In the Face of Older Power (Raizo)

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
Sousuke took Raizo and his attendant into the tower. It was a bit of a walk, but at least Raizo could see what made up the village. He would see several tall steel structures, he would see merchant stands, he would see just a few things that made up the village. When they entered the tower the sun was beginning to set. The Steward would take him into the dining room. He would have the two seated and he would then disappear for a moment. He would return with a platter. The platter had several cold cut meats, vegetables, and a pitcher of water. He would place down the platter and prepare two plates. He would also pour two glasses of water and push them forward. "Apologies. I am not a great cook, it's something that never caught on in terms of my ... extensive skill set. Lord Kuro is a far better cook that I am, but he is not ... always accessible."<i></i> There was something different to be said about the Steward. He did not call for someone to attend them, instead it was he who attended them. He was upfront about his flaw.

The Steward would remove his cloak and put it on the chair. He would take a seat not close, but not distant from Raizo and his attendant. He would turn his head away from the moment and he would remove parts of his helmet. Raizo could see some of the inner workings, but he would not see the metallic skeleton that was beneath the full the full helmet. The Steward leaned back into his chair and his eyes would go blank for a moment. His eyes were simply black and were not glowing. He would then remove the faceplate to his helmet and reveal the visage of a metallic skeletal face. He would place the faceplate down and remove the edges around it. The eyes would then proceed to glow a low white. It was a more personable moment for the Steward, but people were getting used to it. The Steward did not eat in a traditional sense, but he still understood the need for it.

"Should I gather more nourishment, or will this suffice?"<i></i> Sousuke would fold his fingers together and once again lean back into his chair. "You have a story for me, and now we have the time to recollect it. This is the first time a Ryuzaki has been in Sungakure since... well, it's been far too long."<i></i> Sousuke had knowledge of the clan. They remained in Sora for a long time. They were close to the Diamyo. The Steward did not know how close the relationship was, but he suspected that they were ... not in the deepest circle of trusts. Sousuke was suspect of a few things. He had not been in politics for over twenty years without knowing a thing or two. The youth though, he suspected, was an innocent in certain regards.
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0


The zombie-like Raizo would follow the Steward to the tower, cutting through the village in the process. Being a village wasn't something new. He had been to Sora countless times with his family, even though he did spend the majority of his time in the Ryuzaki Estates. They were not a shut off people, but from all the information they had, he never really understood what Sunagakure no Sato looked like. This would be his first official time seeing this specific village. It was strange. It was a place all Ryuzaki knew of, but he just never had an image of it. There was a quaintness to it, to the people that bustled around within it. There was a beauty to it, to how the environment played with the setting, to how the buildings were designed. There was something special about this place, or so he believed. The Sunahoshi had held it for so long, to the point that their bloodline might have been completely quelled due to it. There was something magical, something terrifying... but mostly, something important about this place. He had to see it for himself.

Upon getting to the Tower and taking some time to eat, he would continue to process everything, slowly waking up with each bite. Yukina would grow quiet during this time, but that is because she herself probably needed a moment to recharge. Speaking of recharging, it would seem the Steward was going to do something similar as well as he went through a process that would involve him removing pieces of his outfit and exposing what was behind his mask, which to Raizo looked like another mask. The glowing white returning to the eyes would cause both the eyes of Raizo and Yukina to almost bulge out of their skulls. This was rather odd sight indeed.

Raizo's mouth would open for a moment, hanging agape. Yukina would begin to worry about what would escape his mouth, especially at such a sight, but then she would breathe a sigh of relief as Raizo's mouth would shut. He would return to eating for a moment before answering the Steward's question.

"Oh no, this is more than enough, thank you!"

He would take a few more bites, his brain still processing everything before finally turning his attention back to the Steward.

"I do have a story... but I would like to ask you a question or two first if you don't mind."

Yukina's curiousity would be peaked by this as she would turn straight to her lord. They had not prepped this, after spending a solid month discussing how he would handle his story to the "Takahashi Sousuke" that had been writing to the Ryuzaki.

"First, who are you? I know you introduced yourself... but who are you. Why are you like this now. What have you done within this village. You hold the mantle of Steward, so I assume there is a trust in you... but why?"

"Lord Raizo--"

"Silence, Yukina."

Her face would grow red but her mouth would not open again.

"Second, what is the importance of this village? How would you explain it to someone who has never been here? Why have the Sunahoshi seemingly been eradicated for such a place?"

Yukina wished she could have interjected here as well, worrying that his words would be too biting, especially with how the Steward had reacted earlier.

"Third, what is currently happening in this land? You mentioned "The Swarm"... what is transpiring that causes this village to be filled with a nervous energy?"

He would take a deep breath before tapping the table.

"Lastly, how long had you been writing letters to the Ryuzaki? Why did you write letters to the Ryuzaki?"

There was no reason to believe he didn't understand how some of the answers would probably be provided, so it wasn't that he was looking for anything earth shattering, he just needed to hear it from the man... the man... himself. This was something, when Raizo reflected on himself and his future as leader of the clan, that he felt he needed to do. He needed to understand so much, because he had a very important decision to make sooner rather than later.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
Sousuke would remain sitting in a relaxed position. He would unknit his fingers together. He would push his palms together. He would allow the questions. "Son of Legatus, I am a descendant of the Red Steel, who was the first named Takahashi. I have been the Lord Steward, and with some regret, the Kazekage. I prefer to identify myself as the Lord Steward. I have been custodian of these lands for over two decades."<i></i> He would answer. "I have several titles. I have been called Black Steel. Guardian Protectorate. Pestilence. Just to name a few. There is also a collection of ... other names I've been called which are derogatory such as Retard. I won't bore you with those as those are probably far more numerable."<i></i> He would add for good measure. The next question was a little more simple to ask. "For the majority of my life I have been functioning without a human soul. I obtained my at a great cost being my flesh and bone body. I was in essence destroyed for a time. That has occurred twice. Once when I far in my twenty-sixth year. It was far less problematic."<i></i> The next question. He would make a gesture to refer to his surroundings. "I have kept this village intact, most times. I have kept it from being destroyed. I have kept it from falling in debt."<i></i> The final question of the first set. "The trust placed in me is something my family has had since the end of the war that freed humanity from the Ancients. Originally it was from Mother Suna, but the trust has been now placed in me by the people within this village. I trust in my people, and the trust in me. I work for them, and they in turn work for me."<i></i> People needed a ruler, and a ruler needed people. A dangerous concept.

"The village has a historical importance. A testament to show how far mankind has ... survived and grown since the Elder days. We are a community of people who have deep roots within the land itself. The lineage of the First Men can be traced here and to you. We faltered in our responsibilities once, but we are working to correct that."<i></i> The second question was far harder to be answered. Even by the Steward. "Envy mayhaps? The Daimyo wanted a Wind Country under his banner. We and Soon's Scantuary have been always independent. It has always been that way, and it ... caused him to look weak. Power is a curious thing, but more dangerous is one's greed to have power."<i></i> Perhaps not the best answer. "I cannot determine why the Daimyo thinks having total power is most desirable, and ... enslaving people being part in it. It is most like an a Prime Ancient from the Elder days. I do not know what you've been told, but the Daimyo has had a hand in no less than two Sunahoshi clan members. Lord Hiro and his brother Lord Daisuke"<i></i>

"There was a confrontation not that long ago. An ally the Daimyo had -- revealed his hand. He had in fact been using the Daimyo. A new devilry had been revealed, this is the swarm. At the head of it is the Anti-thesis of Primus ... and entity known as Domninus. He will strike, it is a matter of when. I project that he will not be in the first wave to attack us directly. He perhaps wants to test us, but not Wind Country. I am correcting a wrong my father had done during the Diamond Maelstrom. Sungakure is not shutting itself off, it is opening its gates to those who need sanctuary."<i></i> Sousuke explained. The last two questions. "Too long... since I was fifteen? I am now forty-one. I have been trying to rally all Descendants of the First Men. We will always be stronger together than seperated."<i></i>
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0


He would listen to the entirity of the Stewards responses. He would wait fully for the man to finish before he would speak, but even then there would be a pregnant pause. Within that moment of silence, his brain would continue to process and piece together everything he had heard. The whispers of the man he knew closely as a family friend were now being spoken very loudly by a person he had just met. The story of this land, of its importance, all of it was a lot to take in. That was the thing though, to take the full time needed for him to truly process ever minutia of the Steward's words would be a luxury a leader would never fully get. If he was going to be the next leader of the Ryuzaki, he could not delay response, but he could not be full-hearty in such a response. It was a delicate and precarious line to negotiate... and with a deep breath, he would attempt to cross the line with as much balance as he could.

"You speak a lot of trust, you paint yourself as a man of duty, you paint this land as one of significance far greater than just to you... would it be rude for me to make an assessment of you, Steward Sousuke?"

At this point, Yukina could only hold her breath.

"Earlier, you mentioned that we were all pawns... yet in your responses right now you don't sound like a man that truly believes that. Strip away the flesh of a man, strip away the bones of a man, coat him in metal, bind him with magic, with science... anyway you cut it, you are not the kind of person, at your essence, that truly sees the board as being full of pawns. You strike me as the person that only sees one true pawn on your side of the board... and that would be you."

He would nod for a moment as the idea continued to form within his mind as he spoke.

"You will give all of yourself for these people, for these soldiers of the village... it's not a novel idea but its one that is rather few and far between in military leaders."

No matter how you cut it, that is what the shinobi village was. Sure, there was clearly more to it, but the primary players of this place were military men and women, trained to serve as an army for the cause of its leader and its people.

"You talk down yourself a bit, I imagine you have seen a lot of tragedy... but you can't coat in metal and hide that heart of yours. You hold responsibility for all of these people, not because they ask you to, not because they call to you to do such, but because you believe you owe it to them. You are a noble man."

He would then slam his fist into the palm of his open other hand.

"And for that reason, I like you Steward Takahashi Sousuke."

He would nod, and that would be that.

"So, the story I came to speak isn't necessarily a long one... so let me just put it out there. The Ryuzaki are unaware of your plight, are unaware of your requests... my father, I believe, has been suppressing your letters. I cannot say for what reason, but the easy leap to make would be that he has personally aligned himself with Uncle Shiro... *ahem* the Daimyo Ishii Shiro. I can honestly say, whatever horrors you know or assume the Daimyo has been involved in, have never been relayed within the estates of the Ryuzaki. Yet, we also were not pulled into the conflict with you. It seems the Daimyo did not plan to manipulate us into fighting you, but cared more about keeping us off the board in general. The man you know as the one who is responsible for the deaths of two Sunahoshi, is a man who has helped raise me, my sister, and many of my cousins. He is a man that has always been kind to me... yet, when reading your messages, your words did not seem dishonest. My father is a good man, but he is a selfish man. I can accept his role in suppressing your messages as he seems to hold a rather minority opinion that occasionally pops up within our clan: outright jealousy of the Sunahoshi. I could see my father seeing a man with an ax to grind that would be in conflict with that Blessed Bloodline as someone he wished to keep close to him..."

He would let out a sigh.

"I am here to decide for myself. Is this a place my family can return to, is this a place where we belong. I wished to do that by talking to the Sunahoshi and settling some issues that have laid within our histories for far too long. Yet, it seems I will not get that chance."

He would then slam his fist once more into his open palm.

"So then I will fight on behalf of this village, help resolve your conflict, find your Sunahoshi, and bring peace to this country... as a true and proper Ryuzaki Konungr should do!"

He would let out a hearty laugh as he would slap his own knee. Even though his words carried a weight that might seemed impossible to carry, his expression and energy would show that he was dead serious about what he planned to do. This was not a pipe dream, this was a to-do list.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
The Lord Steward would shake his head. It was not rude to make an assessment of the Steward. He had thick plating, which at one point he would call thick skin. He would indeed agree to an assessment of Raizo. Sousuke welcomed people to make an assessment of him. People could talk about it out loud and others could keep an assessment quietly to themselves. Raizo was the sort of person who seemingly needed to talk things out loud. It wasn't a bad thing, it was just a way for people to process the data being given to them. Sousuke was not free of such quirks either, as he would simply stare into the sky and phase out for a moment or two. The assessment Raizo had made was not wrong. Sousuke owed the people of Sungakure many things, and for one prime reason. The historical truth and reality was damning and damaging. The Steward would keep mum about those facts. He could not allow Sungakure to fold inward on itself because of the one ultimate truth. Mother Suna was a fraud.

Raizo would reveal a number of things. He would reveal that his letters were being censored. Sousuke would consider it the position that Raizo was in. It was not an easy position. His eyes would glow a low white. He would stroke his chin with his index finger and his thumb. Sousuke had a theory about it. There was a possibility that the Daimyo may keep Sungakure in tact as an entity, but make use of the Ryuzaki clan as a new figure to step in for the Sunahoshi. It was a political move to make things seem to be legitimate - put in a descendant of the First Men to rule. Was that paranoia setting in? Probably. The Steward was a man who considered all options in endless calculations.

"How long would it take for you to make a decision about the village being a place for you and your family to live in?"<i></i> The young man wanted to resolve an age of feud with the Sunahoshi. There was no harm in that. Raizo wanted to fight it out. In truth this age old feud was ... built upon the fraud that Mother Suna was. She even once admitted to Sousuke that the Takahashi should have been the ones blessed with her power. Equally it was of some concern. Sousuke was not well learned in what consisted of their sort of fight. Was outright killing permitted? "The land deserves peace. I am glad that ... some people can see that. Sometimes people are bred into war and it becomes their original state of nature. I suppose that can be said about all of us. I am grateful for your pledge."<i></i> He was given a pause for a moment. He considered the nature of Raizo. "You know ... if Lord Katuso had a son. I would like to think he would be much like you. The two of you have a very bright outlook on things. The two of you also seem to find fun in things that I do not easily find."<i></i>
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0

"Me? A son of the Sunahoshi? Are you insulting me?!"

There would be a moment of preponderance over this accusation. His brain would continue to work the non-word problem like it was in fact a word problem. Trying to piece together whether the Steward was mocking him or just simply making a joke or was he being sincere. It was maddening. He would take a sip of his drink but his eyes would be locked on Sousuke like a hawk to a mouse.

"Lord Raizo, it was a compliment."

"AH! Wait... how so?"


"He is saying that you exhibit qualities of the Sunahoshi that leads this village, good qualities."

"But it is a Sunahoshi..."


"Correct. He isn't looking at the age-old grudge. He is merely saying a nice thing between the two of you."

He would pause for a moment as he attempted to further process her words.

"So...he is saying that this Sunahoshi happens to be a beacon of hope much like myself!? Well it is odd way of paying respects to that Sunahoshi, but it must truly be a honor to be like me!"

There would be another round of laughing, which would most likely only include himself as Yukina would not join in, only rolling her eyes, and it was highly doubtful Sousuke would have also been on board with the laughter. Then things would once more get serious.

"When will I make a decision?"

There would a pause as he would begin tapping the table top with his right index finger. It was a very interesting question, and honestly one that many might have assumed he would have already figured out by now. Yet, that wasn't the case. It was something, when he thought about it, that he couldn't answer until he saw it for himself. Until he experienced it.

"I will make the decision once I have had a chance to see this village for myself. The Blessing bestowed upon the Sunahoshi was a powerful thing, but for me it was never the end all be all. It was a blessing for one bloodline but our history book never states it was a curse to the others... yet it seems like the direct lines often times treat it that way, or at least my clan has. I don't agree with that. I want to see if this village is what it has been made out to be by history, by Mother Suna, by the rule of the Sunahoshi, and by your very words... I want to see for my own eyes if this place would be just as important for my family. So far, I can say I have enjoyed the one person of the village I have met. You are a weirdo, you are sincere, you are wise... if everyone is as interesting as you are I am sure I could be won over in no time!"

Another round of leg slapping laughter. He would think about another thing that the Steward had said.

"Peace comes with a price... it sounds like this village has already paid some of that cost. How much more do you think you owe? How much more can you afford to give?"

It would be something that would come immediately off the cuff for him, not processing his questions too much or considering their negative impacts or if they might have any. Were they too cold of a response?

"Tell me about your enemy... tell me about this Dominus. Do you know any more of him, his plan, his motives, his power... his location?"
 

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
Raizo at the Steward traded eye contact. The two were locked into a staring contest. Raizo was going to lose in a staring contest. He was not going to win against a machine. It took Sousuke a moment while listening to the conversation at hand to realize that ... the word or name Sunahoshi itself was like a curse word. He would allow the attendant to do the necessary here and make the needed explanation. When given the explanation Raizo had indeed arrived at the point that he needed to. That this was indeed a compliment. Sousuke would nod his head. Maybe it wasn't the best time to bring up that Katuso was indeed much older than him. Katuso had a few years on Sousuke. It could be said that Katuso had aged better than Sousuke did, but Sousuke had ruled Sungakure for much longer and was perhaps under higher amounts of pressure. That wasn't to say Katuso did not pull his weight, far from it. Katuso for a time had a metallic body, but somehow he had bounced back from it. How he did so? That was a mystery unto the Lord Steward.

Raizo erupted in laughter. The Steward would not erupt in such a laughter, but there was a chuckle to be had. Raizo was younger, and indeed for to say that it was an honour to be like him? That was a curious thing. It was funny though because Raizo in this case was the younger one. He was talking down to his elder, but that what amusing. The conversation would then turn serious. The Steward was given his answer which was acceptable. It was out of the Steward's hands now. Seemingly he had delivered a good first impression to this, but it would require the village to continue it. He was asked about what further he could give. Sousuke would look down at his mechanical hands. He would make a gripping motion with his hands. He was grasping at something invisible. "I gave my adult life. Shouki caused me to put my relationship with a woman down for ... quite some time. I've recently picked that up again. I'm not dead yet, but I'm not what I used to be. If I'm dead then... there isn't much more for me to give."<i></i> It was a cryptic answer. It was not the best answer he could put into words. Raizo had not lived in Sungakure, as such he did not see the changes that the Steward had underwent in his over two decades of rule or assisted ruling.

Sousuke was then asked about Dominus. "In the broadest sense? Genocide. I would like to think his ... surrounding nobles are playing at their own games. I've yet to unravel them. One of them is Nao. He betrayed the Daimyo... a curious thing considering he's a very old friend. Ever meet him? He's of an age older than me, but looks young and dresses ... like a young person?"<i></i> Sousuke had very little data about Dominus. "His power set must be higher than that of the First Men. He battled both the Kazekage and Roku. He held his ground. I can tell you ... he likes his weaponry. He has an axe, which makes me think he is a man of the highest marshal prowess. His location? Working on intel for that one. Don't have an answer presently for that one. I think he is ... old and by old I mean back in the days of Primus, Legatus, and the Red Steel."<i></i>
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0
He would think it over for a moment when Sousuke mentioned the name "Nao" and while it would not immediately set off any memories, the description would cause a sick feeling to creep across his skin.

"There was a man, he was never allowed in our estate, mainly because I believe father even felt the... wrongness... about him, but Unc... the Daimyo never invited him in either. He would accompany the Daimyo and there was always something about him... he gave off a vibe, a scent... there was something truly terrible about him. His aura was grotesque. It always felt that he was looking at us, at me, at my cousins, as a customer at a butcher looks at slabs of meat. His eyes never saw people."

He would continue to listen to the Steward explain Dominus, or at least what he knew of Dominus, which unfortunately was not a lot. It would make sense, it seemed this danger was suddenly sprung up on them and was something that even caught the Daimyo off guard. He clearly didn't know Shiro as well as he thought he did, but he did know the man to be confident and prepared, so for even him to be blindsided by this emerging villain was a feat in and of itself. Dominus, whether he was a figure from their past or not, was clearly a force to be reckoned with.

"A Pure Blood... but you are saying you believe him to not be like you or I, or even your Sunahoshi for that matter? So not a descendant..."

His mind would seem to pause for a moment as he trying to process fully the words that were already leaping off of his tongue.

"...but an ancestor?"

He would begin to tap the table once more as he thought and mauled over the idea within his mind. One thing was for certain, he was not necessarily taken back by the idea of an ancestor, a relic of the past, still being around. No, it was something different.

"Steward Sousuke, you are this village's Journeyman? You can 'craft the essence of life in the lifeless', right?"

For him it was not a question if Sousuke was a Journeyman, he could tell by the metal that wrapped around him like flesh and clothing that the man was more than just a skilled craftsman. He was so much more, and for Raizo that would equate to a member of the sacred Order. He would continue to try and figure out the best way to put how he wanted to say.

"Do you truly believe this Dominus to be from a time when the Reclaimers brought this land, and salvation, to humanity?"
 

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
Sousuke never met Nao. He had only heard of him. He was given the description of the man. Hearing what Raizo had to say about the man was unsettling. At the very least it was good to hear that the Raizo's father had a particular feeling about the man. Raizo described his father as a good man, but he was a flawed man who was steeped in the past. To hear that he would not permit Nao onto the Ryuzaki estate allowed Sousuke to be reassured. On one hand the elder was blocking his missives, but at the very least he was not a stupid man. On the inside it stung Sousuke knowing that he was being censored. That much remained. To hear a description of how Nao looked at people continued to paint a picture of a despicable and detestable man. Sousuke's eyes would turn from a low white to a medium red. Nao had much to answer for, both in terms of for what he had done, but what was his endgame? He was one of the key players in the return of the slave trade in Wind Country. It was an unsettling thing, that the present had turned in on itself and took several steps back. To allow such an ugly thing of the past to return? It did not sit well with the Lord Steward. He had been trying to shut this thing down one block at a time from the shadows. He had been successful on many fronts. The Steward's metallic hands balled into fists. At that moment he had realized he was expressing anger. The red glow from his eyes would disappear and return to that low white. He would uncurl his fists and place them back on the table.

When Sousuke was asked if he could craft the essence of life in the lifeless, he would nod his head. "It is a skillset I have, but not that many people are aware of it. This kind of power is not what one wants to broadcast. I speak to metal and metal speaks to me in a way most people would not understand."<i></i> He would answer. He was then questioned if he truly believed if Dominus was from the past. He considered the question. It was entirely possible that it was an illusion that was presented. A very good one, if that was indeed the truth. "I've seen many strange things in this life time. I have seen monstrosities that do not adhere to the natural rule of law. I have seen madness manifest itself with gibbering maws upon maws. I have watched simple science be undone by the fantastic and by sorcery. I have seen the dead simply rise up, and return to a ... living status."<i></i> Sousuke would pause for a moment. His eyes broke off and stared at seemingly nothing. He seemed to phase out as all those memories entered his mind and exited his mind at speeds that could not be understood. He snapped out of it soon enough. This was really not the topic at hand here. He was asked a question. "You didn't need to hear that. My ... apologies. Do I truly believe it is possible? I am inclined to think so. The Kirishii, I'm unsure if you've met one, they are more ... long lived than we are. Their leader ... is at least one hundred years old, if not more. Are suggesting that Dominius is ... not a flesh being, that he is a puppet or a construct?"<i></i>
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0

He would smirk a bit listening to the Steward.

"Man, I was always given the impression that Suna had let their knowledge of the history and the arts of The Orders to fade from memory. I guess that was just a bit mistaken information as you seemed to be well versed with it all. I can only imagine that the rest in this village are at least somewhat as knowledgeable as you since you sit at the top of the village."

He would chuckle for a bit as he would be oblivious to maybe the true reality of that not being as far off from his original assumption as he thought. Sousuke was a different breed altogether when contrasting him with your average Sunan. His knowledge was rooted in deep, his reach was far and wide. It would not take long to realize that outside of some selected individuals, the ties to the past were at best obscured and at worst were forgotten entirely.

"Do I think Dominus is something less than human... something affixed to this world by the work of a Journeyman?"

He would pause for a very brief moment.

"No. I don't think that is necessarily the case. I guess my questioning was more along the thought of this... did you believe it was possible for humans to extend their life? My Ancestor, Legatus, according to our historical records outlived the normal life expectancy most humans by several decades, and the spooky scary stories told in my house is that he might not actually be dead. So I guess if I trust in those stories, then I can't dismiss that this Dominus person is truly an unearthed relic of the past. And his "Swarm", I believe I have encountered them but they were unlike anything I had ever seen before. Any idea what those things are?"
 

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
Sousuke's metallic expression soured for a moment. Raizo wasn't really wrong. "Such knowledge was lost for a time. We were fortunate enough to recover it."<i></i> Sousuke was still grateful for that encounter with Fuu that he had. While he was not a fan of the woman, he would not forget her contribution to Sungakure. Her plans were twisting and consuming, but it could not be argued that she she was not a resourceful woman."The village does have vast knowledge, but one must look for it. One must apply themselves. A candy vendor is well versed in the craft of making delicious and good looking confectionaries, but ... I would not expect them to be capable of building a library."<i></i> He spoke in an attempt to try and curb Raizo's vision. The people of Sungakure were for the most part a good people. They were a hearty people. They had a vast skill set, but that skill set was not equally distributed due to the human condition. At least Raizo had an inkling of it. "Do make a visit to Yuna's Confectionaries. She is excellent at her craft. I can visually appreciate it, but taste? I can only imagine."<i></i>

Sousuke would mull over what Raizo had said. He would consider what he had experienced. "We humans have always tried to give themselves more time. It is a resource that cannot be regained, only lost. Whether or not one can succeed is another matter entirely. "<i></i> Given his newer body, Sousuke had yet to long term consider the fact of time. Had he in fact been able to delay his own cease function? He would need to consider this matter later but not at this particular moment in time. He would return to the present topic. "The Diamond Maelstrom had been kept active through an animated corpse of a Sunahoshi. This was Katuso's uncle, Lord Daisuke. I had to compare what I saw with what pictures we had of him. There were some aging , and that was over a period of ... over two decades. I was born after the Maelstrom had started. I guess what I'm trying to say is ... yes it is possible."<i></i> Sousuke would press his palms together again. His fingers would knit together. The concept of immortality was a perplexing notion. There was technology to prolong life, there was sorcery to further prolong it, there was also the concept of divinity. Gods have taken part in this. "Shouki, I am unsure if you have encountered him, his chosen Diety being Jashin has made him immortal. I've defeated him twice, but I suspect he will return. He has survived being dissolved by stomach acid, and his flesh melted into maggots and worms. I do expect him to return. It is possible that Dominus has been able to maintain himself due to Jashin. With what information I was given, I did not hear him proclaiming the power of Jashin. "<i></i>
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0

Yukina would quickly decipher the situation and understand how Raizo should handle answering a certain part of the Steward's words. He should either ignore it or play coy to a certain degree. She also knew that he would not do that, in which case she began to process how to handle the situation as damage control. She now just had to wait for Raizo to open his mouth.

"I will be honest with you, Uncle Steward, I do know Shouki. I have sparred against him in the past when I was probably... like 12 years old. At that point in my life, albeit he was cold, I never got any bad feelings from him, not as I had with Nao. But again, I was 12. The grander picture isn't always clear when your point of view is much lower."

He would shrug a bit. It was clear the Daimyo and his bastard son were viewed much differently than what he knew of them. The fact Shouki had been put through all that damage and seemed to come back once from what would have assumed to be death... was something he would not have imagined. But it seemed that the god Jashin had something to do with the story.

"Jashin, a foreigner god. The days of our ancestors you wouldn't have found someone borrowing that things power or spouting around his name... not when our literal gods were living breathing pains in the asses to humanity. I guess when you think about it... our history, mythology and religions seem pretty weird."

Another round of chuckling where it was just him more than likely laughing. This would not last too long, usually, when he tickled himself it would be short-lived when no one else would join in.

"So, question. Are you the leader of the village now? Who are the generals commanding this army? What is your strategy for combatting this Dominus and his Swarm?"

It was time for him to start taking inventory of the current situation to better assess his role as an ally.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
Uncle Steward. That was a funny term. Sousuke had no siblings. If he married Yume, and if Shinji had children he would be an uncle then. That was the old way of how Sousuke used to think. He understood the term of Uncle being used here in a matter as an honoury title. Sousuke's entire head twitched at the mention that he used to duel with Shouki. There was a moment of great concern. Great concern because Sousuke knew that Shouki had in fact tortured and harmed his half-brother who was Susumu. "Well then!"<i></i> He would exclaim with great surprise, "If you sparred with him, you are looking better than his brother does. Susumu openly revealed that his brother tortured him. It is of some concern, and I suspect you can understand why"<i></i> The Steward in his younger years had various odd relationships with people. One romantic with is paramour Sagasu Yume. One that was admirable with a foreign witch - Hakumei. Then there was the odd case of Susumu. It was something that Sousuke did not often talk to others about. It was perplexing. It was hard to tell if he was being used by Susumu to ensure that he would come to power a lot sooner... or otherwise. Raizo commented that his point of view was different on Shouki because at the time he was twelve. Sousuke would add to that statement in his own way "One's point of view is also effected pending if you see things from the shadows or in the burning light of day."[/b]

"We're very much affected by foreign powers or cultures once one opens the boarders. It is an inevitability. It does bore some useful fruits. I do have a personal theory of Jashin himself ... but I won't bore you with that in the fullest form. I will merely suggest that he is mayhaps an Ancient of a long dead tribe. That's of course suggesting Jashin came from Wind Country."<i></i> Sousuke would suggest. He would listen to the chuckling produced by Raizo. This was refreshing. Laughter was a rarity these days. The mood would suddenly change then. "In the absence of a Sunahoshi... the mantle of leadership does fall onto me. Unfortunately one of my fellow sennin - Roku - is missing. My other sennin Kazuki ... he has not reported in for some time, which is distressing."<i></i> It truly was a hard time to be in Sungakure. "A former sennin, Kuro Toraono has returned after recovering from personal loss."<i></i> Again not a very bright picture being painted here. "I didn't answer a question you had asked me earlier. What is this swarm? Right now we're engaging in fact finding missions. Rangers have been deployed to find single members of the swarm to capture. Oracles are dissecting them. I hope to have a weakness of them revealed in this present state of discovery and fact finding missions. Journeymen are preparing weapons for the wall. We do suspect an attack is imminent."
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0
He would listen, he would absorb, he would think, he would cross his arms, he would make "hmmmming" noises. All of this would be throughout the course of Sousuke's words. While his intelligence, outwardly to others, probably always looked more aloof, there was always one moment that would get his brain processing at the highest level; battle talk. Thanks to his family's training, he knew that battle talk did not begin and end with the actual battle itself. Oh no, the battle happened well before that and well after that. Understanding the "armies" was one of the broadest, but first, steps to take in assessing the battle. As the Steward talked, it appeared that the board Suna had to work with was apparently weakened. They had missing key pieces, including their "king" and most of their generals. It would cause his face to wrinkle up as he continued to think about it. Then there was the explanation of The Swarm.

"I punched a couple of them, but had to use extreme lethal measures to put them down. They look like humans, or once like humans, but they wreak of death and give off a horrible vibe. They may look human, but they are something else now. Some cruel, in the application and in creation. When I did hit them hard enough to kill them... they crumbled apart like they were nothing more than dust being held together."

That was the best amount of information he could supply at this time as he too wished to have more knowledge of the things. He would then, arms still crossed, turn to Yukina.

"Yu, what is the hierarchy of Suna?"

"Academy student to Genin, Genin to Chuunin, Chuunin to Jounin, Sennin are specially appointed leaders and the Kazekage is the head of the Suna military machine. There are side services, with the two biggest specialties being the Medical Field and a Shadow OPs known as 'ANBU'. That is all the knowledge we have on the structure of Sunagakure no Sato."

In case Sousuke would look at this puzzled, Raizo would clarify.

"My father believed it would be in the best interest to keep us informed on the structure of Suna as a military, no so much as the village as a whole."

He would then go back to his thinking. His right foot would begin to tap as his brain would take into consideration all the different pieces of information.

Ok so what is the best piece to move around within the board for Suna? I don't know what they have, I merely know what they are missing. Essentially they are without two generals and their head, their king. They have the Steward, so that is a good sign. His brain seems well placed for a general. He looks at the bigger picture. It also means that he can't do it alone, as the fear he would miss smaller pieces. Also, his lineage is trade to take a mantle, they aren't trained to be warlords. Hmmm... so what is the best strategy without causing issues for this village. I mean I am merely an onlooker right now... but this does sound like a lot of fun... damn it, what would my father do? No, no, no... no, that is not the right question. What would Konungr do? What would I do? What would I do as a Konungr? Yea... ok...

He would clear his throat as he would uncross his arms.

"I am going to say this, and I fully understand that I am overstepping my boundaries, and I am very sorry for that, Steward Takahashi Sousuke, but I believe I have a very helpful suggestion to help bolster your village's military strength."

Yukina's eyebrow would arch up as she was uncertain as to what he was about to say.

"Appoint me as your Kazekage. Just as an interim appointment until Sunahoshi...Katsu?... can be found and returned to that mantle."

His words would not be unsure. His words would not waver. This was his confident declaration. This was his resolve. This was his honest suggestion for helping this village.

Yukina: ...

 

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
The meeting with the Ryuzaki heir had done for the most part pleasant. Sousuke had been observing the formalities required of him. The young heir had made an impression. Even when the attendant recited out loud the military functions and rankings of Sungakure. Sousuke expected no less. The fact that the boy's father did not grow suspect of the financial side of Sungakure or the social aspects was a flaw. Sungakure had not be in debt. It had managed to stay above water consistently due to the Steward's financial and budgetary tact. "Your father should have kept track of other things as well, but to keep up to date with our military is expected." Would it be correct to call Sungakure a financial powerhouse? No. They were a higher than middling power. Sungakure had kept most of its assets inside. Yes there were trade deals with local farmers and the likes. There were no trade deals with Soon's Sanctuary. It was surprising how much one could get done with investing in smaller parties. That was perhaps a trade secret. People like the Daimyo and the Merchant Lords in Soon's got far off the backs of who they called 'little people'. Deal with those little people on a personal basis and refusing to refer to them as little people? That gathers respect. Respect was power. Respect was able to gather favours and a different level of bargaining.

The dialogue continued and it opened into territory that was game changing. In a few short sentences the entire situation had changed. It came with little warning. The Steward heard the suggestion. To older generations it would be considered high heresy. He thought for a moment he could heard the Storm Lord of the Oushi-ja spit out his tea across the table. For a moment he thought he could hear the old dead nobles roll in their grave. Sousuke placed his metallic hand on the table. His fingers tapped the table. The audible clacking of the digits upon the wood. His brain racing through the possibilities here. "I accept. Conditionally." There were a number of ill factors, but the good ones were outweighing them. The heir of Primus was missing, but to have the heir of the second most prominent combative descendant of the First Men to step up? Sousuke considered this in fact to be a miracle being born."We have went from you considering living here to out front you occupying the highest position of power for what may be a short time or in fact a long time. I do not wish to occupy the throne, again might I add. I will say this though... our population is wide and varied. We have demons, peacefully, living among us. We have half-ancients, peacefully, living among us. We have what some may refer to as demi-gods, living among us. Some have referred to be as a machine. Suffice it to say, you will have to accept this if you are to in fact rule us. There are those out there who would call you usurper. There are those who would suggest you might be trying to bring out civil war as Legatus was the rival of Primus." These were hard facts and the young lordling would have to deal with them. He could not go about punching and kicking his way to victory. Yes violence, for the most part, solved a number of worldly problems. Violence did not win things without a cost. The Lord Steward would raise from his chair. He would place his hands behind his back. "Over the years I've acquired an insurmountable amounts of favours. I can call in those favours to make the transition of power ... to be an easier one. I do not acquire favours for nefarious purposes. I work for people, and take nothing from them. They instead merely ask that when I need help, to call upon them." He would pause for a moment. "Do not ask us to forgive the Daimyo, and please do not cause a ruckus with your main household. I would like to think ... you would keep me around as your Lord-Steward."
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0
He would nod to the words of the Steward as it would only reaffirm his original assessment of the man. He has an eye for the bigger picture, not getting lost in the small, more immediate issues, he had already processed several steps ahead. This man was more than likely one of the main reasons the village survived its most recent decades of hardships.

"I accept your conditions and your overseeing of my time in the role. Of course, I don't simply see you as a banner house of the Sunahoshi. The Takahashi, or at least you, are the banner house for the village of Sunagakure no Sato. Without you, there would be no point in even asking for the position."

He would pause for a moment as a devilish grin would appear upon his face.

"Oh no..." his words would be filled with feigned surprise, "... with such a decision made and accepted, it would seem the Ryuzaki would almost have no choice but to rejoin the ranks of Sunagakure no Sato!!!"

It would be at this time that Yukina would go from shocked at the bold request of her lord to more awestruck. She knew he wanted to rejoin the village, though he would never outright state it. She knew that even if he fell in love with the village and its people, it would always be an uphill battle for him. So she was always uncertain how he would do it, and deep down felt like this was merely an exercise in futility. Even accepting a position as a shinobi would not have been enough, she would have assumed, as the equivalency would always favor his clan and his future role within the clan. But now, with this sort of announcement, it would be something that would merit the clan to take his request even more seriously. It was a calculated move that would push his father's hand and secure Raizo had the sway to pull off the move. It was rather... impressive.

"Also, and this again might be me overstepping my boundaries and speaking too boldly, but my entire life I have been raised with a military mind and a military upbringing. This village, essentially serving as a military base, is more... hmmm, I guess the best way to put it would be familiar than you might assume. Where I would falter would be within what you discussed, the views of the people and additionally in understanding the manner in which operations here are handled and executed, along with other nuances I would necessarily know right away. But in totality, I viewed this rather simply as an ideal fit. Perfect for my own agenda and perfect for your village's agenda, and unitarily, perfect for our joint agenda. The ultimate goal is to save not only this village but save this country, and we can do that together. Alone, there are no certainties."

He would then puff out his chest and let out another round of laughter.

"Boy, this village is already turned out to be one hell of an adventure!"

And without even hesitating, his expression would return to a serious one.

"I would like to scout out members of this military and start trying to not only assess our overall strength but start to assemble some key pieces we are currently missing. You mentioned demons or at least half-demons, are they the Toraono? Our clan has made note of them, so it would make sense they would be joining in... but half-Ancients... now that seems like an odd story. Either way, do you have a list of these people? I would like to draw my own assessment. I will honor whatever pacts you've made or Katsu has made, but I need to get barrings on these things sooner rather than later."

His mind was already working on the next step in all of this. Even though this was partially a strategic move for him to gain the edge in his tug of war with his father, this was also something he legitimately viewed himself as being a favorable candidate for, even without knowing the village. It was war, so selecting a man of war would seem like a fairly non-outrageous move. But he also knew it would not be that easy, not all would view this matter in the way that Sousuke did.
 
Last edited:

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
What Raizo said was true. Sousuke and the House Takahashi were not merely banner men of the Sunahoshi. They were in fact the banner men of the village as a whole. Raizo knew that he needed the Steward as much as Steward and the village needed him. "Hrmph." An amused sound came out of the Lord Steward as Raizo spoke of realizing what had happened. Yes this was very much a fact. He wondered how the elder Ryuzaki would react to know what had happened here. The same wonderment came over the Steward as he was curious as to what would be happening in the Glorious Palace as the Daimyo would come to learn of what transpired here due to a visiting member of his fellow nobles. There would be perhaps some cursing, some anger, and then some cursing invoking Jashin's name. Yes, this was a curious time to be alive. The law of averages was taking over. Terrible things could only go on for so long, something good would have to surface. Sousuke believed that this was the law of averages coming into effect. Young Raizo would have a mountain to climb, but at least he could do so with steady footing. Metaphorically speaking of course.

The newly appointed Kazekage would speak of his military background and how he would falter in his absentee knowledge of the inner workings of Sungakure. The heir of Legatus knew he needed help and that he needed an education. "I will educate you in those matters overtime. There is much to learn, but ... I too will be educated fully in the ways and the manners of the Ryuzaki." Sousuke would answer. He would admit this too was going to be a learning experience for himself. It was a necessity. "The First Men always worked better together than apart." He would fold his arms across his chest. He would listen to the laughter once again. The laughter would quickly die and a seriousness would grasp the situation at hand. He would listen to the now serious Raizo once again. This was a trend. Laughter to serious to laughter again. "Yes. There is the Toraono. There is Kuro who was the head, but he was injured greatly and is in a state of recovery. His elder sister showcases a Tensei power set. It's absurd ... but it s a reality I have faced down... literally at the point of a sword in my younger days." An old duel that did not go so well for the young Steward. Seikia won the duel due to treachery, but refuted such. Either way that was a long time ago. "Half Ancients are ... somewhat documented. Lord Kazuki is one. There are others I am coming to terms with. They are few in number. Very few. Less than ... ten if I'm being generous in my estimate. I am coming to terms with each of them on the individual level because ... of their conflicted heritage. Some of them ... were human, and then just began to exhibit an elemental power set. Others were born. There is no norm in their procreation. It is ... curious if I do say so myself." He would give Yukina a side glance. "Is your retainer well? She shows the symptoms of shock."
 

Raizo

11th Kazekage
Staff member
Oct 22, 2012
2,449
Yen
0
ASP
0
"Ah, Yu will be fine! She knew I was up to something but there is no way in heck she saw coming what I truly had planned. Her simple little mind will take a moment to catch up to my genius."

And right on cue, she would slap the back of his head as now her look of surprise would now be replaced with a look of annoyance. It would be reassuring to see that she had returned to her senses, even if it meant receiving a hit as a result.

"Well I will say this... I can't measure a person based on extenuating circumstances, except those dang Sunahoshi. I don't believe I've met an Ancient, and while the pride of my ancestor should call me to hate their existence, they are still half-human. For that reason, I would need to meet them to determine whether or not they are an ally or an enemy. I mean... do they consume humans? If they do..."

His neck would pop as a fire-like glow would begin to burn within his eyes.

"...then we would have issues. But what if they couldn't help it? What if that was the only way they could live... seems like a headache. Well, I suppose that is just the way things are, still would like to meet your trouble makers to see for myself just how much trouble they are going to end up being."

Darting around the room, his eyes would begin to scan his surroundings, not really having done it earlier. He wasn't sure what he was looking for, he just knew that he was looking for something.

"Say, Uncle Steward, what do you do for fun?"
 

Takahashi Sousuke

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2012
4,160
Yen
372,599
ASP
0
Sousuke observed the beating of Raizo once again for the ... third time? This wasn't a fad, this was not going to go away over night. He had a feeling that things would be abnormal for Raizo if Yu was not hitting him. This was going to be the new norm, along with ... being called 'Uncle Steward'. At least of the two things in the new norm, one of them would not lead to an individual being given a concussion. Sousuke wondered just how hard was the bones of a member of the Ryuzaki clan. Did Raizo's father get beat up by his mother like this? Was it gender specific? It left the Steward curious state of affairs.

"Hybrids can consume human souls... but it's something I've been working on. They can also eat animal souls as well, which ... is an alternative. They can sustain themselves with human food, but they still find themselves hungry. I've been trying to figure out a different alternative for them as a whole. It would be my life's work if I could find an alternative for them to exist as we do... in terms of nourishment." Sousuke's expression soured for a moment. He had a feeling that it would perhaps take him the rest of his time on this earth to try and figure out how to help Ancient or Hybrids to find a true alternative to nourishment that was not soul based. "If you are wishing to go meet a trouble maker in this village, I suggest.. you meet Miroku Akkuma. He's allied with the Toraono through marriage He's... complicated. He's not a hybrid, he's a Demon." Sousuke wondered if he had just made a mistake in telling Raizo about this. He wondered if Riazo was going to be beat down by both his retainer and Akkuma. That was perhaps not for the best for the new Kazekage. Sousuke's deep over analysis of the situation was interrupted by a question. Sousuke would rise up. "Well, I build weapons and armour. Testing them proves to be amusing. Let's go test some. If you're going to be Kazekage then you are going to need weaponry and armour befitting of one." Sousuke would motion for the two of them to come with him.

[Topic to conclude after Raizo's post]