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 Burning Strength [Deva's Training]

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PostSubject: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   26th March 2018, 2:46 pm

It was strange, sitting reading this but Asura had wanted him to. It was a small book bound in faded black leather. The old clasp and strap that had once held it closed had long since fallen off and been replaced with a simple black ribbon. His mother had told him that it was an old book, something that family from long ago had owned and written in, there weren’t many pages left but Asura wanted him to have it. Deva sighed and ran his fingers over the blank cover, narrowing his eyes. Surely it must be important to her. He opened the little journal and the words on the first page startled him… Asura hadn’t bought his book at all. Someone called Izuna had. That was one of his ancestors, the one that had discovered the additional power that the Mishura’s eyes possessed. So Asura hadn’t been bluffing about that in the end up. According to his mother, she had ended up writing down random ideas that popped into her head in the later pages, just to fill it up, she didn’t use it as a journal and she said that Deva was free to do the same. Perhaps he would actually, his mind had been filled with ideas for little stories that he would be more than happy to write down just so they’d stop cluttering his mind. However, first he was going to read what Izuna had written in this…

‘It’s my first time seeing sunlight. I had never been outside of Kaosgakure until now. I don’t really know what day it is or how much time has passed since myself and my brother left the Land of Shadows. It’s a terrifying world out there, one that we truly know nothing about but we’re determined to find our feet, find our strength and bring justice back to the Mishura Clan. It’s been tainted from the inside for a long time now, something that Madara and I have only recently realised, they’re keeping things suppressed, keeping information locked away so that clan members can’t grow strong enough to challenge them but we’ll show them the truth. My brother and I will be the most powerful Mishura since Angel. I’ll return to that darkness soon and when I do… The Clan will know my name.’

Deva blinked a few times. He knew Izuna had a brother but his name was Madara? Was that not a name known in myth? He couldn’t remember, it was likely a false equivalency. He sighed and scratched his cheek for a few moments as he looked over the journal, should he read more? A lot of it was just general accounts of his days, some of the entries were about bounties that he had collected. Apparently, he had been a Missing Nin for a while, running away from his family and home so that he could gain enough power to challenge his clan properly. They had obviously succeeded but not to the degree that Izuna likely would have liked. After all, Asura had been through a lot, Deva knew that much, he also knew it was due to the purists in the clan who didn’t like her mixed heritage. He was glad they were gone, he wasn’t sure what they would have done to him and his sister. Anger flashed through him at the thought but he cooled it, clenching his teeth. He’d read a few more entries to take his mind off of it.

‘I remember the first time I truly had blood on my hands. I was so used to killing with chakra and with genjutsu that I had never really bled another opponent. Even my Chidori cauterised wounds. Some fights grew more frantic than others though. When pushed into a corner, a person will react like a wild animal, I like to think I wouldn’t but I’m a human all the same. She was a Toketsu, beautiful in her own way, hair like fine white silk, eyes of coldest blue. She had pushed both me and my brother to our limits, her Water Jutsu were glorious and terrifying to people like us and she danced on ice as though it was a ballroom floor. All of us were ragged by the end, I had icicles driven into both my legs, so cold. Madara was torn up, blood streaming down his arms, misting in the wintery air. The Toketsu was driven near to insanity, her eyes wild like a beast. She’d thought I was down and dying and as she leaped at Madara… She had realised her mistake. My tanto stuck her like a pig and tore her open, blood sprayed my face and body. It was cold. She dropped to the ground, frantically struggling to hold her shredded body together. Madara ended her life quickly. I had never seen so much blood before, I didn’t know a person had so much in them. We took a break after that, we rested and we healed, I was shaken, I wasn’t supposed to be in close combat, not truly. Madara’s conviction got me through it however, he showed me that sometimes it was necessary to make others bleed, to show them that you were stronger.’

Would Deva ever be shaken in the same way? If he was covered in blood, near broken during a battle, would he react the same? He doubted it. He wasn’t a ranged fighter, he knew what hurt was, he knew how to bleed and bleed others. Or in his case it was burning anyway. He had been taught by Asura, a woman that had cut off her own arm in the heat of battle, burned the wound closed and then finished the fight straight afterwards. He hadn’t had the childhood that Asura had but if his mother was able to do such a terrifying feat, he knew that he would be able to fight on coated in blood. With that thought complete, he moved onto the next passage.

‘I’ve been accustomed to blood now. I had Madara teach me some Taijutsu and Kenjutsu so that I could better defend myself. I learned how to mix them with the skills I already had. That truly confused some of our targets from then on. When the man with a sword was putting them in elaborate, dangerous genjutsu so that his brother wielding a Gunbai would be able to finish them off. Confusion was certainly a dangerous thing to experience during a fight. One had to be focused at all times, ever learning, ever adapting to situations. I knew that all too well, never again was I going to allow myself to be taken off guard or stunned by a fight. We were both getting stronger, to a terrifying degree. Hunter Nin sought us relentlessly, especially those from the Mishura Clan. They knew we had something special planned and they were terrified of it. Good. We were going to show them fear.’

It must have been soon after this that his ancestor learned about the Mishura’s most powerful secret. It was possible that it was hidden to prevent clan members from stealing one another’s eyes in order to empower themselves but wouldn’t someone have done it? As far as the records went, Izuna and Madara were the first Mishura to ever unlock the advanced dojutsu of the clan. By this point he was sure they had both unlocked Stage Four of their respective eyes, as Tikatchi and Asura had when they swapped. He was engrossed now, he had to keep reading. So he flipped the page and continued.

‘They came for us, both of them were Mishura but they were weak compared to us now. Their eyes could not hope to match our own. My brother and I had changed, we weren’t normal Mishura anymore, we were Gods compared to them. My flames burned the mind as easily as they burned the body, the screams no longer bothered me. I knew there were more my eyes could do. My brother had become faster and stronger than any Mishura, blood dribbled from his eyes as he moved however. It would seem there was a final limit to our power. We were long from exceeding it however, it would soon be time for vengeance. We would take the clan back, by force.’

Deva grinned ferally as he imagined the power that they must have felt during that. He imagined they would soon discover the Susanoo. Then it clicked, he finally discovered how Asura had learned of the advanced dojutsu. An old book passed down through the family. She was the only one that must have realised the connotations of what had happened, that there was something more. Others likely assumed they discovered the true power of Yugure or a secret technique but no, they had discovered something new entirely. Only Asura had been so focused and had read it so many times that she noticed that. Asura must have done a lot to hide it from the Purists. His grin had faded, he turned the page and went back to reading.

‘We surpassed our limits once more. A lifetime of harsh war and protecting one another created a bond like no other between myself and my brother. We gave a part of ourselves back that day and at once, nothing changed and everything did. We became even greater than before and we learned of ancient techniques. Armour shrouded us, armour empowered us and it made our enemies fear. Word spread quickly, it was a technique only spoken of in myth, everyone thought that it had been lost, or at least the true version had been. They were wrong. The light was magnificent when we faced off against the heads of the Clan. My brilliant dark blue and Madara’s gleaming red, they were nothing but chaff before us.’

Deva chuckled at that but then realised, from the small amount he had been told, Asura had been through something similar. Only it was against the Purists of the clan aiming to deny her the heritage she was due. He decided to leave off Izuna’s writings for now and instead move on to read some of what Asura had written. It turns out that not all of her stuff was random ideas, she had used it as a journal as well but a simple skim showed that it was much bleaker than anything Izuna had written… Deva grit his teeth and resolved to read it anyway.

‘I can feel it leaking out of me. It’s cold and disgusting. They made me drink something so I couldn’t become pregnant. My legs hurt, my stomach hurts. They struck me, as they always do. It amuses them I think. I can’t fight back, not yet, but soon. This book has taught me a lot, Izuna made so many notes about his techniques but I need to hide it, they can’t see it or they’ll take it away. Apparently, I’m related to Izuna but… I can’t see that being the truth. He seems to be a magnificent warrior, on par with his brother and yet for many different reasons. How could I be related to someone as powerful as that?’

The last line was scratched out and Asura had written something else instead. She was conflicted but it was obvious that she was strong and she refused to bow.

‘No, I am powerful. The abuse I have taken will only make me stronger. It will forge me into something greater. I refuse to bow to these cretins. Do they think that fucking me raw and beating me will make me submit? No, they’re just making it easier for me to kill them without remorse. Hatred feels good. I’ll nourish it.’

Deva read the words and then sighed softly. He knew his mother’s life had been bad, he didn’t resent her for how she had been treating him, she wasn’t doing things like this after all. She wanted him to be strong enough to resist such a thing. He understood that. Rolling his neck, he opened to the next blank page and started to write to get his mind off of things…

Forest scents littered the air around him. Even with his eyes closed he could detect everything around him. The fluttering of autumn leaves as they drifted downwards to signal the coming of Winter, the dance of hare as they dashed through the undergrowth. He could even smell himself, aged leather skin and soft, freshly washed furs covering his body. Fenris opened his iron eyes and looked around at his surroundings for a few moment before rising up to his feet with a soft groan. How old was he now? Too old as far as he was concerned. His fingers dusted over the tree he leaned against, it was covered in old scars and wounds from him sharpening and honing hatchets and knives against the trunk. He liked this place, it was where he came to think.

He'd lost a lot of friends, almost all of them as a matter of fact. Gods came and went, Champions rising up to take over the old Domain. None of his generation existed anymore, they were all gone, he was the only one left. He was only around by virtue of being the toughest of the lot, the least likely to be killed and... Also the most stubborn. After all, there were only two reasons a God would give up their Domain and those were death and tiredness. Eventually it happened, the wear and tear of life dragged the mind down, the body was pristine, it was unkillable but the mind was what truly mattered. When you lost those you cared about most, you didn't want to live anymore, you didn't want to continue. Fenris splayed his hand out on the bark of the tree and stared at the skin for a few moments before nodding.

Spinning on his heel, silent as a lost breeze, he started to walk back to his temples, feet barely disturbing the fallen leaves. He remembered Pyrion's death, that had hit him hard. Pyrion was obnoxious, loud and crass but he was a good man even to the end, even as he was betrayed and slaughtered alongside his Champion. What had been her name? He paused and caught a leaf out of the air, a blazing orange colour. Ember, that was it. She'd given her all and it still wasn't enough... The rest of them had ensured that the betrayer didn't live to become the God of Fire. Fenris dropped the leaf and continued walking. Gale and Typhoon broke after that, the former was put out of her misery when her mind snapped... They'd made Fenris do that, he had felt obligated to volunteer. Her blood was like vapour, he remembered that too well. Ty hadn't blamed him, he should have. He took over as the God of Air and held that post for a long time, he'd done so well but in the end... He grew tired, as they all did, his trauma from early didn't help.

Lux had a noble death, that bastard could make anything seem noble. He chose to give up his power, to let Sol take over, the ceremony was beautiful. He wasn't sure of the reasons behind it but Nocturne wasn't as broken up as she made herself out to be. Fenris was a dense guy but body language, emotions, those were primal, visceral, those he knew and Nocturne could have been the greatest liar to ever exist and she couldn't have fooled him. He knew because not even the God of Secrets could directly lie to Fenris. He was pretty sure Sol should have been the Goddess of Victory with how beautifully lethal she was... But she made the mistake of restarting a war that had long since ended, she blamed Nocturne and Sanguis for Lux's death. Only one of the three made it out and she was broken beyond belief, Arcanus took her power away and she killed herself soon after, it was that or risk a genocide event.

Speaking of genocide events... The Boulder's monument still stood even after what happened. Fenris broke the treeline and looked across the killing zone surrounding his temple. It was a squat building, it looked more like a bunker than anything but that was the point. Ancient rusted weapons surrounded it. Every time someone fought him for his Domain he took their weapon and planted it in this field to keep the memory alive, they were all worthy of it. He wouldn't have fought someone that wasn't. He took a seat and brought one knee up to his chest, resting his arm across it. Nyx had vanished, he actually missed all of her attempts to seduce him, it was cute in its own way but she disappeared one day, Aurora went with her, they just upped and left. No one knows where they went, where their temple had been was now just... A crater, perfectly smooth.

There weren't any left... Well apart from two. Valour was still around, Nocturne's champion, he had became the God of Darkness after her death and he was doing well keeping everything under control, working hand-in-hand with the new Goddess of Light. He wasn't really a friend though, just someone Fenris knew the name of. The last person was someone he considered a daughter, the person that had been with him for what seemed like forever; Ka'Nae. He'd lost a lot of champions over the years, the Domain of War was the most dangerous and those that couldn't cut it didn't last very long, Ka'Nae had taken everything in her stride and just grown more and more powerful as time went on.

He remembered being attacked by her, so many centuries ago now. The feel of an enhanced bullet tearing through his lupine hide, shredding flesh. Only his nature as a God and his unnatural senses let him survive that shot, it was the hardest he had been hit dead on. When he charged at her, he didn't find some Hunter who was scared they had failed their shot and would die, he found a tiny girl with a bayonet on the end of her musket, held in a perfect guard stance to ward him off. The light in her eyes, the air of dirty survival that she held, those are what drew him to her. He had beat her handedly of course but the raw skill and power she showed even then made him take her on as his Champion and she had never disappointed him.

The grass beside him ruffled as a girl took a seat next to him. Brass coloured hair fell down in messy waves and loose curls, just above brushing the ground. A long, faded, red trenchcoat hid most of her body from sight but it was clear she was barefoot. The girl turned her freckled face towards him, looking at him with burnished red eyes. She cocked her head to the side but said nothing.

"Glad to see you're finally here, Ka'Nae." Fenris smiled but when had his voice became so old? Had he not noticed the rough edges and cracks yet? Then again, when was the last time he had actually spoken?

"Seven weeks and four days ago." Ka'Nae's voice was soft with a strange tribal lilt to it that made it seem like the words rode a wave as she spoke. He was certain he had only thought that but it would seem not. He really was aging and it was scaring him.

"Seven weeks, huh? I guess I just... Needed time after I lost Nike. Not enough time." He shook his head and ran his fingers through his hair. He was glad that Nae didn't really talk, it made it easier for him to think. "It gets to a point, Nae... Where you run out of energy. In any fight, in any war, there's always momentum, the force of a push. You lose that force and you lose the push, you lose the fight, you lose the war. Something tiny can manage it, a loss of morale, a mistake in supply lines, watching your commanding officer get shot in the head. Any of these can break the back of a group and force a rout, it can remove the energy of the push, render it inert." He sighed and stared to the ground, trying to find the words.

A hand came to rest softly on his bicep and he looked up into Ka'Nae's eyes, she just nodded, her face solemn. She knew then why she was here. Fenris nodded and started to speak again, slowly, as though his very voice wanted to draw this out. "I am so proud of you, Ka'Nae. You are the greatest champion I've ever had. The fiercest warrior I know, the strongest. I can see by your face you think I'm lying but in our bouts recently... I've been cheating. I've been forced to use my magic to keep up with you, even though I've banned you from using yours. You are stronger than I am by far, you are potentially one of the strongest beings that have ever existed, your potential is limitless." He nodded a few times and clenched his hands into fists. "I have... Lost my momentum, Nike was the last blow I could take before I couldn't go on. She was more of a sister to me than anything, the only real family I have other than you. You need to pick up my energy, Ka'Nae, you need to continue this."

The look on the young girl's face was sad, she was technically several centuries old but she had stopped aging at twenty and looked more like a fourteen year old than anything. Had he ever seen Ka'Nae look truly melancholy? He didn't think so. The girl had been through so much trauma that sadness didn't exist for her, at least not until this moment but he couldn't stay, this had to be done.

"I refuse to just give up my Domain to you." Fenris looked out across the field of weapons. "I made a promise to myself when I became the God of War, I will only give up my Domain to the one that I deem worthy of besting me in combat, I will refuse all mercy they give me and demand my own death so that my hatchets may be added to the Fields of Rust." His voice gained strength as he spoke, an ancient oath being invoked but Ka'Nae had already moved away. The War God got to his feet and turned around to see his Champion fitting a bayonet to the end of her rifle... The same one that had wounded him so long ago.

"I always knew it would come to this." Ka'Nae murmured, bringing her rifle up into a quarterstaff stance and stepping out onto the fields. She was waiting for him to step forwards and fight her, to engage in a last bout of combat. The determination in her eyes reminded him of millennia passed and he realised he just didn't have the energy for this last coflict. He pulled his hatchets out of his belt and walked towards her slowly. Once he was close and Nae's entire body was tensed... He dropped to one knee and slammed his axes into the ground.

"I cannot fight you, I don't go into a fight I know I will lose. I give my life unto you, Ka'Nae, take what is rightfully yours." The girl paused and removed her bayonet before stepping closer to Fenris, she wasn't going to fire until he was done talking, he knew that. "I miss them so much, Nae and by all of the pantheon I will miss you more. You have always been the daughter I could never have. I don't do emotional things and you know that but for once I feel emotional... I feel it all inside me but it feels right. I do not doubt myself, it is against my nature. This is what I want and I know it. I can't keep going or I will lose to someone that doesn't deserve it. The only person that ever possibly could, is you. Let me reunite with my friends."

Ka'Nae stared at him for a long moment before raising her rifle and softly pressing the barrel to Fenris' forehead, like a kiss. "Of course, Lord Fenris."

"I'm not Lord Fenris, not anymore, I'm just Fen, an old dog that is way past his time." He took a deep breath. "I love you Ka'Nae, truly, and I am proud of your actions this day." Another breath. "You're going to want to put your full power into the shot, burn all of your powder, my body will instinctively try and reduce the damage and force myself to heal." He then reached up and nudged the barrel over an inch. "Weakened point in my skull, wound from a Primal. This is your best chance, give it everything..." He felt his body falling limp as he accepted his fate, it was nice. "Thank you, Ka'Nae Ironsworn, Child of the Blackpowder."

"Goodnight, Fen." Powder burned and a rifle cracked. A body slumped backwards a furrow ploughed through its head, blood staining an already stained field... This seemed different however. Ka'Nae watched as the smoke drifted from the barrel of her rifle. She made sure that Fenris didn't get back up but she could feel the power of the Domain resting inside of her, she knew that he was dead. "May you find peace in the forever after." She whispered, removing his furs and draping them over his body.

--

The meeting was in full swing, all of the Gods sitting around a table and whispering among themselves. Cliques had always existed but they were more prominent now. All of the Gods this time were whispering about the same thing however. "Where was the God of War?" His chair was empty and no one had heard from him in weeks.

When the noise had reached a crescendo, the doors opened and a girl walked in. Ancient wolf fur was draped over her body, scarred and marked with an eons old black powder stain. Her brass hair was wavy and pure, running down to her ankles. She pulled the chair of the War God back and climbed up to sit on the arm, one leg up and her arm draped across her.

Iron eyes scanned across the rest of the table which had fallen silent. They all seemed confused... But Arcanus wasn't. His voice was gentle as he spoke, a memorial, a dirge. "I am glad you could make it, War Goddess."


Once he was done writing, he put down his pen and looked over the words he had written. They were decent if he did say so himself. It was nice to be able to get his thoughts down on paper now, they didn’t clutter up his head quite so much. Maybe he would use this journal, he’d have to thank Asura for when he next spoke to her. He then sat back and thought about his mother. She was a warrior first and foremost, she had always fought to get where she was. He had seen how restless she was when she didn’t have anything to do, when she could simply go and buy food for herself and her family, when she didn’t need to fight or push off others simply so she could survive.

He’d also seen the way others looked at Asura, even with her missing arm. They either envied her or they wanted her and Deva was pretty sure she wasn’t comfortable with the attention. She never bowed, she never tried to hide but he could see the grimace on her face when people looked at her with whatever emotion they had, she hated it. She didn’t want to be seen as an idol, she didn’t want people to lust after her. Deva decided to look through some of the other things that Asura had written to see if he could get an insight on that.

‘I know now how Izuna felt. I was allowed out of Kaos, they had to let me out so that I could accomplish my Jonin Exams. They couldn’t have someone follow me, it would be seen as cheating. I took my blindfold off. The light hurt, it hurt so much, I couldn’t see at all for so, so long. Then it became normal, I could look at the world, I could understand it and live in it. It was so beautiful. Part of me wanted to run at that point, to flee and becoming missing just as Izuna had but I couldn’t do that. My possessions were back in Kaosgakure under guard, all except this journal. I’m sitting in a tree, enjoying the sights and the sounds as I write. The Exams don’t start for a while, being able to relax is an interesting feeling but my guard is constantly up. It feels like anyone, at any moment, will attack me or try and steal from me. It’s terrifying in its own way. I hate not knowing where my opponents are. At least back home I know exactly who they are. My inability to trust and my paranoia are probably boons here, what an amusing thought. The other participants seem interesting, some of them are somewhat attractive as well. It’s strange that I have a libido after everything that has happened to me. I know several of these fighters would look better with a bit of blood and dirt on them, roughed up a bit. What exciting thoughts I have when my eyes are uncovered.’

Thankfully, despite being a child, Deva knew how to deal with somewhat disturbing things like this. In fact he found it fascinating how unguarded Asura was in her writing. She wasn’t scared to give her thoughts or show the more human sides of her. A lot of people saw her as an emotionless killing machine but she was never broken like that. Her emotions were hidden, kept only for herself, no one else needed to see them. A smile crossed Deva’s face as he thought about that. Her emotions were her own form of rebellion, something that she would never allow to be smothered and taken away from her. She was starting to show them more though. Deva wasn’t entirely sure what had changed but Asura had been acting more like a mother recently. She was being caring, she was learning how to cook properly rather than trail rations but she was good at it, surprisingly so. She’d had to look after herself so making something nutritious with as few ingredients as possible was likely something she had picked up. With all the ingredients she could ask for and seasonings on top of that, she seemed to take glee in finding what combinations she could make. He was glad something was making her happy and just recently she’d told him that she was proud of him and Shiva, how well they’d been doing. It was definitely interesting and being honest with himself, he preferred Asura like this. He preferred her with a smile on her face and something cooking when he walked in from training. He knew she could still crush just about anyone she fought against but she wasn’t so harsh anymore and that made him happy as well. With a yawn he got up and closed the journal, putting it in his pocket and turning to head out of his room, he’d go and thank his mum and help her with dinner.

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PostSubject: Re: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   26th March 2018, 2:54 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   2nd April 2018, 12:21 pm

Everything was still, the world around him was quiet, of course it was quiet. He was working with Asura, there was no way there was going to be any noise. His eyes were closed for the moment as he found his centre. Asura would wait as long as she had to in order to let him find it. She was patient and he would have to learn to be the same. Opening his eyes finally, he activated his kyougan and the world started to move slower. It was exactly what Asura had been waiting for him to do. “Tenshi Fist is designed to aid you in deflecting physical techniques within a certain range. It’s one of the most powerful forms of it, at least with Taijutsu but I’m sure in later life you can use the advances in knowledge we have to make it even better.” With that Asura rushed him.

She was purposely lowering her speed so that he could react to it, he knew that she could move so fast he wouldn’t even be able to see what was happening. Her attacks were quick but she wasn’t using a dedicated style so it was easy enough for him to start focusing on the movements of Intercepting Fist and bringing his enhanced strength into it, deflecting the punches and kicks with ease. He stepped in and pushed Asura back with his forearms before launching into an offensive. She stepped into Intercepting Fist herself and although it was a weaker style, she was fast enough that it evened out and she held her ground against his strikes. He knew why she did it, it was so that he could see the differences between the two styles and it was pretty obvious. The Tenshi Fist flowed better than the style Asura was using and the blows landed with much more force, only Asura’s speed and reactive prowess allowed her to deflect them. Deva decided to surprise his mother and focused chakra into his eyes, starting to flicker them to draw kanji in the air so that he could launch an attack, of course he’d forgotten about an obvious mistake of his Seal Weaving… Asura had chakra vision. She tapped him under the chin, sending his head up and causing the technique to launch wide, flying into the roof and raining down liquid flames onto them.

With a spin, Asura slammed her foot into his stomach and launched him away before dashing after him. He dragged himself to a stop with his strength and started to go back into the fight, deflecting a series of her attacks before driving his fist into her stomach. She didn’t even flinch. She swung out a strike against him but he hardened his nerves, the attack not even making him twitch as he started to pound attacks into her. Asura smiled as she took some of them, deflecting others and pushing him around a bit. Both of them were tough and neither of them was actually trying to hurt the other so the fight was more for fun than anything else. “You’re getting better. As you know, twin kyougan are better than a single one but having one of each grant unique benefits.” Asura told him as they sparred, once more pushing him backwards.

As she ran towards him this time, Deva reached out behind him, recognising where he had been pushed to. He grabbed one of the training uchigatana, metal but it wasn’t sharpened, and quickly placed it into a loop on his hip so he could easier draw it. Now instead of blocking her attacks with his fists he started to deflect them and counter attack with the blade, Asura having a harder time keeping up now due to the difference in reach. It was an important aspect of combat, Jazz and his mother had drilled that into him; if you could keep your opponent away from you or out of their comfort zone, there wasn’t much they could do to you. Asura changed tactics and her kyougan started to glow brighter as she stepped in, even faster than before. A grunt left Deva as he tried to react to the faster attacks but he was only able to stop a few, the others dancing threw his guard and striking him easily. He was pushed back once more and breathed out a line of flames to push her back, drawing the seals with his eyes once more, Asura being far enough away that she wasn’t able to stop them.

His mother danced to the side and dashed towards him, so instead he closed in on her and started to fight with her as he stood between her legs. She chuckled quietly as they sparred, fists and sword flying between the two of them. “You’re getting better, Deva, I’m proud.” She murmured as they continued to fight, increasing in speed with neither of them landing blows on the other, she did genuinely sound proud but she wasn’t even the slightest bit out of breath whereas Deva felt like he was dying, the spar had been going on for several minutes now and it was definitely tiring him out. He hopped backwards and dropped to his knees, sucking in air. Asura crossed her arms over her chest, one of them he knew wasn’t real though, and nodded to him. “Very well done, get cleaned up and go meet up with Jazz again, you’ve got some Juinjutsu lessons still.” She told him, giving him a smile and a nod before tossing him a towel and heading out. He was glad that she was happier and treating him better. He thought about what had happened and it reminded him of a story he had read that Asura had apparently started to write in Izuna’s journal. He took the book out and flipped to the relevant page to see what it was she had been writing.

Plated feet struck old wood, a bridge spanning a gargantuan chasm.  Eyes of deep green stared out from within a heavy plate helm, looking at the castle that stood defiantly at the edge of the other side of the chasm. This was where he would find his promised. The warrior had pledged his entire life to the God of Battle. He had warred across the continent, the blood spilled could water a thousand fields. However he was getting older, he was approaching his fourtieth summer and with such he had gained much; his own keep, his own lands, his own title. He was the Baron of Lelindale. There was an issue with all of this though... He had never thought about how lonely it would be ruling on his own. So long had he defended his lands and came back to an empty keep and a life of solitude, that wasn't for him. Not as his bones grew more tired and his muscles ached in winter mornings.

So it was across the Ashen Wastes he had traveled, having heard tales that a dragon of legend had spirited away a Princess from her homestead. This Princess was said to possess ethereal beauty, hair like wildfire and the heart of a dragon herself; bold and fierce, bowing to no man that couldn't prove themselves to her. Many adventurers had answered the call but they had either been killed or turned away by the Princess, none were good enough for her. The Baron was going to show this Princess a true warrior. It was due to this that he had braved wastelands of death and fire, spattered the blood of ogre, troll and drake to slake the thirst the ash had. All of it had led him here, standing before a crumbling castle, the roost of the Deathsworn.

With a roll of his shoulders he strode forth across the bridge, the wood was sturdy but obviously ancient and flakes of ash and dust fell into the chasm as he walked. He kept his hands free for the moment to keep his balance and ensure that the bridge would not collapse and take him to the grave, that would be an embarrassing end for one with a legacy like his. It didn't take long to reach the great doors, old oak barred with blacksteel forged in the breath of the great wyrms. He reached out with gauntleted hands and pushed the doors open, hinges squealing in protest as they shed years of ash and rust, wailing at his intrusion but he would not  be deterred. Once they were open far enough to step in, he done so and strode forwards, hands reaching out and drawing his axe and shield, he was never one for swords.

The castle was dark and silent, not even wildlife stirred within its depths but it was clean. That surprised him. Who would have kept the dirt and dust away? He continued forth warily, head scanning back and forth so he could make up for his lack of peripheral vision. Nothing moved. Eventually he reached the other side of the antechamber and pushed another set of doors open, keeping his shield before him in case a beast was waiting in the shadows... Thankfully there was no beast and there was no shadow either. A courtyard opened up before him, beautiful mosaics scattered on the floor, colours now faded but no less grand. At the other side of the courtyard he spotted a flash of red hair and a grin split his features. He had found his soon-to-be wife, now he just had to find the Dragon and slay them to secure her hand.

Clicking softly with metal on metal, he strode forth confidently. A shadow split the mosaics and leathery wings beat the air as a figure dropped from the sky to land in a crouch about thirty feet from the warrior. It rose and revealed itself to be scaled, eyes like molten bronze staring towards him, slitted almost like a cat's. It would appear the Deathsworn was no full dragon but a half-dragon and female at that, judging by the slope of the draconic jaw and the slimness of her waist, although no other features could be seen under the plate, leathers and furs she was wearing. Long hair done in braids decorated with metals and gems tinkled as she shifted her weight into a combat stance. Her scales were sleek and black, blood-red streaks flickering across them as she moved under the light. She seemed like a powerful adversary, he had to respect that.

"Greetings, Deathsworn! I am Halain Briarthorn, Paragon of Battle, Slayer of Angels, Baron of Lelindale. In the name of a true battle, I request your name and titles so that I may gain the respect of your ancestors!" He declared loudly and the half-dragon seemed taken aback that he had treated her like a true warrior but she stopped and replied. Her voice held a strange rasping edge but it was high and definitely feminine.

"I am Nuoun, Daughter of Morarom, the Deathsworn, the End of Oakenheim." So she was the one that had ended Oakenheim? That was certainly interesting, he had heard tales that it was a dragon of black scales that had struck but not that it was the Deathsworn. With the pleasantries out the way, he raised his axe in a salute and gave her a moment to draw a pair of long blades, wicked hooks adorning the back of the points. He couldn't help but feel exhilirated.

With a grunt he rushed forward, shield out before him to take her first blows, the blades rattling the heavy wood and metal of his shield. He pushed forward and only now that he was close did he realise how tall she was. She was at least seven and a half feet tall, a full foot taller than him if not a bit more. His strength was greater than any normal man however and it took the Deathsworn off guard, shoving her off balance. However her tail and wings came into play, righting her with unnatural speed, her sword deflecting his axe blow off to the side. The force vibrated up his arm but he brought the weapon around and unleashed a series of several heavy blows against her. They were either turned away by her blade or her plate and he was forced to withdraw, shield up to take her retaliatory strikes.

She seemed to be getting into the fight as well, black smoke drifted from her mouth and a pair of sharp horns started to grow from her head, her draconic heritage becoming even more obvious... Although those horns were wrong, was she part demon as well? It wouldn't matter enough anyway. He surged forth and slammed his shield into her chest, knocking her to the ground and swinging his axe overhead to try and part her ribs. Both of her blades came up together and caught the haft of his weapon, stopping the strike easily. He growled and pushed his weight down atop her but she kicked his leg out from under him and he fell to the ground. Rolling to the side he swung out with his shield, knocking her sword aside and out of her hands. It was only as he got up that he realised he had let go of his axe.

He looked at his empty hand and furrowed his eyebrows before looking into Nuoun's eyes. She looked at him and then nodded and turned away. He simply walked over and picked up his axe, letting the Half-dragon pick up her sword. They wouldn't let this descend into a bar brawl. He slammed the axe against the side of his shield and dropped into a low stance, facing her. The woman turned and rushed him straight away, wings flapping and sending her into the air. She landed feet first on his shield, claws biting in and pushed, wings flaring to give her extra force. Halain was tossed backwards like a child's doll and hammered into the ground, plate grinding across the stone floor. He got up and punched with the hand holding his axe, slamming his gauntleted fist into the dragon's stomach as she leaped at him again. With a loud 'whoof' she was slammed into the ground, Halain's legendary strength showing through, the plate on her midriff denting brutally. He cracked his neck and let her get to her feet, holding her stomach for a moment before she rolled her shoulders and wings and came in with a triplicate of lightning fast strikes.

He took two on his shield and let the other glance off his pauldron so he could swing his axe up into the dent he had made, cracking the plate armour and sending her stumbling back. Unfortunately it was good steel and the leathers underneath took the brunt of the blow, leaving her still standing. She stepped back and took a deep breath, black smoke now pouring from the corners of her mouth. With wide eyes, Halain leaped forwards and jammed his shield up under her chin, causing her to gasp and the plume of noxious, corrosive fog to spew out over his head, leaving him alive. His armour would not have saved him from that.

Halain shoved her away and swung his axe down, not at her body though, as she thought, but at her sword. The weapon was launched out of her hand by the force and her hand snatched back, pain obviously lancing up it. He then stepped forwards and smashed the edge of the shield into the crack of her plate armour, shattering a good portion of it and sending her to the ground again, hacking up blood. He went to step forwards but she raised her hands, having put down her other blade. "I yield. Take your prize warrior. Never met anyone that could keep up with me and I'd much rather live to fight another day." He could understand that feeling and he nodded to her, letting her lie there and get her breath back.

Turning away he walked off and sheathed his shield and axe, drawing out the small box that had a beautiful ruby ring within it. Stepping around the doorway he found the woman that he was supposed to be marrying and he stopped. She was lying on the ground looking up at him with eyes like a doe. Her hair was bright red and she was beautiful it was true but she was a waif of a girl. Her dress was clean and flowing but she seemed terrified. He went to raise the box towards her and she shied away, chewing on her lip. "This... This is why they walked away isn't it? You're not what they thought?" He asked her quietly and she nodded weakly. He let out a long sigh and reached up, removing his helm and clipping it to his belt. Medium length blonde-brown hair fell around him, slick with sweat from his battle. He frowned and then looked down at the box he held.

"I came here for a warrior bride, a woman that would be able to challenge me. Instead I met.... I met..." He paused and opened the box. The ruby was large and beautiful, a striking red that almost glowed and the band was of pure white-gold. It was nearly a masterpiece and had cost him a king's ransom. He had came here for a warrior Princess and he had found one. A chuckle left him and the girl seemed confused for a moment before he turned and walked out of the room.

His plated feet clacked against the stone as he moved over to the half-dragon, her armour removed as she made sure she wasn't overly wounded. Her scales were bruised but it wasn't lethal, good. He had thought that he had completely failed to find what he had came here for but he had. Had the stories got things mixed up or did people simply apply what they wanted to it? Nuoun looked up at him but didn't go for her weapon, she knew that he had every right to kill her and she couldn't exactly beat him, not that she wouldn't try... But she knew he wasn't going to attack.

With a soft groan borne of his age, Halain crouched and opened the box, offering it towards the Dragoness. "Nuoun, Daughter of Morarom, the Deathsworn, the End of Oakenheim..." He started, scanning up to stare into her magnificent metallic eyes. "...Would you be my Bride and rule Lelindale with me? I need a warrior that can match my prowess and one that worships Battle as I do. Live to fight another day are not the words of a berserker, they are the words of someone that understands the fight. I want to be at your side." He told her firmly from his stance on one knee. She got up and looked at him for a few moments before reaching out and taking the ring. She slid it on her finger and smiled.

"I agree... Husband." She told him as he stood and they kissed passionately for a moment before turning and leaving the castle after gathering Nuoun's equipment. The Princess was left looking stunned as the two walked away....


With the story done, he chuckled and closed the book over. She really was a romantic, wasn’t she? He got up and put the journal away once more before heading out to see what it was that Jazz was going to teach him today. Hopefully it was something a bit more interesting but really anything to give him a one-up over his family would be great. As he walked he decided he'd read a bit more and find out if there was something else. Sure enough, after flipping through a few pages of technique notes, he came across a story that didn't quite seem finished. It also wasn't in Asura's hand... So who had written it? The question burned in his mind as he started to read.

It always paid to do research. Freddy knew that better than anyone, after all he was a Psychology Major. His trainers tapped softly against the floor of the corridor as he walked through, the area was brightly lit and in the Owl Building, one of the main male dorms. He'd been here long enough that he knew pretty much everyone and anyone he didn't know... Well he learned about them pretty quickly. With a yawn, he reached up and adjusted his coat, it was a good trenchcoat, he'd had it for a few years now but it served a specific purpose this day.

As he walked down the corridor, he heard voices, there was a group. A smirk slid across his face, exactly as planned. Since the Murders started, these four had always walked with one another, they thought they were safe. The group consisted of Robert, Jennifer and Jo... Or Joe... Freddy wasn't sure which they were today. They had always been careful but they hadn't disclosed their victims, not to one another at least. The three of them rounded the corner and Freddy gave them a smile, lifting his left arm and giving them a wave. They seemed startled for a moment but calmed down once they realised it was Fred, after all, him and Rob were good buddies. They drew closer to one another and finally... The trap was sprung.

Freddy's face went from an earnest, warm smile to a malicious smirk and he dropped his right arm straight down. A knife slid out of his sleeve and into his waiting hand. With a step he swung it upwards, slashing it straight across Robert's chest, seeing his stunned face for only a moment before he spun around the guy and his left hand snatched outwards, grabbing the knife on the back of Robert's belt... The knife bearing the name 'Jennifer'. Drawing it out he swung it in a backgrip, dragging it across Jennifer's stomach before dropping both knives and standing up straight. Joe was stunned and he turned and ran away sreaming but he wasn't Freddy's next target. With a smile to the rather cross Jennifer, he took her knife and slid it into his own belt, pulling his coat over to hide it. "Pleasure fighting you both." He said with a nod before walking off, leaving them to argue about the deception.

He didn't need to read the next knife, he already knew, 'Ruby J' it read. He also knew exactly where to find her; the library.

He pushed the doors open and stepped in, footfalls padded due to the lush carpet. Getting Ruby was going to be difficult, she was paranoid and careful, in fact she had won Murder last year, getting him with a clever distraction so she could stab him in the kidneys. Well he was going to take a leaf out of her book, literally. Moving slower now, near silently, he slid around the aisle and pulled a small graphic novel out of the shelf next to him. He stepped around the next and pressed himself against the far end, waiting. He knew Ruby was in the reading area, in the table at the corner, studying, back to the walls. It'd be difficult to get to her but that was the point. Freddy grinned and stepped around the shelf, throwing the graphic novel forwards. He started walking at the same moment and then the laminated cover met tabletop with a loud 'bang' breaking the quiet of the library. Ruby squealed and snapped her head up from her book to stare at what had caused the noise, too distracted to notice Freddy until the last moment, his knife gliding gracefully along her upper arm. She turned towards him and then huffed loudly but he'd already reached into the back cover of her textbook and took the knife from there, spinning on his heel to find the next target.

They were finally coming to the end of this damned charade, only a few left to be killed now. That worried Freddy because he still didn't know who had his knife. He'd hunted down as much information as he could, interrogated all of his friends by forcing them to watch Batman and Robin on repeat until they broke and told him all they knew but still he couldn't find out who had his knife.

He stepped out of the library, twirling his new knife between his fingers. Hamish was the name on it. Big guy, played Football for the school. Freddy tapped his chin for a few moments and then spun and started to power walk. It only took him a few moments to reach the cafeteria, a safe zone. Dorm rooms, the cafeteria, the toilets and being naked were the only ways to be safe. He knew some people that tried to capitalise on the last by walking around in towels... But sneak attacks had taken them out. He scanned the large room and caught sight of the person he wanted to talk to.

"Yo Jason, where's Hamish?" He asked, walking over to the other football player, he'd been taken out on the first hour, that's when most people had died... Freddy could remember the screams of anger.

"Uh... He just left? I think he's heading back to his dorms, why?" But Fred had already turned and left, leaving Jason confused for a moment before he sighed and shook his head, he knew Hamish wasn't going to last very long, he wasn’t the smartest of guys but he was pretty fast and pretty big… Hopefully Fred wouldn’t make too much a fool of him.

Unfortunately, Jason’s hope was in vain, as Fred absolutely was going to make a fool of the big football player. He rounded the corner into the dorms and started to power-walk directly to where he knew Hamish would be, drawing the knife he turned the corner and whistled loudly. The sound startled Hamish and caused him to jump back from his door, scrabbling around for a few moments before staring at Fred, his eyes widening… Then the knife hit him in the chest and bounced off. He looked down at it and dropped to his knees, letting out a loud ‘Nooo!’ as he realised he was defeated. Fred chuckled and walked over to the burly guy, giving him a pat on the shoulder as he took the knife off of him and turned to continue on his way. There were only a few left to kill now…


Fake knives? What a strange story... Then again, it would be a pretty amusing thing to do with others. He wondered about Shiva and Xiu-Mei, maybe they could set up something like that with some of the Mishura and Denkou that were around to get a bit of a game going. Of course Deva would win due to his greater tactical mastery but he'd need to do it before Shiva was able to learn her greater techniques, if she got something like Flying Thunder Beast she'd be near impossible to beat as she'd just teleport away and that was straight cheating as far as Deva was concerned.

The thought flickered through his mind as he continued to scan over the things in the book, highlighting a few key techniques that he realised would become useful later. It would appear that Izuna had marked down a lot of things that he was able to emulate from the Cypher using his dojutsu rather than the reaction tiers that the Cypher possessed. Of course, with Deva having both, he was able to get the true version and also the modified version later to better enhance his prowess. The ideas and thoughts that swirled around were incredibly interesting and he couldn't wait to put them to work properly. He would make his mother and his sensei proud of him, he promised that much to at least himself.

Finally he put the book away and cracked his neck as he looked over the arena before him. He wasn't sure why Jazz always dragged him here, probably due to the training dummies lying around and the fact that no one really cared if it was roughed up a bit. That would explain a lot. He paused for a moment and checked the time, he was a little bit early. With that he sat down at the wall and started to think, memorising the patterns of Curses that criss-crossed his mind, learning how to implant them into his blaze release so that someone who thought they were tough could be brought down with ease. Everything was so complicated but he was intelligent, he could manage. He reached down and started to draw on the ground a bit, marking out the main curse that he knew, the burn curse. He could probably utilise his element for other curses, melting weapons for example or setting people alight if they done something wrong while the curse was placed on them. The idea of that caused him to chuckle quietly, despite it being... Rather creepy considering he was still a child. He wanted to learn more, so much more and he'd do anything to get his hands on knowledge... Well, apart from kill his family, that was just too far.

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PostSubject: Re: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   2nd April 2018, 1:51 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   2nd April 2018, 6:04 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   6th April 2018, 8:31 pm

"You know, Yaksha, your mum really doesn't look like a Salamander." Deva said to seemingly nothing. He was lying back on the ground, staring upwards into the sky, letting clouds roll past as he lay there. He was done with training for today, surprisingly quickly as it happened and it was good to get a bit of a break at times. The grass was dry under him but there was a soft breeze blowing that made resting out here pleasant rather than too hot or too cold. Alongside him sat one of his best friends, at least now that they'd eventually had some time to talk.

"Your mum doesn't look like a robot though! Or does she? Are there mechanical parts?" The Salamander asked, popping his head up from where he was lying curled up next to Deva. The young boy laughed and nodded a bit. "She actually does have mechanical segments, if you put your ear close to her chest or back you can hear her reactor core thrumming. Strangely it still pumps blood, something that it doesn't do in a Cypher. What about your mum, why does she look like she does?"

"I dunno! I've never asked her. Maybe that's just what happens when Black Salamanders get older? Their face splits and they have all the tongues and they start talking really loud! If I end up like that, Deva, will you want to get rid of me?" Yaksha didn't seem upset by the prospect, just interested, his little head cocking to the side.

"Not in the slightest, Yaksha. You're my friend, I'd never get rid of my friends. Even if they lost their entire face, I'd still like them, although maybe I'll have you wear a mask so you don't try and lick me with all those tongues." He said, sticking his own out at the young Salamander. He was looking older nowadays, getting bigger. Maybe it would only be a few years before he rivaled his mother. Deva would enjoy seeing that.

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PostSubject: Re: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   6th April 2018, 8:41 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   15th April 2018, 4:43 pm

Deva had spent a decent amount of time leafing through this book to try and find some other stories to read. There was a lot of information about techniques, about clans, about how to fight certain groups or notice certain traps but he knew that Mishura had a bit of creativity inside them. Maybe not as much as some other clans like the Kangen but they were... Flamboyant in their own way. He thought about some of the naming schemes for the techniques from the clan and laughed quietly to himself. They certainly didn't do anything in half measures, that was for certain. After scanning through a few more pages he found some words scribbled out in a hand he didn't recognise and started to read...

Silence. How did one explain something so profound and yet so barely existent? My tribe had always adhered to that principle, to that simple concept. They believed that silence was the truth, that only through that would they be able to regain what they had lost. It was not something they had came up with however, we Kenku are incapable of that, a traveler had suggested such an idea, a holy woman of some repute she had said, we couldn't really dispute that and so we listened. We learned from her and we became the Silent. We never made a sound with our voices, our voices just mimicked other things anyway. We lived off of the sound of the wilds and the sounds made through tools, the clank of a hammer hitting steel, the twang of the string of a bow, the shuffing sound caused by carved wood.

It was a simple life but my sparkless soul yearned for more. I had never liked the silence and found myself constantly writing, constantly going out into the woods just to listen and enjoy the noises. The scratching of a quill on paper was a delight, the howling of wolves in the night was bliss. There was only one other like me, a young female from the same generation as I, we gave each other names with our sounds. She took on the howling that I heard from far off and I took the sound of the clacking of her beak whenever she spoke. We would go into the woods to explore together, to talk without the elders hearing us, we were adventurous but we were not stupid. It was a wonderful time and when I was with her I daresay that I felt something warm within my chest. I did not know what this feeling was and no traveler that came by could understand what I was talking about. What did warmth sound like? What could I write about it?

I accepted it for what it was and attributed the sound of a fire to it, it felt like being close to a fire to it, the crackling within my chest, the popping of wood near my heart. As many stories I have read since then have told me however, good things cannot last and a tribe of peaceful Kenku were a prime target. So many sounds were burned into my mind back then, the war chants of goblins and orcs, the sound of snapping branches and trees as they rushed towards the tribe's houses, the crackling and snarling of flames... I remember more clearly the clash of steel as the smattering of warriors took up their arms. Axes chopped into flesh, bowstrings thrummed and feathered forms hit the ground with dull thuds. I took up my bow and fought back as best I could, I copied their chants as I slew them but in the end I was pushed away. I had one last thing to do, I had to find my Warmth.

Howl was not in a good shape when I found her but I didn't care. I picked her up and fled the tribe. When I was far enough away that I couldn't hear the death I set her down and sat beside her, attempting to bind her wounds. I couldn't though, I could hear the dripping of her blood in the silence and the clacking of her beak as she tried to speak to me. Her voice was weak, her howl was soft, barely a whimper. She was dying and I couldn't stop it. I would lose my warmth, what might have been my spark. I didn't know how to cry... I hadn't ever heard it but sadness filled me. As Howl's life left her she handed me two things. The first was a note, in perfect common she had written out the strange feeling in her own heart, the exact one that I too felt and the second was a white ribbon, something she had apparently been making into a gift for me. She howled for me one last time before the light left her eyes.

I wasn't sure how long I was sitting there when they found me, not the war tribe that had attacked my kin, but the Elves. They were dark of flesh and muttered among themselves as they found me, lying there, blood staining my hands, a bow by my side and a ribbon wrapped around my bicep. I wrote to them that I was alone now and if they needed another warrior that I was free to aid them. I didn't want vengeance, why would I? Where would that get me, killing them in return for my Warmth would not bring her back. Instead however I wanted to ensure that no one would lose the spark in their heart like I did, I would not allow it.

These Elves took me in, they trained me, they taught me to weaponise myself and my surroundings. The shadows became my friends and as I fought with them, I felt that warmth coming back, slowly at first but soon it was ablaze, soon the crackling was within me. Still the attack had scarred me, I was not cured of that and I took the dripping of Howl's blood as my new name, whispering it to myself in the darkness as I slept alongside these warriors, Rangers, Night Stalkers they called themselves. They were my family now but soon I would leave on my own and make my own band but I will never forget them and what they have done for me.

My name is Drip and I fight for my Spark once more.


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PostSubject: Re: Burning Strength [Deva's Training]   15th April 2018, 4:53 pm

Drip is a dumb name

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Burning Strength [Deva's Training]
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