It took a few minutes, but Relisai finally brought her eyes up and saw Kulrik standing by the door, head down and waiting.
"Kulrik! I am so happy to see you. Please come forward and give your mother a hug."
Kulrik complied wordlessly, hugging her mother before taking a step back.
"And I am happy to see you, as always. May I ask why you called me to this meeting now? What business is required that couldn't wait until supper?"
"Ahh, my Kulrik, ever the conscientious First Son. You fit the role so well." Relisai paused to admire her noble son. Finally, she sighed. "Kulrik, you know that the Vilda are not an independent clan. We may pride ourselves over our Willhammers and our protection of Oki, but we do not have the strength to do so on our own.
"We rely on the Umbraline for our food and a number of other supplies. While I appreciate what they do for us, the situation is appalling. No other clan suffers the embarrassment that we do, no other clan must beg for morsels. It is not behooving of a clan as beautiful, as strong and as admired as ours to rely on the goodwill of the Rora. Do you understand, my son?"
"Yes, mother, but that hardly explains why I have been called here" Kulrik said curiously.
"You have been called here today, Kulrik, because I wish to change the status quo. Our Mother, Zuto-Nui, extolled the virtue of Power, of bettering oneself as much as possible. That is what I want for our tribe. I want the Vilda to become strong.
"That is where you come in. I want you to take your Herapu and travel to Odaiba, and visit the clans there. Speak with them, dine with them, become their friends. Learn what you can of their politics, what makes them strong and what makes them weak. News of another land has destabilized the Empire - it is plain to see old scars have become open wounds and cracks have appeared where before there were none. Events.... may occur. Opportunities may arise whereby a shrewd mind and quick hand could take advantage of the situation. Precious resources may be acquired that could allow the Vilda to continue our quest of nature's preservation on our own, indefinitely.
"But what you speak of would create chaos!" Kulrik exclaimed. "Zuto-Nui would never approve!"
"No! You do not grasp what I am saying, First Son. Chaos may soon ensue, regardless of our actions. The other land may begin a war with us, the Fursics may attempt to overthrow the Umbralines again, it is difficult to say. But if something does happen, people will die and some clans will weaken and even vanish. The Vilda must be ready for such an eventuality - it could mean the greatest event that has happened to the Vilda since our creation."
Kulrik's eyes darted from side to side, thinking about what the Toroshu had told him. It was quite a bit to take in at once. Then it hit him. His mother was asking him - well, maybe telling him, but that was besides the point - to leave Oki and go to Odaiba, outside of her control. He realized that it would be in his best interests to comply with his mother's orders.
"I see. When would you have me begin?"
"So smart, so quick to understand what is best for his clan! Kulrik, one day you will have a child and she will rule the Vilda. Thank you for giving me the peace of mind that the Toroshu of clan Vilda will be properly taken care of.
"Back to business. You and your Herapu will leave first tomorrow morning by the light of dawn.You may be required to stay there for a few months, so take your ring with you - it will let you procure any supplies you need from Umbraline traders. Next week I will leave for Sado - I wish to socialize with other generals and remain up-to-date with the affairs of the Empire. And the Gardens of the Imperial Palace do require the attention of a a true leader from time to time. Robalta will see to the well-being of Vilda in my absence, with the Warden aiding her in every matter. Now, go. There is much to prepare."
Kulrik bowed to his mother Toroshu. "Thank you Vilda Toroshu. I know that your plans will prove fortuitous for the Vilda."
The First Son hugged his mother and kissed her check before turning to leave. She headed to the door, Seigyo turning to follow him. The two headed out and Kulrik led them outside the Castle. He breathed in the sweet air, for the first time truly happy with what his Mother had in store for him.
"So Seigyo, what do you think? Have you ever visited Odaiba before?" Kulrik asked.