Date: October 31, 2014
Renai and Eremi are giving information about Renai’s possible origins and go searching for answers.
"Lost Sand: Searching for Answers"
Out in the desert, Land of Wind
A few days after Renai came to Sunagakure with her request, she was given a preliminary result, with no promises of it being the right answer: if she was brought to Kirigakure, it stood to reason that she was brought to Kirigakure by sea - meaning her true origins lay somewhere by the coast. After analyzing the information about significant battles in that time and place, she has been pointed towards the remains of a village that was reduced to rubble during inter-clan warfare somewhere around the time she was taken from the Land of Wind. There are a few villages roughly matching the time frame near the coast that suffered significant attacks, but a particular one has been marked as being particularly of interest because there are no known survivors - which makes it more likely she'd be sent off to a distant land rather than raised by someone closer-by, and also would explain why no clear accounts of her bloodline survived.
As they approach the location where the village was supposed to have been, however, the pair, at first, finds little. No village, that much is certain: the land around them consists of dunes and barchans stretching as far as the eye can see in three directions, and the green-blue sea shining in the third, from horizon to horizon. As far as the eye can see, there's no civilization, not even remains of civilization. Well, closer inspection shows the last bit isn't -entirely- true: as they reach the crest of yet another dune, shielding themselves by the biting sand being picked up by the sea wind, the two notice some poles and cloth lying around: the tell-tale remains of someone's camp.
Having received word finally about the possibility of having been born in a village near the coast, the girl became a bundle of pacing, fretting, fidgeting nerves. When they finally left to go see it, however, Renai became rather remote and distant, her mind obviously troubled. She hadn't honestly expected anything to turn up at all, but there was that little sliver of hope that she might find something.. /anything/ to tell her who she is.
Arriving at the remains of what may have been her parents' village, she pauses seeming rather reluctant to go wandering about. Instead, she turns to look for Eremi. The girl stays close to him as if he's an anchor. And, well, she doesn't -entirely- trust the Sunagakure ninja. They are part of a village just like Kirigakure after all. Sneaky and shady as spiders.
"What do you think?" Renai finally speaks to him, her voice soft and quiet, inquiring of his opinions. Her eyes fall on the poles and cloth, wondering to herself what that had been and where the rest of the remains had gone. Likely buried under years of wind and sand. She frowns a bit at that.
When told that Renai would not be finding any remnants of her family with Sunagakure itself, Eremi grew rather unenthused since leaving the village. A journey further away from the known was not something Eremi had in mind when he talked Renai into leaving Kirigakure to travel toward the Land of Wind to discover her past. Things going not as planned left a bitter taste in the man’s mouth that not even his gourd could wash away.
Reaching another dune, Eremi glanced about the area to pick up whatever his senses could reveal to him. Eyes squinting through the sand that blew about and ears twitching at the howling wind. "I think you should see what you can pick up." He replied to Renai as he moved over and bent down to pick up some cloth wanting to know how tattered it was and possibly catch signs of movement not blown away by the elements.
The cloth Eremi picks up proves to be a piece of tarp. It doesn't look too tattered: the wear puts it more in the ballpark of having been here for a few weeks, maybe a month or two, than a few years. Renai's senses, however, reveal something interesting on their approach: beneath them, through the sand, she can sense the faint outlines of something hard and square: perhaps something that was once a building. From it, she senses poles, the top of which the two of them can see: apparently, someone constructed a framework around part of the ruins below their feet which, in the meantime, has been buried by the sand again. Eremi picks out something interesting as well: while the tarp has been here for a few weeks, the wire with which it's been attached to the pole still looks remarkable colorful and fresh. It can't have been here much more than a week.
Renai picks up on Eremi's unease and it unsettles her. Her eyes narrow and the girl pulls the hood back off her head. It's attached to a long cloak she's been wearing while out here to protect her fair skin. She'd rather not go back home with another sun burnt nose. She briefly binds her green hair up with a white ribbon and then spends a moment focusing herself. Renai walks past the poles and kneels down. She places hands on the sand and focuses through it to see what she can find-dilapidated buildings beneath the sand, corpses, rocks, any hiccup in texture might bring up a flag for her. But her range is limited with the ability so there is a lot she may miss.
Renai blinks and looks down. The girl rises rather abruptly and takes a few steps backward from the rectangular structure beneath her feet. "That's odd. I'm pretty sure buildings shouldn't feel like that. I think maybe there was an excavation or something.. But an excavation after 15 years? That.. somehow doesn't seem long enough." She moves closer to Eremi, inwardly debating uncovering what she felt.
Eremi's hand would move along the tarp until grasping at the wire firmly, pulling on it as it led him to a pole. He wasn't entirely sure what he had found; a flag, a marker, he didn't know. Renai's words give him a bit more clarity, but not much to go on. "If you want answers, we can start doing some excavating of our own, unless you have something else to go on…" Eremi was sure the girl did not and was preparing to start his own excavating. Releasing the wire as he started to move down the dune a bit.
Renai stays where she is and watches as Eremi moves down the dune. She makes a soft hmming noise and then walks around a bit, picking out a good spot. The girl kneels again and spends a bit of time focusing, her head bowed. When her head lifts again, her eyes are ringed in black. It actually isn't something she notices or has ever really manifested outside of this place, but regardless, because of the shapes of her features, it serves to make her look like some sort of exotic cat. The sand responds to her focusing and Renai uses a fair amount of her resources to move the sand away from whatever that structure is. The rushing sound of sand moving against sand can be heard as the stuff pulls away and behind her bit by bit.
Eremi, unlike Renai, couldn't sense what was beneath the sand. So if the girls said there was something under there, then he could only take her word for it. Moving partly down the dune he'd turn about and catch sight of the girl starting her excavation, meaning indeed she wanted to search for answers underneath the sand. Shifting his feet amongst the sand, Eremi took a brief stance before leaping into the air and delivering a spinning back kick with enough speed and power that a small whirlwind appeared that blasted into the sand, sending it flying about.
It takes the pair considerable time and effort to clear away the sand, especially with the wind constantly blowing in more of it, undoing their work. But eventually, they manage to dig their way through. What they find appears to be a house. Its stone roof has a clear hole, now filled up with sand, but as they continue their ingress, they notice that the edges of the hole, while crude and made without much concern for any remains, are recent: the sand and wind have not yet had time to sand them down to smoothness.
Renai finally stops and tentatively moves down the slope into the hole she and Eremi have made. She slips and slides, but doesn't fall. You would think someone who can manipulate sand would eventually learn how to walk on it more properly. She briefly dusts herself off, the sand poofing out of her clothing and falling to the ground. It'll take forever to get it all out of her clothes. She sighs and looks to Eremi and then to the house. She makes a small inquisitive noise and moves closer to inspect the building, but she doesn't attempt to go inside. She just looks at it and waits for Eremi. "What do you make of it?"
Taking a moment to catch his breath, Eremi would follow after Renai, moving with the same amount of difficulty as the girl. Standing atop the roof, he'd peer about, but have little to offer in the means of insight. "A dead end." The thought of continuing to dig only felt as if there'd be much more nothing left to reveal, but it was Renai's personal mission and her choice on the next steps to take. "This information you got might have been a dud."
Renai looks down at the hole and then inhales deeply. The girl exhales with a huff and reaches up to wipe at her brow. "Perhaps. I want to keep looking, but not today. There may be something.. But.." She hesitates, grimacing. "I don't know. It's a lot of work."
She looks up to Eremi with a grin. "You hungry? I'm absolutely starving!" Renai rubs her belly a bit. She really does eat as much as an elephant. "Let's come back tomorrow. There's a candy shop I want to find. They have this stuff made out of cacti and it's amazing.." Her voice trails off as she starts climbing out of the hole, sand falling back in after her.
<Continuation on November 1st>
The idea of the stone building beneath the sand had intrigued her. Part of Renai's mind was resigned to finding nothing. She knew the chance would be slim. But that little spark of hope that said, "Maybe.." is what kept her going. This time she came more prepared, however.
Having learned from the previous trip of slogging through sand to the coast and trying to jutsu everything out of the way with her abilities as well, she decided to purchase a shovel. It's one thing to exert oneself physically and quite another to tax the mind and spirit as well. She'd rather stick to ancient methods.
It takes her a bit to find the spot from before, but she does and is a bit disappointed to see the area already covered back up a bit from wind. Sliding down into the half-filled hole, the girl starts digging again, slinging the sand as far as she can without expending too much energy. Shoveling sand is a tiring process since it's always trying to fill it's vacated space, but surely this will be better than using abilities she barely has a handle on.
The area is, in fact, covered quite thoroughly. Judging by the speed at which it accumulates it would've returned to the way they found it in less than a week. So it's good Renai returned quickly. Eventually, Renai's shovel strikes something hard: the ancient roof with the still-fresh hole in it. From now on, it's unexplored territory: she has to clear the roof a bit, and then she can start to clear the inside of the building by moving the sand on top of it. It's labour-intensive work, but she makes progress.
As she clears deeper into the building, bit by bit, the contours of the room she tunneled into become more clearly apparent, more than just foggy outlines sensed by tremors in the sand. The room is a roughly two-meter square. the wall on one side is entirely gone, and about half gone on another, leaving the roof supported by two walls and the sand Renai is moving aside.
It takes a long time and, when she does finally dig her way into the building, Renai is a bit sunburnt and sweating. She pauses before tunneling to eat a bit, sitting on the rooftop and warding off sand that might threaten to cover up her process with one arm and shoving rice balls into her face with the other.
With a full belly, Renai starts in on the tunneling, making her way into the structure cautiously. She pauses when her feet finally touch the floor and looks around, her hands clutching the handle of the shovel. The situation has her a bit nervous. She probably should have gotten some wood planks or something to better keep the sand from rushing into the opening.
Renai makes a hmming noise and decides to look around quickly and thoroughly before finding herself trapped under the crushing substance. With that thought in mind, she sets the shovel aside and starts roaming about, studying what she can.
The light from above is dim, but once she's cleared away enough sand -and admittedly, damaged a few things before getting the hang of amateur archaeology- Renai finds remains, mostly wooden, although some of them stone. The room must've been a bedroom once: she barely distinguishes what's left of a bed, and a thoroughly rotten dresser. At first, it seems the contents have also rotted away, but as more sand is moved out, it becomes apparent all the drawers have been pulled out and scattered through the room. Whatever was in them, or rather what remains of what was in them, is also strewn through the sand. But Renai notices one more detail about the dresser: it has two planks remaining between which a mirror may have been fitted once. The surface where that mirror used to be looks like it was broken recently, not all those years ago when the village first suffered an attack.
The Kirigakure genin looks at everything carefully, attempting to take in as much detail as she can. At the sight of the dresser, she pauses again, studying it and wondering about its shattered appearance. Surely, even with that amount of sand coming it, it wouldn't have had enough force to shatter it. She runs her hands along the surface of the desk carefully, pressing here and there to check for any secret compartments. She touches where the mirror should be as well, careful of any sharp fragments that might still be lodged at the edges.
"What happened to you.." Renai speaks softly as though her voice might upset the ghosts of the place.
A closer inspection shows that Renai runs no risk of cutting herself on any mirror fragments: wherever it's gone, it's been removed entirely, cut off the planks that held it in place together with most of its frame, and recently. She can't find any hidden compartments - at least, no hidden compartments that haven't already been discovered and empties. In her search, though, she does dig up an interesting item: in the emptying of the dresser, someone found and discarded a little, worn book made of rice paper. Its pages, while yellowed and warped from time, are still legible. When the girl picks it up, something slides out from between the first few pages: a single sheet of paper, with a faded drawing of a fish on it.
Renai flips through the little book briefly and glances at the drawing. She decides to not read it for now though and closes the book with a lingering look. The genin tucks the article into her shirt and glances around briefly for anything else she might find again.
Not wanting to linger too long in the potential death trap, however, she moves to grasp the shovel. The girl chucks it out and then moves in case it should come sailing right back down onto her head. When it doesn't she moves to hop up and grasp the edges of the hole, pulling herself out. Should she get free without further incident, she'd move back up the sand dune, dragging her shovel with her and pause, looking back and considering the newness of the damage-the rough edges and things. Her hand moves over the book under her shirt and she frowns, wondering to herself if she's been set up somehow or if there's something more she needs to know.