1/24 Artaghh's Granite Lake Leaps
JWaldman Feb 7th, 2019 89 Never
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- Artagh would stare across the sunlit lake with a smile that strained ear to ear, his unarmored chest gripped tightly by his hands as he grunted in exertion from the long walk down the mountain. His war wound had not even close to begun to heal, still a jagged red line of scabby tissue awaiting only a particularly rough movement to begin bleeding anew all across the height of his upper thigh and torso. The Dryad samurai had cut him deep and well, a truly masterful stroke across his entire being that the soldier now realized had been fully intent on heavily injuring, but not killing the Dawnsman. The aching pain he felt every morning, each rough movement, each agonizing step forward in his training in spite of his wound, it seemed not to disparage, but only ignite Artagh with a desire to grow stronger, to match the swordsman in battle and disarm him as he had been, carve the same jagged wound across his oaken trunk and regain his pride as a swordsman.
- Spitting out a glob of bloody mucus, the soldier would shake his head as he looked across the vast lake where his camp site had stood for coming on three years now, gauging it to be just barely visible with his now impeded vision. Scratching the skin under the leather eyepatch that now occupied the remnants of his left eye, he would begin to stretch his back as the cool breeze from the nearby tide aired out Artagh's great wound, allowing him a sigh of relief as he got all of his muscle fully stretched to try and prevent any further injury during his training. Turning towards the steep cliffs with a wide smile, he would unsling his great sword from the leather straps upon his back before lunging forth, rapidly slicing with precise motion and application of force before plunging his blade within the crackling fire beside him, leaving it there as he moved forward to admire his handiwork.
- A vast granite cube of sheared stone stood before Artagh, weighing what could be approximated as about ten tons of stone stood before Artagh. Hardening his fists, the soldier would precisely punch to handholds into the rock, ideal grasping spots for the task he was about to undergo. Dusting off his hands, Artagh would grit his teeth as he forced forth the shroud of energy he had grown so accustomed since the beginning of his enlistment. He didn't quite understand it at first, he'd never received any formal tutelage on magic and was nary capable of any spell novice or otherwise in every land that was known. But whenever Artagh felt closer to giving out, the blue flame would ignite and empower him with the stubborn determination and strength to press forth, and familiarity had made the aura of pure, unrefined mana like a familiar, cozy cloak on a cold winter's morning.
- His jagged war wound would fuel the shroud as Artagh's muscles bulged, before with a grunt of exertion he would press forth and grip the ten ton block of stone, gritting his teeth in pained exertion as he moved it steadily upwards at a snail's pace, inch by inch finding the ten ton block off the flattened grass beneath it before being painfully heaved over the bald veteran's soldier's as each aching movement seemed to open Artagh's wound just a little bit more, fueling the energy shroud's power and pushing him with a mighty grunt of pain and exertion to lift the great block over his head, shouting in victorious pride before lowering it to his back, attaching two small mithril chains and some alchemized adhesive from Samwell Geenz and Lunk before attaching them with click snaps and a bit of unconscious Earth magic from the bald soldier.
- The block now hung on Artagh's shoulders tightly, the blue flames darting around his person nearly suffocated by the great block of stone in spite of their usual brilliance, as small drops of blood began to drip down Artagh's lower torso and legs towards the ground. Steeling himself, he would prepare for the exercise at hand. Acclimating himself to the new weight, he would leap across the length of the great lake one thousand times. If he fell in the water, he'd need to do two laps in the lake with the block on his back to fulfill his commitment. With a crouch his his heavily muscled legs, Artagh would scream with exertion as he flew forth through the air across the lake, arching over it like a pelican flapping lamely over a great sea before somehow slamming down on the opposing shore with a mighty gust of dirt and force, the soldier nearly sliding across the opposing shore's ground and losing his footing.
- On the seventeenth leap, Artagh finally slipped up. The wound in his tore open afresh as he stumbled mid leap past the shore, plunging forth into the depths of the lake with ten tons of stone on his back. The bald swordsman gasped for air as he felt himself beginning to drown, the overwhelming exertion and steadily encroaching unconsciousness seeming to fuel his shroud of energy to further heights, forcing Artagh forward to swim like his life depended it as he forced himself upwards through the water, finally surfacing right before he lost consciousness. Coughing up globs and globs of blood with an exhausted groan, the soldier would steel on to not only finish swimming across the lake with the stone on his back, but also immediately leap back into the water to finish his second of the two owed laps he'd sworn to complete if he failed a jump.
- The exercise would continue through the night as mighty leap by mighty leap, Artagh soldiered on with a ten ton block of stone impeding his every movement, and all the while his war wound opening more and more from the sheer strain of the training. Contrary to the reasonable expectation that this would slow Artagh down, the strange, energizing affect of the energy shroud that cloaked seemed to only grow in power the greater the bald swordsman's injuries became, pushing his body to its limitsand breaking them over and over again as every muscle fiber in Artagh's being slowly began to scream out in exertion and pain. Yet, no matter how tired he grew, how much he hurt, how hard it became to continue his training, the bald swordsman pressed on to fulfill his oaths. To the samurai that gave him his wound, to Dawn, and even to Amelie. He would not disappoint any of them.
- One the nine hundred and ninety nineth leap, Artagh slipped onced more. His legs red and bloodied, his arms floppy noodles by his side, he fell face first into the sand right before the shore as he was about to leap, his legs giving out from the sheer strain of the training Artagh had put himself through. The flame burned on, nearly suffocated by the rock that had begun to smothered him as with a cough of blood and steel nerves, Artagh would force himself upwards before walking towards the water, steadily becoming submerged as he began to swim across the lake to the opposite shore. Strained, aching paddle by strained aching paddle, Artagh would make good on the rest of his exercise no matter how little he had left. He was far past the point of breaking, and a red cloud followed Artagh's slow strokes through the great bed of water as his wounds leaked blood freely, long since reopened by the hours of exercise the bald soldier had undergone.
- Halfway through his final lap back to shore, his arms gave out. Steadily, Artagh began to sink, his body past its breaking point and finally forcing itself to stop. Foot by foot, Artagh would plunge to the depths of the lake as he tried to make his body move, the granite block weighing him down as he tried to make his arms do anything at all. The ache had become numbness hours ago, and as he began to lose consciousness, he smiled in spite of his situation as he thought about the muck he'd gotten himself into. The boys would laugh about old rock headed Arty, so daft he drowned with a boulder on his back. Resisting the urge to chuckle, Artagh accepted his fate as he awaited the inevitable passing of his life. He hoped someone found his body before the fishes ate the rest of his body, he and Amelie knew those scaled bastards were not to be trusted.
- Amelie, right. Artagh would force his eyes open as the shroud of energy around him burned with a fury, biting a gouge into each of his arms to awake them from their numbness as the pain seemed to jolt him out of unconsciousness. The peasant wasn't just living for himself anymore, he had a nation to protect and an oath to keep with all the knights and soldiers he'd called brothers. And most importantly of all, he'd sworn that he would watch Amelie's back, and a man was only as good as his word. He couldn't do that from the bottom of a lake, and one last wind of desperate stamina, Artagh would dredge himself upwards from the bottom of the lake, inch by inch the oxygen deprivation seeming to fuel his energy shroud into a mighty supernova, forcing Artagh to seize his life and finally, in a last gasp effort, force himselkf above the water line, clambering on to shore on his hands and knees with the ten ton granite block still chained to his back by mithril bindings.
- Coughing up blood, mud, and water for ten minutes straight as Artagh forced himself not to collapse and be smothered by the great weight on his back, the bald soldier would finally unchain the ten ton rock from his person, heaving in desperate relief as he flopped backwards onto the ground before sorely gripping his torso, his enflamed wound dripping blood idly onto the ground as Artagh groaned, chuckled, and coughed up blood in equal spades while lying on his back, a smile ear to ear across his face as he gazed up into the clear morning sky, letting the sun bake his wounds as he breathed in and out with a sigh. Not yet, he couldn't die like that. He still had things he needed to do.
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