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From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

The site of the final battle between Primus, the One King and the Great Ancient Lords Fuujin and Homura. While the surface appears peaceful, the remains of those slain as well as other dark secrets lay just beneath this placid surface.

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From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Thu Mar 01, 2018 10:22 pm

The day started at 1100 hours in the Kazekage tower. One Michi would burst in through the the village leader's door. She would look out of place, hardly there for office work. A heavy pack on her back, her fac and hair hidden behind a veil of cloth that wrapped around her head leaving only her grey eyes hardly visible. She was dressed as she often was, in casual clothes more fitting a tomboy youth than a full grown woman -- earth-toned cargo pants that were tucked into a pair of dark brown leather boots that reach her mid shin and a grey tank top.

"Are you ready Sir?"

She announced without greeting or announcing her presence. She had no time for idle chit-chat it would seem. She was there for Kazekage Sunahoshi Katsuo, the descendant of the One King and an already celeberity in his own right before he ascended to the diamond throne. What was she doing there? It could be anyone's guess, MIchi was an odd woman even on a normal day. Her blunted affect contrasted her constant sense of urgency often conveyed in her words and actions.

"We need to go now."

She would insist as she approached his desk and planted her hand over the Kazekage's paperwork. She was nothing like her former cohort Naganisa whom was somewhat vain and since her forced hybridization with youth and beauty regained. Her hands were not manicured and unadorned. She had nothing to prove, nothing to display. In fact this would be the first time that Katsuo had seen Michi since he broke free from purgatory. She had no reason or want to contact him, after all it was unlikely that they would be friends after she used his lover to drive his consciousness to the surface in the most cruel of manners. A subject that she would not be bringing up, afterall the ends justified the means it would seem.

"We are going on an adventure."

She would explain. Not that it explained anything. An annotation would take time that they did not have and time she was not willing to spend. It was part of her nature to jealously guard information much like a dragon hordes treasure despite the fact that it was her duty as an Oracle to disseminate that very information she often waited until she had to reveal what she knew. It was a learned defense in a way considering her time as an imprisoned youth under the thumb of the Diamyo and later when dealing with Sunan forces as well. There was a part of her that believed that her knowledge was what kept her alive, it was a bartering tool with the Sennin and ANBU whom she believed would have preferred to see her dead for her association with the Cabal's terrorist attacks several years ago.

"Paperwork can wait. Adventures cannot."

She insisted as she would attempt to slide the paperwork aside. Time was of the essence, she had found something perhaps but she was not entirely certain but she was not willing to return there on her own.

"Godsfall."

She did not need to say more, Godsfall was more a legend than a location. The fabled site of the final battle between mankind and Ancients. It was not only the turning point in the war but also allegedly where Homura and Fuujin were buried. What could she possibly want there in a sea of graves? She would not say even if asked, she was motioning for Katsuo to get up and to come with her.

"I have packed everything that you need."

She assured him. 'Need' was of course the key word there. There was a difference between 'need' and 'want' one that Katsuo would become intimately familiar with if he trusted that she had 'everything that he needed' but in the truest sense of the word, indeed it was everything he required.

It would be two days worth of travel. Katsuo would discover that soap was 'unnecessary' as was deodorant. That was what sand was for Michi would claim. Rations and water were also unnecessary, they were both more than capable of making it rain or shooting a scavenger bird from the sky. What did she carry with her then? Weapons mostly. Old, dusty artifacts and some basic scientific equipment. There were some basic items of course, but nothing to grant any quality of life to this adventure.

Still they would eventually make it to their intended destination. It was simply a stretch of desert that looked no different than the rest. The golden dunes were ever shifting, they would look different if they decided to return at a later date yet she knew where they were. She had no special sixth sense that identified their graves, in fact it was unlikely there was a single Ancient here after all of this time. Ancients were for the most part immortal, the fall of Homura and Fuujin being the rare exceptional exception. That was what changed the world as they knew it here in Wind Country, the knowledge that they could die. The fact that some did die. Fear begot failure as some fled and mankind was invigorated. While they did not share Primus' legendary ability to give an Ancient a true death they were able to bind Ancients. A fact that Mikaboshi knew too well. It was a Journeyman skill that Ancients came to fear back in those old times.

"We're here," she announced as she dropped her back onto the ground. They were days from the nearest city and only a few hours before the sun would rise. "I suppose we should make camp before the sun comes up."

She had never explained to them what they were looking for only that they needed to come here at once. She would start unpacking her bag, burdened mostly by her equipment as well as a tent which she would start to erect. "I expect you know some earth ninjutsu," she would comment as she pounded a stake into the ground. "We will be digging pretty deep tomorrow."

[Katsuo picks the Contract. I have the Contract Card.]
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Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable - but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being 'alone': You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I'm talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are. We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality in ourselves and in those around you. To find the one, undeniable truth.
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:12 pm

Katsuo's head snapped up from the report he was reading at his desk as his door flung itself open and the eccentric Michi swept into the room as his bodyguard Reiko stood from where he'd been sitting in one of the leather chairs and reached for his straight sword that leaned against the chair he'd been resting in. She asked Katsuo a question and Katsuo quickly raised his hand to indicate to Reiko that he should hold off from attacking this person who had barged into his office so suddenly, causing Reiko to return his sword to it's fully sheathed position though he did not release his grip on the sword. While Katsuo had been in Sunagakure for years now, Reiko was still relatively new to the city and because of his upbringing as a ranger in the desert wilderness of Wind Country Reiko saw danger around every corner and trusted no one but his older brother.

"We need to go now."

"What?" Katsuo asked in confusion as he traded a glance with Reiko-- or would have if his younger brother's face wasn't shrouded behind the visor that he insisted on wearing that covered his eyes. "Go... where? What's going on?"

Katsuo had a complicated relationship with Michi. Before she was Michi, she'd been Fuu and a part of the organization which had held Sunagakure hostage under hostile occupation for months. While technically the deal that he'd brokered for the lives of the Cabal after their defeat had been for the benefit of Kaito, Naganisa and Urufu at the time the stay of execution granted to them for their crimes in return for their service to the state of Sunagakure technically extended to Fuu as well for her membership in the organization. What Katsuo had not known was that she'd already been caught at that time and imprisoned by the ANBU forces of Sand... and that had left her vulnerable to the machinations of Mikaboshi who, in return for the information she gave him about the Ishii regime that ruled Sand and their Sovereign Academy, purged her of her connection to the necromancer Nao and created the first ancient hybrid to be born in generations. Michi, like Mikaboshi, was a creature of inherent deception and selfishness-- she played for Team Michi first and foremost and would manipulate anyone and any circumstance to achieve the goal she was seeking.

"We are going on an adventure."

Katsuo's mouth hung open in surprise. An adventure? The last time they'd interacted, they'd argued over the direction of his policy of mercy and of course she'd stabbed his girlfriend Naganisa in the back to force him to accept that Mikaboshi should remake her into a hybrid. It had come to pass ultimately but Katsuo had interfered and rather than become a Deep Court ancient she became... something else. Still, Michi was dangerous to say the least. The only thing that Katsuo could do was silently gesture at his desk as if to say "but I have work to do" to which Michi responded with throwing the reports and papers that he'd been working on to the side in a flurry of insistence on her point.

"Paperwork can wait. Adventures cannot."

"Alright, okay. I see you're going to insist, that's fine. Let's go." Katsuo relented, raising his hands up in a surrendering gesture. He didn't understand why Michi was so insistent on bringing him on this "adventure" but at the end of the day it was probably safer in the long run to go along with her plan and deal with it as it came rather than make her try and force the point as she had with Naganisa. "Where are we adventuring to?"

"Godsfall."

Again, Katsuo wordlessly looked at her with incredulity. Godsfall was a place that occupied a unique space in Wind Country's history. It was both equal parts mythological location and physical place where historical events had taken place as there were a great deal of rumors and stories that swirled around the place. It certainly had a physical location on a map, depending on what map you were reading and who you were asking, but the event that it was famous for was so far removed from the current era in history that no one could really say if it was truly the place where those events happened save perhaps a few of the ancients which had been there for them. Before he could even ask what could possibly be in that tourist trap for them, Michi announced that she had everything already packed for them and they should leave immediately. With a shrug to Reiko, Katsuo walked around the edge of his desk and gave his bodyguard an exasperated look.

"I'll handle this, just... I don't know. Take some time off." He said to Reiko, stopping for a moment to converse with his bodyguard before leaving the room to catch up to Michi who apparently had already left.

"What do I do about Shizune?" Reiko asked, stopping Katsuo as he turned to leave and for a moment the 10th Kazekage, formerly the Iron Wolf and breaker of the Diamond Maelstorm paled a little bit at the thought of how angry his adjutant was going to be when she returned from her lunch break to find that he had disappeared.

"Don't be here when she gets back." Katsuo told him in complete honesty. There was nothing that Reiko would be able to do that would soothe how angry Shizune would be with the two of them. The best course of action was to just run and deal with it later after she'd cooled off a little bit.

---

The adventure out to the desert was long and boring, as expected, but what hadn't been expected is that apparently Michi didn't think that bringing along some form of odor buster would be noteworthy in some way. Thankfully for Katsuo, his connection to the bizarre tsukumogami spirit Caliburn granted him the ability to conjure some light toiletries but they weren't ideal. Really what would have been ideal is if Michi would answer any of his questions about why they were going out here in the first place. Any time he asked her why they were going to Godsfall, she would only tell him that it was important and that she needed him to come with.

"We're here," Michi finally announced with certainty.

Looking around, Katsuo let a deep sigh escape his lips. If by "here" she meant "in the middle of no where with nothing around but large stretches of sand and wind" the nshe was absolutely correct. They were "here". And Katsuo still didn't know why they had trudged all the way out to this place in the middle of the desert. She dropped her pack to the ground and began the process of setting up a large tent as Katsuo deposited his own pack into the sand next to her's and began to assist with her project.

"I know a couple of Earth Ninjutsu techniques, sure. Not my specialty but you already know that." Michi prided herself on knowing everything about those around her so she probably already knew that Katsuo was, first and foremost, a martial artist. He had a number of techniques and ablities he could use to manipulate magnetic currents and generate arcs of plasma and lightning but digging? That would be a tough sell. "Are you going to tell me why we're here now?"

[Picking Shark Contract.]
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:53 pm

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Slowly, seemingly inch by inch, the sun crept up the azureblue sky. Time ment little in a desert, especially one as big as the Godsfall and minute after minute seemed to stretch, chained one to another by the eternal laws of time, as the reddening shadows hesitantly dispersed behind hills of sand and tiny pockets of sand where some smaller creature had perhaps hurriedly burrowed itself. Then, in one fluid motion, a wave of light washed over the desert breaking against the occasional rockformation and lighting up the sand in all its golden glory. With the light declaring the arrival of the day came also warmth, leaking into the cold desertfloor and heating up the air. Against the parted canvas of gold and blue few details of this particular environment managed to stay hidden and as such the two Visitors would be able to see the emptiness of this legendary landscape as far as the horizont allowed it, with the only exception being the rock pillars that almost seemed to be growing out of the sand here and there.
Slowly the day remembered its tasks and life lazily returned into the desert, filling the place with the constant whisper of sand as the first wisps of wind woke up and, blinded by the bright sunlight as they probably were, started flowing in intricate patterns over the desertfloor. All around the two lonely figures the waves of sand slughisly began moving, some growing as sun from one side was blown towards their peak, some sinking as their top was slowly carried downwards where it lingered at their base for a couple of breaths before once again starting its pilgrimage towards the next hilltop. Soon the tents that Michi and Katsuo had just a while ago decided to errect followed suit as the ground that had held the stakes revealed itself to be just sand, pressed somewhat solid by the cold air of the night. With the tents slowly sinking to the ground as every bit of tension left the wires holding them up, anything that could have already been stored inside was covered by the planes.
Sand was now beginning to brush against the packs lying on the ground, hundreds of tiny hands pulling and pushing against the material, whispering of sweet relief of their earthly duties if it just followed them into the sandy heaven.
Where the two shinobi had set up their camp on a more or less flat spot in the night the ground was now turning into a small pit as the sand was blown into a heap before and behind them. Directly to Michis right the small tip of a reddish stone poked through the floor and slowly began to grow in height as more and more sand was being blown away.
Throughout the whole time the temperature had steadily been rising and was now slowly approaching the limit of what could be called "comfortable" and with the air constantly heating up the winds were growing stronger and more violent by the minute. Truly, a bad time to be playing in the sandbox.
The first to actually realize the impending danger was a small lizard that had only recently decided to take a sunbath on one of the closer stones that had dived to the top of the sandy floor. Screetching silently in dismay it then hissed and jumped towards the sand where it quickly disappeared with panicked movements in the sand. For a few moments nothing seemed to happen before suddenly the hint of vibration began filling the air. Soon after a silent white noise could be heared developing and if either Michi or Katsuo would dare take a peak over the dune before them they would see that a dark cloud was gradually filling up more and more of the horizont. Already only a light sliver of the sky was visible between the top of the boiling mass and the clouds above it. Time ment little in a desert, especially one as big as the Godsfall and soon the two travellers would find out just how precious every minute could be.
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Tue Mar 06, 2018 9:20 pm

The sun was hot and the days were long. It was easier to travel at night guided by the stars. They would travel for the most part in silence, it was not that she had nothing to share but rather there was nothing she could gain from sharing. It was a distinct change from the woman she was and it betrayed the Order that she was the lone representative of, a reflection of the change the hybridization with the Deep Court had wrought. She would remain polite and matter of fact, on the surface it would seem that only her physical appearance had changed but she was a different person in nearly every regard less the memories and experiences that they both had.

They would finally arrive, the locale looked like any other stretch of desert. There was no red rocky plateau or great canyon, the sky did not change and the earth did not scream yet they were in the right place. She knew that with utter certainty. Her weary legs would collapse onto the ground, it felt as if her legs were not meant to bend. The earth was still cold, it felt good through her pants. She would rummage through her bag that she heaved onto the ground next to her. She was searching for her supplies for the shelter, something that needed to be erected before dawn. The days were unbearably hot even on the best of days, the heat an even greater peril than the Sandworms that roamed these gilded plains or the lack of safe water. The heat was ever present and oppressive, a fact that every Sunan knew well because it was the foundation of survival for most of them to avoid the onerous heat as if their lives depended on it because they did.

"I know a couple of Earth Ninjutsu techniques, sure. Not my specialty but you already know that."

She did but much had changed these past few months. She did not know what Mikaboshi had taken and what he had left behind. "Good," she replied simply as she stretched a few yards of cloth over the smooth sand and stretched it taut. "They are likely in the deep," she commented.

"Are you going to tell me why we're here now?"

She did not bring him here to be a human shovel. There were easier, cheap means of labor found in Sunagakure than the Kazekage himself. She sought him specifically. "I am looking for some... thing," she admitted as she ran her hands through an array of hand seals to summon a wall of earth, something to block the wind and the sun from the east and west. Another length of fabric would be draped over these stunted walls to create a shelter. It was nothing much but this was not meant to be a domicile. "I am certain you know the stories about the turning point of the final war between humanity and Ancients. Words are important when you review the accounts, they were mortally wounded but died at a later time. Primus also succumbed to his wounds, he was buried elsewhere." She was alluding to Primus' final resting place miles away. His body was hidden for good reason, for generations Oracles feared Primus' resurrection. He was the man who could fell the Gods and if he was under the thumb of someone with malicious intent the results could be devastating. "I doubt they would have left his blade or his armor here in the desert," she admitted, the gears in her head were turning. "But I know it has to be somewhere," she continued.

She made her way into the roughly erected tent as the sun started to rise. Tonight was going to be a long night. She would continue to explain in a matter of fact manner as she rested her back against the shaded earthen wall. "Urufu had the book," she continued. A book she secretly coveted but the book never betrayed its bearer. She felt it wanted her too, it spoke in riddles and made great promises. Promises a part of her knew were manipulations. That there was something wrong with the book and that because something knew much did not always mean that what it said had to be true. "I am seeking a breadcrumb trail," she explained. "What happened to the book... and the blade." She would then glance in Katsuo's direction too tired to go on much longer. "You are here because we are far from alone in this place." Katsuo was one of the few who could boast not only a Sunahoshi heritage that linked him to the first men but also to a line of proud Rangers who were skilled at hunting and capturing monsters, creatures and specifically Ancients. It was in his blood to fight and this was a place where that was needed more than either could truly know.

She would sigh, her eyes heavy as they were would close a final time and she would fall asleep. The day would drone on, the wind and the earth were both very much alive. It was a mysterious and beautiful fact about Wind Country - day to day nothing was ever the same. The winds would blow against the cloth and stone walls and the cloth would flap in the breeze allowing gusts of hot dusty air inside. She would Find rest fleeting, between the oppressive heat and the intrusive winds. She felt as if the earth beneath her was restlessly worming away and she was not wrong. If Katsuo was not awake she would toss a shoe at him to rouse him from his slumber. The cloth of their temporary residence was violently straining against the stones they were tied to. "A sandstorm?" That was her first thought at the very least as the groggy former Cabalist staggered to her feet and peered outside. The winds had carved the desert like a bowl around them, she would only see the gradual slope of earth as she tried to discern the cause of this chaos. "Are you doing this Kazekage?" There was a tone of hope strangely enough in this accusation. She would strain to see beyond the earthen bowl.
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:20 am

Katsuo said nothing as Michi related their purpose in coming out here to one of the locations rumored to be Godsfall and allowed her to fall asleep as he found himself lost in thought. He knew the items that she was seeking. A blade which was called Shoki that was said to have the power to slay the very concept of "what is" and a book by the name of Sanban which was a living repository of information and history that autonomously collected it's records through a way that was mysterious to even beings like Mikaboshi. Shoki was often referred to as The Destroyer or as the First Blade because of it's association with Primus and the history that they wrote together but really the description of "blade" or "sword" being used to describe Shoki was inaccurate as Katsuo understood it. Shoki was a force. Perhaps it had taken the form once of a sword or that of a spear but no one perhaps save the One King himself could truly say what Shoki's natural state was.

Though admittedly Katsuo was probably the closest thing to a living expert on the subject.

Looking down at his hand, Katsuo felt a pulse of golden lightning rattle across his fingertips as he turned his hand over to look at his palm. Imbued with a fraction of his ancestral father's spirit and life force, Katsuo likewise commanded the barest sliver of Shoki as well. Of course that didn't mean that he somehow knew the location of where the One King's weapon had gone to rest after Primus had died nor did it mean that Katsuo would be able to command Shoki's loyalty even if he did know where it was or how to call it to him. Legend had it that the One King had been the first being in history and the only one since his death to tame the incredible power that belonged to the The Destroyer and Katsuo believed that. The sliver of power that lingered in his own blood that had blossomed into his tsukumogami companion Caliburn was proof enough of Shoki's strength given the fact that Caliburn was, in her own right, extremely mighty.

You are troubled, my king? Caliburn's words shook Katsuo from his reverie as he looked up from his hand at the "sound" of them. Caliburn was always with him in some form or fashion-- she was forged to him in a way that words like companion or partner fell short. She was him and he was her and together they were Katsuo and Caliburn. It was a complex relationship to say the least. Even as she "spoke", he did not hear her words but rather simply felt them. He knew that she'd addressed him in the same way that he knew it was hot or that the sky was blue.

Not troubled exactly... just unsure.

You are concerned with what Michi might do with power like Shoki or Sanban.

As usual, Caliburn cut right to the chase with his concern. As the human woman Fuu, Michi had been intelligent and cunning and she was even more so now that she had been transformed into a Deep Court hybrid by Mikaboshi. Katsuo wasn't angry with Mikaboshi for what he'd done... not really. After all, in the process he'd also freed MIchi from the horrific fate that had been forced upon her by the necromancer Nao but he'd also made her dangerous. She had always been motivated but now she also possessed a great deal of power to go along with her motivation and ambition. She wanted to see the ruling regime of Ishii Shiro destroyed and while Katsuo and Michi both shared that desire the major difference between them was Michi didn't care who got hurt in the process. She was a very "ends justify the means" kind of gal and it worried him what she might do if she ever possessed the power of an artifact like Shoki. How many lives would she take on her war path to revenge? And even if she struck like a surgical knife and only slew those that had wronged her... would it end there or would she become consumed by the specter of her hatred the same way Mikaboshi had been? Katsuo had only recently gotten through with putting that particular chapter of history to bed and he wasn't anxious to open it again.

So far she hasn't done anything else untrustworthy... but I can't help remembering that day. The way that she looked at me with Naganisa's blood still warm on her knife. She didn't feel like she was right, she knew she was right and that kind of thinking is dangerous. Especially coupled with power.

The hard part was that Katsuo did know where one of the artifacts that Michi was looking for rested. The book, Sanban, was in the possession of a mutual acquaintance-- the Lord of the Deep Court, Mikaboshi. Primus only knew what he was doing with it but Katsuo had to hope that Mikaboshi was not doing anything nefarious with it. The King Under the Sands had all but entirely disappeared after Katsuo had set him free from his prison... and that was in itself something of a blessing. If Mikaboshi wasn't going to be their direct ally against the daimyo at least he was no longer working against them. Despite having been an ancient lord of minor standing in the grand scheme of things, Mikaboshi had proven himself to be a terrifying enemy for Sunagakure and it was for the best that they were no longer at odds even if they weren't going to be friends the way Katsuo had preferred.

The winds outside suddenly howled and as their makeshift shelter shook with the force of the wind, Katsuo felt a chill run down his spine as a fleeting sensation touched his skin. It was an odd feeling, like trying to grasp for an object just barely out of reach he could never fully get a sense of the noise that he felt the ever-so-slight touch of across the bare skin of his shoulders and forearms. Turning to Michi to wake her Katsuo found that she was already awake and moving to the mouth of the tent to investigate so he followed quickly behind her, exiting the tent in short order.

"Are you doing this Kazekage?"

"Nope." He responded simply. She didn't know that he'd lost his ability to influence the weather and given the... precariousness of their relationship he wasn't about to volunteer information that the spy mistress didn't already possess. Still, a sandstorm proved inconvenient to say the least. If Michi were planning on doing any sort of digging or excavating here, a sandstorm would make that all but impossible to say nothing of the sorts of predators that sometimes lurked in such weather patterns. The last thing they needed to deal with was a pack of hykals or something far worse like a sandworm. "We're too far out to make for civilization now, the storm'd catch us no problem so we'd probably be best to wait it out. At least here there's some pillars of stone to break up the winds and I can erect some shelter for us. If you have a respirator or a way to cover your face, I'd break it out."

This would not be Katsuo's first time in a desert sandstorm. They were dangerous for the ill prepared and the stupid but as long as one took some level of precaution against them, they weren't life threatening. Like any high-speed wind storm, the most dangerous part of a sandstorm wasn't that the wind was blowing but rather what the wind was blowing around. If the storm had picked up any serious debris they could be in for a barrage of anything from caravan debris to cactus pieces or even corpses of unwary creatures caught in the storm's path. Going into his pack, Katsuo drew out a length of cloth and wrapped it around his mouth and nose in preparation for the on-coming storm. It looked pretty far out but distances were deceiving in the desert-- what looked like a pretty far distance for them was only a few minutes tops for a sandstorm.[/color]
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:18 am

It was as if the dunes themselves had come alive with the approach of the skyhigh wall of angry sand and furious winds. More and more of the golden grains slowly started moving, creating swirls that seemed to glow in the yet burning light of the sun as they escaped the coming sandstorm. Other streams of sand seemed to crawl in the opposite direction, flowing forward as if to crush against the oncoming wave. For now the party of two seemed to have still some time on their hands, as the sandstorm grew and grew and the sky visibly darkened but the ever growing sound of the grinding forces was a constant reminder of the danger that would soon have reached them.
Numerous other small animals and critter were already reacting to the weather change by swiftly escaping their hideouts or on the countrary digging even deeper into the sandcurrents. Life in this place had long adapted to the rapid change of the environment and as such it didnt take long for every living creature in this place to disappear from sight and sand.

The dune before the camp was slowly melting like snow as sand was going each way, the mighty hump turning into nothing more than a small hill. It was about then that a new sound slowly started mixing into the loud roar, a sort of high pitched whine that braided itself into the deep rumble almost seamlessly. if one of the two travelleres cared to look directly into the maw of the incoming sandstorm they would see several dunes that seemed to be moving towards them at an alarming speed with the face of the storm directly behind them. As the waves would come closer the first of the dunes broke open to reveal a huge jaw, opening in four different directions as the giant sandworm released a sound that could be more felt than actually heard. Seconds later the other worms appeared from each respective oncoming dune and replied in like before all dropped back onto the soft sand with a loud slam and dived back into the ground. More of the moving hills appeared now slowly at the surface, some toppling the occasional stone column on their way to the surface.
Where the two suna-nin had been camping in a fairly well protected position before, the sand had now created a semiopen plain with the majority of it gathering in between the stones to their back and the front opening up towards the sandstorm.

The ground started to shake and rattle like the back of a dying animal and just like that the storm hit the concave area, bombarding the camp and whatever had been prepared in response with a shower of projectile-like grains and roaring winds.The sun almost instantly seemed to vanish, devoured by the mass of the storm and a diffuse brown light replaced it while some of the smaller stones that were part of the columns and cliffwalls around them loosened and joined their kin in the endless attack against anything soft and or fleshy as the strong wind picked them up and started tossing them this and that way.
A crunching sound started coming from any cliff and greater gathering of stones as even they considered rolling along with the crowd. If it werent for the danger such a natural event posed to anyone closeby it would surely be a magnificient view seeing any common law of nature seemingly turned upside down as the ground joined the sky.
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Sun Apr 01, 2018 5:33 pm

She would find them eventually. She knew better than anyone that knowledge was more than simply power, it was also freedom and life. She was able to twist and manipulate the lives of others as well as her own because she had the knowledge to make herself powerful enough to do so. Nothing was as simple and straight forward as open a book and get better, be better, she knew that but those tools would give her the resources to be something more. Prior to Mikaboshi's intervention she was limited by her human fragility and Nao's cursed will. With both of these factors now a non-issue and with the destruction of her Order she was the only authority that she recognized. Did autonomy make her evil? An argument could be made that society is what makes us righteous beings, that social interaction dictates certain rules and requirements. That these expectations are in place because they are necessary to obtain and maintain the social constructs humanity has built to maintain their agrarian culture. That was of course one opinion, some scholars believed that people were inherently 'good' and wished to do 'good.' That there was a universal truth in regards to what is right and what is righteous. If the later was true, than society had everything wrong. Terribly wrong.

Thankfully she knew better. Sunagakure needed Katsuo, the ailing shinobi community needed their king more than Mikaboshi needed that body in particular. He had other, better options. She knew that Naganisa would not die, probability was on her side. It was the benefit of being right as opposed to being what other people most commonly are wrong. There was something poetic about love being the force that pulled him from purgatory, such an illogical sentiment but a viable variable. The lack of logic others used was what made them so easy to manipulate. Yes, she saw it as easy. It was possible that there were other ways. Less traumatizing. Less dangerous and dramatic. Yes, they were options but due to the statistical difference she did not consider them to be viable options. He would likely resent her for saving him but she did not do what she did for accolades. She did it for a 'greater good' one that would have been worth the loss of Naganisa's life if necessary. She was pragmatic and she was not emotionally attached. After all, she was adventuring now with one of the men responsible for her son's death. She was either exceedingly forgiving, a mother whom was capable of hating her son, or there would be an eventual termination of this cordial relationship.

Her fixation for the moment was Diamyo Ishii Shiro.

She would rest her eyes but her slumber would be restless, the winds would cause the tent flaps to snap. She was not concerned that Katsuo would attack her in her sleep. He was not that sort of man, he had that foolish heroic sentiment of 'honor' and 'integrity.' While nobody would ever know if he turned on her, HE would know and that was a weapon. Still, she felt uneasy. It was not something she could quantify. Outside the sands were shifting, the desert always changed overnight, Still, the winds were stronger than usual. The desert was rumbling, full of noise.

She would ask Katsuo if he was the cause. He would deny it. Strange. She did not expect a storm, the sky that she watched to find this part of the desert was mostly clear this entire journey. There was always a breeze, albeit slight, these winds were powerful and sudden. "Could you stop the storm?" She requested as she popped her head out and the hot dusty wind hit her like a slap in the face. Katsuo came from a long line of Sunahoshi shinobi who could trace their lineage back to the legendary Primus. The first human wielder of Shoki. Primus slew Homura and Fuujin in the final war at this very site. The legend was not their only legacy, shortly after the wars when mankind fell into chaos as they lacked structure stories told a tale of the Desert Queen gifting the heir of the Sunahoshi Clan power over the desert. She granted the family a boon according to these tales. Many assumed that the power over the desert emulated the Sunaku Clan's power-set, some chronicle the Sunaku Clan to the late earth Court slaves but that would not be the case here. Mother Suna did not grant them power over the sand itself but rather the storm. A secret they closely guarded for generation. Secrets often result in disaster, that was why it was the way of the Oracle Order to disseminate information. They would have averted some of the disasters that would follow when Nao gained control over the remains of a legacy Sunahoshi, the decades the country was consumed under a cloud of diamond sand that devestated the countryside and allowed the diamyo the oppertunity to consolidate his power sans Sunagakure's interference.

"We're too far out to make for civilization now, the storm'd catch us no problem so we'd probably be best to wait it out. At least here there's some pillars of stone to break up the winds and I can erect some shelter for us. If you have a respirator or a way to cover your face, I'd break it out."

Katsuo offered. It was not the answer she hoped for. She would sigh audibly. She knew better than to try to excavate while a storm was active. Knowing your environment was more important than being prepared. She knew the desert. Storms could be deadly.

The ground would start to quaver. She would place a respirator mask over her face. Her hands would reach behind her head and she would tighten the leather straps. The mask would hiss with each breath. Each breath would be slow and purposeful as she would brace her hand against a hunk of earth as she seated herself on the floor. She would be shook as the floor itself violently wiggled and the ground itself seemed to be more liquid than firm terrain as it rippled below them. "This is not normal. What's going on?" Her voice quavered with uncertainty, a rare moment. She did not want to open the tent again and let the hot storm air back inside, it threatened what supplies they had already laid out but the noises outside suggested that something more was going on. The roar of the sandworm was unmistakable despite the fact that it was a sound that most people, including her, had only heard a few times in her entire life. "...Sandworms?" She sounded uncertain but she was not uncertain, rather she was confused. What was a Sandworm doing out here? Yes, they were far from civilization but Wind COuntry was a massive space, the liklihood that they would encounter a Sandworm was quite improbable.

"We need to get out of here," she reasoned. It was a logical conclusion really. Sandworms were dangerous in their own right but they were uninterested in humans unless they started the conflict with them. Humans were simply below their notice. so far below their notice that their greatest risk was being crushed by their unbelly or drowned by these sands.
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Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable - but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being 'alone': You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I'm talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are. We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality in ourselves and in those around you. To find the one, undeniable truth.
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:28 am

"Yes, now we absolutely need to leave!" Called Katsuo as the first sandworm burst through the roiling waves of sand and roared into the darkened skies.

Sandworm migrations were extremely rare but also extremely dangerous. Even a single sandworm of a sufficient size category could be a dangerous natural disaster but when several of them came together in a herd they were capable of literally changing the landscape around them. Cities in the past had disappeared entirely beneath the dunes of the desert due to the devastation wrought by a herd of sandworms. Not for the first time, Katsuo cursed the events which had transpired to rob him of his ability to manipulate the wind currents and elements in the form of controlling the weather. If he'd still possessed that power now it would have been easy enough to turn the sandstorm back on itself but for now there was little that he could do to directly impact it.

Making a gesture with one hand that caused a gathering of sparks to surround his body [Polarity Shift (Rank 1)], Katsuo stepped close to Michi and attempted to pull her close to him before sweeping her from her feet and into his arms to carry her. He didn't do it because he didn't think she was capable of moving on her own but rather because he possessed advantages in this situation that she did not-- namely that he possessed techniques which could manipulate magnetic currents and had invented a particular one that might help them in escaping this situation. By focusing that field of magnetic power to his legs and feet, Katsuo could "surf" across the top of the sand at high speed leaving behind a trail of superheated sand and glass but more importantly it would get them out of the way of the rushing herd of sandworms.

Being from a clan of desert nomads, Katsuo had grown up understanding that sandworms generally had no regard for creatures as small as human beings in their presence as they barely registered the existence of smaller life forms to begin with. The only time that a sandworm reacted violently to the presence of a human being was almost always in the case of arrogant shinobi or stupid bounty hunters that thought themselves lucky or skilled enough to try and take on one of the most dominant land animals on the planet and while those events tended to result in a small cataclysm as the sandworm flew into a retaliatory rage, Katsuo had no intention of provoking them. He just wanted to get out of the way and let the massive beasts go about their business of... whatever it was that a sandworm did with it's time.

With a short sprint and a leap-- all the while carrying Michi in his arms --Katsuo landed on the surface of the sand and began to rocket away from where they'd been previously at high speed with streaks of golden lightning streaming behind them, moving at a direction which was not entirely perpendicular to the approaching sandworms but at enough of an angle where he could try and stay ahead of them while also escaping the path of destruction that they were cutting through the dunes.

[I have acquired permission from Michi to pick her character up.]
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:16 am

-- [[Accidental Doublepost - Please delete]] --
Last edited by Sugihira Juko on Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:17 am

The sound of the incoming herd of gigantic creatures seemed to drown out any other noise that the strom itself was causing. Roaring worms, sand particles grinding against each other and stones that were being shifted by the heaving waves of sand from their original positions, it all created a cacophony of almost absurd levels. The dunes themselves seemed to turned into liquid as the forces started pulling on them, shifting the ground this and that way, making it all the more appropriate for the two persons to be surfing on the top of the currents. One moment bled into another as the rising clouds of orange sand became the canvas for the picture of this ongoing moment. Then, after several more moments the mightiest beasts of the kingdom of winds seemed to vanish, cutting deep into the sand as each dived back into the depths of the sands. Withhin moments more sand erupted from the ground, mixing and mingling with the onrushing storm and finally washing over the two lone figures that were speeding across the lands.
From withhin the sandstorm another sound slowly started flowing into the foreground and as the winds howled around the pair it became apparent that not all was as it seemed withhin the sandstorm. First it was only a background noise then however a roaring sound slowly emerged turning louder and louder. Next silhouettes appeared around the pair, each one roughly mansized and flickering in and out of their close proximity withhin the sandstorm. Ooooooooiiiiiieeeee!!! A booming voice burst forth from the curtain of sand as a sudden figure broke through the coiling dunes to the shinobi's right. Seems like we got something unusual here! They dont look like wormies, so much is clear! A face full of teeth followed by a massive body came into view and the silhouettes to each side of the pair came closer now, revealing themselves to be more sharks. Their skin seemed to be tinted a yellowish orange from the sand that had gathered in the folds of their skin with a lighter almost skin-colored hue at their bottoms and a darker bronze at the top.
Grahahaha! They go so fast, they go so quick - lets take a bite, lets take a lick! Grahaha! Hahahaha!
More laughter came from the sharks diving in and out of the sand as the apparent leader vanished momentarily in the sands. When he came up again he was by far closer to the two shinobi surfing over the dunes and it seemed as if the sandstorm was following in like manner. The sands twisted around the newformed group and yet followed the path that the sharks seemed to be taking, blowing to each side of their "pack".
Oooiiiee! Tell me your name and where your going, we'll play a game while the sands are blowing!
With those words the huge shark sunk back into the sands again only to reemerge right before the surfing figure, throwing itself into the way of the shinobi. Surf, Surf, Surf! Yeaaah, surf away! Hahahaha! The other sharks seemed to turn away from the center of the storm but their paths were marked by their triangular backfins cutting through the sand. It was clear to see that their paths would most likely converge again a few dozen meters ahead in the surfers path.
Get them Konkuro! Yeah, theyre on our turf now!
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Mon Apr 30, 2018 1:13 am

Sandworms were a force of nature. An 'act of God.' They were not forces meant to be fought, it would be like trying to cut into a sandstorm. They would be fine, they were beneath their notice as long as providence shone on them favorably. They were hardly masters of their own fates in this situation as Katsuo. She watched the roiling earth and prepared to Body Switch, doing do when the stakes were ripped from the ground and the ropes snapped as a Sandworm broke through the earth beneath her feet. She did not go far, it was a greater risk to travel far as there was safety in numbers as the only ally she had for the moment was the kazekage. In a puff of smoke she would appear next to the Sunahoshi legacy. "They're everywhere!" She shouted as Katsuo drew her close, she could feel his body heat but this was not an embrace. Her feet would be pulled from beneath her, she would let out a sound of surprise she she was cradled in her arms. She was not a particularly large woman, quite the contrary in fact so he would not find it difficult to lift her. She would not struggle but she would feel somewhat stiff in his arms because she was enamored by the sandworms around them.

Did she trust him?

She trusted him enough to know that he was not going to leave her to die. She trusted him to play the role of 'hero' as his legacy demanded. She knew that despite her efforts, physically she was the weaker of the two and that her chances to survive were only enhanced by his intervention.

Was she scared?

Yes, she was no fool. Her heart was pounding. Her mouth was dry. She knew there was a terrible risk in them being here, this close to one of the few living natural disasters to exist in Wind Country. While Sandworms were the most famous, Carnasaurs were ironically more dangerous. Still she was fascinated, Sandworms were something that she only knew in theory. She had been exposed to varied accounts, some first hand averments and others detailed assessment by predecessor Oracles. Still, there was nothing like a first hand account, people saw things, even facts differently. Her neck would crane around Katsuo's shoulder as Michi looped her arms around his neck as they glided over the sands. Wait... they were gliding. She looked down, he was not cutting through the sands nor was he dashing. There were entire aisles dedicated to the Sunahoshi clan in the library of her childhood but there were several points of contention. Many believed that the Sunahoshis were a branch, perhaps a predecessor of the Sunaku Clan. It was untrue but in the absence of the Sunahoshi, when the maelstrom came many turned to this clan of Sand masters. There was evidence of an electrical current throughout the Kazekage, a trait that did not go without notice however it furthered deepened the mystery that was this clan. She could not help but make mental note of this skill despite the danger that they were in but she well knew that Sandworms were like an act of God and that she could not be reckloose in the face of this living disaster she was also well aware that they were beneath the behemoth annelid's notice.

She would grip onto him tightly and take a deep breath, he was physically faster than she was by far. She was the clever one. So what would she do? She would not have to do anything, they were migrating and they had moved on. They would swallow with their great maws the sand and break beneath the surface. The chaos of their present hidden away after a few moments as the sand filled the wounds left by these gigantic beasts. The pounding of her heart beneath her ribs had started to slow, she expected it to go worse. Sandworms do not usually travel together except when they are very young and when they are mating. The fact that they were on the move and not procreating was a mystery that the Oracle did not really wish to endeavor to solve. There were some mysteries even the oracle did not want to witness.

The storm was relentless, perhaps the beasts were disturbed by the pounding sands.

Another noise would be heard. She did not understand it. Through the veil of swirling and angry earth she could see something moving. Perhaps a delayed worm. "There is something else out there," Michi commented as she pointed in the direction of two figures that she could not quite make out. "Too big for tribbles, likely an infant," she reasoned but there was no certainty in her voice. She lacked the data for anything concrete.

"Seems like we got something unusual here! They dont look like wormies, so much is clear!"

They were not human, but they had the intellect of one. They spoke common. "By Satoru-- what are they?" She tried to peel herself off of Katsuo, their embrace might have been lasting a bit too long. Despite the fact that she had already stabbed his girlfriend to almost-death once, it was a greater risk to her safety to 'make moves on her man.' A risk she was not particularly keen in taking.

Then their figures came into full view. She still had no idea what they were. Her first instinct was to pull out her book and take a sketch. She would pat herself down only to realize that her book was gone, separated from her likely during the migratory incident moments earlier. she let out an audible gasp of distress. Her mind started to race, the creatures for the moment irrelevant.

Grahahaha! They go so fast, they go so quick - lets take a bite, lets take a lick! Grahaha! Hahahaha!

If they were still surfing the dunes, Michi would beg Katsuo to stop. "No-no-no. Stop. We need to go back! My book!" She would look towards the creatures that were gaining on them. They were chasing them. "I cannot leave that book!" she insisted.

"Oooiiiee! Tell me your name and where your going, we'll play a game while the sands are blowing!"

The toothy monster would make his query. "Michi!" She would shout back over the storm. She had no second name, one could just say she was too cool for a second name. "And I am where I am going! Katsuo, my book!" She had a one track mind and at the moment it was on the book.

These creatures were a lot like sharks. she had never seen one but she had read about them. They lived in the water or so she thought. But their dorsal fin, how they moved through the earth as if it was water -- the resemblance was striking. If Katsuo had not already ceased movement, the shark-like creatures were about to cut them off anyways, Michi would try to lean back, dig her feet in the sand and force a turn around. "My book is this way!" She insisted. "Ignore whatever these things are!"
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Mon May 07, 2018 4:59 am

It seemed like it was out of the proverbial pan and into the fire as they escaped the looming threat of the migrating sandworms only for something... new to arise. As the first of the sand sharks came into view and began to speak at them, MIchi began to unexpectedly writhe in Katsuo's grasp causing their shifting to release one of her precious tomes from her possession which tumbled away into the sands behind them as they raced along. Almost immediately Michi began to plead with Katsuo to go back for the book that she'd lost and under normal circumstances he'd probably have told her that her life was more important than any book but this was not the first time Katsuo had dealt with sand sharks before. He'd never encountered any that could speak but he'd had his run ins with the gargantuan sand animals in the past and it was never pleasant. He knew enough to know that there was no way that they were going to possibly out-run them in the way that they had the sandworms because the sandworms had not been actively interested in them. The sand sharks however had clearly taken an interest in them and this was their domain much more than it was humanity's.

They would have to stand and fight.

Caliburn, I need you. Katsuo sent into the sword at his waist, calling out to his tsukumogami companion to come to his aid. She did not verbally respond but he felt her begin to respond to his call. [Contract Summoning (Master Rank) - 3.5 AP]

Ignoring the sand shark's jabbering for now as he was focused on steering their movement, Katsuo banked a hard right turn sending up a large arc of molten sand that was fused together into fulgurite behind them like a crest of water that was forever frozen in time as they turned back towards where Michi had lost her book. She was so focused on getting that book back that she was keeping herself safe as she clearly didn't realize the depth of the danger that they were in. Sand sharks were dangerous creatures that could come at you from any direction short of directly above you given that they could move through the sand as quickly as their aquatic cousins could move through water and with their powerful jaws it didn't take a lot of effort for them to bite clean through a human being or at the very least drag them down into the suffocating sand with them. Katsuo spotted at least three of them but there was no way of knowing exactly how many of them there were.

"We can't ignore them, sand sharks are too fast. They'd just run us down once we're too exhausted to keep running." He announced to her instructions to ignore them. Moving through the sand at high speed was nearly effortless for a sand shark and Katsuo couldn't keep doing what he was doing forever. Inevitably he would run out of chakra and they would be down to their on-foot speed at which point the subterranean predators would pick them apart in their tired state. "We are gonna have to fight them. Watch your feet and your flanks, they'll come at you from the direction that they think is the least likely you're protecting yourself from. If you feel the ground start shifting beneath you don't even think about it, just get out of the way. If they grab you I might not be able to get to you in time."

Katsuo knew that Michi possessed some of power of the Deep Court as she'd been elevated into an ancient hybrid by the will of Mikaboshi but he had no idea how competent of a fighter she was and given the situation that they were in it was too dangerous for both of them for him to just assume that she could take care of herself. He had to hope that she had enough fighting skill to avoid the attacks from the creatures until he could either get their attention enough onto him or at least take one of them out so he could focus more on the other two. Releasing Michi from his grasp as they drew closer to where her book had skidded to a stop in the sand, Katsuo felt a surge of chakra around his body as he felt his partner's presence encompass his body. There had been a time when he'd been encased in a metallic puppet suit to preserve his health and while his joining with Caliburn had obliterated most of that suit there were still components of it which were hard-wired into his body that he felt pulse with ripples of chakra as Caliburn's spiritual presence joined with those components and wove around his body a new physical form from their remnants.

I am here my king. Her voice reverberated throughout Katsuo's entire being as their two physical bodies merged together and became one. [Soul Regalia - Wonderous Item (Master Rank)]

Black and green with a stylized helmet around his face protecting his eyes, nose and mouth from the elements around them and with a white scarf flapping in the wind behind him, Katsuo skidded to a stop as the wondrous suit of puppet technology and sage art mysticism finished materializing around his body and raised his arms as he prepared to engage the sand sharks in battle. Sparks of golden energy continued to course across Katsuo's body as he continued to maintain the technique that allowed him to surf across the top level of the sand even if he was, for the moment, stationary with his arms crossed one over another in front of him.

"My name is Sunahoshi Katsuo, tenth Kazekage of Sunagakure and I'm only gonna say this once since you guys seem like you're smarter than the average shark-- this is only going to end badly for you." He announced, hoping that some aggressive posturing might convince the sharks that they'd bitten off more than they could chew. It wasn't terribly likely given that they had the numeric advantage but it was worth a try.

If his warning didn't get the message across he planned on going with a shock and awe strategy of blasting the first shark that strayed too close to him as hard as he could to make his point clear: trying to eat them wasn't worth the blood that the sharks were going to have to spend to make it happen.

[Caliburn's Soul Regalia - Wonderous Item is replicating the effects of the Gear item Respirator. In addition it grants him +1 Secondaries.]
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Thu May 24, 2018 2:48 pm

The first two sharks were about to collide with the surfing figures when suddenly the humans turned, creating a big wave of molten sand, frozen in a crown like form with small bits and drops of stone breaking off by the shock and raining into the sands. Oooh wow wow! The shark that had found itself in the path of their prey collided with the molten sand and bounced back into the sandy depths, his voice showing the pain that the impact had dealt him. Wow wow! Careful there! Hahahaha! The remaining sharks quickly curved around their dazed friend , their fins cutting a truly artistic picture into the sand if one were to see the whole event from above.
What is this, they are quite speedy, boys take care, dont get to greedy! With the words of the biggest of the four sharks the pack resumed their path towards the humans. The biggest of them, the on the other sand sharks had called Konkuro was still not quite aiming directly at the humans and instead circling in a big arc around his pack as if watching. Nevertheless his voice still was clearly hearable across the rushing sands as he continued his weird chant. My oh My, those names of length, one is long the other short. Makes me wonder 'bout your strength, but are you husband and consort?
The swirling blasts of sand that circled around the group that had so unwillingly formed in the middle of the sandstorm seemed to glow in light green as light was reflected off of the black and green armor of the male. Oh Kankuro, look at that, what is he using there!? Yeah, what is that! That was an insult, no?! Hahahaha!
As if led by one mind the three smaller sharks jumped out of the sands, each flinging their bodies into the air. Through the sand-filled air their black eyes seemed to lock with those of the two humans. Despite a lack of facial expressions theire faces seemed to smile in that moment before vanishing behind the veils of sands again.
While the man stopped and turned around to regard the sharks the latter simply continued swimming, circling endlessly around Michi and Katsuo, their fins breaking the surface of the dunes every now and then as if merely to show their presence.
Bad for us, you say, i see... is that a threat to us and me? I dont care about your title, in the desert MIGHT is vital! Yeah, you hear him! Strength!
One by one the sharks accelerated, showing the true speed their huge bodies could move at, until their fins seemed to be nothing more than stretched shadows, forming several circles surrounding their prey.
The sand was following their motions as the gusts formed a whirlwind that roared loudly.
Now show me what you got, or die like all the other lot!
Hidden from regular sight by the tumultous storm that had centered around them one of the smaller sharks broke through the whirlwind to Sunahoshi's left side, its jaws gaping wide and coming straight for the man.
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Fri May 25, 2018 2:05 am

Sandsharks don't exist, didn't Katsuo know the Sunan bestiary? However, those creatures had big teeth that threatened to bite and gnash and they spoke. There was not a beast of the land, nor the sea or the sky, less humans, demons and Ancients capable of common, Her book, on the other hand, was very much real. Her book was the most important thing here. It was a place for secrets and truths, even lies told so that they could have a record. That book was more than her memory, but a chronicle of all the things that would come to pass in these dying days. She was not going to leave it, she did not even consider it an option. She started to worm over Katsuo's shoulder, her intent to tumble over his back and make a desperate dash back for her book. A stream of glass in their wake marked the path they came, she just needed to be fast enough... she just needed to be...

"We can't ignore them, sand sharks are too fast. They'd just run us down once we're too exhausted to keep running."

He was right, they could not run forever even if that was her first instinct. He would skid to a stop, the fulgurite marking the from from which they came. She wanted to go back for her book, not get into a scuffle with a pair of loud-mouthed sand sharks.

"We are gonna have to fight them. Watch your feet and your flanks, they'll come at you from the direction that they think is the least likely you're protecting yourself from. If you feel the ground start shifting beneath you don't even think about it, just get out of the way. If they grab you I might not be able to get to you in time."

The 'sand sharks' were closing in, they were not escaping or getting ahead. Now that he had ceased running they were about to converge. She would look back at the glossy path that they came longingly as her feet touched the ground. She did not want to fight but this was not an optional fray. She would stumble and stagger as her feet met the ground. Her objective, the book which meant victory. "I am not entirely certain I can die," Michi replied with a matter of fact tone. "But it is likely they can," she continued as she prepared herself to fight. She was by trade an Oracle, a woman trained from a young age to have one of the most powerful minds in the desert. She was never intended to be the most powerful, but at this moment it was possible that she was. "They will kill each other," she declared, she was not the type to dirty her own hands. There was something cruel about the concept, perhaps it was the Deep Court's trickery worming its way into the means she chose to survive.

She donned her respirator, the worn leather straps buckled tight behind her head. She took in a breath, the sound amplified by the mask. Her hands would run through an array of handseals, she was casting a genjutsu not a ninjutsu. A "protective measure" one could say. She cast a genjutsu that would swap their awareness -- with her ability to spread her illusions to more than one opponent she would target the two largest ones. They were likely the leaders of this raucous band of miscreants. This was called Body Double] [Mastered], a visual genjutsu where they would see her as one of the larger sharks and vice versa. The other would see Katsuo as the shark and the shark as Katsuo. It was hardly perfect protection from both but it granted her the most encouraging statistical odds. 50% chance that 50% of the more intimidating of their opponents would target their ally. That was fine of course, within seconds they would be more likely to attack their own kin than wither of them.

"Blast them hard, I will play defense," Michi announced. It was likely between the two of them, Katsuo was the more physically powerful one. Her illusionary cantrip would instantly go off after she said that. Pained Expressions [Mastered] spread between the two largest sand sharks would grant Katsuo the boon he needed to blast both of them into the next world if he chose to. He was strong enough. Capable. He only needed to take the opportunity. It was strange how they focused primarily on him, the Kazekage that was. Not that it mattered greatly, he made a fine decoy but she did not want him to be dead. If she wanted that, she would have left him to Mikaboshi.

She would continue to cast her array of genjutsus. This one was called Mind Destruction [Mastered], a kinetic genjutsu that would cause both of the larger sand sharks as well as one of the smaller sharks incapable of choosing their target. The more of them that there were to target, the less likely it was by random happenstance that they would attack either of them. It was again, simply the odds, something she would ever stack in her favor.

With time to spare, enough for a Burst of Confetti [Mastered] even -- and absolutely prepared, she entered defensive stance and readied herself to fight.
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Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable - but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being 'alone': You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I'm talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are. We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality in ourselves and in those around you. To find the one, undeniable truth.
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Sunahoshi Katsuo
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Re: From the Badlands to Godsfall [Dual Contract Search]

Sat May 26, 2018 3:47 am

Yeah, you hear him! Strength!

"Yeah. I heard him." Katsuo said quietly, absorbed in the moment of concentration as the pack of sand sharks sped up suddenly and then dove beneath the surface of the dunes.

These were not normal sand sharks, that much was obvious from the fact that they could speak but the way they seemed to manipulate the environment around them implied a great deal about their nature as spirits rather than actual sand sharks. Still, technicalities aside they both had jaws full of row after row of tremendous teeth and seemed intent on using them leaving them with no choice but to fight. Four spirits versus the two... no.

The three of them.

Katsuo had long since only thought of Caliburn as his weapon and not his partner but that time was over now. He felt her presence around him as surely as if she were standing back to back with him covering his flanks and looking out for his safety. The winds whipped up suddenly into a circuitous pattern that surrounded them, cutting off any route of possible escape and limiting their field of vision. A smart tactic, thought Katsuo as he searched the whirling sands around him for any hint of aggressive movement-- waiting for the right moment to come to act.

That moment came as the yawning jaws of one of the sharks burst forward out of the seething wall of grit and reached for Katsuo with likely intent to drag him down into the sand below and suffocate him there but in the moments between each heartbeat, Katsuo's body swayed and shifted with a preternatural speed out of the path of the shark's bite as he raised his hand and dragged them along the length of the shark just inches away from the surface of the shark's skin-- not close enough to be physically touching the shark but certainly near enough that if Katsuo had wanted to he likely could have laid hands on the beast [Naturalization (Master Rank)]. As it glided past him, crackles of energy appeared along the lengths of his fingers not unlike static build up as his hands captured and re-purposed kinetic energy from the shark's attack as it had passed and converted it into Natural Energy. Bursts of golden-green lightning played across Katsuo's shoulders and down his arms as the re-purposed energy integrated with his body and inflicted almost a sense of light euphoria on Katsuo.

We are above our capacity for Natural Energy. I've converted the extra into...

Yeah. Yeah, I feel it. Let's give these sharks a show.

Grinning like an idiot behind his mask, Katsuo realized his head had rolled backwards a little bit as he'd relished the feeling of the energy rush that had hit him. Snapping his head up, a series of gusts of steam released from the creases in the emerald and white armor encasing his body as he moved and he raised his right fist into the air causing the same currents of bright viridian-gold Natural Energy to dance down the length of his arm and pool into his fist causing it to glow brightly.

"Y'all want a fight? You got one!" He shouted in challenge to the sharks as he blasted his fist into the ground beneath his feet sending a shockwave of pulsing golden-green lightning crackling along the surface of the sands as though he'd punched his fist through the surface of a glass window. [Breath of the Wild (Master Rank)]

The visible effects of his technique over, he could feel the ebb and flow of the sands around them as his senses took control of the immediate environment and made it his. The sand sharks weren't the only ones with the ability to command the desert. Sands flowed around Katsuo's feet like small astral bodies orbiting a star, threatening to leap to life and lash out at anything that potentially came too close to his body but Katsuo had other plans for the extra-sensory connection he'd formed with the desert around them that served as their battlefield. He needed the sand whirlwind to stop so that they could target the sharks without waiting for them to come to leap out at them. With a motion of his hand, Katsuo sent the command and prepared for sand to fold so that he could launch his next attack. The familiar blitz of green-tinted gold lightning jumped around Katsuo's body as it coiled around his forearm, filling the air with a loud chirping noise as he waited for the opportunity to strike at the first shark to show itself... [Chidori (Master Rank) with Jutsu Expansion]
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