Date: January 7, 2015
Representatives from Suna come to Kumo to discuss an alliance.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Silence - Silent Troubles"
It had been a busy morning for Hiei. While continuing to settle into his new position in the village, he had saw on his schedule that Michiko gave him, that he was due for a meeting with Suna dignitaries and another party for the mid-morning. So he had asked Michiko to have some tea made, and a platter of cookies, brought up to his office so he would have something to serve his guests. He has three chairs set up in front of his desk, with another chair off to the side next to his for Michiko. As Hiei settles into his chair, he takes a moment to clear his desk of any clutter. It just wouldn't do for people to think that he was untidy. He sighs lightly and places his swords on the stand behind his chair and drapes his duster on a hook on the wall.
Where as arriving within the Raikage's office would have been a simple task just a month or two prior, at this point in time, it was quite the trial. Considering his current appearance, it was almost impossible. Nothing but suspicion would follow him throughout essentially everwhere he goes. It was the curse of not being a … public face… as it were. Still, there were ways around the impossible, and he may very well have the most experience in that of any currently living being. There was one thing that would allow for someone with only a name to enter a meeting of such importance right in the heart of Kumogakure. One thing that would identify him with enough clout without revealing any details about him at all aside from his desire to participate.
In the end however, it would still be up to Hiei, the current Raikage, to accept the audience of a man who had the consent of a specific individual; The Second Raikage. It was a small thing with large implications. It was merely a vouching for his character and his intent for the village not leading to any ill will or harm. It was the one time opportunity to speak for Ogosokumaru upon one topic of discussion; a topic that the former Raikage felt that he would be best to approach as Hanpa had guided him so well in the past in somewhat similar situations. Of course, Hanpa had wanted this meeting for other reasons, primarily having to do with Sunagakure being involved. Now was the time to make his move, another opportunity like this may not come for quite some time.
He would arrive first, taking his seat to the side so that Suna may sit united, and greeting the current Raikage with respect. "Third Raikage, though we have not ever met before, it is an honor to at this important juncture. I do apologize for coming in to this specific meeting, but I feel that the most can be gained from this particular coincidence of timing. My old friend Odo… Ogosokomaru wishes to express his apologies for not being able to attend himself, but as the message was relayed to you, he has confidence that my presence will only benefit Kumogakure. That is of course… up to you to determine in the end."
Michiko manages to get some cookies from the bakery for the meeting and readies a pot of placing water to pour for the Suna guests and Hanpa. The girl gets everything set up , setting the snacks out on a Hie's desk for everyone to grab once it's clear of all the paperwork. It's easily within an arm's reach. Michiko herself shakes her head a bit at Hiei when she passes him a few times in preparation. "Hiei-san, you can't just sweep all the papers to the side. It'll just mean more time to clean later," she comments. Then Hanpa comes in, and she makes sure to move off to the side so she can listen and keep a close eye on the meeting. And also write down anything that might be important to note for later…
Itami had already been in the village, having had a suite arranged for her to rest in for her stay. Even while inside the apartments, she still had trouble breathing around here. So, she couldn't call her sleep great, but it was decent.
Today was the day to get ready for her meeting and she'd since prepared herself to meet with the Raikage of the village. The news certainly spread around here that there was a new one and this ups the stress of the meeting, but she thinks she'll be alright. Out of all this, she can at least say she'll be comfortable since she bought some clothing fit for the weather in these parts. Grief, was it cold. There was a secret envy watching all the others around here wearing the bear minimum of clothing and walking around like it wasn't a problem.
She made it to the Raikage's office with a bit of time to spare, knowing Kuoroke was likely ahead of her. How the hell does he do that? She still hasn't figured it out. Once they were together, she'd enter along with him to greet the Raikage. "Raikage-dono," Itami speaks and follows up with a respectful bow. "I am Watanabe Itami of the Jounin Council and I am here with my fellow council member," she gestures to him upon rising to allow him to introduce himself. "We have come on behalf of my call to action."
Ryouji arrives from Raikage Administration Hall.
Kuoroke, in fact, arrived slightly after Itami, looking somewhat worn from what must have been a hasty trip to Kumogakure. "I'm sorry for the delay. I just now arrived." As they enter Hiei's office Kuoroke stays a few steps behind Itami, providing a visual cue that she'll be taking the lead here. He silently greets the new Raikage with a respectful bow of his head and a faint smile, and the stranger in the room with a lingering, but impassionate look, and takes a place at the table.
Once the guests arrive, Hiei rises to his feet and offers a respectful bow to each. "Councilwoman Watanabe. Councilman Kuoroke. Welcome to Kumogakure. It's a pleasure to see you two again. I hope that you're finding your stay here so far to be pleasant."
Hiei then turns his attention to the enigma called Hanpa. Hiei had never heard of him, however he speaks as if he knows his sensei well. Ogo was tight lipped about his past, and even though he's shared a portion of it with Hiei, there was still a lot that he didn't know about his teacher. "Hanpa-san. Nice to meet you. I'm Yotsuki Hiei. Ogo-sensei hasn't long retired from this post himself. It's a pity that he couldn't join you…I don't get to see him as often now that I've taken over for him. I'm sure that now he's got the time to spend with his wife and children, so I don't really blame him for retiring. However, I am willing to hear whatever it is you have to say." He motions towards his desk. "I invite you to sample the refreshments that I've had brought in for you all." He takes a seat in his chair and pours himself a cup of tea before placing a few cookies on a napkin and sets it in front of him. He ildy brushes a lock of white hair out of his eyes before relaxing his body in preparation for the talking. "Let's address the call for action first." He looks between Itami and Kuoroke.
Michiko inclines her head to the two Suna council members when they arrive, though she is mostly a fly on the wall in this situation. Unless Hiei asks for her opinion, she'll just be over this chair off to the side and taking notes… As things start to get going, she's absorbed in the pad of paper in front of her and her pen starts to move slowly, writing down some things already. Likely what Hanpa just said, considering it sounded significant.
"And thus those of the Sunagakure Council arrive." Hanpa would announce after they had offered their greetings and apologies for tardiness themselves. In a small way, it was good to see them both again. This time at least, in full health and spirits as well. "A call to action indeed, Watanabe Itami. You made a bold choice that has had many consequences that have weakened your position even as it affords you the opportunity to pursue the resources necessary to resolve the issue. It is very much unlike the Sand… though let us all hope that the sands shifting so suddenly beneath the feet of history has the same bite as an antlion in the end."
Hanpa's masked face would shift to frame Hiei directly within the center of it, allowing Hiei, should he look, to see himself in the reflection as another man spoke. "If I may offer mere observational advice, Third Raikage… Respect the sting of the desert sands. It is rarely seen and often fatal. Rash action from Sunagakure is a historic event in and of itself." Hanpa would shake his head slightly at the offer of refreshments for the time being, nodding in thanks. "Wars have been won with far less… direct effort from Sunagakure… and that is likely not to be the only village to come to finish this conflict. As I understand it, Watanabe Itami desires a coalition of all of the major powers, and likely, any others that would desire to assist."
Hanpa would now turn to face Itami and Kuoroke as he would say, "And that is what I am here to offer. Given the political climate as I understand it… Kirigakure should have publically announced its support by now, unless something else entirely is being done behind the scenes. Because it has not… it seems that perhaps they need a bit of a push… I am willing to provide that push, and help establish assistance from the Land of Water." With that, Hanpa would quiet, and allow for them to speak to the Raikage, and consider what he had said as well. (re)
MAIL: Mailbox purged.
Itami observed Hanpa as he spoke, causing her brow to furrow in mild confusion and found herself unable to ignore what was being said. "I appreciate that you're familiar with current events, but I think that Sunagakure can speak for itself," she stated to him while taking her seat. "Congratulations, by the way as the new Raikage to Kumogakure. It's good to know that the village will still be going strong," she addressed Hiei. "But yes, as has been spoken, we have come to create a coalition of sorts. I made a call to action to gather the villages together in a combined effort to attack the Silence. As I understand, they made their appearance here in Kumogakure, announcing themselves to the world at large. Afterward, they assaulted us and swept across the land, attacking the main city of the Land of Water. With my agreement, I managed to place a hold on them. Mild as it is, but I intended for it to give us the time we needed to join together and use our collective strength to attack the Silence. It will /not/ be easy," she emphasizes.
She looks around at the others. "They still have a great amount of power. There will be lives lost and the struggle will be intense, but I believe we can do it. We can no longer sit as individual villages trying to fight off this problem. We have tried that and failed multiple times. With your help, I believe we stand a chance. Granted, I know not how this individual intends to get Kiri's aid, so I would like to know how he proposes to do that."
As he speaks up, Kuoroke starts with a rather formal-sounding, "First of all, Raikage-dono, as I haven't had the chance to do so before, I'd like to wish you the best in bearing the burden you've taken upon yourself." With that out of the way, he addresses Hanpa's greeting and speech. "You have me at an advantage, I'm afraid." He states. "I'm not quite sure who you are..?" His quizzical expression turns from Hanpa to Hiei, as if expecting the Raikage to come with an explanation, and back to Hanpa himself. "While we appreciate the offer, and the kind words, I'd like to know from whom they come." He doesn't appear to have anything to add to Itami's words, for now.
Hiei munches on a couple of cookies while the others talk, though his eyes move from person to person, showing that he is indeed giving them each his full attention. After Kuoroke speaks, he rises to his feet and begins to pace a little around the area where his chair is. He thinks better on his feet anyway. He looks at Itami and Kuoroke and flashes them a smile. "Thank you both. I appreciate the kind words." The smile fades as he addresses Itami directly. "The decision you made was a difficult one. I can't say with any conviction that I wouldn't have made the same one, given the situation. I don't like the fact that there are villages out there being razed while the hidden villages are given time to decide whether or not to give in to these people. But I am not an idealist. I am a realist and a soldier. I understand the concept of acceptable losses. It's unfortunate, but the past can't be changed. So, Itami, you'll get no judgement from me on what you did. I want you to know that first off."
He moves to perch on the corner of his desk, his arms crossed over his chest. "They attacked the Chuunin Exams. And during the chaos they murdered my grandfather, Yotsuki Raiga. I will see justice done for my family for those of this village who lost loved ones in the attack. You have Kumogakure's support in this, Councilwoman."
Hiei then turns his attention to Hanpa. "Your familiarity with my sensei got your foot in the door, Hanpa-san. But like the councilman here, I don't know who you are, where your from, or what your agenda is. I don't tend to trust people in masks, or people with no affiliation or loyalty to anyone but themselves. However, like I said before, I am willing to hear you out. How would you go about convincing the Mizukage to join us. I know him…have fought in battle side by side with him. He and I respect each other. I had plans of visiting Kirigakure myself to seek his help…so.." He motions towards Hanpa.
Nodding slightly, Hanpa would simply state, "Of course Sunagakure can speak for itself. I only desired to add weight, as small as it may be, on your behalf." Not that it excuses the impertinance of sorts, but it was the intention. "As far as how Kirigakure may be swayed to your cause… it will not be the first time I have asked Kirigakure to act on behalf of your village. I will simply ask them again." Where as he had just stated his words may only carry a small weight, he reversed that right after, suggesting his word carried great weight. Perhaps it depended entirely on the ears that heard them… or something else. Speaking to Kuoroke now, Hanpa would say, "I am merely Hanpa. Nothing more at this time. That is not what is important at the moment. Breaking the Silence, is all that matters today. However, I will say that I am acting in accordance to an agreement with Sunagakure. The individual does not matter, only the task." As Hiei is also quite curious of this, and speaks of his relationship with Kirigakure, Hanpa would nod to it saying, "As I mentioned, Kirigakure an I have history as well. This history, much like my own with your Sensei, provides me opportunities. I have reason to work in the best interest of all three villages involved in this conversation, and that is what I am doing. I am not here to undermind what you are all capable of individually, I am here to help faciliatate what you all can do when unified in order to repsect my arrangements as well as to honor the desires of Ogosokomaru's heart. He has spent a life time getting where he is now. It would be remiss of me to not maintain his dream for as long as it lasts."
Hanpa would move from the subject of himself for now however, and add to the over all conversation. "You are all about to face, again, not merely pwoer, force, and numbers… but ideology. You cannot wound ideology with power, force, or numbers. There is only one true way to slay ideals; You must attack the mind. You must assault the core values, while you struggle against the weapons those values utilize. A weapon without a guiding hand is without any true power. But a guiding hand without a weapon can be just as powerful as when it is armed. If you are going to attempt to Break the Silence; Roar. Do not silence yourself and try to match the lack of volume and presence. What divides you, is the same thing that leaves you weakened against their cause. Kill their reason. Slay their call to arms. Murder their intent. Attack their minds so there is no control over the body that assails you all."
Itami nodded in thanks to Hiei's words regarding the situation. "I appreciate your support. Truly. I am trying to do everything I can to make this a possibility and in the end, make the Silence pay for their actions," she spoke with the utmost in sincerity. "I am not certain of any agreements we've made with you. You are no one we have seen or spoken with and our records don't show anyone named 'Hanpa'," she describes. "You speak as if you have some familiarity with us, but that can be addressed later. For now…your words are…nice, but I'm not certain how they will be of any effect come the time to act. These are individuals that have lived for a long time and have knowledge that will not easily be broken. Their ideal isn't really an ideal, but more of a facade for their own actions. I don't give them any credit. They're murderers that hide behind some ridiculous reasoning. We have all come to terms with what and who we are. Their 'ideal' is meaningless before us. Mass murderers is what we're dealing with, so we must put an end to them. It is as simple as that." She gathered a couple cookies and took a beverage for herself.
Kuoroke gives Hiei a nod when the latter promises not to judge to show his appreciation for the pragmatism. Another, deeper nod follows when the Raikage offers their help. "We've all lost people." He quietly adds to the mention of Raiga. His tone expresses grief and focused, contained anger. The emotion fades from his voice again as he turns to Hanpa. "I'm afraid that, like my colleague, I disagree. Without knowing your motives or your background, I have no reason to assume you can be trusted to help us. While the task may be important, to whom it is entrusted is key to its completion. If we are to trust you, I'm afraid you'll have to offer more than merely a name to go with an absent face. With a piece of metal and some cloth, I could become you in everything any of us know about you."
Hiei shrugs lightly and nods towards Itami. "She's right. They don't follow an ideal or some idiotic cause. They want power. Power to control the shinobi world..and their tactic is to turn us against each other by revealing our 'secrets'." He actually uses air quotations. "They're cowards who use forbidden techniques and the promise of things they can't deliver to get people to follow them. I believe in the ideals of my teacher. Whole heartedly. But I disagree on what we're fighting here. Their army is nothing more than people who follow them out of fear or greed. Not because they actually believe in their idealoloy. To slay this serpent we simply need to kill the two heads. The man named Yuuma and his brother." He then looks towards Hanpa. "I'm not saying your desire to help isn't genuine. But like the councilman said…we don't know who you are. And while that might not be important to you, it is to us. Especially me. I despise treachery….and if I were to go out on a limb, per say, and trust you to handle this. If you stabbed me in the back, I would flat out hunt you down and murder you where you stood." This is stated plainly as fact. "I don't have the luxury of trusting blindly. I have people to look out for and a responsibility to make good decisions for their benefit. That is the kind of trust Kumogakure has placed in me. Now..if you truly want to do as you suggested beforehand. I'm going to insist that you provide us with some medium of security other than just your word." He half-smiles. "It's nothing personal, you understand."
Hanpa would merely shake his head at Itami's reply. "Every movement has a cause behind it, even those of far older beings. Ignoring it or dismissing it… is a sure way to leave yourself at a disadvantage. They have named their cause, and attacked with an intent to destroy the facade of the villages and what they represent. They have put thought in to action for a reason. If it were merely a grab for power, they would not need to use these tactics so blatantly. They are sending a message, and from what I can tell of all of your attitudes, you are merely confirming that message. "We will win this through might and power, despite what ever else is in front of us." This is entirely what they claim that you are all about. This is the propaganda that they use against you, and you are feeding it with your actions. This is part of why they have numbers. This is how they sway people to their cause. This is how they manipulate them to gain the power that you claim is their only purpose in the first place. Power is given, just as much as it is earned." Hanpa would try to reason with the group here.
"They are cowards, you are entirely right. And that is also my point. They are hiding behind an ideal… They are hiding behind revealing /your/ silence on matters of secrets and issues that could be damaging. They are hiding behind /your/ actions and /your/ history. Not their own. It is a shield that you cannot penetrate until you confront it. Of course oyu have secrets, of course you have made mistakes, and of course things have gone badly and sometimes other have paid the price. The message sohuld not be "We will continue to do what we have always done that has caused all of this grief." I believe… that it should be "We accept responsibility for what we have done, and we will start repairing the damage by stopping the Silence from punishing everyone else."
Hanpa would remain seated as he turned his mask to face them all one at a time. "If you wish to claim that none of your villages has ever done anything wrong or that harmed others… then I suppose there is nothing left for me to say. I am not suggesting you air out all of your secrets, but to act as if you are not guilty of any harm… is delusional. Kill their philosophy… is my advice during your next engagement… and the body will fall all the quicker. You do not have to heed my advice, but I am… obligated to offer it regardless. If you simply attack, you will leave far more scars that will need to be tended to after the fact, just like every other war and conflict that has given them the power of fear and opportunistic greed."
Moving along, Hanpa would then say, "Have I suggested anything that would actually change your desire to kill the two heads, as you say? Have I stated you should not attack at all, or that this conflict could possibly end in any other way then their destruction? No. I have merely given you another weapon to use against them. Do not trust me. Trust in the fact that you have nothing to lose from simply facing your own fears and not having them be used against you and the people you desire to protect." Despite all of this, Hiei had laid down the gauntlet plainly. Trust had to be earned and they very well may not do as he asks on a whim. "I will be frank, while I am here out of obligation… I do not have any reason to force this issue. I have offered my advice, I have given my reasons, and I have explained my ways without going in to details that would take a far longer conversation to explain. Figuring me out is a distraction. I have said my piece…" Hanpa would then stand and bow. "If I am no longer desired at this meeting, I shall take my leave with your permission, Third Raikage."
Michiko has been mostly quiet while here, absorbing the information. Sometimes she writes things down, but it's honestly very rare. Listening, watching, and simply waiting to speak or comment on something. And finally she's either had it or believes she has something worth saying. Especially after Hanpa's rather long-winded speech… "Hanpa-san, you have brought up several interesting points. Ones that I cannot disagree with, admittedly." She takes a moment to pause and collect her thoughts.
"Obviously, the Silence has some sort of weight in their words. People wouldn't keep joining them if they didn't believe the Silence. So Hanpa-san is right in saying we need to convince the people we'll either change or end the threat we have to face. Killing the Brothers will definitely help, I believe, as they are the instigators. And there will be a few who, after they are gone, will still believe in their … Hmm… ideas." She pauses again to consider. "I believe it might be best for us to talk to the Mizukage first… If we fail, then … Maybe we can let you argue for the cause. And I think that's all I've to say for now…"
"I'm telling you their actions have no actions other than to attack and destroy everything, if you can't see it, I question your senses in regards to this matter," Itami replied to Hanpa. "They're good at mass manipulation. The end, that's about all they have going for them. It's a propaganda campaign, certainly, but underneath it all is one big farce. That's all it has been and all it ever will be. Their message is 'we will destroy you and this world as you know it'. There is no great philosphy, no greater meaning, no deep sense of responsibility and action that they have. They forced people to their cause. I don't know how long you've been around, but you're far behind in this strategy," she shook her head in disagreement with him.
"What you're not seeing yourself is that we don't have anything to hide. What are we hiding? What secrets are there that we haven't all suspected of one another in the first place? We know each other as shinobi. We share that common ground, thus there really is no secret that they're revealing. Additionally, they've already revealed their history. I had a sit down with one of the brothers of the Silence and so has everyone else in this room. You…" She lifted her hand to her brow and rubbed it.
"We are here to confront this issue now. We are gathering together for that very purpose and here you are spouting purple prose," she huffed. "We as shinobi /already know what and who we are/. We came to terms with this long ago when we all decided to end the Clan Wars. They're telling /us/ what /we/ already /know of ourselves/. There /is no secret/," she emphasized. "They aren't attacking us for this, they just want to destroy everything. Fine, let's say they have a purpose. Their purpose is destruction. None of us has openly claimed we haven't done anything wrong and the whole world knows about it. It's been ten years since the wars ended and in between that time, there have been plenty more. I see you really have no clue what we're working with."
She cut her eyes to Michiko. "People aren't joining, they're being forced. They've even made it apparent that they've done that. In front of my face, they up and manipulated some of our people to turn against them. Not with their philosophy, but with their /power/. So I had to sit and kill my own simply because they were twisted into doing so. I disagree entirely with this. If you all want to talk to the Mizukage, that's fine. Do what you must there."
"Your advice may or may not be sound, and it may or may not be offered out of a genuine desire to help us. However, pure altruism is a thing so exceedingly rare it's almost mythical at this point and trust isn't so much about what you're doing or suggesting right now as about what we expect you to do later. Until we have a solid grasp on your motives, which your current actions don't even hint at, that remains entirely unpredictable." Kuoroke answers. He remains, quite obviously, unconvinced. As Hanpa offers to leave, he simply turns to Hiei, awaiting his verdict.
Kuoroke's usually solid facade wavers when Itami tells about having to kill their own: he glances at her with a genuine expression of pain and disgust. For a second, he seems to be about to say something, but then he regains his composure and simply nods. After a pause, he remarks with a tone that's really remarkably neutral, "We need allies and we need forces. The Mizukage may be willing to listen to the people who've already aided his village."
Hiei motions to Itami. "And there you have it in a nutshell. We know who we are. Kumogakure used to have the reputation of stealing jutsu. Kidnapping people from other clans and lands to strengthen our own with their power. Everyone already knows this. It's no great secret. But it's a practice that we have abandoned. Yuuma is over two centuries old and he is a master strategist. We are not facing a normal enemy. He knows more about the shinobi than we do, having lived that long. He knows that there are no great secrets that need to be revealed. There is no point in assuring the masses, because it's jutsu and not idealoloy that is bringing people to their cause. I have personally seen them sacrifice their own people and turn them into undead just so that they could keep fightning. As general of Kumogakure, I've had to kill my own soldiers after watching them be denied the peace that is death." Hiei stands up from the edge of his desk to take his seat once again. "Ladies and gentlemen, we are at war. Calling it anything else is just putting a pretty face on it. The time for talking is over. Even if the situation was as you say, Hanpa-san. I couldn't care less. That problem walked in my village and slaughtered the people that I care about. I will see him and his entire legacy dead." He inclines his head to Hanpa as he prepares to leave. "However, I do want to thank you for your input and advice. If you still wish to lend your support, nobody will stop you. Have a pleasant day." Two guards enter into the room and wait to escourt Hanpa out of the building. In the meantime, he looks between Itami and Kuoroke. "Having Kiri on our side would bolster our ranks with competent shinobi. But we will fight this campaign without them if we must."
It seems… they are all still too young to understand. It doesn't matter if the cause is real or fabricated. It never has. Reality is based upon belief almost more than the substance it is truly made out of. That has been the fact of all things precieved by mankind since the begining. And it is still being used to great effect against this age of shinobi… just as it has been used against the previous ages. It is… at its core… the most effective strategy in history, and that is why it still works even today. Nodding, Hanpa would say, "I shall still speak with the Mizukage, as he is known now. If only to assist in this situation being rectified sooner than later." Hanpa would then move out of the room, preparing in his mind the next portion of what must be done.
"Yes, try what you must to get Kirigakure's support. If you think you can do it," Itami shrugged. "If you can, then good. That lends some credit to you. At least then we'll know you're a man of your word if you can do it. Up until now, they mean nothing until you can actually do something about it. So roar if you must," she finished off her drink and cookies. "Thank you for the snacks and refreshments. I haven't had the time to get used to Kumogakure, but this is a good start," she chuckled. "If there is anything else that needs addressing, I think it could be done now. Otherwise, if I may say so, I believe this meeting is drawing to a close."
Hiei stands up after setting his tea cup to the side. "Of course, Itami-san. You and Kuoroke please feel free to enjoy the comforts of Kumogakure. If the colder climate gets disturbing, might I suggest a visit to our natural hot spring. It helps take the bite off." Course the last time he was in Suna he was suffering because of the heat. "We'll speak again before you leave." He then bows, bringing the meeting to an official end. He glances over at Michiko. "Get in touch with our intel department. See if we have any records of this Hanpa. I'll go talk to sensei myself about him. My wife and I are supposed to have dinner with him and his wife in a couple days anyway."