[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Mon Jul 18, 2016 4:11 pm

The Trip to Sunanada
Mako dragged his legs along behind him. The walk from Sunagakure to Sunanada was long, and covered entirely by desert. The Seihen Desert, it was called, surrounded Sunanada. It was one of Wind Country’s great deserts. Mako had always found it humorous that Wind Country inhabitants seemed to be proud of their deserts, as if they had created the sand themselves. Perhaps they were acting braggadocios, that they could survive in such a harsh environment. But most of the inhabitants, Mako felt, chose to live there to begin with. It was circular stupidity to choose to live in a harsh environment, and then brag about having survived. Maybe he was thinking about this too deeply.

Luckily for him, the sun had begun to touch the horizon. The desert became much cooler when the sun disappeared, and the cool air was already refreshing his energy from the long, hot days walk. Mako lowered his hood, which had been up since they had left the city more than a few hours ago. The wind blew through his hair, drying what remained of the sweat that had soaked it. Mako rubbed his forehead with his hand; an act that had originated from headaches but now was a reflex when he was sore or tired. His mask remained covering his mouth, which was beneficial, as the dusk winds were kicking some sand up around him.

He was really getting tired of looking at horses’ butts. Frankly, they were everywhere; people rode them, they were dragging carriages, and someone not three spaces forward in line was walking two horses who didn’t appear to be doing anything! Mako shook his head. He hadn’t spoken to anyone since the caravan left the village gates, keeping his quiet composure. Whenever he hadn’t spoken to someone for so long, it prompted an inner dialogue that often resulted in ridiculous overthinking of situations. Sometimes he wished his brain would just calm down.

It was late enough that the caravan could stop at any time. Unfortunately, it was the front that needed to initiate the halt, and he was stuck in the back. Everything was quiet, though, and they still weren’t all that far from the village; the caravan was likely extremely safe. Mako used this rationalization to break formation, running towards the front of the caravan. With only a few dozen travelers in the caravan, it took no time at all for him to reach Arata and Joro at the front of the line.

“It’s getting dark; we shouldn’t travel much further,” Mako said as he approached his teammate. He didn’t feel he needed to say more. Arata was a high ranking ninja, and he would understand how much more dangerous it would be to travel at night. With a caravan this size, there would be no hiding in the dark. The proper move was to take up a defensive formation, and wait until the next morning.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:00 am

Arata had planned on telling Juro everything, but as they had begun walking it all seemed to melt away. It was as if it wasn't important anymore, and that just made the man frown deeper. It was as if his sister wasn't important enough to speak of anymore. Everyone had told him that he would forget the pain of losing her one day, that he would get over it, deal with it, and none of that was what he wanted. That pain defined him and kept him moving, her memory was the only thing that kept him alive. So when she became no longer important, what was he? Would he take the cowards way out? Or find some other way to die? He hated those questions, and he fell into silence as they moved through the day in the interest of attempting to ignore those questions, even going so far as to smoke a bit more of his pipe here and there. It wasn't enough to truly dull his senses, just enough to keep his mind from delving into their darkest parts for their darkest urges.

"Hm?" Was the only sound he made at first when he heard Mako talking. He turned and glanced at him, staring a moment as his mind registered that creepy mask once more before he finally nodded. "Yeah." He looked at Juro and nodded, reaching out a hand to touch the horse before turning to look at Mako again. "Let's get them to circle the wagons, we can do a fire in the middle where enemies may not see. We can patrol the outside of the circle, take turns with some of the drivers. Should be our best bet." he remarked, turning to the older man. "Let's circle them up and make camp for the night."
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:39 pm

Mako watched quietly as Arata turned to Joro and spoke. He felt as though he had done his job; he wasn’t there to lead the caravan, he was there to protect it. There was no need for him to take command of the caravan himself, as long as he had an effective conduit, and Joro would do just fine. The old man nodded to Arata before loudly calling out to the people behind him. “Alright! We’re gonna stop here for the night! Set the circle around this area...” He pointed over to the side, a relatively flat area that would be easy to set the carriages down, and form a protective formation.

Mako refused to help as the caravan began making preparations for the night, hanging around the edges of the group, looking at the surrounding area carefully. While he used the fact that the village sent high ranking ninja to protect the caravan as an excuse to act as a sentinel instead of an assistant, the truth was he wanted to avoid all the people, none more so than Joro. The old man would tell him stories of his dead parents, and ask him about what he remembered. Mako didn’t want to talk about that.

As people became comfortable in their night accommodations, Joro and a few others started a small bonfire in the center of their encampment. Several children gathered around for a few minutes, but as the sun completely disappeared below the horizon, fewer and fewer children remained out in the open. Many crawled into the back of the carriages, and a few remained lying against their caretakers in the sand. Mako thought it was a bit odd that so many children had come; Mako’s father had forbidden Mako from traveling with him until he was a Genin, claiming that it was too dangerous. The very fact that Mako was there indicated that his father had been correct.

Mako was still walking the perimeter when Joro, who was sitting at the fire, called out to Arata. “Young man?” he asked, forcefully, but somewhat quietly in an obvious attempt to be considerate for those already asleep. “Where’d ya go? I have a question for a sand shinobi like yerself.” The man had a smile across his face, but his eyes revealed that he wasn’t truly in it. The smile was forced in the interest of politeness, the kind of smile that merchants always seemed to have plastered onto their faces.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:20 pm

As Mako walked the perimeter, Arata walked the interior. After all, threats from within a group were just as dangerous as the threats outside of it, perhaps more so. As he walked, from time to time passing a ball back to a group of giddy children who had thrown it too far or giving one a cautionary shove back to the group as he got overly curious, he heard someone call.

He hadn't even realized how many people had fallen asleep until Joro called to him in that tone. Taking one last puff of the pipe in his fingers before stowing it away, Arata walked over to him and out of the shadows he had been steadily walking in. He saw the forced nature of the man's smile, but also knew they had to cater to these people. The false smile of any man always set Arata on edge as if he were waiting to be betrayed, but a false smile was not so rare in a group such as this and Arata berated himself mentally for being rash. "What is your question, Joro-sama?" he asked as he approached, one hand resting lazily on his sword and the other resting within his Kimono shirt and against his chest.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:18 pm

Mako stretched his neck as he made his twelfth round around the edge of the camp. The wind was beginning to blow a bit harder, but it was still relatively dull. They were lucky; there was no sign of a sandstorm, which meant their journey would probably be safe. Mako lifter his hood as the cold wind blew through his hair. As hot as it was during the day, nights in the Siehen were pretty cold. Even during the warmer months, Mako was thankful to have his hood. He also raised his mask, which prevented any stray sand from entering his mouth.

Joro watched Mako from afar, waiting for him to find a space among the camp to rest. He never did, however, just continuing his constant search for nothing in the darkness of the night, far away from the warmth of the fire. Joro kept his gaze on the Suna Jounin even as he spoke to Arata.

“Well, young man” he said, rubbing his nose. He spoke softly, but he was hoping his words weren’t drowned out by the crackling of the flames just in front of them. “What do ya think yer partner is doing over there? That foolish child… you know, I knew Mako when he was just a toddler, so high,” he held out his hand to indicate Mako’s childhood height. “How well do you know him? I haven’t seen him in years, since both his parents died...” Joro let out a couple forceful coughs before continuing. “He’s avoiding me, I know it. He thinks I can’t tell, but I know when someone’s not happy to see me. Ya work in my profession long enough and ya become a pretty good reader of people. Something’s odd with that guy, though. I guess you can’t blame him though…”

Joro paused and looked over at Arata. “Sorry about my ranting” he apologized for his audacity. While Joro could tell how others were feeling generally, he never seemed to be able to get empathy down; there was a barrier between his understanding of himself, and of his understanding of others.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:34 pm

Arata raised an eyebrow as the man began to speak of Mako. He turned and glanced at his partner as he walked the perimeter yet again and merely shrugged. "We're here to protect the entire caravan, that doesn't always mean we're the ones who get to rest." he replied, not fully understanding the man's concern as he went on. The fact that Mako's parents were dead didn't surprise him too much, many shinobi lost family in their work and often losing one's parents were the first ones they lost.

But he watched Joro's mannerisms and the way he spoke, and he could tell there was more concern there than just an old family friend. "Bothers you to see him like that, hm." he remarked, glancing back towards Mako before turning towards Joro again. "Honestly he's not the only one avoiding someone tonight." he added, nodding towards another carriage. A woman only a couple years younger than Arata himself was asleep over there, using the flank of a beloved horse as a pillow and to keep warm. "She knew me back when I never did a mission without my twin sister.... been avoiding the awkward questions." Again he was telling the man things he usually didn't discuss, but this time it brought a smile to his face.

He pulled from his jacket briefly the brass pipe that he always stashed away in his pocket. "I could always see if this gets Mako to relax a bit." he joked before putting it away, clearly having no intention as such.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Tue Jul 26, 2016 9:50 am

“Hahaha, the day you get Mako to smoke that,” the old man said to Arata, referring to his pipe. “Is the day that I pick up this cart and fly it to the capitol.” Joro chucked as he said finished speaking. He looked into the flames for a moment before looking up to try to find Mako. He didn’t see him, however, as the ninja was hadn’t stopped walking around the perimeter. Joro quickly looked back at the fire to hide his glances.

“As for you, young man; avoiding issues is never a good idea. Your life will fly past you if you spend it on purposeful avoidance. You should share. Come, sit here,” Joro said as he slid himself over. He patted the sand beside him. “Tell me what it is your hiding, and why.” The words he spoke suggested they were an order, but the way he spoke clearly revealed it was an offer. “You’ll live longer.”

Meanwhile, Mako was beginning to get tired. Still several meters away from the camp, he sat down against the cold sand. He felt his eyes getting heavy; he’d need to sleep soon. He needed to stay strong, though, and protect the caravan. He was still convinced there was a reason the village had sent such high ranking shinobi with this particular caravan, and he was going to treat the mission as if it were properly assigned.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Thu Jul 28, 2016 7:10 pm

Arata couldn't help a grin. "See now, if I had a chance of seeing that I just might try." he retorted before glancing around once more. He knew Mako had to be getting tired by now, he'd been walking in circles for awhile now. But Joro had more to say it seemed, and Arata hesitated. He wasn't sure about talking about this to anyone, but it seemed he'd already dropped hints on the issue, and he wasn't much of an outright liar.

After a moment's hesitation he sat down beside Joro as the man had indicated he should. "Mai." he said simply, pointing over to the girl sleeping against her horse's flank. "I used to get assigned to watch her and her father, when he still did these runs. But back then my partner was always the same, my twin sister."

He couldn't bring himself to say her name just now, not intentionally anyway. "Mai keeps asking me where she's at, and the two were close back then... I just don't have the heart to tell her that she's dead." He fell into silence, his eyes staring into the fire as the scene replayed in his mind. He lifted his hand in front of his face and for a moment in the shadow of the flames he could almost see the blood once more. Shaking his hand he moved his hand to rest in his kimono shirt again. "Sometimes I swear I still see her blood on my hands." he muttered, tempted to take out his pipe again.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Sat Jul 30, 2016 8:01 pm

“Aye,” Joro responded to Arata, clearly having difficulty coming up with words. Frankly, he figured he’d have to stew in his own mistake; he asked Arata about the terrible things that had happened to him. But Joro quickly caught himself, and continued speaking. “I can see why you’d want to avoid that… poor child.” He looked away from the fire, towards Arata as he continued. “You have to get yourself in order first, young man, before you speak with her. But once you do, there’s no need to hide anything. People who is hiding things do it to protect themselves, not others. This girl, she deserves to know.”

Joro again had lost himself in a rant. He seemed to do that quite often, for whatever reason. He was getting old. He turned back to the fire and smiled, more to himself than to anyone else. It most likely seemed out of place, but Joro seemed to think it was called for. The fire crackled in the silence for just a moment, before Mako stepped in.

“Arata,” he began, speaking a bit quietly but clearly unaware of the conversation he interrupted. Mako was extremely tired, fighting just to keep his eyes open, but he tried to hide it as best he could. “I think we should take turns sleeping. You take the first shift, and then I’ll take the rest of the night.” He nodded to Arata before turning to Joro, and nodding again. He began to step away, heading over to the outskirts of the camp to find himself a place to sleep.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Sat Jul 30, 2016 10:23 pm

Arata's eyes were fixed on the fire as Joro spoke. He knew the man was right, but it wasn't that simple in his mind. "I can't tell her." he said quietly. "I can't take that from her." he added. "Bad enough I couldn't save her, I couldn't protect her as I should have... I will not play the role of carrion bird also." He muttered as he stood and stretched, turning in time to see Mako approaching.

For a moment he froze, wondering if Mako had heard anything that was said. But before long it was clear Mako was too tired and hopefully hadn't noticed anything at all. "Sounds like a plan to me." he replied simply. He purposely took a route to the edge of the camp that brought him past Mako however, putting a hand on the other man's shoulder briefly to get his attention. "Joro's worried about you." he said simply, adding nothing else. He wouldn't tell Mako to fix it, or to let the man know things were fine... when he couldn't do the same himself for Mai.

He turned and made his way just outside the circle of wagons where he'd start walking around the edges of the camp in the dark, periodically taking a drag off his pipe as he looked.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:00 am

“Joro’s worried about you.” The words rang in Mako’s ears, although he showed no response. He hadn’t even paused when Arata spoke to him, just continuing on his way to the edge of the camp. Mako mulled over talking to Joro, but decided against it; there was no need, and he couldn’t see what benefit would come from talking to the man. He felt a little bad about it, but buried the feelings as he reached a good spot.

He pulled off his coat, placing it longways along the ground. He tried to flatten it into a useable bed as best he could before plopping down on it. Objectively, it shouldn’t have been comfortable; there were still bumps from the sand, and the coat itsels was covered in a light dusting of sand. But Mako was so tired all of this was irrelevant. He wasn’t even cold without his coat. In what seemed like seconds, he had drifted off to sleep, quietly snoring in the sand.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:35 am

Arata began his rounds slowly, working his way around the outside of the circle of wagons and the like as he kept his eyes on the horizon and everything that was away from the camp. He berated himself, knowing it was stupid for him to be smoking his pipe as he did so. The brief light of it was enough for an enemy to see and though he did what he could to cup his hand around it, that didn't mean he was adequately hiding it. But his brief admission to Joro had been enough to jar his focus loose and he was hating that fact.

"I shouldn't have told him." he was muttered to himself as he went, his mind off task even as he walked. But the man had convinced himself that this mission was cake, that the fact that there were even two of them here was just paranoia.

He had no idea he was being watched. He didn't feel the archer site down on him, and he didn't hear the quiet rush of wind. The only thing that saved him from a quick death was the fact that he suddenly stopped in his frustration and turned to look out at the expanse of desert. Instead of slamming into his neck, the first arrow sailed over his shoulder and slammed into the cart beside him with an audible 'thunk'. As he reached for one of his swords a second arrow slammed into his left shoulder, the momentum of it slamming him back against the wagon, rocking it physically, as he grunted in pain.

He dropped to a knee and snapped the arrow off mid-shaft with a grunt and looked out into the desert, his eyes searching for any sign of his attacker. His pipe was lost in the sand somewhere, but even Arata didn't care about that right now.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:25 pm

Joro was carefully monitoring the fire, avoiding sleep. It had died down quiet completely, with only a few burning embers remaining. Joro poked it with a stick, more moving the ashes around than prolonging the life of the fire. Giving up, he began collecting his things which had been strewn about in the sand. After he completed his chore, he looked up, trying to find the young man, Arata, who had helped him with the journey so far. The poor young man had to be so tired after walking all day. Joro himself was exhausted, and looking forwards to some well-deserved sleep.

His eyes finally landed on Arata who was walking by one of the carriages to the far right of camp. With little light, it was difficult to tell who the figure was, but most people were asleep, and the character was clearly carrying Arata’s arsenal. Joro smiled. That young man was certainly in deep, but Joro had a good feeling he’d be okay. That was just before Arata stumbled backwards into a carriage and dropped to the ground.

Surprised, Joro began a full sprint towards Arata. As he did, he called out “Hey! Hey young man! Is everything alright?” The old man probably looked foolish as he struggled through the sand, and he almost toppled over as he covered the last few meters towards Arata.

Mako was jolted awake by the sound of Joro’s voice. He rose to his feet more quickly than he woke up, still in a daze as he stared at the camp. Trying to figure out what was going on, he spotted Joro running to the far side of the camp. Mako moved quickly, making his way towards Joro. He wasn’t sure what was going on, but he had to check out the commotion.
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Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

Mako Notaramu; Jounin; Sunagakure No Sato

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:43 pm

Arata's head snapped to the side as he heard Joro call out for him. He could hear the sounds of his voice as he approached and the boy got to his feet suddenly, coming around the corner of the wagon that had separated him from Joro. "Get back to the camp and to safety!" he yelled, drawing only the attention of the archer he'd had trouble seeing. His movement again threw off the shot and an arrow grazed his right shoulder and kept flying, drawing a snarl out from Arata.

"Mako!" he yelled, hoping to get his companion's attention as he turned and rest his hands on his weapons, attempting to ignore the pain. He could see shapes in the darkness now, coming towards him. "Get to shelter, Joro!"
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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:59 pm

Mako pushed his way through the camp as quickly as he could. He was still feeling a bit groggy, but he had fully recovered his senses. He saw Joro stop in his tracks when Mako was just a few steps away. Mako figured the old man had realized the dire situation, and had stopped his advance towards the enemy. Mako zoomed past him without a pause, almost entirely ignoring the man.

It was now clear that the camp was under attack. The people who had been sleeping by the carriages were beginning to awake, and the few who had been awake were shouting to the others to prepare themselves. Not that they could do much; Mako and Arata were the only trained guards for the caravan. Despite the uncertainty of the enemy’s numbers and strength, Mako was confident he would be able to fight them off; bandits weren’t all that smart, generally, or they wouldn’t be bandits. He, on the other hand, was very intelligent.

It wasn’t long before he was side by side with Arata. He noticed his partner’s shoulder had been hit by an arrow. Mako carefully navigated his way around a volley of arrows; he couldn’t see them in the dark. “How many?” he asked bluntly. There was not time for more words.
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Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Mon Aug 01, 2016 7:20 pm

Arata was leaning against a wagon as he tried to catch his breath, seeming to not even realize there was still half of an arrow protruding from his left shoulder. "Not sure, only saw one but judging by the amount of arrows now I'd sat at least four." he told Mako. "Look I'm only really of use up close and personal to these guys. Do you have any jutsu that can cover my approach?" he asked Mako, realizing he had no idea what his assigned partner was capable of.

Arata himself was practically only useful as a samurai, despite being a shinobi. His talents all lay in taijutsu rather than really having any in ninjutsu. He had long since lost track of whether it was his own laziness or lack of talent that kept him from ninjutsu. He did know old habits died hard, and his sister had always been his ninjutsu and genjutsu backup.
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:05 pm

“Mmm…” Mako said in response. His gaze remained out into the darkness where their enemies were, but he clearly was speaking to Arata. “I can cover you up to ten meters. After that you’re on your own.” Mako was a powerful ninja, but he was also quite aware of his limitations. If he was going to be using defensive ninjutsu, he wouldn’t be able to rush the opponents at the same time. Nodding to Arata, he began weaving hand seals. He held the final one for just a moment before throwing out his arms.

Ten meters in front of them, vectors rose from the ground, forming a shield that was barely visible as clear waves in the dark of the night. But as a set of arrows hit it, it’s position became easy to pinpoint. It was tall enough to protect Arata and Mako where they stood, and would provide effective cover for Arata’s charge. Mako just hoped that his teammate wasn’t just the useless stoner he feared Arata was.
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Kuuton • Divine Rejection
B-Ranked Kuuton Jutsu
After performing the required hand seals, the user will generate a wall of vectors within 10 metres of themselves. This wall is 3 metres in height and width, and will form with a speed of 20. Any time something touches this wall, it will be halted in mid-air if it has a strength lower than 20 and held for the duration of this technique. This wall will last for 4 posts unless ended prematurely by the user.
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Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:51 pm

Arata took off at a sprint after a simple nod to Mako so that the man knew he was good to go. He didn't reach for any of his blades yet, the symbol of Suna catching in the dim firelight and moonlight as he moved and even shrugged out of his kimono. The shirt would impede movement and this was why he kept it so loose anyway. The sash would keep it around him but he still freed his arms of the garment and revealed the muscled torso and back he had gained over his hours of training.

The man may have smoked from time to time to chase away the nightmares, but he had never lost his focus on his physique and his talents. He knew in a fight that other lives would rely on him and his blades, and that was a thing he had taken doubly serious since his twin sister's death.

When he came close enough to the barrier he'd simply shout, praying Mako understood. "DROP!" Assuming Mako dropped the wall in time, he'd rush through the area it had previously been, his right hand finally going to the blade at his back. Two of the archers were the closest to him now and the odachi sang in low tones as it withdrew from his back. Two surprisingly quick slashes with the large blade cut two men in half just as a third managed to get an arrow notched. But Mako spun and managed to deflect the arrow at the last moment with his blade before burying it tip first in the sand. It was quicker than sheathing it and the man had closed the gap as he fired.

Forced to change tactics, Arata drew the wakizashi from his hip above his katana and brought it up to block as the archer tried to whip him with the bow itself. Arata countered with a solid kick to the man's chest and followed up by rushing in and burying the wakizashi deep into the man's chest.

Arata did not laugh, he did not smile, it was as if everything of the man that Mako had seen so far had melted away, leaving only the samurai. He betrayed no emotion and moved from one weapon to the other, one stance to the next, with a grace very few would have expected of him.
Jutsu Used (in order)Show
*Shinden • Branch Cleaver
D-Rank Kenjutsu Maneuver
Prerequisite: 10 Strength
While the basic techniques of Shinden revolve around heavy slashes from standing positions this technique is about harnessing the same destructive potential while moving. Rushing at a foe quickly, the user slashes in a downward motion in order to maintain momentum. The sword is typically swung from right to left or from left to right instead of straight down, the attack usually stopping at waist level to keep from potentially stumbling. While less destructive than some Shinden techniques, it still retains utility in battles of movement.

*[Shinden • Sword Shield]
D-Rank Kenjutsu Maneuver
Prerequisite: 10 Strength
As most Shinden users wield rather large blades, The user of this technique has trained themself to use the width of their blade as a sort of shield, using it to deflect most small weaponry and block blows reliably. Users should be very liberal with the use of this technique, as too strong a blow could damage their weapon and render it useless, while too thin a weapon makes the use of this technique more difficult than one with a wider blade.

*[Toryu • Counter Kick]
D-Rank Kenjutsu Maneuver
Prerequisite: 5 Taijutsu, 5 Strength
The user of this technique will attempt to block the blow of his opponent with his blade, relying heavily on the durability of their weapon and their own strength to resist the strength of the opponent's attack. Should they be successful, the user will follow up with a swift kick to the target's chest or stomach to push them away and stun them, then follow up with a quick stab to the chest or stomach.
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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Thu Aug 04, 2016 5:47 pm

Mako thought about rushing forwards after the enemies himself, but quickly decided against it. He needed to protect the caravan; after all, their mission was first to protect the caravan, and second to kill the attackers. It appeared as though his shield was rather effective, suggesting that there weren’t all that many attackers, or at the very least that they hadn’t spread out all that far in their formation.

Mako had just become confident in his decision to stay behind and keep up his shield when he heard Arata shout at him to drop the shield. He disagreed with the plan, but there was little choice; he ended the defense as quickly as he could. Arata dove through the empty space, beginning his assault. He clearly was a taijutsu specialist, making quick work of the surrounding opponents in a methodical manner. Mako only watched for a short time, however, scanning what he could see of the sand dunes for another opponent. Although it was dark, his eyes were assimilating, and he could make out a figure to his left, several meters away from Arata.

Mako quickly began weaving hand seals. As an arrow came rushing towards him, he released the jutsu. He extended his right arm, aimed in the direction of the arrow. A small ball of vectors rushed forward from his hand, crashing into the arrow and knocking it to the ground. Mako’s extended hand changed into a pointed finger as he shouted to Arata.

“Over there!” He planned on allowing Arata to do all the work, taking out the enemies, as he stayed back, protecting what he could of the caravan.
Jutsu UsedShow
*Kuuton • Redirection Bullet
C-Ranked Kuuton Jutsu
After performing the correct hand seals, the user will fire a black orb the size of a baseball made of vectors in a single direction up to 10 metres away from themselves at 10 speed. When it comes into contact with something, it will push that something in a single direction of the user's choosing with 10 strength.
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Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

Mako Notaramu; Jounin; Sunagakure No Sato

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:08 pm

As Mako shouted and pointed, Arata spun towards the indicated direction. He barely seemed to take in the target before he made a quick choice to use his Wakizashi as a projectile and launched it at his target. The man used his own bow to knock it to the side, seeing as projectiles weren't actually Arata's strong suit at all. But the point of throwing it hadn't even been to actually hit the man.

After he had thrown it, his hand had gone back to the odachi that he had left upright in the dirt. By time the man had knocked his Wakizashi aside, Arata was bearing down on him again. He had barely managed to knock an arrow but Arata brought the blade down, splitting both man and bow, the arrow itself barely scratching a bicep as it had lost any power it held as the string of the bow snapped. The blade sunk into the man and came up, bringing the flailing man with it who was soon thrown screaming away. He wouldn't be making much sound for much longer as he lay in the sand.

Arata looked around, and didn't see anyone else just yet as he wiped the blade on a fallen foe's clothes before sheathing it and retrieving his wakizashi. He was just slamming the blade home as he walked back towards Mako. "We have no choice!" he called. "More could come, likely a bandit group nearby. We need to get the caravan up and moving." he added. It wasn't unheard of for caravans to be attacked, and while Arata didn't know this one's cargo, the fact that there were two of them would attract unwanted attention even if the cargo was insignificant. After all, two shinobi would be enough for anyone to think there was more than met the eye.

Arata did not pull his kimono shirt up if only because blood decorated both shoulders now, one by a scratch and another by part of an arrow that still protruded from the muscle. He was many things, and vain about his clothes was certainly one of them. He didn't wish to stain his shirt if he could help it. He didn't say it aloud, but already he was thinking that he could get bandages from Mai, as much as he didn't want to approach her, he knew she would help him bandage up if he asked and he couldn't walk much of this desert with open wounds.
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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Sun Aug 07, 2016 8:15 pm

Mako nodded to Arata’s words; getting the caravan moving was the right idea. Neither of them knew exactly how many enemies there were, and even if they had killed this group, there was no guarantee others weren’t on their heels. Mako hadn’t expected so much fuss over a caravan like this. While it was sizeable enough, they didn’t seem to be carrying anything particularly valuable. Then again, perhaps that was why they were targeted; the bandits figured a caravan like this would be more lightly guarded, and thus be easier to overtake.

“Alright!” Mako said loudly, trying to get the attention of the increasing noisy caravan. As he turned, he stopped in his tracks. There, on the ground only a few meters away from him, lied an old man, several arrows sticking out of him. Joro was face down in the sand, leaking blood pretty heavily. Mako felt his stomach drop into his shoes. Taking a few deep breaths, he went over what had happened in his head. Mako had passed Joro on his way across the camp, and Joro seemed fine then. Mako didn’t remember the enemies targeting the old man, but perhaps there were arrows he had dodged that had continued far enough past him. He took a few slow steps forward before rushing to the man. As distressed as he was inside, his outer demeanor remained the same: his face showed no emotion. He felt for Joro’s pulse, carefully placing his fingers on the side of the man’s neck to find nothing. As he stood back up to his full height, Mako let out a sigh.

He rubbed his eyes with his right hand in a manner that suggested tiredness rather than wiping away tears. He wasn’t about to cry. He didn’t even feel all that devastated. Besides a pit in his stomach, which was quickly disappearing, there really weren’t any strong repercussions. The truth was, he wasn’t certain if he was feeling worse about Joro’s death, or that he would possibly be reprimanded for not keeping all of the caravan protected. He was a Jounin, after all, and a lot was expected of him.

It was only a matter of seconds, however, before Mako snapped out of it. He turned back to the crowd, away from his dead acquaintance, and shouted. “Alright everyone! Prepare your things and get your carriages ready! The caravan is moving out in ten minutes!"
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Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

Mako Notaramu; Jounin; Sunagakure No Sato

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:56 am

Arata returned to the group and paused as he too saw Joro's body. He saw Mako check him, but other than that he saw no real reaction from the man and Arata couldn't help his own frown. He walked to the old man's side and knelt, reaching out to close the old man's eyes. "There's nothing left to fear." he whispered to the man, as if his own form of prayer. He took the extra moment to remove every arrow and lift the man, draping him over a shoulder with only some difficulty. "Did you really dodge arrows without thinking about who was behind you?" he asked Mako with a snarl in his tone. "We're here to protect them, not ourselves. Wake up." he added as he walked toward's Joro's cart without breaking stride.

He found space for the man's body and dug around for a blanket, covering him. "MAI!" As much as he didn't want to interact with the girl, he needed her help now. As the girl ran up to him he turned his eyes to her just as she spotted Joro's body and gasped. "Your father always brought extra workers with him, do you keep the same practice?" The girl nodded and he put a hand on her shoulder to get her eyes on him. "I need one to drive Joro's cart." He told her.

"I'll get one to drive mine, and I'll take Joro's."

Arata frowned. "Mai that's-."

"Dangerous?" she interrupted. "I don't care, you need someone up here who can help by keeping an eye out. My guys can only follow, they suck at leading."

Arata gave her a look but didn't want to waste any time. "Fine, set it up." he finally said. When she opened her mouth, likely to ask about his sister again he held up a hand as he walked away. "Later." he told her harshly, and without another word the girl set about getting things arranged as Arata walked back over to Mako. "Mai is taking Joro's cart, she has an extra man to drive hers. We're ready once the line is up." he said, his eyes darting about as he tried to keep an eye out for any other attackers.
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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:57 pm

Mako endured his tongue lashing with grace. He didn’t flinch, or even show hints of how he was feeling. Of course, he was abnormally angry, boiling on the inside. He wanted to strike out at Arata, to tell him it was better to dodge the arrows than to be hit by them., Mako wanted to tell Arata that they were equally at fault, and that there was nothing they could do now, so they shouldn’t worry about it. But he said none of these things. He was busy ridding himself of the pit in his stomach that was dragging him down.

He nodded to Arata as Arata told him the new head of the caravan. Mako wasn’t crazy about a young girl leading the caravan, but if Arata would be there as well, there’d be nothing to worry about. “Fine. You travel with her in the front. I’ll take the rear.” He would just have to carefully watch the rear of the caravan; if they were attacked again, Mako would need to be on his toes.

The caravan was rather quick to line up, and within a half-hour, the group had begun moving again. It was still very late; in fact, it was so late that it was early. The sun was still yet to be seen, but the dark sky was beginning to lighten. The cool of the night was slowly beginning to wane, which Mako wasn’t all that fond of. He had gotten very little sleep, and the cold was helping to keep him sharp. There was a long day ahead of him.
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Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Tue Aug 09, 2016 4:39 pm

If Arata noticed Mako's veiled anger at all, he didn't show it. If he had noticed it at all, he likely wouldn't have said anything. He simply nodded and turned back up towards the front, walking alongside Mai's cart. "Sun's rising, they'll be less likely to attack." he remarked, his eyes taking in as much as he could at one time, keeping an eye out for any further attack.

"Are you going to tell me?"

Arata's nostrils flared at the question as he forcefully blew out air in a heavy sigh. "Not now, Mai."

"Tell me or I stop."

Arata frowned and glanced over at the girl before looking back in Mako's direction. "You always were a stupid kind of stubborn." he muttered as he turned to face forward again. "Fine. Akemi is dead, she was killed on mission, and I couldn't stop it. She bled out in my arms, happy?"

Mai visibly flinched, suddenly turning her eyes forward as she felt her face grow hot. "I... I assumed you two were in a fight or something..." she said quietly.

"You really think a fight would have kept us apart?"

Mai dared another glance at him and shook her head, finally noticing the partial arrow sticking out of his shoulder. Allowing the horse to keep walking a moment, she dug around until she produced a med kit and set it on the floor beside her, within Arata's reach. "You shouldn't let that get infected, you could die."

"I have nothing left to fear... not even death, Mai." He said coldly, but regardless he yanked out the arrow with a groan of pain and continued walking, looking through the medkit as he went. He wouldn't stitch it and the bandaging was sloppy, but it was better than nothing as far as the man was concerned.
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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Tue Aug 09, 2016 5:09 pm

Mako yawned as he trailed behind the last carriage in the caravan. The temperature had risen significantly, with the sun now fully in the sky, at the same time Mako was becoming increasingly tired. At least he had gotten some sleep; poor Arata was going on even less. Although, he had heard it was better sometimes to have no sleep than just an hour.

Nevertheless, the adrenaline of the attack was still pushing him along, which allowed him to keep up with his surveillance. He was carefully monitoring his rear in case there were bandits following them that they had missed. Now that the sun was up, though, they were more likely safe. Bandits, especially low level thieves like the ones they had fought, usually preferred to attack at night. They also usually preferred to attack poorly guarded enemies, and this group had seen that this caravan was not poorly guarded. That wouldn’t prevent other groups from attacking though, so he continued to watch carefully.

His thoughts kept circling back to Joro, who he had let die. He had avoided the man while living, and hadn't really given any indication to Joro's death. He wondered, if the dead were capable of looking over the living, if Joro was disappointed. After much thought, he concluded that he didn't care what the dead thought; he was a firm believer that the living had no obligations to those passed.

The heat of the sun mixed with his lack of sleep was a powerful combination, but so was the adrenaline and his determination. The two groups were certainly battling it out, and Mako’s wellbeing was the collateral damage. In any case, it was just for one more day, really only hours now, until they reached the city of Sunanada.
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Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

Mako Notaramu; Jounin; Sunagakure No Sato

Inozu Yamanaka A-Rank; Missing Nin #AF2626

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:07 pm

Arata was glad to see the sun rise, and Mai fall into silence. He was glad to see the walk turn quiet though the pain in his shoulder was likely the only thing keeping him awake, especially as the hours began to draw on. Sweat beaded upon his brow and not just because of the heat. Only a couple hours in he could already feel a heat in the flesh around the arrow wound. It wasn't much of a surprise, after all the desert wasn't clean. But as far as he knew there was no one here able to use Iijutsu. Silently the man hoped they might come across another Suna shinobi on the road who could, or maybe at their destination. He did not fear death, and in fact yearned for it, but he wanted an honorable death. Death by infection or fever was hardly honorable. He would prefer harakiri to even that, and it was too late for harakiri.

He would keep his pain and worries to himself as they moved, the sun slowly climbing in the sky, and from time to time he chanced a glance back to check on Mako. He wasn't for certain his partner had gotten any sleep, and he didn't have the luxury of a wound to keep him alert. Arata was beginning to wonder if the quiet meant maybe he could tell Mako to climb into a wagon and get some rest.
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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:54 pm

Mako dragged his feet through the sand as the caravan continued its steady march across the desert. While he remained tired, he was still carefully watching the rear of the caravan; he had already made one mistake, and he wasn’t planning to make another. Still, he wondered how much he could really prevent. If another group of bandits attacked with arrows as the previous one had, would he really be able to act quickly enough to save the lives of the entire caravan?

As he was thinking about this he noticed something odd. Checking on either side of the caravan were piles of sand that looked only slightly unnatural; in fact, he wouldn’t have noticed them if he wasn’t purposely analyzing his surroundings so carefully. They appeared to have formed on top of something solid; this could potentially happen when rain seeped through the ground creating mounds of mud beneath the sand. But it hadn’t rained in more than a week, which was part of the reason why the caravan was carrying barrels of water. They couldn’t be mud hills.

“HALT!” Mako called out as loudly as he could, hoping Arata could hear him in the front of the caravan. It was a little late, however, as the bandits seemed to take Mako’s shout as their queue. They emerged from the sand, stepping out from their hidey-holes before brandishing their weapons and running towards the caravan. Each of them wore similar clothing; tan rags with another wrapped around their heads and faces. Mako couldn’t tell exactly what weapons each was carrying, but they seemed to be only close range weapons, as opposed to the archers from before. He didn’t have time to count them either; they were running down the sand dunes towards either side of the caravan. “ARATA!” he shouted, hoping his partner could hear him. “TAKE MY RIGHT!”

With that, Mako stepped to his left, running towards the nearest bandits charging the caravan. This time he would protect the caravan, and he wouldn’t overlook a thing.
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Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

Mako Notaramu; Jounin; Sunagakure No Sato

Inozu Yamanaka A-Rank; Missing Nin #AF2626

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Sun Aug 14, 2016 4:16 pm

It wasn't that Arata didn't notice the mounds, it was simply that he was distracted in his conversation with Mai and the pain in his wound. It wasn't until Mako yelled for a halt that Arata realized anything was wrong. He moved to signal Mai but hardly had to, she'd heard the yell as well and pulled on the reigns, bringing the entire line to a halt.

Arata heard Mako's instructions and turned towards the attackers. He was already on the side Mako requested and so he didn't have to try and weave through the line. Drawing his blade from his back, his odachi, he went at the enemy in a rage, praying that Mai stayed down. Two went down by his blade as the man held his calm demeanor.

But his gaze was fogged by the encroaching fever, and his form was off.
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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Tue Aug 16, 2016 6:01 am

Mako rushed towards the charging enemies. There appeared to be quite a few of them, charging down the line towards the caravan. Mako would have to stop them before they could reach the people and goods he was protecting. En route, he began forming the hand seals. Having completed them, he reached into his back pouch and pulled out a Kunai. He waited for a moment, trying to time his through correctly before releasing the Kunai.

The kunai rushed forward, passing one of the attackers. The man was thrown into the air backwards, crashing head first into the sand. The kunai continued flying forward, pushing each of the bandits away from the caravan as it crossed their path. The kunai eventually landed on the sand at the front of the caravan. The technique wouldn’t have killed any of the attackers, but at least it stopped their advance, and it gave Mako a chance to get in position.

As he placed himself about 15 meters away from the center of the caravan, he looked over his shoulder, hoping Arata was getting along okay. Arata had been injured, but the man seemed strong enough to tough it out. He was a drug-user as well, which could slow his reaction time. What a pain this would be if Arata couldn't handle himself.

Jutsu UsedShow
*Kuuton • Golden Delivery
C-Ranked Kuuton Jutsu
After performing the necessary hand seals, the user surrounds a projectile they are holding with vectors. Once they throw the projectile, anything it comes within 10 metres of on its flight path will be violently pushed away from it with a strength of 10. This technique only lasts a single post.
CharactersShow

Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

Mako Notaramu; Jounin; Sunagakure No Sato

Inozu Yamanaka A-Rank; Missing Nin #AF2626

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:44 pm

The end of Arata's odachi buried itself in the sand even as he moved to draw his katana. He had always been able to move seemlessly through his weapons, almost like switching hands in a fight. It had always been second nature, and yet instead Mai watched in horror, screaming out his name, as the fever slowed him and the blade of his enemy ran through his core.

Arata's hands dropped the katana as he looked down at the blade protruding from his torso as Mai draw the wakizashi off his hip and finished off the enemy with it. In half a panic she screamed for Mako even though she didn't know the man's name, and pulled Arata to the back of the wagon as the man stupidly pulled the weapon from himself and tossed it to the sand, feeling the warm ooze run down his exposed skin. The seemingly small girl managed to pull him into the back of the wagon as she scrambled for a cloth to try and stop the bleeding, yelling again at Mako. "He's fevered!"

To Arata every exchange seemed to come in a daze, hardly able to process what was happening to and around him as a result of the infection from his first wound.
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Trucro
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Trucro » Fri Aug 19, 2016 7:18 pm

Mako turned towards Mai’s scream to see what was happening; perhaps something had happened to Arata. His distraction allowed his opponents to surround him; four men, each with their own blades, varying in length and form. The tan rags covered everything of the men’s faces but their eyes, giving Mako no indication of their origin or mental states. As such, when he turned back to see his entrapment, he had to be very careful. More importantly, he had to be quick. He wasn’t certain what was happening on the other side of the caravan, so he’d have to finish these bandits asap.

He moved through hand seals with almost ridiculous speed, holding the final one. As he did, vectors gathered in a point above his head. Then, all at once, the area surrounding Mako was pushed to the ground, crushing all four men at once. They were slammed down with such force that it likely broke their bones, leaving them a mess on the ground. Mako immediately turned around, leaping across the caravan to get to the other side.

Still in the air, he began to process what was happening. Arata had clearly fallen, and was being dragged aside by a young girl. The other members of the caravan were beginning to panic, and screams could be heard as the bandits approached. There weren’t too many of them left; Mako counted five as he landed on the ground. His first goal was to keep the bandits away from the caravan.

Again, he weaved the hand seals. Several of the bandits had begun to move towards him, clearly targeting him as their main opposition. Having completed the hand seals, he shot out his hand releasing a small sphere of vectors. The orb rushed forwards, stopping at a few meters out, pushing the group of bandits backwards. Mako didn’t look back at Arata; he considered it likely that the man was unable to help any further. If Arata could rejoin the battle, he would have.

Instead, Mako focused on the continuing battle, trying to come up with a way to defeat the group of bandits all at once, but he was coming up empty.
Jutsu Used (In Order)Show
*Kuuton • Heavenly Subjugation
B-Ranked Kuuton Jutsu
After performing the necessary hand seals, the user will gather vectors into a point above them. All things within 15 metres of the user will then be pushed toward the ground with 20 strength for 2 posts. This does not include the user.

*Kuuton • Zoning Orb
C-Ranked Kuuton Jutsu
After performing the correct hand seals, the user will create a black orb the size of a baseball made of vectors within 10 metres of their person. That orb will push on anything within 5 metres of itself with 10 strength, forcing it away from it for 3 posts. This affects the user.
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Akiro Jouchaku; Jounin; Kirigakure No Sato #007AA5

Ryuu Genkouyoushi; Jounin; Iwagakure No Sato

Mako Notaramu; Jounin; Sunagakure No Sato

Inozu Yamanaka A-Rank; Missing Nin #AF2626

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Katya
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[Plotboard] The Sand of the Seihen

Post by Katya » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:31 pm

"I need to.... to fight..." Arata was saying as he tried to move, he tried to get up, but each time Mai pushed him down.

"No! You're fevered and weak, stay put!" she insisted, glancing up just as Mako arrived and Mai saw the men coming at them. Simply doing nothing wouldn't do, it wouldn't help anyone. And Arata was clearly too weak to do anything, even before he coughed flecks of blood on his lip, Mai knew he was done.

Despite his protests she drew his Katana and Wakizashi from his things. "Shut up." she snapped at him as she moved away and threw the wakizashi as hard as she could, grinning as it slammed through a man's neck and sent his feet up, his body down and he didn't move again. Mai brought the katana to her hands and ran up beside Mako. "Just tell me which way to go." she told him, not even bothering to look at him. If he tried to protest she'd tell him off, she knew it was a point where anyone who could help would need to, whether Mako liked it or not. As she stood beside him a couple more men emerged from the caravan with swords of their own, men who drove wagons and sold goods for a living, but clearly were willing to still fight for it.

"We can do this together." she told Mako, a determination in her tone that made it clear she intended to fight the enemy regardless of what anyone else had to say about it.
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