Date: October 14, 2016
Kumogakure ninja are called upon to investigate possible tomb robbings at a place where the remains of Kumogakure's past histories have been intered.
"Robbed Remains - Pt. 1"
Shatter Valley, Land of Lightning
Kumogakure shinobi have been called upon to investigate reports that the tombs of various ninja of the Land of Lightning have been disturbed, in a place known as Shatter Valley. The enormous canyon is said to have been formed by a mighty warrior of the Hidden Cloud in battle years ago, and the broken cliff walls have since been discovered to be honeycombed with tunnels and passages. These have been used to inter the remains of Hidden Cloud ninja since then, due to their inherently labyrinthine nature, and the ease with which traps can be laid for any would-be tomb robbers.
While not every Cloud ninja is buried here, nor even most, those with remains that must be kept from the hands of those who would use them for their own ends sometimes wind up sealed away here, to rest in peace.
But now, some of the grave keepers specifically assigned to check on the tombs occasionally and make sure all is well have reported some of the tombs appear to have been disturbed. So it's up to the assembled team to go down into the deep canyon and see if they can find out what's going on, and if there are any robbers in the area.
Storm clouds, huge and black, roll through a sky not yet wholly dark overhead. Occasional shafts of muted sunlight filter through, even as the high winds batter them, strong enough to topple someone with unsteady balance if caught at the wrong moment. The air has that feel that it always does, right before a storm. It can practically be tasted, and can certainly be smelled by keen noses.
Miyu is looking down over the side of the cliff, scanning for any sign of the specific tombs said to have been violated. The dark-skinned monk's one good eye is sharp to make up for the other being scarred, but she can't make out much from up here. They'll really have to go down there.
"If anyone does not know how to walk on walls, now is the time to say so. There is climbing equipment either way, incase we slip or fall." She bends down to go through a climber's pack, getting her own equipment, but there's one for each other shinobi on the mission.
Yume taps her cane against the ground creating low tones as she quietly contemplates what they know of the mission. It would seem easy enough, patrol and try to find the source of the reported unusual activity, and apprehend any suspicious individuals as needed. After some time of quiet thought, Yume returns her cane to keep it behind her back where she would normally keep her drum slung onto. "That will not be an issue." Yume reports, despite the fact that she does take one of the climbing packs provided to them. There was no telling what they could be useful for, and it was better to have the supplies and not need them than to need them and to not have them. She slings the pack over her shoulder and returns her attention to the nearby Valley. At the very least she would not have to worry about having too much trouble getting around, even if there was no need to activate her Nejigan. The way the cliffs were aligned seemed to be the perfect arrangement to promote echoes and sound easily/ While she did regret the abscence of her usual teammates, she knew that it did not need to distract her too much from their mission.
The content of the mission was a bit new for Naruko, but it had been quite some time since she had last been able to 'get her feet wet' after mediating on the turtle island for such a long time. Naruko also peaked over the cliff, a stomaching a wad of spit as she considered how steep it was. Climbing was no problem for her, but one accidential miss step could be detrimental in a canyon like this. "Anyone really good at climbing and carrying someone at the same time?" Naruko half joked, folding her arms behind her neck, musing quietly as she considered the mission. " Should be able to walk down the walls with no problem, I'm really curious on what kind of creepy stuff we might find in these tombs. I wouldn't be surprised if we are dealing with some spooky ghost from the past just creating problems…" She grins at that thought then merely shrugs her shoulders, running a few strains through her hair, tieing it back in a single pony tail for the inevitable drop. Awaiting orders…
No one of Sakuya's blood rests here, but the value of a graveyard and defending it is valued by the Chuunin. However, as she steps to the edge, the wind would sheer against the loose articles of her clothing as she looked down into the dark canyon. It was… quite disheartening to see. At the same time, it evoked a sense of danger that is the only enjoyment Sakuya gets aside from seeing her students grow. If it wasn't trapped, she would have jumped down there as her old self would incline her to do. How unserpently.
Zuzu, a white serpent that claims to be Sakuya's partner but does many things to suggest otherwise would grow fond of her partner's daring look. "Ah. Reminds me of a time you weren't a petty wuss… Are you going to jump?" - "No, Zuzu, that's stupidity." - "Wussssss." The snake hissed. Sakuya raised her head and ran her hand through her hair, as she looked over to Miyu. "I can confirm that Yamayuki Yume has been trained in Wall Walking." She can't say the same about Genbu, but she has no doubt he on't have trouble using his wits to get down even without climbing equipment. "Miyu-san, at your lead, we'll begin descent." Sakuya says as she opens one of the packs, and takes out rope. The sky was treacherous. Rain was inevitable, and her senses picked that up. That would make the slope even more unfit for climbing. "I recommend that we get into a catacomb soon. When it starts raining, we're going to have quite a few problems."
Her last comment was when she looked over to Naruko, "I'm pretty good at it, actually. Need a lift, Naruko-san?" She would smirk a little, though her smirk would drop as she questioned whether her retort was necessary or not.
Genbu silently takes one of the climbing packs offered. Despite his private practice he's not yet confident enough in his chakra control to risk climbing these treacherous walls. For the most part the young man is silent. A number of new faces seem to be joining him on this assignment. He did not care to get to know any of them or to bother introducing himself. The familiar faces are just irksome so Genbu just keeps his gaze distant and his senses sharp. The firmament strongly hints a storm's arrival. This would making traversing this rocky terrain even more of a hassle. Genbu softly sighs. He goes over what Sakuya had told him back in the village. He promised to try and that is what he'll do. Try. Genbu glances to Yume as Sakuya speaks up. She had to open her mouth. Usually Zuzu is the talkative one. Genbu looks away from Yume harboring his contempt for her in silence. He's ready, his demeanor would give that much away.
As it seems those who can climb on walls and those who can not work out how they will be descending, whether that be with the aid of others or using the climbing equipment provided, the assembled ninja eventually begin working their way down the side of the cliff. They have to move quickly, but they also have to move carefully. "At least four tombs were reported potentially disturbed, according to the attendants," Miyu says as she rapels down the side. She can use Chakra to walk on the walls herself, but that is used more as a safety net than anything. The bottom of the canyon can't even be seen from up here. At least not in this lighting.
She is a very quiet Jounin, not commenting on the idea of it being 'ghosts'. She has never understood people joking on a mission to alleviate tension. They'll have time to relax when the job is done. Unless someone actually thinks their might be ghosts, in which case, while that seems unlikely, she isn't about to dismiss it either. Stranger things have happened.
The descent is treacherous with the wind practically being funneled through the canyon, making the ropes used to climb down swing dangerously. Climbing spikes need to be hammered into the cliff side on either side, and the rope tied off quickly with wire, to minimize the amount of swaying they do. Last thing they need is to get whipped into the cliff and then fall to their deaths.
After reaching the first of the caves they need to investigate, Miyu pauses alongside it, looking into the darkness. Though the advice to get inside would ordinarily be good if they intended to wait out the storm… "We do not have time to wait, unfortunately. There are others to investigate. We have to finish and get back up before the storm hits." Even saying that, Miyu hammers another set of spikes into the cliff and uses them to tie down the rope, before getting off and into cliff-side cave, giving others a change to get inside as well. The cold wind isn't bothering her despite her attire, but SOMETHING is making her feel uneasy about this. She doesn't venture too far into the cave, just inspecting the tunnel to see if the first set of traps are still active while waiting for the others to join her.
"I'm…afraid I'm not that well trained or capable yet." Yume confesses, laughing softly under her breath at Naruko's jest. "But if anyone were to fall, I would still try to do what I could do to assist." She considers the potential scenario offered, before she shakes her head. "Hopefully we will not have to disturb any, aside from investigating the ones that have already been disturbed. But I imagine that in most typical scenarios that we would only find bones and corpses, maybe the potential of some possessions that were important enough to them in life to take with them…or that those that respected them wished to offer as a gift for them to rest with." She still smiles to herself, despite it looking solemn, "Hopefully there are no spirits, it would not be as easy putting an end to the problems then. Though, if it -did- happen…" There is some doubt in Yume's voice there but she does entertain the idea, "We might be able to call on the monks from the village to try to hold a ceremony to help put them to rest."
She smiles when Sakuya reaffirms her words, before her gaze ends up on Genbu thoughtfully. She walks up to him and tells him, "If you need assistance with any of the knots, do let me know, please." She smiles and explains, "Visiting home always required a lot of climbing, so it is second nature." With that offer at least extended. Yume would follow Miyu down with the others, focusing her chakra through her feet to keep affixed to the cliffside on the climb down. She uses the sounds of her footsteps to guage which part would be safest to walk on, leaving her quiet again. When they do reach the caves, she is careful about how she joins Miyu to avoid interfering too much with the search for the traps. While she did not set any of them herself, she takes some time to let the sound of her steps try to help guage if she could sense anything in particular out of place.
Naruko decided not to take up Sakuya's offer. Though a free ride down the cliff side would have been very relieving, she couldn't stomach putting a smaller girl under pressure on such a long descent. Naruko ended up following Miyu's lead, taking a few of the climbing equipment and gradually scaling down the cliff side until reaching the first cave. It wasn't exactly effortless but the tools helped not waste precious stamina and chakra. "Hmmm…." Naruko muses as she taps her foot on the ground, her eyes peered into the cave, eyes slightly turning into slits in order to better reflect light. " Just…a creepy cave so far…" Naruko comments, her senses spike only a little bit as she took peers around for any traps and contraptions. " Quick question, Miyu-sama. It was mentioned these tombs were distrubed… in what fashion did that occur?" Naruko was searching for some evidence. A lead on what type of people were sneaking around the tombs would give more clues if they were dealing with other shinobi or potential common folk.
Sakuya's trip down the side of the wall was met with silence, likely solemn silence from the fact that she was terrible when it came to joking. Naruko was a well known shinobi in the village, after all. »What is wrong, Sakuya? I understand. You're an idiot. Everyone knows it. You might as well embrace it.« Her serpent chided her through genjutsu while she did the work of nailing the rope to the top of the cliff. A distasteful look was on her face, of course. "I have faith that you'll climb down well, anyways, Yume." Yume does suggest in some part that perhaps the Yamayuki have a stereotype for being good at mountain climbing.
Speed was of the essence, according to the mission leader. That's why Sakuya took a few risks on the way down. In order to better watch Yume and Genbu from below to attempt a catch in the event either lost their footing, she walked down upon the cliff carefully applying chakra as she grips the rope. She would then stop focusing chakra on the wall, allowing her to slide down quickly. As she neared the entrance of the wall-cavern, she would slow her descent with chakra.
When she managed to get inside, she regretted her decision. Her hands were burned lightly by the act, but decided not to make any sounds as to not alert Zuzu that she had made a mistake. He was relentless, after all. "So far so good. No reanimated skeletons or spooky ghosts so far." She has read a -few- books on the paranormal. Including sudden drops of temperature when a ghost was near. Yes, she was honestly convinced that a ghost might be around, and that perparations were required. As a result, as she waited for the rest of the team arrive, she would close her eyes and use the senses that she had come to rely on lately. Her infrared senses. This would allow her, for a short distance, to see the level of infrared radiation emitted by everything. People. Objects. At least this would make finding bandits easier for her.
Naruko's question interested her the most, "Anyone who manages to traverse a sheer cliff like that has to have some skill that is a bit above average. I doubt that any common folk would be caught dead in this cave. I'd suppose they'd be caught dead at the bottom of the gulch, a broken mess."
The Dead welcome the living but are often hesitant to let them leave. Genbu recalls such a phrase from one of the books he's read. Though unruly he can be he does extend respect to those deserving. The dead were among those. He offers a moment of silence for them. Though he hasn't really been making much of a commotion to begin with. Eventually he'd join their ranks. Not today however. Genbu's eyes open to Yume who is already at it. "Not this song and dance again." he cuts her off and moves to get the mission underway. "Worry about yourself." he tells her. Genbu, obviously, rather take his chances than accept help especially from Yume or Sakuya. Genbu makes certain of that as he anchors before repelling. Though he can not use chakra to cling to the cliff side his claws are more than capable of serving as insurance during his descent. He's traversed his fair share of mountains and the like. He knows the terror of losing grip and the deathly weightlessness that shortly follows after. He makes it down with little trouble though he does not rush. He's more worried about being saved by Yume or Sakuya than actually injuring himself. Once before the cave he extends his senses into the seemingly endless dark before them.
Once she has been joined in the tunnel, the little ear-like structures in her hair twitching slightly as she infuses Fierce Ki to turn them into vibration sensors as keen as actual cat ears. With the combination of sensory abilities available, they determine that there are seal tags around the interior of the passage that have been disabled, hidden away inside the walls, floor, and ceiling. Out of sight, but the hollow spaces where the tags were stored reveals their presence.
But no Chakra in them. Almost like the Chakra was just… 'Removed'. However, further down the passage, in the darkness, it appears that the passage has been collapsed by another trap of some kind, and there's no sign of anything or anyone active here now. Not even residual body heat, or the heat that would be let off by a decaying body as it breaks down.
So it seems whoever got past the first line of defense didn't get far.
"Signs of intrusion," she answers, in regard to 'disturbed in what way?' "Ninja were responsible. You're right. But they weren't caught in the traps. So it's time to check the next tomb." And with that it's back out into the skin-chilling wind that shrieks through the canyon, seemingly even more intensely than before they came inside. It's another climb downwards, to an even lower tomb, for all involved. The next cave has clearly been trespassed upon, as another collapse is evident, though closer to the entrance this time. There are signs of other climbers having left their marks, as a kunai is planted in the cliff side with some severed rope still dangling from it.
There's no time to wait, so rather than take a break and climb inside, given there's a flash of lightning in the distance followed by the rumble of thunder, Miyu starts making her way sideways along the cliff face, rather than downwards. Some quick rope work makes a 'bridge' or at least a 'tight rope' horizontally across the uneven surface, with one below that they can use to stand on and shimmy across, and the other being the 'hand rope' to hang onto just incase.
The bad feeling continues to increase the further they go. They're getting close to a couple of tombs that would be very bad for the remains to have been stolen from, if that is what someone intended. A ninja's body is a treasure trove of information.
The wind blasts the whole group along the path to the third tomb, making the ropes sway, and the climbing spikes rattle. The first fat drops of rain are beginning to splash upon them.
"That was not really the point I was trying to make. I am sure that Genbu can handle it fine on his own as well. Merely an offer to a friend is all." Yume would tell Sakuya, after having had to pause after Genbu cuts her off. She watches him walk away and would have chuckled quietly on her way down. She does listen to the information Miyu has to offer to Naruko quietly while she takes note of the seal tags that seem to have been triggered. She frowns to herself quietly to herself as she considers how trained someone would be to seek out these traps and try to dismantle them properly. Though only to be thwarted by the other traps down the line? It was strange, but perhaps they were just unlucky or they did not anticipate the defenses progressively becoming more advanced.
"Could they have avoided the traps, then purposefully triggered them once they were done inside of the tomb? To limit our investigation?" Yume questions as a possibility, but she does not hold them up too much from moving on to the second, and then the third cave. They were starting to get closer to something close to an answer, that was certain but the weather didn't appear to be on their side. As Yume walks along the wall, she pulls her cloak around her tighter to try to defend herself from the chill of the wind and the rain that starts to sprinkle down. She also notes the location of the rope bridge set up, just in case she needed to reach out and grab something to keep from plummetting in an emergency.
The chill wasn't a concern for Naruko, naturally she was pretty warm bodied, more than willing to persevere through the chilling winds. Briefly she looks between Yume and Genbu, two indivdiuals she hadn't met before. Nevertheless they appeared to have their useful talents, perhaps this case would be solved sooner than later. "Aye…I suppose your right, Sakuya-chan. This place in general is pretty dangerous…So Definitely a shinobi of some sort…" Naruko replies back as Miyu also came to the same answer. There isn't much to sense here so she continues to move along with Miyu. Thigns were becoming more uncomfortable. More signs of 'shinobi'. "We are getting closer…for sure…" She states quietly under her breath clutching the rope as they continued to move across. The fat drops of rain from above definitely began to to raise the hairs on her neck… " The next tomb, we totally need to go all the way…More evidence though. We are getting closer to whoever may be here. Or was here…"
Despite no sign that anyone was actually here, the shinobi did have to continue to the next cavern. At the very least, this one was an easier hike… If it was not for the presence of rain. "Mission failed. We failed to complete the scouting before the storm hit." Sakuya would be able to move to the next cave, though this one she pursued a different scouting tactic. She would glance at Zuzu and nod her head, and the serpent would unwind from Sakuya, before slithering quickly along the cave wall and up upon the cave ceiling. «Alert me if you see anything, please…» - »We'll see.« With Zuzu now actively sensing, Sakuya would rely on vibrations passing through the ground to attempt to sense foot-falls now as her partner did the same from a different angle. "Shinobi organized enough to disable our traps. I don't like this." Sakuya would note as her shoulders slumped a little.
Her students of course, seemed to be having a slight fight this entire time. Yume's kind collectivist behavior clashing with Genbu's harsh individualist identity. It was enjoyable to listen to, to a small degree. It almost made the cold underground bareable. Sakuya, on the contrary wasn't quite as warm blooded. "Alright… Just a little longer." She would brace herself as she rubbed her hands together, waiting on Miyo to guide them into the tomb.
"We're not friends." Genbu wanted to say to Yume. But that would only make her smile and say something even more infuriating. He imagines her response which visibly puts him in a sour mood. The chill of the wind did not shake Genbu nor would the rain. It seems everything about this young man is jaded. Mostly everything. The meticulous disarming of the booby traps definitively is eyebrow raising. Answers lay below deeper and Genbu is curious. He keeps up but he's a bit more cautious when shimmying. How far down would they go? Genbu idly wonders this as he moves along. The threat of skilled adversaries lingers on his mind as well. "They might be too skilled. It'll be hard to hold back." he mentions looking to Sakuya. He's almost grinning. Glancing to Yume Genbu solemnly resolves not to repeat what occurred in their last mission. As far as falling short of Yume. Killing any opposition is still up in the air for him.
The storm is only going to get worse, and they've only just made it to the third of the tombs after a dangerous shimmy along the cliff. Even with Chakra holding them, the threat of being hurled to their deaths far below continues to remain. Best not to look down, and all that. When they enter the third tomb, they come across a disturbing discovery, and fairly quickly as well. Though the passage here seems mostly intact, no sign of a collapse like the other two, the traps at the entrance appear to have been sprung… And a man in Storm Brigade attire is lying there, run through with dozens of spikes, clearly having been dead for days if not weeks based on decomposition.
Though the fact the spikes are dripping with something clear and viscous indicates that perhaps the reason no carrion-eaters have set upon him beyond the unfavorable location is because the body is poisoned and they can just… Sense it somehow.
Miyu does not tamper with the corpse or test the spikes. It seems their tomb robber finally met his end here. But… He seems rather withered. More so than just decomposition would attest. Like he, too, was drained of his Chakra, just like the seal tags. Could there have been a falling-out between Storm Brigade remnants? Miyu crouches down, arms over her bare knees, trying to piece together the scenario. "The one who can absorb Chakra…" she says aloud. "…Was probably working with this man. The cave-ins may have been triggered by this one's lesser experience. It is possible there was in-fighting, and a struggle, as a result. During the fight, he triggered the trap. The Chakra absorber might still be here, or they might have realized there was too much risk involved in doing this alone."
Miyu waits for the others present to use their senses and training, and combines that with her own. And together, they're likely to discern there is an elaborate honeycomb of tunnel passages that would take far too long to explore before the storm hits in earnest. And that any hint of a trail ends at the entrance. However… There's one more tomb.
A yellow eye peers out as rain pelts the cliffs, driving into the stone by the powerful winds as lightning flashes in the sky and sends a loud *BOOOOOOOOOM* echoing through the canyon.
"Either we must retreat now, or remain here. Our supplies should hold out if we choose the latter, but being pinned down here may not be the best call." The Kemonoken looks to the others, and upon Yume, not directly asking for input, but allowing it to be offered.
Yume would find purchase in the third tomb gratefully after the dangerous terrain they had to walk on to get here. She might have gotten to the point where she was fairly confident with her wall walking, but the strain from the elements was still something that she had to get used to. When she's inside, she looks around to survey things and stops short of the body. Her head tilts down and she frowns quietly to herself as she taps at the body with the bottom tip of her cane. "I didn't see much like this outside of the shackles they kept on a Kirigakure prisoner…" Yume whispers quietly, "It drained her chakra like this." She nods her head once in agreement with Miyu's suggestions, "All seem plausible…let us hope that it is the latter." She would do what she could to use her sound to her advantage and try to pick up chakra signatures, but the explosion in the distance does leave her jolting from her spot. She looks to the source and swallows audibly before she decides, "A tactical retreat sounds like it would be best. We have a good portion of the information they were seeking and can return when it's safer."
If they don't report back what they found out, then the other Storm Brigade member, who might already be long gone, will have that much more of a head start. It makes perfect sense. Still, that uneasy feeling hasn't gone away for Miyu. The final tomb near here belongs to the man who trained the First Raikage. It is also probably one of the most heavily trapped and difficult to access in the entire canyon. If the Storm Brigade was unable to penetrate these three more minimally protected tombs, it is highly doubtful they got into that one.
But she still wishes she could make sure. Still, Yume has outlined the exact same reasoning Miyu was using to determine they can't stick around this time. She has shown good judgment and sound analytical abilities, on top of useful sensory skills that verified the depths of the third tomb and the absence of others in the area outside of the team.
That's something Miyu is going to keep in mind going forward. "Let's depart then, before we are unable to do so." She then starts shimmying out onto the rope bridge again, and preparing to climb up the other ropes and tethers they've put into the cliff side on their way back up to the top.
They'll just have to hope the tomb of Yotsuki Raiga remains undisturbed, and focus on having to climb half-blind from the rain in their faces and the low-light level caused by the storm clouds. It simply wouldn't do to fall to their deaths here.
While Yume might not have quite the same awareness of the exact importance of the tomb's occupants, she looks similarly disappointed about the idea of having to leave its security up to chance. Still, with the depth and complexity of the tomb, it was difficult telling what they'd be up against or if they could guarantee their escape. They needed to get to more secure ground and accept what they had. Under Miyu's lead, Yume would do her best to climb out of the tomb with the help of the ropes and the chakra on her feet, and head back for the surface. When she returns back to the top, she pants and looks over her shoulder with a quiet frown of concern. "Perhaps…the traps will end up serving their purpose in the end?"