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Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
01-24-2017, 01:14 PM
Post: #1
Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
April 7577

The bare ground was starting to show itself once again after what had been a rather usual winter in the Blue Mountains. Moa and Arimu were taking care of Ben the trunkbull when one of the house staff entered the stables.

”Ma'am... telephone for you.”
Moa quickly walked towards the study of the main house, where the telephone was located. Arimu followed a few steps behind after having made sure that the stable doors were locked firmly.
”Who is it?” Moa asked while hurrying through the courtyard. ”We haven't received calls in weeks”.
”It's the telegraph office at Kronsta. Some telephone lines to the north were severed, but telegraph is still working.”

”Your highness,” the telegraph clerk at the other side of the line explained, ”we have a telegram here from Peter Petterson, federal police officer at Fisks. I wanted to ask if her highness only wants it delivered, or wants me to read the contents to her.”
”If it is that urgent, please do.”
”I can not determine if it is urgent or not. It is from a few days ago, the relay station at Östvallen Rustning had difficulties passing it on. Which means that the Royal Palace and Federal Cabinet already are informed. Herr Kristersson instructed me to call her highness.”

Moa already was a bit relieved about hearing the clerk told her he didn't know if the matter was urgent. Any bad tidings from the Kakuri would easily be understood by the telegraph clerk.

== seven kakuri on board vfsab == stop == by instructions from blaais == stop == not nokumo == expect arrival gunntova lerckel ==

She understood why the urgency of the matter was a bit dubious. Seven Kakuri were arriving at Östvallen in 2-3 days time, without anyone knowing who, how and why. Moa had to think quick. She had to travel north, to the capital, since rerouting the airship was not an option. And she wanted to know more. But the clerk could tell her that the Royal Court already had answered the telegram with the specific question to Linnea Blåis to elaborate on the matter.

”Please tell me, my good man, has the postal service already started using Gäddedevida?”
The clerk was a bit surprised by the question. The postal services delivered letters, small packages and even telegrams, so they were working closely together with the telegraph services. But they were not part of the same organization.
”Let me check with my colleagues, highness...”
As it turned out the first reconnaisance delivery had been made the day before.
”Postal tells me that the path can be used. It was a windy winter so snow coverage was relatively thin on the plains.”

Moa knew enough. She thanked the telegraph clerk after formulating a telegram to her father that she was on her way, with details about the travel plans to be sent later on. Telegraph also used radio transmission and wasn't depending on telephone lines to the same extent, so that message would get to the Royal Palace without any problem.

A quick glance at the clock told Moa that she could make it to Gäddedevida before dusk, if she hurried. She went to the kitchen to arrange for some food to take with her. She then changed into her winter outdoor gear: over-knee bib-and-brace raw denim pants, covered by a windtight leather short jacket, and knee high boots. Arimu was lending a helping hand, which was her official duty as lady-in-waiting at Blåkulla.

”You as well,” Moa told her. She then updated her about the contents of the telegram.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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01-26-2017, 10:43 PM
Post: #2
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
Blåkulla, April 7th 7577

”Your highness, I have to advice against these travel plans,” the federal police officer in charge of security told Moa. He preferred the rather well trodden road towards Kronsta by coach, then a train to Lovis Bruk, changing trains to Nedre Högdala, the cableway to Övre Högdala and then a direct train to Östvallen. The fact that a postal pony had made it across the Gäddedevida plains in early April didn't say much about the condition of this path.

”Thanks for your advice,” Moa replied ”and duly noted. But the plan remains the same. If I set off right now I can still make it to the night train to Östvallen. If I travel through Kronsta it would take an entire day, if all trains are running on time. Just appoint an escort. I want to leave right now.”

The officer volunteered himself and he set off to saddle his horse. But when he made it back to the courtyard, he saw Moa rolling out her motor bike.
”Highness, I assumed we would would make the journey by horse. It is impossible to use the bike under these conditions.”
”It has never been done, YET,” Moa replied. She already fired up the engine, while Arimu was waddling towards her in clothes that clearly were too large for her and a backpack full of supplies.
”We'll go slowly, you'll catch up.”
And with that she put on her goggles and set off on the path towards the east.

Arimu held on tightly while sitting on the back seat of the monstruous bike. Moa imagined that this was Arimu's favorite part of travelling, simply because she could hold on to her this way. Arimu was unusually physical, especially for a Kakuri woman. She enjoyed contact during meditation, had become quite the stickball player and preferred to cuddle up on the sofa in front of the fireplace with whoever was already there, one of the children or Moa's mother, didn't really matter. But her healing skills were extraordinary, she used massaging techniques with subtle touches which made you relax in no time.

Moa couldn't help to feel a bit funny about the entire situation. Here she was on a Wolgos motorbike, filled with whale oil from Helreich, on her way to a Bengtist train station, pursued by a federal police officer, travelling towards the Royal Palace where she would meet up with an unknown group of people from the Shiangti side of Altaia arriving by airship. How had this become her life?

The path was indeed partially covered in snow, but the fact that some postal ponies had made their way through it meant that it was more of a slush than a slippery surface. If Moa would manage to avoid hitting the wooden planks that provided dry passage during the summer, she would be able to maintain a higher speed than when she would have used a horse. On top of that, Arimu's horseback riding skills were still very basic, so she couldn't have made the trip on her own horse before dusk.

About halfway Moa stopped for some quick refreshments and a stretch. The federal officer had indeed caught up. His motorbike was much lighter since it wasn't designed to carry two people, like Moa's. He also had the advantage of being able to get up from the saddle and manoeuver standing up, which was much more easy to hold your balance.

Arimu tried to massage Moa's back and upper arms through the thick clothing, but that didn't work very well of course. She then walked up towards the officer and tried to massage him as well. At first he protested, but when he noticed how quickly the tiredness dissipated from his upper legs, he let her continue. The officer was wearing his standard field uniform, without the padded underwear Moa and Arimu were using to keep themselves warm.

”Bird's nest for him, before red,” Arimu said in Kakuri. Moa understood what she meant, it was important to get to the train station before dusk because the officer would not be able to cope with the cold of an April night at 2500 metres / 8000 ft above sea level. They managed, barely though. The remaining snow cover actually helped them now, since it was reflecting the last light of the day after the sun had set behind the mountain peaks.

”There will be no night train, ” the station clerk explained, ”the afternoon train from Östvallen suffered some mechanical failure and is waiting for spare parts to arrive.”
At that moment a cargo train passed the station en route to Övre Högdalen.
”When is the next cargo train going the other way?”
”An hour and a quarter from now.”
”Could you ask it to stop here so we can board?”

The station clerk knew he had to oblige when a member of the court was asking, but he was reluctant to do so.
”That train is already on its way. A single engine short coal train. It is not scheduled to stop here and I doubt that it could take extra passengers. But the one after that will be a double engine iron train with a caboose, according to the time table, with a planned stop here to let another cargo train pass.”

"Three tickets to that one then, please," she joked.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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01-30-2017, 04:31 PM (This post was last modified: 02-04-2017 08:33 PM by Pepijn.)
Post: #3
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
Gäddedevida, still April 7th

Around 23PM the long steel train came to a screeching halt right beside the platform of Gäddedevida station. It was a planned stop, since another cargo train coming from the other side had to meet here. But the caboose wasn't at the platform, it was 3 or 4 cargo carriages further down.

Moa yelled at Arimu to hurry up, still half asleep from the attempt at a powernap that brutally ended by a breaking freight train. But Arimu was nowhere to be seen. Nor was the federal security officer. Moa grabbed the heavy backpack and left the small office where she had bunked for the last couple of hours. She started walking to the end of the platform, not forgetting to thank the station clerk, when she suddenly saw Arimu and the officer appear from behind the signalling house. They hurried across the gravel between the tracks towards the caboose when all of a sudden the meeting train passed them at a couple of feet away at full speed.

Once on board through the aft balcony they were met by a man and a woman, the man entering the caboose from the other side after having inspected the axle bearings during the planned stop.
”Palnesdotter?” the woman greeted her with a question, ”ehrm... I mean... Your Highness...”
”Palnesdotter will be fine. This is Fru Arimu and Ryttmästare Ionsson.”

Moa looked around. The caboose looked like a living room. The woman had just revived the fire in the stove, there were two beds serving as seating, one of them still completely unused, and there was even a small sanitary facility in a refurbished cupboard. Above the opposite door she noticed a shield with a hammer and pick-axe, the exact same shield that was shown on the flag of Fjällsta Stift. These people belonged to her congregation.

”Please, make yourself at home, highness,” the woman replied while pointing towards the unused bed. At the same time she tried to rearrange the other bed. But Moa had already made the calculation, two people and one messy bed...

”I am sorry to have barged into your.... adventure,” Moa tried to deal with the situation.
”We're married,” the man replied, ”and this is our job.”
”The train, he means to say,” the woman quickly added.
The couple then introduced themselves as the Keitsons, no third name as usual with members of Fjällsta Stift.

”I'm afraid I don't have anything to offer her highness and her company”, the woman contined. She took a long look at Arimu, probably the first time she saw an Altaian native. Moa opened her backpack and dug out the remaining food and drinks. It was supposed to last all the way to Östvallen, but this way it would all be finished before the train would arrive at Byggebo. Moa still would have to improvise her way through the cable train facilities there, now she was not on board of a passenger train. And inform Östervallen of her pending arrival. She started handing out food and drinks anyway.

”Where were you,” Moa whispered towards Arimu once everyone had found some seating.
”Herr ryttmästare still had one stiff bone that needed... a soft touch...” she replied casually in Kakuri while raising her right hand. In her left hand she had a turkey sandwich.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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02-04-2017, 08:38 PM
Post: #4
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
Östvallen, April 8th 7577

Taking along the federal escort from Blåkulla had turned out to be a great idea. Since Moa was not travelling by regular public transport, no one knew exactly when she would arrive in Östvallen. She had tried to send a telegraph from Sandsala station, which they had reached by the returning staff car for the Byggebo cog railway facility. But it was either taking the first train, or sending a telegraph and having to wait two hours for the next.

There were some palace guards at the railway terminus just south of the government complex, serving more as scouts than an actual reception party. But with ryttmästare Ionsson outranking them and giving new orders, they were able to cover the last hundreds of metres (yards) to the palace on foot with adequate security. Moa preferred this above waiting for a coach to pick her up, she could not only be there much quicker than the waiting time itself, but she hated all the people staring at her while she had to wait at the station. While walking, she wouldn't attract that much attention.

”One member of the Nokumo Nobono and one cultural liaison for the Kakuri reporting for duty,” Moa greeted Queen Anna when she was led into her library.
”How did you manage to get here so quickly? They told me the night train was cancelled and now you are here.”

”Thanks to the good care of ryttmästare Ionsson, the Keitsons and the staff of Byggebo Cog.”
”Well... that's a good thing, because the airship had tailwind and will already be arriving tonight. Now we have time to prepare. What is the plan?”
Moa was looking at Anna all confused now.
”Ehrm... isn't this a government matter, where I can be of assistance?”
”These are your people, Durrum Moa of the Nokumo. This is your responsibility now.”

At that time Moa's father, Palne, dropped in.
”You have your own secret airship?” he joked.
”No, just a fantastic motorbike and some helpful people. Like ryttmästare Ionsson you passed in the hallway. It is thanks to him the journey ended well,” Moa explained.

”You're welcome. He already got a happy ending,” Arimu exclaimed in Kakuri, which made Moa burst out in laughter.

Palne tried to hand over some telegrams from Fisks that had come in since Moa had left Blåkulla. It turned out that the Nokumo had sent over these seven persons as a cultural exchange for the people of Vittmark to enjoy. The federal liaison had picked up the bill for transportation but was asking the federal government to take care of accommodation and return travel in due time.

”Then here is the plan. We meet up with them at Rustning Airfield. We transport them by omnibus to the Fjällsta Hotell in the New Town. They are members of our stift, this is their accommodation during their stay. Then we arrange for a demonstration of their cultural skills, so that we can establish what to do with the opportunity.”

-o-o-o-

It was about half past eight when the familiar contours of the airship VFS-AB appeared overhead the Old Town. Because of the eastern winds it had to make a turn over Östvallen in order to end up well aligned for the docking procedure. The relatively small airship docked easily, in sharp contrast to the huge Pan-An airship that was towed to the hangar for overnight storage, which took many more handlers.

The last group to disembark was the Kakuri delegation. Four large men and three rather frail women.
”My heart is full, thank the big potato, your belly as the windless seas, the harvest here in Östvallen,” Moa welcomed the Kakuri in their second language.
”Durrum-Moa of the Nokumo Nobono, Fjällsta Blade,” she continued her introduction, ”and Arimu Taeke...”
”... Sitchi Nenne blade,” one of the women replied in a high pitched voice.

”Moa?” Arimu wondered.
”Yes?” Moa replied. But Arimu had set off towards the group and grabbed both hands of the small woman that just had interrupted Moa. They started talking so fast that Moa lost track. Her second language skills were still limited. Then Arimu returned with the entire delegation following her.

”Durrum Moa, meet Kinzoku Moa.”
”Seriously?” the crown princess replied in Wortsproke, ”there are Kakuri people called Moa? Since when?”
”Since birth” was Arimu's reply. This wasn't exactly the reply Moa had been asking for, but still made clear that the name Moa had been in use by the Kakuri before she ever visited Fisks. Arimu knew Kinzoku Moa from when she was leaving childhood, age 11 or 12. She then introduced the other delegation members, Naka and Mizuno both from the Amusa blade and the men Bo, Fuji, Aoya and Takayo from the Kami blade.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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02-07-2017, 11:45 PM
Post: #5
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
April 9th

The newly arrived Kakuri group were taken to a hall at Borgö, the city government complex in the heart of the New Town of Östvallen. Moa had preferred the main hall of Trossamfundet next to the Royal Palace for a trial demonstration of the Kinzoku group, but since the Kakuri were guests of Fjällsta Stift they could not use this central facility of the Kulla Royal Domains no matter how tight the personal relations between the head of the Royal Domains (Queen Anna) and the head of Fjällsta Stift (her husband Palne Kristersson) were.

The Kakuri men clearly were musicians, the women dancers, performers and vocalists. Curiously enough, they did not belong to the same generation blade. All the men were from the generation directly preceding the Sitchi-Nenne blade, the youngest of them 31 years old. The women were from a parallel blade from a different part of Kakuri Town. Or actually, girls would be a more fitting description since they were 17, 18 and 19 years old. They had been trained for administrative duties the last 6-7 years and this is where Arimu had met them.

The audience today was an improvised group of cultural authorities, including the director of the Royal Theatre, the conductor of the Federal Philarmonic, socken leaders from about half of the sockens in Östvallen and a delegation from the Royal Palace. The performers were now ready, with the men completely dressed in white gowns and with black and white facial paint, while the girls were dressed in black and red outfits that clearly were not designed for the April weather in Östvallen.

Moa and Teres av Ståhlvik (Queen Anna's lady-in-waiting) had some idea about what to expect. Like the Nokumo this was most likely a musical performance group with a similar instrumentation. But when the music slowly started with some complicated drumming pattern, it turned out that this was different. The other three instruments kicked in in a unisonous, bombastic and heavy part full of weird gaps and stops. Instinctively most of the audience took one step back, not expecting the same brute force of half an orchestra being unleashed by four men: a really low sound, which contrasted sharply with the playful vocal parts of the girls. Their dancing was almost frightening, until they reached a part that resembled something like a chorus and it turned into a simple jumping.

After about 15 minutes the group took a small break. It was time for the audience to lower those raised eyebrows. Teres addressed Moa.
”There is of course the possibility that these people were sent here for a different reason than cultural exchange.”
”What?” Moa wondered.
”I don't know much about music, and even less about Kakuri music. But what I have seen there, I must say this really sticks out.”
”Of course, the Nokumo is not just sending your average group. Since they have problems travelling themselves, they send the next best alternative.”
”Are they the next best,” Teres wondered, ”or are they... better?”
”What?” Moa exclaimed once again. But Teres got support from Arimu who had joined them in conversation now.
”Teres maybe right,” she started in Wortsproke. ”Girls new generation. Large group. Good show.”
”You both have to be kidding... That's not something that the Nokumo would do.”

The conversation now fell into a long silence. Moa understood that it was Teres' job to play Wald's advocate. She was a full time politician, being the governor of Kletuddeland and senator for that same member state. Moa then looked at Arimu, who just tilted her head slightly as if she was trying to say something. There was a smug smile on her pretty face, with a frame of the most unusual brownish blonde hair surrounding it. Of all the Kakuri it was Arimu who Moa knew best. They had spent half a year together now with Arimu serving as lady-in-waiting, just after she...

”Oh shit on a stick,” Moa broke the silence, ”that is totally like the Nokumo. Just like they got rid of you...”

And at that time, Moa wondered when she had become the garbage bin of some overambitious Kakuri women who she, until this exact moment, had considered her closest friends. How had this become her life?

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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02-15-2017, 12:56 PM
Post: #6
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
April 9th, evening

The Kinzoku, as the Kakuri group was called, was brought into the Royal Palace after an invitation by Palne Kristersson. Court etiquette prevented Queen Anna from inviting an unknown and unsollicitated group of performers to the court. The situation was different when the Nokumo visited, because they represented an entire tribe and therefore were on a political mission.

But Palne was free to invite any member of Fjällsta Stift to his quarters, and who knew which persons the delegation might bump into in the corridors...

All the cultural representatives who had witnessed the performance at Borgö this afternoon had been invited to dine with Palne as well. But only half of them showed the courtesy of presenting themselves, the other half manifested themselves by their absence.

”I would love to see them perform at our concert hall, even if it's only to kill my curiosity about how they would sound in a room designed for musical performance,” stated the orchestra conductor. ”And to see the faces of the audience,” he added quickly, ”but then again, it's not me who decides who is performing there.”

Palne patted him on the shoulder while making his way to the guests of honor, the Kinzoku.
”Welcome,” he greeted them, ”welcome in our Kotan.” He took short bows in front of every individual member. He noticed that the men were at least 1ft (30 cm) taller than the women. Or girls. Palne had used the word 'Kotan' as a reference to the central square of Kakuri town, indicating that this was the political and cultural heart of Vittmark. He heard the Kakuri whisper something including the word 'Pamda', which was Palne's name in Kakuri.

Diner went well, with the representative of Anders Socken from the New Town stating a clear interest in having the group perform in front of his congregation.
”And I can put in a good word with Månsta Stift, for what it's worth. I can't say that I particularly like their music. It's more of a Freethinker thing probably. But if we want to persuade more people to contribute to Vind's master plan, than we need to get to know these people better.”

This gave Palne an idea. If the Kinzoku would perform in front of the smaller Fjällsta congregations north of the Blue Mountains, then a lot of curious locals might show up as well. A perfect opportunity to create some new links between the communities. But then he noticed Moa who barely had touched her main course and was staring at the plate.

”Not hungry?”
”Hm? No, not really.”
”What's bothering you then...” Palne knew his daughter well enough that 'not hungry' was a symptom for a more fundamental problem.
”Oh, it's probably all the travelling and arranging... I'm just tired... I think I'll retire early today.”
”And then sit in your room with your brain gears still grinding in an eternal loop? Not a chance. We'll continue this talk after dessert.”
Which gave Palne the time to get a quick update from Teres. An update he used when confronting his daughter after desert.

”So... Durrum of the Nokumo is wondering if her Kakuri sisters are using Östvallen as a dustbin for their competition,” Palne cut to the chase when he approached his daughter with two glasses of beer after dessert.
”This place has no room for private thoughts, so it seems,” she replied.
”Maybe this cultural mission is nothing more than just that, but how would you know? You can't ask the Nokumo, you can't ask the Kinzoku, so whatever you put in your head is based on not even half the info.”
”Yeah... maybe... but the signs are all wrong. They arrive unannounced. The Nokumo didn't take the opportunity to send any regards, presents, tokens of appreciation. And there's Arimu. It's a pattern.”

”Just ask yourself, what would you do with the Kinzoku if they were simply cultural ambassadors?”
”Have them play as often as possible of course.”
”And what would be the most appropriate thing to do if the Kinzoku were sent in exile...”

Moa hesitated. She needed more clues. So she kept her father talking.
”Ask them directly?” she asked.
”The Nokumo you mean? I was still talking about the Kinzoku. What is the worst that could happen...”
”That they return and take over leadership?”
”For the Nokumo that is the worst scenario, if they wanted to get rid of the competition.”

Now Moa could connect the dots.
”So... they need to play as often as possible, so they get even better.”
”Exactly,” Palne replied, ”whatever the motives of the Nokumo, your cause of action is the same. So don't worry, it fits Vind's plans, whatever they are.”

Suddenly Arimu approached from behind, put both her arms around Moa and her head on her left shoulder.
”You want to play, sexy?” she asked in Wortsproke, while giving Palne a huge wink.
”Huh, what? Play?”
”Music... what else did you think?”
”Not in the mood...”
”Come on. Kinzoku earned it. Worked like a trunkbull.”

A palace servant was standing right behind them with Moa's violin coffin. Arimu was already walking towards the black concert piano, an instrument that she had mastered within a couple of weeks after her arrival to Blåkulla. For the occassion, Arimu was wearing a typical Kakuri outfit in shiny red silk, a sleeveless dress in tight fit with elaborate embroidery on it.

She started playing the chord progression of ”A flower”, an Orkanan traditional. But that made Moa only think about the time when she had tried to calm down a very tense situation between the rest of the Nakumo and herself. Had she been lured into a false sense of safety within that group? The thought alone made her black on the inside. Which Palne could hear in the way she was playing her violin. The fast part sounded more like a runaway train than the refreshing waterfall it was supposed to be. The violin solo part had much anger in it, an unusual interpretation of the song. Which was marked by the fact that none of the guests were singing the lyrics, which one was supposed to do.

But it went down really well with the Kinzoku. 'Black on the inside' was a musical style that they used half of the time themselves and they recognized it easily.

Arimu continued with the intro of one of her own songs on piano, a song with the cryptical title ”How the whereabouts of love that can not also be” if you would translate it from the first Kakuri language. The meaning in the second language was still a mystery to Moa, but the 'whereabouts of love' bit triggered her once more. She came into the part with her violin screaming, but still leaving enough room for Arimu to sing the song from behind the piano.

Now the Kinzoku were flabbergasted. As soon as Arimu had finished her first line, they all jumped up and started talking.
”Alone is dead!” Naka suddenly yelled in Kakuri, ”Bringing the news is not possible!”
Clearly the Kinzoku had recognized the song despite the for them strange orchestration.

Moa opened her eyes from the trance in which she had been playing. She wiped the sweat from her forehead, quickly wiping away some tears as well so the Kakuri would not notice. She then approached the Kinzoku who were still yelling. They only stopped when Moa was face to face with Naka.

”I am... Durrum Moa of the Nokumo Nobono, red panther sister of Chopper, tear-eater of Flower, tongue teacher of Little Finger, and the rivers flow. Durrum Moa decides who is dead. Here, Östvallen, Vittmark, Alone is alive. Chopper knows. Flower knows. Everyone knows. Over here, I decide.”

The whole room had turned silent now. Especially because no one beside the Kinzoku understood what the argument was about. In fact, no one had ever heard the crown princess speak that much Kakuri. Naka still stood there at arms length, with her face somewhere halfway disbelieve, anger and despair.

Until Kinzoku Moa replied:
”Durrum Moa the Afterlife Ruler, of the Nokumo Nobono, panther sister, tear eater... Living in a lavish way...”
Then the men started mumbling with her.
”...find yourself incarnated in a stellar sphere. We are the crew that might send you maybe. Afterlife rulers take care of you maybe, if you're true.”

It was an eerie chant, which Arimu now had joined as well during the last sentence. Six of the Kinzoku then kneeled down, faces down facing the floor. Except Naka, who opened her arms and flipped her head back.

”Giving life,” Arimu tried to explain in Wortsproke.
”What?”
”Expects punishment... even take life...”
”Come again?”
”You... ruler of the afterlife... you can take her there...”
”Seriously?

Moa decided to inform her father's guests first.
”I do apologize for the inconvenience. It is a cultural misunderstanding. As you might know, or not, the Kakuri don't share music until they explicitely say so. Our guests assumed that we were not allowed to play this particular song.”

She still had no idea how to get out of this situation though. She put one hand on the side of Naka's head, close to her ear, trying to turn her head in a more normal position again so she could look her straight into her eyes. Moa noticed she had protruding ears, just like herself. So she put back her hair with her other hand, showing her own left ear. She started smiling in a forgiving way, even though forgiveness wasn't a concept that was well known with the Kakuri.

”Afterlife rulers take care of you,” Moa said, not knowing if that would settle the matter.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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02-17-2017, 11:01 AM
Post: #7
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
Palne had witnessed the spectacle with mixed feelings. Sure, his daughter Moa usually was able to iron out whatever was happening, but she always ended up in these kind situations for some reason. And then he had to rely on her, or her lady-in-waiting's willingness to translate. Palne could only assume he got a translation anyway, the girls had a monopoly on communication.

”If that was a simple misunderstanding, then I'd hate to see a real one,” Palne said face to face to Moa once she and Arimu had been able to finish the song.
”I just needed to remind them that I am the main Kakuri authority over here, that's all,” Moa replied.

”Not so easy,” Arimu interrupted. She quickly summarized a Kakuri legend called the Black Chasm. The chant the Kinzoku just sang came from a song by the Oto, the former leaders of the Kakuri. Their version of the legend is canon today. The moral of the story is part of the second language.
”To strike without knowing the black panther's strength is the work of a monkey child. After being warned, to still attack, is the action of a dead monkey.”

”The action of a dead monkey...” Moa slowly repeated, ”Naka realized she had made a grave error of judgement, verbally attacking Arimu while I was there as well, as a member of the Nokumo.”
”Story says 'dead dead'... not 'Arimu dead'...” Arimu added.
”I figured that out.”
”You released the monkey. She now your monkey child.”

What this meant became clear when the welcoming dinner came to an end. The Kinzoku were escorted to the omnibus coach that would return them to the hotel, but Naka wasn't following. She was like Moa's shadow, always about 2-3 metres behind her. The rest of the Kinzoku were acting like this was the most normal thing in the world.

”You can go,” Moa tried, ”I'll visit you at the house after the red.”
”Does not work like that,” Arimu said in Wortsproke, ”she your monkey child.”
So Moa tried something else. She asked for her coat and a security escort in order to walk the group back to the hotel. Then Naka would have to follow.

The large square in front of the palace was as good as empty, apart from the steam omnibus. Moa continued south towards the square Larmtorget, where the guards were preparing to change to the nightshift.
”Slow...” Arimu said.
Moa understood. This Kakuri group had never walked through a city this size at nighttime. A simple thing like a street lantern or a stone arch bridge were new to them. Just like the previous group of Kakuri she had shown the city, she did not explain much, but let them make their own impressions. Kinzoku Moa had a question though.

”How many blades are there in Durrum's Toshi-bu?”
Moa had to calculate quickly. The Sitchi-Nenne Blade had about 150 people on it. That would make five or six thousand blades to cover Östvallen's population. But she didn't know the word for thousand.
”One Kakuri person,” she tried with sticking up one finger, ”equals one blade in Östvallen,” she continued with her other hand. She just hoped they would get it. And then she got another idea.

Instead of taking the direct route towards the hotel, Moa continued southward, first through Nersta, then across the Iarlsbro bridge and then onto the much higher Fällbro bridge. She stopped halfway to show them the bottom part of the waterfalls that made the river Hedeå plunge into the tidal fjord. She got her notebook from her coat, ripped out a page and threw it in the river. She then rushed to the other side to see if they could spot the paper.

”Just water under the bridge,” she said when she went back to the other side, ”shall we try again?”
She ripped another page from her notebook, this time with some hastily drawn sketches on it.
”Not good,” she exclaimed and turned the paper into a little ball and threw it in the river. Once again, it was nowhere to be seen on the other side.
”Only water under the bridge... Again?” She was already ripping a third page from the book.
”Naka...” she addressed the main singer of the group, ”bringing the news is not possible,” Moa continued while wrapping the paper between her hands. She then casually dropped it behind her in the river, not even looking and not even making an attempt to see if it appeared on the other side.

”It's all water under the bridge...”
Naka fell on one knee, taking the deepest possible bow.
”Naka of the Amusa blade, monkey child of the afterlife ruler, the great Durrum Moa of the Nokumo Nobono,” she said repeatedly. But Moa once again put her hand near her ear and replied.
”Kinzoku Naka of the Amusa blade, it's all water under the bridge. I will take care of you. Even if we make mistakes. This is not Toshi-bu. This is Östvallen.”

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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02-22-2017, 10:00 AM
Post: #8
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
Chrillesbo, Liden, April 20th 7577

Åvehallen in the centre of Chrillsbo was a recent construction, a gathering place in use by the four sockens of this railway town. It wasn't there when Moa visited the township a couple of years ago. She then had the task of persuading local government to accept the plan for a broad gauge railway station in the area, while at the same time driving a wedge between local government and Månsta Stift. Divide and conquer as executed by a teenager with a royal seal of approval. She had hated it and demanded to be spared from such tasks in the future. Her current role as royal representative at openings and events suited her talents and ambitions much better.

The new regime in Månsta had opened up for the cultural exchange. But an exchange would only be an exchange if it would work both ways. So Moa had carved out a standard program for each presentation, starting with a performance of a local group. In Liden this usually was a musical group playing Orkanan traditionals in a typical setting with shuffle notes, grooves (4/4 played as 12/8) and double bassdrums accompanying riffs. Complex music, often considered 'rude' and 'unelegant' by other Anarian nations. But the idea was to gather the local population right from the start of the event by showing a local act.

After a short introduction of the Kakuri people, which to many people still was somewhere in the realms of mythology, the full force of Kinzoku would be unleashed. Then Arimu would do something on piano and the evening would conclude with some sort of sing-along. Slowly taking the people back to their own roots. The crown princess would conclude the evening, making sure that everyone would stay until the very end. A royal guest seldom made public appearances like this in a dunghole like Chrillsbo.

Kinzoku's performance resulted in the exact same effect here in Chrillsbo as it did during their previous performances: stunning the audience. But after a while, people would start to recognize some of the patterns and concepts used, and admire the ingenuity and creativity of it. Some people would compare it with your first taste of beer, or your first smoke. Horrified at first, but turning into an addiction pretty fast.

The Kinzoku learned quickly as well. They understood that the Vittmarkers shared their music, that it was central in their culture and society. So during the final song Naka tried something new. The group mellowed out, giving Naka the chance to start a singing interaction with the audience. A simple ”whohoa... whohoa...” to be repeated by the spectators. With the help of the other two singers the idea rooted pretty quickly and in no time half the audience was participating.

”Tomorrow in Månsta we should switch your places,” Moa said to Arimu after she was finished with her 4 songs, ”the Kinzoku built a bridge towards the sing-along at the end, we should use that.”
”Good. Then I try new song. My grave.”

It was time for Moa to deliver her speech.
”I want to start by thanking you good people of Chrillsbo and surroundings for the warm and open reception. For those of you who don't know me, I was born as Tovemor Palnesdotter, a poor girl in a landless community, south of the mountains as you can probably hear.”
Short laughter in the audience.
”Today I go by the title of Crown Princess Moa Blåkulla av Vittmark... for some unknown reason.”
More laughter now.
”Seriously, if a girl like me can become a princess, then anyone can become what he or she wants to be, or is supposed to be in order to play a part in Vind's master plan, for the times...”
”FOR THE TIMES” yelled the audience.

”We don't know Vind's plan. On our own we are too small and irrelevant to see the bigger picture. But together we can. I was reminded of this a year ago, when I could add some more titles behind my name. Associated member of the six legged spider. Red panther sister. Tear eater of the tea flower... Afterlife ruler I could add just a week ago. Don't ask me what this means. I don't know. Vind knows. Vind blows. And on Vind's wind, the Kakuri people presented themselves. Just like my congregation presented itself 8 years ago. Or the trunkbull riders became part of our heritage. We are different, but we are in this together.”

She took a sip from the glass in front of her. At the same time someone yelled ”Go home freethinker!” from far behind in the audience. This started some commotion among the people. Many of them had this same ambivalent feeling about listening to a representative of the royal palace, who also was a freethinker. Some of them might want to have yelled it as well, but were stopped by the fact that Moa also is royalty.

Moa just lifted up her other hand, one finger in the air and slowly put down her glass.
”Yes, we can all go home pretty soon. But think for yourself, if you would have stayed at home tonight... you would have missed all this. You don't have to like it. You don't have to like me. But by staying at home, you would never have known. How can you not appreciate what you have if you - only once in a while - take a little distance from your cosy surroundings and look at yourself and yours from another perspective. Then you can say 'we have it good here'. You can never experience that wonderful feeling of coming home, to your own place, to your kin, if you haven't left and done something else in the first place. Isn't that right, good people of Chrillsbo?”

A large applause roared through the room. Moa then decided to forget the rest of her speech she had prepared and called it a night.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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02-24-2017, 10:01 PM
Post: #9
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
Månsta, Liden, April 22nd

The capital of Liden, the most populous state of Vittmark, still was an exception among other cities. The city had a seriously high building intensity and narrow streets in what used to be the walled town. Streets were so narrow that automobile traffic had been banned from the city centre, except for a few wider streets. There simply wasn't room for people, carts, carriages, bikes and automobiles, so the city government had banned the most inefficient and dangerous way of transport. An example that had been followed by more cities in Liden, even though they weren't as densely built as the capital.

Strangeley enough, the Kinzoku didn't feel intimidated by this human equivalent to an anthill. Maybe the lack of direct sunlight was helping, since the Kakuri were living in a forested area where the sunrays hardly ever reached the ground. Only the main sala of Månsta Stift was bathing in the sun since it was placed in the middle of a square.

The sala itself was oval in shape, with sloping walls towards an eye-shape roof. Long, vertical windows supported by rounded wooden beams made it difficult to distinguish inside from outside. Which was exactly the intention of the architect who designed it, over 300 years ago. The accoustics were phenomenal.

”What are the red, green and white cloths for” Arimu wondered. She had noticed that buildings had flags, often in just one color. Similar 'flags' were hanging on facades as well, on balconies, under windows.
”Those are the colors of Liden,” Moa tried to explain. ”This part of the country has its own history, and people are proud of it. They want to show it.”
Then Arimu started explaining it to the Kinzoku, who had asked her the same thing. Only Arimu could explain concepts like history and pride in the Kakuri's second language.

But Moa had left out a large part of the explanation. For the last 5 years, Månsta had been a divided city. Red flags were flown by the people still supporting former king Magnus, who was serving a life time sentence for staging a revolt against Queen Anna. De Lidh is the political party of this movement. Green flags showed support for the new regime led by Magnus' cousin Östen av Månsta, representing the newer Alliance Party. And the whites? None of the above: anti-royalists, landless workers, freethinkers, followers of Sunsanna, probably the occasional häverist as well.

”Kinzoku ask... Do all peoples have cloths or colors?” Arimu's question surprised Moa. This was such a basic thing in a multifaceted society like Vittmark. Immediately after the formation of the federation all symbolism connected to the old nation states were prohibited, colors included. The symbolism had to be 'earned back' through good behavior. That process was so elementary throughout the last decade, that it was just as difficult to explain like how to walk or breathe.

”Yes... I think... Most people will identify themselves as belonging to a group, by clothing, by symbols, by colors.” Moa then switched to Kakuri. ”Kinzoku clothes... group clothes! We see you as a group.”
Arimu explained it much more elaborate, and returned with another question.
”Where is our cloth? Colors of the Kakuri?”
”You know where it is. We delivered it in Fjällsta, last month. When we registered you and all the other Kakuri at the stift house.”
”I know. Where is it? Want to show Kosa Doru.”

Moa went to pick up her presentation book she used to show local dignitaries about the Kakuri. It contained some of her sketches, but also pictures. Linnea Blåis had sent over 30 more the last month. Among it was a picture of Chopper holding the Kakuri flag. Moa turned the book around and showed the photograph.

”Kirisaki!” they replied, followed by ”Kosa Doru! Can we have it?”
Moa was already trying if she could get the photograph from the corner staples, but she was interupted.
”Not Kirisaki,” they told Moa as if she was a child, ”the cloth.”
”It's in the mountains, in another toshi-bu. But we can make one.”
The girls appreciated the idea and wanted to start immediately. But first there was this detail of a performance this evening.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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02-26-2017, 05:46 PM
Post: #10
RE: Kinzoku (Kakuri S04)
Månsta, April 23rd

Naka, Arimu and Moa left the hotel of Månsta Stift where they had spent the night as guests of Östen av Liden. They set off for a linen store, in order to find material to make a Kakuri flag. Once there they rather quickly found the right shade between beige and écru in imported cotton. The store maid used her foot driven sewing machine to stitch together two sides without showing a hem. A job that was observed by Naka in complete disbelief. They made two pieces, just to be sure, each measuring about 140 x 70 cms.

Finding textiles paint proved more difficult. Ornamenting textiles was a luxury, so the trade skills were scarce. They asked around, but they were pointed back towards the headquarters of Månsta Stift, where travelling artists were often visiting and working. Indeed some materials were left behind by these textile painting artists. Like a still sealed container of dark grey textile paint.

”I clearly remember,” the female clerk assisting them explained, ”the painter didn't think this batch was black enough.”
But it was perfect for what the Kakuri were trying to do. They installed themselves in the workshop, the rest of the Kinzoku were joining them now as well.

”Durrum-Moa,” Kinzoka-Moa said, ”from nothing...”
Arimu had to explain that they expected her to do the painting. The Kosa Doru is a powerful symbol which only can be used by the administrators. And Moa was an administrator of some sort, as a member of the Nokumo Nobono.

Moa studied the picture with Chopper, and other ones with Flower and Orange holding the flag, but as usual with flags, there were folds in it which covered a part of the symbol. She had seen the symbol before of course, but had not studied it so much that she could re-create it. She opened her notebook and started sketching.
”I can not see,” she started saying in Kakuri, ”but you can see. You can not create, but I can. Will you be my eyes?”
It seemed that the girls understood, but they were reluctant to comply. Moa knew she could put enough pressure on Naka for her to give in, but she didn't want to put any more stress on their already fragile relation.
”Mizuno,” she addressed the third and youngest girl, ”feed the red panther.”

The entire process took the rest of the day, first sketching the symbol until Moa had it right and then transferring it on both flags, on both sides. It gave Moa the time to reconsider a lot of things. This was a cultural exchange, where the Kinzoku clearly were learning from what they saw, and the Kakuri were taking Moa deeper into her culture. Society seemed to be guided by clearly defined boundaries, which gave a lot of room for this almost anarchistic way of living of the Kakuri. But stepping over these boundaries had serious repercussions. So serious that no one bothered to try. Except maybe for Arimu, but Moa had promised her she would never ask what happened to her and the Nokumo. But it started making more sense now.

VITTMARK:"This mess is a place." --- FISKS:"Fisk you!"
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