Memoirs of CinderZ
Brief Memoirs of an old Elder
While Yuri was still a young King, a gentle warrior by the name of Tae-Hyun, travelled from the shores of Tamna to seek his destiny in the Tri-Kingdoms. He had packed upon his back all his wordly possessions, a few weapons, and a small suit of armor his father had fashioned for him. Upon his arrival, his heart was shattered. Upon the docks in Hausson, the poor horded begging new arrivals for gold, goods, or even a parcel of food. The warrior looking upon them, his heart bleed with desperation.
I'll start with a rough outline.. the beginning of my career in the path and end... at the present. Writing these memoirs is strange, since my time from the Sodo has been met with such excruciating difficulty, and only more difficult was the pain of being away from my brethren.
My own purificiation is complete. I am now only a "cinder" of the great Illuminatus of Fire I once was, and I now pose no danger to the Chonguns anymore. More on that ordeal when we come to it.
The Sodo was once the only place I sought refuge, and the only place I could speak my mind openly. My brethren (most now passed on, o the all-too-brief lives of those who devote their lives to the defense and peace of a people!) and I lived through an intriguing and sad era in the Chongun, an era of new training and technique, but also an era of bitter distrust among the most powerful and noble of our warriors. Heavenly princes and princesses, if you will allow the actual translation of our name, fell hard.
I grew up in the peaceful streets of Koguryo. It is a town I never saw myself leaving, and never did until after my reign as Elder. As soon as I had the arms for it, I walked to Ironheart's and studied every last blade stroke he had to teach. I will make no claim to destiny here -- but I struck him dumbfounded when two hours after he said I had not the coordination to ever be a warrior proper; I brought him back an ogre's hide. I hear he gives out student's caps these days -- he must have grown kinder to students in his old age. But I digress.
"The mail is donned for the first time,
A brother feels he's among his kind,
Boots filled, laces strapped,
His father's own, as he sat,
He Pondered once, pondered twice,
Mind filled with stories he's read thrice,
Will he be the next big thing,
someday will it be his story to read?
Into battle, blindly follows,
Faces broken, tears of sorrow,
Journies on, only to find,
No passage of a book can he cite.
It isn't glamour, it isn't grace,
It's bloody hell, one must face,
Yet he doesn't grumble, long he prays,
The young warrior's call, he simply obeys."
The last time I saw the Sodo, before the Kwanhonsagje crumbled in my hands, I read this old remnant of the past and fell to my knees. The regrets were many as I hung up my Hunter gloves and my Honor shield - but I wanted protect the path at any cost. I vowed that the path was not to be infiltrated by the whispers that grew ever more frequent -
"Your soul is mine to take, CinderZ."
The whispers chilled one's soul in a way that not many today will remember. The Zibong haven't returned to Koguryo in ages. I hope the very last Zibong was the one I encountered. It certainly had aspirations - the desire to control the Sodo in an effort to get beyond the defenses of the nobility & turn them against the King... but had I not taken the actions I did, we may very well be in the 38th year of MuHyul's reign as I write this.
Turning to the 29th year of Yuri's reign, I was a directionless yong warrior. The only code of ethics I knew was "find only those who will make you stronger and associate with them." It was only good for my quick ascension into the Tiger's cave. They say the guide Gamefire had an intuitive nature, and could bring walkers into the path without any training whatsoever and make it work perfectly. That is what he did with me. Had Gamefire's foresight not been used in my situation, I may still be searching today for a better code of ethics. The code I found was the Chongun creed. Gamefire walked me into the path on his famous intuition, and he and Gildenstar spent a lot of time training me afterwards, clueless Chongun I was.
Gamefire's absolute unpredictability and coarse language amused me, but his heart fiercely glowed for everything the creed was and is. Gildenstar, the elder stateswoman and eager diplomat, always carried a weight with her words that is unparaleiled by anyone I've encountered.
So first, the code of ethics: Most important for me in the creed are the words - "Stand ever for right and good against injustice and evil, even if you cannot see the case clearly."
I entered at a delicate time. IceManABk had recently left the Chongun and we were mortified to see the potential of his evil nature. We were for a good time at the Barbarians' throats. Each path exchanged a good deal many walkers - which is why today I see a much closer relationship between the Horde and our own as once unsettling and hopeful.
The world at this time, without a tri-kingdom treaty, with Wind gods, god wars, new places to explore, the threat of the Zibong, KaMing, pirates, and mines was an extremely tumultuous place. The Chongun played their role valiantly, honestly, and to the best of their ability in every situation we faced in my time there. Whatever the Chongun warriors did in those days, they did it together. In my experience studying the Chongun scrolls, listening (especially to Drakwen) on the sordid politics of the day, and practicing my swordplay (and wordplay) with Audi, there was no time the Chongun shined more brilliantly than when coming together to face the threats posed by the natural and supernatural. I was most proud of our decision not to participate in the God war, with Gildenstar's recognition that we were not to be the pawns of a sordid love triangle between Grin and Kismet.
The lands owe the Chongun a thank-you for the stability we have today. This thank you, considering the lack of knowledge and oral tradition, will probably not ever be given, but in the bones of old Chonguns we have the proof, and the lands resonate with their battles. I take solace in knowing that our founder saved our lands with one arrow, and with a similar implement we will face and destroy an evil just as deadly as the Darkstaff. Remember, if you remember nothing else young Cadets, with one arrow we changed the world forever.
Most of the time I spent in the Sodo I spent under Gildenstar, but perhaps most influential in my life once in the circle was the lady Karina. We shared many a cigar under the moonlight and discussed the future of the path fervently and with great animation. She was the one who first reccommended my guideship. I owe her an eternal debt of gratitude. I also regret humbly that I did not write these memoirs before her final bow from the Sodo. I had not yet been purified of that ghostly tinge which, one feels, took another lifetime entirely to completely purge. Encased in the heart, if one can call it that, of a Zibong is beyond any pain I felt in the midst of war. I still cannot speak of it directly, perhaps soon I can relate the tale better.
But.. great pains we did experience at the end of Gildenstar's second eldership; I felt a calling to the position and a desire to unite the path. I solicited both Gildenstar's and DarkMaverick's advice, and took each with the grain of salt which comes after such an ugly rift. The decisions I made were normally slow and cautious - hence only walking two into the path: KoyaSoto and Taijin (whom I assisted Audi in training), and taking counsel with the guides Audi, Mentes, Hunt, and LanceX. I know little of my walkers' respective reigns as Elder, but I am disheartened to think of Taijin's actions as I have heard of them. I did nothing to promote my walkers' ascendency after walking them, so I can only think that of their own accord and merit they ascended to Elder, a fact in which I take no small pride.
Though we no longer have the ability, I also took great pride on that fateful and picturesque day in Dae shore when I married Suayan `Li and Meiyo Yuki. One part of the story that is not widely known - Meiyo himself I wrote in the logs as an Honorary Chongun after the festival of flowers. Although our guides, sadly, no longer have the ability to marry, and no longer do we hear "True love has been forged!" I will always have the memory of such a great battle and such a great love. Our path is based on the principles of not only valor, but love, fortified by the great wars and the price we pay to achieve great love and the sacrifice for great love. It is love that I felt surging through my body anytime I went into battle and felt no blow strike me with any effect. I am sure it is the same with you.
So, brief as my Eldership was, I sought to maintain the system Gildenstar had implemented of Scholars and Avatars, and I sought to listen to new ideas that the path had. I posted regularly on the board to ask walkers for any idea they may have for the future of the path, and I did my best to listen. I encourage all future elders and guides to collaborate always for the betterment of the path. I oversaw the first Chongun marriage, I entered the Heaven's ascent for the first time, and I did everything I could to help the path move on from the tumultuous days of the past. It is my regret that my time was cut short thanks to the last of the Zibong and the knowledge it could use me as a means of destruction. I thank the gods each time I stare at my reflection in a glassy pond, because once I saw the Zibong behind me, and now nevermore. My blood brother, Nao Yuki, the gentle librarian and powerful shaman, eventually brought that ugly chapter of my life to a close with his dark magicks. And now, I feel I can finally spend my twilight years back among the path, free of the binds ahold of me for 30 Yuri, unshackled for 7 Yuri, and my memories finally returned in some respects now.
The greatest gift I see the Chongun have today is in the stability the path enjoys. May it always be that way, because of the lessons learned through the great rift, and the tumult that existed for many Yuris afterwards. Thank you for your careful and thoughtful leadership, SilentS. I again pledge my life to the Chongun way.Unkown format: Humbly,
Avatar of Fire
Illuminatus of Fire (old keeper of dark secrets)
I left the Sodo after the whispers' frequency was more than I could bear. Soon they were close enough that I felt their breath upon my ear. I had heard tales of possession, and knew that I had some particular weakness as an Illuminatus; with dark arts come dark vulnerabilities. I had led my path as well as I could, and this act, culminating in my entrapment for year upon year in the Zibong was for the protection and future leadership of the Chongunate.
I sat in my home away from home, a lean-to shack in the Wilderness, donned in my Gijouhei; I had chosen to deceive the Zibong into thinking it could still take over the path and bring havoc to the Elder's circle. Many thoughts over my own fate came to my head as I awaited the tortuous creature to descend. I was afraid for the first time in my life. I sat, meditated silently in the nothingness, and waited.
"You'll not escape. I will have your soul, CinderZ."
I looked up and the most putrid of sights was before me. The color of decaying bone, sockets without eyes, the spectre of death loomed nigh.
"I will have your Eldership and will drive the subpaths to kill the royalty. The Chongunate will be at the fore of it, and when the community knows, they will rise up and burn your Sodo. This is my revenge for the blow your people, and your hero Calmwind, dealt us in the Sonhi camps."
"So be it. I have not the strength to repel you."
As the Zibong entered my body, I took one step back and fell into oblivion. Through my eyes, the Zibong saw light rushing away from it, and dirt and debris all around. I was in free-fall, and the earth engulfed me. Falling, I broke each bamboo stick that kept the chamber's integrity intact. Even with its immense strength, the Zibong could not overcome hundreds of feet of buried dirt and rubble. The countryside was silent. I had disappeared.