Dance of the Fi-Nix (A Thread of Stories from FiHami)

11/16/2022
7:45pm
Ha’Hani Residence

Vitriol. Absolute pure disgust, revolting in every corner of her mind.

This is what Hana felt from hearing Puani Kokostali’s comments on the death of her mentor and mother figure. It infected her mind, rotting her brain thoroughly from the innermost neuron, spreading throughout her entire body.

What she had seen was not a simple case of old age. Shi’a was extinguished in such a cruel manner. Her face was twisted and warped with anguish that Hana could not even be able to comprehend. The apparent stabs faintly throbbed exactly where she had seen them on Shi’a this morning.

Hana had witnessed her own fair share of horrific encounters, as had many Finixi people for many years. She was a medic during the revolution who would try to heal many wounded warriors, or she would do her best to gently guide them to the sun. Many of them toiled in despair, groaning and screaming from their suffering. She even witnessed her own parents, fellow revolutionaries, tortured for weeks until their Antarchi captors decided they had enough fun and violently sent her parents to the sun. She was 14 at the time.

Nothing could prepare her for the scene she walked in on.

Now to hear that this supposed “chief” was trying to downplay what happened…

Hana took a deep breath, walking out of the kitchen and into her garden. She grew plenty of beautiful flowers here, all of them native to the soil. Plenty of fine tea plants surrounded the space, creating a fragrant throne for the nose. It was here that Hana would let out an anguished scream to the sky. She hoped the Great Chief herself would hear and come down to comfort. In her imagination, Shi’a was coming to the Great Chief and begging her to fly down on her golden wings and give comfort to Hana’s soul… and exact revenge on the people who would hurt such a gentle soul as Shi’a.

A fire falcon landed right in front of Hana, holding its torch in its beak. It hopped up to Hana’s knees, chirping quietly.

“Sorry, little one.” Hana looked down at the falcon, moving her left hand in to pet the bird. The falcon seemed to allow it, even seemingly trying to exercise caution with the torch. Her sobs would gradually become sniffles, and the bird would fly into the evening sky.


11/16/2022
9:00pm
Luthor Homestead, Ha’Hani, FiHami

Layla Fi’Shi had a tomultuous 36 years alive. She was born in a tiny village, taken by Antarchi soldiers when she was 6, and passed around until she ended up working for the Luthor household.

Kylie, Layla’s captor, was your typical run of the mill Antarchi supremacist; she would berate her “servants” that she continued to hold illegally. The Luthors were just one of the remaining bastions of the old empire that refuses to shrivel up and die, except it was all underground now. There were others like Kylie and James, who lived completely normal, isolated lives in the public, but did atrocities to those they deemed inferior underground.

Layla had a daughter, who is now just over a year old. This child would be raised separately from Layla, and would eventually be sold to Kylie’s best friend once the child turned 5. These two would be the last “true” members of the Fi’Shi tribe, who is currently thought to be entirely gone.

Layla was every bit as headstrong and unconquerable as her distant cousin, the late Finix Fi’Shi. Every night there was an attempt at a revolt, always lead by Layla. Kylie would punish her as much as she could, but Layla would just take it, with that same glare Finix had that could silence rooms.

Tonight, Kylie made a fatal mistake. Kylie forgot to properly lock Layla and her cage down. Tonight would be the night that Layla would revolt.

As soon as the Luthors went to bed, Layla snuck out of the poorly-fastened door. She made her way quietly to the room that the other captives told her that the child was being kept, setting them free as she went.

Quickly she picked the lock to the child’s door and made her way to the makeshift crib where the child lay awake, completely silent. Layla picked up the child, and bolted.

There was shouting behind her, then gunshots. Layla kept running, using her back to ram open the door to the outside. Here she got a glimpse of her captors yelling obscenities and shooting at her. At a critical moment, another captive, by the name of Leah, tackled the older Antarchi couple.

“Layla, run. Get out of here, I’ll catch up to you.” Leah shouted over the sound of gunshots firing at random. One second later and Layla knew that Leah would not, in fact, be catching up.

A few minutes later, Layla made it to the jungle’s edge with the baby in her arms. She looked back one last tome to see the entire house on fire.

Tonight, Layla succeeded. Tonight, Layla would report as much as she could about the underground operations of the last Antarchi supremacists. Today, Layla achieved freedom.

“They did not let me give you a name.” Layla would hug her daughter, allowing herself to cry. She would take a few seconds to think. “You are my hope, Ha’fi. And I am no longer Layla for I am free. I am Mi’a’ani. Freedom.”


11/16/2022
11:54pm
Chief’s Palace, Ha’Hani

Puani lay awake tonight, staring at the ceiling of the room she was in. Her wife was asleep next to her, snoring softly. But Puani’s mind was occupied tonight, or she would join her wife in slumber.

No, she would end up thinking about having to pick a new high priestess. All the priests she talked to today were very distant towards her already, but one priestess especially stuck with her. This priestess really laid into Puani, berating her for her lack of leadership in FiHami. After Puani commented on the late high priestess’ death, all the priests in the room turned their backs to her.

She was afraid that all this business with the fire falcons were real and the priests would catch on that she faked being set on fire.

They already called into question the lack of scar tissue on Puani. Finix had the giant, ugly scars on her neck and shoulder that never seemed to heal properly, and Finixi people would marvel at it when the late chief was still among the living. Various artists would prominently display the scars that previous chiefs seemed to wear with pride. Puani would make the excuse that her scar was just on an unfortunate area.

Puani would think some more, then sigh. She needed to make herself untouchable, so her friend Texeteti’ could have a shot at becoming the prime minister. Once he’s Prime Minister, he would enact laws to hunt down the Antarchi and sacrifice them to the volcano. However, should the priesthood call her farse, it all comes crumbling down.

She decided then that she would declare herself the High Priestess next Wednesday.

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February 12th, 2019
11:20am
Temple of the Sun, Ha’Hani, FiHami

The High Priestess was climbing up there in years. Her joints were no longer as fluid as they once were, her muscles not as lithe as they once were. But still, she danced to the birds chirping and the breeze rustling the tree leaves. This was the Garden of the Sun, dedicated to Ha’Fi-Nix, the great guiding bird. FiHami was free only a few days now, and this garden was just a baby at this point.

Ki Ha’ha’une, I request audience.”

“My chief.” Shi’a bowed low to the ground as a short teenager walked into the room. “What is it you seek, child?”

“Do I actually have to lead the tribes now?” Finix sat down in front of the high priestess, who in turn went from her bowing position to sitting right in front of the chief.

“This is your destiny, Finix. You certainly are… younger… than most other chiefs when they take power, but yes. Your story is far from over.”

Shi’a would rise again, extending a hand for the chief to rise as well. She led Finix deeper into the garden, grabbing one of the seeds she was planting earlier.

“Winning the freedom of the nation was just planting a seed. There is far more for you to do. The way I see things right now, you are forever ingrained as the savior of FiHami, in fact, I would not be surprised if I was dedicating this garden to you as I plant. But, weeds will threaten to overtake the garden and run it aground. Some weeds may look like blossoms at first, but they are there only to destroy.”

“I merely wish for rest at this point.”

“Perhaps setting up a division of power. Someone else can take care of the day-to -day duties of running a nation, while you do the important work of leading this community.”

Hai.”

“I see that you are stressed about things. Allow me to teach you about dancing?”


June 4th, 1956
8:45am
Kay Village, New Antarcha

“Can my children please gather around?” A tired-looking woman sighed, cradling an infant in her arms. Quickly, she shouted to the eldest to gather a couple other children from the ocean, who swiftly ran to fetch his siblings.

The family was hungry and tired, but who wasn’t these days since the Antarchi exiled them all from their homes and split them among the micro-tribes into tiny villages? There was no communication except by sneaking out between Antarchi patrols and hoping to avoid getting caught.

Mara set the infant down onto the ground and began portioning off the day’s catch for the large family.

“Wait, is Shi’a with Mother Kaisifi? Eri, please go see if Shi’a is with Mother Kaisifi.”

One of the older daughters nodded her head and ran down the dirt road to the hut where Mother Kaisifi typically stays. Instead, Eri found the village’s matriarch dancing with the teenaged girl.

“Shi’a, never forget that music is the heartbeat of our culture, and dance is the blood. They may attempt to strike the Finixi people down, but as long as you can still hear the music in the wind and move to its beat, the Finixi are still alive.” The matriarch smiled as she led the teenager in dance.

Hai, Mother Kaisifi. I will not forget.” Shi’a responded. “Will you teach me to see the future like you do?”

“All in due time, child. It looks like your mother is ready for dinner.” Mother Kaisifi gracefully finished her dance. She reached around her own neck, removing one of the necklaces she wore and dropping it into Shi’a’s hand.

“What’s this?” Shi’a admired the golden chain with the embossed charm hanging off of it. The charm was molded into the shape of a feather, with various red, orange, and yellow gemstones all over the intricate feather.

“I do not believe I will see freedom in my lifetime. But, I hope that you do. I may be taking my voyage to the sun soon, and I do not want this getting lost. I trust you to find the rightful owner of this necklace, ok?”

“But Mother Kaisifi, why do you think I could find it?”

“None of my predecessors were able to. And you may end up having to pass it along to the next person, until the rightful owner frees the Finixi people. Now, run along, do not make your mother worry more. there will be time for lessons in mysticism after you eat, if you get permission from your mother.”

Shi’a nodded, slipping the gemstone into her pouch and running after Eri. Mother Kaisifi would smile once more, then resume her dance.


February 12th, 2019
1:30pm
Temple of the Sun, Ha’Hani, FiHami

“What happened to Eri, your mother, and Mother Kaisifi?” Finix was wide-eyed as the High Priestess poured a cup of tea for the pair.

“Eri was captured by Antarchi forces and likely either killed or taken to Cancriton. My mother would die as the Matriarch of Kay village, and my eldest sister Mari became the matriarch. Mari would die to the Antarchi when they razed the Kay and Sami villages in 2005. Mother Kaisifi did teach me all that I know before she passed 20 years later. She strongly believed that I would find myself among the Fi-Nix, and I know now that she was right.”

“And the necklace that Mother Kaisifi gave you?”

Shi’a chuckled, removing the golden necklace from her pouch.

“I am thankful you reminded me that I had a gift for you that was long overdue. Do you know what this is?”

Finix shook her head, gazing upon the necklace with the curiosity that killed the cat.


Late dry season, circa 200 C.E.
Early Morning

“*Ki Ha’Coron’, welcome to my humble abode.” A short, stout man bowed to the woman who just entered his hut. This woman was fairly strong and tall, wearing a headdress made from the feathers of the richly-colored Fi-Nix, who danced around the skies with grace, carrying their torches proudly. Her poncho was finely woven out of the wool of the pack animals that were native to the northern island, called Fr’aia (OOC: think of a large-ish cat but with super thick tan wool rather than normal fur. They also really, really like diving into the water, resembling sea serpents when they’re swimming. They are sadly extinct in the modern day, but a distantly related creature still lives that also produces wool, but their wool is nowhere near as majestic).

This poncho told the story of the first settlers on the island. It depicted the sky as one big sun around the neck, on one side is the grand ocean with boats, and on the other side is the island.

“Get up, no need for the formalities. You said you had a gift for me?” The chief’s voice was strong and proud, yet warm and friendly. When the man stood up, she put one arm around his shoulder and started following his steps.

“Yes, I do. I crafted it for you. I found a massive vein of gold around the volcano, and little pieces of gold everywhere! I also found a lovely cavern with gemstones of all kinds in it. Of course, I made an offering to Ha’Fi-Nix, but I truly believe you are the great bird itself. You truly proved it to me when you defeated the Kari’Kari tribe single-handedly.” The ancient Finixi jeweler revealed a fine golden necklace with a golden feather charm at the bottom. He placed it around her neck and smiled. “What do you think?”

“I definitely appreciate this act of kindness, Ru. Your work is the top of the line, I believe this quality piece shall last for generations.”

“Your words are far too kind, ki Ha’Coron’. But, I do hope it passes down from chief to chief. I hope that this necklace continues to be passed down from chief to chief when your name is nothing but a whisper in the wind, many, many generations from now.”

“I wish it to be so as well.”

The chief bowed to the jeweler, and then left his hut. She was weary from her journey to ensure the safety of the Fi’Shi-Kuri-Kaisifi nation, and looked forward to a hearty meal of sea oats, fish, and a fine cup of tea.


November 17th, 2022
7:00pm
Ha’Hani, FiHami

“Hm, someone seems to have lost their necklace…” Mi’a’ani grabbed a necklace from the ground of the streets she walked. Nearby was a sign that was raised when the Matriarchy Fundamentalists, now the Finixi Nationalists, traumatized the nation and killed the beloved chief. The infant in her opposite arm remained silent, though she kept an eye on the golden necklace. Ha’fi reached out one of her stubby little arms, trying to grab the golden feather.

Mi’a’ani shook her head gently, using her one free hand to put the necklace around Ha’fi’s neck. It was a little big on the two-year-old’s neck, but it satisfied Mi’a’ani.

“Maybe you’ll be rich one day, Ha’fi. You could be rich, happy, and comfortable. But right now mommy needs to find us a warm meal, ok?”

Ha’fi seemed to nod, and they both disappeared into the shadows on the lonely street.

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November 18, 2022
1:30pm
Chief’s Residence, Ha’Hani, FiHami

“Sara, what am I going to do? That old codger was killed by whatever loons Texeteti’ hired, that Hana girl is going to get people to investigate… that’s going to hurt the Finixi nationalist people.”

“My love, your life is on the line and all you care about is the nationalists? Let’s just run away. We can go back to how we lived, hidden away in another country. It’ll be much easier.”

Puani sighed, leaning against her wife sorrowfully. The visions of future wealth and freedom to do whatever she wanted were slipping away rapidly. Sure, running away would ensure her life, but then there would be no money for shopping sprees, nails, hair stylists, or modern luxuries from afar.

“No, dear. I will need to convince them. I am amazing with make-up, but am I amazing enough to fool the priests?”

“You did it once before.” Sara ran her fingers through Puani’s hair gently. “I believe you can do it again.”

“Yes, but at that time the high priestess who talked to me was super old and had bad eyesight! I’m going up against like 10 young to middle aged people with good eyesight.”


2:00pm
Temple of the Sun, Ha’Hani, FiHami

The priests all gathered around the center of the garden, awaiting the supposed chief to arrive. Her deadline to show up was soon, and the priests each seemed restless at this point.

“So, how did you learn about that super obscure rule, Hana?” One of the younger priestesses asked, her hands continuing to dig at the ground gently.

“Well, I did some reading to calm me down, about our island’s history. That’s where I found the story of Kairu of Kikuri. I have had so many doubts in my mind as to whether Puani is truly chosen by the Fi-Nix but now we can verify if hatred and incompetence is truly the will of Ha’Fi-Nix, or if we have been deceived.”

Hana brought the old book out from behind her, showing the rest of the priests.

“Additionally, law enforcement will be going up to the residence to gather any evidence for Puani truly being a traitor to FiHami, or if she really is just stupid.”

“My bet is that she is just stupid.” One of the younger priests chimed in. “I mean, some of the things she said about fish, world politics, that sort of thing just really make you scratch your head.”

“Like, she subscribes to Texeteti’ and his philosophy doesn’t she?” Yet another priestess interjected, fiddling with the flower in her hand.


3pm
House of Parliament, Ha’Hani, FiHami

“Violent protestors have been blockading the streets of Ha’Hani since the news about Puani came out. I gather you all here today to discuss immediate remedies to the situation, before anyone is killed.” Kilaui stood before her cabinet, manning the projector. The video on the screen showed the protestors breaking windows, wrecking cars, and brutally hurting peacekeeping forces."

The minister of defense was first to speak. He stood up slowly and spoke softly.

“Do we know the occupied parameters? From the looks of it, we can no longer utilize the peace keepers, we may need to send the militia out.”

“Hold on, we do not need to resort to violence. You men are all the same.” Stood another member of the cabinet, the minister of education. “Have we actually tried talking-”

“With all due respect, minister Kia, did you not see the protestors punch that peace keeper? We tried the nonviolent way.” The minister of trade sighed.

“Order.” Kilaui clapped her hands together, bringing the ministers who stood up back to their seats. “The situation is bad. We do not need to start fighting here too. Minister Kia, we tried to speak to the protestors to no avail. Law enforcement is going out now to stop the protest.”

“It’s because of the unlawful execution, prime minister Kuri. This is the reason for the protests. I say we stop this execution, and the protests will die down.”

“That is my next meeting, with the Parliament. We need to fix this obscure little religious law.”


6pm
Temple of the Sun, Ha’Hani, FiHami

Puani entered the garden slowly, taking deep breaths as she approached. She and her wife had taken time to meticulously create scars on her thigh with all the makeup she owned. As far as she could tell, it looked realistic enough to pass. However, if they were to touch it, the illusion could be broken very easily.

The priests of FiHami all stood up, each wearing an equally annoyed expression on their face.

“Puani.” Hana stepped forward from the rest of her peers. “Please show us the scar.”

Puani raised her skirt just enough to see some of the “scars” that were painted on. Puani took another deep breath, trying to prevent herself from appearing nervous. However, as Hana and the other priests grew closer, Puani couldn’t help but shake.

Hana reached out and felt the lowest portion of the “scar” that sat just above her knee, suddenly looking shocked.

“This is your scar?” Hana looked at her fingers now, wiping off the powdery makeup.

“Y-yes.”

“Wow, what an interesting scar, it feels just like normal skin!”

It was clear that Hana knew. At this point, Hana was a cat and Puani was a simple little fish out of water.

“I healed pretty well.”

“Cut the act, Puani. I know this is makeup. Tell me the truth right now, and we can make a deal. You can leave FiHami with your life, we can say that you never showed up, you fled the nation.”

The temptation was very strong, and Puani had to use the single braincell that she had for the first time in her life. To leave FiHami and live a quiet life with Sara for the rest of their lives was tempting at this point, but then she thought about Texeteti’ and his holy war. All the harm the waves of modern thought on equality was causing, helping the nationalists get rid of the Antarchi, and how many Finixi people were misguided by the media and popular culture.

She could die for them, cleanse them from their sins, be a martyr for the cause. And when Texeteti’ comes into power, she could be remembered a hero.

“I am Jesus.” Puani mumbled.

“This is your last chance.” Hana brought out the rope from her bag, taking care to show Puani. “This doesn’t have to actually happen, I am willing to strike a deal with you.”

“I am Jesus so that way the matriarchs can win.”

“Ok.”


8pm
The Ha’Hani News Network (HHNN)

Kirifi, FiHami! This is Ai’ Sisuni with the HHNN, your source for breaking news home and abroad.”

The journalist gestured over to the screen behind her, showing a panel that reads “FIHAMI INVESTIGATIVE FORCES” and then smiles at the camera.

“This evening, the FIF raided the chief’s residence and uncovered some devastating news. Ha’Coron’ Puani Kokostali has been hiding some secret partnerships with the Finixi Nationalists. Based on the correspondence with Texeteti’, it is now known that Ha’Coron’ Puani has been planning to instill the Finixi Nationalists into every aspect of FiHami government. She has been responsible for the planning and execution of crimes committed by the nationalists. And, in one letter…”

The screen now shows a crumpled letter that reads:

"Ha’Coron’ Puani,

Your plan to assassinate Finix may backfire if Paneia is among the protestors. Would it not be easier for her to fire from one of the buildings?

Best,
Texeteti’

PS: When she dies, do not install me as Prime Minister, it may look suspicious. Let the people wake up and vote for me in the next election."

“… and among other papers discovered, shows that she is complicit in the death of Ha’Coron’ Finix.”

The screen returns to the journalist.

“Prime Minister Kilaui Kuri is to decide whether to continue the execution as planned or postpone it for further interrogation.”

“Next up…”


November 20th, 2022
8:00am
Ri-Ha’Fi-Nix National Park, FiHami

The Finixi musicians have already gathered and breathed a sigh of relief as the Prime Minister fave the green light for the execution. They would get to perform, which is all they wanted to do. They would ensure their instruments were in working order, tuned, and ready for people.

The dancers rehearsed their parts, chatting gleefully during breaks. Slowly but surely chefs brought in all sorts of dishes and set them at the tables. Important figures in FiHami began trickling in, socializing among themselves. Then the priests entered, and Hana followed behind. A couple law enforcement officers came in behind Hana, escorting Puani.

Soon, civilians began arriving, partaking in the vast amounts of food present. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, watching the various dance routines, sharing art, and listening to the music.

Then, Texeteti’ stepped in. He was quickly followed by a wave of rioters, who quickly began destroying everything in sight.

“Enough of this madness. Release Puani now!” Texeteti’ roared over the commotion. “You have all been brainwashed by this fake prophet!”

Hana walked from where she originally stood, close to the caldera with Puani and the guards, glaring right through Texeteti’ with as much fury as she can gather.

“Who do you think you are, declaring me a false prophet?”

One of the protestors flung a stone at one of the falcons sitting in the nearby tree. In the next second, an entire flock of angered fire falcons erupted from the volcano and nearby vegetation, swooping down to attack everyone at will. People started screaming as torches started falling from the sky.


Mi’a’ani had really only come for the free food. She was nervous over the few Antarchi that were present, and had mostly stuck to the shadows as a response. Meanwhile, Ha’fi would eat joyfully in her mother’s arms, from the little bits of bread to the bigger fish Mi’a’ani was able to grab hold of.

She was totally unaware of whatever happened to anger the fire falcons, all she knew is that suddenly she was burning. She would attempt to throw her child into one of the water bowls before fading away.


Hana frantically helped people escape the area, trying to look for anyone in danger around the premises. The one thing Hana did not expect, out of all the commotion, is for a toddler to fall out of the sky and into a bowl of water.

The toddler was crying, loudly. No matter, another falcon was swooping down now. Hana grabbed the child and ran, trying not to drop the writhing, screaming child.


5pm
Temple of the Sun

“What could this mean? A burning toddler falling from the sky?” The eldest priest circled around Hana and the child, watching the child carefully.

“She bears no name as far as I can tell.” Hana sighed, cradling the sleeping toddler in her arms. “I mean, the message as far as I am aware is clear as day but, this is highly unusual. As far as I’m aware, this has never happened before.”

“In my 56 years of studying historical texts, I have never seen anything like it.” The man crossed his arms, turning around to face the giant golden bird inside the temple. “The attack was unprovoked. A baby falls from the skies. This child is absolutely important.”

“Hey, look at what’s around her neck?” Hana grabbed the golden necklace hanging around the toddler’s neck, holding the feather charm in her hand. “You know what this is, right, Huahasi?”

Huahasi took a look as well and smiled.

“This was Finix’ necklace. It was lost during the commotion with the Matriarchy Fundamentalists.”

“That means… this child that fell from the sky… is Finix! Ha’fi-nix returned her to us! This is the Great Chief of FiHami!”

“Yes, and Ha’fi-nix chose you to raise this child, someone who never wanted to be a mother.”

“Thanks, Huahasi.” Hana sighed, standing up carefully. “You mean that the child is on me?”

“You are the interim chief, and the child is the Great Chief. It is your duty to ensure that she can properly take the chiefdom when she is of age.”

“Me? Not someone who actually likes children?”

“Yes, you are to raise her. Now, I must pray.”

“Ok, Huahasi.”

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February 24th, 2022
4pm
University of Ha’Hani Residential Dorms

A young person strummed a guitar excitedly, singing a song they had written for themself. They sat in the courtyard of the university dorms, their joyous song audible to those who cared to listen.

In fact, they declared this their own birthday gift. Ray’s first “public” performance. A reward for overcoming anxiety and helping themself and others heal from nationwide trauma. It wasn’t really much, but something is something.

What Ray didn’t know is that their little birthday present would change their life.


People were recording the person singing their heart out while playing guitar. They posted it all over social media. Eventually, record labels began to take note and threw deals in hopes that Ray would bite and make music for them. Ray would end up choosing the FiHami based label, known as Fikona Records.


November 24th 2022
4pm

Artist: Embers and Ash
Song: Radiate
Album: Soar

The music video starts, fading in to focus on the sun shining in the sky. The camera pans down to reveal Ray letting their long hair free in a strong breeze. They are wearing what looks to be a mix of modern and ancient tradition. Modern long tank top, black in color, over ripped jeans. They wear feather earrings and rather than the typical poncho, a fiery cape flaps behind them. Their boots, modern in construction, have the Finixi flare in the coloration, matching their cape.

Ray reaches for the sky and the music starts. It’s pretty modern rock, though there are certainly elements of Finixi music in there. After the lead guitar, Ray opens their mouth. Their voice falls well into the soprano range, but they can hit lower notes very confidently as well.

Tell me, who told you
To #### the world before you died
Tell me, who said you
Owned us all, until we tried

The video is of a man sitting on a silver throne now, cracking a whip while the musicians scrubbed the floor. It cuts to Ray, who stands up and chucks the sponge into the man’s face. The pre chorus would start building up tension in the song at this point.

to tear down your throne
Take the sword and execute
Make you watch your tone
Before we rise become the brute

The screen now shows a projected video of Ray, singing the extremely high steady note that only changes with the chord progression. The main Ray is singing the chorus, backed up by the band, who all don swords, axes, lances, that sort of thing. Queue an epic battle here.

Kingdoms rise and fall and so did yours
Time to back down can’t even keep up with us
Your head on the ground yet you still try to fight

For the second part of the chorus, the projection’s vocals are moving around more, singing “Radiate”.

*Like the blazing fire inside roars
Your weak resistance can’t even make a fuss
Surrender now to our brazen holy might

We radiate, radiate, radiate*

At this point, the man on the throne seems to have the upper hand, the band’s bassist lays dead on the ground. Ray sings softly, mourning their fallen comrade.

One lone flower in the wilting field
The moon eaten once again
Is there no more light in this cold world?

Ray stands up, charging the man on the throne.

*Tell me, who told you
That you had the right
Tell me, who said you
Were worth more than a #### ?

Tell me, who made you
Grow that massive arrogance that you call ego?
Tell me, who will make you
Pay for all the things that you’ve DONE???*

There is a very djenty breakdown here, followed by another shift in tone. The man on throne knocks Ray to the ground, only for the lead guitarist to take over during his solo. He is fighting the man on the throne alone by the middle of the solo, as the rest of the band is dead.

At the end of the solo, the guitarist is knocked down. Music is still for a second, but starts fading in, leading to a giant, hype chorus, repeating 3 times, each time bringing additional layers to the fold. The band is revived and unites to literally become the sun, incinerating the man on the throne. They all sit on the throne together as the outro solo plays, the land revives.


Within a few hours of release, the song is an instant hit in FiHami, absolutely smashing the billboards in FiHami, the quickest rise to the top for FiHami’s fledgling music industry.

The band Embers and Ash is composed of:
Lead Vocals/rhythm guitarist Raiki “Ray” Kokostali
Lead Guitarist Texumati’a Kuri
Bassist Kaili Shi
Drummer Hakunoeto Kokostali
Keyboardist Miari “Mimi” Ifi’ikuri

The end of the music video contained an album teaser, with only “January 2023” written over a starry sky.

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November 27th 2022
7:30am
Chief’s Residence, Ha’Hani, FiHami

Days after the investigation ended, Ha’Hani law enforcement cleared the residence to be used again. In Ha’Coron’ Finix’ time, this was nothing more but a simple shack. After insistence from literally everyone around, the Great Chief allowed for renovators to secure the shack better, but still resembled an average house in the village. Compared to other houses in the city and the buildings, it was an absolute eyesore. In Puani’s time, she remodeled to offer all the luxuries anyone could ever dream of. In Hana’s eyes, it was still an eyesore. In fact, the place reminded Hana of the old empire’s fancy palace.

“This will not do at all.” Hana spoke to the toddler in her arms, who seemed to look at the house in horror. “I won’t make a simple little shack like you had it back in the day, but it will not be this at all.”

Hana stepped in, marveling at the empty space. However, her mind was already set on demolishing everything and going back to an older type architecture. Definitely something more than just a shack. In fact, Hana’s mind was set on going back to the Finixi golden age, before the Antarchi went on and destroyed things.


Spring Equinox (known as ha’ali, 1492
6:30am
Ha’Hani City

The Hika’ioni• were already at the university this morning, the first day of the year. Many people would make the journey from all corners of the islands for the celebrations taking hold today, the finest crafters on the island would show off and share their wares, agriculturalists and fishers would show off their produce, there were many fine Finixi fabrics available, especially the incredibly luxurious Fr’aia wool, which was also incredibly expensive and hard to obtain. There would be an enormous feast at the end of the night, and then performers would put on a show for those who were not drunk or asleep.

This was Ha’Coron’ Utu’okomene’s 98th equinox as well. It was during his rule that Finixi society would see so much advancement, though he was not the great chief that united the tribes. Though he was very old and very tired, his mind was still as sharp as the day the giant fire falcon nearly consumed him alive. The wonder of the first day of the year never faded, however.

His wife had passed the year before, in her sleep as peaceful as the night. His children were grandparents themselves, he already outlived his eldest daughter even. Still, the year kept moving. He still led the people, who were numbering over 1 million in the latest census. And he would continue to lead them forward until the very end of his life.

Utu’okomene slowly stood up, leaning heavily on his cane. He was already dressed, wearing the chief’s necklace around his neck and a feathery skirt around his waist. He just needed breakfast now, and he would be ready for the day.

The typical breakfast was a helping of all kinds of fruit wrapped in sweet seaweed. Anything from the smallest Koko berry to the giant bananas and coconuts, all wrapped in deliciously sweet seaweed. This would be what the old chief eats, all while sipping on some tea his son brewed that morning.

“Utuamu, thank you for the tea.”

“Of course, father.”


12:30pm
Huah-Huah City

Ha’Fi had always been curious about the ships coming and going from the ports. In fact, she dreamed of setting sail in a ship of her own design, feeling the sea push her forward to the great beyond. For now, though, she would settle on selling sails and clothing to people coming through.

In her many journals she kept sketches of various ships from different nations around the world. She would meticulously capture the finest detail on the paper, then hide them from the rest of her family.

This morning was quite the same.

There is a Sedunnic ship there this morning. Probably has barrels of cool stuff there. Ha’Fi thought to herself while sketching each individual rope.

“Hey, boat-nose. Where is my ship?” A teenaged boy snickered, dumping the contents of his drink over her journal. Ha’Fi stood up, slowly turning to face the boy.

“One hundred flamethrowers.”

The boy took a step backwards, a smirk on his face.

“What?”

“You will pay for the fine paper I purchased from the merchants. It cost me one hundred flamethrowers.”

“You’re joking.” The smirk slowly left his face when Ha’Fi took a step towards the boy. “I don’t have that sort of money.”

“Then you will pay another way.” Ha’Fi grabbed the boy, throwing him into the ocean before he could react. He rose to the surface, gasping for air.

“Hey! My mom paid a pretty flamethrower for the clothes I’m wearing!”

“Then we are even.” Ha’Fi turned around, grabbing her ruined journal and writing utensil, and left the pier.


Ha’Hani University, Ha’Hani City

Sami was the child of Kami, who was the child of Siami, the mother of the Fi’Shi tribe before the Great Unification. Thanks to the unification, Sami didn’t have to follow her grandmother’s footsteps and be a leader figure, but she could be a scholar at the university, learning everything she possibly could about the world. Due to her tenure in the university, she was both a professor of various subjects, gleefully imparting the things she had learned upon anyone who entered her classes. When she wasn’t teaching, she was learning from the others about their subjects.

Her special interest was in the myths and legends of the various Finixi tribes. She longed to strike out into the jungles and search out various treasures left behind by various historical figures, but there was already so much to do between her teaching and her private studies. The good news is that she felt she had gained sufficient fluency in Spaninol to take on the next language. Maybe rather than learn the next language, she could take a leave of absence at the university and strike out in search of treasure. There is said to be a great sword used by the Great Chief Finix during the battle that she was deemed Chief of the United Finixi tribes. It is buried under the base of Ri-Ha’Fi-Nix, but no one had been able to locate it quite yet.


•note: star-watchers. In ancient Finixi culture these people lived to watch the stars and had extensive knowledge on the movements and trajectories of the skies. In 1414 they created a calendar which starts the year on the Spring Equinox, which also marked the beginning of the rainy season in FiHami.

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