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1 State secrets. (private, plot) on Thu Apr 12, 2018 8:12 pm



Hands spun out in precise strikes, the Uchiha's fist would meet flesh, and before savoring the hit, Kirei would drop low and roll forward to avoid the oncoming assault from his flank. Four of the thugs had been caught by Kirei while on patrol, the group having been tracked down from a theft at a casino toward the edge of town. Money in hand the quartet weren't prepared for a shinobi, young as he was, to descend on their meeting. In years past, Kirei would have been savagely beaten, completely overpowered by these men; after long months in the Mist, training alongside Di on their adventures, the boy had developed a solid understanding of battle. Though he was far from a trained killer, the young Scout would maneuver nimbly, devilish smirk betraying the hidden wire trailing behind him which would glisten, revealing a web of interwoven between all four victims. With a pull, the cable tightened and tugged inwards, tripping the men, binding limbs and allowing Kirei to snatch their gains, deciding he would not act as the arbiter of justice beyond returning that which was taken.

Patrols had become as much part of Kirei's life as the vicious crimefighting persona he'd constructed. Tonight, everything hung low, the fog painted thick margins between buildings, obscuring sight mere feet from people as they walked. The dark, goaded by the oppressive mist, struck mercilessly beneath the new moon, barely a sliver of light fighting for its place but only presenting a film of faux frost for its effort. Beneath the struggle, Kirei moved deftly across the rooftops, his assigned routes had become more dangerous since he'd gained the village's trust, and so he found himself leaping over the decrepit remains of Kiri's unused outskirts, the majority of which remained still in desperate need of reparations.

Serving the Mist at night, Kirei was dressed appropriately, all black, long sleeves and dark gloves, body obscured by his signature poncho, large enough to reach his shins, which also hid the numerous tools he wielded. Lengths of wire strung together Kunai and Shurikens over his body, half his arsenal pre-tied with the cables for immediate use and the rest hanging loosely. To see at all, Kirei would require the Sharingan at all times, peering easily through the obfuscation to spot anything sinister hidden in the shadows of these forgotten buildings. Since beginning these excursions in dangerous zones, Kirei had never experienced a moment as quiet as this, the silence was almost claustrophobic, and if the boy didn't know better, he'd have thought the area had already been cleared out in anticipation of his arrival.

Rising above, the Uchiha ascended through the skeleton of a building, outer walls stripped bare by years of neglect. Stoic, wooden framework guided Kirei to his fourth story purchase where he emerged from the broken walls to overlook his zone. A ninja could easily play games with the rolling fog, continually coiling into white shapes which would reach out then fade. He took a knee, Sharingan slowly observing beneath him for any sign of movement. With nothing disturbing the steady wind, Kirei would let out a long sigh. The more he felt like a real shinobi, the less he felt like a kid.


2 Re: State secrets. (private, plot) on Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:12 am



Kirigakure was alight like fire behind the darkened mask, the Burning Eye guiding his movements through the thick mist and pale light that shone upon the village from above. His cloaked figure blended in with the night seamlessly, and paired with the cautious movements that carried him from one location to another, he remained entirely undetected. Takao hadn't been out enjoying a quiet night on Kirigakure by chance, no. It was not the first time he had observed Kirei’s nighttime vigilantism firsthand either. This particular scenario was a planned encounter, with a very specific purpose in mind. Takao had planted the seed, and he wanted to see whether or not it would take root.

He observed from a distance as four thugs felled with relative proficiency and left after the spoils of their crime were retrieved. Solid tracking skill, proficiency with the weapons at his disposal, respectable combat skill given the context, and an eye for justice were all facets observed by the shadow-clad shinobi. Takao had only recently been made privy to Kirigakure’s methods with taking care of criminals, and although he disagreed with it fundamentally, it was not yet his place to interfere. They would be picked up by the local authorities before long and processed in whatever manner the Bloody Mist deemed proper. Given their crimes, it seemed likely that their lives would not be cut short by the naivety of Kirigakure’s judicial system, though he had started to have his doubts. The Jōnin refocused his attention on Kirei, who had departed following the retrieval of the stolen goods, and taken to the decrepit rooftops of the Hidden Mist’s outskirts.

The usage of a single shadow clone ahead of time ensured that Kirei would be unobstructed on his way to his perch that overlooked the zone in which he enacted his nightly justice. The four that wandered in were an unplanned impediment, but proved to be of relative use in further determining more about Kirei firsthand. The young shinobi made his way up the framework of a dilapidated building and claimed his roost, casting his watchful Sharingan eyes down upon the emptied slums.

Takao ascended the neglected ruins of a building from the outside, hidden from sight by a thin cloak of chakra that ensured he went unnoticed until decided otherwise. Silently dismounting from the outer surface of the building, Takao approached Kirei whilst still cloaked. With each step he took, the chakra making up the cloak that shrouded him began to disintegrate, revealing him as he came to a stop just behind the shinobi.

“Uchiha Kirei.” Takao said, his voice sounding vaguely metallic as the words passed through the rebreather of his mask, slightly distorted by their obstruction. He stood close, ready to intercept whatever reaction the shinobi might have had in response to Takao’s sudden and unexpected appearance. The use of the name in the manner he had used it was largely psychological; it was made clear that the person standing before the blonde shinobi knew about him whilst revealing precious little about themselves through appearance.

“I have an offer for you.”

Total WC

3 Re: State secrets. (private, plot) on Fri Apr 13, 2018 3:41 pm



Steeped in the ashes of memory, the city sprawling out beneath Kirei's watch cried out to the sky for a new life. Were it within his power; the boy would merely fill his lungs and breathe into the streets, blowing away scorched earth to renew these dilapidated monuments. It filled him with sadness, discarded construction equipment, neglected scaffolding served to frame what had collapsed, belying dreams of reconstruction suspended indefinitely. Kirei imagined this type of restoration often ended during times of war, the Mist's gates had found themselves broken and burned on more than one occasion, each new tragedy eclipsing memories of the last. The wheel of Kiri's suffering continued even now; crazed killers lurked the streets at night, vigilantes like him but also more sinister figures like Yatagarasu prowled in opposition to the Mist's danger.

The approach of a mysterious figure would go entirely unnoticed by the Uchiha. As skilled of a scout as he fancied himself, the Jonin would easily be able to get within any distance he wanted before revealing himself; Kirei had no hope of detecting a powerful shinobi who wished to remain hidden. When the blonde heard his name, distorted and stoic, ring out behind him in the dark, he had to stifle a yelp while reaching beneath his cloak to clutch in his right hand one of the knives which hung ready for his use. Pivoting to face the man, Kirei's left foot became his axis as he spun, matte-black kunai cutting the air and crossing his body to guard him against attack but instead, his arm would be met with an effortless interception. Quicker than even his immature visual prowess could observe, the man's fingers clenched around Kirei's forearm and held it firm. The Uchiha struggled but could not move. His left, free arm, would produce a shuriken and slash through the air toward the restraining arm but, in actuality, would barely leave his side before being knocked away with blinding quickness.

Sharingan narrowed, lone tomoe spinning slowly as Kirei's examined the man in black. He said nothing at first; this immediate defensive reaction would be enough to tell he was ready to fight. Kirei felt the silence surround them in the brief, precious seconds between his name and the second part of the man's introduction. Clouds parted, moon illuminating the pair who stood statuesque for those moments. The boy's mind rushed through who this assailant could be; was this the Kabuki Killer back for revenge? Perhaps a messenger of Yatagarasu sent to scare him from his investigation? Kirei tugged again, trying to free his wrist but his meager strength was unable to budge the grip.

"I have an offer for you."

In response, Kirei's mind raced to decipher what possible deal he would be offered here, under the moon in the dead of night. What concord's origin begat such tactics and who did this man represent? Kirei had ruled out a shinobi from the Mist, his interactions with them having been uniformly official in capacity. This had to be the minion of some criminal enterprise, some watchful group who'd seen his work with Di throughout the city and now wished a treaty. Scowling face finally replied, words laced with venomous curiosity, indignant and aggressive as only youth can be.

"Who the hell are you? What do you want from me?"


4 Re: State secrets. (private, plot) on Sun Apr 15, 2018 11:03 pm



Fight or flight was a response he fully expected and subsequently prepared reaction to, which lead to his binding of Kirei’s one arm and subsequent disarming of the other. It would have been considerably more troublesome if a reaction along those lines had not been had, as Takao was of firm believe that they were a basic fundamental mindset for shinobi.

“Rest assured that if I had meant to harm you, I would not have revealed myself in the manner that I did. I am not your enemy.” Takao said as he released his arm and took a step back, his hands held up and at either side as a nonverbal way of communicating he meant no harm. “I am a friend; a shinobi of Konohagakure.” From within the cloak, he produced the Konohagakure forehead protector that he had carried with him since his own time as a genin. It wasn’t exactly a convincing argument, one might have even deemed it inappropriate to approach a young shinobi in the manner that he had, but the precautions needed to keep himself and his intentions from the light were necessary. Perhaps Kirei would come to understand, or perhaps he wouldn’t; only time would reveal the answer.

"I will not reveal who I am, for reasons that you may come to understand later. I am here to offer you an opportunity to serve Konohagakure in ways that most will never be able to. A special sort of training that will only be offered to select few genin from the village." Takao said, his glowing eyes trained on the younger shinobi from behind the mask that almost shrouded them entirely. Because of the darkness that enveloped them, staved off only by the pale moonlight above, the glow of Aibāningu was just barely visible behind the heavily tinted mask.

“Stealth. Espionage. Subterfuge. Sabotage. Reconnaissance. You will be trained in those and more, if you choose to accept. If not, rest assured that there will be no consequence to you. The decision is entirely yours, but make it knowing that your actions will never benefit the village at the same level without this offer.” It was a fair pitch, at least from the Jōnin’s perspective. He abstained from any identifiers, even speaking with a naturally increased amount of articulation as to differ from his typical, more casual manner of speaking. ROOT was not mentioned either specifically by name either, and it would remain that way until Takao deemed it otherwise appropriate. He was treading a fine line with his actions, and it required careful footwork moving forward, lest the entire operation be uprooted before it was given the chance to grow properly.

“All you need to do is say the word, and you won’t hear from me again. But if you accept, your unique talents will be honed, and you will be a greater asset to the village than you could ever have hoped to be otherwise.” Takao continued, eventually lowering his hands to his sides. Even without the technique that had cloaked him previously, the cloth worn upon his shoulders and over his head shrouded him in the darkness, so much so that if he hadn’t specifically stood where the moonlight could reveal him, Kirei would have had a difficult time seeing him unaided by the Sharingan.

Total WC

5 Re: State secrets. (private, plot) on Tue Apr 17, 2018 4:07 am



Reassurance did nothing for Kirei's weary mind; merely knowing the man in black could have killed him if he wished put him even more on edge but with no other choice, he stopped struggling and tried his best to stay composed. Otherwise steady, immature eyes would betray the fear beneath his actions, pupils trembling just slightly enough that the Jonin would be able to observe. Time passed, his eyes stopped moving, either calming down or resigned to his fate, the Uchiha let out his breath after what felt like minutes. Lowering his arm from the other man's grip, the blonde tucked his knife back between the folds of his poncho.

Whoever the man was, he claimed to be from the Leaf, producing what could have easily been a stolen Hitai-ate. With his life still intact, Kirei had no reason to distrust the man, nodding and relaxing his stance, finally calming. What words came next from beyond that dark visage plucked hard at strings which had been touched by the Uchiha's own thoughts these past weeks. Seeing the pain which lingered in the Mist, the legacy of violence, murder, criminals, and terrorism; such a fate was one he could not accept for his homeland. The experience here already strengthened his resolve to serve the Leaf with all his heart at year's end, aspiring now to become a dominant Jonin of Konoha where only months ago he hadn't cared even to stay.

'Is this ANBU?'

Kirei's first thought went to his father; the retired ANBU agent may have sent a recruiter to test him, maybe groom him for the village's secret police. With his mind set down this logic, the Uchiha listened intently to the rest of the man's words. The things he spoke of sounded like tenants of the Black Ops, and skills that Kirei himself already felt talented in. He'd never been a killer, though it was not beyond him, his talents lay in scouting, information gathering, subterfuge, and perception. Offered to him was a contract of sorts, the promise of training to become a tool for Konoha which could do more than he'd imagined; Kirei's eyes would have lit up if he weren't trying so hard to impress the Jonin before him. The boy's lips pursed into as little a smile as he could contain and then he nodded, vigorously signaling acceptance to the pact offered.

"I want to be anything the Leaf needs me to be," would be Kirei's only response.

He was thankful for the Sharingan, ancient Dojutsu enough to allow him some sense of safety while he watched the rhythmic, though distorted chakra flow of the being with whom he spoke. Bowing his head, the Uchiha would follow with his body into a stance before the Jonin on one knee, a posture he'd so often seen lower ranking ninja take in the presence of their commanders. Wicked chill fought against Kirei's composure, threatening to make him shiver and chitter but there existed a warmth, some comfort brought by this clandestine meeting which the Uchiha latched onto tightly as he could.

'I'm ready,' He thought.


6 Re: State secrets. (private, plot) on Tue Apr 17, 2018 10:55 pm



A faint smile crossed Takao’s lips as he observed the young Genin’s response. Something that had started out as the faintest ember of an idea was slowly beginning to take to the tinder he fed it, and with any luck, it would turn into a raging fire. But each step forward he took was a risky one, and he was wary and cautious with each decision made. Even reaching out to Kirei in the manner that he had posed a myriad of risks itself, beginning with trustworthiness. He had taken more steps than necessary to ensure that his identity was unknown to those that he approached in this manner, further reinforcing the mystique that would become a modern day ROOT.

What Kirei’s interpretation of their meeting was, or the purpose of it all, was largely irrelevant to Takao at present. All that he needed to be sure was that Kirei understood the basis of what the training in the future would entail, and that he understood the importance of the secrecy of this task.

As a bitter cold gust of wind ripped through the deathly quiet ruins of Kirigakure’s outskirts, Takao’s gaze stayed trained on Kirei, who knelt before him. While the senior shinobi found the gesture in line with tradition, he hardly followed tradition himself.

“Good. Stand up.” He commanded bluntly, reaching into the cloak whose fabric disguised his movements from the naked eye. From within the wind blown cloth, he retrieved two items, both of which were tossed to Kirei when the Genin had risen and was prepared to receive them. One was a mask, stylized vaguely in the manner that Konohagakure ANBU masks were. The other item was a scroll, wrapped tightly and sealed with paper.

“In one month’s time, there will be a training camp held in Konohagakure. You will be given word when it is to begin, and your presence is expected. That mask must be worn at all times while there, as the concealment of your identity is akin to safeguarding your own life. It will allow you to manipulate your voice and disguise yourself more thoroughly. The scroll contains a technique that you will be expected to learn before the training begins, and to demonstrate when you arrive.” Takao explained, keeping things relatively vague in terms of more detailed information.

“When the time comes, additional information will be relayed to you, such as the destination for the training. Until then, continue to develop your skills, either on your lonesome or with the help of others, but this conversation between us stays between us. Not even a word to your closest family.” It was difficult to ensure the loyalty of a child, who was more or less green to the realities of a shinobi lifestyle, but trust was something that had to be built. He gave Kirei little to go off of, so even if his intentions were betrayed, precious little would connect him to ROOT.

“Do you understand what I have explained to you thus far?”

Total WC

7 Re: State secrets. (private, plot) on Wed Apr 18, 2018 8:08 pm



Roused from kneeling position by strict orders, the Uchiha complied, pushing against his knee and standing straight, eyes trailing upward to meet the masked figure in front of him. Steady hands intercepted the thrown items which Kirei examined as soon as they entered his grasp. The first, a mask which did a lot to confirm the boy's suspicion that this may be an ANBU training, or possibly recruitment exercise. Seemingly designed with the Uchiha in mind, the mask was stark white, as all ANBU masks were, but with red designs marking the pattern of a smiling cat, sculpted cats ears completing the facade. Hand-picked for Kirei's skills, the cat would be a perfect fit for an observer, a silent, watchful predator such as him. In his other hand, he clutched a coiled scroll, which the figure informed him contained ancient knowledge; a secret technique he would be expected to study. Kirei nodded slowly in response, careful affirmation in reply to the man's words.

He shifted to his back foot while his superior continued to speak, still holding the two items in his hands but beginning to tuck away the scroll where it would not be found until he desired to study its teachings accurately. The man informed him of a mission to return to the Leaf, a prospect which gave the Uchiha reason to pause. It was still eight months before his exchange in the Mist would be over, he hadn't even considered a life back in Konoha after all he had seen here. He swallowed hard, feeling out how he would deal with prematurely seeing those he knew in the city until the mysterious figure revealed a fact which made him breathe a sigh of relief. The promise of concealing his identity appealed to the Uchiha, with a new mask and tools of infiltration, the boy would gladly take the chance to sneak back to Konoha without notice. In fact, he took it as a challenge.

Secrecy was the final pact offered to him on this moonlit precipice; he was not to reveal a word of this accord to anybody. Of course, the Uchiha nodded, and in earnest, for he had no one in the Mist to share such information with and on his return home, which his mind already raced to plan, he intended not to be recognized. Even now his mind worked to recall the midnight patrol routes used by Genin of the Leaf, trying to remember locations he could scout when he finally slipped back into the Land of Fire. He shook his head to clear the straying thoughts, needing to focus on the situation before him now. Not slowly this time, Kirei nodded with determination, swearing himself to secrecy and opened his mouth.

"I understand. In thirty days, I will return to Konoha. None who know me will know I have arrived, and when I depart, I will leave behind no trace. Whatever test you have prepared, I'll be ready. No matter what."

He paused, one thought still lingering in the back of his thoughts, and before he let too much time elapse, Kirei continued,

"I just don't understand one thing. Why me?"


8 Re: State secrets. (private, plot) on Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:14 am



As Kirei examined the mask, Takao took careful and silent steps backward, his darkened outline slowly beginning to fade into the dim shadow of the furthest ruined wall that was cast upon the rooftop by the dull moon glow. His pace slowed and halted when the bottom half of his cloak was consumed by the shadows, the special properties of the cloth allowed it to seem as though it was gone from sight entirely.

It seemed as though Kirei had posed a personal challenge upon himself, spurred on to some degree by Takao’s request at prematurely ending his exchange program. In truth, he cared little for the program itself, and hardly considered it to carry precedence over what he would deem to be ROOT’s duties in the Leaf, so Kirei’s declaration was well received, albeit silently.

How much could he truly divulge without risking the covertness of the organization? He pondered his answer for a moment, glowing eyes remaining unwavered from Kirei’s thermographic image. The whole truth could not be spoken, not quite yet at least. The core of ROOT needed to be eased into, once they had been trained, and certainly not upon first meeting. He settled on his answer, and spoke from behind his mask.

"Brute strength and reckless destruction have failed to defend the Leaf, both in past and present, and it will continue to do so in the future. If we are to progress, then new methods must be developed. A new breed of defenders is necessary for us to move forward, with skills that can properly defend Konohagakure.” Takao explained, his wording remained relatively vague for the purpose of maintaining confidentiality.

“Your skills, your talents, and your devotion to the Leaf have been deemed appropriate to aid in achieving this motive, and thus you were chosen. Continue to develop them on your own. The stronger you are when the call is given, the better off you will be.” He added before taking another few steps back into the shadow.

“Any further questions you have will have to wait until the training camp. Good luck.” With the last words to escape his mask, Takao stepped fully into the shadow, and recast the technique from earlier that would shroud him from sight and sensory entirely. Silence befell the rooftop as Takao leapt from the building and landed on a smaller roof below, eventually leaving the ruins and progressing back toward Kirigakure proper.

Total WC


9 Re: State secrets. (private, plot) on Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:26 pm



Fading away, the man's words spread throughout the growing shadows; a new era of warfare, elite, extended recruitment, and driven by secrecy. The motives appeared simple enough, and in line with the Uchiha's own views; but even more than that, these tenants were in accord with Kirei's budding skill set. He was confident that in time, he would become a master of hidden tactics, subterfuge, and misdirection. The boy couldn't help but purse his lips into a sly grin with the prospects of this classified training; perhaps this was even beyond his father's influence, and he'd been chosen by merit alone. Outwardly, Kirei's only reply was another firm nod and the widening of his smile.

Trained eyes struggled to keep track of the fading chakra as his benefactor slipped away into nothing. The boy cursed himself inwardly, noting he would need to devise a method able to detect such entrances and exits. He wondered whether his eyes could be perfected in such a way as to pierce means of stealth, but let the thought perish quickly. With the Jonin gone, Kirei's inward promise would be a vow of strength. Without wanting to dwell, Kirei turned to the edge of the building and pushed off, leaping from it toward the distant streets below. His hands rose, forming a seal between them in front of his smile, which was now a toothy grin, spluttering with happy laughter. From the street, a basin of the earth just wide enough for the boy would rise to catch him, cradling the Uchiha and guiding him safely to the pavement where he would leap into a run. With renewed inspiration, the blonde tore through the streets, jumping from sidewalk to rooftop and peering with watchful Sharingan at every corner.

The boy's heart ached to be done with the nightly duty and return home, as it often did. But this evening his charge was not restful sleep and the reward of relaxation. Instead, he craved the pursuit of knowledge; to arrive home and study that which lay in the pages of his scroll and master its secret techniques. In the coming weeks he would have a trip to plan in private, his return home under cover of a new identity; one that he would craft from scratch for this purpose alone. Whoever the man he met tonight was didn't matter, he represented the Leaf, and Kirei would stop at nothing to fulfill his duty.


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