The blades of vengeances have fallen swiftly. The shinobi are no more as 'Absolute Justice' has returned...now, it is the Samurai that rule the Five Major Nations!
But at what cost? Have they become the very thing that they despised the most...? Heroes and villains seem to change roles every day, but one thing is for certain - we yearn for our freedom, for days gone by where we flew the skies unhindered.
Under normal circumstances Eri would have been happy to hear his sister’s wish to serve the village had finally been fulfilled, as it was though he found his hands balling into fists unconsciously as she spoke. She'd been ill used during academy and calloused words from idiots had left their mark on her. He'd have reckoned with them at the time but Aki had always refused to let him teach them a lesson out of the kindness that gave her both her strength and inner beauty but left her fragile in spirit.
"Firstly it is the way of a ninja to be secretive in all things, not only hiding weakness but hoarding strength from prying eyes like a miser precious jewels. For they are ephemeral things techniques and ploys, their true power spent in the moment of revelation never again to be reclaimed." Eri spat the quote from the children’s primer he'd committed to memory long ago. He had a better head for such things though his sister knew the wisdom of it in her bones just as well. Their mother had raised them to understand the ways of such things more thoroughly then academy or society alone could have. Revealing ability haphazardly was tantamount to repeatedly striking stones with a katana, a foolish waste of a weapon and strength.
"So these little bastards didn't understand that you were trying to help and took it amiss?" There was more scorn in the amiss then bastards. Eri was not one to view his own gender favorable to begin with but those who did harm to Aki held a special place in his contempt. He knew she had no particular art with words but the meanings were deathly clear and if anyone paid attention to that rather than the delivery they would learn something for a change. That she identified one as a doctor in particular set poorly with him. She looked up to them deserving or not and if the man hadn’t understood her meaning then he certainly was not.
Eri regretted speaking as harshly as he did the moment the words left him but he didn’t try to call them back. His sister gave him a sad little shrug of the shoulders that might have looked indifferent to another but he knew for long suffering hope. She’d said all she intended and would not entertain insults against her temporary comrades and suggestions of motives that she could not know the truth of one way or the other. Rather than head home with him she took a side turn that would lead her on a more direct path home then the scenic path Eri preferred. Taking the meaning he continued on his usual way though more slowly then he’d have cared to. He’d overstepped himself in moving to barb strangers so quickly and she’d need a bit of time to herself before she’d speak with him again. Likewise he was livid pissed and wanted a few moments to himself to think over what to do with his frustration and the source.
"Riiiiigh." Eri agreed with a nod in his most condescending tone. He could practically feel the rage roiling off her and a few people actually turned to look even though neither of them had been particularly loud. Aki was either stone faced or an open book with no middle ground and right then half the village could probably see exactly how she felt. Eri almost laughed but managed not to as she would have swung on him for that. Aki had a fairly even temper but he knew how to wind her up and where the tipping point was. Harassing her to a certain extent had been his privilege as the families eldest.
"So if it’s not about a boy then why are you sulking about with your tail between your legs? You've been like this since yesterday at breakfast." Despite everything his sister was actually sensitive to physical and emotional queues and he knew how to work that to his advantage. Relaxing his own posture and smiling would keep her within reasonable range of calm. She’d only get more worked up if he started showing agitation as well and fortunately he was sufficiently master of himself that he didn’t have to do any such thing even if he was upset. Fortunately though he wasn’t anyway so that particular thesis didn’t need to be tested just then and Aki seemed to have understood what he was about and was becoming resigned to talking. She could be a stubborn creature, hiding things for days sheerly for the sake of spite but not if it was important and it had been plain since the aforementioned breakfast that something was not right.
Eri watched his sister go, taking not of the hunch in her shoulders and tight gait as she moved. As if she were expecting a scolding or a blow to the back of the head. Frowning slightly he went his own way to the apothecaries shop. As siblings they knew each other well enough not to need words as often as others to communicate but Aki was practically mute in the first place and he knew that he'd have to draw whatever was bothering her out as if he were pulling teeth from an unwilling patient.
Sighing he picked up his mothers order and rolled through is memories of the last few days. Nothing much had happened to his knowledge and her usual frustration with her limited training regime wouldn't account for her behavior. She was a moody, introverted creature but basically cheerful and even her dark moments weren't usually given to blossoming into such pensive behavior in his experience. Something had to have happened.
"So, who is it you've fallen for?" He asked, not looking at her and behaving as if he'd asked about the weather. He didn't honestly think love was the issue, Aki was a bit dense and skittish for that, but he knew what alluding to it would yield. She was an honest, forthright girl and he loved that about her though it made her all to vulnerable as a shinobi. It was why his mother had never objected to her becoming a medic and he supported her as well. He didn't even want to think about her having to try and lie her way through a mission.
It was early morning by the time Eri left the studio, his body aching dully from a night spent in poses as awkward as could come up with. Standing on tip toes with arms at full extension for half an hour, a one armed hand stand for twenty minutes, contortions, and handing from ropes when it simply wasn't possible for him to bend in the correct way while still on the ground.
A full night of that and the bastard hadn't used any of them. When the son had come up Isui had gleefully shown Eri the new poster and the damn thing was a larger mock up of the sketches he'd been making through out the day. Eri was featured prominently in it in a heroic pose but Isui had captured that in the first ten minutes of the evening. He could have continued the work without him but had felt like pulling an all nighter and kept Eri out for sadistic revenge for the long walk.
Eri sighed to himself as he stretched to get a kink out. His sister could help him recover from the contortions with a back rub but the rope marks he couldn't do a damn thing about. Unbeknown to him though his work had none of his work been for not. Isui had wanted to get his own back but he'd diligently taken sketches of all of the posses to be used later for other projects.
By the time the afternoon came around Isui had forgotten why exactly he fallowing Eri when the boy suddenly stopped and looked at him for the first time since they had left the studio that morning.
"Most of them are volunteers." Eri said in the same light way he'd said just about everything else from threats to flirtations. Isui looked over at the construction site they had paused in front of and for the first time saw something beside the damage done. Certainly a true terror had been visited on the world and had done much harm to everyone but the site represented more then that. It would take time but the world would heal.
"Why did you take this job?" Isui asked after nearly an hour passed in which they did nothing but sit and watch the construction in front of a convenience store, Eri buying them both snacks and drinks though he didn't speak again.
"I don't know anything about art but I thought that posing wouldn't be a big deal since its just standing around." A bold statement but one a shinobi could probably make with confidence. Being a model was a draining thing due to having to hold still for prolonged periods.
"Yet here we are." Isui said as he started in on the microwaved meal the boy had bought for him. The initial answer didn't apply to his question and he wasn't to be deflected.
"I dropped by your studio yesterday because I wanted to make sure of the details. Your assistant is a really beautiful girl, I talked to her for a while. She told me a lot about you and herself as well." Isui would have called Momo a lot of things but beautiful wasn't on the list. Short and on the round side she looked a bit like dough. Not ugly by any means but certainly not beautiful.
From someone else Isui might have considered it a throw away statement but coming from the boy it gave him pause. Eri's friendly expression had become a bit distant when he said it as if he were remembering something pleasant rather than a a work related talk with a chubby girl.
"She said you'd lost your muse and that she was worried about your health then you yelled at her to six different things at once and she left to try and do all of it." Isui cringed at that. He didn't remember doing any such thing but there was a reason he was a single, his few girlfriends leaving often while shouting about him being an absent minded tyrant.
"A muse is a female spirit of inspiration, I looked it up, and if there is one thing I know its how to properly treat a lady." Eri continued without any apparent interest in Isui's discomfort.
"You have to take them out, spend time with them. Do the things they want to do and be understanding of the things they don't. You also have to look after yourself. Get out, be social, eat right and have a life outside of them and your work. If you don't then your not going to get anywhere no matter how much you bargain or bark orders." Strange words from someone so young. He should have been the confused hound dog after everything that moved and confused why he wasn't making any headway, not Isui so many years his senior.
"You really think Momo is beautiful?" Isui asked, not sure why.
"She has such intense eyes, like thunderstorms and a mole under her right eye that stands out sharply against her pale skin. Its like looking at a traditional wood block print come to life."
"What about the fabric store owner?" Isui asked.
"Are you kidding? Have you seen her hands? They look delicate and soft but she could rip a phone book in half and she's never been trained as a shinobi. Its like watching some majestic she bear in action. Not to mention her hair is silver, it flashes like a polished katana if the light hits it just so." By the time they were back at the studio Isui regretted asking. He'd broken through some barrier and Eri continued to list the virtues of just about every female of which he was acquainted and that was not a short list.
Somehow though Isui was laughing and asking him questions rather than becoming irritated. He'd learned the golden rules of art that taught what shape a form must take to be beautiful, the human form as much as any other but true to his word the boy knew nothing of it and seemed able to see virtue in any female.
"So you are doing alright? Even with everything that's happened?" After being ignored for half a day and made to walk over what felt like the whole of the village He'd taken to talking to whom ever he could as he waited for Eri to remember that he was on a mission not his day off. Not that Isui thought about it much, he was enjoying himself despite the circumstances. It had been been a while since he'd gone out into the world. Most days he spent in his studio with brief interludes of sleep at his apartment. Usually not even that though as he'd become more and more prone to fall asleep at his work desk after a night spent in useless anguish.
"Its been tough but yeah, I have my family so I just pushed through it. As long as were all together we can make it through just about anything." Isui nodded, sipping at the bottle of water he'd been given earlier by a shop keeper. He'd though he'd starve as Eri hadn't stopped for any food after the first meal despite it being early in the morning but so far he'd been getting by just fine on samples and small gifts from the various vendors they had gone by.
It was a strange feeling to be walking in the world again. Even before he'd usually sent his assistant to do chores like shopping and things like. Mostly he'd worked or arranged for gallery showings and other artistic events. He couldn't remember the last time he'd just taken a stroll and more then that Eri seemed like he did everyday but he was a ninja.
Isui had never been physically fit as a child so it had never come up as an option so he'd always thought of them as the tough kind of people who devoted themselves just to their work and little if anything else beside serving their nation. Now he had to wonder if he'd perhaps been simply projecting his own habits onto them.
Idly he sketched as he listened to the shoe maker talk about his family. Normally he started with a concept and went through a specific process to reach the desired end result but the drawings that were beginning to fill up the small book were loose observational sketches and a few fanciful doodles like the one taking shape just then.
"Hey, that's pretty good." Isui was a bit startled to find the shoe cobbler looking at his doodle appreciatively. He was used to dealing with his peers and critiques, people more inclined to talk about themselves or point out flaws.
"Here, you can have it." Isui felt oddly light as he tore the page out of the book and handed to the man who looked surprised and pleased to be gifted with it.
"Please trust me Sir, you'll understand." Heading away from the studio in favor of the less heavily affected Eri hummed while he walked but didn't speak to his client as they went along. Instead he simply enjoyed the walk and for all intents and purposes seemed to pay Isui no particular mind. He waved to his acquaintances and even stopped to help one of his favorite fruit vendors with a crate of goods. She was an older woman but strong, accustomed to the labor but accepted the help with good humor, slapping Eri on the back fit to knock someone less used to her ways down.
"Popular guy arn't you." Isui said, curious and a little grumpy as he was being kept from his work by the expedition. The boy had forbidden him to bring his travel easel and other supplies. Only a small sketchbook and pencil had been permitted on pain of a cavity search. Eri hadn't put it like that, even at his most insistent and threatening the boy had been perfectly polite and phrased everything in terms that were not themselves negative so much as leaving one room to make that interpretation.
"Two of the special please."Isui wasn't hungry, who could have an appetite in such terrible circumstances. Or at least he hadn't had one for nearly a week but just then his stomach growled letting him know that appetite or not it wanted to be fed and felt neglected. Sitting at the small noodle stand he made short work of the food and would have ordered more but the boy had also forbidden him his wallet. Damn brat. Eri didn't even ask if he wanted more and was instead chatting away with the young lady who served them. Damn brat.
"Here you go. Its on him." The cook said as he passed him another plate and they shared a conspiratorial grin.
Pose for the Poster Client's Name: Isui Ikata Client's Occupation: Travelling Artist Mission Rank: D Payment for completion: 75 - 125 Ryo depending on outcome Mission Subject: Gah, my masterpiece. I have no inspiration for it now that this war has struck this village. Maybe you could provide me with a suitable piece of inspiration. As a reward for your services, the Tsuchikage has asked me to provide an inspirational poster for your village, with the starring role being, you guessed it, you! Oh the inspiring inspiration of it all. Makes me want to cry with joy! Special Requests: Must be completed with only ONE participant, any others shall not be allowed to take the mission. In your search for inspiration, you may not leave the village. Unfortunately, even though the other villages are in the same state, we are in a very bad way and so I need everyone here with me. Notes: Mission will be an immediate failure if either you or Isui leave the village.
The scent of rich earth and spice wafted from every corner of the small shop. Tables covered in silk cloth were adorned with jewel like bottles, pots and and tubes of every shape and size. Everyone of them was a special blend of bath or skin product unique to the shop. Experienced with the many and varied options open to him he by passed the musk based and flora scents. They had their appeal but he was not sufficiently enamored with them to use them day to day and he was restocking rather than looking for something novel.
"Such a vision you are, fit to make the flowers wilt with jealousy." Dressed in a blue and white checkered yukata and geita Eri still moved with his customarily silent steps as he snuck up from behind the shops owner as she refilled part of the incense display. She started a bit and gave him an evil look as she turned and swatted at him like he was a nuaughty child. Eri laughed and dodged back as if it were some mighty blow but sidled up to her before she could attemp a backswing and put an arm around her shoulders.
"You horrid boy." In her late thirties she'd grown accustomed to Eri's playful flirting and casual way of touching other people. Moving away from him to go to the register she strutted a bit as she walked.
"I'd tell your mother if you weren't my best customer."A compliment never hurt anything and she chatted with him about new products and impending sales as she rang up his assorted purchases.
Small emerald bag of products in hand Eri headed out of the shop and continued on his way. He still had to stop by the apothecary to pick up a poison his mother had requested on top of placing an order at the blacksmiths for more training kuani. The number of students his famlies school allowed had grown of late due to the hiring of a few new instructors so supplies were a bit short.
Kagura Shingan (Kagura Mind's Eye) Rank: D, C, B Type: Supplementary / Sensory Ninjutsu Range: 0 - 50 meters Special: When first learned, the Sensor can extend their Mind's Eye up to 10 meters in any direction. Each new rank extends the range by 10 more meters, for a maximum of 50 meters. Upon learing the 'S' ranked version, the user will no longer have to close their eyes nor form handseals to activate. Description: Kagura Shingan is an advanced Sensory Ninjutsu technique used by all sensors, and serves as the root to the entire sensory tree. After a series of handseals, the sensor closes their eyes and uses their inate ability to detect chakra in order to determine the location of their opponent by the faintest of chakra trails, as well as discerning the size of an approaching unseen force, and even their chakra capacity. Domain: Sensors
Kagura Uso (Kagura's Truth and Lies) Rank: D Type: Supplementary / Sensory Ninjutsu Range: See 'Mind's Eye' Special: Allows the Sensor to determine whether a particular target is lying or not by the chakra fluctuations triggered. Description: Once the sensor begins to understand how to properly mold and detect their chakra, they will learn to look into the specifics of others. With this technique, a sensor is able to detect a truth from a lie by observing the way the chakra waves fluctuate within the one being interrogated. An excellent shinobi tool Domain: Sensors. Kagura Shingan 'D'
Kagura Kinzu (Kagura's Supression) Rank: C Type: Supplementary / Sensory Ninjutsu Range: See 'Mind's Eye' Special: Allows the Sensor to suppress their chakra so that other sensors or even chakra sensing vision cannot spot them. Description: With this enhancement to Kagura Shingan, the sensor is now able to block out their chakra signal, so that other methods of chakra detection cannot trace them. While they remain nonetheless visible, without a chakra trail the sensor is free to move about stealthily without having fear of getting caught. Domain: Sensors. Kagura Shingan 'C'
Kagura Genzou (Kagura's Illusion) Rank: B Type: Supplementary / Sensory Ninjutsu Range: See 'Mind's Eye' Special: Allows the Sensor to detect when a genjutsu has been casted upon them. Rank of detectable genjutsu depends on the user's highest "Mind's Eye" rank. 'B' ranked training is reserved for Basic Senses, while 'A' ranked training is reserved for Advanced Senses. Please note that you mist train this for each gen. sense you wish to detect. Description: With this enhancement to Kagura Shingan, the sensor is now able to detect the difference in chakra signatures, discerning illusionary threats that have been cast upon them. While this does not automatically break an illusion, it allows the sensor the knowledge of revealing hidden traps so that they can quickly escape the situation. Domain: Sensors. Kagura Shingan 'C'
Henge no Jutsu (Transformation Technique) Rank: E Type: Supplementary / Ninjutsu Range: Self Special: Allows the user to transform into any person, object or animal of normal/small/miniature size. Transformation can be held for one turn, plus one more each time retrained. Description: Henge no Jutsu is a very basic ninjutsu technique which every ninja learns at their respective village's Shinobi Academy. Henge allows the user to transform themselves into any person or object. This allows the ninja to move with stealth or to trick their opponents. Domain:Academy Student Ninjutsu.
Kai! (Release) Rank: D, C Type: Supplementary / Ninjutsu Range: Self Special: User can only release themselves from illusions of equal or lower rank. Description: Kai is a Ninjutsu technique which allows the ninja to avoid the effects of a Genjutsu illusion. After forming the needed handseals, the Genjutsu technique will not affect the ninja. The ninja can also use the technique on another individual who was unable to avoid the attack. After forming the needed hand seals, the ninja touches the one affected to end the affect of the spell. Domain: Universal Ninjutsu.
Kakuremino no Jutsu (Magic Cloak of Invisibility Technique) Rank: E Type: Supplementary / Ninjutsu Range: Self Special: No other technique may be used while creeping. Description: Kakuremino no Jutsu is a very basic Ninjutsu technique. The ninja uses a camouflage cloth to cloak themselves in the background. Domain: Academy Student Ninjutsu.
Kawarimi no Jutsu (Body Replacement Technique) Rank: E Type: Supplementary / Ninjutsu Range: 0 - 5 meters Special: Switch is near-instantaneous. Can be used once per thread, plus once more each time retrained. Description: This jutsu lets the user quickly switch places with another nearby object, such as a plant (normally a section of a log), an animal, or even another person within reach, the moment an attack hits. This creates an optical illusion, making the enemy think the attack was successful. The user can then use this confusion to escape or launch a counter-attack - i.e. exploding tags can be attached to the replacement for an added surprise. Domain: Academy Student Ninjutsu.
Nawanuke no Jutsu (Escaping Skill) Rank: E Type: Supplementary / Ninjutsu Range: Self. Special: Ineffective against complex, electronic, or unique binds. Description: Nawanuke no Jutsu is a very basic Ninjutsu technique that allows a ninja to escape from rope binds. Domain: Academy Students Ninjutsu.
Fuuinjutsu Ikkou (Storage Sealing Technique) Rank: D, C Type: Supplementary / Juuinjutsu (Seals & Barriers) Range: Hand's reach. Special: Allows the storage of various different items either onto a scroll or onto oneself via the generic seal. Can seal items equal to highest rank known. Sealing and unsealing items costs a 'C' ranked amount of chakra per batch time. Description: This technique is a standard ninja skill which allows a ninja to summon an assortment of items that have been stored using fūinjutsu. Scrolls are the most common choice for item storage. When needed, the owner will activate the seals releasing their item or weapon of choice. Scrolls can also be used as ammunition for other weapons or have other seals inside of them, which expands the number of potential tricks a shinobi can use. Weapons are the most commonly sealed objects, with puppet jutsu also using this by having these hidden inside various compartments as a means of increasing their own killing potential as well as hiding useful weapons from the opponent's sight. Domain: Universal Juuinjutsu.
Wakizashi Rank: C Type: Primary / Melee Description: A wakizashi is similar to but shorter than a katana in shape, and usually shorter than the kodachi, with the blade no longer than twenty inches. Regardless, it retains its sharpness, and is ideal as a backup sword should the main one fail. Cost: 1,000 Ryo
Pack 1: Senbon (Throwing Needles) Rank: D Type: Secondary / Ranged Special: 10 per Pack. Cost: 200 Ryo per Pack
Pack 2: Senbon (Throwing Needles) Rank: D Type: Secondary / Ranged Special: 10 per Pack. Cost: 200 Ryo per Pack
Pack 3: Smoke Grenade Rank: C Type: Tool / Area of Effect Range: 0 - 10 meters Special: 3 per pack Description: This explodable comes in the form of a long, skinny cylinder, no more than a few inches long. At the top lies a pin which, when pulled, activates the grenade's internal components. Within seconds, thick, dark smoke begins to spew from the cylinder, covering a wide area and leaving all those nearby blinded and gagging. Cost: 600 per Pack
Pack 4: Exploding Note Rank: D Type: Tool / Area of Effect Range: 0 - 5 meters Special: 10 per pack Description: The exploding note is a piece of parchment paper infused with special chakra, layered over with a special script on it that serves to enable and facilitate its explosive properties. Its execution is simple - the ninja can attach the note to another object such as a kunai or log, and upon activation, the note is set and begins either a slow countdown burn, which eventually results in a large explosion, or the explosion in itself upon command. Cost: 500 per Pack
Pack 5: Hikari (Light Bomb) Rank: C Type: Tool / Area of Effect Range: 0 - 10 meters Special: 1 per pack Description: Flash Bombs are supplementary explodables used mainly for diversions, creating a blinding light when they detonate that spreads quickly across a small area. Flash Bombs come in many shapes and sizes depending by region; some may look like small spheres wrapped in paper or, more conventionally, as cylindrical canisters. Cost: 500 per Pack
Accessory: Radio Rank: C Type: Accessory / Self Special: Has a range up to 10 miles. Cost: Free accessory
Apparel: An earth tone out fit consisting of sleeveless tunic with neck that acts as a lower face mask, loose fitting pants and closed toe boots. He has a senbon holder strapped to both legs as he’s ambidextrous. Rather then a belt he has a climbing harness belted at his hips from which his wakazshi is secured along with a few item pouches.
Off duty he tends to prefer yukata or kimono’s depending on the season.
Body Appearance: With curly red hair, fair skin and freckles he oddly enough takes after his mother more then his father despite these differences. With emerald green eyes with a pool of brown in the left like her he has the same athletic but light like a dancer, toned muscles without much bulk. Of late he’s let a small soul patch develop that he’s contemplating allowing to develop into a goatee.
Blemishes & Scars: Miriad nicks and small slash marks along with a few puncture wounds though his body is generally free of them. The major one though is a vicious slash mark that comes from the tip of his left clavicle and ends just above his groin on his right hip. It’s a light, nearly faded mark but the violence of how it was obtained is still clear if one gets the chance to see it.
Personality: Eri is congenial and polite in all weather and is not one to be provoked. More then not being easily upset he is rarely influenced emotionally by others. He bases most of his decisions in analytical analysis and is more then capable of divorcing himself from any sense of guilt associated with an action. This is not so much a sign of psychosis as it is a result of his upbringing and personal philosophy.
He shows a marked preference for the fairer sex as he dose not associate willingly with other males outside of work and required functions. He is not is not rude to them about it though and simply cites a lack of mutual interests as the cause.
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Allegiance: Iwa, His mother, his family, command structure
He considers his mother an absolute authority before anything else but his own ideals though he will not do anything he feels will endanger those he loves. Even if it kept him from achieving a personal goal or compromising his own ethics he would protect his family. As far as the chain of command goes he is loyal to his country but is not so much in love with the bureaucratic structure and will violate and order if he feels he has sufficient reason.
Quirks & Tendencies: He has a very large collection of tea, spa goods and kimono’s.
-Sweets -Spicy food -Tea -Akihiko (not a sister complex, she’s just his favorite sibling) -Spa parties -Cute things
Dislikes - 90% of males -A lack of personal hygiene on anyone’s part -Affected cuteness -Inferiority complexes