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Closed Birds of a Feather

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Kalko

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Gold silks and white velvets hung below the gilded pavilion where Niko Ito stood to receive the prisoner. Her presence in the square had caused a stir. Ordinarily, the Matriarch would not step talon on the ground most frequently occupied by citizens and merchants. Ordinarily, prisoners would be dealt with by her mate Ren. Ordinarily, exiles of this breed never had the poise to return.

Niko was Ito's Matriarch; a talented politician and secretary bird, Tengu had orchestrated the downfall of Tamura, installing a puppet who would soon pledge their allegiance and therefore securing the leverage necessary to realise her ambitions of a united nation fulfilled. However, the seal that would give her chosen heir legitimacy remained lost, stolen by a child. Kalko presented an opportunity.

Thrown to the baked flagstones by a pair of guards, Kalko knelt on the ground. "Lady Niko," he said politely, knowing he would not receive her attention otherwise. A clean blow to his head brought him down further, "Do not speak unless addressed." The guard hissed before being paused by a raised golden scaled hand.

"Let him speak." Niko chirped

"Thank you," Kalko croaked, glaring at the guard. "I have returned bearing gifts from the new world, gifts that I have been assured were delivered to your court."

"We received them, and I cannot say it is so sufficient to wipe away your dishonourable conduct. Your treachery cost me a decade, your return reasons enough for your execution, but as you well know I am merciful. You are familiar with the Tamura Clan?"

Kalko flinched. The Tamura family was his assignment in Niko's court, the betrayal to which she referred was the relationship he once shared with Emiyo Tamura, a relationship that ultimately cost Niko an alliance.

"As you may not be already aware, Tamura was attacked by bandits." Niko continued drawing a momentary expression of understanding from her mate. "The Clan survived, but not without casualty, Itsuki Tamura and Emiyo Tamura died in the attack."

Kalko went silent and for a moment, he felt, as imagined Elya did, his heart turning to stone. He visibly shrivelled, he had gained the audience and the opportunity he was searching for only to learn all his hopes led to disappointment. "Yes, a dreadful business that might have been avoided." She said pointedly as if this was his fault.

"Regardless during the assault, the Seal of Tamura was stolen and neither my nor Tamura's scouts have been resourceful enough to find it. So I have a proposition that might interest you, dearest Kalko. I will give you probation to find and recover the seal, and in return, all titles will be returned to you. With the bonus of retribution, of course. Do you accept?"
 
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Kalko

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Located on a secluded isle, within sight of the Capital, was Whisperwind Prison. The inmates trapped here were, according to the Ito murders and traitors. In reality, most were victims imprisoned here either as political rivals or by corrupt officials to close the book on a case.

Until recently, Kalko would have counted himself as one of them. Now he was returning as a different type of prisoner. Kalko, with permission from Niko, had come to liberate the ship's chef Kuri who had joined him in coming ashore.

"Welcome back," Koko hailed to him as he stepped away from the dock, "Apologies in advance, I intended to have Kuri meet you here, but the demon has kept my guard occupied."

Contrary to her guards and masters Kalko found Commandant Koko to be a likeable sort. She performed her duties with respect to both her officers and prisoners, only exerting her power when necessary.

"I hope he has not been in too much trouble. His company would be beneficial to my cause."

"No. Not unless you count being banned from the kitchen." She replied, leading Kalko inside past the reinforced inward opening doors. Leading Kalko through the compound of narrow corridors, they soon reached the courtyard.

It was here he would meet Kuri and hopefully begin his search.

Roku
 
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Kuri

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Banned Him!
Heathens the lot of them!
They simply looked at his food and turned their snobby beaks up!
They didn’t even taste it!
Such a waste of good fish.
And then they called him a demon! They were obviously blind in addition to whatever other brain damage they collectively suffered from.
Traditionalists were no fun.

He was half tempted to turn them all bright pink if not for the complications it would cause himself.

The things he put up with to ensure his allergies weren’t triggered, He’d had to put up with the damp…dirty ship without any proper protection! The thought alone made him shudder let alone being forced to experience it.

At least he could smell a familiar scent on the wind, with luck that would mean his ticket out of here and his quest of culinary delight would continue!
And maybe then he would turn them all into pink salmon, or possibly carnations. Depended on what spice he had on hand.

Oh. .....He was closer than he thought, well he better makes his entrance!
….or he could if they had not taken away his spice pouch!

Who does that! Clearly they were demons of gluttony out to get him!
Or was that famine? Who cared, onwards! For spices!
“Kalko! My saviour!” he called as he caught sight of the bird “My saviour has arrived!” he called once more, chirping with joy.

Maybe now he could get a hold of some ingredients! Or at least amuse himself with pranking some stiff feathered demons without having to face pointy pointy allergies.
 
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Kalko

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(( what would happen if they are flamingos :rolleyes:))

"Your saviour?" Kalko blushed, "Has the few days of isolation driven you mad or was it the kitchen incident." He took his friend's paw shaking it as Elya had taught him. "I'm sorry for getting you into this mess. I have spoken with Niko. She has agreed to grant us liberty but does it not come without a price."

Kalko took a step back extending on wing towards the barracks, "Come. We can talk about it once we have left this prison behind." He began turning back, ready to move at a brisk pace. He had already drawn the attention of the prisoners and preferred not to make a scene.

Roku
 
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Kuri

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His Fur seems to flicker red for a moment as you speak.
“Ah yes” he says with a smile that doesn’t quite meet his eyes “A gentle reminder of what happens when someone uses tools that are not theirs. I’m told several members have lost feathers over there ‘cook’ trying to use my knives…Which I have still to get back”

And then the moment you get out of the barracks his smile flips, becoming something much more sadistic. “Really they should be lucky nothing worse happened, Chaos tends to look unkindly to those that steal from those it likes. Why is there every chance we get back and they have all had something unspeakable, yet distinctly amusing happen to there tiny, tiny little selves, should they try such a thing again.”

“Ah think nothing off it my dear, dear Saviour
” he purrs into your ear “Though if you would be so kind to help me get my hands on some ingredients, I would be appreciative, i find myself needing to work of some frustration after all” he finished with a wink, ignoring everything around him though sheer force of will.
 
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Kalko

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"Please do not call me that," Kalko said, his feathers becoming ruffled as he navigated the scene. Henceforth he remained silent until they had reached the boat and were clear of the isle. He liked Koko, but he did not trust her. Ultimately, she was a member of the Ito dynasty.

"Please forgive my silence. I should explain that our release is conditional, Niko has offered you a pardon if you assist me in tracking down a criminal charged with treason."


He was aware that fact was no secret and would not have drawn the suspicion of Koko or her guards. Kalko trusted Roku to be the intelligent sort and realise this so he continued, "This criminal she informed me was the leader of some bandits, that attacked the estate of my former lover. They also killed her and her mate and children." He spoke with uncertainty feeling off-balance.

"Every feeling I had for her is... well... If I do something stupid stop me, okay... and I'll promise to procure you the finest ingredients Xak'tharakus has to offer."
 
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Kuri

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There was silent laughter dancing in her eyes even as she pouted at his reaction “Fine, spoil my fun” they spoke before settling into the boat, eyes gazed downward at the water.

It wasn't until Kalko spoke once more that the fox's eyes broke their impromptu staring contest with the deep and turned to face the feathered one, once more.

“Hmm” he said with a tap of the chin as he listened to the bird speak “Now I’m not one for violence, I'm positively allergic to it really but…. i suppose I could help you, you did come back for me after all…and I would hate for you to end up as some sort of pot luck…. though I suppose would have some conditions” he helped up a single finger to silence the other before they could speak at this point, after all, they had already promised things had they not? Well, that would just ruin the scene!
And it was clear that his feathered compatriot needs a distraction, possibly something fizzy and with a tangy aftertaste.

He took a moment to pat Kalko’s feathers down before leaning the side and dragging his fingers though the water, pulling them back and letting the now shining droplets fall with a pit pat onto the boat with the sounds of purple flowers.

To help you I would need ingredients, interesting ones. As you are no doubt aware the food I prepare is not the mundane sort that lesser cooks make, no mine is that of wonders!” he raised his hands skywards holding them there for a moment before lowering them with a sigh when a bolt of lightning failed to respond.

“The Hors d'oeuvre I made for your crew where just the tip of the preverbal foxhole.” He smiled, his eyes glazing over as an almost manic grin formed on his lips “and I” he paused for dramatic effect “Have decided to give you…and you alone access to my True dishes for this…. venture, journey?, eh” he finished with a shrug “I'm sure whatever you end up with will be both delicious and dramatic
 
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Kalko

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"Your unique, that's for sure. Now let's see about stocking up at the nearby village." Kalko agreed picking up the nearest paddle, accelerating them towards the nearby fishing village.

Not long after his arrival at village, the vapour haze lifted. Sugar cane and blue paddy fields stretched far into the Horizon. Hydroponics glistening in the late afternoon sun while Tengu tended to the fields. Nearby a small river connected to the nearby Inland sea, and above the distant mountains primordial storms split the horizon.

Navigating the dirt paths between timber houses they passed a crowd, gathered around a performer. A violet plumed pheasant strung a shamisen, a stringed instrument. As she played teal waves swelled around her, a colourful serpent crashed into the waves dragging a monster with it. Beneath the waves the monster was wrapped and bound in chains, trapping then both.

"Heh. I remember this story from my childhood." Kalko said happily as he continued into markets. No one so much bothered them, "It shouldn't surprise you the local speciality is fish, if we're lucky they might have caught some Speartuna. I'll let you take lead on our supplies Master Chef."
 
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Kuri

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“Fish, now that does work up a appetite, tell me how do you feel about gills?” he with ask before wandering off from stall to stall, eventually disappearing into the crowd only to return after a time, now sporting a pack filled with goods and still mostly filled coin purse, which he will hand back to his feathered friend.

“What a wonderful market, I was able to get a few deals for us, and a few dates but I had to turn them down, still, I did manage to haggle my way into a stove or two” they will mention before pulling out a box of Sushi rice balls and handing you one “Much more simple fair, lacking any real spark but filling, I’m afraid without my tools most of my inspiration has abandoned me for the moment, no matter, I am sure that I will find something eventually.”

“Have you managed to gather your own supplies or should we move on? I am unaware how time sensitive this is, though I would be happier to be re-united with my Knives as soon as possible”
 
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Kalko

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"I do enjoy fish, but I don't think you would enjoy how I look without my feathers." Kalko laughs watching his friend descend upon the markets.

He surveyed the market, spotting a Hunter a good place to start he thought. When Roku caught up Kalko standing beside the local blacksmiths inspecting the blades.

Hearing his friend approach he steathed the blade handing it back, "Remarkable work Ossan." My only complaint is that I cannot afford your work."

The Tengu took back the blade sighing, "No. I suppose not." His aged eyes looked up to him sliding forward a leather pouch. "As ordered."

Kalko nodded reaching for his coin pouch, his body froze. It was gone. He began to panic patting down his toga.

"Uhm excuse me, I think you dropped something." Kalko turned looking past Roku to the Tengu from earlier handing him his pouch.

"Oh uhm... Thank you." He replied eyes studying her, he had his doubts. "Sorry. I know it's been awhile, but I couldn't leave my audience on a cliffhanger. My name is Himari."

"Uh Kalko." He turned paying Ossan with the coin pouch. "I hope this will cover the commission."

The old Tengu laid out the coins, taking a moment to count them before nodding. "Less than three quarters. The things I do for you boy." He sighed taking them.

"Yeah I did, here catch." Kalko nodded finally to Roku throwing him the leather bundle. "I hope these grant you renewed inspiration my friend."

"And now you hand my work to a Kitsune." The old Tengu groaned. Meanwhile, Himari watched chuckling. "You keep interesting company Kalko."

"Yeah. We should probably move on. The road to Nakamura is a long one." Kalko agreed.

"Wait. Hang on. Your heading to Nakamura?" Himari asked. Kalko stopped looking back at her, "Yes?"

"You should avoid the road." She began, "The Hattori have been preparing for their assault on the Temple. Patrols are frequent and they might think you a spy. You should wait for nightfall."

"More reason for me to hurry." Kalko countered.

"I know a shortcut. It will save you many days." Himari replied desperately. She had a stake in this, but what?

"Boy you would do well to heed her words. Besides, Kitsune you are a Chef. My bones are cold and gizzard empty, would you cook for me to cover the boys debt?"

"Ossan-"

"Enough Kalko. I used good quality materials and enchantments on those needles." The Tengu said before beginning to cough.

Kalko sighed, "You shouldn't exert yourself Ossan. Alright, Roku fancy showing us what you can do?"
 
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