|Division Specialty||Combat: Special Tactics and Tactical engagement|
The Third Division (三番隊, sanbantai), also known as the Heralds of Death, is one of thirteen divisions in the Gotei 13. The 3rd Division is headed by Captain Theron Ascania.
What is death? To mortals, the concept of death is both frightening and enigmatic. A prelude to the unknown, and speculated or exploited upon for generations. The only thing that is for certain about it through their eyes is its finality. The dead do not ever return.
To the spiritual world, however, death holds a much different meaning. Even to the newly arrived in Soul Society, death becomes more of a transitory experience. Some souls have existed after death for thousands of years, especially within Seireitei. This perspective of a great many ages watching the behavior of both living and dead offers understanding many aspire for, and few achieve. Led by one such being, the Heralds are pressed to examine their understanding of death and reevaluate its meaning. First, they are moved to discard the human notions of death that constrained their thoughts as mortals, or new shinigami. Then, they move down a unique path for each Herald, confronting the harsh truth that in order to fulfill their own duties as shinigami, they themselves cannot embrace the sublime opportunity of a new life free of past burdens. Finally, in a manner that can only be speculated upon, the Herald takes up a mask and moves towards some mysterious goal with its use.
Forged from the remnants of the Blitzkrieg Strike Unit, the Death's Heralds squad retains many of the traditions and practices that tempered the most impressive of the Faust regime Gotei Squads. With the retirement of Captain Ritoru Furousha to the first division, those who survived the most bloody fighting in Hueco Mundo's siege banded together under a new banner of leadership: that of Theron Ascania, who later proved himself worthy of the title Kenpachi by the Central Forty Six. Death's Heralds have clung to the traditions of the Blitzkrieg, in that it accepts only those who might prove uniquely gifted in some capacity, and its bonds are as tight as family.
Considered a fearsome presence amongst the captains of the Gotei Thirteen, Theron Ascania commands the Third division with an unusual style. Those who join the division are tested, both to gauge their physical capacity and to test their understanding of life as a shinigami. Many rules apply to those in the Third, and yet most are framed around ideas of cooperation, self-understanding, and the strength of a resolved heart. The division in its latest incarnation has performed remarkably. In its first official orders from the Central Forty Six, the third managed to round up and contain the Vizard groups acting on earth and present them for summary judgment. Further, the Third has provided support action and heavy combat duties against emergent advent factions, including working with the first division to quell a notorious and extremely powerful Quincy.
Death's Heralds recieved their moniker from the whispered nickname of the division captain: "Grim Reaper" by outsiders and for the enhanced understanding of the reincarnation cycle for members. The division trains under a premise enigmatic to outsiders, but often speculated upon. Many of the Heralds hold a reputation for being harsh, or even bloodthirsty in battle.
Because the third is a traditionally small division, they are trained as tactical operatives, using small groups or cells to carry out missions and strike against the enemies of the Gotei. Given the Captain's experience in fighting all of these enemies, having survived the SQN rebellion, the Mask Wars, and both invasions of Hueco Mundo, it is not surprising his understanding and thus tactics against the Gotei's enemies are possibly the most effective in modern times. Further, the Third is the only division to send consistent missions into the hollow's home plane, Hueco Mundo.
Life in the ThirdEdit
Third division life is most unlike that in other divisions. There are few rules that bind the behavior of the division members, and as such the division attracts a wide spectrum of personality types. Further, due to the patronage of the wealthy Ascania family, the division grounds are well maintained and even furnished with a assortment of relaxation and restoration activities.
To outsiders, the Third seems to be a vigorous division, with its members in a constant state of training, deployment, or inter-division observation. Those in the Third know better, using these locations for revelry and bonding with those who serve beside them, even in other divisions.
Those of higher seating or combat experience are often seen wearing the masks of hollows, both on mission and in their daily activities in Hueco Mundo. This unusual behavior has drawn scrutiny and reservation from the Central Forty-six and other Gotei divisions alike. Despite these qualms, the tradition persists.
Rumors and speculation suggest that both the masks worn by members of the division and their brutal attitude about combat, especially against those of hollow nature, is somehow tied to a unorthodox training method used by Theron Ascania. An understanding of the cyclical nature of death, reincarnation, and the persistence of the human soul seems to be adopted, if slightly varied from member to member. All that can be said of this method with certainty is that those who undergo it seem to change, perhaps mature, as the pass through its rigors.
The captain holds a single policy on seating: take what you can keep. Member of the third are encouraged to claim and hold seats that represent their power and ability, the caveat being that someone can attempt to wrest it from you at any time. For any seat of 6th and lower, a division member only need make a formal announcement that they are claiming the position. After such, anyone may challenge them for the right to hold that seat.
For seats ranked 5th and above, the policy is far less clear. These seats are mostly comprised of those who have attained the fourth and final step in their path, and open fighting for these positions has not been seen.
- Go for the Mask: Members of the division have been thoroughly instructed on the strengths and weaknesses inherit to the races of Hollows, Vizards, and Arrancar. Further, training sessions with the captain may increase their ability to read attack rhythms, defensive techniques, and special abilities used by Hollowkin. Due to this singular focus of training and dedication, each member may gain a 15% bonus to a combat stat against a Hollowkin opponent for 5 rounds. This may only be used once per combat.
- Devil Bane: This technique is used by division members to help them overcome the abilities of their enemies to ignore damage and restore lost flesh. Through intense training and meditation, members of the division have learned how to inject a burst of spiritual pressure that prevents wounds inflicted on hollowkin (Arrancar, Vizards, and Hollows) from healing for the duration of the battle. Further, damage dealt by the user against those with damage resistance is considered one rank higher in severity, minor wounds are now moderate, and moderate blows are considered major damage. When trying to subdue those not with this tainted spiritual pressure, the user must expend 2% of their reiatsu, imbuing their blade for one round. This payment imbuing may be preformed once per battle, with an additional use gained every 5,000 connection.
- Vital Resurgence: Through training with a high-ranking officer or the captain personally, a member of the unit learns to most effectively prepare themselves for a prolonged battle against their foes. By spending 5% of their reiatsu, the user may begin a regenerative process, healing wounds existing and inflicted during this resurgence. Small injuries are mended in a round, moderate injuries in three, and severe wounds mend in six. Due to the stress this places on the Shinigami’s body, this may only be executed once per combat with a single extra use gained at 6,000 connection.
- They Who Walk Through Fire: The strength of one's soul cannot be measured by spiritual pressure alone; there is an undefined and powerful truth to the nature of the human spirit and will to carry on. This power, this elusive strength of character and hope can be brought forth in desperate times if one is properly trained to do so, allowing the user to for a brief moment, cast off the forces of despair and woe that may enslave their failing bodies. By expending the entire cost of the ability, attack, or Kidō that is giving them a negative status effect, a division member may ignore its effects for up to 2 rounds. If at this time the effect would still be ongoing, it returns once more in full force or otherwise be reapplied normally. This gambit of the human will cannot be easily drawn out, and thus may only be used once in combat, with a single extra use bestowed upon the legendary few who achieve 10,000 connection or more.
- Hollow Mask: In their journey through the 3rd Division's ranks, each member of the division is tasked with going to the real world to retrieve the mask from a Hollow. The class of Hollow that one retrieves a mask from is a small mark of honor within the ranks. Coming from a unique Hollow, each of these masks has a unpredictable shape and design. As part of their division training, members wear these masks while they carry out their missions on earth, and some even when back in Soul Society. The pull of the mask is at first, a subtle flaring of the wearer's instincts. But this roiling mass of desire steadily increases in magnitude the longer the wearer goes without purifying a Hollow. When a purification is preformed, the instinctual pulls will ebb, for a short time, before once again beginning to amass. What the user feels is dependent on their own nature, each mask highlighting and drawing out their darkest and most hidden desires that their mind normally restrains. Additionally, while worn, this inflection of the Hollow psyche typically provides a change in combat behavior. The wearer's reaction and killing instinct are heightened, typically resulting in faster reactions and attacks that are more brutal in design, much like that of a Hollow.
- Bastion: A shard of dark crystal developed by the 9th Division, Bastion is a tool of seclusion and peace used by members of the 3rd when on long earth or Hueco Mundo patrol. By placing the crystal against a part of the real world or the demon's plane, a small doorway to a plain, 10'x10'x10' demiplane is erected. The doorway is invisible to the eye and reiatsu detection methods, reiatsu from within doesn't escape the bastion, and one cannot read reiatsu from the outside world while within. If more then one is applied to the area the internal space grows; the length and width growing by 10 feet for each additional item used.
- Theron Ascania - Current captain of the 3rd Division.
- Ri Caishin - Current lieutenant of the 3rd Division.
- Amanda Taylor - Current 9th Seat of the 3rd Division.
- Amatersau Nana - Current unseated member of the 3rd Division
- Manzō Kagetoki - Current unseated member of the 3rd Division.
- Shingo Kyōmori - Current unseated member of the 3rd Division.
- Ritoru Furōsha - Former captain of the 3rd Division (Deceased).
- Arcadian Kyū - Former lieutenant of the 3rd Division (Deceased).
- Xu Feng - Former lieutenant of the 3rd Division.
- Shunsen Takehiro - Former 4th Seat of the 3rd Division.
- Kyuto Tōnyū - Former 4th Seat of the 3rd Division.
- Arakaki Yūdai - Former Shinigami of the 3rd Division.