Exalted: Northern Skies
Meanwhile, in Whitewall
Meanwhile, in Whitewall…
The gilded spires of the ancient temple shone beneath Luna’s light with a radiance as if they were brand new. The friezes depicting the glories of the Unconquered Sun boldly remained displayed as they had since the First-Age, for even the mightiest of the Dragon-Blooded had not been able to trespass upon the holiest of the Lawgivers’ manses. Refusing to accept any other masters other than the Solars themselves, through the centuries its halls had remained silent and empty.
A man sat in the middle of the temple’s domed center, his legs crossed in a meditative position, his head bent in prayer. At his side lay a massive orichalcum lance in perfect condition, but his gunzosha armor was cracked and damaged. He wore no helmet, and his brown hair was carefully clasped up into a traditional warrior’s tie.
Quiet footsteps cut through the silence, and he inclined his head further in deference at who approached. In a hushed tone, as if afraid to disturb the sacred tranquility that surrounded him, he greeted the newcomer in the manner of his hometown.
“I am not your superior, Kirigasa,” came the crisp reply, and he opened his eyes to see the other man settle in front of him, legs crossed in the same manner. As ever, Frostmane’s expression was guarded and distant, his ice blue eyes revealing nothing of his inner thoughts. Kirigasa observed the other’s moonsilver armor and weaponry, slowly frowning. He sat up straight, hands folding into his lap.
“What news do you bring at so late an hour?” Kirigasa said.
“It is as you suspected,” Frostmane replied. The long blonde strands of his hair caught Luna’s light and sent it dancing across the frozen crystals that clung to his armor. “The situation in the Realm continues to escalate, distracting it from all else. Yet there has been an unexpected complication – Chiaroscuro has fallen, though reports conflict as to exactly who, and how.”
“I see,” Kirigasa said quietly. He glanced away, and touched a hand to the weapon at his side. “And the other matters?”
“The Haslanti League grows bolder in their proposals and insist upon once again sending diplomats. If the rumors are true, the Council is considering entertaining their offers this time.” He paused, studying the lines of the other man’s face. “The Council has also not given up on its own ambitions regarding Lookshy, and once again will be sending a correspondence urging cooperation. Is there anything you’d like to send along with the missive this time?”
Kirigasa was silent for a long moment, simply staring down at his lance. Finally, he closed his eyes, and shook his head. “No,” he said. “No, I…still don’t know what to say.”
“The one that you listen for always seems to have much to say,” Frostmane said.
Kirigasa’s posture became even more rigid, and he prayed the darkness hid the embarrassed flush of his face. “He was always an idiot, could always babble -” He abruptly sucked in a breath, and turned his face back to his companion. “What are YOU going to do, Frostmane?”
Frostmane gave a tight smile. “With the attention of the Realm so diverted, the Syndics believe it is time to do as we had planned. You found your way here – so will others. Whitewall must become a beacon. We must take a stand, and send out the call.”
Kirigasa nodded. “It will be dangerous. For all that I owe you, I will help you if that is the path you choose.”
“You can help me by training me.” Frostmane said. He sat, unmoving, like the cold marble that surrounded them as he awaited the other man’s answer.
The displeased frown returned to Kirigasa’s face. Daring a breach in what he considered proper, he reached across to tightly grasp one of the man’s hands in his own. Frostmane’s eyes shot to his, startled by the other man’s uncharacteristic behavior.
“What happened was not your fault,” Kirigasa said fiercely. “You don’t have to make yourself suffer like this.”
“I know,” Frostmane said. “But yet…” His eyes trailed down to his companion’s ruined armor. “Why do you choose to wear that still, Yuhi?”
Kirigasa Yuhi recoiled, releasing the other’s hand. “I will continue to wear it until it is fixed,” he said defensively.
“Until it is fixed,” Frostmane agreed, and a hint of warmth, like sunlight through the winter, flickered across his expression before vanishing again.
Both stared at each other in a silent clash of wills. For a moment Yuhi compared Frostmane in his mind to another stubborn fool, but then sighed and looked away when the memory it evoked became too painful.
“Fine,” Yuhi said. “I’ll do it, if that is what you wish.”
Frostmane simply nodded, and then after a moment of hesitating, offered, “If things truly do get bad…if you need it, there is now a set of orichalcum armor available for you to-”
“No,” Yuhi said, brown bangs flying as he shook his head vehemently. “That doesn’t belong to me. I will leave it until its original owner is ready to retrieve it again.”
Frostmane smiled faintly, and lifted his head to the domed frieze overhead that depicted the sun sharing the sky together with the moon.
“With blessings from on high, may it be that I will be able to find him again.” he said.