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Shapeshifter Avatar: The Last Airbender rp

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Kiyo Yaniho [Crescent Island || Base of Volcano]

 

Kiyo watched as the intertwined fingers slowly drifted apart and the sudden pang of jealousy in her heart seemed to vanish just as quickly as it appeared. Her smile was a lot less forced now, and her features and posture carried this, looking more relaxed than usual. She listened to what Kui had said before wanting to say something. How about how Kui was her's? Nooooo, noo, not a good idea. She was jealous, yes. But she wasn't that bad to covet someone away from somebody else. That wouldn't look good of her self-image. Especially so when Jun looked at her with utmost respect. What was it that she said to cause such a happy grin? She thought his stony stoic look was cracking to reveal the softer side of him. She watched as Jun's tone was bossy, and then faltered to a bit of a more passive statement. She smiled sweetly, realizing that maybe he was better than she thought. She nodded, ready for take off. Of course, she had wanted to spend some quality time with Kui alone, she didn't want to upset Jun by denying. She walked up beside Jun, giving him some space so he could do his earthbending without smacking her with his hand. She steadied her posture and awaited for Jun to climb up the volcano with Kui and herself in tow.

 

Miho Izisato [Crescent Island || Trail to Dragon's Lair]

 

Miho watched, in collected silence, as Yui and Yota conversed. She allowed Yui's arm to be taken away and she felt free again. She looked over to see if she could see her watery friend, but found that she wasn't there anymore. Where could she have gone? She swore she saw a flash of blue heading towards the volcano, but with all the colors of the rainbow being worn, she didn't have a clue if that was actually her friend's clothes. Her attention was grabbed when Yota was talking about his condition he set with his father about his rearranged betrothal. When she heard that he could be taken... Miho's heart skipped a beat and she immediately wondered why the hell it would do that! She wasn't in to him... Was he? Yea, he was pretty cute, but she didn't know about him just yet. They had just met. Though, her attention to her heart was shoved away immediately as Yota made a joke to the backhanded insult given by the girl he was infatuated with and she let out a laugh that sounded like chiming bells... If they were shaking excitedly and faster than what is accepting of a choir.

 

She quickly leveled herself before walking with Yota and Yui towards the temple, before veering towards the volcano. She heard about how maybe the dragon's would better listen to their prayers in person and Miho nodded excitedly. ADVENTURE! That was what she was waiting for! Finally! As they walked on the more rocky trail, she was stopped short as Yota gave a supportive hand towards Yui and talked about carrying them both on their back. Really? She had never rode on anyone, let alone any creature, before. She nodded excitedly, lights glinting from her eyes in giddiness. Almost as if a young girl was taken to a candy store. She was obviously okay with the proposition.

 

"Of course!"

 

Only for a metaphorical slap in the face to happen when Yui kindly denied the offer and would prefer to have him walk up with her. She was screaming on the inside, but she wouldn't let that be seen. She gave a bemused smile and walked up on the other side of Yui and peered over at Yota. "Awwww, but I'd really like to see the transformation at least. I have never met anyone transform, let alone travel on their back... Let alone travel on the backs of any creature. Please? Can we see it?" Again, she was sounding like a giddy child and she was beginning to kick herself mentally for acting like such a child. Man, she really needed to get away from her house more.

 

(Yea, I said I was going to have my characters go into the house, but I found time. XD )

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Posted (edited)

Kaiji on the Sea Dragon

 

"Six years." He said calmly pouring tea and set out a sweet peach bun for his guest. "However I mastered my element at six months. Each time he'd come I'd learn more about a culture I was born into but not immersed in. I played dumb, I admit I caused much frustration with my mentor who would have quit if my dad hadn't convinced him to tell me about my heritage as well as the lessons. Due to infrequent visits I only learned a little at a time. Bending is like breathing now. " He said sipping his tea the red lipstick marking the pale cup. 

 

----

 

Yota, path to dragons

 

Yota blinked at Miss Izisato's excitement at seeing him transform as he took the basket from Miss. Yui and set it on one arm, his other held at the right hight for Yui to hold on to. He laughed loud and jovial at the 'kid in a candy store' wide eyed look as miss Izisato bounced around at the thought of seeing someone shift. "Don't worry. You'll see me transform. I may join the dragons in their dance. I am quite small compared to them, and don't have wings, but I look similar to a dragon. " He said helping both girls around a particular difficult rocky outcrop nearing the two volcanoes. He stopped pointing down a ledge to a group of three. "Isn't that your friend again miss. Izisato?" After pointing, he pulled the basket from his elbow to his shoulder and half crouched down. "Many apologies miss Yui, but this is a particularly dreadful spot." He said softly before sweeping his arm to the back of her knees and leaping from spot to spot getting to a safer ledge and setting her down now mier feet from the dragon lair. He handed her the basket back. "You should put on your Vail, the masters are about to be summoned." He said pointing to a man holding out a flame to the caves.  He scrambled back across to help miho across. She didn't seem to be the one who would like to be carried like a delicet flower so he stood on a rock holding out his hand. " You need help miss izisato?"

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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< Kui - Ceremonial Palace >

 

The climb up the volcano was delightfully simple. Likely, frequent visits to the top of the volcano from natives and tourists alike had warranted the local government to create trails for people to walk along. Kui had half-expected to rely on Jun's Earthbending to climb to the top but thankfully they didn't need to. As much as Kui appreciated not having to climb over boulders and deal with the dilemma of washing his dirty clothes once their adventure was over, he didn't feel like he was earning the coin Jun offered. He shouldn't be so honor-bound, especially considering his predicament, but he wasn't sure what Jun was paying Kui for if he was just walking up a climbing trail with him. Was it for the company?

 

Kui frowned to himself. Was it okay to pay someone to hang out with you? Kui stole a glance at Kiyo happily walking a few paces in front of her. She didn't see to have any problem with their current situation, but then again she probably wasn't on the verge of being homeless. Kui shook his head, emptying his mind of his anxious thoughts. He was thinking too much. They were almost at the top of the volcano anyway. Once they arrived, he could collect his money, leave, and hopefully buy a ticket off the island.

 

At least, that's what Kui thought. Upon reaching the end of the man-made trail, Kui realized that they weren't at the top of the volcano but that there was an entire palace between them and their destination. Kui stopped on the end of the dirt path, staring up at the building in awe.

"Should we... go look for someone?" he asked, casting a questioning glance at his companions. "I'm getting the feeling that we might need permission to get to the lava." Hopefully, Kui thought, it wouldn't be hassle. The last thing they needed was to be turned away after trekking all the way up the volcano.

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[ yui || dragon's lair ] 

 

Yui laughs slightly as Miho speaks up almost at the same time as her, only saying something completely opposite. Brushing a strand of her hair behind her ear, Yui smiles shyly at her new friend's excitement, feeling herself caught up in Miho's infectious energy. Perhaps she shouldn't have been so quick to be so formal, after all ...

 

But it seems Yota takes it in stride. The taller boy is awfully good at balancing their little group, as he reassures Miho's anxieties with a calm promise to show them his form later, and this peaks Yui's interest as well. She has heard of shapeshifting among the members of the Fire Nation, but it is rare to find someone who is so clearly open, confident about himself and his own identity. If she would be allowed, she would certainly love to see Yota's performance as well, but the very suggestion of him joining the ceremony sparks a bit of anxiety in her chest. Surely that wasn't allowed, considering how formal all of the ceremonies her father ordered were, and she didn't wish to see the confident young man before her in any type of trouble. If there is anything Yui can do, she decides, to avoid that, she will.

 

The climb up to the ceremonial palace is peaceful and paced by Yota and Miho's soft chatting, Yui lost in her own thoughts as she finds herself consumed with worry at how the ceremony will play out. She is supposed to be there, formally speaking, but she is near-certain her father didn't intend on her making friends along the way ...

 

Yui looks up as she hears Yota's voice, clear and calm, calling out to her. With a surprised gasp she finds herself suddenly swept up in his grasp, Yota easily holding the basket with an arm curled around her slim waist, the other supporting her legs as he jumps through the aforementioned 'dreadful area'. Yui finds herself clinging to his chest, warmed by the steady warmth coming from Yota's sturdy muscles as he quickly makes small work of the stones beneath their feet, her basket kept upright and perfectly steady all the while.

 

"I -- um," Yui manages, not so gracefully, her face flushing a deep red as Yota sets her down near the dragon's lair, exactly where she would have been standing in order to make a good impression for her family's name -- it is almost as if he knows. The reminder of her veil brings her back to the present and she wonders how he could have possibly known such a thing, before remembering that she had handed her basket to the other boy. Taking the basket, Yui grips it tightly between her fingers and stares, stunned, at Yota before her. How easily he had carried her and swept her up in his arms -- it is almost like the fairytales she would read and dream about as a child. Still blushing a light pink, Yui, feeling emboldened by the lingering warmth of Yota's arms on her, gently reaches out for the feeling of his hand, his calloused fingers and steady palm.

 

"T-thank you, Yota," she says, earnestly, before letting go just as quickly; her touch is a fleeting, delicate butterfly's kiss in the reflecting sun, and Yui watches as Yota makes his way back to Miho, ever the gentleman. 

 

Reminded of her current presence, Yui snaps back into action; she reaches into her basket and fixes the veil onto her head, draping it over her eyes; it covers her green gaze from the rest of the world but dulls her perception as well, the world suddenly glossed over by a shade of black. Making her way slightly away from Yota and Miho and turning to the priest nearby the cave, she dips into a courtly-courtesy as greeting.

 

"Fire Sage," she says, politely, "I've come on behalf of my father, Prince Toukaku, General of the Fire Nation's First Division, in order to witness the ceremony today. Please accept mine and my family's humble greetings for the masters."

 

The man glances at her with a certain curiosity that Yui is all too used to, certainly wondering about the veil, but dips his head in greeting back. Acknowledged, Yui takes a step back to wait for the ceremony to begin. 

 

--

 

[ jun || ceremonial palace ] 

 

Surprisingly, he doesn't need to earthbend to get to the volcano; Jun is quite content to follow Kui and Kiyo up the trail, wondering to himself as he watches the two indulge in casual chatter. 

 

It is ... nice. Jun has forgotten what it is like to spend time with people not trying to kill him, for one, and never in a million years had he expected to meet someone like Kui who rejects the money he offered. Usually, people were more than happy to bleed him dry, and it is only his father's constant surveillance and endless wallet that keeps Jun at least somewhat safe in the company of the people he surrounds himself with.

 

Is that why he doesn't want to leave either of them? Kiyo is friendly, albeit more to Kui than himself, and Jun guesses there must be ... something there. Nothing that should bother him, because he has one goal and only one in mind, of course, but -- it does.

 

Frustrated, Jun has the sudden urge to earthbend the two away from him and make his escape. He does not like these feelings -- of desiring a friendship or maybe something more -- and it is curious, how he has rejected his own family and his once-beloved sister but somehow finds himself wanting to know more about the two benders before him now. It frustrates him, and more than anything frightens him along the same vein. 

 

All thoughts of his own internal struggle are lost when Kui comes to an abrupt stop, saying something about asking people to get closer to the volcano. Jun frowns, wondering why, until he looks up and finds himself suddenly flabbergasted by the palace he sees before him now.

 

"Pre-war architecture," he finds himself saying before he can stop it, the words slipping out. He suddenly remembers all of the lessons his scholarly father had taught him when he had been a child, and how fascinated he had been by the buildings and their history -- had his mother not met an untimely death, Jun is nearly certain he would've become an architect instead of a travelling gremlin.

 

"Pre-Avatar Roku, actually," Jun corrects himself -- what is he doing?! -- before running straight towards the palace, and squatting down near the opening to inspect the beams that held up the building. "Native wood," he says, "wonder if they've built more supports since the war ended. 100 years, you would think for sure they have, otherwise bugs would've eaten through ..."

 

Jun hears a sudden noise, a cleared throat, and he looks up to find one of the Fire Sages looking down at him. 

 

"Can I help you?" the man asks.

 

Jun freezes, caught like a deer in headlights by the other man's introspective gaze, and he -- 

 

"I want to touch your lava," he blurts out. "My friends" -- friends?! Since when? -- "told me I could find it here."  

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Riorri || Docks || Jiji (Kaiji's) Ship

 

They tried wrapping their head around Jiji's response. A master in only six months? Learning only a little bit of the bending from sporadic and short lessons? Maybe Waterbending was significantly less complex than the other elements. It was the only reasonable conclusion Riorri could make. After all, from how they understood it, not even Avatar Aang had fully mastered all of the elements--though he did the best he could to learn everything--when he went against Fire Lord Ozai. Perhaps the historical texts exaggerated how much time the Avatar had before Sozin's comet arrived? Historical texts, Riorri learned, liked to be dramatic and vague at the same time. "Six months..." They mulled over that. Shaking their head, they smiled slightly. "Not even the greatest protégé or the Avatar themselves have been able to master an element in less than a few years." Riorri didn't want to label Jiji as a liar--that would be an unnecessary insult. Jiji seemed quite young, so maybe their bending teacher mislead him? Or Waterbending really was that simple and took little to master. 

 

"But... wait. Why did you "play dumb"? Why deceive a master who was willing to spend his time teaching you when that time might on something else important to your teacher?" They paused for a moment, then their eyes widened slightly. "Ah, I'm sorry. I'm prying too much. People just interest me." Riorri took a few sips from their own tea. "You mentioned pulling into port because you needed water for your crew. Do you plan on sailing back out by tonight or staying until morning?" they asked, glancing around at the otherwise silent ship. "It looks like your crew is off elsewhere for the time being." 

 

Gyiroh || Restaurants || Dining

 

Gyiroh almost laughed. "Oh, no no. There's actually a lot less "jostling" about. Well, as long as you have a helmsman and navigator who know what they're doing." She smirked. "Sailing on a ship is actually quite smooth, barring any storm-tossed waters. Storms are the only things to look out for, really. They're not all that frequent but can come up faster than expected. However, the crew just sails around the edges to avoid most of it." There was a reason the phrase "smooth sailing" existed. But maybe Kirra just never heard such a phrase--which would be odd considering she lived on an island with a busy enough port. Oh well, she probably just never noticed. 

 

Deciding to move on, Gyiroh finished what was in her cup before reaching towards the small pot provided to her for a refill. "So, you're interested in visiting Omashu? Hoping to learn about King Bumi or more interested in the city itself?" she inquired. If Kirra accepted Gyiroh's company in her travels, and depending on which port the ship arrived at, the journey could end up passing close to where Gyiroh's mother still lived. Despite not missing the small mining town, a faint sting made itself known. She hoped her mother would understand why Gyiroh needed to leave. 

 

She hoped her leaving hadn't caused more trouble for her mother. 

 

The thought hadn't occurred before to Gyiroh and the ugly head it reared suddenly made her stomach sink with guilt. Swallowing, Gyiroh began losing her appetite, even as the server passed through the edge of her vision and approached with food. It smelled wonderful but the foreignness of the aromas didn't make her mouth water like they should have. Sipping more of her tea to conceal her budding unease, Gyiroh forced her thoughts onto something different. "Hey, after food, you want to see something cool?" 

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Kiyo Yaniho [Crescent Island || Fire Temple Lobby]

 

Kiyo had walked up along the path, humming to herself happily until the dirt trodden path and stairs led up to a lovely palace. It looked old, but then again, it was likely recreated to look old, seeing as the volcano had destroyed the island long ago. Of course, she heard Jun's voice behind her, but the content of what he said confused her. She thought he would be more berating the customs of the society here, but he instead was commenting on the architecture. He had ran up to the building and was inspecting the wooden structure before a fire sage came out and slowly looked over at the squatting young boy. He seemed frankly amused and confused at the situation before him. The fire sage and Jun exchanged a few words and Kiyo got the last end of it. Something about touching the lava.

 

The fire sage looked at Kiyo, Kui, and Jun with a cursory glance. For a moment, he seemed like he was about to shoo them away. However, he sighed a very heavy, lengthy sigh. He looked to Jun with a concerned look before shaking his head. Quite the contrary to his head shaking, he waved his hand as he retreated back into the palace, welcoming them inside. He didn't say a word. In fact, he seemed to be in a constant war with himself. Of course, he'll allow Jun to touch the lava at any time. The only issue is, the ceremony was going to start soon, the dragons were going to dance soon, and it was hella dangerous. The fire sage watched as Kiyo hopped into the palace and ran to the bathroom to change into something a bit more formal. Her crop top was blue and it tied around her neck and it didn't have any sleeves. A furry, dark blue shawl covered her otherwise exposed arms and she had a skirt to go along with her shawl, with fur at the hem and bottom of the skirt. She still had her sandals on though, not much changed there. Though, she did put her hair up in a more formal "princess" hairdo. She walked up to the fire sage and the fire sage pointed to the guys' restroom and changing room. "If you want to get to the peak of the volcano, get into formal clothes. If you don't have any, we have clothes you may borrow. Just bring them back and don't singe them. You may touch the lava, but hurry before the ceremony starts. I don't want to get into trouble because I let a kid endanger his life right before the dragons dance."

 

Inside the lobby, there were dancers practicing their moves, as well as military officials and other sages mingling with the guests. None of them seem to be really paying attention to any of the newcomers.

 

Miho Izisato [Crescent Island || Trail to Dragon's Lair]

 

Miho was, of course, left to wait for Yota to shift later, but the dragon dance was about to start. Her attention was diverted when Yota pointed to some people traversing another trail upwards. There were three people, one a girl, and the other were two boys. The girl looked a lot like Kiyo and she was about to say something until she heard Yui gasp. She whipped her head over, thinking that Yui was going to fall, but in fact, Yota had her in his grip. She watched as Yota effortlessly picked up Yui and bounded through the rough part of the trail to the dragon's lair. Miho looked up and saw that the palace above was starting to mingle. Smiling at the display of strength, Yota bounded back and offered her his hand. She pushed the thought of seeing her friend to the back of her mind and gingerly took Yota's hand with her own. While Yota was correct on Miho not wanting to be handled like a delicate flower, she didn't mind being pampered with attention as her face flushed a dusting of pink from the courtesy. "Yes, thank you, Yota." She allowed Yota to take her to the entrance to the ceremony.

 

This cave the fire sage stood before led upwards into a more close up look of the dragons as they dipped down and danced. There were quite a few people here too, but not enough to be crowded. Another stairway led up some more to the balcony, so ceremonial guests may leave or enter discreetly.

Edited by Merciless_Medic
changed Kiyo's location. Forgot she wasn't at the base of the volcano anymore.

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“Oh well I guess I really don’t know that much about boats at all. I know I live on an island and I should know about them but I’ve just never asked any people working on them what everything does and how they help the boat get going. I think I was on one when I was younger but I don’t remember if I ever asked then what everything did or paid attention. I also haven’t been on one since then,” Kirra said in reply before drinking some more of her tea.

 

Hearing the questions Gyiroh asked after she said the explanation about boats she said, “Yes. I’d like to learn more about both to be honest because I don’t know much about either. It looks like a nice place from the pictures I’ve seen of it and would just like to go there. I haven’t been off this island to travel before and I’m interested to go anywhere and everywhere that’s not here,” she said before growing silent for a little bit. She drank a bit more tea in the silence that followed before noticing the water bringing their food to them.

 

She nodded her thanks to him before hearing her new companion’s next question after swallowing a bite of her food. “Sure. What is this cool thing you would like to show me or is it a surprise?” she said and asked in reply with a curious expression on her face. She had noticed that she had grown quiet earlier but just didn’t know how to broach the subject of why. She also figured that it was none of her business so she had left it alone and still did.

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Kaiji on the Sea Dragon

 

"It is true and surprising even to my family. Whenever I'd learn a move, I'd dream about three more and perform them until they felt right. I've heard of a story about a water tribe princess who was blessed by a spirit when a child and her hair became white from it. " He paused setting down his cup and pulled a strand of white hair from under his wig. "Considering at the time girls where not allowed to be trained waterbenders for combative purposes, it's unclear if she was one or even could waterbend in the first place. My father told me my hair was white when he found me, but my mom had dark hair. I am not certain, but a spirit blessing would make sense of my fast learning abilities. " He said softly.

 

"The only crew here is me and my brother although it could fit a crew of eight people, fourteen if we open up the deck hand quarters underneath the ranking officer quarters but if you know what you are doing, it only takes two good navigators and a waterbender master to move a ship this size. We'll be leaving here soon, if my brother gets back before dusk. I'll need to send a messenger hawk to my mother to inform her of our delay. As for the playing dumb part. He never taught me to heal. That's what I really want to learn how to do but I can't figure out how to work it. " He huffed.

 

-----

Youta at the dragon's temple.

 

Youta curled two fingers around Yui's hand when she grabbed it automatically without him realizing it. After helping Miho across he only heard the tail end of what Yui said to the fire sage when the trio he spotted before ran up and one blurted out something about lava, the girl ran inside and came out changed in something more classy and with a new hairstyle and he stood there for a moment trying to asses the situation before speaking. He had seen the high ranking officials present and looked a little crestfallen changing his mind about asking to dance with the dancers during the ceremony knowing that the customs here are vastly different than his own hidden temple. "I will take the gentlemen to get changed Fire sage. Ladies; if you'll excuse me, I'll join you both in a moment, I'd like to watch the dance with you both if you do not mind." He said softly. 

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< Kui - Ceremonial Palace >

 

Luckily, someone found the group before they could split up to look for help. Unluckily, the man directed the group to head inside a building and change into formal wear. Well, Kui thought the man was talking to him and his companions but as it turned out Kiyo was two steps ahead. Before Kui even realized that wearing a formal outfit was required, Kiyo was casually walked back to the ground with her clothing tided up into a more regal, formal fashion.

 

"You cleaned up nicely," Kui said kindly as Kiyo returned to the group. It was an honest compliment. Kui was surprised by how quick Kiyo was to change into appropriate attire and how well she made herself look without losing her Water Tribe aesthetic. She'd do very well with costume changes on the fly, Kui thought to himself. Perhaps she should consider a career in an entertainment troupe of some description.

 

Just as the fire sage directed Kui and Jun to the changing ones, another man, a newcomer from a different group it seemed, offered to take them to the changing room.

"Y-You don't have to do that," Kui said, waving his hand in the air. "We'll be fine on our own, yes?" Kui looked towards Jun for confirmation, but before Jun could answer Kui nodded his head affirmatively. "Yes it'll be fine. I think. Not that you can't come with us but, ah, I am speaking too much. Ahem! We'll be back."

 

Turning on his heel, Kui briskly walked into the changing room and grabbed the nearest formal outfit he could fine. He peeled his clothing off, folding it neatly on a bench nearby, and began changing into the new clothing. From the corner of his vision, he could see the others changing, but once he caught a glimpse of deep scars embedded into Jun's back, he looked away guiltily.

 

"So," Kui said, desperate to fill the silence. "What is this performance I've been hearing everyone talk about?" He pulled up the sleeve of his rope to cover his bare shoulders. "I'm, no, we're not familiar with the culture here and we only scaled the volcano to... touch the lava."

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[ jun || ceremonial palace ] 

 

Truth be told, he hadn't expected to get this far. 

 

Jun stares in vivid, clear surprise as the Fire Sage squints at him, but acknowledges his words and waves them off with a quick hand, even going as far as to state that he could do it immediately before the ritual started. Huh? Wasn't this a sacred place for religious ceremony? Why were the people of the Fire Nation being so ... generous?

 

Dumbfounded, Jun stares blankly as Kiyo reappears in their line of view, standing beside Kui as he hears the black-haired boy compliment his new ... friend? Travel acquaintance. Jun blinks and echoes a faint, "Yes, you're very pretty," to Kiyo, distracted as his mind is still filled with the fact that his plan had gone off flawlessly. The last time he had been so forward and been fully accepted had gotten him nearly killed. This time -- 

 

Well, he really doesn't want to die in front of Kui. Rather, he wants to get to know the other boy more, Jun realises.

 

A stranger approaches them then and Jun is instantly on guard, taking a quick step back as the newcomer, a boy around their age with markings on his cheeks and the eyes of a leader -- Jun instinctively feels threatened at the confidence eluding from the other boy, and he is more than thankful when Kui takes the lead in the conversation with the same airy bubbliness and leads the two of them towards the changing rooms, while rambling.

 

Cute, Jun thinks, and waves away the thought. He looks at the clothing the Fire Sage had mentioned were available for lease, and strips off his shirt quickly. He isn't shy about his body; it is reckless and covered in scars, from his travelling experiences and the one event that had set off his entire lifestyle change. The feeling of his sister's weaponized metal breaking against his back is still there, but Jun shrugs it off with a quick nod to his rebellious youth as he feels the raised edges of his scars brush alongside the fold of his clothing. 

 

Kui makes faint conversation as he changes, apparently unable to find peace in the silence, and Jun finds himself more amused than annoyed. Looking around to see if anyone will answer Kui's question about what exactly the ceremony entails, Jun nudges faintly closer to the other boy, pulling his shirt into position as he does so.

 

"Kui," he says, in what Jun hopes is a soft whisper. "I ..." Didn't think this through? No, he doesn't want Kui to think he doesn't have a plan. Changed his mind? But then he would think Jun is flaky. Want to go alone? He's already scared the poor boy enough by insisting he take his money, and Kui doesn't show any signs of wanting to escape from this whole situation. Since when did he care so much what Kui thought?

 

"I didn't think they would let us in so easily," he finally says, confessing with a quiet tone as he meets the other boy's eyes, clear amber. 

 

A pause.

 

"I don't know if you can actually touch lava," Jun says sheepishly. "I've never seen it."

 

--

 

[ yui || dragon's lair ] 

 

More and more people started filing in, and Yui's breath instinctively picked up at the sight of the gathering crowd. She hasn't been around crowds very often, and it is a little intimidating to stand here and remain still even as passerbys shoot her looks, curiously. She wonders, faintly, if she'll be recognised; her father has some associations with fellow Fire Nation generals and nobility, and she is here representing under his name --

 

The thought makes her eyes widen, and Yui immediately digs back into her basket, drawing out the little emblem of her family crest -- slightly ajar to the official royal family's flame, but with the branch family's crest embedded into it, and pins the brooch on the chest of her dress in order to make sure anyone interested could see. Her father had mentioned wanting her to do so, since it would allow him to make conversation with the other generals about the proper conduct of his daughter, should they see her here. 

 

She wonders why. Recently her father has been busy, once more -- perhaps finalizing the details of her engagement? 

 

She isn't sure, and Yui doesn't want to think too hard on it. Her companions have wandered away; Yota dismissing himself to go introduce himself to others -- friends, maybe? -- and Miho looking around at the structure of the palace. 

 

A Fire Sage nearby beckons her step back slightly with a soft smile, bowing as he does so, and she returns the gesture and takes a small step back from the lair, waiting for the full ceremony to begin. Royalties aside, it is still breathtakingly exciting to watch the ceremony in action. 

 

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Yota Dragons lair.

He tilted his head curiously watching the other two guys interact and rush off, the one with grey eyes glaring at him. Huh. "Since we are going in the same direction, I don't see why I can't tag along." He said simply following them. Once in the changing room he pulled off his swords, pressed on one and slid off the handle of one of his duel swords reveling a hidden compartment. In it was a small amount of republic city paper money, earth, water and fire coins. He plucked out three lesser value coins, set them down then popped back on the hilt. 

 

It took him a bit to find clothing that fit and looked similar to his military school uniform and changed as he heard the question. Given they where the only ones in the room at that point, he assumed it was ment for him. "The Dance of the Masters is sacred and a beautiful act. They present a flame to them, dancers perform the Dancing Dragon, or a variant of the Dance then the dragons themselves emerge from their caves to swoop and dance with the performers. " Yota finished dressing, and fastened his swords in a ceremonial fashion, then he let down his long hair and borrowed a spare comb smoothing his hair and slicking it back to a more presentable updo besides the one he tied in a candle flame this morning. He finished the look with his arm band and then removed the other hilt with another pocket, this time with a couple photographs, two red and blue Dragon scales and a platinum phoenix shaped pin with sapphires set in the eye and tail feathers. His father's and family's signia. "The best part is when they blow fire. There's so many colors! Here, the dragons would like a tribute. There's a shop that sells items, let's go get some, it'll be polite and the dragons would appreciate it.  " He said holding out a coin each. " You can get near lava, but don't step too close. The valcano may be under control but it's fumes are still toxic in high doses. Avoid any hole in the ground near the lava, fumes can spew at any point in time. " He warned.  He fastened the insignia onto his lapel and smoothed his shirt. He then pulled out the blue scale, fixed it into his bun point side up so it looked like a blue flame with a black center and took a deep breath. He exhaled, a stream of azure flame tinged with green came. He staired at his reflection for a long time. It was no secret among the generals that he was to be married off. He saw a few familiar faces here, the same ones that appeared at the funeral. He wasn't sure he could take the pitiful looks and condolences again. By the great first flame he looked like the photo of his father when he was in school. Minus the markings of course. He turned abruptly and left the room before he showed any tears. He went to Yui's side after setting down his tribute to the dragons. "May I watch the performance with you?"

Edited by AroaraAngelwolf

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< Kui - Ceremonial Palace >

 

Kui jolted at Jun's sudden presence, squeaking in surprise.

"Geez," he whispered back. "You scared me half to death." Kui pulled at the fabric of his robe, pushing his arms through the sleeves as he listened to Jun talk. "You've never seen lava before? Kui questioned. He frowned. Lavabending was undoubtedly a rare skill that even the most adept Earthbenders struggled to master. Kui didn't expect most people to be familiar with such a rare art, but thought that Jun, what with his wealthy status, had at the very least met a Lavabender before.

 

"There was a Lavabender in my troupe," Kui supplied helpfully. "Well, temporarily that was. She never actually touched the lava." Kui pressed his lips into a thin line as he tried to scrape through his memories for details. "She... mostly directed it. Lava can burn you even if you're just standing near it. Actually," Kui realized with a frown. "I think that's why she got fired. She tried to light a client's birthday cake candles with lava and she sorta melted the cake. And the table. And the floor. And the—" It was only then when Kui turned towards Jun did he realize the other boy had been staring directly at him. Kui felt his cheeks burn with embarrassment. What, was his story really that stupid? He averted his gaze hastily, clearing his throat in an effort to ward off the awkwardness settling in the room "Never mind that. I don't think you can physically touch the lava, but I could always be wrong."

 

Thankfully, the man who had insisted on following them into the changing room spoke up. Kui turned towards him, eager for a change in subject. As he listening to the man's explanation, Kui wondered whether the man was a native of the island. He seemed to have intimate knowledge of how the ceremony worked. Kui found himself nodding along to the stranger's explanation before reluctantly taking the offered coin from his hand. The dragons wanted tribute? Kui swiped his thumb across the coin's metallic surface. The coin was thankfully not enough to tempt him to buy a ticket off the island, but Kui couldn't help but see the irony in him walking up a volcano because he refused to take money for free only to end up be handing free money once he reached the top. Kui didn't even have time to refuse the man's gift. As soon as Kui lifted his head to protest, the man was already walking out of the room. Kui let out an exasperated sigh. So much for earning his pay. Mumbling under his breath, Kui pocketed the coin before following the man's lead and heading outside.

 

Kiyo was still standing by herself, patiently waiting for their return.

"I hope we didn't make you wait too long," Kui said, waving at her as he approached. "Apparently we have to buy something at the gift shop as tribute for the dragons." Kui toyed with the end of his sleeve anxiously as he glanced between his companions. "Should we watch the performance or try and get to the lava first? I'm not actually sure when the ceremony starts."

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Kiyo Yaniho [Dragon's Temple]

 

As Kiyo rejoined herself with Kui and Jun before they headed inside to change, Kui had complimented her on her fashion choice. She smiled sweetly, fighting back a blush that formed. For a moment, her rough and tough demeanor broke and she was a flustered, bumbling mess for a moment, struggling to say a "thank you" even. She finally pulled herself together by clearing her throat and nodded in gratitude. "Thanks, Kui." She didn't exactly hear Jun's compliment, but noted that he tried saying something and she didn't exactly receive his words to her ears. Though, she assumed that he complimented her and she smiled to him, as well, finding his face amusing. She then sat back and waited for the boys to get done dressing, but while she was waiting, she saw a very familiar face walk through the palace entrance. She walked in with a young noble lady, as evident by her veil, and a young man, who had tried leading her two compatriots to the changing room and he was met with some harsh judgement.

 

Interesting.

 

Miho Izisato [Dragon's Temple]

 

Miho had walked inside the building and noted that Yota tried to be friendly again and tried to guide the two males to a changing room. One of them looked very familiar. She looked to see a female in blue standing there, leaning against the wall in waiting. The two locked eyes and huge grins spread across their face as they rushed towards each other. The two childhood friends hugged each other and held each other for a moment before letting go and and gleaming in each other's eyes. Miho went first, clearly excited. "I thought I saw you down by the docks, but I was already with a group I didn't to abandon. You good, sis?"

 

Kiyo responded with much vigor as Miho spoke with, clearly giddy. "Oh, same! Are you good, though? You were the one who nearly got a flame to the face. So heroic though." Kiyo chuckled as Miho rolled her eyes playfully before linking arms with Kiyo. "Well, I'm glad you are alright. Who are the boys you are with?"

 

Kiyo went into a dreamy state at once from the thought of Kui and she didn't hesitate to talk about him. "So do you remember the troupe who played at the Southern Water Tribe? Well, he's one of them. I, sadly, have forgotten their name, but it's so cool that he's here! His name's Kui." When on the subject of Jun, her face had some conflict. She liked Jun, but she didn't like how close he was trying to get with Kui. "Then there is the other guy, Jun. He wants to touch the lava and is an earthbender wearing firebender clothes for some reason. Anyway, he-" she stopped for a moment, looked around, and whispered in Miho's ear. "I believe that Jun has a thing for Kui. The way he looks at Kui really bothers me."

 

Miho looked at her friend with an amused eyebrow raise before snickering in a quiet tone. "Love triangle."

 

"Quit teasing me. Anyway, who were you with?"

 

Miho looked over to Yui and waved at her. "That's Yui. I believe she is a noble. And remember that guy I went to the funeral for?" Kiyo nodded and the firebender continued. "Well, I believe that his son was there and I just met him today. That guy who was trying to help the two young men in your group is Yota. Sweet kid."

 

Kiyo smiled and waved over at Yui. "Hi! Oh." She turned her attention to Miho. "You should get ready for the ceremony. Hurry!"

 

With that, Miho rushed into the female's changing room and got herself ready. She picked out a long red dress that conformed to her body, but was still modest. She wore ruby red high heels, and her dress had no sleeves but a fabric going from her chest to the collar around her neck, so she wore a shawl that covered her arms. She also wore black gloves and put gold and silver jewelry in her ears. First, the loops in her earlobes, and studs in the upper portion of her ears. She also fixed up her makeup, putting gold and dark red eyeshadow, mascara and eyeliner, and dark red lipstick that, thankfully, didn't smear too much. She then put on a necklace she had hidden that held her family's emblem on the front, and pictures of her family within the locket. Finally, she finished her look with a firebending armband on her right arm. Smiling at her look, she walked out of the changing room.

 

During Miho's change, Kiyo had simply waved at Yui and waited by the men's changing room. As she waited, she saw Kui come out and talk to her. She smiled at his appearance and her sweet smile turned into a teasing smirk. "Oh, you are so cute! Anyway, a gift? Ah, yea, a gift. Um... yea, I have coin for a gift. Shall we head there? Pretty sure Miho can help us with that."

 

As if she was summoned, Miho walked out of the changing room and saw Kiyo with Kui. Walking over, she greeted Kui. "Ah, you must be Kui. I'm Miho, Kiyo's childhood friend. We talked about our companions while you three were changing. How are you?" She was a lot more reserved after putting on a noble dress, something that was hammered into Miho growing up. She caught Yota's figure having found Yui's at the corner of her eye, but she wanted to stay with Kiyo and her new friends for the time being and get some gifts for the dragons.

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[ yui || dragon's lair ] 

 

Yui turns at the sound of a familiar voice, a polite smile already delighting on her lips as she prepares to greet Yota with the same formality as she had with the Fire Sages -- after all, he was the respected son of a well-known military general, right?

 

Before she can say so, however, she feels her breath taken away, eyes widening behind the dark veil at the sight of the firebender standing before her. Yota had indeed gone with the other two boys -- and curiously, she wonders who they are -- to clean up, and, well ... Yui gives a faint little laugh, almost-incredulous as she thanks the dragons swirling around in their dance-heightened states that Yota cannot see her full face now or the flush that creeps its way up her cheeks.

 

He strikes an imposing figure, well-dressed and immaculately posed, drawing the attention of the palace's attendants and fellow worshippers as Yota easily strides up to her, long legs slender and presence calm, a blue scale shining in his combed-back hair like the purest heart of the hottest flames. Yui feels herself draw a hand up, hiding her smile behind her palm, and is suddenly self-aware of her own presence -- everyone had disappeared to dress themselves and present their best form forwards to the dragons, but she had done nothing except her proper greetings and to put on the veil. Compared to the companions she'd arrived here with -- and here, Yui catches sight of Miho in a stunning dress, complete with a shawl and her face brushed with soft, accompanying makeup, and returns the wave that the girl gives her -- Yui can hardly think she's put forwards the same amount of effort.

 

Perhaps she should. She'd been so busy worrying about the instructions her father had given her to greet the Sages properly that she'd neglected to enjoy the situation at all, and Yui realises with a start that she would like to enjoy the ceremony -- with Yota.

 

"Yes," she breathes, in response to the firebender's question, when she realises she's left him waiting for too long. "I -- I'm sorry, yes, I would be honoured, Yota," she says softly, willing her red face to calm down behind her hand. "Ah -- um, is that okay? That I call you by your first name?" A pause, and Yui looks away, feeling embarrassment blush her cheeks. "You ... um, you look ... very nice. I'm sure your father would be proud," she says, softly.  

 

--

 

[ jun || ceremonial palace ] 

 

Jun jolts back in response as Kui flings himself back, eyes wide. Is he that scary to the other boy? He is just about to apologise, or perhaps to tell Kui to forget the matter and ignore him completely, when Kui starts talking and goes on a tale about having known an lavabender. Ah -- perhaps he'd been a little too quick to react and invade the other's personal space, and for that Jun brushes his hand through his hair and stares at Kui almost guiltly.

 

Kui breaks off in his story after recalling the lavabender's misfortunes in the workfield, brushing off the story with a final assessment. Jun nods, thinking that Kui is very wise to have concluded such a thing from watching an account first-hand.

 

"I see," he says, uncharacteristically silent. "Thanks." He breaks off then, allowing Kui to talk a bit with the boy that had brought them in, lost in his own thoughts. So he couldn't touch the lava -- but how else was one to become a master of lavabending?

 

An idea occurs to him, suddenly, out of nowhere, and he turns towards Kui, the words barely on his lips, only to find a coin shoved in his face instead. Instantly ready to fight, Jun pauses -- but the boy that had brought them in doesn't leap at him and immediately try to rob them or anything of the such, instead telling them to buy a gift for the dragons. A tribute? He's never heard of anything like this -- back in the Earth Kingdom, all ceremonial actions revolved around the royal family, with physical tributes and useful things and the like. To buy something purely ceremoniously for the dragons in order to honour their dance ... the thought makes Jun's breath catch in his throat, the usually rowdy boy beginning to realise the wonders of different cultures.

 

Realising he is the only left in the changing room, both the boy and Kui having gone out ahead of him, Jun tucks the coin into the folds of his clothing and stares down at his outstretched palm, thinking. From Kui's description it seemed touching lava would do nothing but hurt him -- but, well, Jun is not a stranger to pain, and he will not give up on his dreams without trying. Regardless of the circumstantial evidence presented by Kui's story of the lavabender he'd known, perhaps there is another way -- another possibility for him to master the ancient bending art, in order to fulfill his dreams. So long as there is a possibility, he will not stop at anything in his way. 

 

Mind made up, Jun strolls outside, looking around for the companions he'd come in with. He spots Kui easily enough, standing next to Kiyo and a dark-haired girl she doesn't recognised, but from her immaculate clothing and poised form Jun can only guess is of Fire Nation nobility. Ah -- Jun feels himself tense involuntarily, at seeing the members of higher society. His time spent travelling has lost him most of his proper courtly manners, and Jun essentially equates himself to the same rough and tumble vagabonds he's spent so much of his time around, recently. To be in the company of refined people such as Kui with his elegant dancing form and this newcomer noble now seems a bit ... strange.

 

Jun strolls up then, hanging back slightly. He catches enough of the conversation to tell that the noble lady is Kiyo's childhood friend, Miho, and only that. Well, to place a name to a face is enough.

 

"The gift," he says, interrupting the flow of conversation as he cocks his head to the side, eyes towards the dragon's lair. "Does it have to be anything in particular?" 

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Riorri || Docks || Jiji's (Kaiji's) Ship

 

Riorri glanced about the ship, taking in the sails, the ropes, and the plethora of equipment. But Jiji was certain it only took two navigators and a waterbender? They... weren't very certain but then, they mostly only traveled by air. True, they'd been on equally large ships that were filled with crew members, some being waterbenders themselves. Perhaps they could research further into the matter, find a library with books about sailing. They also mused on Jiji's theory about his white hair and bending ability involving spirits. Spirits were extremely fickle and oft not interested in involving themselves with mortals. The thought of Jiji just being albino briefly crossed their mind. After all, albinism had blue eyes that were misperceived as red because of light angles.

 

They inwardly waved away the thoughts. Riorri wasn't here to counter everything Jiji told them; they were here because of their curiosity. Although, asking such questions that opposed Jiji's statements were part of learning. After all, teachers still learned from students just as often as students learned from teachers. It was a poor teacher who stood fast by their perceived intelligence and never allowed for an opportunity of growth just because a student challenged that intelligence with a question. A conundrum that Riorri was facing now. They soon reasoned it as not knowing Jiji well enough and so posing further questions that posed as possible challenges would yield unknown results. Best to learn more about who Jiji was as an individual and how they naturally behaved, first. 

 

"So you are in search of a waterbending master who can teach you to heal?" Riorri asked, opting to focus on this development in their conversation. "Does this mean you plan on traveling to one of the Poles? Or do you have other necessary obligations to attend to that do not allow a detour?"

 

Gyiroh || Restaurants || Dining

 

"Ah, no worries. Plenty of people get it mixed up, ya know? Like, you see lots of waves out in the ocean and you think it's gonna translate to the boat." Gyiroh started picking at her food, tasting a couple bites. "Truthfully, I much prefer traveling over land; the ocean demands you do things her way or face her temper whereas the earth just doesn't care what you do. Though, it does help if you can impress her." Gyiroh mused, rubbing the edge of her chin with the thought. Grinning again, she said, "Oh, it's definitely a surprise!" A moment later, she frowned slightly. "Well, truthfully, I've gotten some mixed reactions from those that see it but I think that mostly just has to do with being unprepared for it...." It might be best to prepare Kirra for it, then. Humming faintly, she took a couple more bites as she mulled over the best approach to the matter.

 

She was also taking a moment to simmer in the faint regret of having even brought it up without thinking. Overzealous. "Kirra," Gyiroh started. "I think what I can do is super cool. However, not many can do it, from what I've experienced. Maybe it's just the areas I've been in, I don't know. But it sometimes freaks people out. Have you heard about benders being able to shapeshift?" she asked.

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< Kui - Ceremonial Palace >

 

By the time Kui had exited the changing room, with Jun following close behind, Kiyo was waving farewell to a girl rushing towards the women's changing rooms. Kui spared the girl a passing glance. He only had time to wonder about who she was and what she and Kiyo were talking about briefly. As soon as Kui and Jun arrived at Kiyo's side she smiled warmly and complimented their attire.

 

"C-Cute?" Kui stuttered. He ducked his head, averting his gaze to the ground as his cheeks redden in embarrassment. "I'm not...!" Kui pressed his lips into a thin line. "You're teasing me, aren't you?" Sure enough, when he glanced back up there was a mocking grin slapped shamelessly upon her face. Kui muttered under his breath, idly toying with the fabric of this clothing. It had been too long since anyone had spoken to him in such a familiar tone. Lei's gently scoldings and Huan's teases had become little more than faint memories grown so distant that Kui was beginning to have trouble remembering their faces. He was used to formality, to putting on a mask and pretending he was someone confident and assured of himself. Kiyo's kind grins and Jun's brazen demeanor were startling, but not unwelcome. It was oddly nice to have two people by his side, one affectionate and the other honest, even if their relationship was only temporary.

 

The girl Kiyo was talking to earlier reappeared, quickly introducing herself as Miho.
"Oh! Nice to meet you Miho," Kui said politely. He smiled diplomatically, not wanting to offend Kiyo's friend. It was then that Jun had inched closer, voicing his concerns about the gift. "Yes!" Kui quickly agreed. "What kind of gift are we supposed to get? I haven't really done this sort of thing before." Kui chuckled, rubbing the nape of his neck sheepishly.

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Kaiji on the Sea Dragon

 

He was silent for a long moment staring intently at the bottom of his tea cup. "It's not that simple. You can say I have obligations here, but the waters to the north and south are heavily guarded as of late, and I can't take the boat, it's too noticeable. Besides it's the way my family makes a living." Again silence for a period of time.  He set down his cup and stood. "I need to write and send a letter to my mother informing her of our detour. And I would like to earn money while I wait for my brother."

 

-----

Yota dragon ceremony

 

"Given that i only know your first name, I think it would be proper for you to address me by my first name too." He said plucking a fold of the vail so it fell correctly, slipping into his formalities. He blinked and looked out at the Crater of the volcano. "Yes it would be fine if you call me that Miss Yui. " A blush colored his cheeks. "I look a lot like him. I have a photo of him and my mother when they where young." He said grabbing at his swords and popping the hilt off of one pulling out a photograph of a man who looked strikingly like Yota in a highly decorated uniform, next to a beautiful woman decked in a lovely dress and ceremonial face paint with a kind look in her eyes and dimples forming from her smile. "This is them after my father's Agni Kai, they waisted no time being wed the very next day. If you look closely his hair is singed and one eyebrow is missing. Mother had to draw it on his face for him so he didn't look silly for the wedding photo." He said smiling softly holding out the black and white photo so she can get a better look.

 

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Miho Izisato & Kiyo Yaniho [Ceremonial Palace]

 

Miho looked over at Jun, who had strolled up to join their group. As if sensing his unease in his voice as he spoke, she broke out of her noble facade and gave him a quirky smile and devious eyes, something unseen by nobles as it is too casual. "Why, hello, Jun. It is so nice to meet you. As for the dragon's gifts, it is customary to buy a gift at the nearby gift shop. It is over there." She pointed to a little vendor stand that already had a small line that was dwindling quickly as people quickly bought their gifts and left. "As for anything in particular, it doesn't have to be special. The dragons don't have any need for money, so you using up your hard earned cash and coin is enough for them to be grateful for your service to buy a gift you have put some thought into." It was then that her face held some contention with what she said, wondering if it was untrue at all. "Well, if what the fire sages here say is true, of course." It was plainly obvious she had trouble believing mostly anything they said, but since it was their place to maintain the relationship between the spirits and the people, she had to believe them. The volcano would have erupted if the dragons were ever displeased, right?

 

It was then that she spotted a familiar, tall figure over on the balcony nearest to the volcano's opening. "Um..." Her unease was then felt as her face became pale and she started fidgeting her hands.

 

Kiyo noticed this immediately and looked to the crowd and spotted the familiar figure, as well. Upon closer inspection, it seemed to be a war general with the Fire Nation's emblems of service and bravery decorating his armor. Kiyo grabbed a hold of Miho's wrist to calm her unnerved friend. As if predicting the confusion she assumed was going to happen, she explained as to why Miho was so speechless, as the poor girl wasn't able to voice her concerns as her voice caught in her throat. Kiyo understood why Miho was so shocked, due to knowing her for years.

 

"So uh... Yea, Miho has this habit of sneaking out of her house when she wants to when her parents ground her to the confines of her house. Anyway, Miho's dad is this war general and she was supposed to be at home, I'm assuming. Since she's here and not at home like she was supposed to, it would be basically a 'death sentence' if her father ever found her here. Though," she looked back up at Miho, who was staring wide-eyed at the man through the crowd. "Maybe it would be alright if you were here with me to see the dragons. Pretty sure he wouldn't want you to miss out on the ceremony, right?"

 

Miho shook her head, her eyes cast down to the ground as her once cocky and confident demeanor vanished into a more meek and shy one. "No, he-... He didn't want me to be here for some reason. I have always gone with him, but this time he said it was different. I-I-I'm pretty sure it would be better off if I just bought a gift and somebody else put it there. Not you, Kiyo, he already knows you and you wouldn't be here to go to the ceremony without me."

 

Kiyo, who seemingly was about to interject, closed her mouth as Miho interrupted her failed attempt at helping her friend. The young Water Tribe lady looked pleadingly at Kui and Jun. "Maybe you two can help us? We'll buy the gifts ourselves, and help you with any money problems if need be - although, they aren't too expensive anyway - and you two can put our gifts on the plank walk? Please? It would mean a lot to us and I wouldn't want to miss out on giving gifts to the dragons."

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Mr. Izisato [Ceremonial Balcony]

 

An older man with greying black hair, dark eyes, and a slightly tanned complexion stood at ease with some other generals, though his chest was still puffed out. His Fire Nation ceremonial armor had the medals he had won on his left breast, showing off his valor and courage in the face of danger. He was a very broad man, being almost two people wide and having the muscles of such, his height matching his width proportionately as he stood six-feet-six-inches tall. His body rippled with at least 250 pounds of muscle (most likely more), both lean and bulky from a life of war. Scars littered his body that were hidden from the clothes. The only scar that showed was one at the base of his neck, peeking out from the collar of the armor. To be related to such man should mean that Miho would have the genetics for those muscles, but she's not a boy, as her father said, so she didn't deserve them. Mr. Izisato scanned the crowd absentmindedly as his mind wandered from the conversation his fellow military brethren held. He wondered when this show was going to happen, so he can make his speech to the military generals here who supported his cause for a better future. He just had to wait for the rabble to leave.

 

Luckily, he didn't notice Miho or Kiyo just yet, and he went back to the conversation at hand. Now, the conversation had switched to deck hands and who had the most potential and who would be stuck scrubbing the poop deck for the rest of their lives.

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[ yui || dragon's lair ] 

 

Yui blinks when Yota draws out something from the ceremonial swords by his side; upon closer inspection, she realises that it is a photograph, black and white, but pristine despite its old age and clearly well-loved. Yota holds it with a delicate reverence, as if remembering some aspect of the past, and blinking up at the boy now Yui feels truly honoured that he trusts her enough to share this intimate piece of his family with her. 

 

Something sparks within her, an inkling of trust she has not given to most. Yota is completely harmless but sincerely gentle in his approach, recalling a fond story of the way his mother and father had met, and then -- and here, Yui raises an eyebrow at hearing about their exploits on their wedding day, no less, and laughs softly, a hand coming up to be placed over her mouth as she does so.

 

"They sound lovely," she responds, "I'm sure they loved each other very much. If you're fighting for love, then you can do anything," she muses, in reference to Yota's father's agni kai, wondering -- what it would be like to fight so intensely for a better future.

 

"My last name is Toukaku," she says shyly, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "Y-you're sharing such a lovely story from your childhood, I almost feel like I should too ... but I'm afraid my life has been awfully boring," she says, blinking up at him.

 

--

 

[ jun || ceremonial palace ] 

 

Jun's mouth parts, lips widening as Kiyo's friend, who only a moment earlier had seemed to hold the regal air of nobility, suddenly splits in her persona and gives him a devious, witty smile. It makes him smile in response, equally as destructive, matching her gaze with a firm one of his own -- it is the people like this whom he likes best, the ones that can clearly see the irony of their nobility situation and aren't afraid to have fun. But, at the same time, he is aware of just how dangerous -- if his own life and his own actions are any examples to go by -- that can be, and so he is careful.

 

However, it seems he doesn't have to worry too much about that; Miho and Kiyo are seemingly wrapped up in their own communication and Jun gives them their privacy, fixating his glance towards the dragon's lair as he wonders if the dragons will come, really. It isn't that he's a cynic -- he has no problem with what people believe, really -- but it seems strange, to be so close to relics of history, seconds away from the truth.

 

He snaps back to attention, wondering about Miho's change in personality. Well, family issues are something he knows all too well, so Jun won't pry; instead, in response to Kiyo's question, he nods.

 

"Sure," he says, startlingly easy, feeling a sense of slight empathy for a disrupted family much like his own, and shoves his hands into the pockets of his lended pants, stepping back with an exaggerated bow. "Lead the way. I'll just follow." 

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