Date: December 8, 2014
Disheartened by the changes to Kirigakure, Isra searches for a solution. The price of that answer promises to leave the village short of another seven swordsman.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"What Must Be"
Blood Marsh - Heart of the Swamp [Kirigakure]
The heart of the marsh. Rumors of this once being a raised place with a stone slab from an ancient arena are hard to believe as the swamp here gives way now to a lake. The lake is almost unnaturally round, and deep, stretching a good hundred and fifty yards across in all directions, and if one were to measure, about as deep as well. It is as if someone had taken a giant scoop and simply removed everything here and let the water of the swamp rush back in. The swamp water at the center of this marsh seems to be without the hued mist; but the waters color itself appears to be a deep dark red, possibly caused by an algae native to this area; an allusion to the very name of the marsh. Around the lake cypress trees fight to stretch out into the open area for what sun they can get, this open area the one spot in the swamp where on a sunny day light filters in unobstructed, but around the lake darkness stretches in all directions. Tree moss hangs from the circling Cypress trees and the canopy around the area is laden with spiderwebs that dangle down to the surface of the water itself. Some of the Cypress trees closest to the edge of the lake look like they had limbs sheered off cleanly or had chunks of their trunks or roots simply vanish if they extended into the open area circle. This open lake almost appears to be like a large pool of blood thanks to the water color, as if the very swamp bled here at some point from some mighty wound inflicted upon it.
This time of the year allows for cold temperatures, but it's more than just cold temperatures, it's sometimes freezing. Enough for the top layer of water sources to be iced over. Such is the case for the swamp where a thin layer of ice has developed over the red waters. It's a strange effect witnessing this mild pink in the midst of bloody red…
Isra took herself here to study the changes of the swamp as the seasons went by. Sure enough, very few insects were flying around at this time of year, but there were other forms of wildlife still active. A diving bell spider made its home in this area and from the looks of things, was eating fairly well. Insects didn't have to be in the air for them not to be present. Many have adapted to the aquatic environment and simply took to the waters. In order to share this event, she called on Kiyoshi to come along with her. She felt he'd do well being able to just relax and enjoy nature, anyhow.
Rather or not her reasons for calling him out were ever voice, Kiyoshi remained a little on edge. So much so, the Kirryu did not bother with his usual wintry wardrobe, and instead chose to regress back to the begining by donning oversized overcoat, gas mask, and giant cleaver. In hindsight, it was comfort he sought, though none ultimately came of it.
"Are you alright, Isra-sensei?" The man-child warily asks, breaking the awkward silence. Although his mask shielded his face, his stance and slight head cant bespoke of the moss-haired giant's genuine worry and agitation over it.
"Every time I see you, there's something different," Isra grinned as she looked Kiyoshi over. "But I'm fine. Been doing well…If it could be called that, but well nevertheless," she shrugged. "I've been away for a while, I know. I tend to disappear for long stretches of time to be to myself and to think about things. I'm sure I worried you," she offered with an apologetic tone.
Kiyoshi winces, then shifts forward with the intent to reply, but is stopped short by Isra's words. "Mmph… In a word." He states grumpily as his arms are folded over his chest. "Am… I'm prolly the last person that deserves to say this, but what do you mean exactly by if 'if it can be called that'? Did something happen while you were away this time?" He asks in that perpetually wary tone of his. Seconds later, Kiyoshi holds up a hand and says, "N-nevermind. You don't — Forget I said anything." Kiyoshi states briskly before turning his attention to their surroundings.
GAME: Save complete.
"I haven't exactly been at peace lately, Kiyoshi," Isra replied stoically. "I am in a constant state of flux. I haven't been happy lately with being in this village. I felt that it was my duty to serve this village because it saved my life, but now I'm beginning to regret and rethink this. I have to remember, the village that saved my life was years ago. It's…not the same now. At least, in some ways. It's different from what I remember. I vowed to serve /that/ village, not /this/ one, if that makes any sense," she explained.
He resisted at first — looking at Isra that is — the desire to do so waned quickly as she spoke on. "I kind of get what your saying, Isra-sen… Isra." Kiyoshi frowns a little, then shakes his head wearily. "No.. I do, though the reasons aren't quite the same. But what can you do? From what I've been able to gather we're still on shakey legs. And Meruin-sensei…." He trails off from there, knowing and feeling she knew just where he meant to go from there. The Okumo had on more than one occasion proven just how rutheless he could be. "What was the village like that you vowed to serve?"
"It was different. I had come from war…I saw it with my own eyes and even participated unintentionally. We were fleeing for our lives to escape it. My family, I mean. We came upon Kirigakure soon after its founding and found refuge here. It was a bastion. A place that stood tall and brought comfort in a time where tensions were high. Certainly, the population was a little gruff. That's to be expected from enduring a war that was just on the fringes of ending. Then there was peace…sort of. War after war kept coming, largely between Konoha and Kiri, some started by Konoha, others by Kiri and others still that were conflicts that got everyone involved. What I started to see was a culture of fighting building up from a foundation of peace. The villages were founded to quell the fighting, not start more of them and it appeared Kiri's thirst for fighting was one that couldn't be quenched," Isra sighed.
"I hated killing people and I still do, but it was a necessary part of my shinobi career. The first time I killed someone, it wasn't some amazing feeling. It was horrible. I was a child scared for her life. I murdered a man by protecting my family, unleashing seals that I can't reproduce or maybe, refuse to since what they did to him was horrifying. To the average shinobi, it'd be another day on the job, but for me? Being that young? I can't eliminate that image from my head. It plays constantly, especially in battle and I have to force myself to ignore it. After finishing a mission, I leave sick and disappear so I can purge before coming back. It's not an easy process…"
Kiyoshi listens quietly, though not completely simply out of respect. Where parts of their history seemed similiar the Kirryu found himself drifting in and out of the present. Silently, he fought against it successful up until Isra mentioned having to kill. The memory that played back — With a guttural growl, Kiyoshi forces himself to focus on the present in full. The timing of which being only a scant few moments after Isra finished speaking.
"… Our you purging whenever you come to places like this?" He asks with a roughness to his voice that wasn't present before. Immediatly after, he rubs at his throat and tries to clear it out, only to be met by mixed results.
"Yes…a little. This is usually the final part of the purging process. Trying to remind myself that the village itself is not the problem. I can't blame the innocent people around here. They're not the ones doing this. There are some that capitalize on the fighting, of course, but that sort of division is normal," Isra finally took time to look away from the swamp and towards Kiyoshi. "We can move from here if it's too cold. I shouldn't have dragged you out this way without considering how it might affect you."
The mask may have muted the effect, but it did not complete hide the Kirryu growing tense over how normal it was to desire fighting. "The cold doesn't bother me. I actually feel hot more than anything." He admits, and makes his way over to sit (or stand if she's standing) besides Isra. His gaze, however, remains on the swamps. "… I wish I was more normal like you."
"Normal? Hehe," Isra smiled wistfully, painfully even. "I'm not normal," she rubbed her arms. "Normal are the other villagers around here. Me? I'm the furthest thing from normal. I enjoy making things…explode, for whatever reason that is. I enjoy chemical reactions, formulas and mixtures that cause different kinds of effects. It is not a normal obssession. I wear…weird things thanks to the influence of another particular individual and to top it all off, I sell flowers and exotic plants. Not quite the definition of normal," she shrugged. "I wouldn't call you abnormal. We're all different."
Kiyoshi snorts and shakes his head. "Yeah, well, your not the one that's not having trouble seeing people as 'not food' from what I can tell. I'm also a twelve year old in a twenty year olds body." He turns to her fully, more for her benefit than his own. "And so long as you that exploding habit of yours is general, it ain't so bad in my book. Plus, What'cha wear is… well its different than most folk around here, but it isn't bad on you. You're hot and interesting." It takes a few seconds for Kiyoshi's words to register in mind, but as soon as it does the boy — man turns his head away and feigns searching for something until his face stopped burning.
Isra chuckled. "I was attracted to you because, I guess I didn't want you to feel so 'un-normal'," she gathered up her coat and drew it closer to her body. "Thanks for the compliment, by the way," she added with a genuine smile. "I didn't want you to experience problems because of…what you are. You're no different from anyone else around here."
Kiyoshi tries to hide another flinch by jumping his focus in another direction, but by now the ploy was wearing thin. Nevertheless, he held on to the act until the thank you lured him back to Isra. Seeing her smile lessens the tension in his form, though only a little. "I… I 'preciate what'cha did for me. 'nd I'm sorry for being difficult at times. It weren't anything exactly personal. Just…" He hesitates for a moment, then gradually removes the mask and continues. "Old habits die hard." As those words leave his mouth, belatedly does he notice Isra had huddled up more in her coat. After a drawn out sigh, Kiyoshi shrugs out of his overcoat and tries to drape it over Isra's shoulders without permission, ignoring whatever resistance might be given short of being yelled at, commanded, or having his jacket blown up.
It was no furry tail or a hug from the living furnace, but it would do. Or so he hoped.
"I know. I knew it wasn't intentional… It's rough having that sort of responsibility forced onto you, especially here. But yeah, they do…" She went silent only startled somewhat by the coat drapped over her. she gathered it and quickly pulled it taut on her body. She must've been really cold. "Thanks." She went silent once more. "I feel like I'm lost and I need to find my way back…I want to leave here," she finally admitted. "Should I do it?"
"It weren't forced." He murmured underbreath, and it would be the truth. He may not have fully understood the responsibilities of a Jinchuuriki to its village, but he chose his path nonetheless. Kiyoshi scrutinizes Isra for a long extensive moment. Nothing is given away. Not his feelings, his thoughts, or anything else for that matter beyond his simply thinking hard on the question. After the moment passes he turns away and exhales heavily. "If there ain't no other option, then… yeah. Meruin-sensei ain't gonna like it.. I don't either, but your no good to anyone with your heart all twisted up like so… least that's my opinion anyways."
Isra's countenance dropped at Kiyoshi's words. She knew it was the truth, which is why they hurt so much. "I suppose I should leave. I should turn in my blade. I can't take it with me. It's served its purpose with me and I with it, so now it's time to pass it on," she looked over her shoulder at the scroll that carried it, though it was covered by Kiyoshi's coat. "I'm going to write him and in turn, send this blade back with the message. I will be living Kiri, but it will always have a place in my heart. This Silence threat also has to be dealt with and I can't stand by and see them continue to lay waste to all they come in contact with…I have my work cut out for me."
"Isra-sensei." Kiyoshi growls out. "Don't you dare get mixed in with trouble like that before you get straightened out first. If your gonna heed my advice, then do it in full. Let me and the rest of us worry about the silence until then." He says in a tone that for once brokered no argument. "Just for awhile at least is all I'm saying. Cus', you know, what I said earlier bout not bein' much good 'n all otherwise.." He adds, deflating quickly as he spoke and scratched at the back of his head.
"I…" Isra began before she stopped short. She nodded to herself. "Okay. I won't get mixed in with them too badly. Not without straightening myself out. It'd be foolish to try and jump into a conflict after just leaving. So, you're right. I won't be too hasty… I appreciate you looking out for me. I didn't think mindset existed here anymore…"
His gaze had cut towards her as soon as she began, but there was heated glare to go with it. Whatever she wanted to say and intended to do could not be forced by his hands. Still, there's an intensity to it that doesn't go away until she agreed to his term, if only for now. If he wasn't already seated before Kiyoshi would be quick to slump against anything he can recline against nearby and start rubbing at his forehead. The Kirryu pauses and lofts a brow at her words, then snorts and rolls his eyes. "Somebody has to keep to it, and now just in the whole warrior minded type of way… 'sides that, despite how I look, I haven't been in Kirigakure for nearly as long as anyone else."
"I suppose that's true too. I can recognize that some conflict always has to exist in this time. May not be able to be resolved, but I hope the future can eliminate this problem. For now, I just want to play my part in trying to get to that future. I have to somehow find a way to get past…killing people. It's possible I may not even do so. Something I have to cope with, just like the rest of the people….I just wish it didn't have to be that way."
"I've wished the same thing for a long time as well, Isra-sensei. Still do sometimes, tho' not exactly a big fan of what the after might entail for folks like me who prolly won't be able to change for that future cus' of what's inherit for us. Be it 'cus of blood or what came before." Kiyoshi frowns and bows his head, and would remain silent for an extended moment before turning just enough to regard Isra from the corner of his eyes. "But that kismet don't matter. What does is that more normal folk like you Isra-sensei don't lose the hope that things can be different. You might not get to see it someday, but make sure it gets carried on at least is better than letting something like that die."