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Tsuyoshi's notes are various entries written by Master Tsuyoshi, one of the Five Sages.

Entries[]

Vol. 1: Essence[]

May 20, Year 27 of the Fifth Age
The “Vital Essence,” or simply “essence,” is what we call the energy that flows inside any living being, just like blood. I’ve studied it for so many years, and yet so much is still unknown.

In the same way that the heart pumps red sap through our veins, essence also has a circulatory system and a center, although it is more like a river than a pump. It generates its own motion, it generates its own existence. That center, as well as the essence, is known by many names depending on where in the world you are, but here we call it the soul.

When the Fire adept lights a bonfire with their bare hands, or when an Earth adept cracks the ground they stand upon with the tiniest of movements, essence is being emitted from their bodies and channeled into the world through an element. As far as we know, there are seven pure elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Wind, Light, Darkness (or Shadow), and Life. Then there are the hybrid elements, born from a mixture of pure elements, but I’ll leave those for another time.

 Vol. 2: Adept[]

September 1, Year 32 of the Fifth Age
More than once I’ve been asked if an adept of a certain element is born or made. Well, it’s true that you can be born with an innate inclination towards one element, but this only means it will be easier for you to use it if you decide to study it. It will still not come naturally. It is like a canvas: when you are born your soul is blank, and it is you who decides which color to paint it. From Fire-red, to Water-blue, to Shadow-black. The more you paint the canvas, the more powerful you become.

There are those who think that the essence an adept picks defines who he or she is: Light for the good, Darkness for the bad, Fire for the brave… Based on my vast experience I can say that essence has no bearing on personality. It’s based on pure chance. Guilds who worship a specific element aren’t necessarily better than sects who worship a god or gods. I’ve met sects that paid respect to their gods without harming anyone, and guilds that destroyed others just because they could…

 Vol. 3: Life Essence[]

April 6, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
As I said, the soul is a canvas you can paint with whichever element you want. You learn how to assimilate an element from the environment, you blend your soul’s essence with it, and you emit the result in the form of a technique.

But what if you cast your essence without channeling it into an element first? This was the question which led to the discovery of Life essence. Life is the only element you can summon from within yourself, and it is still the most challenging to master.

We, the five sages, have decided to study this great essence together. Each of us are entering this endeavor as Masters. Now it is time to combine our efforts, discover how far we can push the limits, and document the results. We plan to found our own brotherhood. Eventually, we might even begin teaching its use. A bright future awaits… I hope.

 Vol. 4: Balance[]

May 10, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
The old manuscripts tell us there’s a delicate synergy between body and soul... Surely breaking this balance means defying nature itself. What would happen, then, to a body containing more “soul” than it should? Indeed, what would happen if the soul was divided or shattered? As far as we know, these questions have never been asked. Until now.

The soul transferring technique, which we are the first to develop, creates a link between the summoner’s soul and the target’s. The summoner can transfer part of their soul to the target, or vice versa. Receiving a part of a soul leads to an increase in your Life essence, which means an initial boost of power. Furthermore, since the other person’s essence has been merged with your own, it immediately becomes possible to channel elements your target was attuned to.

The challenge is that sustaining this link is exhausting. We’ve experienced different symptoms after short periods of usage, but it seems that once cancelled, the technique returns everything to the way it was and there are no consequences. Still, this marks a great advance in our research. I wonder what the next step will reveal.

Vol. 5: Inversely[]

July 21, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
Something strange happened today. A man from the village nearby came asking for help. He said a lunatic, a powerful Fire adept, keeps coming to his village and attacking its people and cattle, apparently for no reason.

We can’t stand by and let this happen.

August 17, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
The next time the mad Fire adept emerged to attack, we were waiting for him. He was powerful indeed. Some cultures form entire sects around adepts who hold such power and follow them like gods. Luckily this man had no sect.

It was pointless parleying with him. He attacked on sight, a frenzy behind his eyes. It wasn’t long before our battle began to damage the town – then we came up with an idea. One of us held guard, while two others used the soul transferring technique on the man – but this time we did it inversely, taking part of his soul.

The effects were immediate: his power decreased to nothing. He was paralyzed. The man couldn’t do anything but watch as we cut the flow of his essence.

Another powerful use for Life essence has revealed itself to us… And now of course we will never go hungry. The villagers shower us with offerings.

 Vol. 6: The Sealing Technique[]

August 20, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
It was clear that the soul transfer technique was a powerful tool for weakening enemies. Nevertheless, a substantial drawback is that the summoner needs to stay perfectly still and very focused, otherwise the link will break and the technique will be cancelled... We must experiment further.

September 9, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
We’ve done it! I myself performed the experiment with one of the other masters. We broke the Life link while the transfer technique was active, locking a small part of his soul in my body. The very instant it was sealed within me, I felt his essence emanating through my chest and limbs. The limits of my power have increased, and conversely his have decreased proportionately, as with the soul transferring technique. What is different here is that this transfer now lasts until I make a link between us, unsealing his soul from within me. We have decided to stay like this for a few hours and document any effects in the short term. This could be a revolution!

 Vol. 7: Effects of the Seal (1)[]

September 11, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
Two days have passed, and the seal persists. It has taken so little time to gather so much important data.

It seems that, although a soul is divided, an imperceptible connection remains between its parts. I can feel my partner’s precise presence through the part of his soul inside me. He can feel where I am too. This connection seems independent of distance. We’ve done some tests: no matter how far away or obscured we were, one of us was always able to find the other in no time.

September 12, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
Last night I heard my partner’s screams while I slept. I woke with a start, thinking the nightmare was in my own mind. The second time his scream reached me I rushed to his room immediately.

He was lying on his bed, asleep. Evidently uncomfortable, but not in any pain. I realized nobody else had heard him. Then another scream, louder than the others. Covering my ears didn’t help.

I woke him, and the screaming stopped. He was having a nightmare. I could hear his dreams.

]Vol. 8: Effects of the Seal (2)[]

October 5, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
Each of us have performed the sealing technique with each other and released the link after a few days. The results are conclusive: telepathy is possible between subjects who share soul fragments. One can communicate with the other, and the link can even transfer memories and feelings.

The downside is that the research has revealed more side effects, which vary depending on the subject, but seem to show common signs depending on how the technique has affected your soul. If part of your soul was transferred to someone else, you present certain side effects; if part of someone else’s soul was sealed with yours, you present different ones. The technique’s strengths and weaknesses both disappear once the connection is cut and the soul fragments are returned to their owners.

We keep iterating the process, resting between longer transfer sessions. Having your soul shattered, corrupted by another, certainly impacts the physical body. A sort of stress on the fibers of your being. Accumulating too much of this could be dangerous.

Vol. 9: Effects of the Seal (3)[]

November 23, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
We conceived of this technique as a tool to weaken dangerous enemies indefinitely. Yet after two months, we are still discovering new uses for it.

Once part of somebody else’s soul is sealed with yours, it’s possible to transfer this fragment to yet another subject. All of it, or just part. This means that it’s possible for the summoner to lighten the burden of the foreign soul. Lighten the malaise. This clearly made a difference when we tested it. The stress was the technique’s main drawback.

It also means that a soul can be split into more than two parts. Depending on the summoner’s capabilities, the other person’s soul can be fragmented into as many parts as the summoner wishes.

I’ve left the best for last. We have discovered that it’s possible to seal soul parts not only in humans, but in animals too. Although they cannot carry as much soul as a human body, the link works in exactly the same way. Some of us have now begun documenting how it feels to see the world as a rat, or a dog...

Vol. 10: Effects of the Seal (4)[]

December 27, Year 45 of the Fifth Age
Fascinating. Utterly fascinating.

Yesterday morning we found Sohtho, our dog, dead. I sealed part of his soul within me a week ago. This is unprecedented. While I’m certain he didn’t die from natural causes or any external injuries, the cause still remains unclear.

Then I realized this was the first time we’d had the opportunity to observe any interactions between the sealing technique and death. When Sohtho died, his soul should have left his body and become one with nature, as it has since the beginning of time. But the part of his soul that I took was still there, sealed within me. I could feel it. Does this mean his soul couldn’t leave the world of the living? Was he trapped on this mortal coil?

Then I had one of the most drastic ideas I’ve had in my life. Using the unbreakable connection between parts of a being’s soul, I commanded Sohtho’s other soul part, the main one, to return to me. Once it drew near – who knows where from – I directed it telepathically into Sohtho’s body. We all watched, speechless, as Sohtho’s body stood up and started running around the room.

We may have discovered immortality.

 Vol. 11: Effects of the Seal (5)[]

January 30, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
Despite what we did with Sohtho, we have not been able to progress further. It is impossible without harming animals, and we aren’t here for that. Hopefully we’ll find a method in time.

Besides that, however, we’ve made another amazing discovery. Animals are now forbidden, but it has transpired that soul fragments can be sealed in objects. Until now we thought that soul transference required a soul on both sides of the transaction – but once again our research has borne new marvels.

A shortcoming of this technique is that we can’t seal a soul fragment in any random object. It seems to be more complex than that. The summoner needs to have a strong sentimental connection with the object of transference. Precisely how this relationship works is still a mystery to us, but we can guess that a channel for Life essence is built within any object of someone’s affection. The size of the fragment you can transfer is far smaller than that of animals, but unlike animals an inanimate object doesn’t die naturally… Based on previous studies, an adept who could seal small parts of his soul into objects like this would be immortal as long as someone was available to put his soul back into his body…

Maybe we are not far away from the path to immortality after all.

 Vol. 12: The First Apprentice[]

April 6, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
It’s been a year since we five sages came together to study Life essence. Now we are known as “The Sealing Brotherhood.” So many adepts came asking for apprenticeships, and eventually we decided that it’s time to accept one. His name is Maelsha. He has a pure heart and shows great potential for using Life essence.

April 28, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
Maelsha is doing well. In just a few weeks he has begun using the sealing technique, which is advanced. At this rate, I am certain he will become a sage, an heir to our order. The first of a brand new generation.

May 25, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
Lately, Maelsha has begun making simple mistakes – even in basic routines and drills. Something is interfering with his concentration. He says he will come back stronger, but I’m worried something is truly wrong.

May 29, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
Apparently Maelsha abandoned his training for the last three days because of a love affair. We don’t tolerate this, but we have been forced to go easier on Maelsha than we usually would. The woman he has loved for many years has a very rare disease. I’ve decided to visit him before he does something he regrets. He is fully aware of the power of the Life essence.

 Vol. 13: Time to Think[]

May 26, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
I was right. In disgrace, I was right. By the time I reached Maelsha’s home it was too late.

His beloved must have been on her deathbed. He tried to retain her soul using the sealing technique, but his body couldn’t withstand it. It was foolish to show him such an advanced and perilous technique in the first months of his training. I’m certain he was well aware of the risks, and did it with the best of intentions, but now… now his death weighs heavily on our shoulders.

The incident made it clear: we’ve been playing god long enough. The sealing technique is now marked as “forbidden.” We have dissolved the brotherhood. Indefinitely. In this way we will give ourselves time to think about the past, the present, and the future. We each used the seali… the forbidden technique on each other so we can stay in touch regardless of the distance between us.

Maelsha always wanted to visit the arid lands. Maybe that’s a good place for a new start.

 Vol. 14: Reincarnation[]

August 23, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
I arrived in the arid lands some weeks ago. Rumors were right about the weather. I have never sweated so much – and never completely run out of sweat – like I have here. Luckily I found a good place to live. Up in the mountains, situated not far from a small village full of Light adepts. The way they use Light in their worship is inspiring… Whenever I feel a particular longing for human contact, I’ll go visit them.

With everything that has happened... the forbidden technique, Sohtho, Maelsha… I can’t stop thinking about reincarnation. I’ve heard so much superstition about it from so many different cultures, but never actual facts or methods. We never even thought of looking into it further. It was nothing but a fantasy... and then I saw Sohtho come back to life. The gap where his soul should be filled up again like a goblet at a feast. He recognized us too, just like before. What would have happened if I had put the dog’s soul into a different body? Would he still have been able to recognize us? Probably not – memories lie in the brain, not the soul itself… But does the soul carry an imprint of its body, of the body’s memories? Are they etched into the soul like stains in glass? If I had put a different soul into the dog’s corpse, would Sohtho still be Sohtho? I don’t think so. The soul is an important part of our identity.

I just wonder... What if I put Maelsha’s soul into another body? Would he himself be present in the body, living or dead? Would he come back?

I have to stop thinking about it.

Vol. 15: A New Era[]

September 9, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
I’ve been taking care of a bird’s egg I found on the ground. It must have been knocked out of a nest. A miracle it survived. Today it cracked and a raven chick emerged. Perhaps this will help make my days slightly less lonely. I think I’ll name him Kibo.

September 20, Year 46 of the Fifth Age
At last I made contact with the people in the village, albeit in a rather unexpected way. A few days ago on the way back to my camp, I heard some children. They seemed worried, so I decided to approach them. It turned out that one of them had injured his leg. I healed him without a second thought. Of course, to these villagers Life essence is completely newfangled. The expression on their faces when the child stood up as if nothing had happened… It’s been a while since I actually had fun with something.

I helped them back to their homes. Since then, the villagers have allowed me within their walls whenever I want. It’s rare to find sects like this one, both peaceful and with great skill in an element.

November 16, Year 47 of the Fifth Age
I have to leave for a while. My partners contacted me using their soul fragments. They talked of a sect called Nisshoku, of great numbers ruled by an empress. Apparently she is considered a goddess. Nisshoku are sweeping through the land, massacring many. My command of Life is needed. The other sages believe this is the beginning of a new era...

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