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1History Pt.1 [ Private ]  Empty History Pt.1 [ Private ] on Sat Apr 07, 2018 7:24 pm

The Hōzuki Clan (鬼灯一族, Hōzuki Ichizoku) are a group of ninja that settled in Kirigakure after the ending of the Warring States Period, and since then have become one of the five core clans of the Village Hidden in the Mist along with the Hoshigaki, Osada, Kaguya, and the Yuki clans. Their unique ability to turn themselves into a liquefied state, surrounded by the constant source of mist to keep the ninja hydrated allowed the Hōzuki Clan to supplement their powerful clan abilities and truly make a name for themselves as potent ninja of the mist, solidifying their positions as spies, medics, scouts and many other roles within the ninjas' borders.  

Several famous members of the Clan have been immortalized in Kirigakure history, like Suigetsu, who wielded the legendary Kubikiribōchō, one of the nations' seven swords, through having taken it from the body of its previous owner. As a swordsman Suigetsu's name became legend. But his legend paled in comparison to the legend of his brother Mangetsu. Mangetsu used ALL of the Village Hidden in the Mist's legendary seven swords in his time as one of the nation's official seven swordsmen, including using the notoriously picky and living Samehada... Finally, and most famous of them all was the Second Mizukage of the Village hidden in the Mist, Gengetsu Hōzuki. A master of Genjutsu techniques, he was one of the most powerful ninja to have ever walked the earth, and was able to single handedly stave off armies unbeaten with his techniques even while attempting to give his opponents the knowledge and means to defeat him.

All in all, the Hōzuki Clan have earned their rightful place in Kirigakure's history as some of the strongest and most durable ninja in the world.

The history of the Hōzuki Clan is carefully tied together with the Village Hidden in the Mist. As a tribute to their status as members of noble clans within the village they maintain a large castle that stands proud within Kirigakure's inner district. This is not the only castle they maintain however. Several other islands spread out through the Kirigakure Archipelago contain islands owned by the Hōzuki Clan. Nearly all of these castles are old and derelict, built during the waring states period. The excess of these Hōzuki built castles and their unique style of architecture has given name to the Sōkō Tōdai (装甲灯台), also known as "Armored Lighthouses", named after the evolution from the seaside lighthouses where Hozuki Clan often made their home before the Waring States Period. The evolution of these lighthouses into heavily armored castles came as a direct result of the warring clan period, and gave name to the Hōzuki Clan itself, translating to mean "Demon Lantern". Hōzuki castles are scattered throughout the Land of Water, but there are several that exist outside the nation, including an especially famous one present in Kusagakure that has since been abandoned by the Hōzuki Clan and repurposed into being a high security prison. This deep historical connection that they have to heavily armored castles and lighthouses compounds with their assistance in the founding of Village Hidden in the Mist to show the Hōzuki Clan as being a strongly settled and rooted clan. While many other clans operated as nomadic mercenaries, the Hōzuki became some of the first sedentary and established clans, building their legacy throughout the world with concrete and bricks.

This was not a unified effort on the Hōzuki Clan, though. There have always been dissenters within their ranks. Hōzuki castles were built far and wide throughout the Land of Water and surrounding world, and because of their spread-out nature and poor communication between the various castles led to individual differences arising between the members of each castle. Unique cultures developed entirely within the Hōzuki Clan, taking on attributes from the islands they had been built on. The growing cultural divide between the spread-out castles of the Hōzuki clan was nearly crushed in its entirety during the reign of the Second Mizukage, Gengetsu Hōzuki. Gengetsu Hōzuki during his short reign as Kage to centralize the authority of the Hōzuki clan, so that either individual castle would answer directly to the authority of the castle that had been built within the Village Hidden in the Mist, which quickly became known as the Central Castle. This centralization of authority resulted in an incredibly short civil war within the Hōzuki Clan, known as the Four Day War, which resulted in the authority of the Central Castle being confirmed. All Hōzuki castles were forced to be officially registered with the Central Castle, accepting orders and maintaining constant communication. In addition to this, children from all castles would be sent to the Village Hidden in the Mist in order to receive training in the academy. The few battles that the Four Day War had resulted in the excess of abandoned Hōzuki castles spread throughout the nation, left to decay after the previous inhabitants were either killed or taken in as prisoners.  

Though there were those who were not so willing to accept this fate. A small group of Hōzuki clan members opposed to losing their traditional freedoms organized after the Four Day War. Weakened by the war and few in numbers, it was clear to them from the start they would never be able to mount a challenge against the Mizukage or the Central Castle. They would be forced to rebel in another way. Rather than challenging the Mizukage through force, this group of discontent Hōzuki Clan members would instead reject one of the core foundational principles of the clan itself, that they were tied to their castles. They would leave these castles they had once called their home, escaping into a nomadic lifestyle in order to escape the authority of the Central Castle. This group of dissatisfied Hōzuki became known as the Rōtō Arashi, or Storm Retainers. Their lifestyle quickly began to follow the path of storms that seasonally traveled through the Land of Water, crossing from island to island to stay within any storm that may pass through the lands. Their nature as being made nearly entirely out of water made living within intense storms that blew in from the sea much easier than it would have been for others, and because of this they were able to successfully escape the grasp of the Central Castle. The Rōtō Arashi never maintained more than perhaps a hundred members at any given time, but their numbers have maintained throughout the hundreds of years since the Four Days War.  

The Rōtō Arashi abandoning their castles had more significance than just leaving behind the authority of the now centralized Hōzuki Clan. It represented a fundamental break with the Hōzuki Clan itself and everything they stood for. The Hōzuki Clan's signature style of Sōkō Tōdai Castles came as a natural evolution of the Clan's connection with the ocean. Even before the Warring States Period, the Hōzuki Clan maintained seaside lighthouses as their primary place of dwelling. The reason for their connection to these lighthouses came about from the Hōzuki Clan's founding myth. It was told to every young Hōzuki child as they lay in their cribs that they are the children of the moon. It was said that Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto, the god of the moon, grew lonely after being separated from Amaterasu, goddess of the sun and his former wife. Tsukuyomi's loneliness grew as days and nights passed, abandoned and alone in the night skies. His depression and sorrow grew until one night a single tear, the culmination of all Tsukuyomi's sorrows, welled up from his eyes and fell from the heavens. This tear of sorrows fell down from Tsukuyomi's eyes directly into the ocean, and from the divine energy contained within that tear mixing with the tumultuously churning of the oceans, the first Hōzuki were born. It is for this reason that every member of the Hōzuki Clan have names that end with –getsu (meaning moon), to signify their origin as children of Tsukuyomi. These children of Tsukuyomi were born directly of the sea water, climbing up to the coastline in order to survive. The lighthouses built by the Hōzuki had started as attempts to shine as brightly as possible into the night sky, in an attempt to make their father, Tsukuyomi, comforted in knowing that he was not alone. The natural evolution of these lighthouses into castles came about as ninja clans became more militarized, and the Hōzuki Clan required more protection for their homes. The Rōtō Arashi abandoning their castles had significance because it represented them abandoning not just the rest of their clan, but also, their god Tsukuyomi. The disgust that the Hōzuki Clan felt towards the Rōtō Arashi cannot be overstated. Quickly the Rōtō Arashi became completely reviled within the Land of Water, becoming known as deserters and heretics. The Rōtō Arashi were named a criminal organization during the time of the Second Mizukage. This policy of actively hunting down their members ended as the Third Mizukage came into power, but the disdain that the Hōzuki Clan felt for them remained. While initially they attempted to say faithful to Tsukuyomi, the Rōtō Arashi soon abandoned their worship of him as official policies of discrimination against them began. Their habbit of following storms came about as a form of protection, hiding in the blowing typhoons to escape from the reaches of the Second Mizukage. Spending so much time in these storms for protection quickly made the Rōtō Arashi adopt them into their lifestyle. Even after they were no longer officially hunted by Kirigakure as traitors they kept to their lifestyle of following the seasonal storms that passed through the Land of Water. Their close connection to these storms led to them adopting the worship of Susanoo-no-Mikoto, the god of the sea and storms, rather than Tsukuyomi. While the Hōzuki Clan had always had a close connection to Susanoo, it had been secondary to Tsukuyomi. This connection turned sour as the Rōtō Arashi adopted worship of him, and since this the Hōzuki Clan have no longer paid tribute to Susanoo. Even centuries later this conflict smoldered on, burning even as the original circumstances that provoked it fell away into the tomes of history.

Shingetsu Hōzuki's life ended in this fire. As a ninja, her life had been unexciting. She was neither a prodigy nor a failure. She had neither great aptitude nor was she particularly inept at ninjutsu. She would have enough skill to rise to the rank of chuunin from an internal promotion, although not nearly enough to be considered for jounin. She would ride the fine line of being just adequate as a shinobi. While it was completely acceptable, this was a fate that was entirely unsatisfying to Shingetsu. While she had of course not chosen to be a shinobi on her own violation, the desire to excel at all things burnt strongly within her. While she was able to accept her fate as a shinobi due to her Hōzuki heritage, she was not able to accept being just an adequate shinobi. What she had originally had no passion for would change into a motivation to improve consumed her. It was an unending ambition without passion. Her pursuit would not be fruitless. While she did make initial progress in rising away from her simple mediocrity, there was no cooperation with her ascent. Shingetsu had been written off as an average ninja very quickly on, both by her family and Kirigakure itself. What she might have desired in access to advanced teachers or special weaponry was unavailable to her, restricted for those who showed more promise. There was only so much that she could train her body on her own, only so much she could learn from reading theory, and only so much she could master by practicing basic techniques. It would be a constant frustration for her, having to struggle against her own inadequacy alone. Without assistance from her clan or her village, she would be forced to search elsewhere. Out from Kirigakure, out from the central castle, her ambition would send her away from her dead ends in order to find another path. She would travel to the Land of Fire, seeking new opportunities in Konohagakure no Sato.

She would not stay there for long. Her journey in the Land of Fire was short, returning to her home four months after setting off for adventure. Her family who so little concerned themselves with her life previously took little notice of this, figuring it as her just finding another dead end. If she couldn't advance herself in Kirigakure, why would she in Konohagakure? Looking for another opportunity to advance when she could not here had just made her weaker in their eyes. Almost as if she were confirming their beliefs Shingetsu would return a different person. Her drive had been extinguished, and the impossibly strong ambition that drove her forward would be dead. Even though she had so little attention paid to her it was clearly visible in her eyes for all to see. Shortly after returning to Kirigakure she would retire from her life as a shinobi, retreating away from her home into solitude. She was not missed.  

In truth, Shingetsu's return from Konohagakure would have more complex reasons behind it than just failing to improve herself. She had hit a wall in her ability, that was true, but that was not so soul-crushing to force her to give up in the way that she did or flee from her clan afterward. Shingetsu ran from Konoha in order to escape from the events that occurred to her there and ran from her clan to protect the child that she was now carrying in her stomach. The Hōzuki would never have tolerated a halfblooded child, the clan's secret hydration technique too valuable to allow the potential of a child born with foreign blood. In fear, Shingetsu ran to the only others who would be able to take her in, deliver her child, and raise that child as a Hōzuki. She would go to the Rōtō Arashi, seeking refuge with the storm dwellers. The storms would hide her from the watchful eye of her clan, and because she had left without announcing her intentions it would be doubtful that her clan would be able to put the information together. Her child would be born in the safety of the Storm Retainers. The trauma of her impregnation and the intensity of the storm weakened Shingetsu though. She would barely survive childbirth, and after seeing her child was born healthy strong she would allow herself to be consumed by the storm.

That child was Chigetsu. He would be born healthy and with the signature pointed teeth that were common within the Land of Water. This genetic trait among was a signifier that the child would grow up healthy and strong.  However, it seemed like the unfortunate circumstances of his conception had left a mark on him. Chigetsu would be born with bright blood red eyes, completely uncharacteristic for his clan. It was an oddity that would be rare to find anywhere else. The only other group of people with similar red eyes were the Uchiha of Konohagakure and their direct descendants. It would make the problems that Shingetsu got into while in Konohagakure all the more curious. Unfortunately, with her death Chigetsu's father would be forever obscured. While he had been named Chigetsu too by his mother, the Rōtō Arashi who he was raised by would refuse to accept such a name. The suffix –getsu was long removed from their names, cut off as they rejected Tsuyukomi. His name would simply be Chi throughout his childhood, being raised within a much different culture than what his mother would have expected. Rōtō Arashi nomads lived off the storm, salvaging whatever they could and traveling relentlessly throughout the different islands. Only during the dry seasons did they remain stationary, roughly for half the year. This was the childhood that Chigetsu experienced, never staying in one place for too long. As a toddler, he was passed around, given from one wet nurse to another as was convenient. It was lucky for him that he was born around the same time as several others within the Rōtō Arashi, and so he was not alone during his childhood. Around his age there would be a handful of others that he could experience childhood with. Despite the differences between clans they would all truly be of the same blood. The feuding of their parents was entirely unknown to them, and so Chigetsu was able to make friends. Obviously it was not the most perfect relationship. All others were able to determine their heritage through their parents, having a small family unit that cared for them through the storms. Chigetsu was alone in this aspect. The bright red eyes that he was born with further set him out, providing a harsh contrast that set him further apart from normality. He was clearly labeled as different from them, with these features setting him clearly apart from the rest. While the innocence of childhood lasted these were simply minor issues, resulting in perhaps a bit of teasing or bullying that would be forgotten the next day. Innocence never lasts though. The rumors of the situation of his birth would spread around the group of Rōtō Arashi, spread by the older members who had lived to see his mother come to their tribe and give birth to him, and as the truth spread his reputation would be completely destroyed. The parents of the few children who did willing associate with him quickly put an end to that. This overt rejection and approval from their parents gave these children free reign to reject Chigetsu. That rejection from his peers slowly turned into active hatred, reinforced by their parents and spurned on by elders who were unhappy about his presence in the storms with them. While there were sympathetic voices among the elders, even they understood the dangers of holding Chigetsu with them as family. The anger between the Rōtō Arashi and mainline Hōzuki Clan was still present. Even those that accepted him realized it was dangerous for him to stay, and the possibility that one-day Chigetsu may be killed out of anger by some of the more zealous members of the Rōtō Arashi always remained present.

This tension would rise day by day. Children and adults would look at him with a mixture of fear and hatred. Ostracized more intensely each day, minor incidents of these emotions being expressed would begin to happen with increased intensity. Small acts like verbalized hatred, the throwing of rocks at him, and the theft of his personal belongings would not be uncommon. All the emotions of those surrounding him were not unknown to Chigetsu though, not in any sense. He was keen enough to pick up on how he was hated, even as a young child. Even if it hadn't been for how they treated him he would still have known. Just seeing the scorn in their faces and the emotions in their voices was enough. Even if he realized it though, these weren't things he could understand. Being hated without a reason wasn't something he could wrap his mind around. Being lied to about how they felt through their teeth added to the confusion. Lies streamed out of their mouths, betrayed by their actions. He could see all of it.

It was then that Chigetsu began to realize how useless words were.

He would spend his childhood in a world of hostility and lies. As he turned of the age that the other children began to be taught shinobi techniques by their parents, Chigetsu would be left alone in ignorance.

So he would seek something else. Leaving the Rōtō Arashi, Chigetsu would search for somewhere else to make a home. While stories of Kirigakure had caught his ear, he had no real destination. Anywhere would be better than where he was.

-575 (Strength to C-1) (Costs 100 ryo)
-575 (Speed to C-1) (Costs 100 ryo)
-575 (Endurance to C-1) (Costs 100 ryo)
-575 (Perception to C-1) (Costs 100 ryo)
-575 (Reaction Time to C-1) (Costs 100 ryo)

551 remaining, discarded.
500 ryo spent.

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