Exalted: Tales of the Dreaming Sea

The Viridian Shade Among the Trees

(Downtime Fiction)

Ydanna had been a strange city so far, filled with so many happy people, it felt like no other place he had ever experienced. It was such a stark contrast to life in Champoor that he was almost unsure how to behave within the city. Some of his companions took to the city as if born for it, others were filled with trepidation waiting for something dark and sinister to appear.

Mahaballa the ruler of the city had once been a full moon caste lunar, akin to his own dawn caste, a warrior, a fighter, a killer. At some point Mahaballa found a different path, he ripped the moonsilver tattoos from his own flesh and chose a new path. The city feels so different than his home. When Feather spoke with Mahaballa and said that this city was not for him, that by staying in that place he would only destroy it with his presence, it was a truth he believed to the core of his being. He knew he was a killer, had known it since before he exalted and was chosen by Sol Invictus to be a supreme warrior.

To see a once great warrior walking away from that path and down another one, embracing that strange form of peace and tranquility it felt nearly anathema to everything Feather had known his entire life. It was simply not something he could reconcile.

He found himself walking along the edge of the city, out past the tents and small markets that trailed into the jungles around Ydanna, he carried with him a small pack, within it a flask of honeyed wine, some food, and some other small items that he had spent the afternoon gathering in the city. If what Mahaballa had told him was true then he would be able to use these to show the mysterious Lunar who haunted his dreams that he meant no harm and only wished to speak.

He found a small clearing at the edge of the jungle and set about making preparations, as he went through the motions that Mahaballa had taught him he could feel eyes watching him from the shadows. Night came early to the jungle and Feather sensed predatory eyes watching him. That same soft female voice floated to him from between the trees. “You call for peace, to speak to me under a banner of tranquility and non-agression in the old ways of my people. Has the ancient oath-breaker taught you that this will save you from my claws? Has he softened you already with his talks of peace and joy sun warrior?”

“He has not Hidden Emerald, I asked that he teach me a way to show you I wished to speak and that I would mean you no harm, this is what he showed me. And for what it is worth, it worked.” Feather said with a smile.

“Ha,” Came a laugh from the shadows. “If you still have your warrior’s heart than show me.”

Without a moment’s notice a ghostly figure strikes at Feather from behind. The fight is fast and silent, Feather concentrates on parrying the attacks. Her strikes came from all directions like smoke swirling above a fire. She would be standing in front of him but her attack would come from behind him, yet it was not illusion. She was toying with him, and using some form of martial art, some sort of strange style of shadow and stealth.

“You are not bad sun warrior, yet all you have done is block my attacks, can you land no blows of your own. The spirits whisper tales of a great Warrior from the shadowed city, so strong was he that he defeated the ancient and unkillable Kagada Shar. I had thought perhaps you were that warrior but alas all you can do is deflect the most simple of attacks.” Her voice was teasing and playful like a predator toying with prey.

Feather began to laugh as he deflected blow after blow his defense solid and unbreakable. In the space between one heartbeat and the next his stance shifted and it was as if a great weight pressed down upon the clearing. The grass around them was blown flat by the invisible force of his aura. With a crack like thunder the great spear the Six Feathers of Heaven appeared in his hand and he began to press an attack. His spear spun in a blinding arc brilliant light as he struck out toward the ghostly lunar. Around the clearing golden feathers began to manifest crackling with essence and hanging in the air glistening like so many crystaline shards of sunlight.

The once dark clearing was illuminated in brilliant light as the spear whirled above the Dawn caste’s head. With a great leap he rose into the air and slammed the point of the blade deep into the earth, as he did so all around him the feathers struck, shredding the jungle foliage and pinning the elusive No Moon to the jungle floor.

Feather stood above her his anima dancing along his skin, as the arcs and whorls of golden essence danced along his skin silvery echoes began to dance along the young woman trapped beneath his blade. He saw no fear in her brilliant green eyes, only the fires of passion and perhaps a bit of something else there.

A wicked smile stretched her lips wide revealing cat like fangs, and in a laughing voice she said, “There may be hope for you yet sun warrior, you have shown yourself to be a true fighter, though you are still new to the path you walk. For your skill I will give you my name, I am Orana Kyeema The Viridian Shade Among the Trees, chosen of Luna under no moon. Whisper it to the shadows and I will hear, and maybe, if I feel like it, I will come to you.” And with that her body seemed to turn to liquid quicksilver, shifting form and where she was the cloudy grey cat stood and leapt into the shadows vanishing into the night.

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