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Subject Post 1Subject: Home Sweet Home (Open?) Tue Jan 05, 2016 5:34 pm
Artist: N/A - Song: Heart of Sword - Word Count: 1,216
The early morning sun came out over the many trees in Karakura Forest and as it did the newly dawning morning's light drifted over to a camp site. It was a loosely put together site, the remnants of a camp fire, a tent that clearly had seen better days nestled between two trees, and a trash receptacle nearly filled up the whole way were what would be found if someone were to haplessly come by this particular area. As the crickets of the night slowly began to chirp their final goodbyes, a dull mist covering the ground due to the nature of the sun heating up the dew on the blades of grass that dotted around the site, began to form, and as it formed a loud yawn could be heard coming from inside the tent. The owner of this particular camp had just woke up and as the tent's opening flap opened, Steiner Franz stepped out from the confines of his makeshift home, and looked about, rubbing his arms to gather any warmth that he could possibly gather by creating friction on his skin.
Shirtless and wearing a pair of sweat pants, Steiner quickly put on a pair of running shoes, and then made his way over toward the trash receptacle, where a nap sack awaited him. Inside this bag were his clothes and after a few seconds of shifting through the clothes he owned, which were few in number and even fewer in cleanliness, he found himself a long sleeved shirt, which he quickly put on. He began to stretch, his body feeling so stiff from another not so comfortable stay in the Karakura Forest which he had come to call home since his eviction from his apartment, and then began to make mental notes of his training regiment for the day. As he did so, he would drift back toward his tent, and reach inside of it as he pulled one of the opening flaps open. After a few seconds of digging, Steiner would pull out a box, and inside this box were the only bits of food he had left. This consisted of mostly unhealthy snack foods such as: Chips, cookies, and cola. It was all he could afford really and after looking at the delicious, yet quite unhealthy food, Steiner decided to eat a small bag of potato chips, and drink himself a can of diet soda.
It was delicious, yet Steiner knew he would have to burn extra calories today to make up for that, and after disposing of the can and the bag of chips which he had quickly scoffed down like a lion that hadn't ate in several weeks, Steiner would begin to look at his surroundings. After getting a sense of his bearings and getting a good judge of which direction he was going to run this morning, Steiner began to do his morning routine which consisted of running and basic stamina training in the rocky fields next to the woods, but not before turning the stop watch on his phone on to time himself. As he ran, he took note of the beauty of the forest. The birds were chirping, the crickets were as well, and the last owls that were still up gave off some hoots to let their presence be felt before they too would drift off to sleep. It was nice, to be in nature, and all, but Steiner had been here for so long that he was beginning to forget what a warm bed felt like.
He missed not being able to actually get a good night's sleep without worrying about if some intruder was going to come for him in the middle of the night. It wasn't like he was defenseless, but still it was something he had to worry about while he was in the wilderness, and it was something that he didn't really want to deal with if it came down to it. Yet, you never knew out here in the woods. His first few days here, Steiner had done basic mapping of the locations in the woods, and had used those locations as areas where he could possibly work in seclusion on certain aspects of his own training. In essence, that was what the forest was really good for: training. It had rocky paths which were good for stamina and speed training, long winding trails which were perfect for running on during the early morning, and even a large field, where Steiner practiced his own swordsmanship style every day. In essence, the positives of the forest were just what Steiner needed. Still, did those positives beat out a nice warm bed, and a space heater? Probably not, but he would make due with what he was given, and not make much of a fuss about his current situation as it was in fact his fault that he was in the situation he was in.
Yet his current situation wasn't that bad was it? He was meeting new people each and every single day and to him that was good. He had always been extremely lonely, but now Steiner felt like he was making friends, and moving forward from his terrible past into a brighter future. As he neared the end of the winding path, Steiner took out his phone, checking his time to see if he had sped up any, and while doing so measured his heart beats through the artery in his neck. He was getting faster and the effort he was putting in to taking these runs were beginning to feel like less and less of a problem than they had when he had first began this type of training. All in all, he was excited to be making progress, regardless of if it were minuscule progress. He sat down for a second on a fallen log, taking a deep breath, and getting his bearings once again, looking for a specific slash in a tree that he had made to remind himself of the direction to the stony fields. After catching a glimpse of that slash mark in a nearby tree, Steiner would stand up, do a bit of stretching, and commence to run again.
It would take him a good ten minutes to reach the field at the pace he was going at and as he ran to this particular field filled with large stones, Steiner's mind would wander to the people with powers that he had met so far. He wondered if they had ever lived like this. Alone in the woods, looking for a way to improve themselves outside of the peering eyes of those who would judge them. He assumed that most of them at one point or another had done something similar, maybe even more extreme than him, and that wouldn't surprise him in the least as some of the people he had met were extraordinary. Like Cirno who lived alone on top of a mountain. Who the hell knew what she did to reach the pinnacle of her strength and the thought of catching up to her in power was oddly exciting to the young hero. "Just you wait, Cirno. I will make you proud.", he said with a smirk as he continued on his path to the stony fields.
Subject Post 2Subject: Re: Home Sweet Home (Open?) Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:05 pm
Artist: Kevin Chalfant - Song: Hold on To the Vision - Word Count:1,395
After reaching the stony field, which as its name would dictate, was filled with stones of varying size and shape, Steiner let out a deep sigh at the simplicity that his life had taken over the last few weeks. He felt he was on track to being a hero, but without the ability to turn on his own powers or to even speak to the voice that he had heard on top of the mountain, Steiner's growth would remain stunted. So as he wiped the sweat from his brow, began to stretch, and get limbered up for the next part of his training, Steiner couldn't help, but feel like things were getting a bit ridiculous. He had powers, he had been told as such by a certain Iramasha angel on top of mountain, but Steiner just couldn't get them to click on. He knew it didn't work like that, like flipping a switch, and stuff like that, but yet he wished it were that simple and easy. It would make things better for himself and so much more easier if he wanted to do the hero thing and all. For now, Steiner had to settle with training and practice. Practice makes perfect, as the old adage, said.
So with that in mind, Steiner began to tie rocks to his body, namely rocks that were heavy, and would encumber his ability to move. Why rocks, an intelligent man would ask. Well it was because he couldn't afford real weights, he was living in the woods not by choice, but because it was the only thing that he could afford to do. After going to see the Angel of Ice, Steiner's funds had reached zero, and upon his return Karakura, he had found his job had been taken by a much younger much more attractive girl. Needless to say, Steiner had not been thrilled with the situation, but he understood the reasoning. He had barely been working there a week anyway, so it made sense that if he requested several weeks off that there wouldn't be a job waiting for him when he got back. Especially in this economy. So, Steiner stood now in front of the field, covered in rocks of varying size, shape, and weight looking at his next training exercise with a bit more disdain than his previous run through the woods. Steiner's next exercise would not be as simple as that and instead would involve Steiner hopping from boulders in this particular field while the rocks weighed him down, making it harder for him to perform his assigned task.
This was all about working on his speed and building his stamina. In the field of battle he would need to dodge powerful attacks in random directions and the way that the stones in this particular field were spaced it would simulate random dodge motions very well. Steiner, however smart he felt at coming up with this particular training exercise he created, still remembered the pain of falling face first into a boulder with all of those stones weighing him down adding their weight as they basically crushed him as he fell. Needless to say, this time he hoped to dodge the whole falling face first and becoming a pancake part of this particular exercise. So, with a heavy heart (and body due to the rocks), Steiner took his first step on to the starting rock. It was slippery still, as the morning dew had yet to evaporate in the sun which now hung a bit over the trees of the forest, signaling the beginning of a new day. Steiner looked at the stones in front of him and took a deep breath as he placed his cellphone, the only valuable thing on his body, on the floor, and pressed the reset button on the digital stop watch. He then pressed the button again, restarting the timer, as he began to jump from rock to rock.
At first it started easily enough, as the spacing wasn't so bad, and he didn't struggle too hard to jump from rock to rock, but as he got to the middle of the course the difficulty raised dramatically. The spacing began to get farther and farther apart as the stone's added weight caused Steiner to feel sluggish and drained stamina rather rapidly as he tried to put more strength into each and every single jump. This was intentional by design, but Steiner's footing was also compromised due to the nature of the rocks covered in slick dew and moss. In essence, the course that he had designed, also simulated battle situations that were less than favorable in terms of places where footing was hard to come by, but is also could simulate the pain of not being able to get good footing as well as Steiner had learned during the early days of this particular exercise. So, as he continued to jump from stone to stone, he imagined an opponent attacking him with everything that they had, launching a barrage of moves at him to destroy him as he jumped from side to side, dodging the attacks, and nearly losing his footing each and every time. It made it easier if he visualized that as his body put survival into the equation, which made things easier for him as the natural human instinct to survive overrode what ever exhaustion he was feeling.
So as he reached the end of the course, he realized that this was the farthest he had ever gotten on the course. To be honest, not once had Steiner completed this task. He had always fallen in the middle due to the nature of the spacing, but now as he reached the end he realized the real challenge was in front of him. Several large and imposing boulders were placed in varying locations and the spacing was just too far for a normal man to take on. The real challenge however was the fact that these particular stones had received no sunlight whatsoever. Meaning that the dew, which was evaporating at a rapid paced on the boulders he had just been jumping on, was still in full swing on these imposing boulders. So, Steiner, who knew he was timing himself, began the most difficult part of his morning exercise as he made the leap of face to the first of ten large boulders spaced widely apart.
The front of his foot touched the stone and in a second, he slipped, and found himself tumbling back. He growled in rage as he forced himself upon the rock and managed to finally get some solid footing. He fell to a knee on top of the boulder, wiping the sweat from his brow, and breathing heavily. "Damnit!", Steiner shouted to himself as he slammed his fist painfully into the boulder. Why the hell was he so worthless? Something as basic as this was draining him so badly that he could barely do it, but for someone like Cirno or the people she had trained before him this was probably a cake walk. Hell, they could probably fly over these rocks, and that made Steiner angry. More angry than he had ever been. These exercises were all he could do and still his powers were not working, why the hell was it taking so long. He knew they were there, he knew that the voice in his head was there, and the longer they refused to help him, the more Steiner felt like shit. The more angrier he became, the less he felt like doing these exercises. So, he sat down on the rock, and let out a deep sigh as he contemplated his work and just what he was accomplishing here.
Letting out another deep sigh, Steiner stood up, and began to work on the course again. He wasn't going to stop because of his own doubts or anger at his situation. He was going to do this and he was going to get stronger. He would be the best god damn hero the world had ever seen. Even if it killed him in the process. So, he began to leap from stone to stone again, his own shortcomings, and the thoughts of how easy it must be for the other people Cirno had trained filling him with determination to succeed. He would become stronger, he swore it.
Subject Post 3Subject: Re: Home Sweet Home (Open?) Thu Jan 07, 2016 3:09 pm
Artist: Cavendish Trailers - Song: Rise - Word Count: 1,217
"Why is my life so hard?", he said as he lay on the final rock of the course he had made for the stony field as he gazed up at the sky. The early morning sky was beautiful, the clouds moving by, and the brightening blues mixing with the multitude of colors created by the sun hitting particular particles in the air. Most people tended to forget about the simple things that made this world so beautiful. It was because of this forgetfulness that the world was becoming such a target, such a place where evils could easily target, and take away from the world's natural splendor. The war wasn't just destroying human lives, it was taking its toll on the planet itself, and it bothered Steiner. It bothered him that he couldn't do anything except be a bystander watching as others fought the good fight for him. It bothered him that these very same people who fought for such righteous causes couldn't care less about the people who got in the way of things. And it bothered him that he was powerless to a damn thing about it.
In his mind, it made his life difficult, seeing all these things, and feeling so damn helpless as the powers of the world went head to head with the behemoths from some outside dimension. He wanted to help, he wanted to be a voice of reason in this chaotic time, but nothing was working. Not this training, not the trip to the mountain top, and surely not him laying about. He sat up, making sure to be careful to not slip off the rock, as he got to his feet, and let out deep sigh as he dusted himself off while untying the rocks from his person. The rocks would harmlessly fall around him, some of them rolling dramatically off the boulder he was on, and others bouncing off of it and landing with a thud in the grassy field. He took one last look at the sky and then jumped off the boulder casually before making his way toward where he had left his cellphone moments earlier.
He was making progress or at least that is what he felt. He just didn't feel like he was making the sort of ground breaking progress that would put him on the fast track to actually helping anyone. It annoyed him that he had put all of his funds into a visit to Cirno's dwelling, but he had not truly awoken. This annoyance was beginning to drive him up the wall and as he went to further and further lengths to awaken his powers, Steiner found himself getting more and more frustrated. He just wanted to help people. Was it so much to ask for his powers to cooperate with him? He chuckled to himself as the line of thinking had no true answer, it wasn't like his powers had a voice or a mind of their own. Well, they did, but that voice wasn't really in the talking mood, and to be honest he didn't know what he would even say if the voice he had heard on the mountain began to talk to him again. What sort of conversation would he have with the voice inside of him? Maybe he would start with sports, that seemed to be a good ice breaker back when he was a kid, and was interested in making friends. Bah, what would a being of pure spiritual power care about sports, Steiner thought to himself as he sat down on a dry patch of grass.
Maybe he was just too pathetic to hear the voice. It had been a reoccurring thought he had been having recently over the course of his training. That maybe he just wasn't good enough to get the powers to click on and that because of that he was doomed to be as he was now. A Nobody. That's right, he was a no one. He had grown up with nothing, been treated like nothing, and so far he was fated to do absolutely nothing. It was a horrible way to think of things, but it was becoming clearer and clearer every day that he was getting no where with this. The steady improvement was good and his physical traits were improving, but it mattered little if all he could do was jump rock to rock or run a mile through the woods in good time. What mattered was protecting people and saving people's lives. That was the end game for Steiner, his dream, and to him it just seemed to be getting farther and farther away with each and every single day that went by.
But it couldn't be that. No, Steiner would have to be determined instead of hiding behind his doubts. He had to make his dream a reality, but to do that he had to actually take the first steps forward, and make something of himself. He just didn't know how to do that. He didn't know how to take the big leap and plunge head first into the pool that was his potential. He needed guidance, more than just a spark to kindle the fire, but actual guidance. And he had no one to turn to for that. His foster parents didn't understand what he was trying to do, his blood relatives could care less about him, and he had no real friends. In essence, he was alone. It was a painful reality for Steiner, but he was coming to terms with it, and he hoped that somehow he would grow from it. It didn't change the fact that he was still powerless, living in the woods with no job, and trying his best to make himself into something more.
He stood up, taking a deep breath as he put his phone in pocket, and then began to walk off from the field. He was going to the plains now, he had a few more training exercises to go through, and he didn't want to miss an opportunity to work on his swordsmanship. It was in fact one of the few things he actually enjoyed about living in the woods: the isolation to hone his craft without people peering in at him and judging him. It was one of the few things that he could say without a doubt was a win for his current situation and he felt that he was growing more as a swordsman than he was in terms of getting his powers to work. In that vein, he was happy with his progress. Yet so far all of his swordsmanship talent was mostly theory, which meant that in an actual battle situation he had absolutely no clue if some of the moves he was working on would actually work, but it was still enjoyable to practice different stances and movements.
It would take him at least another five minutes to reach the big plain where he did most of his sword training (it was also the location of where he had placed Excalibur). He whistled a tune to himself as he began to walk to the plain, because though his powers weren't going anywhere at least he could take solace in the fact that he was becoming a better swordsman.
Subject Post 4Subject: Re: Home Sweet Home (Open?) Fri Jan 08, 2016 4:20 pm
Artist: Peter Roe - Song: Way of the Sword - Word Count: 1,197
It had been hours since Steiner Franz had woken up from his slumber to begin his training exercises and as each hour went by Steiner continued to wonder about his shortcomings. What exactly was he failing to do at a fundamental level? It should have been easy to flip the switch, it should have been easy for him to accomplish what he had set out to do when he left to head to the top of the mountain, but it just wasn't happening. It was as if all of this build up that had been going on his life had lead him to one of the worst plot twists ever. "You have powers, Stein! Yet, you don't know how to make them work. Sorry, we don't have an instruction manual for your model of power...", he chuckled to himself not in humor, but in absolute disgust. He was hitting rock bottom emotionally just thinking about how pathetic he must look to others. The guy with powers who couldn't get them to work, hell he would probably laugh at that guy too if he wasn't that guy! Nah, he probably wouldn't, but that was just the type of person Steiner was. He was a good guy.
Steiner turned around a specific tree marked with a specific gash to let him know he was on the trail to his private training ground. The private training ground wasn't some fancy smancy and built up place, it was just a large field with nothing in it to really get in the way of swordsmanship training. And that was why Steiner loved this place. As he entered the field, the sun had finally managed its way to the middle of the sky, casting his shadow across the wide field as a gust of cold wind blew the yellow, once green, grass around as if it were waves in an endless ocean of flora. He smiled, this was his place, his home, and he loved every portion of it. Sure, there were a lot of negatives to not having a place of his own, but the positives such as this private retreat were well worth the cost of living outside. He waltz'd threw the grass, feeling the grass which came up to his finger tips as he did so, and smiled as he saw the lone rock in the entire field. He wasn't happy to see the rock, but was instead happy to see Excalibur leaning against the rock. The once rusted sword, now shining briliantlly in the sun was a reminder of his trip to the top of the mountain in the Iramasha settlement. The blade had been reborn, as if the awakening of his powers had signaled its transformation to something much more formidable. Now Excalibur was a real sword instead of a relic from a long lost age.
Reaching out for it, Steiner grasped the hilt of the blade. It was heavy still for a guy like him, but the feeling of the hilt, and the weight of the sword were all so natural to him now. Almost as natural as the feeling of joy he got every time he came to the fields, knowing all too well that this would be his workshop. A workshop to begin creating his own style of swordsmanship which had began to take root over the last few weeks of him living here. So, lifting the sword, and pointing it at an imaginary foe, Steiner began to do the same routine he had always done. He swung his sword. If anyone were to see him it would appear as though he was dancing. His slices, his movements, and his lunges all gave off a feeling of elegance, grace, but at the same time gave off the same deadly potency as a man who had honed his craft. Steiner Franz was becoming a threat to be contended with if it came to swordsmanship. His moves, though still rudamentary, and lacking overall complexity still had a sharpness to them, a crisp feeling that in a few months Steiner would work out the flaws, and turn the corner from novice to adept.
With each swing, Steiner would chip away at his imaginary foe. He always seemed to imagine a hydra, a beast from Greek mythology, lashing out at him, and trying to not just end his life, but the lives of those behind him. He was a protector and as the hydra would lash out at him or an ally, Franz would take a step, and elegantly counter attack. If the hydra would step back, Steiner would lunge forward. Each move had purpose and each move seemed to highlight the type of swordsman he want to become. Most people believed that strength decided the warrior, a powerful swing of a sword could end a life yes, but Steiner believed that a quick swing could be a much more deadlier weapon. A strong slice could kill, but it could be defended against, a swift strike would be a challenge to defend against, and could be just as deadly with the right level of precision. And this is where the training came into play. He was honing his precision, his natural skills, and his latent talent. Yet, there were limits to how much a man could do swinging a blade against a monster that was not there.
He needed a real training partner, someone who could push him, and show him the flaws of his fighting style. Yet, he had no one who could accomplish that for him. No one knew where he was and he had no friend to really rely on for this sort of thing. It was kind of saddening really, to be this alone out here in the woods, fighting things that you imagined up just so you could practice just a tiny bit. Yet, Steiner did it. Every day, for weeks, Steiner would come out here, and practice for hours upon hours. Swinging his sword with pride and elegance, because if there was one thing going his way it was his training with the blade, and though he lamented not having someone to train against, he would not sully his progress in this particular field with loneliness. So as he swung out, cutting off one of the heads of his imaginary hydra, Steiner felt enthused. He stopped swinging the sword, plunging it into the soft, but firm dirt of the field, wiping the sweat from his brow as he did so. He looked up to see the sun had already drifted farther from the middle, he sighed in appreciation.
It was always like this when he trained with a sword in his hands. Time always seemed to slow down for him as the rest of the world went on around him. He had no idea just how long he had been training, but he decided to take a break as he walked over to the rock he had placed Excalibur by, and sat down comfortably beside it. He felt the cold breeze blow against his face and the grass tickle his face as he closed his eyes and began to drift off to sleep.
Subject Post 5Subject: Re: Home Sweet Home (Open?) Sat Jan 09, 2016 8:50 am
Artist: Undertale OST - Song: Your Best Friend - Word Count: 914
Life was just oh so boring, wasn't it? It was something that many people had to face daily with many challenges within it. The main challenge for this certain being at the moment was boredom. She was extremely lacking in things she could do. A war zone had been conquered due to her efforts recently, which was nice and all, but still completely boring considering the fact that she's just left to herself now. Sure, there was a certain friend named Blaise she could mess with, but the girl seemed rather busy with a few things in her life, leading Murai to a very awkward mental state of lacking things she may do. She could sleep, wander about, attempt to get into another war to pass the time... Eh, the second option seemed like the best for now, the last time she wandered about, she was able to get a nice new friend. Perhaps this time, something more could be obtained for her benefit, I mean, anything is possible. Right?
And so, Murai was being carried by two of her most well known skeletons. Knuckle and Duster... These skeletons were carried over from a certain war, skeletons created from the bones of demons and infused with her own energy. Honestly, she probably didn't need these two for the fight she was in, but they did add a nice finishing blow to it, and it reminded her just how powerful her own abilities were, and how much destruction she could weave into the world with it. Knuckle and Duster were both roughly 6 feet tall with bones having similar color to that of blood. These skeletons weren't just that, they had a large amount of power imbued into them, at least, large amount to someone of Steiner's spiritual level. Each skeleton was behind Murai in a full tier, leading to her being carried by two 3-5+'s. Hey, on the lower end of the tier scale, th is is a pretty nice feat when compared to some other barely 2 tier people.
For now, she was silent, wanting to remain that way since she did know that there were some dangers within these words. Having someone overhear her having a conversation with these constructs could be bad, especially since she was near Karakura city. Sure, it was a major risk being here, but hey! What's life without a little fun, right? Fingers clasped each skull of the two skeletons that carried her, the beings leading her along through the words with no real direction in mind, just forwards. Step by step, rattle by rattle, it was pretty uneventful for a good while. Enough that Murai was getting antsy and just considering going home... That is, until she wandered upon a sight that would prove useful for her, useful in the terms of relieving boredom. She felt an energy, one weak, in the distance.
But as Murai felt this energy, Steiner could feel something much stronger than him approaching in terms of raw spiritual force. This being seemed to exude energy to him... With two other strong beings accompanying them. Murai may have wanted to remain quiet to not be heard, but she wasn't exactly smart enough to learn how to hide her spiritual presence, making it actually much easier to find her than if someone were to rely on her voice. This being got closer and closer until it seemed to just stop, right outside of his little clearing. It was up to Steiner what he would do with this information, but Murai was still there.
The arrancar was actually just watching Steiner complete the ending part of his training, watching him swing the sword as if he were a great fighter, as if he was fighting a great, big beast capable of leveling mountains and decimating towns. Was he a child? Sure, Murai was one to dream often and get lost in those dreams, but she never swung her bones around as if she were a warrior, no, that all stayed in the mind. So... Why was this man doing this- "My lady, I think he might be training his swordplay. He seemed incredibly weak, easy prey for a being as strong as you." "Yeah yeah Knuckle shut the fuck up, Murai said we shouldn't speak or else we could get ca-" A hard slamming of her fists on both of their skulls caused the skeletons to stop their conversation, a single finger soon brought to her lips as she shh'd them.
Murai waited and waited until he seemed to finish his training, a smile coming across her lips as she nudged both of her creations forwards. By the time Steiner had laid upon the rock and closed his eyes to rest, Murai came into view, slowly approaching him. No, she didn't plan on just killing him outright, she wanted to have some -fun- first, and that first needed her to get his attention. A single bone, about the size of a finger, was created in the air in front of her. Slowly, her hand rose towards it before she flicked this small bone, sending it flying towards Steiner and aiming to smack it against his forehead to get his attention.
If he did look up to her, she'd seem to be about 20 yards away, carried by two blood-red skeletons with both arms waving in the air. "HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY! YOU THERE! HUMAN DUDE! I CAN TRAIN YOU IF YA WANT! I WATCHED YOU ACT LIKE A LITTLE KID SWINGING AT THIN-AIR!"
Subject Post 6Subject: Re: Home Sweet Home (Open?) Sat Jan 09, 2016 10:13 am
Artist: Yuki Kajiura - Song: Little Drop of Peace - Word Count: 1,068
As Steiner rested his mind drifted toward amendments to his training regiment. Maybe he could fit more time for sword practice in and cut back a bit on the morning run? As he thought this, his senses began to give him red flags, and in a confused state he wondered why his senses were doing such a thing. He had been in these woods for weeks and had not experienced anything close to this feeling and now as he sat calmly in this field, a field where he felt safe, and he trained on a daily basis, he felt like he was in danger. It was then that he felt something smack his forehead. At first he thought it was a bug, swashing away at it, and trying to get it to go away. He opened his eyes and as he did, he wondered if he was dreaming. Before him was what some people would call: An Arrancar, but she wasn't alone. She was also flanked by what appeared to be two blood red skeletons, which she apparently was sitting on and riding like they were her personal carriage.
For a moment Steiner said nothing, his heart rate skyrocketed, and thoughts of what Arrancar do to humans crossed through his mind as he tried his best to rationalize his current situation in a way that would aid him if she were to attack. He wondered how she had found him or why she was in this particular neck of the woods, but for right now those thoughts could wait. Instead he needed to focus on the fact that right now, his life may be very well in danger. That was until he focused in on her attitude toward him, she waving her hands around as if to get his attention, and even more so as she shouted at him she offered him training. It was interesting to him that a being that could be associated naturally with evil and wickedness was now offering him, somebody who philosophically opposed those same stereotypes, training. He grunted, a little embarrassed by the fact that she had been watching him for all this, and also began to stand, dusting himself off as he did so. He kept his eyes on the arrancar the whole time, wondering why she had wandered so close instead of taking him out at range. It made him questions his logic on the nature of this particular person, but he had learned to never judge a book by its cover years ago.
He waved back at her, mainly out of common courtesy, but also as a minor distraction so that he could begin to inch close to Excalibur which was a few yards away from him. If things went south, he would need Excalibur to fight back, but for now he was trying his best to not act aggressive and instead wanted to show her cautious curiosity on top of respect. He would not harm her if she didn't harm him. Oh who was he kidding, she could probably have snapped his neck a dozen different ways by now, but Steiner wasn't going to allow that to interfere with the thought. He pondered her question that she had posed as well. She was offering him training, but the thought of why she was doing it befuddled the young human more than anything else. He rubbed his chin, slight bristles scratching his finger tips as he did so. It would be impolite to decline training just because of racial stereotype and even more so would be rude to not welcome her respectfully to the field after she had the common courtesy to not kill him while he rested. So, putting on his best display of bravery (which consisted of him smiling a hesitant grin as he inched closer to his sword), Steiner would begin to speak to the arrancar female.
"You are offering me training?", Steiner said, his voice trembling a bit at first, but becoming more bold as he finished his question. He tried his best to act like a hero in the face of such overwhelming power, which he could feel from this far away, and yet he knew she was probably stronger than she was letting him feel. He took a gulp as he slowly reached out for Excalibur and as he touched the hilt, his eyes filled with confidence, and he felt a wave of determination wash over him. It was like the blade was a catalyst for his natural heroism and touching it gave him the confidence he needed. So, he took a deep breath, and began to walk toward the arrancar briskly. He swung the sword up to his shoulder, making sure she could keep her eyes on the blade to see he meant no ill will by his approaching her. Steiner also kept his eyes on the two nearby skeletons as he had no idea if they were sentient or were just summoned by the arrancar herself.
As he neared her he began to speak, much more confidently this time. "Sorry for my earlier hesitation. Its just the first time I've seen one of your kind and most of the things said about Arrancar aren't very flattering. Forgive me if I sound confused, but did you just offer to train with me?", Steiner said as he cleared a good ten yards of distance between the two. Well four if you counted the two skeletons that gave him the chills by their appearance alone. "Also, if you don't mind me asking...what exactly are these skeletons toting you around?", he poised as he glanced at the two skeletons while keeping his distance at ten yards away from her. He was willing to interact with her and talk to her, but at the same time he needed to understand the nature of the situation as well. An arrancar had just shown up in his field, an arrancar who could probably kill him in a moment's notice if he wasn't careful, and as such there needed to be an edge of caution here. He didn't judge her as hostile quite yet and he hoped it would remain that way. After all, he could definitely use a training partner regardless of race, and if she was willing to teach him, he hoped her intentions were pure to follow through, and not to just prey upon him.
Subject Post 7Subject: Re: Home Sweet Home (Open?) Sat Jan 09, 2016 11:52 am
Artist: Undertale OST - Song: Your Best Friend - Word Count: 1450
Oh? Was Steiner... Fearful? It was a feeling Murai was all too familiar with, familiar with seeing. She had never really experienced it herself, at least not yet, but she saw it a large amount of times. Be it soldiers crushed underfoot, or certain people who had gotten on her bad side. Steiner wasn't on her bad side though! So that much was good to learn, but the fear he had within him could be observed by this arrancar. She was a powerful being just coming out of nowhere, it's only logical someone would be afraid of her. Now if only the people in that Monsuta meeting were that way, ugh. No matter the case, the arrancar waited for the human male to approach her, still resting upon Knuckle and Duster, smile forming across her pale lips in his direction.
His blade was something worth noting however. It wasn't a normal blade, no, it had something within it. Something that she couldn't quite put her finger on... Perhaps this human had a surprise in terms of their true strength, hidden by the blade rather than on display with his spiritual signature. It'd have to be something that she would be careful about, or else she may end up walking away a bit more injured than she would like, or missing a skeleton slave that offered so much to her. A few more thoughts began to pop into her head once the blade came into view. How would she train him? She preferred to not get dirty herself unless needed, meaning that she had to use her skeletons to train him. Would she only limit her training to one on one? Would she have her skeletons hold back? So many questions, but no matter what, it was sure to put Steiner on edge considering that she didn't really know him all too well. For all she cared, as long as she had fun, she would be fine training him until he dropped, hell, she might not even care if he went near death.
A quick nod was given to Steiner when the question was asked. "Yeah, I mean, I just said I would, right? You looked a little pitiful just swinging it around at nothing, so this is a good way for you to gain, and me to not be bored!" Her purpose for this visit was now known. It was really up to Steiner if he was fine with training from a being that seemed lacking in terms of determination or actual will, one that just did things so they weren't bored. People who followed those beliefs were usually to be avoided, but the smile upon Murai's lips still remained, trying to show that she didn't intend on doing him any -real- harm... That couldn't be healed.
Lips may have smiled towards Steiner, but eyes remained on the blade being held. He seemed awfully attached to it, almost calming down once it was held within his grasp, his voice no longer shaky and body standing firm. She wasn't really used to people having weapons, more accustomed to people relying on powers or their own body to power through, so designing a training course for him would require a bit more thought than just a normal spar. For someone that held so much faith and belief in their blade, it just -had- to be something that resembled the hardships that he would have to triumph over. Hell, this could very well be training him to fight her in the future, which would definitely make the fight much more interesting than a single blow to the brain.
A single hand was brought up to Murai's chest, placed over where a being's heart would be as her jaw dropped, eyes widening with a look of surprise and a hint of her being offended shown. It was obviously overly dramatic, but as was Murai's persona to have her act this way. "Wow! Raaaacist... I mean, yeah, arrancar are assholes and stuff, but most of us usually just do what we want, not go out of the way to murder everything like disgusting, filthy, lowly hollow! Gosh, you're the -first- one to treat me this way. Even Blaise didn't treat me this way, and she didn't even have a sharp sword like that to defend herself! I just can't believe how rude some people could be these days, lacking any real honor or respect..." There was a moment of silence before the girl began to giggle, legs kicking out in the air in front of her as her skeletons struggled to keep her up with all of this moving. "Nawwwww, I'm fuckin' with ya! I don't mind at all, yeah, it's a bit weird but I really am just here cuz' I'm bored, not to go murder people or something."
A few moments passed before another question was asked. With a grin upon her lips, she hopped right off of her skeletons, landing on the ground without an incident, dress shoes hitting the dirt with her white dress flowing beneath her, a few steps taken back as the skeletons stepped forwards. "These guys are Knuckle and Duster! I make them, give them something sorta like sentience, except I make every bit of it, so it's sorta like... Mostly brain washing? Yeah, anyways, they do what I say when I say it. And speak when I speak, like now! Speak!" And with a few moments, both skeletons -barked-... Which lead to Murai giggling loudly once more. "Alright alright alright, I'm done messing around now."
With a very sudden kick against the ground, Murai sent herself quite a couple of yards back and -away- from both the skeletons and Steiner, landing a safe distance away with her arms crossed over her chest, haughty laugh escaping from her lips just before she spoke. "Your training starts now! We're starting simple and I'm gonna crank it up the longer it goes! We stop when we drop kid!" Kid? Well, she was probably younger, but it was quite obvious that she meant what she was saying. Both of the skeletons near Steiner began to move, one away from him for the time being to sit until it was his time to jump in, the other grasping a rib bone before tearing it right from his frame. The crack heard from this breaking off of a bone was rather loud, and due to their frame, this bone could act as a short sword in terms of size. The tip of it was exceedingly sharp however, still posing some threat to Steiner as a sharp object.
The human was only given a single moment before the skeleton spoke. "Name's Duster kid, don't worry, I won't hurt ya. Much." With a faint twinkle within the skeleton's eyes, it began to advance forwards. It seemed to start out holding back a -large- portion of it's power, each step easily seen by Steiner and movements very rigid, similar to how one might expect a skeletal construct to move. Each step was taken in almost a jog towards the human, rib bone held in one hand, belonging to the right arm.
If Steiner let the skeleton near, it would simply stop in front of him, raising it's right arm at the same speed any normal human could and swinging straight downwards with the same force of a human. It could strike at a much stronger power, but as Murai said, start weak, end strong. The bone's target was a place that would be vital to a swordsman like Steiner, the shoulder of his sword-arm. If the strike managed to connect, it would led to a strong concussive force slamming down upon the bones within the shoulder and either dealing quite a bit of blunt damage, or even dislocating his arm if he did absolutely nothing at all to defend.
This was hit time to start training. Do or die, right? In this world, it's kill or be killed. A sense of dread and chance at death always did inspire humans the most, bringing them to a state of elevation, adrenaline, some call it. In this state, whatever they may attempt always seemed to grow in power and strength, determination backing their actions all the while. This is what Murai wanted to see. She wanted to see a human's determination in person, and to see how Steiner could perform under pressure, no longer safe within the imaginary realm known as his mind, but with immediate threats and immediate dangers to his being. How would he fare? Would he crack under pressure, or will he be willing to train with Murai? A person who has killed people simply for annoying her? Tick-tock, it's time to decide.
It was indeed racist of Steiner to assume things of the arrancar who had wandered into his fields. He silently made a note to think before he acted next time he met someone of a different species, but as he thought that the female arrancar began to laugh. She had yanked his chain a bit and as much as he wanted to smile, he was unsure of if it were the right time to do so. Instead he listened to each word she said and listened well, making sure not to interrupt or be impolite. She was doing this to not be bored, which made Steiner feel a little weirded out by the reasoning alone, but even more so he became confused as she jumped back in an instant, showing off her much more impressive level of speed. She was indeed fast enough to kill him, that much was for certain as he got into his stance, but he was taken back as the skeleton walked toward him.
He could sense, at least vaguely, that the skeleton was reducing its' own power for one reason, or another. Then he heard the skeleton speak, he didn't know if it was autonomous and could speak for itself, but Steiner sensed as its' eye lit up that if ordered to, his life would be forfeit right then, and there. Yet, as "Duster" slowly approached the young hero, looking to begin his assault more than likely, Steiner would bow. "Pleasure to meet you, Duster. I am Steiner Franz and am deeply honored for this opportunity to train.", as he said this he looked over at the arrancar watching from afar. It seemed odd that he would fight a skeleton instead of the young lady, but none the less he would accept any training he could. At that moment Steiner realized the battle had begun from the moment the arrancar had jumped back. It was then that he realized the shambling skeleton's intentions to swing his own bone down at his shoulder. With only seconds to respond, Steiner found himself jumping back a slight distance to dodge the attack.
He believed it would be smarter to use speed here as he had no clue just how strong the skeleton was. He couldn't judge how hard the mesh of bones could swing a weapon and as such that meant that parrying the attack and following through would be out of the question until he could properly guage his opponent's strengths. However, the speed of the attack was visible, and as such by watching the movements of his foe he could judge that it was proper for him to use speed. However, it dawned on him that this particular skeleton was holding back a rather whopping amount of his power, which meant that more than likely as this battle continued the skeleton would keep going deeper into its' reserves. As such he needed to be careful and avoid making reckless moves in this particular situation. He looked at Duster confidently, as he tried to deduce the best option for his attack, but as he thought about what way he attacked he couldn't help, but feel that at any moment if the arrancar grew bored, or anxious that he would be killed.
It worried him, but he decided to burry the worry, and focus on the task at hand. Clutching the sword and then rushing forward, he would aim his slash for one of Duster's legs, however this would be a feint, and if he went to block Steiner would instead send the blade up at Duster's weapon arm. The intent would be to disarm his foe and then play the wait and see game to better evaluate his foe. To enter into combat with an unknown enemy with an unknown level of power this was the only route, the route of caution. He didn't know the true intentions of the arrancar and didn't know if this was a ruse either, but at the same time he had to play the game she had set before him, otherwise he could anger her. As such, tactically speaking he would play this game with her, and use it to build himself up. If he could potentially grow stronger from a fight like this, it would be quite helpful, but still the thought of a potential attack from his would be sparring partner would be on his mind.
Yet, he had to stay determined, and had to show that he had the ability to fight even in unknowing situations like this. Otherwise what would have been the point of him climbing the mountain to meet Cirno in the first place? Or all this training and solitude? No, this was indeed Steiner's time to grow, and become something more than just himself. It was time for him to stride proudly and prominently into the light of heroism, but to do that he not only had to defeat his foe, but he also had to survive this encounter. Two things that were extremely sketchy and would more than likely test every fiber of his soul. Yet, Steiner believed he was ready for these challenges, and as such he would have his opportunity against a foe like Duster to prove his worth. "Hopefully, I won't bore you!", Steiner shouted right as he swung for Duster's left leg with finesse and agility.
Steiner wasn't very physically strong, but what he lacked in physical tools he made up for it with determination and will power. He would not quit even if his weak excuse for an attack did not reach its mark and he would keep going even if he was too tired or too weak to continue. That was what made Steiner unique, his will, and in this fight he was going to show Murai that unique trait. So with that in mind, Steiner braced himself for a hell of a time, as he had no idea just how his opponent would react, or how Murai would react to his will to succeed or to his attack. There was a great air of mystery about his opponents and he was worried about it greatly, that worry however was also leading him to something else: He felt thrilled. This was only his second real battle and though this was a training exercise he had no idea just how this particular opponent would respond nor did he know anything about his opponent. It gave him a challenge and more than that it was an uphill battle.
But he had been fighting uphill battles ever since he was born. He was never wanted, he was always underestimated, and he was always valued as being a nobody. But Steiner Franz was done with that, today was the day he cast aside all of that, and become the hero he was meant to be. So, he swung for the fences, and used what little energy he had to try and help this attack do its' intention. Who knows, maybe the Arrancar would be in for a surprise of her own?
Murai was getting interested now. This boy entertainment enough, for now. She continued to hang back along with Knuckle, leaning against her construct's shoulder and staring towards the fight. Her lips revealed a smile, pale skin turned upwards as deep crimson eyes stared towards him, watching his every move, his every reaction, even tensing of his muscles. The boy had been challenged once more by a being that could easily obliterate him and his determination with little issue, Steiner was only human. Being human wasn't all too bad though, it housed one of the greatest feats a human had. The ability to adapt and change to the situation for survival.
Survival would be what would edge Steiner further on. Without it, he could be as good as dead at this point, for Murai would not go easy. Duster's attack had missed, the bone sailing through air as Steiner had enough wit to avoid the blow rather than taking it head on. Murai had no control over this skeleton, only watching from this point on as the bit of sentience it had took over. It's swing had missed, and it's body was left wide open for Steiner to strike at, a single blade-strike sent towards the skeletal beast. It did not react, relying on it's pure strength and durability to take each strike, leading to the eventual disarming of it's weapon.
The blade had slammed against it's wrist, forcing it's fingers to loosen enough for the rib-bone to drop too the ground, a rattling of bones echoing out through the area from this creation as it was almost laughing. Steiner had speed, but not enough strength to do any real harm, which would lead to this being more of an endurance training than anything else. Neither Murai or Duster had the patience to deal with strengthening a being when having a mock fight was both quicker, and much more efficient in terms of training. At least to Murai. With the end result of this training session finally figured out, Duster had a true plan of action on how to combat Steiner rather than doing slow, weak blows as to not kill him.
Once the bone had fell to the ground, a flourish of speed was revealed. The skeleton wasn't exactly the fastest when compared to people near it's level, but it easily surpassed a normal human's. The skeleton quickly dropped to the ground, knees bending has a single hand fell upon the ground, one leg extended outwards fully, toes touching against the ground as another kicked off on the ground to lead it in a spin. It was going for a sweep while it's free hand lashed out towards the dropped bone to grasp it as the extended, skeletal leg aimed for Steiner's own. The blow was meant to be quick with only a moderate amount of strength backing it up, leading to a blow that wouldn't be the most detrimental for Steiner. If the leg had connected with him, the force of the sweep would lead to his legs being, well, swept right out from under him. Forcing the young adult to lose his balance and fall unto the ground.
Wether or not this worked, a quick recovery was performed, extended leg kicking off the ground and leading to the skeleton heading up quite a few feet into the air just from pure strength rather than speed, body spinning within the air similar to a ballerina's as it landed plainly on the ground a couple of feet away from Steiner. This distance would be enough to prevent him from going for a strike towards Duster's legs, but it did give Duster enough time to speak up. He planned on giving sound advice with just a hint of taunting. "Hey kid! The fuck was that? How are you gonna go for the disarm but stay for that long? Honestly, most of the people you're gonna fight have the reaction time of a cat hooked on cocaine! If you spend even a moment to think after that disarm, someone coulda sent a fist right through that weak skeleton you have and rip out your heat! Honestly, don't be so fucking weak!" Yup, just a bit of taunting.
A giggle was heard in the distance, Murai enjoying the scene quite a bit, not regretting the personality she gave Duster one bit. What he had said was true however, any hesitation in combat could lead to one's death. A being without a weapon still had immense power within them, be it in the form of magic, creation, destruction, or even just a racial ability such as Demonic Magic. Steiner had the right idea, and the right methods, but not the ability to back it up against something stronger. An uphill power was always going to be difficult, but that was never a reason to back down, it was instead a reason to keep going. To power through the obstacle in the way and come out victorious. Murai never had that feeling, but she's certainly crushed that feeling within others numerous amounts of times.
"Alright kid, come at me again, and no crying over getting a boo-boo. Get faster, don't hesitate. I'm not gonna wait around for each strike, soon enough I'm gonna start wailing on you until you get this point through your thick skull. Come on! Fight me! Show us what all of your solo training has actually brought you!" Each word emitted forth from this skeleton was almost shouted out, fingers clenching into a fist in one hand, and unto the rib bone in the other, hard enough that his own bone shattered, leaving him without a weapon. "Show me what you can do against a foe that -doesn't- use a weapon! What is there to disarm? How are you gonna get in without getting a crotch-full of foot?"
As Steiner struck his blow, a slight grin formed on his face at the successful attempt. For a moment, he forgot about the fight, and about the adversaries who could potentially end his life that surrounded him. Instead, he focused on the journey to this point. The accumilation of effort that had helped him gain a better understanding of himself and had pushed him to newer heights. Sure, his powers were in the wing, but at least Steiner had his swordsmanship, and that made him a bit happier than he had been earlier. In honest, Steiner had been disappointed in himself ever since he left the mountain top, and came back down to the world that he hoped to defend. Nothing had come of it, nothing really except for his friendship with the Angel of Ice, and a vague voice that had spoke to him about purpose and destiny as if it were some ancient prophet looking to spill the beans.
But when he tried to talk back to that voice and ask that voice questions, it had gone silent, choosing to not answer him in any way. It infuriated him and had pushed him to harsher self-training exercises and in essence pushed him to new physical breaking points. He supposed he had to thank the silence for his growth as a swordsman in some fashion or another. Still he would have loved to have someone to talk to and guide him, after all there wasn't an angel in the sky to guide him on the path to becoming a hero. He was on his own now and he would have to make his own path in this chaotic world and try his best to make the world a better place regardless of how weak he was. It was in this moment that Steiner snapped out of his self-awareness to watch the skeleton jump up into the sky with the grace of a ballerina. He was perplexed by this.
His earlier thoughts had made him believe that he had the speed advantage, the very idea that this being of pure bone was capable of such acrobatic feats made the battle that much more dangerous for him. For a moment, Steiner watched in awe, but then found himself losing his footing from a too fast to dodge leg-sweep. He was confused and stunned as he fell on his back, grunting a bit as he landed hard, and reaching back to feel his back with his non-sword arm. The skeleton stood above him, asking him why he had stood still, and just took it like he did. Steiner bit his bottom lip, not sure how to reply to the skeleton, and not wanting to embarrass himself with the truth of him day dreaming. He listened carefully to each and every word, sipping it in like a hot soup, and indeed much like a hot soup it burned him up inside. The mentioning of his weakness was like a trigger word for the powerless Steiner Franz, who stood up on his feet, and glared at the skeleton.
"Weakness!? I'll show you weakness!", Steiner shouted at the skeleton as the skeleton went on a tangant about how he shouldn't be weak, and strive to not be an idiot. As the skeleton destroyed his own weapon, Steiner knew that disarming was out of the question, instead he would have to neutralize Duster instead. Maybe incapacitate him with a quick flourish of attacks perhaps, but as he thought that up he realized that no longer was the speed advantage truly in his favor. More than likely if Steiner engaged him straight on, as he had done before, and tried to slash at him with all of his might he would be easily vanquished before he could even make a dent in the defense of the skeleton's bones. To be honest, when Excalibur had hit Duster, he could feel the resistance, and knew that with his current strength level it would be hard to really slash through the bones of this particular skeleton.
So, taking a quick deep breath, and allowing his own frustration at the state of affairs to subside, Steiner began to formulate an assault. So, Duster wanted to see the fruits of his labor, and see just what he had to bring to the table for this training session? Well, Steiner would show him that. So, Steiner switched his stance up a bit, switching from a more defensive oriented stance used to disarm opponents to one that he thought would be better at neutralizing a threat in a non-lethal manner. So, with a switch in stance, Steiner rushed forward toward the foe, but at the last second, jumped back slightly. The desired effect would be to stimulate Duster to react with a jab of some kind, but if Duster jabbed at him via natural defensive reaction, Steiner would not be there to receive contact.
Instead he would be out of arm's reach, but not outside of sword's reach. This time, Steiner's swing would be that of a broad swing instead of a precise aim looking to hit a specific bone on Duster's body. Steiner instead was aiming at the rib cage in general. The purpose was clear and that was to knock his opponent backwards, in that moment Steiner would lunge in, and bring his sword back across, effectively double tapping the rib cage with all of his might. Maybe he would crack a few ribs or damage vital bones to operating movements in the skeleton's body. At this point, Steiner's purpose was to ensure that the skeleton's ability to move at such high speeds would be nullified by damage done to Duster's bones.
All the while, Steiner remembered what Duster had said about constantly staying in motion, so of course Steiner would do that. Even if his attack failed, Steiner would instead continue to jump back, possibly to gain some ground on his opponent, and switch tactics to a more defensive nature. Playing on his opponent's strengths and maybe learning a few of his opponent's weaknesses as well. As such, for now he hoped his initial attack would work and prepared himself for the possibility of brutal failure in the form of a powerful counter attack.