Post by Mirai Trunks on Jul 2, 2019 12:35:27 GMT -5
The Yaidratian Elder has noticed that your progress is coming along nicely. He's decided to give you his trial. It will be one of great mental strides. He sends his best fighter at you, claiming that you have intentions to destroy Yaidrat. You must defeat him with words alone...how will you do it? Are you clever enough?
Reward: +500 zeni, +5 DP, +40 all stats, +5 RP Credits
Post by Mirai Trunks on Jul 2, 2019 12:36:16 GMT -5
The shrill cries of the dying ripped through his ears and he flinched.
His eyes opened as lightening split the sky above. Briefly, the landscape around him was illuminated. The bodies were arranged in strange symbols he did not understand the meaning of. He blinked. And they were gone. Had they even been there at all?
In the midnight darkness he could not see his hands as he held them out in front of his face and stumbled along the uneven path. How had he gotten here, where was he? The lightning struck once again, and the bodies had returned once more. This time they were standing, crowding in around him, their hollow dead eyes staring at him, mouths open in eternal terror. Hands of blackened, dead skin reached out for him, brushed against his armored chest as they sought out blindly. “You…” They moaned, “You did this…” He stumbled and fell back, tripped over the body of a child. Tears of blood wept from its dead eyes as it stared at him. “Bardock?”
He had heard the sounds of the dying often. Its sweet, strange melody was familiar to him now. The cries of small children. Whose parents were torn from their world at far too young an age. The moans of soldiers, who had once fought bravely, now stared meekly into the shadowy maws of their impending death, and begged for just a little more time, one more sweet moment of life to cling to. It was a meaningless plea. Death was not something to be bargained with, it would grant reprieve based on a shed tear, it would not take pity on the weak, or the simple. It came to claim all, eventually. Even the gods were not above death’s exactly toll.
This was different though. He didn’t just hear their screams, he felt them. Felt them in his bones. Their terror, their agony, the sense of loss, or hopelessness washed over him. It crashed upon him like ocean waves upon a wayward boat lost within a raging storm. ‘What is this?’
Bardock’s clenched eyes burst open. His heart raced. It slammed in his chest like the plasma engines that powered the massive starships that served the Saiyan Empire. His breath was ragged and he sucked in the cool cavern air in deep, calming breaths. His eyes focused on the lone figure sitting before him. Narrow, yellow eyes that appeared to glow in the dimly lit cavern, protruded from its pink, bulbous head. They narrowed as the alien studied him intensely as one might study some new curious object, without speaking. The creature was tall, easily dwarfing Bardock when the two had stood before one another, and whipcord thin, its head too big for its narrow shouldered body gave the alien an almost comically disproportioned body.
The Saiyan’s lips parted as his breathing slowly returned to its natural rhythm. “What was that, what did you do to me?” He demanded, trying, and failing to keep the sense of anger from his words.
The creature studied him a moment longer without speaking. The two sat across from one another on thin rugs of purple silk deep within the cavernous interior of a now extinct volcano.
His guide had told him that all life on the planet existed in this manner. Living within the hallowed out remains of the same volcanos that had turned the surface of this world uninhabitable so many thousands of years ago. Even the long lived Yardratian’s were unsure of how they came to this world. Had they come here from some distant world, or had life as they had known it sparked upon this world millions of years ago, evolving into what they now were.
In a sense, there was a sort of poetic justice to it. If nothing else it demonstrated the determination of life, that even on a world such as this, it would somehow find a way to, well perhaps flourish wasn’t the correct word… survive.
Its thin, almost undefined lips moved. “The burden you carry within you is of your making, not mine, child.” Its grating voice spoke in its awkward tongue, like a mouth unfamiliar with the forming of words. Communication with the Yardratians had been a slow and arduous affair the past weeks that Bardock had trained under the Elder, he had struggled to understand them, and the translators that he had brought with him had proven useless.
Bardock’s face betrayed nothing of the anger that boiled within him like a kettle sat too long on a stove. This time. The Yardratian Elder had taken to calling him child from the moment Bardock had arrived on the world. He had mistakenly thought the term was due to their age difference, as the Elder was said to be hundreds of years older than any Saiyan. However, Bardock had quickly found out that with Yardatian culture, it was an insult to be considered a child. A gest, meant to mock one’s lack of wisdom, a thing the Yardatian placed great importance upon. Bardock’s inability to cope with the mental training he had been subjected to made him a child in the eyes of the Elder. When Bardock had in those first days, challenged the gest, he would be subjected to even more taunting. Emotional outbursts were a sign of a lack of mental fortitude, a weakness the Elder’s kind could not forgive.
The smallest hint of a smirk slid across the alien features, as if pleased with Bardock’s ability to control his emotions, at least enough to not react when insulted so openly. Bardock spared a thought for the prince. Was he having as much difficulty mastering his mind as Bardock had? He scoffed. Likely more.
He took a deep, calming breath. “It is always there, waiting for me. Since I arrived on your world, every time I close my eyes, they are there once more.”
The Elder nodded absently, as if his mind were deep in thought, far beyond the limitations of a Saiyan’s simple intellect. “Yes, I sense that they are as much a part of who you are, as the Saiyan blood that pumps through your veins. A war is raging within you, Bardock. Two opposing forces, battling for ultimate control.”
“Control of what, Elder?” He added only a moment slower than he should have. Subservience to a race that was considered inferior in battle power… well there was no more difficult task to a Saiyan than submission. Even to those who shared one’s heritage, the difficult of such a thing was multiplied for one such as the Elder.
The Elder looked surprised, as if Bardock clearly should have connected the dots on his own. “For your soul, of course. They wage a war, and the victor shall decide who you are in this world. A symbol for hope, or yet another example of wasted existence.” His tone was cold and indifferent.
Bardock’s eyebrows narrowed. “I have never faced an enemy I could not overcome through will. This will be no different.”
“You cannot beat this into submission. You cannot grind this into nonexistence, and you cannot run from it.”
“I run from nothing!” Bardock insisted, forgetting himself in the moment. “Apologies, Elder. I should not have spoken out of turn.”
“Learn to master this,” the Elder replied mildly, tapping a long, thin finger against Bardock’s forehead, “And you will learn to master this,” he finished, finger tapping Bardock’s chest, just above the Saiyans heart.
He rose in a single fluid motion, and Bardock followed suit, dwarfed by the Elder. “You have grown since you arrived on our world young Saiyan, and though you have much left to learn, I have one final task before you leave our home.”
Bardock nodded solemnly. “Yes, master.”
The Elder pointed to a clearing in the strangely hued trees of violet and orange at a warrior bedecked in Yardratian Ceremonial Armor. “There. His name is Capelli, the hero of our world.”
Bardock stood, taking up a relaxed fighters stance. “He doesn’t look like much, this should be fairly easy.”
“And indeed it would be. For a warrior of your caliber to defeat one of such, limited fighting prowess. I am afraid that he would not stand much of a chance against you if it came to blows between the two of you.” He paused. “Alas, that is not the test that now lay before you.”
Bardock looked at the Elder, confusion registering across his Saiyan features as the Elder spoke. “Then what shall I do with him, Elder?” He asked.
“Well, he will likely try to kill you. Of that, I have no doubt. After all, he was told, in no uncertain terms that you have come to destroy our world and enslave our women and our children.”
Bardock looked taken-aback. “You told him what!? Bardock turned quickly so that he could keep his eyes on the distant warrior. “You don’t want us to fight, but you told him I am here to enslave your people and destroy his home world?”
The Elder chuckled, and shrugged his shoulders in the universal sign of feigned ignorance. “I said, ‘you’ shall not fight him.” He corrected. “I did not say that he would not try to fight you. On the contrary, he will likely do everything in his power to kill you. If for no other reason than to defend his own world of course, but he has been given every motivation to see that you do not succeed.”
“Succeed in what?! I never had any intention of enslaving your race, or destroying your world!” Bardock exclaimed, storm-grey eyes locked on the Yardratian as he grew ever closer. I thought the Yardratian’s valued life above all else?”
“And so we do… to a warrior of this world, there are few justifiable reason to kill one’s enemy. It just so happens that a direct threat against their world is one such reason.”
“Lucky me.” Bardock sighed.
“Save your words, young Saiyan. It is not I that you need convince of purity in your intentions for coming to his home. It is Capelli. I would be quick, young Saiyan. He approaches.” The Elder warned as he backed away from Bardock, giving the two space for the impending confrontation, “Remember... you must not strike him. End the conflict without the use of brute force, and you will have come to understand the true lesson of what I have tried to teach you in the many weeks since your arrival.”
Bardock let out a soft, nervous chuckle, nodding his understanding. “Sure, sounds great.” His storm grey eyes focused in on the warrior as he approached Bardock at an ever increasing speed. He shrugged his shoulders, and adopted a pose that he was sure was as nonthreatening as he could muster. Surely the warrior would listen to reason, right?
“Capelli, is it?” Bardock called, keeping his hands in front of him to show that he meant no harm. “Listen, I’m not sure what you were told I was here to do… but I can assure you—” he cut off as a beam of electric-pink energy scorched the volcanic stone that had only moments ago been beneath his Saiyan boots. “Mother fucker.” He exclaimed in surprise, and just a bit of annoyance. The warrior’s attack had been faster than Bardock had given the Yardratian credit for, only just having time to move out of the way of the attack.
The Yardratian leapt into the air, mimicking Bardock’s movements. “I was told enough to know that you possess evil intent, and that you must be stopped.” He flung forward, attacking the Saiyan with a flurry of punches and kicks. The armor he wore was strange to Bardock. Ceremonially folded cloths of soft white linen had been tucked into the thin plate that guarded the warrior’s chest. The chest armor had been attached to a single shoulder guard, leaving the left shoulder completely exposed. Bardock could see that there was no way the light-weight armor offered the level of protection used by most galactic military forces, but it did allow a certain freedom of maneuverability that the other armor types could not match. An advantage that no doubt gave the Yardratian an edge in terms of speed, but left the warrior vulnerable to attack.
Bardock balled up his fist to strike, until the Elder’s words came back to him, “…You must not strike him. End the conflict without the use of brute force, and you will have come to know what I have tried to teach you these many weeks.” ‘Right, do not strike him… well, this should be fun…’ He ducked the assault, and deflected the blows that came too close, gradually allowing himself to be pushed back as the Yardratian pushed his attack.
The warrior was fast, and possessed a level of skill that would have been respectable among a Saiyan of the 3rd class. But, there was a lack of experience there. His attacks were predictable, and he did not change tactic despite Bardock being able to easily block the onslaught.
They danced there with one another, ebbed and flowed as attack after attack was turned away at the last second. The warrior’s breath came in more quickly now, it sucked in air as it pushed its relentless flurry of attacks. Beads of sweat slid down the pink skin of its forehead, dripped down its face and had begun to pool at the warrior’s feet.
Bardock caught the Yardratian’s fist inches from his own face. Securing the aliens elbow in a vice-like grip and yanked him off balance. The Yardratian stumbled with the sudden force and fell face first onto the coal black volcanic stone.
Bardock eyed the Elder who had stood by and silently watched the exchange. Pointing at him with a gloved hand. “That does not count as striking him, he fell, he was not hit.” The Elder grinned and nodded.
Bardock once again eyed the alien as he began to pick himself up off the dark, jagged stone. “If I wanted to destroy your world, or your people. Don’t you think that I would have done so already?” His voice was cold and flat as he spoke.
Capelli spat as he stood. “I make no claim to understand the mind of a murderer. Perhaps you seek to gain the trust of our kind, so that we are all the easier to slaughter. Or it could be that you seek knowledge of the secrets to our sacred technique Instant Transmission. Or it could be the cause of a hundred other possibilities that have thus stayed the hand of your final judgement. What concern of it is mine what the motive you serve in postponing your destruction of this world. The reason does not matter, so long as you are halted before more innocents suffer at your hand.” He leapt at Bardock, his fist striking the Saiyan hard in the jaw. The first solid blow he had landed since the two had fought. Capelli pushed his advantage, landing a second, and then a third blow. Each harder than the last.
Bardock stumbled as the blows landed. Blood ran from his split lip and he spit to clear his mouth, growling in frustration as he struggled to regain his composure. This Yardratian was trying his patience, a quality that was not often used to describe the warriors of the Saiyan Empire. “Enough,” he growled. Grabbing the Yardratian’s arm once more as it slammed into the Saiyans cheek bone. With his free arm he drove his hand forward in an open palmed strike that gripped the Yardratian by the alien’s bald, pink-skinned head. “Witness my mind.”
A shockwave flowed through them both as their minds became one. The strangely hued trees of the cavern deep within the crust of planet Yardrat melted away, replaced with the shadow of a world that seemed a pale reflection of reality.
Bardock released the Yardratian, and he stumbled back, yellow eyes wide with shock and confusion. “What… what is this place?” He spun, drinking in his surroundings in disbelief. “What have you done?”
Bardock looked about them calmly.
Their settings had not appeared to have changed. The Cavern was there. The trees, the ashen volcanic stone beneath their boots felt as solid as it had a moment ago. Yet, there was something different about this place. The difference was subtle, at first. Colors seemed duller, as if mired with a tint of grey, like the sky when viewed through a frame with a tinted lens.
The world lacked a sense of sharpness, like a painting of a place pulled from the memory of an artist after long years had clouded their recollection. Details were missing, the smell seemed wrong. Where the strange flora had given a pungent, sweet aroma, it now smelled bland to his nose, artificial, like a candle meant to smell of summer. It felt, wrong.
“I’ve heard it be called the Aisling Saoghal before. In the old tongue it means—”
“The world of dreams.”
Bardock nodded, “Yes. The world of dreams.”
Capelli turned to face Bardock. “Why did you bring me to this place. We should not have come here.” His eyes darted towards the darkened sky, as if searching for something no one else could view.
“Patience. All will be revealed.” Bardock offered assuredly.
As he spoke, the dark sky split with artificial light as bolts of lightning struck from a cloudless sky. Plumes of smoke rose lazily in the distance as fires raged among the forest of strange trees.
Capelli turned with the sudden explosion. “A storm? How? These caverns are too small to generate their own atmosphere. It has not rained upon this world for a million years.” His yellow eyes gleamed with the reflection of the lightning as he watched in disbelief.
Bardock stood at the warrior’s shoulder, his storm-grey eyes watching the strange weather. “This is no ordinary storm. You see there.” He pointed into the darkness above. “There are no clouds from which these strikes originate.”
“Then what is this?!” Capelli had to scream now to be heard. “We shou—” He cut off as he saw them approaching. A wave of bodies pressed forward. Their eyes were dead. Hollow orbs of milky white. The cold, blackened skin around their outstretched hands appeared to have blistered, as if scorched by in open flames. “What is this.”
Bardock took a step forward, so that he stood between the Yardratian and the pressing bodies of the dead. “The remnants of those who have died at my hand, in service to my Saiyan Empire.”
Capelli breathed, “What are they doing here, in this place. How is it possible?”
They flailed forward, their burned skin peeling as Bardock pushed one, then another away as they pressed in against him. “Enough.” They halted. Eyes lacking pupils seeming to star at nothing. “They haunt me here. A reminder, of the lives I have ended. I believe they’re a simple manifestation. The projection of a soul filled with regret.”
Bardock offered the Yardratian a soft smirk. “Yes Yardratian, regret.” He sighed as he knelt before the frame of a small child. “I have always done what I must in service to my Empire.” He whispered, reaching out with a gloved hand to brush against the child’s face, and the bodies vanished.
Capelli scoffed. “You slaughter thousands, and call it duty? I witnessed the souls you have taken. There were as many innocent lives as there were soldiers among them. Call it what you wish, you serve a tyrant, a king, with delusions of grandeur. You Saiyan’s believe you are the epitome of the supreme warrior race. But you’re wrong. Like those who tried before you, you will fail. The universe will know you for what you really are, and your existence will be snuffed out.” There was a new resolve in his voice now. “You brought me here, hoping I would see the burden of death you carry with you, that I would believe your intent was not to add my world to those who were destroyed by you and your kind? Does your king honestly believe that by sending his misbegotten son to our world that we would grovel and scrape and beg your friendship?
I see your regret; I see the sacrifice you think you make for your world. But it changes nothing. You deserve death.”
Bardock rose, dusting off his hands on the black body glove that he wore under his Saiyan armor. “You mistake my intent, Yardratian. I did not bring you here so that you might see some sense of humanity within me and judge us ally. I brought you here so that you will see my undying resolve, and know that it more than matches the loyalty you think you have for your world, and for your people.
You insult my king, my world, my people, even the prince… fine. I can accept that.” He shrugged dismissively, his voice growing low, a dangerous edge to his tone. “But your people will die. Your Elder will die. Your world, will die.” His storm-grey eyes burned with a barely checked rage. “All of the faces of those you love will be added to the host that waits to haunt me here. I will bring ruin to all that you know.
The Yardratian’s eyes filled with sorrow at Bardock’s words, finally understanding the true purpose of why the Saiyan had brought him to this place. “You want me to give you my life, so that my people might live…”
Bardock shook his head, “No. Your Elder has ordered that I cannot fight you, or take your life in combat. I tried to reason with you, but I see now that we are similar in our resolve. You know what your Elder cannot… that our two worlds can never exist with one another.
Yield. Yield and no one here need die.”
“And down the line, when more of your kind come, what then?”
“Submit.” Bardock answered simply. “Submit to Saiyan rule, and none need die then.”
Capelli Nodded. And they were back among reality.
The Elder seemed unsurprised to see them once more. “It is done then?”
Again Capelli nodded. “It is, Elder. All is done.”