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Winter's Heart (IC)


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Sunday, January 20, 2013
7:30 AM

A light dusting of snow had fallen over the grounds of Claremont Academy overnight, just enough to provide a thin sheet of white over everything. It would not likely last much past the mid-morning sunlight, but for now it clung to the cold early morning air.

The school sat dark and quite, almost seemingly deserted. Following the events of earlier in the week, many students had left the school to return home, in particularly for this long three day weekend. However, there were still a few students on campus, particularly ones that had nowhere else to go.

One such student was Giang Trang, also known as Tsunami.

The Asian teen was out near the school's outdoor pool that was next to the athletic field. Though it saw little use in the winter, the pool was heated just enough to keep it from freezing. As such, a little bit of mist rouse up from the still water in the cold morning air. Despite the chilling cold, Giang was dressed only in a pair of light grey yoga pants, a black cami top shirt that left her arms and shoulder mostly bare. She was currently barefoot, her simple white tennis shoes and socks set next to the edge of the pool.

Giang had already spent some time meditating this morning, helping to calm her emotions and restore her focus. The events of the Day of Wrath had begun to drift away for her, though she knew that for many of her fellow students, the day had been much more intense. Taking a deep breath, the Asian teen stepped off the edge of the pool over the water. Instead of splashing down underneath the surface, she instead walked across it, faint ripples forming under her as she passed over.

Stopping in the middle of the pool, she turned towards one of the ends, holding both hands out in front of her. Some of the water in the pool flowed up towards each hand, before stretching out before to form a pair of solid water Jian, one grasped in each hand. Stepping back with her right leg into a back stance, both hands up at the ready, with the watery swords extended in front of her.

After holding the stance for a brief moment, the Asian teen then began to move, almost gliding over the surface of the pool. The watery swords in her hands were like an extension of herself, swirling around at times as she turned and flipped through the air, at others stabbing forward in an attack, or coming back to perform a block. She shifted through various stances, seemingly flowing like water as she almost danced across the surface of the pool, faint ripples forming beneath her feet as she went.

Edited by Thevshi
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Elias was supposed to be in bed, he wasn't. It would hold true, even if classes hadn't been put on a couple days hiatus, or longer. He still had the bandages on the cuts on his face, and elsewhere, still had his ribs taped up for support, and his arm in a sling. He was also stubborn, and possibly insane (is you asked Subito or Kat).

He stopped, seeing the display on the pool, and he moved to kneel at the edge, watching. Outright staring. Though Elias was blessed with the ability to do that without it being creepy, it was more... he was watched, examining, dissecting. It was impersonal, but not in the way that was predatory. It just was. IN a lot of ways, Elias viewed things in a very water like fashion. After all, he described the mind in ways like that. He said nothing. He just watched, and waited.

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Through her exercise, Giang had noticed the presence of another student by the edge of the pool, but she did not let that realization disrupt her focus as she continued. Part way through, she brought her hands close together, and the two watery swords shifted and merged, forming a long, solid water staff. The Asian teen did not pause a moment, as she continued moving, twirling the staff in front of her as the she shifted the flow of her movements to the use of the new weapon.

She continued for a few more minutes, covering the surface of the pool a number times before finally coming to a halt back in the center. Holding her last stance for a few moments, she then stood upright, lowering the watery staff down beside her as she turned at last to focus on the teenage boy who was watching from the edge of the pool. "Good morning." She said with a small smile. The hand holding the staff opened, just as she released her control over the water that formed the staff, causing it to splash down into the pool as Giang started walking across the surface towards the side where Elias was kneeling.

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Leaning forward, he touched his good hand to the water, then and he closed his eyes, he had never really tried it before, but he wondered what happened in the difference of medium between, and then his telekinetic sense pulsed out through the water, and he blinked, withdrawing his hand as he felt her start to move towards him. His head lifting and he regarded her.

"Hello." There was a beat, and then he nodded. "Introduction... yes. I am Elias."

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Giang stopped just short of the edge of the pool as Elias introduced himself. "I am honoured Elias." She stated as she put her palms together in front of her and gave a slight bow. "I am Giang."

Standing back upright, she stepped off the surface of the pool and onto the cold tile around it. Looking over the other teen and the various injuries he had for a moment, Giang focused back on his eyes. "Were you one of the students injured when the shelter collapsed following the escape of the Grue that had been hiding in the shelter?" There had been several that had minor injuries, but a few with somewhat more serious ones, though Giang did not recall seeing Elias there that day, but it was possible she just never saw him.

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He tilted his head a little as he looked at her again, as stopped short of the edge of the pool. "No. I was occupied by other things." An oblique statement, but that was standard of the psychic. Not that she knew it. He stopped and looked to her, frowning a little bit, as he tilted his head, and looked at her. Rocking back on his feet, he pushed himself up then, slowly standing up. He was hurt worse than he admitted, or showed, and only the staff knew it.

Elias tended to get distracted, showcasing his aloof nature.

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Giang nodded slightly at Elais' response to her question about his injuries, pressing for no further explanation. Stepping off the water, she moved over to her shoes and socks and began to put them back on.

If the Asian teen was bothered by Elais' gaze, she did not show it. Instead, she looked up at him as she continued putting back on her shoes. "So Elais, I suppose I could ask what seems to be one of the standard questions when meeting other students for the first time regarding how long you have been at Claremont. Or was there something in particular you were wanting to know?"

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"October. Don't like water much. Almost drowned. Twice. It... does strange things. Still haven't adjusted to that." His tone was more musing over his past, more than anything else. Despite how calm he had been when he flung himself into the river when he had those. "I am... saying things I ought not to again. Sorry."

Shaking his head a little, blinking, and shrugging. "I was just coming to the pool to just come here... How long have you been here."" A frown on his face, as he didn't know what else to say to this, really.

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Giang gave Elais something of a puzzled look as he apologized for apparently saying something he should not have, though she was not quite certain what that might have been. "No need to apologize." She simply replied. "I do not find it at all surprising that you do not care for water after almost drowning twice."

"I have been here a much shorter time." The Asian teen then replied when he turned her own question back on her. "Just a little short of three weeks now, though I was not even here more than two days when I was sent off on a trip to the Lost World with three other students."

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"Mm." He frowned, in a thoughtful manner.  "I just went on a camping trip that soon.  Yours sounds more interesting."  Elias spoke in a soft, but deep and slow voice.  Betraying as little emotion as his face, seeming like a still pool of water.  To continue the analogy he had going in his mind.  He was distracted, still organizing the sensation of his web in the water, the mapping of it was... something else.  Shaking his head a little bit, it would seem that he his attention, if not divided, was existing in simultaneous spots at once.  "I am a telepath."

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Giang gave a small shrug as Elias mentioned her first trip away from campus being more interesting than his.  "I suppose that depends on what one considers 'interesting.'  The Lost World was certainly more dangerous than I would image most camping trips would be, though I had never been camping before, or at least as I understand the concept to be defined."

When Elias indicated he was a telepath, the Asian teen nodded, not appearing bothered by the idea.  "I am what I believe they refer to as a 'hydrokentic."  To emphasize the point, Giang’s right hand reached out over the pool beside them, pulling up some of the water into the air until it formed a basketball sized sphere that hovered between her and Elias.  "Though, I have reason to suspect that my abilities are far more than simply this."

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"I would have liked to have gone there."  His brows furrowed at the thought.  As his wounds demonstrated he a willful denial of his own personal safety.  Despite his dry commentary about himself, he was the type to be a hero.  Or burn himself out and break himself down long before he made it.  


He watched the water, his eyes focusing down onto that as important, and he reached out and touched the the sphere of water she had made.  Nodding at her words.  "They generally are, aren't they?"  And then he pushed on his power, taking an opportunity, creating a bubble of telekinetically generated force in that sphere.  And he blinked a little bit, his set into concentration.

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"While a dangerous place, it was still quite amazing."  Giang stated regarding her visit to the Lost World earlier in the month with Subito, Cerys and John.  "The jungle tribes led by Lord Zandar were well adapted to their environment, perfectly content without any of the technology which surrounds us here.  There was also a city filled with the descendants of colonists from the Roman Empire, and another with descendents from the Incan Empire, both still existing as their ancestors had in times past."


The Asian teen paused a moment before she continued.  "Despite the danger posed by various predators and other threats, it was certainly a place I might wish to revisit someday."


When Elias touched the sphere of water, a ripple went out through the sphere from the contact.  As he formed his telekinetic bubble inside the sphere of water, the sphere bulged in several places, as the some of the water was displaced by his bubble.  But the Giang maintained control over the water, keeping it generally in place. 

With a twist of her hand, all the water pulled away from Elias' bubble, reshaping into the long, twisting shape of a Chinese dragon.  The water dragon flew back around behind Giang, before coming up to rest on her shoulders, as she gave Elias a small smile.

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"It would be something to see, though I am not much in the way of adventure and travel.  I was not much enamored with Hong Kong or Maucau."  He liked being out in the woods, like the whole living off the map.  The silence was nice, but also the experience itself was something he enjoyed.


Then she pulled the water away and his brows furrowed, on others it was a normal expression, on him, it was an artful thing.  One that he had been teased about it being his sole expression.  "I am not that good at it... I can feel around me with it.. someone calls it telehaptics."  A frown on his face as he looked at the dragon, and looked at it carefully.

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"Until last October, I had never had the chance to travel myself.  I have been to Hong Kong, and Singapore.  But otherwise, I have pretty much spent my entire life in a very rural village in the northern part of Vietnam."  Giang replied as Elias talked about wanting to possibly see the Lost World someday.


As Elias discussed his limited skill with his telekinetic abilities, the Asian teen gave a small nod.  "I would imagine your control will improve with time."  She stated as the water dragon moved off her shoulders and into her hands as she held them in front of her.  Looking down at it, she continued, "for as long as I can remember, I have received martial arts training and meditation technique instruction structured to provide me with the discipline and control necessary for when my powers developed."

As Elias studied the water dragon, it was very clear to him that it was shaped completely by Giang's precise and measured application of her power to the liquid. 

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He nodded a little. "I don't remember much, I was in a small apartment in Kowloon... I remember the people, so much more than here...  Maucau wasn't much better, I was not in a good part of town..."  Frowning a bit as he still looked at the dragon, trying to figure out how she did it, as he spoke in his slow, deep voice.  "My mother was from Vietnam."  Not that he had much to add on that subject, as he was aware that people tend to get a bit... uncomfortable if he opened up to much.


"The other stuff... I was born with telepathic and empathic abilities, had them as long as I can remember, I just... more learned to shut others out..."  He trailed off and laughed then, softly, his attention leaving the water dragon she had made, his good arm reaching up and rubbing at the back of his head, scratching idly, having just shaved his hair off again.  "Only now learning to fight, mostly learned to run away and hide."

Edited by TheAbsurdist
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With a simple gesture, Giang sent the water dragon flying back to the pool, where it dipped into the water, merging with the rest of the water it had come from when she released her control over it.  The Asian teen then gave a small smile as Elias mentioned that his mother was from Vietnam.


When he mentioned having his powers as long as he could remember, she gave a small nod.  "I could see how learning to keep others out would be a necessary skill to develop."  She stated.  "As for knowing how to run away and hide, those can certainly be useful skills.  One of Genghis Kahn's favourite tactics was to use the superior mobility of his mounted army to cause other armies in pursuit to wear themselves to exhaustion trying to engage him.  Then, he would encircle and decimate them."

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"The belief was that there was only honor in life, not in death."  Frowning a little bit, as the memory came to him, lessons learned from long ago.  "He would send a messenger to ask for their surrender first, if they killed the messenger he would kill them all, scorch the earth.  Poison the wells.  I don't know if this is true, but it is what I was told.  My memory is another thing... they say it is perfect.  The problem is reading other people's minds, I sync to them, I have a hard time separating their feelings and thoughts from mine."


That was the crux of the situation for him.  Eve had talked to him about it, and he had admitted that sometimes he wasn't even sure he was himself, or just a visitor in this body.  It was, apparently a common thing for telepaths, though he seemed to have a harder time of it.  Though how much was hard to determine.  His hazel eyes had a thousand yard stare to them for a moment.  Then he shook his head a little bit.  "I am learning a lot of things, I guess.  I already knew how to mend people, and I can defend myself... though I've learned the limits of that recently..."  Looking down at his arm then, and laughing a little.

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"From what I have read in various sources, it would seem that Genghis Khan did follow such a practice."  Giang replied simply, turning away from the discussion of the ancient warlord and focusing instead on Elias' comments about his perfect memory and his difficulty with keeping the thoughts and feelings separated from his own. 


"Hmm."  She stated as she seemed in thought a moment.  "If you have had your abilities for as long as you say, perhaps part of the problem is you never developed a sufficiently strong sense of self before you started taking in those thoughts and feelings from others around you?"

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"Or I am able to be more honest about my inability to identify whether or not the fundamental idea of self as we know it actually exist."  His attention turned, or at least his physical attention did, as he moved from her a bit, going to sit down on the edge of the pool again, this time he undid his shoes, and took them and his socks off, before he put his feet in the water, shuddering a little as his senses shifted.  "We see ourselves as islands.  When it is more accurate to say we, and the world around us, are the ocean.  We are influenced by others, and in turn influenced by them.  Impacts create ripples beyond just us, beyond the concept of 'I.'  The idea of separation of identity is dangerous.  Divorcing oneself from others is... false."


He paused then, his attention going to the water, moving a leg quickly enough to create a small splash and ripple out, and he let there be silence for a couple heart beats, before he spoke.  "Or... half a dozen of one thing, six of another."

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Giang regarded Elias for a moment before she replied.  "I am not certain your analogy is completely accurate.  To be sure, there are influences that take place as a result of our interaction or actions, as well as those of others.  But an island is similarly affected by the ocean, from simple changes resulting from the tides, to more significant changes that result from a tidal wave.  However, the island is still the island."

"Had you and I never met today, you would still be you, and I would still be me.  We would both have continued on as we are, only without whatever changes may have occurred now that we have met."


"And, even assuming your analogy is correct, a sense of self is still a viable concept.  The influences that have made me what I am, be they environmental or social, are unique to me, just as yours are unique to you.  At the very least, I should have a basic understanding of some of those influences, that is a basic sense of self, sufficient insight and reflection would allow me to recognize additional influences that most might not consider, increasing my understanding of who I am."

Edited by Thevshi
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He shrugged a little bit then, as he looked up at her for a moment.   ".. the confusion is largely caused by your bifurcation of reality into the “you†and the “not you.†Really now, just where do you leave off and the rest of the universe begin? Or where does the rest of the universe leave off and you begin? Once you can see the so-called “you†and the so-called “nature†as a continuous whole, then you can never again be bothered by such questions as whether it is you who are controlling nature or nature who is controlling you."


There was a pause before he looked away from her and to the water again.  "I cannot change your mind, however."  In someone else it would be a dismissive, but with him, it was like he was making a statement of fact as he looked at her, as he seemed to weigh her.  Not something he had ever really learned to turn off, or just not do.

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"Interesting."  Giang replied simply, her demeanor still calm and relaxed.  "We got onto this topic by you mentioning that you often have trouble distinguishing the thoughts and emotions of those who’s mind you have connected with from your own, and now you are insisting I am wrong to believe I have some independent identity, however slight.  If that is true, then you are expecting the impossible of yourself, for under the world view you are insisting I should accept, how can you have your own independent thoughts and emotions?  You are just part of the continuous whole as well."

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He frowned and then jerked his head away then, staring at the water.  "I am being contrary for no good reason.  I am sorry."  His tone was deadpan as usual but his body language closed in, folded, indicating his contrition over it.  "I push without meaning to, some of what I said is... true and I believe it, but I went too far... and now I am over explaining."  Elias sighed in frustration at this, his eyes closed.  He was bad at talking, he did this with Darren for no reason.  


His hands moved up to his face, fingers pressing to his temples then, as he worked it out, tried to plot his words and actions.  "It... goes like this... it is easy to separate when have the space to generate the distance in.  I can reach out and touch the mind of anyone in this city.  I don't see difference, I see fears, and hopes and dreams and lies, and they are all the same.  The person in the room next to you wants to be happy and comfortable.  And... I get lost.  I feel those things, I hear them, I experience them.  And I can't relay it accurately enough, and I wouldn't ask for it to be changed...  My social failings are numerous and inconsequential."  He shrugged a little bit, as he still frowned.


"Not that it makes any more sense now..."

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Giang listened quietly as Elias apologized and then explained his perception of things in more detail.  "No, I think it does make a bit more sense now."  She replied.  "On a base level, emotions are the same, fear is fear, the intensity and how they cope with it may vary from person to person, but it is still fear.  Perhaps you connect with others' emotions on a basic level, without the filters of coping mechanisms the individuals have in place?  For example, there are those who can be effectively paralyzed by their fear of something, while others might be able to routinely overcome some fear they have.  But for you, both examples are simply fear, from your prospective equal in intensity and no different from the other."

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