New Tricks for an Old Hound
Soriz raises a glass with his buddies after a mission. Chided by Ghandagoza for his immaturity, Soriz sets out on a grueling training regimen of self-discovery. Rule number one: No women.
No version of Soriz
Not long ago (Captain) and the crew were hired by the residents of a certain village to investigate terrible, echoing crashes coming from the nearby mountains.
The source of the disturbance turned out to be Soriz, a martial artist who was pulverizing the very living rock with his fists as training.
This man, known for his extensive record of tournament victories as Rockfisted Soriz, is also a peerless pervert, preoccupied with peeping into mountain hot springs.
Unabashed in his voyeurism, Soriz decided to join the crew largely because of the female members—and the chance to pontificate to an unwitting audience on the finer points of true manliness.
Not long afterward, he accompanied the crew for a crab-catching expedition into the bitter cold of North Vast.
More recently, he and the crew participated in a martial arts tournament held in Albion.
Any version of Soriz
is a crew member
Since joining the crew, Soriz has shared many adventures with them.
His long years have served to hone both his fists and his perversion.
Tonight the crew is in Auguste on an assignment.
Soriz has invited Eugen, Jin, and Ghandagoza to lift a glass with him.
Soriz: Now that's good sake! Tastes great and goes down smooth!
Ghandagoza: This sashimi is also superb. The perfect texture to resist the tooth and yet melt on the tongue.
Eugen: Didn't I tell ya? You can't beat Auguste for seafood!
Jin: Ghandagoza, your cup has run dry. Allow me to refresh it.
Ghandagoza: Come now, Jin. You're so busy pouring, you've barely had the chance to drink anything.
Eugen: Hey now, drink up, drink up! You don't get to visit a tavern this good every day. It'd be rude to waste the chance!
Jin: Haha, forgive my lapse in manners. To your health.
The party is in full swing, with good friends, good food, and good sake.
Soriz: Damn, but this is a great island. I haven't had a bad meal here yet.
Soriz: And no matter the season, the beaches are brimming with swimsuited beauties. This place is a true feast for the senses.
Eugen: Geez, Soriz. With one need met, your mind goes straight back to the ladies, doesn't it? But that's you all over, I guess.
Soriz: Don't be such a spoilsport! Jin's on my side—aren't you, buddy? You like to feast your eyes on the feminine, dontcha?
Jin: Er, no, I... well...
Soriz: Well, well. For a man of many talents, this is an unexpected weak spot.
You know there's fellas like Yngwie with a woman in every port, right?
Soriz: Ghandagoza, don't you think Jin's adorable, gettin' all flustered over this?
Soriz: Uh... Ghandagoza?
Ghandagoza furrows his brow, a severe expression settling on his craggy features. He turns to face Soriz squarely.
Ghandagoza: It troubles me that this schoolboy banter still amuses you.
Soriz: Schoolboy banter? We're talkin' about a sophisticated adult's appreciation of the feminine form here.
Ghandagoza: You and I are well into our golden years. Surely you realize our time in this world is limited?
Soriz: Well, sure, but...
Ghandagoza: I often think about what I should accomplish with the time I have left.
Ghandagoza: For so long, I focused on training.
Ghandagoza: But in the end is honing my body truly meaningful?
Ghandagoza: Everyone ages and must eventually die. Both mind and body will return to dust.
Ghandagoza: And that is why we have a responsibility to leave something behind for the next generation.
Ghandagoza: When I lie dying, I hope to impart something to whoever attends me, so that they may face the future unafraid.
Ghandagoza: We who tread the path a pace or two ahead must light the way for those who follow after. Don't you agree?
Ghandagoza: That's why I began to seek a successor to my Eternal Rage Style.
Ghandagoza: Living my life according to the style's philosophy and passing that on to some young martial artist would be my legacy. I have yet to find a disciple, however.
Ghandagoza: And you, Soriz? What is your philosophy? What will you bequeath to the next generation?
Ghandagoza: It was presumptuous of me to lecture you. But I was driven to speak out of respect.
Ghandagoza: It would be a great waste for a man as personable as you not to leave something of himself behind.
Soriz: Thanks. That was tough to hear, but I think I needed it.
Soriz: My philosophy, huh? My legacy...
As Soriz mulls things over, Ghandagoza fills Jin's cup.
Ghandagoza: Come, drink up!
Ghandagoza gets the celebration back underway, urging everyone to eat and drink.
Once the four men have had their fill, they stroll along the corniche to where the Grandcypher is docked.
Ghandagoza: I like that tavern. Thank you for inviting me.
Eugen: Glad you enjoyed it! I'd be glad to have a drink with you any time you're free.
Ghandagoza: I'll take you up on that!
Jin: Is something troubling you, Soriz?
Soriz: Nah... Just thinking.
Soriz: Ghandagoza, you said we oughta be setting a good example for younger people, right?
Soriz: I can't come up with anything fancy. I never gave any thought to what I was leavin' behind for the next generation.
Sometimes I'll give a struggling young hothead a kick in the right direction, but nothing as grand as what you were talking about.
Soriz: Feels kinda lame that I didn't have a decent answer when you asked about my philosophy.
Eugen: So? Didja come up with anything?
Soriz: Not really. Don't think this is the kinda question you can answer in one night.
Soriz: I think I need to do some training before I figure it out.
Soriz: Training in the truest sense of the word!
Jin: In the truest sense? What does that mean?
Soriz: Only one thing it can mean!
Soriz: No women!
Soriz: That's the only way!
Eugen and Jin: Whaaat!
His companions' shocked exclamations echo across the moonlit waves.
Ghandagoza: That's the spirit, Soriz!
Ghandagoza: I look forward to your answer!
Soriz nods decisively. He turns to look out over the ocean, as vast and fathomless as the path that lies before him.
The odyssey he has set for himself will be the greatest and most grueling of his long life.
Gather Ye Rosebuds, Soriz
Spurred on by Ghandagoza's words, Soriz spends his days running through the mountains, breaking boulders, and hitting the books—all while avoiding the women of the crew. Even with help from (Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn, Soriz begins to crack under the strain, causing his friends to worry whether he'll ever take a break.
Ghandagoza's words push Soriz to reflect seriously on his way of life.
He sets himself a spartan training regime in order to take a good, hard look at himself.
Soriz: One, two!
His morning begins early with a long run followed by weight training.
He spends his afternoons alone in the mountains, smashing rocks and chasing wild beasts.
Soriz: Well, now... The best thing for soothing tired muscles is a nice, cool soak...
In the evenings, Soriz hits the books and studies martial arts, military strategy, or medicine.
Soriz: Phew... That was close. If I hang around here, I'll wind up seeing women...
Most important is the self-imposed ban on female company, which extends even to his crewmates. Soriz won't allow himself to so much as lay eyes on them.
Soriz: Wh-what're you three doin' here? I thought I was about to clap eyes on a lady!
Vyrn: Uh... Why're you hiding under that desk?
Soriz: I told you before about my new training regime, didn't I?
Lyria: Oh, that's right! Is hide-and-seek good training?
Soriz: Well, sort of, now that you mention it.
Soriz explains about his resolution not to look at women.
Lyria: I see! That... must be difficult. There are a lot of women in our crew.
Soriz: Yeah... I feel like I'm always trippin' over 'em.
Vyrn: Huh... You're really taking your training seriously for once!
Soriz: Hey, I'm always serious! I seriously love women! That's why I had to deprive myself of their company.
Vyrn: Yeah... My heart bleeds for you.
Vyrn: But hey, I can tell you're trying. If you want a hand with your training, just say the word!
Lyria: Yeah! We could keep a lookout and warn you if any women around Katalina's age come by.
Soriz: Whoa, really? That'd be a big help!
Soriz: There's no one around in the mountains, anyway, so could you just be my scouts when I'm on the airship?
Lyria: Of course! You can count on us!
With the promise of (Captain) and the others' assistance, Soriz throws himself back into his training.
Soriz: Hup, two, three, four!
Soriz: Toryah! Seiyaaah!
Soriz: Hmm... I see, I see...
Lyria: Soriz, watch out! Rosetta's coming!
Soriz: Evasive maneuvers!
And so Soriz spends his days running through the mountains, breaking boulders, deepening his relationship with his library card, and running away from the women in the crew.
He sticks faithfully to his resolutions.
Soriz: Huff... puff... Huff... hack...
Soriz: Ugh, what's goin' on? My eyesight's getting' blurry...
Vyrn: Heeey! Katalina sighting!
Soriz: Wh-wha? Ladies incoming? Right!
Vyrn: Are you all right? You don't look so hot.
Soriz: Gyahaha! You know how tough I am! This is nothin'!
Soriz: Now to shield my eyes from feminine beauty...
Day by day Soriz's grueling regimen takes its toll.
Vyrn: What was that noise?
Lyria: Aaahhh! Soriz collapsed!
Lyria: Soriz, are you all right?
(Captain) hurries to Soriz's side to help him up, but Soriz refuses and gets to his feet on his own.
Nooo! No contact with women!
Soriz: Oh, it's just you, (Captain).
Soriz: Yow! Quit pinching me! That hurts!
Soriz: Sorry... Didn't wantcha to see me like this.
Lyria: Um, Soriz? Why don't you take a day off from training?
Vyrn: Yeah... You've been looking more ragged by the day. One little break won't kill ya!
Soriz: No! No can do! It feels like I've been doing nothing but slacking off for years!
Soriz: Sorry I worried you, kids. Just keep rootin' for me a while longer, okay?
And with that, Soriz drags himself off for more punishment.
Vyrn: He's overdoing it, right?
(Captain) and the others watch Soriz go, worry writ large across their faces.
Gather Ye Rosebuds, Soriz: Scene 2
(Captain), Eugen, Jin, and the others worry over the changes in Soriz, who never seems to smile anymore. One night, as Soriz forces himself to study through his exhaustion, he gets into a heated argument with his inner voices—one urging him to give up, the other demanding he persevere.
Concerned for Soriz's health, (Captain), Lyria, and Vyrn go to find Eugen. They find him in conversation with Jin.
Eugen: Hey, you three. What's with the long faces?
Eugen: The crew'll worry if they see their captain looking so grim, (Captain). Tell me what's up.
Lyria: Um... We're worried about Soriz.
Vyrn: Training's one thing, but he's really going overboard...
Jin: Indeed. I've also been troubled by how sallow he looks of late.
Lyria: It's definitely affecting his health.
Lyria: And I feel like all the fun's been sapped out of him.
Eugen: The fun?
Lyria: He usually looks so happy when he's training or spending time with women.
Vyrn: Yeah... He's been really gloomy lately. Maybe it's 'cause he's tired.
Lyria: Soriz's smiling face always calms me down.
Lyria: Even when I'm scared, it makes me feel like everything will be all right. It's really reassuring.
Eugen: It's true. His cheerful attitude has been a real lifesaver at times.
Eugen: I don't wanna stop him training, but he's losing one of his best qualities, isn't he?
Jin: I believe that by imposing this new regimen on himself, Soriz hopes to discover a new kind of strength.
Jin: But perhaps he would be better off seeking his answer within the lifestyle he's led so far.
Jin: It may lie hidden there, as does his good cheer.
Soriz: Phew... When did it get so late? (Captain) and the others're probably asleep. Shouldn't wake 'em up.
Soriz: Well, that means all the ladies are abed, too. May as well get in my reading and then hit the hay.
Soriz: Lessee here... "When engaged in rigorous physical training, one must be sure to rehydrate..."
Soriz: "Due to elevated body temperature during exercise, one must also be vigilant against heatstroke."
Soriz: "The symptoms are difficult to treat, so great care should be taken to avoid developing them in the first place."
Well, yeah. Even I knew that.
Soriz: Whoa, no nodding off yet. Still got thirty pages to go.
Soriz: Sigh... Thirty more pages...
???: Give it up...
???: No! Knuckle down!
Soriz: Huh? What was that?
Devil Soriz: It's me, chump! Your inner voice!
Devil Soriz: C'mon, ditch this boring homework!
Angel Soriz: No way! You said you were gonna figure out your personal philosophy!
Angel Soriz: So you're feeling a little starved for feminine company—so what? Isn't it more important to leave something behind for the next generation?
Devil Soriz: What've those brats done for me lately? I wanna see ladies!
Angel Soriz: You wanna do at least something worthwhile with the time you have left, don't you?
Devil Soriz: Hey, if we don't have much time left, let's spend that time getting at least one more eyeful of a bathing beauty!
Angel Soriz: What'd you say?
Devil Soriz: You heard me! Got a problem with that?
Angel Soriz: Yeah! You wanna piece of me?
Soriz: Shut up!
Soriz: Just listening to the two of you is wearing me out!
Soriz: And I'm tired enough from training my ass off all day!
Soriz: You're on my last nerve! Beat it!
Devil Soriz: Say that again!
Angel Soriz: Hey, chief, we're here to help you.
Soriz: I said scraaam!
Gather Ye Rosebuds, Soriz: Scene 3
After laying the smack down on his warring inner voices, Soriz realizes that he wants to do his utmost to make sure he and everyone around him can enjoy life. A few days later, he goes to challenge Ghandagoza and share his new philosophy.
Devil Soriz: Gyaaah!
Soriz beats down his conflicting inner voices.
Eugen: What was that sound?
Lyria: Ah! Soriz!
Vyrn: You're back? Why didn't you say any... thing...
Soriz: I found it... My philosophy...
Vyrn: Gulp! Yeah? What is it?
Soriz: If it feels right, do it!
(Captain) and Lyria trade surprised looks.
Soriz: Sittin' around thinking things over isn't worth it! It's pointless and it's a bore!
Eugen: Pff... Hahahaha!
Eugen: Hahaha, you're right. That fits you just fine!
Jin: Agreed. I believe that attitude is what makes you the excellent companion you are.
Their conversation seems to be going straight over (Captain), Vyrn, and Lyria's bewildered heads. Soriz reaches out and gives each of them a thorough hair-mussing.
Soriz: In the beginning, I started training to prove that a person's body could be the ultimate weapon.
Soriz: Proving that with my own physique was so much fun, I just kept right on training.
Lyria: Hehe, you always did look like you were enjoying yourself.
Soriz: I was. Training happens to be what I'm into, but it could be other things for other people.
Soriz: Whatever you like, you oughta do it! If it puts a smile on your face, you don't need a better reason.
Soriz: But that's not the most important part...
Soriz: I'd rather see people happy than down in the dumps.
Soriz: I really killed the mood on the ship by going around looking like I was at a funeral.
Soriz: Can't have that. No one was having any fun.
Lyria: We feel the same way. If you're happy, we're happy!
Soriz: Haha, thanks. I've seen the error of my ways.
Soriz: From now on, I'm not just gonna stand by and enjoy other people's good moods.
Soriz: I'm gonna do my best to make 'em happen myself.
Soriz: That's the best way for me and everyone around me to enjoy life!
Soriz: And that's my philosophy.
Eugen: I like it. That's a damn good philosophy.
Soriz: Right? Haha, I guess something good came out of all that hardship!
Soriz: But that's all in the past! Now if you'll excuse me...
Jin: Hm? Where are you going?
Soriz: Where else?
Soriz: I've got peepin' to do!
Choose: Stop right there!
- Stop right there!
(Captain) leaps to block the way to the women's baths.
Soriz leads the captain and the others on a merry chase as they try to prevent his bad behavior.
But Soriz, at least, appears to be having a grand old time.
Soriz: Thanks for coming, Ghandagoza.
Ghandagoza: You look refreshed, Soriz. Did you find your answer?
Soriz: Heh heh...
Soriz: Let me tell you... with my fists!
Ghandagoza: Ohhh, no better way!
Ghandagoza: Here I come, Soriz!
Gather Ye Rosebuds, Soriz: Scene 4
During their fight, Ghandagoza notices a change in Soriz's style, which he attributes to Soriz's newfound philosophy. Soriz answers that he's discovered his reason for living—to make himself and everyone around him happy. Ghandagoza's approval brings a bashful smile to Soriz's face.
After a spirited battle, Ghandagoza steps away from Soriz and lowers his fists.
Soriz: What's wrong?
Ghandagoza: Your fighting style has changed, Soriz. Is that the manifestation of your newfound philosophy?
Soriz: Yeah... I think it is.
Ghandagoza: Your new style... is oriented towards fighting in a group rather than alone, is it not?
Soriz: Well... Life's just no fun without friends!
Soriz grins and relaxes out of his fighting stance.
Soriz: Y'know, Ghandagoza...
Soriz: I want to surround myself with people, and I want to see them smile.
Soriz: So I want to dedicate these fists to helping others.
Soriz: These hands can do more than punch. They can reach out and hold someone else's.
Soriz: So maybe that's... not my philosophy but my reason for living—to make myself and everyone around me happy.
Soriz: And if I put smiles on people's faces, they'll do the same for others.
Soriz: Even after I'm long forgotten, that happiness will keep on rippling outward. That's good enough.
Soriz: No, not good enough. Damn good.
Ghandagoza: I see...
Ghandagoza: A sentiment worth risking one's life for.
Ghandagoza: Well spoken, Soriz. I knew you wouldn't disappoint me.
Soriz: Haha! You're makin' too big a deal out of it!
Soriz: But it's kind of a relief to realize I don't need such a lofty goal.
Soriz: I guess this old hound can still learn a trick or two!
Soriz laughs self-consciously and turns away to gaze into the azure distance.
The possibilities awaiting Soriz and his friends are as vast as the cloud-strewn horizon.