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[Dawn Komturie] 村正妖刀伝 - Muramasa Yōtōden - The Forging

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Muramasa Yōtōden

Chapter 1: The Forging

 

In the seclusion of Tenkai’s personal meditation chamber, to say that the silence was deafening would have been an understatement. The monk had personally requested its construction in such a way that he could have complete, unassailable quiet when it was necessary. The room was hermetically sealed and enhanced with wards crafted by Master Yodsuwan, who was particularly proficient in seals that nullified sound. Not even the thunderous cracks of wood and blunted steel from the Vanquisher’s training hall could penetrate through its walls. The only way Tenkai could be contacted while ensconced within was in the case of an emergency, where the alarms would be the only thing able to rouse the monk from inside.

For the past few days since the fall of Nu Martyr, not much of the swordsman monk of the Order of Force Majeure was seen outside of that chamber. Though he hadn’t kept himself sequestered consistently, much of Tenkai’s free time had been spent within its walls, ruminating on all that had transpired since then. In the aftermath of that bloody, province-spanning conflict, none within the Order could blame Tenkai for seeking time alone to contemplate it all.

After all, it had been a complete disaster. 

Thoughts came to mind about the plan of action Tenkai had given to the generals of Nu Martyr, his allies from the Veluriyam Empire and the Kadian forces. There was nothing about the strategy that seemed inherently flawed. Nay, it had certainly seemed to do all that he had expected it to do from the outset. Though the size of the Cult of Power’s forces had swelled immensely, they had managed to hold them at the pincer point just long for the Susano’o to flank them along with the Veluriyam airships. The firepower they had brought to bear had dramatically turned the tide, and it seemed as if victory was all but assured. 

Until Lilith herself took to the field. 

Tenkai remembered stepping forward to the field to face Lilith in single combat, just as he had planned to do from the start. It all would have gone smoothly enough if it wasn’t for the fact that Lilith was just that strong. Strong in ways that didn’t even make sense. Fighting her had felt different than fighting the battle-hungry zealots she had sent before her. She seemed almost disinterested, as if combat was but a trifle to her that she was ultimately forced to partake in on her way to her prize. As trying as it was, however, it had not been the first time Tenkai had dealt with someone who was stupidly powerful. If he could stand against the likes of Ryugi Kazamaru casually swinging around the wrath of a dragon god, he could stand against Lilith.

And for a while, he had. Lilith had immense power, but Tenkai was powerful in his own right, and the sword technique of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu was unparalleled. With his strength, skill, and the power of the youtou Muramasa, even he was capable of giving the likes of Lilith a hard time. Surely enough, in her hubris and indifference, she would rely too much on her power that spared her from mundane injury, enough for Tenkai to strike a decisive blow that she would woefully be unable to regenerate. Such had been the fate of many capricious immortals that stood against Tenkai.

But this time, it was different.

For a moment it looked as if it had worked, that even Lilith could not recover from a blow dealt by Muramasa. The Immortal Ending, as some have called it, capable of slaying those who were effectively immortal as if they were mortal beings cut by any other master-crafted blade. Tenkai knew not how the sword was capable of this feat, only that it was capable, and he had put that to the proof several times past against vampire and daemon alike. But it was that confidence in his sword’s power that led to his folly, as Lilith began to recover right there on the battlefield. It was slower at first, of course, the slightest testament to the sword’s power, but after that it was as if Tenkai was attacking her with a completely mundane sword. Lilith proved to be a creature entirely beyond the realm of fate itself. 

From then on, Tenkai was losing, and his only hope was to continue keeping Lilith busy for as long as he could to buy his allies more time. Perhaps that might have worked to some degree if her Paragons from the south had not come from behind to reinforce her. Tenkai, the Order and the Veluriyam forces were now the ones in the pincer, and Lilith was free to overwhelm the vanguard. Emperor Melisande of Kadia had said as much that he was loath to waste the valuable lives of his men on what was quickly cascading into an inevitable defeat, and even Tenkai could not fault him for withdrawing to the city. After all, it was within the city that the prize she sought lay guarded.

None of them could have expected what would inevitably happen once she stepped within the city. We had treated the whole ordeal as a military action, a battle in a long war. But the war was just a distraction. This was merely an acquisition, and she had made it abundantly clear that we were all just in her way. Now the PRIME, Ardon Dallas, was dead, and Lilith had claimed her prize. She took the Crown of Asteria and simply disappeared after that. 

What she did with it or planned to do with it was something Tenkai could not answer. He didn’t even try to. Once more, Tenkai found himself asking why at the most pivotal moment, having done all that he could, it had still not been enough to stop her. Had she simply been that powerful? Or was this just the extent of his own power? If he wasn't able to stop a threat of such caliber as the Cult of Power, what was he even capable of on this world full of beings of such unfathomable power?

That was why Tenkai sat there in solitude, divested of most of his armor until he was left in little more than the magitek bodysuit and clothing he wore under it. In front of him was his infamous, cursed sword, the Muramasa, laid equally bare. The hilt and guard modules had been removed, the naked blade itself resting upon a white silken sheet. Though Tenkai normally removed the fittings when he set about cleaning or sharpening the sword, doing so was also helpful in communing with the blade itself. With its spirit unbound, the sword would be less reticent to speak, and the seclusion meant that there was no risk of the sword’s bloodthirst affecting anyone around him. 

Muramasa was the only thing that could give him the answers Tenkai sought now. With his mind clear, Tenkai fell deeper into meditation as he entered the inner space within the sword.

Edited by Tenkai Matsumoto

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It was darker than he had remembered.

Perhaps not as dark as the time before, when Muramasa had not yet accepted Tenkai as its master. The monk remembered how it was, a pitch black morass whose darkness had been broken by a single roiling pool of blood that emanated a baleful light. Now, his surroundings were that of a foggy grey mire and a brackish pool that lacked its former crimson luster. Within the pool he saw the terrifying form of Muramasa, the soul of the blade itself, waist deep in the mire, manifesting as an imposing armored gashadokuro (giant skeleton yokai) with a wild mane adorning its horned kabuto. Tenkai remembered when he first saw the spirit, so full of fury and bloodlust so strong he could literally drown in it. But now, Muramasa seemed pensive, reflective. Brooding, even. It was very unlike the bloodthirsty spirit born of the unhinged mind of the swordsmith that forged it.

“Why do you languish so?” Tenkai asked.

In an instant, Muramasa sparked to life like brush set aflame, two searing violet red orbs of light burning within its eye sockets. The mire lit up with its rage with that familiar crimson light as the spirit thrashed in the bloody pool, raising its skeletal arm as bone and armor fused and reformed into the shape of a massive sword blade in place of its hand and forearm. With frightening speed the spirit brought the massive sword crashing down towards Tenkai, striking the ground barely a foot or to his left as the monk looked up at it impassively. 

YOU!,” bellowed the spirit in a voice that rattled through Tenkai’s bones. “HOW COULD YOU LET THIS HAPPEN? You, swordsman of the ‘invincible’ Shinkage-ryu??

“You mean at Nu Martyr?,” said Tenkai.

You LOST!” roared Muramasa.

We lost,” replied Tenkai. 

The sword roared out in anger and smote the ground again, it’s strike erupting in a wave of pure fury that laid waste to the bleak, empty surroundings around it. Tenkai could feel the weight of the sword’s fury crash down upon him despite its hateful stroke missing him by mere inches. For as much as the sword seethed at the monk for what had transpired, it could not strike him down. Because Tenkai was right. 

They had failed, and now all of Nu Martyr suffered for it. 

“‘Should you on your journey cross paths with a god, they will be cut down’,” said Tenkai, repeating old words that had now seemed to have lost their meaning. “‘Should you encounter a devil, they will be cut down.’”

Why have you come here, monk? Do you mean to mock me?

“No. I came to understand. I grew far too comfortable with the knowledge that no immortal could stand before us unopposed. Every vampire and daemon I cut down only reinforced this complacency. Now I know that I was wrong, and that I know very little about your true power. That is why I have sought you out.”

Muramasa paused. This was the first in any of their encounters that Tenkai had sought out the spirit of the sword for insight. Their relationship had always been a rather precarious one, with Muramasa seeming more like a caged animal kept in check by its owner than a peer. One would have thought there to be a better communion between sword and swordsman in their case. Unlike previous fools who sought to wield its power, Muramasa had long ago ceased wasting its effort attempting to dominate Tenkai’s will. Despite the strength of the monk’s mental fortitude preventing it, the insatiable sentience within the blade found itself amused by and curious of the further development of its master and his seemingly adamantine will. Every painful misfortune and cruel betrayal that had chipped away so much of what Tenkai once was had been experienced by the sword as well. There was undoubtedly some sort of bond between them, unconventional as it may be. There had even been times they actually functioned like a team. Yet every effort Tenkai had spent learning or training was done alongside Muramasa, not under. Only one other moment between them could have possibly compared, and it was a memory that Tenkai surely wished not to relive. 

But this time was different. This was not a moment of duress, in the middle of a desperate battle where Tenkai had no choice but to open himself up to the sword’s influence. This was a moment of reflection, the calm after the storm had passed, leaving a vulnerable man in search of answers. Muramasa should have been able to squash his doubt-ridden psyche and flood his body with its own single-minded bloodthirst, but it couldn’t. 

Was this the strength of humility?

Hmph,” the sword sneered, “You waste your time, monk. Lest you forget, I am a sword. I exist for no reason other than to cut. To rend and rive and glut myself on the fresh gore caked on my edge. What would I know of my own power other than that which drives my purpose?

“There has to be something more to it than simple desire,” said Tenkai in frustration.

No. It is that simple,” said a voice, echoing throughout the mental space within the sword as if coming from all directions at once. “Yet that is not the whole story.

Tenkai snapped alert, but not awake. He was still in his meditative trance. This was not a matter of external stimuli. There was an unknown voice coming from within that same state of meditation. But who could it be? Whoever it was, it seemed that even the sword’s spirit was confused by this development, and also none too pleased about it. 

Who DARES intrude into my inner sanctum?” roared the spirit, its eyes gleaming in rage, “I WILL SPLIT YOU IN TWO!

From the mists of the mire emerged a figure, a pale phantom in the shape of a gaunt old man dressed in the ancient robes of a Japanese swordsmith from an era long before Tenkai was born. Deep within the sword’s own realm, it was difficult for Tenkai to correctly ascertain whether or not he was a ghost or some other foreign consciousness psychically attuned to the blade as he was, but ultimately that did not matter. It was functionally the same either way, and the way that the old man’s form flickered and wavered like that of a wisp of flame led Tenkai to believe the former.

The sword’s spirit snapped its gaze in the intruder’s direction, and without skipping a beat it would swing it’s massive blade arm around to strike down the unwanted visitor. Yet the blade stopped short as swiftly as it would have been if it had been impeded by an opposing blade. At first it looked like the phantom was repelling the blade without even lifting a finger, yet the way Muramasa’s blade arm trembled almost made it seem as if it was halted out of fear and bewilderment over the phantom’s presence. In fact, it was both.

YOU...HOW? WHAT ARE YOU...DOING HERE???

Muramasa’s blade flew back as if it had been parried as the spirit collapsed, clinging to the rim of its bloody pool. It trembled with frustration, cowed to submission by the mere presence of the other spirit that found itself within its mental space.

A voice called to me in search of answers,” said the other spirit, his voice strikingly familiar to Tenkai. The more he spoke, the closer Tenkai came to putting it together. “Somehow strong enough to echo through Yomi-no-kuni to summon me here.

Of course, thought Tenkai. The Magatama of Soul Sight. With his body fixated in both the physical and spirit worlds, it stood to reason that acts of meditation would have additional effects he had not been previously used to in the past. Tenkai’s intent on learning from Muramasa had reverberated through the fabric of the spirit world, summoning the spirit of…

Sengo Muramasa,” Tenkai uttered.

The spirit looked puzzled, his senses dulled like he would have been if he were still a living, breathing human affected by his clearly old age. Of course, spirits of the dead were not hampered by the degradation of their mortal coils. It was more likely that the spirit’s clarity was muddled by the tenuous nature of this unintentional seance. The spirit’s empty eyes slowly widened as his brow quirked.

Is that you, Jubei?

Tenkai was taken aback. Muramasa was surely referring to Yagyu Jubei Mitsuyoshi, the famous swordsman that long preceded Tenkai in the school of Shinkage-ryu. While there was absolutely no relation at all between them besides the art, Tenkai’s hand unconsciously reached for his eyepatch. Clearly the iconic accessory had given him a passing likeness in the old man’s hazy eye.

“You are mistaken. I am Matsumoto Tenkai, a swordsman of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu. I know not how I managed to-”

Shinkage-ryu?” repeated the swordsmith, “Ahh...I see then. Perhaps this is where I see the resemblance. You thought it was the eyepatch, didn’t you?

Tenkai did not answer. Instead, he pressed the question he had originally intended. “I am trying to understand the nature of Muramasa’s power. All I know is that it can mortally wound those considered immortal. How is it possible to create a blade with such power?”

The old spirit rubbed his chin, the wrinkled “flesh” of his corpus shifting with it as the massive form of the sword’s spirit still struggled to press itself up. It made no effort to further harm the spirit of its creator, cowed into disbelief over the sight of him inside its own mental space. Was this some sort of trick Tenkai was playing upon him?

Oh? You summoned me here to learn my secrets? I would teach you, but unfortunately I am dead, as it seems.

Tenkai’s expression went flat. Was the spirit trying to be humorous?

“No, I don’t wish to-”

Muramasa held up his hand. “I understand. I will enlighten you. The Yagyu swordsmen have proven themselves worthy of my trust.” He went on to explain…

“In a work of art, one can see the soul of the artist. This is not merely flowery words. The soul of a craftsman is embedded in his work during the process of creation. Pieces and fragments of our spirits exist within each one of our creations. Over time and use, it develops into its own unique essence. That is the soul, the kami of the sword.”

The spirit looked over to the giant, armored skeletal yokai mired in the pool of blood. Tenkai figured that Muramasa was referring to it, then. It must have been why Muramasa’s voice was so familiar to him. The idea that Muramasa, the sword-spirit, was the “kami” of this sword reminded Tenkai of tsukumogami, ordinary objects and tools that came to life after a hundred years. There was probably some common link between the phenomenon, but there would be time to ruminate on that later.

“When I was still among the living, my spirit was never at peace,” he said, his voice echoing with a deep regret. He didn't seem any more at peace now, despite being dead. “So great was my yearning to achieve perfection in my craft, to forge blades surpassing even those of Gorō Nyūdō Masamune hundreds of years before me. I went mad with obsession, wanting nothing more than to create the sharpest of blades, blades that could cut down any enemy. That obsession turned into a thirst for blood that passed into my work. And so they became weapons of great misfortune. The end of my life was filled with great despair and regret, and thus, I could not pass on to the Pure Land.”

So far, the spirit’s words answered many questions. The spirit of Muramasa was a fragment of his own soul, and its insatiable thirst for blood was but an aspect of his troubled spirit.

“I see. Then the power of the sword…”

“An edge is honed by more than just stone. The spirit hones it as well. My madness sharpened the edge of my swords to a point that at the zenith of my art they could sever the very threads of fate and smash apart the wheel that spun them.”

Threads of fate?

Now it was clear. Like the shears of Atropos, the cursed sword severed the fate that bound an immortal to their own immortality, leaving them with wounds no different than any mortal. That being said, it should have worked...unless his opponent somehow existed outside of fate itself, and was thus absent from its weave. A powerful necromancer versed in magics that defied the natural order could possibly have been capable of such, but that would be unlike any form of necromancy Tenkai had ever experienced. Of course, Lilith Reiter was unlike any necromancer Tenkai had ever faced, and there was far more he had yet to understand about her. It wouldn’t surprise him at all if this was the case, though that was not something Muramasa could answer for him.

“Why do you wish to know this? By your appearance, you seem to be a Buddhist monk. Even one such as you who practices the art of kenjutsu should loathe this terrible misfortune.”

Tenkai paused for a moment, trying to think about how he could best answer the question. “For many years, I have used your work to fight for the sake of others. To kill the evil of one in order to save a thousand. In my journeys I encountered a foe beyond even the sword’s power, and I knew not why. I can now only surmise that my enemy was beyond fate itself.”

The old ghost grew pensive as the spirit of his creation rumbled with discomfort over Tenkai’s brief recollection. For a moment, Tenkai felt like his search for knowledge would end here. How could a man who died several centuries ago in a world so far removed from Valucre know any solution to Tenkai’s situation? 

“Perhaps if this sword had its name, your story would be different.”

Tenkai was confused by these words, but the sword-spirit perked up its head in realization of something deeply troubling. 

Name?” asked Tenkai. “I had always referred to it as Muramasa, but…”

“All of my works, especially the most renowned, have been meito. They are named blades. My blades all carry my name as any other would carry that of their swordsmith, but they have proper given names I have provided them. Or at least most of them…”

He pointed a gaunt, bony finger at the spirit. “I remember you. I remember all of my works. You were one of my last works, made just before I swore off creating instruments of death in an oath made before the Buddha. Just before I could finish carving the mei on the nakago (signature on the tang), I was so overwhelmed by the evil I had created that I crossed it out in rage. I had become a demon, creating demon blades...and I swore to never do so again.”

The spirit of the sword trembled with rage, like a feral beast that had been abused by its owner. It was filled with passing memories, or at least the equivalent of such to an object such as itself, being cast aside by he who created it. It wished to dash the shriveled old phantom to pieces, but strangely managed to stay its rage. 

“You never noticed this?”

"I...had not," replied Tenkai. Of all the times he had cleaned the blade and removed it from its fittings, he had kept the naked steel of the tang bound with seals inscribed into the very gauze he handled it with. Outside of its koshirae, the blade’s influence was too great and too dangerous to be left unchecked. Tenkai had never seen the signature, or the crossed-out name.

“I can tell that by wielding this sword, over time and use, its spirit has been refined,” Muramasa continued. “Your soul is the whetstone on which it is honed, and I know that a swordsman of the Yagyu is more than capable of realizing its potential. If you could somehow hone its spirit further, perhaps you could rediscover its name, and unlock a potential that surpasses my own art.”

“But you said you remembered every blade you created. Can you not tell me its name?” 

Muramasa shook his head. “I remember every blade I created, but I do not remember the name of your sword. I cast it aside in my despair, and through the many years since my death there is barely a flicker of memory. I do not know if I remember any other names of my works...only the pain and madness of their creation…”

Tenkai’s face furrowed with sorrow. It seemed as if he had already asked too much of an old spirit roused from his eternal slumber.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Tenkai, bowing deeply to the old ghost. “I will not waste the wisdom you have given me.”

“I know you will not. I wish I could have spoken longer with you, swordsman of Shinkage-ryu, for I know quite little of you. But I am tired, and I feel the maw of Yomi pulling me back. I must rest...must...rest…”

The image of Muramasa’s ghost faded, his voice leaving little more than a fading echo. Just as he began to fade, the frustrated and tumultuous spirit of the blade burst forward, scrambling from its pit in an attempt to grab the old man.

No...NO!! You GET BACK HERE, YOU MISERABLE OLD MAN! YOU PATHETIC, WITHERED HUSK! I REMEMBER! I REMEMBER WHAT YOU TOOK FROM ME!!!” 

With the spirit of Muramasa gone, the sword could only curse the void. Deep within the emptiness of its inner world, the agonized spirit roared out with such fury and pain that the gloomy sky roiled with storm clouds. Fissures cracked outward from its pit, spewing hot red geysers of blood that burned bright like neon red lava. Baleful arcs of lightning streaked across the sky. Tenkai felt the need to run, as if there was even an exit for him to run to. Yet the moment he felt that intense urge to flee, the stress of it forced him awake.

He gasped, falling forward onto his hands to keep himself from collapsing. He was back in his sealed quarters within Dawn Komturie, sprawled over the sword he just now been meditating over. The blade seethed with such a storm of furious emotion that Tenkai could feel it even though he was now out of meditation. The cry of the blade echoed in his mind, still so clear, so full of anger and...sadness? Regret, even? In all of his years using it, Tenkai had never felt these emotions from the sword before. 

There was so much he needed to ponder, and so little time for pondering.

 

-------------------------------------------------------

 

Tenkai left his quarters an hour or so later, having placed Muramasa back into its magitek fittings and sheath, allowing it to rest and lay dormant long enough for Tenkai to confidently walk out of his chambers with it. There wasn’t much danger now, especially with the sword kept on Tenkai’s person, but he didn’t want to leave any room for error. After all, he was slated to meet with one of the Order’s new recruits, and the last thing he needed was to get into a mental struggle with his own sword in the middle of it.

With many questions answered and more that yet remained, Tenkai made his way down the open hallways of Dawn Komturie, with the echoes of that painful cry reaching him as if they could fill the halls themselves.

@Zashiii

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Posted (edited)

What happened with Nu Martyr was one of the biggest clusterfucks she has ever seen. Shishi did not even know how the bloody thing had ended. So many conflicts left unresolved, so many paths unfinished. Still, she was now back in Dawn Komturie and left all that Nu Marty shit behind her. Those memories were best buried deep and hope they never resurface again.

Walking down the halls, she found a familiar face. One of them Knights. She thought that Tenkai was his name but she was unsure. It was howver, best for her to greet her seniors. She closed the distance between them hoping he would notice. Other than greeting him, she also had another thing in mind.

"Hello, Tenkai.." she started but then remembered something. "..Sir. I head that you know a thing or two about cursed swords. I found one so I was gonna ask for some advice."

Edited by Zashiii

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Shishi would have little problem stopping Tenkai for a moment to speak with him. After all, she was the one he was on his way to see. He didn't know what she wanted with him, only that she had put in the memo for it and that it seemed to be important business. For someone who was so relatively new to the Order, he was surprised she had actually gotten his name right. For some people, foreign tongues were not so easy on their actual tongues. Numerous aspirants had accidentally called him "Tankai" or "Tenkei", "Tankie" and sometimes even "Tenaki". One time someone simply called him "Ten Kites" and Tenkai couldn't tell for the life of him whether it was a joke or not. It felt almost as if people were better at remembering his last name more than anything.

"Yes. Shishi, right?" Tenkai quickly replied. "I was looking for you."

When Shishi explained her inquiry, Tenkai's expression darkened a bit. He'd have found the irony humorous if it didn't remind him of a rather recent episode involving a particular cursed sword that was none too pleasing to remember. He would not refuse her inquiry, but the nature of it made Tenkai rather wary. He folded his arms across his chest, already expecting the worst.

"I may know 'a thing or two'. Go on."

@Zashiii

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Posted (edited)

Shishi nodded at Tenkai. "I got it as a gift from...a friend of mine." She caught herself from spilling her 'friend's' name. As far as the public eye knows, her 'friend' was still charged with terrorism in by the authorities of Lacrimosa. Anyway, its best to move on to the matter at hand.

"It's a weird thing," she continued. "I think its best I show you. Is there a secluded place that is safe for experiments?"

Wherever that place is, Shishi would follow Tenkai. Strapped to her back was the weapon in questions, sheathed in a plain and old scabbard.

Spoiler
  • Brand of Cardinal Transgressions - a sword forged by the Mistress for her little sister, Shishi. It was made from melting down seven ancient swords from the Cavern of Blade and mixing it with the unknown metal that was chipped from the Heavenly armor. Moulded into a plain looking bastard sword and dipped in godsblood. It was later bathed in the essences of different Renovatian gods and the Mistress' amulet of Cardinal Transgression.
    • Lust - default mode. Everytime its swung or hits another object, the blades' oscillation gives peculiar sounds similar to a moan or a grunt. Once summoned, it emits a five meter aura of lust and desire which affects most npcs and possibly pcs(need owner consent). The aura makes people lose their inhibitions and act on their more carnal wants and needs. 

 

Edited by Zashiii

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'A friend of mine', she says. Not suspicious in the slightest.

Regardless of how she procured the blade, there was the matter of it being a "weird thing" that concerned him, or more particularly whatever was cursing it. Far be it from him to tell anyone they could not make use of swords that had some form of magical misfortune attached to it. He'd be quite hypocritical otherwise. But not all cursed swords were equal, nor was the level of control their wielder had over it. That being said, the halls of Dawn Komturie were not the safest of places for discussing this matter.

Tenkai had thought about bringing it to the research area, but an apprentice knight such as Shishi would not be granted access. Given the purported nature of the weapon she wished to show him, it was probably best suited to one of the indoor training facilities and special armories set aside for the Custodes Vanquishers. Being the Knight in question that proposed their formation in the first place, Tenkai had far more familiarity with the layout of the training hall and other protocols. There was even an area set aside for his own training, which very much included whatever guidance he sought to provide aspirants or mutually honing his skills alongside the Vanquisher Captains. With the Vanquisher armories housing several swords of various level of enchantment, they would be well equipped for dealing with another cursed sword.

"Follow me," said Tenkai, leading Shishi over to the Vanquisher's quarters.


 

Most aspirants seeking to put their swordsmanship to use as Vanquishers tended to train outside in one of the open air training grounds, instructed by a senior Custodes or even a Captain. Tenkai believed fresh air was far better for training than an indoor training hall, but there were certainly benefits to having training areas secured by the Komturie's walls and away from prying eyes. It was here that higher-ranking Vanquishers conducted their own training and went about their business while not out on assignment. It was here where they trained in the use of their ensorcelled blades, combining their various schools of swordsmanship with the utilization of their weapons' abilities, cursed or otherwise. On the way inside, the two of them would pass by one of the Custodes Vanquisher captains, by the name of Richter Kreuz. A former Custodes Seeker, he was appointed to Captain of the newly founded Vanquishers after showing an interest and displaying his capability as a swordsman before both Tenkai and Master Knight Eredas. He appeared to be human based on general height and build, but that was all that would allow Shishi to make that judgement. Not a single hint of his body was exposed, covered by leather and steel plate, with a magitek helm fitted with an augmented tactical lens and filtration apparatus. He shouldered a sheathed Type XIIIa longsword with a notably less-traditional hilt, likely yet another form of magitek. Besides enchanted or cursed swords, the Vanquishers also made extensive use of technological advancements as part of their kit, though not before going through the research department for approval. 

Tenkai nodded to the ever-watchful captain. "Captain Kreuz."

"Sir," he replied. Richter was a man of few words, unless necessary. Some Custodes believed he was horribly disfigured under his helmet and opted to speak as little as possible. But his breathing didn't sound labored at all despite the air filtration. Perhaps he simply opted to stay in his armor for privacy?

"We're here to use the demonstration room today in order to assess Apprentice Knight Shishi's new sword."

"Very well. The room is empty. Aspirants are training above ground today. Just try not to break anything not made to be broken."

"Understood," said Tenkai, passing the captain and into the wide, circular demonstration area.

The demonstration room was relatively closed off compared to the other sections of the Vanquishers' training area. It was lined with reinforced plating and a containment hatch as opposed to the smooth, dark granite interior in the rest of the area. This was to prevent any structural damage that may be caused by combining the power of certain enchantments with a Custodes' swordsmanship. Despite these measures, one could tell by the scuffs and streaks on the regularly maintained walls that some damage was harder to completely repair without fully replacing the plating, and something so resilient didn't come cheap. That was why certain magic and technology had to go through research first before being brought here. But unless Shishi had a cursed sword that exploded every time she swung it, it was hardly worth going through the trouble of getting approval when all she was looking for was Tenkai's insight.

"Alright then," he said. "Show me."

Tenkai looked at the sword carefully, finding nothing particularly striking about its blade or scabbard from the outside. It seemed like a typical hand-and-a-half sword, and perhaps to anyone unable to sense the flow of magic it would seem like little more than an ordinary sword. But psykers like Tenkai were more sensitive to aetheric flow than others, and he knew soon after gazing upon it that this was no ordinary weapon. There was a powerful magic woven into the blade, and whatever it was seemed...uncomfortable. Tenkai couldn't quite put his finger on why, though. It was a very strange sort of discomfort, too muted for him to fully recognize, yet disturbingly familiar in the worst possible way.

"You may draw the blade," said Tenkai with a small amount of trepidation hidden under his serious tone of voice.

@Zashiii

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Shishi reluctantly followed Tenkai to a secure room with just the two of them there. Somehow, she felt suspicious of Tenkain for taking a young girl like her inside this secure establishment. Shaking off those creepy thoughts away, Shishi steeled herself and trusted Tenkai to behave.

"Alright then," he said. "Show me."

His words surprised Shishi. She did not expect such a man to be so...so forward. Or maybe she's looking too much into his motives.

"You may draw the blade."

Oh, he meant the blade. Yes, Shishi knew he meant to show off the blade. She made a mental note of that. Just show off the blade.

"Here goes," said Shishi as a warning. Her fingers grasped the hilt then slowly pulled the blade out of its scabbard. The bastard sword was of simple design, plain and dull yet serviceable. As soon as the sword was bared naked to the world outside its sheathe, that slight swing caused it to oscillate and produce a sort of queer moaning sound. Face flushed in embarassment, Shishi could not even look directly at Tenkai.

"As you see. It makes the weirdest noises." That was when a gentle and pleasant aur radiated out of the blade. "It also does that." The energy would look like swirling pink mist, that seemed to reach out for the nearest living beings near Shishi. Once it reaches Tenkai, the man would notice that his inhibitions are suddenly destroyed and he'd be more susceptible to acting on his primal needs and wants.

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Posted (edited)

@Zashiii

Despite how odd it looked out of context, Tenkai did not once consider anything odd about his precautions. He was far more concerned about the sword and its potential dangers than anything else. Shishi was part of the Order, and dealing with sensitive matters under proper supervision and security was standard operating procedure. If Tenkai sensed Shishi's trepidation, he surely did not show it. It would probably have made the situation even more awkward if either of them brought it up.

The moment Shishi drew her blade, Tenkai was immediately hit with a dull pang of unease. He could immediately sense there was something very wrong with this sword. When it started to moan instead of sing when she swung it, that was when all doubt was cast aside. Tenkai hadn't felt this uncomfortable in several years.

He remained quiet as Shishi continued explaining, all the while watching as the blade radiated a bewitching aura. As if by reflex, Tenkai immediately shielded his consciousness against the sword's aura, clearing his mind of fixation so that the waves of its influence would flow past him like a stone in a raging stream. The sword had a sphere of influence much like that of Muramasa, yet instead of intense bloodlust, it was simply...lust, sans blood. It felt all too terribly similar to the sensation given off by Slaaneshi artifacts and weapons, which only served as further cause for alarm.

Being a monk as well as a swordsman, Tenkai's "primal needs and wants" were far more diminished than that of other mortal men. Years of practiced discipline had allowed him to control his earthly desires and process them where most men would simply follow wherever it led them. As such, the grounding of his psychic fortitude made it so that the feeling of being forcibly drawn to desire was met with aversion and discomfort. This disquiet allowed Tenkai the clarity of mind to know that the sword was trying to manipulate him, making it easier not to give in. 

Of course, that just meant that the sensation was utterly disturbing and uncomfortable rather than sexually exciting.

"Put it away," said Tenkai, turning his head to avert his eye, yet not completely able to look away. This was less due to the blade's allure and more about Tenkai being hesitant to completely shut his eyes in front of someone wielding a dangerous weapon. "Put it away now!"

Edited by Tenkai Matsumoto

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On 5/27/2020 at 9:41 AM, Tenkai Matsumoto said:

"Put it away," said Tenkai, turning his head to avert his eye, yet not completely able to look away. This was less due to the blade's allure and more about Tenkai being hesitant to completely shut his eyes in front of someone wielding a dangerous weapon. "Put it away now!"

"I'm trying! I'm trying!" Shishi cried as she struggled to keep the cursed weapon in check. The intense vibrations it releases was making it harder for Shishi to regain control of the maddened blade. 

"Pipe down!" she bellowed as she smacked the sword on the floor at least thrice. With each strike, the moans and gyrations greatly ebbed until it has returned to its milder state. 

After the returning the cursed object back to its sealing sheathe, Shishi turned her attention to Tenkai.

"So that's more or less the gist of my problem. WHile I would want to throw the sword away, I still think it would be useful sometime in the near future if I am able to control it."

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Tenkai breathed a sigh of relief after Shishi sheathed the blade. Without knowing enough about what caused the curse, it seemed far too risky to leave the blade drawn. Despite these precautionary measures, however, Tenkai couldn't say that what he had felt was similar to the kind of corruption that he had come to recognize as Chaotic taint. Perhaps it was just a simple curse of lust, or simply some other demon Tenkai did not recognize. Of course, the latter would have been no less a cause for worry, as it were. 

"I see..." said Tenkai, recomposing himself. "Well, whatever it is that has bewitched your sword, it will need some further analysis. We won't be able to figure out what you need to do in order to control it until we know just what it is we're dealing with here."

The swordsman monk turned around, turning his back to Shishi as he started towards the exit. "Come. Let's bring this back up to the artificers for a closer look."

@Zashiii

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Shshi frowned. "Wait, Sir Tenkai. I just had an idea."

This might be her first and last chance. Just one shot. She only needed this moment.

"Since we are already in this training are. Perhaps I could have a test go at you?"

'I've never had the chance to succumb to my weaknesses in fear of losing myself. I have great trust that you are more than capable of stopping me before things go out of hand."

"Is it okay if we have a little spar?"

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