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The Secret of the Hyacinths
This is an in-character game thread from Changeling: In Love and War. (This page is not Creative Commons licenced.)
It was approaching dawn by the time Nyano, spurred on by thoughts of
his father to speeds unexpected of a raccoon, made it to the border
between Poppy and Hyacinth lands. At the crest of the hill that
marked the boundary, two soldiers sat and drifted in and out of
consciousness. One was making a good show of keeping an eye on
the Hyacinth side of the border, whilst the other idly poked at the
smouldering embers of their fire. Next to them, two tents from
which copious snoring was emanating and the half-constructed shell of a
watchtower, a project that looked to have been abandoned with the
failing light the previous evening.
Taking stock of the situation, and remembering that he was a Racoon of
stature in the military community, Nyano puffed out his chest, held his
spear high and marched out into the camp.
He walked boldly up to the soldier by the fire and saluted smartly.
"What news from the border Jenkins?"
The soldier looked around, startled. It took a good few panicked
back-and-forth flicks of his eyes before he realised that it was the
raccoon that was speaking, and another few seconds to realise that the
small squeaky-voiced creature was actually somebody he knew.
Once he did, however, he sprung to his feet and saluted.
"'Morning, sir!" said Jenkins, standing to attention. "Since we
began the reconstruction of the tower yesterday evening, sir, only one
person has passed us - Akane, of House Honeysuckle, shortly after we
arrived ourselves. Not seen hide nor hair of another since then,
"Very Good! Carry on" Nyano responded in his best general voice.
"I have business over the border, make sure you keep everything ship shape whilst I'm gone"
With that the little raccoon continued on his way, striding purposefully towards the border.
"Very good, sir!" said the soldier, saluting Nyano even as he turned away and headed for the border.
As he approached where he knew the dividing line between Poppy and
Hyacinth lands to be, his fur prickled slightly, just before...
Something invisible and painful sent Nyano reeling. After a few
dazed moments, the young raccoon found himself on the Hyacinth side of
the border, and unharmed besides a strange almost-numb feeling in his
legs and a pounding headache.
Looking back at the Poppy side, he saw nothing out of the ordinary that
could have caused the stunning pain - just, a way away at the top of
the hill, the soldiers carrying on their business as if they had not
Clutching his head in an attempt to stop the spinning stars, Nyano turns to the guards and shouts
"Soldiers, get over here right now."
"Y... yes sir!" shouted Jenkins, standing and saluting. He kicked
his less active fireside companion in the shins as encouragement, and
the two of them rushed over. Inside the tent, a series of muffled
and disgruntled voices hastened to obeying Nyano's command whilst
bemoaning their lack of sleep.
Jenkins and the other soldier approached and stood to attention at a
respectful distance, in a spot that Nyano guessed to be a mere foot
short of the border. Whatever barrier it was that seemed to
protect the border had no clues to indicate its presence.
Facing the men, Nyano began to march up and down, before addressing
them in his best drill sergeant squeak. He narrowed his eyes at them as
well for good measure.
"How did you not know that there was a magical barrier 20 feet from your camp?"
Sir, we were ordered not to enter Hyacinth land, sir!" replied the more organised of the two.
"Very good soldier." Nyano looks apologetic.
"Now I'm ordering you to send a messenger back to castle poppy and tell
them that there's some kind of barrier around Hyacynth lands. It makes
you pass out and your head ache when you try to come in."
Nyano thinks for a second.
"Wait a moment, I'm going to see if I can get out again"
Then tries to step back over the barrier into Poppy lands.
Nyano stepped forwards.
The wind gusted ever so slightly, making ripples in the grass.
He took another raccoon-step forwards, putting him close enough to the
soldiers that he had to crane his neck up to look them in the
eye. By now he was sure he was over the border, but nothing
untoward had happened.
"Well that wasn't so bad, now's the hard part."
He looks back at the border, closes his eyes tightly against the pain and sprints back over it.
Having braced for impact, Nyano stayed on his feet - but only
just. He swayed violently as if knocked sideways, and the world
started hurting and spinning with renewed vigour.
"Sir!" shouted one of the guards as he stepped forwards to aid the raccoon. He too, stepped through the barrier.
Though there was no sound, the force of the barrier coming into effect
was nonetheless audible to Nyano's migraine. The soldier sprawled
backwards and lay still on the ground, his ears slowly trickling blood,
whilst his junior looked back and forth between him and Nyano in
Nyano looks quickly up at the still standing soldier
"Stay where you are. I am ordering you not to come over the border under any circumstances."
Then he runs quickly over to the stricken man and does his best to check if he's still alive.
The fallen man lay still; not breathing. It didn't look good.
Beside them, the still-conscious soldier was fretting.
"S... Sir? What's going on?"
"It looks like there is a barrier here to kill Fae going into hyacynth
lands. I guess whoever made it wasn't good enough to properly hurt
Nyano does his best to carry the not-alive soldier over the border.
Once he's certain that they are well away from the pain field, and that
the soldier isn't going to get back up, he turns to the still
"Do you have a shovel?"
and with that, he starts to cry. Great big raccoon sobs shake through
his little body, and he curls up into a dejected heap next to the body.
With haste the soldiers set about burying their comrade, though the
shock at the suddenness of his death was still very much apparent on
their faces. A deeply ingrained sense of respect for their superior was
the only thing stopping them taking a break from digging to give the
tiny raccoon a great big hug.
Eventually Nyano pulls himself back together.
He orders the men to send a full report back to the castle, and it is a
very dejected raccoon that continues on his trek towards castle
Nyano cut across from the main path into Hyacinth lands from the
border, taking advantage of his size to head more directly toward the
castle than most traffic would be able.
The morning passed slowly, the twin emotions of hope of finding his
father and sadness at his soldier's death mixing in his mind and
dragging out the travelling time to almost unbearably long.
It was only a clicking noise and heavy footfalls ahead of him that
disturbed his reverie. He stopped, keeping close to the
ground. It sounded like a group of people ahead - and a horse,
but only one. Something didn't quite fit. Far too few
faeries for an army unit, but no scout patrol would have a horse in
The wilderness surroundings combined with Nyano's own strange mood combined to make his natural instincts kick in.
He quickly climbed up a nearby tree in the path of the oncoming group.
Then he made his way forward along a branch so he was hanging out above
Ears swept back along his skull, and with his sharp raccoon teeth showing Nyano waiting for the party to come into view.
Off to one side of the path, a hundred yards or so ahead of the
approaching footsteps, a rustling sound preceded the brief appearance
of a man's head from the bushes. He sported a green bandanna into
which leaves had been haphazardly stuck, and his face was covered with
green and brown. He glanced around, then disappeared and rustled
off into the foliage.
Almost as soon as he had gone, the cause of the footsteps appeared over
a slight rise in the ground along the road, still sixty yards or so
from Nyano's branch.
First came a young man sporting a spiky hairdo and an extravagant array
of weaponry, walking alongside a rather frail-looking old man with a
Ten yards or so behind them, another young man with a suspicious resemblance to... No, it actually was
Prince Cain! Travelling with that cat girl who used to hang
around the castle, and what was almost certainly a Poppy war horse...
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