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Of the Flora

Rina Shirai discovers she has abilities to manipulate the growth of plants at will and is forced out of her home. Joining others who too have just discovered their own abilities, she searches for a new home while learning to control her newfound powers.

Plot points/Scenes


Ema Kiodawa sets up her stall, greeting Goro and Rina as they head to fish early morning. Not long after they leave, the sky flashes blue and a plume of fire over the trees. She hurries to investigate and sees Saori, wreathed in flame yet unharmed, drop into the sea.

Chapter 1

Rina hears rumours of the morikyo as she heads to the sea with her dad. Later, when they're selling fish, she spots the strangers the villagers had whispered about. She heads to her cove and unleashes her affinity, quickly spiralling out of control.

Chapter 2

One of the strangers helps Rina before she can lose consciousness. They flee onto Ema's boat as soldiers of House Izawa search for the morikyo. Rina learns of the school in the Heartlands where she could safely learn to use her abilities. Thanking them both, Rina returns home and shakily packs.

Chapter 3

Just after her father returns home, soldiers capture Rina and take her to Ichiro, where she's imprisoned other morikyo, Saori and Kota.

Chapter 4

As Goro prepares to save his daughter, the two strangers, Emre and Yan, approach to ask for passage to Ichiro. Emre tells Goro he has a ferry waiting to go to the Heartlands if he can get Rina out of prison. 

Chapter 5

While Goro is selling his fish on the market, he hears that the morikyo are being transported to the mainland. Goro figures out which boat they had boarded and sabotages it as it enters deep water. Disguised as an officer, he gets to the prisoners to find Rina sneaking out.

Chapter 6

Rina hears the racket and manages to cut open her ropes with a shard of broken glass. She reunites with her father and free Saori and Kota. They are forced back to land by the shapers of the water and the Izawan navy but escape to the ferry with Emre and Yan on horseback, soldiers pressing in on them, while the sea is filled with ships.

Chapter 7

Taking control of the ferry, Emre summons a blanket of shadows to obscure their escape. At the Heartlands, they find a healer to patch up Goro but he can't continue with them. Rina and the gang begin their journey to the north. Back home, Goro is confronted by Maera who has some questions. He figures out she's an assassin.

Chapter 8

The gang head to Vanna to find the location of the school. Yan talks to Kota about the red healers; Emre teaches them to draw from threads safely. They arrive at the city.

Chapter 9

Rina, Saori and Kota get in trouble with the local militia, avoid capture with Emre and Yan's help, but the city sends bounty hunters after them. Maera appears to complicate matters, but the gang escapes as a mysterious hooded figure watches them. An annoyed Maera is confronted by Boran, another assassin. 

Chapter 10 

The bounty hunters intercept them at the port but the gang fights back. They choose the faster but more dangerous route via the sea with the hunters still chasing after them. In the middle of the sea, they are attacked by a sea beast.

Chapter 11

The beast breaks their ship but Kota manages to take control of it and rams into the hunter's ship. The gang rides to safety on the beast.

Chapter 12

Maera attempts to kill Saori but injures Yan badly. A raging Emre kills her with his affinity and loses consciousness. Before Boran can make a move, light creatures appear so they split off. Boran manages to catch Kota and drags him to his camp.

Chapter 13

Kota escapes and heals Yan. Rina finds her father and at his encouragement searches for Boran. They fight and she takes the edge. Saori finds Goro and attacks the light creatures, setting the forest on fire. They run out into the clearing and find Yan, Kota and Emre.

Chapter 14

Goro waits anxiously but soon after Rina emerges. They continue to travel to the school and reaches it safely.

Chapter 15

Emre dies and they give him to the ocean. The group begins their training and make plans for the future.



Rina Shirai lives with her father in Kyota, one of the islands in Yōsune, and she dreams of grand adventures in Asura and Isord and other faraway lands she will never see. She helps her father carry their fishing nets and equipment as they head to the coast when the sky is split in half by a glowing blue thread and they hear cries of fire.   Several days pass and the two head to the coast to fish as usual, but the village is quiet now, with people whispering nervously. A farm on a neighbouring island was burnt down by a young girl who was morikyo, a shaper not of the Water. Saori, she was called, had been dragged to prison and people who knew her were unhappy but feared the authorities and her abilities. They also talked of the two strangers who had just arrived at the village. Rina spies them as she passes through the village square, a man who looks like a Heartlander and the other possibly Isordi. Rina herself feels odd, a tingle on her skin she doesn't understand but dismissed as the tension in the village.


The day passes with no development and Rina finds herself relaxing in her hideout, a rocky cove, enjoying the wind in her hair and spray of seawater on her face. It is a place she often retreats to when she wishes to be alone. She reaches a state of tranquillity she has never experienced before. Somehow she remains calm as she is lifted into the air on a bed of flowers. Leaves, branches and vines weave around her, growing at her command. The air is bright with a reddish-purple light and it doesn't take long for her to lose control. As Rina struggles, she feels something being drained out of her, leaving her limp and battered. Before she could pass out, Rina feels a sharp tug and loses grip on the thread. One of the strangers help her out from the tangle of plants and they hide from the soldiers who swarmed the area. Just before they are caught, the two run into Ema, a fisherwoman who knows Rina well.   On Ema's boat, she tells Rina that people with affinities not of the Water were all taken away, maybe killed, maybe worse, but they never came back, suggesting Rina flee from the archipelago. Rina is shocked and terrified. True, she had always wished to leave the islands, but not completely unprepared and definitely not while being chased and she had no idea where to go. The stranger suggests she head to West Isord where many Houses of the Flora were gathered, but that was practically on the other side of the world. He then talks of a school where harnessing one's affinity was taught–right in the Heartlands. Rina heads back home, passing the soldiers who sprout out all the nasty things they had planned for those not of the Water as they were. Unfortunately, she'd left her boat not far from the cove and it doesn't take long for them to figure out it belonged to the Shirais.   Rina's father returns home but before Rina can say a word, the soldiers burst in and drag her out onto the street. She is taken to Ichiro, a city on one of the larger islands, and imprisoned. She finds Saori, the girl who'd burnt down the farm, and Kota, who she accuses of being a demon. Kota is not a demon and his physical disfigurations, which makes it difficult for him to even breathe, was caused by the use of his affinity for the first time. He is used to being called a monster and the ilk but is polite himself, explaining that he'd given himself in willingly as to not cause his family any more trouble. Saori is rather glad to see Rina even though they had only met briefly during festivals and were far from friends.

Rising Action

Goro, Rina's father, is loading supplies onto his boat as he prepares to head to Ichiro. He is interrupted by the two strangers, who request to be ferried to Ichiro. The man who had helped Rina introduces himself as Emre, his partner as Yan, and quickly figures out who Goro is. He offers passage to the Heartland for Rina if Goro manages to sneak her out, but is cut off by his partner before he can offer to take part in the prison break.   Selling his fish and other wares in the market, Goro figures out that his kid was being loaded onto the port, so he sabotages the boat. Not even the shaper is able to keep it from tilting. As it careens to the side, the officers and soldiers leap off, believing that it is sinking. Goro steals an officer's uniform and climbs aboard. Years in the navy had perfected his commanding voice and the underlings scramble to open the cage to find Rina sneaking out.   Rina hears her father's signal and manages to knock out one of the guards. They have a brief reunion, during which she insists he free Kota and Saori as well. They get the boat back to the port just as reinforcement is called on them and Goro is shot in the leg. Emre and Yan appear with four horses, two of which they are riding. They get Goro on one, Kota on another, and Saori and Rina ride double with Yan and Emre respectively. They hurry onto the ferry, soldiers hot on their heels. With a flash of purple light, Emre pulls shadows across the bay, obscuring their escape. To the Heartlands! Goro is patched up, but he's in no state for long-distance travel nor does he want to. Rina is reluctant to leave her dad, but he assures her that he had never left his home (with a wink), promising to come after her when he was fully healed. Best not tell him where they're going, however. She is starting to feel excited for the journey ahead and prepares to head inland.   House Izawa hires Maera, an Asuran assassin, to kill Saori, thinking that she was headed towards the Houses of the Flame and would spark war if it was revealed that the Izawas dishonoured their pact. They would have been glad to be rid of Kota and Rina as well, but their budget barely covered one. Maera, who is rather inexperienced, shows up at the Shirais' house to ask questions. Goro notices a strange creature she keeps hidden in a cage and uses cheese to draw it out. It is an orspiser, a distant relative to the volgrins and trained by Asuran assassins to detect lies. And it really likes cheese. Maera doesn't tell him who's her target, of course, and heads to the Heartlands.   Rina and the gang travel along the coast towards Vanna, a large city where they find the location of the school. Yan (who is the only one truly unaffected by Kota's appearance) figures out that Kota has been healing their injuries, or at least speeding them up. They talk about threads and affinities and Yan's training at the assassin school (to be named). Emre teaches them how to safely "draw" from the threads, but he cannot teach them to use their affinities, much to their disappointment.   In Vanna, they spend a couple of days washing away their weariness and resupplying. In Vanna, Rina, Kota and Saori wander into a restricted area (Kota's presence definitely made things a lot worse) and are chased by guards who fail to capture them. Instead, the city sends bounty hunters at them. In the chaos, Maera attacks Saori but is driven off by the hunter captain. Rina forms a plant wall and they escape. Saori notices a hooded figure watching them, but no one attacks them. Yan and Emre recognise Maera as an Asuran assassin but don't think she is the one that had been chasing them. Yan suggests two paths to the school, a longer but safer way over land and a shorter but more dangerous way by sea.   Maera is snuck up by Boran, a more experienced assassin who is chasing Emre. They agree to team up.


The bounty hunters find them at a port city, but this time the gang is ready. Rina traps them in vines, Saori blasts fireballs and Kota twists their bodies into... well, they're not alive anymore, that's for sure. They decide to take the shortcut and after a day of peace, encounter a sea beast that smashes through their ship. However, Kota figures out its biology and is able to keep it afloat, steering it in the direction he chooses, smashing into the hunters' ship. On the back of the sea beast, they reach land, leaving the hunters behind.   Maera sneaks up on them and would have slit Saori's throat had Yan not intercepted. Yan is badly injured in the process and Emre kills Maera with his affinity, which nearly kills him as well. It draws the attention of light creatures, hostile beings that were once animal or human. Yan and Emre are too almost-dead for their attention, but they chase after the gang and Boran, who is rather angry at Maera's death. Saori and Rina escape separately, but Kota is captured by the assassin. At his camp, Boran asks him to heal his wounds and Kota reluctantly obeys, given he might have just killed his friend. Boran decides not to kill him, even though he could take Maera's payroll, as healers were rare and sought after.

Falling Action

Rina runs until she ends up on a road winding through the forest where she finds her father, much to her amazement. She breaks down, thinking that all her friends might be dead so Goro says he's proud of her. Rina uses her affinity to look for Boran through the plants that surround him and heads to him, covered from head to toe in ivy. Boran evens the match by using a grounding blade and they fight.    Kota breaks out of his bonds by growing an extra arm and sets out to heal Yan, who is more worried about Emre despite his guts hanging out. There's nothing Kota can do for the latter, unfortunately.    Saori blasts flame at the light creatures but ends up causing a forest fire. Saori and Goro find Kota and Yan, who are carrying Emre and they make it into the clearing. Goro is rather horrified as his daughter is somewhere in the inferno. Saori attempts to control the fire, but it is much easier to set things ablaze than put them out. However, Rina emerges cocooned in singed vines but unharmed. The team make the final stretch to the school and reaches safety.


Emre knows he cannot survive for much longer, but is more relieved than anything else. Yan apologises for failing to take him back to his childhood home, but Emre says there is nothing left there but burnt ruins and he's glad to have helped the gang. He dies and they give him a nice funeral, taken to rest beneath the ocean.   They each have plans for the future. Kota intends to leave with the veil to join the Bél Piros where he could become a proper healer. Saori wants to stay at the school until she can properly control it, perhaps becoming a teacher there one day. After training, Rina was to sail around the world and spread the news of the school, along with her father.




Kyota is a small island in Yōsune with less than a hundred residents, most of whom are fishermen. The beaches are rocky but the water is clear blue, even when travelling beyond shallow water. Most don't wander too far from the coast even if sea beasts are very rarely spotted. The village always smells of seafood–roasted fish, cooked shrimp, boiled crabs and the wind brings in the tang of salt from the Nariin Sea. Seagulls dominate the sky, circling around the unnamed thread that power the island's houses via a small generator. The main mode of transportation is a boat; in fact, children learn to sail before they learn to walk. Small islands in the archipelago such as Kyota are very interconnected and celebrate festivals and holidays together.  


Ichiro is the name of the city and island which is closest to the Heartlands. The second-largest island in Yōsune, Ichiro is the bustling hub for trade between Asura and the Heartlands, rimmed by ports large and small. The largest ports are the North Port and the East Port, the former pointed towards the mainland. In the inner city, roads and houses are made of stone. Criminals from neighbouring islands are all kept in Ichiro's prisons, including the morikyo, shapers not of the Water.
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Cover image: by Andreas Rocha


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