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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK]

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:44 am

Kazuki
The guild hall hadn't been as active as Kazuki would have liked the past few days, but he knew it couldn't be helped. All of the well known, well to do members, had been dispatched elsewhere leaving a token force of Wizards to hold the home front. He was fine with this, understanding his place in the hierarchy and was more than willing to protect his home with the very ground it set upon. But he was still new, and found himself enamored by the strength some Wizards possessed.

It was a normal day, though, and he found himself eyeing the Job board for something to fill his time--but more importantly, his pockets. The problem, he found, was that jobs that fit his skill set didn't pay as well as he liked. Of course, it wasn't that he had an over-inflated sense of worth, it was simply that he knew he needed money to get anywhere in the world outside his village.

In fact it was such a detriment that he had found himself sleeping where ever he could lay his head, barely making enough for both lodging and food, and, hey, a guy had to eat. Sighing at the lack if interesting choices, a hand ran through his hair as his blue-green eyes surveyed the patrons of the guild for a second time.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:31 am

Houren Vanadis
It had been his home for the past number of years, but for odd reason, Houren was having trouble settling into life in Magnolia. It was the place where his father lived, the place where he had his own little house on the outskirts, and most importantly of all, the place where the guild he worked at was situated. The Fire Dragon Slayer's life revolved around town, but he couldn't say he enjoyed life here, but he could probably attribute that to the fact that he was hardly ever around in Magnolia. Jobs often took him to other parts of the country, and the further and more obscure it was, the better it was for him.

After all, despite the immense size of Fiore, Houren had made it one of his personal goals to see everything there was to see in this country, and then make his way to the other places the world had to offer. Maybe he'd travel down the Great Sea and go to Sin where his father had migrated from, and after that, he'd be free to head over to Desierto, the land of scorching sands. For now though, he was stuck in Magnolia, this bustling, but not very big, trade town tucked away in the eastern corners of Fiore.

Just like any other day, the Fire Dragon Slayer headed into the guildhall with the intention of finding a job that would bring him to maybe Oak all the way in the west, or if he wasn't in the mood for a long travel then perhaps Dahlia would be nice as well. He was greeted by an unfamiliar visage when he headed up to the job board though, and uncharacteristically, called out to him.

"Anything good on the board today, then?" he had asked.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:50 am

Kazuki
Blue-greens turned back to the board momentarily, though the hustle and bustle was interrupted not just by the sound of a voice--but by voices dying down as another member entered. Kazuki raised his brows, looking to the owner as he spoke looking to the board.

Shaking his head, he shrugged. "Hardly, at least not for my skill level. I can either help out a teacher with some kids, or track down a peeping Tom. Not exactly heart pounding action." A chuckle given before he moved to bend his arm, placing it upon Houren's shoulder if he didn't move--sort of leaning against him. If this failed, Kazuki wouldn't seem put off in the slightest, perhaps ignorant to people's concept of personal space. His face held an earnest grin, eyes glinting with mirth.

"You look pretty strong though. Bet you get to go on all the cool jobs, like beating up bandits, or saving chicks. Probably get a lotta dates." Obviously he was jumping to a lot of conclusions, though that didn't seem to stop his train of thought in the least. "I bet they pay nice too. Yep, just making myself jealous now."

Whether the arm had landed or not, Kazuki stood straight. "So? What's your deal, bud? Ya use wind magic? Call down lightning?" It was at this point he produced a single rock, nothing more than a pebble before he flicked it up in the air with his thumb. He then caused it to do a figure eight before landing back down in his palm, granting the newcomer a wink. Clearly his own magic had something to do with Earth.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:28 am

Houren Vanadis
The sudden skin contact didn't do much to unsettle Houren - they were both members of the same guild after all, and if two people had the same guild emblem somewhere on their bodies, then familiarity was a given. It wasn't such a big thing now when they were both hanging out in the guildhall, but when you're having trouble with a job many miles away from Magnolia and you run into a fellow guild member who just so happened to be in the same town on a mission, then you'd suddenly become very grateful that Fairy Tail was a family built off people selflessly helping one another. The blood of the covenant is thicker than the blood of the womb, he could recall Cecilia telling him something along those lines before, but he hadn't really been listening.

"A peeping tom, huh?" he commented with a raised eyebrow, it was certainly a mission with a job description capable of piquing Houren's interest. "Sounds troubling. If you got rid of him, I think you'd be doing God's work," it was strange of the Fire Dragon Slayer to pull out the G card, since he was not exactly the most devout guy around, but interactions with people he didn't know too well often made him say things that were uncharacteristic of him. In that sense, he was a bit different from the outgoing members of the guild.

With that said, it wasn't as though he was unfriendly. "It's not bad, but if all I was after was money, I'd be working for the Council," Houren let out a slight chuckle, diverting his gaze towards the quests on the board. A seat on the magic council was a very stable way to live, and if one was powerful enough to be inducted into the ranks of Kingsguard, it would be the quickest way of becoming nobility except, maybe, marrying into a noble family. Of course, there were troublesome things like pledges, and being forced to report somewhere on a moment's notice on the whim of some miserly elders.

The Fire Dragon Slayer was searching for something, and because of that, he couldn't sign his life away for a cushy title and a nice job. He looked at the other man's party trick with a curious expression on his face; he couldn't say that he had met many Earth mages before. Houren showed his index finger, allowed mana to flow through his body and into the tip of his finger, causing it to flame like it was a match. "I'm a fire user. Handy for lighting a smoke or two, you know?" he replied.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 10:46 am

Kazuki
At the mention of God, Kazuki gave a large shrug. "Father always told me the mark of a man is willing to do your own work, so if God was as powerful as they say, wouldn't he smite them himself?" He paused. "Of course the spirits have us to do their bidding as well, so I can see your point." He looked back to it. While he certainly had a love for women, he was earnest about it. He wouldn't try peeping unless it was hinted that such a thing would be welcome. Of course, there wouldn't be a job here if it was. Perhaps handing a guy his own teeth was something Kazuki could do. He'd certainly take a small amount of pleasure for it. Hell, for a date with the poster, he'd do it pro-bono.

At the mention of the Council, Kazuki scrunched his nose a bit. "Yeah, but then I'd have to live by a bunch of dumb rules made up by people who don't know what the hell is actually going on in the world. Not knocking it, if that's your thing, but not my cup of tea. I need freedom to travel." A fellow chuckle given. "And money, so, double edged sword I reckon!"

Kazuki's blue-greens rested on the finger, a single brow raising as the mage produced it. As a flame sprouted forth, Kazuki noted that the flame didn't surround the finger--but was rather produced from it. As if it was generated from him instead of invoking spirits and magic. He almost narrowed his eyes, as that was odd, but instead just grinned. "Alright, that's pretty cool. The practical uses alone. Heating a bath? Cooking? And yeah, a smoke!" He let out a small laugh. "Fire magic actually isn't very common in my village, and the ones that do have it generally serve roles such as a cook. You've probably got the better gig going on here, but ya didn't hear that from me." The last part was added with Kazuki leaning in, shielding his mouth as if sharing a secret as his eyes shifted to and fro.

Stepping back, the Earth Wizard folded his arms across his chest and looked back to the board. "Back to the jobs, you do bring up a valid point. Maybe my fist should get a date with that peeping Tom." He seemed stunned for a moment as he remembered something.

"Right, stupid of me."
He produced his hand for a shake. "Kazuki Kobayashi. Kaz or Koba is fine by me, I'm not a picky guy."

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 11:30 am

Houren Vanadis
Kazuki's talk of spirits reminded the Fire Dragon Slayer of some remote village somewhere in the northern corridors that prided itself on self sufficiency and folk gods that predate the introduction of Illumin to Fiore. These so called ''folk gods'' have long since been neglected by the populace who mostly subscribe to The Church to sate their needs for presumed salvation, but Houren was still glad to see that there was someone around these parts who held onto their roots. At the same time, it wasn't unusual for someone from a far out village to come to a bigger town like Magnolia in search for work; after all, all the top guilds were in bustling cities and if you asked Houren, this Fairy Tail right here trumped just about all of them.

He was also glad to learn that Kazuki's opinion of the Magic Council was similar to his own. Houren often found himself at odds with some of his fellow guild mates, but it looked like this one, who's face he had never seen before today, was someone he could potentially let along with. "If you catch that pervert, the girls will be awfully grateful, I'd say," he agreed, especially since when Kazuki was giving hi initial impression of Houren, he put quite the emphasis on getting dates. He, himself, wasn't all that interested in earning the affections of just any damsel or bored housewife though, although he'd be lying if he said the attention wasn't flattering; certainly, it was a perk of being qualified to do dangerous missions.

"Houren Vanadis," he followed suit with Kazuki's introduction and introduced himself as well, taking the younger man's hand and shaking it. "Kaz, then. It's easy to say. Kind of just rolls off the tongue, huh?" he grinned, suddenly remembering another mage in the guild that went by a very similar nickname, but he quickly put all that to the back of his mind.

"How long have you been in Fairy Tail? I don't think I've seen you around before," he hoped he was correct in assuming this guy was a fairly new member; after all, due to Houren often being absent from Magnolia, you could have been a member for years and still not have met him.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 12:05 pm

Kazuki
The blonde haired man nodded at Houren's words. They would be grateful, he would assume. Money aside their gratitude should be enough to motivate him, as well as getting his name out there--which would lead to more lucrative contracts that maybe asked for him by name. "Yeah, good point." A simple reply as he looked back to the contract, hands going to his hips.

As the fire magic user spoke again, a brow raised as he glanced to him, though he still faced the board. "Yeah, my sister says the same thing. She's called me that since she could speak, just easier for little kids. Since then it stuck." A laugh was given, light and full of an emotion he himself couldn't place. Perhaps he was homesick. "She's an adult now and still calls me that. Family, what can ya do, eh?" With a firm shake he committed the man's name to his memory, matching it by face--but more importantly by magic. It was the only way he could remember people, he found, by tying them to a specific thing. "Houren, eh? That's a unique name." He looked around at the guild hall. It was a motley crew, to be sure, each from different paths united under a single banner. What had drawn him here was the atmosphere, most like his home town. Close knit, family oriented. They had their differences, sure, who didn't? But when push came to shove, they were in this together and he pitied anyone who injured one of their own. "I've noticed that's a common trend here, but that's good. Experiencing different cultures bares way to wisdom and understanding, both important if we're gonna co-exist in any form." Perhaps this upstart had a more level head than he let on.

At the question, Kazuki gave a short nod. "Good eye ya got, or memory rather. I'll keep that in mind if I lose anything! You're right though, I'm the new guy. I've only been a member for about a week or so now...I just haven't been around much since I've been trying to scrape money up to pay for an inn room. So, been pretty busy with my friend here."At this point he gave a small, singular knock with the back of his hand to the wooden board. "Usually more social, but hey, a guy's gotta eat."

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:34 pm

Houren Vanadis
"It's just a name I go by," he shrugged.

The Fire Dragon Slayer took a second to think about the predicament of Fairy Tail's recruit, definitely seeing a parallel between what Kazuki was currently going through and what he, himself, had to go through when he had first joined the guild. The same thing went for anyone from the sticks who ever tried to make a big name for themselves in the big city though. "Money problems, huh? I can't say I don't relate," the Fairy Tail mage crossed his arms and let his mind wander, thinking back to the time when he was doing all sorts of odd jobs for meager sums of jewels; painting doors for the elderly or running errands for a busy shopkeeper and things like that. Of course, Houren went on these paltry quests now and then, but they didn't make up a big part of his income anymore.

Rather than work, he had considered it his way of giving back to the community, but it went without saying that he could only do this when he was actually in town which was, y'know, not very often. "When life's good for a Fairy Tail mage, it's great. When things are tough though, they're pretty tough. Believe me, I've been there," the Fire Dragon Slayer immediately realized that he might not have been exactly humble with his word choice there, and it might not have done anything to assure Kazuki that things were going to be alright. On the off chance that anything he said would have rubbed the newcomer the wrong way, it was entirely unintentional, and Houren made that known with what he said next.

"But Fairy Tail members pride themselves on helping each other out when the going gets tough. If you're ever in trouble, you'll know where to go. God knows how many times these guys have bailed me out in the past," he looked around at the room, not looking at anyone in particular due to the lack of standout faces in the vicinity. Fairy Tail was good people, and the longer Kazuki is in the guild, the sooner he'll see and experience that for himself.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:07 pm

Kazuki
Kazuki listened to his words, though perhaps he was either too ignorant or too laid back to take any sort of offense. Still, he spoke quickly. "Ah, it's not that. Making money is somewhat easy, I suppose, it's just the need for it baffles me. Where I come from there is no money, we share everything. Take care of one another, like a family. We're in this world together, and we found that simply sharing everything without trying to get rich by making someone poorer was easier than the alternative. It breeds a class system that, in the past, nearly destroyed our small village." He shrugged at this. "Before my time, of course and it's all just hearsay now, but there has to be some basis of truth--we don't use money!" He laughed at this, clapping the man on the back as if he had made some joke. "Just surprises me people haven't revolted here. Not everyone is living as well as everyone else, and that can lead to jealousy."

He followed the Fire Mage's eyes around the guild, his grin remaining. For a man with troubles, he was surprisingly upbeat. Those that knew him knew beneath he was full of self doubt and worry, but he hid this beneath his bright smile and witty remarks. Still, his mood had improved considerably since joining the guild--it reminded him of the nightly gatherings back home. Of course there it was a large bonfire, but there was always merriment and drinking. This was home away from home.

"I'll certainly keep that in mind, but I'm not looking to bring trouble to the guild. If it finds me, it'd best know it found a fight." Said with a wink and a slightly raised fist--that pebble from before twirling around the tip of his finger. If anything, he had spunk.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:38 pm

Houren Vanadis
The very mention of a potential revolt or coup d'état, although it was casually introduced to the conversation, forced a slight grin from the Fire Dragon Slayer. There was no evidence for it, and even suggesting such a thing was possible was probably irreverence and probably punishable by some obscure, arcane law in Fiore's law books, but there was a very high chance that not everybody was happy with their current situation, especially not in this country where a royal family and presumed nobility existed. There are opportunities for the common layperson, of course, but in a society where nobles live privileged lives on the circumstance of their of birth as opposed to merit, the flames of discontent are undoubtedly fanned.

Kazuki's village certainly had their own, unique way of living, one that happened to work well from the way he was talking about it, but the Fire Dragon Slayer couldn't help but wonder whether people would truly be happy with a system where everything is shared, a society that has no need for money. After all, it goes without saying that people want their labour to be rewarded, and that not all labour warrants the same reward. Those who considered themselves to be great and who had the feats to back up their claims would probably want to be distinguished from everyone else somehow - Houren was no historian, but he imagined that is how the nobility and titles came about; that is to say, from the desire to be considered higher than others in terms of status.

"As you can see, there's an abundance of work to go around. It's all about putting the effort in," Houren nodded towards the stacked quest board as a testament to that, a wiry smile still on his features. "A world where everybody shares everything and there's no money sounds like a nice ideal, but who doesn't like a good rags to riches story?" he mused.

Even though he and Kazuki had enough in common and could get along, they had grown up in completely different environments. It was clear to him that his new friend hailed from a fairly secluded village, with its own customs and traditions whereas Houren had been a member of the waning aristocracy. His mother had certainly been a noblewoman, but his father was a known rogue and mercenary, a foreigner both to the country and to the nobility, and that made Houren's lineage questionable. His mother's father's father might've been a great knight or the king's advisor (Houren could never remember), but that was of little use to them now; after all, even if they were considered 'nobility', the Vanadis family had very little money to their supposedly prestigious name.

"I'll have to warn you though - the moment you became a member of the guild, you put a giant target on your back. Trouble has a knack for finding us," it was true, but Houren was confident that Fairy Tail would endure. They were good at that too.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:55 pm

Kazuki
"Rags to riches?" He raised a brow at this, obviously put off by the term. He seemed to catch on though, the meaning behind it progression, and he gave a small laugh. "It probably works for us because we're really small. Less than fifty people, I think. Give or take a few. One, certainly." His grin widened, clearly meaning himself. Blue-green eyes went back to the board and he finally reached and gently tugged a piece of paper down, looking it over one more time before folding it up and placing it on the inside of his vest. He said nothing about it, but merely gave the fire user a wink.

"Honestly, if I 'made' it, I'd probably spend the money on things to send back to my village. While we're self sustaining, there's certainly advances in technology that could be useful to us. When you're so far out traders only come once a year..." He shrugged. "I'm just saying, Lacrima blew my mind. We don't have anything like that there. Shoulda seen me operating lights for the first time!" A hearty laugh given, and as it died he spoke of having a target on his back. Kazuki folded his arms behind his head.

"Well, if that's true than what you said earlier is also true: I ain't alone. Therefore, what have I got to worry about?" His logic was sound, if a bit simple.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:09 am

Houren Vanadis
"No lacrima? Sounds awfully inconvenient," Houren remarked.

He did say something about Kazuki's village having a pretty good system going on, but he couldn't personally imagine living life without the use of lacrimas. Hell, if you wanted to be really technical about it, his entire livelihood revolved around them since he could only call himself a Fire Dragon Slayer due to the implanting of a Dragon Slayer lacrima into his body. They had an array of uses, some were good, some bad, but most would agree that their introduction to the world has made daily life a lot more convenient than it used to be - a double edged sword as one could also argue that the current generation has gotten a lot lazier because of these conveniences, but whether that was true or not, they would find out in time. It wasn't anything worth arguing about.

"Oho? That's true enough," the Fire Dragon Slayer allowed an uncharacteristic laugh as he patted Kazuki on the back, clearly happy to hear that the young man was not deterred from joining the guild at all. While it was true that Fairy Tail mages often got along with each other, the same could not be said for the law and even other guilds. It went without saying that there would be some type of rivalry, friendly or otherwise, between the tops guilds but Fairy Tail's relationship with law enforcement had always been rocky, mostly due to their tendency to cause collateral damage when undertaking their missions, and a general lack of respect for the Council's authority. However, if they stuck together, then they would be OK. A Fairy Tail member needed to genuinely believe that, or he'd probably go nuts.

Rubbing his chin in contemplation, the Fire Dragon Slayer continued. "It might be premature of me to say, but I think you'll fit right in. Really, I do," and he meant it as well; it had been a long while since he had seen a new recruit like Kazuki.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:53 am

Kazuki
"Is it an inconvenience if you never had them? Sure, it's an inconvenience if you had it and lost it, but to us it was simply life as usual." He shrugged slightly at this, though his smile still remained half there. "I mean, we never had em. Not much to miss! But, agreed that I don't think I could go back to where our form of running water--which involved a well, a bucket, and if you wanted it heated...a fire mage." He gave a wink to the fire mage at this before his hands went back to his hips and he looked at the board.

"Yeah...I'll have to save up and buy some lacrima...visit home and teach them how it all works. If anything, it would improve quality of life, but almost everyone in the village can use some type of magic and I don't want to take away their importance either." He frowned, a double edged sword indeed. A heavy sigh broke his lips at this, the serious look that had almost graced his features gone with a sound that was between both a giggle and chuckle as he looked back to the fire magic user. "What can ya do, eh?"

When the fire mage had a laugh break his own lips, this only made Kazuki's grin return with a vengeance. It was the first time he had seen something like that from the guy, and while he wasn't about to tell anyone how they should live, he felt everyone needed more laughter in their lives. Whenever he thought about the happiest times in his own life, he was laughing: so it stood to reason that more laughing meant more happy times. Again, a sound albeit simple way of thinking.

With the declaration that he thought Kazuki was a perfect fit he cocked his head to the side, almost perfectly feigning a hurt look. "And here I was hoping to fill the role of black sheep. Well, hell." The grin was back though. "Every family's got one, even our village, though the old man means well he's just...a few wizards short of a Council is all."

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:35 am

Houren Vanadis
"You planning on going back there when you retire or something?" he already took note of the fact that Kazuki had left his hometown to come to Magnolia and join the Fairy Tail guild, but he had yet to explain why he had done so, nor had Houren asked as he did not want to risk asking something too personal. That stance had softened at this point though, and he felt like he could ask the newcomer without invoking any negative feelings. At the very least, it seemed like Kazuki had many happy memories associated with his home village, and Houren was almost sure that Kazuki's tale is one that is not uncommon to the modern day - it was simply a case of a man's ambition outgrowing the small village in which he was born and raised.

With that in mind, it was not the Fire Dragon Slayer's nature to make assumptions so of course he would want to confirm this. "Magnolia is great and all but it seemed to me like you had a pretty good setup back in your home town. What made you want to leave it?" knowing Kazuki, he was likely to say something like there weren't enough pretty girls in his village or something along those lines. Houren thought that maybe money was a factor too, but since he grew up without ever using it, he probably had his doubts - hell, he probably had one hell of a culture shock when he realized that people outside of his village didn't just share things. It would have been an amusing sight, for sure.

"We have our own share of guys like that. What can I say? It's a big guild," the Fairy Tail mage's mind drifted to some of the less savoury guys who were apart of the guild, but bad blood aside, there was no denying that they were comrades and were expected to treat each other as such. "Well, I'd say they're all good deep down. If not, the Master would have them strung by now," he chuckled.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:00 am

Kazuki
At the question of retiring there Kazuki gave a small laugh, though there was a small sadness in his eyes showed it was something he considered greatly. Perhaps that -was- his reason for wanting to take things back, to avoid that inconvenience. "Ah, probably not--but I'm going to visit every time I'm out that way, to be sure. My mother would kill me if I didn't! She can be...pretty scary, but, a good woman. Strong." Said with a fondness one can only give to those they don't just know and love, but respect dearly.

With his question of why Kazuki left, the Wizard looked to him, that grin becoming a bit smaller and he gestured to an open table before he went and sat. Waiting for the fire mage to join him either by sitting or standing, he would eventually speak. "It's complicated, and depending on your views, pretty crazy but..." A deep breath was taken before he shrugged, as if it wasn't a big deal anyway. "My village believes that everything has a spirit, from the trees to the insects--and everything has a purpose it's born for. Wolves keep the population of deer in check, so that they don't eat all the vegetation, which in turn let's insects do their work which in turn helps keep the ground fertile and so on and so on." He paused here. "It's...well, outside of the village it isn't practiced much, from what I've gathered, and I'm not here to force anyone into our point of view. We simply believe that every being has a right to life, but we also understand that things kill to survive--after all, those wolves don't politely ask the deer to be their dinner. Humans are no different, born of Mother Earth just as any other animal..but we have the tools, the knowledge, to make a difference--a lasting impact--that most other races cannot. The Great Mother--what we call the Earth--has been harmed more by us than any other being around. We clear forests to make way for progression, dig up earth to form stone cities, we mold her to what we need her to be, to protect ourselves. But, every being can only take so much, and as I said, we believe everything is alive, especially the planet. It's commonplace for our people to commune with the spirits when we're expecting a new arrival, to ask their guidance and blessing. Apparently before I was born the spirits told my mother, father, and nearly everyone who asked that I would be the first to leave the village, to right the wrongs done to the Great Mother--her wrath incarnate." He held up his hands a nervous laugh given. "I'm not here to raze cities or anything, and it's a bit much for me to believe too--and I wouldn't, didn't, until it came time for me to commune with the spirits myself. As is custom, at adulthood, I performed my Rite and spoke with the spirits, asking for their blessing. Remember how I said fire mages were rare for us? Fire spirits don't generally give their blessing, but they know it's needed so they do just begrudgingly. The Great Mother is even more fickle. Most of our mages magics are wind for milling, or plant-based for growing crows. Even my mother uses wind based magic, but she is a huntress--kinda cheating, but hey, work with what you got right? There has never, in the history of ever, been an earth mage in our village. I was the first to ever been given this, which just further backs what they believed. And so, they implored me to travel...and here I am. I don't do this for me, I do it for her." He stomped slightly on the floor at this. "We're her greatest enemy, but also her greatest ally. I guess I'm supposed to use my judgment to figure out who's good, who's bad...and that's a bit much, I'll admit. I mean, you met me, do I seem like the type of guy you'd want to leave your fate to?" A laugh given. "I know I'd prefer someone with a biiiit more experience! But, that's the jist of it. I'm just doing what I believe to be right, what I hope is right. I want to get strong enough to be able to commune with every spirit, not just those who want to talk to me. I want them to recognize me as their greatest ally, their champion. When things go wrong, I wanna be the guy the spirits cry out to for aid." A blush reached his cheeks. "Perhaps a bit juvenile, but it keeps me going."

His shoulders rose slightly. "I joined Fairy Tail because...well, I missed home. We were very close, it's all I knew." His hand reached the back of his neck as he rubbed it slightly, blue-greens shifting. "I guess I was just lonely, but from what I've seen...I made the right decision. I like it here. It's loud, reminds me of our nightly get togethers back home. Though ours was generally around a fire, under the stars, but the atmosphere is the same: family. And that is what's most important to me." A long pause before he placed both hands on the table, leaning towards the fire mage as his trademark grin made it's way back.

"So! How about you! Gotta be more interesting than a bunch of religion, eh!?"

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 8:47 am

Houren Vanadis
Long story, huh?

The Fire Dragon Slayer followed the younger man's cue, moving towards the open table and taking a seat. It was quite strange, Houren thought, he had come into the guildhall this morning with the intention of taking a job and being gone before anyone could even notice he was here, but now he was sitting down, chatting to a person he had never even met before today. It brought him some happiness to know that there was some some spontaneity in his otherwise boring everyday life here in Magnolia. Under most circumstances, he would have refrained from getting too deep into a discussion, and absolutely would not sit down even if he was invited to, but at the same time, he felt like whatever Kazuki had to say, it was something that would be worthwhile for him to hear.

The folk religion that Kazuki and his people subscribed to certainly had a nuance to it, and it was clearly a faith that contrasted Fiore's dominant religion. The belief that some sort of spirit resided in all things was a quaint sort of credence, at the very least, it might even have been seen as blasphemy by those who considered the Chants of Light to be divine scripture. That, however, was not Houren's place to decide. Right now, the only thing he could do was to listen intently and come to his own conclusion. Certainly, if nothing else, Kazuki could boast of having a more glamorous history than Houren, one that almost read like a children's story about heroes and chosen ones - truly, the stuff of imagination.

Houren, having grown up with a mother who forsook religion after being spurned in love, and a maternal family who would trade all their religious idols for precious stones, could not truly empathize with the zealous. He could understand that Kazuki's birth was special to his village in some way, and his affinity with Earth magic was also significant, but being tasked with a job by the spirit of all things from birth seemed more like a burden than a blessing to him. Kazuki's missionary work didn't appeal to the Fire Dragon Slayer, but he understood the man's reasoning for joining Fairy Tail all too well.

"It sounds complicated, but it's actually simple, isn't it? You joined because it reminded you of your hometown," he leaned back on his chair and looked towards the bar, contemplating what a drink would do for his humor right now. He decided against it when Kazuki asked him about his own circumstances, somewhat sheepish that his story was not so impressive. "My father was a mercenary who traveled often, and I just so happened to see his bounty poster one day," he could remember that day fairly clearly; Ysabel had shown him a picture of the criminal who had taken hundreds of innocent lives, but Houren didn't see any criminal that day - it was his father's eyes staring at him through parchment.

"I didn't have much of a relationship with him but he had taken the life of someone close to me, so I figured I had a score to settle with him. The bounty said he was last seen in Magnolia so I came here to find him," with an elbow on the table and his chin resting on his hand, Houren continued. "I did what I had to do. Afterwards, as shameful as it is, I passed out and woke up here when some members found me. Apparently, they were after my pops' bounty as well," he let out a chuckle remembering this, seeing the irony now that he was reminiscing.

"Once I confirmed he was dead, I had planned to go straight home but the Master convinced me I had a future here, so I ended up staying. That must've been quite a while ago, I'd say," he could probably count the amount of years he'd been in this guild on two hands by now.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:05 am

Kazuki
After having finished his tale, as grand as it might have been to some, Kazuki himself would admit he didn't have his doubts. There were some things, even if there was circumstantial proof, that were just -too- fantastical, magic or no. Houren's own tale wasn't as long as Kazuki, though the sparkle in his eyes shifted back to that sadness at hearing the tale and he furrowed his brows. Kill his own father? Evil deeds or no, Kazuki couldn't imagine doing it to his own father. But then, he knew that wasn't a fair connection to make. Houren's dad was some type of warrior, his own was a bookish man, intelligent and witty, but his backbone resembled little more than a soft desert. He wondered, briefly, how his mother had fallen in love with such a man but they certainly had. Perhaps his father liked his mother's take charge attitude, and she his paternal instincts. Whatever the reason, Kazuki was first hand testament that their relationship worked and that the duo loved each other very much.

"I-I'm sorry, I didn't know." Houren stated he didn't exactly have a relationship with the man, but a father is a father. He wouldn't condone Houren, though, as if what he said was true--and the earth mage had zero reason to doubt him--than he was merely paying for his evil deeds. "Sounds like it was a tough fight either way, glad you were able to pull through!" An...odd thing to say, but Kazuki wasn't exactly sure there was a right thing to say in this situation. "If Fairy Tail was after him, then he must have done something pretty terrible." His face dropped to a frown and he shook his head. "A good father figure is important in our village, I'm sorry that yours didn't meet those expectations. Obviously he was strong at least." The frown quickly turned upside down. "Kinda makes my dad look like a pushover, really. I mean, he is, but still!" His voice came out in another laugh as he waved it off.

"And you've been working for the guild ever since? Now -that- is an exciting tale about joining, much better than a homesick youth fueled by religious beliefs." A just nod was given, as if this were purely fact. "Alright, lay it on me: Most memorable job for the guild!" Obviously he was fishing for tales, or perhaps, the type of grandiose adventure he could expect within the guild now that he was a member. "In turn, I'll tell you whatever story, or anything really, about the village you wanna know. I can't promise it'll be exciting, or that I'll be as good as a Folkmaster, but I'll give it a whirl!"

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:31 am

Houren Vanadis
"What, are we comparing father figures now?!" it was said in good jest with Houren realizing that they might be here for a while.

With that in mind, he glanced over at the familiar face tending the bar and raised his hand, the universal symbol that he was ordering drinks; both his index and middle finger were up, signifying that he was ordering two, of course, one for him and the other for his newfound friend. Kazuki had already asked Houren about his most memorable job for the guild, but he decided not to continue speaking until after their beverages had arrived. The bartender, whom was more than a passing acquaintance of Houren's, knew that the Fire Dragon Slayer was not the type to consume alcohol so early in the day and had brought over two hot cups of coffee, just like usual.

He was still somewhat hung up on Kazuki's talk of father figures, but it was fairly clear from reading the atmosphere that they were done with that sort of talk. It was a shame that Houren wouldn't be able to mention the man who had taken the place of his biological father, but that could always wait for another time. At the very least, even if his real father was off doing all sorts of nasty work for blood money, a young Houren did not grow up in want of a father figure in his life. He had found one in the form of his childhood friend's father, but the pair of them had been close enough to be considered siblings anyway. He took a sip of his drink and wondered about the young man's question, clearly conflicted as he had so many jobs under his belt; he could, of course, eliminate all the trivial ones such as painting doors and babysitting immediately though.

"Let's just say your beliefs aren't the only unorthodox ones in Magnolia," the Fire Dragon Slayer was being intentionally vague but was immediate in clarifying. The Rune Knights in this town once got a tip off that there were active cults here, worshiping their demons and what have you. I was sent into to investigate once and it turned out to be true," it had the airs of a horror story as opposed to an exciting one, but the Fire Dragon Slayer did have a great time doing an infiltration mission for once.

"They weren't all that strong, but playing spy was quite exciting for me, I suppose," Houren took another sip of his coffee. "Now then, why don't you tell me something about your hometown? Maybe something with a less spiritual flavour" he was genuinely interested in the remote village where Kazuki had grew up in.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:49 am

Kazuki
Kazuki shared his laugh, having remembered childhood arguments involving the phrase 'well my dad...' He even had those arguments with his toddler sister, despite them having the same father. Sibbling rivalry never truly stopped, and she even vowed to find him at some point--despite his behest being for her to stay in the village. Of the duo, Kazuki was certainly the more laid back, where as she was--as his father said--her mothers daughter. She was certainly a spitfire, and the memories that they had inadvertently brought up with their talk made his smile widen with sense of fondness.

He watched the man order drinks and Kazuki had considered doing the same, but he wasn't familiar with the workings of the guild hall quite yet. He certainly wasn't a well known face, at least. Still, he took note of how Houren ordered, a show of familiarity between the two and Kazuki thought it best he ordered strictly from the bar. He didn't want to come off rude, after all. As their coffee was brought, Kazuki took a sip before he made a face. Apparently he wasn't expecting it to be so bitter, and quickly reached for some sugar to pour in. Just enough to sweeten it before he took another sip and nodded. Not too bad.

He listened intently to the story, nodding somewhat at certain parts. His blue-greens were full of wonderment and he finally spoke: "....woooow. Okay, that's pretty cool! I definitely gotta get stronger now!" He took another sip of the drink, feeling as though it was missing something, but unsure what. Finally, he asked Kazuki about his village, something not religion related and this made the young man think. Almost everything was tied to religion, from daily requests to the spirits, to thanking them at the end of the day. Still, he knew he could find something--a tale or two from a youth with a rambunctious sister.

"Alright, let's see.." He thought for a moment before he finally started speaking, his mouth widening to a grin he really couldn't contain as the memory graced him. "Remember the Folkmaster I spoke of? Well he keeps all his tales in books, large tomes handed from one Folkmaster to the other. They're old, and very precious to us." He paused, and almost offhandedly he spoke right after. "My sister and I stole them one day and colored some of the pictures." He laughed outright at this. "He was...SO mad...but you can tell, looking back, he was trying not to laugh. We didn't have coloring utensils then, yet, so we had used mud--and mud mixed with mashed berries--to color them. It was...pretty bad. If there was any good to come from it, it was that the next time Ol' Man Hemlock came to trade he brought us coloring books and some chalk to color with." He shook his head before he brought the glass to hips lips, stopping just before to point a formerly curled finger to the fire mage. "My sisters idea, mind you. And being the big brother I was, I got had to reach the books for her."

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:02 am

Houren Vanadis
"You two must have been a rowdy bunch. As all kids are. Your folkmaster must've been a busy man," the title of folkmaster had initially been lost on the Fire Dragon Slayer but after having Kazuki mention him casually in conversation, Houren could more or less understand the gist of the man's role. The elder Fairy Tail mage had asked for a story, and he had gotten a humorous one indeed; he had been under the impression that he had known more or less everything about the younger man when he started talking about the folk religion that so dominated his village, and indeed, most of his childhood. However, it would have been in poor taste if Houren simply associated Kazuki's name and face with that of a mystical chosen one from the sticks who was a master of the Earth element.

Yes, hearing a story about how he had gotten into mischief with his younger sister was certainly a tale that the Fire Dragon Slayer could relate to more although he had been an only child. "Although your younger sister seems to be a great deal more mischievous judging by your story. I suppose you're the level headed one in the family?" this brought out another bashful chuckle from the Fire Dragon Slayer. He outstretched a single hand and poured a tablespoon of sugar into his coffee, deeming it to be just a little bit too bitter for his taste. The bartender had the good sense to leave that part up to Houren, especially after that incident where he had made it much too sweet for the Fairy Tail mage's taste buds.

He stroke his chin in contemplation for a moment after returning the cup to the coaster on the table. "You said before that your village did not have that many people? Fifty, or so? Then you did not grow up with many children your own age?" perhaps he was stabbing at shadows at this stage, but there was still some life to the conversation yet.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 10:26 am

Kazuki
"Quite rowdy." Said simply as he shook his head. Damn he missed her sometimes, even if she seemed to enjoy getting on his nerves. "Mostly all of it was her idea, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't have my own moments. Though I was sure to keep her out of trouble--mainly because it involved other girls." He let out a chuckle, running his thumb over the mug lightly.

Houren's explanation of his sister reached his ears and he raised his eyes back to the man. "That's a pretty accurate description, yeah, haha. I got my father's temperament, they say, but my mothers looks and temper. I have my moments, like I said, where I'm not so calm and collected but those are far and in between. I'd like to say there's some big philosophy against anger in our, but not really. It's justified in some cases, and needed in some even more so. I just try to take everything in stride, is all."

His question of children in the village made Kazuki grin. "Correct. Children ages vary wildly in the village. My sister, myself, and two others were the only real small kids. Most had a good years ahead of us, some were already close to adulthood so it's hard for me to have seen them as anything but such." His smile dropped slightly. "There would have been another, but she caught sick one winter and...well, we don't exactly have the medical treatments that you guys do. Our healers can only do so much, and curing natural sicknesses isn't something they can do. We've little to do but natural remedies to boost our immune systems." He shook his head. "That's another thing I'd like to fix. She could have grown to be a valuable member of the village. She was a...sweet kid." There was a fondness in his words that was lacked when he mentioned his family, perhaps giving the feeling that there was some sort of history, albeit short, between the two when they were kids. He quickly cleared the air.

"But that's neither here nor there. Life is hardly fair, but it's worth living--and you can't do that if you're stuck wishing you could change the past. It's best to look forward to what we can do to shape the future, right? At least, I think so. That's all our actions can affect anyway."

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:03 am

Houren Vanadis
There was nothing like a tale of loss to bond two men over an open fire - well, they were lacking an open fire, but the warm coffee in their bellies was a more than adequate substitution, and much less dangerous as well, for inducing that warm feeling. The Fire Dragon Slayer was no stranger to loss, and he was no stranger to people who were no stranger to loss, and the only thing he could honestly say was that there actually was nothing to say. When you lose a close friend, a loved one, the words of the world suddenly become mumbles, going in through one ear and then out of the other. It didn't matter, because no matter what they said, the person you lost would not come back, unless they were a necromancer chanting some sort of evil incantation, but of course, mages that dabbled in such sorcery were few and far between, and for good reason as well.

The people of Kazuki's village seemed to live idyllic existences in their own corner of the continent, but it seemed like they had their own problems. The Fairy Tail mage wasn't one to play devil's advocate, but if that young girl had been in Magnolia at that time, perhaps there was something modern healers could have done for her as opposed to more traditional remedies. In any case, it was not worth mentioning lest Kazuki suddenly experience a throng of unpleasant memories, such things were better kept to oneself. If they're gone, they're gone, and the only thing that can heal the wounds left by their departure, premature or otherwise, is time. Consoling words won't do much at this stage, but Houren was fairly sure that this little girl would have been around Kazuki's age had she had lived to see her potential bloom.

"The human condition is pitiful, indeed. We were just made that way, unfortunately," he mused, taking another sip of his coffee.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:22 am

Kazuki
"It's true, our bodies are weak, but our minds--our spirits, that's our strength. At least, that's what I believe." He shook his head. "I'm not keen on the history of the continent, after all, we have little beyond folk tales and legends, but for us, no matter the danger or threat of death it's the human spirit that emerges victorious, even if the hero of the story dies. People live on, as does their deeds." He took another sip of the drink.

"People have just lost their way, ungrateful for the life they've been given while continuously taking the lives of those that are." He looked to Houren, a grin forming. "And that's where people like us came in, the 'good guys' as my sister would say. We can make a difference, to defend those that cannot defend themselves. Help them with things they cannot do without the aid of magic. Whether you subscribe to my villages way of living, or not, we're still working together for the betterment of all--that's what matters." He shifted his weight, popping his neck slightly as he took another sip. He was trying to bring back that cheery persona, the one that hid this part of him. "We'll get there! One day, one step at a time, but I know we'll pull through." A cheer erupted from a few tables over, some men not having Houren's sense and drinking early in the morning.

"And they'll help, once they sober up. We owe it to those who can't be here to at least try."

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:49 am

Houren Vanadis
"You certainly have great ambition, to have a goal that one may not complete in a single lifetime. Or even multiple lifetimes," he wondered.

It went without saying that the Fire Dragon Slayer was not exactly a vessel for optimism. He wasn't a full on depressing Debra or anything like that, but he was certainly a man who looked at life through realistic lens. Kazuki seemed to be a good sort, and a person who could probably make a world load of difference for one person or even two people or more, but if that was your goal, then you'd be doing this forever. Humanity was constantly renewing itself with heroes and villains that you couldn't possibly hope to end all malice on Earth, or perhaps the Fire Dragon Slayer had just misunderstood Kazuki's ethos for living.

Houren certainly found such ambition admirable, but it was not a realistic challenge to take on. He was sure Kazuki would say something along the lines of ''it's worth trying'' or something like that, and that very well be true, but at the same time, was that not the same as setting oneself up for disappointment? In any case, it was not something that had anything to do with him, he could only support his junior from afar, and wish him the best in whatever he decides to pursue. "Ah yes, Fairy Tail's own motley crew of drunkards. They are great heroes, indeed," he raised his coffee cup in toast to them.

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Fire and Earth [Houren, FLASHBACK] Empty on Mon Jan 29, 2018 12:04 pm

Kazuki
"The roots of a single tree can save much of the ground from erosion." Wise words, perhaps, though he would admit he was merely parroting his own father at this point. The older man was certainly one of the wisest of the men that Kazuki knew--but he wasn't exactly wordly, either. His own father had been born, raised, and would within the small village. Kazuki would get to see and experience things he never imagined, and in the end he supposed his wisdom would far outshine his father.

But wisdom was only useful when one was humble enough to accept it, which Kazuki hope he was.

"Ambitious? Maybe. Foolish? Maybe that too."
Said with a laugh. "But I won't know till I try, right? I'd just like to think that everyone can make a difference, big or small, but hopefully for the better. I'd rather die trying to make a difference, then live on my knees accepting what may come. Kinda contradictory of rolling with the punches, but I figure I'll take a few knocks. Bound to happen." He leaned towards the man slightly. "But that's enough depressing talk about what-ifs!" He raised his mug as the man did, laughing at his toast, but nodding just the same. "If anything, they'll throw mugs." He tapped his mug to the man with a slight clink and downed the rest of his coffee--at least some things were cross cultural, it would seem.

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