DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

[Westlands | Coast | Greater Wind Country]
From the eastern desert plains, to the infamous Westlands and the southern coast with its neighboring islands, the Wind Country covers an array of changing landscapes and other settlements. The people who live there are as diverse and powerful as the lands they live on.

Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sun May 22, 2011 3:49 am

Moxie smiled.

"You're very good, Ryou. I think mom would've been impressed by you."

She stretched an arm above her head, trying to ease the pain. It didn't help.

"No, I'm not at a hundred percent. But it's a chakra network problem; beyond your abilities, I'm afraid. Don't worry about it, it's bothersome but not dangerous. Once we get back, Noriko can fix it. She fixed my dad, and his chakra network was practically destroyed. This will be easy. Don't worry."

They walked side by side, shoulder to shoulder.

"Speak your mind in there, even if it doesn't sound like it'll match whatever I'm saying. I don't want a 'yes' man, I want someone who thinks differently than I do. It's the only way we'll get anything accomplished."

"I'm coming too."

Both Suna-nin spun around. Rika stood with all the strength she could muster in her slim frame.

"I represent the Nanaya clan. I can attend a political meeting if I want to."

"I don't think they'll have objections to that. Come on."

She stole a glance at Toya. He was marching away from the dwindling campfire, away from Kyuuen. She supressed a sigh. Too many problems to solve, not enough time and energy to solve them. Kyuuen and Toya, though, had enough sense not to murder each other. At least, she hoped so. That was a problem that could wait for later.

There were five of them in all, each propped on a log around the large, living fire. The three teens settled themselves on the remaining log, Ryou to her right and Rika to her left. There were no guards, and no weapons save for the ones that hung at their sides, permanent fixtures of their attire. Dai sat down, completing a round of fidgety pacing. Ayasato seemed irritated.

"Welcome." The man sat across from Moxie and her companions. He was older and well dressed in black and red robes, his black hair graying around the edges. He had a cool, calm demeanor and eyes that seemed to stare past what everyone else could see and into the intricacies of reality itself. "My name is Hinoshi Senpu. I represent the Five Villages, in the center west of the Westlands, and I've been...chosen, to serve as the mediator for this meeting. Before we begin, some intorductions are in order."

"You know Dai and Ayasato already, judging from the reports of last night's exploits. Dainichi is here representing Redcliff; Ayasato is representing the South Steppe Nomads. That leaves Konoka-san here, who represents the Windswept Caravans."

Senpu motioned to a portly man wrapped in a headscarf. He nodded enthusiastically and let a broad white smile flash between his lips.

"Don't forget me, you pompous bastard!"

Moxie looked at the new voice. It was an odler man, wiry and worn with clothes that seemed too old and too large; relics of years past. Senpu sighed and rubbed his temples as the old man spoke.

"Right, fine, that is Irimara-san. He's the leader of...Llama Rock."

"Thank you. A man works hard to earn his place in the world."

"You've got to be kidding me, no one else lives here at Llama Rock! Who else would be the leader?"

"Shut your feed-hole, Konoka. You don't see me complaining about your shyster gypsies that love so much to steal my food and water!"

"Under the trade agreements we have with the Southern Steppe - who is the rightful owner of this ridiculous rock - we have every right to food and water that we find-"

"Gentlemen, please. We have too much to do."

His voice resounded, unaided by waving his arms or raising his hand. Like pouring water on fighting cats, Irimara and Konoka backed away from one another and set themselves to the task at hand.

"Now that we have the introductions out of the way, I suppose we need to know who you are."

Rika spoke first. "I know I wasn't invited, Senpu-sama, but I would like to attend this meeting. My name is Nanaya Rika, and I am the leader of the Nanaya Clan, and it might be to our mutual interests to form a partnership. I don't know what we can do or the exact details of what we could bring. But I promise only good can come from this."

Senpu glanced at the others, but didn't truly take in ther opinion. "Very well, Rika-sama. I don't know if we can truly help each other, but it certainly can't hurt."

Moxie glanced at Ryou, then turned to gathered leaders.

"We represent Sunagakure. We weren't sent here as envoys, but since we're here we might as well use the chance to speak. This is Yutaka Ryou, his word is as binding to Suna's as mine. My name is Saihoushi Moriko...many call me Moxie. I don't know what we can do to help either, but Suna is in dire straights. The nobility has lead a secret war against us, using bandits as cover, and we're losing. I can promise you that whatever your pasts were, whatever crimes you may or may not have committed, this isn't the focus of our presence."

The five exchanged looks. Senpu steepled his fingers, pressing tips together.

"The Kyuudaime's daugther."

Moxie nodded. "If you don't mind me asking, what is this meeting assembled for? We don't know much about your land and customs, but I didn't think the factions of the Westlands were so well organized."

"Astute. We're not. It was Ayasato who called us together to leverage our bargaining position and to speed the process along. We five represent most of the organized Westlanders. In any case, since it was Ayasato's deal, I think it's most fitting to let her explain it."

He flourished at Ayasato, waiting for her to speak.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Mon May 23, 2011 3:08 am

"I should have figured as much. Only Suna would hold our lands in such low credibility that they'd send a troupe of teenagers here - not that I blame them, it's been ten good years since this country's accounted for anything you'd call credible. Regardless, there's been a mistake."

No matter how hard she was trying to conceal it, Ayasato was livid.
She didn't speak with her usual authority. The command to her voice was still there, but she spat.

And here Ryou wad wondering why. They'd definitely mentioned it at some point, hadn't they? The fact that they weren't here by any sort of appointment. Had he forgotten to drop the note?

Either way, it took Ayasato a good few minutes to draw her thoughts together, and force a low sigh that failed to disguise any frustration.

Her hawk-like eyes stared directly into his. She was avoiding those of her colleagues, and with purpose.

"This lot aren't the visitors from the Snow Country I was expecting."

Ryou jumped at that one. Literally - to his feet to stand with her.
It wasn't the first time in four days that he'd heard the mention of his hometown in a place where he hadn't been counting on it and that was just the thing.
The more information they gathered on the subject, the better.

"Snow Country...? What about Yuki, what would they have to do with your lot? Is this about the water?"

Ayasato frowned, though Ryou wasn't sure if it was in response to his choice of actions or his words. Probably both.

"Water? No, boy, as though there's any realistic method through which you could ship such a thing to a place like this. See, we cut up a deal with the Snow Country. To keep it short, terms as follows; we transfer our people across their borders. In return for military service, Yukigakure has agreed to grant them conditional citizenship. I staged this meeting to coordinate the terms of said transfer between our envoys and my colleagues. Been slack in conveying this to those gathered here but so be it, I wasn't counting on opposition. We've all been waiting for this day, don't you deny it."

She looked around at her fellow tribal leaders, acknowledging for only the first time that they were as in the dark regarding the meeting as the foreigners were.

Ryou had stopped listening though.
She'd lost him at the 'deal'.

"What, transfer them over so they can do...what? We've already got a stable military and the population's booming! Not to mention, Yuki's climate means it wouldn't be able to sustain a surge anyway, such agreements never go through. You're mixing something up. Who the hell authorized something like that?"

He'd lost his grip on calm, diplomatic tone of voice by this point, but Ayasato stood unabashed.
And uninterested, for the most part.

""We"?"

"I was born in Yuki. Now seriously, tell me! Who organized this stupid 'agreement'?"

She met his demand with a curt nod, and the closest thing to a smirk she could manage.

"Kohryu, that was the name if my memory's to serve, but what's it to matter. Boy, don't you chide me. I've been doing this eighteen years and I think I'd know a fool's treaty when I saw one."

Hah, so just as he'd thought. It was his turn to ignore the most of what she'd said.

"Never heard of him."

The woman's eyes narrowed.

"Yes boy, most other children your age wouldn't care for the name of some elite village official. Shouldn't."

He laughed at this one. Inappropriate, but he didn't give a damn.

So, she'd fallen for another lesser minister's idiot attempt to seize some glory with another 'revolutionary' idea, eh?
Hm, and he'd held her in some degree of high stead.

"Elite? Oh pfft, you really don't know what you've been tricked into, do you? This 'Kohryu' guy isn't in a position to make an independent decision like that, and I would know." He somehow found it in himself to stop chuckling, just for a moment. "My father, Yutaka Daisuke, is a daimyo of Yuki. Even he can't make a call like that on his own."

Ryou wasn't sure how he'd expected her to answer that. Probably with some form of defeat, or even confusion if anything.

She didn't falter from her initial approach.

"How old are you, boy?"

"Seventeen."

...next week. But what were seven days but an excuse for her to try and defend her own shortcomings with his youth?

Not enough, apparently. Her smirk was even gone now.

"How cute. Have you ever considered that your dear father isn't obliged to tell you everything about his business? I understand why he wouldn't. Perhaps he...'forgot' to inform you about Kohryu-sama's appointment."

Ryou honestly didn't know if he was meant to be offended. He pushed on anyway, to Ayasato's all too visible, rising irritation. She was getting fed up with him.

"I'm telling you, even if you did consult with this one guy, nobody is going to show. He'd have to have gone through the rest of the council before he could the warrant to send an envoy, and let me tell you that no deal like that's gone through since my great grandfather was in office."
"Right. You can hold it there, boy."

Ryou stopped talking, even though he had a hundred more things to say. She finally had a comeback, eh?

Or not.
Ayasato turned on her heel.

Right? That was all?

He stood back.
Well, that figured. How the stubborn woman had held on for so long in the first place was beyond him. Sure enough, the next time Ayasato opened her mouth, she was forcing the subject to a drop.

"Apologies for this...inconvenience, I suppose there's two sides to age of ineptitude, that's what you think of me, innit boy?"

She looked around, making eye contact with each of the other leaders - barring Dai - for only a second as she spoke.

"Return to your tents, the lot of you. I may be responsible for this mix up, but the remainder of us shall decide what to do with you in a moment. As for now, I am going to retrieve my telegram. I've been waiting eighteen years for this, boy, and you're a fool to think I could have been hoodwinked this easily."

She marched off, and Ryou sank back into his seat, wondering if he ought to have been having any regrets. If she'd seriously been that confident in such a deal being anything of a realistic aim - and he was still having difficulty comprehending the notion for himself - it was probably for her own good that he'd set her straight, even if it had cost them the er,...integrity of the meeting.

He exchanged a glance with Moxie, and looked back at the remaining leaders. Some were watching Ayasato's back with mixed reactions, others were looking back at them with similar faces.

Ryou stayed put.

Moxie had been the one to raise a point about using this gathering to Suna's political advantage, and he'd certainly agreed with it. Now that he'd worked to shoot down the original purpose of their meeting, maybe this was their chance to spin the situation in that direction.

But given everything that had already happened and those assembled, for now he could only wait, hope and see if such a possibility had any chance of becoming a reality.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Wed May 25, 2011 12:15 am

Dai remained uncharacteristically quiet for the exchange between his fellow Westlanders and the Suna envoy. He sat with legs folded, chin propped up with his metal fist, simply watching and listening.

His expression emanated an unusual seriousness, his amber gaze cool and calculating as Ayasato stormed off in a huff, the disdain in her voice clear to all those present.

This time it was his turn to stand and take a small step into the center of the gathering. He shot his stare across the fire at Ryou.

Oi, Yuki brat. Even I think the old hag is a little off in her ideals and way of viewing the world, but you don’t have the right to speak to a respected leader like that. You’re guests in our land, so you better watch it when you mouth off like that.

Son of a daimyo? Hah, I hope they didn’t expect you to ever take your dad’s job with those kinds of diplomatic skills. By the way, I’ve been all over the world, including that icy country. I’d rather live here in the slums of the desert for eternity than endure that cold white sand for a month.


His gaze moved horizontally and paused on Rika for a brief moment before veering the opposite direction and honing in on Moxie. She seemed like the strongest and smartest of the group. She spoke well and had managed to land a blow on Ayasato. And if she really was a daughter of the former Kazekage, then she had the most official connection to Suna’s political leaders.

You say the nobles are the ones behind all these recent bandit raids? I’ve seen the destruction they’ve been causing as they sweep through the country. I’ve lost some good men caught in the crossfire when we’ve attempted to protect some of the local settlements. Those bastards are as cowardly as they are power-hungry if they won’t openly take credit for these acts. Using scum to do the dirty work and hide their intentions. Disgusting.

He extended his metallic limb forward and pointed an accusing finger at the three younger teens.

That’s not to say I’ve ever really liked Suna. An entire village of shinobi with the Westlands right outside your backyard, but we still have hundreds of poor, defenseless civilians barely surviving. No one cares about the normal people out here who end up stuck with the rest of the criminal trash in the wastes.

But…I also know how hard it is to take care of your own people while worrying about others not directly related to your own interests. It’s not fair for us to expect outsiders to come in and fix all of our problems. That’s why I do what I do. I lead those who still have hope burning in their chests and rally them under the banner of revolution. Humans can change the world however they want with sheer numbers and willpower.


Dai pounded his organic fist against his chest, his eyes now ablaze with passion. This was just the kind of chance he needed to impact the world for the better on a grand scale, and he wouldn’t let it slip by so easily, regardless of what the other players in this meeting would think.

So the solution to all our problems is joining forces and kicking the nobility’s asses straight out of this country. We may not have a big official military with fancy uniforms and a single figure or symbol to rally behind, but there are plenty of hardened warriors in the Westlands. You guys need to defend your village, and we don’t want a bunch of rich people ruling the country by slaughtering its citizens with an army of mercenaries and oppressing us even more.

And even if the rest of these old geezers won’t sign on, I can guarantee you a large force of formidable soldiers just with my name alone. Believe what you want about my authority or sanity, but the name of Dainichi Kaizoku will draw more than just the people of Redcliff to my side!
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Wed May 25, 2011 2:13 am

"Brilliant plan, Dainichi. And when you and Suna stand side by side as the great conquerors of the Seven Valleys, you will feel great accomplishment. How will you feel when Sunagakure turns around and arrests your men one by one?"

Moxie shut her eyes to focus, taking in slow breaths through her nose.

"Sunagakure is a country of law, Dai, and you may remember that many of your soldiers violated Sunagakure law, which is why they came to live in the Westlands to begin with. Charging in behind the shinobi would mean handing their absolute authority back to them with the blood of your men, and if they want to inspire any confidence in their government they will have to enforce their laws. Or grant full pardons to every man who fights in the name of Suna, and that is impossible. What if there were serial murderers or rapists or bandits who join in on your army to get a free pardon? Do you think the civilians of Suna would stand for that? Of course not.

The Suna High Council is a shrewd bunch and the present Kazekage is infamous for her steadfast dedication to justice. They know this would be a problem and they cannot promise you that kind of pardon.
"

Moxie's golden gaze opened and she felt every eye on her, waiting for confirmation of Senpu's deductions

This felt like an important thread, like a moment that held together the entire tapestry of possibility. Ryou had managed to clear up the misunderstanding of their identity rather neatly, though the lasting effects could be detrimental. Ayasato looked nothing short of a smoldering volcano, ready to overflow and consume everything in her wake. The others, including the battle-hasty Dai, considered her part of their own and would be fiercely protective.

In short, Ryou hadn't earned them many points.

But hope was not lost. Not as long as she breathed.

"He's right. I can't promise you free and clear pardons from the Council. I can't promise you anything other than that I will try my best to reward your actions. Suna cannot stand against the nobility any longer, and Dai I would take your help in a heartbeat. But maybe there is a way for us to exist together. We don't have the capacity to fight the nobility, which means we also don't have the manpower to attack the entirety of the Westland. We will undoubtedly take large losses in a direct war against the nobility, and we'll have to use what military power we have left to secure the borders with Iwa and Konoha as well as maintain civil order in the cities we reclaim.

You can go back to the Westlands and create your own government or council and demand we recognize you as an independent country. From there, we can start negotiations and work out a way for us to help one another. We can help restore peace to the Westlands once we are safe from the nobility. We have the technology to move water and to protect you from the desert's daily deathtraps. In exchange for protecting our freedom now, we can give you your freedom later.
"

"Ha! Don't think we are so naive to the truth here, young lady." Konoka's grin was sharp and cunning and curved like a katana. "My impassioned friend and other compatriots here may live with their heads stuck into the sand out in the west, but we of the Windsept Traders are well-traveled and well-educated. Suna may lack numerical forces now, but what you lack in numbers you make up for in power. I have seen these things with my own eyes, from you Moxie-san. Lightning bolts that burn like fire and are as red as blood raining from the sky, slaying fifty men where they stand! You alone, in one moment, were stronger than fifty men.

Certainly for now the Westlanders would be useful and formidible opponents but what you are suggesting to us takes time. Building waterways takes time, holding negotiations takes time, time where your numbers can increase along side your secret ninja techniques. What's to prevent you from conquering us then, hm? What protection do we have against a force of that magnitude?
"

"Oh come off it, Konoka, the young lady is just trying to help. And we can believe in her sincerity, she really wants to help all of the people. That's what the Kyuudaime was all about and she's obviously passed that trait on to-"

"Will you shut up you old man! Nobody is interested in what a hermit who licks droplets off the back of a llama has to say about these matters!"

"Konoka, calm yourself. Irimara, he is right, we cannot simply trust her word."

No, she supposed they couldn't. She couldn't even assure herself that they would be able to execute a plan like that. It would require getting Noriko and the Council to agree to it, and getting the Council to agree on anything was difficult. Dad would help. He would know what to do and what to say and how to make it happen as best he could. But he couldn't perform miracles.

Moxie scanned the circle, focused her attention to Ayasato, who had returned from her tent.

"You wanted to go to Yuki. Why?"
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Thu May 26, 2011 3:30 am

"That's enough. The lot of you. If I'd had my wits about you lot carrying on like children and concocting the proposals of fools, I wouldn't have wasted my time summoning you."

In her brief time away from their circle, Ayasato hadn't calmed down in the slightest. She'd missed half the conversation, but that didn't stop her from the silencing the entire congregation with one sentence.

She stepped over her stool, but didn't sit. She wasn't a woman to be looked down on.

"As it stands, I had a reason for this meeting. And girl, I still do." The entire time, her eyes were on Moxie. "Forget this alliance rubbish. The sooner we're out of this god forsaken land the better, and you all know it." She crushed the paper in her hand into a ball. "Perhaps I've been...duped, but I’m not going to concede that easily. I've sent some of my men back already, they have instructions. I'm going to negotiate this myself, there's still...alternatives to Kohryu's proposed method. Perhaps the main city of Yukigakure isn't capable of hosting our people at present, but there's another domain which is. The Province of Iron. I studied it as a backup plan. Even if our little agreement violates Yuki's code, they'd be more than willing to take us. They'll always need more men for that rail, or so I've heard."

"You think they'll be any better off there?"

Ryou had been sitting in silence since Dai's reprimand. Not for pirate boy or hag woman's sake, but for Moxie's. As much as he hated to admit it, his moment of zeal may have cost them their chances at securing the alliance they both wanted. So with that thought in mind, he'd made the call to shut up, at least temporarily or until he had something of diplomatic value to add. Something that Moxie hadn't already voiced.

But in the wake of Ayasato's most recent suggestion, it turned out that he couldn't wait that long.

"I differ."

Only one thing was going through Ryou's mind right now. Bleak memories of his Chunin exam. After that, he'd pledged that if for some reason he ever succeeded father one day, he'd never send a man to be put through that.

Especially if they'd committed no crime.

"That place...they'll lock you up, you do your work and you'll get your two small meals a day and cement to sleep on. And you repeat. Or you rebel, and you die for it. At least here you’ve got some freedom."

Ayasato scoffed, and turned to him.

"Oh, how little you know. You are honestly trying to fool me into believing that's any worse than here? At least there your only enemy's going to be your captivity, your superiors and your...routine. Not this wretched climate and the unpredictability of your own neighbor." Again, her eyes shot to Moxie. "Girl, you asked why I wish to shift? If you'd been living as long as I have, the answer to that one'd be apparent - the people of the Westlands don't stand a chance against force without control. They're never going to amount to a thing here."

She paused, as though waiting to shoot down the rest of the derisive comments before starting on her next contention. Ryou took advantage of the moment.

"So, what you're looking for...is order. Correct?"

Hm? I’m impressed. More insight than I’d give a kid credit for. Yes boy, law and order. The one thing these men and women need. That said, now that the request arises, perhaps…Suna will be an alternative, should this not go through.

He barely heard the latter part of her answer.

I wouldn’t worry about it.

He swung his legs from their fold and onto the floor, and got to his feet. Ayasato blinked, but he didn't give her a chance to talk. Not until he pieced this together for himself.

"You can achieve that, right here. Order, I mean. And without sacrificing even a bit of your ideals. And no, I don’t mean go to Suna instead. You can grant yourselves order, in...yourselves.

He'd locked onto something in his mind. There was one thing that had been bothering him from the onset - the simple fact that in all his studies, he'd never heard of an alliance of this nature. One between a village and heap of tribes.

But now that he thought about it...something was beginning to make sense to him. The problem was. And with that, a solution.

Ryou began to walk. He found he could pool his thoughts together more effectively when he was pacing, a trait he'd inherited from his father.

Order is a concrete concept. Like you said, Ayasato-san, it's control and regulation. But law? Law comes with order, but can be shaped to fit the society for which it exists. The Westlander view on justice may differ from Suna's. Or Yuki's. And it can be. If everybody here has a collective idea of what they want their rights to be, then so be it. The whole point of law is to protect the rights of society."

He spoke slowly, trying to recall every last scrap of knowledge he'd never actually paid attention to in five long years of boring political theory classes as he went.
Damnit, if he'd actually thought this would be useful one day, he would have listened.

He had an idea, one that could be a solution to everything these Westlanders were after. But did it work when he weighed everything up?

"I think you're underestimating the power of numbers. You talk-" He glanced at Konoka "-as though Suna’s small army, a large fraction of whom do admittedly possess behemoth amounts of power, would topple your men – who would outnumber them a thousand to one – far too quickly. I disagree with that one. Sure, Moxie here’s as strong as fifty men. But what about five hundred? Sure, Suna’s population’s going to grow if we give this time, but yours will too. Quantity’s a power on its own. Don’t overlook it."

Ryou was making half of this up as he went along, stringing together distant philosophies one after another. Everything he was saying was spontaneous, it barely made sense to himself. He couldn't help but wonder how the others heard it.

If this was coming out as logical as he wanted it to sound, then it could be great.

But you’re right. There’s a fat load of good numbers are going to do if you’re all scattered about.

He paused, finally reaching the crux of his argument. This could be brilliant. Could. Did it make sense? Would it work?
Worth a try, right?

There’s a solution to that though. One that’ll fix both these issues.

He looked round, addressing the lot of them.

"Think about it, you’ve got right here all the elements for a successful society. One that can rival Suna to the point of no conflict arising between them and one that can solve your ‘order’ problem. I've been sitting here ten minutes and I know it. There’s five things you’ll be needing, and you’ve got them all.

Ryou turned to Senpu first, and raised one finger.

"First up. The Five Villages. West, right? Where the landscape's slightly less harsh. Judging from the 'five villages' bit, I believe you've already got some sort of basic council there to coordinate between them. Well, habitability and a regulations authority, and distant too, so it can’t be easily invaded. That's the foundation for a village, right there. The 'heart'."

He walked to Irimara next.

"Two. Hermits, hm? Llama Rock. Why did you choose this place for this meeting? I'll tell you why. With altitude, and with living in the same place for years and years comes intel. And visitors. Diplomacy."

Ryou raised a third finger, now rounding on Konoka.

"You said your people traveled widely, yeah? From border to border. Well great, that's the basis for the third component. Trade."

He spun to face Ayasato.

"Of course you can't have that without production. Ayasato-san, I heard your from a nomadic people, hailing from the south. You look every bit the hunter, too. Tell me, what's the wildlife like there? The plantlife? You'd be closest to the sea, after all. Perfect for resources. That covers number four."

Finally, he turned to Dai.

"And then step five? A leading military force."

He clapped both hands together.

"Not saying everybody else can't fight. Nah, from the looks of it, most of your people would have been raised as warriors from the start. But that's just even better - it'll put you on even footing with Suna as a village, if you guys were to band together. Maybe not as powerful individually, but as I said, your numbers more than make up for it. Suna isn't the only civilization where the population's going to grow, in fact, the more you have, the faster it's going to increase. We're never going to invade you after that, because you’ll have an environmental advantage in this region. Same reason Yuki hasn’t been attacked in ages – Suna won’t be able to survive the attrition. But that’s all hypothetical, by all this I’m not suggesting we go to war. I’m all for Moxie’s idea of an alliance...but you can forget that too if you’re not unified. Not just with Suna, with Yuki too. Nobody wants an alliance with something asymmetrical. The point of a treaty is even terms, and that works best between equal parties. There’s no way you can guarantee such a thing if the basic structure of whoever you’re forging one with is so…incomprehensible to your own society.

Ryou was back at his seat, but he didn't sit. He heaved a long sigh, catching his breath.

"So I guess what I’m getting at is this…tell me, have you ever considered the possibility of a federation of the Westlands? I think you should."
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Fri May 27, 2011 2:56 am

The fire in Dai had blossomed into a roaring inferno just seconds before every other participant in the meeting decided to pull out their best Suiton jutsu to douse the flames before they could even attempt to spread.

He lowered his head, a small grin still on his face. An insincere laugh escaped his lips, and the fists hanging at his sides shook faintly.

The Yuki brat is a bloody genius, eh? Why didn’t all of us inbred morons out here in the desert think of that before? Uniting the factions? Order solves all our problems? Thank Jashin that we have these gracious saviors coming in here and figuring it out for us.

He mentally reprimanded himself for letting that cursed name slip. The few years his mother had to indoctrinate him with that ridiculous religion of death had apparently left a few lingering side effects.

The zealous young leader pointed an artificial index finger at Ryou, restraining himself from activating one of the dozen hidden tricks his puppet arm had to inflict serious harm to the boy.

What the hell do you think we’re all doing out here?! It’s a damn miracle that we even have a handful of groups as large as we do! We have enough internal fighting and other issues popping up on a daily basis, and you can only imagine how deep the old grudges and hatred between certain groups run.

I don’t know how things work in your perfect world of political paradise, but it takes more than a fancy title and a polished speech to get people to listen. Out here in the real world, it’s all about daily survival. And right now, even the future threat of the nobility’s grand scheme is not nearly as important to most Westlanders as scavenging for the scraps they’ll be eating for supper tonight.


His head swiveled just a few degrees to address Moxie again.

As for your offer, it’s simply not good enough for most people out here, as my much more cynical colleagues have already pointed out. We’ve been ignored for too many generations to suddenly believe that Suna will come running to help us grow if we shed our blood for you. On top of that, you guys don’t even have any true authority in the village to begin with, no matter who your mother was. Even my most trusted subordinates would think twice before following me into battle under such an agreement.

Dainichi paused to take a deep breath. He couldn’t afford to get too carried away as the one representing a group much larger than his own ideals, but this was just too much. Remaining silent here would simply kill him or at the very least drive him insane.

This is exactly why the world is so screwed up right now. The great villages and alliances and a million laws and implied codes. Everyone’s so damn worried about doing what they ‘have to do’ when an army is about to finish steamrolling an entire country of good people! Well then I guess I just have to rally all the people I can and go crush the invaders myself. Is that the only way to get anything done? Is it too hard for people just to do something to help those in need anymore?!

You can keep your nice words and your complex deals and go do whatever it is Suna will be doing to defend itself. And the rest of these guys will probably stay in the wastes and hope that the nobles let them keep their pathetic status quo when they’ve finished conquering everything. But I’m going to do something, no matter who is on my side. Some of us may not have perfect backgrounds, but any man willing to risk their life for a greater cause is a good man in my eyes.


Dai crossed his arms and blinked, suddenly realizing just how final his declarations just sounded. It didn’t seem like any of the representatives here were in the same books, much less on the same page regarding anything.

If no one has anything better to say, I’ll be taking my leave. Redcliff needs to hear about this new threat that no one wants to handle directly.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Fri May 27, 2011 8:32 pm

"Sit down, Dainichi."

Senpu's eyes betrayed a tint of worry and apprehension that Rika hadn't noticed before. There was a slight waver to his fingers as he tried to motion the young man back to his seat.

"Alliances may be out of the question, but at the very least you and I should speak of how to defend ourselves. The people of the Five Villages have nowhere else to go. Ayasato, if you want to find your way out of this land, then that is the right of you and your people. I wish you luck, and we'll aid in any way we can. What about you Konoka? What stance will you take?"

The portly man stewed in his sweat and thoughts, twirling the end of his mustache between greasy fingers. "The Traders are split on the idea of going to war. I don't think the entire Trade coalition will agree to anything, but there will be supporters for your cause. We are old friends, Senpu, and you young Dai, you are a brave man. I will send word through the Traders. If an agreement cannot be made, then I will assure that anyone who wishes to join your ranks will be allowed. Hopefully the brave warriors of our nation will be enough to aid your cause."

"Thank you, Honoka. I understand war is not something anyone wants to rush into. We'll take every man we can get."

"Bah, bunch of cowards."

The inert Honoka suddenly found strength, like an elephant who has finally decided to move. He rose up to his feet and loomed over the frail Irimara.

"What was that old man?"

"I said you were a bunch of cowards! This young lady here is the first representative of Suna you lot have ever seen and you discount her because she's just a young girl. And then you cower in fear that she might strike you down! Well which is it, Honoka, are you afraid of her or is she inconsequential?"

"Silence your tongue before I cut it off!"

"Now you found your gumption, didn't ya? Seems to me that you twist the facts whatever way you can so you don't have to ride out to war yourself, you fat coward. All of you, you claim to be great leaders and you're all dumber than rocks."

Honoka let out a gutteral cry, freeing a twisted knife from beneath his cloaks. He barreled over Irimara in the blink of an eye, sending the old man sprawling out from his seat. He cowered and Honoka held his blade above his head.

Rika moved without thinking. Before she even realized what she was doing, her thumb dug into Honoka's side while her hand squeezed around his wrist. He let out a cry and the knife fell from his hands. She weaved and looped her hand beneath the tumbling blade and caught it mid-flight, turning the point around to him.

"Everyone calm down!"

Rika scanned the others. Moxie and Ryou were shocked, Ayasato somewhat unsurprised, and Dai heaved like a hungry lion, wanting to attack and using every shred of willpower left he had not to.

"Animals, every last damn one of you! You know what, you keep having your meeting, I don't give a shit anymore! You're all the same, all of you!"

Irimara scrambled from the ground to his feet, hunched over and breathing heavily. His rib was broken.

"My family has lived on this rock for three generations...the well you people have been drinking from is the one dug by my grandfather, with his own two hands! And do you know what happened when he tried to make a small life for himself here? The conquering nobility came in with their soldiers, trying to civilize and unify the land. They took his water, day in and day out, until he finally lost his temper and attacked them. They stabbed him in the gut and let him bleed to death on the sand and refill the well with his own blood.

Then my father took over this well, and the shinobi came through, running their training exercises and looking for hidden techniques tucked away in the ruins. Do you know what they did? They took his water. Then the first bandits came through and the shinobi were there to defend him and he gladly gave him his water. Until one of the shinobi wanted his sister, my aunt. They used their ninjutsu and they drowned him with his own well.

Then I lived here on this homestead and I buried my mother and my sisters and fought tooth and nail to stay alive. I sold my water to anyone who could pay anything for it, just so I could try and live out my father and grandfather's dream of a small life. When the war with Otogakure happened, I gave my water freely to anyone who needed it. I gave it to Oto spies, and Suna shinobi, and the armored soldiers of the nobility. I gave it to thieves and I gave it to thier victims and somehow I always lived.
"

Irimara stood straight while the pain stretched at his face and bared his teeth.

"It doesn't matter what you bastards decide to do. If you ally together and build a new Suna, if you go to war with each other, if you're killed by the nobility, if we're all conquered by Iwa or Konoha or from lands far beyond the sea. It doesn't matter. You claim to be fighting for my protection and what do you do?

You take my water.
"

His footsteps skiffed across the desert ground. No one moved. No one breathed. When Senpu spoke, it jarred her like the sound of glass across a chalkboard.

"I think we should take a break. We'll reconvene after the night time meal. If we can't agree to anything after that, we will go our separate ways." He rose and bowed with a regality unfitting for the desert, and started back for his camp.

"Give me my knife, you insolent bitch. If you were in my territory, you would be raped and beaten for what you did."

"If you were in my territory, you would already be dead."

She dropped the knife on the ground and followed Moxie and Ryou.

Toya walked along the outskirts of the camp. Kyuuen stared at the smoking remains of the fire, only a few embers holding onto life beneath the pile of ash. Moxie went into her tent. Ryou stood next to Kyuuen.

"I tried to apologize." She motioned her head to Toya. "...didn't work out very well. How was the meeting?"

Rika shifted her focus away. Ryou and Kyuuen had forgotten she was standing there.
That happened a lot.

She used to attribute it to her Nanaya training. She was so naturally stealthy, so whisper quiet and unassuming that people spoke right in front of her without realizing. She had used that to her advantage many, many times over the years.

But she was starting to think it wasn't the training.

Four times she had tried to speak during the meeting, and four times she had had been spoken right over, not even the first syllable she managed to get out acknowledged. In retrospect what she had hoped to say wouldn't have helped matters any. Maybe it was for the best.

Her eyes tracked over to the small hut where Irimara lived.

Alone and living by a rock the shape of a llama, representing no one but himself and he had spoken bravely. To the point where he nearly lost his own life. Her eyes drifted again, to one of the other camps.

Dai.

She took a step toward the camp.

No. This wasn't her business. She was the Nanaya clan leader, not a revolutionary or a Suna-nin. They should deal with this themselves.

She took another step.

Besides, he seemed pretty angry. Why would he listen to her? There was no mutual trust between the two of them. He would have every right to doubt her motivations. And what would she say if he asked why she was talking to him? She didn't know why she wanted to in the first place.

Other than that he might be making a mistake. And she could do something to fix it.

Before she could finish convincing herself one way or the other, her feet had taken her to the edge of Dai's camp. Two young guards holding rusty old weapons examined her carefully.

"Where you off to then, love?"

The first guard, no older than thirteen and holding his sword backwards, tried to look intimidating and check out her body at the same time.

"Where's Dai?"

"In his tent, but-"

She shoved him over onto his butt. The other guard laughed and laughed while she strode into the camp. She walked with as much determination and terror as she could muster, though she wasn't sure if she was just being invisible again. Either way, she threw open Dai's tent.

"I admire you."

Dai was looking over a chart set on a table. He turned around to face her.

"You're a good leader. A natural one. You're brave and strong and inspiring. I'm not even involved in this war and your speech made me want to fight alongside you."

Slowly she reached for her Nanaya blade. She unclipped it from her belt and reached around Dai, setting it on the table behind him. They hovered only inches away, dangerous if he decided to attack. He didn't. Rika took a step back.

"I'm supposed to be a leader too. A leader of my clan. I'm not very good at it. People dislike me. They compare me to my father. They are plotting to kill me or splinter off or to manipulate me into doing their own designs. I'm holding it together, but just barely. If I were a little more like you, I think maybe the clan would be in better shape.

But you're also wrong about this situation.
"

Their eyes locked. His gaze was so intense that Rika found it hard not to turn away, to examine the edge of the tent or to look back to the silver-hilted blade or to study her feet. But she held firm.

"My people are hunters. We understand that if we hunt a boar in the forest, we get to eat. If we hunted all the boars in the forest we could have a great feast, but there would be no more boars. That's the difference between hunting and killing. When you hunt something, or someone, you do it knowing how it will affect the rest of the world around you.

What you want to do is to stop the problem in front of you, to stop the nobility. But that doesn't solve all of the problems. What is supposed to take the place of hte nobility once they're gone? Who is going to be in charge of economic growth and border security? You haven't thought of that, and maybe you don't care. But that's how more problems come.
"

She paused and took a deep breath. She hadn't realized before how fast her heart was pumping. She was almost ashamed of it. But now she held onto her position like a raft in the sea.

"You destroy the nobility, and their supporters will come after you. Maybe you can destroy them too, but eventually someone will disagree with your position or want to take over and they'll attack you. Maybe you can destroy that enemy, and the enemy after that and the enemy after that, but with each victory you leave injured and broken people whose bitterness grows. Without a way to restore those you have defeated, there will be endless war. The only way to do that is to work together, to take all the power we have and agree on a path for the future so that we can stop the conflicts. For good."

She couldn't hold on any longer. She finally broke eye contact with him and looked at the ground.

"I'm not the person that will be able to figure that out. And it won't be you either. The qualities that make you great prevent you from finding an answer other than to confront your enemies head on. There's only one person in this camp I believe can find that path. I hope when she finds it, you'll be willing to listen to her."

Rika looked up at Dai.

"I apologize if I've offended you. I only wish to see my cousin and his friends succeed, and they will need you to do it."
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Sat May 28, 2011 3:15 am

"I tried to apologize. Didn't work out very well. How was the meeting?"

He felt his heart sink a little.

In light of everything that had happened so far, the thought of Kyuuen and Toya setting aside their grievances may have well been the best thing to have happened in Ryou's day.

If only the prospect had held true.

He watched Toya pace around in the distance, occasionally kicking up dust. Damnit, why did these two have to make everything so complicated?

If she was indeed being honest with him, the fact that Kyuuen had moved past her childish pride and offered an apology had certainly come as a surprise to Ryou. Toya failing to accept it however, had been an even bigger one; his friend wasn't the type to take offense or carry grudges without deep reason. The fact he himself was here alongside his former teammate should have been proof enough of that. Could this really be so serious?

But Ryou just couldn't comprehend how anything Kyuuen had done could have affected Toya that badly.

"Why wouldn't he?..what did you say to him? Do you want me t-"

He let that initial impulse fall quiet, and get swallowed up by the wind.

Do you want me to go talk to him? That's what he'd been meaning to ask. But he was quick to realize that it probably wasn't his place, and even if he did, it would accomplish very little.

This wasn't his problem. And if Kyuuen and Toya's scuffle ran as deep as it appeared to be doing for whatever reason, he didn't want either of them hastily patching the tension together for his sake and nothing else.

Ryou sighed, long and deep. In the midst of everything that had happened, his fatigue and frustration were quickly beginning to catch up with him. Suddenly, he couldn't even blame his friends for being unable to resolve their differences at present. There was already so much on his plate - along with everyone else's, he was sure - and as miraculous as the concept of Toya and Kyuuen's restored friendship seemed, he couldn't expect that kind of willpower from anybody right now. Not here.

He took Kyuuen's hand in his own, subconsciously caressing the back of hers with his fingers. Sometimes he liked to forget that they weren't currently on the best of terms. Judging from the fact that she was talking to him, maybe she did too.

"Don't worry about him for now, alright? I...this isn't the time and place for it. When we're back in Suna, maybe he'll have calmed down a bit and the two of you can talk it out then, if that's what you really want. I don't know, I just want to sort all this out and get out of here first."

Ryou wasn't looking directly at her as he spoke. More like past her, at the deserted meeting site. His head hurt just thinking about how they'd all have to go back there after dinner.

"The meeting...it was ok- nah, who am I kidding? It's a disaster. These guys, they don't even know what they want out of this and it sure as hell ain't the one thing. Get out of the land, take on the nobility, seize Suna, stay as is...we can't get anything done when they can't even establish that much. Moxie's shooting for an alliance, I tried a federation theory...nothing's getting through to them. Think I made it worse, actually."

He grimaced at the thought, which only brought back a flood of memories regarding what he had been intending to do before Kyuuen had caught his attention. Apologize to Moxie, treat Irimura, figure out whatever the hell they were going to do when they reconvened. So much work.
Too much.

Ryou pulled Kyuuen by the hand, around to face llama rock and the hut sitting in its shadow. He didn't feel too good about delegating the task to her, what with her leg, but it would only be for a little bit, right?

"Look, are you feeling any better? I need to ask you a favor. See the little man there, by the rock? Yeah, things got a little out of hand and one of the other guys attacked him. Rika put a stop to it, but I think he's busted his rib. Could you go check on him for me? Looked pretty bad, and I'd rather we had it fixed before the damn meeting starts up again." He squeezed her hand. "Just go check, alright? I'll join you in a few minutes. Just have some other things to clear up first."

He stopped just short of kissing her cheek before he took off. He wanted to think that her willingness to interact with him without crying was a sign of their row having died down, but he had no way of knowing. The last thing he wanted right now was a rehash of the results of his attempted affection aboard the airship. He desperately wanted to know what had been bothering her, but at the same time, he didn't want to make it worse. Not now.

So he let go with just one final nod, and made his way towards their tents without even another glimpse of Kyuuen's face.

He made his way to the tents, and pushed through Moxie's door.

"Hey. I'm sorry about what I said in there, made a real mess of things, didn't I? You did well."

Moxie was alone, and as calm as ever. Tired, but calm.

Ryou forced a smile, but for once he didn't feel any pressure to. There was something relieving about conversing with Moxie - probably the low likelihood of having her flip out at him if he said the wrong thing. If only he could say that about a certain other kunoichi, or even Toya sometimes.
Maybe that was why he'd come here. He was just too burned out to deal with them. Of all the things he had to do...this was the easiest option.

"But do you think it's worth going back there and continuing this meeting from hell? I dunno, no matter which way I look at it, I can't see them working with us. I'm completely out of ideas."
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Mon May 30, 2011 1:52 am

Frustrated rage continued to smolder in Dai’s chest as he skimmed halfheartedly over the paper stretched across the table.

Why didn’t they understand? Why couldn’t his passionate words just make them all understand? They’d rather protect their mediocre sameness than do something grand and risky. Well he didn’t need them anyway.

Anger quickly converted into irritated surprise as he spun around in response to the sudden compliments from behind. It was the Nanaya girl from the airship and the meeting, but why the hell had she come here?

Uhh…?

He flinched when she moved closer, his eyes trained on the deadly weapon in the female’s hands. He sensed no trace of murderous intent, but he remained on his highest alert until the knife was safely placed on the surface behind him.

She continued to speak with surprising authority, her gaze never wavering until her monologue neared its end. At first it seemed like just another person reprimanding him for being an idealist child who needed to return to reality, but that wasn’t quite the case.

His face remained stoic for a brief moment of silence until could no longer hold back a soft bout of laughter. His signature grin was finally restored to him for the first time since his hijacking of the airship.

The only thing that offends me is when people conceal their motives and sugarcoat their words. I always prefer everyone speaking their mind, no matter how badly we disagree at times.

You think you’d be better off if you were more like me? Sounds like you’re already there to me. There’s only a handful of people in this world who have the nerve to stare me down and speak so openly to my face. Even those old geezers out there would probably think twice about doing so in a less public location.

Maybe your problem is just speaking up when it really counts?


Dainichi followed up his blatant suggestion by sighing deeply and tapping his artificial index finger against his chin

You know, it’s not like I don’t understand what you’re saying or that I haven’t heard it before or anything…the problem is that I’ve never found anyone who actually does have the answer to all of these problems. I am the fire that purifies the world of corruption, but I rely on smart, level-headed people to channel my power and tell me how to rebuild everything when I’m done.

You say that the Saihoushi girl is the one who can find that solution? I’ll take your word for it and stay for the meeting’s continuation, but she better find it soon and share it with the rest of us. It would probably help everyone if the Yuki brat seals his lips when he doesn’t have anything useful to say too.

And you should really try saying some of this stuff to everyone out there. I can’t use the biggest words and explain things with the most suitable metaphors like you and others are able to do, but I still need to make everyone understand what needs to be done. You’re gonna sit at my right side when everyone gathers up again, alright? Just give me a nod and I’ll shut everyone else up for you, ya hear? Rika Nanaya deserves to be heard out there as much as anyone.


He laughed again and leaned back against the table, suddenly remembering the presence of the Nanaya blade resting on the wood. He scooped it up into his right hand and gave it a quick look, his eyes lighting up as if the silver wolf-adorned weapon suddenly reminded him of something.

Hey, would you mind if I took a bit of your blood? Just a little scratch, and I’ll patch it right back up.

He blinked twice, oblivious to the completely insane timing and nature of his request. Clearly he didn’t think any sort of preface or explanation of any kind was necessary, because he wasn’t about to give one unless prompted.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Mon May 30, 2011 11:45 am

She had one moment, one fleeting moment before Ryou would enter the tent completely and she would have to start walking to the tiny hut. One moment to try and make something right.

"I love you."

He vanished inside, probably hearing her too late. It didn't matter. She didn't need to hear it back. She already knew how he felt by how much stress her behavior was putting him through. She started for the hut, sand crunching beneath her feet.

"Sorry, darling. I'll try not to cause you so much stress, in the future."

Kyuuen's whispers were carried off in the wind.

Rika just blinked.

She was...confused. Flattered, but confused. She hadn't expected him to change his mind so easily, or to see reason so quickly. Perhaps she had bought too much into the idealistic fool that he portrayed himself as. Maybe he was aware of his position and aware of what he needed to do. He was already quick to admit his own flaws and shortcomings and more than ready to listn to the ideas of others.

And then...all those nice things he said about her. About needing to speak up. And about how he would silence anyone who would stand in the way of her words.

Flattered and confused. And maybe a little insulted. It wasn't like she couldn't take care of herself.

She wrapped her hands around his, gently. She took her left hand and slid the scabbard from the knife, still leaving the hilt in his hands, and his hands in hers. She then stroked her palm against the edge of the balde.

"Not going to lie. This is a very odd request. If you were Nanaya, I would have reason to kill you now. But I want you to trust me-...us. So here. I trust you first."

She held out the line of red crimson, awaiting the next step.

Moxie didn't stir when Ryou entered. She had expected him.

"No. You did fine. You said what you felt you needed to, and that's why I invited you. If I wanted you to stay quiet, Ryou, I wouldn't have asked you to come."

She turned around in the tent and motioned for him to sit down across from her. She grasped a canteen and set it between them, offering water but knowing neither would take it. Moxie's left hand was gripping something tightly, a scrap of white fabric peering out.

Mom's death shroud.

"I miss my mom."

It felt heavy to say it. Weighty, like something she shouldn't wield that often. She had spoken of it, of coruse, to Toya, but this was the first person outside of Toya and her family that she had voiced it.

"I keep thinking that she would know how to fix this."

"Heh." She watched as Ryou's head flitted away from staring at the scrap of Mom's shroud in her hand. She had forgotten; he had one too. "I'm sorry there's nothing I can do. You're right, there aren't many women like her, are there?"

"There aren't. There won't be. Not in our lifetime." She sighed. "I don't know what else to do. We can't force them to join us. We can't convince them to join us. But we can't give up either. I just can't see an offer we could make that the Council would agree with."

"Well yeah, that's the problem with unequal governance. I mean, why is that Yuki and Suna will form treaties with each other, and neither with this place, even though it's just as independant as Suna is? That's the thing I can't get my head around, no matter what I try."

Ryou's brow furrowed in thought. Moxie found herself smiling. He really was quite educated, wasn't he? He had studied the art and science of rule and power since he was a child. It made Moxie regret not listening to when her mom and dad had tried to teach her about those things. Always wanted to go outside, always wanted to practice with her sword.

What good was her sword doing her now?

"Because they're violators of the law, that's why. Troublemakers and ne'er do wells. Criminals. Because legitimizing them would ruin the law they claim to protect. Pch. What good is a law that can't help all of the people living in the land? When did it become okay to give up on these people?"

The shroud folded across her fingers as she slackened her grip on it.

"Mom never knew about the Westlands, but she would've loved them. Did you know when she was Kage, they had no immigration laws? You could just come in, or out, whenever you pleased. All she asked was while you were here, you helped. In any way you could. And if you held that up then she would protect you in return."

Ryou laughed, gently, at some memory he kept ot himself.. "So you're saying the Westlanders have their own idea on what the law should be? That's...what I thought. And what I don't get. I agree with you. Law's supposed to be about helping the whole society. Law's supposed to be about justice too, right? That's what society wants. Well...whose right is it to decide what justice is for the rest of the people? Especially if we were to take them in, there'd be more of them than there'd be 'original Suna residents', and still Suna has right of law, even though half the people won't agree? Eh..."

He folded his arms and stared at the canteen between them.

"Sounds like even Suna itself isn't consistent. Your mother and Noriko-san, even their ideas of justice and policy vary. It's probably the same for the rest of the people, all different."

The wind and the weight of silence stretched out between them. Neither spoke, letting thoughts tumble upon each other, following the paths they created in their mind. Moxie lookeed up.

"...you know, you're right. Whose right is it to decide what justice is? What right do we have to negotiate on Suna's behalf? What right do these people here have to negotiate on the whole of the Westlands? How many Irimaras are out there that suffer every day because of the decisions we make? How much water are we stealing? Why...why couldn't there be a way for all of the people to speak for themselves?"

Ryou smirked, somewhat bemused and irritated all at once.

"It's funny but...I reckon they're doing better than us. At least they've divided themselves by region and they've got a leader for each, y'know, so you've got somebody speaking for each smaller group with similar interests...somehow feels like more are represented that way. Don't you think? The way they argue's almost proof of that. Sure, they're never going to come to a consensus at this rate but at least none of them are going to stand for anything that jeoperdizes the people they're here on behalf of. Just like Irimura didn't concede, no matter how badly he's hurt.

I don't know much about Suna, but where I come from, it's just a bunch of old rich guys who, to be honest, fight very little from what I've seen. They all want the same things. Well the thing is, the poor don't give a shit about most of those things, but they don't get any say whatsoever, and yet things still get passed without them. Actually, it's not just the poor - it's anybody who doesn't live in that circle who gets left out of the loop.
"

Ryou sighed.

"You see what I'm saying about how the Westlanders have a better system in place, as far as the whole population goes? It's crazy to think about."

Moxie squeezed her eyes together. She felt it. Something Ryou said, there was something to that. The Kyoumougan flirted with her curiosity, tempting her with glimpses of how her ideas could be solidified and how they could be executed. She was about to open up the vision to the future, when she remembered something.

Last words.

"Use that strength to protect the people of this world. Because this world is so beautiful."

It flashed in her head like lightning, infecting every thought. Moxie was on her feet. Excitement and clarity spurred her on, propelling her from the tent and back into the campsite. She had to keep moving, keep walking, because the tremendous fear and doubt that comes with every great idea was right behind her and if she didn't act on it now it might tackle her and smother her.

Handsigns. Fire leapt from her mouth and into the center pit of the camp, roaring it to life. Soldiers from each Westland faction stirred, concerned that she was about to turn her fire on the rest of them, but they didn't attack. Her fingers spat out threads of chakra and hefted her tent from right above Ryou. Two threads swept down to her jacket, freeing the gold thread from the edges of her airship captain's coat. The brown tent and the gold thread swirled together, stretching and stitching.

By now they had all gathered around the fire. Toya, Rika, Ryou, Kyuuen, Dai, Senpu, Konoka, and Ayasato. Their followers, their soldiers, their friends, all watching to see what she was doing.

She let the fabric fall into her hand, folded neatly. She motioned at one of Senpu's men, holding a spear, who handed it to her without thought. She turned the spear over and thrust it into the ground, then tied the fabric to the shaft.

A flag. A brown flag with gold stitching.

A flower.

Moxie reached in and pulled out her Sunagakure headband and hurled it into the fire.

"I am no longer here representing Sunagakure. Instead, I am here to represent a new idea. A new future for this land, not just for the shinobi, not for the Westlanders, but for anyone who crosses into the desert. A future decided by the people who live in it, not by those who sit at the top.

For the entirety of history, we have been ruled by the strongest fighters, or the richest nobility, or the shrewdest traders, or the simply those who were tough enough to live a day longer than the other. But that does not give us the right to rule over the lives of others.

My mother was Kazekage, and she tried to make Suna a land for everyone. She loved everyone that entered the village gates, and did all she could for each and every one of them. But that benevolence came from her, not from the title of Kazekage. Kazekages have been tyrants, war lords, healers, sentinels, inventors and protectors over the ages. The office does not ensure a future for everyone living under his or her rule.

You, people of the Westlands, know this better than anyone. You know that listening to those around you is the only way to survive in the harshest edge of the world. You choose leaders, and your leaders represent the interests of all the people. This meeting is the perfect demonstration of that. Each of you carries with you the burden of your people and you fight for thier individual futures.
"

Moxie grasped the flag and lifted it, stabbing it again beside her.

"My mother had a dream. A dream of a world without war, without conflict, because life itself was difficult enough without fighting each other. That dream can never come true the way we govern. Until each and every man who owns a small well looking for a small life has a say in how law rules over him, there will always be the discontent, the disillusioned, and the destroyers.

I, alone, represent a government that has no name, no capitol, no structure, no military and no laws. I cannot promise any of you anything, other than that I will march across the land and convince every person that this has to be our new future. To the east, to Suna; to the north to the nobility that will still listen to reason; to the south, to the trade unions. But this dream will not live without you, people of the Westland.

So I ask you now, join. Not with me, but with each other. Take an equal share of the future of the Wind Country and create the future we've all dreamed of.
"

She stared at Toya, locking onto his eyes.

Because she was afraid to look anywhere else.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Tue May 31, 2011 2:49 am

Moxie fell silent, the sound of the flame cackling into the air for a few brief moments. Then it was drowned out.

There were mixed reactions. Much struggles at comprehension, gasps, fear, enlightenment, chatter and the the first discussions of the breakthroughs Moxie's speech brought with it. Excitement.

Ryou stood beside her, completely taken by the genius of the girl and her eye. He'd been there, trying so hard to link and patch up the same problems, and after thought and subsequent thought, he'd had absolutely no avail. He'd been completely clueless. They both had, up until five minutes ago.

And now...just using her eye and a couple of throwaway comments, she could come up with something like that? In his head, he could feel potential blooming like the flower hovering above him.

He may have been the first to move to shout his agreement anyway without having yet completely grasped the meaning of everything she had said, or maybe there had been others with the exact same intent at that moment. The sounds had buzzed into existence around him, such that he didn't even know.

And then each was silenced in an instant.

That’s enough, quiet.

Ayasato stepped to the fire, bringing herself opposite to Moxie. Physically she wasn’t much taller, and yet her robust form seemed to tower over the girl.

Silly girl, how little you know. If it were anarchy we were looking for, we’d stay right here.

And now every eye was on her, and somewhere, she may have heard a cry or two. Ayasato turned as she spoke, addressing man standing in the circle with her vision. She scoffed.

I suppose to lot of you are in shock and awe, wondering why such a thing’s never been conceived before, hm? I’ll hand ya the easy answer, what Missy over here’s after is a world where every individual has control of their own country, their laws. A world without set, concrete leadership. A world where we each get to decide what’s right and what’s wrong. I’m sure it all sounds nice. Every man for his own freedom. S’what anarchy sounds like.

Spinning back to face the fire, Ayasato clicked her tongue against her cheek, and folded her arms.

Tell me, how would you propose such a thing would work? Even if you had some system of representation, you’re going to get the same shit we’ve all seen today at this meet between just the five of us. People are too diverse, nothing will ever be agreed upon. And then the people, oh they’ll believe in their right to freedom alright, they’ll take justice into their own hands-“ Her eyes fell on Dai for a brief moment, and stared daggers. “-and that’s how lives are lost.

She paused, staring long into flag flapping in the wind.

Say, hypothetically speaking, you get them all to go with this theory. Suna, nobility, traders, the lot. You cited our 'concept' right? So say they each divvied their representation up between groups, as we have done, bringing the total number of groups up to at least twenty. Why in hell’s name would I sign on to such a thing when we here can’t even fit a common agenda to five?

Ayasato stomped her foot, her boot creating sound even against sand. And then she laughed a sardonic chortle devoid of any mirth, hawk-eyes again piercing Moxie.

No. This is how chaos blooms, girl, and why the world’s as it is. People need one man to rule them, and move them into a cohesive order. A strong person, a successful person, one who knows how to tame the diversity of man. One who’s seen a lifetime…” she glanced around, setting her orbs on each of the too many teenagers standing before her “…of right and wrong, and can decide for all their nation a common resolve. Perhaps every individual won’t be satisfied, but they’ll be controlled. Regulated. They’ll have their necessities and their law, and they’ll survive.

Her emotion fell flat as quickly as it had exploded.

It’s the simple truth, girl. Why your little concoction will never work, and has never been considered. Why those successful countries such as Yuki and Suna live the way they do, and why these lands are doomed to fail. Try and push this little idea of yours onto the Nobility, the Traders and whatnot, and you’re sealing the rest of the Wind Country the same fate.

Ayasato closed her eyes slowly, and she drew a long, dark breath of nostalgia. A frown shaped her entire face.

Once, when I was young, I trialled a regime which aimed to give every man a choice in my tribe’s future. It only ended in disaster, and regrets.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Wed Jun 01, 2011 3:15 am

Dai lowered his head without hesitation and pressed his lips against the narrow wound, sucking away the surfacing blood and swallowing the warm liquid.

He pulled back abruptly and traced his finger across the incision on her palm. When he released her hand, her flesh was completely restored, as if nothing had just taken place.

Trust…is a very valuable and hard-earned commodity in the Westlands. I’m happy that you would give yours to me so freely, but I also hope I’m able to prove that it is very well placed.

When a Jekial consumes blood, they can always feel the presence of its owner within a reasonable distance. It also gives us a certain amount of control over it, as if it was our own. But I swear never to use any of that power without your full permission. I’ll swear that on my own blood.


The sudden commotion drew his attention, his head turning to glance outside the tent. A crowd had gathered around the fire with the Saihoushi girl and her allies near the center. What were they up to now?

Well, I guess we should go join them. Maybe your chance to shine is coming sooner than we thought!

--

Toya kicked at the sand for the thousandth time. He knew how justified his reaction had been, but he also knew how stubborn both sides of the problem were acting. If he wanted to be the “victor” of the weird game they seemed to be playing, then shouldn’t he be the better person and return the apology with forgiveness?

The mob gathering around the fire caught his eye, and he honed in on the action near the center. Moxie was fashioning some sort of banner and planting it in the middle of the circle. He followed the crowd and pushed his way through to take the spot at her right side.

Her speech was nothing short of awe-inspiring. He knew firsthand how powerful and motivating her words could be, but never on a scale like this. The idea was simple, but genius. Something that had never existed in the world of ninja villages and autocratic countries with kages and daimyos and ninja armies answering to one all-powerful government.

But what it needed most were the people to rally under the flag and make it happen.

Her gaze met his, and he managed to smile reassuringly. His left hand moved an inch or two to intertwine their fingers. What else could he do to support her? Would anything he said even matter in the eyes of these strangers?

Before he had another second to decide, Ayasato took the chance to pounce on the idea and make every attempt to rip it to shreds before life had even been breathed into it. Toya glared daggers at the woman, but knew that confronting her too directly wouldn’t benefit anyone.

Not alone, Moriko. Even if no other soul in this land, from the Westlands to the capitol, decides to follow this path, there will be at least two of us. It’s arrogant and blind to believe that any one person or elite group can make the best decision for an entire country every time.

It’s hard to look past our own personal biases and see the big picture. The more voices that can be heard, the better our chances are of creating a better world.


He pulled out the forehead protector given to him by Suna. He hadn’t even worn it during the last couple missions he and Ryou had been assigned, but it still symbolized the village concept he was now pledging to leave behind.

He tossed it into the fire without blinking.

Make that at least three people!

Dai approached the roaring flames and locked stares with Ayasato.

Oi, hag! If you don’t want to join, then don’t! You think that just because you tried something once and it failed that it’s a dead concept? Nothing would ever get done in the world if people abandoned every idea that failed the first time.

You say that Suna successfully uses the current system? Hah, look where they are right now. On the verge of being destroyed by their own allies, the people they are supposed to be working for. The ninja villages may have been around a long time, but it’s certainly not the only path our world can and should take!

Well I’m going to lend all of my strength and support to a new idea. And I’ll drag as many Westlanders as I can manage with me. I’ve done crazier things alone, and I’ll be even more unstoppable with an army of allies!

So do whatever you want, Ayasato. No one has the power or desire to make you stay or agree with anything. And that’s…all I have to say on this matter!


His amber gaze finally broke off from the glaring contest and swept from Moxie to Toya and finally falling on Rika. He blinked expectantly, as if waiting for someone to add something with bigger words and more eloquence to it.

Dainichi Kaizoku had finally run out of inspirational rantings for the time being.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Thu Jun 02, 2011 4:44 pm

Kyuuen watched the corners of Senpu's mouth struggle against themselves.

"I have to agree with Ayasato's assessment. It is dangerous and bold and perhaps a bit foolish. But the way we do things now isn't going to be sustainable. I think the people of the Five Villages know that, and I know I can convince them to lend their support. We shall march along side you, Moxie." He rounded his gaze over to Konoka. "And the Windswept Traders?"

Konoka took in the scene with greedy eyes, his hands swaying back and forth as if he were the famous scales of justice. Finally he threw his hands into the air.

"Oh why the hell not. We start losing, we'll weasel our way out of it."

"Well, at least he's honest. That only leaves you, Ayasato."

The woman seemed wound tighter than ever, ready to snap at the edges and burst at the seams. Her fists clenched and her posture was rigid.

But she spoke with a wilted resignation.

"There's nothing more I can do to stop the impulsiveness of youth in its tracks, is there? Well I tried, and if this is what the people want, then so be it. Go. But I'll remain here, and I will protect those who aren't going to concede to this foolishness for the meantime, and who knows? Maybe we'll meet again. Here or there. After all, if you survive this you won't be young forever. Then we'll know. "

"Ayasato-san."

Silence drew.

"It will take us time to figure it out. We'll make mistakes, and plenty of them. But someday we'll get it right."

Ayasato stalked off, step by deliberate step, into the confines of her camp. Moxie let out a long breath and squeezed the hands of her first two joiners.

"Thank you You won't regret this, I promise."

"Don't speak of it as if we are doing you a favor, Moxie. We're partners now, we're in this together. There's much to be done now, I imagine. We must send word back to the rest of our villages."

"And we have to prepare to mount an army...I will go speak with Irimara and try to patch things up. Llama Rock is an excellent rallying point, we cannot sacrifice it because of our pride."

"Very well. Moxie, may I have a word?"

"Of course."

They began to disperse. Cries of jubilation popped through the camp.

Kyuuen stood at the fire, forehead protector draped her hand.

Hana-sensei. Purpose. Strength. Training. Life. A home. Suna had been her home, her source of stability amongst everything else. And she was about to turn her back on them. She felt traitorous, down to her bones. They could fix Suna, couldn't they? Did it have to be...revolution? Rebellion? Insurreciton?

Her father. How they treated Kizuatorui. The situation between Ichigo and Kimi and Taro. The betrayal, the fighting, the deceit. No, Suna wasn't perfect. It had bright and dark spots, and if Kyuuen were being honest the bright and dark spots as they affected her life probably came out even. For others, it had probably come out worse. If Moxie was determined to bring about a new government on this soil, then it would try to rid itself of Suna's dark spots.

Kyuuen vowed that it's bright spots would live on in the future.

She dropped her forehead protector into the flames. And like the ninja she was, she slipped behind Ryou and wrapped her arms around him before he could move or react. She held him from behind, resting her face into his back. Silent. The world had changed in the matter of five minutes. They both knew their duties and their responsibilities had changed with it. Nothing else needed to be said.

Rika stood beside her cousin, both staring at the future leaders of the Wind Country; Toya at Moxie, she at Dai. Her hand still tingled from where the knife had opened her, from where his lips had sealed her.

"I'll never use it without your permission." What did that mean? In what way would she ever allow that? What benefit was there? Or was this like holding a knife beside someone's throat and assuring them they wouldn't be stabbed? Was it a threat? Or a grand gesture? Why had she allowed it in the first place? What did it mean when a boy wanted to drink your blood?

"Hey, Toya, have you ever-..." Ever what? Cut open Moxie's hand and sucked on the wound?

"...nevermind."

- - -

During the meal, there was much debate on the next course of action. Suna needed reinforcements now, and protection now against the oncoming nobility. But to rush in with only partial forces may only result in a greater loss of life without any victory. Now that the protection of Suna was not her only goal, Moxie felt detached from it. There were many paths to victory. Suna would be important, but it was not pivotal.

The Trade Unions needed to lend their money and provide this new military with weapons and food. Without them, they would lose in a war of attrition with the rich and powerful nobility. Without them, the entire idea would fail.

So Moxie came to a difficult choice.

Their team would head south, to the Trade Unions. The Westlanders would regroup here at Llama Rock.

Suna would have to hold off on its own for a bit longer.

The displeasure was written clear across Kyuuen's face, but she didn't say anything. No one did. And Moxie didn't ask. It felt like an insult at this point to ask each of them if they would come along. Especially Toya. He had made it clear so many times that he was with her with whatever he did, and while she had done nothing but chastize his need to 'earn' her love, she had been worse.

She tried to push him away under the guise of "protecting" him.

No more. In their own quiet ways, each of them had pledged loyalty to one another over the months. Saving each other's lives, rescuing one another from the law. Even when two of this rag-tag team had fought to the brink of physical combat, they still stood together in the decision of the new government.

There was a very strong bond in this dysfunctional little team.

But there needed to be one more secret between them. Just a short one.

Moxie caught Ryou alone as he wandered from to the outskirts of the camp.

"I need a moment."

He didn't argue. The pair of them slipped to the very edges of the camp. After a quick sweep through the closest tents, Moxie took a breath.

"I need to tell you a lot in a short amount of time. You suspected before that I hadn't healed entirely, and you're right. I...had a curse mark on me. It's a complicated story, but that curse mark connected me to a very powerful man, and when I needed to I could draw upon his chakra. But during the battle at BLOSSOM, something broke it. I was injured right in the same point, and while I thought curse marks were immune to physical damage, this had...messed something up. The connection was broken, but so is my chakra network. It's still looking for that other source to loop through, to feedback through, and when it can't find it, it just bleeds."

She darted her head to and fro. Still alone.

"Noriko can fix it. She fixed my dad's chakra network a long time ago, and I'm pretty sure she can fix mine. But until then, I'm only fighting at fifty percent. Maybe less. Everytime I use ninjutsu, it's like I'm a Genin again, gushing chakra everywhere. Senpu noticed. He's a Hinoshi, and a missing-nin from Suna, and he felt my bleeding chakra. He's a fuuinjutsu master and he taught me a way to stop the chakra bleeding until I get back to see Noriko, which will make us a lot safer in the south, but..."

She swallowed and stared into his clear blue eyes.

"I need to connect my chakra network with another. A feedback loop, just like the one that was established with the mark before. It won't...drain, but there will be some cross-sensory experiences, maybe some emotional transference, and it might share between us...sorry, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Normally I would ask Toya to do this, but the way the seal is formed requires that the two have the same elemental configuration. You're the only one here who matches. I know this is a big deal to ask of you, but I don't see another way. It will only be until we get back to Suna, and there shouldn't be any lasting effects once we disconnect it. I just need to lean on you a bit.

If you don't want to, I'll respect that. But I'll be worried if we run into trouble. You and Kyuuen and Toya are all excellent fighters but...
"

She remembered the pile of bodies on the swampy shore, Supaiku-sensei's cigarette smoke wafting by as he laughed and praised her good work.

"...I have different experiences to draw on."
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:44 am

Moxie's story had come as a complete shock to him, but once she'd explained it, her drained behavior over the past couple of days had finally begun to make sense, though Ryou wasn't too sure if he ought to have been disappointed in himself for not figuring it out sooner.

Maybe it had been his sheer unfamiliarity with seeing her in battle that had prevented him from diagnosing her. Maybe he wouldn't have been able to regardless. His knowledge with seals and the chakra network in general had always been very limited.

Which was why her request had turned out to be a total surprise.

The very notion of linking one's chakra system to another's wasn't something he hadn't heard of, but he'd never bothered to sit down and exert the brainpower needed to try and make sense of the unreal concept. And here Moxie was, asking that forge such an integral bond with him. Not Toya. Not even Kyuuen. Him.

The closest he'd ever come to engaging in such a connection was getting a tattoo on his shoulder to mark himself as a member of a team. This was different. Supernatural, almost frightening.

He opened his mouth without considering the implications. The answer to her daunting request had been obvious from the moment she'd been the one to ask it.

"Hmph, you thought I was going to say no?"

He scoffed, and she stopped talking.

"Truth is...you're right, I don't know much about fuuinjutsu 'cept the very little Kyuuen taught me for medical purposes, but it doesn't matter. I trust you.

No need to say more. You're a remarkable person, Mox. Seen a lot of things...probably more than the rest of us put together. And after today, can't really say I've ever met someone cleverer.
"

Ryou grinned, and set a hand on her shoulder. He shook it gently, trying to encourage her to move past her doubts.

"I'll do it. We need you, no, or at least..." he sighed, "I'll need you. Not going to forget the time you saved me in the prison that easily, so don't sweat it. I'm happy to help."

He gave her a meek laugh. Deep inside however, he couldn't deny the anxiety beginning to truly unfurl in his stomach.

Ryou was sure in his faith in Moxie, and wholeheartedly believed that he owed her this request, but he couldn't help but be aware of the repercussions he was inevitably signing himself up for.

No, it wasn't all bad. If he understood one thing, it was that this seal would be a two way street. She'd have access to his chakra network, and he would feel hers.
The idea of being able to manipulate more raw energy while experimenting with and refining his styles was as exciting as it was incomprehensible.

Yet with such an opportunity, there came the burden. In the midst of this war and the tornado of volatile relationships he'd found himself confronted with these past few weeks, life had become rather taxing on his mental strength as it was. Did he really have what it took to deal with what could quite well be...another whole network of emotions?

His mind lingered to Kyuuen. He still didn't know what she thought of him. He hadn't asked, not in those powerful minutes which had followed Moxie's declaration. He'd thrown his own, brand new headband into the fire, and then he'd wrapped himself around her and buried his nose in her hair. Just to provide the warmth she needed to face her fears for her country. Just until dinner. He hadn't asked any questions.

But he continued to wonder if she still loved him.

He pushed the thought from his mind as soon as it had crossed it. Standing here contemplating whether his affection was still as mutual as it had once been was almost sickening, there were times where he couldn't stand knowing if it was him who had messed up or her. Pretending that everything was all right and waiting for the moment in which she'd tell him the truth had been his default course of action thus far.

That was probably the ultimate reason he was here, almost relying on Moxie. The one thing he wanted above all others right now, was somebody he could understand at mere face value.

In which case, this couldn't possibly be so bad.

"Heh, emotional transfer, hm? Can't hurt. I'll only be able to understand you girls better by the end of it, right?"
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:53 pm

Dainichi paced back and forth in front of the tent. He had lost an inch or two over the last several minutes as the line his footsteps were creating in the sandy floor became deeper and deeper.

There was too much to worry about right now. He had to inform Redcliff of the situation, gather as many supporters as possible, and get them all back here to begin organizing the resistance against the nobility.

Yet the only thing plaguing his mind had nothing to do with any of that.

He could feel Rika’s presence inside, feel the ebbing of her beating heart as it synchronized with his own. He had raised armies with his words and slain giant sand worms with his bare hands, but he felt weak when it came to more…normal matters.

Enough stalling. He was just being stupid now.

Dai shoved the tent flap aside and stepped through, bowing his head low to the ground and speaking before the girl could even react to the sudden intrusion.

Please forgive me for my insensitive selfishness, Rika. Blood exchange is such a second-nature concept to a Jekial like me, and I didn’t realize until afterward how…strange it probably seemed to you.

You put your life into my hands without any knowledge of what you were doing, and I did nothing in return to prove my trustworthiness. I would like to try and repay that now.

I don’t have much in the form of material possession, but I could muster some money if you’d like. I, uhh, guess that my own blood really wouldn’t be of any value to you, so…oh, Westlanders use service a lot as currency! Err, well it would have to wait until after this war is over, but if you need like a bodyguard or extra warriors for your clan or something, I could arrange it.

Anyway, just ask me and it’s yours. Anything within my power. I won’t feel right until I’ve somehow made up for what I took.


Dai slowly raised his head glance at Rika for the first time since entering the tent, waiting expectantly for a request to fulfill.

--

Kyuu-

Toya’s voice cracked and trailed off for a moment. The weak utterance from his dry throat was still enough to stop the girl in her tracks just as she was preparing to enter her tent for the night.

He slowly approached and cleared his throat several times to buy himself a few extra seconds to think.

-en. Kyuuen. Umm, so…I apologize for snapping at you this afternoon. Regardless of our recent…issues, it wasn’t fair of me to take out my frustration on you, especially when you were the one trying to apologize first.

We both probably said a few things we’d rather not have. Maybe it wasn’t fair of you to judge me so harshly, but it also wasn’t fair of me to expect you to know all about me and my circumstances.

I don’t know how much Ryou told you about me and our past, but knowing him, he probably didn’t get too in-depth about a lot of it. So I’m sorry for being so defensive. You were right about some of the things you said, and I was too prideful to admit it so quickly.

Listen, I don’t expect you to suddenly understand everything about me and become my best friend, but the least we can do is save any further conflict for a more peaceful time.

Not just for my sake or yours, but for Ryou and Moriko. And for the future of this nation we’re fighting to build. So not exactly a perfect truce, but more of a…cease-fire.


Toya slowly extended his right hand, offering it to Kyuuen if she was willing. Even the most minimal types of physical contact were usually saved for those closest to him, but maybe they would have that sort of trusting relationship in the future.

He was obliged to at least try, right?

Deal?
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