• Graded • A home for Justice.

Zip, Niv, and Gan purchase land.

With the escalation of hostilities between Etzos and Rhakros, a series of small walled towns is being established as a network of early warnings and defenses against Rhakros' reprisals. Only the very bravest and most formidable of characters should risk themselves on the Witches' Wilds frontier.

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• Graded • A home for Justice.

Postby Gangui » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:19 am

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Zi’Da 35 717

It was a bright and sunny day despite the rolling gray clouds that were painted across the bleak, gray sky. In the distance loomed what the people of the port called a mountain, but in reality it was just a typical coastal hill. The lush river delta and temperate climate really sheltered the Etzori from really knowing the true nature of a rough mountain lands.

Gangui was raised in such treacherous terrain though and had no problem hiking up the narrow path full of switchbacks (save for the noisy breathing and sweaty pits). His eyes lit up in earnest excitement over the thought of purchasing this tract of land. In his head, he had already bought it despite the fact he hadn’t even seen the top yet.

“Come on now!” Gangui called down the path towards his companions, “We are almost there!” The spring in his step and the melody in his voice displayed all his immense energy for them to bask in.

Despite her size Niv was walking without assistance or in her case running, as she would surely fall far behind the pack if she took a more casual stride. “Why..Do..You..Walk..So..Fast” Niv as she struggled to keep up.

Turning around in his stride, Gangui looked down the trail as the little tunawa sprinted up hill quicker than her tiny legs should have let her.

There was another familiar face that was missing in the turkey knight’s vision. “Zipper!? Hurry up, Niv’s keeping up better than you!”

It was pretty incredible how Zipper’s sour attitude managed to translate perfectly to the reluctant, deliberately glacial pace she had chosen in defiance of the Gangui strong arming her to trudge all the way out there to personally inspect the area.

“Good for her,” Zipper shouted from a distance too far behind.

“It’s really not that long of a hike, from now on we will take horses.”

“Horses are too big for me.” Niv added

“We’ll get you a dog bred distance running…” Gangui’s voice trailed off when he finally reached the top of the hill. He waited patiently for the two ladies to catch up.

The plateau at the top was large enough for a stronghold to be built, perhaps half an acre in size with a quick glance of a survey. The sparse wood on the top of the hill numbered only a couple dozen trees at best, one of which that seemed to tower over the others. Not interested in the trees, he ambled towards the edge that overlooked the delta and the bay, of course once the two ladies were behind him.

The view was magnanimous indeed, capturing in all the golden splendor that was the Soutwood River Delta during a bright day. One could literally see the humid air make dense the azure waves of the twinkling ocean. The wooden vessels entering in and out of the port seemed no more than children's toys at this distance.

Excitement flooded Gangui as he thought of the pure tactical advantage of holding such high ground. The ability to see the traffic in and out of the port as well as the river itself. The ability to successfully defend from assailants also nearly tripled just from being at this location.

Eyes twinkling, he looked at Zipper, “I told you it was an excellent location!”
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A home for Justice.

Postby Zipper » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:24 am

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“I’m glad you like it, Mister Gangui.” Her tone must have seemed like a slap in the face to him: uninterested, apathetic, and even a bit scornful. “Would you mind telling me why you chose a locale so far out of the way?”

“Strategy!” he bellowed and regretted asking already. “It is easily defendable and is less than a furlong’s hike up and out of the city walls,” He waved his hands over the scene of the port, “And who knows, once we are able to secure the future wealth of Etzos, the Landing will engulf this hill as well. We must look to the future!”

Please, no, please not a rant so early in the morning. Gangui made her miss wine. She didn’t even like wine.

“And we write the future today!”

Zipper sighed in relief as the burly mustachio decided not go onto a tirade full of conservative rhetoric.

Not yet at least.

Niv on the other hand was entirely captivated by the gigantic tree in the sparse wood on the other side of the plateau. In the time that she had known the Tunawa she had found her sense of wonder for the simple things in life to be both oddly endearing… and yet intensely annoying in her simplicity. It meant she could be easily prodded where she needed to be, but her sick naivety meant she often had to be told once, twice, thrice what to do.

Still adorable though, she had to admit. She could easily see the appeal of keeping them as slaves…. So long as they didn’t shit.

“Ohhh dat tree...” The tunawa mumbled to herself as she walked slowly towards the massive behemoth of a tree standing behind the other two. Niv’s eyes were practically twinkling with delight at the beautiful specimen. Trees of this caliber were probably found often in native Desnind, the land where the Tunawa came from, and Niv likely didn’t think she could find one outside her homeland. The tree was so tall that Niv would likely never be able to climb it and its thick trunk made Gangui and Zip look like tunawa in comparison.

Niv turned back to the other two with teary eyes and a wide smile on her face. “It’s so beautiful!” She shouted with glee. “I wanna build a house in dere.”

“Huzzah!” Gangui exclaimed, “Niv likes it already!”


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A home for Justice.

Postby Zipper » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:25 am

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“Again: good for her. Glad someone’s getting a kick out of this.”

The armored warrior pointed at the large clearing behind the edge of the hill where they were standing, “There,” he spoke deeply, “We can build a stronghold when funding allows. Pragmatism dictates that we will need strong defenses in order to stand tall in case of chaos. That way, we can take action in the frey even during hard times,”

“I’m not a tactician or some great commander, Mister Gangui. I’ll leave that to your capable hands.” She hoped he knew what he was doing, at any rate.

“Me neither,” Gangui nodded. She nodded back and looked out at the clearing again… only to turn back slowly to stare at him in complete, open horror. “All I know is that if we follow principles things will work out. I also know that chaos is coming, I feel it in my bones.”

“Mister Gangui,” Inside voice, Zipper. Inside voice. “Could you expand on your experience as a mercenary again? To my understanding, you have led men and you have participated in a number of campaigns in foreign lands. If that expertise does not extend to safeguarding a stronghold, you must tell me. Principles are good and all-” What the actual was she saying? What the actual fuck was he saying? He seemed to go through life like a very aggressive wine chime, calling for war when a breeze tingled him dirty. “-But I need something more concrete than mere moral superiority to help us too.”

She had a grasp of all his ‘words’ by now. She had a grasp on the two or three broads subjects that seemed to rattle around his empty skull by now.

Or so she thought.

There was a slight pause as the little Tunawa skipped towards the wood with the giant tree she seemed to be mesmerized with. Zipper was tempted to reach out to snag her - it was hard to find her when she was off course, but a harumph from Gangui stopped her.

Gangui looked Zipper in the eyes and slowly nodded before moving his gaze inwards. “I’ve never told you much about myself, but I guess now it is necessary for you to know.” He paused again, “My father was an Etzori patriot-” 389 times. She counted the number of times he said ‘Etzori Patriot’ from the since the first time they met in Nalod’s. She was very, very certain she was off by a couple hundred more. “-whom was an exile from our glorious state. He never talked about it much. All I know is that he wasn’t killed, but allowed to continue.”



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Postby Zipper » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:26 am

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“And yet you come back to the same city he was banished from.” she said. She briefly entertained the thought that all his bluster and all his errant errors here and there were intentional sabotage by a supremely motivated man bent on destroying Etzos… she chucked mentally. “A less charitable person would find that suspicious.”

Gangui paused again, obviously choosing his next words carefully, “I wasn’t raised the same way everyone else was. My father educated me early on. We didn’t have access to the resources of the city, but he taught me many things. He made me understand the truth.” he took a deep breath, “I was forged in the tunnels of an adamantium mine.” She wondered whether he meant that literally given how much of a metalhead he often proved to be. “We spent all the years of my youth chipping away at stone and learning how to think.”

She tried not to laugh at Gangui and ‘think’ in the same sentence. A chuckle betrayed her, slipped through.

“Sorry,” she said. “It’s hard to see you as a child.”

Gangui smiled and placed his hands on hips. Evidently, he bought her excuse, saw her jape as something far less cruel. The wind buffeted and whistled around them momentarily. “It was a tough. It was a terrible wound that my father gave me, but without this upbringing I would not have the steel in my blood to embark on this journey that we are undertaking. Although my father was exiled, it was definitely clear that he loved our nation. He was a smart guy. He was killed though,” A deep noisy breathe, “He was slain by Faldrun himself. When I was a mere boy the blasted Immortal… he…” This felt weird for him to say apparently.

“I’m sorry,” she said on reflex. So many things she said on reflex these days.

“He killed my father and stole his sword…” The warrior absentmindedly touched the hilt of the enchanted blade hanging from his hip.

“And when Etzos wins against the immortals, there will be hell to pay.” She meant those words… just not in the way it was meant for him. “But please, go on with your resume while I… Gods, Niv’s gone again.”

Gangui waved his hand dismissively, “Niv’s fine, she just climbing those trees,” The two began to slowly amble towards the sparse wood.




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Postby Zipper » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:27 am

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She disagreed. Reaching out with the Attunement spark’s scalpel edge, she found Niv scuttling across the length of the huge tree and she honed in on her, focused on her until everything else in the world save for Gangui’s distant prattling and the Tunawa were the only things left inside it. She had been a better Attuner than she was once, but the mishap in the jungle those arcs ago when she tried to attune to...something... and the time it took to fully recover had left her weaker, ill-practiced, and needing to learn: like a grown woman that had found herself crawling on the ground like a babe again.

She found the barest whisper of the Note she was looking for: Tunawa

She found the edges of the frequency that was Niv the tiny tree sprite.

With both Note and Frequency in hand, began the attunement process… and was stunned that it took so long. Where once it took a little less than two bits, now she struggled to even find the shape of a tiny Tunawa in 4. But the Tunawa was an investment, no doubt. Her personal feelings aside, she had the potential to become a mascot of sorts, a hook for the children to tune in to Turkey Company and accept it into the formal framework of Foster’s … so that she could leave this blasted assignment behind and return to Etzos for less menial work.

Best to keep track of her. She literally would start small… she suspected she didn’t even have the strength to connect to Finn’s frequency right now.




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Postby Zipper » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:27 am

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Meanwhile Gangui continued on at the edge of her consciousness.

“After Faldrun killed my father, he left me there in the mountains alone, with nothing but the bloody corpse of my father lying on the ground,” Again the warriored seemed to peer off into the distance, “I was angry and I knew nothing except hard work and the Etzori ideals. There was no love, no comfort, just acceptance of the facts…” His words cut deep into himself, obviously a topic he didn’t dwell on much, “For many arcs after that I roamed the wildlands between Etzos and Ne’hear with a bandit of nomads. Savage brutes they were.”

She nodded on absently as she fully grasped Niv’s frequency. What would be the Notes she associated with Niv? Curiosity? Innocence? Naivety? She honed in on the first of those options. Attunement was not mindreading, no, no, no, it was both more complex and simpler than the crude mentalists they said lived in Viden-

Gangui stopped their walk and gently touched Zipper’s shoulder to stop her too. She jumped with a start. He raised an eyebrow at her skittishness, but made no comment on it. She gently but firmly removed his hand from her shoulder. “We fought a lot and many people died. I was betrayed by battle brothers and made to pay the price - nay -” he shook his head, “I was not schooled like you and trained by elders - nay - I learned through hard lessons. Lessons that should have killed me, but here I am,”

“Out of curiosity: what part of me looks schooled to you? I work with paper a lot, I don’t deny, but I’m no schoolgirl from a renown foreign university.” Where was that Tunawa. She opened the frequency again, finding the little thing higher and higher into the trees, and continued sifting through the myriad notes that made up the creature-

What did he want now?

“Zipper haven’t you noticed that our logic and ideology is completely different, but we always come to the same conclusions?”

“Yes.” No. Fuck no. “Yes, I can see that.”

“Many of the things that we take for granted, I literally lived through. I learned all the lessons of common sense through hard knocks, not through the wisdom of our elders. This is why despite not formally knowing these things like you... I… know these things. You get me?”

“I do, Gangui. I do… Seriously, I think we should call Niv down here. She’s awfully high right now.” The Note she savored told her that Niv was going higher and higher and higher and wouldn’t stop until she-

Gangui sighed and shook his head, before looking up into the tree at Niv, though seemingly not caring for the little Tunawa’s actions, “I don’t know if you do. You never communicate anything other than business…”

“Because business is all there is now, Mister Gangui.” she said. “Nothing matters until Turkey Company is secured.”

And she could go home, far away from this port town nightmare.




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A home for Justice.

Postby Gangui » Sun Jan 28, 2018 7:42 am

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Gangui was not thrilled, to say the least, at Zipper’s reaction to him. She didn’t care. She didn’t really understand. Not many did. He had to figure out how to get through to people. Part of the problem was that he wasn’t very good at putting these complex concepts into words. He had the words, but they weren’t always right. These things were innate concepts he just knew. Truth derived from a lifetime.

“Sure, the business aspect is important to success, Zipper, but we are not merchants. Business is only the half of it. The other half is literally taking action to shape the future of our state.” He took a deep breath and asked for her opinion, “Do you stand with what we are doing here?”

“I’m here, am I not? I believe in a better Foster’s free from the Immortals of Rhakros.”

“So tell me, am I going about it the right way?” Accepting her stance, but not totally convinced she was being completely honest, he fished for more.
“Yes and no.” she said, continuing to look up in the trees for Niv. “I think you’re earning the people’s trust. I think you’re making headways into getting them on your side, and I think the foundation you’ve built is solid.” BUT. There was always a but. “But you seem a tad on the brutal side at times.”

“Brutal?” He scoffed in disbelief, “I haven’t tortured a single soul, to say the least… what do you mean?”

“You’ve been lynching. Again.”

A surge of anger flooded Gangui temporarily, but he did not show it, “It is hardly brutal to hang a self proclaimed member of the Severed Children Cult. What do you prefer, that we allow such … vile evil to continue to exist?”

“Alleged member of the Severed Children Cult who was to be extradited back to Etzos.” she corrected.

“He was caught with their literature, well read,” Gangui quickly retorted, “I cannot sit around and allow such a demented person to be allowed to re-enter society, even if he was sentenced to a lifetime of hard labor for our state.”

“Eye witnesses tell me he claim they were planted there to frame him.” she said. “If that were true, you’ve killed a good family man and deprived a wife of a husband, children of their father.” He didn’t know which was worst: that she was accusing him of such a heinous thing or that she said it so disproportionately, as if it were a fact to be noted and filed away.

“Yes, because a good hard working family man would even be involved in a situation that would make him a victim to such sabotage.” He said sarcastically, before changing his tone back to normal, “The mere fact that such literature was in his possession shows that he was involved. Have you seen what these people do? They are pure evil!”

“I’m aware.” she said. “But what if it was an insidious plot to turn the community and public opinion against you? What if he was an innocent specifically chosen to screw YOU over. There’s regulations for a reason, Mister Gangui. I do not like them anymore than you do, but they’re there for a reason.”

“Alright, you have a point, but sending these types to Etzos won't solve anything. If this man was truly guilty, then it would also screw me over as well. Nuances aside, I had all the grounds to condemn him under common law. How do I ensure justice is given, if I merely ship them away?”

“You already did. Justice is a process with many components. You serve as the middleman, the muscle who delivers them to judge and executioner.”
The armored mustachio did not respond to her, but merely gazed high above their heads into the giant tree that Niv was exploring. Everything that Zipper was saying made sense, but something was off. He couldn’t place his finger on it, but his intuition was trying to warn him of something. He didn’t know though, so he simply agreed, finding no fault in her words.

Zipper and Gangui didn’t always see eye to eye, but they had the same goal. And for this he was grateful. Without Zipper not only would none of this be possible, but he wouldn’t have a critical mind on his side to challenge his decisions.
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A home for Justice.

Postby Niv » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:06 pm

ImageThe tree was impressively tall, Niv had climbed for what seemed like forever but hadn’t made it even a quarter of the trunks impressive length. Her tiny arms began to ache from strain, yet the first branch still looked like a blur from where she was. Something inside her kept pushing her and pushing her to reach for the next foot hold, she needed to get to that top branch and survey the area. Niv wanted to see what birds and animals made this tree their home, maybe even see if any tunawa already lived there or not. Such a high place would definitely make for a safe haven for tunawa, not many tall folk would dare climb up such a monstrosity especially without much branches at the base. The tiny creases in the bark were all the tunawa needed to get where she needed to go but even she had limits and soon she lost the strength to pull her body up. She hadn’t made it up even half way before she let go and rocketed towards the ground like delicate water droplet.

Gangui lunged forward and caught her with cupped hands. With a huff, he gently placing Niv on the floor. The movement of the big people seemed so exaggerated at times.

“Hey guys..” Niv panted in exhaustion but still carried a smile on her face. “That tree is a beast!” She exclaimed as she collapsed to the ground after her extensive work out.

“Now that you mention it,” Gangui said with a grin that not even a moustache could hide, “This tree is gigantic, much larger than normal.”

“Yah I think it must be magical, what do you say Zip?” Niv nodded her head. “Not many of these around.” Niv looked up at the top of the tree with a determined look. She was positive there was a massive spirit up there.

“I don’t think so,” she said, thought she had a curious look about her that even Niv took notice. “No, I don’t think so at all.... But it’s magical to you, Niv. That’s what matters.”

“We’ll see about that…” Niv pursed her lips and shifted her eyes. Niv had found magical things in all sorts of places these tree had to be magical. It was so huge, trees don’t get this massive without some kind of spiritual or magical intervention..right?

Gangui shook his head and sighed heavily, “Niv, tell me, what did you learn climbing the tree? How far where you able to gaze thine sight?”

“I learned dat it’s really tall.” She said matter of factly before quickly cracking a smile. “No I kid, I could see very far out far into deh ocean and I could probably see Etzos if I got to the top.”

“Excellent stroke of luck!” Gangui glared at Zipper, “The tree IS indeed magical then isn’t it? Without a stroke of any effort at all we are now able to scout the entire valley without ever leaving the comfort of our homes,” Her leader’s tone was strange and she couldn’t quite put a finger on how. These strange tall people communicated so differently than the tree folk.

“Maybe you could survey the entire plateau for us and give us your opinion on any other thing that could contain magic, huh, Zipper?”

“I’m not sure our definition of magic is shared, Mister Gangui. You speak of the guidance of fortune.”

“What is your definition of magic?” Niv raised an eyebrow. “Cause fortune is totally a form of magic.”

“How so?” The look on her face suggested she regretted the two words out of her mouth the moment she said it…. Though whether it was because Gangui or Niv would say something, Niv didn’t know.

“How so! Fortune is really just the spirits and magical energies of the world shining upon you.” Niv explained with her nose to the air. “I thought you would know dat.”

“Spirits aren’t really my thing,” she said, turning to look at Moop… and getting the area off by a full meter.


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A home for Justice.

Postby Niv » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:06 pm

ImageThe armored warrior ignorantly walked through Moop, “Look,” He interrupted what was sure to be a long conversation about tree sprites and lingering ghosts, “I’ve got a really simple maxim to tell BOTH of you, Magic doesn’t help those who don’t help themselves. Whatever this tree is, we need to do everything we can to turn it into our advantage.” He silently tilted his head looking up again at the tippy top of the tree.

“I’ll leave that to you.” Zipper said, still looking at the tree, as if she had some epiphany she wasn’t going to share. “Can you guys manage here? I’m going to go check out something.”

“You are also signing the deed to the land Zipper,” Gangui said as if she was supposed to know this already, “Don’t go far,”

“I won’t,” she said, already walking off. She waved a hand over her shoulder. “I won’t.”

“Niv, we gotta talk some business,” Gangui said as Zipper walked away. He took a knee in front of the Tunawa in an attempt to get closer, however he only succeeded in darkening her view. The trickling sunlight blocked now by the wide brimmed helm adorned on his head. The mood darkened in his face, except for single blooming flower that was pinned to the cap.

“We have to set up a store?” Niv gave Gangui a puzzled look,

“No, much more important work,” He started, “First order I am giving you is to make Frimen a full time scout. He is to man the canopy of this tree and report back to us all the movements in the valley. I am afraid Frimen doesn’t have it in him to be a warrior,” Gangui paused for a minute to think of his next words, “He will serve as steward of the tree and will answer to you and me and none other. Eventually if his courage emboldens he might have a family or be your house husband, whatever works for me.”

“Yah…” Niv nodded her head. “Frimen isn’t really a fighter but I’m sure he could be a scout...wait. “Niv went wide eyed for a second. “Doesn’t husband mean...that I make him my special flower…?”

Gangui looked at her confused, “Special flower? I don’t know what you mean, but you’ll need help doing all the mundane chores in the tree while you are in the field. I suppose you could hire someone or take up some orphan Tunawa to raise,”

“Oh so his job we’ll be to clean, I won’t have to marry him though?”

“You need to figure out some arrangement, because you won’t have time to manage a house when you’ll be managing so much more. It is better for you to marry him because that way you will ensure his loyalty, but don’t listen to me about marriage if you don’t want. Just make sure it’s handled. I don’t wanna see you missing any action, because of trivialities.”

“I’ll only marry out of love…” Niv shot back. She thought of Faith and Padraigs relationship and couldn’t see that happening with Frimen. He was just not who she imagined when she thought of a special flower.

“Then you will pay Frimen for all his services to you and you shall ensure he has adequate support,” Gangui ordered, “This brings me to my second point. I have quickly decided that you will gather all the Tunawa in the port, that means free ALL the pets,” He paused, “and create a Tunawa neighborhood in this tree. From there you will make sure they all are productive. You will champion them and fight for their rightful place in our port by proving to everyone their value.”

“Yes yes” Niv nodded enthusiastically. “ I will rebuild Megami” Niv thought of her destroyed city and as determined to see it again.


Art credit to Yoshitaka Amano
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A home for Justice.

Postby Niv » Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:08 pm

Image“I won’t hold your hand through this, but I will make sure to fund you appropriately, but given how resourceful you Tunawa are, I doubt you won’t ask for much, won’t you?”

“Tunawa don’t need much money, we only ever use it to trade with Sev’ryn and humans.”

“Great!” Gangui stood up, the serious tone lifted with his gesture, “This tree is indeed magical and a great blessing that we were able to purchase this land from the owners. This proves to me that with the power of the free market and a little luck anything is possible.”

“Yes the spirits will be on our side because we are virtuous.” Niv through her fist up in air.

“Huzzah!” Gangui said enthusiastically, though afterwards a sweeping look of confusion momentarily blanketed his face.

“You believe in spirits right?” Niv questioned

“Of course, why disbelieve something that’s true?” He began walking back towards the clearing, “Come on, we need to find Zipper again and get this deed signed. You know how to write don’t you?” Gangui stopped in his tracks, “You do know you are signing it too right?”

“Hear that meep? he believes in you” Niv whispered to Moop the fear spirit before turning back to Gangui. “Oh yes yes I’ll sign dis uh deed.” Niv didn’t understand what a deed was but if it meant she could build in the tree she would sign anything. She had a grin on her face and it didn’t seem to go away. She was feeling hopeful for the future.



Art credit to Yoshitaka Amano
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