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  1. #1
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
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    The Legendary Weapon, Enpera (Part 1)

    OOC: Set after the events of Unleashed (liquid time). Quest to acquire enough Adamantine to re-forge Enpera.
    ***

    I’ve never really kept a journal before. I don’t know if it was boredom that drove me to it, or simply the fact that I was just excited to wake up this morning to a new day where no-one wants to kill me. Either way, here we are.

    First things first. Arius is dead. When I think about it, in all of my time, I never enjoyed killing on a personal level. It was always in the name of a cause. But this? Yeah, I admit it, it put a smile on my face. It was an absolute catharsis to see him die the way that he killed so many others. Now, I feel like I can start “getting on with it”.

    Then, I thought about what that meant. “Getting on” with what, exactly? There’s a tonne of work needed to rebuild Whitevale, but Storm’s appetite for fixing the place is threadbare, at best. Guess he never really liked the place anyway. Since we departed from Tylmerande; he’s taken somewhat of a break (whoring, drinking and gambling I suspect; fair play to him, really).

    For me, the idea of “rest” did not last long. I’ve got to stay busy, in mind if not in body, but Whitevale seems like too much work right now.

    This brings me to my next little project. Before Arius, during the small peace between us fucking up the Radasanth invasion and getting involved in all the political mess afterwards, I dragged some Telgradian books from the Cartographer (a small library the first Telgradians to step foot on Althanas built. I've still got fond memories of killing Keats there). I ended up putting the books down whilst other events took over, but I'd started reading up a bit on Adamantine.

    If my knowledge on Telgradian Senkai Swords is correct (it is), I think I can re-forge Enpera entirely from Adamantine. For anyone reading this journal who cares, I believe the purer metal will act as a better conduit than its current Prevailda form, which in turn will let me reach into the bits of its soul that I can’t now. The logic for doing this? Simple. It'll probably give me more of Enpera to work with, which makes me less likely to be ragdolled by Arius-like beings again. Also, the name of Enpera itself will be a deterrant. Weapons of legend that inspire fear into people do carry some heft in the psychosis.

    At least, I hope.

    Now, it’s common knowledge that Adamantine is a precious metal (the strongest of all, if you believe the books), but that’s all that’s common about it. Turns out that there’s more chance of finding a two-twatted hooker than finding any of this stuff around; it’s as rare as rocking horse shit on Althanas. But (again, if you believe the books), Telgradia has a few select places where it can be found. The first problem, apparently, is not finding it but physically mining the ore; you’ll be hard pressed to find tools to do the job, and the second problem is that you’re even less likely to find a smithy who has the skills and equipment to forge it into anything useful.

    I do love a challenge, though, so I set about doing my research. I have a few (slightly haphazard) ideas on how to get around the mining issue, mostly involving cutting around the ore itself with dark matter and hoping I don’t collapse a cave on my face in the process. As for doing something with the ore afterwards, it seems I have two options, which brings me to my third and final problem.

    The first one involves eating an entire vat of humble pie, and going back to Garah in Telgradia to ask Remy Krystanthia if she can forge me a new sword from the mined Adamantine. Given that (a) she hates me, and (b) all the people around her hate me, I don’t rate my chances of getting her to agree to it.

    The second option is that I find some legendary smithy from Fallien who calls himself Eiyaa Ou, who, by my estimation on his age, is definitely already dead.

    So, looks like it’s either option one, or forgoing the whole thing.

    Fuck.
    ~ Entry in Shinsou’s Journal
    "“I never ask anyone to trust me at all. I tell people to come with me, but I never tell them to trust me. And I always tell them not to trust anyone, including myself. But sadly, there are not many strong enough to do that.”

  2. #2
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    The weather was something that Shinsou Vaan Osiris had paid little attention to in the last few months, but he cursed it today.

    For the first time in a while the Telgradian saw clear skies above and felt the warm summer sun on his face, but as he stood on the fringes of the fields of Whitevale, hands in his pockets, he knew he couldn’t enjoy it. The spellsword’s golden eyes instead took in what he considered the monument to his greatest failure; to the left, the ruins of the original town, which was now only distinguishable by the shattered perimeter wall and the towering piles of twisted amalgamates of stone, wood and metal that rose far above it. The smoke and fires had long since died, and the corpses removed and buried, but they were as fresh in his mind as the day that Arius had laid waste to it. As the screams of the dying still echoed in his head, a brisk wind caught the roughened edges of the rubble, whistling an eerie song across the plains in sombre agreement.

    There was a reprieve from the gloomy ruins, though, in what was happening on the right hand side of the fields. There was an encampment for the survivors that had been set up on Shinsou’s orders until more permanent accommodation could be found, and now the tents that once housed the mighty Brotherhood military at the Great Siege of Radasanth would provide shelter to those made homeless by Arius’s assault. They would also service the clean-up and full rebuild of Whitevale and the Brotherhood and, moreso, provided a temporary venue for the men and women with vital skills and trades valuable to the Brotherhood to practice.

    In the midst of so much pain, there was still hope.

    Visiting one such tradesman was the reason that the Telgradian had come. Coarse grass crunched underneath the soles of his boots as he weaved between the endless rows of white marquees, nodding in appreciation as salutes and waves of respect were thrown up by passers-by. Despite everything, they still believed in his vision, and Shinsou found himself smiling a little as the wind whipped at his face and attacked the hide door flaps of each pitch. The chime of a makeshift forge grew louder with each passing row, ringing in his ears with the clamour of the bells of the fallen Whitevale clock tower as he finally turned the corner to reach his destination.

    The sturdy townsfolk had insisted on continuing to practice their vocations when not called upon for the rebuild, and the master blacksmith Telas that Shinsou sought had been very productive with his hammer and anvil. He had not only furnished the vulnerable gathering with freshly forged blades, he had also made tools, cooking utensils and armour besides to ensure their camp could endure. Without him, there was no question that the lives of the townspeople would have been much harsher. The Telgradian adjusted his coat as the man in question emerged from a white tarpaulin, the heavy odour of coal clinging to the apron he wore and overwhelming the scent of grass.

    “Weelllll, if it isn’t Shinsou Vaan Osiris.” Telas declared, offering a hand to his opposite number. His creased brow shone with sweat, and his cheeks beneath his black beard were puffed out and red. “I didn’t know you were coming, but I’m glad ye did...I’ve been meaning to thank ye for what ye did for us.”

    “There’s really no need,” Shinsou answered with a slight sheepishness as he reverently shook the man’s hand. The fact that he and Storm felt responsible for Whitevale’s current condition wasn’t lost on him, and he found it both embarrassing and endearing in equal measures to receive praise for providing the little the survivors now had. “We owe you a huge debt of gratitude for what you’ve done for the people here. We'll ensure you keep getting funds and metal from Tylmerande for as long as you need,” the Telgradian warrior stated again with obvious sincerity, causing the smithy to smile with pride.

    “It was nothing, really,” Telas replied. “‘Th’ forgin’ was easy work. Ye know I’ll help where I can. I love th’ trade.”

    At the mention of the forging, Shinsou’s face flickered briefly. It didn’t escape Telas’s notice.

    “Is there anything I can make for ye?” The smithy asked, finally wiping his sooty hands on the apron and looking the Telgradian in the eye, his words carrying a blunt tinge which resembled something closer to Ettermirian than Coronian. “Perhaps some armour, or maybe I can look at getting ye a pair o’ daggers?”

    This time Shinsou made no effort to hide his intentions.

    “You’re the best blacksmith I know for a hundred miles,” Shinsou’s words immediately elicited a grin from Telas, “and given what you already have on, I know it’s a bit cheeky. But, I’d like some advice. It’s about Adamantine.”

    Telas’s expression immediately shifted, his eyebrows raised and his grin shortening to a glib smile. He motioned to a small gathering that had collected around his tent to disperse for a moment, leaving himself and the Telgradian in peace.

    “Well, what do ye want to know?”

    As Telas responded, Shinsou reached into his pocket before emerging with a well-worn piece of paper with a rough schematic sketched in pencil.

    “I want to re-forge Enpera in Adamantine. I need to know whether you can do the blade, if I get the materials?”

    It was not long before the blacksmith was puffing away on a pipe pulled from a back pocket, examining every minute detail of the blueprint with his sharp eyes with a serious expression. Wisps of tobacco smoke curled past Shinsou’s nose, who subconsciously inhaled deeply. He much preferred Storm Veritas’s cherry tobacco to the harsher brand Telas smoked, but tried not to screw up his face in distaste.

    “Where would ye get the Adamantine?” Telas continued between puffs, “Mind ye, it ain’t going to make much difference. I can’t forge ye anything from that, my tools couldn’t take the strain. Also, ye need a fire that burns hotter than what I can give ye. I’m sorry.”

    “Shit. Well, I think I can get the metal, but do you know anyone else who could help?” Shinsou asked tentatively, trying not to sound desperate but aware that his only other option, Remy, was starting to look like his only realistic one.

    “Not in Corone, and probably not even amongst the dwarven folk, who are masters of this sort of thing.” Was the gruff reply. “The man who taught me is the only one I can think of that ye could find with the tools to do it, but his mind isn’t what it was and age has not looked on him kindly. Even then, you also need someone who understands ye Telgradian arts.”

    Like fucking Remy. Shinsou lamented to himself.

    “To put a soul in a sword is ye expertise, mine is t’ forge it. ” When the man finally looked up once more, his steely gaze was fixated upon the sheath of Shinsou’s sword, Enpera. “I’ve seen what ye can do with Enpera. I can probably guess why ye’d be doing this now, given what happened. I hope ye find a way, and I’m sorry I couldn’t help ye more, my friend.”

    The words were spoken with steely determination, matched only by genuine sincerity. Shinsou could almost feel the man’s disappointment.

    “You owe me no apology, and I’m sorry for taking so much of your time up.” Shinsou smiled, offering his hand again and exhaling mightily into the fresh air. “Truth is, there is one person I know who could help. I just don’t think she will. That’s why I came here first.”

    “Oh?” Telas asked brusquely, replacing the pipe deep within his back pocket after dumping the ash and shaking the Telgradians hand. “Woman scorned, eh?”

    “That's one way of putting it.” The Telgradian replied with a frown.
    "“I never ask anyone to trust me at all. I tell people to come with me, but I never tell them to trust me. And I always tell them not to trust anyone, including myself. But sadly, there are not many strong enough to do that.”

  3. #3
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    It was another beautiful day in Garah, the Telgradian capital.

    In fact, it was just the kind of weather that Regent Telos Soltair most enjoyed, and made the walk through palace grounds towards the chambers of the Council of Five less of a chore. The buildings of the Royal complex were constructed intentionally with a crystal cladding that would refract the dawn’s light in a deliberate way, and the resulting morning light show was to great effect. Each morning, at nine o’clock, a thousand silver fireflies of light would swarm, swooping about the palace for the first hour to celebrate the waking of the Regency and the opening of the Council chambers. It was always enough to put a small smile on the Telgradian’s face, in times where there was probably more to worry about than smile about.

    Telos supposed that smile would last until he had the given his latest briefing, and the rest of the day went to the wall.

    “So, what’s going on, Telos?”

    Ah, yes. He’d been so caught up in his thoughts that he’d almost forgotten he wasn’t alone in that long walk to the council chamber. Remy Krystanthia, one of the Five, was just ahead of him. She didn’t turn her thin, beautiful face back to him, but rather kept her blue eyes on the marble doors of the Council chambers ahead and allowed him to walk to her side.

    “Let’s just say you’ll probably want to cancel your plans today.” The Regent’s words were almost casual as his eyes swayed cheekily to the woman’s rear. From beneath her own long white coat and black, knee-length skirt a pair of smooth legs swayed from side to side as she travelled. A long ponytail of silky, caramel brown hair, reaching halfway down her back, swung in time with her swaying hips.

    Her beauty was unquestionable, and she was one of the youngest on the council, but Telos hadn’t hand-picked her based on her charming looks. Remy was considered a prodigy; someone who would likely succeed him as Regent in times to come. She was an intellect, and one of the most accomplished warriors in Telgradia at the moment. Remy was also one of only a handful of people who had mastered the Telgradian sword arts. Her only real downside was that she was also perhaps a little hot headed.

    Another Shinsou, perhaps. Telos thought to himself. Speaking of which…

    “I said, what’s going on?” Remy inquired again, now turning her head around and casting a concerned glance over her left shoulder to Telos. It was a glance only she could muster, a glance that made her blue eyes seem like they could cut through steel. Telos had never withheld information from her, or at least never put off a direct answer. That made her suspicious.

    “Ok, ok, calm down.” Telos relented at the second time of asking, repositioning the sheath of his sword at his side with a steady hand as they stopped dead before the doors of the chamber. “I wasn't going to tell you this until we got inside, but Shinsou’s requested an audience with us. Just us.”

    Remy’s eyes widened and her nostrils flared at the mention of Shinsou’s name.

    “He's...” She cocked her head, those blue eyes now like molten crystal slits, “He’s requested an audience? Telos, I know he’s your son, but I’ll tell you something. If he so much as steps foot in Garah, I’ll personally-”

    Telos frowned, raising a hand. “Remy, he’s-“

    “The cheek of it!” Remy cut in, her cheeks reddening, “To consider even turning up here now. We pardoned him and he couldn't even be bothered-”

    “Remy,” Telos interjected, “I… ”

    “Of all the-,” She said, balling her fists and clenching her teeth.

    “REMY!” Telos finally managed to interrupt, “Stop.”

    “What do you-”

    “It’s too late, Remy,” Telos overruled her again, “He’s already here.”
    "“I never ask anyone to trust me at all. I tell people to come with me, but I never tell them to trust me. And I always tell them not to trust anyone, including myself. But sadly, there are not many strong enough to do that.”

  4. #4
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    The Council of Five quarters were nestled deep within the city of Garah, which itself was pushed up against a mountainous belt that afforded it the isolation and privacy it demanded. Though tied to the Telgradian monarchy by way of having the current Regent as their commander, the Council of Five preferred to remain close-knit and intensely independent. Whilst its handpicked members sought to uphold principles and the rule of law, they were given license to ignore the orders of the Judicial Courts in favour of personally guiding and protecting their people, shunning the summons of everyone but the Regent unless absolutely necessary. This also applied to former Councillors, who were given lifetime emissary status that allowed them place of privilege.

    On this particularly nice day in Garah, guards to the Council lined the corridors to the main hall, which was welcoming one such former councillor.

    Shinsou Vaan Osiris, dressed not in his usual white coat but matching traditional robes of washed silver that he had not worn for years, marvelled at the pomp and ceremony that still came with such a title. The grand hall ahead of him seated endless attendants to the Regent, who faced each other across a large marble banqueting table. A luxurious dinner, consisting mainly of multiple courses of fish, meat, salad and rice, was served on silver trays and accompanied by silver pitchers of warm Telgradian Tokay wine.

    At the head of the room sat Regent Telos Soltair himself, his demeanour calm but serious, whilst the diminutive figure of the leader of the Council of Five, Remy Krystanthia, sat alongside him. It did not take a mind-reader to notice the tension that hung heavily over her, and out of respect for the law, each of them sheathed their weapons and placed them on the floor to their right so they could not be drawn easily. But it was obvious to Shinsou from the moment he had clapped eyes on Remy that she intended to kill him first and ask questions later, should he attempt anything hostile at all.

    Of course, attempting “anything hostile at all” wasn’t his plan.

    “Shinsou Vaan Osiris, approach the Regent.”

    A nameless woman poured some Tokay into Telos’s cup as the Telgradian rose solemnly to his feet and slowly made the journey to the front of the hall. His shoes clicked on the polished wood as he walked; fielding angry glares from Remy as he passed her. By the time he arrived before Telos and folded himself into a seated position, he could almost feel the hostility directed at him.

    “Thank you for receiving me.” Shinsou spoke unusually formally, ignoring the derisive huffs from Remy. She ground her teeth, trying to stifle her disgust at the way Shinsou was play-acting. In her mind, he had no loyalty to them, or their laws, or her. He was simply using his title to get something. Remy didn’t know how to explain all this to Telos, though, so for now she held her silence and waited for the older man to speak, dreading what was coming.

    “Shinsou, let’s cut the bullshit.” Telos cut through the reverie of the entire room, who clearly weren’t expecting such an unbecoming statement. “It’s just us here now; the formalites don’t suit you.”

    Telos looked every bit as uncompromising as he sounded, but a wry smile played around his lips, and Shinsou relaxed somewhat. Murmurs of disapproval once again echoed at the edge of their hearing.

    “Now then, you probably don’t know this, but we’ve been following your actions in Corone for some time now,” he said at length, choosing his words carefully. “You’re a hard man to read, Shinsou. The reason I allowed this meeting is that I’d like to think that you’ve learned some important lessons since Radasanth. Your overconfidence and inexperience proved to be your undoing there, but since then-”

    “Since then, I managed to get my people killed by Arius Mephisto, and put my closest friend and my apprentice as close to the end of their lives as they’ve ever been.” Impulsively Shinsou interrupted, and instinctively he reached out for his cup that contained the Tokay wine, necking it in one go and savouring the burn of the alcohol. “So, apparently, I learned very little.”

    Remy finally decided to break her silence.

    “Feeling sorry for yourself? How unlike you.” She interceded, her voice like silky venom as she spoke for the first time that evening. “Oh, sorry. Hope you don’t mind me chipping in to this little family chat, by the way. I’ve got a bit to get off my chest myself, seeing as you’ve finally bothered to show up.” Deftly she folded a napkin back to her side, and reached low to take up some Tokay wine whilst keeping her gaze entirely on Shinsou. Her robes rustled as her fingers poured just the correct amount of wine into a saucer-like cup.

    “Excuse me, Remy, but turn up for what, exactly?” The Telgradian seemed to react at this, in his own way. “My pardon? Oh, yeah. By the way, how very fucking big of you all to excuse me for crimes I never committed in the first place. For a life of…” He trailed off as he caught her eyes again. For a moment, they turned distant, an expression more suited to a widow, before growing angry again.

    “I don’t think we’re under any illusions about the past,” Telos leaned in, “But I suspect life on Althanas has frayed your edges in the present. Why are you here, Shinsou?”

    The moment dissolved. Telos sighed, but whether in sympathy or in regret, Shinsou had no way to tell.

    “I need access to the Karath Mine, for Adamantine.” There was no point beating around the bush anymore now that tempers had been frayed. Remy’s disparaging glare followed him, but he decided not to react and shrugged it away like an inconsequential fly.

    “Why?” Telos squinted.

    “I would have thought you could have figured that out, father, given you saw what Arius did to us.” Shinsou took a long look at the sword still embedded within its sheath by his side. “To re-forge Enpera, but properly this time. Only thing is that it turns out that no one other than Remy can do it, so I'm sure a formal request under the former councillor law should suffice for that.”

    “No.” The clink of a teacup accompanied the single word as Remy’s back straightened.

    “Are you refusing an official request?” Osiris replied diffidently, a small smile playing about his lips. “That’s treason.”

    “No, because I’m going to offer you a chance to earn it instead.” Remy reproofed, as she stood up. Her deep red robes stood out starkly against the wooden tones of their surroundings “We’ve got unfinished business, Shinsou, so we’re going to deviate from the accepted normality. We’re going to fight for your request. Me and you. Trial by combat. If you win, you get the access to the mine, and I’ll even agree to forge Enpera for you.”

    Telos’s eyes shot to Remy. “This is going to upset many of the traditionalists at court. I ask you, please, to reconsider. The-”

    “And, If I lose?” Shinsou asked above his father’s pleas.

    Calmly, fearlessly, the young woman began to move towards him. They were stood only inches apart now, and Shinsou could see into the wells of her furious eyes.

    “You either win, or you die. There's no Citadel here to protect you.”
    "“I never ask anyone to trust me at all. I tell people to come with me, but I never tell them to trust me. And I always tell them not to trust anyone, including myself. But sadly, there are not many strong enough to do that.”

  5. #5
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    It had been hours since the arrangements for Shinsou and Remy’s trial had been made, and now the day faded into cold night. It had been decided by the Regent that the bout would be held in the lowest level of Kokushi – an arcane prison, with maddening magical properties, where Shinsou had once spent three long years in stasis. There, the infinite void would contain the likely fallout from the battle and limit the collateral damage. It would also serve as a blindfold to Telgradia – no-one was to know Shinsou was there, other than Remy and Telos.

    To most, this would have been something akin to a nightmare. To Shinsou, however, this was a boon. Not only was he used to the odd properties of the prison, he had once actually conjured the seventh level as an arena in the Citadel. He would turn chaos into opportunity.

    A chill seeped from the stone courtyard, grasping at Shinsou’s feet and reaching up into his coat as he walked alone towards the prison’s heavy iron doors. The empty and barren landscape around offered no protection from the night’s cold grip, with not even a single cloud in the sky to offer insulation. It was about this time that Telgradian lamented the passing of his one-time immunity to the cold; a relic from his time in Salvar. Without wine or Storm’s honey whisky to hand, he supposed that his only option in keeping warm lay in some good, old fashioned cardio.

    Ah, Yes. Those fucking stairs., he quipped to himself.

    Shinsou opened the doors with both hands. As they creaked on their hinges and revealed the torchlit corridor ahead, he spotted some wooden signs that marked his passage eastwards and downwards. Though not ever mentioned by its correct name, the lowest level was referred to by signage in the prison as “level seven”. The swordsman decided that the name could only have been a nod to the seventh circle of Telgradian hell, rather than the amount of floors down it was, as the staircases themselves were almost infinite in number and maddeningly long winded.

    After about his thirtieth descent, Shinsou became aware of faint figures tracking him through the shadows. They did not belong to any living race he knew of, but instead appeared to be some sort of arcane phantom. He remembered, years ago, another prisoner discussing similar beings. They apparently drew from the psyche to create the illusion of speech.

    “You’re going to die.” The first voice rang out.

    “You’re going to die” The second one spoke.

    “You’re going to die” This time, a much more aggressive voice tore through the silence. It was similar to Arius’s; raspy, aggressive and evil.

    “We’ll fucking-.” Shinsou replied, stopping and glaring up at the tormenting spectors floating overhead. As their voices morphed into a blend of high pitched and low pitched vibrations, they dissipated with a cackle and left the Telgradian alone.

    Why am I talking to apparitions?

    After another twenty excruciating minutes of descending boring, featureless stairwells in the dark, a scenic reprieve finally presented itself. Shinsou arrived at what he assumed was finally the entrance to the seventh level. The Telgradian had never actually traversed the entrance himself; on the two occasions he had been here, the first had been from a prisoner’s perspective and the second was from inside a copy of the room in the Citadel. The stairs stopped suddenly, opening up into a black and purple marbled gangway leading to a single, solitary iron door. With a moment of hesitation, he approached it and pulled the handle, slipping through the gap carefully.

    It was then, as the door closed behind him, the full madness of the real seventh level came into focus.

    The room, if you could call it a room, was smothered in a blanket of shimmering lilac mist that rolled over a dark granite floor. It seemed to stem from a cracked, mossy stone ceiling thirty foot above. There seemed to be no supporting walls at all; only an expanse of void that stretched on for an inconceivable distance, far beyond what the eye could render. Columns of black and grey marble jutted out of the floor at ten foot intervals, stretching into the dark abyss. As he paced further into the room, the mist lapping at his feet like waves from an ocean of purple, Shinsou could begin to taste a familiar electricity in the air; a static charge that curdled the blood and left an awful heavily metallic aftertaste on his tongue.

    Everything here felt more intense than his previous visits, but Shinsou had been somewhat prepared for it. Now, re-acquainted with the actual venue, he would form his strategy for dealing with Remy.

    First thing’s first, I can’t kill her, or I’ll lose my blacksmith, Shinsou mused, pacing around a few of the marble columns. But I can do enough damage to stop her from attacking. I know her Senkai. I could break her Kori Kogo to cut her off from her ice abilities, or-

    He took one step forwards, then suddenly stopped.

    Something was wrong.

    Something…

    The room erupted with an ear-splitting roar as a hundred thin, red needles burst into life from the shadows to his right. The sudden squall smashed into the columns surrounding him, breaking into scarlet dust upon contact, but some of the surviving spikes weaved through the gaps and tore towards him unabated. The Telgradian grimaced as a bright crimson streak slashed his right quadricep, tearing part of the muscle from the bone and forcing him to one knee.

    Son-of-a-bitch! He hissed, as the spell’s backflash revealed a shimmer moving silently between the marble pillars. Concealment magic? How did I not sense her?!

    “Enpera Kur-“

    Before he could finish the incantation, a larger, lance shaped object flew through the air towards him. Instinctively, Shinsou rolled, taking pressure from the injured leg, and unsheathed Enpera in a flash. The projectile’s body separated; the single, severing stroke still glistening at its core.

    “Hakai: Kori Kogo”

    Shit, the Telgradian lamented as he rolled onto his front, eyes desperately searching the void for her shimmering outline, Hakai already. She used those red needles to buy time, she’s not fucking about.

    It was then that Remy lunged.
    "“I never ask anyone to trust me at all. I tell people to come with me, but I never tell them to trust me. And I always tell them not to trust anyone, including myself. But sadly, there are not many strong enough to do that.”

  6. #6
    Administrator

    EXP: 129,320, Level: 15
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    Level completed: 65%,
    EXP required for next Level: 5,680


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    9,052

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    34
    Race
    Telgradian
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    Male
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    Corone

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    It was the smallest of details that gave her away; a slight distortion as she moved through the mist, but Shinsou saw her just in time. With Enpera’s power already augmenting his reactions, the Telgradian deftly drew the sword across the folds of his cloak to bring it squarely across his body, just in time to parry the expected blow. Metal met cloaked metal, and as Enpera sheared against the shaft of its counterpart, part of Kori Kogo’s invisbility peeled away to reveal a blade of pure, blue ice.

    So that’s her sword in Hakai. It’s different from what I remember, Shinsou told himself. As Remy’s still cloaked body pressed forward to apply more pressure, The Telgradian’s free hand manifested a orb of Dark Matter and twisted to the side, plunging it into the now visible blade. The impact was a small but concentrated, and the recoil sent Remy’s katana spinning, whistling from her hands through the denser air and clattering to the floor near one of the pillars. In a blink of an eye, she took a step back and span behind him. Shinsou’s own movements were slower, his injury hindering him, and as he righted himself he was forced to favour his other leg. Remy uncloaked now to reveal another sword, drawn from when she had been camouflaged.

    Her blue eyes flashed as the stroke fell for the kill, slicing open Shinsou’s cloak at his hip.

    It too met metal, but this time it was Enpera’s sheath. The recoil caused a ripple of pain to tremor through his wounded leg, but, needing to grasp the tiny opportunity, Shinsou stepped in. Enpera’s prevailda shimmered once more as it flashed down, snapping Remy’s second sword close to the ground before arcing back up and skittering along her right calf. There was a yelp of pain from the woman, who retreated a step.

    “Not bad,” Remy breathed heavily, her hair flowing like a caramel waterfall. “But I’ve only just-“

    Enpera Kurohitsugi.

    Using her naivete to his advantage, Shinsou had retreated from her reach in an instant, lightly stepping back as he wrenched the arcane spell into reality through the pain of his bleeding wound. A dark portal tore its way into existence through the very fabric of the seventh level’s space, and circled around the councillor. Instantly, numerous lances of dangerous dark matter appeared, surrounding and all aimed at Remy. His lungs exhaled steamily into the heavy air, eyes focused on Remy and then again on the discarded Kori Kogo.

    Pin her to the ground, get the sword.

    It was like faint whisper on the wind. Only Remy’s arcanely attuned senses gave her forewarning of the dark lances leaving their portal, and even then she only just managed to react in time. She parried the first five with her free sword, destroyed the sixth with a quick incantation, but couldn’t react to the seventh and eighth quickly enough. The seventh smashed into her foot, penetrating the bone and exiting through her sole to pierce into the granite floor. Her scream of pain and sickened recoil was felt throughout the chamber before an eighth grazed her shoulder, cleaving a gash just right of her neck above her pauldron.

    With her foot pinned to the floor, Shinsou dragged his injured leg with him and made his move toward Kori Kogo. Remy, sensing his plan, threw her remaining sword towards her counterpart’s legs and used her other hand to cast another large red lance towards him. Only barely did Shinsou sidestep over the scything sliver of metal, before turned lightly and instantly slashing the lance in two. As it exploded into a cloud of red dust, Osiris looked down to the discarded Kori Kogo.

    There you are.

    As he brought Enpera down towards the surface of the blade, his stroke ricocheted from something new.

    What? How did she-?

    He couldn’t believe it. It was Remy, this time a deftly held dagger parrying his blow. Somehow, and he hadn’t seen exactly how, Remy had freed herself from the dark lance and teleported to meet his blow. Having lost focus, the Telgradian hesitated and suddenly felt the feathery touch of the dagger’s edge across his sword arm. The gash drew blood and he clenched his teeth in pain, but the wound was not deep. When Remy tried to wrong-foot him again and slip in close, he slashed at her.

    The song of metal on metal rang a disturbingly merry tune as the blows she rained on him were met by Enpera time and time again. I don’t understand, how is he getting quicker?, Remy seethed in icy shadow as her injuries forced her back one step at a time, and Enpera’s power drove Shinsou on. He moved as no man ever did, slippery and smooth, capricious and fickle. It felt like fighting thin air, or running water, or a ray of moonlight. He slipped in and out, up and down, an ethereal, incorporeal snake even with his injury. She could do little else but give ground until she was forced to circle back and put distance between the pair with a spell.

    ”Severing void!”

    Shinsou’s next attack, a downward slash, bounced harmlessly off of a white sheet of light that manifested between them in an instant. The recoil made him stagger, and he took a deep breath as the injured quad vibrated and shot a bolt of pain up his spine. Remy, visible behind the barrier, took a moment to collect Kori Kogo from the floor. Her wounds looked bad, and her breathing was laboured and awkward.

    “You’re good, Shinsou. A lot better...than I expected. But...we’re only just getting started.”

    Her face stoic, she slowly and deliberately sheathed her weapons, noting the momentary confusion on Shinsou’s sweaty features. Keeping her movements measured, she sank to her knees. Kori Kogo started to dissolve in its sheath, and as she seated herself upon the ground, the Telgradian noticed that everything around her was starting to freeze. The chill seeped through his coat and up his legs, but he ignored it in favour of concentrating his gaze upon his opponent.

    The teleportation. The movement, and not being able to sense you. These powers. You're completely different, Remy.

    “Senkai: Kōri kōgō no kyūden” Remy intoned formally, summoning all of her reserves of power.
    "“I never ask anyone to trust me at all. I tell people to come with me, but I never tell them to trust me. And I always tell them not to trust anyone, including myself. But sadly, there are not many strong enough to do that.”

  7. #7
    Administrator

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    Level completed: 65%, EXP required for next Level: 5,680
    Level completed: 65%,
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    9,052

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
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    34
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    Telgradian
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    Corone

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    “This is...”

    Frozen dew glistened on the pillars of polished stone, and on the blade of Enpera poised at Shinsou’s hip. A biting wind stirred his sweaty scalp from the open void ahead of him, and the freezing chill gripped his neck. A sudden blue mist emerged in the air as bright as the sky, casting its blinding glare upon the Telgradian, and as his senses finally began to measure the power of Remy’s once concealed spirit force, his heart skipped a beat. The results screamed without sound, his mind held prisoner to paralysis over the sheer force of it.

    This can’t be the same Remy…

    So many years had passed since he had last laid eyes on her in battle, but the only thing that hadn’t changed were those blue irises. Everything else felt surreal and different; her posture, her tone, her defiance. She had grown beyond anything he could have imagined.

    The pillars in front of him suddenly crumbled from sight, torn apart by thick veins of freezing ice that seemed to choke the landscape of the void. Beneath his feet, snakelike tendrils of that same ice suddenly coiled around his feet and anchored him to the spot, wrenching his injured leg hard and forcing a gasp of pain from Shinsou’s lips. The room was now more akin to a Salvarian blizzard; the brisk breeze gathered force into a gale wind, and needles of ice and snow replaced the black. None of his senses interfered with the angry white cacophony; the Telgradian could not see any further than three paces ahead.

    Suddenly, her voice intruded as frost started to cake his clenched fists.

    “Kori Kogo no Kyuden – The Palace of the Ice Empress,” Remy explained, raising her voice so that Shinsou could hear over the wintry chaos, “You’re only the second person to see it. You should be honoured, as such.”

    He could feel something new was coming. With her hands, behind the cloak of snow, she calmly weaved her blade in a figure of eight. The environment began to shift as a bubble of magic, the colour of a glowing moon, surrounded her. Fresh ice slithered beneath Shinsou’s feet, forcing through the snow. She must have been a powerful practitioner of the Telgradian sword arts to have reached a level where she could induce Senkai, but this was beyond comprehension.

    “Kōri no shi hebi.”

    With an almighty crash, a column of ice rose from the murky floor in front of Shinsou. It started to twist, coiling like a snake and thrashing about as the smooth texture of its surface transmuted into segmented scales. At its top, a huge amount of ice collected and then started to break away in selected pieces to form the horrendous visage of an enraged dragon of ice. It shook for a moment, exhaling its frustrations in biting cold steam and breaking apart several of the columns either side of it, before lunging with a tremendous roar at Shinsou.

    The maw consumed the Telgradian whole.

    The dragon’s mouth, and then its whole body, smothered the place where Shinsou had been anchored entirely. Other than the rumbling of dislodged debris and the grunting of the sentient ice-goliath, there were no sounds to suggest proof of life.

    Remy, stood a distance from this, closed her eyes. She couldn’t sense anything at all from her opponent. It was over. But, what was this feeling? She didn’t feel the happiness or the satisfaction she thought she would at defeating Shinsou. She had expected a catharsis; a release of all those years of pain, years of being without him, years of never knowing the truth about him. In so many ways in his life, Shinsou had been a villain, but sickeningly he had also proven that people could change. Yet, she had expended great expense and effort in keeping him down. Remy Krystanthia was Telgradia’s prodigy now. She was the guiding light, the example and the figurehead that Telgradians needed. Of course she would be angry he came home; she had taken his place at the top for so long. But, now…

    Remy spared one last glance in the ice that had formed on the floor, acting as a mirror. Her cheeks were covered in frost and blood. Her persistent magic had held frostbite and hypothermia at bay, but still the Senkai had taken its toll.

    Part of her wished that she hadn’t gone through with this at all.

    As Remy turned away, solemnly recalling Kori Kogo into its regular state, the dragon’s icy carcass began to swell.

    “Wha-?”

    Bursting with such force that it knocked Remy to her feet, the beast was instantly reduced to cold shrapnel that careered across the seventh level. A nebula cloud of blue ice particles rose from the shrivelled, glacial depths of the serpent’s stomach, and a figure rose. Cloaked in a thick, black, murderous aura, Shinsou Vaan Osiris stood, alive and well.

    No way, Remy gasped, eyes wide with shock, How could he survive that?!

    “An ice dragon?” Shinsou asked as the murky cloak of dark matter dissipated out of reality, “Now that’s just precious.”

    “What was that black aura?” Remy growled, “Some sort of shield? Well, it doesn't matter. You can know all you want about Kori Kogo, but unless you take action against it, you're helpless. You can't keep defending forever.”

    “My thoughts exactly.”

    Clearing his mind, Shinsou wove zephyrs of marbled black into the shape of a crude looking, cylindrical key; a swirling cocoon of the arcane. Remy fumed silently as she tried to wake the depleted Kori Kogo back into life without success. Senkai was a huge drain on all swords, and she had needed to make better use of the Hakai. Now, what was this fresh hell?

    Shinsou suddenly thrust the key into the air behind him. As the void absorbed it, the smell of smouldering pine and balsam warred in his nose. Shadows shuddered beneath the flaring light of a weapon manifesting in the Vault of Garah. As a maelstrom of silence and thunderous cacophony resonated through his ears, Shinsou’s mind settled into the calm of an empty room, the tranquillity of a full moon. Words of power slipped past his lips, contained in a single breath.

    “Come forth, Arekuruu!”

    At the touch of his thoughts, the sword woven from the void was carried to his hand. Remy recognised it instantly as the sword belonging to Shinsou’s father, Telos Soltair, the Regent of Telgradia.

    She didn't know how it was possible, but she knew the implications.

    “Why-How do you have that sword?” She queried desperately.

    There was no answer. Instead, Shinsou Vaan Osiris spoke fire, a flash of fury and ferocity.

    “Kaen Arashi!”

    As he swung the sword a wall of flame washed through the darkness, dazzling and disorienting. The wave of hazy heat bathed Remy in shimmering mirage, wreaking havoc on the column-cast shadows, melting all of Kori Kogo’s remaining ice and casting a bright flash into the high vaults and recessed alcoves. The rows of columns that once blocked their path now blazed in molten pyre, alight with arcane white fire. Splashes of purifying white flame took life among the pyres of granite upturned by the ice dragon monstrosity’s earlier attack.

    The Telgradian woman slowly rose from the smoke and flame, her right arm badly burned but still barely grasping Kori Kogo. Wounded and tired, but allowing his adrenaline to power him on despite his injuries, Shinsou gritted his teeth through the pain and lunged towards her. A sphere of compressed dark matter blossomed upon his free palm, aimed to scythe through and shatter Kori Kogo.

    With ear-ringing clamour, the dark matter collided with Remy’s injured hand and vapourised it.
    "“I never ask anyone to trust me at all. I tell people to come with me, but I never tell them to trust me. And I always tell them not to trust anyone, including myself. But sadly, there are not many strong enough to do that.”

  8. #8
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    Level completed: 65%,
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    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

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    9,052

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
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    34
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    Telgradian
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    Remy’s scream pierced the darkness, met only by the whisper of Shinsou’s dark matter fading with her incinerated right hand, as the etched columns smouldered beneath the malodour of burning embers. Amidst it all, Osiris wheeled around her, catching her falling body in his arms as both of their swords clattered to the marble floor. As a competition, she knew this bout had ended, but as he held her those wretched feelings of the past resurfaced. The burning flesh and flame reminded her of hunted the Telgradian she had once loved, all those years ago. It was then, through pounding ears and watery eyes, Remy knew that she would never have been able to kill him outright, as she would have willed years ago.

    Her blue eyes turned to him from within his arms, and as she met his gaze her anger quelled. Each time she had tried to resolve matters with Shinsou without violence, she had failed. Now she had paid the price of her folly with her hand, and her pride. That she acted in defence of her beliefs assuaged her guilt, but did not excuse it. Was it time to move on, and forgive?

    “The wound’s cauterized at the wrist,” Shinsou said as he glanced the damage caused by his attacks, “…You won’t bleed out. Your leg will heal-”

    The words faded from his mouth as Remy’s remaining left hand touched the back of his neck; a decision made. He had neither the time to redirect it, nor counter the spell that was wreathed with amethyst arcs of lifeforce. Arcane energy, sour like raw citrus, flowed through his body. The hot, thick air from his attack still hung in the air and pushed back against him like syrup, clinging to his skin even as it resisted his movements.

    Remy watched as the world slowed, the lemon on her tongue turning sweet. She could see in his eyes that Shinsou expected pain, but none was forthcoming. Instead, the searing in his torn quadricep ceased and his fatigue gradually washed away.

    His eyes narrowed as confusion reigned. It was then Remy realised; possibly, just possibly, the years of holding on to all of that hatred were finally demanding recompense from her. Was this her attempt at redemption?

    The world sped up again, scrambling all her calculations. Both of their tunic trousers were soaked in arterial blood, but Shinsou would benefit from her healing first. Arcs of purple energy coursed through his nerves and weaved a protective stitch over his gash, and the spastic contortions in his injured muscles soon stopped entirely.

    “What-“

    He fought to make his voice heard as a sudden drowsiness came over him. As he crumpled to the floor, Remy smiled in the slightest way, though the pain of her sudden amuptation a moment ago throbbed through her arm. She had decided she was defeated. She would not succumb to the honeyed temptations of revenge, nor the bitter taste of pride. She would not harden her heart to treating Shinsou's life so lightly, or become what she had hated Shinsou for all these years.

    Truly, Shinsou had lost none of his power, but had grown even stronger. There were so many questions to answer. How had he summoned Telos's sword, and used it so flawlessly? How strong must his magic have been to be able survive the Kōri no shi hebi?

    Never once did the inquisitive look leave her face, until Shinsou's world went black.
    "“I never ask anyone to trust me at all. I tell people to come with me, but I never tell them to trust me. And I always tell them not to trust anyone, including myself. But sadly, there are not many strong enough to do that.”

  9. #9
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    13,725

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    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
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    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
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    Name of Thread: Legendary Weapon Enpera Part 1, by Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Judgement Type: Normal Judgement

    Commentary

    Strengths

    Setting: you have really good description that deftly sets the scene and allows the reader to imagine it well. This is particularly done well in the first few paragraphs of post two, where you reference the ruins of Whitevale through good use of imagery and adjective. Allusion to colour, linguistic technique and sound are there, and though there is space for them to be worked upon you have a good strength here in terms of giving the reader a sense of what is around your character.

    Plot and writing: Overall the plot is strong and interesting and keeps the reader wanting to read on. You make a lot of allusion to Shinsou's past, which is strong, although for a reader who knows little of the history of your character some small explanation might help. The complexity of the plot though, and it's build, is written well. The reader here wanted to know more, and was intrigued about the climax. It was written well, with his paragraphing and good rust in tension.

    Action and Consequences: connected to the above, your general writing of the fight is really strong. It described the moves individually really well and held the suspense. The surprise also from Shinsou at Remy's abilities came through really strongly, and each action built on one another to make a good rise in tension. You described it well, and had a steady hold of the reactions of each blow and how they followed in from one another. Action here is really the power that you have, showing the characters and their potential with precision and quality.

    Weaknesses

    First post style: Though you had a go at writing in first person and trying something different with your first post being a journal entry, there is a lot of information squeezed, and almost forced in there that is relevant for your thread and the purpose of the quest. There is a lot of telling and not showing, which, though can be powerful through a journal entry style, actually hinders your storytelling a little. It might have been better to have the information regarding the reforging of Enpera possibly as a section from a reference book or notes made by your character. Instead it reads more as a rush of thoughts, whereas a journal would be more a few reflections on the days proposed by the writer maybe at the end of each day, rather than a catch-up on what has happened previously.

    Mechanics: there are some mechanical errors in your piece that can easily be sorted with a once over read. These are punctuation in some speech (repetition of "you're going to die," in post five) amongst others (Telos's in post two should just be Telos'). These are of a minor nature and can be easily amended.

    Plot: Mentioned above in strengths there is some background knowledge lacking that really would help a reader who knows little of your character and his adventures. Though your journal entry does help somewhat it doesn't take time to explain Shinsou's full connection to Telgradia, why it is treason to refuse an official request, or how he got to Telgradia. Some of these points can be linked to plot holes (minor) and can lead to confusion on the reader's part. Though it is clear you tried to address some of this in the journal entry, it became muddled a little with the overwhelming amount of terms and references that could lose the reader's attention.

    Score:

    Awarded 7 out of 10 stars

    Rewards:

    1650 experience
    0 gold

    Spoils request:

    One piece of Adamantine (the remaining two will be requested in Part 2 of this story)

    *Granted*
    *admin at your service*

    Matriarch of the Gilded Lily and of its brothels, associated establishments and the army.

    Characters:
    The family triplet: Philomel, Vaeron and Celandine.
    The god and kenku triplet: Stare, Avin and Vixen.
    The Primordials: Professor Charles and Moros.

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