Flashback Chained Zeal

The Tanka acolytes get a first taste of armed combat. Their first opponents - each other.

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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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Chained Zeal

Postby Zen Tanka on January 7th, 2019, 11:14 pm

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1st of Spring
512 AV


Breathe in

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Repeat.

Meditation was one of the most important practices of the Shinya, a voice echoed in the depths of Zen's mind, not quite his own.The newly initiated acolyte repeated that single thought like it was a mantra of sorts. However, unlike a short phrase meant to help one in attaining inner peace, and control over oneself, he was as if trying to convince himself in the validity of said words - ones he was convinced, no, ones he knew were nothing but gibberish. All too well did Zed know the merits of that sacred tradition, after all, if it were repeated to the nearby wall as much as it was to him, surely the stones would know it too. That single comparison, against his will, made the side of his thin lips curl in a barely notable smirk.

Yet, Zen could feel the heavy gaze of his sponsor as well as he could feel the clothes on his back - however, quite a deal more uncomfortable. As the tap of sandals against stone signaled a horrifying entity drawing near, so did the air grow damp with the weight of disapproval. How was he supposed to concentrate when all the Madame did was silently judge him.

Well, maybe not too silently.

TWACK

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Chained Zeal

Postby Zen Tanka on January 7th, 2019, 11:33 pm

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The sound of wood hitting against a student's head seemed to wake the area up from its meditative sleep. If anyone, it did so with his brother, who lazily opened one eye to inspect the ruckus happening in front of him.

"What was that for!?" Asked the younger of the Tanka twins, his hand rushing to scratch the impacted spot.

TWACK

"What was that for, Madame?" Zen repeated, having received sufficient incentive to to so.

His sponsor stood towering over his cross-legged form. The middle-aged Shinya looked down upon her scrawny acolyte, blue eyes weary from disappointment as they glistened from behind a curtain of jet hair. She had been assigned to the brothers ever since Zen could remember, and for whatever reason, father trusted in her capabilities - a thing he would, in his usual dismissive way, repeat every time the younger of the twins would bring it up. Surely she despised him, or, at the very least, disliked him, Zen reasoned as he felt the second bump forming on his scalp. Otherwise why would she hit him so much? That was her only competency, swinging that fan of hers whenever she perceived his mistake at something, which was quite often.

Neither of the two expected an answer at the question, and so, none was given. Rather, they held locked gazed for several more moments, before Xena turned on her heel, only to take a single glance towards the morning sky.

"Enough..." She exhaled audibly, gesturing with her fan for the two students to get up.

Zen, this time willingly, complied with the order, but couldn't help but keep track of his brother's actions at the corner of his eye. So silent he was, the younger twin thought to himself, so... obedient. The word made his skin crawl. Maybe because he did not quite understand the true meaning behind it, and in truth, he indeed did not. Yet, it was quite often mentioned when he was scolded, alongside his many other shortcomings.

But today, today was different. Today, they will sing songs of his deeds, and just perhaps, father would smile at his achievements - for today, he has a chance to prove himself.

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Chained Zeal

Postby Zen Tanka on January 7th, 2019, 11:54 pm

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Mere moments after their morning meditation was, finally completed, Zen found himself observing his weapon of choice. He stood some distance away from it, unsure of how to approach the training tool. Surely, it was nothing more than some oddly shaped wood, and a lengthy piece of rope, crafted together to resemble an odd farming implement. Yet, the younger of the Tanka twins could not help but stare at it with a feeling of respect reserved for but a few people. But alas, one could only afford to admire it for so long, because it was time for action.

Zen approached the wooden replica of a kusarigama, the strange look his sponsor threw his way not lost on him. It was one an illiterate person would throw at a tome as they pretended to make sense of the inked paper. She did not understand him, and it was a fact nobody could convince Zen otherwise of. She, like most others, held little of said ability, for the only thing she understood, and the only thing she praised was his brother.

Suddenly, the quite light stings of her tessen began to hurt a lot more than they should have. Yet, most of his bitterness vanished the moment his fingers curled around the handle of the sickle. It was most strange, he had to admit. Surely, it was the same wood one could expect to find used in the makings of a bowl, or tavern mug, yet, its texture was different, so much different. It was his, and his only.

Now the only thing left, was to prove that he could beat Ken.

His mind was a whirlwind of thoughts as the visage of his brother began to grow larger in the distance. It was true, Zen admitted to himself, whenever they mock fought with branches the nearby forest so graciously provided, he would, eventually be beaten. And just maybe was Ken more fleet-footed, and would prove the superior in the races they did from time to time. But this was quite different.

Zen had been sneaking out of his room beneath the veil of night, practicing away from the ever watchful eye of Xena. While his brother slept, he would train. Be it the thickest of storms, or the most freezing of winters, it mattered not - because no price was high enough to pay for the look on Ken's face, after he finally beats him. The last year would have not been in vain, it couldn't have.

"Are ya' ready?"

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Chained Zeal

Postby Zen Tanka on January 22nd, 2019, 10:01 pm

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The older of the two boys graced the other with no response, except for a stern look. The moment before a bout was to be one of both observation, and, in some ways, admiration of one's opponent - spent in contemplative silence. Well, Zen certainly was not silent, if anything else. However, Ken he did admire, as hard at it was for him to admit it. There was something oddly... powerful in the way he carried himself. And, it was not like Toru, or some of the other boys who would puff their chests, and walk like the very ground was theirs, no. They both looked so similar, yet, Zen was sure that if he were to look beneath his brother's skin, there would be nothing but iron, and a heart of stone.

And for the briefest of moments, the younger of the Tanka wavered, his brow betraying his emotions. After all, how could he harm stone with a wooden stick?

Yet, that did not matter, for the fan their sponsor held in her hand cut trough the air, breaking his train of thoughts with a sound not unlike a chorus of crickets. The signal marked that the battle had finally begun. And apparently, Xena did not care to wait for Zen - and so he cursed to himself, having not gotten into his stance yet. The bout had begun only a moment ago, yet, it would seem it would end so quickly.

Except, that it didn't.

Ken still maintained his position, completely motionless save for the slow rising and falling of his chest. His 'blade', if one could call it that, stood pointed towards Zen, who was now some distance away, struggling to find a position he felt most comfortable for fighting. The younger of the twins allowed his gaze to dance from Ken to Xena - searching for any sign that would betray an attack, as well as more disapproval from his sponsor.

With his knees bent, and most of his weight set on his hind leg, Zen thought it best to go with the most classical cat stance. Decently flexible, it should do well in the fight, he supposed - or at least until he figures out how to hold the damned thing. Confidence seemed to erode as sweat moistened his palms - every perceived attack he would made having been met with an untimely demise. Now, he wished he had planned a bit more. Yet, how much preparation he had completed, would have to do.

Because Ken dashed, sword in hand, ready to strike the first, and perhaps last blow of the bout.

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Chained Zeal

Postby Zen Tanka on February 11th, 2019, 3:38 am

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However, it would not end there, it couldn't. Perhaps with more determination than skill, Zen met the wooden blade of his brother beneath the nook of his kama. He was almost awed at his own success thus far, yet, any grandiose thought of outdoing the older twin died when the jian undid itself from the weak clutches of its captor - waltzing straight towards his face. It would seem, that trapping the damned thing would require more effort.

Zen jerked his head backwards, however, not before the dull wood grazed his cheek. He felt the weak sting of it, a faint mark of pulled skin appearing across the left side of his face. The younger of the two was, however, anticipating a swift retaliation the moment he felt Ken's pressure atop his guard abate, and thus prepared an assault of his own. Truth be told, however, he did not quite know what he was doing as the weight of his weapon found itself in his hand, but, unpredictability was his forte after all.

With that thought, or rather, hope in mind, the kusarigama wielder reeled his hand backwards, before throwing his weapon's addition straight towards his brothers visage. A smile climbed atop his face one his eyes met that of his brothers, who seemed mildly confused at his improper technique, or mayhaps - panicked even. If by reflex alone, the older of the twins stepped back, completely avoiding the ill-aimed projectile. However, that was Zen's plan. Or, at least, became one he saw the opportunity at hand. Fate had smiled upon him it seemed, and the adrenaline that started guiding his otherwise misguided efforts began granting him clarity he could not experience otherwise. What more, the sting he could feel on both his cheek and pride began vanishing - it would matter little once he bested Ken.

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Chained Zeal

Postby Zen Tanka on February 11th, 2019, 3:48 am

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The weight of his weapon continued on its merry way, creating a lazy arch over the stony battlefield, where two brothers clashed - testing their might against each other. The 'superior fighter' has misjudged his ingenious move, Zen reckoned as he kept one eye on the object thrown, while the other remained firmly planted atop the lithe form of Ken's jian - his actual target. During the stretched moment, his memory flashed with the scene of one of the older Shinya demonstrating techniques of the kusarigama. Namely, the unique property, and ability it had when it came to grappling, and gaining control over another's weapon.

His left hand found itself around the rough rope again, pulling backwards as it attempted to guide it towards Ken's arms. Gaining control, Zen recalled yet again, and those words burned into his mind. It was all about gaining control, and the act would be a victory in itself - if nothing more than a symbolical one. Yet, the victory he desired never came. The current position the twins have found themselves in has, after all, been nothing more than a coincidence, perhaps luck on Zen's part. Still, luck could guide him to victory not - at least not alone.

Despite being painfully aware of the fact, somewhere in the back of his head, Zen would be damned if he did not try.

Ken had, however, realized what was happening, and at the end, nothing more than a skillful twist of his twist was needed to thwart his brother's pained efforts. What more, it would seem that the tides have turned, if they ever were on the side of the younger twin. The weight came down onto the paved tile with a dull thump, and remained where it stood. Rope piled around it, as a snake does around its prey. Somewhat more than a circle and a half it made, and again, Zen made a wrong decision - for he was, as he would soon find out, far too close to even thing of attempting such a move.

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