What did poetry teach you

The poetry of swords

Yi frowned as the old Master Doran scrambled up the path to meet him. It looks like a mud crab at mating season. The thought was far from polite, but given the age of the master craftsman, it was almost a compliment. Yi bowed briefly to the gray-haired armorer and clasped his hands in greeting. Red-faced Doran waved to the rhythm of his panting breaths, without slowing down, and called out something to him. “I'm already there! I'm sorry I was a little late. Those tired old bones allowed themselves too much sleep today. ”Yi looked up at the midday sun. It was definitely a little lateafter all, a whole morning had passed by. "Everything comes from time", Yi quoted with furrowed brow again. "Morning dew appears. Evening fog is falling. This is how the sun, moon and stars are born.“Doran paused, the drinking tube half raised to his mouth. “What?” “The introductory verse of the 'Collection of Mandates'. Have you never heard him, master? ”For Yi, this was almost unbelievable. This verse was famous and was often used to reprimand those who were late. "This poem is one of Buxii's classics." The old man stroked his beard. His face was lined with confusion. "By whom?" Yi's eyes darkened. Master Buxii was the greatest poet in the history of Ionia. Even before Yi had found out the names of his extended family, his father had taught him to recite Buxii's "The Glowing Sunset in the Mountains" by heart. "It's okay." Yi cleared his throat. “My master taught me the importance of today's training. I'm supposed to follow your instructions. ”Doran chuckled. “He did that as a training designated? No wonder you came here so early. " That must be a joke. Yi had met Doran before in his parents' workshop. Fair and Emai respected the old man very much. Although he had once come to the village as a stranger, the blacksmiths and masters of Wuju welcomed him warmly for his legendary skill in handling hammer and anvil. But the similarities between Yi's parents and Doran ended in their jobs. The old armorer was neglected, absent-minded, and known as a motley bird. And where Yi's parents knew and respected the great poets, Doran was obviously illiterate. Not for the first time did Yi doubt what this strange armorer was supposed to teach him about the sacred art of Wuju. He forced a small smile. “When do we start, master?” “Well, if it is up to me, old man, we have all the time in the world. But you… ”Doran put his drinking tube away and turned to look at the path he had come from. It was a narrow and winding shepherd's path that led to the village of Wuju. When he turned around, Yi noticed that Doran was carrying something on his back: a bamboo basket wrapped in thick takin skin. Obviously, it was meant for long journeys. “How many moons do you practice sword fighting? Five? Six? And now there is a little stumbling block in your way. Why are you so impatient? ”Asked Doran. Yi felt his body tense up. It was much more than just a small stumbling block; it was a problem that could make it impossible for him to study the Wuju style any further. In an attempt to find his center again, he clenched a fist around the scabbard of his sword and immediately released it. This trick, which the other students had taught him, was currently proving to be highly ineffective. “Master,” he said quietly, “I've been studying Wuju sword art for four seasons.” “Oh! That's right! You're already fifteen summers old. ”Doran pinched Yi's biceps and put on a mock surprised expression. “No wonder you are so strong. You must have worked on your sword cuts every sunrise, huh? ”Yi had never shrunk from a task his master had given him, regardless of whether he was to hone his sword technique, meditate or memorize poetry. On the contrary, he worked even harder than the other apprentices and most of the older students. He mastered every posture and movement of the Wuju style with incredible accuracy, found a meditative state with impeccable speed and technique, and mastered most of the poems, songs and writings of the Wuju texts by heart. But despite all his achievements, he made no progress in the meantime, which embarrassed him. Yi couldn't hold back a bitter smile. "About four thousand times a day." Doran whistled. "Fourthousand Sword pranks a day? Do you want to become a blacksmith? ”The young swordsman crossed his arms over his chest. Repetition was the essence of a fundamental tenet of Wuju: The trunk is more robust than the branch. Didn't Doran even know that? Before Yi could answer, Doran took the bamboo basket from his back and hugged it in Yi's arms. "May I help you. An appropriate weight for a strong young man. ”He massaged his right shoulder as he stepped away from Yi. Yi, who froze for a moment in surprise, finally ran after him. "Master? Where do you want to go This path leads south. ”“ Don't worry, ”said Doran. "I can still distinguish north and south." "But what about training?" "Do you really want to train?" Doran strolled on with his hands clasped behind his back. "Well, let's get started then." Yi paused. There were only uninhabited forests south of Wuju. If Doran wasn't planning to hunt wild boars, there wasn't much to be trained here. But Yi had promised his master that he would listen to the old man, so he threw the bamboo basket over his shoulders and followed him.

Yi had never walked this path before. He didn't even know he existed. The path was marked by stepping stones that were dug deep into the earth and almost crumbled through the ravages of time and neglect. Between them the wild grass grew up to Yi's knees in places. At first he believed that this path would lead to a forgotten shrine or an abandoned settlement. It is said that ancient ruins lay undisturbed on the mountainous island of Bahrl in the middle of the forests beyond the villages and towns. They had moved south for some time and the armorer had made no move to keep his training promise. Annoyed, Yi moved the bamboo basket into a different position on his shoulders. “Master, what exactly am I wearing? It's hard. ”“ Swords, ”Doran said without turning around. "Not as swords." Yi raised an eyebrow. Doran only made blades for Wuju swordsmen, and only a few of them each season. “Were these swords all forged by you, Master Doran?” “Three of them. As for the rest… ”Doran paused, as if trying to find the right words. “They entrusted colleagues to me.” “Are you talking about other armourers? Why should they give you their work? ”Yi peered over his shoulder to take a closer look at the basket, only to stumble upon a stone with a strange shape due to his lack of attention. He swayed before he regained his balance. "Hey, be careful!" Doran quickly moved the basket back onto Yi's shoulders. “One of them is for you. If you bend it, you will definitely blame me in the end. "" For ... For me? A sharp Blade? ”“ Of course it's sharp. I don't forge blunt swords. ”Only those who really understood the Wuju philosophy of bloodless fighting were granted the privilege of wielding sharp blades - as evidence of their self-control. And then another that was handcrafted by Master Doran's ... Many older students had trained for ten summers before they received such an honor - with Yi it was only four seasons. The young swordsman felt honored. However, his elation proved fleeting. He looked at the floor. Doran seemed to notice the sudden change in mood. The two took a few steps in silence next to each other before the armorer spoke up and cautiously added: "Your master has told me that you have difficulties getting in contact with the spirit realm." Yi did not answer immediately, but his shame was too large. "Contact isn't the problem," he said finally. "If I wasn't able to do that, I would never have been accepted into Wuju School." He scratched the back of his head. “However, I don't seem to be able to gain any strength from it. Sometimes I manage to steal a spark of power, but then I can't fill my weapon with it. ”“ Couldn't it just be that you're not ready yet? To conjure up the energy of the spirit realm… ”Doran rubbed his beard and smiled. "When it will happen, depends perhaps only on the whims of fate. ”Yi wanted to tell Doran that he was wrong: after all, one could not negotiate with fate about the ability to gain strength from the spirit realm. But that was exactly what worried him. Maybe he failed because he didn't have enough talent. Maybe it was fatethat he would never succeed. And yet he held back his words. He didn't want to appear cheeky and he still clung to the hope that today's “training” would help him - as bad as the prospects were. "Hm. Maybe you're right, "Yi finally answered. It was getting harder and harder to follow the path as more and more roots and brush covered the battered stones. While Yi had seen the footsteps of other travelers from time to time, there was no longer any indication that a human soul had ever passed this way. The only sound was the summer wind rustling through the thick rows of trees. "Master Doran, have you been here before?" I take this path once every four seasons. Your master even accompanied me two or three times. ”Yi was surprised. “Master Hurong? He never told me that. ”“ Sure he will. At some point. ”Doran made a waving gesture before increasing the pace. With his quick steps, it was easy to forget that this man had seen nearly sixty summers. Suddenly he didn't look at all like a mud crab. Other swordsmen have accompanied him here. Does he need a bodyguard? Is that the training? An opportunity to practice my coup de grace? Yi liked the idea. "Have you ever encountered any danger on this way, master?" "Not one." Doran's lips played a smile as he shook his head. “But hold your sword tightly, my boy. My journey on this path has nothing to do with yours. Even if I had walked this path a thousand times and never ran into danger, that doesn't mean you won't encounter any. ”As if the words had conjured it up, there was a sharp, bird-like croak. Yi stopped, took the hilt of his blunt sword and raised it to his chest. He recognized the croak as the call of a bird of prey. This dangerous bird species was usually found deep in the woods. The swordsman gritted his teeth and studied the line of trees. Doran rolled his eyes and pointed forward. "Do you see the mountains over there?" Directly in front of them was a chain of mountain peaks that stretched seamlessly across the horizon. They weren't very high, but they stretched as far as the eye could see. The woods had remained calm since the bird of prey called, so Yi lowered his sword. "Are we going mountain climbing?" He asked, trying to hide his annoyance. "Your home is Bahrl," replied Doran and patted Yi on the chest with the back of his hand. "I'm sure you're not afraid of a few hills, are you?" Yi looked up. The brilliant golden sun hung on a cloudless, blue canvas. It was actually a good day for a mountain hike, as he had to admit. He straightened his shoulders and walked on.

After walking past a grove and crossing a stream, they had finally reached the mountains. They were now well beyond Wuju territory and beyond where travel was considered advisable by the elders. And yet Doran made no move to slow down. When they reached the first climb, they climbed a flight of stone steps. They might have traveled a lot in the past, but today they were broken, covered in weeds, and slippery with mud. The steps ended abruptly at a steep cliff about three men high. Before Yi could ask, Doran had reached for a bump in the rock and started the ascent. He reached the top with almost no effort, turned and looked down with an expression on his face that seemed to say: What are you waiting for? Climbing a rock face was easy for every young resident of Wuju, but Yi had never attempted such a climb with such a heavy load on his back. The task turned out to be even more difficult than it looked. After he finally climbed over the edge of the cliff, it took him a while to catch his breath. When he finally sat up and brushed the dust from his clothes, his eyes fell on a stone tablet with a single word carved on it. He could barely make out the weathered Ionic letters. Fog fall. "We still have time." Doran sat down next to the stone tablet on the floor and took a sip from his drinking tube. "Let's rest." He pulled rice cakes from some bag that Yi couldn't find and began to nibble on them. After a few bites, Doran looked up as if he had suddenly remembered something. He held out the remains of the rice cake to Yi, who was still studying the stone tablet. When he saw the jagged teeth marks on the food that was served, Yi shook his head. “Master, you said we still had time. You mean for my training, don't you? ”Doran hit his knee while he chewed on another bite of rice cakes. “A well-lathered beard is half-shaved, boy. If you are really that keen on your training, then I would suggest that you rest here first. ”When Yi watched Doran from one second Bit off rice biscuits, he had to suppress an exasperated sigh. He looked around in an attempt to hide his impatience. He discovered some ancient ruins that were hidden under thick clusters of vines and bushes. Although only collapsed columns and walls were left, he saw the majestic and striking construction that it was completely different from Wuju's pagodas. Doran pointed to the ruins. “There was once a shrine on this mountain for the worship of a god who had fallen from grace long before we were born. Nobody knows his name and nobody knows where his followers have gone. These humble stones are all that remains of the cult. ""Flowers wither as people grow old. Even the morning stars must return into the night", Quoted Yi. Then he pointed to the stone tablet. "Were they the ones who called this place Mistfall?" As for the name… ”Doran gestured towards the other side of the cliff. "You will understand its meaning if you look around there." Yi peered carefully over the edge of the cliff. Below him a white mist settled over the valley until in the distance the blue sky met the mountains. The view was breathtaking, its magnificence stretched across the entire field of vision. The valley itself wasn't big. It reminded Yi of a lake that was not filled with water, but with a flowing, silvery mist. A narrow path led down from the cliff and disappeared into the depths. "Do you see the way?" Asked Doran. "We're going that way."There? Down into the valley? ”“ Exactly. ”After a long day of hiking through the empty wilderness, his training seemed to move even further into the distance. Yi couldn't take any more mischief. "Master, what kind of training is that supposed to be?" He burst out. "All I can say is that the journey is going to be arduous, so you should take this rest more seriously." Yi swallowed his frustration. He realized he wasn't going to get any more revealing explanations from Doran. He found a stone slab across from the old armorer, sat down and put the bamboo basket down next to him. What should he do with a rest? At least this place was perfect for meditation. Yi closed his eyes and began to breathe deeply and slowly. Maybe it was the unfamiliar environment, but it took longer than usual for him to lapse into a meditative state. In this space between unconsciousness and wakefulness, lightness flowed through his body. At the top of this lightness, a bright and unusual object appeared. It was like a spark that soaked every corner of his mind in light. A ghost. Yi had often met ghosts while meditating. They visited him more often than the other students. Presumably that bode well, because it showed that he was close to the spirit realm and should be able to draw energy from it. Should be able to. Yi concentrated on the white light and banished all other thoughts from his mind. He soon realized that this was not your average ghost. Yi tried to reach for him, to feel his pulse. To his amazement, he merged with the being and disappeared in the blinding light.

He forced himself to open his eyes and found himself under a gigantic silver wood tree that he had only seen at the entrance to Wuju. But the buildings in the distance looked strange and strange. Confused, he got up and went into the village, where he met familiar characters: his father, his mother, other pupils, even his neighbour's black cat, Little Night, and the chief elder's dog, Goldi. They all seemed to live in their own world. Nobody looked at Yi. They must be visions, he thought. As he slowly walked down the main street, he gradually calmed down. Then he saw something that made him pause. "Master Doran?" The old armourer looked at Yi before he went back to his work. But he did not forge swords. Instead, where the forge, tools and anvil should have been, there was a single flower pot with fragile seedlings. With a smile that reminded Yi of feverish delusions, the craftsman slowly raised his arms over his head. The young plants in the pot twisted and stretched as he moved. They grew at an incredible rate until a small juniper tree with sprouting leaves had grown. Doran examined it and looked dissatisfied. Then he raised his arms a few more times. The tree changed shape. It bobbed happily in the wind until it turned into a weeping willow. Yi looked around in disbelief. For the first time he noticed that every single house in the village was covered with lush, colorful, even bizarre vegetation. Many of the accommodations looked as if they had grown out of solid rock, while others changed their shape and looked like people - not only in their shape, but also in their movements. Yi wandered aimlessly until a fanfare rang out from the center of the village. Almost every villager left everything to walk towards the mountainside on the other side of the village. A waterfall fell in front of a rock wall, hiding a cave behind it. Doran was the first villager to arrive. He raised his arms and parted the water so that he could go into the cave with dry feet. The other villagers did the same and entered one by one. But when Yi raised his arms, there was no effect on the falling water. It's just a vision, he said reassuringly to himself. It doesn't matter if I get wet. He stepped through the waterfall and found himself in a huge chamber. Thousands upon thousands of candles adorned the room. In the center of the cave, the villagers who had entered before him stood talking in a language Yi could not understand. In the opposite corner he recognized his Wuju master, Hurong, who was standing with a few other venerable elders in the village. Strange furrows and lines were carved in the stone walls. The patterns seemed to move as Master Hurong spoke and gestured. They looked like a living calligraphy painting ... No, not a painting. Like a card. The elders ended their conversation with exchanged looks and nodding heads. Then Yi's master raised his right arm and snapped his fingers. An entire wall split open to the ceiling with the ease of a door that swung open, revealing the sky so that rays of blinding sunlight fell into the chamber. Outside there was a deep fall to the far ground. Master Hurong jumped forward and turned into an iridescent blue jay in the air, as Yi knew him from Bahrl. He flew out of the mountain towards the clouds. The other elders and the villagers followed him. One by one they took on the shape of a bird. In a croaking chorus, the cave that had broken open slowly emptied until only Yi and Doran were left. Knowing that he could not communicate with Doran, Yi lowered his head respectfully and prepared to leave. He was shocked when Doran looked at him and spoke to him in a language he knew how to speak. His voice was cold and deep. "You. You are following the path of Wuju? ”Yi froze and looked at the armorer speechless. "I've already met people like you who practice Wuju," Doran said with a blank expression. Only now did Yi notice how strange his eyes looked. Blood-red irises fixed him and shone in a gruesome light that lacked any semblance of life. “You go to great lengths to win a drop of power from the spirit realm, only so that you can then use it as a weapon. How tasteless. Nevertheless, this poor imitation is sufficient for you to enter the realm of the strong. " "Imitation?" Yi had never heard anyone express disdain for the Wuju style. "What are we imitating?" Doran ignored the question and pointed to the slowly closing gap in the cave wall. "Go. Follow them. ”Yi looked up at the sky. That's absurd. "But I can't fly." "Yes you can." Doran's voice came from behind. Yi whirled around and saw that the armorer was standing outside the entrance to the cave with his fingers clasped. "You just don't know how yet." The entrance and the gap in the wall snapped shut, trapping Yi. His only escape route was through an opening well above his head. Apparently this red-eyed Doran Yi wanted to urge him to fly out of the mountain like the others. Yi snorted, sat cross-legged on the stone floor and closed her eyes. Fly out? That wouldn't be necessary. Visions were like dreams: no matter how bizarre they got, you just had to wake up and everything turned out to be a fleeting fantasy. Yi gasped when he opened his eyes and found himself on the stone slab near Mistfall, directly across from Doran. The old armorer was so lost in his own thoughts that he didn't seem to notice Yi's sudden awakening. Yi pinched his earlobe. He always did that when he had a vision. That way he could make sure he was really back to reality. The vision had been so vivid, so real, that he couldn't even pinch his composure back. "Master?" "Hmm?" Doran turned his head to him. "What is it?" Yi looked into Doran's dark brown eyes. “How long have I meditated?” “You actually just sat down. Why? ”Yi rubbed his lips. He would not divulge an experience that he himself did not fully understand. "No matter. Do we want to continue? "

Just as Doran had warned, the path into the sea of ​​mist was full of danger. Treacherous green moss grew on the stone steps that could turn any step into a potentially fatal misstep. The heavy basket of swords didn't make this task any easier, but Yi didn't complain. He wasn't going to give Doran that satisfaction. It soon became clear that Doran wasn't the only one who knew about this secret place. As they neared the mists, Yi spotted a fairly new wooden board on the side of the path with a warning written on it. The erratic handwriting and the spelling mistakes indicated that this hint was the work of an uneducated hunter. Yi didn't know if his senses were playing tricks on him, but as they passed the wooden board, he suddenly went cold. So far the day had been hot and summery, but now it was caressed by frosty winds. On top of that, his vision slowly blurred when a strange thick fog settled around him and Doran. He followed closely on the older man's heels as he searched his surroundings, clutching the hilt of his blade tightly in fear that something might jump out of the fog. "This fog is not normal," Yi muttered. “Ghosts linger here. We should turn around and come back as soon as they are gone. ”“ The ghosts will never go away, ”Doran replied with a shake of his head. “They have been living in this place longer than there are people in Ionia. Do not worry. We won't be here long. ”He pointed ahead. “Come on, your eyes are better than mine. Help me find a sword. ”Yi frowned. “You want to find a sword? Here?““ A plazidium flame mountain, to be precise. It shouldn't be overlooked, ”said Doran. "I left it as a marker on my last visit." Yi looked around in amazement. Everything was wrapped in a thick blanket of white fog. He could barely look two paces away, let alone spot a plazidium flaming mountain. Having no clue, Yi pretended to search the ground to his left and right. He had only taken a few steps when his stomach twisted. It suddenly felt like his body was getting lighter and lighter. Even the weight of the bamboo basket could no longer be felt. "Master Doran," Yi said, worried. But Doran did not slow down, nor did he turn around. Instead, he stepped up a gear. With great concern, Yi tried to catch up with him, but the armourer kept drifting away. Soon Doran disappeared without a trace in the white haze. Yi watched how exactly this haze devoured himself. It got so thick that Yi couldn't even see his own legs. With no weight and no legs, he floated through this unreal mist. No, it wasn't just floating, it was flying. The fog turned into clouds, the cool air into wind. He had to be in a vision again. This time the ghosts hadn't warned him before they kidnapped him. Feeling insecure, he stretched out his arms to find his balance - but instead of arms, two magnificent jade-colored wings unfolded. I've turned into a bird! He was sailing along the sky when he suddenly discovered a long coastline. A salty sea breeze swept over him as the brilliant blue ocean waves lashed against the shore. The country felt like home, but at the edge of the beach a dark gray structure loomed that was certainly not from Ionia. Is that ... some kind of memorial? If you weren't able to see the precise construction, you could have mistaken it for a mountain. As he flew closer, he recognized the structure as three monstrous towers of inconceivable size that stood on a common foundation. It cannot possibly be built by mortals. Yi had never seen anything like it. The towers were made of thousands of large stones, carved and polished into perfect blocks. Each of them was as tall as a full-blown swordsman. A flock of brightly colored birds broke out of the clouds and sailed for the fortress. Although he didn't know whether he had flown to them of his own free will or not, Yi suddenly found himself at the side of the swarm at a hasty pace. He followed a bright red bird that darted between the three towers. The bird left Yi as it swooped towards the foundation of the structure and finally landed with a somersault. When he rose he took the form of a man, the form of the red-eyed Master Dorans. He looked up at the sky and beckoned Yi, who was still circling through the air, to come over to him. Yi landed on Doran's shoulder before rolling nimbly onto the floor. As he straightened up, he found that his human legs and the rest of his body had returned. "Apparently you can fly," said Doran. Full of energy and at the same time out of breath, Yi said: "Master Doran ..." But Doran shook his head. "No. He's just a shape I've assumed. ”He said no more. Yi blinked. Why would this ghost take the form of Doran of all people? He stretched and looked up at the huge towers. “What kind of place is that?” “You call it Bahrl.” The ghost, who looked like Doran, pointed to the winding coastline, on which a troop of warriors armed with pikes and glaives patrolled. Their weapons and armor looked alien. “You call this the Andersufer here. We call it 'home'. ”“ Who are you? And who is this we? ”Yi turned to look at the ghost, but it was already gone. Only a few red and white feathers reminded of him. How absurd. Yi wanted to leave this vision as he had left the last, but before he could start his meditation, a loud, rhythmic noise rang out in the distance, loud as he had never heard a sound before. The clink of metal and the screams of people. His curiosity had been piqued, and so he followed the noise to its source. As Yi walked past the colossal towers, it became even more apparent that their size was beyond the limits of what was possible. Each tower could house all of Wuju's residents and wouldn't even be full. But why would someone build such big and ugly buildings? It didn't make sense. Yi was so lost in his thoughts that he almost ran into a handsome man. He wore a shiny metal helmet, but his chest was bare. In one hand he held a strange-looking halberd. Just like the villagers in his last vision, the people didn't seem to notice him here either. The strange man paused for a moment before continuing on his way. Several other warriors patrolled the area, looking strong and determined. They also let Yi pass. As Yi approached a wall of earth, the noise became deafening. He heard the thunder of war drums, interrupted again and again by screams. Yi climbed the wall and stretched his neck to see what was beyond. The sight made him swallow. Thousands of soldiers, significantly more people than lived in Wuju, cavorted in a large, open square. Their ranks were as neat as their war banners, and their equipment was impressively varied. Some were wrapped in steel, barbed plate armor, while others wore thick animal skins or only thin cloth robes. Outwardly, these soldiers could hardly have been more different, but their cause united them. They beat their chests to the rhythm of the drums and their own war cries. "Disciple of Wuju, tell me," said a cold voice from behind, "what you see there." Yi's hand quickly grabbed his sword hilt as he whirled around, only to see the red-eyed ghost standing at the bottom of the wall. He climbed up to Yi and gently placed his hands on the earthwork. "Tell me what came first on your mind," said the ghost. Yi answered with a question: “Who is that? Why are you showing it to me? ”But the spirit was not deterred. "The first word," he urged. "The first word you thought of." "The first word ..." Yi looked again at the sea of ​​warriors. "Strength," he said finally. "Strength. Where do you see strength? ”“ Hmm… ”Yi scratched his head. “Each of these warriors has the ferocity of a tiger, the strength of a great bear. They wear sharp blades and shining armor. Their war cries echo over these beaches… ”“ So you can see that. Oh child That's why you're here. ”The ghost's expression darkened as he nodded. He pointed behind the young swordsman. “Your gaze is looking in the wrong direction.The harder you train, the further you will get away from your goal. ”Yi turned and looked behind her. But before he could see anything, the ghost pushed him off the wall of earth, so that he fell towards the ground, which suddenly seemed infinitely far away. Even though he knew he was in a vision, Yi could not suppress an outcry in shock. He closed his eyes as the ground rushed towards him. When he opened it again, he was sitting with the bamboo basket in the middle of the thick fog. He assumed he was in the fog again, but just pinched his earlobe as a precaution. He had to make sure he was out of the vision. Satisfied with the result, he looked up at the sky. "Why can't he just leave me alone?" Yi groaned in frustration and rubbed his nose in frustration. "And what on earth was he talking about?" As Yi wiped the sweat from his forehead and sighed in relief, Doran limped out of the fog. His arms were gripped with something. He looked Yi up and down. “Hey boy what happened? Why are you sitting on the ground like that? ”The armorer held a strange-shaped sword with a wavy blade that reminded Yi of a snake. Presumably this was the Plazidium Flamberge he was looking for. "Master Doran," said Yi, "did you notice something strange when you were here with my master?" "Here in the fog?" Doran narrowed his eyes. "Where did you get in?" Since he didn't know how to explain it, Yi stood up, shook his head and threw the bamboo basket over his shoulders again. “My only concern is that this place may not be safe. The fog has become even thicker since we arrived. ”“ Oh, don't worry, ”Doran replied and stuck the mountain of flames into the ground. “The fog will soon clear. As long as we disappear before it settles down again, we are safe. ”“ The fog will clear? Why that? ”“ Every four seasons there is a sunset when the mists dissipate. Today is exactly that day. ”At that moment Yi noticed how the coolness drained from the air. In a matter of moments, the fog evaporated at an astonishing rate. "That's ..." Doran raised a finger to her lips and motioned for Yi to be silent. Just as the sun touched the top of a distant mountain, the valley was uncovered before them. Yi put his hands over his mouth and sucked in a sharp breath, so incredible was what was happening in front of him. "Why is the fog disappearing?" Doran's hands rested on the handle of the Flamberge. "Perhaps the ghosts remember that momentous sunset countless summers ago ..."

The fiercest fight Yi had seen in all his fifteen summers was that of a hunter against a wild boar. The former had lost his finger in the process, the latter his head. As far as Yi knew, Ionia had always been a pure, peaceful land, a symbol of harmony. But what lay before him radiated something unclean. It was completely opposite to the Ionia that Yi knew. Countless blades stuck in the ground. This vast forest of weapons began just ten paces ahead of them and stretched the length of the valley to the base of the distant mountains. Ten large two-handed swords protruded from the ground in their midst. Whereby “big” didn't do them justice. They were gigantic. Since the tips of the swords were buried in the ground, Yi could not judge their full size, but their hilts alone were the size of adult swordsmen and the visible end of the blades was as long as seven or eight and thus as high as the Great Pagoda from Wuju. "A battle was fought here many, many years ago." Doran patted Yi on the shoulder. “The fighters left their weapons here. The spirits protect them from being decomposed by time. Over the millennia, this land has become a sacred place. Over time, those who had sworn never to take part in the violence and bloodshed of the war made a pilgrimage here to stick their blades in the ground. ”Yi looked around. “I've never heard of a place like this…” “It was all a very, very long time ago. Some of these weapons could be older than your last known ancestors. Nowadays there is hardly anyone who remembers this tradition. And most of those who do do not want to disturb the ghosts. ”“ Then why do you come here, Master Doran? ”“ There was a rumor that the ghosts of Side Case would bless weapons and thus make them stronger. When I finally found my way here for the first time, I realized that the opposite is actually the case. The battle of yore destroyed the balance of this place. That is why the spirits in the valley hate violence. They bless the weapons, but these blessings lose their effect the moment blood is shed with the blades. When the swordsmiths understood this, hardly anyone traveled here. I am the only one who has coaxed blessings from spirits that last. Did you see why? ”Yi nodded. "Because you only make weapons for Wuju swordsmen, and we refrain from bloodshed and killing." That's exactly why I stayed in Wuju. All my life I've wanted to make the best blades in the world, but they weren't meant to be used in battles. Only your Wuju swordsman shares my view of weapons. ”Doran pointed to the bamboo basket on Yi's back. "Oh, you can put it down now." Yi was glad to be able to free his shoulders from the heavy burden. “We put them in the ground here today so that they will be blessed. Among them is the blade that I made for you. Then I'll collect the swords that I left here last time. ”The two penetrated deeper into the valley. As they neared the center of the battlefield, Yi saw strange weapons protruding from the ground. Some looked like traditional blades, but they were either too big or too small to be wielded by someone like Yi, while others, though the right size, were forged in shapes he had never seen before. He wondered who might have used it. “Just look! We are there. This is my garden! ”Doran pointed to a single-edged sword with a splendid quillons. The weapon was suitable for a human swordsman and looked much newer than the others, as if it had been forged yesterday. On closer inspection, Yi saw something even more interesting: a paper amulet, fastened with a thin, red thread, dangled from the handle. Then he noticed that these paper amulets also adorned other swords. Usually they were used for prayers and blessings. Today Yi saw her for the first time in front of guns. Doran carefully pulled the single-edged sword out of the ground and removed the amulet, which he then carefully placed on the ground. After examining the blade closely, he turned to another stuck sword and repeated the process like a farmer harvesting his crops. As if he were transplanting rice stalksYi thought. He rolled up his sleeves and gripped the hilt of a long sword with an amulet attached. "Don't touch it!" Doran shouted. “That was left behind by another swordsmith. It's been here for quite a while. Leave it in the ground. ”Yi released the weapon, but he accidentally unrolled the red thread that attached the amulet to the handle. He picked up the paper and read the Ionic text on it. It was a simple poem: Deafening thunder in spring; Torrential rain in summer; Eastern storm winds in autumn; Floating snow in winter. Yi frowned. "What's that?" The old man looked up as he tampered with the basket. “This is a poem that the swordsmith wrote. What do you think of that? ”Yi took a closer look. The author was certainly better than average in calligraphy and poetry, but the poem read more like a dinner speech. “It's quite acceptable. But why are poems set out here? ”“ With that we honor the spirits. ”Doran knelt and took a long sip of water before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a calligraphy brush full of dried ink. He moistened it with his tongue. "If the spirits in Wuju understand poetry, why shouldn't the local ones be able to?" Doran pointed to the three empty amulets lying on the floor in front of him. “The swordsmiths who asked me to put their swords in the ground here have already prepared their amulets, so I only have to write the poems for my weapons.” “Master Doran, you write the poems? Does that mean that you know your way around poetry after all? ”Yi walked over to Doran when he started to write. "So you were just kidding me when you said you didn't know who Buxii is." The craftsman gave him a sly grin. His calligraphy was uncontrollable, the brush flew across the paper in bold strokes. A longer verse quickly took shape. "Let's see." Yi bent down and read aloud. "No wars today, just a sip of wine to wash down the duck eggs. Tastes delicious …“He couldn't hold back his indignation. “Doran! Master! What are you writing there? ”Doran proudly ran his beard. "Do you like it?" "It has nothing to do with poetry!" Yi gestured wildly through the air. “There's no rhythm, not a single rhyme, the lines don't relate to each other, not even the basic format of a poem can be recognized!” “The most important part of a poem is that feeling, not the shape. ”Doran grinned and poked his chest with a finger. “It's about the topic that the heart wants to tell about. Rhythm and rhyme are just decorative flourishes. ”Yi stared at him in disbelief. "But ... what you wrote ... where are the feelings? Where is the subject? ”“ It's about my experience with the war. ”Doran looked blankly at the amulet. "Later, when you are an old man like me who has seen too much bloodshed and death, you will understand why a sip of wine and a duck egg are worthy of a poem and praise." Yi raised an eyebrow and turned to them other weapons with amulets. Had these swordsmiths also written such questionable poetry? He went to another sword and read the inscription on the amulet. "Inexhaustible horrors and demons, at the side of tireless evil and villains ...“This poem hung on a ceremonial blade that was not intended for combat. Based on the verse, Yi believed that it could belong to a master of ceremonies or roaming swordsman. Doran, still absorbed in his own writing, glanced at the young man. “Oh, that's from Laka. She is famous in plazidium. Your swords cost a fortune. ”Yi had never been to the plazidium of Navori, but he had heard traders call it a“ refuge ”. Maybe it was a little bigger than Wuju? He went to another ceremonial blade that was probably used as a walking stick. The teak handle gave off a refreshing smell of mint that was supposed to keep insects away. Blind trust corrupts souls; Blind faithfulness corrupts life. When the butcher's knife hits the ground, All are wounded and the Self destroyed. Yi had only read half the verse when Doran cut him off. “That should be from Morya. He always uses the best materials for the tightest of customers - priests, monks, people like that. With every weapon he makes, he gets poorer. He even owes me money! ”Doran pointed with his brush to a place next to Yi. "Oh yes! Take a look at that! That's really good! ”Yi turned around and found the sword Doran had pointed to: a greatsword with a serrated blade with a tiny blue amulet on the hilt. The text on the amulet was written in a foreign language. Yi couldn't read anything but the signature at the end. Lear was in Ionian there. “Lear is an absolute genius. He lives on the southern islands and is even in Been fence, "said Doran. "Where is … Fence?"" Ah, don't even ask. "After reading one amulet after the other, Yi let out a relieved sigh. Apparently Doran was the only person in all of Mistfall who wrote such unpoetic poetry. Yi turned to the old man. “Master Doran, the works of the others can at least be recognized as poetry. Only you are careless. ”Doran paused. "Careless?" "Feelings are important, but a poem is characterized by its form." Yi spoke with the utmost seriousness. “If you want to write poetry, you should stick to tradition. So much commitment and respect should be shown to the ghosts. ”“ Interesting. ”Doran smiled. "Your master once said the same thing to me ... and back then he wasn't the head of Wuju." "That's because we are both Wuju swordsmen." Yi puffed up. “It is our duty to keep old traditions. So it is now my Duty to tell yourself that you are wrong in what you are doing. ”Yi looked around. “No, your poems are not the real problem. The fact that we are here - that is wrong. Master Doran, you disturb these spirits in the selfish hope of being able to make better swords. ”“ Both Wuju swordsmen… ”Doran nodded. "How much of the Wuju do you really understand?" Yi's frustration boiled over. He hid his clenched right hand behind his back and spoke in a voice that trembled with suppressed anger. “I have only been trained for four seasons and therefore I hardly understand anything about the art of Wuju. But what do you know You may be a well-respected armourer, but you weren't even trained to use the sword for a day, were you? Who are you that you question my understanding of Wuju? ”Doran was indefatigable. “Hey, interesting. Why should I have to understand something about the use of the sword? You're the one who's supposed to train today. ”Yi couldn't believe his ears and took half a step forward. "Work out? You let me climb a mountain, then I had to rest and now I'm supposed to look for swords. When exactly should this training start ?! ”Doran was quiet for a while before he finally put his brush on the floor. “Your master told me that the most essential knowledge cannot be taught with words. It only lets through Revelations learn. It was exactly this place where many years ago he found the answers he was looking for. ”The young man froze. The armorer played on the seven basic tenets of Wuju, Stunted flowers do best in the rain, at. He waited for Doran to continue. “I don't know how you Wuju swordsmen train. So I asked you how much you already understand. ”Doran paused. "Or haven't you learned anything yet?" Embarrassed, Yi avoided his gaze. “Please forgive, Master Doran. Did Master Hurong tell you how he came to his revelation? ”“ I didn't ask, but he left a poem back then. ”Doran pointed to a huge greatsword that protruded over the battlefield behind Yi. "It's on the sword over there." Reluctantly, Yi went to the greatsword. The huge blade was littered with nicks and cracks and irreparably damaged ... but given its formidable size, it didn't have to be sharp either. Yi couldn't make out a poem, so he took a few steps to get a better look at it. Then he noticed that the blade was shimmering. The sword seemed to be made of some kind of glass. Yi reached out his hand curiously and touched the shimmering glow of the reflected light. He blinked.

A thunderous tremor rocked the valley as the colossal sword was drawn from the ground. Yi took a step back, startled. Ten giants, each as big as a small mountain, stood in front of him. They were all wrapped in golden armor and strange helmets, and where their eyes should have been, two fiery spheres lit up, sparkling with an ominous glow. Their gigantic swords reflected the rays of the setting sun. In their splendid armor, and thanks to their imperturbable demeanor, they looked like gods who had descended from heaven. Fifty other giants were on their way here from the distant foothills. With immense weapons in hand, they paused in front of him and stood still as if awaiting an order. When he heard a commotion behind him, Yi turned around only to look into a sea of ​​faces. At first they seemed familiar to him. They belonged to the villagers of Wuju, only they looked fuzzy, less clear, and like a watercolor painting in the rain. But then her features became clearer and Yi realized that these people were different from everyone he had met before. Some had their backs covered with feathers, others only three fingers, and still others had green skin. They were all tall and sporty. Brightly colored clothing, some of which looked like shimmering scales, covered their slender figures. Yi stared at her, spellbound. "What ... what are they?" He finally managed. Yi had no idea when the ghost who looked like Doran had appeared next to him, but suddenly he stood there and answered with an ice-cold look from his blood-red eyes. "You called them - us - the Vastayaschai’rei." Yi had never heard this long and awkward name. He looked at the ghost, whose robes made him look like a crane standing on two feet. The ghost pointed to the vastayashai'rei. "We won this battle." Yi's gaze fell on the army of giants. "How could you have won against these monsters?" The ghost did not answer. Ten elders, or at least Yi thought they were elders of these strange beings, emerged from the ranks of the vastayashai'rei. One of them sat at the top, placed a palm on the back of the other hand, and raised her arms above her head. She jerked her hands to the ground and the entire valley shook as a crack split the earth. The two armies were now separated by a deep chasm. Meanwhile, the other nine elders were using their own magic. Some began to dance while others sat cross-legged on the floor. Howling storm winds and an ominous blanket of dark clouds drew over the battlefield. Thunder boomed through the valley and lightning flashed across the sky. At the edge of the gap, another elder called a tangle of tendrils that broke out of the earth like huge snakes and built themselves into a wall as high as six swordsmen. Such power over the elements was otherwise only known from myths. Yi knew this was a vision but couldn't hold back his amazement. "What do you see now?" Asked the ghost. "Is the Strength? ”Yi nodded. “Yes, it is.” “But we don't wear heavy armor or sharp blades, and we don't scream with the fervor of a bloodthirsty army. Where do you see strength here? ”“ You summon the winds and conjure up storms. You share the earth yourself. If that is not strength, then what? ”The Spirit pointed at the giants. “You asked me how to triumph in a battle against these monsters. The real question should be how these giants will hold their own against the heavenly forces that have shaped this land. ”The monsters were not impressed by the masterful magic of the vastayashai’rei. They threw their heads back and howled in delight. The ten giants in front raised their huge swords and charged forward. Their sheer size made them look like a mountain range racing towards the vastayashai'rei. But the vastayashai'rei did not shrink back. The elders advanced, the others close behind them. Some of them stooped and then leaped forward. In the air, they turned into volkodalks, scaled snappers, and wolves before rushing past Yi. Others took on bird-like shapes and whizzed through the air like arrows. Within a heartbeat, the vastayashai'rei became an avalanche that could even bury mountains under itself. The giants were surprisingly agile. They leaped across the gap, leaving the vine wall behind them with ease, and daring to plunge into the army of animals. Every stroke of their swords was an unstoppable force. The vanguard of the bird warriors fell in droves, and yet their brothers and sisters steadfastly flapped their wings, creating bewitched blades of wind that cut flat red notches in the gaps between the giants' armor. These attacks would split a human up, but the giants hardly slowed down. The vastayashai'rei on the ground were just as intrepid as their flying comrades. Some of the scaled snapper dashed towards the giants and threw them to the ground with their own mass, while the Vulkodalks shredded their enemies with their horns and razor-sharp teeth. Huge trees, pointed like arrows, burst from the earth and cracked their branches like whips. Thunder boiled in the air and violent lightning bolts crashed into the ground with heavenly anger so violently that they left craters. But not even this apocalyptic event could stop the giants. Tendrils tied their feet, beasts climbed over their bodies, and some of them were even brought to their knees or fell, and yet they fought and howled their way forward meter by meter. They looked positively spurred on and took on even more momentum as they stepped over countless carcasses and opened a gap in the ranks of the animal army. The smell of blood hung in the air, a metallic taste that looked real. At that moment one of the giants noticed Yi. The monster's fiery eyes sparkled angrily as it came straight at him. Stunned, the young swordsman took a step back and took a defensive stance. As the giant came closer and closer, the ghost put a hand on the scabbard of Yi's sword. “Wind and rain. Lightning and thunder. Avalanches. Even our body. All are just forms. If you can only find its essence, all forms are always just a stone's throw away. You can just as easily instill power in your blade. ”As the spirit spoke, the giant's footsteps slowed, as did the vastayashai’rei's attack. Even the lightning became sluggish until all movement around Yi stopped. Then he understood. "You mean ..." "The Wuju style." The ghost nodded. “The Wuju style draws its strength from the spirit realm. In this way, the vastayashai'rei have also changed their forms and manipulated the elements. The only difference is the amount of force used. I don't know who started the Wuju style, but he must have been a remarkable magician. ”“ That's impossible! ”Yi yelled. “We are swordsmen, not magicians.” “Shapes! It doesn't matter if they are referred to as magicians, priests or monks, in the end they all just take shape, ”the ghost said angrily. “The heart of Wuju is magic. The heart of the Wuju teaching are the people who use this magic. Every fighting stance, every poetic work, every meditation that you have learned serves only this magic. ”Yi wanted to challenge the claims of the mind - after all, precision in one's own movements was an essential part of Wuju! - but then he realized that this was not a discussion. This spirit obviously taught him the art of Wuju. This had to be the training his master was talking about! "And how do I use this magic?" Asked Yi. "I have no problems with the sword or meditation, so why can't I get power from the spirit realm?" "But swordsmanship and meditation are your problem." The spirit took the hilt of Yi's sword, drew the blunt blade and led it with it Grace of a master from different attitudes. Yi assumed he would want to show him a few maneuvers, but instead the ghost broke the sword in two and threw it on the ground. “It is not the sword that carries magic, but you. You concentrate too much on your swordsmanship and your meditation and so direct all your attention to these useless forms. That's why you lack the instinct that every Wuju swordsman should have. ”“ I don't understand. ”“ Forget the sword. Forget the enemy. Forget everything your master taught you, "said the ghost. “And the moment you come into contact with the spirit realm, you even forget that you are meditating. Don't ask yourself whether every little movement is right or wrong. ”Suddenly the chaotic fire of the battle rekindled. The giant picked up speed again and came straight at Yi with his sword raised. And he had nothing but a wooden scabbard to defend himself. "Now it's your turn." The ghost took a step back. "Ask yourself how you can defeat an opponent who is many times stronger than you." Yi drew the scabbard like a sword and took up a fighting stance. His breath became shallow. The giant's footsteps shook the ground. It's just a vision, Yi reminded himself, but he could hardly breathe evenly and calmly. He felt the magic of the spirit realm roar around him, as if he were standing in a mighty stream. So far that power had eluded him when he tried to channel it through his sword. But the sword was only a shape, just like the scabbard. Just like I. How can I defeat an opponent who is many times stronger than me? By becoming a stream. The monster swung its sword in one mighty blow. Almost instinctively, Yi raised his scabbard to repel the attack. When the sword hit the scabbard, his body trembled from the force of the impact. But he stayed upright. Not only had he withstood the blow, he had somehow cut a notch into the giant's huge weapon with his wooden scabbard. Encouraged by this success, Yi changed his stance and struck the sword diagonally with the scabbard. He made a deep furrow on the giant blade. The giant hesitated, then withdrew his weapon to look at her. When he saw that it was damaged, he roared in anger and amazement. His fiery eyes dimmed under his helmet. Yi couldn't believe what was happening either. He ran his index finger gently over the side of the vagina. There wasn't a single crack or splinter there, but he cut his fingertip open as if he'd run along a sharp blade. "Do you feel them?" The ghost stepped forward and grabbed Yi's hand to hold up his bloody finger. "The power that follows your will?" He nodded. "Keep this feeling in your head and direct it from the ground under your feet to your goal." The ghost pointed to the giant. "Attack with your heart and your body, not with your blade." Although the spirit still spoke in its conception of the forms, Yi had now understood it. The ghost took a step back as the giant attacked again. This time he knelt and swung his sword along the ground as if he were harvesting the crops with a scythe. Now Yi was completely focused. Holding his breath, he got on one knee and raised his arms over his head to protect his upper body with the sheath. During the training he had never understood the purpose of this posture, but now the penny had fallen and brought him clarity. Just as the giant's sword was about to strike his scabbard, Yi jumped to his feet and held the weapon in front of him. He rushed forward with the force of a tsunami, threw himself against the attack of the monster and struck the sword with his scabbard. When Yi finally gave up his posture and stowed his weapon, the severed half of the giant blade had already fallen to the ground like a child's kite with a hole in it. The force of the attack brought down the giant as well. He was about to get up again when lightning struck him in the back and dozens of vastayashai’s attacked him. Anger ... and fear sparkled in the monster's eyes. Yi stared at his hands and shook his head in amazement. "I feel like I can cut through a mountain!" The ghost nodded. “No armor can withstand the attacks of a Wuju sword master. As long as you draw enough strength, you can indeed split a mountain, a forest or even the entire world. ”Yi was so excited that he clenched his fists and almost started to dance. The ghost seemed to notice his outburst and hastily cleared its throat. "But don't forget that this is all a vision." "Um, yes, of course." Yi frowned. What strange words for a ghost. “The power that people can gain from the spirit realm is not limitless. So… ”A grin appeared on the ghost's face. "... I would suggest that you take flight if you meet such an opponent. You probably couldn't even cut off a toenail. ”“ Very possibly. ”Yi rubbed the back of his head. “I see.” Bahrl was a peaceful place anyway. He would never have to destroy such an opponent. “I have already seen many Wuju students, but you stand out among them. Don't waste your life on pointless endeavors. ”The ghost gently placed its hands on Yi's shoulders and eyed him. "I can teach you something else if you want." Yi's eyes lit up. "Absolutely!" "You grew up in Bahrl, so ..."