Warlock blade

A warlock's blade

Warlocks are known to not be just mages, or just swordsmen. Instead, the Warlocks believe that true enlightenment can only be attained by those who are sound of body and mind. Following this belief, ever since before they arrived in our realm, the ancient warlocks perfected both the practices of body and of mind, warriors and scholars alike. The fighting style of the Warlocks has suffered many changes over the passing of time, and with each event that they faced, both their blade and their spell evolved to answer the conflicts of the time.

Posture I - Gibon

The first posture is the most basic, in the language of the old masters, it is literally called the basic posture. Gibon teaches the basics of wielding the flamed one handed sword, the most popular and commonly used weapon in Obsidian elf culture. It features six striking zones, two offensive postures and three defensive postures, with three cuts, two thrusts and six parries, one to defend each striking zone. It is important to note that Gibon isn't a proper fighting stance, but instead it is a training form. It teaches the basics, avoids complexion, and covers all grounds of swordsmanship on a very superficial level.

Posture II - Geom

The second posture was developed before The Crack, and was considered the epitome of dueling and refinement with the old obsidian elf duelists, as it is described as a beautiful and flowing dance, mixing fluid and relaxed movements of the blade, and bursts of void magic to complement the elegant bladework. Before, it was considered the form of the master duelist, now, it is considered the diplomat's style. This change was due to the fact that the Obsidian elves realized their swordsmanship was primitive and underdeveloped when compared to the blademasters of Entheria. They lacked the defensive capabilities of the Estridian shields, the ferocity and power of the Valerian Bushi, the bows of the Yifferhim easily out ranged their spells and they weren't able to match the sheer magnitude of the Silver Elven spells head on.

The Geom posture did little to actually expand on Gibon, it kept the basic idea of posture I, but simply organized some of the basic cuts and stabs into sequences, and kept a fluid pace that focused on either overpowering the opponent with a quick sequence of stabs and cuts, or on outlasting your foe by conserving energy and movements while allowing your armor to absorb glancing blows, yet conserving your own mobility to avoid the more powerful ones. In theory Geom was considered a perfectly well rounded style, that managed to cover all weaknesses. In practice, it was too simple, too relaxed. It lacked glaring weaknesses but it didn't have any strengths either, being too slow to compete with the offensive ferocity of Valerian Bushi, lacking the power to defeat the nearly impenetrable defense of Estridian fighters. The footwork was just too minute to avoid the more accurate strikes, and their armor could not match the more powerful, heavier blades of their opponents.

It also lacked overall complexity, few feints and very simple sequences, with cuts and stabs that only targeted vital areas. Geom focused on striking four areas of the body with either vertical or horizontal cuts and straight stabs, with a focus on speed and accuracy, instead of feigning and countering. In comparison, the basics of Valerian swordsmanship of the time had thirteen striking zones, with two to four variants of cuts for each zone, and at least two stabs, with a less relaxed posture, that allowed the Bushi to strike first, and twice whereas the Warlock duelist would have only been able to do so once.  

Because of the more relaxed posture of Geom, and the higher focus on the void powers compared to the other postures, it is known as the diplomat's posture, as it allows for more freedom concerning practice, and is less demanding of the practitioner's body. Because of this it frees up more time for the practitioner to focus his study on other fields, like diplomacy, philosophy, politics and even other schools of magic.

This isn't to say that the Geom posture is useless though, as the fact that it lacks glaring weaknesses may make more focused practitioners nearly invincible, Haneul Gi was the most famous practitioner of Geom, focusing stubbornly on it even after being proven to be technically inferior because of its lack of specializations. Gi practiced and perfected it with diligence however, and is rumored to have never lost a duel in his whole life. Haneul was a powerful time manipulator, and his preferred tactic was to speed up time around him while performing the fluid Geom sequence to completely overwhelm his foes.

Form III - Mae

This next posture was developed after new races and cultures started to be accepted into the Order. Many combat masters criticised the Geom form for its overall simplicity, and this led into the development of the newly formed Mae. The Warlock weapon of choice is the Kriss sword, chosen for its light size, excellent cutting capacities, and the overall shape, benefitting a style of swordplay that did not get in the way of their casting. The sleek weapon was held with one hand as to always leave a hand free for weaving spell patterns, and allowed an elegant, fast paced swordplay.

The weapon did however show glaring weaknesses when faced against the weapon masters of the other races. Warlock duelists had trouble with Valerian Bushi and Marayat Lancers, as their heavier focus on two handed weapons often gave them a reach advantage that the Warlocks had a difficult time to counter. And while the Kriss blade allowed them to easily outmaneuver the Estridian melee fighters where bladework was concerned, their expert use of the large shield often gave them a significant edge in outlasting the Warlocks, and chipping away while dragging on the conflict.

Kwan Sung came to be known as one of the most famous Warlock Battlemasters after developing several void techniques that perfectly completed the basic Warlock postures, changing its pace to suit an extremely faster style, with a much more aggressive footwork. The usual armor worn by the Order was replaced with a much more mobile variant, and he trusted the field of void energy he generated to repel enemy blades. Aside from using the energies of the void to bolster his defenses, he also used it in a creative way to compress and stretch time while he ran or jumped, to move in lightning speeds.

Sung also created the famed projection spells, as an answer to the two handed Valerian Nodachi, and the Marayat spear, allowing him to outreach the opponents he could not immediately overpower or outmaneuver.

In regards to Mae's bladework, it still drew from Gibon's bases, but instead of taking Geom's stationary approach, the preferred distance for Mae practitioners was at enough steps to be completely out of reach of your enemy. If the opponent approached, the response would be to push him away with void magic, or to escape and relocate by manipulating space and time. When attacking, one had two main approaches; to keep still and assail with projections, or to dash by manipulating space and time, cutting or stabbing while passing through, aiming vital areas.

Mae, in contrast to Geom, was an incredibly aggressive and fast paced style. It tended to quickly drain the fighter of his physical and magical reserves, favoring quick skirmishes over long drawn out encounters.

Form IV - Tora

The first posture that was formally recognized as official by the order, even though it was created and refined by a non obsidian elf. The Exile known as Katherine, while she was still a Warlock, was not only considered one of the most masterful manipulators of the void, but also an extremely proficient swordmaster.

Coming from an Estridian background, she had a solid base on the dual wielding of arming swords, and having spent a fair amount of her life wandering the Saracen province, she also grew accustomed to the Valerian and Vile Orc style of fighting. After she joined the Warlock Order, Katherine quickly discovered the potential of the magic they wielded, and as her affinity to the void became more and more apparent, she also redeveloped her swordplay to reflect that.

Katherine began to wield a blade staff, or a twinblade as some might call it. At first her technique was ridiculed, it seemed too unorthodox, relied on strange, acrobatic, gyroscopic, spinning movements, and it seemed to leave the wielder extremely vulnerable. That was the first impression that the Warlock Battlemasters had, but after being defeated one by one their opinion quickly changed.

She was then recognized as a Warlock Battlemaster, and taught her fast paced acrobatic style to a few apprentices that she deemed proficient enough to learn. It seemed like a broken mess at first glance, but in fact it was an extremely complete and well rounded offensive style. The blows dealt by the twinblade were fast and difficult to parry or dodge, but had little to no power behind them. Even so, they were devastating, as Katherine wreathed her blades in flames, letting the heated metal cut through any defense, quickly crushing any opposition.

The only weakness seen in her style was the footwork and defense, the bladework itself was incredibly hard to master, and until her pupils were able to reach her nearly unimaginable levels of speed and dexterity, they often found themselves quickly bested by a well timed counter attack.

After her banishment, one single pupil followed her, after having massacred nearly all other practitioners of this form. Today it is the least practiced posture in the Warlock Order, not only for its incredible difficulty, but also because of the lower availability of trained Masters of this style.

Form V - Hanzo

Demonstrated very few and far between by Warlock Nero after he was awarded the title of Warlock Battlemaster, it is his own personal style, created as something he felt was utterly complete. In his view, he founded the Hanzo Ryū to cover everything that the traditional Warlock styles did not, and combine the tranquility the void offered him, with the Valerian discipline of war and Bushi mentality to create something truly deadly and unique.

The Scrolls of Hanzo Ryū was published as a manual that detailed the many aspects of Valerian swordsmanship, but it is also known that book is not the complete tome. Nero has kept some of his writings to himself, and only passes it to his most trusted pupils.

Form 0 - E’tokmite’k

Following the teachings of Master Ku’naw, form zero isn't a posture of bladework per se, but instead a philosophy behind the use of the sword, where the true goal, is to not have to use it at all. Master Ku’naw was a prodigy, both in her bladework and her control over the void. She mastered each and every form of blade and as such she was promptly offered the title of Warlock Battlemaster.

She was also the first Warlock to refuse the offer, expressing her disdain for her talent, and for her time spent mastering an art of war. With that she cast down her sword, and vowed to never use it again. She left the old capital shortly after, and spent a hundred years in pilgrimage. The Warlocks kept a close eye on her, paying attention to her exploits, to the rumors of a female Yifferhim that wandered through zones of conflict, and erased their hatred and war through her sheer diplomatic voice, and message of peace.

When she returned, the Warlocks again offered her a title, this time of Master, and member of the council. That she accepted, and through her negotiations and newfound political power she was able to spread her peace message further and further, until the rebellion occurred, and she was forced into hiding. Out of all of the council, she was one of the few that survived, and to this day tries to make the world see her message, weighing heavily on the diplomatic treaties of the Warlocks.