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The Diamond of Kalea is located on Kalea's extreme west coast and called as such because its completely made of a crystalline substance called Skyglass. Home of the Alvina of the Stars, cultural mecca of knowledge seekers, and rife with Ethaefal, this remote city shimmers with its own unique light.

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Postby Ezra Folles on January 14th, 2011, 10:44 pm

♦ 3rd Day of Spring, 508 AV ♦


Hanfei stood motionless, observing the carnage before him. Several corpses, eviscerated or headless were scattered about the small clearing. They bore the garments of woodsman and slavers, clad in thin leather armors. Some still gripped their time worn weapons; despite their trade, they had fought to the death. But this... this corpse did not belong.

"I did this...?" Hanfei asked of the gods. Even as he spoke the words, he felt foolish. He knew what he had done. He'd done it purposefully, efficiently... he could have stopped. No, his intentions had been clear and their result lay at his feet. A young girl of sixteen winters at most lay crumpled on the ground, the sky blue robes of a Shinya Acolyte running red with her life blood.

"It shouldn't have come to this, Cian." Hanfei spoke in a sullen tone. However, his mind shouted at him to quit his act. No one was watching, and he could not hide the truth from the gods. "Well, I suppose the only truely unfortunate occurrence here would have been... this." Hanfei said in a much darker tone, gently lifting his own right arm up with his other and letting it drop lifelessly to his side. In a way, it felt good to actually vocalize his real feelings. Long had he pent up what lurked in his mind while serving as a Shinya Monk. The lie had become so real that it was actually difficult to vocalize anything but. Hanfei turned from Cian's corpse, and began to walk. He wasn't in a hurry, it seemed.

"Well then, I suppose i'll take a walk. I wonder how far i'll get..."


---

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Postby Ezra Folles on January 14th, 2011, 11:20 pm

Earlier that day...


Hanfei Song walked slowly amidst the thick foliage, one hand resting atop the hilt of his blade as he ushered his companion along. The two of them, Shinya and Acolyte together had been given the duty of investigating a stretch of land far below Lhavit for the potential threat of slavers. Typically more of a force would have been mounted, but Hanfei had seemed confident he could handle the disturbance alone (if there truly even was a disturbance). Much to his dismay however, they had glued to his side a foolish little Acolyte. A girl, none the less. Not that Hanfei had any feelings of superiority towards fighting women, it was simply that a teenage girl often made for some of the most awkward and inane conversation he had experienced in his life. This much remained true today.

"Hanfei, is it true that when striking with a blade, the middle finger is to be kept snug as the ring and small finger are? What is your opinion?" Cian chirped, obviously feeling that there was much she could learn from one of the senior swordsman of the Shinya.

"As I said, your middle finger should be neither snug, nor slack." Hanfei replied, his eyes noting a break in the thickly overgrown wilderness before him.

"Hold." Hanfei said, raising one arm and balling his hands into a fist. Cian immediately ceased her movement, and crouched onto the ground to stay out of sight. Annoying, yes. At least she seemed to have some sort of martial prowess comparable to her ability to pester... Hanfei crouched as well, sitting on his knees as he began to speak.

"Up ahead, as i'm sure you have noticed... is the smoke of a camp fire. Obviously, this is the camp of our so called disturbance." Hanfei said in a low tone, noting the firm nod from his Acolyte. It was nice in a way to have someone so firmly listen to his words and commands as though he were a commander... perhaps this is what it would feel like to at last attain the rank of Hatul and command his peers in combat. "We will apprach, and surround this small clearing on both sides." Hanfei whispered, smuding the pebble infested dirt with his finger and making a drawing of the battlefield. He traced a large circle with an X in the middle, signifying the camp. He drew an arrow sweeping around the other side of the camp, as well as another from the current position moving straight forward. "You will move to the other side of the camp, and I will approach first. If these men show a hint of resistance, we slay them without further investigation. Understood?"

Cian gave one quick nod, and departed into the underbrush to find her way across the clearing. Hanfei stood tall, taking a hold of his sheath just below his sword's handguard firmly as he walked towards the clearing. As he grew closer, he noticed three men sitting around the campfire. Oh, it had been a long time since he had cut a man down. Far too long, in fact. His blade almost seemed to beckon him.

Three idiot slavers, undoubtedly having never faced a trained warrior before. Had they done so, they most likely would not be alive. Hanfei sincerely hoped they were enjoying what would be their last moments of life as he stepped calmly into the clearing.

---

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Postby Ezra Folles on January 15th, 2011, 12:02 am

Pandemonium. One of the men actually seemed to fall over backwards and splash himself with a hot stew he had been eating previously. Well, to his benefit Hanfei now understood that these men at the very least had not been expecting them. He stood his ground, sliding one foot backwards and taking a hold of his sword's hilt with his right hand while firmly gripping the sheathe with his left. As the bandit who had fumbled began to recover, the other two had begun to charge his position. They were both armed with thick longswords, a blade Hanfei was familiar with. A twist of his wrist produced a slight click, and Hanfei's gleaming black blade was freed from it's prison. He swung it wide in a sweeping arc before bringing it back to his center. Yet, he still only wielded the blade with one hand.

And they were upon him. It was a black of glinting steel and cold iron as Ezra met the first bandit's blade, meeting an overhead slash with his cold iron tachi and pushing it to the side. The wide, sweeping circular of this maneuver brought his sword back to his center while the bandit stumbled, trying to recover from Hanfei's immediate counter to his inane and simple attack. It would have been proper to counterattack, but Hanfei was engaged with multiple assailants. As such, he was forced to slide one foot back after another, meeting this man's blade more directly than the last. Hanfei was a good swordsman, but fighting two opponent's at once was less about mere skill with a sword than it was about awareness. He moved his body in broad motions, slapping the cheap longsword away with his cold iron blade repeatedly.

In a moment of brief clarity, Hanfei was able to intercept a quite uncoordinated assault by both men by spinning away from one lunging blow, and catching another's attack with his blade mid swing. In this moment he saw Cian emerge from the other side of the clearing, immediately moving to engage the third bandit whom Ezra had lost track of. It was a good thing. The last of the three had been readying a crossbow, which would have been most unpleasant. Hanfei was not able to see much of the action before he resumed his own fight, but his last sight of Cian's battle was her engaging the bandit with her own thin bladed Dao as he attempted to defend himself with a large bayonet affixed to his unloaded crossbow.

Hanfei felt it was time to finish this. Though he had enjoyed the fight, the threat of fatigue causing him to make a mistake loomed over him. Already, his breath was heavy after two solid chimes of sword fighting. Typically, a sword fight is over in a matter of seconds... perhaps it should have been, had Hanfei not felt so inclined to ride it out and enjoy the fight.

As he clashed swords with one of the two bandits, he pushed his opponent's black towards the ground at his side along with his own, simultaneously unlocking a secret he had as of yet not shown his opponents. The astral body is a strange concept to some, but for Hanfei it was as much a part of him as his physical hands and legs. He commanded it well, much like a limb. To force it from it's mortal coil so quickly was not preferred, but in the heat of battle one does not have the time slowly meditate and seperate his astral and physical self. The slight tinge of pain that accompanied the freeing of the invisible aspect was welcome. Perhaps the two bandit's noticed that his left arm simply went limp.

"Perhaps you've wondered why I wield my blade with a single hand?" Hanfei challenged, which evoked an enraged grunt from both men. Hanfei had a lock on one of their blades, but the other moved to his side unchallenged... so he thought. Ezra moved his projected left arm, invisible to the naked eye but painfully real as it wrapped around the bandit's throat, as if to choke him. He stopped short, eyes bulging and his blade clattering to the ground, forgotten.

"I will show you." Hanfei said with a hint of satisfaction, noting the puzzled look in his direct opponent's eyes as he resumed their swordfight.

---

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Postby Ezra Folles on January 15th, 2011, 12:32 am

With one bandit safely in check, Hanfei focused his attention on the man before him. He wore a chestpiece of hardened leather, and aside from the blade that currently clashed against Hanfei's own he seemed to have no other weaponry. The sound of clashing metal mixed with choked gasps for air filled both combatants ears, their dance slowly moving in a small circle as they fought. Hanfei was growing tired, as was his opponent. It truly was time to finish this.

It was a quick movement, and the last thing the bandit witnessed in this mortal life. He lunged forward to thrust his blade into Hanfei's chest, to which Hanfei stepped to the side and brought his sword back towards himself rather than engage his opponent's blade. The bandit stumbled yet again, having grown accustumed to the weight of Hanfei's tachi to stop his momentum. Yet, that momentum was what made Hanfei's vicious attack so effective. He swung his blade forward, swiftly and elegantly finding it's mark amidst the flesh of the bandit's throat. Hanfei's sword was known as the Blade of Eighty Days, a fine cold iron weapon that held a honed edge well. As his blade was freed from the flesh and bone of his opponent, the bandit plowed into the ground. His decapitated head rolled to a stop next to him, the eyes wide in a mixture of pain and surprise that had consumed him upon his death.

Hanfei exhaled deeply, now turning his attention to the struggling bandit whom he had kept occupied with his projected arm. Even so soon, Hanfei could see a faint outline of ghostly white circling the man's throat... attempting to focus on restraining the man with one hand and a full on sword fight with another had left him exhausted. He had no time or care for a fanciful attack. The second bandit simpled watched breathlessly as Hanfei swiped his blade across his unprotected torso once, then back again... finally plunging his blade deep into his chest. Blood flowed freely from the man's mouth as he was released by Hanfei's projected arm, falling to his knees and cupping his innards as they spilled onto the ground. Hanfei raised his chin in the air defiantly, bringing his sword back to his side and flicking it with his wrist. The accumulated blood flung from his blade, splattering across the ground.

"Oh yes, young Cian." Hanfei thought, noting her battle from a few dozen yards away. The third of the trio seemed to have already been wounded by hear, now wielding his crossbow like a club as one armed dangled at his side and blood drained to the earth from an unseen wound.

It was then that Hanfei noticed from the edge of the clearing a large amount of movement. Two men burst into view, one immediately raising a crossbow and firing a bolt at his young acolyte. Had she not but seconds before plunged her blade into his chest, the distraction and pain of the bolt impacting her backside would most likely have spelled doom for her. As it stood, the crossbow wielding bandit's aid had arrived only a few seconds too late.

Cian pushed her victim away, her dao sword still lodged in his body as she blindly grasped for the bolt protruding from her back. Two new opponent's had presented themselves, and both seemed to be wielding crossbows. Hanfei took a second to methodically sheath his sword.

And he ran, pushing his leg muscles to their limit as he careened towards the new threat. His left arm flopped awkwardly, and as he ran his right began to flail as well. Hanfei ripped his astral being away from his arms, disconnecting it from his physical body far too fast. Both arms stung, a fiery sensation filling them from shoulder to fingertip. He had no recourse. His blade would not make it in time... yet, with his astral body he could perhaps reach them before they killed the young Acolyte.

---

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Postby Ezra Folles on January 15th, 2011, 1:09 am

Hanfei's vision was blurred as he ran, only able to make out the smudged brown earth beneath his feet and the shadowy shades of green and black from the treeline. The sun seemed to have been blotted, casting a darkened haze across the clearing. Even the smoke from the campfire seemed to stifle him. He became aware that he was overexerting himself, pushing his projection too far... it mattered not. He'd done the same in the past, with no repercussion or ill effects as of yet. This fleeting thought caused him to grin, and gave him confidence. Yes, he could push himself even harder. He was Hanfei Song, swordsman of the Shinya and a warrior without equal among his peers!

His legs bulged with strain as Hanfei attempted to halt his movement, thrusting forth both of his projected astral appendages. He was still too far for his typical use of this magic... but he had tossed caution to the wind. Already dimly visible, his ghostly weapons become harshly outlined to the naked eye amidst the gloom. His astral arms snaked towards his opponents, one for each. They were both readying their weapons, each loading a new bolt into their crossbows. Hanfei hadn't approached quickly enough to stop the second from firing at Cian, but he could stop them from firing again.

Just as the first of the two raised his weapon and turned it towards Hanfei, he would see the yellowish white glow engulf his weapon and pull it free from his hands. Hanfei stifled a yell as he attempted to manipulate his magic, ripping a small tendral away from the mass that held the crossbow and snaking it into the trigger guard.

Ka-thump!

The crossbow fired, sending it's bolt into it's former owner's throat at nearly point blank range. He stumbled back, gasping and attempting to yell as his comrade wrestling with his weapon. Hanfei had taken hold of it as well, but he couldn't seem to force it from it's wielder. The Shinya panted, his chest rising and falling heavily as he did battle from afar. With both astral limbs, he took hold of the weapon and twisted it from the bandit's grasp. Hanfei's exhaustion showed; he couldn't keep hold of the weapon either. It simply fell to the ground, loaded but unused. With the last of whatever djed Hanfei could muster, he slide both projected arms around the bandit's neck, and braced them as if he were holding the man himself from behind in a neck lock.

Crack!

Hanfei's eyes fluttered at the moment the bandit's neck gave way to the pressure. He fell to his knees, the astral limbs slowly slithering back towards him as he began to cough a fit. Blood sprinkled the ground in front of him, and he fell face forward into the dirt, writhing in pain. Only then did he hear Cian's voice, seemingly right on top of him.

"Hanfei! You damn fool!"

"What... you insolent... I saved your life, Acolyte. Do not forget what I..." Hanfei gasped in an enraged and hoarse whisper. Cian leaned down over him, placing a hand on his back and looping his limp arm around her shoulder. She pulled him to his feet this way, and turned her head to face his irritated gaze.

"You told me that we would approach first. You did not mention that we would be fighting two separate battles, Hanfei." Cian began, her voice filled with a mixture of anger as well as something else. agony? Ah, yes. Hanfei remembered she had been struck by a crossbow bolt, and wondered if the other bolt had found it's mark. "As I battled my lone opponent, I saw you toying with those two men. I've seen you in the Shiniyama Pavillion sparring Hanfei, you know as well as I you could have killed those men in four strokes. Your carelessness could have ended our lives!" Cian yelled literally right into his ears, and her body shook. Hanfei took in her features, reddened with anger and so confident...

Who was she to judge him? He had saved her life! No, it wasn't his fault that she had been surprised, rather it was hers. She had allowed herself to be assaulted from afar. A proper Shinya would have recognized the reinforcements approach and taken measures to prevent them from initiating said attack. No, the fault did not lay in his hands... she was the incompetent one. Hanfei was a powerful Shinya! He was destined to lead with his blade in hand, atop a proud Okomo and renowned throughout the city...

"I'll be reporting this to the Sanin when we set foot back in Lhavit, and I would hope that you-guh!" Cian started to speak, but she was struck and fell backwards onto her side. Hanfei fell as well, landing on his back. His astral limbs had not been recalled, still dangling about his physical form. When she had begun to speak of reporting some sort infraction that he had incurred, he could tolerate her ignorance no longer. He had struck her across the face, and pushed her back.

"You will do nothing of the sort, Acolyte." Hanfei hissed, pushing himself to his knees and standing with significant effort. He wasn't done yet. This battle was not over! Another threat loomed over him, this one far greater than the one previously imposed...

"She will take everything from you. You will be nothing. Go on... reach out. Break her. You have the power to protect yourself from harm... only a fool would allow her to walk away."

Hanfei felt these thoughts overtaking his mind, and his face twitched into a mad smile. Of course, he couldn't allow her to tell this tale to the authority of the Shinya. He would never be allowed to command... they could possibly even put him in restricted duty! He would rather make love to Rhysol than sit in a chamber and meditate for a year... no, he could not. Would not. With the last bit of djed and will he could muster, Hanfei pushed his projection towards her. Cian looked at him in disbelief as his ghostly arms slide around her neck.

"Trait-..."

Hanfei and Cian slumped to the ground, and both of their worlds went black. The only difference was Hanfei would wake. Cian was gone.

---

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Postby Ezra Folles on January 15th, 2011, 1:21 am

When Hanfei awoke, the sun still remained imprisoned behind a blanket of clouds. The gloom of the clearing was that much thicker, now stained red with blood. He tried to get to his feet, but he couldn't move his right arm to push himself up. Or, was it moving? Yes, only... it was moving to the side, rather than down. Hanfei's left arm managed enough force to put him upright, but the state of his right arm perplexed him. "Ah! I never recalled my projection, so..." Hanfei thought, but his mind lumbered to a stop as the realization of what he had done hit him. He'd lost consciousness, after expending so much djed and pushing his projection far past his intended limit... and when he had gone under, his astral body had simply reclaimed what was rightful owned without regard to his physical self. This was the stuff of nightmares, the warnings depected in texts and repeated by teachers throughout Lhavit.

His right arm flailed uselessly as he tried to command it, but the unguided reattachment of his his astral body into his right arm had destroyed what once dwelled there. Urgently, Hanfei examined his left arm, noticing only a small twitch in his middle two fingers. They seemed to be crossed, one responding when the other should. And then he screamed.

He screamed for a whole chime, blasting the surrounding area with his voice so long as he could bear it, until he finally paused for breath. When his head fell, he saw Cian. Briefly, he tried to recant his actions and speak of gods. In actuality, he knew this to be utter shyke. This ungrateful bitch had intended to ruin him. He knew he had overgiven and acted out of madness, but perhaps it had been for the best... the djed's tricks had given him the will he had needed to do what needed to be done. Lost in thought for a few moments, Hanfei made the only rational decision he could. Flee. He would be executed if found, a traitor if there ever was one. There was little hope of escaping the Shinya forever... but Hanfei was not ready to die just yet. Nor did he feel his actions were inappropriate. This girl hadn't been able to handle a real battle, despite training for years and wearing the uniform. It was through her failure that she had intended to brand him a reckless and unfit commander. No. She had deserved her brutal death.

So, as Hanfei began to calmly walk away from the scene of his own crime, he pushed all thought of the whole ordeal from his mind. He busied himself with unfastening his sheathed blade from his right side, now simply carrying it with his left and getting accustomed to it's weight in his off hand. He would be utilizing it from now on. As he he walked and time passed, the realization that he was free from the Shinya crept into his mind, and this notion actually produced a smile. Hanfei would be hunted, and he would be killed.

Until then, he was a free man. As he walked, Hanfei said nothing. He simply whistled.



- FIN -


---

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Postby Ophelia on January 16th, 2011, 6:53 am

Thread Award. <3


EXPERIENCE.
‎+4 Weapon: Tachi
‎+1 Teaching‎
‎+4 Projection

LORES.
Annoying Acolytes
Enjoying Fights
Overextending your projection
Traitor to the Shinya
Becoming Crippled
A Free Man

ADDITIONAL NOTES.
I gave you the teaching for answering Cian's questions.

I loved this part of Ezra's history! It was beautifully written and full of detail.

Don't hesitate to pm me with questions, queries, or anything else!

Love,‎
Ophelia <3
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