A new dusk: Regrade, Complete Apr 13, 2017 21:30:44 GMT -5
Post by Arteran on Apr 13, 2017 21:30:44 GMT -5
Unseated, Second Division
[ AT A GLANCE ]
Age / Apparent Age: 273 || 26
Height & Weight: 6'0" & 180 lbs
Hair & Eye Color: Black hair with one white streak along the left side of his head, approximately one inch wide, hair is kept combed but not really styled, the white streak remains behind his ear. Dark blue eyes.
Calm-There are very few things capable of getting a rise out of Arteran, and even those reactions will seem subdued to many, this makes him ideally suited for high stress situations, be they domestic or combat related situations.
Adaptable-A product of his ability to remain calm, Arteran is very flexible when it comes to plans. Instead of rigidly following whatever he had planned to happen, he will easily react and adapt to the situation at hand.
Analytic-Arteran is eager to learn, and this is expressed through his desire to understand, which has in turn led to him learning how to analyze situations, people, and other things quite well, though not perfectly of course.
Patient-As a shinigami Arteran is aware that short of death in combat or illness, the former being an admittedly common cause of death, his existence will likely be a very long and drawn out one, and as such he has come to the conclusion that there is no reason for impatience, and that anything worth dealing with is worth waiting for.
Sarcastic-Arteran's humor is very dry, and as he doesn't believe in sugar coating things, at least not when he won't gain any benefit from it, the people he interacts with will often find themselves as the subject of said humor.
Holds a grudge-Arteran doesn't let go of things easily, and any kind of forgiveness, or even simple lack of hostility, is always a long time in coming, if it comes at all.
Secretive-Arteran is well aware of the power that knowledge holds, and while he's perfectly happy to gain knowledge however he can, he's very loathe to share any, and will attempt to safeguard anything that he considers as valuable information.
Manipulative-Arteran's analytical nature has lead to him becoming adept at using body language to manipulate the situation, and after that it was only a matter of time before he learned to use his words to his advantage as well.
Loyalties: Loyalty can be a fickle thing, but as long as the gotei continues to act in a way that he finds at least somewhat acceptable to his morals Arteran will give his loyalty to the gotei, or he will fix the problem. The same goes for the second squad which he considers a sort of family. The only thing that he has absolute loyalty to however, is himself, or more specifically his moral beliefs.
Birth[December 1st, 1743]
Introduction to Umbrum and Artera[December 29th, 1754]
Death[June 9th, 1775]
Awakening of power[December 12th, 1890]
Joins 5th Squad[April 1896]
Shikai achieved[December 29th, 1902]
Joins 2nd Squad[January 9th, 1903]
[ ON THE SURFACE ]
Physical Description: At a glance, Arteran isn't intimidating, far from it in fact. Despite standing at a sizable six feet tall, he doesn't loom over people. Maybe it's the way he always keeps his midnight blue eyes half lidded, the slight melodic quality of his tenor voice, or his easy, friendly stance. Regardless of whatever it was, something makes Arteran a very approachable, comforting person, at least at first glance. This isn't to say that he can't appear threatening. If he put his mind to it Arteran could easily cause the comforting atmosphere he projects to do a complete one eighty. A slight shift of his stance to show off his lean, taut build that was obviously built from decades of physical training, a small movement of the shoulders to emphasize his height and make it seem as if he stood over his victim, even if they're taller than him, a quirk of his thin lips to add a malicious glint to his eyes and highlight the angles of his face and his sharp chin, the tiny lowering of his thin eyebrows to cast a very small shadow over his eyes, a subtle change in his movements to show off the precision of his training, and a small, nearly imperceptible tilt to his head that causes his neatly combed raven hair to seemingly absorb the light that falls on it while the white streak of hair behind his left ear comes loose just enough to catch the light that escapes the rest of his hair and cause it to shine brightly, highlighting his pale skin and making it look almost corpse-like.
If he's lucky, there might even be a breeze to carry the scent of the violet-scented soap he used, which normally wouldn't be all that odd, but if he was trying to be intimidating it would create a mildly disconcerting contrast between sight and smell. All subtle motions, almost imperceptible if one isn't looking for them, but together they change a friendly stranger into a deadly predator in the blink of an eye. Most of the time however, Arteran doesn't make use of his ability to radically change the atmosphere around him, preferring that people were comfortable near him, either because he genuinely enjoys their company, or because he doesn't want to reveal himself without reason.
Physically Arteran is fairly lean, with very little fat on his body. This leads to him having a very lithe, yet solid appearance without looking stocky, it also causes his uniform to sag slightly on his body, leading to him having taken to the habit of tying up the arms tightly to avoid the excess fabric from getting in the way.
There are two things that Arteran is sure to always have on his person. He will always carry a small, extendable and fully functional flute with him that he knows how to use to great effect, and around his neck is a small silver pendant in a Celtic knot design that hangs from a simple thin black chain.The flute doesn't have much real value, he simply likes to play it, but the pendant is special to him, it was a gift from Luna, a girl he was very close to, in celebration of five years of working together.
As for clothing Arteran generally sticks to the basic shinigami uniform, not seeing any real need to change it, especially since it's roomy nature, while somewhat annoying, allows him to easily hide away anything he might feel the need to carry. When using a gigai however he prefers to wear a loose fitting tee that hangs slightly off his lean frame (his gigai is an almost perfect copy of him) with a pair of well fit black jeans.
Spiritual Description: Arteran's reiatsu is generally an unobtrusive thing, and radiates a feeling of a calm, clear night around him, and he is careful not to let his emotions show in his reiatsu, at least as far as he is able. When circumstances arise that cause him to have to release his power for combat the feeling that his reiatsu radiates goes from being calming, to being outright unnerving. The feeling it evokes is like the feeling of being lost in the woods on a moonless night, surrounded by sounds just familiar enough to frighten, but not familiar enough to be identified as shadows flicker in the corners of your vision, even though when you look nothing is actually there. To those able to see his reiatsu, they would be able to notice that Arteran's flows over his shoulders and around his body like an inky cloak studded with glowing white stars that slowly flow all over his body while a brilliant full moon hangs just behind his head.
From a more objective standpoint Arteran's reiatsu is like a fog, it gently drifts to fill the area around him and suffuse it with his presence, and when he's angry that fog suddenly becomes heavier and thicker, as if it had suddenly become more opaque and could be hiding anything.
[ BEHIND THE EYES ]
Personality: Arteran is a very calm, collected person. Even in the heat of battle he never allows himself to become rattled, preferring to take any surprises and turn them to his advantage. This helps him when he meets new people, as his attitude tends to help put people at ease, however this doesn't translate to him having a particularly large amount of friends. While his outside appearance and attitude with an average person may be comforting and friendly, those close to him, or those who manage to irk him, know that in reality he can have a rather...abrasive personality. It isn't so much that he's combative, loud, or obtrusive, rather it's that he finds ways to poke at people that don't involve being any of those things. Mainly these methods involve sarcasm. Unless he's actually trying to be nice, as he does with people he has only just met or who he isn't that close to and haven't raised his ire, Arteran has a nasty habit of being snarky. This is a reflection of his 'true' personality, the one he hides from people he doesn't trust. In all reality, Arteran is a very cynical individual, and he enjoys prodding at people to see how they react, be it with anger, confusion, or even no reaction at all, though he is always pleasantly surprised when someone not only accepts his verbal barbs, but throws some back at him as well. He has no illusion that he is perfect, and has no desire to be so either, mostly because perfection would be incredibly boring. The other main reason that he has few friends is that Arteran is fairly manipulative. He has no problem playing the long game, and has no problem using whatever means necessary to achieve his goal, as long as those means fall within his morals.
Arteran's existence has led to him having a very defined set of morals. Don't hurt those who can't defend themselves, don't get involved if it isn't your problem, if someone makes it your problem deal with it how you see fit, don't expect help if you willingly go against someone stronger than you, and don't attempt to force your will on others. Because of this he has absolutely no problem with quincies, who as far as he's concerned are only defending themselves from hollows, who most certainly attacked them first. In fact he is rather fond of them as they are normally incredibly intelligent people who he can enjoy verbally sparring with if he has the chance. The only exception he has in that regard is when any quincies decide that they should be in absolute control over all the rest of the quincies, or even over everything spiritually related. To be fair however, he has the same grievance with Soul Society, though in light of everything the Soul Society does he tries to overlook his problem with them.
On the other hand, his moral code has led him to despise hollows as beings that prey on innocent plusses who can't do other than run for their afterlife, and who most certainly make their existence everyone's problem in their single minded drive to feed, in fact the only reason he doesn't go out of his way to make the cleansing of their souls as painful as possible is because he recognizes that the hollows are not totally to blame for their behavior after turning. Oddly enough though, he doesn't have much of a problem with adjuchas or higher class hollows however, as he sees them as preying on hollows who are perfectly capable of fighting back, or who are too guilty of hunting the innocent to garner any sympathy when they find themselves in a similar situation. In all honesty, he's neutral about them. He'll fight them if he needs to, but he won't go out of his way to hunt them down.
One thing that Arteran enjoys immensely is learning, regardless of the source. He will listen with rapt attention to anything that someone says in an attempt to glean anything useful from their words, and will practically devour any book that he comes across. As one might imagine, this drive to learn does normally lead to him dismissing many works of fiction after having read them(he'll never turn down a book regardless of genre), but he does have a fondness for fiction set in a world similar to ancient Europe, especially when they involve someone fighting off a seemingly invincible invading group, though he's never been able to figure out why the execution of dissenters in these novels disturbs him so much.
Unfortunately the eagerness to learn that Arteran has is a decidedly one way street. The few times that he's ever been asked to teach someone something the student has always left feeling less than fulfilled. The problem is that Arteran is very aware of the value of information, and the power that in can hold. As a result he hordes knowledge, and will do his best to avoid sharing it without getting knowledge that he desires in return. He doesn't begrudge the basics to anyone who he has no reason to hide them from, but anything more than that, and especially anything personal, comes at a price.
One other thing that some individuals that have crossed paths with Arteran will be aware of is his tendency to hold a grudge, and his nearly inexhaustible patience in ensuring he gets payback on whoever he has a grudge against. Very few people have ever actually made Arteran angry enough to form a grudge, but of those who did even less were forgiven. Unfortunately even when faced with absolute evidence that whatever was done to anger him was completely reasonable, and not at all the fault of the person who did it he will still hold animosity for a long time, even if he does give up any plans for payback. This is one aspect of himself that Arteran is ashamed of, and wants to change, though he's having a difficult time of it.
Goals & Achievements: While Arteran does simply enjoy being capable, being strong enough to do what he feels must be done, he has a bigger reason to gain strength and skill. He wants to rescue someone he lost years ago, or failing that claim revenge and closure over her loss, and he won't be stopped. To that end he is proud to say that he has achieved Shikai, but he needs to go farther. He needs Bankai. He needs to master what skills he can, and he needs to become as strong as he can be so that he can find either the one he lost, or somehow find peace. Arteran isn't blind however, he knows that if he ever does acheive closure, in whatever form it may take, he will still have a life to live. To that end he is determined to reach the rank of third seat, and sit there. Even if he were to somehow gain the strength to combat a lieutenant or captain, he would still prefer the autonomy granted by the third seat position by simple fact that he wouldn't be saddled with as much paperwork as a lieutenant or captain would. He isn't against the idea of being in another squad when that rank is achieved, but he would prefer to remain in the second squad. Beyond those goals Arteran doesn't have any major plans, beyond to see where his existence leads him.
[ GUARDIAN ANGEL ]
The soul is a strange thing, and very rarely forgets anything. The touch of a god is a particularly potent memory, Umbrum's name and existence are clear evidence of that. Umbrum rarely takes any kind of physical form within Arteran's inner world, instead existing as an omnipresent voice that speaks to him when it needs to. On an occasion where it feels that it must take a form, such as when Arteran achieved shikai, it will take the form of a condensed orb of flowing shadow with points of light spread throughout it's body which pulsate in time with it's speech.
Unlike Arteran, who believes that everyone must be allowed a choice, even if that choice is decidedly one sided (he is very much a fan of patrician Vetinari, a character he learned about from one of Arteran's memories of the books he'd read), Umbrum believes that if something needs to be done then those in a position to force it to be done should do so, and will always advocate forcing a decision on people when it believes such an action is necessary. That isn't to say that he believes that Arteran should be controlling of others, but that he should recognize when someone has to take charge, especially if he is the one best suited to doing so. Also unlike Arteran Umbrum believes that if a problem arises that Arteran can do something about, then he very much should do so, regardless of whether or not he was asked.
While it has no intention of informing Arteran of this fact, the reason that Umbrum is so insistent on conflicting with him is that it wants him to realize that every rule has an exception, no it normally isn't a good idea force someone to do something, and more often than not you should stay out of other peoples problems, but sometimes people can't make a decision at all, or that sometimes the best decision is to get involved before something grows to the point where there isn't a choice and it's much harder to deal with, and especially it wants him to realize that sometimes people knowingly put themselves in bad positions because they have no choice, and in that case they do deserve help. Umbrum is also well aware that the likelyhood of Luna being alive is extremely low, and even if Arteran claims to be willing to accept that Umbrum knows that he'd be devestated, but would refuse to ask for any aid or comfort. Umbrum wants Arteran to be willing to accept both if they are freely given.
Umbrum itself is generally a very quiet, contemplative being, preferring to observe and only comment when it feels that such is necessary, or if it sees a teaching moment. While Arteran doesn't realize it, Umbrum is the memory of his god's touch manifested, and as such it shares the being's desire to guide what he sees as his charge subtly, so as to ensure that his charge actually develops his own understanding. Umbrum is very much a teacher, and is even more patient than Arteran, and is significantly more adept at playing Arteran than his wielder will ever admit, and he will use this to his advantage, especially when trying to convince Arteran to do something he really doesn't want to do, like reaching out to make connections with others.
Inner World: Arteran's inner world is a simple one. When he finds himself within his world above and around him is the star studded void of space, and under his feet is the stark surface of the moon. Unlike a real moon however, the moon in Arteran's inner world doesn't orbit a planet. Also unlike a real moon there is a lunar wind that blows across the surface, occasionally stirring up dust devils to swirl across the surface.
Power: Umbrum allows Arteran control over small stars created on release to a great degree, allowing him to use them defensively or offensively as is required.
Zanpakutō: In it's sealed form Umbrum takes the form of an average katana with a starburst styled guard and a white cloth wrapping around it's black handle. When Arteran activates shikai he uses the phrase "Fall, Umbrum." and Umbrum takes the form of a hand and a half sword, often called a bastard sword, that can be wielded with one or two hands. The cruciform cross guard is covered with intricate carvings of Celtic knots with tiny starbursts withing the empty spaces. The blade is roughly thirty inches long, with a handle roughly ten inches long wrapped in coarse leather.
[ LEGACY CREATED ]
Arteran was born in the middle of a relatively quiet night in a small village deep within one of the many forests of the Irish countryside. For the first ten years of his life nothing of note occurred, he was just another child in the village, he played with the other children his age and learned various skills from all of the people around him. The facts that, unlike other children, his birthing day was always celebrated during the first full moon of December rather than on the actual anniversary of his birth and that he wasn't sure just what his parents did in the village never bothered him, and why should it? Whatever his parents did provided for them quite well, making sure that they always had what they needed, and if twice a month his parents would leave him with the rest of the children to be taken care of by the smiths wife while they and all of the other parents disappeared in the woods for the entire night he still didn't mind, after all, this allowed him to play with all of the other children under the much less strict eye of their chosen caretaker for the evening.
However, his life couldn't remain so carefree forever. On the night of his eleventh birthing celebration, everything changed for him. Just like any other full moon he was anticipating spending the night at the smithy and was thinking of what he could do when his parents approached him, and told him that tonight he and several of the other village children were going to join the adults that night. He was surprised of course, but when he stopped to think about it he realized that every year all the children who had turned eleven before the first full moon of December, or in his case on the night of the full moon, would go stop coming to the smithy and go into the woods with the rest of the village adults. He never really thought about it before though, after all, they always came back, and generally they seemed happier for being included in whatever the adults did.
When Arteran entered forest he was practically bouncing with excitement. Nearly an hour after entering the forest though, that energy was mostly gone, and all he was concerned with was how tired he was, though when they broke through the tree line into a large clearing, all of those thoughts vanished. Before him was a scene of pure, serene beauty, the clearing was filled with delicate black flowers interspersed with small white flowers that seemed to glow under the light of the moon, and in the center was a small, perfectly round pond that reflected the face of the bright moon overhead. To each side of the pond stood a statue, both were human, that much was clear, but details were scarce on them. On the right side of the pond stood a statue sculpted from a type of raven black stone, and even though it lacked any detail exuded a feeling of power that was calm and collected, welcoming even, but still beyond comprehension. The only details other than slight lines across the body of the statue that subtly informed the viewer that the statue was of a male were two glowing white eyes, eyes that seemed to hold the light of every star in the sky.
Without prompting a name appeared in Arteran's mind, "Umbrum".
Directly across from the statue of Umbrum, on the other side of the pond was a statue sculpted from a stone so white that it made marble look dingy. Like it's counterpart this statue also had very few details, though the ones that were there identified it as unmistakably female, and also like the statue of Umbrum this statue exuded power, though this power was bright and clear, energetic even, but no less welcoming, and no less awe inspiring. The eyes of this statue were sculpted of the same black stone as the statue of Umbrum, though instead of glowing they seemed to absorb the light given off by Umbrum's eyes, Arteran could practically see the light flowing from one statue to the next.
Just like with the statue of Umbrum the name of the being this statue was dedicated to appeared in Arteran's mind, "Artera".
Arteran had been so mesmerized by the statues that he hadn't noticed him being led with the other children to stand in front of the pond, in front of the adults, except for his parents, they stood across the pond, watching them, but somehow they weren't themselves. While nothing notable had changed about them physically, they seemed more regal, more powerful, more god like. It was then that Arteran had realized, somehow his parents were gone, and whatever was inside those statues had taken their places, though instead of fear, he felt comfort, as if this was how things were supposed to be.
They all stood there for several minutes, the beings across the pond looking over the children, while the adults behind them bowed their heads respectfully, then the beings spoke, though oddly, instead of breaking the silence, their voices, layered over each other in perfect harmony, gently settled into the silence, almost as if the sound had always been there, but hadn't been audible until now.
"Hello children. Tonight is a momentous occasion for all of you, for tonight you enter into the fold of our people, the Lunala. Your village was founded long ago by our children, the first of the Lunala, and since then each generation has been welcomed into our embrace. Tonight you will join us, as your parents before you, and theirs before them. You will each be asked to drink of our spring, and in doing so begin your journey into adulthood, your journey into completion.
"However, if you do not wish to join us, if you wish to forge your own path, then that is your right and you shall not be punished for doing so. Instead you will be led to a place where you can begin anew with our blessing, but with no memory of what you have seen tonight. Now, Malicah, child of Orin and Linala, step forward and be welcome."
At the summon of Artera and Umbrum the first child went up to the spring and knelt down to drink. As they did they seemed to glow from within, and when the glow stopped they stood and turned with tears of joy in their eyes as they ran into their parent's embrace. This process repeated with each child, and though their reactions differed none of them had anything but pure joy shining from their eyes when they returned to their parents, and then finally, it was Arteran's turn.
"Child of Arta and Moren step forwards."
Arteran did so, but before he could kneel to drink they spoke again.
"Young boy, you are the child of our chosen, our high priest and priestess. You were born on the night of the last full moon of the year, when the power of Artera is greatest. This is why you were named after us. You are special, and will be expected to fill you father's role when the time comes, just as your spouse will fill your mother's. Are you prepared for that? Are you prepared to join us, as more than just a member of our people, but as our child?"
Arteran was unable to respond, his mouth dry and his voice caught in his throat, so he did the only thing he could, he knelt and drank.
After that the rest of the night was a blur, but he would always remember a feeling of wholeness and wonder for the rest of his life. From that night onward Arteran learned just what it meant to be a child of Artera, the matron of the full moon, and Umbrum, the father of the night sky. As he grew older he grew in wisdom as well, taking all the teachings of his parents and of his gods to heart, and in time he and his wife succeeded his parents as the night's chosen and led the village as the generations of chosen had before them. Then one night, the soldiers came.
It was a fairly peaceful night, and the stars were shining over the clearing of Artera and Umbrum as the moon was covered in shadow, and the people of the village were gathered to give respect on Umbrum's night. Arteran and his wife were in the middle of a lesson when the gentle calm of the night was broken by the shouts of men. Suddenly the light of the stars was replaced by the hellish glow of torches as more than two dozen men in armor poured into the clearing, weapons drawn. From their midst walked out a single man in crimson and gold robes. The people within the clearing began to mill in fear, and as Arteran turned to quiet them his wife stepped forward and spoke.
"Please, put your weapons away, the Lunala wish for no conflict this night, though I must ask, why are you here?"
Instead of responding the man in the robes jerked his head in a signal towards one of his men who stepped from the group and in one smooth motion used his sword to run Arteran's wife through.
"I am here to put you in your place pagans. Round up the people and bring them to the wagons where their children are, and be sure to get the male there and bring him to the center of the village, he must be their priest."
The stranger said that last part as he turned and walked back through the ranks of his soldiers. Before Arteran or any of his people could react the men swarmed them, and just as one of them hit Arteran on the back of the head he saw something he had never thought to see. As he fell and darkness began to cloud his vision he saw two of the men with heavy maces destroying the statues of Artera and Umbrum, completing their desecration of their holy place.
Arteran woke up in the middle of his village tied to a stake, surrounded by his people who were being held in chains. In front of them stood the man with the robes, a torch in his hand.
"-Will share the fate of this heretic as well if any of you stray from the one true path. But do not fear for you comrade, by experiencing the cleansing fires now, he will be saved from the eternal fires in the beyond, so stand witness and rejoice! For tonight, you have been saved, and your land shall be put to better use than you could have ever imagined in the service of our king!"
With that the man threw the torch into the kindling at Arteran's feet, which caught quickly, and before even a minute was past the flames were hungrily taking hold on his clothing. Arteran did the only thing he could, he screamed, he screamed until he couldn't scream any more as his vision was consumed by the flames and his world became pain, and the last thing he saw before death took him were the tear streaked faces of his people, who were being forced to watch as their leader died in agony.
Arteran could be considered lucky in that by seeing the total destruction of his people nothing bound him to the world of the living, and the next time he opened his eyes it was at the edge of one of the many districts of the Rukongai. The true mercy however, was that most of his memory was gone, and only impressions of his previous life remained, impressions of a life well lived and of a family more encompassing than he knew. His first years were unremarkable, he wandered into the rukongai and found somewhere that took in new souls while they established themselves, and it wasn't long until he found himself working as a wood cutter, the feeling of the forest familiar and comforting to him. For his first thirty years nothing remarkable happened, he had found a job, he had bought a home, and he had a loose collection of friends, but during his thirty-first year his life changed again.
He had been heading home from the forest in the middle of the night since he had finished his quota for the day early when he walked past a bar that his friends frequented when something caught his attention. Normally at this time of night the sounds of the bar would be echoing down the street, but tonight the alley was completely silent. There wasn't even the sound of a night-soil collector making their rounds. He was about to move on since whatever was going on didn't really involve him when a single voice carried out from the bar.
"Pe-please sir, I have to hel-"
The sound of flesh hitting flesh echoed from the bar as a much gruffer voice found it's way into the street.
"Shut it brat, or I'll make you shut it, permanently."
The street was quiet again after that, and only the extremely faint sound of sobbing could be heard, but that didn't matter. Arteran was seeing red, he recognized that voice, it belonged to the daughter of the bar owners, she couldn't have been more than six years old, there was no way she could be any kind of threat to whoever had hit her. For that matter, the girl's parents couldn't really threaten anyone with violent intentions, her mother was currently ill and her father wouldn't attack a fly if it grew to ten times his size and threatened to eat him.
Arteran quickly made his way inside, doing his best to silently take out the two guards at the back of the building, the axe admittedly helped. When he got to the room where the leader was interrogating the bar owners while holding their daughter hostage the thug caught sight of him, and before he could react the individual flung the girl aside and rushed him. The much larger man quickly knocked Arteran to the floor, his axe knocked away, but when he moved to deliver a finishing blow Arteran held his hand out as if to protect himself, and a glowing white ball of energy somehow formed in Arteran's palm, and rocketed towards the thug, where it slammed him into the wall and burned a hole right through his chest.
Suddenly more tired than he ever had been before Arteran fell to the ground, not even seeing the panicked daughter of the now dead bar owners running out of the door, screaming for help.
When Arteran finally came to, he noticed two things. First, he was in a large white room he had never been in before laying on an equally white bed, and second he was ravenous, but before he could open his mouth to figure out what was going on, a voice stopped him.
"Ah, you're awake. I suppose your curious as to where you are, and you're probably also extremely hungry. You used a lot of spiritual energy last night, and it's going to take a while for you to regain it."
Last night. Arteran's vision was briefly filled with images of the men he'd killed and suddenly he wasn't so hungry.
"Unfortunately food will have to wait. I'm rather busy, and only have a small amount of time to let you know what's happening. After you disposed of the men in the bar the daughter of the owners ran to grab the nearest reaper on duty, who happened to be me, and when I arrived on the scene... I will just say that I do not blame you at all for what you did to those beasts. However, what you did to the one against the wall is what concerns us now. Whether you know it or not, you used a very crude form of Kido last night, something that an average soul simply can't do, and it means that you could be dangerous, or you could be useful. I am here to make you an offer, you have been extended an invitation to the Shinigami Academy, where you will be trained to be one of us, a shinigami. Now, you can choose to refuse, but if you do, I'm afraid that we will have to perform an operation on you to permanently sever your connection to your spiritual power. I would give you more time to consider this, but unfortunately, the mess of last night means I'm short on time, so I need an answer now."
Arteran continued to stare at the ceiling, he didn't need to look at the man standing beside him to recognize him, he had heard his voice often enough to know that it was the shinigami normally assigned to their district. For a moment, his thoughts were clouded by hesitation. Did he really want to leave his life behind? He knew what Shinigami did, and he knew it was necessary, but did he want to do that for an untold number of years from now? Did he want to be a woodcutter for that long either? After a minute, he spoke.
"I...think I will have to take you up on that offer."
The man nodded, though Ateran didn't see it, and opened the door to leave.
"Excellent. I'll send the papers in with some food soon.
Arteran simply nodded at the man's remark, and paid no attention to the sound of the door closing. After a few more moments of silently contemplating his situation he succumbed to his remaining exhaustion, and fell back to sleep.
Rise to Power:
Much like the beginning of his life in the Rukongai, Arteran's life in the academy wasn't anything special. Just like any other student he excelled in some areas, and fell behind in others, though he never found himself at the very top or very bottom of any class rankings. This was partially on purpose, Arteran had never liked letting strangers know any more about him than they absolutely needed to know. It wasn't necessarily that he felt he had anything to hide, just that he felt that there was no reason to let anyone you don't completely trust know exactly what you can or cannot do. So perhaps at times Arteran did hold back, but he never slacked on his training, and when he felt that it was safe to do so he always attempted to push himself to his limits. Before, he had been content to take things as they came, but after that night at the bar, he felt that that wasn't enough. If he had the ability to do something good, then it was his duty to do it, and he better have the power to back up his decision. Unfortunately as he advanced in his afterlife that belief to doing what was right at any opportunity disappeared as he became more and more cynical after seeing so many people getting themselves into easily avoided trouble. It was also during this time that his opinions about forcing your ideals on someone else began to solidify, sometimes leading to rather intense arguments with his instructors.
Unfortunately because of his natural secretiveness Arteran didn't really gain any friends during his time at the academy. He gained acquaintances, but he never really got close to anyone. So it was that when he graduated from the academy he had no particular ties with any squad, so like many of his classmates he found himself joining the fifth squad as yet another foot soldier. It was during his first year with the fifth squad that he finally managed to connect with someone.
Her name was Luna, and in retrospect Arteran would tell you that she was beautiful beyond measure, but when during the time they were able to spend together, he didn't really take note of her appearance, as what he really enjoyed was her personality. Luna was perhaps the only person he had met that was just as snarky as he was, and who enjoyed verbal jousting with a passion. It also certainly helped that she preferred to be active at night, not a necessarily uncommon thing, but it meant that her schedule often matched up with Arteran's. She had joined the fifth squad just a year after him, apparently she had been in the academy with him, only she had been recruited a year later than him. For nearly five years they worked together, growing closer as they did, but in Arteran's sixth year with the fifth a mission went very, very wrong.
Call to Action:
The mission was standard, go into the human world, cut down the hollow population, and return. There wasn't expected to be any difficulties, so Arteran and Luna had been sent in without any backup. At first the mission seemed to be going fine. The two shinigami worked together with a precision honed over several years. It was strange just how many hollows there were, but then again that was the exact reason they had been sent in at all. If the population was where it was expected to be the local shinigami in charge would have taken care of it without help.
The two had been cutting through hollows for a couple of hours when things started to die down, they weren't picking up any spiritual signatures, and there weren't anymore reports that might have indicated a hollow outside of their perception range, and they were just about to call in when disaster struck. Suddenly they both found themselves slammed to the ground by an insanely high amount of spiritual pressure, and just as they managed to stand themselves back up a figure appeared before them. The creature stood erect, and was certainly humanoid, but unlike a human the being seemed to have thick plates of chitin layered over it's skin, and had two extra arms. The hole in it's abdomen marked it as a hollow, but the shattered mask on it's to-human face is what terrified the shinigami before it. Standing in front of them was something that gave shinigami far stronger than them nightmares, standing before them was an Arrancar.
The monster, for that is what it was, dropped the bloody corpse of the local shinigami at its feet, but the two before it didn't pay any attention at all to the body, instead they had to struggle not to scream just from the sound of it's voice. When the beast spoke it was almost as if an entire building full of mental patients screamed within it's disturbingly layered voice.
Even worse, the voice was completely devoid of emotion, almost as if the thing before them was some kind of robot.
"My boss was running a test. You messed with his test. I have been instructed to kill you."
Without another word the beast drew it's mockery of a zanpakutou and brought it down in a shining arc, aiming to take off Arteran's head, but before it reached his neck it was knocked aside. The beast looked down at it's blade, which was now embedded in the concrete next to Arteran, and then looked back up at Luna, who had somehow managed to push through the spiritual pressure and draw her asauchi just in time to knock the monster's blade askew.
"You should not be able to move. You are stronger than anticipated. Or perhaps there is something else? My boss will want to test you. You will come with me."
In an instant the beast was standing over Luna, one of it's fists planted in her gut as she fell over and into his grip. The thing turned silently away and opened a garganta, from which stepped a large, leonin hollow.
"Eliminate the other. I am bringing this one back for testing."
And with that, the beast disappeared into the black maw of the garganta. Finally freed from the pressure Arteran leaped forwards in a vain attempt to follow them through a portal that was already gone, when one of the hollow's massive paws slammed him into the ground. Arteran wanted to go after Luna, but he couldn't, not while another hollow was trying to kill him. To make matters worse, Arteran was tired, he was winded just by the pressure of the monster that had just left, and he had already spent hours fighting. Before he could even try and retaliate the hollow hit him again, and slammed him into a nearby building. As his vision began to fade Arteran faintly heard a voice.
"Call on me. Call on me if you wish for the power to survive, the power to save her."
"I am Umbrum, call on me, and fight."
Arteran didn't know why, but the name, it was familiar, it was comforting, it was strong. With what remained of his strength Arteran cried out, and gained that strength for himself.
With those words Arteran achieved shikai, but at a cost he never wanted to pay. After he returned to Seiretei he demanded that a rescue party be sent out, and when they refused to send a party into Hueco Mundo he tried to go there himself, only to be stopped at every turn. It was then that he was approached by the second squad, who saw potential in the nature of his power. He was promised a chance to get stronger, not only in raw power, but in skill and ability as well, and he was promised that he would be given the chance to rescue Luna when he was strong enough. Arteran knew that they would never actually let him run into Hueco Mundo like that no matter how strong he got, but he also knew that he needed the strength and skill that they were offering to perform his rescue. So he agreed to join them, regardless of their true intentions, with the full intent of going after Luna, with or without permission.