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Messages - Haku Tachibana

Pages: [1] 2
1
Temples / Just burn those new leaves over
« on: Jun 20, 2018, 06:06 PM »
Haku snorted. "It's not a job for me, either," he said. "No one told me to. I am a guest, as, presumably, are you. Do you often give guests in your home jobs to do?" That seemed a bit odd to him. It just happened the infirmary was where his sister was, and Haku, already having been separated from her once, and knowing how demure she could be, wasn't terribly interested in leaving her alone too long. Besides, he was relatively helpful, when she and the head healer needed another set of hands.

"As I said, my sister's helping the head healer. She's a healer, too, sort of in an apprenticeship. I just hang around, help when they need it. I'm fairly sure, whether they trust me there or not is of no consequence. If the head healer can't blast my arm off, I'm certain Master Essair could." He said that awfully calmly, but, he'd learned, eventually, the head healer was rather quite something. Master Essair was even more of something, and he never seemed surprised, by anything. He'd known what they wanted the second he laid eyes on the Tachibanas, asked no questions whatsoever, and there was almost no room for argument about where they'd be staying after.

He was, in a word, unnerving, at times. Yet, even with his icy walls, Haku could see he meant well for those in his care. It was something he could respect, even if it was somewhat begrudgingly. Kassandros was like, twelve. Eesh. "If you want something to do, though, perhaps you should ask Kassandros." If nothing else, maybe it'd keep the kid out of trouble, as he was apparently going to get into.

2
Market District / Stillness and Grace
« on: Jun 20, 2018, 05:58 PM »
Haku nodded slightly. He'd thought of that. They had, unfortunately, little idea of what they were delving into, and trusting Dalmascans was generally not a good idea. He had no reason to believe Miss Livia was particularly terrible, though. Potentially willing to break the law, or stick her neck out for a stranger, that was a different story, perhaps. It was hard to say what had gotten the woman into the mess she was in. It could've been almost anything, and perhaps, by helping, they'd be getting themselves entangled in a mess they didn't need to be in. There certainly were enough criminals around here to get caught up in a fight with one of those.

"I've not noted Livia as being particularly unkind," Haku mentioned. "But being not unkind and potentially willing to risk her neck for someone else, those are two different things." Her position was likely to be more delicate than it would be for anyone else, if only because she ran a major house, and she was female. The other houses likely took offense to anything she did much faster than they would any other. It was, perhaps, a very delicate balance her house remained perched upon, and Haku was perhaps a little psycho, but he tried not to be so rude.

Still, she was the only person he knew, and, he felt like maybe he'd met her for a reason. It was just determining what that reason was, that may be more complicated than it ought to be.

"The house isn't far, at least," he added. "... I should go get Xiaomei, though, slight detour. You're usually a good judge of character, anyway." He'd trust what Xiaodan decided. Yet, Livia didn't give him the same impression most other Dalmascans did. She spoke to those of her house as if she truly valued them. Her blood fighters liked her enough they had access to live weapons, and none had revolted. Blood fighters were known to be difficult to control, at least in Jihon.

"Miss Livia owns a blood stable. Her fighters are allowed access to live weapons, and act as house guard. There are usually a few dozen wandering around the grounds at any one time." If nothing else, warning Xiaodan there are blood fighters guarding the house, given how strange that was. No one in Jihon would dare using their fighters as a guard, and he wasn't sure if it spoke loudly of Livia, or of Jihon.

3
Temples / Just burn those new leaves over
« on: Jun 18, 2018, 07:51 PM »
Haku just sighed. "I never said I always thought before saying something." In many cases, he did, but when he was caught off-guard enough, well, sometimes he wondered how, exactly, he'd managed to become a ujal in the first place. Being realistic, though, his father likely had more to do with it than Haku did, it was just his father's fortune the man wasn't bad at it. Then again, how good or not good he was at it, that was debatable.

Ah, this one was in House Essair, too. Haku was almost disappointed, it meant he'd literally only found two houses in Dalmasca that were decent. That didn't bode terribly well for the nation's future. Sooner or later, it'd destroy itself. Saa. These were things he should think about later.

"Mostly in the infirmary," Haku answered. "My sister's helping the house's healer, and by proxy, I guess I am too." It wasn't like he had friends in the house. Maybe he should change that, but he also wasn't really sure it mattered. Sometimes, he felt like he was more in the way, but he supposed he might. The stupid horse hadn't come back. He didn't feel like he was supposed to be somewhere else, anymore. Apparently, he was supposed to be in House Essair, but he couldn't for the life of him fathom why. Maybe he was meant to help Essair's head of house somehow, but Haku had yet to figure out how he was supposed to be useful to him.

He knew nothing about Dalmasca, except that it was a burning building.

"They're nice people, at least. Weird, though." Very weird. Which ones were slaves and which weren't? Haku had yet to figure out the difference.

4
Market District / Stillness and Grace
« on: Jun 12, 2018, 05:17 AM »
Ah, of course. Haku frowned, slightly, more in thought than anything. An infection often led to death, especially if it'd been long enough for it to spread. If she'd woken up, though, that sort of boded well for her overall outlook, but not by much. If Xiaodan couldn't fight it off herself, then it was pretty serious. Had it progressed to sepsis? That was likely. He wasn't sure how long she'd been injured before Xiaodan found her, of course. It was hard to say, and really, maybe it didn't matter, in the long run. He wouldn't ask.

She had sons... almost everyone in Dalmasca and Jihon had a house, at least. ... was this, maybe, what he was here for? What had made him keep coming back to market until he'd come across his sister? Maybe. Maybe Kirinyaga thought he could help, too. Yet, Haku was about as lost here as she was, the only people he knew were--unless that was the point. A little spark went off in his eyes.

"Xiao, listen," he said, instead. "I've only been here a bit, but I keep coming back here. It felt like I was supposed to be here. The first person I met here was Alcides, he brought me to House Asheron. They're very important here. Know a lot of people. The second person I came across is you. Maybe I'm supposed to introduce you to Miss Livia. Maybe she knows someone that can help this lady, or, knows this lady, or both." It almost seemed like a bit of a stretch, and yet, it was also the only thing that made sense. The need to be here, it wasn't there when he was talking to Alcides and Livia.

Nothing happened by chance. Clearly, someone up there wanted this woman to live, and clearly, they were supposed to help her do it. And yet, such a dire injury... he wasn't sure he trusted Miss Livia that much, but he hadn't seen any proof that she was cruel. Alcides seemed to favor her, rather a lot. True, some people learned to love their chains, but Alcides wasn't a slave, either. Her blood fighters seemed to love her, too, all of them, none of the house slaves spoke ill of her. Was he willing to bank on her being a decent person enough to put someone else's life in her hands? Even if the woman meant nothing to Haku, she meant something to Xiaodan, and that was all he needed to care. But time may be running out. He wasn't sure how much longer she could stay alive on just their meager skill.

Haku didn't have any more skill at medicine than Xiaodan did. It may not be enough.

5
Market District / silver winds
« on: Jun 12, 2018, 05:04 AM »
"She acts like she's starving," Haku grumbled. As Alcides stepped back, Haku pulled Xiao's reins, not too hard, but hard enough to get the point across. Xiao pulled back, momentarily, but eventually gave in, calmed down some. "I just fed you this morning, and you've been grazing off and on all day, yeesh." The horse really wasn't dying. Xiaomei was a palomino, and she was a pain in the ass.

Of course, as Alcides started down the road, Haku pulled Xiao along. She looked annoyed, in that horse-manner, but did follow. The journey up there was short, but interesting. Haku spent most of it gazing at the architecture of the noble estates (these, of course, were too large to look like anything but a noble estate). It was so different from what he was used to, back at Jihon, but the differences were interesting, and not terrifying, at least. Things were, of course, bound to be different in Dalmasca; their architecture was only one thing that'd be different.

Oh? House guards? Haku looked surprised, for a moment. In Jihon, nobody thought to use blood fighters as guards. They were too brutish and wild, for most. Haku always wondered what people did with them, that caused that, but he could take a few guesses. He'd never had blood fighters, himself. Oooh... yeah, he remembered now. House Asheron were a big deal because they had blood fighters. There was a reason, for that, a specific one, but he couldn't remember what it was, now.

He supposed, it didn't matter.

"I'd forgotten House Asheron had blood fighters," he mentioned, following Alcides toward what he assumed would be the horse stables. "I've never met a blood fighter personally. Never really had reason to. I don't imagine they're as vicious as people say they are, outside of the arena?" Well, they might be. War did that. Interestingly, he saw examples of it in regular soldiers. This odd condition where they seemed unable to fully separate from the battlefront. Some gained irrational fears, or strange things would start to freak them out, they'd begin avoiding certain things, some even had crazy mood swings. Haku was actually rather interested in what it was, and how to explain it to the people it was happening to. He couldn't imagine how terrifying it must be, not to know what was going on in your own head.

Odd thing, for him to think about.

[[ooc: ... I found his Shigeru. There it is.]]

6
Temples / Just burn those new leaves over
« on: Jun 11, 2018, 03:03 PM »
Yes, sad was a word. And yet, Haku understood, probably better than most thought. One did what they had to, to survive. The best of Dalmasca, they seemed to have been saddled with no other choice, and that was not their own fault, but the fault of this nation, and while there was no sense in placing blame, Haku wondered how it was that no one else seemed to understand the chaos and destruction Dalmasca had become. That, too, though, was probably the fault of Dalmasca as a whole. When given no other choice, it was amazing, what a hume could turn a blind eye to.

There was no sense in trying. Dalmasca could not, would not, be changed, certainly not by one man, one house. Perhaps many of them, but the houses needed to reach a low, so far down, they finally looked up, and realized how far they had fallen. It was not Haku's problem; would that he had a choice, and he did, ultimately, whenever House Essair finally failed, he'd take Xiaodan, and head for the Free Cities. Dalmasca was unlikely to turn on him because he did not fit the typical, expected Jihonese mold, and he didn't think going home was really an option. Maybe for him, if he could go back to pretending he was normal, whatever that meant, but Xiaodan could never go home. He'd just gotten his sister back. He wasn't going to lose her, again.

Zhihao... yes, that sounded right. He didn't comment on it. "A pleasure," Haku murmured. "House Essair, though I spent some time in House Asheron, before. ... surprisingly. My first comment was something about how 'it has boobs,' and the lady of the house still tolerated me after. House Asheron's lead is indeed female." Decidedly female. Decidedly more patient than Haku deserved.

Interestingly, her less overt manner held in contrast over expected brutality, it made Haku wonder if, maybe, given the chance, it wouldn't ultimately be a woman's touch that saved Dalmasca. Because Dalmasca had enough brute force and vicious brutality to go around; it could use to start learning how to be subtler and gentler, like a quietly babbling brook, instead of the crashing ocean tides. "Where are you staying?" He'd said his house seemed decent, too, no?

7
Temples / Just burn those new leaves over
« on: Jun 06, 2018, 07:11 PM »
Oh, yes, he probably did keep hearing that. It was difficult not to. If you believed the rumors in Dalmasca itself, nobody was to be trusted, because everyone had a little blood on their hands somewhere. It'd snowballed, most likely. One House started playing all the dirty tricks, stabbing people down back alleys to get what they wanted, some had no choice but to do the same, some got caught up in it, some realized it worked, and yet, the end result was the same. Everyone in Dalmasca were lying. Everyone in Dalmasca did something terrible, somewhere in the back of their line, maybe even not quite so far into the back as it seemed at first look. No one here was innocent, maybe not even a good handful of the slaves.

Here it was, if he was ever wondering, what would someday become of Jihon, if it didn't learn how to stop fighting to get anything. Jihon was already half a wreck, and which direction it was headed never did sit right with Haku. That was why he'd not put up a fuss about letting go of his ujalin title. Like hell he wanted to feed into that.

"Most, not all," Haku said. "The one I'm staying with isn't so bad, either. There are a small handful of Houses that are good, but they are drastically outnumbered by those that seek and see only power. And this? Someday, maybe long after you and I are gone, but someday, this will be Jihon, if it doesn't learn to stop tearing itself apart. The boy-child leading the House I'm with seems to think he can fix it. I think he's just going to die tragically, and no one will remember why." It was difficult, to stop the wheels of war, once they'd started to turn, and Dalmasca was, ostensibly, at war on two fronts, one with Macenia and Galace, and one with themselves.

"And Dalmasca, young master, is what hubris and rushing headlong into things brings," he added, giving the younger man a look. ... man, he needed to go get his kids. "Ah, I've forgotten my manners. I'm Haku," he said, nodding a bit in rather belated greeting. Haku Tachibana, of course, which may be more memorable than just his first name alone, but he didn't bother adding that. Most likely, his father didn't claim him anymore, anyway.

8
Temples / Just burn those new leaves over
« on: Jun 05, 2018, 02:26 AM »
Haku arched an eyebrow at the younger man, releasing a slow, patient breath. But, what? But he could handle it? But the other guy would be screwed? Unless the guy was terribly good at hand-to-hand fighting, and, he didn't have the build, for that, the other guy would be not quite so screwed. Even so, there were reasons assassins missed. Any decent assassin wouldn't have naturally missed when their target was holding still. This one should know that.

... come to think, he looked a bit like the Zhu pipsqueak. He really should know that.

Eventually, Haku let him go. "Assassins don't just miss," he said, tone low. "He wanted you to follow him, so when he slit your throat, nobody'd be around to see it. I have no doubt you can take care of yourself, but just remember, discretion is the better part of valor." And, at the very least, thinking about it, before diving head-long into who-knew-what, may be a good idea, too. Besides, what was he going to do, glare him to death? He seemed unarmed. Haku decided not to point either of those things out. Either the guy figured them out on his own, or he didn't. He supposed, it wasn't really his problem, entirely.

"Besides, at best, he just slits your throat," Haku mentioned. "At worst, he gets you hopelessly lost, and you end up falling in with the wrong Dalmascans, and by my estimate, about 95% of them are the wrong Dalmascans." It certainly seemed that way. Even Haku had gotten pretty lucky, finding House Asheron, and then House Essair. Those two were the only truly good Houses, as far as he could tell. Every other one was questionable, at best. Even many of the minor houses and the common families were not really the sort he'd like to have a glass of wine with.

9
Market District / Stillness and Grace
« on: Jun 05, 2018, 02:13 AM »
No, he supposed, it didn't matter, terribly much. The whys and hows and whats were, quite frankly, somewhat pointless, now. Surely, she wondered what he had come here for, but perhaps he'd stave off telling her that. She didn't really need to know. If nothing else, she couldn't go back to Jihon; it didn't matter, now, and Haku still wasn't terribly upset by it. He did sort of want his children, soon, perhaps. If he found something more permanent, but, he didn't want to drag them with him, when they were accustomed to eating well three times a day, accustomed to having large tubs to bathe in, bubbles and all, accustomed to sleeping in beds they could've fallen into. It would be hard, for them, to wander, for reasons they were too young to understand. His father was likely spinning tales of how Haku was never coming back, but he'd like to see his father try and stop him.

He'd go back. For his kids, Ashihei and Xiaolian. And then, maybe, he'd never go back. Truthfully, Haku didn't want to raise his kids in a place like Jihon, anyway. The chance of them becoming just like his father, it was too high, for him.

The Free Cities would be a decent idea. Idly, he glanced toward the west, wondering if maybe they should just start over, in the Free Cities, but something didn't feel right. As if, there was something in Dalmasca, still, that he needed to find. A woman? Haku looked only slightly perplexed. Supposedly, all sorcery could heal, and all sorcery could damage; it was a matter of how one used it. "How badly?" he asked, curious, really. It looked like she'd gotten vinegar and such, perhaps it was bad enough, sorcery wasn't doing it? Or maybe she didn't know how, with sorcery. Possible, too.

Livia seemed relatively knowledgeable, about Dalmasca. House Asheron were old, at the very least. She might know a good healer... he didn't mention that, just yet. "... I've been sleeping in the grass, until recently, I'm sure it can't be much worse." Most likely, at least, it was just as bad, and not terribly worse.

10
Market District / silver winds
« on: Jun 05, 2018, 02:00 AM »
Unsurprisingly, Xiaomei went right to sniffing Alcides down, looking for food. Haku made a face, somewhere between exasperated and amused, tugging her reins in attempt to get her to stop. He supposed, at least in her mind, neither of them had been eating very much the last few days, but he always fed her, first. Being frank, he was probably lucky he even still had money on him, given he stuck out, and was probably rather the prime thieving target. He'd not question his luck.

"No, not really," Haku answered. "Anything I can think of can wait. Lead the way." He wasn't so sure what he was looking for, exactly, anyway. It was pointless, to linger too long, to wonder too much. Either he'd know, soon enough, or he wouldn't. There was something he was waiting for, in the market, he just wasn't sure what, yet. He was smart enough, at least; he could probably figure out what to avoid, and what not to, given time. The perhaps small sliver of a bright side to this whole thing, to being an ex-ujal in a foreign land. The games of Jihon had already taught him the tell-tale signs of double-speak.

"I can come back, later, anyway," he mentioned. Without Xiaomei, maybe. The horse was starting to get annoyed at him.

11
Temples / Just burn those new leaves over
« on: Jun 01, 2018, 06:28 AM »
In many of his few years, Haku had never much believed in Kirinyaga, and fate. The more time he spent with House Essair, however, the more that lack of belief seemed to shift. Even now, he certainly could not call himself a devotee of Kirinyaga, by any means. Much of his adherence to Kirinyaga's teachings were, most likely, more culturally ingrained, than anything he'd truly thought about, before now. It was, in a sense, what drove him to find, nestled in the town center of Nydema, a temple in honor of the solar deity, to think, for the most part. Haku did and did not believe in fate, and gods, but he did believe certain dominoes, so to say, fell over in certain ways, for a reason. Perhaps not the work of fate, or threads spun by gods, but more cause and effect. His mind, of course, was too logical to believe everything was the gods' grand design, and despite his prodding at the concept of Ytias, Dalmasca's god of light, it wasn't quite the same.

Perhaps he wanted answers. Perhaps he wanted to believe, again, as much as he had when he was a young boy. And yet, that Haku, that dewy eyed young boy that used to be him, was certainly not the same as the Haku he was now. Things had changed. He had, for better or worse, seen the darker side of his homeland, and in some sense, it abhorred him, to know that he was raised there, to know that he was Jihonese, to know that, despite what he thought, before, his people were perhaps more screwed up than Dalmascans, in some ways. Ah, that was inaccurate; Dalmasca was just as screwed up, simply, in different ways.

Amid his thinking, Haku, instinctively still operating as a warrior, let the soft din of the temple filter into his mind, and back out. At some point, however, he became aware of very soft tapping on wood beams, above. Covertly, he glanced up, just in time to watch the dart fire, heard the soft thunk as it hit the wall. Ah, it was aimed at him... he was almost familiar, like he'd seen him before, and yet, Haku couldn't place where. He was, of course, presumably Jihonese, Haku did not deal with Dalmascans very often. What was he doing here? Of course, one could wonder the same thing about him, hmm?

Haku shook his head, scooting around the support pillars, quickly, eventually placing himself between the other Jihonese male and the door, unceremoniously hooking his arm through the other's and dragging him away from the door. "Do you have a death wish?" he asked, in quiet Jihonese. "Assassins are a great thing to chase when you do, at least." Often, that was what they wanted you to do; either this assassin sucked at aiming and missed, or they'd done it on purpose trying to lure this one out of the temple. The latter was much worse than the former.

(ooc: I am a very, excruciatingly slow poster, I pre-emptively apologize.)

12
Market District / silver winds
« on: May 31, 2018, 01:10 AM »
Probably, he'd forgotten it, yes. Haku didn't terribly mind, but it was somewhat rude to call someone 'hey, you,' or something. He had better manner than that, or at least, he liked to think so. Perhaps he didn't, ultimately. He tried his best, but, sometimes perhaps less than appropriate wordings or phrases slipped out, but he apologized for his blunders, where he made them, and continued forward trying to do better. It was all he could do. Wouldn't want to try going backward, anyway, after all; going forward was hard enough.

"I felt perhaps 'hey you,' to be relatively unkind," Haku explained. "Nice to meet you, Alcides. It won't take long to get Xiaomei, she's right over there." Assuming, that is, the horse didn't protest at having to move again already. Probably, he wouldn't attempt to ride, just lead her to the area Alcides indicated, so that she may not feel quite so put upon. Horses were sometimes very testy creatures, and Xiaomei certainly fell under that header. Of course, she probably wouldn't be quite so testy if he didn't often push her patience.

Anyway, Haku weaved his way back over to the horse posts, finding his horse and taking her reins off the post. "I won't make you carry me," he murmured, patting her neck, and tugging her reins. Reluctantly, she followed, seeming rather displeased by being made to move again, but she didn't fuss with him too much. He could tell, by the water dripping off her snout, she'd already had water, at least. Dehydrating his horse wasn't very good. Some maneuvering around the crowds, thankfully more interested in moving around him with Xiaomei there, and he and the mare made it over to where Alcides had gestured.

"This is Alcides, Xiao, say hi," Haku murmured, pulling some leaves out of her mane. She could use a bath, really. The horse, of course, was completely nonplussed. She didn't actually understand Jihonese, just, sometimes, Haku thought she understood some.

13
Market District / Stillness and Grace
« on: May 31, 2018, 12:15 AM »
As much as it didn't please him to admit it, she was right, in some sense. Their father wouldn't have tolerated her presence, because it would've made it very clear just who it was that had killed her husband (served him right, he always annoyed Haku, anyway-he'd never told her that, but it turned out, his family were worse). And yet, Haku always did fight him over her. It wouldn't be anything new, anything he couldn't handle, to fight him over her, yet again. Because someone in House Tachibana should care about her, as a person, and not a political tool.

Yes, he knew, that was what women were, in Jihon, by definition. They married, they had children, they were pretty, and that was it. In some sense, coming across a full-blown leader that happened to be female, it was sort of eye opening, but he'd never turn on Xiaodan, anyway. Sooner or later, as most magi did, she'd probably lose her sense, too, but he'd deal with that later. With any luck, maybe he wouldn't have to. Maybe he wouldn't have to make the choice, between letting his sister live that way, and ending it. He wasn't holding his breath, but, he could hope.

"You know how it'd have ended, really," Haku said, quiet. "Father would've thrown a fit, and I'd have done something stupid like I always do. Probably, we'd have ended up here, either way. I decided to leave for unrelated reasons, but I'd still have decided you shouldn't stay in Jihon." Sorcery was illegal, in Jihon. And Haku didn't really doubt, eventually, even if it wasn't immediately, Kaneshiro would've outed his own daughter, probably, his excuse would've been something like she'd ruined one political arrangement, clearly she couldn't be trusted to maintain another, or something stupid like that.

Haku knew Xiaodan. She wouldn't have just killed him, for nothing, he did something to illicit that response, but probably, she didn't see it that way.

"Where've you been staying? Are you remaining here, or just passing through?" Screw the mirage horse, he'd likely follow his sister.

14
Market District / silver winds
« on: May 25, 2018, 08:09 PM »
That sounded decidedly unpleasant. It did, at very least, make some semblance of sense out of the warning. Haku could not recall much, in regard to House Cassimer, only that, those in Jihon with some experience with the House were, admittedly, reticent about the experience. They were, from what Haku heard, generous, but their generosity did not come freely. It was, of course, typical of Dalmascans, at least as far as the nobility went, and none paid the rumors any mind. But the way some of them said their generosity had a price... and this one's warning... it made him wonder, a little more than he had before.

He wouldn't ask.

"The opportunity is certainly nothing you're obligated to give, and I thank you for that," Haku said. "I wouldn't ask more. I should get my horse, first, and then I'd be glad to follow. I don't think I caught your name, though?" Had he said it earlier, and Haku had missed it? There was a lot of information to process, in Dalmasca. It worked nearly entirely differently than Jihon did, and it was so jarring. Thoroughly interesting, at least.

Jihon had problems. Haku had never fooled himself into thinking he could fix any of those problems. He was one person, and Jihon's main complexity was that it wasn't even possible for the rhanujal to fix it. It was a sad state of affairs, a state that would, inevitably, destroy Jihon, and Haku knew it. But what to do about it? Haku had no answers. Perhaps in wandering Azaleon, he may find an answer, but then, why bother? It wasn't as if he could do anything with whatever answer he found.

He'd concern himself with it later. For now, he needed somewhere to sleep, that was all.

15
Market District / Stillness and Grace
« on: May 18, 2018, 08:54 AM »
It really was her. He knew that, was sure of that, the moment she turned toward him. It'd been a bit, since he'd seen her, but it had not been long enough that he'd forgotten what she looked like, the almost ethereal way she moved. Xiaodan was alive, and okay. Some of the tension in his shoulders relaxed. He hadn't even consciously noted that he was worried about it, and yet, fretting over it wouldn't have fixed anything, anyway. It was just as well, that he'd not noticed it. Someone that spoke Jihonese, too; he sounded like an idiot in Dalmascan.

"I - it's a long story," he answered. Truth be told, it was a fairly short story. Haku was not certain he wanted to tell her the truth, though. Given she was alive, the mage that killed her husband had to have been her. That was highly likely to cause complexities, later, as magi often lost their minds, and Haku neither wanted his sister to have to live like that, nor did he have any interest in killing her, either. They'd cross that bridge, when they came to it. In the meanwhile, she'd killed him, and his family had pulled support from Haku being ujal. Ultimately, they'd decided losing their daughter wasn't enough, and as they'd lost their son, it was only right they lost their ujal. Haku'd half willingly stepped down, and half had no other choice. Politics were, after all, quite delicate affairs. Haku had been upset at Xiaodan being missing, but, the rest of the house were another story.

Not wanting to fight about it, he'd just walked away. It didn't matter, anymore. The white stallion wouldn't leave him alone, he'd lost his sister, he and his father kept going circles about regaining his status as ujal, and Haku didn't fucking care. It wasn't anything he'd tell someone else. Maybe someday he'd admit it, to Xiaodan, that, the further he'd gotten, the more time he'd spent as an ujal, the less and less he wanted to be one. Some ujals were decent enough. Others were terrible. Haku was likely somewhere in between, intelligent enough he managed to defend his territory well, and yet... and yet.

It was all water under the bridge, now.

"I'm just glad you're alive," Haku finally said, crossing over and gently hugging his sister. "I was worried. Why'd you not come home? It wouldn't have been easy, but we'd have figured it out." Certainly, they'd have figured something out, and if his father and the house were adamant about following Jihon's stupid rules about stupid magic, well, it wasn't as if Haku was adverse to telling them how far into the darkest part of their lily white asses they could shove it. Xiaodan wouldn't have been terribly pleased by that outcome. But frankly, Jihon could suck a dick and choke on it, too.

Here, Haku had thought Dalmasca had problems.

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