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Evolution of a Warrior [Assassin Specialization Introduction, ft. Amaya]

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Nero

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Nero had been training in Sensei Ishiguro's alleyway dojo, sparring with the hook-swordsman Kouda, his original sparring partner. His improvement was solidifying, as he scored cleaner victories over his opponents on the mat. Intuitive combat was finally beginning to become natural to him, which was beneficial. However, due to his thirst to grow stronger unconditionally, he wanted to know what the next step in his training would incur. Perhaps after being able to easily defeat an opponent toe to toe came the ability to take lives. He pondered this thought, even during his sparring match against Kouda. The swordsman swiped past Nero's head, hooking the blade around the back of his neck and pulling forward, towards him; Nero took quick advantage of this maneuver by striking twice; first, a palm-strike to the man's hand to dislodge the weapon, and then a sharp jab to his solar plexus, which sent him to the mat. The fanalis bent down to help his partner up, then excused himself, stepping outside to take a smoke break.

As he walked out the rickety door into the rainy alleyway he pulled out a cigarette and a lighter. Shielding the paper from the falling raindrops, he lit the rod, putting it to his mouth and breathing in harsh smoke. It burned his throat somewhat, but he did not mind; he removed the bud from his mouth and exhaled a large cloud. A very vague feeling of lightheadedness filled his temple; it was brushed off as he leaned against the side of the building, pondering. He would have to ask his master what the next step was in growing as a warrior, and resolved to do that. When he finished smoking he dropped the remains of the cigarette to the ground and stomped on it with his boot, before heading inside once more and making his way to the Master's quarters.

When he found Sensei Ishiguro, he had a question to ask.

Sensei... I feel that I have thoroughly advanced in my training. Do you have any more lessons for me?

Grinning at the curiosity expressed by his student, Ishiguro responded with the slightest tinge of mischief in his eye.

Well, no... but I know someone who can help you grow stronger as a warrior. I want you to go to Anna's Flower Shop, and ask for Hemlock. The people there can help you. He ended this statement with a sly chuckle. Nero nodded in obedience. However, like when he first met his old master, he was a bit skeptical. Wasn't Hemlock a sort of plant? What would a plant have to teach him?

He would have to find out for himself. He made his way out of the dojo and into the main hub of the city; he had passed by Anna's before but never paid it any mind, for Nero was not really the one to stop and smell the flowers when there was work to be done. When he found the establishment he walked inside to the counter, and asked for "Hemlock," before awaiting a response.
@TAG: SHORT NOTE
magoi | wordcount | stamina




510/2000 words



Last edited by Nero on 17/11/17, 04:12 pm; edited 3 times in total


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Amaya

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"When your castles of sand crumble into the ocean, will you stand by that which you held in splendor, or will you fade like the beautiful lie you lived in?"
553/1500
✉️Training for A tier move

"I swear, Anna, you'd think the ingrates would at least give me some extra compensation for having to dip into my medicinal reserves for-" The droll of the woman's complaints seemed endless to the woman. As one ended another swiftly began, creating an endless loop of griping and exasperation that accomplished nothing other than slowing Amaya's own work down. Still, she couldn't simply shunt Julia out of her shop. The pharmacist was arguably her best patron, and that alone was reason enough for her to deal with the ceaseless stream of complaints and drivel that fell from the lady's mouth.

The soft chime of a bell suddenly broke the silence, the slightly silhouetted form of a rather tall man stepping through the entrance. Amaya immediately seized the momentary lapse in the woman's speech to interject. "Julia, you might want to start your preparations for the Foxglove extract as soon as you can. A delicate procedure like that takes a lot of time."  She gives the woman a knowing nod and waves goodbye as she suddenly gasps an rushes away, muttering under her breath about how daft she was to forget how long the process took.

Anna looked nothing like a killer, and she wasn't (in all fairness). Anna was a simple cover persona that allowed Amaya to sell flowers and lead a relatively normal existence when she wasn't actually doing work. Her body was draped in a traditional yukata, her hair and face cast to look as soft and demure as they possibly could be. It was an unfortunate reality that such a lie necessitated makeup, after all, her flesh was marred with scars and wounds that needed to be covered up to maintain her appearance. If the visitor she had received was observant, there was a chance he would catch a glimpse of bandages around her wrists,although she changed them so often that they would appear absolutely pristine, almost as a preventative measure.

Amaya delivered a soft smile to the customer, greeting him with a simple wave of her fingers before she moved behind her makeshift counter. He was an attractive man for sure, which meant more than likely he would be looking for flowers to impress someone he was with currently. She let her fingers drum on the counter until the words she had least expected fell from his lips.

"I'm looking for Hemlock."

She forced herself to maintain the smile and facade as she moved past him, pulling the fabric that served as her door closed before turning to face him. The seclusion of the fabric removed her delicate mask, and what remained was closer to the real Amaya that he was looking for. Her eyes were no longer soft, but cold, analytical, and devoid of all emotion. Her body immediately became more fluid, and all sound seemed to drop from any movement she made. With a flick of her wrist, she swept two daggers from within the bandages around her arms and deftly caught them between her fingers, twirling them silently as her gaze bore into the man before her, the presence of the small woman seeming to swell.

"I am Hemlock. Are you here to put a price on someone, or did some fool send you here because they didn't have the balls to damn someone themselves?"
MADE BY ★MEULK OF GS - EDITS BY ANGELO OF SAO-RPG



Last edited by Amaya on 10/01/18, 03:37 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Nero

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The lady behind the counter was dressed in a traditional yukata- perhaps she was from Kou- and had blue hair. She looked like any other merchant- friendly and eager to do business. Nero observed a soft smile and a wave from her as he approached the counter; however, this unassuming demeanor dropped following his request for "Hemlock." Still smiling, she made her way past the fanalis, covered off the entrance to her store with a sheen of fabric, and turned to face him. Immediately Nero knew that something was up by examining the change in her facial expression. The warm, friendly aura about her turned cold and serious, as the smile fell from her lips. Nero noticed that she pulled two daggers from bandages wrapped around her wrists, which he had glanced at earlier. She twirled them in her fingers as she stared forward, almost through Nero. He was slightly taken aback by the sudden change in character, which seemed to magnify the woman's character.

"I am Hemlock. Are you here to put a price on someone, or did some fool send you here because they didn't have the balls to damn someone themselves?"

Nero stared blankly at her for a second, before placing the pieces to the puzzle together in his mind. The daggers, as well as this woman's- Hemlock's words- were telltale signs of a mercenary of sorts, or perhaps a contract killer. Did she think Nero was here to pay for someone to get killed? That was not the case (just yet)- he figured he'd better explain himself. He took a single step back and spoke to her.

Well, no. In spite of his growing anxiety of the situation he spoke calmly, trying to mask his unease. This must be a misunderstanding.
The man who is teaching me combat techniques sent me here to... further my training. I've no intention of ending any lives, at the moment.
Perhaps he had gone to the wrong flower shop? That was not possible, given the lady's reaction to his mention of the poisonous plant. There was definitely meaning behind this. Could this lady possibly be the one who Ishiguro meant to refer him to? Would she be his teacher? He would test that.

Perhaps I entered the wrong storefront.
If that's the case, I could search for training elsewhere.
He looked around, marveling at how Hemlock's actions had changed the overall feel of the room. Granted the sudden change in her presence he was honestly quite nervous about how she would respond.

@TAG: SHORT NOTE
magoi | wordcount | stamina




933 / 2000 WORDS


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Amaya

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"When your castles of sand crumble into the ocean, will you stand by that which you held in splendor, or will you fade like the beautiful lie you lived in?"
409
✉️962/1500

She sighed, palming one of the knives as she spun the other over the top end of her knuckles. He was young, and far too naive it seemed for her kind of training. After all, his eyes had barely wandered from her, at least as far as she could tell. She lobbed one of the knives gently into the counter beside him, the blade thudding into the wood a generous meter from his hand. "So some unnamed man who knew of my whereabouts has sent you here to train? To learn from a death that people pay for?" Her eyes narrow as an eerie, sadistic smile spreads slowly across her face, one hand cupping her cheek. She seemed to be looking down on him with a posture that a mother looks upon a child with, but her eyes betrayed the lust for blood that was slowly rising within.

The thin, airy chuckle spread across the room as the shadows flickered over her face. "You really expect me to believe that? What kind of fool do you take me for?" The soft, grating noise of her laugh began to grow in volume. "Who was it? Ardus? Al'Thazhad? Maybe Ishiguro? Or it could have even been Leonus, if you've got some connections to the guard~" Her fingers flicked the other knife with a seeming haphazardness. The blade catapulted itself with a speed she'd hidden from the man, bouncing off the knife in the table to pass right in front of Nero's eyes, an effect of her Bouncing Blades I.

Her eyes narrowed. "I don't take kindly to non-disclosure from my students. You certainly weren't sent by Ardus, as he would have prepared you for even my most basic techniques. If you'd like to learn, I expect you to be forthright with me, and I expect you to be able to endure a fair amount of pain." She shuffles the obi tied around her waist, a few meters of chain falling from within the garb before her Equalis Ferrum came into full view, one blade emanating waves of heat, the other steaming with a cold aura.

"The work of an assassin is brutal, bloody, and holds no time for emotion, surprise, or mistakes." Amaya spirals the chains around her body, holding the blades in a comfortable position. "Tell me now, in complete honesty, who sent you to me for training," she cracks her wicked grin again, "after all. It has already begun~"
MADE BY ★MEULK OF GS - EDITS BY ANGELO OF SAO-RPG



Last edited by Amaya on 10/01/18, 03:39 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Nero

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Hemlock lobbed one of her knives into the wooden countertop, just a few feet away from Nero's hand, which startled the Fanalis somewhat- he did not move his body nor change his facial expression but it could be seen in his eyes.

So some unnamed man who knew of my whereabouts has sent you here to train? To learn from a death that people pay for?

A smile crossed the woman's face. Despite the clear height difference between the two, she looked up at him condescendingly. Due to her imposing presence in the room, Nero felt somewhat intimidated- not precisely afraid, but put on edge- by this gesture. She had already thrown a knife at him, so there was not really any way for him to feel at ease here. She chided him, asking if he took her for a fool in not naming his master. She then listed off a sampling of potential subjects- Ardus, Al'Thazad, Ishiguro- wait, Ishiguro?

And also Leonus.

So she knew Ishiguro. Of course she did- he would not have been sent here if she didn't have some connection to the old sensei. So why did he hide this from her before? It was a rather foolish front at this point. He decided from here on out, because she was already throwing knives and seemed like she meant business, he would take her words much more seriously, and he would tell the truth. At this moment, she flicked the other knife from her wrist. Nero was caught off-guard, but noticed she threw the blade off-center, aiming somewhere else. Before he could look to see where, the knife's razor edge sliced past his eyes. Startled once more, Nero took a cautious step backwards.

I don't take kindly to non-disclosure from my students. You certainly weren't sent by Ardus, as he would have prepared you for even my most basic techniques. If you'd like to learn, I expect you to be forthright with me, and I expect you to be able to endure a fair amount of pain.

Hemlock moved the Obi from around her waist, revealing a chain which held together two blades; one seemed to pulsate waves of heat while the other gave off icy mist. Was this mere magoi manipulation? Or perhaps it was an enchanted weapon? Either way, Nero was taken aback by the dangerous look of the blades. The woman spoke once more, as she spiraled the chain around her body and adjusted the position by which she held the weapon.

The work of an assassin is brutal, bloody, and holds no time for emotion, surprise, or mistakes. Tell me now, in complete honesty, who sent you to me for training. After all, it has already begun.

Nero swallowed. Even so, he felt a lump in his throat. A wicked grin aligned her lips. Why couldn't Ishiguro just teach him more techniques? Did he want to lead Nero down this path? This lady was a contract killer- that had been established- perhaps Nero's initial suspicion was correct. The next step in becoming a great fighter would be the ability to take a life without remorse. If his destiny were to lead him down this path, then so be it. He would accept this training- it seemed like he had no choice to, after all. Luckily for Nero, he was trained to endure pain. It was in his blood. At least he knew that part of the training he was somewhat prepared for. Mustering courage he spoke up, careful to eliminate any trace of fear from his voice such that he spoke confidently even if he

It was Ishiguro. I'm no liar. I'll tell you whatever you need to know. At this point he met Hemlock's eyes and spoke with slightly more confidence. I don't know why exactly my sensei sent me to an assassin to learn... But because there are skills to be learned, I'm ready for it. And don't worry, ma'am. I'm no wuss. I can take a hit.

@TAG: SHORT NOTE
magoi | wordcount | stamina






1601 WORDS


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Amaya

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"When your castles of sand crumble into the ocean, will you stand by that which you held in splendor, or will you fade like the beautiful lie you lived in?"
353
✉️1315/1500

Amaya suddenly let the blade fly from her hands, whipping the flat end down against the counter next to his hand. "Because you're a fool, that's why. You've already failed your first lesson." Her eyes fill with the sickening disdain and condescension she had gazed at him with before. "I'm going to explain this to you once, and I expect you to listen completely to me, understood?" She whips the blade back to herself, spiraling it around her waist and tucking it beneath her obi once more, all in a single, fluid motion. "You are naive. If Ishiguro sent you here for anything it would be to lose that foolishness." She crosses the room silently, nearly floating up to the counter and sitting next to him. "He spoke quite a bit about your physique, Nero, but a sharp body and a quick mind doesn't make a warrior. There are other tools you require."

Her entire demeanor changed in an instant. Her stance shifting to suddenly accentuate a figure that hadn't seemed to be there in the first place. Her voice was now smooth and warm, like an intoxicating honey. "Nero, my darling~" The words dripped from her mouth with the allure of a fine wine. "This world is built on many, many principals, but honesty is the furthest from one of them." She crosses her legs, hooking a finger under his chin. "Truth is nothing but an abstract concept," she pulls his head to face hers, "a collection of simple statements with no weight except that which we assign it." She locks eyes with the man, an unsettling desire brimming behind the dull glow of her irises. "So in this world, the truth is merely whatever you chose to believe it is." The assassin purses her lips, forming an alluring pout. "Today is your first lesson." She tugs his face mere centimeters from hers. "You're going to learn how to lie."

She spins off the counter, her visage once again the cold, hard gaze she had been. "Now tell me once again," she ordered, "Nero, who was it that sent you to me?"
MADE BY ★MEULK OF GS - EDITS BY ANGELO OF SAO-RPG



Last edited by Amaya on 10/01/18, 03:39 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Nero

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The woman opposite him let her segmented blade fly, flat end slamming down on the counter beside him. Nero drew his hand towards a pocket in his pants reflexively; he watched her cautiously as she spoke, calling him a fool. As she explained to him his naivete, he met her eyes with his, in an attempt to predict the next time she would throw something at him. It had happened with the knives first, then the blade; he hoped that his "training" would not involve being the target of further thrown weapons, although a part of him knew this probably was not so. The woman crossed the room, inching close to Nero's side. He took a single step to the side opposite her, to draw some distance between the two. If she was this close she could easily stab him if he said something wrong.

As she spoke again, her tone changed; a dialect once cold became warm, and even though she sounded more friendly the Fanalis had been put on edge. Her words deconstructed the meaning of truth; in essence, its true definition was "merely whatever you choose to believe it is." As she tugged Nero's face towards hers and announced her intention- to teach Nero how to lie- he couldn't help but realize the utility a little lie could present him with.

As if to test if he had picked anything up from that little lesson, she ordered him once more to tell her who had sent him. Sensing that she might flex her prowess and aim another weapon at him if he answered incorrectly, he decided to try and lie. A slight stutter accompanied his words, as if to hallmark his unease at the current situation.

N-Nobody sent me. I came on my own accord. I overheard some mention of "Hemlock" in a pub one night and decided to pursue the information. That was what led me here.

He tried to look as certain as he could while speaking. Something told him his words might not hold up- maybe it was the stutter. He winced at the thought of further "punishment-" however, he knew that there was much more to come if he truly wanted to become the deadly warrior Ishiguro saw in him.

@TAG: SHORT NOTE
magoi | wordcount | stamina


1978 / 2000 words


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Amaya

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β-Tier
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"When your castles of sand crumble into the ocean, will you stand by that which you held in splendor, or will you fade like the beautiful lie you lived in?"
362
✉️1500+/1500

Another dagger sailed past his ear this time, the scowl on Amaya's face inherently apparent. "You fool. I've provided you with three alternative lies that you could have taken, and instead you made one that wasn't believable in the slightest." She crosses the room with dead silence, putting her face right up to his. "What kind of imbecile talks about a professional killer in a bar?" Her voice was a hushed whisper, but her eyes betrayed an aura of both rage and disappointment. "What kind of idiotic assassin leaves their calling card at their cover? Do you take me for a child?"

She turns her back and sighs. "Ishiguro had high hopes for you, but I don't. You failed to think your lie through in any way." Her eyes swivel back to his. "Deception is our strongest skill, and we use it often. You will learn to lie, or you will fail my teachings." She lobs a stack of parchment into his chest, followed with a bottle of ink and a fountain pen. "We're going to think through a lie, step by step, and you're going to write this down."

"I gave you a collection of names, intentionally, and you chose to ignore the information that was already given to you. You have access to the names Ardus, Al'Thazad, and Leonus. Starting from that point, you should also know that Ardus has connection with me, as I informed you that he would have prepared you for my most basic of moves." She strengthens her gaze. "Based on that information alone, I would have chosen Ardus as my lie, and I would have said that a lapse in memory had rendered me susceptible to my tricks. I've already made it clear I perceive you as naive, and so the assertion that you wouldn't believe me as fierce as ardus claimed is easily believable."

"A lie is not a collection of falsehoods. It is a collection of believable statements that form a truth-like appearance. A lie must be the truth, as it is the most believable lie of all." She eyes his clothes. "Now lie to me. What do you do for a living?"
MADE BY ★MEULK OF GS - EDITS BY ANGELO OF SAO-RPG


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