Drak

Lightning
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Everything posted by Drak

  1. Hitomaro’s feet hit the ground a bit harder than he’d intended, forcing him to a knee. Rushing through the trees like he was was going to cause more damage than it was worth, unfortunately he didn’t have the time to worry about his body. As soon as the thought of time flashed through his mind he turned to look over his shoulder. The sun was still high in the sky, but it wouldn’t stay that way for too long. He kicked off the ground, feeling the building strain in his knees as he picked up pace as he went. He shifted his body around the trees, this was actually the easiest part of his retrieval, the downhill run. Earlier that day he’d been summoned to the Kage’s tower, only this time it wasn’t for a meeting with the Kage, it was for an assignment. An agent they’d strategically placed was returning with important information they’d gotten, that was all the taskmaster had given him because that’s all that he had. It wasn’t uncommon for Lightning Village assets to reach out for a meeting, it was uncommon for one to send an urgent help request. All the old man sitting behind a desk could do was give Hitomaro a location, a deadline, and a reminder of the importance of that information before shooing the blond out of the tower. It was a bit strange not to hear from the Kage, even moreso not receive a manila folder; but if time was of the essence then it made sense. The blond Shinobi grabbed one of his pre stocked kits then hit the ground hard, running for the meeting location. He’d been told there would possibly be help, someone who’d been in the area who could encounter the asset before Hitomaro could have made it. If the informant was in as much danger as his message seemed to allude then the blond ninja hoped someone would keep him safe until he could get there. The asset was Akimitsu Murosaki, a young man who’d been placed somewhere South of the Lightning Country, his location was need to know. Given what his last message said h’d already crossed into the Hiraishin Mountains, there were plenty of Shinobi stationed in the area given the recent assignments, and he’d likely be resting in one of the small mountain towns while he waited for his escort. Hitomaro would have to hurry, even if he got there in a few hours getting the informant back to the village before sundown would be a feat, after all Akimitsu wasn’t a Shinobi and wouldn’t be able to keep up on his own. Worse yet he would stick out like a sore thumb to anyone hunting them, based on the intel Hitomaro had gotten he was a young redhead. That would draw attention, wouldn’t help that he was a blond. Hitomaro ground his teeth and ignored it as he pressed on around the trees, when he had Akimitsu firmly in hand he’d worry about making the deadline, until then he couldn’t afford to worry himself with it. He’d be there soon, hopefully he’d get there before whatever spooked the informant. @Kiroyashi@Katsu@Rue@Kao Masayoshi@Rysano@Aries@Fujin@Bastian(Any of you are free to Join this, if you join this you may NOT join the other one I put up) 529/1000
  2. Hitomaro really didn’t much like the Earth Country, it was hot, sandy, and everyone smelled like sweat. The mountain was cool, the air was fresh, and the women didn’t have to cover their entire body to keep from being cooked by the sunlight. At the least it kept the blond focused on his task. The four man team had arrived in the Earth Country a bit after mid afternoon, they could have arrived sooner but Hitomaro had made sure to stop them before leaving the Lightning Country to discuss what they were capable of. It was important for them to know that he was a summoner, that he’d use his Salamanders to pass information when he needed to. More importantly they needed to know what one another was capable of, if he’d had the time he might have even had them spar a bit. The old man that trained him had a thing about throwing fists to understand one another, Hitomaro thought it was stupid, but he always knew where to cover his allies afterwards so it had to have worked on some level. He shook the thoughts of the past out of his mind, the only thing that he needed to be thinking about was this mission at this moment. After entering the Earth Country the four split up, staying together was too risky. Hitomaro had given them each very specific instructions before they split up and made sure they could repeat it back to him. It was another habit he’d learned from the old man, if you just told someone something they could misunderstand, but if you made them tell you what they think you just told them then it stuck. For Aito, he had it hardest. He was going to have an issue not standing out with that gourd on his back, not only that lugging the heavy thing around was going to cause him problems. Lucky for him the seasons were pretty good and Lightning was exporting a number of goods into the Earth Country right now. The young redhead needed to get into the country with the help of those caravans, either playing a merchant or as a caravan guard. Either way he’d have to ditch the gourd in a wagon for a while, the border security wouldn’t think twice about it if it looked like merchandise, but if he was wearing it then they were going to ask questions. Kiroyashi and Rue had it easy, they were going to enter the country together. Hitomaro had thought the easiest way to do it was to pose as tourists on a honeymoon, but given he had a hard time predicting Kiroyashi’s behavior he left it up to the two of them to do what they thought was best. Hitomaro had already set up a contact that would smuggle him and all their basic gear into the Earth Country, had Aito not had such a cumbersome gourd he would have taken the redhead with him, but he couldn’t ask one of his team to abandon his weapon of choice. This would leave the other two unarmed, which meant they had better be damn good actors to get into the Earth Country without incident. Once everyone was inside things got a whole lot easier. Xing Cia, a Lightning Village agent that had done a lot of work in the Earth Country, had already laid the groundwork for them. They’d all meet in one of the busier towns in the Lazien Desert. It’s name was in some dead language that the locals had found on some stupid stone but the Lightning traders had taken to calling it Toredo. Their point of contact was a brightly blue painted Geisha House called The Dancing Lotus. It was a somewhat awkward looking building that had clearly been repurposed and altered with balconies to give the Geisha a place to lay when on duty and not entertaining, but it’s strange construction hadn’t stopped it from quickly becoming a local hotspot. Hitomaro had never actually been there, but using some local assets he’d managed to get himself, two bodyguards, and a girl employed for a few days. The only problem there was that he didn’t tell Rue that she’d be playing an entertaining Geisha while the others had door and contruction duty. Recently The Dancing Lotus had begun a slight expansion and had hired more hands for that, it was their way to meet up with the contact unnoticed. Hitomaro wasn’t entirely comfortable with Rue being the one to meet with the contact, hopefully he’d at least be able to prep her before the brutish Bao entered. That would be difficult though, being the doorman at a fairly popular Geisha House didn’t make it easy to slip off. Hopefully Aito and Kiroyashi would at least be setting themselves up to quickly intervene and help from their contruction posts if Rue needed it.
  3. This is the Mission: Fist Fight at the Port @Sei@Aito ____________ Hitomaro pushed the sun from his eyes, he really wasn’t a fan of the sun. It wasn’t his normal light sensitivity, nope, he was one hundred percent sober this time around and it was a helluva drag. What made the whole thing worse was how hot and muggy the it was is the small room above the small outpost he’d been shuffled off too as soon as he’d entered the port city. The tight fitting black, long sleeved shirt he’d worn was already sticking to him, didn’t help he was still wearing the heavy green flak jacket. At least he’d had the good sense to leave it open at the chest. He walked over to the nearby window that was letting the light flood in and pulled the wooden shades closed with a slight tug. The others would enter the city soon, hopefully the riots and gang fighting wouldn’t sweep them up before the local Shinobi could get to them. Hitomaro fell to a knee and pulled the rolled manila folder out of the side pocket of his black cargo pants. The Kage was good about having these information packs sent before a mission began, not only that they were damn good sources of local information. Hitomaro had read his dozens of times since he got it. He didn’t need to, it was just something he was doing to calm his nerves at this point. He was going to be in charge of this team, not only that he was going to be in charge of some incredibly inexperienced shinobi. It was a lot of pressure being in charge of other people's lives, he could practically hear the old man in the back of his mind lecturing him, reminding him to have thought out every scenario. The others would enter the city like he had, the problem was that the two gangs, the Shakuheddo in the north of the city and the Marineros de Sangre in the south, had erupted again throwing the city into a state of chaos. When Hitomaro had entered gangs of ten to fifteen armed men swarmed him demanding allegiance, it didn’t take much to lose them but someone with less experience or talent then he had could struggle a bit. Had he not run into a local Chuunin he’d have struggled to navigate the maze of salt washed wooden housing and businesses to find a way into the local offices. The place was a complete mess. The local Shinobi were already out there looking for his team, but with his limited knowledge of the area he needed to finish memorizing the map they’d left with him and start unraveling the mess at hand. He needed to hope that the other two would find the Chuunin and make their way to his location, if they didn’t arrive soon he’d take matters into his own hands and find them himself. He didn’t care how big a mess it would create if the gangs found out Yamagakure had sent a team in, the team was going to come first. 509/1000
  4. After hearing what the silver haired young man had to say Hitomaro had a decision to make, and it was an easy one. "We need to clear out." Hitomaro said clearly and loudly. The mission wasn't entirely completed but the job had changed so much so now that it was no longer something they could continue. The blond Shinobi rubbed the back of his head, he'd hit it pretty good when they caught him before, he ignored it. "Alright so this is what we are going to do. Both of you head out together, get clear and then don't stop till you reach the village." Hitomaro was using hand motion as he talked, he wasn't sure why but there was a lot of pointing and waving involved. "Report to the Kage, I will hang out in the Port and await further orders. You did great, now get out of here." He said it and then he waved them off. They needed to hurry out of town. [So close it out with an exit post. @Katsu if @Sei doesn't post in 48 hours just do your exit and turn the mission in for the exp.]
  5. [So this one is weird for me, what I will do is allow you guys to treat Hitomaro and his summons as NPC's. Don't kill him off but use him to get yourselves free in whatever way you need to and at the end just say he left.]
  6. Something went terribly wrong, something Hitomaro didn't expect. One moment everything was going well and the next a group of rouge Shinobi were running through town looking for Hitomaro and his group of Genin. There was no more time to be the door man, no more time to lay a trap. Hitomaro ran into the Geisha House and shouted the names of his team, hoping they were all near. "We need to clear out, clear out right now." They all had emergency evacuation orders, they'd all been prepared just in case something went wrong. This was that moment. The three young Shinobi would all have to evacuate, Aito similarly to how he arrived, Rue could use the escape routes that Lily had set up for her girls. And the crazy one, well who knew if he'd even try to escape or just start throwing bombs until either they were all dead or he was. As for Hitomaro, his time in Earth country was over. After delivering the message he summoned a dozen of his red skinned salamanders and had them transform into him. They would be chasing the blond Shinobi, now they'd have something to chase. With that he was ready to leave. Thirteen different versions of himself would take off in thirteen different directions. Hopefully that would help the kids get out. He was sure it would. [Hitomaro OUT, use this as an exit everyone. Lark is unlikely to post so don't wait on him.]
  7. Saisaki was, without a doubt, a fish out of water at times. Hitomaro almost laughed when they entered and the brunette slipped into a reserved politeness. It wasn’t that he wasn’t used to her doing it, after all her whole demeanor was reserved politeness, it was that he knew the old woman too well to see it as anything other than comical. She had grown up around miners, learned to talk with miners, married a miner and then, out of some god forsaken miracle, her son became a shinobi. She simply didn’t much care for politeness. “I didn’t welcome you, I just opened the door.” the old woman hissed at the young brunette. She was an old bitter woman at this point and it would be clear as day. Hitomaro didn’t wait to hear Saisaki’s response, not that he’d actually expected her to have one. “We need a place to lay low for the night, I’d like that bag I sent with my letter-” He stopped as the old woman held up a manilla folder. It was identical to the ones that he found next to his bunk on a regular basis. For a moment the blond haired Shinobi was in disbelief, how had the Kage known they’d show up at the safehouse, how had he even known this was a safehouse Hitomaro might use? He shook that off, strolled over to the old woman and then snatched the folder away. He gave Saisaki a nervous glance before lifting the seal and opening it, inside was a single piece of white paper with a typed message on it. Abort Mission, lay low for the night return early. It may have well been the clearest message he’d ever gotten while on a mission and it felt a bit unlike the Kage or anyone in the Kage’s office to send something so clear. Either way it all fit, even the code word at the bottom of the letter. “Looks like we’ll be staying the night.” Hitomaro said as he looked from the old woman to Saisaki. “We’ll be leaving in the morning. The room ok?” Hitomaro asked this question directly of the old woman. She flung her head back in indignation before waving an arm out almost to shoo him away. Hitomaro took it as a yes. He nodded to Sai for her to follow to the only door, to say she had to follow was probably incorrect, in reality she only needed to take about five or six steps. Once she was with him he flung the door open to reveal what looked to be a long closet with a bedroll lain out across the floor. “It was her son’s old room, we’ll be sleeping here tonight.” Hitomaro could almost hear the young woman’s protests before she had them, or at least he imagined he could. The room wasn’t even large enough for the two of them to stand shoulder to shoulder without rubbing against the walls and they were going to share it? Hitomaro was almost giddy. “Before you say anything understand this, she sleeps in the main room, which has windows. There are none in the small room.” Calling it a room was generous, “It’s safer if we use this room.” He’d listen to the young brunettes protests if she had any, then he’d retrieve the pack he’d sent to the old woman’s house. Upon retrieving it he groaned, there were weapons, explosive tags, hell even sealing scrolls. The one thing he needed that wasn’t in there, a change of clothes. He looked to the old woman. “I’m wearing everything I own, and I got rid of all his old stuff.” She smiled and said. “I’ll clean the blood off your clothes, but you’re going to have to give them to me.” If he and Saisaki weren’t going to have to walk out of town in the morning he would have just dealt with it, then again sleeping in blood stained clothes was never very high on his list. He sighed, then nodded to Saisaki and started stripping himself. If she was upset about him grabbing her before she was really going to be upset about this. In a moment he was stripped down to his latex, thigh length underwear. His ribs were discolored, his shoulder red from the healing, but otherwise completely comfortable in his near nudity. “Don’t stand in the middle of my house nearly naked, you’ve got blankets use them.” the old woman hissed once more before collecting their clothes and shuffling off to a water bucket to clean the blood out of them and then hang them to dry. Hitomaro moved to the bed roll that had been lain out in the small closet, leaving what he hoped was enough room for Saisaki to comfortably slide in next to him. It would be a very close night for the two of them, then in the morning they’d grab their things and walk right out of town. It wasn’t how either of them wanted to leave the mission, in fact it made Hitomaro sick to his stomach, but when things started to fall apart sometimes you had to cut weight and move on. Still, the whole thing tasted sour and leaving as the loser was a blow to his ego. [The End for Hitomaro]
  8. Hitomaro didn’t have to try very hard to blend in, no he had drunkard down like a pro. He almost laughed at the thought as he sat on the stones surrounding the base of a large tree. Next to him was a wrapped bottle, it wasn’t liquor this time but it sure as hell looked like it, not only that he’d made sure to stumble and laugh sporadically like he was incredibly inebriated. It was important to be a traveling drunkard, from what the information he’d gotten from the documents in his manilla folder said there was likely to be trained eyes all over the place. He laughed sporadically and added a forced hiccup to the end of it, just for added effect. Soon he’d get the signal and he’d shuffle off back into a nearby bar, order a drink, hopefully catch sight of his white haired partner and meet with their lanky asset. He was supposed to be a tall guy, brown hair, sunken green eyes. Hojo Soun, strange name but Hitomaro didn’t have much of a platform to stand on with the name thing. Soun was a local power player of sorts, if politicians wanted to win the vote of the local miners they needed to go through him, not that he was a miner or anything, hell he wasn’t even very liked by the miners from all the information Hitomaro had gathered since arriving a day and a half ago. Soun had inherited the pulley platform system that allowed over two hundred hard working men to travel back and forth from the lowland towns into the mines every day and back again. Being the man that held the key to transportation gave him a lot of power, it also required a lot of friends to keep from losing that power to someone with a bit more ambition. So Soun made a deal with the devil of sorts, he’d push Yamagakure friendly politics in the region and in return the village would make sure that his assets remained his assets. It was a pretty good deal, but every now and again the village was forced to step in and deal with a bit of local unrest. This visit wasn’t necessarily about Soun but it did require the information he had. Soun had passed some information up the ladder that caught someones attention, apparently one of the older, more stubborn politicians had decided to call in some outside help to try and force the Yamagakure influence out. That wasn’t something the village was happy to hear about. Not long ago this was one of the politicians that had quickly fallen in line, a man who benefited from the new Kage’s economic stimulus policies, something had changed to make him take a clear anti-Yamagakure stance. Hitomaro stood up, he made sure to stumble a bit as he did, then grabbed his wrapped bottle. No drunk worth his salt forgot his nectre. He’d seen the flash in the bar window, now he just had to make his way over. He moved slowly, wobbled a bit as he went, he wanted to look like a drunkard not so drunk he couldn’t function. The bar was a small wooden building with large windows on both sides, the door was worn at the edges from the constant sliding open and closed while the handle had long since lost any of it’s shine. A good bar had a worn out door. He pushed through and with a slight creaking walked into the murmured din of the interior. There were tables everywhere, the marks on the wooden floor told him that at one point there had been order to their placement but that had long since ended. He moved to the long wooden bar and took a seat, slumping his shoulders in a very tired way so that the dark v-necked t-shirt he was wearing hung off his athletic frame. He was pairing that with dark brown cargo pants secretly stuffed with a few important ninja tools and black boots that would be common in the mines. He blended in pretty well, now he had to hope that his companion had managed to do something similar. The asset was already in the bar, but Hitomaro knew better than to look around for him, no he needed to keep his head down and not draw attention. He was just a normal drunkard passing through for some work, nothing more, no reason for anyone to look twice. When his asset moved next to him the white haired woman would get the signal from wherever she was sitting to join them, that is, if she was there.
  9. The rush of people made seeing what was going on rather difficult, but once he noticed a familiar young man with silver hair for a moment. It was clear that someone was charging to attack Katsu, the silver haired young man that Hitomaro had been grouped with during his time in Raijin Bay, who just barely avoided an attack by disappearing into a puff of smoke. Substitution, Hitomaro looked around to find the young man. At that moment the blond was the one who needed to play off the already involved combatant not give away his advantage so quickly. He stepped through the few people who were still fleeing the scene to make his way onto the deck of a building opposite Katsu. The assailant recovered from his confusion, then he quickly turned to look for Katsu. He’d clearly been paying attention to the surroundings, noticing the chair the assailant scanned the fronts of the buildings. It didn’t take him long to find his target and then begin his charge anew. Katsu would have plenty of time to react as long as the somewhat brutish, brawling looking man didn’t have any tricks up his sleeve. This gave the Jounin a moment. There was clearly no sign of the asset, a smoke cloud forming in a nearby alley, and the silver haired Genin seemed to be on the ropes combating his aggressive opponent; but Hitomaro trusted the young man. He turned away, jumped then pulled himself back onto the roof. Katsu was fighting out in the open, that means either he hadn’t used the smoke bomb and there were others there or he’d used it to give someone else cover. Hitomaro hoped for the latter. He leapt to an adjacent roof, got a running start, then plunged towards the roof currently being shrouded in smoke. The visual deterrent was already beginning to fade. Hitomaro hoped that when it was gone he’d be rewarded with the correct guess, feared for the worst. He bit his thumb, rushed through hand seals in a hurry, then forced his palm to the ground. A great flash of smoke erupted and the blond haired Shinobi felt a small pull on his body, as if weights had just been attached to him. Then, as the slight gust carried the newly formed smoke away, there were five awkward looking red skinned Salamanders with thick tails standing around the blond summoner. “When the smoke clears we take control of the area, if they won’t stay still knock them out. If you see a redhead just knock him out and bring him back to me.” He redrew the Kunai he’d sheathed before his jump to the roof. If he was wrong and the smoke hadn’t been a sign for him then he’d turn back to help Katsu; but Hitomaro really hoped he wasn’t wrong. 1764/1000
  10. I mean if you are writing quality then the current bonus system should be making it worth your time. The staff may need to adjust the bonus handouts to make that the priority, but the grinding thing is created by members who just want to word dump in a mission and then get out. Can't blame the staff for people treating this like a video game rather than a ROLEPLAY. If we were more focused on writing stories rather than just ranking up really fast then we wouldn't have the issue at all, I see this as a member issue not a staff issue. I'd like to see the systems cleaned up, simplified where necessary, write the systems that need to be written, and for Bloodlines to be completely redone because right now the only incentive to have one is for flavor text. I mean you could make a bloodline cost a lot, making a fresh character with a bloodline start behind a character without, but as they are I wouldn't even bother. I'd also really love to see an event board so that stuff we do IC shows up in the world so people from one village to the next can react to the changing world they see. I have a HUGE list of things that should get an update/fix, but I just wanted to try my member legs out
  11. So I just want to start this by assuring everyone in a thread with me that I am not going anywhere, killing our threads wont be that easy. That all being said I am stepping down as staff and I want everyone to know that so they can direct their questions to the correct people moving forward. I just want to thank the members one last time for putting up with me as staff, glad to have been part of the site for however much time I was. They should remove me from the staff list fairly soon, but until then this is effective August 8th, 2017.
  12. Characters Involved | Ito, Hitomaro Link to the Missions | Windy City Happy Hour Brief Overview | Hitomaro has a meeting with an Adviser to the Wind Country. They come to some terms that will get him a future meeting with the leader to discuss diplomatic relations.
  13. What could he do for him? No what could he do for Lightning, Hitomaro had to remember why he was there. Hitomaro reached his arms out to the table and sat straight up to look at Okada in the eyes. He’d been under the impression he was just a scummy priest taking advantage of faith to gain power up until this point, but he was far more than that. Okada was a man clearly more capable at the negotiation game than Hitomaro was, he wasn’t a con artist, he was a magnanimous leader. So Hitomaro sat for a moment and contemplated his next move, the tanned priest wanted something specific but he wasn’t just going to come out and say it. The problem was that if Hitomaro read this wrong he may risk making an enemy rather than a friend. “It’s not about what you can do for us right now, it’s about what we can do for you.” Hitomaro spoke confidently, it was a fake confidence, he was far more comfortable debating breast size at a bar top rather than handling incredibly sensitive negotiations. “The Denkikage has already authorized barges of timber from the mountain to start shipping into the Kazan islands.” He stopped for a moment to read Okada’s face, if he liked what he heard he wasn’t showing it. “More wood for more ships like this, but that’s not all. We’ve got engineers building wind powered energy in the voltage lands right now, we’d be happy to share that technology with you.” At that Okada flashed a bit of interest. It wasn’t a secret that the new Kage of the Lightning Village had pushed an incredibly aggressive energy policy in the Voltage Lands before coming to power. There were some more gruesome details to the energy boom in the Voltage Lands that a more scrupulous look may have uncovered, but all the world needed to know was that it had nearly tripled economic output almost overnight. “I know that the Kazan Islands have been a bit more resistant to technology, but given your geography I think it’s safe to say that the person who harnesses the wind is going to have a decidedly more secure position.” Hitomaro made very little effort to hide his intended meaning here, he wanted to be very clear. In return for Okada helping secure strong diplomatic ties between the Wind Country and the Lightning Country the blond Shinobi was more than willing to promise to supply him alone with the needed energy technology to power his country. He couldn’t have come out and offered anything more without it verging on conspiracy. Okada leaned back and lifted a hand to his well shaved chin. The tanned man was clearly contemplating something, it had Hitomaro on edge. When fighting someone there was no question about what the other person intended, they wanted to win, to survive, but in games of state it was a far more slippery road with a lot more pitfalls. He’d already said enough for a loyal member of Nijiro’s entourage to seriously question what was being proposed. But Okada had put himself next to the leader not because he was loyal, but because he was hungry. Okada hadn’t come from power, in fact he came from the lowest reaches of society. From what Hitomaro knew, Okada was the son of a whore and in his sect of faith that originally made him a living testament to uncleanliness. Undoubtedly the young Okada would have been forced into near slave like labor and scorned, then as he entered manhood he’d have the chance to cleanse himself. Hitomaro knew of the ritual, seven days and nights baking in the sun, naked and tied to a dial. It was their way of allowing their gods to burn away the sin, more than a few didn’t survive the process if the reports were true. So Hitomaro knew better than to believe that Okada was the loyal subject, he didn’t even pretend most of the time. Okada was out to secure his own place and the Lightning Country intelligence wasn’t usually wrong when it made as bold a claim as that. “You send the engineers and I’ll make sure you get a meeting with the High Priest.” Okada said with far more seriousness than anything he’d said up to that point. It wasn’t the promise Hitomaro had been hoping for, but it wasn’t a bad outcome. Lightning Country had wanted to get a face to face with Nijiro for a while now, being an island nation they had a lot of sway over the sea trade in the area. That wasn’t it though, the Wind Country was a budding power that the major villages had kept down for quite a while, it was better not to be a target of that scorn when resentment finally boiled over. “Alright, well finalize some of the details later but for now,” Okada had quickly reverted back to his uptempo mood, “we eat!” Hitomaro smiled in response and the proceeded to dig in. It was rare that he got to eat that well without having to pay, he wasn’t going to let it go to waste. After the meal was over one of Okada’s assistance sorted some of the finer details with Hitomaro while the tanned man retired to the main cabin with his gaggle of topless maidens. Hitomaro was starting to see the benefit of religion. Shortly after that the blond was hurried back to his own ship and was left to watch as the larger vessel turned back towards the islands. Okada would be expecting an envoy with an engineer in a few weeks, once he had that he’d put Lightning personnel in front of the High Priest Nijiro. Things went better than the blond expected, in fact it was a lot easier than expected. It finally dawned on him that maybe he wasn’t sent because he was the best man for the job, maybe he was sent because any man could have done the job…. [End and Return Home] 3356/1000
  14. Hitomaro stretched as the wind rushed past him, saltwater sprayed over the bow of the ship coating his red hued jacket in a light mist. He probably should have been more careful with the fine fabric of his jacket but he was so used to the simple cotton black t-shirts and cargo pants that his new outfit felt a bit off. The well made jacket wasn’t the only uncomfortable piece, he was wearing a stiff yellow shirt, real jeans, and even a respectable looking scarf. He hadn’t picked it, some young woman tore through everything he owned until she found something she felt suited the task at hand then shoved him onto the semi large wooden boat. He chuckled a bit as he stood at the bow of the ship, why they’d send him to talk to someone important was beyond him. There was landin the distance, it was one of the Kazan Islands. It would have been polite to try and remember which one, after all there were five, but Hitomaro wasn’t the kind of guy who really cared. As far as the blond was concerned this was a waste of time. Three times before they’d tried to get the Wind Village to open up diplomatic talks, three times they’d been rebuffed. Yes, he’d read the damn manilla folder the young woman had given him. It was the same as all of the other manilla folders he’d been handed recently, it stuffed with papers so full of information written in small print that it almost looked like the sheet was caving under the weight of the ink. The Kage didn’t mess around when he sent you on a mission. Hitomaro had learned more in the last three hours than he felt like he’d learned in an entire lifetime. The Wind Country was a loose collection of island and port cities that had unified under a Shinobi banner quite a long time ago, so long ago in fact that it was almost amazing that they’d managed to actually lose out on the land wars to the Flame Country during the Great War. Hitomaro felt his skin crawl at the thought, he pushed the rage down. He was from Flame, he lived through the Great War, his family hadn’t. It was like swallowing a stone but he had to do it, worrying about his vendetta would only make what he had to do more difficult. He directed his mind back to the task at hand, back to the Wind Village and their newest leader. Sohei Nijiro didn’t call himself a Kage, he openly rejected the notion. According to the information Nijiro came to power as a spiritual leader, not a militaristic one, while still leaning on his shinobi traditions. He guided the Wind Country through the Great War and was the voice for the Kazan people during the dismantling of the old Shinobi world. Somehow he managed to hold together the Kazan Islands and then absorb a few the major port cities, all while fending off the major villages in a diplomatic spar. Hitomaro couldn’t help but admire the man's ability when he read the reports detailing his leadership qualities, most of the Lightning information experts likened him to a cult leader, Hitomaro couldn’t really tell the difference between that and a Kage. Regardless it wasn’t Sohei Nijiro that they’d aired the blond out to go meet, it was one of his loudest advisers, Kazuchika Okada. Okada wasn’t like Nijiro, he was known to be loud, vibrant, have a well trained entourage, and unlike Nijiro he really liked what the outside world could offer the Wind Country. He was the first chance to open a door into the Wind Country and the Village wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to ingratiate themselves to him. Which had Hitomaro a bit perplexed, if they wanted everything to go off without a hitch why in the hell would they send him? He’d asked why him a hundred times already, he never did come to a satisfying answer. The time to worry about why they sent him came to an abrupt end as his boat gently came to a stop beside a much larger, much more flamboyant ship. A small bridge was tossed over the side of the larger ship, connecting the two. Hitomaro sighed and pulled the sunglasses he was wearing off and put them in his jacket pocket, time to see how good of a talker he really was. 743/1000
  15. Saisaki ran through the information she got from the informant, it wasn’t anything Hitomaro hadn’t expected. It was a bit strange that anyone would send in eight people at once. They didn’t even try to keep their actions a secret. It worried the blond Shinobi a bit, after what the sniper had said before he died and now the information that a small host had been moving within town. He was trying to piece it together in his mind, it was possible that they were a bandit group trying to seize power in the Voltage Lands, but simply occupying the town would have accomplished that. It didn’t feel right. "You're hurt," Her soft tone broke him out of his thoughts, it was probably for the best. She then proceeded to issue an order, it wasn’t really his style to take orders from young women in his care, but given he had a hole in his shoulder he decided to let her take control. She moved to towards him, performing hand seals as she moved. She’d already proven herself a competent medic, but now he began to worry a bit about her stamina. She’d single handedly healed him, Soun, fought off an attacker, and she was now healing him again. Hitomaro had never had the control to take up medical practice but he imagined it was draining. She placed her hands on his shoulder around the open wound, it wasn’t a pleasant feeling, and then it was. A warm feeling flooded his shoulder as her chakra entered his system and forced the wound to mend. Once Hitomaro was whole once again he noticed an itch where the wound had been, but she’d managed to save him from an inevitable scar. He assumed that probably earned her dinner on him at some point after all this. "Did you get hurt anywhere else that I should check?" She was thorough, then again Hitomaro was choosing to believe that she was asking at least a little out of interest in seeing him from head to toe. He smiled a bit at that thought, “A little rib bruising, probably nothing serious.” He passed on the opportunity to say something a bit forward, she’d done really well, no reason to have her pull away now that they were finally getting along. “We don’t have much time, whoever sent those guys is going to be looking for them soon if not already, we need to get to Togi as soon as possible.” Hitomaro said while he rotated his now healed shoulder, a bit of soreness to go with the itch. Assuming Saisaki didn’t insist on dealing with his other injury the blond would take the lead, Togi Hashirama wasn’t an unknown entity, in fact he was someone Lightning had been forced to make contact with once before. Getting to him now that they knew there was a hostile element in the town though was going to take a bit of care. Togi lived in a pretty large house near the center of town, granted in a town like this pointing out the center was a bit of a trick. Most of the buildings had gone up sporadically and haphazardly as the mines became a main resource in the region, that made it hard to predict where the roads began and ended, that in turn made plotting a break in a bit on the difficult side. “We need to get out of here. We’ve got a safehouse set up near the bar.” With that he deferred deciding the next course of action for a while. It was probably the best decision, whatever they planned would be best done in the dead of night and with clothes that weren’t stained with blood, his or Soun’s came to mind after taking a look at the blood on Saisaki’s arms from treating the both of them. Hitomaro would lead the way through the back alleys and shadows, staying off the main roads given their current appearance. He thought about using a transformation technique to get through the town but worried that the strain would push Saisaki over the limit after everything she’d already done. So they took to the shadows, it was slower moving but eventually they made it to a small house. The house was relatively unremarkable and was owned by an old woman whose son had once been a Shinobi in the Lightning Country. For a few years she’d been letting other Shinobi pass through, Hitomaro in particular. He’d once fought alongside her son, during the rebellions, and stopped by on a regular basis to make sure she had everything she needed. He didn’t like using her as a safehouse, or anyone else for that matter given everything she’d already been through, but he couldn’t argue with the convenience of having a built in alibi. He knocked on the side door three times in a staggered pattern, she may have been old but she didn’t have any issue hearing. Moments later an old woman, tanned and wrinkled by the sun and time, swung the side door open with a concerned look on her face. He’d sent word that he might be in town for work, undoubtedly she wasn’t super happy to see that he had a need to call on her after the sun started to go down. “Well,” She said, her voice cracking and raspy with age, “get inside.”
  16. (OOC: I am going to be temporarily be acting as all the Shinobi for a moment, just to give you guys something to play off of.) Their first attack had been a mistake, clearly the quiet and peaceful method wasn’t going to get it done. Gibo, the wind specialist that had managed to cut through the haze without being noticed, missed his chance at the target. Now he was going to be forced to engage the silver haired Shinobi that had killed Toji while the others captured the target. He’d strike quickly, attacking Katsu with a flurry of blows aided by cutting wind force that extended his strikes by nearly three inches. He didn’t care about the scene he caused anymore, no he needed all eyes on him. While Gibo fought it would be the other two that moved in to capture the target that had ducked into the alley. Akira was already nearby, as she turned into the alley she quickly noticed the redheaded target lying in a pile of trash. She moved quickly, her dark hair flowing behind her. She’d drag him out of the trash, bind his hands with a seal, then she’d drag him out into the arms of Inazaki if he wasn’t able to fend her off. As she moved Inazaki would as well. Up to this point the grey haired old man had lurked in the shadows and made himself unnoticeable, but now Akira had let him know through the radio that she had the target in sight. It was time for the old dragon to breath fire once again. The old man peeled himself out of the shadows causing the people around him to stare, he was used to it, after all you didn’t walk around with a face covered in blade scars and not draw attention now and again. He’d left Earth Village a long time ago and he’d paid for every year of freedom with his own blood. He hastily positioned himself to the South of the alley, the same direction Akira had entered and would be dragging the target out from. Assuming all went well the old man would make sure their escape would go unimpeded. ________________________________________ Hitomaro Didn’t often like to be the last one to the party, in this case he really hoped that he wouldn’t be. He burst through the West entrance to the small town, sweating and breathing heavily, but there was no time for him to rest. He juked and jived around the people traveling the streets. It wasn’t one of the busier towns he’d ever been in, but it was near closing time and all the last minute shoppers were closing out and headed home. It would be good cover when they were walking the asset out. He rolled to his right, avoiding a small child that he would have otherwise trampled into oblivion, then used the momentum to step up a trash can, bounce off a wall, then plant himself on the top of the house with a bit of a groan. He was getting too old for this kind of thing. He looked around, there wasn’t a whole lot of placed he’d expect the asset to be taking refuge, but the file had said it was possible nearby Lightning Shinobi would be dispatched as well, so for all Hitomaro knew the asset was already on the move. So the Jounin did what he was trained to do, he watched, he listened, he waited, but he didn’t have to wait long. There were a multitude of sounds, sights, even smells filling the air that hung just above the small town, but as Hitomaro kneeled on the roof he’d planted himself on he was listening for something distinct. Sounds of crying children, haggling shop keeps trying to get the most for the end of their stock, but the second he heard screaming and the sound of a struggle he was off. In a place like this a fist fight didn’t break out in the middle of the streets that often and while Hitomaro couldn’t tell who was fighting, it was a relatively safe bet to assume it was worth checking out. The blond haired Jounin moved over three roofs before he was forced to the ground and into the small crowd of fleeing people. He wasn’t able to see what the cause was yet, but he pulled a kunai from his waist pack and held it in his right hand at the ready just in case. As soon as some of the fleeing people cleared he’d be able to see what the source was, he had to hope it was tied to his mission otherwise he’d be playing one hell of an overpaid police officer. 1294/1000
  17. Hitomaro was surprised by how large the interior of the cabin actually was, it rose nearly ten or twelve feet, with a diagonal ceiling that came to a point dead center. Hitomaro didn’t have this much room in the thirty person barracks back in the village. He chuckled out loud, it paid to be a religious leader. “Nice isn’t it?” Okada said, smile stretched across his dark, tanned face. “It was just recently built, sometime soon it’s going to be the flagship of our navy. The Shokaku” He waved his robed arms and twirled a bit like an infatuated schoolgirl. Inside the large cabin was a long table filled to the brim with an exotic feast like Hitomaro had never seen before. The blond smiled as the waitresses in the room, all barely dressed young women, directed him to the far end of the table, Okada went to the other. The smells in the room were a wonderful mix of sweet, sour, and savory. As Hitomaro looked up and down the table, a task that was made somewhat difficult by the women who were walking at him wearing little more than a cloth to cover their lower half. “I understand it’s uncommon on the mainland, but try not to stare.” Okada said from across the table, as if reading the blond’s mind. “They are the shrine maidens that serve my priestly class, untouched and pure. They bare themselves as a sign of pride.” It was one of the more interesting excuses Hitomaro had heard, he somewhat doubted it’s authenticity. To the Lightning Village Shinobi it seemed more like Okada just liked to surround himself with naked young women, not that Hitomaro was judging. “Of course, my apologies.” Hitomaro responded and directed his eyes towards the table. The last thing he wanted to do was offend the only man in Nijiro’s inner circle willing to negotiate relations. “No need to apologize, I myself was quite shocked by it when I ascended to the position.” the tanned man said from across the table, Hitomaro somehow doubted that based on his tone. “Now, traditionally we’d dedicate the meal to the rebirth, but I understand many of the mainlanders don’t share our faith.” Hitomaro had read all about the faith, at the moment he was forced to debate, lie and pretend or simply be honest. He played it by feel. “I’m sorry to say I’m a bit ignorant here,” Hitomaro conceded, he could have gone through the motions but something about Okada told the blond to simply play it straight. “I’ve read about them, I can show respect to the process, but I can’t do them justice.” Okada smiled at the response before standing up and clapping his hands a couple of times. “No problem, I’ll say the prayer for the both of us.” he was an oddly chipper priest, then again Hitomaro didn’t know very many priests. All the half naked women and the guards in the room fell to their knees, lowered their heads, then almost as if rehearsed Okada began to chant in a language Hitomaro didn’t know. Out of respect he lowered his head but didn’t leave his seat. Okada chanted something almost musical for around thirty or forty seconds, then he simply stopped, clapped his hands again, then with a smile on his face he said “This meal, these talks, have been blessed.” At that he sat back into his own seat and the young women continued to fill his plate. Hitomaro wasn’t sure what to do, then it was made clear as young woman picked up the trays on the table before bringing them over to him. They held each tray next to him and asked if he’d like to partake, he found himself struggling after only a minute or so passed before Okada showed mercy on him, “Girls, he and I still need to speak.” they bowed their heads, placed the trays on the table, then exited the cabin through doors in each side. “Quite a feast isn’t it?” Okada asked and Hitomaro responded with a smile, then a nod, then carefully picked out a strange looking clear sphere. It was like a white pea but a bit larger, maybe two or three peas stuck together in size. He tossed it into his mouth, it was nothing like what he’d expected. It had a crunchy shell, then the inside was cold, almost chilled, but packed a sweet flavor that transitioned to a sour aftertaste. It was definitely unique. “So,” Okada said loudly to get Hitomaro’s attention. The look on his face had changed, not drastically but clearly more focused. “I don’t want to waste too much time, I really do miss my bed and would like to be back before I need to rest.” With the crowd now gone the only people left were Hitomaro, Okada, and his three personal guards. Clearly the man felt more comfortable talking business before the meal. “So what do you want me to do for you.” 2345/1000
  18. Hitomaro didn’t slow his pace like he probably should have, instead he rounded the corner with an ill advised haste and shouted “Sai”. If she were alive he hoped it would keep him alive, if she were in a fight hopefully the sudden shout would distract her opponent, either way it was all he could think to do before rounding the large tree. His movements came to a quick stop though as relief flooded his senses with endorphins. While he couldn’t comment to happily on the scene he’d walked up on he was glad to see Saisaki alive and well, to some extent he was happy to see Soun alive too, but for some reason it was a much lesser extent. Hitomaro put his hands on his knees, let himself breathe heavily, then took a second look at the somewhat strange scene he’d run into. Sai was crouching over what looked like, in Hitomaro’s best phrasing, a pile of human goo. “You are going to have to show me how you did that at some point” the blond said through deep breaths. The exhaustion of the sudden struggle was finally getting to him and his body felt heavy for a moment before he pushed back to his full height. He waited for a moment so Saisaki could fill him in on what exactly happened, if she stayed tight lipped he quickly move them along. After the exchange he’d walk over to the clearly terrified Soun, get close to him, then grip him by his blood stained collar. It was to serve two purposes, the first was to intimidate the lanky man. He’d called them into this mess without sending proper warning, had the village been told that there were hostile Shinobi in the area they’d have sent more than a few people to deal with it. But the second reason was a bit more humane, he wanted to make sure that Saisaki had dealt with the wound before the blond had to kick him loose. “Next time, be sure to warn us that we’re walking into a goddamn war zone.” Hitomaro turned his head to look at Saisaki, then the other way just to be sure there wasn’t another projectile flying at them, there wasn’t. “I’ve told her everything I know.” Soun stammered while saying it. Hitomaro was impressed with the dark haired young woman, she was able to get the info, heal the injured contact, and she fended off an attacker. No wonder the Kage held her in such high regard. Hitomaro finally released the collar of the lanky man and waved him off. “Get out of here, you’d be in more danger if you stayed with us than if you head home right now. We’ll deal with the others.” Soun wasted little time in scurrying away. Once Hitomaro was sure the man was safely on his way back into the main town, back to safety, he turned to Saisaki. “So fill me in, what did he tell you?”
  19. Nimle darted as fast as her tiny legs could take her, trudging through the overgrown grass and dodging stones with deft guile. She was a proud hatchling, the proudest in fact, she’d one day be the clutch guardian! In truth she was terrified, she’d never been summoned like this before, she’d never been in combat. Most of her haste was spurred on by a profound fear that if she stayed in one place for too long that whoever Hitomaro was trying to hide from would get her. He’d simply left a single message with her, run to the the houses, and she was going to do that. With her legs it took a bit longer than expected, but eventually she made it to the small wooden houses. Another screaming bolt hissed through a nearby alley, she froze for a moment before scurrying towards the edge of the building. She didn’t want to die. A few moment’s later another screaming hiss from a slightly different area. Whoever was firing wasn’t firing at her, they were letting bolts fly towards the tree. Had Nimle been more experienced she would have realized what the sniper was doing, realized that he was holding his targets in place behind that tree, but that wasn’t her task. She scurried into the nearest shadowed alley, then in the most abnormal looking series of events ever, she vomited the blond haired Shinobi that had been hiding somewhere inside of her stomach. ________________ "I've no intention of risking my life to protect someone that isn't going to give me what I'm after," Soun’s wound had closed but his fear hadn’t dissipated. From either side of the tree screaming projectiles regularly flew by, letting out that high pitched screeching hiss as they passed that made him jump in fear. The first time he’d ever heard that noise it led to a metal rod flying through his neck, he never wanted to repeat that. He was ready to simply bury his head in the dirt and pray for this to end, was the Denkikage’s protection even worth this? "You can either spill the details or spill more of your own blood. Your choice." He’d thought the smartass was bad, this scar faced young woman was even worse. Weren’t they supposed to be protecting him? He’d remember this, but for now he needed to do what he needed to do to stay alive. “These guys in black cloaks came into town not that long ago, I think like 8 of them.” He was speaking fast, some of his words slurred out of fear as the screaming projectiles passed. “I know Togi was with us on the upcoming vote then they went into his office and he wasn’t.” There was more detail, but in his frazzled state he could barely focus on what he’d already said. “They did something with Togi, I don’t know what, just get me the hell out of here please.” He clung to the woman that had healed his wound. Somewhere in his head he thought that gripping tightly to her would keep him safe, but how could that be, she was even smaller than he was. ____________________ Hitomaro didn’t like having to crawl out of one of his summons, he liked even less having to crawl out of the smaller ones. As he dragged the rest of his body free he quietly pushed up, then once he was free and on his toes, legs in a crouch, he let his small companion run free. Hitomaro scanned the area and listened as shot after shot screamed through the air. It was suppressing fire, that’s why the strange screaming bolts. Hitomaro didn’t like what that implied. If the guy firing the shots was only really meant to keep them pinned down then there were more than one of them, if there were more than one of them then he’d just left Saisaki and the contact all alone and he had no idea how many targets there were in the area. He moved quickly, lifting his body to the roof but staying on his stomach. The shots were coming from three locations, likely to keep anyone from pinning the shooter down from a distance, but Hitomaro wasn’t at a distance. He kept his body down low to the roof he was on then, as he heard the footsteps pounding against the well packed dirt, he sprung. Hitomaro launched his body off the roof and onto the source of the sound, it was definitely their shooter. He was on his knee readying another shot, when he finally realized Hitomaro was springing onto him he didn’t have enough time to swing the large, heavy launcher around to fire it. Hitomaro crashed onto him, shoulders to collarbones. It wasn’t comfortable but then again not much was when there was a hole in your shoulder. A struggle ensued, Hitomaro gripped the shooter tightly around the back of the head with his right arm, not letting him pull away, at that point the blond threw left elbows into the opposite side of his targets face. The shooter lifted his own right arm to absorb the elbows, then swung hard with his left into Hitomaro’s exposed ribs. Hito released the man’s neck and used his right arm to catch the left aimed at his ribs for the second time, the blow landed but Hitomaro pinned his targets elbow behind his own, squeezing his targets arm hard into his own side. It wasn’t a comfortable position for the blond but it allowed him to swing his left shoulder over to line up with his targets left shoulder, shift his hold on the man’s captured left arm to a more controlled wrist lock, then he unleashed hard left elbow into the side of the shooters face over and over again while they continued to struggle for positioning on the ground. The blows added up quickly as his targets face bloodied and his struggling started to fade. After about eight or nine blows the dark haired shooter went limp, face bloodied and half of it sinking from having been broken. It was always hard to see a man with his face crushed, but for Hitomaro he was relieved as he pushed his target away from him and sat up. Breathing was hard, bruised ribs at least, and his elbow ached from having been used as a bashing weapon over and over again. He took another breath, there wasn’t time to recover here. “How many of you!” Hitomaro dug his thumb into the already shattered left eye socket of the man. His face had already started it’s swelling, too much longer and nothing audible would come out of his mouth. He squirmed in pain as Hitomaro pressed against the broken bones, he tried to make sounds but they weren’t audible so Hitomaro pressed harder. “This only gets worse, tell me how many or I’ll pull your goddamn eye out.” the blond hissed as he moved the man’s flailing left and under his knee and then started to press his own index and thumb into the man’s loose and fractured eye socket. He completely meant to do just what he said he would, there wasn’t enough time to not get results. “Way way.” the man managed through whimpers and groans of agony. Hitomaro backed his hand off anticipating the answers he needed “Fug the villages.” He didn’t say it well, but Hitomaro could make it out, then almost instantly his mouth started to foam and almost an instant later the back of his skull melted away as an acid poured out of a brand new hole. Hitomaro jumped off to avoid contact, he’d never quite seen anything like that before. Hitomaro was on his feet, no time to wait. He turned from the alley and started his run back to the tree with everything he had. He needed to make sure she was ok, needed to be sure that he hadn’t abandoned her. ________________________ While the sniper continued to fire screaming shots, before Hitomaro had managed to reach him and stop him, his partner lept into action. He’d been approaching the tree they were using for cover slowly and quietly with a jutsu of his own development that caused light to bend around him. He was a large man, more burly than tall, but moved with a practiced grace as if sometime in his past he’d been a dancer. They’d checked the tree when they arrived, before making their base in the small houses nearby, but thought that it was too obvious a spot to set an ambush. Didn’t matter to the big man, the leader would reward them for killing Village Shinobi. He’d go around the left side of the tree and then lunge at the three hiding behind it, worst case scenario they’d try to run and get shredded by his partner, best case scenario he’d crush them with his own two hands.
  20. Hitomaro stumbled through the streets of the small town, he didn’t remember the ground wobbling when he’d come through the first time, had it? The thought escaped the wilding grasping of his mind almost as fast as it had entered its reach. He put out his right arm to balance against a nearby wooden building, the bartender had really pulled out all the stops this time. He pushed off the building and felt himself stumble to his left, he swayed back to the right in response, then again to the left without realizing. He could tell there were people looking at him, he’d always thought of himself as quite good looking but really it was like the people on the street had never seen a blonde before. ”What are you looking at!” is what Hitomaro thought he had said defiantly, as he shook his shaggy blond hair out of his eyes and gave a slight tug to the opening of the knee length dark overcoat. He held the pose for a moment as he glared around at the people watching him. Hitomaro could feel a smug confidence welling up inside of him. What Hitomaro wasn’t aware of in his inebriated state was that what everyone around him heard was ”Whabulugggin ishhhh!” as he jerked his head sideways like a stray dog, the slobber include; oh and that cool pose, Hitomaro had forgotten the jacket at the bar and was just tugging on the chest area of his dark v-necked t-shirt. To those around him it was probably a surprise that he wasn’t in the process of peeing right through his light gray trousers. Even in his current state that wasn’t going to happen. After a few more moments of smugly soaking up the envy of the onlookers Hitomaro started to walk again. The first few steps he took were like the prancing of an angel teasing the earth with her heavenly toes, unfortunately that angel was doomed to crash back to earth. Hitomaro felt his left foot catch the back of his right and before he could do anything to stop it he was launching forward. He reached his arms out to catch himself and closed his eyes out of sheer instinct. As his momentum came to a somewhat pleasant stop he could feel something soft beneath him. He slowly opened his eyes, there was someone beneath him, maybe they’d been kind enough to catch him?
  21. Hitomaro straightened his jacket, wiped the water spots, then proceeded to head up the wooden ramp. It was a bit awkward feeling as the two boats rocked at different paces in the water, for a normal person it would have been quite a task. Hitomaro stepped lightly and quickly, he liked the ocean but wasn’t big on the idea of ending up in it. He reached the other boat, it was as large as it seemed, and was greeted by three clear Shinobi trailing a taller dark skinned man with short cut blond hair. The man was wearing bright gold and orange robes that caught the sun and reflected it in all directions, just looking at him made Hitomaro regret removing the sunglasses. Gold hung from the man’s neck and wrists in small circular disc and triangular patterns. He looked more like a man that had just robbed a jeweler than a man who had the ear of a country's leader. “Welcome, welcome!” He was every bit as loud as his attire. He approached quickly and with a huge smile on his face. As he approached he opened his arms as if to go in for a hug, the look on Hitomaro’s face changed from a grateful smile to confused horror, he wasn’t letting anyone get close enough to touch him that he didn’t know. His body tensed, the only place to go was back down to his boat or the water, he was fighting all his instincts. Luckily for the Lightning Village Shinobi one of the women guarding him reached her hand out to his shoulder, stopping the flamboyant man from continuing his approach. “Oh, of course, they’re going to need to search you,” Okada put his arms down and stepped back as the two women walked from either side of him. One was almost taller than Hitomaro and also had blond hair. She had some kind of weird armor covering her torso that became a strange long leather skirt as it went down her body, in her right hand she held a long spear, clearly an effective killing weapon and yet ornate it its design. The other was much shorter, clearly younger, and had been the one to stop Okada’s somewhat ill advised approach. She was dressed in much more typical Shinobi garb, loose pants, black undershirt, sandy brown flak jacket clearly packed tightly. There was one more guard, a male a bit smaller than Hitomaro, but he never moved forward, keeping a solid ten feet between he and the adviser. The two women closed in on Hitomaro and motioned for him to lift his arms, the shorter one reached around his jacket, feeling his sides and reaching into all the pockets. She quickly found his glasses and confiscated them, he hoped she’d return them later they were his best pair. After that she continued down, usually that would have been welcomed but in this case it just felt awkward as she slider her hands around to his backside, down his legs, then back up. When she reached his crotch and kept going he grunted a bit, “Usually I like dinner first.” It was cliche, worse it was ill advised as she looked up and glared at him. Had Okada not burst out laughing Hitomaro might have thought his negotiations were over, once again it seemed he and the flamboyant adviser seemed to operate on the same level. The two women, satisfied Hitomaro was unarmed, backed away. It was beginning to make sense why he’d been the one sent to deal with this guy. “Sorry about that, can’t be too careful nowadays.” Okada had a bit of an accent, no it wasn’t an accent it was a simplicity to his speech that was uncommon. Hitomaro recognized it from when he was a child working at the docks. He’d run from ship to ship and scrape the hull, it wasn’t a time he liked to remember. “Let’s go inside and talk, have something to eat.” he turned and waved Hitomaro to follow, at least this guy wasn’t going to be big on the formalities. The blond Shinobi followed after the dark skinned man with the fake hair coloring, he could tell it was fake because of the dark roots he'd seen as he neared. Walking into the closed cabin of the ship didn’t sit well with Hitomaro, his Shinobi senses screamed to keep out of the tight place, but this was his mission. Sometimes without the risk you never accomplished anything good, sometimes the risk would get you gutted, he’d have to hope this was the former. 1508/1000
  22. Mission Name [Entity] | Friends of the Mountain [Lightning Village] Mission Type | Village Mission Ranking | B-Rank Repeatable? | No Mission Description | We've recently felt the need to ensure strong ties with some of the minor villages, one of those being the Wind Village. We don't have permission to send one of our diplomats to the Kazan Islands yet, but we'd like to send you to start opening that door. Sōhei Nijiro has agreed to let us meet with his closest adviser, Kazuchika Okada. Okada isn't as isolationist as Nijiro is but don't expect a comfortable visit with the somewhat flamboyant spiritualist. Get in, avoid incident, and try to assure them that we are only reaching out to build a strong alliance and help strengthen their own held territory. Mission NPCs | Kazuchika Okada, the close adviser to Sōhei Nijiro. He will be accompanied by his 3 A-Rank guards. There should be no combat with them unless things go very, very wrong. First A-Rank: Ino Urimeshi (Female/Blond) Element: Fire, Wind Specialty: Bukijutsu (Spear Fighter) Second A-Rank: Kazu Imei(Male/Sandy Blond) Element: Water Specialty: Ninjutsu Third A-Rank: Tara Isumei (Female/Brunette) Element: Water, Wind Specialty: Ninjutsu Word Count | 1000 WC Requirements | Must be in the Open Seas board since the Meeting must take place on ships outside of Kazan Islands.
  23. If a Wanderer does invade that wouldn't make me the target of the A-Ranks, it would make them the target. The only way those A-Ranks are a threat to me is if I try to assassinate the Adviser, which I wont. I wan't people to have the option invade if they are brave enough, but I don't see how that risk then passes off to the person completing the mission. I could make it a private topic but then it feels like a WC dump more than an actual story I am trying to tell. If Water were to make a mission that intertwined in my thread I'd want them to be able to do that. Before I change it I just really wan't to stress that the A-Ranks are bodyguards for the Adviser, they are no threat to the person doing the mission, only to people invading it.
  24. Hitomaro didn’t have time to feel the pain in his shoulder. He leaned his back against the tree, looking side to side to make sure there were no other shooters. His heart rate was raised, his breathing steeper, his body was reacting to his mind telling it that he was going to die. He forced that thought down like closing the lid on viper in a jar, he’d felt it and conquered it too often to let a little flesh wound push him over the edge now. He smiled a bit, then in a slight puff his companion appeared in front of him. “Well aren’t you a sight, come to grant a last wish before I die?” he joked a bit, it was his way of alleviating the worry and tension. He knew it probably grated on the nerves of the people who worked with him, but they almost always came back alive. He smiled, chuckled a bit, watched Saisaki put hands on Soun and begin healing him. No more shots came screaming through the air, nothing jumped out from either side of them, Hitomaro had to assume it was a single shooter. That had gotten him into trouble before. He reached his left hand up to his wounded right shoulder, dabbing a bit of blood on his fingertips before completing a quick row of handseals before touching the ground. From a puff of smoke a small black Salamander with little red lava bubbles appeared in place of the blond haired Shinobi. Hitomaro didn’t know how well schooled Saisaki was in summoning stuff, he hoped him disappearing into a small salamander didn’t scare her too much. Once Nimle, the small black skinned salamander, was summoned she immediately started her salamander sprint towards where the bolt came from. This was his ace in the hole play, worst case scenario the guy shooting the screaming bolts at him would know he was coming, but given he hid inside the summon out of sight it seemed unlikely that his cover would be blown. It was a long way for the salamander with tiny legs, Hitomaro had to simply hope that Saisaki would be safe behind the tree while he made his way to the new target.
  25. Hitomaro kicked the dirt at his feet, the others hadn’t noticed him when they arrived but he made sure to notice all of them. Before long they’d each be carried a private message, written in code that they’d understand as long as they remembered the briefing they’d had before entering Earth Country, that message would be carried by a dainty, well dressed Geisha. The young woman would catch them all alone, dragging them into an empty room all alone to pass the message. Hitomaro thought the young men might get a kick out of that, sure she was actually a man, but the thought of any of them taking a pass at the secret male Geisha made him smile and laugh a bit while stuck at the door. The crowds that came and went gave him an odd look here and there, a blond in the Earth Country was pretty rare, hell a blond in the Lightning country wasn’t super normal either, but this place was a bit more staunch so he stood out. It was in his favor that it had been a blond that the mistress had previously worked with, Xing and Hitomaro had quite a few things in common. “You’re associates have gotten the message.” I soft voice whispered behind him, Hitomaro was glad the secret male in the Geisha house worked quickly. The notes that each person got gave them direction to their gear and their next instructions. Kiroyashi was to plant explosives in the framework of the building extension he’d be helping build. Drilling small holes into the frame would allow his small bombs to sit and wait until needed. Aito needed to skip work to go shopping, it wasn’t the most glamorous task but he’d need to plant sand in pots then spread them throughout the town. The gourd made him an easy target, he needed to spread his main resource out so that he wasn’t so reliant on it. Finally there was Rue, the poor young woman was about to get a crash course in seductivity from one of the more talented women in the world. Lily, the owner of the Geisha house, was a well shaped woman that curved from bosom to hips, had long dark hair, and a sweet face the belied her true persona. She was a seasoned Geisha even if she’d managed to stave off father time from acting on her face, and while she knew Hitomaro and his companions were friends of Xing Cia’s she didn’t know that they were Shinobi of a foreign country. Hitomaro wasn’t naive though, Lily knew a lot more than she’d admit to knowing, he’d made sure to warn Rue not to get too close to the woman while learning from her in his note to the young blonde woman. So now all the Shinobi needed to do was make sure that he knew the area around the growing Geisha house, not that that would take much effort. Across the street was a bar, a much more rowdy place to get a drink then in The Dancing Lotus, but filled with a lot less beautiful women. The signage was faded by the sun and hard to read, but for anyone spending more than ten minutes in Toredo it was almost impossible to avoid hearing stories about the well worn establishment. They called it Tsukereita, it was where all the rougher crowds got well liquored before stumbling over to The Dancing Lotus to try and get off. It was why Lily was both so successful and so in need of talented bodyguards. The buildings to either side of the Tsukereita were relatively unimportant, single story wooden built squares with flat roofs that looked the same. Most of Toredo was built like that, the one thing Hitomaro had to give the Earth Country people was that they were excellent at city planning. They had twelve foot roads, paved with sandstone, that were surrounded by wooden buildings on either side. Intersections were made with roundabouts, allowing for gatherings to easily occur right in the streets. The nearest roundabout from The Dancing Lotus was probably about 35 meters away from the nearest roundabout, it was good information to have. With luck Aito would make sure that he placed a few pots of sand there, just in case something went wrong while the group was out in the open. Bao would first hit the Tsuketeita with his posse, then he’d walk over to The Dancing Lotus. There was a little bit of time yet for that though, hopefully enough to set up as Hitomaro had planned.