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Erwule Combat Arts Academy, 9:23 am, Clive Montane training

"No, no, no, and no again!" Hiral snapped at the young Siren. Clive let out yet another exasperated sigh, and this time was unable to contain his frustration at his instructor...

"What?! That was perfect! What could I possibly have done wrong this time?"

"Calm down!" came the command, before the large Daemon's voice became soft again, "It is not about what you are failing to do. It is about what you are not doing enough of. This is about your level of focus, Clive. You must focus your spirit correctly at every point of that strike if you are going to use Ajinaera to increase your attack's power. Every tiny 'slip' in your grip will lessen the force of that blow by a much larger degree."

Clive gritted his teeth and gripped the naginata once more. He was tired of being pushed harder and harder. The teachers did it because he was the top student, but unlike most, who pushed for this with all their strength, Clive's aptitude was a combination of natural talent and the physical prowess of his race, with the weapon. He had little interest in even being the top student, and constantly secretly wished that one of the others would come up with something to surpass him.

Hiral's eyes sparked with irritation. He could tell easily that Clive was distracted, and forced himself not to lecture the boy. Their relationship was difficult, strained deeply by their nearly opposite elementa. Despite Hiral's consistent attempts to check his own reactions to what he perceived as wasted talent, sometimes it was just too hard to remain silent.

Now, he found that Clive was staring at him, no doubt wondering why his instructor seemed so deep in thought. Hiral let himself relax, and grinned, unnerving the blond Siren further.

"You'll probably never truly understand what I am telling you at this point of your life, so why don't I save us both a lot of stress and leave you as you are?" Hiral chuckled, "You're dismissed for the day. I'll let Lady Sorena know."

Clive's face took on his standard 'you can't be serious' expression, but he scoffed and turned away, as Hiral did the same.

"Why'd I have to be good at this?" Clive grumbled to himself, his face set in a dark scowl, "My parents better not expect me to put up with this much longer..."

Imperial Palace Garden, 10:44 am, Princess Lilmi Han-jia relaxing

Lilmi giggled at the feeling of the stones beneath her feet. She had taken her shoes off, and was wandering around barefoot, a practice she was seldom, if ever, allowed. Princesses did not get their feet dirty.

In fact, Lilmi was not supposed to be in this particular garden at all. It was one of the less landscaped ones, for the purpose of letting the gardeners try new plants and variants in different soils, and occasionally shown to guests with similar interests. As such, the paths were not paved with cirret, and it was wholly possible for her to walk on grass, dirt, and even mud, if it had been raining.

It had, indeed, been raining.

Lilmi closed her eyes and let the feeling of nostalgia ripple through her. When she was younger, before the behaviours of a child had become 'unacceptable' for a Princess, she had loved this exact feeling. Plants all around, soft earth beneath the soles and between the toes, and the lingering scent of rainfall.

Her mind wandered back to the events of the morning, when the Imperial Capital's Guard Captain, Lord Galag Mitsumari, had visited, and she had been able to speak with him. Of all the members of the court, or associates of her father, Galag was one of few, perhaps the only one, who understood her feelings, despite his element being almost exactly opposite of her own. Lilmi had confided in him, and only him, that her deepest wishes were simple. To be 'allowed' to get dirty, and to be mighty.

At first, Galag had laughed, thinking it to be merely the wish of a pampered princess to 'see what the other half lived like', but over the year she had known him, he had come to realize that Lilmi was not only serious, but that she truly hated the pomp and ceremony of it all, as he did. He had given her advice then, that she kept in her heart always...

"Be kind, be upstanding, be loving, be loyal. That's all you need to do. After that, do what you want and let the rest of the crazy world work itself out."

She had observed that he subjected himself to ceremony when needed. Clearly 'kind' and 'loyal' covered those. Outside of that, he seemed to be a man of few words, and the only person she had ever met that was willing to outright scoff at her father, or flatly disagree with him.

Now, Lilmi grinned to herself. So, that was how one became 'mighty'? She would become the second person to flatly disagree with Emperor Bar-nen. She would learn to ride the Abinnek... whether or not a Princess got 'dirty' was really no one's business but her own!

East Leor Woodland , 10:37 am, Erika Hyril, versus Vios

"There's no way he can tell these bird mushrooms are on me... do Vios even like bird mushrooms?" Erika wondered to herself. The huge bird in the sky behind her seemed to be gaining, even as she ran. Her eyes darted around for a safe place to either stash, or toss, her pack, just in case the mighty bird of prey decided to attack.

A moment later, a precisely aimed Zelfin Bolt from the sky clipped her shoulder, searing it with pain, and causing her to nearly drop the same pack. As it slid to the ground, she decided to simply leave it there, as anything that had broken could not be saved now. The Vios' screech could be heard for miles, but Erika did not run much further before turning to face her adversary.

Morning sunlight glinted across the blade surface of her two shiki, the short straight blades used by those who practiced such concealment based combat arts. They would be little help against the striking talons of the lightning bird if it got too close before she could react, but Erika had already come up with her quick plan. As the Vios dived, she made her move.

A strong exhaled breath accompanied the Veynwing's push, as she Levitated herself to ease the mighty jump she now made. Together, the two essences allowed the Drakan to take 'flight', light blue-silver hair fluttering in the crosswind. The Vios was surprised by this, as most targets without wings did not take to the air to fight, but its enhanced dexterity allowed it to easily get its talons into her shoulders, even as her blades crossed against its breast. Before it could apply Ionisis to keep her quiet, a flurry of ice burst forth around her, causing the bird to make a most piercing sound before releasing her to fall earthward again.

Another carefully used Veynwing allowed Erika to twist in the air, and fling three of her shuriken at the Vios as it soared upward. She levitated herself to the ground, and with another strong exhaled 'sigh', soothed her pain with Aeslwind.

The Vios wobbled in the air now, its wings and feathers frozen, its breast slashed deeply, and two shuriken embedded in its body. Erika wasted no time, readying three more and skillfully flicking them through the air at the bird. The Vios let out another piercing sound before turning in the air, back towards her, and diving, picking up great speed as it did so.

The Zelfin Bolt that crashed down now, she expected, and dodged, but the Vios had intended that to be merely a distraction, to let it get close with its talons again. Erika suffered another painful scrape of those talons, across her head and left shoulder, but the Vios could not grab her in that pass. Enraged now, the Drakan took advantage of the bird's frosted wings and flew into the air after it before it could spread them to swoop upward again.

Her shiki sliced deep into the base of each wing, and another Feyn Flurry brought more agony to the Vios, before their combined weight crashed to the ground, tossing Erika off. She 'bounced' only once before skidding to a halt. The Vios did not rise, though it twitched, and its shriek pierced the air yet again. Erika slowly stood, and approached the helpless bird, her expression cold.

"I win," she said simply, before her blades descended into the lightning bird's body.

Outcome: Erika Hyril has defeated the Vios (taken 38% damage)
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 3 DSP exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 5 DEX exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 4 STR exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 7 FCS exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 11 PCN exp.
Info Alert : Erika Hyril gained 10 RFL exp.

Almica Canyon, 12:17 pm, Paun Rimdell & Inriki Evlainn, robbery

"Now now... let's not make this more messy than it needs to be," sighed the small-framed Fae swordswoman, "You made a bad decision coming through the Canyon and you're going to pay the price of it now. Don't add the cost of being revived to that."

The leader of the infamous Diamond Syeks, the young blademaster Inriki Evlainn. A woman with quite a high price on her head. The businessman before her looked like a man who could defend himself a bit if need be, but Inriki's skills were almost legendary by now. If she was even half as good as the rumors claimed, she was not to be trifled with.

"Not today, you thieving bitch," the man grinned, moving closer to his escort. A large man with a bastard sword, and a shield, in gleaming armor.

"See, ever since they doubled the bounty on you..." the man grinned, "It's been real easy finding escorts going either way through here. They all want a shot at that three thousand silver."

Inriki's thin lips curled up into a smile, as a gust blew her long black hair out of the hooded cape she wore.
"And in true idiot fashion, they all insist on coming along with no other help... and in even truer idiocy, you agreed to this. Which leads me to ponder how a man so stupid could have ever made enough mon--"

"That's enough talk!" barked the swordsman now, stepping forward, "I came alone because I knew I could handle you. No one's beat me in a sword fight in over two years! Tell you what though. If you get your friend there to stay out of it, then I promise to take you both in alive."

He referred to the tall Felkan woman with the auburn hair standing just to the rear right of Inriki. Paun Rimdell was not as well known. Like most of the other Diamond Syeks, she kept a considerably lower profile than her leader.

Inriki's smile faded as her amusement level sank.
"I do so hate crossing swords, especially with those who claim such skill. Therefore I decline."

The swordsman tilted his head and sneered at her.
"You decline? Now that's a good one. So I guess my employer here can pass, then, since you 'decline' to rob him."

"Don't be silly," Inriki sighed, taking a step backward, "I don't want to cross swords. I'll use my other weapon."

It was the businessman who spoke in response to that.
"Other weapon? What other weapon?"

"Fists," Inriki responded simply, "He's all yours, Paun."

No sooner had the words left her mouth, than Paun's eyes opened, blazing, and in a flash, she was upon the swordsman, delivering a powerful straight punch to his head. Even though she hit his sallet, rather than flesh, she seemed completely unharmed. Her cesti had protected her fist, and allowed her to send him skidding back with the single punch.

"Are you stupid?" the swordsman raged now, readying his sword, "You're sending a brawler to face a skilled swordsman?! You want her dead, then?"

"I can see we have another dropout from the illustrious Erwule School of Combat Arts," Inriki chuckled, "Why don't you see if you can teach him what they failed to, Paun?"

The Felkan made an affirmative sound, then rushed him again, her Swift lunge again getting her close before he could properly react. This time, her Ignition Fists barraged his chestplate, heating and denting it inward. He spun, in an attempt to shoulder-check her and increase the range between them, but Paun's augmented resonance allowed her to not only easily redirect the force of his attack, but follow up by twisting his helm right off his head.

She flung it away, and the sound of it clanging as it bounced into the canyon echoed all around them. She shifted stance slightly, then Swiftly closed the distance again. This time, her leg rose into what seemed like it would become a kick to the head. In his mind, the swordsman saw a perfect chance to put his blade to use, but in the end, heat erupted from the earth beneath him instead, as Paun 'retracted' her kick, bringing her knee around, as he stumbled instinctively away from the overheated rock.

The kick now became a powerful side kick directly to his chest, and even as he stumbled away from that also, she sprang forward, planting her knees against his chest and bringing him down. His sword clattered away to the side, and she held him by the neck with one hand, the other fist blazing with heat.

"Let me guess... Your sword skills are so great that you haven't bound a single essence that you can use quickly if need be..." Paun mocked, "Or is it that you just know that even trying will make me demolish your skull?"

"Now, as I was saying..." Inriki resumed, approaching the businessman, "I suppose there will be an extra fee for causing my dear Paun to have to exert herself."

Outcome: Paun Rimdell has defeated Victor Legis (taken 3% damage)
Info Alert : Paun Rimdell gained 3 STR exp.
Info Alert : Paun Rimdell gained 4 FCS exp.
Info Alert : Paun Rimdell gained 4 RSN exp.

Beurve Forest, 2:11 pm, Ari-anna Logan and teacher Leona Nalih, Geomancy lessons

"Hmm... when you said you needed to start from the beginning, you really meant it, didn't you, dear?" the elder Felkan mused, in response to Arianna's last question. Pencil was poised over notebook, waiting for Leona's response. Leona placed her hand on Arianna's now, shaking her head, indicating for the Fae to just listen.

"In the air, rocks, rivers, and earth around us, is the power of the cosmos. You've studied this. Heat and cold, flow and static... Geomancy doesn't deal with the power of the cosmos exactly. It deals with the power of the material components of the world, especially when they are parts of living things."

Ari nodded, understanding this easily. Leona's voice alone could evoke imagery in her mind, and this would make comprehending her lessons far easier. The Felkan continued, opening a book and showing Arianna a page.

"Neiad nu Dissolution..." Arianna read out. The page contained an illustration of the equivalent to an 'Aeon' in Geomancy. An energy being with the shape of a woman, somewhat. She read a few of its abilities, at Leona's request. Altering solubility of materials, and the precipitation points of dissolved things. Breaking down complex inorganic materials, releasing energy in some cases.

"I chose to show you that one first because it is the one least connected to the essences you have, so you won't get the wrong idea. Geomancy is using the natural components of the world, and the energy in them, rather than the powerful elemental energies that keep those components in balance," Leona continued, "You can use it to increase the effects of your essences, but not in the way you do when you use Cosmos Energies. Your water essences can start to dissolve things, or even, at high levels, become acid. Your earth essences can create reactions within the rocks instead of just moving them around, and your special floral essences, well, that's a little different."

She turned three pages in the book, and nodded to Arianna that she should read again.
"Neiad nu Genesis..."

This one spoke of the ability to apply energy to the processes of growth or flowering, in plants, to accelerate the sprouting of seeds, or the bloom of buds and flowers. In fact, the Neiad itself could even cause fruit or vegetables to grow and ripen, an ability many of the most powerful Geomancers could only mimic for very short periods without the Neiad's help.

"And finally..." Leona continued, turning another two pages, to that of the Neiad nu Degenere. Arianna read, recognizing the concepts of causing the breakdown of organic matter, as being the same as those used when she activated her 'Bountiful Harvest' essence.

"So... you can use this to heal damaged plants, or kill weeds?" Arianna asked now, considering how this might help in her gardening.

"It depends on the damage. The force of Aesl is used for healing things like slashes, burns, or chemically damaged leaves, so any regular Aesl essence can do those things, but causing the regenerative growth needed after a part has been lost, is part of the effects governed by the Genesis aspect of Mua. Plants, unlike people, can regrow parts without any special Aesl techniques, if Geomancy is involved. Now, let's move on to a more technical explanation of how Mua energy flows in living creatures... and no, you can't kill weeds this way."


Her lessons would continue for another two hours, before Arianna declared that she was losing her concentration and wished to stop. Besides, it was time she got started on her daily jam production...

Outcome: Arianna Logan has paid Leona Nalih 16 silver for her lessons.
Outcome: Arianna Logan has gained 16 Geomancy exp.