Date: February 28, 2011
The Land of Water begins its invasion upon the Land of Fire's shores. They don't come in great numbers, but they do come with quite a surprise which catches the Fire soldiers offguard. Meanwhile, a pair of shinobi try to guage the invading army's strength and are set upon by their enemies.
"The Legion March - Feet of Clay"
Border, Land of Fire
The boats came out of the fog. One or two at first, then a dozen, then many more. There was no hiding the insignia of the soldiers who disembark, emblazoned with the Land of Water's emblems on their banners and uniforms. And in each contingent are shinobi, using their famed Hidden Mist techniques to cover the army's movements. The soldiers begin disembarking, unloading supplies and taking up positions as if expecting an immediate retaliation, gripping spears and looking as if they're ready to repel a counter-invasion.
The boat carrying the mastermind behind this puny invasion force comes through the fog, much larger than any of the others, with a wide, flat, low-riding body. On it is yet many more soldiers, as well as other siege weapons of warfare, primitive canons and ballistas. But still, there are only a few thousand soldiers disembarking for a mile or so along the coast of the Land of Fire. Surely whatever they are here for cannot be an overtaking of the Land of Fire! Many more tens of thousands, or hundreds more shinobi, would be required for such a task.
"DAMMIT! Why are we not upon the littoral yet!? AUTHORIZE THEM TO ACCELERATE THEIR SCULLING!" The swordswoman's screeching voice rings out harshly over the sound of waves. At the paniced, confused look of her boat's piloting captain, she points at the rows of oarmen. "TELL THEM TO ROW FASTER!"
The speed of the main invasion ship picks up, careening towards the choppy shore. The massive hull smashes into one of the smaller ships, causing men to abandon it or be crushed. A few are, a few others drown, the rest manage to swim to shore, sans their armor. The wide, flat-bottomed boat, little more than a massive artillery-raft really, groans up onto the sand, displacing wet earth and water both. Ramps are dropped down the front down which run yet more soldiers, others struggling to pull the siege artillery down after them.
And around Kei are several dozen other shinobi, ranging in rank and skill from genin to Jounin, each wearing a special insignia upon their upper left arm of a red sword on a black background. The group doesn't move to disembark, staying upon the poopdeck with Samehada's wielder. …Until she points. Immediately, all but three of them begin to leap forward, off of the ship and onto the beach in a rough line, turning to face the ocean.
Meanwhile, an army does not move even under the cover of mist completely undetected. Spies and such were too prevalent throughout the countries, especially in the courts of Daimyos. The Land of Fire was not unaware that a small army of Land of Water soldiers and Kirigakure shinobi had boarded boats and set sail. A small detachment, roughly equal in size to the Kiri forces themselves had been sent to the water-lined border and set on high alert. What's more, a pair of Konoha-shinobi were sent to investigate the matter and were likely entering the very same area as the strange, quickly-evaporating mist even now…
Alright, so his first real mission as a Kirigakure Jounin rather than a Land of Demons Jounin is to go to war. Awesome. It may not be a common situation to be in, but this is definitely a good chance for him to prove himself to Kirigakure and the Mizukage. This is not a battle that Maikeru tends to play nice in at all… Jigoku is excited about this for a completely different reason. He actually gets to HURT people without being held back so much because it's only a spar. Finally, some real bloodshed again.
As the ship comes onto the shore, a focused look comes into the eyes of Maikeru. He looks over to Yuuka, giving her a nod. "Ready?" he asks before turning toward where the others are leaping. "Time to play." With that, he bounds with the rest of the group, remaining within the dissipating mist. He positions himself toward the front of the group, though not directly on the front line, keeping enough people in front of and around him to hide the glowing red glow of his possessed hand as he focuses more chakra into it, preparing for what's coming.
With the forehead protector of Kirigakure wrapped around her waist, Yuuka turns her snow white head slightly to glance over the whole of the main ship as its speed picks up, the hull easily smashing through other smaller ships that are in its wake. It soon groans as the bottom skids over rocks and sand, making a deep grove into the earth before ramps are set down at the front of the boat. While soldiers hurry to pull artillery from the boat to shore, the young Kaguya kunoichi glances to Maikeru, the slight worry and concern shown in her bright aquamarine eyes as she lowers her chin faintly in a single nod, "I suppose so…" she murmurs softly. Certainly softer and meeker than most of her bloodthirsty clan. Yuuka takes a few steps and pushes off in a hard leap, her feet landing in shallow water as she runs up onto the dry shore just beside Maikeru to eventually slow her steps, looking out across the soldiers that have gathered thus far. Silently, she slips out the ivory blade of her Epigaea Dagger from her enveloping sleeve, her fingers tightening around the hilt just slightly.
The Inuzuka could smell the wave nin as they moved along the land flicking to the signs to Moriko pointing into the directions of the ninjas and they're traveling path. "This could get rough soon so you should prepair for the worst." Tetsuo would build up chakra as he hidden himself from view. "Hmmm maybe I should report back to the hokage at once, or perhaps I should try and slow them down first? What do you think boy?" Looking at his dog who head just shifted to the side he would smirk and rub his nose. "I think we should try and slow them down with to high speed actions, what do you say boy?" Tetsuo would have grine on his face for the first time in a while cracking his neck he would yawn for a moment before using the time to map out a plan.
Mo is not too far distant from Tetsuo, the young Jounin pausing in a tree branch, but maintaining cover as she looks out over the water. She and Tetsuo were dispatched this direction on the off chance that smaqll flotilla reported leaving Kirigakurei was headed their direction. Still, the Kirryu had hoped it was going to be someone else's problem. When she spotted the ships, she exhails silently, dissapointed that her hopes weren't answered. Still she and her charge are now faced with an invading army. A small one, but one nonetheless. She glances over at Tetsuo and makes hand-signs at the boy, then motions to the army. Moriko then signals to get a count, before glancing back and shifting slightly right, still hoping to maintain cover as she attempts to size up the invading force.
Shouts sound from just beyond the beach, along the distant treeline, sending murmurs through the ranks of Kirigakure shinobi. A loud *THWANG* fills the air, seemingly the sound of many smaller noises all working as one as tiny, horizontal slits soar lazily into the air from the trees. The hang at the apex of their arcs for a few moments… before slashing down harshly, cutting into the ranks of the Land of Water soldiers. Many fall before the first onslaught of arrows, many more scrambling for cover as a second volley from the Land of Fire troops begins, thousands of arrows hurtling into the sky.
Commanders shout orders across both sides of the battle lines, those of the Water Daimyo's forces are being ordered to hunker down and wait, while those of the Fire continue to pelt them in a veritable storm of arrows, as if it were raining wood and steel. From the command deck of her ship, safe from most but the sturdiest of longbows, Samominoryuu Kei laughs loud and long, more a cackle than any sound of actual mirth.
"SHOW THESE FOOLS!" Her command rings out along the lines, and her 'special' squad obeys instantly.
The few dozen shinobi Kei had sent ashore stand facing the water, as if expecting something to happen. The waves continue beating upon the sandy beach, just as the early morning sun beats down upon all those under it's oppressive gaze. And then, something does begin to happen.
It's likely so subtle as to be unnoticed at first, but a row of heads crafted in crude armor appears above the waterline. As they begin to march forward, their upper torsos quickly become visible, showing that they are each nearly twelve feet tall. A second rank appears as the first begins to move out of the waves. Then a third… a fourth… a fifth… a sixth…
On and on they come, and there appears to be no end to them, striding forth relentlessly out of the waves and very soon outnumbering the original Kirigakure forces. They are not human. Close inspection would reveal that they appear to be made out of stone or some other type of earth. Each carries a roughly-hewn stone sword, earthwork armor, and an axe attached to their belts. Their eyes glow brightly orange through the mist, revealing their location like thousands of tiny pinpoint torches.
They are struck just like any other as their perfect ranks advance, arrows riddling some of them, bouncing off of armor, finding chinks, sticking into stone and earth so that some look like two-legged, twelve-foot porcupines. …Yet they are not even slowed. They simply continue to advance, paying no heed to the wounds of arrows, marching inexorably towards the treeline. The Clay Golem army, needing neither food, nor oxygen, nor rest still comes from the sea, doubling the size of Kirigakure's forces.
Again, Kei's voice screeches across the waves as she points towards the treeline. "ADVANCE! Dispatch them! Break EVERYTHING!"
Despite the Inuzuka boy's attempt to hide himself, Maikeru spots him moving along. A smirk comes to his face as he watches the approaching Land of Fire troops. The poor Land of Fire kids are going to learn a very bad lesson today. Too bad it's going to be their last. As the arrows begin to fly down, he is suddenly no longer there with the rest of the Kirigakure troops. Instead, he is right in the face of the Land of Fire soldiers and shinobi, between them and Tetsuo and Moriko's squad, quickly tossing as many tags as humanly possible at the Land of Fire troops and at the squad of shinobi. If successful, the tags will all drain energy and chakra from the troops and shinobi before detonating into a violent blast. Time to take it to them.
The arrows fly through the sky in front of them, piercing through land and soldiers alike while Yuuka blinks her bright eyes with some amazement. It takes several moments for her to realize that there are even more emerging from the water, towering over them like giants as they march forward. "I guess we had this up our sleeve…" she murmurs softly to herself. Glancing where Maikeru looks at, she sees Tetsuo a split moment after Maikeru does, only for him to disappear just after as he dashes straight towards the enemy, already moving in action. "Goodness." Yuuka whispers with a sigh, tightening her fingers on the grip of her Epigaea dagger as she pushes off in sudden speed, running after Maikeru as support while keeping low to the ground to avoid detection.
Taking notice to the men coming from the water, Tetsuo would pause and be shocked at the man just then he would be attack unable to dodge the attack he would be knocked back gasping for breath. "Damnit what was that?" Looking over to Nebo who seemed to have tracked Yuuka path perfectly without losing her scent. Coming back to a stand he would launch his counter attack on Yuuka who was trying to hide he would lash out and attack with high speed spin actions as Nebo attack Maikeru once they both where done attacking he would land on a tree trying to create distance from the fighters.
As the one nin moves in to attack, Mo glances at Tetsuo, then back, only to see incoming tags. "Get outa here!" She whispers to Tetsuo harshly, turning back to try and slip between the tags and simply get out of range of the attack. She's, of course, tagged so to speak, the girl tossed back by the explosions. Then her eyes catch some movement, and she manages to spot Yuuka, before looking back at Tetsuo. "We got enough info, move, get behind our lines, and get back home, this info needs be relayed." she says as she gets to her feet, the girl's hands forming seals. "I'll cover, you run." Is stated as the woman focusses a large amount of chakra before finishing her seals. Suddenly she undergoes a quick, if slightly violent transformation. The girl suddenly taking on many fox-like attributes as she gets slightly taller, her muscles defining even as her body's encaced in a light coating of white fur as her hands develope claws, and feet quickly become digitigrade and she sprouts a long fox-like tail.
Then with some rather quicked speed, the fox-woman flickers out of existance and then reappears, now trying to put her self between their attackers and Tetsuo. "Run." is simply stated again, her voice only just loud enough to carry above the den of combat. She then glances to the others. "I think I'll be your opponent for the moment." is said simply as she then looks from Maikeru to Yuuka, those slitted green eyes seeming to glow a bit as she takes in her surroundings and looks for other attackers.
The golems move beyond the Land of Water soldiers, marching past them as if they weren't even there, many of the soldiers cheering from behind their cover as the arrows continue. The stone sentinals that break down due to the sheer number of arrow-holes punctured within them are few and far between. The others don't even notice when one falls, another simply takes it's place. And STILL they come up from beneath the waves. Where the Land of Water's forces had been doubled, now they were TRIPLED. There seemed absolutely NO END to them!
The explosives set off by Maikeru claim a number of nearby archers and at least one unwary chuunin. But they are quick to return fire on the new threat within their midst! Archers turn their arrows upon the intruders, but the Konoha shinobi amongst the troops are more concerned with the approaching golems than with Maikeru himself. It will be up to the Inuzuka and the Kirryu to really handle the Jounin!
The golems near the treeline, prompting the Fire soldiers to cease with their arrow storm, the lead troops drawing sword and spear and charging out to confront the twelve-foot monoliths in direct combat! The forces of Fire are now badly outnumbered by the seemingly-unending supply of disposable stone sentinals, however, and things are not likely to go well for them. Commanders are already shouting orders, gathering ranks, and preparing for a harsh, desperate stand.
Near the boats, the Water Daimyo's people have emerged from cover, chatting excitedly as the golems set about doing their dirty work for them. Some point, grin, and laugh, others remain vigilant. The orchestrator of this chaos, Kei herself, finally deigns to begin approaching the ramps down towards the beach as the last of the siege engines are finally unloaded. With one hand in the pocket of her dark labcoat, she points towards the treeline with a wicked, manic grin.
"Target the ballistas and fire on the enemy! …Nevermind our forces, do I look like I care about those stonework toys!? I made them and so they're MINE to break! DO AS I SAY!"
As the boy tries to lash out at him, Maikeru suddenly vanishes again, reappearing about ten feet from where the boy is attempting to lash at him and leaping over the attacks of the Land of Fire troops. "Not quite, kid," he says as he thrusts his possessed hand forward, sending a gigantic version of it flying at the boy. The gigantic hand goes to literally grab Tetsuo and throw him into the crowd of Clay Soldiers with a force hard enough one might think he would leave a crater in the ground. He quickly follows the boy's movements, thrown or not with another flicker, attempting to drive his foot down directly on the young Inuzuka's face while placing him far behind enemy lines so that the possibility of succeeding in the escape offered by his counterpart will be impossible. "Nowhere to run. Surrender or die. The choice is yours." Hopefully Yuuka can defend herself for a moment while he quickly dispatches this small problem so it can't get out of hand and bring more Konohagakure shinobi.
As the dog tries to lash out at him, Maikeru suddenly vanishes again, reappearing about ten feet from where the dog is and leaping over the attacks of the Land of Fire troops. "Not quite, kid," he says as he thrusts his possessed hand forward, sending a gigantic version of it flying at the boy. The gigantic hand goes to literally grab Tetsuo and throw him into the crowd of Clay Soldiers with a force hard enough one might think he would leave a crater in the ground. He quickly follows the boy's movements, thrown or not with another flicker, attempting to drive his foot down directly on the young Inuzuka's face while placing him far behind enemy lines so that the possibility of succeeding in the escape offered by his counterpart will be impossible. "Nowhere to run. Surrender or die. The choice is yours." Hopefully Yuuka can defend herself for a moment while he quickly dispatches this small problem so it can't get out of hand and bring more Konohagakure shinobi.
Try as she might to be unnoticed, Yuuka is spotted easily by both Tetsuo and Moriko as she attempts to follow in Maikeru's wake. And while her fellow Kiri shinobi attacks, the Kaguya kunoichi blinks with some surprise as she is suddenly under attack, seeing the spinning Tetsuo heading straight towards her. The corner of her lips tugs before the snowy-haired woman pushes off in a sudden, elegant spin, literally dancing out of the path of the spinning attack as Tetsuo leaps and lands against a tree. "Looks like someone does not know how to dance." she murmurs lightly to herself. It isn't a moment after that Maikeru's gigantic hand lashes towards Tetsuo, keeping him busy at the moment as the Kaguya turns her blue green eyes to glance at Moriko, narrowing at the Fire nin seems to partially transform into a white fox creature of some kind. "Am I supposed to be impressed or something?" she murmurs. Yuuka blurs with sudden speed as she heads straight at Moriko, her fingers tightening on the hilt of her Epigaea Dagger as she combines the elegant dance and speed of Shikotsumyaku with her blade.
The spin would be enough to repal first attack og Maikeru as he launched his second he would be caught at a lost trying to enter another spin the defense would be broken and he would be knocked to the ground. Catching himself on all fours he would look over a Nebo and stand. "Understood!" Taking off into the distance heading back to the village both him and Nebo would be moving out at top speed since Nebo was a dog he was clearly ahead of him. Smirking he would scracth his head "the enemy is to strong to fight off by hand so the best bet is to get out of here fast…boy even if you leave me don't stop for nothing until you get back to the village you understand?" Nebo would glance back and nod before upping his speed even more. "Sorry Moriko-san."
As the attacks come in, Mo suddenly just vanishes to the side, the girl nimbly dodging the first attack. Still she attempts to dodge the next closer so as to be in range to counter the weapon, only to end up with a nice thin cut across her forearm. As the third comes in the girl slaps the arm down, her other hand wheeling overhand as she spins around behind the Kaguya. As she moves, Mo's hand flattens out into a kind of chopping motion, the hand having air suddenly swirl then focus into a blade that lashes out at the Kaguya's back. As Mo flows from the counter, she quickly hops back, hand reaching into a pocket and she tosses up a handful of spheres. As the spheres start to come down, she finishes a couple quick hand-seals and points a finger, gun-style at each of the attacking in as arcs of lightning race down the fox-woman's arms. There's suddenly a snap and a dull crack as each of the spheres are blasted away from the Kunoichi at near supersonic speeds, sending one of the now near white-hot balls of metal hurtling at Moriko's targets. Still she hops back and calls out "Run, get out of here!"
The skies light up with a barrage of noise and heavy objects. Flaming ballista bolts and large stone cannon balls begin to bound into the forest, shattering trees and Fire soldier positions alike. Men scream and golems crumble underneath the onslaught. And yet the golems are quickly replaced. They are STILL coming out of the ocean, and Kirigakure's army is now SIX TIMES larger than it was before! They march forward, uncaring or unaware of the danger posed by their own force's heavy artillery.
The men of the Land of Fire break upon the inexorable legion march of the clay golem army. They care nothing for wounds, the loss of a limb. They fight until they are literally hacked into pieces and thus stop functioning. Their blows are stronger and nothing halts their advance. The first few ranks are destroyed, but the men of the Land of Fire are stopped by both pain and fatigue, and they begin to fall in greater and greater numbers to the uncaring horde.
The Land of Fire positions are being over run, and the men are falling back, fighting a desperate retreat against the slowly-advancing stone men as small boulders and flaming logs burst all around them. The Land of Water's troops cheer and launch lamentable language and ridicules at the retreat of their enemy. Fires begin to spring up in the trees.
Now on the shore, her boots planted in the wet sand, the builder of the unending clay army stands triumphantly, looking upon the distant battle with scorn and disdain. "Order the men forward to gather any wounded we come across! I will have a use for them. I want them on the ship." One of her attending shinobi springs forth to obey, leaping quickly towards one of the soldier commandants.
As the spheres race his way, Maikeru flickers as quickly as possible, reappearing high in the air. So, that woman had a little more strength inside her. That should make things a little more interesting, but he can't let this get out of hand. "Yuuka, out of the way!" he calls out, a fire in his eyes as the possessed hand launches forward once again, this time sending an enormous form of it downward between Moriko, Tetsuo, Nebo, and the Land of Fire troops, not intending on grabbing or hitting anyone particular. Upon impact, it will turn into a gigantic explosion, attempting to blast them all to Hell and stop the dog from reporting to Konohagakure.
Hearing Maikeru's sudden warning too late, the white hot sphere hits its intended target as pain soars through every inch of her being, causing Yuuka to cry out hard with the sudden pain as a moment after it fades, leaving a dull throb in its wake as the Kaguya pants hard. Bent over, her stomach flips a few times, as if resisting the urge as she breathes hard. Snapping her eyes up at Maikeru again, Yuuka grits her teeth as she takes off with sudden speed, dashing behind him while he prepares for an attack.
Taking notice to the massive destruction going on around him he would smirk as he moved his body into a spinning motoin this time instead of taking the attack head on he would use his body in a wide manner to shield the dog as he moved back to the village dude to the power his head band would be sent flying into the air and with a swift motion Nebo would catch the head band mid-step and keep moving. "That's a good boy Nebo." Tetsuo would land on a couple of branches as trying his best to hold himself up. "Damnit….this is not looking good at all for me." making his way back to his feet bleeding from the top of the head, the nose and even from his mouth he would take off once more. (Shit vision is starting to go out have to use scent.) "This is bad we need back up at once."
And where MO was, she simply isn't there any more. The Fox-woman pauses a short ways away from the altered area, the girl now kneeled slightly as she forms a series of seals. As her hands come apart there's a flicker of movement between them as arcs of electricity hop between her fingertips then start to form into a sphere between both outstretched hands. The center of the sphere quickly turns black whilst it rapidly grows to softball size, then surpasses that just slightly whilst surrounded by a dull purple nimbus. Mo focusses on the area just before Maikeru and Yuuka as the ball again surges, growing to the size of a soccer-ball before suddenly she gives a shove, arcs of electricity hopping down the woman's arms as the ball blasts away from the woman at rather frightening speed, an odd buzzing accompanying it as it pulls debris and air along with it in its wake! The recoil alone is enough to send the fox-woman reeling backward, but she uses that momentum to quickly give her self more distance from the attackers as she looks for opportunity to escape.
The explosion let off by Maikeru rocks the treeline, killing some of the Fire Daimyo's soldiers even as they make their retreat. It also incinerates a more than a few of the golems, however they don't seem to care. They don't even so much as glance at the Kiri Jounin, single-minded in their relentless pursuit to cut down any and all Land of Fire troops in their path.
The Fire soldiers are in full retreat now, many of them throwing down their weapons and fleeing outright through the dense woodlands, using their speed to outdistance the golem army. The commanders have lost control, and no longer is it a retreat, it is a rout. Slower comrades are abandoned to the enemy shinobi and soldiers. The surviving Konoha shinobi, who proved more effective against the clay horde than the normal troops, do their best to cover the retreat, but several more fall to the sheer number and tenacity of their enemies.
The Land of Water has successfully gained a foothold in the Land of Fire with less than a few hundred casualties, not counting their inhuman reinforcements.
Samominoryuu Kei finally calls off the artillery assault once the majority of the opposition is out of range. The fighting is intermittent now, except for a prominent shinobi-battle going on between two of Kirigakure's finest and a Konoha-shinobi. Survivors of the Water invasion are being drug back towards the boats, by Water troops and clay soldiers alike. The dead are left to rot, and only the those humans who have fallen in service of Kirigakure are collected and treated with any form of respect.
"Fortify our position and call up the rest of the armies from the ocean floor. We can expect a counter-offensive soon. I want to see the prisoners, eeeeeeeheeheeheeeeeee~!"
Yes, there are STILL ranks of clay monster-soldiers marching up from out of the waves like an unnatural swarm.
Flickering quickly out of the way of the incoming blast that would probably have given him a pretty freakin' bad 'sunburn', Maikeru forward and to the side of where it would have hit him, closer to Moriko, keeping the action away from Yuuka now. He swings the possessed hand forward once more, sending a gigantic glow red fist of chakra flying at the Konohagakure Jounin, trying to incapacitate her with a gigantic punch while pushing her back from his injured counterpart.
With Maikeru directing the enemy's attacks away from her, Yuuka turns to glance over her shoulder where Kei calls out orders, the injured soldiers and shinobi being carried or walked back to the boats for treatment. With a hesitant glance at Maikeru, the Kaguya kunoichi makes up her mind to head back to the boats, moving quickly as she could in her condition so that she can be treated and healed. The sooner she is, the sooner she can help with other orders.
As the next fist comes in, Mo forms a couple seals with a slight smile on her face. Suddenly Mo's struck as many other Coppies of Moriko go racing off in different directions. The Moriko struck detonates in a flash of electricity and the smell of ozone, meanwhile the other Kunoichis quickly dissapear into the woods, away from the current conflict. All give off a simultaneous loud as they enter the woods and soon they're gone. As Mo makes the 'safety' of cover she turns and makes a hard line toward Tetsuo's path of retreat, whilst other MOriko's take slightly differing paths through the woods, the main Kunoichi trying to maintain the clones as long as she possibly can before they dissapate, leaving just the one nin, and a bunch of fake, criss-crossing trails.
The few medics amongst the Kirigakure forces, both shinobi and non, attend to the wounded amongst their own number , including Yuuka. She is patched up as well as they are able in the field, and then sent along her way to receive more instructions from the Swordswoman in charge. After it is found that Moriko has gotten away, as has Tetsuo and his dog and many other Konoha shinobi and soldiers, Maikeru and Yuuka are sent to track their progress and NOT engage, to ensure that the main group would not be surprised. A scouting network is set up, as is a perimeter watch several miles out. The golems take all day to emerge from the ocean, and when they are finally done, stand as thick as reeds through the area, tens of thousands of them.
And, judging from the way forges across the Land of Water were burning night and day, there were likely more on their way, perhaps even now, crawling slowly across the ocean floor between the two countries, virtually unreachable, needing no oxygen, food, or support beyond a commander's will to guide them. The 'special' shinobi Kei had brought with her each branch out and take control of a division of the golems.
Throughout the night, the captives are tortured for information, and those that survived that, are loaded onto boats and sent back under guard to the Land of Water. They have gained a foothold in the Land of Fire, and, in the morning, camp is struck and the invasion recommences, the waves upon waves of stone soldiers making their way deeper into the proud country.