The Curse of the Dragon: Part One

The fortunes of a family hang on the unlikely outcome of the grand tournament. In the mountains, an ancient evil stirs. Legend becomes terrible reality as magic once again emerges in Shang SimLa.

In the misty valley of Shang SimLa, legends proliferated like weeds. Old Chen Hong was said to be 200 years old. The Zhang family knew the secret art of teleportation. There were even whispers of treasure hidden under the floorboards in the old monetary. Yes, Shang Simla was a place of tall tales, with 10 new yarns spinning out every generation. Naturally the legend of the Dong Huo and the Dragon’s Curse faded from memory, eclipsed by more colorful fabrications. The townspeople would not be so eager for their fantasies when ancient myth turned to horrifying reality.

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Sweat beaded on Kim Ho Sung’s brow as he waited for the results of the preliminary simfu tournament. His training had been grueling; meditating under icy waterfalls to hone his concentration, drilling the simfu forms endlessly, and balancing on the edge of cliffs to overcome fear and attain balance. Despite the year of relentless training, Master Pei’s mouth was set in a firm line, his eyes tense as he watched the judges. Kim Ho Sung knew his teacher’s look; he had seen it every time he fumbled a form or shivered uncontrollably in the waterfall: disappointment.

Kim Ho Sung’s heart sank as the results were announced. He had not placed high, barely qualifying for the grand tournament. He shifted under Master Pei’s gaze, ashamed to face his teacher after his mediocre performance. Shame turned to terror as his father approached, cold fury radiating from him. Frustrating his father’s ambitions was dangerous. There was more at stake in the tournament than Kim So Hung’s personal pride.

The Kim family, once noble and wealthy, had declined over the generations and now was relegated to merely well-respected. His father, Kim Soon, sought to regain its lost prestige, and arranged an ambitious match between Kim Ho Sung and the eldest daughter of the Huang clan. Huang Hui Young was of marriageable age, and the hefty bride price enticed the Huangs to decree the match suitable. Wedding arrangements was set for next new moon, 5 days from the grand tournament. The Kim family coffers were nearly empty, but his father needed one more element to secure the family’s position. The marriage had proffered connections and social status; now the family would reclaim its glory. Several Kim ancestors had attained the venerable title of Simfu Grand Master. Surely his son, in whom the blood of the noble ancestors coursed, could achieve rank and title in the tournament, conferring honor and prestige to the family. The success of Kim Soon’s aspirations and careful plans rested on his son.

Kim Ho Sung huddled motionless in the meditation cave, crushed by despair. No amount of drills and icy waterfalls would push him to Simfu Mastery, certainly not in three days time. The grand tournament, now impossibly near, would decide the fate of the Kim family. His father’s obsessive ambition verged on madness; Kim Ho Sung dared not think of the consequences for failure.

In the stillness of the early hours, he sank into a reverie, longing for happier times. Running in the fields when he was a boy; catching fireflies in autumn moon; staying up late listening to stories from nursemaid Sun Wen. She had died in the fire 10 years ago that had taken his mother. Her stories, though, had remained with him. Stories of triumph, of valiant heroes, and… yes, of power.

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He vaguely remembered the fable of a secret well hidden in the mountains. The waters sprang from the mouth of a dragon and granted otherworldly powers to whoever drank them. The name Dong Huo buzzed in his mind, but he couldn’t quite place his role in the story. He dismissed the name, probably some typical hero customary in Sun Wen’s stories.

Kim Ho Sung threw his mind back, recalling every detail about the fabled well. The foreboding mountains guarding the well were shaped like rolling waves, and the dawn mists gathered on them like froth from the sea. Dawn broke over the valley, and the swirling tendrils of mist beckoned to him. The imposing cliffs opposite his cave appeared like rushing, swollen waves as the mists played off their surfaces. It was a foolish dream, a child’s dream, but perhaps Kim Ho Sung would search out the Dragon Well. Maybe there was still hope for the grand tournament.

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Deep inside the maw of the Dragon Cave, the thing that had been Dong Huo stirred.

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Noxious fumes wafted from the cave and spread across the valley, tinting the mists a dull red. Soon, Shang Simla would once again know the devouring, insatiable power of dark magic.

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1.3 The Gift of the Mahiri

The fire crackled in the hearth, sending shadows dancing across the small room. Rita paced around the tiny hut as the Mahiri Elders gathered outside around their sacred tree, deciding her fate.

The fairies she had met in the jungle had brought her to their village. The Mahiri village sat atop the roaring waterfall in the heart of the jungle. They had climbed a secret tunnel that snaked through the shear rock wall. Rita recalled passing this waterfall several times during her excursions but had never suspected it held a secret path. The Mahiri were hidden from the world, perhaps intentionally. A group of laughing children flew by the window, their wings a dazzling silver-blue hue. Not every member of the tribe was a fairy, but village thrummed and buzzed with a peculiar energy that Rita could only describe as magic. In the twilight, vines climbing around the hut emitted a soft bluish light. Peering closer, Rita made out the shape of small yellow life fruit clinging to the vines

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As night approached, Rita was called before the Mahiri Elders. Dressed in earthen hues and ornate jewlery, their white hair and dark skin stood in stark contrast with their luminous green eyes, eyes the color of the jungle itself. The air was tense with magic and apprehension. “Explain yourself,” demanded the Elder across from her in a low, raspy voice. The words tumbled out of Ritas mouth. She shook as she quickly explained how she was there, recounting the encounter with the Glowy Butterflies. As the Elders listened, their expressions began to soften.

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Rita stomped on the suitcase, trying to force it closed, but the stiff brim of her hat poked out stubbornly. She was leaving Ziwa Bonde the next morning. A mixture of sadness, relief, and excitement coursed through her. Rita’s fingers brushed the talisman in her pocket as she remembered the gift and the warning given by the Mahiri Elders. Their vibrant green eyes pierced her as she promised never to reveal the secrets of the Mahiri village, its life sustaining fruit, nor the Glowy Butterfly. The latter stung as she felt her dream of glory and fame for her discovery slipping away. Rita swallowed her disappointment as the Elders brought out a shining silver statue in the shape of a butterfly. They called it a collection talisman. “It has the power to locate any creature or object she desired, be it stone, butterfly, or seed.”

Rita spent the night in the village and was escorted back to the path the next day. The Mahiri were normally forbidden to interact with outsiders lest their secrets be discovered, but a group of them regaled Rita with stories and fables all that night until the first rays of dawn crested the mountains. The Elders concluded that the Glowy Butterfly had blessed her, and she was allowed passage through the village this one time. They have given her the talisman that all Mahiri with the Butterfly’s Gift carry as an acknowledgement of the sacred butterfly’s blessing.

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Once more at her hut in the base camp, Rita examined the Mahiri’s gift. Mindful of her task from Landgraab Industries, Rita thumbed the talisman and formed an image of a butterfly in her mind. Colors swirled in her mind and coalesced in to a dozen images of butterflies lazily flitting throughout Ziwa Bonde. Rita narrowed in on an iridescent butterfly near the river. The magic of the talisman instinctively drew her to her quarry. The radiant Rainbow Butterfly darted between the foliage, rays from the sun glistening off its multicolored wings. The butterfly, as if drawn to her, floated gracefully to perch in her hand.

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Landgraab Industries was very pleased with her next report. The rainbow butterfly was renown not only for its beauty but also for its medical properties. The R&D department couldn’t wait to get its hands on the specimen. Rita stated that aside from the rainbow butterfly, Ziwa Bonde possessed little else of research value. With the resources of Ziwa Bonde apparently exhausted, Landgraab Industries prepped Rita for her next assignment. There had been rumors of extreme longevity and legendary powers in the valley of Shang Simla. Several fables specifically mentioned the power of teleportation. With the congestion and inconvenience of the modern city, teleportation was sure to be a huge (and profitable) discovery for Landgraab Industries.

Rita watched the sun descend over the mountains and distant plains one last time, memorizing the scene. The memory of the Mahiri and the magical night with the Glowy Butterfly tugged at her heart. Her next adventure in far away lands called to her, but a part of her would always long for the rugged beauty of untamed Ziwa Bonde.

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Credits:

Ziwa Bonde is a beautiful and unique world created by Nilxis Designs. You can explore the world and discover its hidden treasures and beauty by downloading it here:  http://nilxisdesigns.blogspot.com.es/2013/03/ziwa-bonde-english-info.html   What adventures will your sim have?

Some of the pictures in this chapter were taken from screenshots from the website.

1.2 Into the Depths of the Jungle

Her heart pounded in her chest as Rita frantically searched for the path. She tried to find the direction of the sun, but the jungle canopy swallowed the light and obscured the sky. Rita froze at the hoots and cries of animals filling the air. The remote jungle was full of predators, and she was not only defenseless but lost!

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Earlier:

The dust faintly glowed as Rita poured it into a bottle and hid it away in her satchel. At last she had her sample! No more skulking around the base camp and jungle floor, waiting for the chance bug. Yet, as Rita began to make her way back to her hut, she hesitated. Dawn was breaking over the mountains, and the Glowy Butterflies began to fade. She quickly pulled out her camera and snapped a photo just as the butterflies disappeared.

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Rita wound through the dense jungle, her heart in her throat, as she tried to pick out the path. After an hour of fruitless searching, Rita had to admit to herself that she was lost. She crumpled to the ground and hugged her knees, exhausted and terrified. A lump began to form in her throat as tears welled in her eyes. She had never been lost before, not truly lost. She had spent her life in the sheltered suburbs where there was always a friendly face or a road sign to guide her back home.

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Here in Ziwa Bonde she had never dared to leave the path for fear of this very situation. The remote jungle was a vast and inhospitable labyrinth; the trail had been the safest route, carefully laid to avoid the worst of the dangers. The jungle was humming with noises – the rustling of leaves, insects chirping, birds calling, and other, unidentifiable sounds. She was warned of deadly snakes and worse lurking in the depths of the jungle.

As Rita sat there, she caught the sound of crackling leaves. She grew still, trying to pinpoint the location of the sound. She looked up and drew in a sharp breath…

 

 

 

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Hovering above her were a pair of fairies!

 

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Credits:

Ziwa Bonde is a beautiful and unique world created by Nilxis Designs. You can explore the world and discover its hidden treasures and beauty by downloading it here: http://nilxisdesigns.blogspot.com.es/2013/03/ziwa-bonde-english-info.html

Poses:

Fairy Poses by Forever Hailey : http://foreverhaileycreations.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/fairy-poses.html

Camera Poses by Traelia: http://traelia.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/smile-camera-pose-pack.html

1.1 A Mythical Discovery

“Explorers Wanted! Landgraab Industries needs intrepid sims to excavate the wild jungles of Ziwa Bonde and take samples of rare specimen. Only adventurous sims need apply.”

Rita skimmed through the ad, musing on whether or not to apply. She had never been outside of Evensdale; who knew what to expect from life on an expedition? However, her adventurous trait whispered to her of undiscovered exotic lands and hidden treasure. At the moment she was living out of a small shack with barely enough simoleans to get by. Smiling, she circled the ad. She knew she shouldn’t be so impulsive, but inwardly she thrilled at the thought of adventure and began to daydream of the vast uncharted wilderness.

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Her first week in Ziwa Bonde was marked by the searing heat of the dry season. Her assignment was to scavenge the land and local tribes in search of ‘Life Fruit.’ The legendary fruit, believed to reverse aging, was thought to be just a myth. However, if such a fruit existed, Landgraab Industries was certainly going to find it and profit from it first!

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The stiff uniform and wide hat barely kept the sun at bay as she searched endlessly for fruit. Rita forded the roaring rivers, slogged through swamps, and climbed treacherous mountain paths, but found no sign of the life fruit. At the end of the week she sent in her report. Landgraab Industries was disappointed with her lack of results. They assigned her the task of finding rare local insects and issued an ultimatum: get results or go home!

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As the dry season wore on and came to a peak, Rita sat in her hut watching the outside world. All she had managed to find over the last few days were some monarch butterflies and common moths! Not a single thing in the jungle stirred, and the air was oppressively hot and still. “Even the insects know better than to go out in this heat,” Rita grumbled, “no wonder I can’t get any samples.” Then it hit her; she should go out at night!

One night while stumbling through the brush and waving around her flashlight, Rita heard something rustling. Thrilled that she might finally find something and terrified that it might be a snake, she quickly turned around, catching her foot on a rock. The flashlight went flying as she tripped. The batteries must have been knocked out because Rita was plunged into total darkness.

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Rita held her breath as fear washed over her. As her eyes adjusted to the dark, she noticed flecks of pink light glimmering in the distance. The lights swirled and danced in the dim moonlight. Rita carefully made her way towards them, her fear forgotten.

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Glowing pink butterflies flitted between the dense trees, their translucent wings shimmering as they trailed a sparkling mist. Rita could not believe her eyes! She had heard stories of the mystical Glowy Butterfly but had dismissed them as rumors. Standing among the majestic butterflies, Rita recalled their legend. It was said that a child born under a new moon could transform into a fairy if the dust from the Glowy Butterfly was sprinkled on them within 3 days of birth. As a butterfly perched on her outstretched palm, Rita felt the dust settle onto her hand.

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Credits:

Ziwa Bonde is a beautiful and unique world created by Nilxis Designs. You can explore the world and discover its hidden treasures and beauty by downloading it here: http://nilxisdesigns.blogspot.com.es/2013/03/ziwa-bonde-english-info.html

Camera Pose by Traelia: http://traelia.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/smile-camera-pose-pack.html