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1 Yin and Yang [Training/Open/No Kill] on Wed Jul 08, 2015 8:24 am

Shinako

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Special Jounin
Coursing swiftly through the trees beside the stream, Shinako's feet took the rough terrain expertly. Stone after stone, divot after divot, it was all familiar to her. She and the forest held no secrets from one another; between the two of them were no surprises. She loved coming to the woods as the shadows lengthened at the end of the day, past the old mill and her childhood wishing well. As the dark grew, the forest could be hers, and she could belong to the forest, and together they would always make something more of the time than hours shifting into more forgotten hours. Here was the shadow land. Here was the fertile land, where nature laid her womb bare to the world, producing fruit, as if to say 'see, we can have a part in this together'.

Picking her way along the shoreline, Shinako kept her eye trained on the stream, following the silver silouette that flitted just out of range of her shadow. Ducking beneath a low branch, she readied a senbon needle, holding it between her thumb and middle finger and using her index finger to support its length. The throw would come only when she was sure of her success. It was not crucial that she catch her dinner out in the wilderness, but the prospect of returning and dining with her brothers in the absence of their father was not not appealing to her in the least.

Sweat trickled and threatened to sting at Shinako's left eye, so she used the sweat-band on her left wrist to dab at the side of her face, careful not to allow the gesture to obstruct her view of the fish. The stream was coming to a bend, and Shinako knew that the fish woud slow down there. Leaping and springing off of a tree to her right, Shinako flew over the glistening surface of the water, agily traversing from the right side of the river to the left just as the fish bent its own path to the left to follow the stream. With a sharp flick of her wrist, Shinako let the senbon needle fly.

The senbon needle, as a medical and accupunctural tool, was one of precision. Often considered inferior to the shuriken and the kunai, its reputation often suffered for the sheer amount of accuracy required to make it an effective fighting tool in the shinobi world. As the single bolt of metal streaked through the air, its silver flickered first light, then dark, then light again, in constant protest against the sun above and the penumbra below; companion to both, indebted to neither. It parted the water with little more ceremony than a single fish scale, slicing downward in an inexorable dive, scarcely losing any momentum, having been thrown with such purpose that the kami of the stream both saw and approved. Almost with a mind of its own, it claimed its prize.

The fish, though it swam quickly, knew nothing of the death that slipped from the air above it so swiftly. As the needle found its mark, piercing almost completely through the muscular, green-brown body of the fish, the animal writhed and rolled, curling itself like a fist, protesting death. Then, after a few short moments, ceased to struggle, floating lazily toward the surface of the water. Shinako, alighting softly on a patch of moss, arrested her momentum and retied the sash binding her hair into a ponytail.

The young woman, wearing short sleeves, dipped her hands into the stream, retreiving the fish and removing the needle from its flesh in the same motion. She scanned the environment for signs of other wild-life before trekking a ways back from the stream to set up camp. If she was to train through the night she would need a fire.

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2 Re: Yin and Yang [Training/Open/No Kill] on Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:24 am

Shinako

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Special Jounin
As she ate, Shinako listened to the sounds of the forest around her. Father had often said that everything makes a vibrant sound, if one only has the presence of mind to listen, and the ability to quiet their own noise. Even in the space of a few breaths, it was possible to hear the constant pushing and pulling of the two world forces, yin and yang, constantly pushing and pulling, not embattled, but in accord with one another and divine mandate.

When she had first endeavored to learn genjutsu, her father had told her the secret behind such techniques.

"Somewhere between the living world--the doing, the seeing, the being--and the imagined world--the thinking, the seeming, the believing--lies the truth of every matter. Master Lao once had a dream that he was a butterfly, but once he awoke, was unsure if he was still Lao, or if he was a butterfly dreaming of being Lao. Do you see?"

Admittedly, Shinako had not. Initially the lesson had eluded her, but after hours upon hours of practice and meditation, she had moved closer to the truth than she had ever expected that she would. Her skill in genjutsu, by now, was nearing her father's, and her appreciation for Yin and Yang were well developed. It was because of these lessons that, as she ate, Shinako tried her best to become the fish.

She thought about how it had maneuvered so gracefully through the water before the violent end; what had it seen with those unblinking eyes in the vibrant colors of the stream in spring time. There had been a life there, blissfully unaware of pursuit until the final moment until a shadow lay over it and it was still...

A shadow. Shape without form, shade without color; paralyzed force, all of the gesture with none of the motion. It may have been that it was not the senbon needle at all, but the knowledge of Shinako's shadow that had arrested all of the Yang that the fish possessed, natural pushing it down into the stillness. Perhaps the fish was no nearer to death's dream kingdom than was Shinako, seated under the shady shadows of the South Forest, everything pushing and pulling around her, and nothing truly arrested, but simply...changed.

The young woman looked down at her own shadow, intentionally twisting it to mimic the shape of a fish, swimming into her camp-fire. By it's very nature it weakened as it approached the light, but did not fade completely, just as Shinako expected had happened to the fish when her shadow had fallen over it. The Senbon and the fire were synonomous, but had nothing to do with the reality of what had happened to the fish. The truth lay in the nature of the fish, and in the nature of the shadow, falling between the idea and the description, the emotion and the act. Between Shinako's desire and the fish's ultimate spasm lay one absolute truth, Yin reflected over Yang...the shadow.

Of course, scientifically Shinako knew the truth about shadows, and that what was manipulated by her chakra was simply a manifestation of her own yin energies. In technical terms, what she and her clan did was Inton, shadow release, not simply shadow manipulation. However, this realization did not make her revelation any less poignant. In fact, the additon of her own volition--the power of her imagination and spiritual energy--only made the yin properties of the Shadow more apparent. The true shadow was bound to strict rules, ultimately another function of the light. In short, it was just another extention of yang. This was the true power of the Nara clan. Shinako spoke her epiphany aloud:

"We exist somewhere between Master Lao and the Butterfly...we exist where the truth is."


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3 Re: Yin and Yang [Training/Open/No Kill] on Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:06 pm

Shinako

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Special Jounin
Shinako stood from beside the fire, shedding the shawl that she had worn on her back for comfort against the cold and lacing her shinobi sandals more tightly. She had an idea for her shadow that would she wished to enact immediately. The moon was full, and the shadows fell cleanly over the surrounding land. Now was as good a time as any.

She gathered what few shinobi tools she had left, kicking dirt over, and stomping out the remaining embers of her camp-fire. She almost could not believe that she had let it burn so low. Hours must have passed since she had entered her quiet meditations by the stream, and by her reckonning it was probably near midnight.

The young woman moved to the edge of the stream, scooping up some mud between her hands. Carefully, she applied a thin layer of it over her face, neck, and the exposed parts of her hands and arms. This late at night, without the smoky protection of a camp-fire, the biting insects of the forest would eat her alive, and she would once again have to venture into the murky dankness of the Aburame compound for ointments, something that she was not the least-bit excited about doing.

Giving all of her clothing and gear one final check, she set off, heading back up the stream toward Nara lands, where she knew her quarry waited. The babbling of the brook was pleasant, and she heard an owl somewhere far-off in the woods. Many people feared to come here at night, for tales of Oni and Witches, but Shinako had often come for the quiet solitude of it all, even before she had begun to develop skills as a Shinobi. Nothing here truly frightened her, though she had a healthy respect for the dangers that the forest presented in the dark. There were snakes, pit-falls, and even the occasional tiger, but with enough vigilence, any and all of those things could be avoided. Shinako pressed on without hesitation, her mind set on what it was that she now knew in her heart that she could accomplish.

As she approached her family's ancestral homelands, her eyes began to pick through the underbrush at the sides of the stream, searching for the signs that she so often had when out on day-trips with her brothers. The fledgeling kunoichi was still honing her skills as a hunter of other shinobi, but as a hunter of deer she had more than a little bit of experience. The thought of her elusive targets loomed large in her mind, just as her brothers had taught her. She began to visualize the exchange in anticipation of the real thing.

When Shinako was twelve years old, on just such an excursion, her brothers had followed the largest stag that she had ever seen over an expanse of four miles. Through rugged and treacherous terrain she and her siblings had followed the massive animal, as silently as they could while still helping the adolescent girl along behind them. In that moment Shinako had had no doubt that her big brothers would have caught up to and killed the deer much more quickly if they had not had to constantly stop to make sure that she was alright, teaching her which plants to avoid, and how to cross over rocky patches of shale without turning her ankles.

She was far less delicate now. As she spotted a large game-path, Shinako stayed low and began to follow it, body tucked into a crouching run so as to appear to anything watching her as nothing more than a relatively large animal moving through the brush. Her stride, occasionally utilizing her hands for balance, or to push a stray branch out of her way, was reminiscent of a tiger, creeping through the under-growth before it pounced on its prey. Of course, Tigers always hunted in the opposite direction, towards the water, and never away from it.

The deer, on the other hand, after stopping by the cool water of the stream to hydrate, always returned to their more open pastures, where they could easily see predators coming. It was for these static natures of the animals in the forest that Shinako kept her eyes on the trees ahead of her, keeping wary and alert lest she be ambushed by a hunting tiger.

By the time she reached the open clearings very near to the edge of the Nara compound Shinako only had minor scrapes and bruises from what amounted to about two hours spent in the groove of the game-trail. It would have taken at least four to follow the stream all the way back home, tracing the route by which she had originally come.

As she crept closer to the clearing she slowed her movements to a snail's pace, moving barely a few inches every minute. The deer's senses were sharp, and doubly effective in the relative silence of the night-time. Finally she was able to peek over a bush at the clearing and sight a family of seven deer grazing. Now was the time.

Shinako mentally located her shadow, which fell behind her and into the tree-line. The deer were roughly twenty-five meters away from her, and she would be stretching the known limits of her clan's jutsu. She angled her shadow, stretching it out to its natural limit and then forming the seal of the Rat for focus, the natural sign of Inton users. A bead of sweat formed on Shinako's brow as she accessed her chakra, pouring it into her shadow to create Inton.

Much to her surprise, as shadow jutsu normally creeped and slided slowly, the shadow shot forward, attaining much higher speeds than she had anticipated. Snaking through the grass, it approached the deer silently but surely, too stealthy a predator to draw their attention. Just as it was reaching its limit, she sensed her shadow making contact with something both foreign and familiar at the same time, recognizing it as the shadow of another living thing. Shinako's shadow latched on and held like a vise.

Training:

This Post:1,035/2,326
Total Words: 2,326
Words Used: 2,100 (C-A Rank scaling jutsu at 3,000 words, minus a 10% reduction for Quick Learner SC and a 20% Nara Clan reduction to Inton techniques)
Ryo Spent: 250, as per an A-rank jutsu
Words Banked: 226
Jutsu Learned:
Name: 木ノ葉秘伝・影縛りの術, Konoha Hiden: Kageshibari no Jutsu (Shadow Paralysis Technique)
Canon/Custom: Canon
Rank: C-rank through A-rank
Type: Offensive, Supplementary
Element: Nara, Shadow Manipulation
Range: 35 meters
Specialty: Ninjutsu
Duration: Maintainable, as per jutsu rank
Cooldown: 4 posts
Description: Accessing their chakra reserves, a Nara Clan member is able to stretch their shadow beyond the limits of their Shadow Bending Jutsu, moving their shadow in a thin line up to 35 meters at a rate of twenty meters per second (speed scales by 10 meters per second by rank or 20m/s at C-rank, 30m/s at B-rank, and 40m/s at A-rank). If this shadow comes into contact with the shadow of another person, the user can cause it to latch on, binding itself to the opponent's shadow. The user can split the shadow to trap a number of enemies corresponding with the rank of the technique (C-rank=3, B-rank=4, A-rank=5). Once the shadows are connected, both the enemy and the user are bound in place, unable to move their bodies or legs. The user's arms remain free to perform handseals or use weapons. An opponent with a strength score of at least one rank higher than the rank of this jutsu when used (B-rank strength>C-rank, A-rank strength>B-rank, S-rank strength>A-rank) can escape from the bind, moving their hands and arms with difficulty after one post, moving their hands and arms freely after two posts, and completely freeing themselves after three. While utilizing this jutsu, the Nara Clan member cannot use any element other than Shadow Release.

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