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Repugnant Sands of Mortality

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This article, Repugnant Sands of Mortality, is property of Zf6hellion

Ca371bfd945805bcfd4c237858404e94 This article, Repugnant Sands of Mortality, is the property of Brave, explicit permission is necessary to edit or modify it in any way. Find me at my message wall or comment on the talk page to discuss the changes.
Dasht-e Lut. A largely inhospitable desert expanse in Southern Iran, made out salt flats, ridges, ravines, sinkholes and gigantic dunes. Water trickles into the desert only to dry up and die, and other forms of life are almost nonexistent... almost. There was a single resident of this lifeless biome who could withstand its unbearable heat and lack of activity: Roshan Bamshad. He meandered his way across the the craggy earth, climbed his way over steep and harrowing dunes of sand in search of something. His plodding was meaningful and there was a certain weight to his steps, as if they were carried by purpose. The man was bundled up in a mangy-looking cloak that obscured much of his features, but left the stark white of his trousers to stand out. He seemed at ease in his drive ever forward, no beads of sweat could be seen forming on his brow and his breath was as light as it had ever been. The uneven terrain and the scorching sun had done nothing to hamper his considerable constitution, indeed if it weren't for the humming he had been whistling all the while some might have mistaken him for an automaton, or a monster. As his travels continued, he would be forced to manage many more unusual obstacles to overcome before he'd finally found himself cast in shadow.

He had been approaching a mountain, a single solemnly spire that casted its shade where no one would normally find it. But for Roshan it marked the spot, the very spot, where his home lay. He could see it ahead of himself now, carved into a wall at the bottom of the mountain. A simple setup, a doorway covered by a dusty shawl and two square-shaped windows closed over by wooden planks. It was an obviously man-made structure, but it wasn't something done by anyone who'd called themselves a master of the craft. The edges were ridged and the door malformed, the windows themselves could only vaguely be called squares, even the building itself turned out to be crooked. But when the Quincy of many years stepped into the abode, casting the sand caked shawl over his shoulder, he found himself greeted by the sensation of home.

"Why would anyone want to live in this shithole?" A hooded figure inquired of himself. He just couldn't understand it, maybe it was a solace type of thing where he just wanted to be left alone. Still, this was a little too much. There wasn't a single strand or sign of life for as far as the eye could see. Well, his personal preferences wasn't the main objective here. It was his knowledge of the Wandenreich, specifically, Kraven Jäger.

The hooded man was known as Gekkō, he was here on a persona assignment from the Captain Commander himself to obtain some intelligence on their new threat. He carefully, slowly, walked towards the compound of held one of the most powerful Quincy to have ever lived. He had to keep his guard up, if he wanted to live. The man would have most certainly have sensed him coming if not for the Reiatsu-concealing cloak he had on his person. Even he could not slip past the Quincy's reikaku without giving himself away.

He stretched out his hand to knock on the door, strange place, didn't even seem fit for human life. But, then again, he's seen worse. By the time his hand had rapped against the solidified earth, Roshan had already become well aware of his presence. He hadn't needed anything profound to sense the arrival of the Shinigami, not when simple deduction sufficed. He had heard everything, from the rustle of the man's clothes to the crushing of sand as his footwear tread towards the Quincy's homestead.

His greeting was a simple one, the Quincy found himself seated in the back of his small abode. Resting on a creaky wooden chair with one leg sprawled over a table of similar construction. Atop which sat a pair of empty glasses and an accompanying jug of water which was sure to grow warm soon, if the rapidly melting ice cubes within were any indication.

"C'mon in, y'must be parched", Roshan beckoned with cordiality. He wasn't sure why someone would seek him out in his self-imposed exile, then again, company every now and then didn't hurt... Even if it was from a ghost.

Gekkō slowly entered through the curtain into the Quincy's abode. He had to admit, he was pretty surprised by Roshan's...manners. "Oh. Thanks? I was kinda expecting the door to blow up in my face or something." He walked towards the table with the icy water. He was incredibly thirsty, but still weary of the blond haired man. It could be laced with poison or something. No Quincy had ever been this nice to a Shinigami. The ones who fanned friendship always stabbed you in the back.

He stood before the table with his hands hidden beneath his cloak. "What? No speech about your superiority complex? No "righteous judgment"? Only water?" He asked of Mr. Bamshad.

The Quincy laughed, lightly but clear enough to sound sincere. "Kishi's a smidge harder to mess around with than Reishi, y'know? An' don't even get me started on tryin'a' fit bombs int'a cloth".

"But y'seem to know who I am, y'should also know I ain't particularly known for my relative Quincy-like traits, even in the face a' casual racism", he was relaxed and talkative, as he always was, though his mind was analyzing every detail that would come to him. He couldn't sense the Shinigami's energy, either he was something insanely powerful or he had a trick up his sleeve. He was also wary of Roshan's nature, no doubt the Shinigami that stood before him had been dragged into the war with Yhwach, the distrust was plain on his face, and his expectations of traps and in-hospitality painted a picture of resentment. So why was the spiritual being here if not to start a fight?

Gekkō was tempted to actually let his guard up, maybe this Quincy wasn't all bad. He never knew the Quincy to be the deceptive type. If they where gunning for you...well...you'd know it. In a big way.This guy seemed to be rather indifferent about the Wandenreich.

Gekkō placed his hands on his hips and sighed lightly. "Maybe I jumped to conclusions, sorry. I know it must not be easy for you having a 1,000 year old enemy literally knocking at your doorstep. I'm not here to start a fight. I just need some information." He spoke clearly.

Roshan removed his leg from the table, and at last sat upright. "Alright then".

His left hand gestured for the Shinigami to take a seat before it shifted towards the jug of water. He poured the clear liquid into the nearby glasses and took one of them up, all the while half melted ice jangled about. Roshan was quick to take a drink to make it clear he hadn't done anything to its contents. The Human World had a few, if hard to obtain, chemicals and poisons that were invisible. He was sure that Soul Society would have many more so it was best to be safe. "How can a' help?"

Gekkō took a seat and poured himself a glass of water. He gulped it down. It took him days to try and find this place and it had been all day since he had a good glass of water. He could feel the cool liquid rushing down his throat and even cooling his chest to an extent. He set the glass down in content before he spoke, "Well, as you probably know, there has been a... disturbance in the spiritual realms. A Quincy by the name of Kraven Jäger has emerged from the shadows and is collecting shards of Yhwach's soul that was scattered ever since his death. If he succeeds in his plans, well...needless to say it won't spell "well" for the Reikai. I was wondering if you could tell me anything you know about him that could help me track him down before he really does any real damage."

Unlike his drinking partner, Roshan sipped at his drink casually, displaying the qualities of someone who had become accustomed to their surroundings. The fact that he had seemingly matched his body to what many considered to be the hottest place on Earth was a testament to his endurance, that or the skill with which he possessed in fortifying his flesh through Blut. Though either case was still markedly impressive.

"Kraven, huh", Roshan murmured the name before donning a knowing smile. "I could tell ya anythin' about the Wandenreich, from the Germanic panderin' t' the reason we all wore white".

He paused for a moment, before shuffling out of his seat. He moved pensively around the table, making his way towards the doorway, though he stopped just actually leaving. "I can't tell ya 'bout the people though, unless..."

He paused again. This time followed by a blue light amassing in the room, bathing the murky stone in its glow. It focused into the shape of a bow, that had been drawn back and loosed with the conjuring of a similarly constructed arrow. It all took place in a flash, and before Gekkō could react, the Heilig Pfeil had glanced past him and drilled itself into the back of the wall.

Roshan had moved in that time, no longer positioned by the door, he had seemingly disappeared but his Reiatsu could be felt in the distance like the signal of a challenge.

This entire area was composed of Kishi; as such, it was not difficult at all for Gekkō to since the stirring of spiritual energy in the atmosphere as Roshan constructed his bow. Yet, perceiving and reacting where two totally different things. Gekkō spun out of his chair at admirable speed, he was steadily watching the Quincy's every move, waiting on him to try anything. Because, of this, his body's reaction sensors where threw the roof as he seemed to have acted without any conscious judgment before hand. A sign that his mastery over Hakuda Taisabaki was rising.

The arrow flew right towards Gekkō's skull before he bobbed his head to the side, the arrow grazing past his cheek allowing a sliver of crimson liquid to flow downwards. Gekkō placed his palm on his face and would have cursed himself for being so naive had something not struck him. There was no killing intent in Roshan's attack. Was it a mere warning shot? Or was the Quincy going to make him work for whatever information he was going to get? "Well, this has turned out to be a little strange." He murmured to himself as took a step in Roshan's direction, disappearing entirely.

He translocated to the very center of where the blond-haired Quincy's Reiatsu was at it's highest. "Hey! mind tellin' me what that was all about?"

"Ahahah, sorry, sorry, but as a' said, I can't tell y'bout other Quincy, least not ordinarily", the Quincy explained, all the while his Reiatsu continued to permeate the air. Everything around him started to feel... light. As if gravity was lifting up ever so slightly. "Y'see, a've been outta the game for quite a' while now, an' I could use a' little sparrin' practice, a square go or two".

He tensed the glowing string of his bow which caused an arrow to manifest across its firing arc, correctly set and ready to be loosed as needed. It had been forged from the particles in the air, and it quickly became apparent that this mass of land, this desert, for all its lack of life was swimming in Reishi.

"So, we go at it, an' for every hit y'land on me I'll divulge a tidbit of what I know on ol' Kraven", the man continued with his shot already lined up. He didn't expect the Shinigami to decline, no, they weren't known for backing down.

"So, wha'dya say?", he asked with a cock of his brow, his tone had purpose to it, but remained upbeat and relaxed.

Gekkō was never really one to back down from a challenge. After all, he was a Shinigami and had a duty to uphold. He readied himself before assuming a stance reminiscent of Koryū schools of battōjutsu. His hand grazing slightly above the hilt of his zanpakutō. His spiritual pressure became calm, no longer showing any signs of fluctuation. It was still, almost as though it had been solidified as water hardened to ice.

He grasped the hilt and drew. The resulting friction from the blade's lightning-fast contact with the hilt spawned a spark that rested upon the sword's tip. It was a classic battōjutsu maneuver; his drawn blade was flung horizontally across the air space between himself and Roshan. The winds that were known as the sword pressure where further empowered by the flames that engulfed them. This wasn't reishi, this was merely physics at work.

As for Gekkō himself he leaped into the flames themselves using his solidified reiatsu to protect him from the flame's immense heat. His drawn blade was still smothered by the fires, but showed no hint of being heated to the point of a melting point. Instead, with yet another wave of his Amaterasu, Gekkō slashed downwards upon Roshan's person; specifically, across his torso. Such an attack would surely not kill Roshan, in fact, the slash would automatically cauterize itself. This was merely to show the Quincy that Gekkō was indeed serious about protecting the worlds from Kraven.

Fast, Roshan thought to himself as he analyzed just exactly what was coming at him. An entire wall of flames, with his opponent wearing them like a raiment. The smile that spread across his face was an exquisite picture of his reaction. In any ordinary situation this would have been suicide, but for a Shinigami? This was just tactics at work and it was clear that, that very prospect was exciting to the Quincy. As fractions of seconds past, the blue light that surrounded Roshan found itself replaced by the warning inevitability of oncoming red blaze, only for the blue to overwhelm its hotter counterpart again. His arrow had shifted in pigment just as the Persian archer loosed it from its string.

The blade that Gekkō had swung never reached its target, instead it cut through his mediator. The arrow of solidified Reishi was cut in twine, individual particles splitting as soon as they made contact with the flame-covered sword. This served to act as a trigger for the arrow detonated into a bright and powerful explosion of concussive force. Everything was to be blown away, an entire dune of sand collapsed as its grains were scattered to the winds, even Roshan found himself flung a great distance by the ensuing shockwave.

Though, knowing it was coming, he'd had just enough time to brace himself. He landed a fair few leagues away from where his clash with Gekkō had began, but he did so on his feet. He was steeled for the landing as momentum pushed him across the sand, leaving a large trail in front of him which quickly gained purpose as markers for his next attack. There was a massive cloud of sand and dust where he had detonated his arrow which made it impossible to predict whether Gekkō would remain there, use it to cover his escape, or worse, use it to fuel a counterattack. Thus, pressure was needed. Roshan knew that. That is why he had drawn into a new firing stance the moment he had come to a halt. A new arrow formed on the arc of his bow, and with the lightest flick of the string it too was loosed to the skies.

The arrow exploded mid-flight, however, and from its end spawned thousands more, a shimmering cascade intent on preventing Gekkō any form of escape.

Gekkō was slightly confused. How could one measly arrow do, well, anything to the wall of flames he erected? His downward slash met the oncoming projectile only for it to blow up in his face. Literally. The resulting shockwave that erupted from the arrow hand dissipated his flaming waves almost entirely, save for the fire that flickered on his blade. He was blew back several leagues from his previous position and would have been knocked away more had he not moved in sync with the momentum that colliding forces created, somersaulting backwards before landing on the ground, plunging his blade into the sands in order to further slow his movements to where he could control them once more.

The sandstorm that was spawned from the explosion provided the perfect cover for a counterattack. Allowing the flames from his blade to superheat the grains into glass structures, Gekkō was prepared to fire. Until he took notice to the near innumerable arrows pummeling towards him. He thrusted his sword upwards, then spun the blade counterclockwise in his hands. Allowing the cyclone produced from his movements to become one with the flames once more. This created what could be described as a firestorm, as the anomaly reached towards the arrows, meeting them dead on. Yet, these arrows where numbered in the thousands and, being so spread out, would not all be caught by the firestorm. Only those that had been directly above Gekkō would be destroyed.

As for the other arrows that crashed into the ground beside him, he had plans for those. The flaming storm had done its job, yet, it was still connected to his blade via still being with his reiatsu's influential field. As such, he slammed the blade down into the ground, forcing the flaming storm to follow suit, The flames forced the surrounding sands to form glass structures that where propelled forth along with his initial attack. The glass served to create a defensive barrier around the attack and Gekkō himself as to circumvent a counter attack on Roshan's part.

The distance between the two of them was such that Roshan was left waiting for some time before he'd seen any result of his previous attack. While he could see the explosive clouds that erupted from the multitude of detonations his arrows created, it was all rather blurry at this range, a result of his rather pitiable eyesight. There was a reason his forte was known as the "middle ground" despite his obvious skill as an archer, after all. So, by the time Gekkō's moving construct of glass and fire came into view, Roshan had already lined up his next preparatory shot. It was an arrow he drew from behind himself, rather than those he had previously conjured out of thin air. He held that stance for a few moments, waiting, waiting.

As Gekkō drew closer, he finally aimed downward and fired his bow. Not towards his opponent, but at the very ground beneath his feet. Even with such minimal momentum this arrow managed to create a rather impressive amount of force, for the umpteenth time in this early conflict, an explosion had erupted that propelled Roshan right into the air, allowing him to circumvent a painful collision with the deadly construct. Though rather than flee from it, the Quincy had opted to land on the construct instead. A faint shimmer of energy shone through his clothing as he landed, indicating that he'd used Blut Vene in order to break his fall, and prevent any nasty cuts that were sure to erupt from landing on such a haphazardly made item. He was above Gekkō now and mockingly motioned a salute towards his opponent.

"Y'are tryn'a' hit me, right?", he jeered.

One would think that since Gekkō was stationed behind a construct of fire and glass, with a thin veneer of wind in between, that he would be fighting blind. This was not the case. Gekkō was no fool, he knew that if that where the scenario, Roshan would have picked up on it and ended this battle deftly. As such, he drove specialized Kidō into his eyes so that he perception would increase beyond the barriers set by his own attack. He saw Roshan draw his arrow and release it. But, it was a normal arrow wasn't it? What could that do? He was getting exited. He himself was utilizing the physical laws to aid him in this battle, so it was no surprise that Roshan would do the same. He just wondered how he would go about doing it.

As the arrow flew from his string, Gekkō came to a screeching halt. That was no ordinary arrow, it couldn't be. For it to do any form of damage to the multi-layered barrier, it would have to have explosive properties. And it did. The arrow detonated, shattering the glass construct nigh-completely and forcing the air currents to fall back on Gekkō. However, his blade, still lit with flame, absorbed the air that was pushing against him. Yet, he wanted to up the ante. Amaterasu's flames not only inhaled the wind pressures, but fed off of the oxygen itself in the immediate area, resulting in the creation of a vacuum that would deprive Roshan of any oxygen to breathe. The Quincy may have been powerful and cunning, but even he could not survive in a space with no way to breathe.

"What kind of question is that? Of course I'm trying to hit you! But I have more than one way to do it.", he proclaimed as he looked up towards the blonde haired man who held the higher ground.

"A' dunno if a' be-", in the midst of his response Roshan felt the effects of what he had been watching Gekkō prepare. The air had grown incredibly thin where they were, causing Roshan to cut himself off when he'd felt the empty gasp of air that he'd tried to intake. For a moment his expression was that of bewilderment, but it quickly morphed into something more amused than confused. His hand reached up to his throat, and three of his fingers lightly touched upon the skin causing it to lightly glow. Reishi from the immediate vicinity flew to him and the Quincy inhaled them as any man would the air.

"Hahahah, pretty good, kid!", he cheered in full boom, clearly no longer worried about his intake, or exhalation, of oxygen. "Y'almost 'ad me, too bad, huh?"

Just like that, their battle would continue. In any other part of the Human World, Roshan would have had to have been conservative. Sure, the air was so open here that it would've been impossible for Gekkō to deprive him of oxygen for long, but Reishi was also rather thin throughout this realm which would've left him in a losing battle of attrition. Luckily for him, though, this was not the case for the Dasht-e Lut. A desert so inhospitable that life rarely graced its surface, as no one ventured into it, it only made sense that whatever spiritual particles gathered here would be left to accumulate without anyone to consume them. It was why Roshan had picked it for his self-imposed exile, for situations like this.

He fanned out his fingers, drawing his hand across his rising bow. Immediately four Heilig Pfeil manifested on it, each at a different angle from the rest. He drew back the string and unleashed them all. They shot off with incredible speed, but their angles ensured they would never hit the Shinigami in front of Roshan, instead they blew past him in four, seemingly random directions. But then, three of them shifted course. Far away from Gekkō he should've been unaware that they had done anything more than cascade off into the distance, in fact the fourth arrow smashing into a dune of sand and promptly exploding should have provided the perfect cover. Nonetheless, three arrows had turned around, seemingly on their own whim, and returned in an attempt to strike Gekkō from behind.

"Eh, not really. If I had accidently killed you without even trying, it would have been pretty sad." Gekkō spoke as he began his next move. He knew he wouldn't defeat Roshan with such a simple tactic, especially since the area of which the oxygen began to deplete wasn't that large to begin with. The Quincy was resilient. After all, he did live in this desert wasteland and was pretty familiar with it's Reishi pockets. So the possibility of ending it there was slim at best. As he witnessed Roshan grasping his bow, he began to move. The glass structure was as good as done for and the Quincy was becoming increasingly capable of fending off Amaterasu's flames so far. So, he had to opt for a different strategy in employing his zanpakutō.

As he leapt back, the structure began to crumble into glimmering dust that mixed with the sands beneath them. As Roshan's Heilig Pfeil sped past Gekkō, he could feel their enormous heat draining the oxygen from either side of him, making it a bit more stressful to breathe. Was Roshan trying to get him with his own maneuver? That's messed up. Fair, But messed up. However, upon hearing the explosions in the background Gekkō was thrown into confusion. "What was that for?" He whispered to himself, not knowing what Roshan's angle was. Then, he beheld the three blazing arrows burrowing towards him at what could be considered mach speeds. It would take a powerful defensive technique in order to slow them down, let alone stop them. "Damn, Ama. Looks like you gotta sit this one out." He spoke to his zanpakutō as he sheathed her once more.

Luckily, Gekkō knew exactly what to do. With nothing but a whim on his part, Gekkō pulled as many of the fragmented energies that helped compose the land as he could. Allowing them to collide against each other, they fused, creating a transparent wall of energy at his back so that he would not be burned by Roshan's arrows. Yet, even with this, the barrier was beginning to show signs of struggling against the persistent arrows until more ambient energy was eventually added to it. However, Gekkō made it his priority to keep the barrier weak, as to provide him time to set his plan into motion. Throwing his arm out towards Roshan several golden chains spawned from Gekkō's palm at breakneck speeds, almost rivaling Roshan's arrows. They proceeded to incircle the Quincy ready to entrap him. If this worked, Gekkō's next move would be to grabbed the chains tightly, and hurl Roshan towards the now broken Dankū spell was that he would be hit by his own attacks.

Of course, Roshan hadn't simply sat and watched as Gekkō went through the motions of his techniques. Whilst the Shinigami dealt with his original attack with the formation of a Dankū wall, the Quincy had already formed his next arrow. This one was a little different from the others before it, however. The light that poured off of its visage was positively blinding, Reishi spiraled towards it, a gathering twister of energy that fed and fed the mighty projectile. The sheer density of the energy forced into it created a real and urgent sense of weight. The limbs of Roshan's bow strained and his spiritual string struggled to hold the arrow in place. When it finally loosed, it did so with a mighty shudder. Roshan's very bones trembled under the strength of what he'd unleashed. The air screeched like an alarm as the Heilig Pfeil tore through it and the sand below cast itself off in different directions, like a diverging ocean that dared not impede that which soared above it.

The effort needed for such a beastly projectile left Roshan stunted, though. He was slow to react to Gekkō's follow up, and in his continued refusal to make use of Hirenkyaku, the Quincy found himself wrapped up in the golden bindings and tossed aside. Though he was being cast against his own arrows, Roshan found himself without a need for panic. His arrows detonated upon impact, such that two of them were already gone when they hurled themselves into the wall of Dankū. One arrow would give Gekkō what he wanted, and indeed, Roshan's body was engulfed in the holy heat of its detonation. But as he rolled across the sands, smoke billowing from his fresh wound, the Quincy was instead focused on his opponent and a look of anticipation grew in his eyes.

Roshan, at least for the moment, was dealt with. As he beheld the Quincy crash through the barrier as well as his own attack, Gekkō knew that he had bought himself some time. "Dude! Are you trying to kill me!?" Gekkō yelled as he saw to gigantic arrow hurling towards him. Another Bakudō should do, except with a twist. The energy was drawn once more by his will, coalescing into another schism of energy erected itself before the attack set into motion by Roshan. However, the barrier wasn't stagnate or set into a perpetual state. His back was turned towards his enemy, many would call this a foolish move on his part, yet, he trusted Roshan not to be a coward and attack him from behind. After all, he had contingencies for such an instant.

The gargantuan arrow had not problem piercing the Dankū; yet after the initial impact, the arrow would begin to lose it's momentum with each passing second until it was virtually harmless. The reason for this being that this particular Dankū was connected directly with Gekkō's own reiatsu, and as such, was imbued to a certain extent with his ability to absorb the reishi in the atmosphere. Though, in order to stop this mighty technique, Gekkō had to focus that ability solely onto the spell, as this arrow was as powerful as any Cero he went up against and commanded his full attention. The arrow's ferocity was toned down several degrees, yet it still pulsated with life as though it were a raging bull waiting to gouge Gekkō's heart out.

There was only one way this could end if Gekkō wanted it to do so in his favor. At this rate, the arrow would still pierce his defenses. Clasping his hands together, Gekkō called for the spell to direct all of it's absorbed energy towards the arrow. The reiryoku plunged forwards, causing yet another explosion to insue within the desert, "Boy, if we were anywhere else the nation's military would have been called in." Gekkō commented, taking note as to how many times they blew this place to smithereens.

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