Reaching to the Sun

Zuko paced about the desolate arena in the basement of the Hidden Manse, frustrated and bored. Kadon was busy learning a spell to handle the basement’s traps and fill in that Unconquered Sun-forsaken place. Mnemia seemed to be wandering about with Zis perhaps looking for another glimpse of her daughters, and Ioni was spending her time attempting to understand everything that the circle had gone through in the past few years. The Night Caste’s taste for embellishment and joviality was not considered helpful in the transmission of vital information so Scarlet was left to fulfill that duty instead. Thus, Zuko found himself alone in the arena where the scattered pile of debris in the corner evidenced how useful the antiquated sparring partner automatons could be.

“It’s not like I have much else to do, I might as well keep practicing.” Zuko considered, “I don’t want to miss out on the next battle because I’m passed out.”

Flipping backwards onto his hands Zuko bent his body over itself into a tight ball before rolling back to the entrance of the arena. Releasing his constrained muscles with a sudden explosive burst, the young Exalt launched himself on top of the doorway to the chamber. Happily hopping up and down on one foot while trying to decide what he should focus on next.

“Well Zuko, we have played the game of stealth and silence a great deal. Why don’t we practice how to put the hurt on someone who can see you do it, eh?” Zuko crouched low atop the doorway, briefly resembling a gargoyle as he began to shape the essence along his chakras. Suddenly, he leapt from his perch and allowed the light of the Unconquered Sun to fuse into his muscles as hit the ground with a loud THUD. Adopting the form of the Solar Hero Style, Zuko began his kata of rapid, powerful strikes and kicks at the air.

Moving ever-forward with every blow, Zuko could feel the strength of his divine patron flowing through him and sensed Creation itself straining against his attacks. As he practiced Zuko realized that this was the true purpose of this Martial Art, to exemplify the Solar Exalt within himself and let its raw potential surge into reality and bend it to his will. Pouring more and more of his essence into his blows against imaginary opponents Zuko felt his body straining against the force he was attempting to use.

“This pain!! Should I call it for today?” Zuko thought before something else interrupted his concern.

Limits mean nothing to you, defeat them. Conquer them!

The voice was startlingly powerful, yet somehow soothing to Zuko, a voice he half-remembered as though from a dream dreamt long ago. Nevertheless it gave him courage and steeled his resolve to forge ahead still longer despite the sensation of his tearing muscles.

You are my scion, a vessel for my divine glory! Do not submit to even the limits I place upon you!

The pain seemed unbearable; his very form nearly split along the ley lines surrounding him. The Night Caste let the sensations wash over him and ignored the agony as he willed the essence thru his chakras to his hands. Continuing his forms and sweeping his body low near the ground in a graceful arc, Zuko made several mock strikes at the air in front of him. Bursts of force exploded from his fists with each motion as he pushed more power forwards into his strikes. The air about him seemed to crackle with energy as the scent of ozone began to fill the arena.

You’ve accomplished much in the short time I’ve granted you my gifts. Overcome all that stands before you and reshape Creation in my name. Bow down to none!

Zuko concentrated and forced essence along his chakras as he continued to strike ever faster and ever stronger. Each kick off of the ground exploded like an earthquake, each controlled jab into the air a thunderclap of power, as the Haltan fought against himself with tears streaming down his face. Somehow, he was distinctly aware of each chakra in his body straining and nearly bursting at the energy they sought to contain as he forced them to grant him more strength. The pain became unbearable as Zuko could feel each essence channel in his form burst while he screamed out in fury, the pain and wails ever-growing until… nothing.

For a brief moment all was silent in the room and the world seemed to slow about him as he continued in his practice. With both feet planted firmly on the ground, gripping the sand and soil beneath him; Zuko struck forward with his right arm, supplying essence along his body towards his fist. An explosion shook through him as his chakras burst wide like broken dams offering no barrier to the surge of power that rushed forward with his strike. Barely registering his glowing anima of golden light surrounding and masking his features, the Grove’s Swift Shadow poured more of his essence into the blow as it struck the stone wall of arena. The force of the blow on his arm never registered as Zuko continued his mock assault, relishing in the feeling of channeling so much power through his strikes.

Hmph, it seems paying some attention to this place was worthwhile. You have done well to exceed yourself, but be wary. Overcoming an obstacle is noble, overcoming your own senses is the way to ruin.

Stunned by the voice in his head once more, Zuko paused and began to catch his breath. Looking down at himself, Zuko saw his hands and feet covered in his own golden aura. They seemed to be forged out of essence itself. Regaining his senses he realized that he had never stopped his attacks and his motion and by now had placed several large craters into the stone walls of the arena. Partially amused by his destruction, he laughed as he surveyed the effects of the power he now wielded.

“Kadon is going to hate cleaning this up. Then again, he did get me sent to Oblivion so he better not complain.”

Reaching to the Sun

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