In darkness and silence she did she move, using shadow as cover, and chakra to lighten her step, the sounds of the sea and harbor drowning out the rest. There were no Shinobi in this place, which made things somewhat easier for her, but that was not to say that soldiers here didn’t have their own abilities and powers, they were just very different.
This city itself was unlike any she had seen before, and she had seen many, from the Bustling capitol of Fire country, to the industrial Amegakure, to the sand built Sunagakure to the slums of the northern territories. But this one... In some ways it reminded her of Nagata, the entirety of it seemed to be made of stone and mortar, but unlike Nagata steel also dominated its towers and balconies, and the architecture was alien, she wasn’t sure quite how to describe it, but it did have a particular beauty to it. Under different circumstances she might have liked to visit this place and its sights, but on this night, she was here for a different purpose...
It had been a long trek over here, over 2 months at sea without seeing so much as an inch of land. For a time she had even been unsure whether they were heading in the right direction, but once they did find land, it didn’t take long to come across a first settlement, and there the unmistakable crimson banner with a golden menacing griffon at its center stood out like a beacon, they had come to the right place, these were the lands from which the raiding fleet had come.
7 fire country villages had burned under that banner, half a dozen ships, each carrying several dozens of soldiers in turn, had sailed into Fire countries waters, attacking, pillaging and raiding every settlement they came across, leaving behind few survivors. By the time Fire country amassed its own forces and sailed to meet them, the raiding force had vanished, sailed back into the vastness of the sea. But those fortunate few that did survive described vividly the blood red banner flown by the ships of their attackers, and spoke of it with fear.
The Banner was not unknown to Fire country, not entirely, research in ancient archives revealed knowledge of a nation or power from a distant continent having made a similar foray into Fire country and neighboring nations’ waters a few centuries past, the records described intelligence gathered from captured crew and ships, as well as of a great effort to ensure that no single crimson bannered ship would ever make it back home to report anything.
If history was repeating itself, if these raiders had come after all this time for a second look, than this was a test of fire country’s military strength, of it’s defensive capabilities, and this worried them. If these attacks were a simple scouting mission to determine the military might of Fire country as they suspected, a mere prelude to a far larger force, then fire country could not dare let such an attack go without a response, a show of force of their own, especially considering how little resistance they had managed to demonstrate against the raids themselves.
In the short few years since the crumbling of Konoha much effort had been made to establish and strengthen a conventional military force, but it would still be many years before that military force could truly hope to make up for the strength lost by the fall of the Hidden leaf, and though Fire country still had the loyalty of most of the old Shinobi clans, those being scattered and divided made for a far less effective force than existed under Konoha. The lords of Fire country feared with good reason that under such circumstances, resisting and defending against an all out invasion, or even simply conducting an effective war would not only be difficult, but near impossible to win.
Fire countries allies were for the most part in no better shape, all seemed to be facing their own turmoil. It was doubtful that any could provide much assistance, even if they were inclined to, that was assuming they weren’t targeted as well.
These raids quite simply, could not have come at a worse time. Something had to be done to dissuade this distant enemy from engaging in any action yet, something drastic...