Life Begin Again (OPEN)

[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: Life Begin Again (OPEN)

PostPosted by Mephilis » Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:46 pm

Allowing his tired expression to fall for a moment, into one of contemplation and woe, Kumoro took a second to consider his options. Realistically, he didn't really need a break; he could likely go on through the desert for longer than the two he was traveling with... but, at the same time, it would go along a little better with his act if he did take the break. Not that he particularly wanted to. And, besides that, he'd be asking Kou to waste her time and energy looking for food, and exhausting even more of Teruo's patience - which was both fun to do and a bit taxing on the nerves.

So the check point is due East roughly 30 miles... And they have until sundown to reach their destination? Why are they on such a strict time limit, and just what was their mission? Regardless, I've had business with the Rangers for some time, and it's best I quit putting it off. If these two will lead me straight to one of the Rangers checkpoints, I'd behoove me not to slow down or impede them. At lest not yet.

Racing through his own thoughts, Kumoro straightened up and looked Kou in the eyes for a moment. "Thanks for the offer, but I should be alright for a while. Let's just keep moving, I don't want to hold you guys up at all." He offered a smile before looking over to Teruo, "30 miles due East, huh? Then let's be off. We can easily make it by sundown if there aren't any interruptions." Kumoro attempted to appeal to the boys sense of pride in his mission. Clearly, for whatever personal reasons, Tear wasn't warming up to Kumoro at all - not that it mattered much to him. But it was best to at least try to still the waters between them, otherwise the 30 mile journey across the hot desert was going to seem like something more near 100 miles.

"Well," He started again to the both of his new peers, "lead the way."

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"Do not ask any questions. Don't tell me anything. You have no rights. The only thing you do have is the rope holding the blade of the guillotine, safely suspended above the necks of your friends. Make no mistake, woman. This is not a negotiation, it's an order."

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Re: Life Begin Again (OPEN)

PostPosted by kaidan K » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:49 am

"Well, alright then. If you're sure you're okay to keep going," said Kou in reply, sounding almost a little disappointed. The sudden change in mood was quite strange. Kou was nice enough to let it slide, while Teruo of course was quite frustrated with Kumoro now. The guy was up to something, he could "tell" now. Nothing came to mind as to what exact reason the other kid would have to mess with their heads. All Teruo really cared about was getting rid of the guy as soon as possible. Maybe if he put in a bad word with the supervisor waiting at the checkpoint, Kumoro could be detained and then the headache would be gone? Then again, Kou would certainly put a stop to any underhanded attempt like that. Still. It had to happen some how, or so Teruo thought...


The desert heat could easily cause mirages for those not duly prepared for the harsh environment. Teruo remembered his first heat mirage, back before he and Kou became brother and sister. It was on the wagon cart that carried them both to civilization from the place they were abandoned. The mirage was that of a woman in white, holding a star in her hand, and a lightning bolt in the other. Clouds like he had never seen before surrounded the woman, and below her a far off forest could be seen with may people... shooting rays of light from their hands towards the heavens and passed the woman in white... the light then exploded the clouds and brought a clear, black sky dotted with dazzling bright stars...


...He almost wished he could see that mirage again now. Just to take the edge off on his nerves. Put himself at ease. Try and forget how annoyed and spiteful he was towards Kumoro. The longer they spent out in the open air, no less than 98 degrees, the more Teruo had mind to just take off on his own pace towards the checkpoint. They'd make it yet at this pace, but the feelings against the new comrade were strong. There wasn't much that could be done about it. Apology wasn't usually enough for Tear to look at someone differently after being wronged, or even just put back in his place.

Kou kept her bow out since she first gripped it, just she hung it on her shoulder. Every now and then, she would look back towards where they came from. The look was because both, she felt guilty for leaving those bodies behind in that dank well, and she wanted to stay there a little longer to try and see if she could remember what her real mother looked like. Kou could remember seeing someone in her dreams, and once in a mirage that had dark skin like hers. Just the things the woman did were... not something Kou would think her mother would be capable of doing. Whoever the woman was, the girl wished with all her heart that her mother was never been a thief and murderer like the dream woman...

After about an hour or so, Teruo grasped his canteen and took a careful and sullen sip of water. He really wanted to dump it all away at the thought of drinking what that guy provided, not to mention the actual flavor of the water. Nothing else would be able to help keep his mouth from getting dry, though. So it was an infuriating necessity for now.

Kou tried to converse with Kumoro every now and then. A side comment about the weather, or the way the wind pushed ever so slightly on the dunes they passed and created patterns with the falling loose grains of sand. They were actually starting to come to where the remnants of the road they were on were more intact and looked newer. Another mile marker could be seen just up ahead. There were very curious scrawled engravings on this one, too. Teruo hadn't been giving them any mind as he passed, yet Kou couldn't help but wonder who made these foreign markings on all the mile stones they passed, and why.
People talk about combining the Way of Learning with the Way of the Samurai,
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but when properly combined, they aren't two-they're one.
Only one Way, Takezo.

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Re: Life Begin Again (OPEN)

PostPosted by Mephilis » Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:43 am

Each passing step was made with careful thought - slick planning. It was likely now that Kumoro had managed to get inside both of his new comrades' heads. Kou, the female of the trio, was an interesting turn. She was kind from the start, level headed, and willing to help out a seemingly innocent soul; qualities not found very often anymore. Especially not in such a traitorous shinobi world. Teruo though, he was the fun one. His anger and frustration was so evident, steam practically emanated from his body - or perhaps that was just the haze created from the desert heat? His tension was visible, and Kumoro pretended to be oblivious to it all. The school-boy routine worked almost all the time because, well.. he looked like just that. And people ordinarily just didn't know how to question it.

Not that it mattered thought. The game he played was a cruel one; one that most people never expect. Harmless, for the most part, just emotionally sickening. Just down right wrong, but he loved it. His tactics were simple enough, and he was intelligent enough to know exactly what to say and how to act. He was extremely charismatic and had an IQ score that was off the charts. A drama expert and a lover of philosophy and psychology, he was - essentially - the perfect ninja. Well, in a certain sense at least. His small wire-like frame made him quick and agile, but he simply didn't possess very much skill in physical arts. However, what he lacked physically, he more than made up for mentally.

The intelligence division had been scouting him since he first joined the academy. From the very beginning he showed great potential and promise, but it was simply too early to place any bets on him. After he graduated and became a Genin he'd been approached for the first time. Only once. The man spoke to him and detailed select secret information that the division deemed innocent enough to tell him. It was just a decoy - and he knew it. They gave him scraps of information to see how he'd put the pieces together, and what he'd do thereafter. Too bad even they didn't guess what would happen...

Just before he could turn the little game back on them, it started... The Civil war in Suna. A few days in and Kumoro game to a few other theories as well. Perhaps they gave him the information knowing that the war was coming. Maybe he did everything they wanted him to and he passed their little test. And there were other ideas, but he still didn't know for sure. Ever since the war ended, he's been waiting to be contacted again... But they've yet to show.

Tsk... Idiots.

Kou spoke to Kumoro briefly every now and then, mentioning something, anything, random probably just for the sake of breaking the stale tension. The true reasoning behind it didn't matter. And, of course, Kumoro played his part, indulging in the conversations as they sprung up; but he was also doing something else. He was waiting, watching, timing, calculating all the variables in the equation he'd set up in his mind.

Kou.. Teruo.. Kumoro.. The heat, the sand, the mile markers, the time span between conversations, the time span beween Kou looking back, when/if Teruo ever looked back. All the variables were constant, nothing changed very drastically and the world was as it always was: Predictable.

Devilishly smirking within his own mind, Kumoro counted down. shi...go...san...nii... Kou had just looked back and started another conversation, and, according to his calculations it should be ending and she should return looking straight right at the end of his countdown. Ichi... He offered the girl one last smile and sure enough, she turned around again.

Perfect.

Slowly, his hands slipped free from his pockets and slowly, silently, and discretely, wove a string of hand signs of moderate length. He had approximately three to five minutes before another conversation was likely to start, but only forty-five seconds before Teruo was likely to turn around again. It was plenty of time, so he didn't rush.
Once completed, he separated his hands and aimed forward with his right - which extended, and used the index finger to single out an object. "Hey, there's another one of those mile markers! But... Is that something weird next to it, or am I imagining things?" Kumoro sped up his pace just a few steps to get more into view of Kou and Teruo, who he hoped would trace his hand/finger and try to look at where he was pointing. Well... they had to follow his finger anyway if they were interested in seeing what he saw...

"Do you guys see that, or is the heat starting to get to me?" He beckoned once more, crying out for conformation on his sanity.

Spoiler:
Shi, go, san, ni, ichi - Counting down from five in Japanese. Just a little note, in case you were unaware.

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"Do not ask any questions. Don't tell me anything. You have no rights. The only thing you do have is the rope holding the blade of the guillotine, safely suspended above the necks of your friends. Make no mistake, woman. This is not a negotiation, it's an order."

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Re: Life Begin Again (OPEN)

PostPosted by kaidan K » Sun Mar 11, 2012 2:48 pm

While Kou instantly gave a side glance with one eye toward Kumoro's hand, and then to where he pointed, Teruo wasn't swayed. Not like he had any idea of the exact funny business the stranger was up to, of course. The proud boy Teruo was just finally too fed up with Kumoro to even bother with him anymore.
"Trying to distract us again. Why don't you just shove off already!?" the boy shouted without fully turning his head around towards the other. The words came to Kou's ears before she could try to better focus on whatever it was Kumoro was talking about.
"Way to show your gratitude to someone who helped to keep you from getting thirsty for the next few hours!" Her chiding was enough to send Teruo back into a rage fit, and he then picked up his heels at a dash towards their destination, now leaving his sister alone with Kumoro. Kou stopped, looking at her foster brother leaving a dust trail with a forlorn look of frustration. Her gaze remained on him though, even as Kumoro caught up.
People talk about combining the Way of Learning with the Way of the Samurai,
Image
but when properly combined, they aren't two-they're one.
Only one Way, Takezo.

~Takuan Sōhō, Musashi
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Re: Life Begin Again (OPEN)

PostPosted by Mephilis » Wed Mar 14, 2012 12:10 pm

Perfect.

Teruo was just as predictable as Kumoro imagined. The emotionally compromised Teruo took off after confronting Kumoro and accusing him of attempting to slow the group down. Kumoro smirked darkly in his mind, but maintained an almost upset. "No, but I really-" His sentence was cut short as the sand beneath him began to swirl violently, forming a small sand whirlpool beneath his feet and dragging him underneath the hot desert sands in less than three seconds. Kou would be too slow to aid him, and Teruo was already making his way off without the two; so now they'd be left to fend for themselves...

As Teruo took off - before he was out of sight - thirteen more of these sand whirlpools appears; shifting and swirling ominously all around Kou. They began forming from about 15 yards out from her position, and as they increased in number, they grew closer and closer to her as well. Within seconds, their was 25 of this whirlpools surrounding Kou at all cardinal directions. Sure, she could attempt to slowly navigate her way through them, but at great risk of being caught up in one herself. Her best bet now was to call for Teruo and hope he could help her.

At 30 seconds following his disappearance, Kumoro's hand broke through the surface of the sand about 20 yards out, now in between Kou and Teruo. Free from hand to elbow, Kumoro struggled, bending his arm and using all the strength he had to attempt to crawl free. His fingers met the hot desert, etching at the ground and clenching tightly at the dirt - searching, pleading, for something mounted to grab onto. Alas to no avail. A lump in the sand appeared and rose upwards about a foot or more. The sand cascaded down beautifully around this lump, revealing Kumoro's face as the rest of his body remained buried and captured by the desert itself. With one free hand, he frantically waved, reaching helplessly for anything near him; the sand to loose to get a grip. He looked...terrified. His jaw stretched out, nice and wide, as he let out a horrified bellow. "Oh, god! HELP!! I can't get out, I'm trapped! There's this-" His voice vanished for a moment, just before his arm shot up perfectly towards the sky, fingers and all were erect. His face grew even more fearful. "OH MY GOD. SOMEONE HELP ME!!" And with that, he was again, dragged down under the sand. First his head disappeared, then one could see as his arm, hand, and fingers, slowly sank below.

Suddenly, in the distance, several of the small whirlpools grew larger, joining to make fewer larger whirlpools. Then they all began to do so. By the time they finished, which only took a few moments, there were ten huge whirlpools swirling about around Kou. They were each about 10 meters in diameter and ensured she was completely trapped from all sides. Her own piece of stable land was only about 10 yards long by fifteen yards wide.

Image
"Do not ask any questions. Don't tell me anything. You have no rights. The only thing you do have is the rope holding the blade of the guillotine, safely suspended above the necks of your friends. Make no mistake, woman. This is not a negotiation, it's an order."

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