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post #261 of 287 (permalink) Old 11-12-12, 05:59 AM
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Default Adam - Human Windwalker

The next few days were a blur of activity despite the overwhelming desire to rest. Training continued back at the Tashiri home, training with the other disciples as well as the Hetat himself. Nesrin sparred each and every one of them over the course of the days that passed, showing them their weaknesses and complimenting them their strengths. But as the weeks passed this was not to be the extent of their training, for the disciples had things to learn that Nesrin informed them others were better suited to teach.

On the twenty second day, Adam awoke to find a note by his door. The next phase of his training was to begin under a Tashiri master named Enariel Y'nan. Adam had heard the name before, the Windwalker was a legend renowned among all the tashiri, a true master of the skies whose wisdom would undoubtedly benefit the young man immensely.

Control yourself, you've not seen what kind of man he is. Kike voiced a caution.

'He's a legend. Any wisdom he has to offer, any training he can give, is a boon.' Adam retorted to the voice in his head. Wasting no more time, he set out to where the note instructed him to go.


In short order he reached where he was supposed to be, high within a tower across the other side of the Talissariat. He knocked upon the door and was met by an almost musical voice prompting him to enter. He entered, and his breath caught as he looked out upon a breathtaking view of the landscape surrounding the area from this immense height. Adam expected wind, but there was nothing. As he took a few steps forward, he reached out a hand, suspecting a powerful crafting at work.

As he thought, the walls were formed of air. Hardened and contained air, perfectly controlled to form solid walls.

'And you had doubts Kike...' Adam muttered to himself, smiling.

'Ahem...' The voice drew Adam's attention away from the view, to the chamber and the figure who occupied it. It was a lavishly decorated chamber, befitting of the High Elf who stood at its center. 'Welcome Adam.' The elf continued. 'I understand you wish to learn flight?'

Adam dropped to one knee and bowed his head to show respect. 'Yes, Master Y'nan, it is my fervent wish to be able to keep up with the others of my craft... I am yours to teach.'


Nonsense is our Salvation

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post #262 of 287 (permalink) Old 11-14-12, 09:22 PM
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He flexed his neck, rolling it from side to side, so recently torn tissue stretch for the first time, testing the bonding of old and new. He felt knots in his shoulders, a slight pain as he flexed the thick muscle of his bicep, a slight strain above his right bicep.

Perhaps sleep had not healed all wounds, though he had slept as if deprived of its warmth for millennia, awoken a man reborn to the smell of a warriors feast. Food and sleep could only do so much, he was aware of that, yet his mind felt primed, a triumphant young cub fresh from his first hunt, in the body of an old timer, grizzled and worn.

He stretched his arms, the vest covering his muscular torso stretching over the thick muscle as he reached down to the axe loop at his waist, fishing the larger of his two axes, to hold before him blade pointed to the ground as he bowed to his opponent.

The hetat was monstrous, a giant of a man bare chested, the sweat of his previous battles glistening upon his skin, the glorious sheen of the victorious rolling off his muscles, though he seemed unfatigued, the battles before however testing or praiseworthy making him no wearier, just as ready for the next challenge. A slight smile glimmered across the Hetat's face as the matched his greeting, the old custom amusing him even as he returned the gesture, the emotion failing to touch his eyes even as the pair began to circle.

Daruk held low to the ground the battleaxe flittering between both hands with casual grace, the lapsidasical switching of hands at odd with the hungry desire seering in his eyes. It burned deep within him, a unfufilled lust for battle or a longing for acceptance or dominance he could not tell, yet the blood had begun to pound, through his veins, the aches rolling away as he stopped the circle, axe suddenly raised in one hand.

The pair stopped, the hetat's eyebrow raising slightly at the peculiar grip the ponderous axe seeming to teeter backwards in the dwarfs tiny fist. Nesrin's mouth opened to speak, even as Daruk's lip flickered, a lion revealing a single deadly canine as he exploded forward, the axe pinwheeling, whistling through the air as he hefted it towards the hetat's bare ribs.

The axe exploded upon empty air with the sound of a gong inches from the hetat's torso the axe clattering to the ground, the dwarf closing the gap with a loud roar of anger, a single bare hand gripping the pendant at his chest feeling the flames warm his palms the flame furies reaching out too him and he gave second snarl as he threw a fist out towards the broadsword clasped in nesrin's hand. Fire furies reached out,little hands outstretched towards the metal the atoms vibratiing as they strained to reach out to link with the furies.

A grunt from the hetat, the blade clattering to the floor even as Daruk leapt, diving to take the bulky midriff, clasping his arms, momentum sending them both to the floor. He was in control, straddling the hetat fist balling, suddenly he was flying, the momentum rolling him and he felt his back hit the floor, the wind bursting out of him even as the hetat slammed his arms to the ground, fingers in the dirt, he felt the furies and he reached out to them, their strength enfusing with his and he felt the hetat's strength melt away as he wrenched his arm free, the burly chest suddenly exposed, arm thrown wide as he picked his spot, feeling the furies build in his fist, the bones hardening, flesh becoming granite even as he drove a fist deep into his solarplexus.

The hetats body exploded under the impact, body twisting to land on his feet, body crouched, huge frame seeming to unravel even as Daruk sprung to his feet snatching his axe from the ground as he closed in upon the hetat, who raised a hand.

He felt it rather than saw it, the great blade behind him , out of sight, out of mind, yet he felt the metal coursing towards him, the metal furies of the outer steel baying for blood and he threw himself flat even as the blade whipped over his head, slapping firmly into Nesrin's mighty palm, the hetat upon him even as he regained his footing. Blade cracked against axe haft, swept through empty air as Daruk retreated under pressure, his defence a mixture of agility and strength as he struggled to regain composure, to find an edge to tip the battle.

A flaming ball of fire fizzled and hissed as it was extinguished by water, a stone fisted strike pushed astray by a gust of air, his blade constantly meeting the great longsword as he strived to find the extra edge, the inch he would need to turn the battle.

Even as he was forced to retreat once more, ducking under a great sweep of the blade, he dropped to the earth, and pulled it forth feeling the earth furies twirl to his touch, retreating a receeding as the ground split before them a great crevice opening between the pair, Daruk kneeling, Nesrin one foot upon empty air as he struggled to maintain his balance.

Quick as a flash the throwing axe was in his hand, his battleaxe discarded, a blade wreathed in flame arcing towards Nesrin's exposed form. He could feel something changing, something of his earth craft was unravelling from the depths of the darkness, from the deepest darkest depths of the earth something was awakening, being pulled forth from the very earth he had made receed.

A great beast leapt forth from the crevice, an ape with arms of granite, sprung from the crater to snatch the axe from the air, landing before him even as he struggled to rise, to react to this new assault. A great fist smashed him backwards, blackness enveloping him momentarily, his mind briefly stunned as he flew through the air.

Impact with the ground brought him back to consciousness, mind in warrior mode though it reeled drunkenly even as he struggled to regain his feet, only to find a great granite fist clenched around his throat. He was struggling, thrashing barehanded, like a child against his parents, the situation humiliating, his anger boiling as he struggled to free himself from its unshakable grip.

He could see nesrin floating gently across the crevice, his broadsword held lazily at his side as he landed before the pair, eyes filled with pride, the slightest tinge of concern upon his features as he watched the dwarf continue to struggle

"Though you would fight for a millenia master dwarf, you know my duty... I will not be found wanting"

The words in the tongue of his forefathers stopped his struggles eyes wide at the old custom. Even the lightest spar in the depths was fought til concession or death. Nothing however loathsome or foul was beyond limits for our enemies would not be so noble.

With a grim shake of his head the dwarf spoke in his home tongue

"This battle is done. All hail to the champion."

A beaming smile split the Hetat's face a blast of proud sunshine through the cloudst of defeat. The smile stretched wide yet it was the comfort in his eyes that showed him it was more than pride in their battle, in his skill and his valour but something more. A tinge of kindred, equal dedication to their upbringing to the traditions of their kindred so far from home.

"Champion? No Daruk, not champion. There are those within these halls that would send me to my chambers chastised and mewling like a babe. I am your instructor nothing more, nothing less."

The booming voice lowered as he leaned in almost conspiratorially his home tongue a welcome breeze upon his ears

" The timing of your strike was excellent. Your earth powers are strong, stronger than mine were I must admit when I was at the level you are now. But I must balance praise with caution, your fiery spirit is one that you must learn to control. Composure in the face of battle is more useful than blind fury."

The voice boomed again even as Daruk bowed his head, eyes lowering, the words sinking deep both praise and advice.

"Well done all the same, a challenging bout that I look to repeat in the future."
__________________________________________________ _______

It was odd to think he was bonded to them now... so long he had fought alongside them but not with them, an outsider on the inside.

Now they felt him, through bonding they accepted him as one, his mind and soul an open book. It was odd at first emotions constantly in the back of his head, a subtle awareness of their presence, of their actions, of their dreams and desires, the sense of oneness melded with a sense of defilement.

He liked his space, liked his own company yet now they were with him whenever and where ever he went, constant companions he could not shake. It was unique, they were a family, not a unit, not a squad, aye they had a head, yet they bunked together, ate together, fought together, days spent in each others company, hours spent battling as one, forms and formations, moves and preferences.

Through battle it became clearer the sensations in his head, becoming more like images, from the centre surrounded by swirling dust and dirt, blinded by particulate and sediment, he could still see the windwalkers striding pushing the beasts towards the deadly maw at their heart.

Night after night they returned home earth sodden and shattered, bodies broken, beds their only desire, fighting til the moment they could fall down as one.

It was comforting to be at one, to learn of the others to feel true togetherness with a unit, devestating as a battlefield piece, a qualm in true harmony, yet nonetheless it suffocated him.

Men and Elves around him at all times, knowing how he felt, perhaps even his secrets, the secrets of his people, those that dwelled below the ground... was it betrayal in its own way... to be so close to those that had once been foes?

He was relieved for a day on their own, his summoning to study at the hand of a Hammerfist, a name of strength, a name of solidarity, a dwarf without doubt. A day in the hands of a dwarven smith more than enough to cleanse his pallet of the claustrophobia that was oozing through his veins.

Even as he strode through the passageways, a spring in his step and the slightest whistle on his lips, he Zacarish at the other end of the corridor. A dark elf with a passion that matched his own, a skilled metal walker and an able swordsman that seemed to revel not in the victory yet in the moment, taken by the sheer chaos of slaughter. A brother of battle and an able ally at the centre of formations yet he could feel the tightness in his shoulders with every step the dark elf took towards him.

Even as the Hammerhand opened the door, impressive frame stripped to the west, jet black hair streaming across burly shoulders he found himself wondering... would he ever be free again.

kudos to lillian thorne for the awesome sig
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post #263 of 287 (permalink) Old 11-18-12, 02:50 PM
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While most of his fellow tashiri qualm members retreated to their dorms for the night Robb found sleep to be too evasive. He left the dining hall and wandered the halls of the great fortress home of the tashiri for a while before finally retiring to his bed for sleep. When it eventually came he fell into a complete and deep sleep, no dreams of any kind. He awoke early like normal, getting up even though his muscles still felt a little sore from the constant use. He went to one of the training rooms, and stood there with his blade, practicing his attacking and defensing techniques, flowing seamlessly from one to the next.

He retired after a while to bathe and change into fresh robes before entering into the private dining hall, seeing an eleborate feast had been prepared for the victorious qualm. It stung when he thought of the victory, so many tashiri had lost their lives in the assault. Too many. He slowly sipped his wine as the rest of the Qualm turned up, eating drinking and talking together. Robb sat in silence for a while, just looking around at his fellows. He was glad that they had made it through the storm, glad that they had accomplished their task, their mission.

He stood after a little while raising his glass "To our fallen brothers. May they rest in peace." He toasted, downing the rest of his glass before leaving the dining hall. It had been a nice feast, one that befitted their victory. However it had been at a cost, and they all needed to remember the cost of victory.
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Over the next few days the qualm practiced together, training hard to become closer, to fight as one. Each of the Qualm had to face off against Nesrin, the leader of the group who inevitably won every bout. Robb fought hard in his bout, using his metal abilities to his finest even though the practice weapons were wooden and not metal. It meant that he wouldn't be able to sense where Nesrin would strike, but he fought his best, his attacks flowing into defence when needed, and Robb didn't give up till Nesrin had him flat on his back, earth powers be damned. Robb rolled to his feet, not enjoying the feeling of losing but understanding why.

As the others fought against Nesrin Robb found himself restless and searching for another opponent. He felt like a caged animal, he needed to practice harder, he needed to be able to protect his qualm members. Walking over to Eldur with a smile he asked simply, "Eldur, I was wondering if you would wish to spar against me? I know I'm at a natural advantage being a metal walker but still would be nice to see what you fight like."

"It will be my pleasure". He replied as he stood and made his way over to grab a wooden spear. Robb followed grabbing a training sword before walking over to take up position opposite from Eldur. "We gonna fight with or without tricks" Eldur asked. Robb was a little surprised by this though he turned to Eldur with a smile. Robb always had his tricks, his skills of a swordsman was one of them, "I won't be using tricks my friend though if you wish to, I won't begrudge you. It will make my victory more satisfying."

Robb took a defensive stance, allowing his opponent to be the one to make the first move, Eldur questioned his confidence before bowing, Robb replying in kind with his own bow. "Well I wouldn't say confident, more like I'm looking forward to this. Smart use using wood."

Eldur lunged forward, Robb instantly leaping to the left to dodge the incoming attack, though his blade barely deflected the spear. He should have seen the lunge coming, it was a more common use of the spear and he should have known it wouldn't be like a normal sword duel. He was lucky that he had the physical ability to dodge away. Next came a side-sweep. the spear was coming fast.

Robb righting himself quickly, he twisted left dropping to one knee as he parried with his blade to his right. Managing to block the spear he struck Eldur in the knee with the hilt of his blade, the sudden move Robb had made had knocked Eldur off balance and knocked him over. As his opponent landed on his back whipped his spear forward, connecting with Robb's right shoulder. It was a move that would stop Robb from going for the killing blow, a smart move by his opponent.

Eldur quickly rolled away from Robb, standing up in a fluid motion, placing himself in a ordinary combat stance for a spear fighter. "Well fighting mostly swordsmen, It just seems they are not that happy about surprises." Eldur smiled back at Robb, giving him an acknowleding nod,"Guessing its your turn to attack now."

Robb smiled as he leapt forward to attack, feigning to the left with his blade to draw his opponents attention, before at the last second, whipping his blade into his other hand and attempting to slash across his opponents chest. He loved the thrill of the challenge, and this would be a nice challenge for him. He rarely fought spearman, and had been hit by one even less.. Eldur attempted to intercept Robb's attack, though frustratingly seemed ready for the feint.

Eldur was bringing his spear up, spinning in the process with his spear ready to hit him, though he hadn't seen Robb's next attack, something which Robb relished greatly. Robb leapt forward, shoulder barging into his opponents side and lifting him up into the air before slamming him into the ground. Quickly Robb was over his opponent, sword pointed down on him, even as his foot stood on his opponents weapon. Slowly with open hand, Eldur brought his left hand up to Robb's sword. The smell of burned wood filling the air. Eldur put a message on the sword "I Yield". Robb had to lift his blade to read it, and did it slowly in case his opponent had any surprises for him. Smiling at the message Robb offered his hand to the downed Tashiri, "Very creative friend."

Eldur accepted the offered hand, wincing a little from the pain in his side as he stood up, Robb feeling sorry for his qualm member at the pain he had caused him. "Aye I enjoyed the fight immensely, I still have a lot to learn, hope you will teach me some of it Robb."

Robb nodded simply at this, watching Nesrin walk past who gave them both a nodded head, all the praise they would get, not that they needed any.
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During the time of training Robb found himself lacking without his shield, the damn thing melting in the battle against the queen. He had repaired his chainmail armour, the links being expertly repaired by him, his hands flowing over the metal as he worked. He was glad he still had his armour and Fang, though he would need something else as well to better fight the enemy.

After one particular training situation Robb got so frustrated with his performance with only one blade once the others headed to bed he headed to the forge. He worked tirelessly, shaping a lump of steel into something beautiful. He made a short sword, slightly smaller than fang, something he could use in more confined spaces. "Claw" is what he decided to call it, something which Terros found immensely amusing, his blades named after Terros' own weapons that he used to tear his opponents limb from limb.

One morning he awoke early, having been summouned to Mistress Alana Frendel, in one of the many gardens. He felt nervous as he was attempting to learn a new power, a new set of powers. He was branching away from things that were familiar to him. He arrived as the note from Nesrin instructed him to find her by one of the large ponds, her beauty startling Robb. He had expected an old wise woman but instead he was greeted with her flowing straw colored hair catching the light in a way that makes it seem to shine, her pale skin glistening in the rays of the sun that filter in through the large windows. Instead of the pants and shirt typical to most Tashiri, she wears a flowing gown of the same fabric, around her waist a sash of deep ebony trimmed in gold, marking her station as a Tashiri Master.

Her expression was stern as Robb respectfully approached her, nervous but walking to her confidently. He would not be put off, he was here to learn and would not be paralyzed by nerves. "What would bring one such as you, someone born to heat and metal and war, to learn from me?"

He pondered her question for a moment, watching the water ripple for a moment, "That is precisely why I am here Ma'am. I was born to metal and war, but I know that this is not the only path to follow. I have witnessed the power and beauty water has, different to metal walking. I come here to learn, to learn how best to help my comrades, how to protect them and not just in the ways of killing my opponents."

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post #264 of 287 (permalink) Old 11-19-12, 03:44 AM Thread Starter
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All: Despite the fact that five months have passed since you and your Qalm returned from the Great Desert, the time has passed more quickly than you would have thought. Each of you training, diligently, under the masters that you were assigned to by Nesrin. When you think of the man, it is mostly to reflect upon the fact that you have barely seen him over the course of that time, save Sven who is training with him, the only time that you are able to pin him down is during the nightly meal, a substantial supper at the giant's request, that he insists you all spend together. The wood elves Aalrik and Fae'en the only conspicuous absences from the nightly family gathering. During those times you find that you are content. Good food and good companionship ending out the days of endless training and exersises.

Sol (Angel of Blood): The last several months with Hetat Aleanatin have been most productive for you. You can now call your Manifest fury, a beautiful flaming phoenix, with ease. Its speed in the air and vicious beak and claws a complement to your whirlwind fighting style. However this is not the only change that has been wrought over the last several weeks. Unlike your training from before, as an apprentice, there is more theory discussed about a particular working than there ever was and despite your more impatient and hot headed nature, you have found yourself engaged in conversations with Hetat Aleanatin that have lasted well into the wee hours of the morning. You feel that you have a greater sense of how to relate to the furies that come to your beck and call and to your great pride you feel that your control over them has increased much more than just in the aspect of making one manifest. It is with mixed feelings that you leave Aleanatin's dormitory after his final proclamation that you are ready to use the new skill that you have acquired. You feel that you have made a friend over the course of the time you spent together and you couldn't help but notice that Aleanatin seems to have come to terms with his grief, something that by the small smile and gentle hand on your shoulder as he bids you farewell you feel that you may have helped with in some small way. Take a moment to reflect on the last several months. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Eldur (Anilar): Being back under the tutelage of Mirran has been both a blessing and a curse for you. You have learned much, but the training in and of itself has been the most grueling you have ever undertaken. It took three out of the last five months for you to master the steps of the Kallimatar, each movement one that Mirran demanded be precise, before he would even discuss the new techniques that you wished to learn. Even in light of this, months later, several new abilities under you belt you find that as it was in the desert, so it was here. With great trials, come great rewards. You find yourself in Mirran's antechamber, alone for the moment, you walk the steps of the Kallimatar, each footstep in time with your breathing, each movement of your arms flowing freely, emulating living fire. Though your eyes remain closed you know where to move and the air around you begins to warm. You can feel the furies, especially Kebakaran, as they swirl and swim in the rolling heat around you, the steps of your exercises heightening your control. As you bring the exercise to a close, the heat rising away, you sense that you are not alone. Eyes snapping open, you see that Mirran has entered from the main door, a smile plastered on his face, pride beaming from his posture and gaze. Just as he did upon your return from the desert he did not draw out his sentiments, "You have learned well once more young one. The skills that you came to learn have been learned, but remember that they take a lifetime to master." Grabbing you by your shoulder he leads you from his rooms back out into the hallway, "Go, your Qalm will have need of you shortly." You do as he asks, looking back only once as you move to obey. You return to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Isira (Jackinator): Your time with Master Getmin has been one of the most pleasurable experiences of your life. The bumbling master, though brilliant when it comes to weather and its control, is quite deficient in other areas, like social interaction. He is clumsy and has a small stutter when he is nervous but over the last several months you have really come to like the old man. He has a wonderful sense of humor when he relaxes and he can spin a tale like none other when the mood takes him. Many of your sessions with him have seen you holding your sides, muscles tight and painful from laughing at his rendition of some ancient tale or another. Personal interaction aside, Getmin is a genius when it comes to his craft and you can see how he came to rise to the rank of Master. Not only have you now master the Tempest ability, but the theory that you have learned from Getmin has opened your eyes to the grandeur of weather control on the whole. It is with mixed emotions that you end your time with Getmin, you have enjoyed your time here so much, as well as whatever time you have spent with your Qalm, that you don't want to see it come to an end. You cant help but smile at the old man as he presents you with a small storm cloud contained in a glass, similar to the one you saw when you first entered his rooms, as he ushers you out the door saying, "Go lass, your Qalm will have need of you soon." You do as he asks, looking back only once as you move to obey. You return to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Zacarish (Santaire): Your training with Master Hammerfist was uneventful. There was little that you and the stalwart dwarf held in common save your craft. You are not sure why it seemed that you and Hammer fist could not connect on a deeper level as you witnessed him and Daruk do, but it had little effect on your training. You learned what you came to learn, but little else, other than a few helpful shortcuts at working at the forge. Returning to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Sven (Therizza): Your time with Nesrin has been enjoyable, but far more difficult than you had imagined. The huge man demanding quite a bit from you, so much in fact that even your hearty Dwarven constitution has had a hard time keeping up. Each night you have fallen into your bed, tired, but satisfied with what you accomplished each day and heartened by the praise that your Hetat has given you as you progress onward in your skills. You find yourself in the middle of the dormitories training hall, your stone form firmly in place on during this early morning training session. It doesn't matter what he throws at you, bolts of fire, blasts of air, entangling vines, all splatter off your hardened skin, causing naught but a little discomfort. It has taken you months, cuts, bruises, burns, and even a broken limb, but you have finally mastered the form of total protection stone form provides. Ceasing his attack and indicating that you should drop the Stone Form, Nesrin says to you, "Well done Sven, just remember that your ability to move is lessened by the form, take that into account when you use it." Smiling down at you he finishes, "Go clean yourself up and get a bit of rest. I will be calling to the Qalm shortly." Returning to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Adam (Serpion5):These last months have been one of change for you. Despite your desire the gift of flight comes slowly to you. What does surprise you is Master Y'nan's patience with the difficulties that you experienced. Ever day, for the first few weeks, you and Y'nan would sit in his rooms, eyes cast out into the skies beyond the Talissariat, a cup of strong Yavano tea in front of you in quiet conversation and guided meditation designed to free your mind from earthly constraints. Surprising to you, but not to Master Y'nan, your skills with veils and invisibility seem to be what hinders you, for the techniques involved are so vastly different. However, as the weeks progress, you go from performing long high leaps, to momentary levitation, to soaring glides in the training fields outside the Talissariat. however after almost 3 months of work with the master, you still haven't been able to attain true flight and your spirits start to drop. It took the shock of being tossed from the heigth of Master Y'nan's rooms, a blast of air taking you from your feet as you walked in for your daily session. As you plummeted from the tower, the sound of Master Y'nan's robes flapping in the air just behind you, it is finally Kike that spurs you to let go of your inhibitions and fly. Terror turns to joy as you soar across the mighty Temple of the Tashiri. The last few weeks under Y'nan's tutelage sees your skills refined. With very few words, on what turns out to be your last day of training, Y'nan turns to you and simply says, "The rest is up to you to master. Go, your Qalm needs you." Returning to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Daruk (deathbringer): Most of your study under Master Hammerhand has had little to do with fury work. This time has seen you put to work in front of the forge, while it is something that you are comfortable with, it sometimes feels like you are missing what you should be learning from him, which is a bit frustrating. You watch as Zacarish methodically learns the new skills that he has come to Hammerhand for, while it seems that he simply wants to talk to you of home and simply share the work in the forge. You are surprised to learn that Hammerhand is the last remaining member of the Oathbearer clan, an ancient clan amongst the Deep Dwarves that fell to the Nagash, a rodent like race that haunt the deep realms, almost 400 years ago. As you work the forge, you listen as Hammerhand tells you stories of old, triumphs and failures of your ancestors. Your limbs already thick with muscle, become even more so and you can tell that your skill in making armor and blade has become much more formidable. It is four months into your training and even though it has been enjoyable, you lose your temper in the midst of Hammerhand recounting a ballad of one of his ancestors, a song you have heard before, but at this point can enjoy, you toss down your tools, frustrated as you watch Zacarish manipulate metal into the form of a chained whip. Though you remain silent, Hammerhand approaches you a knowing look in his eyes as if he reads your mind. "So you think that I have taught you nothing but swinging a hammer and a bit of history," he is not mad, quite the opposite, "Close your eyes Daruk and tell me what you feel." Doing as he asks you almost gasp at what you feel. All around you the steel and iron ore takes on a life of their own, furies swirling from piece to piece. Hammerhand grunts at your amazed expression, "Furies are like a good woman boy." He winks, "You have to get to know them a bit, share a few tales and some time together before you can feel for them." He goes back to singing, his voice keeping time with his hammer blows, sparks flying around him. You recover quickly, your new senses alive with power, as your hammer and voice join his. One morning you show up in the forge, arriving before Zacarish, your desire to work in the forge heightened by your new found sense of the pieces you work. Hammerhand stops you as you begin to put on your apron, "Not today lad, but perhaps someday soon. Today your Qalm needs you." Returning to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Robb (Lord Ramo): Your training with Mistress Frendel has been an interesting one. Unlike other water walkers you have known, she keeps her emotions nuetral, showing little save a small smile if pleased or a slight frown if not. For the first few weeks you found it disconcerting that she offered little praise and little criticism, simply watching you try and perform the exercises she has set for you with a critical eye. Despite your early failures, you never see her lose her patience, calmly explaining what you have done wrong and encouraging you to try once again. You have a hard time grasping the feel of water, its fluid nature and required mental discipline very different from that of Metal. However, under Frendel's direction, about 3 months into your training you are able to finally feel the furies that course through the small stream in your training room. You make progress rapidly after that, contact with the furies themselves leading to greater improvement in your control. It is on what is to be your last day that you stand inside a dense cloud of fog, conjured from nothingness in an instant, your control of the technique finally mastered. You can feel Frendel move into the cloud, dissipating it with a wave of her hand, "You have done well Robb. I am surprised that you were able to turn your focus to the skills of Water, but it is a pleasant surprise. Perhaps we shall see each other again, and of course you are free to visit me at anytime, but you must go, your Qalm will have need of you soon." Returning to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Gangdogar (Malochai): The training in your new abilites started off with a shock when you were told to report to Hetat Glion Rockfist. You grew up hearing about your great great great uncle on your mother's side, a Dwarf held up as a shining example of the warrior blood of your clan. He cuts you little slack, grumbling about how the blood of his clan must have thinned over the years, how you learn slower than you should, and that you thump around with your earth powers like a blind giant mole-rat. You however, don't fail to notice the smile that touches his eyes and tweeks the corners of his mouth as he grumbles and you know that he is just pushing you to work ever harder. You learn much from him about melding both flame and stone, but it is the history of your clan that interests you so much. Even thought he places supreme importance in the learning of the skills you will use in battle, he also tells you many tales of times long gone, sharing with you a pipe full of Kazelim Tabac and a mug full of hearty ale. You are awed with the fact that one of your ancestors, a living monument of your families history is so close at hand and over the 5 months that you train with him you learn much about where you came from and the strength of your bloodline in addition to the mastery of the new skills you came to learn from him. It is on what is to be the last day of your training that Glion stops you in the middle of an earth crafting, a simple logic puzzle of moving earth that he taught you to sharpen your focus, and says, "Well lad, our time has come to an end. I have enjoyed working with you and it is a relief that the blood of our Clan has remained strong." He presses a ring, heavy and iron, into your palm, "Remember where you come from lad." With a heavy sigh he all but pushes you out the door of his quarters, "Go now, your Qalm will have need of you soon." It isn't until you return to your room that you look down and see that the ring, obviously ancient, bears the crest of your clan. Reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind but you can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Fae'en (Firedamaged): You spent the entirety of your training in the great forest that rings the floating temple of the Tashiri under the careful eye of the legendary, yet elusive, Gatekeeper. Despite the formality that his title, not to mention responsibilities of managing the first line of defense should the Talissariat be assaulted, Nevar, the Gatekeepers given name, is a personable elf, treating his charges as favorite grandchildren. It has been a wonderful experience for you to train side by side with Aalrik, your Qalm's other Wood Elf, as Nevar instructs you in everything from archery to herbalism, history and myth. As a wood walker you have never seen his equal. It is almost as if the elf speaks with the trees around you. However, a new-found closeness to Aalrik and to your heritage as a Wood Elf is not all you learn. As Aalrik learns to master several new minor abilities, you have taken on the task of finding a fury so bonded to you that it will manifest. It take almost the entire five months, but finally you are able to get your new fury, Kikazaru to manifest. Its playful new presence one that you immediately identify with and come to wonder how you ever lived with out. It is on the last day of your training that Nevar comes to you sadness mixed with pride in his expression. He speaks to both you and Aalrik, "You have learned well, I hope that you will not be strangers to this forest in the future. Now you must go, your Qalm will have need of you soon." Returning to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

Kaeldor (revan4559): Your training was one of trial and tribulation. Having reported to the Master Swordsman Humeric Bassal, a human solider without peer, you found that your opinion of your own abilities greatly exaggerated. Bassal is the epitome of the martial personality, drilling you in sword forms and basic Metal craftings as if you had just arrived in the temple for your apprenticeship. Each day that passes in the first few weeks find you battered and bruised from sparring, passing out from exhaustion into your bed after tucking into a meal with your Qalm. It is as if during this time Master Bassal is looking to see if you will complain, quit, or show weakness. None of which you do, pressing forward to the point that you feel your body almost unable to function. 3 months of this pass, but you can feel your endurance, already substantial as a metal walker, growing. The strength in your arm and the amount of energy you can draw from the metal furies in your weapons and armor almost doubling. It is in the middle of the third month that Bassal enters into the training room, his demeanor completely different, a smile on his face. He is dressed in simple ivory robes, an ebony sash trimmed in gold the only adornment. He bids you, kindly to lay down your weapons and armor. From that point on your training sessions were easier, more enjoyable, seemingly you managed to impress Master Bassal with your determination. Two months later you find that you have mastered the new skills that you were sent to Bassal to learn. Not only that but you have learned much about your own fortitude and abilities. On your last day, you anticipated the command to remove your armor and weapons, but it did not come. You entered the training room, Bassal once more adorned in resplendent armor, his longsword strapped to his back. "For the skills you wished to learn," he begins, "You have no more need of my instruction. Go soldier, your Qalm will have need of you shortly." As you turn to leave the room you hear him say, almost under his breath,"You are welcome in my halls any time Kaeldor, fight well." Returning to your room, reflections on the last several months fresh in your mind. You can feel an anxious energy in the hallway beyond the door to your rooms. As other members of your Qalm enter into the dormitories, there is almost an air of anticipation. A palpable feeling that this period of relatively calm study is coming to an end.

All: Your thoughts are interrupted as a presence flares across the bond shortly followed by Nesrin's voice ringing in your head," Assemble my warriors. We must make haste to our next assignment. I expect you armed and equipped for a journey in ten minutes. Meet on Landing 9. I will explain there."

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Default Adam - Human Windwalker

Master Y'nan was a master of the Wind furies in a way that only a fellow windwalker could understand. During the first few days his power became painfully obvious to Adam as he revised what the young man was capable of in comparison to where he wanted his skills to be. Y'nan taught him the finer aspects of the Furies true nature, lessons that Kike took as much interest in as Adam despite herself. As the early days passed, Adam could see what he needed to do. The specifics of these skillsets however seemed frustratingly difficult to master. In the first few weeks, Y'nan seemed focused on teaching Adam the mental disciplines required, lessons that thought tedious Adam committed himself to wholeheartedly.

Within the month Adam had begun to attempt real flight. Kike was a voice of encouragement during these times, a counter to Y'nan's more realistic critiques and advice. Progress came at a painstakingly slow pace much to the young man's chagrin. During one of the more trying days, Adam elected to spend the night in the open courtyard rather than his room.

You are frustrated? Angry at yourself? Kike spoke up, interrupting the silence. A light breeze cropped up and Adam took a breath before he decided to answer her.

'I am.' He said. 'I had learned the other skills at a far quicker pace. Why I struggle with this one I do not know.' He focused his power and levitated a few feet above the ground. This at least he could do, even if only for a short while. He raised himself to the top of a nearby tree just before his focus gave out and he balanced there with the practiced ease of a windwalker.

Your wings are still closed. Was her answer. You cannot fly unless you open them.

'That doesn't help.' Adam growled. The breeze grew into a stronger wind but Adam held his balance still.

A hawkling must be pushed from the nest before she learns to fly. Kike continued.

'You're a tulpa and a fury.' Adam hissed. 'You'd never faced that problem.' By now the wind was almost a vicious gale. Despite the tree rocking violently beneath him Adam still held firm and true.

Calm yourself! The hawk cried. Your anger is damaging the area! With a snap to attention Adam realized that the increasing wind had been his own ability running rampant. He reached out and calmed the air, looking around and hoping no other had seen him so close to losing control. He took several deep breaths and focused again, trying to fly to the ground but managing no more than a steady glide. He shook his head and punched the ground in frustration before settling down beneath the tree and resting...

* * *

More time passed, weeks, months. Yet still the young windwalker had made little progress. A few days shy of three months into his training, he sat with Master Y'nan once the day's lesson was over and asked to talk.

'This is starting to frustrate me.' He began 'Months now, it's been months Master! Even learning to hide myself from sight did not take me this long. Those skills were so... Easy! Compared to this, this seems more and more... impossible.'

Y'nan met his eyes and answered. 'Nothing is impossible Adam.' His voice was stern but understanding. 'This will come to you in the same manner as your other skills. It will just take time and patience.'

He speaks wisdom. Kike interjected. You haven't done what I told you was needed. Adam repressed an annoyed growl and ignored her.

'I know, I can see my progress.' Adam replied to the elder elf. 'It just seems to have slowed down so much, and I fear I may have reached a plateau. Maybe this is as far as I'm going to get.'

You haven't spread your wings! Kike interrupted his thoughts again. Adam growled in frustration at her words, trying not to appear foolish as what she spoke could not be heard by the Master, only himself.

'Enough young warrior!' Y'nan silenced the negativity. 'No Tashiri Aria has ever failed to learn to fly. You will be no different. All that needs to happen is to find the way to train you. So tell me, What was your first power to develop?'

'Speed I suppose.' Adam answered, thinking back. 'Because I needed it to. I was forced to live as a thief from a young age until the Temple found me. By that time my wind abilities were detectable and I'd already developed the ability to heighten my agility and footspeed. But there was a primal drive behind that, I was running for my survival. Not just because it was a skill I wanted to learn.'

'And Invisibility? How did you master that technique?' Y'nan continued to probe.

'Much the same way. In the instances where I couldn't run, I was forced to hide. I willed the air to hide me, and over time it did. Again, that was a skill already half learned when I came here.'

Y'nan nodded. His eyes seemed to bore into Adam's, as though looking at something that was being hidden. He nodded again after a few minutes of thought before giving the young pupil his thoughts. 'Regardless of your doubts young one, I have no doubt that you will learn this skill. I think I may have a way. Leave me for the day, I have preparations to make.'

'As you wish. I thank you as always for your patience.' Adam replied with a bow, wondering if Y'nan felt as much frustration here as Adam did himself.

'I would not be much of an instructor Adam if I had no patience.' Y'nan said to Adam's leaving form, as though he had read the young windwalker's thoughts. 'Worry not, the block is simply like any other obstacle in life. You have one of several options. The first of which is to quit, and I daresay you should avoid that one. So if you are not going to quit, you must either go over it, around it, or through it.' He paused as Adam turned to meet his gaze for the final time that day. 'I will see you on the morrow. At first light if you please, we will have much to accomplish.'

Adam simply nodded to this and left.

* * *

'What could he mean?' Adam asked. 'He has a method?'

Probably some technique you haven't considered yet. Kike replied. As the young disciple approached the door he wracked his brain but was unable to think of anything. He knocked on the door and moments later entered. He took a look around the chamber, but was unable to see any sign of Master Y'nan.

'I wonder where he -' Adam's thought was interrupted by a sudden blast of air that threw him off balance. His fear grew as he sensed the manipulations of the air currents around him. The walls shimmered enough to allow passage and the blast that had taken hold of him hurled him through the gap. He was released, left to plummet the long distance to the ground below.

The flapping of fabric sounded in his ears and he managed to turn just enough to glimpse Y'nan a short distance above, following him down. Their eyes met for the briefest of moments, just enough for Adam to glean what Y'nan had planned. This was it, he would either fly or his training would be at an end. He spread his arms to try and arrest his fall slightly and give himself more time to focus.

Spread your wings! Kike called.

'You may not have noticed, but I don't have wings!' Adam hissed. 'So unless you have something helpful to add, shut up!'

He drove his will as deeply as he could, his focus competing with his rapid heartbeat for the center of his attention. He could feel the energy of the air furies coursing through him, the subtle manipulations that allowed him to be light on his feet or hide himself from sight. Why wouldn't they let him fly?

It's a metaphor you dolt! Kike screeched. You cannot wield the energies around yourself anymore! You have to let them flow through you, become not with the air, but of the air!

'I...' Adam stopped as he realized what Kike was saying. Not to make the air lift him but rather to make himself the same as air. To align himself with the same energy. 'I understand now...'

So... Kike continued. Spread...

Adam focused anew, letting his mind attune with the same patterns he commanded the air to take when he summoned whirlwinds and a veil of invisibility.

Your...

He attuned his own mental output to that of a flowing wind and drew it back within himself, becoming as the air itself when its rage was evoked.

WINGS!

Moments before impact, the energy peaked and Adam came to an abrupt halt mere meters from the ground before rising back up. He kept going, noting the sheer difference in the levels and type of focus required for this new craft. A smile came with little difficulty to his face as he looked out across the landscape below before he finally came to lock eyes with Master Y'nan.

'Very clever Master. Thank you.'

At that moment, Kike emitted a loud cry and triumph and manifested nearby, joining the duo in flight.

And thank you as well Kike. My apologies for not heeding your words sooner.

* * *

The training continued for a few more weeks, during which time Y'nan assisted Adam in refining his new skill as well as his existing ones. On what was to become the last day, Y'nan turned to Adam and said. 'The rest is up to you to master. Go, your Qualm needs you.'

Taking his leave with gratitude, Adam took to the air and returned back to where the others would meet. He entered his room via the window from outside, revising everything he had learned and noting the palpable aura of anticipation coming from the others nearby.

Something is up. Kike said.

'I agree.' Adam nodded. 'I think our vacation is over.'


Nonsense is our Salvation

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Fae'en awoke with a start. He rolled to the left and tumbled with a small yelp as his body was no longer supported by any tangible surface. Landing clumsily on all fours, he pushed off with his hands and feet and cracked his head on a hard, wooden side-table. Standing, slightly dazed and mightily out of sorts, he assessed his surroundings.

Bed, table, chest, wardrobe... walls all wood? Floating castle has stone room...

A barely suppressed chuckle caused Fae'en to swing around to face the door. A giant of a Wood-Elf stood half in the doorway, his hand poised to knock on the frame and a smile playing at his features. Nevar.

"Food's ready. Better hurry if you want some."

Still slightly groggy, Fae'en grabbed his discarded clothes scattered about the room and followed the retreating back of Nevar, Gatekeeper of the Tashiri, and his mentor for the next few weeks. This was his house, Fae'en remembered, in the woods suspended on the giant floating rock that housed the Tashiri Order. It was good to be amongst the trees again. He made it to the kitchen, a simple affair consisting of a table, chairs, a stove and several cupboards. Aalrik was already there this morning and Fae'en grunted in greeting. He liked this as well, much more than the communal Mess Hall of the Order, no crowds of people, no sea of noise or smells, just the three of them.

"How's the head?"

Fae'en looked around to find Nevar holding a steaming plate of meat cuts and vegetables out to him. "Fine," he muttered before taking the tray, "thanks."

"You are welcome." Nevar responded before assembling his own plate. They sat and joined Aalrik at the table. He waited until they were all finished before speaking again. "Today we will begin your fury-crafting training, we will still continue with your regular training in the mornings, but after noon-meals we shall focus purely on your connections to the furies."

So it was. Fae'en trained under the caring gaze of Nevar and was daily awed and impressed in equal measure, not only by the elf's abilities, but by his compassion as well. Fae'en felt less like a student and more like a beloved offspring in greater proportion each passing day. It was not just his relationship with his mentor that improved over the course of his training, but that which he felt with the furies surrounding him developed in leaps and bounds as well. By the end of the third week of his time with the other two wood-elves, Fae'en had connected well enough with one of the myriad of furies around them that it began to manifest itself before his very eyes.

He and Aalrik were sharing a drink of water during a rest period, they were laughing, just joking around when it happened. A low creaking-cracking sound drew their attention downwards to see wood growing at a rapid pace, flowing and forming itself into a vague simian-like shape. Moss grew like fur over the being's surface as it's limbs took form, fingers and toes sprouting from their ends. A tail sprouted as the face took shape, small and grinning mischievously with glowing green eyes. It looked up at the two of them before leaping onto Fae'en's arm and clambering up to sit on his shoulder.

"Congratulations." The voice drifted out from the surrounding trees and made the two jump, so focussed were they on their new companion. The Gatekeeper stepped out from the shadow of a great elm and smiled at the pair. "Fae'en, your after-noon training will be centred around working with your new manifest. Now, seeing that the excitement is over, I guess it's time to get back to work. Fetch your bows and come to the target range."

A week later their time amongst the trees of the Talissariat came to an end, Aalrik and Fae'en had to return to the keep and their Qalm. It was with almost tearful goodbyes that the pair parted ways with the Gatekeeper, having been given a standing offer to return at any time. Fae'en swore he would do so at the earliest opportunity, after also promising to keep his manifest fury, Kikazaru, out of trouble as much he could. The wooden monkey gave him a playful swat to the back of the head with his tail for the comment and the group grinned. Fae'en had been encouraged to keep him around as much as possible to help with his training and to keep the two acclimatised to each other and he was honestly surprised at how he ever lived without the companionship before they'd come together.

It was with great regret that they left the forrest and returned to the Talissariat proper. Less than half an hour and already Fae'en was uncomfortable among the number of people confined within its walls. He made his way to 'his' room. In all honesty the stone-carved sleeping quarters had never felt as much his as the room in Nevar's house had. As he set about rearranging his living-space a peculiar feeling stole over the elf, a sense of anticipation began to stir within him. He paused in the act of standing the bed up against the back wall, his sheets having already been assembled into his preferred 'nest' in the corner by the armoire, and called Kikazaru to manifest himself. The green spider-monkey appeared and quickly assumed his place on Fae'en's shoulder.

"Feel that, Kika?" he asked the fury as it picked at something in his hair.

The monkey shrugged before whispering conspiratorially; "Grass is nervous."

"Huh?" Fae'en grunted in confusion.

"Thinks we're talking about it." Kikazaru continued.

"You are. What has that to do with this feeling?" Fae'en pointed out.

The fury shrugged again, "Don't know, ask others."

Fae'en shuddered, "Too many people. Passed over twenty just getting here."

Kikazaru turned his green eyes to look into Fae'en's own as he answered. "Good to be among your own kind."

"Aren't my kind... only a few of them." Came the terse reply.

"Know what I mean." Kikazaru frowned, the knotted whorls of his bark brows furrowing together.

"Alright," the elf sighed, propping the bed securely into the corner of the room opposite his sleeping nest. That done, he squared his shoulders and prepared to face the company of others when a familiar voice echoed through his head. Nesrin had summoned them, they had a mission.

Hurriedly donning his armour over the traditional Tashiri combat clothes, Fae'en grabbed his crossbow and quarrel from the armoire before giving one last glance around the room. "Just got it how I like it," he muttered, knowing full well it would once again be 'tidied' upon his return, and left for landing 9. His Qalm would be assembling there. His pack. His kind.

Kikazaru followed snickering, having stopped to scratch a rude drawing on the surface of the wooden door.

Regards

FD


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Sven was eager to begin his new training and leapt to his feet, following Nesrin down the hallway. The hetat said nothing, and Sven kept reverentially silent as he followed the giant of a man to a side room. The floor was stone, as were the walls. Lit by a skylight, it seemed to be a training room of sorts. "Do you know where we are, Sven Ironson?"

"I cannot say, Nesrin. It is solid granite, that much I can sense."

"True, Sven, but this is where we will grow your connection to the earth. It is here where we shall hone your skills. You will be tested." Nesrin spoke, and as he did, Sven could feel something changing in the man. In the blink of an eye, Nesrin's skin had turned grey. "I want you to hit me as hard as you can, Sven. Do not hold back."

Sven snorted, as it was obviously a test. "Are you sure Nesrin? I do not wish to injure you."

The hetat looked at Sven, telling him to hold nothing back. Shrugging his shoulders, Sven took his fighting stance and delivered a solid right hand to Nesrin's stomach. Though he had the enhanced strength and fortitude of his earth craft, Sven crumpled to the ground in pain, though Nesrin acted as though nothing had happened.

Nesrin paced past Sven, nodding his head. "Now you see the power of stone form. Your strike was true, swift, powerful. It may well have killed a lesser man. Surely many Vicery fell to that same strike. But sometimes the best offense, is defense. If your enemy had broken themselves on you, they can no longer threaten you, yes? You will need to harness the power of stone form to endure enemies more powerful and swift than you! That is all for training today. Return tomorrow, to this chamber."

That night, Sven ate lightly. He had thought to speak with Aalrik, but could not find him at the table. He kept shaking and tensing his hand, hoping that he had not broken it. The next day, Sven awoke early and went to the training chamber. Nesrin was not there yet, so he began drilling on his own. Beginning with a footwork drill, Sven practiced his stone fist technique. Meditating in the room as he awaited Nesrin's arrival, Sven was startled to find the hetat standing behind him.

"Your technique is good, as is your stone fist. You drop your left hand too much when you throw a kick though!"

"How long have you been here? I thought I was alone! Forgive me for beginning without you, I should know better."

Nesrin calmed the dwarf, explaining that he had melded into a nearby wall, as a test of Sven's ability to detect him. The rest of the session consisted of Nesrin instructing Sven in the stone form technique. Drawing on his fury craft, Sven became one with the stone. Though he found it difficult to move at first, Nesrin said not to fight the earth, but to become one with it. That notion slowly sank into Sven's demeanor as the weeks progressed into months. The daily routine, the gaining of knowledge from the hetat and the nightly meals were welcomed.

...

Sven was several meters off of the floor. Nesrin had drawn from the granite floor several floating boulders, instructing Sven to ascend the floating staircase. Though this would be a simple task otherwise, Sven had to maintain his stone form throughout. Shouting up to Sven, Nesrin spoke. "Good, Sven! See how, despite your elevation, the boulders serve as anchors to the earth below. Focus!" Sven leapt to the final boulder, but over thought the jump. His footing slipped and in his tumble, he lost his stone form, crashing to the ground. Shouting in pain, he grasped his arm. It was broken, quite badly. Nesrin stopped the training session. "Go to the infirmary, we will continue this tomorrow."

Sven did as he was asked, and his arm was put in a splint. Though the healers were skilled, it would take time for such a harsh break to heal. Sven was resolute, eating heartily that night, and sleeping well. The next day, he tested his arm, and thinking to impress Nesrin, he focused on maintaining stone form only within the broken limb. Nesrin seemed impressed, and seeing the concentration it took, training went in a different direction. "We are nearing the end of your training. I had thought the arm would hinder you, though I think it will only attest to your grit. Your final test will be a gauntlet. You will be challenged, but take solace that at the very worst, you will not die. Follow me."

The hetat created an archway into another chamber. It was the main training hall, and following Nesrin inside, Sven could see other fury craft masters within. "Your final test was as such; whilst overcoming an obstacle course, you will be assaulted by fire, air and wood. Maintain your stone form, and you will not perish!" The hetat stood to the side, and Sven saw the fury crafters channeling their powers. Donning his stone form, Sven began towards the first obstacle. Scaling the wall, a bolt of fire hit him with full force. The attack was vicious, though his form protected him. Sven mounted the second obstacle, a narrow raised balance bar. Battered by gale force winds, courtesy of his fury crafting tester, Sven slowly made his way down the bar, rooting each step to the bar while maintaining the stone form. The final obstacle was a series of swinging logs. Sven made his way swiftly past each, though his legs were harried by entangling vines throughout. Breaking free of the vines, Sven made it to the end. Nesrin seemed pleased. "Well done Sven, just remember that your ability to move is lessened by the form, take that into account when you use it." Smiling down at him he finished, "Go clean yourself up and get a bit of rest. I will be calling to the Qalm shortly."

Sven did as he was told, returning to his room and changing his clothes into a fresh set. He felt ready for whatever lay ahead. Stronger, both in his fury craft and grit, Sven was pleased. His thoughts were interrupted as a presence flared across the bond shortly followed by Nesrin's voice ringing in his head," Assemble my warriors. We must make haste to our next assignment. I expect you armed and equipped for a journey in ten minutes. Meet on Landing 9. I will explain there." Taking up Avalanche, and placing his throwing axes in his sash, Sven made his way to the landing, ready to test his newfound abilities.

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post #268 of 287 (permalink) Old 12-02-12, 05:58 PM
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The task Glion had set him for their final session was simple, the logic puzzle nothing more than an exercise in focus. Gandogar had grinned slyly when it had been set; after months of being pushed to do better by his great-great-great uncle, the task - which he had initially had to concentrate on entirely to complete - was easy, and a testament to how much the dwarf’s command over earth, fire and stone had expanded.

Rockfist had made him strive to do better, the put downs encouraging him to try harder, but never as much as the small smiles he had occasionally seen pulling at the corners of his mouth, lighting up the stony eyes slightly. Gandogar had thought himself a competent Tashiri after completing his Test, but only after being introduced to his new Hetat after the attack on the Hive had he realised how much he still had to learn, and how little mastery he truly had over the Furies of Earth and Fire. The past five months had helped him to gain new skills, under the tutelage of his uncle; the teaching was more natural than any he had had before - there was a connection between the dwarves, no doubt from their shared Clan history.

What he had preferred, above even the extension of his skills over Flame and Earth, were the times he had spent with Glion outside of the training. The stories he had heard entranced him; the history of Clan Tri-Kazelim and the legends of some of the most important members of his ancestry since it’s founding, including the true history of Duzurak Forge-Hammer, one of Gandogar’s teachers in the forges of Dwarrowhelm before he was taken by the Tashiri. What Glion didn't mention was how he came to be put on such a pedestal by his own clan, how he became the epitome of the dwarven warrior amongst those of Tri-Kazelim, and Gandogar felt it prudent not to ask - he had heard and memorised the stories as a child anyway, and if Glion didn’t want to talk about it, Gandogar decided it was not his place to bring it up. He had spent so little of his life with those of his own bloodline that the time spent with the Hetat was invaluable to him, and he didn't want to risk cutting that short by asking incautious questions.

He thought back to the times he had sat with the others of his Qalm in the evening, eating the fine foods and drinking the quality ales the Tashiri were served, taking in the air of companionship which had developed, especially since the attack and subsequent destruction of the Vicery Hive, and how he had barely managed to snatch five minutes at a time with Nesrin at these meals, and had found much more guidance in the form of Glion and sought to divine purpose from the stories, told with a mug of ale in one hand and a pipe filled with some of the finest Tobac that Gandogar had smoked in the other.

He shook his head - the thoughts of the Hive dredged up memories of Djinn and the sacrifice he had made. A permanent dull ache between two of his ribs started to worsen, and he thought of the wound he had taken, causing him to grind his teeth and imagine the toll he could have taken on the insectoids if he had the control he now did, as he had done so many times in the last five months, directly before he would plough his concentration into focus tasks learnt from Glion. 'The bastards would regret it now,' he vowed silently.

--------------------------------------------------

Gandogar dragged his attention back to the task he had been set; manipulating the pieces of the earth puzzle with ease, but determined to force memories of the Hive away for a time, and it was with slight relief that he allowed Glion to stop him and take up his attention.

"Well lad, our time has come to an end. I have enjoyed working with you and it is a relief that the blood of our Clan has remained strong.” When he then pressed a ring into Gandogar’s calloused hand, he could do nothing but nod slightly. “Remember where you come from lad. Go now, your Qalm will have need of you soon.”

The younger dwarven Tashiri heard the sigh, and felt genuine affection for the Hetat, and felt privileged to have worked under him. With a grim smile, and as he was all but forced from Glion’s quarters, he gruffly replied, “The blood's strong, for it was borne by the strongest.” Grumbling to himself quietly, Gandogar wandered through the halls of the Tashiri until he arrived at his own room, leaning heavily on the door and sighing. He would miss the tuition of his ancestor, and the teachings of his Clan. 'Tri-Kazelim must be something to see,' he thought, suddenly exhausted and decidedly missing his homeland.

Slowly pushing open the sturdy door, he opened his rough hand and looked at the ring he had been given, astonished to see his Clan emblem - a black mountain set behind a crossed axe and hammer - on the ancient, intricately carved iron band which still managed to look functional. Pride swelled in his breast, slightly dampening the homesickness he had felt, and Gandogar smiled grimly, shaking his head as he placed the ring on his right hand, after hesitating for a second. 'Am I really worthy?'

As the others entered the dorms, a sense of anticipation, anxiety and something else distracted the dwarven Tashiri, and he nodded to them, an easy, amiable smile on his face, despite feeling slightly disturbed. ‘It was just the calm before the storm,’ he realised, before thinking he should have used an analogy more suited to the furies he controlled, and then something else came into his mind, something not of Gandogar’s consciousness.

“Assemble my warriors. We must make haste to our next assignment. I expect you armed and equipped for a journey in ten minutes. Meet on Landing 9. I will explain there.”

The feeling of anxiety now resided deeply inside Gandogar’s stomach, and it felt like a stone had settled there. ‘And I shall draw strength from that,’ he decided, shaking his head and setting about readying himself. Two minutes after Nesrin's message had entered his mind, he had drawn from the stout iron-bound, oaken chest at the foot of his bed his chain-mail shirt and the leather jerkin he wore over it and donned them, the armour feeling like a second skin to the dwarf, and then put on the heavy belt which held his straight, short-bladed knife. The final thing he drew from the chest was his broad-bladed, double-headed axe, grasping it firmly between his hands with a grim look on his face. The weapon's haft was made of weathered oak, and bound with strips of leather, the blade inlaid with runes of such intricacy that, even though it was only mundane light playing over them, they mesmerically drew the eye.

He strode from the room, axe still held in both hands, and took the most direct route to Landing 9 whilst he drew Furies of Earth and Fire to him, readying himself for what would come.

Malochai von Carstein; Terror of Hunger Wood, Lord of Lichenhof Tower

Roleplay Characters
The Darkness - Conquest: Kerin-Curan
Darkness - Traditional: Glaļmbar Bokkadsson
Age of Dragons: Endras Amlugon

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post #269 of 287 (permalink) Old 12-03-12, 08:15 PM
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Despite the presence of the dark skinned metal walker the time in the forge became the time he needed, at nights he returned to his qualm shattered, muscles aching, yet without the knots and strains that anxiety placed upon him.

The Hammerhand seemed to disregard the elf, his eyes lighting as he fixed upon a member of his kin, great sweaty hands clasping his shoulder as they worked the forge together, side by side. They had never met, never forged together yet there was an instinctive unity and uniqueness of their movements a tie that linked all brethren of the depths despite the cleft between their skills.

Even as they worked natural came the conversation, though it could easily be mistaken by the casual onlooker as lectures, tales of the elder his chant rising and falling seamlessly with the beat of hammer on steel, the songs that swelled from their hearts, bursting from their mouths to ring through the forge, its conclusion always ending with mutual smiles and laughter.

As much as he loved the sounds of his own voice, rarely stopped but to correct a grip here or pose a question there, the Hammerhand sought for tales of a homeland he had long since left, a thirst in his soul for the depths that Daruk felt all too keenly.

They were born in the depths, bred in the depths and it was the natural expectation that they would one day return to the ground that had shaped them.

Even as the weeks wore in, the calm of his mind and the exertion of his body was undermined by a sense of futility, though the elf spent little time with his master, his skill seemed to rise, new talents springing from his fingers at a whim, whilst Daruk learned little he did not already know despite their close proximity.

Worry seeped through the cracks of his persona, the logical conclusion that metal was not his field, that he could never in truth work the forge as a dwarf should, that his talents were merely in the murder make.

Soon the knots were back, the laughter and tales of the Hammerhand no longer a balm to his ill tempered soul, an irritating reminder of his own failings.

The day he could bare it no longer, he threw down his tools, the hammer ringing upon the anvil as it skipped away eyes fixed ahead of him, his body desperate to round upon the Hammerhand with anger and confusion, the question stalled upon pursed lips by the possibility of a response he could not bare to here.

A mighty palm clasped his shoulder and he turned to meet a smiling face, eyes twinkling like diamonds as he looked upon Daruk, the smile knowing as his booming voice became rye and taunting.

"So you think that I have taught you nothing but swinging a hammer and a bit of history,"

Daruk lowered his eyes in shame, nay, Master Hammerhand had taught him much, soothed an anxious soul, twas his own failings that haunted him, not the.... he opened his mouth to speek yet the Hammerhand overrode him

"Close your eyes Daruk and tell me what you feel."

Grudgingly he shut them and reached out to recoil in surprise as a wash of furies rushed over him, metal and steel that had seemed lifeless becoming a block of buzzing life, furies inter locked hand to hand solid and unbending yet filled with potential. A stuttering laugh, amazed by the beautiful pulsating life of the forge twisted his lips even as he opened his eyes to find the Hammerhand grimly returning to the forge with a low grunt

"Furies are like a good woman boy." He winked, the smile twinkling once more "You have to get to know them a bit, share a few tales and some time together before you can feel for them."
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Alone at last, for the first time he had left the forge as soon as dismissed, beating the elf to the door, he had hurried to his chambers, his mind consumed by a single thought.

In a flurry for excitement he slammed the door and reached for the two pieces of himself that hung like guardians upon the other side.

The axes in his hand buzzed and vibrated with life, the sensation so foreign yet so welcoming, every inch an inch he knew intimately, yet now twisted into another form. The furies at the very tip of the blade reached out with barbed claws stained blood red, a tickling caress at his finger tips, the haft sturdy and dependable, the furies twisting and turning, melding seamlessly under his grip as they reached out to him as battlebrothers, brothers by blood he had never known he had.
_____________________________________________
He entered the forge early, yet despite rising at the crow of the cockerell, a hurried breakfast and a hasty shower he still could not beat the Hammerhand to the forge, the bustling of the great dwarf somewhere beyond his vision bringing a smile to his lips.

The calm had well and truly descended a contentment and happiness that set his lips into a whistle as he slid an apron over his biceps, content at how it strained over new layers of thick muscle on chest and arm, true testament to his labours at the forge.

"Not today lad, but perhaps someday soon. Today your Qalm needs you."

The voice sent him spinning towards the Hammerhand, face falling, lips spreading, the question bursting before he could stop it

"Why?" shock filled his features and he snapped upright, words becoming formal

"My apologies Master Hammerhand. Your gifts of knowledge have shamed me with their generosity, yet the balm to my heart is a gift I can never repay."

Pah, lad I ne'er had a way with words. But I'll take that as a thankee and to that I say you are very welcome."

He waved a dismissive hand wiping his nose and smearing it with yet more soot

"As to why, I canae say exactly. The Radan has many plans in action at the moment and many a piece on the chessboard. Where you and your Qalm go has been entrusted to your Hetat, who is sadly not under my watchful eye."

He gave a little chuckle

"You keep a keen ear on the words of your Hetat boy, mind him, he is one of the best that I have seen in quiet a long time."

The Hammerhand gave a conspiratorial wink

"not that I had anything to do with it."

Daruk felt his face break into a small smile, a quick salute hand to breast and he was gone leaving the Hammerhand beaming absently in his wake.

Even as he strode through the corridors, he felt the blood rush, the tingling anticipation of battle ahead.

Without a word he pulled the pendant from under his shirt to swing across his broad chest, the gentle caress of three furies against his soot stained fingers

kudos to lillian thorne for the awesome sig
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post #270 of 287 (permalink) Old 12-06-12, 08:17 PM
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Eldur stood in front of the intricate circles of the Kallimatar, alone in master Mirran's room. Eldur had spent painful gruelling hours upon hours in the first 3 months of his training, learning and mastering the Kallimatar. Words had almost been non exitent, as when Eldur and the master had spent time in the desert under a vow of silence. Eldur and Mirran knowing each other well enough, that intent and meaning could be communicated in body language alone. And master Mirran had demanded perfection in the kallimatar, every step, every turn, every movement with hand and arm precise and agile. The Kallimatar was also exhausting, its training had increased both endurance and agility of Eldur, as it had forced him into positions, that he only thought possible by contortionists in the travelling theater troupes.

And where most masters might go in and correct a form by word, contact or a wooden stick, master Mirran had used fire and heated metal rods, forcing Eldur to draw upon his own powers and control over the furies of fire to protect himself from the heat, while he still had to control the Kallimatar. It had been impossible at times, and a few new burn scars had been added to his arms and legs, nothing new to Eldur, what had been most frustrating for Eldur, was that master Mirran had simply refused to even discuss the new abilities he was to learn, not untill he had mastered the Kallimatar.

Now 5 months into his training, Eldur understood why he had to master the Kallimatar before beginning on his new abilities, its movements designed to emulate fire, living fire had made him understand and come even closer to the fire furies. And discussing and training his new abilites without this knowledge would simply have been foolish. Eldur also realised that even thou learning the Kallimatar from the beginning as a novice would have improved his training in early life, he and most other novices would not have had the patience and dedication that it would have been possible. At least not without a lot frustration and anger involved. So not only had Eldur been taught new abilities and greater control over himself and firefuries, he had also been taught a valuable lesson in how to teach, if he ever would find himself becoming a instructor.

Still standing infront of the Kallimatar circles, Eldur closed his eyes and took the stance that would begin the Kallimatar, that movement alone enough to attract the attention of Kebakaran from its playground in master Mirran's fireplace. Slowly releasing his breath, eyes kept close, Eldur let his right foot follow the inside of the first circle, as his body crumbled almost into itself, like stacked firewood in a bonfire that looses its structure. Then began the dance of the ember, the deep orange glow, its comforting heat. The furies around eldur becoming attracted to the Kallimatar, Kebakaran in front in its peaceful mood. The temperature in the room rising slightly, the furies in the embers of master Mirran's fireplace beginning to become exited with anticipation.

As Eldur progressed through his peaceful movements, they began to become slightly more erratic like little flames. Just like what would happen when wood would be placed in a fireplace with only embers left, and a soft breeze would breathe life into the embers, and the heat would catch the fresh firewood. Kebakaran followed Eldur's movements, running up and down his arms. Other fire furies circling around Eldur waiting anticipating. The embers in the fireplace lighting up.

The movements developed into more flowing powerful forms, as the dance moved into emulating a strong fire. Kebakaran was beginning to transform into his mood of the fierce protector, the temperature in the room raising several degrees. The furies in the fireplace had come to life, burning brigthly. And dozens of other furies was playing around Eldurs flowing body, emulating living fire perfectly.

Then came the hardest parts of the movements, the part where the fire turned into a inferno. The kind of fire that burns down forests, that sucks out all oxygen of the air, the kind of heat that evaporates water before it hits the fire, the kind of heat that melts rock. Eldur moved around incredible fast, Kebakaran almost manifesting itself, every other fire fury moving in and out of the kallimatar with blinding speed, all exited and furious. The heat in the room almost unbearable, like standing in direct sunlight in the desert with no shade for hours and dehydrated. The furies in the fireplace, almost blinding in there excitement.

But as furious, fast and powerful that part of the dance is, it is also short, as most infernoes like that exhausts itself burning out, so did Eldur go through the movements of the dying flame, the furies slowing down, relaxing. The temperature dropping in the room, the fire in the fireplace dying down. Kebakaran slowly turning back into its mood of companion and encouraging heat, telling Eldur how proud it has become, by how it moves with him in the Kallimatar. Turning into a ember with Eldur, as the movements ends.

As Eldur rised from the middle of the circles, he sensed he was not alone, snapping eyes open he was met by Mirran, a beaming smile all over his face, Eldur couldn't help smile back, his confidence rising with the pride the master so obviously showed. But as usual Master Mirran didn't draw out his sentiments sending Eldur back to his qualm with these words.

"You have learned well once more young one. The skills that you came to learn have been learned, but remember that they take a lifetime to master. Go, your Qalm will have need of you shortly"


As Eldur returned to his qalm, he could feel the others anticipation of what was to happen, as he was sure they could feel his. All had learned something new, all had become stronger, all was ready for what life and duty would throw at them. Eldur wen't over to his equipment and checked it over, awaiting what ever was to come.

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