Stop Children, What's That Sound(Raizo)

Takahashi Sousuke

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Sousuke awoke at his normal hours. He would arise from his bed, and shortly after he was joined too in this waking hour by his beau. Sousuke and Yume went about their morning rituals, and kept the house as quiet as possible as to not wake Teke. Yume had left the house a full half hour before Sousuke did as her shift at the hospital began early in the morning. The Steward bid her farewell, and would begin his own preparations for the day. Today he had an extended meeting with Lord Raizo. The meeting was going to be a lengthier one. The young Kazekage was still getting used to the office. Sousuke would grant that the young man was an orator which was a skill needed. He listened to the recording he had put up prior to the invasion. It was inspiring, and it was natural.

The Steward would enter the Kazekage tower. He was joined by the morning shift workers. There was some idle chatter here and there. Sousuke would go through the messages. Most of it was congratulation for surviving the Long Night, others were thanks and show of gratitude from the new populous of Sungakure. The Steward mulled it all over in his head. Yes, there was a victory in surviving the horrors, but even then there were shortcomings that the Steward was going to have to go through with the new Kazekage. There was the matter that the wall had been turned off for a moment. That was a dangerous prospect, and a gap in their defenses. The Steward was simply unaware if the enemy knew that for a fleeting moment they had an advantage.

The Steward awaited Raizo outside on the Kazekage tower grounds. He sat cross legged. His metallic frame was floating as he was meditating. It was something he learned to do from Katuso. Meditation could be used to heal faster, healing faster was something that the Steward didn’t need to be overly concerned with as his current form was ... different from most. While the Steward was mostly steel, there was still a need to look after one self and heal properly. There was sometimes when he needed to clear his mind. As he was floating from the ground, his eyes glowed a dull white.
 

Raizo

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There would be a knock at his door followed by the summons to meet with Sousuke.

"Thank you. That is all" is how he would dismiss the attendant.

There was a slight strain in his voice, as he would be in the middle of a pushup, using a stance that had him applying his weight to just three fingers on each hand. He wasn't sure what number he was on, his mind tended to wander off in these tranquil self-training moments. The count wasn't important, anyway. His muscles would tighten, flex, contract, and release.

Gathering himself up from the ground, he would go through his routine for cleaning himself up. The lap of luxury, this tower, it wasn't lost on him. Being the son of the Konungr, this wasn't some new shocking culture change to him, so embracing it might have been easier than most who found themselves in this seat. All of it was just an accessory, however, the true measure, the true merit, was within him. How he carried himself, how he helped carried this village and its people, all of that weighed more than some tower, some room, some item.

He, dressed in his standard relaxed attire, would approach the meditating metal man.

"You seem to be a rather durable person, old-timer" his words would be followed by a mischevious grin. "So what is the occasion, Steward of Suna?"

 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Sousuke shift potions from floating and meditating to simply standing. He would look to Raizo and find that mischievous grin. He would place his hands behind his back. “I didn’t get as far as I have in my career in politics, or being the Lord Steward without being durable. When in a position of power you need to endure, and see things to the end for good or for ill.” Sousuke had been broken apart, lost limbs, had been disintegrated for limited amounts of time, but somehow he had found the ability to put himself together. ”In my younger years a sandworm bit off my arm. I had it replaced with a metallic one. Curiously Barnyx had bit off the same arm. I’ve been struck by the full might of a Sunahoshi storm surge … managed to get up from that one with a little help.” He thought about it for a moment. ”Ah. That is not to say Lord Katuso was responsible for that one. Sunahoshi Daisuke was … who maintained the storm all those years back. For several years he was a flesh puppet under the control of Nao.” He went to further clarify as Sunahoshi were in few number, if he didn’t clarify either it may cause Raizo to think poorly of Lord Katuso.



He would step forwards Raizo. ”Today I think it would be worthwhile to providing you with weapons and armour. I think it is time we build a new legend in Sungakure. Tell me – what is your preferred weapon? Axe? Mace? Sword? Halbeard? I was able to observe some of your marital prowess while I was connected to the wall, but there was a time in which even I was shutdown for a time being. I was unable to truly witness the deathblow to whatever devilry had come to the wall. My sources tell me that a singular enemy had been able to infiltrate and get to the wall.” There was a tinge of annoyance in what the Steward said next. ”I too am trying to find something to overcome my own momentary flaw. I did not expect the enemy to fry communications and cause a glitch in the tech I had operating.” The Steward for the most part was a prepared man. It was in the moments that had caught him off guard that irked him. This was a man who calculated things and was able to keep intel on the up and up. ”In addition to weaponry… I do think you need something better to protect yourself with. I trust that you are a person who favours agility in trade of heavier defense?”
 

Raizo

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"A weapon... armor... I feel like we might need to back up a bit."

His expression would be a mixture of blank and confused, before finally extending his hand out to the Steward.

"The name is Ryuzaki Raizo... I am the weapon."

A grin would return back to his face as he would revel in his moment of being a scamp. Yet, it wasn't far from his true feelings. He did not see the need for a weapon or armor. The body's defensive and offensive properties could be improved by mastering chakra manipulation. The reliance on an actual weapon or actual armor seemed a bit opposite of the training he had received from his grandmother.

"No offense, because it seems to be your way of life... but I am not much of an armor and weapon kind of guy, at least in the traditional sense. I mean sure, I used that stuff in the Stardust Stadium when I didn't have access to my chakra."

He was also aware of the prowess and skill of the Order of Journeymen. They could craft things that far exceeded any normal armor or weapon, their clan valued the Journeyman way as their Minor Branch Head would become the Vulcanus of the Clan, meaning that they would lead the Order's variant within the Ryuzaki.

This was more just a personal preference thing for him. Maybe it was a mistake of youth, but so far he had been successful with reliance on his own personal armor and weaponry.
 

Sunahoshi Katsuo

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The hour was relatively early as the nameless man made his way through the streets of Sunagakure. The morning was just beginning for many of the residents of the city who were completely unaware of the disaster that had almost befallen them overnight. The man was surprised to see just how large of a civilian population seemed to dwell within the massive wall of this shinobi city even without counting the hundreds of refugees that had come here as a result of the encroaching aggression from the Unbent creatures. People leaving for their daily routines took to the streets completely ignorant of the Long Night and those that had been lost during it. Perhaps they would find out on their way to work by reaching a news periodical or find out when they walked in the door at their place of employment. Some might go the whole day without hearing much depending on where they worked.

For the man's part, he hadn't slept much since the conclusion of the battle. He'd wanted to head forward into the city immediately to address the questions that burned in his breast about why he felt compelled inexorably to come here but he'd been convinced by the family which he'd escorted to the city's threshold to stay and rest. To have a meal and try and get some sleep. Exhausted from the day of fear and adrenaline, those folks had fallen into deep sleep quickly but sleep eluded the man with the tenacity of a hunted hare so it was that at first light, as soon as he could convince the grateful folks he'd brought here to let him go, he'd headed into the city to seek answers.

The refugees had not had any information which was relevant to solving his identity crisis except for perhaps he should go to the Kazekage Tower and start his quest there. They knew little about Sunagakure or its people but they knew that the Kazekage Tower was where the mightest shinobi of Sunagakure lived and if anyone could give him information about his past or at least provide him with a lead to start with then it would be that man.

The sky was relatively clear this morning as the man approached the building which he'd been told was the Kazekage Tower.

"Go to the largest and tallest building. That is where you'll find him."

That is what they'd said.

With a sack of food and some base supplies slung over his shoulder, the man approached the grounds of the tower and looked up at it for the first time since coming to Sunagakure and was immediately a little disappointing that the stirring sight of the colossal building didn't reveal anything in him. When he'd first awoken hearing the bandits say certain words had triggered the feeling of compulsion that he was following to bring him to this point and he'd hoped that... well. It didn't matter what he'd hoped. He should never have allowed himself the fantasy-- however unlikely --that he would be able to solve the mystery of his lost identity by simply looking upon a building even if the idea was tremendously attractive in theory. Shaking his head and rolling his shoulder to put the draw-string attached to his rucksack into a better position on his shoulder, the man began to step forward past the outlying walls of the tower's grounds and head towards the large set of double-doors that led into the lobby when he noticed two men standing on the grounds.

Deciding that this would be as good a place as any to start, he made his way across the oddly green grounds of the tower towards the two and raised his his hand opposite the one which was holding the string to his pack into the air in a waving motion.

"Hey! Excuse me!" He called to them, a friendly smile on his face as he waved to get their attention. "Do either of you know where I can find the Kazekage?"

Sousuke was a man that liked to be able to plan for anything and everything but there was no way he could have planned for who arrived on the steps of the Kazekage Tower that day. His height, build and facial features were all right despite a strangely different hair color. Even his voice was correct. Missing-in-action for over a year. He was supposedly dead at the hands of Dominus.

Sunahoshi Katsuo had come back to Sunagakure, at last.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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The Lord Steward would staredown at the hand offered to him. He did not shake it. “Hello Raizo. I’m ... the element of surprise!” With a quick gesture Sousuke would produce a firearm from his forearm. The forearm would open up and Sousuke would reveal his hidden weapon. He would not point it at the lad, but he would point it up and click. No shot was heard, but it was an empty clip. “Well. You get the idea. ... ... ... I just realized identifying myself as the element of surprise sounded very lame. It sounded better in my head.” He would acknowledge that Raizo had used weaponry in the Stardust Stadium. He would nod his head. He would make a flicking motion and cause the weapon to withdraw back into his forearm slot once again. “I was shut down when I was connected to the wall. Our enemy had used what seemed like an EMP. The reason why I’m bringing this up is to ... better prepare one’s self for the future. I had put all my resources into the tech at the wall, and I came up short. Thankfully we triumphed in the way we did.”



“My skillset to make weapons also includes ... spell casting foci... which I do not necessarily believe is in your initial powerset. I’ve come to learn that ... having a board skillset is useful but at the same time one does not exactly master one particular way.” Sousuke would make another flickering gesture with his other wrist and he would produce a tuning fork. “This helps me focus my psionic abilities... which I will say are ... still somewhat formidable.” He would explain. “Just a thought, and something to consider. You will no doubt in your time will grow stronger and stronger again. It doesn’t hurt to diversify one’s profile though in a skillset.”



He would have to pause for a moment and consider something. “I suspect you may not be able to answer this question as it was before your time, but how did your clan travel through the Diamond Maelstrom if they did not have armour? Not wanting to make a point here or anything of the sort. I am just legitimately curious on the matter.” By this time Katuso had made his way over to the two. Sousuke didn’t say anything at first. He simply stared at the new comer. It took him a moment to process what he was seeing. Chakra mist burned out of the eye sockets. Sousuke stared intently at the different haired Katuso. The voice was right. The features were right. “You are in the presence of the Kazekage.” He would motion to Raizo. “Lord Ryuzaki Razio the first of his name.” As Katuso had changed only slightly, Sousuke had changed quite a bit. The chakra mist would cease burning from Sousuke’s eye sockets. His eyes would go black. Sousuke’s left arm would twitch for a moment. It would seem that he was best trying to hide his surprised, but it was still surprisingly difficult. “K-Katuso?” He would inquire weakly. “Will you answer to the name Katuso?” Sousuke’s eyes were still dark. There was hesitancy present, a foreign thing for Raizo to see. “Highly improbable but possible all the same...” Within seconds Sousuke's eyes would turn back on, his eyes glowed a low white. He would turn to Raizo. "We may be in the presence of Lord Sunahoshi Katuso, or a most excellent doppleganger." His normal voice returned with that old strength behind it. He would make a gesture for his young lord to hold. The duel would come, but things needed to be confirmed first and foremost.
 

Raizo

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Sousuke would mention that he was the element of surprise and then would produce a small firearm. The gun would click but nothing would come out, which was a shame, the muscles in his body had already began to flex and tighten, chakra flooding throughout his skin in an effort to prepare for the eventual fire. When nothing would come, he would blink and then turn his attention back to the Steward.

"Wait... that was it..."



He understood the point Sousuke was trying to make, but the inclusion of firearms into the Shinobi world were by far the silliest inclusion. A weapon that fired slower than more skilled shinobi could move, with an impact that most trained shinobi could absorb with minimal damage, it was just all too silly for him at that moment. Still, this was the man that the Steward was; he relied on his gadgets. That was fine, there was no judgment. Everyone needed to find and honed their strengths, and this was Sousuke's.

"Yes, yes, I will keep it in mind."

Sousuke would then ask about his clan, armor and their move.

"The Ryuzaki had already been relocated to Sora by the time the Diamond Maelstrom appeared. My father was convinced by Ishii Shiro before he became the sole Daimyo of Wind Country, to join him in the stretch of the country he oversaw as one of the 5 Daimyo's of Wind. That said, not all in the clan are like me. Some wear armor, both lightweight or heavier, some build weapons and use them heavily, I mean the secondary head of the clan, The Vulcanus, is the leader of our Order of Fenrir...what you'd call the Order of Journeymen--the clan doesn't adhere to one single fighting philosophy. I, however, choose my physical ability over those things. I have worked harder and longer forging this 'weapon' and 'armor' than most do forging actual weapons. Call it pride."

His attention would turn to a new person that would appear before them. His eyebrow would raise momentarily before a smile would cover his face.

"Well, hello there! As the Steward mentioned, I am the Kazekage! How may I help you?"

Still smiling, his attention would turn to the muttering Sousuke. A feeling of concern would encroach upon him as the Steward would seem to be taken back by the presence of this figure. Was this an enemy? Was this his son...

I mean he never told me about his disaster of a daughter

Who was this person? A tension would begin to build within him as he, still smiling, would turn his attention back to the visitor. It would be then that he would hear Sousuke mention that this man might be Sunahoshi Katsuo.

"The Sunahoshi..."

There was a bit of awe in his voice as he would begin to now assess the man before him in a new light. The smile would fade away during this assessment.

"...this overly muscular gorilla is the Sunahoshi?"

 

Sunahoshi Katsuo

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The metal-clad man was the first to respond to his question by replying that the young man beside him with the pink hair was in fact the Kazekage and that his name was Ryuzaki Raizo and for his part Raizo replied with an equally friendly greeting and introduction. The interaction which had begun as amicable-- even genteel, some might have said --quickly eroded into a stilted awkwardness as the metal-man's eyes clicked and changed color and the tone of his voice changed causing Raizo to react with his own sudden onset of tension and mistrust.

"K-Katsuo? Will you answer to the name Katsuo? Highly improbable but possible all the same... "

Raizo turned back to look at Katsuo, the smile now gone from his expression and replaced with one which was a mixture of... it was hard to read him, in that moment. Was he underwhelmed?

There was a pregnant moment of silence between them as Katsuo tried to parse through the rapid and stark reactions that he'd gotten from those standing in front of him. Was that who he was? This... Lord Sunahoshi Katsuo? Was he a lord? What did that even mean? From the way Raizo reacted, there was something important about that name. He referred to him as The Sunahoshi, not simply as "a" Sunahoshi. What did that mean for his family, then?

"To be honest... I was kind of hoping you could tell me." He asked, fighting through the confusion and frankly the embarrassment of the situation. "I woke up a few weeks ago in the desert with no memory of who I am but a strong feeling to... I dunno. Come here and do something. I figured that if anybody would know something about it then it'd be this Kazekage guy I keep hearing about."

A strong feeling was a nice way to describe the pounding pain that emerged just behind his eyes whenever someone broached the subject of Sunagakure with him during his journey to the city. Since coming here the pain had abated as though he'd finally arrived where he needed to be. Where he was meant to be. He hadn't noticed it until a few hours after the battle with the Swarm that it was gone but he was thankful for it's absence just the same.

"I might not know my name but I'm pretty sure I'm not any kind of crazy dopple-thinger though. I feel like I'd know if I were. That sounds like the kind of thing that somebody usually knows."

Then again, people also usually knew their own names too. Still, he was pretty sure that if he were some kind of fake person he'd know at least that much or feel it or something.

Right?
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Sousuke had documented all of which Raizo had said, there would be a time and place to dissect it all and talk with him at length about his family. He was very keen to discuss this Order of Fenrir. While Raizo might not be able to go on at length about the order or their leader in particular, it was something to ‘wet his feet with’ so to speak. The Lord Steward was in the awkward position of not being innately familiar with the Ryuzaki clan. As Steward he had a vast and deep knowledge of the Sunahoshi clan, but such could not be said for the Ryuzaki clan. It was something Sousuke would have to learn and learn quickly. He fully expected that sometime down the line he would be spoken harshly to be the Ryuzaki clan for ‘stealing their favoured son’, and that was a conversation that Sousuke was slowly biding his time in dealing with.



Sousuke was still taken back a bit from Katsuo’s ... emergence. It was him. Right? Katuso had the worst timing known to man. He was ‘fashionably late’ to several things. He was a hard person to pin down as he was not really capable of executing a schedule. He spoke like Katuso did. Raizo had piped up about this man being a gorilla. Sousuke would turn his head to the young lord. If Yukina was here there might be a slap involved, one at the back of the head. “Manners.” Sousuke spoke curtly. This was an awkward situation. Sousuke folded his arms across his chest. He would allow his left hand to free up. He would push his index and middle finger against his head. “You are Sunahoshi Katuso. You are the son of the late Sunahoshi Hiro and Masashi Inara. You are ... were ... the Iron Wolf, a vigilante of sorts who fought for at risk people.” He explained. He hesitated for a moment. “Given what you said, it seems like you had absent mindedly adopted that aspect of your old self – the Iron Wolf.” Chakra mist burned out of Sousuke’s eyes. He made a sound that seemed much like a sigh. “You are my cousin, and a person who gets lost easily. My mother is Chiyoko of the House Masashi.” He very much paused for a long time. He was not in the right state of mind for this. “You were Kazekage, and people are looking for you – for good and bad reasons. I had received data that you fell during combat with Dominius.”



Again chakra mist rose from his eyes. He looked at Raizo. “The body is right. The voice is right. The hair is not right. The demeanour for the most part is correct.” He would quietly consider things. Sousuke considered when he had first met Raizo and compared him to Katuso. It wasn’t a very good comparison at this moment. For that he was ashamed. “This is gonna be very awkward. I used to be spiritually attuned to weapons. I’ve yet to find a reason to do so with this body given ... my history with sentient weaponry.” He would return his look to Katuso. “Do you have a blade with you? Since your awakening, as it were, have you ever had foreign voices in your head at a psionic level?” Sousuke would hold out his hand. A black axe would phase in and appear in his hand. The blade while black in colour radiated a great heat from it. “A weapon that has a similar sheen and sparkle like this one?” Caliburn was made by the Takahashi, and it was something of a tell. The Steward would turn his head from the side and look past Katuso. He was concerned a certain someone would appear, and shake him. Shake him violently like a child.
 

Raizo

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Internally his eyes would roll at the mention of manners. There were days he felt like the Steward wanted to be a surrogate father to him, and at his age, that felt condescending. Yet, he knew the metal man's human heart was in the right place. The potential return of the Sunahoshi was undoubtedly an emotional moment for him. It would be an emotional moment for the whole village. It should have potentially elicited some emotion from him, but at this point, he wasn't feeling much of anything. It bothered him.

"Gori---Sunahoshi, my apologies. Your appearance today is rather shocking. Based on the information we had, the assumption is that we would be the ones finding you out in the Expanse, and not you finding us here."

Is the timing suspicious? Not really, nothing major is happening at this moment. We just recently had the battle at the wall... I guess that increases the suspicion level.

"Anyways, my name is Ryuzaki Raizo. I came here, much like you, seeking the Kazekage when I first arrived. Upon learning of the situation that had befell Sunahoshi Katsuo, you, I pushed for myself to become the interim Kazekage of this village to keep the village thriving during a time of conflict. I had promised to find you...so I guess..."

He would approach and tap the shoulder of the Sunahoshi.

"...promise kept?"

The feeling within him, more so the lack of feeling, continued to gnaw at him. This wasn't how this was supposed to be. Meeting the Sunahoshi heir had been a goal of his for a while now. It was a one-sided rivalry, one that only he was aware of, and yet, those feelings he came barging into the village just weren't there anymore.

"Anyway to validate this is truly Sunahoshi Katsuo?"

The Steward, apparently thinking along the same lines, would then ask the man to produce a weapon similar to the one he had just drawn. It would be very thematic that the Stewards fixations on his toys might be the one thing needed to completely verify the man before them. There wasn't much more he had to say at the moment, just a waiting game now.
 

Sunahoshi Katsuo

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“You are Sunahoshi Katuso. You are the son of the late Sunahoshi Hiro and Masashi Inara. You are ... were ... the Iron Wolf, a vigilante of sorts who fought for at risk people. Given what you said, it seems like you had absent mindedly adopted that aspect of your old self – the Iron Wolf. You are my cousin, and a person who gets lost easily. My mother is Chiyoko of the House Masashi.”

That... was a lot. The metal-clad man who had yet to introduce himself or give his own name buried Katsuo under a deluge of life details that honestly meant nothing to him. They failed to trigger any sort of resonance the way that the desert reaver's words had first brought about the compulsion to come here to Sunagakure had. It all felt like being introduced to a stranger and having the details of their life laid out in front of him but the largest bombshell had yet to drop. Katsuo said nothing as the metal man continued but paused for a bit, considering his words. It was impossible to read his expression from behind the steel mask that he wore but from the stilted way he talked and the abrupt stretch of time that he took in between his explanations that there was hesitancy in what he was about to say.

“You were Kazekage, and people are looking for you – for good and bad reasons. I had received data that you fell during combat with Dominus.”

The metal man's words hit Katsuo like a speeding train, his breath hitching uncontrollably as the metal man recited the name Dominus. Unlike the other supposed details of his life, the last few sentences caused Katsuo's heart to race and for a moment his vision to swim in every direction as the world melted away. Was this some kind of joke? He wakes up in the desert without any memories, comes here and finds out that... what? He's some kind of cultural leader to these people that he knew nothing about?

"Gori---Sunahoshi, my apologies. Your appearance today is rather shocking. Based on the information we had, the assumption is that we would be the ones finding you out in the Expanse, and not you finding us here."

It was a joke. It had to be. They were busting on him because of the ridiculous way he'd walked up to the most important building in the city looking to meet with the most important man in the to ask an absurd question like "hey do you know who I am?" The young man who'd identified himself as the Kazekage introduced himself as Raizo but Katsuo could only find himself listening to what Raizo had to say next rather than mustering the cognitive thought to respond through the tempest of emotions that were running through him at the moment.

"Anyways, my name is Ryuzaki Raizo. I came here, much like you, seeking the Kazekage when I first arrived. Upon learning of the situation that had befell Sunahoshi Katsuo, you, I pushed for myself to become the interim Kazekage of this village to keep the village thriving during a time of conflict. I had promised to find you... so I guess... promise kept?"

If it was a joke, it was not a very nice one and not one that they seemed intent on giving up on. Both Raizo and the metal man seemed fully committed to the bit and then there was... there was the name Dominus. Even thinking the name caused his heart to race and his blood to boil but he couldn't explain it. There was a rush of emotions associated with that name without the context associated with being able to access the memory that made it possible to understand why he felt that way about whoever it was that bore that name.

"Anyway to validate this is truly Sunahoshi Katsuo?"

A question that wasn't aimed at him but one that never-the-less brought Katsuo back into the moment from the bizarre tunnel of thoughts and misplaced emotions that the metal man's words had sent him tumbling through.

“The body is right. The voice is right. The hair is not right. The demeanor for the most part is correct. This is gonna be very awkward. I used to be spiritually attuned to weapons. I’ve yet to find a reason to do so with this body given ... my history with sentient weaponry.”

Who was metal-face kidding? It was already awkward. And what was wrong with his hair? Unconsciously, Katsuo reached up and rubbed the top of his head and remembered what had happened when he'd first woken up. He'd carded his fingers through his hair and something in him had told him that it was wrong. That it was not correct. It was a sense of horrific unease that had let up since leaving the group of nomads which had nursed him to health due to more important things like needing to survive but he realized in that moment as the metal-man brought up the subject of his hair-- which was wrong --that feeling of inexorable disorder washed over him again and in spades this time. He couldn't yet bring himself to believe these extraordinary things that Raizo and Metal-face were telling him but clearly something in him agreed with what they were saying to some degree.

"Do you have a blade with you? Since your awakening, as it were, have you ever had foreign voices in your head at a psionic level? A weapon that has a similar sheen and sparkle like this one?”

"No... I don't... carry any weapons." Katsuo replied, trying to take his mind off of the subject of his hair and it's utter wrongness as he examined the crazy looking axe that Metal-face had conjured from thin air into his grasp. Raising his arm, Katsuo instinctively flexed the muscles in his arm and caused a crackle of gilded lightning to appear at his shoulder and crawl across the length of his upper arm and bicep then down past his elbow and wrist where it reached his clenched fist and dispersed into the air as it futilely reached for anything else to conduct into. "I've never needed them. Or at least I guess not so far. This served me just fine during the battle outside your walls with the monsters and that big spiky guy."
 
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Takahashi Sousuke

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The Lord Steward was very not much prepared for this. “I’m Takahashi Sousuke.” He would add before anything else. Sousuke had this habit of … missing the forest for the trees as it were. While he was indeed older, there were times it still happened. It didn’t make matters better that Katuso seemingly had lost his memories. Sousuke didn’t know how to feel about the whole thing. If Katsuo had seen him now with his present memory would he become disgusted with what he had become? Would he understand? Sousuke took the whole concept of enduring quite a bit further and more serious than most people. This was perhaps the most extreme Katuso would have seen it. Roku was gone. Kazuki was gone too. Kuro apparently destroyed himself multiple times to stabilize his being, but Kuro again had disappeared. Suffice to say until Raizo had come along, it was the Steward trying to manage all of Sungakure’s affairs. The Four Winds had fallen apart. Sousuke was still operating but he was one of the three that was appointed. Yet despite the hand Sousuke was dealt by existence itself, he was able to play the game, and even survive. Sousuke did not want to consider luck a factor, but certain good things did fall into place. Raizo spoke up shattering the silence. “I don’t think I could have put it any better Lord Raizo. Yet… the Katuso effect is something that occurs. It is an anomaly. It is akin to the concept of the miracle.” He would explain in the best way he could. Katuso did several incredible things that Sousuke could simply not do… like punch a sandworm and have it explode… or cause Mikaboshi or Mother Suna to make peace.



Raizo asserted that he had kept his promise, Sousuke’s eyes would glow a low white for a moment. He was not wrong. “Promise kept. Indeed.” He would affirm. “We are at an impasse in a way. You wanted your duel with the Sunahoshi, but … given his memory situation. We are still at war with Dominus and his ilk. We are at a curious position right now. One that even I am … given pause with.” He would turn his gaze over to Raizo. “Are you alright with this Lord Raizo?” He remembered how full of life and energy the young man had been to ‘get the fight underway’ with the Sunahoshi.



Sousuke listened to ‘Katuso’ claim he didn’t carry any weapons. The statement was untrue. He carried with him weaponry during his battles against Shouki. He used weaponry during the mission to save people during the Train run. He watched Katuso dissolve foes with a singular slash from Tatsumasa. While Katuso could not produce Tatsumasa, he did caught golden bolts of lightning to form on his person. Sousuke would in response press his index finger and his middle finger across his forehead. Purple lightning would form around the crown of his head. Katuso’s lightning was golden and was still a trade mark of his mastery of the weather. It was soundless too. Sousuke’s lightning was psionic in nature and was generated by the power of the mind. Sousuke’s lightning was not made to contest, it was made to show contrast. “That’s not entirely true… if you had your memories. This is concerning. Tatsumasa doesn’t just … vanish. Although built by Takahashi, I cannot use Tatsumasa. It’s a weapon bound to a bloodline. Granted I have watched you punch people very hard before … and the lightning you’ve conjured does fit the bill.” He was half tempted to start shouting names at Katuso and trying to trigger a memory. The problem was that if he were to mention the Daimyo, it may trigger a fit of uncontrollable rage in Katuso. Sousuke could not best Katuso in a fight, and he did not want to be considered liability for Raizo should the worst occur. He silently mulled over things. “I became in part … metaphorically and literally the Wall itself. Unfortunately that spiky guy as you had put it had caused me to go offline. A rather frustrating development… still though lesson learned.” Sousuke made a sigh sounding noise. “So you have no memory. Not even when we first met at the throne room all of those years ago.” Sousuke spoke with a saddness in his voice.
 

Raizo

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He began to scratch the back of his head as his brows furrowed and his glance narrowed in on the man before them, the one that Sousuke was adamant was the Sunahoshi heir. Even if he was the heir, would it matter if he himself did not know he was that person? Were they doing more harm than good anchoring in on this? All of it seemed to be compounded by his own personal emptiness to a moment he had run through his mind numerous times before.

"Ok, ok, ok... so he doesn't have the blade you were asking about... and you said the hair was off..."

His mind was still trying to process this, the entire time his energy being drained by his own feelings deflating over a life's goal coming to an abrupt end.

"So let's say this: say this person isn't Sunahoshi Katsuo... then who do you think you are? Is there a name that comes to mind when you think about it or is it all just sort of.... blank?"

This was frustrating... for him. Was that a selfish way of looking at it? Of course, but honestly, it was this self-centered obsession that was unintentionally probably leading him down a better rabbit hole than previously with the man who did not know who he is.

"And you were drawn here? Or compelled to talk to the Kazekage... so let's backtrack to that. I am the Kazekage, you have found me. Now, what were you coming to discuss or learn from me? Why did you feel like this Kazekage would be a resource for you?"

He was frazzled. His brain was shot. One thing was clear to him, however, and that was maybe they shouldn't put all their eggs into "this is Katsuo" basket. There was still a chance this stranger was just that, a stranger, and that all the similarities were either being forced by a remorseful Sousuke trying to come to terms with the loss of someone he valued, so now he would bend himself out of shape to make this man the missing Sunahoshi. There was also the chance this was Katsuo, but again, if the man did not know he was the man they knew him to be... was he truly that man.

My brain...

 

Sunahoshi Katsuo

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The Katsuo effect, Sousuke had said.

He was the man that made miracles.

Sousuke said those words and a feeling of numbness began to settle in around Katsuo's fingers and toes, the sound of Sousuke and Raizo's voices quieting as those words repeated in his head. Was that who he was supposed to be? What they thought of him? How could he... how could anyone live up to something like that?

"So let's say this: say this person isn't Sunahoshi Katsuo... then who do you think you are? Is there a name that comes to mind when you think about it or is it all just sort of.... blank?"

Raizo's question brought him back from his own thoughts, snapping him back into the present as his eyes drifted up from the palm of his hand where he realized they'd subconsciously settled after his hand had left his head.

"It's... hard to explain. It's like living in a fog. Information jumps out of my brain at seemingly random times whether I want it to or not and then is gone just as quickly as it came. During the battle at the wall I just knew how to do all of these incredible things like my body knew what to do on it's own" Said Katsuo, his brow furrowing into a frustrated scowl. He had come to terms with the question "who do you think you are?" enough times since waking up to drive a man insane and every time he encountered that question-- whether it was posed by himself or someone else --it felt like it drove him a bit closer to that end. "But after I blasted that bad guy up into the clouds... it all slipped through my fingers like I was waking up from a dream. I couldn't tell you how I did that thing with the beam of light even if I had all week to explain it."

"Why did you feel like this Kazekage would be a resource for you?"

"There's something about that word which means something to me. I can't tell you what it is but it makes my heart jump in a way that I can't explain. Like the name Dominus." There it was again, that surge of unexplained aggression at the mention of Dominus. "I figured... everybody says that the Kazekage is the strongest guy around. I figured maybe he might have somewhere for me to start trying to... find myself, I guess. It sounds pretty dumb now that I'm saying it out loud."

In spite of himself, Katsuo couldn't help but crack a bit of a grin at his own foolishness as he reached up and rubbed his head in embarassment. It was not a very good plan and he'd known that even before coming here but now that he was standing here in front of the man that wore the title of Kazekage it felt even more silly than before if that were even possible.

"But all of this... it's too much. I don't even know what to begin doing with what you've told me."