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1The scales of Yama (Hunt for Yatagarasu)  Empty The scales of Yama (Hunt for Yatagarasu) on Wed Sep 05, 2018 4:20 am



Suna had in many ways been a crucible. There Di had been distilled and the impure elements sloughed away in preparation for a sublime transmutation. What had emerged was similar to the young dreamer who had so wistfully strode into the ruined landscape seeking adventure and yet markedly different. Gone were his soft edges, adolescence had evaporated under the twin fires of anguish and terror. Fanciful dreams had proven as ephemeral as gossamer but beneath these fancies true resolve lurked. This was no longer a game – this was reality. Di wasn't the prince playing at detective any longer, but the detective in truth.

Upon his return to Kirigakure Di had sent his customary messenger bird to Kirei. It was time that Yatagarasu was confronted face to face. Di was now in possession of knowledge that would allow him to get an upper hand in tracking the masked killers next moves. The murderer executed those who would undermine the stability of the land of the bloody mist. Well Di now knew what conspired to gnaw at the roots of the Mizukage's civilisation. The devotees of the death god Jashin allied with the Raikage desired the total conquest of human civilisation in preparation for their presumably apocalyptic purposes.

So out among the docks of Kirigakures shipping district Di stood upon the roof of a nondescript warehouse. It was here that he waited for Kirei to arrive. What had kept his friend occupied during his own absence? Should he tell Kieri about Ess before or after the mission? Di realised that he had never really had had friends beneath the oceans waves. Sure he had been attended by countless servants and had regularly interacted with his siblings but that wasn't the same as having a true confidant that one could leave tell of such intimate things as the budding relationship he had with the young lunar princess.

That wasn't all he wanted to talk about either. Having researched the history of the Uchiha clan Di now knew of the fratricidal nature of their bloodline. Had Kirei ever killed? Di spent his time chasing down murders and killers yet in shanty towns of Suna he had been forced to take his first life. It had been a clear cut case of self defence – the cult of Jashin infuriated that Di had begun to pry into their activities had sent several sets of assassins after him. The man Di had killed had been a tattooed giant festooned with scars and ritual markings denoting the reapers tally he had racked up in service to the lord of slaughter.

First he had employed the stranglers cord attempting to crush Di's windpipe. When that had not worked he drew a sickle and shrugging off the detectives blows lodged it firmly into the dragons side. What followed was a haze of blood and brutality. The cult had done something to the zealot granting him fortitude well above the average man and it was only when Di was forced to crush the fanatics skull within his talons that he stopped his relentless assault. Ever since then the dragon prince's dreams were haunted by echoes of that event. Would Kirei think less of him? Could he had found another way or would Kirei understand having himself been put in such a situation.

Either way it didn't change the aim of tonight’s mission. The warehouse adjacent to where Di was standing housed a congregation of Jashinite cultists. Within their temple they conspired against Kiri sending spies and agents to cause untold damage. Unbeknownst to the acolytes of murder Di had made one of their order into bait. Word had spread across the dockside taverns that a particularly well known merchant had wishing for immortality sold his soul to the lord of murder in exchange for acting as a spy. Nothing had been confirmed but among the circles of trade the subject was never far from the lips of those wishing to share current news.

This was no false lead. Di himself had spotted the signs of a Jashinite sympathizer and had tracked the man's movements across Kirigakure. What’s more this man's actions had lead to the death of several of Kiri's merchants abroad loosing millions of Ryo as their wares were seized.

Now all Di needed to do was wait. Wait for Kirei to join him in the hunt, wait for Yatagarasu to take their vengance on the congregation.

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2The scales of Yama (Hunt for Yatagarasu)  Empty Re: The scales of Yama (Hunt for Yatagarasu) on Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:24 am



Departed in spirit from the Hidden Mist, Kirei slipped between the patrols of shinobi with his mind on home. Save for the tools of his trade, the Uchiha had nothing left in Kiri, Kuon hummed at his hip, thankful for the companionship, and against the flow of chakra which pulsed from the Uchiha's body. Long weeks he had persisted, performing the last of his sworn duties for the nation he had learned to treat with distant caution, setting the affairs of his friends in order, and the last of which was Di. The teen could not remember when they had last crossed paths, but in the twilight beneath Kirigakure's silver moon, skulking through the desolate portside warehouses, Kirei felt a nostalgic calm. Wind drifted, disobeying slanted rooftops begging for shadow-clad assassins to stalk them, and found Kirei's feet, which sunk into the folds of shingles, swallowed by darkness with his cloak and scarlet eyes, the mask and daggers slithering amongst the darkness which lurked through Kiri's city streets.

Kirei's routine of delivering criminals to a brand of his personal justice had grown in reputation, the cat-faced midnight stalker making a name for himself as a force to be reckoned with, and with the Sharingan's constant evolution, the Uchiha found himself unopposed by the underground that had become his home in the Hidden Mist. The time spent apart from his fellow detective, with Watsuji and Fuyuko, and his travels to the Land of Lightning, had brought about an awakening in Kirei's psyche, one that sought to tear away the Mist's teachings and stoke the Will of Fire buried in the Uchiha's storied lineage. Focused on the redemption of his name, and the love of his village and its people, Kirei had set upon the path toward his new goal and taken the lessons presented to him with a fierce ambition to oppose the merciless, state-sponsored slaughter of criminals by treading instead the path of redemption. Standing before those he hunted, the Leaf Shinobi revealed the icon of his nation with pride, distancing himself from the Kirigakure soldiers and assassins to make it known that his homeland would not suffer such cowardice as to merely do away with the lives of those who stood against them but would take the road of mercy instead.

Hansha had been the Uchiha's turning point, the twisted realm of the first suspect that the pair of detectives had traced when first they had imparted on this peculiar investigation. Since returning, the Sharingan which burned in Kirei's eyes had never ceased, becoming the comforting lens through which the Uchiha looked out upon creation, watching the ebb and flow of energy beneath the close ceilings, tightly knitted between the souls of kindred spirits drawing chakra into themselves with every waking breath. With these eyes, Kirei could not help but pay notice to the web connecting all things as brothers, and as he rose from the shadow to leap and fall from his perch into the maze of alleys slicing through the derelict old docks, still in the same state of disrepair, abandoned in favor of the newer docks which replaced them, hiding the mournful history of the Bloody Mist, concealing Seven Bells' scars. The Uchiha knew them well, at least as well as Konoha's by now, the Sharingan refusing to forget anything it saw here, each stone upturned by Kirei's quest with Di for knowledge, as the pair sought to unravel the secrets of Kirigakure's hidden apex predator.

The so-called justice enacted by the Hidden Mist's vicious protector made Kirei's skin crawl, the brutality contained within the crime scenes that he and Di had visited throughout their investigation gave the Uchiha reason enough to continue the hunt, and to forsake his journey home for one night longer. Such atrocities begged for Kirei's attention, and the time slipping away between his rendezvous with Di would be the last of his errands for this village, and the Uchiha was thankful for that. Descending, he would make no sounds as the shadow surrounding his body gave way, streams of dark ichor unraveling in ribbons, while he would dip into his companion's peripherals, cloak flailing with terrifying shapes of clawing fingers. Peering to his left, the boy would greet Di with a smile, spiraling tomoe triplets orbiting through the pools of scarlet iris, a testament to the boy's continued evolution. Perhaps Di would notice the dark rings beneath Kirei's eyes, and how he seemed to have aged, but for the eternal dragon prince, the years put between them would be a drop in eternity. His partner's messenger bird, the familiar avian carrier who tore through the sky to make haste in delivering their secret missives, had brought with it

"Sorry, I'm late. Have they arrived? If Yatagarasu doesn't show, do you think they're onto us?"

To punctuate himself, Kirei would withdraw Kuon, the invisible saber which caught the strands of moonlight barely and reflected them into the stillness of the night. The blade drew across his body, held in the Uchiha's dominant grip and eyed the communion below them, thankful to be at Kirei's side for this endeavor, basking in the moments before battle's swift ignition, as it always did. The young Uchiha thought briefly of Watsuji, the samurai who had taught him what it meant to wield such a relic, and the respect commanded by a duelist's chosen mantra, and for Kirei, the message was clear - Shinobi are a family, and Kuon would only taste blood if it meant the difference between life and death. The dragon would notice, undoubtedly, the boy's matured aura even if the flicker of time which altered his physiology went unobserved, Kirei was no longer a child in spirit, but a man dedicated to the pursuit of a newfound campaign of honor and the Will of Fire.



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It was so strange to notice the passage of time wrought so swiftly upon the human form. It seemed that Kirei had already grown taller in the space of but a few months. What’s more there were other signs about his person that he had undergone a sort of metamorphosis. Most notable among these were his eyes. Di had spoken to Ess regarding the Ototsuki and their legacy – the moon dragons had greater knowledge of these beings than his family though interestingly they had not chosen to share it previously. These crimson triune marked orbs speaking to the spark of divinity that lay within him.

But more than this Kirei seemed … tired. Like Di something was draining his energy be it psychological or physical in nature. Those black marks on his face a telling sign to anyone who had both the basic observational skills of a detective and the night-vision of a predator used to traversing the deepest of ocean trenches. Di had been planning an inquiry as to whether or not Kirei had ever been forced to kill as part of his contract to his work. It seemed a rather superfluous question now as there was an air to the ninja that spoke to a world-wearyness that had not been there before. Di didn't need to vocalise as he had felt the very same way himself.

Beneath the pair the sound of chanting could be faintly heard coming through the walls of the temple. Not loud enough to alert the drunken deckhands that lingered around these parts at night but to the heightened hearing of a ninja or dragon it was legible.

“Lord of slaughter the aeon turns and we move with it. Into your yurga we bring the world consecrating this realm with blood. Let those who oppose you have their tongues ripped from their heads and their entrails cast into the wine dark sea. May your servants walk among us taking life as they see fit. Do not forget us taker of skulls for we have chosen to serve you in their time of waiting grant us the gift of immortality so that our fealty to you might continue eternal.”

Sycophantic pleas to a mad god, high on mindless carnage. Even though the entire purpose of this visit was to use these devotees to lure out Yatagarasu Di still had a hard time restraining himself from simply transforming into his true state and ending their little ceremony once and for all. His eyes meeting Kirei's transformed gaze Di replied to his friend.

“It's good to see you again. Though I'm sure both of us would have wished for more pleasant circumstances. There hasn't been any sign of Yatagarasu yet but I don't think that the crow is onto us just yet. I must confess there is one problem that I realised when crafting the trap which is the fact that it is quite likely that during the night the Jashinites will end up murdering victims in one of their abhorrent ceremonies. These will be Kiri citizens so it's possible that Yatagarasu's misguided patriotism will draw them into acting before that happens. However if it doesn’t we might have to step in ourselves.”

As he spoke Di's gaze wandered to the blade that Kirei had produced from upon his person. It was a remarkable thing really almost totally invisible in dim light cast by the stars and lamps that situated the dockside. The sword wouldn't have been out of place in one of his family treasure-houses. Enchanted weapons were almost irresistible to some dragons with particular connoisseurs of such relics going to great lengths to acquire the armaments. The fact that few bothered to actually weild the arms was of little consequence as the point of the exercise was more hobby than practical undertaking.

Doubtless the young Uchiha could use the blade though and one way or the other there was going to be violence wrought tonight.  For a moment Di pondered on the life of the Buddha and how in some ways it had mirrored his own. Gautama had been a sheltered prince kept from the hardships and horrors of the world in a hermetically sealed environment free of pain. Di had a slightly better idea of what went on outside his doors but even then it was romanticised by the tales he had read. There was no guarentee that he or Kirei would manage to entrap Yatagarasu this night nor restrain them should they actually manage to locate the killer.

But again like Gautama Di needed to try. He and Kirei had to make the effort or it seemed that no one else would. The chanting from below was becoming more intense and frenzied. Soon it seemed the congregation would move onto the blood-letting. With a silent prayer to Kohryu Di entreated that Yatakarasu would soon make their arrival.

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