Ninpocho Chronicles is a fantasy setting storyline set in the World of Ninjas where feudal daimyo, clans and ninja villages all wage war on each other for money, glory or for a common goal.

Each ninja starts from the bottom and start their training as an Academy Student. From there they develop abilities akin to that of demigods as they grow in age and experience.

Along the way they gain new friends (or enemies), take on jobs and complete contracts and missions for their respective villages where their training and skill will be tested to their limits.

The sky is the limit as the blank page you see before you can be filled with countless of adventures with your character in the game.

This is Ninpocho Chronicles.

In the Midst of Growth [Akira]

Morishige

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Nobuyuki had requested his sennin to the ANBU training floor for a short meeting. As a captain, it was a good idea to remain in contact with one of the few people who could still order him around. And, on that particular day, it was Nobuyuki trying to get a sense of where the village was at. He had recently met with the Spymaster of the main branch for discussions about the elections and had planned on talking to Akira as well. But more than that, he wanted to know how the old man was faring after being brought back to the position of sennin after eight long years. He didn't plan on blindsiding the man though, so he sent along a letter with his request to meet explaining what he wanted to talk about.

Nobuyuki stood dressed in his standard dress and armor. His dark eyes looked at the half dozen of fresh faced recruits down below training with the dedicated sensei of the ANBU. "Six more willing to give up a normal life to become elite killers." he said to himself. It made him think back to the day when he left his home with delusions of grandeur about the shinobi life. Never would he have guessed to pursue the path he had. The Captain looked to each of them, questioning their own story. "What are their reasons, I wonder." he thought.
 

Junan

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One of his captains had requested his presence. He recognised the mans name, they had met several times over the others career during previous durations of Akira's Senninship, so it would be interesting getting to meet him again and see how much had changed from the young man who pushed himself so hard.

Walking along the passageway around the training field Akira watched as the trainee's fought. He remembered the trainee's he'd killed to get to ANBU. Their deaths were unnecessary, they were a part of an establishment which had valued pain and the ability to kill allies over comradeship and joint strength. It was not the ANBU he had rebuilt since.

Seeing Nobuyuki ahead Akira walked towards him at the same pace, when the man looked his way for the first time Akira gave a nod as his way of greeting the other.
 

Morishige

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Nobuyuki returned the nod.

"Saito-san. Good to see you again. It's been a good while since I had you resharpen my lance. I hope your reacquired position hasn't brought on too much more stress." he began, though it was inevitable. It was possible that this meeting may bring more stress than it relieved.

"These nominations are a strange thing are they not? I am surprised that the village council decided to go forward with them. You would think they would like to keep whatever power has been given to them over the past few years to themselves rather than give up another bit of control. What's your take on the state of our fine village? What happened to Shin..." he paused. Shin was the man who had been a model of purity in a very twisted world. "It is good this Hoshikata is dead."

Nobuyuki took a moment to collect himself as Akira would no doubt respond.
 

Junan

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It is good to see you too Nobuyuki. I see you are continuing to progress in your abilities. He said with a small smile as he turned towards the trainees, leaning on the ledge.

The position bring with it what it brings with it. It is nothing I cannot handle. This was true, but at the same time he had been able to relax a lot over the past number of years. His workload being nothing compared to what he had again. He had been probably in his prime when he had retired, now however, he was beginning to get long in the tooth.

Nobuyuki raised the question of the nominations. It was strange, and it was something Akira had questioned himself.

I'm not sure what their play is. I do know it was Shin's last request, he mentioned it to me days before the incident happened. Both he and Daisuke seemed to know something was going to happen, I had no clue that they were going to be proven correct.

He turned his head towards the other.

I can only assume they're honoring his final wish, or at least hope that's what it's about. I am glad his murderer is dead. There are just things that don't sit well with me. Ejji's death is something I don't truly understand, but also the very limited information they're releasing to me raises my curiosity. I don't know what really happened, it's something I will be investigating.

Turning back to the trainee's he almost sighed.

I hope I'm wrong.
 

Morishige

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Nobuyuki's expression turned troubled. "Knew something was going on? Why didn't they take precaution? Why wasn't Hoshikata escorted out of the village?"

If they had believed things were turning for the worst, why would they just let it play along and hope for the best. There was one thing that most shinobi learned in the academy and that was the simple attitude of 'Hope for the best, plan for the worst'. Granted, like most, Nobuyuki understood how Shin liked to handle things and always gave people the benefit of doubt. He was forgiving.

What was also troubling was the lack of ANBU with Shin to guard him in this case. Most likely a product of the recent shift to power; unlikely to be avoided. A grimace remained as Akira continued to speak, his eyes looking to his senior. There was an ocean of emotion swimming behind them. "Could I have done anything? Was I blind?"

"Perhaps Ejji was nearby and tried to intervene, only to be overpowered. Still, what do you mean limited information?" questioned the captain. "The reports were filed correctly last I checked. I too did a little digging after the events just to get a more detailed explanation of what happened. Everything seemed to be in order." he replied in a curious tone.

Unfortunately, Nobuyuki didn't know the official reports had been fabricated to support the false story the council supported. But to his knowledge the files looked like any other files the ANBU would receive in light of an event like that.. Mayhaps there were pieces of information that the Sennin received specifically that Nobuyuki was unaware of that Akira was not getting, or believed he should get.
 

Junan

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The only things he really knew about were limited, and thus he didn't want to go into too much detail about things he couldn't be sure of. But the reports which came out from council to do with the deaths seemed clean until you tried to get more information. It seemed that the more questions were asked the fewer answers would be received. The issue wasn't what was reported, but rather the inability to get more information outside of the reports. Images, recordings, things which showed the scene as it was or the bodies before, during and after the autopsy.

Don't worry about it. I'm looking into things and if I find anything which substantiates itself I'll let it be known.

Or would he. The man he was talking to was a younger shinobi than he was, and someone who could lead the branch after he retired once more. Something which would happen eventually he was sure. Depending on what was uncovered would change how Akira would be forced to act. If he had to kill a high ranking official he'd want this man to be able to look at the case without bias, which would mean that he'd need to be kept in the dark.

Watching the youth below fighting it out Akira decided to verbalise his thoughts from earlier.
It's interesting how the different Sennin of the ANBU Branch result in the tests and trials changing isn't it? Masao was told to kill Rin during his ANBU exam, and he did it as well.
 

Morishige

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A peculiar response, but one that Nobuyuki had interpreted as it being above his pay grade. That whole 'need to know' basis of information giving. It hadn't been the first time he'd been subject to it, and it wouldn't be the last. The captain let the issue go with ease.

A moment of silence between the two. Life in the military was strange at that. Especially as a shinobi. There was this expectation that people would die left and right, so people building lasting friendships was rare. The bond between Akira and Shin was not the norm and at a moment like this, Nobuyuki had wished himself a friend such as that. But his time in the academy was not like the rest, he came in half trained and at odds with his classmates. It was the reason he joined the branch that valued anonymity.

Now they watched trainees learning together below; Nobuyuki had fond memories of his time training to be ANBU. Akira spoke his words, and his subordinate nodded his head with a smile.

"Quite interesting indeed. I suppose it's the one legacy that no Sennin really plans to have. Their mandates shape that generation of ANBU for the rest of their career." Nobuyuki said. His ascension to captain was not like most. Shin had promoted him personally due to his work exposing corruption. Though, Nobuyuki had done his darnedest to prove he was worthy through his missions before hand. "I wonder, Saito-sama, just how you will shape these young men and women. Your methods may seem harsh to those young genin who had graduated under the curriculum of the academy under Hayata Shin. Not to say they are any less of a shinobi, but... well, they aren't like you. A product of the cruel times of war. Rin and Masao's directives were a product of what they endured in their younger days. Will the events of your life be changing ANBU life once again?"
 

Junan

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No, I don't think so. I don't intend on sitting in this position for too long, just enough to stabilize the ANBU after it was seemingly shattered between the previous Sennin's disappearance and Council's attributing missions to the wrong members. I had my time, I've made my mark. I think of my job as Sennin as I did my position as blacksmith. I am here to turn the well worn, damaged and dull blade back into a blade which can slice through the thickest defenses and kill the most stubborn of warriors. Once I have achieved that I will hand the blade to the next generation once more, and once more I will watch over it. The scabbard if you will.

This was what he thought was best. The ANBU had suffered greatly. In the past few weeks much had happened in Kumogakure, much which might have been stopped by a strong ANBU branch. But they hadn't been strong, Akira had thought that Rin would have left the Senninship to someone worthy of the position, and though he couldn't fault Ayumu for the reasons he left, he could fault him for the way in which he did so. He'd had to call off so many missions, begun the recruiting process personally, gone about the training of AiT and preparing them for a mission which they perhaps weren't ready for. It was a dangerous gamble, it could work out well and he could end up with a healthy stock of strong ANBU, or he could lose recruits. But this was the shinobi world, and even when playing it safe you could have the same results.

How about you? What do you want to be your legacy?
 

Morishige

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Nobuyuki smiled. He likened ANBU to that of a blade which had gone through years of service . "Let us hope it remains sharp for much longer, though I have tested your handy work personally. I have yet to see my spear meet a target it cannot pierce." he finished, paying Akira the compliment.

The nature of what he said wasn't lost on Nobuyuki however. He didn't see this as a permanent position, which meant he was going to be leaving once again. A glimmer of ambition flickered in his eye. Perhaps there was a chance for a promotion before the age of forty. He saw himself standing on the balcony overlooking the training grounds welcoming a new set of trainees, informing them of their imminent deaths within the branch unless the turned themselves into the master killers that were required to keep the status quo in check. As a captain he could lead in battle, but as Sennin... he could lead through others.

Nobuyuki closed his eyes for a moment while Akira asked him that question he wasn't sure how to answer.

"I was brought to Kumogakure under the pretense that Shinobi existed to help the people. Hayata Shin reinforced that idea in my mind when he became the Raikage. Tis a strange way to help others, killing ruthlessly; but killing one to save the many is a logical notion." he said, pausing briefly. "I suppose... I would want to be able to look back after I passed on and be able to say I ushered in a generation of prosperity, where the ANBU are thought of as peacekeepers rather than killers. There is a stigma attached to our branch that is bitter sweet. People fear us, and rightly so. But that fear can become irrational. They see us as monsters. I'd like to show our people that we are not monsters. Just because we hide behind a mask does not make us any less of a human being, with human minds and emotions. The psychological effects are evident in a number of my comrades."

He was tired of being treated differently simply because of his station, though it was possible there was much more depth in his words.

As he ran over his comments, he realized he was rubbing against the grain. But with this shift in thinking, he hypothesized ANBU wouldn't continue to be plagued by mental illness and other personal issues that came with the societal isolation of those within the branch; being a shinobi was stressful enough.
 

Junan

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Akira gave a small smile out of the corner of his mouth, a rise of his shoulder showed his amusement at the statement made by Nobuyuki about his work as a blacksmith, he instead replied after that with his thought on the same topic A blacksmith can only make the blade sharp before a fight. It takes a skilled fighter to keep it sharp while in use. Both were giving each other compliments without directly doing so, and technically both were correct. It took an eye like Akira's to make a blade as sharp as he could get them, but since Nobuyuki had him work on his weapon Akira has seen some ANBU on a weekly basis. It had been a long time since he'd seen this man. It was a testament to his skill that Akira didn't need to see him.

He went on to ask about Nobuyuki's legacy, or at least what he wanted it to be at this time. After all, time changed all things. The other went on to talk about shinobi helping the people, something Akira could sympathise with. The other was not a born Kumogakurean like Akira was, so had a different perspective than Akira did, it'd be a healthy one for the village, of that Akira was sure. He wanted the ANBU to be seen as peacekeepers rather than killers, Akira couldn't see the benefit in this, but at the same time didn't discount the notion that it could be a better way.

I can understand the desire to be more accepted. Shinobi as a whole are isolated, but the ANBU are isolated even amongst shinobi. I have always felt that this was a necessity of who we were, what we did and how we did it. Under my time as Sennin your dream will never come to pass, but my time as Sennin is limited. The way I have been raised and lived tells me that the ANBU are the peacekeepers, but that we maintain the stigma, fuel it to create a fear in our targets. If you were a noble or person without shinobi skills then sure, a shinobi coming for you is scary, the step up to ANBU simply creates a feeling of helplessness. The difference isn't great and could be ignored. But if you have betrayed the village, if you are a shinobi trained in all our arts would you be scared if ANBU who were known as killers were coming for you, or ANBU who were seen as peacekeepers were? Certainly I know that the end result would be the same, but sometimes the difference in combat could be simply the panic that the mask instils in our targets.

It was a thought, he knew that this was simply his way of thinking, and he didn't mean to discount anything the other said. He hoped that would be achieved with the tone he used, more questioning than authoritative. It was simply something he wanted the other to keep in mind when making his decisions, however he was sure it was something that Nobuyuki was already aware of, something the other had already considered.

When I retire again I want you to know I have put in place my request for you to take the reigns. The ANBU could do with someone different. We have had people with reputations for bloodlust, combat and general capability for viciousness, and although you are strong and capable in a fight that hasn't tainted you. I live in the shadow of my master and as such am tarred with the same brush. I will leave you with as sharp a blade as I can forge with my time here. Let us hope you wield this one with as much skill.
 

Morishige

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His words made sense. There was a certain power in the enigma and reputation that was the ANBU branch. But at what cost? The sanity of those who would be doing the killing? "A balance must be struck." he told himself. Nobuyuki's eyes narrowed and he frowned. He would need to think of this more and more and that bothered him. Issues without solution tended to haunt him the longer they remain obscured.

Thankfully, Akira had taken a tone that wasn't that of a superior and didn't put a damper on the captain's mood. But his next few comments summoned forth true surprise from Nobuyuki. After all, it was he who called the sennin here for a meeting, rather than the usual way news such as this was delivered: in some hum drum office which grew stuffy the longer one lingered. He had just been announced as heritor of the Sennin position for the branch. Normally Nobuyuki would have had words prepared but this wasn't an expected path he foresaw in the conversation.

Nobuyuki had assumed when Akira spoke of his time being limited that it wasn't going to be anytime soon, but now as the man finished, it seemed he had blueprints in motion that suggested otherwise. He never imagined it was his contrast to others that would have earned him recognition. Nobuyuki bowed respectfully, almost too politely towards Akira. "I am deeply honored. When the time comes, I will whet it against the enemies of Kumogakure. Never shall it grow dull again. A vow this to you this day, Saito-sama."

More to think on.

Nobuyuki stared down at the floor for just a while longer before rising up to his full stature. What does one say after such news? Though he would have thought it shouldn't have, there was little doubt his perspective would shift. Rather than be a soldier, albeit high ranking, he would be a leader. He needed to start making plans, and informing himself of the inner workings of the branch: logistics, finances, branch relations, etc. He knew about said things, but it was his belief one can always learn more.

"Is there anything else sir? I believe we have covered what I wished to discuss with you. Perhaps.. news on the mission I may or may not have heard is being organized and sent to Earth Country?"
 

Junan

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There are still a couple of things we should discuss, like the mission. He said. The other hadn't expected Akira's news, but Akira felt that during these times of unrest it was best to make sure that preparations had been made. His friends had done so, and those had worked out for them, and Akira was making his own moves, dangerous ones which might result in his sharing their fate. At the least it might end up with his being imprisoned. He wondered how the inmates would react to a man responsible for much of their time in the cells, a man who they hated with a passion, joined them. The thought almost brought a smile to Akira's face.

I recently sent a messenger bird to Stone to inform them of a mission to retrieve the dead body of the Cloudy they killed. In addition to this I have informed them of a pair of diplomats who would be going with the retrieval group to try and mend the bridge between our villages.

You will be leading a small shadow unit, I will contact Kitsune to see who she would like to send with you for medical support but I am thinking that I will send Daisuke's cousin Daigo with you as your ANBU squad member. He is a strong fighter and though only a trainee in the ANBU corp he has solid experience outside of ANBU.

The retrieval mission will be headed by Shashu and will have two trainee's with her as well as a diplomat from the main branch. Shashu will enter the village with the diplomat as their guard, but under different identification to make her seem to be simply another diplomat.

Your concern will be making sure that if they're attacked at the gates that they will receive the backup needed, and as the trainee's leave the gates that they make it back to Cloud safely.


He would wait for the other to ask any questions, or accept the task or reply in general. He would look at the other thing he wanted to discuss afterwards, after all it was something which was of import to the young man, and Akira would like to make sure that he approved of the move as it would likely affect him longer than it would Akira.
 

Morishige

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Nobuyuki smiled at his comment, finding it somewhat humorous for his own reasons.

But Akira got down to business rather quickly, and the Captain's smile shifted to straight-face focused.

"A diplomatic mission?" he thought curiously. But it would be revealed he was not going to be apart of the main group but rather a support squad that would follow in the shadow should they run into trouble. Nobuyuki wasn't privy on the status between the villages, but if he was being sent in case of trouble he could safely assume that it wasn't on the best of terms.

Eventually his superior finished a summary of what was going to happen. "I am to lead a unit for whatever support is required by the main squad, accompanied by Daigo, cousin to the late Daisuke. The trainee's are V.I.P.s over all other objectives. Should tensions snap and violence ensures, we will show those of Iwagakure the might of Kumo."

Nobuyuki nodded his head. Just one question he had. "Simple. Just an inquiry: in a worst case scenario, do we only seek to incapacitate? Or will lethal force be authorized? I only ask because it seems that diplomacy is the main intent here." he question.
 

Junan

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It was a simple question, and Akira had already considered it. His mind had come up with a simple answer.

If they're attacking us then diplomacy has failed. Lethal force will be used, and retaliation will be swift and brutal in a form that these villages haven't seen in decades. Perhaps it was everything else going on, perhaps it was purely a case of Akira being sick of everyone believing that talking is the only means of diplomacy. He didn't know, and anyone who knew him wouldn't know either, but in the end he had looked into the recent history he had barely been a part of, and he had seen the failings that talking had delivered.

Dead Cloud shinobi littered his ledger, he would follow the wishes of his superiors, and he would honour the wishes of Shin. But he couldn't understand why Cloud had locked her gates, it wasn't Cloud that should be scared of what happens when a Cloud shinobi dies in a foreign land, it should be the foreign land. If that land attacked a group who they had advanced knowledge of arriving, knew it was diplomatic and knew that they were retrieving a dead Cloud body, and then attacked those shinobi. Akira would strangle them. Not physically of course, but just as vicious. He would take a group of shinobi and lurk in their countryside, burning villages, killing townspeople.

Force the village to send troops in to do something about it. Depending on the size of the force and their distribution he would then either engage it, engage a segment of it, or instead enter the village and kill their genin, kill their trainees and kill their people. Then he would kill their leaders, and anyone else piecemeal as they came to save their village. Once enough bloodshed had been spilt he would leave them with a message. That if Cloud were to even give thought that one of their own had been attacked by a member of their village, they would return, and another generation of their village would be killed, and that this would continue until they begged Cloud's forgiveness, swore fealty to Cloud and only after a passing of time where he felt they could be trusted would they be allowed to feel safe once more.

You beat them until they can't fight back, till the worst they could do in retaliation would be to hurt an individual Cloud shinobi, and then you make the payback so brutal, and so overbearing that they never want to taste it ever again. You make the pain part of their DNA, so that when they see a Cloud shinobi they feel the agony of the hundreds who lost their lives. You do this so that they never even think that doing anything untoward towards Cloud ever again.

At least in Akira's mind this is what you do when a village thinks of threatening Cloud. Closing the gates and hiding seemed a pathetic reaction. It was something which if he'd known had been ordered by Shin he would have blatently disobeyed as ANBU Sennin.
 

Morishige

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An allusion to times past. A time when Akira was in the prime years of his life. It wasn't terribly obvious that Akira pondered on what was weighing upon his mind. But Nobuyuki refrained from speaking too soon nonetheless. He thought about what he might do in the worst case scenario. He wasn't an upfront fighter, not in the slightest. His power came from subtle planning, traps, and trickery. But maybe this Daigo would put the fear of Raiden in those they could possibly seek to destroy.

He had no more questions, and it appeared that the heaviest of what needed to be said had been spoken of. "Understood. Should they been foolish enough to try anything, my team will act without restraint and show them the cost of their decisions. If I may take my leave..." trailed the Captain, bowing lowly in respect to the sennin before taking a few steps backward and turning to leave.

[Apologies for the Wait and Short Length - Leaving Topic]
 

Junan

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Akira nodded allowing the other to leave. Memories of times past, battles won and lost, surged through his mind. If Stone want to start something they were welcome to do so, but Akira would make an example of them. He would make them hurt the way no-one has hurt in many years. He would cut them off from the world and sever any limb which attempted to change that. Cloud was not a village which was meant to hide behind its gates in fear of the outside would. No. The gates should be used to lock Cloud in to protect the outside world. That should have been the only reason for them to be locked the way they had.

Still.

It was not his decision to make.

The students below completed their training and Akira smiled at them as a couple noticed and waved eagerly, he even waved back. The murderous days were done, however that didn't mean that there shouldn't be more skill involved than what was currently being taught. It seemed like the ANBU were turning into a subsection of the main branch, becoming nothing more than shinobi who had a mask. They were more, or at least in Akira's eyes they should be more. The ANBU were shinobi who hunted shinobi. Killing a noble in his home, making it look like it was someone else, this was shinobi work. Killing a shinobi when they wanted to kill a noble before they could, this was the work of the ANBU.

He hoped he wouldn't have to sacrifice any Kumo lives for this.


[topic left]