May 21, 2019 9:21 AM
dragon ellie in narutoverse
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"None I cannot fill myself."

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"Alright. I'll leave you to it, then."

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"You do that." She shifts back into her native form and takes off with a mighty sweep of her wings, to circle overhead until her visitors leave. The spot she's chosen... will in fact do well enough, with a bit of work. She can't see anything obviously better from here, and no signs she's likely to. All it needs is a bit of work.

She settles back down to coax the earth into the form she requires. The lack of elementals makes this both easier and harder than times she's done this in the past. The land has no preconceived notion of how it ought to be that she must wrestle with, but she has no aid in her efforts, only her own strength. Which is not inconsiderable. It's an interesting challenge. What might have taken her a week on Azeroth or two on Draenor, she soon realizes will be an exercise of at least a month, perhaps two. She goes for a hunt while pondering the design and takes a deer. Then two more. She'll need sentry eggs, certainly.

There was a lovely little cave she had in the mountains southeast of that high elf city, the ones who talked about the sun all of the time. She quite liked it, before Neltharion called the flight to Draenor. She models her new lair on that, but adds the jagged razor spikes from her last home in the Blade's Edge. This seems a martial sort of world, and it felt appropriate. Her eggs are ready by the time the cave is finished, as she had thought they would be, and she clutches in the main room, deep inside. They are different yet again, spikes not crabbed and greying like Azeroth nor twisty and very slightly springy as Draenor. The spikes are more nubs than anything. Still, the eggs themselves feel correct and so she sets them up in their position as guards, down the hallway and in the entrance and shallowly buried outside.

With that done, she feels secure in setting out to see somewhat more of the world for herself...

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...in her human form. It's one thing to hear, but it is always another to see, and she doesn't want the observation muddied unnecessarily.

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She's left alone while she makes the lair; the local leadership has apparently decided to put off any cultural exchange until she seems less busy.

There's a scattering of small villages nearby, mostly farmers, who'll likely immediately notice any strange women wandering through. Past the villages, though, there's a town with aspirations of city-hood straddling a river, apparently the local trading hub.

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That seems an appropriate place to begin. What sorts of things are traded? And do the mortals here treat gold and silver as valuable similarly to her prior experiences? She has a small pouch of such, acquired in the process of excavation, to exchange for local currency if that seems indicated.

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Most of the coins being used are bronze, copper, or iron. All of the coins have holes in the middle, and are of varying sizes and shapes - mostly circular, oval, or a sort of rounded square - with many having images of flowers and written inscriptions. There are also long, flat silver coins minted with their weight, and a few similarly minted gold coins used only for the most expensive purchases. The bulk of the coins seem newer and generally unified in design, but there are plenty of older coins, and coins of a different design philosophy, possibly minted elsewhere.

Most of the localized trading is for rice, bolts of cloth (mostly cotton), various tools, pottery, alcohol, perfumes, spices and sugar, a few rarer grains, dried meats, more expensive meats preserved with some kind of magic, books, and a few other assorted goods, mostly as useful for household use, but a handful are luxuries. There's gossip about the newness of it all, the ports opening to the north and the trading stations tentatively established at the border - this is a people long used to limited trade, and to diets barely more varied than plain rice. The vast majority of the goods come from within the country, and there's an undercurrent of excitement about any foreign goods.

The people themselves frequently show signs of past and extended malnourishment, their clothes worn but well cared for, any new pieces eagerly showed off.

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A backwater she's landed in, then. Long isolated but now breaking its barriers, if in a less literal sense than would have been appropriate on a world managed by her flight. A product of the boy's initiative, perhaps. Young mortals are energetic and eager for change in such regards, yes? Hmm. This may be good for her, if the populace is too distracted otherwise to object to her presence. Though it is unlikely she goes unnoticed entirely, even wearing the guise of a human. She is one of the tallest people in town, immaculately groomed, her clothes of fine cloth and foreign cut.

What sorts of things do they write their books on?

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A few people notice her - the general assumption seems to be 'shinobi' going by a few murmurs, though not a local one, and there's some wariness.

The books are written on paper, of varying quality. They're mostly bound in cloth or a stiffer, thicker paper. Literacy seems decently widespread. A glimpse inside a book reveals characters too neatly printed to have been produced by a human hand.

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Interesting.

Her next stop is to sample the local cuisine.

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Mixture of 'fairly bland' and 'people experimenting with new and exciting spices.'

(She will need money for anything beyond a very small sample from a small handful of more well-to-do places. More than a few of the food sellers will try to pull her into gossip - the most common topic is where she's from, though most can be nudged into chattering about their new neighbor in the mountains or assorted rumors and speculation about politics.)

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Surely she can find someone willing to trade coinage for metal, even at a rate that may not be strictly even.

What are people's thoughts on the neighbor in the mountains?

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There's a currency exchange - while alternative tender is accepted, people are being encouraged to switch to the newer system. The currency exchange also seems to be a wholesale buyer of bulk goods like rice. The man running the currency exchange whistles at her gold, says she'd probably get a better deal and more of it closer to the mining towns, but he'll trade metal for coins weight for weight - for a small fee, of course.

People mostly seem a lot less nervous than might be expected. There's a general feeling of 'well of course something moved into the mountain's graveyard, didn't I tell you it's haunted', some grumbling about seismic activity, one group of kids arguing about whether the dragon could beat the jounin commander - mostly involving wild speculation on both's powers, about the only thing agreed upon about said jounin commander is he uses a sword and beat Orochimaru (the name is said in a delightedly horrified whisper) and even less about the dragon. (The kids get sidetracked soon enough to another match-up.) There's some wild speculation about where she's from, but almost everyone agrees that basically every theory is ridiculous - a new tailed beast, formed from some emotion in the land; a kami of the earth or the mountain revealing herself; a shinobi with an odd bloodline; an alien from the moon...

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Why is the area considered the mountain's graveyard?

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Everyone's called it that for as long as anyone can remember, is the general consensus. A few people have theories - one man thinks it's just on account of all the giant bones, and that the people who named it were being literal. It's mountains, and it's a graveyard of giant animals. An old woman insists Yama no Kuni - the Mountain Country - used to be there, long, long ago, and that the inhabitants were all wiped out before the Empire fell, killed as rebels - so it's literally the graveyard of Mountain. Another old woman thinks it's the resting place of a mountain kami, and a third thinks it's cursed so everyone who enters dies before their time (she's unpersuaded by her friend pointing out they get trade occasionally from one of the mining towns within the area, nor by the monastery apparently located there).

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What a quaint set of superstitions. None of that sounds like anything she ought to be worrying about.

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The superstition would likely be amused to hear Ellisaria's thoughts.

"You from down south?" one of the more agreeable old women asks her after some good natured bickering. "Not often we get wanderers out this way, though I suppose merchants and pilgrims know no season."

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"More or less. I am newly arrived in this area."

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"Things are going nice enough lately, I suppose. Still, avoid the Yuu Road - it's a bit to the southeast, heads towards Rakushou City, been bandits there for years. Cautious, don't do much violence, so not really on anyone fancy's radar, but a pain for travelers. Though I suppose Oto might clear it out soon enough, they've been good at that recently..."

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"I'll be sure to bear that in mind." This is not the face of a person who thinks that bandits are even remotely any sort of source of danger or concern.

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Probably a shinobi, probably a spy, definitely not her problem, the old woman silently figures.

She does make an agreeable sound, though. "Well, good luck with your journeys."

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"Thank you."

She's probably sufficiently exhausted what this town has to offer. First, back to her lair, to check that it is not disturbed and that if it has been, the protections functioned properly. Then, perhaps this Rakushou City.

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It hasn't been disturbed as far as she can tell.

The road does indeed have someone Highly Suspicious loitering on it, looking tough, but he takes one look at Ellisaria, bows, says, "Shinobi-san," and steps aside.

Rakushou is better off than the town. There's more of a difference between the richest and poorest, and the richest have nice, heavily embroidered silk clothes, but there's still clear signs of renewal and new construction - mostly apartments, from the look of the people around them probably low-cost or subsidized housing. The gossip's different, less new neighbor, more dramas, more latest-work-of-fiction, more politics, more international - Ame is suspected to be about to go to war with Suna and maybe Konoha, Kumo is angry at Konoha for something, people are moderately worried the new jounin commander's ambitions might extend to war, though some people think showing off Oto's strength would be beneficial...

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Tch. Mortal bickering and scheming. They should stop dancing around their issues and settle matters in a straightforward contest or war. Much simpler, much neater.

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There's a wider variety of trade available, too, and even a few shinobi about.

One, a redheaded woman, seems to recognize her, but doesn't make any motion beyond a brief nod in her direction.

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