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ChronicLunacy
2008-02-16, 06:19 PM
Masaru



As if remembering something the man twisted to look at Masaru and raised an eyebrow. "I hope you don't plan on being this quiet the entire time we know each other. It'll be so very dull for the both of us if I'm forced to make up my own stories for why your so quiet and to fill the void of your silence. So speak up boy, your the one who threw the stone so the least you can do is humor me. Tell me about yourself...and the reason you pegged me wouldn't go amiss either."

Masaru had sat by the fire (presumably) with the others, crossing his legs underneath him in the lotus position with his chisa-gitana lengthwise across his lap. When Kaken turned his attention to the boy, asking him to talk about himself and all of that, Masaru started to look as uncomfortable as any of them had ever seen him. He had never spoken much about himself before, and for whatever reason, his posture seemed to indicate that he wanted to keep it that way. He turned himself to the side rather abruptly and started rummaging in his pack for a whetstone. "There's nothing to tell. I tossed the stone to see how good you were. I have my answers." was all he said as he unsheathed his blade and applied a solution to it before studiously running it across the stone.

Apparently, Masaru wasn't going to do a miraculous opening up to Kaken or the others any time soon. Besides, if this guy was going to help with his...medical needs he should already know.

Bariko
2008-02-17, 10:04 AM
Rio had a good laugh at the eye-patch and subsequent explanation from Kaken. At least he has a good sense of humour, I suppose. As the food was being prepared, Rio was distracted from his own question as the scents wafted by. As the pressure in his back dissipated, Rio straightened, immediately feeling more at ease with this newcomer.

As Kaken finally responded to Rio's question, a grin spread across his face. He wasn't particularly surprised by the redirection of his question, but he was amused. "The meaning of life? Why the meaning of life is to live. Not to ponder over why we're here. And as for what happens when we die, well, we stop living." Rio chuckled slightly before continuing, "There's really nothing much to me, but Masaru there is the strong one, the rock thrower," he said, nodding towards his stoic companion. "And Michiko there, she took on a chuunin level ninja one-on-one, it seems. Impressed the hell out of me, I tell you."

Rio stretched is legs out, towards the fire, to help get some pleasant warmth in them. With a somewhat content sound, he continued, while looking in the flames as they danced, What's happening in Kagekure? We don't really know. We've been sent out just tonight, under rather rushed circumstances."

Rio looked at his comrades, paused and realised Masaru wouldn't respond, then looked at Michiko. "Did I miss anything?"

Catch
2008-02-17, 02:42 PM
Michiko

Michiko chuckled at their new jounin's attempt at ingratiation towards Masaru, but soon busied herself in the steaming rice when it was offered to her. The black-clad genin seemed to be something of a battered lockbox, the kind that couldn't be beaten or pried open and would tightly hold its secrets--whatever they were--until the proper key was produced. Still, she wondered what he was hiding and what it would take to get it out. It was probably something far simpler than she expected.

Around mouthful of Kaken's rice dish--which was surprisingly good for camp food--Michiko answered Rio's question, swallowing so as not to be impolite by talking while eating. "The part about us being banished."

"See, Keimatsu had us rescue a couple of Academy kids who had wandered into one of the village's training grounds, and it turns out they were taken captive by a pair of girls pretending to be of the Gumoshin clan. Wrapped 'em up real nice and started suckin' their chakra, so I figure at least one might have been the real deal. Anyway, right after we got back, Ihesamo practically kicked us out the East gate with no warning at all."

Scraping the last bits of rice and sauce from her plate, Michiko frowned at it a moment, then decided it would be poor form to lick it clean, especially in their present company. Setting it aside, she crossed her legs and stretched, letting out a contented yawn.

"And as far as the meaning of life goes, I'm pretty sure it involves eating, sleeping, and not getting yourself killed," she grinned. "I've already done two of those today, so I figure I get one more and my life'll be complete, eh? And as far as dying goes, I don't plan on finding out the answer very soon."

Callos_DeTerran
2008-02-17, 09:36 PM
"I wouldn't eat the rice so fast. I like all of my food spicy, even rice." The man said dryly as he passed out the angry red rice-and-jerky, chuckling as he watched Michiko begin to wolf down the meal. Kaken took his own meal in silence taking in all of the information as he ate and occasionally glancing up at the three at particular points. Such as Masaru's short answer and Rio's self-deprecation of his ability.

It was only after he had finished his plate, and showed no compunctions about licking it clean, that he set it down and wiped his mouth clean. "Gumoshin can't drain chakra. That's something else entirely and generally beyond them entirely. So do you know why you were banished or is it as grand a mystery as my darkly-clad friend over here?" His smile proved infectious as Kaken looked about the fire once more, eyes inquisitive. "Generally people are given at least a...paltry reason that has some hint of the truth to it along with the cover story which, by the way, is a nice touch. Well...we can discuss that tomorrow actually. We have a lot of ground to cover in the morning to get back into the Land of Fire."

Crossing his arms confidently over his chest the black-garbed men nodded once then just a side-long and suspicious look to the only female present. "If you plan on stealing my tent then you best drive that thought out of your head right now, I like my privacy. Besides...your kids, not like you have anything to really hide from each other...okay Masaru might...hrmm...he presents a problem actually."

Frowning the man stood and walked around the fire to peer closely at the burnt genin, rubbing his chin irritably before sighing. "Damn...it would be best if you had some privacy. Alright...Masaru gets my tent and the rest of us share the second...You do have sleeping bags...right?"

Bariko
2008-02-19, 01:13 PM
As Rio finished his meal, he stretched contentedly. It was nice to get some food into him. He hadn't had a chance to eat before their unceremonious exit from Kagekure. It wasn't gourmet, but rather tasty, especially considering Rio enjoyed spicy food.

As he returned the empty dish to Kaken and stood, Rio responded to the question. "We know as much as possible. The Gumoshin girls were interrogated. At some point during the interrogation, they revealed a piece of information. We don't know what it was, but the risk of it getting into the village population is unacceptable. So, because they are unsure as to if we know this information, they threw us out just in case."

Rio turned and headed towards the tent as indicated by Kaken. "Apparently, if we can prove that we had no idea of this information, we can go back. Seems kinda self-defeating though, doesn't it? We have to find out some information, to prove we didn't have this information. The other thing we know is that the threat wasn't the 'Gumoshin', but their partners, who are supposedly in the capital. We were recommended to go do some surveillance and information gathering there to get a bargaining chip.

"So rather than deal with the problem logically, they throw us out. I swear, rules in these damn villages are rather insane. Anyways, sleep would seem to be in order." Grabbing his pack, Rio turned and headed towards the tent. Pausing for a second, he chuckled. "Yeah, we have bedrolls. Don't worry about that." So saying, Rio went into the tent and prepared to sleep.

ChronicLunacy
2008-02-20, 09:39 PM
Masaru

The black-garbed genin took his bowl of rice and brought it with him into the tent he had been assigned without any protest at the special treatment. In fact, he didn't say anything to anyone, not even a goodnight. Soon after there was a small light lit inside, casting shadows on the wall that were visible to the others if they happened to be looking over. They could see Masaru's general outline as he took something out of his pack and used it on the bowl, like he was stirring the rice. Next, it was difficult to make out, but it seemed as if he was using a straw in the bowl to eat with. He finished quickly and left the empty bowl outside of his tent since Kaken would probably be wanting it back.

Stranger still, to anyone who was still watching his silhouette, he started to undress for bed. He painstakingly took off his outer coverings, followed by a thinner layer, then unwrapped still more bandage-like coverings from whatever he exposed. Afterwards, he took something from his hip-bag and rubbed his body with it, jerking a little in pain every now and then. Then, he proceeded to carefully wrap himself back up again. He did this piece by piece with his entire body, leaving only his outer wear off when he finally settled down for sleep. This was something he usually did every night with help from the Mibu clan medical nin. There were other things he would need Kaken's help for, but those didn't have to be done every night.

Just before he turned his light off, Masaru's upper body went into a short spasm, as if he'd just been stabbed in the side. He shook for a moment, hugging himself, but made no sound to let anyone know he was in any sort of discomfort. His shoulders heaved with heavy breath before he finally reached over and doused his light, shutting off even the small glimpse of what may lay underneath once again.

Catch
2008-02-23, 11:40 AM
Michiko

Now that night had descended fully over the valley and Michiko was fed and stretched out before Kaken's crackling fire, all the day's weariness and aches that she had suppressed now resurfaced, and it became particularly difficult to remain alert while listening to the conversation. Covering her mouth--barely--Michiko let out a sizable yawn that cracked her jaw and reminded her of how tired she really was. Despite her eagerness to pick Kaken's brain with her numerous questions, the offer of a tent and a bedroll were far more tempting for the rascally genin.

When Masaru left to spend the night in Kaken's tent, Michiko refrained from making one of her usual cracks about the black-clad boy. Despite her ribbing, she knew he had led a very difficult life after the destruction of the Mibu clan. It was hard to imagine what it would be like, shrouded in armor and bandages, completely closed off from the world, but that seemed to be how Masaru lived--wrapped up and cloistered within himself. She watched his silhouette for a time as she settled down with Kaken and Rio in the other tent, curiosity tickling the back of her mind. He was far too grim, she believed, and there was much he had yet to share. With that thought, Michiko slowly drifted off to sleep, strange dreams of fire and hospitals visiting her through the night.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-02-23, 08:10 PM
With all three of the genin heading off to their respective tents to sleep and rest up for the next day, Kaken stayed in the same place by the fire content to just stare into it's depths at the moment. It wasn't until much later, when Rio and Michiko were about to drift off to sleep that Kaken so much as entered the tent and took up his own spot to sleep at.

------------------------------------

When morning came the man was already outside by the burnt out remains of the fire, checking the contents of his own backpack which had been in Masaru's tent. Seemingly convinced that everything was in there he rose as each of the genin came out into the bright sunlight of the morning and smiled brightly at them.

Instead of something being cooked, there was no fire, Kaken held his hand to show the three small black pills that he held in his palm. "Here, eat these. I don't have time to cook a proper meal so these will just have to do. We have a lot of ground to cover today, capital or Land of Fire, so we had best get started. Though...it would be best to have a direction before heading out. What do you lot think? Home or the capital?"

ChronicLunacy
2008-02-23, 10:06 PM
Ibaraki Masaru

Masaru was already dressed and seemed to be writing something in a journal of some kind. He put it away and followed Kaken outside when he came to get his backpack. Kaken's question provoked more thought that was originally expected. Should they follow their mission to the Land of Fire and stay in the village elders' good graces? Or should they go out on their own after the cell that was supposedly operating in the capital of their own country, the Land of Birds? Masaru's immediate instinct was to go after the organization that had lead to the genins' expulsion from Kagekure, but then again he was never one to make rash decisions.

"What was our mission in the Land of Fire?" he asked simply, but it was a loaded question nonetheless. Depending on the mission's importance, Masaru just might vote to perform it instead of following the cowboy course of action.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-02-23, 10:34 PM
The man shrugged as he hefted his backpack, looking unconcerned. "Beats me. Not supposed to open the correspondence until we cross the border and I'm not crossing Lady Tsunade or whoever your village leader is. All I know is we probably won't be staying there long at all, something that I picked up when I was given this assignment."

As if distracted he raised up one hand and brushed his fingernails across his black coat.

ChronicLunacy
2008-02-23, 10:51 PM
Ibaraki Masaru

Masaru nodded, his implacable black mask as blank as ever. "I say we go to the capital." he said after a moment of pondering, but didn't bother to explain his choice. (Really, is that a surprise?) He'd gone over the relative merits of both in his head and had decided that as much as they'd be in trouble when they didn't go on their assigned mission, it would perhaps be a lot better in the long run if they looked into whatever had gotten them temporarily banished from their village. If only for curiosity's sake, they needed to know. If it was so dangerous that the knowledge would have caused a panic in Kagekure, then it needed to be stopped, no matter the cost. Besides, what were they being sent away for if not to do something about it? He doubted that Ihesamo-sama and the other village leaders didn't suspect that they'd try something like this if given free reign anyway. On top of that, Masaru felt that it was what Esanu-sama would do.

Bariko
2008-02-23, 11:43 PM
A sharp curse was heard as a closed-eyed Rio stumbled out of the tent, his foot catching on the bottom of the door. As he tripped, his foot lashed out behind him, nearly catching Michiko with a solid thump, but missing barely. Turning his head behind him to see if his companion was okay, Rio emitted a huge yawn. "Sorry, sorry. I'm not exactly a morning person."

Approaching the fire, Rio rubbed the sleep out of his eyes. The bright morning would go unappreciated by him for another few minutes at least. As his brain began to function again, Rio took a food pill from Kaken while making a mental note that now he owed one to him.

He listened closely as Masaru and Kaken spoke briefly, only glancing towards the jounin's hand when he rubbed his jacket. After they finished speaking, Rio nodded himself. "If we think of things logically, going to the capital makes more sense. Keimatsu suggested it, and we're closer to the capital than to Ko. And from what you say, Kaken, there is every possibility that once we go to Konoha, we won't be able to get back to the capital. But, we have to note that we were told to gather information, and specifically to not engage the targets in the capital. I think a quick intelligence gathering mission before heading to Konoha would be a relatively sound decision, don't you?"

Rio reached down and turned on his music, so he could hear it, but he didn't put his headphones on his ears, leaving them around his neck. He had to make sure he heard what everyone said, and of course, wasn't going to be rude. He waited patiently for Michiko's turn and what Kaken thought of their reasoning, stifling another yawn.

Catch
2008-02-25, 11:48 AM
Michiko

"Who said the intelligence mission will be quick?"

A groggy Michiko at last appeared from the tent, scrubbing at her eyes with a fist and looking far less than her usual chipper self. The night's dreams were fitful and she hadn't slept particularly well--or enough, so when dawn broke over the horizon, the blonde genin was not eager to great the morning sun. Hearing voices outside, she had arisen from her sleeping bag slowly, wishing she was back in a real bed, then grumpily as Rio almost kicked her in the head, finally joining her two teammates and their jounin, only slightly irritated that they had started discussing the mission without her.

Taking one of the food pills from Kaken, she swallowed it with a gulp, then stood idly scratching her ear while pondering their next course of action.

"While I'm all for going our own way and figuring this out for ourselves, I think Keimatsu paired us up with Kaken for good reason. We've essentially been banished and we've got no place to call home right now, so I'm not real keen on charging off into a situation that might not bode well for us, especially since we don't know the first thing about what's going on. Heading to Konoha might be better idea, as Kaken knows the territory, and we can establish ourselves there before infiltrating the cell that's hiding out in the capital."

She shrugged, smoothing out the wrinkles in her jacket and settled it back into place on her shoulders.

"If we do head to there first, though, we might be able to use what knowledge we gain back in Konoha, especially with all the contacts we'll be able to use. I suppose it depends on what's quicker. Did Tsunade give you a deadline for this mission, Kaken-sensai?"

Bariko
2008-02-26, 12:51 AM
Rio

Rio nodded slightly as Michiko spoke. Scratching his face, he squinted as a shaft of sunlight flicked across his eyes. "You know, you make some good points. We really don't have a base of operations here. If we were to go to Konoha, we could get established and then gather our information when it's an easier task.

"I can't say I like it, but I think it might be a sounder plan. I was a bit off in my logic, I suppose, only going by proximity. We don't know how long or short the spying would be, and we've got nowhere to base from. I think Michiko has stumbled on a good plan, we should get to Konoha and get set up before trying to gather information in such an unknown situation. Plus Konoha will be a place where we can get supplies and get some training done." Rio nodded again, humming softly along to the music. He was in a new position here, and honestly didn't relish making a decision with such little information, but they had to do something.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-02-28, 06:34 PM
"Who said anything about Konoha?" Kaken's slightly distracted voice pierced through the various contemplations about which direction to pick and the ensuing silence made him look up from his coat to the genin.

"No really...who did? I don't remember saying we'd be going to Konoha. All I said was Land of Fire, I don't think we'll get a chance to stop in Konoha and thats a shame. There's some real history there I think you'd guys enjoy. Wasn't given a dead-line, just told to take as long as it takes to finish the mission. Basically my own discretion but it's nice to know that you guys at least have a general consensus about where we travel. To the Land of Fire!" Kaken said grandly, gesturing out across the land in the direction that they would need to travel in. The way ahead was easy to find...anybody with a sense of north and a map would have been able to find the roads that lead to the Land of Fire and luckily the man proved to have both. He traveled up and down among the three as they walked, asking questions about what life was like back in Kagekure, their families, and other personal information (Don't need to go into specific detail, just give the general information) even going so far as to talk, seemingly, endlessly to Marasu until he got something out of him.

The day seemed to pass all too quickly and Kaken merely passed out another ration pill at lunch-time instead of stopping, merely saying they still had some distance to travel. Luckily it proved to be very uneventful until the sun began to set.

It was Rio who spotted them, a column of men coming towards them on the road, a large white banner being sported by one of the five men on horseback. Men armed with spears followed along behind these apparent samurai, three men wide and ten ranks deep, and they all wore light armor that was common for riders or infantry.

When they say the four shinobi approaching it became obviously quickly, the horsemen kicking their mounts into a faster step while the column of infantry halted in their steps.

"Huh."

You have one round until they reach you. No weapons are drawn and they aren't going faster then a brisk jog for the horses.

ChronicLunacy
2008-03-01, 12:47 AM
Masaru

The masked genin had fielded Kaken's annoying interrogations with one or two word answers at best and silence at worst. He didn't seem to be the type that was going to just open up through pestering, but it was probably just fun for Kaken to try. Masaru, on the other hand, was getting more and more irritated at the special attention he was being paid. He almost welcomed it when the cohort of soldiers appeared on the road in front of them.

There was little reason for the group of ninja to simply be attacked. They'd receive a demand for identification first. It didn't look too much like an ambush either. So, Masaru simply stepped to the side of the road as the horsemen mustered their mounts into a trot and came towards them, acting nonchalant.

Bariko
2008-03-03, 08:44 AM
Rio

As they walked, Rio was wrestling with his own thoughts. As much as he prided himself on his mental acuity, his maturity level, if you will, he was still fourteen years old. As he tried to relish the knowledge that he was on a new mission, to a new land, he knew it was all a coincidence. He was just a member of the team who got thrown out. He wasn't selected for any abilities or tendencies. Hell, he couldn't even take care of himself at his current level. He hadn't even been present during the battle with the Gumoshin, and yet here he was thrown out as if he was tainted by association. He couldn't remember his real family, and now he was torn away from the closest thing he had to one, all because of circumstances. It struck Rio as hilariously ironic that he was absent for the battle with the fateful kunoichi, entirely because he couldn't take care of himself.

It wasn't fair! He was smart, very much so, although he never tried to upstage anyone. So why couldn't he have the ability to fend for himself? If only he'd had more time, time to learn more techniques, more abilities, he could have been more useful. Maybe Keimatsu would have paid him more attention, been less dismissive of his concerns to lead his charge to safety. Maybe he could've killed that damn spider. Maybe, just maybe, he could've gotten the treatment Michiko or Masaru did. Sure, he wasn't a close combat type like his burned comrade, or even as combat ready as Michiko, but Rio knew that brains often outweighed brawn in a battle.

Sakada had begun teaching him the basics of medical techniques when he was still in her care, and he had an aptitude for it, so he knew if he had time he could care for his comrades, and he did care for them without a doubt, but being a bandage isn't power. "Physician, heal thyself", wasn't that the phrase? No, he had to learn more techniques, to gain more power, so he wasn't the anchor on his team. He did not want to feel like that again. Of course, the mission, team and his friends came first. He bore no animosity towards them for his shortcomings - it was his fault he was weak, and he would correct it himself. He even made a mental note to help Masaru learn Shunshin no jutsu when they got the time. Michiko too, if she wanted it.

As he walked, Rio reached into a pouch he had, and pulled out a small whistle, seemingly made of tin, or possibly copper. He played a few notes softly as he walked, listening to a specific song as he did so, singing quietly, so the others couldn't hear him unless they were trying very hard to.

"It couldn't even wait till morning,
Not even one last night at home.
We never got fair warning,
They just wanted to be rid of us all along.

And it's true I must be goin', no idea where I'll be
But the what effect was had by one such as me?
I've been banished, so I've gotta walk away,
All the same, maybe I'll be back some day.

And if you let us come back later
Will you know me at the door?
And if we don't come back at all,
Will you remember me anymore?

Well it's true I must be goin', no idea where I'll be.
But I can guarantee someday you will respect me.
I've been banished, so I've gotta walk away,
I'll see you when I come back some day.

If power's what I need, then power's what I'll seek.
And when I come back, you won't even recognise me.

And then you'll feel bad for that morning,
Not even one last night at home.
We never got fair warning,
They just wanted to be rid of us all along.

So it's true I must be goin', no idea where I'll be.
But this sure isn't the last that you have seen of me.
I've been banished, so I've gotta walk away,
But I'll show you, when I come back there some day.

As he finished the song, Rio replaced his instrument, and the smile came back to his face. He began tossing jokes with Michiko as the sunlight began to peak overhead, and they got their second ration pill. He even ribbed Masaru slightly, chucking in a friendly manner at his comrade's closed-mouth approach. As Kaken peppered him with questions, Rio volunteered the relevant information, mostly that he had no memory of his real family, and only knew he was an orphan from Sakada's openness about it. Still nagging in his mind was his ineptitude in combat, and his resulting lack of confidence, so if the topics ever approached combat, he quickly deflected it to something else, or talked up Masaru and Michiko as they are the more effective ones.

As the sun began to set, and Michiko made a typically snarky remark, Rio paused and looked ahead for a moment. Um, Kaken? There's a fairly large group heading our way. A few horses, mostly infantry. White banner, any ideas?" As the riders advanced towards them at an increasing pace, Rio followed Masaru in stepping aside for the riders as they approached. "Any ideas, Kaken?" he repeated.

Catch
2008-03-12, 01:23 PM
Michiko

Walking down the dusty trail that would take the genin towards the Land of Fire, Michiko unconsciously kept a small amount of distance between herself and the other two, her wayward thoughts drawing her aside almost physically. She had been rather taken aback at her team's turnaround acceptance of what she had offered as a passing thought, and Kaken's willingness to take her suggestion as a group decision only reinforced her unease. More and more, Michiko felt that she had become the de facto leader of this squad, and the title, however imagined, did not feel right on her shoulders. Her opinions were worth no more than her teammates', she thought, and at fourteen, leading a squad was far more terrifying than prestigious in her mind.

Kicking a pebble with a sigh, Michiko forced her gaze up from the dirt path to the blue sky above, and she let out a slow, calming breath, letting her anxious thoughts depart with it. There would be plenty of time for distress soon, especially with a new mission at hand, and she was not particularly eager to get her share of worrying done all at once. Kaken's peppering of questions kept her mind occupied, and she was glad to share her past exploits in the academy and the goings-on of her various acquaintances around Kagegakure, but she made little mention of her life before coming to reside within the village. There was not much she knew herself and for the moment, she made no mention of her father--or his heirloom. Hers, now, but that was another line of questions she had tied off for the time being, and she was content to chatter amicably without bringing up any of her latent worries.

Of course, there were brand new concerns to leap into her lap. The advancing ranks of samurai stretched Michiko's mind to taughtness; much like a bowstring, tension provided her with potential, and being outnumbed ten to one was plenty of impetus to think quickly. Lead, she thought. As best you can.

"We're travelers headed to Konoha," she said softly to her companions, setting their story straight. "Be respectful too; Samurai value honor, so let them think they're in control. And if that doesn't work, run, I guess."

Callos_DeTerran
2008-03-15, 09:32 AM
All five of the samurai kicked their horse's flanks, urging them closer to you and Masaru steps off of the path and out of his way. Kaken...took the exact opposite approach and stood right in the middle of the path, hands on his waist as he muttered under his breath, too low for the approaching men to hear.

"These are no samurai. These are honorless vultures who don't fly under a flag anymore since their leader was taken down. You guys know whats been going on in the Land of Birds right? All the political upheaval? Well I'm betting this lot was too late to join the action, its the only way they haven't been imprisoned yet." The man stopped then, single eye narrowed when the men on horseback stop half-way between you and the advancing column, forty five feet between them and Kaken with another forty five behind to the first row of soldiers who had stopped and were talking amongst themselves.

All of the samurai were dressed in the heavy, uncomfortable, but traditional armor that samurai wear but none of them bore any distinguishing marks except for the middle of their line. A single golden antler swept out from the right side of his kabuto and his hands rested on the hilt of a large katana with the natural ease of a trained fighter. Aside from him the other horses were also black, his was white. To his right, the samurai nudged his horse forward and removed the demonic looking mask that his his face. Ignoring Kaken, aside from glancing at his tanto, he turned towards you three and took in the obvious weapons you carry and the greaves and bracer set that Michiko wore.

"General Tachibana Tadafusa greets you warriors. Would you three be shinobi by chance? Of the Hidden Shadow or from elsewhere?" He asks politley, managing to hide the disdain in his voice quite nicely, even though he had messed up the name of the shinobi village.

ChronicLunacy
2008-03-19, 09:24 PM
Ibaraki Masaru

Masaru crossed his arms over his chest and tossed his head to the side, appearing almost completely disinterested in the men on horseback. He seemed to be almost bored except for the almost undetectable tension in his spine that only those who had traveled with him before might recognize. He obviously wasn't in the mood to speak up, as per his usual. With Kaken's description of the warriors fresh in his mind, Masaru wanted nothing to do with them at all. With his upbringing in the Mibu household, he was taught not to consort with those without honor for it also stained his own. Rio or Michiko would no doubt be better with the diplomacy than he was, so of course he held his tongue and waited for one of them to speak up.

Catch
2008-03-24, 01:01 PM
Michiko

The thought of facing a company of samurai had already set Michiko on edge and Kaken's explanation did nothing to settle her nerves. Bandits were an accepted part of the landscape between villages, that she understood, but they were rarely ever this organized, especially not in the guise of an army, and Michiko felt wholly unprepared. She could crack a thug or a cutpurse over the head, maybe talk her way out of a scuffle--neither was particularly difficult--but this was new and treacherous territory and her mind grabbed onto the first passing thought of how to escape this encounter with her whole hide.

I'll have to convince them we're not worth the trouble, she thought. Bandits don't attack unless there's something to gain... At least I hope so.

As the riders approached, Michiko donned what she hoped was a mask of casual confidence, hiding her trepidation as best as she could, given the circumstances. She felt a bundle of nerves, tangled and skittering off in all directions, yet she forced her anxiety into a back corner of her mind, letting calmness wash over her, dissolving her unease. Stepping forward, Michiko greeted the antlered leader with a respectful nod, hoping her bowed head might stay attached to her shoulders a while longer.

"Your greeting is welcome," she began amiably, "and indeed we are shinobi, simply delivering a letter to the Land of Fire. Begging your pardon, but the contents are rather time-sensitive, I'm told, so we'd best be out of your way and onto ours."

Bariko
2008-03-28, 09:25 PM
Rio

Rio kept a calm expression as the men approached. From what he could tell, they weren't exactly looking for a fight. If what Kaken said was true, then these would most likely be looking for shinobi to help them either get home, or possibly continue a fight. As villages had every right to refuse missions, it stood to reason that their former village would.

As Massaru stood aside and the men approached, a slight breeze tousled his hair. As Rio pushed it back out of his face, he heard Michiko's response. Not letting himself actually pause, he nonetheless felt his eyes widen ever so slightly. Her response would lead virtually anyone to assume that they were from the very village they'd been ordered to deny knowing.

As he looked back up towards the "samurai", Rio held a polite expression, concentrating to see if there was any change in their faces to betray intentions. If this was going to turn, he wanted to know and respond before they got surprised.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-03-29, 05:31 PM
Rio notices that when Michiko mentions that they were shinobi that those samurai, except for the middle one, dropped hands to their sheathed weapons with easy preparedness of trained warriors. One could guess it was the simple mindset of a samurai to protect their charge against people who could obvious threats like ninja could pose, but it didn't quite seem to be the case. If that was so then why didn't 'General Tachibana Tadafusa' do it then?

Kaken, for his part, looked bewildered first and then irate when the man ignored him. A vein began to grow in his forehead as one hand went behind his back but not to the tanto. "Hey! What am I? Chopped liver? Obviously I'm leading these kids around, so talk to me." The eye-patched shinobi snapped out at the man who had rode forward to talk to them.

There was no response, the man gazed from the three genin over to the black-coated man glaring at him then back again with the same dead expression in his eyes. "Excellent. Then all three of you shinobi are hereby conscripted into General Tachibana's liberation forces. You'll act as emissaries for us when we reach Hidden Shadow along with the other boy who joined us." A hint of emotion came into those eyes then. "Let's not have trouble now children."

ChronicLunacy
2008-03-29, 06:07 PM
Masaru

"Tch..." Masaru said nothing except for expelling some air from between his teeth in a disgusted fashion. He swiped the air in front of him in a dismissive gesture, as if to say "Piss off, old man." He knew that they couldn't win a battle on an open field with the large force the "General" had collected, but was also confident that his teammates had also recognized this. Fortunately, there was a forest on either side of the road with plenty of room to hide and much less for horses and armored warriors. If they could get the soldiers to chase them into the forest they stood a good chance of picking them off one by one. Either way, Masaru had no intention of being press ganged into the service of any murderous, would-be warlords.

Behind his back, Masaru palmed a handy little device. A smoke bomb, of a common design amongst the ninja of Kagekure. He was turned so that the others could see it from where they stood, but not any of the soldiers, and especially not General Tachibana. All he waited on was the sign from Kaken to set it off.

Sleight of Hand: 1d20+5=17 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1543255/)

Dark_Prophet
2008-03-29, 07:30 PM
A commotion comes from several columns behind front the recruiting rank of samurai. "THATS IT! I've had it with being carried around like some trussed up boar!"

A short, stocky boy with slightly ruddy skin struggles at the edge of your vision, his hands manacled and a chain around his neck, which is held by a spearman in front struggles at the edge of your vision. However, despite all of this, his voice certainly seems to carry. He jerks this way and that, trying to kick any of his captors, his stance showing him as a fairly experienced taijutsu user, trying to regain his balance despite his incapacitation. Old burn scars are visible through his torn shirt, together with a whole plethora of new bruises across his body, presumably from his recent tenure by the press gang. He seems familiar, like you've seen him before in passing...

Catch
2008-04-02, 10:53 AM
Michiko

The audacity of samurai was a knowledge Michiko had only from their reputation, but experiencing it firsthand certainly reinforced most of the complaints she had heard. She had expected a certain air of bravado and rank-flaunting, but these men gave a whole new meaning to the word "arrogant." To her own satisfaction, though, Michiko herself knew a little something about how to handle puffed-up fools such as these.

"Conscripted you say? I'd expect you to be familiar with the meaning of that term--what with being sellswords to the highest bidder and all--but conscription implies payment," she began with a raised eyebrow and a tone that barely concealed her irritation. "So unless you feel like handing over the ryu to cover the cost of our services--plus that of the mission we'd have to abandon, General Tachibana and his 'liberation forces' can go find the nearest creek to soak their swollen heads."

Well, she knew which buttons to push, at least.

Noticing the thrashing boy for the first time, Michiko craned her neck to look past the mounted horsemen to get a better look. He seemed familiar in some way, as he had been an academy student in her class, though not particularly notable, else she would have been able to put a name to his face.

"And from the looks of it, 'joining' your little band implies being tied up and dragged along like a prisoner, so I'm going to have to respectfully decline your offer," she added dryly. Pointing past the ranks, she gestured to the thrashing boy. "That one is friend of ours, though, so I suppose I should thank you for bringing him to us, since it saves me the trouble of looking for him. He's not interested in joining your army either, so you can untie him and then go about your business, thanks," she finished, waving a dismissive hand.

Not expecting a particularly friendly reaction, Michiko flicks her eyes sideways, noticing Masaru's little preparation. She briefly meets his eyes--his goggles, to be specific--giving a bare fraction of a nod. When the fighting broke out--and it would, she had ensured that much--she would be ready. Besides, it had been far too quiet since they left the village and a gang of rock-brained bandits would make for a decent warm-up.

Bariko
2008-04-08, 09:16 AM
Rio

Rio didn't say a word as the others spoke, merely trying to follow the flow of conversation. For a second it seemed as though they might get away without a fight, but, of course, that idea was dashed the second they saw their classmate. And their.... unceremonious induction into the job of "emissary" was proof enough.

And hell, Michiko was just icing on the cake.

Rio felt his heart begin to pump faster, harder. His first real chance to redeem himself from before had him excited and anxious simultaneously. Doubts began to crawl all over the recesses of his mind, quietly at first, but growing louder until they were forcibly quieted. There was no way to avoid the fight, and worrying just makes you careless.

Regaining his composure, his eyes narrowed a little, and Rio focused on the movements of the samurai. Ideally, the 45 feet they would have to move would give him time enough to gain some sort of advantage, through shunshin no jutsu or an opening for a poison needle to slip through. His fear and excitement blended together into that familiar burn of adrenaline. Thirty-five to four? No problem.... Maybe?

Callos_DeTerran
2008-04-08, 05:00 PM
The assembled samurai shifted in their saddles when Michiko spoke, Masaru noting with some alarm that the one farthest from him was staring directly at him, but the chosen representative's lip curled into a sneer as his gleaming blade was pulled free from it's scabbard. All except for the one in white followed suit and a dangerous glint came into the man's eyes.

"Disrespectful whelp! You have the gall to assume you can deny the General's call to action? To insult me, his loyal retainer? I'll have your head for this ninja, and your 'friends' might just share your fate!" He proclaimed, just beginning to urge his horse into motion. Masaru looked over to Kaken again for some sort of signal...to find nothing.

"Hey pal, I only have three words for your 'general' and his oh so fun offer." It was Kaken's voice but he wasn't standing alongside the genin anymore, he standing in front of the black horse and looking at the arrogant man with a knowing grin on his face. The only problem was none of them had ever seen him move there...or move at all. Turning, he gave Masaru a nod before holding up his right hand.

"Shou" Again Kaken's form flickered out of sight but he didn't travel nearly as far this time. This time the man re-appeared on the back of the horse's neck, balancing ever so carefully. A moment later Kaken's right hand and forearm erupted into blue-green ghostly flames. "Ryu" And then he brought his arm back underneath of him and shot straight up, flaming fist connecting with the bottom of the samurai's chin and knocking it straight back with a powerful uppercut that lifted him straight out of the saddle and then unto his back on the ground. A moment later the helmet he had been wearing clattered to the ground beside him. "Ken."

Still balancing a top the animal, Kaken cracked his knuckles and barked back to the genin. "Free the kid in the chains then let loose. This lot wanted a fight, their going to get it! Nobody ignores me!"

The other samurai, including the white one backed up in surprise at the sudden violence, the ranks of spear-men shuffling in obvious unease but they all readied themselves for battle as well. ((Masaru's smoke bomb would be thrown at this point, I just don't know where.)) Without any further warning three of the samurai turned their horses towards the genin, the white-armored one and the white armored cautiously approaching Kaken with a drawn blade. Chiiro's captors proved less willing to enter the fray but yanked his chain hard to pull him back closer to the main column as the spearmen lowered their weapons en masse and began to march in formation after their leader.

You guys have a surprise round on the spearmen and the three un-decorated samurai. Masaru's smokebomb is still thrown just let me know where it is and what his actions are for the normal round.

Dark_Prophet
2008-04-08, 09:11 PM
As soon as the fight breaks out, Chiiro focuses for a moment, his muscles visibly surging for a moment. "Payback time!" He snarls, suddenly shifting his balance to the right, taking both feet off the ground and kicking out with a strong double legged impact to the guard to left of him.

Namidatsu Kukkin! (Perform DC 15) [roll0]
Drop Kick (assuming Namidatsu Kukkin goes off) [roll1]

ChronicLunacy
2008-04-08, 09:58 PM
Ibaraki Masaru
AC: 21
HP: 39/43
Chakra: 20/20

(Below happened as a ready action in the previous round...or I guess this is my surprise action?)

With a nod to the samurai looking directly at him, Masaru used that cannon of an arm that Kaken so respected to toss the smoke bomb he was holding at the feet of the first rank of spearmen, enveloping them and soon the width of the road in choking, blinding smoke. This effectively separated the two groups of enemies until the spearmen could find a way through the haze. It probably wasn't going to be very long if the soldiers were as disciplined as they looked, but it might give the ninja a chance to get the first few blows in.

(Below happens this round.)

Funneling chakra through his body, Masaru took a moment to take a second look at the situation while the others struck first.


Initiative (1d20+3=4) (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1556374/) (Ew...well, at least I got that out of the way.)
Nidan Kousoku: Perform DC19 (1d20+14=21) (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1556385/)
Chakra Control (DC 14) (1d20+7=20) (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1556415/)

Due to the sh*tty initiative, I'm waiting to see what everyone else plans to do before I make my move. Activating Nidan Kousoku (Rank 2 Speed) is a swift action.

Catch
2008-04-12, 11:52 AM
Michiko

Standing before the horsemen with her arms crossed in casual defiance, Michiko grinned as the leader's blood pressure rose, his face turning a delightful shade of purple. The whisk of swords leaving scabbards sent a twinge of trepidation down her spine, but she had been looking for a fight and she had made sure it found her. She set her mind on executing her strategy, clasping her hands together and begging her technique.

Alright Michiko, form the mist, mix 'em up and pick off the stragglers, then we can-- But before she could even form her first seal, though, Kaken's voice broke through her concentration, and she blinked as he appeared behind the loudmouth commander and hammered him off his horse.

"Kaken," she called, "it looks like you could handle these boys blindfolded! Lemme give you the chance," she laughed, quickly forming her favorite seals. A thick cloud of blue-white mist seems to seep from all around her, quickly enveloping the girl, the horsemen, and soon all sight.

"Kirigakure no Jutsu."


Initiative: 1d20+7=21 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1561423/)
Kirigakure no Jutsu: 1d20+13=23 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1561409/) (50 ft. radius cloud of mist, centered on Michiko)

After the fog fills the area, Michiko will move as around where she last saw the horsemen, heading in the direction she saw the boy held prisoner.

Bariko
2008-04-21, 10:27 AM
Rio

The instant Kaken's attack began, Rio had turned and began moving. The boy in chains was likely to need a bit of help at least, and Rio looked the least dangerous of the group, not like intimidating Masaru, or lucky Michiko. He kept his weapons at hand, but merely moved directly towards the boy in chains. He could be injured, and Rio was the best in that case.

((OOC short post because the boards have been messing up on me for a while now. Actions are literally a beeline to the prisoner kid 90 feet away, so, move and double move. He will rely on his less noticeable stature in the fight as much as possible until the other child is safe.))

ChronicLunacy
2008-04-23, 01:00 AM
Masaru
AC: 21
HP: 39/43
Chakra: 15/20

As the mists covered their immediate area, Masaru rushed forward, hoping that it would conceal him enough until he got right in front of the trio of samurai that were threatening them. Rather than attack the armored warriors directly, he performed several seals mid-motion and slid right in front of the center warhorse. He flattened his palm to the ground and announced, "Douheki no Jutsu!." That's when the ground exploded underneath the horses.

Hey, it worked on the spider, didn't it?

Damage for Douheki no Jutsu: 2d6=8 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1574649/)
Since the spider got blown right off its feet and into the air, Masaru hopes to do the same with the horses. Hopefully he'll unseat the riders, crush them underneath their mounts, or at the very least panic the horses a bit.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-04-23, 06:26 PM
Music (http://www.imeem.com/baka-chibi/music/s_Ch6nG5/naruto_strong_and_strike/)

Everything happened quickly once the four ninja and Kaken began to move. Michiko's mist began to conceal the horsemen, Kaken, and the samurai in white armor. The last sight of the last two was the samurai slashing down across the man's chest but the angle is wrong to see if it connected or not. As the white cloud encompasses most the only noise is the thundering of hooves as the three mounted samurai charge towards where they had last seen their opposition.

But Michiko, Rio, and Masaru weren't there anymore and as the bewildered men passed by Masaru touched his hands to the ground. A moment later the ground exploded beneath the center samurai, drawing a panicked whinny from his mount and pained grunt as flying rocks pinged off of his armor and decidedly more fragile flesh. Again then all three were moving, Rio breaking out of the mist first and running at full speed for the chained genin only a meager five feet away from the panicking first rank of spearmen when the purple smoke of Masaru's smoke bomb blanketed him. He could almost feel the displaced air as the soldiers blindly stabbed towards him, one spear tip catching his arm and grazing him (2 damage).

Michiko can only watch as those spearmen she can see begin to advance towards the smoke cloud and her with raised weapons when she catches sight of motion that makes some of the rear ranks pause as well. Watching the captive they are supposed to save jump into the air and bodily drop kick the man on his left, catching him right in the face and leveling him out in the dirt. It was the noise afterwards that was most alarming though. Many of the four couldn't place it but to Michiko it triggered half-forgotten memories of an immense waterfall, of thousands of gallons cascading over a cliff every second. What came out of the mist wasn't a waterfall obviously but rather a long wave of water, the same blue-green as Kaken's Shou Ryu Ken and was crashing towards the front line of troops, the smoke cloud, and Rio with equal fury and intensity.

Just before it reached a very confused Rio the wave crashed down with a roar and engulfed him in bizarre water that spun him about every which way and pushed him along like a ragdoll. At least he wasn't the only one though as a couple moments later he slammed into the legs of a spearman and sent the man tumbling into the water with him. All of the first rank was washed right into the second, bowling both over as the water ran it's course, laying in puddles along the muddy ground and a tangled mess of spear men that Rio found himself belly up in front of and feeling like a drowned cat.

Taking advantage of the moment one of Chiiro's 'guards' swung the shaft of the weapon towards the back of his head, trying to club him unconscious, and failing when the kid ducked underneath at the last moment.

Rio get's a Reflex save for half of twelve damage.

ChronicLunacy
2008-04-23, 07:29 PM
Ibaraki Masaru
AC: 21
HP: 39/43
Chakra: 15/20

Using his enhanced speed, Masaru took off, following the sound of hoofbeats as the charging samurai went right past. Darting in behind one of them, he jumped and did a quick turn onto his hands, pushing back up out of the handspring to land just behind the rider, doubling up on the confused horse's back. Using the rider's cumbersome armor against him, Masaru aimed a powerful knife strike at the juncture at the samurai's neck, hoping to knock him out or off the horse.

Listen Check: 1d20=17 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1575508/)
Tumble Check: 1d20+4=21 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1575461/)
Unarmed Strike: 1d20+8=22 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1575510/)+2 (Nidan Kousoku) = 24
Unarmed Damage: 1d6+3=5 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1575511/)

Dark_Prophet
2008-04-23, 10:20 PM
Chiiro

Standing up from his crouched position, Chiiro focuses for a moment, taking a short breath despite the chaos around him, and then spins around quickly, using the remaining held chain to spin around and deliver a roundhouse kick to the guard opposite him, the other loose chain trailing behind him from his now-free arm. He quips darkly at his would-be attacker as he goes. "You'll get your turn for punishment from these past couple days, don't worry."

As he spins around to complete the motion, he strains and prepares his body, readying himself to move back towards the Kagekure ninja team at top speed (40 feet with Shodan Kousoku) once his other arm is free. I'm glad they showed up...wonder what they're out here for?

Initiative is 22 http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1556578/
Shodan Kousoku Perform DC 15 [roll0]
Unarmed Attack [roll1] Damage [roll2]

Bariko
2008-04-27, 10:15 PM
Rio

As he flailed through the unpredicted water, Rio's mind began to panic, and seize. I'm gonna die I'm gonna die I'm gonna die. That stupid Kaken is going to kill me! Unbelievably, Rio did not die, as the water ran off of his body. Laying on the ground, breathless, Rio paused for only an instant to regain control of himself, at which time, he grew furious.

He hauled his soaking body back to his feet, and looked at the sprawled spearmen in front of him. His eyes narrowed and Rio lashed out. His hand rapidly formed a series of seals in front of him, and a howling, violent cone of wind shot out, engulfing all of the nearest soldiers.

((OOC, Calos, you said that was 14 soldiers))

((Kazeboe DC 17, success! (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1580036/)))

Catch
2008-04-30, 02:11 PM
Michiko

The din of combat thundered in Michiko's head as she darted through the cover of the thick mist. Only moments ago, this had all been a simple standoff, a clash of egos, but now it had erupted into a full-scale battle and amidst the shouts and milling bodies, Michiko felt lost. Fear edged at the back of her mind, her senses becoming tainted and frantic. The numbers swirled, five men becoming fifty, then a blur of steel and hungry glares, uncountable, yet overwhelming. She had never faced odds like these before, and the rushing confidence of arrogance had faded, leaving only panicked realization. Michiko steeled herself to confront the advancing spearmen, hoping to only survive, just to make it out alive, when a great, loud sound invaded her ears, washing away all thoughts, all sight and sound.

There was only water. It flooded her mind, a great, might roar that drowned out all other noise, the rush of the falling river bellowing louder than anything she had heard before. Descending from a massive, sky-scraping cliff, the great stream leaped from such a height, pounding into the pool below, filling the air with clouds of mist and spray. Waves spread out from the impact, lapping at the rocky shores around the great pool, rippling around the feet of a tall, dark-haired man, the wind whipping his cloak about like a great banner to herald a charging army. He turned to look at her and his face, it was--

Gone. The howls of drowning men, flailing weapons and tangled bodies, they dragged Michiko back to reality, back to the uproar that was this battleground. Caught in the middle, she felt no fear, no anxiety. Momentum seized her; she was the rushing water, plummeting from the cliff, undeniable, unstoppable, drowning anything that dared stand in her way. There was no time for fear, only duty. Her sharp eyes focused on the boy, surrounded and Rio, barely standing. No time. She exploded from stillness, charging forward in a raging blur and hammering into the soldier closest to the prisoner, delivering a blow with all the fury of the waterfall.

Charge: 1d20+8=28 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1582813/)
Critical Confirmation: 1d20+8=27 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1582816/)
Damage: 2d6+4=16 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1582820/)

Callos_DeTerran
2008-05-01, 02:57 PM
Masaru was able to catch the samurai by surprise as he vaulted up and unto the back of the snorting war horse and drove his hand against the neck of the samurai. He could hear the man snarl but he didn't stumble and from the way he flipped his grip on his sword it didn't look like he was knocked out either. Instead he thrust the weapon backwards at the genin riding behind him, striking hard and fast. Too fast for Masaru to dodge out of the way but he did manage to slap the blade off course so it only opened a shallow graze along his left arm. (3 points of damage)

Rio's chakra-enhanced winds ripped through the ranks of spearmen ahead of him, throwing men to the ground were they did not rise from again, except for a single man fifteen feet away who was stumbling about drunkenly with one hand on his right ear. Upon seeing Rio he clasped his spear in both hands and started to stumble over the body of his comrades, giving a hoarse shout as he did. Michiko went by the man in a blur as she dashed towards the one of the guards keeping an eye on Chiiro.

Unfortunately for Chiiro the guard he kicked at stumbled backwards, a cocky grin on his face from evading the kick from the prisoner but both stopped at the blond blur that hammered into the last guard who had prepared to club the distracted genin. The man went down before he could get out a word of surprise but at least he was alive! Taking advantage of the moment the last guard, looking far less cocky now, lurched for and stabbed at Michiko with the blade and piercing through her side hard. (9 points of damage, guy got lucky.)

Dark_Prophet
2008-05-01, 04:04 PM
Chiiro smiled as the girl took down the guard for him, then growled in anger as the remaining guard stabbed her violently. He ran forwards towards the guard, whipping out the chains around his arms angrily, and leaping at him from behind, trying to wrap both chains around his neck and pull tightly. "Go take care of your friend, I can take care of this guy!" He nods towards desperate, drowned looking Rio, then focuses his attention on strangling the guard. "So...do you like these chains now, bastard, do you?"[/FONT][/COLOR] The sturdy, scarred genin pulls tighter, muscles standing out in raw relief.

Chain Grapple touch [roll0] (base 6 + action point boost 3)
Chain grapple hold (for maintaining, going for damage not pin) [roll1]

ChronicLunacy
2008-05-01, 05:05 PM
Ibaraki Masaru
AC: 21
HP: 36/43
Chakra: 15/20

Masaru didn't so much as flinch when the blade opened a shallow red line across the fabric of his black bodysuit. The nerves close to his skin had been seared clean away so it was difficult for him to feel anything anymore, let alone pain. Sure, he felt enough to recognize that it was there, but that was it. He returned the man's attack with one of his own, lashing out hard and fast with his elbow as he moved with the motion of deflecting the sword blade. He aimed for the other side of the man's neck where the helmet didn't quite overlap.

Attack: 1d20+6=19 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1584239/)
Damage: 1d6+3=4 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1584240/)

Catch
2008-05-01, 05:46 PM
Michiko

As the slim genin drove her gloved fist home, a surge of satisfaction welled up inside her. Beneath her knuckles, she felt a crunch and heard a dull thud as an armored body dropped to the ground, jaw broken, his eyes rolled back in unconsciousness. A grin tugged at the corner of her mouth, and she thumbed her nose smugly. "That's what you get for thinking you could pick a fight with m--augh!" she trailed off with grunt of pain.

The boy, he told her to run, and she spat a particularly vile oath through clenched teeth, shaking her head. No. Shinobi worked together, especially through pain. Lunging forward to place the last solider between them, Michiko swung out her bloody fist in an angry backhand, clutching her wounded side with the other, yet stumbled, unable to make a clean blow.

Attack: 1d20+6=17 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1584254/) +2 (flanking with Chiiro), 19 total.
Damage: 1d20+2=3 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1584255/)

Bariko
2008-05-03, 12:08 PM
Rio

Shuddering, deep breaths were escaping from somewhere. Not gasping sobs, but shaking, fury filled breaths. For a brief moment, Rio looked around until realising it was his lungs producing them. Blood was pouring from various wounds. Most of them from Kaken's water attack. Kaken... Some jounin.

A man rose to his feet, some small distance away. Obviously rattled by the wind attack, he still moved to advance towards Rio. Why? Why can't I take care of this? I could die here. I'm already half dead, this man could kill me! Panic took hold of Rio. The urge to run, to flee to safety was intense. His heartbeat was pounding in his ears, and he could taste bile, but his eyes still worked. The other men were terrified. If this last "hero" fell, it was likely they would break. I can't run. I can't run. I can't run. Rio's lips moved worldessly as he yanked a kunai to hand.

Many things happened at once; time slowed, fear vanished, and adrenaline coursed through his veins. With a loud, furious yell, he stepped forward and Rio's arm whipped around to launch the kunai straight towards the last man's face. If he failed, he might well die.

Sense motive was done to detect chance of breaking on AIM with Callos.

Attack 1d20+1d6+5=22 (Action point) (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1586015/) Really, really could've used a critical.

Damage 1d4=3 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1586017/) This had better work.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-05-04, 10:49 PM
"Whelp!" Was all Masaru heard as the hand drove through the gap between armor and helmet to strike at far more vulnerable flesh. He didn't have much time, he could hear the other riders beginning to find their way through the mist but his distraction cost him. This time the sword struck back true and it didn't just graze him as it went back between the samurai's body and arm to drive deep into the black-garbed genin's side. (8 points)

Michiko's backhand caught the spearman right in the face and sent him stepping back a couple of steps away from her...just as Chiiro swung the chains down where he had been standing just a moment ago. Pointing the spear back and forth between the two of them before lunging at Michiko once more, but she expected it now was able to side-step the desperate stab as the spear man backed up to put a little distance between him and the obviously dangerous shinobi while taking advantage of his weapon's reach.

Rio...found himself in far more dire straits as the spearman charged him down and he found himself on his last legs. Almost falling over as he launched the kunai at his attacker...and buried it in his throat dropping him down to the ground to join his other comrades. A sense of relief until he noticed the others beginning to rally at the edges of were his windstorm had stopped.

"It's only one kid, if we all rush him then he'll be done for!"

"Are you kidding? Look what happened to the last guy! And what if he does that freaky wind thing again? We'll be done for!"

"No guts, no glories! That's what General-san says!"

"I like my guts inside me, thank you!"

There was silver lining in the cloud...very small silver lining as four of the spearmen threw down their spears and ran for the trees with a complete abandon of dignity. Six remained and grimly lowered their weapons. "CHAARRRRGGGGEEE!"

Too many! Some of them were bound to get a strike in and he couldn't take many more! It'd really stink if he died now...but it was the rushing of air that convinced Rio to open his eyes...and stare down at the ground which was about twenty feet below him. How he had gotten there...it probably had something to do with the arm he was being carried under and the slightly perturbed Kaken who was looking down at the ground and the spearmen looking for Rio in confusion. Before one looked up and pointed them out with a cry. Sounding unconcerned the man paused as they began to fall back towards the spearmen.

"Huh..this seemed like a better idea in my head, sorry I took so long Rio I just couldn't find my way out!"

Dark_Prophet
2008-05-05, 07:06 PM
Chiiro looks at the angry Michiko in surprise, then nods to her, mumbling apologetically. "Hey, jeez, no reason to get angry, your friend looked like he was in a pinch over there..." Glowering darkly, he darts to the side of the guard in a flash, grabbing the weapon of the other fallen guard as he moves, bringing it up in front of him. He stops, and then uses the break in his momentum to propel the spear at the remaining guardsman in a lightning quick flanking stab, venting his frustration on him. "Die!"


5 foot step into flank with Michiko, (move action, provokes AoO) picking up spear
[roll0] Flanking Thrust (with flanking bonus)!
http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1587973 Thrust Damage

ChronicLunacy
2008-05-09, 02:09 AM
Masaru
AC: 21
HP: 28/43
Chakra: 10/20

Masaru let out a pained grunt when the sword drove into his flank, activating what little pain receptors he had left and driving the air from his lungs. He gritted his teeth, grabbing the man's arm for a second before he reacted. It was about time this creep was finished, he decided. So, pulling back his arm on the opposite side of his stab wound he let out a kiai and drove two pointed fingers into the middle of the samurai's back. One not trained such as Masaru in the art of unarmed combat would have broken both fingers, but Masaru's blow shattered the man's armor into a spiderweb fracture centered on the point of contact.

2 points of Chakra spent to keep up Rank 2 speed.
Taking 10 on Rendan Kidouki (Combo Starter) at DC 16. Passed. If I hit, the target loses its next turn and becomes flat-footed for the next attack. (Though seeing as he's on a horse with nowhere to go I think he should be flat-footed anyway.)
Unarmed Attack:1d20+8=21 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1591435/)
Unarmed Damage: 1d6+3=9 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1591436/)

Catch
2008-05-15, 03:48 PM
((OOC: Finals, blah. I'm done now, so I'll be back to posting sooner. Well, still late. Just not as late. :smallbiggrin:))

Michiko

Having fumbled her last attack, Michiko drew in a slow breath to recover her clarity. The wound in her side still screamed in her mind and made concentrating on the battle more than difficult. Steeling herself, Michiko reached for the memory of the falls. It had felt so familiar, and that man, his face lingered in her memory like an echo--she knew him. Clear, she thought. I've got to be clear. Like water.

Smoothly, she batted aside the careless thrust of the wounded spearman and flowed around the weapon's shaft, opposite the scarred boy. Completing the motion, she added the momentum of her step, driving the heel of her palm beneath the soldier's jaw.

"Sorry," she apologized to her new ally, "I'm just not one for getting stabbed."

Attack Roll: 1d20+8=23 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1597405/) +2 Flanking
Fist Damage: 1d6+2=8 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1597409/)

Bariko
2008-05-15, 09:18 PM
Rio

((Mea culpa on being late.))

Rio almost laughed when he realised what had happened. He had never been more relieved to see a man he'd known for one day. His mental state quickly reverted, however, as he refocused on the task at hand. As they begin to fall back towards the ground, the wind whistling through his hair, Rio noticed the subtle positioning of Kaken's grip on him.

"Ah, I get it. Let's go then, shall we?" With not another word, a last vicious wind cone erupted, using his height to press the men into the ground.

Did multiple rolls and things with Callos, who has the links and results, which I've lost. Sorry.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-05-16, 06:59 PM
"Gak!" Was the only noise the samurai that Masaru was dealing with made as the two fingers spiked into his back. Stiffening in the saddle the body twisted and fell off to the ground with a resounding crash. Free of it's rider, and control, the war horse went ballistic! Kicking and neighing loudly it was becoming more of a fight to stay on then it had been to kill the samurai! Worse yet the sound was acting as a beacon and it was only a sort of...sense that something was coming that allowed Masaru to duck beneath of a sword stroke that would have quite cleanly severed his head from his body.

"Bastard!" This new samurai said, two more shapes coming closer through the mist but taking their time as if the kill was already assured...

Michiko and Chiiro both flowed around the beleaguered spear man, leaving him spinning back and forth trying to decide which of the two to keep his weapon on. The blond genin captilized on that and sprang forward to drive the heel of her palm into the man's haw and lift him up off the ground a couple of inches. Already she could see that the man was done for, passing way into unconsciousness when a spear rather violently burst from his chest to splatter her face with blood.

"Huh, catch on pretty quick don't you?" Kaken said with a grin. A moment before the wind cone blasted forth he pulled free his one hand and released it's contents right into the blast of chakra-enhanced wind. Rio's open shuriken pouch let loose the dangerous ninja equipment within and once that blast of wind hit it went spinning off into the soldiers done below. Shuriken and slicing winds peppered the men and by the time it had finished none of them were left standing, Kaken and Rio landing but a few moments later on the ground.

ChronicLunacy
2008-05-16, 08:35 PM
Masaru
AC: 19
HP: 28/43
Chakra: 10/20

Tumble:1d20+4=9 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1598636/)
Action Point: 1d6=5 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1598639/)
Adjusted Tumble: 14

Masaru couldn't feel the disturbance of the wind as the blade passed centimeters over his head, but he imagined he could. Just trying to hold on to the bucking warhorse was enough of a chore by itself. Throw two more badguys into the mix and he would be in trouble. So, looking for the best opportunity through the blinding mist, he threw himself off the saddle away from the direction in which he figured the samurai to be. Missing the horse's wild kicks and narrowly avoiding slamming face first into the ground, Masaru tucked and rolled over the road. It wasn't a very graceful landing, as he ended up face down on the ground, coughing dirt out of his mask, but it would do.

Rising to his feet, Masaru attempted to pinpoint the direction of the samurai who so very much wanted to take his head as a trophy and tried to figure out what he was going to do next.

Listen: 1d20=9 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1598664/)
Ugh...Invisible Castle HATES me today.

Dark_Prophet
2008-05-20, 04:24 AM
Chiiro winced as he saw the blood-splattered Michiko behind the fallen spearman. Jerking the spear back, he quickly looked around for another target that would move him away from the volatile genin, seeing all of the soldiers fallen by his new allies teammate. Then he noticed the beleaguered black garbed figure on the rearing horse surrounded by samurai.

Coming to a decision, he focused for a moment, red fire chakra spiraling up into the head spear in his hands - soon, the tip of the spear glowed with a small ball of fire. As soon as he finished, he gave Michiko a apologetic "Sorry, didn't mean to do that!" and then began to move towards the rearing horse, heading to the last team member's assistance.

Homura Dama DC 17 [roll0]
Sorry about the delay there - poor Chiro.:smalltongue:

Catch
2008-05-27, 11:35 AM
Michiko

Wiping blood off her face with the sleeve of her jacket, Michiko wanted to retch. She had knocked the soldier out cold, and this boy had run him through without even blinking! Perhaps this was the way of real ninja, but the impaled samurai's body stared up at her grimly and she resisted the urge to shudder. He didn't even seem to notice.

The battlefield had been almost completely emptied, and the swath of bodies cut down by Rio's blasts of wind made a garish carpet over the dusty road. She forced her gaze away, yet there was no were else to look. She shut her eyes, yet the memory would remain. How many men had died--for what, an insult?

Focusing on the cloud of mist that held Masaru and the commanding officers, Michiko released the threads of chakra that held the blue-grey blanket in place, and the mist quickly evaporated under the bright sun, revealing the battle within. Darting ahead, she moved to where her teammate held his own against the samurai leaders, shouting for their attention.

"HEY!" she began with a yell. "Look, you fools--your army is gone!" Sweeping her arm, she gestured to the vast stretch of dead and dying. "Collect your wounded and dead, then leave," she said coldly. "And let's all remember the 'great' Tachibana and how many died for his stupid pride."

Bariko
2008-05-28, 07:12 AM
Rio

Crimson drops fell slowly from Rio's skin, splashing on the ground, only to blend in with the blood of the fallen. Grim proof that inside, we're all the same, though Rio. Casting a glance at Kaken, then the other two genin, Rio stifled a scoff. Those two had killed, what, two, three? Maybe four? How many had he been forced to kill? Twenty five? More? Why did they stand there? he fumed. He nearly died alone, by himself, because his "friends", "teammates", "villagers" had paid no heed to him. His "guardian" had nearly drowned him.

As he retrieved a couple of his nearby weapons, scattered by his attack with Kaken, Rio began to tense up. He'd thought that Keimatsu said the team was most important. He'd been oh-so-proud of everyone else, after all. Disdained Rio for having gone for the objective. Patted Daddy's Girl on the head, and told the shallowest personality this side of a puddle he was awesome. Rio thought that his "shame" was because he'd run, and didn't have power. That if he could contribute, aid, and maybe even save his teammates, it would pay off. It hadn't.

All that had happened was that he nearly died, while his "friends" stood aside. Obviously his ability wasn't enough. He had to make it so that he wouldn't need their help. Keimatsu was wrong, he realised. Team loyalty was a lie. You protect those you want to protect. Surprisingly, the one who came to his aid was Kaken, though Rio suspected it might have been a little out of guilt for smoking him with that water technique.

What was this? Why was he thinking like this, this wasn't him. Rio closed his eyes, taking a few deep breaths. As he was able to calm himself, and regain his focus, he looked around himself. Still, he pondered, Masaru is still in trouble. And Michiko had her hands... half-full, so I can't blame them too much.

Somewhere in his mind, the fact that he had killed over twenty men was rattling around, but he kept that fact firmly in check for the nonce. His friend was in trouble, after all. Striding towards the men assaulting Masaru, he called to Michiko, after her... tirade. "What are you talking to them for? The only ones who will leave alive ran from me. These two are leaders. Let's kill them and move on." Bitterness dripped from Rio's words, prompted by the fact that this unprovoked, and unwanted, assault had resulted in needless, gratuitous bloodshed. The "leaders" weren't family men, like the conscripts who ran. They were the reason for it all.

"If we don't kill them, they'll regroup and come again. With more forces, and better knowledge of what taking on Kagekure means."

Callos_DeTerran
2008-05-28, 08:30 PM
Rio would find that Kaken was looking at him in a most...curious manner, not quite able to put his finger on it but it was unsettling in it's own way and Kaken's grin didn't quite reach his eyes. "Well said and well done Rio. You've done well."

As the pearly mist began to dissapate, no longer held together by Michiko's will, the performance between Masaru and the two samurai could be clearly seen by all still standing on the battlefield and a few who probably weren't. From where Kaken and the white-armored samurai had been standing there was nothing there except for a trembling and skittish looking warhorse. A quick scan of the battlefield didn't show any white-armored bodies but it was possible it was beneath someone else's corpse. Things also became clear for Masaru who could clearly see the samurai who had tried to behead him, glaring malevolently at him through the mask of his helmet. The other yanked his steed around towards the black-garbed genin but both of them paused as Michiko spoke up.

Armored heads swiveled to look at each other and the one closest to Masaru tilted his head back to give a somewhat strained laugh. However the other doesn't seem to share his bravado and the katana he holds begins to lower down towards the ground.

"Kill us? Leave? All you did was kill some chaff and conscripted soldiers and now you think your big sho..." The samurai paused in surprise and the reason was obvious to everyone watching. Kaken blurred into view behind the man, hands darting out to grip his chin in one hand and the other the top of his head.

Crack!

The noise of cracking bone was audible as Kaken wrenched his hands dispassionately in opposite directions, releasing the corpse to fall to the ground in a clatter before directing himself to look at Michiko, nothing but stern un-yielding command in his voice.. "You kill the last one Michiko." was all that he said, a tone very different from the approving one Rio had received. Upon seeing this though the last dropped his sword in surprise, staring at what had happened before tugging his reins and trying to yank the uncooperative horse around.

Catch
2008-05-29, 01:40 AM
Michiko

As her conjured cloud of mist lifted, and Kaken landed safely with Rio in hand, a wave of relief washed over Michiko. She hadn't seen much of either boy after the three of them separated to fight their own battles, and the growing knot of worry that had been tugging at her stomach seemed to unravel. Everyone was alive and together, though they were all worse for the wear. Still, the team had gathered and that was important.

Then Rio opened his mouth. Her head snapped around, and the girl looked at him as if he were a stranger, wide-eyed and shocked. Amidst the chaos of their battle with the samurai army, her soft-spoken and friendly teammate had disappeared, replaced by someone bitter and battered and merciless, talking of killing so flippantly. And Kaken, he agreed, as if the best solution to a problem was to murder it. Ire welled within her, yet before she could even open her mouth, the jounin had disappeared.

She turned her head away, knowing what was coming. Crack!

The silence that followed seemed to roar in her ears, and the officer's limp body crumpled in slow-motion. Panic stained his face, eyes frozen in shock and horror. She forced herself to watch. He thudded to the ground, joining all the others in whatever lie beyond. Kaken's words struck like a hammer blow, and she shook her head weakly in disbelief. This was the way of the ninja--heartless, cruel and efficient, she knew. No mercy, no pity.

A whimper, barely audible. "No."

This was everything she would never be.

Louder, firmer. "I won't."

Everything she refused to be.

Now, iron. "Never."

Michiko locked her gaze with Kaken, her blue eyes blurred and wet, yet there was a profound defiance in them, a fierceness that bore almost a tangible heat.

"I will never be anything like you," she growled. "I'll won't hurt anyone unless I have to--Keimatsu taught me better than that, and you should be ashamed to call yourself his friend. If you'd kill someone just to prove a point, if you'd end someone's life just like that, you're no teacher of mine!"

"Do your own dirty work," she said icily, turning away in disgust.

"And you." Her eyes locked on Rio's, wrathful and unrelenting.

"I thought you were different, I thought you understood. We're not killers, we save lives! Shinobi are supposed to protect people!" she shouted, half sobbing.

Advancing, Michiko marched as though she were ten feet tall, clenching her little fist, gesturing with vigor. Face to face, eye to eye, she stared him down, jabbing a finger into his chest.

"What kind of person are you, to lose your sense of right just because you're angry? How can you be so callous? Do you want to be like him? Wake UP, Rio! You're better than this!"

With a shout, the tearful girl lashed out, striking her friend in the jaw with a full-armed blow, heavy and resounding. Following through, she stood visibly slumped, voice falling as her head hung, laden and burdened.

"Wake up, Rio. You're better than this."

Attack roll: 1d20+6=11 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1609190/)
Action point: 1d6=4 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1609192/)
Fist damage: 1d6+2=7 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1609190/)

Dark_Prophet
2008-05-29, 02:26 AM
Chiiro stopped his forwards charge, looking on dubiously nearly dropped his spear as the female ninja protested against the cold, cruel leader. As she spoke, his expression twisted into shock and fear, having been snapped out of his rage at his prolonged treatment, pondering her words. Did they really deserve to die? Were the men really responsible for their officers orders? He looked at his red glowing spear, trying to find answers in it like he usually did.

When she hit her friend, it rattled on the ground, where he had dropped it in complete surprise, the blade hissing and fizzling against the soft earth. Whats going on here? What I have I walked into? What should I do now?

He watched numbly, the outsider in the group as the conflict unfolded, trying to make up his mind as to what to do next, the image of the guard he had just slain hovering in his vision.

(Chiiro is currently holding)

ChronicLunacy
2008-05-29, 02:42 PM
Ibaraki Masaru
AC: 19
HP: 28/43
Chakra: 7/20

Masaru joined the others in his stoic, silent way, keeping a hand placed over the bleeding wound in his flank. He didn't seem to be reacting much to the pain, but he did walk with a slight limp. He looked at Rio when he spoke up, acting much darker than usual, then to Kaken when he continued the trend. Finally, he tilted his head to the side like a curious dog when Michiko slapped their teammate. Rio had a point, thinking strategically, but Michiko brought to mind what Keimatsu had taught them. Stay strong and vigilant in your duties...Open yourself up to your teammates more. Should he follow Michiko's example? Were shinobi there to protect people? This was news to him.

As far as Masaru had been taught, ninja existed to protect the village and destroy its enemies. Maybe Michiko was just confused? Either way, he'd do her a favor and take the matter out of her hands.

Suddenly bounding forward, Masaru took a running jump. Twisting in the air, he brought his knee arcing down towards the samurai's face as he planted a hand on the horse's neck. It was a startling display of athleticism and acrobatics for someone with a stab wound, but Masaru's destroyed nerves made it possible for him to simply ignore the pain for the time being and deal with it later.

Taking 10 on Rendan Kidouki (Combo Starter) at DC 16. Passed. If I hit, the target loses its next turn and becomes flat-footed for the next attack.
Tumble:1d20+4=22 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1609805/)
Attack:1d20+8=18 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1609807/)
Action Point:1d6=2 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1609808/)
Adjusted Attack Roll: 20
Unarmed Damage: 1d6+3=7 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1609809/)

Bariko
2008-06-10, 10:12 PM
Rio

((Man, I know, I suck at this. All of you get to mock me two times, and only two!))

Broken, battered and bloody, Rio stood silently and watched as Kaken eliminated one of the remaining men with a sickening crack. At least, he knew it was sickening, and that part of his mind was railing against it, but it was held in check by... something. Rio wasn't sure what, but he knew that this was atypical behaviour for him. What's happened? I'm trying to be a doctor, for crying out loud.
He has to die.
No, he doesn't!
He's a threat.
YOU'RE a threat.
Go away! I can't deal with you right now!

Something clicked dimly in Rio's mind, as part of him realised he was likely in shock, tossing up a defensive measure. But that, too, was soon silenced.

As Kaken told Michiko to kill the remaining enemy, Rio stood there, watching impassively. Kill him.
Don't!
He has to die, he's a threat.
He's one guy, don't do it!
He deserves it! Now be quiet!

Thusly, when Michiko said no, a feeling of relief settled in the back corners of his mind. Outwardly, though, Rio shook his head, ever so slightly. Was it really so hard to tell that the man had to pay? Slight surprise registered when Michiko revealed her complete insubordination, though, and Rio paused as her words reached his ears. Had he really changed that much in a day?

When she wheeled on him, Rio straightened, caught somewhat by surprise. Why was she so upset about this man being condemned? Why was she so angry about him knowing the man should die? She approached him, still ranting, as he opened his mouth to reply, only to get cut off. We're not killers.
She's not.

As the little girl approached him, and planted a finger on his chest, Rio struggled for a way to interrupt, to counter and contradict her words. The chance never really came, as his teammate, his friend, curled her tiny hand into a fist, and punched him squarely in the face.

Rio stumbled backwards. The punch had rattled him. Shaking his head, Rio tried to regain some composure and for a retort. A thousand reasons raced through his head; the man was a threat, he wouldn't hesitate to kill any of them, he was a military man and knew the stakes of a battle, all reasonable and correct ideas. As he rubbed his jaw, and spat some blood on the ground, Rio opened his mouth to reply...

"Look... Look what they made ME DO!" he shouted, unintentionally. His reasoned arguments went out the window as he lost it. "The officers brought the men to the fight. The officers gave the orders. You say we're not killers. YOU'RE not a killer. Thanks to these officers, I've killed or defeated two dozen men." Suddenly, it was extremely obvious how old Rio was, and how unable to cope with the situation. He was a kid, forced into a terrifying situation where it was literally kill or be killed, thanks to that wayward water tech he'd been hit by. "I don't know whose blood I'm covered in. Some is mine, but lots isn't. The leaders brought the men. The leaders made the fight. The leaders made me a killer! Of COURSE I think he should die. Wouldn't you?" he yelled at her, finally out of the shock he'd been keeping himself in.

Dropping to the ground, he pulled out a first aid kit, and quickly went to work on himself, staunching the worst wounds, and setting what he thought was a broken rib from the water pressure. As he worked, Rio looked up at his comrade. "Hey. Thanks. I needed that shot from you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got something good to do." So saying, Rio stood and went towards the ranks of the fallen and wounded, first aid kit in hand. Who says friends are hard to come by?

Callos_DeTerran
2008-06-14, 11:50 PM
"Wake up Michiko." The cool response didn't have any malice in it, just disapproval from Kaken as he turned his one eye unto the blond genin. "This isn't a matter of killing someone to make a point. This is a matter that if left alive that man will become a threat to those around him. This is a matter that as a shinobi, as a weapon for your country, you will be forced to take a life and hesitance will only put the lives of your friends, comrades, family, and yourself in mortal danger. Grow up girl...what will you do if ordered to assassinate someone for no better reason then someone could afford the contract? What about if someone has a knife to Rio's throat? Would you endanger his life trying to save his attacker's own, someone who wouldn't hesitate a moment to end his or yours?"

Kaken hopped down from the back of the dead samurai's horse as Masaru charged after the one that the man had charged Michiko to slay. Masaru could feel something break under his knee but the man didn't look particularly flustered by the blow. Instead his bare blade swept across towards the black-robed genin, barely missing flesh as it went off in a wild arc that left him un-harmed.

"You are a ninja. It is inevitable that you'll have to take a life and I won't lie...it could seriously change you for the worse or give you nightmares for your entire life. Some of my oldest friends wake up screaming because of things they've seen, and that's why I was trying to help you." Kaken's voice changed from the one of subtle disappointment. It was soft, subdued unlike many other things about the man, and it all but forced a person to listen and at least consider. Honeyed words that came from a sorrowful looking man.

"To take somebody who was a threat, somebody who needed to be disposed off, and present him to you for this first time. To make it easy. To make it so your first time killing another thinking feeling human being didn't leave you an emotionless husk of a person. But no, you want to save him at the expense of others even though he was partially responsible for the imprisonment of one of your fellow ninja. Don't take the moral high ground with me Michiko...I want to save lives too but I know how to do it better then you, who have probably never even left your village or seen how the world works. So before you call me a killer again think this first...'Do I save more lives by saving him or do I end more by letting him go?' Once your able to answer that, without mistake, then you can take the same philosophy as Keimatsu, a jounin who has had to ask himself that question every day of his life, with every opponent he has fought, until it became second nature to him. Not the adopted attitude of a spoiled girl who refuses to see the larger picture and do the right thing because it'll get her hands bloodied." Again there was a subtle shift in tone from soft cajoling to persuade someone to his line of thinking, to a slowly growing irritation mixed with the disappointment from before. Kaken stared unblinkingly at Michiko after he finished, lips in a tight line, as he crossed his arms over his chest. Wherever he had gone...the joking man from the previous night was gone and a much more solemn individual who looked to have born the weight of the world stood in his place.

ChronicLunacy
2008-06-15, 02:40 PM
Ibaraki Masaru
AC: 19
HP: 28/43
Chakra: 3/20

Masaru pushed off the horse's neck with the one hand and arm he was holding himself up with in order to avoid the samurai's clumsy slash. He righted himself in the air only to come down at the samurai with a dizzying flurry of blows that sounded like a machine-gun hitting the warrior's armor. He hit sixteen times in rapid succession, targeting any weak points he could find as well as the man's eyes or face if possible, hopefully toppling him from the horse in the process and/or killing him.

He didn't hear what Kaken said to Michiko, but he would have agreed. In his own damaged way he was also doing it as a favor to the girl he had come to know a little bit. He did it so she wouldn't have to. So she wouldn't have to shoulder that particular burden. Masaru had seen death before, but taking a life was never an easy thing, even for him. But Masaru was nothing if not practical. The samurai had to die for the village to be protected, so he committed the act the same way he did everything else...with that infuriatingly stoic demeanor. He did it even though he knew Michiko would probably be mad at him and hate him for it.

To those that didn't know him, and even to his comrades, it might seem like Masaru was a cold-blooded machine, a one-dimensional character with no hopes or goals, and for all they knew he was. He'd been that way as long as they'd known him, from the ill-fated first mission where he'd coldly warned the thugs to leave before slaughtering them to the encounter with the spider when he'd cracked it open like an egg. He was so closed off, almost sociopathic or even anxious about social interaction. In fact, no one had ever tried to get him to open up except for Kaken. Not even his teammates seemed to believe there was anything under the black bodysuit that completely covered him.

Keimatsu had advised him to open up to his teammates, but he was never the kind of person just to come out and tell everyone his life story. He didn't think Michiko or Rio even cared, nor did he matter very much at all to them. He hadn't had any real friends in a long time, and he didn't expect them to think of him more than a teammate. Why should they anyway? He wasn't normal. He was the weird kid that never showed his face, even when he ate. He was creepy and socially awkward and never left the Mibu compound. Why should he have friends? He didn't deserve to have them.

So he just stuck to the mission, stayed cold, or else it would consume him...being so lonely all the time.

Attack: 1d20+8=25 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1628230/)
Juuroku Rendan (DC 20): 1d20+12=29 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1628232/)
Juuroku Rendan Damage: 5d6=16 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1628233/)

Catch
2008-06-20, 06:55 PM
Michiko

All of this could have been avoided, and Kaken refused to see. The precious ideal of Team Keimatsu was unraveling and Michiko grasped at the stay threads fervently, feeling them slip through her fingers. The carpet of lifeless bodies and pooling blood made her head swirl she and wanted to retch up every meal she'd ever eaten. She forced herself to see, to watch as men lay broken and dying--the price paid for following one fool's orders. Everything was coming apart and she wanted someone to blame for all of this.

Masaru and Rio hadn't understood Keimatsu as she did, they'd forgotten what lives were worth. Rio had panicked, and for that she forgave him, but the dark-clad genin.... She saw the boy bearing down on the injured officer--merciless and detached as always--and her fists tightened in their gloves, the leather creaking in protest. The boy never listened! Her anger rose, swirling--Tachibana's arrogance, the pointless battle, Rio's broken rage, Kaken's cold-hearted condemnation, and her ideals, fleeting away with the wind.

And Masaru. She was fed up with his selfish silence, his empty stares and swinging fists. The boy refused to be a person and seemed to exist only to kill and maim. He was a weapon, and she would sheathe him. For good, if she had to.

In spite of her and with careful, cold precision, the masked genin unleashed a flurry of blows on the samurai commander and he crumpled, his body falling limply into the dust.

The river raged and swelled, roaring in protest, beating against the dam that dared hold it back. In a moment, the last support snapped, wood shreiking, and it broke, the denied waters bursting forth with freedom and fury, sweeping over Michiko and carrying her forward with unbound fury. She surged, rushing past Kaken and the fallen soldier and hammered into Masaru with all of the river's might.

"That's enough!" she shouted, driving him back violently, knocking his feet out from under him. Standing over Masaru, she growled, fists shaking as words spilled out, heated, like they'd been held back for too long.

"Since day one, you've done nothing but swing your fists and shut everyone out, Masaru. You're on the road to becoming a heartless killer like the rest of them, just a weapon without friends or feelings or anything but blood on your hands. You're a shinobi, but you act like an attack dog! Are you a thing or a person!? Make up your mind!"

Turning, she faced Kaken now with folded arms, the remnants of her anger hardening her gaze into an obstinate stare.

"I won't be your dog either, Kaken. If you think you can train me to kill, if you think I'm just a 'little girl' with silly ideas about mercy and saving lives, you've got something to learn about the Chiba clan. These officers, she said, gesturing to the fallen soldiers, "lead the last of a broken army. You said it yourself, they're bandits, which means they were just a bunch of wandering thugs. Leaving one or one hundred alive wouldn't have made a difference because they've got no friends, no leader, and nowhere to go."

"But you didn't think," she said, tapping the side of her head for effect. "Killing them all does nothing except pay the gravediggers, but leaving some alive sends a message," Michiko emphasized. "Our own Kage says the Shadow has no reason to hide, so if these samurai had friends, let them come. We're not afraid and letting the leaders run spreads the word that starting a fight with Kagekure is a one-way trip."

"That protects the village, she said with iron. "But you thought I was just a silly girl with silly ideas. Don't underestimate me, Kaken."

Charge (Bull Rush): 1d20+8=26 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1628963/)
Strength Check: 1d20+4=18 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/1628965/)

Masaru is pushed back 15 feet, Michiko is adjacent.

Dark_Prophet
2008-06-20, 09:08 PM
Chiiro winced as she shoved her other teammate back. For someone who's preaching nonviolence, she sure seems to like punching people. As he heard Michiko's words, he finished his previous train of thought, and seemed to come to a decision, stepping forwards with the spear across his back behind her. "I've never met this Keimatsu of yours personally. But if our enemies who raided us years ago had taken a stance similar to yours, my Clan would still be alive, and for that, I'd give anything."

He plants the butt of the spear in the ground next to him as he stands across from Michiko, in the field of fallen bodies. "I hated these men, but that was because they were following the orders of a fool, and I let that hate take me too far."

The sturdy, scarred genin jerks the spear out, and then points it first at Masaru, then Kaken in accusation. "Something I think you've taken too far already today; no, for most of your life if I heard you right. Everyone has someone who cares about them or they care about. So if you're going to try to punish her for what she's said and done, then you'd better try to punish me, too, because she was right."

(Taking a stance beside Michiko in a supportive manner; point of spear is for emphasis, not hostility or attacking. Wish I had one more level for Harm's Way ability.)

ChronicLunacy
2008-06-20, 09:16 PM
Ibaraki Masaru
AC: 19
HP: 28/43
Chakra: 3/20

Masaru landed on the ground at about the same time the samurai fell to the dirt in a clatter of cracked and broken armor. He stumbled back a couple of steps and put his hands on his knees, feeling the world blur and spin a little bit from chakra depletion. The horse snorted and walked off aways, giving them all space. Masaru took deep, tired breaths and looked up just as Michiko blindsided him.

Ibaraki flipped like a ragdoll in midair, caught off balance by his teammates charge, and skidded to a halt in the dirt on his back some fifteen feet away from where he'd been recuperating. Feeling the world continue to spin, he elected to stay there as Michiko berated him. Her words didn't exactly strike home, since most of it was simply stating the obvious, but two things did make him lift his head off of the ground. The first was her assertion that his lack of friends was his own fault because of how private he was. It was basic, but it made sense. He'd been waiting for someone else to take the first step and try to get to know him for so long that whenever someone did give it a try he just shut them out. He took their interest as an insult about his appearance and ignored even the most innocent of questions.

The second was her question...was he a thing or a person? He honestly didn't know. When he looked into the mirror he didn't see a person. He saw flame, murder, and revenge. But he still felt like a person, didn't he? He had long assumed that Masaru the person had died in the fire with his family. It was easier when he didn't have to feel like a person would. Instead, he could be a weapon and simply focus on the next task. But did becoming a weapon mean severing himself from what he was and why he was becoming this thing in the first place? Did he even know how to be a person anymore?

Masaru reached out and grabbed Michiko's arm as he tried to rise, catching himself once before he could get his knees under himself. His head hung as he still was breathing heavy from his exertion earlier, but he was able to stop and speak. "Michiko... I need to know something, but I need you to see something else first. Rio, too. Will you two walk over there with me?" he pointed towards the bend in the road. Kaken and Chiiro weren't being invited as this was purely a matter between the three of them. Masaru had decided something and needed to have a certain answer.

Bariko
2008-06-27, 11:06 PM
Rio

As Rio stood, he spied flashing movements of black as the last commander fell. Masaru, of course. Well, given what Michiko just said, I don't think this'll go over too well... And it didn't. Michiko rushed at him, charging into Masaru, and sending the combative genin flying. Rio paused, watching the situation unfold.

As she stood, staring at Masaru, Rio listened to the words pouring out of her. Her lambasting of Masaru caught his attention, as she pointed out that Masaru was solitary by choice, and questioned his nature. Then, as she whirled on Kaken, Rio nodded, realising something. Kaken was right, but he admired Michiko's adherence to her ideals nonetheless. Michiko played the idealist protector, and Masaru the striking weapon, but where did he lie? If it was up to him, Rio realised he never would have harmed any of the soldiers, but he would still have attacked the officers and leaders. He was a shinobi and a doctor. His was the grey area.

"Michiko," he called "I respect your commitment to your ideals, you know I do. I try to hold fast to my own. Keimatsu taught us all important notions. But Kaken is not wrong, and I have a feeling that Keimatsu would agree. It's beside the point now, as the one who was running is down. But, did you fail to notice that one of them did escape? The leader, who started this whole mess. So, maybe you're right, and he'll go spread the word that ninja aren't to be trifled with. We can hope so, I suppose. I, myself have to do something. Excuse me." So saying, Rio approached the bodies of the fallen, and began methodically checking each for signs of life. Those he found still alive, he treated with emergency care for the moment, ensuring that they did not worsen. Unheard by the others were many whispered apologies to the men on the ground. Thusly, when Masaru made his request to be joined, Rio paused for a moment and glanced up.

"One minute. I have to finish this." Once all of the men were treated, Rio jogged over to where they were, looking more... at peace than he had since they left the village.

ChronicLunacy
2008-06-28, 02:14 AM
Ibaraki Masaru

Masaru walked away from the battleground after giving Rio a minute to do his thing. He stayed silent and calm as always despite the beating he seemed to have taken, but there was a certain stiffness to his frame...a slight tremor. He seemed apprehensive or anxious, almost nervous if one really read his body language. It was strange for him, who everyone had come to see as just the stoic weapon. Even so, his shoulder had a strange set to them and his fists kept clenching and opening over and over again as he lead his two teammates around the bend in the road where they could no longer be seen by Kaken and Chiiro. He never once looked back at the others until he stopped.

Once he'd stopped, Ibaraki turned and faced his teammates and looked them over one after the other starting with Rio. Rio, who had gone out of his way to heal his enemies, who had beaten himself up for thinking he wasn't holding his own and then had taken out most of the soldiers all at once.. Rio's kind heart and sincere nature did a lot for Team Keimatsu even if he didn't notice the effect. He was the glue that stuck them all together.

Then there was Michiko. Boisterous, confrontational Michiko. The girl who acted so bossy, yet took it upon herself to save a little boy from thugs, fight a chuunin by herself and win, and stand up for her beliefs so adamantly even when it came to her enemies. Masaru envied her fiery nature, her passion for life he so lacked. He wished he could be like her sometimes. He wished he could understand her. If Masaru was the weapon, Michiko was definitely the shield.

Both of them he'd come to know but he'd never let them in, never really tried to become friends. He'd had his shell, his mask on so long that it had become him. If he was going to have friends, to learn how to trust, going to have to take down the barriers and hope they could accept the real Ibaraki Masaru for who he was. ...And that wasn't just a metaphor.

"I...when I was younger..." he started, real pain apparent in his voice, making him sound raw and human for the first time. "I didn't always stay with Esanu-sama. I had a family, a clan. During the attack on the village a rival clan targeted us specifically. They slaughtered anyone who went beyond the compound walls and burned the rest of us alive in our own houses. They killed my mother, my father...my entire family in front of my eyes, then broke my arms and legs so I couldn't get away and threw me in the fire with the rest of them. Esanu-sama saved me and gave me medical care, trained me as his own son, made me into a weapon so I could have my revenge." he told them, clenching his fists until the leather of his gloves creaked loudly in protest.

"I'm telling you this because I...want...I want to be your friend. But before you give me your answer, I have to show the two of you the real me. This mask hides the monster my family's killers made me into. I need you to see that monster, know who and what I truly am before you decide if you can be...my only friends. I won't be offended if you scream or run away. So if you want to leave, I'll just put it back on and concern myself only with the mission from now on." he said, his voice and hands shaking as he turned his back to them and reached up.

Masaru haltingly reached up to his collarbone and found the bottom of his mask. From behind him, Rio and Michiko could see the material loosen as he started to move it upwards over his chin. He faltered at that point, his shoulders straining as he warred with himself over the decision, but eventually the two of them began to see the skin of his neck as the mask lifted itself up and off. It was...horrible, even without seeing his face. His hairless head and neck were nothing but a puckered mask of skinless scar-tissue, showing wet where the mask had kept it humidified. Muscle showed through where the skin was just gone, criss-crossed with grafts where the medical nin had tried to replace the epidermis. Masaru shook, fitting his chin to his chest and staring at the ground as he slowly turned around to show them what was left of his face.

In the textbooks at school they'd sometimes show what the head looked like when it had been stripped of skin to show how the muscles worked underneath. This was nothing like that. More skin grafts had been stretched over his face like bandages, more muscle showing through around one eye and his jaw, where one cheek had been completely burned away. His lips were mostly gone, showing a skull's macabre grin. His nose had gone that way as well, leaving just a pit where the cartilage used to be. His ears were mostly gone, just holes and a lump of flesh in the side of his head. No eyebrows at all. One eye was wide and lidless with the other showing just part of it still connected. They were bloodshot from lack of lubrication and getting worse from being subjected to the air. The mask's goggles were there to keep them lubricated, as his tear ducts no longer worked. It was fortunate, in that a salty tear would have caused his puckered, exposed flesh excruciating pain. Simply being in the air without the mask's skin-like protection was like putting needles in his face, but he could bear it for the moment. As long as it took them to see him.

Masaru kept his eyes on the ground at his feet, waiting for the scream, the sound of choking horror he always heard when someone saw him by accident without the mask. He thought he'd grow accustomed to it after awhile, but every time someone made that sound he could feel it like a dagger in his heart. Oh my god, what is that thing? or It's a monster! He could hear them echoing in his mind. Would his teammates react similarly? Would they run, vomit, cry and turn away? He expected it, tried to fortify himself against it, but there was no way he could. Physical pain he'd lived with most of his life, could handle it no problem, but this... It hit him just as hard every time. There was no steeling himself against that kind of pain.

"Tell me..." he slurred the word, having less than half a face made it hard to annunciate. "Could you be friends with a monster like this?" His voice cracked midway through the question, unable to stifle it.

Could a monster like this even have friends? Or was he really just a weapon?

Catch
2008-08-01, 12:07 PM
Michiko

Breathing heavily, eyes narrowed, the tiny-yet-towering genin pulled the sprawled Masaru to his feet and frowned. Her anger, bursting before, seemed murky and distant, smoldering where once she had seethed. The boy had not reacted as she expected and now Michiko was unsure of what words would now fit. Her heated speech seemed to still linger in the air, echoing uncomfortably throughout the deathly-still battlefield. She nodded stiffly, wiping the sheen of sweat from her brow.

"Lead the way."

The walk around the bend in the road stretched out for what felt like an hour while the mid-day sun shimmered overhead. Masaru's silent, tense disposition was unreadable and the question of what exactly he had to say nagged at Michiko's mind. To her, the boy was almost wholly alien, so following his grim figure down the dusty path conjured a swirl of incoherent questions that bounced against one another in her mind. What was so important that Kaken and Chiiro couldn't hear? Had she actually gotten through to him? Would Masaru finally listen? Was he something more than just muscle? Could he be?

Their abrupt stop shook her from the haze of questions and she glanced at Rio briefly, as if he might have any clue as to what was going on, which she doubted. She waited expectantly for the other boy to speak, arms folded to mask her discomfort with skepticism.

"If you've got something to say...." she trailed off, waiting for him to take the reigns.

His words came out slow and staggered, then in a steady stream, as if they had been long-dammed and were only now unbound. The story of his clan struck Michiko as familiar, in a strange way, and amidst flashing memories of the burned out strips in Kagekure, she again remembered the far-away rumble of falling water and the glimpse of a village, yet this time there were heated shouts and thick smoke all around. She remembered fear she had never felt and she remembered running, being dragged away from a burning village. This was Masaru's story, though, not hers, and Michiko chased the images from her mind, closing in on the sound of his strained voice.

A friend and a monster, he said. Up until now, she had seen neither, only a shell of a person, alive, but not living. She had long wondered what lay beneath his mask and bandages, yet now she had to see. Masaru had bored, confused and frustrated her, yet now he was willing to take a first step and she would not--could not--refuse him, whatever horror he might reveal. For his courage, she owed him that much. With jaw set, she waited and watched.

But it was horrible. His glistening, skinless face was a ghoulish mask, unlike anything she could have expected. The exposed tendons and muscle that stretched and contorted as he breathed and spoke gripped at her stomach, yet Michiko forced herself to look. This was Masaru, what he had been hiding for so long, what he had been afraid to show. His ravaged body must have held him back his whole life, how he must have hated the pain and the stares and the loneliness. Suddenly, something settled into place in her mind, and Michiko understood, perhaps for the first time. The boy had been alienated for so long, alone for so long, feared for so long that he now saved everyone the trouble by setting himself apart. No one had ever tried to be his friend.

They had made him this way. She had.

"We--I'm" she struggled to find her voice, "so sorry."

Michiko stumbled over words as the came out, avoiding Masaru's macabre stare. "We did this. Not the fire, not your body, but... you. No one's ever tried to be your friend. We've all just left you on the sidelines, in the shadows, like the freak you must have felt like. No one gave you a chance. I didn't--I just thought you were strange on purpose. I've got no right to be angry with you if I never tried to be your friend."

She cleared her throat and faced him, a new fire in her voice that seemed to sear away all the nervousness and tension of before. She jabbed a finger at him like a lance, a challenge, eyes set with determination.

"But this doesn't mean I take back what I said. You've got to use your mouth and your head from now on, not just your fists. We're a team, the three of us, and I'll be damned if I let any one of us fall by the wayside. You're my friend, like it or not, and I won't let revenge ruin you. Healers like Rio can fix your body, but it's up to you to heal the inside. Inflicting pain won't cure yours--it can't. But I swear, on whatever means most to me, that I'll make sure that what was done to you never happen again."

She clenched her little fist, a grin adding confidence to her fervor. Remember that. Believe it!""

Dark_Prophet
2008-08-01, 04:39 PM
Chiiro turns away from the reunion, knowing that this is a private moment, and having something thats been nagging at him for the entirety of the encounter. He finally stops when he faces Kaken, and points at him with his left hand accusingly, retrieving the spear from the ground again with his other hand. "Kaken, was it? I can't help but notice that you don't wear the headband of Kagekure - and I've never heard of you before. Who are you, and by what authority do you lead this team?"

He assumes a challenging, formal pose, his eyes cold and gleaming at the jounin, despite his weary frame and battle wounds. "Keimatsu I know of, but you speak of him as if he's dead - he wasn't when my team left Kagekure. And what gives you the right to make your students violate their central beliefs? Thats not standard Kagekure policy."

Bariko
2008-08-02, 02:49 PM
Rio

As Rio finished healing his former enemies, and muttering apologies, he stood and quickly joined his friends. He noticed with slight surprise that Masaru lead them out of sight and hearing of Chiiro and Kaken. I suppose it's something about the village, or Keimatsu maybe...?

The sunlight began to do its inevitable work and dry Rio's soaked clothes. Pain was still coursing through his body, but Masaru sounded.... different. More emotional than usual, and this was indeed a rare event. So, Rio said nothing, and just appreciated the sunlight, and the evaporating water. Rio tossed a glance towards Michiko, seeing if she knew what was going on. Evidently, no.

Masaru began to speak, with absolutely more emotion than he'd heard from the boy before, though it wasn't hard to beat a level of zero. As he listened to Masaru's story, Rio could barely imagine the emotions. He knew nothing of his childhood, before being adopted by Sakada. He supposed that as an orphan he may have had similar experiences, but if he did, they were, thankfully, locked away. Still, the visions of fire and blood were vivid in his mind as he listened to his teammate, suddenly the heat of the sun was uncomfortable rather then a comforting embrace.

Stiff with apprehension, unwarranted but present, Rio waited while Masaru removed his mask. True to himself, Rio did not flinch, nor look away from what was revealed. The sight was gruesome, but as a medical trainee, Rio knew he had to be able to face things like this. The "monster" Masaru was showing them was only flesh and blood, ot malevolent or terrifying. A victim's face, not a freak's. Rio had always believed that everyone deserved friends, period, and so he'd tried to be Masaru's as well. He'd been rejected out of hand almost, and had foolishly made the assumption that Masaru didn't want to be his friend. He hadn't stopped to consider the other possibilities.

As Masaru finished his revelation, Michiko started to speak, articulating the truth, and nothing but. As she finished, with her defiant challenge for him to change things, and not accept what happened as an excuse, Rio nodded.

"Masaru, I can't become your friend. I've always been your friend. Your attitude notwithstanding, you're a comrade, a teammate and a friend. But man," he grinned, "why so serious? Lighten up, tell a joke, sing a song, have a conversation. That's what friends do, and it's what we'll do. Your face doesn't make you a monster unless you let it. So don't. You are the master of your face, not the other way around. No, a monster you're not, and a friend you are."

As Rio flashed his typical smile and easy grin, no hint of revulsion or fear, he paused for a moment. "One more thing. I promise I'll do everything I can to fix this for you. I don't promise anything I can't deliver on." He laughed, and mimicked Michiko's voice, "Believe it!" Then he took off out of the way of the punch he was sure to get from the girl, laughing. Maybe this time, he'll chuckle, too.

ChronicLunacy
2008-08-02, 05:25 PM
Masaru

Masaru first had to take a moment to put his cool, medicated mask back on his face to ease the itching and burning that came with exposing it to air and sunlight. Even when the implacable blankness of that mask was back over his scarred features he seemed to reflect a little of his comrades' emotion and hope. It was timid emotion, just treading the waters like someone just learning how to swim, but it was there nonetheless. They could catch it in the turn of his shoulders, the slight change in his posture that showed a huge amount of relief and a sense of acceptance. He was still a bit stiff, as he had a long way to go, but every journey started with the first step.

Gloved hands reached out and caught both of his teammate's shoulders, giving them brief squeezes. "Thank you." he said, the smile he couldn't really form still apparent in his voice. "I can't promise I'll give up my revenge, Michiko, but I will try not to let it consume me with your help. The reason for my revenge is the same as the promise you just made...to make sure it never happens again, to anyone. That's my responsibility, the oath I took, that's why I'm a weapon. If you want to join me in that oath then I'm glad." he explained. "As for my body...the best medical nin in Kagekure have tried and failed, but if you can do it I won't complain, Rio. I want that man to see what he did to me and understand that justice is coming for him before I heal, if ever."

"Um...also, I'm very private with the things I've told you so I'm trusting you to keep it a secret." he added just in case they had any thoughts about telling Kaken. "We should get back before Kaken comes looking for us." he finished, starting to lead the way back.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-08-03, 08:49 PM
Kaken shook his head as the three walked down the road and away from him and Chiiro, head tilting to the side as if the wind would carry the words to his ear but then he was interrupted. The single eye flicked over to the genin holding unto the spear and for a second it kept the same cold hard edge that had ordered Michiko to take a life. "By what authority do you question my authority? You were a prisoner until less then five minutes ago kid, try figuring out the rest of the situation before you accuse somebody of something."

With a blur, the same fantastic speed that had lead to the death or forced sleep of others, the man appeared in front of Chiiro and shook his head. "If you want an answer then ask your compatriots back there. They should be coming back soon enough and it'll give you a chance to bond with them."

Then, as if nothing had happened, like the small battle that had just taken place, Kaken gave a slightly sheepish grin and reached behind himself as if to grab his tanto but the hand went into a zippered pouch instead. Walking right by Chiiro, he wanders closer towards the wounded troops and pulls out a piece of folded paper that he opens up into an ancient looking map...But it did seem as if he was right, the moment he stepped away Rio, Michiko, and Masaru were heading back.

"Alright, let's not dally here. We still have a lot of ground to cover and this little scrap has slowed us down."

Dark_Prophet
2008-08-04, 01:26 AM
Chiiro whirls, and blinks, not taking his eyes off Kaken and recoiling as he appears beside him, spear instinctively poised to strike, then falling limply to the ground. He just stands there, turning back to look as the rest of the team returns beside him. "Hey...could I talk with you guys for a second? I don't think I'm understanding the whole situation here, but your Jounin seems like a bastard to me - maybe you could explain exactly what happened with Keimatsu?" The boy's gaze shifts quickly back to Kaken suspiciously in the distance as he talks, and he straps his spear across his back. "There's a lot that isn't making sense here - its not like I was locked away for years or something."

ChronicLunacy
2008-08-04, 02:07 AM
Masaru

"Keimatsu-sensei is no longer our team leader. We don't know why, and we were ordered not to talk to anyone about it, even other kage-nin like you. Apologies." Masaru said as he came to a halt in front of Kaken and Chiiro. "As for Kaken-san, I'm not even sure if he's a jounin. He might be a bastard. I can't be sure yet." Masaru said, looking sidelong at Kaken. He didn't seem any different than he had been before he'd led the others off around the bend, except for being a mite more talkative. He still didn't really show any real grasp of social niceties.

"We should keep going. Is Chiiro-kun coming with us?" Masaru added.

Catch
2008-08-04, 01:31 PM
Michiko

Trotting back up the road with her two friends, Michiko felt her usual lightness of spirit returning, and she took the opportunity to crack a handful of jokes, as if making up for lost time. The battle had weighed heavily on her, and the girl was abundantly glad to be on the move again, despite the dull ache from her injuries. If Masaru could keep going with his, she could manage just fine, Michiko thought.

Kaken's mysterious map intrigued her and Michiko very much wanted a peek at it, but Chiiro's question hooked her attention more. Keimatsu was becoming a sensitive subject, and she chewed her lip while Masaru explained. He was oddly willing to talk about, as little as they were allowed, anyway, but she was glad he let the subject drop. There were still too many unresolved questions and Michiko was too worn-out to stir up her mind again.

"Keimatsu is a story we don't have time for and Kaken's a bastard only if he doesn't feed us soon," she quipped with a hint of a grin. "Did I mention I'm starving?"

The girl rolled her shoulders to shake out the stiffness, cracked her neck with a grimace, then cocked her head at the boy with a look of appraisal. After a moment, she nodded to herself and jerked a thumb at the road they had been following.

"C'mon. I don't believe in coincidence, so you're coming with us," Michiko said matter-of-factly. "'Sides, I doubt you'd wanna be here when all these ronin goons come to, 'f you know what I mean," she added with a grin.

Bariko
2008-08-04, 02:57 PM
Rio

Returning with his friends, Rio actually had his trademark smile on his face for a moment. He'd helped win the fight, healed those who deserved it, and seen Masaru open up, if only a little.

Spotting the map Kaken was holding, Rio tried to get a glimpse, but the angle made it impossible. Pausing at the mention of Keimatsu, he listened to the explanation offered by Masaru.

"It's true, we can't talk about it. But I'd say Kaken isn't a bastard, and Keimatsu didn't think so either. They're friends," he said matter-of-factly. "Though I am hungry, so I might call him one like Michiko, if we don't get some food."

Glancing at Chiiro, Rio paused. "You should probably go back to the village, in honesty. But, it's ultimately up to you, I suppose. What do you think, Kaken?"

Callos_DeTerran
2008-08-04, 03:35 PM
"What? You guys are hungry already?" Kaken said incredulously, looking stupefied by that little tidbit and blinking his one visible eye rapidly. "All of you should be fine for the rest of the day! You eat now, and not work it off, and you'll just get fat trust me. And the only who'll benefit from that will be Michiko. So we're not eating now and definitely not here. Once we get to the border of the Land of Rains we'll find a place to eat and not a moment sooner."

With that firm stance the man folds up his map and slips it back into it's pouch, tugging the zipper shut over top of it and returning to the discarded packs that had been dropped on the eve of battle. Slipping it unto his shoulders once more the charismatic man continued on past the troops that remained alive without a second thought and set off down the road without so much as a glance back to see if his charges were following.

An hour later, after the sun had cast it's last fitful ray of sunlight, there seemed to be respite in the shape of the warm glow coming from an inn (http://www.imeem.com/captaintawco/music/tteoR4nz/naruto_kakashis_theme/). Twin red lanterns chased away the dark from around the doorway with the sweet sweet smell of barbecue coming from past the greeting hall. Inside a comely young woman stood behind the desk, a ledger laid out in front of her, who smiled as the five entered.

"Welcome to Shima Inn and Hotsprings!" She chirps out, pausing at the sight of the rakishly grinning Kaken to smile, if it was possible, even wider. "Oh! Master Kaken, have you come back for another visit?"

"Er...actually just passing through tonight Aya. Are there any other customers here?"

The young woman, Aya presumably, regretfully shook her head and gave a theatrical sigh. "Not today, all empty."

Alright then! Give me five sepererate rooms, what ever smells so good and towel!" Kaken grinned as he pulled a money purse from another zippered pocket and tossed it over to the greeter. Finally his head twisted about to look to the genin. "Alright, you four get some food in you then your on your own. We leave at first light.

ChronicLunacy
2008-08-04, 04:10 PM
Masaru

Masaru gave the others a small shrug and followed Kaken without another word when his friends' demands for food were denied. However, his ruminations on whether Kaken was a bastard or not were quickly made up when he led them to a hot spring inn. Masaru may not have let the others see it, but he was dead tired and his wounds pained him. He'd been able to quickly bandage them up on the way, but he'd need to take off his outer coverings to look at the stab wound in his side, maybe even have Rio take a look at it. With his lack of skin in places, an infection was always a deadly possibility. So he'd have to find a private area to bathe himself with the special medical agents and solvents the doctors at the Mibu compound had given him once the others had gone to bed.

First, however, food.

Masaru stuck to soup and other non-solid food items. He could still chew, but doing so was very messy so he tried to stick to things he could spoon himself and eat on the first bite, tilting his head so that he didn't spill so much. Still not comfortable with doing this in front of anyone else, he secluded himself in his room after he'd served himself just like when they had been eating rice some time ago.

Afterward, he did something a little out of character and stripped down to just his white, linen bandages, leaving his black mask on, and joined the other boys in the hot spring after seeing to his newly acquired wounds again. He was still pretty much covered from head to toe, and favored his (heavily) bandaged flank where he'd been stabbed. What little healthy skin remained showed through a little on his chest and upper legs. Surprisingly, he was being a tiny bit sociable, even around Chiiro and Kaken. That being said, he didn't elect to speak very often. He just sat about shoulder-deep in the water and watched. He wondered how Michiko would be doing by herself in the girls' side of the springs...probably thankful she had some time alone.

OOC: I'm assuming they do separate the hot springs by gender like in the anime.

Dark_Prophet
2008-08-04, 04:12 PM
"Aw...but I'm literally starving. Well, I'll stick around until-" Chiiro looks at Kaken in surprise due to his seemingly quick changes in attitude, then realizes the Jounin is just ignoring him. He retrieves his pack, and trudges along behind the group, grumbling to himself for most of the journey.

When they reach the inn, the scarred boy's sulking composure is instantly replaced by contented happiness as the Jounin pays for their room and board, his stomach rumbling after the hour long walk.

"Hey, thanks Kaken! Thats really nice of you, since I lost all my money and all my stuff. And all my friends..." His smile sort of remained fixed, and he glanced around, heading towards the nearest table, sitting down and falling into a chair, breaking the spear on his back with a audible snap in the process, and glancing blankly over the menu, not seeming to notice, finally settling on ordering a enormous helping of roast pork with rice, digging into it absently and finishing it quickly.

After he was done, he followed Masaru and the others out to the hotsprings, still withdrawn and silent even while enjoying the warm water and being out of his tattered clothes, reflecting inwardly on everything.

Callos_DeTerran
2008-09-13, 06:04 PM
Kaken nods friendly enough to the comments as the four of them, Rio, Kaken, Masaru, and Chiiro soak in the water but there was no sign of Michiko considering that there was in fact a separate bathing area for females. After a nice relaxing soak Rio gets out and quietly says he wants to get to sleep early, likely to try and forget the events of that morning. Considering the rooms were all separate Chiiro and Masaru didn't see Rio and Michiko when they went up to the hot spring rooms themselves but they did note that Kaken wasn't heading to his own room when he got out.

----------------------------------------------------------

In the morning Chiiro and Masaru are forced to wait down in the lobby for at least an hour before Kaken joins them, subtly cleaning his nails on his long black coat and looking solemn with his backpack thrown over one shoulder. The eye-patch was still in place oddly enough and he made no move to wait as he moved to the door.

"Come on...Michiko and Rio have left for the capital. They said to go ahead without them since they refuse to travel with me anymore." He says softly, pausing as he opens the sliding door, "So we're going to continue our original plan to go to the Land of Fire and try and send a messenger hawk to see if their alright." Was all he would say on the subject but he left before Chiiro and Masaru could question him and didn't answer their questions as he walked along. With no other choice, not knowing which direction Rio and Michiko took, the two genin are forced to follow the man that Keimatsu had trusted enough to care after Masaru and the other two and who had been partially responsible for freeing Chiiro.

The entire day hadn't even passed before Kaken frozen in the middle of the path and turned his head up towards the sky and grimaced. "Something's happening...I can practically feel the chakra in the air...Come on! Something this big happening in the Land of Birds? It might bode ill for your village so get a move on!" He barked out before breaking into a quick sprint that turned off the road and into the woods, doubling back towards Kagekure before leaping up into the tree branches and hoping from branch to branch. It was difficult to keep pace with the man but all too soon even you two can feel the pressure mounting of multiple high-intensity chakra sources close together and the fluctuation that could only be shinobi battling!

Finally the three of you explode out through a gap in the trees, landing on the dusty ground to take stock of the situation before you...