Affinity is a one-shot, canon story in the Clouded Horizons series' Eighth Realm. It features Liam Jacob Bayloh teaching a routine class on weapons usage, in which he has a discussion with a particularly infuriating cadet.
“A blade, a firearm, a blunt weapon, offensive alchemy...no matter which of these you choose, you need to be aware of a very simple fact. If you don’t know your weapon, then you are useless. Your bragging, your loud-mouthing, your chest-beating makes no difference at all. If you and your weapon are strangers to each other, then it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re dead.”
A cadet in the front row raised his hands. “Instructor? You know how crazy that sounds, right?”
The instructor mentally resisted the urge to slap the cadet (and himself). This was one of the reasons why he liked to hand-pick his classes if given half the option. This kept the cynics and the smart ones away, allowing him to teach the true elegance of combat. Instead of indulging in his violent tendencies, he smiled.
“It sounds crazy, hm? Please, cadet, draw your blade.”
The cadet blinked. “Instructor, I was just makin-“
“Draw your blade, cadet,” the instructor emphasized the rank, making sure that the student was aware of exactly what he had done. However, the cadet still didn’t draw his blade, shaking his head vigorously.
“Instructor, I just...!“ The sound of the unsheathing of the combat instructor’s blade interrupted his nervous stuttering.
“Cadet, I’ve been patient. If you don’t draw your blade and stand at this moment, I will kill you. A demerit will be the least of your worries when I’ve got to tell your father that you were killed for insubordination.”
This time, the teacher’s point was emphasized as his blade moved into the ready position. The cadet’s response was immediate, as the class silently watched him move from his seat, his blade shakily drawn.
“What is your Cadet Identification Number and rank?” the instructor asked quietly, his blade unmoving. The cadet swallowed before responding. “33178, Cadet, Second Class.” The instructor smiled before beginning.
“What type of blade do you use, cadet?”
The cadet looked down at his blade, before nodding. “I use a katana, sir.”
“Where was it made?”
The cadet looked confused. “..Sir?”
The instructor stepped towards the cadet, sheathing his own blade. “Where was your blade forged? Whose hands created it? What is it made from, and where did the material come from? Which smithy spent blood and years turning this into the blade that you wield? What did he name it?” he asked in an accusing tone.
Each question hit the cadet, and each time he almost flinched. Finally, he stuttered out an answer, only able to admit his ignorance. “I...I do..don’t know, sir.” The instructor’s blade was suddenly at the cadet’s throat.
“Then defend yourself. Now you find the difference between us.”
Within seconds, the cadet’s katana came up, pushing away the teacher's broadsword. And five seconds later, that same katana was impaled into the rearmost wall; the cadet’s back was to the ground under the combat instructor’s boot, with a blade at his throat.
“My skill with this blade is not because I know how to use the broadsword better than any other weapon. I specialize in firearms and other bladed weapons. This one,“ he took the blade away from the cadet’s neck and held it in the air, “...is simple. I respect this blade, I understand that it was created to serve, and I understand that I am its servant. It has a blood lust that I must contain and feed. I know that this blade was forged a thousand years ago during a magical war. I know that it is only as powerful as I allow it to be, and I know that my power can be unlimited if it allows me. If it allows me, I am a reaper of man and beast, and if I fail it, we’re both finished.”
The cadet on the floor sat up slowly, a smirk on his face.
“Yeah, but what’s it made of?”
For the second time that day, Liam Jacob Bayloh wanted to cause physical destructive harm to Tetsuya Kurabasa.
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|Final Fantasy X: Destiny's Call - Final Fantasy X-2: Eternal Requiem - Final Fantasy VIII: Dimensional Legend - Final Fantasy IX: Runic Legacy - Clouded Horizons: Halcyon - A Question of Honor - Affinity - Breakfast at Powell's - Casualties - Duty - Family Rites - Foreshadow of Memory - Guardian - The Heiress - Judgment - Memoirs - Nature - Negotiations - Of Thieves and Emissaries - Origins - Ought - Sanctuary - Shades - Subtleties of Honor - Trial by Fire|
|The Balance - Crystal Path - Diviner - Planeswalker|
|Character Themes - Jazz Café - Lore - Soundtracks - Tropes|
|Project Creators / Administrators|
|Darius DeValle - Benji Powell - Daniel Rydell|