A New Focus: Fighting Musashi Tenshumaru
After Orphan's defeat, the world as she knows it is saved. But through a divine intervention, a corraling darkness sweeps the feral plains of Gran Pulse. And beneath the resolute Claire Farron, the ground trembles, dividing into a large chasm that swallows the Guardian Corps sergeant. She grabs onto the ledge, fighting to climb out and avoid being sucked into a tenebrous vacuum. Though, through all her efforts, Claire could not escape the grappling gloom. They're like hands pulling her by the ankles and into a cosmic void. An area bereft of time, draped in nebulous veils and spinning hooplike machinery.
In this eldritch pathway between past and future, Lightning drifts listlessly in the backwater of time. Not knowing where she's going or where she might end up. Is this a new task appointed by the goddess Etro? A deity fathomed by some as a benevolent existence, and by others the avatar of mortality. Whoever she may be, Etro has chosen Claire for a specific reason. What that reason is remains unclear.
Sometime later, wakened by the the sound of clapping waves, Lightning finds herself lying on the beachfront. She coughs roughly, slowly filling her lungs with sea-scented air while on all fours. The pink-haired bombshell brings her left knee forward with a propping left palm upon it. The opposing hand, her right, is planted sturdily in the sand to unite a push. A leaden uprise becomes her, wiping gritty soil from spots in need of whisking.
As she dust off her sleeveless white jacket, Claire notices something. The l'Cie brand, thought to have been removed by Etro, is back on her chest. This can only mean that she has another Focus to complete. But to Farron, the question she wants to ask is why and for what purpose. More importantly, where is she?
Last edited by Farron; 09-30-2012 at 07:18 PM.
On a far-flung stretch of sandy oceanfront the wandering swordsman Tenshumaru Musashi had stopped to rest and refresh himself. There along the western coast of Satsuma, near the southernmost tip of Japan, now deep into the twilight of summer.
With his feet planted in the soothing current of a stream, an aquifer whose subterranean journey ended in the sea, he watched the rolling turquoise tides in quiet contemplation. It was those few moments, far from even the inclination of company that made his tireless travel worthwhile. As the waves continued their gentle lapping at the shore, he closed his eyes and drew a deep breath. The stringent mixture of resin and soot he used to dye his hair left a bitter note to everything, yet freshly washed he was able to savour the briny winds unaltered.
Thunder boomed with audacious might, the clarion call of a coming storm. It was not uncommon for the weather to change quickly, as though shifting at the whim of an ill-tempered deity. Gradually he opened his piercing blue eyes, his head swivelling to spot the charcoal thunderheads before they arrived; only there weren’t any. Struck by the oddity, he hastily adorned his feet in the socks and sandals he had briefly discarded, and climbed to his feet.
Rounding the rocky escarpment he had hidden behind, the breadth of the beachhead sprawled for miles in both directions. Glistening in the sun, the bleached sand and sapphire surf disappeared somewhere over the horizon. It was as though he was standing on the precipice of the world, and he was not alone.
Laying some thirty meters away was a woman, her seductive form visible even at a distance. Habitually he checked the clearance of the swords nestled against either hip, ensuring that both curved blades slid effortlessly from their wooden confines. He did not anticipate a conflict, but neither did he eschew the possibility. His long hair hung like a curtain around his shoulders, the tawny platinum strands drying quickly in the sun as he approached. Perhaps he should have fretted over his appearance; however, with hair the colour of ripe cherry blossoms the oddly outfitted maiden was no more Japanese than he was.
With half the distance closed the woman stirred, roused first to her hands and knees as she coughed and sucked in the salty air. Seemingly disoriented she struggled to her feet, swatting the gritty earth from her fine white attire.
“Are you injured?” he asked when he was confident she had gained her bearings. It occurred to him that she might not understand him, but he was compelled to ask all the same. He settled his weight evenly in the sand, his glacial stare unyielding. Not wanting to threaten her, he kept his range and waited to see what she would do next. “Lightning from a clear sky, eh?” he thought to himself.
The voice of a mysterious young man reaches a preoccupied Farron. It was like a needle piercing through the tough hide of the confound. She responds to his timbre tone by turning her head towards him. A sideward gaze with the right of her body facing the vagabond. And from this position, Lightning notices that he's bearing a few armaments of battle. He seems to be well-build, and no stranger to conflict; war and chaos. Still, she doesn't know if he can be so easily trusted.
As she irons out her assessment, knowing now that he doesn't speak english, Claire bypasses the japanese jargon and drops an inquiry. "I don't suppose you can tell me where I am, huh?" The sergeant was cognizant of the language barrier, expecting him not to reply. If anything, she was being sarcastic.
The blue-eyed termagant decides she needs to check her equipment afore ambling elsewhere. It's to examine them for damages in light of her trip here. Because it'd be an inconvenience to have defective gear during the heat of combat. Lightning fingers the hilt of her signature weapon, a mechanical creation called the Blazefire Saber. It has the ability to switch from gun to sword mode at her bidding. On the face of the blade there are engravings that reads, "Invoke my name - I am Spark. The blinding instant, Lightning."
From the holster hanging off her belt and into her right hand, Claire inspects the gunblade. Twisting her wrist to and fro' while holding the Blazefire horizontally to her face. She then pulls it away from her heart-shaped countenance, only to test its modes. The foldable mechanisms located between the blade and hilt collapses, making two sword-to-gun conversions before stopping. "Hm... It seems copesetic," she said while sheathing the gunblade.
Before walking off, straight ahead, Claire make one passing look at the swordsman. After that, she takes her swaggering depature. How will he react to her embarking on journey in a strange, new land?
Last edited by Farron; 12-20-2012 at 09:45 PM.
An unpolished emerald would better withstand the scrutiny of her appraisal, those sultry eyes plumbing the depths of his soul. As the tension sizzled between them he wondered what, if anything, she saw within. Touched with derision her words rabbled with unfamiliar coarseness, heard only on the docks of Nagasaki where the westerners held slim foothold. Although he had heard the uncouth banter before he was no more inclined to understand than a fish could hope to fly.
With a linguistic mountain between them he pondered what more could be done, and for a time both seemed to regard the impasse indifferently. It wasn’t until the cherry-haired maiden brandished a trademark weapon that any pretense of diplomacy evaporated, stripped away like warmth to a winter breeze. In an instant he was at the ready, his footwork solidified in the sand by a leading right foot.
Awed by its mercurial nature he watched, fascinated by the futuristic mechanism that was both sword and sidearm. Regardless of its origin the switchblade possessed the clarity of purpose that only a weapon could, an instrument of war the woman was clearly adept at playing. His left thumb pressed against the underside of the brass circle that formed his katana’s tsuba, his right hand poised above the brown silk of the hilt. If she was intent on starting a fight, he would respond in the language he was most proficient in.
One step; two steps; the would be saunter is stopped. The screech of steel rubbing against lacquered wood catches her attention. She turns right, directing her sights upon the man once again. He had unsheathed his katana, a weapon that's common among warriors of his class. For whatever reason it was drawn, Claire will find the cause.
The simplest solution would be to ask, but their linguistic gap undermines that approach. She can only assume the man; the ronin has an angle. Perhaps to scrap it out with the sergeant and test her sleight. Or concluded that our heroine is a threat, and must be ousted summarily. But these explanations are hers alone and does not reflect the truth behind his actions. The only thing she can do is oblige the proverbial blade game.
Lieutenant Amodar, Lightning's direct superior and good friend, has instilled in Claire to take no prisoners. Any man or woman that present themselves as a menance should be addressed. It's the soldierly code of Guardian Corps. She signal the works of her mechanical cohort with a quick draw. Gears resonate and the Blazefire Saber goes into sword mode.
In the clasp of her right hand, Farron primes the gunblade to defy what may come. It is held horizontally to her right, about waist level, with the left of her body in the lead. Let the unthinkable match-up between Earth's past and Cocoon's future begin.
Last edited by Farron; 11-07-2012 at 11:29 PM.
Forbearance calmed the thunder of his heart. The unknown woman walked with a confident swagger and turned with leisure, as though unconcerned by the naked blade. With feminine grace she ushered her switchblade right-handedly, askew from the leftward slant of her torso. It was an unusual stance for an unusual weapon, yet her gender and nonconformity were no reason to be taken lightly.
The sand whispered as his sandaled feet urged him forward, his form moving with precision even across the quagmire of the beachhead. His right arm curled upward, lifting the hilt slightly above his shoulder while his left swept toward the kashira, the brass cap at the end of the silk swaddled handle. With his chin lowered and eyes fixed he closed distance rapidly, a methodical two-step shuffle ensuring his footwork remained unassailable.
When no more than ten feet separated them he pushed forward, his right leg lending the added zeal he needed to cultivate an opening. Both his arms tensed, his left catching the kashira as his right snapped the katana forward. His leading foot tamped the ground as an attack was levied, every muscle in his body synchronized by years of practice. Both wrists solidified in unison, the blade torqued into a vertical slash that stung the air like a cracked whip. Unchecked the apex of the curved sword would cleave her from rosy crown to slender neck, yet the grip of his left hand would command a halt before his form could overextend.
There was neither malevolence in his eyes, nor hatred in his heart as he struck at her. Instead he exuded tranquility in the midst of chaos, a preternatural calm that belied the fury of his actions. In the heat of the moment his icy stare gleamed with pale incandescence, as though filled with starry fragments. Shrouded in the indelible void of mushin no shin, his mind readied itself for retaliation.
On cue, the gunblade jumps from its pocketed position to clash with its oppugnant kin. Claire motions her right side forward to deliver a sidewinding slash. A high, over-the-head leftward strike that meets the katana in mid-swing. The all-too-familiar sound of clashing metal confirms a parrying hit. Though the impetus behind her swift action should be enough to divert the fall of japanese steel. But this is just a conjecture, and sometimes a conjecture can be unsound.
Last edited by Farron; 10-30-2012 at 06:23 PM.
Regardless of its futuristic framework the sword the woman brandished rang of steel as it delivered a brisk slap across the face of his katana. Vibration rattled his palms, his arms genuflecting to the swiftness of her parrying blow. Meanwhile his feet moved in the opposite direction, so that as his sword fled rightwards he stepped diagonally to the left and into the emptiness created by the gunblade’s passing.
As though it had accidentally cartwheeled into position his katana threatened for a second time, his right wrist completing a full rotation as his elbow snapped straight and brought the hoary edge around with a sinister whistle. His body turned in unison with the swing, so that his alignment remained true with her frame even though he stood aslant her right side. Movement and momentum achieved a cumulative effect, a harrowing left-to-right strike which would pluck her rosy head from the lithe stem of her body. Amidst the chaos his left hand had lost purchase on the kashira, and instead migrated toward the pale green hilt above his right hip. Regardless of whether the precision assault was successful his right arm would extend no further than was necessary, poised at shoulder level until the deadly blade was needed.
In their crossing, success fell into Farron's favor but it was short-lived. Even though her path for an open shot had been macadamized, the ronin stonewalls this attempt. His katana cartwheels from its diversion to carve into the air a head-splitting strike. It displays his work as an accomplished swordsman through a hasty reversal. Though the leftward swing, from Claire's perspective, doesn't cash in on the sergeant. She eyes the engaging edge before dodging its silvery sting.
The sword misses an aspirating Lightning by half a foot after her backward sway. Only her upper body, from head to torso, had reclined. Some of Claire's weight shifted into her left leg to balance out the lean. It was slightly bowed forward at the knee, more so than its right-legged counterpart. Now all that remains is the katana's steely hum, coursing along its dextral path.
Farron, with the hilt of the gunblade resting parallel to her waistline, lashes back. She launches the Blazefire Saber rightwardly upwards. A retaliatory arc whipping out diagonally to cleave the man from his abdomen to shoulder joint. But poised in its way is the swordsman's left arm, ready to clutch a secondary brand.
If nothing happens, Claire's attack will be detrimental to the man's preemptive tactic. His forearm, or in that general location, gets hewed along with whatever in its lane.
Last edited by Farron; 11-08-2012 at 02:41 AM.
His eyes hardened, impressed by the serpentine guile displayed by this nimble pixie. Like a slender reed does before a summer typhoon she bent, reclined upon her left leg to shirk the steely threat he imposed. Paired with her artful evasion was a slanted upward strike heavy with cruel intention, and it was this which inspired a firm reprisal.
Both legs shoved against the sand, his body pushed forward as his left arm tensed and with practiced dexterity began to draw his second sword. With the evaporation of distance and the speed of her unexpected assault, there was no chance of the blade clearing the scabbard. Fortunately for the black-clad swordsman, he didn’t need to brandish his right-sided accouterment to be successful. The switchblade connected with a muted clang against the foot of exposed steel, the intrusive blade barred further advance by the bulwark of the brass tsuba. Meanwhile his right arm, having poised in the aftermath of what should have been triumph, sought to deliver a surprise of his own.
Paired with his staunch defence, his right shoulder flexed and drove the levelled katana downward into the wilted damsel. The thrust was as vicious as it was swift, a piercing jab that would impale the elusive woman if unchecked. If only to complicate the situation, he ensured that mercurial sabre remained trapped in the angles of his katana without first pushing it away from his body; although by that time it should already be too late.