Roleplay Forums > Parvpora > Ataiyo, Land of the Blue Sun > Nisshoki > A Lingering Sound [P]
Aragami

Character Info
Name: Rashomaru
Age: 16
Alignment: LG
Race: Hanyou
Gender: Male
Class: Swordsman
Silver: 342
Carefully, quietly he stepped through the thicket. The great blade normally slung across his back was now in his hands but still sheathed. He was sure he hadn't walked this way before, there were no marks or signs of where he had tread. Reaching a fork in the path, he felt his spirits sink at the sight of familiar footprints. It was as he feared–he had gone in a giant circle. "I've gotten lost…" Hours ago he had went to the city to run errands for his parents while they were minding the shop. His father and mother worked hard from morning to evening running the small restaurant they had set up at the edge of the market district. It was difficult trying to compete with shops with century-old reputations, but the customers did come. Rashomaru had thought to take a shortcut away from the Han'ei Road in hopes of arriving a half-hour sooner. Regrettably, this hadn't gone the way he had planned.

Menomori was dense, even in the fringes. It didn't seem so at first, as he had thought so when he chose to take a side path through the bamboo. Only when he noticed the same stumps and clusters as he passed that he realized something was wrong. Even worse, the forest's height made determining the passage of time a challenge. With his odachi he had cut a few bamboo stalks to act as markers, yet he was still being turned around. Time was steadily approaching nightfall, and spending a night within the Forest of Eyes was the last thing he wanted. Rumors of ghouls and beasts lurking the shadows searching for wandering travelers surface in his mind, every sound and rustle caused him to throw a worried glance. As the surrounding light dimmed, he took out a lantern and held it close. If only his cousins were here with him now…

Darkness was spreading. The only light was from the lantern, its soft glow beating back the fog's attempt to swallow all sense of direction. For a moment he swore he saw something shift ahead, but he had no other way to go. When his foot broke a dry branch, he jumped to breathe a sigh of relief. Though he stood a head taller than most his age, Menomori had a way of making everyone feel small beneath the endless stalks reaching up to the sky. Believing he was getting scared over nothing, his next step bumped into something. Thinking it was a low wall, he went to climb over when his hand felt warmth…and found the 'wall' was made of scales. Backing away, he stumbled gasping as the head of a huge serpent loomed from the mist. His lantern fell to the ground, its light reflecting off those great yellow eyes. His body froze; he wasn't even sure if Arahabaki could cut through its width. 'Please, let the serpent be an illusion!' He prayed silently.

Jedrek

Character Info
Name: Jedrek
Age: 27
Alignment: CN
Race: Human - dragon infused
Gender: Male
Class: Demon Hunter
Silver: 1983
There was a tinge of guilt that refused to halt its poking in the back of Jedrek’s mind. He had taken leave from the clan’s village without a particular mission having been assigned to him. Brow knit together as he stared at the ground while walking along the random path chosen. The only reason their people were allowed to leave were upon specific assignments. In this case, Jedrek had left in order to get some space along with ability to let himself breath. Permission had been granted. The demon hunter could still see the expression of pity and adoration mixed upon Lady Uial’s face as she granted him his wish. She could not grant him what he truly wanted, but at the very least he could have some well-deserved freedom.

Jedrek tightened his grip on the katana sheath within his left hand. He had brought few provisions with him, as he felt that it would be better to find what was necessary out in the ‘world.’ Without a particular goal in mind, the hunter wanted to see where his feet would take him. Right hand lifted to run through his black locks to push away from his face. He glanced at the long ends that draped over his shoulder to see that the red still refused to dull. The development had been new, and yet he was not completely adverse to the appearance. At first he had thought it a prank from his fellow hunters, but they had admitted that none had their hands in the change. Jedrek merely shrugged to move his attention to rolling up his black coat’s sleeves. The sleeves had undertones of red and at the joints trimmed in gold. He preferred not to wear armor like the rest of his comrades.

Attention finally drifted to his surroundings, which now he realized should have been his first priority. Jedrek cursed under his breath for his lack of caution. The path he had followed had led him into a strange bamboo forest that left his senses on edge. Fingers flexed lightly around the sheath of his sword as he continued on his way. There was no point in turning around since there was not telling how long he had already been in this forest. Night had taken over the course of the day, to where he sighed heavily. His vision had already subconsciously switched to a night vision that made him not notice the changes. ”Blasted fool. It’s your own fault.” He kicked at the dirt path from frustration while moving on.

Golden gaze focused through the rolling fog. The scene was setting itself to be as ‘creepy’ as possible that would have been deemed fit for a horror novel. Jedrek chuckled to himself as he continued on. A distance ahead there was as silhouette of a large male that was illuminated along with a large serpent as a lantern hit the ground. ”Move, kid,” Rek muttered under his breath as he watched for any sort of reaction from either. When there was none to be seen, Jedrek removed his katana from its sheath to move in a flash between the male and the serpent. ”Get out of the way if you aren’t going to do anything productive,” he chastised while pushing at the boy to move to a safer distance.

The serpent adjusted his gaze to the newcomer. It was clear as the great yellow eyes saw the new arrival that it preferred the first intended meal. There was to be less opposition with it instead. Serpent shifted its head to move around Jedrek, but the demon hunter made sure that there was no way to make a move without being impeded by the older male. ”That sword looks quite large. Do you know how to use it? Or do you enjoy just carrying it around?”

Aragami

Character Info
Name: Rashomaru
Age: 16
Alignment: LG
Race: Hanyou
Gender: Male
Class: Swordsman
Silver: 342
He remembered talking with another student who was practicing swordplay long ago. He was an older boy, with hair the color of snow. 'Everybody calls me Shiro. I guess it's because the first thing they see is my hair.'  Back when he was still small, the older boy would spend time chatting with him between practice. He was friendly and always liked telling stories of strange creatures he read from books. 'Shiro, when you think about those things from the books aren't you scared?' 'No, not really. A lot of people are scared of things they don't understand, but somehow it makes me want to know more about them.' 'So if you understand them, you won't be scared anymore?' 'Mmm, it's more of–'I wonder what they're really like?'…'

He apologized silently in his heart: 'I'm sorry Shiro…but I'm not as brave as you. When I see those things, my first feeling is to run.' The voice of a stranger broke the paralysis that had come over his body. Though inside he was shaking, the man was right. He shouldn't have panicked; he should have held more trust in Arahabaki. Taking in a quick breath, Rashomaru gripped the hilt of his odachi preparing to draw it from its scabbard. But before he could unsheathe the blade, the serpent's eyes flashed and its fangs opened wide! Hissing filled his ears as the enormous scaled body sprung forward, jaws intending to swallow him whole. It was too fast for him to move out of the way! That rasping sound was abruptly stopped by a metallic clang, followed by the rumbling from within the beast. Yes, the snake had managed to swallow him…but only halfway. To the stranger, Rashomaru was desperately holding open the massive serpent's mouth using his unsheathed sword. The jaws strained to close down only to meet an equal and opposite resistance from its intended prey. 

Both hands bracing against Arahabaki, he pushed back with all his strength. "I can't allow you to devour me here–mother and father are waiting for me!" Furious rumbling from deep inside the snake blew gusts of torrid air out the open mouth, but he still held on. "I am their only son…I must return home no matter what!" He couldn't tell why he was running his mouth anymore, was it fear or desperation that had gone to his head? Regardless, he was unaware that what he was doing right now was far from ordinary. A normal man would have had his entire being crushed and swallowed within seconds, let alone hold open a giant snake's jaws. Unfortunately Rashomaru and the serpent were now locked in a stalemate. He could no longer use his sword while the beast could not swallow him down. But with them both occupied, it gave the stranger the perfect opportunity to make a move.

Jedrek

Character Info
Name: Jedrek
Age: 27
Alignment: CN
Race: Human - dragon infused
Gender: Male
Class: Demon Hunter
Silver: 1983
”Tsk,” Jedrek clicked with his tongue in annoyance. There had been a grave assumption on the demon hunter’s part that the sword had not been one of ceremonial appearance. Maybe the boy carried it to deter thieves on the road. Whatever it may be, he was not prepared to use it. The serpent was a patient creature in that moment that told him that it was not just an average beast. From the piercing gaze there was a hint of strategic contemplation within the legless being. Golden orbs shifted to the boy again for a split second to, thankfully, see the panicked paralysis end. It was possible from there that they could work together on getting rid of their appeared foe. Jedrek took a more offensive stance instead of defensive now that the kid was making some swordsman like movements. Unfortunately, the hunter’s glee was quickly dashed as the snake managed to get the boy in its jaws in a swift motion.

”For all the sake of Zanar. Kid, you must have pissed off Lady Shiloh in some way for this kind of night.” Jedrek was unsure if there was any person left alive to rebuke. If he had avoided the fangs there was a chance that the boy could be whole in the belly to be cut out. Foot kicked out to be followed by the other in order to propel the hunter out of the way from a lashed out tail that attempted to knock the attacker away. Landing on his feet a short distance away he couldn’t help but laugh at the sight in front of him. ”Looks like maybe Lady Luck hasn’t forsaken you completely. Keep it up and I will get you out of there.”

At that point, Rek was unsure if the only son could hear him since he was going on about how his parents could not lose him. A light sigh escaped him as he glanced down at his left arm that was encircled with a dragon tattoo. ”Time for you to get to work, old friend.” A stir was felt in his chest as if it were a response. Left index finger lightly traced the length of his katana. In its wake was the spark of lightning along the blade. Jedrek stood in the middle of the path for one moment; the next he was gone.

”You can relax now, kid. The creature is dead, and you can come out of there.” Jedrek stood on the left side behind the head of the now decapitated serpent. A clean cut had been made through the beast’s neck that disallowed any retaliation from it. Cloth was procured to clean off his katana before placing it once more within its protective sheath. Jedrek was not the bulkiest of demon hunters in the Jiyu clan, but he was certainly one of the fastest only behind Cole the second heir.

He walked around the dead bulk head to glance around the held open jaw. Bending down at the waist, he tilted his head to look inside where the young man was holding the jaw open with strength and sword. ”You had some quick thinking with lodging yourself in like that. Seriously though, you can come out.” Katana scabbard in his right hand, the hunter walked in a wide circle to find the lantern that had been dropped prior in order to hang it on a nearby bamboo stalk. ”The head has been cut as well as I sent some powerful electric through the nervous system to ensure it was dead across the board.” The older man leaned up a small cluster of bamboo while watching the new acquaintance. ”What is your name? Also, why in the Tree’s name are you out here if you weren’t going to use that giant sword. Dear ancestors you are a big one, aren’t you?” Jedrek could boast about his height enough, but he actually had to look up at the other.

Aragami

Character Info
Name: Rashomaru
Age: 16
Alignment: LG
Race: Hanyou
Gender: Male
Class: Swordsman
Silver: 342
”You can relax now, kid. The creature is dead, and you can come out of there.” His head had been swimming, arms straining to keep Arahabaki from falling horizontal. Seconds became minutes, and minutes felt like an eternity before the stranger's voice broke the haze in his mind. As the serpent's jaw slackened, so did his. Staggering out of the now severed beast's head, Rashomaru propped himself up using his sheathed blade like a crutch. The words of praise and encouragement rolled off him like water on a duck's back. Slumping, he leaned heavily on the odachi as a great sigh of relief escaped. Thank the sun…he was alive. Despite his height, he was still a child at heart. A nervous glance went the serpent's way. "It really is dead…" It took him a while for himself to stop shaking. When the strength came back into his legs, he answered the man's questions. "I'm sorry sir. I've just received this sword recently. I was told not to draw it needlessly, so I never found a chance to use Arahabaki." When the man showed his surprise at his height, the boy's eyes looked aside with embarrassment. "…My name is Rashomaru. Thank you sir, for helping me."

For someone so tall his voice was rather quiet, and his habit of lowering his eyes added to the conflicting image. "I made a mistake…I was hoping to arrive back home earlier but I lost my way. I was sure I was hopelessly lost until I found that serpent, and you found me here." Appearances aside, he was an earnest and honest boy. It was surely night now, and the lantern thankfully was still lit. It was a special one that his mother had given to him once he was old enough to help with the chores. Unlike lamps that needed oil to remain lit, it would cast its own light when darkness came. Having retrieved it, he now felt a little safer. "We've both entered Menomori." Rashomaru said with worry clear in his voice. "I've heard the rumors, but after seeing that great serpent I'm absolutely certain. I'm not sure if we will be able to leave." 

His hand moved to clutch at a small stone hung from a chain around his neck. This was a gift Shiro had given him before he left to go back home. 'This is a wishing stone–'  The older boy had said. 'If you ever feel lost or don't know what to do, take it and hold it out like this. Then, close your eyes and make a wish. Make sure you really mean it! Because if you do, it'll tell you where to go…' It felt foolish, but somewhere deep inside he hoped that it was true. Silently he took the stone in his hand and dangled it by the chain. Closing his eyes, he prayed and with all his heart–made a wish. 'I wish to find a path out of Menomori. I wish to return home.' He was afraid to open his eyes. Would it work? He then feared his doubt would make the stone lose its power and refuse to grant what he wanted. No, he shouldn't be thinking like this. He made his wish again with more resolve. "Please show us the way out, safe and sound." 

As strange and odd as this might be, against all expectations the 'wishing stone' began to move. First slowly then with more energy, it began to sway in a particular direction. Feeling the chain's movement, Rashomaru couldn't believe his eyes! The wishing stone, it worked! "My hand, it isn't moving the stone! Could it be?" With his fear gone, he realized he had forgotten to ask for the man's name. "Sir, forgive me for not asking sooner. Who are you?" This man's eyes, they looked just like his.

Jedrek

Character Info
Name: Jedrek
Age: 27
Alignment: CN
Race: Human - dragon infused
Gender: Male
Class: Demon Hunter
Silver: 1983
Jedrek practiced his aptitude for patience as the young man took his time coming out of his once prison. The hunter lifted a brow as he continued to wait, until finally he had emerged. ”Ahh…there he is to grace us with his presence again. There was a good chance you wouldn’t have been around much longer,” he jested. Jedrek had a habit of not being the most considerate of conversationalists, but none could accuse him of ever being insincere. He watched as the young man attempted to compose himself; it was not going very well. ”Look, kid, do you need some water or something? Maybe some liquor would be better.” He took a step forward while being bent at the waist to look up at the boy. ”Yea. It is dead.” Jedrek grinned brightly as the boy stood back up to his full height, which he matched the same motions to stand straight.

He placed his katana on the ground to lean up against one of the bamboo trees. Hands were shoved into his pants pockets while listening to the young man speak. ”First: no need to call me sir. Jedrek or Rek is just fine. Second: you got a giant sword like that…but never received training on how to use it? Is that the gist that I am getting from what you just said, Rashomaru? I’m going to just call you Rash. The other one is too long for me to wrap my head around.” The older man sighed heavily while rubbing his shoulder and neck. He shook his head repeatedly as he thought about a boy carrying such a weapon with no true capabilities to use it. ”How old are you kid?”

There was little hope that the hunter had that he would get answers that would help alleviate the agitation he now felt in the pit of his stomach. Whoever had gifted him the weapon had not moved forward with the usage. Or, they had and Rash just didn’t have the mind set for its use. Either way, it was almost a death sentence to allow him out alone. ”Well, I have heard a little about Menomori, not much. I don’t get out much besides for work.” Hand swooped down to grab the katana and slipped the weapon and sheath into his belt around his waist to hold it in place. ’So, since you seem to know more. What do you think we do from here? I was just following this path.”

Brow lifted in curiosity at the stone, but didn’t question the capabilities of it. ”Well, let’s follow your little wishing stone. Can’t be worse than what we were already doing.” Jedrek walked over to Rash and as they moved passed the snake he grabbed a piece of the beast. Flesh was rolled over a few times in the hunter’s hands as he examined it. ”Name is Jedrek officially. Like I said, call me Rek if you want. I am a demon hunter for a prestigious clan…though we keep quiet and away. How about you big fella? What are you doing out here on your own? With such a weapon there must be more to it than what you have let on.”

He pocketed the flesh he had taken for further examination later. There was something curious about it that made him wonder about the components. There were more demons that were needed for the next ritual. Such a creature as that snake could be useful. ”Where are we heading to anyway?”

Aragami

Character Info
Name: Rashomaru
Age: 16
Alignment: LG
Race: Hanyou
Gender: Male
Class: Swordsman
Silver: 342
"I was given Arahabaki when I came of age," Rashomaru explained, looking at the great blade in his hands. "This sword was made especially for me as a symbol of my completion of the rite of passage. I have received formal training in how to use a sword, however I have never used such training against a living thing. The most that I trained with were smaller, shorter blades." As he grew older, his instructors and parents quickly found he was outgrowing the practice swords and equipment at a rapid pace. Thus when the boy was granted the blade he named Arahabaki, it was designed for both his height and strength. The older man who addressed himself as Jedrek then asked for his age. "I am sixteen this year." Rashomaru replied in turn. He was expecting exclamations of surprise or doubtful disbelief. It was true he was more than a head taller than those his age and already much taller than his own father. When curious people asked, that was the usual response. He had grown used to it by now.

They followed the wishing stone, the little pendulum guiding them through the twisting paths within the bamboo. Now that they were safe, the two began to talk as they let the wishing stone lead the way. "Normally I don't pass through here, but I took the detour since I was hoping to come home sooner once my errands were done. My mother and father allowed me to go on my own for tasks since I was twelve. Aside from sword training and errands I rarely leave the restaurant. We live on the outskirts of the city–it's closer to the farms where we buy our rice and vegetables. Within Nisshoki there are more customers that would come daily, however the competition is fierce so we settled on opening a little farther away." He said nothing when he saw Jedrek take a piece of the great serpent. He didn't know why the man had taken it for; he was just glad it was dead.

The chatting moved back towards Arahabaki, inevitable as few rarely saw a weapon of its size. Those who typically used it did so on horseback and had to wield it two-handed. "As I have said, Arahabaki is a special blade. In my family on my mother's side, when children come of age they receive their first weapon. It may not always be a sword, but it is custom-designed to suit the recipient in every way. During the coming of age ceremony the weapon is given a name. Just as parents give names to their children, naming the weapon instills a spirit within. Or so grandfather said…" Rashomaru's voice trailed off as his thoughts drifted. They returned back to Jedrek's questions and he continued. "I chose the name 'Arahabaki' for my odachi. Its namesake was a saint whom they said was peerless in martial arts, sorcery, and a great priest. He was exceptional among all three branches, something incredibly rare."

Steadying the lantern to see the wishing stone's next movement, he answered Jedrek's inquiry on where they were headed. "I have asked the stone to lead us out of Menomori towards a main road, preferably Han'ei. Han'ei Road passes by all the farms outside of the city so it is easier to determine one's distance and location. Once we find it, I will be able to return home." Though the mist seemed to be thinning, Rashomaru continued to put his faith in the stone's direction. Part of him feared that if he didn't, the wishing stone would stop working. It was now that he thought back on what Jedrek said about himself. When the man said he was a demon hunter, the boy didn't know what to say. 

'…Half-born demon child!'  The words still rang in his ears since the day his eyes turned golden. His footsteps slowing, he asked the other man a question he had been thinking of for a long time. "Jedrek, what is a demon?"

Jedrek

Character Info
Name: Jedrek
Age: 27
Alignment: CN
Race: Human - dragon infused
Gender: Male
Class: Demon Hunter
Silver: 1983
”Well, Rash…that is quite an intense and in depth ritual you are talking about there. I thought ours were complicated back in the Clan.” He chuckled slightly while reaching behind him to scratch his back in hopes to get the irritant away that suddenly appeared. Jedrek sniffed while finally rolling his shoulders. When Rashomaru stated that he was sixteen there was a low whistle of surprise before he laughed. ”You are indeed a big one. Surely at all your meat and vegetables like your mother instructed when you were little. Good on, ya.” Jedrek had seen those about Rash’s size at that age depending on their particular bond that had been given to them. It was not quite as drastic as Rash’s size, but fairly close. What made him wonder about the boy was his golden eyes that were similar to his own. It was not often that he met others that could give that same gaze.

There was no comment made on the observation. The hunter wanted to continue watching the boy while they attempted to make their way out of the fog riddled bamboo forest. It was clear that the stone that was helping them leave their prison was attached to whatever mood the holder was in. Jedrek could bring it up and the conversation could go a number of ways. Still, he had no proof that the boy was on the same alignment that he was. It could be that they were just conveniently going the same way. This entire interaction could be an elaborate trap for the hunter. Jedrek knew all these possibilities could be true, but he wouldn’t let any of them bother him. Though he was relaxed to the point of lazy on the outside appearing…he was always on alert.

Jedrek let out a small cough in surprise at the word restaurant. ”Wait…that doesn’t really line up. You have all these traditions around your sword and training…but you are in a restaurant. This is sounding like one plus one equals blue right now, kid,” he laughed while waving a hand. In Jiyu, you were designated your occupation from literal birth. There were few ways to vary in the culture that went back to ancient times. ”Keep to your normal route next time. That is the best advice a stranger can give you at this point from my observation.” He winked up at Rashomaru as they walked.

He knew where none of the places that were mentioned. There were still many things he did not know about the outside world. Much of his adulthood had been spent in the village as a personal body guard for the Council. That meant little time for him to explore the outside world. It had only been Uial’s mercy on his heart to allow him to leave the confines of the village’s protection.

When the question was poised, Jedrek’s footfalls halted. ”Why do you ask that?” He tilted his head slightly to the side as he examined the boy’s face closer. ”Is it because you have those golden eyes?’ The hunter pointed at the golden eyes of Rash, but then pointed a finger at his own eyes. ”Golden gaze doesn’t mean you are a demon, if that is what you are trying to get at. Demons are known for the essence of sheer evil. Spirits or essence that has been tortured and mutilated to a raw form of pure malevolence.” Jedrek began to move again along with the direction of the wishing stone’s path. ”There are different degrees of them as well as their power capabilities.”

Aragami

Character Info
Name: Rashomaru
Age: 16
Alignment: LG
Race: Hanyou
Gender: Male
Class: Swordsman
Silver: 342
It was natural for Jedrek to be confused and surprised after all this talk of how he had received his blade. For most the thought would never cross their minds that serving food was their family's business. "Oh, well you see those traditions are from my mother's side of the family. My father chose to start the restaurant for my mother's sake. Without any family members close by, he felt this would allow her to grow more accustomed to a new place. Mother has never used a sword herself so father wanted to choose a line of work that would keep her out of harm's way. He didn't always work in the hospitality business. He said he used to work with a rough crowd when he was younger but didn't want to keep living that way." Rashomaru was particularly careful when he mentioned anything about his mother. His parents had told him his mother had come from Kujishoku and he had seen his cousins and extended family from that place. His father was a local, though he had never lived inside the capital until now. He gave a sheepish nod when Jedrek advised him not to take this sort of shortcut the next time around.

His first visit to see his grandfather made him realize he wasn't the same as his family. His aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and great-grandparents all possessed magnificent horns. His mother reassured him that when he grew older he would get his, but as the years passed they never came. Perhaps it had been a good thing, as he found most children in Nisshoki looked more like him. His father didn't have horns either. That feeling of being different went away for a while until he reached his twelfth year. One day he awoke and found his eyes had turned golden. He didn't understand why, but his parents told him not to worry. Why had his eyes changed color? Why were they different from his parents'? Even when his mother allowed her horns to show her eyes didn't change. It was then that people began to talk and he couldn't look people in the eye. Mother and father asked him if he wanted to continue his sword training at the temple full-time and he agreed. A few years had passed and people eventually forgot about the child with the strange eyes.

Jedrek answered his question: ”Golden gaze doesn’t mean you are a demon, if that is what you are trying to get at. Demons are known for the essence of sheer evil. Spirits or essence that has been tortured and mutilated to a raw form of pure malevolence.” When he heard that, a great burden on his heart was eased. "…I see. Thank you." Thank the gods. If what Jedrek said was true, then his mother wasn't a demon. And knowing that made him happier than he had been for a very long time. Spirits and demons–they weren't the same. He was so happy that he could cry, but he held back the tears for when he was finally home. With perfect timing, they finally stepped out of the misty haze and the forest of bamboo. A wide well-traveled road was before them, clear plains of rice and fields as far as the eye could see. The paddies with stalks of grain had glints of light dancing on the water's surface beneath the moonlight as the night birds began to cry. Rashomaru had seen this road before, and it meant the wishing stone's work was done. 

"We've made it; this is Han'ei Road. If we keep walking down we will reach the outskirts of Nisshoki. Thank you for walking with me here, but this is where I must leave you." He bowed out of gratitude for Jedrek's help. Unsure if the older man had mentioned where he was planning to go, Rashomaru added: "Oh, you are welcome to stop by if you like. Depending on how long spent wandering in Menomori the restaurant might still be open." Regardless whether Jedrek chose to part ways or follow, Rashomaru bowed again before hurrying down the road in the direction of his family's house. There was still quite a long stretch of road before he reached home, so the tall boy and his sword would be seen in the distance.

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