Posted - 2003.06.05 08:54:00 - [1
Edited by: Wren on 25/02/2004 11:49:24
The soft sounds of water over smoothed stones flowed into the room. The water was pumped silently to the top of the small fountain in the corner, where it then traveled down a small smooth cliff to a small pool, then from the pool over a shallow simulated stream along the wall, to another pool, populated with Matar native fresh water fish, where the water was then recycled back to the fountain. Sand was used to fill in the rest of the water garden, as well as a few lichen covered rocks, straight from the Sebiestor steppes. The opposite wall was transparent silicon glass, which allowed the view of Pator to shine light into the room. This light also played along the metal of the bladed weapons hanging on the other two walls, and was further enhanced by symmetrically placed candle sconces. The floor not used by the garden was covered in synthetic foam pads, with thick organic material covers.
Wren was also in the room, kneeling almost motionless in the middle of the room. His feet were under his thighs, toes curled against the mat. His hands rested softly on his knees, his back arched slightly, head bowed, eyes closed. The only movement was the slow rocking of his body as he breathed, slow and steady.
In his mind's eye, Wren pictured a small candle with a bright yellow flame. Any intruding thoughts were fed to the flame, which briefly burned an intense blue. In this way, he cleared his mind, preparing himself for the ritual ahead.
Slowly, a string of movements formed. Wren took special care to not feed this into his imaginary flame, and instead let other movements attach themselves to the front and back. Quickly, like magnetic building blocks, the individual movements linked themselves together in his mind. Wren continued to feed thoughts other than this chain into his flame. After a short time, his custom Seven Forms mantra for this ritual was complete. Wren rolled back and then up to the balls of his feet, and immediately began.
His right fist snaked out in a lightning fast punch, as he feet slid to the left, staring the ritual from the Winding Stream form, then turning to face his right he flicked out his left knee, and as he performed each act he could see it fall away from the front of the chain of movements in his mind. Attack and block, steps and rolls, each movement was performed with practice perfect form. Wren's bare chest soon began to shimmer with a thin layer of perspiration; this made the combinations of tattoos, ritual scaring, and tribal branding covering his shoulders and arms seem to come alive. The activity also brought up his war tattoos on his face, the bright red jagged lines around his right eye slowly grew black thorns and wicked spikes, and these moved to cover his forehead and left cheek. Wren launched himself into the air, a ruthless snap kick with his left foot, and then he landed, and came down with his right fist into the mat, carrying the momentum of the jump in a couple of moves from the Coiled Lightning form. The forms linked and flowed together, forming an almost mesmerizing and complex dance and display of martial arts.
Each movement served to focus his spiritual energies for the day's work, and perhaps move him one step closer to a state of perfect mind, body and soul harmony. It was this perfect balance that was the goal of the Seven Forms, however, Wren had only come close to that state twice, and neither of those times was in the recent past. Though he was a true Master, his recent duties conflicted with his ritualistic off duty time.
Wren's fists flashed out in every direction as he performed several punches from the Furious Star form, and then he moved to a bizarre side-to-side series of misdirection blocks and strikes from the Hidden Shadow form. This form was used in almost every one of Wren's rituals, and played a large role in his spiritual self.
The ritual was lasting well over half an hour, but now he was cooling down with some slow arm movements and relaxed limbs that were sure tell signs of the Swaying Tree form. Just as suddenly as the ritual began, Wren fell into the kneeling again. It was during this time that the Oracle would speak to someone who was in perfect alignment, but this also allowed someone to reflect on the series of movements, and try to discern patterns from recent Seven Forms rituals. Wren's breathing slowly returned to deep steady breaths as his body recovered from the constant use.
The Oracle didn't speak to him again this time, but Wren was not surprised, and let himself fall slowly back to the mats and stare at the ceiling for a bit. A mural of Matar with beams from the sun covered the entire area there. After a few minutes, Wren rolled up to his feet and walked to each candle and blew it out, then walked out of the room towards the showers.
A meeting awaited him, they always did.