Gerontis

"Teddy Bears never forget."
Original poster
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Group Roleplays, Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
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Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably both, depending on the situation. Am at least comfortable with both.
Favorite Genres
A lot. Can't really pick a few out as it depends on the lore etc. etc. etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
I don't really dislike any, but I guess that I don't do a lot of superheroes or high school ones. Not that I am not interested in them. Oh dear, I am rambling.
A Long Time Out
| Empire of Akino | Konohagakure |
Hiron Hon
| Leader of Team 9 | Major General of the Third Division | Member of the War Council |
GlitchyBugger GlitchyBugger , ChromeHound ChromeHound , Nim Nim , Jason Targaryen Jason Targaryen , @~\The Talentless/~

Still waiting, Hiron noticed Kyoi approaching. He wasn't entirely certain on his opinion yet regarding the respective Hyuuga. Due to her position, he had the highest expectations of her. You shouldn't just be a specialised jounin without being able to prove that you earned the rank. Her arriving first of the group was thus something he could appreciate. It showed some certain discipline. Something that consistently was missing with a lot of lower ranked individuals. Ironically, most of the Hyuuga that he had been paired or those that had been assigned to his care. So while that did improve his opinion on Kyoi, her origin did indeed bring up his prejudice towards her kin. Not because of that they were a secluded clan or of their traditions. Being one of the few probably in the capital, Hiron could understand and somewhat appreciate the whole restriction that the Hyuuga clan once enforced upon their clan and members.
Of course, this wasn't appreciated by all but Hiron sincerely wondered if there was any Hyuuga left that saw the importance to protect one clan's secrets and assets. It wasn't like anybody could get away with attempting to steal a sharingan without giving cause for the Uchiha clan to make that person's life into a hell.

Returning her bow with a nod of his head, Hiron didn't react right away at what he suspected her attempt for some small talk.
"If anything, I do want to get moving. It will be a hassle to push the genin through. They won't be ready for what is planned but I doubt they ever will be." Was his reply, though spoken in a neutral tone, the man didn't seem too eager to explain his cryptic answer.
Before either of them could continue the talk, the others started to arrive. The rather lack of formality from Karma, who came second, didn't do much to improve Hiron's mood. He didn't imagine or desired to be seen as the sensei of either Karma or Kyoi. But some sense of formality to display respect to the large gap between their ranks should be there. Certainly, before the genin could raise the thought that they could drop it in his presence.

Just giving a nod, Hiron spotted the next member to arrive on the scene. It was the genin, Tomiko Hyuuga. After he had read some more reports that had her in the details, Hiron wasn't entirely happy with having her assigned to him. It was a mere blessing from the gods that Kyoi was assigned to the team as well. Probably a bigger saving grace for Tomiko than for himself, Hiron thought to himself, slightly entertained by the brief thought.
Returning the girl's bow with a curt nod, Hiron held his arms crossed out front of his chest as he awaited the next person of the group.

Following Tomiko was Shikaroku. The demeanour of Hiron didn't shift as the Nara approached the group. Barely giving a glance towards Shikaroku, there was the ghost of a smile briefly as Hiron would just turn his head to give Shikaroku a nod.
Then the last member, Yiko Uchiha, joined. Observing how the genin approached the group, it certainly lacked the outgoing and friendly demeanour that many genin seemed to have. Then again, most genin didn't have to kill on their first mission or almost lost a team member.
For a moment, Hiron did need to suppress a certain urge to punch the Uchiha. Not because his greeting lacked the proper formality or giving him respect. Reminding himself that he couldn't compare Yiko to Hisoka, Hiron realised that he was going to have some tough time to not uphold the genin to Hisoka's standards. Though, it certainly would be a boon if the Uchiha could produce more quality that Hisoka had been made of.

"We are going. No slacking behind. And the first to bellyache will be severely punished." Hiron said, on a very audible and stern tone.



The group left Konohagakure on foot. The paved way made their trek not uncomfortable. Due to the time that they left the Imperial capital, they were greeted with the sight of groups of people moving towards and from the imposing main gates that the team had left behind them.
If anything though, Hiron didn't seem to bother with making sure that the others were following him. A brisk pace was introduced by Hiron and almost gave the idea that the man was merely just starting.

By following the road, any observant member of the group would notice that they started to move towards the north. At some point, Hiron shot a look over his shoulder. The squad leader would raise his voice as he passed on some instructions. The formation that they would uphold was going to be relatively simple. Karma and Kyoi were placed at the rear while the genin were supposed to be in the middle as they all followed Hiron.

Another hour passed by when Hiron suddenly took a turn off the road. Without anybody else but the team on the road, Hiron would descend into a ditch and start to climb out of it. Thus managing to get on the other side. Without any pause, he continued to keep walking at the brisk pace.
Now going through less easy terrain as they traversed through fields, Hiron was leading them away from the road. And turning towards the southeast.
He was sure that there would be questions, as they had walked in a not-comfortable pace for some time and now seemed to head back. Only as if Hiron just remembered that he had forgotten to lock the door of his home.
Yet, the group continued to avoid contact with the roads or any farms. Leading them through fields and meadow, he seemed to be sure where they should be going. With some woodlands in sight, up ahead, Hiron signalled that they could have a break. For ten minutes.

Keeping to himself, Hiron brought up the route in mind. If they wanted to reach their destination then it would have been a week or two on the roads. Seeing that they would take a somewhat more alternative route, he wasn't so certain that they would manage it in such a short time. Not without managing to acquire any mounts.



The sky started to darken but Hiron still marched on. Relentless, he would keep the team moving on. Ignoring any questions or attempts at small talk, Hiron made sure that everybody kept focused on the task of marching.
Finally as the absence of the sun made it difficult to see where they were walking, Hiron would signal that they would stop. In the middle of the woods, there was no clear landmark to identify where they were.

"No fire. No technique either. The first person who I spot breaking any of these rules will be left behind. With a broken arm and leg, at best." The threat was given in a calm fashion as Hiron dropped his back. Kneeling, he briefly rummaged through it while already giving another order to the group.
"Eat something for now. We will soon establish watches and then try to get some rest. At dawn, we will move on."

Certain that morale wasn't great, Hiron didn't really give a damn about it. Throwing a look around, their surrounding wasn't the most comforting one. The increasing cold of both the winter season and night would make it difficult to just fall into sleep. The absence of a warm fire certainly shouldn't help either.
Growing a bit more content with the harsh situation they all had to deal with, Hiron once more kept to himself as he 'enjoyed' the dry and cold meal he had prepared for himself. Tomorrow, they would experience what true dread entitled.
 
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Oetje

Stormraven
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
My Usual Online Time
Really sporadic. My schedule is somewhat of a mess at times.
Writing Levels
Intermediate
Genders You Prefer Playing
No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
I can go with both. I am rather flexible.
Favorite Genres
I like a lot of genres such as magical, modern, fantasy. Anything with an interesting plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anything that is too focused on something that I don't feel too comfortable with. Such as furry.
Priorities
Imperial Team (Konohagakure) 4 | Aoi Miyazato ( FrostedCaramel FrostedCaramel ) , Madoc Yamanaka ( Oblivion666 Oblivion666 ), Dagrún Hon ( Aliceee Aliceee ) and Meilin Cho ( Oetje Oetje ) | Ardara, within the Sarutobi heartlands | Hlorf's Mug, the inn at which team 4 stays at while in Ardara |



Summary:
Receiving a mission, Meilin briefs the team in on the details and gives them their instructions. Afterwards, the team split into two pairs. Each pair having their own objective.



It was comforting, in a way. Watching how people went about their business. Either alone, in pairs or small groups. Though the architecture wasn’t too alien, it didn’t quite have the feeling of home. It closely resembled what most buildings in the Cho compound looked like and yet had a subtle distinction from them.
Meilin threw a glance in the room, hearing some movement. They were all together.
Ever since they had came into the city, Aiko Cho had arranged a place for them to stay. A rather spacious inn that seemed much more luxurious than what they had experienced on their previous missions. The group was separated among two rooms. Aoi and Madoc shared one, and Meilin shared a room with Dagrún; both rooms adjacent to one another. Team 8 also resided in the same inn but Meilin wasn’t concerned regarding them.
”Let us all sit down,” Meilin began as she gestured to the beds. ”We got some matters to talk about. And I need your opinions.”

Waiting for the door to close and the team to settle down, Meilin would stand herself up. She would take a second to formulate and weigh the words in her mind before she started to speak.
”We are currently in the city of Ardara. But we aren’t on a vacation.” Placing her hands at her back, Meilin would take a position so that she would be facing the team.
”We got a task assigned to us. An escort task. Which means that we will be on a job. Further implying that I got to prohibit any consumption of alcohol, going out or causing a scene with the locals.” Understanding that this wasn’t the most pleasant news, Meilin shot each of them a serious look.
”I am not saying this cause I feel that we need more discipline. I am saying this cause the situation that we find ourselves placed into is a bit... tricky.” Deciding to wait, she would see what kind of response would be given back by the others.

Still a bit taken aback by the quality of the inn they were staying in, Aoi had been rather occupied by the carved wooden handles of the chair she had claimed when Meilin spoke up. Fumbling for a second to sit herself up she’d quickly blow her hair out of her face and focus in on her team leader. Brushing the remaining hair out of her face as nonchalantly as possible as she’d ignore any sort of attention the others may have been paying to her and nod along as Meilin outlined a few things she was already aware of, and a few she wasn’t.

Raising her hand like a kid in grade school, Aoi wouldn’t wait to be called on before speaking up, “Now not saying I don’t like tricky. I do. Tricky is fun at least when we’re not dealing with it. But what uhm,” she shrugged and motioned vaguely at Meilin, “What do yu mean by tricky?”

While waiting, Dagrún was checking and cleaning a few of her knives. Humming softly to herself, she would stop and pay attention to Meilin when the latter spoke up.Slowly Dagrún would sheath her knives before she would also raise a hand up, much in the same fashion as Aoi did.
”Who is it that we need to escort? Cause if you fear that we won’t be enough,” Lowering her right hand, Dagrún gestured to them all in the room, ”Perhaps we can turn to potential allies. I am not talking of Team 8. But it is the Allthing. Some of my kin will be present in the city. Maybe even willing to lend us some resources if I am allowed to speak to them, captain.”

Sitting against the wall as he waited for Meilin to begin, he would briefly wonder just how handicapped Aoi and him would be. The amount of words he actually understood since coming to Ardara was primarily from them when they spoke Taika. He had a feeling that Taika was not a preferred way of speaking around here. So when Meilin did speak up and explain, Aoi would be the first to ask after raising her hand what Meilin meant by “tricky”.
Dagrun suggested getting help from her kin, which felt more like a fallback plan to him. They shouldn’t have to go for help right away.
”I don’t think we should look for aid right away, we don’t even know if we will need it. Guess knowing what is so “tricky” is step one. Although…. I feel like what makes this tricky is us.” Madoc would state plainly, it was a shot in the dark and who knows maybe he was wrong. Yet she left it on tricky for a reason.

Slightly amused as Aoi raised her hand, Meilin had expected them to ask that question. Dagrún also spoke up, bringing up a suggestion. Only followed by a reaction of Madoc.
”What I mean by tricky is that we are operating in a city in which ‘outsiders’ aren’t that welcome. Certainly not after some recent events.” Meilin started to explain. ”A lot of the Sarutobi clans have been wary and on guard ever since a large clash came to be in the region of Pinedale.” Leaving out the part that she had been there herself, Meilin would just continue on with the briefing.

”It is going to be even more difficult to operate with the Allthing going on. For the next few days, prominent members and leaders of the Chonobi clans will come to the city to attend to the meeting. Feuds will be discussed, possible plans and what not. We won’t have any access to it but we will notice it with the increased security.”
Meilin paused to let the information sink in before she spoke further.
”We are assigned to watch and guard a noble. To not get you guys,” Meilin shot a subtle glance at Madoc and Aoi, ”too confused, I will try to explain it as good as I can. He is what we call a thegn. Something what we can consider either similar to a samurai or even small clan leader, depending on their possessions and influence. His name is Torio and he is what most would call an Asiske. Somebody that has adopted Taika manners and fashion. A small group within the Cho heartlands have done that and I doubt I need to explain that it isn’t really appreciated by some of the more traditional or what one could call radical elements.”

Pausing, Meilin shot a glance at Dagrún. Though she had an idea on how to run the operation and what everybody’s part could be in it, there was some doubt growing within Meilin. How long had it been that she had made a similar request to Kensuke when they had their operation in Keishi?
”Dagrún, you and Aoi will go to see your kin. Don’t tell them yet about our operation. But see what information you can gather about the Cho jarls and thegns. Torio is a subordinate to the jarl of Dagny, so you two can start with that.” Turning her attention to Madoc, Meilin nodded towards the Yamanaka.
”Madoc and I will check out a few places. I do have some information on where Torio resides. We will go and scan the sites for possible places where we can take up guard. Before we go, however, I need to stress out one more thing.”
Feeling a bit conflicted, Meilin would keep her expression and tone calm.
”We all will need to dress like we are part of the locals. It is already an advantage if we can blend in with the crowd. But it is going to be more than an advantage. It is going to be the difference between avoiding trouble or causing it.”

Aoi was more than capable to see that she would stick out, it didn’t take a genius or even a person versed in the Chonobi ways and this “Allthing” to understand that much, “I’ve pulled off Chonobi dress before. Don’t see why I can’t do it now.” Aoi said aloud with a shrug before turning to Dagrún and offering her a thumbs up and an apologetic little smile, “You obviously need to handle the talking though.” she had more questions, but she could ask them later.

Nodding to emphasize that she understood what their captain told them, Dagrún twisted her head slightly to look at Aoi, as the latter spoke up. A grin dawned on Dagrúns lips as she would lean towards the Miyazato, giving her a little bump against her shoulder. ”Gotcha. No worries though! I am sure you will be well received. I shall see to that.”
Turning her attention to Meilin, Dagrún would nod once more. ”Fine. I do suppose we shall rally here once we are done with our tasks? I dare say that we won’t be away for that long.”

Madoc simply gave a thumbs up to Meilin, not like he had a choice in their whole disguise. In a place where Aoi and himself where basically frowned upon, looking like themselves would get them nowhere even if Meilin and Dagrun were the ones talking for them. ”Sounds good, but same thing as Aoi. You are going to have to talk for me if it comes to that.” Madoc stated as he pushed himself off the wall and to a standing position.

Receiving the response from each, Meilin was content with how they responded in return.
”We rally here, yes.” She began, answering Dagrún’s question. ”I don’t think that we will all need much time to fully prepare. After all, we know what our limits are. And it is unlikely that any possible attempt will be large scaled because of the city’s security.”
Turning her attention to Madoc, Meilin flashed a smile.
”Let us go then.” She said, turning her attention to Aoi and Dagrún afterwards.
”Good luck.”
[/spoier]
 
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Nim

Active Identity Unknown
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Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
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One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
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No Preferences
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I'm fine with both
Favorite Genres
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller, Modern, Fandoms
Off the Tracks
Karma Minami
Chuunin, Konohagakure



After all the genins arrived to, with Yiko giving her specifically a respectful nod, Karma turned her full attention to Hiron. He gave his brief, very straightforward instructions, before the whole team began heading out. As they began their trek, the paved path certainly made things feel more comfortable, for as long as they were on it. It quickly became apparent to her that they were headed north. When given the instructions, Karma quickly followed them, moving to the back of the group and letting the genin move between her and Hiron.

Some time later, Karma wasn't sure how long it had been, Hiron had suddenly turned off the road, and walked straight through a ditch. After making sure they kept to the formation they were told to follow, Karma went and continued to follow the group, staying at the back. The off-road path they were following now was anything but comfortable to follow, but Karma didn't mind it. Part of being a shinobi required going off roads and into paths unknown, depending on the situation. Although she had no idea what was Hiron's plan, she knew the best course of action was to continue following the instructions given.

They kept avoiding any physical roads or farms for some time, Hiron kept moving forward while it became dark around them, until he marked for all of them to stop in middle of some woods, that may as well have been in the middle of nowhere. He quickly gave them some more instructions, alongside a very calm sounding threat. Without speaking a word, Karma quietly sat down on the ground, placing her Naginata right besides her, before opening her bag. Taking out a ration, she unraveled it to show a small piece of bread and a piece of dried tomato. After briefly looking around, she began to eat, making sure to make the most out of the simple ration.
 

Jason Targaryen

Lord One-Eye
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays, Private Convo Roleplays
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Speed of Light, Several Posts a Day, A Few Posts A Day
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Intermediate, Adaptable
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Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both
Favorite Genres
Scifi, Fantasy, Modern, Magical, Horror, Romance, Fandom

►Tomiko Hyuuga◄
►Team: Team 9 Genin
►Location: Konohagakure || Team 9 Meeting Point

When everybody had finally arrived at the rally point, Tomiko was starting to realize that Yiko kinda had a thing about always being late. The small hyuuga wondered for a moment if this was by choice, or he was just that forgetful that he showed up late. She couldn't imagine always being late was doing him any favors with their sensei, but he wasn't scolded for his actions by Hiron. Perhaps it was such a common trend Hiron had simply accepted it? She was not sure, but it also wasn't really something Tomiko felt needed to be answered any time soon. Giving a quick greeting by way of a nod towards her two teammates, Tomiko turned her attention back towards Hiron as he gave his rather simple and short orders.

Soon after, the team was heading off with the genin in the middle. Tomiko ensured to keep up, finding the first part of the journey rather easy and comfortable as they went along the path. She wanted to ask where they were going, and what it was that they were supposed to do but felt a bit intimidated at the thought. Hiron Hon was most certainly an intimidating man and did not seem like the kind who really appreciated questions at times like these. However, Hiron soon enough seemed to decide that the perfectly good, clear path they were taking was not a good enough option and suddenly veered off. Immediately leading the team into a ditch, then back out of it and through various fields and meadows. This path was alot less comfortable, as Tomiko found that some of the fields were rather difficult to walk through when you were as short as she.

Yet not once did the girl complain. She knew that Hiron would not look favorably upon somebody complaining, yet more importantly to her, Tomiko did not want to be seen as a weight on the team who couldn't even handle traversing this rough terrain. So in silence, she tried her best to keep up with the group, even as she had to work a bit harder to ensure she did. After a long while of super-fun traversing through a field, Hiron allowed the team to have a ten-minute break. Something she took advantage of, as she took a quick drink of water from the bottle she had brought. Then pulling down her mask to allow herself to catch her breath, she tried to relax and recover from everything so far.

However, they were soon heading off once more, continuing their trek through the countryside, and avoiding civilization for... whatever reason. As they moved, the Hyuuga tried to think of why they could possibly be doing all of this. She decided that either this was some super strange training exercise, or that there were possibly enemies on the roads. The second option sounded a bit weird to the hyuuga, as they were still within the lands of the Empire best she could tell. So surely the roads would be safer here? Whatever the case, it was not her place to question Hiron. Not that she was confident he would feel particularly inclined to answer her, as the man definitely stuck her as more of a silent type than anything else.

Then they were finally allowed to stop for the night. Something Tomiko was thankful about but did her best not to show it. The girl wanted to prove herself to this team, especially after her pathetic display during the first training. Quietly moving to stand nearest to Kyoi, the girl watched the group as Hiron instructed them all to eat. Tomiko pulled out a simple ration and ate it quietly as she wondered about what the next day would hold, or even the night for that matter. Since there was to be no flame and no techniques, she imagined that it would get rather cold pretty quickly out here. However, if they complained, she had no doubts that Hiron would make good on his threat to his own team. She was thankful she had brought warm clothing and such but wondered for a moment if it would be enough to not freeze. However, once again, she was not going to make her doubts known as she was rather against the idea of being left behind with broken limbs.
 

Gerontis

"Teddy Bears never forget."
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably both, depending on the situation. Am at least comfortable with both.
Favorite Genres
A lot. Can't really pick a few out as it depends on the lore etc. etc. etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
I don't really dislike any, but I guess that I don't do a lot of superheroes or high school ones. Not that I am not interested in them. Oh dear, I am rambling.
Brothers in Arms - Part 1
Eastern Continent | Wolf Country.
Allied Forces - Imperial Akenians.

A collab between Chromehound and Gerontis.

Summary:
As a part of the allied forces draws the enemy attention, even engaging them already, the trap slowly closes around the enemy forces. Being in overall charge to lead attack over the crossing, to flank the enemy, Hayate moves in. Soon enough, the skill and determination of the allied force is tested as the enemy doesn't easily break upon the arrival of more allied forces.




In the distant, the sounds of battle were faint but still audible if one would attempt to listen. The wind gently carried the sounds of horns, that rang over the river. The myriad sounds of steel blades biting into flesh, the screaming of the wounded and desperate, joined by the cracking of wood shafts and shields. Various scout parties had been sent over the nearby crossing, that the enemy hadn’t reinforced the outposts at the river - which had been cleared out this morning by the troops, those who were now engaged with the enemy horde.
Quick work was being put into establishing the pontoon bridge. The preparations were paying off as combined work of Lightning engineers and allied nin - who used their abilities to walk over water, to aid the construction - made the tedious job being complete within a few hours.

The completion of the pontoon bridge would be followed by an orderly stream of allied forces moving over the river. The sounds of battle started to become more present as the forces attempted to get into position - the nearby hills shielding them from the attention of the enemy as well allowing the majority of the allied force to witness how the battle was going.

Standing in the fog at the edge of the bridge, Hayate closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He could feel his heart beginning to beat faster in anticipation of the battle that lay ahead. For all the preparation they had completed, Hayate still wondered if there was anything they had missed. Despite his own doubts, the men and women of the allied forces were relying on him. This was not a time to show doubt, or fear. Opening his eyes, Hayate turned to face the troops before him. The fog obscured the majority of the troops from his vision, but officers were placed throughout to relay his signals.

Nodding his head towards the officers near the front, Hayate raised his hand to signal the march. Waiting to receive the confirmation from the first line, he held his hand in the air, lowering it as the troops began to march forward. Turning back, Hayate nodded towards the guards at his side and they too began marching forward across the bridge.

It took a long time for the allied forces to cross the bridge, considering the sheer size of the force. It gave Hayate and the officers enough time to gather everyone, however, so the commander did not complain. The only thing that nagged at the back of his mind was the fear that the longer they took, the more they were putting the forces in the South at risk. Glancing towards Meryn and Tona, both of whom had requested to be a part of his personal guard, Hayate nodded and flashed a slight smile. Meryn smiled back first, the excitement visible in his eyes. He had always been more of a fighter and his enthusiasm was infectious. Tona was more reserved and Hayate could see a brief glimpse of uncertainty on her face before she returned the smile. Those two had been inseparable since the Shoji days and Hayate was glad to have them here with him now.

Once the allied forces had fully gathered on the other side of the bridge, Hayate faced them, sizing them up for a long moment. Folding his hands behind his back, he nodded and began to pace the line.

“ Soldiers! Today we fight! Not as individuals divided by nation, but as men and women united by a common goal! Look at the soldiers beside you! Today they wear the same colours! Today the bonds we forge through blood are stronger than anything threatening to pull us apart! Today, we are brothers! Sisters!

Soon we will meet the enemy face-to-face, blade-to-blade! I stand before you resolved and ready to lay my life on the line! Should this be our day to die then by the Dragon shall we give them a fight to remember! Inch by inch we will break them! Inch by inch we will carve our way through their lines until there is nothing left but blood and victory!

May the lightning of your glory be seen and the thunders of your charge be heard across the land! Today the Dragon’s Fire surges through your veins! Soldiers! Today we show these bastards the true meaning of fear! Who’s with me!?”

The roar of the troops was joined by Hayate’s own as he turned back, a single hand raising and signaling the charge. The sound continued to grow as thousands of feet thundered across the earth, a cacophony of sounds arising from the men and women who charged forward. Breaking through the fog, the allied forces under Hayate’s command stormed towards the enemy. As they neared their target, Hayate watched the Rong troops look around, confused faces turning as they tried to identify the new threat. Many of the opposing troops turned fully to face the oncoming forces. Some, however, were not as lucky, or as quick, and crumpled under the onslaught.

Hayate and his unit crashed into the line, weapons swinging through the air wherever they could find an opening. It was a bloody, chaotic mess and Hayate wondered how anyone could tell friend from foe. Instead, he simply focused on pushing forward, where he knew the enemy would be. As the unit continued to advance, Hayate caught glimpses of Meryn and Tona battling their way through and felt a strange comfort knowing that they were fighting side by side once again.



This was hell.

The sounds of men roaring battle-cries, shrieking out of fear and pain, the sound of steel cleaving through wood and flesh. It filled and shook the air. What the poets and bards described as pure beauty was something entirely else.
Blocking an attack with his shield, Koike didn’t hesitate to push back against his attacker. With a fast slash, he felt the vibration going through the blade into his arm. The nearby shout of anger mixed with pain was the only confirmation that he had hit his mark.

The lines were holding but it hadn’t been looking well. The enemy was inferior in equipment and skill. They were met with their shieldwall. The men of the 13th were most eager to prove their value. Axes ripped through tunic and woollen shirts, steel swords punctured through stomachs and spears jabbed their attackers with ease.
Peeking over the rim of his shield, Koike saw another of the horde rushing in to take the place of his fallen brother. The man raised his mace, his features a mixture of fear, anger and excitement. The attacker’s weapon would rise as the man took a step forward, ready to take another and bash against Koike’s shield.
Grunting, Koike would move his shield slightly. The steel of his sword would be shoved forwards and simply pierced the attacker’s chest. With a firm jerk, Koike pulled his weapon backwards. A roar escaped his throat, shouting the command to hold.

The snow would be trampled, dirtied by the fighting. Blood and sweat started to cover it as the attackers were more than eager to keep pressing on, despite the heavy casualties they were suffering.

Feeling the faint sting of exhaustion, Koike would clench his teeth on each other. Raising his shield, the young officer blocked a strike and followed the block with a strike of his own. Before he pulls his sword back and readies himself for the next possible attacker, the warrior to his right would curse out loud.
The warrior would be pulled into the line of the enemy as one of the attackers managed to grab hold of him. The unfortunate member of the 13th would be rolling into the enemy, attracting some of the attacker’s attention. Despite wanting to aid the unfortunate soldier, Koike was sure it was too late. The cry for help never came as various attackers started to stab and beat their crude weapons into the helpless soldier.

Angry and frustrated, Koike gripped his weapon into an iron grip. A young man, probably a few years younger than him, came up charging. He wielded a spear, aimed down to attempt to pierce Koike in his stomach. The charge came to a brutal halt as Koike blocked the spear with his shield. An angry swing and the steel bite deep into the young man’s neck. Wanting to pull it out, Koike’s eyes widened. Before he could do something as he realised it, he felt a strong tug, attempting him to fall forward.



For every soldier they cut down, two more seemed to fill the space and Hayate feared they weren’t making any headway. The charge had gone well, at least at first. The allied forces had cut a swath through the enemy’s flank, piercing deep into their lines. The further they went, however, the worse off they got as the enemy began to close in around them and they lost momentum.

Parrying an incoming strike with one of his swords, Hayate shifted his stance and plunged his second blade forward, catching the attacker just underneath his left arm and dropping him in a heap. As he pulled the blade out, Hayate had to reel back quickly to avoid another attack, this time from his side. Ducking, he avoided yet another blow before bringing his swords whirling around and slicing through the man’s midsection. Beads of sweat gathered on his brow but Hayate did not even have time to wipe them away before his next attacker lurched forward, wielding an axe and a crude shield.

The man attempted to barrel through Hayate with the shield, but the Hyuzu held his ground. Pulling the man closer so that he would not have room to swing the axe, Hayate stabbed over the shield, grazing the man’s arm and eliciting a pained snarl. Shifting, the man pulled Hayate off balance and struck at him with the axe. Grunting, the Hyuzu was thankful for the mesh armour covering his body as the axe did not pierce through. It was going to leave one hell of a bruise though…

Dropping to one knee, Hayate pivoted and sliced one of his blades through the man’s leg, causing him to topple forward. As soon as the man was off balance, Hayate rose from his knee, smashing the pommel of one sword into the man’s temple and the second blade through his chest. The man slumped to the ground dead and Hayate looked ahead, hoping there was an end to the throng coming soon.

A noise tore his attention away as he heard a familiar voice letting out a pained yell. Glancing to the side, he saw Tona reeling back, clutching her side. No! Dodging past yet another attacker who charged towards him, Hayate weaved through the throng, trying to make his way towards the wounded girl. Meryn beat him to it and he watched as the redhead's eyes lit up in a rage. Meryn cut through three enemies in quick succession, using his hand-axes with savage efficiency. Hayate arrived just as Meryn finished clearing the last of the enemies that had surrounded Tona. Rushing to the girl’s side, he checked to make sure the wound was not too serious. Brushing him off, Tona gritted her teeth and shook her head. ”I’m fine, it’s not deep. Keep going.” The girl had lost some colour in her face, but Hayate nodded. There was no easy way of pulling her out of the fight anyways, the best they could hope for was to push through and get her some medical attention once the battle was over.

Turning to Meryn, Hayate gave him a simple nod of the head and saw a flash of relief in the boy’s eyes. Taking one last look at Tona to make sure she was still up, Hayate moved forward once more, both swords raised.



They were pushing.
It was slow and tedious. And an expensive push at that. Whatever the gods had decided, it was apparent that they had to sacrifice a few of their own to many of them - no matter how cautious they were. The crude weapons of the enemy slammed, slashed and tried to beat through the plate and mail. Even while most of the enemy didn’t ever manage to send one of the 13th to the afterlife, few did succeed.
The fight was going in their favour for now but it became clear that many of them were getting exhausted. The battle-eager and hardened men, fighting underneath the standard of the 13th, started to become less fierce. With each enemy that they cut down, they became a tad more tired. All the while, the horde was still massive.

Managing to get past the lines, Koike spat on the ground. He wasn’t sure if his own armour had prevented a few blows getting through. His right arm was aching heavily, his shoulders were heavy and yet the enemy was still numerous. Looking from his position, on the hill, he could oversee some of the battle.
Their shieldwall was still holding strong and keeping the enemy from overwhelming the centre. Though not clear, Koike didn’t see much problems at the other flanks. Yet, he saw no sign that the enemy was about to give up.
For a painstaking moment, the rumours of before pierced through the chaos that surrounded him. A whisper managed to slip through the sounds of officers yelling at their men and captains giving instructions.

What if they had been mere lambs for the slaughter?

Even anger growing and fueling him with some energy, it was merely brief as change started to ripple through the battle. Raising his left hand, Koike wiped some of the blood and sweat of his face. Trying to see it, he could see the collision at the flank of the enemy. A large wave of combatants streamed over the hill and fields that were near the centre crossing of the river.
”Skuli,” Koike yelled, trying to ignore the raw pain at his throat. ”Loose!”
The simple command would initiate a radical change. The nearby large, bearded captain would bellow the instruction - in an almost laughing fashion. Only to follow it with a charge down the hill. Any that were foolish to stand in the large captain’s path were slammed and hacked down by the man’s axe. Followed by openings in the shield wall, allowing fresher warriors to flow into the enemy.
The charge seemed to give impact, pushing and driving the enemy back. Furiously hacking and stabbing, the men of the 13th started to pave through their opponents.

Gripping his sword, Koike muttered something underneath his breath as he threw a look where the other allied force started to find more resistance among their enemies.
With more determination than before, he would follow others into the fray.



It felt as if they had been fighting for hours but Hayate knew it had only been a matter of minutes. The allied forces continued to push into the zealots’ flank, gaining ground slowly. They were paying for every inch in blood and Hayate wondered which side was going to run out first…

The fighting was a frenzied mess with barely any room to maneuver between the bodies, alive or dead. Every time they managed to clear some space to advance, a fresh wave of zealots surged forward to block their path. The allied troops were significantly outnumbered, but they had the advantage of better equipment. The zealot forces were, for the most part, equipped with crude looking weapons, many of which were unfamiliar to Hayate. Not that he had long to study them between enemies, but the few glimpses he did get confirmed the metal was also of a lower quality. Despite the slight disadvantage to them however, the zealots seemed to show no concern and threw themselves into the fray with little regard for their own lives. The willingness of the zealot forces to sacrifice themselves as fodder against the allied forces was as admirable as it was disturbing...

Parrying a thrust from a strange barbed weapon, Hayate spun one of his swords in his hand and plunged it backwards through a zealot that had managed to get around behind him, before pulling it out and cutting down the zealot with the strange barbed weapon. He could feel his body growing fatigued and ignored it. There would be time for exhaustion later… Advancing again, Hayate’s thoughts briefly flashed to Koike, hoping the Hon’s forces were not overwhelmed by the enemy. If the line fell… Forcing his thoughts back to the task at hand, Hayate carved through another zealot before turning and kicking another, watching as one of the allied soldiers used the opportunity to plunge his blade into the off-balance zealot.

A sharp pain brought his attention back and Hayate winced, glancing down to his leg where one of the fallen zealots had managed to stab him with a small blade. The mesh armour did not travel down to his legs and instead he simply had leather armour protecting the area. Snarling, Hayate swung his own blade down savagely, cutting through the zealot’s hand before stomping down hard on the man’s skull, hearing a sickening crunch when he did so. The move had been a stupid one, done in anger and Hayate recoiled as another fresh wave of pain shot through him from his leg. Pulling the blade out, he tossed it aside and tried to put pressure on the leg, testing to make sure the damage wasn’t too severe. The movement hurt, but it wasn’t enough to immobilize him. Gritting his teeth, Hayate looked up towards the ceaseless waves of zealots in front of him. Fueled by anger, the Hyuzu let out a loud roar and charged forwards with renewed vigor.

Fucking break…



Grunting, he kept trying to move forward. It was hard to walk over ground that was wet by blood and internals, while fresh corpses were in the way. Meanwhile, trying to remain stable while stepping on or over the bodies was certainly no easy task with screaming and angry enemies so close by. A new volley of arrows would plunge into the enemy ranks, decimating quite a few dozen.
Pushing forwards with his shield, Koike decided to flow some chakra through the steel of his blade. The aching in his arm started to grow to a numbing sensation as he kept stabbing and hacking at the enemy.

At his right, a soldier with an axe slammed the blade into the skull of an attacker. But couldn’t pull it out. Noticing another attacker attempting to make use of the opening, Koike quickly reacted. Stepping forward, he would jab his weapon into the side of the new enemy. Twisting the handle and jerking it out, he turned to face another opponent.
The man was slightly taller and a quick glance was more than enough to say that this opponent had quite some strength. Noticing the large club, Koike tried to step backwards and raise his shield. Anticipating the heavy blow, he didn’t expect the world to tremble.
Wood shattered as the club slammed through the coloured wood, almost slamming Koike full on the ground.

Down to a knee, the young colonel gripped his blade and trusted forward. The sharp steel, engulfed by a layer of chakra, easily cut through the man’s leg. As Koike pulled out the weapon, he would attempt to rise up and use the motion to slice at the enemy.
Though successful, he was now at the front without a shield. Panting, he noticed another foe rushing at him. Trying to raise his sword to parry and deliver a riposte, somebody else beat him to it.
A hearty laugh bellowed through the sounds of battle as Skuli deflected the blow with his shield and easily swept the man away with his weapon. Only to continue on as a deadly force, apparently not intimidated by the amount of enemies remaining.

The allied force from the south started to carve slowly through the ranks of the enemy.
Hanging back a few ranks, Koike tried to understand how far away they were from the other allied force. But without being on horseback or anything else to allow him to gain a better viewpoint, he had no clear idea. He did sighted some banners up ahead but that could be both relative far away, with many enemies in between them.
Now without a shield, Koike pulled out a long knife with his left hand. Trying to regain some of his stamina with hanging back, the colonel decided for another assault.

Just as he would join the first line again, he heard a battlecry. Through the chaotic mess of sounds, he wasn’t entirely sure if he had heard it right or not. But filled with new vigour, he kept hacking at the enemy.
Dispatching a foe, Koike already raised his blade as he was sure that another foe was in the way. Only to be met with a familiar face.



Hacking through the zealots, the fury clear in his eyes, Hayate pressed on. He didn’t know if the rest of the forces with him were keeping pace, but he was too focused on carving a path ahead that he didn’t care. Ducking underneath a large weapon resembling a spear of some kind, Hayate brought both swords forward and rose, plunging them into the chest of two zealots in his path. Continuing past them, he twisted the blades and pulled them out. As the two zealots fell, Hayate pushed ahead, seeing a fresh wave charging forward. Baring his teeth, the Hyuzu raised his blades and brought them down, ready to strike.

At that moment he realized who this new wave was and stopped the swords inches from their intended target. Though he was covered in blood, grime and sweat, Hayate would recognize his friend anywhere.

“Koike!”

Blinking, Koike hadn’t been able to raise his sword as his new foe had one more than him. Only a second later did he recognise and hear Hayate stating his name. Around them, the allied force would squash the enemy force in between them, demolishing their numbers rapidly before turning and uniting to the remaining horde.
Lowering his sword after realising that they weren’t on the front rows anymore, Koike nodded as he tried to calm down. It was surreal to suddenly find Hayate, giving him some more hope that they would be able to see the day pass together.

”Aye. Seems you weren’t late for the party.” Koike managed to produce, requiring to raise his voice to make himself audible. Seeing the weapons of choice, there was a wry smile growing on Koike’s features. ”Swords eh?”

A wave of relief washed over him and Hayate grinned. Using one of his sleeves, he attempted to rub some of the dirt and blood from his face but only managed to smear it. Ignoring it, Hayate chuckled. “Not enough room to swing a staff or spear around here.” he replied in an amused tone, raising the swords slightly to emphasize. “It is good to see you. How is the 13th?”

Nodding to emphasise that he understood, Koike took a step aside, as if by letting Hayate see the 13th himself would be enough of an answer. ”We took some losses. But they have been able to push hard.” A certain pride swelled in Koike’s voice as he responded in return. ”But I think we need to push harder to break them. I haven’t been able to encounter any kind of commander. Just those damned rabble.” Throwing a look where the new front was established, with allied forces holding it, Koike tried to ignore the darker thoughts that crossed his mind.
”If we don’t break them, it is going to be over.”

Shaking his head, Hayate met Koike’s gaze. [color]“We won’t let that happen.”[/color] Turning for a moment, he looked back at the troops around them. The allied forces were forging ahead and Hayate wondered for a moment if the whole thing was indeed a fruitless endeavor… Clenching his fists around the handles to his swords, Hayate looked back up, determination in his eyes and the ghost of a smile on his lips. “Come on. We’ve got the White Blade and the Black Dragon. Hon and Hyuzu fighting side by side. What could possibly beat us?”

Though uncertain on if this battle would end well or at all this day, Hayate’s words did bring back a bit of spirit. Inhaling slowly, Koike wanted to state that Hayate should hang back. Losing their commander could be the push for a mass route. Assuming that it would be in vain to get his friend away from danger, Koike took the decision to make sure that he would stick close to him.
”Try to keep up then, eh?” Trying to sound as cheerful as he could, Koike turned towards the front. Making sure that he was ahead of Hayate, the colonel readied himself to be into the fray once more.

The fight was still going on without either side willing to surrender. The allied forces had taken losses but for every death of their own, they inflicted more casualties on the enemy.
Managing to reach the front row, Koike gripped the handle of his sword with both hands. Coming in with a hew from above, he would drive the steel of his sword into between the neck and right shoulder of a foe. The soft blue hue of chakra made it easier for the steel to bite deep and be pulled out of the grim wound.

Grinning as Koike told him to keep up, Hayate nodded. He didn’t want to admit it, but the brief respite from fighting was a welcome one. Charging alongside the Hon, Hayate readied his own blades, taking a cue from Koike and coating his swords in a thin layer of chakra.

As they rejoined the front line, Hayate positioned himself between Koike and another of the allied soldiers, being careful not to get in the way of any swinging blades. Spotting one of the zealots approaching with a scythe held high, Hayate stabbed forwards, catching the attacker in his midsection. Pulling his blade back, he readied to face the next attacker.

Parrying a blow, it felt actually good to fight alongside Hayate. Even though he was keeping focus on the battle, he was in any case happy to be at his commander’s side. Managing to deliver a riposte, sliding his blade into the throat of an enemy, Koike noticed that the blade was stuck. Trying to pull it out, the blood on the handle and his gloves made it slippery. Cursing out loud, Koike found himself with no weapons at hand.
Dodging an attack by stepping to the left, Koike grabbed the attacker’s axe. It was crude and meant to be wielded with two hands, not the ideal weapon of choice for Koike.
While grabbing the weapon with his left hand, he delivered a elbow against the face of his opponent. Managing to pull another one off, he pulled the weapon out of his opponents hands. Before he could swing the axe, another opponent rushed in and jabbed Koike’s left side. The crude iron tip couldn’t pierce through the steel chainmail but it sure delivered a strong enough trauma that it delayed Koike’s attack and made him stumble a step backwards.

Delivering a savage kick to the knee of the zealot that came at him after the man with the scythe, Hayate followed through with a swipe from his sword, catching the woman across her shoulder and neck and causing her to drop to the ground. As he turned back, Hayate caught sight of Koike struggling, the weapon pulled from his hands. Cursing as the Hon was put in a vulnerable position, Hayate stepped out of the line and moved to cover his friend. Swinging down with one of his blades, he cut through the shaft of the spear that the zealot had tried to stick Koike with. Pivoting, he brought the other sword around and sliced into the side of the zealot before kicking him away.

The movement had brought him out of position as well and Hayate cursed as he felt something slam into his side. A quick glance to his right showed his attacker lining up for another blow but before he could connect, a red blur came careening in, axes whirling. Hayate let out a sigh of relief as Meryn made short work of the zealot that had attacked him. Turning his head back to Koike, he gestured with his left hand. “Catch!” Throwing the sword towards the Hon, Hayate pulled out a strange looking dagger from a sheath on his left hip and rejoined the fight.

The crude axe bite deep into one attacker but the man with the spear was still remaining. Before he could attempt to react, Hayate came in to save his hide. Happy but also discontent with his moment of weakness, Koike didn’t start a fuss or argue. Catching the blade, it was lighter than his own swords but it was certainly better than the axe of before.
Joining the fight again, the horde didn’t seem to diminish. But slowly but surely, signs of panic started to seeth among the many enemies. Groups started to detach from the front, attempting to make safe way from the angry and determined allied forces.

Stopping his attack as he trying to catch breath, Koike looked around him. The allied force was quite disciplined. They did seem to give chase but were cautious as some attackers did try to turn around and pick a fight. Most of those who were fleeing were given no mercy, only to be struck or chopped down by their adversaries.
”We can leave those to the cavalry,” he tried to shout, making himself audible. Glad but exhausted, Koike tried to figure out what their next step would be. Horns in the distance range but he couldn’t get a good sight on what was going on. ”I have a bad feeling about this,” he tried to say to Hayate, frowning as more foreign horns of war rang and pierced through the ambience of battle.

They cleared away the front lines and Hayate watched as the zealots finally began to break. Nodding his head and letting out a sigh of relief, Hayate sheathed his dagger and turned to Koike, about to say something when they heard the first of the horns. Looking back, he tried to get a glimpse of where they were coming from but could not see anything over the hordes that still littered the battlefield. Frowning, he felt his grip tighten around the sword.

This was not good...

For a moment, Hayate wondered if he should summon Kuromu to scout ahead and provide air support. The risk was still too great however, and if another fight was headed their way, Hayate would need as much chakra as he could. Raising his sword, Hayate shouted out a command, giving the visual signal to any officers in eyesight. “Form up! Watching as the soldiers closest to them began to pull back into position, Hayate glanced at Koike. “Any ideas?”

Trying to figure out, he had a few ideas. The instruction of forming back into line was passed among the officers and repeated by the captains. Though the order wasn’t followed right away, the allied force was slowly getting back into a disciplined formation.
”No clue.” Koike replied, not sounding too happy about it. Spotting a couple of members of the 13th, Koike instructed the men something in their clan’s language. Causing the soldiers to briefly kneel down. Luckily the men seemed capable of lifting Koike a bit up, allowing the colonel to look over the rows of troops.

Spotting in the distance the sight of a large force gathering and forming up, the many blinking weapons and armor made it clear that these enemies weren’t as lightly armed or armoured as the majority of the foes.
”Seems like we got their elites rustled up.” Koike reported as he would be put down. ”If anything, we outnumber them. I suggest we try to wing around them while peppering them with what we got.”

Nodding, Hayate cursed inwardly. Thinking for a moment, he looked around before meeting Koike’s gaze. “Agreed. Spread the word to the rest of the officers. We will need to gather quickly and whittle them down before they can regroup.” Taking a breath, he felt another wave of exhaustion wash over him. Shaking it off, Hayate glanced at some of the other troops, noticing many who were still catching their breath in the momentary lull. “Bring the fresher troops forward and let those who fought on the front lines pick up the rear. It won’t do us any good having the most exhausted troops fighting at the head.”

Nodding to emphasise that he understood, Koike wanted to bring something up. ”I shall do it right away.” He replied, briefly lifting the sword as a smirk crossed across his dirtied face. ”I will hand it back after today, commander, sir!” Turning around, he would give a few shouts in Chonobi, which were followed by having a few men of the 13th to follow him into the direction of the other flank of the allied formation.

Watching as his friend took off, Hayate grinned ruefully. “You’d better…”
 

Lesli

Secret Shadow
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both.
Favorite Genres
Anything with a good plot or twists to it.
Genre You DON'T Like
Stories that can't keep my attention focused or seem to bland in my opinion.
Tea for the Tea Gods
Kirigakure, the capital of the Republic of Water | Kukiko's favorite tea establishment.
A collab between FrostedCaramel FrostedCaramel and Lesli Lesli
Involving the following characters:
- Yuki Kukiko
- Hayashi Neime

Summary:
Neime is summoned for a meeting with her sensei to be, Kukiko of the Yuki clan. The interaction seems to fare well but takes a rather intriguing turn. Leading to the declaration of what one could perhaps call the start of a cold war. And the possible admiration of a genin, for a foreigner.




Turning the page of her book Kukiko would yawn slightly as she read, glancing every so often through the open sliding door of the private seating that populated the entirety of Mizukuni Tea Shop to the front door of the establishment and the timepiece located directly to the side of it. Yawning once more she’d turn her eyes back to the book at hand and delve back into reading, not seeming to truly care if the person she was here to meet was late or not. Just as she began to delve into a particularly fascinating story of the first expedition to the mysterious Snow Country she was suddenly interrupted by a young woman she knew quite well. Willing her pulse to drop and her fist to relax she’d smile at the young girl and quietly nod as the woman made sure of her order for two people before disappearing around the edge of the privacy wall.

The interruption gone Kukiko would discreetly rub the ice that had formed on the table at her wrists so it would melt before the new genin she was to meet would arrive. With a sigh she took the book and gingerly bent it back and forth to loosen the flash frozen pages as best she could before doing her best to get lost in the story once more.

Closing in the distance, Neime would use the time and distance to compose herself. There had been a few ideas in her mind, that she valued and considered if they would be viable or not. The request for a meeting with Kukiko hadn’t been that surprising but Neime had been hoping for more time to prepare her current activities, to learn more about the Yuki.
Garbed in an attire that wouldn’t raise much attention, save it from the Hayashi crest at the back of her shirt, Neime would spot the establishment. Taking a second outside to take a deep breath in, the genin would open the door and glance around. Closing the door behind her, the girl seemed quite content already as she would spot the jounin. Approaching Kukiko, Neime would first make a small bow towards the Yuki.

"Hayashi Neime," she introduced herself with a polite tone and soft voice, keeping her head lowered for a second before straightening her back. Waiting for a response before taking a seat, Neime would avoid eye contact.

Unsurprised this time as a new voice approached her private table Kukiko would gave the girl a small wave to sit down as she remained focused on the book, ”Yuki Kukiko, tea?” she asked as she continued to follow the story of Matsuhime Higa and his band of explorers in the North.

Taking a seat, Neime would subtly glance at the cover of the book. She couldn’t entirely graps on what it was on about as she had never had any interest in the subject. Nor did she recognise the name of the author. Together with that she attempted to keep herself composed and focused, Neime would concentrate on providing an answer in return. "Yes, Ma’am, that would be lovely." Placing her hands on her lap, the young girl subtly bowed her head as she kept her head slightly lowered. A few times, she shot a subtle glance at the woman, through her eyelashes.

Nodding slightly to Neime she’d allow herself a smirk as the server from earlier returned with two cups of tea and a small bowl of sugar and a milk pourer. Turning her head for the first time she’d give the young server a warm smile and a nod as the girl shrunk back into the business and shut the sliding door without a word. The short moment gone she’d turn back to her book as she placed a small bookmark and shut it. Book still in hand she’d look for the first time at Neime and smirk, her dull eyes barely reflecting anything back at the young genin as she did.

”Do be careful, the tea will burn you.” she said as a word of caution while she picked up her tea and drank without issue.

As the waitress came with the order, Neime was surprised for a moment as it was revealed that there were two cups. Slightly amused, Neime could appreciate it though. "Thank you, you’re most kind." Neime picked up her tea. The warning of Kukiko caused Neime to look briefly at the jounin, seeing how she drank it without even blowing gently on the hot surface once. Unsure if it was a trick or not, Neime didn’t let herself be caught up by it and stare like some brute at the jounin.
"Yes, Ma’am." The genin replied as she blew gently on the surface of her warm beverage. It was tempting to analyze and speculate why the woman was able to drink her tea without even the slightest hint of discomfort at the temperature.

Savoring the tea for a moment she’d watch with a hint of curiosity as the young Hayashi seemed to wrestle with the idea that Kukiko was lying to her before deciding against that notion. Placing the tea down on its plate she’d bring a hand up the her chin as she leaned forward slightly, ”So Neime, I hope it’s alright I call you that,” she added quickly before offering another of her smiles, ”Let’s do something simple, you tell me something about yourself and I tell you something about me. Get a feel for what will be a team at some point. Sound good?” she asked as she directed her attention back to the still steaming cup and took another quick drink.

She only nodded, to indicate that she was okay with the woman using her personal name. At the moment, Neime couldn’t see any danger or problem with that. The suggestion, however, of telling something about herself and in return gain some information back on Kukiko? That made her feel a bit less comfortable. Briefly blowing at the tea’s surface, Neime would respond on turn. "I would find that most joyful, Yuki-sama." Neime replied, at first. "Would you like to start or do you prefer me going first?"

”Sensei is fine.” she said quickly as the young genin placed an honorific on her last name, used her last name in general. She paused and considered the young genin, having expected that she would start without having to be prompted Kukiko found herself at a bit of an impasse. ”I guess I can go first then.” she said with a simple nod before barely raising a finger to point at herself, ”I’m an immigrant from the Frost Country, my parents left with me when I was but a baby.” she said quietly before nodding at Neime to signify it was her turn.

For a second, Neime was already quite content on how the exchange was going. This could provide a large amount of information. Upon hearing that Kukiko was an immigrant from the Frost country, Neime had the desire to question about that fact further. But it was her turn to state something about herself. "I am from Kosa. Born and raised there until being stationed in Kirigakure. My parents are part of the Kiyose Branch, of the Hayashi clan." Some pride seemed to swell for a mere second as Neime stated that fact. "Though I live now with an elder of my family. My parents still reside in Kosa."

Nodding slowly as the genin spoke she noted the cant of the girls voice, how her words rolled off the tongue in a way that suggested the exacting and precise nature of the girls schooling. She wanted to state that she was still a part of the Kiyose Branch even if she didn’t necessarily reside with her parents in Kosa but kept the thought to herself as a part of Kukiko that knew the feeling all too well wondered if there was something more to distancing herself from the Branch like that. ”Kosa hmmmm. Quite far out that one is. Beautiful trip on a ship if the weather is nice if I recall correctly.” she stated with warmth in her cheeks as she offered a pleasant smile, ”I take it you’ve taken part in the lantern festival every year? One of the most stunning things I’ve witnessed that was. All those lanterns in the harbor and spilling out into the sea.” she paused and motioned back to Neime, ”Apologies, I’ve been a few times obviously.” she stated without letting the girl know of the men she’d killed on all of her visits to the picturesque city.

”I grew up in Kirigakure actually, have spent pretty much my entire life living there. Almost moved away from it once but well you know, the world had bigger plans than to allow that.” she said with a shrug, the implication that she meant the Great War obvious in the way she spoke.

A small smile grew on Neime’s lips as Kukiko spoke of Kosa. It briefly made Neime wish that she soon enough could be back. Despite Kirigakure being bigger and the capital of the Republic, Neime didn’t like the city as much as she did like Kosa. It lacked the charm and tranquility that Kosa had. Deciding to not bring that up, Neime would take a cautious, small sip of her beverage.
Nodding as response to Kukiko’s question, Neime wondered if Kukiko had been to Kosa in attempt to do business for her brother or as a jounin. "It gladdens me to know that you have enjoyed Kosa, sensei." Flashing a polite smile, Neime listened to what more Kukiko told about herself. The implication wasn’t lost on Neime, who wondered if she should try to steer towards the topic. But her personal curiosity wasn’t above that what she could gain for her assignment.

"I have been living most of my life in Kosa. I am now living in Kirigakure since a few months. If anything, I would like to move back but as you likely expect, it isn’t that easy." Neime said, the polite smile still present. "I am, however, greatly honoured to be in the presence of somebody of a jounin calibre. I am certain that will help me forget Kosa for a while."

Kukiko rose an eyebrow at Neime’s comment that she would somehow help her to forget Kosa unsure exactly if she should thank the girl for a compliment to question further into just what she expected from the team. ”Simply telling is over, I say we switch to questions and answers.” she said abruptly as she raised her tea to take another sip, ”You say you expect me to help you forget Kosa, in what way? How can I help a genin to forget of her home?” she asked as she studied the girl, the shift in her pleasant attitude to a more serious and focused one clear as she did nothing to hide it.

For a second, Neime felt more wary than before. "That is fine with me, sensei." The girl would subtly bow her head. The first question that was fired by Kukiko caused a silence as Neime seemed to try to piece her thoughts together to formulate her answer. "Back in Kosa, I worked and was mentored by some very experienced and talented people. I hope that by working underneath you, that I will get a similar experience in return. Of course," the polite smile returned for a moment, "I doubt I will ever forget Kosa. Perhaps that was a bit of a wrong phrase."

Once finished, Neime didn’t wait long before she decided to fire a question in return. There were several things she was most curious about. Such as how the woman could drink her hot tea without any discomfort. Or what kind of abilities she would be willing to share and bestow upon her team. However, Neime felt forced to ask something else. If it is my turn, I would like to ask a question about your clan, sensei. All that I am aware off is that the Yuki clan is a foreign one. Yet, your kin have managed to settle rather well, haven’t they? That must have been quite challenging, certainly in a city like Kirigakure.""

Partially satisfied with Neime’s answer she’d lean forward slightly as if in focus as the girl brought up her question about the Yuki. Highing her disdain for her own clan she’d nod slightly and flash a smile, ”It wasn’t always that way.” she stated quietly, ”There was a lot that was put forth in order to secure the Yuki’s current position within Kiri. A lot of work by a handful of talented people got them where they reside.” she paused for a second before deciding to continue on explaining. ”There are a lot of sleepless nights that I sometimes feel would have been better doing something else, after all money is just money no?” she jested.

”Perhaps one day I will tell you more of the work we put in to be where we are now. But not today.” she finished as she seemed to stare into her tea for a short. Her gaze rising from the dark colored liquid she’d settle back on Neime, ”How long have you been questioning the neighborhood about me, and why?”

Intently listening, Neime took a sip of her tea. She reckoned that it had been a lot of work, certainly for a bunch of foreigners. It made Neime wonder why they had came here in the first place. Perhaps the other countries were indeed less civilized and thus making it more attractive to live among those who enjoyed a better life? Though, as Kukiko continued, Neime felt a rise of slight confusion. What did that imply, that she had sleepless nights? Didn’t she enjoy a life of luxury? It implied something but Neime couldn’t piece what exactly. Intrigued as she was, she could already guess that pursuing that topic could lead to a most unpleasant time.
Only for Kukiko to bring up a question that caused Neime’s stomach to knot and twist. Attempting to keep a calm mask, the eyes of the genin briefly widened, out of surprise. Only to narrow briefly, hinting towards anger and frustration. Lowering her head, in both an attempt to preserve her composure and giving a respectful sign, Neime would answer shortly after.
"I was most curious to who my sensei would be. As I said before, I have been able to enjoy some rather talented mentors prior to being stationed at Kirigakure. I am sorry if I offended you, sensei. But it was merely an act out of curiosity." The genin managed to produce, though the frustration in her tone was notably present.

Swirling the tea in her glass slowly as she waited for the genin’s reply she would frown when it finally came, the lie in it obvious as the girl appeared frustrated she had been caught at all. ”I don’t take well to liars, but for let’s pretend for a moment that what you say is true… How did you get my address? Things like the addresses of a Jounin are not public record, my mail doesn’t even get delivered to my door. Yet you were questioning Old Lady Hio, you should have realized that she’d be your downfall the moment she blabbed to you. Why wouldn’t she blab to me? The old hag loves to talk to anyone that even pretends to listen.” she stated with a genuine laugh.

Biting on her lower lip, Neime considered her options. She could deny the accusation and continue with the masquerade. But as Kukiko continued, it seemed that would be just a foolish path. The second option that came to mind was to flee. But where to? And more: how was she even going to? Taking a deep breath in, Neime would softly exhale as she straightened her back. The attitude of before seemed to wither away as the genin seemed less timid, making clear eye contact with Kukiko. If anything, one thought went through her mind. And that was she was going to be severely punished this evening - a thought that made her mentally cringe.

"I suppose that I grew a bit too confident. But I do hope you won’t mind that I won’t reveal my reasons. Discretion is one of the few virtues that kunoichi and shinobi ought to have." Taking a sip of her tea, Neime tried to fight her instincts of either fleeing or just admitting everything. Telling herself that Kukiko couldn’t do anything to her as there was no evidence of any transgression, Neime continued on a somewhat confident tone. "I believe that the question at hand is how we proceed?"

Raising an eyebrow as the genin seemed to run through her options Kukiko would simply sip at her tea as the girl fought her own internal battle at the question. With a shrug Kukiko offered a hand to the girl as she asked what would come next, ”Next? Well next I teach you how to gather information without blowing your cover to some old lady that loves to talk.” she smiled, the thought of even caring slightly about why her own genin was gathering information on her was the least of her problems, if need be she could always have the girl die tragically on a mission if she proved an issue, though even the thought of orchestrating such a thing set her stomach wrong and picked at the edge of her smile. She’d let the girl fulfill whatever reasons she had for doing this, and might even make a bit of a game out of it if she felt she had the energy.

”You can do what you need to do, for whatever reason you may have. Just know I’m onto you, if only barely. This won’t be one sided of course, so use it as a learning experience. We see who figures out whatever it is they want first, go from there granted it’s nothing worth killing the other over yeah?” she finished as she downed the rest of her tea and leaned back in the chair stifling a cough as she did.

The answer baffled Neime, to the point it visibly confused her for a moment. The confrontation that she had expected never came and while she was somewhat pleased with it, she wasn’t sure if she was feeling any more at comfort because the lack of it. Her lips parted but due to her being surprised, the girl required another second to compose herself. "I would appreciate that." Neime responded, actually being genuine, the cautious undertone marking it clear that she was still unsure how to position herself in the current situation.

Wanting to question why Kukiko was allowing her to go off this easy, as such a transgression in her own clan and way she had been trained wouldn’t allow her to get away with it. The marks where she had received the punishments before slightly ached, as if to emphasise that she was getting away with it very easily. "Yeah." The genin replied, softer, as her eyes narrowed briefly. "I suppose it is going to be futile to question what you aspire to learn about me?" The half-joking tone emphasizing that the genin wouldn’t expect a genuine response in return.

Kukiko stared for a moment at the genin as she asked her question before directing her attention back to her now emptied cup, ”Now that would take out all the fun wouldn’t it?” she asked as she leaned forward from the bench at her back, ”That can be part two of your mission. Figuring out what I want before I find it.” she smirked and waved a hand for a second, ”Counterespionage no? Important job for a shinobi, good to learn early.” Kukiko finished before seeming to think for a few moments.

”You get one simple question and then I think we’re done here. So tell me Neime, what is it you would like to know?” she coughed slightly before starting quickly once more, ”Can’t be whatever it is you’re gunning for. That’s essentially cheating.” she nodded.

A silence echoed after Kukiko’s question. In a way, the Hayashi found herself intrigued by Kukiko. This exchange had so far been quite interesting and also nerve-wrecking. Taking a sip of her drink, emptying her own cup, Neime placed it down on the table. Considering her options, Neime was tempted to actually ask for information that would progress her operation. It could potentially prevent the imminent beating that she would receive, when she would return to the clan’s compound and report on her meeting with Kukiko.

Leaning slightly forward, Neime raised her gaze and locked her eyes with Kukiko’s. "Do you like to drink tea with me later on? I got a book you might be interested in." The teen would have as her question.

Sitting patiently as the Genin appeared to grapple with questions, Kukiko couldn’t help but to smile at the girl as she finally spoke and invited her out to tea another time, “It would seem you’ve already honed in on my weakness.” she said with a small laugh, “I’d very much enjoy that.” she nodded to Neime.

Tracing a finger around her empty cup she’d turn her attention to the door for a second and back to the girl, “About time I head out, I’ve got a load of paperwork to complete that I’ve been putting off for far too long.” she lied with a simple smile, “Besides I’m sure you’ve got somewhere to be as well. Girl of your talents must be in high demand.” she smirked out before standing and offering a simple bow of her head, “It’s been a pleasure Hayashi.” she finished as she slid open the door to the booth and stepped out.
 

Nim

Active Identity Unknown
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced
Genders You Prefer Playing
No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
I'm fine with both
Favorite Genres
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller, Modern, Fandoms
On the Move
Yoshikuni Sadako and Asmund's Group
Somewhere within the Empire of Akino


A collab between Nim, and Lesli

Part 1

Summary:
Kuni, escorted by Asmund's group, continue their march forward their still unknown destination, and towards Aiko. Along the way, Kuni gets to interact further with both Asmund and another member of the group.

Kuni would be woken up as the man of before shook her shoulder. ”Time to get up. We need to get moving.” The man said on a polite tone. Seeing that Kuni woke up, he would rise up and take a step back. The majority of his group weren’t in sight, only a few hooded and cloaked members of Asmund being around. But each remaining at a respectful distance from either Asmund and Kuni.

”Seems that your team isn’t going to let you be taken without trying to track us down.” There was a certain amusement present in Asmund’s voice as he revealed the fact to Kuni. ”Perhaps they took a liking to you.”

After the wake up call at Asmund’s hand, Kuni nodded and briefly rubbed her eyes. She then quickly rolled up her bedroll, before standing up and looking towards Asmund, letting a small yawn out as he revealed that her team were still in pursuit of them. Before responding, she noticed that most of the people that were around last night had vanished from sight, and she couldn’t help but wonder just how well organized the entire operation was.

”Considering how determined my team leader was to get back to Amegakure after your initial attempt, I can’t say I’m surprised. Losing a Jinchuuriki would probably get them in a lot of trouble.” Kuni said, imagining that as long as she would be counted as missing, her team would be in quite deep with, well, all of the superiors. Everyone would want their head, for losing a potential weapon, or for losing a member of the shinobi corps, or for losing a member of their own team. All of those were causes for punishments.

Letting that thought go, Kuni’s gaze passed over the other members of the group present, before looking back at Asmund ”If we need to head off, then lets. We still have plenty of time to talk on the way.” She said, offering a smile along with a small gesture to indicate he should lead the way.

Nodding, the man would gesture what direction they would go in. As they started moving, Asmund spoke up again. ”I do have to say that I am surprised. I never met a jinchuriki. But I won’t lie and say that I am not aware of their worth. So, why did your team move with such a small company? If anything, I could use half my force and have slaughtered your comrades and taken you with violence.” The man shot Kuni a frowned look. ”Luckily, we aren’t savages. Not as much as your people tend to portray us.” Asmund continued, a wry smile dawning on his lips. His sight would return on the direction they were heading.

”I did want to make another jump. But if your comrades manage to catch on to our chakra tracks, it will just bring them all the way. Which means, I either have to kill them or take them as prisoner. Which is what I rather avoid, at the current moment.”

Listening, Kuni couldn’t help but wonder as well. She had wondered why they would let her leave like that, but decided to leave the thought behind. Now, it certainly showed that it was a wrong move to let her leave ”Well, it’s certainly nice to be the first Jinchuuriki to meet you Asmund. As for why move with such small company, I wouldn’t know. All I know is that after a long period of being moved under immense restrictions, I finally had a chance to leave with lessened restrictions. So I decided to just keep my mouth shut and go with the flow.” She told him ”And I appreciate that you chose to take the peace route rather than the violent one.” She continued, offering a bow of gratitude with her head.

Thinking about the jump he wanted to do but decided not to made Kuni understand that the technique he used earlier leaves a proper chakra trail for her teammates to follow, making it understandable why he would decide against using it again. And even though she didn’t know either of her teammates well, she had little desire to see them taken prisoner or killed ”Then I suppose we are continuing by foot for the time being?” She asked.

”For now. I do doubt that your team will find you. If they go by chakra traces, they will soon be distracted and lost. It is an old Yamanaka tactic,” Asmund would explain in return, ”Disperse and vanish. By an overabundance of information and not having enough resources to track them all, they will soon follow my baits. While we walk away.”

A sharp whistle would ring through the air from their right. Asmund shot a glance as one of his people appeared back in sight, walking from the cover of a tree. Approaching Asmund and Kuni, the unknown person spoke something in a hushed tone, using Chonobi.
”Seems we are making progress. We keep on moving for a hour or two. Then we will see if we can go for another jump.” Asmund stated to Kuni, starting to pick up a faster walking pace as he gestured her to keep up with them.

An old Yamanaka tactic? That was certainly interesting. To spread apart in that manner. While she wanted to inquire further about it, Kuni stopped herself from asking more about it right away, as a whistle was heard, followed by another figure that quickly approached Asmund. After a brief exchange in Chonobi, which Kuni was starting to think would be really useful to learn, Asmund told her it was time to keep going.

Quickly catching up to his hastened pace, Kuni looked at the man ”That’s a really clever tactic. And you said it was Yamanaka? Never met any Yamanaka members before.” She sounded a bit saddened by the fact, but quickly cheered back up ”But I suppose I still have time. Did you learn it from a Yamanaka, or another way?” Kuni then asked, her curiosity getting the best of her.

Asmund threw a glance at Kuni before he gave an answer to her questions. ”Through war.” The grim answer would be all that he gave her for now as he seemed to focus back on making sure that they weren’t slacking on their pace. Only after a dozen of minutes had passed, Asmund spoke again.

”We didn’t only fight you Taika. The Yakimara were targets as well. Problem was that they didn’t like to fight us in pitched battles. What is left of those raids are close to ghost stories. Never cross those who can vanish and appear, both in front of you and in your mind.” Asmund further said as he threw a glance at their right. Only to continue walking in the same fast pace, without seeming to tire out.

The initial grim answer certainly took the wind out of her curiosity. Walking alongside Asmund for a while in silence, Kuni couldn’t help but wonder if she had struck a nerve with her question. When the man suddenly spoke up and answered further, Kuni couldn’t help but feel a bit scared herself. The description certainly felt like one that left a deep mark on the man.

As they kept walking, Kuni couldn’t help but think for another moment about how he put her among the Taika. It was an accurate assumption to do so, as her surname did not suggest otherwise, and she lived a Taika life. But it got her thinking of her father, how she rejected him before, and the last time she saw him, which was a few months ago, she was finally willing to let him spend time with her. She hadn’t even tried to make any further contact since. Yet she did learn that her mother had also not revealed everything recently, and learned she had further family. Ones she had come to accept without much issues.

”I’m actually not a full Taika-born. My father is a Hon.” She briefly said, her voice being somewhat quiet as she said it.

”I am aware.” Asmund replied. ”I know all about you. Your shop. How it got destroyed. Sho Deshuga? He is actually alive. Last time that I was in Amegakure, that is.” He calmly continued. ”We know a lot about you. You are Taika born. No Ylfing, not even an Asiske.”

The man would continue to march. The surrounding still was that of a woodland. But aside from the usual ambience, there was no sign of life. Neither a sign of civilization. Eventually, they would come across another clearing. Tall grass stood between them and the opposing treeline. Whistling softly, Asmund waited as several figures would rise up from the tall grass. ”We keep moving for a bit. Then we will have a break.”

Her eyebrows rose as he responded. Listening, she was glad to hear about Sho. She wasn’t sure if he would even want to see her again, with his demeanor, so she decided to leave him be for the time being. When he said she was Taika born again, but also mentioned a Ylfing and an Asiske, Kuni understood a bit better that it had meant. She didn’t understand the words, but she did understand that wasn’t a proper member of the Hon clan. Having chosen to not attempt to join the Hon clan back then meant she wasn’t one.

Keeping up with Asmund, Kuni let the wind be the only thing that made a sound. When they came to a stop at a clearing and whistled, she watched as a few more figures showed up. Upon hearing his instructions, she gave a nod of confirmation. She was also thinking about her grandfather and aunt, and decided to not ask if he knows about them. Try and keep them in some kind of relative safety.

The group would journey on for a bit. The terrain started to shift, vegetation giving away for more space. Soon enough, they would have to climb and descend various hills before Asmund made the decision that they would settle down for a hour of rest.
Some simple and bland food was given to Kuni, together with a flask of water. Asmund didn’t join her as he would engage into a conversation with somebody else. The person that gave Kuni both food and water did stick close. With the person’s hand resting on the hilt of a long knife, it would be clear that they were there to make sure that Kuni wouldn’t attempt to run away.

Upon settling down between some hills for an hour, Kuni looked around for a bit. Some of the taller grass in the area was getting gently moved by the wind, but there didn’t appear to be much other. When she received the food, she realized that she was quite hungry, having traveled for some distance on an empty stomach. After thanking the man who offered her the food, she quite started diving into it. It was tasteless, but food was food, and she needed to get more energy from somewhere.

Once the food was done, Kuni started drinking a bit from the flask. She had noticed the man who gave her the food had his hand on his weapon. It somewhat disappointed her that they were still not willing to fully take her on her word, but it also made sense. Just because they knew her history, didn’t mean they knew her. And trust with most people didn’t come by easily. Putting the flask away, she laid back and looked at the cloudless sky. Seeing the light blue so clearly made it feel like she was staring at a source of water to some degree, and she enjoyed it.

As time passed, Kuni would eventually hear Asmund’s voice speaking up again. ”We are going.” He simply stated. Waiting for Kuni to get up, Asmund would half turn and point to the direction they were heading at. There were, once more, a few people missing from the group that had accompanied Kuni and Asmund to the location where they camped.

Pulling his hood over his head and lifting his scarf, Asmund would wait for Kuni to catch up before he picked up a brisk pace again. Climbing and descending down the hills, Asmund group didn’t seem to break any sweat over the rough terrain. Neither having the feeling that they were lost among the hills.

After another two hours, the group would be told to settle down again. This time, Asmund would leave with another person. Kuni would be approached by one of the hooded folk, who offered her a piece of bread, following it up with a wrapped piece of salted fish.

The travel this time around was much quieter. The fact Asmund pulled his hood and lifted his scarf made it feel like he was a bit more distant once more, and somewhat discourage her from asking any more questions for the time being. So she simply focused on making sure she is keeping up with his pace, not breaking a sweat either as she was in good shape.

Couple of hours have passed, and they came to another stop. While she had hoped to speak to Asmund some more, the man had seemingly left with someone else. Another hooded figure came and offered some more proper food than what she was given before. Showing her appreciation with a smile and a nod, she accepted the bread and salted fish, before eating them slowly. She felt like savouring the flavour as much as she could, as who knew when would be the next time she will have a proper meal or this kind of food. Once she was done eating, she stood up and stretched for a moment before moving to stand on her hands, and then closing her eyes.

The hooded figure that had came to offer her some food remained silent. His gloved hands were held together in front of him, while one could clearly see the sheathed straight sword. When Kuni decided to do a handstand, the person spoke up. Revealing a masculine voice, though not as deep or gravy as Asmund’s.
”I wouldn’t do that.” The person said, in a soft and polite tone. ”Better to save your energy for the next trek.”

Not opening her eyes, she turned her head slightly in the direction of the man’s voice ”I appreciate the advice, but energy has never been too much of a concern for me. And I personally need this. Meditation like this helps me.” She said in a calm voice, before turning her head back to facing in the same direction as her body, carefully maintaining her breathing as she did.

It briefly remained silent, as if the figure needed to consider and translate the words that Kuni replied with. ”Odd meditation.” The person stated, the hint of amusement audible. ”Is that what you Taika do usually when traveling?” Would be the following question.

”I don’t know about others, but I personally try to meditate at least once every two days. I find that it helps me calm myself down a bit, as I know that at times, I can have a personality that is a bit too loud and outgoing. And in the current situation, I think the last thing any of us need is for me to be noticeable.” She explained, clearly not minding the discussion during the meditation.

”Once every two days,” the person repeated, the tone giving away that he didn’t really see the use of it or could agree. ”You are unable to keep yourself calm then?” The person asked, the hooded head slightly tilting. ”I doubt, honestly, you will be noticed anyways. But it will be a bigger problem if you start to waste energy by doing a handstand as meditation.”

Catching onto his tone, Kuni felt that further explaining herself would be rather futile in this scenario. After a bit more of breathing, she lowered her feet and moved to stand on her feet once more. Opening her eyes, she looked at the man ”Meditation helps me. And doing this doesn’t waste enough energy. I know my own limits.” She stated, sounding a bit annoyed.

Raising his arms, the figure crossed them as he replied back. ”You know your limits but need meditation to calm yourself? So you don’t have the necessary discipline to do that on your own?” The person calmly asked, only to continue. ”Is that the case with other Taika as well that serve as a shinobi? Or would you say that you’re of lesser quality?”

Of lesser quality? This man was starting to remind her of Son-Goku, with his arrogance. ”I have had discipline problems. Some people would claim I still do. That is why I am trying to improve, why I am working on becoming a person who is calmer, who doesn’t jump at everyone, who talks to others in the appropriate manner. And meditating personally also helps. If you want to call it of lesser quality, then by all means. I know I’ve got flaws, but I don’t think any human being is lesser than another, at least not when it comes to actually living.” Kuni told him, keeping a steady control over the calmness of her tone as she did. She had half a mind to tell him what she thought about the fact he even thought such a thing, but reminded herself that like the past talks with Son-Goku, it may lead to negative feelings from the group as they kept travelling forward. And the last thing she needed was to worsen the feelings between the group and her, considering they had about 3 weeks of travel to go.

It remained silent for a moment. The person slowly tilted his head the other way. ”Euhm,” he seemed to waver clearly for a moment. ”I would advice more meditation if you thought I was talking about a human life. I meant more of skill as a shinobi. Seeing that you are, well, supposed to be one.” Despite not visible, the person clearly seemed done with the exchange as he took a step back. Turning around, it was visible as the figure shook his head and decided to join a few of his fellow members.

His response made Kuni want to slap herself. She did one of the few things she was trying to work on, and jumped to a conclusion on her own. Or well, misunderstood and jumped to a conclusion. Watching the man move away and shake his head, Kuni couldn’t help but lower her own head slightly. She felt like the impression she made on the man wasn’t a good one, not by a long shot. Glancing in the group’s direction for a brief moment, she moved to sit down on the grass and looked at the small, green leaves move gently by the wind.

Time would slowly pass by. The remaining members of Asmund’s group didn’t slack in their job though. They kept a close watch on Kuni but didn’t approach her. A few were clearly on guard, watching out for movement as the remaining shifted the guard duties on both the perimeter and on their ‘guest’. Eventually, Asmund and a few others would join them back. Some talk would occur between a few members before the group would be rounded up for another trek.

Moving for another two hours, the sky started to darken. Heralding the imminent arrival of the evening. Though the group continued to move on without a break, the pace being unchanged. As the light of day started to be driven away by the coming darkness, the group would eventually halt. Having left the woodlands for what seemed to be more open, Asmund would lower his hood and scarf. Giving a few orders, the members started to vanish one by one.
Approaching Kuni, the man would start to instruct her in Taika. ”We are going to camp somewhere else. Stand still, hold your breath for a second and,” placing his right hand on Kuni’s shoulder, a sliver of green chakra would coat them both. Whisking them away and making them appear once more in the broken, strange reality.

”There we go.” The man nodded, clearly content. ”I can state by the way that your team members are doing fine. They were shaken off. I can’t tell for sure where they will go now. But to be honest, that is beyond my responsibility and interest.”

Throughout the trek, Kuni remained silent, and her head hung slightly lower. When given the instructions from Asmund, she simply nodded once, holding her breath as they got transported into the strange area once more. Listening to what Asmund to had to say, she offered a nod, indicating she heard it, but appeared to have nothing further to say.

Frowning, the captain of the group briefly threw a look as none of his subordinates seemed to have trouble making camp in the strange place. Turning his attention back at Kuni, the captain placed his hands on his hips. ”Bad time socialising eh?” He asked, not masking his amusement as he did so. ”Always had that problem or just after meditating?”

”Of course you heard.” she briefly muttered, before properly turning to look at Asmund ”I,” Kuni stopped and thought about her words before continuing to speak ”This isn’t because of the meditating. I’ve always had a problem, where I jump to my own conclusions. And every time I do, it always ends up bad for me. I’d personally say it’s my biggest flaw.” She told him, keeping her voice rather quiet.

The man nodded. ”That was a student of mine, so aye. I heard.” Was the short explanation that the man gave in return. Listening to the response of Kuni, Asmund seemed to ponder about it. ”Ever thought of taking another approach to it?” He simply suggested, continuing to elaborate what he meant. ”If you always end up giving a bad expression, why not try to change it? If it is because you go at your own conclusions, why not request for clarity? A lot of problems wouldn’t be there if people did that.”

Asmund’s suggestion made Kuni feel like asking him if he had any other good advices like that one, but she felt that without a proper context it would be hard. She offered him a nod of gratitude ”I gave myself the idea that simply giving myself more time to think would help, but your suggestion may be the best approach for someone like me. Keep my conclusions to myself, and instead ask for clarity. Thanks for that suggestion, Asmund.” Kuni thanked him, offering a small smile as she did.

”No problem. Just try it and see if it works. If that doesn’t? Well, then you got to experiment. Besides, you are a guest. Unless you misbehave. Then things might change for worse.” Asmund would say in return. ”In any case, we rest out for now. Tomorrow, we will move on. Hopefully, without being followed.”

”Alright. Have a good rest!” Kuni told him, before kneeling down to the ground and spreading her bedroll out on the ground. Laying on it, she briefly looked in the direction of the group who were also setting down, before properly resting her head on the bedroll. She will have to try and see if that method works indeed. But for now, she needed to rest.
 

Lesli

Secret Shadow
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
Posting Speed
One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Both.
Favorite Genres
Anything with a good plot or twists to it.
Genre You DON'T Like
Stories that can't keep my attention focused or seem to bland in my opinion.
Cor aut mors
Saki Yamanaka

| Spc. Jounin | Konohagakure Team 6 member| Captain-Major of the Guardians | Second-in-command of the Tiger Claws |
[ Wolf Country - North of the allied camps, crossing the river. And facing the enemy. ]

She had been waiting for this. Her heart wasn't racing, her breath wasn't irregular nor did her hands itch in the confinement of her gloves. She felt oddly at peace as she knelt down. It would have been an odd sight for those who observed the roughly two-hundred Tiger Claws. Their armour didn't radiate the light of the torches as it would have done during the day, reflecting the warm rays of the sun. Instead, their armour was smeared on with the ash. Causing the armour that was worn over the chainmail to appear less grandiose. The image that the Tiger Claws held at home, to be prestigious guardians of the Crown wasn't today reflected as they all were kneeling down.

It briefly remained silent as each of them sat in close proximity, on both knees and their heads down. Their hands were holding their weapons of choice while they waited for her to start the pledge. Nobody in the Imperial camp dared to mock or come close to the perhaps odd scenery. Only those curious or interested remained at a good distance, to neither disturb or provoke the wrath of the kneeling warriors.

Closing her eyes, Saki breathed in and out. She then recited the lines, followed by those around her.

"We are sworn to protect and serve,
To give our lives,
To forfeit glory,
To endure and embrace pain,
To remain valiant and true,
May we succeed in our task,
Or find peace in death,
Having served to the fullest."


Opening her eyes, Saki would grip the handle of her sword tighter.
"Cor aut mors," the young woman proclaimed in Yakimara as she rose. The other Tiger Claws repeated once more. Then almost as one, they would end their preparation for what was to come.



Watching as allied formations crossed the river, Saki was mounted on a horse. While she would have prefered Duion, the plan would require her to react as fast as she could. If she and the rest of the allied forces wouldn't be able to strike from the north, then all could very well be lost today.
And she wasn't going to have that.

”They say that the Northerners are the best riders of the west.” Yatori casually remarked, watching how a few units of the Lightning crossed over the shallow part of the water. ”Truth be told, I have never seen them in action. I hope that our riders will not be outdone by them.”

"I hope that we won't encounter any surprises today." Saki calmly replied as she threw a glance at her second in command. It didn't sit well with her that every Tiger Claw had been assigned with her. But it was too late to send a few to ride back and ensure that Hayate would be guarded as good as possible.

Remembering the plan, their role was quite easy. A large force of allied forces had already left camp, way before she and most of the allied cavalry had done, to the south. This large part of the allied force would cross the river at the south. Only to march early in the morning towards the enemy to provide a threat and provoke them to fight at dawn, hopefully catching the enemy off-guard.
Then another part of the allied force would wait and ready themselves to quickly build the pontoon bridges. Parts had already been constructed and it would be a matter of hours to establish these bridges to allow quick movement over the deeper part of the river - leading quickly to the side of the battlefield and thus pressuring the enemy.

The majority of the allied cavalry and some light infantry units wouldn't partake in those plans, however. Their role was to move north and cross the river at a shallow point. From there on, they would head southwards and prepare to ride down any opposing force in their back. Hopefully squishing the enemy like it was a ripe pimple.

There had been some tension among the allied forces. Even though they were fighting a common enemy, historical enmity wasn't just that easily cast aside. For that purpose, Saki had made sure that the forces that followed the banner of the Lightning were holding the centre while they were flanked by the Republican and Imperials.

"Yatori, go check if the Republican forces are fully deployed," Saki started but before she could finish her sentence she would be interrupted by a rider.

”Captain!” The feminine voice would belong to Namiko, a member of the Hon clan. The officer would not salute as she brought out a report, the panting marking it clear that she had come with haste. ”Enemies have been spotted. A few miles from here. Infantry and cavalry alike. A large unit, captain.”

This news surprised both Yatori and Saki, who briefly remained silent. ”Where are they heading?” Yatori managed to ask before Saki was able to.
”North. It won't be long before they spot our forces, captain.”

"Fucking, sons of..."



The reaction came swift. Though Saki was aware that the change of plans wasn't liked by all, she would not endure any backtalk. As appointed leader of this manoeuvre, she would start to redesign their offensive plan.
The Tiger Claws would ride out to attack and destroy the enemy unit, supported by a few units of the Lightning country. The rest of the present force would carry on with the plan to move south and charge the enemy force, aiding the rest of the allied force.

The terrain was covered with hills and some vegetation. Snow was thrown up as horses carried their riders towards the impending battle. Leading a formation of Tiger Claws up a hill, Saki heard something up ahead. The sound of a war horn blowing in the wind.
"Hitoshi!"

The respective Uchiha would oblige as he raised a warhorn in his right hand. Blowing it, the sound of the horn blown by Hitoshi would fill the air as riders around them unleashed their battle cries.
Leading her horse over the hill and down, she already spotted the first of the enemies. Despite having felt calm before, the burning embers of revenge were lit upon the sight of those whom she held responsible for Hideki's death.

Both sides would ride over the hills, eager to face each other in a fight. As the enemy made an attempt to close in the distance, they were met by arrows fired from bows. Though some enemies and their mounts would be pelted and killed by the vicious projectiles, the two sides would meet in a clash of flesh, steel and wood.

The surrounding was filled with the ambience of violence, pain and anger. Lances cracked, horses whinnied, the canine mounts of the enemy howled and men shouted both unleashed cries of agony and anger.

Directing her mount straight into the melee, Saki would nocth an arrow. Pulling the projectile back, a blue hue started to shimmer at the arrowhead. Audible to Saki, a nasty hissing sound would resonate from the steel tip of the arrow.
"Cor aut, fucking, mors." Saki mumbled as she pulled the arrow back. The stench of their enemy mounts reaching them far before they were close enough for a jab with a spear or swing of a blade. The hideous mongrols that they rode reminded Saki of the story that her mother used to read her, of the Maid and Beast.

Unleashing the arrow, the projectile flew straight into the enemy ranks without impaling any of the hostiles. Before it could contact the ground, the unstable chakra would explode. The fiery reaction would not be enough to kill the surrounding enemies but did wound and disturb their ranks. Allowing Saki to pass through as she readied another arrow.

Preparing another arrow, Saki would steer her mount from any contact. Noticing an enemy rider heading straight towards in the chaotic melee, Saki would narrow her eyes. Pulling the projectile back, Saki twisted her body to take aim at her pursuer.
Unleashing the arrow, she didn't wait to see if the arrow would find its mark. Turning around, she only heard the explosion followed by a bloodcurdling, agonised howling.

Before she was able to pull out another arrow, Saki noticed in the corner of her eyes another rider. The ugly canine mount lunged forward, its fangs biting deep into the hind of Saki's mount. The horse would let an agonized sound, attempting to kick. But it would result in a fall of both the horse and Saki as the canine attacker would bite deeper and use its weight to topple the horse.
Smashed against the ground, Saki's world went black for a moment.

Opening her eyes, she would be met with a blurry sight. Expecting herself to be torn to shreds by the dreadful mounts of their enemy, Saki tried to get up. Figures were around her but she wasn't able to register much. Fighting against the dizziness and pain, she was able to mark out a figure.

Standing alone, his blade was stained red with blood. His armour was dirtied by ash, mud and blood. Wielding nothing more than a katana, the figure managed to step aside and lash out at another blurry figure.
Blinking twice, Saki managed to gain some clarity as she realised that the figure in front of her had just cut down one of those wretched canines.

”Captain?” The man asked, turning his head to throw a glance at Saki. Recognising Lee Uchiha, the twin of Hitoshi, Saki nodded. Getting up, she would draw her own blade as she took in the sight around them.
The fight was ongoing as all around them the Tiger Claws were fighting alongside riders of the North against their common enemy.
Gripping her sword tight, Saki would lick her lips. Spotting an enemy soldier on foot, the Yamanaka released a battle cry. Her body seemed to move on its own, her legs allowing her to close the distance while her arms raised the blade held tight in her fists.



"Rest in peace. Your fight is over." Placing the hands of Lee on his chest, as if he was holding his katana, Saki would release a sigh. The fight was over and they had managed to secure a victory.
But not without any cost.

The majority of the casualties were the riders of the Lightning country that had aided them in this clash. Their expertise had allowed them to overcome the grim enemy but they were less armoured than the Tiger Claws. Being more susceptible to the enemies crude weapons and to the fangs of their beastly mounts.
A small number of Tiger Claws had been wounded and fewer been killed. Mostly because the enemy had been able to overwhelm one of her men or single them out. Lee Uchiha was one of those casualties.
 

Aliceee

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Call for the Warband of Vetei
Kiyomi Homura I,
Akinian Empress | Konohagakure, the Imperial Akenian capital.




Watching how the pieces were set, Kiyomi remained silent. Her arms were crossed out in front of her chest, with her left hand at her chin. The pieces that were moved on the table were what her intelligence had managed to uncover. The recent chaos did make it easier to gather intelligence for the Lightning country was far from being united to focus and pose a threat for foreign intelligence operatives.

"According to the latest reports, we can conclude that the Regency council has a larger force than expected. Small clans have pledged after seeing how resistance is treated. Large mercenary groups have been hired and called to the service of the Regency council." Katashi said, briefing the young Empress in regarding the situation. "And I doubt that the Raikage's side can do much to stem the tide of more mercenaries to flock to the side of the Regency. They have clashed with the Raikage's forces and managed to secure a solid victory. An exact amount of losses haven't been made. However, it doesn't give much credit to the Raikage's side. Doubtless, not many will be eager to join his side with this initial setback."

As a Sworn Sword was finished with placing the pieces that resembled the forces of the current forces in the Lightning country, Katashi gestured to the vassal country of the Lightning. The Frost country.
"It is uncertain yet where the loyalty of the Frost lies. From what is uncovered is that the vassal countries haven't yet been called to arms. It is uncertain why but most speculate that it is because they fear that it can attract foreign powers to invade them."

”You think that the Regency is afraid that I am planning to invade then?" Kiyomi asked, her gaze moving from the table to Katashi. A ring of amusement rang clear in the monarch's voice.

"I doubt that they feel safe with the Empire at their south and the passage to the north not guarded. If you ask me, I think that they certainly consider that we might pose a real threat to them." The captain-commander of the Sworn Swords scoffed. "Though if you wanted, I am certain that we can move in full force and crush either side. If you," the man wanted to continue but Kiyomi closed her eyes and moved her left hand, signalling Katashi to stop speaking.

”I don't want the so called 'North'." Kiyomi began as she would move her hand back to her chin and opening her eyes, settling her gaze upon the placed pieces once more. "To stabilize the Lightning is going to be a costly endeavour. Both in blood and resources. If anything, it won't matter to me who will win. The victor will emerge bruised and weakened. And they certainly won't want to make an enemy out of me." The young monarch would start to walk towards the edge of the painted and carved table, to stand at the side of the table where the eastern coast of the Lightning country was carved into the furniture.

"I will uphold my end of the bargain and that is it. I will muster two battalions of Imperial forces. And in return, they will pay me what they owe me. Thirty ships, all according to the deal."

Katashi frowned as he glanced at the pieces, returning his gaze to his empress. "Your Majesty, I do need to ask. What makes you believe that they will uphold their end of the deal? The side that you are going to support has already lost a fight. Perhaps it is wiser to not make men bleed for a losing cause. You could perhaps parley with the Regency Council to help them win the conflict?" Katashi suggested, gesturing to the map. "Betraying what are rebels won't make you dishonourable. They are still rebels, which mean that they have forfeited their honour."

Remaining silent, Kiyomi considered it. It would certain help to end the turmoil to the north of her empire. Making a deal with the Regency and remain silent to the Raikage's side. Only to have her troops betray them at the last moment. Perhaps securing the promised resources.
"A tempting offer. But no. I do have a plan at the ready to make sure that I will get my resources. You see, the deal is that the troops I send will not serve underneath the command of any foreign commander. They will remain loyal to their own commanders and officers. I will send two battalions north. But first, I will make sure that their safety is guaranteed."

Gesturing to the piece that resembled the force that held the Lightning's capital, Ranzaki, Kiyomi continued. "The Regency wants me as a friend. The Raikage wants me as a friend. That means that they won't want to give me a reason to declare war upon the Lightning."
Approaching the edge of the table, Kiyomi lowered her hands. Placing them on the edge, the green colour of her eyes started to darken.

"I will take what was promised. Call for the Warbands of Vetei. Make sure that they are properly armed and armoured. Supply them with what is necessary and make sure that they know what I expect from them." Kiyomi's eyebrows slightly perked up. "And Katashi."

"Yes, your Majesty?"

"Instruct my operatives to find my half-sister. I want her brought to me, alive."
 
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Jason Targaryen

Lord One-Eye
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►Nishi Hirashima and Yukimi Yuki◄
►Team: Team 11 Jounin & Team 11 Chuunin
►Location: A Cafe in Kirigakure
►Interactions: Nishi Hirashima & Yukimi Yuki
►Writer(s): A collab by Oetje and Jason

The chuunin sat alone at a table in the quiet part of the cafe, waiting. Sipping on the tea she had ordered, the Yuki let her gaze wander across the interior of the cafe. People talked in calm tones, seeming to enjoy the pleasant scents and atmosphere of the establishment. Yet not a single one made their way past the invisible line that separated them from the Yuki's quarter or the shop. Of course they wouldn't, the girl was rather known around this particular establishment. Her father did own the place, and she frequented it often enough. Some of her paintings even decorated the shop, all elegant scenes of various winter snowscapes painted with the skill of an artisan. Yukimi was just happy her father had only ordered one or two be present, the rest of the decorations were up to the cafe owners. Else it would have been a bit strange to see more than two of her own paintings in such a place.


Usually she would have liked the silence left by nobody daring approach, Yukimi found herself wondering why none dared to cross that line. Was it respect? Fear? Or was she simply amassing such a sour reputation that they didn't dare venture near her? Yukimi was not fond of these thoughts, and sincerely wished the woman she was waiting for would arrive soon. While that conversation in and of itself would be awkward, she hoped it would be less so than her current situation. Taking another sip of her tea, Yukimi tried to ignore the awkward silence that hung over her part of the cafe.


Heading towards the meeting point, Nishi was taking her sweet time. She couldn’t state that she hadn’t been surprised with the request of the Yuki wanting to meet her. If anything, Nishi had been content with contending with other matters. There were certain affairs that she wanted to start delving in. But deciding to hear out what Yukimi wanted to bring up, Nishi decided to give it a shot. She doubted there was little else than time she would lose if the exchange wouldn’t grow into any positive development.


Spotting the establishment up ahead, Nishi frowned slightly. A few thoughts passed the jounin’s mind but after a moment of pondering, Nishi continued towards the entrance of the shop. Entering, she would glance around. Spotting Yukimi was quite easy but Nishi wanted to take in the scenery before she turned to Yukimi. Despite social standards between the two being quite different. Nishi didn’t deign it needed to show any respect towards the chuunin. If anything, she partially blamed the whole social standard of the chuunin and her family the whole point why she was who she was.

Taking a seat first, Nishi would lean slightly back as she folded her hands on her lap.

"Yes?" The woman calmly began, her frown present on her brow. "You wanted to talk?"


Yukimi noticed Nishi entering the cafe and looking around at the scenery. For a moment she wondered if the woman had not noticed her, but that was proven to be false mere moments later when Nishi approached and sat down at the table with Yukimi. When the woman did not bid any sort of greeting, the chuunin felt like a slight pull of irritation in her heart but forced it away. Giving Nishi a slight nod, Yukimi remained silent for a moment as she thought about how to proceed. After a moment she let out a sigh and figured there was no way it would be easy for her. "I did, Sensei. Would you like anything to drink before we begin?” She asked politely, pausing for Nishi's response before continuing. ”I've been thinking about our last training and some other things that happened since. I know both my personality and combat abilities are not… optimal for a team. I wanted to ask if perhaps you might be willing to work with me privately on the combat skills end. I can't rely solely on my ice anymore. Of course, I am also willing to pay for any lessons.” She said quietly, focusing on her tea and taking a sip after she finished speaking. Admittedly, she was not expecting a positive response.


"No, I wouldn’t." Nishi stated, though brusuqe phrased, the answer was given in a calm tone. Listening to Yukimi, the jounin didn’t reveal her thoughts on the words of the chuunin.

Much like Yukimi expected, the answer wasn’t going to be a positive one.

"No. The mere fact you think that you’re not compatible for a team is stupid. I am constantly disappointed by the likes of you, if I am going to be honest. The fact that Claire needs a lot of work before I can call her proper kunoichi is mere due to the fact she lacks experience and training. You on the other hand? You lack what I like to call the right attitude." Not holding back the sharp sting of her words, Nishi calmly continued on.


"Your skills are good for a team. You just are so stuck up that you even think it is normal to offer payment to your jounin-sensei for training. I am not one of those retainers you can summon, give some money and then verbally kick around. It might sound odd to you but I find it most distasteful what you’re suggesting.Not to mention that the money you’re likely paying me with will be still that of your father’s. A person, high in rank, but somebody’s money I rather decline. I much rather starve."

Spreading her arms for a moment, Nishi flashed a wry smile.

"If anything, if you want my true honest opinion? I thought you were going to be like your aunt. A person who can be relied on. And not somebody that looks down on others while she is constant need of them."


"Its not that I don't think I am compatible with a team. I know that I need to work to fix both my attitude and capabilities. I already know one of those is something I can't really ask others for help fixing” Yukimi responded, not overall surprised by too much of Nishi's response. Although the fact that the woman found it strange one would pay her for extra lessons struck Yukimi as odd. Money very much was essential, and what most people seemed to be after. At the mentioning of her aunt, Yukimi's mood visibly darkened. Mumbling something to herself she tried to force away that feeling building inside. Though one could see some ice clearly forming on the outside of her teacup. "I apologize if I offended you earlier with offer of payment. I had thought since it would be extra lessons, it would only be fair.” She said before staring once more at her tea, which was unfortunately cold now. "May I ask what you term the ‘right attitude’ then?” Yukimi added, figuring she might as well figure out what this woman expected from her. It would be easier to obtain if she knew what the end goal was, afterall.


"If you are aware of that, I would suggest to work on that first. I can train you with ease in regards on how not to be relying on your kekkei genkei. But if you can’t be trusted, I doubt helping you to become more adept at fighting will do more harm than right.” Was Nishi’s first response. The jounin noticed the ice forming on the teacup but she didn’t seem to care. Leaning back in her seat, the jounin placed her hands back on her lap as she slightly frowned.


"It is a stupid offer. I am supposed to mentor you. That and money won’t solve everything. Nor can it buy everything.” Deciding to not venture further and perhaps get political, as she considered the fact that Yukimi was incapable of understanding what her answer meant, Nishi continued.

"The attitude that I expect from a chuunin is simple. You listen to my orders. Which I admit, you do most of the time. You know the basics. Which also include proper teamwork and not causing friction in a team. Then also how to apply your abilities to aid the team to succeed in a given objective. Something you have been failing. A good example is how you almost froze Claire last time.”


Yukimi was slightly confused by Nishi’s first comment. The woman had pretty much repeated back what Yukimi said she was trying to do. "I am trying to work on my attitude.” Came the girl’s response, as she listened to how to be in the right attitude. ”I was thinking of myself then, so I was in the wrong. I'll work on that.” She said, despite the fact that she felt as if she had been doing most of what Nishi said already.


The jounin doubted Yukimi’s words. It was in her experience, something that people tended to do: saying that they were going to change and work on that. But there was nothing that Nishi could take as evidence for such development. The whole apology was a start, for sure. Yet, once more, it were just words.

Deciding to not bring up her skepticism regarding it all once more, Nishi decided to just see what more could come from the exchange.

"Good. I hope to see you work on that soon enough.”


If Yukimi had to take a stab at things, given Nishi’s lack of too much expression, the girl guessed that she was being doubted. Not really something she was overly concerned with, however, as she doubted Nishi would much mind being proven wrong on this particular subject. She remained quiet for a few moments, looking vaguely around the shop. ”I’ll ensure you’re not let down. I shall have some results on this and training myself to be a bit more useful in combat by the next training or mission, whenever that may be.” She said before something else came up in her mind. For a moment she seemed about to say something else, as she debated confronting Nishi to confirm her suspicion that she had been the one to mention what had happened to Kukiko. Yet she breathed not another word. ”That was all I had wanted to talk about sensei, I do hope I am not keeping you from something more important.” She said, though honestly she doubted that Nishi would’ve showed up if she had something more pressing.


The jounin’s expressions wouldn’t shift upon hearing the reply of Yukimi. When the chuunin stated that she all wanted to talk about, Nishi slowly nodded. A moment of silence would echo after Yukimi’s last words.

"Very well. I hope you won’t let me down.” Nishi responded,. "For it will be a sore loss if that did happen. Mistakes can only be forgiven so many times.” A smile creeped on the jounin’s lips as she would rise up.


"As for now, I do have more pressing matters to attend to. But for that, no worries.” When the woman finished her sentence, she collapsed into a body of mud. Betraying that it had merely been an earth clone, that had came to see what Yukimi had wanted to talk about.

 

Lesli

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For the North
Wolf Country, Eastern Continent | Involving the characters: Genji Hojo Oblivion666 Oblivion666 , Niji Yakei GlitchyBugger GlitchyBugger , Yumeji Hojo Oetje Oetje and Kaya Irozaki Lesli Lesli |


Summary:
The Lightning Force detachment at the allied camp is making ready to cross over the pontoon bridges, to charge the enemy in the side. While the enemy is distracted and fighting against the massive force, Genji is the appointed leader to lead the Northerners over the bridges into the fray.




Today was the day that they either succeeded with their plan and crippled the enemy force, or it failed and crippled them. A day of fate one way or the other, hopefully it would work out for them in the end. Yet more than likely this would also be the last day many of them drew their last breath. One could say their job was a make or break for their allies who were most likely already engaged with the enemy. It was just what they needed, no one would see them coming they were too focused on them from the right flank.

It made setting up the makeshift bridge across the river all the more easier. With the bridge set up without any hassle besides the worry of how their allies may be faring with a horde barreling down on them. They would cross the bridge with the sound of the conflict getting ever louder but not towards them. Faint clashing of steel along with the yells of pain become more clear the further they all crossed the bridge.

Once they were all across the bridge they began forming up with the hill blocking the enemy from seeing them arrive on the riverside. Genji took in a deep breath as he awaited for his unit to form up. He looked to his side to see Yumeji and gave her a nod. ”Make sure your men are ready Sergeant Hojo. We will be marching out soon once we are all formed up.”

Lined up alongside the rest of the members of the unit, Niji quietly waited for when the rest of the unit were ready and present. Prior to the unit getting into formation in preparation for the battle in the all too near future, she’d spent quite a bit of time and effort toward moving the building materials that had been needed for setting up the bridge.

While there were still lingering thoughts about just what was going to happen, there was steady progress being made in just accepting the fact that people were going to die be it by her hand or by one of those stood beside her. Still, these people were her allies so she had to do what she could during the battle to keep them alive no matter what was thrown at them nor what it would cost.

She licked her lips as her grip on the handle of the shield tightened. Frankly, she didn’t want to be here. Anywhere but here would suffice, in Kaya’s mind. Letting the back of her axehead resting against her shoulder, Kaya didn’t budge from being at the front of the unit. It was where Yumeji was stationed as a sergeant. If anything, Kaya wanted to be sure that she wouldn’t wind up alone. Certainly now that she couldn’t rely on Midori or Reyna to get her out of trouble.
Once the captain started to give the command, Kaya swallowed her fear as good as she could. Today, she was going to prove her worth with shedding more blood of the enemies.

Standing at her position, Yumeji glanced at the scenery in front of them. Soon enough, they would come face to face with the horde of enemies. And while she was eager to be done with them, she felt her stomach twisting and knotting. She wouldn’t combat the growing anxiety but did her best to not show it to others. As the captain, a fellow Hojo, gave her the orders, Yumeji subtly lowered her head as she would follow it by stepping forwards as well raising her voice. ”Company, ready up.” The sergeant would raise her own shield and drawing her weapon, expecting that the others would follow. ”Make sure your breeches aren’t yet filled up. We can’t let the enemy smell you lot yet.” She added, flashing a wry smile as she threw a glance over her shoulder.

With the rest of the men and women all lined up and in formation, the sound of the battle still ongoing Genji would look at the hill they needed to climb that would show just how bloody the battle had been so far. Gazing back at his men he smiled and held up a fist. ”Today’s success rests on us men! I need each and every single one of you to fight not for yourselves, but for the innocents back home who need us to win! I need you all to be raging fire that once ignited, no water can douse your flame! Tonight we shall sing about this victory!”

Genji would then give the command to begin marching up the hill, where closer and closer the sounds got louder, until they reached the top and the battle that was unfolding played out before them. Taking just a second to look at it, Genji would unsheathe his sword and point it forward. ”For the North!!” Genji said as he and the other soldiers would descend down the hill and straight into the side of the enemy.

The rousing speeches and sly remarks from the Hojos aside, there was some anticipation bubbling up within Niji as the time to fight crawled closer by the second, she couldn’t say for sure what was going to happen out there but she steeled herself for more or less anything she could think of, especially more of the brute-ish abominations that she’d seen in her first battle.

The marching began and the moment they crested the hill the entire battlefield was in sight, there was no way of telling who or what was amongst the enemy forces right now. Only now did her thoughts linger to the fact that she was on the front line in order to bear the brunt of the enemies for those who were behind her and all she could do was charge onwards with the rest of the unit.

Gripping her weapons in a tighter grip, Yumeji would move with the formation forward. The moment that the entire battlefield was in sight, Yumeji’s heart skipped a beat. She seen violence before but never on such a scale.
Unleashing a battlecry like those in her unit, the young Hojo held her shield in front of her as she would clash against the enemy lines. The heavy vibration of her shield colliding against another human was quickly followed by the Hojo starting to stab with her weapon.
Keeping her shield in front of her, Yumeji would attempt to keep moving forward. The first enemy was quick to fall to her charge and stabs. But the second once more reminded her of the ferocious attitude that their enemies had.

Blocking a strike, Yumeji used the opportunity to step closer. Her blade moved past the rim of her shield, stabbing her foe in the abdomen. Pulling the weapon back, Yumeji blocked another attack. Delivering a stab that was aimed higher, Yumeji felt a vibration going through her right arm as the steel of her blade dug deep into her opponent’s chest.
Grunting, Yumeji would use her shield to push the man backwards while attempting to keep herself covered.

"For the North!”
Joining in with the battlecry, Kaya would march with the rest of the formation. The moment that the unit moved over the crest of the hill and was to charge, Kaya wasn’t sure what was going on anymore. Like the others, she would charge down and slam into the enemy. She raised her shield and used the momentum as her weight to crash into the enemy. The first opponent was unable to properly react, stumbling and colliding against another enemy. Yet, adrenaline rushing through her system seemed to briefly muffle everything but her breathing.
Lowering her shield, Kaya raised her axe and buried the steel into the enemy in front of her. The sharp steel bite deep but for some reason, Kaya wasn’t able to register the vibration. She simply jerked her weapon loose and took a defensive stance. Then it all came crashing down on her.

The screams, the battlecries, the sounds of steel clashing against steel, the cracking of shields and shafts of polearms. Her eyes widened as an enemy took the place of her slain foe, attempting to stab her with a spear.
Managing to react in time, Kaya moved her shield higher to protect herself against the jab. The vibration of the attack hitting her shield caused Kaya to gasp for air. Lowering her shield slightly to regain sight of her enemy, she saw he lowered his spear.
Letting him attempt to jab, Kaya would pivot to avoid the stab. Once the man pulled his spear back, Kaya unleashed a battlecry - that more revealed her growing desperation than confidence. In a quick motion, the genin surged forward as she attempted to slam her axe into the man’s skull.

The blade of the axe slammed into the man’s throat, causing the man to briefly resist but quickly collapse. Pulling her axe back, Kaya placed her shield once more in front of her as she tried to keep herself composed.
 

Gerontis

"Teddy Bears never forget."
Original poster
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Probably both, depending on the situation. Am at least comfortable with both.
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A lot. Can't really pick a few out as it depends on the lore etc. etc. etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
I don't really dislike any, but I guess that I don't do a lot of superheroes or high school ones. Not that I am not interested in them. Oh dear, I am rambling.
A Conclussion
Ryo Katsu

Eastern, Continent, Wolf Country | Imperial Special Force | Ghost ANBU operative, status: officially MIA.|




He watched from afar. The view that the high ground gave him, allowed Ryo to observe and witness the tide of the battle. The high cliffs had been difficult to scale but he had managed. Something he would have been happy to boast about in the past. Perhaps to the point to challenge Kensuke to see who could do it faster.
But he wasn't happy to boast about it. With a certain bitterness, he watched how the allied forces executed their plan. It was a good plan but it almost had gotten them down. Whoever had countered the enemy's movement to the north had prevented that the allied camp would have been sacked. Or worse, the fighting allied forces being outflanked by a large enemy unit.

Even as the clash had started early, it would take till the afternoon till the fighting was done. The bulk of the enemy force had been dealt with and despite their professional, elite force being composed out of tougher stuff, they were quickly outmanoeuvred and encircled. Not many of the enemy came out of it alive, yet Ryo felt not too happy about it.
In his mind, he should have been there. Team 4 should have been there, fighting side by side. Making sure that this threat wouldn't get a foot on the western continent.
Instead, he now had to watch from afar how unknown people defended his home and the few remaining friends he had on a continent, across a wide expanse of water.

Briefly, he did wonder and worry if Midori was in there. He anticipated the hulking and intimidating presence of the Eight-Tails chakra to be unleashed. Part of him wanted it to see it. To witness how she would unleash the terror on the enemy force, make them succumb and drive the enemy away.
But as he patiently watched, he saw nothing that betrayed the presence of Midori. Causing a larger part of his being to feel relieved. Perhaps she had been held back at camp? Perhaps she was safe?
The temptation to actually use the large clash to try to sneak into the allied camp in hope to find Midori was great. But then what? She wouldn't likely abandon her post and he wouldn't go back either without completing his mission. Even so, if she would and he had completed his mission, what future did they have? A Ghost ANBU operative and the renowned jinchuriki of the Hachibi? The Lightning country would demand her from the Empire and what if the Empress would agree?

Already Ryo had several scenarios and thoughts coursing through his mind. How he could escape with her. He knew how most ANBU worked and how to avoid detection. There was a chance that it could work. But it would all just endanger her and bring anything but happiness to her.
Watching the last remains of the enemy attempting to flee towards the north or back to their camp, Ryo would slowly rise up.

This enemy force had been defeated. But this was just the beginning. More would follow if he wasn't mistaken. And while the allied force would settle and lick their wounds, he would go further east.
 

Gerontis

"Teddy Bears never forget."
Original poster
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Adept, Advanced
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Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably both, depending on the situation. Am at least comfortable with both.
Favorite Genres
A lot. Can't really pick a few out as it depends on the lore etc. etc. etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
I don't really dislike any, but I guess that I don't do a lot of superheroes or high school ones. Not that I am not interested in them. Oh dear, I am rambling.
The Preparations
Satoshi Jun,

Jounin | Kumogakure Team 3 |Wolf country, near the coast | Commander of the campaigning Lightning army, back at the allied camps.



He grunted as the wound at his left shoulder was being treated. Even in spite that he hadn't been able to get out of it without being wounded, Satoshi was proud. His people had managed to defeat the enemy, together with the other allied forces.
Of course, they had sustained casualties but they had managed to overcome a much larger force. Those who wouldn't see the sun setting on this day had died a worthy and good death. They surely deserved a proper burial, having to make their country, clan and ancestors proud.

Hearing the verbal report on the situation, Satoshi patiently waited as the captain in question continued. Even though they had defeated the largest threat nearby, that didn't mean that they were yet safe. Another and more dangerous threat was lurking at the edge of the camp. They had more wounded but were low on medical supplies. Stacked on that was that the cold would persist for easily two more months. Which could lead to more casualties, lives lost to a danger that would be intangible for their blades and courage.
Considering their options, Satoshi mumbled thanks to the physician that had treated his wound.

"I want a few units to hunt and take out the fleeing enemies. They moved north, right? Make sure that we send a few infantry, light on foot, units after them. A couple of mounted, just to be certain. They are to come back without any prisoners." Satoshi grumbled, his mind working as if his life was depending on it. "Keep the people that we freed in a different section in the camp. I want them isolated but fed. They aren't our enemy but they aren't allies either. Prisoners that we caught today," a pause followed as Satoshi would straighten his back and slowly inhale. "Question them. Execute any lower rank. I rather not waste supplies on such scum." Satoshi said, the captain nodding that he understood. "Furthermore, I need more people on foraging treks. Still preferably west of us. Though you can send a party or two to the north of us as well."

Briefly, the commander paused once more. "I want a few units to inspect the enemy camp. Make sure that they are cautious. Perhaps the enemy had some supplies. They had no time to poison their supplies and I had established a detachment to guard the camp from any curious folk. Make sure that we get the best supplies before the Imperials or Republicans get it."
The captain nodded. Satoshi then subtly gestured that the captain could take his leave. Receiving a resolute salute from the captain, who exited the spacious tent, Satoshi released a sigh.
 

Oblivion666

That One Grumpy Pants
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Wolf Bird
Kazumo Sarutobi

Chuunin of Team 8, Ardara
----
To say he was nervous was an understatement, doing such a high ranked mission by himself was one thing. Yet to be secretive about it in a location he shouldn’t dare fuck up in? Well that was another. Getting information on Alvar and Bjarte as they were favored by Katsuro and the rumor that they set up the death of Koike’s father Sahoru. Helping to figure out what happened to his close friend’s father death was enough to drive him to want to do this, but how to get information was another. Well he heard rumors that their hird was around so that would help in his attempts as he was never going to get around Alvar nor Bjarte. He also doubted they left any proof that they helped kill Sahoru. It would be a useful and good starting point though to try and sneakily get them to delve information.

Sitting in his room Kazumo would look out the window to see that it was still day, thus he doubted their Hird would really be around for him to openly talk too, at least right now anyway. Which caused him to think about the other target. Frea. A simple handmaiden but at the same time, she probably overheard many things. He knew she went to the market but she was the tricky one. Anything he did would need to be direct, so he needed to know what to say and where she resided. Probably better he get the Hird out of the way to get a better idea of what he wanted to ask her then. Frea would most likely have overheard a lot of things Bjarte has said, which makes this more difficult. While she may be a simple servant. If Bjarte willingly told her anything, then him questioning her would go directly to him and then hes in a bad spot.

Frowning as he rubbed his forehead, he debated asking for help from his team but honestly he didn’t trust them enough. Then there was team eight, which made him ponder a bit. Madoc was a wildcard, he wasn’t sure if he would help or hurt this situation. Aoi didn’t seem to be quite the type to get information without getting caught. Dagrun…. Dagrun he wasn’t sure if she would approve since this was against Hons. Then there was Meilin. A small smile formed on his face as he chuckled to himself. She would probably extort him to get her or any of team eight involved, although she would have been useful for sure. Probably not wise to get them involved his team hasn’t exactly made the best impression on them as of later, and they were meant to be a support team.

Well he had his course of action yet instead of wasting time he could use it for something important. Following Frea and figuring out which inn she was staying in and which room was hers. Once knowing that he could just out wait her on a day she would go and surprise her back at her room. Determining that was a good plan he would step up from his seat and walk out his door closing and locking it behind him. The market she went through wasn’t that far from here, and it gave him time to get there early to see if he could pick her out from the crowd.

-----
At the market she frequented he would walk around too appear less suspicious as he didnt want to wait in one spot all day. Taking a bite from an apple he bought, he continued to walk around looking around at the faces of the people around. So far no Frea was to be seen, until a few minutes later when said woman actually bumped into him, at a crowded spot. She apologized to him before carrying on. Giving it a few seconds he would then turn around and follow from a distance, munching on the apple along the way. After two hours however he ran into the problem of wondering if she would ever actually leave the market. He never knew it as he never stayed long enough, but she had lengthy conversations with the stand owners. One talk was ten minutes, another thirty, that last one twenty five. They went on about random gossip too. Simple talk about the All thing, and what they used for stew.

Eventually however it got late enough for her to decide to finally head back, which was a relief to him as he finally could figure out where she would be spending her night. After about twenty minutes of following from afar and sticking to crowds, she came to this inn/tavern. One kind of like the one his room was at, but just under different management. Following in, he saw her ask for her key to the room on the far right from the owner. Who welcomed Frea back and handed her the key. She then went upstairs and to her room from what he knew, which was when he sat down at the bar and asked for a strong one. This caused the bar owner to laugh. “Have a rough day there young one? Your girl keeping you up all night?” He said with a wink, to which a man at a table spoke up.
“Wouldn’t you like to know Halvard. You wish your wife kept you up all night.” The more youthful voice said, to the man running the bar, which caused Kazumo to turn around to see a man in armor, not the kind of armor meant for war but armor to show you shouldn’t mess with him. The group with him produced a good laugh over the joke, while even Halvard laughed at the joke the man used at his expense.
”With how much you are up Bjarte’s ass, your wife would think you keep him up all night Bjorn.” Halvard said as he handed Kazumo his drink, while the group at the table burst into laughter, while Bjorn’s friends clapped him on the shoulder.

While he could deal without all the jokes being thrown back and forth with him in the middle, this was a very opportune moment. The hird he needed was right there and from the looks of it, they seemed on their way towards being intoxicated. Both good and bad as it meant they might be more open to speak but at the same time what parts would make sense. Yet he couldn’t just sit at their table, he needed to get a good vibe going with them before he could just chat away freely. ”So basically I’m the only one here with a woman keeping me up all night?”Kazumo would voice to which Halvard looked a bit taken back, not seemingly expecting Kazumo to join in the jest. While Bjorn was coughing from being surprised while he was drinking. The rest of the table however was too busy laughing to care about their friend briefly choking on his ale. After the coughing fit he gave Kazumo a thumbs up followed by motioning him over. ”I like ya lad, why don’t you join me and the guys for a few rounds. Don’t look so stiff, ya woman aint here to keep you up all night tonight. Take your jacket off, we are about to play some cards. Bjorn said, to which Kazumo took his drink and would join the group of men at the table. So far step one was working out, now to just get the information.
 
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Oetje

Stormraven
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays
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Really sporadic. My schedule is somewhat of a mess at times.
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I can go with both. I am rather flexible.
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I like a lot of genres such as magical, modern, fantasy. Anything with an interesting plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anything that is too focused on something that I don't feel too comfortable with. Such as furry.
With Honor
| Lightning Country | Near the town of Hitashi, Hojo clan lands | The Sixth Army, under the command of Toki Tameuji, serving the Regency Council |

They were able to move on. The small resistance had briefly peaked their vigilance but for two days, the scout and forage parties didn't encounter much resistance. The peasants in the small villages surrendered without a fight. For the safety of his own troops and denying these peasants the chance to enter into a guerilla war with his host, Tameuji ordered his forces to just take any military weapons from them. But nothing else, as it would be against their interest to antagonize the locals.
This somewhat mixed approach did seem to throw off fruits as the locals focused back on their farms and daily lives. At a slow pace, Tameuji and his army would march further north. The goal still being the town of Hitashi, to secure the region and allowing a supply route to be established, for when the army would move further.

Having around two hundred shinobi at his command, Tameuji was considering his options. Much like many others, the presence of the shinobi wasn't appreciated by the general. They were an unnerving lot as they didn't fight with honor. The virtue of honor meant nothing, which offended Tameuji. Even the barbarians in the coldest part of the North had more honour than a regular shinobi. And that said a lot.
But yet, they were an effective unit to prevent that the locals or Hojo could infiltrate the camp. At the moment, they were policing the camp and officers. And thanks to their work, Tameuji hadn't suffered a single loss due to night ambushes or raids. Their provisions were kept safe and nobody had been able to get close without those shinobi knowing it. Yet, their presence also gave way for some trouble. With the conflict being against the Raikage and his allies, the distrust towards shinobi started to increase. How loyal could they be to the Regency Council and true monarchy if they had no honor? Would they be swapping to the side that seemed to respect and approve of shinobi?

Tameuji made a decision as he stared at the map that he had placed on the small table in front of him. He would send a few shinobi teams ahead towards Hitashi. To investigate how the defences were, how many defenders the town had and most importantly: where the weak points in those defences were.
The general further decided that a few shinobi cells should move towards a few places that were under control of the vassals of the Hojo. If he could destabilise the Hojo control on her vassals, by having those shinobi try to assassinate the prominent and loyal vassals, then it would weaken the Hojo military.

Considering something, else, Tameuji decided that they should perhaps attempt to move further.



Kazufusa wasn't that motivated. The officer had been promoted to the rank of a captain after his victory against the only true, and yet small, resistance that the army had encountered. Now commanding a detachment twice the size, Kazufusa had command over four ashigaru units and one mounted unit. The ashigaru, peasantry troops, were evenly numbered in wielding a pike or a bow and arrow. The mounted force was composed out of well-trained troops that wore better armour, not to mention being faster due to their mounts.

Though this change should give a reason for Kazufusa to be eager to continue proving his worth, he was aware that the first victory against the Hojo wasn't that much of a victory. But he didn't offer any verbal resistance against the new orders. He knew his place and accepted what his general wanted from him.
Kazufusa's troops would move out. The mounted force would be ahead of the column of the troops on foot. Their goal was to take another village that had a strategic position on a hill. Allowing them to move closer and operate around with the town of Hitashi on the horizon.

Mounted on his horse, Kazufusa wondered. He wasn't ever that much interested in the clans or politics. But it was clear that the Regency council was waging a war on a lot of fronts. The barbaric Sanosuke to the north, those treacherous Alaricus and Raikage's forces to the south and then the Hojo to the west. How much could his country fight itself before it crumbled, to the point that foreign forces would move in?
Noticing movement up ahead, Kazufusa was drawn from his train of thoughts. Seeing a rider approaching him, Kazufusa would halt his own mount. The ashigaru units kept moving on in their marching formation.
"Captain Kazufusa," the rider began on an excited tone as he approached the captain. But the man wouldn't ever reach and halt near his commanding captain. An arrow pierced the man's throat, followed by another that pierced his helmet and penetrating into his head.



"Loose!"

His men shouted the typical 'sha', as the arrows would be unleashed. Watching from the treeline, Hidesada wasn't afraid. He was aware of what the outcome would be. With a mix of delight and curiosity, the old samurai watched as the arrows soared through the air and wreaked havoc among the enemy troops. The satisfaction of seeing the enemy being hit and struck down by their arrows was great.

"Keep firing." Hidesada commanded on a stern tone. The command would be followed by the large group of archers, that didn't hesitate. They kept unleashing their arrows on the enemy, that desperately tried to form for battle.
A few pained cries would arise among Hidesada's own ranks as the enemy archers fired back. But with a determination of steel, none of Hidesada's own troops would waver or slow down in their pace.

"Sha!"

Another volley was sent to the enemy, who were taking heavy losses at this point. Hidesada could already spot a few groups of soldiers attempting to run away. Without any mercy, his archers kept shooting. Even at those that didn't fight back but just tried to run.
Hearing something rumbling to his right, Hidesada narrowed his eyes. Gripping the spear tighter in his hands, he would turn.

"Spears!" He shouted, causing half of his unit to drop their bows and reach for the spears on the ground.
"Form ranks! Now!" The samurai shouted as he pointed to the direction. Without wasting any moment that they had, Hidesada's men moved quickly. Forming ranks, they would ready themselves for what was going to descend on them.

While they weren't able to spot the mounted charge, they could feel it through the ground. Faintly, the sounds of horses and their riders resonated through the woods.
"Today, we will join our ancestors. With pride!"
"With pride!" The men yelled in unison, starting to repeat it every two seconds as if it were some chant.

Upon spotting the enemy cavalry, Hidesada unleashed a battle cry as he moved forwards. Accompanied by his men, they charged into the enemy without any hint of fear.



Overseeing his troops checking the dead, carrying the wounded as gathering any useable weapon, Tameuji slowly inhaled and exhaled. The news that the detachment of his newly promoted captain had been ambushed had surprised Tameuji. But upon inspecting the dead of the enemy, it soon turned out that these weren't levied locals. They bore the sign of another clan. The Maekawa clan, one of the prominent vassals of the Hojo had almost wiped out a large detachment of his force. Only fighting to their last breath.
For a moment, Tameuji wondered if the Regency council wouldn't shape the entire North to the same quality that their enemy fought with. They were perhaps the enemy but they fought with the tenacity of a cornered tiger. So far none had attempted to flee the field of battle, even though it was likely clear to them all that they were constantly thrown into suicidal positions.

Releasing a sigh, the general steered his mount. Turning his back to where merely a few hours before men had been ambushed by Hidesada and his unit, the uncle of Maekawa Tamotsu.
 
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Oetje

Stormraven
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Really sporadic. My schedule is somewhat of a mess at times.
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Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
I can go with both. I am rather flexible.
Favorite Genres
I like a lot of genres such as magical, modern, fantasy. Anything with an interesting plot.
Genre You DON'T Like
Anything that is too focused on something that I don't feel too comfortable with. Such as furry.
Operation: Dark Symptom - Part 1 of 4
Nishi Hirashima, jounin and leader of Team 11 (Republican) | The Republic of Water, at the eastern fringes - image of location |

| The Council decided to send Nishi to lead a team composed out of selected operatives for a dangerous mission. Ranked as an A mission, there are many questions that Nishi and the accompanied operatives have. Questions that, hopefully, will be answered soon. |



“The pestilence is spreading, we fear for all.”
The message kept floating through Nishi's mind. She wasn't sure what to make out of it. Other than the obvious danger and warning. But what pestilence? Did the message mean for the island? Or did it reach further than that? For now, she would have no answer on any of these questions. And yet that was going to be her mission. Throwing a look at her right, she could oversee most of the ship's deck.

This mission was going to be without her students. Partially because of the ranking, which was A, being far too much that either Yukimi or Claire could handle. And partially because this wasn't an ordinary mission handed out by just the administration of the Lord Commander. She had been given Council Authority. And that meant that something was very wrong or the Council wanted to have the desired results.

Instead of the uptight chuunin and genin that struggled with some of the moral-conflicting decisions, that came with being part of the military, Nishi was accompanied by other operatives. This time, she would be accompanied by three other jounin and one chuunin. Though granted, the chuunin was only on this mission because she was short on the list to become promoted to full-fledged jounin. A remarkable feat as many chuunin didn't pass further than their rank, let alone that of specialised jounin.

Arai Chikauij was one of the jounin, quite specialised in medical ninjutsu. A veteran that had served in the Great War but also been part of various tough operations. If she had studied his files correctly, the man had been part of the Invasion force that had managed to penetrate the former Fire country and survived when that invasion force was pushed out. A lot of information that followed was blocked by black ink. Meaning that this Chikauij was one of those sleeping dogs that you should leave alone.

Another jounin went by the name of Enya Kanesue. He didn't talk much and Nishi was grateful for that. His profile stated that he was specialised in sensory ninjutsu. A very useful field, if she had to so herself. The man was also a veteran but had also served in various operations that took place south of the Republic. Successful operations to extract intelligence from various southern states, such even as the Aegan Republic.

Then there was the barrier-specialist. A man that was called Yamada Tokiteru. A person that sadly had the face that only a mother could love, if she would put a bag over his head and probably close her eyes. Despite his looks, his record was rather promising. He had served in various large operations and even been serving as a household guard for the Fifth Mizukage. Though after the revolution, he had been sent constantly on C ranked operations. Probably as 'punishment' for being once favoured by the last Suzu and Mizukage. If he was, however, assigned on this mission then it meant that the cryptic warning wasn't considered a joke by the Council.

Koide Mari, the youngest person aboard on the team dispatched on Operation: Tangible Danger. A chuunin that was starting to climb fast through the ranks. An apparent prodigy that was mainly focusing on medical ninjutsu. Remembering her profile, Nishi was certain that if all would go well, then the chance for Mari becoming promoted again wouldn't be slim. Perhaps she would become one of the youngest jounin in the Republic, at the age of 16.
Slowly inhaling, Nishi turned towards the direction that the ship was sailing. They were heading eastwards, to the fringe of the Republic.

The goal to inspect the village of Jin-po, a small fishing village. Being at the fringe of the Republic already meant that communication wasn't that common. It wasn't the most interesting site to be found in the Republic nor a particularly large settlement. If the source was correct, the village had barely two hundred denizens in total the last time that heads were counted. Which was a year or two ago, so pretty recent.
However, a few rumours and messages that came from the village reported about strange vessels being seen, during twilight hours. Considering the worrying encounter that the Republican navy had encountered, this couldn't be ignored. Absolutely not with the last and cryptic message regarding a pestilence.



The travel towards the small city of Yamakita went without any trouble. The weather was calm and there hadn't been any sighting of hostile vessels. Sighting the island on the horizon, Nishi would stand at the railing.

"Soon we will arrive in Yamakita." A masculine voice spoke up. Throwing a look to the side, Nishi spotted Chikauji approaching her spot. She nodded in return before turning her gaze back on the island on the horizon.
"I heard it is a lovely town. Quite peaceful, if you would ignore the recurring problems of pirates trying to settle now and then on the isle." There was a faint ring of amusement in the man's voice as he leaned on the railing. "What do you intend to do first?"

"Nothing huge in particular. I want you and Enya to scout the town for information. I will take Yamada and Koide with me to the governor of the isle. Hopefully, he can shed some light. And will cooperate once he learns that we have Council Authority." Was Nishi's answer.

The bald man frowned as he proceeded to slowly nod.
"Anything in particular that you want us to dig in for?" The man asked, his tone adopting a more serious tone.

"Anything that is regarding Jin-po, of course. But try to find anything as well about possible weird vessels. I am aware that Yamakita is a nest for smugglers and the like. If you feel the need, then bust some caps to get information out."

"Heh, I start to like you, ma'am. You are understood, loud and clear." Chikauji replied, a wide grin spreading over his lips.
The following hours that passed, the team used it to prepare to disembark the ship. They would go over the plan and what everybody's role would be. No complaint or arguement was thrown back. The questions that Nishi got from the others were to serve to pinpoint on what she wanted. They weren't hidden snarky comments at her and neither did they seem to reflect a conflicted morality. A stark contrast from her 'students', Nishi thought to herself.

The moment that the ship docked into the harbour, Nishi would be the first to disembark the ship. A group of guards were already heading to them, accompanied by a man in finer clothes.

"Governor Yasusiko," the man proclaimed as he flashed a disarming smile, followed by a small bow with his head. "We have been waiting for your arrival. Please, if you would come with me."
 

Gerontis

"Teddy Bears never forget."
Original poster
Roleplay Invitations
Group Roleplays, Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
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A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day, A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
Writing Levels
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Genders You Prefer Playing
Primarily Prefer Male
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Probably both, depending on the situation. Am at least comfortable with both.
Favorite Genres
A lot. Can't really pick a few out as it depends on the lore etc. etc. etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
I don't really dislike any, but I guess that I don't do a lot of superheroes or high school ones. Not that I am not interested in them. Oh dear, I am rambling.
A talk between Brothers in Arms
Eastern Continent, Wolf Country
After the large battle, Akinian Camp | A Collab between ChromeHound ChromeHound and Gerontis Gerontis | Hayate Hyuzu and Koike Hon |

Summary:
After the large battle, Hayate and Koike have a meeting. Koike reports on the current counting of dead, wounded and other matters. The talk soon covers the rumours that have spread within the 13th Brigade and the gained prisoners - as those freed from the enemy camp.




The day was coming to an end. Most of the fighting had ceased as groups of cavalry and light infantry were busy to hunt down stragglers while the majority was either going back to camp or doing a last search on the battlefield. The losses were quite minimal compared to their enemies but yet, many had lost friends and comrades in the struggle that had occured today. No hearty laughter or songs filled the camp as the soldiers just did their work in a wry kind of silence.

Having cleaned up some of his face and putting of his helmet, Koike was heading towards the main tent. The reports that had came in regarding the send out parties to chase down routing forces were not stopping. Some more casualties were in those reports but they didn’t exceed to the number that they couldn’t continue their campaign.
Nearing the entrance of Hayate’s tent, the guards didn’t need Koike to announce himself but still would request him to wait. The usual happened, where one of the guards would head inside while Koike was well aware that a sensory made sure that he wasn’t an enemy in disguise or that any sort of foul play was going on.

It would not take long for the guard to return and tell Koike he could enter. Inside the tent, Hayate paced back and forth, his body running on what felt like pure adrenaline, which may also have been the only thing keeping him upright. The Hyuzu had taken the time to clean the blood and grime from his face and hair, but had otherwise left everything the same. His clothes were torn and muddied and there was still dried blood from the several smaller wounds he’d received. The large table in the center of the tent that held a map of the area had been adjusted to reflect the changes from the earlier battle. There were reports scattered along the sides of the table and Hayate held one in his hands. Finishing as the Hon entered the tent, Hayate turned, setting down the paper and nodding towards his friend. [color]“It is good to see you Koike. What do you have for me?”[/color] His voice was strained from shouting during the battle and there was a hint of the exhaustion that crept into his tone.

Mumbling a thanks, Koike entered the tent, leaving the cold outside. Frowning as he noticed Hayate pacing around, the colonel waited before performing a salute and speaking up. ”A verbal report on the current situation. We got a lot of wounded. Lightly. Cuts and some men going to be crippled for a time. Nothing that our medical staff can’t handle. We got casualties but nothing that should hamper our capability to continue. So far, the 13th brigade seems to be in good spirits. The brigade general dispatched a few units to aid with the rounding up of routed forces. Some of my battalion but those men will return with success, I am certain.” He would then raise what he held in his right hand, the sword that he had received from Hayate earlier today on the battlefield.
”I also was meant to bring this.”

Holding the sword up, he would walk to the table and place it on it. Good thing that he had cleaned it. Throwing a quick glance at the various reports on the table, Koike wanted to question something but decided against it.
”I have yet to hear how the allies are doing. But seeing how the battle went, I consider that they didn’t do much worse than us. There is also a large group of people that we freed from the enemy camp. Some have been… Well, taken by the allied force. I have used some of my men to contain these people. Just to make sure that they won’t start stabbing people in the dark of the night.”

Returning the salute, Hayate waited for Koike to finish, a tense anticipation causing him to stop pacing. The report was better than Hayate had expected and he felt a sense of relief flood through him. Seeing the sword, Hayate let out a soft chuckle and gathered it from the table where Koike had placed it. Inspecting it for a moment, he nodded it before sheathing it.

“Thank you Koike. For everything.” Seeing Koike glance towards the reports on the table, Hayate continued, “From the few reports I have received from the allied forces, it appears to be as you’ve surmised. They have both experienced casualties, but have pulled through same as us.” Thinking back to the people Koike mentioned had been taken from the enemy camp, the Hyuzu scratched his chin. “These people we have freed, do they speak our language? Or is it the same as the enemy?”

The thanks would be received by Koike, who cast a wry smile. He nodded as he listened to Hayate. The questions at the end though, made Koike shook his head. ”There are some who speak some broken Taika. Which ain’t strange due to the natives having some contact prior with the Lightning. Being former vassals and such. But most do speak the odd tongue that those mongrols shouted at us. Though,” the wry smile returned on Koike’s lips, ”They don’t yell it at us. A slight improvement. What do you want to do with those lot?”

Pondering for a moment, Hayate went over the options. It was possible that these people were hostiles as well. The enemy was unlike any he had ever faced and he had no idea what plans they may have put in place. On the other hand, these people could be prisoners of war and that required a certain level of treatment. “Make sure they are fed and looked after. Keep a close watch on them for now, I definitely don’t want to wake up to my throat being slipped because we let our guard down. When the interrogation team is ready, start bringing them in in small bunches. They don’t need to use their more… persuasive methods, but let’s see what we can find out from these people. They had eyes inside the enemy camp, that means there may be valuable intel that we can use.”

”Aye, I will. Though, with all respect. I doubt that many will like them to be well treated. Some of the boys already were grumbling about. Losing your brothers in arms to then serve the enemy? Some might see it as weak.” Koike decided to bring it up. He could relate to those who weren’t happy about it but did understand why Hayate wanted to treat those people like that. He was a bit worried as he had no idea if on how Saki would take care of the interrogations, even if they were probably camp followers or prisoners of the enemy.

”There has also been a bit of grumbling going on. I think it might good to later show your appreciation for the 13th. Some of the lads were mumbling about that you and the other brigade generals wanted to use them as mere expendables. I know better, of course. But still.”

Nodding at Koike’s initial comment, Hayate could understand. It did not always look great to treat one’s enemies with the same care that you would your own troops, however, they had no way of telling whether these people were their enemy or not. “I understand, and appreciate your input. We do not need to treat them as honoured guests, but we do need to keep them alive. Make sure our men are attended to first, and make sure the guards who are watching over these people are treated better than the people themselves. We don’t want to foster any animosity from our troops.”

As Koike mentioned that the 13th was feeling under appreciated, Hayate’s eyebrows raised in surprise. Meeting Koike’s gaze, the Hyuzu tilted his head. “This is the first I am hearing about this. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the 13th and everything they have done.” Concerned, Hayate’s brow furrowed and he scratched his chin in thought. “All of the units should be getting their share of duties, if the 13th is being mistreated in any way, I will put a stop to it immediately. Do you know who has been spreading these concerns?”

”Aye, consider it done.” Content with that Hayate didn’t decide to be too generous with the flock of people from the enemy camp, he had to consider to what he would say to Hayate’s request. ”In all honesty? I don’t know. I can figure it out and see what the men are willing to tell me. It can be just a few sergeants or officers. My captains haven’t complained in any way. So I doubt it is coming from my battalion. Once I know more, I can try to relay it back to you.” He said, already considering how he would begin the little investigation. ”For now, I don’t see much danger in it. I just want to make sure that you’re fully aware what is going on. To that effect, I think it is smart you take up lessons on how to speak Chonobi. You are a Hyuzu. That name means something to most of those men. Certainly when you’re betrothed to the Empress. If you can’t speak Chonobi with the men of the 13th, it might just reinforce those rumours.”

“Thank you,” Hayate nodded, relieved to hear that Koike would be looking into it. Dissension within the ranks was not healthy and he wanted to quell any rumours before they got worse. Even more so, he wanted to make sure there was no truth to the 13th being used as fodder. When Koike suggested that he learn Chonobi, Hayate scratched the back of his head before nodding and glancing away. “Know any good teachers?” he asked with a hint of amusement in his tone. “Truth be told, I’ve wanted to learn for awhile now but then things kind of got, well...” Gesturing around, Hayate shrugged, “I wanted to learn a bit so that I could surprise Kiyomi with it...”

”I know a few who could be of help. Don’t worry.” Koike replied. He had already a few names of reliable folk that could help Hayate. Despite having no qualms about doing it himself, this way Hayate could build up somewhat of a reputation with a few officers. ”Though, what is our next move? If anything, we can’t stay here for too long. With winter going on, we will need a better place to safeguard our troops from the cold. Not to mention possible future engagements with the enemy.”

“Our scouts have reported a few positions that we could relocate to. I have requested a final suggestion that we can bring to the other commanders and confer with whatever their scouts have found.” Hayate replied, glancing towards the map before continuing, “The troops will need a short time to settle after this battle. Once the medical teams have stabilized the soldiers enough that we can move, we will head out. We will follow the same plan as before, ensuring that we cover our rear in case the enemy decides to try a counterattack.”

A frown grew on the brow of Koike. ”Very good. I will get to work on figuring out who is spreading the rumours. Not to mention passing on your orders regarding our, ‘guests,” the careful emphasis being quite clear. ”Anything else you desire to discuss with me?” Koike decided to bring up, before he would head to see to his new tasks.

Pondering for a moment, Hayate shook his head. “No. Just make sure you get some rest as soon as you can. I’ll need you at 100%.”

A nod would be returned as a salute followed. ”As you order, commander, sir.” Once spoken, Koike would turn around and head out to see to it that the given tasks would be done. The idea of getting some rest was certainly pleasant but first he would address the tasks given.
 

Gerontis

"Teddy Bears never forget."
Original poster
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Primarily Prefer Male
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Probably both, depending on the situation. Am at least comfortable with both.
Favorite Genres
A lot. Can't really pick a few out as it depends on the lore etc. etc. etc.
Genre You DON'T Like
I don't really dislike any, but I guess that I don't do a lot of superheroes or high school ones. Not that I am not interested in them. Oh dear, I am rambling.
Arban, a Good Girl?
Eastern Continent, Wolf Country, Akinian Camp - in the confines of the 13th Brigade | A Collab between FrostedCaramel FrostedCaramel and Gerontis Gerontis | Arban of and Koike Hon |

Summary:
Arban of Xinja is one of the people that has been freed from the enemy camp. She has been put to work as a maid, assigned to the Imperial 13th Brigade. Being send by Erling, the Brigade General, Arban is supposed to serve Koike Hon. The two interact, trying to figure more out about each other and their background.





The camp was oddly quiet, the men had finished their battle, returned victorious from the grasp of the enemy to live another day yet nowhere could she see the signs of true celebration, if the rumors were true the battle certainly deserved an uproar of proud fighting men and women to celebrate it, yet it was the opposite this morning. The soldiers were tending to their gear almost religiously, quietly making tea or coffee about small fires by their tents, or still slumbering away inside. She found it odd that none of the officers had yet to rouse their troops so late into the day, but then again she found just about everything about her current space in life odd. She stepped between a troop of soldiers as they quietly made their way down the center of the path between tents and dropped into line behind a group of men as they wandered forward to some unknown destination at a pace that seemed to signal just how exhausted they were.

Falling out of their group as they turned down a separate aisle of tents she flexed her grip and slid up to the side of the tent she had been moving to all along. She reached out slowly as she checked her surroundings and barely raised the lip of the tent as she gently called in, “Master Hon, Sir, I have a meal for you Sir.” the girls voice called in as she waited respectfully at the entrance to the tent.

It took a few seconds before a response would resonate from the tent. ”Aye, enter.”
The young officer was sitting on a tree stump, cleaning a knife. Even as they had won a victory, the young man wasn’t pleased. Halting his activity upon seeing who entered the tent, Koike slightly frowned. The Rénese accent in the woman’s voice had already made him wonder but it was one of the refugees that had become camp followers. Finding more security with the allied forces that didn’t seem intent on burning, pillaging or doing other unspeakable atrocities towards them. The recent defeat of the enemy army had allowed the allied forces to free some of the Rénese that had been held captive by the enemy army. But it wasn’t yet certain if they came from other, unknown parts of the eastern continent or were natives to the region of the Wolf country.
Before the woman could take another step further, another pair of eyes would slowly half open. The yellow iris of the pair of eyes didn’t betray the creature’s thoughts. But the low growl emitting from the large animal made it clear that it didn’t approve of the newcomer.

Eyeing the woman once more, Koike then seemed to lose his interest for a moment. He would direct his attention back at the weapon and whetstone he was holding in his fists. But before he would continue the rather mundane task of keeping the weapon’s edge sharp, he spoke up. Directing a question at the woman, putting the knife away.
”Where are you from?” He asked, deciding to keep using Taika.

Cautiously the girl slipped in through the tent flaps and stood at the entrance a moment as her eyes adjusted to the dim light within. One hand firmly holding the tray she moved the other to brush her black hair out of her eyes in an attempt to adjust faster, she’d put it into a bun but it had mostly come undone as she had brought meals to the different officers of the Westerners. Stepping forward now that the room was in focus she would stop suddenly as a growl emanated from ahead of her and took a step away from the noise as she followed it to the yellow eyes of the beast that lay lounging ahead of her. Unable to take her eyes from the thing as an innate instinctual fear began to rise in her mind she’d tear her eyes from the thing as the Hon spoke further back in the tent. “Se-” she started in Rénese before correcting herself, “Sevudia Lord. A small hamlet on the edge the Xinja.” she said quietly as she bowed her head at the man she could barely make out back in the tent as she swayed the tray of food in her hands anxiously.

The answer caused a frown to appear on Koike’s brow. He repeated the name but didn’t manage to get the spelling correct. Which provoked the young officer to repeat it. Slowly nodding, he couldn’t remember if he’d ever heard or read about this place. And he, like most others of the Guardians, had tried to figure out more information about the eastern continent. ”This place, Xinga,” Koike said, ”What is it like?” He asked. Only to follow the question with a gesture of his own that she could sit down. The low growling of the dire wolf would be silenced by Koike ordering something in his own tongue. Only to turn his attention towards the girl.
”Also, sorry. I didn’t catch your name. Sit down and help yourself. I am not that much in a hunger and gods may know. You probably could use it better anyways.”

She watched curiously as the Lord Hon seemed to repeat her words stifling a small awkward laugh as he seemed to not quite understand what she had said, “The Xinja is a river Lord. Large and cutting much of Sevudia in two…” she seemed to struggle for a moment as she searched for the words in Taika to explain what she meant, “Separates.” she said with a nod before cautiously approaching the Hon and placing the tray down in front of him before stepping back slightly and taking a seat across from the him. She was surprised, now that she was closer, that he was more a boy than a man, and yet he held scars and the eyes of a warrior, things she’d seen in the men from where she once called home. She wasn’t surprised by the fact a boy was fighting, her home had been driven to such extremes as well, she was surprised he was in such a position of power. “My name is Arban.” She said with a courteous little nod, “My home, at least what it was before the Rong, was a small fish village on the Xinja, around were trees..” she struggled again for a moment, biting her lip in the process, “Many trees in a large place.” she tried but failed for the word forest, “So many.” she said holding her arms out slightly from herself to emphasize, “But ash now.” she finished solemnly before directing her attention back to the tray of still warm food.

“The Lord Hon, the first one.” she said as she scrunched her brow in thought, “Told me to make you eat.” she said with a small smile of accomplishment.

Sevulia, Xinja and now Rong. The names made little sense to Koike. He didn’t decide to decipher them further and break his head over it. There was for a moment the consideration to let the girl be sent to Saki and her Tiger Claws. If one could pry out information, it would be them. But for now, Koike decided to pry out the information by himself. ”Arban. Curious,” Koike mumbled as he tried to pronounce the name in the same fashion as Arban had. The way how she said names were different than how people spoke Taika, Yakimara or Chonobi. It was completely foreign. Much like how those Zealots had spoken.
”Forest. Trees, many, in one place. Forest.” Koike said. Her response, however, regarding that he was to eat first caused him to frown.

”Arban. I am telling you to eat first. If the first one has a problem with that, he can try himself to make me eat. Now, eat,” Koike gestured to the tray. This time less friendly than before.

“Arban.” she said slowly, deliberately for the Lord to hear before falling silent as he spoke again, nodding slightly with a hint of sadness as he told her the word she’d been searching for, “Gone now.” she at the word forest, “My home too.” she seemed to lose herself for a moment before turning back in on the young Lord ahead of her and the tray of food he was now insisting to be hers, “Ate at first light.” she said crossing her arms, “Before the Lords ate I did.” she seemed to lean forward slightly a stubborn tone evident even in her foreign accent, “You must first, I can finish whatever you don’t.” she said as she pushed the tray toward the boy, not entirely afraid of his wrath as she might have been were he older.

“I’ll stay while you eat too. Teach me words. I teach you words too.” she insisted as she snuck a glance at the seemingly sleeping beast in the tent and quickly regretted it.

It took a second for him to understand what she meant. Her birthplace was gone. But he didn’t feel any pity for Arban. If anything, it was curiosity that made him want to ask more questions. Judging, however, on how she reacted afterwards made him decide against it. Starting to think about what this could mean, Koike was about to try to ask how far this Sevulia was from their current location. Perhaps then he could gauge how many refugees had come to this side of the continent, attempting to run away from whatever was driving them into the Wolf country. He had a hunch that they were in relation to the unknown enemy force that had been recently defeated.
When Arban defied his instruction, Koike remained silent. It did slightly irk him that she called him lord. But there was no feasible way that she could know much about him. That or Erling had decided to play a card on him. Leaning slightly forward, he locked his eyes with that of Arban’s.
”When I tell you something, Arban, you do it.” The tone of his voice lowered, gaining a threatening touch. ”It is impolite to refuse a gift.”

Making sure that he spoke slowly, the growing tension seemed to spark a reaction from Akumu. The beast’s upper lip moved up, revealing a pair of teeth, meant to rip flesh from bones. Allowing the animal to growl longer than before, Koike would gesture and cause the animal to stop the menacing sound.
”If it is poisoned, it better tastes good.” He grumbled underneath his breath in Chonobi. Taking a bite, he frowned once more at Arban. There was the thought to threaten the girl that he could unleash his companion at her but figured that would just likely cause a ruckus.
”Very well. Best to keep you here anyways. Before the boys get any funny ideas.” Koike mumbled as his mouth was half full. Clearing his mouth, he would consider what to teach her. His mind instantly brought up words like distance, measure, far, close. Matters that he could use to learn how far her birthplace was. Deciding against it, Koike spoke up. He raised his right free hand and raised only his index finger.
”One.” He slowly said, wondering if she knew how to count.

Arban was taken back as the boy seemed to flex his power over her, his beast joining in as he made it clear he wanted her to eat the food. She was confused as he brought up the fact that she needed to listen to him, as if his word somehow trumped that of the first Lord Hon, “I think the first Lord Hon ordered you to eat, not me.” she said slowly and as neutral as possible as she eyed the massive beast at her side and the young man ahead of her.

She raised an eyebrow in question as the young Hon muttered something in a language that wasn’t Taika and she silently mouthed the sounds as best as she could before he spoke up. She turned her head slightly at his comment, unsure of what he meant as he ate, “Funny ideas? Boys?” she asked, “There are boys younger than you here? Are they your children?” she asked, a little concerned as she searched the tent for hiding children. As she searched she raised a hand up in the direction of Koike with two fingers held up, “Two. I can count.” she added as she scrutinized the shadows for the boys.

Koike was about to grumble something but decided against it. Whether bad blood was going between him and Erling, there was no use to talk about it to this girl. Taking another bite, Koike was able to piece together that she had misunderstood what he had said. More so, she called him a boy. It slightly irked him and almost kicked his mood even further down. Convincing himself that it was simply a matter of language barrier that prevented her from understanding what he said completely, Koike cleared his mouth before speaking again.
”Aye. Bad ideas. And no. Most are older.” He replied, keeping the sentences short. As Arban made it clear that she could count, Koike nodded. That was rather good. It would bring up the next word that he wanted to test out.

Using his free right hand, Koike drew the knife of before. Placing the weapon on his lap, he used his index finger to tap on the blade. ”Steel.” He slowly said, in Taika. Tapping the blade again and repeating the word, Koike would grab the weapon once more by the hilt. Slowly he feigned as if he was to swing it at an imaginary foe at his right. ”Weapon.”

Watching with curious eyes she’d watch the boys mouth as he made clear what he meant. She felt a slight blush rise as she realized what sort of ideas the older men might have for her and waved a hand at Koike, “Keep me for now please.” she said with a nod before bringing her hands back to her lap and gesturing politely for him to keep eating.

She tracked his knife as he removed it and felt her heart begin to race at the idea that maybe the boy had some ‘bad ideas’ for her as well. She turned slightly to face the door and eyed the beast as it lay once more content on the floor, she was sure she could run, but she was also sure she’d never make it with that thing in the tent. When the Hon instead pointed at the blade and spoke she understood what he had meant at once by his gesture. She pointed after he finished with his little show of what it was, “Gāng.” she stated as she pointed at the steel before fakely slashing with her own hand, “Xuējiǎn.” she said as she slashed again, the word for the action of slashing. She was happy that her language wasn’t extremely far off from the Taika she had had to learn, but it seemed very far from whatever the Lord Hon’s language was, the strange things he whispered beneath his breath earlier had proven the point to her.

Making an attempt to repeat the words that she used, Koike was content regarding how this small exchange was going. There was a moment that he found her response slightly amusing, of her wanting him to keep her. Only to realise that she could have suffered such ‘bad ideas’ in the company of those enemy soldiers. Who seemed to be quite brutish. Deciding not to dwell on that or on what horrors of war she could have experienced, Koike decided on the next word.

Finishing some of the meal, he would decide to stand up from the small block of wood that served as his seat. Only to kneel down on his right and make eye contact with Arban for a moment. Slowly and almost gently, to not scare Arban, Koike would carve a long line in the cold ground. Sheathing the knife in the same calm and slow fashion, Koike placed his right index finger at one point of the line. To slowly move down it.
”Distance.” He said, repeating the motion a second time, making it seem as if his hand was ‘walking’ down the line.

Arban watched with a curious gaze as the young Lord Hon rose from his seat and knelt down. She felt slightly uncomfortable as he seemed to stare a bit too much at her while cutting a line down through the dirt, almost as if he was wishing it were her as he did. She felt herself shudder as he sheathed the knife and managed a polite smile as he made what appeared to be a person out of his fingers and walked it along the line.

She leaned forward and pointed toward one side of the line and then back, “Yes, distance, how far.” she said with a simple nod, “My home was very distance.” she said almost triumphantly as she used the word incorrectly.

Slowly nodding, he was quite content that she seemed to grasp the intention without him needing to explain it. Though it did call on more questions. What did she know about these enemies? What was the land eastwards like? The current vocabulary that Arban seemed to have regarding Taika wasn’t going to help him get that idea. Deciding to move and sit back on his previous spot, Koike pondered for a moment. Raising a hand, he pointed at his hair. ”Hair,” he slowly said, clarifying it by saying it again as he would grab a few strands of hair.

Raising an eyebrow at his odd change of words she’d stay leaning forward and nod, “Hair yes.” she said before pointing to her own black strands. With a cock of her head she’d point to the beast laying in the room, “Láng…?” she said, not sure what the word for it was in Taika and positive it wasn’t actually a wolf like she knew, “What kind? Too big.” she said as she slowly brought her hands apart to emphasize while being sure not to disturb the beast.

Following to where she was pointing, Koike remained silent. Scratching his chin for a second, he wasn’t sure how to explain it to her. To explain what a direwolf was and the difference with a normal wolf would be a bit trickier. But so far, it didn’t seem that Arban was the slow kind of learner. ”Mhm. Too big for a wolf. Wolf,” he first pointed at the canine and then gesturing as if the animal should be smaller, repeating the word ‘wolf’ again. ”He, Direwolf.” Koike added, not sure for a moment how to further explain it. ”Smarter than a… Láng. More dangerous.”

Taking her hands back to herself slowly, Arban would listen with intent to the Hon as he spoke about the beast. She mimed the word ‘Wolf’ as he spoke and quickly switched to ‘Direwolf’ as he brought it up. “Dai… Daiure…” she tried but failed before picking it up again, “Dye-er-wulf.” she said proudly as she crossed her arms over her chest, “More. Tell me more words.” she said with a nod and a smile to Koike, “Why smart? What makes smarter?” she asked of the direwolf as she eyed it warily.

It had something endearing to it as Arban was struggling briefly with the word. Instead of helping her, Koike would let her try to pronounce the word on her own. It made him consider if he had perhaps been the same when they had taught him Taika. That had been so long ago that he couldn’t remember those lessons anymore. When Arban requested to learn more words, the young officer hesitated for a moment. But with nobody yet requiring him, he came to the conclusion that he could try to teach a for a bit more before calling it to an end. ”He understands. Hears what we say,” using his right index finger, Koike tapped his head with the first verb. Only to point at his ears at the second and to his lips at the third verb. ”They also bigger. Big. Bigger.” Continuing to use his hands to visualise what the words meant, he hoped that it remained coherent enough for her to follow.

”They, euh,” Koike threw a sideways glance at the large canine. The animal didn’t seem to care much for the exchange between Koike and Arban. ”Very strong bite. Hold with teeth. Bones, they break.”

Arban felt suddenly far more in danger than before as the realization that this ‘Direwolf’ could understand what it was that was being talked about struck her, “How? Dyeurwalf is just… big wolf no? Why can it hear? Can it…” the girls eyes went wide as she shot a glance from Koike to the beast in the tent with them and then back, she dropped to a whisper and leaned far forward toward Koike, “Can it talk to us?” she asked, a giddy fascination suddenly present in her eyes as she awaited a response from Koike, or the beast itself.

It mildly amused him, that she seemed more afraid that the animal could understand her. When she posed the question if it could talk, Koike considered to tell her the proverb that people had regarding the beasts. But that wouldn’t answer her question. It was far more likely to bring up more questions. ”I never heard him talk.” A light shrug followed his words. Partly, he was more than happy. Akumu was quite silent and Koike was rather content about it. On the other hand, it would be interesting to know what the animal felt or thought. But considering how the large creature listened quite well, Koike didn’t decide to bother himself with worrying about it. ”Who were those men? Those armed men?” Koike began, slightly frowning. ”Who they fight for?”

Anything that Arban has wanted to say about the Direwolf was lost as the young Lord Hon moved on to a topic that she knew all too well. She wavered in her seat, made to stand and leave before she willed herself to remain seated and answer the question. Her gaze moving off over the shoulder of the Koike as if to some far off land she’d simply nod for a while before bringing her focus back in on the boy.

“Rong.” she stated simply, “They are Rong.”

Eying the woman, it was obvious that the change of topic wasn’t much to the comfort of Arban. Only more intrigued by this, Koike repeated the name. In a perhaps more comfortable situation, he would have found some fun in the name. But seeing that they just faced a nation that had such a huge force, Koike didn’t really find it such an amusing name. ”Tell me about them.” He instructed the woman, though his tone calm. ”I want to learn.” Koike added, hoping that would be enough to coerce the woman to talk.

Shifting uncomfortably where she sat Arban watched as Koike repeated the word, every mention causing her discomfort to rise. With a deep breath she nodded as he asked her to tell him of the Rong, “From the Far East. Rong is a state.” she stopped as she wondered what to say next, “They worship above all, their worship is above all.” she said trying to emphasize the theocratic character of the Rong.

She took a breath as she tried to parse words in her mind and fidgeted with her hands as her brain worked, “They spread worship. Their duty as worshipping is to spread.” she nodded as she fell silent.

The frown burrowed further on his brow. The answer of Arban did indeed help, but only a little. It made him think back to the Zealots. But would they be truly related to this Rong? Was this Rong so immense or powerful it could send operatives across the ocean and have them operate at full efficiency? Or was there something else going on that he didn’t yet understand? The discomfort that was visible, so far he at least could read from Arban’s body language, made Koike consider to drop it for now. ”I see.” Remaining silent, he considered his options. ”I will introduce you to a friend. She is very smart. Will help you if you help her.” He stated, attempting to flash a friendly smile afterwards. He was sure that Saki could perhaps pry more information loose without hassling as much as he was doing now. ”You rest for now. Okay?”
 
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FrostedCaramel

God's in His Heaven, All's Right With the World.
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Whenever you're asleep, thanks time zones.
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Mainly passive, can be aggressive if the situation requires such.
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Sci-Fi, Modern, and Horror.
Arban, Definitely a Good Girl
A collab between Lesli Lesli and the Camel.

Arban is questioned once again, this time by Saki Yamanaka on the question of Rong.


Walking quietly with her head bowed between two rather imposing men in body armor, Arban couldn’t help but to wonder what she had done to the young Lord Hon to receive such treatment as this. Were it true what he had said about his friend being able to help her, she had expected that perhaps the young Hon would have taken her to this friend himself instead of pawning it off to some brutes with a language she couldn’t understand in the slightest. A gauntleted hand falling on her shoulder as she passed the tent that she was being unknowingly led to caused Arban to jump in place and offer an apologetic smile to the two soldiers as one spoke a few words to warn the occupant of their arrival before lifting the tent flap to allow Arban inside. She hesitated a moment as she took the two soldiers and the dark interior in before taking a deep breath and stepping inside.

She squinted as the darkness of a tent consumed her for the second time that day and shuffled anxiously in place as she awaited some hidden entity to reveal itself like the beast in the Hons’ tent had.

There would be no direwolf in wait for the Rénese. The dangerous beast that was out for Rénese blood was out of sight but still present. As agitated as a starving direwolf, it kept clawing and providing a certain drive for Saki - to gain further revenge for Hideki’s death. Even the bloodshed of the last battle didn't satisfy the ‘beast’. Instead of being able to patrol or try to hunt down for any possible stragglers, she had other work cut out for her.
With some of the freed and captured people, she had been busy with the other Tiger Claws. Interrogations were in full effect and slowly more information was being pulled out of the captives and freed folk. Most of the information were just puzzle pieces. Pieces of information about foreign places, that seemed complete alien to Saki and the Tiger Claws. Information that didn’t make a lot of sense but had to be pieced together to form a complete view on the situation. Yet, certain pieces kept coming back. Not to mention, it was helping Saki and a few of the Tiger Claws to decypher and master this Rénese language as they kept digging into their minds.

Cleaning her hands, Saki frowned when the person in question entered her tent. The stench of something foul was filling the tent but the dark prevented to clarify what the stains on the ground were. The pale blue eyes cast an icy glance on Arban, almost nonchalantly sizing the woman up.
”Take a seat,” the blonde woman said in a calm tone, gesturing to the only chair present in the tent. Using the native tongue of Arban, there was a clear accent to it - clearly betraying that despite the advances, that the Yamanaka hadn’t yet fully drawn out the language from those who she had interrogated. ”I will explain the situation. Only once.” Despite the threatening phrasing, the woman’s tone or demeanor didn’t seem aggressive at all. ”Lying won’t help. You help me, I help you. Are you understanding?”

Arban spun in surprise to meet the voice to the other side of the tent, it was speaking Rénese but it wasn’t right. Faltering a moment she took a half step away from the woman that began to become clear in the darkness, the idea that perhaps it wasn’t only the men that would get bad ideas with her flashing across her mind as she began to register the putrid stink of the very tent she stood in. Her eyes darted to the edge of the tent at her side, but she didn’t dare to turn her head to glance the exit, the very idea of such a thing like an admission of guilt in her mind. So instead she stepped forward to the chair and slowly sat down, giving a weak nod as the woman gave her what was apparently supposed to be advice. “I--” her words caught in her throat and she could fear the fear creeping up her spine, “I understand.” she replied in Rénese as she stared at the mysterious woman, silently wishing she had turned down the Lord Hon’s offer to meet his friend.

”Good.” Saki replied. She didn’t like to converse in the tongue that was native to most people that they fought, freed and had captured. It didn’t irritate her that she had not yet mastered it. The sting of talking in the language of the people who took something important from her, was the reason why she disliked it.
”What is your name? My name is Saki.” Was the beginning. There was some consideration to use her sensory to keep track if the Rénese was going to lie or not. But Saki had an idea in mind.

Not averting her eyes from the woman as she spoke, Arban would feel a small sense of relief as she introduced herself as Saki. The mere fact she gave her name was reassurance to the young Arban that Saki has more plans than to simply beat her to a pulp in pursuit of information, though the idea of a pleasant talk like she’d had with the young Lord Hon was very obviously out of the question.

With a simple nod she raised her hand slowly to point at herself, “I’m known as Arban.” she answered, a quiver obvious in her voice.

An echo of silence followed the introduction of Arban. Saki had noticed that the other didn’t feel comfortable. One didn’t need to be educated in the arts of reading somebody’s body language to understand that. Though, Saki didn’t feel any need to apologise for the uncomfortable setting that they found themselves in. Her cold, blue eyes settled her gaze on Arban. She wouldn’t use her mind techniques but instead be attentive for any signs or hints that could inform her more about this Arban.

”Did you eat? Drink? You want?” Saki decided to ask. ”My Rén not very good. Not yet.” The Yamanaka would flash a wry smile. ”But very interesting. Language, that is. Where you taken by those men? Those men that we fought.”

Even in the darkness of the tent Arban could feel the woman's gaze digging into her. A cold sweat began to trickle down her neck as she fought to hold a semblance of normalcy in her breaths. Balling the cloth of her pants into her fists she’d find herself suddenly without any sort of appetite as the woman asked if she’d eaten. “I have, yes, thank you.” she replied quietly without fully looking at the woman. Her gazing moving across the ground around her as Saki went on to state that her Rén wasn’t very good yet Arban didn’t think she needed to raise the Yamanaka's confidence with any words of encouragement and instead left her words to her mind.

Bringing her gaze back to the Yamanaka again Arban would cock her head slightly to her side, confusion rising on her features as she did, “Take me?” she repeated as if she hadn’t fully understood at first, “They didn’t take me. I left. Before they could take me.” she replied as quietly as her prior comment. “We could see them coming from the hamlet to the East, they razed it to the ground. So we fled.”

A second of silence passed. Saki’s pale blue eyes didn’t seem to blink as she seemed to take in Arban’s words. ”Good. Very good.” Despite the polite tone, there was something clearly off about them. ”Who these men serve? Tell me all. And,” Raising her right index finger, the blonde Yamanaka’s tone shifted slightly. Revealing a more grim tone. ”No lying. Me hate liars. Now, you speak and I listen.”

Nodding slowly as if to confirm that what she had done was good, Arban would be once more confused by the Yamanaka before her. There was no way they didn’t know who they were fighting, not after all that had happened.

Confusion evident on her face she’d begin to raise a hand to speak before thinking better of the simple movement in front of the dangerous woman, “You know not of Rong?” she asked as she leaned back a little and took a deep breath. She could use this couldn’t she? Gain some leverage in this situation that was clearly not in her favor, perhaps move it somewhere more… public. Arban eyed Saki in the dim light and decided against it, there had to be more she could ask of Rong, surely she wasn’t a commodity with everyone that had fled the Rong host.

“Rong is… Rong is powerful. Intimidating. They are the Despoilers.” she stated.

Listening, Saki took in the information. A frown appeared on the brow of Saki as she couldn’t quite understand the last word in Rénese. Repeating it, she kept a puzzled look about her. ”You explain? What Rong want? Why they make you captured?” She asked. Reaching out, Saki grabbed a flask at her side. Removing it from the band, she would open the flask and take a sip from it. Only to then hold it up towards Arban. ”Drink.”
Noticing as Saki seemed to repeat the word just like the Young Lord Hon had when she’d tried to teach him a few words Arban would quickly think of easier words to relate to it. “Despoiler,” she said again, slowly to stress the sounds of it, “Plunder.” she said before eyeing the flask and grabbing it quickly, “Robber.” she said emphasizing the flask even though it had been offered to here, “No okay to take. Robber. Despoiler.” she tried to say as simply as possible before hesitantly drinking from the flask. The cool water from within was a welcome feeling but she only took the small sip before holding it back out for Saki.

“Rong are a state. From the…” she wasn’t sure if their directions would be the same and instead pointed at the wall of the tent that faced Rong, “From over there. Far. Very far.” she continued. “They have a religi-- idea. An idea they follow. Important to them. Very important. Fight others over it, fight others for it. It’s what they do. Despoilers.” she nodded as she waited for Saki to take the flask.

Slowly Saki nodded, to emphasise that she understood Arban’s words. Leaning back as Arban finished, Saki shook her head. Gesturing for Arban to drink more from the flask. ”Drink.” The Yamanaka then became silent, her gaze moving away from Arban from a moment. Visibly pondering on something, the blonde woman would get up and pace for a moment in the tent, which seemed to give cause for only more frustration.

”They far away. Rong.” Saki said, turning her gaze back at Arban. ”How far? How many soldiers?” She fired a few more questions at Arban. ”What idea they follow? Who leads them?”

Shifting uncomfortably in her seat as Saki paced the tent, Arban would take another small sip from the flask before capping it and gripping it tightly in both hands. As Saki came back to her she’d lean away from the woman and avert her gaze on reflex before turning them back to the Yamanaka, “I don’t…” she stammered and caught herself, “I don’t know how far. Never left home.” she said, afraid of the repercussion that not having an answer might have with the woman, “Many! They’re many! Too many!” she exclaimed before cupping her mouth with both hands and biting down on her tongue to control herself. She could feel the dread of growing as she imagined how unhappy Saki would be with her vague answers.

She wondered if perhaps these people were just as bad as Rong. “They have a King. Follow idea, they call it the Chant. They fight to spread it, that’s what they do. Have been doing it for so long.” she mumbled through her hands as she attempted to bite back tears.

Saki noticed the tears. But she didn’t care. Briefly, she could remember how Hideki had been taken away by her. It was like a burnt memory that she couldn’t erase. The irritation and frustration from speaking with this woman started to only fuel her anger. While well aware that this Arban hadn’t anything to do with Hideki’s death, Saki couldn’t help but feel an itch at her right hand. In her opinion right now, this woman had no right to shed tears.

”Good.” Surprisingly, her voice was calm. ”Many, good.” Clenching her right hand into a fist, Saki would nod one more time. ”You stay here. Two guards. I will talk with my,” briefly Saki wondered how to explain the rank and importance of Hayate. But why should she explain that to this outsider? This Rénese?
”My king. You, stay.” Pointing at the woman, Saki shot her a look. There was more that she wanted to say but decided against it. Walking towards the flaps of her tent, she already started to formulate and piece the information together that she had learned today.
 

conman2163

Long live Carolus Rex...
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Charming the Snake
A collab between Conman and Chrome

Summary: In need of the services of Kaizen, the Sixth Raikage arranges a meeting. After enlisting him, he gives him a mission. Find the true heir to the Lightning's Throne.

Gedric sat down at the small bench in the garden, fifteen minutes before the agreed upon time for the meeting. It was a neutral ground, a place that both he and the spymaster named Kaizen had chosen. It was also open air, allowing Gedric the freedom of breath, and giving his Anbu the security of being able to cover every direction. The shinobi were almost suffocating, insisting on making absolutely certain that their new Kage did not perish to an assassin like the previous Kage had. He had always viewed the Anbu as a remorseless, emotionless lot, but he thought for a moment, that under their masks they might be grieving their failure and the loss of a good leader. He adjusted his new mask carefully. As soon as he had returned to the capitol he had dawned the mask, and taken on a new identity for his old friend. He wasn’t sure why he had done it, it just put him in the line of fire. Hell, he could have cut and run, left to the Empire and just retired to some hamlet in the old Hon lands, running his mercenary guild from there. Still, he hadn’t, instead he had forsaken his old name and become Itagaki Terutane. Gedric Hon? He had done exactly what the real Gedric wanted to, fled the Lightning in secret during the night, leaving the Raikage’s cause to be championed by the new Sixth Raikage. He wasn’t used to the constrictive item that was the mask, but apparently all the kage’s before him had done the same thing. Itagaki’s only hope now was that he would last longer then the Fifth Raikage.

Strolling into the gardens, his hands behind his back and a casual smile upon his face, Kaizen pondered how long the weather would hold up. Spotting the masked man sitting, he approached calmly. “Lord Sixth, I presume?”

Itagaki spotted the man, he wasn’t the only one however, a nearby cloak shifted in the garden, denoting the presence of his Anbu guards. Itagaki inclined his head. ”Indeed, I would presume you are Kaizen then? It is a pleasure to meet you.”

Nodding his head, Kaizen offered a respectful bow. “The pleasure is mine.” Standing back to his full height, the Spymaster tilted his head to the side. “Before we get down to business, if I might make a small recommendation it would be to speak with your guards about practicing their ability to stay out of sight. Those with… ill intentions would not have too difficult time avoiding these ANBU.”

Smiling still, Kaizen shrugged. “Now, to what do I owe the pleasure, my Lord?”

”While your recommendation is indeed a good point, might I suggest that perhaps they meant to reveal their presence to you? Either way, it has little bearing on our meeting.” Itagaki folded his hands in his lap, interlacing his fingers. ”I shall be brief, as it is something I appreciate. I have found myself in need of the service of a reputable spymaster, and I have heard that you are the best.”

“Oh I wasn’t referring to the ones in here,” Kaizen said casually, gesturing outwards with his head, “I was referring to the ones trying to hide in the exterior. Nevertheless,” the smile never leaving his face, Kaizen allowed the Raikage to continue, listening carefully. As the man finished speaking, Kaizen let out a soft chuckle. “The very fact that you’ve heard of me would indicate that statement to be incorrect. Besides, there are a few in our neighbouring countries who could give me a run for my money, I’m sure.” Shrugging, Kaizen clasped his hands together in front of him. “That said, I am happy to offer my services should you still feel I’m worthy.”

Itagaki waved a hand as if to brush away the comment. ”The late Lord Fifth Raikage had some dealings with you, did he not?” He returned his hands to a folded position, leaving the implied suggestion as to where he got the information behind. ”Irregardless, it would be good to have your services available Kaizen.”

The expression on his face did not change as Itagaki made his comment. Waiting for the Raikage to finish, Kaizen would respond, “And which specific services would you wish to utilize first, may I ask?”

The Raikage reached into his tunic and retrieved a sealed letter, smiling beneath his mask. He held it out to the man. ”Your initial task is to find the true heir to the Ranzaki throne, and proof that he did not murder his father. The importance of such a task cannot be understated, so i’d ask that you expedite the process where possible.”

Nodding thoughtfully, Kaizen took the letter and placed it inside his jacket. “And what if I find him to be no longer gracing the land of the living?” he asked, raising an eyebrow inquisitively.

”Excellent question, however I am confident that you will find him alive and well. After all, it would be a waste to be fighting a war if he wasn’t alive.” His words were toneless, the mask hiding his face and any facial expressions that might incur some meaning upon them.

A smirk grew on Kaizen’s face as he shrugged. “One might say it was a waste to fight a war altogether.” Folding his hands together once more, Kaizen continued, “Assuming I can find the boy and prove his innocence, what are your next steps?”

Itagaki smirked underneath the mask. Reveal his plans to the man who he had yet to see the loyalties of? Not likely. ”I would not bother you with my future plans at this time, lest your work now suffer for anticipation of the future.” He stood up and walked past the man towards the exit of the garden. ”Oh, and Kaizen.” He stopped and turned to face the man. ”Next time we meet, it shall be in my office, like every other official I have working for me.”

While he had not expected the man to reveal everything to him right away, Kaizen had at least hoped that maybe the Sixth would show some of the faith in him that Lord Fifth had had. Nodding politely, the Spymaster shifted his stance slightly to allow the Raikage to pass. Raising an eyebrow slightly as the man continued, Kaizen’s mouth curled up in the ghost of a smile. “I do recall you seeking my services and not the other way around, so I would think it much more fitting to say that we are working together, no? And I do hope you’ll find that I am not quite like every other official you currently employ.”

Beginning to turn, Kaizen paused, thinking about something. Looking back, the polite smile still on his face, the Spymaster remarked, “I must say, I’m curious on the choice to wear a mask. It hasn’t exactly worked out for the past few leaders.” Lowering his head in a respectful nod, Kaizen continued, “I will send word once I have news. Until next time, Lord Sixth.” With that, Kaizen’s form began to dissolve into a small cloud of dark smoke as his shadow clone faded away.