Description: Hidden deep in the mountains of Japan, lies a shrine from a forgotten era. Unfortunately for this shrine, it now has a hobo ninja and his dog inhabiting it. To make matters worse, an ancient relic from an time long past shows up, only to be freaked out by a ninja and his dog.
Within Rural Japan, dozens of temples such as this one exist, with each one still requiring the reverence and dignity that they were afforded like when they were first constructed all those years ago. Unfortunately, some people just haven't gotten the memo and are using this one high in the mountains as a temporary home, obviously because they really can't afford to go anywhere else.
"PITY! No! Bad dog!"
Michael G. Weller frantically chases his wonderful, smart, and usually awesome dog Pity around the ruined temple, trying to remove a broken wooden Buddha statue from her mouth. While the American Ninja may not be as worried about tradition and things, he really doesn't want to piss off the gods themselves because his dog decided to start chewing up effegies of them that have lasted this long in the open elements of Japan.
Generally, when one trespasses, they try to leave things like they found it, disturbing as little as possible....
That is another thing Michael didn't quite get the memo on. A makeshift tent stands propped up on the center of shrine, with a few pots hanging on the branches of a nearby tree. He at least took care enough to not have his hobo-fire pit anywhere near the shrine, because he is smart enough to understand that it would most likely be some serious kharmic retribution the universe would dish out if he managed to burn down what was left of what was once a beautiful shrine.
For the time-displaced warrior straight out of this island nation's historical legends, her existence since she last awoke has been an unclear thing. Moments of transition punctuated by moments of action combine to from a dream-like state of awareness for the raven-haired Chosen of the Kamui.
She remembers the times she is with others, sequences that form vivid images in the tapestry of her experiences. But then there are the times in-between, the patterns that from the borders and frames of her memory's tapestry, where neither purpose nor need determines where she ought to be. She is aware of time passing, yet her knowledge of what she was doing or where she was during such times is fleeting. She has taken to no longer even trying to think about it, placing her trust in the powers to whom she swore her soul centuries ago.
Strange to the world, she oft wore a distant look, the fields her study, and nature her book.
That might be the expression occupying her pale-skinned face when Michael D. Weller completes one more lap around the dilapidated old temple in rapid pursuit only to discover a new presence occupying one of the stones adjacent to his hobo-fire pit. Dressed in a flowing, white robe with a geometric pattern of crimson and sapphire bordering the length of it, the young woman with steel-blue eyes is seated comfortably as if she had been there for a while rather than having slipped into position in the last half second the vagrant ninja had been out of sight.
Her hair is black as night, worn long and free flowing, adorned only by the crimson ribbon over the crown of her head, tied off into a large bow in the back. Her feet are clad in moccasins dyed the color of the red in her robe and her hands and forearms are concealed beneath what appears to be thick, padded guards. From behind her slender waist, the sheath of a short sword is visible, a crimson gemstone fixed into the end of its visible grip.
She doesn't seem to react strongly to the young man and his dog rushing into view other than to glance Michael's way with a certain patient curiosity.
Oh yeah. And the wanderer appears to be eating his lunch left by the fire.
Diving at the dog, Michael misses the dog and lands head first into a pile of rotted wood, only to sigh loudly as he attempts to extract himself. While Nakoruru may be helping herself currently to his lunch, she'll notice a large and furry weight suddenly slumping onto her lap, the warm brown eyes staring into the young woman's.
Pity has no qualms about leaping into the laps of strangers, especially strangers who are currently eating what is to be part of her lunch (Michael doesn't matter. He can find something else to eat since he took away the chewtoy of the day.)
All the food is hers
Because she is good girl
Please feed the dog now
~ A haiku by Pity
Eventually, Michael dislodges himself in time to see his dog flop herself upon a stranger, which really is bad manners. Quickly crossing the distance to the campfire, Michael at first was going to admonish the dog and have her remove herself from their visitor, that is, until he notices just what it is Nakoruru is doing.
"Come on! That was my lunch!"
Jostled by the weight of the hungry dog slumping onto her lap, Nakoruru glances down, raising her arms up, her eyes widening slightly at first in a flash of alarm that passes almost immediately once she's identified the identity of her assailant.
"Oh!" she exclaims lightly, her expression of dismay giving way to one of simple happiness, eyes aglow with mirth and mouth bending into a quick smile. "Hey Pop-" she answers before cutting herself off, hint of sudden confusion in her voice, eyes blinking slowly.
The moment passes and she cants her head to the side slightly, looking directly into the eyes of the plaintive yet friendly dog. A soft exhale, her smile shifting from immediate exuberance to one bearing a quiet, patient warmth.
"Well, if you say so. Are you sure you're being taken care of properly?" Japanese was not her first language, but she speaks it with natural ease though with a hint of an accent that would be difficult for most to place.
%tShe glances at her left hand, then her right hand, then lowers her left hand to offer the cooked rabbit's leg to Pity right as the lunch's original owner finally extricates himself from his predicament and rushes over to discover that Pity is not a very good guard dog if the thing to be guarded is food.
At his protest, the food thief looks up, a ready smile at her lips. The food was quite tasty, and it was just sitting there, after all, clearly waiting to be shared.
But before she can utter a single word to her defense, her expression shifts to something else entirely - a look of shock blended with something Michael would almost have to interpret as recognition. For a moment, in her eyes, he was not a stranger as she must be to him. Shooting up to her feet, her mouth opens then closes, her eyes fixed on the foreigner, her face paling slightly. If he had rounded the corner looking like a zombie, he could not have possibly gotten a more severe reaction out Nakoruru in that moment.
Her eyes search his face, gears turning in her head. How could this be? She alone remained from those days, from the age of samurai and warring kingdoms. From the times demons openly walked the dusty roads of Japan and villagers huddled in their homes through the dread of night. The others she had fought alongside... each in their own way, in their own time, had passed from this world.
Yet here he stands. The Ainu girl swallows, the flush of her cheeks contrasting against the pallor of her face.
The look of recognition upon Nakoruru's face forces Michael to suddenly stop in his tracks, watching the flurry of emotion rapidly cross the young Ainu woman's face. Slowly, he takes a step back, his left hand reaching down to grasp the handle of the ninjato. Every bit of his being is screaming in alarm once the woman utters that name.
"...Who are you?"
The words are barely audible as his gaze moves from Nakoruru's face, down to the now happily fed dog, who seems to care not for this sudden outburst.
There once was a ninja named Galford,
Who lived in a land long forgotten.
His dog by his side,
"For Justice" he cried!
Dog is eating some rabbit, how awesome.
~Happy Pity limerick~
The blonde ninja raises his right hand, place his index finger and thumb between his lips, whistling shrilly to get the silly dog's attention. The rabbit is now forgotten as the dog bounds over to stand at attention next to her master, as Michael starts to slowly circle the Ainu maiden.
"How do you know that name?"
There is a blink of surprise the moment Michael's hand lowers toward the grip of his weapon, a clear and unmistakable confusion as if she wasn't already experiencing a maelstrom of conflicted emotions all at the same time. The warrior in her answers the motion, however, one leg slipping forward, her right hand reaching around behind her waist where her own weapon is sheathed at a mostly horizontal angle and easily within reach.
He asks who she is and she's at a loss for words, staring back at him silently, another blink of the eyes as she looks completely bewildered. How could he ask that? Is his memory lost? Or is her own sense of awareness more disconnected from reality than she considered? Does she not even look the way she once did without even realizing that she's changed?
The whistle snaps her out of whatever mental daze she seems to be suffering with and her expression shifts to becoming more guarded as Pity bounds over to the young man's side, tasty treat forgotten for now. He begins to circle and she stays put, pivoting in place with slight, minimal steps, her footing such that she would never be caught unable to react in an instant between steps.
He asks how she could know that name and there's a flicker of hurt in her eyes followed by a flash of anger. "I remember the time I encountered a warrior of the old Americas and we spent a long evening sharing between us the legends of our peoples." Her brow furrows, her hand finally clasping on the grip of her kodachi, though she doesn't draw it yet.
"Among the many tales of Black Hawk's people were the ones concerning the naagloshi... immortal shapeshifters that could take the form of another, their skill in mirroring details such that it became almost impossible to distinguish them by appearance alone. The only clue to their deceit was... the gaps in their knowledge."
Nakoruru whips her blade from her sheath then, pointing the polished still short weapon toward Michael then, shaking her head slowly. "How you came to look like him, I cannot imagine. Perhaps the kamui placed me here to right this injustice to that good man's legacy."
She braces herself herself then as she falls quiet. Overhead, a falcon's cry announces the arrival of another to the party as a large, feathered predator slips just over the top of the nearby ledges to rush into place behind and above the young woman in white before the bird begins to flap her wings in order to hold position... a curious feat for such a large creature, to be capable of hovering almost like a hummingbird, albeit with much slower, deliberate flaps of its powerful wings.
"I demand you explain yourself."
The sheer audacity of Nakoruru's statement is one that seems to sets Michael more on edge. Either he's stumbled on someone who either got a good number of screws loose, or is something far more then what they seem. Of course, to Michael, it's a lot easier to be the first option then the second, as the second means he has to admit that most things that were beat into him as a child growing up were true, and he isn't quite ready just for that.
As the girl's blade is polished to a near blinding shine, the American Ninja draws his with a slow precision, fatina flaking from the blade itself. The blade is raised to chest level, the flat facing the Ainu girl now, ready to absorb whatever blow she may attempt to unleash.
"I asked you first, and now you're tryin' turn it back on me? I.. I don't quite think that's how its supposed to work."
A look of brief confusion crosses the blonde man's face, as he tries to remember his Interrogation 101 lessons, only to shake his head and refocus himself back upon the Ainu maiden. The only obvious thing to him is that she knows something, and now he has no choice but to continue on and get her to talk. Which means he's going to have to do, just what every ninja has to do.
"Let's go Pity!"
COMBATSYS: Michael has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Nakoruru has joined the fight here.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Nakoruru 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Michael
The blonde man suddenly leaps into the air, landing upon the side of a tree. In sheer defiance of the laws of gravity, Michael hangs there as he 'kneels' against the tree itself. Surging forward like a coil, Michael springs off the tree using momentum to his advantage. He twists his body slightly, neatly planting his hands now onto the ground to once more use the speed he is building to his advantage and launches into the air once more, this time far higher then before.
This may seem like a vision from years long past to Nakoruru, but as the blonde man twists his body in the air to extend out his right leg, a brief look of elation is visible upon his face before it is replaced with the stoic front he is trying to maintain. Eventually, what goes up must come down, and Michael comes down looking to drive his foot right into Nakoruru's chest.
COMBATSYS: Nakoruru blocks Michael's Triangle Kick.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////////// ]
Nakoruru 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Michael
'Let's go, Pity!' he shouts in so close an approximation of the voice she remembers even across the span of centuries. Nakoruru flinches, already forgetting Michael's previous line about asking her first. The audacity - to assume the form of one she would know yet speak with no knowledge of the time they had together.
The disturbing echo of bygone spars only becomes more distracting the moment he kicks into motion, springing to the side of a thick tree trunk, only a few of its leaves shaking loose from the impact given the early Summer's new growth. The uncanny way he plants himself against the side is all too familiar - especially since Galford had taught shared the technique behind it with her so long ago.
It's almost enough for her to be lost in a moment of reverie simply observing the living simulacrum of one she knew she would never see again. But she also knows that with way he's perched, he can launch right back into an attack and she exhales softly, shifting her posture to brace herself, bringing her kodachi up and reinforcing it by planting her left hand against the flat of the blade.
"You even fight like him..." she murmurs, her voice a combination of confused wariness right alongside a bite of accusation. "How did that come to be?" It must be a shape shifter - one who assumed Galford's form. Did the Kamui place her here to discover the ancient deception and put right decades of a legacy defiled?
His heel is caught by the sword maiden's blade though the force behind his kick does push her back slightly... But she hasn't even stopped recoiling from the kinetic exchange before she begins to move with a blur of speed. Her right arm reaches around toward the back of her waist where her sheath is lashed to the crimson sash that serves as her belt. With a flip of the weapon to reverse grip, the swift girl slides it into place with her right hand even as her left hand reaches out, seeking to close fingers into the fabric of his shirt, trying to yank him off guard toward her.
The actual attack comes in an instant, her knee rising up toward his gut, before she snaps her foot up with the same leg, aiming for his chin while also demonstrating a remarkable degree of flexibility on her part.
Having attempted to shatter his poise, she'd finish by pulling him forward the rest of the way with both hands to toss him to the ground at her side while pivoting on one foot to keep facing him, pausing only briefly to glance over her shoulder toward Pity, looking toward Michael's companion with a furrowed brow.
"But you, I have no explanation for," she murmurs to herself. If Michael was some skin stealing shape shifter... how would he end up with what had clearly been a friendly dog? The creature wouldn't be fooled so easily!
Overhead, Mamahaha screeches loudly, reminding Nakoruru to not drop her guard for even a moment!
COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully hits Michael with Enbu Go Kyaku.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////////// ]
Nakoruru 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Michael
The world around Michael suddenly turns a bright white as the foot suddenly collides with his chin. Unfortunately, he isn't given a chance to recover because the moment the white starts to fade, it's replaced by a heavy darkness as he's then slammed violently into the ground. The air is pushed out from his lungs, and he's left there as Nakoruru puts a brief amount of distance between herself and the ninja-boy.
"It's a dog... do you really have to have more explanation then that? Unless you're wondering what breed she is.."
Michael slowly climbs to his feet, bringing the blade back up before him, this time in a more defensive fashion. Of course, even after having himself slammed into the ground like a bag of ice, there is something about this he's enjoying. Though, there is something that is bothering him just a bit.
"...How did you know how I was going to attack?" Michael makes a slight gesture with his free hand, causing the dog to suddenly bolt back to his side. The two of them don't remain stationary for long, as the ninja-dog duo both rush forward Nakoruru, Pity taking the lead. The dog lunges forward, almost as if she were looking to latch onto the Ainu girl. At the last moment, the dog sails past Nakoruru, as Michael drops down, his body twisting to send his right leg up like a pile driver to Nakoruru's midsection, seeking to lift her off her feet and into the air...
COMBATSYS: Michael successfully hits Nakoruru with Strike Heads.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////////// ]
Nakoruru 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Michael
The next part will come as no surprise to Nakoruru. The blonde ninja will quickly shift himself to be directly behind the Ainu woman, leaping into the air to snatch her by the waist. The momentum of the attack will be transferred into a spin, as they start to fall back to the ground. As all of this is going on, Nakoruru will notice another shift, this time in the very atmosphere around them, the scent of burning o-zone starting to permeate the very air around them.
As the two would fall, the scent of burning o-zone becomes stronger, as sparks of electricity suddenly start to spring to life in the air around them. Some would consider it magical, others beautiful. Michael? He just calls it shocking. The world would shift for a few moments as the Ainu woman is violently slammed into the ground, as Michael suddenly leaps away from her, the very air around Nakoruru now exploding with six billion joules of electricity that strikes down upon her.
As soft grunt is her answer to Michael's perfectly serviceable answer that Pity is pretty much a dog and that really should sum up everything there is to know about her. The young woman's eyes are back on him now, having paused just long enough to double check the spacing with the young man who simply shouldn't exist and his canine companion.
But his question gets a much more detailed response out of her. "It's simple," Nakoruru states, turning sidelong toward him so that she can watch Pity circle around to rejoin Michael a moment later. Once they're adjacent once more, she points back toward him with her short blade from a few meters away, her tone still accusatory.
"I sparred against the man who's countenance you bear for almost two years. In adopting his style, you are executing on an arsenal of techniques I know from countless opportunities to defend against them. You can't possibly surprise me."
The two bolt into motion, closing the small gap toward the Ainu swordswoman in almost an instant. Bracing herself, she twists her kodachi into a defensive angle again, eyes flicking to Pity as the loyal attack dog leaps as if to attack. Nakoruru leans, taking a step back in the process, only realizing that Pity was already on a slanting trajectory that was never any threat to her in the first place.
Calmly, the raven-haired girl snaps her right arm out, blade whistling through the air as she attempts to bring the point around directly into Michael's path, forcing him to either run directly into the sharpened tip or veer off another way.
"Too slo-" she starts to retort, her tone calm in spite the speed with which she moves.
Only her defensive sword sweep is for nothing, Michael having already dropped down lower, beneath the path of girl in white's weapon, leaving him free to slip clean beneath her guard and drive his leg into her stomach, folding her forward with a pained gasp and launching her clean off her feet.
For all her skill with the blade, the Kamui-gifted warrior is a swords woman, not a ninja, and for the life of her, Galford's ability to deploy Koya-ryuu grappling techniques in their training sessions ever proved the most difficult for thing for her to contend with. She could deflect any number of swords, axes, maces, gauntlets, and other striking weapons, but wily ninjas and their grappling techniques?
Airborne, she starts to recover, plying her own acrobatic skills to regain control, but Michael is there too quickly for her to get far, slipping in behind to secure his arms around her waist. Once in position, it is easy to wrest the lithe young woman into the violent spin back toward the mountain soil beneath the two of them.
Her upper back hits the ground hard with an accompanying, violent jolt of Michael's inherited signature electrical chi. Tasers have nothing on the shock that zaps through the folded swordswoman as Nakoruru lands prone against the dirt a few seconds later, lingering traces of visible lightning crackling along her limbs like the world's worse case of static charge.
Rolling onto her side, right hand still gripping her kodachi, she fixes Michael with her eyes, pressing to her knees. Dirt has smudged the back of her robe and the knees of her white trousers are also brown with the thick soil beneath her. Several strands of her hair drift out from her sides and off her shoulders, evidence of significant charge still coursing through her.
The fingers of her left hand clench as she fights back against the tremors still twitching within her muscles, lips becoming thinner as her expression takes on a flustered look, cheeks blossoming with a blush of pink. So much for never being surprised by anything he could do!
Her left hand snaps out, her voice echoing across the mountain.
The falcon dives toward Galford with so much zeal she must have been waiting for this moment. A surge of chi shimmering with almost every color imaginable bursts into being around the diving raptor, turning her into a prismatic comet on collision course with Michael's chest. Impact would result in a large explosion as that chi is released and the bird wings her way back off into the sky if able!
COMBATSYS: Nakoruru successfully hits Michael with Amube Yatoro EX.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////// ]
Nakoruru 1/-------/=======|=======\====---\1 Michael
Nakoruru's revenge is swift and painful as the rainbow raptor collides violently with Michael's chest, his body violently wracked with pain as the chi explosion envelops him. The sheer force of it all causes the blonde man to suddenly fly backwards, slamming into the pile of rotted wood that just not to long ago he was face first in. His ninjato is dropped midflight, clattering to the ground as part of the ancient blade's handle crumbles to pieces. Of course, normally any good ninja would be back up and raring to go, but..
Pity quickly crosses the distance to her master, nudging him with her nose to make sure he hasn't gone into any hallways with light at the end. Her assessment however seems to be in the positive as she licks his face, barking loudly into his ear.
"All right, all right.."
Michael gently places his hand on the dogs head, petting her as he adjusts himself to a kneeling posistion, his gaze now solely upon the Ainu woman. Normally he would feel bad for ruining a pretty woman's hair-do (and really, Nakoruru is going to have a hell of a time for a while getting it to lay flat), but today he doesn't. It was both tit for tat, and her words have given him enough reason to take a few moments to collect his thoughts.
"What do you mean, you sparred against him.. He's been dead for..."
The realization suddenly dawns upon Michael just what exactly she could mean, and the thought of it terrifies him, because it suddenly gives credance to a lot of the legends his family has passed down. The look of terror grows as he stares at the woman, this time paying very close attention to her facial features.
"...Are.. are you called Nakoruru?"
The dog now starts to whine, the pettings slowing to a level that is intolerable to her. This forces Michael to resume the pace.
COMBATSYS: Michael takes a moment to pet his dog.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Nakoruru 1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1 Michael
Out of the almost blindingly bright, Mamahaha wings onward, seemingly no worse for wear for being the deliver bird of a rainbow colored nuke. Energy continues to trail off the falcon's wings for a short while as she veers off, circling around a long route that will eventually bring her back to hovering up behind the Time Lost warrior, her cry echoing against the mountainside.
Nakoruru holds her ground now that she's finally pushed herself back up to her feet. Another flick of her weapon and she slips it back into the sheath behind her waist, frowning slightly at the delayed response from the blonde foreigner. If he really was the demon she accused of him of being, such an attack would only slightly phased him. She had been warming up for a longer, protracted battle to set right, but the blast delivered by Mamahaha seemed to have a far larger impact than she had anticipated.
As Pity moves over to check on Michael, the young woman's focus drifts over to the dropped ninjato. With a soft intake of breath, she slips over closer to the discarded weapon, stopping about three feet away to stare at it longer, her expression looking distant once again.
As Michael speaks, his attentions divided between his opponent and the demands of Pity, she looks back toward him, perhaps noticing the look of incredulous dread building in his own features.
Once more he asks a question of her, giving voice to a name belonging to a legend among the Ainu, and she blinks. Overhead, Mamahaha answers the inquiry with a loud cry, having settled back into position, hovering by means of her powerful wingbeats.
Instead of answering, Nakoruru's eyes flick back and forth between Pity and Michael as she stands up straighter, no longer looking as tense.
"That is my name," she states quietly.
Her right hand slides behind her back, fingers closing over the grip of her sheathed kodachi, yet in spite the implied threat of the gesture, her stance is relaxed and it doesn't seem as if she's actually about to strike.
"Now explain yourself. How is it that you possess Galford's sword, his appearance, and his techniques. Speak truthfully."
She draws her weapon partially, the few inches of steel glinting in the bright light of noon. Her tone shifts, her voice direct with an edge to it that implies she is not one prone to bluffing.
"Your life hangs in the balance."
COMBATSYS: Nakoruru gains composure.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Nakoruru 0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1 Michael
"I have them.. because they're my legacy."
Michael slowly climbs to his feet, standing upright to stare directly into the living relic of a woman's eyes. Clutching his chest, he winces as he takes a few steps towards the woman, stopping until he puts himself right into the range of her blade. The gesture is one he hopes she'll understand, and he won't get a few new holes in his body that don't quite belong. That would really ruin his day. Especially since he can't quite afford go visit another doctor any time soon.
"I.. really don't even know where to begin. I never took a lot faith in the stories that were passed down in my family.."
The words are barely audible, as the tall tales that the boy once thought to only be just that, are given a form in the very woman that stands before him. He holds both hands out, only to take a deep breath to steel his nerves.
"My name is Michael G. Weller. I am a shinobi of the Koga-ryu, trained in the arts of my bloodline, set forth by the forgotten hero of a time long past."
The american's voice trails off, lowering his head now as he struggles to find a way to continue his own explanation. Right now he has the ability to discover everything about his ancestor, but the sheer thought of learning more truth about him is one that terrifies him. A look is given back to the dog, who is now idly chewing on a piece of rotted wood, having no intrest in the talks of man. Chewing is a much better thing to focus on for her.
"And.. if you're wondering.. yes.. She is descended from her as well..."
COMBATSYS: Michael just needs a moment...
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Nakoruru 0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1 Michael
His legacy, he says before rising to move closer. Nakoruru tenses at first, her posture not exactly combat ready but clearly guarded. He comes to a deliberate stop just within the reach of her blade with no apparent readiness to defend himself. Of course, appearances can be deceiving, especially when dealing with those skilled in ninja arts... and in deciding where to stop, he was showing that he knew precisely the reach of her weapon should she draw it in another blur of motion.
He mentions the word family and it would be impossible to miss the way the young woman looking up at him flinches, but she says nothing, merely watching, clearly giving him time to continue while the warm mountain air moves gently around them and the only other sound is Pity gnawing away at the wood like it's a large beef bone.
He gives his name, declares from where he comes, why he has the skills he does, and who the originator of the entire legacy is and finally Nakoruru loses her own composure. While she flinched at first, now she staggers back a step, her right hand slipping from the grip of her sword, her right hand coming up to rest flat against her chest. Her head lowers, eyes losing their focus, looking as if Michael had just told her the most dismaying news she had ever heard. Cheeks pale slightly as she stands, breath held, mind rushing to digest the implications.
She had already processed and accepted that her sister's life went on without her... her own life may have stood still the day she answered Nature's bid to serve as the Kamui's Avatar, but Rimururu went on to live a long life, have a family, and create a legacy of Ainu lasting to this day.
But now she was facing the realization that Galford's life had gone on as well. Of course it had, and if she had ever thought about it, she would have certainly come to the conclusion that after she found herself lost to Nature's embrace, the American ninja would have continued to live on, pursuing his course through life...
She looks up, steel blue eyes focusing on him. Now that she is no longer seeing through the blur of surprise or the red sheen of anger, she can observe the differences. The features are there - the resemblance uncanny... but Michael is his own man and not a perfect clone.
"...oh..." is her first audible reply, her voice small all of the sudden. Sheepish, perhaps, at having jumped to conclusions concerning him, to think him some kind of shape shifting demon that had stolen Galford's skin. Overwhelmed, also, at considering the legacy Galford created after their time together so long ago.
Her eyes drift over to the chewing Pity.
"I... I remember Poppy's daughters," Nakoruru murmurs softly. "Papa, Pippy, and Pippa." Her voice is distant as she speaks, but after a pause, she musters a pained smile, looking back up at Michael.
"Galford certainly stuck to a pattern for the names."
She closes her eyes for a moment, breathing in then exhaling slowly. Bowing her head, she declares, "I apologize for attacking you."
Opening her eyes, she lefts her face and glances to the side down the mountainside rather than toward the dilapidated old temple.
"You have inherited great expectations... It cannot be easy in this world. It wasn't back then either."
The sudden apology from Nakoruru is almost as unsettling as the realization of the truths that were just forced upon him. He's not quite sure that even the woman before him has the right order of things. He's the one who technically threw the first punch so to speak. Great, now he's feeling like a real jackass, and he has no clear way to actually get out of it.
"...Um. I'm the one who technically attacked you first... So.. I guess your apology isn't needed?"
Normally, this is where the real offending party should actually apologize, but, there is so much more that the blonde ninja in blue needs to do. He steps away from Nakoruru, skirting around her until he reaches what looks to be a large backpack that has truly seen better days. He digs through it until he manages to pull out an extremely worn and ancient looking box. Carefully, he removes the lid and pulls out a rather old scroll and journal. Now discarding the box, he once more move towards the Ainu woman, holding the items out towards her.
"Maybe these can.. help fill in some gaps and answer some more questions you might have. They're kind of worthless to me, because I can't read 'em, and... every translator I've gone to pretty much has laughed me out of their office because they claim there is no way they're real. Maybe there's something in there to actually.. confirm what I'm telling you."
The items are laid down upon the ground before Nakoruru, as Michael now turns his attention to the now partly broken ninjato. Carefully, the artifact is picked up, as he gives it a cursory once over, only to sigh loudly. Taking great care to resheath it, Michael groans as the rest of the grip disentergrates, leaving the tang exposed within the sheath. Quickly, he does some quick counting, fingers rapidly extending and relaxing as he tries to figure out just how much he has left, and can honestly spend to try and do basic repairs to the ancient sword that truly has seen better days.
"Good news Pity! We get to do some more camping!"
Michael suggests that her apology wasn't necessary and Nakoruru gives him a fleeting, knowing smile. Apparently she hadn't been confused on that point. But the moment passes and her expression becomes more somber, taking a step back as Michael circles around her, giving him more room to pass... maybe she's not done being wary of him quite yet. She does follow him a little ways toward his backpack, but hangs back the last five or six feet, giving him plenty of room to rummage without her lurking right behind his back.
At the sign of the box being removed, she starts to look quite curious, eyes flicking between Michael's expression and the things he brings over to her in his hands. It's easy to see at a glance that the scroll and journal are quite old, each containing voices from the dust, whispers from the past.
Behind Nakoruru, Mamahaha circles down, talons digging into a branch on a dead, dry wooden tree nearby, wings folded behind her back as she leans forward to watch the gifting of the old materials.
"I-" she stammers, glancing down and back up at Michael a couple of times, "I should not take these... Are they not important to you?"
Kneeling down before the scroll and journal, she glances back and forth between them, looking pensive, not making a move to touch either initially, her hands clasped in her lap.
The groan catches her attention though and the young woman looks back up at Michael, watching him study the heirloom sword, now missing its deteriorated grip.
"He called it the Justice Blade," she states softly. "It was an important word to him. Justice."
Finally, she looks back down at the two items before her and reaches out to pick up the scroll, handling it delicately as she tests the ability to unfurl it, just a little at first, eyes studying it to see if the first part unrolled is where its message begins.
"Surely you must know some history behind these," she states, her tone thoughtful.
"Well. As far as I know, all of this belonged to my ancestor at one point, but... As I said. I can't read it, and no one has bothered to actually try and translate them. They were in a trunk that no one really remembered in the back of an attic. I'm pretty sure its safe to say that if they were important to 'continuing the family legacy and preserving its honor' someone would known about them before I too-- found them."
A bit of an embaressed grin crosses the young man's face, only for him to remove the sheathed ninjato from his waist, moving to place it inside the backpack. He knows the story of that specific thing quite well, and its a story he's able to recall without really any effort.
"Yeah.. He had it made with the casing from the bullet that killed his father.."
It's a rather uncomfortable thing to discuss an ancestor's history with someone who actually may have heard the story first hand.
"It needs to be repaired, but... There is a slight issue with just taking it to a smith.. 'Cause if the rest of the clan found out that.. I.. 'borrowed' it.. Well.."
The American boy looks like a kid who just got caught with their hand in the cookie jar, and actually admitting his misdeeds to Nakoruru in its own way should actually absolve him, right? It's not like she'd misunderstand the need to get away and actually live your own life, right?
Looking up from the partially unfurled scroll, Nakoruru studies Michael as he explains some of the story of how he came to be in possession of the two hundred year old documents. Her expression is neutral as he speaks, slowly letting the scroll roll closed again. But as he finishes, she cants her head the right slightly, a faint smile at her lips.
"Why did you consider them important to bring with you?" she asks with a hint of amusement in her voice.
"And put so much effort into trying to get them translated or interpreted?"
Still kneeling, she places the scroll down and picks up the journal next. There is a tenderness with which she picks up the book, as if carefully handling a precious artifact, her arms trembling slightly. She nods her head slightly as Michael speaks of the special memento contained within the Justice Blade, confirming the tale's veracity without any fanfare.
Opening the book only to the first page, her eyes skim across it, then carefully she turns to the next page. When Michael mentions an 'issue', Nakoruru glances up, her faint, knowing smile still lingering, a tenderness to her expression that offers no recriminations for the awkward confession of the foreign young man.
"Why did you borrow it? Are you not the heir?"
She closes the book, holding it in both hands, one hand on each cover, then rests it atop her palms to place it gently back down in front of her, her focus entirely on Michael now.
"It wasn't more borrowing, it was more just uh.. taking it because they didn't really care about any of it. A lot of the clan elders find it humiliating that a long time ago, one of their masters adopted an /American/ into the clan, and trained him. You see how bad of shape the sword alone is in. Some of the other.. things aren't even able to be moved any more."
Michael returns his attention to the bag, moving things around in it until he pulls out a blue disc with a lid. Removing the lid, he presses the inside, forcing it to expand out until its the size of a regular cooking pot.
"It's almost a joke with the Koga. The elders who do care, well. They're even worse then the ones who are humilated by it. Mainly because they want to force every last bit of knowledge into your head, even if its completely stupid and makes no sense whatsoever...."
Nakoruru listens to Michael's answers to her questions, her expression shifting from open curiosity to visible disapproval, brow furrowed. Glancing down, she picks up the scroll with one hand, still holding the closed journal in her other, before rising to her feet and moving to sit down on the rock she had been seated upon when Michael first noticed her. Resting the journal and then scroll atop it in her lap, she watches Michael work with what appears to be a portable pot, eyes widening with a hint of appreciation at what is, to her, quite the marvel.
"I see," she finally offers softly, looking off to the side, gaze straying over the old abandoned temple. "Even when Ayame took Galford in and began to train him in Koga-ryuu it had caused a great stir among the clans. I suppose I had thought that maybe such tensions bled away over the centuries, but it seems as if the same... myopic views still persist to this day."
She blinks her eyes a few times, eyes flicking back over to Michael, head tilting slightly, "You seem to have learned skills from them quite well in spite what you are enduring. You were not bad," she offers with a bit of a grin before her expression sobers.
"So now you are on your own with," she glances at his canine companion, "Pity. The Justice Blade in need of a grip. And a lot of ideas in your head you aren't sure about. What now? If the sword were repaired, what would you do with it?"
"If.. the sword were repaired? I'm not sure it even can be. Even I can tell that the damage is pretty bad. Unfortunately, its weight is just right so another sword would be really hard to find."
The blonde ninja quickly props up a few sticks, setting them up as a makeshift pot stand. Once he finishes, he moves over to an old well that was once used for shrine rituals with the pot, quickly filling it with water.
"I don't know really what I would do. I guess I'd go back to America for a bit to try and see if there's anything else I can find at one of one of the other Weller homes. The problem though is we're so spread out it'd be like finding a needle in a haystack."
Moving back to the stand, Michael attaches the pot to it, quickly now moving to add additional wood to the now smoldering pile of ash. Blowing on it, the wood slowly catches the heat, and once more a useful fire has been born.
"If it hasn't been lost to the ages.. Anything I could find would most likely be just as useless as the blade after a while..."
The question posed, Nakoruru sits quietly on her rock seat, fingers of her left hand resting delicately on top of the furled scroll as she watches Michael go about his cooking preparations.
"It is a good blade," she replies, her voice gentle as the young man frets over whether the heirloom weapon can be salvaged or if it's beyond hope. "In the hands of a skilled enough weapon smith, it could be mended and once more put to the task for which it was forged."
He talks about going back to the Americas and the young woman nods, a distant look in her eyes. On the branch nearby, Mamahaha turns her head to the side, watching Michael and Pity with one deep, brown eye, otherwise remaining perfectly still where she's perched.
"I have a friend... who has quite the arsenal of bladed weapons. I believe he has access to a masterful craftsman. I am confident that he would be willing to help with the repair of the Justice Blade were he to be asked." She smiles lightly, focus returning to her eyes as Michael stokes the flames. "That is the kind of person he is."
She shifts a little on the rock, but doesn't move to get up. "Zach Glenn. A warrior, a champion, and a defense against the darkness in this world. I will leave it to you to ply your craft to locate him. Tell him that I sent you and trust that precious blade to him for its refurbishment."
Her expression becomes more somber then. "But I implore you. Please do not take such an inheritance lightly. If you wish to see the blade renewed, I hope that you will consider the legacy it represents. Your ancestor was... a good man." Her gaze drifts off to the side then, watching Pity instead, shoulders rising and falling with the release of a soft sigh.
The information Nakoruru gives Michael normally would be enough to make most people suddenly rush off to investigate, yet, there is some hesitation already there. A living legend that embodies the truth of his families legacy is doing far more then he'd ever expect for him, yet he's not quite sure if he is actually /worthy/ of it in his own mind.
"Zach Glenn. I'll remember the name."
The American Ninja stares at the fire now, poking at it with a stick to even out the flames. As Nakoruru continues to speak, the words echoing the sentiment of the most hardcore of the Koga elders who support the choice that was made centuries ago. The blonde man remains silent.
It was one thing to have some old guys who were masters of their art yammer on about honor and tradition, however it is another to have a relic of that very do the same thing. To Michael, the words are heavier then any the Koga have been preaching since the day he first arrived, and he's not quite sure now if this really should be the path he's on.
Slowly, Michael turns his attention back to the ancient Ainu nearby. He's answered all of the questions she may have had, but now its time for Michael to ask one of his own. His voice is low as he speaks, afraid of what he is actually about to ask of Nakoruru, yet it is something he feels he should.
"Nakoruru. If.. it isn't an issue and you aren't too uncomfortable with it, would you.. tell me exactly what he was like? Its one thing to hear legends and tales of someone long since dead, but.. if you can hear it from someone who actually was there. I want to hear what really happened."
He says he'll remember the name and Nakoruru nods her head slightly, continuing to sit with the journal and scroll on her lap. With that, she falls quiet, perhaps feeling she pressed into this young man's business as far as propriety would allow. Besides, he's given her a wealth knowledge just in the two artifacts her hands are resting lightly upon. Surely, there will be plenty to reflectg upon there.
Her gaze shifts to the fire as she remains silent. The thought that perhaps she has said enough and would be better off leaving Michael to his thoughts crosses her mind. This has been a whirlwind of emotions for both of them. The crackle of fire and the sound of Pity showing old sticks who's boss fills the empty void as their conversation lulls.
Breathing in softly, the young woman that time shifts, starting to rise. It is time for her journey to continue. And perhaps time for his to begin.
But she freezes, never quite getting off the rock as Michael speaks, steel blue eyes glancing toward him. Studying him with her steel-blue eyes, Nakoruru settles back down comfortably on her stone seat. Her expression is hard to read at first - a quiet gaze, mouth a straight line of neutrality... But after a few heartbeats wherein the young man may wonder if he's crossed the line, a gentle expression comes over Nature's Avatar and she dips her head.
"I am afraid that there is not time enough in the day or night ahead to tell you all the adventures we had in sunset of the Edo era. Of the monsters we faced, the places we saw, of the things we talked about."
Nakoruru closes her eyes for a moment, breathing in and lifting her shoulders, losing herself in memories that for her are all too fresh. "But I would love nothing more than to speak to you of those days." She lifts her right hand to brush stray locks of her raven-black hair back behind her ear as she looks down.
"First, I should speak of the climate of the time. The land of the Japanese was in a political upheaval... the Shogun had been assassinated, leaving the government weak, and the heir apparent refused to step into the role for which he was born. A famous general of the Tokugawa clan... General Hinowanokami, seized upon the opportunity and created an uprising throughout the land, gathering peasants, disillusioned samurai, and neglected soldiers to his banners."
She pauses, shaking her head, giving Michael a sad smile, "It was unfortunate such turmoil was the catalyst by which so many great warriors flocked to the land to aid those suffering under the crushing boots of war, but such were the times when Galford D. Weller came over from the Americas, a place I had never even heard of before..."
On the nearby branch, Mamahaha tucks her head under her wing and seems to take a standing nap. Perhaps she's already heard this story once or twice. Or maybe it's because she was there for it all.
Log created on 23:38:01 06/24/2018 by Michael, and last modified on 23:46:46 07/10/2018.