Unbridled – Chapter 21

Author Note: Thank you all so much for reading my work. Whether it has been Unbridled, Broken, or anything from The Exiled Prince series. Please do not take this message as a sign that I am unmotivated or leaving. It is nothing like that. One might call it an epiphany, but really it was just an ah ha moment brought about by the stress of my real life.

As many of you know my grandmother is not doing well. She moved in with us and I have been her primary caregiver. This post is really not about all of that because most of you who keep up with me probably already know it. The reason this is mentioned is so that you can understand the state I have been in. One would think that I have been stressed which is true there is plenty of that, but I actually am much clearer than I have ever been.

The reason for this is that I have had to take a step back from the things that I quite enjoyed doing. As many if you have noticed there has not been a chapter for some time. I have been sitting on it for a while and never even finished it. With plenty of time to think, I realized that I am to a point in my life where I am ready to move forward and do something else. I have been working on The Exiled Prince series long before I shared it with the sims community. Before then I had been writing comic books.

I will not tell you how many years that was because damn I am an old woman, but it is in the double digits. It has been a long time – now do not get me wrong. I am still very much excited about Unbridled and Broken. In fact, I am proud of them. They are some of my finest work if I do say so myself. *Pats Myself On The Back*

Working with these characters through the years has made me really happy. Telling and sharing their stories has been a wonderful experience for me, but as I have moved in this new stage of life with so much stress and worry going on around me, I have come to the realization that I am ready to move on. As my grandmother is transitioning through the end stage of her life, I as well am moving forward.

It is time that I let go of characters I have been holding on to for a long time. I told some people last year that if I ever abandoned The Exiled Prince series that I would only take a few characters with me and that was true for Unbridled and Broken. Tationy and Hiko will be moving forward with me along with some new characters and some old favorites. This is just the journey that I want to take now.

Now some might think – why make such a big decision in a time of stress? As I said, I am clearer in thought now then I have ever been. Perhaps I am the type of person that is cool under pressure and is capable of thinking clearly when stressed, I cannot say. What I can tell you is I had several months to think about this path while barely writing a single word and each thought always led me to the same place.

My characters, my universe, my writing, my games is all starting anew. It is not a simple restructure, but a clean slate. All of it is gone – I deleted it. What remains is a few stories left here on my blog and some sims that I am about to share publicly that I never imagined I would. Really, there is no need to worry about me. I have reached a place where I am satisfied. Once upon a time I reached that same place with my comic book stories which allowed me to move on to The Exiled Prince. It was inevitable and I am happy even in this messed up chaos I call my life there is joy.

I do not want to talk too much about what I am going to do now. Don’t worry the ideas and motivation have never stopped flowing. Even in these months of silence from me writing wise, there have always been inspiration. I knew exactly where my chapters were going to go, I just needed to write them, but the truth was – I was in such a place of peace (mentally over my characters and what I have shared story wise) I no longer felt I needed to tell these stories. It probably sounds weird, but that is how it is.

Anyway, this chapter was never completed. It still had more that needed to be written, but I have opted to not finish it. So, please enjoy the last thing I wrote for Unbridled and say goodbye to The Exiled Prince series as I move along on a different path.

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Winter Season

Hiko always liked winter. It was not for the cold and dreary weather, but how mother nature brought everyone to their knees. There was no man, woman, or child that could withstand the blistering chill of the arctic air. It was the great equalizer; a rich man could slip on the ice just as easily as a poor one.

This time of year always made him pensive and it would surprise no one to learn that his thoughts were settled upon the transition from one year to another. He was not the type of man to make any sort of New Years resolution or even make a night of it on the town.

Normally he would have stayed in something comfortable and watched reruns of his favorite show, but he and Tationy attended the Black and Gold Gala. A charity event hosted by elite members of Aslann’s high society.  The staging for their first strike against those that hindered his path.

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Things did not go entirely as they were meant to. Tationy had laughed about it later on and told him that she was not surprised he had called out Lord Seiji Shima, but she admitted she had not expected him to be so bold. His behavior was called insolent by the elite of Aslann and he along with the woman he adored were both kicked out. Needless to say it made the front page of that morning’s paper.

The look upon the face of Lord Seiji Shima was etched in Hiko’s thoughts. It was clear that he had never been challenged before. The nation adored him; called him the benevolent Seiji Shima and the elite buckled to his will. By the time Hiko was done with the powerful lord, he most likely would be the most hated man in the nation.

He snorted at the thought of being despised simply because he would not backdown from an elephant, “I don’t care if the world hates me.”

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His resolve was firm and the woman resting her head to his shoulder instilled within him enough strength to fight an entire nation. He wouldn’t backdown no matter who stood in his way. Still, as much as he wanted to make preparations for the next part of their strike, they had to contend with a rather unsavory affair; the burial of his uncle, Kyo Kari.

Tationy’s blunder months ago had caused his father to investigate the allegations. Whatever was uncovered, the Elder of the Kari was keeping close to the vest, but it was clear that it was enough to order the execution of Kyo.

Hiko wished he could say that these types of affairs were some archaic flavor that cropped up now and again, but the truth was far darker. The elite clans, policed their own and this was how things were handled among his kin. You crossed the line; you were killed. No exceptions.

Though there were many who might argue that Hiko had pushed the line one too many times. Perhaps if he was not the son of the Elder of the Kari he might have shared the same fate as countless other Kari who sinned against their blood.

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The service, however, was what you would expect from these sorts of affairs. At least for the most part. The Kari Elder and his shield were both present along with the strongest member of the clan.

The family spoke to the deceased. So, it was not at all surprising when his father began speaking candidly, “You were quite troubled. Never finding the balance one needs to move between two worlds. I had looked past far too many sins. Perhaps if I hadn’t you would be able to find some peace at the side of our Lord Kazuma. Instead you will never ascend to the heavens. Forever, left to linger in purgatory. This is as much my burden as it is yours. I was your elder and your big brother. You were my responsibility and for that, I bow my head.”

“Nala begs your forgiveness for not being here to send you off on your next journey. She wanted to be, but the last words the two of you spoke to one another still sting deeply. Our little sister will hopefully learn from the paths we have walked and not repeat our blundering mistakes.”

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“We have been terrible examples of men,” His father spoke.

He felt the squeeze of Tationy’s hand and when he looked toward he realized she was crying. Nothing, not even the words of his father could break his heart more. It was no surprise that he pulled her to him and held her. How sad it was that the only person shedding a tear for his uncle, was the one person that helped put him there.

That was why Hiko had to take it all in. This was the path they were walking. By the end of it, there might be no friends or family left. It had to be etched into their memory so they never forgot what they sacrificed.

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His father sighed deeply, “I have been a terrible Elder of the Kari. Maybe I have become complacent and only act when I am left with no other choice. Perhaps stagnation has settled among our people and my smugness has blinded me to it. Is this what it took for me to open my eyes?”

It was rare to have outsiders attend the funeral of someone that had been purged. These services were a byproduct of the execution and not the norm for a Kari that lived without sin. This was to give the living some peace of mind. Perhaps that was why Hiko’s enemy, Lord Seiji Shima was allowed to attend with his son, but there was one among the attendees that would not be appeased.

Never once did the eyes of Sesiago Kari drift away from the Elder. He was not saying goodbye to his father. Instead, he was cursing his uncle. Spitting the words he spoke, “What an indecent display. Maybe you should have taken that sword to your own throat uncle…”

Semei and Zen had been prepared to move against his cousin, but where stilled by the restrained voice of his father, “My sword is used to protect the Kari. When I am done doing that, I will gladly turn it upon myself. Until them, there are still a few dogs left that need put down.”

The words of Tadayoshi Kari silenced everyone. It was clear that the old man intended to clean house and any Kari he found that sinned against its blood would be purged. Kyo was just the first; what dark path did he and Tationy walk down to unleash a beast upon the Kari and potentially themselves?

His girl must have felt his tension because she clung to him tighter than she had ever before.

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It went without saying that the first moment they could get out of there they attempted to, though they did not make it very far before his father caught up to them. Matching pace, they walked in silence. An uneasiness that climaxed as his father asked, “Do the two of you take me for a fool?”

The little sound Tationy made was one of several cues that this conversation was going to take a turn that Hiko was not going to like. The atmosphere around his father was a tempered vortex; restrained and yet ready to be unleashed. Anything he said would most likely just make it worse so he opted to remain silent.

“A scandalous display laid out on the morning post. Your name on the lips of everyone in Aslann. It is worse than your previous bad press,” His father said though Hiko doubted that his initial question had anything to do with that. It was not the first time his exploits had made the front page. “You and I will be speaking…”

Hiko interrupted, “About what exactly?”

“The two of you will find out soon enough. I have some things to attend to and I will meet you at your home,” His father stated before quickly wandering off.

Read the Muse – The Dog and The Snake (Takes Place After the Funeral)

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