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August 24, 2013
Knowledge of the past makes weapons for the future...
Chapter 12 : Keepsakes
Melasa and Tiros packed their things, finally readying to leave the abandoned village. Melasa was doing just as well as she had before the attack. With nearly everything ready, Tiros cooked some food, the last of the meat from the Ostrich Horse, meaning they would have to go on the rations after this.
Tiros was contemplating the battle that had forced them to flee. He saw Lesun nearly cut in two by Melasa and then he burned the man to a cinder, and yet the man attacked him as if unharmed when Melasa was wounded. How was it that a sword could heal?
"Yes, Tiros?" She had finally stopped calling him 'master', a relief.
"You said Lesun's sword was the reason he was healing, how is that possible?"
Melasa looked away for a moment, thinking about the long history of the Ish Kash.
"Millennia ago, before the era of bending, men were rising. The continent was massive and the future bright, however, the Spirits were not so hopeful. They saw the arrival of men as a threat and some of their ranks went out to hunt the new arrivals."
"Slaughter after slaughter forced men to fight and the First War began. Men stood no chance, they didn't have the power to face the wrath of these evil spirits. But there was hope still."
"You know the saying, 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend'? Well, that proved true here. The Nifrin, cousins of the Spirits, were fearful of the Spirits, we had more in common with men than our own and felt that when men were wiped out, we would be next. We joined the humans in their war and armed them."
"We had skills and powers far beyond men and knowledge of the spirits. We made our finest weapons in that age, the Ish Kash, or Ghost Swords in the human tongue."
Melasa lifted her palm up, she whispered something and brought her fist to her palm, drawing her lightning shaped katana. Tiros was always amazed at the marvelous sword and its craftsmanship. It too was one such Ish Kash.
"This one was made by my ancestor, Elasa. Our kind's finest smiths made them, but only a few existed."
"The first of our great weapons were the Mortal Blossom, a sword with the power to inspire armies and to bring light in absolute darkness. The Daisho of the Black Soul and the Raven Rose, a pair of dark weapons with incredible speed."
"The Fire Lily, the courage sword, a massive nodachi. Then the Storm Flower here, which is capable of manipulating the elements, and the Thorn Cutter, the sword we are facing."
"Each sword has at least one special ability. The Greater Ish Kash like the Black Soul have a physical and a mental power, while Lesser Ish Kash like this have only the physical powers."
"The Thorn Cutter has one power, the power to heal its wielder. However, the cost of such a convenient power in battle is very painful. It feeds on your arm first, even drinking in the blood around you."
"As such, the weapon had a reputation of fear. The warriors were reluctant to use it if they could avoid it, and they finished the fight quick if they did use it. No one wanted to overuse this weapon."
"What happens if they overuse it?"
Melasa stopped for a moment, trembling at the thought, "Something worse than anything we've ever encountered."
"We call them Dosh Rak. They are the worst thing we have ever encountered in our race's history."
"What are they?"
"We really don't understand it. At the end of the war, the greatest of the humans who fought was Kuro, he used the Black Soul. A dark and powerful katana that he mercilessly used to slaughter Spirits. He ended the war at Shadow Hill but something happened to him and he soon became an enemy himself.""He became something, something men called the Devil's Hand. The monster couldn't seem to be killed nor could they reason with it. Hundreds died to his slaughter and the warriors who won the First War now had to face one of their own. He was finally killed, but there was great fear about what caused his fall in the first place."
"As if to confirm the nightmare, another of these demons appeared in their ranks. This time it was the wielder of the Thorn Cutter. Driven mad by the pain his sword brought to heal him, he turned into one of these beasts and went on a wild rampage."
"The heroes of the war deduced that overuse of the weapon and its blood magic would drive one into madness and physically transform them into the monsters they fought. If only that was it."
"What do you mean?"
"The second Dosh Rak was not so cunning or smart as Kuro and was easily ambushed. They had killed the first beast, they were confident they could do the same to this one. It was a trick. This Dosh Rak had the memories of the other, and knew the spells that Kuro had mastered. Half of the warriors fell before they finally beheaded the demon."
Melasa finished her bowl of meat and rice as she put her chopsticks down. "Our kind has ever been watchful for these monsters since, and we have ruthlessly hunted them down if ever they appeared."
"How many have there been before?"
"At least five, all from the Black Soul or the Thorn Cutter. The problem is that it have been well over five millennia since we have been cursed with a Dosh Rak."
"There is no way that I am a match for it if Lesun turns into one."
"What makes you think he is becoming one?"
"As I was fighting him, I nearly cut his sword arm off. As expected, the wound healed, but it wasn't flesh that grew, it was vines and thorns that matched the sword's hilt. That is the first sign that he is already on his way. He is bonding with the weapon. If he continues to use the sword, which he will, he will become a Dosh Rak."
"So we really need to kill him as soon as possible?" Tiros sat back, how on earth were they going to do that when he could heal from just about anything. Not to mention that he had an army around him.
"We need to kill him before he marches on Omashu. In a battle like that, it will be inevitable, he will turn into one."
Tiros nodded, they needed to return to Michyu with all haste. A sound outside broke through the silent village. A loud voice yelled out, "Alright! Scour the village and take anything of value! We'll burn the rest down when we're done!"
Melasa and Tiros hugged the wall as they watched through broken walls to see men walking through the village. They were not soldiers of the Earth Kingdom, rebels of Iseran, Lesun's rebels. As if to spur them, "Come on, we march on Omashu in a week, you wanna miss it? Don't lolly about!"
Muttering to himself, Tiros cursed, "Damn it! Of all the times to have to deal with this!"
Melasa sat there calmly, she could feel the presence of the village around her with more than just her eyes of ears. Whispering to the Avatar, "Tiros, we can make it out from the side gate if we are quick and quiet."
Tiros nodded, accepting that her senses were beyond his. Continuing down the path as the sun reached high above them, they waited as men overturned and outright tore apart parts of the village searching for anything of value.
Waiting at the corner of a crumbling house, they saw as two men ransacked a local shop and found wheat that was left behind.
Melasa ran forward with all haste, quiet as a whisper. The men never notice her pass and only pricked their ears as Tiros darted by. Now waiting at an edge, Melasa felt that one of them was still saddled and checking the perimeter. The Ostrich Horse seemed to be sniffing around for food. The two stowed away into an alley as it crossed by, perplexed that the smell was there but not the food they carried.
Slapping the reins, the rider pressed the mount on, "Stupid animal!"
Turning around a corner, the rider was now out of sight and the two ran for it, finally exiting the village.
Melasa put all her strength into running, moving at a speed far beyond humans as Tiros nearly matched it using airbending to sprint at a pace second only to an Eel Hound.
They ran for hours before they felt it was safe to stop. The sun was now setting as they drank their water. Tiros looked at Melasa, "How did you know to time that so well?"
"Wind Magic has very much in common with airbending for evasion and avoidance, however, we accept it on an even deeper level and disappear like the wind, unseen but felt. My father taught me Wind Magic because it was what has kept our family out of the Avatar's reach in the purges."
Tiros pondered that. He knew very little of magic, only what he had asked Melasa to teach him and he was still slow with it. All the worries about these arts were just a distraction though, he needed to stop Lesun.
"We need to get to Michyu now," Tiros had a conviction in his voice that Melasa found compelling. She nodded as the two ran as fast as they could.
- The Dosh Rak come because of something. If Book 2: Shadow World is written, it will explain just what it is.
- The Thorn Cutter is based on 11eyes' Doujigiri Yasutana.
- Melasa is worried about facing a creature with knowledge of much more advanced magic than her.
- Egress is a way out.
- The Warriors described in the past war are and .
For the collective works of the author, go here.
Storms of the Future Cycle
|The Journey of Tala|
|Book 1 - Sand and Steel|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 2 - Blood and Swamps|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Book 3 - Pyres and Storms|
|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -|
|Fates and Vows|
|- - - - - - Ilera - Solace Fade - Scions - Sovereign|
|The Rise of Lirin|
|- In the Morrow - The White Dragon - Faith in Blood - The Great Gates - Lord Avatar - A Red Sun - Faceless - Faction - Tempest - Rally of Crows - Rally of Eagles - Dragons and Serpents - Kings and Men - Storms of a Spirit - Princes - A Battered Land - Seas of Ichor - Arbiter - Return to a Grave - Declination - Disaffection - Epilogue|
|Myths of the Empire|
|Pacification - Assassins - Empire - Red Sun Under The Empire - White Snow - Heirs|
|The Reclamation of Arein|
|Book 1 - Chaos|
|Refugee - Rogue - Ghosts - Dark Roses - Doyen - Divulgence - The Plan - Abscond - Mists of Illusion - Madonna - Syndicate - Playing the Stakes - Purge - Brothers|
|Book 2 - War|
|Alliance - Temple - Tensions - The Fall - Hunters and Prey - Lussuria - Shades of Relevance - Broken Star - Defiler - Strikeforce - Secrets of the Lair - Eminence - Swarm - Wanderer|
|Dreams of Melasa|
|Book 1 - Servant|
| - - - - - - - - - - - - -
|Book 2 - Shadow World|
|Faint but Clear - Ghost in the Steel - Kurotama - Loyalties - Servants of Shadow - Game of Fate - Shadows and Reflections - Tomb of Blood - Broken Blades - Hill of Shadow - Souls and Swords - Home|