Zanpakutō Name: Chūsei (Fealty)
Zanpakutō Appearance: Chūsei, the legendary Zanpakutō of the Captain-Commander, has a sealed appearance that tells a truthful tale of its wielder's massive spiritual power. Whereas all Captain-class Shinigami must use their instinctual efforts to keep their blades at a manageable size (else they would be as tall as buildings), Tsuribakki can only manage to shrink his own to roughly eight feet long, even with the use of his unmatched self-control. Using it as a comparison against the general standard for Captain-class Shinigami, this would make his uninhibited weapon the size of a mountain. Although releasing the hold on its form and unleashing its full grandeur may seem like a way to increase its power, such is not the case since the strength of a Zanpakutō is constant regardless of its proportions, and Tsuribakki much prefers it to be in a manageable size.
While most Zanpakutō have a shape similar to a katana, Chūsei's blade is nowhere near as thin, sleek, or historically prominent. The steel of the weapon, which takes up six feet of its eight foot length, is as straight as an arrow and comes to an awkwardly stunted end, much like a meat cleaver. While this tip is blunt and generally unfit for battle, the other two edges of the sword are bladed for the first six inches on either side; they have a sharpness to them that opposes the giant girth of the Zanpakutō, allowing the weapon to make better use of its extreme weight of nearly three tonnes (six thousand pounds).
The hilt of Tsuribakki's Zanpakutō is not particularly ornamental, nor does it seem befitting of a weapon of Chūsei's caliber. With a plain black grip and no visible pommel, the area meant as a throne for the Captain-Commander's hand is just perfect enough for him to grasp without any excess material. Meanwhile, a deep brown, flat, rectangular tsuba keeps the two sections of the sword separated, and it extends only a few inches past the width of the blade. Despite this simple design, there is an air of supreme authority to the Zanpakutō that seems to transcend its physical appearance and linger in the soul of those who view it.
Although most Shinigami choose to wear their Zanpakutō on their hip, Chūsei does not have a scabbard. Instead, Tsuribakki wraps the legendary weapon in a thick, symbolic white cloth, which binds itself to the extreme spiritual power of the blade and represents his Vow of Peace. Long lengths of this fabric are left loose enough that the Captain-Commander can actually dangle the Zanpakutō from his mammoth hand as he walks from place to place. This method of transportation eliminates the need to sheathe Chūsei away, further encouraging communication, if only in concept.
Zanpakuto Spirit: Chūsei is the God-spirit of metal, meaning that its abilities are far beyond the boundaries of almost all other Zanpakutō, and that it has absolute reign over its elemental domain and the chains that dwell within the concept. Although there may be dozens or even hundreds of similarly aligned Zanpakutō, all of them bask in the shadow of its influence, and they unanimously accept Chūsei as the premier example of their affinity on an almost instinctual level. This incredibly rare plateau of power is said to show itself less than five times per millenia, and it almost invariably ends with the wielder attaining Bankai and the rank of Captain.
The spirit Chūsei itself takes the glorious form of a silver eagle with a wingspan a mile wide and metal feathers as large as the Captain-Commander himself. When at rest with its noble head peering down, this spirit is nearly as tall as a skyscraper, and dwarfs even Tsuribakki as if he were a mouse beside an elephant. The glimmer of steel, iron, and other fundamentally unyielding metals shine across its form in an entrancing light-show whenever it moves, while a golden, hooked beak rests beneath eyes as stoic and white as diamonds.
The personality of this God-spirit is exactly what one might expect if they knew what element it represented. Chūsei is as unbending as time; it is completely rigid in its philosophies and holds no interest in hearing anything that it construes as foolish, which includes self-doubt, haste, and cruelty. The common vices of all races, including other Zanpakutō, are impurities in otherwise perfect creatures--dents in the mold of creation that can only be fixed through introspection and discipline. This personal philosophy to help forge wisdom from imperfection is the binding that sealed the relationship between Chūsei and Tsuribakki, who once needed to explore his inner sanctity more than anyone else. An iron will is present in both, as is a need to smelt away the weakness in all things, which is a feature they share through their bond as Zanpakutō and Shinigami. Their relationship has long since reached the level where ultimate confidence is given both ways.
Chūsei's inner world is buried deep within Tsuribakki's soul, in a realm composed of a single mountain that spirals up into an infinite sky. Supple white clouds like an endless ocean of cotton spread out nearly fifteen miles beneath the peak, which is the place where Chūsei rests, bound to the plateau by two massive chains clenched tight to its golden talons. These shackles are completely indestructible, even to such a powerful spirit, and they represent the unbreakable trappings one has to the basic truths of the soul--something that even a God-spirit cannot transcend.
The clouds that scatter in all directions are so perfectly aligned that they seem to conceal what lies below; it is an illusion. The truth is that there is nothing under the layer of white, and if one were to go beneath it, whether by falling, jumping, or descending, they would find themselves inexplicably back on the side of the mountain, some distance above the clouds. While this loop may defy conventional logic, it is nevertheless a constant feature of Chūsei's inner world, and Tsuribakki has long since accepted it as a curiosity.
This perpetual cloud-line is where Tsuribakki appears when performing Jinzen, or when he is summoned by the spirit itself for whatever reason it deems important enough to bother such an influential Shinigami. The spiritual powers that drive the arts of Hohō cease to function on the mountainside, leaving physical perseverance the only avenue to progress upwards. The steep and brutal climb to the top of the mountain is a sign of the endurance and unyielding strength of conviction one must have in order to master oneself, and Tsuribakki repeats it without complaint.
Shikai Appearance: Harotaissen Tsuribakki's Shikai release has been limited to private training use ever since his vow of peace took effect, making it the stuff of scarcely whispered legend and rumor to those who haven't been around quite that long. To the memorial Shinigami of the older generation, however, it is a reality that made itself far too apparent during his time as the Kenpachi; few could forget such destruction, even when faced with the significant positive changes Tsuribakki has undergone in the meantime. Since that dark, bygone era, the Captain-Commander has only improved and honed his capabilities through rigorous training and deep communication with Chūsei, making the second form of his Zanpakutō a terrifying sight to behold, and far stronger than most Captain-class Bankai.
Although Tsuribakki is by no means bound to a release command to enter Shikai--his unity with his Zanpakutō, like most Captains, has long-since surpassed such a point--he will generally do so anyway in order to give his blade the respect he believes it deserves. He begins by levitating the weapon with delicately controlled fields of Reiatsu, which leaves it hovering vertically in front of him. Then, with a booming voice, he speaks the command as if it were a stanza from a personally significant poem:
"Bind my Emotion and Release my Spirit. Bind my Body and Release my Mind. Bind my Everything and Release my Soul. Chūsei."
With that said, Tsuribakki brings both of his arms together and smashes them into his Zanpakutō, causing a shock-wave powerful enough to completely obliterate any lesser combatants in the immediate area. The weapon glows white upon impact, shifting and molding around the Captain-Commander's muscled arms until it completely covers them in radiant light. This forming of the Shikai immediately raises the ambient spiritual energy to heights that no one under Captain-class could ever hope to survive without the benevolent protection of someone far stronger.
Once the white glow has subsided, Tsuribakki's hands appear bound within a complicated steel-like device that effectively limits the movements of his upper body; this binding keeps his forearms stuck in a seventy-five degree angle, which mimics either meditation or prayer so perfectly that the symbology is quite heavy-handed. The metal shell's upper-most reaches stop just a bit below his elbows, although the freedom of movement that those joints normally enjoy is entirely canceled by the Zanpakutō design, making their openness a rather moot point.
Six chains can be seen dangling from Chūsei--three on each side--that reach past Tsuribakki's knees when his sculpted arms are at rest. Each of these chains is attached to a small hole nestled in the frame of the cuffs. Four of the holes are located on the outer areas of the Zanpakutō, where the silver glean of the cold metal is smooth and uninterrupted; the other two seem to blend into an area of tightly wrapped chain links set deep into the middle of both sides. One final chain encircles the rounded section where the two sides of the shackles combine, separating the two sides while marking where his hands bind together within the cold, steel shell.
Chain Production: Chūsei's Shikai form is capable of producing metal chains of incredible strength and substantial durability out of focused and compressed Reiatsu. These mentally controlled extensions of Tsuribakki's Zanpakutō are formed within the tightly wound areas on both sides of the shackles, and, once created, are capable of detaching themselves from their base using self-created locomotion; they can move across the ground, under it, in water, and even through the air at surprisingly fast speeds, easily capable of catching slower Captain-class combatants without the use of Shunpo-like Reiatsu manipulation. The proportions of the chains can vary depending on how much Reiatsu Tsuribakki funnels into their creation, although they generally seem to stay between ten and fifty feet long and six inches thick -- these lengths are the most energy efficient, which the Captain-Commander learned through many decades of trial and error. The number of chains the Zanpakutō can produce is only limited to the amount of readily available Reiatsu and the mental acuity of Tsuribakki; when at full strength and a sound mind, he can materialize up to fifty individual lengths and command them without losing the ability to multi-task.
Indestructible Form: Unlike most Zanpakutō, even those of the generally astounding Captain-class, Chūsei is theoretically unbreakable once it enters Shikai. The metal shell that encompasses the shackles and the six chains that dangle from its lower curve are so naturally resilient--so impervious to physical damage--that they could remain unmarred through events that would obliterate the Captain-Commander himself, although proof of this stability has yet to be established to such a fatalistic degree. Heat, cold, and forces as unusual as the bending of space itself cannot change the physical shape of the Shikai bindings, and the mighty Tsuribakki at full-strength is incapable of coaxing even a creak out of the stoic encasement. This effect only applies to the physical parts of the Zanpakutō itself; the chains created from compressed Reiatsu that detach themselves from Chūsei, while incredibly durable, are more than capable of being torn asunder given enough strain, although such force is only possible through the strongest of combatants.
Inori: Kizutsuita Hiza (Prayer: Bruised Knees): This technique uses the six indestructible chains that rest at the bottom of Chūsei's Shikai form, making it notoriously difficult to circumvent. By channeling his spiritual energy through his arms and into the bindings that surround them, Tsuribakki can mentally extend the six chains at blinding speeds in any direction he wishes, separated or all together, at distances up to three hundred feet. Any opponents, weapons, and other objects that fail to avoid entanglement and capture find themselves being dragged violently back towards the source of their bindings--the Captain-Commander. This rather dangerous mode of conveyance, which is not the main purpose of the technique, is often enough to eliminate weaker targets, since the quickest route back towards Chūsei is rarely devoid of obstacles and the chains retract in a matter of seconds. If an individual manages to survive being pulled like a rag-doll, they end up kneeling in front of Tsuribakki; the chains pull down on their forms, forcing them to the ground as the name of the technique suggests. Victims of this binding ability generally appear to be praying in the Captain-Commander's shadow, unable to move. This leaves them susceptible to any one of Tsuribakki's Hakuda-based melee attacks, which is the purpose of the Inori: Kizutsuita Hiza.
Inori: Shinzō no Shukketsu (Prayer: Bleeding Heart): A Kidō-based ability that utilizes the mobile chains produced through compressed Reiatsu, the Inori: Shinzō no Shukketsu is Tsuribakki's primary way, once Shikai is released, of dealing with spiritual energy attacks. By mentally directing one of the loose chains to pierce such an assault, whether it be a Kidō spell or some similar ability (a Cero, for example), Tsuribakki can absorb and potentially redirect the expended energy. The result of this prayer is quite dependant on the raw power of the affected ability. If the spiritual energy of the Kidō or technique would be enough to destroy the chain upon a regular impact, it does just that, making it a sacrificial pawn absconded with to save the king. But if the ability lacks the force to shatter the chain, Tsuribakki can redirect the absorbed energy as a cutting beam of white light that sprouts forth from either end of it. The range, duration, and destructive power of the beam depends on the quality of its food-source, so stronger attacks provide a far more dangerous counter-attack. When the energy backing the beam of light is completely expended, the chain shatters, leaving a thin trail of metallic dust in its wake.
Inori: Sōsō Kōshinkyoku (Prayer: Funeral March): An incredibly straightforward but brutal attack, this prayer utilizes only the disposable, self-propelled chains that respond to Tsuribakki's mental commands. By combining at least five of them together and twisting their forms to interlock into a stable form, he can create a mobile, floating weapon that resembles a talon or a vicious spear. Although far less maneuverable than the chains alone, this conglomeration of metal creates a vicious stabbing point with the help of a Reiatsu vortex at its tip; upon direct impact, this prayer creates enough piercing force to tunnel straight through a dozen buildings in a linear path. Once released, this spear cannot be stopped by Tsuribakki's mental commands, and it continues on until the chains break apart from the ripping force of the talon's tip. The Captain-Commander can make up to ten of these prayer-forms at a time (using fifty of his chains) without stressing his mental faculties to their limits.
Inori: Te no Setsugō (Prayer: Joining of Hands): The only prayer that does not utilize the chains of Chūsei's Shikai form, the Inori: Te no Setsugō actually focuses on the destructive power of the shackles themselves. By concentrating a small proportion of his immense Reiatsu around the point where his two hands meet within the metal shell, Tsuribakki can form a spinning circlet of white energy that spirals around the center of his Zanpakutō at tremendous speeds--it follows the path of the small chain that wraps its way around the rounded tip. This rotating power quickly forms into a buzz-saw of tearing energy so sharp that it can effortlessly cut through Zanpakutō and wielder alike, leaving only the strongest individuals capable of defending against it, and only then with ample spiritual power used to cancel out the supremely fine edge of the weapon. This purely martial prayer is most often used in order break defenses or improve Tsuribakki's already unmatched skills in close-quarters-combat. The longer the saw continues to spin, the more energy he drains from his reserves, but with a well of spiritual energy so unfathomably deep, the Captain-Commander may be able to keep this up for hours at a time.
Inori: Shin'nen no Kane o Narasu (Prayer: Ringing the New Year Bells): A rather unusual technique, this prayer requires only one disposable chain of a foot or more thickness. Using compressed spiritual pressure and mentally controlled, self-imposed pulling, Tsuribakki can cause one of the many chains to create so much strain within itself that it simply snaps, causing a wave of excruciating sound to barrel outwards in all possible directions. This metal snapping is so audibly dangerous that those within one hundred feet, Tsuribakki included, are at risk of being temporarily deafened and potentially sustaining minor inner-ear damage, disorientation, or nausea. Individuals less than twenty feet away from one of these sensory assaults is almost guaranteed to suffer both permanent hearing loss and internal bleeding, a side-effect of the massive wave of pressure released by the prayer. Tsuribakki can use this technique on any amount of chains at once, but the more he uses, the more concentration it takes, and it can become difficult to predict the damage it might cause to innocent bystanders or even himself. Although incredibly potent against enemies that cannot shield themselves against sound, the Inori: Shin'nen no Kane o Narasu has complications in its use that make it limited to battles where collateral damage could be considered negligible.
Inori: Kyūdō (Prayer: Once-Beaten Path): The Inori: Kyūdō, one of the more infamous prayers, is generally reserved to dispatch many smaller enemies, a gang of Gillian-class Menos, or multiple projectile attacks that move slowly enough to be affected. To begin, Tsuribakki mentally commands the six indestructible chains of his Zanpakutō towards the ground, where they pierce the earth and burrow deep into the bedrock, even if he is using Hohō to float weightlessly in the air. Within seconds the ground begins to crack and break, sending waves of energy through the ground in all directions. Fissures appear for hundreds of yards like creeping vines, ripping sections of the area into isolated patches of trembling ground. Dozens of unbreakable chains appear from within the fissures, right below the targets. These chains quickly extend straight upwards and grab onto whatever Tsuribakki has marked as a threat. Using his tremendous strength, the Captain-Commander then pulls up with his arms, yanking the original set of chains up from within the ground. This, in turn, causes the grabbing ends of the newly formed chains to quickly pull downwards, taking the victims with them in a spiraling plunge towards the ground. The impact is immense, normally breaking any victims into bits. Those that survive find themselves being constricted tightly by the chains, trapped between the metal links and the ground, until they either escape, suffocate, or are ripped apart by the pressure. Once this prayer is finished and the chains retract from the ground, only the original six remain.
Inori: Meiyo no Seiyaku (Prayer: Pledge of Honor): The defensive prayer known as the Inori: Meiyo no Seiyaku, is only usable if enough disposable chains have been produced by Chūsei to completely cover Tsuribakki's mammoth form; it usually takes roughly twenty of the larger varieties to accomplish such a lofty goal. By focusing his energy and mental will to protect himself, the free-flowing chains coalesce around the Captain-Commander and encase him in a sphere of writhing metal, bound together by the six indestructible versions attached to the Zanpakutō itself. This protective 'egg' becomes more visually recognizable as the chains begin to melt and fuse into a smooth shell, literally protecting him in a 'metal shell'. The transformation happens within a window as short as two seconds and is resistant enough to withstand all but the most powerful attacks--ones that could obliterate entire cityscapes are able to crack the shell, but even such devastating displays of power are rarely enough to break it apart completely. Once the prayer is ended, the shell vanishes along with the chains that made up its composition--all but the six indestructible ones, however, which were merely laced within the thick coating of metal as a form of reinforcement; they are impervious to heat. Although it costs a large deal of energy, this defensive ability is arguably the epitome of self-preservation.