Date: April 30, 2011
With Itami as mission leader, the small team was sent out into the desert with news that strange activities, sights and occurences have either been spotted or rumored.
WARNING: Contains foul language.
"Feast of the Ravens - Pt. 1"
Desert of Knives-West
The Desert of Knives. A unforgiving place, old, ancient; The blistering wind blows across the plains lifting up tiny dust and sand storms; But even in these conditions the shinobi of the Sunagakure village are required to explore and find a threat potentially even older than Sunagakure itself;
Even in this place where rogue ninja, criminals and bandit lords prevail— where no ninja usually are— exists a threat. Sleepless and yet unwaking.
Sunagakure dispatches a cell of three shinobi to find whatever lurks in these forgotten sands, tainted with hate and blodshed.
Dressed in his normal attire as it works well for exploring in the desert or hanging around the village, Sodoichi was one of those shinobi dispatched. When the wind would blow he would squint his eyes wall raising a hand to deflect some of the sand away, while his other hand was used to keep the scroll on his back securely in place. He didn't bother to look to see how the others of the squad were faring, as they were perhaps just as skilled if not more so then him when it came to these kind of conditions.
Itami didn't like these sands. She could feel the taint in the air and how stale it was, even the sand beneath her feet was without life as opposed to the rest of the desert. All but her eyes were covered, masked from the harsh conditions in this area and made sure to be wrapped thoroughly enough to keep the chaffing sand out.
She looked at her team mates idly as they walked along in order to take care of business out here. Last time she was in these parts, she left a man with a broken pelvis and got a giant sword too. It's a memento of her 'heroism' if it can be called, such. Now, looks like it's going to have to be done again with this group. Whatever it was must be important to be out here..
This place had been in existence long before any wars, any Jutsu, and even before the Sage himself, said to have been the founder of all Ninjutsu, even worshiped by the religion Ninshuu itself. They had been of a existance less than primordial, still carrying within the winds and sand for which it had been known for, a history ongoing, probably existing even further into a future most humans won't see. To send people out into such a place where the winds themselves could rend skin into pieces, perhaps even disintergrate bare bone, was madness, if not for those same people being ninja. After all, only those who could create the same effects of nature itself, had even the slightest inkling of a chance to brave it.
Sodoichi would have no need to squint once Imota was through, for the boy had used his own winds to shape a barrier for which the team could walk. This had been as task that even he had not thought reasonable, though he understood its logic. The weather could easily have laid the threat aside for Sunagakure instead, if the enemy they searched for had been any lesser. However, someone tough had been most definitely powerful enough to survive blistering dust, and heat. Maybe they could survive a plattoon of ninja as well. "Has the location of the targets been determined, Itami-no Kimi? Or shall the reconnaisance began?"
The winds are ominous. A testament to the maliciousness of whatever lies here. The team would have only the shortest moment to see a glint of something in the distance; A peer in that direction would cause the very skies to darken and turn the sound catatonic. In the sense of the word that everything seems to sound inward; As if not even real. Yet no matter how much one tries; This is simply not a genjutsu.
A raven flies overhead, it's baleful eyes fixed on the team below; and despite this change of color, nothing else seems to have changed. There is still something in the distance; like a tower, it's very top pulsing with light.
With the barrier of wind covering the team, Sodoichi would indeed open his eyes and lower his hands to his sides. Even going so far as to place them in his pockets for a more relaxed walk. "Thank you for that." Glancing back to Imota with a half-smile, letting the other know he truly appreciates it, before looking to Itami for a moment to see what her answer may be to the question that was posed.
Though he returns to facing forward as fears of tripping while moving come to thought. Upon doing so spotting something completely out of the ordinary for what you would expect out of the desert area. He doesn't comment on it and instead stops in his tracks, waiting to hear on the others impressions of whats ahead. Assuming that they too, see what he does.
Itami hmms. "I…can't say for certain. Hard to track something that you don't even know about and…as far as reconaissance, well, we're just kind of out in the open. Can't say we can hide ourselves all that well, especially in an area these bandits know well. I don't want to draw too much attention, though. So long as we're just wandering about here now, I don't think we have much to worry about…." It's kind of harder to track movement in the sands with chakra pulse. It makes things seem murky, but she imagines they're well off at the moment.
Before long, whatever it was they were tracking seems to have found them first. The sounds of things changed and the area took on a different look and it all happened after that glint. "…" Is Itami's initial response before she looked up to the raven flying above. She doesn't know that bird to be in these parts. "We need to keep vigilant. I think we've just ran into some trouble, if it can be called that." She fixates her attention on the tower in the distance. "I'm guessing that's where we need to go. So let's make haste to get there. Keep close. I'm unsure of what this change implies, but I don't want to lose track of anyone as we proceed to the tower." Without more to say, she gestures to the group to follow after her.
This tower appears similar to one she saw a while ago. She wonders if there's some relation.
Amongst all other things, Imota never got about the heat that was the Desert. He always maintained what he knew as a good hydration, which was standard survival training for ninja of the Land of Wind. The heat did strange things to both the body and mind of those who ventured out into the wilderness, not only causing hallucinations, but mirages due to thr refraction of light. Even the most acute of vision was at risk of seeing something that just wasn't there. The thanks from Sodoichi recieved a nod but little else, stoic eyes set upon the path before them, as well as all things within peripheral vision. However, it was not long before he himself saw what was probably also seen by Sodoichi, the Chuunin's stop causing he himself to be more wary.
Itami's words were recieved, though Imota noticed Itami may not have understood. Hiding had little to do with searching with his request. Besides that, the need to hide had already been taken care of by the blistering sand around them. The visiblity was at its minimum even for them, so of course the enemy may have the same difficulty. Though he meant to suggest that aloud, soon the need for both actions had been little as well. "Making haste seems unwise. A fixed and high position as that, would deem very fitting to see into the distance, Itami-no-kimi. This nin suggests a form of camouflague and a more angular approach while grouped."
Though he spoke, Imota still followed, hoping at least his sensei wouldn't be so impatient as to trigger any response like traps or that nature..
The raven gawks and flies off into the distance; Some time passes, and the tower never gets any closer, no matter how far the group advances. And everytime they try to hide, it's like they come back to the same spot- The point from where the tower glints. It's almost unerring how it's light seems to fall on them, always at the same angle and with the same intensity. And before anyone would even have a chance to ponder upon this concept a voice breaks the tandem of the group's discussion or silence.
"Ha, Seiei was right. Lookit that." A man steps through the sandy storm and pats a giant blade on his back, unsheathing it. "Sunagakure dogs come to the feast;" Another man steps forwards and stands next to the big guy. "Hey, wanna burry them in the sand too?" Asks one of them to the other, "Naw, we sell them to slavery." A third man comes up, looking exhausted, pale and sickly. "I just want to sleep." He says, yawning tiredly.
"Hey kids," The first guy says stepping forward, only to be repelled by the wind barrier. "Oooh.. why not drop that and we have a little 'chat'. This is Raven gang territory, so it's mandatory to comply with our… What's the word Seiei?" The second man says, "'Requests' you dumb imbecil." "Yeah, comply with our requests 'you dumb imbecils'." He snorts.
Though he would stop, to his surprise the others continued on. Having little say in the matter, Sodoichi would follow as well, now taking up the rear of the formation. He actually prefered this as it left the leader to lead and he could view the teams actions and movements better, possibly even be more prepared were someone to sneak up from behind. Though, probably not.
The walking continued and seemed like no progress would be made. Thoughts of it being a genjutsu came to mind, but he doubted something so simple could catch this squad off guard so easily. Perhaps the need to stop and formulate a plan was in need, incase this was the work of some ninjutsu of some sorts. However, when he was about to say something was when the raven gang showed.
Turning to face the threat, he was glad Imota's wind barrier was keeping them at bay, but how long could that last. Unknowing, he prepared himself and began popping open the several pouches that lined his vest. He stayed silent for now, which isn't something he would normally do. Maybe Itami would have better 'tact'
Itami tried to make a run for the tower, but it seemed the path was endless. She had to wonder if they were even moving in the first place. Was she running at all? She eventually came to a stop to look around at where she was. Same place. Hmm. "Well, not like we can get very close to that high place anyhow. Haven't moved an inch since we got to this spot." She sighs. "I'm unsure if anyone is manning that tower, though. If it's anything like the other tower I went to, it will be fairly tall and the danger may be closer to the top. That's only speculation, though. It could be different, but I can't tell from here…" Her voice trails off as a voice comes through the storm.
She turns her attention to the man with the giant blade. Then to the other commenting about burying them. She lofted a brow at the kids part, but she supposes he looked worse for wear enough to remark about them being kids. "I do not mind complying with your requests and I imagine they can be fulfilled while we stay within this barrier. So, feel free to speak whenever you wish. We'll be right here to listen." She states.
Imota didn't know impatience. However, logic and he were good pals. It was taking to long, to say the distance between they and the tower was being covered. Even when the angle of there procession was changed, yet still the light for which shown upon them, stayed shown upon them. It never left, or changed angle where they could see. Imota was well convinced that they had been spotted. Genjutsu? Well, the Chakra of his cell-mate and sensei still fluctuated normally. They had not been affected. He certainly felt himself not being effected also. Before Imota was able to at least mention his concerns, lazy manner, and slanged speech filled the air. He turned, never letting his lone handseal from the barrier down, seeing the three. Obviously, they had been targets, right?
There inept manner was ignored. Seiei was obviously the one that detected them, or at least was aware they were coming and he wasn't around. Perhaps in the tower… Imota kept his one hand at his as the other maintained the jutsu. He heard the unlatching of Sodoichi's pouches well, and said no words. After all, the signal to strike was not going to come from him. But could Itami be depended on for tactics? The Sasaki ninja had lost faith in that the moment Itami decided a practice for him meant facing a convicted rogue ninja on his own, against her, in a free-for-all. Practically insane of her to do, especially when Kaede could very well have killed them both.
"Targets acquired.", was said very monotonously, as the robotic Imota began to focus his own chakra in anticipation of the fight to come. Surely those targets were then allowed to actually be attacked right? Nope.. Itami… wanted to comply with the targets' request. Imota looked to her turning his head slowly. For someone seemingly without emotions, even he had to quirk an eyebrow at what seemed to be the biggest mistake Itami could possibly be making. The barrier would be maintained of course.
"Hey" The first guy says, "That brat said 'Targets acquired' do you think he means us?" He says, mockingly. "God, why didn't I stay in bed." The sickly person speaks. Seiei waves his hands, "Hey, hey, you'll get hu—" Before he can finish, the first guy swings his sword and cleaves the wind barrier apart. Making it useless. Even if this is totally unlogical or impossible. It still happens. Maybe they are in a genjutsu after all.
"Now listen to me, you little piece of shit. I am gonna beat the living crap out of you and then kick the dead crap outta you. And then.. and then.. Ah screw it." He swings his sword at Imota, almost lazily— and yet, incredibly fast.
"Hey, hey." Seiei protests. "You are gonna hurt him, stop it." A pause, "You want to /kill him/."
"Shit, I forgot my sleeping pills." The sickly guy adds.
Instincts, apparently was the reason Sodoichi had stayed quiet when the raven gang appeared. Though the outcome of a battle was most likely to happen regardless, all it managed to do was prevent him from being attacked first. Which wasn't necessarily his intention. With the massive blade wielding man attacking Imota and the other two gang members currently doing little more then complaining, Sodoichi quickly pulls a scroll from one of the opened pouches while at the same time taking a few steps away to position himself to get the best possible angle of the three targets. With the scroll in hand, he begins to unroll it facing outward from him. As the scroll opens several hundred senbon needles shoot forth.
Itami could feel the stare that was directed at her by Imota, but she didn't mind it much. She stood firm, up until the blade was swung at the barrier did she think to take a couple of steps back. She isn't sure how he did that and that concerns her more than the barrier falling. Looking at the individuals, sword guy, sickly guy, Seiei, she has to wonder what's up with this gang of…ruffians?
She takes a defensive stance. "There's no need to be viol—" She's cut off when blade guy swings at Imota. "Imota, watch out!" She handseals, summoning up a blade of wind in order to attack blade guy. Maybe she can throw him off a bit. From there she focuses her chakra to prepare for what may be an ensuing battle, unless, "Which one of you is the leader?" She asks of the group having finished her attack.
As the barrier dissipated upon being smashed by the blow, Imota's mind was already working. Close range was dangerous when it came to this man, so far. If this had been real, then the approach was likely one that of a power style attack. Imota was likely predicting that the enemy, thanks to the team's hesitation, would likely get to attack first. He wasn't effected, thankfully because of the barrier, but it stood true that his preparation was key to a success. Hence why his theory of Sodoichi's attack came in handy.
The moment the needles came pure out of that scroll, Imota too, was preparing his own end for the attack. In tandem, working with Sodoichi's needles, a force of wind was pulled in from behind with handseals, forcing the boy's needles to moving even faster into the group of those whom they now faced. Itami's warning and question was irrelevant. Leader or not, these guys were a threat that needed taking care of. Imota watched her attack move into range of large man, whom right now seemed to be the more known of the group, in terms of fighting ability. While Imota was not going to take an upclose approach, that did not mean he wouldn't take advantage of the other two ninja's distraction.
As soon as the men had been placed in dissarray, more handseals came from the smaller ninja. With those handseals, came a downward gesture of his right hand, the wind above being commanded with just that. Soon, torrential winds would press down upon the Raven Gang, and if successful, pen them down in the sands, and keep them there for as long as Imota's chakra held out.
The three guys lazily dodges and parry the attacks like they were jokes. The sickly guy especially, with his lazy movements and annoying comments. "What a bother." He says;
Seiei on the other hand presses his hands together and snickers, "Boys and girls like to play with wind huh?" He asks half seriously before he claps his hands together and the surface of the desert ruffles over with a powerful blast of wind.
With the poorly packed senbon scroll not having the needed amount of pressure to be considered a threat, Sodoichi would let it drop from his hands, freeing them up to make the necessary hand signs to produce a clone just in time as the massive wind comes the teams way. A puff of smoke would then take the place of the clone as it takes the attack for Sodoichi. Wasting no time afterwards, he drops to his knees and begins to draw a seal on the ground before placing a hand on it to pour some chakra into the attack. Suddenly, columns of stone begins to erupt from beneath the three raven gang members in an attempt to do some kind of damage to them.
Itami huffs. This is what she wanted to try to avoid, but it seems like they're going to have to deal with these guys if they'll ever have hope at progression. She might be a bit miffed, but that's something to focus on later when they're not being attacked by three brutes. She makes quick work of slipping beneath the sands to avoid the large attack only to resurface. Lifting her leg up, she drives one foot down after the other into the sand to send two columns of earth towards Seiei and the sword wielder. These guys didn't seem to be the type to be trifled with and she wants to try and be over with this quickly. She wants to try and keep the enemy on their toes enough that the group might be able to subdue them eventually.
His own task as bait was realized, the moment Imota was suddenly targeted. He had work to do, and at this point in the game, it was time for immediate action. He could not allow these men to take advantage of the terrain, which was happening the moment the winds of Seiei began to scatter the sands and cause blistering force to fill the domain. While everyone scattered and went forth, Imota remain stationary, handsealing, and allowing Earth to contruct and orb about him, in a half dome. The wind and dust would simply beat upon hardened and shaped rock, before receding, and revealing… nothing. Imota wasn't even there! But where was he?
No one might not see him anymore, until last minute, and even then he'd be seeming to do what he planned not to do… Attack straight forward at the sword wielder! Whether the boy succeed or not, big ugly might find that the Imota that attacked him, wasn't a real thing, but clone, made completely of Earth and Sand. But even then, it may be too late… For he was being attacked from behind, by something large, sharp, point, and enshrouded by a small whirlwind of Wind Chakra.
Several attacks hit the trio; passing through them, and moments later they burst into crows made of only the finest diamond and ruby;
And as they crowd overhead, circling, they all melt into one single point and come down at Itami's team— pulling them into the sound, and then 'underground'. But what underground turns out to be is them falling out of the sky in a cloud of sand; Several feet and once they fall and look up and in front of them, they'll see a jade sky; and a pyramid.
Now, the pyramid is in two parts, the second part which is detached from the main body via a collumn climbing several hundred feet in the air and glinting with light, what the team mistook for a tower, easily stands out. But the most disturbing thing? It's made entirely -out of crystal-.
"Welcome" A female voice speaks, a hundred screams echoing in her voice, "To the feast for ravens." A robed figure steps forwards- as a murder of crows appears in the sky.