Messiah
an open-world original fantasy game three races, two years' building, one continent

wide open eyes are blind to everything

wide open eyes are blind to everything

Started by Zhihao Zhu

Sep 13, 2018, 05:42 PM

Dated April 11, 76

previous topic - next topic

Go Down
38 Posts 24 Years Male Blonde Hair Brown Eyes 5'9 Jihon Ujalin House Zhu
I am on the edge of clarity
It's the same fight everyday
Chasing demons and ghosts away
The difference between festivals here and back home were so different that Zhihao must have worn a forever perplexed, curious, and astonished expression as he walked past various celebrations and booths. Back home, things were very organized, with entertainment approved by his father. There was a year when Zhihao was young that he believed that he saw something he shouldn't have but over the years, he blocked it out. Something about an inappropriate show. Somebody might have been dragged off to their death. Zhihao tried not to pick at the memory; he wasn't in the habit of letting the unpleasant keep resurfacing when it had no place here and now.

Here and now, people were drinking strong spirits and laughing. Arms were wrapped around companions and there were a lot of smiles. It was hard not to smile whenever he met somebody else's smile but other than that, he walked wide-eyed and highly curious about what was happening.

Nearby, his temporary bodyguard hand-picked by somebody in House Essair made him feel safer. But Zhihao kept glancing over at him. Back home, he would not be permitted to engage in conversation but after being here for a while, Zhihao was learning that things were quite different in this land. Zhihao met the bodyguard's gaze for two seconds and smiled before they both looked away again. Not shyly, just... they were both here for different reasons.

Approaching a vendor with spirits in many different sized and shaped glasses, Zhihao stopped and studied them longingly. Part of him really wanted to sample some of their drinks and to be a part of the festival, to throw himself fully into it. Part of him hung back; being drunk in a foreign city hardly seemed like a smart plan. Still, his eyes caught on a creamy looking beverage with a lot of froth inside of a rotund amber glass.

"That looks good," he said, despite himself. "What is it?"

15 Posts 19 Years Male Brown Hair Black Eyes 5' 5 Dalmasca Merchant House Wynbrandt
If I gave you the truth, would it keep you alive; though I'm closer to wrong, I'm no further from right; and now I'm, convinced on the inside, there's somethin' wrong with me.
The Festival was always loads of fun, if a bit tiring. Yishai didn't terribly mind that it was, but it'd be easier on him, if he didn't wear down so fast. In the end, he came out almost every day the Festival was running for, because he'd miss a lot if he didn't. Besides, merchants from all over Dalmasca came to Nydema for the Festival of Iuna; their wares changed between one day and another, as different merchants were available different days, and what goods they had available changed as caravans poured into the city boundaries.

His parents, even, were probably somewhere around here, peddling their own wares. House Essair had set up a deal with House Wynbrandt; being as Wynbrandt was a vassal of theirs, it stood to reason the Essairs would go to them, to sell glasses. Yes, real, actual, solid-glass-glasses, made by one of House Essair's slaves, as Yishai recalled (he honestly hadn't been paying much attention, but it was an honour, and a boon, because they got quite a bit of money off glassware, and something about a new glassware-making method making it easier to produce it). It was all technical babble Yishai didn't need to worry about right now. He'd understand someday, if he lived that long.

That was depressing. He was supposed to be having a good time, not being a depressed lump.

Somewhere around was Hadrian, Shai's new guard. Technically a slave, but, Shai tried not to think about it. He hated the entire concept of slavery, but he also knew his feelings weren't going to change anything, so he didn't bother wasting his time trying. He almost turned around to look for him, but his attention went to this other person; he didn't know what that was? Really?

"It's called a liga karyda," Yishai filled in. "High-class stuff, that. Made out of several types of milk, cream, spiced rum, and coconut water, it's a Festival of Iuna speciality. I like it better warmed, but it's not so bad chilled, either." Whatever floated the guy's fancy; some liked it cold, and even though Yishai didn't, he did at least recognise that some did. "If you're new to the whole Dalmascan alcohol thing, it's probably one of the better ones to start with." Yishai shouldn't be drinking, though, and he didn't intend to. Alcohol tended to cause his condition to flare quicker.

"Name's Yishai by the way! Nice to meet you!" He had a guard, too. Oh, wait, that was a cobra armband. "Ooooh, you must be the guest of House Essair! My house is a vassal of theirs." He knew stuff like that, because of that. He just thought it might be strange, having an unknown person randomly know he was a guest of House Essair, and thought to explain it.

38 Posts 24 Years Male Blonde Hair Brown Eyes 5'9 Jihon Ujalin House Zhu
I am on the edge of clarity
It's the same fight everyday
Chasing demons and ghosts away
"A liga karyda," Zhihao repeated in wonder.

Even the term sounded foreign on his tongue and he was sure his accent made it sound all the stranger. He liked it, though. More than that, what the young man described sounded delicious. Widening his eyes slightly, Zhihao leaned forward, looking over some of the other drinks but his gaze continued to drift back to that Festival of Iuna speciality. It was a speciality. It seemed like a damn shame not to try it. Wouldn't it be a crime to come to this festival and not even give it a taste? Glancing back at his Essair received bodyguard, Zhihao found that he didn't seem to care one way or the other whether he bought it. Or at least, he wore the kind of poker face that Zhihao couldn't penetrate.

Warm or cold. Warm or cold? Which should he try? It sounded like it would be good either way, although Zhihao also tended toward warm drinks as well. He bit his lower lip and made his decision but before he could ask how he might warm it or whether it was warm already, the young man introduced himself. Zhihao's heart skipped a little beat in excitement, happy for the amiable reception. People kept warning him off and telling him how awful things were here but he kept finding himself entranced by the new people he met.

Lowering his head for a moment in propriety, Zhihao introduced himself, "I'm Zhihao. Good to meet you, too." Then he glanced back at the man with his cobra armband and he could feel his ears heat up a little. Ah yes, that was a little obvious, was it not? But the bodyguard was meant for protection and he'd been told that armband could be the difference between life and death. (And perhaps why he kept receiving such warm receptions from others.)

"Is it? Which house is it? Maybe I've heard it." Annnnnd he just revealed some of his ignorance but that was all right. Yishai seemed friendly enough.

15 Posts 19 Years Male Brown Hair Black Eyes 5' 5 Dalmasca Merchant House Wynbrandt
If I gave you the truth, would it keep you alive; though I'm closer to wrong, I'm no further from right; and now I'm, convinced on the inside, there's somethin' wrong with me.
Heh. That was almost cute, the way the other sounded it out; it was clearly accented, but Yishai thought it sounded kind of cute. Weird, right? But then, Yishai wasn't most of Dalmasca. Many of them, particularly the nobility, got pretty hissy with foreigners if they made one mistake. Unless, of course, there was a guard following them, wearing the Essair cobra. There was certainly something to be said of the alteration in others' reactions to you with an Essair cobra around your arm.

Yishai wanted one. So much.

Zhihao. Well, that sounded Jihonese. Either this kid's parents were odd balls, or the Everything about Dalmasca was really throwing him for a constant loop. And somehow, he'd ended up under House Essair's ever watchful eye, and admittedly somewhat overbearing reputation.

Yishai kind of felt, almost, sorry for him. Almost. House Essair and maybe Asheron were the only really safe houses to end up in cahoots with, anyway. Certainly better the cobra than the eagle. (Nope, House Wynbrandt did not like Marcus either, but that shouldn't be surprising.)

Yishai smiled, rather brightly. "Probably have," he said. "My house is mercantile. All the trade business going on." Plus, their son (him) was rather well known for having been dying more or less since he was, what, two? "House Wynbrandt. The heads of house are probably somewhere, but, couldn't tell you where off the top. Kassandros sent us a bunch of glassware to sell off, and festivals are great for that, so I'm sure they're selling." He should be, too, but he wore down so fast, it'd be a shame to waste what time he'd have on business. Euck.

"You just wandering about, or do you have something in mind you want to see?" Maybe Yishai could be helpful as a vague festival guide? Kassandros was likely too busy to do it, and the guard behind the other man didn't seem terribly interested (most slaves weren't, if only because festivals tended to suck for them - Dalmascans and drink tended not to mix well).

38 Posts 24 Years Male Blonde Hair Brown Eyes 5'9 Jihon Ujalin House Zhu
I am on the edge of clarity
It's the same fight everyday
Chasing demons and ghosts away
"I think I have..." In passing, he recalled hearing about House Wynbrandt. Wasn't there something about a dying son...? Zhihao didn't necessarily put the two together--this young man and a dying son. After all, despite a pale coloring and a soft-spoken aura, Zhihao didn't feel like he was talking to somebody knocking on death's door. Besides, look at that big smile! One couldn't help responding in kind. At least, not Zhihao. Even if he wanted to, there was no way he couldn't smile back. That smile of Yishai's simply put him at ease immediately. Something about it made him feel less alone in this place.

Not that he was really alone. There was said bodyguard, of course, and Zhihao had made what he thought of as a few friends amongst those who served Kass. He liked to think they were friends, even if one of them sat on him when he shifted and one of them was a big gruff. Zhihao couldn't tell if they liked him back or not; they could have just been doing their job. Everybody seemed like such a well oiled machine in House Essair. At least... relatively.

"I noticed the glassware," Zhihao said, properly impressed by what he'd seen. But for some idiotic reason he hadn't put the two of those things together, either. Oh, Zhihao, Zhihao. He really needed to pay attention. He could hear his father's voice, sharp as a whip, saying those very words. Pay attention! Thwack! His hand on the table, those dark, steel eyes making him feel inferior in every way. Yes, despite how people told him he was in for a world of hurt here, he felt increasingly more at home in Dalmasca than he did back home. Especially... especially when he remembered what happened back when he'd dared to enter a temple. He still slept badly after that incident.

"I'm wandering," he confessed. "But I'll bet you know what's worth checking out. Am I right?"

15 Posts 19 Years Male Brown Hair Black Eyes 5' 5 Dalmasca Merchant House Wynbrandt
If I gave you the truth, would it keep you alive; though I'm closer to wrong, I'm no further from right; and now I'm, convinced on the inside, there's somethin' wrong with me.
Sep 15, 2018, 02:41 PM 614 Words Last Edit: Sep 15, 2018, 02:43 PM by Esmera
Oh, Yishai was sure he had. Most had, really. There were merchant houses like Asheron, which was so well-known their notoriety overtook House Essair's, and that said something (it was a good thing they weren't at odds with one another, for a war between Asheron and Essair would easily bring Dalmasca to its knees, and the commons would be the first to go). Everyone knew House Asheron. Then, there were merchant houses like Wynbrandt, and while everyone knew House Asheron, the manner in which they knew Asheron was abstract, in comparison. House Asheron handled market business matters, but it was houses like Wynbrandt that were there.

Yishai's father, and his several aunts and uncles, had personally been in Macenia, and Galace, and Haradi, and Jihon - Wynbrandt weren't abstract to them, names without faces from some foreign land only perhaps a quarter of Azaleon even cared for, anyway. By his current age, Yishai would've served a year in the Dalmascan military, and then gone off to see the rest of Azaleon by now, been involved in plenty of business matters, maybe even met the Galacese or Haradian kings, perhaps both. He tried not to think about it, about what he was missing being perpetually stuck in Nydema, but maybe someday... maybe.

He wasn't holding his breath.

"I hear one of the slaves of Essair learned a better method for shaping glass," Yishai explained. "Certainly I've not bothered Kassandros with questions about it, but the grapevine tells me, this better method makes him capable of producing intricately shaped wine glasses, vases, and amphoras, in perhaps a quarter of the time. Glassware's not particularly common because it's notoriously difficult to handle. If this guy really can shape glass as easily as they say, well, House Essair's gonna get even richer, and may even surpass House Cassimer as the wealthiest house in Dalmasca." And that, Yishai didn't imagine that'd go down with the Cassimers terribly well. ... well, Lucius and Damian might not care, but Marcus sure as heck would.

"Of course I do! I come here every year and every day of the week it runs for. I will warn you, though, Iuna's the goddess of life, so in short, her festival's essentially a fertility festival, and you can guess where I'm going with this, but! There are other things to do. Mostly mingling, lots of good food, and fireworks, oh, and you can write a wish on a ribbon and tie it to the wish tree. They say, if your ribbon stays on the tree until the next Festival of Iuna, it'll be granted. But they make the ribbons out of basically paper, so it's a giant farce. Ooh, the gardens are always nice! I bet they're amid blooming, too. And of course, shopping, because what else would a festival be for besides making money." Yishai rolled his eyes, but a small grin quirked at his lips. "They sell good luck charms and stuff, too. Some of 'em are kind of cute. Might run into a metallic penis, though." Make that definitely will at some point, but Yishai wasn't going to say that. The Jihonese were... oddly stuffy about everything, didn't want to scare the guy, if he was Jihonese (but all of House Essair's current guests were).

He was pretty nice so far, for a guy from Stick-Lodged-Somewhere-Unpleasant-land.

38 Posts 24 Years Male Blonde Hair Brown Eyes 5'9 Jihon Ujalin House Zhu
I am on the edge of clarity
It's the same fight everyday
Chasing demons and ghosts away
"Hm..." Zhihao had heard enough about the Cassimers that he didn't want to run into any of them. As far as he could tell, they weren't... on the nicer spectrum when it came to the Houses here in Dalmasca. In fact, he had lucked out, running into a vassal of House Essair. He was starting to see that the more and more he learned each day. Trying not to shiver at the idea of what might befall House Essair if they out-wealthed the Cassimers, Zhihao admired the nearby glasswork instead.

He wondered which slave it was. Could he tell if he saw the glasswork? Was it somebody he had already met? Zhihao had met quite a few people by now but many of them were in passing. Zhihao tried desperately to remember all their names and to match those names to faces but it was true that if you didn't use it, you lost it and if he didn't interact often enough with them, they were relegated to generic slave status--like the ones he knew back home. Not that he'd openly admit that to some of the House Essair friends he'd made. He got the feeling slavery wasn't quite as well liked as it was in House Zhu.

"Ah... wow." The part about the um... metal penis. Well, he hoped they didn't run into that because he didn't know how he'd possibly remain stoic in the face of that. He'd never seen one before. Real ones in bathhouses. Not so much as big metal ones. Well, he did say it's a fertility festival. He was too afraid to ask if that meant there were orgies. He'd heard back home there were such things in Dalmasca.

Clearing his throat, he tilted his head forward.

"All right, lead the way. I want to see everything!" Except the metal penis! And who knew? Maybe his wish would be one of those that came true.

15 Posts 19 Years Male Brown Hair Black Eyes 5' 5 Dalmasca Merchant House Wynbrandt
If I gave you the truth, would it keep you alive; though I'm closer to wrong, I'm no further from right; and now I'm, convinced on the inside, there's somethin' wrong with me.
"Whoa, careful what you wish for, my friend," Yishai warned, though he did sound a bit amused as he did so. "Wouldn't want to run into anything worse than the metal phalluses. We'll try and stick to the less adventurous side of the festivities." Yes, indeed. Yishai wasn't really one to shy away from such things - he was, after all, Dalmascan, and had been born and raised in such environment - but this one was not Dalmascan.

"Let's start with welcoming Iuna back from her winter slumber, and giving thanks for the coming season," he decided, heading a specific direction. "That's pretty tame. In the wintertime, Iuna goes to sleep, and the earth follows suit. Makes sense, right? When Iuna awakens in the springtime, the flowers begin to bloom and life returns to the fields. So to thank her, we make things out of her gifts and exchange them. Weaving together baskets from the reeds and crowns from the flowers, and such like. It's fun, and might be a good skill to learn someday, if you're interested, weaving baskets together. Or you can just buy one, if you're not feeling adventurous."

Yishai, on the other hand, would be making a flower crown, no doubt. And maybe he'd give it to Hadrian. Yeah. "A bundle of flowers, please," he said, stopping at a flower stand along the way to Iuna's altar. The peddler happily gave him a large cluster of different coloured flowers, and Yishai gave him appropriate chips in return, then separated the bundle in half, and offered that half to Zhihao.

"Many just leave a single flower on Iuna's altar," he explained, nodding down the street. At the end of the cobblestoned pathway was a long row of stone tables, with candles, bundles of flowers, single flowers, some in vases, some not, crowns, and food, at the foot of a large marble statue of a female figure wrapped in drapery. She looked peaceful, her hair in braids to her ankles, her arms held just slightly up and out, her eyes closed and a small smile on her face.

"Iuna is not as demanding as many of Dalmasca's gods," Yishai explained. He figured the Dalmascan gods were new to Zhihao. "She is happy just to be remembered and offered something. Some leave her honey and buttered bread, as well. House Essair probably do. Iuna's one of the few gods Kassandros isn't perpetually mad at." Yishai giggled a bit. Yes, it seemed Kassandros was constantly all but at war with them. "How's the culture shock, anyway? Bet it's a bit overwhelming, sometimes, huh?"

38 Posts 24 Years Male Blonde Hair Brown Eyes 5'9 Jihon Ujalin House Zhu
I am on the edge of clarity
It's the same fight everyday
Chasing demons and ghosts away
"There's worse?!" Zhihao blurted out. The idea that there were worse things lurking around than metallic ding-dongs...! Maybe he meant there were vaginas and fetuses, too. It was a fertility festival, after all. Oh, oh... Oh no, what if he really meant that there were actual orgies they could run into? Zhihao laughed away the thought but there was a hint of nervousness in it.

"Let's not run into everything then," he amended, because he was definitely taking this one's word on what was out there. He looked like he could have been scarred during a festival or two.

"I can safely say I've never weaved a basket," he said, and the thought of learning how didn't particularly appeal to him--it was how he'd been brought up. Baskets, that was a woman's job. He tried not to let his past rule over what he thought now--he was still learning what was appropriate and what wasn't. Besides, if he really, really thought about it, a basket was not inherently feminine. And if Yishai did it, then Zhihao found no shame in doing it, either. Maybe it would be peaceful. At the very least, it meant he could sit for a moment and take in the festival while working with his hands.

"No, let's do it," he said while Yishai nodded toward the flowers. "Never weaved a basket before but I'm pretty sure I can handle it."

He took in the sight of the statue where people left their gifts and he thought she seemed a lot less scary than some deities. Of course, she was the goddess of fertility--not something negative like war, death, famine.

"I like her, she deserves nice baskets." He smiled, then turned toward Yishai. Ah, the culture shock. Now his smile turned sheepish. "It's been... a shock, for sure. I don't think I made a good entrance but I got lucky, evidently. I'm still learning a lot. You wouldn't think it, but there's a lot of differences between our cultures I suppose I always took for granted."

15 Posts 19 Years Male Brown Hair Black Eyes 5' 5 Dalmasca Merchant House Wynbrandt
If I gave you the truth, would it keep you alive; though I'm closer to wrong, I'm no further from right; and now I'm, convinced on the inside, there's somethin' wrong with me.
Of course there was worse. This was Dalmasca during a fertility festival.

Smartly, however, Yishai decided not to point that out. Instead, he just looked bemused for a moment, as the other worked it out in his head. How old was this guy, anyway? Sometimes he seemed maybe in his twenties, but other times maybe more like sixteen or seventeen? Yishai was terrible at guessing ages, to begin with. Maybe he'd just leave that one alone. He was not going to ask.

"It's pretty easy," Yishai said, at mention of Zhihao's never having weaved one before. Yishai remembered Jihon being pretty patriarchal; if he had decent status, he probably hadn't done a lot of menial things before. Once again, Yishai almost felt sorry for him, even if only because Kassandros wasn't the sort to pamper. Most likely, if he wanted something besides the standard food and drink and place to sleep, he was going to have to get it himself. And gods forbid he tear a shirt button off or something; Kassandros would just hand him a needle and thread. Shai almost giggled at the mental image.

"Lucky?" he repeated. "How so? And so I hear. I've never been, but my uncles and aunts go all the time. My dad's gone a few times, too. To Jihon I mean. My uncle seems to think everyone in Jihon is too formal." That was... the nicer way of wording that. Actually, his uncle had said the Jihonese had a stick lodged somewhere uncomfortable, but Shai wasn't going to repeat that. "Dalmasca's probably pretty wild to you, if my uncle's not just a jerk." Ha. As they came up to the altar, Yishai set a flower down, and then reached over to the reeds, and pulled a bunch out.

"You just set the reeds like this," he explained, setting the ribbing up, "and then weave another reed in between them, like this." Not very quickly, so Zhihao could see what he was doing, he pulled the weaving reed between the ribbing reeds, in an under and over pattern. "As you pull the weaving reed through, it'll start shaping the basket. It's okay if it's not perfect the first time. Iuna doesn't demand perfection. She's alright with best effort." He settled down to the side of the tables to finish his basket, at least. And then he'd get the rest of his flower bundle made into a crown.

38 Posts 24 Years Male Blonde Hair Brown Eyes 5'9 Jihon Ujalin House Zhu
I am on the edge of clarity
It's the same fight everyday
Chasing demons and ghosts away
"I've heard some things about... other Houses," he said, but he wasn't really one for gossip. He'd heard things, this was true, but he could be wrong about what he'd heard. After all, the people telling him about the other Houses were staunchly loyal to Essair. It made sense for them to try and paint the others in a different, less flattering light.

"But whether they're true or not, at least I've been able to make some..." He hesitated. "Friends in House Essair."

Friend seemed a bit generous but Zhihao had latched himself onto a handful of those he met during his time there. He hadn't been made into a slave, either. He was protected and taken care of, and he assumed that would be the case as long as he did nothing to harm Kassandros. Since he had no intention of doing so, he assumed his place there was safe. But... He couldn't help remembering that assassin from the temple the other day. What if the assassin hadn't even been after him? They said that there were nearly daily attacks on Kassandros' life. They even seemed to jest about it.

Assassins, though. Where Zhihao came from, they weren't something to laugh about.

"Oh," he said with a half smile as he began to try weaving his first basket. "Everybody seems to think that we're too formal. I think it goes both ways. I've been surprised by how willing people here are to..." He struggled with the thought and frowned slightly. "I suppose I'd say with how easily they share their thoughts."

Even the ones who didn't share everything seemed to have an opinion about something! In Jihon, those opinions were only used in veiled barbs, if at all!




15 Posts 19 Years Male Brown Hair Black Eyes 5' 5 Dalmasca Merchant House Wynbrandt
If I gave you the truth, would it keep you alive; though I'm closer to wrong, I'm no further from right; and now I'm, convinced on the inside, there's somethin' wrong with me.
Oct 06, 2018, 06:33 PM 674 Words Last Edit: Oct 06, 2018, 06:35 PM by Esmera
Yishai couldn't help it. He ended up laughing, a bit. It wasn't one of those condescending laughs, it had plenty of actual mirth in it, and certainly Yishai didn't mean anything terrible by it. He was just amused. "You know, it sounds to me like Dalmasca and Jihon have the same problem, just opposing extremes of it. The Jihonese seem not to think too hard about certain things. It's the way of things, and that's never questioned. Dalmascans think too much and they question a lot of things, but almost always the wrong things." And perhaps, somewhere along the way, both had become complacent; one in the idea that this is the way of things, and not fixing what isn't broken, thereby missing what really was broken, the other in the idea that they questioned everything, and certainly nothing would ever slip passed them.

"Just keep in mind, as open as Dalmascans seem to be, for everything someone says to you, there are many more things they are not saying. Dalmascans may run their mouths, but they are very careful about what they run their mouths about. What other people think about such and such House isn't really important. There are good Houses, just as there are bad ones, and ones that can fall on either side, depending on the day, same as the people themselves, which is where it really gets messy. Personally myself, I'd call Lancaster on one side, but there are members of it that are on the other. Many even can, and do, consider House Essair to be on the bad side, much of the time. If you'd asked someone else when you first came here about House Essair, you'd probably have gotten a very different story than the one you've got now. You can decide for yourself what you think about all the others, whenever you have opportunity to do so. Carefully, mind. There are wolves dressed as lambs in this country, everywhere, really. The trick is, which House you want to be friends with varies depending on what you want out of the arrangement. Certainly, House Essair is one of the few that would let a Jihonese stranger hang around. But, I've been surprised before." Yishai gave a slight shrug.

Still, he couldn't imagine the likes of, say, Salonus and Warwicke, letting said stranger hang around without wanting certain... how you say, favours. What kind of favour varied. But that wasn't his story to tell. Zhihao would learn, or he wouldn't. No sense scaring the guy. And even in thinking that, he knew there were some that exalted even Salonus and Warwicke. Yishai didn't, but he could appreciate they were gods among men, to some, the same as House Essair were to others. He was, perhaps, probably the most unbiased individual that had ties to Essair; he was still a Wynbrandt, and it gave him a bit of perspective, so to say. Wynbrandt were friends with no one, and enemies with no one, and being in the middle, sometimes, did have its advantages.

If nothing else, apparently Kassandros had decided he liked this one, so he was probably safe. Probably.

"Culture shock seems like it'd be easier with familiar people around, so I'm glad you've made friends, at least. ... has Kass done the freaky knowing-things thing yet?" He was just curious, really. As he asked, he paused in his weaving, long enough to notice he'd made a knot on accident. Oops. Careful not to tear the reeds, Shai pulled it apart, until he got to the knot, and started tugging that apart. "And I say to myself, I'm good at this, I don't have to pay attention." Of course not.

38 Posts 24 Years Male Blonde Hair Brown Eyes 5'9 Jihon Ujalin House Zhu
I am on the edge of clarity
It's the same fight everyday
Chasing demons and ghosts away
"Ai..." The heat spread from the tips of his ears to his cheeks. My, that was embarrassing but he laughed, too--if a bit out of that embarrassment than anything else. At first, he didn't quite understand what was so funny. Perhaps he had spoken a word wrongly, or perhaps his accent made it sound as if he'd said something else. But no, it seemed to be the strange mirrored nature of their two countries. To that, Zhihao did smile, a half smile as he lowered his gaze knowingly. It was true, what Yishai pointed out. The differences were there but there were similarities, too.

After the laughter, however, came the warnings, and those weighed heavily on Zhihao. Ever since he'd arrived, warnings were abundant. He couldn't help feeling a growing sense of foreboding that something was about to happen. He felt like a mouse, moving unwittingly through a trap, with no real sense of the danger but he still stopped every few steps to inspect his surroundings. That was him--the scared mouse... but the curious mouse. Nothing was stopping him from forging forward. Indeed, he didn't know where else to go, for Zhihao Zhu was dead in Jihon and here he was just a guest of House Essair.

"I think it'd be easier with more Jihonese around," he lamented, thinking of his brief meetings with two others. Very brief meetings; and for some reason, Zhihao had not attached to them quite as he had to the others who had met him first. Maybe he was little more than a baby duckling, imprinting on the first friendly faces he came across.

"But, yes, it's good to have friends." He just couldn't help feeling they were less "friends" and more "babysitters." This, he didn't share with Yishai. He didn't want to appear any more pathetic than he might already. But he did lift his head and let out a laugh at the mention of Kassandros' abilities.

"Yes! Yes, he did, and it freaked me right out. I thought he was going to send me away immediately. I'm not even sure why. I don't have any real reason for being here that would threaten him."

15 Posts 19 Years Male Brown Hair Black Eyes 5' 5 Dalmasca Merchant House Wynbrandt
If I gave you the truth, would it keep you alive; though I'm closer to wrong, I'm no further from right; and now I'm, convinced on the inside, there's somethin' wrong with me.
Hmm? Wasn't House Essair sheltering a few others from Jihon? Yishai thought he remembered something about that; a former ujal, if the rumours were to be believed, but rumours were often embellished, particularly in Dalmasca, where the nobility loved money, drink, sex, and talking, almost as if they were the pinnacles of life itself. Perhaps to some they were. Yishai wouldn't pretend to understand their mindset. Sure, he was a nobleman, if you wanted to get semantic about it, but Yishai's world and theirs were always much different. Even his kindness toward slaves was perhaps not as altruistic as it seemed. He was a lost cause. So were they. And perhaps somewhere in their similarities, he'd found a strange sense of kinship with them, almost entirely one-sided. Very rarely did they view him the same as he did them.

For a moment, he glanced at his own guard, back there; quiet as ever. Yes, Shai supposed he would be. Slaves were to be seen, and not heard, or so the saying went. A few days with some silly noble kid wasn't going to change that conditioning.

Yishai shrugged slightly. "Kassandros is difficult to understand, even for those closest to him, so don't feel too put out. Even if you were a threat to him, though, he may still have let you stay. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer, or however that saying goes. Heh, I just talk a lot. Most of what I know, I learned through observation, or books, but some things you can't learn that way. I kind of envy you, you know? It must be nice, to be able to learn by doing things." Also, he supposed, more dangerous. But House Wynbrandt were in a fairly precarious position to begin with. A smart Dalmascan would be looking to overtake Wynbrandt and control their transports and supply lines. Kill the right Wynbrandts, and the rest would likely have no choice but to bend.

Few Dalmascans could be called "smart," however, and for now, that was fortunate for them. For how long, though, Yishai wondered.

"Saa, there," he said, finishing off his basket. He set a few flowers in it, and then placed the basket on the altar. In a strange, roundabout manner, Iuna's offerings were on behalf of House Asheron. The vast majority of the farmland and vineyards in Dalmasca were owned and controlled by House Asheron, after all, so hoping for a bountiful harvest was, in a way, hoping for Asheron's prosperity. At least House Asheron weren't terrible. He sat back down again, weaving the flower stems together into a crown. On the bright side, they weren't liable to die wandering around the festival. Nobody had died at the Festival of Iuna for at least ten years now. That was always a bonus, but, Shai thought better of voicing that. This one was jumpy enough as it was.

"Does Jihon have festivals?" he asked, instead. Maybe talking about his homeland might put him a bit more at ease. Besides, it wasn't like his family spoke much about Jihon's cultural proclivities. They were more interested in their strange coin (metal was only good for weapons and that). Good merchants, huh?

Go Up