Izuni had not slept well.

Her dreams had been poisoned by last night, the errant kiss from before replaying over and over in her head as she tried time and time again to drift into sleep.

Even when she finally managed to rest, she had not woken with any more sense of rest than before.

Crawling out of bed, she winced, rubbing her leg. It had gotten a cut from the spring, a mistake in how she pulled herself out of the stone reservoir.

"Sister." Her eyes blinking awake as Izuko's voice echoed from behind, she straightened her nightgown and turned to greet her.

"Good morning. I trust you slept well?" Doing her best to muster up a smile, Izuni returned the customary bow her sister gave, gesturing for the kunoichi to walk with her.

"…No. My dreams were…clouded, filled with uncertainty." Izuko admitted tersely, removing her mask.

"Yours as well, then. Hopefully it is mere coincidence."

"Unfortunately, sister…I fear it is not. A raven from the west arrived early this morning. Pier Rennach has…fallen." Izuko's face tightened, her habit of avoiding emotion more obvious than usual.

"What?" Izuni's eyes widened. "Please, sister, tell me you merely jest."

"I…I fear not. Hennalheim has been crushed and forcibly annexed into the Sypian Empire. Duke Reddan is scheduled to be publically executed today, in mere hours."

"Sorry, coming through." Politely pushing aside Izuko, who bore a withering scowl, Sasha appeared, her characteristic smile having returned to her face, replacing her somber personality from before. "Like your sister just said, the city-state of Hennalheim is gone. Pier Rennach's gone. I didn't see this coming so quickly, with our little encounter yesterday draining me a bit."

"So what does this mean?" Izuni tried to forget yesterday as she listened to Sasha, her personality having completely changed overnight.

"Means we need to get the ball rolling, and now. The timetable just got kicked up a few notches." She shrugged, stretching her arms.

"The outsider is…correct." Izuko distastefully spoke, eying Sasha with a venomous glare. "Pier Rennach was a major tactical position in the center, and now the Empire has complete freedom to send their armies north, east, or west."

"Then it is time we petition our kin in person. Like I've mentioned before, Iryluna is no military base, and the Fang military is small, to say nothing of the further depletion we've suffered due to recent events. Our soldiers are meant to defend the province of Sharr, not fight a war." Izuni's eyes focused, the leader in her returning as she began making plans. "We will ride for Kytarr first. The Horsebreakers might not have answered our summons before, but they will answer to me when I come in person."

"Will that be a friendly or hostile answer, however?" Sasha noted. "They will have received the same news by now."

"Chances are, they'll be shaken and more inclined to kneel before the Emperor if he demands it. But they would not answer a peaceful call for discussion with violence, it would be dishonorable."

"War's about to begin, Izuni lun Fang. Dishonor is part of the game. Be ready for anything." Staring at the chieftain darkly, Sasha gave a slight bow as she disappeared once more.

"…What happened between you two? You seem at unease, sister." Izuko questioned, watching the oracle make her exit.

"…It's nothing, Izuko. Worry not about it." Shakily patting the kunoichi on the shoulder, Izuni shook her head. "Prepare the horses, we ride for Kytarr at noon."