By Kratesis 158 Comments
Arts of the Arcani
As the aeons have marched on the immortals within the Arcani have discovered many words. The Seven Secret Words of the Sword, Nine Words of Sorcery and Eleven Words of Life and Death.
These are the Words of Life and Death. Each word represents a concept, an Aspect that has been taken to its penultimate extreme by relentless study for hundreds of millennia.
[ Authors Note: This is unfinished. The final three words are missing. ]
All beings are systems of matter and energy. Like any system there are nexus points which influence critical functions. Vespa is the study of these points and how they might be disrupted or destroyed.
Vespa teaches the secret strikes by which a chi users chakra's are disabled. The pressure points which a limb or organ can be paralyzed, and even the occult techniques which strip a mages powers.
The adept level involves memorization of thousands of vital points, combined with in depth medical knowledge. This level could be compared to a medical PHD; much of the anatomical knowledge is interchangeable. The primary difference is the Vespa adept seeks to harm, not heal. The adept knows what angle to strike bones to snap them, the pressure points that inflict the most pain, and how to sever the vital arteries and nerves with a sharp object.
A master knows the secret points to induce muscular paralysis; from the entire body to individual limbs. The dreaded death touch is also a part of the masters abilities, they can cause immediate or delayed death. But the master is capable of attacking more than the body alone, they can also disable key chakra points to inhibit chi flow; denying a chi user access to their inner power. This can also be used on a magic user, disabling their ability to tap into their magical energies.
A grandmaster is capable of using pressure points against entities of godlike power, bypassing their physical resistances and inducing somatic feedback loops into their neurological systems. They can disable technological systems by creating micro-electromagnetic pulses that reroute the power of circuits until they fry themselves.
The Nth is a being of terrifying potency. They can exploit not only the weaknesses of the body but the critical vulnerabilities built into the human mind. A Vespa Nth can drive a man insane by the tiniest gestures, communicate through somatic impulses, and create unshakable loyalty with naught but a glance.
Nearly all living things predict the future. One might predict a ball will drop when released. Or that a person will anger when struck. Some can perform such complex predictions such as the moves of a chess game, or the victor in a war; each containing thousands of individual factors.
Fractum is this art turned science. Pioneered by Kratesis by accident when she sought to turn her quantum processing power into precognitive calculations her notes and thoughts on the subject, mere byproducts, became an entire style.
There are three factors the Adept must master. Before, Now, and After. By knowing the Before the adept can use the Now to calculate theAfter. An adept can use this knowledge to predict an emotional response, a foes tactical course of action, or use the minute positioning of the body to predict the next action in combat.
A master has such knowledge of the Before and such speed in the Now that their predictions of the After are incredibly precise.
The master has internalized this process and often exhibits a sixth sense; a subconscious warning. These subconscious warning signs alert the master to threats to his or her survival. This makes them precognitive in combat; true masters of the art of prediction.
The calculations of a grandmaster are so advanced they can predict every possible variation in a fight before it even begins. Should their mind be powerful enough to process the data a grandmaster might run through a million scenarios in a second and select the one they desire.
So powerful is this level of mastery that it cannot be attained without an enhanced mind; the unaltered human mind is incapable of handling so many factors at once.
The goal of many physical arts is physiological efficiency. How to throw the most powerful punch? Jump the farthest? Leap the highest? Absolutio is this taken to the furthest extreme; the physiological efficiency of the entire body maximized at all times.
By honing the kinesthetic sense to a razors edge and mastering the fundamental motions one can dramatically increase the efficiency of their bodies.
This is achieved by honing their kinesthetic sense to a razors edge and mastering the fundamental muscular building blocks. From these tools any movement, from a simple punch to a complex acrobatic routine, can access the full potential of the bodies strength and speed.
An adept is capable of neigh supernatural feats of balance; walking across tightropes with ease, astonishing acrobatic maneuvers, and more. Most commonly this exhibits itself in displays of parkour like running; leaping over short barriers, running up walls, jumping down stairwells and even diving flips onto tiny perches.
An adept masters their bodies physical functions to such a degree they experience a one quarter increase in their physical performance. For example their speed is improved by twenty five percent, as is their striking power and leaping height.
In combat adepts can snatch arrows from the air, evade punches by centimeters, devastate their foes with precision strikes from any angle and much more.
Their agility and coordination radically improves. A master can run down an electrical line, acrobatically evade a hail of gunfire, tic-tac up a skyscraper, fight on the roof of an aircraft and more. All with an effortless ease that seems, and may well be, superhuman.
The physical efficiency of a master increases their performance by fifty percent. A master with a ton of lifting strength would have a ton and a half of striking strength. A master who could run a mile in a minute would find their speed increased to ninety miles an hour. And so forth.
A master of Absolutio is a terror in physical combat. Strikes gently caress their skin instead of landing, and their fists and feet fly with staggering power and accuracy. Capable of fighting at near full efficiency at any angle the master is just as deadly in freefall as standing on the ground. However their most impressive feat of accuracy is their ability to evade gunfire and other supersonic attacks.
The grandmaster can perform any motion physical possible without error or deviation one hundred percent of the time. They make no mistakes. Every motion is perfect.
A grandmaster has attained the ultimate control over their body. They operate at 100% efficiency; it is impossible to improve upon this for they use all of what exists to its utmost. As such the Grandmaster demonstrates abilities that would seem to double their original physical prowess.
A grandmaster with a ton of strength exhibits two tons of striking strength, those that run a mile a minute naturally now run at a hundred and twenty miles an hour, and so on.
In combat the grandmaster is a paragon of perfection. What the mind thinks, the body does. Peerless accuracy, unassailable grace, and preternatural speed allow the grandmaster to snatch bullets from the air, evade bolts of lightning, and other feats of astounding agility and speed.
The Shell of Life
Virtually all forms of life send information by transferring energy. Typically in humans by the electrical impulses of the nerves. These systems are not isolated. On the surface level tiny clues, facial tics, tells, or micro expressions are linked to the overall motions of the body. On a deeper level the thermodynamic systems are linked in intractable bonds.
Kaankh is the study of the 'shell' of life, the changes in the surface that grant insight into the currents underneath.
An adept of Kaankh can read the bodies involuntary expressions with ease. As accurate as an advanced lie detector, and capable of winning large sums of money in games of chance, the adept is exceptionally effective in social situations. They make excellent interrogators.
However it is in combat where the adept truly shines. The angle of an elbow, the tic of an eye, even the rate of breathing speak volumes to the adept.
The master has internalized Kaankh to such a degree that they read microscopic tells intuitively. They might walk through a crowd and deduct the true feelings ever every person within eyesight. They can predict the next words in a sentence by the tone of the voice and tension in the forehead.
In combat the master can read any number of foes, regardless of skill, like a book. The minute of angle of a joint might reveal an entire combination of attacks, while the tension in a calf informed the master of his or her foes injuries. The master is capable of using this skill offensively as well, by reading his foes body language in the midst of a combination and adjusting to bypass the next defensive technique.
The grandmaster goes beyond the master by leaps and bounds. They can identify ones styles linage by the angle of a foot and tell with a glance what techniques their foes have mastered. In combat they go beyond reading moves and read entire strategies.
So accurate are they that some say they are not merely reading body language but picking up on tiny somatic impulses and psychic impressions. Who can say but the grandmasters themselves?
: The Shatterpoint
All things have a weak point. In some things this is a physical location that is relatively simple to divine, such as the throat of a human. Other times it may be incredibly difficult, such as the cure for cancer. Additionally these weak points are mobile in time and space. They may only exist for a single moment, or may move from place to place.
An adept may learn the apply devastating leverage in a grapple, or the 'sweet spot' on a weapon. This level of skill is rare for very few bother to invest the time; the effort is great and the rewards are few.
A master learns of the weaknesses inherent in various strategies or tactics. There are those who attain mastery to improve their strategic prowess. They might look at a plan and intuitively detect the weakness, or spot a vulnerability in an electronic system at first glance.
In the heat of combat a master might sense opportunities in the environment intuitively, or 'feel' the flow of the battle shifting around them, knowing subconsciously when it is time to gather ranks and defend or when it is time to press the attack.
Grandmasters often speak of a 'Center of Gravity'. A critical point upon which entire systems depend. In combat they are masters of biding their time before exploding into decisive action. Tactically they are nigh peerless; intuitively sensing the weak points in their foes and crushing entire companies in a single decisive action.
The penultimate level. An Nth level practitioner can perform physical feats that seem impossible.. and perhaps they are..
A Nth level practitioner has learned the quantum secrets of reality. They can shatter a building with a single blow, crush the most advanced armors in existence, or bring down heros with a single word. In the Arcani there are few more feared than an Nth Zadkhiau.
: Glory of the Solar Disk
Devised by Amaranth in aeons long forgotten Khuenaten is a series of secret exercises and meditation techniques to allow a mutant to tap into their very genes. This allows them to train their body to the very peak of its potential.
For example a scrawny boy too weak for military service would be transformed into a super solider; attaining the peak of physical ability allowed by his genes.
Their body is pushed to the peak of human ability. Bench pressing seven hundred pounds, squatting twelve hundred, and running at speeds up to twenty five miles an hour. Adepts are significantly tougher than humans simply because their bodies will continue to function through damage that would stop a normal human. Combat speed is enhanced to an exceptional level; the Adept is capable of throwing punches at a hundred miles an hour or more.
+Healing: An adept can enter a state of perfect relaxation and rest. This accelerates their healing process and allows them to recover from injuries that would generally be seen as permanent such as damaged spinal columns.
A master of Kuenaten has tapped into the full potential of the genome. Their bodies are not what a human is, but what a human may someday become. Capable of bench pressing eleven hundred pounds, squatting twenty five hundred, and running a full mile in a minute. It also increases the density of their bones and muscles to such a degree they exhibit superhuman resistance to injury.
Masters can enter a trance like state where they direct the flow of their biological resources. This allows them to heal from nearly any injury in a fairly short time.
The Grandmaster has gone beyond the mere physical level. Tapping into their bodies excess bio energy, chi, and magical aura to power their physical form they become something.. else. Something both great and terrible. Physical abilities include a bench press of two tons, speed significant enough to dodge bullets, near limitless stamina and a durability that seems impossible. In combat Grandmasters are so fast their hands seem to vanish.
A grandmaster's biological functions have become so efficient they naturally display low level healing factors when not physical exerting themselves. By falling into a healing trance they can repair any injury whatsoever upto and including the regrowth of lost limbs.
By unspeakable means a Grandmaster may sacrifice their very souls to fuel their bodies. The body devourers the soul, the chi, the magical and psychic energies. It is a terrifying transformation; for all that is left is flesh wrought by preternatural power.
None know the limits of this technique, for the occult techniques of the Nth are forbidden by ancient decree.
This has caused a division among the Arcani in recent centuries. Some radical scholars argue that the Nth are the truest expressions of mutanthood; having stripped themselves of all extraneous features. Most say that the Nth go too far.. That they have gone beyond staring into the abyss and slipped into it; and as they slipped into the abyss it also slipped into them.
: Hurricane of Glass
The bodies kinesthetic sense is the sense that tells you where your arms, legs and hands are at in relation to one another. For example you can scratch your back without looking to see where your hand is. Without a kinesthetic sense you would need a mirror.
It is because of this sense that humans are incredibly accurate with their hands and fingers, but terribly inaccurate when guiding a projectile. The kisetestic sense no longer functions when one is firing a bullet a hundred yards. Thus the need for stabilizing devices, scopes, and more to attain the accuracy one has with one's hand.
Devised by Amaranth and taught to those who utilize ranged weaponry it allows them to merge their perceptions and kinesthetic sense. This allows them to use projectiles with the same control and accuracy they use their hands.
An Abuskhau adept can throw projectiles with exceptional accuracy at up to sixty feet. Capable of throwing specific 'twists' or imparting various spins to their projectiles causing them to climb, dive or jink at the last moment they are exceptionally difficult to predict or evade.
Adepts are even more accurate with the bow, capable of hitting a torso sized target at six hundred and sixty feet. At a tenth of that distance it is trivial for them to fire arrow after arrow into the same location, splitting their previous arrows. They are also capable of making accurate distance shots using mirrors and even banking arrows off hard surfaces and into a target.
With the firearm the Abuskhau adept is more accurate than with any other tool. They routinely fire rifle rounds with deadly accuracy at ranges up to two thousand and seven hundred yards. Pistol accuracy is not as impressive due to the shorter barrel and weaker cartridges but most adepts are capable of putting rounds on target at six hundred yards.
Accuracy up to a hundred yards is not uncommon. Their projectiles might arch over buildings, back down and through a window, or even bounce off multiple surfaces and return to the thrower. Masters are accurate enough to close a lighter with a shield throw, or turn off a light switch with a shuriken.
The arrows of a master fly true; regardless of wind, rain or other conditions. They can fire accurately up to the maximum range of the bow, placing arrow after arrow into a target from three hundred yards. So intuitive is their accuracy that they can perform feats of trick shooting as casually as an adept might shoot a target.
Masters can fire bullets accurately at the limits of the weapons range. However far the bullet will physically fly, that is how far the master can place a bullet on target. Pistol, rifle, it makes no difference to a master. Rate of fire is equally irrelevant; a master can fire a machine gun on full automatic striking target after target in the head and wasting not a single round.
Anything is deadly in the hands of a grandmaster. A paper clip can drive through the eye socket and sever the brain stem. Playing cards might cut throats. A pencil becomes an armor piercing long ranged projectile. The grandmaster can bank shots with ease, bouncing a handful of throwing knives around a corner and into the throats of a dozen men with no more effort than one might use to tie one's shoes.
The master archer simply does not miss. Arrows might bounce off a street lamp and imbed themselves through the femoral arteries of speeding motorcyclists. A seemingly pointless shot into empty air might catch a speedster in the throat. An arrow fired into a crowd of people might glance off a belt buckle, fly between the spokes in a bicycle tire, and impale a foe in the left ventricle of the heart.
Abuskhau firearm grandmasters are among the most terrifying of all the masters of the Arts. Should they have the perceptive capabilities and reflexes they can shoot bullets out of the air, curve their bullets around barriers, and much, much more.
A grandmaster of firearms would rise to the peak of lethality by this skill alone; few are as lethal to so many in such a short time.
The art of stealth.
There are as many kinds of stealth as there are means of detections. Typically they all revolve around a simple principle of evading the detectors lines of sight, but there are more advanced techniques.
The adept learns to control their breathing and heart rate, slow their digestion and even cool their body temperature. Long periods of stretching and keen spatial awareness teach them to slip into the smallest crevices or shadow and evade the enemies prying eyes.
So skillful are the adepts that it is not uncommon for patrols hunting them to literally step on the adept without ever realizing they have tread upon their prey.
A master can become next to invisible in any terrain. The slightest distraction and they simply vanish. In darkness or smoke they are next to invisible. The footsteps of a master are nearly soundless and they can walk on pressure sensors without activating them.
It is this skill that defines many of the Strigidae; their ability to materialize as if flowing from the shadows themselves, strike and then vanish into the darkness.
Grandmasters can literally vanish in plain sight. They are very nearly impossible to detect; a single detection system alone, no matter how advanced, will generally fail. The footfalls of a master are completely silent, and moreover they can run, leap, and perform all manner of acrobatic and combat maneuvers without making a single sound.
Those who have some degree of enhanced speed often marry it to this technique- seeming to teleport by vanishing, moving at extraordinary velocities, and reappearing.
The Nth has transcended stealth; they do not hide so much as they become invisible. No being, no matter how keen their senses, can sense them. The Nth is able to evade magical scrying attempts, cosmic foresight, and even precognition that relies upon visions or sensory input.
In combat the Nth is a shadowy figure of peerless lethality. Their ability to simply vanish allows them to strike a foe, disappear before his eyes, and reappear to strike again from another angle. The greatest of the Strigidae have often relied upon this technique almost exclusively.