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The Houses of the Moon Festival
Phyrro
post Aug 4 2007, 06:07 PM
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With the beginning of Ibasa, the eighth of those many months of the year, came the extension of the winding down of the year the Arazueins so loved. There was nothing so more revered than the entirety of the Enten season, foremostly the beloved rituals, ceremonies and celebrations intertwined with its very being. The coming of Ibasa brought with it the most favored of all mid-year congregations, that ever-respected and ever-adored Houses of the Moon Festival, a period punctuated by lovely lights scattered throughout the airy, unique forests at night and ornate places to gather erected in the day, brought together by a never-ending need to gather in friendly relations.

No area was more recipient of the resulting explosion of socialization and good humor than Kadinger itself, and the capital found itself littered from end to end with celebrants caught up in the cheer and supreme goodness of the moment. In the north, from the forests of Halqu spreading outwards, beautifully designed paper lights were hung on each branch, for it was night, and their dimmed illumination brought tranquility and happiness to the residents.

If ever there was a time when the pristine beauty of the southern capital, from its wondrous sparkling beaches to its massive and spectacular tropical forests, was further enhanced to a point beyond plausibility, the time was on hand. The winds brought in from the sea, that ever-expansive wonder of liquid whose tempting waters had turned to an intriguing shade of the darkest navy with the night's coming, glossed over with the unobscured reflection of the full moon, drifted gently over the canopies, blanketing the festivities with their loving caress. Palm trees, the ends of their leaves daintily decorated with drops of rain left over from the morning's precipitation, swayed in that breeze, the crystal-like beads of liquid falling to the earth with every other large, slow, tilting arc.

As the night hung over the capital, the forests overlooking the immaculate white sand of the beaches gave rest and shelter to the party-going citizens of the unique area. Dragons and humans celebrated the lunar year in harmony beneath the soothing light given off by the lamps and amidst the grounds under the canopy. Wooden shrines and other booth-like appendages lined worn pathways, leading all the way up to the Palace of the Anshargal. An open-air temple built in the style of a ziggurat, the temple stotod facing the southwestern seas, nestled perfectly in between the trees. Open walkways circled the exterior, marked every fifteen feet by an intricate spiraling column connected to the first floor's 18-foot ceiling. The palace gave off an air of unassuming peace and beauty and a rusty-red/brown hue, caused by the beach sands, dirt and clay that formed the large blocks it is composed of.

The inner hallways of the Palace, lined with freshly laid and rooting grass, circled an astoundingly vast courtyard, nearly a meadow, with swaying palm and tropical trees blanketing neat grass. Near the center of the contained courtyard lay a pond 13 feet in diameter, constantly refilled with water from the ocean and housing interesting species of fish. Farther along the way lay another collection of water, filled instead with fresh water, ready to drink from. Food, surely being prepared in other areas of the Palace, was ready to bring through any of the open doorways leading to the outside. Larger, more ornate versions of the paper lamps hung in each corner of the courtyard, and from two of the trees, bringing the perfect illumination to the area.

There, in the serene peace, on the soft grass with food and drink all around and ocean air sweeping in from above, where there is no roof, the Anshargal sat in an informal circle with several trusted members of his military and his companions beside him, in human form for courtesy, each near the other, completing that circle. A special kind of wine, made by mixing alcohol with unique fruits found in the forests and a few drops of the essence from rainforest tree sap, filled the cups of each member of the circle, a jovial air lingering amongst the conversation signifying that the first night of the long and well-deserved Houses of the Moon Festival had begun.

"Ahhh," the Anshargal Luatuku Gábara sighed contentedly as he closed his eyes and took a sip of his wine, a sound and gesture that were all too fitting, "What better is there in life than this, friends?" He said this to no one in particular, yet in his usual manner that made more than one feel at least somewhat compelled to answer. As regal and intimidating while still friendly as he always was, the great Enlightened One rested in his human form, a courtesy to his trusted humans present such as Shikoba and Maqatu. Garbed in a beautifully simple, comfortable black-and-white robe with a sleeveless white decorative coat over it, crimson streaks trailing down the edges, his spiking dark hair, facial scar and happy grin painted him as quite the picture on this most appreciated of nights.
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Hot Carl
post Aug 4 2007, 09:42 PM
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"Not much!" Replied the sturdy Shikoba Nagendra, with his drinks to his lips, not particularly looking towards anybody but answering his superiors inquiry. A quick paced guitar like sound, followed by light drumming in the distance nearly interupted his muttering of "But there is better... there is..." as he drank quietly to himself, thinking of the wars ahead with a slight perverse grin of happiness spread on his lips. His red irises glanced up at the night sky - peace was a beautiful thing, but it was a bit surreal. When faced with a challenge of sweat and blood, it was only then that Shikoba felt completely human. He needed the passion of activity and liveliness of war to sate him for the sedate peacetime.

He shook a feathered head and felt the gentle weight of past war pressures lift away, and it was strange. Like leaving a family member, the feeling of being completely calm almost gave him the shivers. He didn't like thinking of himself as a masochist but it was hard with the type of mindset he had put himself into over the past couple of years. It wasn't often that he had dinner with the other heads of his country; he actually was almost reclusive, but sociable enough whenever he did find himself home in the court of the Anshargal. His double life was light and safe, as nobody really needed to worry about his mental state save himself. Its better to have the crazy guy on your side during the battle anyway.

The inner demons were drowned with music and drink quickly, as he looked around the circle and wondered who else wasted the lives of thousands for the pleasure of one.
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Phyrro
post Aug 5 2007, 01:58 AM
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"Not much! But there is better... there is..."

Luatu chuckled as Shikoba gave himself another fill of the one-of-a-kind wine. He seriously doubted that there were better things, but perhaps that was just his personal opinion reinforced by his love of the Arazuein beauty and his natural dragon view on life, coupled with the enlightened view.

Either way one looked at it, the Anshargal respected the fact that Shikoba Nagendra was as unique as any human could come, and took pleasure in watching his actions.

"Perhaps," he countered, "Like this wine?" It was no secret that Luatu was fond of drinking it, though not as much so as his Sharur and even the Ninurta. For the slightest moment he began to look around for Akina, liking the feel of her presence, but it was a fruitless pursuit and Luatuku knew this—at any moment she could be anywhere, possibly leaning over his shoulder, entertaining herself through the other members present, or anything else conceivable.

Instead he resigned to gazing around at the faces of the other Arazueins enjoying the festival, their visages illuminated by the beautiful amalgamation of the sky's starry moonlight and the dimmed paper lamps hanging around them.
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Kilvaer
post Aug 5 2007, 02:27 PM
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Stacks of juice-stained wicker bowls were strewn across the dulled, wooden counter of the small restaurant illuminated by the Lunar Fesitval's down to earth stars. Passersby and clients, as well as the frantic cooks watched in awe and strange fear of the tiny child delving into a gluttinous rage through large, bowls of Arazue's freshest and most flavor-offering fruits. Another bowl landed at the side of her chair on the ground that her legs could not reach as they kicked back and forth happily as the startled owner replenished her plate.

Akina dove back in, giggling with content as she scarfed down the fruit salads with her hungering lust. As she stared up from her empty bowl, her wide, cute grin pierced through everyone around her, covered in pineapple juice and strawberry and watermelon seeds. "What else do you have to eat, Barrel-Belly?"

The man's eye twitched and he forced a smile with a strained, calm voice, "I-I think you shouldn't eat much more, Immaru. You'll spoil your appetite for the dinner with the Ansha-"

Akina's eyes narrowed and her face darkened like a candle doused in its prime. Pink light fumed behind her, blanketing the area around her with its brightness and reaching an eminence above that of the many lights hanging off the eaves of the stores. The owner clung to the back wall with a fear as a sinister feline face formed in the pink light behind Akina, and it struck the building.

---

Akina ran giggling with an incredible speed, laughing with her pale, purple sleeves fanning behind her as she zoomed past the lights that became blurs to her, dust piling behind her small sandaled feet. The jovial guards enjoying the revelry of the Lunar Festival sat laughing at the open gateway to the palace as they drank the fine wine of Arazue.

Shock threw them off their seats as a pink blur flew past them into the palace, leaving the thundering quake of her echoing giggle behind her. Through halls, up stairs, past startled servers and guests, Akina soon found herself leaping from a middle-aged man's head onto the shoulder of a large man in the center of the calm, sitting crowd's attention.

"LUA-NE!! I just ate some really yummy fruit, we should eat down there down time together!" Climbing up the Anshargal's white robe, she nestled herself atop his shoulder and nudged her head against his. "When's dinner?"
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DeerSlayer
post Aug 5 2007, 02:48 PM
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Hugh was standing in a circle with many of his superiors including the Anshargal Luatuku Gábara at the festival. It seemed like a superb one at that. The night air seemed to set the mood among the bright moon and stars shinning above. Hugh was not the kind of person who particularly enjoyed large groups of people, but he could hardly miss a break, to have some fun. He was no longer clad in his red armor, instead he sported a nice black dress robe with his normal red side cloak. He clutched his goblet of wine and took a sip as he listened to his fellows.

"Ahhh, what better is there in life than this, friends?" A voice that was so recognizable as the Anshargal, who was almost directly across from him wisely asked.

"Not much! But there is better... there is..." Replied one of the others which Hugh was not to acquainted with.

"Perhaps," Luatuku countered, "Like this wine?"

"LUA-NE!! I just ate some really yummy fruit, we should eat down there down time together!" A girl said comming our of nowhere then climbing up the Anshargal's white robe, she nestled herself atop his shoulder and nudged her head against his. "When's dinner?"

"Zhe wine iz," Hugh began, but paused briefly and after seeing no one was objecting to his talking he continued. "Zpectacular. Dinner will be welcomed. Aye?"
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Siro
post Aug 5 2007, 04:22 PM
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Maqatu was sipping on his drink. I was refreshing being able to meet with all of the superior men and women around them chatting and having a good time. As they where waiting Maqatu was thinking of what he had gone through to get to this position. He faced many tough times and hardships, but Maqatu persevered with his hard times. Now he is a navy's second in command for the army of Arazue and he couldn't be happier.

As Maqatu returned back to reality, he heard the commander speak. "What better is there in life than this, friends?" As he finished Shikoba, a new officer in the army was first to reply to the commander saying, "Not much!" Maqatu gave a chuckle at the commander's reply as he said,

"Not much! But there is better... there is..." He laughed quietly a bit more and took another sip of the one-of-a-kind wine that was here in Arazue. The wine tasted lovely and he knew that it was one of the best. Maqatu then as Akina, one of the sub-commanders leaped on someone's head. Maqatu laughed and saw what seemed to be a hilarious sight.

The officer then said, "Ah, the wine. One of the best in the world, I would like nothing better than to sit with all of you and drink this until we grow old."
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Phyrro
post Aug 7 2007, 10:43 PM
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"LUA-NE!! I just ate some really yummy fruit, we should eat down there in our down time together!"

"Ah, here she is," the Anshargal muttered good-naturedly as his close companion was up his robe in a flash, an artsy display of odd fluidity and athleticism. His face lightened even more as he caught her absent-minded comment intermingled with the feel of her head on his.

"When's dinner?"

"Zhe wine iz zpectacular. Dinner will be welcomed. Aye?"

The comment had originated from the oddest and newest of the Dumuzi, a man from Zabar in the northeast with the strangest of accents that had never before been heard in Arazue. Luatuku was hardly acquainted with him, but in keeping with the enlightened one's personality, he had not hesitated to allow him to the gathering. The more that came to sit in their circle, the better.

"Does that give a suitable answer?" Luatu said with firm, joyous tone. "I've had it prepared; it should be brought out to us within a few minutes."

As he spoke, he turned to look Akina in the eye, and caught hers with a special glint. She would immediately know that he was indicating this: as soon as dinner was finished and the ones present were assured they were free to enjoy themselves for the duration of the festival (which would last into the night and for at least one more week), he would take her down to the beach she so loved, just the two of them.

"Ah, the wine. One of the best in the world, I would like nothing better than to sit with all of you and drink this until we grow old."

Maqatu Ikkibu. This one the Anshargal did know, and he actually quite enjoyed the man, one of his favorite humans outside of Shikoba. If there was any epitome of the one-of-a-kind mindset and ethic of an Arazuein human, it was Maqatu the Dumuzi.

"I agree wholeheartedly," Luatu replied. With a strong outburst of laughter common to him only in celebratory times such as these, he pondered, "Imagine how much wealth simply trading this wine to others would bring in.

"That is out of the question, of course," he said, answering his own thoughts out loud. "What reason would we have to give outsiders a taste of our amazing paradise?"
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post Aug 8 2007, 01:56 PM
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Lilith was off in the sky, her emerald eyes gazing up at the darkened heavens. She held her drink casually, her elbow propped on one of her knees, the other leg laying lazily on the grass. Her free hand lay likewise, resting on the resting leg, just as lazily. Despite her higher rank, Lilith was quite infamous for being nonchalant and informal whether or not the gathering be business or insouciant. Luckily for the girl festival time was always an easy-going occasion, so she was able to do as she pleased etiquette wise (for the most part, at least).

A gentle breeze ruffled the ribbon around her neck, which didn't phase her at all as she continued to think about nothing in particular as each star was graced with an individual gaze in the sky. There was general small-talk about the comforts of the festival, particularly about the wine and dinner. Lilith didn't drink often, actually not at all, but she always made an exception for Arazure's specialty wine. She was quite partial to sweet drinks.

The Ninurta's thoughts were interrupted by a rascal-of-a-visitor.

"LUA-NE!!" came the child's voice, and despite her rough exterior, Lilith could not help but smile slightly, her gaze being stolen from the skies to see what little Akina was up to. It wasn't long before she was seated upon the Anshargal's shoulder, asking sweetly when dinner would be. The conversation soon went back to the wine, and Lilith decided to grace the conversation with her own input after tuning in.

"Ah, the wine. One of the best in the world, I would like nothing better than to sit with all of you and drink this until we grow old," said Maqatu, an actual human, said. Lilith had no grudges against them; besides, she was seated there taking their form.

"I agree wholeheartedly... Imagine how much wealth simply trading this wine to others would bring in," Luatu started, but simple countered himself: "That is out of the question, of course. What reason would we have to give outsiders a taste of our amazing paradise?"

Lilith deemed this question hypothetical, but chuckled lifting her free hand once in a lazy gesture to wave off such a thought. "Well, if we did, ecstasy would become a plague," she started, looking to the others as she put her humor into the mix, "And there would then be no opposition," she finished with a matter-of-fact-tone. It had a bit of an ego attached on it, but one the other dragons and humans of Arazue would easily understand that it spoke for the whole nation.

She raised her glass to her lips, smiling as she tasted the drink they spoke of. Lilith didn't know what it was about this time of year, but it always made her lighter and more content; this showed in her usually-cold eyes that now had a bit of spark in them - something one would notice as a significant change in her usual persona, but yet so little that any stranger would think she's still cold. Either way, it was a subconscious obligation that Lilith decided she had to have during the festival.
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DeerSlayer
post Aug 10 2007, 10:54 PM
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Hugh tipped his goblet around making to wine inside to roll around the edges. He peered into the glass and watched it got around and around. The red reminded of the blood that had been taken on his orders and by his blade. However every sip brought him farther and farther from the battlefields in his mind.

"Ah, the wine. One of the best in the world, I would like nothing better than to sit with all of you and drink this until we grow old," said Maqatu.

"I agree wholeheartedly... Imagine how much wealth simply trading this wine to others would bring in," Luatu started, but simple countered himself: "That is out of the question, of course. What reason would we have to give outsiders a taste of our amazing paradise?"

One of the high ranking women stood gazing at the sky but on the subject of the bartiering of the wine looked down and stated. "Well, if we did, ecstasy would become a plague, and there would then be no opposition."

"I onze met ey, trribe ov barbarianz who uzed an ecztazy mindzet, zo cauze fear."
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Phyrro
post Aug 12 2007, 11:25 AM
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As Luatu immersed himself further in the beauty of the moment, of the night, of the festival, the Ninurta at last decided to speak up.

"Well, if we did, ecstasy would become a plague, and there would then be no opposition," she said in counter to his comment.

The Anshargal audibly laughed, his head nodding with each chuckle.

"Aye, but where would the fun be in that?" he responded.

As the group settled for a moment, the sounds of celebration from outside the palace drifted in through the open area where the roof should have been. The beautiful, soothing sound of a guitar-like instrument strumming in harmony with light taps on a drum resemblant of a bongo and the claps of many hands permeated the gathering, surreal in combination with the unique lighting mixtures given off by the various instruments set up around the forest path.

Luatu stood slowly, Akina remaining positioned easily on his shoulder as he did so, and turned to face a doorway.

"You are all free to make yourselves comfortable for the moment; don't mind us.

"We will take some dinner with us on the way to the beach," he finished, speaking to the young girl, as his feet dragged tranquilly across the soft grass of the courtyard, up onto the walkway and carried him through the door.
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