[Plotboard Part 2 - Closed] Conflict of Contradiction

ShinobiTruth x Zao

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[Plotboard Part 2 - Closed] Conflict of Contradiction

Post by ShinobiTruth » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:11 pm

After another day of traveling, Hijikata at long last made to his destination. The village in question was one of the few that could make do on its own outside of the refuge of the borderlands where most of the civilization in this war-sundered country was located. He could tell from the multiple chimney stacks and the large piles of coal near some of the buildings that this place likely subsisted off of metallurgical goods and smithing. He couldn't help but smile. As someone who had some experience with forging himself, it was a welcome sight to see others that would patiently endure adverse conditions and put in grit, sweat, and blood for a product that would, with enough care, last for many lifetimes beyond their own. Hijikata suspected that he would feel right at home, even if he did look a little delicate from outward appearances.

As normal, a sea of eyes would be fixated on him even from far away as he slowly made his way toward the village, comprised mostly of tents. The forges themselves were structures of large planks and logs of wood. Though they seemed permanent at first glance, Hiji could imagine that, in short order, one of these buildings could be torn down, the wood conserved to rebuild over another foundation. It was clear that the citizens of this camp, as the teacher now realized it to be, was entirely temporary in its nature. It was not meant to be a permanent settlement. The rurouni imagined that this was likely connected to the land dispute he was being asked to help resolve. He had been assured that the dispute was not of a violent nature.

Arriving at the boundary of the camp, he was approached by two guards on horseback. "Halt, stranger! State your purpose."

Hijikata bowed to the two, producing a scroll with a seal from the sleeve of his haori, holding it aloft for them to take. "Good day to you both. I received a request to meet with your leader. Could you please take me to him?"

Trotting forward, one of the guards took the summons from his hands, examining the seal before opening it. After reading it, he nodded to the other guard, who beckoned that Hiji follow. The samurai did so without complaint. He was eventually led to a large tent, and the guards motioned him in. Stepping forward, he parted the curtain to the central portal of the tent, stepping inside.

Inside an old man, short in stature, bald and sporting a large grey beard, sat by a small hearth, currently burning with embers and flames as a teapot sat hanging atop it on a metal griddle. Upon seeing the wandering samurai enter, his face lit up and he motioned for him to approach, directing him to a large simple cushion across. "Ah, good, Sensei, you have come. Please, sit. I have refreshments being prepared for you as we speak. Your accommodations for the evening have already been prepared."

Hiji bowed and took the seat that was offered. "Thank you for your hospitality, Sozin-dono. Your request stated I had to arrive as soon as possible. Was there a reason for the urgency?"

Sozin nodded. "Indeed. You were the last one we were waiting for. Now, our warriors are set to move out."

First surprise, then disappointment crossed his face. "I was promised by your messenger that this was a non-violent dispute, Sozin-dono. If you have deceived me, we have no bargain," he warned. If he was to help mediate a conflict between two villages, he would not use violence to do so. He would not tolerate trickery, even if it meant he went hungry.

Raising a hand, he implored the samurai to remain calm. "You misunderstand, Sensei. While it is true that this dispute will involve warriors, they will not be fighting a battle... at least, not to the death. No lives will be lost."

Hijikata's eyes narrowed. "...Explain, Sozin-dono. I'm not fond of the secrets you carry," he ordered bluntly.

Exhaling, almost out of relief. "Our conflict is with a village several hours southwest of here. Between our two villages is a rare commodity in our land: a freshwater spring. We originally staked claim on the lands by right of our ancestors. We are of the original family that came from those parts. However, the other village that I mentioned to you also comes from the same bloodline but was estranged from us at some point in our history. The reason why is lost to time. The point is we both have claiming rights for that spring, and we nearly came to bloodshed. It was only through an agreement between the other village elder and myself that we came to a novel conclusion: a tournament. We shall each present warriors from our respective villages to combat each other until one surrenders or is unable to continue fighting. At the end of the tournament, the village who is represented by the champion will have the right to claim ownership over the spring. We were each allowed to barter for the skill of one foreign warrior as a wildcard. That is why I sent for you."

Hijikata ruminated over the circumstances. Though he found it foolish in his own mind that the two villages simply couldn't share, he reminded himself that he was not of this land, nor of its people. He had little understanding of the logistical complications and symbolic meaning of such a precious resource in a land so devoid of them. With a sigh, the samurai relented. "So long as your word is true, I suppose a tournament would not be an issue. Should I detect any further deception, Sozin-dono, our contract is null and void, your tournament be damned. Is that understood?" he asserted resolutely.

Nodding his head, he confirmed his agreement. "I accept those terms, Sensei."
After a night of food, rest, and preparation, the caravan of eight warriors (HIji included), the Elder Sozin, and other villagers, rode on horseback to the site of the tournament. As there was much flatland in this area of the Land of Pebbles, there was little concern about the specific location of the tournament. Thus, they decided to have it at the very location of the spring itself. Though they were close to each other, the two separate camps remained as such, not even a child daring to cross over the invisible boundary that stood between their two peoples.

For the combat area, a large, elevated rock, roughly two hundred meters in diameter, had been found and smoothed out by workers through the night. Each other village had taken turns with sending their villagers so neither would fear contact and violence with the other. For now, Hiji simply had to await the arrival of the other village's warriors.

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[Plotboard Part 2 - Closed] Conflict of Contradiction

Post by Zao » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:30 pm

The journey of the wild haired swordsman-in-training was honestly much of the same as his counterpart with the exception that his journey was a bit shorter and to the due west of their previous meeting and sharing of a small meal with one another. Sato walked at a steady pace with a travel back huge by a strap that went across his chest to the duffle style bag upon his back. A bit over an hour after taking the left fork on the y-shape intersection of the mountain trails the man was able to catch a glimpse of some smoke in the distance. Slowing his pace to a crawl in terms of speed, he lifting his nose a bit and was able to smell the roasting of game meat, it had a slightly different aroma then domesticated meet but was just as savory it not more depending on whom was cooking it. Closing his eyes for a moment the man reached back with his lanky arm, causing it to somehow shift in a manner that didn't seem to be something normally possible in terms of human anatomy as it curved and slipped into the bag upon his back before retrieving a small scroll.

Sato looked down at it with his set of dull grey eyes, it was the request of the man he'd encountered at the tournament and what he'd brought as proof. Though he'd prefer that the one who'd talked him into this actually be here like he was suppose to be. Exhaling slowly the man returned his gaze onto the distant smoke that filtered its way up through the trees and kept the scroll in one hand as he began to walk at a normal pace. About twenty minutes later the lanky figure with his pair of thick bladed machete was approaching the town before he was intercepted by a trio of guards coming from his left side on horseback. "Who are you? I've never see you around these part."

The larger of the three and the one with a magnificent bright red beard called out to him, bringing one foot out of the stirrup and a moment later landing on the ground with a thud. While the lanky teen was decently tall, the man before him was at least six to eight inches taller and at least double the width. "I'm apologize to intrude but I'm looking for Jozin-sama." Sato spoke back raising his hands in a respectful salute, letting the name of the man whom had contacted him be brought up at this time. Hopefully the man wasn't someone who was a troublemaker or anything. He really was just trying to make a bit of money and wasn't looking to get to involved an anything that crazy at the moment.

"Hm. Let me see his seal." Even with the words of the man who'd sent him, the attitude and overbearing of the larger figure didn't waiver in the slightest at the moment now. Extending his left hand towards the frail looking youth Sato just shrugged and pushed his out as well in order to place the sealed scroll directly into the orger's hand now. After a few moments had passed with him opening and inspecting everything written within it he seemed to shake his head and then look back at the traveling swordsman with a bit of a disappointed look. "I have to be honest kid, I was hoping for someone older and more experience, did he even tell you what you're getting into?"

Though the man's voice didn't change, he wasn't as fierce as before as he started to speak, swinging himself up into the saddle of the horse and motioning for the swordsman to follow with one hand as the three mounted men allowed the horses to slowly return towards the town's gate. It was a bit more established than the other town with more solid looking structures and less tents then what his friend Hiji had ran into an hour or so North of his current location. They had been the first to lay their claims on this part of land and the first to come across the fresh water spring that allowed them a much better quality of life in this area of the world.

A short while later the bearded man and Sato were standing side by side after he'd been escorted into a rugged looking building with a large nameplate above it with a family name carved into it: Ling. "My son has told me about your skill, young one and this is why he told you to come." A well built figure who's frame had been forged through years of hard work as one could most likely guess based on his scarred hands spoke out to him. "Though you may have come in vain as the samurai I requested has just arrived, as well." This man was Ling Juu, the current headmaster of his family and the one who had driven the disagreement with the other part of his formerly distant family to the old ways of settling things.

Just then the young man who appeared to be in his early twenties emerged from the back and smiled when he say the same lanky fighter he'd witness fighting int he tournament. "I wouldn't count this young man out to fast, father. I have seen him fight so don't let his lanky figure fool you. I do not believe that the other swordsman you contracted to come here can best my friend." As the two spoke back and forth the spiky haired teen just shifted his dull eyes back and forth before glancing off to the right were another swordsman who appeared to be in his thirties was seated staring at him.

As if trying to say that he wasn't sure what was going on Sato shrugged his shoulders and raise his hands slightly up from either side, though this motion seemed to have the effect of telling the man he didn't care whom he was which causes a flicker of flames to form in the sharp nosed swordsman who stood up. "Very well, very well. My son believe one thing and I believe another. Gentlemen please step outside with us so we can settle this and see which of you is going to be getting paid." This felt like some sort of family drama to the young man who just gave a polite nod but didn't say a word, beginning to truly wonder just what he'd allowed for himself to get talked into this time. But the man had a soft spot for family and when the leader's son had spoken to him about this being something very important that could influence the entire family and their homeland Sato couldn't help but agree at that point.

For his own family was still held as irreplaceable in his own heart. It was one of the handful of things that helped to steer the swordsman to staying on the right path in life, at least so far. A few moments later and the two swordsmen were standing a few meters apart from one another as the son and father stood between them but off to the side. "This is a spar, no one's life needs to be claimed here. Begin." A simple spar between the two men was the chosen method by the older man and his word was more or less the law when it came to decisions regarding the future of his family and the homeland they were claiming as their own. In the blink of an eye the experienced fight had drawn out his blade not planning to take it easy at all on the young kid, this was a job after all for him and part of him was looking forward to teaching the boy a lesson for his own personal reasons.

The attack with a powerful thrust aimed directly for the center of the solar plexus, an attack that could potentially be very lethal if not dodged or parried. Though he appeared weak and even feasible depending on who you spoke to those who were watching would find out that it was actually quite the opposite as Sato had drawn both of his blades from the sheaths on either hip as the man attacked him in a rather ruthless man. The right arm circled outward forcibly pushing the blade off to the side causing sparks to fly off the grinding metal of the blades sliding across one another. Yet, he wasn't finished as the heavy blade in his left hand had flipped upside down to the flat portion of the blade's spine which was coming down from above in a vertical smash.

This attack was not aimed at his opponent but inside the blade of the katana that had been aimed for his chest, an irritated look filled the swordsman-in-training's face as he brought the blade down. A crash of the two blades could be heard before the thin katana blade was shattered just above the hilt as the rest of the blade broke into three parts from the force imparted upon it. It was suppose to be a friendly spar but Sato was able to quickly realize that was not the intent of the other man and a bit of fury rose from where it was kept sealed up in his chest. "Oops..."

A innocent look seemed to comer over the man's face as he pushed away from the older samurai who just stood there looking at the blade less hilt still in his hands. "How..." He was in a state of disbelieve as he'd used that same sword in many battles and claimed a number of lives with it, only to have it broken in a single exchange with this frail looking kid. Shaking his head the man knelt and gathered the big pieces of the sword before leaving without a word, but the curses on his lips were easily seen and it seemed like today the boy had made an enemy instead of another friend.

"Well then. That's settled!" Jozin's smile was wide as he walked over and patted his young friend on the shoulder wholeheartedly impressed and glad that the result went in Sato's favor. Soon the boy was led back into the meeting hall where he was joined by the family's seven other warriors who would be participating in this tournament. It was here that the whole story was laid out for the traveling swordsman and that he was able to wrap his head around everything. How could he not help them? "I am honored to help your family." Bowing his head an forming a martial salute to the family head now he was escorted to a small banquet and then resting quarters. Before he knew it the sun was already beginning to glow behind the horizon and the caravan was being loaded and shortly there after they were off together to the site of the tournament.

The men who he walked into the area seemed so large that they actually hid his small frame in the back of the group as they arrived shortly after the other village's warriors and Sato began to feel the same nervous sensation he had at the Starfall tournament. But this time he could only smile, this was an honorable thing to do and perhaps they wouldn't even need for him to participate anyways. during this time he couldn't really see the other group to well and even missed that his newest comrade of the blade was amongst the other camp's challengers.
Yami Kasai - Formerly Kiri's Black Reaper - Mizukage
Saisuko Zao - Suna's Spirit Tamer - Future Bannin
Sato - Dragon Country C-Rank
Hyōryū - S Rank Missing Nin
Yuu Akujin - Iwa Jounin - The Demon Kid
Kojiro - Konoha Chuunin

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[Plotboard Part 2 - Closed] Conflict of Contradiction

Post by ShinobiTruth » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:20 pm

Unbeknown to him, Hiji was mimicking his compatriot's actions as well, perusing the camp, though it was perhaps a more grim outlook. He still did not understand why such long-running feuds stood after generations, especially since many of them were based off of embellished and improperly passed oral histories. Even Sozin himself had admitted that he had not the faintest idea as to the cause of the split between their bloodline so many generations ago. Why? What was the point of maintaining this needless prejudice? How much more could they grow and thrive off of what they had both learned if they only learned how to let go of the past? Though Hiji himself had only recently learned this himself, he had been liberated from a weight he'd never realized was there until that young woman Tsubaki saved his life. He only wished the people here could come to understand that, too.

The warriors in Sozin's camp mostly kept to themselves, preparing themselves for what was to come. They didn't seem keen on small talk or association with an outsider, which was fine. This was an important matter for their village, and their absolute focus was going to be vital. Instead, he received word from one of the children that he was being summoned by Sozin. "You called for me, Sozin-dono?" he asked, curious as to the nature of this inquiry.

Sozin nodded with a grimace. "Indeed, Sensei. Forgive me, but I must have you attend to some misery business with me. As per the rules of our tournament, the opposing village elder is granted the right to lay eyes upon the foreign aid that we receive for the tournament. In this particular case, that is you. I must ask that you come with me to the spring so that we may fulfill our responsibility regarding your participation."

Hijikata didn't particularly enjoy being subject to this deceptive man's whims, but this seemed mundane enough to not be an issue. "That is admissable, Sozin-dono," he stated.

The two would depart from the camp, walking at a controlled pace. As they were making their way to the spring, Hiji could see two others from the opposing camp separating from the mass and walking toward them as well. As they got closer, the light of recognition arose in Hiji's eyes upon seeing a tall, lanky individual with spiky hair and twin machetes hanging from his side. No, it couldn't possibly.

"By the spirits... Sato-kun, is that you?" he asked as the two elders approached each other. The old men's eyes were glowering at each other, but Hiji's eyes bore no malice, only surprise. Who would have thought that they'd see each other again so soon?


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