I. Tai Chi
Wudang-an-han: Translating as 'Body and Soul', Wudan-an-han is a unique Martial Art Form that teaches the practitioners how best to direct their force. Interlining the concept of Reiki, the concept of internal energy, it allows for superior freedom on the battlefield, and is also the stepping stone to Tai Chi. Wudang-an-han has several varying kata to slowly bring the user into the art of controlling one's energy distribution about the body. When learned, Wudang-an-han allows for the user to appear more powerful than they were before, to have discovered new strength in the forms. However, this is technically incorrect, as they are as strong as they where when they started, they simply are able to strike with pristine efficiency, losing nothing from their movements to the point of impact, and able to deliver a strike in it's entirety without the loss of a single drop of force.
First Kata -The Breath of Life: Before controlling one's Reiki, they must be aware of it's existence. This Kata introduces the pivotal breathing exercises and basic movements required to become aware of the energy within your own body. A mixture of slow, methodical movements and sudden, rapid strikes can be adapted to use in a fight, but the main use is to propagate the flow of Reiki and in doing so, eventually allow the user to become aware of it.
Second Kata - The Exhale: Once a person has sharpened their senses to their internal energy, then they may begin the lesson of controlling it. This involves a great deal of flowing movement, that is unsuited for the battlefield, unlike the First Kata. The new understanding of how their Reiki flows allows them to slowly become adapted to the movements of it. And then, once the user has adapted, they can begin to manipulate it as they desire, making it flow towards their target, or away, if they wish a strike that is weaker than it appears. Controlling their own ebb and flow allows for the user to take control of the ebb and flow of the fight itself, keeping the enemy off guard with their expectations of what is coming, compared to what actually came.
With these two martial techniques learned, the user can apply this concept further. The Reiki control allows one to use the concept in Cultivation, as detailed below. Without the expertise granted in controlling your Reiki, you can't use the same concept to draw in your Jing.
Tai-Chi Fist: An ancient martial arts style, and one of great potency on the battlefield. Learned from the same book as Wudang-an-han, this is far more than the modern sport. Rather, a style based around control of one's own power and the mastery of one's Dantian. Incredible martial prowess is demanded to ever continue past the first steps, and pass the inital point, solid Reiki control is a necessity. But once the person become skilled at this, then they can truly see the power inherent in Wulin's Strongest Style. This is the basic primer, the palm strikes, punches, and kicks that make up the foundation. There is very little cultivation of the Dantian, and this is not within the nine ranks of Tai Chi, merely the most basic of all forms. If a person was to learn this and no more, they could still make a living in Wulin. But for those who want more, there is a whole world behind this technique.
Dantian Cultivation: The basis of Tai Chi is the energy gathered within Dantian, the energy centre of the body. Cultivation begins with drawing Jing [raw energy] into the Dantian and compressing it, slowly processing it into a refined form, Qi [refined energy]. The drawing in of Jing is similar to the manipulation of Reiki, which is why the user needs to be skilled in the use of his Reiki before he can manage to reach beyond the foundation of Tai Chi Fist. Jing is created in the Kidneys, and can be drawn from with there Wudan-an-han's second Kata, the Exhale. Once within the Dantian, the process is either by Stoic Meditation, Martial Meditation, or a combination of the two, depending on the person in question.
The refinement of Jing to Qi is slow, to begin with, but certain herbal elixirs can stimulate the Dantian and allow it to refine Jing at a quicker rate for a limited time. Overuse of elixirs can rupture the Dantian and cause intense spiritual pain for the user, as well as causing them to lose considerable progress in their cultivation, as the Jing escapes, and the Qi leaks out. On it's own, Jing can allow the usage of the Rank 1 technique, The Hundred Armed Fists. However, once refined to Qi, It can grant the user access to Ranks 2 through to 6, depending on the level of cultivation. Each rank requires a greater level of Qi to function. Expended Qi becomes Moetsukiru [Expended energy] and returns to the Kidneys to be invigorated back into Jing. Experience allows for faster cultivation, and with a few months of experience, then the user can fill the Dantian with Qi within a few hours.
The techniques ranked 7, 8 and 9, require Qi to be refined into Shen [perfected energy] which first becomes apparent when the user masters Rank 6 technique, Dantian Exploding Penetration Strike. With the explosion of their Dantian and the focus of the massive degree of Qi to a singular point, the intense pressure compresses a small amount of this Qi into Shen, which the Dantian will instantly adapt to accommodate. The cultivation requires great effort to compress Qi to Shen, but this allows access to a much more potent energy source, reducing the need to cultivate constantly, and allowing much more powerful techniques to be used. Shen is much slower than Qi to begin with, but effort and tenacity will eventually reward them with a Dantian of incredible size and power, allowing the epitome of Tai Chi, Breaching Heavens Gates, to be used.
There exists three Forms of Dantian, each one with it's own traits and nature. These are the Twelve Lightning Bolts, the Five Fire Pillars, and the Great Ocean Beast. Determining your nature is easy with the right knowledge, and it allows you to cultivate in the most efficient manner, as well as determine how to use one's techniques.
Twelve Lightning Bolts is a Dantian that has the power of it's name sake, crackling Qi powering the user's techniques, but it has the longevity of a lightning bolt as well, and empties quickly in the heat of battle. However, it's small size means that it can also be filled quickly, allowing them to strike a balance between Martial Meditation and Tai Chi use in the heat of battle. It also allows them to compress Jing into Qi rapidly, allowing them to refine in battle, as long as there is Jing to refine.
Five Fire Pillars is a Dantian that spits heated Qi that warmed the body and burns the foe with it's strikes. The depth of it is decent, and so a user may fight a pitched battle and not worry that their supply will run dry unless it becomes extended, or they are thrust into battles beyond the first with no time to rest. Compression of one's Jing requires some effort, it does not happen at a running pace like the Dantian of Twelve Lightning Bolts, and with the sizeable storage, it is not something that can be done in a snap.
Great Ocean Beast is a Dantian that grants the power of it's namesake, the Ocean. Raging seas and crashing waves allow for a might beyond the usual of Qi, and also grants a Dantian the scope of the very seas themselves. Vast, and broad, the usage of techniques is not a thing that should be paid any mind to one with a full Dantian, however, like the Ocean it is a long and arduous process to fill once emptied. The cavernous size also hampers compression of Jing and results in a slow process from raw energy to purified energy. The work of many continuous hours, those who possess this Dantian develop a strong sense of patience.
The level of a person's Dantian is measured in stages. Bronze, Silver, Gold, Black Gold, and finally Yu-Shan. Each stage is split from 1, to 5, denoting how strong your cultivation has become within this stage. Once you reach rank 5 in a stage, diligent cultivation will allow you to ascend to the next stage, with your store of Dantian and it's potency increasing and allowing the user to compress a larger degree of Jing in one sitting. The usage of Shen, however, requires at least Gold 1 Dantian, as a Dantian below this will not have sufficent power to compress Qi sufficiently. One's Dantian does not just allow them to power the following techniques, but also invigorates the body and sharpens their movement, allowing them to be stronger and faster than they otherwise would be. This enhancement increases the stronger their Dantian becomes.
[Note, that these techniques are written thematically and a character's overall stats and abilities factor into both the user and the target for the final outcome]
Rank 1: The Hundred-Man Armed Fists: With the basis of Reiki control, the user can focus their Jing to their fists. Being a technique entirely based on it's strength and resistance this allows them to throw a punch as it if were from a hundred men with gauntleted fists. The style itself focuses on basic but solid fist strikes that are easy to throw, and lack any level of straining nature on the body or the energy supply, making it a good opening technique, or a technique best used against someone you are trying to exhaust. It does not stand well against those highly skilled in Martial Arts, however, as the basic nature of the technique makes it easy to see through. Basic does not mean it is a lacking technique, and those without considerable Martial Prowess will still be overwhelmed by it, it is simply in comparison to the other techniques of Dantian.
Rank 2: Circling Nine Cranes: Focusing one's Qi to their feet, the user's manoeuvrability increases, allowing them to slip around a target many times with ease, throwing them off with a constantly moving target and striking out with their nails, clawing skin and drawing blood to debilitate and eventually defeat their enemy. A technique suited to the slow crippling of the enemy, it bleeds them over time until they can no longer stand, and as such, can be passed over by some who wish more immediate results, or against targets with strong defensive abilities or explosive offensive abilities.
Rank 3: Illusionary Palm: Focusing their Qi to their arms, the power allows them to make movements that are not entirely truthful to the naked eye, causing a scattered delay in the ability to see the strike coming, and making the enemy perceive several palms for every one that is thrown. This rank is focused on palm strikes, the stunning and disrupting of the target's stance and flow, or in more dramatic cases, their organs and bodily functions. The degree of Qi put into the palm dictates how many are seen alongside the real one, and so a true fighter will judge their opponent, and adjust accordingly.
Rank 4: Three Thunder Fists: A master of Hundred-man Armoured Gauntlet decided that he needed something greater, something more powerful if he was going to continue in Wulin. And so, he cultivated, trained, and partook in elixirs until one day he broke through into Three Thunder Fists. An advanced form of Hundred-man Armoured Gauntlet, the user focuses their Qi to their fists, and then strikes with such might, their impact creates a thunder clap. It retains it basic roots, but enhances the use of Qi and the technique of the strike, allowing it to be superior in strength, but also more draining.
Rank 5: Shrieking Mountain Wind: A technique designed for those who would rather avoid being in close quarters, Shrieking Mountain Wind focuses Qi to the arms and then allows the user to strike out, with palms similar to Illusionary Palm. However, the culmination of the technique is radically different, as the Qi and the focused palm strike allows the user to fire compressed balls of air at the enemy, striking them without stepping into range. This is not something that is best used on a person more comfortable at range, nor does it hit as heavily as the other techniques, and so it is more a technique to fill in a gap, or keep a target at bay.
Rank 6: Dantian Exploding Penetration Strike: The apex Qi technique, Dantian Exploding Penetration Strike gathers all the Qi the user has cultivated to their fist, and then makes a swift and strong forward thrusting punch, resulting in an explosive attack of incredible destructive power. It is here that the Qi is put under such pressure it is compressed into Shen, and so this technique is the gateway to the profound lands of Shen manipulation.
Rank 7: Soul-Crushing Strike: Drawing their Shen to their fists, or feet, the user then strikes a targeted location with such delicacy it could be considered the caress of a lover. However, with the enhancement of Shen, even such a caress holds dark connotations, as the power of Shen passes through the obstacles of skin to splinter bone and impact organs, sometimes rupturing them entirely, based on the degree of Shen in opposition to the sturdiness of the target.
Rank 8: Wulin Spliting Legs: Channelling their Shen to their legs, the user becomes empowered by the raging energy, that they may split Wulin asunder with their power. The technique revolves around a lot of leg work, with immense power and precision, granting superior range to the fist, and allowing the user to smash through any obstacle they are confronted with in their goal to bring about their target's defeat.
Rank 9: Breaching Heavens Gates: The epitome of Shen Manipulation, this technique is highly draining to use, and so only Great Ocean Beast masters can use it for more than a short burst. It channels the power of Shen to the entire body, and fills it with unparalleled strength, enpowering them to use the true Tai-Chi Fist style, striking with a vicious, but focused power from every point of their body, and overwhelming their target until it lays defeated before them, and they have triumphed.
Shinmeiryuu: Translating to God’s Cry School, this sword style is considered the brother to Tai Chi Fist. Over three thousand years old, Shinmeiryuu is a very scarce kenjutsu in the modern world of 2417. In the likeness of Tai Chi, this is a style that advances and grows stronger as the user continues to practice the style itself, as well as with cultivation of the user’s Dantian. Control of the blade is key, as this is something that requires a large amount of skill in the way of the sword in order to be able to grasp fully, and use to its maximum potential, another parallel to how Tai Chi Fist requires incredible martial skill to perform and master. However, what is strange about this particular sword style, as well as what makes it different from Tai Chi Fist, is that ranks one, four, and seven are not standalone techniques that require Qi. Instead, tying to the nature of a sword, they are “stances”. These are ways of holding the weapon that grants the user access to the two other techniques that require that prerequisite. Furthermore, this parallels to Tai Chi Fist even more with the fact that Shinmeiryuu itself -- outside the nine techniques that it grants -- is just the starting point for Gods' Cry School. This technique itself is just the simple practicing kata of the entirety. There is little cultivation for this, but there is still so much more to something so simple.
[Author's Note: These techniques are written thematically and a character's overall stats and abilities factor into both the user and the target for the final outcome]
Rank 1 - Ryote (Art of Two Hands): Ryote is one of the three stances that the user achieves whenever they ascend in rank in Shinmeiryuu. The art of two hands is rather simple. Simply by grasping the sword with the two hands of the flesh, and taking the footwork and stance of a typical Kendo practitioner, one has entered Ryote. This opens the pathway to the two other ranks in this branch of Shinmeiryuu, granting two techniques that are focused on the aspects of the blade itself, Blade of Nought, and Blade of One’s Self. Therefore, this is only the starting point of Shinmeiryuu.
Rank 2 - Blade of Nought: One must always be able to have a sword with them. To a user of Shinmeiryuu, everything is a sword. By focusing the user’s Qi into their hands, and allowing that Qi to flow into an object that the user is holding, this weaponizes it, turning the object of the user’s focus into a sword. This allows for a large amount of versatility in the user’s arsenal, as well as allows them to have a weapon on them at all times. However, this would not be a sword style without an effect on blades themselves. By the user performing the same focusing of their Qi into their sword, they can enhance the durability and sharpness of their weapon for five to seven posts. However, some high-level Tai Chi users have shown to be able to extend this to nine to ten posts.
Rank 3 - Blade of One’s Self: Blade of One’s Self is a technique that, instead of enhancing the sword’s properties through Qi, the user empowers their sword with their Dantian. Whether it be through Five Flaming Pillars and coating the blade in a raging fire, through Twelve Lightning Bolts and coating the blade in crackling lightning, or through Great Ocean Beast and inspire the weapon to take on the aspects of the Dantian -- increased power. This doesn’t take much to use, but can only be used five times before initiating the single turn wait time that it needs to recharge. Furthermore, this is a unique technique in Shinmeiryuu, due to the fact that once it has been used for the first time, it is not restricted to a stance -- it is something that is merely activated by sheer force of will, allowing it to be used at any time once performed.
Rank 4 - Hakai (Art of Destruction): This is the second stance that is unlocked when a user progresses through Shinmeiryuu. As a continual progression of the first stance, Ryote -- the art of two hands -- this opens up more techniques when it this stance is held, similarly to Ryote. However, instead of gripping the sword with two hands and taking the form exactly like the aforementioned stance, this has the user hold the sword with three hands. While many would be left scratching their heads after the mention of three hands, this is not something that is entirely impossible. Those with tremendous willpower have been noted, and even Shinigami with high levels of control over their energy has been noted to be able to do this. However, with one’s Dantian and Qi, it can become rather tricky. Functioning in a way similar to the previously mentioned methods, this allows the user to grasp their weapon with both hands of the flesh, along with the hand of the spirit. As this stance is achieved, this allows for a gateway to two more techniques: Demon-Stopping Slash, and Stone-Rending Hew.
Rank 5 - Demon-Stopping Slash: Being a style that was meant to stop Hollows, the rank five technique “Demon-Stopping Slash” is something that does just that, and aims to prevent them from using what Hollows are known for -- their High-Speed Regeneration. While this has mostly been broadened to incorporate regeneration as a whole, the origins of the technique have not been altered. With the strike of the sword being empowered by the user’s Qi, they are able to use that inner energy to make a powerful slash, coated with the energy, which also is remaining in the wound that they make. While this highly depends on the Dantian rank of the user in question, as well as their overall stats, but even at the lowest levels, one can see a large slow in regeneration speed, making the act much harder than it usually would be. If one were to reach the final ranks of Gold, or higher, they would be able to leave such a powerful mark that they would negate Regeneration as a whole for two posts. This can only be applied to someone once per five posts.
Rank 6 - Stone-Rending Hew: As a side to the Demon-Stopping Slash, “Stone-Rending Hew” is another technique of the Rank 4 stance, Hakai, the Art of Destruction. In a way to parallel the Demon-Stopping Slash, this technique draws on the power of Qi to, instead of breaking through the fast healing of what this style was used to hunt, this is meant to break down the defense of those it cuts. Whenever a cut is made, the Qi from the blade will have an immediate effect on most types of defense, most commonly -- and its most well-known usage on -- Hierro, the typical defense of an Arrancar. The defense in question, upon being hit with this attack, will find that their armor/defense will not be able to block this attack very easily. The blade that attacks is one that is highly refined with Qi, able to align itself with the plating of said defense incredibly easy, granting it a bit more leeway when cutting through. Furthermore, this has also been something that causes the Shen within the strike to spread, causing the armor in question to become much more brittle and fragile, allowing for more damaging strikes. In the higher realms of Tai Chi, such as in Gold or Black-Gold, there have been cases where the user can extrude Qi/Shen through the sword after the hit to degrade any armour or armour-powers for a short term of three posts, but this causes the consumption of power to sky-rocket and become comparable to Rank 9 techniques.
Rank 7 - Keihatsu (Art of Enlightenment): This is another stance within Shinmeiryuu. However, this one is quite different from the other two, especially with how the stance is executed. Firstly, this stance, along with the two techniques of this stance requires the Perfected Energy of Tai Chi -- Shen. With this stance, one must let go of their weapon. Instead of holding it with their physical hands, they must hold it with the hand of spirit. Comprised of Shen to ensure a firm grip, the user is granted incredibly swinging speed, as the blade is able to move at the speed of thought, granting immense flexibility and fluidity with their movements, allowing for strikes that would normally be impossible from certain standpoints. However, this is something that requires a large amount of focus, and can sometimes leave a user open for attack if they are caught off with this stance.
Rank 8 - Silent Night Wind: This is one of the final basic techniques that a user of Shinmeiryuu can use. After unlocking the Art of Enlightenment, Keihatsu, one can use these two techniques. Firstly, Silent Night Wind is used to counteract energy-based attacks. By concentrating Shen into the blade of the sword, the user is able to quickly slice through energy itself, using the Shen on the blade to align itself with the attack that it meets. This has a limit of being used three times, before initiating a two post cooldown. Furthermore, this is something that also has been known to have an additional effect on it. Upon an attack on the physical body with this technique, one would be able to notice that their energy will be highly disturbed, causing immense instability within the opponent's energy attacks for two posts. Although, with multiple strikes, Silent Night Wind is also able to cause such an instability within the opponent that they can stop energy-based attacks from flowing and exiting the user properly for two posts. Things such as Ceros, or anything that leaves the user's weapon or body in the form of energy.
Rank 9 - Caress of a Thousand Hells: The most arrogant technique in all of Wulin, as well as one of the most powerful and potent abilities within the basic collection of Shinmeiryuu techniques. By emitting such a thick intent, this ability is purely offensive in nature, requiring a large amount of Shen in order to pull off. Through such thick intent, this causes an opponent to have a vision of what's to come -- not quite an illusion, more of an extremely brief glimpse into the future. Utilizing the stance of Keihatsu, the user is able to use the thought-swinging speed to simultaneously attack three places at once -- the neck, the chest, and the legs. This is a rather simple technique, solely because of its lack of an additional effect and immense striking range, allowing the user to have the potential to take an enemy off guard and inflict major damage at one of the regions that are targeted. However, this has an immense drain on the user's total capacity and is not able to be used freely -- restricted to being used once per post, and four times per thread.
I. Cheong Bu
Not all Cultivators cultivate the same way. There is more than the original, Aang Feng made Tai Chi in the world of cultivation. Such is the way with the so-called ‘Chinese Tai Chi’, known as such because it’s creator – much less famous than Aang Feng, since lost to obscurity – was born in China. It’s Dantian operates the same, but is called by a different name, instead it is called Ling. One’s Realm is measured in a grade, from First Grade, at the start, to Fifth Grade at the current apex. The rank within the realm is also changed. 1 is Dim, 2 is Glowing, 3 is Shining, 4 is Lusterious, and 5 is Ascendant. These are merely cultural differences, and have no impact on how the Dantian acts. The only difference in how a Dantian acts, is the form. Every cultivator of Cheong Bu has the same Dantian, which grants no special properties and is slightly larger than Five Flame Pillars, and fills slightly faster as well.
What does have an impact, is how the Dantian manifests. It does not have nine Dantian-powered martial techniques, but instead has one ability, and seven stages of that ability. Cheong Bu’s Step, is a technique that circulates Ling through the body to enhance its physical activity. It is rated from the First Step, which is on par with a Rank 1 Tai Chi technique, to the Final Step, which is the equal of a Rank 9 Tai Chi technique. This lack of offensive techniques has led the cultivators of Cheong Bu to become superior martial artists to other Cultivators, as they make up for their lack of force, with skill.
Their Cultivation aids are also different. Instead of herbal Elixers and Qi Alchemy, they use Lingshi. Crystals that follow the grade of the Dantian and have a unique ability to propagate Ling within themselves. Given a mote of Ling, they can fill themselves to the brim, and this energy is then drawn out by the Cultivator, giving a boost depending on the grade of Lingshi. Equal Grade Lingshi can fill themselves in twenty-five hours, from mote to full capacity. Lower Grade Lingshi have this time for every grade below, making filling lower Lingshi a profitable business for high level Cultivators. Higher Grade Lingshi triple the time needed to fill, for each rank above. This is compounding, so it can take twelve weeks for a First Grade Cultivator to fill a Fifth Grade Lingshi. While they have some drawbacks from their Elixer counterparts, they also have no limit on how many times you can draw from them, unlike Elixers. And they are able to be used consistently, without becoming exhausted. Wither they work with a Dantian’s Jing, Qi and Shen is not something that has ever been answered. Maybe, it is time to remedy that…
I. Blood Fists
Far from the Orient, the secrets of Tai Chi were unlocked by Western Druids in an attempt to breed mighty warriors for battle. Much like a lot of The West, Blood Fists is crude, practical, and to the point, dramatically deviant from the flowing, majestic forms of Tai Chi and Cheong Bu. It also has a lot less techniques, possessing only three. Two of which are wide-spread, the third being rare. This ‘European Tai Chi’ is made for battle and killing, so it does not have the same beauty and felicity that the others possesses. It’s Dantian, known simply as ‘The Center’ is slightly smaller than Great Ocean Beast, but fills faster. The energy is known as Meln, a bastardized word that used to be longer and mean something, but has since been lost. It effects the blood, most of all. Heavily spiked with Dantian-powered Adrenaline and other chemicals to promote vigorous activity, it grants a passive ability of enhancement, and an active ability that can be toggled, trading stamina for increased activity. Its Realm is measured in Blood, going from Blood of Man, to Blood of Trolls, Blood of Giants, Blood of Dragons, and currently ending with Blood of Gods. Each rank in this Realm is a drop. One Drop Blood of Trolls, Three Drops Blood of Giants, and so on. The three techniques, are as follows;
First Technique – Blade-Deflecting Body: Getting stabbed can ruin your day, regardless of how good a fighter you are. This was the first thing that the Western Druids thought, and so it was the first thing that was remedied, with this technique. Channelling Meln through their body, they are granted a temporary protection against bladed instruments, and so do not risk the loss of life or limb with every moment of a fight against a bladesman.
Second Technique – Armour-Crushing Fist: While those with the Blood of Dragons find little issue punching through the sheets of metal that lesser men adorn themselves with, not everyone can reach such a level, and for those below it, the sheets of metal pose a greater issue to break through and hit the man beneath. So the second technique was created shortly after the first, allowing the Cultivator to channel Meln to their fists, and then punch with great might, smashing through the meagre defences of the lesser creatures, and to smash the man beneath. With this, the legends of an unarmed man felling a fully adorned Knight spread through the lands of Europe.
Third Technique – Dragon-Felling Blow: While the first two techniques were made by the Western Druids, and sufficient for a time, there was a third made later on, in a climactic battle. The Great Hero, Siegfried, came across a Dragon. A monster he could not slay with fist or sword. And so he reached inside, dragged everything he had in him to the front, and unleashed a blow of momentous proportion, blowing a hole in the Dragon’s hide, and allowing his mighty blade Garm to end the beast’s life.
Later, this was perfected, and then taught to those who had ascended to the Blood of Dragons. A final technique for the grim times when nothing else worked. And so it became the rare, ace for those in the upper echelon of Blood Fists.
They possess a unique Cultivation aid, which involves punching the ground with Meln. From this hole, a tree will grow rapidly, And then the man will return and punch the tree with Meln. The next day, it will blossom plump fruit, with the man can then eat and draw in the potent energy within, or continue to punch the tree with Meln. The fruit starts at the same Realm and rank as the puncher, and grows from there, without limit – to a point, each day the tree demands more, and eventually it will have more power than the person, and so he can no longer enhance it any more. This makes these Affrechia the most versatile and potentially powerful elixier in the world, should a man have the patience to punch for weeks. These fruit can be eaten by any Cultivator, but one’s Affrechia is a personal thing, and so it is rare to hand them out to another.
I. Cultivation Aids.
No one man is an Island, and so Cultivators quickly came to realize that they needed some form of support if they were going to get anywhere. Detailed below, is the information about all the Cultivation Support in Wulin, be it places or objects.Zian-Zi – The Continent of Cultivation
Zian-Zi was originally in a massive valley, the location of which since lost to the sands of time. It was the centerpiece of Wulin, where every supporter and nearly every cultivator came to engage with each other. They would talk, spar, trade techniques, trade secrets, form societies, make plans, and generally deeply play into the idea that every Cultivator, is a Brother or Sister. But after a fight for dominance between two Yu-Shan warriors, it was heavily damaged, and many innocent supporters were heavily wounded.
As such, this prompted two things to happen. One, was Aang Feng creating the Spiritual Lords to ensure that the Cultivators were kept in check, and two, was that Zian-Zi itself was moved to somewhere else. Some believed it had been sunk to the bottom of the ocean, prompting the legends of Atlantis. Others believed it was hidden within the Earth for the worthy to find, giving birth to the legends of Shangra-la. But wherever it was, Aang Feng laid a vast Array powered by his still peerless prowess, and hid it from the world. After this Array was laid, nobody ever again knew where Zian-Zi was. Wulin was still kept in with the produce from Zian-Zi, but as to its actual location, it was was a mystery. However, during World War 3, refugees found the entrance while exploring caves to determine how well they would suit their needs. Not one of them could tell the other where they were exactly, or even how long it took them to arrive. But deep in the bowels, they arrived and beheld Wonder. Aang Feng had consolidated in this secret world beneath the world, and there was not just herbalists and Qi Alchemists. But also those who grew Lingshi, and men who taught the art of creating one’s Affrechia, as well as Soulforgers and Brewers of Souls. Every supporter of any Cultivator existed here. They had even kept an eye on Wulin and adapted as the size was reduced, storing great libraries of everything a man could dream and far more literature than he could read in one life time, even a Dantian-enhanced lifetime. The refugees decided to keep the secret, to avoid the problems of why they had moved in the first place.
Having kept up with Wulin, and seeing these refugees as a sign to once again open their doors properly, and once again accept those who called themselves Brother, and Sister, of Wulin. And fortunately, With three World Wars and the near-extinction of Humanity, Yu-Shan cultivators had disappeared into the annuals of history, and even Black Gold cultivators were of such a rarity that one ruled all that remained of Wulin. The Art of Support exploded back into the world, and they even made an intelligent move with the creation of The Wandering Bazzar. Obviously named, it was lead by The Queen Of Wulin, and kept in direct contact and supply with Zian-Zi. So that they may know much better without revealing their own hand directly. They also sent out many Seekers, to bring back the lost artifacts of Wulin's Golden Age.
The Wandering Bazzar
Zian-Zi can not move, and this becomes an issue for those too far away to reach it regularly. And so, the Queen Of Wulin suggested a great Caravan, ladened with the goods of Zian-Zi, to wander the world and deliver it's supplies to those who were in need and to far away. Thus was born, The Wandering Bazzar. A hotspot for meeting up with Cultivators outside of Zian-Zi, The Wandering Bazzar has mostly everything a Cultivator could need to enhance himself and improve his journey through Wulin. They operate on both currency exchange, and the exchange of labour and services for those without the purse required to buy the wares. Due to the size, and the amount of people it is catering too, there is always work to be found here, and many a Cultivator has kick-started their life in the service of the Wandering Bazzar. While physical labour is always needed, the Bazzar is also interested in those that will supplement it's stock, and allow it to maintain a self-sufficient status, rather than having to return to Zian-Zi to resupply. Anything and everything a chap can unload, is sold of a barrow in The Wandering Bazzar.
Two basic ways to cultivate, Martial and Stoic. However, this falls to become less than is needed in high Gold to low Black Gold. Stoic Meditation demands years to break through from Gold to Black, and then as much as decades for each Black Gold. By the time people have spent the time to get to Black Gold in the first place, they don't have decades to spend getting up.
This, led to the creation of a Cultivation Technique. Starting at Silver Rank, and ending with Yu-Shan rank. Each Cultivation technique allows for a specific movement or activity to increase the speed at which you cultivate. A Technique below your dantian by one rank is inefficent, but still a little bit faster than without. Two below, and you might as well not bother. The reverse is true, with one rank above granting an increased speed of development, and two ranks above granting highly improved rates.
There are issues, with Cultivation Techniques above your Dantian, however. One rank above makes a person's body ache and feel nauseous as the increased amount of power fills their Dantian. Two ranks above, and they feel incredibly bloated, eliminating their appetite - people have been known to starve to death using two ranks above, as they can't get anything to eat - and their body is filled with severe aches, pains, muscle strain, and heart plantations. It is generally considered more trouble than it is worth, unless you are desperate. Three ranks above leads to a grotesque death.
Soulforging is a manner of crafting weapons and armour that are imbued with the crafter's Dantian energy [Refer to Tai Chi thread linked above]. The most common equipment found are bracers, but with the right crafter and enough money, you can comission anything. Soulforged gear comes in three levels. Inscription, Engraving, and Gestalting. Each level is rated the same as a Dantian, from Bronze to Black Gold, with the mythically rare Yu-Shan Inscribed lingering somewhere between rumor and reality.
Inscription is the most common, as it is easy to create and has low energy demands. Such that the crafter can create equipment of one rank higher than his Dantian, allowing a Bronze rank Soulforger to create Silver rank Inscriptions. They are considerably more durable than the mundane counterparts, espeically when broaching the ranks of Gold and Black Gold, and they make excellent weapons due to the pristine edge and incredibly solid nature. They are made by inscribing symbols onto the face of the equipment, and imbuing your Dantian energy into the inscription as it is being written. The cartographic synergy allows the energy to be enhanced to a degree determined by the complexity of the inscription. With Bronze-rank inscriptions being the most simple, and Yu-Shan Inscriptions being masterworks of a virtuoso.
Such demands for size and complexity generally means that higher rank gear is larger, such as breastplates or arm-sleeves. Once the inscriptions have been imbued with the energy, they latch onto the object, and can not be scrapped off despite being merely ink. Sufficiently powerful blows such as extreme heats or mighty winds, can disable it, however. Micro-inscriptions can be found, but are dramatically more expensive than their standard-sized brothers. These Micro-Inscriptions are very small versions of the originals, and means that there can be higher ranking gear while retaining a smaller, more maneuverable sizes, such as daggers for weapons, and wrist-guards for armor.
Engraving is more complex, as it is carving into the item itself, rather than simply drawing on it. The energy demands are considerably higher, and so the crafter can only make equipment rated equal to his Dantian level. This is the main reason why high level gear like Black Gold Engraving is incredibly rare, and why there is no Yu-Shan Engravings. At least, nothing modern, but the old warriors of Wulin hid their treasures jealously. The complexity ruling remains, and so with the increased effort, the superior energy demands, and failure being harder to rectify than simply rubbing out the ink, Engraving equipment is a lot more expensive than Inscription equipment, but the power is of a higher level, which makes it much more desirable, and with the fact that it is engraved rather than simply inked, it is impossible to damage without breaking the equipment itself. Not impossible for Bronze Rank equipment, but slowly becoming such as it approaches Gold and Black Gold.
Gestalting is the apex of Soulforging. In Modern times, Gestalting rare, only practiced by one Forger in a hundred. The incredible skill required to make anything more than the absolute basic equipment puts most Soulforgers off, despite the lucrative gains they could achieve. Unlike the other two styles, Gestalting requires equipment forged specifically for the enhancement, by the Soulforger in question and glazed with a thin layer rare herbs used for
Elixiers by Cultivators. And then the combination and entwining of both Engraving and Inscribing, with the blood of the Soul Forger being used instead of ink. This creates an decadently greedy piece of equipment, demanding such energy that a Soul Forger can only craft equipment one rank below their Dantian. This makes Gold Gestalt equipment relics that are rabidly sort after, and Yu-Shan equipment literally impossible for the modern crafter, much to the despair of many.
The final result of this colossal task, is nothing short of perfection itself. The raging power that is contained within a Gestalt equipment can cause the user to be able to crush their opponents without fear, as the blade never dulls, the Armour never breaks, and the gauntlet hits like the hammer of the gods itself.
However, while these pieces of equipment work perfectly fine for anyone who wields them, they are truly designed for those who cultivate, those who practice Tai Chi. These people can activate the inscription, engraving, or Gestalt with their own power, and be temporarily invigorated in body and spirit [4 posts]. They can only draw from one piece of equipment at any one time, however, so it is best to draw from the most potent source available, unless you want to hide your strength. Also, for the rich man, it is cumbersome to carry such equipment about with him all the time, and so you can absorb it into your Dantian for later use, but only if you are the same rank as the equipment. Even if Inscribed equipment was made by a Bronze Rank, you would need to be a Silver Rank to absorb it, giving a good balance between power, and versatility.
An interesting evolution of the Soulforged equipment is that Spiritual Beings can focus inwards and meld the equipment into any form that would clash or collide with it, such as a Zanpaktou Bankai that covers the entire body. The user is still restricted by the same rules, and would need to be Silver Rank to meld their equipment into their spiritual form.
Soul Rice Wine
Sometimes, a cultivator wants to get drunk. But at the same time he thinks that getting drunk would waste a lot of time that he needs to spend on his Cultivation. And so, instead of being sad, that man went and did something about it, and invented Soul Rice Wine.
Somewhere between Soulforging and Qi Alchemy lies the art of creating Soul Rice Wine.While it requires some skill as a brewer, it is not nearly as complex as the construction of soulforged equipment, and so the lower and medium level beverages are much more prolific. Occasionally they are the preferred method of advancement, eschewing Elixers for the comparatively unlimited imbibement of Soul Rice Wine. It comes in the same ranks as one's Dantian, as their energy must be imbued into each vat, and higher ranked drinks have more that can be absorbed. It is easy enough to infuse, as the brewer has to be one rank below the rank he is trying to create. The increase in rank also increases the potency of the drink, and it is the smoothest alcohol on the face of creation. This, means that it is well sort after and drunk by many who are not Cultivators at all. This demand creates great supply in the Bronze and Silver realms, to the point that it can be sorted relatively cheaply and relied upon to advance one's Cultivation.
However, while enjoyed with gusto and great for the Soul, it is still alcohol at the end of the day. Excessive overindulgence will still turn someone into a drunken fool, and drinking to much of the beverage, especially that which is higher than your Dantian ranking, can lead to alcohol poisoning. It is preferred despite it's weaker power of enhancement because overdosing does not rupture the Soul, and activates immediately, rather than assisting in speed of Cultivation. Drinking Soul Rice Wine considerably higher than your Dantian rating [2 ranks above] will induce severe nausea and intense inebriation that will last for days. This causes a dramatic spike in the cost of Soul Rice Wine above the rank of Silver, since the demand sharply drops as non-cultivators avoid the hellish effects of drinking such. And with the distinct lack of Black Gold Cultivators in the world, both to brew and to consume, Yu-Shan level drinks are phenomenally more expensive than their brothers, since it is not made commercially, and must be ordered specifically.
Finally, despite it's name, it is not made with rice, nor is it really a wine. It is brewed from fermented Spirit Grass and other miscellaneous ingredients, and stands alone in the realm of booze. Each rank requires a few more ingredients, But only Black-Gold and Yu-Shan level drinks require esoteric ingredients. While Bronze realm Soul Rice Wine is delectable, and tantalises the taste buds of even the most jaded connoisseur, each realm tastes considerably better than the Realm before. And yet, it is not really the taste or texture of anything else. It can only be described, as itself. It's name derives from the dark red, wine-like colour, and the claim that it is 'like rice, for your soul'.
When a Cultivator reaches Gold, Elixers lose their grasp, and become less helpful for progression. Rather than just bare it, the denizens of Wulin adapt, flex around their needs, and create something new. This new, is Qi Alchemy. While also encompassing Shen, it’s name stuck, and so is referred to Qi Alchemy, rather than Shen Alchemy. Still, despite the name, it allows a Cultivator access to higher powered elixers and other aids. To consume these elixers, one has to be Gold Rank, or else they will immediately suffer the effects of an overdose. But for Gold and Black Gold cultivators, they are salvation from the neigh-uselessness of usual Elixers.
These Qi Alchemy pills are ranked by the alchemist that makes them. Their Dantian is not brought into consideration, but rather a different ranking that allows them to imbue pills with greater potency and efficiency. They are Bud, Root, Stem, Leaf, and Flower. Anyone can learn Qi Alchemy, but it is complex and None-cultivators cannot rise above Root, needing Silver to become Stem, Gold for Leaf, and Black Gold for Flower. There is claim of a rank above Flower for Yu-Shan alchemists, but no such thing existed in the Golden Age. All Alchemists were far to busy learning their trade to Cultivate to such extremes.
Natural Oddities are oddities, found in nature. Nobody is entirely sure where they come from or how they are made, but they exist in the world and are good supplements for people trying to enhance their Tai Chi, as long as one pays attention to the limits and restrictions that each oddity has.The Frozen Bolt
The Frozen Bolt is a low-level Natural Oddity found in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest. This Natural Oddity takes the shape of a bolt of lightning, complete with the intense crackling energy that can be seen within, but is made exclusively out of ice that seems to resist all attempts at melting it. While low-level, it is still very valuble to Tai Chi Cultivators, as the power that has built up inside is a great deal of natural Qi that can be used for a great boost to silver ranked cultivation, and a decent boost to Gold rank cultivation. Bronze Rank cultivators can not use this because it will produce too much energy, and cause their Dantian to rupture. Black Gold cultivators can use this, but they will barely see anything worth the money spent.
For Silver Dantians, they can grow two ranks with this item. Gold Dantians of the first Rank can grow one rank with this item. The only problem is, once it has been used, it is merely an interesting ornement, and doesn't even have the crackling lightning effect inside it. As such, it is only really used by rich Cultivators.Man of Magma
Found in the heart of Volcanos, Man of Magma is just as it sounds. A solidified lump of magma in the perfect shape of a man, even detailing his hair, eyes, teeth and muscles. Some have been known to have leg hair, or dimples. While their uncanny appearance is unnerving to some, they are still highly sort after for the incredible stores of Natural Energy that can be found within them.
They are Silver-Excluding, as a Cultivator with such a rank would burn to death as if submerged in Magma were he to try and use it, melting a most gruesome death. To touch, it is very warm. A warmth that is confusing, as the person is pretty sure anything that warm should burn his fingers to the bone in seconds, but it doesn't.
For a Gold Realm Cultivator in their first Rank, it grants two levels. A Second rank will gain one level. Beyond that, they will see diminishing fractions of their rank gained. Black Gold Cultivators will see more of a boost than with the Frozen Lightning Bolt, but still not anything major. The Screaming Shell
Found in places of extreme darkness, where the Sun never shines, the Screaming Shell looks like an ordinary conch shell. However, unlike most shells which, when placed to your ear grant the sounds of the sea, this shell grants the blood-curdling shrieks of a thousand banshees. As such these shells are kept in locked, metal boxes until sold.
These are Gold-Excluding, for the first Rank. A Cultivator who tries to use them before the second rank of Gold will have their mind shattered into a thousand pieces, and forced into a short stint of hysteria as their organs shut down one by one. Choking, retching, and clawing at their skin in a disturbing display before their heart finally stops, and they pass from the mortal coil.
For a Gold Realm Cultivator in their Second Rank, it grants three levels. A Third rank will gain two levels. A fourth rank will gain one level. A fifth rank gains a little more than half the progress to breaking through, roughly 60%. A Black Gold Cultivator in the First Rank will see one level increase. Further levels will see decent gains, albeit not truly a full level.Broken Wing Crane
Found at the apex of the Eight-Thounsanders - a collection of fourteen mountains that are at least eight thousand meters tall - on the top of a dead tree. The Crane is only found once a year, and nobody knows which mountain it will appear on until it appears on the 86th moon of the year. The tree itself has a thousand branches, stretching out for miles, but has no life upon it at all. Upon one of these branches sits a crane, with a broken wing. It is made out of wood, but so perfectly crafted it seems to be a crane that was turned into wood, rather than a statue created. Where ever a person stands, if they can see the Crane, the Crane seems to stare back. And to look at the Crane brings about a bone-deep feeling of terror and trepidation. No being is immune to the feeling, no being can shrug off the ominous stare of the Crane, and all beings feel as if the stare of the Crane is the harbinger of the End Times. There is no telling if this is true or not, but such a universal reaction must have some truth to it. They are very rare due to the fact that the Crane manifests a protector if it is pulled from the tree, and this protector has the power to make the mountain upon which it is perched tremble. Fleeing does no good. The protector will always find you. Always
The Broken Wing Crane is Gold-Excluding. If a Cultivator tries to draw from the Crane before they have hit Black Gold, they slowly turn an intensely pale colour, and drop dead. Their soul never enters the Soul Cycle, nor is it delivered to Hell. And the Crane seems to smile. For a cultivator in the first level of Black Gold, they gain three levels, in the second level of Black Gold, they gain one. The power of the Broken Wing Crane is such that even a Cultivator in the first rank Yu-Shan Realm will feel a little less than half of their Dantian filled.
The Crane is kept within an obsidian box, inside a box crafted from Ebony, with both boxes carved intricately with warding runes, and then tightly wrapped in Linen that has soaked in Holy Water for two weeks and absorbed the light of the Moon through those weeks. After that, it is stored underground in a special confinement chamber above the stall until it is sold.
I. Lord Tombs
The very word, set a Cultivator to salivating in a way the most glorious of banquets could never hope to. The Five Lord Tombs, refer to the Five Spiritual Lords, each of which possess their own unique tomb-manse. Where they claim to be slumbering in await of the return of their Lord, Aang Feng. His absence means that they slumber eternal. The True Tombs can not be delved by anyone, for the security is far too tight to ever dream of such a thing - the tombs quite literally detonating before being pierced. Being shut away from the world, never to return, infomation is extremely scare about the Spiritual Lords. The only hope of learning anything is to ask the woman married to one of them, Matron Of The Dead, Izanami. But if she would talk, is another thing entirely. But the term has come to be used on any Cultivator's Tomb that has a Yu-Shan Dantian, or a few arrogant high tier Black Golds.
These tombs are filled with treasures to help them in their next life. Artifacts, precious metals and jewels, sometimes even Soulforged items and great tomes of techniques. They are always heavily guarded, and the denizens, are not always dead....