Coast Ghosts

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Oddric
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Coast Ghosts

Post by Oddric » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:31 am

"No, no, look!" Ayatsuri knelt down by the side of the rustic caravan, she pointed at one of the wheels. "It's getting rusty! And the axle, I bet it's cracked!"

"What? And how can you tell?" The older man stood over her, hands on his hips and a frustrated look on his face.

"How can you not tell?" She lowered her eyebrows.

"Because I've had this for years! I think I would know when something's wrong!" He shouted.

"It's my job to be perceptive! I build and fix things! I'm telling you, the axle is busted!"

"By the Gods." He sighed, shaking his head. The man looked past the caravan and to the rest of the Hidden Coral Village. It was a smaller village than Sunagakure, but it was not tiny. It was built right next to the coast, the water was visible from any part of the village. And true to its name, coral grew along the coast for a kilometer and a bit into the ocean. No one seemed to know if the founder of the village built it along the coral, or if the coral grew after the village had been settled. The latter was the tale that was often told to children. It was far more elegant.

Ayatsuri looked underneath the wagon, hand on the axle. "Look, just give me a few minutes, some money, and I think I can--"

"No! I'm not paying you!"

Poking her head back out, she look up at the man. "What? Then why are we talking about this?"

"You're the one who stopped me and insisted to look my wagon!" He screamed, hands in the air.

"Oh. I thought we were on the same page." She put a hand on the wooden cart and pulled herself up, putting her other hand into the pocket of her purple frock coat. "Maybe we could work something else out? I could use some supplies for my puppets."

"Oh, just go! I have fish to pick up." The man sighed, waving his hand to shoo the girl away.

Ayatsuri rolled her eyes. "Geez. Alright. Don't come crying to me when you break down and all your fish go rotten." She pushed off the caravan, eyes settling on the coast as the man mumbled on about something else.

The woman's eyes squinted, her head tilted. There was something on the water. "What is that...?" She whispered.
NameRankVillageNinjutsuTaijutsuGenjutsuStaminaControlStrengthSpeedWitKashou AkidoGeninKumogakure52233333Kiji IssuiGeninIwagakure25423323Kokuei NaraChuuninKonohagakure75256456Ayatsuri GuujinChuuninSunagakure74456446



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Coast Ghosts

Post by Suzuri » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:04 am

To sink in the waves felt as if she could finally breathe again. She kicked the water, shooting through schools of fish that exploded like brilliant fireworks around her, laughing without a voice until she went back for air. Finally she felt comfortable in her skin again, after weeks of being abused by the desert wind, sand-buried cacti and, in particular, the sun. It had given Suzuri an evident farmer’s tan, made even more obvious by her stripping down to her underwear, with pale blotches where the dried, dark skin had already peeled in strips. In her opinion, the Wind Country would have greatly benefited by exchanging their sun-god with a god from the mists of the Water Country: both deities would exercise their powers where they were most needed. It was pity that people too often mistook common sense for heresy.

It’s not that the reef was any safer than the desert. Between coral species that rasped the flesh of your bones, mantis shrimps that could break your fingers with a single kick, and half of the beings there being poisonous, a diver would be pressed for alertness at all times. But despite all this, Suzuri felt in her element. Now that she’d cooled down, she could even focus on getting herself a proper meal. Taking a deep breath, she sunk through the branches of the corals, all the way down until her fingertips touched the sandy bottom. One wouldn’t starve in the desert if they knew where to look, but jackrabbit could only be cooked so many ways.

Grilled jackrabbit. Boiled. Skewered with locusts and honeypot ants. Jackrabbit jerky with cactus salad, marinated jackrabbit, jackrabbit pemmican with dried berries, jackrabbit pemmican stew. Jackrabbit ears cooked over the campfire (the best, with all the crunchy bits!). Suzuri had started batting an eyelash every time she saw one of the furry critters leap across her path. Once, a whole herd of antelopes galloped past her, as if the bastards knew that Suzuri wouldn’t hunt more than she could carry. The oases were slightly richer, but the people seemed to treat every outsider as an unproven thief. Water-waster, that was the name. Suzuri couldn’t really blame them. At least she had managed to improve quite a bit on her light-play by painting sunrises and sundowns reflecting in the lakes. Or the trickle of a stream through the desert, soon lost in steam. It was a tough, but beautiful world.

Still, Suzuri was glad to get jackrabbit off the menu.

Above her, on the surface, oscillated a makeshift lidded basket, poorly woven out of driftwood and rope. Every time she caught something, the girl would shove in there, clung to the basket until her breathing quieted down, then returned to the crystal depths. Sea urchins, a lobster, seaweed – enough for a good meal, Suzuri realized, and started carrying her capture to the shore. Perhaps later she would gather enough to sell, but people were generally hostile of outsiders exploiting their environment. Still, there were several things she needed, like white oil-based pigment, which one couldn’t easily get from nature.

She collapsed on the shore, waves trickling besides her knees, basket in hand. Only now did she perceive the itch of the coral-scratches, only now did she taste the blood trickling from her eyebrow. Her improvised swimsuit, modest and black, was covered by a single piece of ragged cloth tied around her hips. The outfit revealed very well that Suzuri Rinrin had about as many curves as a cube. She gasped for breath, a happy grin clinging to her lips.

Light, water, food. The vital pleasures of life.
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Coast Ghosts

Post by Oddric » Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:46 pm

The sound of Ayatsuri's footwear changed as she transitioned from the paved streets of the village to the sand that lead out to the coast. It was a fairly short distance to the water, a few hundred meters. For Ayatsuri, she wished it was a bit shorter. Running in the shadeless sunlight was not pleasant.

Sand kicked up behind her as she raced toward the sparkling ocean. Her frock whipped wildly as the wind rolled across the coast and slapped against her; she wished she had taken the time to button it up before starting her sprint. "Get away, get away!" Ayatsuri shouted as she neared the water. There was someone else who had taken an interest in the ocean, but it seemed to just be her. Did she also notice what was out on the water? "What the hell are you doing?!" She cried out.

Strands of hair fell in front of her golden eyes as she came to a stop, standing over the girl who had clearly spent a bit too much time in the sun, judging by her paler patches of skin. "Did you... get in a fight with some coral?" Ayatsuri's brow raised as she looked the blood and minor scratches on the girl's body. "Whatever, whatever, it doesn't matter, you need to leave!" She shook her head, fingers touching her temples as she got herself back on track. "You were so busy... collecting your sea goods, looking down, that you didn't notice what was out there, did you?" Ayatsuri waved her hand over the girl's basket as she spoke.

"Come on, get up, look, look out there!" Ayatsuri motioned the girl to get up, taking a step back so she could stand side-by-side with her. "There." Hand on her sandy shoulder, the light haired woman pointed out to the ocean. "You see it now, don't you?" There was an object. More accurately, a ship. With a large sail. It wasn't a tiny thing either, it looked big. Big enough for a lot of people. Big enough for a pillaging. "Pirates. They aren't slowing down, either. They're coming here. To this village. And I don't think they are looking to trade or pick coral."
NameRankVillageNinjutsuTaijutsuGenjutsuStaminaControlStrengthSpeedWitKashou AkidoGeninKumogakure52233333Kiji IssuiGeninIwagakure25423323Kokuei NaraChuuninKonohagakure75256456Ayatsuri GuujinChuuninSunagakure74456446



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Coast Ghosts

Post by Suzuri » Mon Sep 28, 2015 1:37 am

Her soles hit dry sand before her mind could untangle the meaning of the panicked call. Sometimes, clumsy fishermen would throw pufferfish accidentally caught in their nets in areas soon swallowed by the growing tide. Step on an agonizing pufferfish, and it became heavy to breathe, your body became light, you lied down to rest and drowned in a palm of water. But, in the end, now it wasn’t about that. Suzuri gestured tiredly, holding out her hand in a vain attempt to slow down the torrent of words. With one foot, she kept her food basket close, at the water edge. She was swept along by the amber-eyed girl’s exuberance, only managing to nod, shake her head, and spin on her heels to watch the target of her index finger. The wind brushed warmly against her hair, spiky with salt.

“Thunderstorms.” She whistled sharply, in surprise, like a seagull. It was difficult to estimate sizes on the open sea, but that ship was BIG. Without a moment’s rest, Suzuri’s body fell forward, motionlessly, nearly hitting the ground before she slammed a heel into the sand and pushed herself into a powerful sprint. A Perfect Start had a sharp, aerodynamic angle. She wasn’t running away. While her destination lay away from the shore, it was also imperceptibly closer to the far-away ship. She shouted, without turning her head:

“Are you sure that it is a pirate ship? Have the villagers been warned?” Her airy accent would betray her as a foreigner if her skin wouldn’t.

She slid feet-first to a stop into a cloud of sand. From under a large rock, Suzuri dug out her backpack and evening-blue clothes. Lunch would have to wait. Her eyes remained stuck on the faraway spot while the girl fought with pulling an arm through a hakama leg.

Despite its size, the ship cut the waves as lightly as a seagull feather. Its hull was oddly pale, reminding Suzuri of the sugar-maple and witch-wood decks of The Paper Boat, which she’d known for as long as she could crawl. Her heart tightened. If her mother was on board, her vibrant voice booming to cut down those that stood in their way, if her father silently stood at the wheel, directing one of the most feared pirate vessels on the seven seas towards this village, then what should she do? On whose side was Suzuri on? She felt adrift. Thump, thump, her heart sent electrical shocks through her body, as if she kept a swirling blue storm in her chest. The arrangement of the masts, the shape of the rigging felt off in the details, but a ship can change much in seven years. Thump. It wasn’t her mother’s style to rule from above mountains of corpses. The one time she’d attacked the coast, the victims didn’t realize it until her gold-ringed fingers were deep in their pockets. But people can change much in seven years. With clenched fingers, Suzuri focused of dressing herself up.

“It’s strange.” She spoke, finally tying her lasso around her waist. The other girl had seemed fairly observant, and was potentially competent. Hopefully not competent enough to arrest Suzuri as a potential pirate spy. “It’s called the Hidden Coral Village because the reef makes it difficult to approach even at high tide, isn’t it? Even if they have a Wavemaster…For a ship that large, their speed and straight trajectory are unnatural!” No one who loved their ship would risk ramming it straight through a coral labyrinth. No sane pirate would risk being stranded at low tide with a horde of angry villagers.
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Coast Ghosts

Post by Oddric » Mon Sep 28, 2015 5:28 pm

"I mean, I guess I don't know for sure." Ayatsuri shrugged, removing her hand from the girl's shoulder. The way the sandy girl was acting, it seemed like she too believed it was a pirate ship. "It sure does seem like it though, doesn't it? Maybe it's just a... friendly supply ship." Dripping with sarcasm, Ayatsuri waggled her fingers in the air.

Hand on her hip, Ayatsuri's light hair bounced as she looked back to the village. "I had to get a closer look. The villagers would have been awfully upset if I told them to ready themselves for a raid if there wasn't any real threat." The ship growing closer was certainly good evidence. There didn't appear to be anything else that it could be.

The detective hadn't ever dealt with pirates before. She knew enough about them, raiders and thieves that traveled the coasts of the shinobi continent. Intersecting other ships, attacking towns on islands and those that were brave enough to settle along the coast. It was a dangerous and cruel way to live, but Ayatsuri imagined it was quite thrilling. However, being on the receiving end of pirates made the whole thing seem a lot less exciting.

Ayatsuri raised an eyebrow, looking to the girl who was now in more proper clothing. That was a great point she made. Very intuitive of her. Wavemaster. "You're absolutely right. The coral rises high and runs for several kilometers across the coast. The hull wouldn't survive its impact with the reef." She looked to the ocean. "And it isn't slowing down." Ayatsuri raised her hand, spreading her fingers. "The wind is whipping a bit harder than it was a minute ago. Someone on that vessel is creating a lot of wind to push the ship forward." They were bound to crash right into the coral reef. They must know. Or, were they simply about to make a grave mistake?

The detective looked back to the girl, looking over her briefly. "What else?" Ayatsuri said, raising her chin to the girl. "C'mon. Tell me what those pirates are thinking. They are on a fast set course for the shore. They intend on parking that big thing right here." Ayatsuri pointed her finger to the sand beneath them. "They obviously have someone on the ship to speed it up with artificial wind, how are they gonna make it past the coral? They won't make it closer than a kilometer away, at best, without some way to get past the coral. We need to know what they're going to do." Ayatsuri's eyes were wide, staring at the girl. "How are they going to do it? I have no idea, I can't think like a seasoned ocean rogue. Words like wavemaster, and concepts like approaching a shore at high tide versus low ride mean very little to me. You think like a pirate. So tell me how they're gonna do it." Hands grasping the girl's arms, Ayatsuri kept eyes locked with hers.
NameRankVillageNinjutsuTaijutsuGenjutsuStaminaControlStrengthSpeedWitKashou AkidoGeninKumogakure52233333Kiji IssuiGeninIwagakure25423323Kokuei NaraChuuninKonohagakure75256456Ayatsuri GuujinChuuninSunagakure74456446



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Coast Ghosts

Post by Suzuri » Wed Sep 30, 2015 8:28 am

The other girl was right. The wind was picking up, rising from a gentle breeze to gusts that rummaged the sand and spun it into small whirlwinds. Suzuri’s hair whipped the air like sticky strands of pitch. On the ship, the force of the wind must’ve been far greater. She could almost hear the groan of the masts and the creaks of the sails pushed to their limits. Under the other’s grasp, her arms tensed, as if trying to hold on to an imaginary railing.

“That’s a Windmaster’s work!” She exclaimed, in a blend of breathless shock and having to talk over the wind. “There might be five people across the known sea that can accomplish this! And they don’t like to show off for no reason.” To a seasoned ninja, the scene might’ve looked stunningly unimpressive. Whether any third-rate shinobi could shish-kebab their enemies with blades of fuuton, even the strongest Wind- and Wave-masters, as well as the lone Stormbringer, were far more subtle during the seldom times that they emerged from legends. Many a Missing-nin had mocked their powers, until they realized too late that what their pirate crew needed wasn’t that super-strong jutsu that would rip the sails and capsize the ship, but someone who could focus on bringing tail wind for hours and even days on end. Besides, subtlety avoided the attention of the Hidden Villages. Her voice lowered to a bitter sadness. “Ninjas tend to argue copyright with sharp objects.” Ironically, shinobi often hunted down those that used their powers for anything other than killing. A shiver ran through Suzuri’s body. She realized her faux pas, and hurried to correct it. “Or so the stories say.”

She had revealed too much. One day her loose mouth would have her strapped to an interrogation chair, howling. But hopefully, today she could be away before suspicion grew in the other’s mind. She stole a glimpse at her face. The taller girl wasn’t from round there – even the most stuck-up coastal noble would know something of tides. Her gaze fell down to her high heels and frock coat. Thankfully, with that impractical thing fluttering around, it was highly unlikely that she was a ninja. Trying to cover her uneasiness, Suzuri continued:

“Still, how many Windmasters could fly a ship over a reef? You could count them on the fingers of a head.”

She gnawed on her lower lip. Her eyes shut tight in the effort to bring light into this matter.

“What if we’re starting from the wrong assumptions? What if they are not pirates, what if they don’t know of the reef?” She started with difficulty, and then her words just poured on. “Maybe they have an emergency. We have to warn them!” She tore herself free, running to the shore.

“OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI!”
Suzuri shouted, making wide, repetitive gestures with her hands. A seafarer could distinguish the symbols for ‘underwater danger’. “OOOOOOOOOI!” It was hopeless. They were too far away to see her, and the wind was beating the wrong way. Her arms flailed weakly. Her shoulders slumped.

Something cold wiggled on her feet. She looked down. It was a fish. Another gasped for air nearby, desperately revealing its blood red gills. Under her moccasins, there wasn’t any sand. It was silt. Glistening drops of seawater trickled off a green alga nearby. Her eyes widened in fear. She had seen this before, but from the opposite perspective. Just as fast as she came, the girl raced back uphill.

“Run run run!” Suzuri gasped, tugging the stranger by the wrist. The constant running was starting to take its toll. Around them the howling winds brought the beach to life, with sand rolling around and brushing against their heels like a horde of orange cats. “The water…retreating!” It took all the strength that she wasn’t investing in her legs to speak on. “The wind is to build momentum! Their Wavemaster is gonna snowball a wave!” The vertical spin of a wave would be increased, forcing other currents to wrap around it. The wave would swell with surrounding water, drawn from all the way to the shore. With enough speed, one could just about ride it across the barrier.

Suzuri pressed a hand on her abdomen, trying to stifle the sharp pain. She was running out of energy. Her mind turned back to her lost lunch, and she stumbled on the deceptive terrain. Only a bit higher...The villagers might not even notice the localized splash, but that was no consolation if you got swept away by it. Her voice went on, jerkily.

“It’s not normal. To drag a large ship. Ashore. Hard to. Put it back. In water. My guess. They feel safe, or confident. In their strength. Or desperate enough.” The girl took a deep, hissing breath. “Sadly, this flashy entrance diminishes the chances for ‘aiding local communities’. Contraband. I mean.” That would have been the only straightforward safe choice. She risked a look back.

There was one single white ship with a Windmaster on boat that Suzuri was aware of. That didn’t make it anyway easier.
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Coast Ghosts

Post by Oddric » Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:33 pm

"Run?" Ayatsuri tilted her head, looking back to where the younger girl once stood. The detective started to piece together what had spooked her as she grabbed Ayatsuri's wrist and dragged her off. If she was saying to run, Ayatsuri was certainly going to listen. This girl knew more about the situation than Ayatsuri did.

"Yes! I see that!" The puppeteer took a look back to the water. Things at the coast at certainly taken a drastic turn. "They can really do that, then? Just hop over the coral?" Ayatsuri shouted back to the girl, still taking the lead away from the water. Ayatsuri had plenty of experience with running and shouting, she wasn't quick to be out of breath.

A chuckle came from Ayatsuri. "Yes! I don't suppose they're either a friendly ship or a supply ship!" The woman laughed again, realizing the pirate ship could have very well been a friendly supply ship. Supplier of stolen goods, of course. For a price.

Ayatsuri clutched the wrist of the knowledgeable girl, locking the two together. Ayatsuri stopped running, making sure that the girl would also come to a stop. "This seems far enough, just not to be hit by the ship, don't you think? I doubt they'd make their exit too much harder than it had to be by coming more than a couple dozen meters inland." She commented, still holding onto the girl. Ayatsuri had a fear she might have kept running until she never had to see the ship again. She knew way more than she was letting on. Or at least, Ayatsuri thought so.

"To be honest, I'm... not totally sure how to handle this situation." She bit her lower lip, watching the ship grow ever nearer. The water looked like it was starting to swell. "I want to go warn the villagers, but by the time we've been able to do so, these pirates will be knocking on their doorsteps. There isn't a whole lot of time, is there?" Ayatsuri kept her eyes to the rising chaotic sea. "I don't think we can do much in the way of making these vagabonds turn back around. Whether it be fighting or just our words. By the looks of things, they are dead set on getting here." Using her free hand, Ayatsuri brushed the hair from her eyes. "I'm a detective and chuunin of Suna. I feel the need to stay here and protect this village from harm. And, I think I would best be able to do that with you by my side. You know more about how these pirates operate than anyone in the Hidden Coral Village. I bet you know a lot more about them than just some seafaring strategies, too." She looked to the girl now, raising her brow. "If I let go of your arm, will you promise not to leave me and this village to the mercy of these rogues?" Ayatsuri had the proper woodwork and chakra threading techniques to fashion a decent set of long distance handcuffs. It wouldn't be the first time she had to chain herself to someone.

As the girl had predicted, the crew aboard the ship fully intended to surf their way over the reef. A massive rising wave started directly in front of the ship. It grew taller and wider, the ship moving fast enough to stay balanced and straight and afloat as the wave continued to carry it forward. The wave, while very large, was clearly controlled by a shinobi, or a pirate rather, as it remained stable and remained at a consistent height above the surface of the ocean. The wave began to fall as the ship approached coastline, steadily falling before leaving just enough of a hump of water to guide the ship onto the sand. It traveled a bit away from the rest of the ocean, the controlled water slipping out from underneath it as it slid a few meters along the sand, partially burying itself in it as it came to a halt.

"Well, I guess we're not going to warn the villagers." Ayatsuri muttered, an impressed look on her face. "Be honest with me, now." She said. "Can you talk to these guys? I mean, would you know any of them? Could you turn them back around?"
NameRankVillageNinjutsuTaijutsuGenjutsuStaminaControlStrengthSpeedWitKashou AkidoGeninKumogakure52233333Kiji IssuiGeninIwagakure25423323Kokuei NaraChuuninKonohagakure75256456Ayatsuri GuujinChuuninSunagakure74456446



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Coast Ghosts

Post by Suzuri » Mon Oct 05, 2015 2:09 pm

She felt transparent. Vulnerable. The ninja’s words whirred in a blur past her ears, and Suzuri could barely hear anything, anything except their suspicion. It trickled down coldly on her skin, growing into feathery ice flowers along her arms. The hand around her wrist could as well have been a handcuff on a death-sentenced convict. Her heartbeats raced to overtake one another. Ninjas owed nothing to anyone outside their villages. Not even life. And no one owed a vagabond like her anything.

When people make an art out of subtly making others disappear, paranoia becomes a survival strategy.

There could’ve been a warning. Suzuri could’ve tugged on her arm, trying to free herself, and have been inevitably subdued. But the admission of the other being a ninja had frozen her still. Ninjas without visible weapons were probably the most fearsome. Their magic would only accidentally accomplish actually useful things like growing crops and sailing, but, oh, there were things they could do frighteningly well.

Kill.

Torture.

Break.

Suzuri’s shoulders slumped. Her chin fell down. Her lips parted to let out an inaudible sigh that seemed to carry her fighting spirit with it.

Out of a sudden, she raised her forehead and head-butted her ninja guardian in the chin, while her hands shot to push her away.

“Leave me!” She exclaimed in a coarse whisper. “I…I want to help those people. But you have to let go of me. And if I…” She breathed deeply, and her tone became metal. “– hypothetically – strike a peace deal, then you’d goddamn better not feel all clever and break it afterwards just because you can.” She’d seen too much to make illusions. The politically correct behavior after convincing pirates into not attacking was to surprise-wipe that scum off the face of the earth.

Suzuri was terrible with people. Otherwise she would have realized that her violent reaction could hardly be beaten in terms of shooting suspicions through the roof. But paranoia isn’t lucid.

She squinted at the white ship, but the wet sand had splashed on the wooden planks carrying the name, like brown sugar on a marzipan cake. An elegant calligraphy could just about be guessed underneath. Ropes as thick as her arms were thrown overboard, the huge nails at their ends burying in the sand, providing some stability and preventing the landlocked ship from falling sideways.

“If it’s the ship I suspect, then we’ll get to see legends.” The girl spoke quietly. “Otherwise, possibilities vary endlessly, depending on whom we’re facing. Slavers act differently from treasure-hunters, in turn different from the ‘protection tax’ mafia; river pirates are different from sea wolves. Pirates within a fleet would attack for food and water places that the solitary-ship elite would scowl at.” There was a tremble in her voice. My options range from being invited to negotiate over lunch to being drowned in a rum barrel and sent…away.” The awkward sentence end twisted her tongue. She’d wanted to say ‘to my parents’. Competition was fierce on the seven seas. “Still, do you see that – the red sails, the red or black flag?” Her forefinger waved in the approximate direction of the masts. “Yeah, neither do I. Which is strange. Not saying that pirates never work undercover, but these were far from hidden. Attacking in these conditions is like war in slippers and bathrobes.”

“I think…it’s The Paper Boat.” She pronounced the capitals in awe. “The thorn of the seas. A Phantom Thief among pirates!”

Suzuri snatched a breath out of the air, and started singing. It was a curious song, with numerous assonances and alliterations stumbling over one another, a story-song of a kid that stole too much, someone who, if his throat was sliced, would nick the surgeon’s needle and die laughing. A butterfly from an extinct species, the dress worn by a famous actress in that drama…He stole the end of number ‘pi’ and he stole the horizon, which sent countless other people on the seas, looking for it. The girl had just breathlessly finished the verse about the thief sailing to visit the man who measures life with a pocket-watch, when the next verse followed from the height of the ship’s bow.

“But I didn’t visit the clockmaker in vain,
Time was grinding, and I tied it to a stake,
I took the second that was waiting for me
An eternity this second –rise your glasses!- will be”

While Suzuri’s shy voice shone through her childlike tendency to zigzag right over the right notes, the man’s reply was musical and serious. The girl looked as if she had been hit in the face with a frying pan. A figure raced down one of the ropes, towards them, stopping with the grace of a tightrope walker. It was a woman like a hawk, with a wind-burned face and expression wrinkles, of that un-guessable age that had frozen in the thirties. She wore knee-ragged trousers with gold-thread lining, two revolvers, a wave-painted cutlass, the fashion sense of a gypsy queen and shoulder-blade-length hair arranged with bones and beads.

“Oi.” She loomed over Suzuri, and the only reason their noses weren’t touching is because the girl leaned backwards. You look like a puffling.”

The woman shook her head towards the ninja, and Suzuri barely managed to avoid the whip-like beads.

“More of a crow, really.” Her voice brimmed with a mild disgust. Crow was the pirate term for a ninja. “Now,” she said, tone snapping like a cat o’ nine tails, “what’re ya two kiddies doing on my shore?”
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Coast Ghosts

Post by Oddric » Thu Oct 08, 2015 11:02 am

"Ow!" Ayatsuri said with exasperated look on her face, one hold holding the chin that the young girl just rammed her sturdy head into. "Leave you? Absolutely not! And I think me breaking a peace deal would be a wise idea! Even if I could, I don't think I or this town would have much of a prayer." She let her hand drop, eyes bouncing over to the ship. They were coming out.

The girl began talking again, more than Ayatsuri had expected. The chuunin rose an eyebrow, giving the girl her full attention. She certainly knew how to talk these pirates up. "The Paper Boat. I guess it's a fitting name, given the color. Certainly doesn't sail like a paper-made ship, does it?" Ayatsuri looked over the ivory vessel. "Though, if they really are here to assault this town, maybe they should have named it The Rubber Duck. Being that they're here in their bathrobes and slippers and all." She gave the girl a grin, a sort of hopeless grin. The amount of people that seemed to be on the ship was alarming. Why did there have to be so many? "Let's hope they like a good lunch."

Ayatsuri straightened her posture, the pirate whipping down the rope. She spoke with authority and command, was she the owner of this ship? It didn't seem like the pirate knew the girl, Ayatsuri was hoping that she would. Ayatsuri hadn't figured out the whole story, but there wasn't a doubt in her head that her new companion was a pirate. Or at least, a former one. The Paper Boat, perhaps. Now it was under new command? Lots of hypotheses, no solid theories.

"The craftsmanship is amazing!" She moved toward the pirate, hands reaching for the revolvers at her waist.

"Oi! Hands off!" The woman took a step back, uninterested in slapping Ayatsuri's hands away.

"Sorry! I just... don't see such work very often! Looking at those... guns, I can tell they're made of similar mechanisms to the wooden marionettes that puppeteers use." Ayatsuri looked up and down the pirate, seeing what other foreign objects she had in her possession.

"Ya'll get a closer look too if ya don't keep yar dirty hands to ya'self." She snapped, hand laying on one of her revolvers. "Now answer the question."

The rope jostled again, someone else slinging down. A tattered vest and worn pants, with short black hair that seemed just as disheveled. He came down with much carelessness. Ayatsuri was sure he was going to slam hard against the ground, but a burst of wind that erupted from his feet before impact lessened the blow. "These two giving you trouble, Miss?" Not even a hand sign to manipulate fuuton chakra. This must have been the windmaster that the ex-pirate mentioned.

"S'fine." She glared at the windmaster before turning back to the kiddies. "We're good for phase two."

Ayatsuri tilted her head, the look on Miss's face told she was still waiting for her question to be answered. "As detective and citizen of the Wind Country, I'm here to ask you your business and to protect this village. As long as our interests aren't conflicting, well I think everything will be just fine." Ayatsuri considered lying, but there wasn't much of a point. Too many pirates, too much manpower, so maybe honesty would do something. Ayatsuri didn't have much of a plan, for now this seemed as good as any.[/b][/color]"

A loud whistle came from the windmaster, not too soon after all the ropes from The Paper Boat began to move. Dozens and dozens and dozens more pirates began slipping down the ropes. Ayatsuri wondered how many of them would have burns after this.

"Protect the village, eh?" The captain said, a smirk forming on her face, hands on her hips. She looked up to the boat, to the village, and then finally back to the two kiddies on her shore. "I don't think our interests will be all too dissimilar." Her hands whipped up from his waist, revolver in both hands pointing at the girls in front of her. "Help us find what we want and everythin' will be just fine. No one has to be hurt. See? Ya helpin' already."
NameRankVillageNinjutsuTaijutsuGenjutsuStaminaControlStrengthSpeedWitKashou AkidoGeninKumogakure52233333Kiji IssuiGeninIwagakure25423323Kokuei NaraChuuninKonohagakure75256456Ayatsuri GuujinChuuninSunagakure74456446



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Suzuri
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Coast Ghosts

Post by Suzuri » Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:31 am

A puffling is a young puffin. It looks like a small fluff ball with beak and claws. Puffins are birds that spend most of their time at sea. They stagger on land as awkwardly as a hardened sailor, but fly skillfully in the air and underwater. Their colorful beak had given them the name ‘the clown of the seas’.

Puffling is the pet-name that Captain Lily Bell (likely a corruption of Rinrin) had given her daughter Suzuri. It is also a generic term for inexperienced sailors in some areas in the far South.

The woman with the revolvers wasn’t her mother. But that painted cutlass was hers.

Ba-thump. Ba-thump.

The song that she’d shared with the Windmaster is one that her father would often hum. It seemed a lifetime ago that she would curl up by the handrail, exploring with her ragged plushie whale shark kilometers under the sea, between hurried feet and the rolling gold rings stolen from a feudal-lord’s fingers that in her imagination grew to piles of treasure, while her father sang quietly to himself and watched the waves. He’d never taught his only daughter the skills of his trade, how to listen to the wind and weave it to her will. He deflected her childish curiosity with half-truths and puzzles. Back then she’d been too young to give it much thought, and after that all her past clenched painfully under a scar. Only now could Suzuri realize her father’s gift for her. In a world that, regardless of the local governing system, ruled through a democracy of sharp kunai, ‘jenetics’ could be a dangerous thing to have.

Or maybe she just showed no potential at all. Suzuri had considered that too.

The Windmaster wasn’t her father either.

Her heart whirred like asthmatic clockwork. This was the Paper Boat. Her parents were on the ship. Here. Finally. But why weren’t they climbing down like the others? Why all the mixed signals? They should at least suspect who she was. They ignored her. Her eyes grew wide. A dull pain crackled in Suzuri’s chest. Even some of the other pirates, men and women that had been like uncles and aunts to her, eyed her more attentively. One winked at her.

Did her parents despise her?

Were they trying to protect her? To prevent her from being associated with a life of piracy?

To prevent her from being used against them?

An odd snort came from the girl with feathers in her hair, like a piglet trying to hold back boogies. Her mind spun. Her soles itched to run up towards them, to yell at them for leaving her on land, to cling to their sleeves. But making a scene would only delay her parents meaninglessly. It would make the ninja detective feel even more isolated, and people who felt cornered often did stupid things. It would achieve nothing.

No…if it was for her parents, Suzuri could even pretend to be on the wrong side.

Her smile snapped wide when the revolver in the woman’s hand rose towards her chest. Without her realizing it, Suzuri’s hand had lowered towards the lasso at her belt. Her thoughts bounced rapidly inside her skull. Her mother’s crew wasn’t the danger. The ninja was. The other girl had a neat attitude, an in-your-face vibe of responsibility that was most refreshing. Suzuri drew the lines. Puppeteer. Probably. With some luck, it was that and not the bloody illusion-weaving. It was a bastard to deal with when all you could do was to punch people in the face.

“Does one from the Paper Ship,” she grinned, and paused for the inevitable eyebrow twitches. Some things never changed. “…the Paper Boat usually ask for help so freely? The crew that got away from a noble’s mansion in his wife’s clothes, conned from the lady herself?” It was the last news she’d heard of her parents, and she treasured it with glee.

There was a shrug of the elbow corresponding to the gun pointed towards Suzuri. A smile.

“You can choose not to help.” The woman’s finger tapped the side of the trigger guard. “There is always a choice.”

“I’d like to speak with the captain.” Suzuri retorted. There was metal in her gaze. “As between…fellows.”

“Here she is.” The captain looked bored. “Now, fellow, be a darling and do what yo-“

“Where is Lily Bell?” The girl interrupted her. She snapped her head around, eyes piercing the pirate crowd at random. “Where is Lily Bell, where is Lily Bell, where is Yasu of the Violet Sea?!” Her fingers tightened on the rope at her belt. Her eyes shone with a lost glaze. What was this place? Where were her parents?!

The captain tilted her head. The Windmaster nodded. A gust of air hit Suzuri like a slap in the face.

“I’d rather not talk ancient history.” The woman said. [color]“By the common consensus, I am the captain now. Captain. Red.”[/color] She underlined the full stops. Suzuri stared as if her mind had stopped working. Common consensus. A mutiny.

“I assume it’s not carrying the coral that you need help with.” The girl said. The world snapped in front of her eyes like a rag. Old lessons rushed through her mind, and her voice grew confident. “I’d be disappointed. Coral is most profitable at low numbers. Can be highly valuable when carved, but too soft to carelessly stack in the hull.” Her arm sketched a sweeping gesture. “Besides, the workshops are too scattered. Somebody panics, and-“ she snapped her fingers[color] “-it all becomes a bloodbath.”[/color] She tilted her head, and her eyes acquired a glassy texture. “What is it that you want, shipthief?”
Suzuri Rinrin | Inkstone | The Travelling Painter

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