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Thread: Black Wind - Original Fiction

  1. #1
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    May 2015

    Default Black Wind - Original Fiction

    Hello everyone, Varler here. So, I've been reading my whole life and got into wuxia about a year ago. Since then I've been reading more and more series, following more and more translation blogs, and finally decided to try my hand at writing something wuxia ish too. However, I'm not Chinese, don't know all the Chinese writing conventions and am more familiar with Western fiction, so I won't be trying to copy the Chinese style.
    This series of mine, Black Wind, is a fusion of Chinese Wuxia and Western fantasy. It focuses on a martial artist, Black Wind, who is mysteriously transported from his Asian inspired world with qi and martial artists, to a world of knights and magic inspired by European mythos.
    I'm posting to to my blog first, but will also post the chapters here as long as I remember. (I've got an iffy memory, so don't blame me if I forget to post it here right away! Sorry in advance!) If you read it here and comment, that's just fine, but if you really want to support it consider going to my blog and following it there.
    Ok, that's all for the intro. I'll get to posting the chapters now. Click HERE for my blog!

  2. #2
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    May 2015

    Default Chapter 1 - Black Wind

    Chapter One: Black Wind
    By Varler
    Find it at: Varler's Blog

    Waking from a deep slumber, Black Wind opens his eyes. Looking around he notices that he is in a forest and has a layer of dirt and leaves partially covering him, as though he had been in this spot for a long time. Puzzled, Black Wind closes his eyes. How did he get here? Where is this? Why? Any time he thought too deeply about any of these questions, a dull headache gnawed at his consciousness. Deciding that was a futile endeavour, Black Wind stands up, brushing the dirt and leaves off of himself.

    Next to where he lay is a thin black sword. Picking it up, a memory returns to him. This is why he was called Black Wind, because of his skill with the sword that was as swift as the wind. He came from a small village in the Middle Mountains, son of the village chief but long since feared throughout the whole continent as one of the youngest genius experts in the last thousand years.

    Feeling a bit comforted with remembering who he was, Black Wind takes a moment to cleanse his clothes of dirt and grime using his inner energy. As his qi expands outward, it expels the dirt from his clothes, although they still look faded from being outside for who knows how long. Black Wind stretches, extending his arms high above his head, and a series of cracks is heard running down his back as loud as a firing squad in the silent forest. Sighing, Black Wind chooses a direction and starts walking.

    After walking for a few hours, it starts to get dark and Black Wind is still unable to see if he is any closer to the edge of the forest. He quickly leaps up a tree, each stride skipping over multiple branches, and stands at the very top. Surprisingly, not only do the branches he stand on not sway with his weight, he is even able to stand on the thinnest branches that even a falcon would have trouble sitting on. As Black Wind looks around, he sees a boundless sea of green, continuing as far as the eye can see. Focusing his qi into his eyes, Black Wind is able to see a whopping 50 miles in every direction. This surprises him, because no matter how good his eyesight, the horizon should stop him from seeing further than 15 miles, even if he is absurdly high up. Although this puzzles him, Black Wind pushes it to the back of his mind for now and continues searching. He sees that behind him, towards the direction he came from, is a mountain range that disappears into clouds. In the other direction is a river, winding through the forest and out into a plains.

    Knowing that people will need water to live and that where there’s a river, there will often be a city too, Black Wind jumps down from the tree and heads in that direction. No longer walking, he runs quickly, dodging trees as they appear in front of him. Black Wind quickly reaches the river which was 40 miles away within 10 minutes. Not even panting, he comes to a stop upon reaching the river. The only reason he previously walked while in the forest was because he wanted some time to think and collect his thoughts. However, having decided that more thought was useless without first finding out more information, Black Wind is now taking action.

    Once again leaping atop a tree, Black Wind follows the river with his eyes and notices that it leads out of the forest and into a grassy plain. After another dozen miles from where he stands, there is a small town at a bend in the river just as he predicted. However, the buildings look nothing like he is used to. Instead of the delicately sloping tile roofs of his homeland, these huts are much more crudely made, made mostly of earth and straw. Strangely, none are made of lumber despite being so close to such a large forest. As there is no where else for him to go at the moment, Black Wind decides to head to this village before it becomes night. Even though he could, he doesn’t wish to spend the night outside in this unknown place. Although he hasn’t seen any magical beasts yet, it’s always good to be cautious in case a magical beast attacks, especially at night.

    Black Wind runs along the river bank until the village is within view to the common eye, and then slows down, walking at a normal pace so as not to startle his potential hosts. As he gets closer to the village, he notices that a male youth fishing at the river has stopped what he was doing and is staring at him, mouth hanging open. Black Wind waves at the youth, which seems to get him out of his shock. The youth quickly grabs his fishing pole and bucket and runs back to the village. Surprised at such a cold greeting, Black Wind raises his guard and approaches the village slightly more cautiously.

    A few minutes later, Black Wind reaches the village and passes through the village gates. There is a short stone wall surrounding the village, although it can barely be called a wall. It’s height only reaches about 3.5 feet. It’s certainly not for any defensive purpose, and yes, as Black Wind passes into the village he can see that ducks roam around, waddling on their feet. Their wings were probably clipped and the wall is to keep them and other livestock in. As Black Wind is walking through the village, trying to find an inn or lodging he can stay at, he notices various people peeking out of their doorways or windows to stare at him. Kids even quickly run into shelter upon seeing him walking in their general direction. Puzzling over why this could be, Black Wind notices that the clothes of the villagers are much different than his. Instead of wearing a robe made of one piece of cloth like him, their clothes are sewn together from multiple pieces of fabric, as well as wearing trousers and shirt as different pieces of their outfit. He can tell that this is a poor, working village, since the majority of their clothes look the same and are all faded, dirty, and patched where worn through. However, the fishing youth he saw earlier had more colorful, newer clothes in comparison. Perhaps he was the son of someone important in the village?

    Right as Black Wind was remembering the male youth from the river, a well dressed middle aged man approaches him, followed by the youth in tow. Seeing them, Black Wind stops and waits for their approach. The man eyes him up and down, lingering on his clothes and especially the sword at his waist. Opening his mouth to speak, the well dressed man starts talking gibberish. Well, it sounded like gibberish to Black Wind. It certainly wasn’t the language he expected to hear. Puzzled, Black Wind waits for him to stop talking and then tries to introduce himself in his own language, wanting to see if they would understand. “Hello. My name is Black Wind. Can you understand me?” Seeing the man and youth glance at each other with a clueless look on their faces, Black Wind tries his introduction again in the language of the northern barbarian tribes. However, the two look just as bewildered. The man says something to the youth, and the youth quickly runs off, leaving the middle aged man here with Black Wind.

    By this time, various villagers have come out of their houses, judging the situation to not be dangerous, and are watching at a slight distance. This kind of occurrence must be something that they are not used to. The man in front of Black Wind stands there a bit, looking at him and occasionally opening his mouth before closing it again. After a while of this laughable scene repeating itself, he finally opens his mouth and points to himself saying, “Jim Abney.”

    Realizing that this must be his name, Black Wind in turn points to himself and proclaims, “Black Wind.” Now that some progress has finally been made in the communication between them, Black Wind and Jim Abney share a smug smile, seeming to say, see, we can do it! Shortly after this small victory, the youth runs back and says something to this Jim Abney. After exchanging a few more words in their strange language which included Black Wind’s name, the boy turns towards Black Wind and points to himself saying, “Antero Abney.” Realizing that the two of them share the same part of the name as well as wearing nicer clothes than the rest of the villagers, Black Wind deducts that they must be family and likely the chief of the village.

    A little while after the boy Antero Abney ran back to them, an old, white haired man hobbles over with a long stick at least 5 feet long used as a cane. Seeing him, Black Wind can sense that this man is out of the ordinary, and raises his perception to sense anything extra in case something happens. It perplexes him, though, since he can’t feel any qi emanating from this old man, nor can he see any sign of him having the fit body of a fighter. But something in his instincts tells him not to relax.

    The old man stares at him and raises an eyebrow upon seeing his reaction. He then looks into Black Wind’s eyes, and Black Wind is drawn into them before catching himself and quickly waking his consciousness up. This all happened in the blink of an eye, but it makes Black Wind break out into a cold sweat as he quickly jumps backward and puts his hand on the hilt of his sword. This action once again causes amusement to this mysterious old man, who starts laughing. However, to the villagers around them, once they realize that Black Wind is starting to show hostility, they panic and quickly head back indoors, ushering the children watching with rapt curiosity back, away from this dangerous stranger. The old man says something to Jim Abney and Jim Abney calls out, “Black Wind!” He then walks towards Black Wind with his arms held up, showing no hostility. Trusting this Jim Abney, Black Wind decides to head back towards them, although he keeps his attention glued to the old man. Jim Abney holds out his right hand and looks at Black Wind. Realizing this is a universal symbol for a handshake, Black Wind grasps it, being careful to control his strength. Jim Abney guides him back to where the old man is standing and pats Black Wind’s back. Although he is still cautious, Black Wind decides to put his trust in this Jim Abney and looks back to the old man.

    The old man raises his staff up a few inches before slamming it back into the ground with strength unexpected from such an old body. The ground in the surrounding area lights up in geometric patterns with various symbols surrounding it in a circle. While this is happening, the old man’s eyes glow with the same type of light that is being emitted from this circle on the ground. He brings his finger up and touches it to Black Wind’s forehead. A quick burning sensation is felt, followed by a small headache. Black Wind winces, and by the time he opens his eyes, the mysterious formation is gone.

    The old man stands there still, but this time looking tired and even older than before. He quietly says, “My name is George Winston. You should be able to understand me now, correct?”

    Note: This is my first time posting to this forum. If anyone has any suggestions on formatting, please let me know. Also let me know if you find typos or errors. Thanks! Please enjoy!

  3. #3
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    May 2015

    Default Chapter 2 - Neath

    Chapter Two: Neath
    By Varler
    Find it at Varler’s Blog

    Black Wind unconsciously drops his jaw upon suddenly hearing this mysterious old man, George Winston, speak in his language. “George Winston, you know Middle Tongue?” Black Wind is too flustered, so all he manages to get out is this.

    “Mr. Black Wind, please just call me Sage George. Here we only go by one name.” Sage George laughs and then answers Black Wind’s question. “I assume Middle Tongue is what your language is. Listen carefully, you should hear that what we are speaking right now is quite a bit different.”

    Upon thinking about it for a bit, Black Wind realized that what Sage George said was correct. These words they are speaking are nothing like what he previously knew. “But then, how can I be understanding and speaking this now? What was it that you did to me earlier when the ground lit up?” Even though they were now speaking to each other and finally able to communicate, Black Wind had more questions now than ever before.

    Quickly interrupting his rapid fire questions, Sage George cut in, “It’s getting dark. We wouldn’t be very hospitable guests if we made you talk outside in the dark, would we?” With these words, he looked meaningfully at Jim Abney.

    “Ah, yes! Follow me Mr. Black Wind. I’ll lead you to my house. We have some guest rooms you can use for the night. Also, call me Chief Abney. And this is my son Antero. We can continue this discussion after getting somewhere more comfortable.” Chief Abney quickly remembered his job and started leading the group down the street. Black Wind noticed that, as they got further into the village, the quality of the construction of the houses went up. They were larger and looked less shoddy. And up ahead there was even a large house made of stone which had two stories. Their group walks towards this particular stone house, and before they even reach the door, it opens, revealing a woman that must have been quite pretty when she was younger. Even now, you can still see a mature charm about her.

    “Come in dear, I have the fire going and some wine prepared. I’ve heard about the special guest already.” Welcomed by this woman, the group head inside. Black Wind assumes that she is the wife of Chief Abney and politely bows as he enters. The woman raises an eyebrow at this action, apparently not sure what to think of it. Once everyone has made it inside and is ushered to some seats by a fireplace, the woman brings over a bottle of wine to pour for everyone. Black Wind politely accepts the wine and sniffs it, determining that it’s alcohol. Although he tried to be discreet in his action, Black Wind got the sense that that Sage George’s keen eye caught on.

    As the wine is being poured, the young Antero tries to sneakily get some poured for himself too. “Shoo! Get out of here you little rascal!” His mother playfully swats at him with her free hand and puts the rest of the wine down. He scampers off, looking dejected, although a slight smile can be seen on his lips as he leaves. “Alright. I’m sure you’ve met everyone else by now. I’m Loreena. It’s good to meet you, Mr…”

    “Black Wind. It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Ms. Loreena.” Black Wind smiles at her before creasing his forehead with a slight frown. “Does Ms. Loreena have only one name? All of them have two?”

    Loreena laughs slightly at his question. “I guess you really aren’t from around here, not knowing something so basic. In our culture we have a given name and a family name. I have taken Abney as my family name since marrying into Jim’s family.” She looks over at her husband and smiles. One can see just how caring this family is, just from small interactions like this one.

    Chief Abney clears his throat, slightly embarrassed. “Well, we’re settled in now and away from all those staring eyes. What did they think this was, a show? Anyway, it looks like you’ve got a lot of questions. Ask away.”

    “Yes. First I would like to know what Sage George did earlier which now lets us speak together.” Since he was given the opportunity to ask, Black Wind made full use of the chance. And firstly wanted to know about this strange power Sage George has, in case it turns out to be a danger to him.

    Chief Abney starts to answer but is once again cut off by Sage George. “Well, Mr. Black Wind, I would like to first know what you think happened?” Seeing Black Wind stay silent in response, Sage George’s eyes widen. “I see. I see! You have no clue, do you? Now I really wonder where it is you’re from… What I did was a memory transfer spell. It copies part of the memories off the soul of the user and transfers them to the soul of the target. What I copied was my memory of Common Tongue, which would let you know how to understand and speak it. However, anything involving the soul takes a lot of mana, so I don’t enjoy doing it too frequently. I came here to retire, I didn’t know I’d still have to do stuff like this…” He grumbled for a bit more after finishing his explanation. Despite how astute he is, the Sage George is quite a character.

    Once again, this raises even more questions than it answers for Black Wind. However, he decides to press on and only ask the important questions. Until he knows the big picture, it’s probably better to avoid asking questions that lay too much suspicion on him. “Alright. Next, where is this? Please give as much detail as possible.” Although he knows this was an odd question to ask, Black Wind needs to know and thus could not avoid asking it.

    “This is the town of Forsook, the river nearby is the Line River. The kingdom we are in is called Epica. The direction you came from was the Silent Forest. This is why the villagers were so shocked. Nothing lives in the Silent Forest. Except for possibly a vengeful god. Those who enter die without question. So, where did you come from?” Chief George slightly narrows his eyes as he asks, unable to keep the suspicion from showing. He gets the evil eye from his wife, though, who obviously is better at giving hospitality.

    Black Wind’s mind is whirring with questions, hypotheses, and memories. As he once again thinks about how or why he got here, a splitting headache travels through his head, forcing him to stop thinking. He grabs his head and closes his eyes for a few seconds as the headache resides. Noticing the looks of worry or curiosity in the case of Sage George, Black Wind tells them, “I’m sorry. I can’t remember without having a splitting headache. Also, please tell me the name of the world we’re on too. Although it might be a bit odd.”

    As his hosts look at eachother, Sage George asks, “Mind if I try healing you? It might not be my forte, but I still know enough healing magic to get by.”

    “Go ahead.” Black Wind quickly gives consent, since he doesn’t like these headaches one bit. He is told to close his eyes and relax. Sage George stands in front of him with his staff and once again slams it into the ground. Ms. Loreena winces, as she thinks about what this does to her house. Once again, a circle of runes and various geometric shapes appears on the ground. This time, though Sage George’s hands glow and streams of light seem to pierce Black Wind’s head. Black Wind’s eyes are closed, so he can’t see what’s going on, but he could feel his head warm up in a pleasant sort of way, similar to the feeling when you lay in the sun on a clear spring day.

    As he relaxes due to this warmth, Sage George seems to relax too, because the treatment is going as smoothly as was hoped for. However, suddenly a suffocating presence is felt throughout the room. The light shining from the magic circle as well as Sage George’s hands which was previously a pure white, turns dark and sinister.

    “This man belongs to Neath! He is under the protection of Neath, and Neath does not appreciate you tinkering with his head. You will stop or not even have a chance to regret your decision.” A piercing voice is heard by everyone in the room, but to each of them it sounds as if it’s coming from right by their ear. Although the occupants want to freak out, they’re currently too scared to move a muscle. Any power that can do this is stronger than they could imagine.

    While everyone else is witnessing this spectacle, Black Wind himself falls unconscious and the same black light pulses around his body, lifting him a few inches off the chair as it cushions him from any outside forces. Although he is unconscious, Black Wind sees a dream of a female figure clothed in loose black robes walk up to him and caress his cheek. She whispers something into his ear and he remembers no more. Shortly after, Black Wind wakes up, slowly sinking back onto his chair. He looks around, noticing the pale faces on all the residents of Forsook.

    “What’s wrong, you look like you’ve seen a ghost?” He asks, trying to figure out the situation. “I guess the healing didn’t work?” Sage George seems to recover first and sits down with a thud.

    “Not only did it not work, someone or something interfered with it. Said it was called Neath. Do you know of this Neath?” Sage George asks, sounding very drained.

    “I’ve never heard the name before…” While Black Wind is thinking about it, Loreena speaks up.

    “I think I have. My mother used to tell us tales of the evil goddess residing in the Silent Forest. Her name was Neath, and her lover was killed long ago by the Human King. In her grief, she managed to overcome human boundaries and ascend to godhood. But if this is true, what does this goddess have to do with Mr. Black Wind? Who are you, really?” As Loreena says this, everyone seems to have the same question in their minds. Looking to Black Wind for an answer, he slowly speaks up.

    “I don’t know.”

    Note: Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment with any suggestions, grammar or spelling errors, or anything else! And follow my blog if you want email updates of new posts. I'll be posting the 3rd chapter within a few days.

  4. #4
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    May 2015

    Default Chapter 3 - The Upper Dantian

    Chapter Three: The Upper Dantian
    By Varler
    Find it at Varler’s Blog

    “I woke up lying in the Silent Forest. I couldn’t remember anything other than my name and how to fight.” Black Wind leaves out how he remembered where he came from, since that’s a detail that might add more suspicion. “I didn’t know where I was or anything, so I just started walking. I eventually arrived here by following the stream.” There are a few inconsistencies with his story, such as why his clothes were clean when he arrived to town if he’d been laying in the forest, but thankfully it seems like no one thinks to call them out.

    “Excuse me Mr. Black Wind, but we need a moment to talk. Would you mind heading to the next room for a bit?” Chief Abney stands and leads Black Wind to the door leading to the kitchen. As he doesn’t have much of a choice, Black Wind follows him. They are obviously planning to discuss how to deal with a suspicious character such as him.

    Black Wind finds a stool to sit in as Chief Abney heads back to the lounge where Loreena and Sage George are waiting. Black Wind notices that after Chief Abney heads back inside the room, a faint glowing membrane-like wall appears in the doorway. As soon as this wall appears, he is no longer able to hear any sound from inside the room. It might be possible to break through, but Black Wind doesn’t wish to disturb his hosts by trying. So, he sits still in the kitchen and thinks. Thinks about who this Neath is, what she could want from him, and what she might know about his past.

    Remembering what was said about how she spoke to the room when he was unconscious, Black Wind wonders if he could try to contact her himself. Closing his eyes while sitting in a meditative posture, he focuses his mind on his dantian, or sea of qi, where a martial practitioner’s qi and life energy is stored. As long as his dantian are left undamaged, practitioners of a certain level can live through any attack, even rebuilding their body from their remaining qi. There are three dantians in a persons body, each strengthened through different training and used for different martial techniques.

    The lower dantian is located in the abdomen, below the belly button. This one can be strengthened by anyone through physical training alone, but cannot reach beyond a certain level of martial prowess. The middle dantian is located in a persons heart. This one is strengthened through qi gathering methods, such as meditation and heavenly medicine. Finally, the upper dantian is located in the brain and can only be strengthened through the will of the heavens. One must have enlightenments which will allow them to be blessed by the heavens and have their upper dantian strengthened. This is the hardest dantian to cultivate as well as the most important. If one wishes to reach the strength of legends, they must learn to strengthen this dantian. If the upper dantian is strengthened to a high enough degree, one can even live and train without their mortal body. At this point they reach the level of immortal.

    Black Wind focuses his mind first into his lower dantian, spreading his consciousness throughout his physical body, looking for any sign of an abnormality. Finding nothing out of the ordinary, he then switches to his middle dantian. As his mind enters this dantian, it follows the various qi channels around his body. As he examines each qi channel, he forces more qi through, slowly widening them. This is one of the methods of qi training. However, he still finds no abnormalities. Black Wind sighs, wishing it could have been as easy as that. Finally, after taking a breath to prepare himself, he brings his consciousness to his upper dantian.

    As his consciousness enters his upper dantian, it’s like a roiling sea. He tries hard to hang on and not lose his mind in this chaotic expanse, a cold sweat unknowingly appearing on his back. Black Wind is shocked at the state of his upper dantian. Although it was never easy to train his upper dantian, the energies inside it were never this expansive or violent before. However, this is a mixed blessing. Although he is having trouble even holding onto his mind, much less taming this expanse of qi, if he is able to harness it’s power it will be of boundless benefit to him. His upper dantian was previously like a small pond compared to this raging ocean.

    As he is thinking greedily about the possible benefits that could come from cultivating this wild upper dantian, Black Wind loses focus for a split second. However, that split second was all that was needed for his consciousness to be swept away by the violent waves of qi. Not even having time to swear to himself, Black Wind tries desperately to hang onto his mind. If this goes wrong, he will be left raving mad at best, or a soulless husk at worst. If his mind is lost in the upper dantian, only heaven could save him.

    His mind reaches out in every direction, looking for something to hang onto, some way to save itself. As Black Wind is fighting desperately for his sanity in his upper dantian, he has a realization. One must not fight to control their qi, they must learn to live alongside it, treating their qi like an equal. As he has this small enlightenment, Black Wind can feel his consciousness growing stronger, having received another blessing from the heavens. However, it still isn’t enough! Black Wind no longer fights the flow of his qi, but instead tries to flow with it. But this just leads to the overwhelming amount of qi sweeping his mind up and starting to drown it.

    As he feels that all hope is lost, a sinister light engulfs his psyche and pulls it from the violent sea of qi. But to Black Wind, this dark and sinister light feels as natural and warm as his mother’s womb. He starts to calm down, already forgetting about how he almost lost his mind just a mere moment ago. As he starts to fall asleep, a female voice whispers in his head. “Foolish man, do you wish to see me that much? I will not always be able to protect you. Fine. I will bestow this treasure upon you to protect and guide you. Once you are strong enough to meet me, it will show you the way.” Black Wind barely registers these words before his consciousness drifts off in a natural sleep.

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    Hearing his name called wakes Black Wind up. As he looks around, he notices that Loreena is standing to his side, holding a ladle. It is also bright, with sunlight streaming through the window. Black Wind sits up, realizing that he had been moved to a small bed and that his clothes have been changed. He wrinkles his eyebrows as he finally remembers what happened yesterday and his close brush with insanity. However, this action which he has done an innumerable number of times in his life feels strange and alien. He brings his hand up to his head and feels a hard and smooth thing implanted into his forehead between and slightly above his eyebrows.

    “Are you feeling alright, Mr. Black Wind?” Loreena asks him, looking slightly worried. You fell asleep 3 days ago after we had talked for a bit. You were sweating and looked deathly pale. We moved you to young Antero’s room and my husband changed your clothes. You’ve been asleep ever since.” She pauses for a moment and cocks her head to one side. “Also, what’s with that stone on your forehead? Was that always there?”

    “Stone?” Black Wind looks just as puzzled as her, so she brings over a bucket of water and hands it to him.

    “Look at it for yourself. I have never seen anything like it before.”

    Black Wind leans over the bucket, looking at his reflection in the water. Sure enough, there’s an ovular black stone in his forehead. It was what he felt earlier when he had tried to wrinkle his eyebrows. As if it isn’t odd enough to have a stone implanted in someone’s head, it looks as if it is actually a part of him, not just some addition. Also, the black stone gives no reflection off. Any light that hit it is seemingly absorbed, almost making it look like there’s a black hole in the front of his head.

    “I’ve never seen it before either. It doesn’t hurt or anything though.” Black Wind suddenly remembers what that female voice had said in his upper dantian about having gifted him a treasure. He assumes that was the Neath he was told about by Loreena. However, he decides to keep these facts to himself, especially judging how the residents here all seem under the impression that this Neath is an evil goddess, but as his savior just now as well as his benefactor for this mysterious treasure, Black Wind has a rather good impression of her.

    “Well, you certainly are mysterious. But don’t worry, we won’t throw you out just for that, although Antero is a bit mad about not having his bed. Anyway I was just making breakfast. Come join us!” Loreena heads back to the kitchen after seeing that Black Wind is doing well.

    Black Wind sees his clothes folded next to his bed and quickly puts those back on as well as putting his sword back at his waist. He feels much more comfortable with it there. Afterwards, he heads to the kitchen, seeing that Chief Abney, Loreena, and Antero are all gathered already. As there is no sign of Sage George, he must live elsewhere.
    After eating for a while with the Abney family, Black Wind speaks up. “I have decided. I can not continue to impose upon you here. It is not polite and it will do nothing for me in recovering my memory. I shall head to the kingdom’s capital.”

    Note: Chapter 3 is out! Thanks to everyone who has visited my blog, well, all two of you from here. haha. I hope to keep my blog and the story growing, but without the support from my readers it's hard to get motivation. So thanks again for visiting, commenting, liking, etc.

  5. #5
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    May 2015

    Default Chapter 4 - Celestial Blessing

    Chapter Four: Celestial Blessing
    By Varler
    Find it at Varler’s Blog

    “Go to the capital? Do you even know where that is? It might be better if you just stay in one spot until you get better, you might heal with time.” Chief Abney makes a logical argument. “We have a small village, you’re welcome to stay. There are extra houses, too.” As he sees it, even though Black Wind is strange, he is still a strong young man. This type of person is always needed in small villages that rely on manual labor to harvest crops, fish, etc. And it seems as though Black Wind is a strong fighter too, which could help against bandits in a pinch.

    “I thank you for your hospitality, but I feel that I will accomplish nothing by staying here. I need to experience more first hand.” Black Wind bluntly turns Chief Abney down, showing that there is no room for discussion. And although he doesn’t say this, Black Wind also feels some sort of mental pull, telling him to head to the capital. He realizes that it’s likely related to the dream he had and the odd stone in his forehead, but he doesn’t seem to think that it’s something he needs to be guarded about.

    “Well,” Loreena speaks up before her husband has a chance to say anything more. “It certainly is a shame that you have to leave. But we won’t stop you. However, could you make a detour to the town down the river, Lucila, while you travel? I have a letter that I need delivered to the blacksmith there. Sadly our town is too small to have it’s own blacksmith, and we must order tools from them. But it won’t be for free, I’ll make you some nice homemade sandwiches to bring along.” She gives Black Wind a warm smile, prompting him to say yes.

    Sighing in his head, Black Wind agrees. After finishing up breakfast, he receives the letter with Loreena’s order for the blacksmith and a pack with an enticing smell wafting from it. Chief Abney, Loreena, and their son Antero walk Black Wind to the edge of the village to see him off. However, he can sense that they aren’t the only ones seeing him off. Various villagers peek through their windows at him, and a group of children try to hide behind a corner as they watch him. Despite the hospitality shown by the Chief’s family, a stranger like him must not be that welcome in this small village.

    As he is about to turn around to leave, Black Wind hears his name called out. Looking for the source, he sees an out of breath Sage George quickly making his way towards him. He looks absurd, not quite running but also not quite walking as he uses his large staff to propel himself along. “Mr. Black Wind! I have something for you! Wait up!” Sage George calls out and slows down, seeing that Black Wind is no longer about to leave. Black Wind can hear him grumbling under his breath as he approaches. “I hate running. Why else would I have become a mage? I’m not cut out for this…”

    “Yes, what do you need me for?” Black Wind is curious what this man would have to give him. Of the people he’s met so far, only Sage George has given him an uncomfortable feeling, like he might be a danger despite being such an old man.

    “Here.” Sage George thrusts a scroll of parchment towards Black Wind. “I copied down a rough map for you. There’s also a letter of referral from me. If you show it to any magic caster, they should give you preferential treatment. Just remember to come back and tell me once you regain your memory. I’ve never seen a subject like you before.” Although he can tell that he is being treated like some sort of test subject, Black Wind accepts the gifts and gives his thanks. He starts to turn around yet again to leave, when he is stopped yet again.

    “Umm… Well, that thing on your head looks a bit weird. Maybe you’d want this to cover it up so you don’t attract more attention than your clothes already give you?” The youth, Antero, bashfully hands over a headband after brutally calling Black Wind weird. However, it was well-intentioned, this family is too nice for their own good.

    Black Wind takes the headband and puts it on, not knowing if he should laugh or cry. “I guess you’re right. I should find a change of clothes eventually.” He looks around, checking if anyone else is going to stop him from leaving yet again, and then turns around and walks out of the village. Once he has gotten far enough away to be out of view, he starts running at full speed, his feet barely touching the ground as he flashes by. His speed easily reaches 300 miles per hour(480km/hr), much faster than when he was running through the forest, as there are no obstacles he has to dodge around. This sort of speed is only possible thanks to his high cultivation of his qi in his middle dantian. A practitioner who only trained their physical body and their lower dantian could never reach this level.

    The distance of 50 miles(80km) between the two villages, which should take a normal person a full 16 hours to walk was completed in a mere 10 minutes by Black Wind. Once again, he stops running out of range of the village and walks the rest of the way. It slightly frustrates him that he has to do this every time, as walking the final stretch takes almost as much time as the whole rest of the journey. However, until he knows what the people of this world can do, Black Wind is determined to not attract any unneeded attention to his martial prowess.

    As he walks into Lucila Village, Black Wind notices that this town has a lot more hustle and bustle going on. Unlike Epica, Lucila seems to frequently see travelers and thus fewer people stare at him as he walks by. There are also many more houses and other buildings such as various stores, a smithy, an inn, and a healer. Wanting to get his errand over with quickly, Black Wind heads straight to the blacksmith. Although there is a store in the town center that holds their wares, mostly tools for farming, leather working, and other mundane jobs, the forge itself is at the edge of the town because of the large furnace needed and the pungent smoke put out.

    Black Wind enters the forge and is immediately greeted by a spry young girl who looks to be in her mid teens. “Hello, welcome to the Spinel Forge. Is there anything we can help you with?” She looks towards Black Wind with an expectant look on her face.

    “Yes, I’m here to deliver an order from Loreena in Forsook village down the river.” Black Wind takes out the letter and goes to hand to over to the girl. She takes it but looks slightly disappointed.

    “Ahh… More tools again. All we do is fix and make tools all day long! We almost never make swords or other cool weapons.” She eyes the sword on his waist. “I was hoping since you’re a swordsman that you’d have a request like that. Oh, I never introduced myself! I’m Belgin. My dad, Torben, in the back right now. He owns the forge and does most of the work. I just help him out.” Belgin pauses talking and looks back at Black Wind’s sword, fidgeting a bit. “Umm… Could I, like, maybe look at your sword?” She swallows audibly and blushes a bit as she asks.

    Normally Black Wind wouldn’t give his sword away, but this girl in front of him seems innocent and harmless and genuinely interested in his sword. It tickles his pride, as he is very proud of his blade. He went through a great deal of trouble to attain this treasure, risking his life to acquire it from an evil sect of assassins. Black Wind had received a request from the single survivor of a village they had massacred. He infiltrated their organization and found a chance to kill their leader and elders, effectively disbanding their sect. As he left, he noticed a hidden room with this blade in it. After researching it turns out the blade belonged to a heavenly immortal.

    Black Wind decides it’s safe to let her see it, so he takes it out and hands it over. As it’s drawn from its scabbard, Belgin’s eyes widen. A small gasp is heard as she carefully takes it from Black Wind. She examines the thin, flexible, black blade up and down. “I’ve never seen anything like this! This material is like nothing I’ve ever even heard of, what is it?”

    “Even I’m not sure what the sword is made of, but it’s harder than diamond and it has never needed sharpening nor has it ever chipped or deformed. As far as I can tell it’s near indestructible. The sword’s name is Celestial Blessing.” As Black Wind is explaining the properties of the sword to her, a large, bear-like man walks in from the doorway at the back of the room. He is wearing trousers and a leather apron, leaving his brawny arms bare. There are a multitude of scars covering his hands and arms, some from burns and others from blades. It seems that although he might be a blacksmith now, he probably has a history of fighting.

    “Belgin!” The man barks, “Give the customer his sword back, it’s very impolite to take a warrior’s weapon.” Belgin jumps and regretfully hands Celestial Blessing back to Black Wind. There’s a sheepish look on her face as she turns around to look at the man who just entered.

    “Hello daddy. He’s a customer, I was just keeping him company while we waited for you. He has another order from Loreena.” She gives an excuse before trying to change the topic.

    The man walks over to Black Wind, towering over him. “I’m sorry for my daughter, she has an unhealthy obsession with swords. My name is Torben, master of this forge. Since you are here on behalf of Loreena, I can do you a favor and sharpen your blade before you leave. What do you say?”

    Black Wind is about to speak up, as Belgin quickly quips in. “Daddy, his sword is amazing! I’ve never seen anything like it before. It’s not made of any sort of metal we use here, and apparently it’s the stuff of legends.” She turns back to Black Wind, a gleam in her eye. “Sir, you don’t mind if my dad looks at it, right? Right?” Belgin is so excited that she grabs Black Wind’s hand, before realizing herself and letting go, blushing up to her ears.

    Finally getting a chance to speak, now that Belgin has quieted down, Black Wind laughs a bit and tells Torben, “My name is Black Wind, and although I appreciate the offer, I doubt you’ll be able to do more than wear down your whetstone.” He once more draws his sword and hands it over to the large blacksmith.

    “By the gods…” Torben takes the sword and mutters under his breath. Looking confused, he looks back to Black Wind when screams are heard from outside in the village.


  6. #6
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    May 2015

    Default Chapter 5 - Slaughter

    Chapter Five: Slaughter
    By Varler
    Find it at Varler’s Blog

    Quickly forgetting what he was about to say to Black Wind, Torben runs outside the forge. Black Wind and Belgin follow him, wanting to see what the situation is. Torben turns back to Belgin. “Belgin, go inside and grab my sword. Then hide indoors. You know where to go to stay safe.” As soon as Torben told her what to do, Belgin quickly ran back into the forge. “And you, Black Wind, was it? Do you know how to fight?”

    “Yes.” Black Wind nods and succinctly answers.

    “Good, then follow me. Hopefully these bandits are nothing much.” With one hand, he grabs the large sword being hauled out by Belgin and starts running towards the source of the screams. Although Torben is running as fast as he can, to Black Wind they might as well be standing still. But he follows obediently behind Torben for now, until he knows what the situation is like.

    As they reach the front of the village, there is a group of about 20 armed men standing around. Although a few have their weapons drawn, it looks like luckily there hasn’t been any fighting yet. There is, however, a middle-aged man lying face down on the ground with blood pooling around him. In front of the body is a giant man riding on an even more giant horse. He wears a brigandine for armor and carries a long spear. The spear has blood on it, obviously from the man on the ground. Seeing this, Torben gasps out, “Emmett!” His eyes redden as he looks at the man riding the horse. “Who do you think you are, barging into our village and killing the chief?” Torben angrily demands.

    The rider turns his horse towards the two people who came late to the scene. “Me? Hah. I’m the great Roland. Do you know who I am now?” The man, Roland, arrogantly states.

    Torben’s face pales a bit when he hears this name. Obviously this bandit has a bad reputation around here. He grits his teeth despite that and calls out, “Ok, so you’re Roland. What we have to give you for you to leave us alone? Money? Food? Weapons? If we have it, it’s yours. There’s no need to kill anyone.” Black Wind is surprised at how easily Torben is giving in to this bandit. His impression of the blacksmith was a favorable one, thinking him a valiant figure.

    Roland gives a sinister grin and says, “You said it, so don’t regret it. We get whatever we want, right? Then bring out 50 gold, two barrels of your best ale, and 5 nice women for us. Don’t worry, we’ll give the women back when we’re done with them. If you still want them.” He starts laughing, as though he finds this whole situation to be the funniest thing in months. The men behind him start laughing too; it’s an altogether creepy sight. Black Wind feels his blood boil and starts emitting a faint bloodlust.

    Torben grabs his sword before slowly releasing it again. “Fine.” He yells out. “We’ll bring you 60 gold and three barrels of ale. That should be enough for you to leave, right? That’s all the gold our village can afford. And even then, we won’t be able to pay the taxes to the lord at the end of the season.”

    Hearing Torben reply, Roland suddenly stops laughing and stares him right in the eyes. “And the women. You can’t forget that, it’s very important.”

    Torben, unable to take it any longer pulls out his sword. “You bastard! You’ll have to kill us first, before we hand anyone over to you!”

    Roland grins and points at the chief, Emmett, lying dead in the dirt. “Funny, because that’s exactly what he said. I guess I don’t mind doing it like that.” Before he even finishes talking, he spurs his horse on and charges at Torben. In the blink of an eye, he arrives and thrusts his spear towards Torben’s chest. Torben barely parries it out of the way with his broadsword and slashes at one of the horse’s legs, disabling it.

    Obviously not expecting his opponent to have any sort of skill, Roland jumps down from his horse and confronts Torben. “You’ll pay for crippling my horse. This whole village will burn! Men! Do it!” The bandits who were previously just standing around start to take action upon his signal. They draw their weapons and take out torches, lighting them. A few men in the back hold out their hands and start chanting, magic designs appearing on the ground at their feet. Sensing that the situation is going from bad to worse, Black Wind goes into action.

    Roland and Torben are exchanging blows, both of them obviously very skilled with their respective weapons, when they see a black blur pass by and feel a gust of wind on their bodies. Roland’s eyes widen as he realizes that the man who was standing behind Torben has disappeared. But he can’t spare any thought to think about it too deeply in the middle of a fight. Torben is just too frightening with his heavy blade. Each swing carries the weight of 10 men behind it and is as fast as a swooping swallow. If not for the added length of his spear keeping Torben at bay, the bandit leader would have an even tougher time staying unharmed.

    The entourage of bandits have already taken action, though, by the time Black Wind decides to act. Those with their weapons drawn run towards the villagers, getting ready to massacre. A few torches are thrown onto the thatched roofs of nearby houses, quickly setting them aflame, and the magicians in the back continue to cast their spell. As Black Wind does not yet know the capabilities of magic in this world, and he remembers back to how unfathomably powerful Sage George was, he first sprints past the other bandits to deal with the magicians. He runs up to the first one, and a flash of black strikes out. Black Wind doesn’t even bother stopping to confirm the kill and continues on, striking out at the second magician. Black Wind is long gone by the time the body of the first falls to the ground, his head and body neatly separated. This scene repeats itself until the magicians are all dead. By this point in time, the other bandits have realized that something is going on and look back, stupefied, at the sight of this mysterious swordsman standing over the decapitated bodies of their 4 magicians.

    Enraged at their comrades’ deaths, the bandits stop their advance towards the villagers and head back to where Black Wind is, surrounding him. He just stands there, seemingly calm, watching them get into formation. As the bandits creep closer like a cat stalking it’s prey, Black Wind speaks up. “Hypocrits. You’re fine killing and robbing others, but as soon as your friends die you get mad? Scum like you don’t even deserve to live. Good thing I can help with that.”

    As soon as he has finished talking, he seems to vanish. The bandits look around, wondering if he ran away with some sort of magic. In reality, Black Wind jumped into the air above them. As he reaches the peak of his jump, he spins, utilizing the sword technique “The Heavens Weep and Stars Fall.” The bandits below don’t even have time to scream out as they are pierced by countless streams of qi infused sword energy raining down from Black Wind’s Celestial Blessing. Black Wind lightly lands on the ground, using his qi to push the blood away from where he steps. Not even sparing a glance to the sea of bodies around him, he walks over towards the single remaining bandit.

    On the other side of the clearing another fight is taking place. Despite his surprise at there being an expert in a small town such as this one, Roland has been able to slowly start putting the pressure on Torben. Torben, on the other hand, is covered in small wounds. It’s evident that his lack of fighting in recent years has dulled his previous skill. He has managed to keep from taking any lethal wounds so far, though.

    Roland pushes forward, using the superior length of his spear combined with his vast combat experience to maneuver Torben against a wall. Trapped there, Torben does all he can to keep himself alive. Unable to avoid the strikes any longer, he is forced to parry and block the ones aimed toward vital points while occasionally allowing himself to be hit in non vital areas. The spear strikes rain down towards him, never giving a chance for respite. Finally, his guard drops by a few meagre inches as his arms start to lose strength due to accumulated blood loss. Roland sees the flaw in his guard with hawk like eyes and drives his spear straight for Torben’s heart, using all his strength to make sure this killing blow can’t be driven off target. However the strike never reaches Torben’s heart. Instead it hits the flat of a black sword.

    Letting out a quick sigh, Black Wind is relieved that he made it on time. After dealing with the group of bandits that threatened the villagers, he looked over and realized that the blacksmith, Torben, was in trouble. He dashed over at full speed, and barely blocked the fatal strike that would have taken his life.

    “What… How can this be?” Roland stutters as he sees the mysterious swordsman appear in front of him, blocking his killing blow. Aside from the fact that his spear is being blocked by this man’s sword, he would even think that he is seeing a ghost. There is no other explanation that he can think of for how the man with the black sword can disappear and reappear like he does. Enraged, he calls out, “Men! Subdue this swordsman! Once we kill these two, the village will be ours to plunder!” But all that answers him is silence.

    A chill goes down Roland’s back as he thinks of something. But unable to believe it, he leaps back from Black Wind and Torben and takes a moment to look behind him. Upon seeing his former subordinates scattered on the ground like rose petals, he starts shivering. A terror comes over him as he looks back at the swordsman standing by Torben’s side. Black Wind’s headband has come off thanks to his high-speed movement, revealing the black, light absorbing, gem in his head. Combined with the bloodthirsty look on his face, it makes him look like some sort of devil. Roland stumbles backward and falls to the ground. A dark stain appears on his trousers as his mind goes blank.

    The devil walks toward him and raises his black sword. Wind whistles as the sword swings down.

    Black Wind looks at the corpse sitting in front of him, and his bloodlust fades. Regaining his mind, he realizes what just happened. Although Black Wind is used to killing, having walked the path of a swordsman, he still doesn’t normally massacre like this. He values life and is merciful. So why did he lose his mind so easily to bloodlust this time? As Black Wind ponders this, he reaches up to his forehead.

    The stone feels hot.

  7. #7
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    May 2015

    Default Chapter 6 - Second Soul

    Chapter Six: Second Soul
    By Varler
    Find it at Varler’s Blog

    Torben leans against the wall and slowly collapses to the ground. Now that he is out of danger, his legs no longer have the strength to stand. He takes a deep breath in and lets his eyes wander about the bloody scene in front of him. Although he’s had his own fair share of battles and bloodshed in the past, Torben still has to fight the bile from rising up in his throat. His face pale, he looks over at the war god standing in front of him.

    Black Wind stands there, hand to his forehead, thinking. The person he was before wouldn’t have so easily slaughtered those bandits. At most, he would have killed the leader and a few others and scared the rest of them off. But now, a peculiar bloodlust came over him, making him lose control. But the whole experience makes him feel oddly refreshed, as though a shackle was thrown off. This scares him.

    Not knowing what Black Wind is thinking, Torben speaks up, “Mr. Black Wind. Thank you for saving me and dealing with the bandits. But we can’t stay here doing nothing. Someone needs to clean up this… mess.”

    His voice shocks Black Wind awake. “Ah. Yes. Leave it to me. I’m sure the villagers are rattled from this experience, how about you take care of the dead village chief and gather the villagers to discuss what to do next. As I’m an outsider, I’m not needed for that kind of discussion.” Black Wind pauses for a moment, as a grim smile passes through his face. “And I’m not so sure if the villagers would want to see me right now, after what I just did.”

    Realizing Black Wind’s point, Torben nods and stands up. He walks around the massacred bandits and over to Emmett, the ex-chief, and carefully picks the body up. A sad look appears on his face as he brings to body into the village. Black Wind fixes his headband and waits for a moment while Torben does this, and once he is out of sight he starts picking up corpses.

    After bringing all the bodies a ways outside the village, he channels extreme yang qi inside his body. A moment later a blindingly bright blue flame appears on his hand. Manipulating his qi to send it outward towards the pile of bodies, Black Wind gives them a quick cremation. Within minutes, all that is left is a pungent smell of charred meat and burned hair as well as a blackened patch of ground. Black Wind chants a few lines of prayer from his old world, wishing the souls a safe journey, and then walks back to the village.

    A group of people have gathered to greet him. A somber mood hangs over the group. A slightly older woman in the middle is softly crying while being hugged by a young man who also seems to be holding back tears. Others in the group wear a pallid expression as their eyes glance at the reddish brown stained ground. And a small few others look towards Black Wind with a look of veneration in their eyes. Torben is not there, possibly he’s away getting his wounds treated.

    Seeing Black Wind walk over, the young man at the middle of the group steps forward and introduces himself. “Sir Black Wind. I am Emmett’s son and the new chief. My name is Vivian. As a village, we would like to sincerely thank you for saving us from those bandits.” Saying this, Vivian gets down on one knee and bows, clasping his hands in front of him. Although he may be a bit young, he seems to be capable of taking action when needed.

    Black Wind quickly has him stand back up, saying, “It was nothing. I was just in the right place at the right time.”

    “No, it might have been nothing to you, but without your help our village would likely have been burned to the ground and… well, I’d rather not think about it. If there is anything we can do for you, please say it.” Although it’s only Vivian saying this, various people behind him nod there heads.

    “I’m busy traveling to the capital. I don’t need much. Although I would appreciate some food for the road.” Black Wind sees that at his humble request, a look of relief passes over the faces of the villagers. They were obviously scared that he’d demand some unreasonable sum from them, and because his power is so great they’d have no choice but to give in. Vivian turns around a signals for one of the women to go gather some food. She quickly runs off.

    Vivian turns back to Black Wind. “Now, this is from my mother and me. As thanks for avenging my father.” He presses a small leather pouch into Black Wind’s palm and closes his fingers over it, making it obvious that he won’t let Black Wind refuse. Black Wind takes it, secretly grateful that he now has some currency from this world, although he has no idea how much is in the bag, nor how much any of it would be worth. The woman comes back carrying a shoulder bag with food. Taking it, Black Wind gives his thanks and leaves the group, heading back to the Spinel Forge.

    A little bit later Black Wind arrives, and after entering the forge, an excited Belgin runs up to him. “Daddy told me you defeated the bandits! And saved his life! And that your swordplay is out of this world! Wow, you’re amazing! I’m so sad I didn’t get to see it.” With every sentence she says, Belgin gets closer and closer to him, until she’s almost snuggled up to his chest. Black Wind is stunned, overwhelmed by the fast-talking Belgin, and doesn’t even react. After a moment, he starts and backs up a step after realizing how close she was. Belgin doesn’t seem to notice and steps in closer again, saying, “Can you tell me what happened? Pretty please?”

    Floundering, Black Wind doesn’t know what to do. He’s not used to girls being so forward like this. In his world, everyone was a lot more modest and reserved. Thankfully, a voice calls out from the back room, saving him. “Belgin! Stop pestering Sir Black Wind and bring him in.” Belgin frowns, obviously not happy about being interrupted. She grabs Black Wind’s hand and pulls him with her through the doorway at the back of the room.

    Inside there are a few more doors leading to other rooms. Belgin brings Black Wind through one of them. There is a bed inside, with Torben lying in it. He sits up when he sees them enter, and seeing Belgin grabbing Black Wind’s hand, he raises an eyebrow. Belgin blushes a bit and lets go. “Sir Black Wind, I’d like to ask. Are you a knight from somewhere? Or maybe some kind of mage? Your swordsmanship is superb and the way you can move is like nothing I’ve seen before. Also that weapon… I have been a blacksmith or a mercenary my whole life and have never seen a metal like that. Not even used by the brave heroes of the kingdom.” Torben looks curiously at Black Wind.

    Deciding to keep it simple, Black Wind answers, “No, I am just a wandering swordsman, training to improve myself. I came back to make sure you were doing alright. Now that I know, I’ll be continuing onward.”

    Belgin quickly says, before Black Wind has a chance to leave, “But you’ll be back, right?”

    “Maybe if the fates decide so.” Black Wind heads out, ignoring the dejected look on Belgin’s face.

    Leaving the town, Black Wind searches around for a quiet place to meditate. Before doing anything else, he wishes to find out what caused that bloodlust to come over him. He quickly finds an area further down the river with a large rock in the middle of it. Jumping to it, he sits in a meditative posture as he lets his mind flow with the sound and feel of the river. If you attune your mind to nature, it can speed up the process of your meditation.

    After not noticing anything strange about his body, Black Wind once more cautiously sends his consciousness to his upper dantian. Knowing what to expect this time, he doesn’t let his mind get overwhelmed. There, he noticed a change from before. Aside from his own soul, he senses a faint trace of another soul. However, he is unable to get to it, since it seems to be at the very bottom of his seemingly bottomless raging sea of qi.

    Since it is inside of his own dantian, Black Wind is able to send a mental message out to it. But he gets no answer. It seems as though this soul residing at the bottom of his upper dantian is asleep. Deciding that there is nothing else he can do about it at the moment, Black Wind leaves his meditation and starts heading towards the capital.

  8. #8
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    May 2015

    Default Chapter 7 - Lost

    Chapter Seven: Lost
    By Varler
    Find it at Varler’s Blog

    Black Wind retrieves the map he was given by Sage George from his bag and examines it, looking at how he can get to the capital. Fortunately, it seems that although the capital is some distance away, he should be able to reach it within a days time if he uses full speed. However, since he doesn’t want to attract attention, he plans to travel at full speed only at night, when it’s unlikely that others will notice him.

    As Black Wind is about to head off, however, he hears a soothing female voice in his head, the same voice he last heard when Neath spoke to him. She says, “You’re not yet ready to go to the capital. Just because you beat some 2nd rate bandits doesn’t mean you wouldn’t get killed by a first rate magician. You need to learn more about this world before you’re ready to take on the capital.”

    Black Wind is slightly surprised at hearing this goddess speak to him out of the blue, but answers her nonetheless. “That’s why I want to go to the capital, to learn more about this place. If that’s not good, tell me. What do you want me to do?”

    The voice seems to sigh, sounding tired. “I didn’t want to keep this from you, but my power had previously been too weakened to contact you directly. But recently, there was an event which let me return a bit of my previous strength.” After a short pause, she continues onward.

    “I summoned you here because I need your help. You earlier heard from that Loreena woman my tale. It’s true. My lover, Gaios, was a hero of the human race, having helped overthrow a tyrant ruler that was oppressing the people. He did many great things, including killing the vile necromancer that was working for the tyrant, and went through many life threatening situations for the good of Humankind. I joined him in his journeys as a priestess of life, and we grew to love eachother. After the new king was installed and a ceremony was thrown for Gaios, we settled down to live together and I got pregnant.

    “We lived happily together for a few months until a request came from the new king. He said that an undead dragon, the legacy of that dead necromancer, was rampaging around the country and he needed the hero’s help to put it down. Of course Gaios couldn’t refuse, being the paragon of justice that he was. I wanted to come along, but because of the child within me, he made me stay behind. But I couldn’t bear the thought of him going into danger, so I scryed on him with my skills from when I was a priestess…” Neath trails off here, sounding melancholy. “I watched as he was betrayed by the kingdom he fought to protect. The new king was no better than the last under the surface. He was cunning though, and learned from the previous tyrant’s mistakes. On the surface, he was a good king, kind and thoughtful. But he sold his own citizens as slaves, embezzled funds, worshipped pagan gods, and made live human sacrifices for them. He was scared of Giaos, the hero, finding out and killing him though, so he plotted to have him murdered.

    “I was in such grief at seeing this but being unable to do anything, that I got a sickness of the spirit and our child that was within me died. Powerless, I vowed to find vengeance and cursed him. Because of my hatred, the curse was powerful enough to rise me as a so called “vengeful goddess.” But even as a god, I didn’t have to power to go against the pagan gods supporting him to kill him. That’s where I needed you.

    “You are strong and not of this world, so the pagan gods can not affect you. You must go to the capital and carry out my vengeance for me! But not now. You are new to this world and vulnerable to magic. Go to the Konani Academy of Magic and slaughter them. In doing so, you’ll certainly be enlightened in how to fight against magicians.” Neath gives this bloody mandate and Black Wind feels compelled to act. However, he quickly comes to his senses because of his conflicting sense of values.

    “I am not afraid to kill, the path of the swordsman is a bloody one.” Black Wind says to her. “But this is a school? I am against killing innocent children.”

    Neath feels frustrated that her powers are still so weakened right now and replies, “They are anything but innocent children. This school only accepts those who have reached their coming of age at 15 and also uses despicable methods to train them. They are endorsed by the king, the same king who killed my beloved! Kill them all!” As she speaks, she slowly starts infusing her divine power into her words, planting mental suggestions in Black Wind. As Black Wind hears her reasoning, it all begins to make sense to him and he nods.

    Black Wind gets up and starts moving in the direction Neath shows to him.

    ~ ~ ~

    A while later, Black Wind reaches a forest. He stops outside of it, noticing that there is a mysterious fog hanging over it, which he is unable to see through even after enhancing his eyes with qi. The path directed to him shows that the academy is hidden within this forest though, so he cautiously enters in.

    In case anything dangerous or unexpected happens, Black Wind moves much slower through the forest, moving at only twice a normal man’s running speed. After traveling through the forest for a little bit, he can no longer see the outside and it has gotten much darker, thanks to the density of the fog covering the forest. He feels that something is wrong, and takes a moment to stop and look around.

    Sharpening his senses with qi, Black Wind observes the surroundings. Nothing seems to be wrong. Unlike the Silent Forest where he first awoke, this forest has the sounds of occasional animals and feels much more alive. The wind blows gently through the trees, making them sway rhythmically. In fact, watching the trees sway, Black Wind’s mind goes blank and he forgets his unease. He decides to press onward, hoping to get to his destination sooner.

    ~ ~ ~

    A while later, Black Wind reaches the edge of the forest. He stops outside of it, noticing that there is no longer a mysterious fog hanging over it. He is now able to see clearly, without even enhancing his eyes with qi. But the path directed to him shows that the academy is hidden within the forest, so he cautiously enters back in.

    He moves slowly in the forest, at only twice a normal man’s running speed, in case anything dangerous or unexpected happens. After a while of traveling through the forest, Black Wind feels uneasy. He can no longer see outside the forest when he looks around. But the sound of animals and the gentle swaying of the trees comforts him and he keeps moving.

    ~ ~ ~

    A while later, Black Wind once more reaches the edge of the forest. He stops outside of it, noticing that it feels familiar. But since the path directs him that the academy is inside the forest, he prepares to head back inside. But at this time, he is stopped by an annoyed sounding voice in his head. “Really. You can’t even get past this simple kind of illusion? The Forest Maze spell is one of the first illusion spells taught to mages. If you went to the capital like this, you’d be dead in a heartbeat.” Neath then sends a bit of her divine power into Black Wind’s head, dispelling the white mist shrouding his consciousness.

    At this, Black Wind realizes that he had previously been walking in circles. As soon as he reached a certain point in the forest, he was enchanted to move right back outside. Without Neath’s help, who knows how long he’d have been stuck in this trap.

    This time, as he’s entering the forest, Black Wind puts a field of qi around him, sensing the surroundings with his qi instead of using his eyes. He walks in with his eyes closed and focuses his mind entirely on his qi field, drowning out any other senses. He discovers, shockingly, that although he had been previously hearing the sounds of animals, when he probes with his qi, there is not a single animal anywhere in his surrounding. Instead, there are two people standing watching him move. As he moves they follow, making various symbols with their hands. The shocking thing is that these two people were in plain sight of him the whole time.

    Assuming that they are the ones responsible for messing with his head, Black Wind quickly draws his sword and two flashes of black are sent out. The two people fall to the ground, dead. Black Wind finally opens his eyes. Around him he still sees the forest, but the trees no longer sway rhythmically and he no longer hears the sounds of various animals. The fog still hangs low over the ground, though.

    Looking at the two people, Black Wind sees that they are two young adults, likely between the ages of 18 and 22. Conflicting feelings occur to Black Wind. At once he feels an extreme bloodlust, mad that these mere youngsters tricked him like this. But at the same time he feels a grief in his heart at ending the lives of two people who had not even harmed him yet. Upon realizing that he carries these conflicting feelings, Black Wind starts to think about it when another splitting headache sends him to the ground, writhing. This headache is worse than previously.

    Lost in his emotions and unable to think about it too deeply, Black Wind swears. He takes a moment to meditate, hoping to subdue the headache before moving onward. As his consciousness once more enters into his dantian, he still notices no abnormalities in the lower and middle dantian. Checking the upper dantian, he notices that the second soul is still there and feels stronger than before.

    Feeling doubtful, Black Wind leaves his meditative state and stands to continue to the academy, now that the illusion is gone.

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