Life on the Path (IC)
Maechu was still and silent as he sat in meditation. The Dome of Crystal Seers resounded steadily to his heartbeat as his mind became a part of it and it a part of him. As he watched, and read the runes flowing before his eyes, he was reminded of the great and powerful seers of the past who had once held this exact position when they had scried the strands of fate to guide Ulthwe.
Briefly, his mind wandered to thoughts of Eldrad Ulthran. The venerable old seer had seen Ulthwe through times of great sorrow and danger with the accumulated wisdom of many millennia. Now, he was gone, and the task fell to Maechu and his kin. Involuntarily, the seer`s hand gripped the spirit stone that he held clutched at his side. It had been given to him by Eldrad a short time before the Despoiler`s thirteenth crusade had begun and Eldrad himself had been lost. With Ulthran`s death, the stone had faded and become a hollow shell, but it still served to remind Maechu of the great seer and instill him with courage and drive.
Snapping immediately to focus, he glanced across the runes, bidding them to freeze in midair before him. The positioning was unmistakeable. He nodded, knowing now the path ahead. He dismissed the runes and they fell back into the pouch at his hip. Only now did he acknowledge the others in the chamber with him. A circle of warlocks and spiritseers looked back at him and he acknowledged them with a bow. It was time to address the war council.
Kendra and Requiel are among these apprentice seers and will have been here for the past several hours. Was it strenuous, or did you cope with the energy output easily? What are your thoughts on the farseer`s reactions to the runes. Are you concerned or are you relieved that he has divined a course of action?
At this time, the Exarchs of the various temples have been training their warriors relentlessly in preparation for the conflicts to come. Due to the amalgamation of warriors from various craftworlds, some of the exarchs have been reformed as honour guard units for the various theater commanders spread across the region. This leaves the aspect warriors to form mixed units from seperate craftworlds.
Jaeriel and Othuen have both been training under the Warp Spider Exarch Nestherael of Ulthwe, who is Othuen`s normal teacher. Jaeriel, how do you feel about training under an exarch from a foreign craftword? Do you approve of his methods or do you prefer your old mentor? Othuen, what is your opinion on amalgamating the squads? Ten fellow spiders are training alongside the two of you, an unprecedented squad size for any typical battle. Do you feel this is warranted or overkill?
Arthuin and Jae are both training under Exarch Jolinaar. Her usual regime has been cast aside and she no pushes you harder than she ever has before, impressing on both of you the urgency of advancing your skills as fast as possible. The seven other diciples are showing signs of fatigue, and the two of you are close to your limits as well. You both understand the significance of the coming threat, but do you agree with Jolinaar`s harsh methods? The two of you are sparring with each other, and the exarch`s attention is elsewhere, so you can speak to each other softly if you have any wish to.
Carane and her squad have been dismissed from training, the Exarch Raekinel decreeing in disgust that no facilities are adequate to his regime here. Instead, he has instructed you and the others to use the primary dome as a training ground. You and four others of your aspect are even now soaring above the rooftops and weaving through the low hung archways to hone your skills. You pass a group of rangers loitering in a small park below. Maybe it would be fun to issue a challenge to them?
A small group of rangers had gathered in the central park of Ulthwe`s primary recreation dome and were enjoying each other`s company and tales of adventure. Those fresh on the path bathed in the experience and awe inspiring presence of the older pathfinders, the legendary corsair Orlath among them. As he recounted the tale of his fleet`s victory against the Splinter Fleet of Hive Fleet Serpent, a group of Jetbikes soared overhead...
Drasi and Svent are sharing in the jovial atmosphere of the gathering when the shining spear diciples pass overhead. If you are up to the challenge, you can don one of the nearby jetbikes and join in their aerial acrobatics, if your own skills are up to the task of course. Alternatively, you can simply stay where you are and keep learning what you can from Orlath.
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(ooc: ALL: This is a quick and easy beginning, a chance for some character interaction and development. Since there is not much to do at this stage, I will aim to have the next update posted in a week`s time.
Also, be aware that your actions and attitudes will influence how quickly or slowly you will advance along your chosen path. :) )
Svent had been listening to the same droaning tales of past battles and glory of his fellow eldar that traveled down the path of the outcast. Many of them seemed enthralled at the notion of the stories. They were all bewitched by tales of bravery, cunning, and excitement. But for Svent, they were just words, words upon words upon words upon countless words. This was possibly why he was hanging upside down in a tree as he listened, at least this helped keep his mind off of some things... However a sound caught his attention though he made no outward notion that it did. His eyes looked to his fellow outcast, Drasi, and he smiled under his helm's neon orange paint.
Slipping from his perch as if he had fallen out of clumsiness he'd plummet to the ground only to flip about and land on his feet as if in a drunken manner, stumbling and hobbling to the side a bit as he miandered in a different direction for a moment. Eyes looking up to the sky as several objects passed overhead.
As his dizziness seemed to drive him, he stumbled over to a pair of jetbikes to brace himself. Looking up only to receive the words of challenge, a grin spiraled across his face. Reaching up behind his helm and under his hood he'd slide his fingers across a few controls as he stepped up onto the bike.
Now one was normally supposed to sit on a bike, grip the handles, and brace themselves. Svent however just stood on it like a stool as he looked up towards those soaring overhead. "Hey!" Shouted one of the other outcasts as Svent placed a foot on the handle bar, just a inch from the accelerator. "Get down from there, you'll heart yourself" The Outcast would call, Svent just moved his foot and hit the accelerator and throttled the bike, causing it to take off abruptly, soaring into the air.
Surprisingly enough Svent stayed in his pose for at least twenty seconds as he soared into the air to catch up to the shining spears that soared overhead. Catching up to the tail end of the group he went from his pose where his foot was mounted up on the handle bars (Close to a Captain Morgan stance). By this time Svent was loosing his footing, balancing like that at speed was a pain in the ass, though for sheer mocking purposes, he kept to his stance for as long as he could.
Just as he was going to loose his grip Svent changed his positioning, turning round quickly to sit on the handle bars as he revved the throttle with his hands, back facing the rest of the shinign spears as he looked to his side and waved at the spear he was now passing before turning his head back to his front, and the bike's back. What Svent was doing was wreckless, anyone with a brain could see that, Svent however didn't seem to care. He was just having fun. Had to kill the time somehow right? And story time only worked so well.
Mounting the bike in Earnest now Svent maxed the throttle, shouting out in glee. "I HAVE GOT TO GET ME ONE OF THESE!" In truth he had one... unfortunately he crashed his old one after a Guardsmen's rocket smacked into it. Been looking for a new one ever since.
looking to the shining spears he'd shout over to them as he zipped along. "Challenge Accepted Ya Poncy Gits! Now Let's See what ya Got!"
((sorry for controlling the NPC, in hindsight, i think most people would say something similar))
Since Jaeriels arrival on Ulthwe, he noticed that many of the aspect warriors of this craftworld constantly watched his every move. Being the only warrior of Biel'tan on Ulthwe he felt somewhat alone, yet also felt fierce pride at being the one to represent his craftworld. After arriving he noticed several other aspect warriors from other craftworlds. They included warriors from Alaitoc, Iyanden, Saim Hann and L'O Ranga. Perhaps he would speak to them in the future about how they felt being seconded to Ulthwe. Moving forward he found himself thinking that this would be the first time he did not fight as a part of the Bahzhakhain(swordwind). As a warrior of Biel'tan, he firmly believed that any other way to commit yourself to battle was foolish. He knew they had many great farseers and warlocks, and was curious to see how they committed themselves to battle with such emphasis on them.
Upon arriving, he found himself immediately guided to the temple of the Warp Spiders to meet with the Exarch of Ulthwe.When he first met the Exarch of the warp spiders, Nestherael, the exarch spoke with him briefly about training. "I know that on Biel'tan your training might have been different, but know this. I will train you as if you are of Ulthwe and I expect you to act accordingly." Jaeriel was grateful of the fact that he would look past the differences in craftworlds and train him as one of their own, yet found himself longing for his own brothers from his craftworld. Again he found himself feeling alone, yet banished the feeling. "there are a great many warriors on Ulthwe, and I would be foolish not to accept the experience training with them will give me." he thought as he made ready to begin training with the others.
Whilst in training he noticed that they were preparing 11 others of his temple to fight in the upcoming struggle. Biel'Tan would never commit 12 Warpspiders to a battle, in fact, he couldnt think of a time they had ever commited more than 5 or 6 of them in any battle in his entire time as a Warp Spider or a Dark Reaper."This conflict must be more serious than i initially expected" he thought. During a break in the training he posed a question out of curiousity to another of the temple he knew of as Othuen. "Does your craftworld always commit this many of the warp spider aspect to battle?" he asked. While waiting for an answer, he inwardly could not help wishing the time for training to end, and glorious battle and bloodshed to begin. This scared him somewhat, but deep down in his soul, he knew it felt right
Speeding over the heads of those assembled, Carane exulted a war-shout of glee. Looking back over he shoulder, it seemed that one of the others had taken it as a challenge. She hadn't intended it as such, but neither would she shy away from it when it came:
The serpent of the quest for enlightenment always guided with purpose and cunning, even in the unexpected places of the galaxy.
The one who followed showed daring, if little control, but something about his style was humourous and spurred her to further her own efforts. Jutting spars and crossways flashed by, potential disaster blurring past mere inches away.
Initially, she had thought him skilled and he showed a certain courage, yet his motions proved themselves merely dangerous antics. Yes, the bikes were responsive -almost an extension of one's body- yet few could achieve such skill.
Although she was on the Path, even Carane acknowledged she had lifetimes of skill to learn and the standard conveyance was not built for such manoeuvres.
Trying to position herself closer to him to be heard over the various screaming engines, she wove between beams and girders.
Pointing to the bike's wildly vibrating wings, she shouted in warning: "You need to slow down...your steed is not built for such tolerances!"
Perhaps he did not care, or perhaps he thought it a 'dare' to his courage, but she hoped he would heed.
Sharply decelerating, she rejoined the rest of the unit in their combat rolls, swoops and dives.
Always feeling happier in the company of her fellow Path, Carane knew that now was not the time for being insular or too-protective of one's ways.
A maelstrom was coming, one which they all had to work together to defy and perhaps even defeat.
Though novel, such a situation was intriguing to her.
Yes, The Cosmic Serpent did indeed move in unexpected ways and she held his love close to her heart as she rejoiced in the thoughts of what might be to come.
Arthuin had never considered himself a particularly proud individual. He understood that the reproves and rebukes of Exarch Jolinaar were a part of his Path. She was a harsh teacher, but an excellent one. She had sang to the souls of thousands of enemies, and that alone made her worthy of respect. Arthuin normally had no issue following her instructions, regardless how brutally she made her correction.
Today, however, he felt as though he was close to speaking out for the first time. The squad had been pushed to its limit, running laps through the Arena, practicing assault tactics to exhaustion, leaping and cavorting from the marble blocks that rose and fell from the Arena floor at the whim of Jolinaar. Though the Eldar bodyh was a marvel of endurance and agility, it was still mortal, and had its limits. When Jolinaar had called their acrobatic practice to a halt, stating that their feeble efforts made her ill, Arthuin was almost to that limit. When she paired them up for sparring practice, he had to stifle a groan. He understood that it such training was important, but Jolinaar’s snarling made his blood rise.
He made a salute to his sparring partner, the female Eldar Jae, raising his unactivated power sabre to his forehead and then sweeping it in a downward arch. He stepped forward into Call of The Widowmaker, his feet shoulder width apart, resting lightly on the ground. He slipped seamlessly into Wraith in the Darkness, unleashing a flurry of quick blows that Jae easily deflected. Arthuin pushed off the ground, into Death That Descends, flipping over Jae’s head and striking down with his sabre. His blade met the uncompromising wraithbone of her own, and he was forced to defend himself from a series of well-aimed blows when he landed on his feet.
“Well, I’m exhausted,” he said jokingly, unable to keep the edge of frustration out of his voice. “If Jolinaar says another word to me, I’m going to have to challenge her to a duel myself.”
Jae felt exhilarated, despite the unforgiving regime enforced by Jolinaar, she was struggling to resist the urge to whoop and laugh in enjoyment as she exchanged blows with her able sparring partner. The other eldar was Arthuin, and obviously seemed to not share in Jae's own relish of the challenge. Jae was no fool however, and knew that she could not keep up the demanding physical exertion that was required for much longer, but she would much rather collapse of fatigue rather than show any weakness in front of the exarch.
Jae consistantly repelled all of Arthuin's attacks, but she felt herself tiring and scolded herself for her lack of endurance, she had to gain the upperhand against him or suffer humiliation at his blade. There! As Arthuin slipped into the Wraith of Darkness, Jae noticed his legs tense in preparation for his next move, The Death that Descends, Arthuin my friend you are getting predictable! she thought to herself, noticing his preparation for the move that had almost ended their last spar. Jae easily parried the expected assault, but nonetheless she flinched as the eldar's momentum hammered into wraithbone and buckled her elbows, sending a flash of pain up her arms. Capitalsing on the advantage, Jae launched into the offensive, striking at Arthuin, but the powerful blow had sapped much of her strength, and she saw to that her competition was almost at his limit as well, oh the dishonour if this spar was to end with the two of them sprawled on the floor, felled by their own inadequacy! Suddenley, Arthuin whispered to her "“Well, I’m exhausted, if Jolinaar says another word to me, I’m going to have to challenge her to a duel myself.” Jae chuckled quietly to herself, Now that would be a sight! I dare say that I will enjoy watching your defeat at the hands of the exarch, the gods themselves will shudder at the blow your pride will be dealt! Jae smiled mischieviously at the other eldar, " Besides, you have yet to defeat me." With that, Jae swiftly swung at her opponent who shuddered under the sudden blow after swiftly deflecting it with his sword, and as Jae noted with a sense of glee, the competition continued.
"I'm not suggesting I could defeat the Exarch," Arthuin responded, though he was distracted by Jae's sudden offensive. He deflected each strike, side stepping and dodging away at oblique angles, never moving more then a single step in any given direction. "She is Exarch for a reason. I'm just saying a defeat at her hands would be worth the emotional release, at this point." He struck back, turning a simple block into a wide loop that threw open her guard. He lunged in, perfectly balanced and poised, driving a series of hard thrusts and cuts at her abdomen. She backed up, expertly recovering, letting each blow come within a hair's width of striking home before redirecting it, turning a momentary disadvantage into nothingness.
It was then, finally, that Arthuin saw an opening. Jae was as tired as he was, and as a result, turned to press the attack to finish the duel. Her strikes were a wild blur, moving almost too fast for him to even deal with; he backed up quickly, his own sabre a blur as it blocked and deflected, his opponent moving too fast to misdirect. He hung on grimly, knowing that he'd have only one chance to finish the bout before she overwhelmed him.
There. Arthuin dropped low, deep into The Viper's Gambit, and at the same time lunged forward and up. Jae's broad stroke that would have theoretically removed his head met empty air and nothingness; even though she easily recovered, it was too late. Arthuin was on a knee next to her, the point of his sabre lightly resting against her stomach. If he had of applied any force to the blow, she would have been completely run through.
Arthuin instantly collapsed back onto the sand, and sighed. "An excellent bout as always, Jae," he breathed. "As memory serves, we are even now."
Kendra sat in silence as she and other seers sat in the mystical dome of seers. They all sat their meditating as the farseer sought for the best course of action from now on. Kendra had her eyes closed as she waited for his verdict. She was a young and ambitious warlock, a new one so to speak. Kendra found that the energy output was easy for her to manage and she was surprised at this. She was sure that it had something to do learning from her mother, constantly watching her, plying her with questions and such. She was a patient person, having learnt that from her father as well as her mother who had to concentrate just like the farseer was doing now.
She couldn't track how many hours had gone by that they had been in the dome the farseer was taking his time, but that wouldn't affect her. Kendra was happy to sit here and be calm while everything else traveled fast around her. It was nice to take a little time before the coming storm to reflect, and she would use this time to prepare herself for whatever was coming. The farseer stood and moved which drew the attention of all the esembled warlocks and spirit seers that had sat around him. He deposited his runes before bowing to them, showing that it was time to go to war and see the council.
Kendra stood gracefully, quickly and without a sound, silently stretching her limbs before she would go anywhere. "At last we have our path, now to follow it." She said simply to no one in particular.
It was so rigorous. Othuen could feel the burning bile sliding up from his gut. His exarch, Nestherael, had been pushing them twice as hard in recent sessions. A hint at the increased difficulty of their oncoming mission.
"The Despoiler" he muttered to himself as his face moved away from the floor, still looking down, watching the drops of sweat fall to their demise.
He hated the Black Legion. He hated all things tainted by the warp...but he would not be like his dark cousins. His hatred was well contained in craftworld discipline, and he came from the best craftworld. He had no immediate disrespect for any of the other craftworlds, but still, Ulthwe was clearly the brightly shining heart of the craftworld Eldar scattered throughout the galaxy, as veiled as the colors may be.
He forced his body to push on. In order to make warp jumps, being in top physical condition was the least one could do to make things easier. The jumps were always strenuous on the mind and body...and most definitely the soul. A blank void behind his eyes grew wide as he remembered the last time he made a warp jump, but the void was quickly filled with words from a stranger.
The newcomer from Biel-tan.
He looked at this Eldar, not saying anything for an oddly long moment before simply replying, "Never".
Drasi was sitting cross legged on the floor. He barely listened to Orlath as the older ranger droned on and on. A thud woke him from his meditation and he opened his eyes to see Svent dropping from the tree where he had been hanging. The outcast stumbled like a drunkard to one of the few jetbikes set on stands. Svent climbed onto the handlebars of one and soared off to join the shining spears as they darted through the dome. Drasi stood smoothly and pulled on his helmet. He walked over to the jetbikes and climbed onto his. It was black and unreflective and he mounted with an ease born of long practice.
He activated the engine and felt the bike raise itself ever so slightly off the ground. He kicked back the stand and gunned the accelerator. The bike shot off into the crowd of shining spears and Drasi bent low to the handlebars. He streamed past Svent at a ridiculous speed and the other ranger grinned at him before Drasi curved the jetbike, performing a daredevil manoeuvre that had him darting through the miniscule gap between 2 pillars. He then turned a barrel roll and spun over a pair of shining spears. Their upturned faces registered shock as his jetbike passed within mere inches of their heads. When he levelled out Drasi set the bike into a steep dive, scything through the air less than a metre away from the outermost ranger of the group. He pulled up and flew straight at the roof of the dome. Halfway there he killed the thrust and the bike began to fall back to the ground but when there were barely inches to spare he gunned the engine once more and shot upwards.
He turned the bike to horizontal with out losing any speed and he flew straight at a bar that glittered in the light. One of the shining spears called out that he would kill himself but Drasi merely bent lower to the handlebars. At the last second he pushed off the foot grips, performing a somersault over the bar before landing on the jetbike. Now he was standing atop it and he held the position for a full 25 seconds before dropping back to the seat. He turned and flew back towards Svent and he heard one of the shining spears cry out to his fellow ranger "You need to slow down...your steed is not built for such tolerances!"
Drasi slowed his jetbike until he matched her speed as he shouted to her “don’t bother, the more you try to warn him the more he will do it…”
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