Hunting (Help Wanted)

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The maaluuki woods teem with many life forms. The name was given to the woods by the native species, an evolutionary descended of Vescrutian moth. Maaluuki have heightened
senses and extra sensory abilities, they prevent travelers from finding their homes with esp abilities.
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Qarinah
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Re: Hunting (Help Wanted)

Post by Qarinah »

"Death is not the end in my culture. Many of our shamen have bridged a connection with the astral realm, allowing our ancestors to relay otherwise lost information to the generation that was built upon their history."

Aisha said before sniffing the air and moving ahead of the pack. She had been raised by one her tribe's eldest sorcerers, who conditioned the young Warg to read and write the archaic languages that made her a master of her craft today. It was why her words were so confident and strong, despite Qarinah's silence on the subject.

The moonlight faded the further this caravan marched through Maalukia's twisted routes, but Aisha's blistering torch fought off the encroaching shadows. The trees were bending above them now, and the branches seemed to blot out the stars above. Luckily, their combined numbers meant they were safe against the weakers predators stalking them from afar, but Aisha's acute senses could tell that there were eyes on them.

"Not much is known about it's origins. But the Novik specializes in illusions to confuse its prey and hide its body. It's shadowy limbs possess astronomical strength, but it's true form is vulnerable to physical attacks."

"Yep and that's where you come in, kid. Yer' gonna be our secret weapon."

Dawli mentioned with his overly confident smile suddenly right next to Zol. He nudged him playfully, but enough to stumble his footing if he wasn't careful.

"Michio are supposed to be strong right? One punch, one kill. Big glory. Big money. Easy.. just stick close to me, alright?"

And with that, Dawli snapped his fingers and ignited a golden flame above the entire group the size of a basketball that emitted at least ten times the radiation of Aisha's torch. It illuminated everything within a forty foot diameter of the hunting party and floated above Dawli's head like his own personal star. He took this chance to assert himself ahead of Aisha so that he was the one leading the pack.

"You just let us know when that nose of yours picks something up. I got it from here."

He didn't even bother looking over his shoulder, he only unsheated one of the many blades he hauled on his person and rested it on his shoulders. Aisha's expression was less than impressed, but she never allowed her emotions to cloud her judgement or endanger her allies. She doused her torch and put more of focus into her sensory attributes. She shut her eyes and altered her breathing entirely. Opa remained silent as a corpse, as Qarinah.. sat back. She was paying for this excursion after all so she had no issues following their lead.
Last edited by Qarinah on Thu Sep 23, 2021 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Michio Zol
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Re: Hunting (Help Wanted)

Post by Michio Zol »

"Death is not the end in my culture. Many of our shamen have bridged a connection with the astral realm, allowing our ancestors to relay otherwise lost information to the generation that was built upon their history."
“Bridged a connection with the Astral Realm?”

It was more so a question to himself more so than to Aisha though he wouldn’t have minded some form of a explanation. Michio were know to be rooted into spiritual practices that further assist in their grounding themselves so that their tether to the earth my be all the more deeper. In fact, for the sake of his own abilities Zol himself had some form of spiritual awareness but to be able to tether oneself to the other side? It was once common knowledge of certain Elders of his once forgotten tribe that were known to have abilities similar to those of these “shaman” Aisha spoke of. They were known as Mancers. His father was a descendant of a such a person It is hard to grasp which could’ve have come first, the Art of Crystalmancy or Warg Shamanic practices?

It made him want to dig further into the past of Michio who came before him. He knew he would find no answers in the moon he fell from. During his descent he had chosen the path of recovery. He needed to reclaim understanding of the blood that flowed through his veins. Even deeper than that he needed to an understanding that surpassed what he once knew. He needed to know from where his people came. He needed to know the origins of Vescrutia herself.

“Ai-“

He had prepared to ask her if she would be willing to share such knowledge with him. However he paused. From what he knew of Aisha the ways of her tribe were sacred to her. He was doubtful she would even think to speak of that with him, if not also to find the very thought that she would insulting. This bit she shared with the party thus far, was even a privilege in his eyes.

He would not invoke her ire.
"Yep and that's where you come in, kid. Yer' gonna be our secret weapon."
Zol face lit up a bit as Dawli appeared outta nowhere as his shoulder was bugged. Barely. While his feet were connected to the earth he could not be swayed so easily. Dawli made his way to the head of the pack,slipping past Aisha who had presumed to take the lead earlier. His orb shines brightly illunating their way and giving Zol sight into the twisted ways the woods were structured. It was a bit unnerving as it seemed the deeper they went the more horrible the sight.

He would remain stead fast however. It wasn’t a well kept secret from him that his surename brought about a weighty gaze from everyone in the guild. No one had even heard the name Michio in hundreds of years let alone seen on alive, a kid no less. He himself was still in the dark of so much surrounding his own power. How far he could go…

“…”

He was silent to Dawli comment of his strength. He clenched his right fist staring down at knuckles. His flesh had endured much already. There was still much more to make it through. It was a rattling ,fear inducing, yet awe inspiring feeling.

He was starting to get excited.He could not… he would not fail.

Meru felt the seriousness of Zol emotions and hopped from Aisha to Zol landing on his hooded head. He leaned over the cliff of the his forehead looking at Zoll face too face. The silly gesture caused Zol to snap back and chuckle. Meru was the best friend he could ask for, always knowing when to get Zol out of his head and keep him on task. He needed to stay viligant. Meru would return to resting on Zols head.

He looked back to Q. Out of everyone here he was the most concerned with her. So much about her to was shoulder in mystery. A mysterious patron that no one has ever heard off. Yet from Dawli reasoning about the price tag of the parchment used for the scrolls, rich as all outdoors. It wasn’t that the guild did not research beforehand…they did and probably didn’t find anything. Looking back at it now…Gilden Fang really had used him as bait…these guys were a bunch of tarqs (Michio for Jerks). They were also the closest thing to a family he had now. As for Q. He wondered if she had a family…the way she scolded him earlier…did she have children?

Thinking like this he found himself staring at Q longer than he meant and nervously smiled with his signature grin before turning back to face the pack. He would take this time to go back into his bestiary. The knowledge Aisha just shared needed to be recorded. If Aisha herself were to perish this information could prevent further deaths from creatures like the Novik. He jotted down what she said earlier.

Illusions? Shadow appendages? Seems like we really have our work cut out for us

He sighed…this was gonna hurt.

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Qarinah
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Re: Hunting (Help Wanted)

Post by Qarinah »

Suddenly, Opa who had been at the tail end of their party froze in his tracks and fixated his hollowed gaze just over his shoulder and beyond their illuminated perimeter. This oddity halted the groups progression and snapped Aisha out of her trance with a thick, rolling snarl. Dawli's expression remained still but vigilant. He was more than anxious to test the mettle of his brand new buster sword, forged from an incredibly rare mineral known as Vhulkn, capable of synthesizing solar radiation. It weighed out just over a ton, but Dawli waved the ebon slab around one-handed with discipline and finesse.

"Opa, what's your problem?"

He asked, apathetic to the threat of looming spectors sizing him up from the darkness. He was here to hunt them afterall, or at least one of their own. He'd be vexed and disappointed if he trekked out all this way  for little to no excitement. But his party responded to his question with haunting silence.. much to his dismay.

"Oi!"

Dawli exclaimed in frustration, anxiously scouring their illuminated perimeter for signs of infantry but the shadows were eerily still. He couldn't see shit beyond his floating torch. His sensory abilities paled in comparison to the two beasts he traveled with, both of whom seemed to be privvy to their guileful predator(s). He hated depending on their input, or anyone's for that matter, when it pertained to combat. He fancied himself peerless in the regard, but despite his talents and expertise, Dawli couldn't fight what he couldn't see. Initially, he figured that one of his crew members caught on to the Novik's trail but they wouldn't confirm anything.

"Opa! Answer me--"

But before he could fire off about his boiling impatience, Opa interjected by lifting his hand toward Dawli. And his deep voice, seldomly heard by anyone, demanded the audience of everyone in ear reach.

"..wait Dawli, listen."

He whispered, vaguely gesturing toward the stalking blackness. It was feint, but just beneath the suffocating sounds of their collective breathing and the howling wilderness, a low and continuous hum droned on in the distance. And the less the team shifted about, the more prominent the drone became.

"Dawli, you must extinguish the light. Quickly!"

"What, why? For.. insects?"

He asked, only to be mocked by Qarinah's subtle snickers as the buzzing seemed to move closer.

"Heh, you haven't the slightest idea where we are do you? The least you could have done was address a bestiary bef-"

"Oi! Is there something you'd like to share with us?"

His calm eyes narrowed into vindictive daggers he aimed at Qarinah's neck, behind the edge of his colossal blade. Every bone in his body was screaming that Qarinah had been goading them into a trap, but Aisha's mighty paw lowered his weapon in urgent protest before she pointed toward his artifical sun floating above them.

"The light! Extinguish it now!"

"I've never seen them before myself, but vast bodies of light usually attract a swarm. Turning it off now would do your friend here no good, little Warg. There is a reason this place is left alone when nightfalls."

"What the hell is she talking about?!!"

He exclaimed, but the deafening buzzing drone had gotten so loud at this point, Qarinah words couldn't travel three feet. But her conscending smirk was still driving Dawli insane. The vibrations  were traveling like seismic quakes through the soil they stood on, which made locating the incoming threat even more difficult. Dawli tightened his stance into a more defensive position while Aisha's eyes adopted a soft amber glow. Opa's body took no formal stance, but he did tighten his hands into hammers as he made sure no one flanked them from behind.

"The Maaluuki-"

They were an archaic Vescrutian species evolved from moths who now possess a dichotomy of over three thousand different variations. Many of them, like elves and other mythical fauna, adopted human form to increase diplomatic relationships along with expanding their own communities/cultures. Others however, such as the lightning quick monstrosity that tackled Opa into the shadows, were more predatory in nature. This particular species of Maaluki were among the most dangerous and hostile of the breed. Despite the seemingly harmless nature of their initial form, they were parasites who stalked these woods for able bodied hosts they could infect and possess; claiming their bodies for their own to use as they see fit. Upon infection, the hosts body mutates into a unique and super humanoid husk capable of healing from small wounds, subsonic flight, nocturnal vision, and a hive mind with its swarm.. And of course, they always traveled in swarms.

Opa was gone in a flash. Even with Dawli's torch, neither he or Aisha could determine where the attacker came from or explain what he truly looked like. But before they could voice their fears, all four of them, Qarinah, Aisha, Zol and Dawli, were met with their own seven foot tall Maaluukin humanoid. They traveled through the air like phantoms, using the enormous scythe like appendages to rend flesh from bone and their wings to dampen their preys senses. They moved individually on their targets, but communicated as one. They intended to divide them into the woods so they could be swarmed and eaten. Much like the last party of hunters whose bodies were now theirs to pilot.

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Michio Zol
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Re: Hunting (Help Wanted)

Post by Michio Zol »

It felt like they were doing quite a bit of walking. In the depths of the blackness around them, Zol found himself curiously staring back into the abyssal night of the woods. Here and there would be the dilated pupils of its denizen most of which simply secured away leaving little more than snarls of warning. It made him think again about the name of these woods. He was sure somebody told him to take extra caution in this particular forest...

Now Who was that?

Meru who had been resting on Zol shoulder, noise flicked quickly causing the pup to shoot up. Its eyes stared into the darkness behind them with vehemence and fear. Meru would take in a deep whiff of the air around them. Something hadn't been seeming right to the creature since they first arrived here. Zol first noticed this reaction with their patron.

Zol would pet him trying to soothe him but to no avail. It was pertinent for him to remember just why these woods were such a tale of caution to hunters at night...

Oh! Right!

*Flash Back*

???: Now Zol I know you have had success on your recent hunts. Despite being a fledging fang member you have already begun a fast and strong grip on what it means to be a hunter.

"Awe shucks Erig-"

"However!"

His voice clapped like thunder commanding the time's complete focus. His aura exuded nothing but seriousness. It snapped Zol into focus.

Erigor: "This next job will be unlike any of the others. It will test your mantle as a hunter. There is more than the power to be gained out in the world. Turn your ears to the wood, keep your nose in the air take in the world around you. Ecosystems, terrain, habitats...these are all central focuses of being a hunter. In order to be a true hunter."

Erigor lifted his massive palms and placed them atop Zols head. His stern gaze softened for just a moment

Erigor: The Maalukian Woods are dangerous, Zol, and home to a very diverse group of horrid predators. The one you should pay attention to the most however are the Maalu-

Zol snapped back into reality and instinctually went to open his bestiary more. Clamoring through the pages he found what he was searching for which came also with a gut-rooted feeling of anxiety.
Suddenly, Opa who had been at the tail end of their party froze in his tracks and fixated his hollowed gaze just over his shoulder and beyond their illuminated perimeter. This oddity halted the group's progression and snapped Aisha out of her trance with a thick, rolling snarl. Dawli's expression remained still but vigilant.
"U-um G-guys"

He said as Meru's snarl started to become cute barks. Zol could not attend to him right now. He had to tell the party what he found. Opa's sudden pause gave way to his own. Zol stood firm, the moment they paused so abruptly a chill went up to his spine and his Kah responded by hardening deepening its density. Aisha's snarl only furthered Meru's angst causing him to bark louder and harder. The rising angst of his partner gave way to Zol the notion that he needed to ground himself. If his hunch was true...this was about to go from bad to worse.
"..wait Dawli, listen."

He whispered, vaguely gesturing toward the stalking blackness. It was faint, but just beneath the suffocating sounds of their collective breathing and the howling wilderness, a low and continuous hum droned on in the distance. And the less the team shifted about, the more prominent the drone became.
"Guys..."

Opa's wariness let Zol know they were on one accord. Zol tried to whisper as well matching their tone but to no avail. It was times like these Zol hated being a kid. His soft voice was being drowned out by the steadily approaching droning. Louder and louder it became. Zol steeled himself. Not allowing himself to move a single inch farther. He was anxious, nervous, and fearful for his friends but if he allowed himself to be caught in this storm of bewilderment he or his friend could lose their lives.

[quote"Dawli, you must extinguish the light. Quickly!"

"What, why? For.. insects?"
][/quote]

"That's what I'm trying to te--!"
"Heh, you haven't the slightest idea where we are, do you? The least you could have done was address a bestiary bef-"
Zol's eyes scampered back to Q. He was the closest to her and could her snide remarks. She knew. He was trying to maintain his breath but the pounding on his ears synced with the pounding of his heart. She only confirmed his suspicions. The naten that had lived within the sols of his shoes began to embed itself in the earth whilst also traveling through Zol's tiny body. It took little time to do so, guess that was one perc of being a kid. His skin began to hum a soft earthy orange hue. Upon doing so he became tethered to the earth beneath him. Manipulating the carbon his stabilized the earth beath him and the party of folks they are at least 6ft around him. It would only do them the favor of not losing their footing.

"I really need to paying attention to people when they talk"
"The light! Extinguish it now!"
Zol's eyes magnetized towards the small sun above them. The now booming droning was all that rung in his ears swallowing his words and drowning out Meru's high-pitched barks. He hopped down to Zols shoulder bitting at the young Michio's ear lob trying to get him to look in the direction opposite of the rest of the group. The wolflings sense of smell picked up on the heavy blood lust of the creature a while ago but no one paid it any mind. Zol placed Meru into his hood. Keeping him nestled safely. He turned his attention facing the pitch-black darkness. He would protect his friend at all costs.

He would not fall
"The Maaluuki-"
His size betrayed his true mass and with the blood-born right to control that mass, he could make himself several metrics heavier. Which is exactly what he did. Though he had no way of knowing how and where his attackers would strike from it was almost a passive reflex for him to prepare himself for impact. As a child, navigating this world in the ways that he does he knows most predators view him as an easy target. Despite this what Zol carries inside of him is a soul that has witnessed several centuries go by. In an age where from birth you are groomed and crafted with intent, genetically bred with purpose, and raised for battle. The purpose that Zol was bred for, and the one he chose on his own. He would not allow anything to cause him to betray either.

"Opa!"

Just like that, he was gone. And just like that Zol was faced with his own Maaluki creature. It dwarfed him in stature and met his body with incredible speed and force the likes of which nearly speared Zol off his feet.

But a Michio rooted to the Earth is not so easily swayed. Let alone a Michio who has spent the better half of a year training under gravity that made Vescrutia seem like a trampoline.

The power of the tackle would cause Zol to slide back tearing up the earth beneath him. The creature might have succeeded in moving him, but lifting Zol was out of the question. He wasn't the type of kid that liked to be picked up even as a baby he often instinctually made himself heavier. He wasn't a fan of heights. Part of his naten integrating with the earth was him shifting the consistency making his foothold that much more fortified. So that also the earth would be that more of use to him. The slight aura radiating of his Kah was a timeless skill that belonged uniquely to the michio kin.

The Power to Endure.

As the mighty beast aimed to tear Zol's flesh it would find it increasingly difficult to harm or move him the distances/heights it might have wanted. Zol made sure to grab onto the moth beast with both arms clamped around its waist. A Michio's skin was his panoply. A tapestry, woven from the threads of duress. An Armor forged in bouts of ferocity. His was one that held over 400 years of experience being hammered into its frame and when Zol is connected to the earth, he is constantly fed naten from it that can further invigorate his form, quickly and efficiently empowering the fortification of his shield.

"Nrgh!!"

He grunted meeting this force head-on. The creature would be dismayed to find that its slashing wasn't getting the job done either. Clasped on Zol's skin was more than just a snazzy get-up. His clothing had been handwoven by Michio Mancer who had mastered the art of alternating the forms of hard material such as metals, ore, other minerals and using them as fabrics. To a clan who can alternate, repair, and harden it at will. His especially was crafted with a black diamond created by gravitational pressures that exceeded the planets. It was the perfect complement. This gave them more access to one of Michio's trump cards. The power to endure didn't just mean taking abuse...it also meant dishing it back when the time was right. He was absorbing power from each blow to his body. Power, that was being held in his core incubating inside him.

"Not gonna happen!"

He said as he gritted his teeth his eyes flared with a searing crimson flare as he magnified his resistance by manipulating the earth making it harder to move through hopefully creating enough opposite force to stop both him and his would-be captor no more than a few meters from the party's initial location. He did not let go, he stay clamored to the beast with everything he had. He couldn't allow himself to be split off from the pack.

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Qarinah
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Re: Hunting (Help Wanted)

Post by Qarinah »

As Zol may have realized, communication at this point had become a fever dream due to the volume of the Maalukian swarm. Not that any of his warnings would have properly landed anyway. Each of his fellow hunters were far too preoccupied to worry about anything other than their own survival.

Dawli and Aisha however refused to be seperated. Instinctively that placed their backs against each other's and warded off the incoming horde of bugs with synergy and style. Dawli's expression was eeriely excited considering the circumstances. His smile was like a twisted painting that grew wider with every broad, malicious stroke of his Vhulkn Sword. He fought off a multiple of the scythe bearing creatures at once, dancing in between their calculated advances with frightening swordsmenship and an infectious heir of confidence. However, while he defended himself with ease, he was unable to land a killing blow on any of the creatures due to their deceptive speed.

Aisha used her razor sharp talons to defend her from the swarm of lacerating moth giants. Her reflexes, instincts, and tactile ability exceeded her four legged opposition, but her true battle talents were stored in the encumbering sack of scrolls strapped to her back. Just like Dawli, she found herself in an almost permanent defensive position as the creatures would attack relentlessly all while managing to guard each other's blind sides.

The drone that Zol was particularly engaged with fought tirelessly to pry its body from the little Michio's hands but to no avail. Angrily, it wriggled and screeched in his grasp. Its razor sharp tendrils bore sparks into the shadows as they crashed against his resilient Kah. Force was getting it nowhere, and the Michio's strength had drowned its body in fear. This triggered one of the Maaluuki's latent defense mechansims while it was fighting to rend itself free. Silently, it's wings began secreting powerful mind numbing pheromones into the air that once ingested wrought havoc on the nervous system. Paralysis, disorientation, blindness, a plethora of side-effects could occur dependent on the organism's biological constitution. But regardless of the pheromones' chemical effects on its target, the unique odor worked like a signal beacon that alerted its swarm of danger. In seconds, Zol would be accosted by no less than a dozen Maalukian drones each hungry for its own share of his Kah.

Opa had all but vanished. But his guttural roars still trembled the shadowy woods as he fought off squad of the Maalukian drones with nothing but his bare hands.

And while all of this was happening, Qarinah stood there as if none of it mattered at all. Some of the creatures attempted colliding with her, but would phase straight through as if she were nothing but an apparition. Their blades passed through her face, chest, legs, but they drew nothing but air. They focused their assault on the hunters.

"..If I manage to locate and kill the Novik on my own, none of you will see a dime."

She doubted any of them heard what she said, she didn't even try to shout through the deafening buzzing.. but the fact still remained. Qarinah was literally paying a small fortune to be escorted by a band of well experienced hunters. Hopefully they didn't expect her to do the Lion share of the work and still offer them a reward.

"We don't have all night."

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Michio Zol
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Re: Hunting (Help Wanted)

Post by Michio Zol »

Zol was beginning to understand why this creature swarmed its prey with such vehement speed. Physically they were weaklings individually. They resorted to cheap tactics and tricks to overwhelm their targets, separate the group and feed accordingly. He wondered for a moment the many people who fell prey to them. This was why he was here. This was why the glorious guild of Gilden Fang existed! To circumvent the massive flux in the monster population. To save lives. They made a fatal mistake in targeting this party in particular.

His guildmate did not share this weakness. They were strong separate...but together they were far more powerful.

Now that he was aware of them Zol could pinpoint their mana flows as long as they were earth and now too far away from him. The only one who got separated was Opa. Good. He knew he could handle himself. Still, they would not leave a friend in the lurch. His grip on the creature was all but perennial. Despite its walking and thrashing Zol was unphased, unmoved. His knack for enduring made holing his position a simple task. Even now with its flesh gripped in his tiny hands, he could feel the squishiness of its frame. For all its height, speed and bravado it was still just a giant bug, and what happens to a bug when you squeeze it hard enough?

The same thing that happens to everything else.

The power he had amassed from the furious onslaught of the moth creature would begin crackling through his small body. Whether it gave up or not, its time was at an end. The moment Zol felt the least resistance from the creature, the moment it tired of its useless struggle against him, in that very moment the crackling embers of power circulating through him would amass in his arms doubling them in size allowing him to wrap around the creature with more efficiency. His hand now being on the opposite side of the creature's waistline. Kah Strenghtinig, the ability to increase muscle capacity. Size, strength, and stamina are all increased with this technique. He held his breath as he needed complete stillness and focus inadvertently not breathing in whatever compound the creature was exuding. His eyes gleamed once more as he now echoed within himself the calling of his anthem.

Carbon Infusion...

The very tips of his fingers danced with a curious orange light if the creature's fear of its inevitable death did not numb it completely Zol had furthered weakened the hide around its waist manipulating its density. With a crippling force that betrayed his beguiling kid-like charm, he closed his mighty vice grip .

Payback!

A technique that returns the user's power against them magnified by the michio and used to settle the score. Bisecting the creature with enough force to send a small shockwave of sheer kinetic force through the area, hopefully, dispersing the saturated pheromone air, leaving its viscera to slather him as it splattered all over the place drenching its fellow swarm mates in its goop. Zol stood in the small shower of glop. It stunk so bad causing him to pulls up the half-ninja mask-like fold attached to his hood. It did not feel good for him to have to take life, but he could not allow his to be taken either. If the swarm still sought to come after him after seeing him cleave one of their own in twain Zol would shift focus from his arms to his legs, Kah strengthening them instead. Quickly, he struck a stance. The Kah of his legs became dense hardened into diamond-like states. His clothing hid the use of his physical techniques which often left folks confused as to how he was able to fight the way he did. Save for the orange crackling energy that manifested when using his anthem. A power that would radiate through his legs. Obstinate, he stood taking in a single breath and whichever moth was the closest to him would be met with a furious winding kick, The wind up for which created the perfect momentum for him to keep em coming. The first kick held enough power to send the body flying into its swarm possibly causing it to hit and incapacitate some of the others.

Though impressive, Zol's power lays not in his arms but in his legs. Despite being procreated for a particular initiative Zol was a lover of animals, with a caring soul that if given the choice wouldn't heart a fly. He often spent whatever free time he had learned and existing with the nature around him or playing games with the other children. His favorite game though was tag and he was good at it. He never neglected his training but where most Michio men trained their fists he wanted to have legs strong enough to catch people and avoid being caught. To think less than a year ago...he couldn't remember any of this. Centuries of grooming led to this day...and he had thousand yet to witness.

Meru....I will protect you!

Was the only thought coursing through his mind, with fluid almost air-like motions Zol was handing out whirling kicks like a back to school backpack drive! As long as he was tied to the earth he had enough for any moth that wanted them. Each one carrying enough power and speed to leave deep dents into their bodies.

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