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 Awaken The Fire [Closed]

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PostSubject: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Thu May 09, 2013 3:37 pm

[Toja Hagiwara]


A few days had passed since the oddly bright day, on which Toja had been struck down with one of the worst cases of migraines he had ever experienced. It had taken him two days to even be able to leave his room for more than a few seconds - but at least it wasn't oddly bright anymore on any day afterwards.
Now, he was standing in one of the open training spaces given to the Shinigami of the Seireitei. Nobody else was around - some because they had fled when seeing him approaching with an expression so serious you could mistake him for a serial killer, others because he had thrown them out personally. For what he was planning on doing, he needed to be free of annoying distractions, or he'd let out any pent up frustration he had by now on that distraction. So now he slowly walked right into the center of the training plaza, before sitting down on the ground with his legs crossed - in a fluid motion, he drew the Zanpakutō from his back and laid down the blade bare over his legs.

While he was still technicially relieved from duty due to sickness, he wasn't feeling too bad anymore. Considering that his head had almost killed him, that was probably a good sign - the headaches were nearly gone right now. So while he still had a few days off, Toja would use them to further his only personal agenda a bit more... training. But not his usual training, no. There wasn't much left to be gained for him by reciting Kidō Incantations, or firing them at living or dead training targets. You didn't get much better than total mastery of each known spell, after all. Instead, he'd train with her - Hotaru. His Zanpakutō.
Because only through her could he reach a new, higher level of power... even though the petite Shinigami highly doubted he'd be able to actually learn Bankai, even just understanding each other better would cause his and Hotaru's power to increase. When you had virtually no drive in life besides doing your duty, like him, then that was a pretty big deal!

Thankfully there was no rain today, only a few white clouds in the sky. Toja began regulating his breathing as a soft wind rustled his robes and blew his hair into many different directions. Closing his eyes, Toja began to shut out all other senses besides his spiritual one - the sounds of the world grew dull, darkness absorbed his vision, and even the feeling of Hotaru's slightly warm steel on his legs began to fade. Now, only 'spirit' remained...
And with that, Toja dived into his inner world.

Arriving in the vulcano, Toja landed, as if falling into it, on one of the many floating rocks in the lava. Incredible heat engulfed him, a familiar feeling - breathing in the many gasses and nearly burning air, he actually felt somewhat rejuvenated. Looking around, the small Shinigami saw that the vulcano wasn't all that big today - seemed like he wasn't actually angry at anything, not even subconciously. After stretching his arms and legs for a moment, he jumped across the many floating platforms, with the lava below him - his step was secure and controlled, as he had been within this world quite often.
His steps took him right into the middle of the vulcano - the only actually solid island in this sea of fire. Boiling water was running over the stones in the middle like a spring, and right besides it... was a 'girl', waving at Toja with a wide grin. Even a bit smaller than him, she was his Zanpakutō-spirit - the fire fairy Hotaru.
"There you are! Ready, Toja?" Was the greeting he got when he arrived - and he actually returned a slight smile.
"Anytime, Hotaru."

A burning ball of magma was the first attack. Toja quickly rolled to the side to avoid it - only to have to jump backwards. Hotaru was NOT holding back - instead, she was throwing an entire volley of more and more fire after him. Getting close enough to actually score a hit like this would NOT be easy...

On the outside, nothing had really changed. Toja's expression was frozen in thoughtfull seriousness, and it didn't seem as if anything would get him out of this trance anytime soon...

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Sun May 19, 2013 1:07 am


Knock, knock, knock....

The returning Captain Kaminari tapped the back of her hand lightly against the door of Toja's room. She waited for an answer, but got none. She knocked again, but this time a bit louder. No answer. "What the hell?" she warily put her hand on the door and pulled it open. Glancing inside, she raised an eyebrow when she saw something missing. "Toja..." she mumbled and then closed the door. Making her way down the hallway, she turned the corner almost bumping into a young girl. The girl stopped, having jumped, startled at the fact that she almost ran into her Captain. "Oh! Sorry about that Captain. Excuse me." The girl bowed and went to walk passed her, but Kaminari raised an arm to block her. "Where's Toja?" The girl looked confused and a little worried. "Um... I-I don't know Captain. I was told he was supposed to stay in his room until he got better." the girl said, acting a little intimidated. "Hey... calm down." Kaminari said and set a hand on her shoulder, "It was just a question." Kaminari smiled at the girl. "He ran off, Captain." a man spoke up, obviously he had heard their conversation, "Fourth Seat Hagiwara left a while ago and was heading towards the cafeteria." Kaminari nodded and said nothing more. She began making her way towards the cafeteria. Upon arrival, she looked around for him, but he was not there. One of the women behind the counters spoke up and told her that he left the barracks. "Damn it Toja..." she said and then turned her way from the barracks. She hopped to the top of one of the many walls that made up the maze within the Seireitei and looked around.

A breeze blew through her hair as she closed her eyes and began concentrating. She was attempting to sense his spiritual energy. At the moment, she could not. "Toja... where the hell are you?" she said. "CAPTAIN!" a startling voice hit her ear, causing her to jump, lose her balance, flail, and then clumsily fall back off of the wall. She quickly caught herself and landed gracefully on the ground next to the person that called her. "What is it?" she asked him. "It's that damn Toja! He kicked everyone out of the training grounds! We thought he was supposed to be relieved of duty and wanted to use the grounds our self!" Kaminari just looked towards the training grounds and sighed. She shook her head and waved this complainer off. "I'll take care of it." she said and then shunpo'd out. Moments later, Kaminari arrived at the training grounds. A few people stood on the outskirts of the area, all complaining about something. When they saw her coming, they ran to her and continued the same complaining that the other had. "Look... all of you head back to the barracks. I'll take care of it." she told them and continued her way into the grounds, "You've all got the day off today." She heard them all cheer and shook her head, "Just like children..." As she made it into the grounds, she saw Toja just sitting there with his sword in his lap. "I see...." she thought and stepped over. She sat down about ten feet in front of him and even set her own sword in her lap. Though she wasn't going to do anything, just sitting there with him was quite relaxing, especially when she could sense fluctuations of his reiatsu. She knew he was up to something.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Thu May 30, 2013 2:27 pm

[Toja Hagiwara]


"Wow, hey! Take it easy!" Toja dodged a wave of fire by dropping down onto the ground just in time to be forced to jump into the air, as the next one was already moving towards him. This was impossible! Hotaru had him completely locked down in quite a large distance, and he had only managed to advance TWO platforms! How was he supposed to beat his Zanpakuto at her own game? And to make matters worse, she didn't even seem to be exhausting herself, playfully yawning as she threw out another two waves of flame towards the small Shinigami.
"This ain't funny..." Now Toja was actually forced to jump backwards with a flip in mid-air. The smell of burning hair and cloth was in his nose - that had been way too close! And to make matters worse... Now the platform underneath him started cracking.
And within this inner world, there were no spirit particles to stand on.
"SHI-"
There wasn't any time to finish his sentence as the ground underneath his feet broke away. Falling backwards into the cracks between the platforms, he could feel the intense heat of molten rock right behind himself, unable to move or stop his fall. This wasn't good, not good at all...!
"Really now? Have you forgotten what this fire means?" A giggle came from Hotaru... as she, instead of helping her wielder who was plumetting towards the molten rock, threw out a wave of fire almost twice the size of the ones before, right at him. Heat from both sides engulfed Toja, charred his flesh and bones into black, dead coals...

And with a gasp for air, Toja returned to reality, his eyes suddenly wide open. Nearly falling over forward, he cought his fall with the left hand down to the ground - sweat was running down his entire body, and he still felt the phantom heat of the fire and lava burning him into a crisp. His breathing was erratic, and his pulse was high as well - nearly dying, even if it wasn't real... not an experience he wanted to repeat anytime soon.
"That... really wasn't funny, Hotaru." With a grimace on his face, the petite Shinigami looked down onto the blade that was now resting on the ground before him, reflecting the light of the day... and also reflecting the image of someone. And that someone was... Toja's captain.
Startled, Toja raised his head and tried his best not to look too embarassed as he took on a normal kneeling position again.
"C-Captain! Sorry, I didn't even notice you walking in on me." Thankfully, Toja's training had not caused any actual outbursts of fire, or it would've gotten really uncomfortable now. There was a reason he told everyone else to get the hell out when he was training... Well, two reasons. First of all, safety. Second, he simply didn't like those slackers one bit that pretended to train, yet never showed any progress!
"I thought... I'd sneak in some practice, while I'm still off duty. Turns out that I'm still about as far in relationships with my Zanpakuto as I've always been, though." With a sigh, Toja lifted up his blade with the right hand and made the blade glitter in the sunlight. Such a beautiful sword... Yet he had little to no knowledge of how to properly wield it. It was a shame, really - Hotaru would've been better of with a more capable, stronger Shinigami than him. Thinking about that, he let out a heavy sigh. "I know every single Kido incantation created by the Gotei 13, yet I still can't even begin to understand her."

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Fri May 31, 2013 11:08 am


"He's likely talking with his Zan, right?" a certain voice rung in her head. "Yep..." she spoke back to the voice mentally. It was her own Zanpakutō spirit. "Ha... should be interesting... Sick and out training, smart kid..." Shiroka said back in a condescending manner. "Leave him alone... If he wants to practice, then let him practice. It's not like I didn't do the same thing." she replied in an annoyed manner. "Well you were different. You weren't hollowf-" she was cut off by Kaminari becoming even more annoyed that usual. "Shut up..." she told Shiroka. "No. He needs to be careful. And since you obviously care for the kid, you need to tell him some time, otherwise who knows what will happen to him!" Shiroka said, "Not everyone can survive that... Not everyone is S-" "STOP IT!" Kaminari cut her off at that moment. She wasn't exactly in the mood to hear it, even though she knew it was completely true. It actually brought a few tears to her eyes. Tears that she wiped out the moment she realized that they were there, though she couldn't hide it perfectly. "Well then..." she thought as she saw that Toja had come back to reality. He seemed upset though. She was able to tell just by his voice, not having to see the look on his face. For a moment he didn't notice her presence, but when he did he was just as surprised as she figured he'd be. She simply placed her elbow on her knee and her chin on a closed fist and stared at him. It was all too obvious how the training he just mentioned went. She didn't even have to scold him for being out here when he was off duty. He was upset enough and she wasn't one to add to it by kicking him when he's down. Instead, she took in a deep breath and sighed it out. Apparently, he and his Zanpakutō didn't get along very well at the moment. He brought up his blade and admired it a bit. She could tell it was a beautiful blade and that he desperately wanted to wield it correctly. Still, she stayed quiet until his last word, 'her'. That caught Kaminari's attention.

"Your Zanpakutō spirit is a female, huh?" she asked him with a raised eyebrow, "How do you interact with her? Females are complicated, emotional, vindictive, and manipulative as hell. Also... how are you at understanding females in general?" Kaminari asked as she stood up and held her hand out to him. If he took it, she'd help him back to his feet. "From what I've seen in people... there are two ways people earn the powers over their Zanpakutō..." Kaminari began to explain, "... Now this is only what I've seen, but the two I know of are Friendship and Domination. If friendship isn't working with her... fight to kill. Prove your worth, prove to them that you deserve to be allied with them." Kaminari stepped around, pacing a little bit as she was worried for him, but still wanted to help him reach his goals. "For an example, Shiroka, my Zanpakutō..." she said as she pulled her Zan from off of her back  by unsheathing it and bringing it forward, "She was stubborn as hell. I tried making friends, but she closed herself off from me. After a while, I got pissed off at her and kicked her ass, forcing her to tell me her name. After that, I told her she needed to learn to trust me. That was when I got my Shikai. When I got my bankai, she was still as stubborn. I had to earn her trust and that was even more of a pain in the ass...." Kaminari got one annoyed and irritated ass look on her face when she spoke of how she got her bankai. If one would look close enough they would even be able to see her left eye begin to twitch like she was a mad woman. Realizing she was doing that though, she quickly calmed herself down and turned back to him. "Enough about that... Tell me about her. What's she like? What does she want from you? You must have some hint..." Kaminari sheathed her Zanpakutō and crossed her arms, waiting to hear what Toja had to say.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:44 am

[Toja Hagiwara]


Toja listened to the words that his Captain had to say with a few silent nods. Any information and story that could help him was much appreciated, after all - otherwise, understanding Hotaru could maybe elude him forever. Reaching out, Toja took her hand and stood up - without even looking, he spun around his Zanpakuto in his left hand and sheathed it on his back. In such fleeting moments, he and the sword were one and the same, but those moments had to become the norm if he wanted to reach the next level.

In deep thought, Toja tried to answer the questions of his superior officer to the best of his own ability. And that wasn't easy, especially with Hotaru's voice laughing at him inside of his mind and calling him stupid. Or thick-headed. She really had a knack for that whenever he messed up in training... Which happened quite often when he wasn't practicing with Kido. But finally, he answered.
"To be honest, your describtion of women fits with men as well. At least with the ones I know. Anyways... Hotaru is odd... It's not like she hates me, or the other way. She's wild, unpredictable... And believe me, I tried beating her in combat before." A slight grimace flashed over his face. "I just did that, in fact. And as usual, it resulted in me getting burned, quite literally. But when I try to talk to her, she just evades every single question or laughs at me. Yet she told me her name without even considering giving me a hard time - I just don't get her." The small Shinigami drew his blade once more, and the brilliant steel reflected the light of the day into every direction like the piece of a small star... or sun.
"But... she has given me one hint. Again and again, but I don't understand it. She's told me that I 'know' what my fire means, what it consists out of. And if I knew that and used it, I could beat her. Quite honestly, I have no idea what she's talking about. The fire can't just be power - I can't have more power than a part of myself. But it's also not rage, because no matter how angry I get, I can't beat her..." Another sigh, and Toja stared at his sword as if he could read the explanation on the blank steel.
"Any idea what she could mean, Captain? If I understand that, I might be able to finally force her into physical form."

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:07 pm


This wasn't something that would be easily figured out by someone who didn't know Toja very well. Sure, the two of them held a few conversations. She's learned to care about the young guy and even calls him her friend, but she didn't know enough to dissect the meaning of an inner fire. She thought on it for a moment, staring off as she contemplated on it. "Truthfully Toja... I can't say I know. I don't even think I could guess." Kaminari crossed her arms and sighed, "Fire has represented a lot... Things like power, love, fear, energy, and life... It all depends on the person. I have no idea what it could mean. Do you not have any hints? If she tells you that you do know what the fire means, is there a latent memory that you could look back to?" Kaminari turned her attention back to him, wondering if anything that she had said sparked a thought. There really wasn't much she could do, she had no idea. If only she knew more of the situation. She could tell that he really wanted to advance, but was unable to because of this road block. It really was one heck of a road block to. She felt a little guilty for not being able to help him. She cleared her throat and shook her head. "If you are unable to figure it out, why don't you concentrate on just advancing your physical skills?" she asked him, making a suggestion to help him move passed this, "Move to practicing things beyond the Zanpakutō. There are many Shinigami who don't even have to release their shikai a lot of the time. I doubt you want to be stuck at your current level." Kaminari raised her Zanpakutō in front of her and smiled. She thought about offering a spar, but hesitated when she realized that with this upsetting obstacle he's dealing with, it might not be the best idea. "You're skilled in Kidō, correct? What about the others? Zanjutsu? Hakuda?"

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Tue Jul 23, 2013 4:53 pm

[Toja Hagiwara]


"Ah... I guess you're right, Captain. I need to figure this out on my own... And either make Hotaru obey, or understand her. Sooner or later, I will do that. I won't be defeated by a shard of myself." Toja's eyes wandered over the shining steel of his weapon again. The beautiful sword seemed to take the sunlight of this day into itself, as if to intensify her own glow further by outshining even the sun. Somehow, Toja could really see Hotaru do that... A latent memory... He'd think about that in the future. There HAD to be a hint somewhere in the past, and he'd find it! And with that thought, he resheathed the beautiful sword in one swift motion, spinning it around in his hand once.
"And you're right again. I want to - no, I need to be a lot stronger than I currently am. Staying at this level is no option." Crossing his arms infront of his chest, Toja closed the eyes for the second and thought about what she said. "I'm acceptable in Hakuda, I believe. I might not be able to break someone's back with a kick, but I can turn around a fight. My stature is not any good for strength, so I prefer to use speed. And my Zanjutsu, well... if you reversed my skill in Kido, that'd be my Zanjutsu." Now, Toja had a slight grimace on his face.
"I lack the strength to break through defenses. My arms are too short to properly use the length of my blade. The length also forces me to wield it with both hands to have any force behind my blows. My balance is also terrible, not to mention my battle sense when using a sword. In short, I barely passed the courses in the academy, and even that skill is questionable at best. Do you believe I could really improve that skill with a body like mine, Captain?" This was the first time that Toja really mentioned his body in any way, shape or form to Kaminari, besides the one remark he had made about people mistaking his gender and paying for it when they first talked. It was a... touchy subject, but he believed his captain to handle such a topic with more maturity than he expected from nearly all other members of the Gotei.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:36 pm


Through out Toja's entire explanation, Kaminari had the most stunned look on her face that one could even imagine. It was a serious combination of confusion and shock. The way Toja described himself at first was fine, but then everything else came out of his mouth! Right when he started speaking about Zanjutsu was when everything turned... odd. He described his strength, so she looked from his shoulders to his arms, to his legs and immediately saw what he was saying. He described his arms as short, so she went back to them and measured to the best of her abilities when not using measuring tape. "Ehhhh....." She thought. When he spoke of his balance, Kaminari fought the urge to poke the side of his head to see if he'd tip over. Once he started speaking of his sense with a sword, she looked straight at him and was seriously just stuck. "Barely passed the Academy classes... I should know these things..." she thought to herself. Once he was done, her face shifted back to normal and she took in a deep breath. His question was a tough one to answer. There was no way in hell she'd immediately tell him to give up and that he'd never improve. One, that would be a lie. It was definitely possible. And two, it'd just be mean. She had come to care about the guy, so being mean was not on her list of to-do's when it comes to Toja. "Well, I'd say you do have a challenge ahead of you, but anything is possible."  Kaminari told him and took a step back. "I'm not exactly the tallest person around here either, and that frequently gets me insulted or underestimated... But at first, I always had problems. I thought I'd never be able to do anything with Hakuda, Zanjutsu was easier, but I think being gifted with a duel Zan sorta made me more inept to be decent in it... Kidō, like you, was the easiest for me to grasp, hence my current position as Captain... But the point is... Depending on what you want to do, and how hard you work for it, you can get a hell of a lot better in the categories you feel you're lacking in." Kaminari kept herself quiet for a while, slowly pacing back and forth to let him thin about what he said or ask her any questions. After a few moments, she turned back to him and asked, "So... What is it you *want* to do?"

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Fri Jul 26, 2013 6:21 pm

[center][Toja Hagiwara]

Now that was an interesting question. It certainly helped that she thought of him as someone capable - even though his track record, apart from 700 years of near-perfect service, wasn't anything too special. Getting better where he was lacking would be a great idea, but so far, Toja had always failed. But why? Well, it was probably because Toja had never really wanted anything in his entire life. He had lived from moment to moment - first, it had been from meal to meal. Then, from the one lesson to the next. Now, it was from the paycheck to the bar and back to the paycheck. Was there really any POINT behind it, in the end? What did Toja WANT?
He closed his eyes for a short moment and raised the head towards the sky before opening them again. Blue with a few clouds. Possibility. What was his desire, his need? To be part of the Gotei, of course. The Gotei was his family, as long as he had the Gotei, no real long-term dream was needed. He was at home here, even if not many people liked him, and even if so many people pissed him off on a daily basis. This was his dream. And to hold on to a dream, you needed power... power to protect. Finally, he answered after what had probably been a few minutes to the outside world, as the small Shinigami collected his thoughts and formed a clear desire for the first time in centuries, really.

"...Everything..."

It was a quiet, single world, before Toja seemingly returned to conciousness from within his own mind and his eyes cleared up from the haze that had cought them. Maybe for just the quarter of a second, something else was visible in his eyes as they fixated onto Kaminari again, but this time, this strange occurance of black color did not seem to cause any immedeate pain to Toja, leaving the possibility of it being just an optical illusion.
"It's obvious to me, at least now. What I WANT to do is quite easy to put into words - I want to be a better Shinigami. In essence, I want everything." Toja chuckled at the weird words coming out of his mouth, as he drew his blade again - his motion seemed somehow more fluid, and more natural, than before. Within his own mind, he felt a warmth that could only come from Hotaru approving of him more.
"So I should probably start with what I'm weakest at. Zanjutsu. Sadly, I have no real knowledge about the members of our squad, Captain. I mainly just do my job. Do you have any idea for a good... partner for someone of my level?"

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:40 pm


It was a simple, but a highly loaded question. So many answers, so many ways to take it. What did he want? That is what she wanted to know, and some how he was able to bring his answer out in one quiet word. "Hm?" Kaminari heard it, but since he spoke so quietly, she kept it to herself and waited for some sort of confirmation. He looked back to her, and Kaminari's expression hardened. She honestly felt that choking feeling that people feel when they're fighting tears. "Not again..." she thought and she took a deep, silent breath. She did not have the heart to bring it up. She couldn't tell him what his headaches really were. Sure, she had not had it completely confirmed, but the signs were a little obvious to her. Any day, Toja could hollowfy and Kaminari had no way of stopping it. She knew she should tell him, warn him, let him cope with what was going to happen, but with what he just said, how could she? He wanted to become a better Shinigami, to improve. If she wasn't to damn reluctant to, she'd likely break out in tears at this moment, but she kept herself hardened so she would not. Kaminari was able to push up a small smile, keeping her cool on the outside, but mentally and emotionally falling apart. "Alright then..." Kaminari said with a softened tone, "If that is what you want, I will do my best to help you get there, okay?"  Kaminari watched him pull out his blade once more and she was easily able to see the change. Though, she knew that wasn't because of anything she had said. This caused Kaminari to raise an eyebrow. She was going to ask him what had happened, but he asked her about a... "Partner? Someone to practice with?" Kaminari thought for a moment, placing one hand on her chin, another along her midsection, "I guess... me? Since our Lieutenant is new, and so is our third seat, I haven't been able to gather enough information about their skill in Zanjutsu, though I believe Kuro wouldn't be a bad choice. So, if not me, him." Kaminari tilted her head to the side and blinked, "I have two questions... One, what do you know about me? And two, what was that sudden confidence I saw when you drew your blade?" Easy way to talk about something! Just spout out the questions with no hesitation or real intention behind them, at least no known intention!

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:47 pm

[Toja Hagiwara]


Toja didn't even notice when the thing inside of him was visible for a short moment. He was filled with confidence - which was quite rare when not practicing Kido, at least for him - so his mind failed to take up on the subtle hints as to how Kaminari was suffering silently because of something neither of them could control, or would ever be able to get rid of. The looming darkness within the Shinigami would always be there... and it would always be waiting.
But when she offered to help him train, Toja bowed his head slightly with a small smile, one that was both happy and amazed.
"I'd... I'd be honored if you helped me hone my skills, Captain. Though I must warn you, training with me will probably be exceptionally boring for someone on the level of a Captain - as I said, I'm not all that good. In fact, I'm a terrible swordsman." There was no way to say this without sounding self-deprimanding, but it was a simple fact.

It was only now that Toja even noticed that Hotaru felt... a bit different in his hand, as the change had happened on a more subconcious level. Similiarities came to his mind from back during his academy years, when he had already been able to hear her whispering voice, even if he had lacked the skills to summon her true name back then. His eyes wandered over the shining steel, but the answer came to him naturally this time.
"I guess she's approving of the idea. Hotaru is a bit of a moody one, so if I make her happy, she gives me more access to herself... So the blade is more natural, in a way. I suppose as a Zanpakuto spirit, she really wants me to be able to fight properly with blade in hand, so she's... helping out? Yes, that would be the best way to describe it... The feeling is similiar to my Shikai, but not as 'direct'. It is subtle, a hint of strength from within. An odd feeling, to be quite honest." Twirling the, for his standards, long blade around, Toja looked back at his captain and had a slightly exusing smile on his face.

"But as for the second part of your question, Captain... I think I learned more about you in the last few days than I knew before. I know that you're a kind person, and an understanding one, too. But besides that, I only knew your name and rank beforehand. It pains me to admit it, but I never thought about really... talking with a superior before." He then explained, keeping his blade loosely in his hand.
"I do remember an old saying from my academy days: You get to know more about a person by crossing blades than you would ever get to know by talking." Taking a small jump backwards, Toja took his blade into both hands, in a stance reminiscent of Kendo, although it looked a bit awkward with how long his blade was compared to his body. "Will you give me the honor of crossing swords with you, Captain?"

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:28 pm


"Training with you will be boring?" Kaminari raised an eyebrow, "Training with me is no walk in the park, Toja. I don't exactly go easy, though I'm not some brute either. Things can happen... You can change and get better." Kaminari asked two questions of him and he answered them opposite of her asking. Oh well. That was funny. He probably figured the second one was more important or something, which it was. Apparently Hotaru was liking the idea of him practicing and getting better. That was good to hear. "She's probably proud of the fact that you're willing to push yourself until you do advance... It seems she does love you. I think you two will be just fine." Kaminari said to him with a smile, referring to the fact that Toja wasn't understanding, or remembering, what Hotaru wanted from him. Toja went to answer the other question she asked and caused her to glance off to think a bit. For a while she stayed silent, at least until he asked to cross swords with her. Kaminari's demeanor changed a bit. Her back straightened and her face hardened a little. She got more serious and professional. That really was just a usual reaction. It took her a second to calm herself down and realize that this wasn't some sort of challenge. She smiled and chuckled to herself. She took in a deep breath and slowly let it out before reaching back and unsheathing the first of her two swords. Seeing as he only had one and had repeatedly mentioned his lack in skill when it comes to the sword, she was not going to duel wield a blade against him. That would just be fucked up. She raised her wakazashi and glanced to it, then back to Toja. "Alright then, Toja..." she said as she held her wakazashi outwards, the tip pointing towards him as she took a couple of steps back, "Do your best. Show me what you've got. I'll see what I can do to help you advance your skills." Kaminari took her stance, bringing her left hand behind her back. Some would take only using one hand as an insult, but Kaminari's skill with two swords allow certain habits and techniques she did not want to use at the moment. She did this to make sure they were not going to be used. "Whenever you're ready..." she said, now merely waiting...

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Wed Aug 21, 2013 7:35 am

[Toja Hagiwara]


This was it, then - a training session with his captain. But what she didn't know, was how effective one of her last sentences was on Toja. In fact, she had probably not thought too much of it when saying it - but upon reaching Toja, those words alone echoed within his soul, and he could feel a resonance unlike any other before. It felt just like the surge when he first unlocked his Shikai - a deep connection between himself, his own power, and Hotaru within his hands. Toja blinked - and in what was far less than a second of his eyes being closed, he felt the embrace of something warm and engulfing. A fire, unlike any he had felt before.

It seems she does love you.

For a moment, Toja cursed himself for having been so blind, but when he looked at Kaminari, there was no sign of that in his eyes - slowly grinding his feet into a good starting position, his blade pointed forward towards her. Really, he had no illusions about his skills - he knew that he could go all out, and show her all he could do, without any danger of actually hurting her in the slightest. He was a seated officer, she was a captain - that alone was indicator enough.
Yet when he felt this warm rush, something else happened - something he didn't even notice about himself. His Reiatsu had just skyrocketed - while still not on the level of even the weakest captains, it was certainly at the peak for him currently. Something different could be seen in his eyes now - not the black taint of something dark within his soul. A red, swirling haze, his Reiatsu taking on a visible form.
"Here goes nothing...!"

And then, the attack. Toja darted forward at his maximum speed - the kickoff from the ground was fast and strong enough to break apart part of the ground and cause a dust cloud to erupt just where Toja had been. He was not using Shunpo, though - just careful control of his body. While charging, Toja brought the blade in his hands to the left and slightly upwards - putting as much strength into it as he could, the small Shinigami attempted a passing slash at his Captain. No matter if it was dodged, parried or simply blocked off, he whirled around after passing by Kaminari, his blade lowered to his lower left side, before slashing diagonally upwards without any proper aim - this was more a pre-emptive defensive move to block any direct counter that could be brought his way. If he could just use his basic knowledge of swordplay, maybe he could NOT embarass himself instantly...

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Thu Aug 22, 2013 5:21 am


"Don't push him too hard... You don't want him changing right here and now." an inner voice spoke in concern for both Kaminari and Toja. Shiroka was worried because Kaminari was worried. They had both watched others that they cared about go through the same thing. It was like anyone she was getting close to was going to change. There were times that she even thought about doing something to follow them, but of course, she could not. Not only did the path frighten her, but her loyalty to the Gotei was absolute. Nothing beyond a tragedy would hollowfy her. Anyways... Toja asked to cross swords with her, so she would accept the friendly challenge and do her best to not just fight, but help him advance. "Are you ready for this?" she was asked. "As ready as I'll ever be." Kaminari said, unable to turn down Toja's request. Everything was set into play. Kaminari took her stance and awaited Toja's charge. Right now, she would defend. Toja came towards her with a determination that she wanted to see. His used his full speed and attacked like she wanted, with the best of his ability. She was immediately impressed. Though he was right, there are a few things he could learn to do better, the fact that he did not hold back was admirable. His first attack came upwards towards his left, which would translate to her right side. Observing his movements, Kaminari stepped backwards out of the starting range and at the same time shifted her right side back away from Toja, so now he would be standing at her left side, allowing a successful dodge. "You ever think of using Kidō to extend your blade?" she asked as he went and initiated a second attack in succession to his first. This she was not expecting, he had no particular targeted area. Obviously she was his target, but it was like he randomly swung his sword. Kaminari decided to actually counter this by stepping back out of the swords range as it went up. Once it was up, she shifted her weight and stepped in to very close range, practically only a few inches from his body, while bringing her wakazashi down towards her right to get ready for her attack. Kaminari then swung the back end, the blunt edge, of her wakazashi towards Toja's right side. Kaminari would not use her full speed or strength on him because she wished for him to think of a way to counter or dodge, but she wasn't going to go completely easy on him.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Sat Aug 31, 2013 6:19 pm

[Toja Hagiwara]


Of course it didn't work out - Toja wasn't exactly surprised. His sword only managed to cut through air, without even coming close of being a serious threat. His attempt at swordplay had probably looked like a mad cow charging, and less like the attempts of a fighter trying to do his best. When Kaminari came in close, Toja had no time to react - his blade was still high up in the air from his second failed slash, so he couldn't block. In fact, blocking something THIS close wouldn't have worked out anyway with his rather long blade. His eyes widened as he tried to dodge - but of course, without any current momentum, his reaction was way too slow.

The blunt side of the weapon hit him right on the ribs, and Toja was thrown to the ground, where he did a rather ungraceful sideways roll, kicking up dust. Damn, that hurt - but he wasn't going to give out just yet. Jumping back onto his feet, Toja took position with his blade pointed at Kaminari again, though he was panting now and clenching his side with the left hand. The strength of a captain was nothing to scoff at, especially for someone physicially weak like the petite Shinigami.
"Tried to do that. Never worked out without my Shikai - usually the Kidō just exploded. Or it exploded on someone else." He answered her question, while attempting to catch his breath. Gripping the blade with both hands again, he concentrated... What could he do better this time? Well for one, he could be faster - but you didn't just get faster because you wanted to be faster. So that was out. A more direct assault rather than a passing move? That'd be retarded, Kaminari would disarm him and knock him out in a heartbeat for sure. Attempt to strike from behind? There was no way that his Shunpo could be as fast as hers. Fighting an uphill battle really wasn't easy. But he didn't get to be a Kidō master by complaining about something being hard!

So Toja went for the frontal assault anyway. Sure, he wasn't as strong or agile - but he could only reach his captain's levels by observing her, and repeating the actions again and again, until his body became stronger and faster. Using his Shunpo for the first time in front of his captain, Toja used it to dash right at her - once again, he took no real precautions, since she would easily be able to counter or evade his blade anyway. Appearing right before Kaminari, Toja pulled his blade back slightly and went for a stab at her stomach with as much speed and strength as he could muster - his blade singing as it flew through the air. Right after the stab, Toja used all the strength he could muster from his legs to take a small dash backward - he wouldn't make the same mistake twice and stay up close to Kaminari, where she could just knock him out without even trying hard.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:06 pm


"Unless it was an ally, the exploding on someone else doesn't sound too bad." Kaminari replied in a joking manner and even let a short giggle be heard before she became serious again. Toja took his stance and seemed to be thinking about what he was going to do. "In battle you can't stand there and think for too long. Ignore the Bleach representation of battle because standing there and allowing your opponent to think up their own strategy or charge an attack is probably the stupidest thing you could ever do..." Kaminari told him and soon after he charged forward using shunpo. Kaminari watched with interest as he took up the technique to attack her. He appeared right before her and Kaminari pushes herself back just out of the reach of his blade. Ready for a second attack from Toja, she shifted her weight to move forward until she saw his next move. She stopped mid-motion when Toja darted back away from her. "Nice job." she smirked, but the continued her motion by running forward towards Toja. When she entered his range, she brought the dull end of her wakazashi down towards his right shoulder. She did not do this at full speed. Instead, she slowed it down to see whether he was able to see the motions of the body that allowed you to predict where someone was going to strike. For instance, before she struck she stopped running on her left foot to allow more control in a downward swing that was coming from the upper right (Toja's upper left). She also made the path of her arm much less broad than it would normally be to give him a better chance of realizing where she was going to strike. Coming down from this angle would not allow many feint attacks, if any at all. There was one path it was going to take, nothing more. Thirdly, though she was in range, she did not get as close to him as she normally would. This would allow an simpler evasion or counter, along with the noticeably wider swing from her sword. It was all up to Toja and whether he were going to be able to noticed the changes in her fighting style.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:23 am

[Toja Hagiwara]


"You don't get a reputation like mine if you don't accidentally blow up your allies from time to time. I swear, most of those times weren't intentional." Toja smirked a bit on his own remark, and gripped his blade as hard as he could. Probably not the best thing to actually do when fighting, but he wasn't exactly well-versed on techniques on how to hold a sword properly. Of course, Kaminari was correct - just standing there wasn't exactly a smart idea during combat. But he was also running out of ideas really fast, considering how much better she was than him - and the simple fact that his creativity with the sword didn't go much farther than 'cut my enemy with the sharp part'. Then again, strategy can only come in AFTER you obtain skill - until then, instinct would be his only chance of maybe getting close to hitting Kaminari with his blade. At least Hotaru was happy with that, since she hated long-winded planning... She was actually cheering him on mentally right now. Not that it helped much, but the gesture was nice, and warmth was flowing through Toja's entire body, together with his spiritual energy.

Then, Kaminari went into full offense - and this time, Toja had adequate time to react. Mostly because of how obvious this attack motion was. While he didn't pick up on her stopping her movement, he did pick up on the blade that was raised above him and was on it's way downwards - maybe, just maybe, he would be able to counter it this time? The motions from Kaminari were deliberately slowed down, he was sure of that - so now was time to take advantage of it. In real combat, he had to react faster and with more strength - but to do that, he first had to understand the basics of these movements and attacks.
Raising his own blade, Toja did a slight step to his own left, while raising Hotaru upwards - the hilt slightly to the left and above of his head, the sword pointing to the right side, and slightly downwards. As the dull edge from Kaminari's Zanpakutō hit onto his blade, Toja used the shape of his katana to let the blow glance of, scrape over his blade, and leave him completely free and open - with his blade raised still, he twisted around his wrists, and executed an overhead swing with both hands at Kaminari, as fast as he could. Which was still pretty slow by seated officer standards, since his physical strength wasn't very developed, but it was still something - and since his blade was, for his measurements, a longer sword, this was actually a preferable range to be in for direct combat.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Mon Oct 07, 2013 12:42 pm


"Hm? Oh really?" Kaminari raised an eyebrow at his remark and wasn't sure whether it would be good to ask any further on that matter, so she shook her head and brushed it off. As she went on the offensive, she was careful to observe Toja to the best of her abilities and did notice a bit of fire within his spirit. Was something helping him? He seemed just a tad bit more determined. He observed her movements pretty well and successfully blocked her sword from hitting him and was able to immediately move in to counter her. He swung his blade towards her, but once again didn't seem to have any real aim. It was just 'must hit Kaminari', but if a blade has no aim, it's actions a bit too broad. Even if this was true, she was proud of his execution. As his sword came at her, she pushed herself back and jumped out of the way of the incoming blade. "Not bad." she said as she landed and smiled at him. "Here..." she stepped up behind him and reached around him, "You're right handed, right? Alright... So always hold your sword with your right hand, obviously... but if you choose to hold with two keep your right under the hilt." As she said that, she pushed his right hand up to right below the hilt of his Zanpakutō and slid his left hand down enough to put at least two inches between them. "Try that. When you strike, you want your dominant hand to be the one putting more strength into it, so it should be at the top." she said as she stepped back and used her own Zanpakutō as an example. She brought her Zanpakutō up and swung it straight down, though she did have her left hand below the hilt, which would make it seem that she is left handed, but she was actually easily able to use both. Ambidextrous! You got to love it. "Try it... Just swing your blade like this a few times, step forward, down swing, step back, bring it up. Repeat and repeat." she told him, doing it as an example. Depending on his choice and how well he did, she'd watch. If he did well, she'd show him how to stand with one hand.

"When you're just starting out, you have to watch your stance, okay? Since most fight with one hand... Place your loose hand behind your back so it's not flying around everywhere... Don't want it cut off, now do we? Then keep your body turned to the side while your facing them and your sword outwards." and like before, she used her own body as an example and hand her left hand behind her back while her sword was in her right. She kept her body to the side so that he would be looking at her from the side and her sword was up and pointed in his direction. "You stand like this to protect all of your vital points. Standing and facing directly towards your enemy opens you up and can make it harder to move... Once you're more comfortable with a blade, you can adjust your own stance to fit your style, but until then, stick to playing it safe and being more defensive."

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Tue Oct 15, 2013 3:02 pm

[Toja Hagiwara]


Well, another failed attempt ended the active combat portion of the training for now. Not that Toja was too disappointed in himself - there was no chance of him scratching a Captain with his meager Zanjutsu skills, after all. Apparently he wasn't too disappointing of a student for his Captain, so that was nice - he really didn't want to disappoint Kaminari. After all, she was one of the few people he could stand to be around...

And now, it turned out to be quite good that Toja was so small in stature. Kaminari was easily able to reach around him from behind and adjust his grip on the blade. Following her advice was easy - since his hands were also rather small, he had more than enough room on the hilt for the type of grip he was instructed to use now. Being this close to anyone, training or no, was quite uncomfortable for Toja - mostly because he wasn't even used to talking to people, let alone anything else. But for the sake of training under Kaminari, he didn't even flich when she adjusted his hands - and even tried to loosen his hard grip around the hilt of Hotaru a bit.
"I see... keeping a bit of space between my hands, and..." Toja murmured more to himself, before he took the stance that was shown to him and brought his blade down through the air once. He still had to get used to this type of grip, but he was already able to feel a difference - his right arm was stronger than the left one, so this type of strike seemed more direct and fast.

Taking a stance with only a single hand on Hotaru, though, wasn't exactly easy for someone who wasn't even that much longer than his sword. Still, he tried - it helped that a Zanpakutō was as light as a feather to the wielder, even if the feeling was not one he knew much.
"Sideways, blade pointing at the enemy." Repeating the basic instructions, Toja turned his body sideways, the blade pointing forward - the left hand kept next to his body. Yes, he could definitely see how this type of stance would help his swordplay - especially since a free left hand meant one hand open for slinging Kidō at the enemy without stop. Though he had to be careful with that, or he'd get it cut off while firing one, and that wouldn't exactly help!

"Of course - when the own skill is below the enemy, fighting is not to win. One fights to survive, and to exploit mistakes..." Raising his blade once and striking down through the air, the motion nearly knocked him over. Great, he looked like a fool when trying to hold Hotaru with a single hand! Still, he wouldn't give up. Raising the sword again, the small Shinigami executed another strike - this time, without nearly falling over. And again, and again - getting speed and a safer grip every time. For some reason, holding onto the blade NOT with his full strength seemed to help the 'flow' of the strike... Interesting. Still, he prefered the double grip on the sword.
"I think I'm starting to understand the basics of it. Still, I doubt I could fight like this." Giving up his stance, Toja spun the wrist holding Hotaru around a bit. "It is certainly faster, but I don't think I could cleave through a Hollow's mask with that pathetic amount of strength... Not surprised about that, though. Some training should help out with it."
Taking the stance again, Toja brought his blade down through the air again, the steel singing a bit as it traveled and stopped right above the ground. The small Shinigami didn't even notice it, but that last practice strike kicked up a bit dust - he was already getting more secure by the second with this stance. That was, of course, because of Hotaru herself - a secure wielder could draw out more power from a Zanpakutō.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Wed Oct 23, 2013 9:26 am


It seemed that Toja was taking in every detail of the lesson. Kaminari watched him mimic what he had been shown, improvement visible already. With a bit of practice with these more basic techniques it would be very possible for him to advance his swordsmanship, even if he couldn't see it now. It actually made Kaminari proud to see him concentrate so hard on it. He didn't seem to have any confidence in the style, yet was willing to try. That was something she admired in a subordinate and in a friend. "Good. In that stance, if someone is coming at you, they can't easily strike for your vital spots because they're turned away." Kaminari brought her blade up and slowly pushed it forward in a stabbing motion to show him what she meant, "And then when they do attempt, your sword has less of an area to guard." It was basic advice, but she wondered why this wasn't taught to him before. Maybe the curriculum at the Academy had changed since her departure, or the teacher had. Who knows? She hadn't been there in a while. And at that, wasn't Toja older than her? Yeah, by a few hundred years at that. He was definitely older than her. Maybe this was just stuff they hadn't done when he was at the Academy? At times, Kaminari forgot how young she was in comparison to many of the Shinigami around. She really was lucky; not many could become a Captain or reach this skill level so young. Enough tooting her own horn. Right now things were about Toja. She was determined to help him advance, especially since she was unsure of how much longer he'd be around. Kaminari stood back with her arms crossed and watched him practice his stance, hold, and swing.

"It'll take time. I too had problems when I first started. You just train and train. It also helps if you find the right teacher, whether it's yourself, or a friend." she told him after his final swing and set a hand on his shoulder and pointed to the risen dirt. Not bad, he even had a bit of power come behind a few of those. "Not bad... Not bad a-..." Kaminari froze mid speech and glanced back as a hell butterfly appeared a few feet away. She raised her hand and allowed it to land, listening to a quick message and then sighing. "Unfortunately it seems like we're done here. Keep practicing and we'll do this again another time. For now, I must go." Kaminari smiled to him, setting her hand on his shoulder and nodding in approval to him. She looked away, took a step, and shunpo'd out, heading off in the direction of the Squads barracks.

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PostSubject: Re: Awaken The Fire [Closed]   Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:20 pm

[Toja Hagiwara]


"Alright then, Captain. Take care. And - thanks."

With those words, Toja bid farewell to his superior, who had been called away via Hell Butterfly. His own eyes followed the black speck for a short moment, wondering what exactly called her away - but really, that was none of his buisness. With a sigh, the small Shinigami stretched and cracked the knuckles on his fingers a bit - they had gotten stiff from constantly grabbing his sword, since he wasn't used to that. Hotaru was still silent within his mind, but seemed to approve of Toja's desire to become better at wielding her. Not really surprising, but it was a nice feeling. And with the other words of Kaminari in his mind, the small Shinigami felt a lot more confident in how to properly master the blade. And once he learned how to properly wield a blade, and once he fully internalized the feeling of his own fire, he'd become able to use that for sure...

His Bankai.

But getting ahead of himself wouldn't really be a good idea. For now, following her instructions and practicing would be the best bet - and while he was doing that, he'd also train his body. Currently, he had enough energy to fling out Kidō of high levels without pause, but his arms lacked the strength to break through opposition. While Hotaru was a deadly sharp weapon with his Reiatsu alone, additional strength would only help the duo. And so, Toja grabbed the blade with both hands again and went into stance.
"Alright then... Two-hundred swings with both arms, then one-hundred with each hand single. After that, ten minutes of breaktime, then repeat... If I do this until sunset, I should see results tomorrow already." mumbling that to himself, Hotaru didn't keep quiet anymore - she laughed within his mind.
\You sure you can keep that up, pretty boy?\
/Just watch and learn, you ungrateful little firefly. ... And thanks./
\We're stuck together, so we might as well enjoy it!\

After that little exchange, Toja raised the blade above his head and brought it down for the first of his two-hundred planned strikes. The first result he'd feel tomorrow would probably be incredibly sore arms. Oh well, no pain, no gain. Second strike, third strike. It was time to truly master more than one area of the Shinigami arts.


[Thread End]

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