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Niro
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Post by Niro » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:27 pm

Tatsuo awoke extremely early in his tent as his clone dispelled itself. The memories of the night and the feeling of its chakra remerging with his own was enough to rouse him from his slumber. He stepped out of his tent and towards the fire, letting the flames the clone had kept burning warm his everything. The sky overhead was still black and filled with stars while the horses kept warm by lying by the fire and huddling together. There was no immediate danger but his clone had finally been so bored it had decided to dispel itself. Tatsuo opened up the cooler of brains, fat, and meat and grabbed some of the boar meat and bear fat.

The Bannin moved to the fire with his bounty and found the pan from last night. He placed everything within it while he fetched two tin mugs and plates. Once found, Tatsuo placed several chunks of bear fat in each mug and sat them by the fire. The cube would render into oil by the heat of the fire. Tatsuo took out the boar meat and cut it thin like bacon before tossing it into the pan with a small amount of the bear fat for added flavor.

By the time Maru woke up, he would find Tatsuo eating breakfast and sipping from a tin cup. He bit into a slice of bacon before picking up and handing the boy his own separate plate and motioning him to sit next to him, a second mug for him already prepared.

"Sleep well?"
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Nov 21, 2019 6:55 pm

Iwamaru rose a bit later than Tatsuo but still early enough that the sun had not yet crested the horizon. The chuunin had decided prudently to simply sleep in his clothing. The weather had been cold enough and his cloak and blankets thick enough that he'd had no concern for perspiration or anything of the sort whilst he slept. The sharp morning air hit his nostrils and snapped him awake. Quickly locating his shoes (which he'd made sure were free of snow and had been kept under his blankets so as to keep them from being ice cold when he awoke), he quickly put them on and exited his tent. Not at all surprised by what he saw, he approached the fire.

Maru nodded in thanks for the cup and the plate, both still steaming from the heat of the fire. He immediately bit into the boar meat, its fattiness a welcome taste after all of the traveling they had done the day before. "Well enough, Tatsuo-san," he confirmed as he took a seat. "I take it we're on track to meet up with the clan today, correct?"

After taking a few bites of the boar meat, Iwamaru picked up his mug and gave it a sniff and momentarily blinked at the pungent smell that rose from the tin cup. It took him a moment to recall that this was the bear fat. Welp, this was probably the most interesting breakfast he'd ever had. Taking a small sip of the bear fat in the cup, he slurped a small portion of the bear fat into his mouth, which quickly dissolved and melted into his mouth, covering his tongue with its powerful, earthy flavors. It was certainly good, but all of that umami condensed into a small package was like getting his teeth kicked in. Iwamaru took a bite of the boar afterward to try and balance out the earthiness of the bear with the salty fattiness of the bacon.

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Post by Niro » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:25 pm

Tatsuo laughed at the expression on Iwamaru's face after he sipped his drink. It was the same one that everyone else gave him when he first introduced them to it. It was an acquired taste but it was not without its benefits.

"This stuff will power you better than any coffee or energy drink. One of the many uses for lard and a very handy survival trick." Tatsuo commented in between bites of bacon and sips of bear fat oil. He had first been introduced to it by the monks who taught him Metal release. It had been quite some time since his last visit; Iwamaru would probably enjoy being introduced to them as he reminded Tatsuo of some of them.

"Yeah, 'Maru. We should be arriving at the rendezvous by afternoon today." Tatsuo explained as the sun began to crest the horizon and illuminate the forest surrounding them. The horses began to stir and birds begin to chirp around them as the forest came to life. "We'll break down camp after breakfast and get back on the road. Take your time, we've got plenty." He assured Maru then went back to eating his fill of bacon.

Breakfast ended a bit after. Tatsuo took to putting out the fire by dumping snow on it and then moved to resealing the utensils and cooler. It took a good bit of work with the ground being wet and the items having to go atop of a paper scroll. Eventually he figured it out and their rewards from last night were secured. Tatsuo then broke down his own tent; he'd given Iwamaru the task of breaking down his tent and then getting the horses ready. Once done with everything on his part, Tatsuo strode over to Iwamaru to secure his belongings on his horse.

"Ready?"
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:53 pm

Iwamaru nodded. "Tell me about it. I feel like it's almost a day's calories in just a single cup," he acknowledged. "I've certainly never tasted anything like it."

Iwamaru would make certain to eat his fill before tending to the horses. He decided to tend to them first since there might be unexpected issues that would pop up with a living being, and such complications were not as likely with inanimate objects. Making sure the horses were properly fed, watered, and saddled, he then turned to his tent. Quickly and neatly folding his blankets and rolling his bedroll, Maru would have his tent disassembled in mere minutes. It wasn't a particularly difficult task. Often times, teardown took less time than setting something up, and erecting and deconstructing a tent was no exception. He would likely already be in the process of securing his cargo to the horse. He knew that there were some unpleasant things he was going to face today, but he knew that running from it would do nothing. He would tackle those unfortunate realities with urgency and conviction.

"Whenever you are, Tatsuo-san," he replied, swinging himself up onto Snowfire. The horse snorted impatiently, and Iwamaru chuckled, patting her on the neck. "It looks like she is, too."

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Post by Niro » Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:51 pm

Tatsuo finished strapping his backpack and other gear onto the back end of the more ornery horse. Surprisingly the beast only snorted once before he swung himself up and into the saddle. He immediately urged the horse onward with his heels and their ride commenced. No snow or rain had fallen around them overnight so the coating of snow on the ground was old, dirty, and littered with the marks of animals that have passed in the night. Tatsuo kept his eyes peeled, just in case anything dangerous had decided they would be fun to hunt.

The duo's trip through the massive coniferous forest that spanned entire regions of the country wasn't without its own natural beauty. They passed by and rode on the lips of ravines, some cut into the forest by natural forces and others testaments to the strength of shinobi who had battle here. Mighty snow-covered mountains loomed in the distance as they made their way to the rendezvous point. The chattering of animals had followed them since they had departed but now, if one listen, they'd find the ambient noises long gone.

Tatsuo dug his heels into his mount and it slowed to a stop. He looked around slowly before knocking out a lengthy yet specific pattern on the tree closest to him. The tension, born from his initial stopping, only increased before finally there was movement along the tree line.

Figures began to move out from behind the trees surrounding them. Lightly tanned men wearing the hide skin clothing of the tribes who made the countryside their homes made themselves known to the two shinobi. A figure, taller and more muscular than his brethren, stepped to the forefront to greet the shinobi. He was bald with striking green eyes, a prominent nose, and thin lips. Dark tattoos could be seen peeking out from underneath the man's long sleeves and around the color of his fur lined Hood.

"Welcome, shinobi. Come with us." The man spoke rather unemotionally, his eyes distant and looking through them rather than at them. "Please, follow us to the village."

Tatsuo immediately knew something was off. The entire situation reeked of something fishy but it wouldn't help him figure out what by immediately jumping down their throats as to what was going on.

"Please, lead the way." Tatsuo told guide while keeping his even. He waited until the man and his kin began to lead them to turn and shoot Iwamaru a look that likely keyed him in that something was wrong. The trip to their modest village was short but upon arrival that feeling of wrong continued to increase.

They were led to a stable by the village member from earlier who waited outside of the stall for them to put their horses away. The stable itself with small, only five stalls in total. The other three were already in use by horses with much darker coats and different proportions than their own. Tatsuo removed his pack before leaving the horse in the stall and strapped it to his own back. He looked around for a moment before looking to Iwamaru.

"There's something they're hiding or they can't talk about. Be on your toes. He'll be taking us to the slaves shortly."
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:43 pm

Iwamaru rode in silence along with Tatsuo enjoying the harsh beauty of the Rock Country in the winter. The evergreen trees, ever resilient against winter’s bite, stood tall and unmoved, even in the face of the massive scars left in the land by nature and man alike. It was his first time being so deep into the country still, and it made him start to understand how the parks inside of the village had been constructed. Despite having lived in the village for his entire life, there was a pleasant sense of familiarity he enjoyed being in this forest.

Things, however, quickly turned sour as a more unpleasant truth reared its ugly head. Abruptly coming to a stop, Iwamaru stood by as Tatsuo knocked what he quickly recognized was a large code onto the trunk of a tree. The air became unnaturally still, and as the sounds of movements muffled by snow echoed around them, Snowfire looked to either side. Iwamaru gave the horse a pat on the neck to calm her.

Iwamaru immediately sensed that this was abnormal. Something was clearly amiss. For a tribe that seemed to regularly do business with the village and profit off of it, this man’s tone was rather cold and detached, bordering on antagonistic. A quick look to Tatsuo confirmed it as his eyes caught the Bannin’s look. Casually rolling his shoulders, he followed closely behind the Akari, keeping a sharper eye on his surroundings.

As they were led to the stable to put up their horses, Iwamaru nodded silently at Tatsuo’s warning. He figured the fewer words they had to exchange, the better. If they thought him ignorant and targeted him, it would be something he could use to catch them off-guard. For now, he would continue following Tatsuo’s orders without question.

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Post by Niro » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:39 pm

The two shinobi of Iwagakure no Sato exited the meager horse stable and were greeted by the bald, stoic clansman who had lead them to the village in the first place. The same detached look lingered on his face as he bowed to the two and held it for a moment. He stood up and turned on his heel to lead them to a large hut outside of an even larger long hall. The hut was poorly put together with the thatched roof barely staying together and cracks everywhere throughout the walls. The entrance to the hut was merely some tanned hide that did nothing to keep the cold out. Tatsuo's mouth drew into a thin line as he stepped up to the hut and looked at the clansman hard. He in turn avoided the man's gaze, instead finding an interesting spot on the ground.

Tatsuo threw open the hide-door and sun light streamed into the hut. Candles lined the walls of the hut providing minuscule amounts of light and warmth but inside was a wriggling mass of poorly cared for people: men, women, children. The bannin took a deep, deep sigh before stepping out, covering the exit, and looking at the man. The look on his face was one of barely restrained rage and for those who didn't usually partake in these missions, it was probably a strange sight to Iwamaru for someone who was buying slaves to be furious with the supplier.

"Y'know..." Tatsuo started speaking with a low, threatening tone. "Iwagakure has standards when it comes to allowing slaving to happen within Rock Country." He began to peel his gloves off and stuff them in the back pocket of his trousers. "Villages that are captured are below a certain standard of living and then once enslaved, proper care is to be given until the product is purchased and picked up. Buyers back home see their slaves as more...pets. Like a dog or a cat. They develop actual emotional attachments and if a slave is treated poorly, like I'm seeing here, they're taken from that master and given a better situation or freed."

"You realize what I'm getting at, right?" Tatsuo went on, staring down the clansman. "Iwagakure will no longer do business with your tribe after what I just saw. The last time I was here, it was different. They were taken care of more than adequately." He began stepping into the man's space and caused him to backpedal into the wall of another hut. Tatsuo shot out his left arm to prevent the man from running and pinning him in place. "So what the fucked happened?" He hissed out.

"A newcomer killed the old chieftain...he'd used magicks we've never seen before. It was submit to his way or die..." The clansman revealed before sliding down the wall and into the snow. "He didn't care which villages we raided or how we housed the slaves. It was do it or die. He only cares to see blood spilled..."

Tatsuo stepped back from the clansman and looked over his shoulder at Iwamaru.

"Go procure us the largest carriage they have and get them loaded onto it. Once they're on, go. Even if I'm not there yet, head for Iwa." He ordered the chuunin while slipping off his backpack. Tatsuo tossed it to the boy before turning to the long hall. It was where this new bastard chieftain was and he had business to take care of.
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:53 am

Iwamaru was stepping into a world for which he was wholly unprepared and was participating in a trade that almost immediately brought a foul, putrid taste to his mouth. Iwamaru had been taught about slaves in the academy and had seen some in the streets of the village. As a young child he, of course, had thought nothing of it. His father had treated it as something completely normal, but his mother was different. Though she was one that believed in living a simple, modest life where one minded one's own business, between herself and her son, her sadness and disgust at the slave trade was not hidden. It was one of Iwamaru's earliest memories of his mother, along with her smile and her love of song. She'd always had a beautiful voice, and many of her songs, which danced through the walls of their home, often contained themes of freedom and imagination, like birds and petals floating on a gentle spring wind.

And now, as he walked amongst these tattered ragtag huts and tents of this group of degenerates that made their livings on stripping people of their own free will, Iwamaru found a feeling in his heart beginning to crystallize, to harden and take form. Of all of the job duties he'd ever performed, this was the only one he could imagine himself refusing moving forward. His hatred of what this place represented was on the most basic, fundamental level, enough where he had to be careful to not allow it to spill over to hating the people who worked in it. Even with the uncertainty that Tatsuo mentioned, he felt the grim despair in the air. This was a place that represented the death of decency and hope. He knew that the life in the village was better from a material standpoint, yes, but money was just that: money. It could be trampled underfoot, broken, burned, melted. Free will, and the capacity to exercise that free will, were not things that could be bought or bartered for... not truly, at least. How many of these people were really criminals or savages? How many of them had been simple people trying to live their lives? Could some of them have even been happy with the lives before that had been ruthlessly shattered, regardless of how little they had materially? He knew that he didn't know everything, and he was going to have questions... but the notion alone was anathema to the chuunin. That would never change.

They walked into one of the larger huts, which seemed to literally be standing by the grace of whatever gods they prayed to. Iwamaru was confused for a moment. 'Where would they be keeping the people? Why is this camp so empty?' he wondered grimly. Tatsuo's quick observations soon answered that question, and the sight of what he saw was so upsetting that he literally felt pain in his heart. They... they were being held underground, crammed into tiny spaces like literal animals, and he could see even from his vantage point that none of them appeared to be properly fed or clothed. Part of him hoped that Tatsuo saw the same injustice as Maru did, but from the words that soon followed, he didn't have much reason to hold out hope. Did he not understand the hypocrisy of what he spoke of? It was possible that Tatsuo was simply focusing on his duties and putting his personal feelings aside. He would have to do much the same, as much as it sickened him.

The tribesman's blank expression finally came alive with desperation and fear as Tatsuo finally tightened the screws... A newcomer? Whoever he was, he sounded brutal. Maru was hoping he might be allowed to accompany Tatsuo and make a lesson of the man, but his wish would remain unfulfilled, instead assigning to the only task that Iwamaru truly wanted to refuse. 'Change won't happen through insubordination, Maru. The most you can do is make sure to treat these people as humanely as possible,' he thought to himself, even as Tatsuo relayed his instructions. "Yessir," he replied firmly, making certain to answer quickly. Perhaps it was better to simply keep these thoughts to himself for now.

Turning around and exiting the hut, Maru quickly scanned his surroundings, looking for the carriage in question. He knew that if he had any hope of completing this task before he lurched from self-disgust, he would have to act with a powerful sense of urgency. Moving over to the stable, he found a large carriage that was large enough to house the passengers in question. He refused, even for a moment, to allow himself to consider them as slaves. He was even more aggravated that the carriage in question was covered merely by a canvas covering. This was the dead of winter. These people would freeze to death if they left in that! Quickly turning, he sought the stablemaster. He would likely have large animal pelts they could place over and in the carriage.

Much like the tribesmen that led them to the camp, the stablemaster was shaved bald and was covered in a number of tattoos, sporting a large mustache and beard. Looking up, he saw the glint in Iwamaru's eyes and immediately became nervous. "What can I do for you, shinobi?" he asked, trying not to sound as scared as he was.

Iwamaru's extraordinary patience was remarkably smaller than normal. "Bring me all of your animal pelts. I'm going to cover and furnish the carriage with them," he ordered, giving no room for argument in his tone.

Both to and against his merit, the stablemaster objected. "We worked hard for those pelts, shinobi. How can a single carriage of slaves possibly be worth-"

Lifting his foot slightly, Iwamaru stomped the ground, and the stablemaster fell over as the ground beneath him shook, the ground around Maru's foot clearly caved and cracked. Iwamaru's tone was cold, even, and had a clear sense of restraint. "Let's get one thing straight. I don't know you well enough to hate you. But I hate what you and your clan do. The only reason why I am not actively disassembling and pulverizing your entire livelihood with my bare hands at this very moment is because my loyalty to my village is stronger than my loathing of your work's heritage. Am I the person you really wanna argue with? If the answer is no, then it means that you're smart. And if you're smart, then shut up and follow my orders."

The look of terror on the stablemaster's face, along with the furious nodding, officially ended any further need for discussion. As the stablemaster was gathering the pelts, he would walk toward the center of the camp and secure food for the passengers. This was going to be a long trip back.
"Sir, one of the Shinobi is coming to see you."

In the large, clearly marked tent, the new tribe chieftain atop a large chair crafted of fine pelts and the desecrated bones and skulls of various animals slaughtered by their hunting parties. A large, hearth burned in the tent, the smoke rising up and exiting via a steeple with vents sewn into the top of the tent. Aside from the hearth, there were other torches that stood on lampstands that provided light, but the chieftain war a large hooded cloak, his face and features generally hidden. The sickening sound of slithering and chitinous clicking and cracking echoed momentarily through the silence that followed the scout's announcement.

The filthy grin on the chieftain's face could practically be heard on his face even though it remained obscured under the hood. "Of course he is. Likely coming to complain about the 'quality' of the product. Completely ignorant to his village's own double standard. Remain calm and don't make any stupid movements. If you do, and he doesn't kill you for it, I will."

His guards swallowed quietly. The tension would be palpable as Tatsuo stepped into the tent. "Welcome, Shinobi-san," he said rather jovially, standing and spreading his arms wide, showing clothing much like the tribe's, comprised mainly of pelts and skins. "Did you see the shipment? We increased our yield by fifty percent from last season."

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Post by Niro » Tue Dec 10, 2019 8:06 pm

Tatsuo's views on slavery were...well, he really didn't care. He'd been raised on brutality far surpassing Iwa's brand of slavery. Children with desired shiin who stayed out too late in the Akari compound weren't likely to survive. Their bodies would be found in the morning torn to pieces with organs missing. Prey even within their own home. Compared to how he'd seen the slaves of Iwa treated? He'd wished those children were born slaves rather than Akari more times than he could count. Plus? Personal feelings on matters such as these were only a hindrance. They'd get in the way and detract from the success of the mission.

As he stepped through the opening of the chieftain's main tent, his hands tightened into fists. The torch light inside the tent was enough to easily illuminate the two. A cloaked man wearing pelts similar to those of the tribe stood and welcomed him and immediately Tatsuo didn't like the tone being used by the man. It gave plenty of illumination; the man knew what he'd done and why Tatsuo was here. Tatsuo stared at the man across the room for several seconds before he released two jabs with the strength to move mountains aimed at the two. Of course, being across from each other the punches did not land but that wasn't the point as two air bullets raced towards the duo.

"Yeah, not here to talk. Let's get this show on the road, I got a ride to catch." Tatsuo declared as his air bullets closed in on the pair. He doubted it would be enough to take care of the chieftain but it wouldn't surprise him if the other tribesman would be unable to withstand or dodge the incoming attacks. Rather than immediately demolish this bastard, Tatsuo wanted to see if he could get him to brag just a bit. Figure out his plan here and then smother it in the crib. The bannin already knew the man was glib from how he had spoken to him. "I hope this isn't it. I was hoping for a bit more of a workout."
SpoilerShow
[Shiva's Strike]
B-rank Taijutsu Manuever
Prerequisite: 35 Strength
Tatsuo will build strength in his fist. As he builds up strength and releases it, it will shoot a dense air pocket in the form of a 5m3 bullet that moves and strikes at 2/3rds his Strength. The air ignites from the sheer force and will cause 2nd degree burns on impact. The dense bullet of air will travel up to 2/3rds Strength meters before dissipating.
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Sat Dec 28, 2019 12:17 pm

In a short amount of time, Iwamaru had intimidated the slavers into submission. People easily beaten by fear were easier still to manipulate. He disliked using such tactics in general, but this was one of those rare exceptions. The cart, originally only covered with a single canvas tarp, was now adorned with a variety of pelts both inside and out. He’d brought the cart as close as possible to where the slaves were being held before loading them onto the cart. Many of them flinched as he reached for them, and they were surprised by how gentle he was, even taking the younger children in his arms. The dichotomy was confusing to them, to say the least. His face seemed cold, but his eyes spoke volumes. They were kind yet unavoidably sad. There was nothing about this that made it okay in his mind.

After getting the last of the slaves onto the cart (where it was considerably warmer), he tended to their nutrition. Closing the cart, he hoisted the harness for the cart over his shoulder and pulled it with ease toward the cooking area, over which there were large portions of beef roasting on spits, a cauldron of lentil stew, and bread. Slicing strips of meat from the beast, Maru quickly made meals for them. He had to keep moving. He had to keep busy.

It was all that was keeping him from taking his frustrations out on this entire camp.
The clan leader deftly sidestepped the air bullet that Tatsuo launches at him, pulverizing the chair upon which he had been sitting upon. His subordinate was not so lucky, the air-bullet drilled into him, and the force was so potent that it left a fist-sized home in his chest, killing him instantly. Cracking his neck, the clan leader grinned. ”My, my... Are all of you ninja big shots so ill-mannered?” he asked coyly, channeling as his hands crossed over themselves and reached beneath his cloak. When he revealed his hands, they were gripping a pair of wakizashi with holes along the spine of the weapon, each blade measuring 12” in length.

”I’d say a lesson in etiquette is in order,” he hissed, leaping at Tatsuo and launching a quick flurry of light, low commitment slashes at the Bannin, the air being filled with a high-pitched hum that quickly turned into a shrill siren that even pained the Bannin’s ears. As he leaped forward, Tatsuo might be surprised to see the tell-tale flash of additional weapons of a more fleshly nature entering the flurry of attacks.

This man was an Akari.
JutsuShow
~Basic Formation: Melashiin
D-Ranked Ninjutsu
Channeling chakra to their shiin, they cause it to inflate, fully forming into its full glory. Taking the shape of a long fleshy protrusion, the melashiin is able to recover at double the rate of a normal body part would. The strength of a melashiiin is equal to 3/4ths of the user's strength.

~Basic Formation: Temershiin
D-Ranked Ninjutsu
Channeling chakra to their shiin, they cause it to inflate, fully forming into its full glory. The temershiin takes the shape of a wide and powerful tail. The strength of a temershiin equal to the user's strength.

*[Yoshin • Prey's Anatomy]
D-Rank Taijutsu Discipline
Detailed knowledge of the human body's vulnerabilities and weaknesses are fundamental to learning Yoshin. This Discipline represents the practitioner's knowledge of the precise location of all major organs, tendons, blood vessels, and nerve clusters on both their body and the opponent's body. This allows the practitioner to accurately target those areas even in the heat of combat.

*[Yoshin • Ambidexterity]
D-Rank Taijutsu Discipline
After practicing for a long amount of time with the concept of using both of their hands with equal skill, the user has developed a level of ambidexterity that allows them to utilize both hands equally and as effectively without any penalty. This extends to other methods of combat or simple everyday life as well.

Yin Release • Hymn of Tragedy
D-Rank Illusion Genjutsu
Channeling chakra into the Winds of Entropy, the practitioner must initiate this genjutsu while the Winds of Entropy are still in their scabbards. The practitioner moves to draw both of the Winds of Entropy from their scabbards. If the target sees the motion of the practitioner reaching for their weapons, they are caught in the genjutsu. The genjutsu causes the target to see the blades of the weapons as being shorter than they really are, measuring only 12" in length instead of 24" in length. This genjutsu lasts for four posts.

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Post by Niro » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:11 pm

The lackey lacked the necessary quickness to avoid his blows or the necessary toughness to survive the hit. It served to shock neither man as the corpse toppled over with a lifeless thud as blood flowed from the fist-sized hole in the center of his chest. Tatsuo's eyes immediately locked onto the hands of his opponent as he reached his cloak. There was the unmistakable glow of chakra being channeled. This only made this more fun for him. Tatsuo's own chakra was then focused to his melashiin sac, the energy causing the organ to bloom like a bloody rose. A quiet, wet squelch emanated from his lower back as the chieftain drew his blades. Twelve dark violet, nearly black, tendrils emerged and readied themselves under his duster.

Once the blades were drawn, the chieftain leapt forward slashing all the while. Each swing released a low hum that turned into a dull pain that began to build. Once it reached a point of actually being painful, he blocked the mounting pain and continue to focus on the threat in front of him. Tatsuo's melashiin tendrils responded in kind to the airborne man, all twelve of them punching forward releasing a storm of burning, pressurized blows. His eyes caught sight of the fleshy melashiin and temershiin also rushing forward with the sword strike. Now it came down to it the man enjoy being turned into a burnt, pulverized crisp or had some way to change direction mid air.
SpoilerShow
[Basic Formation: Enhanced Melashiin]
D-Ranked Ninjutsu
Channeling chakra to their shiin, they cause it to inflate, fully forming into its full glory. Taking the shape of a long fleshy protrusion, the melashiin is able to recover at double the rate of a normal body part would. The user's melashiin has been combined with a temershiin granting it strength equal to user's strength.

[Shiin Barrage]
B-rank Taijutsu Maneuver
Prerequisite: 35 Strength
The user will strike the air in front of them with their shiin, creating a number of pressurized 5m3 bullets of air equal to the shiin currently out that shoot forward with a Speed and Strength equal to 1/2 the user’s Strength for 1/2 the user's Strength in meters. The air bullets ignite from the sheer force and will cause 2nd degree burns on impact.

[Feel No Pain]
A Rank Taijutsu Discipline
Prerequisite: 35 Stamina, 35 Strength
A user with this technique has trained themselves to ignore even the most painful of wounds. This isn't to say that the damage of the wound is ignored; a grievous wound will still cause damage to the user's body and could inhibit their abilities or kill them outright. This discipline simply allows the user to treat pain as if it doesn't exist through shear force of body and will, allowing them to charge straight through attacks and jutsu to deliver their onslaught of attacks.

Meanwhile, Barbarians loyal to the new Chieftain were preparing to take back the product they had procured. Word traveled fast through the camp about fighting and a slave break out. Even if the Village would no longer pay for them, there was always other buyers. They readied themselves with armor made of leather and hide, strapped their swords to their waists, and slung a quiver of arrows and a bow over their shoulders.

Hunting dogs were pulled from their pens and then riled up sufficiently. Scraps of clothing from the slave storage areas were presented to the hounds before they were let loose upon their prey.
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:47 pm

A moment of surprised recognition washed over the Chieftain's face as Tatsuo launched his attack, but it seemed that the bannin's opponent was capable of identifying and adapting to changes in battle at speeds that even the Tsuchikage's candidate could not manage. His temershiin quickly shooting off to the Chieftain's left and slamming into the ground, the opponent was quickly pulled away from the flurry of blows that Tatsuo had launched a literal hair's breadth before the strikes twisted and split the air his body had just been occupying just before, which quickly blew a massive hole in the canopy of the quickly faltering tent as thick canvas and fabrics rent and shredded.

The moment his feet hit the ground, he was rushing the bannin again, keeping his profile low and approaching in a quick, erratic zig-zag motion to make his movements less fluid and easy to predict. He matched Tatsuo in Speed, a significant feat on its own and launched a choice slash at Tatsuo's chest. Aside from the genjutsu possibly disrupting Tatsuo's perception of the blade's actual length, the attack itself was also a feint; if Tatsuo either blocked or dodged, Tatsuo would move in the direction that he was blocking or dodging and catch his side mid-step with a slash along the skin and muscles of his obliques and ribcage, all launched at a Speed that rivaled his own. If Tatsuo wound up taking even a minor cut, he would likely quickly recognize that it would not begin healing as it normally should.
JutsuShow
Temershiin Lash
D-Rank Taijutsu Maneuver
Stabbing their Temershiin into a surface or wrapping it around a structure for some sort of support, the Chieftain can use their Temershiin to maneuver in a variety of ways, such as supporting their own body weight, doubling the length of a single jump by pushing off of the ground with it, pulling themselves to safety while in midair, etc.

*[Yoshin • Track the Prey]
D-Rank Taijutsu Maneuver
A somewhat risky technique, the practitioner steps in aggressively for a split moment as a feint. The offensive nature of this feint is meant to prompt the opponent to reflexively block or dodge. The practitioner then follows this dodge and attacks the opponent with a slash or thrust, typically targeting a specific tendon, organ, joint, or nerve cluster.

*[Yoshin • Hidden Trap]
D-Rank Taijutsu Maneuver
After taking the opponent's side either offensively or after evading an attack, the practitioner draws a quick, firm slash across the opponent's side, such as their oblique, rib cage, or arm. The attack is intended to both injure and startle the opponent, often used to disrupt an opponent's attack or sequence of attacks with the severity of the damage. A unique attack within Yoshin, this particular technique is meant to dig as deeply into the opponent as possible, many times slashing into bones to cause as much long term damage as possible. The depth of the cut can also cause serious blood loss over time.

Iwamaru had finished feeding the slaves and had just completed hooking the two horses up to the cart when the distant sound of barking dogs tickled the outer fringes of his hearing. Walking back toward the opening of the cart, he looked down at the movements of the barbarians throughout the village. His eyes sharpened as he saw the main tent's canopy burst open from within. He knew that could be no one other than Tatsuo... but the movements of the barbarians were strange. Despite Tatsuo clearly being the greater threat, there were a number of barbarians in the camp below that were moving away from the conflict, and they didn't give the appearance that they were fleeing. The dogs were also concerning. It was pretty common for dogs to be used for tracking... but Iwamaru wasn't hiding. He had made it pretty clear where he was. No, those dogs were for a different purpose.

Closing the back hatch of the wagon, Maru quickly weaved a set of seals. He could feel that a fight was coming, and despite how much the notion of leaving Tatsuo behind sickened him, orders were orders. His trademark armor of stone floated up and adhered itself to him, and even as the plates affixed themselves in their proper places, he was already leading the horses toward the main path out of the village. Making another set of seals, a large wall slowly rose up from the ground to block off a choke point and slow the advance of the following barbarians. Not waiting for the technique to finish, Iwamaru hopped onto the front of the carriage and beckoned the horses forward as quickly as they would go, their powerful muscles carrying the whole carriage forward with relative ease. Still, Maru knew that the horses would not be able to outpace the dogs. One hand on the reigns and the other free, Iwamaru rotated between watching the path before him and the road behind. If the horses were attacked, it would spell disaster. They would not be afraid of killing even dozens of these slaves to get the rest back. He would engage the dogs directly if need be. He was more than strong enough to quickly dispatch the beasts, and he was quick enough to make it back to the carriage should he have to separate himself.
JutsuShow
Doton • Basic Titan's Armor
D-Rank Ninjutsu
Prerequisite(s): 7 Strength.
After performing the necessary hand seals, Iwamaru creates a thin segmented breastplate, thin greaves (boots), thin gauntlets, and a thin helmet of stone which lift up from the ground and attach themselves to Iwamaru in segments. This set of armor forms at 3 Speed and has 7 Strength. The gauntlets cover the top of Iwamaru's hands to leave his hands free for weaving hand seals and managing his equipment.

Doton • Stalwart Barricade
C-Rank Ninjutsu
After making the needed seals, Iwamaru channels his chakra into the earth, causing a semi-circular wall of rock to erupt from the ground anywhere within fifteen meters of his position. This wall emerges from the ground with 5 Speed and has 15 Strength. This semi-circular wall is 5 x 5 x 3 meters and covers a 180-degree radius.

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Post by Niro » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:00 pm

Tatsuo watched patiently as his foe dodged at the last possible moment by snagging and pulling himself to a different immediate area than in front of him. The pressurized blasts of air tore through the canvas and furs forming the roof of the hall, the tatters having caught ablaze due to the heat that accompanied the blows. Slowly the blaze began to spread and engulf the rest of the structure. His eyes followed his opponent, studying how his body moved. How fast his temershiin was, its acceleration, how efficiently it distributed the strength to place the chieftain where he wished to land.

Top speed? Rivaled his. Acceleration? Sorely lacking. Efficient power and weight distribution? Unimpressive. A plan took root within the Bannin's mind as the chieftain once more dashed forward to attack with his blade. The twelve tentacles came to life once more, whipping about wildly and forming a protective dome of trashing limbs that struck out at incoming blows with one of its own. Within the fleshy defensive dome, Tatsuo channeled chakra to his phasmashiin, the blade and pauldron forming moments later. He raised the blade high over his head building tension as his melashiin defended him. The Bannin then brought the shiin down, striking the ground in front of him with herculean strength. The impact immediately shattered the point of contact and released a wave of force. The ground encompassing the hall shook with the wrath of the gods, preventing people unable to withstand the shaking from walking or moving and causing jagged slabs of rock to spring forth and try to crush those trapped.
SpoilerShow
[Watching Closely]
S-Rank Discipline Taijutsu
Prerequisite: [Perception] concentration, 39 Instinct
Possessing immense instinct and perception, Tatsuo is aware of even the most subtle details around him, to a point where he can even pick up on the slightest tension changes in an opponent’s body allowing him predict their movement before it is complete or even read what someone is writing by the way their pencil moves. At times his eyes seem to move on their own will, rapidly tracking an amount of movements equal to his [Instinct]/2.

~[Basic Formation: Phasmashiin]
D-Ranked Ninjutsu
Channeling chakra to their shiin, they cause it to inflate, fully forming into its full glory. The phasmashiin takes the shape of a scaled and skeletal weapon over one of the Akari's limbs. The phasmashiin have a strength equal to user's strength.

[Earthquake]
S-Rank Taijutsu Maneuver
The user will lift their shiin high above their head and build up an immense amount of strength within their muscles. Then, in one incredible move, the user slams their shiin to the ground with such force that they release a wave of pure force with their swing. The force of the initial blow shatters the ground on contact, and the force of the wave extends out from the user in a 30-meter radius, the earth will continue to be torn asunder by the power of the slash. This not only shakes the earth with incredible violence for 3 posts, requiring a taijutsu equal to or higher than the strength of the user to stand reliably, but also threatens to rip anyone in the area apart as well due to the immense jagged rocks being shot up from the ground at 9/10 the user's strength.

Elsewhere in the village, the hounds had been released from their tethers. They tore through the village and first came upon the slave storage huts where the smell was strongest, their masters following behind them on horses. One of the dogs caught a recent scent leading to where Iwamaru had stopped to clothe and feed as many as he could in the moment.

Soon the hounds were tearing their way to the front of the village where a stone wall blocked the barbarians and their animals from advancing. The hunt leader barked out an order and two members dismounted from their steeds with hammers. They began to pound against the base of the structure until it crumbled into debris they could easily move past. Several minutes later, the hunt and hounds were back on the trail of the carriage.

A loud howl broke through the air as the hounds raced free through the woods. They began to close in on the carriage, paws pounding away at the forest floor and crunching through snow and ice. Sleek, wolf-like hounds made their appearance running side by side with the horses pulling the carriage, nipping at their hooves. If the horses got too scared and spooked, things could go sideways real fast.
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:42 pm

Tatsuo’s opponent had a powerful arsenal in his own right, well-suited to fighting many common opponents. It wasn’t often that his general strategy had failed. But even in their short exchange, this rogue Akari could tell:

This was no common opponent.

As the many tentacles and appendages blocked his attacks, even though he scored incremental hits on weaker areas of the various shiin, he knew that this wall of appendages were meant to keep him at bay for something big. If he’d wanted to overwhelm him with brute force, Tatsuo could have. He instantly recognized that a frontal assault was a mistake. He’d have to rely on his acute senses to pull him through and facilitate a retreat. This was fine. Even if he lost control of this tribe, he’d already exerted his control over many other barbarian tribes. His plan was already well into fruition. This man, his village, no one would stop him. There was no reason for this to be the hill he died on.

As soon as Tatsuo’s wall of tentacles swept away, he used his temershiin to pull himself away as well as push off the ground as he reached into his pack and pulled out a smoke bomb. While his Strength was not enough to completely avoid the wave of force that erupted from Tatsuo’s position, by rolling with the impact and allowing his body to be pushed away by the force, he both reduced the damage he took as well as used the force to push him far away.

Tatsuo would see the opponent fly away, but only moments after, the air would explode in a plume of thick smoke. It seemed that this was a special smoke bomb, one that covered a large area and produced loud crackling noises. If Tatsuo attempted to pursue, he’d find his opponent had vanished. It was clear he wasn’t stupid enough to take a head-on fight he couldn’t win. This enemy would return one day... and he would engage him much differently.

As the air settled, Tatsuo would quickly come to realize that the camp was a lot emptier than expected... and that his compatriot, per his orders, had left. One of Maru’s telltale walls stood at the entrance to the camp. It was clear from tracks that he was being pursued by dogs and on horseback.
JutsuShow
Yoshin • Shedding Snakeskin
C-Rank Taijutsu Maneuver
Prerequisite(s):/ 15 Taijutsu.
Instead of remaining rigid against incoming attacks, this practitioner has developed the ability to roll with the punches, limiting damage suffered to areas on the body where attacks impact. This Discipline represents the practitioner’s ability to reduce the damage taken from attacks through flexible movements and quick reactions to enemy attacks.

Maru was glad that he’d had the skins on top firmly secured. Getting up above the dogs in their natural blind spot behind their head was a simple feet. Kneeling down, in case the dog’s body rolled under the wheel of the carriage, he quickly pulled a kunai and threw it down from behind, likely impaling the dog’s brain instantly. He would do this for each of the dogs, alternating sides with each kill to prevent any of the dogs from getting too close to the horses. This would get immeasurably bloodier just from collateral damage to the people inside if the wagon lost its support. That’s not counting the other barbarians on horses.

The two horses were trained well. So long as they saw a road before them, they wouldn’t stop. Iwamaru would work to eliminate the dogs as quickly as possible in that manner before turning his attention to their human masters. Due to the skins he’d requisitioned from the camp, it was highly unlikely that they’d get access to the inside of the carriage from the sides.

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Post by Niro » Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:56 pm

Tatsuo was miffed as the smoke bomb cleared out and his prey was gone. The rumbling from his attack continued to tear apart the village as other buildings began to come crashing down, their foundations much too weak to endure. He had wanted that bastards shiin; melashiin and temershiin by themselves weren't too useful. But with his astrashiin, he could change that. Mix and match their best qualities into one evolved version. It would have made fighting Ishidai a piece of cake. The next time the bastard showed his face he would make sure to rip his head from his neck.

Tatsuo stepped free of the rubble and began to head down the village path back to its entrance. The rogue was very long gone and although he didn't doubt he could chase him down, he did have the responsibility of his chuunin companion. Speaking of Maru, It wasn't hard to tell the rock wall was his. The frenzy of tracks didn't bode well for the chuunin. He looked up from the tracks on the ground and took in the land. The trail they had used to bring the two shinobi into the village had been an auxiliary entrance. The main entrance led down a steep winding hill. The bannin immediately took off down the hill, the ground under his feet cracking and shattering as he launched himself, not caring to follow the winding road. It would only slow him down and he was already playing catch-up. The thin whip like branches of the forest crashed into him relentlessly, but he paid them no mind as the clop of hooves and the howls of beasts finally met his ears. They were a ways off, but he knew where now.

Hold on just a bit longer, Maru.
The wolf like beasts dropped when Maru put his kunai through their heads, but two more would take their fallen brethrens' place each time. It didn't take long for Maruxs limited supply of kunai and shuriken to empty although the enemy kept coming. The beasts at the heels of the horses nipped while thunks emanated from the arrows striking the back of the wagon.

The winding path soon straightened out and gave a clear view as to what was lying in wait ahead of them.

A wooden bridge just wide enough for the carriage to ride on it with extremely thick bundles of rope holding it in place over a massive ravine. Strong winds swept through the area and caused the bridge to sway dangerously over the gaping Maw below it.
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:58 am

Maru cursed as the winding path gave way to one of the bridges. To take that bridge at a full gallop would be a death sentence for the people in the cart. Quickly and roughly pulling on the reins, Maru would cause the horses to stand on their hind legs right at the threshold of the bridge, preventing the dogs from attacking the horse’s front legs. Dropping down, Maru would execute the dog on the left of the cart with a falling double stomp of the heel on its spine, snapping it before grabbing its broken body and hurling it full strength under the carriage at the other dog, sending both flying into the ravine to untimely deaths. Shouting at the people in the carriage to move closer to the front of the vehicle, the chuunin would begin weaving a set of seals. He would then deploy a large semi, circular barrier that would entirely block off the bridge from his pursuers. It wouldn’t hold for long, but it would be enough to get him at least partway across the bridge. He was thankful that he’d had the foresight to cover the cart in hides and leathers. It would provide some protection for the passengers from errant arrows from above.

Gently egging the horses back forward into a modest cantor, Maru would weave another set of seals and pull up another wall, one bristling with spikes, right in front of the bridge’s entrance. This would make immediate pursuit onto the bridge impossible. He would then catch up to the carriage and hop on the back of the carriage with his sword drawn as he observed the entrance to the bridge, lest the enemy find a quick way around the deterrents he’d put in place.
JutsuShow
Doton • Stalwart Barricade
C-Rank Ninjutsu
After making the needed seals, Iwamaru channels his chakra into the earth, causing a semi-circular wall of rock to erupt from the ground anywhere within fifteen meters of his position. This wall emerges from the ground with 5 Speed and has 15 Strength. This semi-circular wall is 5 x 5 x 3 meters and covers a 180-degree radius.

Doton • Wall of Pain
C-Rank Ninjutsu
After performing the needed seals, Iwamaru pulls a wall up from the ground at a Speed equal to his Strength and with a Strength of 10. The wall measure 5 meters x 5 meters x 3 meters and is covered with thin, sharp stone spikes each 1 meter long with an equal Strength to the wall. If Iwamaru strikes this wall with a Strength of 10 or higher, the spikes will break off of the wall and be launched at opponents up to 20 meters away at a Speed equal to Iwamaru’s Strength. Conversely, Iwamaru can push this wall with a Strength of 10 or higher to launch the entire wall forward up to 20 meters away equal to his Strength.

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Post by Niro » Sat Feb 08, 2020 5:33 pm

The pursuers came to a halt as they came upon the blocked entrance to the ravine bridge. The leader barked some orders to his underlings and within moments the hunters had withdrawn thin rags and containers of dark liquid from their saddlebags. The rags were soaked and then tied to their arrows as the hunters moved to the sides of the barricades where they could still fire their bows accurately at Maru and the carriage.

A fire has been lit and each hunter dipped their arrows in it before raining down a barrage of flaming missiles. Three landed in the path of the horses while others were aimed at the ropes holding the bridge steady with deadly precision. Those hunters not that skilled with the bow were given the task of removing the obstacles preventing them from following onto the bridge in case their archers failed. The other set upon the walls with picks and their blades until finally the rock walls began to crumble.

Tatsuo continued his descent down the hill towards Maru and the carriage, the strong scent of beasts such as horses and dogs and the shouts of their masters now plenty clear. He ready his shiin as he crashed into their back line and began to tear any who opposed him limb from limb.
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:18 pm

Iwamaru watched the archers preparing their arrows and knew that they still had something up their sleeves. Now that they were partway across the bridge, Maru wasn’t as concerned about the bridge swaying, as the closer they got to the other side, the less impact it would have on the horses’ footing. Seeing the men pull out the rags, Maru jumped up and landed on the top of the carriage, the leather and framework of the carriage himself providing enough support for him as he grabbed the reins and egged the horses into a gallop. His sword in hand, Maru would grab one of his explosive grenades and watch the arc of the arrows carefully. The three arrows that would strike in front of the horses were deflected away and off the bridge by deft parries from his sword. At least some of the arrows that were heading for the ropes on the bridge would be intercepted mid-flight by the grenade, Maru making certain he didn’t detonate the grenade too close to the bridge itself, instead using the force to divert or obliterate the burning arrows. Depending on the size of the volley, he wouldn’t be able to stop all of them, but it would be enough to finish the journey along the bridge before the arrows that did land burned through the ropes.

The sounds of screams and shouts was an indication that Tatsuo had completed his task. He slowed the horses down to a trot after they were far enough from the bridge. Dropping the reins, Maru slipped down to check on the passengers. ”Did anyone get hurt?” he asked, his voice as soft as the wooden wagon would allow. He knelt so that his imposing figure would not intimidate the frightened captives.

They spoke in hushed whispers, but it was in a tongue that Maru could not understand. Perhaps it was a tribal dialect native to the Rock Country? Finally, one small girl, with jet black hair, fair skin, and large, hauntingly innocent green eyes, not unlike his own, approached him. ”W-We... are s-safe? ...We go home?” she asked, her broken accent cracking as she looked up pleadingly at the chuunin.

Iwamaru nearly withered under her gaze. He looked up at the others and their faces, much like the girl’s, were hollow, seeking for any sliver of hope that they could return to the life they once had. The chuunin’s reservations in regard to this entire enterprise solidified further; despite how little they had outside of the village, it seemed there were still those that were content with their ways of life.

The pit in Maru’s stomach hardened. This... He swore to himself right then and there that he would never do this again. He knew he couldn’t stop this dependence on slavery overnight, but he’d find a way to change it. And he’d be damned if he ever participated in it again. But the one thing he wanted to do, to offer some peace to these people... he couldn’t. He knew these would be a people that would always mourn their home. Maybe not their children or their children’s children... but they would.

And that nearly broke the boy’s heart.

Sighing deeply, he set a gentle hand on the girl’s head, his eyes filled with remorse. ”I’m sorry... Your home is gone,” he replied softly. ”I can’t fix that now... But we’re gonna give you guys a new home... A better one. I just hope that you will come to forgive us one day.”

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Post by Niro » Mon Mar 09, 2020 11:15 pm

Tatsuo's outstretched fist penetrated the thin metal armor protecting the first barbarian with ease. The metal crunched as its resistance fell and right after a sickening, wet squelch followed as the man's still beating heart was removed from his chest cavity. He swung the limb with ease and sent the dead body flailing into others as the barbarians turned the surround him. Several of their archers notched arrows while the others settled into position but it was all for naught. The volley of arrows came but within the blink of an eye Tatsuo was gone. In another blink, he reappeared behind two of the archers and gripped their skulls so hard they burst. Their eyes fell from their heads as their brain matter spilled from their crushed gourds. He didn't even have to turn to the others assailants next to him as his melashiin punched through their stomachs and out their backs before snapping their necks.

The remaining barbarians looked on in horror at the bloody visage of the Iwa Bannin as the forest fell silent. Snow continued to fall as the blood and viscera from their fallen comrades continued to pool on the forest floor and drip from his limbs. The commanding officer of the host gave one last battle cry as they collapsed onto him, trying to dog pile him and take him out with sheer numbers. It was all for naught however as his melashiin burst outwards from the pile, tearing the bodies to shreds and covering the entire clearing in a deep crimson. Tatsuo looked down coldly at the remains of the barbarian village before crossing the bridge.

The Bannin had no idea if the Stranger would be coming back with a second, stronger host or not. It was better to be safe than sorry so with one quick motion he cut the ropes holding the bridge suspended in mid air. The structure groaned for a momentum before swinging downwards and crashing into the cliff face on the other side. There were others ways to that section of the country so he wasn't too worried; he'd also make sure the destruction of the bridge was heavily mentioned in his report. He picked up the trail of the horse drawn carriage immediately after and soon after caught up with Maru and the recently purchased slaves.

Rather than stopping the horse drawn carriage and slowing them down, Tatsuo hoped onto the roof of the vehicle before making his way to the front and taking up the reins. The ride back to Iwagakure no Sato would be tedious with such a group but Tatsuo had foreseen such issues. The meat harvested from the beasts would provide the group with enough sustenance until they reached the village. There they'd be processed with families being kept together and sold to clans while individuals would be sold off to nobles. Who knew, maybe some of them could even aspire to be shinobi under their family or earn their freedom.
#MakeIwaGreatAgain
NameVillageRankTeam
Kosuke [color=#DC143C]Miracle CountryC-rank
Tatsuo [color=#940839]IwaBanninTeam 18 Jousai
Kinomichi [color=limegreen]IwaGenin

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Post by ShinobiTruth » Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:05 am

Maru did not have to guess whose footsteps it was atop the carriage. Tatsuo has never once failed or lost in the short time the young man had known him. Without another word, he quietly pulled himself up and out of the carriage. He could not have done it sooner.

It was all he could do to escape the silent tears and delicate sobbing of that girl and her people.

Maru had to take a few moments as he stared hard back at the now ruined bridge. Compose himself. Steel his nerves. If Tatsuo saw even the slightest cause for concern, he would ask... and that wasn’t a conversation he was ready to have. It didn’t take long; after a brief ten-second period, he sat down next to Tatsuo with a nod and not another word. The blood and viscera didn’t disturb him. Those foolish enough to stand against the Tsuchikage-elect would only ever meet one fate.

The next day of traveling would be trying, to say the least. Maru would likely find himself bristling inwardly at conversation surrounding the captives. He still remembered how the Bannin has referred to them as if they were some product and not living, breathing human beings. He didn’t dare say anything like it, but he knew it insanity to try and correct the man. This was the life they’d both known. Maru had been the only one fortunate enough to have someone to teach him better. It was discomforting enough, at least, to make him long for the village...

...Yet the boy had no way of knowing the despair that was quickly rushing to welcome him home.

The familiar mountains and wall greeted the pair even well into the distance. Maru felt the tension in his chest slowly release. Good. He could get back to the headquarters, rest, and start planning this new path he’d been enlightened to. For all of the atrocities they had seen, this grim experience had given him insight on how he could make the village better.

His sharpened senses, however, quickly picked up on the sound of movements through the trees far up ahead. These were not the movements of any animal. No, they bore a human rhythm... even more, that of a shinobi. There was only one set. It had to be someone from the village. A messenger, perhaps? What could it be for?

The pair wouldn’t have to wait long. A cloaked figure dropped from the trees as Maru pulled gently on the reins to bring the horses to a stop. Iwagakure’s uniform was clearly visible through the outer garment, but it was the face of the individual that was of greater importance to Maru. ”Ichi-san!” he started, gratitude at his presence evident in the boy’s voice. ”They finally got you off guard duty. What-“

Maru stopped, his countenance quickly shifting from joy to confusion and worry. He finally looked more closely at Ichi’s face, the man’s eyes downcast... Something was wrong. Ichi was always aloof, appearing to not care about almost anything. Why did this man, so calm and collected... Why did he seem so sad?

From within the folds of his cloak, Ichi revealed his hand. In it was a glossy, slender box of lacquered wood. Maru’s breath caught in his chest. Was it...? He looked to Tatsuo... and the Bannin was looking back at him. His eyes were full of sympathy. Why? If it wasn’t for Tatsuo... th-then...

He slowly looked back at Ichi, who looked straight into him. Even though the winter bit at his skin, Maru’s skin glistened with a cold sweat. If it wasn’t for Tatsuo...

”...I’m sorry, kid. If someone has to tell you... I wanted it to be one of our own.”

Howling mountain winds blanketed the trio in an icy embrace as the words slammed into Maru’s chest, his skin cold and numb like the snow itself. They were an all too personal truth of the ultimate destiny that every warrior would face.

Tate Hayabusa, jounin of Iwagakure no Sato, had fallen in the line of duty. Tate Iwamaru was now an orphan.

REPLY

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