Keiji, Fulgur (emitter)
Date: July 3, 2012
Sent to Assassinate a Clan Enemy, Keiji learns more than a little history.
"Shippodoku Chronicles - Blood Fued"
Dead Sands - Northern Desert [Land of Wind]
Dead Sands is a section of the Land of Wind that was once a fertile farm-land. It was devastated by the Clan Wars, with many great conflicts between ninja Clans ruining all potential for life for over a hundred square miles. In the present, it is a region full of dust and dirt, intermixed with the sands of the neighboring areas of the desert. The remains of over one-million people, primarily helpless civilians, have been interred into the wastes by the constant, driving wind storms that gave the Land of Wind its name. It is, in essence, a permanent 'dustbowl' crossed with a sandstorm.
So many dead have been left here that even being covered by the earth, there are enough bones and dessicated corpses to form small mountains. The bleached bones are covered and exposed, over and over, giving no rest to the dead. It is no surprise, then, that there are countless and frequent stories of ghost sightings in the Dead Sands by those who have to trek through here to reach the Land of Stones. However, this is the single most inhospitable locale in the entire country, and thus the Desert of Knives, with all its banditry and long, winding caravan trails, is usually preferred over the Dead Sands despite being a shorter trip.
The Desert of Knives lies to the east. The border between the Land of Wind and the Land of Stones lies to the north, and to the south is the inhospitable Northern Desert, and the travel routes that lead towards the capital of the Wind Country.
Keiji glances over the scroll in his hand as he stands in the middle of the bone filled desert.
The clan has heard news of your recent accomplishments. Excellent job in the Chuunin Exams. The Kazekage will surely look favorably on our clan at the next set of negotiations. Now that you are coming of age, there is a special task that you need to complete. This is an extremely rare oppurtunity trusted to you.
It has become more of a sport in the last ten years but there is a special type of enemy to our clan known as a Shaman. They are deceitful illusionists. We have hunted them to the brink of extinction. There are rumors of one living in the Dead Sands. You will know him when you see him. He will more than likely be aware of your presence long before you are of his. Assassinate him and return home. You will be repaid for this service in status within the clan.
Head Elder, Shigeo
"They do not contact me or send me so much as a hello, yet they send me some scroll asking me to go kill a shaman out in the middle of this hell." The boy then folds up the scroll and slips it back into his Chuunin vest. He then continues walking through the bone littered sand as he looks for signs of life. His mind seems to be racing over what kind of illusions this man would be able to cast or use.
Indeed, the shaman knows. He watches the desert carefully and though he hides, he services those in need to the best of his ability. Using illusion to guide lost souls in the desert to civilization. Now that he senses danger, he keeps to himself and uses his tricks, or so they have been called, to keep himself safe. He understands that he has been found. Someone must have been watching him carefuly or at least, the people around here.
He maintains silence beneath the sands, wondering what this will lead to.
Keiji was still wondering just why exactly he had come out here for this task. If anyone was in desire of making a name for themselves, it would have been Konsatsu. Keiji himself was pretty much content achieving ranks and such through the village. He could care less what went on in the Shippodoku Caverns. Though as the boy walked, he noticed the wind begin to pick up. Sand started blowing everywhere. It was not a normal storm. In fact, it was his first clue that he was on the right path. The boy continued on in the same direction he had been heading, stopping every ten feet until he was able to spot something.
It was on the boy's fourth stop that he was able to spot a small hut. Then it seemed that the sand had stopped almost as quickly as it began. Keiji glanced over his uniform. It had been nothing more than a mirage. Now the boy walked slowly and cautiously towards the entrance to the hut. He had no idea if anyone was home or if the hut itself was another trick.
The hut is initially empty. It looks abandoned and unused. Once a part of what used to be fertile land, it's now nothing more than a relic of time past. Yet, it is strangely welcoming. It has held up well to the elements over time. It may not be able to be lived in as it is, but if fixed up it might have potential. Despite it all, there's more to this place than what meets the eye. As the sands have hidden the numerous bones and lost lives, so too does this hut.
The hut was not a huge shock to Keiji. If someone was hiding out here, it would likely be in a cave or underground. Too many bandits and other unfriendly folk travelled through the area. The type that you did not want looking around for things to steal. Soon Keiji is glancing at the floor boards. He walks through out the hut until he finds a well hidden cut in the wood. Reaching down with his pincered nails, the boy forces the hatch open. Before he enters the hatch, he pulls something out from his Chuunin vest. Its a scorpion. He has a hold of it by the tail. "This is where you and I part ways for now. Just incase." He then drops the scorpion onto the floor behind him and enters the hatch.
The scorpion sits where it was left to wander around in the hut and act as a sentinel for Keiji while he explored the bottom levels. There wasn't much to the place except for a long hall that lead to a circular room at the end. Inside, he'd find the Shaman he was looking for working on something. The items he possessed all seemed to be gathered from the surrounding wasteland that he used to guide him in the goings on of the surface.
Keiji walked until he found the circular room. "Are you another illusion or are you the one I seek?" asked the boy. He then glanced around the circular cavern at the different objects that had been collected. It seemed that this guy had been there for a long time. It was only recently that the Shippodoku had found out about him. There is no tapping of the foot, despite Keiji waiting for an answer.
"I am not an illusion, I'm the one you seek," the Shaman answered. He looked at Keiji with his face covered so that he couldn't be identified. "You're here to kill me, I understand." He remarked with calm. "So, what are you going to do?" He wondered as she looked back to the center of his attention. The items he was using were being tossed into the fire whose smoke was being vented out of here in some weird way. The way the bones cracked and the smoke rose informed him of various things within the desert. Keiji's arrival was one such thing he was shown.
"You knew I was coming, yet you did not at least retreat from the area. This tells me you are either confident enough in your abilities that you believe you can at least negate my own. That or you have come to terms with death. You obviously know the purpose of my visit, so maybe you know why I have been sent. That I do not know myself." Keiji pondered the information just as he had spoken it. He was not sure why the man did not run.
"I will make you a deal. You tell me why my clan hunts you and I will not attempt to kill you for the moment." It was a risk. Keiji knew there was a possibility that this man could do something dangerous given some more time, but then again if he was going to do that, the plan would already be in motion. It would have been since the moment Keiji stepped into the desert. "Be warned though, if you try anything, I have another side of me that is much larger and has a less than hospitable personality."
"All Shamans know why others visit them. Especially those of Shippodoku. We know our history and how we have been killed by your kind. I've no reason to flee from such a thing. History does not simply disappear, it is washed over only to be revealed again in due time," he stated. "And to add, I am confident that I can fight you, but whether I wish to is another question. The answer is no." He looked to the boy. "So, you wish to know why the clan hunts us? It's simple. We were framed," he started.
"It was long ago…the Warrior branch of the clan was falling apart with their leader on his deathbed. He hadn't appointed anyone to the role…why would he? He was a warrior?" He shrugged, letting out some prejudice against the branch. "But when he was murdered, the Shaman were blamed. We had nothing to do with it and we knew it…but the warriors did not believe us and so they thought their best option was to kill us all." He sighed softly. "You don't need to worry about me trying anything. That spirit in you all is unfounded and largely idiotic. Everyone is always so suspicious, but that's only because you all can't trust one another."
There is a small laugh from Keiji. "Easy there. When two opponents meet on a battlefield it is nature to expect one to attempt to get the upper hand by making the first move. Thats a natural defense." He then stopped a moment and glanced at the man. "So you are Shippodoku then? The same blood as mine? Do your kind achieve Sasoriendai?" the boy asked. He was not sure where his clan's history was. Most of it was never taught, but he was unsure if it was lost, wiped away or just not really cared about. "As for the betrayal and being framed. That does not seem too far off. Anyone with any actual talent is held at a distance from the clan. Only called upon when they are needed to travel to some death bed of a desert."
"…Maybe," the man answered. "We are no different, but the warriors treat us that way. There is more than just one branch of Shippodoku. We are unknown because the Warriors choose to give us recognition only in blood on their hands." He looked at the bones in the fire and hummed softly. "I am aware of how the warriors work. I do not see how they call themselves such when they are clearly cowards, but you are no coward." He pointed to the bones, "They say so." He grinned, though it couldn't quite be perceived. "So, are you going to kill me or are you going to learn from me? The bones have also told me this, though I know not the answer. The future is a fickle thing."
Keiji ponders the question a moment. "What exactly is it you are proposing? I mean I am fairly certain I will remain safe from attacks being a shinobi of Sunagakure. But so long as Shigeo knows you are here, he will continue to send people after you. Possibly even my younger brother Konsatsu, in an attempt to force me to make another choice. I see no reason to kill you however, it would be easier if you were to relocate and I were to tell him you were dead. That would simply buy time." For some reason, Keiji believed the man's story. Now it seemed to be about making the best of the situation.
"I am also a Shippodoku. I am not one to stay in one place for long. I've been found and now I must go," the Shaman stated with some amusement in his tone. "I doubt he'd believe I'm dead. Shigeo trusts no one," he grins. "But come and let me teach you. I know that you are curious and you wish to know the ways of the Shaman. There is no shame in it. You know how to find power in what has been considered weakness. You will be strong for this while the other warriors will be weak."
"So what do I tell Shigeo then? That you escaped?" Keiji then stands up and nods his head. "I do wish to learn. As long as I do not have to do that creepy bone stuff. Do you have a book so that I can take notes, or maybe even a book that already has notes?" Keiji asks. Not that he was being lazy, but he was certain that a lifetime of teachings would not be learned over night or in one sitting.
"Notes?" The Shaman threw his head back and laughed. "There are no notes, we use the mind. It is the strongest tool. You should know this from the illusions I cast over my home," he continued to chuckle. "No, you will learn everything and you will remember it. That is all." Guess a lifetime in one short moment will have to do. "The knowledge imparted to you will not be forgotten. You are a Shippodoku as am I. It is in your blood. This will feel second nature to you. The bones are a different matter. You don't need to learn those." He hopped up from his spot on the ground and began to stretch. "Where is your scorpion?"
Keiji grimaced slightly as there were no notes. He was surprised that the man did not have any recipes for poisons or anything written down. Perhaps that is how it was done in the old days. "I left him upstairs. No point bringing him into a battle that I had little knowledge of going in. There is always the possibility of death for me and of him getting crushed." The boy then looked at the bones. He was relieved he did not have to learn those.
"Understandable, but now you'll need him. I can increase the power of my illusions and have safety in knowing that I won't be found," the Shaman spoke. "So, have him come here and once he's down here, we can begin." The shaman went back to sitting as he prepared his thoughts on what he was going to teach. Poisons were special and came in all sorts of different forms that could be devastating if used properly. Not all poisons needed to be fatal, but the effects could bring about death later with no hope of recovery. Damaging nerves, the mind, muscles, organ systems… So many things that could destroy a warrior from the inside out. None of them knew the secrets and none ever would, until today.