The Last Himeojo

The Last Himeojo


The year 646 of the 4th Age

  Iemoyn Masamai was bored and tired of practicing her arts. Channeling the arcane, gracefully dancing, training in martial arts against wooden dummies, or working on her calligraphy or painting various images. Every single day of her life, the same thing. Just like her elder, princess Nyomei, who knew the outside world, before she was forced to flee Cyran to the vale of Yin'tani. That was over a millennia ago.   Yun'ryu, her father, told her the same thing every time she tried to rebel, to flee the hidden valley, to see and explore the world. "You are the last Himeojo, the last of the elder bloodline of Cyran. Heir to the throne forged by your ancestor, Myrasame, who united the isles in an age of peace. Your time will come when we return to our ancestral home."   Her mother, Hengal, was native to the valley, a secret haven to protect the heir of Myrasame, and in the past was an embassy to the ruling empire of Ethrania, the Altus Concilium, which had fallen from power in the same age that her elder Nyomei fled her homeland.   What tore Iemoyn apart the most was that she was born into two families, her father's who sought to keep her safe and secret, and her mother's that traveled throughout the realm of the Southlands. Her late mother had hunted drakes, fought bandits on the roads, and explored ancient ruins in search of forgotten relics and knowledge. Her mother was a member of both the Concillium Scholaris and the Ordinis Palladium. The Council of Scholars sought to recover and preserve the artifacts and history of age's past. And the Order of the Protectors to protect the lands from danger.   She grew up with her mother's tales and heroic deeds until disease took her away from them. Ever since then, her father raise her in the only way he knew how. Strict discipline and never-ending lessons and training. Not that Iemoyn didn't appreciate all that she had been given and learned, but she wondered, what was the point of it all if she was stuck here in the valley?   Her lessons and all her training was privately done with various teachers and tutors. She was raised away from the other citizens, guests, and students of the valley. They were not permitted to even look at the princess, and not speak until spoken too.   "This is all per the Tao. You are the most sacred here, Himeojo, and we have all sworn to the same belief that we walk the path that will restore you to the seat of Myrasame." Her bodyguard and servant, Lan'aya, has told her more than once. She was one of the few allowed to even befriend Iemoyn and was like an older sister to her, most of the time.   The only time she felt most free was when she was allowed to train at the top of Mount Hoshan, where she could see the Riftmist Ocean to the west, and the dense forests of Tirard and the rest of the mountain range of Aranmynnydd. Here she was free of being treated like a princess that was expected to wear extravagant dresses and makeup. She didn't have to cover or conceal her face from her subjects. And she didn't have to obey traditions and etiquette, even under the careful watch of Lan'aya, here she was able to unleash her inner power she had been told to keep hidden.   She was the first in several generations since Nyomei, that was able to channel elemental magic. She did this by weaving the powers of the arcane in dance as well as her martial arts. In one hand, she could hold a ball of flame and lightning, in the other, a bubble containing intense pressure being orbited by several stones. She could alternatively hold a sphere of electrified water and a flaming rock. She was getting to the point where she could juggle the elements between one another, as long as they didn't conflict. They called her a Spelldancer.   She just wanted to obliterate a real enemy other than a wooden and straw dummy. The call of adventure and wanderlust cried out to her, but she was forbidden. If she were to somehow escape Lan'aya protection, it would bring to her great dishonor to the point that she may take her own life as penance. Iemoyn didn't wish that on anyone, especially Lan'aya.   "If you were not here, honor-bound to protect me, where would you go and what would you do out there?" Iemoyn asked.   Lan'aya shrugged as she meditated on a boulder, "I am honor-bound to House Masamai. If I were not protecting you, I would be protecting another."   "That's what I mean. If you weren't bound to my family, to be truly free to be yourself."   Her protector shrugged again, "I would seek out the heir of Myrasame as per the Tao."   Iemoyn sighed in frustration. "You're impossible, onee-chan."   She continued her practice until a brisk wind blew, and she turned to look towards the west. She saw a large vessel with sails bearing an ornate gold crown on a red background. She knew little of them but knew enough to know that this was the banner of the Davion Northlands, a wealthy region of nobles and tradesmen. And for some reason, they were being allowed to sail into port.   "Why did no one tell me we were expecting guests?" Iemoyn asked. Lan'aya remained silent, still in her mediation. "We have to get back before we miss anything!"   Lan'aya pointed to her backpack resting in front of the boulder. "You'll make no appearances until you've had a bath and are appropriately dressed, Himeojo.   Iemoyn grumbled, but acknowledge that she was probably not very pleasant right now after her time spent training and sweating. She turned to look once more to gaze at the approaching vessel in the distance. Then quickly made for the nearby spring to bathe as quick as possible.  
"Ugh, I hate this dress," Iemoyn said, feeling constricted by her current luxurious garment.   Lan'aya smirked, "It suits you well, Himeojo. Much better than your revealing training wear. You wouldn't want our guests to think of you as a courtesan."   "I'd rather have mobility than extravagance. I can't fight in this." Iemoyn complained.   Much to her surprise, there were two parties gathered here. Horses had arrived carrying a flag bearing an ornate silver sword and shield on a blue background. The banner of the Taskan Southlands, an alliance of free nations and city-states, that her mother was also from.   As they made their way through the gathering crowds, gasps could be heard as the people knelt and averted their eyes and bowed their heads. All save one, a tall, strong man with long reddish-blonde hair and teal colored eyes.   "Greetings, milady I..." Was all he was able to say before Lan'aya charged, swinging her halberd and struck him in the back of the knees, knocking him prone.   "You do not speak to the Himeojo unless spoken to, Juwairen!" Lan'aya shouted to the outsider.   Iemoyn held onto her companion's polearm, "Easy, these are our guests. They are unfamiliar with the traditions of the valley."   The southlander tried to raise his head, but Lan'aya boot was raised and aimed at his face. "Avert your eyes from the princess, outsider. Bow your head and kneel."   He rose to his knees and complied with the guardian's request. "Apologies, your highness."   Lan'aya escorted Iemoyn into the palace, where her father was already in court with guests from the Northlands. The assembly knelt and bowed their heads.   Yun'ryu rose from his throne, "Musume, you've returned from your training early. Please, join us."   Iemoyn took her seat adjacent to her father, as Lan'aya adjusted the princess's veil from showing her visible face. Iemoyn puffed at the veil in annoyance as Lan'aya smiled and whispered, "Behave yourself, Himeojo."   "Please, rise. Lord Maxen Cadomed of the North, this is my daughter, Himeojo Iemoyn Masamai." Yun'ryu spoke, as the gathering rose from their respectful stance.   He saluted and bowed his head, "Greetings, your eminence."   "As you were saying, Lord Maxen, you offer a trade in resources that we desire for free access to our valley. This can be negotiated upon further, but as to your offer of protection, we do not require it. We are quite capable of defending ourselves here in our quiet and secluded valley. As for your offer of vassalage, we shall remain neutral. Neither loyal to your king in the North, or to the alliance in the South. Our oath is to our homeland of Cyran." Yun'ryu said.   Iemoyn wasn't sure what to make of this Northlander, having missed most of the meeting. Something about him unnerved her.   Maxen nodded in agreement, "In time, I hope to reinforce our ties with your house. Speaking on behalf of my king, we seek to aid you in you're reclamation of the isles, so long as you stand with us. And I urge you, Please, lord Yun'ryu, be not manipulated by the Taskans, who will undoubtedly seek to deceive you with their propaganda."   Yun'ryu nodded as Lord Maxen departed back to his vessel, awaiting his next audience. Next came in the Southlander, that Lan'aya had previously dropped to the ground. Iemoyn was intrigued as the man entered, looking like a respectable knight.   The man knelt to one knee and bowed his head, "Greetings, Lord Yun'ryu Masamai. I am Sir Ashenger Scotson, and I am here on behalf of my liege and the council of Everhaven, Dakis Taskan."   "Rise, Sir Scotson, and welcome. What message does your liege deliver you with?" Yun'ryu said. The knight, however, remained kneeling with his head bowed low.   "Unfortunately ill news, your Lordship. I was sent here to deliver a warning that the Northlands intend to assault these lands. A messenger was intercepted attempting to pass through the dwarven fortress of Highwall to the North. It bore the mark of the Daiyuan."   Yun'ryu rose from his seat at the mention of the name, offended. "Do not speak that name here, Southlander! And did you not hear my command to rise?"   He continued to kneel, "Apologies, your highness. I was just previously educated to be respectful of not only your Lordship but of the Himeojo as well."   He turned to look at his daughter, as Iemoyn then spoke, "A quick learner too. You may rise, Sir Knight."   Taking a stand, he continued, "I did not mean to offend, only to state the truth. Your ancestral enemy has allied themselves with the North."   Yun'ryu took his seat once again, "What proof do you bring of this?"   "I have none. Upon breaking the seal of the scroll that was carried, the letter deteriorated. Fortunately, our scholar was able to decipher most of the message before it's destruction. My liege thought this news too important to not deliver to you. As well as to remind that his previous offers of aid and trade still stand, at no demands of servitude or repayment. Everhaven remembers the aid that Yan'tani provided against the Priestlord's reign." Ashenger spoke.   Yun'ryu nodded. "I will need some time to heed your words."   Ashenger bowed low before Yun'ryu, then turned to bow towards Iemoyn, before departing.   She smiled, "He's the first person to address me in court, father."   He grunted, "Pleasantries and poisons, my daughter. I do not know that either kingdom can be trusted."   Still, Iemoyn was impressed by the knight's respect and demeanor. She sensed no deception as the northlander Maxen had claimed. She wanted to question the knight further, not just of petty politics, but of the outside world. And she had a plan to do just that.


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