Date: November 4, 2013
Another merchant caravan is attacked by an Hassassin, but the Hassassin is scared off.
"The Silk Conflict - Scared Off"
Land of Fire border
The border of the Land of Fire and Fuuma Alley to the north is a largely wooded and mountainous area. There aren't that many people here, but that doesn't mean the area isn't populated. No, merchants, caravans, and even the occasional shinobi patrol can be found moving along the few roads that dart the landscape. Today, a small caravan of goods is being moved along the road. The woods are dark, despite it being mid-day, due to the clouds that block out the sky. There is an eerie feeling about with the sun not being above, but that really isn't any reason not to continue pushing the caravan forward right?
Ryoji is to the back of the caravan, as agreed from the very begining, walking in spite of how much his legs complained. A job is a job though, so he didn't complain. Not, one, bit. Well, he didn't complain out loud in anycase. On the opposing side of the caravan marches Shun, Ryoji's typical partner in crime. She did not wish to be here, and would not have been if not for Ryoji coercing her to join him. And besides, it is not as if she wasn't on her way to the Land of Tea anyhow.
"Mmm… Say, fisherman-san. What'cha make of those clouds up yonder?" He calls out with Gyou in his sights, er, direct line of vision. When or If the elder male does look, the Iga would gesture to the sky. The woods enclosing them however makes it virtually impossible to see a single one. Which begs the question — because he made a joke about it at some point or the other — how the blind man even knew there were clouds up there in the first place.
Gyou, too, is accompanying the caravan through what have come to be treacherous times of travel. The fisherman-san (as so lithely put) is parallel to Ryoji behind the caravan, a pipe tucked into his lips, an engine of smoke evaporating into the dead sky behind. The old man squints into the distant day.
"Well. I'd make rain. Though-"
The older gentleman pulls the pipe from his lips and rubs the stem into his beard.
"There might be devils in the water."
Gyou pinches a look at Ryoji, and then cracks into laughter, an awkward stampede of it, giving a thump with his elbow the creel on his back.
"Yeah, I'm talking about you, little missy!"
Moments pass - odd ones, certainly, for those nearby and concerned - but the lid of the creel shifts, bobbles, lifts at one end, and out pops the head of a tiny turtle, staring wide now, blinking, into the world around. The old man turns his head and looks as best he can at purple thing.
"Whatcha think, Chi Chi?"
Gyou waits a moment, nods, turns to Ryoji.
"She says rain. But I wouldn't trust her."
The caravan turns a corner and the lead horse-drawn cart in the caravan suddenly stops with a crash. Ryoji's companion would see a wheel go rolling by her. If anyone has some chakra sensing capability, they might have felt a slight surge of chakra under the front cart just before it crashed. The source of the chakra surge is still unseen…but it can't be good, can it?
With the first cart stopped, the others in the caravan stop too. A stopped caravan is never a good thing for a guard detail. The details of the break can be investigated, as can the area surrounding the now stalled caravan.
"Mm! That be what I be figured, though can't be understand mother. Neh, Shun-kohai?" The question is only met with silence from his partner. "Well, fine then. Be that way." He states before folding his arms across his chest. A second later Ryoji trips and lands heavily upon his back. Karma, it would seem, did not like those who walked backwards for too long. :P
Around the same moment Ryoji hits the ground, the caravan stops. Shun follows suit and goes instantly on alert. Then a wheel passes her by… "…."
"Maah-e. Typical." Ryoji grumbled, blissfully unaware at what has transpired until he's managed to right himself (with or without aid). Once back on his feet and casually brushing off a few stray bits of dirt Ryoji freezes up, then starts to look about more closely, cautiously. He felt the pulse of chakra, but given only his sensitivity to chakra, he turned to more potent means of gaining intel. Such as through the sensory 'bugs' he had planted throughout the caravan.
Gyou stops as the caravan crashes to a halt beneath the foul faded sky. He puffs on his pipe, and tilts his head back to look into the clouds. Those tending the caravan scurry like anxious ants, snapping and legging around to scaffold the danger. Another puff pours from Gyou's pipe, a blend of fat pepper and citrus.
The purple turtle within the creel exits the container, wobbling slowly - and very stickily - to Gyou's shoulder, the old man staring still into the clouds. With a short hum, Gyou bites the end of his pipe, his hands stabbing together for a short of seals, his fishing rod clattering to the ground, and then back to his pipe, the man taking deep, deep pulls, a cherry burning bright and bright and then: from the corners of Gyou's mouth comes rolling, rolling smoke, spreading and spreading and spreading to the caravan and beyond.
Ryoji would note that the front axel of the lead cart looks to have been broken from underneath by a sizeable blunt object. There is dirt caked into the 'wounds' too. He'd be quick enough with his wits to tie two and two together. A chakra spike of earth must have struck the axel, breaking it, in order to stop the caravan in its tracks. When Ryoji fell, did he cause it to happen though? Nah.
The surrounding woods, still dark as can be with all them clouds up above, has movement to the east. Gyou's smokey mist would pick up the inbound single person as it comes in, and it comes in fast. Ryoji's chakra sensitivity would also feel a surge in chakra coming from the figure as it approaches.
The obstruction is noted and upon a whispered command Shun goes to investigate closer. Meanwhile, it was up to the Iga and Fisherman-san to learn — "It comes." He states, popping his neck in the process of turning his gaze sharply upon where he felt the pressure from. It'd be unsafe to engage… whatever it is, too close to the caravan. Acting quickly, the red-headed wanderer dashed a short ways into the trees, parting Gyou's mist and planting in passing a series of explosive notes before making his way back. Now all that there was left to do was wait. Wait… build up his chakra reserves in anticipation.
It's a strange thing, the tingling of the brain that comes with sensation outside the self. Gyou smiles, taps his pipe against Chigiri's shell, knocking ash onto the dirt, tucking the instrument into the innards of his loose robes. He watches with glee as Ryoji rushes into the fog, depositing things here and there, and the mist begins to thin, begins to reveal the ravishing movements of the oncoming… thing.
The old man leans back, dropping the creel from his back, and stands anew, his hands upon his spine, a few cracks and pops and a short wheeze. Those around the caravan too have seemed to slow, anticipation like fire in the air.
The old man shouts to one of the less-scurrying caravan mates.
"Hey. While you're up, grab some food, hmm? Got any dumplings?"
The being runs right into the explosive tag trap, setting them off. As the explosives go off, it is caught right in the middle of the explosion. The explosion catches the near-by trees on fire, several of which fall and create a new clearing alongside the caravan. It would seem like the being has been taken care of. That was easy enough. Next?
Then, out of the fire, rises something that looks like a man. The clothes are now all burnt away, making this a naked man, and despite odd tattoos, there are no identifying marks that would really discern this as man or woman (the genitalia are missing). Bits and pieces of the thing are still on fire, but it still looks like it is in one piece. Whatever black magic this thing wields, it is strong. It darts out of the woods and moves to attack the shinobi, apparently knowing which are villagers and which are not. The naked thing kicks out at Shun, spins and throws out another leg at Ryoji before throwing itself in a head-butt for Gyou.
Gyou watches, his eyebrows raised as from the burning timber erupts not death, but life anew: the phoenix, made man.
The bearded gentleman tilts his straw hat back, scratching a scarcity of hair as the other, still sundering thing, approaches. Ryoji is, naturally, the first to be imposed upon, the tattooed beast whipping limbs to and from, and Gyou - minding just, watching - is enthralled by combat himself as the assailant wheels a spontaneous headbutt towards him. Chigiri barks, but, of course, no sound comes forth, and Gyou's foot stamps into the earth, a rise of it skyward, to block the assailing head with a compact of dirt. Certainly a headache, but perhaps not for those who consider fire but a pest.
The being is stopped short, and perhaps it was the hit to the head, or perhaps it was something else in the air (the clouds?) but it stops its assault and runs back towards the flames. Ryoji, for his part, would have felt a chakra pull (perhaps a rather odd feeling…a pull rather than a surge), at the moment that it leaves.