1 | The Jade Festival

Chapter 1

“Again!!! Again!!! Again!!!”

Two dozen merry and peaceful voices could be heard cheering these words repeatedly. The perfectly in-sync cheering came from one of the golden towers in the capital, which was engulfed by dazzling golden sparkles caused by the setting sun. No one could hear it though, as the streets were full of chatter, laughter, and feasting foxes. It was the 6th day of the Jade Festival. The capital had not been this crowded since the fall of the Vulpidei, and the celebrations and peace that came with it. On this day, when standing before the Golden Gate, the main entrance into the capital, foxes could see 10 magnificent and colorful banners, which could only mean one thing. All tribes are present in the city, celebrating the recent events together in harmony.

“Again … ???” mumbled the Old Fox, partly tired, partly amused. The Old Fox watched across the chamber, filled with two dozen lively little foxies. “All right then!” he said yieldingly, with a passionate shimmering in his eyes. “But afterward, all of you go to sleep without any cries and peeps.” The serious-sounding Old Fox left an impression on the young foxes, as they all nodded in approval to his latest words. “Tomorrow is a big and historical day for the entire lands of VFoxia. You all know that right?” Old Fox scanned the room. “Yes, Old Fox.” said the foxies in unison. One of the little ones came to his feet and spoke with pride. “Tomorrow, the high priest Alphice will receive the renewed Jade Sword from our prince in a ceremony that will mark the end of the Jade Festival. The sword has been forged out of a huge jade stone that was found by the Miners after endless searching for two whole centuries. The stone was brought here, to our beloved capital and ravens spread to all lands to announce the festival. The most experienced Lava smiths were honored with reforging the Jade Sword. They said it will take them seven days, and tomorrow will mark the 7th and final day.”

The Old Fox, blown away by the little fox's amount of detail and eloquence, just stared at the little fella. “E-Exactly-y! Well spoken” and he was cured from his surprise. “So … where were we? Ah yes, the story of the Civil War.” The Old male began to tell his story for the second time that evening. As the setting sun made a place for the rising full moon, the young foxes slowly fell asleep one after another. All across the lands of VFoxia, the laughter and chatter turned into snoring and silence.

That same bright night, while all foxes were sleeping, exhausted from six days of feasting, clouds turned up at the eastern shore of the Forest Lands, blocking the lights of the full moon. A thick fog crawled onto the shore, concealing all that was submerged by its mighty white fingers, slowly reaching for the forest. Only foxes with the best hearing could have heard small taps which sounded like light footsteps on crispy sand. The fog reached the first trees of the Pinewood Forest. Out of nowhere, a dark and hoarse voice broke the silence.

“Finally … Home”

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