Home Sweet Home


Hibiki, Meruin

Date: July 27, 2013


Hibiki arrives in the valley to face punishment for leaving Kiri without permission; Meruin administers said punishment. But for the truth? Or lies?

"Home Sweet Home"

Down the Valley [Land of Water]

Down the Valley [Land of Water]

The valley separates from the thick mist in the distance leaving knee high mist, the ground of this area is a rich combination of moss, grass and rock. There are a few trees set through the area adding some texture to the valley. All around the landscape is flat, eventually it slopes down towards the east where a very large cliff face is noted seemingly blocking the valley from spreading even further.

Rising from the knee height mists is the stark wall of stone of Kirigakure's guarded internment camp. It is a place of little adornment, its purpose obviously to contain and with little comfort. The air of the whole compound is one of oppression. The bare stone of the barracks, the severe iron of the buildings that are used for seclusion or… other things. The mists surrounding the place dampen the scent, but enter and the scent of blood, vomit, and the unwashed can assault the senses. It is a dismal, ominous place.


East - (E) [Valley Cliff Wall]
West - (W) [Path Through the Mist]

In minutes, dawn would come.
But for now the valley south of Kirigakure was a land of grey and mist, it's planes nearly monochrome, shadows hardly existant. The presence of Okumo Meruin hardly changed the fact, his form one of pale whites but for the shifting blues and purples of his gaze, the mists at his knees seemingly swallowing any shadow he might have given off. The only break true break in theme was the steel of the door of Kirigakure's internment camp that the Jounin stood before. It was a place of darkness, almost as though the area was nearly devoid of shadow because it had consumed them all. And it would be his destination when he was joined by he whom he awaited.

In minutes, dawn would come.
But in the darkness- no, not such; more the swallowing gray: the nothingness — in this place, time is irrelevant. There whistles, in this dead cool, such furtive hisses of wind, as if oni tripping through the day. Such minutes then, do arrive, Hibiki alongside the burgeoning sunrise.
The boys steps seem measured, his head cast down, away in apathy. Fools think fear is in the head; they do not see the lash strokes carved across backs, or rends of flesh dripping from muscle. Fear is real, a ferocious babbling thing. But face it we must — for to be alive is such.
"Duty," whispers Hibiki to himself, rubbing an arm. He stops several long paces from Meruin, the Genin's eyes traveling the gaseous orby planets, and then - inevitably - to the internment camp.
His voice is like cold, cold water: "Hibiki wonders — do you enjoy it?"

Meruin answers: "I enjoy little."
He raises a hand in a signal to the wall, his misted gaze locked onto the boy before him who'd attended his punishment rather than having to be hunted for. Duty. The whisper of Meruin's mind just as surely as it was of Hibiki's lips. It guided the jounin's body as he turned around, watching the steel of the camp's gateway. A single, high slab of metal, sliding into the wall of the camp on soundless gears. It allowed the scent of blood and waste and misery to flee it's confines, the stench of human turmoil and enprisonment acrid and cloying.
"And what I do, you do not wish to know of."

He enters the camp.

Loyally, Hibiki follows. His feet do not tremble; his lips do not quiver — for there is no space to amongst the piled miseries acquired in this place. How acetic the thrusts of fear in such a building as to be made to house dread.
"We think we are soon going to be wise to what it is you do."
The boy's steps are quiet, keeping pace behind the Jounin before.
"You would have too, had it you been."
Hibiki scratches at his neck, to eye from a canted perch the grinding of bones pronounced as: punish. Yet how vivid such travesty is: the mountainous ranges of scars long healed; the biting flush of fresh red; dead eyes but slickened skin. Such color, for woe.
"The same which compels you now. We cannot escape any of it."

"It stops too few from trying," spoke Meruin as he walked through the camp with his charge. He appeared unaffected by the surroundings he passed through. The morbid scents and sights of a people abused and veritably tortured in many ways. The emaciated people performing work their bodies should not have been able to push through, the healthy and uncaring shinobi who were tasked with ensuring that their work continues, the stark buildings that held no comfort for any prisoner of these walls. The evidence of the Okumo's actions.
But they did not travel far within the camp, as it were. That which he desired stopped just before the field of metal, mansized boxes, what looked to be upraised coffins of iron. It was a simple place of stone and he opened the wooden door without word or order to Hibiki. It opened into a hallway unadorned by anything but blood flecks and a central torch, moving from left to right with a door on either side. The Kirigakure Jounin stepped to the right and traveled towards that door.

Obedient still - obedience minded by the swelling want to not displease - Hibiki follows. The roams of men within the open, their broken backs bared for all to see, were inspiring in their condition: this is what is to be, do not fear — you can see the terror.
But here, through the hallway of none, so silent and quiet with flickers of blood over walls laughing in the torchlight, does fright grin its sharp slim teeth. The place is bare, so plain, the rigors of punishment set to a hall and a door, the inside of which- by creator, the inside of which utterly terrifies the Genin.
He walks further on, closer behind now Meruin, eager and afraid to witness the opening of the door. There are no words now, save for the youth's screaming eyes.

The door opens and the Okumo passes through, his form barring Hibiki's viewing of the room beyond for the brief moment it takes for him to leave the doorway. This slightly rectangular room was nearly as bare as the hallway. All it held was six stone walls, including floor and ceiling, a torturer's tools adorned table along the wall holding the doorway, restraining equipment around the drain in the center of the room, and a torch by that table. The holding equipment was nothing but metal shackles on the floor and hooks on the ceiling to allow for suspension as desired.
This would be the place of Hibiki's punishment for his permissionless absence from his duties. The Okumo turned to face the boy, a single nod saying that it was so. His placid gaze locked onto the Onkyou's, he speaks the words, "See yourself locked into the shackles, hands and feet, facing away from me and we shall begin."

The boy had believed - at some point, when naivety tumbled around on fresh legs like a newborn lamb - that there would be punishment, and that Kiri was renowned for severity, but never had the stench of such stricture wound its way into the boys nostrils, so sharp now that his eyes pinch and wet. He stands still beyond the doorway, still within the hall, within reach of an escape, but of what? To flee where? Death is the freedom from life, but yet we cling, entranced by the even the most troubling of futures. It is but a step, and a step taken, and another, and again. The youth steps himself into the shackles, binding them, understanding their mechanism that he bind himself: the inflictor of punishment is none other than us, from the moment of trespass to the last flailing whip — it is we. To who, then, does Hibiki's fate truly belong?
A snicker escapes the boy's lips, his eyes facing the chipped, bleeding stone.
"Hibiki thinks that if you really wanted to punish someone, you wouldn't shackle them."
A head, just like Hibiki's own (identical perhaps), swiftly escapes from the back of the Genin's neck, a grin on its lips.
"You should make them immobile of their own free will. There would be nothing to fight against but themselves."
The head cackles, and slips back away, disappearing into the neck from whence it just arrived.
"Perhaps a recruit you yet may have."

Okumo Meruin stepped up to Hibiki's back as the grinning second head vanishes back into the neck it had come from, the calm of his water's surface never disturbed. "It is a courtesy and a kindness," speaks the Okumo as his hands lift. "That I punish only the body on this first of offenses." His slim fingers slip around the collar of the youth's coat. "You have returned of your own volition and willingly walked into your penance." A swift motion sees the jacket torn through, ripped apart by his pale hands.
"As such, there is a certain measure of leniency allowable and I have decided to exercise it." Sudden black talons, an abrupt downward strike, shirt and flack jacket both shorn at the back, swiftly pulled apart to reveal skin. The Okumo steps back, white strands slipping from his wrist. "I do hope that I have not misjudged." The strands now a single coil of platinum silk touch the ground with a quiet hizz, the stone giving complaint at the acids lining them. "If I have not, then this will neither be your last nor your worst chastisement at my hands."

Hibiki can only hear the sizzle as on the ground the whips of webbing lay themselves. All that is before the boy is a wall, stone, cracked and chipped and worn by the others who have willingly induced their punishment the same. How many others have quivered blindly, their clothes lying in shreds, torn from their very backs, leaving skin bare and pale.
Hibiki closes his eyes, for in his mind own squeals the laughter that comes from such haunting experiences, to drown out the sorrow of circumstance. The slow groan and grind of the outside world pushes against the stone walls, suffocating with fat strong fingers.
"Duty," whispers the boy again to himself, his head hanging that his chin nearly touches his chest. The boy's head rolls onto his shoulders.
"We do not expect lenience, for never should there be for those of us. We would not be lenient for you."

"It is a choice of logic rather than one of caring. Consider it experimental."
And then Meruin's arm whipped forward. There was no preambled and no pause, but a simple lashing of the pain soaked webbing against the whole of Hibiki's back, the Okumo's limb a blur of speedy motion. Silence wrapped around him, his expression one of simple calm, as it was when he met with Hibiki. As it'd be when he parted ways. It was simple business, simple duty, this bloodying of the back, this attempt to draw screams and carve wounds.

COMBAT: Meruin attacks Hibiki with WISPS-OF-PAIN…44
COMBAT: Meruin finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Hibiki's turn.
COMBAT: Meruin attacks you with WISPS-OF-PAIN and rolls a 44. Action?
COMBAT: Hibiki defends against WISPS-OF-PAIN(44) attack from Meruin with a TENSE…12
COMBAT: Hibiki loses the roll and sustains 733 damage.
COMBAT: Meruin drains stamina from Hibiki
COMBAT: There are no more attacks for you to defend against.

There is a scream, for can there not be, the surprise of pain so fresh and tangible — then lingering, dripping into the skin with such corrosive influence. Splittle clings to the corner of the boy's mouth, evidence of the weariness such assaults carve. There will certainly be scars, levied upon the guilt of Hibiki's flesh, cut across his back like the lines of intentions meant to be straight and narrow; but such things were lies. Only men build unbending; the world itself is crooked, and warped, grown from life, not manufactured. Thus, Hibiki feels his own pain grown life, the lashing striations reminders of our failings as humankind.
The shackles snap as the whip lays on, the Genin pressing himself into the chains. His body jolts with each lash, but his screams have gone, fed from his body to the bleating life gorging on errant souls.

COMBAT: Hibiki finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Meruin's turn.

The lashings continue, arm tireless, relentless, implacable as descending steel. But the aura of silence that accompanied the Okumo himself, a potent counterpoint to the quiet music of the abuse of the flesh and the whispers of the acid's hissing — this broke with Meruin's words, his questions, his duty bringing itself to bear. "You left the village without notice and had not reported to your superiors or for your missions for the timeframe of three months, three weeks, and three days before your reported reemergence within the village itself. What was your intended destination and where had you gone for this time?"

COMBAT: Meruin attacks Hibiki with WISPS-OF-PAIN…39
COMBAT: Meruin finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Hibiki's turn.
COMBAT Hibiki is poisoned (2 rounds) and loses 31 health.
COMBAT: Meruin attacks you with WISPS-OF-PAIN and rolls a 39. Action?
COMBAT: Hibiki defends against WISPS-OF-PAIN(39) attack from Meruin with a TENSE…8
COMBAT: Hibiki loses the roll and sustains 785 damage.
COMBAT: Meruin drains stamina from Hibiki

The rise and fall of the whip - like clans and houses before war - does not wane, continuous as the universe itself in bringing destruction, and then respite: what some so foolishly call peace. The lashes continue, on and on, mashing the boy's back in squelchs of sticky blood. There is pain now — much too much pain, the burden of it hunching the youth's back. There is no more tension against the chains; there is only the repeat, the blur of instruction, of penance, laid line after line upon the flesh. His words tumble out like pottery dashed upon the ground.
"I went… to my home… but they… I could not find them. I…"
The boy's toes give, the chains at his wrist rattling to attention, tense and angry and thrumming as the youth's weight hangs.
"I don't know… I don't know…"

The sound of the final lash resounds, a piercing crack of the air followed by a wet slice. And then the Okumo's arm descends, the bloodsoaked end of his whip beginning to leap a small puddle of the genin's ichor as the coils pool on the ground. "Answer again," speaks Meruin as he approaches Hibiki's back. "With more coherence." His free hand raises, spider silk pushing from it to find the boy's tattered back, a single wipe seeing most of the blood moved away. "You went home. Where was it that you intended to go when you initially left? Who could you not find? Why search for them?" His head shifts back, jaw opening wide. Fangs at the top of his mouth eject a stream of thin, off-quite fluid, spraying it along Hibiki's back. Where it touched open wounds, a coolness replaces the heat and damage begins closing shut, undoing some of the Okumo's harm.

COMBAT: Hibiki finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Meruin's turn.
COMBAT: Meruin heals Hibiki for 542 with BODY'S GIFT.
COMBAT: Meruin finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Hibiki's turn.
COMBAT Hibiki is poisoned (2 rounds) and loses 59 health.

With Meruin behind, the Jounin cannot see the aliveness of Hibiki's eyes, the stammering of them. The boy breathes out, dropping his lids. Ah, the warm absence of action: peace — the cool tranquility of healing.
"No, no. I found them. We went home; our family was there."
The boy's legs seem to find strength in his recovery, lending themselves the power to stand strongly on again, though still buckled.
"We were mistaken about what we had seen."
A large, leveling sigh pushes from the Genin.
"Everything is the same. I am where I belong."

COMBAT: Hibiki finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Meruin's turn.

"Your reasoning," speaks Okumo Meruin, calm gaze on the wounds on the genin's back, assessing them as they continued to vanish as though time were simply reversing, denying that such an act had ever occured. "Why did you leave, Onkyou Hibiki?" He opened his mouth once more, deicing that another dose was necessary, spraying it along the wounds that were still the deepest and most raw, or the places the caustic poison had worsened while the healing had taken place.

COMBAT: Meruin heals Hibiki for 618 with BODY'S GIFT.
COMBAT: Meruin finishes his turn.
COMBAT: It is now Hibiki's turn.
COMBAT Hibiki is poisoned (1 rounds) and loses 28 health.

Vigor is returning to Hibiki, his stance amongst the chains strengthening. He heaves several heavy breaths; atlas shrugs. The chains rattle.
"I left because I believed I had seen a familiar tattoo on one of the invaders of Kiri. The mark of our people. But I was- we were, yes, certainly, both mistaken."
Another hard breath rolls from the boy, the healing on his back easing his concerns along with his wounds. The Genin smiles, stiffly, at the wall.
"But all was fine. It was all fine."
Hibiki rolls his shoulder, turning his head to the side, barely glancing at Meruin as best he can.
"Is there more?"

Meruin stepped away from the chained genin, the rope of spider silk stemming from his arm getting tossed to the side of the room, with an easy swing of the arm. The blood covering it reduced the potency of the acids. "There is more punishment. And there are more questions. You are scheduled for an hour spent within this room. This is subject to change through difficulty in obtaining the answers to my questions. As of now, we are entering the eight minute of time." The hiss of a burning subtances touching stone once more plays with the ears.
"Be prepared, Onkyou Hibiki. And recall that this is my kindness."

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