Dreams of a Fallen Crown:Characters:Almun FaShazzad
"It all began one day when my father kidnapped my mother. I suppose I cannot fault him for that. He was a hot-blooded warrior, and she a beautiful woman without peer..."
Red Wind stormed into the tent. The tall young man threw aside his cloak, which was now barely more than a mass of red tatters. "I cannot deal with this woman!"
From his makeshift bed of crates and cushions, Tobar half-opened an eye to examine the warrior. Seeing the exasperrated look on Red Wind's face, Tobar could tell his friend had been dealing with there most recent "victory," the kidnapped Jewel of the Delzahn. While such a trophy was a great win for the Varang, the young Delzahn woman had turned out to be far more trouble than anyone had originally expected. Still, Tobar couldn't help but chuckle at young Wind's frustration and confusion over the matter.
"What's the problem? How can one little girl be such a concern, my friend?"
Red Wind sank into a seat. "She's impossible! She refuses any food or drink, she can't be left ungagged for all the noise she makes, and she has managed, even while bound, to collapse her tent three times now! If I could get this sort of fire out of our front line, we would own Chiaroscuro by now!"
"My goodness, well, that does call for a drink, now doesn't it?" Tobar chuckled as he leaned up to fill two cups for he and his friend. "What have you tried to do to stop it?"
Wind flailed his arms in exaperation. "Everything! I have threatened her, I have had her dunked, and she's starving herself in defiance..."
"Tell me, Wind, have you tried being kind to her?"
Red Wind shot Tobar and incredulous look. "Kind to her?! After all the trouble she's caused! I ought to have her whipped! Of all the ridiculous..."
Tobar handed his friend a cup to stifle his tirade,"Hear me out... In all your training as an officer, have you been prepared for any situation of capture and torture?"
Wind raised a defiant chin. "Of course! These madmen would have no chance at compromising my resolve."
Tobar grinned,"Did they train you for the case if they were to treat you as a friend?"
The Red Wind blinked in surprise, "I, um... well, no, I don't suppose. Why would they? The situation would never arise."
"Exactly! How would she ever know how to react if you actually treated her with the care of one of our own? It's foolproof!" A smug grin crossed the actor's chubby face.
Red Wind stroked his chin thoughtfully. "Tobar, you are a wiley fox. I will give your plan a try. That should at least see us through until some sort of ransom can be claimed."
A chuckle and a nod was all to come from Tobar as he settled back into his napping place. "Well, let me know how it all turns out then."
"Time passed, as it always does, and the relationship grew between the Red Wind and The Jewel. Civil dealings lead to civil conversations, conversations lead to attraction, and we all know attraction leads to... many other stories..."
Red wind turned the armillary sphere ever so slightly clockwise and nodded with satisfaction. The tightness of his jaw as he smiled gave away his underlying nervous excitement. After some brief scribbling, he looked up toward his wife,"You'll be glad to know that, though we are in the midst of a tri-planetary cusp, the waxing of Jupiter bodes well. Perhaps he will be a warrior as well!"
From the bed, Ameah gave Red Wind an exasperated smirk. "He will be whatever he chooses to be, whether Jupiter cares for it or not!"
Red Wind chuckled, shaking his head,"There is just no bringing you to good sense, is there?" He took her hand in his as he smiled lovingly,"How did I ever marry such a stubborn woman?"
Ameah winced with the contraction and gave Wind's hand a sharp squeeze. "Why don't you take a little peek through your spyglass there and find out for yourself?"
The two of them shared a laugh together, though it was cut short by a short gasp from Ameah. Just as the two were about to restart their banter, a young djala woman, arms laden with miscellaneous medical items, passed through the curtain door leading into the room. She gave a bright smile to the couple.
Years in Paradise
"My early years were joyous ones. My parents' secret became a secret of our outpost. My father taught me the strength of arms, my mother the value of art. Both showed me the value of pride and passion. Those carefree days with my family are the cheerful memories that brighten my most trying hours."
Behind the curtains, a young boy sat in a dimly lit room. The lamplight flickered across the patches of his brightly colored shirt as he tugged and scratched at his outfit. From around a box of costume gear, Tobar peeked in on the youngster.
"Well then, Al'mun, ready for your big scene?"
The boy wrinkled his nose as he scratched at his back. "I don't know, Tobar... this shirt is itchy."
Tobar chuckled as he approached the boy,"It's a sacrifice we make for the craft, my boy. To be someone else requires us to forego certain things that would befit us normally." Tobar took his meaty hand on the boys shoulder to pin him and his ceaseless fidgetting. With the other hand he opened a can of powders and poured a bit down Al'mun's shirt. "Just the same though, we can make the best of what we have."
Al'mun look up at Tobar. "Are mother and father here?"
"Of course! They've taken the front row! Do you really think they would miss your first performance?" Tobar mussed the boy's hair, leaving remnants of the powders mixed in.
"Good, I hope I do it right."
"Do it right? No no... " Tobar hoisted the boy up and turned him to face the old actor. "You can't think of it like that, Al'mun, or you'll never feel right out there. There is no 'right' to it. In that moment, you must be the character, and do as you feel the character would. Live that different life while you are out there, and think as they would think. Only then will your performance ring true to your audience. Do you understand?"
Al'mun furrowed his brow in thought. "I think so... Just be them?"
Tobar nodded solemnly. "That's it. Though, often looking the part will go far to being the part. Which is why I've brought you something..." Tobar pulled a box from the back of his sash and handed it to Al'mun. "It's a little present from the cast to help you on this big day."
Al'mun opened the box and lifted out a mask, adorned with pointed ears and a pointed and whiskered nose. "Oh, wow! Thank you, Tobar!" The boy hugged his friend.
"Shh... we're still backstage, Al'mun!" Tobar reminded his young student with a quiet chuckle. "And thank Crane, she's the one that makes the costumes here. I just added the finishing touches. Now, let's see how it looks."
Al'mun tied the mask on and looked up to Tobar for approval. "Does it work?" The boy pushed the mask up a bit where it was beginning to slide off his nose.
"The spitting image," A quick tugged cinched the mask on tight enough to stay. Tobar peaked around the curtain and listened a moment. "Now, you're queue is almost up. Get out there, and remember what I said. Don't do it, be it."
Tobar rejoined Crane in the back of the audience. She turned to him, "So, is the scamp all set?"
"Yes, I think he'll do just fine."
From the stage, the actress costumed as a rabbit sobbed,"The farmer has taken all the plants from the garden. Surely we will all starve!"
"Fear not, my friends!" The young boy tumbled in with a flourished bow. "The farmer may be strong, but he shall never be as clever as the Fox!"
Crane leaned over to Tobar,"I don't remember that entrance in the rehearsals."
Tobar smiled,"In rehearsals we had Al'mun entering the stage. Here we have the Fox."
"Unfortunately, the world has a tragic way of invading upon perfection, and things are always prone to change..."
Life as a Vagabond
"It is in our darkest times that we must shine the brightest..."
Meanwhile, in Yu Shan...
Lytek sighed in disappointment. For over a year he had tried to scrub the blemishes from this spark, and for countless times he had thought his work done. However, each time under closer examination, he found the flaw remained. As he took up his tools for another attempt, a knock came at the door.
"Come in," Lytek said, as he placed the spark on the rack behind him. I'll get to you later.
A young courier god opened the door. "Sorry to disturb you, Daimyo. Just some papers from the Bureau that need your signatures."
Lytek set down his tools and approached his front desk, taking up his quill. In a flurry of paper and wind, the courier erupted in a whirlwind of documents, each pausing for a short moment to receive Lytek's seal before returning to the stream of scrolls. The Daimyo of Exaltation grumbled as he worked his way through the stack,"I really wish they would trim down this signing business. I have important work to see to!"
The courier took the moment to look around the office so as to hide his eye rolling. "Yes, of course. At least it's a relatively quiet day, hmm?" A knock at the door summoned muffled groans from both the occupants.
An officious functionary strode into the room, chest puffed in pride. "I have come for the completed sparks, Daimyo, that they may be redistributed into Creation, as in accordance wi..."
"Oh, fine, fine! Glad you made it! 3 and 17 are on the stands and are ready to go," Lytek called out from the far side of the spinning vortex of paper.
With a look of consternation from being cut short in his display of ceremony, the functionary huffed over to the workbench and retrieved two sparks and a stack of papers. With a nose turned high to the world and heaven, the functionary announced,"I shall see to the proper distribution of these sparks in accordance wi..."
"Jolly good then! I'll have some more ready soon." Lytek waved as his other hand saw to the unending list of signatures. With an almost shocked look at being cut off twice, the functionary headed to the Loom.
Finally, the signing reached its end. "I appreciate it, Daimyo. Any deliveries going out?" the courier asked as Lytek walked over to his workbench.
Lytek shook his head as he began taking up his tools once more,"No, that should be it, than..." The Daimyo froze mid-sentence, his mouth agape in shock as he stared at the shelves of sparks under preparation, where in slot 17 a glowing spark still hovered. The courier quirked an eyebrow in curiosity,"Umm... Daimyo? Is something the matter?" Slowly Lytek turned his head to face the courier.
"I need to speak to Chejop Kejak immediately."
Chejop Kejak heard a knock at his door. A young sidereal peaked his head into the office of the Head of the Bureau of Destiny. The high-backed chair was turned to face the massive window overlooking the Loom of Fate. A voice echoed out from the chair," What is it? I am busy right now."
The young sidereal nodded, and despite his better judgment, spoke. "Sorry to disturb you, but Daimyo Lytek says he needs to speak with you. He says it's extremely urgent."
A hand waved flippantly from the side of the chair,"Of course, everything is terribly urgent, it seems. Have him schedule an appointment and I will meet with him then."
The sidereal nodded and began to shut the door, when Lytek bursted through. "Kejak, this is no trifle I am here about!"
The chair turned slowly around to show the stoicly unamused face of Kejak."Of course not, Lytek. I'm sure that at a later time we can work through whatever is the pressing concern that has you breaking all good forms of protocol and etiquette." The old sidereals eyes bore into Lytek with a sense of quiet intensity.
"Kejak, I am here because The Watcher is loose."
Chejop Kejak sprung from his chair,"What? What do you mean 'loose?'"
"There must have been a mix up in the last depatures, but his spark is gone, just the same."
"I thought we agreed to put him away forever! How could it have been anywhere -near- the depatures?"
Lytek hesitated, clearly embarrassed,"I know. It's just so close to perfect. I was working on it as a personal project. I'm just certain I could get it fixed with just a bit more time."
Kejak closed his eyes and rubbed his temples, his jaw pulled tight. "Fine... I will see to this. Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Daimyo." Each word escaped from the Director's mouth like shards of jutting ice.
Lytek nodded and began moving for the exit,"If it's any consolation, I do think it will be in much better condition that before."
Kejak sunk into his chair,"It's not. Thank you"
The hour won't finish before all of Yu Shan will know. Kejak sighed heavily as he turned back to the Loom. "Very well then, Watcher. The hunt begins again..."
Memoirs of the Fox
The Fox's Skulk
Radiant Crane- An orignal member of Tobar's travelling band, she has stayed with Fox since his exaltation. Despite her frequently flamboyant clothes, she has a very "no nonsense" demeanor that leads into her sardonic wit. For many of the rambunctous crew she provides a tether to reality that helps keep things running orderly, or at least quietly. Trained as a tailor and costume designer, Crane has created a myriad of outfits. Given the other manners of work for the crew, she has also become adept and adding hidden pockets and reversable inner layers.
Fadul- Originally from Bluehaven, Fadul is a dockworker in the shipping wharfs of Chiaroscuro. His experience as a quartermaster has given him an eye keen to numbers and goods, sometimes to the point of missing other information. Fadul typically has a "wallflower" disposition that often leads to him being unnoticed. Ironically, he thrives off praise for his work, which partly explains his loyalty to Fox. Secretly, he is enamored with Alimah, but is currently too shy to pursue her.
Alimah- To the Delzahn, a woman's greatest asset is her beauty, and for Alimah, it's quite an asset indeed. Alimah is both very attractive and knows exactly how to use her wiles to her own ends. Countless duels have been spurred by her seductive abilities, and she can be an invaluable aid in distracting guards. Alimah insists that her brothers are capable sea merchants in the southern Inner Sea, but none of the skulk have ever heard of them.