A Warning of Loyalty


Meruin, Luna (emitter)

Date: January 18, 2013


Meruin is called in to receive the identity of his punishment.

"A Warning of Loyalty"

Okumo Caverns

Meruin strides down the hallway, smooth stone above his head, below his feet, and on either side of him. The fourteen year old's face is a mask of impassivity, implacable as falling snow. He has the air of one vaguely sick, his pale skin holding an unhealthy translucent quality. Barefoot, clad in simple robes of a platinum silk the same color as his thigh length hair, he appears nearly wraith-like, a phantom taking gliding steps towards whatever visions the dead may see.
As he gets nearer to the door on the other end of the long tunnel, his lightweight hair lifts of it's own volition. It begins to braid itself, motions smooth and languid as though lazy, invisible hands guided the act. He looks down to the letter in his hand that was the reason he was here. It'd finally come.
The summons.
Because of his own foolish transgressions, he would be forced to pay his dues through a rather cruel punishment. The boy's eyes narrowed just the slightest bit before he looked ahead to the door, finding it so much closer than he'd last remembered it being. He tucked the letter away, wondering which of his friends it would spell the death for.
His robes shifted in a sudden flurry of motion, the material jerking and roiling in a chaotic but short lived dance, stride never faltering. It was him shaking himself off, settling into the tension he'd felt and letting it fade from him. Whatever happened would happen, he reminded himself as he came upon the end of the hallway. He could only see things through and move on.
Without hesitation, he opened the door and slipped through.

Meruin's long strides alluded him to the darkness which plagued the other side of the door. The unsettling darkness quickly became remedied by an illumination of vibrant. Swashes of composed flames licked the darkness with a tint of apricot, each flame lined up along a torch guided upon the stone walls which contained a surprisingly small room. With each step, Meruin would find himself looming closer in the presence of the council, shrouded with the shadows of the room, ominously obscured as the guiding flames only lit up the pathway and nothing more. With further observation he could see something up ahead between himself and the roundabout council, a simple pestle filled to the brim with a vile and disgusting liquid, resting at the center of a wooden pedestal.

" Okumo Meruin," a voice called out from the shadows, ancient and raspy the voice definitely had belonged to what would only been known as an old bag of bones. " It is surprising to see you in such… pristine condition after so much time has passed. I feel assured that you remember your pact with our family. I feel assured that you remember the sacarfice you have to make this evening?" The voice questioned, rhetorically, the male voice center stage in the room. " You are merely here today to fullfill a promise to us, we have been monitoring your progress as a shinobi… With as much time that has went by you have grown accustomed to your body, bringing you greater control over your emotions and your considerable strength. Great power comes at a cost however…" The mans tone lingered on, "It was requested that you kill someone close to you, to prove yourself to not just the clan, but to the council as well? Do you have any objections to this? Okumo Meruin?" The question was posed, they were definitely interesting in hearing out what the young shinobi had to say.

The Okumo's eyes slid closed as he traveled the darkness. Shadow clad, the last of his tensions fled him and he took his determination to heart, finally. But light soon tore through the umbral comfort, painting his eyesight red behind his lids. He opens them, stepping into the island of shape and color, passing through it, his gaze already locked on the darkness beyond. The council room…
The outline of the podium begins to break through the shadow's grip, phasing into existence like a shade. Meruin examines the blackness behind it, searching for a hint of anything behind it. There was nothing. There was never anything. But just as each time he'd been here last, something spoke from the nothingness in a voice of age far too old to need worry of time's passage.
Meruin walked until reaching the pestle atop the podium. He leveled a bow to his elders, low and at the hip before bringing himself to his full height. He listened to the voice but he watched the liquid, knowing it to be the instrument of the murder of one of those closest to him. And he would be the one to play it's tune through to the final note. He could almost see the faces of a varied few underneath it's surface… But he turned his eyes from them, looking to the darkness from which judgement passes. They seek his answer and he gives it.
"I do not."

The somber shadows of each elder was held at silence as Meruin had given his answer. Some of them were rather perplexed, a few others not even slightly surprised by his choice. Considering all that their bitter creation had gown through, it was a wonder if the young predator before them even had the capacitity to concern himself with humans in such a way. Such was the reason this process was far more tricky than Meruin had anticipated. " You are quite ambitious for such a young boy, always striving to the top. Some members of this council even find this to be quite frightening, others believe that you will use what you have learned against us, considering the circumstances…"The voice lingered and trailed off, and suddenly there was a shift in the dancing shadows.

The man speaking took a step forward, the illumination of flaking fire revealing his sunken flesh. Beady eyes as black as obsidian took Meruin into his eyes while his lanky body steered forth, his long slender fingers cupped along the rim of a goblet of steel. " You were born into this realm making sacarfice after sacarfice. Slaying another being had simply become routine, which is why we decided to change how this will be done." Upon those final words the lanky man dipped the steel gaunlet into the vile basin before them, allowing the thick gushing poison to fill to the rim, lastly the cup is placed before him on the pedestal.

" This poison is my own creation, potent enough to slay many not prepared for it… Even the most prepared are forced to suffer it's undesirable symptoms. Your task is to take this goblet in your own hands, you will place your trust in the council… You will use this poison for your journey towards acknowledgement and undoubtly your arrival into the afterlife…" The man's expression was stoic, there wasn't a hint of hesitation within his voice. All eyes were on Meruin, curious if he truly would follow through with such a task…. ending his own life.

Meruin's watches and listens, silence wrapped about him like a cloak. He stands with a preternatural stillness, the alien air of the spiders he holds within. He took the words given to him as fact and accepted them without word or hint, simply tucking them away.
He did move, though, as the man whose unchanging voice he has always heard from these shadows, and at times, the shadows of his few dreams stepped into the light. His eyes widened slightly, misted orbs roving across the man's features, the motion undetectable due to the pupiless nature of his eyes.
The boy manages to look immensely pleased without smiling, a rare happiness and exaltation shifting the planes of his features. It was a great honor to see the sight before him. Every moment in view of those beady eyes, that sunken skin, the thin form — Legendary. Every moment legendary. The goblet is filled, the act burning itself into the Okumo teenager's mind as it is placed on the podium. Meruin bows his head in thanks, farewell, respect, and obeisance all, hand reaching for the goblet.
He drinks of it. All of it. No hint of the was the viscious liquid clung to his teeth, tongue, and throat touched his face. No hint of the burn that accompanied, as though he'd swallowed pure alcohol. He replaces the goblet, setting it down from where he had picked it up. His throat works continually, swallowing, trying to get down what clung to the back of it.
He watched his elder, awaiting.

The scene before the council was absolutely atonishing, a gasp of wonder had escaped the mans voice while the shadow of the elders remained steadfast on their heels, beaming from afar. It was unusual for this audience to witness such a sight. Taking in the potent poison was quite routine, it gave them leverage to divide the weak and the strong of the clan, the loyal and the unfaithful. Meruin had taken in the substance not only without hesitation, but without question, whatever even acknowledgement as to this b eing a substance that could potentially end his life. The fact of the matter was that it wasn't. The conflagrant sensation cascading down the young Okumo's throat went down like liquid but quickly evaporated as a ghastly mist. Desirably a mist designed for trickery and deception. The lanky man before Meruin quickly turned the bridge of his nose towards the council, scurrying back into the darkness as whispers toned the room. ~ Did someone tell him? How did he know? Is he really that loyal? Is this boy as loyal as they come? ~ Meruin could make much of the talking amongst them, though everyone was soon silenced by a mere handclap at the head of the room.

" That is enough, we shall continue to ceremony as we had originally planned," the voice spoke out yet again, choosing his words carefully, much of the following ill prepared, perhaps they didn't think Meruin would make it so far. " Your determination and loyalty is far superior than expected…while That poison is vile you will notice that it won't have much of an effect on you. It is a trick in order to determine the mind set of our shinobi, and it is apparent to that entire council you are as fearless as they come, and a creation to behold. We believe it is time for you to spread your wings so to speak… We would like to entrust you with more responsibilities within the clan, as well as the possibility of increasing those responsibilities with the village as well. Your response? Meruin?" The man finishes his speech, curious as to what words may come from the boys mouth. Such a weapon was proving to be quite promising.

Meruin took in a long, silent breath through his nostrils as the fire in his throat faded to nothing. He assumed that the nerves, there, had either died or had been shut down. His head is canted, though, in an oddly avian manner, watching as the elder turned on heel and walked back into the shadows. The gasp of astonishment, the swift and confused whispering… The council was acting peculiar this day. Out of sorts. Was there something wrong?
He tucked the thought away, though his eyes were open to any further hints of there being issues hidden to him. An inclination of the head was given in recognition of the words of the council's spokesman. "I live to serve," is his only verbal reply, placing a fist over his heart in a symbolic gesture of his allegiance.
"Your will is mine."

Words of acceptance was the only tale required of Meruin. A nod came from the depths of the shadow council, end man more or less content with the results of this arrangement, " Live and serve you will, we are quite ecstatic with your progress and we will still definitely be monitoring you closely," The man finalized with a nod of his head, finger lightly brushing against the bridge of his nose. " So for now we will ask you to ready yourself for the challenges to come. With those words spoken the licks of flames began to dissipate, disappearing into puffs of smoke, the room appeared to be slowly descending into the abyss. " You may now leave, Okumo Meruin," The ending words from the council, but certainly not the last.

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