Flashback Baptism of Fear

Kassan proceeds through the four stages of the Nykan Monk selection test.

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Known as the Celestial Seat, Nyka is a religious city in Northern Sylira. Ruled by four demigods and traversed by a large crevice, the monk-city is both mystical and dangerous. [Lore]

Baptism of Fear

Postby Kassan on December 12th, 2011, 4:10 pm


Timestamp: 20th of Winter, 499 AV


Trial by Combat


Here he was, in the Sharp Blade training hall, facing down his opponent. He flexed his arms, the muscles he was developing rippling as he did so. His dark eyes watched the man he was to fight carefully.

Unarmed combat was all about reflexes and anticipation. You had to stay one step ahead of your opponents moves if you wanted to get a hit in. His mind was keened to the task. There could be no failure today.

Elite monks stood in an approximate circle, discerning eyes cast over the fight. And through them, Uphis saw too. The Demi-God of Blades would make his judgement.

He waited, a droplet of sweat sliding down his forehead. He parted his legs, rooting his feet to the ground but weighting them forward so he was ready to spring forward.

And then there came the signal to begin.

His opponent was slow to move, and Kassan wielded the gap with agility. He sprung forward, sweeping one foot round to trip up his foe. Unfortunately, he misjudged the move. The man gave a grunt, sidled, and raised a foot to kick Kassan.

The foot hit him in the chest, and he was momentarily winded. He stumbled, arms windmilling, and eyes watering. He forced himself to recover, shaking his head, and lunged out with a fist to keep his opponent from getting too close.

Uphis. If I deserve to walk your path, then let me show you my strength.

Feeling a little better, he squared up again. This time, he waited for the other monk in training to make a move. His eyes meandered left. Kassan tensed, the monk shifted, and he moved to counter, raising an arm to block, and elbowing the monk in the face with his other elbow.

His opponent growled, but he kicked at the man's chest while he was open. Somehow he didn't fall, instead, he wiped a sleeve across his bleeding nose, and swept forward suddenly. Surprised, Kassan jumped backwards, hopping between the balls of his feet.

Preserve me, Master of Blades...

Forced further back, he had to move sideways to stay in the makeshift arena. The watching Monks showed no indication of their opinion. They watched with lifeless eyes, yet driven sight.

Facing his opponent he tried to punch towards the man's face. They exchanged a flurry of blows, punching back and forth, and blocking with vigour.

"My resolve will not falter," he whispered.

He sidestepped, then struck with a sweeping kick. He missed. But it caught his opponent off guard. He used the gap to move in, striking with his fist and the full force of his body behind it.

It was still not enough to knock him down, but he used the momentum and continued moving forward, grabbing the man with his hands. He plunged towards the ground, pulling him with him. As they fell, he punched his opponent in the jaw. The crack punctured the silence.

No remorse. This must be done to walk your road.

Finally, he had his foe pinned to the ground. And it seemed his opponent was stunned by the pain of his cracked jaw. The Monk's called time.

Kassan's Trial by Combat was over.

Last edited by Kassan on January 29th, 2013, 12:38 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Kassan
Scion of Uphis
 
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[ SOLO FLASHBACK ] Baptism of Fear

Postby Kassan on December 12th, 2011, 5:30 pm


Trial by Words


Still breathing heavily from his fight, Kassan was led into a small, square room. It was bare, save for the stout wooden table, two chairs, and the little candle sitting in the centre.

The Monk who would be interviewing him, ushered for him to sit. And as he did so, he noticed he was being watched intently, measured and studied with those same eyes that watched the combat - never giving anything away.

The interviewer was a bald man, save for the thin tonsure of grey hair. His eyes were mottled blue, and a little bloodshot. His skin was crimped and creased with wrinkles, a symbol of his age, and his experience.

"You..." he began, his voice dark, "are a Benshira, correct?"

Kassan nodded slowly, clasping his hands together and leaning them on the table.

"Most who aspire to join our ranks are native to Nyka. That puts you at a disadvantage." The man had a dry voice, and had an annoying habit of swallowing incessantly as he spoke. Kassan did not deign to change his countenance.

"I believe that one should not be measured by their past, but by their devotion, and by their faith."

The Monk continued to watch him carefully, "and what of your faith?"

"Uphis saved my life. And so I owe everything to Him. Everything. There is not a fragment of my soul floundering in faith. My entire body is driven for His purpose. It his path I want to walk down, and his alone."

Uphis did save my life. For it could not have been chance that saved him from the slavers, and put him in the home of a humble Uphis revering fisherman.

"Uphis does not see our homelands, or our skin. Uphis sees our absolute devotion. We have stripped back our flesh, and laid ourselves bare to his mercy. There is no greater reward than to serve under him."

Kassan lowered his head. He had said what needed to be said, and he had spoke from his heart. Uphis would see the truth in his words.

His interviewer nodded. It was not much, but it was the first sign of emotion he had seen. "And what of the others? The Celestials that built this city over the ruins of old. Where do they sit in your devotion?"

"The Celestial's are all equals, I would not put one before the other, but it is sure in my soul that I must channel all to Uphis, for He is my calling. Each Alvina has their own sphere of influence, their own duties. Though I do not demean their importance, my duties and responsibilities lie with Uphis - and only Uphis."

There was a tenuous silence, but finally, the wisened Monk spoke with just a hint of a smile. "Stand, Kassan. For the Aperture awaits."

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[ SOLO FLASHBACK ] Baptism of Fear

Postby Kassan on December 12th, 2011, 5:59 pm


Trial by Darkness


It was an oddly silent procession that moved through Nyka. In the white robes of this final trial, Kassan moved with the other candidates. There were only six. So many at the beginning, now whittled down to six... Uphis had judged.

A few curious eyes watched them as they passed through the city. It was a mixture of awe and fear in their faces. But, Kassan thought, it was the Monks of Uphis who would defend them if there ever was a time of need.

As they split off, Kassan's interviewer took him to one of the twelve bridges that crossed the Aperture. He stood on the edge and gazed down into the unfathomable darkness.

"Take this canteen. Once you descend the ladder, you will have three days to endure, and then I will allow you back up again at this very bridge."

Kassan accepted the water canteen, and nodded appreciatively.

"Now, climb down slowly and carefully. You don't want to die this early on..."

He scowled as the man rolled the ladder out and down into the Aperture. He would not fall for such cheap tricks. This was a canyon, a rent in the earth. There was little else to it. Only false spectres, and futile fears awaited him.

Uphis would allow him to survive.

_-_-_-_-_-_


It was dark at the bottom of the Aperture. About fifty metres below the city, shadows covered most of the ground, and the daylight was waning quickly. Kassan eyed the water bottle, but he was not even thirsty yet. He would not need a drink for some time. Being Winter, the air was cool. He was grateful for that fact, since the heat would only make this harder.

As time went by, he laid back against the cool rock and tried to sleep. Behind half closed eyes, he saw a shape move through the darkness. Suddenly alert, he sat bolt upright and blinked around him. There was nothing there.

A foolish trick of the mind. Nought else, he was sure.

_-_-_-_-_-_


Morning came slowly and begrudgingly, and thin strands of light just touched the ground and walls of rock. Shadows and darkness still covered most. Kassan's
throat was raw and parched from a night with no water. He opened the canteen slowly, but only allowed three droplets to land on his tongue before he screwed the lid back on.

He had two more days to endure, and the canteen was small. He would need the water at the end, not the start.

His thoughts turned to the shape the night before. He was sure it was because of his fatigue. He had fought an opponent yesterday, and that had been tiring, not to mention the bruises on his chest and arms.

Kassan spent the entire day praying to Uphis, and sitting cross legged in quiet contemplation. Meditating on his devotion, he only bolstered his drive to become a Monk. He was sure that he was a suitable candidate.

Darkness began to fall again. And moving shapes plagued him. He began to feel a little more insecure, and those fears blossomed in his heart. He could not sleep, for his eyes constantly flitted about around him. He got up and walked around, bath and forth, watching. But he never caught sight of anything fully. They were just amorphous blurs, rushing about when he was not looking.

_-_-_-_-_-_


He did not sleep all night, and the morning was painful. The light hurt his eyes. And his throat was like sandpaper. He unscrewed the canteen and allowed himself a third of the water that was left. He swallowed it quickly and gratefully, whispering blessings to the Demi-God of Blades.

The shapes filled his thoughts. Was there something else down here? Something lurking in the Aperture? He shook his head, frustrated by his own foolishness. Meditating unsuccesfully, darkness fell again. And it was the third night that challenged him.

He managed to garner an hour or so of sleep. But he had nightmares of distant memories, a past he couldn't quite grasp. And when he awoke, everything became clearer.

Suddenly he was back in the slavers caravan. The rocky walls of the Aperture, the caged bars around him. And as the shapes flitted back and forth, he heard their voices. The slavers, laughing, cursing. And the iron bars swung open, the noise resounding through the aperture.

Kassan crumpled to the ground, hands covering his face.

No... No... Don't make me...

"Look at the little Benshira boy," the man said, his mouth a cruel crescent, "look at him weep like a girl."

"If he wants to be one, let him act like a girl," the other man shouted, laughing even louder.

Kassan screamed.

One of the men slid their belt undone and pulled their trousers down around their ankles. The other grabbed Kassan by the neck, twisted him, and held him down.

They did him like an animal, laughing as they did so, hitting him and punching him. The pain flared through his body, but it was the shame that cut him like a knife twisting in his heart.

No! NO!

The darkness bubbled, threatening to overwhelm him. He swung his arms around, fighting it off. A spark of devotion in his heart grew. He grappled with the memories.

Until Uphis appeared like a shining paragon before him. He did not shield his eyes from the light. He let is cast back the darkness. The past receded like the tide.

He fell to his knees and wept uncontrollably. "I am Yours," he repeated breathlessly, "for eternity."

When the morning came, and the ladder was dropped from above, Kassan was not sure if he had dreamt it all. His eyes and throat were raw, and he drunk the rest of the water hurriedly. Whatever had happened, his heart had stilled, and he felt at peace. The past was the past. To forget, one had to remember.

His hands reached out to the ladder gratefully.

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[ SOLO FLASHBACK ] Baptism of Fear

Postby Kassan on December 12th, 2011, 6:08 pm


The Ceremony


The central chamber of the Celestial Palace was cool, the faint smell of sweet incense drifting through the air.

Kassan stood naked, proud before the Celestial's, heart swelling uncontrollably. Uphis had guided him here, and he stole glances at the wondrous Demi-God. He would not look upon him directly though. There was a sacredness to his observation.

An enslaved Benshira boy, now a scion of Uphis. There was wonder in everything.

A Monk of his deity gave him a warm smile, bowed slightly, and passed him the new robes of his office. He pulled them on slowly and deliberately, saviouring this divine moment.

When he was done, he raised his head and recited the words he had so often practised. He did not just speak though. He projected. He pushed meaning and conviction, lacing them between every movement of his tongue.

"I am a monk of Nyka. My body has strength and my mind has purpose. I know not the weaknesses of the flesh. I may be killed, but I shall not die.
I serve the city that gave me life by giving her my life. Should I renounce my duties, forever I shall be banished.
I am always prepared. I shall never turn down a challenge that my opponent has the right or opportunity to issue.
At war, I am relentless. At peace, I am industrious. I know no rest in battle, or luxury in my house. I shall own nothing but be thankful for what the city gives unto me.
My gratitude to Nyka and her founders has no bounds. I shall not worship the immortals who plot against Nyka or those who have wronged the Celestials."


When he was done, he breathed deeply. There was an intangible essence in the room, something he couldn't quite grasp, but something that touched and intrigued his voracious spirit.

The Monk who had given him his robes stood in front of him once more. "Take the weapons of our Lord," he said slowly, "and forever serve with the aid of these tools."

A twinned set of daggers was presented to him, and he bowed, taking them in both hands. With his glaive and these daggers, he was equipped to defend Nyka with his life. But more importantly, to defend Uphis with his very existence.

The Trials had been difficult, and the memories of his past had returned violently, yet the shining light of his future had razed all that away. And now he took his first step on the long road ahead. A road of devotion, faith, and service. A road he would serve on until the very end.

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Kassan
Scion of Uphis
 
Posts: 129
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[SOLO FLASHBACK] Baptism of Fear

Postby Liar on December 15th, 2011, 3:23 am

EXPERIENCE AWARD


Kassan

Skill Points
Rhetoric 2
Unarmed Combat 1
Acrobatics 1
Philosophy 1
Meditation 1
Wilderness Survival 1

Lore
The Vows of a Nykan Monk
The Depths of the Aperture
The Eyes of Uphis
Honor in Brutality
A Memory of Injustice

Items
Water Canteen
Set of Robes with Sword Insignia
2 Steel Throwing Daggers

Notes
Excellent thread. You really made me feel proud of Kassan. Congratulations on becoming a monk of Nyka!

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.
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