Akina, Asankaru (emitter)
Date: June 11, 2013
Akina comes home to procure more of the scrolls she'd left behind in the place she'd once lived. A few surprises await.
"Buried In The Sand - Homecoming"
Deep within Sunagakure's desert.
It is another day in the Sunagakuran desert. In this place of heat and sand, time nearly seems to loop, each day looking the same as the last even as each dune looks the same as the next. An endless wind blows through land molding the features of the sand hills, the warmth of it doing nothing to soothe the heat of any who'd be unfortunate enough to have to feel it's caress. It is hard to think that anything of worth could've survived the harshness of the terrain and remained unburied.
Endless heat, endless sand, and endless harsh wing, in a desert that's unforgiving. Normally Akina would travel at night as she, much like the rest of her clan, was nocturnal. However today she needed to break from her habits to travel through the desert, taking a risk by traveling by herself in the middle of the desert. And taking several detours in order to keep anyone that may possibly be following her from actually finding her destination.
The sun was already lowering in the sky when she finds her hut. The little piece of home that was hidden away beneath a stone dune, made in such a way that the sand for the most part isn't able to get inside the small bit of cavern no matter what direction the wind blows. Akina takes another quick look around, overly cautious, before slipping herself inside. The door was stuck and it takes a little bit to push it open, but eventually it creaks and cracks when it budges.
A small but steady stream of sand is blown into the small cavern just as soon as the door opens as though eager to explore the room that'd been off limits to it until now. Upon entrance, Akina would find that it was much the same as she same as it was when she'd left it last. Cooler in here than outside, and much darker. Suitable for the nocturnal shippodoku.
The furs in the corner that served as the sleeping area were still present. Damp now, a scent beginning to rise from them. Something may've found it's way in and died a while back, judging from the scent. Off to the side, a small pile of the stone scorpions that her father used to make. He was an accomplished stoneworker. For some reason, he couldn't seem to make anything but scorpions and bowls, but anything he did make was beautifully crafted. There, the wall she'd scratched out her first words on when her father was teaching her how to write…
The wind sweeps in with her and Akina tries her best to close the door quickly and cut off the abrupt gust. Darkness envelopes her and it doesn't even take a moment for her eyes to adjust, her gaze looking over the few memorable items or knicknacks that her father had made if only to make their little hut more a home for his daughter. Each little thing encouraging a memory that had otherwise been forgotten. Clutching her hand at her side, Akina tries to keep herself from lingering too long and move onto what was important. Her father's library of scrolls.
On the far wall of the small cavern, notably distant from any other feature of the room, is a stone chest. Affectionately dubbed as 'The Library' by father, it held his store of scrolls and writings, mostly on the the many, many fields a shaman must be acquainted with to be truly proficient in their craft. It was always kept in that one spot. It was always closed when something wasn't going in or coming out. And it was never to be sat on, used as a plate, or used for writing practice. Father's rules about the library.
Though, it seemed…
Moving closer to the chest, Akina lowers herself to her knees in front of it as her hands brush over the lid with a small bit of affection. She had taken several arm-fulls with her when she went to Suna. She hadn't wanted to risk her precious scrolls being found by someone else, so she took as much as she could and made regular visits (though far enough in time that no one noticed her slipping away) to try to transport the rest. Her fingers brush away the light coating of dust before she pulls out her key to open the chest.
It was here that Akina would find that they key was unecessary. Not only was the chest unlocked, but it was open. A piece of jagged stone propped the lid open slightly, having been chipped off of the lid from where someone had broken into it. Investigation would show that the chest was, in fact, as empty as the shippodoku would no doubt fear it was. Nothing but emptiness, potent evidence of violation.
Her hand pauses on the lid as Akina sees the chest unlocked, open even. She can feel her chest clenching with sudden fear, a million thoughts going through her mind all at once. The hand hesitates on the lid for a faction of a moment longer before she pushes it open. Her stomach instantly drops, seeing it completely empty, with the exception of bits of broken stone scattered along the bottom. "There has to be something… anything…" Akina searches fruitlessly through the stone, knowing in her heart that there was nothing here. However, she's surprised when she does find a small piece of paper. A note? She blinks her dusky eyes as she tugs at it. It blended in with the stone so well that it could have been completely missed. The girl takes a shallow swallow as she quickly opens it up.
One word. Run. Her stomach drops again with sudden fear as Akina drops the piece of paper, falling backwards as she tries to quickly push herself back. Run it said. Her eyes dart everywhere around her while she scrambles to her feet, retreating as fast as she's physically able. They found her. They must have found her. And they used her home as bait, waiting for her. "Father…" Akina's back hits the surface of the front door hard and with a breath she whips around and tries to work at the door knob, fumbling.
There is no change within the cavern. No movement, no stirring. No assault, no ambush. Just Akina and her panic and her memories. Outside, the sound of a sudden gust of wind can be heard hitting the door she tries to open, but it does nothing but grow audible. The serenity of the rest of the place nearly seems to mock the shippodoku girl, untouchable by the fact someone had broken into her hidden past home and knew she would come back to it.
It takes Akina a fraction of an instant to realize that nothing was moving inside of the hut. No movement, not so much as a whisper outside of herself. Nothing. And still her heart pounded furiously in her chest with fear. Whoever had taken her father's scrolls had left that note for her, but why? Was it a warning? Knowing that she would eventually return here. The warrior sect didn't let their targets know they were being hunted, so why this?
The stone and the darkness regarded Akina's thoughtful question with silence. Stone did not speak and darkness always hid far more than it revealed. Out of all within the room, the only thing that would speak up to help would be the silence. So quiet here, just below the earth.
The silence… Not even the current of wind moved inside of the hut. And it took a short moment for that realization to cut through her fear. Akina blinks her bright eyes up at the ceiling at the pipe that was placed there, ensuring that there would always be a fresh current of air from outside. But not even that could be heard. She stares up at it for a moment, a small frown tugging at her brow as she glances to the rug beneath it. The fur definitely wasn't in the same place as it was last time she was here. Leaning away from the door Akina pushes herself forward, kneeling down on one knee as she reaches out to pull at the fur, moving it.
A dry rattle broke the silence into many pieces as the sleeping furs were pulled on. Out from beneath the slightly damp things rolled a dessicated body and the faded stench of dusty decay. Human, about adult sized, it was nothing but dry bone and leathery skin stretched overtop it, a few brittle strands of gray hair left on the ground where it'd been.
Akina blinks with honest surprise when a body, a dead body, is rolled from the furs and falling into a heap on the floor. A body. Was it a shinobi? If it was, why was it rolled into the furs and just left here? Why was it here in the first place? The girl frowns to herself with confusion as she drops the fur to the floor and moves the body onto what she assumes to be its back. Whatever clothes it was wearing, if any still, she searches through. Looking for anything that would give her a hint to who it may have been, or a village headband even. Anything really.
After a few moments of rummaging, something would fall from the rib bones of the corpse. It gave a dull thud as it hit the stone, bouncing only once before coming to a stop. It was made of metal, covered in a deep red rust thick enough to leave fingerprints in. A little handling, though, would show it to be a simple locket, a small squeeze in the right place all it takes to see it opened. Inside, it proved to be clear of any sort of rust, but just what was in it couldn't be made out due to the darkness, even by Akina's night suited eyes.
After a moment of searching Akina hears the dull sound of metal hitting stone, and finding it through the pile she carefully picks it up between her slender fingers. The red rust… she can only assume that it's dried blood from the body. Its very possible that the corpse was female, wearing a locket, but after fiddling with it and managing to open it completely, whatever was inside couldn't be made out in the darkness. Her jaw firms and Akina glances up at the pipe in the ceiling. Something was still blocking it. Clutching the locket firmly in hand, Akina pushes open the door and gives the desert a brief glance, narrowing her dusky eyes for a fraction of a second. If everything was secure, she first checks the locket.
A gust of wind bursts through the door as soon as the Shippodoku girl pushes it open, sand particulates heading for the whole of her body and, most importantly her eyes and mouth. Should she be unprepared for the immediate assault, she would find herself having to face a moment of blind, stinging eyes and, perhaps, some choking from inhaled sand. And afterwards, there would be nothing. The wind seemed to have lost it's energy after the gust, no force more malevolent than nature behind the attack.
By the light of the sun outside, the girl would be able to see the inside of the locket. Engraved in the metal would be three names. Tsubaki. Akina. Jikai. An unknown name. The name of the girl herself. Her father's name. And on the inner side of the locket top was another note the shade of the stone that'd once been her father's library. A small, folded thing adhered to the metallic surface.
The wind and sand hits her with a sudden blast as Akina emerges, wincing lightly as she holds up her arms against the assault if only for a moment. When it dies down, she exhales her held breath and brushes herself off with her free hand. A nuisance. Oh well. Sighing softly, the young girl glances at her surroundings for a short moment before returning her gaze to the locket in her hand, studying it quietly. Where did it come from? Why was it on the body? Why was the body even in her hut?
There are so many questions. But she knows it isn't likely she'll get any answers. But… her gaze narrows at the engravings inside, a small frown forming with thought. "Tsubaki… Akina… Jikai…" she breathes, "Jikai." She had never heard the name before, but her father's name, and her own… Why was it in here? Akina flickers her eyes to the small piece of folded paper pressed into the other half of the locket, her fingers quick to pull it out and unfold it. Her soft lips part just slightly before she murmurs, "Ansaari.."
A sudden, muffled thump sounds behind Akina.
At the small sound, Akina instantly snaps her dark eyes up a the open door of the hut, tensing subtly. There couldn't be anything in there, could it? Maybe she had missed something, or someone. Maybe it was just a desert snake or mouse. So many thoughts moved through her mind in a short instant. A breath catching her chest for a tense moment before she shakes off the unnerved feeling, clenching the locket in her palm as she moves forward through the doorway again. Her keen eyes are quick to to scan over the hut again.
Once more, there was nothing — always nothing where something should be. But then there was more. The skin-scrapped skeleton suddenly jerked, it's hand pushing at the bedding furs as it leaned upwards. But it seemed unable to use it's legs, instead, crashing down towards the doorway, it's other arm lunging towards the shippodoku. It's head lifted and it pushed forward in a swift motion, the sound of it's bone scraping against the rock loud in the cavern until the skull popped off and a desert mouse fled from remains. Squeaking loudly, the big eared thing would attempt to dash past the girl's feet and out into sandy freedom.
The subtle sound of wind moves through the cavern.
Akina instantly locks onto the movement of the skeleton as it jerks, her shoulders tensing and on reflex she reaching to her long sleeve for the poisoned senbon there. Its head moves, unnaturally so, bone scraping against stone for a short moment before the skull pops off entirely. The sight of the mouse trying to escape was something of a relief to the girl, however… Akina blinks her eyes up at the ceiling, tensing once more with the realization that wind was moving through the vent pipe in the ceiling. Meaning…
She whips the door open, quick as she's physically possible through ever shifting sand to make her way on top of the dune that's covering the hut. Whatever was covering the pipe a few moments before wasn't now, meaning something or someone moved. Its very likely she wasn't alone.
If there were anything here, it no longer appeared to be, leaving behind just the wind and the sand and the sun. Of course, another gust of sand bearing winds push against the girl for a few moments. They'd been increasing in frequency and power throughout her stay here, becoming more and more bothersome. The sandstorm in the far distance might provide a little bit of an answer as to why this was so.
Reaching the top of the dune, Akina braces herself against the sudden wind and sand, making a face as she dips her chin and keeps her mouth closed. One gust is followed by another, growing in frequency that anyone that lived in such a harsh environment would know what it signifies. A sandstorm would be here soon enough. Twisting to quickly scan her gaze on the horizon, she looks for the direction that the storm may be coming from, making a note of it in her mind before returning her attention towards the single pipe that would be missed in the sand. There didn't appear to be anything wrong with it. At least not from the outside. Her free hand clutches lightly at her side before Akina turns her gaze, making a sweeping glance over the sand dune before she decides that it would be best to return indoors to ride out the storm.
That final sweep of the eyes would reveal nothing but the presence of four or five scorpions nearby, the group beginning to bury in an attempt to escape the oncoming storm. Something the Shippodoku Akina might wish to do herself. The winds are building swiftly and the storm would hit fast. As a denizen of the desert, there would be no doubt that the girl would know this. Just as she had decided, it was time to head inside.
Nothing. Not even so much of a thing out of place. Only sand, and scorpions. And the approaching sand storm. Still Akina couldn't help the unsettling feeling she feels. Maybe it has something to do with the corpse found in her hut. Or the unanswered questions that had arisen ever since she got here. The girl absently brushes a thumb over the surface of the locket in her hand as she descends the dune and quickly ducks inside, making sure that the door is secure and sealed tight so that sand wouldn't get inside from the coming storm. So many unsettling questions.