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One More Sword [training/Altair/Garret]

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The battleground was surprisingly close to the city, only a three day trip on foot, and even faster if you rode over on horseback. Altair decided on the former for the sake of saving money, and packed his things for the trip.

It had been a while since he had entered the dungeon and received Caim, his Djinn. But what the being had said to him was troubling. If he had another choice, he would have chosen someone else. To Altair, that meant he was the best of the worst. And that was unacceptable. Altair was setting out to prove that he was worth being a King. And in order to do that, he had to learn to wield the King's power.

The first day of his journey was very uneventful. The most exciting thing was a rat with only one eye that skittered past. The second day was much like the first, except that the wind started to pick up, and the pressure in the air grew. A storm was approaching. When he arrived on the third day, the rain started. Very slowly at first, but it picked up rather quickly. Not wanting to waste any time just waiting for the storm to pass, Altair set to training.

The rain was cold, and stung any exposed part of Altair's body. He drew Caim's sword and held it as though he was about to fight. "Hmm... i never got to see Yakuroro actually change form. But it must take Magoi to power it." Altair started small. The weapon charged and began to glow silver as the magic within it came to life. "Oh! Well if that's what that does, then..." Altair went full force. His Magoi exploded into the weapon, and almost without thinking Altair yelled, "Reave, Caim!" The magic congealed around his sword and warped it. in a flash of silver light, there in his hand was a new blade, similar to something you might see from Zou. "Is this a Katana?" Altair thought. From the hilt of the new blade was a black ribbon that wrapped itself around his right arm. It flexed and moved with him perfectly, never inhibiting his movement. In fact, he could swear it was making him more precise and powerful.

Altair reveled in his new found power. This was the power of Kings. But, in his Dream, Yakuroro was fully enveloped in his Djinn's power. What was stopping him from performing the same thing? Altair put his all into his next surge, but to his dismay, nothing happened. The glow increased to be sure, but there was no change to his body or the blade. ”Well, it’s not like I expected it to work on the first try anyways. But what should I do now? I haven’t exactly been out here long, so I guess I should keep training.” Altair started battling imaginary enemies even as the rain continued to pour down through the black skies. For hours Altair swung his blade, cleaving imaginary foe after imaginary foe in two. Soon he started practicing some forms that he used to do with Elisheba. He had to alter them slightly in order to match the more slender and precise swings of the sword, but in the end he had many of his old moves down pat.

~552/4000~


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A Week earlier:

"Sir, I hear there's rumor of an old magical weapon with great destructive power lying, unused, in the aftermath of the Battle of A Thousand Swords." One of the recruits, Lu Feng, had interrupted Garret's paper work with the news. As could be expected, the young man's best friend Tseng Qiang had accompanied him as well.

Garret frowned. Where did they get this information from, and why are they directly approaching me about it? He voiced his thoughts aloud, ready to discipline the recruits if their answers were not satisfactory. One does not simply skip channels and report directly to him. They should have brought this information to others so that it could be investigated and verified.

Tseng Qiang spoke, the more level-headed of the two. "Sir, Blandus Cato has us going to the Port City on occasion to blend in with the locals and learn some of the tricks of the trade. It was in a merchant's booth that we heard about it, but it seems as if there are others who are going to be looking for it as well. I think we should check it out, just to make sure, and felt that it would be best if we went as soon as possible."

Garret sighed, rubbing his temple. "Alright. Get Acius, and inform him that the two of you and myself will be leaving on a trip right away. Also, let him know why, so that Iulius is able to cross reference these rumors and attempt to pin point anything he can."

The two ran off, returning a bit later with Acius. Having everything all set, they got upon their horses and made their way to The Western Front, more specifically the remains of that battle named 'The Battle of a Thousand Swords.'


Garret and two of his recruits, Tseng Qiang and Lu Feng, were searching the battlefield for the rumored magical tool. Unfortunately, no such tool was found in sight. Garret assumed as much, but some times it was important to show the younger individuals that not everything they hear is as important or believable as they would like to believe. They had searched a few different areas of the battlefield, and Garret was about to have them turn back as they rounded the corner of a hill.

But as they rounded the corner of the hill, Garret and the two recruits saw something quite interesting. A man, by himself, was looking at a blade in his hand. The man studied the blade, and Garret's abilities and use of Magoi allowed him to see what was taking place; Garret looked closely to the man, who poured magoi into his weapon and spoke to himself as he did so. Both White and Black Rukh merged into the weapon, and Garret quickly realized it for what it was; a combination of Wind and Strength magic. He wondered what, exactly, this man was doing.

Lu Feng and Tseng Qiang high-fived each other, grinning. They were certain that was the magical tool that was spoken about. Garret, on the other hand, wasn't quite so sure.

It was at this point that the man shouted out the words 'Reave, Caime!' and the blade made drastic changes, letting off a feel of power and danger that was quite unlike the blade that he was looking at moments before. Garret held his hand up to the two recruits behind them, signalling them to wait for now. They watched the man swing the blade in a skillful manner, and it looked like he was adjusting to the difference between the blade he held now and the blade he was used to using. If judged on those movements alone, Garret held the man at a similar level as Kawahara Akiho, the expert swordsman and Jujutsu trainer back at their HQ.

When he had watched for long enough, he approached the man. There were answers he wanted, and he intended to convince the person before him to provide those answers. One way, or another.

When Garret was within 20 meters of the man, he dismounted from his horse and called out to him. "Sir, those are impressive swings from your blade. I must admit... I saw something much more interesting from you a while back..." Garret did not want to startle the man, and made sure to inform him of his presence with a large range of space between the two. Garret would walk slowly towards Altair, hands empty and devoid of any weapon.


OOC:

757/1500 words for B tier technique


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Altair was so absorbed in his training that he didn't notice the trio come from around the corner of the hill. It wasn't until they announced themselves that Altair had any semblance that he was being watched. "Shit, i forgot to check the perimeter before i started training!" He thought to himself. Without thinking, he stopped the flow of Magoi to the weapon, causing it to shift back to its original form. The now naked black blade was then swiftly sheathed, in a feeble attempt to hide it from the onlookers. Altair stood his ground as he tried to gather as much information about the three men as he could before the first man reached him. From what he gathered, they appeared unarmed, or, at least the first man appeared so. The other two were obscured.

The first man continued to approach him, hands at his sides and palms forward showing that he held no weapons. But Altair knew that looks could be deceiving. He saw no obvious staff on the man, but wands were gaining popularity and were easy to hide. He could also have knives hidden up his sleeves, or be a master of martial arts. He walked with too much confidence to simply be approaching without a backup plan.

From what the man was saying, it was obvious he'd seen the entire performance, all the way from when he first activated his Weapon Equip. Altair thought it might be more prudent to try to play it off as though he wasn't trying to hide anything. "Ah, you noticed did you? Yes, quite the beauty isn't it? You know, i actually found it among the many blades around here sticking up out of the ground. I had no idea that it was magical at first, but with a touch of Magoi, it just came to life! I'm sure there are many more like it around here as well, if you are willing to look for them." Altair hoped that this would be sufficient to deter further questions, but he had a sinking feeling that the man wouldn't be so easily swayed.

~908/4000~


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"Ah, I see. That's a pity, because I was certain that it looked somewhat... Similar... to something I had once seen before. You see, ever since I saw this I couldn't help but wonder; how did he do it? Where did that power come from?" Garret had spoken loudly, over the noise of the rain. He didn't truly know if the man was hiding something, or if he was telling the truth. In fact, the words he said were quite in line with what his two recruits had overheard while in the market place in the port city.

Perhaps Garret had been wrong?

Shrugging, Garret decided it wouldn't hurt to at least speak to the man for a short time longer, just to be thorough. "Truth be told, I'm a Magician. Your blade being magical is no surprise to me, as I could see that when your sword transformed. What truly catches my interest is how skilled you already are in controlling a blade and its magic not moments after having picked it up... That is a trait only found with those who have reached a certain pinnacle of ability."

Garret paused, narrowing his eyes momentarily as a thought came through to him. Perhaps Lagi had also found a weapon that had given him such strength. Just what kind of weapon or magic tool allowed a person to become so... Powerful? Garret frowned, his thoughts racing. If this man has found such a weapon here, there might be more. Or that might be the only one. Fighting him is not a likely option; Lagi had shown impressive strength, though perhaps not the best battle smarts... It was then that Garret had realized he had made another assumption; that the man KNEW how to use the weapon. Garret did not want to attempt to take the item from the man, but if he could learn more about it and how it worked, he felt he would be able to get that much closer to looking into similar things out there in the world.

"Forgive me if I was mistaken, however, in the thought that you know exactly how to control magoi and the forces that control Magic. I noticed that it was using a strange combination that I have never heard of; Black magic and White Magic, Strength and Wind. I don't believe you are a Magician, so perhaps I can lend you some words of advice? I am well versed in the control of both the magoi within a person's body and the use of magic, combination or not. Example:"

Garret slowly pulled out his wand from his sleeve and took a few steps away from Altair until he was 30 meters away. Hopefully the swordsman would feel comfortable with the distance. The spell Garret was about to use was one he had been studying since the time he had a chance to read the books from Magnostadt. It was a spell he practiced in secret, and this would be his first time revealing it to another; not out of any need for secrecy, but more so out of the unnecessary nature of having to use it. With the wand Kuroi Shimo now in his left hand, he pricked his right thumb and obtained a droplet of blood from it.

This droplet of blood floated at the direction of his wand to the left, 5 meters out.

He smiled, fondly, at the first use of the spell...

Two weeks prior:

Garret stood at the ocean front, though not quite close enough to feel the spray of water from the waves crashing against the nearby rocks. Solitude away from the Villa was important, now and then, and the man especially appreciated it in times he wanted to test out new spells. He had poured over his books from Magnostadt, hour after hour, during his off time from his daily work as a Spymaster.

Most notably was the third book he had received, which went over some complex theoretical magic that involved the combination of several different magic types. Unlike spells that made use of one magic type, those that made use of two or more were either extremely simply in the fact that they were purely destructive, or extremely difficult in the fact that their types had to be balanced and given purpose. Garret's thoughts were constantly going back to the thought of the Purple Magicians and their Life magic. What he read in the book, them being able to create life forms that are loyal to themselves, and what he saw when Zhi had his Purple Magicians create some sort of strange beast... Well, it had created the thought of giving life to something not quite living.

Specifically, Garret thought of his water magic. There were examples of golems being created through use of a single magic type alone, but the thought of a sentient golem was where Garret's interest had lain. Coupled with the idea that water and ice, two phases of the states that water could exist in, were malleable and that had birthed the idea of Garret's spell.

When going over the balancing of the Rukh, magoi, and movements of the spell, he decided it would be best to provide his creation with the ability to voice it's primal feelings. He added Sound Magic, green Rukh, to the spell's equation.

But there was still one last thing needed from the spell. A catalyst; something to act as both the start point and the holding point of the spell itself.

Garret pricked his right pointer finger with Kuroi Shimo, drawing a droplet of blood that gathered and floated at the tip of the wand in his left hand. He extended the wand outwards,  pointing it to his left, and the blood slowly floated in the air until it was 5 meters away from him.

"Rithux." The command to the Rukh was the very thing he named the spell; Rithux, the Water Dragon.

A peal of sound roared out...

Garret spoke, in a commanding voice, as he sent commands to three different types of Rukh. Life. Water. Sound. "RITHUX!"

The Rukh rushed at his command, and the magicks gathered and coalesced. What started out as a droplet of blood quickly changed. Water from the surrounding air, from the ground, and even harnessing the water from the rainfall itself, all began to gather at that point. It rapidly expanded and, in less than a second, a large beast was floating besides Garret. This being was 15 meters in length and 4 meters in diameter. It was a very elongated creature and, if Altair was familiar with Kou customs and festivals, he would note that it looked much like a Kou Dragon. A peal of thunder crashed loudly in the background. At the same time Rithux, the Water Dragon let out a primal roar of energy. "Stay here, Rithux!" Garret commanded the creature, which curled up in a tall tower of water while watching Altair closely.

The recruits were shocked and awed at the sight of the creature, but were too far away for their words to be overheard.

Garret looked to Altair, this time shouting to be loud enough to be heard over the rain. "So, what do you say? I believe I have shown you my skill level. Would you like any assistance?


OOC:

757+1256 = 2013/1500

Training the following spell:
Name: Rithux, The Water Dragon
Tier: B
Cost: 30|15 Magoi Initial|Sustain
Element: Flux State, Living Water (Life+Water+Sound)
Class: Offensive
Range: 30m
Duration:1-3 posts
Cool-Down: 5 posts
Description:
This combination of life, water and sound creates a living body of water that has speech functions equivalent to that of a beast (roars, yells, tweets etc.). This water may freely fluctuate and add on characteristics to its body, all the while remaining in the liquid state. The characteristics mentioned in the prior sentence that they can choose from are limited to those of two different states of water: Solid and Liquid. Examples of these characteristics would be; As hard as ice or as flowing as water. While these characteristics may be exhibited, the state of the creature itself is still within the liquid state of water. These living beings of water will obey and understand the verbal commands of the caster, but are also able to think on their own. Without a verbal command, their primary objective is the protection of their master. The elemental weaknesses and strengths follow that of Water Magic for 'water sections' and Ice Magic for 'ice sections'.

The caster offers up a part of their body, whether it be blood, hair, a fingernail etc, as the catalyst of this spell. It does not have to be a significant amount; Ex.: 1 drop of blood, 1 hair, 1 chewed off fingernail. This provides a link between the caster and the creation, allowing the creature to be linked with the caster and know that the caster is not an enemy to attack. Since this creature can think by itself, it is able to make a determination on what is dangerous to the caster. Water from the nearby environment is gathered and coalesced into a Kou dragon's likeness, 10-15 meters in length and 1-4 meters in circumference. This forms at a rate of 20 m/s. Due to Flux State, Living Water Magic, it is able to portion out its body into 15 moving sections and give them different characteristics while retaining structural integrity. Furthermore, these 15 sections are slightly mutable and allow the creature to extend parts of its body and form shapes out by 1 meter. Rithux, The Water Dragon, deals B-Tier damage to anything that it forcibly collides with that has such a section take on the solid characteristics of ice. Rithux, The Water Dragon, flies at 20 m/s. This spell may be sustained in the next post in order to reform from any damage dealt to it and in order to deal B-Tier damage in the new post.


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Not a magician? Though it was true that Altair was a novice, he was at least somewhat versed in the ways that magoi flowed and how to give commands to the ruhk to cast spells. Couldn't he see the staff on his back? Altair thought it might be better if he kept that fact a secret. If it was revealed that he was a magician as well as a swordsman, he would lose a precious advantage if it came to a fight. The man also instantly identified the magic types that his Djinn Equip used, making Altair uneasy. What else had he learned about him in his short time watching? Altair was about to say something to that effect, when the man gave him a strange offer. He proposed that Altair study under him. And to top it off, he gave him a demonstration of his ability.

The man pricked his finger with a wand, and the blood it brought forth flowed up and out a few meters away from him. After a beat, water began to coalesce around the blood and grew to a massive size. It then took the shape of a massive serpent, and froze in places, giving it a strong armor. The man shouted the name of the beast, Rithux, and at his call the beast roared a primal roar that tore through the sky. At the command of it's master it coiled up and waited. The man looked to Altair once again and asked him.

Altair got the feeling that this wasn't going to be much of a choice. This was obviously an intimidation tactic meant to make him share his knowledge of his weapon. but what was he supposed to do? If he cooperated, that would mean giving up the secrets of his weapon, and revealing its true nature as a Metal Vessel. If he declined, it could incur the wrath of this strange man. A thought struck Altair then. What if he were to attack first? No. That could only turn out badly. He still was learning how to use his Djinn Equip, and he didn't know any sword techniques. If only he hadn't given away Elisheba... "Tch. I can't think like that. Elisheba is serving a new purpose now. I'll just need to work with what i've got." His thoughts turned to other ideas, but nothing came about. Altair thought back to his time in the dungeon. A king with traits like the strongest blade. Maybe he could learn something from this man after all.

"Very well. I will agree that i am still a bit new at this whole magic thing, and surely learning from someone as skilled as you are would help me greatly." Altair gave his best smile, in an attempt to convince the man that he was genuinely excited about learning from him. And indeed, this was an unusual opportunity in and of itself. While this man taught him how to control the magic within his Metal Vessel, he could focus on figuring out the riddle that Caim gave him. But first, there were a few things he had to know about this man. "So, since I am now your student, I suppose I should give you my name." He extended his hand to the individual. "It's Altair. And could i get your name as well? Since, you will be my teacher. Oh, and those of your companions over there?" Perhaps with this he could learn more about these men and why they were here in the first place. They other two didn't seem hostile, but this first man who summoned the water drake was clearly dangerous, and not someone easily trifled with.

~1526/4000~


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"Rithux! Catch the water above us!" The Magician provided a new command to the beast that was created by him. It uncurled and flew into the air, creating a sort of 'umbrella' which would keep them dry. He motioned towards the two men whom he had waiting back a ways away. The two approached, somewhat soaked in water but held themselves stoically.

It was at this point that Garret introduced the two of the young adults and himself. "My name is Garret. These two are my body-guards, though they are still new; Mr. Feng and Mr. Qiang." Garret pointed to Lu Feng first. The man was a red-haired individual, however his blue eyes threw off the idea that he was a Fanalis, or at the very least he was not a full blooded Fanalis. The man held himself in such a way that seemed like he was a very energetic individual.

Tseng Qiang, on the other hand, was a dark haired man who had a serious look on his face. Beneath that serious exterior was a general sense of interest that was being suppressed as best he could, as he was introduced in an official manner.

The two bowed to Altair when they were introduced, and Garret explained that the name of the man before them was 'Altair'. "I have no doubt of your skill with the manipulation of your Magoi, as I clearly saw you use it earlier... But what I saw did not seem to be the full extent of the capabilities that weapon might have."

Garret still vividly recalled the moment that Lagi had somehow created a full body covering of a creation with water and heat magic, and the assistance of black Rukh. It just didn't make sense; the combination should not have caused what it did. This was very similar to the sight Garret had caught with Altair's blade changing shape, except on a smaller scale. "What I have seen was a man who engulfed his entire body with the magic of the conduit, which created an incredible body of armor that imparted upon the man a strange strength. May I witness your movements once again, so that I may provide pointers from anything I see?"

Garret suggested to Altair that he should show him that magical technique that he had used earlier that had completely changed the blade. Garret would focus on the movements of the Rukh and attempt to determine how the man was using his Magoi. If Garret saw anything he could concretely determine as inefficient, or perhaps provide an idea to the man that would allow him to achieve the full strength of the weapon, Garret would make note of it so he could tell Altair.

OOC:

459/1000 word count.


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At Garret's command, Altair once again activated his Weapon Equip.  "Reave, Caim!"  He shouted, and the blade once again morphed into the Katana with the black ribbon.  the ribbon swiftly wrapped itself around Altair's arm, giving him the familiar balance and strength from his previous training.  Garret watched him intently, and after he was finished, gave him pointers on how to better improve his magoi flow, and not to be as wasteful with his energy.  He also lectured on the combination of the Wind and Strength magic that the supposed magic item used to create this form.  According to him, the combination of this magic should not have this kind of result.  Those words scared Altair for a moment.  Was he catching on to his ploy?  But as Garret continued, Altair's fears were quieted.  They continued like this, with Altair activating and reactivating his Weapon Equip and Garret giving him pointers, for several hours.  The other two men, Mr. Feng and Mr. Qiang, were quiet and didn't interfere with the pair's training.

During this time, Altair's thoughts were split between the pointers that Garret was giving him, and his own mental training.  He was trying to figure out the puzzle that Caim had given him in the dungeon.  The one that both he, and Dynatos had failed to answer correctly.  Altair figured that his inability to access this higher power was due to his failure back then.  Caim was holding back until Altair could successfully answer his riddle.  A man with strength like the strongest blade.  What were the features of such a blade?  What was it that made a blade superior to others...?

1 Year Prior:
Altair was in the thick of Balbadd's great market, when he was called over by a man asking to see his rod Elisheba.  The stranger told him that his weapon was of good quality, but could easily be better, and suggested that he travel to the industrial area of Balbadd where the iron workers were to have it looked at.  Not wanting to have his favorite tool fail him in the future, he agreed, and headed over that same hour.  When he arrived he was greeted by the smell of molten steel, a dry heat like the afternoon sun, and a large balding man who introduced himself as, no joke, Baldur.  Altair was led by Baldur into the thick of the forge where he was sat down, and asked to see his rod Elisheba.  The iron worker took very good care to observe every aspect of the rod, from it's size and shape, to every nick and ding it held along it's length.  When he was done, he asked Altair who had made it, to which Altair responded that he himself forged the rod.  The iron worker chucked, "I thought as much.  For a shepherd boy, you certainly took good care to work the metal carefully and with purpose.  I'm impressed that a novice like yourself could make something of this quality.  Still, this is only of good craft.  But I can make this excellent.  For a small price of course."  Altair agreed to Baldur's terms and watched as the man set to work.  Curious, Altair asked if Baldur could explain the process to him while he worked.  "Of course.  First, i'm examining the core.  The core is probably the most important part of the blade, or in this case the rod.  It is what determines to what extent the rod will bend before breaking, as well as how durable the weapon as a whole will be.  You could think about it as the foundation for a house.  If it is built on sand, the foundation is weak, which destabilizes the whole house.  If it is built on stone, the foundation is strong, making it much harder to topple the house.  A good solid core, with only a slight give to absorb blows.  That is what the best swords are made with."

A solid core.  That was what he needed to start with.  But what was his foundation?  What did he stand upon above all else to move forward with?  Altair thought back to his shepherd training.

11 years prior:
Altair looked at his father and smiled.  He was finally learning the family trade, tending and herding sheep.  "Papa?"  He asked.  "What is it about tending sheep that you find the best?  I like how the cute sheep look up to you and play with you.  What do you like?"  His father looked down at Altair and smiled deeply.  His son was growing fast, and excelling in his studies.  He could not be more proud.  "My son.  What i like best about being a shepherd is the fact that you are all that stands between the sheep living long and happy lives, and being killed by wild animals or poachers.  Remember son, that this job is much more than having fun.  It comes with a strong sense of purpose.  There will be times when you are the only one who can save the sheep, and you will have to make some very tough decisions.  When that time comes, both as a shepherd and in life, will you protect the weak, or save yourself?  Being a shepherd means doing anything for your flock.  Risking your own life instead of theirs.  We put ourselves forward ahead of the sheep so that we may face the dangers ahead so that they do not have to.  That is the best part of being a shepherd to me."

He had taken his father's words to heart that day, and had devoted himself to not only protect the helpless, but actively drive away those that would seek to destroy or enslave them.  That had become his purpose.  His core was completed, but surely that was not the only thing that mattered in a blade.

1 Year Prior:
Altair listened intently to Baldur as he explained his craft.  It was interesting to say the least.  Baldur continued after finishing the core.  "Now, the second part of a weapon must be it's coat.  This is the metal that surrounds and protects the core.  This is also crucial to the weapon in that it is what the edge will be crafted on, but also that this layer must be more malleable and less dense than the core so as to absorb force more evenly across the whole of the weapon.  Without this layer, the weapon would snap from a single good blow.  This part of the weapon must be specially treated to prevent rust, and must be constantly cared for and upkept."

A coat.  What was it about Altair that protected his being from abuse?  Well, this one was easy.  It was his friends.  Yakuroro, Diego,  even Dynatos and Akatetsu.  They were like a buffer for the world around him.  They helped Altair get through the tough times in his life, and to keep moving forward.  They all had different roles to play in keeping Altair fresh and eager to take on the world.  In a way, they were like the shepherd to his sheep.  It was a humbling thought.  Altair had always been the protector of others, but it was refreshing and joyful to know that there were people out there who cared for him like he cared for them.  With his coat identified, Altair thought back once more to his conversation with Baldur.

1 Year Prior:
"Well, your weapon is finished here.  A blunt weapon such as a rod has no need for an edge."  Altair was still curious however, so he asked Baldur if he would be willing to continue to explain the last part of an excellent blade.  "I guess I still have some time.  Sure.  The last, and again, still crucial part to an excellent blade is of course, the edge.  The edge of the weapon is what makes the cuts and rends flesh from bone.  But before i continue, let me ask you a question.  how sharp do you think it should be?"  Altair thought for a moment before responding.  "Well, i'd imagine you'd want it to be as sharp as possible in order to cut most easily.  I can get a knife so sharp with a whetstone that it would cut a thread laid across it."  Baldur laughed.  "Hahaha...  No.  If the edge is too sharp, it will be destroyed when it collides with another blade.  So, we sharpen the edge to a point where cutting is easy, but it will not be broken when contested.  Think like this.  If your conviction is so strong that it shatters the will of others, but breaks afterwards, how good was your conviction?  You must temper yourself and your edge alike to withstand multiple beatings, all the while cutting down those that would oppose you.  That is the last part of the best blades."

Altair knew his conviction was strong, and it was tempered in the fields of battle.  His conviction was that of a man who must free those who have been enslaved.  It was the only thing that Caim saw about him that he liked.  His edge.  But now, with his sword completed, maybe, just maybe, he could draw out Caim's full power.  Altair began to chant.  "Oh great spirit of insight and resolve, I command thee and thy household.  Dwell in my body, and transform me into a great liberator!  Reave, Caim!"  With a great flash of light, and an explosion of wind and force, Altair felt the blade transform once again.  But this time, it was more than just the sword that changed.  He felt the magic twist and contort his clothes, strengthening and changing his body.  The ribbon from the blade wrapped around not only his first arm but went over his shoulders in an arc and then wrapped around his other arm.  His hair lengthened and turned jet black.  His clothes had turned into a loose black shihakusho that fell around his waist, leaving his upper body exposed.  Altair simply stood there astounded.  Now this, THIS  was the power of a king.

~3218/4000~


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Garret watched the man closely as he provided instructions. Each time, the man spoke words of magic to the blade, and each time Garret watched as the Rukh made their movements. He listened to the Rukh, for their voice and their instructions, but heard little of any such instructions. He analyzed the swordsman's style of movements just as Hasan had taught him. Continuing to give pointers, Garret felt he had a decent sense of the man's balance, posture and magoi output. The man before him was definitely strong, but still had much potential before him. The two body guards Garret had with him simply watched the two in thinly veiled fascination while not keeping an eye out for the approach of any onlookers.

Garret watched as Altair listened to his instructions. Altair was a quick learner, having already mastered things to a certain degree. In fact, the speed at which Altair mastered it was suspicious in and of itself, but that was a road to walk down later. It was the unlocking of the potential, that moment when the body becomes engulfed in the Rukh, creating a very real change in their world. While the man's ability to adapt and learn was definitely high level, Garret wondered at the look that crossed the man's face at times. It seemed to be a look that was thinking deeply on matters.

He knew that thinking was important to learning a technique, however to actually use something in a fight one had to have mastered it. To make it a part of what they were, and to make it a fluid motion of their technique. He frowned, while thinking on how to relay these words to Altair in a way that would be relevant to the swordsman. The man was certainly improving with leaps and strides, but there would be that last hurdle to cover in order to gain a complete mastery over the control of the magoi.

It was at this point when Garret recalled a lesson that Kawahara Akiho, their resident sword master at the Villa and teacher of the recruits, had mentioned along those lines.

2~ weeks ago:

"No. Your weapon may be an extension of your body, but it is not a living thing." Akiho chastised a recruit who was having a difficult time getting the movements down for one of the forms. "The blade is a tool. Why it is used? It cares not. You are thinking far too hard. It is true that it is important for a swordsman to have resolve, in order to avoid hesitation in a battle, however you must always remember; a sword exists simply to cut. A master swordsman only needs to be able to cut masterfully. Practice the movements until you no longer need to think about abstract thoughts. Let your body remember the movements. Allow them to flow from you fluidly."


Before he could relay the story of Akiho, however, Altair had burst his strength in an attempt to cover himself once more. Garret watched in fascination as a repeat of what he had seen in Reim's throne room occurred before his eyes once more. Garret paid close attention to the Rukh, trying to listen to see if they gave any instructions. They did not. Yet Altair intoned what Garret could only think of as orders to the Rukh, a spell, and the Rukh itself merged with the man and began to do things that he did not believe were possible. Apparently the world was much more vast and wide, and there were things out there that Garret had no inkling of. Yet still... He could tell that the power was fluctuating. The state of this man's power was much less smooth and practiced than Lagi's, and Garret remembered the words of advice from before.

Noticing that the rain had stopped after the hours of training, Garret put his wand away and Rithux, the Water Dragon faded out and dispersed in a mist of water. "You've made great strides in your control, but there is one last hurdle I believe is holding you back. Allow me to demonstrate a technique..."

Garret approached Altair. If the man allowed him to, he would grasp the man's wrist with one hand while taking hold of the same arm's bicep with the other. The technique was fluid and graceful, moving at 20 m/s. Garret used his body as a lever and threw the man. It was obvious that the throw did not have much strength behind it, yet it was somehow able to send the man up into the air by 3 meters, while traveling 9 meters away from the spot he was previously standing, before falling down another 3 meters to the ground. Garret had held back, refraining from using the actual technique which would have caused bodily harm to Altair. The movements were that of the Nage Waza, something that was drilled into Garret so well that he could perform it without thinking. As Altair flew, Garret noticed a staff on the man's back and briefly narrowed his eyes. The man knows at least a little bit of magic, which explains his knack for for its control... But there are many questions still unanswered...

He spoke to Altair. "That technique I just used... What is it that you took from it? That I didn't use that much strength to perform it? That it is effective?" Garret did not give a chance to Altair to answer the question. "I did not have to think to use the technique. That it took practice to master is a given. But during your training, I realized... You are thinking too much. I once had the chance to listen in on a sword instructor's class. This sword instructor is a master of her art. She said to the class 'The blade is a tool. Why it is used? It cares not. It is true that it is important for a swordsman to have resolve to avoid hesitation in a fight, but you must always remember that a sword exists simply to cut. A master swordsman only needs to be able to cut masterfully. Practice the movements until you no longer need to think about abstract thoughts. Let your body remember the movements. Allow them to flow from you fluidly.'" Garret knew not that Altair was considering the words of the Djinn, and his words were meant to explain to Altair that the man had the base movements down and only needed to practice more in order to master it. These words may have unwittingly became a gateway to a different kind of answer to Altair's inner question.

"By the way, I'm curious about something. Your activation of the weapon didn't follow the normal guidelines of a magical tool... And you mentioned 'Caim' in all of the activations. How did you learn the words to the spells? If the man was truly a Magician, he might explain it away as 'listening to the Rukh', however Garret had listened carefully as well and had heard nothing.

OOC:
1164+459 = 1623/1000 word count for training.


Ability learned:

Name: Nage Waza
Tier: B
Cost: 30 Stamina
Weapon Type: Body
Class: Offensive/Supplementary
Range: Close
Duration: 1 post
Cool-Down: 5 posts
Description: The user of this technique grasps an opponent with the use of one to two hands in order to throw them to the ground at a rate of up to 20 m/s, up to a distance of 15 meters away. The force of the impact causes up to B tier damage.


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Altair felt the amazing power that the Djinn Equip held, and was amazed by it.  He felt in this moment like he could take on the world.  But something was off.  This newfound power felt... unstable.  Like he hadn't really achieved control over it yet.  It looked like Garret had picked up on this as well, and he began to explain something.  Garret offered to show him a technique, and Altair consented.  In a second he was on his back a few meters away, having been thrown by Garret over his shoulder.  Garret then asked what he had learned.  Altair was about to answer, but Garret interrupted again, this time explaining that the technique was so practiced that it took almost no thought to execute it.  He was worried that Altair was spending too much time in his own mind, and not enough time feeling the technique as much as knowing it.  It was a definite possibility.  Altair had been listening to Garret and following his instructions, but the ex-shepherd spent much of that time trying to figure out the puzzle that Caim had left him.  Well, now that he had figured out how to use it once, he could certainly use it again and obtain mastery over it after a while.

Garret went on to give an anecdote as to what he meant.  But then he posed a question to Altair that he quite frankly wasn't ready to answer.  How did he learn the activation, and what was this Caim?  Altair tried to keep his composure as best he could while he thought of an appropriate response.  The first part was easy enough.  Many magician simply listened to the Ruhk to learn their spells.  He could tell Garret that.  But wait.  Garret was surely listening to the Ruhk as well during his incantations.  If he had heard something from them, then he wouldn't have a reason to ask such a question.  He was trying to trap Altair, and force him to give up the truth about his Metal Vessel.  But Altair still had the control here, as he doubted Garret knew what he truly had.  He was fishing for information, trying to get Altair to slip up.

Suddenly Altair had an idea.  The Torran language.  He could explain everything away simply by claiming it to be a secret technique left by the old civilization.  A language as mysterious and uncirculated as Torran would surely stump this scholar.  After all, it took an ancient Codex for Altair to learn the language, and it had been destroyed when the ruins it was kept in collapsed.  While it couldn't have been the only one, they were so few and far between that it was highly unlikely that Garret had encountered the language.  A white lie was just the thing he needed to get out of this predicament.

Altair turned away from his thoughts then and focused on Garret.  Only a second had passed since Garret had asked the question.  "Garret, have you ever heard of a language called Torran?  It is an ancient, magical language spoken by the ancestors of the Torran nation.  Most of it's secrets have been lost to time, but i have been lucky enough to have discovered a codex that i studied to reveal the language to me.  I found the Codex in an ancient ruin in Heliohapt.  And on the walls of the ruin were passages in Torran about different ways to use magic that i had never seen or heard of before.  It spoke of calling on not the Ruhk's words for guidance, but instead listening to your inner soul.  As you surely know, when we die we return to the Rukh.  So the people of Torran decided to look inwards instead of outwards.  The Ruhk that made them up delivered the answers.  As such, i have been listening not to the Ruhk around me, but to the Ruhk inside.  As for the word Caim, it is simply the Torran word for Blade or Sword.  It is a very interesting language to be sure, and I know that I haven't discovered all of it's secrets yet.  Actually, that was part of the reason I came out here.  I had hoped to possibly find a ruin or something that could teach me more about it.  And then i came across this magic item.  It is certainly a strange place this battlefield.  it's full of surprises."  His lie set, Altair could only hope that Garret would buy into it.  He looked like a learned man, but there was no way he could have studied the Torran language right?  Altar could only hope that he was right this time.

~4000/4000~  (Page --> Knight Training Complete)


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The answer didn't truly satisfy Garret, as there was much that didn't add up with the man's explanation. He had read books from Magnostadt, and he had extensive experience with the Rukh, but never before had he heard anything about an 'inner' Rukh that provided such information. That, coupled with the fact that his explanation for the spell name 'Caim' being Torran gave Garret the further question of why only the one word in the entire spell would be spoken in this 'Torran' language.

Garret knew, however, when it was wise to press for information and when it was not. He simply nodded at the man and smiled. "I see. I've never heard of the language or the civilization before. Well, it's been a pleasure helping you out with learning the magical tool. I've learned much myself. Best of wishes to you in the future, Altair." Staying true to his false nomadic origins, he held out his arm for a greeting that was normal for a nomadic tribe that had been nearly completely wiped out by Kou. If Altair grasped his arm, they would shake, and Garret would part ways with the stranger he had met that day.


-exit?-


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Altair thanked the Ruhk. Garret bought his lie. It may not have been the best lie he had ever told, but it seemed to have done the job. Garret told Altair that he had enjoyed their time together and that they both had learned a lot. He then extended his arm in a way that Altair hadn't seen in a long time. He grasped Garret's arm and thanked him sincerely. it was likely that without his help, he never would have achieved Djinn Equip.

Garret and Altair parted ways then. Altair stayed out in the Battlefield for a few more hours, practicing in his Djinn Equip until the feeling became natural. His new power would surely be helpful in the times to come.

[exit]


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