Saturday, June 27, 2009

Our First Full Day in Jules (long post)

The next morning, we awoke at the 5am morning bell. I'm usually not at all a morning person, but my eyes popped right open that day. I was too excited to stay in bed. I was surprisingly the first one to shoot out of bed and run to the giant window.

Most of the windows in the Palace of Furier are floor-to-ceiling and they have glass in them. The windows in the Julese Palace (that I had seen anyway) were all shaped like arches, and they were open, no glass. They were large, but they didn't go all the way from the ceiling to the floor. They started just below my shoulders (I'm fairly tall), and then arched up a good ten feet.

"Wow," I said, gazing out the window. "Look, the sun is rising." The red-golden rays soaked the Palace in a sunny glow. The window looked out to a piece of the courtyard garden, so we got to see the sun on all the flowers and sparkle in the fountains, too.

At home, all our windows face south, so wer never really get to see either the sunrise from there.

After a few minutes of taking in the beautfy, Firefly decided to be practical and said,

"Alright, we should be getting dressed now. You know we have to look perfect for the Emperor."

"And the Empress," Sparkle protested. "It's not all about the men, you know."

"You mean it shouldn't be," Firefly corrected indignantly. "Because it is whether it's right or not."

"What should we wear?" Flicker asked, frowning. "Our kachina costumes or our clothes?" Firefly frowned.

"I don't know," she admitted. "Why don't we put on some good clothes, and then see if we need to change. As long as we look like true kachinas, I don't think it matters what we wear."

"I think you're wrong about that," I put in. "But I still agree about what to wear."

We all got dressed in outfits that looked something like this: with our tights, of course.

Then, we waited. Especially when one is a guest, it is proper not to do anything until called.

Shortly, someone came and led us to the dining room for the servants and slaves. The food was much like it is in Furier, only not quite as spicy and there was more fruit.

As we were finishing our breakfast, a well-dressed servant woman scurried up to us and whispered,

"If you would come with me, the Princess Sadira would like to see you." Of course, our first thought was, "What have we done wrong already?", but then the servant went on:

"And dress in your dancing clothes. She wants to see you dance."

That was odd, but not bad. We all wondered why she didn't just get her own kachinas to entertain her. Perhaps she was tired of their routines.

We hurried back to our room and changed into our costumes, and then the servant led us out into the coutyard.

"She's over there," she said, pointing. The princess was sitting on the edge of a fountain on the far side of the garden. I smiled. She couldn't have been more than eight years old. She was dressed strangly, though. Not like a princess. More like...a kachina.

The servant left us and we went over to the princess. She was dressed like a kachina, but not a Furierite one, a Julese one. The difference in style was obvious. (The skirts of Julese kachinas are much longer and more flowing.)

"Good morning, your majesty," Firefly spoke for us all as we curtsied, Furierite style.

"Good morning," the princess responded politely. She seemed kind, but almost nervous. She did not smile.

"We were told you wanted to see us dance," I said. Princess Sadira shook her head.

"That's not quite true," she said, looking over her shoulder. She leaned in toward us. "I want to learn how to dance."

We kachinas exchanged nervous glances. Apparently, teaching the princess to dance like a kachina was an unapproved activity, hence her anxiety. We would surely get into trouble if we did. But would the princess be angry if we refused?

"Why don't you ask one of your own kachinas to teach you, your majesty?" I asked, curious. The princess sighed and trailed her finger through the fountain water.

"They won't," she said sadly. "The tivas* here have been specifically told not to teach me. But you have not. You have not been forbidden to teach me."

"Why do you want to learn so badly, majesty?" Sparkle asked. The princess smiled, her eyes lit up.

"Because the way tivas dance is beautiful!" she cried. "Traditional Julese dancing is just dancing, but dancing like tivas is something else. It's like singing with your body."

Right then and there, I was willing to teach the little princess. She felt about dancing the same way I did. It wasn't just dancing; it was art.

"I will teach you, Princess," I said quickly. The other kachinas glared at me.

"Ember," Firefly snapped. "What are you thinking? If the Emperor were to find out, it could compromise this entire diplomatic visit."

"Firefly is right," Flare said. I was surprised; she usually sides with me in these things.

"It's like the princess said," I began. "We haven't been told not to teach her. If the Emperor finds out, we can just say we didn't know we weren't supposed to."

"But then the princess would get in trouble," Firefly pointed out. "That's hardly fair."

"No, what's hardly fair is depriving someone of what they're passionate about," I retorted. "I know I love dancing more than the rest of you, so it's possible that you just don't understand. If the princess loves dancing like I do, keeping it from her now won't make a difference. She'll just find some other way later on, and perhaps not the best way."

"Well, at least we won't be involved," Firefly said hotly. "I know you won't think about the rest of our skins, but think about the princess's. If her father were to find out she learned kachina dancing behind his back, he would surely be very angry with her! And who knows what would become of us! The Emperor would probably have us punished, but even if he didn't, the Fire Lord most certainly would. No, you teach the princess if you want to, but I, for one, will NOT." She curtsied to the princess and hurried out of the courtyard. Flicker and Comet followed.

I turned to watch them, frowning.

"Wait!" I called desperately. As much as I they irritate me, it always feels wrong to do things without all of us. Firefly didn't wait, though. She kept going. Flicker and Comet waited. I went on. "What if we just dance for the princess? Do the same routine over and over. Sooner or later, she'll pick it up. Maybe we can just tell her a few tips. She'll never actually have to dance. If anyone comes by or sees us, they'll just see us entertaining the princess like good guest kachinas should." I looked back at the princess. "Does that sound alright?" She nodded eagerly.

"Yes, thank you," she said. "It's more than my own tivas would ever do for me. Thank you!" I smiled. I really liked the princess. She was kind to us. The Fire Lord would never dream of thanking a slave.

I looked back at Comet and Flicker. Flicker was shaking her head. She turned and ran after Firefly. Comet came back, though. Flare and Sparkle agreed as well.

For amateur kachinas, dancing in perfect unison while keeping the same tempo without music would be next to impossible, but we, of course, are no amateurs. We entertained the princess for a couple of shadowmarks before someone came to fetch us. We were wanted in the throne room. It was time to entertain the Emperor.

The only problem was, Firefly and Flicker were still not with us, so we had to go back to our room to get them.

They weren't there.

We began to panic. It wouldn't do to keep the Emperor waiting while we searched, but several of best our routines required all six of us. Not to mention the fact that if Firefly and Flicker didn't dance, the Fire Lord would be extremely displeased.

We were beginning to get truly worried when Firefly and Flicker waltzed into the room.

"Where have you been?!" I cried angrily, marching over. "It's time for us to entertain the Emperor, and if he's angry at being kept waiting, it'll be all your fault!" I grabbed Firefly's hand and Flare grabbed Flicker and we raced through the halls to the throne room.

But we couldn't find it.

The Palace was so huge, and with all the complicated designs on the walls, it was impossible to tell one hallway from another. Where were all the servants and slaves, anyway? We kept hoping we would run into someone who could point us in the right direction, but no one was to be seen.

Then it occured to us: they were all in the throne room, waiting for us.

This was horrible. Punctuality is so important for guests, and even more imporant for slaves! The Fire Lord has a low tolerance for tardiness, so I doubted the harsh Emperor of Jules would be any different.

By the time we finally found the throne room doors, Flicker was crying, Firefly and I were nearly screaming at each other, Flare had gone completely silent, Sparkle was muttering to herself, and Comet kept repeating, "Just stay calm, we have to stay calm."

The sight of the huge double doors of a throne room was beautiful to us.

"For mercy's sake, Flicker!" I snapped, shaking the little blonde sparktress. "Stop crying and pull yourself together! If you go into the throne room looking like a sobbing beggar, they'll be hell to pay."

"As if there won't already be hell to pay," Firefly snapped. "We must be half a shadowmark late at the earliest!"

The guards standing at the throne room doors were ignoring us while we tried to gain composure.

"Alright, listen to me," I hissed angrily. "We're already in trouble. Now, it's possible that we can salvage this catastrophe if we put our best foot forward and behave like the brilliant kachinas we are. We are going to walk into this throne room with apologetic yet confident expressions. We are going to position ourselves in the center of the room. We are going to hear the music and surrender all control to our love dancing. We are going to shock and awe the people of Jules like no kachina has ever done before. By the time we're finished with our performance, our tardiness will be long forgotten and the Emperor will tell the Fire Lord that he has the best kachinas Jeolotoe has ever seen. Alright? Good. Let's go. Guards, if you would open the doors, please..."

It didn't go quite like that.

It went even better.

The Emperor did not even notice our being late because his daughter was even later. Yes, the Princess Sadira was not yet present, and that's who everyone was thinking about. Well, everyone except the Fire Lord. He most certainly did notice our tardiness and by the look he threw at us, he intended to teach us a lesson after our performance.

I know this isn't a very important detail, but I have a picture of the Empress Nala I'd like to show you: Isn't she lovely?

Princess Sadira arrived a quarter shadowmark after we did, and then the Julese kachinas (tivas) were called into the center of the room.

The way this sort of thing works, I'm told is this: when a royal family or person is a guest and has brought his kachinas with him, there is an air of competition about the room. In this case, the Emperor wanted to show the Fire Lord how great his city was by showing him that his tivas were beyond compare. The Fire Lord wanted to do the same. It's quite odd to me that the grandeur of a city is measured by its dancers.

The tivas took their places in the center of the room and waited for the music. They all looked nervous. Flute music suddenly floated into the air, and the tivas prepared to begin. On the next one count, they timidly flew into action. The flute music trilled around them. The tivas' movements were fluid and graceful but in a weak way. It wasn’t like they were controlling their movements, it was like they didn’t have the energy to move any different. Something about the way they danced was almost desperate.

They performed maybe five routines before the Emperor dismissed them with a wave of his hand. They bowed, Julese style, and went to their place agasint the wall. Apparently that was the same in every city.

The Emperor looked proud of what his tivas had just done, but it was all we kachinas could do to keep from grinning. We could out dance them in our sleep.

The Emperor motioned for us to come to the center of the room, and we did. Firefly whispered that we would perform routine nineteen, and we took out beginning poses.

There's nothing quite like the tingling sensation I get when I'm about to perform for someone new. Standing in the center of the fresh, blue and golden throne room, I felt like I could do anything.

The eerie music began. Firefly breathed,

“Five, six, seven, eight.” We suddenly snapped into action, all at precisely the same moment. Our movements were sharp and exact. We twisted and twirled effortlessly, making the art of dance look almost easy, smiling all the while. The dance was alluring instead of disappointing.

The crowd actually gasped as we danced our hearts out. They were shocked at our skill. I caught the Fire Lord's eye once. He actually looked proud of us. I've never felt so good in my entire life. In my whole life as a kachina, I don't think I've ever once felt like I had pleased my Lord.

When we finished, we stopped abruptly, whirled to face the Emperor, and executed a dramatic Furierite curtsy--in perfect unison, of course. We had done well. The Emperor seemed shocked, slightly dismayed, and yet thrilled at our performance. He told us we were excellent, and we were all dismissed.

The Fire Lord was so pleased that he never punished us for being late. The rest of the day passed uneventfully, but well. I was really enjoying my stay in Jules.

Sorry for the long post! If you got this far, I'm impressed, and thank you. *smiles*

Friday, June 26, 2009

The First Day in Jules

We're in Jules, and have been for three days now!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Frozen fire! this is a beautiful and exciting city!

I have a picture to show you, but I can't seem to format it correctly. I'll have to paint pictures for you with words instead. It'll be impossible to convey the beauty and elegance and exoticness, though.

The colors of my city of Furier are gold and red, but Jules is a blue city. It's blue with lots of marble, yet it retains the exotic feel.

Let me go back to the beginning of our arrival. I'm warning you, this may be a long post, but I simply must capture this experience.

When we reached the edges of the city at around sunset, it didn't seem like the people were even close to going to bed. All throughout the wide, dirt streets, people were dancing with bright-colored streamers. I thought there must be a celebration going on, but when we drew nearer, someone cried out,

"Hail! The Lord of Fire!"

The dancing and music was for us! What a way to be welcomed. It was fantastic. Paper lanterns and streamers hung from everywhere and thousands of flute notes floated through the air.

The Fire Lord responded politely with a brief thank-you speech with a few compliments thrown in, and we were on our way again. The Fire Lord had us kachinas walk in the front of his little procession. I think he was actually proud of us. He knew we were every bit as good as the Julese street dancers.

My first impression (other than the welcoming festival) was how straight everyone's posture was. I know that's an odd thing to notice, but everyone in Jules, even the children, seemed to carry themselves with an air of grace and poise and total confidence.

The people also all looked exactly as I had been told: long, silky-straight black hair and black, almond shaped eyes. Their skin was also very pale, especially in contrast to we fire fairies' tan-and-rose complexion. Everyone was quite beautiful, even the commoners, but perhaps it's just that they were different from any people I had ever seen. The humans in Furier all have brown or blonde hair with brown (sometimes blue) eyes and white, though tanned, skin. Nothing as extreme as black hair with skin like moonlight.

It took us several more shadowmarks to reach the Julese Palace. When we saw it, my eyes grew large and my mouth fell open. It was just as great as the Palace of Furier, but instead of all gold, this palace was made of marble with a bright blue roof and gold curling designs decorating the columns and huge windows. It was the most intricate thing I have ever seen. The Palace of Furier is fairly simple with large, bold architechture. The Julese Palace was just so much more detailed, and in the gathering dusk, it looked cold and almost haunting.

When we neared the Palace, several men blew a high, clear note on a strange instrument and the great, white, arched doors of the Palace swung open. Out rode a dozen great, white horses and six white elephants, all painted with Julese designs. I was shocked to see animals coming out of a palace, but when I looked through the doors, I could see grass inside. There was a huge courtyard inside, big enough to put a small settlement.

In the middle of the group of white elephants and horses, on the biggest elephant of all, sitting in an extravagant litter, rode the Emperor Nero and Empress Nala of Jules. They were dressed in classic Julese attire: he wore a light, sheer blue shirt and baggy, white pants with pointed shoes. On his head sat an impressive silver crown with blue and green jewels sitting in it. His arms were spread wide in a welcoming gesture to us, and he smiled as though he'd been waiting his whole life to meet us. His jet black hair matched his eyes, which were outlined in black to make them stand out even more. His tattoos were visible through his shirt, and I could see that he had plenty of them.

The Empress wore a small blue top with silver tassels and thread designs. Her sleeves matched the billowy, sheer blue style of her husband's shirt. Her skirt was also blue, and dripped with all sorts of jewels. On her head was the delicate silver crown of Jules with a sapphire drop resting gracefully on her forehead. Multiple gold and silver bangles adorned her arms, and she had four anklets on each foot.

They both sat cross-legged.

I didn't notice her at first, but after a moment, I spotted another figure on a smaller elephant riding behind the Emperor and Empress. It was the young Princess Sadira.

"Welcome, Lord of Fire!" Emperor Nero called. "We are honored with your visit."

He and the Fire Lord exchanged customary formalitites and pleasantries, and then we were ceremoniously led into the courtyard, which was almost more impressive than the outside of the Palace. The gardens were bursting with colorful flowers and the fountains were breathtaking. I could almost feel the Fire Lord planning to add some splendor to his own Palace.

Several times, I leaned over to say something to Flare or Firefly, but then remembered; we had been strictly forbidden to speak in the presence of the Emperor and Empress. For all their hearty welcoming and smiles, the Julese were said to be a harsh people.

"Please, we know you are very tired from your journey," the Emperor said as soon as we were all in the throne room and he was sitting on his throne. "It would be unhospitable of us to try and entertain you further tonight. I will have somone escourt you to the guest wing immediately."

This was odd to me, for whenever a guest comes to Furier, everyone stays up at least half the night performing and eating and drinking and singing. I suppose we Furierites are just an eager sort of culture.

By this time, I was really very sleepy and not taking in much more. The long walk to the guest wing of the Palace is a bit blurry. I do remember everything being white marble with blue veins, and there being a lot of details and lots of silver. The Palace was truly huge as well. It sprawled over a great area, unlike the Palace of Furier, which is really rather small as palaces go.

The room we kachinas were led to was large with two big beds. It wasn't a fancy room by any reckoning, but it was better than what we had at home. The blankets were light and airy, and the pillows were oddly rounded. There were so many great, arched windows around the room that it felt almost like sleeping outside.

Firefly, Flare and I claimed one of the big beds, and Sparkle, Comet and Flicker slept in the other. Comet and Flicker were soon asleep, but the other four of us stayed awake for some time, marveling at all the grandeur around us. It had been an interesting day for sure, but we knew the next few days would be even more full of surprises.

We were right. Some completely unexpected things have happened the last three days, some good, some bad. Right now, though, I'm exhausted and I don't think I can write any more tonight. I'll try to write tomorrow, though, and tell you everything.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Still Traveling

I can't believe it, I'm actually posting two days in a row. *smiles*

We're still making excellent time, and the word is that we'll be in Jules by sunset, which is still a bit late considering it's summertime. Today has been the hottest of all. I'm so tired. My eyes are burning, everything aches, I have a headache, etc. etc. I can't wait to get to Jules, although I'm sure we all look a fright. I hope we'll be able to freshen up a little before meeting the Emperor.

I'm also very hungry and thirsty and bored. We harassed the guards and spies for a while, but then they got irritated enough for us to leave them alone (after all, we do value our lives at least somewhat).

I made us drill our routines for a while, just to make sure we're in prime preforming condition when we arrive. But then Firefly started nagging me for being bossy, Flicker started frustrating me with her weak form, Sparkle started griping about the heat, Flare retreated into her Ember-Is-Being-A-Jerk-And-I-Don't-Want-To-Tell-Her shell, and Comet just quit practicing. Plus, the sparkers started making catcalls and making fun of us for being such drill sargents about dancing, so I was glad to stop after a while.

The problem is that aside from dancing, there isn't much to do out here but walk and daydream. We passed through a tiny settlement around midday, but it wasn't very interesting. There weren't many people and they were all dull as anything. The settlement was so small and new that it wasn't even named yet.

Sorry I don't have any more to say. I'll try to post tonight after we get to Jules (I'm *so* excited!!), but I make no promises. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Traveling in the Heat

We're making very good time on the way to Jules, and we should be there either tomorrow or the day after. Nothing terribly exciting has happened on the journey so far, aside from a few minor accidents, one involving a fireball (I swear, I wasn't aiming for Flame's litter). We aren't running low on treated water yet, which is a very good thing because it's dangerously hot.

The heat has made things absolutely miserable the last couple of days. Especially for traveling over the unoccupied areas of Jeolotoe. There's a small desert region between Furier and Jules, and we just had to cross it during the hottest part of the year. The sun beating down so intensely you can feel your skin soaking up the blistering rays, the water being rationed, your throat always being parched and your lips cracked and dry, walking for shadowmarks a day, riding in a litter for maybe half a shadowmark, the whole journey is just awful.

I'm not really complaining, though. I'm alright with the scorching heat as long as there's Jules to look forward to. And anyway, we fire fairies are much better with heat than humans.

Oh, I have more to tell you, but I have to stop writing now. It's late (at least for a journey night) and Coal is giving me the evil eye for having holding this fireball for light. I'd better say goodbye or he's liable to come over and put it out himself. Thank you for reading, I hope your night is a cooler one than mine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Shockingly Lucky

We are leaving for Jules today! I'm so excited! But also extremely nervous. On top of having to please the Fire Lord constantly these next weeks, we'll also have to please the Julese Emperor. I've heard he is a strict and harsh man. Although, I don't think he could possibly be more so than the Fire Lord. Not that the Fire Lord is too strict or harsh, just very so.

Yesterday, Flare and Firefly and I dithered outside the door to the throne room for half a shadowmark trying to decide how to ask the Fire Lord for the material for new kachina costumes. Finally, they voted me to be the one to ask him. I wasn't sure whether to be flattered or upset.

I knocked, and Flame stuck his head out the door. When he saw us, his expressioned turned sour.

"What do you want?" he snapped impatiently. "Go away. You've not been summoned." I drew myself up, trying to make myself as tall as Flame. (Not even close.)

"We--I'm here to ask him a favor," I retorted. "One that could mean the difference between making a good impression on the Emperor and a bad one. The Fire Lord will want to see me." I wasn't at all sure about that last part, but I decided that there was nothing wrong with showing a little confidence. Flame snorted.

"If you say so," he said. "We'll see, won't we?" I frowned suspiciously. It wasn't like him to give in so easily. He stepped aside and pulled the double doors open. I swallowed hard as I saw the Fire Lord sitting on his throne. He was talking to someone--Coal--in a low, serious tone. My heart stopped and I whirled to glare at Flame, whose eyes sparkled blue. He could have warned me that the Fire Lord was in an audience with one of his spies!

They both looked up when they heard me gasp. The Fire Lord looked furious, Coal looked irritated.

"Why have you interrupted us?" the Fire Lord demanded. "Who called you here?"

"N-no one, my lord," I answered. "I only came to ask--to beg a favor of you. it's important. It could mean the difference between making a good impression and a bad one on the Emperor." The Fire Lord's expression did not change.

"It doesn't matter why you came," he said coldly. "You came. And without being summoned." I was starting to get very afraid until Coal spoke up quietly.

"That rule does not apply, my lord, in emergencies," he pointed out. He looked at me with one eyebrow raised. "Any chance this could be an emercency?"

"Um...i-in a way," I said. "It could be. If...yes?" Coal gave me an unamused look before turning to the Fire Lord. The Fire Lord narrowed his eyes.

"Tell me what you are here for and I will decide if it is an emergency," he said dismissively. "Be quick, kachina."

I took a deep breath. "Our kachina costumes are sadly worn and if we showed ourselves to the Emperor in such a fashion, he might very well be offended or at least get a bad impression of what Furier is like. It's an emergency because it takes time to make good kachinas costumes, and we leave for Jules in only a day. And the seamstresses don't have the material to make the costumes, which is why I'm here. If you can't grant me the material for six elaborate costumes very soon, the Emperor of Jules will be displeased."

The Fire Lord and Coal looked at me with almost identical expressions of disbelief and disgust.

"You came here about your costumes?" the Fire Lord said. I blinked.

"Well, yes, my lord...It could be sort of an emergency...or at least urgent, my lord..."

Then something amazing happened.

The Fire Lord chuckled.

He chuckled.


He said he respected my coming to see him, and that he would send the material to the seamstresses within the hour.

I was convinced I was dreaming for a full hour until Firefly called me in to see the gorgeous fabric the Fire Lord had sent for our costumes. Not even I could dream up something as beautiful as the silk and tassels and jewels he provided.

The seamstresses managed to make our costumes, and the finishing touches are being put on now. We're going to be leaving right after the midday meal. I'm so excited and nervous! (I know, I'm saying that a lot, but it's so true.)

I'll post whenever I can. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Traveling to Jules

Ah, sorry for taking so long to post again. I really must get more regular. Maybe I'll try to post every other day. Would you all read it? Hmm...

Well, still not much has happened that I find interesting...

Oh! How could I forget this?? The Fire Lord is going to pay a diplomatic visit (or something of the sort) to Jules! *Jules*! And that isn't the most exciting part. Are you ready? You'd best be sitting down.

He's going to take us kachinas with him!!

The Fire Lord hasn't really left Furier since we've come to be kachinas, so this is going to be our first time out of the city. I'm so excited! Of course, it is customary for a king (or a lord) to bring along his entertainers, but I hadn't really thought about it until Firefly reminded us at breakfast yesterday.

We'll be leaving in two days. The trip won't take more than a week, and then we'll all get to see Jules!

I don't think you understand how amazing this opportunity is. Most Furierite citizens never leave the city. Pretty much all slaves never do. Kachinas are the only slaves (besides guards and spies) that have any hope of seeing new cities. Anytime the Fire Lord travels to see another person of importance, he will bring us with him. It's odd, but royalty's success is sort of determined by how talented and elaborate one's kachinas are. At least it is when kings and lords meet each other.

Anyway, we have a lot of work to do in just two days. We have to practice our routines and get them absolutley perfect. Honestly, that won't be difficult. We must the most talented kachinas in the world. All our tecniques are impecible, we're always in perfect sync, our routines are exciting and difficult, and we all love to dance. The only things we'll need to work on is Sparkle's tecnique and Flicker's smiling. She doesn't always smile while she's dancing because she's concentrating so hard. But that's one of the biggest things about being a good kachina: you have to make it look fun and easy.

The only *real* problem is our costumes. They're getting a bit worn out and faded. We've had them for a long time, and we dance an awful lot. It's a lot of ask of one of the Palace seamstresses to make six elaborate kachina costumes in two days, but I wouldn't really have a problem with doing that.

The worrisome part is asking the Fire Lord for the material. He's been so tense lately. And it's always disrespectful to bother such an important sparker with triffles like costume material. But he'll be displeased also if we make a bad impression on the Emperor of Jules.

I want to tell you more about Jules as a city. Though I've never been there, I've heard very much about it. It's suposed to be one of the most beautiful and exotic cities in all of Jeolotoe. The people there are said to be pale with long, dark hair and black, slanted eyes. I can't imagine anyone with black eyes. I wonder if that's only a fable?

Jules, more than any other city in Jeolotoe, is exotic. A close second goes to Furier, of course, but Jules is said to surpass even it because while we kachinas and and people of high class and royalty in Furier dress exotically and elaborately with jewels and bangles, *everyone* in Jules does this.

In Jules, it is typically extremely hot, even hotter than Furier (hard to imagine), which is probably why the Julese dress as they do. They wear very little clothing in general, and the clothing they do wear is said to be mostly sheer and very light. Girls and women wear lots of jewels and men and boys almost always have multiple tattoos. Dancing is also a large part of Julese culture, which makes it doubly important that we kachinas not make any mistakes in front of the Julese Emperor.

I imagine we'll be staying at the Julese Palace. I've seen pictures of it, and it's very beautiful. It isn't gold and sort of rounded like the Palace of Furier, but made of white marble with lots of intricate gold and blue carvings.

I'm sorry; I know I must be boring you with all these details. I know these things only matter to me and the other kachinas. I just wanted to share with you what's about to happen. It's so exciting! I'll be posting more about it later.

If you've gotten this far, leave a comment so I'll know you did. *smiles* Thank you all!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Water Poisoning

I'm unfortunately not feeling very well at the moment. I have water poisoning.

I realize that you have no idea what that is for a fire fairy, so I'll explain it briefly. Since water is naturally detrimental to our health, it has to be "treated" with a special smoke chemical. There's a outlying section of Furier called the Smokers' Village where all the smokers live. Smokers are the fairies whose job it is to treat the water that fire fairies drink.

The water is put into buckets and the buckets are packed into huts with fire rings in the center of them. A fire made from some sort of special wood is lit and all the doors of the hut are completely shut and sealed. The water is left in the smokey hut for a day or two and then shipped wherever it is needed.

If a fire fairy bathes in untreated water, the effect is much like getting a cold. If a fire fairy drinks untreated water, something more like pneumonia develops. Usually drinking or bathing in untreated water is just a large inconvenience that lasts anywhere from a couple of days to a week (depending on the situation), but sometimes it is fatal.

The reason I have water poisoning is actually a bit embarrassing because it's my own fault. I was harassing Flame and he got fed up with me. He was standing right outside the supply closet near the torture chamber, so he just grabbed a glass of untreated water from in there and tossed it onto me.

I hate Flame. Always have, always will. He's so arrogant and mean to everyone. He tells horrible lies to the younger guards and slaves just to frighten them, and he's always telling the Fire Lord about things his fellow slaves are doing. He doesn't even know the meaning of loyalty except when it comes to the Fire Lord.

Flame really isn't so different from Coal actually, but somehow Coal is someone that everyone likes and respects while Flame is a hated bully.

I suppose it's all in how they come across. The two sparkers do a lot of the same things, but the way they do them is different. When Coal tells horror stories to the newbies, his eyes have this sparkle that tells you that he's only kidding around. When he reports something you did to the Fire Lord, it's usually out of duty and not out of spite or the desire to cause trouble.