Coming to terms... (a Street Fighter snippet)

<I felt in the mood to do some writing while working on some plot points for the tabletop Street Fighter game I am running for my gaming group. I kinda just belted this one out quick so I might go back and do some re-writes. Hope you like it>

Flapping wings of black carried a flock of birds into the gray sky of the morning, the trees beneath them trembling with the rage of the Ansatsuken-student under the canopy of the forest. He let out the roar of a mournful lion, the great timbers around him quaking with his pain and anger, leaves rattled from their branches slowly floating down around his shivering form. Clutching his head as if to quell the agony flooding it, the student doubled over, his teeth gritted so hard that, were he in his right mind, he would have feared shattering them. His master was dead and the entire mountain-side would feel his loss.

The student pulled in a deep breath as he felt the cold, icy fingers of grief twine their way up from the pit of his stomach. The realization of it struck him hard, snapping his eyes open as he banished the weakness of that cold with a fiery anger that melted the chill in his gut, roaring up out of his body and through his arm as it lashed out, the trunk of a tree shattering into countless shards as his knuckles drove into it. His chi roiled within him now, mixing and mingling with the cauldron of emotion in his belly. For a moment he felt as if he were going to be ill, bile rising in the back of his throat before he choked it back with a snarl. The rage built once more, fueled by anger at his own emotions and the weakness they brought. Power bled through his frame now, dyeing the cold, black sorrow in him a shade of vibrant, bloody crimson.

Unable to stay still lest he boil-over on the spot, the pupil broke into a run, the grass passing beneath his feet so fast it was as if he were flying between the trees. The man that had raised him, treated him like one of two sons, was dead and his killer was free. Whether moments or hours had passed, he could not tell, but he finally came to a stop amid a clearing within the woods, a ring of trees looming overhead. The student stopped, his breath coming in gasps that steamed upon hitting the chilly, morning air. He felt the hair raise up on the back of his neck as the realization of his surroundings crept into his awareness. He stood now in the training grounds of his masters killer. He stood in that place where martial arts had been honed into perfect murder and where a fist had been forged into a perfect weapon to perform it.

Lifting his head, he found himself looking at a featureless face that seemed to stare straight back at him. Frozen before the leering totem, the young warrior was momentarily taken aback, seeing both mourning and amusement in the face of the dummy. Once more, red-hot anger replaced any conflicting emotions in the student and he lashed out, destroying the mocking effigy. It exploded outward from his strike, coming back down several moments later as a fine rain of wooden slivers. The pain within him, however, was not quelled as he whirled about, finding himself surrounded by the siblings of the destroyed dummy. They stood in judgement of him, accusation in their blank stares as they leveled their empty eyes upon him.

He wrenched out a wordless howl from the middle of his chest, unwilling to have more guilt lain at his feet by the silent jury all around him. Sweeping away the pain and even, for a moment, the anger that had sustained him, the student briefly touched the guilt festering inside his chest. With it came an agony unlike any he’d felt in his life, so potent and agonizing that it dropped him to his knees. Warmth ran down his cheeks and along the line of his jaw, the sensation washing away the crushing darkness that clawed at him. He felt nothing now, nothing save for a profound sense of other-worldliness, as if he had stepped out of his body to watch events unfold from afar. He lifted a hand, looking down to it as a single drop of that warmth fell into his calloused palm. His fingers shuddered for several moments as a deadening numbness crept up his limbs, the despair consuming him rapidly now. He would not be able to follow his path with such feelings inside of him. He would not be able to do what needed to be done.

The students mind sank further into the grasping darkness pulling down on him, cobwebs being cast over his thoughts. His entire body lilted like a flower left too long in its vase, the vibrancy going out of him. He sat there in the clearing, encircled by the mute choir of totems, just as still as any of the carved figures save for the slight fluttering of his gi as the wind caught against the tattered edges where his sleeves had once been. A quiet, static whisper rippled among the forest but the student remained deaf to it until the edge of the storm reached him. The first few droplets of rain dropped upon him without the young man stirring but, as the heavens opened up and the rain fell harder, he felt cold trickles run down either side of his face, tracing the same paths the warm tears had earlier. Leaping to his feet, the student screamed his defiance at the sky, his fingers clenched into fists that drew blood from his palms. He would not endure the pity of the heavens or of anything beneath them. He would not allow his pain to consume him. His path was before him and it would be traveled with the blessing of his master.

Wrathful ire radiated from the student as he shook with his anger, another scream towards the storm drowning out the sound of distant thunder as the unfocused, red-rage within him gathered and hardened to a white-hot edge. He turned, and in one motion, he drove that searing edge to the tip of his foot as it whipped out in an arc around his body. With force that dwarfed the now-howling wind around him, he spun, his foot cleaving through a row of the dummies, decapitating them, his kicks shearing the tops cleanly off. Landing in a crouch, the martial artist turned on his heel, overcoming his own momentum to drive a hooking kick followed by a roundhouse that obliterated a pair of the wood figures. Sinking into the comfortable grip of violence, the young man cut a swath across the training grounds, destroying everything his path.

With the last dummy before him, the student cocked his fist back at his side, his knuckles popping loudly as he readied the attack. For a moment, as he leveled his eyes with the dark sockets of the dummy, he could imagine the face of his masters killer but, as the hardened wood yielded to the might of his Shoryuken, he felt nothing. The martial artist fell back to the earth, his back to the bisected dummy behind him, the middle of it gutted by his strike and, already, he felt the gnawing, almost sickening, power roil up inside him, aching to be loosed upon something. Cupping his hands at his side, he felt the energy flood his palms, erupting from them as fiery, violet chi that swirled about like a gathering hurricane. His eyes lifted, darting about rapidly, seeking out a target until finally they came to rest on a tall tree as old as the forest itself. Thrusting his hands forward, the martial artist let fly with a Metsu Hadoken, the sphere of energy ripping across the forest before it slammed into the trunk of the tree. The spiraling fireball drilled into the great tree, boring deep into it until the energy ruptured, taking the entire tree with it. Charred wood and burning leaves fell like hail upon the clearing, the flaming, shattered trunk of the tree sputtering black smoke up into the clouds above.

Standing there, the student looked upon the destruction wrought by his fist before looking down to his palm. Slowly, his fingers curled closed and the faintest of smiles tugged at the corners of his lips for he felt nothing now but the cold satisfaction of his own strength. The rain of the morning storm slowed as the martial artist lifted his head, knowing he was ready now that he had banished the demons of his own weakness. There was no pain now, no guilt and no hesitation. The martial artist had left them behind, burned them away in the forge of his training. Gouki knew now that his master Goutetsu was dead and that he would be his killer. They would do battle as warriors and Gouki would emerge victorious and the only thing he would feel would be grim satisfaction and a desire to seek out a stronger foe. Gouki turned from where he had spent countless weeks training for this day and walked into the forest, taking the first, unflinching steps on the path of carnage that would come to define him, leaving his humanity far behind.

That was a cool read, but I fear I’ll have to read it again slower to understand what’s going on exactly. :sweat: