Verismar Sarinova: From Ashes


#1

Power.

Throughout the galaxy, through different cultures and species, through different walks of life, allegiances and alliances - the definition always changes. Some have power, others crave it. Some use it to protect sons and daughters, whilst others would use it to conquer and claim worlds. Power can come in one’s own strength, or through strength of numbers. Through physical prowess, or mental endurance, or even having enough credits so they won’t talk back.

To some, power relies on the weapon and how one wields it - to even fewer, being the weapon itself makes their power absolute. These few are known as the Echani, of Eshan.

The nights were long but the days were longer, each dawn was a new trial to survive, to improve. To the Echani, mastering their own bodies made them the ultimate weapon. The ritualistic virtue of the purest form of combat made their people uncontested warriors. Tradition made them strong, and it was time to pass this tradition onto her.

"You failed again, Sarinova. Your stance makes you vulnerable to sweeping strikes." Her mentor ordered from above, as she was on her back in the dirt again. The fifth time today. "You’re behind the others, if you do not improve by the end of the week, then you might not ever catch up."

The words were chilling. Her hand balled into a fist of rage. She launched herself from the ground, aimed at the mentor’s flank.

"Predictable." He said, holding her fist. A twist of her arm displaced her, and one swift kick sent her back again. “You know the code, Sarinova. These duels are bouts of honor - to show emotion on the field makes this a very personal thing.” He turned to gaze down at her again, silver eyes watching her. "You don’t want to make this personal."

"You’re dismissed. We’ll start again tomorrow." The words echoed off somewhere in the distance as he seemed to have already departed, leaving her on the bare earth. She pushed off the earth, sulking home again in a pitiful walk back home.

She wanted to be powerful. Stronger. Like the rest of them. It made her angry, furious that she could not display the strength of her fellow students. She continued to train through the rest of that night, relentlessly. She would show him different, she would show everyone different. She would do anything to claim this right to power.

A few days had passed since that incident, and the students were due to duel one another, in a matter to gauge their progress.

"Sarinova." The same voice gave, begrudgingly. “You are to face Arisoma - top of the class. Perhaps you can learn something this time.” The other students gossiped among themselves and the two took their places towards the pit. The usual honors were conducted - the pair stripped off any unnecessary armor, shields, weapons - only down to their bare fists and rags.

"You don’t think she really has a chance, do you?" One of the voices whispered to the mentor.
"Perhaps not. Though, she does look… different about this. I expected barely contained anger. She’s usually more temperamental."

Indeed, Verismar seemed to carry a cold, stone-like expression. Like some chilling wall had washed away any speck of emotion on her face - the only thing one could see was unrivaled determination in her eyes. Her opponent, Arisoma was their family name, looked conversely confident things would fall in their favor.

"Begin!"

As the call rang out, Arisoma lunged forward to begin their assault. Their approach was swift, powerful, closing the distance in a fraction of seconds - a hook came straight for Sarinova. But she wasn’t moving. Still, not moving. Waiting.

The audience fell silent. The pit fell silent.

Arisoma was flat on the floor, unconscious. Verismar was to the side, evidently they had moved, and retaliated. She had won, much to the confusion and awe of all those gathered. It seemed she gave a few parting words to the boy Arisoma before departing without much further fanfare.

"What did she say to you?" The crowd asked seemingly in unison, once Arisoma had awoken from the blow. The mentors of the academy had tried to block off Arisoma so they could recover, but he sputtered a few words once coming back to consciousness.

"She said… she’ll do everything to win."