Date: July 19, 2016
The Catacombs that lie beneath the Kazekage's dome are said to extend throughout the Land of Wind. Amaro Rita, and hired shinobi Hayato Malik and Kuroki Rika attempt to traverse the eastern mountains to find an entrace to the tunnel network and find a strange method of defense.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
Land of Wind, Eastern Mountains
Sunagakure has a rich and varied culture, with a history that always seems to end in things getting lost or getting ruined. The sands are a graveyard, covering up lost cultures and histories that explain a lot of inconsistencies in the Land of Wind. The Sansara Daruta is a living example of a ruined town that will slowly sink under the shifting sands, but certainly not the issue of today's exploration. Today is a special project to find something that is buried beneath far more than sand. The Catacombs of Sunagakure are said to be a branching network of tunnels that, while forbidden, travel across an incredible distance around the Land of Wind. Who better to try and find one of the hundreds of ancient exits and entrance to this network of possibly collapsed tunnels than shinobi loyal to the Land of Wind, and someone who is going to try and find the entrance anyways!
The colorfully dressed Rita has a small outpost set up on the eastern mountains bordering the Land of Wind and the Land of Rivers. The perky and quite cheerily excited hunter would reach her hands up and adjust her goggles with a huge smile on her face! "Alright, friends and future-friends. After quite a bit of asking around, and listening to old people tell stories, I think I have pinpointed the location of one of the magical entrances of the mystical place known as the 'Catacombs'. Apparently they are a network that once connected Sunagakure to a whole slew of different outlets, and If I had to guess, I'd say it was a failed attempt to create a way to bypass journeying around the desert during wartime and strike enemies fatigued by the desert at full strength. Pre-tty Neato, right?" Rita was fully equipped in her gear, as well as her 'famed' red to orange fade kimono as well as varios equipment that seem to be tucked into her rather excitingly designed obi.
Even before one realizes she wears no Hitai-ate, one can tell given how everthing she wears that she definitely isn't a shinobi. "Anyways, I would -love- to get to know each and every one of you. I for one, am…" It wouldn't be the first time she did this, but she always does it when excited or meeting someone new. She would suddenly spin around in place, three hundred and sixty degrees, before raising a hand to salute those present once her spin had stop. Her pointer and middle finger were solely outstretched for the terrible anime-esque greeting, her rather long arm-ribbons would slowly settle as she greeted those present. "I am Ashura Rita, Ruins Hunter and Adventurer. I'll be here to use my extensive cartography expertise to map what I can, as contract work for Sunagakure, while you all keep me alive!"
Another colorfully dressed woman has apparently been assigned to this odd little adventure, and this one even has various colors on her skin because she's got quite a number of tattoos, one Kuroki Rika. The Chuunin finds it a bit odd that she of all people would be assigned to help check out a place like the catacombs, but a solid shinobi has to show some versatility. As she listens to the speech this woman gives for some reason, the yellow-eyed Kuroki blinks and idly wonders if she always shows off so much when she talks. Maybe it's just because it's a pep talk for the mission or something… but who knows.
Her arms folded under her chest, Rika lifts an eyebrow slightly at Rita's introduction of herself. It's interesting that two people so starkly different have names so similar, but she doesn't give that just a lot of thought. "… Kuroki Rika," she introduces herself with a light bow of her head. "I'm ready when the rest of you are."
A late addition to the party, mostly because he's only just returned to the vilage from the desert is Malik. His hood is up to cover his head, his goggles are on, and the mask that covers his lower face is up. A quiver of arrows are slung across his back, though for the moment, there's no sign of a bow. However, there is a falcon sitting on his shoulder that preens itself as if it wasn't interested in anything that's going on. However, Malik inclines his head at Rita's enthusiastic greeting. "Hayato Malik." He says by way of introduction. He turns his head towards Rika. "We're ready."
"Great. You all sound like you are being paid minimum wage." Rita would linger in spot a moment, slipping her hands up to her hips as she looks between the two. "Come on, then… This is exciting isn't it? We're digging up tunnels that existed before any of us were born." Her attempts to convince them didn't seem like they were going to move anything forward. Rita, eyes narrowed at the two, would suddenly wave her hand. "Okay, Okay! Acquired taste. Well!" She does no less than make a brisk run towards one of her tables, grabbing a scroll and a rudimentary fire starter. "We'll search the mountain along the base until dusk. In the event that we find nothing, we'll return here. Easy. Follow me!"
Hooking the fire-starter to her sash, the Amaro makes her along a path that is raised above the sand, curling around the mountains. The path had it's fair share of possibly hazards, including a strong gale that tends to pick up every so often. "Keep your eyes open. If anything looks remotely man-made, tap me on the shoulder." Forward, they go. Rita would place her hands in a seal, closing her eyes and making a small supply of emergency chakra available.
Casting a glance over at Malik as he arrives, Rika cants her head slightly then nods in greeting to him before she returns her gaze to Rita. She only blinks at how excited the other woman is about this and shakes her head. "We are with you." She follows the other woman around the path, a set of tattoos lines along her arms growing down to make pinstripes all the way down them as she uses them to try and detect the presence of anything manmade or malicious. She's not too talkative thus far, but that's probably only because she's focused on the task at hand.
NPC System]: Mountain Hermit roll(s) 'Stone'Henge vs Rika from 20 to 40 and get(s) a 26. - Rolled by: Rita
RPCOMBAT: Rika defends against with a TATTOO-TREMOR-HAIRS…31
Malik shrugs slightly towards Rita. "Forgive my lack of enthusiasm. I live in the desert. Finding tunnels doesn't excite me. I'm here to make sure you don't die. That's the job I'd like to focus on." The words are spoken politely, but has a ring of honesty to them. It just wasn't his thing. When Rita asks for him to keep his eyes open, he nods and looks to the falcon on his shoulder. Sinbad takes flight, screeching once before he begins to fly high above the group in lazy circles. Malik removes his goggles from his eyes as they change from green to yellow as he and Sinbad check out the areas around them.
[NPC System]: Mountain Hermit roll(s) 'Stone'Henge vs Malik from 20 to 40 and get(s) a 26. - Rolled by: Rita
RPCOMBAT: Malik defends against with a HAYATO-SENSES-II…43
"Yeah, yeah! I get it… This is professionalism at it's finest." Also why being a shinobi is difficult for her. Rita put her entire senses onto navigation, as she unrolled a scroll containing outdated maps of this mountain range. Outdated for a reason. These mountains are a natural border against invasion, as such it'd behoove Sunagakure not to have people making maps of it and distributing it to potential enemies. With Rita's attention drawn to specifics, the shinobi get well at work to making sure well that the mountain range is safe.
What they found, however, wasn't what was expected. Up higher on the cliff, behind a big boulder, was an old man that was easily discernable between Malik and Rika. He didn't -seem- like he was causing a problem. After all, based on his positioning and what he was doing, he appeared to just be having himself a smile as he wrote in some personal diary of a sort. That's when it happened. It wasn't clear if it was intentional, or if it was a mere accident, but the old man leaned back. In doing so, he accidentally pushed the rock off the ledge which lead to it bumping into other rocks… Sure enough, a rock-slide was in definite order. It was coming down, and it was coming fast. Getting hit by a boulder would have an effect of knocking an individual off the cliff-side path they all walk along and into the sandy depths below.
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit? roll(s) Rockslide vs Rita from 20 to 35 and get(s) a 26. - Rolled by: Rita
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit? roll(s) Rockslide vs Rita from 20 to 35 and get(s) a 22. - Rolled by: Rita
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit? roll(s) Rockslide vs Rika from 20 to 35 and get(s) a 20. - Rolled by: Rita
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit? roll(s) Rockslide vs Rika from 20 to 35 and get(s) a 27. - Rolled by: Rita
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit? roll(s) Rockslide vs Malik from 20 to 35 and get(s) a 30. - Rolled by: Rita
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit? roll(s) Rockslide vs Malik from 20 to 35 and get(s) a 31. - Rolled by: Rita
The Hermit would immediately look down afterwards, holding his head as he freaks out. "O… oh no… T-there were people! Y-you lot alright down there!?!?" He yelled down to the people he unwittingly attacked… Or… did he?
RPCOMBAT: Rika defends against with a TATTOO-BARRIER…38
RPCOMBAT: Rika defends against with a TATTOO-BARRIER…26
(RP Note: Rika Interrupted for Rita)
RPCOMBAT: Rika defends against with a TATTOO-BARRIER…45
RPCOMBAT: Rika defends against with a TATTOO-BARRIER…33
RPCOMBAT: Rika took 150 damage.
Things seem to be going quite smoothly… right up until the Kuroki detects there is someone nearby. "Look out!" she calls out as she extends her hands forward, sending the flower tattoos on her right arm out by its stem with a giant form of the flower that creates a set of shields in front of both her and Rita to try and protect them from the incoming danger. Who ever knew flower beat rock? Almost. While the one she is guarding is protected by the tattoo barrier, one of the falling rocks gets around one of the flowers and smacks her in shoulder. "Ow!" she calls out as she's pushed back a bit but manages to stay on the ledge by catching her balance.
Rita was face-deep in her map when the rocks came down, but she was fortunate. Rika was there, and was doing her best to assist Rita as she was hired to do. Commendable. Rita looked up in fair surprise when the shadow of the tattoo blocked enough light that it caught her attention. Moments after, the tattoo broke the fall of the boulders, but both shinobi were hurt in the process. "I… I need to really pay attention…" Rita said, blinking. "T-that would have knocked my brains around…" Rita would look up to the cliff-side, at the the old man above who looked like he was mummifying himself.
"T-they're… They're shinobi. Oh cadavers. They'll string me up! I… I got to go!" Within moments the old man began to run ahead up upon the upper ledge he was on moments ago.
Rita would decide that perhaps it was best to keep her own eyes open and keep them on the path. "Did you see that? Was that a bandit?" Should someone go after him? Rita turns on a dime to examine her entourage. Both of them were struck, and she grimaced. "Are you two okay?"
"That you do," Rika says with a peer over at Rita before she looks up at the man as he starts to run on the ledge. "I'm fine…. But e should probably check on him. If he didn't actually mean to hit us, he needs to calm down or he's going to hurt himself. If he WAS trying to hit us, he needs to be dealt with." She looks over to Malik, saying, "My physical speed isn't too swift. Would you mind doing the honors?"
Malik leaps up to land on the path again and he looks up towards the retreating figure. "It's an old man. And he's freaking out." He looks from Rita to Rika. "I'm fine. It's just a scratch." He then nods to Rika. "Of course. I'll be back shortly." And with that, he takes off running as he makes a hand signal. There is a screech as Sinbad dive bombs the old man, and keeps doing it to slow him down and give Malik a chance to close the distance.
Rita would scratch her head a few times as Malik runs off. "You know, Rika was it?" She asks. "I was actually positive -someone- was going to give us trouble. I expected them to be… A bit more slow, you know? Large, maybe huge muscles and low IQ. I didn't expect another Hiker to give us any trouble." She would look at Rika and shrug a moment. "Well, while that Malik guy is chasing him down, we might as well continue." Rita would raise her arms up and let out a great stretching noise, closing her eyes for a few moments, before her pace quickened down the trail.
Meanwhile, Malik didn't have much trouble following the old man in robes. He eventually had to slow down to take a breath. Funnily enough, almost as if by terrible luck, the breezing gale would blow incredibly hard. Hard enough that a large pine was ripped from it's roots at this insanely unlucky moment. The tree was aimed directly at Malik.
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit roll(s) Unlucky Release: Props to you from 25 to 40 and get(s) a 38. - Rolled by: Rita
The old man would turn around as the tree creaked and fell exactly in the direction Malik was running. "P-please don't hurt me! I… I didn't do that! I… I wouldn't be so foolish as to attack a shinobi! I… I promise!" He would look at the tree that was falling over, and his hands would clutch at his head. "N-no! I… I didn't do that!!"
Rika nods to Malik as he takes off then looks back to Rita, who seems to be deciding they need to keep moving forward. Malik should be about to find them again quickly enough at least due to his enhanced senses. "Well, some people are good actors and can use jutsu while looking like they're just bumbling around and being caught in the middle of something," she points out with a shrug then nods. "I'm behind you." With that she would move along with Rita, trying her best to keep up and hoping the enthusiastic girl doesn't leave her behind.
Malik groans when something else comes flying towards him. He leaps towards the tree and then runs along it as it's still falling before flipping off and landing next to the old man. "Shut up. I'm not going to kill you unless you give me reason to. What are you doing out here anyway? There are no settlements nearby." His brow furrows as his yellow eyes stare at the man, the rest of his face still being covered by the mask.
"I've been out here since… Since the founding of the villages. I'm a Hermit. I… I live off the land! I'd ask you the same, given no one has walked this dead-end path for many years…" There was more to the man's story, but it seems that something is genuinely off with this groveling man. "I've always been a walking nightmare. I'm a cursed man, and just being here is putting you at risk. It really isn't my fault… It isn't!" The man would even bow. At that moment, the very path beneath Malik's feet began to break apart, as if there was some evil entity actively trying to bring him down. Though, before the path breaks entirely, the man lets out a key hint. "You're looking for the underground, aren't you?"
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit roll(s) Crumbling Path on Malik from 25 to 40 and get(s) a 39. - Rolled by: Rita
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit roll(s) The Path Crumbles Down on Rita from 25 to 40 and get(s) a 36. - Rolled by: Rita
[NPC System]: Unlucky Hermit roll(s) The Path Crumbles Down on Rika from 25 to 40 and get(s) a 31. - Rolled by: Rita
What is up must someday come down. The path carved into the mountain broke apart under Malik's feet, and the loose pieces would once again come crashing down upon Rika and Rita. "Okay, I definitely see that. I can't tell what is going on up there, but I'm positive that the old man is up to something."
RPCOMBAT: Rika defends against with a TATTOO-BARRIER…34
RPCOMBAT: Rika defends against with a TATTOO-BARRIER…36
Well, bandage. Seems the environment is going to attack them the whole way today! Bringing her hand up again, Rika steps close to Rita and creates another flowery shell over both of them. "I hope you don't mind me getting too close. I'm just doing my job," she says with a look toward Rita before looking back up with a frown. "I agree. The old man's definitely in on this if he's not the one casting the jutsu to make these 'accidents' happen."
RPCOMBAT: Malik defends against with a ACROBATIC-DODGE-II…43
Malik goes into a series of backflips, ending with a corkscrew flip in a crouch. He reaches into the small of his back and pulls out what looks like a metal square box. He flicks his wrist and the springs release, turning into a compound longbow. He notches an arrow and points it at the old man. "I'm going to shoot your eye out if you don't cut it out. I don't believe in bad luck. And you're more than just a hermit." His muscles tense as he draws back on the string a little more. "Quit enbalming with us."
"You're doing it well." Rita complimented. "I don't think I could have moved quickly enough to not get hit with any of those rocks. I'd not be awake right now if it wasn't for you." Rita slips her hand upon her hip as she stares up at the scene of Malik aiming his bow against the man. "If he is a shinobi, playing you two for fools, you should probably take a flanking position from behind…" Rita suggested. She would look over and wink at Rika. "Don't worry about me."
Meanwhile, the man was upon his hands and knees, bowing to Malik. "I… I'll talk. Please, just don't kill me. I was put here in secret by the founders of Sunagakure. I… I figured you would be looking for the catacombs. During the clan wars, they were used extensively to keep the clans outside the desert from making any meaningful gains. They were shut down during the establishment of the village, in fear that they could be used against us. I was tasked to live out here to defend this entrance, but it isn't me that is attacking you I promise! No shinobi of Sunagakure should ever be here… No… What is attacking you is…" The old man stood up, and slid the sleeves of robe down over his shoulders. His old chest and arms were revealed, and his entire body was covered in seals. "This… This is what is attacking you. These seals react to the presence of others, and trigger traps based on my proximity to them." This is what is attacking them. He was a human trap, setting them off not even of his own will. "If you fire the arrow… You'll kill me. You'll also set off explosives linked to my seals. If you do kill me, please make sure your comrades are safe…"
Rika looks over at Rita as she compliments her, finally cracking a smile even if it's just a slight one. "I don't think it's a good idea to leave the charge of the missions. If Malik needs to send me a message, he knows to send his hawk to send it. Some tactics are simple common sense for Sunagakure shinobi. I'll continue to protect you until he sends a message." She nods simply but does glance upward to see if such a message might be coming any time soon.
Malik narrows his eyes before he releases the pressure from the arrow. He exhales and grunts. "I can't just kill you in cold blood. But we do have a problem. Our client wants to gain entry, it's our job to make sure that happens. What's it going to take for you to look the other way. I mean, seriously…the clan wars have been over for decades. Besides, I don't have to kill you to keep you from setting off any other traps. But I figured I would ask first. All nice like."
"I can take you there, but going inside will be a problem. It is… sealed by a stone wall so thick that it would take an explosive force to open it…" The old man slowly put his arms back into the arm holes of his robe, and would nod his head downward. An explosive force that would likely seal up the tunnels too. "The path leads to what appears to be an old mine, a ruse, but inside that barrier will block all entrance." The old man looked like he didn't have long to live.
Rita tapped her foot a few times, crossing her arms. "I don't know what is going on up there, but there is no fighting. Do you think the situation is diffused?" Rita asks. "I hope he comes back down soon. We need to get moving. Daylight is burning…"
"Just wait," Rika answers with a shake of her head. "Malik can handle himself against an old man. If he was actually strong, he'd have sent for help already. If we go up and trigger another trap of some sort, it could make the situation a lot worse, after all."
Malik gives the old man a look. "Huh. Well, then Rita should be hearing this, not me." Without taking his eyes off the old man, he lifts his hand into the air and makes a fist. A couple seconds later, Sinbad zips past him, heading for Rita and Rika. He bird circles about their heads. "Malik would like for the two of you to come up." Sinbad says. His voice is high pitched, but understandable. Meantime, Malik takes the arrow away from the string and replaces it in his quiver. "Let me guess. You've told me something you should have and the seals on your body are killing you. When they get up here, tell them everything you told me."
"You heard him, Rika. He sent for help." Rita said, chuckling a little. "How will I ever get up the slope though? It's really steep." Rita said, with a few innocent blinks. "I don't know how to walk up walls like you shinobi types… Can you help me up?" She asks. How that would work? Well, it was either being carried, or holding Rika's hand as she used her to slowly walk up the steep slope. Either way, once the shinobi and the archeologist were up on the same level as Malik, the old man would rehash his story. Rita… seemed satisfied to a point, but a bit worried. "So… If he gets killed…. The entire operation is basically moot, because he'll cause a cave in. Possibly. Yet, killing him might be the only way to get inside to the catacombs from this section?
"That's right… Y-you aren't going to kill me are you?" The old man said, looking like he could die right now from natural causes.
Rita would place her hand on her chin as she thought carefully. "As much as I'd hate to say it… I think the best option would be to get you out of here. Far enough that the seals cannot respond to your death…"
"Then… You'll kill me?"
"Are you… Serious? No we're not going to kill you! This is the Land of Wind, not Demon Country." Rita placed a hand on her hip and rolled her eyes. "Tell us the location of the entrance, and then I'll get you out of here." She looks at Malik and Rika. They are the escorts. They ought to have input here.
Finally. As the hawk comes down, Rika looks up at it and smiles. She listens to the information it gives and nods. "We'll be right up," she says before turning her attention back to the mission's charge. She ponders a moment then shrugs. "I'm not that physically strong… so don't freak out." Stepping close to Rita, she puts an arm around her waist and allows the chain tattoo on her arm to rise up and secure them to each other while she points her other hand upward and sends the chain on that arm upward to secure itself around a boulder up top. Once that's done, the chain starts to lift them up by shortening itself to bring them to the path, where she would set Rita down and allow the tattoos to return to their normal state while she turns to listen and goes silent again.
Malik rubs the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger. "No, old man. We're not going to kill you. We just want you to show us the entrance, and then leave. Go far away. So you don't set off any of the traps. Does that make sense?"
The curious old man would do his best to lead them to the entrance of the cavern that contained what he described. It was no easy trek, because traps still appeared out of seemingly no-where, but they were all well prepared for now that they knew just how they functioned. It was only a small, easily missed cave along the mountain's side, but when the group entered, they would come across a huge stone tablet that was covered in old seals. This was one of the many entrances of the catacombs, and Rita was incredibly satisfied. "This is it! Great! Now I just have to find out how to get in without killing everyone inside." Rita would turn towards Malik and Rika. "This is it. I'm glad we got to this point! I mean, it'd be nice to get inside, but there isn't really anything we can do about that right now is there?" Rita reached up with a smile and adjusted her goggles. "If you ask me, I think you two did a great job. I only wish…" Rita pauses a moment.
"I only wish there were more bandits…"