6135/To See the Path

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To See the Path
Date of Scene: 29 October 2018
Location: Shrine of Adversity
Synopsis: Nie Li holds a cultivation examination in the Shrine to discern the natures of his fellow Concord members.
Cast of Characters: 6739, Seifer Almasy, 6709, Priscilla, Staren, Tanya Degurechaff

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    The area of the Shrine of Adversity that Nie Li's chosen has been configured to look like a serene grassy plain through which a river gently runs. The plains are surrounded by thick forests, and in the far distance (certainly more illusion than reality) huge mountains - barely visible at all as silhouettes covered in dense mist - tower high across the horizon.

    A pleasant breeze drifts through, which is grand... because the meeting place is an open air pavilion (each of its four faces aligned to the cardinal directions), with a simple wooden table and a number of chairs setup around it in the middle. Nie Li's standing at the north edge between two pillars, and...

    And yet again, it's quite obvious that this person who speaks so much and has attracted this much interest from everyone is clearly a kid. He's shorter than basically everyone who's interested in showing up, and maybe only JUST hit the onset of puberty. No matter how you look at it, this is a kid.

    But this clearly-a-kid has laid out a variety of transluscent clearish-blue crystals of different sizes on the wooden table...

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     Seifer Almasy can't help but show off a little.

     It's part of his nature. He's a glory-seeker, a man who lives in a dream of romantic invulnerability, a questing Sorceress's Knight aiming to carve his legend into existence itself. He's cultivated (heh) for himself an image, and it's an image he's perfectly fine to embellish whenever he has a good chance, and this is a pretty great chance.

     He cuts a dashing figure. He's blonde, and handsome, a model prettyboy with a slender build mostly hidden by his large white coat. A blue vest, trimmed with white lines, sits above utilitarian grey jeans. Black combat boots brush across the green grass. His long gunblade, Hyperion, is slung over his shoulder, held in one hand, resting the back of the weapon against his neck without fear.

     Oh, and he's wearing a fucking blindfold.

     A white blindfold, in fact. It's wrapped entirely around his eyes, three times, tied behind his head like a bandana. It's thick enough that he can't possibly be seeing through it, especially wrapped like that.

     He walks up to the table. He doesn't bump into it. He stops directly in front of it, then tilts his head to the side, clicks his teeth white, and whistles.

     A red-cloaked specter emerges from his body. It's nearly thirteen feet tall, and grey-skinned, with pupilless white eyes. Its back is covered in phantasmal swords. Four huge grey arms stick out from one side; the other side is hidden under its tattered shroud, making it impossible to tell if the huge ghost has lost its arms or is just holding the cape shut like a tryhard. Three cardboard arms sit from its shoulder. Its pants are a ridiculous white-and-purple polkadot affair.

     In its top hand is a translucent pizza box. In its middle hand is a translucent bottle of some soda with the kanji for FAKE written across it. In its lower hand is a phantasmal plastic cup. Its bottom hand is empty, presumably to allow it to eat freely.

     The grey specter sits down on the field, pops open the cardboard, and pours itself a drink. Seifer, meanwhile, swings the gunblade off his shoulder and taps the table.

     "So what've I gotta do, huh?"

Korra (6709) has posed:
Republic City held many wonders for a(n arctic) country girl like Korra, but the most wonderful was the Pro Bending circuit, which she had got a slot in a team on with some friends she had made. The Fire Ferrets were still in preseason, but that was no excuse to slack off.

Far from it, with the Republic City Council still deliberating on how they wanted to handle the situation with Amon and his Equalists, Korra had almost too much time to practice and train.

And more than enough energy to outpace her partners. During pro bending, she only gets to practice one element - at the Shrine of Adversity, she can go as hard as she likes with all three elements she had mastered. It makes for excellent practice, and a variety of opponents.

Nothing that can be gained casually, however, gives her satisfaction. Showing off to people she doesn't know and dominating people who don't have even a quarter of her power rapidly had left her without any casual opponents, and her abrasive tact had left her with only dummies and bags. It had suited her for a few weeks, losing herself in her own head and letting her mind wander and be still as her body moved through the motions. It wasn't the same as pro bending, with hundreds of people screaming and something on the line.

So, with the strange setup of Nie Li's grassfield and table, it had drawn the Avatar's attention, who approached the reincarnated xanxia 'master' and the blindfolded swordsman with his Extra Chuuni With Sprinkles headghost fresh off a high-intensity workout routine, a towel loosely hanging over her head and shoulders, and her normal outfit stuffed into a gym bag, having traded it out for a high-collar'ed workout top, short pants, and cloth wraps around her arms.

With a breathless air to her curiousity, Korra stepped up to the plate. "You, uh, selling some sort of crystal?" She asks, her hands coming up to finish towelling off her hair and upper arms. "Refreshments? Garunteed to improve your gains?" She continues, a smirk crossing her face.

Oh she's been peddled to at the Shrine already. There were always health nuts and those that peddled to them. Those who sucked down powders and special milks. Elixirs and additives. Juices and juicers.

In a few weeks, Korra had seen it all, or so she thought.

Priscilla has posed:
    Priscilla can show up a little more soberly by comparison. This is partly because of a certain self-assuredness, but also possibly because she'd just skewered a cocksure teen through fifteen parts of his body without flexing a muscle yesterday, so a lot of her cards are already on the table as far as it goes with their host for today.

    It doesn't stop her from just appearing out of thin air, though that's more for having cut the lengthier of process of walking through the grass for such a ways. The clearing is so wide and open, with that sort of refreshing natural air and sense of 'pristine' energy, what with he mountains and gentle river, that it becomes the kind of thing she hates just quietly strolling through, especially under the sun.

    She's wearing a little less than most of her fancier getup --the casual version of the white and trimmed gold and silver pulling double duty as traditional for Anor Londor royalty and 'really expensive and pretty' for Concord functions, if such a thing can have a casual version. 'Stripped down for combat' might be slightly more accurate, if she had reason to expect any.

    Oh, and she's also huge. In the open setting, rather than the cramped captain's cabin of the Walrus, Priscilla doesn't suppress it with a heavily airquoted 'mortal' guise. When she stops at the table, she's more than a head taller than Gilgamesh, whom she largely can't seem to take her eyes off of, given just how weird his appearance is, and possibly trying to grasp how he ordered pizza inside Seifer's brain. It's thankfully not too uncomfortable of a stare, given that her general demeanor is relaxed and neutral, and so involves no freaky paranormal stuff. Just kind of socially awkward.

Staren has posed:
    Staren is not a martial artist. His mindset when it comes to fighting for real is that it is an unfortunate necessity, and he views fighting for fun as more of a test of skill than a philosophy of life or a path to enlightenment. He'd be more at home PvP dueling in Alfheim Online than practicing at a mystic monastery.

    Still, he's curious about Nie Li's 'cultivation' -- it sounds like it plays a large part in one world's survival, so it's good to know about it, and furthermore, he wonders if it might be related enough to Creation's use of essence that what knowledge he has about that could be turned to aiding Nie Li's world.

    And there's always, always, at the back of his mind, a part of him that wonders if this is a way to gain more power that he can use to make the world better. It rates it as 'pretty unlikely', but hey, he hasn't even SEEN what cultivating is yet. he hasn't even seen Nie Li fight! Maybe they're more like battle mages or something.

    Anyway, Staren's here, in his usual labcoat. He approaches the table. "Hi." He starts to ask for exposition, then closes his mouth and waits -- obviously Li is ging to explain what the crystals are for once everyone's gathered, anyway.

    And... Seifer is doing some weird blindfold thing. Huh? And now, Staren sees Gilgamesh for the first time, and jumps back in surprise. Or maybe he did see him back in... was it Asher? Still. "Um."

    Staren recollects himself, and nods in greeting. "Hand Seifer. And Gilgamesh, I presume?"

    And then someone he never expected just walks right up. "Korra?! Where've you been?" They were never close, exactly. More like a friend-of-a-friend, or more accurately a friend-of-someone-he-and-his-friends-were-trying-to-redeem. The lack of any recognition on her face cuts off further questions. "Oh. Um... Nevermind. Welcome to the Multiverse."

    And here's Priscilla, at full size. Staren looks up at her and nods. "First." He's not sure how formal he's supposed to be, as a Hand.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Tanya von Degurechaff is likewise not a martial artist. However, she is curious about magical disciplines different from her own. The descriptions of this 'Cultivation' have piqued her curiosity.

    An extremely small, blue-eyed blonde girl enters the Shrine of Adversity, her arms folded behind her back. It's unclear why such a young girl is in such an austere military uniform until she speaks up in that familiar voice of hers.

    "Almasy. Staren. Miss Priscilla," She comes to a stop, habitually clicking her heels together in the same crisp action, "And Nie Li, I presume." An eyebrow raises when her eyes travel to Korra, a face and voice she does not recognize. After a moment of withering inspection, her gaze returns to the Cultivator.

    Tanya distinctly does not acknowledge 'Greg'. Not even with a glance.

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    With Seifer ambling up BLINDFOLDED, Nie Li takes a few steps towards him - and the table - to watch, obviously curious at that display. He casts a sheepish grin the white knight's way, clearly suppressing the urge to point out how ridiculous and unnecessary that showy approach is.

    Then Gilgamesh appears and the boy takes a half-step back. And Gilgamesh... is Gilgamesh.

    The boy shakes his head to clear it, just in time for Priscilla to appear! He has to look WAY up to meet her face. "Nie Li gives his respects to the First!" He exclaims in a friendly fashion (if awkwardly translated by the Multiverse), bowing even slightly and executing a fist-and-palm salute.

    Nobody else seems to get even that much from him. The boy maintains his casual demeanor, even as he sweeps his gaze over Staren and Tanya - whom he doesn't know - and then...

    Who the heck is this? The moment that Korra nears the pavilion, Nie Li's eyes go wide as if he was struck by a powerful breeze in the face. His attention swerves to lock onto Korra and he steadies his posture, unwilling to give an inch in her presence.

    "We are testing spiritual aptitudes for martial arts and Cultivation techniques. I'm Nie Li. Who are you? Someone worthy of joining this meeting?" His tone suggests he feels she is already, but he casts a meaningful glance at Priscilla.

    The questioning is obvious. He doesn't recognize her, and isn't sure that anyone's spiritual secrets should be revealed in front of Just Anyone!

    To the group though (seemingly assuming that the First will allow her here on some intuition or another), he gestures at the Crystals. "These are Primary Soul Crystals! They're used for testing basic traits. The grade, intensity, attribute, and form of a Cultivator's Soul Realm. Using them is simple. Just inject some of your inner energy into them and try not to be too rough about it. ... To be honest, I'm not sure if this will work. I have other methods, but it requires a little physical contact." Which, in his experience, many people aren't comfortable with. Especially girls.

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     The phantasmal Greg waves at Priscilla. Then it offers her a cheerful thumbs-up. To the mercy of everyone, Greg apparently can't talk unless he's manifested. This is probably something to be thankful for.

     Seifer laughs at Korra. "Nah. Some kinda test to see if I got aptitude for some shit. I dunno. Doubt it, but, hey. We'll see, huh? Hey, by the way. Seifer Almasy. Hand of the Concord. King of the Moon. Fox Knight. Kind of a big deal. Nice to meet you." The Gunblade Knight grins.

     He tilts his head backwards at Staren. "Hey, Stalker Guy. Yeah, that's Greg. Sorry. He can't really talk like this."

     Greg waves at Staren, nods, shrugs, and somehow eats a bite of his pizza through his cowl. It is probably enormously bizarre to think about even *beyond* the fact that for real how did he order pizza in Seifer's head.

     (The box also has the kanji for FAKE written across it)

     Seifer also waves over his shoulder at Priscilla. "Hey, Boss Lady. Lookin' good."

     So that answers *that* for Staren. He nods over his shoulder at Tanya. "Yo." Greg does not seem particularly put out by Tanya ignoring him, but does give her a wave anyway before he goes back to his food.

     Seifer listens to Nie Li's explanation, then shrugs. "Aight. So I just touch the thing?"

     He does so. Seifer is not shy about physical contact in this case.

Korra (6709) has posed:
Korra finishes arriving at the table even as she draws some looks - quite used to being gawked at. When someone (Staren) is surprised at her name, she perks up, a brightness in her smile and a surity in her gaze as she rummages around for a pen in her gym bag. His disappointment at her general 'oh do you want an autograph or a "sell-fy"' has her pointedly drop the (quill) pen back into her gym bag. "I've been here, random..." She looks him up and down. "Coat... guy?"

She flashes him a 'hi, I'm famous and I know it, you are allowed to bask' smile and light wave, with that under control. Perfect. Nailed it.

Ni Lie recoils at her, and then rallies, but Korra doesn't notice - and doesn't return the reaction, even though by all righs were she spiritually attuned and aware, she would probably bristle like a cat exposed to a zucchini.

"I'm Korra - the Avatar. If it's a spiritual bulking meeting, then of course I'm qualified to be here."

She sizes up (and up and up) Priscilla, her back straightening as she did so. Well, she wouldn't be passively PHYSICALLY dominating this meeting by the transitive property of Priscilla just casually claiming the SWOLE SQUARE herself.


"Bend the rock, huh?" She asks, swiping one of the Primary Soul Crystals off the table like she was supposed to or allowed to (which, by dint of nobody shooing her off, obviously she is) and closing her eyes, focusing on the crystal. She wouldn't need the stinky Avatar State to show off with a rock - her earthbending was top-notch already.

Seifer's greeting gets her to laugh in good humor, cracking an eye to peek at him. "I'm kind of a big deal as well. But I only have, or need, one title for now."

Staren has posed:
    This Korra seems more... confident? That's not quite the right word. Self-assured. Perhaps she was able to complete more of her training before the Multiverse happened this time around. He doesn't comment on 'coat guy', but after she introduces herself, he nods and does the same, "Staren, Hand of the Concord."

    He looks back to Nie Li. "'Soul Realm'?" Staren inquires about the unfamiliar term. He's hear Nie Li say it a few times but he's not sure what it really means. Are these crystals going to open some kind of inner world they have to go in and explore, like one of Flamel's mind dives? It's a thing that just happens sometimes, in the Multiverse.

    He's not showy in touching the crystal. He just holds out his hand, places his right index and middle fingers against it, and pushes a tiny bit of Potential Psychic Energy into it. He knows enough about magic to do that much, at least.

Priscilla has posed:
    Priscilla can't really sit at the table, but that's not really the point now is it? It's more than just about size (and a little bit of comfort), but about presence. Even doing essentially nothing, in a relaxed and neutral state, the air around Priscilla is unnaturally still, heavy, and a little cold and thin, like a reminder at being at the top of a frigid mountain under heavy clouds occluding the sun. There is a chill static to it. A long shadow. A feeling of a boss theme playing very, very, very quietly.

    She ends up kneeling down by the pavilion, given the idyllic 'weather' inside the Shrine of Adversity. Since Staren immediately recognizes Korra, the tip of her tail curls, her vertical pupils flick over once, and then she very subtly shrugs, turning up a palm. "The larger the sample size thou hast to work with, the more accurate thine readings shalt be in future, yes? If she is someone of significance, as Sir Staren wouldst seemeth to believe, so more the better."

    Her attitude is not obliviousness to what is set out on the table and what it means to visualize it. It is the kind of confidence that sits on a cloud, effortlessly floating above other forms of self-assuredness. A zen detachment from concern that anything here today could inconvenience her in any way. When she reaches down to sweep her primary soul crystal from the table, she regards it for much longer than the others, dead last to engage in actually interacting with it. She goes about it the same way she does producing souls(tm) for any other occasion. Normally they'd form one of those wispy flames, but instead all that spiritual essentia goes into the crystal.

    "In truth, I am interested as well, in the capacity of seeing how such aligns with the metaphysical propensities of those I rely on." i.e. lemme see Starens/Seifer's/Tanya's test scores gimme gimme.

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    To Korra and Seifer, Nie Li explains, "You need to push your inner energies into the crystal, not just touch it! The crystal is like a mirror. You need to give it something to reflect." He seems amused by this minor misunderstanding, but it's a good-natured amusement. The analogy might not be the best either, but it should be enough to point out that you don't just squeeze it something.

    Even if Korra's manner is aggravating him, he'll subdue that for the moment. Since she's bold enough to use the crystal and reveal her spiritual nature to everyone here, he might as well let her!

    KORRA: Once she does use it properly, Korra's stone swiftly shines with light, the crystal straining to contain the radiance, looking very much like it can barely handle it. Against a brilliant indigo background of large shimmering sparkles, a swirling mass of solid colors coalesce to a point, then blossom outwards into a gorgeous lotus. The inner four petals each sport different colors - the rich brown of Earth, the vibrant red of Fire, a mint green that is a bit faded for Wind, and a brilliant sapphire of Water. Yes, the Wind petal is atrophied and neglected, making the lotus display akin to a three-legged and wobbly table.

    Nie Li is trying to suppress his awe at this display. And he's totally failing for once! "This... what is this? Indigo soul realm, that's not been seen in millenia. It may as well be a legend! Attribute and Form... even though the balance is completely off, it's entirely stable. What is this 'Avatar' position...?" He's VERY intrigued by this, even if Korra's obvious arrogance is something he'd rather not have to deal with.

    STAREN: Staren has absolutely no trouble injecting his Soul Force - PPE and ISP as he knows it - into the Crystal. The artifact gleams and crackles with blue arcs that very much resemble the ley lines of his world in miniature, using the exact same color. The arcs are short-lived though! The core of the crystal fills with scattered yellow stars. The energy comes together in no time, forming into an impressive duo of large-and-small golden gears gleaming with a metallic luster. The gears are properly fitted together, turning slowly.

    Nie Li folds his arms at this, puzzled. "Yellow Soul Realm. Not bad at all. Attribute is Metal... no, Gold? I've never seen Soul Force take this form though. Golden Gears..." The youth is simultaneously intrigued and disappointed. After all, if he doesn't recognize it, how can he work with it? "I wonder if there'll be more Gears in the future, if you continue down this path! ... Whatever it is." He casts a questioning look at Staren, perhaps wondering if he wants to try explaining it so far.

    SEIFER: It might or might not be an easy matter for Seifer to get the Crystal to cooperate... but once he does, the injected energies gather at the center and spread out. Red glittery sparks of his not-insignificant soul energies shine through clouds of swirling silvery-black-grey that fill the crystal. The clouds periodically erupt with flaming plumes in the same manner that thunderclouds would crackle with lightning. As soon as the clouds finish forming, a metallic gleam pierces them... and the shining, polished form of his own gunblade Hyperion descends, slowly rotating in the center of the crystal.

    At this, Nie Li scratches the back of his head a little awkwardly. "Red Soul Realm. Same as me. The Attribute... another I don't recognize. There's affinities for both Fire and Metal, but Hand Seifer has spent so much effort mastering this weapon that it's overrun the Soul Realm's original Form. That's very impressive! I need to think about what might help with this path."

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    The tiny Major rubs her chin at the responses of the crystals collected by those three who stepped up to be inspected. Her eyes wander from one to the next, then Nie Li himself as he reads the result. Eyes wander once more to Priscilla, overseeing the proceedings like some kind of covetous dragon.

    The thought brings a small smile to her face, and perhaps a tiny 'hnf' of amusement. The idea that the Concord leader is very much a creature of her nature. Only when other dragons hoard gold, perhaps this one hoards information.

    Tanya's kind of dragon.

    With Seifer, Staren, and Korra examined, Tanya decides to try her hand at it. Closing distance to the Cultivator's table, she unfolds a hand from behind her back and gingerly collects one of the gems. It's held up between her fingers. Her hair is disturbed by some unfelt breeze, and the blue of her eyes becomes suddenly intense-- an unmistakable glow. Her head tilts as she observes the reaction, then her eyes shift to Nie Li.

Priscilla has posed:
    Priscilla lets the crystal rest where the raw stuff that is souls usually appears from one's hand like the wick of a candle flame. As she does, the blank crystal immediately fills with brightly glowing constellations of luminous, sky blue light. Glittering stars of cold blue-white spiral and flood its bounds, multiplying in number over the space of several seconds.

    The motes of light are caught in a wild, fluttering whirl, like flakes of brilliant snow in a tempestuous winter gale. The transparency of the crystal looks to be faintly frosted up from within, as if intense cold had meaning to it. Specks of amber gold pop and fizzle in the spiritual 'snow', as scattered embers caught in swirling eddies from a disturbed bonfire. The attribute is completely different from the surrounding cold, being something both divine and fire aligned, but it isn't an integral part like Korra's combined elements. The embers are something more external than that; they are the lingering marks of some hugely impactful spiritual modification or evolution in the past, stained on her soul, rather than indicative of Priscilla's core nature.

    The form at the center is that of some sort of winged dragon, easily recognizable as one. Closer inspection indicates the number of wings to be four rather than two, like something vaguely apocryphal, and it has a third eye set between its huge horns. The dragon in the ice and wind and snow is clear only for a few moments though, because there is something wrong with it.

    Quick as blinking, the pure blue and white spirit form becomes a black hole. As the amount of soul force in the crystal continues to exponentially multiply, the form at its center just becomes a deeper and more penetrating blackness, until the dragon's nature as a dragon is in distorted. It flickers like static, gutters like a dying candle. Its form is a darkening blossom of ink; a wraith of black frost, a vicious swarm of flies. Rather than breaking down and fragmenting like something is going wrong, it only grows /more/ defined -/more/ certain and obvious.

    There is supposedly a limit to what these crystals can take though, and Priscilla's world dynamics mean she has absolutely stockpiled magnitudes more soul juice over a thousand years than a typical measuring device would ever be ready to handle. It explodes quite violently in a wash of wild energies and tiny fragments.

Staren has posed:
    Staren's not really surprised by Korra's results. He doesn't actually know much about her, but the Avatar's ability to bend all four elements is one of the few things he does know. His own crystal briefly flashes the familiar blue-white color he associates with raw magical energy, and then... huh. "Metal? Something that only exists when the earth is refined by the hand of man? What does Gold mean, in this context? Gears... machines, I guess? I mean, I make automatons... tools... physical and otherwise." He takes his best shot at explaining.

    Seifer's got some odd stuff going on too. He's gunblade-elemental? Wow. "Those look like gunpowder explosions." He comments.

    And then Priscilla. Nothing is really a surprise, though, until it shatters. "Woah! Did you keep putting power into it, or did it just... do that?"

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     "Got me," Seifer shrugs, pushing up his blindfold so he can see *colors*. There's some barely-contained jealousy at Korra's brilliant display. That's...powerful. Overwhelming. /Special/. Seifer...well, all one has to do is know anything about Seifer at all to understand why he might be jealous of something like that. Especially considering how hard he had to struggle to get the crystal to just *work* for him.

     Staren's is kind of neat, but it's not obviously Super Special lke Korra's, so it gets less of a jealous stare.

     Priscilla, though, Priscilla gets a similar jealous stare to Korra as the crystal explodes. Almost without thinking, Seifer brings his gunblade around.

     People get a good look at /why/ he says he got good. The strange weapon *dances* in the air, knocking fragments into other fragments into other fragments. The blade is so fast it's hard to watch, hard to *follow*, an explosive movement full of grace that moves beyond 'just swinging a sword' into 'something like art playing out in the air.'

     Seifer is in no way kidding about his swordplay being able to fight gods.

     The end result is that he just sort of...*parries* the fragments. For *everybody*.

     "Shit," Seifer mutters, "Warn me next time so I can put my blindfold down, huh, Boss Lady? Don't wanna get that shit in my eye."

Priscilla has posed:
    "If thou were likely to be hit in the eye, thou wouldst hath put it back on thineself, or at least used thine hand instead of . . . that." Priscilla says to Seifer. It genuinely always catches her off guard, every time. "Besides. In this Shrine, it is not as if thou wouldst be permanently blinded anyway." She leaves the absurdity of Seifer being better able to defend himself blindfolded unstated. "The idea that thou hast turned thine very own soul into an image of that weapon . . . perahps I shouldst be surprised not, but it is still a sobering reflection nonetheless."

    "The former. I was not told to cease." she says to Staren, surprised enough to bat her eyes at the thing blowing up, but not ruffled enough to make excuses. The dispersing energies quickly cease swirling around and gradually gravitate back into her, 'falling' into her, inside of an invisible event horizon. "I can only maketh guesses. Gold is known to be an especially rare metal, typically ascribed mystical, ideological, or cosmic properties rather than strictly utilitarian, as much as I understandeth it is supposedly used in computers." she continues. "Perhaps thou art simply too eccentric for plain steel. Perhaps it is something relevant to the colour. I hath noticed Sir Li hast fixated on the meaning of such."

Staren has posed:
    Staren nods. "It is a quality conductor of electricity... but I doubt that's what this measures."

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    PRISCILLA: Priscilla's crystal results are hard for Nie Li to make out, since it keeps changing from one thing to the next. If he weren't so keenly experienced in these matters, it'd be quite a problem. But he committed the whole thing to memory at a glance... and as he stops coughing from the weird smoke that takes a bit to dissipate, and brushing fragments off his clothes, he chokes out, "I should have expected that from Priscilla. Azure Soul Realm, nearly the best there is. Snow Wind attribute, with a secondary of Holy Flame... I think. As for form... what I saw is similar to Winged Dragon, but that void... this is beyond my knowledge. I can safely say what techniques suit you, but the rest... will be up to your own fate. Without further testing, that is." And Nie Li seems... intimidated by what just happened there. The suggestion of further testing is given with a hint of HESITATION. He very subtly shudders. Something about that display actually SCARED him, and he's just trying to maintain composure in front of his allies.

    TANYA: As Tanya pushes her energy into the crystal, it's a bit slow to respond. After a minor pause, the clear center swirls to life, turning glossy and metallic, and filling with cyan-shaded sparkles of light. These are quickly overshadowed, though, as the metallic luster hardens and darkens, and the core of it glows a hot, molten red. The illusory 'ground' splits open in a shower of molten metal. In no time at all, the formless luster is sculpted into an erupting volcano, spewing its molten guts into the 'sky'. Though on closer inspection, those aren't chaotic lumps. Each is a tiny bullet, trailed by flame.

    That's how it appears at FIRST... but as soon as she syncs up with her Type-95 gear and its power begins to enter the gem, the entire thing clouds over and becomes indistinct with an uncharacteristic white-gold radiance. The volcano is gone, replaced by a sizable, ornate, gaudy winged cross held behind golden gates, shut tight and unyielding. Moments after this resolves, the crystal rumbles, cracks, and EXPLODES in the same manner as Priscilla's, showering everyone with a rain of mostly-harmless fragments and a cloud of quickly-dissipating golden fog.

    At this, by the way Nie Li's expression twists, it's clear he's not sure whether to laugh or cry. TOO RIDICULOUS! And so this is what he exclaims. "The Concord is full of ridiculously exceptional abilities. Cyan grade Soul Realm. Like Seifer, your Attributes are based on Metal and Fire. Another Form that I haven't seen. But that second display... I can tell you nothing about it. It's a mighty power... something deeply refined and pure, almost sacred. But it far overwhelms your own. If it were me, I'd be hesitant about letting something so different and overwhelming into my meridians. This thing is safe to use...?" He'd be VERY amazed if there aren't any drawbacks with that freakish display!

Korra (6709) has posed:
Korra re-closes her eyes when the actual effects start, focusing her (admittedly meagre, by Avatar standards) spiritual power into the stone. The results...

Are predictable. It doesn't say or confirm anything that she doesn't already know. In fact, the lotus petal representing wind causes her to furrow her brow and focus harder, when she sneaks a peak, trying to remember the lessons Tenzin taught her, how to Be The Leaf. But it's not enough.

She's not at the right place to embrace the power of wind. She is, as the stone shows, a three-legged table, but filled with incredible spiritual power.

Nie Li's reaction is finally noticed, but Korra spends a moment focusing inward, and then places the borrowed stone back on the table, where she got it.

There are other displays - Priscilla explodes hers, and though Korra winces, there's a moment of internal rationalization that passes, and she starts making handmotions to accomplish -- something.

Seifer is there, though, with his blade.

Instead of needing to take care of it, it's taken care of. Korra lets her foot fall back to the ground gently, and her hands fall to her sides, before bringing them up to grip either end of the towel around her neck.

"Gunpowder, huh? That's pretty cool. I've never heard of a gunpowder-bender before. In fact... What's gunpowder? Is it like platinum?"

Staren gets gold - and gears. A surprising thing all told. "You know, you remind me of our sponsor - Asami. Her father is revolutionizing Republic City, and he's know throughout the kingdoms and nations as an innovator. I didn't think you could be spiritually innovative, that's kinda cool."

Korra seems entirely unmoved by her own results - the fact that the Avatar has incredible powers is something she plays off badly as 'more of the same', though her chest remains puffed out, shoulders back, a casual power stance worn by those 'secure' in their self-image of power.

"And... A sacred essence. That's impressive too. Are you your world's Avatar?"

"You know, Seifer, you remind me of Chief Sokka - he wasn't a bender, but he became legendary for his swordplay, his keen tactical mind, and his generous nature. He..." She smirks. "Well, he was a big deal too."

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     Seifer looks even more disappointed when Tanya has the same sort of Attribute, but moreso, /and/ turns out to have a Second Secret Special Power. No, not disappointed - frustrated? Annoyed? His own stance has subtly shifted, like he was expecting something else, and is somewhat...put out, maybe? It's hard to read him.

     He glances at Korra (since the blindfold is still off). "Yeah, well."

     He shoulders his gunblade again. "Sounds like I'd like him." No one has ever called *Seifer* *generous*, but then, nobody's ever called him *dignified*, and that's two cute girls who've called him nice things in the span of like two days. He's down with that. Sure, he's married, but he's not /dead/. It does, in fact, noticably perk him up a bit. Seifer's mood swings almost as quick as his gunblade.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    Tanya observes the crystal's response to her influence. A volcano spewing metal-- no, bullets. Curious symbolism, and unexpected to be sure. She gives it a few moments to make sure nothing else is changing, before she reaches a decision. Her free hand is raised to her chest, resting over the Type-95.

    "Grant me wisdom, O Lord, that I may understand Your plan and guide the world to the Golden Road." Her eyes wash out from a glowing blue to a golden hue, mirrored by the sudden and intense glow of the Type-95 itself. She observes the reflection in the gemstone, eyes narrowing.

    Because Tanya is actually holding the crystal, its sudden detonation catches her off guard. Her free hand shoots up to shield her eyes while shards bloody her outstretched hand.

    Yeah. The injury isn't permanent. But the hiss between her teeth betrays that still hurts.

    "It nearly scattered me as a thin red cloud across the skies of Europa once," the girl hisses as she wraps her hand in a handkerchief-- to keep it from staining her uniform, no doubt, "But it is both safe to use now and also my only option."

Priscilla has posed:
    Priscilla knows precisely jack about Avatars and the construction of their relevance. Nie Li seems to be incredibly impressed by her crystal turning indigo, and something about an attribute balance in her. Priscilla is unsurprised to see that her soul is very much the frost of the Painted World along with the spiritual burn where the Lordsouls left their mark, but that tint is testament to the fact that she'd attained and performed an exceptional, epic transformation. It's not the same as someone apparently simultaneously maintaining four completely different natures within their soul, all somehow working in balance, just on their own natural merit.

    Since she isn't the Cultivation expert, she's not sure what to make of it academically, but she has that unblinking-eye'd, flat-expression'd, swishy-tailed stare on Korra, -the one that corresponds to some kind of deep and faintly inhuman appraisal- so she must believe the all-but-stranger's extreme confidence is merited by something.

    "Well then, Sir Li, wouldst thou care to interpret the results to layman's terms?" she asks, patiently, without taking her eyes off of Korra for a while. "Certainly, I am very interested in learning further aptitudes of the Concord's finest." They slide over to Tanya. "As well as any as of yet unknown risks that may be apparent to thine expert opinion."

Staren has posed:
    Shattering crystals! Staren does flinch, twice, and resolves to wear his goggles for any further tests. That Nie Li is scared by the Lifehunt is no surprise... it's pretty terrifying. And Tanya's got the power of God, right. Makes sense.

    Staren looks pleased to be called 'spiritually innovative', even if he's not sure how well Korra knows what she's talking about.. "I look at it as solving problems, but... to say that's an instinctive part of me wouldn't be wrong." Then: "You know Sokka?! Oh right, of course, you're from the future. I'm glad things turned out well for him, he seemed like a pretty cool guy." Staren nods, he thinks fairly positively of Sokka too.

    Would Seifer like Sokka? Staren's thoughts briefly consider the matter. "He asks a lot of questions." Staren comments. After a moment or two of thought, he amends, "He also tells a lot of... jokes."

Korra (6709) has posed:
"Sure, I know Chief Sokka. I was born and raised in the Southern Water Tribe, and he was one of the most important Chiefs of the age. Really, he's an inspiration to the whole tribe, though I did hear..." Korra gives a tiny, knowing smirk as her hands move to her hips, her thumbs hooking into the waistband of her workout shorts.

"Well, his propensity for... 'jokes'. But, jokes or not, he was an amazing swordsman, and a tremendous Chief. Soooo."

Korra shrugs and cants her head. "Yeah. He was a pretty cool guy."

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    "Metal is an intrinsically inward element. Metal is firm, unyielding, and forceful. Practical and wise. As far as quality's concerned though, Gold is an especially pure form of it, and it's exactly as the First says. Gold's also used in several elixirs that slow down aging. Several ancient empires thought it held alchemical secrets to immortality... but as far as I know, nobody ever managed to escape the cycle of life that way. It's a fine and noble Attribute to have for making inscriptions, weapons, armor, even buildings, if you know how to control it. There's several Cultivation techniques suitable for nurturing a Gold physique... At this point in your life though, it's hard to say whether you always had this affinity, or you forcefully changed to it through your own efforts. Either way, Gold is fairly rare." Nie Li explains for Staren.

    To Priscilla, he smiles a bit sheepishly. "Perhaps we should try again with an Intermediate or even Master grade Soul Crystal. I don't have any of those on me at the moment though. The crystal exploded because your raw power was simply too much for it. These are beginner grade Soul Crystals." He does seem a bit embarassed about this display. "... Something tells me you might even shatter a Master-grade Crystal."

    He looks over his shoulder in a vaguely alarmed manner at Tanya though. After all, the way her crystal exploded felt a bit different. Her explanation is cause for concern to flicker on his brow. "As you are right now, that power could destroy you if it went wild. I don't pretend to understand the specifics of your world or what you've done to mitigate it, but if you want help, I might be able to provide some." It's a carefully and formally chosen set of words. Probably because she's a girl. He seems so much more willing to act casual towards the guys!

    Like with Seifer, who he notices seems to be upset about his results. "There's something to be said about the purity of being a single thing, Hand Seifer. So what if you're Red Soul Realm? I am too. So what if all you have is a sword? Put in enough effort and that sword will cleave dragons in half and the take the tops off mountains." This is delivered with a tone full of proud CONFIDENCE. It's one of the things he's sounded MOST sure about all day, in fact.

    He spends a moment pacing back and forth... then holds a hand out to accompany offering his opinion. "Any of you would be considered unmatched geniuses in Glory City. Major families would bend over backwards and pay anything to win your support, if you were citizens. I'm not even sure if I'd be a suitable opponent for this bunch." This is stated with a grand and appreciative smile. He does ever so much appreciate the hard work that went into gaining what he's seen, after all. Perhaps more than most.

    "In Glory City, everyone's aptitude is tested before they start training. This is because it's best practice to match a technique with one's innate aptitudes. Priscilla here has a Snow Wind attribute, so she would have great benefits practicing Snow Wind attribute Cultivation techniques and martial arts, but would have a terrible time with Lightning Fire arts. The Form is also very important. A friend of mine has one that, if properly developed, leads to the ability to self-resurrect a number of times... but this innate talent would go to waste without the right Cultivation technique. Everyone here has already spent a great deal of effort walking their own that changing outright would be recipe for disaster. But I believe there are things I can teach you, if you have the desire to learn."

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    "You may as well keep the stone." Nie Li explains to Korra. "Once used, the crystal is attuned to that person who used it. If anyone else uses it and mixes their Soul Force with the imprint you left, it's only useful for getting a rough idea of the Soul Force's grade and intensity. Glory City forgot about this, so a lot of Cultivation knowledge regarding Attribute and Form was lost completely."

    "You have such a rare and intriguing innate talent. I might not be qualified to give you that much guidance!" he grins a bit. It's true that her power is amazing. But the bluster is failing to impress, and for the sake of not causing friction in this meeting he's playing along with it.

Tanya Degurechaff has posed:
    "I do not require assistence with this," Tanya states evenly. The look she fixes on Nie Li during this response is unimaginably cold, despite the radiant golden glow of her eyes. She recomposes herself, however, by removing her cap and running her uninjured hand through her hair while taking a breath. A notable hair sprig springs back up right before she places her cap back over it.

    "It is a challenge I have already conquered, and made my own." Not entirely a lie. It'll have to suffice. "I should have expected this to happen, to be honest. God's power is great, after all."

    There isn't the slightest hint of bitterness to that line. Or enthusiasm. She's deliberately suppressing any emotion in its delivery.

Staren has posed:
    "Gold doesn't tarnish. Although easy to reshape, it is difficult to dissolve. These properties have granted it special significance in the minds of humanity for a long time, long before anyone knew about electricity. Hmmm... yes, I can see it. Easy to change the physical shape of--" suddenly he's gone, and a black housecat with his kerchief is sitting in his place, for nearly a second before being replaced by his usual form again, "--but difficult to change the /nature/ of. Very perceptive." He looks down at the crystal.

    He vaguely recalls the first time he realized that people treat people differently for arbitrary reasons. Was he 4? 5? 6? Something like that. And he'd known it wasn't /fair/. And that un/fair/ was somehow wrong.

    Somewhere along the way, he came to prioritize mercy over justice, yet... he'd held on to his own beliefs even when he feared the Union would brand him an outlaw for them.

    Gold, malleable but unyielding.

    "I think I was born with it." Staren says, staring through the table.

    Then he comes back to the present, listening to the evaluations of the others. Nie Lie's evaluation of Tanya is... interesting, and slightly concerning. He turns his head to watch her face closely.

    After the comments about testing before training, Staren comments, "Yes, on my world it's best for mages to start training young, too. It's difficult to hold as much... energy, if you don't start at an early age. My interests lied elsewhere, but my experience in the Multiverse made the utility of magic /quite/ clear."

    He takes the stone and pockets it, once Li mentions they've imprinted on it.

    "I believe she has other teachers in mind." Staren comments, re: Li not sure if he's able to guide Korra.

Priscilla has posed:
    Priscilla politely waves off the issue of crystal grade. "If thou were able to ascertain all the relevant attributes, then the need to ascertain the intensity is not so pressing, I wouldst assumeth." For some reason, she seems overwhelmingly more interested in hearing the explanation of the relevance of gold as an element, and the youth's apparent experience with directly visualizing and academically plotting designer courses for souls. It's the first she's ever heard of it, and her world is already extremely unique for even acknowledging soul enhancement as a fundamental art. Her stare is visibly intense, absorbing what she hears without blinking.

    "Any further knowledge thou couldst share on the relevance of these colours and forms wouldst be appreciated, though most pressing amongst mine questions art those that hath to do with the benefits of these techniquese thou espouse and endorse. I hath heard thee discuss them in the sense of teaching ordinary men, so, then, what wouldst a perfectly standard individual stand to gain from this? What typical effects? I must imagine that this Glory City seeks not to test and train its citizens for frivolous reasons that provideth no benefit to the city at large. Likewise, what is it that thou wouldst expecteth from one with an already matured, rather than early and formative, 'soul form'? Hast thou experience with those of already significantly developed power?"

    This is a lot more than she usually grills anyone about pretty much anything without at any point sounding as if she is demanding that the person justify themselves. The questions have the sense that they could be far more pointed, coldly aimed at the vital points of Nie Li's proposal and poised to kill it if insufficiently logically defensible, but her interest is too intense to sound entirely neutral. "Thou art certainly young to be so knowledgeable in what I assumeth to be a densely academic field. I likewise imagine that Glory City must be a rich repository of knowledge and talent."

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     Seifer rolls his shoulder in a one-sided shrug. "Man, I can already cut dragons in half. I've killed a god. Dunno what I was expectin', that's all."

     "It's cool. I'm not that worried. I know I'm a badass."

     He was just secretly hoping that he had some kind of unique talent on top of it.

Korra (6709) has posed:
Korra nods after the explanation (of how she and everyone else is a genius talent who would all be wanted) of the culivation and soul levels, reaching forward to pick back up the Soul Crystal and dropping it in her gym duffel. "Alright, sure." Her hands freed from casual standing, she re-shoulders her bag's strap with the adjusted bulk of the crystal - and adding her towel to the mix, since just having it over her shoulders was getting annoying.

The withering gaze of Priscilla and hearing things like 'unknown risks' (which is about Tanya, not her) keeps the Avatar's pose and posture from deflating.

But she doesn't lock eyes with the intensity of Priscilla. There are people she could absolutely stare down. Taller (not bigger, as Korra prides herself on her physique) men have loomed over her and puffed out and she shamed them for it.

With the First of the Concord, however, she has an Artifical Chill going on. Even if her temper and ego was bristling, meditation was not beyond her.

She was better than starting a fight when she was being praised, anyway.

"Actually..." She begins, at the mention of training. "I've hit a plateau with my training with my airbending teacher, Master Tenzin. So I'd be game to try something new. It could be pretty useful, too. The Avatar has access to all the knowledge of the previous Avatars going all the way back to the beginning of the Cycle. If I picked up some new moves, or new techniques... It'd be a good way to leave my mark on the legacy of the Avatar."

Korra laughs, a genuine bellow of 'ha-ha-ha!' "Oh, man, and if I did nothing else but ate noodles in Republic City after that, I'd be a pretty good Avatar. Some of the past Avatars did some... Not-great stuff."

She sobers up. "So, yeah, Glory City? I'll check it out. I'm not looking to get too involved in politics, though -- I've got enough on my plate with the fate of my entire world hanging over my head. I'll pass on signing up with any 'great houses' for now."

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    The response that Nie Li gets from Tanya is almost disappointing. If it didn't mean that he'd be far, far away from that THING of hers, he would absolutely be disappointed. As it is, the youth shrugs his shoulders and airily answers, "Then I'll not bring it up again. Only wish you luck." No, he's not even going to say that she could come back later... though with this response, it's pretty evident he will still help an ally who asks for it.

    He looks aside at Seifer, grinning with a bit of mischief. "Hand Seifer is disappointed too easily. Innate talent? Birthright? Sure, these things can be an advantage... but relentless spirit and courage will break through any barrier. And what good is natural aptitude that's spent poorly? Not that we're done yet." It's too early to be mopey over these results!

    Grinning confidently, he fixes Priscilla with a look. A fiercely pleased one. He's grateful to be working with people who actually think about practical sides of things! "Everyone in Glory City is born as just a human. But through training, one learns to break the body's limits and slowly refine it. The meagerest of achieverers can hoist and hurl boulders the size of cows, go without sleep for a week, shrug off a few knife wounds and rises above simple diseases. Any expert of Glory City can be expected to be able to memorize any face, event, or chant instantly. Strength, speed, resilience, all these things keep climbing. My senses are so sharp that when I focus, I can hear the insects crawling in the grass and feel a knife flying at me from behind by reading the wind. These are just the benefits anyone would get, without even bringing up the art of merging with Demon Spirits."

    Speaking of which, as he stands there rather confidently... Nie Li's body ripples and glows. In under a second he shoots up in stature, going from a short kid to a SEVEN FOOT TALL and quite girthy... PANDA? Well, this does indeed look like an anthropomorphic giant panda, with some artistic licenses taken to the fur color. His clothes have thankfully stretched and reshapen to match instead of ripping!

    And as if to demonstrate, he reaches out with two meaty fingers and pinches the table, then yoinks it straight up with expert precision. The crystals that remain unused on it don't even budge. What kind of muscle control IS THAT, anyways...?!

    After setting it back down, Nie Li's transformation reverses. Even the form shift is smooth and graceful unlike a great many across the Multiverse that tend to be explosive and lengthy.

    "Those who gain in power and enlightenment live longer and think more quickly and more clearly. With enough training and the right techniques, this discipline can be used for healing, weaponsmithing, combat. It's interwoven into all of Glory City's culture and economy, because it falls to the Cultivators to defend the city from the threats it constantly faces and cull the numbers of Demon Beasts that lurk outside the walls. Those who reach the loftiest heights have created whole worlds from nothing, but as you can probably guess... almost nobody lives long enough to reach that status. It's the kind of power that gods wield."

    A long exhale later. "For someone who's already gone this far on their own, most of the techniques I can teach are useless if used blindly. But there might be Cultivation practices that align enough with your existing path to bolster it without harming it. Making your own path this way isn't unheard of, but it depends heavily on finding your own truths and sticking to them."

    He grins over at Staren. "Staren just had such an experience. I can feel the difference in his aura, slight as it is." Just... what is he getting at here, exactly?

Staren has posed:
    Staren folds his arms and looks from Nie Li to Seifer as the former notices the latter's disappointment. "Seriously. You think it doesn't bug me when other people build stuff and it just /works/ for them, because they're called 'mad'? Even the good ones, I was kinda jealous of. So I gathered knowledge and studied on my own. Sometimes I've been lucky and information fell into my lap, perhaps, and now, I make things that are replicable, scalable, and work when I'm not around. Because I'm doing it the hard way. Your skill with a gunblade won't 'run out' when someone drains you of psychic power or puts up an antimagic field, it's not the result of bargaining with demons for their secrets that will one day bite you in the ass. I mean, c'mon, you're Hand of the Concord. Not every measuring stick is gonna rate you as super double awesome -- what if there were, I dunno, a species of aliens that only cared how tall you were? Priscilla'd be set, but..." he starts to gesture to Tanya, then thinks better of saying more.

    "...Anyway. We're already super double awesome, whether the world knows it or not." He makes a fist. "Embrace that metal affinity!" He smiles at Seifer.

    Nie Li discusses the things that spirit cultivation can bring, and Staren's just like... 'oh.' "But I can already do all of that, just by transferring to a robot body."

    And then Staren jumps back in surprise when SUDDENLY PANDA. He doesn't meet that many other shapeshifters, so it's always a surprise! His eyes widen as the table is yanked up, and... "Wait a minute, why didn't the crystals fly off?"

    "Live longer, think faster or more clearly? Check. Technology brings healing and makes weapons as well. Creating whole worlds... I mean, I can do that too. I just haven't made any that anyone /lives/ in yet because I don't wanna mess it up."

    He's a bit surprised and confused about being told he's just had a mystic experience though. "What, what do you mean?"

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     "You guys are more concerned than I am about it," Seifer says, and there's the /sense/ that he's lying a little bit, but it's more jealousy than it is a lack of confidence. Seifer Almasy is not someone who has ever lacked confidence in his life.

     But Seifer is someone who wants to be a romantic knight in the literary sense, a heroic figure. Heroic figures are frequently born, not made, after all. People like Priscilla, or Gilgamesh (the gold one). People with overwhelming power because they were born to it, who *also* can benefit from honing it. Learning that he had something special, something nobody else had...well, a lot of Knights have that kind of thing. Even in other worlds, probably.

     And the brief hope that he did have something special, followed by having that crushed by Tanya twice over, was somewhat.../disheartening/.

     But Seifer is also the sort to use annoyance to his own benefit. And Seifer isn't the type to talk about such things openly. So the look on his face is largely a passive one, and he shrugs again. "I get it. Anything with hard work. Man, I told you, I can kill *gods*. I *know* the value of hard work. An' I know I'm a goddamn badass."

Priscilla has posed:
    Priscilla meaningfully looks over at Staren when Nie Li starts using the words 'live longer' and 'nobody lives long enough'. Not in a way that he's supposed to exchange glances. She just /knows/ what he's thinking.

    Still though, the thirst is not quite as well hidden as most of her feelings usually are. As much as can be made out, there are gears turning, scenarios playing out, and further lines of inquiry taking shape behind the self-evident -if inscrutable- ambition in her eyes. "I mineself" she begins "as well as mine homeland, knoweth much of accumulating and strengthening spiritual power. The size, the brightness, the intensity and might of the soul, with many such effects as thou hast made mention of. This is the first I hath heard however, at least with real, academic credence, of achieving the same with technique -with study and guidance and practice- rather than the crucible of life and death."

    "Thou hast mine interest." she states, obvious enough already as it is. "I am interested in seeing what it is that thou art able to uncover in others, as much as I am interested in seeing thine own development, as an Elite and Partner of the Concord, in practising what thou preach. It is an avenue I most understandably see much promise in, and which conflicts with few others. Everyone possesses a soul, regardless of their aptitude for magic or science or martial skill."

    She spares a minute for Seifer. "It is also one that I believeth holds more nuance than can be gained solely with such preliminary examination, as I hath heard Sir Li indicate. Thine affinity may not be news to thee, but I expecteth there may be doors open exclusively to thee beyond it." She spares a second minute for Staren. Nie Li claims that he can sense a change in Staren's 'aura' just from looking into himself in a roundabout meditative fashion, indicating that if he's not lying, his spiritual senses are many times more refined than hers are. "Thou in particular hath very seldom explored that side of thineself."

    She doesn't have a crystal to keep, so she just kind of examines some shrapnel, all of it somehow having failed to pierce her skin. "Worry thineself not too greatly with what thou believest others art committed to in their 'soul forms', Sir Li. The Soul Arts of mine homeland in developed in ways thou art not yet aware of, but it wouldst be a grave falsehood to claim that it is talent and compatibility by which I hath come this far. A thousand years I hath lived a bedfellow with death. This broken crystal is evidence solely of struggles beyond mine counting, paved with so many slain I scarcely remember, and quite possibly built on little more than perseverence. A theorem, or perhaps even simply an idea of why, wouldst be a significant change of pace."

    Read: it's getting hard to find things to kill that yield appreciable progress towards another soul level.

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    "You know, Hand Seifer." Nie Li begins, sensing Seifer's jealousy - even if probably not the specifics of it. "There was a man who lived in a city very like mine once. He was born with basically nothing. A poor youth from declining nobility. Somehow he clawed his way through the Fighter's school, and earned none of the things he chased. There was nothing special about him. No wealth. Not the greatest looks. He even had a Red Soul Realm. That man lost everything when Demon Beasts overwhelmed his home, and had to be protected by everyone when the survivors fled the ruins. He wanted the strength to protect everyone, but instead saw everyone he wanted to protect ruthlessly cut down by heartless monsters."

    His gaze is cold as it gets here. Almost sad. "That man survived though. For whatever reason. And over time, just through the struggle to survive, he rose above every expectation his home could've had. He traveled to other worlds, gained mastery in almost every human art and reached heights of power and enlightenment his home could never have even dreamed of. Everything that those around him had thought was special and extraordinary talent turned out to be shitty, overrated nonsense. He and everyone he'd grown up with were nothing but frogs living in the bottom of a well, unable to see how grand the heavens really are."

    With a long exhale after that, he gathers his composure and proclaims, "That man eventually came face to face with a tyrannical individual who claims absolute dominance over dozens, hundreds of worlds. With everything he learned and accomplished, he fought this Sage Emperor face to face, exchanging blows that caused the ground to split apart and the clouds in the sky to fly around madly."

    His expression kind of flattens, then he asks Seifer, "This man, what do you think happened to him? Did he win or lose that fight?"

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     Seifer gives Nie Li a Look. He hadn't /said/ any of that, after all. There's a moment when Seifer leans forward a little, and looks him in the eye.

     "Listen. I don't like when people peek in my head. Normally if you did some shit like that, you'd have to hear Greg, an' I wouldn't give a shit 'cause anybody who can put up with Greg for thirty seconds is basically giving me thirty seconds of quiet.

     "So next time you go rootin' around in my thoughts, you ask me first."

     Seifer shoulders Hyperion again. "I dunno, you lost, right?"

     The Gunblade Knight taps Hyperion on his shoulder. "C'mon, man. You know way more about this shit than any thirteen-year-old should. It's pretty obvious. An' your face pretty much tells it like it is. You're not very good at hidin' your emotions."

     Seifer rolls his shoulders. "Guess all that lookin' at other peoples' made you forget how to keep your own in check, huh?"

     "Look. I told you. I'm not all that concerned about it. I appreciate the talk, but you don't need to worry. I've got confidence in my skills. I /know/, unquestionably, that I'm good at what I do. Hell, I'm not just good, I'm the /best/ at what I do. Ain't nobody around like me. So relax. I don't need to be told that shit."

     He shrugs at Priscilla. "Yeah, probably. It's not a big deal, boss lady. It's like gettin' a test back and seein' you didn't do as well as you hoped, that's all." In a room full of people who scored over 100 thanks to Extra Credit.

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    Nie Li's grin is ALMOST smug as he points out, "Hand Seifer overestimates my abilities. Reading thoughts is nearly impossible... and unnecessary. The jealousy is clear in your eyes." That's... almost turning his own accusation right back at him, without actually refuting Seifer's, isn't it?

    "You're right though. In the end, I lost. By a hair's breadth, I lost. Because I was alone." His tone's mixed here. Clearly the boy's sore about it. "Keep what I just told you to yourselves though." He casts a glance over everyone here. A mildly wary one. "I absolutely do not want Glory City knowing this just yet. There's too much at stake if I'm going to avert the disaster that's three years away."

    He calms down then... and the more casual demeanor returns. "Staren! It felt like a little breakthrough... could I have just imagined it? With so many powerful people around, it's hard to say. Are you not in tune with yourself enough to feel it?" He's honestly puzzled at this. There's too many variables here. FAR too many. At the explanation of 'switching bodies' and using all this gadgetry though, he jsut fixes him with a weird look. No, he doesn't understand that. Not yet.

    Finally he turns to Priscilla, who he did indeed listen to somehow through all of this chaos. But who has the most intriguing things to say on the subject of this Cultivation. "Likewise, this is the first I've heard of an art that calls specifically for death to progress. There's a few abominable Cultivation techniques I absolutely will not teach even if I knew them which have a few similarities, but nothing as potent as what you seem to have achieved. All without losing yourself to it, too. ... What kind of heights can you reach with the secrets I can teach? That's something I'd like to see as well!"

Staren has posed:
    Staren's ears and tail perk up in surprise as Seifer pulls the reveal rug out from under Nie Li. Sure, he doesn't put much stock in physical form, but it's so rare that someone bothers to hide such things! Well, except for dragons, perhaps.

    And the Multiverse is so full of Unusually Talented Children that Staren didn't see anything weird about it. He looks to Nie Li for an explanation... ah, so Glory City wouldn't notice him.

    Staren scratches the side of his neck nervously. "It felt like a breakthrough just /now/? Or like I recently had one? Because I mean..." He looks around. Concord leadership can be trusted, and Korra won't know what he's talking about and probably won't use it against him anyway. "That argument with the mage's association? I've never had something like that go /well/ for me before. So I suppose increased confidence could show as a recent change to whatever mystic senses you've got going on there." He is a hair nervous about admitting that, though -- obviously, it conflicts with the very image that winning the argument allows him to project.

Korra (6709) has posed:
Korra gives a little smirk. "Well, I mean..."

Nie Li never answered her previous request/proposition/acceptance of outside advice or a second opinion.

"... I wasn't going to, but does that mean you'll show me a few moves?" She ribs lightly, before glancing between the towering Priscilla and the unassumingly protagonist Nie Li. "Honestly, if there's a way for 'everyone' to get powers, it could probably help me out, right now. So even if you have some basic things, I'd be willing to go through the basic motions."

A distant look, like Korra was briefly in another place - specifically, the Equalist rally, but that's not intuitable without being a mind-reader - before she's back to a more 'natural' casual standing stance. "If not, that's fine too. I'm sure I'll get a great lesson from Tenzin about how to be a leaf, instead."

Staren has posed:
    "Why would you wanna be a leaf?" Staren asks Korra, puzzled.

Korra (6709) has posed:
"Because a leaf doesn't get beaten up by a bunch of spinning wooden paddles, mostly. Well, I can do the paddles now, but it doesn't awaken anything in me. Just reminds me of Pro Bending." Comes Korra's answer, very matter-of-fact.

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    Nie Li spends a bit puzzling out what Staren's asking and concludes, "Earlier when you were talking about the nature of Gold. I picked up a ripple from you that felt like hitting the verge of a breakthrough. You don't feel any different?" He ends up rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "Since we use our powers differently, maybe you aren't as sensitive that way." Of course, there's still the theory that what he felt had more to do with Korra over there radiating all that energy!

    A fact that still bothers him a little as she faces him and boldly makes such a claim.

    Oh great, she's practically BLACKMAILING him. The boy's expression darkens into a vehement scowl. "I've been trying to be nice and not confront you since you're a girl, but you are really pissing me off. You walked in on the meeting, randomly declared yourself worthy of our company and my opinion because of some natural aptitude you didn't even explain when asked, and now you're trying to hold a dangerous secret over my head for your own selfish reasons. Avatar this, Avatar that. Tell me exactly why I should give you what you want, instead of split you in half with my Thunder God's Meteorite Sword?"

    And just like that, Nie Li does indeed take a step towards Korra. Granted, it's a step UP onto the table. A fancy, ornate, electric blue sword appears in his hand from a swirl of energies and he promptly SLAMS it tip-first into the table with a reverse grip. The blade sizzles and crackles with very visible bolts, and the air turns quite clingy and charged with static.

    And like that, he proceeds to stare her down.

    But as for actually going at her... will he actually do that? It doesn't seem so.

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     Seifer just sort of holds up his gunblade between Nie Li and Korra.

     "'cause nobody can die in here," he says, "So you might as well not do that, 'cause it's a pointless waste of your time an' hers. Plus, attackin' a cute girl....I ain't wild about that, y'know? It's one thing if she's an enemy, but she ain't, so why make her one?"

Staren has posed:
    "O-oh." Staren stammers at Li's explanation. "Your comment on whether I was born... Gold, or shaped myself into it... I was just thinking that I've had a strong sense of justice since the moment I learned that injustice existed." He twiddles his thumbs. "Even if I prefer mercy to justice now..." He sounds less self-assured about the subject. Thinking about his behavior when he was younger. There were many mistakes made through well-meaning immaturity, and remembering them puts him in rather a less-confident mindset, at least about some things. "I suppose that could be significant? I mean, I never really /thought/ about the mystic significance of that before..."

    Oh crap sudden flip out! "Because her world probably depends on her or some junk like that!" Staren holds his hands out in a 'stop' gesture, before Seifer's words sink in and he remembers where he is. "Oh, right."

Korra (6709) has posed:
"You know?" Korra begins, her back straight and her shoulder square, but her stance still casual. Easy. "You shouldn't get into business as a street merchant. I think you've got this whole thing a little mixed up."

Korra brings a hand forward, even staring down a Thunder God's Meteorite Sword. Power becomes Nie Li, spiritual, if not physical.

And Korra, seemingly in the dark the whole time, now finally has it dawn on her.

The hand taps the table. "This isn't a private place, and you've arranged a public showing. But, you know, you didn't turn me away either. I asked if this was some new Shrine thing, too, as you apparently asked me about the Avatar, so..."

Korra doesn't remember being asked about the specific nature of the Avatar, but, she supposes, none of these people were from her world. It took getting used to, not saying 'I'm the Avatar' and then people going 'ohhhhh' and nodding.

"Staren-" She thumbs to him, before crossing her arms and staring down Nie Li, sword and all. "Even sorta seemed to know me. I didn't think I needed to explain myself. And, as much as you've been teaching, which I appreciate, I suppose I didn't think I needed to show off. Everyone was showing off a little. But if this is a Concord thing..."

Her shoulders rise and fall. Controlled, rolling visibly and deliberately. A very elaborate shrug.

"I wasn't blackmailing you. I said - 'well, I wouldn't do that anyway', because I wouldn't. I don't even know where Glory City is. And I don't know what a Sage God is. And I have no reason to even believe or suspect any of that is crazy. But you said not to do it. So I won't."

Her arms loosen, before she spreads her stance, fists closing. Seifer's gunblade gets in the way.

"Oh, nobody will die. He's offering to go a few rounds. It's the Shrine, remember? We'll have a good spar. Work ourselves out."

Her foot scuffs the floor as she rises it incrementally before bringing it down, two blocks of earth cut out of the ground to hover before her like raised fists.

Korra flashes a little grin bereft of all good humor at Seifer. "I've got this under control. Or not. But - well, can't die here, can I?"

"I'm the Avatar. Master of all four elements. Earth. Fire. Wind. Water. Balancer of the Human and Spirit world, ambassador to the nations. I hold the power and knowledge of every past Avatar, whose memories guide me."

"And you're some guy with a sword who's got a great pitch but an awful front door. Do we have a problem, Nie Li?"

Seifer Almasy has posed:
     Seifer shrugs and slings the gunblade back over his shoulder. "Hey, you do you, lady."

     "I was just doin' my job. Concord shouldn't be makin' enemies of people who wander their ass in here without a pretty decent reason, or the Boss Lady sayin' so. If you wanna fight him, an' he wants to fight you, I ain't gonna get in the way."

Korra (6709) has posed:
Korra stares down Nie Li, but she actually spares the breath here, because of course she does.

"It could be some test. I'm still seeing. I'd currently rate it at a spinning fan test and a half. I'm still getting shamed in front of four people, but they're people I don't know. But, this time, I could fight back at the fan, so, I probably wouldn't be totally ashamed."

Her fists open and close at her sides, the rocks just sort of hanging in the air as she breathes. "Probably. It's a nice sword."

Staren has posed:
    Staren nods to Seifer, then looks to Korra. "Shamed? I don't think that. I'm, uh..." He scratches the back of his head. "I'm not here to judge anybody on their martial talents. And I thought the whole crystal test thing made your power as a bender pretty clear to Mr. Li. I think this was all just a misunderstanding. Like you said."

    Staren looks to Li. "I don't think she's planning to go mess up your city. She's just..." He thinks back real hard on what he knows about Korra. "...Looking for something interesting to do. I dunno what the other Korra was running from, or even if she really was, but she always struck me as way more interested in going on an adventure or hanging out with a new friend than goin' home."

    He looks to Korra again. "And here you are. Drawn to our shrine, instead of... whatever else you'd be doing. Something about spinning fans, apparently. And what's wrong with that? We're all out in the Multiverse because it's more interesting than whatever we'd see if we just stayed home." He looks between them. "I just hope you have better taste in friends this time. And if you two want to have a /friendly/ spar," he emphasizes the word friendly, "This is certainly the place for it."

Korra (6709) has posed:
"Wait wait wait wait wait." Korra begins, dropping her tension on a rock and turning to actually look at Staren. "Did the... ppppprevious me do something dumb? Also, I did my research! This is the premier training grounds in the Multiverse. I'm training. Gym bag! Workout clothes! Training. This is Avatar business. I thought exposing myself freely to more things would help me figure out airbending, like Pro Bending helped me figure out the fan thing."

She turns back to Nie Li. "Man this Multiverse thing is weird. Another me? If you said another Avatar, that'd make more sense."

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    Nie Li's staring her down. He almost fully expects her to flinch, freak out, run off, or at least put up her dukes.

    But Korra does NONE of those things, and instead stares him smack in the face. LECTURES him, even!

    That.... makes him pause. It's hard to tell - merely a shift in his breathing and his sword grip - but it does make him pause.

    Going over recent memories with an exacting focus and new perspective brings another nearly imperceptible twitch to his brows. But the boy's still staring hard throughout Korra's entire shpiel. It's hard to tell if he's going to give any ground here.

    He absolutely doesn't want to. The last thing he wants to do is admit that he might have made a mistake. Because that's a thing he almost never does. Both make obvious mistakes... or admit them. It's a hard grind on his gut as he considers whether or not he misinterpreted Korra's intentions somehow.

    And she seems a little more casual now, anyways. "Tch..."

    Eithe way, with both Seifer and Staren getting involved, Nie Li makes a dramatic show of banishing his weapon. It disperses into mists that are sucked into the ring he wears as quickly as it came, and he solidly steps back onto the ground like any normal person should be standing.

    "Fine, fine, I'm in the wrong today. Must have misheard you through all this chaos." The show of tension he was going for dies down quickly as he exclaims this in a casually apologetic tone, one might take when apologizing even when they know they're in the right. Except it's too obvious, so it's just an overt show of melodrama. "Hmph. Some kind of divine maiden with a deep connection to her world?" Being somewhat generous with the term 'maiden' in his fairly biased image of what such a girl ought to look like, but he seems to accept this notion almost TOO easily.

    Has he run into something similar before, maybe?

    After another deep breath, he decides to speak his mind. "Hm! I don't know what world you came from, but no girls I've met act like you are. That's kind of interesting." And kind of JARRING, but he's not about to say THAT to her face. "Getting used to this Multiverse will take some time!" He finally blurts out in more good-natured humor.

Staren has posed:
    Staren shrugs. "If you did something dumb, then I and my friends did as well." He sighs. "If you must know, you befriended the trickster god Loki." Staren glances to Li, "From one of Earth's pantheons."

    Then back to Korra. "He found out about another version of himself, that became an evil monster, and feared he was fated to share the same future. He reminded me of... an old friend, and I wished to help him avoid that fate. And some of my friends believe in giving people chances and helping them become better. So we did the whole 'try to redeem him' thing, but it just wouldn't take. Because in the end, he believed that his nature as a divine trickster exempted him from not behaving like an asshole."

    "And he blamed everything that happened because of his own behavior on other people and that sad, unavoidable fate of becoming an evil monster, woe is he." Staren sighs. "Mortimer will forever bear the scars of trying to protect him from himself. One day, I guess Loki got tired of it all and went... somewhere else. You disappeared around the same time. I figured you'd run off together." Staren shrugs. "So that's the story of the other you. Now you know.

    Staren rubs his chin. "Actually, no, that's the story of Loki, really. But I didn't have much interaction with you. You were his one friend who didn't care if he changed his ways or not."

Korra (6709) has posed:
"Dumb-Me had a trickster god with a dumb name as a boyfriend." Korra repeats, editorializing.

It puts her extremely tempestuous relationship with Bolin, who was a sweetheart and still a good friend, and Mako, who was a hardass edgeyboi but also a sweetheart and still a good friend, and their sponsor, Asami, who she had not decided to (and/or been written into cringy romance with, dear reader) involve herself directly with beyond learning how to drive a Satomobile with (but was currently going steady with Mako) into a stark, shocking relief.

"Huh. I thought my own stuff was bad, too."

She drops the other rock easily, and extends a hand to Nie Li. "Well, it's a cycle. The elements - Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water - that's the order the Avatars appear in. I'm the latest one. The previous one, Avatar Aang, was from the Air Nomads. He saved the world. I hope to be just as great, but..."

She gestures around. "The world's not really in danger, just one city. So I thought picking up some new moves would be a good legacy, too."

Korra's hand is waggled once, inviting him to shake it, if he doesn't pick up quickly. He might! "Well, there's no girl like m-wait, no, there was, she was just weird and had a trickster god for a boyfriend. Dang, that was going to be a good one too. Let's leave it at a misunderstanding. I'd be happy to learn from you, and show you what I have, but if it's a 'Concord thing'..."

Korra gives a hearty chuckle. "Well, your boss is even more gigantic than me. So I guess it's not so strange for there to be large women around."

Staren has posed:
    Staren shrugs and nods slightly at the summary. Then laughs, good-naturedly, when she starts to spout a cool line then realizes they've ruined it. "I've met others from your world, though. Though I don't know what a Satomobile is. We weren't close, but Toph was a fixture of the Multiverse until recently -- you just missed her by a couple of years. I hear she's chief of police in your time, quite a shock if you'd known her in her youth! So that's how I know about bending."

    "And Sokka, his was a brief but very inquisitive visit! I understand your world doesn't, or at least didn't, have much in the way of advanced technology or mass-produced machinery, but he picked up stuff like spaceships and orbital mechanics like that!" He makes a finger-snapping motion, but doesn't actually snap his fingers, because he never figured out how and never cared to ask.

    Staren looks over at Nie. "So, besides all the stuff you mentioned, what else can Gold cultivation do?"

Korra (6709) has posed:
Korra is caught trying to be cool and failing, so she has a moment of genuine back-of-the-head-with-the-free-hand-scratching moment while she 'eh-heh-hehhhs'. "They've got four wheels, and pedals and sticks, and go around pretty fast. They're transportation. I've seen them all over, really. Well, more delicate looking ones. Satomobiles are... really solidly built."

As for Toph, Korra blinks once. "Oh! Her daughter is Chief of Police, actually. Of Republic City. I know her, her metalbending corps are very elite. She disappeared a whilea go. Nobody knows where. Probably doing Toph Things, whatever those are."

Korra shrugs, because she doesn't know what Toph Things are.

Toph Things are being a swamp hermit, apparently.

Nie Li (6739) has posed:
    Staren's usual method of conferring Crazy Half-Related INfodumps out of nowhere has Nie Li turning to listen. That said? The huge pile of information is a lot to absorb at once. "... I'm just going to settle on, the Multiverse is a wild place. If you'd like, I can try treating this friend of yours." It could be a good way to win more support and learn more about the Multiverse, sure, so he puts the offer out.

    Back to Korra... her sense of humor is obviously getting to him. Even if just earlier, her overt self-importance was aggravating him. Oh well, can't have everything, huh?

    "Ah, I guess we never did officially declare it as a Concord thing." He comments, dismissing that issue and sweeping it under a rug.

    Slowly, Nie Li mentally kicks himself. It's so easy to forget that he's the only person who knows how this stuff works, so even if others were to get a gander at it uninvited... what are they going to learn, exactly, from a vision of a metal volcano that spews bullets or golden gears turning in harmony?

    Or the chaos that befell Priscilla's crystal.

    And out comes the hand. That, also, gives him pause. For a few seconds he doesn't seem to know how to respond to that gesture. Then recognition shows in his eyes. Clamping down on cultural begrudginess for the sake of the gesture, he reaches out to accept the handshake, careful to match her strength.

    "Hah. You're an interesting one! Alright, I'll not bring it up again. As for whether I'll teach you anything... we'll discuss that after I've meditated on everything that happened today." he's not about to say 'rest' because he just went on a big tirade proclaiming that he doesn't need that much sleep.

Staren has posed:
    Staren 'snaps' his fingers again, "Metalbending, that's right! Hearing that her future self achieved it inspired her to invent the technique! ...Hmm." Staren furrows his brow in thought, then shakes his head slightly and mutters, 'no, that makes sense.' He's seen enough timeloops by now to recognize that they don't need to 'make sense' in the context of a strictly past-to-future chronology.

    He nods at Li's statement that he'll explain later. It's been a busy day for mystic martial artists, it seems.

Korra (6709) has posed:
Korra smiles, and shakes twice, her grip almost calculated in it's casual firmness. She grips no harder than an adult man of her age, but it's all control. There's nothing to be gained from CRUSHING his hand. If anything, Nie Lie potentially overgrips for a split second, but he's also a trained, two-lifetime martial arts master.

He can match any grip, even if it takes a Demon Spirit cultivation technique.

"Oh, you know, I just realized." Korra begins, as she draws her hand back from the simple, empty-if-satisfying handshake. "You probably would prefer a bow. I'm really sorry, you seemed confused! I was trying out a new Republic City tradition that everyone around here seems to know."

She brings her closed fists together, before her center, and bows. "It was pleasant seeing your demonstration. I hope we can learn more from each other."

Her words are chosen, deliberate, and spoken with a just-north-of-grave intonation of an offical declaration, like in some dojo.

"Huh. Hey, did previous Korra figure out Airbending somehow?"

Staren has posed:
    Staren blinks. "Huh? No, I don't think so. I think she knew two elements..." he stares off into space for a moment. "Earth... and I wanna say water, but..." he continues staring at something only he can see, like he's searching through a long document.

Korra (6709) has posed:
"Water was my first to master. Earth became second nature quickky after training, and fire came after a lot of practice, but it fit when it did. Air..." Korra trails off.

"I think Earth was so natural to me because it's my natural aptitude. It was Avatar Aang's hardest to learn, so I guess everyone's different." She explains.

"Being as free-floating as the leaf, but also as hard and unyielding as the earth takes practice. And a mentality I've not fully developed. I'll get it. Even if I have to go out and find it myself..."

Korra clenches a fist. "I'll definitely get it."

Staren has posed:
    Staren mutters, "Trapped in the spirit realm? Man, what else was going on that I've forgotten..." Long pause. "Oh man, that stupid dungeon." Long pause. "Ugh, dammit, you don't even mention it in your own introduction!" Long pause. He sighs and lowers his gaze in reaction to something. Pause. "...But here's Toph mentioning she saw you bend all four. What?"

    Staren sighs and scratches his head. "I'm going to have to do a more in-depth search of my records to see if you ever happened to mention any information useful to yourself, I'm afraid."

Korra (6709) has posed:
Korra raises a hand. "That's fine. I appreciate it, Staren." She bows to him, though her tone remains conversational, her fists coming together again. "It's nice to meet you again, for the first time."

The irony is not lost on her, as she's the one delivering that line.

"Even if another me figured it out, she was different. She got into a relationship with a god, went on crazy adventures, and left. She was on the run."

Korra shrugs. "I'm not running from anything. I'm searching. My journey isn't hers, and borrowed wisdom probably won't help. Being told 'you can bend metal!' helps you think about how - but I bet even a young Toph had to try and think and work at it. Airbending is something that I have to understand."

She winks. "But if you find some hidden secret, don't hesitate to say it. Sometimes what you need is to tough it out, and other times you need a push, something to make you realize. I could bend all the elements when I was very young, but when I started training, I even stopped being able to Firebend for a bit. The more I learned, the harder each one got."

She grows wistful, recrossing her arms as she thinks. "When I first found that flame inside me, the flame of life, the heat of being whole and living, it changed my perspective, but it took meditation, and coaching. I think it'll be that way for airbending too, but..."

She gets sheepish again. "When Tenzin talks about breathing exercises, I feel the fire, not any special air essence."

Staren has posed:
    Staren nods, and smiles. "Nice to meet you too. And if I remember anything, I'll let you know." Cheerful girl, for someone that people locked in a box and tried to electrocute, apparently. The things you find out digging through old memories...

    "Good luck figuring it out."