Kenji bit back the unpleasant feeling gnawing at him and steeled himself to approach Lei sheng. Trust was hard to come by in 2072 whether it was Seattle, Tokyo, or Shang-hai.
His years of study and mastery of more cerebral nuances of sorcery governed the need for the following conversation. Awakened humanity when karmicly bonded proved capable of much more than when left to their own devices.
As he approached Lei sheng, the Ork stood seemingly in anticipation of discussion.
“Huang-di, the Celestial Yellow Emperor, counseled me just recently during my meditations and I stand in agreement with you.”
Kenji blinked but otherwise showed no surprise. “Excellent, your chugoku-go majutsu coupled with the synergy of my talents and Bones’ formidable jukutatsu-ryuko will serve us all well on metaplanar quests to unluck greater chikara. I have not discussed it with Bones, but I can not fathom why he would refuse us.”
Lei sheng nodded his agreement and followed Kenji outside where they found Bones finishing off take-out ribs from Frankie’s (another survivor of the ‘30s restaurant corporate wars). “Bones…err-san, Lei sheng here and I would like you to join us for an important bonding ceremony. The link it creates between us will strengthen the three of us.”
Bones burped mightily. “Me no do spells. Hit things, peoples, spirits. Break things, peoples, spirits.”
“I assure you, your cooperation is all that is necessary.”
Bones stroked his chin. “Okay, what do we do next?”
Kenji briefly admired the proper grammar, but rapid analysis revealed the simplicity of the statement left little room for error either in tense or pronoun selection. “I have considered, given our situation. Our group, thought perhaps not so grandiose as the Illuminates, Templars, or Gladio, will be bound by Oath. It is quite simple. Come, I have prepared green tea.”
In short order, the three secluded themselves from the group proper. After several hours of concentration, threads of mana cemented between the three. “We agree to the following. One, our group shall remain secret. It may not be revealed to an outsider unless we all stand in agreement and the matter is of extreme importance. Two, we shall each contribute the wordly sum of 1,0000 nuyen per month and agree to split the cost of all magical materials, including foci, research, and instruction between the three of us. Three, we shall each aid the others in maintaining the group bond by helping one another to survive. Four, we shall remain in contact with each other even if fortune should separate us. If need be, I and Lei sheng will travel astrally to your location, Bones, and you must do your best to reach an area free from astral hindrance to facilitate this if need be.” Kenji inhaled deeply. “Now is the time to agree or withdraw.”
“I do swear and agree,” Lei sheng, Kenji, and Bones intoned in harmony. The Oath burned deeply, and was backed by mana, not just words of formed of breath and thought.
Kenji said, “I am kokoro, tounao, mind.” Bones followed. “I am karada, shenti, body.” Lei sheng finished. “I am jingshen, seishin, spirit.”
First comes Earth, memory, stability. Next comes Air, reason, thought, the knowledge that there is me and there is not me. Now comes Fire, the will, and desire. And finally comes Water, the connections between all things, relationships, emotion. And I sit at the center, for I represent the soul.
I see the four Ideals take up their positions, each one standing gaurd at their gateway, forces moving through them, yet striking the balance point that is me. I speak the name of my servant, a spirit of Man. He has been with me for some time, but our time together is approaching its end.
“I await your command, Master.” It intones. I reply “I seek the path to Wisdom.” My spirit seems to chuckle and he tells me, “The path is before you, you have but to see it.”
And so I look and there is the path. It leads to a barred gate. But I know how to open it. This knowledge is as old as mankind. Wisdom must always be gained through sacrifice. I look upon my spirit of Man. “Services you still owe me. Services that may save my life, or the life of my companions. Let these be my sacrifice. Go, my faithful servant, you are released from all obligation.” The spirit bows and turns. He produces a silvered key and unlocks the gate. As he enters that place and vanishes from my sight the gate remains open and I smile, for those far shores are now mine to visit. And in giving up some of my spirit, I’ve come to know how malleable my spirit truly is. (Kenji gains the Masking Metamagic)
Lei sheng saw with astral eyes. Mind, body, spirit. A Trinity. One for all and all for one. The bond was there. He realized how easily he could manipulate the mana around him, strengthening his defenses against another sorcerer’s magic. Deeper understanding further eluded him, but this technique tempted Lei sheng with the further possibilities of increasing his newfound “jamming technique” by either reflecting mana back at a caster or absorbing it. (Lei sheng gains Sheilding metamagic)