(The Eighty-First Day) Chapter One: Perception [Solo]

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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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(The Eighty-First Day) Chapter One: Perception [Solo]

Postby Elhaym on January 25th, 2011, 10:55 am

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61st Day of Winter, 510 AV

Sleep had come easily. As she had laid down upon her new "bed" and closed her eyes, Pain had thought that she wouldn't get a moment of sleep. Perhaps it was the weariness of her travels kicking in, but most likely it was the bath she had taken the night before. She had been shown to a small bathing area upon settling into her new home in the Acolyte's quarters... and it had been glorious. Lying down on her back with her head propped against a small cylindrical pillow, Pain's eyes had traced the odd lines and markings of the one adornment in the room; a large scroll that spanned a large section of one wall. She hadn't reached the end before she was lost in dream.

Her eyes snapped open what seemed like a moment later, but several hours had passed. Before her, a young girl knelt over the bedroll next to hers performing some obscured task. She was clad in sky blue, in a uniform that seemed to match the coloration of the one Pain had been given. As pain stirred, the girl turned and smiled.

"Haruroi uerukome akoissui nebu." she spoke, her voice flowing from her mouth as if it were silk. That struck Pain immediately. After a moment of attempting to decipher the unintelligible speech, Pain conceded and replied in Common.

"Sorry, I don't speak your language." She said, rubbing her eyes with her knuckles. Her roommates smile did not falter and she spoke again, switching to Pain's language seamlessly.

"Oh, my mistake. I assumed you spoke Lhavitian, by the looks of you. My name is Rei... I said welcome home, fellow Acolyte." Rei said, her dark almond eyes bunching into a squint as she smiled. She looked young, a lot younger than Pain... perhaps sixteen, maybe seventeen at the most. Just a girl... and yet, here she was. Training to become a warrior.

"Oh... hi there, Rei. I'm Elhaym." Pain said, opting out of using her alias at this point. It was early, and though Pain had always been an early riser, she wasn't used to conversation until much later in the day. Her mind was still hazy.

"Ah, Elhaym." Rei said, repeating the name in that glazed and soft voice. "I'm glad you have joined us. Treyu spoke to Hashin and I last night as we returned, and told of us your meeting with the Shinsa and Sanim. You were already asleep when we came in... we didn't disturb you, I hope." She said, moving slightly and pointing to the empty bedroll that sat on her other side. "This is Hashin's bedding. He stepped out for a brief meditation cycle so that I could wake you, and show you how to dress in your robes."

Pain nodded, having wondered herself how she was going to manage to dress herself in such strange clothing. She undressed herself quickly, noting a shrill cry slip past Rei's tightened lips.

"What's wrong?" Pain asked, oblivious to the obvious. Her body was toned, a warrior's build. Accompanying it were many scars... not the small nicks and cuts that occur in training, but real battle scars. Three long and jagged lines crossed her shoulder, as well as a large slash in her right hip. Her right shin carried a deep and raised scar across the bone spanning from side to side as well, not to mention the buildup of scar tissue and callous on her knuckles, knees, and elbows. Pain slid into the thin pants that she was to wear, as well as the thin shirt she would wear underneath her robes without instruction, but looked to Rei for help as she grew closer to the complicated pieces of clothing.

"I see that you are not the typical Acolyte, Elhaym... forgive my insolence, but Treyu said something odd last night to Hashin and I. He told us that you had called yourself "Pain" in your meeting with the Shinsa and Sanim. Is it true that they call you Pain?"

As Rei was speaking, she had shown Pain how to wear her robe, and was busily adjusting Pain's sash to fit properly. Pain watched her as she spoke, a grin creeping up the right side of her mouth. The rumor mill had already begun turning.

"Some people call me Pain. It's a part of me that I want to be rid of soon." Pain said, pulling some sort of odd binding over her lower shin and foot. She was dressed, and she felt silly. However, as she stood Rei seemed to approve.

"If you put forth great effort, that which you desire will come to you. The Star Lady assures you of this." She said simply. "You'll want to follow me for our meal... we only eat twice a day, so you don't want to miss this. Though, I suggest you eat lightly... we'll be taking our Martial Arts class first this morning, and sometimes the newer Acolytes..."

"Throw up all over themselves. Got it." Pain said, nodding. She followed Rei as they exited the bare room in the semi-darkness, joining a small herd of identically dressed young men and women as they convened in a larger hall with low set tables of the style Pain had sat at in her meeting yesterday. The meal was eaten in silence, but was quite delicious. Pain was pleased that there was plenty of rice to be had, as it had been a staple of hers back in Syliras. In addition, small quantities of meat and fruit were available. Pain forced the meat down, presumably lamb... but found it actually quite tasty. It was spiced and burned her tongue ever so slightly. It was much different than what she was used to... far be it for a chef in Syliras to cook anything than a slab of beef over seasoned with salts and charred beyond recognition.

After the meal, Pain was ushered by Rei and several others to a large room behind a sliding wooden panel much like the ones she had passed with Treyu yesterday during her brief tour. As they entered the room in single file, Rei pulled Pain aside and wished her luck before disappearing into the classroom. Pain was left standing alone in the hall for a moment, before taking a deep breath... and walking through the door.

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(The Eighty-First Day) Chapter One: Perception [Solo]

Postby Elhaym on February 6th, 2011, 8:38 am

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As Pain entered the classroom, the other Acolytes had already formed up in a sort of grid, four rows of students and five deep. Pain awkwardly placed herself in the back, stuck in the corner alone with no one else in her row. No one seemed to notice, and Pain breathed a sigh of relief when the robed figure she presumed to be the teacher of this class began to speak.

Except Pain couldn't understand what she was saying. The Shinya spoke his Lhavitian smoothly, the sounds and syllables rinsing over Pain and bearing no meaning whatsoever. For a chime or two this went on, Pain's eyes wide and frantic as she attempted to pull meaning from the foreign words. In an instant, all the Acolytes save Pain yelled in unison... and the broke the formation. Each moved purposefully to a different area of the room, leaving Pain turning back and forth in confusion. It took only a few seconds for all the eyes in the room to bear down upon her... and at last, she spoke up.

"Uhhh... oh, Dian? I don't speak Lhavitian, i'm sorry... I don't really know what's going on here. This is my first time in this class."

"This is obvious, Acolyte." The Shinya said in fluent Common, moving towards Pain in a fast but smooth stride. "I'll repeat this only once, and after this I will no longer repeat myself, period. I am only allowing you this courtesy as you did not bellow out in the middle of my instruction and interrupt me... I believe being shy is less a fault than being rude. So, as I said before..."

All eyes settled on Pain, and her peers expressions seemed on the verge of breaking their neutrality. She could see it in their eyes... it wasn't vocalized, but they were laughing at her. A wonderful first impression... last into the room, stuck in the corner like a reject, and then lectured on her inability to speak a foreign language.

"I am Shai, the instructor for the basic martial arts training you will undertake as an Acolyte of the Shinya. A moment ago I had ordered the students to group up, and began their warm up routines... however, I have had a change of heart. We have a new student, and as such I must evaluate her talent in order to gauge her standings within the class. Also, seeing as how our newest student does not yet speak our native tongue, the remainder of our class today will be taught in Common."

Pain heard a few sighs, obviously from the Acolytes who didn't speak Common all that well. Most simply nodded, eyes bouncing back and forth between Pain and Shai. After taking a brief moment to examine Pain, Shai spoke again.

"Tomo, please come to my side. The rest of you, form up along the walls. We shall have a brief, friendly spar between Tomo and our newcomer... who has yet to introduce herself." Shai said, beckoning the student named Tomo towards him as he glanced at Pain.

"My name is Elhaym." Pain said, forgoing her alias. Pain watched Shai as she spoke, and noted a hint of a smile across his face as she said her name. The rest of the students hurried to their positions, but the air in the room had changed. Most of the students had a solemn look on their face. Pain even managed to pick out Rei, whose eyes were wide with apparent worry. Were they afraid of something?

"Very well, Elhaym... though I seem to recall hearing something a bit different in regards to your name. No matter. Tomo, Elhaym. You two will be sparring... Tomo is my best student, so I expect you to utilize your abilities to your fullest in order to show the class what you are capable of." Shai said, gesturing Tomo and Pain to their starting positions as he spoke. Pain was slightly curious as to Tomo's ability, being the best in the class... but there were few things she was less confident in than her ability to fight. Perhaps Shai had picked up on this, for when he spoke the next few words he was in fact looking directly at Pain.

"Keep in mind, this is a friendly spar among peers. Fight to your fullest, but do not fight to injure or kill, obviously. Do nothing that would prevent another student from partaking in the remainder of the course, or any of their other studies for the day."

Pain met Shai's glance as he spoke, and when she re-focused on Tomo she noticed that he hadn't ever looked away from her. He hadn't noticed, but Pain had a feeling Shai was speaking directly to her, rather than both of them. The silence was stifling, and Pain slid her feet apart, bringing her hands up to her chin with her left foot and fist both leading and extended slightly. Tomo seemed to melt into his stance, very fluidly bring his body low and entering some stance that Pain had never seen before. Pain actually heard someone giggle, and assumed that they must have been mocking her stance. Compared to Tomo, she looked like she was a street thug.

"Silence!" Shai yelled, stomping his foot hard upon the glossy hardwood planks that made up the flooring of the room. As the room became silent yet again, Shai simply said one word, and waved his hand. "Begin."

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(The Eighty-First Day) Chapter One: Perception [Solo]

Postby Elhaym on February 6th, 2011, 8:53 am

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Rei was worried for Pain. As Shai yelled his command to begin, she flashed back to the countless times she had been bested so thoroughly by Tomo. He was the best of the Acolytes in the room, and quite skilled. Pain's stance looked foreign and rough, and Rei had a moment to wonder why Shai was going so hard on her before the battle began.

Tomo lunged forward quickly, covering the ground between himself and Pain in the blink of an eye. He shot his right leg forward, a leaping kick that would impact Pain in the abdomen and push her backwards, probably to the ground... and Rei felt her throat close as she watched Pain, bouncing ever so slightly in her stance as Tomo moved to strike...

... and the unexpected happened. Without a hint of hesitation, Pain stepped back with her right foot, turning her body and snaking her arms around Tomo's leg. She stopped his momentum cold, her right hand around his ankle and the other gripping his knee. Tomo's face was a total mask of confusion as Pain pushed his attacking leg up into the air, throwing him off balance. She did not stop there, and before Tomo could correct himself she pushed on his leg hard enough to send him to the ground on his back. The dull sound of the impact was the only sound in the breathless room.

"Cease." Shai said, nodding his head. "Reset your positions."

Rei couldn't believe it. Her new roommate had stopped Tomo cold, and put him on his back in her fist movement. She watched as Tomo got to his feet, shaking his head as if to rid himself of the cloudiness the impact had bestowed upon his body. Pain simply took a step back, resetting and resuming her stance. Shai's voice boomed throughout the room, issuing the command to resume. Rei watched as Tomo came forward yet again, only this time he opted to pursue a safer method of attack.

Tomo's attack would be led with a quick jab from his left hand, presumably to be followed up by a succession of attacks. It never came to that. As he threw his first punch, Pain's body seemed to swirl away from his fist, her left arm pushing his fist away and her other careening forward towards Tomo's forehead. The impact was fierce, but Rei noticed that Pain had struck with the heel of her palm rather than her knuckles, obviously heeding Shai's words. Tomo stumbled back upon impact, dazed... but Pain did not relent. Her left hand came in quick, impacting the side of his torso. As his body sagged, her right hand came across again, impacting him in the jaw. Tomo seemed helpless, and Pain quickly brought her left leg around in a low kick that threw her entire body into movement. The low kick struck Tomo on the outside of his right knee, literally taking his legs out from under him and sending him to the ground yet again. Her body moved as though it were water, each attack a natural result of momentum and experience. The room was silent.

"Cease. That will suffice. Well done Tomo, Elhaym." Shai said, nodding to each student. Pain let her stance fade back into a more relaxed position, her eyes fixed on Tomo. He got to his feet with some difficulty, and bowed to her. Pain was confused for a moment, but returned the bow as she supposed that was tradition. The two stood for a moment, before Shai began to speak.

"I believe there are only two people in this room who predicted these results. Myself, and Elhaym. Hashin. Explain to me why Tomo lost these spars so quickly."

Pain scanned the room, having heard the name of her other roommate called. She spotted him as she began to speak, a thin young man with a bald head. His voice was deep, but thoughtful.

"Dian, it is obvious that Tomo was simply outmatched in terms of skill."

"Yes, that is obvious. Now, Hashin... why is it that I understood this from the onset, but you did not?"

Hashin closed his eyes for a moment, as if searching for the words to explain his thoughts. After a moment, he opened his eyes and began to speak. "Dian, I believe that the class, along with myself, considered Elhyam to be an ignorant, shy farmgirl who had no place in the classroom. I believe we assumed from her inability to speak Lhavitian, as well as her being new to the class that she was less talented and worthy of respect than others. It is obvious to me from Tomo's performance in the first spar against his opponent that he did not respect her as a warrior. From his performance in the second spar, it is apparent that he believed she had gotten lucky, and he respected her as a warrior even less."

Pain's eyes nearly bulged out of her head when she heard the 'ignorant farm girl' comment, but she stifled her expression. It seemed Hashin was very blunt, and as he spoke Pain began to feel that he was quite perceptive. Of course, she could never have vocalized anything that well.

"Correct, Hashin. Everyone in this room based their expectations of Elhaym on two things; her apparent stupidity, and her newcomer status. This disappoints me greatly."

Shai walked towards Pain as he spoke, reaching out to her and taking hold of her left arm. As if she were a rag doll, he lifted her arm into the air, and took a hold of her fist.

"If you are to be Shinya then you must understand that sight is weak, and perception is strong. What I mean by that is that you must not allow yourself to be fooled by outward appearances... you see things as if they are both far away, and close at the same time. You must take everything in, and then surmise your position. For instance, Elhaym's hands." Shai said, bending Pain's wrist gently as he examined her knuckles and fingers.

"Do you think a farm girl would have such scarring and callouses on her hands? Perhaps... but not where Elhaym does. Notice her knuckles. They are pitted and scarred, obvious warning signs of a warrior. Notice her elbows." Shai said, twisting Pain's arm again to closely inspect her elbow. "They too are scarred. Perhaps you would have noticed that her build is not lithe and muscular, as a poor laborer would be... but bulky, and powerful. Like a warrior. Her stance, while some apparently found it crude, was well practiced and maintained. These are obvious visual identifiers of someone who can fight, and has experience. Aside from that appearances, there was much to hint towards her confidence. Elhaym did not walk meekly into the room, she strode with purpose. Elhaym did not waver when I mentioned I was bringing my best student before her. Why? She is confident in her skills. You have all seen why."

"Let this be a lesson to all of you. Never judge a potential threat by such obvious parameters as you have today. Elhaym is not in need of instruction in this class. As such, she will be aiding me as Tomo does in the rest of your lessons."

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(The Eighty-First Day) Chapter One: Perception [Solo]

Postby Elhaym on February 6th, 2011, 10:12 am

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The class resumed as usual after the lecture from Shai, and the students broke off into pairs. Intially, Shai had Pain shadow him as he moved about the class offering advice and firm instruction. As Pain grew accustomed to the way the class was run, Shai sent her to a group of the younger Acolytes who struggled with the basic techniques they were learning.

Shai had told Pain to give advice according to her own experience and knowledge, despite the differences in their styles. Despite, Pain did her best. As Pain watched a young female Acolyte practicing her basic punching techniques, she quickly intervened to show her how to correctly guard her head. The young Acolyte's hands consistently drifted away from her face as she struck, leaving herself vulnerable to attack. Pain offered a solution, telling the girl to untie the sash around her waist. She instructed the girl to take a hold of the sash on both ends, and loop it behind her head. She then had her raise one fist to guard her face while she struck with the other, and had her alternate between her hands. Holding the sash that way made it easier for the young Acolyte to keep one hand up near her face... it was one of the techniques Pain's brother had taught her when she had struggled with the same concept initially.

Pain moved about, offering her experiences and tactics to the other students. Their impressions of her shifted from that of a new and untalented Acolyte to a woman with expertise in her craft. She shared several tidbits to the students as she watched, notably another male Acolyte who couldn't be much more than fourteen years old. He spoke little, and seemed to hold his breath as he practiced his attacks. Pain took him aside, and instructed him to yell when he struck. After each strike, she would cry out. As he began to do so, Pain noted that his strikes seemed to carry more power when he did this, as well as facilitate proper breathing during a fight. Renewed with a new vigor, the young Acolyte's abilities seemed to multiply before Pain's eyes. Shai watched with pleasure as his newest student took on the role of teacher for the youngest Acolytes.

As the class came to a close, Pain was locked in excited conversation between herself and her roommates. Rei and Hashin both approved greatly of her skill and ability to show the younger Acolytes their mistakes. Rei was almost bubbly, where as Hashin was more subdued and blunt. They were a stark contrast to eachother, and both a bit younger than herself... but Pain felt she was growing to like them both for what they were. She did not notice that Shai was speaking with a man who had entered the room unnoticed, nor did she notice when the same man approached her from behind and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"Excuse my interruption, Acolytes." The Shinya said in Common, glancing quickly to both Rei and Hashin and then fluttering his eyes. It was an odd gesture, but the point was made. They both said bowed quickly, and departed. Pain was left in the company of the Shinya she had not yet met.

"Good morning, Elhaym. My name is Kota. I will be watching over you as your sponsor of sorts for the duration of your training here as an Acolyte." He said, taking a quick bow which Pain returned without hesitation. "Shai tells me you are quite skilled in the martial arts. This is good, as we can focus on the other areas in which you lack skill."

Pain looked over Kota, her new sponsor quickly. He was probably around her age, maybe a few years older. His voice was soft, but carried a subtle sense of command. Pain nodded at his words, though she was slightly nervous about her performance in the other classes she would be taking. She'd had a crucial moment in her journey where she had been expected to reach a state of meditation, and failed. The idea that she would be expected to do this regularly was something she dreaded. Kota seemed to almost read her thoughts, and he spoke again.

"The next class would normally be a simple time of meditation. Most of the students need little instruction at this point, as they have grown accustomed to it. I have spoken to the Instructor, and he agreed that for the first few days I will take you aside and teach you personally what it means to meditate. It is very important that you understand this."

"Understood... so, err... where are we gonna' go to meditate?" Pain said, gathering her words quickly and ejecting them without processing what she was saying and how she was saying it. The stern look that crossed Kota's face reminded Pain of her error.

"... Dian." Pain added quickly, internally sighing with relief as Kota simply nodded and began to turn.

"Come with me. You may have done well here, but you still have much to learn."

His words rang true to Pain. As she followed him from the room amidst the crowd of Acolyte filing out, the idea that though she had surpassed everyones expectations here with ease, the rest of her training would not go as smoothly.

The true burden of the decision Pain had made had yet to fall upon her shoulders.

-FIN-

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(The Eighty-First Day) Chapter One: Perception [Solo]

Postby Kelpie on February 6th, 2011, 11:53 am

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XP: 3 Unarmed, 2 Teaching, 2 Leadership

Lore: The importance of not judging a book by it's cover, Being the center of attention, Star pupil of the Martial arts class, The Shinya Order (Basics), Shinya Sponser: Dian Kota (Partial), Learning how to fit in, Rei&Hashin (Forming a friendship), Teaching is the first step to leadership, Language: Lhavitian (Poor)

Mod Note: Great thread, it was a wonderful read. I love how you capture the Shinya vibe so, well, perfectly. It was very pleasing. Keep at it, looking forward to reading more! (Here's to hoping knowing a bit of the language will help you out now)
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