Date: Unknown (log received March 5, 2016)
Business needed to be attended to regardless of what was to come and the relationship between nations should not stop at the current leadership alone. An unexpected encounter delays the meeting.
"Rain's Rebirth - Time Stops for No Man"
Port, Land of Tea
The port of the capitol of the Land of Tea is one of the city's largest features. The Land of Tea is a central trading hub that is one of the few that interact with merchants from the far south. As a result, this port is one of the largest in the land. Along the city's coast is a long line of stone ledges that acts as a break against the sea, with wooden bridges suspended far out into the water to allow for large-scale ships to dock. On the outer edges of the port are stone slopes that descend into the water to allow for smaller local vessel to pull in and do business.
Along the docks are a variety of warehouses that seem less traditional and feel more practical that can be rented out to store cargo before it is shipped out to a variety of other ports. The ocean here has a distinct smell that could only be described as 'salty ocean mixed with the fragrance of tea'.
One can describe the waters around the port to be 'busy'. There is never a moment in which there isn't some vessel far off attempting to pull in. There is an active ferry that goes between this city, and the major port of O'uzu.
Ocean - (O) [Ocean]
North - (N) [Port City]
Business needed to be attended to, regardless of everything that was happening within Rain's … personal life. He had a time limit, but luckily one of the major countries he did business with was merely an hour or two by ship from the mouth of his great river. And while he doesn't absolutely need to take this trip, he does, with Haruna, to ship Sake in to the Land of Tea. He also shipped particularly pure and naturally filtered water for the tea product of the country as well, allowing for the national product to have even greater appeal and value. Primarily… he wanted to have a word with Shuuren as well. He wanted to make sure certain understandings and agreements were upheld… no matter what happened to him.
Rain looked to Haruna, knowing that she would be going with him, but having faith that she would be fine regardless of his own ordeals. He smiled gently at her as he watched her supervise her small fleet of transport ships. This shipment was quite large and was meant to last for several months unless demand skyrocketed, which was a small hope for the mutual trade countries. She would be fine… she would be fine. "We should arrive in a few minutes." he would finally speak up to her, him wearing his formal kimono and adornments and standing where the winds of sea travel could reach him. It was just barely becoming mid day at this point… and Rain would enjoy every second of his freedom as much as he could.
Travelling by sea does Haruna well. She doesn't like the confinement really, or the vulnerability, but she enjoys the travel in and of itself. The woman stands on the deck as they move in toward the docks, the ship being pulled gently into the harbor. They aren't "hers," but the company's. She's just allowed to travel on them as she pleases. Her oldest son actually manages things now with only her maternal support to help him.
"Yes, indeed." The woman absently twirls her parasol, her eyes moving to watch this and that, making sure everything is going smoothly as though she might be able to do something about it if it isn't. "I think this time, I might call on the Daimyo if time permits. I shouldn't have so much keeping me busy."
Haruna gently touches Rain's sleeve as she moves to instruct a couple of the sailors to be gentle with one of the crates they're moving into position to off load. She tries to be nice about it, all fluttering eyelashes and helplessness. Rough men like these don't like to be told what to do by a woman who /obviously/ doesn't know a damn thing about sailing. So she plays to their assumptions.
Michiko wasn't preparing to leave the Land of Tea, however much she wanted to do so. She … really didn't have anywhere to go, and she also had some unfinished business. She wanted to stay to make sure Taro recovered in full, for one. She also wanted to find Sachiko and ask her in person about her status, as well as check to see if there was anything she could do to assist the Iga. Michiko had heard about what happened from the white fox she summoned, but she always felt the need to check in personally.
So today as the sun neared its peak, Michiko stared at the waters and thought about the land she thought to be her home. She had not received word from Hiei that she could return. She felt she was tossed to the side of the road and left for dead. A small sigh would escape her as she thought over all that happened the past three or so weeks. Then her gaze shifted towards a large shipment incoming. That was quite a lot of goods… Interesting… But no, this was not her land. It was not the Land of Lightning, where she could check to see what was coming in and leaving with the different workers. She had to remember that. …
Rain can only stand amused at the fact that if she ever wanted to, not only could she kill all of these men… she could make these hardened sea folk seasick for the entire journey and swear up and down the decks of the ship that the storm of the century was coming on a cloudless summer day. He placed a hand on her's patting it gently, seeming to be the supportive man that sympathized with her womanly assumptions. Cause you know… a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do when a woman is involved right? Even a lord of a country bows to the right woman at times.
As the ships pulled in and steadied, Rain would be one of the first off of it to observe as the shipments were moved to ground transportation, but also… to look around the harbor that represented him being back in the Land of Tea. "I will definitely call upon Shuuren… quickly. There is no reason for you not to be there, Haruna." he would finally say to her, having been distracted with their arrival at first. Though it seems that out of the corner of his eye, he would notice something…. no… someone peculiar. Iwata Michiko, of Kumogakure? How odd of her to be here, especially on this side of the country. She would not have arrived here by boat unless they wanted to take the long way around to the other side for some reason. He also didn't see any others from Kumogakure with her. It was… certainly odd. He would touch Haruna's shoulder lightly as he'd move to investigate the teenaged woman. Striding over lightly, he would say to her in informal greeting, "It is not often that I see someone from your land within this one." he would state to her. "I am curious… if I may ask… why you are here."
Haruna leaves the vessel a few moments after Rain, arriving just as he begins to speak to her. "Very well, Rain." She smiles up at him, but her attention turns back to the vessel as people on it start to move about, dragging things onto the docks. Haruna grimaces slightly, wanting to stay here to oversee everything.
Eventually, however, she resolves herself to following Rain, her red parasol bobbing gently behind him with her movements. As he speaks to the Kumogakure girl, Haruna would move to stand beside the lord of the Land of Rivers. She looks at Michiko with a curious expression, finding yet another tangled web of his life to unravel. No greetings are given yet, but she looks up to Rain again as though waiting for details or explanation…. which he will 'sometimes' give, but often not.
Michiko didn't think Rain was making his way towards her until the last few moments. Her emotions were behind a mask, whatever they were, and she allowed a hint of surprise to be expressed. "Oh? The Land of Tea and the Land of Lightning are close, though," she says casually. "Before I answer your question, though… May I ask who you are?" A brow would quirk slightly as she asked her question, even as Michiko shoved what she was feeling off to the back of her mind behind bars.
She had to deal with more important thoughts… Like why this man knew her. She hadn't seen any pictures of Rain, as Kumogakure had none on record. And she didn't see the man behind the mask when he went by the name of Hanpa. His voice sounded familiar, but she had to be certain. And even if he did not reveal his name, a small introduction would suffice.
Michiko also quickly tried to think of reasons for why she'd be here, of course, should the stranger turn out to be someone she oughtn't trust. And shortly, a woman would be at his side. Said woman would be offered a nod in greeting, and Michiko's attention split between the strange pair. But ultimately, she focused on Rain.
"Ah yes…" Rain would say as he realized his assumption was flawed. "You have not seen me for quite some time. I believe… you were not yet of your position within Kumogakure as well. It does not matter however. I am Lord Rain of the Land of Rivers. There was a time in which you referred to me as Hanpa. At that time, I agreed to get Kirigakure involved in that little spat with the Silence, so I became busy shortly after our initial meeting. Luckily, the world didn't end…. and so here I am." He nodded towards Michiko, though she may notice he looked a bit pale and sickly, perhaps from the boat ride… "I do not mean to pry however. I simply recall you and was curious of your situation. This woman beside me is Inoue Haruna. It is possible you have heard of her family's Sake at one point or another. We are here on business due to our trade agreement and good standing with Lord Shuuren and his country of Tea." Rain explained his own reasons for being here regardless of whether Michiko did as well or not.
Haruna listens quietly as Rain introduces himself. She had joined his cause when all that was going on, but her life and the running of the business had kept her from supporting him directly. The move of the distilleries from the Land of Earth to the Land of Rivers was much higher on her priority list.
In any case though, Haruna bows politely to Michiko. "It's a pleasure to meet you, mysterious girl of Lord Rain's past." When she rises, she grinning slightly in that motherly kind of way she has when she's about to start telling an interesting story or is just generally amused about something in her head. She twirls her parasol slightly and waits for the pair to continue to speak so she can unravel more mysteries.
Michiko would blink once, then incline her head. "Ah, I see. It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Rain-san. I have… heard rumors of the Land of Rivers and its recent rise," she notes. "Your assistance with the Silence may have been … delayed, but it was certainly useful when the time came. I am also glad the world didn't end, even if it has been a little less than kind to those still upon it." Michiko grins lightly before looking to Haruna, giving her an actual bow this time. "Haruna-san, it is nice to meet you as well. I'm afraid I've only ever heard of your sake, since I don't drink any." Then Michiko's attention is on Rain. "I see," she says slowly, nodding a few times. "I can see you brought quite a bit with you," the girl would comment with a nod in the ship's direction. "I came here for more personal reasons, really. To check on a friend or two, mainly, as well as to seek out a few truths and… warn others of the same." She keeps it relatively vague, not wanting to delve into the drama that Kumo was suffering from currently. The only sign that the issues were still bothering her was a slight hesitation in the middle of her sentence.
Rain paid attention to Michiko's mannerisms and was quite aware that she was hiding something or at least, more fairly, was simply unwilling to reveal something, but it was not his business to know. "This young lady, Haruna, is Iwata Michiko of Kumogakure. She is the Head Shinobi of her village and has been for some time. Quite a feat for her age, but from what i've been able to detect of her and what i've heard as well, more than deserved." he would explain to Haruna before focusing on Michiko once more. "As for the delay… Meruin…. well rather the Mizukage always moves at his own pace. When was not my goal, merely that it actually came to be at all." He would ruminate on the world being less than kind. More than truth… he would frown slightly to Michiko and say to her in a rather soft tone of voice, "The world can be very cruel indeed. It can take some of the most important things from you in an instant… and all you are left with is wondering why or what you could have done or… if anything could have been done at all. But… no matter what it is that you are going through at the moment, know that dwelling upon it will never change anything and that it… takes hold of you like a disease if you let it. Do not forget the lessons of what happened… but move forward in resolving it before it swallows you and holds you back." Rain spoke from his own experience; his very intimate experience. He had allowed his own darkness to consume him for so long that he could not separate himself from it no matter how hard he tried at this point.
Haruna observes the two of them talking, but her eyes turn to Rain as he speaks of loss and dark things. The expression on her face changes to one of concern as she looks upon the sickly man. She rests her hand on his arm as though to express her support and concern. She doesn't like when he talks like that. It just seems to make everything worse.
But, regardless, he is right. "Yes, cruel is an understatement. I know not what has befallen you, young Michiko, but I hope that you will fare better in dealing with what troubles you better than others have. I, myself, fell into darkness after the passing of my husband. If it hadn't been for the life of my sons, I would likely not be alive today." She smiles slightly as though to lighten the mood a bit. All this is depressing stuff.
Michiko smiles lightly at Rain's introduction, amused by it for several reasons. "I still feel as if I don't deserve it at times, but that has been argued against so often that I decided to stop trying to convince people otherwise," she comments with a light chuckle. Then she allows for Rain to speak again. "That is true… And the help came in time, thankfully, so we could defeat Yuuma-san." She recalled the battle, remembering it quite well. She had just managed to be useful, though more towards the back and focused on healing than anything. But she definitely got a number of the Hitokage that walked the earth, which was always a good thing. Her first major challenge, and one that allowed her to prove her worth to her village.
Then the conversation would take a darker turn. "Indeed, Rain-san. I still have things to care about, of which I am fortunate, but I find it all yanked away when I have many more things to do…" Michiko sighs faintly, but tries to make it good-natured. Then her gaze turns to Haruna. "The loss of a loved one… I cannot even imagine how that would feel. Or perhaps I can and simply do not recognize it…" Michiko considers that for a few moments before saying, "I shall continue on with life in hopes of mending what has happened. But I am not sure if it is even possible to do such, as I do not know if I can return to the land I consider my home."
Most of what Michiko states, Rain is able to receive easily. Her feelings of the war, her humbleness in regards to her station, her feeling of attachment to her surrogate homeland and her sympathy for a loss she had not quite endured herself quite yet. However, at the end of it… she mentioned that she may not be able to return home. To Rain, this made… no sense. She was of great importance to her village, so why would she not be able to return? "I apologize, Michiko. I do not understand. Are you… being kept here against your will? Is something compelling you to stay away from Kumogakure? I… do not have a lot of time…" Rain would furrow his brow as he considered what he could do given his time frame. "But if there is something that I can do, I will try. We may be able to divert one of the ships to take you home if you need." He would say, looking a bit towards Haruna on that one. She may not be in charge but she still had sway… being mommy dearest and all.
Her brows furrow at the mention that she can't return home. That isn't something she hears of ninja very often. Typically, villages would rather kill a ninja than let them stay away, so it confuses her as well. Haruna waits to hear more of an explanation though before jumping to any conclusions. She nods to Rain and turns her head to look over the ships. It would likely need to be one already en route to the Land of Lightning after the unloading here, but helping Michiko get home is something she could definitely help with. Her eyes turn back, attentive as she studies Michiko, wondering to herself what in the world would keep her from her home. If she is as strong as Rain is hinting, Haruna can't see why anyone wouldn't want her for her power, if not for her being.
"I feel like being held here would be far more preferable, Rain-san," Michiko says, tone amused once more. "Then I would know I have somewhere to return to. However, nothing is preventing me from returning. The Raikage's last words to me, though, was the deciding factor that stole my key and barred the door." Michiko frowns, then. A part of her still wondered if Hiei would change his mind. Another part of her said that she should at least be ready for what happens if he doesn't. So she would wait in the Land of Tea for a week or two before moving on. That is what she decided then and there. "Thank you for offering assistance, though, Rain-san. It is a bit unexpected, though a pleasant surprise."
"Unexpected…" Rain was a little surprised to hear that, but then again, he had to remember that he had been gone for most of this person's lifetime. He would smile weakly to that realization. "While you do not have to believe me… I would like to tell you that aside from doing some brutal things i've had to do in my life, my objective has always been to cultivate others into becoming the best that they can be, and the vast majority of the time, I am given the opportunity to do so for individuals that come my way. Funnily enough, one of the reasons I tend to dislike the village system, is because I feel that they suppress the capabilities of their people and talents. Sure they are enabled to flaunt their power and even do real good… for their own territories and lands, they are also used against others for reasons that have little to do with their own small piece of the world." Rain would sigh lightly. "My apologies… it is simply my personal grievance. I do not like when choices are taken away from others for fear of death or banishment. You state that your Kage has decided that you… may not return? Or… that you are not welcome? That boy… is a fool." Rain would just shake his head at that. "Any how, do not be surprised that I would help you. The only people that I do not help are those who are unwilling to try to do things for themselves. If a poor man tries to find a scrap of food, I will buy him a feast. If a rich man tries to understand the destitute, I will guide him towards making a difference in their lives. But the moment that they give in or stop caring to push their own limits, is the moment I look away from them and towards something and someone better." Rain would explain to Michiko the sort of man he was.
Haruna frowns as Michiko tells of the Raikage's actions toward her, not exactly sure what she might have done to deserve such treatment. She isn't one to judge a person based on actions that had nothing to do with her personal being though.
"You're welcome to visit the Land of Rivers if you need a place to go. I would even go so far as to offer you a place in my home until you find your way." Haruna smiles ruefully as she studies the girl. "I've always wanted a daughter, you know." She winks to Michiko. While her words are honest, she is just being a little playful. She wouldn't insult the girl by trying to imply that she's a child in need of adopting. But, the offer is there for what it is worth.
"Boys are so tiresome." Her eyes move to Rain as if in silent plea that he won't get himself into trouble while they're traveling.. by insulting all the Kage in the world for one… It's not that she finds his sentiments silly or doesn't agree with them, just that this world is a dangerous place and saying such things could paint a target on both of their heads. He can be kind of rash where that is all concerned sometimes…
"I prefer to do the same, though whether I do such or not is up to debate," Michiko tells Rain with a light nod. "I suppose the one difference between us is where you would abandon one who stops trying, I would try to guide that person to another purpose." Michiko would shrug lightly, knowing that while she would like to do such, she has yet to encounter that. "And no, your opinion is your own, and I take no offense." She would pause a moment, making sure she addressed everything. "Hiei-san told me to … stay here, in so many words. I don't think I'd be welcome if I returned the the Hidden Cloud. And I would be just as quick to call him a fool as you were just now, if not faster."
Michiko decides not to delve into /why/ she would say such, but she would look to Haruna when the woman speaks up and blink. "Thank you for the offer, Haruna-san. That is more than kind," she says gratefully. "If the need arises, I will keep it in mind. And having someone to act as my mother wouldn't be so bad, I imagine," she adds in an equally playful manner. She /had/ grown up raised only by her father, and he was a busy man… Their lives as they were now meant they saw little of each other, too.
"Hmm… perhaps I misspoke in my fervor. I do not abandon those who stop trying… I simply do not get in their way. I do not try to change them to my whim and will if they have no interest in it. I am many things, and I certainly do convince others to do things they normally would not or secretly wish that they could, but I do not make people do things that they have no desire to do. My task and my goals are not to tell people how to live my way… but more to tell them how to live their own way." Rain would try to clarify. "But of course, with all things, there are some who do not desire to listen at all and that is their right." Rain was once again reminded of his short time however, and he would nod to the girl then. "Haruna's offer is my own. You are free to come and stay as long as you like and leave the moment you wish. I keep no chains within my lands." he would assure her. "But I am afraid we must be going now. It is time for us to seek out Lord Shuuren and conclude our business here, and head back home." He would say to Michiko. "Good luck, and whatever happens… keep moving forward." he would advise her. If only he could follow his own advice at times…
He always gets all philosophical like this. Haruna tugs slightly at Rain's arm as if to signify that they need to go. When he eventually does get around to announcing their departure, she bows again to Michiko. "It's been a pleasure to meet you Michiko-san. I hope that we'll perhaps have a bit of time to chat before we have to leave the Land of Tea entirely." Lifting, she smiles to Michiko again. "I've never belonged to a village, so I can't imagine what you're going through. But I imagine it is similar to losing someone you love. Be strong." With that, the woman gives one last tug on Rain and she turns to check on the unloading of the ships and her son's success in managing the task. A young boy would be produced from somewhere, covered in soot and seeming free to hug Haruna tightly as he chats excitedly about something, smearing the dirt all over her fancy kimono. The woman looks down slightly to the boy and follows along with him to see what in the world he's talking about, seeming slightly dismayed at the state of her apparel now…