Date: March 4, 2014
Two delegations, one from Amegakure and another from Kirigakure, meet in a valley along the southern border of the Land of Rain, the easiest area for the two parties to get together without traveling through too many lands, and discuss possible diplomatic options for the future. However, before much can be said, they are ambushed by a large force of the Striking Serpent gang's shinobi and mercenaries. Thanks to the power of Ishino, one of the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist, the two delegations eliminate the enemies and part ways on good terms and with minor wounds sustained.
"Not-So-Hidden in the Rain"
A Valley in the Southern Border of the Land of Rain
The Land of Rain, aptly named for its frequent rain storms, was dark, dreary, and dismally wet on the day that the delegations from Kirigakure and Amegakure were going to meet. While it was not raining, per se, it was misting, and even though a temporary exposure might not soak someone, the mist was not like rain, it did not fall straight to the ground, instead it floated about, getting beneath weather-resistant gear and acted as a menace. Prolonged ventures into this particular mist would potentially chill one to the bone, considering the cold winds that blew through the area.
The delegations, both small parties of no more than five, were to meet in a small valley not far border of Ishigakure’s obscure parent country nestled between the Lands of Fire and Wind. It served as a rather appropriate location for the meeting, as the meeting zone was in friendly, Ame-controlled territory, yet with easy access to the coast via Ishigakure so that the Kirigakure delegation could get there without any issues.
Among the Amegakure delegation, numbering five people, was Uzumaki Miyo. Garbed in a long, black robe with a red lining and a voluminous hood up to keep the mist off of her for the time being, the girl seemed rather content in the situation. With her were two chuunin and another genin, as well as a single diplomatic member that did not appear to be a shinobi. All together, the batch of Ame-nin were appropriately dressed for the occasion, and while most bore weapons, none were drawn – yet.
While the land of Rain's delegation had five members, it looked that the Kirigakure group had six. The delegate was there as the non-shinobi member, but Doihara Ishino, known seven swordsmen and puppeteer was there, along with his butler. He was slightly outside of his norm, a deep black cloak wrapped about his shoulders to ward off the rain, as well as that umbrella that the old man who never left Ishino's side held for the both of them. Interestingly enough, of the other chuunin and genin, only the old man did not have water gear… and didn't appear to be getting wet. Ishino studied the other group as the came to a stop that short distance away, looking at them and around. Just in case it was an ambush of course. There was always an ambush at this sort of situation. It was more a matter of from who.
As Ishino and the Kirigakure delegation arrive, the Ame-envoy steps forward and raises a hand, hailing the other group, and also to show that he is unarmed. In his other hand, he holds up a scroll that he unfurls briefly to show that he was truly a representative of the factionally-divided hidden village. Once he is certain that the Kiri-envoy had seen his credentials, he makes a move closer. “The weather is not quite as pleasant as we’d hope for entertaining respected guests, but it could be much worse.” The envoy smirks, believing that he had just made some sort of amusing joke – at least it amused him.
On the other hand, Miyo was not quite amused. While she had seemed content before, she had quickly adopted a much more miserable expression. She had accidently stepped into a puddle and the water had seeped into her boot while she wasn’t paying attention, and it was driving her nuts! She had half a mind to remove the boot and dump it out or even go barefoot and her intentions were made known by the way she kept focusing on it, glaring and scowling as if she could frighten the unwelcome moisture away.
The diplomat of the Land of Water’s side would chuckle politely in response, "Almost like my homeland." He'd also show his own hand and scroll with his credentials, to verify he is indeed the diplomat as well. As they'd start to talk, Ishino continued to look about. Although he would glance at Miyo curiously as she'd seem so focused on her shoe. A small shake of his head was given and his attention went back to scanning the surrounding and them… hey… never know.
It would certainly be a wise move to scan the surroundings. Unbeknownst to the delegations, there were others about – others that did not quite see eye-to-eye with whoever had sent the Ame-envoy. Among the factions vying for control in Amegakure, none truly managed the village, and its foreign relations were strewn together in a de facto manner by the leaders of the various factions, as it would do no one any good to see the Hidden Rain fall prey to outsiders before one could claim it. The current envoy was aligned with the faction going by Striking Serpent Society, and it showed as he had a serpent uncurling to strike upon the breast of his robes.
The other members of the Ame-delegation had various emblems as well, from major and minor factions and neutral clans, but Uzumaki Miyo did not. Beyond the Amegakure hitai-ite around her neck, she bore no other symbols, marking her as an odd-duck of the bunch. Despite the markings of the delegation, those around the area, hidden from view but not necessarily from detection, all wore a single emblem – that of the Jade Lotus, a faction known for opposing basically everything the others did, hence their meddling in the current affairs.
“I must admit, It has been a while since I have travelled to the Lands of Water, but last I went, the weather was far more tame than what we have here,” The Ame-envoy chuckles wryly. “Anyway, let us get down to business. As you know, we are hoping to acquire a non-aggression pact between our two villages, and to perhaps seek a more beneficial agreement in the future – one that could improve prosperity for both our lands.”
Ishino glanced to the old man behind him, who nodded politely, gave Ishino the umbrella, and then would walk off, quickly vanishing from sight. Looking back forward, Ishino watched the two diplomats continue their chatter, frowning. There was something not right here. Although he was far from one who could place it. A small shake of his head was given as he'd look around again. A valley, it's too easy. Too likely to be attacked. He shifted on his feet. The chuunin looked a little concerned. When Ishino was uneasy, that meant there was potential trouble. And soon.
Ishino was not the only one who was uneasy. The location was, indeed, not the greatest place for a meeting in terms of safety from an ambush, but none should have been expected so it was not considered – or perhaps it was orchestrated that way by the Jade Lotus’ leader. The Ame-envoy was apparently oblivious to any pending threat, however, one of the chuunin steps up beside him and whispers to him. Once the exchange was finished, the envoy looks the Kirigakure delegation. “My associate has informed me that we are… not alone here. We should be prepared for an ambush.”
The frustration is evident upon the man’s face, but the rest of his group, including Miyo, do not make a move to arm themselves – not yet, at least. While they do shuffle around and change positions, making sure their defense is secure, they do not show any real overt indication that they know something is wrong. Even Miyo, generally quite eccentric and frantic about most things she did, seemed oddly subdued – and focused on her wet boot!
Shaking his head with a sigh, Ishino would form a hand seal, a sudden surge of chakra flooding through him as he'd shift Time Keeper from that passive to active mode. Buried underground, a dark pulsing would begin, the ticking of the clock feeding back to Ishino what was happening. Yes, he was going full alert, where the others just shuffled about. "Guard the Delegate. I'll deal with the attackers." The delegate paled slightly as the chuunin and genin surrounded him, Ishino eyed the other side then looked around, calling out. "Greetings to those of the shadows. This is a really simple situation we are in. You deal with one of the seven swordman. While the paperwork is tedious, I will kill you if I must. Otherwise, disperse and leave us to peace and there will not have to be any death." So sayth the teen in a suit with an umbrella over his head.
Despite the warnings of Ishino, there is not a sound. Not a peep from anyone other than those already present, which might be odd in itself being that there was very little ambient noise. As the mist continued to saturate the area and the clouds grew darker, threatening a more torrential downpoor, casting shadows across the land beneath it, the enemy’s first assault was launched. Heralded by three large, cascading waves generated by unseen ninjutsuists, a number of men and women rushed from behind cover to descend the hill and close with the shinobi guards.
Among those guards, Uzumaki Miyo prepared to defend her charge, hands and fingers dancing about as she worked in tandem with her team to erect a seal barrier to protect herself and the Ame-envoy. Despite the barrier being put together, several projectiles were launched her direction to test the strength and resilience of that barrier.
The number of enemies swelled steadily as the waves crash down upon the groups, but fortunately, most do not seem to be shinobi or trained to a degree of such. Instead, they were going to rely upon numbers to tie up their opponents while their few shinobi dealt the killing blows necessary, or perhaps score a lucky hit of their own.
Either way, Ishino would have his hands full. With one wave bearing down upon him and, a quartet of untrained goons backed by a trio of shinobi following close behind, he was clearly outnumbered. However, his reputation as a Swordsmen of the Mist was not to be taken lightly, one would assume! Because of that, even instilled with a bloodlust and deadly fervor, the goons were somewhat hesitant to engage immediately, instead, they formed a meat-shield between Ishino and their shinobi comrades who utilized their ninjutsus to attack him.
They thought they attacked him.
Why was Ishino a swordman? It wasn't his taijutsu. Indeed, he rarely pulled the blade. It wasn't the fact he was brutal… although he could be.
Ishino was a swordman because he was ruthless. He got the blade that way and he kept it by maintaining that level of ruthlessness. As the attacks commenced, Ishino shook his head. "Fools." It was a single seal. That's all it took and the attacks… missed. One moment there, the next, a blink of an eye, a skip of a heartbeat and he was elsewhere, cleanly avoiding the attacks. "Now you pay." A fast set of seals and the Time Keeper puppet came erupting out of the ground, mirroring those seals. As he did, the heavy beat of that clock within the puppet's chest, the chakra amplifier he was known for, would pulse. Each tick a moment closer to their doom. "Kronos Embrace: Time's Thread." Spreading outward from where genjutsuist and puppet stood, all those who were hostile were thrown into that alternate reality. Now. This moment, went still. They saw what they wanted to see. The defeat. The obtaining control of Amegakure. Everything they wanted, it skipped through their minds, leading them onto a journey into the recess of their imagination.
Despite her age, Miyo was not inexperienced, particular in fuuinjutsu, and her barriers easily deflected the opponent’s attacks. However, as she brought the barrier down so her allies count move on the counter-attack, Ishino’s genjutsu washed over the enemies and left them vulnerable. At first, Miyo and the other Ame-nin were a bit surprised by the sudden cease in hostilities by the assailing Striking Serpent mercenaries, but when they realized what was happening they unleashed what they could. Even Miyo, generally averse to extreme violence, at least killing and maiming of people, helped secure and take down the enemy by tossing out a handful of seals to restrain the Serpent Goons so that her allies could finish them off. Prisoners were apparently unnecessary.
However, it was not going to be quuuiiite that easy. The pitiful hooligans making up the brunt of the force were backed by far more talented shinobi, or it seemed. As soon as the swordsman’s genjutsu captured their allies, a second wave moved in, attempting to save them by breaking them free of the genjutsu’s hold if they could, or by engaging the envoy-forces when possible. However, two of them immediately engaged Ishino with rather powerful attacks.
The first, a large fireball that hissed through the mist, creating a powerful fog – would explode upon contact with whoever or whatever it hit. The second was a might water dragon snaking through the sky to crash down upon Ishino’s location, hunting him down. Whether retreating or defending, once Ishino had cleared or suffered the attacks, another shinobi would burst from the ground in front of him and throw a handful of seal-tags in his direction, each meant to bind his chakra and cease his defense.
By the show that the others were putting on, the Striking Serpents had undoubtedly thrown all their best cards at Ishino in an attempt to subdue him quickly. This meant that Miyo merely bobbed and weaved her way through the untrained, undisciplined warriors, lashing out with a set of kunai to disable and injure.
You think they'd learn. You think they'd see a vast majority of those whom tried to come at him the first time, standing dully around would give a clue.
A single seal, it's all it takes, the puppet doing a seal and Ishino casually… walks away from the strikes. They move in slow motion as Ishino idly brushes some dirt off his cloak. "See. Now, I was going to let you guys leave. After all, no harm, no foul. But you see, you attacked again. You made it so that I had to actually expend some energy. That. That was a very, very bad idea."
Reality caught up to the infinite time that Ishino had used to move away, the attacks smashing into each other as they'd be rendered inert. Ishino and Time Keeper on the other hand, were going through a rapid series of hand seals, arms of puppet and puppeteer blurring in that line, the umbrella that Ishino had been carrying flying off into the wind. "See… now you made me lose my umbrella. Kronos Embrace: Blurred Time." The final seal formed and Ishino focused himself, centering as he'd sweep that whole area, all the foes, even those at range, would get swept up into that genjutsu.
What happens when time stands still? It causes problems of course. What happens when time… breaks? The whole world collapses, essence unwinds. A cold, bitterness that reveled in the finale of life itself was there, grasping at those locked into the effect. It dragged them beyond a moment, leaving them within that lost nothingness that time defines for humans… Only slowly, reluctantly, releasing them back to reality. For those within the thread, it was a horrible moment, even their imagination warped into that twisted world… leaving them broken and forlorn within the remains of the Thread that didn't stop.
Almost as quickly as the battle had begun, it is swept away with the use of a single, powerful genjutsu technique that left battle stalled. For what was left of the Striking Serpent’s group, death at the hand of the Ame-nin’s waited for them. Less surprised by the genjutsu this time, they descended upon the rest of their ambushers and dispatched them without hesitation. It was not necessarily a thing of necessity, to dispatch a rival, but one of grudge and perhaps even hatred. When all was said and done, only one was left alive, a single, young genin girl that Miyo had saved from death with her restraining seal techniques.
As the Ame-envoy’s group reunites, the envoy himself returns to the field, having hidden nearby to remain out of the way. He approaches the Kirigakure delegation and bows. “My apologies for the… disturbance. Some disagree with any dealings with outsiders such as yourselves, but for those of us with vision, we requires others to truly prosper. I only hope we can make this up to you in some fashion.”
The cleanup was bloody. It was efficient though. Even Ishino would aid, his sword springing free of Time Keeper to wisk about, without a wielder, neatly severing arteries at just the right spot to control spray and kill them quickly. Once it was over, one of the symbols from those fallen was claimed. Part of the report. Ishino looked to his group with a small nod, then to the delegation from Ame. "We will see. However, we are going to withdraw at this time, before further potential reinforcements may attempt an attack. I'm powerful, I'm not endless." Ishino shook his head slightly. "Send a message to the Mizukage. It, along with my report, should see to continued interactions."
The envoy nods. “Of course, I shall inform him of what has transpired, as well as what you have done to ensure our safety.” He turns to look behind him for but a moment, checking the status of his guard. One genin had received several cuts, but beyond that they were all in good condition. He returns his attention to Ishino. “We are grateful, I assure you. Safe travels.”
The henge on Time Keeper would return, puppet replaced by the old man. Ishino sighed softly, then smiled gratefully to the old man as an umbrella was produced and hung above his and the old man's head again. Looking to the envoy, a nod was given in reply. "Of course. I warned them. They didn't listen. Now it's just a matter of paperwork. That's usually how it is." He'd bow in a very western style to the envoy then. "Do have safe travels." With that, he and the kiri group would withdraw, heading back to the Land of Water.