NOT YET COMPLETED, WILL CONTINUE!
Also, though it seems to have nothing to do with RWBY at first...well, you'll see.
Safel Myzorin had not always been so confused. Once, his life had been set, his soul at peace, his mind and body poised to accept the blossoming of enlightenment. Once, the universe was in balance--monsters were the stuff of nightmares and superstitious folk, and through the process of meditation, training, and proper conduct all men stood the chance to become something greater.
But no longer.
Safel Myzorin, Scattered Leaf In Wind, was once a student prodigy of the Temple of Ten-Thousand Virtues. An orphan, he was given to the monks of that monastic order by a dying woman, who, against all odds, braved the 108 tribulations across a seven day journey to reach the mountain stronghold.
"His name is Safel Myzorin," she had said, before she collapsed, never to rise again.
The novice monks that had greeted the mother had looked at each other, nodded, and muttered a prayer for the woman, each marveling at how in times of great need, even an uncultivated soul may brave the 108 tribulations and ascend, if only for a brief moment, to something more than mortal.
That day, Safel Myzorin joined the Order of the Temple of Ten-Thousand Virtues.
The Base Clay
Safel Myzorin's case was special, but it was not unique. The majority of the monks of the Order of the Temple of Ten-Thousand Virtues joined at an older age. Some came seeking enlightenment. Others came, seeing the Temple as a means of escape, whether from debt, disaster, or simply from the world-weariness they suffered. Some were even criminals--it was all the same. All were accepted. None were denied.
Whether they would learn anything though, was entirely up to them.
This was the majority of the monks. Yet, sometimes, beyond the Temple, when the monks were performing their holy miracles and found orphans in the field, or sometimes, as in the case of Safel Myzorin, when one bore a child up through the mountains of 108 tribulations directly to the order, young children were accepted. Usually, such cases were frowned upon, as their elders questioned, how could a newborn soul, one that had not yet truly lived, understand enlightenment? If one had not felt the passions of love, the poison of hate, the fires of rage, the light of hope, then, how could indeed, such a pure soul reach the ultimate expression of life?
Still, it was not their place to question, but to accept. Such children were taken in, as honorary laymen of the Temple.
It was said, there was once a mountain so large, it pierced the very heavens. It was a sight to truly stun the eyes, but the native people who lived by its slope had long grown used to its grandeur and viewed it merely as another landmark, unworthy of notice.
One day, a stranger approached the village. The guards, wary of a trick, called him to halt.
"Sir! Lay down your arms."
The stranger obeyed.
"What is your purpose here?"
The stranger never wavered, but pointed a single finger at the heaven-violating summit.
"I wish to ascend to its peaks."
The guards looked on, incredulous, until they realized he was serious. Then, they began to laugh.
"What purpose is there in doing such, eh? Unless you wish for an audience to the Gods themselves, enjoy your mortal life! It is only folly and death to trifle with such things."
The stranger shook his head.
The guards sneered.
"Why, because you seek an audience with the Gods? Or because you seek death?"
The stranger laughed, for the first time.
"Nothing quite so complicated. I must climb the peak, because it is there."
-The Scripture of the Unyielding Arhat.
When Safel Myzorin was five, he read and internalized The Scripture of the Unyielding Arhat. Even as a child, he was different. Partially damaged by his exposure to the elements during the 108 tribulations, he found it difficult to communicate. He could speak well enough, read and write, yet, when asked to profess his opinions, he would bluster and fall silent, or burst into a mute rage. He found it difficult to sympathize with his classmates, even as they laughed and played and enjoyed their lives at the monastery, for though it was strict, the monks were compassionate, and could not bring themselves to end their wards' innocence so early. Yet, Safel Myzorin had no innocence. There was only sin, and suffering.
Even as the children, now grown, slowly left the temple one-by-one, to seek out their fortunes in the wider world, Safel Myzorin stayed.
One day, the elder Arda-Yehovah approached the child, now on the cusp of manhood.
"Why do you not go out, to seek your destiny amongst the vast world? All your peers have left. Are you not interested?"
Safel Myzorin clasped his hands together and bowed, for he was honored that such a wise figure would deign to speak to him.
"Wise elder, it is not that this student is not interested--but that instead, his destiny is here."
The elder was surprised, and and stroked his beard.
"Oh? And what destiny would that be?"
For the first time in the entire conversation, Safel Myzorin dared to look up upon the face of the venerable elder Arda-Yehovah. Within Myzorin's eyes, Arda-Yehovah saw the burning spirit of the Unyielding Arhat.
"I wish to attain enlightenment."
Arda-Yehovah burst into laughter. It was a sound that had not been heard in many a season.
"Enlightenment? Safel, do not be offended when this old fool tells you, that a man who has not tasted tea will not be able to differentiate between the good tea or the bad tea. You have not even lived yet. You have not tasted the passion of love, the poison of hate, the fire of rage, nor the light of hope. Even if you achieved enlightenment, how would you know?"
Safel, at the sound of the venerable elder's derision, once again bowed his head in shame. And yet, he would not be swayed.
Arda-Yehovah leaned down, closer, for he was old, and his hearing was not perfect.
Arda-Yehovah asked, even though he knew the answer.
"Because it is there."
There was silence.
Arda-Yehovah was still. He was so still, in fact, that it seemed as if he was moving, for he was stiller than even the earth.
"What makes you think you are ready?"
Safel Myzorin kowtowed three times, then stood to his feet.
"Because I know."
In saying so, he clapped his hands three times with such spirit that the previously still garden was awash with wind. Safel bowed again.
"I have studied the scriptures, again and again. Alone, out of all the others, I have taken the first step to the road of enlightenment, by recognizing that it is there. And with the first step, comes knowledge, and with it, power."
There was a pause, as Safel struggled to speak his own words.
"I have seen the Grandmasters of the Temple perform impossible feats. I have seen them walk on water, strangle with their shadows, paralyze with a glance, and cause trees to grow fruit with a touch. It is not magic, I know now. It is the culmination of the flower of understanding."
"The blossoming of the perfected lotus."
And so, Arda-Yehovah took Safel Myzorin, the last of the Children, under his wing as pupil. Under him, Safel's spiritual mastery grew and grew. At the age of thirteen, he had memorized more texts and could speak them more eloquently than layman monks more than twice his age. At the age of fourteen, he had purified his body to the point he could wrestle ten men at the same time and endure blows that shattered stone. At the age of fifteen, the completed his first enlightened martial arts style, that of the Air Dragon, that allowed him to walk on clouds and listen to the tiniest rat nibbling away at the temple. His ascension was meteoric.
Exactly sixteen years after he joined the order, his master, Arda-Yehovah, called him by his side.
"Safel," he had said, "you are perhaps my greatest work."
Safel bowed humbly at his master's praise.
"And yet--are you my greatest creation, or my greatest failure?"
Safel bit his tongue to restrain the surge of wounded pride and hurt that welled up inside. Instead, he withdrew his emotions and thought deeply again at his master's words, for Arda-Yehovah did not say things without sense.
The elder stood.
"We shall see, Safel. Come with me. It is the time for your crucible."
And yet, no crucible came. Practice continued daily, and things went on as before. Slowly, Safel forgot that it even existed.
One day, however, as Safel was meditating under a tree at noon, he heard a familiar cry. Safel thundered--
"Who is it?"
using his mastery of wind to project his voice--and yet, there was no reply. Safel was intrigued, for though he was young, his mastery of over Air was unparalleled, and there could be no mistake. There had been a cry.
Who would disturb the monastery at this time? Discipline was paramount! Safel glided, calling the wind itself to speed his travels as he moved towards the source of the noise. He moved through the dark forests surrounding the monastery, yet he was not afraid of being lost, for Air itself kept mark of his location and would not let him go.
Finally, he reached a clearing. Then, he realized his folly.
For Nightsbane was the most feared of poisons. It effects did not cause death (for death would be preferable) but it warped and twisted the victim's mind until he could no longer tell truth from fiction. His soul was forfeit, for he would have nothing but a lie to live in.
All they would remember was the point of contact. Anything before or after that would be forfeit.
And so Safel Myzorin fell screaming into the hells of impossibility.
That Was Then
He awoke to the sounds of battle. It was all dark, and for a brief, panicked second, Safel thought he was blind, until he realized he was merely resting inside a dirtied carriage. He was clothed in armor, a far cry from the flowing robes he usually wore, and around him were scattered random equipment, ranging from swords to other, more esotoric things--he did not time to examine them, however, as screams and grotesque snapping sounds sounded from the outside. Safel struggled to move his hands, but they were bloodied, and his muscles screamed with agony as he had not felt for years. Gritting his teeth, he drew upon the meditation techniques he had learned, and blotted out the pain.
Where was he? What was going on?
The door of the carriage flung open, and a terrified soldier, perhaps just reaching his twenties, fell in.
He spoke no further, as a single great paw snapped his spine. Safel looked on the the wanton bloodshed in horror, for beyond, was a terrible sight--a large, masqued monstrosity looked on in the carriage, teeth stained with blood. Safel's heart recoiled in fear, but his mind boiled with rage. Life was holy! It was Safel's duty, as a monk of the Temple of Ten-Thousand Virtues to protect the weak, yet he had failed!
Ignoring his protesting muscles, Safel stood, and assumed the stance of the Air Dragon, whose breath permeated all of Creation. His body shifted unfamiliarly into it, as if ununsed to stances and katas that should have been as second nature to him. The crude armor that now adorned his body chafed at him and restricted his movement, but he ignored them, for he had a duty to perform, and he would do it. Gathering the strength of a whirlwind in his palm, he threw a mighty blow, aiming right between the eyes--
Only to hear a thundering crack and have his knuckles shattered. Reeling back from the unexpected pain, and staring in disbelief at the hurt, now masqueless but still very much active beast before him, Safel knew true, overwhelming terror; not only for himself, but at the thought that everything he had, had been stripped from him--for the prowess of the monks of the Temple of the Ten-Thousand Virtues came not from petty magic, but from a deep, instinctive knowledge of the workings of the universe itself. Their prowess was tied directly to their closeness to enlightenment; and though Safel was far from becoming a Grandmaster, he had risen far beyond mere mortal stock, rising from the base clay to ascend to the stem of the perfected lotus of understanding. For his prowess to fail him (which frankly, was impossible) was not just a simple loss of power--it was a strike at his very spirituality, his faith, what had made him what he was. Without it, he was not Safel Myzorin. Without it, he was nothing.
And yet, there was nothing that could be done. The beast roared in mocking triumph, and opened its maw to devour him. It seemed like the end.
Safel Myzorin was weak, tired, powerless. He could not even be sure he was Safel Myzorin, thanks to the effects of the Nightsbane. Yet, whether in truth or in lie, now, he was a disciple of the Unyielding Arhat, paragon of conviction, most savage and unrelenting of them all. He would not turn down any challenge, no matter the odds--because he could not.
With his undamaged hand, Safel grabbed the closest possible thing--a walking staff--and, against what his instincts screamed, shoved his arm into the mouth of the monster before him, choking it. Taking advantage of the split second distraction, Safel hurled himself through what looked to be the weakest part of the caravan--its window, shattering it into a thousand pieces.
He was greeted by a scene of carnage. It was a forest clearing, much like the one where he had been poisoned by the Nightsbane; yet, there were no Nightsbane here. All around him, soldiers rallied and screamed, fighting dark, masqued beasts that seemed to emerge out of the dark. One of the soldiers, older than the rest, noticed him and snarled.
"Get back into carriage, snotface! We're in enough trouble without having to protect you!"
Safel ignored him. But by then, the soldier had already turned away, and was now dodging and hacking with a large, wolf-like monster. The tides and momentum of battle shifted again and again. Chaos reigned.
No longer could Safel Myzorin command the wind as master. No longer could he soar upon the clouds, fire lightning from his hands, nor seize the breath from his foes. But no matter where he went, the wind would always regard him as peer. And so he listened.
Metal clang. Jaws snapped. Leaves rustled. Six meters to his right, a sobbing soldier was knocked onto the ground by a blow dealt to him by one of the wolf-beasts, and held up his arms feebly to ward off his death blow. Safel, eyes closed, picked and hurled a stone right into the eyehole of the beast threatening him, causing it to reel back in pain. Sensing this opportunity, the soldier grabbed his sword, and plunged it deep into the beast's neck. Safel winced at its death cries, but before he could chastise the soldier with a recitation of the texts regarding the holiness of life, a great boar charged towards him. Some of the other soldiers reinforcing their brethren cried out in horror and disengaged, attempting to get to Safel, but it was too late.
They need not have worried.
Safel knew the wind. Safel knew the limits of his frail, mortal body. There were things it could do, and things that it could not. But even the most uncultivated soul, could, in times of great need, rise above their station, if only for a moment--and Safel Myzorin was not an uncultivated soul.
He leapt and in one smooth move, landed upon the boar's back, much to the disbelief of the soldier's around him. It bucked and squealed under him, trying to get him off so it could crush him beneath its hooves, but Safel Myzorin would not be dislodged. Years of self-purification through excercise and study of the body's chakra systems had left him intimately aware of the body's weaknesses and strengths--and where there was knowledge, there was power.
He opened his eyes.
In knowing how the body functioned, how tendons connected to bone and ligaments connected muscles, Safel could strike at his enemies body and systematically dismantle them piece by piece. The boar's anatomy was made bare to him and though he no longer had his legendary strength, he could still cause pain.
Safel struck, at a pressure point right behind the boar's right ear. A roar of pain rewarded his efforts, as the boar turned away from the soldiers surrounding it to focus on the irritant clinging to its back that had caused it so much hurt. Through such swift blows, Safel drove the maddened beast, blinded by pain, as his steed. Too crazed to notice where it was going, it crashed directly into a coiled snake that was snapping at one of the soldiers. Enraged, they began snapping at each other with savage fury.
All Safel could so was whisper, "may the fates smile upon your next life," as he watched on in horrified fascination.
By then, the fight was almost over. The battle had rested on a knife's edge, and with Safel's interference, that edge had been tipped, towards the soldiers.
The oldest of them, the one that had snapped at him earlier, sheathed his blade and marched up to Safel, aggression in every fiber of his body. Safel tensed ever-so-slightly as the man stared him right in the eyes.
Then, he spat a wad of bloody phlegm on the ground and laughed.
"Well, wasn't that a surprise! I'd thought sir highness was going to have a repeat of that little accident yesterday, leaving us to clean up your shit after you again. Seems like you've got some spirit in you, after all!"
Safel merely bowed, his uncomfortable armor clanking.
"A humble monk merely lives to serve the people."
This Is Now
"Ezekyle, Ezekyle, Ezekyle, so, you're telling me you don't remember anything?"
Safel suppressed the irritation bubbling up inside. The elder soldier, whose name was Varian, had been asking the same thing for over ten minutes. It was unbecoming of a monk of the Temple of Ten-Thousand Virtues to lose his temper talking to someone who was either an idiot, or deaf. He struggled to string his words together in a way that even the simplest child would understand.
"I...am a monk. I come...from a temple. High in the mountains."
"No, you aren't. You're the fucking official diplomat of Salaria! You--"
Seeing Safel's blank face, Varian gritted his teeth and threw his arms up in the air.
"Unbelievable! Un-fucking-believable! You come to us in the dead of night, bearing the royal seal and claiming you had a mission of utmost importance and secrecy and needed an escort to Vale, then, on the way, you get into fucking heroics and get yourself fucking poisoned and--do you fucking understand priorities?"
He stabbed his finger right into Safel's chest.
"We are mercenaries. We are fucking mercenaries! Do you even understand what that means! People die! It's our job! You hired us to protect you, and we did, until you go all moony-eyed and crazy and say, 'I must save the innocent' and leap out right into a field of poison! Yes, great for you to be all heroic, and yes, I appreciate you standing up and helping us, but now, we can't even get paid, you don't know where your seal is, and well, we're all in a merry hellhole together!"
Safel had no idea how to respond. In the end, he simply bowed his head and intoned piously, "all life is holy."
Varian hissed, and his hand flew to his sword, gripping it so hard his knuckles turned white. Then, after a moment of intense inner struggle, he allowed his arm to fall. He shook his head, and turned away.
"Everything inside me screams to kill you right now. We've nothing--no money, no way of getting back, no chance of a royal pardon. All because of you. Yet..."
His face contorted.
"There is the chance...the smallest off chance that, yes, suddenly, you will remember something. And if I killed the official diplomat of Salaria, there'll be a huge-ass manhunt--so consider yourself lucky, Ezekyle Valinov. I will spare you. But it will come with a cost. Count on it."
He walked away.
The Scattered Leaf In Wind
It has been months since Safel Myzorin and the Bronze Tigers mercenary band split up. Having no other place to go, the Bronze Tigers brought a confused Safel to Vale, and relieved him of all his belonging, leaving him only with the clothes on his back. Safel did not resist, for a traveling monk had no need for supplies, and secretly, deep down, he felt responsible for their loss.
He was stranded in a foreign place, far from any land he knew. The customs, technology, and people were all strange to him. Yet, if it had been the old Safel, then he would have adapted without pause--for, as his teachers had taught, all the universe was, were simple laws that enhanced each other in complex ways. Realize this, and realize all is one. Though it looked different, the people of Vale were no different then the people back home.
Or were they?
For Safel Myzorin could no longer be sure of anything. The Temple of Ten-Thousand Virtues, famed across the land, produced no responses. People acknowledged him not as Safel, but as Ezekyle. His powers, a divine extension of himself, no longer worked--and worse, with each passing day, his memories of the Temple grew fainter and fainter, as if a distant dream, to the point that currently, he could not even recall what he looked like in the past. Was he real? Did Safel even exist?
Or...was he simply a product of the Nightsbane poison?
And...if he did not exist...then, who was Ezekyle? Where was Salaria? Who is...this Ozpin, whom he had an urgent message to deliver to? What was once solid, was fluid. What was once sure, was unsure. Where Safel once had peace, he was troubled.
When Safel was first formally inducted into the Air Dragon style, he was given the title, Scattered Leaf In Wind, for his constant shiftiness and inability to sit still. His instructors had laughed, and commented teasingly that truly, the spirit of the Air was in him, as he flushed in embarrassment. As he advanced along the Path however, he discarded that title, and earned greater and greater ones, until he was not Scattered Leaf, but Whim of the Wind.
It seems however, in this new world, he will have to start over again. And thus is he Scattered Leaf once more.
A Light In Darkness
The past few months had been humbling for Safel.
The perhaps-monk strode the busy streets, keeping to himself. People passed him by, never once glancing at the downturned fellow, too consumed in their own worldly concerns to pay much attention to what went around them. As much as he would like to deny it, however, so was Safel himself.
For one, there was the question of where he was.
"This is Vale," Varian had told him, when they first entered the great city.
Safel had been struck dumb--not that he usually talked, anyways.
The monastery where the Temple of the Ten-Thousand Virtues was vast. It was carved directly into the side of a mountaintop, exposed to the elements, almost as if challenging the would itself to strike it down. From there, one could see strange wonders, such as enormous centuries-year old trees and millenia-old statues of great bodhisattvas.
Yet, even it was nothing compared to the city that was Vale. Buildings that would have been considered grand back in the monastery were commonplace. The whole city was almost alive, shining with lights, bustling with activity. There was color everywhere, and people lined the streets, talking excitedly to each other.
Varian sniggered at Safel's reaction.
"You too, huh? It's a far cry from what Salaria is, to be sure. Not that, of course, you'd remember."
Safel shook his head slowly.
"I...have never seen such a place."
Varian laughed, and slapped him on the back.
"Well, you'll getting used to it, alright, because this is where we're dropping you off."
Name: Safel Myzorin prefers to go by his title, "Scattered Leaf in Wind." He is known to some individuals, however, as Ezekyle Valinov.
Age: According to his memories (not the most reliable of sources)...17
Weight: 137 lb
Hair Color: Blue
Eye Color: Pale blue.
Safel Myzorin, or potentially Ezekyle Valinov, is an enigma to himself. His memories have grown so faint that he can no longer be sure of what he looked like in the past. What he can be sure, however, is what he looks like now.
He is unable to express himself well, so this is why he seeks to memorize so many scriptures: they form a well of backup responses that precludes his need to express his own opinions clearly.
Everything he does is blended in with a layer of mysticism, whether or not justified.
Abilities and Weaponry
In the depths of his memory, Safel remembers being so much more. He remembers when he could command the wind as master, and perform such impossible feats that the less enlightened would tremble in superstitious awe. He remembers when his body was much purer than it was now, when he could wrestly ten men at the same time and come out on top, or endure blows that could shatter stone. No longer.
Now, he finds himself as he was before he took his first step upon The Path--a mere mortal.
But it is the duty and the way of the mortal to exceed, to reach for what he was never meant to grasp.
And so Safel Myzorin endures.
In truth, what this translates to in layman terms (without all the mysticism blended into it) is that, without Dust, Safel Myzorin is simply a very, very, very fit human (and considering what normal humans in RWBY are capable of...). Through his intimate knowledge of his own body, however, he can temporarily boost his abilities to almost superhuman levels; not through magic, but through surpassing the barriers the body places upon itself to prevent untoward injury.
This, of course, means that during combat, Safel can do seemingly ridiculous things such as shatter brick walls with a punch, leap his own height, and keep his balance on a single piece of string. Each time he does so however, it infllicts great damage upon himself, as the human body was never designed to handle that much stress. Thus, it is an ability he uses sparingly, and only in the most dire of emergencies, for it leaves him weak and vulnerable afterwards.
In fighting, however, he relies far more on skill and intellect than strength to keep him on top.