Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Administrator

    EXP: 106,288, Level: 14
    Level completed: 16%, EXP required for next Level: 12,712
    Level completed: 16%,
    EXP required for next Level: 12,712


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

    View Profile

    The Outlaw Torn II: Shinsou vs John Cromwell

    John,

    I write to you amidst a world that has changed. I hope that you have not, and this letter finds you well.

    Amongst all of the changes our world is going through, there are some things that remain the same. I have watched carefully and have come to realise only authoritative reality exists. Every being in this world seems to live misrecognizing only convenient “facts” as truth. This is because they have no other way to live. However, for the powerless who make up the majority, the inconvenient “facts” they affirm through themselves are entirely the truth.

    What is the truth for men like us?

    The truth for us is strength; on that I'm sure we agree. Yet, we find ourselves divided by both its application and indeed its very definition. I thank you though, John, from the bottom of my heart. During our first meeting, you made me feel the weight of your version of strength and I confess I doubted myself for the first time in many years. That may seem odd, given the restorative properties of the Citadel, but consider this; for the first time I met someone who could stand as my equal. Fear is necessary for evolution, my friend; The fear that one could be destroyed at any moment.

    It is hard not to admire you, although I try not to. Admiration, after all, is the emotion furthest from understanding. But you have earned my respect, and, out of it, a need to understand you further.

    If you are able and willing, come to the Citadel. I want you to come at me with everything you have.

    ~Shinsou Vaan Osiris~
    -
    Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself.

  2. #2
    Administrator

    EXP: 106,288, Level: 14
    Level completed: 16%, EXP required for next Level: 12,712
    Level completed: 16%,
    EXP required for next Level: 12,712


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

    View Profile
    “What is it about Cromwell that fascinates you so much?” Arius Mephisto, Shinsou's friend and right hand man, piped up. His voice was almost a whisper on the howling wind, “I'm not so sure we need this kind of man in our life, given our current endeavours with the Brotherhood and the way the public already perceive us. You won't be able to recruit him, so I think we should let this particular sleeping dog lie.”

    Shinsou Vaan Osiris frowned at his friend, his brow creasing and his golden eyes narrowing into slits. They sat together on a hill about three miles from the breathtaking colossus that was the Citadel. It cut a wonderous sight; its black stone spires propelled high into the gloomy Radasanthian sky and its shadow projected across the urban ocean below. He could see the specks of people entering and leaving the grand courtyard of the Ai'Bron's finest creation, none of them perturbed by the dark storm clouds that swaddled the isle, flickering with lightning yet refusing to spill a drop of rain. Thunder rolled distantly.

    "I'm not interested in giving him a job, Arius. He'd turn it down even if I did. I'm interested in fighting him, and understanding him,” the Telgradian paused, and tilted his head. "He possesses strength in ways that others simply do not."

    “Do you think he is a threat?” Arius reclined on his grassy patch. His brown, wiry hair floated in the breeze and his hazel eyes drank in the sky.

    "Of course he is, but so is anyone with that kind of power. If he takes exception to anything we are doing, the likelihood is that he'll challenge us. But that's part of the reason I'm here,” Shinsou reminded him, leaning forward on his knee. “I'll be ready for him if he does, because I'll know what he is capable of."

    Part of the reason?,” Arius scoffed, like raindrops whipped against a window and refusing to leave the subject of alone. "Want to know what I think? I reckon there's a part of yourself that listened to what he said last time. I think John makes you doubt yourself."

    "You're overthinking it, friend.” Shinsou put his left hand up as he uncrossed his legs and stretched. He breathed in the salted coastal air, stirring the memory of his last fight with John Cromwell. It had ended in a stalemate, but the fight itself had represented for the Telgradian a moment of doubt, a moment of weakness, and yet one of such deific might. It was still, though, a mere micro-appetizer for the feast that awaited.

    The two men paced for a short while down the hill, coasting to a stop they neared the Citadel's gates. Arius shook his head, his fingers fluttering in an open gesture.

    “Go on, then.” The man shrugged. “Get it out of your system.”

    Arius disappeared in a hazy cloud of blue magic, his words chasing Shinsou down the parade. As his brown hide boots crunched on the gravel path, he glanced over his shoulder. His friend had vanished. His words still echoed in his ears, testing the parts of him that remained in doubt.

    ***


    The arena he had chosen for the encounter reeked of nostalgia.

    He strode inland toward the dense jungle that sat within the ring of sand. The wind tugged at his white clothing, pressing the tailored fabric flat against his muscular frame. He rolled broad shoulders and cracked his neck, running a hand through close-cropped brown hair and scraping it over the stubble on his chin.

    Years ago, the island had been the arena of his friend Joshua Cronen as a master of the Dajas Pagoda. Shinsou remembered that he had fought and overcome many challengers there, on the beaches, through the jungle, and in the building at the center of the isle. It was there he had instructed Shinsou to meet him once before, for a real life training session with the demigod. Luckily, Shinsou had survived the encounter with his life and body barely intact, but it taught him a valuable lesson - that he wasn't so invincible. Although angry thunder clouds still blotted out the sun, he knew it was nearing noon. As usual, the Telgradian arrived early.

    The Ai'Bron had recreated the Pagoda's grounds perfectly. The path through the jungle had grown over in the years since he left the island. Roots and brambles clutched at his boots and pants, and dangling vines brushed against his back like curious serpents. The close-grown trees blocked out most of the wind, allowing him to become accustomed to the smells and sounds of the forest. Insects trilled and the occasional bird chirped, and the musky scent of loam filled the air. Before long the path opened into a clearing dominated by a ramshackle building.

    The Akashiman-style building’s ornately arched roof was covered by dead leaves and sticks. A fallen tree had sliced a swathe through one of the paper-thin walls, and the double doors hung open loosely on their hinges. Every so often they gave a grating whine as the wind moved them back and forth.

    As he moved through the arena, the Telgradian could not sense a heartbeat or breathing and could not detect any arcane signatures. But Shinsou was aware there were people who could have taken steps to shield themselves. Of course, it was possible that anyone had yet to arrive.

    Lightning flickered in the clouds overhead, and thunder rumbled its agreement.
    Last edited by Shinsou Vaan Osiris; 05-17-2019 at 11:18 AM.
    Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself.

  3. #3
    Althanian

    EXP: 30,681, Level: 7
    Level completed: 47%, EXP required for next Level: 4,319
    Level completed: 47%,
    EXP required for next Level: 4,319



    GP
    739

    Name
    Robert Bertrand
    Location
    Corone
    (1/2)

    John turned the letter over in his hand, but there wasn’t anything on the back. A challenge, but should he accept, John felt that the term ‘rematch’ was a little too simple. He’d met this Telgradian not only with his fists, but with his beliefs as well; and now reading this letter, he knew Shinsou felt the same way. The letter omitted a date, but tradition of the Citadel was that rematches were held a month after the first bout. Again, the wording of his inner monologue seemed insufficient for the notion at hand. He’d met Shinsou’s every stroke with an ironclad body and will, matched the Telgradian’s philosophies of conquest with his own of protection. No, ‘bout’ was not a descriptive enough term.

    Jamie set a mug of steaming tea on the table and cupped her own in both her hands. The hearth was winding down, but still cast enough light for him to clearly see her tawny face, framed by wavy black hair. She gave him that look, the ‘what are you thinking about?’ playful smirk. John set the letter down and grabbed his mug, smelling the spicy honeyed notes of the tea. Despite the comfort of his home, and the company of Jamie, and the smell of the tea, he was distracted. He stared into the fire, and took a sip.

    “Am I a tyrant, Jamie?”

    Before she could muster up the indignation John expected, he turned to her.

    “I know, I know, I shouldn’t think about it too much, but I do. Isn’t it possible that the only difference between myself and Osiris is that our beliefs about what’s ‘good’ are slightly different from one another? If my ideals of right and wrong were skewed just a little, I’d believe that this city was ruled by a corrupt bureaucracy that has killed enough people to warrant exactly the kind of thing Osiris threatens to bring down on it. Are my ideals so different from his that I would stand against him in the coming conflict? Could I be the tyrant in this scenario?”

    John fell silent, feeling the uncertainty rise inside of him. He turned back to the fire, trying to silence his thoughts on the subject so he could try to organize them, think about them one by one. For a long minute, he pressed back against thoughts that threatened to disrupt his philosophy. He didn’t notice Jamie had gotten up until she pressed her fingers into his shoulders. John’s distractions lessened, and his head rolled back a little so he could stare up at her.

    “I know you, John, you’re a good man,”

    John sighed. “What does that even mean, Jamie. If –“

    She silenced him with a hand placed softly on his lips and continued.
    “You gave Daniel that armor, some of your best work, at cost of material only, when you could have sold it for more than he was even worth, and when I told you that Philomel wanted to conscript the girls at the Rose to fight, you told me you’d be there to protect me, no matter the ideals in play. Nobody fights out at Jacques’ tavern any more because of you, would you like to know why?”

    John didn’t answer, he knew she would in a second. He closed his eyes and tried to focus on her touch.

    “You destroyed a dragon for the sake of what it would to people who couldn’t have protected themselves. It cost you your skin, and months of pain in recovery. It’s because you’re a protector, John. I’ve never known you to be anything different. You have this amazing armor and a shield, and half the time you don’t even use it for yourself because you take the hits head on.”

    Her voice changed at the end slightly and John opened his eyes to see her eyes shimmering with yet unshed tears. She rested her forehead on his, and sniffled. John reached up to tangle his fingers in her hair.

    “You protect us, every one of us, and every time you go out on a team, you bring them back safe, no matter how beat up you are.” There was a pause, and she lifted her head to look at him, taking a sleeve to wipe her eyes. “I love you, John, and every time you come back broken, it breaks me a little to see it. And you’re a good man, a great man, for it, and that’s why I’m here, even if it scares me.”

    John’s eyes widened as Jamie walked around to sit on his lap, leaning her head on his chest. Moments like this were rare for her, she always liked to play the aloof, clever vixen in his presence.

    “That’s the man you are, John, you’re a shield for everyone you care about, everyone you’re responsible for.”

    John blinked back the haze from his vision and wrapped his arms around Jamie. He took a deep breath, steadying himself again. He tried to think of something clever to say, but all he could muster up was a whispered word of thanks, lest his voice betray the depth of his emotion.

    John felt that he had been called, and though he had always known that he must answer, now he knew his mind could be ready, as well as his body, to bring the debate to Osiris again. His breathing slowed as his thoughts fell into place, noting that ‘debate’ would be a fitting term for their reunion at the Citadel.

  4. #4
    Althanian

    EXP: 30,681, Level: 7
    Level completed: 47%, EXP required for next Level: 4,319
    Level completed: 47%,
    EXP required for next Level: 4,319



    GP
    739

    Name
    Robert Bertrand
    Location
    Corone
    The arena John stepped into was larger than most he had been in. It was likely a real place, then. He wondered why Shinsou chose this place, was it significant to him? No, if his brief interactions with the Telgradian were anything to go by, this place was going to be meaningful to both of them. John walked forward through a gap in the trees, noting to himself that while Osiris definitely had a flair for the dramatic, he earned it by actually being as good as he appeared.

    The sun shone through gaps in the canopy, but those began to come fewer and further between as John continued onward, crushing small roots and plants intruding on the path, which itself was rapidly diminishing. The area was bathed in a musky, green odor, like wet moss and tree sap. More than a few times, he had to move or snap branches out of his way to accommodate his large form. Once, the branches caught on the shield he wore on his back. But he continued down the path regardless, eventually spying an opening in the forest. As he exited into a clearing, he stretched. He hadn't realized how dense the trees were and how overgrown the path had been. As his vision came into focus, he realized why.

    The pagoda stood with the backdrop of dark approaching clouds. The grass around the building stood tall, and vines crept up the posts supporting the tiered roof. John reminisced his training by Ezekiel as he approached the pagoda. He had spent pushing one of the unbroken doors aside with a low groan to enter. Inside, there was a large wooden dojo. The mats were gone and the entire floor was dusty, but Shinsou was nowhere to be found. Nevertheless, John was certain that this was the place. A low, rolling thunder crept through the building, and John walked to one of the empty mat locations, and knelt, assuming seiza. He took a moment to gather his thoughts, and waited.

  5. #5
    Administrator

    EXP: 106,288, Level: 14
    Level completed: 16%, EXP required for next Level: 12,712
    Level completed: 16%,
    EXP required for next Level: 12,712


    Shinsou Vaan Osiris's Avatar

    GP
    2,010

    Name
    Shinsou Vaan Osiris
    Age
    31
    Race
    Telgradian
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Salvar

    View Profile
    The portal that had carried Shinsou into the reincarnated Dajas Pagoda winked out of existence behind him as he made his way forward towards the worn double doors of the first floor, gravel crunching beneath his leather boots with each step. A scent of surrounding overgrowth wafted along the fringe of the dilapidated courtyard, evaporating only with the last motes of damp coming from the paper walls of the dojo as he drew closer. As the Telgradian ran his right hand through his swept back chestnut hair, his senses detected the inevitable, familiar power of John Cromwell. Although he had not been in the right place to watch John walk into the first floor pagoda, Shinsou could now feel his overwhelming presence pulsating from within the heart of the building; the raw energy from the man presenting like waves of contractions in the spellsword’s gut.

    Stood alone on the top step of the entrance, Shinsou gave some last consideration to the crumbling exterior, wondering if the real pagoda was even still standing. Small, spiked weeds stood to attention to the right of the door, and an outcrop of debris fallen from one of the upper floors shored up the corner of the steps to his left. Through a crack in the door ahead the Telgradian could see the famed giant knelt in a meditative state. His chassis was still a frightening thing to behold, and reared up reminded him of one of the iron colossus’s that guarded the Royal Palace back home, but John’s real power came from something much deeper than just his strength or size.

    So does mine Shinsou resolved.

    With no other reason to delay, Shinsou oriented himself and gently pushed open the door. Between the folding oak panels, the Telgradian walked with confidence, heels gently clicking on the dusty wooden floor as, without saying anything, he walked to the opposite side of the room and carefully mirrored John’s seiza. He could almost feel Cromwell’s gaze on him the whole way; almost tasting the anticipation John must of felt for another opening pre-emptive strike. Last time, Shinsou hadn’t bothered with exchanging pleasantries or offering the basic courtesy of a greeting to his opponent, instead concerning himself more with getting “to the point”. This time, though, he sat deliberately calmly in the unbridle shadows of the room, as if having forgotten the reason for their rendezvous.

    “It’s been a while since I came to this place, at least the real version of it,” Shinsou started, casting his eyes about the degenerating interior, “I remember when it was really alive. The masters here were the old guard of the world as we know it; people who fought with nothing but heart and strength. Hell, the Dajas Pagoda might not even be standing anymore, for all I know. That would be something, wouldn't it? Something as remarkable as this and its legacy totally forgotten. Another “icon” of this world consigned to history. How, or even will, it be remembered, I wonder?”

    A draft slipped down the leather interior of his boots as he knelt. Shinsou had grown to dislike rambling in the citadel, but for John Cromwell there were matters beneath the surface that started to bubble; matters that entangled the physical and the philosophical together in a complex web that needed to be understood.

    “We touched upon this last time, but history is the judge of all of us,” The Telgradian gestured, “and I have been doing some thinking about how it will judge what I’ve done here, on Althanas. Me, Storm and the Brotherhood, the siege of Radasanth, Tylmerande, all of it. Do I regret what we did? No. We fought for what we believed in. But…”

    The spellsword dropped his arms and cracked his neck.

    “…It’s like I said in my letter. Between you and me, I am not so sure what the ‘truth’ is. Struggling for power, just for power’s sake, is a fool’s errand. We wanted to change the world for the better, and I think we still want to. But which way is the right way, John? With strength? With ideals? With ambition? That is the quandary.”

    Shinsou wiped a sleeve across his eyes and mouth to cleanse some of the dust from the floor. “Of all the people I know, and have fought, you are the only one who ever made me question it all. There has to be a reason for that. You're also the only one who ever came close to beating me, and there's a reason for that, too."

    As he stood up, the cool crunch and grind of his heels on the small stones on the wood echoed throughout.

    "I know your strength, John. What I want to see is your fucking heart."
    Look down at me and you see a fool, look up at me and you see a god. Look straight at me and you see yourself.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •