Corsair Stir-Fry

One If By Land, Two If By Sea

In a high battlement overlooking Far Harbor, Sagacious Phoenix arranged green, red, yellow, and black banners on bamboo poles. The winds at this height were steady today, whipping the banners and issuing a droning buzz from the various holes carved into the poles. Satisfied with their arrangement, Sage stood in the center of the arrangement, a steel wand in his left hand. At the wand’s tip a small black jade dragon’s head clung to the metal with smoky incense drifting from the nostrils. For the next few hours, Sage carefully went through the mudras of creation, purpose, and service. The wind’s speed and fierceness grew.

With a great shout from Sage, the winds howled, snapping the bamboo poles and carrying the banners into the sky. They wrapped on each other and faded away, leaving a green condor-like elemental in their place. It had long red-and-black tipped white wings with markings resembling red eyes underneath.

The winds dropped back to their usual levels as the Xatu landed on the battlements edge, wild defiance in its eyes. Sage leveled the open palm of his right hand at the creature, shouting the Old Realm word for submission. A golden flare of essence burned the symbol on the creature’s brow and it bowed its head in obedience.

In the coming days, people would come to notice the creature perched high above Far Harbor or gliding on the island’s thermals, never interfering but carefully watching all beneath it.

At the end of the Far Harbor docks, Sage had arranged a complicated sculpture of glass and crystal. It caught the setting sun’s light and cast a prismatic rainbow on the water. He set a number of small coconut husk boats into the water, each smoldering . The heavy smoke clung to the water’s surface, spreading out and causing the reflected light to ripple as if alive. Sage sat at the dock’s edge, humming a traditional Noh score about beauty born of sea foam.

As the song swelled, Sage pressed his lips together into a high-pitched whistle. The floating embers flared into life, before sizzling and sinking into the bay. Moments later, the rainbow-filled smoke lifted into the air in massive brilliant fins attached to an equally massive seahorse-shaped water elemental.

The Tidemare flared its nostrils in challenge to Sage’s authority. Again Sage won the force of wills, branding the creature. Quickly thereafter, the sailors and fishermen of Far Harbor came to enjoy their new companion who was equal parts harbor pilot and town gossip. Ships slipped in and out of the harbor waters without incident and docking berths were perfectly aligned, like a well-rehearsed ballet production. Little did they realize the creature was carefully inspecting each ship, knowing all that floated through its home.


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