Jomyaku Ame

Blood Bartering [Private]

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A washing wave of airborne salt grasped at the nostrils, consciousness and the accompanying filtered lights returning slowly as the facilities of the youth were returned to him and the scent of the waters was swiftly combined with the scent of iron. Blood, scouring the skies like crimson lightning, encompassed the world around him and the heavy mist that it was bound too. It slowly moved in its currents like the veins of the world and affixed to several of these, where the lines seemed to converge crawling along a ring of stone, rested the glistening cloaks and jewelry of creatures unknown to him. Jomyaku, knocking the world into a settled place with a clap to his own head rose to his knees and took stock of things in a more comprehensive fashion. This appeared to be a room composed largely of stone and filled with vein-laden mists, the upper level featuring an alcove around the entire space from which the jewelry of hooded figures and the power they emanated could be clearly viewed by those far below them. When they stirred they spoke nothing like the shadowy figures they were, the largest of them, featuring pearls and gold in a tight choker-like necklace, turning to its assumed brethren and barking out at them loudly.

"I have RIGHTS! You don't get to touch this one!"

An adjacent figure in silver, glistening jewels beneath its hood, sighed heavily.

"Yes we all remember, you take the new Venial."

The golden one's tone changed slightly, asserting a command already clearly and freely given to it.

"That's right! And if any of you pond scummers want to fight me for it again I'd be happy for round two!"

 

A smaller creature, robes stitched with green, shrunk at the comment.

 

"She did what she had to in order to get by and feed us, I don't see why you've got to bring that up all the time..."

Jomyaku, confused at the goings on and trying to recall how he had even gotten here lifted a hand and parted his lips. This effort was quickly and roughly addressed, the silver creature turning a robed hand to grasp one of the nearby veins and somehow controlling each of its interconnected tendrils, the blood flowing like a serpent to catch the young shinobi's throat. There was nothing around it, just the blood and the mist, and yet it felt like iron against his skin and the smell was much closer and much stronger. This wasn't human, it couldn't be...no human could contain such a potent substance and as his eyes followed the assailing tendrils past the controller and to their source it became clear this was the case - a hooded leech-like creature lay in the center of the room, struck down with several smaller leeches feeding off its corpse as the blood it leaked from its wounds did not drip but served as the roots of this massive structure. Returning to the hooded creatures he found that they were leading into their robes. They were feeding off of this thing, for whatever it had done and Jomyaku chose to assume it HAD done something...to be struck down in this fashion not as punishment was the kind of uncomfortable thought that would not play nicely with the bind on his neck.

 

"You were not asked to speak Venial. Your envoy has clearly not explained the rules." The silver leech spoke, pulling down its hood to reveal itself as such. It had no eyes but its gaze seemed deliberate, it had no lips but its words implied they would've been twisted unpleasantly, and it had no face in general yet it gave the impression of incredible severity. Jomyaku felt a shiver in his flesh but it was not his flesh, an attachment was more accurate. He looked down to find himself with the small leech that brought his memory in line with the current reality. 

The leech had brought him now but now it was trembling in fear, teeth digging deeper into his skin yet he could barely feel its bite. It had been feeding off him for some time now as its size had ballooned incredibly, taking him here seemed to also include a payment in blood or it took one regardless. The shinobi's gaze seemed to make it much more nervous and it slowly extracted itself, falling off and then from the stone below scrunching up in what Jomyaku could only assume was its way of bowing. It said nothing and he was not certain if it could speak at all. The answer seemed irrelevant however as his neck was pulled to bring his face back into the direction of the council speaking above him.

"You'll have time to deal with his inadequacy later. You were brought before us because you wish to bind yourself to us and the Parliament welcomes your offer. In exchange for your blood and bone, your service and employ, your command and your obedience, you exist in equilibrium with us and all those below us. The Parasite Parliament has made deals with shinobi for decades, you should feel no shame for whatever circumstances have brought you before us today. Many of your kind feel we are a lowly species and few of you seek us out voluntarily, thus we use envoys such as the child who recruited you. You were sought because you were valuable and your value will be returned ten fold or greater..." The silver leech spoke, attempting to mask the repetition of this speak with a venere of nobility. The eyes of the boy made it clear that it was failing.

 

"...look, we need to eat. We need you to enter the World of Men. You offer up blood and we will strip the blood from those who oppose you. You need only use this."

 

The creature shifted but it didn't move, a red flicker appearing where it was and a new flicker appearing where it wished to be at the floor near him. As it did so the veins retracted and spread, stretching out along a flat plane of mist between the speaker and the listener. Lines of blood patterned themselves into kanji and symbols, lines and rings, until a symbol that seemed familiar to him dwarfed Jomyaku and the leech continued its speech. "This is the seal, what you call Kuchiyose, and you will mark it where you wish to call us. There are limits, however, and in your current state you will be unable to bind one of us, of the Parliament, to your world. There are many lessers available however and while you may wish to become personally acquainted with them it is not required. They exist to serve and should they fail then they'll be used to teach the next Venial after you like I teach you now."

"Teach? What do you m-" Jomyaku asked, being cut short as the sigil of entwined blood coiled into a thickened cord and rushed him, a fountain of spiraling blood crashing into his chest and piercing into his body with little effort. There wasn't pain, only the excruciation of feeling hundreds of cords of blood worming into his flesh and latching into his chakra like a voracious parasite. The violation of it was short lived as his flesh seemed more willing than he realized at first and though his body was weak, falling as it was run through, the spirit seemed stronger. The spirit seemed informed, blood needling itself in like perfect patchwork as something deep, something predatory, something vile, awoke inside him and his eyes fixated on nothing. 

 

"Memories carried in blood, you won't forget the seal and you won't forget us either."

 

The golden one, passive up to this point, grumbled. "You seem to be enjoying yourself with MY dinner..."

Jomyaku's vision snapped onto the speaker like a doll at the command of a puppeteer, lips parting as he lifted himself from the earth and by instinct alone pulled the mist like a newfound limb. It mended, slowly, the he'd suffered but the dripping blood stained the fingers pressed against his chest. The shinobi thrust the hand forward to the beast, a current of red swirling into the surrounding air until a spot of pure mist did not exist. The blood, his blood, extended to eclipse this place, to control it. Here he wasn't weak. Here he had control. Here even this sinner's blood had purpose. "Whatever it takes old man! Take it all! Take every ounce of bastard's blood!"

 

It smiled. Jomyaku knew it smiled. It didn't need teeth to be a smug asshole. "In time, things work differently here. When your life comes to an end I will be the one to terminate the arrangement. Your blood, your chakra, and everything you are will be reclaimed and enjoyed by me immensely. Just don't get fat, we don't exactly have it written up but no fatties okay? Until that time we require you to get stronger and to offer us more appetizing opponents, to that end I offer you my Dekoi."

 

The mist turned against him, disobeyed. Splotches of red blood pooled, Kuchiyose seals forming as a current of crimson colored leeches flowed out and surrounded him.

 

"Whenever you have need of them you only need to do the same, call them to your blood. They're simple but so are you, a nice fit for a beginner. Namari, take him somewhere else and make sure he knows his ass from a hole in the ground."

 

Namari, the silver leech, responded curtly. "When I finish perhaps I can teach you too Jiman?"

 

"When you can last a minute against me you can say whatever you like, until then handle the kid." The golden leech Jiman retorted.

 

A response welled up from Namari's gut but his head caught wind of that plan and stiffled that rebellion swiftly. He turned to the shinobi and tilted his head towards a previously unseen door, leading the way out of the chamber as Jomyaku followed cautiously behind.

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