Diabló, "Truth" Tova [TRANSCENDENTAL] Dec 23, 2012 22:52:39 GMT -5
Post by Truth on Dec 23, 2012 22:52:39 GMT -5
Nature’s ApexName: Tova Diabló
Age: 262 Years [25 Human, 1 Plus, 99 Hollow, 90 Gillian, <1 Adjuchas, 41 Arrancar, 5 Transcendental]
Visage of the EnlightenedHeight & Weight 5’ 6.5’’; 123 lbs.
Hair & Eye Colour While his form is entirely fluid and up to him, as a Transcendental the young Tova has taken a liking to wearing much shorter, brown hair, only just barely coming down to his eyes, as opposed to the shoulder-length that he wore as an Arrancar. His eyes, however, remain entirely unchanged—they possess the same deep, forest green that they have for his entire life.
General Appearance As a Transcendental, lesser races will find themselves unable to feel the presence of Tova at all. But he will still appear as an entirely normal individual, one that could pass as a Shinigami—even a human. Despite his origins among Hollow kind, Tova now takes on an appearance indistinguishable from a normal mortal. Gone is the excessively pale skin, mask fragment buried in his hair, and the hole through his chest. Now his body is whole and brimming with life. His skin is a soft peach, neither the deathly pale it was before nor heavily pigmented. His frame is as lithe as ever, though he now stands a barely noticeable inch and a half taller.
Beyond the physical changes, Tova’s original outfit as an Espada has, too, changed considerably. While his white hakama is largely the same, the white jacket-like shirt he once sported is now heavily altered. The coattails of the original have been lengthened even more than they were before, reaching all the way down to his ankles. He also possess similar ribbons of cloth coming over each shoulder, much thinner than the ones behind him, that go as far as his waist. All of it is still white, only the edges being trimmed in black. His tabi remain equally dark and held tight against his feet by strapped sandals.
When not among the spiritual beings Tova takes to a much more casual appearance. A pastel green sweater vest paired with tan slacks and black shoes (coming in all sorts) is his outfit of choice, finding it comfortable in most any weather. In no cases does his hair change, continuing to be unruly and thick, nor does he ever don jewelry of any sort.
Over the years, however, Earth has seen Tova in countless shapes and sizes.
Splendor of Divinity
- Pacifistic | Spiritual death is the worst fate to befall a soul short of total destruction. Upon spiritual death the soul is wiped clean and given new life as a human. This process causes the soul to lose all of its personal development and start back at square one, beginning anew the path to ‘Transcendentalification’ that Tova so longs to see each soul achieve.
- Patient | Inhumanly so. It is hard to illicit anger or frustration from Tova, the man’s inner peace making him almost endlessly patient. He is incredibly easy to get along with for this reason, though many comment that this patience makes him boring and uninspiring. Yet Tova believes whole heartedly that showing patience is the best way to encourage someone to grow.
- Empathetic | With an expanded consciousness comes a greater ability to understand others. For this reason Tova is very keenly able to see into someone’s character and empathize with their pain and struggles.
- Analytical | His Transcendentalification has not left him as little more than a lovable oaf. All of his ability to analyze makes him incredibly sharp and quick witted, able to very easily deconstruct a situation—social or otherwise—with little effort. This makes talking with him a very enlightening experience, for the man sees the world from a perspective that few others can understand.
- Loving | Free from the restraints of Deception, this man can truly love with all of his heart. Before he could not bring himself to admit that h loved others, but now he basks in it. There are many people that Tova could say he loves, not the least of them being his own wife.
- Enlightened | Perhaps the most telling feature. This does not leave him as a helpless infant, as some philosophies would understand, but instead make Tova seem like a man constantly in equilibrium, despite the every-changing and dynamic nature of the world.
- Reserved | While his transformation has made him much more open, Tova still keeps to himself. Most of his time is spent with those close to him, those dear to him, and rarely does he seek to reach out to anyone on a personal level.
- Professional | Strictly business, another facet of his personality that makes him hard to get to know. While those that pry through this shell find a very rich and big-hearted man, most only get an exterior that seems only interested in whatever duties he finds himself obliged to fulfill.
- Detached | Part of his transformation has made Tova much easier to get along with, though another part has made him find the worldly concerns of others in his life as petty. While some Shinigami worry about their jobs, or a Hollow about its next meal, seeing the world from such a pedestal has made him see just how insignificant these things are.
- Nonchalant | Life has become one giant mental pursuit, equally as intellectual as emotional, but one that Tova is far more fit to tackle than others. What had been hard was now far too easy, and that which was easy was now painfully boring. Tova’s attitude in many ways is of nonchalance, wholly unconcerned with otherwise pressing life challenges and obligations.
- Unapproachable | All of this comes together to make a man that is simply hard to approach. Aside from being distant, mysterious, and intimidating in many ways he simply does not give off an inviting aura.
- Perpetually Bored | As it might suggest, Tova has become bored with the hum drum of mortal life. As a Transcendental he can tackle and solve problems in his life that many haven’t the first clue. He knows exactly what to say, do, or what buttons to press to make things go his way. With transcendence comes moving beyond those who had been equal to him before, leaving him bored in a world of people not yet as far along.
- PRIMARY FUNCTION – Introverted Intuition: His greatest tool, the part of his psyche that allows him to deconstruct and understand the world. Processed by an enlightened mind, this function permits Tova to see things that lesser races simply cannot.
- AUXILIARY FUNCTION – Extraverted Thinking: All of that information needs a filter to go through, something to weigh and measure it, and there are few better equipped than Tova. Well developed, he can very easily make sense of the world around him.
- TERTIARY FUNCTION – Introverted Feeling: Typically neglected in many people of similar psychology, Tova has come to embrace his emotional side. He is deeply in tune with his emotional needs and because of this, he much more easily understands the needs of others.
- INFERIOR FUNCTION – Extraverted Sensing: No longer the crippled function, his Extraverted Sensing gives him a much greater appreciation for the world around him. Aesthetics that would have otherwise gone ignored are now bright, vibrant, and a significant part of his life.
- SELF ACCEPTANCE – Love to Lie: Part of his transcendence has been that he has come to truly accept all parts of himself, including his penchant for deception and manipulation. No longer is it like a ball and chain on his leg, but now Tova truly sees it as a tool. Part of himself that is neither good nor bad, it simply is.
- WAY OF LIFE – Eternal Ladders: Life is now a seriesof ladders. His transcendence was simply the start of a new ladder, and everyone has their own set to climb. Tova wants to go as high as he can, helping others along the way and passing wisdom down to those below him.
- PILLAR OF ENLIGHTENMENT – Openness: The motto by which Tova now lives is one of openness, fully ready to change his ideas at a moment’s notice. This is the idea that allows him to maintain such enlightenment, the key to it all. Instead of seeing himself as a rock in a river, he becomes part of it. He allows the river to flow through him, retaining his individuality while always remaining balanced in his dynamic world.
- HOLLOW GIGAI: One of Tova’s first creations, inspired by his attempts to reverse Hollowification. While Shinigami Gigai attached to their Saketsu, requiring an outside device to separate, these attach to the Hakusui. Now separation is done at will, but the process is extremely painful for the soul involved as the connection is much deeper.
- SOUL REGRESSION CHAMBER: In his studies of the soul, Tova developed a device—using some information held by Fourth Division at the time—to develop a chamber that suppressed the Saketsu and left the prisoner as little more than a mundane human.
- MYSTIC EYES: Careful application of spiritual energy to magically alter his eyes has allowed Tova to see the Saketsu and Hakusui as colorful, glowing points on the chest of a being. This precision allows him to not only strike the points, but to hit them accurately. It is in this manner that he can merge souls.
- VAIZARDS: By merging a Hollow and Shinigami soul, the spiritual pressures will mingle and create a counterpart to the usual Zanpakutō Spirit. This Inner Hollow, if subjugated, allows the Shinigami to draw on its power and manifest the mask of a Hollow.
- LIQUIFIED SPIRITUAL PRESSURE: By taking his actual spiritual pressure and forming it into a liquid, Tova can inject it into other creatures and pass on certain traits. Most notably he can temporarily gift a person with his regenerative abilities.
- TRANSCENDENTALS: Not a creation, but a discovery. Tova was the first to recognize Riko Suzumei as a being beyond Shinigami or Hollow, but the first to successfully make the transformation. As far as he knows, he is the only Transcendental in the world.
- LARS FEHN: father; What would you think, now, of the son that abandoned you?
- ANNETTE FEHN: mother; Do you see, mother, the fulfillment of your dream?
- OPHELIA FEHN: elder sister; Who are you? Who did you become? I know nothing of one of the few that has been there since the start.
- KOY ZHENHAO: fellow privaron; Have I left you behind in the wake of my rise? You, one who was so vital in my early years?
- ADELLE FLORES: fellow privaron; Perhaps one of the few I could relate to so deeply. In our silence we may have shared more than most any of our kind.
- ALLESSANDRA AMETIEL: ; My god.
- BARRIE HUGHES: love-me-not; My feelings for you were genuine. Our time together was the first to ever show me what life could be, and how empty I was.
- DOKURO AROKAI: victim; I doubt you survived our encounter at the mall, young man. Although it cannot redeem, know that it was you that inspired me to treat your kind with respect, even admiration. I hope you find peace.
- RIKO SUZUMEI: superior, fascination; I see now that you were not what I am, but you were still something great. Were it not for you I may never have thought I could become what I am today.
- SOUGETSU VOLTAIRE: superior, fool; You used us Arrancar however you pleased. After what you did to Riko, is it no wonder why your fate befell you so?
- KASUMI SUZUMEI: love, Vaizard; My affection for you was genuine, so I see now, even if it was not the love of the man you wanted warming your bedsheets. You were the first, and no apologies can make it right.
- TENPUKU: love, Inner Hollow; You are and will always be like a daughter to me, remember that. I do not regret you.
- KYOUSUKE TSUKIMIYA: close friend, Vaizard; You were perfected first, but not the first to be infected. The man who showed me that there was more to Shinigami than the idolization I placed upon them.
- DAISY MAE: subordinate, enigma; You never made a lot of sense to me, you know that? No matter what I did to try and understand you, you defied me.
- AMAYA KIDACHI: subordinate, friend; Return, why won’t you return?
- GARRA DESALMADOS: subordinate, guilt; Tossed you aside like used trash. I should have been beyond that by then, but I was not. For this I am sorry.
- MITSUTAKA KARAHASHI: close friend, feared villain, Vaizard; I let you live because I have faith in your strength. Do not prove me wrong, for I may never accept what I will have to do. I should never have let you become a Vaizard.
- KENSHOU INE: the one that got away; Your ability to survive is impressive. Even with the stunt you pulled with my Espada, I am glad you survived.
- LANCELOT DU LAC AIZAWA: guilt; You did right by Kasumi, more than you’ll ever know. For what I stirred in your heart, and for the crimes of Gilgamesh by your hand, I can only offer my sincerest apologies.
- TORI SAIO: dearest love, wife; You may never understand just what you’ve done for me. It is no wonder that in the course of hours you went from stranger to someone part of my heart—you were always there, I just never let myself see it. Thank you, a million times thank you.
- LESSA KACHEKIWA: deep guilt, Vaizard; Your life was hard enough, something I got to see much better than most. I am at your disposal should you ever wish to speak to me again.
- SAMANTHA: daughter; For all you have endured, I am proud of you..
- TITUS ARKHAN: subordinate; A Hollow in every sense of the word. I wish I was the person to show you the path to transcendence, but that person is not I.
- ENRIQUE RELAMPAGO: subordinate, fool; Your thoughts are as open as a book, and they sadden me. Arrancar like you I used to hate, but now I only offer pity.
- SALZABOR VASQUEZ: weaker self; You could be so much more, but I am still glad to have you alongside me as an Espada.
- YAKSHA DOKUJA: misguided; You are the personification of my manipulative ways. I cannot tell whether you idolize or hate me, but neither is healthy. Stop chasing after what you do not really want.
- PUREZA BLANCA: subordinate, child; There is more to you than most can see. Your ignorance is just a shell for something much greater, I can see it in your soul
- GILGAMESH: enemy, tyrant; You should have been gone thousands of years ago. Your time is up, Golden King, and I will send you on your way myself if I must.
- ARTIX VON CREG: guilt; I am sorry. That is all I can give to you.
- MAKI TAKAHASHI: insecure, victim; Trust yourself first and you’ll find that life is much easier.
- ENKIDU: coward; You make excuses to justify your own selfishness, unaware how your actions affect others.
- JEMUKATASHI AMAI: admiration; You’re a strong man, neither giving into despair nor pride.
- ENLIL: delusional; You are no god.
- HIKARI MIYAZAKI: enemy, enigma; How come you were the one to defeat me, what have I done wrong?
- INTELLECTUALISM: Little can excite Tova more than a good intellectual conversation. He encourages it in others, hopes that they might be infected by his enthusiasm for ideas and knowledge, all because he sees an intellectual attitude as a means to a better world.
- DECEPTION: It’s fun and he isn’t afraid to admit that. Tova likes to trick people, but has long since learned the line between good fun and destructive application. Yet even that too has a purpose, one Tova will not hesitate to employ if needed.
- LOVE: Few things can inspire someone to rise above who they are more than love. Accepting his love for himself and others was what finally pushed him over the edge and into Transcendentalification, and he enjoys seeing more of it in the world.
- EARTH: It’s a beautiful place, the cradle of mankind, and Tova always enjoyed spending as much time there as he possible could.
- OPENNESS: In himself, openness to people and ideas was a requirement. He loves to see it in others too, quick to encourage them to keep at it and share his own thoughts with them, hoping to learn just a little bit more.
- CRUELTY: All things have a place, but inflict pain or pain’s sake is never something productive.
- DEATH: Conflict is necessary for growth, as is fear, but the spiritual death of a being spells out its failure. Once reborn it has lost all personal development towards Transcendentalification, a crime that Tova simply cannot see himself permitting.
- OPPRESSION: People should be encouraged, not held back. For this reason Tova refuses to force others to bend to arbitrary standards and hates seeing it perpetrated by those who know better.
- HOLLOWS: Although he has given up his hate and learned to see great value in the Hollow races, they are still not a type of people that he wishes to be around.
- STAGNATION: Standing in one place is a painful thing, people are always meant to move forward. Tova can’t stand to see someone stuck in life, unable or unsure of where to go from there.
- Covers Right Eye: A carry over form his human life. Tova died by being shot in the right eye and when stressed or embarrassed, will typically cover it with his palm.
- Socially Submissive: For all of his enlightenment, Tova prefers to let others take the lead in a conversation or situation and only give helpful nudges as necessary. He feels little need to project himself into the outside world.
- Problem Solver: when something comes up, his first instinct is to find a way to fix it. It is in his blood to seek a solution to any problem that comes his way, making him very difficult to depress as long as he can see a way forward.
Concept of Truth
All of reality can now be bent to Tova’s will. Provided that he has the knowledge to do it, Tova could change any aspect of the universe by using his own spiritual energy as the catalyst. The more difficult something is to do, the more energy it requires and the more tiring it will be. He can also not change anything that he does not have an intimate understanding of, making him an expert at altering the soul but very poor when handling any other complicated matters. Tova also finds himself unable to force changes onto another living being, requiring their consent to change anything about them or even the space roughly within one meter of their body.
MYTH PUT TO SHAME
Eighteenth century Norway was a cold, struggling place. Famine ripped the land as all of Europe struggled after yet another outbreak of the Bubonic. Yet in a small corner of swampy country land there was a small family of four—an iconic sight in the modern world—that managed well enough on their own. There was no great struggle, no great pain. The father and mother loved each other, loved their children. The boy and the girl fought and played and loved as all siblings do. She would tease him for having the name of a girl—a bit of miscommunication when he was born caused the parents to settle on a name for the second daughter they thought they had—while he would tug at her hair and push her into the mud.
They were happy while so many others were not.
Most of them.
By the age of fifteen, the small community and farm life had taken its toll on the young man. Despite the protests of his parents, pleas of his sister, and requests of the community he walked out and never came back—unwilling to settle for the mediocre and easy lives that they had so luckily carved out for themselves. He craved adventure, struggle, hardship, and meaning. Things he would never find there.
To a tearful goodbye he only returned a cold shoulder and a silent departure—leaving an entire town to wonder just what they did to earn the animosity of one of their own beloved.
ROOTS OF DECEPTION ARC
Struggle and conflict were sought, struggle and conflict were found. After surviving the trip to Oslo, no small feat, the young man found himself in a world full of people struggling to just get by, let alone make a name for themselves. Months and years passed as he spent most of his life on the street. He would beg for food, money, even work when things got difficult. Winters were spent in total agony, a season that he quickly came to fear above most anything else. The cold ate at him, widdling his otherwise strong body down to naught but skin and bone by the time spring broke through the freeze. More than once did he find himself outside at night, alone, huddled under stolen blankets in an attempt to keep the life-sapping snow from his bones.
None of the skills he developed as a young man on a farm did him any good here. The people of this world were concerned only with wealth and status, while his ability to work and achieve was largely overlooked. So what could one do to get by in this life? The answer came in the form of an older man—a prominent figure in an even more prominent trading company—that found him in the middle of conversation with one of the town intellectuals.
It was embarrassing.
The boy of seventeen had not the knowledge to compete with the scholar. Yet it was not his stunning ignorance, common in country kids, that caught the eye of this experienced trader and merchant. It was that his mind was sharp, his attitude enthusiastic, and his desire to work unparalleled—even as he sat in conversation there were subtle hints to the man that he was looking for work, constantly finding ways to slip that into his speech. Of course the scholar himself had little work to call his own and would be unable to help, even if he should want to.
The trading company, however, was an entirely different story. The business itself could be seen as hazardous work, though in an entirely different way from say, a soldier. The enemies and dangers of trading were far from so simple or direct. Instead, the biggest worries a man in upper levels of this business would have were more closely aligned to the cloaks and daggers that flit about through the night. So he took a seat after the scholar went about his day and engaged the young man in conversation of his own.
There would be no decision he would regret more.
Undaunted entirely even after the risks were explained, the young man jumped right in. For what did he truly have to lose when he was stuck here in this city, constantly fearing the oncoming winter? It was spring now, putting an effective time limit on being able to carve out a place for himself here. Would he be able to so much as survive another harsh season?
Of course he would. The world of intrigue and psychology suited him well. He started as a lowly errand boy, working for the middle aged man and his family—all about the same age to what his own family should be. Part of him wondered if he should feel guilt or shame, wanting to escape the shackles of one community only to allow himself to be bound by another. Was that not hypocrisy as its finest?
Finally opportunities began to spring up, dark and dirty as they always were. Planted evidence here, a lie or two there, many even a staged assault or three. He began to rise, all the while completely at peace with any of the actions he had to take to survive. By the time the autumn descended he had gone from an urchin to someone with a place of his own, food on the table, and a warm fire; far from wealthy and yet impressive for someone just now eighteen. It was a testament not only to his work ethic but also to his intellect and ability.
Yet this disturbed the elder man greatly.
Although he continued to visit the family very regularly, enjoying their company above all others and being considered an extended member of their family by now, he seemed…inhuman. While any normal young man would have interests beyond his work, he seemed devoid of them entirely. Even his daughter’s obvious interest, an exceedingly beautiful and bright girl of age almost identical to the young man’s own, seemed to have no effect on him at all! Was he truly uninterested in her but caught by other young women out there, or did they all just pass by his radar with no import? While he spoke and spent time with her, and acted in all ways a young man would towards a girl he wished to court, no such courting ever began.
No, no. That couldn’t be it, not to this degree. Even as the next spring came around, bringing their relationship to its first year, he happily went about his way completely uninterested in women at all. This was not bashfulness or any sort of fear at all.
He just didn’t care.
More than his romantic habits he seemed entirely content, and what was worse that he seemed entirely healthy at the same time, being a relative hermit. He would work and interact with people using carefully honed social skills, yet beyond the professional he seemed as though he could care less.
This terrified the older man, chilled him to his bones. No matter what he did he could not pin down why. He was nothing but grateful and caring, even loving, towards him and his family. Just what was wrong with this? So he could detach himself from people much more easily than most, what was truly wrong with that? So for a while he tried to shove this into the back of his mind, tried to forget.
For five years this worked brilliantly.
His daughter was now happily married to another man and the boy he had helped off the streets was just as warm towards them as always, now far wealthier than he. Everything about life was looking up. His position was secure, his family fed and happy, a little slice of heaven. Long ago had he let go of his paranoia and his fears regarding the man he had saved, someone who was now another source of support in case anything should ever happen to him. It was the best decision he had ever made, one he could feel good about.
Gunshots rang out through Oslo one night, a short burst and series. Moments later the man found himself on the floor of his own dining room, most of his family dead in their seats, as a door in the back slammed shut. Before him was the boy, now a man, holding a smoking flintlock pistol. Next to him were a couple of larger gentlemen, also armed, as they watched him bleed out.
As life steamed from his body he finally understood—their close working relationship had not only given him a share in everything, but the old man had it set to all go to him upon his death. This will was signed and made final only a few months back, just enough time to cut the man’s suspicion as a suspect down to the point of negligibility.
He really wasn’t human, was he?
EMPTY TALES ARCThat was all a year ago.
With the wealth, contacts, and income absorbed from the Sivert family the young Tuva Fehn could be found living a lifestyle of elegance and excess on par with lesser nobility! There was little out of his reach, few things in this world that he could not have. Many of his colleagues—fearful, for they knew the truth about the Sivert Scandal—thought he could very well rise to the upper echelons of social order. A few generations down the road and his descendants may have a shot at the crown! What greater achievement could exist but that? Entire companies knelt to him, his friends in many far and high places. Deals had been struck and many risks taken over the years to get here, far faster than any sensible man would attempt, all to place him in this position. His days were spent in heated negotiation, ever-silent deliberation, and even international travel.
Now was the time.
A few days ride and he was at the home he once shared with his loving family over nine years ago. The very people that told him he shouldn’t go, that he couldn’t possibly succeed! They cried tears as he left them, acting as if they had no idea why. Who would want to stay when their every ambition was laughed at? Settle down, they said! Be a farmer, they said! Get married, they said! Have a family, they said! Wealth, security, comfort? None of that was possible! You were born into it or you weren’t, and there was nothing else to be had. The happiness their family had was one of a kind and it was a crime to risk it all!
Of course, he did not hate them; not at all. They were all good people; they truly did want the best for him. They were just too small. Maybe now they could see that anything was within the reach of the man who dared aim the highest.
Boots sank into mud, the entire village empty. Some buildings were burnt down, others simply collapsed from ill repair. Walks through the town revealed that it had all been stripped of anything remotely viable, and no signs that anyone had lived here in many years. Just what had happened? They were a successful village of farmers and tanners. They were bought from regularly; they should have had another century of stability to look forward to!
Where did they go?
Upon his return to Oslo, Tuva began to search for just what had happened. It was only when digging through his oldest business records did he realize that some of the first services he acquired was the band of traders that would buy from their village and spread their goods amongst the country. At some point he had sold them, cutting off the isolated village from their only source of income. Further digging revealed that debt had built and built within the village until it was just too much. They cut and ran, and most of the villagers were thought dead.
This shook him.
Business and ventures was one thing, money was one thing. To think that such an inconsequential action on his part, one of his earliest and smallest business decisions, brought misery and death upon all of the people that ever supported him as a child? Even what he did the Sivert’s bothered him not—that man understood the potential consequences of his actions and didn’t even see Tuva as a threat! They were destined be enemies the moment he achieved even a modicum of success, and it was a wonder that he had no interest in that dull woman he called a daughter?
But his family never did anything but give. Unlike the Siverts, he never did anything for them in return—never filled his debt.
Could he really just write them off like he did all the other suffering he created? All of the incalculable pain?
That was the decision he made one morning as he walked the streets of Oslo, wrapped in the finest of jackets, and saw a small boy. Perhaps fifteen years old, alone, chatting with someone with the clear intent of pulling a job from him. It was the dead of winter and snow, the stuff he so once feared, fell ominously around him. His entire body was gaunt, on the edge of death, but the bright mind behind those eyes never stopped burning. It then occurred to Tuva that he could change this boy’s life, could help him achieve everything he ever wanted and so much more—even if he didn’t seem quite as good at this sort of work as Tuva was.
But why bother?
Was there more to life than success?
He had success, he had wealth and power! People were important too, weren’t they? What did any of that matter unless someone was around to appreciate it? Wealth, power, even beauty are all human constructs—there was no cosmic importance to them, but they had the meaning and value that humanity gave them. Ideas were just ideas, people gave them weight.
So he took the boy in and taught him the basics of business, trade, even vocation. Much like Tuva, he started small. An errand here, a delegated responsibility there, and he worked his way up. He was much slower at it, and even after a year he could not quite support himself, but he was on the way. Wealth was set aside for the boy incase anything were to happen or an emergency cropped up, he had enough to keep himself going for a reasonable lifetime. In many respects, he was his brother.
They laughed, they fought, and they even played.
Another slice of heaven, delivered from life to his plate.
One morning he walked down the creaky, wooden stairs of his estate. Into the kitchen he went, a large glass window looking out into the orange-lit streets of Oslo as the sun continued to rise. As food cooked behind him, a talent and passion of his that he discovered as his fortune grew, he stared out the large window and watched the city move—a city he could change, just like the life of this young Esmund.
Until a familiar face bolted in from the side.
He saw the figure just as he came into view of the window, a blur, his longbow drawn—who still used longbows?—as he sprinted. It was the youngest of the Sivert’s, the son, the one that Tuva didn’t bother to pursue. Why should he? His goal was not to eradicate them, it had just been business! The boy could live, that was fine. The sister and her husband had simply been in the wrong place, or they could have lived too. Somehow he had never expected this, somehow the thought that this boy might want revenge had never occurred to him—how was that possible? It was such a base, human reaction to his tragedy and yet Tuva had overlooked it.
Now he was dead on the floor, an arrow through his right eye.
There was never even a chance to scream.
Yet he was still there. The matter of his corpse on the floor was still a mystery, but in the coming seconds it quickly dawned on him—he was dead. Just like that and with no great or dramatic struggle, he was dead. Some strange, mysterious chain hung from his chest as well, though the rest of his body seemed entirely fine. He could move, he could feel, he was alive for all intents and purposes—except for the being dead ordeal.
The shouting that he had heard just before the boy popped into view reached a crescendo as the guards tackled the boy as he stood there, content with his handiwork. They arrested him promptly, another pair of guards busting into the room. The young boy that Tuva had taken in also came running, eyes turning to tears in moments as he realized that his friend was lying on the floor in a pool of his own warm blood. A whole year reduced to this.
Tuva himself dared not touch them, he feared what might happen. Could he, or would he pass right through like in so many stories of ghosts? The question was one he did not feel like exploring. No, his entire mind and being were focused on Esmund and his Sivert boy. He wanted to know just what would happen to both of them. How could he just walk away after all of this anyway?
So he waited and watched. Time flew boy. The boy was tried and found guilty in a matter of months, his sentence being death. For killing someone as prominent as Tuva there would be no other punishment for him. Esmund lived in despair and grief, getting out of it slowly and only with the assistance of those that Tuva had set to care for the boy as he grew older and became able of holding his own in this harsh world. It was touching to see just how affected someone could actually be by his departure.
He never knew.
The opposite was true as well. For each person that mourned his loss there seemed to be ten more who, secretly, welcomed it. He had destroyed a lot of lives. Perhaps this is what he deserved? His killer would even see justice. There was peace to be had here. He could move on and go…wherever those mysterious beings sent them.
Yes, the secrets of death had finally been unveiled. All across Oslo he had seen these beings standing in the air—which allowed him to realize he could do the same thing—and clad in all black robe, wielding strange weapons that he had never before seen. Whoever they were, they carried souls from one place to another. It had been all he could do, for just about a year now, to evade them so he could see the execution of this man and truly be put at peace. Occasionally a bit of the chain in his chest would eat itself away in a grotesque, painful display.
He paid it little mind.
The day of the execution was just about a month shy of a year, and the man was on display on a large stage near the middle of town. A large crowd always turned out for these spectacles, and this was no different. Tuva too watched from up high, standing in the middle of the clear air above the crowd as they waited for the man to be taken to the gallows. A few more steps and he was there, the noose right in front of hi—where did he go?
The Sivert boy was gone.
The was a commotion in the crowd as the small man slipped between guards and pedestrians, somehow loose of his shackles. There was no way, Tuva had seen him cuffed himself! Those were on tight! Tuva followed from the sky, trying to catch a glimpse. He had never tried to touch a person before, but maybe he could? So far he knew that he could move physical objects around, but it was difficult. Something about this body wasn’t…stable, wasn’t whole. He dared not exert himself more than he had to.
So he chased, he watched, he screamed, he begged, he pleaded—with whom, over what?
He didn’t know.
All he wanted was for this boy to pay for his crimes.
All he wanted was to have the chance to make up for what he’d done!
Why then, why that day of all days?
Did that boy not care what he had done, what he had prevented? All of Oslo could be doing so much better now because of him!
He killed him! He killed him! He killed and now he wasn’t going to pay for it!
All he wanted was the truth known!
All he wanted was to not be so hungry!
None of them stood a chance, not against this new creature.
The scream was loud and piercing. No one present heard it, not a single soul. Seconds later his body was reformed, elongated, monstrous, and in a form akin to a mantis. It took less than a minute for these new, powerful limbs to smash through the entire crowd. Blood and entrails flowed like wine and the square was turned into a bloodbath just as quickly. No one was spared his hunger. He tore and bit and swallowed and stabbed to his empty heart’s content.
Finally there was only one left.
Sivert stood huddled in a corner by a couple of buildings, a large pool of blood reaching out to his feet like the pleading hands of the fallen as they begged for his help. His eyes were wide, his pupils tight, and his breathing erratic. An invisible force stood before him, growling and hissing as it’s bird-like feet left mysterious gaps in the shallow pool of insides. The boy had no idea what he was looking at, at least not at first.
Then Hell was gone, replaced by a bustling square and the sight of his entire family—smiling at him. The silence pervaded, but he could see them! They were back! This had all been some terrible dream! He must have been dreaming somehow, it must have been a trick! His uncomprehending terror turned to an equally irrational joy as his tears burst into tears and he ran out at his smiling father, mother, and sister.
Then there was a cold, leathery spear sticking out of his gut. Except it wasn’t a spear, but more like a sharp…finger? He looked down in horror, blood overflowing from his mouth, and saw the invisible object drenched with his blood. His hands grasped it, no pain at all, and felt the creature that could not possibly exist.
Just before it scooped him up and popped him into its mouth. Screams rang out as unseen teeth crushed his body and bones to bits. Seconds later and he was swallowed down—dead.
Tuva had his justice, the only justice he cared to have.
He left the city, destined never to return as a Hollow.
PATHS UNWALKED ARCTuva. Tuva. Tova.
Tova. That’s who he was. Almost two hundred years after the slaughter in Oslo the world had changed drastically and so had his life. Now he was a towering creature in the Quartz forest beneath Hueco Mundo. He lived there, cowering in the corner of his consciousness as the mental fragments of all the Hollows that died at his hand vied for dominance of his mind. It was then no wonder that he could not perfectly recall his name after so long—it was a wonder he could remember it at all! In two centuries of killing and eating he had someone managed to avoid turning into a meal himself, and now here he was buried in his own consciousness as naught but a mere shadow of what he had been at his peak.
Oh how he loathed Hollows.
Nothing about this life had been easy, nothing bad been fulfilling. A constant, screaming hunger was his constant companion. No matter how much he ate, no matter what he achieved, it seemed as though he would never achieve anything of import at all! What despair, what helplessness! It was all the fault of these creatures, something he understood deeply. And he was one of them! How much worse could things get, to be Hollow? To be living like this, plagued like this?
You could get more Hollow.
The evolution of Hollows had no been so mercifully halted in his own development. Were part of his being to be devoured by another Hollow he would be unable to continue his own development and evolution: This had not been the case. Part of his own tactical acuity had leaked through into the amalgamation of a mind that was Tova’s Gillian state. All he knew was that everpresent fear of insanity, the disgust with his own actions and those around him, and the hatred he felt for just how sheepish and mindless everyone around him was—just how mindless he had become—and that he had to endure it each and every day; all without rest or reprieve.
There was only one answer to this internal conundrum: Feed. The souls of many would sate his inner turmoil, and they did. Hundreds and thousands fell to the skill of the ever-strengthening mind of the being who called himself Tova. Each battle sharpened his abilities further, each one gave him more raw power with which he could consume even more. Yet the more he ate, the more he hungered. Hollows grew stale, and so he began to do the unthinkable: He would go to Earth.
Very few Hollows would do this. The souls on Earth, the souls of humans, were disgusting and puny. They could not satisfy the hunger of a creature that was used to consuming that which had already consumed thousands of their kind. To go to Earth as a Gillian or Adjuchas was entirely unheard of. Yet an idea had emerged in that tiny mind of his, one full of bold recklessness and a uniqueness that few other Hollows could attest to: His presence would draw Shinigami, and Shinigami were delicious. This was why he would go to earth. He would be bait for the foolish Shinigami that dared think they could take him on.
Fear of Shinigami was well-had. Even his first day doing such a daring thing was one that nearly marked the end of him, something he desperately sought to avoid. They were powerful creatures, far more intelligent than the foes that he was used to pitting himself against. All of this only further served to make him that much more powerful, that much more acute in his thought and tactics. More and more his mind rose above the maelstrom of mental fragments that threatened to bring down the true soul beneath. Yes, each trip brought him closer and closer to a level of intelligence and power that no other Gillian could likely understand! Yet he made sure to temper these visits lest the Shinigami label him a threat that must be eliminated at all costs.
Even he was not fool enough to think that he could stand against the true might of Soul Society: The Captains, all six of them.
Yet there was another side effect—however rare it was—of consuming and killing so many Shinigami in his attempts to test his mettle against a new sort of fore: Memories. Of family, friends, lovers, the life of Shinigami. The life of creatures that weren’t Hollow. Only did fragments of these memories make it into his consciousness, but they were enough to develop a longing for a place that seemed much more like home now than Hueco Mundo ever would: Soul Society. The smiling faces, the bright sun, the flowing water, all of it so reminiscent of the world that the vast majority of them had come from. People that could feel joy, hurt, sorrow, happiness, anger, love, despair, hope, the whole range of emotions open to them with all of the consequences that came with them, good and bad.
He wanted that.
Still he was stuck as a Hollow, a towering Gillian that stood undefeated among the Hollow swarms like so many others. Knowing now what he did of the life others had, the life…could he have had that life? What if he could have had that sort of life and was instead relegated to this second-class state of being Hollow? All of these ideas, in their boiled-down and most primitive states continued to build. Each body he swallowed only added to the fire, gave him another lost face to long after or another long-past feeling to wish he could have. Why did he have to be surrounded, alone, by these mindless creatures?
Why did he have to be Hollow?
Heat was the first thing he felt, a sign of the compounding spiritual pressure. A threshold was crossed, that final and overwhelming desire to simply not be Hollow more than doing the trick. His body steamed and spiritual pressure permeated and drenched the area. Everything within the area paid respect as the Gillian shrunk and twisted into a much smaller state, becoming something many times more akin to its original form: A giant, mantis-like figure. Long, lanky limbs with a thin torso held up by equally bony, bird-like legs and feet. The head was perhaps the strangest, elongated and possessing two mouths on either end.
Already the creature could tell that it was immeasurably more powerful than before, a true force to be reckoned with. Of course it was only natural that this is what every Hollow thought when they finally reached such an illustrious state. Overcome by jubilation they would usually celebrate by slaughtering countless hundreds as a test of their new powers and abilities. Instead Tova found himself…overcome by despair. This was not what he had expected! Instead of freedom from the mental fragments that plagued his consciousness he found that he now merely had a hold of them. The consequence of losing that control was equally obvious: He would become a Gillian once more, perhaps forever.
Melachonlic lethargy gripped his soul as he trudged through the sands of the upper Hueco Mundo desert, deep in despair. It was rare to see an Adjuchas like himself on the surface, outside of the Menos Forest that existed beneath the rolling dunes of Hueco Mundo. There as no happiness here, no joy, just an insatiable hunger that he now refused to fill: A Hollow starving himself. So it was no wonder that when a pack of Gillian, independent in thought, were found wandering the surface did they seek out the defenseless Adjuchas that could be devoured
Between the Adjuchas and Gillian pack began a battle pathetic and sad to watch. Despite his vastly superior tactical mind and combat strength the Adjuchas gets kicked around with trivial ease. Unable and unwilling to fight back, Tova soon finds himself on the edge of death. What to do, who to call out for? Why bother with any of that, anyway? For the first time in his life Tova succumbs to death and despair and feels the warming relief of surrender.
Which he rejected.
In an incredible surge of spiritual energy, a column a hundred meters tall of bright green energy appears as the lanky hands of the two-faced mantis shatter its own mask in an attempt to rip it off. The inferno of spiritual transformation exists for only a moment before revealing a short, fair-skinned Shinigami-like creature with bark brown hair and forest green eyes. At his feet, a Zanpakutō clad in a black scabbard. A top the dune of sand the Arrancar, rejuvenated by the vanished voices in his mind, reduces the Gillian to dust.
He was reborn, he was free! For ages he had heard of the stories of the Arrancar, the people of Las Noches so strangely Shinigami and led by one too! The details of their creation were unknown to most Arrancar, but they were a natural occurance. A habit, an instinct buried deep in the mind of any Hollow brave and foolish enough to reach for it. It was now then, that Tova could count himself among their number.
For this bravery he was awarded the number fourteen. For this bravery he experienced…relationships, compassion, and camaraderie so strangely absent among even Arrancar. Although still Hollow…he did not have to recognize that. In this time he met and even befriended Arrancar, experienced friendship! His tactical ability, even if his spiritual pressure and raw power were not up to standards, quickly earned him the position of Cuarto Espada under the leadership of Sougetsu Voltaire—the charismatic Shinigami who had taken the reins of Las Noches and the Arrancar within—and all the privileges therein.
It was during this time that his renewed mind, no longer constrained by the primitive Menos minds he was used to, began to see the world in a whole new light. Immediately his distaste for his own nature took a new direction, one inspired by the act where a Shinigami could purify a Hollow soul. Quickly he dissected this process but was confounded on how to replicate it without destroying the Hollow self. The Zanpakutō would destroy the soul and reform it in Soul Society, purged of its time as a Hollow. Tova documented and even tracked Hollows that underwent this process, yet he could never figure out how to cleanse without the destruction of identity.
It is this quest the consumed him quickly, one that took him for twenty long years: The mission to reverse Hollowification.
More and more he delved into this as the years dragged on, raidly losing satisfaction with his Arrancar nature. While before he was content to simply not be an Adjuchas anymore he could now no longer stomach the hole in his chest or row of teeth hidden on the back of his head under cascades of bark brown hair. In his frenzy of devoted research and experimentation he barely even noticed as Sougetsu stripped him of rank for dereliction of duty.
A fascination for many Arrancar and still more than able to defend himself with his ruthlessly cunning mind, Tova was left in relative peace to continue his work. Overtime he begins to develop new abilities, such as augmented Mystic Eyes to allow him to see the Saketsu (Soul Chain) and Hakusui (Soul Sleep) of a spiritual being. Not only this but he develops the Soul Regression Chamber, a method for crippling the superhuman abilities of spiritually powerful beings and limiting them to mundane ability, even stripping them of natural abilities or Zanpakutō releases. He did all of this in a desperate attempt to reverse Hollowification which, ironically began to make Tova one of the foremost experts on the soul in all the worlds. His first trial run of those special Mystic Eyes occurred during an operation in Rukongai.
Deeper and deeper into reclusion he went. In one project the man attempted to reverse Hollowification through mimicking the copulation of souls, trying to convince the user’s soul to regrow the soul chain in the process. Instead he succeeded in developing a method of asexual reproduction for spiritual beings, creating a brand new soul that immediately broke down the spiritual body a soul naturally creates for itself. Without a home, Tova realizes that before him—ethereal in shifting in nature, the soul changing its appearance based on Tova’s expectations for it—is the natural state of a soul before being reincarnated: Limbo. Uncertain what to do, Tova takes the soul to a human woman in Japan sufficiently far along in her preganancy. As expected, the soul attaches to the fetus and becomes that person once the fetus had reached a certain development.
Despite this uncommon show of concern and compassion, Tova would not hesitate to stoop as low as living subjects for his experiments again. Hidden in the human world using a Hollow Gigai, created by attaching the Gigai to the Soul Sleep of the soul instead of the Soul Chain,--which also resulted in a Gigai far more difficult to enter and leave due to the deeper connection—he met and bedded a young human woman by the name of Barrie Hughes, the two of them enjoying the comforts of their bodies over the course of many nights. Over and over the man would say to himself that there was nothing between them, it was an experiment. Most Arrancar were infertile, he was not. So then the question remained: What would happen if he reproduced with a human?
His answer came in the form of a baby girl, one he felt an inexplicable attachment to. Even until her fifth birthday he would visit monthly, invisible, the father that was two-hundred and forty years in age but who had died so long ago.
It was shortly after this event that Tova walked into the Throne Room to report to a call from Riko Suzumei, Primera Espada, only to find before him…a corpse, the corpse of Sougetsu. Blood splattered the walls and his head, ripped from his shoulders, had a twisted countenance of agony upon it as the soul prepared to fade away. Above him, free of a Hollow hole and stained crimson, was the broken and dead-eyed stare of his murderer: Riko herself. For a moment she just stood there.
Another had her on her knees and bawling her eyes out.
Uncertain what to do, knowing he was facing a mysterious being that was no longer Hollow, Tova felt competing urges within him: A desire to dissect her and learn from her, to grow close to her because he wanted to know more about what she had just become to dwarf even the ability of the man that had led Arrancar for decades on end. The opposing desire: To get close to her...just to help her.
Tova would never be sure which of those desires won out.