Avatar: It's about your armor. I've never seen anything like it. Where did you get it?
Say'ri: This? It's a common enough sight in Chon'sin. All warriors wear a variation.
Avatar: The shape is unusual, but clever in its design. The plating looks tough as well.
Say'ri: Hardened lacquer. It keeps the armor light while providing excellent defense. It's quite rare to see heavy armor where I come from. And we wield a curved, single-edged blade in both hands, so we do not carry shields.
Avatar: That's a far cry from what I'm used to... Are there any other important differences?
Say'ri: Aye, a world's worth, sir! You'd find much of Chon'sin culture curious. Food, dress...most everything.
Avatar: I'd love to hear more sometime. ...If you don't mind, that is.
Say'ri: Of course. I would be honored. Talk of my homeland keeps it close to my heart.
Avatar: (Did she not hear me? Or is she distracted by something?) (Oh, I say! She's painting! ...Huh, she's actually quite skilled.) Ho there, Say'ri!
Avatar: Sorry! I didn't mean to startle you.
Say'ri: Oh, Avatar! Fie, but you gave me quite the start... I should be the one to apologize for shouting as I did. Er, I was just... That is... Please don't concern yourself with this.
Avatar: What, with the painting? Whyever not? It's breathtaking... You're really talented. There's no reason to hide it, is there?
Say'ri: I suppose not. ...And less still, if you've already seen it.
Avatar: What a lovely tree... But why are the leaves that color?
Say'ri: 'Tis a tree called the cherry. The pink you call out are its blossoms, not its leaves.
Avatar: Interesting. I've never seen one like it.
Say'ri: It's unique to Chon'sin and blooms but briefly once a year.
Avatar: It must be quite a sight.
Say'ri: It is a dearly-beloved symbol of my people. The river near my childhood home was lined with these trees. When in full bloom, 'twas a spectacle fit to steal one's breath away. I think of it often, of late...
Say'ri: Ah, apologies! I lost myself in nostalgia, it seems. I don't know what came over me.
Avatar: Not at all. I enjoy listening to your stories.
Say'ri: Saying so is the greatest reward you could offer. My thanks.
Avatar: Say'ri? Hello? ...Er, I had a question for you.
Say'ri: I am in the tent, my lady. Enter and be welcome.
Avatar: Finally! It feels like I've been looking for... Oh! I'm so sorry! I had no idea you were changing! I'll, er, just step outside.
Say'ri: Fie, Avatar! We are both women, yes? And I've no shame in my body. ...But if it makes you uncomfortable, I shall dress. Give me but a moment.
Say'ri: Sorry to keep you waiting, my lady. Now, you had a question?
Avatar: Well, I did, yes. ...But now I'm actually more interested in your smallclothes. At least, I assume that's what they were? Those bolts of white cloth?
Say'ri: Aye, you have the right of it. My culture has many unique customs—most-like our smallclothes differ as well.
Avatar: But they're just strips of cotton wrapped around your chest and hips. It looks like they could fall off at any moment.
Say'ri: I'm honored that you are interested in the customs and culture of Chon'sin. Mayhap next time we have a moment, I could tell you more.
Avatar: Well, certainly, thank you. I'm most interested...and it may even prove useful. Who knows to what mysterious lands this campaign will end up taking us? A crash course on different cultures might be excellent preparation.
Say'ri: I shall be honored to serve as your guide to Chon'sin, Avatar.
Avatar: Hello, Say'ri. Thank you again for that tea the other day. I was wondering if you'd care to share more about your country's customs?
Say'ri: Aye, my lady! Now, what could I talk about today? Something esoteric, perhaps? Oh, I know. I could tell you of our art... For Chon'sin artists, the most beautiful objects are the old and broken.
Say'ri: Aye and aye again. Something in our eye prefers the patina of age. 'Tis but a different aesthetic.
Avatar: I've only ever thought of aesthetics to mean bright, beautiful things.
Say'ri: Then I shall attempt to explain my people's point of view. Something that's old and worn is infused with a certain beauty. A beauty of hard use, if it pleases you. Of decay and poverty.
Avatar: Poverty? ...That's a bit difficult to wrap my head around.
Say'ri: It does require a new way of looking at things, but it can be done. In time, you'll appreciate the beauty of brown, the allure of rust, the smell of mold.
Avatar: I think I prefer my art to be colorful and clean.
Say'ri: Aye, and to me, such things seem garish and dull, both at once. I much prefer the honest poverty of simple, understated pieces.
Avatar: That's the second time you've used that word, "poverty."
Say'ri: The appreciation of poverty is an essential part of our culture. We often say that poverty teaches us what is truly important in life. Not status, or standing, or possessions, but a loving heart and positive spirit.
Avatar: Mmm, a lesson we should all appreciate. People who become rich are so often spoiled by their wealth and luxury. They end up wanting more and more but can never be satisfied.
Say'ri: Aye! The Chon'sin interest in age and decay is a reminder of that very point. 'Tis a way to remonstrate with ourselves and appreciate what we already have.
Avatar: What a wonderful way of looking at things... I suppose it explains a lot. I've always admired how poised and graceful you look when you fight. You seem...centered. As if the little things don't affect you. And now I understand why.
Say'ri: You honor me, my lady.
Avatar: Heh, it's true though. I think we can all learn a lot from your country.
Say'ri: I'm pleased you've come to think so. Truly. I hope one day you'll come visit.
Avatar: I'd like that very much.
Say'ri: Then we've one more reason to finish this war and restore peace to the world!
Say'ri: You fought the last battle masterfully, my lady. Truly, your power is beyond my ken.
Tiki: You're very kind. Though I must say, it has left me rather tired.
Say'ri: Then pray do not waste your words on me. Go now and rest.
Tiki: Yes, I... Hmm, I fear I...may not have much choice...
Say'ri: My lady?
Tiki: My power has returned, but... Still, I...
Say'ri: M-My lady! No! Alarm! Call forth a healer at once! The Voice is fallen!
Say'ri: Fallen...asleep? My lady? My lady, can you hear me?
Tiki: Mmm... Five more years...
Say'ri: Fie! I pray the war will be long since over by then. Though p'raps it would be for the best to permit her sleep through it. 'Twould be selfishness itself to drag her with us in such frail condition.
Tiki: I'm not so fragile as all that.
Say'ri: Ah! You're awake.
Tiki: I am here of my own will. I wish to stay and be of use. Pray, do not push me away.
Say'ri: On the contrary, my lady! I ask that you do not leave my side. The risks are simply too great for you to wander hill and dale alone.
Tiki: Ah, Say'ri, always so serious! It is sweet of you to fret so. Very well. I give you my word.
Say'ri: The war's end. The day peace returns to the land. The day we might return home for good and all.
Tiki: Yes. With luck, it will come. But I fear the road we walk is paved with the bones of good people. ...Of innocents lost.
Say'ri: Aye and aye again.
Tiki: And poor Yen'fay among them. Do you grieve for him still?
Say'ri: 'Twould be false to say the sadness does not haunt me. But my brother met the end he himself chose. I've come to accept it as unavoidable. What's done is done.
Say'ri: M-My lady?!
Tiki: Lay down your stoic mask. I know the pain tears at you still. If you are in pain, tell me that you hurt! Let me in, Say'ri.
Say'ri: ...What would you have me say?
Tiki: Not that what's done is done! Not that you can forget so easily! Was your bond so feeble that a few weeks marching might erase him from your heart?
Say'ri: Enough! What could you possibly ken of the bond I shared with him?! Forget? Erase him from my heart?! 'Twould be easier to erase the heart entire! He was my brother. ...My only flesh and blood.
Tiki: ...Forgive me, milady. I would retract those words, if possible. It was not my hope to deepen the wound.
Say'ri: My lady, please... Just...
Tiki: But I was desperate to hear the contents of your heart. To hear you speak frankly. I wanted you to tell me everything, Say'ri.
Say'ri: But why? Why me?
Tiki: Because I very dearly want to be your friend.
Tiki: Long have you stood at my side, Say'ri. Always faithfully, but never as a friend. Only as guard, disciple, and servant. I find it terribly lonesome. I think you are a beautiful person, Say'ri, and I would call you an equal. ...A friend.
Say'ri: I fear my lifetime is but a few short days compared to yours. Would you still have me, knowing that I cannot stay for long?
Tiki: Without a moment's hesitation. I am used to loss. Do not deprive me from the joy of ever HAVING.
Say'ri: ...As my lady wishes. Flighty, heedless, and exasperating as you may sometimes be... I like you a great deal as well. So equals it is from this day hence.
Tiki: Equals, from this day hence. ...And thank you, Say'ri.
Morgan: Hmm... I wonder why I have no memory of my mother... All my memories of Father are so crisp and clear... I remember what an amazing tactician he was, all the time we studied together... But nothing at all about my mother. It's one big blank.
Say’ri: What are you doing here, Morgan?
Morgan: Mother! That's amazing! I was just thinking about you! Is this fate?! This is totally fate! Family-style fate! ...Wait, no. How did Father put it? "We're not pawns of some scripted fate. It's invisible ties we forge that bind us." So yeah, it's not fate. It's the whole invisible bond-link... thing!
Say’ri: You don't say...
Morgan: Yup! Even without my memories, there's an invisible thread that links us. Er, but that reminds me... I was just wondering how I could have possibly forgotten you, Mother. Do you think maybe you could help me get those memories back?
Say’ri: Aye, of course, dear. I'd be glad to. After all—
Morgan: Yay! Thanks so much! I'll start preparing. Oh, I can't wait to get started!
Morgan: Perfect! Then let's get started on Project Get Memories of Mom Back! Step one—figure out how we're going to trigger some flashbacks. I've already tried banging my head against a post, but nothing. I mean, it made me dizzy and nauseated, but it didn't unearth any hidden memories. What do you think, Mother? Perhaps a stone wall would work better?
Say’ri: Let's pull back on the head smashing for now, shall we? Perhaps you could try staring at me for a bit? Right into my eyes.
Morgan: Argh, that's perfect! You're a genius! I must have seen your face a million times in the future. It's bound to bring SOMETHING back if I stare at it long enough. Okay, sorry to invade your personal space here, but... Here goes... ...... ....... ......... ............ Drats! It's not working. I don't remember a thing. It's like... Have you ever stared at a word so long it kind of fell apart? And you think, "Is that how that's spelled? Wait, is that even a real WORD?!" Except here it's "Is that what Mother looked like?"
Say’ri: Right... Well, dear, perhaps that's enough of the memory project for one day?
Morgan: Sure... I'm still a little dizzy from banging the post earlier, to be honest... But this doesn't end here! I'm not giving up until I remember you, Mother!
Morgan: *Sigh* No luck today, either... I'm going crazy trying to remember you. I feel so useless! I'm just so... *sniff* Why can't I... *sob*
Say’ri: Come now, Morgan. No tears.
Morgan: B-but I know I must have loved you just as much as I loved Father. I bet we had a million memories together, and the thought of having lost them... I feel like I failed you. Like I... Like I... *sob*
Morgan: *Sniff* S-sorry. I guess I got a little carried away there... Ngh! M-my head! ...Wha—?!
Say’ri: What's wrong?!
Morgan: I...I remembered something! Just one tiny little memory, but... I remember! You were smiling at me... and you called my name...Ha ha! Yes! You looked a little bit older, but it was DEFINITELY you! Oh thank you, Mother. I never would have remembered without your help. And hey, this is great! If I can get one memory back, maybe I can get the rest! It may take time, but I won't stop trying until I remember everything about you.
Say’ri: Take all the time you need, dear. I'll always be here for you... You know that, right?