Alt: The Jester.

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Alt: The Jester.

Post by Sphinx on Tue May 20, 2008 3:41 pm

This day had seen a change in Mhaura, like the one so many before it. Today Njarra Tiahlee had officially named herself regent of the nation, and set her newly appointed guards to cleaning the streets, giving the citizens some hope for the future. The declaration had been brief and by large very unceremonial, but that was what many knew to expect from their new leader.
There had been cheering as the people were given a verification to all they had hoped for, but likewise many people who looked ahead with apprehension. Njarra Tiahlee wasn't without a share of bad rumors going about her, and many of her neighbors considered the mercenary leader with a history far too shady to be fully trusted.
But she still was a leader, and had already carried out promises within a few days that Windurst had failed to deliver in years. Nobody stood up to challenge Njarra Tiahlee's claims when she made them, even if she might have wished them to.

And now there were dire clouds in the horizon, though Njarra Tiahlee hadn't aired them in her speech. Maybe she hadn't known yet, or maybe she decided to allow her people a day of hope and celebration. But regardless there was war on the horizon, and the bastokan miners busying the streets of Mhaura were living testament to this fact.

Leh Nhacara's mind was on this as she watched the dhalmels roam the fields of Buburimu. She stood high atop one of the cliffs separating Mhaura from the rest of Kolshushu, idly wondering whose land this was now. But unless Windurst started raising voices about Mhauran hunters taking their prey from Buburimu it wouldn't matter, and Leh Nhacara seriously doubted that the federation's hunters would travel this far when they had troubles with Yagudo all the way along the way.

But the day was nice despite all it brought with it, Leh Nhacara mused to herself, amazed at how the height of the clifftop made the winds much fiercer than the gentle ones below. For a moment she entertained herself by considering them as sentient beings - children of Garuda - who'd spend their time playing in the air, and examining people, scents and sounds. Possibly they had a hierarchy like the Tigress' Claws, she thought, and the stronger winds were allowed positions of higher up. Literally.
Leh Nhacara chuckled lightly at this thought, which drew a puzzled expression from her friend.

"...you know, because they're strrronger?" She offered, not understanding what there was that didn't make the jest obvious.
"Leh, I was talking about the guarrrdpost, where's your mind at?" The recently self-appointed sovereign of Mhaura replied, and Leh Nhacara could detect an edge in her old friend's tone. Not that it was surprising, given Njarra hadn't slept well in weeks now, and all this new paperwork was stressing her even further.
Probably didn't even have time to eat, Leh considered, suddenly reminded of just how hungry she was.
Njarra Tiahlee simply sighed, shaking her head in disbelief "Nevermind, let's just get down before you forrrget where we are and the winds sweep you away."
Leh chuckled again at the silly notion of the winds wanting to have anything to do with mithra, but followed her friend down and toward the city nonetheless.

"So what do you think?" Njarra asked her, as the pair perched on a rock overlooking Mhaura, resting against the cliff they descended.
This gave Leh Nhacara some pause as she had to draw her thoughts back together. "eh... egg rolls with some salmon eggs, maybe? Some kind of--"
"About the guardpost, Leh." Njarra insisted, effectively diverting her train of thought.
"Oh... Well, that depends on how low we want to make the embrasures... If you put them high enough, we rrrreally wouldn't need one, but it would definitely help."
Njarra Tiahlee nodded. "It would grrrant more field of vision, but how important do you think that'd be since there's only one entrrrance to the city?"
"Oh, plenty important." Leh obliged, allowing her gaze drift toward the fishermen's guild. "If the enemy was allowed to apprrroach next to the cliff, they could sneak in to the canyon entrrrance easier."
"mm, trrruth." Njarra considered. "Then we should make two or thrrree of them, to cover more grrround."
"If they're only used for vision, having three wouldn't reduce our soldiers too thin." Leh considered in turn, watching at her friend to see how she felt about this. Njarra grew slightly uncomfortable, and she knew why. The notion of requesting assistance from the homeland couldn't be easy.

A period of silence followed, which Leh didn't like. Why was everything so serious nowadays. She had half a mind to just bap her friend upside the head and stop playing this idiotic game of hers, but then she knew it wouldn't be enough. Trying to persuade Njarra often had little more than the negative impact - which was something she had often experimented on.
Done with enough skill, it was easier to get Njarra to do what one wanted simply by aiming for the opposite. This of course had led them to enough trouble in their past, specifically a time came to mind when-
"So it appearrrs that the tarutaru was right." Njarra commented dryly, distracting Leh.
"...the dhalmels?" Leh offered, turning back to face her friend, who simply shot her a glare of disbelief.
"...about the war, Leh." Njarra explained, after a small pause no doubt to build suspence. Leh simply nodded as if she had been following all along, allowing her friend to continue.
"Though I still don't buy his story about Yagudo assassins. While they're trrrained for it, it's not a tactic they prefer. In the past, the Shadowlord used tonberrries for business of this nature, so..."
"It wouldn't be hard to imagine they wanted to distrrract Windurst, masking their involvement?"
"Exactly what I was thinking." Njarra paused, changing her tone to grim again "That or the birrrds are desperate enough to brrreak pattern, which means-"
"That we too need to stop taking them for grrranted." Leh finished.
Both the friends nodded in unison.

"Rrrrather a bad timing for it... Just when things were starrrting on a positive shape here." Njarra mused out loud, her gaze aimed toward the bastokers she had hired to help the city prepare for an offensive.
"I don't know. I think the timing's perrrfect, honestly." Leh chimed, kicking her feet ahead casually as she dangled them from the steep rock they sat on.
"...what?" Njarra narrowed her eyes again, facing Leh.
"Well~" she started to retort somewhat absently "forrr one thing, it allows us a chance to work on rrrelationships abroad. Maybe even patch things up with Windurrrst."
Njarra had that funny dumbfounded look about her again, which made Leh chuckle as she continued.
"For the other, it'll help to get your head out of whatever business you keep it buried under. It'll be the good old days again, the days we've been prrreparing for all our lives - I don't claim to love war, or even welcome it." Leh smiled to Njarra, sounding so like a child the words felt surreal. "But this is what we do. And it's what we do best - in fact I'm very glad this happened now, instead of a month ago. Atleast now Mhaura is prrrepared for war, and with a leader who knows war instead of one who would've just waited for orrrders that'd never arrive."

Njarra turned her gaze toward the city again, and Leh could tell she was looking for words. Since none seemed to come, she felt like continuing - carried as always by her train of thought.
"Maybe it'll teach the city too. Maybe a hero will rrrise from the people who live in it. Maybe once we're done with war, you can just claim you took the thrrrone to prrrepare for it, and then you can pass on leadership for time of peace."
"...we should do that-" Njarra started, but Leh was on a roll and decided to finish her friend's thought before she had the chance.
"-train the citizens to fight. I was thinking the same thing~"
"Could I ask you to take care of it?" Njarra aimed a tired smile toward her.
"Leave everything to me, Njarra~" Leh beamed, smiling in mock salute. "Captain of the guarrrd, all that."
"Thank you, Leh." The regent's tone was grateful as much as tired, as she stood up and started her descent toward the administrative buliding she worked at. "I should try to finish up that paperwork to mother, before-"
"Yeah, you should." Leh had already stood up and as her friend started moving, she followed while finishing her thought.
"Can't run a city on an empty stomach."
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Sphinx

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