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To the mountains [SSM]

The name given to the mountain ridge which runs up through the east of Lightning Country. The spine of the world has many different mountain groups within in. Including the Thunder Mountains which are the northernmost set of mountains given their name due to the almost constant storms which strike it. The mountains protect Lightning Country from the eastern storms which break along the massive ridge, the water flowing down their slopes and feeding the countryside.

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Keikoku Sendo
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To the mountains [SSM]

Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:13 am

Sendo’s breath fogged the glass on the train window as his gaze aimlessly wandered over the scenery before him, lost deep in his own thoughts. ‘Almost 20 years gone now. Hard to imagine it’s been that long.’ he mused to himself, drinking in the mountainous terrain that surrounded him. His last several days had consisted of train depots and the steady, rhythmic bumping of the track beneath him as he crawled forward to Sekai Yuki. A week ago an urgent missive had arrived stating that there were disappearances of several locals inside a primary trade pass. Seemingly they had ventured forward to investigate the sudden stop in all trade coming south through the pass, despite it being the peak of the season to not return. ‘At this point they’ve been gone, what? Two weeks? Hm…’ Sendo mulled over, whole heartedly expecting to have to drag frozen corpses through the mountains soon.

They should have sent for aid to check the pass sooner. Nothing short of catastrophic would stop the summer trades.’ his thoughts continued, recalling the importance of the southern migration for many of the villages tucked near the Thunder Mountains, his birth village included. His thoughts raced backed to days travelling south with his father and brothers before he had been drafted for shinobi service, guarding merchants working precious stones to their counterparts in Sekai Yuki. It was an integral and vital part of life that the precious stones go south so that warm furs and supplies could come back north in preparation of the winter closing the passes and leaving them stranded. To not participate in the trade? Unthinkable.

Inevitably Sendo’s thoughts turned to the home he had left behind, and the people he had left with it. ‘Are Eiji And Hideji still guarding caravans or did they take to mercenary work? Is Da still making annual runs? Can he?’ It was hard to imagine his father, a grizzled veteran even when Sendo had been young, as being crippled by something as mundane as age. Even more anathema was the thought that he would allow such a thing to stop him. Sendo was born to warriors, and had been raised to follow in their stead, Raiden would just have it that he would serve Kumogakure. In that vein, though he knew they might never see each other again, he always had striven to make his ancestors proud. It was simple good fortune it seems that brought him back to the mountains of his fathers to show them first hand. His permanent smirk raised just a fraction as he muttered to himself, “I simply can not wait.
The sudden lurching of the train was all the notice that Sendo needed before spurring into motion once again. After nearly a week of trains, stations, and schedules he was relieved to have reached his destination. Though he accepted the fact that we was much more likely to find corpses rather than people, he was still ecstatic to have finally reached his destination so that he could get to work.

[WC: 508]
[MFT]
[To be continued...]
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Re: To the mountains [SSM]

Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:28 am

Here we go…” Sendo muttered to himself as he briskly stepped up the steps leading to the administrative offices of Sekai Yuki, leaving the muddy slush below and behind him. Stepping inside of the warmed building he began to shake and brush the snow that had accumulated on his shoulders from himself while also throwing the hood of the jacket back off his head. The icy look the woman at the desk in front of him had been throwing his way at tossing snow all over her lobby quickly swapped to surprise and discomfort as she was able to take in his facial features clearly. Sendo knew the scars which covered his face, prominently the deep, jagged one that pulled up at the corner of his mouth, coupled with his huge stature did not make for him being a particularly friendly looking individual. Already he could read the consternation on the face and in her body of the woman behind the desk, which began increasing exponentially as he briskly moved towards her. For a brief moment Sendo believed he even caught the glint of real fear in her eyes before she seemed to steel herself slightly and sputter out, “Μπορεί... Μπορώ να σας βοηθήσω.” Sendo could see the moment the words left her mouth that she realized she had spit the words out not in common tongue, but in the vulgar which was more prominent in the mountainous regions. She began to sputter and ‘uh’ and ‘Sorry, I mean’ her way through a half hearted reaction before Sendo cut in.

Οι ηγέτες σας ζήτησαν βοήθεια από το Κουμογκακούρ για ένα θέμα στα βουνά. Θα ήθελα να τους μιλήσω πριν αρχίσω να ερευνώ.

At his words the young woman’s body language changed once again, this time not merely hinting at fear, but actively projecting it as she practically threw her chair to the ground behind her in the haste to stand while stating, “Yes sir! Absolutely, please follow me I will take you to him at once!” before quickly hustling around her desk and hurriedly moving down an adjoining hallway. Not fully understanding the order her reactions had taken, Sendo merely followed her deeper into the building.

Hm… Wonder what that was about? Announcing myself as a shinobi usually helps calm folk down, not make the situation worse…?’ Sendo considered as he easily matched her pace. ‘Perhaps it’s a proximity thing? It did take me nearly a week to get here.’ His thoughts continued as she hurriedly popped herself into a room at the end of the hallway. Waiting just outside the door he could mildly hear her quickly explaining that the help they had requested from Kumo had finally arrived when he heard a male voice grunt a response. Stepping back out she left the door ajar as she explained to Sendo, “Please go inside, he will see you now.” before retreating past him back to the relative safety of her desk. Still feeling slightly confused about the exchange Sendo turned his shoulders slightly and stepped into the office, shutting the door behind him.

The room’s walls were mostly barren save for a fireplace tucked into one corner which boasted a roaring fire which succeeded in keeping any of the chill outside from reaching into this area. Near the far wall facing the door sat a large, immaculately built desk with an aging man sat behind it. His features were soft and his hair beginning to gray in areas, but the way he held himself as he stood and ushered Sendo further into the room made him believe that this man had once been some sort of laborer. Sendo approached the desk and stood with his hand clasped behind his back, feet shoulder width apart as the man began to speak.

Please, come in! It is wonderful to see that Kumogakure received our request for help. We were beginning to grow concerned that we had lost the runner. Can I get you something to drink?” The man offered with a gesture towards a small table with several kettles and other assorted bottles. At a small shake from Sendo’s head the man continued, “As you wish. My name is Harohiro and I am the de facto head of Sekai Yuki. I oversee the imports and exports through our town and communicate with the railways to make sure everything runs smoothly. It is my understanding that you wished to speak with me?

Sendo replied, “Yes, I did. I apologize it took so long to arrive but this place is not particularly close to Kumo. I wanted to speak with you about the missive you sent and get some more information before I began investigating the pass. Also to check if any new developments have arisen since you dispatched the courier.” He felt very not himself as he crisply stated why he had come. More than just about anything he would have loved to enjoy that drink that had been offered to him, but unfortunately soldiering did not leave much room for personality. Less so when the soldier was a shinobi.

Harohiro nodded at Sendo’s words as he sat himself wearily back into his chair before replying, “Yes, I have become keenly aware of that fact as of late.” Allowing himself only that moment of weakness apparently Harohiro cleared his throat, straightened his back and continued, “This majority of this town’s economy is built around the fact that we are a relay station of sorts. The villages and tribes further north in the mountains mine out precious ores and gems which are then transported through Giant’s Pass here. From here the gems are cut and shaped before being shipped south to the rest of Lightning country. In payment, ample supplies of food, drink, and warm furs are traded to return north. It is seasonal work, but people prepare all year and rely on this trade. In truth, it seems we’ve become dependent on it. Several weeks ago, for seemingly no reason, people stopped travelling south through the pass. Not, slowed, but completely stopped. We know the pass was open as the season had already started, but what we don’t know is why no one else has made the trek. We are barely to the halfway point of the season, and in my many years of overseeing I have never heard of a season being this short.” He paused for a moment, gazing towards the fire before continuing, “It has severely hurt the people who live here. There is no yen flowing into the town as there are no gems flowing out. Several shops have already closed until the traders return and many are fearful that they won’t. A pair of brothers from the northern tribes who had chosen to reside here permanently took it upon themselves to travel into the pass to search for a reason as to why the trade had so suddenly stopped.” Harohiro looked away from the fire as he rubbed his hand over his face with a small sigh. “It has been over three weeks since they left and they have not returned. I had hoped that they would and I would only need to apologize once you arrived, however that is not the case. I am no fool, and I know that were they able they would have returned by now. Your primary goal is to find, and if possible rectify, whatever is halting the flow of trade into the Sekai Yuki before the situation becomes worse. In addition, I would like you to attempt to find the brothers as well. I know the chances of them still being among us are practically zero, but you must understand. They are of the northern tribes, and many have their own personal rites they perform for the departed. I would see them rest among them.

Sendo did understand, better than most in fact. Being of the northern tribes Harohiro spoke of Sendo could remember some of the rites he had seen performed for the departed vaguely, even now. Before fully deciding that he would agree he already found himself nodding along as he responded, “I definitely recognize the seriousness of the matter. Rest assured, I’ll investigate the pass and see what can be done to normalize the trade. Don’t worry, I’ll find them and return them to their people. Simply let me know who they are and what village they hail from and I will see them home.

Harohiro looked rather satisfied with Sendo’s answer if the small smile that curled his lips was any indication. “In that case, on behalf of all of us, I wish you luck and that Raiden watch over you. As for the brothers, they’re names are Eiji and Hideji and they hail from a village to the…” Harohiro continued but Sendo could no longer hear him through the deafening roar that filled his ears. The weight of those names slammed into Sendo harder than any blow as he realized that, in all likelihood, the corpses he was being sent to retrieve were none other than his brothers.

No…….

[WC: 1514]
[MFT]
[To be continued…]
Kumo translationShow
Secretary: "May... May I help you?"

Sendo: "Your leaders called for aid from Kumogakure over a matter in the mountains. I would have words with them before I began investigating."
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Keikoku Sendo
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Re: To the mountains [SSM]

Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:55 pm

That can’t be true. They are warriors. They are survivors.

Sendo found himself desperately rationalizing how his siblings could endure and finding it an incredibly difficult task. Adrenaline was pumping his body as Harohiro continued to explain the location of Eiji and Hideji’s northern village, offering basic instructions on how to reach it. Sendo was unsure if the man had more words to offer him on the subject, but if he did they would go unheard as Sendo gave a curt nod before all but storming from the room. The roaring in his ears had intensified in the long seconds he had continued to stand there and he knew that if he didn’t remove himself soon he ran the very real risk of lashing out. After all, Sendo had never been known for his stoic nature. Moving at a quickened walk he hurriedly moved past the desk and woman behind it before exiting to the greater city area.

Sendo didn’t know where to go immediately, but he knew he needed to get himself under control so he could finish supplying and head for the pass. His feet continued to move through muddy slush almost of their own volition as he wrestled down the ever growing emotion in his stomach at the prospect that his brothers were gone. ‘Why does that bother me so much? We are warriors, death was always there. When I left I knew that they would live, fight, and die without me.’ Despite his continued efforts to rationalize why he needed to relax Sendo continued to feel that he could not. His thoughts were as chaotic as the rest of him felt and there wasn’t anything he felt he could immediately do about it, for the time being he simply wanted to find a secluded spot to collect himself.

Returning to the hear and now Sendo finally glanced around himself only to find he was an area that he did not recognize in the slightest, meaning he must have been walking for some time. The only boon to this it seemed was that where he was, wherever that is, seemed to be particularly barren as he couldn’t readily see anyone else milling about. Not trusting it to remain so he quickly ducked down a random alley before slowly sinking to a sitting position, the wall of a building to his back. His legs were drawn up as the cold and wet immediately began to soak into the clothe of his pants but he couldn’t bring himself to care. The only thing he did care about was that he was finally removed enough that he finally stopped fighting all the emotions that had been threatening to overtake him for the last several minutes, allowing them to break against his form and drown him in their intensity. A sob broke through his mouth as the beginnings of tears began to bud on the corners of his eyes, causing a snarl to overcome his scarred face. ‘I will grieve, but I will not cry. They were warriors, and if they have truly died than they must have died as such. I will not cry if they are simply waiting to be sent to Raiden’s hall. I may be mournful, but I will not cry. I will not cry. I will not cry.’ The silent command continued to echo in his mind as one or two tears laughed at his command, streaking paths down which inevitably followed scarred paths down his face.

After an indeterminate time the well of emotions that had sprung forth had finally began to subside, allowing conscious thought to once again assert itself. With it, Sendo finally began to return to his body from the deep recesses of his thoughts that he had barricaded himself in. Wiping at his face he felt the freezing moisture smear across his gnarled cheeks as he attempted to stand. The first things that Sendo was made aware of at this attempt were that his body was overly stiff from being locked in the same position in the cold for to long, and that his butt was very, very wet and cold. With a slight grunt and curse he finally levered himself up, shaking his legs back and forth to restore adequate blood flow to combat the needling feeling he was currently being subjected to. As he began methodically moving his body to prepare it for movement he began to plan, ‘Alright. So Eiji and Hideji are most likely gone. I have to find them so that I can release them from their bodies and let them rest in Raiden’s Hall. I do that, I’ll likely find whats stopping up Giant’s Pass. To do that, I’ll need some more supplies than the food that I brought.’ His thoughts continued as he began to trek out of the alley and return down the path he had arrived on. There was much to do after all.

WC: 822
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[To be continued...]
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Re: To the mountains [SSM]

Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:52 am

Sendo felt the secured weight of his supplies against his back as he trekked northward into Giant’s Pass, the morning sun making the mountains throw huge shadows across the valley. Once he had collected his thoughts and retraced his steps back to Sekai Yuki proper Sendo had set about making ready to leave the following morning to execute his mission by collecting the remaining supplies he had not brought North with him. He felt the weight as a minor collection on his back as his breath escaped in a swirling fog from his mouth, prompting him to draw the hood of his jacket just the slightest bit higher. ‘To the mountains I go…’ Sendo thought as his legs pumped him further up the slight incline, drawing him closer and closer to the pass.

Several hours had passed as Sendo continued to trek deeper into Giant’s Pass while the sun finally illuminated the area around him, illuminating the shadows he’d been hiking with all morning. The pass was good sized for commercial traffic, easily capable of taking two carts abreast with room left over for others to walk around. The ground underfoot left the mud of Sekai Yuki behind and became the rocky, gravelly hard pack one could expect in any natural road formation in the mountains. Not to say that the it wasn’t without its dangers, as it was not perfectly horizontal but instead had a slight incline to it. This in itself would not increase the danger, but the fact that it angled toward the steep one hundred meter cliff face on the western side of the pass did. Even all these years later Sendo could still hear the echo of his father’s words of warning on venturing too close to the edge on his first caravanning job. ‘That job was one of the last things we did together. I was drafted not long after that.’ Sendo mused, momentarily losing himself to his thoughts as they careened once more to his childhood. With a slight shake of the head and small mental chiding he turned his thoughts back to the hear and now. “Focus Sendo. Eiji and Hideji are out here.” he reminded himself as he ran his practiced eye over the pass in front of him, looking for any signs that might have survived the last several weeks. It made for slow hiking, but he knew that eventually if he didn’t find his long lost brothers, he would at least stumble upon what was stopping traffic.
There.’ Sendo mentally declared as his eyes landed on a site that was out of the ordinary. Approaching the area he attempted to gather a greater sense of what happened. Up against the mountain face was a large patch of snow that stood out as the stark maroon of blood which had been what originally caught his eye. Inspecting the area closer he found several gouges through the ground reminiscent of what a weapon chipping it might present when parried. The centerpiece though, partway buried in the maroon tinted snow drift, was the handle of a sword that had had its blade unceremoniously hacked off. “There was a battle here.” Sendo stated quietly to himself as he continued his investigation. However, despite the evidence he’d already found, there wasn’t much else to go on about who was fighting or why. ‘It must have been Eiji and Hideji, but were the hell did they get go?’ He continued to question, vainly continuing to look for clues that weren’t there.

It was only after several minutes of futile searching that a thought struck Sendo which saw him cautiously approaching the edge of the cliff. ‘That much blood, a battle against a cliff edge, what if some folk went over?’ the thought continued as he peered over the edge, attempting to locate anything out of the ordinary. ‘Is… that something? Ah hell, I’m gonna have to get down there to make sure.’ Sendo concluded, already beginning to release the pack from his back as he retreated a few steps to set up. He hadn’t explicitly seen anything at the bottom of the cliff, but the distance made that difficult to spot. That aside, his gut was telling him there was more to learn down there, and Sendo certainly trusted his gut.

Sendo retrieved the fifty meters of rope he had packed out for just this occurrence, as well as removing a sturdily built climbing harness and his assorted pitons, hammer, ATC, and quickdraws. While quickly and efficiently donning his climbing harness, he inspected the remainder of his climbing gear to ascertain if it would hold up, and once satisfied, began to prepare is rappel. Taking his pitons in hand he immediately set to driving several into the top of the cliff face, building himself a solid anchor to abseil from. Once the anchor had been built, he deftly began to flake his rope, apply a stopper knot, connect it to the anchor, and finally to himself. In the span of minutes Sendo found himself descending at a decent pace down to the bottom of the cliff to continue his investigation. Halfway down the process of building a rappel anchor began again unhurriedly, but efficiently as he began to feed chakra to his lower extremities to adhere himself to the rock face. Once the newest anchor was finished Sendo removed himself from the rope, leaving himself fifty meters in the air with no support except for the low, steady chakra stream he was continuing to feed to his lower body which kept him solidly adhered. Once removed Sendo undid his stopper knot, hitched one end to his harness just in case, and began pulling the rope through the anchor above him. Once free the rope entered freefall down the side of the cliff, only to have the sharp end caught at just the right moment. Quickly reorienting the rope and attaching it to the anchor Sendo once again continued his descent to the bottom.

Finally at the bottom Sendo released himself from the rope and began to investigate the gut feeling he had received at the top. Being such a steep cliff, the bottom was bathed in perpetual shadow which in turn kept much thicker snow and lower temperatures within it despite the relative warmth of the summer months in the area. Trouncing into the snow almost immediately Sendo found part of a hand sticking up from beneath the snow. Digging it out he quickly found the semi-frozen remains of an unkempt middle aged man sporting a deep cut through his abdomen that practically bisected him. Continuing to search he found several more bodies, all just as ragged looking, all sporting severe gouges missing from their dead flesh. As he continued to wade through the snow to search out for more bodies Sendo began to mutter, “Hard looking, unkempt, don’t look like tribesmen. My bet is bandits. Guess you guys are why no one’s coming South. But who-” Sendo’s voice died in his throat as he finally found what he believed was the last corpse in the area. It was a large man, larger than the others that he’d found by a significant margin. The man looked to be in his mid to late thirties and his broken body bore the tale of tens of puncture wounds and gouges across it. It seemed the warrior had been the one fighting the bandits and had somehow been forced from the ledge was Sendo’s conclusion since the man still bore a thick bastard sword in his hand. This man had fought, and died a warrior.

And, despite almost 2 decades of age, Sendo immediately recognized his brother Hideji.

[WC: 1280]
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[To be continued....]
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Re: To the mountains [SSM]

Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:26 pm

Sendo’s gaze drifted over Hideji’s broken body as he marshalled the growing emotion inside himself. ‘Don’t mourn, rejoice. He died in glory.’ Sendo attempted to convince himself of this fact as he began taking in the multitude of details that helped paint the story of what happened. Thick assortments of fresh cuts in his flesh were coupled with tens of puncture marks that covered his large torso. Running his hands over the frozen body he could feel numerous broken bones, but whether those came from bludgeons or the fall Sendo couldn’t know. Before long, his hands had found themselves on either side of Hideji’s cheeks, gingerly cupping the face of the deceased. Sendo’s forehead rested against his brothers as he closed his eyes, attempting to wrap his head around the situation before he was spurned to motion again by circumstances. He stooped in this position for long seconds, silently imparting his own goodbyes to the brother had had not been able to grow with before extricating himself with a soft, “Till we meet again in the halls of our Fathers.

Slightly rising Sendo allowed himself a small sigh, steeling himself momentarily. “May Raiden give you knowledge and strength as you follow the path to his ancient halls. Know that we do not grieve, but howl jealously as your bravery carries you from us.” As he spoke Sendo wandered his gaze yet again, noting the old clustered scars that carpeted his brothers body, and the tattoos of manhood which stood prominently on his skin. He used them to help remember that his brother had lived and died exactly as he and the other men of their tribe had wished, in battle. He continued, “You died in glory, and now reside among the best of us. Until we meet again, where the brave will live forever.” Sendo concluded, finally erecting himself to his full height. It was a battlefield ritual, all the same words with none of the ceremony, but it was all Sendo could offer the soul of Hideji. Sendo desperately wanted to collect his brother’s body and whisk him back to their village for a full send off as they were only perhaps a few hours away. But, unfortunately, a soldier can’t always get what he wants regardless of how much he wants it.

There was still a job to do.

With difficulty Sendo’s thoughts returned to the task at hand, that of the mission. Turning from his brother he once again turned to the corpses he had originally found, screening over their bodies for anything useful. Taking several minutes to look them over Sendo couldn’t discern any useful information from their bedraggled corpses prompting his frustration to rise. Standing up and kicking the frozen body in front of him was like kicking a rock, but he still found it cathartic before returning to where his rope dangled nearby.

Sendo had abseiled down to conserve energy, but with the state of his head he had no intentions of climbing back up the same way. Jumping to the rock Sendo began running up the stone, expertly channeling his chakra to accomplish the feat. He stopped only briefly to collect his quickdraws and rope before quickly continuing his run back up the cliffside, abandoning the pitons in the wall. With his essential gear Sendo made it back up the one hundred meter cliff in a fraction of the time it had taken him to descend it. Once he crested the lip at the top he efficiently stowed his gear away before loosening where War Edge rested against his back. Now he knew what he was hunting even if not exactly where, and before he was done they would know fear.
Another hour had come and gone since Sendo had sent his brother Hideji’s soul to Raiden’s hall and in that time his grim anticipation had grown by leaps and bounds at the looming fight ahead. ‘Damn bandits, like cockroaches who don’t know to just lay down and die.’ he thought as his already strong distaste for the folk doubled on itself. His blood was up since he had begun to trek down the pass again, and with the passage of time it had only continued to increase.

Since he had learned of who he was most likely going to be facing Sendo had made small attempts to stealth forward, but he wasn’t willing to sacrifice to much speed to caution. The exercise saw him stalking forward very reminiscent of a bear in his large coat inwardly hoping he was spotted soon. The unfortunate truth was that even though he had found bandit corpses he still didn’t know where they were camped. The easiest way he rationalized to find their encampment was to get accosted by them, so the easiest way he saw to do that was to ‘attempt’ to sneak forward like he was a lone traveler in a pass, effectively using himself for bait. Stupid? Arguably. Reckless? Definitely? Effective? His permanent smirk rose up a hair, ‘We shall see.
About time.” Sendo muttered so himself as he began to hear the soft sounds of voices and shuffled feet up ahead of him. He was coming to an area that bent through a blind curve while the pass had continued to widen beneath him, now nearly wide enough for four wagons to ride abreast. If he was a betting man, and he was, then they would be just around the bend, waiting for the traveler that a lookout had spotted along the pass. ‘At least, that’s what would make sense. With these fools you just never know.’ Sendo thought as he willed heat and adrenaline into his arms and legs, mentally prepping himself for the battle he was about to entrench in.

Sendo would not be disappointed it would seem as no sooner had he made it around the bend than he saw several men arrayed in front of him while several more fell in behind him. Just like that, Sendo found himself surrounded by the same bedraggled looking ilk as he had found at the bottom of the cliff face. The beards he noted were scraggly at best, every centimeter of their persons covered in dirt. What grabbed his attention most of all though was the naked weapons they all held in their hands. He noted pitting along the sword’s lengths, numerous nicks and cracks along their cudgels, and little more than padded clothing to protect themselves. He turned his head slightly and decided at a glance that the four behind him were in much the same condition as the four in front.

Sendo was not impressed.

As Sendo continued to take in the sullied characters about him one of them confidently strode slightly forward, Well, well, well. A lone traveler? That isn’t safe friend. Bandits are in these passes. This earned a chuckle from some of his compatriots, Knowing that, you would think people wouldn’t be stupid enough to travel alone. There’s gotta be a price to pay for being that thick in da head. The man intoned, ending the sentence with a toothy grin. At least, with what blackened teeth he had left.

These guys are ridiculously stupid.’ Sendo found himself thinking as the man finished explaining the ‘stupid price’. ‘Obviously these folk have gotten big heads from a few weeks of good fortune.’ His thought continued as several of the man’s friends continued to chuckle at… His wit? He wasn’t sure.

He found himself erecting to his full height, standing a full head over the tallest amongst the bandits. As he did so he also threw back the hood that shadowed most of his face, allowing them to gaze on the vicious scars that patchworked his face. He watched most of the humor die from the ones in front while the ones behind Sendo continued to chuckle, apparently oblivious to the tonal change in the situation. Sendo leveled his gaze against the one who had walked forward, boring into the man with a glare that he hoped spoke of at least a fraction of his fury.

It must have been working to some degree as Sendo watched the man begin to side eye his assorted compatriots, seemingly taking solace in their superior numbers before continuing in a growl, What are you, fucking stupid or something? Give us all your shit and maybe we won’t kill you! The man’s friends had noted his demeanor change, prompting them to drop their own mirth and clutch their weapons just slightly tighter anticipating a troublemaker.

No.

Sendo’s comment seemed to shock the assorted group momentarily before the de facto leader of the group began barking with humorless laughter. Man, you really are stupid. What, you think cause your big an scary lookin that the rules don’t apply? Yeah, we had folk like that come through a few weeks ago. Wasn’t a good call for them either. In case you didn’t notice, you’re surrounded.

Sendo took the mans words like punch to the gut, knowing that the man must be talking about Eiji and Hideji. ‘These guys were there?’ Sendo thought as his rage continued to build, threatening to burst open his chest. Sendo let his gaze travel over the three others that stood slightly behind the bandit in front before speaking clearly for all assorted to hear.

The only thing I’m surrounded by is dead men.” And just like that, the world exploded in blood and violence.

[To be continued…]
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Re: To the mountains [SSM]

Sat Feb 23, 2019 9:29 pm

For one fleeting moment, all around the collected men stilled. The only thing that shifted the air was Sendo’s declaration, stunning the world to silence. If their faces were any indication, the bandits were still piecing together exactly what they had been told and its meaning. The only thing Sendo could hear was the sound of his blood pumping the hot fire of hate through his body, threatening to break him if it wasn’t give it a release.

He obliged.

Blurring forward in a rush, Sendo’s foot crashed forward into the lead mans chest, bodily throwing him into one of his companions where they both were thrown to the floor in a heap, gasping and maneuvering desperately to not impale themselves. Sendo was already in motion while the man still flew to the ground, spinning in a tight circle with War Edge finding its way to his hands. Gripping the heft of his axe the men that had arranged behind him received the full brunt of Sendo’s form with weapon in hand. The look that flashed over their face said that they might just wet themselves.

Not that they’d get the chance.

Sendo charged into their midst, War Edge held across his chest with a roar on his lips. The bandits held their weapons up and attacked, but it meant little. Jumping to the left Sendo pulled himself out of range of three of the bandits, knocking the rusted sword from the grip of the last man in a crushing parry from his axe Sendo rushed into the man’s face. Weaponless, with a mountain of muscle and fury practically teleporting into his face the man had abject fear written across all his features. Grabbing him by the neck Sendo hefted the man to eye level before crashing his forehead into those fearful features an instant later, causing the man to slack in his iron grip. Dropping the bandit to crumble in a pile Sendo felt a crack across his back as one of the others rushed in and struck him with his cudgel. Spinning around Sendo brought his axe to bear, sweeping upward through his spin the man attempted to block but was unable to hold back the titanic strength behind the swing. The razor like teeth of War Edge tore into the mans hip, arcing diagonally upward through his body. Muscle and bone offered little resistance as Sendo followed through the swing, practically tearing the bandit’s arm from his shoulder while bright, arterial blood pumped heavily from the gigantic wound. His torso eviscerated, the man was already dead even if he was being slow about it, so Sendo turned his attention to the others.

Kicking the dead man to the ground, Sendo leaped over the bleeding corpse to meet the two that had been arranged behind him, making a brief note of the fact that two more were charging into the fray while the other two still attempted to find their breath and rise to their feet. Both men in front of him bore pitted, rusted swords which they began swinging hastily as Sendo easily closed the distance. Sendo brought War Edge forward, catching the blade of one man in the center of his axes shaft he felt the other cut into his right arm, opening a wound that sluggishly began to bleed. Ignoring the wound Sendo pushed up and forward, throwing the bandit’s sword and arms upward as the man struggled to keep his balance. Taking a bracing step back Sendo swung the ugly edge of his weapon in a wide, horizontal arc which practically bisected the bandit still fighting for his balance.

The one who had struck him was almost caught in the same swing but managed to jump back, barely dodging a similar fate as his fellow was thrown toward him by the force that had opened his body. However, this dodge would not save him as Sendo would keep the momentum of his heavy weapon moving as it was swung around into a vertical chop that Sendo jumped into. The bandit saw the chop coming and attempted to block it, bringing his sword high to catch the attack. The sheer force behind the attack made a mockery of his attempt as Sendo’s blow ripped the weapon from the bandits grip before cutting deep from the man’s collarbone, the blade stopping midway into his torso. Yanking hard Sendo freed the weapon from the man’s chest, throwing a large arc of blood through the area before turning to the two incoming bandits.

He could see the men’s charge faltering as in the brief seconds that had passed they had seen as their fellows were slaughtered at Sendo’s hands, but they would have no chance to rethink their attack as Sendo rushed in to meet their charge with his own offense. His weapon swung around once more in a horizontal arc of death forcing both bandits to leap forward to the ground to avoid being cut in half by it. This situation though was no better as now they were face down at Sendo’s feet, desperately trying to roll and find their feet. Like the master he was he expertly continued the motion of his swing, carrying the axe high overhead before crashing it down through the left bandits neck, biting it deep into the rock below. Leaving his weapon stuck in the ground momentarily Sendo turned his body and took several large, bounding steps toward the other man who had managed to rise to a kneeling position. Then, at the start of a full sprint, Sendo kicked the rising man with as much force as he could muster. He felt bone give under his foot, as well as possibly in his foot as the bandit was thrown to his back unconscious by the force of Sendo’s foot.

Sendo turned his gaze to the two he had knocked to the ground at the onset of battle. Perhaps thirty seconds had passed since the start of the violence, and Sendo had fully expected both bandits to have descended on him by now, especially considering he had left his weapon perhaps a meter from himself. But no, the men had watched as their fellow bandits were torn down, their blood pooling and throwing off light steam around their corpses, and all thought of fight had seemingly left them. The men were on their knees, weapons thrown to the ground with their arms raised high above their heads. Their eyes were huge, trembling notably in fear which only worsened as Sendo began stalking toward them. Sendo stopped momentarily next to his weapon, wrenching it out of the rocky ground it had bitten into, jerking the body it had gone through slightly with the movement. His weapon once again in hand Sendo turned his full attention upon the cowering bandits, continuing his leisurely pace towards them.

The one he had booted originally once again found his voice, Spa… Spare us lord! We meant nothing by it earlier! Let us leave and we’ll never return! Please!” The man spit out as his partner enthusiastically nodded his agreement. Both men’s trembling increased two fold as Sendo finally reached them, his massive stature towering over the men on their knees. The pungent odor of urine was thick around the two, causing Sendo’s face to knot up slightly tighter. Even this slight facial change was enough to drag a yelp from the bandit’s mouth as both began cowering inward even more, apparently to make themselves as small and non-threatening as humanly possible.

Sendo’s powerful disdain for the bandits only thickened as the men continued to whimper and silently plead for their lives. But, when gifted an opportunity for information like this one, you didn’t pass it up. Sendo was reckless after all, not stupid. “Shut up.” Both men immediately heeded his barked command, ceasing making even the barest of noise. He felt their doe sized eyes upon him, waiting to learn if they would live or die. Sendo bore his gaze fully into the one who had been their spokesman, “Answer all my questions and I might not throw the both of you off the cliffside. Understand?” Empathetic nods answered him, “Good. Now, what have you been doing and where are the rest of you holed up?

The fear in the mans voice was palpable as he answered, We… We came up cause we heard ‘bout the caravans of stuff that come down, all the jewels n shit. Boss said it’d be easy pickins if their was enough of us. Said these mountain folk are a hard people but if we got enough of us they wont stand a chance. Had been workin too. Theres a flatter spot up the pass way ahead that isn’t so close to the cliff, we been campin there. That way no one could get past us and call for aid. Man, we were supposed to been done and gone already, you gotta believe me but the boss said nah theres more here but I’d tried to te-

The man clamped his mouth shut has Sendo’s hand shot up, palm toward him, interrupting the undoubtedly heartfelt apology how none of this was his fault. “I don’t give a shit about your excuses and I don’t have the time or energy to listen to them. I’m a little tired from slaughtering all your friends after all.” He saw the man cringe inward as his gaze reflexively flew over the steaming corpses that littered the ground while his fellow just continued to stare upward at Sendo, fear written in every feature of his statuesque face. When he saw he had the talkative man’s attention again he continued, “Your boss. Tell me about him and how many more of you there are.

The…There….There’s about twenty more of us. Most of em will be further up the pass right now in case any carts come down the pass, we gotta good spot up there. The boss is a big n scary lookin guy. Not as big as you though lord. No he couldn’t hold a candle to y-urg! The rest of what the man had to say was lost as Sendo’s crushing grip clamped around the mans throat, dragging him bodily up to his feet and cutting off his air.

Dragging the man toward the cliff Sendo stood him directly at the edge before relaxing his hold on the man slightly. Strangled coughs could be heard as the man wheezed air into his lungs around Sendo’s occluding hand as Sendo spoke, “Last warning. Now, tell me everything about those big guys from a few weeks ago. No holding anything back, or you die.” Sendo’s voice was low, almost nonchalant, but it was as cold as he himself felt.

The man’s voice was much quieter with a fist surrounding his throat, but he still managed to speak, Two… Two guys came up the pass! Almost as big an mean as you look! We… We stopped like with you, but they fought. They killed a couple of us before we managed to knock one of em off the cliff. When he went it distracted the other guy long enough for Hiro over there to get a good cut in and take the guys hand off. We piled on him and beat him up, decided we could sell em or something on account of he’s so big even if he only got one hand he can still move heavy shit after all. So we dragged him back to camp. That’s, that’s it, I swear.

Much of what the man said made sense, but that sense did not relieve Sendo’s heart. In fact, it dropped several more tons of weight on it. ‘Eiji was captured?’ The thought echoed in Sendo’s head as he continued to hold the man in his iron grip. His feeling must have written themselves on his face as the man continued, You… You said if I talked you’d let me go, right? The flicker of hope behind all the terror in the man’s eyes was noticeable as he looked as if he’d have been waiting with bated breath if he wasn’t finding it so hard to breath. Sendo eyed the man, mentally deliberating on whether that was all he needed. Satisfied he could work with that, and that he was tired of communing with filth, Sendo responded,

If that’s what you want.

Sendo released his grip on the mans throat, giving him a shove to the chest. The hope in the mans eyes died as suddenly as it had arrived as he felt himself begin to stumble out into open air. The screaming echoed up the cliffside as the man fell, while at the same time Sendo turned away from the cliff and toward the remaining bandit. The one that the talkative man had pointed out as Hiro. The screaming lasted for several more seconds before it abruptly cut off. Sendo raised his axe and jammed it into the ground blade first, sticking it solidly in the rock again as he eyed Hiro before finally speaking, “So… You’re the one that cut my brothers hand off.” The light of clarity lit the mans eyes and his mouth began working up and down, whether in denial or apology Sendo didn’t know. He never gave the man the chance. Like lightning Sendo had leapt into the man, driving them both into the ground with Sendo mounted on top of him. Sendo sat up tall over Hiro as he began to bat at him weakly with his arms until Sendo crashed his fist down into his face. Hiro stopped trying to get him off and used his arms to try and cover the assault that had begun but it would do little to stop Sendo’s fury. Fists like sledgehammers rained down into the mans arms and skull as blood began welling out of his broken nose and split lips. He must have knocked Hiro unconscious as his arms flopped down next to his head, no longer protecting it. This simply offered an easier target as Sendo rained his anger down into the mans face, feeling the mans skull begin to crack, eventually break, and then begin to deform under his continued assault.

Standing up, Sendo sucked in large gulps of cold mountain air as he looked down at what had once been Hiro the bandit. He didn’t know how long he had vented his rage on the corpse, as the man was undoubtedly dead, but it had been long enough that Sendo doubted that the man’s closest friends would be able to recognize him through the bloody paste that his face had transformed into. Stepping back, Sendo walked over and once again wrenched his axe from the ground, hooking it back to its sheath before calmly beginning further down the pass to where the talkative man had said their camp was.

After all, not only were their more bandits, Sendo had to save his brother.

[MFT]
[WC: 2497]
[To be Continued…]
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Re: To the mountains [SSM]

Sat Mar 02, 2019 8:41 pm

The sun was retreating below the mountain range as Sendo peered down from his vantage point on the camp the bandits he had killed spoke of. Already torches had been lit in the immediate vicinity of their camp as the bedraggled men he’d come to associate with this band all shuffled around campfires joking, singing, and imbibing merrily. Fur covered tents were haphazardly scattered in the circular clearing in the mountains while several heavily laden carts rested near the back of their camp. All in all, the only ordered thing about the bandit camp seemed to be the perimeter being well lit by torches every handful of steps. For now, Sendo simply observed, counting bandits and seeing their routines while the wind, and chill incrementally began to increase around him.

Huddled in a small crevice to act as a slight windbreak Sendo kept his arms folded and his legs drawn up to keep as much body heat as possible while he mapped his target and decided on a course of action. The wounds he had received continually attempted to remind him of his previous encounter, but none of them were serious, or even injuries Sendo hadn’t suffered before. He had a good sized bruise across his mid-back, a cut across his right bicep which had left the arm tacky with blood, a slight twinge in his rest, and he was decently positive he had injured something in his foot from kicking that one guy in the skull. But, in the grand scheme, all were easily put from his mind as minor inconveniences as his gaze endlessly roamed from fire to fire below him.

Already Sendo had counted ten to fifteen bandits all in varying stages of drunkenness milling about jovially around their fires. This didn’t concern him near as much as what he hadn’t seen though, namely sentries or his brother. Sendo had no hard evidence that he wasn’t already dead and gone of course, but he also wasn’t willing to let go of the dogged hope that his brother was still alive down there. The sun finally became a distant memory as darkness encroached all around Sendo while simultaneously attempting to claw its way into the encampment that his patience paid off as who could only be Eiji was forcefully pushed through the flap of the largest tent. His brother stumbled to the ground, obviously off balance as a man roughly Sendo’s own size also exited the tent and dragged Eiji to a standing position by his hair. Sendo was to far to see the fine details but he did see what looked like Eiji’s arms restrained behind himself. The two men were walking towards the largest fire as others began abandoning their own revelry to move towards the same fire, cheers firmly on their lips. ‘What the hell…?’ Sendo puzzled as Eiji was pushed into a roughly formed circle of men with the fire at the center, this time managing to keep his feet beneath him. Confusion racked Sendo’s brain as he attempted to predict what was going on before apparently an order was barked and his once proud brother began to dance a slow, shuffling jig around the fire. His head hung low as he moved along, jeers and calls assaulting him as he slowly moved around the fire, looking the fool for attempting to dance without being able to move his arms. Darting forward, a man lunged into the circle with his foot, tripping Eiji over it and sending him face first to the rocky ground with no way to break his fall to the cheers of the crowd and the hollered orders to get back to his feet. As the man began to get back to his knees another bandit launched out of the crowd, solidly planting a foot in Eiji’s side and toppling the man over.

Right into the fire.

Sendo listened as his brother screamed out in pain, helplessly rolling away from the logs that had just ruthlessly burned his side, arm, and back while still trying his best to follow the ‘get up’ orders he was receiving. Sendo’s gaze was glued in horror as Eiji simply climbed back to his feet and continued his jig for the crowd, consistently being jeered at, tripped, and thrown back into the fire for all the world looking like a broken man. “Fucking animals.” Sendo hissed through clenched teeth as his horror bloomed into rage as he watched this abuse continue for what felt like hours. Every fiber of his being wanted to leap from his crevice and inflict bloody violence upon everyone down there, but knew that it would only serve to get himself killed, or worse captured. Sendo actively was fighting his own instincts, ‘You aren’t Raiden. That’s fifteen guys, sure, but what about the big guy? That trash from earlier said. That’s probably the boss, and chances are he’s the real deal to be leading this freakshow.’ All his rationalizations only brought strong waves of helplessness to crash over his body, threatening to spring tears to his eyes. He fought this with the mountainous willpower all veterans possess, but only just and only through further rationalization. ‘Don’t get moisture on your face. Are you fresh to the mountains or something?

The negative reinforcement helped, and Sendo started actively channeling the helplessness he was feeling into seething rage which in turn was being tasked with devising a plan of action to handle the situation. Several ideas sprung to mind as he eventually watched Eiji be all but dragged back to the large fur tent by the boss, but it was the lingering mental image of Eiji screaming in pain from his burns that settled exactly what Sendo would do. His teeth bared in a savage smile as he finally settled on his plan and began watching for his moment to strike, knowing deep that when he was done there’d be nothing left.
What felt like an eternity passed as the final revelers drunkenly stumbled to their respective tents to sleep off the rest of their drink. The camp fires and perimeter torches continued to burn while the camp finally drifted to unconsciousness, and Sendo knew that the time to enact his plan was upon him. Extricating his body from the position he’d been frozen in for hours he manipulated chakra throughout his body to warm him for battle as he began feeling the first rushes of adrenaline striking his body. Axe firmly in hand Sendo silently began dashing for the perimeter of the camp, fully willing and ready to be the harbinger of bloody violence.

They wont even know what hit em.

[MFT]
[WC: 1108]
[To be continued…]
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Re: To the mountains [SSM]

Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:26 am

Sendo moved with deadly purpose as he silently maneuvered into the encampment. Crossing within the border of burning torches quickly his gaze raced over the area within, assuring that he was correct about no sentries being posted. Satisfied he stealthily moved deeper into the encampment, listening intently to the sounds of men fast asleep, straining for any variation to the noise.

Sendo moved up on the tent pitched furthest from the others and nearest to the carts of goods, already able to hear the hard snoring of someone who had imbibed to deeply. Falling quietly into a crouch and sheathing his axe, Sendo deftly worked the tent flap open and gazed down at the man inside. He was half dressed and still cradling his bottle as he attempted to wake the dead with his breathing, no doubt dreaming of ill-gotten gains and his new wonderful lot in life. Suddenly, Sendo leapt onto the man, trapping his arms and body beneath his large legs as his hand clamped down with crushing grip over the man’s neck. The bandit’s eyes bulged as he was cut off mid breath and jarred into battle, thrashing to and fro in a vain attempt to free his arms to fight. He would never get the chance. Sendo’s free hand grasped his temple while he began crushing down on the throat in his hands. With a swift, violent motion he jerked his hands in opposite directions, feeling the thunk of crushing bone beneath his hand as the man’s struggles immediately ceased. ‘This is why you post sentries.’ Sendo thought as he slowly extricated himself from the dead man and the tent, half full bottle of liquor in tow. Flicking his gaze around he couldn’t find any change, which emboldened Sendo to continue to the main part of his plan.

Leaving the tent behind Sendo moved towards the carts heavily laden with trade goods and began quietly inspecting their contents. “Gems, stones, other rocks. Good, no furs.” Sendo quietly muttered to himself satisfied by the contents he had found. Pulling free the cork from the large liquor bottle he began to splash the strong smelling alcohol evenly between the carts before leaving the bottle and moving to the perimeter torches. This was the riskiest portion of his plan and Sendo knew it, but fortune favors the bold. He began plucking the perimeter torches from the ground, swiftly moving from torch to torch until he had enough that he was struggling to move easily with them. The heat was drawing the skin on his exposed face to grow tight and was destroying his night vision, not to mention his ability to stealth through the camp, but lacking any better options he pointedly decided to charge on.

It was time.

Torches in hand Sendo increased his speed as he moved towards the smaller tents, letting stealth fall to the wayside as he dashed. Reaching the first of the tents Sendo saw that whoever was inside hadn’t tied the flap shut before falling asleep, letting shadows flicker back and forth inside. Pulling his arm back Sendo threw the burning torch inside, hoping that it would catch. This process repeated as Sendo worked back towards the carts tossing collected fire either into or on the fur tents on all but the boss’. Already he was beginning to see flames catching and others begin to shout bewilderedly as he reached the carts. Taking the last several that he possessed he tossed them onto the carts and watched as the tops practically burst into flames from the alcohol he had poured. Satisfied that they were catching Sendo removed War Edge from his back and turn and ran to the side hoping the bandits’ night vision would be as ruined as his. The camp was beginning to awake chaotically as tents, and men, began to burn and men came stumbling out with barely a stitch upon themselves. ‘Like a kicked over anthill…’ Sendo thought as he briefly watched some run for the carts while others attempted to put out tents and allies with varying levels of success.

The chaos continued for several more long moments before Sendo spied the largest tent he had left alone burst open as their leader came charging out to see what was going on. Seeing the fire the large man began gesturing around with a gigantic club while barking off orders, trying to get his men in line. It was during this tirade of command that Sendo strode forward more into the flickering fire lights to make sure he was seen. On the next pass of the man’s eyes he made a double take on Sendo before pointing the club at him while screaming, “You!” Whether he was about to command Sendo to put out fires or accuse him he couldn’t be sure as the moment the words boomed from the bandits mouth Sendo dashed forward, closing the gap between them.

It was time to end this.

[to be continued]
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Re: To the mountains [SSM]

Wed May 15, 2019 5:47 pm

[topic left/mission failed]

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