Date: June 2, 2016
A group of shinobi meet at the gates to discuss the Storm Brigade and what they’ll do about it.
"The Storm Brigade - Tales of the Storm"
Kumogakure - Village Entrance
Just inside the massive wooden gates stands a pair of signs on either side of the road. They are made of wood, and very plain. They read 'Welcome to Kumogakure.' Standing next to each sign is a pair of guards. They carry no visible weapons however, and seem to just be monitering the people entering and exiting the village.
The inside of the stone walls is just as flawless as the outside. The other buildings around the area are made out of what seems to be wood, colored and dyed into pleasing earth tones. Gentle reds, calm yellows, smooth browns and the like. The roofs of the buildings are made of simple curved tiles, all the better to keep rain outside of buildings.
To the northeast, north, and northwest lay streets paved with flat squares of shale. To the north lays a large circular clearing, with buildings on either side and forming a smaller circle around it. There is a single large spire rising in that direction. To the northwest and northeast lay more buildings, some larger then others.
\\Naruto Mush Rivalry\\
\\IC Time and Weather System\\
02:34 - 10/22/14 A.F. - Tuesday - Year of the Tiger
The time is 02:34PM. It is a Tuesday on the 22nd of October in the
14th year after the formation of the Hidden Villages.
It is currently after-noon in Autumn!
It's currently fairly clear today!
A gentle wind blows from the north-east, moving the small scattering
of clouds about the otherwise clear sky. The air is fairly cold, and a
little damp; rain may be on the way soon.
Short notice… Great. Sanda got a letter from the Administration Hall that basically said something along the lines of 'You're going on a very long mission. You have one day to get ready, then meet at the gates.' So she had a pack on her and was just leaning a bit against the gate, wondering what the heck was going on and hoping someone would bother to explain. She didn't look very happy. Also, she doesn't have her Hitai-ate on because the note said to leave it at home. Lovely. At least the weather is nice for it being late October.
It's amazing what a good nights rest will do after a long, rushed journey such as the one Hige had taken to get here. Not only was he looking better but he was feeling better in general. That wasn't to say he was fully recovered from his previous injuries, but he's certainly doing 'better'. The teen and his two ninken arrive at the gates, the human with his hands in his pockets as he glances around briefly before letting his eyes settle on Sanda. She earns a fang toothed grin as he pauses nearby. "You must be Sanda."
So it seems, despite Seiko's warning that bringing someone from Kumogakure was a bad idea, Michiko decided to send someone else anyway. Arriving at the gates, Seiko looks around at his new 'favorite' Inuzuka and his ninken and then to Sanda. He lifts an eyebrow slightly then nods in greeting to each of them. "This is not going to be an easy mission… I hope each of you made arrangements in case of death before heading out," he says then turns toward the trail. "I'll explain more about the group on the way.
Sanda eyes Hige a bit, blinking once at the teen. He didn't look like much, but there had to be something about him that ended up with one giant dog following him. And a puppy… "Yeah. Who're you?" she asks, sounding just a bit suspicious. Konoha was her guess since the dogs were right there. Then she glances to Seiko. "You leading this, then? Anyone wanna fill me in on the details? I didn't get many."
"I'm leading this," Hige corrects smoothly as his feral eyes shift from Sanda to Seiko. "Few of my missions are easy. I have standing orders and letters written should anything happen to me on any mission. Now…" he looks to Sanda again. "Inuzuka Hige. This is Konsho, that's Kizoku. You're going along to help us but this is exceedingly dangerous. I won't force you to go, nor will your Village. This is your one and only chance to back out. There's nothing wrong if you do and it won't reflect against you. Some might say only fools would take this on." And that's Hige to the core.
Seiko almost answers Sanda then glances to Hige when he answers for him. "There you have your answer," he says simply, shrugging his shoulders. From that point he just waits for Hige to signal or say that it's okay for them to go, glancing between the team and pondering exactly how they're going to pull this off. If anything… maybe they just won't be killed before they can get a word back to the village of where the brigade's newest hideout is.
"A pleasure…" Sanda says dryly, glancing over to Seiko to check on his reaction. "…" She frowns a bit. "Che… Fine, I'll help… Just let me go write a note real quick." She would ask a guard for a pen and a piece of paper, and she quickly scrawled down a message that she handed back over. "Make sure that gets to where it belongs," she requests before turning back to Hige. "So. What're we doing?"
"Leaving," Hige says simply for the moment, motioning for Seiko to take the lead. "I'll explain once we're underway. Just know that danger could come at any time so I expect you both to be vigilant. If you see something out of place or something that could even possibly be dangerous I want you to bring it to my attention. Hopefully we won't be expected, since it would ruin the plan, but I prefer to be safe." With that he nods to Seiko to go. Sanda will be designated into the middle while Hige and his ninken take the sides and rear.
"Alright then," Seiko says, nodding to Hige as they begin to move. He then reaches into his pack, retrieving a black robe that should look awfully familiar to Hige. It's the same one the Storm Brigade members he's been fighting have worn… Exactly the same down to every last detail. "Time for a lesson while we're moving… You each will probably get one of these if you get accepted to join the brigade. While we don't have to cut our hair to look the same or change our faces, other than a Storm Brigade tattoo if we're there long enough to pass the tests, the requirement is that we be able to all look exactly the same in combat. They all wear the same robe and zip it up fully with their hair restrained so there's nothing sticking out to differentiate them from one another to anyone. Even elemental affinities match for the most part so it's hard for even a Sensor Nin to tell them apart in mass." After a brief pause as he glances between the group, perhaps a bit of hesitation like there's one last secret he'd hoped to keep to himself but can't for obvious reason. "There are men and women in the group. We use bandages, padding, and whatever else it takes for each person to look androgynous under their robes. In this way, the disguise and the unity isn't even separated by gender."
Sanda would follow along with the two, glancing around to see if there was anything strange despite the group not being far from the gates. She would listen to Seiko, blinking at the robe. She had experienced the Storm Brigade once before, and she didn't really have a good experience with them. And as Seiko keeps going on, the plan is starting to get clearer. … "Wait, we're…" she stops herself, realizing that it would be bad if she sort of blurted that out. "Crazy…" she finishes, sighing just a bit. "I guess it's a good thing that I can deal with this sort of disguising that they use…"
"Yes, we are crazy. I remind you I said that already and offered you an out." Hige seems vaguely amused by Sanda's revelation. As he thinks on what Seiko had to say about it all he nods slowly, letting the information sink in before he starts with the questions to help fill in the holes. "Is that how you plan to blend back in with the group then? Or do they not wear their robes while in their base? And also…how strong is this Kano guy, and exactly how many guards does he generally have around him? During the day and sleeping." All important questions!
"What did you think, we were going to waltz up and get information out of some guy before killing him?" Seiko asks, looking over at Sanda and lifting an eyebrow. "Kano is smart. They have a system. If the recruiter doesn't show back up exactly on time, the hideout will be moved, and we may never find them before they make a big action like trying to take down one of the hidden villages." He then looks back over at Hige, saying, "They'll know it's me. I'm going to put the robe back on and say that I've spent the last months infiltrating and gathering information on Kumogakure's strengths and weaknesses so I can tell them to Kano. I'll provide him with bogus and inconsequential information, of course, while we settle in. As far as getting him at a time when he's not guarded… Probably the only time he's not heavily guarded is when a recruit is going through.. the process."
"Of course we're dealing with a smart leader…" Sanda mutters under her breath. Seiko and Hige would hear her, likely, but she wasn't particularly caring of whether or not they heard her. "And no, of course I didn't think that. I didn't think much of anything until I started hearing what this was all about." She would tsk lightly, listening to Seiko and Hige talk back and forth. She didn't have much to contribute, herself. She was just along for the ride, really. "Sounds like that might be a good time to try at him. But wouldn't they expect that sorta thing?"
Hige quirks a brow at Seiko when he mentions this process. "And what exactly does this 'process' involve? And when were you planning on telling me about it?" Hige tone is cool and surprisingly non-threatening. That could mean he's actually not mad about the fact that Seiko keeps dribbling out bits of information or he's so mad that he has to subdue it before someone loses a head.
"While we're on the way and discussion information just like I'm doing now," Seiko points out to Hige, smirking a bit with amusement. "The process isn't just one thing. As recruits are being trained, Kano gets to know them to figure out their personaties and their reasons for coming to the Storm Brigade. He uses that information to figure out how he can best turn someone completely loyal to the group by exploiting those things. It's different for each person, but, by the time he's done, you're willing to die for the cause." He then looks over to Sanda, saying, "Yes, it's a quite obvious ploy, but there aren't many ways to get at him, and Hige insists on trying to kill him before signalling for help."
"Naturally…" Sanda says with a sigh. "What, does the guy use some form of hypnosis? I guess the people are all willing to join for some reason… Part of me feels like I don't like this 'process' very much. It sounds too…" She pauses, not sure of the word. "Well, I don't like it," she finishes, taking a glance around.
"I never insisted on trying to kill him before calling in help," Hige corrects Seiko, glancing sideways with a faint frown. "I said that I would really like to if the oppurtunity presents itself. If we can capture him that'd be fine as well. The death would be too quick and he deserves far more torture. His eyes return to the road ahead then before he speaks again. "So you know how they run. What should we know and look out for?"
"That's what it sounded like last time we talked," Seiko says, shrugging his shoulders. He gives a glance to Sanda as she speaks, replying, "It's nothing pleasant to think about, but he doesn't do it with jutsu. It's just psychology." His eyes then return to Hige when he asks his question. "When we get to Fuuma, we check around areas where orphans of war, the homeless, or rogue shinobi might bed down for a night. Those places tend to be out of the sight of the main populace because they don't want to look, so it's a prime location for recruiting."
Sanda would just nod, frowning slightly, and she goes back to being silent. The girl listens as she travels between Hige and Seiko, just sort of taking in the conversation. "Y'know," she suddenly says. "D'you think they remember either of us? Me and Hige, I mean. Because we fought them before, and I'm pretty sure a kid with a giant dog would stand out like a sore thumb even if they don't remember his face… How're we supposed to disguise ourselves beyond … Cloaks..?"
"If there's really as many as Seiko says there are it shouldn't be a huge problem. However, Konsho will be hengeing into a much smaller dog of a different breed. I'll also be covering my Inuzuka markings." Not much Hige can do about the teeth. But he won't be smiling much anyhow. "Once we find their location, Sanda will send a message to Kizoku who will be hiding fairly far away. Just don't let it be conspicuous. The rest of us will remain inside and play along until our backup arrives. I have people in Konoha at the ready and they'll be following us by half a day. It should only take them an hour or two to get there once we give the signal. But now," Hige looks to Seiko again, "I need to know what else might happen and what we can expect."
"The real problem is how close a look the recruiter might've gotten if he was in the battles Hige was in," Seiko says with a shrug. He peers over at him, pondering a moment before suggesting, "Maybe you should dye your hair before we get there. It's not like we're really timed at this point. Us not getting in could be more catastrophic than giving them another hour or two." At the next statement, he lifts an eyebrow and asks, "Other than the wrath of the entire brigade coming down on us at once if they figure out what we're doing before our backup arrives and our bodies being dust storms of ash blowing back to our villages? I suppose there's the possibility they capture us and Kano uses his mojo to turn us to his side."
"Well, I guess that'll help a bit…" Sanda says with a tilt of her head. "I doubt they'd recognize me after only one meeting… And we don't really care if they remember Seiko or not…" She taps her chin, then glances at Kizoku. "Mind if I practice on him a bit? The communication stuff is kinda sorta new to me still… I don't really use it all that often." She'll work on that >.>; "I think I'd rather be ash than be on this Kano dude's side…"
"He'll have to kill me. He'll never be able to turn me." When there's mention of dying his hair Hige considers a moment before he shrugs. "I suppose we I could, but why not just use a henge to change the color insead? I can even change the style." Of course with his shaggy hair that might be rather interesting. Hige smirks at Sanda when she asks to practice. "Yeah, go ahead." You've got time. It's not exactly a short trip to Fuuma and I don't want you all exhausted when we finally get there."
"Because we could potentially be there for days or weeks before you get a shot at him or before we even get to go to the hideout, and your could lose hold on a henge during that time pretty easily," Seiko replies. "Especially if you get into a spar or something. There is training involved, after all." He then looks over at Sanda, smirking slightly, perhaps wondering what she must think of him since he was once part of the Storm Brigade and the evidence is as clear as the tattoo on his face.
Sanda just nods to Hige and makes a few Handseals, practicing on sending a message to Kizoku. A basic one that is essentially 'Hi'. Of course, it's a bit shaky, but she isn't used to the Jutsu fully. She doesn't think much of Seiko beyond 'a nuisance', but that's pretty much what she thinks of everything and everyone ._.;
"We won't be there that long," Hige assures Seiko. "My main goal is to find the hide out and send out word for our backup. If Kano is there that's a happy bonus. If he's not…I'll hunt him down once his soldiers are dealt with." Kizoku, the little white super fluff of a pup, looks over to Sanda before giving a single bark of acknowledgement at her 'greeting'. "I'll be hiding my markings, I think that'll be enough. My hair was constantly matted down by the rain. It doesn't look the same as it does now." Which, to put it in simple terms, is messy.
"So we're basically going to try and take out however many are at their base right now and thin the numbers at least a little," Seiko says, pondering that over a moment then shrugging. "I suppose it's a decent enough plan. The only downside is that it makes those that aren't there escalate the plans more quickly. They'd have eventually escalated anyway, but this at least puts the villages at less of a disadvantage than they were at before." He looks over to Sanda and the pup for a moment before looking back ahead at the trail. "What else do you want to know?"
Sanda grins to the white pup and nods once. Then she transmits a bit of a longer message to test it out. The pup would be missing one or two words, but the overall message would get across. Something along the lines of 'Listening to these two talk is kinda annoying'. Or something. "Sounds like we have an amazing plan of action," she comments aloud, dropping her hands to her sides.
"Oh we'll take prisoners, including whoever is in charge of this particular little group as well as the recruiters themelves." Hige travels in silence for a short time then before he speaks again in a very serious, yet curious voice. And perhaps a hint of suspicion. "What made you change sides? If this man gets into your head as thoroughly as you're saying, it seems like it would take more than some pretty words from Kumo nin to change your mind."
Kizoku just grumbles loud enough for Sanda to hear and nods his head in agreement, very obvious agreement so that it couldn't possible misconstrued for anything else.
"Just be prepared for us to have to get the heck out of there if things go as badly as they probably will," Seiko says with a shrug. At the question after the silence, he looks over and lifts an eyebrow for a moment. "… The short version of the story is this… Kano left me to die at the hands of Kumogakure, and Michiko spared me Hiei's wrath and then they gave me a home and a purpose once I proved I wouldn't be a danger anymore."
Sanda snickers softly at Kizoku's agreement, and she was done passing messages to him. For the most part. Or at least for now. She was pretty curious about Seiko's answer, though. She didn't really know his background except that he was a former Storm Brigade member. Not from Kumo, similar to her, but an actual enemy rather than just some neutral person. But the reasoning he gave satisfied her well enough. Given what she knew of Kumo's leaders, that sounded like something that would happen.
"As I said, his words must not have stuck with you very much if you just rolled over at your loss." Hige quirks a brow at Seiko, but drops it at that point. "/IF/ something goes wrong and we need to retreat you two will do so immediately. Kizoku will find you once you're out of whatever compound or cave we're in and lead you to safety."