Searching for Hiroko - Part I

Starring:

Shinji, Shoki (emitter)

Date: March 20, 2011

Summary:

Shinji is hunting for Hiroko, the Land of Fire's Daimoy's Neice who is missing.

Warning: Contains foul language.


"Searching for Hiroko - Part I"

Coast of Land of Fire, small Fishing village

It is early after noon. A contact in the mercenary world has pointed Shinji to a dive bar on the outskirts of a small fishing village along the coast of the land of fire. Apparently some retired merc is there and may have some information, for a price. The place looks like it has seen far better days. The war has devesated the land near here, and before that there was a disaster with huge waves and earthquakes. The inn slash bar is intact mostly because it was back on a hill away from the water a bit, and this area was simply quickly taken over at the first assault. Not a lot of actual fighting took place here but there are still some signs of war near by. The village itself is in worse shape as people are rebuilding destroyed huts and small fishing boats.
The bar itself looks like it has been here for decades, the wood is old, and despite the early spring time of year, there is a bit of a warmth to the air which when added to the sea humidity and the lack of a breeze today makes the air feel thick and unpleasant. Despite the heat there is a small stream of smoke rising from the one pipe sticking up from the roof. The front of the building has doors and windows wide open with simple gauzy cloth hanging over them.

It has been some time since Shinji has come back into the Land of Fire, granted he would've loved to be back in Kumogakure or the Land of Whirlpools, the women there were exquieset. But he isn't here for relaxation, having been cooped up in the hideout after his surgery Shinji was given a mission which had a bit of a timestamp on it. He has plenty of time, but Shinji doesn't like to wait around when a mission is given out, especially one like this.
As he enters into the small village, all he could do is bow his head and give a silent prayer, little villages like this will always see war. Which is why he is happy he is with a group that will hopefully be able to stop all wars. Deciding he has some time, he walks through the village, helping where he can, when he sees that someone needs help. But knowing that soon the person he is to meet may leave, Shinji begins making his way to the bar/inn. Looking around, it isn't the best looking place, but he's seen better and worse and the smell of the place brings back memories from when he used to be able to wander around more freely. Having been given a description of what the old merc looks like, Shinji moves to a table near the back of the establishment and begins looking around for one who matches the description.

Being the afternoon and with most of the villagers busy repairing things or the like there really aren't that many people here. There's an old thin man behind the counter, his gray hair a testiment to his age. He clearly is trying to look better than okay but has limited raw material to work with, which is to say he's simply not that good looking to start with. The actual patrons of the place, there are three that you see beside yourself. Two are sitting at a table near one of the front windows as if to try to catch a bit of the non-existant breeze. Those two look like villagers on a break. They watch you warily.
The third guy, well, you're pretty sure he's the guy you're looking for. He's up at one end of the bar, with a glass before him, and an unlabeled bottle. His glass is a shot glass half full of some kind of almost clear liquid. His clothing looks travel worn, and he's got a pair of short blades on his belt, one to each side. From this side, his face looks normal but as you sit he turns to look at you and you see the other half of his face looks practically melted off, scar tissue covering his eye, leaving little hair on that side and looking stiff as he lifts his glass and takes a drink, draining the shot glass and setting it down. He turns back to the bottle to refill it, apparently ignoring you for now.

Figuring he better order something for himself, Shinji gets up from his table and begins making his way to the bar. The two men who are looking at him, he bows his head to them. He doesn't bother to smile becuase that could possibly cause something that I he doesn't want which is a fight or to have them think he was here up to no good. He's been in many war torn villages before and well there are just some things you just don't do.
As he approaches the bar, he speak with the tender and orders thier house special and drink. He then he walks over to where the old merc is sitting at and sit near him leaving a stool between the two. Having noted the blades, "They are still sharp." he comments in a low voice. Shinji respected weapon users to some degree, but for one to live as long as this man, there is respect that is earned and warrented and well Shinji would give that respect until it is shown that the old man doesn't deserve it. "Can I get you somethign to eat, it will be on me." he offers.

The scarred man turns to face Shinji, then glances down, "Dull blades are a bit of a waste." He notes, wryly. His speech is a tad off, just slightly slurred although it seems that is more from the scar tissue on his face than the booze he's drinking. He glances at the inn keeper then back to you, "I'll take some soup." He agrees, "If you're buying." He raises his glass again, drinking half of the shot then setting it down. After a moment while the innkeeper gathers the food and drink and retreats a bit, the scarred face man looks back at you, "You're not here to cause trouble, are you? I'd hate to have to ask the nice villagers here to dig another grave just for you." He says, his voice gravelly.
While it is unsaid you get the feeling this merc has adopted this village in some way. After all, the two at the window don't seem worried about him, but instead you. It is as if at least they are used to him being here. "The last thing this village needs is more trouble right now." He notes as he looks back to his bottle and soup.

Nodding his head about the dull blades, but even when the man agrees to order some food on Shinji. Shinji feels that there is more to this old guy then he first thought. But again, you don't get this old in the buisness if you are sloppy. Looking around the bar again, looking at the exits and the rest of the area, Shinji returns his attention to the merc. Shaking his head, "No, I have no intentions of causing problems here." he says. As their food arrive, Shinji takes a few bites of his food before continuing. "I've come from a place where war was pretty constant. I hate it." he tells the old timer. "But I'm here on…" he pauses and lowers his voice, "other buisness. I was told by others that you may know of some info that will help me find her." he says not wanting to get to in detail of what he's here for.

Grizzled old mercs don't get that way with out some edge, it is true. This one looks like he's walked through hell fire at some point. He slowly eats his soup, listening to your words. He pauses, "Her?" He says softly, a slight edge to his voice, "What… her?" He slowly looks back at you. The man wears no eye patch. The scar tissue covers his one eye completely. His one good eye peers at you, as he waits, doing nothing until you reply, other than tensing just slightly. There is something about the intensity of that gaze, from that one good eye, that is a tad off putting. Nothing to rattle a professional as yourself but still, lesser men might be put off by the look.

Brining his glass to his lips and sipping the at his drink, he feels the peering on him. As Shinji turns to look at the man, he's seens looks like this before and isn't put off by it. Though he knows his next words better be the ones to diffuse this, or else either the old merc or himself will be buried here today. "The niece of the Fire Daimyo." he says in a very low voice. "I think we should either go else where and talk." Knowing that to turn his attention away from the man, Shinji did feel that he better be prepared to fight if the need arise, because he knows that this mission is one that isn't going to be easy looking for a girl that's been missing for a few years now. But then again, he was choosen to help in this situation and with that no one is going to get in his way.

With the person's identity revealed, the Merc actually relaxes a tad, "Hiroko." He says, almost as a curse word in the way his mouth moves around the word. He lifts his glass and downs a full shot then sets it back down rather strongly, the glass making a thud on the wooden counter. "No need to go talk elsewhere. Ain't got much to say. Fools errand looking for that one." He glances back over at you again, "Who you working for? Someone in the Daimyo's family? Some other nation? Some clan eager to get their claws into the royal family?" He asks, as he shakes his head, "Funny. Years ago, when my company went looking for her, no one gave a damn about some little girl. Now… seems like half the seedy underworld wants to find her."

"I'm with, none of the above. I was asked by someone who feels that the daughter needs to be back home." he says. "Granted I'm to take great care in who I bring her home to." he states. Knowing that if anything happens to her the Fire Daimyo would be at a greater loss. As the merc continues on Shinji just listens, the fact that no one was able to find her after this many years, worried him. The trail is very cold, but hopefully he will be able to find what he needs. "What can you share with me to help me find her."

The grizzled man looks back to you, "Well, ain't you the noble one. Either that or you're lying. Not that it matters much to me one way or the other." He gives a bit of a shrug, "I know there are rewards out for her. If I knew where she was I'd have tried to sell that off to the highest bidder, or tried to get her myself." He pauses, looking you over, "Okay, I'll tell you what I know. I'll give you the whole story, for the right price." He glances at the pair at the window then back to you, "Here's the deal. You're in better shape than I've been in for years. People around here… they're worn down by the war and the natural disasters. They need some help, you know?" He gives you a questioning look, "You think you could help them out some how? Money, labor, whatever… but something. Can you do that? If so, then maybe we can make a deal."

Smirking at the noble comment Shinji just eats a few more bites from the food he has ordered. "The rewards don't really intrest me, but if I do get it, I will supply it to who needs it." he says and having done so in the past with the people he's managed to helped Fumma Alley, he is one who is generous. Taking a moment to listen more, Shinji did see that the people here needed help, and more then likely the Hokage and the Daimyo are very busy with rebuilding forces and fixing up their surrounding areas, that many smaller villages that reside in the Land of Fire will have to look out for themselves until those of the Daimyo and Hokage can help. "Alright, I will help. I was doing a little bit of work before coming in here. Labor, guarding, and what money I can spare and bring back will go to this village." he states. "What can you tell me?"

The man gives a small sigh, "Don't go running off as soon as I tell the story. I may not be what I once was, but I can still cause trouble." He warns, "But… yeah, that'll do, if you do it." He finishes his soup, taking some time before starting on the story, "Some big shot, no idea who, from the capital hired my company to go get the neice. Thing was, couldn't have been the Daimyo himself. He'd have just sent guards, you know? So I'm thinking either this was a kidnapping or… worse. Any case, guy who sent us paid big up front, one of those 'money is no object' kinda missions. Should have known it was going to be a real mess when I heard that. But boss said it would be all good, gravy mission just getting some spoiled brat from some hidden finishing school babysitters or some such." He shakes his head, "Shoulda known the Daimyo's family wouldn't have hidden one of the heirs some place easy to get to. Damn place was shrouded in fog. We waited two days, stuff never lifted. Finally we tried to sneak in."
The man pauses to drink again, then shakes his head, "Never seen anything like it. Every attack we tried was dodged or turned back against us. Never got a good sight of those we were fighting in the blasted fog either. It was like fighting ghosts. Lost track of the team, we ended up split up, but I think we were making progress. The 'guardians' or whatever they were died like men if you got them good." He gives another little shake. You notice one of his hands is trembling slightly. "Another time… I'm not that man anymore, but… Just when I thought we were about clear, maybe half of us down, the place… exploded. Last thing I remember is a bright flash, rumbling and… waking up on a beach with one of the villagers having pulled me out of the water here. Far as I know, my whole crew, boss and all, died in that mess. Still have no idea what happened really. I never did find the place again either. All I know is it was some island near the shore, up north along the coast. Never saw the neice. For all I know the island is gone, and even if it wasn't, it might be now… now that the tsunami from whatever it was that hit before the invasion.
The man pours himself another drink, "Got my scars there, decided I was done. So I've stayed here, trying to repay those who nursed me back to health. I keep the worst of the bandits away. They let me stay here. Sometimes I help when they need a strong back." He shakes his head again and looks to you, "For all I know she's dead, or… not. I can tell you that what I thought was fog at first? Was something different. Like… I don't know, chakra based crap. If you really need to find more, go look north, see if you can find the island, if it is still there. Might be clues even underwater if the thing sank. I don't know. But… that's all I know about the mess. I never talked to the guy who hired us, that was all the boss' doing. I'm no sensor ninja, so I got led through the fog, and never found the exact place again. Of course it was months before I could walk right again, and it's possible my memory of the fight is a bit messed up… but… there you go." With that he downs another shot.

"I will help, and if possible I will stay around here using this as my place of operation." he says as he looks to the merc. But when the man began his tale, Shinji just goes quiet. Taking in all the information that is being provided, even how the man and his team reacted to being attacked. As he gives the directions from the village and possibly how to get to the place. However he knew that the villagers will need the help around here for a bit and he wasn't given a time constrant. "Well it's my job to find her and find any clues that I can to ensure that I find her. Those who asked me to do this, know that she is alive. So I will do my best."
GAME: Save complete.

The man nods, and looks back to his bottle, "Lost a lot of good friends that day… Lost a lot of good nights sleep since. If you say she's alive, I wish you the best in your search. As for staying here, not my call. If the mayor says you go, you go. But if you help I can't imagine him wanting you to leave. The village lost enough people… too many people… so any help." He leaves it there, just sort of stopping mid-sentence. Although he hasn't said so you get the distinct impression that he views this conversation at an end, unless you say more to him.

Shinji smiles a little, "I will keep my word and help where I can." he says. Looking to the barkeep and paying him for their meal, as well as asking for a room that he can stay in. Money really isn't a object for Shinji, due to him already having plenty of money due to previous missions and jobs. "As for the mayor." he says looking to the old merc, "How would I go about getting a meeting with him. I would like to get things started as soon as I can."

This time the innkeeper answers rather than the Merc, "He's down by where they are rebuilding the docks, should be anyway. Just head down the hill and follow the path to the small docks and piles of wood." He offers directions while the scarred merc returns to silently drinking whatever it is that he has been drinking this whole time. Trying to drown memories perhaps.

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