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.

Memory of Darkness • {PM before entry}

Takayama

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A gentle breeze seemed to flick the grass against his cheek, the sun beating down on him as he rolled his arms over his head and ignored a barely audible rumble in the distance. He had spent many days like this, laying in the grass outside the gates. His father used to take him out to collect herbs on the calmer days, sometimes they would even make their way to the valley of the end where he would tell stories of the old legends who had fought before him. Stories of men sometimes so bizarre and outright daring that they could hardly be believed at all.

He did though.

The scars in the soil and in the hills were proof enough for a thousand stories. The entire day could be spent pointing out old crooks in the cliff side and analyzing patches of simple dirt and supposing what kind of history had taken place there. Then, at the end of the day, Kakihara Zenzo would set down his various bundles of herbs and they would set up a fire that would last just long enough for them to catch the moon rising over the great tear winding through the center of the broken hills behind them. There, he would tell the last story. It would start the same every night, though it would end somewhere and somewhen different each time.


"I can still see 'em there... Every time... Just over that broken crag on th' hill there... Every damn time."

"He was a runt. Did I ever tell ya that? -But his head was always on a swivel, eyes like a razor. He'd walk inta a room an' I swear it seemed like he'd see straight through the walls. Evri'thing was 'elementary' to him. Hell, I remember when he was about yer age..."



An ice cold drip of water caught the bridge of his nose, a dull echo chiming in from the west and gently nudging at him to get back inside. He had a few more minutes before he needed to worry though. He could still feel the sun glazing over him now and again.

Somewhere in the distance he thought he heard music. The soft pluck of a ghuzeng strumming a hauntingly peaceful tune that with it brought a slight chill to his bones. He focused on a different sense, the new wind quickly revealing that it had brought an old scent with it. A mixture of green tea and ginger. His mother would brew it every morning to start off the day. His parents were tea brewers, if hailing from tea country gave one any special inheritance. Pretty highly demanded ones at that. Sometimes they would have a customer arrive well before dawn and his father would chastise them loudly about business hours before returning to bed and not bothering to open up shop a full hour later than the sign in the window had promised. He couldn't remember his mother making it this morning though, he must have snuck outside to finish sleeping. He had had a nightmare the night before and wasn't above sleep walking to avoid his imaginary problems. Some dark and waning image that couldn't be bothered to stay with him still twisted at the back of his mind, as though still trying to pull him back into that cold empty sleep.

That...



A pillar of light cut through the abyss, the unforgiving echo of locks and latches pounding away at his head in tandem with the blinding flicker that had broken the world around him. He winced, raw wrists stinging anew against their iron binds as various flecks of ice cascaded down his bare chest. Takayama clenched his teeth, unable to register what was happening before he gagged on the ice cold reality winding it's way up his nose. He coughed just as he began to make sense of words somewhere in the room with him. He might have bothered to listen to them, but he was quickly doused again and found himself fighting for breath as the torrent of what could only be liquid ice tore away at his senses.




</U></B>
DAY 27; SENSORY DEPRIVATION CHAMBER

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Bakanyoni Hanzo : Warrior Priest​
<i>
</i>



The second bucket struck the floor with an awkward clop, some vestige of an echo hinting that the first one had been abandoned just as quickly. Dark blue hair was the first thing he could sensibly make out, followed by an all too familiar grimace. An expression that he had come to associate with rather severe discomfort as of late. It took a moment for Takayama to finally hone in on what his step father was saying.

"-ithout any consideration for the honor and history that blade represents. It was a token of good luck that your teacher did not let you use the sacred sword. If you had brandished it foolishly and damaged it, our temple would be haunted by shame for generations."

Takayama shook, the cold aching into his rib cage as the droll monotone still managed to seethe beyond it's means at him.

"... Still nothing to say for yourself?"


The ebb and wane of shadows beyond the torchlight seemed to form a shape Takayama couldn't quite make out, but the fact that his step father had brought someone down with him to observe his continued discipline did not bode well for whatever "test of faith" his father had in mind today. There was a reflective pause before the warrior priest motioned to someone or something behind him and Takayama caught the sound of rustling cloth.

"... You should feel honored to be down here at all. The great saint Tama Junshin spent her entire life in this room, meditating on the nature of existence. It was from this room that she dictated the scriptures that many of the monks follow today. She was said to only eat once a month by the end of her journey. She was the supreme epitome of discipline and wisdom. I was hoping a few days in here would give you the clarity of mind necessary to shrug off this obsession you have with becoming a shinobi... I should not need to scold you on a matter where our clan's reputation is at stake..."

Takayama's fists tightened, his mind not having the strength to form words or any kind of coherent response. All he could do was tighten himself and try to take in a breath deep enough to utter something guttural, assuming he could even remember how.


<B>"Konoha."


There was silence for some time, the boy bound in chains sitting in slight confusion as he let his own unexpected words settle in his head. The seething hiss in his step father's tone hitting it's peak.

"You're that determined then... You would sacrifice your clan's last semblance of honor for a village that no longer exists."

"I will go home."


Bakanyoni Hanzo turned to stone, his features once again picking up their formal expression as he closed his eyes and watched the final straw somewhere in his mind's eye drift away. There was nothing left to say, but not being one to sacrifice the last word he closed his eyes and took up a tone he had practiced many times with the orphans under the temple's care.

"I'm sorry child, I cannot allow you to dash the the reputation our clan has spent the last forty years trying to rebuild. This is your home now..."

The warrior priest, lit red in the embers of his waning torch, turned his back and gestured once again to the unseen figure or figures behind him. In the hallway Takayama heard hushed tones and disapproving grunts before the priest took his first step out.


"... If you pray, perhaps one day you will be granted entry to the same paradise that awaited Tama Junshin..."




Takayama lowered his chin, the stale air biting at the ice water on his skin as his reality slipped away with the receding firelight and he was left alone with that same daunting darkness his temporary reality had been born from. That cold nauseous sleep that came between dreams and scraped at his wrists.

That...





MEMORY OF DARKNESS
<U>SELF MODERATED: UNOFFICIAL PERSONAL MISSION

B-RANK


BT Mission System; Standard Scale
Time frame; 21-27 Rounds
Individual PMs will be sent regarding personal observations and status effects.

Statistics: Locked on arrival.
Equipment: Locked on arrival.
Post Limit: 48 hour rounds. Missed rounds incur a 3 strike penalty progression. Third strike incurs irreparable damage and restricts further play from that player.
Quick Round: 24 Hour.
Post Quality: Standard; 9 Rounds/Grammar/Spelling allows a "Limit Break".
RP Quality: Standard; Personal development/Staying in character/Realistically displaying limits (Psychological, physical, logical) for 12 rounds allows "Knowledge Break".
Bonuses Available: Hero-Round/Item-Find.
Active Penalties On: General God-modding. Knowledge of events outside experience. Knowledge of other character's status effects outside of information your character can experience. Knowledge of information outside your character's knowledge set. Performance of feats outside your character's skill set.
 

Takayama

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Takayama's teeth chattered, the noise from his own jaw giving him just enough awareness to clasp his hands though they were still bound in iron above his head. The senseless shapes in his field of vision seemed to shift against his will, but the one image in particular seemed to stick with him. For better or worse, in spite of the shadows and neural noise that he had been left with yet again, this one image would only barely shift and was just solid enough to keep the bulk of his attention. It almost seemed like a face, but it's features would occasionally twist and simmer in such a way as to imply the figure was turning their head or toying with some unseen trinket in the space between itself. Takayama's fingers slipped over themselves as he tried to remember the odd hand gestures he had so carefully practiced while watching through the window one fateful day outside of the academy. He could barely keep his hands steady, let alone clear his mind of the gently drifting madness that refused to leave his vision. That unplaceable face was the only thing that gave him any chance of...


oie_QdkhcJdRj7BP.png


Focus...


Takayama clenched his jaw, his trembling forearms shuttering under the newfound pressure he had demanded of himself, each simple movement becoming a gargantuan task that had to be pushed further by an emptiness of mind he could only acquire by jamming his toe against a particularly unpleasant set of wall chippings. The dust around him shuttered and shook just enough for Takayama to feel it drifting over his legs, deep and labored breath slipping into his lungs as he finished the third and final handseal. Each passing second was a matter of sheer uninterrupted focus as his eyes widened against their own design and awaited anything at all. The dust crept of it's own accord down the walls and across the floor where it would pool and eddy just outside the door he had been so desperate not to notice the moment before. It writhed, twisting in ill fitted attempts towards what could only be a shape of some sort before drifting up into the air and culminating into something mostly spherical before losing it's inertia and collapsing into a mindless pile on the stone below it.¹ Takayama let out an exasperated breath as his body went limp once again, his every fiber having lost their ability to push forward while the cold continued to set in.²

Over the last few weeks, whenever he could muster up the chakra and strength of will, Takayama would reproduce the same jutsu and use it to peer out at the catacombs beyond his cell. Mostly it was more shadows, but now and again he would catch glimpses of torch light or shimmers in the darkness that kept him just sane enough to keep from completely losing himself. This time he simply couldn't work up the energy, much less the force of will.

Even so, without the hope of release, without even the hope of firelight on a regular basis, Takayama found himself sinking deeper into the endless shadows around him. Lost in a world with no walls. No sky. Maybe, just maybe, he could go to sleep and just this once and not have to worry about waking up. Maybe he could dream a dream and have it last long enough that the shadows would get lost themselves and lose track of him. Maybe the cold would take him.

If only that damned face would stop glaring at him.





ROUND 1

¹Takayama performs Crystal Eye (Master Rank) = Failed.
²Takayama rests !!

 

Takayama

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A bead of sweat wound it's way around the bridge of his nose and up to his forehead, Takayama's dark blue tangles drifting somewhere above him as he clenched his teeth on the salty shred of pant-leg caught between his jaws. His arms were starting to burn. They always burned, but it was a necessary sort of pain that he had slowly become accustomed to over the last couple months. The sort of pain the synced up with the various arteries and pulsed with him in a silent symphony that gave him just enough of an anchor to keep him from slipping back into the nothing he had been trapped within. He loosened his biceps, his body tilting in response and slowly returning the blood to his legs. It wasn't until he felt the ground safely beneath him that he could let the tension settle and take his first unlabored breath.

Hanging upside down from his shackles was one of the few exercises that had shown any real benefit considering his limited mobility, but it was by no means the only one. Simple wall sits and leg lifting crunches were also possible, but this was the exercise that had allowed him some sense of self with no means of experience otherwise. It had made him aware of the subtle noises of his blood travelling from one vein to the next, the sudden tickle and pinch of the various nerves firing off in tandem, even the sense of fullness that came with each deep breath. He would talk to himself sometimes, the louder he spoke the more he could almost feel his own echo returning to him from the walls which must have been somewhere nearby. In their own way they confirmed a sense of presence that had been vital to the topic of his last few days of thought. If they had been days at all. The only other thing to speak of as far as stimuli went were the now vivid images that now frequented his vision regularly.

This one was of a small dog with a monkey in it's mouth.

He could almost hear someone talking too, the low and solemn tone of someone giving a sermon on an absent god that perhaps he only wanted the monkey to hear. Fortunately, Takayama had grown skeptical of his mind's creative attempts to rationalize the world around him. The noise he was hearing was probably the flow of air that preceded the opening of the second door leading to his chamber area, a notion that was confirmed by the monkey as it began to conveniently screech in a way that all too closely resembled the scrape of the iron bolts holding the distant door shut.

Takayama ran his hands over each other carefully, his fingers winding their way down to his shackles and gently pushing out the bits of cloth he had tucked in to protect his wrists from his would-be training session. There were footsteps now, not that the fading dog or monkey would seem to notice, and the blue haired boy would be left to gradually caress his thumb as the knot in his stomach began to grow. Maybe part of him had thought that his father would change his mind, that this was just another punishment, or perhaps that someone would notice he was missing and come looking for him. He wasn't sure he had actually ever thought these words, or contemplated how wrong they would have been, but it wasn't until six or seven meals ago that he had begun to acknowledge that he could have died weeks ago and no one would have noticed. What's more, the longer he stayed...





The latch to his chamber shuddered, a signal that lit his senses on fire as he tightened his hand around his thumb. He bit his lip, the pressure of the moment unfolding reaching it's peak just as the casual glimmer of candlelight tore through his senses.¹


</U></B>
SENSORY DEPRIVATION; DAY 127​
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<B><U>Katayanagi Shusui: Priest and Caretaker


There was a pause, the shallow firelight playing oddly at the shadows on the wall while the elderly, but still fairly regal, caretaker of the orphans took his first step into the chamber. His eyebrow seemed to raise briefly as he stopped to notice the bleeding lip of the young man in front of him, but the hesitance was short lived. Shusui set down the tray bearing his precious cargo of rice and beans and turned away, his form reemerging a moment later with a small stool that he placed a short distance away from the boy.

"Looks like you've gone and hurt yourself again..." The old man lowered himself as steadily as he could manage, his left hand finding his knee as an improvised surface to lean on while his right hand wavered under the weight of the ornate brass candle holder. "You should avoid it if you can, your father's been kind enough to withhold his visits on account of the trials coming up, but if he hears I've been sneaking Otogi down hear to tend to your self inflicted wounds you can bet he'll double his tests of faith."

Takayama looked down, his hair falling just enough to cover his eyes. The knot in his stomach hadn't left yet and every fiber in his being seemed to sit on edge. In spite of his determination, he couldn't help but want to turn himself off and drift back to sleep.

"... I snuck in some stewed meat under the rice. Leftovers from lunch in the orphanage... Took a crafty ruse to get it down here too..."

Takayama did not look up, his mind somehow too empty and too full to register anything other than what was about to come. The old man lowered his head, trying to get a glimpse of the child's expression before looking down himself and scratching his head.

"I know it's not easy down here... Only the most disciplined and focused monks ever volunteer for this practice. Many do not make it more than a month or two. Tama Junshin was the first to spend her life in this room... But enough of that, let's get you fed. You must be ravished."



With that the old man leaned back towards the simple metal tray and began to reach for the wooden spoon he had fed the boy with so many nights before, barely realizing at first that Takayama had used the moment to slip one of his hand's from his shackles. The dull chime of iron would echo in the hall for only a moment before a thud and clammer sent the candle to the floor², leaving both of the figures in chaotic darkness. One of of them kicked and seized and gasped for air.

The other spoke only once.



"I'm sorry..."





ROUND 2
¹SELF INFLICT: Dislocate thumb. (18!! Success) Restriction on handseals, restriction on weapon use. Takayama increases his attack range by 5 feet.
²GRAPPLE: (14. Success) Use newfound slack in chain to BIND the NECK. (15. Success)

NOTES: Enemy may make a saving throw. Visibility is 0%. Chance of being heard or interrupted will be rolled at percent chance at the beginning of the next round. STRIKE ONE incurred.
 

Takayama

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In the darkness the kicks picked up, the clatter of wood against the stone wall synchronizing with the sound of a gasp implying that the priest had managed to slip his hand under the chain around his neck. It wasn't enough, but a frantic throw of his body weight against the boy behind him would cause the boy to grit his teeth and give a muffled shout as the pain he had been so determined ignore in his thumb amplified itself nearly a dozen fold. Reflexively the boy tried to distance himself, finding by chance that as he did so the old man was pulled away from him. Takayama tore frantically at his pant leg with his crippled hand while the unseen commotion next to him continued to struggle. He tore more than he had intended, but still managed to slip the rag into his mouth before giving an exhaustive pull on the end of the chain still connected to his hand.

There was a thud against the wall and the old man gave a yelp, Takayama himself muffling his pain as he took another sharp pull on the chain and managed to catch the brittle sound of fragile bones cracking under the full pressure of his body weight. There was another short whimper before his final tug returned silence to the void around him.


He hesitated to relieve the pressure until every last echo had departed, heavy breath through his improvised muffler being the only sound left to give him a sense of still being alive. All the same, panic began to set in as the boy began to fully acknowledge how far he had gone. He hadn't meant for this, but he couldn't turn back now.

After a moment of gently prodding his thumb the boy gave the chain the slack it was due and listened for the slump of the empty vessel onto the floor where he would approach with due caution and begin feeling around for the ring of keys he knew must have worked the locks to his shackles. The smell of the rice and beans was almost enough to distract him, but it wouldn't be long before the caretaker would be expected to make his way back to his duties elsewhere and paranoia was more than enough to keep Takayama honed on to the task at hand. Luckily the keys were in the same place on the old monk's sash where he usually kept them, the problem came only when the boy took them and began feeling on his shackles and bolts in the wall for the locking mechanism he needed to free himself.

The boy's eyes widened as he searched through not once, but three times for some sign of a lock. There was no light to speak of, but he couldn't help but by sheer instinct try desperately to see where he might be missing something. Panic began to set in as the boy came to realize yet another dark truth of his imprisonment. There were only bolts and screws, no lock whatsoever. After all he had risked, he hadn't thought to actually check his bindings beforehand. If he had, he might have realized that no one had ever had any intention of letting him go.

Takayama's breathing began to pick up in spite of his attempts to keep himself calm. There had to be a way, there had to be some mechanism he was missing. If only he could...

...Focus...


Takayama closed his eyes, his shackled hand still wandering from one bolt to the next as his mind began to suss out his own insecurities and silence them one after the next. Some of the bolts were screws, actually. Mostly the ones that connected an iron plate that seemed considerably newer than the old corroded metal it was attached to. This was the portion that was connected directly to his shackles, they had probably screwed it in just before they had taken him down to the chamber to begin with. At the very least, that would explain why they had blindfolded him during his descent into the lower portion of the temple. Not that anyone other than the monks had seen the temple's secret catacombs before. Takayama had only gleaned their existence from the cloister of trials that warrior priests had to complete in order to be fully ordained, a test which his step-father was the conductor of.

In his still functioning fingers he held the large brass key ring that held on it seven keys that were needed for the numerous locked doors beyond his chamber. Somewhere on the floor there was an overturned steel tray covering a scattered pile of rice, beans and a few decent chunks of stewed meat. A presumably broken stool lay scattered against the half open doorway too far away for him to reach.

Takayama's fingers slid over the grooves in the four screws he needed to focus on before reaching down and blindly searching for the tray his meal had been on...



ROUND 3
* NOTES *
3/20 - No passersby.
17/20 - Shusuin succeeds his saving throw. Takayama's thumb is BROKEN. Handseals revoked. LIMIT: 1 HANDED/increased risk of disarm/two handed weapons receive significant debuffs. PAIN: 7(-1/round;limit 4) /tasks requiring concentration have a percent chance of failure unless given .5 AP to FOCUS.
9/20 - .5 AP - Takayama CONSTRICTS. Shusuin's fingers are broken, failed strength check.
12/20 - .5 AP - Takayama CONSTRICTS. Shusuin stops breathing, no physical contact to impede attack.
00 - Takayama spends 1 AP analyzing his shackles and wall mount.

00 - There is no light, finding the tray will require a successful search check at the beginning of the next round. Passersby will be rolled at percent chance.
 

Takayama

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He was afraid, cautious terror flowing from every breath as he grit his teeth and tried to ignore the pain in his hand. The tray he had located had been too thick to be of any real use on the screws, but as he let the fingers on his still functional appendage glide over the ring of keys he still had, he found at least one that was suitable. It wasn't long until he had found a reasonable position from which to lever the key into the screw any pry it free, even if the key did bend a little at first. The first screw was the hardest, the rest following in turn as the blue haired boy made his way through the same repetitive motions systematically. The final screw fall was a chime that signaled something in the young boy's mind and set his heart ablaze, the weight of the steel plate confining him bearing down on his wrist as it too collided with the unseen stone below.

He was free.

It didn't matter that his freedom was most likely temporary, that death almost certainly awaited him once he passed through the door to his makeshift prison. For this instant, the first time in months, he was free to move in any direction he pleased. His muscles ached pleasantly in response, the pain in his unbound hand doing little to stop him as he felt around the old man one more time and managed to locate a book of matches. Getting them to light without the use of his lesser thumb turned out to be a tricky little endeavor that he had not anticipated.

The candle was still functional, if a tad cracked, and it's light was more than enough for the boy to make his way out into the hall to better analyze his surroundings. It was a long pathway. Longer than he remembered, not that his memory had been worth much considering he had been blindfolded on the way down. Still, it had been a straight path and there was only one door at the end of the hallway that could have been the one leading back the way he had come. It was locked of course, but the ring of keys was easy enough to test once he set the brass candle holder down. The second key managed to do the trick, the cold iron latches unbuckling by some unseen means as he pushed through warily and returned his already weighted hand back to it's burden of holding his candle.

Takayama's first step into the room was almost his last, a few broken stones catching his bare foot and falling off the path ahead of him into an abyss for which he could see no end.

The room beyond was barely a room at all, more like something out of an ill imagined fairy tale or unexpected nightmare. It was beyond measure, a grand hall born of stone and old secrets. Statues of ancient saints adorned the walls, large enough that Takayama couldn't be certain exactly how far away they were without imagining them to be gargantuan. In the center of the room was a pathway, one surrounded on all sides by a single cavernous pit that covered every inch of space that one might hope to walk on. The pathway was nothing small in itself. It was a winding and twisting affair with barely a single straight line to it's image, it's odd angles and sharp turns spanning nearly the entire room. Perhaps his eyes were simply readjusting to the nature of sight, but it seemed as though the sinister path ahead had something for him to be concerned with.

Someone was waiting for him...



ROUND 4
* NOTES *
7/20 - No passersby.
12/20 - Tray too thick. Alternate tool must be located.
NOTES - Takayama's thumb is BROKEN. Handseals revoked. LIMIT: 1 HANDED/increased risk of disarm/two handed weapons receive significant debuffs. PAIN: 6/7(-1/round;limit 4) /tasks requiring concentration have a percent chance of failure unless given .5 AP to FOCUS.

SPOTTED !?
 

Takayama

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Daunting wafts of stale air pulled from somewhere in the darkness behind the blue haired boy, sharp eyes tearing over every corner of the scenery as he stepped forward. He was now fully aware that he had not imagined the figure on the winding path ahead of him, but such a decisive blow so early in his attempt had no place in the young boy's mind. There was only forward. Maybe the man sensed this, his ancient brow furrowing as he watched the boy move, but the strange old creature was so steadfast in his own sense of presence that he barely seemed to breathe in response. The only sound that managed to echo through the missing winds around them was the gentle clink of the tarnished rings hanging from the priest's staff, each one carefully timed with Takayama's footsteps as if to give him an audible measure of precisely how far he had pushed the boundaries.

"I see..."

The old man was livid, dark optics gleaning an event from the boy's presence that no person holy or otherwise should be forced to come to terms with. His voice was low and commanding, a stalwart gaze giving the echoes that would follow him far more precedence. "... I warned him too many times to count... The extra bread, the meat... The medical care..." His eyes took a turn for hateful, his voice never managing to reach the same peak. "He cared for you, child... And now it goes without saying that you have done something unspeakable as repayment..."

In simply being he had tested the monk's patience and the only sign or signal of what punishment may come lay in the gentle clink that rang out through the caverns below them. Takayama did not let the words sink in, though he acknowledged them to be true. Instead he left his mind to the task of working out the simplest path past the man towards the door. If he could beat the man there he could... No... It was customary for the monks to lock all doors behind them. Takayama still had a ring of keys in his free hand, a memory that kept him in check as he set down the brass candle holder and quickly tore off an extra shred of pant leg to tie them to the drawstring on his waist. As he did so, the monk's observations continued. "You're that determined to leave... So selfish that you would disrespect the man who took you in as family and treated you as one of his own... So ignorant that you would risk damaging a priceless family heirloom for a chance at entertaining a wayward fancy... That you would harm a man who had nothing but love for you, or worse..."

Takayama tightened the drawstring, his eyes wandering back to his candle as he let his calloused hands edge back to it. It wasn't long before the monk settled on stating what the only possibility was.

"...that for your unappreciated freedom you would kill me..."



Takayama stepped onto the path, his grip tightening on the chain still connected to his good arm...




ROUND 5
* NOTES *
NOTES - STRIKE 3 INUCURRED - Grave Misfortune Ahead.
NOTES - Takayama's thumb is BROKEN. Handseals revoked. LIMIT: 1 HANDED/increased risk of disarm/two handed weapons receive significant debuffs. PAIN 5/7(-1/round;limit 4) /tasks requiring concentration have a percent chance of failure unless given .5 AP to FOCUS.
 

Takayama

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Each fresh step forward marked a scar in the grit and broken stone behind him, the limber dance of falling stones leaving no chance for silence as the seemingly insignificant trickles and shifts broke away and returned to him from every angle. His legs were moving without him, his mind adrift with the static that sometimes accompanies poor decisions. There was something wrong here.

Cold optics slid across their frames, his every move warranting a reexamination of the room he was in. The monk stood motionless, his eyes following the blue haired boy with that same unwavering gleam of rage he had started with, vested by what could only have been a will of sheer steel. Was he so confident in his physical abilities that he could afford this? Was he so desperate for revenge that he was willing to risk falling to his death at some petty trick Takayama might conceive mid contest? Or, as Takayama was beginning to suspect, was there a trap in place that the old man was waiting to spring at the last moment?

The blue haired boy held his breath, his crippled hand adjusting the height of the candle to give him a better view of the room as dark shapes waned ominously on the wall behind the old monk. A faint whisper in the broken echoes around him seemed to hint at a step he was overlooking. Some vital and distant revelation sitting just over his shoulder as he finally closed the distance between him and his new oppressor. It was at this moment, chain in hand and candle in the other, that he had made sense of the unheard words his mind had been asking him to address. The old man had both of his hands on his staff, now no more than a meter ahead of him. The only light in the room was the light of the candle now held anxiously in his crippled hand. To attack the monk now would almost certainly mean that light for both of them would be extinguished and they would be left to the mercy of the jagged pathway that threatened death at every turn.

He took a step back.

The monk took a step forward.

"Lost your resolve already, child?"

Takayama found his jaw clenched, the whole of his focus driven towards the monk's now rising staff as his baritone voice began to clash with itself, adding a certain surrealism to his words.

"Or maybe, even after all that time in Tama Junshin's old chambers, you have failed to learn the most important lesson..." The brass rings on the staff clinked heavily, the monk's stance widening slowly as Takayama found himself stepping back just that much more. "The priests and guardians of this temple are required to pass through a series of trials before they are ordained. One of them is to memorize the pathway in this room, as they will have to pass through it every day for the rest of their lives. What's more, in their third year they are expected to use no light whatsoever in honor of the men who have come before them and the truth so few understand..."

Takayama's eyes widened, a bead of sweat rolling down his cheek as each second seemed to press against him. He needed to find a way out.

"To see the world around you for what it actually is, you must first doubt even what you see..."

It came just quickly enough for Takayama to side step it, the blur and cold brass of the monk's thrusted staff accompanied by a dull chime that he could only guess was some kind distraction. It had worked though, as Taka had nearly sidestepped off of the pathway entirely, his foot catching the edge of broken stone just in time to- The brass chimed again, a cold and heavy blow sweeping his feet out from under him entirely. His head hit the stone with a heavy whack, the other half of his body quickly slipping off the edge of the pathway and dragging the dazed boy down. He had just enough time to grasp desperately at the cracks in the stone. The candle, by some miracle, was still lit and no more than a foot from Takayama's face. He could barely focus, but that single flame gave him an anchor. Just enough of a symbol for him to latch onto it before it was eclipsed by the stalwart monk.

"I hope that wherever you land, you have time to realize the pain you have caused."



Takayama's flame was extinguished with a quick twist of the heel, followed by his grip on the broken stone keeping him afloat.




ROUND 6
* NOTES *
PENALTY - Grave Miscalculation. Blunder.
NOTES - 48 Hour Post Limit REMOVED due to time constraints.
NOTES - Takayama's thumb is BROKEN. Handseals revoked. LIMIT: 1 HANDED/increased risk of disarm/two handed weapons receive significant debuffs. PAIN 4/7(-1/round;limit 4) /tasks requiring concentration have a percent chance of failure unless given .5 AP to FOCUS.
NOTES - ????????
 

Takayama

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Jan 25, 2013
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The gentle slide of stone against flesh drifted through the air, the sound eventually giving way to silence as the old sentinel closed his eyes and shifted. He traced his steps in silence, a path he had walked his entire life in search of peace now leading him to something he knew would be foreign to him. Shusui had been an admired member of the clergy and his dear friend, the thought of what awaited him now clouding his mind so thoroughly that even the echoes of his staff seemed warped somehow. An eternity passed before he finished counting his final step and reached his hand into the darkness, grasping with certainty the handle he had expected.

It opened plainly enough, the old man stepping through and closing it behind him before drawing a candle from one of carefully embroidered pockets in his robe. The spark of a match blinded him for only a moment, the darkness peeling back as it drew it's breath from the candle wick. The hallway was almost as he remembered it from the day before, save for occasional droplets of blood lining the path ahead of him and the ominous shadow in the distance that matched neither man nor monster. The firelight waned just enough for the old man to hold his gaze for a moment, his mind tricking him into considering some dull and distant noise as being the thing that lay ahead.

It had been too easy.

The boy had brought forth the determination to set himself free and yet had managed to falter at the first obstacle beyond his imagining. Could it be that he had given the boy too little credit? The darkness was something every monk learned to conquer, but now in this trial of doubt he found himself lingering. Or perhaps he simply didn't want to see what he knew lay behind that shape. He steeled himself, his mind quieting any further noises in his head as he took his tentative first steps. The shape was a simple chamber door left ajar at the end of the hall, one through which he could make out certain definite shapes. He lingered again, his eyes hoping to catch some sign of motion before he tilted his staff just enough to push it open. The view inside was a vivid one, a crumpled heap much like a man laying on the cold stone floor, his hand visibly twisted and shattered. He was face down, but the monk had little doubt that the angle his neck now sat could be natural. He would dare to breath at first, but found that his lungs would have none of it, a deep sigh emitting from the man as he stood motionless for longer than he intended to measure.

"May you rest now, Brother..."

He lifted the candle only once to view the room before turning back the way he had come and stepping solemnly back into the hall. He would not be able to carry his comrade back with him through the caverns alone. What's more, Bakanyoni Hanzo was going to want to examine the room thoroughly to ensure that however the boy had escaped could not be managed again. He leaned his staff against his body as he reached the door, his now free hand grasping the handle with lost strength as he considered how Hanzo might react to the notion of his step son's murder. The thought only lasted a moment however, as the monk found that the door knob wouldn't turn. It was customary for every monk to lock the doors he passed through after entering them and he was for the most part unphased until he tried his key.

It would not enter.

It was almost as if someone had placed their own key on the other side and left it in the locked position...




The sharp clang of his six remaining keys bounced through the hall as Takayama sprinted, his chest heaving as he slammed into an unseen wall and tried to reorient himself. He had made his way through the great hall with only a few life threatening mistakes. In the distance he could hear the beginning of something low and hateful, a bellowing roar of sheer rage that slunk it's way from one end of the corridor to the next and back again. He seriously doubted the monk had the strength to break down the door by himself, armed proficiency or not, but the scream he was letting out meant he was going to try. Worse still was the attention he was going to bring, Takayama could already hear murmurs in the distance and footsteps turning his way. The blue haired boy turned back to the dark wall of what must have been a "T" shaped intersection and lifted his now raw, though still functional, hand to it without hesitation. His fingers resisted at first before slowly digging their way into the wall and giving him a hold by which to lift himself so he could do the same with his feet.

He had never attempted the art of running on walls like he had seen many chuunin do, but molding stones was something every academy student started off with and a skill he had practically mastered his first year in the village...


ROUND 7
* NOTES *
NOTES - Takayama's thumb is BROKEN. Handseals revoked. LIMIT: 1 HANDED/increased risk of disarm/two handed weapons receive significant debuffs. PAIN 4/7(-1/round;limit 4) /tasks requiring concentration have a percent chance of failure unless given .5 AP to FOCUS.
NOTES - Takayama spends 1.5 AP concentrating to CLIMB!
 

Takayama

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Jan 25, 2013
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178,300
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The approaching footsteps were rushed, accompanied by the soft scuffle of grass sandals. Part of the uniform of the monks in training. There was more than one, but based on the uncertainty in their step and the slowly growing glow of distant candle light Takayama had a feeling they wouldn't be much of a threat. Unfortunately, just as he came to this conclusion, he discovered that the ceiling had been hoping run into was closer to the ground than he had thought. Echoes can play funny tricks sometimes. The warm orange haze was thickening, a thought that left the blue haired refugee picking from a number of poorly designed ideas. The first and most decisive was also the riskiest, but as the distant bellows intensified so too did the footsteps. Takayama braced himself, keys between his teeth as he made one last grove in the wall to grip onto.


"... That almost sounds like master Abe! Do you think he's hur-"


The young monk had barely started turning the corner when a pair of thighs caught his neck from behind and threw him off balance, his vision making out just enough of what was happening to know that he was very nearly upside down. Takayama' was upside down himself, his hand gripping the floor in a way he was starting to become aware did not require he mold the stone at all, before he lifted his target over him and slammed the young man'a head into his confused partner's knees. The dizziness that followed was not enough to prevent the blue haired boy from steadying himself and after few more chaotic moments both of the young priests-to-be were left in their own individual states of disarray. The man whose skull Takayama had intended to fracture had recovered just quickly enough to glance a punch off the young shinobi enthusiast's cheek before his nose had been brushed out of place by a rather determined open hand strike. The groaned as Takayama lifted himself and timed his breath.

He didn't have time for this.

He sprinted, each step an intended leap that he sought with every passing thrust to outdo. It wasn't long before the echoes of anger and broken egos were far enough behind him that he felt safe tugging at his keys again and trying a new door. He very nearly fell through, his chest aching as he presses his back to it and slumped to the cold and ancient floor below. Thankfully he recognized this room, a chance that was afforded to him by the fact that there were a considerable number of torches. He had snuck into this or a room like it just before he had borrowed the family heirloom. It was a simple room lined with statues that were probably intended to match the horrible hall of death he had managed to escape from less than half an hour ago. He hadn't thought much of it seeing them the first time, but now with something to relate them to he found a knot forming somewhere in his stomach. The floorless winding death trap he had left before had to have had at least a handful of people die there. So then, with it's majestic red carpet and war adorned statues, how many had likely died in this room?

And how?

Takayama lifted himself off the ground and lifted his keys once more, finding one that managed to fit and finding with some disappointment that it still wasn't the key he needed. It wasn't as viral as it seemed. If he was where he thought he was then there was an exit that would lead him down the path to the main hall just outside the void, it was right across from...

Takayama's eyes shifted cautiously across the room, first to the door he knew lead to freedom and then to the second door, marked by adjacent copper statues of men too ancient for names. He had found the shrine in that room, the shrine with the sword bearing a symbol other than the Bakanyoni clan's. His step father treasured it beyond most things, not understanding that it was a symbol and tool for something his ancestors had promised and over time forgotten.

A sword that was rightfully his.

He was going to have to make a pit stop...


ROUND 8
NOTES • Takayama's thumb is BROKEN. Handseals revoked. LIMIT: 1 HANDED/increased risk of disarm/two handed weapons receive significant debuffs. PAIN 4/7(-1/round;limit 4) /tasks requiring concentration have a percent chance of failure unless given .5 AP to FOCUS.
NOTES • Takayama spends .5 AP to sneak attack NPC 001! (Success! 17.5/2!)
NOTES • Takayama inflicts unintentional damage NPC 002! (Enclosure!)
NOTES • Takayama spends .5 AP on strikes to opponents closest to him until AP Limit. (Success! 17.5/2! Obstructions BROKEN.)
 

Takayama

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Jan 25, 2013
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The door creaked, the light from his current hideaway cutting straight down the center of the room and revealing a shrine kept in immaculate condition. It was adorned with only the most ornate of mythical likenesses and somehow even in the darkness the structure seemed to bode some strange vibrancy. The silk atop the varnished red oak structure was a fitting deep red, burned in several places yet preserved for the purpose of keeping whatever memory had created them intact. Takayama hesitated to enter, but found that despite his reservations something about the blade was calling to him. Like a memory or a dream, he found himself moving mindlessly towards the base of the shrine and outstretching his hands at chest level before finally making contact with the unsheathed sword that was on display beneath it.

He lifted it, bowing his head as he did so and stepping back from the shrine without ever adjusting himself.

Though Takayama wasn't one to believe in spirits he did believe in respect, even if no one was likely understand his particular brand of it.

After one more solemn whisper the boy lifted his head and turned heel, leaving the room and, eventually, the temple catacombs all together. The remainder of the young shinobi's tale of escape would go largely unknown for most of his life, but the consequences would be well documented.



ROUND 9
NOTES • Mission incomplete. To be finished in flashbacks at convenience, each of which will be posted here until EoG.
NOTES • Exitting thread via TUNNEL NETWORK to Arcadia.