival King Ganen!

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thijihiguri·4 months agoText


Beneath the Ruby Sea, the Regalia’s submersible was approaching the Dive.  Everyone was prepared to carry out their task, though Lilina was anxious to commence with the fun part of becoming a Summoner, clutching her new soul crystal in hand.

“This is Head Secretary Yuanji,” she whispered over the linkpearl.  “Miss Shiro and I have made off with one of their trinkets, and have commenced the diversion.  We’re already leading them southward, away from the Kojin’s vault.  You may begin insertion.”

“Take us up, little mammet – we’re here!” Sarielle ordered.  As they made their ascent, Rhaegos landed atop the rocks looming over the isle, while Himmeya found a small landing out of view from wandering eyes. She kept her griffin there and climbed the wall, looking up to Rhaegos, who was scanning the area: the Red Kojin were growling and barking orders at each other, weapons at the ready as they took paths around the isle to pursue the intruders.  The way was now clear save for a few sentries, and his first victim was an unwary swordsman. Jumping from his elevated position, Rhaegos would land on top of the Kojin sentry, knocking him out instantly.  He slowly made his way to the center, where Jaanavar’s Vision was beginning to surface.  Two more Red sentries armed with daggers attempted to ambush the Vizier, only to be met with a wind-imbued fist to the face of one, and a swift kick to the other, sending them both flying into a rock face and incapacitating them.

“Nice form, sir!” Himmeya grinned.

“Comes with the territory,” he coolly replied.  The submersible finally reached the surface, and out from the hatch jumped Meriri, Sarielle, Lilina, and Thiji.  The Jaanavar’s Vision then took back to the depths after closing the hatch to maintain stealth.

“Rhaegos, this show’s yours now,” Thiji spoke.

“Right,” the Au Ra said as he cracked his knuckles.  “Miss Himmeya, you take care of anyone who gets past me.  Miss Sarielle’s got the heals and the power of time, so when they start to swarm, slow ‘em down.”

“Understood,” the green-haired Elezen acknowledged.

“Miss Meriri, disarm them with your arrows.  If they have any spellcasters, they’re priority targets,” he ordered.

“Aye!” Meriri stated. “These arrows are blunted, too, so a nice hit between the eyes’ll knock em on their shelled bottoms if need be!”

“Let Lord Thiji and Miss Lilina rest and conserve their strength for now; they’ll need it for the vault,” Rhaegos pointed out as he advanced.  With the plan now in motion and the diversionary tactic in place, it was finally time for the mission to begin in earnest.  Their push through the isle was relatively easy, occasionally taking fire from Red sentries who struck at them with volleys of water.  Though they were trying to prevent the Mythrite Sultan from engaging in combat, he had no time for holdups.  

The gems on his robes and turban were beginning to glow as he walked out of cover.  As the sentries prepared to conjure another water spell, the aether gathering within the gems shot out from his robe in bluish-white beams, freezing their weapons, and eventually their entire bodies.  The sight left everyone – including Rhaegos – utterly amazed and confused as they followed Thiji up the isle…

“How’d ye do that, My Sultan?” inquired Meriri.

“The Gemweave,” he answered.  “This particular robe was woven with materials conducive to aetherial manipulation; they travel through the robe like a conduit and is focused into the gems, allowing me to cast spells without somatic involvement.”

“Ye could’ve just said ‘Black Mage shenanigans’ and I’d still believe ye, milord, but I won’t question it!” Meriri commented.

Meanwhile, on the southern portion of the Kojin’s stronghold, Shiro and Yuanji were fleeing from the bulk of the Reds.  With quick hand gestures, Yuanji jumped over an incoming water blast and slapped the ground with her palm, disturbing the earth beneath her and turning it into a large patch of mud, slowing down the horde.

“Get back here, thieves…!” roared a Red marine, struggling to get through the disturbed earth.  “You will not get away with this!”

“But we are, as you can see!” Yuanji yelled back as she stormed ahead.  With the enemy thus distracted, the main host was able to enjoy a simple push through the Air of the Opulent, taking down a few striped rays that were straggling. Yuanji and Shiro kept retreating until they reached a dead end, where they came upon a stockpile of goods and other miscellaneous trinkets.  “The dead end at the southernmost area, as Lord Thiji planned.  Shall we, old friend?”

Shiro nodded and handed a small glass orb to the Head Secretary before they hid themselves away from view.  Before too long, the Red Kojin would swarm the area, searching high and low for the intruders.

“They’re here somewhere! The Mist Queen could not have gotten far!” spoke a Red Marine.

The preceding area now secure, it was time to begin the next phase.  Thiji and Lilina entered the vault and arrived within the Blessed Treasury. They immediately noticed the large altar on the far side of the area, lined with gold, trinkets, and all sorts of curiosities.  Submerged pedestals served as stepping stones leading to a platform in the center of the large pond; a faded scar could be seen, dividing the platform into two lengthwise halves.

“Welcome to the Pool of Tribute, Miss Lilina,” the Mythrite Sultan greeted.  “’Twas here I and several others encountered the Lord of the Revel, albeit brief.  And it is in this area full of water and lightning-aspected aether that you shall take your first steps into becoming a full-fledged Summoner.”

“I am ready to receive your teachings, my lord!” Lilina anxiously replied with a bow.  “What must I do?”

“Simple: make your way to the center platform.  I will then commence the Austerities of Revelry and call forth a scintilla of Lord Susanoo’s power, more commonly known as an Egi.  You are to face this manifestation and conquer it.  Doing so will absorb and merge its aether with yours, allowing you to call it forth and bind it to your will via the soul crystal.”

“Understood!” Lilina acknowledged.  She slowly began to make her way towards the center, eager to get started.

“I will offer you guidance your battle unfolds.  I would aid you in defeating the Egi, but I do not wish to run the risk of collecting its energies,” he further explained.

“Not to worry, my lord! I’ve no intention of failing you or the Regalia!” she reassured.  Once she was in position, Thiji unveiled his own soul crystal, stretching out an arm as he focused inward, shifting his aetherial balance.  The crashing of water and dancing thunder coursed through his body; his soul crystal would begin to glow in response.  At this time, Lilina would summon her Topaz Carbuncle to aid her in the battle, giving it a gentle pat on the head as it appeared.

After a short moment, something would begin to emerge in front of Lilina.  In a small flash, a bluish aetherial being wreathed in water and lightning energy appeared, brandishing a blade no longer than its form.

“The avatar of the Lord of the Revel has been drawn into the material plane, and the Austerities of Revelry is complete,” Thiji declared.  “The rest is up to you now, Miss Lilina: defeat the Egi and claim its power for your own.”

“Let’s do it, Carby!” cried Lilina as she gave the order to charge.  The Egi engaged her pet, and thus was battle joined.  Lilina’s Carbuncle leapt into the air to strike at the avatar, but the Egi showed its speed by moving to the right, avoiding the attack.  Its blade then began to crackle with electric energy… “Carby!  Incoming!”

The distinct sound of laughter came from Susanoo-Egi as it rose the blade in the air, calling down a column of thunder to strike at the Carbuncle.  It was able to dodge the incoming bolts by curling into a ball and rolling about the arena.  With the Egi’s attention thus diverted, Lilina readied her spell, using her quill to draw aetherial shapes in the air.

The Egi managed to catch Carbuncle with a lightning strike, temporarily immobilizing it.  However, enough time was bought so that Liliana could finish her spellcast, sending a large orb of unaspected aether towards her foe.

“Have some Ruinga!” she cried as her spell hit the Egi center mass.  While the Egi was still reeling from the attack, she sent a wave of restorative aether to Carbuncle, curing it of its paralysis as it fell back to her side.

“So far, so good…” the Mythrite Sultan said in his mind.  Meanwhile, outside the vault, Rhaegos and his crew had the perimeter secure.  While they set up posts around the Air of the Opulent, Meriri noticed what appeared to be smoke rising from the south.

“Oi, what do ye think that is?” she asked.

“That’s gotta be Miss Shiro and Miss Yuanji,” Himmeya replied.  “She’s called the ‘Mist Queen’ for a reason; getting out of her domain is difficult.  With her on our side, we shouldn’t have to worry overmuch.”

“Should we go and assist Lord Thiji and Miss Lilina, then?” Sarielle thought aloud.

“As good of an idea that sounds,” Rhaegos started, “we can’t interfere with the ritual.  All we can do now is stand watch.”

Back inside the treasure vault, the Egi had recovered from Lilina’s attack, and decided to change tactics. Raising its free hand, several dark clouds appeared along the outskirts of the arena, teeming with electricity.

“Whoa!  What’s this?!” Lilina gasped.  The clouds were beginning to charge up for a powerful attack, which gave the cue to get out of the way.  She dove to the left just as pillars of lightning shot across the pool in a cross-shaped pattern, while Carbuncle dodged in the opposite direction. After the attack, the clouds faded, and Susanoo-Egi returned to the fray with sword raised.  As Carbuncle charged their foe to draw its attention, Lilina watched the clouds part.  Small trails of water and lightning-aspected energies danced in the air, which caused her soul crystal to react.

“My Sultan!” she spoke. “The crystal is glowing!”

“It’s responding to the aethertrails left behind by the Lord of the Revel,” he explained. “Attune yourself to them and you will be one step closer to mastering Susanoo’s power.”

Without hesitation, she rushed over to the far side of the arena, stretching out a hand to attune herself to the aethertrail, but was stopped short by a wayward lightning strike.

“Whoa!  Carby, Glittering Topaz!” ordered Lilina.  Her pet nodded, its body glowing for a brief moment before channeling its power to the ruby on its head to erect an aetheric bulwark around Lilina’s form, absorbing the lightning strikes with ease as she successfully attuned herself to the first aethertrail.  “All right – two more to go!” she said to herself as she hurried to the opposite side.  The Egi took notice of what Lilina was attempting to do, and was making its best efforts to stop her, but Carbuncle was putting up an exceptional defensive effort, keeping it away from its master, and with the barrier still present, its lightning attacks proved ineffective as she was able to attune to the second aethertrail with no issues.  The excitement of mastering this power was beginning to get to Lilina, as she happily made her way to the final aethertrail, which laid behind the Egi on the far side of the arena, confident that the barrier would hold.

“Almost…!” Lilina uttered as she began to fuse her own aether with the final trail.  Just as it seemed like she would be victorious, her concentration would be broken as rocks began to rise from around her and her Carbuncle, encasing them in a stone gaol.

Ama-no-Iwato…” Thiji thought.  Three blue chains sprouted from Susanoo-Egi’s free hand, linking themselves to the earthen prisons that housed Lilina and Carbuncle, as well as the empty third prison.  It rotated them around the center of the arena in a triangle formation.  Lilina and her Carbuncle were helpless, unable to do anything to break out from within, as the stones began to glow, preparing to unleash The Sealed Gate.

Thiji, sensing trouble, quickly opened his Blissful Grimoire and prepared to retaliate.  He would prepare a spell powerful enough to shatter the Ama-no-Iwato in one strike.  The Mythrite Sultan would not enjoy this honor, however, as he heard footsteps approaching from the entrance.

“Don’t waste your energy, My Sultan!  We got this!” shouted a voice.  Two Lalafell women zoomed past Lord Thiji in the blink of an eye – one with black hair, and one with strawberry-blonde hair and platinum-blonde highlights.  The black-haired Lalafell sprung into the air with her Mythrite pugil stick, while the other one hopped over the pedestals to enter the arena.  The strawberry-blonde blasted the center stone with a fire spell, destroying it and freeing Lilina, while the black-haired lass chucked her weapon straight through the gaol to the right, shattering it.  Unfortunately, it was the dummy.

“Sisters!  You came!” Lilina cheered.  Her older sisters, the strawberry-blonde Lelena, and the black-haired Luluma, had come to her side.

“And you didn’t invite us?!” Lelena scolded.  “We would have loved to see our baby sister become a Summoner!”

“Miss Yuanji told us about the whole thing before she set off for the isle, so we took the Vigil to get over here after suiting up,” Luluma explained.  “Mamai is always watching over her Angels – may she know eternal peace in Nald’thal’s realm.”

As they spoke, the remaining stone prison exploded, and the Carbuncle was gone without a trace.

“Aww, there goes your Carbuncle…!” Lelena groaned.

“Hold on!” Lilina exclaimed.  She slapped the pages of her book and stretched out her palm as a bright sigil appeared around it for a brief moment.  Out from below, Lilina’s Topaz Carbuncle returned and struck at Susanoo-Egi from below!  “I was able to recall Carby before the gaol exploded!  Swiftcast is so handy!”

“Miss Lilina, the final aethertrail,” reminded Thiji.  Lilina nodded and hurried over, her sisters covering her back while she attuned to the final aethertrail.  Luluma dodging a few lightning bolts and then struck Susanoo-Egi, knocking it back towards the far end of the arena and briefly stunning it, while Carbuncle ran to the opposite end and curled into a ball, rolling across the pool to gather speed, the resulting acceleration causing aquaplaning to take effect. Lilina had finished preparing a fire spell to cast underneath the charging Carbuncle, causing a tiny explosion of stream to propel it upwards to smack the Egi with enough force to send it plummeting into the waters below.  The aethertrail was thus extracted, and Lilina’s attunement was complete. The sisters cheered and began conversing among themselves as they started to leave the arena.  Thiji gave a nod of approval and would begin to turn around and leave, but something caught his eye.  With a double take, he looked to the far side of the arena and noticed that the aether stored in blade was beginning to stir.  It began to levitate from its resting spot for a few brief moments before shooting into the heavens.  Just as Lilina and her sisters would step out of the arena, a large thud was heard that shook the earth, with enough magnitude for it to be felt from beyond the vault.

“What was that…?” Sarielle questioned.

“Oh, shit…” Rhaegos murmured as he turned to the door to the vault.

“Intruders have breached our treasure vault!” cried a Red marine in the distance, taking notice of the tremors.  “Alert our main force and protect Lord Susanoo!”

Before he could get too far, an arrow would find its mark on the Red Kojin’s forehead, knocking him on his shelled back.

“Welp, there goes the neighborhood…” Meriri sighed.

“They still have yalms of mist to go through!” said Yuanji as she appeared behind them.  “Miss Shiro has stayed behind to maintain the ninjutsu.”

“Good, because until they leave the vault, our work here’s not done,” Rhaegos replied as he took to a combat stance.

Back at the Pool of Tribute, Lilina and her sisters turned around and immediately took notice of the large blade that had pierced the waters.  The surrounding atmosphere changed as well, with overcast clouds and rain suspended in midair.  The waters began to stir as the Egi had transformed into a larger variant of itself, towering over the arena by yalms.

“This one doesn’t seem as large as I remember…” Thiji pondered. “Two of the three sacred treasures are also missing…”

“How the heck are we going to stop that?!” Lelena shrieked.  The enlarged Egi took the blade in its hand and began to raise it over its head.  The Topaz Carbuncle ran over towards the shadow of the blade, turning back to Lilina and pointing upwards with a paw.

“Carby’s got our answer, I think!” Lilina commented.  “Sis, let’s do the Cryotic Feedback!”

“You want me to use Subzero now?!” she immediately questioned.

“Trust me!  We can’t let that sword touch the pool!” Lilina replied as she went over to Carbuncle’s side.  With grimoire in hand, she readied herself for Lelena’s ice attack.  Luluma attempted to stall for time with repeated strikes at the enhanced Egi, but it proved to give little effect as it shook off her strikes with relative ease.  Lelena finished conjuring enough ice energy to blast a large ray of frost at Lilina’s grimoire, which absorbed its energies into a barrier formed around the tome.  Luluma, who had did all she could to buy time, landed back onto the arena and sighed.

“Here it comes, girls,” she warned.  With the spell complete, Lilina rose her grimoire high in the air, meeting Susanoo-Egi’s blade head-on.  The sisters screamed in fright from the resounding clash, with Lilina’s plan actually proving to have some effect at holding back the sword.

I am genuinely astounded and frightened right now!” Lilina informed everyone.  As she continued to hold back the blade, miniature lightning orbs formed around the arena, slowly making their way towards Lilina in an effort to shake her off.  Her Carbuncle took note of this, and began touching each one, which caused a small fulguration.  The resulting release of electric energy would take its toll on the Carbuncle, however, as it felt its strength waning.  “Come on… Come on…!” Lilina grunted with effort.  Once the barrier was broken from the sheer force of the clash, the energy stored from Lelena’s attack had shot out, causing a blast of ice-aspected energy sufficient enough to force back the blade.  This feedback sent Lilina skidding across the waters, her grimoire landing beside her.  Her sisters hurried to her side to get her on her feet as the Egi was recovering from the attack.

“Darnit!  That wasn’t enough to beat it?!” spoke Lelena.

“Lilina’s Carbuncle can’t hold out any longer, either…” Luluma spoke with concern.  With no other options, Lilina approached the shadow of the blade once more, but something about her was different.  Lelena pointed out the shift in aetheric balance within Lilina’s body, and her soul crystal had begun to respond to this change. Luluma watched in anticipation as the Egi begun to lower the blade back down again.  Just as it would finally hit home, a flash of lightning crashed down upon Lilina’s form, and holding the Egi’s blade back was another aetherial sword identical to it.  Lilina’s form had changed slightly as well, with the distinguishable helmet and plumage on her head.  She laughed victoriously as she held back the blade with ease. 

“Attendeth me, my sisters!” she called.

“Wait, what does she mean by that?” Lelena asked.

“She want us to do another team attack,” answered Luluma.

“Then let’s invent a new one!” Lelena cheered as she prepared the Triplecast spell.  Luluma got into position as her older sister sent three thunder orbs at her, knocking them overhead as they spiraled into the side of the Egi’s sword, significantly weakening it.  Lilina used this opportunity to strike back, knocking the blade out of its hands and disarming the Egi.  Her own aetherial sword then touched the residual lightning energies from Lelena’s spell, wreathing the length of the blade with its power before chucking it at the reeling Egi, landing right in its torso before erupting in a pillar of bluish-violet energy.

The scintilla of Susanoo’s power had begun to lose its form, letting out a roar before finally dispersing back into the aetherial sea, the atmosphere returning to normal signifying its defeat.  Lelena and Luluma heaved a sigh of relief while Lilina fell on her bottom, exhausted from the effort.  She looked over to Carbuncle, who was slowly approaching its master.  With a smile, Lilina petted its head and stated that it will be missed dearly.  With an Egi of her own now obtained, there would be little reason to keep Carbuncle under her employ.  The Carbuncle nodded and gave Liliana a hug before being called back into the aether.

“Congratulations, Lilina,” said Thiji.  “You are now officially a Summoner, and a practitioner of Susanoo’s power – a Master of Revelry.”

“Thank you, My Sultan. I could not have done it without your guidance and the help of my sisters!” Lilina replied as she got back to her feet.

“A question, My Sultan,” Lelena interjected.  “What was that spike in power that Lilina had during the second clash?  Was that the Trance thing?”

“Correct,” Thiji confirmed. “In addition to bending eikons to their will, Summoners are also able to invoke the powers and personalities of said eikon by entering a Trance. When enough of an eikon’s aether is attuned, they are capable of assuming this form change for a brief period of time.  With practice, however, they can uphold this Trance longer and more deftly – and even call forth a simulacrum of the primal itself as a result.”

“Then as the first to obtain Lord Susanoo’s power, I shall dub it… the Reveler Trance!” declared Lilina.

“Now we just need to get out of the isle…” Luluma pondered.  “The Red Kojin are definitely not happy to learn that we’ve stolen into their vault, so they’ll send everything they’ve got at us.”

“No problem, Luluma!” Lelena assured.  “I think we’ll be just fine!”

“Indeed we shall, ladies.  Miss Lilina, pray lead the way,” said the Mythrite Sultan.  With an enthusiastic nod, she hopped and skipped her way out of the arena, exiting the vault.  Meanwhile, the Red Kojin’s main force had finally caught up with Rhaegos’s team.

“We fear not those who trespass upon our sacred vault!  Least of all you, Demon of the Steppe!” taunted the Red Kojin’s commander.  Rhaegos smirked and crossed his arms, taking a step forward.

“Be thankful we’re not here to kill you, or you’d soon learn to fear me,” the Au Ra coolly retorted.  “But if you’re so eager, then step on up.  I can’t promise anything, though.”

The commander gave the order to charge.  Everyone prepared for the Red’s onslaught as they drew closer and closer.  Just as battle was about to be joined, however, the doors to the vault burst open, and hearty laughter was heard from within. The Red Kojin coasted to a stop, murmuring amongst themselves…

“The Kami of the sacred treasures…?”

“Lord Susanoo…?”

“Has He awakened once more?”

Himmeya and the others heaved a sigh of relief as Rhaegos turned his gaze toward the vault.  Out from the doors came Lilina, assuming the Reveler Trance once more, brandishing her aetherial weapon in the air with a wide grin on her face, with Susanoo-Egi in tow.  She was followed by her sisters and Thiji, who had approached the Red Kojin’s forces.

“What… what omen is this?” gasped the Commander.  Everyone on the isle was amazed at what they beheld.  With another spot of laughter, lightning danced around her being, frightening the Kojin and their pet rays.

“Behold, shelled ones!” boomed Lilina.  “These children of man hath come to pay tribute!  They sought not to abscond from ye who hath made us whole, but to offer respect to the banquet, and as thanks, have blessed them with a power none hath dared to hold!  Thus, the test is passed, and the feast hath ended!  Pray let these children of man free in the name of the divine!”

“If what you say is true, blessed one of Lord Susanoo,” began the Red Commander, “then we thank you for this test, and shall obey your words.”

Thiji beckoned the others over and fell in behind him, walking with Lilina out of the isle as the Kojin parted the way for them.

“So, does this mean that Miss Lilina’s gettin’ a promotion, milord?” Meriri thought aloud.  The only response she received was laughter from everyone but Thiji, who was shaking his head.

“Wait, wasn’t Miss Shiro with us?” Sarielle said as she looked around for any sign of the shinobi.

“Don’t concern yourself, Miss Sarielle,” Yuanji replied.  “We’ve already planned out for this; before this operation began, Miss Shiro went into the vault and took the Yasakani-no-Magatama and the Yata-no-Kagami, leaving the Ame-no-Murakumo alone.  She volunteered to stay behind and put them back in their proper resting place after our success!”

“That explains why the Lord of the Revel himself didn’t appear, and the Egi was considerably weaker when the sword awakened!” Lelena deducted.  “Wow, the Regalia’s just full of geniuses!  I may have to become a Summoner myself if we can have more exciting adventures like this!”

“I am certain we can strike a deal with the Immortal Flames when the time comes,” Thiji said.

“Well, I call dibs on Shiva-Egi!” Lelena decreed.  “And no one can say otherwise!”

With another bout of laughter, Thiji, Lelena, and her sisters took off on Mamai’s Vigil docked on the southern cliff face, while the remaining team boarded Jaanavar’s Vision, returning to their respective branches.  An Arcanist no more, Lilina Lina was ready to serve the Regalia with her newfound powers over the reveling chaos that was Lord Susanoo, setting her apart from the numerous other Summoners within Eorzea and beyond.

“I am Lilina Lina, and in revelry do I rejoice!”

(Credit and thanks to @minstrels-ink​ and @tsubi-uru​ for the pictures!)

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thijihiguri·4 months agoText


A cloudless night sky. The silvery moon and the many stars illuminate the realm below.  Another peaceful night within Othard.  Through the towering Gates of the Moon and down the One River was the neighboring province of Nagxia, where the bamboo groves were dense and plentiful.

An ideal locale for concealment from wandering eyes.

Deep within the bamboo forests, away from the farming villages and river docks, the sound of merriment was heard.  Within a clearing was a large camp, dotted with tents and campfires; the smoke was barely visible on account of the thick forest.  Numerous men in haori and hakama – about two score’s count of Hyurs (40) – were huddled around, conversing amongst one another.  A few more would emerge from a shack, carrying large crates of foodstuffs.  Wasting no time, they pried them open and partook in its bounty – rice, salted meat, and vegetables – a generous assortment that would accommodate the camp ten times over.

Their celebration commenced and the men would begin feasting, dancing, and playing music.  Everyone seemed to have been enjoying themselves for a while until one of the men spotted some movement within the trees. Everyone stopped and looked over towards that location, and what they saw next was a sight to behold: a bevy of Hyuran and Auri females dressed in kimonos, walking side-by-side in columns of two, escorted by a handful of men armed with Naginata, a polearm exclusive to the Far East.  Within their arms were massive jars of wine, which they carried all the way to the camp.  The men cheered, and their jubilee would continue in earnest, now augmented with the abundance of wine and women.

“Another score; another getaway!” said one of the men as he plopped down by the fire.  He toasted one of his companions and took a big gulp of his wine.  “By the way, where’s the boss?  Is he not joining us?”

“Oh, he’s meeting with the other bandit leaders over our next big score,” his companion replied. “Besides, he’s gonna be plenty preoccupied after tonight.  The concubine he picked out is among the finest in all of Othard, I hear!  She doesn’t speak much, but when you see her, you’d be riddled with envy!”

On the far side of the camp was a structure whose size dwarfed that of the others – large enough to rival a small house.  The perimeter was guarded by four Lupin, armed with spears.  Behind the screen doors lied the main room, where three men were sitting in a triangle.  The leader was a fair-skinned Midlander Hyur with hair tied in a topknot; to his left was a Hellsguard Roegadyn; on his right, a Lupin.  They were all garbed in Tatami-Do, colored red, blue, and green, respectively.  The Roegadyn was rubbing his chin, pondering over something – perhaps a proposition made by the “red leader”.  As for the Lupin, his arms were crossed, nodding every now and again.

“Hm.  This is a daring undertaking even for you,” spoke the Lupin.  “But it would surely embolden our men considerably if we were to pull it off.”

“Glad you see things my way, old friend!” replied the Hyur.  “If we succeed, think of what we can accomplish!”

“Hmph.  I’m still skeptical…” the Roegadyn pondered.  “Perhaps if my lips were to be loosened by that sake you promised, I would reconsider…”

“Of course you would!” the bandit leader in red laughed heartily.  “I’ve my latest woman preparing it for us as we speak! Hopefully her beauty won’t ruin our relationship!  She’s a rare flower of the Ruby Sea – the rarest, even!”

In another room that was dimly-lit sat a gorgeous Midlander: pale skin; clear, blue eyes; long locks of snow.  She wore an all-white kimono that matched her hair, and was exposed at the top to reveal her shoulders.  She was preparing the drinks for her consort’s guests.  Reaching under her kimono, she acquired a pair of clear, white vials from her breast pocket, after which she would then open one of them and dipped some white lipstick into the vial, coating it.  After applying the makeup, she quietly smacked her lips, then drank what remained, swished it around in her mouth for a moment, and then swallowed.  She then opened the other vial and poured it into the jug of sake beside her, discarding both items once they were emptied.

The lady then took the jug in one hand and the bowls in the other, delicately balancing them as she slowly rose to her feet and proceeded to the main room.  The bandit leaders would eventually see her silhouette from the other side; when she came within a few fulms from the door, she shrugged her shoulders around enough so that the kimono would fall even lower, revealing more of her ample bosom while still maintaining some modicum of decency.

She slowly slid the door open and the men beheld the beauty.  The Lupin wasn’t that interested, it seemed.  As for the Roegadyn, his jaw practically touched the floor at the sight of her.  She entered with her head lowered, placing the bowls before them as she did.

“You always did choose the finest women…” the Lupin grumbled sarcastically.  Once the bowls were placed, she began pouring the sake, first for her guests, and then for her consort.  The Roegadyn was able to get a good look at her body as she served him, grinning wickedly from ear to ear.  After she had completed her task, she kneeled beside her lord, smiling shyly at them.  She then felt a hand cup her chin, her face being turned toward the Hyur.

“Indeed… my greatest prize yet,” he said back as he gazed into her limpid blue orbs.  Their lips would then meet in a long, passionate kiss as the other two simply looked on.  Once he pulled away, he clutched her by the waist and chuckled victoriously. “It will not be long before we take our own place among Doma’s nobility!  Perhaps even Hiromihime will be the lead in my future harem!  Let us drink to our success, gentlemen!  Our slice of Othard will be ours!”


The leaders cheered before taking big sips of their wine.  Meanwhile, outside the perimeter, one of the underlings was meandering about, seemingly in a drunken stupor.  He would get too close to the main building before being met by a pair of crossed spears.

“No entry while the leaders are meeting,” spoke one of the guards.  The slovenly inebriated thug glanced at the two slowly, and right as he was about to give a response, he suddenly collapsed, falling headfirst into the ground.  “Couldn’t hold his liquor, eh?  Some Doman…”

One of the Lupin bandits laughed at the remark as another went over to inspect the fallen man.  He lifted a hand and placed a finger upon his wrist – no pulse.  He then laid an ear upon his chest to be sure – still nothing.

“He’s not drunk,” said the Lupin guardsman.  “This one has been taken by death’s embrace.”

His companion’s laughter would be brought to an abrupt end as he rushed over.  As they attempted to figure out what may have caused this mysterious death, one of the wenches approached the guardsmen, the look of fear made apparent on her face.

“M-My lords,” she said quaveringly, “The men are falling deathly ill around the entire camp!”

“What?!” growled the Lupin as he bared his fangs.  The remaining two guardsmen posted there had arrived, and without hesitating, ordered them to alert the leaders while they investigate this sudden malaise.

All around the camp the evidence was as clear as the night sky.  Just as the woman stated, every single bandit had succumbed to this strange illness.  Hushed whispers and frightened looks were exchanged as the women were desperately searching for any sort of answer to this.  Try as they may, however, the story was the same: the bandits’ jubilation was proceeding apace until they slowly collapsed, one by one.  

“Where are those two?” asked the guard to his companion.  “It doesn’t take that long to send a message!”

Something was definitely wrong.  The Lupin rushed back towards their lair, weapons now drawn.  As for the hapless damsels, their countenances changed – their expressions of fright merely being a front, it seems.  They had begun to dispose of the fallen bandits while the remaining guards fulfilled their task.  They immediately noticed the bodies of their fallen comrades leading right into the main room.

The bandit leaders shared the same fate, it seems.  Not even they were saved from this mysterious illness.  The only survivor was the lady in white, crying over the corpse of her lord. One dropped his weapon and fell on his knees to tend to his master, while the other inspected the room for further clues.  He had noticed that the bowl his leader was served, along with the Roegadyn’s, was empty. Their host’s bowl, however – the Hyur’s – was not.  Picking up the bowl, he sniffed it, and cringed at its scent.  His comrade took notice of this before he pointed out that it has been laced with a potent doku. But how did their host perish if he did not drink his bowl…?

As the two Lupin pondered over this, the woman, discreetly pulled something from under her kimono, and in a flash, launched a volley of tiny metal needles at them.  They were hard to see amidst the dimly-lit area, and before they had time to even react, there were already several needles digging into their flesh.  The Lupin guardsmen felt their muscles weaken, and their sight became blurred, trying desperately to strike back at the woman, but to no avail – they fell to the tatami flooring with loud thuds before they could even draw steel.

With the area now cleared, the woman took her former captor’s bowl, taking in a few sips and swishing the contents around in her mouth, purging herself of the horrid taste of that Hyur’s lips before spitting out over his corpse.

汚い盗賊…” she murmured in Doman tongue.  She gulped down the remaining sake and dropped the bowl before taking her leave, readjusting her kimono to cover herself as she did.  As she made her way outside, the other wenches had piled the corpses of the bandits around the main building, along with the jugs of wine they carried into the camp.  They all bowed before the woman as she cleared the perimeter, signaling everyone to do the same while she performed some strange hand gestures before exhaling a ball of flame.  The building would soon be engulfed in the blaze, and once the fires reached the wine jugs, they quickly intensified until culminating in a massive explosion. Everyone cheered as the lady in white vanished into the bamboo thicket…

Now enters the new day. The light of Azeyma shines upon the realm.  Within Radz-at-Han stood the mythril-blue bastion of power and beauty known as the Higuri Regalia.  Its employees were hard at work this time of year, with their latest clothing line unveiled to the public, they’ve been around the clock getting orders prepared for the inevitable rush.  The realm of fashion was like any other battlefield, and the ones who strike first are the winners.  Veeveena Veena, the Main Branch Advisor, was overseeing production while her master was indisposed, along with her immediate supervisor, Head Secretary Umimi Umi. They were conversing among themselves over recent happenings prior to the Hydaelyn Runway’s unveiling. Eventually, however, their conversation would be put to a halt as they saw a fellow Dunesfolk with aqua-blue eyes and bright, red hair tied in a low ponytail.  She wore a Hannish nightgown similar to Veeveena’s and she was flipping pages of a grimoire feverishly, muttering to herself.  This was none other than Lilina Lina, Higuri Regalia Special Events Coordinator; the youngest of three sisters, and an Angel.

“Miss Lilina…?” Umimi uttered.  Her head shot up at her name being called and she gave a big smile.  “What troubles you?  You seem even more… anxious than normal.”

“Do I?  I’m sorry, Miss Umimi.  Miss Veeveena,” she apologized with a bow of her head.  “It’s just that… well, when we went to rescue Valide Sultan a fortnight ago, I was so awe-inspired by seeing our lord in his relaxed, lotus-bound form.  It’s made me curious as to what other powers could be attained!  So… I am hoping to seek his counsel, but I am sort of nervous…”

“There is no need to be frightened of our Sultan if it is to better yourself as a person and an Angel, Miss Lilina!” Veeveena reassured with a smile.  She laid a hand on her shoulder and gestured over toward the large, blue-and-white doors.  “Let us go to him; we will accompany you!”

“Th-Thanks…!” Lilina exclaimed.  She straightened herself up and followed the two to the Mythrite Sultan’s chambers. As the double doors slowly opened, they beheld the sight of the Mythrite Sultan, sitting atop a lotus flower upon the Mythrite Peacock Throne.  On his lap rested Lady Nyra, Mythrite Owl of Nald’thal.  A golden headdress laid upon the crown of his head, with a golden halo levitating above him.  His eyes were shut and his arms were outstretched, as aether was being woven into concentric circles, sigils, and mandalas from his palms.  Liliana was moved to tears as she slowly approached. “So regal… so majestic… so beautiful…! How is it that no woman has yet claimed him…?  No, he is too beautiful to be claimed… this realm does not deserve our lord…”

She felt a euphoria like none other until she could no longer find the strength to move closer, basking in the radiance of her lord.  Veeveena and Umimi couldn’t help but giggle at the notion.

“I heard that, Miss Lilina,” Thiji uttered in the Hannish tongue.  This made the aqua-eyed Dunesfolk jump, embarrassed that her musings were overheard.

“Forgive me, My Sultan…” she immediately apologized.  “I wanted to talk to you about something, if I may.”

“Of course, Miss Lilina,” he calmly replied.  “Proceed.”

The Head Secretary and Main Branch Advisor closed the doors while Lilina spoke her piece.  As she did, Thiji slowly exited his Trance, opening his eyes and listening to his Angel’s words.  Her proposal seemed intriguing at first, for an Angel to improve her station was always smiled upon by the Regalia and its master, but the undertaking it entailed was another story altogether…

“Emboldened by my display of blissful aether, you wish to adapt a similar style through the Allagan Art of Summoning?” he summarized after she had finished her proposal. “Miss Lilina, this pursuit is commendable, but if you wish to call yourself a Summoner, you will need to tame and attune to the essence of a primal.”

“My Sultan,” Umimi interjected, “I thought that you were only able bring forth Ifrit, Titan, and Garuda?”

“We don’t talk about such close-minded nonsense, Lady Umimi,” Thiji immediately retorted. “Intrinsic aetheric limitations, my turban.  The Austerities can be performed in any wellspring of aether.  These adventurers simply lack enough innovative thought that they can only tame the tiresome trio.  But for an aspiring evoker, you’ll have plenty of aetherial reserves to tame whichever you please.  Now remains the desired primal of Miss Lilina's…”

“I know just the one, My Sultan, if you will teach me!” she replied enthusiastically.

Later, further eastward, it was mid-afternoon in the vast expanse that was the Azim Steppe and was rife with activity: yols being ridden to and fro; divinations from the superstitious Mol tribe; the silent yet wise Qestir maintaining the peace in Reunion, and the eternal rivals of the Oronir and the Dotharl duking it out in the fringes of the Nhaama Desert.   On the Oronir’s leash were the Buduga tribe, who sought to side with them in hopes of increasing their numbers.  Notorious for annexing their captives into joining their ranks, the Buduga had recently obtained their latest prize: the Fist of Rhalgr disciple known as Himmeya Twelvefist, garbed in Angel attire.  They held her captive in the Uyagir Caves, where she was tied to a pillar, seemingly helpless as her captors were preparing to take her back to the Dawn Throne in preparation for the coming Naadam.  It was then that she received a call on her linkpearl, but with her form being restrained, she would be unable to answer it normally.  So she pressed the side of her head against her shoulder, successfully answering the call.

“This is Himmeya Twelvefist,” she greeted.

“Good to hear you, Himmeya! It’s Koyuki Koki from the Othard Branch. Have I called at a bad time?”

“No, not really.  I’m just working at the moment.  These Xaela are relentless this time of year…”

“I see!  I’m calling on behalf of Miss Susuna from Aldenard – she said that you’re needed for another mission!”

“Already?  Feels like only yesterday when we did that sting op in the Bounty.”

“You won’t have to travel far, thankfully!  This time, it’s for a fellow Angel; Miss Lilina’s had a spark of inspiration, and will need a few hands in conducting this task!”

“I see.  Then it’s time to report in, I guess.  Mind holding for a second, Miss Koyuki?”


“Hey, boys!” shouted the Monk, getting the attention of the Buduga.  “Sorry to upset your moment of ‘victory’, but I have an appointment with the master.  So…!”

She let out a whistle which rang through the caves.  Soon after, the beating of wings was heard from above.  Not a moment later did a gale blow through, and the screech of a loud griffin was all that was heard before the Xaela found themselves knocked off their feet as the selfsame majestic cloudkin of Gyr Abania swooped down to Himmeya’s side.  In a small display of strength, she flexed her arms and broke free from her apparently flimsy bonds before hopping on the griffin.  “All right, Hrimmy.  Let’s go.”

With the Buduga in confusion, escaping was simple.  As they flew eastward out of the Azim Steppe, Koyuki was briefing her on what was going on…

“So, Miss Lilina wants to become a Summoner?  Like the Allagan art of eld, yes?”

“Yes!” Koyuki replied from her end.  “Miss Susuna has already secured some soul crystals through the Immortal Flames, and our merchant fleet has already dropped them off at the Main Branch!”

“Like a well-oiled machine, our Regalia…”

“Also, your sparring partner is joining you today!”

“Which one?  I’ve several.”

“Miss Shiro!  She’s already staking out the Isle of Zekki with Miss Yuanji.”

“Then this is going to be fun and easy.”

“The Vizier is waiting for you outside of the Steppe.  He’ll tell you more about the mission!  Best of luck to you all!”

Now arriving at the East Othard Coastline, Himmeya landed her griffin in the fishing village of Isari, where she found a towering specimen of an Au Ra clad in mail armor leaning against a rock.  She approached him and greeted him with a wave.

“Lord Rhaegos,” she spoke.

“Miss Himmeya,” he replied in his signature low tone.  “They didn’t give you too much trouble over there, did they?”

“I wanted the Buduga to feel like they were actually doing a good job, lest they get too embarrassed,” she replied with a shrug of her shoulders.  They had a good chuckle from the exchange before turning towards a large isle in the distance, nestled beneath the rock and coral.  “So I hear we’re not supposed to kill the Kojin of the Red.  You sure we can trust Miss Shiro on that?  She’s got quite the track record for bloodletting.”

“She’s already fulfilled her quota on that, recently,” Rhaegos replied.  “Apparently she wiped out an entire bandit alliance in Nagxia last night. Stole in there disguised as a geisha and poisoned the whole damned camp; killed their leaders; blew up the place, and left while the captured women secured their stolen goods.  Most fun she’s had in moons.”

Himmeya couldn’t help but shake her head and snicker.  Even off-site, Shiro was still the ruthless Angel she had been, and hasn’t lost her touch, it seems.

“Well, now that I know for sure, what’s the plan?” she asked.  Before Rhaegos could answer, she and Rhaegos received another ring on their linkpearl.

“Rhaegos.  Is Miss Himmeya secure?”

It was the Mythrite Sultan!

“Yes, my lord,” he responded.  “She is right beside me.”

“Excellent.  Everyone is here, so I will commence the briefing. As we speak, my team is headed for the Isle of Zekki, the Red Kojin’s stronghold, via Jaanavar’s Vision.  This is a diversionary operation that will involve two phases.  The first phase will consist of Miss Shiro and Miss Yuanji, who have reconnoitered the area over the past couple bells.  They will initiate a diversion by ‘stealing’ one of their precious treasures, and taking it to the southernmost location.  This should alert the entire isle, leaving minimal resistance for the main host to begin insertion through the Dive.  Rhaegos will be leading this team. Along with Miss Meriri, Miss Himmeya, and Miss Sarielle, your team will clear a path towards the Air of the Opulent, the location of their treasure vault, and our ultimate destination.  Once they secure the entrance to the vault, take defensive positions and prepare for a counterattack as they will surely divert their forces to safeguard their curiosities.  Then comes the second phase: while Rhaegos’s team defends the vault entrance, Miss Lilina and I will enter the Pool of Tribute and commence with the Austerities of Revelry.  The success of this operation hinges on Miss Lilina being able to conquer and tame the essence of Susanoo, Lord of the Revel.”

“No pressure, lass!” Meriri interjected.

“The major parameter of this mission is that we are not to eliminate any Red Kojin or their striped ray pets - incapacitation by any means only.  We do not wish to incite them into a war with the Regalia if we slew them,” Thiji explained.  Himmeya took to the skies on her griffin while Rhaegos readied his spear and leapt into the air, heading towards the direction of the Isle of Zekki.

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thijihiguri·4 months agoPhoto


Pg. 20 & 21: Far Eastern Magistrate’s Kimono/Uchikake

The Far East does not wish to be outdone in the realm of fashion either!  Presenting pages twenty and twenty-one of the Hydaelyn Runway are classic attire seen around Hingashi and the surrounding islands.

The Far Eastern Magistrake’s Kimono and Uchikake make their debut in the PiB Catalogue’s latest issue.  Both pieces display a traditional style that will surely be loved by natives and ijin alike, as well as a simpler pattern for flair.

Hingashi’s emblem is neatly shown on the robes, and every man or woman who wears this can feel the grace of the Far East flow through them with each step.  Throw in a nice bokken or pipe for an even more authentic aura!

Modeling for the Uchikake is the mysterious beauty of the mist known as Shiro Reina, who volunteered to do her part after hearing about the Mythrite Sultan’s newest endeavor.  Mask and hairpins sold separately.

Take a nice stroll down the Kogane Dori, enjoy some dango over the Tasogare Bridge, catch a play over at the Prima Vista, or show out in the Sanjo Hanamachi in these robes!  Take Kugane and Koshu by storm, and become a kami of the fashion realm!

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thijihiguri·4 months agoPhoto


Pg. 16: Life-Warden’s Veil

What was once lost has now been found.  From the great ancient city-state of Amdapor, birthplace of White Magic, comes a fluorescent dress made in the purest white - the Life-Warden’s Veil.

Culminating the Fifth Astral Era’s greatest city-states, this serene gown is the living embodiment of the Amdapori, whose masterful knowledge of the healing arts aided them in the War of the Magi.  White Diamonds, Pearls, and lily patterns adorn the dress and veil, modified to give off a shimmery appearance.

But those who can heal can also learn to harm.  With a small modicum of aetherial control, a special reaction can occur within the dress, altering its look entirely by giving it a blood red visage.  It has also been stated that - if this dress would see combat - that the Life-Warden’s Veil may also turn red of its own accord whenever “the Blood Lily is sated”, according to Adventurer lingo, which apparently signifies the activation of certain powerful spells.

The Mystifying Veena with the Cold Gaze, otherwise known as Isja, leading model of the Higuri Regalia, was given the honor of showcasing this Amdapori relic of haute couture.  Now the divine beauty of the Lost City of Amdapor is yours to possess as you bring the realm of fashion back from the icy grip of death.

(Credit and thanks to for the creation of this masterpiece!)

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