Darkness Returned [Free]

Enatsu

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Oct 14, 2012
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The air was frigid and thin, whipping against the skin of Yuuto while he stood silently atop the mountain staring at the world. It would seem as if things were at peace here, tranquility that he never had the pleasure of knowing. A shame that he had just now begun to experience such a glorious thing. The entrance to the monastery contrary to the weather was lush and you could see steam from the hot-springs near by. This was an interesting contrast but he would not pay too much heed except the spring being the first place of interest he wished to go. However there was a more important matter that he came here for, its name is prayer.

It had been so long since he had prayed to any of the gods out there. Sometimes it did good to give the higher powers their blessings. People constantly fought over silly things, proof of one's god was only one of them. With this proof they could believe in their cause knowing it to be just in their heart no matter how warped. To give blessings to Raiden was not exactly in Yuu's mindset, but to give praise to the spirits of the world, now that was more up his alley. However this was the largest shrine in proximity and it took the most exhausting walk. Not to mention being at the top of a mountain had a certain poetic gloss to itself.

The ex Anbu spent some time examining himself and his tools. He did not want to offend the devotees of Raiden but this was about as close as he could get to leaving his belongings anywhere. The three large boxes on his back holding tools and the components to his puppets were clearly going to be an eye sore for these peaceful people. Before knocking on the door he would set them on the outer wall and would ask if it was acceptable to bring them in. Yuuto knocked on the monastery's large door only to be met by an older yet gentle woman's face. She was clearly in her 50's or 60's but the smile she wore could light up a room. Yuuto would bow slightly showing respect before speaking to the elder woman.

“Hello my name is Masaru Yuuto, a traveler in need of direction, I was hoping that I could come inside of your temple.” His voice was calm as he awaited for the woman to respond.

“My name is Tanaka, it is good to meet you young one. What direction do you seek dear?” The question was simple, and while he could have responded simply this woman could feel there was something more. Behind his calm words and bow of respect she knew there was something pressing in the works.

Yuuto opened his mouth before closing it again. He was slightly at a loss for wards trying to figure out where he could go with this next response. “I guess I am looking for something to guide me spiritually. I don't really follow Raiden, but I believe the power of the higher spirits do exist out there and more than anything I need that reassurance that things will be okay. I know it may seem foolish but this is just one of the only ways I can really think about this kind of thing.” He'd stop speaking now, content with his answer as Tanaka seemed to be as well.

“Well then dear you have come to the right place. Please come in, you will want to speak with Elder Mokuro, but please do not bring any weapons in our sacred place. We can hold any belongings in a chest to be picked up on your way out.” She was quite perceptive seeing the over sized boxes from the corner of her eye, but these devotees believed in a god that was adored by shinobi they had to have some talent.

Entering the monastery his eyes drifted to observe the structure and how detailed the architecture was. The building's inside reminded him of temples in Kumogakure, gray and crimson being defined features. Elder Tanaka led him towards a room with a symbol for men on it. Clearly this was a washroom but why he was meant to be here was beyond him.

“I thought you wanted me to meet Elder Mokuro?” Yuuto posed inquisitively.

“You will dear in due time, however I need you to wash yourself and change from those garments. Here in this temple you can be robed and share with us the spoils of Raiden.” Her voice gentle like a grandmother, judging by her appearance, rightfully so.

Yuuto did not argue only nodding as he entered the washroom and started to peer around. It was a spacious room, with a large hot spring in the middle. There was a set of cubby holes with robes in each one. Yuuto would pick out a crimson robe with gray clouds on them, before taking off his own clothes and putting them in its place. The tan skinned shinobi hobbled over to the spring naked dipping one foot in to test the water. It was refreshingly warm, giving his body a tingling sensation. The wait ended abruptly as he dived in letting out a glorious “ahhhhhh” before focusing on why he was in here. A dozen bars of soap laid by the spring's side, taking one he could wash his body to be as clean as Elder Tanaka wanted him to be.

About twenty minutes later Yuuto exited the washroom with the crimson robe while meeting with a different devotee. This one was a boy probably younger than him by five years. The young man bowed to Yuu befor introducing himself.

“Hello I'm Sanzi and I will be escorting you to Elder Mokuro. He is currently out back praying to the skies, please be respectful and allow him to finish his payer before disturbing him”. Obliged to follow Yuuto would shrug and begin his walk to meet the head of this temple. Elder Mokuro sat in the center of a field with his legs crossed humming to himself. While he was definitely meditating there was also a small chant clearly one of his prayers. Yuuto would await to be acknowledged while observing the old man himself.
 

Enatsu

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Oct 14, 2012
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Elder Mokuro had been positioned in the same place for nearly twenty more minutes before opening his eyes. He was an older man with bronzed skin much like Yuuto's, and his body was thin. However his expression was full as if the universe had satisfied him. The old man's peaceful gray eyes gave his face a tranquil setting.

“Welcome child, this is a temple, a home for those who worship Raiden. A place where we believe his spirit will touch our will best. It seems that those who come to this place usually find what they seek or gain an answer. What are you looking for today?”

Yuuto sat cross legged and confused about why he was here. On one hand he thought he needed to pray, but what would he be praying to? “Hello my name is Masaru Yuuto and I suppose...” he muttered before stopping mid sentence, rethinking his words before speaking clearer and louder this time. “I suppose I'm here to find confirmation. I was so concerned with protecting my family, protecting the people, that I forgot to protect my values. I am an exiled son of Kumogakure and I am forced to watch my village crumble from thousands of miles away. I do not know if what I did was right, or if I even should have anymore. I have so many things intertwined with me at this point I don't know which way is the right way. So I guess I needed something to tell me it's going to be alright.”

The elder paused for a moment smiling happily before responding. “Young one, your troubles start in the heart. You are filled with conflicting thoughts any man with a pair of working eyes can see that. I do not believe confirmation will heal you. Raiden is an omnipotent being, not one that can interfere with your life. In the end Yuuto only you can decide if what you did is right. Your will, and your convictions will decide your fate not a spirit's will.” The elder would quietly wait for the young man to take in what he was saying.

It made sense to Yuuto far too many times was he choked up about if what he was doing was right and instead of just going forward and confronting the situation head on, he went about it in different manners to deny his thoughts. It seemed like second guessing things was going to play against him in the long run. “Elder, thank you for your words. I guess I imagined that my journey would lead me to some great revelation of comfort but the only comfort I need is to believe in myself and my will. It's always easier to hear from those who are wise.”

The elder would chuckle slapping his knee in response. “No my boy I'm not wise just seasoned. In time you will be to, you just have to live your life and continue down your path learning each step of the way and analyzing how the results sway you. Be like a calm stream, and you will surely find your way.”

That night he learned that the temple had many interesting people but none more than Tanaka. The old woman reminded him of his grandmother and rightfully treated him like her kin. She said that Yuuto reminded her of a son that had been lost to the war. The elder woman said that she could see the same dark look in Yuu's eyes, ones that thirsted for change and no matter how righteous the cause it was bound to bring destruction. However in learning that she realized sometimes things have to go wrong before they can become right. It truly was not a bad philosophy to live, it was one that he could adopt.
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-Nearly 16 Hours After Receiving Advice from Elder Mokuro and Tanaka-

In the dead of the dawn Yuuto stared into the horizon, a seal written in blood beneath his feet. His eyes were focused and determined. He was two miles from the temple and conjuring something clearly quite “dark”. A black veil of shadows surrounded him and in few moments he was transported to a dark real. The world of shadows, the Primordial Realm. He had not been in here in so long since taking down the first Primordial Lord. Yet this time the meeting area seemed like it was floating in the sky as he could stare at the world beneath him. He could see shadows stretching to the east and west but to the north was vivid areas of white and gray as if that portion of the realm was being reshaped. It was the place where he obtained the first soul. The maestro Uzu appeared from a white portal almost as if he was expecting Yuuto to be here.

“What have you brought me today young shadow ward.”

“I have come back to relinquish your “gift”. This power has served me well but a new chapter of my life opens up today.” He had a smirk on his face confidently confronting this creature.

“You realize what is to happen if you give up on our bargain. One by one I begin to drain your clan of my shadows and when they get into situations where they most rely on the enchanted darkness they will find themselves at a loss. They've already felt the weakening do you want me to transition it worse?”

“You speak of curses, and how you can hurt them but my guess is your worthless. You bound me to your will before and truthfully I did not regret the gift however I do now. I realize I betrayed who I was and I had a moment of weakness. I am not that same person anymore, I also realize that you cannot do this without a mortal. Someone attached to my coil of the world. I never said I would not complete your revenge, my clan still needs to be absolved of your darkness but I will not utilize this necromantic crap. I will no longer be what I despise. Now you can take this gift back easily or you can make it hard.”

The creature bellowed a laugh so loud the air shook, but Yuuto stood firm. He was entirely serious and Uzu could feel it. There was nothing left for him to fight for. Even if the ex Anbu was worried about his family he could not help them from here. He was banished and following a blind path would no longer work. Being tied to this country, expected to finish a battle with these prime-evil forces was far beyond his scope of responsibilities. For now he had to focus on his missing cousin, and then he had to figure out what was going on in the world before coming to a true decision about his life. No longer being a Kumogakurian, no longer in range of his clan, there was nothing else for him here at least not yet.

“Fine, I will take back this power but Yuuto do not test me. If you abandon your duties for more than a year an unfortunate thing will happen to your clan and this I can promise. You have one year to return to this origin point and continue your mission. Two more Primordial Lords and the deal is complete.” A crude claw extended in response as a handshake. Yuuto extended his hand as well grasping the cold creature's talons. Little by little, the dark chakra within him began to seep back into Uzu as time progressed an old force began to filter back into the wanderer. It was as if everything he sacrificed here was being brought back, the black hair nestled on his hair began to change it's shade to the deep white he was born with. The curse mark receded heavily, to the point where it was only a small mark on his rib and no longer a large series of runes covering his chest.

Yuuto was finally restored.