Date: April 7, 2015
A team of Sunagakure shinobi are sent to investigate rumors of mysterious lanterns floating. However, they find more than they bargain for…
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Rise of the Red Mist - Investigation in the Red Mist Ruins"
Ruins of San-Sara Daruta
San Sara-Duruta, or 'Three Plate-Delta', was a town situated in the middle of the Desert of Knives. Low buildings made of sandstone or adobe, and undecorated, were the order of the day. Almost anything illegal was acquirable in San Sara-Duruta, provided one knew the right people and had the money to spend. However, the threat that this small town represented to the people of the Land of Wind eventually couldn't be ignored.
Now, all that remains are broken walls, damaged or collapsed structures, and sand. The dead have long since been picked clean by scavenging animals and the ruins themselves picked clean by HUMAN scavengers. However, hopeful thieves and "treasure hunters" still occasionally search this place of wickedness that has now been turned to dust and emptiness. They do not stay, however. The Hidden Sand struck here once. There is no telling if or when they will do so again.
To the west, the Desert of Knives's western reaches extend into the distance. To the south-west, the southern portion of the Desert of Knives lies in wait, serving as a 'border' between the bandit-ruled sands and the less-populated deserts patrolled by shinobi. East lies a mountain range along the north-east desert of the Land of Wind. Caves and tunnels are said to extend beneath the mountains, and potentially even link up with the infamous Catacombs that lie beneath Sunagakure.
Most people choose not to investigate this rumor.
Long ago, something was unleashed upon the Land of Sand. Something unexpected and largely ignored partially because many of those who had seen it were gone or didn't know what it was. The life of those who might have had a chance to understand it taken. The minds of those who still knew of it distracted. The damage was happening quietly. First one mad woman slipped away, poisoned by a thing she could not understand and carrying its contents, she slipped away. Now, in a ruin far off the beaten path of the Land of Wind, she collects souls for the sake of a master that doesn't exist. Even now, a group of shinobi are on their way to these very ruins due to the mad ramblings of a bandit.
As Kaidan leaps along the sands, chuckling as he looks back at the group, "Come on!" He calls and grins as he waves them along, "We are just going to check out a strange rumor and then back to the village. It's a good chance to get the body moving!" He nods his head and then looks back toward the ruins in the distance.
'Death…' the bandit had rambled out, '…red death flowed from their mouths.' The bandit shivered even as he spoke. 'Their eyes…the eyes of the diablo.' He then started to cry, shuddering and whimpering like a small child afraid of the dark. A strange thing to see in a man of 6'8" tall. A man who could have easily flipped a horse. A man now whimpering and saying, 'Dead…or worse…dead…or worse…all gone…' and he'd repeat. Nothing good was taken from him except the location of these ruins. It hadn't been taken seriously enough.
Kaidan smiles as he looks at the ruins, shaking his head, "Looks simple enough." He mutters to himself and shrugs even as the sun begins to creep toward the edge of the horizon, hailing the coming of the night.
Jiro was along for the mission and was actually kind of intrigued by the crazy bandit's story. He rolls his eyes at Kaidan's enthusiasm as he goes along, not saying anything himself for now as he runs and jumps along. He keeps an eye on their surroundings out of habit, watching for any other danger that might come along while they travel.
Arika actually doesn't really want to go on the mission, but the fact that Jiro was going on it made her determined to work through her fear and tag along. She perches on Kaidan's back for as long as he allows it, the girl glancing back every now and then to check on Jiro and make sure he was okay. No, really! She wasn't glancing back because it helped her feel brave or anything! … Ahem. "What d'you think it is, Kai-kun?" she wonders, keeping up with him if he forced her off his back, otherwise resting her chin on his shoulder.
Red death. Demons… Death… Don't the horrors of the otherworld ever leave this place alone? Then again, that's probably an odd thought coming from Miyako in her particular situation, all things considered. "Whatever it is, we're probably gonna have to kill it," Miyako says, shrugging her shoulders. Still, she keeps up pretty easily, keeping her mind focused on the mission and ignoring the grumblings of a certain tanuki for now.
"He was just a bandit." Kaidan states and nods his head while smiling at Arika, "It's probably just some big mean lizard or something. He probably ran afoul of something nasty." He then looks over toward the ruins, "Lets go." He chuckles as he starts down the dune toward the ruins even as the sun begins to run down the horizon. The first sliver of it sliding away into hiding behind the horizon which becomes more and more hidden as they head down the dunes into the ruins.
Even as they approach and darkness haunts their steps, the ruins seem quieter than normal. The desert, to those that live there, is not a dead place. Not by a long shot. Things creep and crawl about. Plants of a particularly hardy nature find a way to grow in its harsh soil. There's always something moving about the desert. The ruins are no exception. Ruins in the Land of Wind are often the greatest truth that defeats the lie of the desert being dead. The ruins today, however, seem…dead. More dead than one might expect. Even as Kaidan steps in, he seems to blink and hold out a hand for others to stop, "Anyone else notice that…that…lack of anything?" Not even wind marks their steps.
Jiro is watching after Arika out of habit as well. But since she's on Kaidan at least he doesn't have to worry about that too much at the moment. The boy pauses when Kaidan does before following him into the ruins, rolling his shoulders a bit with unease. "Somethin' ain't righ'." The boy mutters, looking around worriedly. "Do ya guys see tha'?" He asks, pointing at the sky. Kind of randomly. "Color's not righ'."
Arika peeks over at Miyako, nodding a bit. Then she nods to Kaidan. Still, the idea that something spooky is happening in these ruins scares her, so she focuses Er chakra and hopes for the best. The air picks up a bit as she tries to sense something, even as Kaidan mentions there is no breeze. "There's a weird scent… Kinda like blood… And I think something's moving, too…" She frowns, clutching Kaidan a bit tighter out of nervousness.
Miyako's eyes narrow as she feels out into the area via sand… Something is definitely not right here… She looks over to a building as if sensing something there and then to another where it seems to have moved. "… This thing either moves really fast, or there's more than one that can basically erase itself from noticeability and stop moving completely.. to the point of not even needing to breathe."
A blink and Kaidan looks over at Arika before slowly he pulls her aside and sets her down. He takes a breath and almost immediately his armor slides up out of his jacket and over his face. He looks to the right and left before looking back at the others, "Be on guard." He states and nods his head before looking over at Jiro and then up. When he looks up he notices it and as Jiro has pointed it out, others might notice it, too. A sort of red fog. It's faint but strangely seems to become more visible the less light there is.
Then, at that moment, the sun disappears beyond the horizon. As the last bits of direct light vanish, leaving the world bathed in twilight, a scream curdles the air and scratches the ears from somewhere deep in the ruins. Light seems to start to glow in the distance even as a strange fog starts to roll out of various buildings and into various areas. It's like it just seems to creep out of no where.
Kaidan starts to look around and as he does, one can see what appears to be odd sorts of lamps in the fog. Each lamp coming in pairs and then Miyako and Arika are likely the first to notice. Just above them, something or someone peers over at them. Two glowing eyes that glow with unnatural light. Humanoid in nature, the head is…looking at them upside down…and then an arm right side up grips the side of the building, pulling the body over. It's as if someone were creeping over the side of the building on their belly…except their head is turned fully upside down and tilted so that the back of their head presses their chest.
Even as Kaidan looks up and starts to say something, "What the crim…" A screech similar to the one in the distance rings out and red fog billows forth like the breath of a dragon.
Jiro sees the fog coming but is a little too slow to avoid taking a breath of it as he tries to jump away. It's his own fault really that he got caught in that since it had been moving so slowly. As he finally makes it a little further back he puts a hand out against the ruins to steady himself, shaking his head to clear it at the weird feeling it brings.
"Ari-chan!" Miyako's voice calls out as she brings her hands into a seal, causing a platform of sand to rip up under their feet and bring them high into the air above the range of the attack. Her eyes study the area below, trying to figure out what the BLEEP it is they're actually fighting… She squints slightly before bringing her hands into a seal and sending off a wave of sand orbs meant to drain chakra out of the platform.
Arika squeaks a bit, scrambling backwards to try and avoid the red smoke, but then she feels the ground move under her and she is carried up and up and up… ~Oy! Give us some warning, Squirrel!~ grumbles the one within, even as Arika skitters towards the center of the sand platform. She clambers onto Miyako's back, saying, "We should get Jiro-kun and Kai-kun, Miya-chan!"
And the Kaidan is bursting out of the way in a blast of speed even as he appears down the street. He isn't in time to save Jiro but then he dashes back in and out again even as the red mist fades. Kaidan isn't often afraid of things but this scared him. He is breathing in and out faster than usual even as he uses his dashes to grab up the hit Jiro, looking at it carefully as he holds him and then looks up as Miyako levels the poor creature that was atop the building nearby. Now that she's up though, she can see just the danger they are in as more lamps in the darkness are pointed their way.
Little lights in the fog and the dark, no one without its partner right beside, dancing and bobbing as they move in jerky motions. Moving with a sudden burst of speed and then stopping and jerking along or quitting the movement altogether before moving again. They appear to be attracted to the spot where the scream came from. Various patches of red fog moving along.
Kaidan breathes heavily as he looks at Jiro, "You ok, Lil' Britches?" He peers at the kid before looking around. Another scratch of the fingers along the chalkboard of night pierces their ears as something sounds almost anguished or angry. It's hard to tell from this far away but the screeching appears to be closing, "Miyako!" Kaidan calls up, "We are not prepared…we are leaving." He nods to her, "Get Arika, I'm taking Jiro. We have to get back and report." He then nods to her even as he looks suddenly to his right as a wall smashes open and something larger comes racing at him. He puts up an arm not holding Jiro to block it even as it smashes into him.
Kaidan is sent flying, clutching Jiro to his chest as he smashes away and into a wall, taking the full brunt of it and falling to the ground with a wince, "Miyako! We are leaving!"
Jiro had managed to get away in the end, but since the mist continues he doesn't argue when Kaidan grabs him. He does argue when the man holds on however. "'m fine, lemme go." He mutters, unable to try and escape the grasp as they're sent flying away instead. Jiro closes his eyes as they crash, opening them again to look at Kaidan. "Ya can't fight 'olding me. Lemme go." He mutters, shoving against the arm that holds him to try and squirm out. He can't exactly defend himself being held like this either. He can't even get to his sash.
~Sure, sure. Next time I'll tell the brat to give a full-length speech before saving your lives, squidbrain. Kekekeke…~ Miyako seems to basically ignore what's going on between the two Bijuu. "Got it!" she calls down to Kaidan then peers up at Arika. "Hang on tight, Ari-chan," she says before the platform goes racing off back toward the way they came. "Catch up, and I'll give you two a ride back," she calls down to Kaidan and Jiro as they race off.
Arika clings a bit tighter to Miyako, inwardly grumbling at the angry Bijuu. 'Hush up!' The girl makes a handseal, and a clone appears that moves to the edge of the sand platform to reach for Jiro and Kaidan, the girl mostly aiming to help them up. "Climb on, Jiro-kun! Kai-kun!" the clone shouts at them, waiting to see if either would attempt that before reaching out.
"We aren't fighting, Jiro." Kaidan tells the boy as he rushes up to his feet even as the huge nearly 8 foot tall behemoth of flesh glares at them with glowing eyes. Kaidan rushes over and pushes Jiro up to Miyako's platform to let Arika help him up before he full leaps up and climbs on board, "We are going and reporting this. Whatever this is…it isn't natural and it sure as hell isn't something we are prepared for." He nods his head and Kaidan looks back as the fog moves over the ruins and then he looks back at the others, "And we are going to report this area. No one is allowed near these ruins until we figure out what we are dealing with." He nods and then sighs.
Even as they move away, many of those pairs of lamps seem to converge where they were. As nothing seems to be found there though, since they left, the creatures seem to disperse but not before splitting the air again with another wail of anguish and anger.
Jiro just grumbles a bit as he's hefted onto the sand platform. He sits on it and folds his arms over his chest grumpily, watching back the way of the ruins in silence.
Arika-clone drags Jiro up onto the platform when Kaidan tosses him up and then disappears. The real Arika keeps her perch on Miyako, looking back at the lanterns with a small frown and a soft noise of unhappiness. "What happened, anyway?" she wonders.
"… Something… Not good," Miyako says as she peers up at Arika once more. She watches Jiro, Kaidan, and the clone, waiting for all to be secure aboard the platform before it darts off at a much faster pace toward Sunagakure. "I…. I need to talk to Kuoroke when we get back. There's something I'm going to need to fight something like this…"
"I don't know Arika." Kaidan states and nods his head as they move away. He then looks over at Miyako, "No, we don't simply need to fight this. We need to know what this is." He nods his head, "We can't just assume this is isolated. These ruins weren't filled with things like this a few months ago." He shakes his head, "This sprung up too fast." He then reaches out and puts a hand on Jiro's head lightly, peering at him before looking back at the ruins that are starting to fade into the background, "Just get us back." He nods his head and then does something he hasn't done since the Silence. He looks worried.