The reason

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The reason

Post by Strategist » Tue Feb 04, 2020 8:02 pm

Gene stood with one arm folded over the other peering out beyond a grassy mountain perch overlooking trees that seemed to form a green sea from up above. Feeling a gentle but welcomed cool breeze slip through the fabric of his Hakama Gene smiled; thankful today that he'd chosen to don his secondary outfit as opposed to his other clothing, free now to enjoy the day's weather and region's climate as people ought to have done on budding spring afternoon like today. Only, there was just one small cache....


Earlier that evening Somewhere in the Nara compound a bird lands softly upon a window seal, peers into a window and searches diligently for the Human with whom it is to pass along the message tied to its right foot. There.


PECK.


Somewhere outside of Konoha but within the region of Fire country, Gene would be waiting patiently for the recipient of his message - Nara, Tousha

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Toshi
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The reason

Post by Toshi » Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:58 pm

The bird would notice several things as it peered into the window of the unassuming house. First it would notice that the interior was a simply yet tastefully decorated affair, its minimalism only accenting the welcoming coziness of the space. The feng-shui was so on point it almost looped back around to being on point all over again. The feathery visitor might have also noticed that the quiet shuffling of shoes on hardwood, labored breathing and the occasional sing-muttered lyric was wafting from the property's open, sun-kissed living room.

It was there that the avian emissary would spot its intended target. And, say one thing about that target, say that he was jammin'.

Clad in athletic sneakers, tall, white gym socks, scandalously short shorts, a powder blue tank top with 'KILF' plastered on the front, sweatbands at the wrists and forehead, and finally a rectangular music device strapped to his hip that extended into a pair of oversize headphones that bounced playfully on his head, Nara Tousha was jazzercising to the beat of the song blasting from his Walkperson Deluxe.

As the Nara was absolutely slaying his morning workout routine, complete with stylish kicks, arm spirals and dips, the living room's humble television screen was alive with the fuzzy glory of "Shannah Missett's Pure Jazzercise Funk Workout for Kunoichi and Their Abs and Booties, Etc." On VHS.

Clearly not anywhere close to his first rodeo, the man clapped, spun and grooved in perfect time to the stunning blonde's every move, her somewhat distorted form leading a group of other women in an intricate display of peak physical fitness. Despite the man's movements looking second nature, almost easier than breathing even, a thin sheen of sweat was beginning to form on his pale, gyrating form. The exertion did nothing to dampen his raw, exuberant spirit, even if it did dampen the man's clothes.

He was on a different plane of existence, a world that was built on perfectly timed hand waggles and fabulous hair flips.

With the combination of the music, a level of focus that could only be crafted and tempered from years of dedication, and his raw dedication to the art of physical fitness, the dark haired man didn't notice the bird at the window.
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Former Hokage • Konoha • Nara Tousha

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The reason

Post by Strategist » Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:17 pm

A harder strike to the window, this one hard enough to shake the glass foundation. Determined to have its mission completed the messenger bird would continue to peck until its presence became apparent making it clear that if nothing else, this was a bird who was not going to go away. Meanwhile, Gene contemplated seriously his strategy for what was to come. He did not know Tousha on any sort of personal level nor had he heard many of the stories about the man coming up but Gene figured that the man had to be formidable if he were chosen to assume the title of Kage. Would it really be wise to go with a traditional approach?

Continuing to mull over the thought, Gene scouted the terrain to the best of his abilities and set his sights on identifying possible places around that would make a great spot to set up an ambush. Utilizing a keen attention to detail; his eyes, to be specific, Gene began to notice places where the land could be used in his favor - rocks that might make for good rolling boulders or trees that if knocked over or hit with the right jutsu, may improve his advantage on the battlefield. Of course, while speculation about such tactics certainly could prove useful at some point there was another reason for Gene's scouting of his terrain. As a hunter, it would be detrimental if for what ever reason he found himself lost or turned around and therefore, in taking the time to truly gauge his surroundings Gene had less of a chance of finding himself unable to properly orient himself should the landscape be altered.

And he suspected that it might be...

TrainedShow
Environmental awareness

- Stealth Taijutsu
A rank Discipline

Description: Having spent years in the forests, jungles and other such terrain archetypes Gene has developed a means of identifying unique properties about his environment such as potential places to set up an Ambush, camp sites, and discreet rally points. Conversely, he stands a lesser chance of getting lost or being unable to find his way back to a point of origin provided he has had enough time to thoroughly examine his surroundings. In combat, this can be a strategic advantage as it allows him to incorporate his surroundings into his battle plans to inflict collateral damage on unsuspecting opponents (adversaries with relatively low instinct) and in tracking, this enables Gene to spot abnormalities created specifically by humans as they often leave an imprint on the environment when passing through it.

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Toshi
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The reason

Post by Toshi » Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:42 pm

The first loud peck caught Tousha in the middle of a particularly impressive lunge dip, snapping the Shinobi to his full height. He looked around with a deliberate slowness, his tongue poking from the thin line of a mouth poised contemplatively. With a shrug the man fell back into his routine with a seamless ease, content that the noise wasn't of any consequence. Or at least of any amount of consequence that was more consequential than continuing to expertly jam with the power of a thousand suns.

By the second peck Tousha tore the headphones away, his hands falling discordantly to his hips. His head turned more purposefully now, his foot a flurry of staccato tapping. Eventually the third peck pulled his attention to the window, where it was rattling dangerously from the force of a bird's impatient pecking. A variety of pecking that the Shinobi reasoned was unbecoming of an ordinary bird. This seemed deliberate, purposeful even.

This bird was a professional pecker, clearly.

"What the..." Tousha mumbled as he made his way to the house's back entrance and slid the door open. The man approached the bird with an air of caution and curiosity before noticing a small note tied to its right leg. With a dexterous wiggle of the fingers the message parted from the avian informant. Tousha made a move to open the note but instead reached into his front left pocket. He produced a small handful of berries and seed and laid the contents on the windowsill right next to his new bird pal.

He patted the little thing on the head affectionately before opening the note. Then he read it, and words happened.
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Former Hokage • Konoha • Nara Tousha

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The reason

Post by Strategist » Mon Feb 10, 2020 8:48 pm

For several years now the village has enjoyed sustained peace...but how long can it last? One might have my head for even posing the question but something in my gut tells me that it'll only be a matter of time until something tips the scales. When that happens it won't be up to the big wigs sitting high on the council or even the advisers...it'll fall on us Shinobi to be ready. While I have no apprehensions as to the capabilities of Konoha's military I am concerned about the delay in out-post reports as of late...with so little going on I believe the soldiers may get restless and then sloppy.

In truth the might of Konoha seemed to actually be steadily on the rise with the latest development involving both Whirlpool and Lightning country; two nations of which would share in trade and other such resources with the central continent and village populace as a show of good faith toward the current standing Hokage and the large body of hearts and minds that believed in him. But Gene was not easily convinced that everything had been all smiles and rainbows - in fact, he believed strongly that the Raikage might have been attempting to use this trade agreement in order to cozy up to the Hokage and before long send one of their adversaries to the village in order to "Strengthen" relations while truly conducting an investigation into the infrastructure of the village, something Gene could not allow to happen but could see no feasible means of putting a stop to it for it was unwise to speak out against one's Kage - at least, openly that is.

It would be imperative to draw and accurate representation of how any potential threat to the village could and would operate but with an information network that seemed to be slowly but surely going dry, Gene was running out of options. Mamorinuku while still a viable organization in and of itself, could not perform the kinds of tasks necessary to maintain thorough and proper village security - something that he'd planned to broach whenever the next meeting was to be held by the orgs leader. At roughly the same time these thoughts seemed to merge into one within his mind, the messenger bird sent out had also completed its assignment; relaying the coded message of where to meet the sender and when. Beneath those instructions, the initials "M.G" could be noted near a small but visible black Konoha insignia. There were no tricks or special attachments to the letter since Gene had decided it would be best not to apply his...usual methods to keep his business dealings private.

A part of him wanted to believe that someone in Tousha's position or rather, with the man's experience in just this kind of thing that there would not be a need to spell out the importance of secrecy. Of course, with one with a knack for being nontraditional it really was hard to form any real expectations of what was to come. As the time continued to pass and Gene allowed himself to be embraced by the sounds of nature around him, he began to consider briefly, the fact that there was truly no other place on Earth like Konoha or Fire country. "So peaceful today," he remarked calmly before reaching into one of his ninja tool pouches and retrieving Cloud of sparrows from it.


Maybe now was a good time to crack a few pages..

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Toshi
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The reason

Post by Toshi » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:15 pm

Words weren't happening. Why weren't the words happening?

Tousha plucked a pair of reading glasses from a nearby patio chair's arm and popped them on, his now bespectacled gaze staring down at the message. He turned the paper this way and that, front and back and side to side, but the words refused to jump into his brain. The Nara found it all rather aggravating until he noticed that the message was encoded. It looked vaguely familiar and something in a dark, dusty corner of the Bannin's mind stirred with a clumsy groan. He fumbled with the latent, rusty memory for a while, his lips pulled tightly across his teeth, his thin fingers snapping with an impatient rhythm.

"Ah!" the Nara said at last, his face brightening. He walked back into the house, his pace brisk and snappy with the excitement of a challenge, and barged into his own room. He pulled open a the nightstand's drawer and rummaged around its contents before slapping it shut and moving to a small desk.

"Come on, come on... Where are you?" the man muttered to himself, scouring the desk's drawers for an unseen bauble of great and magical power. Finally his fingers fell on the shape of something stuck up in the top drawer's crevice, something smooth and cool to the touch. Tousha smiled and produced the object, rubbing the buildup of disuse and neglect away with a thumb.

In the man's hand rested a ring. It was grey and plain and a little smudged in places, but the notched disc that rested on top looked functional still. He tested it, gently turning the dais and grinning at the satisfying clicks it almost proudly emitted. Atop the ring's circular, rotating mechanism a series of symbols were various symbols, neatly etched into the metal. Ceremoniously, and with great nostalgia, Tousha slipped the decoder ring onto a finger.

Then he got to work.

Cut to a montage of Tousha sitting at the kitchen table, a series of papers strewn about it in a haphazard maelstrom of clutter. Coffee steamed happily in a mug to his right, his left hand alive with scribbling and sketching as the pen held snugly in its grasp flicked and slashed at a notebook. All the while the Nara referred to the note, and then his decoder ring before scratching something else down on the ever-filling page. Sweat would build on his brow, there would be several cutaways of him knocking things off of flat surfaces and screaming up at the ceiling with frustration. At some point he would find himself in the shower, fully clothed, as the warm water beat down on his sobbing, rocking form.

But, after the better part of five long, grueling minutes, Tousha jotted down the last letter in the message with barely contained glee. The very proud and smug looking Shinobi held up the notebook to admire his handiwork fondly before reading the message out loud.

"B-Be sure. To. Drink you-your... Ovaltine," he said, losing bravado and confidence with each syllable. He slapped the notebook on the table and stared ahead, demolished. "A crummy commercial?"

He would sit there for a few more moments, his bloated ego deflating with all the grace of a pricked whoopee cushion.

"Fuck," he blurted. "That isn't right."

Down but not out, Tousha showered proper this time, dressed himself in his casual Konoha getup - a black, long sleeved shirt with Konoha's red, spiraling symbol on the back, comfortable Shinobi trousers and a familiar pair of open toed sandals - and walked out of his house with a purpose.

Tousha didn't know how to crack this code, but he knew someone who did. She was a real smart lady.
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Former Hokage • Konoha • Nara Tousha

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The reason

Post by Strategist » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:37 am

Even though he'd read through Cloud of Sparrows several times in the past Gene perused through the pages as though it were his very first time. Unaware of just how long he would be waiting or for that matter, if his coded message had been received at all Gene set his focus to unraveling the tales of three characters brought together by fate. One, a nobleman set with the task of spreading his country's religion elsewhere. Another, a princess fleeing her homeland in fear of an assassination and finally, the bodyguard entrusted to protect her. Three characters who without a doubt came from completely different backgrounds forced to work together for a greater, common interest. It was the kind of story that emphasized teamwork over the personal gain of one person which was something that albeit a bit of an isolationist himself, Gene appreciated.

Seldom did he come across a group of candidates high or low on the totem pole who could actually function together as a cohesive unit. This was actually a problem he'd been working to eliminate with the introduction of specialized task units to the ANBU forces though he'd not yet went ahead and made such news public. While Gene had been in agreement with the Hokage in that the ANBU being seen more and more around the village might boost morale on some front, he also believed that public knowledge of the private sector was still a need to know and seldom was there a time where the public truly NEEDED to know anything in regards to the organization. In fact, Gene was perfectly fine with letting Mamorinuku assume credit for all the domestic dealings wherein the mark of the org itself remained its success record.

Gene had no intention of stopping there, however.


Frankly, he believed that the ANBU fuinjutsu defense systems were...lacking and that sooner or later there would come a time where just such sub-par defenses would ultimately be the proverbial string that would cause everything to come undone - in fact, ever since the attack on the Hyuuga compound Gene would have willingly attested that such times might have already come to pass. Granted, the thought had not donned on him before but he began to consider how differently things might have gone if each of the Clan compounds were protected by a barrrier array or some kind of Fuinjutsu sealing method that would have only enabled clan members and those with express clearance to ever set foot on any compound. It wasn't full proof by any means but just that one precaution might have prevented the two criminals; Yaku Fushinkou & Enma of the crows from ever causing such destruction in the first place....maybe.

It's hard to believe that tragedy is already so many years behind now. Still, Konoha may yet still have a ways to go before truly being able to say she is in complete harmony with the rest of the world. After all, those scrolls still haven't been recovered yet... the thought filled Gene with a grim sense of reality. It had crossed his mind that the scrolls for whatever reason had not been a priority under the previous leadership over building up wall defenses and now, years after the fact the scrolls still were missing. Gene was beginning to wonder if he should appeal to the Council and his Hokage personally in order to put a team together to find those scrolls and those who may have come into contact with them. The task would not be easy considering how much time had passed since the scrolls were taken but that was of no consequence to the Commander; no matter the risk, those scrolls must be obtained and that was just the bottom line.

Turning to the next page of the novel he'd been reading, Gene continued to ponder his next course of action.

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Toshi
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The reason

Post by Toshi » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:24 pm

Tousha found himself sitting in a comfortable chair. The chair rested in the middle of a comfortably decorated room, unassuming yet stringent in its decor. It perfectly suited the woman who had decorated it. Across the table that separated the two people sitting on either side of it sat that very woman. Her skin was dark, made more so in comparison to Tousha's pale complexion. Her even darker hair was carefully bound and tamed in a dizzying, close-knit pattern that made Tousha wonder how long it had taken. Knowing next to nothing about the art of hair wrangling himself, he could only guess the better part of a month.

Her tight, pursed lips shifted only slightly as she read the note held in her immaculately manicured hand, her sharp, brown eyes darting left and right as she meticulously imbibed the words scrawled across the parchment. After several long, deliberate minutes, she spoke.

"It's an ANBU encryption," Mrs. Stephenson said matter-of-factly. "How are you, a former Kage, not familiar with it?"

Her tone had barely raised above transparently stoic, but it was enough to make the Nara straighten up in his chair. As the former Hokage's most trusted and capable ex-assistant, it was pure muscle memory to improve his posture around her.

"I've been... Uh, out of town for a while," he said meekly, desperately trying to defend himself from the woman's overpowering stare. "They must have changed it while I was -ha ha- you know, gone."

She squinted at him and waited.

"Ma'am," he added with a nod.

That seemed to satisfy her intensity. For the moment. Her stare turning back to the message she continued to speak.

"He's northeast of here. The man who sent you this."

"How do you know it's a m-"

"He writes like a man," she answered simply. "He wants to meet you where he's burned some leaves, apparently. Obviously has a penchant for the dramatic, this one."

She placed the note on the table and folded her arms across her lap with the grace of a feline. "What have you done this time, Tousha?"

The seasoned Shinobi gave a sheepish shrug. "I-unno," he blurted out unceremoniously. "Wasn't me this time. Honest, ma'am."

She gave him another withering glance. "Well, this M.G. fellow must still be out there, waiting for you. What are you going to do about that?"

Tousha patted his knees and turned his gaze up to the ceiling as he considered his options. "Guess it'd be rude to keep the guy waiting any longer, h-uh," he said whimsically. Then he raised his eyebrows and added, "S'probably something important if he went through all the trouble of sending some encrypted letter."

Mrs. Stephenson nodded once, clearly pleased with his answer. "As always, I urge you to be careful," she said almost mechanically, as if her mouth had formed the words more times than her own name. "Shall I accompany you?"

Tousha stood up and smiled at the woman. "I appreciate the offer, but I wouldn't want to be a bother. I'm sure you have something much better to do than follow this old fart around on some mysterious rendezvous."

Mrs. Stephenson smiled, her lips cutting a razor sharp smirk into her left cheek. "Oh, yes. Quite a few better things than that." She held up the note to offer it to the Nara but he simply raised a hand and shook his head.

"Keep it. In case I don't come back, you'll have something to show the Hokage. You know, prove I didn't fall into a hole and die."

"Very well," she said with a polite smile. With that she also stood and motioned to the door. The pair walked out of the room and found themselves standing outside. It was a beautiful day, with just the right portions of blue sky and white, fluffy clouds. A light breeze fumbled at their clothes and hair. It was quite lovely.

Tousha's hands buzzed to life as he rounded off an intricate string of hand seals, flooding the nearby air with a mixture of Shadow and Fuuton chakra. Soon a mass of smoke-like particles emerged from seemingly thin air and rapidly took the shape of a large black bird. The Nara jumped onto its back with a -hup- and fell into an easy kneeling position, one pale hand resting on the shadow animal's back for support.

With a casual salute the former Kage willed the bird to flap its massive wings, pushing them both high into the air with alarming speed. The freedom of flying found Tousha's heart and soul as it often did, as an undiminished elation that played second fiddle to little else. Mrs. Stephenson simply waved as she watched the bird and its rider disappear into the sky, quickly becoming little more than a perfectly dark speck amid a sea of blue and white.



It wouldn't take Tousha long to find himself dozens of miles away from the Leaf Village. And, thanks to the less than subtle signal his secret admirer had left for him, it took the Kage even less time to spot their meeting place. A thick column of smoke rose into the air from what Tousha could only assume was thousands of smoldering leaves. With the ease and grace of a real bird his shadowy mount turned lazily in the sky, circling overhead about twenty meters.

Shielding his eyes from the sun, Tousha peered down to the ground below. From his vantage point the Nara hoped to spot whoever was waiting for him.

Jutsu usedShow
Kōnton • Blackbird Smoke
A-rank Ninjutsu
After completing a sting of hand seals the user will saturate the air with Shadow and Fuuton chakra, creating a mass of smoke-like particles in the form of a massive blackbird. This shadowy form has a wingspan of 10 m and will remain apparent for up to 5 posts without making contact with the user, in which case it will maintain its form as long as the user supplies it with additional chakra. The Blackbird Smoke is capable of flying at a Speed of 40, maintains a cutting Strength of 10 on contact and can comfortably carry up to three allies on its back and a single passenger in its talons.
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Former Hokage • Konoha • Nara Tousha

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