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Curved blades


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Far to the west, in Unicorn lands…

Courtiers in a rainbow of gleaming, elegant robes bowed gracefully as she passed, like flowers overburdened by dew. She smiled, her thoughts focusing not on the courtiers but instead on
the celebration around them and the riders in the field.

Scimitars clashed beneath the bright sun, the finely honed edges of their dancing blades flashing prismatic light about the courtyard. Two samurai dressed in the purple and white of the Unicorn Clan fought on a verdant green swath, their display of swordsmanship drawing the attention of the surrounding courtiers, performers, and children alike. Between the waving fans and soft laughter, jugglers gamed, musicians played, and riders performed feats of athletics on the backs of magnificent, prancing steeds.

It was a special day, a festival day. The palace—with its grey slate and whitewashed lumber, stiff and proud—was bedecked with flowers and colorful emblems of purple and white to celebrate the occasion. A warm wind blew banners like candle flames flickering above the curled awnings.

Shinjo Altansarnai walked down the central pathway of the castle grounds, wearing closefitting trousers suited for riding along with a purple keikogi top folded in elaborate ripples over an underrobe of silver and gold. Whereas others wore their swords through their obi belts, Altansarnai’s curved weapon hung in a sheath from a frog by her side, and a knife hilt glittered above the top of her boot.

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