A Distant Reign the enchanted forest

Tanzin
Destination port. First leg complete.
Every moments, every minute You linger in my heart When the evening approach, my expectation grows Like a wedding night Every where I go your fragrance follows me Like a bunch of peaches that surrounds me. Chi -

The peaches you gave me when we departed were consumed weeks ago, I have kept 2 pits to be planted on this "new" continent. We will take root and grow together in this new place. ~Ba

The port city and capital of Tanzin, Ba Din is the entry point to the interior.
First light of dawn as we prepare finally to leave civilization and enter the Enchanted Forest.

We are at the frontier preparing to enter the forest. It will be weeks before I have another opportunity to correspond.

You should be here with me.

As always,

~Ba

"How do you feel?"

"What?"

"How do you feel?"

"About what?"

You're pleased with your performance?

"I did my best given what I had to work with!"

Okusa

Okusa was always known as a very sweet, but adventurous person.

Reared in the working class she envisaged the centuries old promise of popularity, acceptance, and success. In her society all of this was virtually guaranteed her.

But, this was not what she wanted. She virtually abandoned her formal primary education preferring to explore the "Forbidden Forest" with a group of like-minded youth. The Gang, as they were known, often survived all day foraging for food in the depths of the forest on their own. Thus she acquired an intimate knowledge of the forest previously the sole domain of woodsmen or shaman. As she matured her knowledge grew. Soon she was sought out by successive expeditions as an expert guide. Her status within the community became legendary. She had become a community resource. She also harbored a great secret.

She virtually abandoned her formal primary education preferring to explore the "Forbidden Forest"
Her secrets will change worlds.
...and you left a trail of peach blossoms for me to find my way. ~Ba
The cool, moist morning air soothed her skin. The Purges always left her weak, but invigorated. For her, this was very disquieting.

It had always been an intense if undeclared struggle...

"The Mosuo live with extended family in large households; at the head of each is a matriarch. Lineage is traced through the female side of the family, and property is passed down along the same matriline. Mosuo women typically handle business decisions and men handle politics. Children are raised in the mother's households and take her name.

The Mosuo have what's called “walking marriages." There is no institution of marriage; rather, women choose their partners by literally walking to the man’s home or logging in to a special section of his social media account, and the couples never live together. Since children always remain in the mother’s care, sometimes the father plays little role in the upbringing. In some cases, the father's identity is not even known. Instead, the male’s child-rearing responsibilities remain in his own matrilineal household."

Queen Noor was well aware of the implications when she gave birth to twins. In the royal succession the birth of twins signified turmoil and uncertainty throughout the realm. The second born must be sacrificed. This provision struck at the heart of her beliefs and she immediately devised a plan to save her youngest daughter, Mi-echi's, life.
You've been away for so long Where are you now? I've been waiting for you Can we just stop and talk awhile? Chi~
The Architect: Queen Noor.
I may not be with you physically, but in my heart you will stay forever. -Chi
Arrived at our guide's cabin in the Tanzin interior. Bron, our guide seems competent, but there's something about his portfolio that puts me on guard.
Byron is certainly not indigenous. He's also not a miner or trapper. So, what's he doing here? During our short introductory chat I discerned his purposes were entirely mercenary. Therefore my trust of him was entirely contextual..
After a short rest we headed up stream. Deeper into the dense jungle. We also lost two thirds of our hired porters who disappeared into the night.
Two thirds of our load bearing porters abandoned us during the night.

Having stripped our gear to the bare essentials necessitated by the withdrawal of our support staff we pressed on. For the next several days we hacked our way through the thick vegetation. Byron called frequent breaks but seemed to avoid spending time with the rest of the party preferring instead to go off into the underbrush alone. With Byron leading the way we eventually came upon a hidden cave entrance.

And met Kobold, his associate.

To be continued ...

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