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1 Desultory Designs | Training on Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:47 pm




What I could do for a view of any.

The cruel sun beat down, its malevolent eye unblinking, and the sky its co-conspirator - not even a wisp of cloud to soften the harsh rays. The lizards took shelter in the shadows of the rocks where the sand was not hot enough to roast them, but no such providence of shade was large enough for us. Each step sunk into the searing sand, the air was thick and hazy, each breath like drowning in lava.

The gloaming hours presented a similarly greenless but more hospitable trek.

I had been in this hell for weeks, but there was some solace even seeing the point I had settled for and where I resided now. I have a companion. For me? That, maybe, is leaps and bounds. Before, I could never have dreamed of letting someone this close to me. Figuratively speaking. Even hoofing it like this, looking beside me to see someone who, if they looked back, would have that spark of recognition....the spark that plagued me so with dread. Going with a slightly fake face seems to have quelled my....inclination for obliviation. Perhaps his similar nature for obfuscating his identity puts me at ease, or the mutual distancing keeps me safe within what I know.

Maybe I am paranoid. Maybe everyone's out to get me. Maybe you all should just lay off making everything so rife with subterfuge and danger. Yeah. I know what I can do, I know what you do all the same. Do I want to do this, all of whatever this is you're planning? Ambivalence just isn't the answer. It's the one I prefer, but not the one that gets me anywhere.

We must have been padding through the dunes for the entire night. Silent for the most part heretofore - I certainly was not easy to broach conversation with, a flaw of which I'm well aware. But what were we to speak on? He didn't...seem to be feeling awkward, at least to my own observation. Were we both of the mind that if there was nothing to say, we needn't speak?


Those flecks and gentle gradient colors rose above the peaks of the mountains of sand we'd been navigating.

Navigating together even for weeks ourselves. Gah, I feel like a fool. If I were to give myself over to the will of whatever convoluted plan this is all about, how could I not learn the basic skills to elevate myself above a civilian? I'm dead weight in this pairing so far... I do not wish nor plan to be if I am able. Extending our trip by so long is unacceptable, however - time is something we do not possess in abundance.

The glow swept 'cross those sloped, gigantic piles of individual grains posing as landforms. It was perhaps some serendipity that we found one of the jutting rock formations that dotted the desert before daybreak. Or perhaps it was some uncanny convenience that brought us within sight.

It'd been an entire night. What would I say once we made camp? Aimless travel can capture and perhaps even entertain the mind, but rest required a mental component as well - and I knew from past encounters just how crazy the desert could make you.

But I first had to ensure we were even going to make camp. I turned to my companion, gesturing almost lazily toward the land formation. Already at least vaguely familiar with his experience, his surmising of my meaning wasn't at all out of the question.

His response was the thing I could not predict.



2 Re: Desultory Designs | Training on Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:18 pm



The phantasm moved through life as he had through death, and so, it was fitting then, that this desert was nestled at the end of the world. Beyond the reach of civilization, a pilgrimage covering such vast landscape would be met scornfully, wailing sun blaring heavy yoke down on the shoulders of those so foolish to journey under her watch. One such soul was the Ghost, a figure who moved so unobtrusively through the landscape, the tattered trails of his cloak were as if one with the sand. This journey would last through the cycles of sun and moon as they scorched and cooled the earth in sequence, rotating on the axis of some cosmic wheel. In his wake, the landscape opened to meet him, nature bent to the whim of the Ghost, bewitched by the oneness of his spirit.

Mirrored, the Ghost's companion would leave no imprint of his own across the blistering ocean; though far from any effort of his sage arts, the earth would merely forget the boy where he walked. At the dusk, scaled dunes shifted, plummeting over one another with the night winds to roll sheets of sand away revealing lost treasures, burying forgotten relics within. Two days since the pair shared a word, their unspoken bond drove them forward, only one knowing their destination though navigating without a map. How long had it been since the first night? Yōsei counted seven weeks on foot through this endless sand, grains acting as a guide through wispy trails whipped up in the wind. Eyes narrowed, the paused specter peering through the dark to draw a bead on the monuments he sought. Hika would have noticed by now, the Ghost leading him from place to place by discarded, ancient flagpoles; sacred sealing formula torn to shreds with centuries of neglect but Yōsei knew these paths intimately.

Beneath the soil, he could feel the writhing serpents twisting through the sand, crawling on their bellies to The Wind's newest behemoth. Life yearned to return east, in the direction of the rising sun, to nestle again at the bosom of civilization birthed from the ashes of blasphemous acts. Man, inevitably, builds upon the remains of man, greater conquest stood as testament to rampant progress. And so Yōsei took between his fingers the desert's body, pulling a white snake from beneath the film of smooth grains. Struggling body held firm, the sealer bent toward the reptile, chakra flowing at pursed lips to inscribe the formula across the snake's brow, whispering into the symbols before lowering the beast and loosening his fingers, allowing the captured thing to slither back into obscurity with his message. Infrequently he made stops like this, planting seals on the walls of buried castles, marking wildlife with hidden messages; throughout the Land of Wind, Hika would have witnessed Yōsei seal an armory's worth of weapons. But more dangerously, the secrets whispered into the seals to complete them, forbidden knowledge hidden into profane scripture.

Dawn threatened exposure, another league through the sun would be too much for his companion, who even now grew weary with the sun's first pitiful luminescence. Yōsei could have walked for years, sustained himself by sapping what nutrients he needed from the bountiful stock of nature chakras which permeated this holy land; such was the power of a man returned from death. Memories of that bloody swathe through Naraka he had cut steeled his body, so deep runs the wound of vengeance that even hell had not been able to contain his wrath. The shadows grew with the rising sun, Yōsei moving in part to clear debris from the sand and also to orchestrate the earth, his body calling the wind to do his bidding and shift the desert into a fresh crater, surrounded on all sides by freshly dug sand which would feel icy to the touch; not yet ruined by the oppressive sun. Allowing Hika whatever time he needed to recuperate would be no loss for Yōsei, the day would pass in an instant of meditation.

"The Valley we seek is not far from here, my friend."

Soft-spoken, Yōsei's voice, characteristically distant, offered the boy only a few remarks, freeing him of the burden to converse. Like Hika, the Shadow felt their goals transcended words. Each knew what they sought themselves, but not the other, and they both cared not to ask.

The adjustment to darkness overtook the scene as slightly as the Sealer's eyes opened from a deep trance. Stroked purple by combination vestiges of sunlight and moon, Yōsei spotted the first stars igniting along the horizon. Digging fingers into the ground, he stood tall and scanned for his companion, who doubtless would be ready by nightfall, as leader of the pair so dutifully demanded. Though they were far from master and pupil, Yōsei's habits would force themselves on Hika if he wished to maintain the pace.

This far west, the wind whipped viciously across the pair through the night. Roiling sand dunes observably would rise and fall, in sequence replacing another with their shifting weight. Beneath the folds of silk and darkness, Yōsei's smile indicated the presence of their final berth. Lit by an inconceivably bright moon, which hung so low in the sky the pair could have just as easily reached forward, wrapped their arms around it and pulled it from the perch above the world. The edge of Wind Country rose in their peripherals, blistering dust storms threatened here to take skin from bone, and so the thick blankets wrapping head to toe around the men would remain necessary for survival. This bleak passage was the last gateway to Yōsei's goal so he would shepherd Hika onward, pulling, if he must, at the boy and cradling him from the dust. Though he would not interfere with his companions efforts if he could withstand the barrage himself.

Cresting the dunes on the edge of the cursed storm, a banner greeted the pair beneath its arms, welcoming them through the wall of thick powder into a calm, lost savanna, a quiet place at the end of everything. The sealer took his hand, pulling away the tight black mesh engulfing his face to reveal just his eyes. The whistling storm would quickly fade into obscurity, replaced by a serene breeze; dust storms became motes of dancing sand, cool to the touch and soothing for the mind instead. This destination at the humble edge of the world, beyond that which communication could reach, Yōsei knew this spot as a refuge for the world-weary and the sick, those poor forgotten souls who sought only to slip silently out of the world. As he had not allowed himself to fade away in quiet, the Sealer permitted himself to infringe no upon the rights of another collector of shadows.

As he had slain himself; the target he hunted had also slain a king.




J U T S U | | I T E M S

3 Re: Desultory Designs | Training on Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:53 pm



The day that served as our night stretched on. In the shadow he sat, nothing entering nor exiting his mouth - silent contemplation was his sustenance in both mind and body. An ascetic true is not me, unlike the one facing opposite; I couldn't fathom casting myself into such nonsense. That is, not sensing.

When I had set out to accompany him, I'd not thought that we would travel to locations in remote areas such as these. Was what he searched for truly secreted away in places so far from civilization? Nay, to boot, even so far from arable, comfortably livable conditions? Even the Village Hidden in the Sand ---

What....used to be the Village Hidden in the Sand was located in a relatively more temperate clime. They didn't deal with dust storms directly over their city, and were fed adequately by aquifers and the like. It was the best oasis they could have hoped for in a desert like this. But the day stretched on, and there was naught for me to do but ponder what he was searching for, where we might be finding ourselves right now, and whether it was all worth it.

Indeed, even studying atlases in my younger years I have not a single inkling of the natural landmarks in this particular area. What sort of corner of the world did we find ourselves in? How much further off the, perhaps even the literal map are we going? It's tough to think about what exactly you're planning, given the chance meeting I've been given. Not just one, actually. Those two at the Door to Hell...I can't even recall, myself, what all transpired there. Serendipity is not a positive word in my vocabulary. I'd much rather know that things have reasonable causes and consequences. A chain that we create and deconstruct with our own actions.

But it was never that easy. Things just happened, and for such occurrences as natural disasters or a small amount of Ryo left on the ground, I could accept that. But when it came to meeting one whose very presence emanated something akin to power, and yet was difficult to discern at all... Meeting the epitome of what 'shinobi' used to mean and being asked to join him was too far even for fate. Someone had a hand in this, and I would find out eventually. I can reach out to contact others, and eventually I'll find you too. But maybe that was all part of your plan anyhow. All according to keikaku, as the kids these days are saying.....

I chuckled at my own ridiculous musings, but in my ponderous thoughts I had maybe entered a meditation of my own. Dusk was already upon us, and the air was less-than-blazing. This was the time for us to move.

"The Valley we seek is not far from here, my friend."

And he knew it as well. We hadn't exchanged much more than quips, I barely knew anything of this man - an enigma embodied, perhaps less enveloped in secrets as steeped in them. Both knowing our goals and one knowing his destination, I was under something of an obligation to follow. Of course I knew not where this road led. Learning more about the world through the eyes of the strongest was ever preferable than the stagnant stillness of being weak. Power was not inherently what I desired. I only wanted to know what...or who was behind all this.

A small time had already passed since we had resumed our padding through the ash-tinged sand. The motes of powdery dust puffed with each step we took, the sand seeming like solid ground in comparison.  A curious diversion of my thoughts, perhaps, but not one that would sustain itself. Those grains, so minuscule, began to rustle about even without our foot-falls. The tumbling and jumping of each bit of sand turned within minutes to a veritable wall, and my only warning was the cool-yet-warm desert air ceasing its still caress to blast my eyes with a stinging gust. I refused, however. I refused to let this sort of natural occurrence distract me from something that I didn't know I wanted. Something I didn't know of to begin with. At times, I wondered why I followed this one as I did.

My introspection was cut short as the winds carried themselves into a full-on dust storm, the sand-laced gales pressing on my body as if solid air. With no sort of covering over my mouth as Yōsei possessed, my makeshift pulling-of-my-shirt-over-my-face did little to shield my lungs from the near-glassified granules of earth.

Oh, no.

I had collapsed within the first ten minutes, a fit of coughs wracking my chest and crumpling my legs beneath me. Being on my knees nearing the ground offered me no respite, the dunes' intangible whip lashing at my face in amalgamate arcs.

I...I can't....I need your help.

My throat was too scratched for words. In the first instance since we'd met, I contacted him in a manner that was far more direct than mere words. Perhaps it was my shame. I hadn't wished to reveal these parts of myself - one of my, if only superficially, defining features and my own weakness. Here I barely stood behind one of the most capable people of his time, without much more than a plea in my mind. Bested by a haboob?

Maybe I'm better off getting taken by the storm if I'm such a burden.


A hand grasped for my shirt's collar, a fabric worn not by myself enveloping me. A scent familiar but utterly alien. My pleading had not fallen on an ignorant mind, and my companion had given me the respite that my body screamed for. The kind of peace I wasn't strong enough to give to myself. Time seemed to halt for me, or perhaps simply blur together. Those moments of attempting to grasp my own mind, which could barely reach out to others, were a small eternity.

And I was deposited upon the ground yet again. The sand rolled from my hair as I attempted to cease my hacking and clear my throat. I could see. I could breathe. Even feeling my own heart racing and the sweat of primal fear dripping down my breast were welcome. Such things that one might take for granted or detest, I embrace.

Where....are we?


Jutsu Used:
Name: Body-Soul Transmission Wave | 照霊波椎 Terureipashī
Canon/Custom: Custom.
Rank: E.
Type: Supplementary | Nenjutsu
Element: None.
Range: 1000m+ (See Description)
Specialty: Iryōjutsu | Genjutsu
Duration: Passive.
Cooldown: Passive.
Description: A passive ability that extends one's natural bioelectric field. Doing so allows the user to pick up on the frequencies of the bioelectric fields of those they've already noticed. Once they find a target in this manner, this technique allows the user to manipulate the hair cells of the inner ear and the nerves connected to them, as well as the auditory cortex of the temporal lobe. By doing so, they can 'speak' directly into the minds of others, as if they were part of their internal monologue. Returned communication is interpreted by patterns of interference in the remaining bioelectric field, and this can relay thoughts in much the same way to the user or anyone else they designate within range. This range can also change to be centered upon the point that the user displaces their senses using the "ESP" technique.

While others that communicate via this 'telepathy' use their own voice, the bearer of this ability can change who any of those people (including themselves) are perceived as, at will. While sound is not actually perceived by the eardrum and cochlear fluid, speech patterns as well as other factors can differentiate people within minds. While the artificial neural signals can't be entirely blocked out, they don't disrupt focus or thought processes in the form this jutsu has them take.

Once the user sees or otherwise detects a target within range, they can use this ability targeting them even if they later lose track of them. However, this function, or being able to receive return messages, does not enable the user to detect targets' location - the use of this ability is purely communicative.

The range of this ability grows with the rank of the user, increasing to 2.5 kilometers at C-rank, 5 kilometers at B-rank, 10 kilometers at A-rank, and 20 kilometers at S-rank.

Last edited by Hika on Mon Apr 23, 2018 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total


4 Re: Desultory Designs | Training on Mon Apr 23, 2018 4:30 am



He was the first navigator of these lands in years, weary pilgrims dying long before reaching the walls of the sacred valley beyond the storm. Years traveling the globe, preparing and stashing what he needed to survive gave Yōsei the tools to make this journey, even to take another along as he had done. Such was his way, to plan and be prepared for anything; a life of assassinations in faraway lands gave him knowledge enough to carry out their journey. How many years had it been since he had wandered these sands? Was it when he fought on the border of the Hidden Sand against vicious puppets with his squad? Or had there been some time before then? Yōsei shook his head free of these distant thoughts, unwilling to dwell in what remained of a pointless life. Instead, he focused on his charge, keeping the boy within the distance of that intrinsic sixth sense which felt out life itself, making sure he did not falter.

When Hika fell, Yōsei stopped dead in his tracks to wait, lingering there on the edge of vision surrounded by the wind. He felt the lick of chakra crawl forth with his perception, lap at his skin and whisper secrets directly into his thoughts. The once shadow of fire would have spurred the boy onwards, forced him to overcome with his might alone to hone his body and will. But this companion was no student; he was an equal, a friend who needed help. If Yōsei had moved even another meter, he would have been lost to the boy, vanished, swept up in the sand. Instead, the voice rang out in the Sealer's mind, a plea for help which he answered in kind.

Given the immensity of the storm, it was no surprise then, that the Sealer's partner found it hard to navigate. Yōsei navigated the dark and dust to Hika's side, cradling him among the folds of the great cloak which he wore. The fabric, woven with patterns resembling sacred scripture, was a labor of love, warm to the touch and laced with resonant power. Yōsei knelt to his body and swept up the unconscious form, hands commanding strands of wind to spare Hika any discomfort. Picking the boy up would be no effort for the Sealer, merely holding him aloft with one arm beneath his cloak while wandering toward their destination. In minutes, without Yōsei having to stagger his walk, they breached the final layer and set to work finding comfort.

Waving his left hand, Yōsei called upon the wind again, hollowing out a pit like he had done so frequently for them to lay in. He put his companion down, unfurling the black folds and tucking them away, the cloak seeming to grow and shrink as Yōsei called upon it. Again the Sealer felt that call from beyond senses known to man's conscious, a voice calling from within his head asked the question which seemed so obvious. He stood, hand raising to wipe away the folds from his face, pulling them down from his chin and finally the hood from atop his brow. Sandy hair, matching the tranquil valley they found themselves looking down upon, fell across his eyes. He let out a contented sigh, smiling at the wind and then down at Hika, who would be feeling the effects of Yōsei's nature chakra emanating to sooth the land. He took a moment to peer over the new kingdom; scattered ruins nestled in the trappings of ageless dust greeted his weary gaze. On all sides of the sacred land, dunes rose high above such that the whole of its vastness stretched out beneath them. They would not be able to perceive it all, not by half, but they would catch a glimpse of this hidden treasure, lost and true.

"We are in the land of ghosts. This valley you see is where those few who have surpassed the world and grown weary of its sadness go. We are outside of the world; time is meaningless here so revel in the separation. If ever you have wanted to slip quietly away into the untouched nothing beyond the world, this is where you will one day return. This place will make a fine home."

He paused, trailing his eyes and warm smile back to Hika.

"Are you alright, my friend? I am sorry to have dragged you all across this forsaken desert, but we are finally here."

Yōsei took a single step forward, wind rushing in his wake, pulling up the sand and allowing him to move an impossibly long distance with but one stride. Hika would ride with him, carrying that dust cradle was no more a chore for the master of nature than was the transportation of Hika's weary form through the storm. Held aloft by the windstorm he had conjured, Yōsei turned back to his companion and sat in the sand while they hovered down the steep dunes towards more hospitable surroundings, away from the storm's wail. Taking a pouch from his robes, the Sealer would offer it to Hika, the word 'water' escaping his lips as he did so. Curiously, through their journey in the scorching sun, the water was ice cold. The man let out a laugh as the breeze swept by them, uncoaxed, the natural air of the lower valley was temperate and mild, perfect conditions for a lengthy stay.

Nearing the first crop of ruins, Yōsei stepped from the cradle, leaping to the ground and moving through the dust in an instant to place his hand against the wall of some buried monument. As was needed, the first act he would perform in this new sacred land was to put his mark upon this surface, a symbol depicting three rings; perfect circles with the man's namesake at its center. It was an understated artwork, but his alone and would serve as his gateway to the outside world, Hika's as well. By then, the levitated sand shepherding his partner would land, collapsing away into rolling grains beneath his body, gently letting him fall on the lowest part of the dune.

"Now that we have arrived, there will be no need for such a pilgrimage again. I have placed my mark on this wall, and now we can traverse freely to and from this place, for as long as we may wish."

Proud of his work, Yōsei took a fall backward, wind rushing to meet him as he fell and laying him down in the dust to stare upwards. In a perpetual twilight, the stars above would be unlike any the pair had seen; alien constellations clear as candles in the cloudless expanse. From the bottom of the valley, the storm surrounding it was invisible. Instead, the horizon wore a bright wreath of pink and gold, eternally stuck between time. What secrets had the lost souls before them whispered into this soil? Yōsei let his mind wander forward to the times that would come, where he would march toward the land of stone and enact his will upon the world. How long would he have to teach Hika before that time came?

"It's nice, isn't it? The breeze."

The Sealer remarked to no one in particular.

2000 trains S-rank Ninjutsu technique (-20% clan bonus)
400 trains E-rank sealing technique (-20% clan bonus)



J U T S U | | I T E M S

5 Re: Desultory Designs | Training on Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:20 am



"Weary, eh? Fits me to a....T."

The restless bits of land had given him no respite, but everywhere was a hiding place for the man hailed and feared as Whimsical. His one arm had something to give today. Those plans of his were something he thought he'd finally had a chance to execute -

No, he didn't have the resolve at that time. Now was the moment for action.
"Trust  you've been looking for me, so I decided to come to you."

OOC: Yosei and Hika can roleplay Tame's actions.


:Ninja Info Card:

~The Whimsical Sniper~
Marks Hunted:

6 Re: Desultory Designs | Training on Tue Jun 26, 2018 8:40 am



I didn't think it was going to end up like this. What was I supposed to expect, complete and utter ineptitude on my own end? It's not something I like to ponder on - that I couldn't do a single thing to assist the situation. Am I suppos'd to be some sort of joke...!? Ridiculous that after seconds of 'enduring' the sandstorm, if my performance could even be called that, I just...collapsed. If I weren't so disappointed in myself, I'd actually be feeling my own lungs burning right now. The particles had slipped past my meager cloth barrier and even a few within my partner's sizable and potent manipulation of the air itself. This...this was something I'd have to deal with later.

For now, the rise and fall of my chest would be heavy, and even sharp in my inhalations and exhalations. I felt my numb cheeks, blinking once in slight shock. I'd completely forgotten that I had been transformed this entire time. This one...he didn't know my face. I was four inches taller than I was naturally. My hair at the moment was even only down to my shoulders, and my eyes were stark blue. That...that was likely the reason I could rest so easy having him refer to me in such a casual manner. Much less touch me, pick me up. He knew vaguely what I searched for, and in some way, I think he knew that I'd follow. Y'know, if I were to be miraculously saved by some random unseen force, now would be the time. Must you only ever intervene for misery or whimsy?

It was of little consequence now, anyhow. The past was in the past, even for all of you watching on. I was deposited on a soft concave formation of sand, crafted personally by the Sealer himself. That is what I mainly knew him by....then again, only fair. He doesn't know my own name either. In this place, the 'Land of Ghosts'.... Ha, I wondered if that was just a pseudonym, a fanciful title....or were we really in Yōkai no Kuni? Perhaps it was but a metaphor - time does not move for the dead, but this place that was untouched by civilization.

But I don't want to find myself in a wasteland like this. Staying here wasn't an option...

Hey, you vapid little wannabe-god. Think you could get a move on?

He'd said that we could come back here at any time, but...for what purpose!? I couldn't divine why we'd ever need to return to such a place. A safe haven against the world's advances? Or something more organized than that? It was all but futile to try and glean the meaning from the words of a man who would not even give his name.

A set of words coming from neither of us....truly chilling. If I had an iota of moisture left in my body after that sandstorm ordeal, I think I might have soiled myself from fight-or-flight. The man who said them was familiar, but it was rather his ability to tail and track us without my knowledge - no, more like without my companion mentioning anything. My own skills of seeing that which normally cannot are paltry. Did he just not want me to worry, or were this man's skills superior to his own? It remained to be seen, and the nature of our interactions might make that clearer to me than I would have liked.

"I suppose you're here to bequeath me something, despite you saying we're looking for you."

His newly-revealed eyes, having evaporated into being from a seeming mirage, did not widen but rather held a glint of interest when he raised his eyebrows. If this exact man appearing so suddenly wasn't a response to my plea/demand, then nothing in this world would ever prove my point.

"Well, color me impressed. Cute lil' mind reader, aren'tcha?"

Perhaps this would give me a bit more credit in my partner's eyes - it was no telepathy of that sort, should he ever find it out. I had met this man once before, and yet he seemed so impersonal; only proof that my signature technique had worked on him. It had always worked, except on one person - the one person that I kept closest to me yet. It couldn't be enough to just hear this man out....

This had to move me forward, somehow. There was no option.

775 | 2495


7 Re: Desultory Designs | Training on Thu Sep 13, 2018 5:41 am



Whatever time had past in the eons between meetings of absentee tyrants slipped between the Sealer's fingers, coursing in raging currents betwixt memory and forlorn hope, given to shapes of terror and wandering flames. Habits born from years of slaughter, Yōsei spun with his fingers pointed as a dagger toward the heart of sudden intrusion of chakra, folds of smoke and revelation enchanted by the Namikaze's sealing script igniting as Seisakata made its impact on the world. Black edge, singing as its teeth sliced the air, jockeying for dominion with the wind and heat, the Oath's intrusion eliciting a decadent whistle from the exquisite sharpness. Turning with it, Yōsei would lay his eyes down upon the ridge of emerald hair, and the crown of tainted chakra which emanated from the target who stood before him, and without his motion wavering, the Sealer would dismiss his blade. Called by reflex alone, the vicious swipe would not endanger the Whimsical Sniper but serve as a testament to the Rogue's catlike readiness. The blade's presence, however brief, gave the Sealer reason to flex the muscles of his chakra and drop the weapon between his fingers as it was dismissed, the fading glow of sacred seals covering his palm remained as the lasting evidence of the sword who trailed into nonexistence, leaving coiling digits to fall back toward their master's hip.

"Itagaki, Tame."

Words reserved for the fellow collector would ready themselves, making short work of the corridors through which Yōsei spun his thoughts, vaults locked tightly behind fuinjutsu and secret passageways. Even now, if his companion were sifting through the surface level of his ideas, the young man would find enigmas beyond the plane of mystery that lay beneath Yōsei's indifferent cadence, spiraling seemingly from nowhere to rouse the dust of ages past and spew forth in serendipitous aplomb. Deep, almost commanding, the Sealer's baritone resounded with the breeze and earth, crackling in the electricity surging through the bodies of his contemporaries and lurching into being like the force of a great typhoon cast onto the horizon, distant, foreboding, unabated.

"As was foretold, you have found your way to this desolate place, at the Edge of Everything. Does this veil of sand conceal from you your transgressions? Do you feel at home, at one with the exhausted landscape which begs for salvation? The world revolves beyond the shackles of this enchanting distance we have put between us and responsibility, but I have watched for too long as the spires of doubt and misery loom ahead, and have sought you out for no trivial errand."

Wasting no time, the Sealer would produce a tightly bound scroll, unsealing the tool from his palm and throwing it toward the sniper through the smoke of his conjuration. The black parchment, etched with white markings, would pay homage to the ancient workings of this world, forgotten runes and iconography lost to history's drowning currents gave the folds of Yōsei's contract the weight it needed, drawing energy in on itself like a wonderous lantern attracting moths to scorch their wings upon its rigid flame.

"It is time for men such as us to make amends for all we have done to the world, and so I implore you to open your heart, and comprehend to my message thusly; between us, such terrors we have wrought, trails of destruction and betrayal belie our twisted road to dusk. I have journeyed far, and for a thousand lifetimes, so that I may stand here and offer unto you a sacred contract, one that we will forever share. With me, you will share the secrets of your work, and those you have been fortunate enough to know. My demand is simple, and in these last days before the sun sets on a cruel era of stagnation, you will provide me with what you can."

From Yōsei's passive grip, Kyoki would ignite to punctuate his words, spinning deftly between the Sealer's masterful grasp, shedding the skin of its sheath in favor of breathing deep, drinking of the world and sharing with Tame a legacy of duty and fulfillment.

"In return, I will grant you the promise of my intent, and through me, the ship will right its course toward a new epoch. For the price of our contract, I shall save the world."




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