Date: September 17, 2010
The bandits are mostly dead. But 600 mercenaries disguised as bandits remain. And they are far better trained and better equipped than mere desert raiders. Further, they have a plan…
"Broken Memories Pt. 2 - When Bandits Attack"
It's early in the morning, the sun is still rising, but all this does is provide lighting for the 500 bandits that are up and ready to continue the assualt. Knives, clubs and whatever else weapons these bandits managed to bring with them as well as scavenged after some of the earlier fights. A few shouts of orders are given, and once given about one hundred of the bandits are advancing down the valley towards Sunagakure. The bandits are wary as the move down towards Sunagakure, another fifty men and women move a few hundred feet behind them.
The bandits behind the first hundred are pretty hard to see unless there are advanced scouts watching. The fifty advancing bandits look a bit more better armed and capable of taking the fight to their opposition. Three of the hundred starts to break in a run moving forward, looking to get the first strike in on some of the now approaching Sunagakure ninja who are now moving in groups of twenty. Three Jounin who now appear off along the sides of the valley begin forming seals, and once those seals are completed, three large fireballs are fired from their mouths into the group of bandits are are leading. An explosion of fire and heat washes over the group, some of the bandits do what they can to try and evade the oncoming balls of fire, otehrs weren't so lucky. ABout 3/4ths of the bandits were reduced to burning husks, with that orders are given all over the Sunagakure radios to attack.
Itami was tired of all of this. The village had barely managed to get some form of peace after the first wave of bandits that assaulted and now they have to deal with more. Previously, she was unable to deal with the bandits as she was exhausted from the events that took place within the village, but now that she's able, she's going to service Sunagakure in the best way she can.
She wasn't happy the first time around, many had been lost on her first watch and even more after she became incapacitated, but not anymore. She was now outside the village, but she'd placed some distance between it and herself. She didn't want the battle to draw so close. It was already close enough as it is.
And while Itami had been angry, Imota, like always, had been ready, and awaiting orders. This conflict, had indeed been long and hard, one which seemed to test the strength for which Sunagakure had been founded upon, and would further batter against that seem muscle and body which had been working towards its rebuild. It was a struggle, upon both sides it seemed, and while the bandits who attacked had numbers, the Village Hidden in Sand, had the specialist. The men and women, shinobi in their own right, exhausted themselves day in and out in this course of events. The numbers for which the jutsu attacked, seemed to only bend them slightly.. Otherwise, the bandits, would seem of an endless nature, even to the logical thinker.
Needless to say, even Imota, who always seemed to be thinking and projecting figures, had been rather boggled by where all these attackers, had come from. What sort of promise was worth all this? Money? Power? A home? Surely if Sunagakure had fell to this threat, probably all three would be had. But this could not, and would not happen, at least if Imota had anything to do with it. He had been at Itami's side at this point, still watchins as she would show her unhappiness, even as they had been as far from the village, as to not endanger some. He had been in sense's reach of her, but trying his best not to be seen by any who had approached.. This had to be strategic.. Otherwise, it would be disastrous even for ninja.
Well giant fireballs raining down from the valley sides weren't predicted, with almost half of their forces being burned asunder, the bandits start having second thoughts, but as they hesitate that little bit, they are engaged by many of the chuunin forces which kept their movement going as the fireballs rained down on the bandits. The chuunin sent shurikens, kunais and more fireballs and sand cannons towards the bandits. The bandits towards the rear of the main group quickly start running in the opposite direction, wanting to get out of the line of fire and really they just watned to get the hell out of dodge. The other bandits that are up front have no choice but to fight. Ducking and rolling about, one closes in wiht a chuunin and kicks sand towards the chuunins face, and as the chuunin dodge the bandit charges him but he stops suddenly, reaching for his neck, then falling to the ground. "I'M GETTING THE HELL OUTTA HERE!" hollars a few more bandits as they begin to retreat. A couple of the bandits are cut down, one or two manages to actually take out a two chuunins just on pure luck and unothodox attacks which were supposed to be back dodges.
The fifty bandits that were following behind the initail hundred start fanning out, ten of the fifty start to fan out alongside the valley, giving one another enough room to fight. Two of the ten begins forming seals, and once they finish, two large lightning dragons roar down towards the oncoming chuunin. Then suddenly two fire dragons roar to life as the scream down the direct center of the line of bandits who were moving out of the way of the blasts. The remaining bandits seem to hunker down, but seem to be waiting for something.
Itami had jumped into the fray quickly, perhaps a bit too hastily as she ended up being attacked by one of those jutsu flying down towards the ground. Her arrempts to avoid it were lacking at best, but she did well enough not to take too much damage. Getting right back up, Itami decides to take care of the two on the walls. Someone else can do something about the ones on the ground at the moment. She thinks she might have them take a plummet, a very hard one.
So, she makes the necessary handseals to send a strong downburst of wind to force the bandits to the ground where she'd proceed to deal with them on her level.
These rather large jutsu seemed to be a bit scary, even for Imota's own bearing. After all, you don't get to elements formed into mythic beast everyday.. To even stop such jutsu upwards of B rank, required ability which even Imota would not have possessed at the moment. He would see Itami, however, flying out into the fray with almost a foolish eagerness. Before he could stop her however, it would seem that her efforts would be met with damaging force.. It was needless to say, a bit daunting. Imota would hunker down himself as the blast would seem to go passed, and lead to the walls and valley's behind him, thus causing his own location to be rather unsafe.
Soon he would however, after finding his jounin sensei to be fine, join her in her assault, for as the torrent of wind would come down from the heavens, Imota, would have been flickering just to a hill above the terrain, handsealing, and form blades of air, twelve in all, around those who had now been being rained upon by wind, and gust.. And then it would happen. After the formation of an octagon would be made but the blades, all would seem to come down at once.. causing a large cloud and dust, along with, hopefully, body parts and blood, to rain through out the air.
The smell of blood, of rot, of death, is heavy in the air — so too are the smells of smoke, of burning flesh, and of various unpleasant things. And yet, this is exactly the kind of environment that the Ghoul of the Desert was born from. Or at least his infamous legend… During the Clan Wars, there was an undead monstrosity that was seen many times eating the dead left over after battles, or finishing off the wounded. And as the monster became bolder, it began entering the homes and camps of those living in the desert, in order to abduct people, or to simply slaughter entire families.
The Ghoul of the Desert was given various names during that time period, before it was known that the cannibalistic beast was actually a single animated corpse, rather than various serial killers or war criminals. 'The Leather Apron' was assigned when an entire town was wiped of life, and the ninja that arrived to investigate and pillage for supplies came across the butcher shop… Where the Ghoul had been working dilligently to slaughter the carcasses of the town's former inhabitants. People hung on meat hooks, or lay strewn about in pieces in various crates. The Ghoul fled then, and the human remains were burned so that the creature would have nothing to return to.
'Smiling Jack' was another nickname for the monster. Tied into an entirely different legend about a grinning monster that would invade the dreams of people and kill them in their sleep by causing such fear that their hearts burst. The fact that many people vanished during the night, and that the Ghoul seemed able to get into any building or base, no matter how secure, added credence to the legend.
So many names for the Ghoul of the Desert… 'Blood Red Sandman', 'The Flesh Stalker', 'The Zombie Alive'… But it all came down to one being. A being that has been scarce ever since the Clan Wars ended. Many have decided to forget about the Ghoul. Especially the ones who dwell in Sunagakure. But the bandits in the desert, and anyone else not directly affiliated with the Sand Village have not ceased experiencing Ghoul attacks. They still fear him. And though they will not admit it, deep down, so do the people of Suna.
During all the fighting going on, one lone figure creeps through the carnage. A very emaciated figure, wrapped tightly in grey bandages. The bandages are stained with smoke and blood. No features are visible. Just the disturbing thinness and the clawed fingertips, and the skeleton-grin of sharpened teeth visible in the only open space in the bandaged face. The eyes are covered by a pair of tinted goggles.
The figure is searching for fresh meat. Meat to eat. The Ghoul of the Desert is here.
Cries of pain is heard, which the bandits use as their get the hell outta here motivation to move faster. The Sunagakure forces weren't so lucky, one of the fire dragons manages to wound Itami, the others crash and explode. Chaos then began to ensue as Suna ninja began spreading out to keep from being caught in groups no bigger then three. As Itami forms her seals, and slams a fist into the ground, the bandits that weren't on the valleys walls fell to the ground. With the wind pressing down upon them, the bandits try to move but it's too late due to blades of wind raining down upon them, slashing and cutting and impaling the bandits.
A few die due to the well coordinated attack from Itami and Imota, the lone figure that has appeared isn't noticed, but those who were still able to move quickly started moving to their feet. There twenty of the more organized bandits left, two of the bandits that sent lightning dragons earlier begin running down towards the group on the ground, but as they do they send two more of those lightning dragons towards the advancing group of Suna nins, who have continued rushing down and some are now engaging the twenty bandits. The two bandits who fired the fire dragons manages to get out of the melee, but as they do, they send a fire dragon at both Itami and Imota.
Behind the bandits a large mechanicle device can be seen now coming. And with it there is another fifty bandits. One of bandits climbed up a ladder and aimed the launcher towards the oncoming Suna nins and fires a large amount of kunais up and over towards the Suna forces.
Itami wasn't sure how she was making it past these flaming dragons, but that was the least of her worries. She needed to get to the people responsible for making them. She seems a little off in the way she's performing, first a successful flicker and then having her clothes slashed through and stabbed with sharp weapons from some kind of canon. This slows her down to a degree, enough to make her a tad vulnerable, but now down for the count. Not just yet.
She needed to use something more powerful to handle this, but she was going to need more time to do it. For now, those closest to her would be attacked with some physicals just to keep them at bay. It wasn't much, but she had to stall out enough to build the necessary chakra.
War at its best, or worst.. The most of this fight of course, seemed to have been the assault of the jutsuist who seemed bent on electrifying and then incenerating all within their path. But even Imota pondered whether or not this had been a distraction. Either way it was one that hurt, for slight hesitation seemed to be caused by his thinking, and no moving, for as he would, the fire dragons being released would have made both he and Itami, targets. Retaliation was inevitable he guessed but it was not meant at all to be successful, for while Itami's speed, had been jounin level at its best, and worst, Imota's, had been far from that. Wind would be unleashed from both palms, in order to launch him out of the way of the large blast of fire and beast, but the explosion that followed, seemed to singe his skin rather well, and toss him through the air like a ragdoll.
Handseals would fight and struggle as Imota would topple through the air, only to cause him to body flicker, disappearing mid air, and then reappearing just inches above the ground, his uncontrolled speed causing him to land with a grunt, and visible wince. He would skid a foot and a half, only to come to a stand with some pretty stinging brush burns, and with eyes that would scan the field for Itami. Her chakra would be sensed some distance away, but rushing to her side would have to wait… For in the air above him, he would hear whistling. The sky would grow dark, as the sun would be blot out. This would accompany the slowly heightening sound of whistling cause by high speed movement through the air. Both would seeming to magnify, as the amount of kunai unleashed into the air would increase. Imota would crouch to one knee, whipping out some of steel wire, which would then have chakra focused through its length. Before long, the wire, while in Imota hands, would be folded in and out, his fingers weaving it with through and through, with a combination of seals which would seem alike to one forming a cradle with yarn. Soon Imota would pull the wire on its end, and it would form a large shield, semi circled in front of him, and enough to block what had been the impending rain of kunai.
Imota would release his handseal, and whip the wire back into a coil with the flick of his hand. He would then handseal to meet Itami where she had attacked, arriving just moments before she had begun her assault, her physicals and then her agile vault strike, would be followed up with the unleashing of a his own weapon. A scroll would be taken out, only to poof into white smoke before revealing a large shuriken, Fuuma Styled, modified to have six blades instead of 4. He would appear on the field behind Itami, in a poof of smoke, with the same weapon, absorbing wind chakra from the air, and spining violently above his raised hand.. And then it would be thrown. As it would be, it would be aimed purposely to miss the one not being attacked by Itami, one shuriken seeming to split off and sail away from beneath the shadow of the other.. But what the ninja had not known, is that the one who had thrown it, had not been the real Imota.. It had been a clone, which would poof out of existance, the moment the hidden shuriken had sailed passed him. Well, if that had not been real Imota, than where had the Sasaki gone? Well a poof would happen behind the fire jutsuist, and it would be none other than the real thing…. throwing what had been in actuality, a /real/ wind enhanced shuriken. The Wind Release: Wind Windmill Shuriken.
The Ghoul pauses. Amidst all the chaos of battle, the additional deaths are hard to keep track of. And yet the grinding of heavy machinery, the sound of a loud noise like a thunder clap, or like a large amount of air erupting from high-pressure confinement… The undead turns his goggle-covered eyes towards the source, and sees a cannon. He follows the trajectory of the cannon into the air, and—
A barrage of kunai come pelting down on him. They stick out of his body all over. Or appear to. But then the layer of packed dirt that has formed over his body crumbles away, and takes the kunai with it. This monster was content to scavenge for food. But it is rapidly becoming dangerous to remain here. He considers fleeing, but… He looks around at the rich death-harvest to be had. So much flesh gone to waste if he leaves now. He hates conflict and hates confrontations. And yet, he may have to engage the enemies of Sunagakure directly if he wishes to continue feeding his painful hunger.
He crouches down to think it over, bandages trailing in the bloody sand. Idly, he takes the arm of a nearby fallen soldier. The man moans. He turns his head quickly to look at the injured fighter. "Still alive?" he says in a deep baritone voice. The man appears to only be half-conscious. Oh, well. He shrugs and bites into the arm anyway. The man screams.
Awhile later, a mound of sand and dirt bulges up behind enemy lines. A bandaged head emerges from the mound, and looks around. He doesn't want to kill them all. He doesn't need to, either. He just needs to tip the scales a bit. So he sinks back into the desert and tunnels his way towards one of the 'command tents'. Anywhere that it looks like there might be a leader-figure standing around at.
The Ghoul then rises slowly and silently from behind his target, and attempts to wrap an arm around the man's throat to stifle any screams, and then drag his victim underground with him. If successful, then about ten minutes later, the man that disappeared emerges from concealment and starts barking orders to the artillery-men. New trajectory and direction for their kunai-cannons. Orders 'from the top'. Do it now.
If that works, then shortly the bandits may find their own cannon raining kunai on them.
The Sunagakure forces were starting to mount a hard counter offensive, even after the first bombardment of kunais sliced through a good number of Suna nins. But even that didnt' stop the Land of Wind ninja protectors. This time a bit more prepared then the last time as Itami attacks, most of the bandits were able to evade her techniques, but as the shadow shurikens come in, they cleave through a good number of the bandits. But the wind shuriken was the one that was a bit harder to dodge and many of the bandits pay with their lives. Those who weren't touched by the attacks of Itami and Imota, had to deal with some of the rest of the armed forces of Suna which weren't playing around. Wind Blades, Wind Vaccuum attacks cut through the remaining bandits in the initial fifty bandits.
Those by the kunai launchers start to fall back, but as they do a few of the bandits notices the Ghoul appear but were also concerned about the hundreds of Sunagakure forces moving in on them. "NOW!" is heard within the group of retreating bandits, the two lightning dragon users are killed by five of teh Jounin Sunas, but the two remaining Fire Dragon users form seals as they retreat causing the kunai launcher and the area that's fifty feet in front of the kunai launcher to explode. Screams and cries of pain is heard, even some of the bandits who weren't swift enough to retreat fast enough are caught in the ensuing blasts. The bandits who are retreating start to come out at the valleys entrance, here are two more kunai launchers, which fire towards the oncoming Suna forces.
Itami just got through recovering only to have to go back to get more treatment for additional wounds. At least she wasn't chakra exhausted any longer. She'd be fine, just a bit damaged…well, more than that now as more sharp objects are launched at her and continually pierce her and slash at her body. This was ridiculous, but…she brought it upon herself for jumping into things instead of thinking it all through. A loss is a loss and a painful one at that.
She couldn't do much now, since the time to try and focus was past, but she could utilize what she was able to do and attack. So, she made some handseals and performed a fire technique to send a series of fire balls towards the two launchers.
The Ghoul is apparently unable to catch the enemy unawares. Perhaps they saw their leader dragged underground, only to appear from behind a tent later on. Maybe it's the blood stains. Who knows? The point is that the undead abomination fails in his attempt to convince the enemy to attack their own men. So when attacks are leveled at him, it APPEARS as though their force is enough to simply blow him to pieces. The Ghoul of the Desert crumbles and falls apart in a heap of dirt and dust.
Actually, what happened was that the Ghoul performed a Replacement Technique… But did so with the ground he was standing on. So what was ACTUALLY hit was the desert itself, and he is now buried under the ground, with a very thick layer of packed earth between him and the surface. All further attacks strike that earth and do not penetrate to where he is. Perhaps the bandits might think they have had a victory this day, despite their losses, in that they have eliminated the one who has killed the most of their kind over the past three years than every bandit and mercenary killed during this entire siege.
They would be wrong.
MORE of the Ghoul start popping up everywhere, grabbing warriors and trying to drag them, likely screaming and thrashing, into the desert sands. They seem to be everywhere! Isn't there only supposed to be ONE Ghoul of the Desert!? As one Ghoul makes extra sure to try to grab a powerful, burly-looking mercenary in a very publically-visible spot to his men, and then pull him under nice and slow, and EATING HIM ALIVE before he even vanishes from sight… Well, it is likely demoralizing to say the least. Can people run up and try to stab or blast at the sinkhole their leader may be vanishing into? Certainly. But given the nature of what they are attacking, and the Ghoul's reputation… Many may simply choose to take this moment to 'freak out' and get out of the area.
Either way, this is not the sort of fighting that the desert bandits are trained for or equipped for. How does one kill something that is already dead? Even a powerful ninja is still a mortal. Even a Kage is a breathing human being that can bleed like anyone else.
The Ghoul is none of these things.
A sickening *CRUNCH* echoes even over the chaos of the battlefield, as a man's spine is pulled out of his body with a disturbing slurping noise, leaving him literally folded in half. Backwards.
And with this battle seeming to come to an end, it seemed the attack of kunai launching was not yet over for any of Suna forces still on the ground. Imota's wind clone would barely evade the most of the attack, but Imota's body was feeling the strain of fighting with added injury. He felt the cuts on his skin burn, along with the actual scalds and abrasions he had already received, but he still pressed on, regrouping upon seeing more of Itami's attack. He would move in with more to add, and once Itami's scattering of fireballs would come into play, his own attacks would soon follow. He would be seen busting himself above, whirlwind from a single palm moving him up into the sky before he would then prepare the shuriken he had had, for his next attack.
Imota would have been at a reasonable height, just above the two launchers, just waiting for Itami's barrage to attack the two. Once they had made impact, he would be ready with his own ending, wind chakra once again being generated, as a whirlwind would began to blow and generator about the shuriken he welded. And then it would happen. Two slices at the air, horizontally and vertical, would cross, and rain down two large blades of chakra, for both the launchers to be destroyed with.. Enough force to make delicate and precise slices in both.
This wasn't boding well and even though the Suna forces were showing signs of fatigue and exhaustion, they were still pushing the attack. The explosion around the first launcher and the surrounding area came asa a surprise to most of the Suna forces who then started to use the valley walls and trappers to help with the traps on the ground. The visibility wasn't helping either due to the explosions sand was sent everywhere. More of the bandit forces were being pushed back and but they gave as good as they took. Soon the bandit forces are pushed back. The bandits near the kunai launchers already in the process of loading them find themselves the target of fireballs that are launched from Itami. The launchers go up in flames, the bandits that are caught in the melee of the fight find themselves being torn apart by wind blades as well as clones of earth which are hitting them so hard that they the bandits were knocked back a few feet. An all call is sent to the bandits, and that's when they start pulling back from the fight, a few bandits which were mixed in with the well organized units start to fall back as well.
Four dark clothed bandits finish forming seals which sends a strong gust of wind out towards the Suna forces, the strong winds whip about but doesn't seem to do any damage but as the winds die down, the bandit forces are gone, there are a few smatterings of foot prints but if followed lead only out into the desert which are then swallowed up by more sand. The wind slowly dies down, a few of the Jounin of the Suna Forces calls for their forces not to advance, it was unknown where the bandits went, but now was time for Suna to get their wounded back to the village and healed and fresh forces back out to guard the village.