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2 mos ago
As a former professional necromancer I assure you we can't do anything with fossils. They're impressions in rock, not bones. *The More You Know...!*
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2 mos ago
I'VE EVEN FORGOTTEN MY NAAAAAAAAAAME
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4 mos ago
My net's down, sorry to my partners for any delays!
4 mos ago
"They ask me what it feels like, to kill a human being. I tell them I do not know, for I have only ever killed Communists." -Based Man
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1 yr ago
Various partners, lost power during storm last night and busy at work. Replies may be sporadic this week, thanks for your patience!
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Bio

On CST time, United States. Typically busy most of the week and do most posting/replying on weekends.

Most Recent Posts


K A I

Rise and Shine



Among the fluffy nest of blankets and pillows, Kai lay sprawled out on his back. A thin line of drool made its way down his chin as he grinned in his sleep, and one twitching hand scratched his bare belly. Clad in only his boxers, the youth had apparently slept quite well despite it being his first night in an unfamiliar place--then again, this bed was even more comfortable than the one Gramps gave him, and even that had been something he never could have imagined...before.

The bluette's brow furrowed as he shifted in his sleep. One of his legs began to kick the air, as if he were trying to...run from something. A cold draft suddenly whipped one of his pillows away as the air around his body rippled, like heat waves coming off a road in midsummer. One hand clenched the sheets in a white-knuckled grip--the other stiffened into a claw. A shiver passed through his frame. His lips curled, revealing clenched teeth. A snarl ripped itself out of his throat from the depths of his being--

And he scared himself awake. In a flurry of motion he hopped from his back to all fours somehow, then his body froze in place while his head swept the room. Confusion painted over his features for a moment--then his braid started to whip back and forth.

"First day! First day!" he chanted as he darted around the room, throwing his belongings this way and that until he had managed to work his way back into clothing. He practically fell over himself as he headed for the door while still putting on his shoes and strapping his sword to his belt. Just as he reached out, there was a knock--

"The squadron is heading to the mess hall. Meet us there when you--"

Of the many ways Nathaniel might have expected to start his morning, being bowled over by an explosion of blue hair and boundless energy probably wasn't one of them. Kai took a tumble as well, but somehow ricocheted off the wall and circled back on all fours.

"Mornin' Nate--uh, Nate, sir!" The wildling straightened up and snapped another imitated salute. "It's the first day!" And then he was off again. Down in the common room, the others could hear what sounded like a stampede crashing down the stairwell before Kai literally somersaulted into their midst. He stuck the landing, arms outstretched.

"Mornin' everyone!" he chirped. Then, he sniffed the air, and his head snapped in the direction of both Rossweine and the mess hall. His body turned in the same direction a beat afterward as he pointed. "Food's thataway!" And off he went again.

There was so much to do today! They were going to start their training to be knights, Heroes! And he'd have to make sure to do extra training too, just like Gramps told him! And he should write Gramps a letter, too! He wondered if he'd get to know the others better at practice--he hoped they didn't have to sit in desks and write on paper all day long...

With all this on his mind, he managed to make himself forget about that dream...




Well met, fellow disciple!


I am currently looking for just a few partners (I don't expect this topic to stay open too long, apologies) to engage in a rousing adventure of fisticuffs, with various flavors of adventure, possibly romance, intrigue, and other things mixed in! First, a short self-introduction:



And, for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, an introduction to the various genres mentioned in the title:



Now, for plots, there are three particulars that I've brainstormed for the exact purpose of this topic. That said, I have read a lot of Manga, Manwha, Manhua, Webtoons, and so forth (not so many novels, though, which I understand many who enjoy the Wuxia/Xianxia novels probably get more of the genre's nuances from), so I'm open to other fandoms, plots, and so on that use the same basic framework for powers/magic, character archetypes, and so on! Feel free to suggest something or ask for more details if what's presented here doesn't immediately catch your fancy!







So, if I've kept your attention thus far and any of that interests you, by all means shoot me a PM! Let the high-kicking, Karate-chopping, and mountain-splitting commence!

K A I

...?



Nathaniel was the first to exit the room. As his muscles relaxed and his expression became visibly less angry, one might think the situation had been resolved. But to Kai, it seemed clear that Julian had been marked--Nathaniel would be on the blonde's scent now. This wasn't a territory conflict. The second seat would hunt Julian over long distances, trailing just behind, the inevitable specter of death until the prey collapsed from its own exhaustion. What that meant in the context of "the society," as Gramps called it, Kai didn't know. He watched in order to learn.

The other Aurist's eyes locked onto Kai, and he smiled. The bluette met his gaze, evenly, but did not bow his head down to protect his throat, nor lift his chin up to expose it. Slowly, the wildling stood. Nathaniel took a few steps forward, and did nod.

”Kaiser, we should catch up with the others to make sure we reserve a fine spot in the mess hall for our squadron. What do you say?”

@webboysurf"Okay!" The thought of food momentarily shook Kai from his uneasy reverie, and his eyes brightened. Then the prince exited their shared abode.

“It’ll be rare enough, once training begins, that we will all choose to dine at the same time. Let’s wait for them,” their captain looked at Liese and Dot's door, and for the first time Kai noticed the...difference in it and the other doors on the floor. Something about it made him bristle, just looking at it. Was that Magic? How was it different from what Gramps told him about his own Aura?

"But if you would like to go ahead, Nathaniel, then do as thou wilt."

The others seemed to have their minds made up, and would soon gather in the common room. But, despite how hungry he was, something else made Kai hang back. He leaned a little bit toward the other doorway, looking in at Julian--who had yet to move. There was no hanging of the head, no gnashing of teeth, or clenching fists. Kai found it much harder to read the blonde now than the bundle of energy back out on the field.

Fear? Fear could paralyze prey, to some extent...but more often than not, cornered, they lashed out with all their strength. But Nathaniel knew where Julian was--wouldn't the better response be flight? Especially now that the predator had left the area. Then again, Julian would always have to come back to the room eventually...Kai sniffed the air, and inclined his head slightly toward the shorter knight.

He didn't understand, and curiosity drew him closer. Tentatively, he stepped over the threshold. He silenced his footfall, putting his weight on the edge of his step before his heel and toe, and half-crouched until he was right behind the other student...

@FeyblueHe reached out like the Prince and Nathaniel had to him, before, and grabbed Julian's shoulder.

"...Nathaniel was the better fighter. But you were the one fighting to win." he said, before he took his hand away. Why had he said it? He had been thinking it, before, but now he confused himself. "The only reason to be a Knight is to fight, and the only reason to fight is to win." Despite his confusion, the bluette found himself smiling, though he still didn't nod his head. Nor did the smile bare any teeth. But then he stepped away from Julian and watched for the blonde's reaction...

K A I

Food! ...or Fight?



The Prince soon entered the room, and opened up the windows to let some fresh air in. Kai's braid whipped back and forth in an upright position as he worked his way back out of the "nest" he'd made and hopped off the bed.

"I won't be here often, Kai, so treat it as yours. But leave my wardrobe alone."

@ERode"Okay. But why won't you be here?" asked the bluette as he tilted his head to one side. But before the prince answered, a raised voice echoed down the hallway.

“Anybody else wanna head to supper with Zen and I?” Signar said, loud enough he clearly intended to invite the entire group.

@Zombehs@pkken"YES ME!" Kai let his hunger--he had never been able to catch any fish while waiting on the bridge after all--overcome his curiosity about Rossweine's statement. The third seat fairly bounded out of the room, but looked back at the prince as he froze in mid-stride. "C'mon, Raw Swine! Food!" He took another few strides, out of sight around the doorframe--and then poked his head back around it, once more looking expectantly at the Prince. At the slightest hint of movement from the noble, the bluette was off for good.

But as he headed towards Signar and Zenshin, he noticed Julian and Nathaniel facing off just inside their own room's doorway. Nathaniel was closer to the back, but Kai felt as if he stood out more between the two--because he was clearly angry, even though he wasn't yelling or making aggressive movements--no. Actually making noise, making yourself appear bigger, that was for when you didn't want to fight. Nathaniel's ire was quiet--a challenge. The staredown between two wolves. Whoever faced away first admitted their submission.

The blue haired boy looked back at Signar and Zenshin, as it seemed they were already on their way to try and find something to eat. Neither they, nor Dot or Liese had made any attempt to interfere in what was going on between Julian and the second seat--so should he also leave it be? But...he was supposed to be the third seat, too, right? That meant he was higher than Julian, but not higher than Nathaniel...Did that mean he was supposed to take a side? Or maybe...

@Feyblue@webboysurfHe crouched down near the wall opposite Julian and Nathaniel's room, and pulled at his hair with one hand while rocking back and forth on his feet. For now he was just...watching. Although, the way he had squatted down like that, almost seemed like he could spring back up at any time...

Then his stomach growled. Quite loudly.

K A I

Bed!



“I’ll call you Kai then, and you can call me Rossweine,” the Prince intoned calmly. “When you have time, you should duel Nathaniel. You two can match each other, and the rest of the squad can learn.” He tapped Kai’s shoulder before turning away. Nathaniel had touched his shoulder too. So what did that mean? His braid tapped the same shoulder from the back side, like a ticklish paint brush.

"Greetings, squad, I am Liese Victoire of House Brendorn, ready to depart." said the intense blonde before Kai could muster a response to the prince. Raw Swine (why did he want to be called that? Kai thought he could come up with a better nickname) kept his expression the same peaceful, in-controlled facade, but there was just a moment–a micro-change so subtle even Kai’s focused observation almost missed it. It seemed that maybe…Liese and the Prince didn’t like each other? Why was that?

“Good to have you join us, Liese,” said the squad captain. “It is a shame that I was unable to witness the full breadth of your capabilities during your duel with the Lachant scion, but you will have a wealth of comrades to hone your skills with among this squad, Light Willing.”

@Izurich“Ooh, ooh!” Kai started to bounce on the balls of his feet with a wild grin. The Prince had told him to fight with Nathaniel as a form of training–maybe he could do that same thing here, since they were talking about Liese fighting too! He suddenly set both of his feet in place, hands on his hips, with a confidently furrowed brow to match Liese’s own as he raised his voice. “I am Kaiser Sauvage, of House Sauvage! When you have time, Liese Victoire of House Brendorn, we should duel! We can match each other to show the full breadth of our skills!” His braid was poking up behind his head and “wagging” furiously.

But it seemed that the rest of the group was fully on their way, and no one wanted to be left behind.

“Let’s be off.” said the prince, turning that tall back. He strode for the barracks, steps bringing him to the front of the squad in a graceful maneuver. Kai watched his feet with a raised eyebrow, struck by how smooth that motion was. But then another, far less skillful, movement caught his eye.

"Don't think you can just buy my forgiveness with food! Take that back!” A very angry munchkin hounded Signar Wayland’s heels like a particularly small, excitable puppy, practically running to keep up with him and bouncing up and down with each furious step. Kai grinned from ear to ear and bounded after them, shadowing Julian Baker’s movements. The bluette’s hair twitched playfully from side to side between his shoulder blades. Julian’s tirade continued, “Hey, are you ignoring me? Don't call me smaaaaaaaall!!!"

Kai snickered to himself. Despite all the people around, he was starting to feel at ease again–and he already felt like he had the promise of two challenging opponents. He couldn’t wait to see what else was in store…


The wall their barracks was built into cast a shadow over the courtyard, and the inner wall on the other side limited the view of the sky from some angles. There were trees, but they weren’t big enough or thick enough to provide good cover. It felt…simultaneously too restricting, and yet too exposed. A boxed in cage where you had nowhere to hide from anything that might swoop down above, and no escape from anything else trapped in there with you. It made Kai feel itchy. But he told himself that Gramps’s house had felt like this too at first…maybe he just had to get used to it. Maybe if he needed fresh air he could just…scale the walls?

He looked at the bricks, with their smooth stone surface and mortared gaps. Then his gaze traveled upward to the ramparts, and the machicolations, and the arrow slits between the crenellations. It seemed a much harder climb than the trees.

The inside of the building didn’t make him feel so itchy, but it definitely didn’t feel like Gramps’s house either. He tried to remember the times since Gramps had brought him back that he was made to be around such large groups of people, or to be around smaller groups for a longer period of time. His squad seemed like a medium between the two–not a huge number of people, but he was going to be around them for much longer. It turned out they were even going to share rooms together! The man handing out keys seemed to get angry when Kai closed one eye to mimic how the older knight glared at everyone, so maybe he should avoid that in the future. He scampered off like a dog with a treat as soon as he was given his key, and upon finding his room looked carefully at the sign. Rossweine? Ooooh! That was why the prince wanted to be called…Hm.

Kai shook his head. He could still come up with a better name than that.

But with his new living quarters identified, the bluette wasted no time in running inside and haphazardly checking all the containers, the side doors, the bathroom, et cetera et cetera. After several rapid circles, he then leaped onto the comfy bed. The sheets were tucked too tightly–he had to loosen those up. There was only one pillow, so he rolled up the comforter to make another one. The headboard and the room’s wall made a nice corner he could put his back to, so he bundled everything into that and then wriggled his way into the wadded mess of blankets.

After several moments, his head poked back out of the pile. His braid lay alongside his neck and shoulder, and repeatedly curled itself in content. He blew air between his lips with a soft “boof” sound.

Then Julian passed by the still-open door, and Kai’s braid pointed straight up as his head snapped towards the blonde. But Julian was already gone, and his ponytail dropped back down. Nonetheless the bluette kept watching to see if anyone else might look into the room, or if the Prince was coming…

K A I

Friends?




@webboysurf"It is a pleasure to meet you, Kaiser Underwall. Your adoptive father is spoken of quite highly across the kingdom, and I imagine many will speak highly of you as well." Nathaniel looked him over--was he sizing him up? If Kai was third seat, and Nathaniel was second...did that mean Nathaniel saw him as less dominant in the group? Kai didn't think he should feel offended yet, because he wasn't actually sure if Nathaniel was doing that. Also, what the other boy said about Gramps made Kai wonder what kind of things people said. He remembered that, back when he had given the proctors his information for the qualifying tests, one of them had said something strange...

"...Sauvage? As in, Sir KYNER Sauvage?" The man looked at the paper in his hand, and then passed it to another proctor. He looked Kai over. "A third son, at his age?" But then the man's look of disbelief faded as he shrugged. "Then again...it's Kyner Sauvage."

"Isn't he supposed to be like eight feet tall?" The second proctor looked at Kai as well. "With hands big enough to crush a man's whole skull in just one? You certainly don't look like you're gonna grow into that, kiddo."

"I'm adopted, though?" Kai mimicked their skeptical looks and shrugged.

"There, see? Also, that's obviously hyperbole, ya dingus! Sir Kyner's not just some tall-tale!"

"I knew that!" the second proctor crossed his arms, though neither of them had noticed Kai copying the gesture. "Obviously nobody could do ridiculous things like...cook raw chickens just by slapping them!"

"Well o'course he could do THAT, ya nimrod! That's just Fire magic!"

"Um, can I go?" The question was barely out of the bluette's mouth before they waved him away and went back to their argument about which of Sir Kyner's supposed feats of bear wrestling, beard-punching, and Daemon-slaying were the least realistic.


"You should introduce yourself to our squad captain, and join us in heading to the barracks. I imagine they’ll be excited to meet you.” Oh right, Nathaniel was saying something. Kai felt the other boy's hand settle on his shoulder, and looked at the limb with curiosity. Then the 2nd Seat made a quick step to some of the others, and introduced himself to them as well. Most everyone seemed to be moving in the same general direction of the barracks as they talked. Kai followed along with the crowd, keeping an eye out for the Prince like Nathaniel suggested, but someone else spoke to him as they passed.

“That flip was really cool,” said the slender, cloaked kid who had been up on the other post. “Bet you could get over someone at ground-level with enough momentum, if they were, y'know, swingin’ low or something. Would be pretty sweet…uh, sir. Sorry.” Were they sorry because they'd interrupted him going to speak to the Prince?

@Mcmolly"Oh, it's um, no problem." he said, mimicking Dot's bow--it was a lot less stiff than Nathaniel's, but seemed to dip the head lower, too. He wanted to say more, but was only able to get out, "It's, y'know, nice to meet you! Dot, right?" before they slipped back into the crowd. But they had come close to the Prince now--Dot kept going, with head down, however Kai picked up his pace a step or two to catch up.

"T-Thank you your highnesslord-c-captain! I won't let you down!" said the guy Kai remembered being called "Zenshin Ferros." Zenshin saluted the prince, blushing for a moment before he continued on his own way. He carried himself much more confidently now--was it because of something the Prince had said? That made Kai smile--that guy wouldn't have lasted long if he had kept acting like prey that way.

@ERode"E-excuse m-me, your highnesslord-c-captain!" Kai snapped off a salute of his own as he finally caught up to Rossweine. "I'm Kaiser Underwall! F-f-feel free to call me Kai, if you want!"

K A I

Squad 13's 3rd Seat



A man in too many colors for Kai's liking came out on stage, and made a long speech. Contrary to what one might think given what little display of his temperment they'd seen, Kai actually leaned forward on the post as he focused on the speaker.

This was it! He would be joining a grand tradition of knighthood, going back over five whole centuries! The same figures in the books, who slew Daemons and rescued princesses! The ones who defended the weak, and saved those in need! The ones like his Gramps, who could be stronger than anyone else...and kinder than anyone else, too. He was going to be like Gramps, too!

Then the strangely dressed man began reading out names. Kai tried to observe the others, but there were just so many even his eyes got tired after a while. He also fidgeted, and began to wonder when his own would be called. Gramps had once told him he'd been in one of these houses, but Kai couldn't remember which one. But Gramps had been House Champion--he'd been the best of the best! The bluette cracked his neck from side to side and renewed his vigilance, eager to live up to his adoptive parent's legacy.

The speeches of the other Heads of House weren't as interesting, as most of them only addressed the students themselves. The big guy with hair like a lion made it sound like his House would be a lot of fun, but even by Kai's standards it also seemed a little meat-headed. However, he noticed that the boy he himself had wrestled down to the ground in the qualifier spar, without even using a weapon, had been selected for this House. He smiled at that, genuinely happy that they might get to fight again...although, deep down, something inside him felt prickly, too. Why had that boy's name been called before his own, if he won the duel?

The older guy and the dangerous fellow with sharp eyes weren't long-winded either...but Kai's name was also not called for their houses. The boy's braid lifted over his shoulder in a question mark at first...and then began to droop.

"And, finally, the thirteenth squadron!"

Kai felt something cold, and heavy--a feeling he couldn't remember experiencing too many times before--settling on his chest. He gulped. What if...what if he had to go home? What if...he couldn't be like Gramps? He tried to tighten his jaw, because for some reason his lower lip was quivering.

"This squadron will be headed by His Highness, Prince Rossweine Lupus Grayle!"

This boy was tall and slender, but to Kai's opinion he seemed almost...fragile. He was a Prince? Weren't Princes supposed to be the ones, alongside Heroes, to defend the kingdoms and face down evils? Could a guy like this really do that? Kai had never really met any high nobility while living with Gramps. He tried to remember if he had seen this youth's spar before...and as he wracked his memory, he found it. He had found it really, really boring. And he didn't understand why everyone had cheered.

“The Knight King’s blood must truly run in his veins! Look at how he forced his foe to kneel without once striking back!” That was what they had said. But Kai had only thought this: How insulting it must be, to be beaten by someone who doesn't even have the will to fight.

"His second seat shall be Nathaniel Lothwren," continued the announcer. As the other boy walked on stage, Kai recognized him as one of the intense ones, the one he had noticed other applicants talking about--though most of those had already been chosen by now. Once the bluette got a better look at his face, he remembered that spar now too. Now that had been what a fight was supposed to be--although that little blonde had been more willing to "win," whereas Nathaniel had just been the "better fighter." Maybe that was why the guy had seemed like he was mad about something this whole time.

"...and his third... Kaiser Underwall, of House Sauvage."

"YES!" The boy's heart leaped, and so did the rest of him. Kai did a somersault with a one hundred and eighty degree twist from the post's top, and upon landing on the ground went on to perform a full cartwheel into a backflip before he landed with a heavy THUMP. Then he noticed the announcer and some of the others staring at him, and the body language on the House Commander. He decided to imitate the "ten-hut" attitude and curt nod that Nathaniel gave, and snapped his hands to his sides as he stood up ramrod-straight. His braid curled near his temple as if it were saluting.

The naming continued, and Kai relaxed a bit as he became more focused on watching those around him. Although...now that he wasn't up above the crowd anymore, there was really a lot going on. He started to feel...itchy, in a way. There were so many to pay attention to...

"Signar Wayland!" The big guy--the one he'd just seen back on the bridge, too. That blonde was still next to him. Wait a minute! That was the same one Nathaniel fought! Kai glanced at the other boy, feeling that an interesting reaction would have to take place if that kid got called. But, if Kai was remembering the big guy's spar, too...He didn't think he'd seen it directly, considering the crowds and so many other fights going on. He thought he remembered...an explosion? He smiled. He bet that guy had cool magic.

"Zenshin Ferros!" The one who acted like he didn't want people to notice him. Would he pull his hood down now? It was hard to figure out what might be going on there if Kai couldn't see his face. Watching other people's expressions seemed important if he wanted to understand what they were feeling.

"Dot Auferrum!" The other one from the post! Kai had a better look at them despite that flowing cloak and their dark clothes. And he recognized anger, not just in their face, but in their body's tension and the white-knuckle grip they had on that post. Why? Were they looking at...the Prince? But the shock of being called almost threw them off their perch. The anger seemed to...not so much fade, but cloud over. Maybe only for now.

"Liese Victoire Brendorn!" The other blonde, and the other really intense one. Kai got a look at their face and other features in more detail now that there wasn't a crowd between them. He...wasn't sure what to think. They didn't...look strong. Physically. But he got the impression that they were, somehow, strong...or...maybe the better term would be determined? Like the idea of retreat or losing wouldn't even occur to them. Kai thought that was...somewhat foolish. Maybe if you had no chance to get away from the predator, it was better to fight to the death. But the vast majority of fights weren't like that, at least from his perspective. If hunting prey took too much energy, it was better to scavenge. If holding territory meant facing a more powerful predator, it was better to give up and retreat.

"Julian Baker!" The one whose stomach had growled. The one who had beaten Nathaniel. Kai couldn't help but smile a little as the blonde came running towards the stage--some of these others were hard to figure out, but this one looked like they felt a bit like he did--like a dream was coming true.

The final of the four men upon the dais rose up, his long, dark hair trailing behind him as he approached the front of the stage.

"That will be all," he said, dismissing the herald, who nodded, rolled up the scroll, and departed. Not a word was spared for the remainder among the hopefuls, who quietly began to gather their things and trudge away. Kai looked at them and felt, to a lesser degree than before, the heaviness in his chest. An intrusive thought broke through--what if he had been like them? How would he have felt? He wasn't quite sure...but he figured, if he wouldn't have liked it, they probably didn't either. His braid slinked from one shoulder to the other.

"I have never had a particularly fine way with words... but I think we have all heard more than enough speeches today already, so I will keep this brief..." Their House Commander had struck Kai as one of the "dangerous" ones he'd seen today--all four of the men had. There was no doubt in his mind any one of them could easily best him, or any of the kids gathered here--maybe even all of them at once. But each one had different qualities, and thus they felt "dangerous" differently. This one...this one felt somewhat like...a vulture, maybe. Or a hyena, watching other beasts fight and ready to eat the loser.

"What is it that you can do for Grayle? Think long and hard on that in the days to come... and when you find an answer, see it through."

"Be a Hero!" Kai answered immediately, without even having to think. Why else would he be here? Why else do any of this? Knights fought and followed laws and codes. The only reason to fight was to win, which meant beating the enemy. And the only reason to follow rules were because you were good, and the rules were good to follow. So if good people had to fight and win, they had to fight evil, and protect people. So they had to be Heroes.

"Report to the Eastern Barracks. Your instructors will be waiting there to assign you your quarters, and you'll also have opportunities to meet with your squadmates. I would encourage you to use this time to familiarize yourself with both your accommodations and your brothers-in-arms, as tonight will be the last night of your old lives. Your training begins at dawn tomorrow. Dismissed!" Barking back these curt remarks, the bespectacled man turned and strode away, his long mane of hair and flowing cloak trailing behind him as he disappeared from view. Kai thought the man had scowled, but otherwise the bluette's "answer" had been seemingly ignored. The cadets looked around, unsure of themselves, but moments later began to disperse, making their way in a disorderly procession out of the courtyard and around the perimeter of the palace's outer wall, towards the barracks on the eastern side of the castle grounds.

Kai's gaze yet again swept the others. Liese moved to talk to Dot. Julian approached Signar. The Prince immediately headed for Signar as well, but had something to say to Julian too. And others. Nathaniel addressed the Prince. The blue braid lashed back and forth as Kai breathed out through his nose. There were too many conversations going on, and he wasn't sure what to do now. No one was talking to him at the moment...should he just follow the Commander's orders and head for the Barracks? But all of the others were introducing themselves and stuff. How...how should he act? He reached up and pulled at two of his hair's spikes in frustration, like a dog pawing at its own ears.

I don't want to be left out! I just--I gotta do something! Quick! The quickest! What's the fastest way!? He didn't want to initiate, but there was already so much going on, he felt itchy on the inside all over!

@webboysurfThe closest! The physically closest person to him! And that was...

Nathaniel!

The Prince had made a sort of circuit to greet several people, and Nathaniel had beelined after him, but between the stage and Kai. The others had been further back in the crowd even after they were called forward. And Nathaniel had introduced himself to the prince, and suggested that they head towards the barracks, and the Prince had responded, and it all sounded a lot like some of the older books he had read with Gramps, the ones where the words just kept going and going...

"Please excuse me, 2nd Seat Nathaniel." Kai walked with completely straight legs towards the other boy, then snapped them together when he stopped within arm's distance. He slammed his right fist over the left side of his chest and bent at the middle, then straightened again. "I'm Kaiser Underwall, adopted third son of Sir Kyner Sauvage." His braid twitched back and forth. "I thought I should introduce myself properly. I also look forward to working together in this squadron!" He smiled, with more than a hint of nervousness in his cheeks. But it didn't quite wrinkle his eyes--because they were focused intensely on the young man of equal height in front of him. Had he...done that right?

K A I

Wandering Eyes



From up here, Kai not only had a good view of the stage, but all the students gathered beneath it. While waiting, he scanned the crowd with curious eyes and used his hand as a visor against the sun. That other person who had climbed up on a post was scowling. Their dark, flowing cloak made it hard to gauge their build, but they didn't seem quite so tall or broad as many other figures here. Kai felt like he wasn't the largest person around either, but he wasn't scowling. So why were they? Had something displeased them? He thought they were deep in thought earlier...but deep in thought about what? Were they just worried about what would happen?

There was someone else pushing through the crowd as well, making their way towards the front. This was a bronzed young man with dark hair, though Kai only saw a few wisps of it beneath that cloak and couldn't make out much about the youth's face from here. Without any way to see their expression, he instead looked at their body language. The head was low, almost the same level as the shoulders, and they moved between people and away from eyes like they didn't want to be seen. To Kai, they seemed like nervous prey evading the notice of predators around them. Was that a sign of this person's weakness, or the danger presented by others in the crowd? Kai's ponytail flicked back and forth as he scanned those gathered once more. There were certainly some here who were dangerous, in different ways...

A brown haired teen, whose equipment seemed a little better managed than most, stood out next to Kai's roving eye. Though he couldn't hear the voices from here, Kai could tell by the movement of others near the boy that they were probably talking about him--the way they tilted their heads when they looked back at each other, or gestured slightly with their hands, made that clear. And the brunette's stance was tense...were his fists clenched at his sides? There was definitely tension in his neck and shoulders, like he had clenched his jaw or something. Definitely aggression there, and from his size it was clear he was physically fit.

That other blonde, near the front of the crowd, was another dangerous one for sure. They stood at sharp attention, fidgeting only once to fix their cuffs, and though Kai could only see the back of their head from here he could tell they were intensely focused on that stage. Something about them seemed similar to someone else...ah, that person he had seen just a moment ago! He turned his attention back to the bridge. He could still see that tall figure, and every so often he thought he saw the bobbing blonde head. That was the one who seemed similar to the one in front...but at the same time, not quite. What was the tall figure doing to them? Were they arguing? He thought he caught a whiff of food. He had heard someone's stomach growl back there, before he ran all this way--so maybe they were arguing over food? Why would anyone do that? The smaller one could just wait for the larger to finish, and scavenge the rest, or go get their own. To fight when it wasn't necessary was a waste of energy a hunter couldn't get back.

The ear-piercing keen of a trumpet shattered the awkward silence. The sound of heavy boots echoed upon the wooden planks of the stage, and four imposing figures clad respectively in red, white, black, and gold emerged before the crowd, taking their seats upon four raised benches atop the dais. Kai crouched down on his post out of instinct--suddenly the idea of being up where those four could see him seemed unwise. Legs bent and palms down on the top of the fence like a frog, however, he still stuck out amongst the group. Again, his braid twitched--this time going straight down the back of his neck and shivering, like it too didn't want to be seen.

A raven-haired man with an expression that seemed...sure. As if everything were going to plan. Another man with a powerful stance and fierce expression, yet seemed to be trying too hard--especially given those glances he threw at the black-haired one. An old man, whose mouth quirked down at the edges as he surveyed the children before him--he seemed unsatisfied, if Kai had to put a word to it. And then, a man with piercing-green eyes and cornsilk golden hair. Kai gulped. That one was dangerous. And both he and the raven-haired man seemed to be looking at specific kids in the crowd--when they turned on Kai, the boy bristled and almost raised his hackles, but thought better of drawing attention to himself. Their gaze went past him soon enough...


K A I

The Sauvage Stray



Of all the boys gathered on the King's Bridge, one seemed completely unfazed by their long wait to file into the courtyard. Perhaps at the risk of drawing the adult's ire, he wasn't even waiting in the crowd, or on the bridge itself. No, Kaiser--or Kai--Underwall currently had his ankles locked around the bottom railing on one side of the bridge. The rest of him hung down, and his arms stretched even further...but, unfortunately, it seemed he was still several feet short of reaching the water. And the delicious, fresh fish beneath it. With one more grunt of exertion, he failed to even brush his fingertips against the water, and sighed. The teen performed a hanging situp as easily as others might turn their heads, reached up past his toes with a flexibility any contortionist would envy, and grabbed onto the top railing. He unhooked his feet, then did a complete pullup with a push-through before vaulting himself back onto the bridge proper...although, he was still standing along the side-rails in a balanced crouch, like some oversized cat. He looked around the crowd, to see if anything had changed during the time he'd been attempting to find a snack.

@FeyblueSomeone else needed a snack too, if that rumbling was any indication. If Kai had actually caught anything, he would've been willing to share with the short blonde currently jumping up and down. @ZombehsBut he wasn't sure he could have caught enough, at least not with just two hands, to feed the bigger fellow who appeared behind the blonde. That guy was even bigger than the kid Kai had to fight to get this far--but the bluette could tell at a glance, he wouldn't be able to whimsically toss his sword aside and wrestle that one to the ground like he had his tubby opponent in the qualifiers. Now that he thought about it, he wondered if the other boys still talked about him the way they had before that fight?

"'Underwall?' As in, he was found...literally under the Walls?"

"That's what they say. Supposedly an old knight found him in the Wild. Doesn't make any sense to me--even if somebody dumped a baby off the End of the World, how would he ever survive?"

"What kind of sword is that? Was he raised by animals? Does he even have an education?"


These questions and many more had rippled around Kai wherever he went, on the day he tested for enrollment. Many didn't realize that he could hear them--but even if they had, the complete lack of reaction put them off as if he'd turned to stare right at them. Though some knew the name of Sir Kyner Sauvage--the man was a former House Champion in his own days on the training yard, after all, and hadn't done too badly for himself in all his years as a knight--they also knew there was no way this boy could be related. His blue hair, delicate face, and general build had nothing at all in common with his adoptive family. Nor did he seem to match the appearance or air of any renown noble that might be trying to hide him as an illegitimate son. The mystery of the unknown child had conceived both loathing--perhaps born of trepidation--and curiosity.

But, most of them past his immediate surroundings weren't paying attention to him now. Most were entirely focused on where they were going, towards that big courtyard, though foot traffic had come to a halt. Up ahead, just over the bridge and at the back of the courtyard, he saw another kid doing the same thing he was and climbing on top of a post. Not one to be outdone, Kai stood up to his full height right there on the railing--he only wobbled once before, like a tightrope walker, his balance held him impeccably still. He put one hand over his brow to defend against those rainbows reflecting off the water, and focused his eyes. It looked like there was a stage up there. Was that where they were supposed to be?

Again he looked at the throng still milling around on the bridge, then at the figure up ahead standing on the post. With a nod and a smile to himself, the blue haired boy took off--his footsteps made the metal rails rattle and clank all the way down their lengths as he ran past several others. He never missed a step, despite picking up speed. When he reached the end of the bridge, he actually leaped right over some boys' heads, turning a full somersault--@Mcmollyand then landed on a post on the opposite side of the crowd from the figure he'd seen afar.

The figure looked like they were thinking deeply about something, so Kai furrowed his brow too, and crossed his arms. One leg folded into the crook of his knee, he looked entirely at ease as he too now balanced above the group for a bird's eye view.
I’m ok with the doggo, though his nose will suffer.


Not as much as Rossweine's sense of dignity XD

*formal ball for some reason, everyone's in elegant attire, the Prince is obviously shmoozing the upperclassmen and has a gaggle of fangirls*

Kai: "YO ROOMIE!" *his tuxedo and dress shirt have had the sleeves ripped off, he has done away with his shoes ("Too pointy!") and his tie is backwards (genuinely never learned how to do it)* "I finally figured out why all you high-society types are so skinny! Your food's too small!" *holding the entire plate of pigs in blankets*

@Feyblue Great opener, I immediately distrust several people mentioned in the House Prologue! XD Do we need to make mention, or flashback, of the "qualifying spar" like Julian did, or will we be fighting again soon after introductions? I'll try to get a post up asap, although today will be a long one for me with work and such, so it'll be quite late by my time-zone (probably after 9PM CST). Also, should I send you mini-CSes for Sir Kyner Sauvage, the old knight that adopted Kai, or any of his already-knighted sons, for NPC or story filler purposes? Being Kai's parent I kinda figured Sir Kyner might make an appearance later on or something, but as of yet I didn't have any particular "plot oriented" plans.
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