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Avatar: The Last Airbender RPG

420 years after the fall of Ozai, decades of tranquility have brought about an era where peace is no longer only a mere philosophical abstraction. However beyond the grasp of the Four Nations, a long lost legacy resurfaces.
 
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Cao Cao
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PostSubject: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 20, 2012 10:01 pm

Within the Cao family compound banners where being placed all around the large family home and buildings. At the same time various servants and attendants where preparing food, making tea, and setting up a banquet. As the attendants went about thier work, an elderly woman in her 50's was walking down a hall as she spoke to an attendant in the fire nation's native Draconian language. "Where is he? Is he still preparing? I had hoped he would be done by now?" the woman said as she walked down the hall of the large family home. "Apologies my Lady Xun, he has just emerged from his bath and is dressing now" a servant girl said. Lady Xun shook her head as she felt the heat of the summer sun while saying, "To think I put up with 9 months of carrying the boy.....well I guess we will just have to move along."

Walking down the hall and reaching the end of it, Lady Xun Cao pushed the doors open as a man was removing a robe on the other side. "Cao Cao! Aren't you prepared yet? Our guests will be arriving soon!" Cao Cao shreiked as he covered himself with his robe as a male servant held out a pair of red pants with a black sash that would be used for training. "Mother for goodness sake I was changing! Please you shouldn't see me like this!" Cao Cao said as the servants laughed a bit. Xun Cao shook her head and walked over removing the pants and sash handing them to Cao Cao. "First of all your way to modest for an Army General, you have a fine body and can be proud. 2ndly you seem to forget me cleaning your bare bottom when you couldn't walk or talk, so you have nothing I haven't seen before, thank goodness you got your father's body. 3rdly the Shang family will be arriving soon and you must be ready when they do arrive. This union and marriage will help both our families and strengthen both of us. So please do hurry son!" she said as she left the room.

Cao Cao just stared blankly as the female servant left with a bow and then the male one patted his shoulder. "Don't fret Lord Cao Cao, if you can put up with this then you will love marriage" he said as he helped Cao Cao dress. Cao Cao sighed as he put on the pants and then tied the sash around his waist. "I just don't see how meeting a young girl from the Shang family will help our family become stronger? It's unusal is all I am saying" he said as he tied the sash tightly. The servant nodded and said, "Sometimes sir a General must fight battles he has no control off. Perhaps his reactions will ultimately garner his legacy." Cao Cao nodded in agreement and went to the compound training arena where he knew his mother would have him demonstrate his skills to the guests after thier arrival.

Meanwhile at the entrance to the Cao family compound, Xun Cao waited paitently for the arrival of the Shang family eager to begin the festivties.


Last edited by CaoCao615 on Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 21, 2012 11:07 am

((I hope it's not too long, the next ones will be shorter, promise Very Happy))

It was the perfect afternoon. The sun stood still high on a cloudless sky, and the cool breeze was refreshment after the heat of the noon. Railja stood opposite her teacher, and practicing some basic water bending moves, feeling her emotions rise and fall with the water, flowing down a stream as she took over the water-bubble, drew it around her in a circular movement, and passed it on to her master again, only to get ready to take it over as soon as it had circled around him. Her body was in one single, fluent, endless movement, her legs knee-deep in the cool wet of the family pond.
There the bubble came again, and without diminishing its speed, Railja took it over, let it fly past her back, and was about to hand it back.
"Railja! Railja Shang! Where are you?" Her mother's voice startled Railja, and she froze in her movement. The water she had just been bending splashed down into the lake, and a small wave splashed against her thighs. Her master shook his head, saying something about distractions and concentration, but Railja had turned around and did not listen to him.
"Mother?" Eleynja of the Southern Water Tribe, her mother, stepped outside, frowning. Although she had become more fragile-looking and dainty in her years, mourning for her passed husband, Eleynja was still a strong centre in every environment, a person so full of charisma that it baffled Railja every time she saw her anew. She was some fifty years old, with the first silvery strands in her beautiful, black hair and the deepest blue eyes – that now, filled with anger, sparkled like sharp sapphires.
"Girl, what are you doing? Have you forgotten about our invitation? It's almost time and you haven't even got your hair done yet!"
Railja blushed. She had not forgotten about the invitation, it was rather that she was not used to be invited alongside her elder family members. Her grand ball, that would finally and officially introduce her to society, was not due for another two weeks. She had not been aware that she would be asked to join her family's social engagements before she was officially a grown woman. On the other hand, she of course knew that tonight was the banquet at the Cao estate and she also was well aware that her mother and General Cao’s mother had agreed to meet there in order to talk about their children’s possible marriage. Railja just had not realized they wanted her to be there in person, as she actually did not have much say in the matter.

As always, her mother did not even give her the time to answer, since most of her questions were rhetorical anyway. "Well, better hurry up. We don't want to keep them waiting, do we?" Railja smiled, and bowed to her master before she got out of the water. She wondered what her mother intended to do, it was hours until the banquet started and the Cao estate was not so far away, since they, too, lived in the nobles’ section of the Fire Nation capitol’s upper ring, just a few streets away.

But instead of arguing, Railja nodded hastily and joined her mother, getting back inside and upstairs in no time. Three servant girls were then getting busy to scrub her skin until it burned, rub her dry, cloth her in exquisite garments her mother set out for her, and, especially nightmarish, set up Railja's long, wavy light brown hair in an elegant, complex fashion, a procedure that could take several hours and included waxing her hair to keep it better in place.

She hated this.

But she was used to them doing it for high occasions, and so she endured it with a stoic expression.

While the servant Lia, who had basically raised her up alongside Eleynja, mended her hair, Railja looked at her reflection in the mirror. “Lia,” she asked quietly, “what do you know of General Cao?”“Not that much, Mylady, only what people say in the streets.”
Railja frowned, that was probably more than she had been told. “And what is that?”“Oh, he is a very important man, and handsome. He is one of the youngest Generals this nation ever had, but I bet you knew that.” Railja had not thought about it, but now that the servant mentioned it, she realized it was probably true. “But… what is he like? I mean, as a person?”
The servant laughed, and brushed another small portion of Railja’s hair, before starting to braid it in a complex, five-stranded braid. “And how would I know that, Mylady? I have never had the pleasure of an audience with the General; or a talk with any of his servants, for that matter.”
Railja sighed and smiled at Lia. “Of course you haven’t, excuse me.” Lia smiled back. Their relationship was not the one of a typical servant and mistress, Lia was thrice Railja’s age and had been in the family for a long time. She had seen most of the Shang children grow up, and had especially tended to the girls. She had seen Railja’s elder sisters on similar occasions like this one, and as different as they were, they had asked the exact same questions. It was not the first time that Lia not only gave advice, but also spoke up to her mistress as if they were at least equals.
“Just wait until you meet him. Your mother only has your best interest at heart, as has your elder brother. They would never marry you to someone who is not worthy of you.”
Railja smiled, but it was a sad smile. “But what if he does not like me? What if I dishonour my family?”

“You won’t. You never could.” Her mother stepped closer, and looked at the almost finished hairdo. “That is wonderful work, Lia, we are once more in your debt. Finish that of, and then help Railja with anything else she might still need, will you?”
“Yes, Mistress,” the servant bowed, and put the last braid into position, fixating everything with a few extra hairpins.
“I wish we could have met them in informal clothing. I feel silly, don’t you think this is all a little… too much?” Railja stared at the foreigner that looked back at her from the mirror, a small, dainty, fragile looking, but very beautiful woman in the ceremonial robes of a Fire Nation Noblewoman – deep, dark red, adorned with golden ornaments on the fluent red silk. She looked taller with this gown, but also more feminine, and more adult. And, as far as Railja was concerned, dreadfully overdressed.

"Railja, stop fooling around, the Cao family is one of the most important families of our country; they have been very important military leaders for centuries! Not only have they honoured us with inviting us, they honour us even more with considering you as the wife of General Cao Cao. You will not go there in just any gown. The General's mother, Xu, is known for her good taste and her proper manners."
"Is the General also a fashion connoisseur?" Railja dared ask, then she froze as one of the maids was carefully applying black colour to her already dark eyelashes.
"Don't be silly, Railja, he has different matters to concern himself ab-" Her mother put the jewellery down that she had been examining, trying to choose something for her daughter, and stepped closer from behind, meeting her daughter's eyes in the mirror. "You're making fun of me, aren't you?"
The corners of Railja's mouth flickered as she suppressed laughter. "Please, mother, not even the Fire Lord would dare make fun of you."
Eleynja smiled back at her. "I would not advise him to, either." She winked at her daughter, and kissed her perfectly donned hair. "Be down as soon as you're ready. Lia, the small black stones, those will make a good contrast to her eyes. Hurry up, Railja, we don't want to disappoint them before they even met you." Then she stepped out of the room, probably to control if Terzan was ready or not.

Railja nodded like the good little girl they had raised her to be, and waited while the one maid finished her make-up – soft, almost transparent colours, applied with a lot of care. The secret of a good make-up, she had been taught by her mother, was that it only highlighted your natural beauty, not painted over it.
When she stood up to have the jewellery put into place and had a final look at herself, she could not believe it.
She still looked like herself, but only if she looked at the beautiful young woman in the mirror for a longer time. At first sight, she was a different person: Older, more earnest, and especially, a lot more beautiful. They have done a good job, she realized, but she felt equally uncomfortable. She would rather have gone there in a wide, fluent dress of silk, her hair open, and just talked to the man, without the strict rules of society to maim them.

Meeting him like this was far too official, she felt like some price they had taken out and polished, in order to present her to someone she did not even know.

She slowly turned, watching the strange woman in the mirror turn with mixed feelings. “Smile, Railja,” Lia whispered to her. Railja smiled, cautiously, and the woman smiled back as if her teeth were aching. “Lighten up, child, and you’ll see it’s not that bad.”“It’s not bad, Lia, you did a fantastic job. It is just… it does not look like me. More like one of my dolls…”
Lia chuckled silently. “It looks like you alright. Just no longer like the little girl splashing outside in the pond. You’re grown up.”
Railja shook her head. “No, I haven’t. He will look right through this. What if he does not like me? What if he thinks I am just some spoiled little brat? He is fourteen years older than me...”“If he disapproves of you because of your age, he is more stupid than powerful. He won’t think that. You are a Shang, not some spoiled little child. You come from two lines of very powerful, important people in the Southern Water Tribe and in the Fire Nation. You better stop your whining now and start acting accordingly, too.”

Lia gave her a smack on the backside, and although that was absolutely not her place to do, it brought Railja back to reality. “You are right. I better go; I don’t want to keep them waiting.”

She met her mother and her oldest brother, Terzan, who was also her guardian, downstairs.

Terzan was in his mid-thirties, only slightly older than the man he and her mother had chosen to be her husband – if this evening went as planned. He was a strong, broad man and like most of the male members of the Shang family, he was very tall. Protectively, he put a cloak around her shoulders. Railja realized he was wearing the civil clothing of a fire nation nobleman, tunic, trousers, a shirt and high boots, all in dark red and black colours and, in case of the tunic, adorned with gold. He also had braided his dark brown hair in Fire Nation fashion, with one top knot held in place by the Shang-family’s traditional golden ornate piece with the – now two – family’s heraldic animals, a dragon and a polardog of equal size, intertwined with each other. His beard was freshly trimmed, and in his ceremonial attire he more than ever looked like a true leader.

Eleynja Shang was still in her age a beautiful appearance, strong despite her fragile body, her wilful blue eyes piercing as ever, and her nobility robes of the deepest storm-blue, only her broad belt was of the fiery red of her husband’s family.

As they finally were assembled, they stepped outside and got into their palanquin. Railja would have liked to walk over to the Caos, it was not that far and she would not have minded some fresh air, but of course it would not have been proper behaviour to do so. She felt awfully caged as the servants carried their precious cargo towards their destination, the Cao family estate

_________________
Stand fierce, bow deep, live honest.

Zexenuma j'nah, vaex bekiw, waph vis.


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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 21, 2012 11:16 pm

At the massive Cao family estate, Xun Cao stood on the steps of the estate grounds flanked by an entourage of servants and personal guards. As she stood looking proper and pose, one would hardly believe the woman was 56 years old. Dressed in a proper and expensive red Fire Nation gown, which had the seal of the Cao family on the back; and with fair skin that had not a wrinkle or any sign of aging; with proper make up on her face such as emerald eye liner, and red lipstick. She still maintained the figure of a 30 year old and appeared to look as youthful and strong as she did in her younger years. Her black hair which had a single silver streak going off to the left side of her head was tied in a traditional bun and was properly attended too.

As she waited a servant ran over to her and motioned to speak which she allowed. "My lady, he is ready and waiting at the training grounds. All that you requested has been set up and is awaiting your order" the servant said. "Excellent, it should work it splendidly" she replied with a smile. As she looked around she smiled happily as she saw a palanquin approaching. With a wave of her hand, several banners where raised and unfurled around the roofs of the compound.

Among them were the red banners that held the seal of the Cao family, the seal of the Shang family; both of which hung at the exact same height and width, as well as the flag of the Fire Nation blowing trumiphantly and proudly over all other banners. As the palanquin came to a stop and the occupants got out and approached the compound, Xun Cao walked down to great them with a smile as the various guards and servanst on both sides of the stair case bowed to the two families. "Lord Terzan Shang, Lady Eleynja Shang! I am Xun Cao and on behalf of the Cao family it is my great honor to welcome you all to our home" she said, bowing to the family before approaching.

As she did, she looked around and noticed the young and beautiful girl in the red dress and dark jewels. Smiling at the girl Xun Cao nodded and said, "Ah this very lovely girl must be Railja Shang. I welcome you to our home my dear and know that while you are here, you and your family will be treated as if you where all the Fire Lord himself. I hope you enjoy this evening and banquet that follows the next events. Before entering, are there any questions or concerns I may address at the moment?"


(Don't fret about it, make them as long as you wish, your posts are great! Here is a link to a picture that best describes what the Cao family seal looks like:

https://2img.net/h/i1122.photobucket.com/albums/l530/Feldraxis/DragonFlag2.jpg )
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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 22, 2012 9:51 am

The ride in the palanquin lasted longer than she had thought it would. They sat in silence, hidden from the outside by the heavy, dark blue curtains that bore the sigil of their family on them. Railja and Terzan sat opposite their mother, but Railja did not look at her family. She had opened the curtain at her side to be ajar, and was gazing out of the palanquin, looking at the beautiful, calm streets of the Nobility district in the golden sunset light as if she had never seen them before.

Her mind, however, was neither on the grand gardens, that looked more like parks than like gardens, nor on the spectacular mansions. They had left the Shang mansion, and were passing the Chun's mansion, that's gigantic trees shadowed over the street in a majestic way.

She did not know much about the Chuns, only that neither her brother nor her mother approved of them well. They were what was considered to be new nobility, people who had gained their titles after the fall of Firelord Ozai. Formerly, they had been but merchants and mercenaries, if she believed the rumours she had heard, and their children were still visiting the schools in the merchants' district of the upper ring.

But she did not ponder long on the thoughts about the Chuns. She had more pressing thoughts. "Mother, what is he like? General Cao?" Her mother smiled at her. "I had not yet the pleasure to meet him in person. I only know his mother. We met at the Fire Lord's official banquet half a year past. She is a very... extraordinary woman with a good feeling of style. I value her opinion highly."
Railja exchanged a look with her brother Terzan. She knew what he was thinking - if her mother said something like this about a person, it meant that she had been very impressed by the other one. Eleynja Shang was not one to give out compliments likely.
"Cao Cao is a very honourably, strong man. I am proud to have served under the same banners as he does. He is a good tactician, and a valiant opponent. I don't know if he recalls me, though, it has been a long time and we only met shortly."
Terzan looked at her full of severity. "But I do recommend you to make up your own mind, and not believe everything people tell you." Railja nodded and they fell silent again.

Railja continued to watch the parks outside move by, as she wondered about the man she was about to meet.

Most of her brothers and General Cao had already met, but they had never told her much about him - no more than Terzan just had, for that matter - and she had never asked more about him, back then because it seemed not important, and today, because she had the feeling that Terzan would not tell her any more to not preshape her mind.
Right now, she wished she had shown more interest to the grand men of her country when she had the opportunity, but well - back then Cao Cao had only been one name in a long list of military leaders and important people they knew.

What was he like? Was he like her eldest brother, Terzan, who was head of the Shang family? Earnest, strong, determined, and awe-inspiring? Or like her second brother, Nuran? No, probably not like Nuran. Nuran was the only male member of her family who had never belonged to the military and had never shown any ambition in that direction, either. He was an ambassador, travelling a lot, always with a joke on his lips.
Railja liked all her siblings, but Nuran was something truly special. He also was the one other waterbender amongst the Shang children, all the other ones were either fire benders or non-benders. How she missed training with him...
Maybe the General was more like Verrail, the third son of her family. Verrail was still a Colonel, but stationed in the Dark Nation, and would soon advance since he was very ambitious. Verrail, however, had a warm side he did not show to most people. He was quieter than Terzan and especially Nuran, most of the time watching and listening before he gave his opinion, and what he said was always something valid, profound, sophisticated.

Railja dared not even imagine that General Cao might be like the youngest of her elder brothers, Rozan, who was part of the Fire Lord's personal guard and what might be considered the black sheep of the Shang family. He was very down-to-earth, his best friends came from the ranks of his comrades, most of them being middle to lower class people. Railja loved Rozan more than anyone else, he was the one who would muzzle through her hair, listen to all her sorrows, and laugh at all her jokes, no matter if they were funny to other people. He was always there for her. Except for today.

Her mind got distracted by the dark memory: Rozan and she had had a huge argument a week past, when he came to visit his family. They never argued… Railja herself did not know what had gotten into her, probably the frustration of Terzan and mother planning her whole life for her, telling her what to do and how to behave - that sense of being caged. She had not even told Rozan about the upcoming ball in her honour, when she was going to be introduced to society as a woman of marriageable age.

No, General Cao was probably different from all of them. She had tried to give him a face in her imagination, but most of the time he just resembled one of her brothers, and then vanished into thin air.

"Railja, stop gazing out there. We're almost there," her mother advised her, and sighing, Railja closed the curtain and leaned back, her hand nervously controlled her necklace. It still was exactly where it was supposed to be. "Stop fiddling around. You look gorgeous." Her mother smiled at her, and Railja for just a moment had the feeling, that her mother was nervous too. Terzan, however, seemed to be perfectly calm as he reached out with his hand and touched Railja's, giving her the comfort that she usually gave him.

And then, in that moment, the palanquin turned and stopped. Terzan let go off her hand, after he had whispered to her: "Breathe, and stop trying so hard. They'll love you," before he opened the curtain and got out, turning around to first aid his mother, and then his sister, out of the palanquin.

Then, the perfect head of the family, Terzan offered his mother his hand and lead her towards the large set of stairs before them. Railja stayed one step behind them, respectfully following their lead as she tried to calm herself down. Her first real experience in society. Of course, she had been at official banquets before, but mostly she had sat with the other children at a special table, and besides behaving quietly and properly, nothing had been asked of her. Tonight, she was one of the adults.

A beautiful, astonishingly young looking woman came towards them. Railja thought that she must be around her mother's age, but she did not look like it. Not a wrinkle spoiled her perfect face, and her figure in the red gown, that had been made according to latest fashion and still had a flair of tradition surrounding it, was equally gorgeous. For the first moment tonight, Railja was glad that they had given so much effort to her appearance. Next to this woman, anyone not wearing their best garment looked underdressed.

"Lord Terzan Shang, Lady Eleynja Shang! I am Xun Cao and on behalf of the Cao family it is my great honor to welcome you all to our home," she heard the woman say, and her brother and mother bowed respectfully, though not overly deep. After all, they were equals, no less than the beautiful woman in front of them. "Thank you for your warm welcome, Lady Xun Cao. We are deeply honoured by your kind invitation. And might I present - " Terzan did not finish his sentence, because, as he stepped aside and stretched out a hand, allowing Railja to take it and step forward to the place between her mother and her brother, Xun Cao spoke further on, and respectfully, Terzan did not interrupt their hostess.
"Ah this very lovely girl must be Railja Shang. I welcome you to our home my dear and know that while you are here, you and your family will be treated as if you where all the Fire Lord himself. I hope you enjoy this evening and banquet that follows the next events. Before entering, are there any questions or concerns I may address at the moment?"

Railja bowed in the perfect manner she had studied since she could stand on two legs, not too deep either, but deeper than her elder family members had. Xun Cao was high nobility, like herself, but she was a married woman and mother of the head of her house.

"Thank you for your welcome, Lady Xun Cao. It is an honour to meet you," she said, and dared smile a little as she looked into her new acquaintance's face. Still, she was dead nerovus, and she had the feeling that she trembled slightly, but her face and her voice stayed perfectly calm. As she stepped back and let her mother and brother resume the talking, she could see in their faces that she had done well.
"We would be bad guests, had we come to you with concerns that could not wait until we are in a more private environment." Eleynja Shang smiled at her hostess. "Although I have to admit, I am surprised to not see your son, General Cao. I had hoped to finally meet him tonight. His reputation, or should I say, distinction, precedes him."

_________________
Stand fierce, bow deep, live honest.

Zexenuma j'nah, vaex bekiw, waph vis.


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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeThu Mar 22, 2012 6:36 pm

Nodding to the Shang family members before her, Xun Cao stood up right and said, "My son I can assure you is preparing for your arrival. Before eating tonight I have somehting ver special planned for all of us that I believe you will all truely enjoy. It is something not many have seen and oly a select few experience. That is why Cao Cao is not here at the moment Lady Shang; to prepare for this honor you are about to see, his services where required. Oh enough of my prattling and anticipation honored guests. Please follow me as I escort you to our little surprise."

With that, Xun Cao turned and walked up the steps that led into the Cao family estate. Keeping in pace so as to not seeming to be rushing, she walked into the main hall way, guests in tow and inside was a proper decore of Fire Nation interior design with banners, wall paintings, scrolls, and various paintings that depicted past and present members of the Cao family; men and women all dressed in military and battle armor. "As you know, our family has provided Admirals and Generals for the Fire Nation since it's foundation. Not one member of our family has not served in the military, battling the enemies and threats to our country. Believe it or not, Cao Cao's ancestor of 7 generations was the first female Admiral in the Navy's history" Xun Cao explained motioning to a painting of a tall and fierce looking woman with long hair and strong features, holding a pair of war ships in her hands.

Walking again with her guests, Xun Cao walked up a set of stairs that seemed to lead to a balconey of sorts that had a red curtain covering the other side. Motioning for the Shangs to go through the curtain as she opened it for them, Xun Cao smiled as she followed them onto a balcony that had four chairs lined up next to each other. "This is what I wanted you all to see. Lord Terzan, Lady Eleynja, and Lady Railja; it is my honor for your eyes to lay upon, the Cao Family Training grounds" she said with a big smile. The balconey over looked a massive training field where nuemrous soldiers from the military where training. Swordsman sparred and dueled with kendo sticks, Yu Yan archers where shooting arrows into targets at great distances, fire benders where shooting flames into the air and around the field in thier signature armor, and calvery where jousting and shooting arrows into targets acorss the field.

At the end was a large tent with a marble walkway that led to a battle ring of sorts. Motioning to all the training and sparring below, Xun Cao took a seat in the far right chair while smiling proudly and asked, "Magnificent isn't it?"


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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 24, 2012 8:27 am

Railja followed the lead of her hostess and her elder family members, gazing around the main hall with curiosity. Of course, she was used to an evenly great grand hall at home, but she had seldomly to never been to a different estate than her own familys' different places and the estate of her grandparents at the Southern Pole.
She quickly realized, that the Cao family took their military traditions even more serious than the Shang family. While the Shang family had been responsible for the elite warriors, the body guards of the Fire Nation royalty, they also had been in charge of military observations in the colonies - which today meant for example also the Dark Nation, where Verrail was currently staying - and political affairs. They had a long tradition of men who were important for their country not only as warriors, but also as ambassadors, and they had an evenly long tradition of women being married to the grandest men of their and other nations. Railja had a grand-aunt who was Light Queen, and therefore her grand-cousin was going to be Light King some day. Her own sisters were married to men who were going to be or already were personal advisors to the Earth King and Fire Lord, and all of her brothers had esteemed posts, though none of them was a General yet. Also the Shang men had always preferred to marry both influentially rich and beautiful women. Railja's mother came from a line that was distinctly related to the Southern Water King.

Still, this tradition of training, even for the female members, came astonishing to Railja. The whole family seemed to be determined to just one goal, they were not as fanned out as the Shang family, but therefore probably also more effective in their own field. They obviously were equally proud of their history.
Railja felt more like in a museum than in a home, but she was well aware that this part of the house was probably just that, the formal part for important members of society. The home part was elsewhere.

As they reached the balcony, Railja had to force her own mouth shut. The Shang family had their training grounds as well, but they were not even half as grandeous as these here were. While most Shang members were benders of sorts, they practiced either in their fire bending arena - which was significantly smaller than this areal - or at the lake in their gardens.

Eleynja Shang smiled at her hostess as she took the seat next to her. Railja was thinking about taking the seat far left, but her brother motioned her to sit down next to her mother.
"We are deeply honoured by this presentation, Mylady." Terzan, as the only one, did not sit down like their hostess, but rather stepped forward and put both hands on the parapet, leaning forward slightly and looking the area over with schooled eyes. "This is a whole army you got down there. It's truly magnificent, I have to admit I envy your son for these excellent training grounds." His eyes had started to glow with enthusiasm, and Railja smiled about his happiness. He still was a soldier at heart, although he had had to quit the service due to his many other tasks at hand.
If he would not have been the eldest of four sons, but the second or third son, Railja knew it, he would have stayed in the military and become a General just like father. But he had had to look out for his many siblings, see to it that everything worked out on their many estates, and all of this at the age of 22. He had done a great job, but of course, he often pondered on how his life could have been different. Railja looked up to her eldest brother for his strength, and right now, she pitied him a little. Being around high ranks of the army often reminded him of what he had had to give up for the family. Railja could but hope that his sacrifice had paid out for him as well.

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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeSat Mar 24, 2012 10:11 pm

"I am greatly pleased to have impressed you my honored guests. The men and women you see below are not members of the Cao family, but rather they are soldiers under my son's command. These grounds are open to them and any soldier under his command to come and train in. It was his Great-Grandfather, Xiahou Cao, who gave his life expelling the Dark invaders from our home land, that had them built. His phiosphy was that by having soldiers fight, learn, and train in the home of thier commander; then they become a more cohesive and well trained unit. All of the soldiers he commands are welcome here and all we ask is that they bring thier own armor. We provide all training equipment and food and water. Other then that, they learn to live, fight and train together like a family as Xiahou Cao envisioned" Xun Cao explained with pride.

As Xun Cao looked back at her guests and smiled, she then became serious and said, "Honored Shang family, the reason I have asked you here today is so that I may provide a demostration of sorts. I do not believe in making an offer without first displaying my product, if I may phrase the word. As such for you pleasure, I am pleased to introduce my son Cao Cao, General in the Fire Nation Army." Xun then made a waving motion with her hand; as she did a pair of men looking up at her nodded and together raised a pair of hammers and slammed them into a set of gongs. A loud ringing sound reverberated around the training grounds and as it did all the soldiers below stopped thier training and ran towards the marble arena, lining up on opposite sides of it. Then from the tent, he emerged.

Cao Cao walked from the tent towards the arena. Dressed in only red training pants and a black sash with training boots on, Cao Cao walked strongly and gracefully to the arena. As he was shirtless, his powerful and toned muscles seemed to glisten in the sunlight as his long black hair shined a bit. As he walked the soldiers aorund him bowed thier heads low as they slauted thier leader and General. Cao Cao finally came to a stop at the arena's center and looked up at the viewing balcony. First he smiled in a friendly way to Lord Terzan, one that acknowleged him and also seemed to offer an apology for everything that may seem strange or obtuse. He then bowed to his mother and Lady Elenyja and raised his head as he turned towards Railja. Seeing her for the first time caused his features to soften greatly and he even blushed a little as he saw her. Standing proud and resolute, he bowed to Railja as well, regaining his composure and raising his head and cracking his neck a bit. Xun Cao nodded happily to her son and then made another hannd motion.

As she did, two soldiers armed with kendo sticks jumped into the arena and seemed to surorund Cao Cao. Cao Cao turned to face them and a third soldier tossed him his own kendo stick which he grabbed and entered a Fire Nation style sword stance. The soldiers screamed and charged Cao Cao attacking, slashing and striking quickly, yet Cao cao blocked, countered and parried all thier blows easily and without taking a single hit. One soldier brought his sword down at Cao Cao while another stabbed forward, Cao cao blocked the stab while also side stepping the overhead swing, he then lashed out and kick the first soldier and then swung his stick around hitting him in the back of the head. The man grunted and fell forward unconcious. The stabber jumped back and then attacked again, only for Ca Cao to duck under his strike and hit the man's knees and then swinging his sword low tripping the man and making him fall backwards landing on his head.

Cao Cao sighed and tossed his kendo stick out of the arena as the soldiers cheered and a pair of soldiers carried the unconcious men out of the arena. As they did a female Yu Yan archer jumped into the arena and walked a few feet infront of Cao Cao. Taking a stance, Cao Cao breathed and placed his fists at his hips. The archer nodded and strung an arrow aiming straight for Cao Cao's heart. With a thwip, the arrow fired and headed for Cao Cao who with one quick motion, reached out into the air and grabbed the arrow only a few ins away from his face. Cao Cao nodded to the archer and tossed her arrow back to her. The archer grabbed it, bowed to Cao Cao and leapt out of the arena to the cheers of the soldiers again. As Xun Cao made another hand motion, a pair of Fire benders in thier signature armor and masks got into the arena and stood parallel to Cao Cao. The General aknowleged them and took a stance.

"Swordsmanship, command, and perfect hindsight a good soldier make, but if these where my son's only skills he never would have become a General at his age. Aside from those skills my son, as I'm sure you can testify too Lord Terzan, is one of the most powerful and skilled Fire Benders you will meet" she said as she nodded to the Fire Benders. The benders then started to throw fire balls at Cao cao who would deflect them or throw them back in what soon looked like a fire ball juggling act. After a few moments of this, the fire benders both shot two streams of fire at Cao cao at parallel angles. Cao Cao as such raised his hands, creating a wall of fire that absorbed the fire streams and then shot his ahnds forward sending the wall at the benders. The men jumped out of the way and the fire crashed into a pillar, scorching it and the area around it.

Soldiers quickly sprang to action and doused the flames with water and Cao Cao himself reached out and snuffed the flames with his will as well. The soldiers clapped at his skill and two other soldiers ran into the arena with a pair of targets. The soldiers tossed the targets into the air and as they did, Cao Cao took a stance and made a sweeping motion with his fingers. Soon, blue lightning channeled through his body and pointing his fingers, Cao Cao blasted a pair of blue bolts, that destroyed the targets with ease, reducing them to ash. A round of cheers erupted again along with chants of "CAO CAO! CAO CAO! CAO CAO!" Cao Cao however seemed to ignore the chants and appeared instead to be focused on Railja Shang.

he looked at her in an affectionate way, taking in her features and trying to read her. He had a kind and almost estute look on his face. It was clear he found her quiet beautiful but seemed to be trying to read her personality as well. The sound of his mother cleairng her throat caught his attention and He stood firm and tall again as she spoke. "I thank all of you, my brothers and sisters of Fire for this demonstration. As a show of my thanks, you are all invited to a banquet in honor of my son being chosen to become the husband of the lovely and honored Railja Shang!" she declared to the sound of appluase and cheers.

Everyone then cleared out of the training grounds and Cao Cao himself gave Railja one final bow and turned to head back to the tent at the end of the arena. "My son requires a moment to change and will join us in the dining hall momentarily. Tell me my guests, have you enjoyed your visit so far?" she asked while standing up, prepared to led everyone to the dining hall.


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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 25, 2012 7:20 am

If anything, either he or his mother sure knew how to make an entrance. Railja knew that this whole show was set up to impress them, but it sure worked.

Her brother sat down as the fights started, and from the mesmerized look on his face, she could tell that he was enjoying himself. Her mother, on the other hand, had folded her hands in her lap and sat up straight. Her face was, like most of the time, purest stoic. It was impossible to tell what she was thinking. When the swordfights and arrow catching were done, Railja knew what would come next, and for the first time today, she was excited. She had heard that he was a formidable bender.

She herself had another element, water. But as her family was constantly trying to protect her, they only allowed her to learn the basic moves. Unfortunately for them, her brother Nurian had found this as stupid as she had. He was a full master and he had shown her everything he knew in the long, secret meetings in the gardens, at night. Only he and Rozan shared her secret. She was a bending master despite her young age, rising with the moon as he, Cao, rose with the sun. The power of the elements had always fascinated her, and since her brother Rozan had been injured in an agni kai when watching their brother Verrail fight, she had never been allowed to come and witness one. Of course she had seen mediocre, basic fire bending, but none of her brothers had ever shown her the full extent of it.

When it started, she got up and stepped towards the parapet, trying to take in as much as it as possible. Her mother made a move to stop her, but her brother Terzan held her back and shook his head. Railja did not notice any of their silent conversation. She was watching the bending.
When he redirected lightning, a shiver ran through her. This was a highly advanced, deadly firebending move, and it could only be countered with a technique the firebenders had learned when studying waterbenders. Nurian had told her about it in their secret lessons. Lightning meant sure death for your opponent, except when he knew the one thing that could redirect it, which was a waterbending move, redirecting the flow of energy within your body. It was rare and it was very, very dangerous. A little taken aback by the pure, destructive force, she stepped away from the parapet and sat back down, trying to hide her feelings – as confused as they were just now – behind a stoic face as was proper for a lady.
But then he bowed to her, and looked her directly in the eye. Bashfully, she remembered to lower her eyes, feeling that she had stared at him. She blushed, bit her lower lip even, but then she found her calm again and returned a long, deep look. What was he like? He seemed not to be too proud of what he just had shown, on the other hand, if he was not proud, maybe even arrogant about it, why would he show her? Had his mother told him to, or had it been his plan?

Her face was solemn as she faced him, calm, and a little bit curious.

"I thank all of you, my brothers and sisters of Fire for this demonstration. As a show of my thanks, you are all invited to a banquet in honour of my son being chosen to become the husband of the lovely and honoured Railja Shang!" Xun Cao declared to the sound of applause and cheers, and suddenly, that long moment, that first deep look between them, was broken and Railja found back to reality.

All she got from the man she was being promised to, was a final, proper bow. She needn’t be reminded to graciously bow her head in return, she did it almost mechanically. "My son requires a moment to change and will join us in the dining hall momentarily. Tell me my guests: have you enjoyed your visit so far?"“Or course we have.” Terzan stood up and offered his mother his hand, helping her to stand up, while Railja got to her feet on her own with a slow, yet gracious movement. “I must say, your son even exceeds the expectations his reputation had awoken. I would love to try my fire bending against his one day……” Railja listened to him, and she almost blurted out me too, but she was able to restrain herself. No one here knew what she was capable of, and if they knew, they would still not take her any more serious. “They say I am a master of it, and I have yet to meet my superior. Maybe he would be willing to let me try to defeat him too, although I seriously don’t know who of us will remain superior in such a battle.”
Eleynja cleared her throat and gave her son an earnest look. “This is not a game, Terzan, and you should refrain from such jests. Sparing, even amongst friends, can be dangerous.” She then smiled to her hostess in an almost apologetic way - she obviously had not intended to lessen the extent of what she had just experienced, just trying to control her son's dangerous ideas. “It was truly enlightening. Thank you, and your son, for this extraordinary honour. I know a mother’s pride, but I have seldom seen it being so appropriate before. If you don’t mind, I’ll have a servant bring Railja’s lute, so she can thank your son for this wonderful entertainment by repaying him after dinner?”
They had started to walk towards the dining hall while they talked, and yet Railja, respectfully, had not said anything about how or if she had liked the show – although her standing up and the still slightly blushed cheeks showed that she was not at all surprised in a bad way. Suddenly, she realized that she had just been set up for a concert, or at least a probe, of her musical talent. While she had often played to her family members, she had never before played before an outsider. At once she felt her palms getting all sweaty and trembling. She forced herself to remain calm, but she was definitely getting nervous over this.
What if she ruined it? What if she played a wrong chord, or if he hated music, or if he just hated her choice of music? Well, it was not as if anyone had asked her opinion on this. She remained quiet and smiled sweetly at her mother who had just pushed her into something that made panic boil inside her like a volcano.

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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 25, 2012 7:12 pm

"Wonderful Lady Shang! i am sure my son will enojy the art Lady Railja will provide him" Xun Cao said as she stood up and led the Shang family back down the flight of stairs and through the Cao family estate. As she did she looked back at Terzan and said, "I assure you Lord Shang, my son's skills are very high. I'm sure he would consider it an honor to one day test his mantle to yours." As they all walked and came to a court yard, Xun Cao seeemd to stop and think for a moment. As she did, a mischiveous smile came across her face and she turned back and looked at Railja while motioning for a servant to come over.

"Lady Railja it just crossed my mind, but I had heard you where an admirer of animals where you not? If you would honor me noble Shang family, I have somehting I believe young Railja would greatly enjoy if I may borrow her so to speak for a moment. My servant will escort you Lord Terzana nd you Lady Elenyja to the dining hall where a hearty meal is being prepared" she said with a polite bow.
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PostSubject: Re: The Union of Nobility (drakendottir)   The Union of Nobility (drakendottir) I_icon_minitimeSun Mar 25, 2012 7:21 pm

Railja stupefied, surprised. Yes, she was an admirer of animals, in fact, she loved them. If they were not deemed too dangerous, she would be horseback-riding every spare minute of her time. But how did Xun Cao know all this about her? Had her family told her?
Obviously, Cao Cao's mother was more informed about his future bride than said bride about the groom...

"I enjoy animals very much, indeed," she said quickly, before her mother or her brother could disagree. They exchanged a look, but they did not want to brusque their hostess, either, and followed the servant willingly. Railja was very curious, what was this strange thing she was going to see now? She had already been amazed by the gigantic training grounds, the Caos did not have a menagerie as well - or, did they? They were certainly rich enough, but she had never heard of them collecting any form of animals.

Lady Cao lead her through some hallways, and Railja was getting worried a bit. "I hope we won't keep your son and my family waiting too long?" She asked, with a concerned undertone, "I would not want to seem impolite..."

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