He stood motionless in front of the waterfall waiting for then perfect moment. His long black hair was pressed against his back dripping with water spray. 'Control your breathing'. He told himself as he relaxed his body. He stepped forward, immersing himself fully in the water cascade. 'Feel the flow...every particle that touches your body. Let your mind drift until you can only sense the movement of the water around you.'
Remembering the words of his old teacher he drifted into a trance. It was if time had stopped; nothing else existed but him and he water touching his skin. Gently he raised his hands. Forming a loosely clenched fist, he extended his right hand outward. Slowly, the water around him began to pool around his fist. As he looked down at the growing pool of water, he smiled. Another marker achieved he thought to himself. He lowered himself into the lashinlo (slipstream) fighting stance. Bringing his hands together he divided the large water droplet into two. He looked at the cliff that was in front of him. Think of the water as clay. You can form it as you wish.
Whipping his hands around the droplets he formed two short spears. Your creations are as sharp as you believe. Grabbing them he hurled them into the cliff, the blades burying themselves into the cliff before trickling down the slope to the earth below.
Not bad for a month's work. He thought as he stepped out of the water fall into the small lake. It was that long since he broke his father's heart. In that time he had managed to become stronger in all of his elemental 'invocations'. That was the term everyone used for the clan's powers. To him it didn't feel like they were calling on nature to intervene on his behalf. Instead each time he used his powers he felt as if he was a part of element.
As he floated, looking up at the midday sun his mind drifted back to that day. Up until then he was fine with just choosing one element. Dressed in traditional garb: a white tunic with gold trim, covered with a flowing red robe. In the council Hall his father, who beamed with pride, his mother who struggled to hold back tears and the clan chief Maril. In front of the chief laid a table with four glowing globes.
"Select your channel, Manu son of Emanus." Maril proclaimed. Manu stepped forward, kneeling as he reached the counter. The light of each globe illuminated his face which in itself some with wonder. His decision to choose wind faded to the back of his mind as each globe in it's own way seemed to call to him. The power of fire, the trickery of the wind, the subtlety of water and the savagery of the earth. Each of them tugged at his heart.
Suddenly, a voice called to him on the wind. It whispered two words; words that stirred his soul. Why choose?
If he had been thinking rationally at this point the answer would have been obvious. From the time he began training he was told that wielding all four elements to the level with which you could master one. It was a waste of time skill and potential. But as Manu knelt his heart echoed. Why choose?
He stood up, dwarfing the tower and the chief behind it.
"What are you doing son?" His father inquired.
"I can't do this... I cant choose. "
"But we discussed this already." He turned to see his fathers reddening face .
"I know: but I can't '
Manu walked past his father. His disappointment was palpable. His mother refused to look him in the eye.
He was aroused from his daydream by the sound of footsteps in the bushes around the lake. It was a subtle reminder that they were still at war.
In order to keep his training a secret, Manu sneaked onto the lands on Netshaten: A land disputed for millennia between his clan and the remnants of the Fallen horde.
Demenshata (Demonized Ones) he thought. Their rustling stopped . He steeled himself for the attack, knowing he would probably only get one chance to attack.
Three of them leapt from the bushes, their hands and eyes aglow with reddish flames. Manu had fought with them on many occasions, albeit more prepared than he was at that time. What he never got used to was their appearance. To call them humanoid would be a stretch. Blood red skin, yellow iris-less eyes with horns in every conceivable place. At least each of them could truly be considered unique.
They attacked in unison, each of them releasing a first projectile in Manu's direction. Pushing on the water beneath him, Manu stood up, dodging the first two blasts before catching the last one with his fists.
"Thanks" Manu shouted as he grinned. The three stood bemused as the gazed upon him standing on the lake with fireball in hand. One of them finally snapped from the trance and launched a flurry of flames .
Manu drove his foot into the lake causing the water in front of him to into the air. As the flames connected with the water,a large steam cloud enveloped the lake. Using their fire the three found each other . As they regrouped, Manu launched the first torrent of water from his feet. Catching the creature in the face, he spun violently into the dense forest behind them, finally coming to rest in the hollow trunk of a large tree.
The others began hurling fireballs at the numerous shadows the cloud formed, in hopes of hitting their target. Their hopes were dashed by the sound of a crashing wave. as it swept them away Manu revealed himself, hand still cloaked in fire. " Here's a little trick I've learned. " He said as he placed his hand near the rushing torrent. " Water without heat... becomes ice"
In an instant the wave of water froze trapping the two Demenshata with only their heads exposed. "Now that should keep you still for a while. Long enough for you two to help me with my target practice. Thanks for volunteering. "
As he returned to the waterfall, Manu's mind drifted back to his teachers words. Manu, you were always capable of great feats of strength, but you lack control. You might just spend the rest of your life controlling the power you have.
"Guess I better get a head start then."