[K] Induction of Marcus Euchre

Kaze

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Jan 9, 2006
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The Void
#1
Zalin Venkar(Kaze)
Marcus Euchre(Celly)

WC: 5,148 words

Zalin sipped a warm cup of tea as he sat at his desk inside of his office at the Eighth Division's headquarters, in front of him sat an open file which he had been looking over for the past several minutes. It was not a file for his normal daily division tasks though, this specific file was the personnel record of the Third Division's Fukutaichou, Marcus Euchre, a man whom he had been advised to induct into the Kidoushuu by Taiken-Taichou. Finishing his tea, Zalin returned to looking over the file again then looked to his data terminal which had a list of kidou training requests. In the middle of the list, Marcus's name was shown to have requested kidou training in several Hadou.

"I will use the kidou training for my evaluation of Euchre-Fukutaichou and most likely his induction to the Kidoushuu also." He spoke to himself as he clicked onto the fukutaichou's training request and indicated, by sending the request number to the database he was accessing, that he would take care of the request.

Extending his pointer finger once the confirmation from the database came almost a minute later from his message, a hell butterfly fluttered over and landed waiting to be given the message he was planning on sending the Fukutaichou of the Third Division. Zalin briefly thought of what to say in his message. He cleared his throat then dictated to the butterfly the message.

To Marcus Euchre, Fukutaichou of the Third Division

Marcus Euchre-Fukutaichou,

I am Zalin Venkar of the Eighth Division, and I shall be taking care of teaching you the Hadou you have requested to learn. Due to the amount of my work in my Division, I must ask you to meet me in one and a half hours at the kidou training field which is equidistant from our divisions. If you are not sure which one that is, it is the kidou training field north east of the gate to the Central Forty-Six and the Soukyoukou Hill and east of one of the Kidoushuu's towers. I look forward to helping you advance in your kidou knowledge.

Sincerely,
Zalin Venkar, Third Seat of the Eighth Division
When he was finished dictating to the black butterfly, Zalin lifted his hand slightly to signify it could fly off to deliver the message to the Fukutaichou. As the butterfly flew out the office window and in the direction of the Third Division's headquarters, Zalin reached for a pitcher of water and poured into his cup some of the icy water to drink. Taking a small sip of the water, Zalin looked out his window to see the butterfly was already out of his sight.

"Now, what should I do as a test of his skill for his induction once I teach him the Hadou he wishes to learn...?" Zalin asked himself then took a bigger sip of water from his cup.


The morning, crisp and clear as the waters of a divining pool, gave rise to the end of darkness. As it had always been, so it would always be. Mark wasn't normally one to take the business so seriously as to be a fool, but in this case it seemed prudent. The injuries from the last fight ached, despite the Chiyudo and despite the bed rest he had undertaken. It's not like being half-killed by a breed of unique Hollow is going to feel good, but...

Sitting atop his bed, Farah having gone to the hospice earlier, Marcus paged idly through the book of spells. There were several he liked, really: Hadou, Bakudou, Bougyoudo... and of course Chiyudo. It was at the sense of a presence, though, that the vice-captain elbowed open his window. The Hell Moth was vibrant in its detail, the message delivering loud and clear. That he could learn the spells he'd sought was something special, indeed, but Mark had a problem...

He sort of had to get dressed while every scar infused to his flesh burned and seethed. Pulling on the haori of a Fukutaichou, the wind-blessed fellow tightened his sash as best he could. Zephyrus was quick to note that response was sluggish, to which Marcus had replied curtly: "Don't be a bother." Sword gripped and tucked inside his outfit's obi, Euchre set off for the training grounds.

It hurt. There was no bones about that, it really. Frickin'. HURT. So many cuts and abrasions, so much to mend together, and he had not had the presence to do so fully. Stepping from his house, Mark breathed a deep sigh. 'This isn't going to be easy... getting to that place without much movement. Confound it...'

Still he pressed on, hiding his stagger behind the wall of fortitude that had made him a Third Division staple. Onwards and on, fingers clenching in writhing hurt as the burn intensified like a hot kettle's contents poured over the shinigami. Marcus tried not to show it, tried to be cool: he stood tall and held his head high, and was a proud, if injured, veteran.

Except, perhaps, for the occasional manic screams and consistent glare of pain. That was negligible, of course; this was merely... yeah, so he looked like an idiot.

Foot scuffing against the plane, Mark folded his arms simply over his chest. Where Sir Zalin was remained to be seen, really, but the sooner... the better.


Zalin watched as the Fukutaichou came walking towards the training field, he still had not come up with a test for the senior Gotei officer but he was sure he would by the end of his training of him. Stretching for a few moments, the young third seat looked around his surrounds and saw several well shadowed areas. Looking towards the fukutaichou still walking in the field's direction, he then scanned and saw another shaded area near where the officer would pass by. Clearing his throat, Zalin made a slight smile then spoke.

"Bougyoudou #67, Step of Shadow." Zalin softly uttered as he bypassed the incantation then stepped into the shadows and came out from the shadows near the Fukutaichou. "Greeting, Euchre-Fukutaichou, I am Zalin Venkar. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."

Zalin bowed to the fukutaichou for a few moments then returned to his full height. Looking over Euchre-Fukutaichou, Zalin found him to appear only slightly older than himself. Though, he thought to himself, it is hard to tell people's actual ages in Soul Society. Taking in a breath, he went straight to business.

"I apologize for being in a hurry, but so as not to waste your's or my time I think we should begin the training. With which Hadou would you like to begin, I know you wanted to learn several?" Zalin's tone was normal sounding; he did his best to hold his cold tone back out of respect for the superior officer.


Sir Zalin's remarkable entry, fading from darkness of refraction to wholeness of soul, startled Mark quite unequivocally. All that he really knew about this man was predicated upon his choice and placement of division. The Eighth were just a bunch of techie freaks, right? Scientists, computer whizzes, people with IQ that could make Einstein rethink every blasted theory he ever made!?

...that this one held special skill with Kidou was a reassuring mark to Marcus.

The Kidoushuu's wily proctor gave a thing to think about, certainly. What did Mark need to learn? The strongest blast spell that he knew was Soukatsui, hardly befitting a man whose stature rose to the tri-streaked badge worn across one's left shoulder. Being that his affiliated element was 'wind,' it made sense to take a few of those straight off. Of course, what was a wind gust without lightning behind it? The caress of a snowflake, or the heat of a flaming flicker? There would be no air save for the trees, the wood, and the blessed things that they provided. Any number of options propped up, which really was quite unnerving considering the four hundred spells in the Gotei's registrar.

"I'd like..." Mark's words trailed away in silence for a few moments, the remembrances of time spent searching the annals of Soul Society's Kidou records flashing back. Did he want to learn Kurohitsugi? It was probably too much, most certainly... What was Alya's favorite type of spell, bolt casts? He could use those... So the decision was made, perhaps? Was it? Was it really...?

...Confounded Zanpakutou. Mark straightened his pose, hand slipping to his hip. Said he, "I'd like three Hadou explicitly. First, I've heard good things on Reaving Wind, and considering my bearings it seems unlikely I would do without it. Second is a mid-class lightning spell, just for the sake of expediency... and... what about the spell they call 'Black Wind'? That seems in my calling, too. Can you manage that, Sir Zalin?"


Zalin did not show it, but as the name 'Black Wind' came from Marcus's mouth, he was very shocked by the Fukutaichou's request. It was not because he was not familiar with the kidou; Zalin just had never used the spell before or gone into detail on the mechanics of the spell. Also he was not sure of how the size of the destruction would affect their surroundings, many high level kidou were not meant to be practiced on one of the practice fields but more suited for private practice buildings which had all the precautions and equipment to contain the damage.

I should ask him to pick another kidou in place of Black Wind. Reaving Wind and Raikouhou as the lightning spell shouldn't be any problematic, except I might have to look up Reaving Wind for a second to remember its incantation. Zalin decided in his mind.

"I can teach you Reaving Wind after I quickly refresh my memory of its incantation and I can teach you the spell Raikouhou, but I must ask you rethink wanting to be taught Black Wind. I am not familiar enough with it to properly teach it to you, also I am not sure if it's a good idea to teach it here where the slightest mistake could injury anyone that might pass by." Zalin explained, hoping that the Fukutaichou of the Third would understand.


Er... Come to think, a spell named 'Black Wind' does seem to infer a deathly power. Practicing it out in the open, and not in a Kidou-sealed room, was unwise... as Mark now sort of realized slowly. I say 'slowly' because in his words of trailing rose blossoms, he had sort of succumbed to the pain, steadily declining in stature. He caught himself sharply, scrambling up to a mostly upright position.

Wind spells were scarce. Knowing the useful Sweep, Marcus could unbalance an enemy... and do approximately nothing afterwards. So, he thought, 'If the Black Wind thing is out... and it probably is, then I can at least ask for something else. Something... like a sealing spell! I don't have any of those in mind...'

"Aye," spoke the Third, ticking off the acknowledgement with a nod of his head. "Raikouhou is one I've been looking to, as well as Reaving Wind. Those two would be enough, but... Do you know of any good Bakudou I might be able to use, as well?" He paused, scratching his cheek in embarrassment. "Spur of the moment, y'know."


A Bakudou...hmm, I can save time by teaching him Mascara Roto sooner than later, plus I can practice using it also. Zalin internally smiled. And if he gets stuck, I can help him with the vial Jiiro-Taichou gave me before.

"I have a very useful Bakudou in mind, I am sure you will come to find useful one day." Zalin pushed his glasses up as he spoke. "No doubt you have heard of the spell known as 'Mascara Roto' which can weaken a hollow's mask significantly. But first I think I shall teach you the two Hadou starting with Reaving Wind."

Zalin took from his uniform's inner pocket his data terminal which he quickly turned on and opened the reference program he had installed with every kidou spell inside of its database. Looking up and skimming through Reaving Wind's description, mechanics, and its incantation, Zalin took only a few minutes to be prepped to teach the Fukutaichou the spell. Replacing the data terminal in the inner pocket, he turned to Euchre-Fukutaichou.

"Alright, to begin..." Zalin extended his arm and pointed towards the nearest target. "...I want you to picture in your mind that that target is you enemy then picture yourself manipulating the wind to surround it while keeping in your mind this, 'Gods of wind, grace your humble servant with your presence.'"


Strange object... A handheld databank? Such a funny thing... Being used to sorting stacks and blocs of paper and gristle had accustomed Marcus to a life to unnecessary toil. So, there came the resolve to get one of those little doo-dads before the day was done. A few minutes in, the word came down to focus on 'manipulating the wind.' Mark really couldn't hide the smugness in his grin.

Still, as a formality... The target. Eyes locking onto it, noting its features and contours; the sense of its being. The air around it fluctuated gently as a true zephyr, the picture of calmness and serenity. Shutting his eyes tight, Mark felt a hand to Zephyrus for guidance. His opposite, he raised to catch the wind, silently allowing the breeze to brush past it.

Quiet wind, soft wind. What wind would ease a demigod's heart. That air of tranquility found amongst the ignorant, the stupid, and the blessed... Added to that, the Kidou aspect! Manipulating the Kidou, molding it, and shaping it; though he didn't even know the proper calculation. Mark softly gestured his hand, and then-- grasped at the air, catching the breeze in silent... failure. Zephyrus wasn't helping much, or so it seemed.

One failure... yet he had had his Ban Kai! He would equally take the spell. Lifting both hands to his chest, Marcus pressed down against the very essence of his being. Quiet... turbulent? Silent... crushing? Which extremity, which conformity would it be?

Silence.

'Gods of wind, grace your humble servant with your presence!'

Silence...

'Gods of wind, grace your humble servant with your presence!'

...There stood silence, and then...
There.

Taking a breath of deep contemplation, Mark Euchre lowered his hands. Not quite an aura, not quite an absence, encircled him. No small part, undoubtedly, was in debt to a somewhat cranky Zephyrus.

"Ready," he murmured, clenching to a fist. "What's the next step?"


"Good. Now I want you to picture the wind, as it traps your opponent in its center, changing to a reddish color. Think of this as a sign of anger by the winds towards the opponent. Then have it strike out violently at the opponent, this is the rage of the wind being unleashed. 'Destroy the infidel which speaks lowly of you and restore you titles as the true kings.'" Zalin paused for a second as he waiting for the Fukutaichou to do as he had said. "This is Hadou #57, Reaving Wind, as it is supposed to happen."

Looking to the target ahead of them, Zalin was tempted to cast the spell right then and there, but he chose not to until he had seen if the Fukutaichou was having a problem. Adjusting his glasses and took in a deep breath then turned to Marcus. When he knew Marcus was ready for the next step, he pointed to the target.

"When you feel ready, try to cast the spell at the target. If you don't get it the first time, try again. If you want I can demonstrate after you have tried." Zalin explained then watched the target.


It all seemed reasonable enough. The chant was consistent with a high-level spell, and if it had the effect promised in its moniker, well... The Tengan might lose some of its edge.

"Yes," Mark nodded, affirming the request. "I'll cast it... Heaven knows I've enough experience with wind."

He had already graced the wind with his own presence and pride, indeed, so Mark felt fully prepared for what would lie ahead. Head jolting and body bolting, he scuffed the soft ground beneath him in traction. Left arm parallel to the right, the vice-captain again shut his eyes, though for only a fleeting moment. This time there would be no mistake; he would take heaven by the scruff of the neck and make it his own.

The wind was a powerful entity in its own right. Four gods, one lord, Aeolus, governed it. Every stretch of sky that existed breathed in the wind, birthing it and making it its own, unique force in nature. One could find a quiet beauty in the rivers and lakes; the sensation of power in an earthquake; and even the simple joy of a flame; but through it all, the intangible wind made its mark most noticeably as an enigma.

In Mark's hands, he grasped that very enigmatic puzzle piece.

"Gods of wind," he chanted, minding the name of 'Zephyrus' in his heart's eye. It did mean, literally, one of the four cardinal wind gods. Grasping at the Kidou in his mind, he continued: "grace your humble servant with your presence!" Foot sliding back into the moist dirt, Mark intensified his aura. "Destroy the infidel which speaks lowly of you, and restore your titles as the true kings..."

Taking no more than the time that spoken word came into play, the spell came to fruition, a sort of preparatory sensation rising at Mark's casting.

"Hadou #57, Reaving Wind!"

The air around Marcus, which had begun its turbulent tussles almost as soon as the incantation began, seethed a vile red, the color of blood. It was like a circle, an ill-formed half-sphere around him. Streaks of scarlet red fled the air whereabouts, lashing out in violent spurts and slicing movements that, quite simply, tore the target all to hell and back. Still, the spell was imperfect: it would be noted, undoubtedly, that the Kidou hadn't materialized fully around the left side, leaving much more of the object intact.

Having breathed a sigh of sharp relief, Mark shifted a glance back at Zalin. His breaths came quicker, if slightly, noted by the shinigami without a doubt.

"So?" he rasped, shuffling a foot to face the Kidoushuu's emissary. "How'd I do?"


Observing the Fukutaichou's kidou spell, he noticed the amount and place the target remained. Even though he had to admit it was good for a first try, Zalin's expression remained the same. Pushing his glasses up, he raised his arm and pointed towards a second target right next to the one Marcus had cast his spell at.

"You did satisfactory, though as you probably know it needs some work. Allow me to cast the spell in order to use as a reference point to tell how it actually stands." Zalin explained then put his attention to the target. "Hadou #57, Reaving Wind."

As the spell went through its processes, Zalin did not actually watch the target. He already had an idea how well his would go through, more than likely the same or slightly better than the Fukutaichou's. Once the spell finished, Zalin set his attention to what remained of the target. Zalin was surprised internally to find that his first time using the spell had taken off the same amount of the target as the Fukutaichou and had also broken what was left of the target off the wooden shaft which held the target parallel to the ground.

"Yes." Zalin began after clearing his throat. "As you can see, you are only a slight bit under the skill with Reaving Wind that I am."


Satisfactory? That might be considered as good in some circles, Mark's included, but the vice-captain of a Gotei company ought better to have command of the Demonic Arts. Such a strange pity, and yet as Zalin set to work emulating... no, mastering the spell, Mark watched in intent wonder. Down came the incantation, down came the vortices that gave the spell its just and righteous name.

Down came the target, to a certain degree. For a Hadou in the near-sixties, Mark had to admit, it wasn't doing much against that wooden stick in the ground...

With a modest "ahem," Mark gave a nod. He hadn't known explicitly that Sir Venkar held the rank of the legendary Kidoushuu's Captain, but the kind of skill he displayed seemed... uncertainly good for a third seat of such a division. "Yeah... Yours was better, though, no question." Shuffling back to face the next target to the right, Mark eyed his wooden shaft-of-choice with a near-lust of power. "If I could... I might..."

"Gods of wind, grace a humble servant with your presence."

His voice calm, hand crackling with a shimmer of distortion, Marcus began and spoke aloud the incantation for the second time. This time, it would be the whole target; not some, not half, all!

"Destroy the infidel which speaks lowly of you, and restore your titles as the true kings... The Fifty-Seventh Hadou! Reaving Wind!"

In violent lashes, the reaper's scythe descended upon the kempt shaft, slickly opening a gap in the upper... left side. Then, the right... the center... Furious, merciless strikes of the invisible wind edges tore the shaft to literal pieces, ripping and shredding it to all bloody hell, yet leaving the mast of the thing mostly intact.

Uh... mostly. In retrospect, Mark decided, he'd put a bit too much pressure into the spell. Not that it mattered, but whoever had to fix those posts would be very, very angry with him at this point.

Mark turned back, cocking a more confident stare up Zalin's countenance. Certainty resounded in his voice, if not pride.

"And the second go-around, sir?"


Zalin watched the Fukutaichou's second use of the spell carefully; he had to admit that Marcus had improved with the second try to above what he had done. He had little reaction to the look from the Fukutaichou of the Third, though he did visibly realize Marcus was acting in a form of one-upmanship with the second attempt. For some reason he felt like doing the same, though he mentally blocked the impulse.

You know you want to, Zalin. I don't see a problem of competition with this. Kageboushi's voice spoke in his mind.

It is so childish to do things to show you are better at something. I see no reason as to why I'd want to in the first place, I didn't have an intention of doing it with my first casting of Reaving Wind. Zalin explained to his zanpakutou's spirit.

I can see several reasons why you would want to, but I think you need to realize your position here. You are in a place to show that you are far more skilled in kidou than a Fukutaichou of a kidou-related division of the Gotei Thirteen. Besides, a little competition will make this training session much more fun.

You have a valid point, Kageboushi. But I cared not for showing a Fukutaichou that I am far more skilled than he. I do however see that showing him what the gap is will make him work harder to achieve the best possible skill for the spell. Zalin made up his mind.

"A much better performance, though it could use some work still. You more than likely are aware kidou at the level of 'Hadou #57, Reaving Wind' are rather hard to become accustomed to using." The wind near the untouched target near the one he had cast the spell on first began to shift and go through the spell's process as Zalin spoke, not looking at the target with his arms crossed, nonchalantly. "To obtain perfection one must practice and practice, until the spell becomes second nature."

As Zalin finished his words, the spell came to the stage that was very noticeable. Still looking to the Fukutaichou, Zalin watched Euchre-Fukutaichou's expression to the use of the kidou with little effort on the Hanchou of the Kidoushuu's part. Internally, Zalin wanted to softly laugh, but to be polite didn't. As the spell was finished, he then turned to see what remained of the target. As he thought the second use would end up doing, Zalin found that the target itself was shattered and spread around the general area of where it had stood. And the post that held the target up, thousands of slivers laying in the grass somewhere more than likely.

"If you are satisfied with Reaving Wind, now, I would suggest we move on to Raikouhou before any more 'innocent' targets feel the wrath of the Wind Gods." Zalin commented as he turned back to Marcus.


Practice... Yeah, something like that. Spells of the Demonic Way, particularly the deathly arts of blast and boundary, held tremendous power to overwhelm an enemy. Naturally, practice would be required; live and learn, learn and live, that sort of thing. Zalin's suggestion as to moving on seemed solid enough.

"Sure, Sir Zalin," Mark said with a pant, tasting the spell matter just beyond his buds. "What exactly is the incantation for it? The mindset?"


"The mindset is simple. Raikouhou is a massive discharge of electricity coming down on your target. The incantation merely sets up one's thoughts towards the heat of the battle." Zalin explained as he scanned for a target at a far enough distance from him. "Observing Raikouhou can also be a help to learning the spell."

Zalin extended his arm towards the distant target he had chosen to use the blast spell on. Concentrated on it, Zalin could feel the familiar presence of Raikouhou forming. Then imagining the target being beaten down by the spell, Zalin thought the beginning of the incantation of the spell.

"The scattered bones of beasts! Spiral Tower-Red Crystal-Steel Wheels. If it moves the wind, if it stops the sky. The sound of lances fills the Tiger Castle! Hadou #63, Raikouhou!!!" Zalin spoke the incantation quickly.

The target he chose then received the full force of Zalin's kidou ability. As the dust and small electric discharges caused by the spell dissipated, it could be seen that the target was blackened from the spell. Like several other times, Zalin had to hand it to the blast resistance of the targets, though the effects of Reaving Wind on them were a completely different story.

"Well, as you can see, the targets are more made to handle spells like Raikouhou. Now, you try it." Zalin motioned to the Fukutaichou.


That the spell was in the low-sixties was already pretty darn impressive, but the speed and brevity of the actual blast seemed almost alarming. Though he'd heard Alya use it with two hands with no such effect also was impressive. Hence, the eagerness of the vice-captain to outstretch his arm just as so; to beckon at the energies of the stars and moon, and in a fell swoop, engulf them.

"The scattered bones of beasts," he exclaimed, "Spiral tower, red crystal, steel wheels! If it moves the wind, if it stops the sky... The sound of lances fills the Tiger Castle! The Sixty-Third Hadou... Raikouhou!!!"

Even if 'wind' were his element in name, lightning seemed not disabused by his skill. All the furor of a storm crashed down onto the unsuspecting target in one breathless instant, in effect nerfing it and, even more alarmingly, seeming to have caused more damage than the highest of Kidoushuu warriors did to his.

Turning, Mark scratched his cheek idly with one hand, the electric shock jolting to his flesh.

"Uh... is that what you wanted, Zalin?"


The young hanchou of the Kidoushuu was at first stunned by the fukutaichou's ability at casting the blast spell better than he could on his first try than Zalin could after using it several times. But after several moments Zalin slowly clapped his hands thrice then looked to the fukutaichou of the Third division. He slowly took from his interior uniform pocket the small object which he was planning on giving to Marcus a little later, but he saw no reason to put it off; also he was beginning to feel exhausted from using several high level kidou spells in a short time.

"You are a very impressive officer of the Gotei 13, Euchre-Fukutaichou. In fact, your skill in kidou sets you apart from our brethren of the Gotei. It has been an honor for me to teach you about these spells and I must apologize that I can not teach you Mascara Roto today as I had said, but I hope this gift will be enough for you until I can teach you Mascara Roto." Zalin spoke as he extended his hand and placed the suisei meant for the Fukutaichou in Marcus's hand. "This suisei is a very special device, a device similar to what your former fukutaichou, Nifuji Jinte, possessed once. By giving you this Suisei, Marcus Euchre, you are officially accepted as a member of the Kidoushuu."

Zalin then took a moment to let this set into the Fukutaichou. As he watched Marcus, he began to think of how different his induction to the Kidoushuu had been. The assault on Hueco Mundo and helping with the maneuvers in the cold mountains seemed to have been longer than several mere months in his mind. When he felt Marcus had enough time to let everything set in, Zalin cleared his throat.

"If you have any questions pertaining to what will be expected of you as a member of the Kidoushuu, I will tell you right now that we are in a state of rebuilding. Since the Assault on Hueco Mundo, our numbers have been diminished to only a handful. Slowly we hope to become what we once were." Zalin explained. "Again I am sorry I can not finish what I said I would do, I am beginning to feel exhausted and I doubt I could properly teach the spell to you. If you wish I can teach it to you another day."


The revelation came as more than a simple shock. Enlisted as one of the finest spellcasters in the Soul Society, reinforced with untold knowledge... all other manner of clichÁƒ ©d euphemisms, had become his!

Mark couldn't quite place the feeling. Emotions from somewhere between happiness, uncertainty, and mere pride bombarded him; his power no longer extended to his voice. On one hand he might accept, might endeavor. Or, the offer could always be turned down out of fear.

"Another day, then," he murmured, clasping the thing in rapidly-perspiring digits. As touched it to his hands, a smile more laudable than most before began to form.

"I look forward to it!"
 

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