Date: April 27, 2013
A mercenary mission takes the group in to the southern lands where a years old battle between two faction continues to wage. Their objective: Decisive victory for one of those sides.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Romance of the Two Kingdoms"
Southern Land Territories
Masanori had left a poster on the mission board the day before. He was assembling a small team for merc work. Not much other details other than a dangerous note and a very, very royal payout. He's seated by the gates. He thought himself capeable of handling things himself, but figured it would perhaps allow him to bond better with these people if he gave them a taste of his life.
A week before he received a letter from the Kingdom of Wu, and the kingdom of Sho. Two large adjecent countries in the Southern lands. He had done merc work a lot there, and participated in the Wu'sho Senko-jidai wars for years now. Every two years these countries seem to clash, it's closer to tradition now than anything else. Each country tries to outbid the other on Masanori's loyalty. And other mercs to boot, but Masanori has always proven to be an essential asset, so they payment is more than royal. He doesn't care about the money, so bringing a team wouldn't hurt either.
He greets whomever assembles at the gate and heads in the direction of the docks. Where he goes on-board the pirate ship he captured, which stinks with blood and gore, still being uncleaned and unkept from its previous massacere. Dead decomposing bodies all over the place. Masanori doesn't seem to mind nor care, he's single-handedly working the boat loose and heads on the way to the Southern-lands with whatever company wished to join him, or alone.
"The countries of Wu and Sho are at war with eachother constantly. There is only one battlefield they can clash, the only flanking route is called the forbidden valley. Which is closed off with lethal traps and Chi' magic. No one has made it through there alive…
Masanori smiles behind his mask. "But me.." He walks over the body of the boat while they're headed in the general direction of the countries of Wu and Sho. "Wu has payed for my loyalty. Our mission is simple, we'll traverse the forbidden valley, and destroy Sho's artillary and slay their officers and generals behind their lines. When they collapse we disappear. And Wu will end the battle in one final push that will last through the night. Assisting is optional from there on, we have one mission."
He pauses. "I'm not your babysitter, die and you will be left behind. Go limps, and I will not hesitate to leave you there. You have come of your own volition, and if you wish to turn around feel free to jump off and leave."
One arriving in the southern lands in the dock of Si-xao Masanori leads the way. It seems he's well traversed and known. The dock workers bow for him. "Shinigami-sama." Says one of the dock workers in a broken dialect. Most of them speak foreign tongue. Masanori nods a few times at everyone. An hour walk and they have climbed a hill overlooking a large field, flanked by mountains. On the right side is a deep valley which seems empty. This place has a perfect view. Two huge armies are playing the staring game, anyone advancing gets met with large artillary barrages, so for now it's a stalemate. Masanori turns around and points at the valley. "We're going through there. But keep your eyes open, it's dangerous.." He turns back to the battlefield. "After we break through the valley we'll get behind their lines and destroy their artillary. There's no other way to reach, it's why these countries are constantly at war, it's favorable for both sides. Losses can be controlled. Money wins the war. Wu, shall win the war."
Masanori shrugs and grabs hold of his scythe. "After that, everything is up to yourself, I recommend hiding. I'll join the battle…" He nods a few times, and lets go of his scythe, who's quiet for a chance. Satisfied with the promissed offering of blood. Masanori is wearing a tool belt he's usually not seen carrying. With ropes and climbing equipment.
A young Chuunin has arrived. His garb perhaps seeming more formal than it should considering the mission at hand, with his hakama pants and modified kimono. However, if history has proven one thing, the garb of a shinobi has little to do with his skill. Ichihoshi stands quietly for Masanori's dispensation, before responding. "I am here at the behest of my Sensei. He believes that experience on the battlefield will be necessary. Trial by fire, I guess you would say." He nods slightly. "I am Aoki Ichihoshi, and I will follow you, Masanori-san." He rests his arm lazily upon his katana's hilt. "I will be most pleased to see you in action, if the rumors of your skill are true." He bows slightly. "Please consider my blade your own for the duration of this mission."
RP: Ichihoshi joins the roleplay.
"Clean this crowned boat off, will you," Akari grumbles as she follows Masanori onto the wooden craft. She leans against a bit of railing, arms folding over her chest as she listens to tarman. "No, I'm your babysitter, remember?" Chuckling, she shakes her head and falls silent for the rest of the trip to the south.
"Dangerous. I'll let you lead the way, eh?" The blue-haired swordswoman glances towards the other members of the group before adding, "I'm always up for earning a bit of extra money, so let's get to it, shall we. Left over habit from my own mercenary days." The comment about hiding draws a roll of the woman's eyes, "I'll be sure to let you draw most of their attention, if you're really wanting."She glances to Ichihoshi, chuckling again, "Hope your sensei has you ready for this, Chuunin. I was younger when I started travelling, though, so you should be fine."
Yoma was not officially part of Kirigakure, so mercenary work was the only thing he could really do in any official capacity outside of the sole mission he was part of for the village. As he boarded the boat and listened all the way from place to place, noting the smell of rot and the way that Masanori held himself, Yoma was not truly sure what to make of him. Was he simply a blood thirsty braggart that felt he was superior to strangers because he made a name for himself fighting the weak? Or was he someone who endured this side of reality long enough to stop caring what other people think a long time ago. In either case, thankfully this mission didn't require stealth on approach, as this death barge would have given it away a long time ago judging by the circling birds that followed the dreary craft the entire way there.
Stepping off of the boat as Masanori finsihed explaining the situation, Yoma's blade was on his shoulder as he'd look to the masked man. He had the inclination to tell Masanori that he talked too much, but Yoma had found that silence gives far more information at times than words ever will. Taking in the other two as well, hearing their reasons and such, Yoma was a proverbial statue amongst them all as he simply waited for this all to get started. He didn't have a reason, other than the calling within his blood.
Masanori gave everyone in the company a good look, though he didn't answer them specifically. He just … stared in silence. Explaining the plan was the least he could do and frankly the only thing he was willing to do. He gives everyone a nod. Before jumping up and headed for a trail down to the start of the forbidden valley. At this point things were pretty calm, two spear bearing guards block the entrance, speaking a foreign tongue. Masanori turned and showed his bicep bearing the skull, after which the two men bow deeply and let the group pass. There's about a thousand steps down into a deep dark chasm, the first part of the valley… darkness. "It is too dark to see down there.." He notes, grabbing a torch from a collection of torches in a basket where the darkness starts. Flicking it past an ignition stone near the wall and holding it up. "Be careful, the traps start here." Masanori seems well traversed in the valley. It's his third time here, and the only way to survive is to know exactly how to walk, or to be sturdy. Masanori had both down. He carefully placed his feet on certain tiles, avoiding others. At some point he jumps up high and over… nothing? It would take a torch very close by to show the razor-sharp and invisible wiring spun down there, sure to cut off a man's legs should they be running. He already dodged a good ten traps, each of them tiles that when pressed launch poisoned senbon from the wall. Each of them ancient but still working flawlessly. There's needles all over the ground and skeletons to boot. But it's so dark, that without aiming the torch close by you wouldn't even be able to see it all. It's also freezing down there, but Masanori doesn't seem to mind. "The neutral zone is starting soon, less traps… More… trouble.." He says before stepping carefully, holding up his right hand. "Anyone with sharp senses?" He asks, before something churns in front of them. Masanori inhales deeply and holds his torch in front of his mouth, before blowing a wave of tar, which ignites over the fire, casting a lot of light over the chasm. It's not wide, maybe ten foot. And right in front of them, a stone golem is blocking the way. And it's… moving.
"Watch out!" Masanori yells, while dodging back, careful not to trigger a trap. The arm of the golem comes down at the entire group. It's not fast, but being crushed by it would hurt… A lot…
The trip goes well for the Chuunin for the most of the distance, but the cavern seems to be a poor location for his first encounter. Forming seals quickly, Ichihoshi attempts to create a clone to confuse the golem as it swings. However, he was not fast enough and the blow swings through. Ichihoshi grunts as he smashes into a wall, but quickly regains his feet. "Earth is my nemesis," he comments. "But I can surely try my best to defeat it." With that he draws his blade and steps back to let the more skilled of his teammates attack first.
Following down the steps into the DEEP DARK DARKNESS, Akari draws her swords. Crackle crackle crackle. Humming blue electricity flares to life around the blades, casting the nearby area in a blue ambiance. Lightsabers! She's fairly familiar with traps and the like herself, so she lets Masanori lead the way while keeping an eye out for suspicious things herself.
"No sharper than normal here, I'm afraid," Akari answers, and then there's a golem trying to smash them. Lightning sparks beneath the Swordswoman's feet and she leaps to the side in a roll, coming up on one knee with her swords at the ready, "Well, well, well. What have we here? Bit big, isn't it?" The air begins to practically hum with static charge as she speaks.
Masanori yells: "It's core, it's a yellow ball that's in his stone chest. Get to it and it dies!" He leaps up and focusses his chakra, he can't do more than dodge the thing for now. He could cut through, but that would blunt his scythe at such an early stage. The Golem makes another attack, but doesn't make an effort to block attacks coming his way. He would need two solid hits to die, one to the stone chest, the other to the stone chi-core in the middle. Masanori sticks his legs into the wall, and dodge back to avoid the thing his next lunge.
Following the path Masanori took, Yoma merely listened and watched more. While he was unfamiliar with this territory or the secret paths or the governmental issues of the land, all he needed to know was that Masanori was aware of it all. He was here to rend people limb from limb, and learn all he could while he did so. Yoma was strangely capable of small feats of agility, regardless of his size as they would approach an area lit up by Masanori's tar fed flames only to find that there was a guardian in their way. Taking the area in and the opponent, he would be a bit slow to raise his arms to block against the attack in such a narrow area, taking bit of damage against his arm as the steel bands on his forearms were not wide enough to take the full brunt.
Yoma seemed almost uninterested however as the giant rock monster was before him. Perhaps because it was not alive, or perhaps because he was over confident. What ever the case may be, this area was simply too narrow for everyone to pile on to the target at once with ease from the ground. Yoma thusly would have began to climb and run up the wall, scaling it quickly as he approached the golem, lunging for it with both feet prepared to launch out and smash in to the top of it. It seems that it is a bit more sturdy than he had anticipated however as he is forced back to a stalagtite, hanging from it as he growls a bit.
Ichihohshi vanishes as the next blow comes in to sweep him away once more. However, he had been expecting it, and the seals were formed long before the Golem's arm could smite him. Suddenly, the shinobi appears behind the golem, out of the flickering darkness, he pulls the cap off a jug at his side and forms a series of seals. "Water needle technique," he states, opting for long distance combat, since it seemed the golem was in the habbit of punching things. The senbon fly from his jug, pointing towards the crystaline globe at the golems heart.
Akari leaps over the next swipe of the golem, landing nimbly and dashing forwards in an attempt to get close to the golem, "Are you familiar with these things, then? The scepter is it? Akari calls out loudly, her Fangs flaring brightly with energy as she goes into a flashing spin with her swords extended, slashing at the golem's chest.
Watching the other two attack as he remained on the cieling, Yoma would notice that the core was exposed after Akari's flurry of attacks and Ichihoshi's pelting. Now was the time to "GRAAGH!!" he'd let out as a limb would have been sent up suddenly due to the golem being taken a bit off balance during Akari's attacks, smashing him against the cavernous cieling and causing him to fall to the ground. Boulders and rocks fell upon him shortly before they would explode outwards as his roar resonated through the underground cavern.
The giant of a man would blurr about the golem, striking at it from various angles all over it's form and trying to be simply too fast and too unpredictable for it to properly aim at any of them for a moment. It was too large for this to work properly however, and Yoma would leap towards the heart of it with a gutteral growl, trying to rip it free from the body by brute force. He pulled at it, muscles straining and bludging, but it was just not going to happen. Wielding his one handed great cleaver, he would roar once again, sending the blade down on to the crystaline heart of the golem with extreme force, but he was only able to make a chip at it when al lwas said and done, not quote enough to finish the job.
Masanori seems used to the golem, he ducks and weaves under its crushing smash which sends earth churning and flying. When Yoma is done going at it he simply waits, sliding out his scythe. "Ready for this again?" He asks, before jumping up, coming down once on the core, which sends a crack through the middle. Masanori smiles. "ALMOST THERE!" He yells, while the scythe comes down twice more, though this time not even leaving a scratch. He places his foot on the golem's back and leaps further down the cavern, slashing through a set of ropes which sends two flames blazing in front of him. Defusing a trap effectively. "We're almost through, I would be surprised if they could have created more guardians since last year." He states, not even turning around, assuming the rest of the company will finish the beast off. Simply weaving through the traps again into the enemy zone… there, traps will be fresh and he'll need to tread carefully.
The golem lifts up both arms in a desperate attempt to smash all three of the group. Both arms coming down as hard as the golem can permit itself.
Akari glances warily towards Yoma for a moment before shifting her stance. As the golem brings its arms down again in an attempt to smash the poor shinobi, the Swordswoman flicks Kiba up, the crackling blades scraping along each other before she sweeps one upwards, the lightning enhanced legendary blade cutting through the arm of the golem easily, dropping it to the ground with a THUNK. Twisting, she spins closer to the large thing's main body and she leaps upwards in an attempt to slam her Fangs into its core.
Huffing a bit with building rage at the beast before him, Yoma's recessed eyes seemed to smolder brighter as his body was set in motion almost by itself. He would have shifted his weight easily, turning as he did before springing backwards, leaping towards the body of the golem as he evaded the blows, coming inside of it's range of attack in order to nullify it as if dancing to the unheard rhythms of the song of combat. Akari had disarmed the Golem, literally, and drove towards it's core, piercing in to it as Yoma would slam in to a higher level of the golem, his weight and force smashing in to it simply through his evasion attempts, perhaps knocking it back and down to clear the way.
Akari her excessive movement have definitely knocked out he golem, who falls down motionless. Masanori just stands there, picking his torch back up and holding it above him, waiting for the rest to catch up. "New traps here, tread carefully." He says, while slowly starting up the stairs. Not knowing when what activates and how. "Stay far apart, or we all get affected by a trap!" He explains, blinking and keeping his eyes wide open. Trying to spot any anomaly.
Kiba strikes again! Downing the golem with Yoma's help, Akari yanks her swords free, and lets them continue to crackle with energy, serving as a torch of sorts for herself. She glances around the group for a moment, her gaze lingering on the rather ridiculously large Kaguya before she lets out a snort. Glancing to Masa, she nods and follows along, watching warily for traps. She manages to get through relatively unscathed. Until she triggers a fire mine, which bursts and singes her a little bit, her quick reflexes helping prevent the injury from being to grave. The blue-haired woman growls, shaking her head.
Masanori warned about the traps, and Akari would have gone through the gauntlet prior, exposing only one trap to be the fire mines as the flames would sprout out after her, leaving her just a bit singed in the end. Unlike Masanori who had experience here, and Akari who had some source of light to work with, Yoma had nothing but his instincts and reflexes to work from. Speed was going to be the key for him in this, and staying light on his extremely heavy feet as well. He inhaled deeply, calming himself from the battle lust that had been building before, closing his eyes for a long moment as he would continue to calm his spirit. Eventually, his eyes would reopen, sharpening, focusing before he'd exhale for a very long moment. Dust kicked up from his location as he would suddenly be gone, moving through the traps.
The stairs were sturdy at first, until suddenly they would give under his feet, and as he felt his body weight drop, he would cling to the wall beside him with his hand, yanknig himself up and over the remaining stairs as he continued to move rapidly.
The hall of poison senbon would release dozens of them at a time in patterns that the eye simply couldn't see once the trap was triggered, but while his form was massive and the space was tight, he would roll, duck, twist, leap, hurdle, and if need be, smash the mechanism on his way through to allow him the room to maneuver past this trap.
The mine was by far the trickiest as it was a near instantaneous explosion to deal with. The only possible clue that he had was that Akari had gone through this area and shown him the danger here. The /moment/ he felt something strange about his footing, he'd leap forward and tuck in to a roll, moving as far ahead as possible as the flaming explosion went off. He landed on the balls of his feet, and was tipping backwards as his arms spread out and waved, trying to keep his balance, and luckily, he didn't fall back on to the mined area.
Lastly, the raining kunai would come showering down atop Yoma. He had the advantage here however, utilizing his giant sword as cover as he'd twist and maneuver down the hall way, kicking off of obstacles and the walls in order to make more progress as he kept his senses focused on his weak points in order to determine when and how to evade.
Finally beyond all of that… Yoma would pant a few times before taking deep breaths. It was exceedingly obvious he was not trained to be a shinobi in any way.
Masanori treads carefully, taking his time, when the stair that would trigger the way to give arrives he tries it, noticing the pressure sensetive trigger, which he leaps past. One down, but when he steps onto another stone he widens his eyes… He leaps backwards but is too late to dodge all poisoned senbon coming his way. Good thing the tar in his blood-stream can take care of the poison, but his arms were pierced just slightly, so he wasn't left without a scratch.
When he triggers the mine he winces, being engulved in flames for a moment, he releases a layer of tar all over him to get the flames off, now ennobled and scorched. "They will die…" He simply states, sliding out his scythe and spriting up the stairs, nearly invisble to the naked eye due to being shrouded in black. His scythe blinks in the sunlight when he's the first to come out. Here also stand two guardsmen, and something can be heard rolling down the stairs… 'thud thud thud thud' … a head rolls past… with metal helm and everything, triggering a whole set of traps, good thing the team is already past all that. Masanori grins while he stands besides the two dead bodies, breathing some fresh air in deeply, before pointing ahead. "We're behind enemy lines, anyone that spots us must die. NO exceptions.." He slowly begins a confident walk over the path. Team Shinigami is on the way to deliver death and destruction.
A rustle in the tree. A child no older than eleven years old… a boy perhaps is looking at the group with wide eyes. Masanori his eyes roll up to spot the child… He sighs, taking a moment to ponder, it was but a moment. It was a his weakness, children. But the mission comes first. He slides out two shuriken from his pouch, giving the child one more glance. He lifts up his right fist. "Halt.." He says, before jumping up…. *Thud… bang..* When he comes down he has the boy in his arm, though no blood. "Tie him up and silence him.." He simply says, before continuing to walk along the path.
It does not remain peacefull however. A patrol of ten soldiers meet the group, splitting up in teams of three. Each of them carrying spears, starting to attack the group. They yell and scream, Masanori has already taken out his scythe to retaliate. One of them is running off, trying to reach the first command post to sound the alarm. But Ichi is already rushing off after him. "Good.." Masanori says, while bracing for the rest of the soldiers.
Akari smirks as she passes the rolling heads on her way up the stairs. She continues up, catching up to Masanori and nodding as she listens, "Sounds like a simple plan. Let's get to work." Glancing to the boy when he shows up, the blue-haired woman smirks at Masanori after the tarman fetches the child and ties him up, "Getting soft, eh? Kill him and let's be about our business." Shaking her head, she moves to continue along, and as the soldiers come charging, her swords flow into motion, easily parrying spear thrusts before she twists, lightning crackling and extending from the end of her swords as she sweeps them about like a pair of whips at her attackers. ZAP! CRISP! FRY! KRAK-A-KOOM! Anyone hit by those streams of energy is going to suffer for it, as when the whip-like tendrils crack against the ground, they leave gouge marks.
Yoma silently walked past the child, his steps heavy as he'd calmed down completely in order to focus on avoiding the traps. He would look to the people with him and listen very carefully, but he would not do anything towards the child. The spearmen would come at him as they branched off to attack the group three at a time, and Yoma's forearm wouldbe used to shatter the spears upon his reinforced, bone melded flesh. His recessed, deep red eyes would fall upon them before a back hand would be swung out with such force, power, and reach that all three of the men where smashed and shattered against the terrain as Yoma simply kept walking forward.
Masanori simply lifts his scythe and blocks the oncoming attacks. Using the shaft but also the blade of his weapon to parry and deflect incoming stabs. He then reaches out with his scythe, before pulling it back, literally splitting two soldiers in half. Though one is still alive. "I meant to do that." He bluffs, while the soldiers gets on his knees and drops the weapon, begging for his life. Masanori slowly walks past him as if he gets mercy, the man had already begun thanking him with a deep bow, before a flash of metal… and his head is rolling.
Masanori sighs and keeps walking along the path. They're nearing a stronghold, and the hill allows a perfect view of the catapults and giant crossbows placed there, loaded and ready. "Okay, shock and awe. There's six pieces in total. And each will be guarded by about twenty soldiers who operate it. Note, these are elites, so don't think of them too lightly. Some of them even know some chi magic." Masanori hops onto a tree, and before the sentry in the tower can say a word he has a shuriken dug into his throat quite deeply. Depraving him of the ability to make sound. "Lets go!" Shinigami yells, jumping onto the stone platform where the large weapons are stationed, taking two for his own account, a catapult and giant crossbow. Sliding out his scythe, before rushing foreward, sliding it past the wood, which allows it to snap and break effortlessly. Attempting to take out the machines before the elite guard can even know what's going on.
Akari puts her little trio of soldiers down easily, perhaps with an unnecessary bit of force. Alas. Grinning, she shakes her head and looks over to check on the others. She follows along, and as they pause atop the hill, she chuckles dryly in response to Masanori, "Chi magic? Hopeless. I forgot how pathetic the lands outside of the shinobi countries are." Watching the fort, the blue-haired swordswoman remains stationary as the tarman leaps into motion, her cerulean gaze studying the larger of the constructed artillery.
Crackling blue energy begins to flare along her arms, her legs, similar to that surrounding her Fangs. She spins her swords and thrusts them into the ground, blue streams of electricity arcing upwards into the sky from from the hilts of Kiba. As the energy continues upwards, the Swordswoman howls, "Raiton : Sandageto!" And the sky flashes, blue bolts of lightning flickering down from the clear sky and striking the fort, centered around the heavy artillery.
Hearing the new orders Yoma seemed to remain calm and silent once more. He just wasn't the talkative type, however he would say, "Understood." as the raid began. Leaping high in to the air, he would nearly sail to his location of combat as if he was some sort of mobile shock trooper launched from a catapult himself. He tucked himself in to a ball as he soared through the air, and literally smashed in to the catapult as if he was artillery himself. Standing up from the wreckage, he would begin to rip it apart with his bare hands, destroying planks of wood and tossing the boulders and metal pieces about, killing many of the men around it as if he was a very slow explosion letting loose shrapnel well after the fact.
Yoam wielded his heavy blade again, charging towards the ballista that was being repositioned to aim at him, cutting swathes of defenders down before his jagged blade cleaves through the instrument of war, smashing just as much as cutting through the whole thing in one massive swing.
The destruction caused is followed by loud roars as the two armies clash, with one in a clear advantage. Armies clash, and the shinobi join the fray. In a long battle that lasts a good twelve hours. After which they receive their payment and return home.