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1Something dark, something bold. Empty Something dark, something bold. on Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:09 pm

Xιon

Xιon


D-rank


The day had just started. The sun was faint on the horizon, but the air was already getting warm. This summer was going to be hot. What else was new in the Land of Fire?



Chattering throngs in the lively market, nearly drowning out the trembling of the leaves in the wind. Children huddled in the shade of the trees and the alleyways. Some of them wielded faux kunai and chased each other. Merchants cried their wears and the smell of linoleum tarps hung in the wind. The market rarely saw a slow day. As artisans always turned out to make a living. This route was the quickest way to the coffee shop lying just out of the brush near a delta. One could hear the babbling brook as they approached.


Ever since he last came here with Chiaki, he’d always order something bold, and sit at the bar, giving him a direct line-of-sight to the kitchen where the kind barista first took his order. He never wanted to admit it, but he was the kind of person to dwell on things. Ever since he’d left Giant’s Scar and came here, he’d been so reluctant to people. To change. But one’s past doesn’t deny time. Life goes on. And he supposed that that was only fair.


He didn’t think he’d build any intrinsic relationships while he was here. For however long he was here. Until he met her, just the other day. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, a symbolic light in the dark. It had been a while since he’d held a conversation. He remembered being speechless. And when he did talk, he fumbled on his words. Not the schoolyard, crush fumble. But the bereft of speech that only happens when one has truly had no contact for quite some time. 


He looked at her seat, or where’d she’d sat rather. Her hair was dark, her eyes were big. Skin fair. But he supposed, anyone could be fair when next to himself. She’d left in a hurry, and he was too gobsmacked to say anything. Sod the world.


Despite their near fatal meeting in the dark of the forest, the evening ended immaculately. That was enough for him to want to open up to everyone, more. But where to start? Where to go? And what to do? He pondered about the exclusive groups that existed here. The Anbu. Acclaimed for their prestige and secrecy. One had to show earned ire and prowess to even dream of joining their ranks. What better way for one to test their mettle?

"I need a goal. Something to work towards. Something--benevolent."

Benevolence? You jest! Did you forget--[darkness] is your shape?’

Xion winced at his Otherself. “But that doesn’t mean I can’t do good things. Try to do good things. Draw from the Void, light the way, right?’

His Otherself vanished immediately. Displeased with the answer, but with no words to say. Even though he was tied to the Deep, to Naraka, that didn’t mean he couldn’t do good things, right? Right?


He could still be kind. Heroic. Wholesome. Even if ‘Darkness was his shape’.that didn’t mean he had to conform. The right side of wrong. It had a nice ring to it. He remembered a certain someone. His aura was dark, yet in open challenge to everything that was wrong. The darkness that came for the darkness.


Xion winced as he sipped his coffee - it was tepid, overly bitter and lacking real cream. It was a source of caffeine though and so he drank like a sailor new to whiskey. He looked over the counter to see the same barista hard at work. He didn’t notice Xion, not yet at least.

His smile was as warm as hour old coffee, limp, anaemic. Xion could see him take a small sip of his own drink, making an effort to keep his own smile in tact. He probably still has a long day ahead of him.

Deep in thought, Xion thought that ever since he left Giant’s Scar, there was nothing else to be had. That is what the darkness would have him believe anyway. Really, he thought, he was just a strand of wheat in the vastness of the prairies. His colours are as muted as those around him, allowing him to hide in plain sight. With his primate brain he can only ever truly love the friends and family in his small circle.

And they were gone.

That’s just the way we're wired, he thought. Yet he still hurt to hear of pain around the world, empathy does not allow him to switch off. He wants to reach out, to heal, to bring light where there is dark. Or rather draw from the dark, light the way. Especially considering the growing tension with Kumogakure. Or so the official word has it. 

 “We are herd animals at heart--just a strand of wheat in the vastness of the prairies and however feeble or shallow my roots are, I need them.”

Another thin, timid sip, his eyes longed out the window. Expressionless, but they held wonder. An appetite for adventure.

WC: 880/880

2Something dark, something bold. Empty Re: Something dark, something bold. on Thu Jun 27, 2019 1:22 pm

Kashizudoto

Kashizudoto


S-rank
Kashizudoto walked into the coffee shop with his pet messenger hawk Hawky perched atop his shoulder. The pair had just come back from an early morning ANBU mission in which he, as the ANBU Captain Kenshin, led a squad to apprehend a few missing-nin at the border, and now that they had both changed out of their ANBU garb, they were going to grab a drink at a local coffee shop. Kashizudoto had become a particularly well-read person over the past five years, having been away from the village in the wilderness of the Land of Fire with nothing to do but meditate, read, and interact with the local villagers. He had visited many libraries during this time period and had rented out several books on all sorts of topics; the ones that he had read on medicine advised him not to take in caffeine, as it had several harmful side-effects according to many prominent medical ninja from around the world, so Kashizudoto instead opted to order a decaf when he sat down and asked for a small glass of water for his friend Hawky.

There was a man sitting two chairs to the left of Kashizudoto and a chess board in between them that was built into the table.



Something dark, something bold. JK_Creative_Chess_Board_138abc35-778f-448c-a34d-ce72014db430



Kashizudoto had become an avid chess fan over the past five years, as there were many elders in the small village that he stayed at during his time away from Konoha who loved to play chess with him and were also quite good at it. There were many of them, in fact, that Kashizudoto was never able to beat in all his time there, and he found it fascinating that a jonin who was so experienced with tactics like himself could be beaten so swiftly in a tactical game by old men who had never seen the battlefield.

He looked to the man sitting to the left of him and then to the board. It was a rustic looking thing; the white pieces were on Kashizudoto's side and the black pieces on the other man's side. The barista delivered to him his decaf and Hawky's glass of water. It was obvious that the barista had been working hard the whole day, but, regardless, he was friendly and didn't mind talking to the customers, "You know, those chess pieces aren't going to move themselves."

"You two should play," the barista finished and gestured towards the man sitting to Kashizudoto's left. The idea of playing chess with this stranger was on Kashizudoto's mind, but he wasn't necessarily outgoing enough to make it happen on his own. But now that the barista had suggested it, Kashizudoto went ahead and moved the king's pawn two spaces.

"You want to play?" Kashizudoto asked. If the man agreed, Kashizudoto would ask for his name, tell him his own, shake his hand, and then they would start playing. Perhaps they would have a conversation while playing; only time would tell.

WC: 517


____

Something dark, something bold. SC5MjRQ

Character | Jutsu | Items
Relationships | Storyline


Jonin | ANBU Captain | A-rank
D: 2 | C: 7 | B: 7 | A: 9 | S: 4

3Something dark, something bold. Empty Re: Something dark, something bold. on Thu Jun 27, 2019 8:30 pm

Xιon

Xιon


D-rank

I could just curl up and die, Xion thought.

It was nice to see that he was still so hail-fellow-well-met. As unreserved as their first encounter. He liked the excessive familiarity, just not when he was put in the limelight. Sod it all.

This what he wanted, right? Interaction? Engagement? Well here it is, all laid bare. This barista…

Now Xion was anticipating things. They say that silent types are quick to judge. Which wasn’t far off. The first thing he did in any place that wasn’t his own space was use his eyes to soften up the crowd. A man with too much to say. A woman getting too broad in her beams. And of course, the studious man next to him.

The barista winked at Xion as he polished a glass, disappearing behind the latchless door, back into the busy kitchen. Thanks...That just left Xion, a worn game board, and a stranger. Two chairs to his right sat his latest acquaintance. Dark hair, dark skin. Not a countenance one would call particularly interested either, but with the offer, at least the effort was there. He should meet him half-way, at least.

He supposed that that made him the deeper set. He wasn’t sure if that was a conscious irony. Well, he was conscious of it anyway. He remembered this game. He’d remembered older people playing it in Giant’s Scar. What did one call it again?

“Uh, sure.” Xion’s face was hard, noticeably steeled. But he could feel it. All that doubt and anxiety. Could this stranger tell? It was silly, he knew this, he couldn't even feel pain but he felt fear. Not of losing. The game was really the last thing on his mind. It was like he was taking a step forward. And feeling the fear. But then, as if by magic, he starts to find confidence, to find his voice. The difference between taking the step forwards or not is everything. He could start defining himself here and now. No one has to know what he really is, so long as the shape he takes is up to the mark.  All those steps build a brave soul and, in time, an accomplished person who does much for others, one who has their own respect and love too. Being brave becomes a way of being, one to embrace.

He peppered a black pawn, thinking about what his opponent had done. Underneath the counter, his feet shuffled impatiently, but his expression remained jovial, like a dog with two tails. He ruffled his hair, stroked his chin, anticipating many moves ahead. He had to remember that this mundane game was not a fight for his life, as if every move he made would make his world come crashing down.

He needed to stop overthinking things. He’d forgotten. He pulled himself together, mentally. Be normal. He casually moves the pawn up a square. Now use your words.

“My name is Xion, by the way. You know, like the aster?” He was all smiles. His tattoo laced arm hung in the space between them, waiting for reciprocation.  It wasn’t coy. Just genuine effort on his part.
WC: 540/1420

4Something dark, something bold. Empty Re: Something dark, something bold. on Sat Jun 29, 2019 11:17 am

Kashizudoto

Kashizudoto


S-rank
They started moving pieces on the board, playing the game as the barista had asked, and every now and then, the hawk on Kashizudoto's shoulder would peck a piece out of curiosity. The man told him that his name was Xion, and while he was all smiles and somewhat awkward and almost shy, he looked like a tad bit deviant given his heavily-tattooed arms. Perhaps he was a soft-hearted man with a rough exterior, Kashizudoto concluded, and the fact that this man was seemingly named after a type of flower only reinforced this notion.

"My name is Kashizudoto Sarutobi," he said, shaking the man's hand. His hawk squawked, reminding Kashizudoto to introduce the hawk next, "This is Hawky." The hawk made a slight nod, as he had learned over time a little bit of human body language. Hawky was a capable fighter, comparable, physically, to a jonin-level ninja, and though he had smaller chakra reserves than even the average genin, he had learned over time how to use very potent jutsu. He had been a very big help on the last ANBU mission, and Kashizudoto considered making him a regular on his ventures as ANBU Captain.


"So how was your morning?" he asked, moving a knight to defend his center pawn.

WC: 733


____

Something dark, something bold. SC5MjRQ

Character | Jutsu | Items
Relationships | Storyline


Jonin | ANBU Captain | A-rank
D: 2 | C: 7 | B: 7 | A: 9 | S: 4

5Something dark, something bold. Empty Re: Something dark, something bold. on Sun Jun 30, 2019 11:09 pm

Xιon

Xιon


D-rank

Meeting someone new is always a pleasure. Regardless of how things turn out, Xion was nervous about the opportunity, but he loves the dance that begins. He thought that the most important idea is to be able to get a true feeling for who they are over a few weeks and months without ever forming an opinion of them. He’d let them develop like a photograph, nice and slow. Though he’d never gotten really close to someone that wasn’t from Giant’s Scar. Those were lifelong friends, at least they were. Lovable rogues or a person too damaged to give in an emotionally warm and nurturing way. Though, so far, he was glad they met.

In reality, new friends came along about as often as, well, lottery wins for Xion and he burnt through them just as fast. One moment they were joined at the hip and the next they vanished from his life taking every precaution to avoid accidental contact. That’s just the way it worked, his modus operandi. 

Life might get in the way of intent, and often does. And with what he was, it was hard to let people in. Trusts are broken, lies are told. Been told. For one to believe in what they seek, they must know what it means to be what we don't want to be. Being sad makes one realize how valuable being happy is. Being weak makes one know what it means to be strong. Being helpless makes one determined to be helpful. Mistakes happen, awful things might happen in one's life. But by looking at the bright side of things, one might just be able to smile forever in life.

Kashizudoto Sarutobi. He’d do his best not to forget it as soon as he heard it. Damn...what did he say his name was again? This was already vexing him. So he settled on Kashi. Quick. Simple. Minimal effort to hark back to. He needed to remember not to hang himself on trivial matters. He’d already raised his own hackles.

A hawk probed the game pieces, renitent flicks of its head here and there. Kashi introduced the hawk as Hawky. Revealing itself to have clearly been trained, it nodded at its own introduction. Xion’s eyes beamed. His cheeks perked into dimples, radiating awe. 

Back in the Land of Wind, hawks and buzzards were the only birds that flew in the sky. Solitary. High-flying. He can remember the birds were silhouettes against the orange-kissed heavens. Early in those days they would have been pale against a blue sky, but when the twilight advanced they would soon would be lost in blackness, roosting with head tucked under wing until dawn. 

Xion moved a piece mindlessly after Kashi, and took another moment to steal a glance at the hawk once again. Just what did this guy do in his free time, he wondered.  He had a few questions. His mind was a racing perplexity, but before he could speak, Kashi asks how his morning has been going. A rather innocuous question. He must be feeling out his energy as well.

Regardless, Xion was of the perspective that the beginning of the day has dreadful undertones, especially for someone who despises the early hours. Anyone who hated mornings could relate to him. He preferred the night time anyway. 

“I--don’t really like mornings. It’s hot here, in the Leaf. But it's been pretty uneventful.”

Mundane but it was the truth. It felt like prying but he had a question of his own.

Xion beamed. “So is it a messenger bird or--? I wonder. With him over your shoulder, it makes you look like someone really important.”

WC: 626/2046


____

Reality is the finest flesh, O'reader mine.

6Something dark, something bold. Empty Re: Something dark, something bold. on Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:16 pm

Kashizudoto

Kashizudoto


S-rank
When the man went to shake his hand, Kashizudoto noticed he was a little rough around the edges, with a heavily tattoed arm and a somewhat gruff look to him, yet he also possessed a genuine, caring smile. The man introduced himself as Xion, "like the aster," and Kashizudoto concluded that if there were a man as rough-looking as him who were named after a flower, then he was the type to be very macho on the outside but soft on the inside. A coconut, he concluded.

They played for a little, and then Xion commented that it was hot out in the Leaf. It was true that the Land of Fire, true to its name, was hotter than most other countries except, perhaps, the Wind, and Kashizudoto found it odd that he decided to mention the Leaf specifically, as if he were from around here, it would be unusual to pass comment on the location.

"Yeah, I guess you get used to it after a while," he responded. His hawk pecked his shoulder a bit, and then Kashizudoto asked, "So I take it you're not from around here?" He moved his knight into an outpost square, giving it a good position for a future attack. The black pawns on both sides of the white knight were either blocked by their own pieces or too advanced to attack his knight, leaving it secure for now.

The man commented on his pet Hawky and asked him about what he was, telling him it made him look important being perched on his shoulder. Kashizudoto patted his hawk on the head. "Well, yea, he is a messenger hawk, but he's also a trusty partner on mission," Kashizudoto responded, "He's a good fighter, too, and can hold his own against a jonin if push comes to shove." Kashizudoto wondered whether he would have gotten this far without his hawk at his side; Hawky had followed him from his diplomatic trip in the Land of Earth to his work in Buma's Manor to his mission in the Kumo-Kiri war to his defection from shinobi lifestyle and back, all without protest or complaint. There was no doubt that a human companion would not have followed him this far, at least not without some resistance or requirement for persuasion, but Kashizudoto was thinking that it might have been a good thing, as it would have prompted him to think over his decisions a little bit more.

WC: 1148


____

Something dark, something bold. SC5MjRQ

Character | Jutsu | Items
Relationships | Storyline


Jonin | ANBU Captain | A-rank
D: 2 | C: 7 | B: 7 | A: 9 | S: 4

7Something dark, something bold. Empty Re: Something dark, something bold. on Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:55 am

Xιon

Xιon


D-rank

He grabbed his mug with two hands, a large sip to occupy his mouth instead of letting his words. It was searing hot, but it wasn’t as if he could feel it. Yes. He wasn’t from around here. He’d forgotten that the way he used his words could tell a lot about him. His forehead wrinkled with worry. If his skin wasn’t so deep, he’d blush. There was a certain advantage at being seen but not heard. As innocuous as one could try and possibly be.

He might as well open up.“Yeah. I’m from the Land of Wind, ironically enough. Dry heat I can handle. But humidity and a harsh sun? It makes me wonder how people get anything done around here.”

He remembered his first day here, about ten years ago. He’d been used to a glowing sun, but just as the Land of Wind’s moniker would imply, the winds were strong and merciful. The perfect counterbalance for the heat. But here, his skin was glistening and the nape of his neck damp as he lifted an ice cold glass of tea to his mouth. This was his first Leaf summer and he wasn't sure if he could stand the sweltering heat of summer. Although his parents seemed to be thriving in it. They were old, and he knew it would be better for their health rather than, say, extreme cold. But come on...this? This made it difficult to breathe.

It was an entirely different animal here. He’d often wake up sweaty, he’d go to bed sweaty, he’d got out of the shower sweaty. It was like a horrible ever present heat that lasted day in and day out from dusk until dawn,  and it certainly did not help when the locals would say, "oh you'll get used to it." He didn't want to get used to it. A decade later and still, all he wanted to do was go home. Still, the climate here allowed for flora and fauna his child self never imagined he’d see. All he had to do was go outside and he could strollup a large hill as the summer breeze pushed past. If he looked up, he could see the sun shine brighter than he ever knew before. Almost every tree in the distance would glisten gently as it reflected the sun's rays. 

He stole a glance at the hawk again. Kashi said that he was in fact capable of delivering messages. And somehow excelled in combat. So much so that he could, as Kashi said, fight Jonin-level shinobi. 

He didn’t seem like the type of person to boast or embellish the truth. Xion wouldn’t know either way, so he just took his word for it. Incredible, he thought. Then a singe of envy stung him. Brief and sobering. More mettle and might reside in this little bird, then him. And he believed it. Xion harked back to a painful memory

‘I remember your eyes back then. Filled with wonder and worry. Like a little bird.’

He didn’t mean to hurt himself with his thoughts. He usually didn’t. Memories of his often died too hard, however. It was something he’d tried to forget. Even now. Was that just what he was? Wondering after others as they continued to be heroes to their own stories? Legends, whether it be real or in their own minds. 



‘̯̀Y̠̣͚͕̘̺̲̤̝̿̋̏̀͋̾̒̓̕o͙̻̪̞͐̇́͠ų͇̦̺̫̽͗͘͠͠ ̖̀t͍̱̯̘̼̺̓̅͆͒̉͘͠ͅờ͈̙͔̓́͢o̪͔̝̲͉̰̻͋͗̑̑̆̋͝,̧̘̣͗̂̀ ̨̬͚͔͛̀̈́͘c̤̦̫͎̲̙͖̩͋̃̀̀̎̚͝͞ò̢̳̭͓̾̍̕ų̧̢̢̛͔͎̩̥̜̐̓̿̂̏͋͒̕ļ͕̗̙̀̈́̉̌̚͢ḋ̛̛̳̘͓̻̦̏̿͂͜͟͞ ̨̣̯̘͖̏̄̊́͐b̧̺̗̯̼̝̝̺̿̒͒̉̆̂͊̚͜͝͞ͅe̤͛ ̨̦̲͎͍̤̦̖̤̃͂̔̓́͂̎͘͝s̹̮͆͑o̙͡ ̝̳͐͞[̨͖̙͇͕̥̤̑̄̃̽́̚͟͡͝͠ͅm̢̛͚̺̥̣̬̠͐̌̂̉̏̕u͎̻͂̐ch ̨̺͕̫̝̜̬̲̥̰̌̂̈͒̎̉̔̇͐́m̯̐ỏ̢̺͉͙̞͕̅̊͛̀̽̎͂͜͢r̛͍̟̮̼̠̿̆̎͗̚ͅe̳̕]̭̖̤̟́̽̑̚͜͠.͉͇̠͎̤̩̻̽̀̋̅͝͞͠ ̲̗̘̹̇̈̉̋Y͓͙̙̣̙͗͐͛̃͡ô̡̢̥͙̭͙̌͐͂̏̐͑͢͠ͅu̱̪͉̐̃̆ ̬̣̜̻̉͗̂͑ñ̟e̡̩̹͖͌̏̓̓é̙̜̚d̩̙͕͂̇̚ ̧̞̖̣̀̈̀͝o̺̠̅̍n̛̟̳͍͈̖̞̮̺̉̒̒͑̋̒̕̕̕͢͢l̻͈͉̜̠̖̞̀̓̎̌͂͝͞y̙͍͌͌̀͒͟͜ ̺̮̫̏̕͞w̛͔̹͉̝̜̣͖̼̅̈́̐̓͋̎́͜͞i̝̦͛̏s̨̞̼̖͕͕̖͎̑́͆̎̈̎̇͞h͇͔̭͙̿̉͐̃͟͠ ̛̭̹͉͉̩͖̟͙̜̔̃̏̒̈͛̎͒i̛̬͈̘̲͎̔̓͂́͢͞t̛̺̤̭̩͉̪͂̐̇̾̇,̺̭͓̤̀̒̓̈́ ͚̯͔̋̂̀X͚̼͕̻͇̾͆̈̔̕i̠̖̭̲̹͆̀̆͠͝ó̟̗͓̑͗̒ͅn̟͎͓̯̓̽̄͘͟͝͝ͅ.͉͍̮̭͐̓͛̔͐ͅ’



Xion answered his thoughts, aloud. No semblance of soul in his voice. “No! My will is my own.”

Xion smiles like he's happy right to his soul, like there is no part of him that sadness dwells. He has no mannerisms that show damage of any kind; like he's perfection right down to his micro-expressions. Until the mug in his dark hands completely shatters. Ivory shards pepper his palms, and what little coffee that was left in the mug was on the counter. Suddenly the few people that were here all had their eyes on him. 

Xion was incapable of feeling pain, or pleasure. But he knew what he’d done. Heard what he’d done. Don’t forget--you’re in control Xion, he thought. You’re in control. When he speaks again, he fights to steel his face, and to resume his genuine cheeky grin. His voice trails slowly, like his words are unwilling to take flight. He willed his eyes to smile. But that was one of the few things he could not fake. There was sadness in them. His white eyes appearing like ice, and gloss.

He was blowing it.

“Have you ever thought about selling your soul. Just for a day? To walk in the shoes of those more fortunate, instead of your own? If that's envy, I don't think I care. How fair is it to be born so unusual, yet so hungry, and then be judged for wanting more?”

Every fiber, every cell in his body screamed in unison; to run through the doors. Go home, and lock himself in, for however long. Preferably until they all forgot his face. But he was parts curious, parts committed.

The barista poked his head from behind the kitchen door’s window. His forehead wrinkled with worry. His expression was conflicted.
WC: 907/2953

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