Free-Roam Turning point


Jul 18, 2019
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The sun’s rays shone down from above filtering through the leaves, piercing through the pleasant scene and generally being much more of a nuisance than they had any right to be. Kyūji had been enjoying the pleasant breeze waving across his exposed chest and the soft loam and grass beneath him, himself being a short distance from a large and ancient birch tree.

He was attempting to sleep through the worst of the pounding headache that last night had left with him but the sun managing to break through the clouds had increased his discomfort. The intolerable light beating down upon his eyelids and fanning the flames of his headache until its severity was too high to ignore.

Kyūji groaned as he pushed himself up off the grass, sitting up and grinding the heels of his palms into his eyes, trying to lessen the ache if even for a moment. He blinked against the brightness of noon, shading his face from the glare. He felt entirely too sober for his own good, he needed to remedy that soon. Grunting the man lifted himself onto his feet, a little wobbly at first. He kept his hand above his face, shading his eyes while his bare torso was left exposed to the rays of the sun, a fine film of sweat starting to appear.

He staggered towards the nearest town, across the small meadow he had stumbled through last night before he was sick at the base of the birch tree. He used his arm to steady himself as he reached the edge of the town, pausing a moment to shake his head, fighting back nausea. He stumbled through the small alley between the two buildings, coming out on a side street with little traffic, mostly residential which would be empty at this time of day. He towards the center of town, his destination coming into sight as he neared the main road.

The local corner tavern, its name had never managed to stick in Kyūji’s mind. It was frequented by local workers seeking to hide from the heat and slake their thirst, especially during this hour which is why Kyūji preferred to drink with the smaller, quieter night crowd, however his need was more pressing than usual. The man shuffled up the small steps and pushed through the front door, it swung back on well oiled hinges, the light from outside muted in the dim room.

Kyūji flopped down onto a stool at the end of the bar, the wood creaking. He held up his arm, signalling the bartender,

“Three whiskey”

He held up three fingers, waiting for the older man to fill the cups in front of him. He handed over the last of his Beri to pay for the drinks, grumbling in annoyance. He slammed one of the drinks back immediately, hissing through his teeth. He eyed the next one but decided against consuming it immediately, instead enjoying the warmth in his belly for the moment.

A minute or so later the door opened once again, letting in a shaft of light as the entrant strode over to the bar. A working man in overalls began to speak to the barman, murmuring for a few moments before the barman disappeared into the back. The entrant taking a seat a few spots down from Kyūji, although Kyūji gave him no real notice, instead taking a sip of his second whiskey. He needed to stretch these out a bit.

Out of the corner of his eye Kyūji noticed the man turning towards him, studying the larger man for a few moments.

“Yer a mighty big fella aren’t ya? I’m Bolan”

The man held his hand out towards Kyūji, but he did not even turn to acknowledge it. Simply taking another sip of his whiskey. Rebuffed but not put out the man tries again.

“Ya see I’m lookin’ for some help at my farm a lil’ outside town. I need someone nice and big to help me move some lumber for my new barn.”

The man paused for a moment, waiting for some form of reaction, but with no one forthcoming he pushed on further.

“Ther’ll be Beri in it for ya, one afternoon of solid work.”

At the mention of Beri Kyūji turned slightly towards the man, eyeing him. He tipped back the remaining liquid in the second glass, setting it down with a tap against the table top. He turned so he was fully facing the man and extended his hand.

“You may call me Kyū”

Bolan took his hand and shook it heartily, a grin breaking the farmers visage. At that moment the bartender returned, heaving a sack of barley that he dumped onto the counter in front of Bolan. The farmer nodded in thanks and took up the burden, standing as he looked towards Kyūji.

“I’m headin’ back now if ya wanna catch a lift with me”

The farmer then strode out of the door to the tavern, the door swinging in his wake. Pausing only for a moment Kyūji slammed back the last of his whiskey, he could feel the warmth of it line his throat and travel down to his stomach. He placed the cup on the bar and followed Bolan out, his hangover had been numbed, but he barely felt the effects of the whiskey, it was only enough to tickle him at this point.

Still he squinted once out in the sunshine again, a cart pulled by a donkey just outside of the next alley, Bolan stepping up into the drivers seat after depositing his burden in the cart.

“Hop on in and we’ll be off”

Kyūji nodded and strode over to the cart taking a seat on the back, letting his feet dangle over the road. Bolan gave the mule a gentle prodding and it began its slow plod through the town, through the main street past the various shops and family owned stores, til it turned down a side road that wound down past the nearby hill. Ryūjiwas quiet for most of the ride, simply watching the scenery slowly change.

The backdrop of the town shifting as the mule continued to pull, shrinking until it rounded the hill and disappeared entirely. A meadow opening up in front of them, a small farm just visible with some small buildings surrounding it. Bolan hummed to himself as they travelled, a tuneless sound of a simple life. Gazing at the slowly growing farm Kyūji spoke up.

“That’s your farm?”

Bolan took a moment to respond, perhaps surprised that the man spoke at all.

“Yer thats it all right, made it with my own two hands I did. Started with nothing but we finally turned a profit last year.”

The farmer beamed, proud of his accomplishment.

“It seems of sturdy construction, even from this distance. You are skilled.”

Kyūji had kept his eyes on the farm and the surrounds, they had almost arrived.

"Thank ya kindly, it’s not much but its mine.”

With their short conversation coming to an end they had arrived, Bolan coaxing the donkey to a stop outside of the house. Kyūji hopped off the back, his eyes scanning the area before Bolan strode up next to him.

“Right then, I just need you to cut and clean four nice big trees. Bring the timber over to that cleared space over there, we’re gonna be setting up the frame for a nice big barn.”

He beamed at Kyūji, holding the handle of an axe out towards him. The larger man nodding and taking the axe, resting it on his shoulder. He strode towards a cluster of trees next to a large boulder towards the edge of Bolans property, rolling his shoulders as he stopped in front of the first.

Kyūji made short work of the trees, bringing down the first after just a blew blows with the sharp axe, it falling in a controlled manner to the ground. Kyūji used the axe to cut off the offshoot limbs and generally make it straight, leaving him with a fairly clean piece of timber. He then turned and did the same for three more trees, felling each and cleaning it before he moved onto the next. Half an hour later Kyūji was standing over four fairly uniform beams of timber.

Kyūji then lifted one of the pieces of timber, hefting it onto his shoulder carrying it with slow steady steps over to the area Bolan had indicated. He lowered it onto the ground, careful not to damage the lumber he has prepared. He then lifted and carrying the remaining three over to the same spot, letting out a sigh once he had completed the task.

He turned as Bolan approached, the farmer having changed into some working clothes.

“Now we jus’ needa raise these support beams.”

The two men got to work, digging four holes to form the corners of the barn, working together to lift and raise the lumber, setting on end in the earth and filling the hole once again. It was tough work, holding the lumber steady until it was stable tested a mans endurance. But through their team work they had the job done just as the light started to fade.

Panting slightly Bolan turned to Kyūji.

“Well thas’ all I need ya for Kyu, the rest I can do meself nice and slow. Would you wanna stay and sup with me? I can give ya a nice bed to rest in.”

Kyūji thought for just a few seconds, before he gave the man a small smile.

“I think I may just take you up on that Bolan, most kind of you”

The two men enjoyed the home cooked meal shortly after, Kyūji having warmed up to the simple farmer they shared a few drinks and laughs together. It was the first night in a long time that Kyūji had actually been able to relax and enjoy himself. His muscles pleasantly tired after the days work, he retired for the night and thanked Bolan, falling into slumber quite easily.

After a restful nights sleep Kyūji awoke in the early hours of the morning, the sky just starting to lighten. He blinked a few times, confused for a few seconds, his head wasn’t pounding and he didn’t feel groggy. It was the first time in….a long, long time that he had woken up completely clear headed, that brought the thoughts he was trying to avoid, those he was running from, to the forefront of his mind. He groaned, grinding the heels of his palms into his eyes, trying to banish the thoughts, when this failed he turned to old habits, ones even older then drinking himself numb.

He pulled himself from the bed and careful not to wake Bolan he made his way outside of the small farmhouse. He stretched, his muscles protesting slightly and bones cracking. He sighed as he shook his arms, loosening up. He spread his legs, taking a solid footing in the dirt. He bent his legs slightly, keeping his breathing slow and steady while he placed his left fist on his hip. He extended his right arm, sweeping it from left to right until he was facing to his side, his arm fully extended with his palm flat.

This was one of the basic fighting forms of the Germa, drilled into him every morning his entire youth. He stepped forwards, stamping his foot down as he thrust his fist forwards letting his breath out with a hiss as his fist snapped in the air. He stepped forwards again, throwing another careful and controlled punch. He followed by swinging his left arm downwards and outwards from his body, using the momentum to rotate his hips and throw a right high kick into the air, stopping it at the top of the arc and lowering his leg to the ground. When his foot met earth again he pivoted off it, turning his body while extending his left fist letting a spinning back fist whip through his imaginary opponent.

He continued the rotation, extending one leg as he dragged it along the ground and dropped his hips. Using one hand to steady himself as he performing a sweeping kick, sure to knock most opponents off their feet easily. Panting slightly now he slowly rose, steadying himself once again. Returning to his original stance he flicked his wrist upwards, deflecting an imaginary blow, before he leaned backwards, almost enough to cause him to fall over, avoiding a strike. Finally he stepped forwards once again and bending his arm he drove his elbow upwards from below, delivering a devastating knockout strike to an imaginary jaw.

Kyūji was covered in a fine film of sweat now from his extertions but he was only slightly out of breath.

“That’s enough of a warm up.”

Kyūji then walked over to the edge of Bolan’s property, to a large boulder he had noticed yesterday when he was chopping wood. He set his shoulder against the rock, getting a firm stance before he started to push. He grunted, setting his might against the weight of the rock, he strained further willing the rock to move, willing it to shift. Finally it started to budge, shift just slightly over the dirt and stone beneath it. That was all the man needed, blowing the air out of his lungs and sucking another back in he stepped forwards, heaving against the rock as it inched forwards. Slowly, painstakingly he built up some momentum, pushing the rock through the layer of topsoil rather than over it. Each step felt like a small victory in itself, he made slow progress, shifting the rock only a few sparse metres over several minutes. Finally once he had shifted the rock over ten metres he ceased, simply leaning against the rock as his legs shivered from the exertion. He stayed in this position, sucking in lungfuls of air for several minutes til he had steadied himself once again.

Next Kyūji knelt on one knee and wrapped his arms around the lower half of the boulder, holding it close to his body. With quick intakes of breath he heaved, pulling the boulder from the dirt, with the strength of his arms he picked up the boulder. Slightly wobbly he rose to his feet, lowering his head and shifting the boulder so it rested on his shoulders, his arms wide holding it steady. With this great weight on his back he began to do squats, slow, controlled descent followed by a rise. His legs were strained almost immediately and he pushed through the resistance, squatting with the large rock supported by his body. It almost felt like it would crush him into the dirt. But again and again he defied it, his legs screaming and every moment feeling like an hour. He rose for the last time, he had reached the limit for what his legs could bear today. Shifting the rock again he used his arms, pushing against it to throw it several meters forwards. It landed with a dull thump as he exhaled, his body feeling drained despite it only being a few hours since sunrise.

Too tired to move far Kyūji sat down and leaned against the boulder, resting his tired muscles. However stillness was his enemy, it brought that which he was trying to avoid from the back of his mind, his past, his dark thoughts. Kyūji banged the back of his head softly against the boulder, wishing he could simply knock them out of his head.

He sighed, perhaps it was time to try to address them, anything else would be preferable to this. Kyūji closed his eyes, setting himself in a comfortable position, he focused on his breathing steadily in and out. Over and over. He slowly attempted to clear his mind of anything else, there was only his steady breathing and the blackness that surrounded him.

He continued this focus, unconcerned of the time that passed, until his mind was calm and still. He tried to envision his mind as a calm deep pool, with no ripples disturbing the surface, only reflecting what was outside of it. He slowed his breathing further, taking deeper, longer breaths. Filling his lungs to their limit and holding it for just a moment before expelling every ounce of air. He focused inwards further, plunging himself into the depths of the pool that was his mind. He went deep, looking for what he knew he would find, the source of his internal struggle, the reason he was no longer part of Germa.

He had spent many years as a commander of Germa, leading his portion of their armies. Killing, conquering, expanding their great country through force of arms. Bringing more land, more people under the great flag of the Germa Kingdom. He had burned many villages, quelled their resistance and it had never troubled him, he never gave it a second thought. They resisted the rise of Germa, the future that they had given them and thus they deserved to die, it was simple.

However there was one that stuck in his mind, one that he could not forget or put aside. A port town in the North Blue, he had been told they were resisting the rise of Germa, they prevented their armies from gaining the foothold on the island that was needed for them to overtake the capital. So they were to be put to the sword, and Kyūji was happy to oblige, he relished the opportunity to prove himself for Germa.

He tore through the village, No.9 and his soldiers. Cannon fired rocked the air and fire was spreading from their point of arrival. Kyūji’s breathing increased as he sat against the boulder, he could do this, he could face his past. Kyūji would tear through buildings himself, carving a straight line towards the center of the village while his soldiers fanned out and followed him. They met little resistance, none in fact, house after house was empty. The cowards had fled, too scared to fight in a real battle after attacking Germa scouts with the element of surprise on their side.

This angered him, how dare they not stand and fight. He would make short work of their village, make them an example for others on this island. They burned and destroyed as they went, Kyūji coming to the large building that sat in the center of town. He smashed through the door with only his fist, throwing it back inside. He strode in confidently, he was sure that nothing they could do would harm one such as he.

He had been expecting to find warriors in this village, hardened men ready to fight and die. He had been disappointed when he instead found nothing, empty homes and simple tools of a simple life. What he found inside this building brought him up short, a huddled mass of people, women and children, frail men, a frail people. They were cowering together, not attempting to resist, not even brave enough to flee, only to hide like children, like a prey from a predator that outclassed them greatly. These were not the warriors he was promised, this was not the glory Germa had foretold, these people would have succumbed to Germa without burning their village. The sight of the warships on the horizon was enough to break them itself.

Kyūji gaped at them, their mass of eyes turned towards him as one. For the first time in his life he was unsure what to do. His senses had deserted him momentarily. This was how the soldiers, his own soldiers had managed to pass him into the room. Managed to line up within a few moments and begin to open fire on the helpless innoce-

With a shout Kyūji leaped to his feet, stumbling forwards with his arm outstretched, as if to grab at the air. He blinked a few times, confused for a few moments. Bolan was a few meters in front of him, having stopped mid stride as he walked towards Kyūji, a confused and concerned expression on his face.

“Are you al’right Kyu? I jus’ came to give ya your Beri.”

He held out a small pouch of coins towards the larger man. Kyūji shook his head, clearing his head, once again focusing on the present. He took the bag from the man hesitantly, nodding his thanks.

“I’m quite alright, I was simply..lost in the past for a moment.”

He extended his hand, Bolan studying it for a moment before he took it, shaking.

“Thank you for your hearth and home Bolan, I think it may have done me more good than I ever could have guessed.”

He smiled, genuinely, for the first time since that night. And Bolan returned it.

“Thas’ no problem at all Kyu, you’re welcome back anytime. Come see when I have finished the barn!”

Bolan laughed and Kyūji chuckled a little.

“Please, my true name is Kyūji. I will not disrespect a friend.”

He then gave Bolan a small nod, holding his hand up in farewell as he slowly walked back towards the village. He had not managed to overcome his dark past, the thoughts that plagued him. But perhaps he had managed to take the first step.


Server Administrator
Mar 10, 2019
Best answers
Character Level

The rewards for this grading are issues based on the Story Rules & Guidelines. Please make sure you carefully read the guidelines and the grading. For any further questions, contact the staff member that graded your Free-Roam.

✎ Overall Thoughts
Not a bad bit of writing, especially for your first FR and being over 3K words at that. I look forward to reading the rest of your writings.

✎ Objectives
Reward per the objectives completed;
  • [5 EXP] Befriend someone you've recently met
  • [5 EXP] Practice basic fighting forms
  • [500 BERI] Do some minor manual labor for someone
  • [5 WILL] Perform a hard workout routine
  • [5 WILL] Do some heavy meditation to enter and address your subconscious
Sub-Total: 10 EXP & 500 BERI & 10 WILL
Modifier: 3,552 x 0.001 = 3.55x
Total: 36 EXP | 1,775 | 36 WILL (Rounded Up)

✎ Spoils

✎ Bounty & Rank

None yet.

✎ Level Points
Previous Level 1 0/2
Currently Level 2 0/4

@Houdinii - Congratulations!!! You've reached level 2. Welcome to rDNA Gaming!!! Please update your bio, Storyboard and Change Log appropriately.
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