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Submitted on
January 1, 2007
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A Decisive Moment by manic-goose A Decisive Moment by manic-goose
I am making a manga, and in doing so, I am developing my characters one at a time. Right now, the character I am working on is Kojisai, the one on the tree with the katana. If you want to see more of him, feel free to use the links below.

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The other character is Tomikai Ryu, the last character I have started to develop. To see more of him, follow the links below.

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Okay, first, I have to say that, yes, this is a colored version of the contest picture. Some of you will recognize it too. :iconsharn-lugonn: did an amazing job, didn't he, and with a good background, I think it is quite stunning. I thought is was great before too though.

Now I will explain a few things. I did draw the ORIGINAL line art... but he redrew it. The line art alone took a good deal of time to do and in the end his line art was quite a bit cleaner than what I drew. That by itself is impressive. Now, look at the hair. I think you can see some detail in this, but if you could look at it closely, you would see every strand of hair was drawn. :omg: I was quite amazed by this. The most impressive part is in the trees and the plants though. When I saw the the trees, I half jokingly asked for a tutorial. I figured there must be some trick to that... it couldn't have taken as long as it looks like it took... could it? Here is the reply. Find a picture of a tree, study it and then draw it. :laughing: I eventually did try drawing a tree using the technique he uses here... and it takes for-ev-er!... but it really is quite beautiful. Even more impressive is all the plant stuff. I tried my hand at that too, but really, his looks better, and that too takes a long time. So simply put, there are no quick and easy tricks to this art... NONE.

Unfortunately, this takes a long time to do, and it is tiring. The piece was not finished for the contest, so I asked :iconsharn-lugonn: if I could finish it. I thought I could draw in the trees and the rest of the plants, I got one tree, and worked a little on another that was already there... and that took me so long, I grew weary of it. I drew some plants, but I got weary of that too, so being lazy as I am, I found a photograph. It is the same one from Hidden Sanctuary and here is the most amazing part: usually a photo with anime characters looks dumb (cut and paste, super imposed... what ever), but the detail in this picture is so good that it blends in very nicely, and it doesn't really feel out of place. I pretty much never put photos with drawings... mostly because they look disjointed... and this was really a first for me excpet for when I first discovered the computer as an art tool many years ago. I did one picture that combined a photo and a drawing to see how it looked, and I didn't like it, so I never did it again. Until now. I do not see me doing this again for a very long time however, cause I still prefer to do everything drawn.

So for a reminder. This is a work by :iconsharn-lugonn: all I did was a tree a little bit of plants, some sunlight and add a photograph. The original line art too, but that is such a small part of this picture. So if you like this picture, remember to :clap: for :iconsharn-lugonn: and :worship: his art skills, because he did almost all the art you see here. I would also like to thank him for doing such a lovely job on the picture, even though it wasn't finished. I learned a lot from trying his techniques out... and though I do not see myself using them much, I know that I will use them again sparingly, for picture I feel I need to put extra love and care into.

update: From in the time of Dragons

“Why do you do this?” Her voice cracked at the words. “Why do you want the world at war? You don’t have to fight, yet you choose to, so I guess you really do enjoy killing. Maybe your nick name fits you after all.” With this she glared at him. After their meeting, and after reading Kanite’s words, she had hoped that there was some humanity in him. She hoped that she could convince him not to follow through. Ryu was committed to this, absolutely certain that with the Fate Stone in, the world would be a better place, and there was no talking him into standing down now that his honor was at stake, but if she could reach Koji… “Black Dragon, bringer of death, one whose heart is corrupted beyond saving.” She spat these last words out, hoping that they would sting his conscience.

Koji simply looked at her, his face without expression. “You don’t’ understand at all, Kiala-Chan. I don’t want the world at war. I don’t’ want to fight or kill anyone… But I could care less if you live, and a world at peace means nothing to me. You see, a Black Dragon cares enough about the world to wish darkness on the land, but I don’t. I don’t care. It is up to you what you do, not me. I am simply acting as I must.” With this he drew his sword and looked at Ryu. “You don’t plan to stop until you are dead or until you have the fate stone, so I will fight you.”

Kiala’s heart skipped upon hearing these words. She was counting on him caring… but this response is not what she expected. She looked at Ryu desperately. He too had his sword draw. He chose to wield a rather large blade. Should it connect, it would be all over for his opponent. The look in his eyes was frightening. It was serious, worried, and resolute. “Ryu, please, you don’t have to fight him again. Let me…”

“This is why I told you that it would be better if you stayed behind. You won’t be able to do what needs to be done Kiala-Dono, so I am the one to fight him.” His voice was harsh, almost accusing. She felt her strength leave her legs and she fell to her knees, trembling slightly.

“But…” Everything was falling apart around her. Her world was being torn from the inside out. She couldn’t lose Ryu. She had sworn to protect him. She told herself she would never lose another loved one, and now… she was powerless to the wheels of time. Even if she stopped him now, he would come again, bent on this. All she could do was watch as he challenged death itself.

“You promised you wouldn’t get involved. You agreed to stay out of it, remember? No matter what happens, this is a fight between two warriors, and it is not to be interrupted.” Now he looked at her with sadness in his eyes. He knew how hard this was going to be for her. “I’m sorry.” His hand instinctively reached out to her, and she responded by flying to her feet and throwing herself into him. She didn’t cry. She had no tears. “While you were gone, all I wanted was to feel you inside my arms, and now you’re here.” He whispered, and she felt his voice waver. “But I am about to fight, and I may be leaving you forever.” She felt his hands on her cheeks as he lifter her gaze. She looked up, into his eyes. “I am sorry.” He whispered again.

“Sorry won’t cut it, Ryu. You have to live.” She said forcefully.

“Live.” He said with a small laugh. He looked at Koji, who was now leaning on a tree, toying with his sword lazily. He looked like he didn’t have a care in the world… Not like he was about to engage in a duel. Did he even care if he lived or died? Ryu looked at him too and then looked at Kiala again. “That is what I’m trying to do. Look at what war does to people. If he truly doesn’t care, then you can blame war for that. When everything is taken away from you, then you either die or your heart dies. How many people live like that? How long can I go on, still caring before the hardship of war strips my soul bare? Only when the war ends can I start to live, Kiala. Until then, I am a mere shadow of myself at best.”

“I know.” She whispered. Then she took his face in her hands and pulled it into hers. Their lips connected for only a moment. When they pulled back again, she smiled at him, impishly.

Ryu stared at her in shock. Koji yawned from behind them. “What…” Ryu breathed.

“Let’s just say that this is a free sample. When you are done with this fight, I’ll give you a REAL kiss. But you have to earn it first by coming back to me alive. I’m not interested in kissing a dead body.” With that, she made a face, and shuddered dramatically. Ryu Chuckled.

“Well, now I have to come back alive. How can I pass up an opportunity like that?” She stepped away from him and looked at Koji. She felt the fire starting to smolder inside her as he calmly stood up and stretched as if he had been waiting for hours. Ryu turned to face his opponent. She could tell from the way his shoulders rippled that he was annoyed by the nonchalance of his enemy.

Kiala glared even harder at Koji; the innocent looking embodiment of darkness. “Hey, Ko-CHAN!” She barked. She saw his head whip to look at her in disbelief and anger. “A true warrior knows how to win in any situation. If Ryu dies today, I will be the ache in your ears for the rest of my life! If he dies, you loose big time!” She could almost feel herself snarling protectively at this. It startled her. Koji just stared at her open-mouthed. Then he glared at Ryu spitefully.

“You told her to call me that! Didn’t you!”

“No.” Ryu said simply.

This seemed to irritate Koji even more. He looked at Kiala resentfully. She couldn’t help but think that he looked like a kitten that had been taken out of his comfortable silken bed and dumped outside in the cold. His resentment was cute, but that only angered her more. He really didn’t have any right to have such power. No one so childish should hold the fate of the world in their hands. He sighed and addressed Kiala almost plaintively. “Well, I really have no choice in the matter. If you want him to live, tell him to stand down!” It sounded like he was pouting. Now he turned his gaze back to his true opponent. The irritation suddenly vanished from his face and both Ryu and Kiala knew that he was serious now. His eyes narrowed slightly and his hand gripped his sword. Suddenly, he hardly looked like himself. He had changed into a true warrior. There was no mistaking it, he was deadly.

Ryu too had settled into a frame of mind ready for battle. He got into his favorite stance, legs spread, one in front of the other, sword behind him, and one hand forward, ready to guide his hand. Kiala looked at this stance. It was for thrusting, but she knew it was a bluff. Thrusting was not wise when your opponent was faster than you. What was he planning? Koji simply held his sword directly in front of him. It was a strangely simple stance, but something about it felt deceptive as well. What was his real intention?
“You’re move, Ryu-Sama.” Koji said.

Ryu wasted no time in acting. He charged, still following through on a thrust. Koji waited for him to approach, and at the last minute, he ducked. With Ryu charging forward, this would bring him immediately into Koji’s range, and Kiala found herself holding her breath. As Koji’s sword drove at Ryu, he suddenly leapt into the air, his empty hand driving at Koji’s neck… and then she saw it, a small blade hidden between his fingers. Koji’s blade missed, but apparently, he expected it to, because his sheath caught Ryu’s hand and twisted it away, redirecting the direction of Ryu’s path through the air. But Kiala knew there was more. He specialized in counter attacks, not simply blocking. Then she saw it.

His foot suddenly connected with Ryu, square in the gut, and she saw that he too had leapt into the air, twisting his body in a way very few can. Using his high level of flexibility and Ryu’s own momentum, he dealt a blow that no one could have predicted. Ryu fell to the ground with a heavy thud and Koji twisted in the air bringing his sword to bear down on the stunned Ryu now beneath him. But Ryu reacted quickly, bringing his blade up just in time to block the attack, and that is when Kiala realized why Ryu had chosen that weapon. It was wide enough to act as a shield. With all of Koji’s weight and momentum bearing down on the sword now, it seemed hopeless, but then, Ryu suddenly pushed upward, tossing his attacker clear.

A slight breeze rustled through Kiala’s hair, revealing what had happened. She smiled hopefully. Apparently, she wasn’t the only one to improve while they were apart. He had learned a little about manipulating air with magic and had created a wind that pushed Koji away from him, giving him the extra boost he needed to counter Koji’s force. As Koji landed, she saw that he was grinning. Ryu stood up to face his opponent. There was a look of deep respect in his eyes now. Kiala was mad at him for respecting Koji, but then again, one has to respect skill like that.

“That was an amazing trick.” Ryu said.

“And you learned from our last match, switching to a far more defense style. I’m impressed.” Koji relied. Then he got into a different stance, this time he was crouching, and Kiala felt a chill. She recognized this stance. Could Ryu block this? “It is almost a shame that a skilled warrior like you is so bent on dying today.

Ryu took a new stance, this time, with his sword sheathed, ready to draw. This was a fast attack, made faster with the magic in the sword and most likely accelerated even more with the magic of wind. Not even Koji could avoid that. Could he? “I just want the Fate Stone.” He said, and with that, he charged again.

As he approached, Koji sprang into the air, sideways onto a tree trunk, where he redirected his attack to come from behind, spinning in the air to give his sword speed. Ryu, having anticipated this, drew his sword in a circular arch. The nice thing about that attack is that it was an attack that went in full circle. It didn’t’ matter where Koji came from, and at the speed Koji was going, it was clear that the sword would find its mark. That is when a shift in the air rippled through the trees. Kiala had felt this once before, when Ryu had rescued her from the cliff. That is what one felt when a Samo-Yan nearby had changed form. With the change, she saw that there was a slight explosion of energy from Koji’s location and it shot him forward even faster. This all happened in a blink of an eye, but Kiala could see it all.

Now with the tail, ears, eyes, claws, teeth… striped, he was stronger, faster, even more agile… This is why they called him the tiger. Ryu’s blade was just barely too late, and Koji was now beyond the danger of the blade. Kiala felt another breeze as Ryu pushed them apart, but it wasn’t fast enough. Koji’s sword found its mark in his side, cutting a deep wound. Ryu fell back, gasping and holding his bleeding side and Koji charged again. This was new. Koji had not attacked before. He had always relied on counter attacks before. This changed everything. As Koji came close, Ryu felt his life flash before his eyes and the adrenaline that pulsed through him increased ten-fold. This was it! What he had been counting on.

Ironically, it was Koji who had taught him this. A Samo-Yan will change state, reverting to what is called a Kai form when their emotions overpower them. This can be a fight or flight response, or the fear of losing something precious… Usually, you want to keep your emotions locked away in battle, but this time, he let his fear get the better of him, knowing that unlike with full humans, this would save him. A master Samo-Yan warrior like Koji could, through training, learn to control this change and be able to do so any time they wanted, but Ryu was no master. He had only recently discovered that he had this skill. Now that he knew what activated it, he let it come. He felt the shift and in an instant, the flight instincts kicked in. He took to the air just in time. Koji stared up at him in surprise. Now things would be different. Koji was faster, stronger, more skilled, but Ryu had the upper hand with his flight.

Not wasting any time, he came at Koji in a dive, sword brandished. Koji blocked, but before he could counter, Ryu was in the sky again, preparing another attack. He saw Kiala below staring at him in awe. This gave him new found strength. He would win. He would win for her, and for the people of the world. He looked at his opponent below. Just a cat. He was a hawk, and a hawk could take a cat if he did things right. With his heightened vision, he looked at his enemy’s face, looking for signs to see what he was thinking or planning on doing. He expected shock, concern, a more determined expression, something to indicate that the fight had become more challenging. He was taken aback when he saw the Tiger grinning, a look of anticipation on his face.

A real fight at last. These words were in his head, but he knew they were Koji’s thoughts. You figured it out. I’m pleased. His enemy’s thoughts in his head were disconcerting.

You’re actually happy about this? He thought down at him. How do you plan on winning when you can’t fly?

You are in the air, so too shall I be. With that, he launched into the trees and started climbing, jumping, and running up them, headed for the highest treetop with incredible speed. Ryu knew that staying above the trees would keep him safe, but if he planned to strike him down, he would have to go into them. With the tree branches all around, striking his opponent would be more difficult. He couldn’t’ dive at him without hitting the trees. You should learn to use the environment to your advantage more. Koji thought.

Then Ryu saw a clear path. He took it, diving at Koji with determination. Koji jumped from the tree and they collided in the air, their blades ringing. The momentum of his charge threw off Ryu’s flight path, and he pulled back to watch as Koji fell to another branch, which he caught, swung around and launched off of again in one graceful movement. Ryu only had time to get his sword ready, but then something hit him in the eye. The stinging caused him to blink in shock. As he forced his eye open, he saw a pine cone falling away from him. Where was Koji? He looked around, but another pine cone struck him as he turned. This time he caught a glimpse of Koji leaping from branch to branch, grabbing something as he went.

Why hadn’t he taken him out? Ryu was distracted, it would have… then he saw it. Koji was too far away. He couldn’t reach Ryu. So he was tossing things, more objects struck him. The connected in his wings, on his face, his hand… None were big, but do to the speed, they all hurt. Then he realized that with this bombardment, he was losing altitude quickly, he had to do something, and quick, or else he would come into range of his enemy, and he would be vulnerable. Koji was moving in a circle beneath him, dashing too quickly for Ryu to easily keep his eye on him. He tried to flap to get air, but a twig caught his wing, and he continued to lose height. There were so many object flying at him, it was as if he was surrounded. Then an idea came to mind.

He folded his wings and plummeted faster. This caught Koji off guard, and his projectiles missed. As Ryu came within inches of Koji’s range, he suddenly changed course and rocketed away, using the speed from his dive. He had Seen Miakai do this many times. Use the environment? He thought to himself. Fine. Using the trees as a shield to hide him from Koji’s sight, she flew a wide arch around, to come from a different direction, Silently she swept through the trees, and then he saw Koji, perched on a branch, looking for him. He was looking in the wrong direction. Victory. He took his sword and prepared to drive it home, but at the last minute, he saw Koji’s ear twitch. He had heard him.

As Ryu struck , he was blocked by the sword. Still the force of Ryu’s speed pushed him off the branch and Koji fell toward the earth far below. Ryu dove at him. As they drew closer, Koji twisted to prepare for a landing, but this exposed his back to Ryu, and Ryu was faster. This would end it. He brought his sword down with as much speed as he could, intending on cleaving his enemy in two. Another impossible move stopped him though. Koji had been bluffing! He twisted in the air, proving that his cat-like features gave him a few more advantages. His sword caught Ryu’s and he slanted it, redirecting the paths of both.

When a swordsman’s blade is redirected, it changes the direction of the swordsman’s movements as well. This was even more so the case in mid air. Koji used this to align them so they were side by side as the fell. Then he pushed back abruptly, throwing them away from each other at a remarkable speed. Ryu felt a sharp pain in his back, and a throbbing in his lungs as the air was pushed out of him. Through blurred vision, he saw Koji connected with a tree, feet first. He bent his knees and then launched himself off the tree directly at Ryu, and before gravity could pull Ryu downward, Koji was back. Ryu desperately blocked the sword. It work, but then he felt a sharp pain in his chest.

What? Koji had no other weapons… then he realized, it with a tremor. He had claws. His opponent had no expression on his face as he fell back and landed easily on the ground below. Ryu saw the world start to turn red and as he fell, he heard a voice crying out his name. With one last look, he saw Kiala running at him, catching him as he fell. Then blackness overcame him.

“RYU!” Her cry sent a flock of birds flying away in fear. She held him close as Koji walked toward them. He had an annoyed look in his eyes. Now the fire was all over her. She even saw sparks in the air around her. “Monster! Demon! Villain!” She shrieked at him. He saw him pause in his steps. These words seemed to hit him. She wrapped her arms around Ryu more tightly, hoping that the pressure of his wound would keep the blood in.

“Move.” Koji ordered in a threatening voice.

“Why should I? You already pierced his heart!’ Leave him be!” The sparks grew stronger as she looked at him.

“He is part Samo-Yan. That means that there is a slight chance that this alone isn’t fatal yet. More likely, he will linger, barely alive for days before his life is gone. You wish for him to be tortured by pain before he dies? I couldn’t get deep enough to ensure his death, his blade was too big. Move.” He said this in a matter of fact way.

“No!” She yelled. “If you wish to kill him now, you will have to kill me too, because I am not going anywhere. If he leaves this world, so too shall I!”

Koji’s advance paused. He looked at her, an expression on his face she had not expected. Fear? “You are unarmed.” He whispered. Then he took another step forward. “Move.”

But Kiala didn’t care anymore. All her anger was gone. All she had now was the fear of losing Ryu. She held him closer, and buried her face in his hair for a moment then she looked up at Koji again. He was standing there, his sword raised, but it was shaking now. She looked at him. “You know the pain of your loved one dying. I can’t live like that. I would rather die than live without Ryu.” She said in a steady voice, coaxing him to finish them both off.

As Koji looked at her, images flashed through his mind. He kept hearing her voice. I would rather die than live without you…. Kanite. He watched as Kiala looked at Ryu, an expression of deep love on her face. Kanite looked at Koji, that same expression on her face. I would rather die than live without you… I would rather die than live without you… Then there were more voices. He remembered hearing them from her brother. Demon! Monster! Murderer! Villain… you have no right to live when she is dead! Then it was Kanite again. You wouldn’t. How could you even think of taking their happiness away from them? “I have to…” He whispered. But his hand was frozen. Every time he looked at Kiala, it was Kanite he saw. He couldn’t kill his love. Not now, not ever…

As Kiala watched Koji, understanding came to her. It was his memories that haunted him, and he was afraid of himself. Could he do this? Maybe he cared a little after all.

“I am death, you said so yourself.” Koji whispered. Kiala didn’t’ reply. He wasn’t talking to her. She watched as a single tear started to form in his eye, and then the sword slipped out of his hand. It fell with a clang on the ground and he stood there staring at Kiala with wide eyes. Now, more than ever, he looked like a lost kitten. “No.” He said, and then he was gone, running to the house. In an instant, he was gone.

Kiala knelt there, looking at Ryu. For the moment, he was alive. There was a small chance that he might still live. That was all the hope she needed. She started to look for the best fabric to tear to use as a ternicate. She had to stop the bleeding. His breathing was irregular, and his heart was pounding. Time was against her.

“Kiala-Chan!” She heard a voice from behind, and she turned abruptly to see Koji standing at his doorway, a desperate look in his face, and a small cylindrical container in his hands. “It is the war that makes him crave the stone. If there is no war, he has no reason to fight me.” Kiala nodded slowly. “One month. He can challenge me again then if he still wishes to. Promise that he won’t try anything until then.”

Confusion flooded her. What was he talking about? One month? The war? There was no reason for the war to end before then. If Ryu was dying, what good would a promise like that do? “Why?”

“Just promise!” He commanded. There was an authority in his voice that left no room for objection. “You will leave this place, and not return for another month at least.”

Dumbfounded, Kiala nodded. “He won’t come anywhere near you.” Koji looked hopeful, and he threw the container at her. She instinctively reached out her hand to catch it. As she caught it, she looked at the label. It was written in Samo-Yan, but in small print next to it, she saw the words ‘rejuvenation tea.’ Amazement overwhelmed her. Was Koji saving him? She looked up to ask him, but there was no one there. She looked around. He was gone. Where? Why? How? Ryu stirred in her arm slightly, moaning in pain.

Time. It was running out for him. She looked at the container again, and found instructions. Brew this for five minutes and then apply it to the wound. It will heal anyone who is not already dead of any physical injuries not already set. Five minutes? Did she have that kind of time? No time for questions. All she could do was act, and with that, she manifested a fire, and ran to get water from the Koi fish pond she remembered seeing.
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fukaimoriMidori Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2007
Again, gorgeously beautiful. I love the deatils, the sharp colours..
DreamPrincess Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2007
ahhh lovely as always ;p i really love the background in this one <3 i wanna live in a place like that T_T
manic-goose Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2007  Professional General Artist
Me too. ^^ Thanx.
happyloveygirl Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2007
Very nice! I like the colors of their hair. :D
manic-goose Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2007  Professional General Artist
Thankyou. Sharn did really good on that, didn't he. ^__^
happyloveygirl Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2007
Your welcome. Yep he did. :nod:
iamnotinsane Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2007
~is wowed by the detail and effort~

god, it's TRUE. some people AREN"T lazy!

manic-goose Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2007  Professional General Artist
You said it. ^^ Thanx for saying so.
Yvee-chan Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2007  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great picture! Very colourful! ^_^
manic-goose Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2007  Professional General Artist
Yes it is indeed. Thank you.
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