View Single Post
Old 06-20-2017, 12:57 PM   #1
Bass
Community Moderator
 
Bass's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Albion
Posts: 647
Default [Stone Jounin] The Queen - Kiyama Masami

Kiyama Masami



"Uhh, 'Sami? Thats kinda not what I had in mind when I said we should all have pictures in the water. You ok girl? Is Kei acting up again?"
She'S fInE "We're fine..."
"Good enough for me, lets go."
"But... Bro!"



Kiyama Kuro Masami
~ 20 ~ Female ~ 5'10 ~
~ Shinobi ~ Jounin ~ Iwagakure ~
~ SNS ~ Queen ~




Physical Description
"Masami? Yeah, she's over there. Can't really miss her; poor thing stands out a mile at family gatherings..."

"...It's a shame, really. In truth she'd like nothing more than to just be another face in the crowd, but life had other plans. How would I describe her, can't you just loo- Oh, this is for paperwork? Fine. Well, I'd say she has a gymnast or a dancers figure, bolstered by years of hard work and combat. She's pretty tall too, so I guess you could say she's a little amazonian? But like, in the approachable pop-culture way, not the scary way, you know what I mean?

As for the rest, well, its funny in a way. She always worries that she doesn't fit in with the rest of us, but just look at her; its like Sadao himself had a sister. The same mousey brunette hair, kind of wavy, not quite committing into full curls except for special occasion- The blonde streak? No that's not natural, she added that as tribute to her stepmother and siblings. And the eyes, well no they aren't Kiyama norm but gradfath-, our grandfather, not Grandfather had the exact same ones; so whether she believes it or not, she's a true part of the family in my opinion.

Her complexion? Listen, are you just here to pick flaws in her- no? Good, you'd better not be. I suppose yes she could use more sun, she's almost as pale as when she was born; but that's what you get when your career keeps you in the shadows. But even so, just a little more daylight in her life and those freckles would even out and she'd be just as sunblessed as the rest of us.

She's a true child of Sadao, the rest is just details."
--- Kiyama Nando

Clothing
"What's she wearing? What is this, an official file or a creepy hotline..."

"Well, ok. She picked up a penchant for athleisure wear from her team-, sorry ex-teammates; so its not uncommon to catch her in short-shorts or yoga pants, not the super tight ones mind, cos even though she could totally rock them, I don't think she likes that much attention drawn to herself, that said, they're still a pretty skinny fit. She says Kei, the gem on her back, likes to breathe whatever that means, so when she does wear a shirt its usually a cropped sports top where the straps cross over at the back of the neck; frames the gem perfectly in the gap it makes. 'Course, if she's wearing the shorts, she goes for a regular exercise tee or the like and Kei just has to deal with it, back to that whole not wanting to draw too much attention to herself thing. Personally, I think she's being too shy and missing out, but its her choice.

Design wise, the girl loves stars, always has, but now that she has that big black gem in her back catching all the light and sparkling like its made of crystallised nighttime, she's really gone to town to accessorise with it. All her shirts have space or night sky patterns all over them and then there's the glitter; her nails and makeup are all dark colours, midnight blues, purples, sometimes black for the nails, with sprinklings of holo-glitter so she can sparkle as much as Kei does. Even one of her boots is sparkly, yes one; they don't match, or rather they did initially, but I guess she couldn't decide which way to go with them so ended up with the one silver sparkly one, and the other just regular black boot with stencilled stars painted all over it.
--- Kiyama Izumi - Half Sister

Personality
"You know, my own teacher used to say to me, you could never really know someone until you saw them fight..."

"... And do you know what? Its never let me down, not once. Take a look at Masami in action, what do you notice? Yes, very good; she keeps her distance, she knows she's vulnerable, that she can be hurt easily compared to people like, say Kaori, for example. Does that distance make her cold? No, far from it; look at the power and intensity she displays when something gets close. She's passionate, she doesn't hold back when something matters to her; and she cares deeply, look how to heal her teammate she has to move out of position, expose herself.

And let's not forget about the stealth. She's quiet, spends most her time inside her own head. Not necessarily a bad thing, I understand that as she was growing she needed to spend a lot of time within herself, asking questions only she could answer; then even once those answers had been a found it had simply become habit and part of who she was. Still, recently, perhaps there is some cause for concern. Introverts and introspectives are no trouble in themselves, but now there's something else living in her head to answer back; and I'm not sure it's answers have her best interests in mind."
--- Academy Combat Instructor

Gem Avatar - Keiseki

“She doesn’t like talking about them, or letting us meet them, but I saw, once…”

“... It was while she was perfecting that technique of hers. Guess she thought she was alone in the compound for a while, didn’t know I’d gone back to get something. Keiseki, Kei, was… I’m not sure what I saw, really. It looked like a person, but obscured somehow and with rough edges, like they were made entirely of shadows and transmission static. They were kind of the same height and build as Masami, I guess, but it's hard to be sure. And the voice, it just put me on edge; everything about it was wrong, like if white noise tried to speak, but the pitch and tone were all over the place, almost randomly… no, not randomly. It was almost like, they were making their words out of all the syllables they had heard from everyone else, but keeping all the individual parts intoned exactly like they'd first heard them. I didn’t like it.

I’m not sure how Masami puts up with them, really. Its clearly affecting her, either she, or one of her subjects, can just randomly start laughing or quietly crying for no reason, she shrugs it off, but I know it's some side effect of having to share space with Kei. And not just that, Kei is mean, they spend half their time talking down about Masami, filling her head with insecurities or lies; and even when they’re being nice, it doesn’t end well, they’ll cheer her on and encourage her, take away her inhibitions, ones that stop her doing genuinely stupid or impulsive things that nearly always end up with her hurt or in trouble, and worst of all she gets too lost in the mania to care…”
--- Kiyama Karina

The Queen’s Subjects
“I wonder what it’s like. To be forever followed by shadows of a past you wish you could leave behind like that. It can’t be fun…”

“They still look like she did before the treatment, but all grown up. A look into a different life, almost. As much as she claims they’re nothing like her though, they do share a strong resemblance; like fraternal twins, you can tell the same genes are all in there, just… differently shaped. Same eyes, same hair, just worn differently; theirs is a lot shorter so it manages to hang in real curls rather than waves like hers, no blonde streak either, that’s for her, not them. They’re a little taller than her, maybe 6’1 or so, but aren’t that imposing about it, not like Kaori and his height; they’re pretty androgynous overall to be honest. I guess that helps a little for her.

They don’t get to dress up as fancy as she does either, they’re all about utility; black cargo’s, but like, fitted ones, and dark athletic shirts, each with a different shape from the Kiyama crest embroidered onto them, for our benefit, no doubt, not hers. She can probably tell them apart naturally after all. I once asked her why she doesn’t let them dress up as nice as she does, she joked about how expensive it would be to maintain a proper wardrobe for so many bodies, so just buys cheap stuff in batches when she can. But truthfully, I feel like she just doesn’t like them. Weird as that sounds, but, I don’t know, you can’t help but get that impression sometimes.
--- Academy Classmate


Nindo; "Way of the Ninja": "Be true to yourselves... can't rely on anyone else to be."


Clan/Bloodline: Kiyama

Primary Archetype: Kiyama Monarch
Special: This archetype may only be taken as a primary. It is required to have the Mind of the Monarch and provides stage one of the bloodline for free.
Primary: Any
Secondary: Any
Tertiary: Any
Stat Merit: +1 Power, +1 Control, +1 Willpower
Stat Flaw: -2 Strength, -1 Tactics


Secondary Archetype: Human Battery
Stat Merit: +2 to Reserves, +1 to Power
Stat Flaw: -1 to Strength, -1 to Speed, -1 to Willpower


-----------------------------------

Statistics

Primary: Chakra

Power: 1 + 1[KM] + 1[HB] + 21 + 6[AP] = 30
Control: 1 + 1[KM] + 23 + 3[AP] = 28
Reserves: 1 + 1[KM] + 2[HB] + 16 + 6[AP] = 26
60 Pool used

Secondary: Mental

Intelligence: 1 + 16 + 3[AP] = 20
Tactics: 1 - 1[KM] + 17 = 17
Willpower: 1 - 1[HB] + 16 +6[AP] = 22
49 Pool used

Tertiary: Physical

Strength: 1 - 2[KM] - 1[HB] + 14 + 7[AP]= 19 + 20[RVS]
Speed: 1 - 1[HB] + 15 + 15[AP] = 30 + 25[RVS]
Stamina: 1 + 10 + 15[AP] = 26
39 Pool used


--------------------------------------------------


Jutsu and Techniques:

Mind of the Monarch

[Free] Stage 1
Requirements: Kiyama Monarch Archetype
[1] Stage 2
Requirements: Power 8, Control 8, Reserves 6
[2] Stage 3
Requirements: Power 17, Control 16, Reserves 16, Willpower 15

Metal Ninjutsu/Swaps

Stage 1

[3] Gold: Forge
Requirements: Intelligence 3, Reserves 3

Stage 2

[4] Gold: Moths
Requirements: Intelligence 6, Tactics 5, Control 5
[Aesthetic note: the moths in Misami's case appear as ornate butterflies]

Stage 3

[5] Gold: Kintsugi
Replacing: Open Slot
Requirements: Intelligence 10, Tactics 10, Reserves 8


Metal: Shape
Requirements: Intelligence 8, Tactics 6, Willpower 8

Stage 4

Gold: God's Hand
Requirements: Intelligence 14, Tactics 13, Willpower 11, Control 10

Stage 5

Metal: Saw
Requirements: Power 18, Control 17, Reserves 17, Tactics 14

Paths of the Shrine Maiden: E - Black Miko

Stage 1


[6] Kurai Geijutsu - Dark Arts
Requirements: 2 Control, 2 Intelligence

Stage 2

[7] Shinpo Genkaku: Kuki no Me - Hex Illusion: Stalking Eye
Requirements: 5 Control, 4 Power, 4 Reserves

Stage 3

[8] Shinpo Genkaku: Yami no Kankeki - Hex Illusion: Bolt of Darkness
Requirements: 8 Control, 8 Power, 6 Reserves

Stage 4

[9] Onajimi - Familiar
Requirements: 12 Control, 11 Power, 10 Reserves, 12 Willpower

Stage 5

Oni no Shiyounin - Ogre Servant
Requirements: Familiar - 21 Control, 20 Power, 19 Reserves, 17 Willpower, 15 Intelligence

Stage 6

Shinpo Ofuda Gijutsu: Dainashi Unmei - Hex Seal Technique: Spoiled Fates
Requirements: 21 Control, 20 Power, 19 Reserves, 17 Willpower, 15 Intelligence

Razor Vine Sword

[10][11] Stage 5
Requirements: Speed 25 Stamina 19 Strength 12 Control 16
Stage Bonuses: +25 Speed, +20 Strength


Stone Force Jewels: Black/Swaps


Stage 1

[12] Activate Jewel
Requirements: Force Jewel (Any Color); Control 2, Intellligence 2

[13] Shadow Spine
Requirement: Black Jewel; Control 3, Willpower 2

Stage 2


[14] Jewel Symposium
Replacing: Jewel Explosion
Requirements: Control 6, Power 6, Tactics 4


Stage 3

[15] Infectious reach
Replacing: Jewel Flashbang
Requirements: Tactics 8, Intelligence 6, Willpower 8


Stage 4

Stream of Shards
Requirement: Control 12, Power 11, Reserves 10, Tactics 12

Stage 5

River of Shards
Requirement: Control 17, Power 16, Reserves 16, Tactics 15

Stage 6

Vermin’s Flight
Replacing:Empty Slot
Requirements: 26 Control, 25 Power, 24 Reserves, 19 Willpower, 17 Intelligence


Those Lacking Opacity

Stage 1

[16] Bougyou - Sabotage
Requirements: Control 4, Power 4

Stage 2

[17] Doujutsu: Senrigan (Eye Technique: All-Seeing Eye)
Requirements: Intelligence 5, Tactics 4, Willpower 4

Stage 3

[18] Kagetegakari no Jutsu (Shadow Trace)
Requirements: Intelligence 9, Tactics 9, Power 7

Stage 4

Kiseisaku no Jutsu (Spirit Diminish)
Requirements: Control 14, Power 13, Reserves 11, Tactics 10

Stage 5

Minokosu Ippozenshin (Unseen Step)
Requirements: Intelligence 17, Tactics 16, Willpower 16, Control 15

Jigen no Tobira (Dimension Door)
Requirements: Intelligence 18, Tactics 17, Willpower 17, Power 14

Global Ninjutsu/Swaps

Stage 1

Henge - Prescription Grade
Replacing: Henge no Jutsu
Requirements: Control 3, Intelligence 2


Oath Seal
Replacing: Open Slot
Requirements: Intelligence 4, Tactics 4


Stage 2

Divine Right: Imitator to the Throne
Replacing: Open Slot
Requirements: Power 7, Control 7, Intelligence 6


Stage 3

Perfect Memory
Replacing: Open Slot
Requirements: Power 10, Control 10, Willpower 8


Stage 4

Tenkuu Hokou no Gyou (The Art of Walking on Air)
Requirements: Power 15, Control 15, Reserves 13, Intelligence 14

Stage 5

Chidori (Thousand Birds)
Requirements: Intelligence 18, Tactics 17, Willpower 17, Control 14

Stage 6

Divine Right: Heir Apparent
Replacing: Kage Bunshin no Jutsu
Requirements: Power 21, Control 20, Reserves 19, Intelligence 17, Tactics 15


Inventory:
Crystaline-Skin
Sitting hidden beneath the skin, this is a layer of precious metal and liquid crystal similar to her Force-Jewel that act to protect her body as well as any suit of armour could, leaving no point of her body exposed. The parts of it that protect her head also enhance some of her natural senses, giving her several forms of enhanced vision, including the ability to sense other Force Gems, as well as granting her the ability to breathe freely anywhere. The subdermal crystal can also multiply allowing it to repair itself, and to expand its thickness up to two inches for even stronger protection; though doing this causes it to emerge from within and become visible above her skin. In this state Masami's is Black Crystal with gold metallic accents, while her subjects have the same in silver.
Implanted [1] + Full Body Armor [Body Armor - 2, Limb Amour (Arm) - 1, Limb Armour (Leg) - 1, Helmet - 1] + Breathing Apperatus [1] + Extrasensory: X-ray vision [2] + Extrasensory: Force Gems [2], Zoom [1] + Elemental [1] + Repair [1] = 14

Shooting Star
Generally stored inside of Masami's Force Jewel, this ranged weapon is a marvel of Iwa Shinobi engineering. A large, coilspring-model, scoped Arbalest at its base, with a Razor Vine Spear strapped along its length to act as a makeshift bayonet; and if the weapon wasn't massive enough to begin with, it also has the ability to double its size or length in emergencies, and will . Both the weapon and its ammunition, usually loaded by built in summoning tag, share a myriad of special abilities for any occaision; able to generate smoke or light - continuously or in debilitating flashes -, explosions of varying magnitude, the ability to go partially or completely translucent, and to repair any wear and tear it suffers, and to teleport back to the user with a thought. By far its most strange ability though, is the fact the blade portion can be detatched and transformed with chakra into a peice of ammunition to be fired from the weapon itself...
Hidden [1] + Base weapon [RV Spear - 5, Arbalest - 4] Zoom [1] + Extending [2] + Glow [1] + Flashbang [Kit] + Smoke Bomb [Kit] + Explosive Pouch [Kit] + Explosive Tag [Kit] + Obscured [2] + Repair [1] + Recall [2] + Morph(Ammo) [1] = [b]20/2 [Legacy][/i]

Item Points Remaining: 0/24 [Two stat points sacrificed, 3TP used, 3AP used]

-----------------------------------------

Biography

“Masami was… a troubled child, plagued with questions about herself and who she really was. It's not that unusual of a situation in our family; when you’re born looking at an identical copy of yourself it's hard not to ask questions about what really makes you, you. I suppose though, that’s why we didn’t initially recognise her own quest for a sense of identity as being somewhat different in nature. However, we did eventually begin to see signs that something unusual was going on, although we'd not find out exactly what was causing it for many years. She would hide in dark places, or go out to play after sunset, she even cut out the shape of stars into the curtains of her room so that as the sun rose it would project a facsimile of the night for her to continue hiding in. We thought it simply quaint at first until her subject let slip in a moment of weakness that she enjoyed the darkness so because it meant she didn’t have to look at herselves.

And not long after, we noticed the bruises. She’d send her subject down for breakfast and their arms, sides, sometimes more, would be black and blue; then we’d follow it back to her room to find her nursing her own arms, free from any marks, but feeling all the pain her subject was in. It shocked us to learn that she’d been hurting her own subjects, and by proxy herself, to take out this frustration with her inability to understand herself, or her place in the world. We realised this was bigger than we knew how to deal with, we had to find her help. We took her to see the clan elders, hoping they had some insight we lacked; and while they certainly had their suspicions as to what the issue might have been, they were unable to help directly. What she needed in their judgement was not a solution, but guidance to help her come to the answer on her own terms.”
--- Masami’s Father

“Her parents came to us for help, members of our shrine had assisted the Kiyama before, and our history of offering both physical and mental aid was well known across the land. Masami herself however, was far too timid and unsure of herself to feel comfortable venturing out all the way to the shrine to see us; thankfully though, one of our number, since retired to start a family, lived close enough that she could take some time each day to see the child. With an impartial ear and some help from the Kami, it wasn’t too long before sense started returning to the poor child’s world, and she began to understand herself as she was meant to. Not to say it was a quick process, of course; it took over a year before she could see the signs for herself, and much longer still before she understood what they meant. But had she not been given the safety and guidance that we and her family tried to provide, she may have been left to suffer for much, much longer. As time passed, her concern turned less from questions about herself, and to questions of what it meant for her, and her family once they found out.”
--- Reibai Priestess - Iwakagure Shrine

“The poor girl had gotten it into her head, that somehow by being herself that she wouldn’t be a true Kiyama, or worse would bring shame upon us in some way. Hah, nonsense; nothing could have been further from the truth. There is something that all Kiyama learn as they find themselves, the truth of our clan, if you will; what separates us from our subjects? Standing alongside them, identical in every way, to every test one might care to conjure up, what makes a King? Well naturally if all the bodies are the same it must be what's inside that matters of course! Our heart, soul, the legacy of Sadao; it is not some physical thing, even if that is how it is expressed, but a personal truth. They do call it the mind of the Monarch after all. The bodies, King’s and subjects, are merely shells, tools, for our will. And there is no shame whatsoever in wanting what is outside, to reflect the truth of what is inside; in fact, I’d say such a desire is what makes a True s-Child of the family.

But of course, that’s all very well to say, or even to be told. However it is the nature of personal truths that they must be discovered and accepted oneself before they really mean something; even the reassurance and elation we offered when she finally came to us and opened her heart, provided only temporary salve to the doubts plaguing her. And yes, there was elation; I remember the day well, she stood there, nervous, holding the hand of the Miko that had been guiding her on one side, and her own subjects hand on the other for moral support. Of course we were shocked by the announcement, but we were happy, finally we knew, we understood what had been troubling her, we could truly help at last; we could see in our future a day when our Masami would smile again. If she could have felt all the emotion in the room as we did I think she would have never doubted herself again in her whole life; but it was as I said, what she needed to allow her to truly believe would have to come from within, not from us. The day did however provide her with something valuable she had been lacking before, or perhaps, thought she lacked; our specific blessing to take matters into hand, and see where this path would lead her.”
--- Kiyama Kuro - Masami’s Grandfather

“Of course I was told about Masami, with her permission of course, before she was assigned to my team. It helps to know these kinds of things if you can, to know what each student will need to really help them develop not just as a shinobi, but as a person as well; and, in cases like hers, to be aware of any potential incidents that may hurt them, so they can be diffused before they happen. She’d learned the techniques she needed in private with the medical shinobi in the break before her final year at the academy, not long I think after finally talking with her family; but, as graduation approached, over a year later, she had yet to go through with actually using them. It was her shyness really, that held her back; she hated being anywhere close to the centre of attention, and felt that surrounded day to day by so many people would cause too many questions to be asked, too many awkward conversations she’d rather avoid, and so she waited. Her plan was to finally take the plunge in the empty weeks between graduation and first assignment. Even though she was waiting, her teachers did notice a change in her however; for years she’d been an average student, her mind elsewhere, only going through the motions of being in the academy. She hadn’t made many friends either, most of the other children thought she was quite distant, disinterested even; it wasn’t true, of course, they simply didn’t quite understand how Kiyama worked. Just because she herself was staring out the window, or listening to music, didn’t mean that she wasn’t listening to everything they were saying through her subjects ears. All that had changed in the final year though, finally having a goal, a date, to work toward had done wonders for her; she worked harder, she even gained the confidence talk directly to people instead of through her proxy, and she even went to those parties Sudao was throwing that the teachers pretended not to know about.

And then came the day I met her. She’d spent the weeks since graduation recovering from the lengthy treatment, and truth be told we’d had to postpone that first meeting just to give her enough time but I doubt the boy’s had minded having an extra few free days. I could see it had been all worth it though when she arrived, a bashful smile on her face as she introduced herselves for the first time. She was nervous, and it showed, but there was an air about her I don’t think she’d ever had before, an ease in her step that came from finally feeling like you were at home in your own skin. There would be good days, and bad for her in that regard as time went on, but I’ll always cherish how much hope I saw in her eyes that first day. As for the boys, I had slightly worried how they might react, but they were good kids at heart and the whole thing passed without incident; Sudao I think was too busy caught up in his own problems to even realise what he was seeing, and Kaori, well, I’m not sure he quite got it, but knew that it was important, and very personal, to her so supported her quietly.

Despite being so different, and some initial reluctance on their parts, the three of them made quite the team; the girl with the golden touch, the boy with the silver tongue, and the bronze Adonis. I know people tend to give me a lot of credit for making such an unusual trio grow to be almost inseparable, but I don’t think that’s fair to them; I can only work with what I’m given after all, a lot, if not most, of it has to come from the three of them. They may have never quite fit anywhere else, but they fitted together perfectly; their strengths covered the other’s weaknesses, on and off of the battlefield. And so, a few years later, I’d had no hesitation when it came to recommending them for the chuunin examination, I thought for sure they’d all make it through, and they did... But it came with a great cost.

It’s not something that’s well known to younger shinobi, as knowing would defeat the purpose, but when it comes to the tournament stages of an exam, strings are pulled, placements shuffled, so that almost everyone will at some point end up facing someone they know. Its part of the test, a check of the genin’s resolve and character, what line’s they’ll cross and which that they won’t. And so, in the semifinals of the tournament, Masami and Sudao stood face to face across an arena as I watched with Kaori. The fight felt long, and brutal; each knew the other so well that they could either see each others attacks coming so clearly as to avoid them completely, or predict a defence so well as to bypass it entirely and strike deep into the other. In the end, what decided a winner was not skill, but drive; Sudao had done well, held his own while essentially outnumbered three to one, something any shinobi could be proud of. That was never going to be enough for him though, it never was, his need to win was greater than Masami’s could ever be, and he did the unthinkable. In one swift attack he cut down one of her subjects, the one that had been with her as long as she could remember, with lethal force. She screamed, even Kaori screamed protests down to the arena on her behalf, but it was too late. Her subjects lay on the floor, one in pieces, the other having collapsed from the feedback it had felt from the act, and Masami? She was dragging herself to her feet even as Sudao was approaching to put an end to the match for good, the look in her eyes was something I’d never seen before; I can only imagine what it must be like to feel the agony of death and then have to live with it after. She raised her bow with the last of her strength, hands shaking from shock, pain, maybe rage, and fired; she missed, the bolt passing Sudao’s cheek by a hair’s breadth as he grabbed her by the same outstretched arm and dragged her under the ground with him. I’ll be forever grateful that she couldn’t steady her aim in that last moment, she was aiming to kill, to return the favour to Sudao… It’s something no Sensei ever wants to see, their students, who had been like family, willing to kill each other like that, and the one death had already been more than enough…

Still, at least they passed, right?”
--- Hiroko - Team Sensei

“Oh yes, I remember those three. A lot of good men wouldn’t be alive right now if it wasn’t for them. Honestly, didn’t think too much of them when they showed up; usually guard duty for the convoys is given almost as punishment. Our trade routes were all so well fortified anyway that no one would usually dare attack any, especially so close to the city, so shinobi basically were there to sit and be bored. Didn’t learn till later why they’d really been sent there; apparently there had been some incident with their promotion and they’d fallen out, their sensei was having one last ditch attempt at fixing things, give them something so quiet they had no choice but to talk out their problems; boy did that not work. The three of them spent most their time at opposite ends of the patrol area. The tall one, blonde, tried every so often to talk to the shorter one, but got rebuffed each time, meanwhile the girl would just look longingly in their direction like she wished the blonde would try and talk to her too. No such luck. If nothing had happened that day I’d have probably written the three off as some of the most ornery and useless shinobi I’d seen get stuck with that duty in a long while. ‘Course something did happen that day, didn’t it?

Mining’s not the safest job in the world, we all know that going in; still, with proper planning and precaution things tend not to go wrong too often. When they do though, woo-, do they go wrong spectacularly. Supports were buckling, whole sections of the shaft system were threatening to be cut off; we were doing our best to get everyone out, but that’s a lot of folk to get through a tight set of passages. It was the blonde who noticed it first I think, tall lad with an eye for people, he saw the commotion around the mine entrance and called his team over to take a look see. We weren’t expecting them to come over, we damn sure weren’t expecting them to pick up the pace and charge in as they worked out what was going on. They didn’t have to help, its not why they were there, and heck it was technically abandoning their post to do it; not to mention a lot of us didn’t have too much faith in shinobi caring about the little guy, even before that damned quake that gave them purchase, the rumours and whispers had been circling quietly. But damn, I was pretty chuffed to be proven wrong that day, I’ll tell you.

Gotta say, all three were pretty damned good at what they did, and even allowing for the embellishments the men add to the tale every time they get drunk and retell it, some impressive stuff went down. You’d never guess they’d been on the outs with each other just minutes before; calling back and forth and working together damn near seamlessly to get people out, least till the paths all branched and they had to go their separate ways. But you wanted to know about the girl’s efforts specifically, right? She was quick, let me tell you, any time you took your eye off her she’d moved another 20 metres, it was like she was jumping from shadow to shadow, shooting those glowing bolts of hers in the walls to light the path back up to the exit as she went. ‘Bout two thirds of the way down into the shaft though she hit a snag, whole section of shaft had been blocked off by rubble, and a whole bunch of people stuck behind it in a panic. There was a small gap, of sorts, lithe girl like her managed just about to squeeze through it to get to the miners, so long as she didn’t mind too much about getting scratched by all the jagged edges as she did. Big burly men that’d been working hard labour and bulking up for many a year though? They ain’t had no chance.

Sad to say, even though she was there to help, the men were not too kind to her. Panic does that to a person, but some of the things said had no excuse; they wanted her to swim them through the rocks, or teleport them all in a big puff of smoke, things they said a real ninja should know how to do. Didn’t crack her nerve though, she stayed there, put up with the smack talk, calmed their nerves, reassured them, promised them they’d get out alive. Weren’t long before she had them sitting swapping stories, distracting themselves, passing the time till rescue. She never lost hope, never let them lose it neither. ‘Course, turns out she knew something they didn’t; she had two brothers it seemed, could talk to them in her head or something, cos for all the long hours they were in there the brothers were following the trail of lights she’d left, moving rocks and making spaces all by her instruction till finally just a small scraping could be heard from inside the confines of the blocked cavern, and the offending rubble was blasted away filling the air with dust. An’ when it cleared, the girl was standing by the cleared passage, the twins waiting the other side; and she just looked back at all the miners with smile and said two words. “You coming?”

They did not need asking twice. She lead them all out, she took the front and the twins took the middle and back and they made sure every single man that had been down in that section got back to the surface. I tell you the look on the rescue teams faces as they appeared. Poor guys had still been planning and preparing their own trip down there. The blonde boy, he’d already been back a while with his own rescued men, jumped with glee, shouting that he’d known she was ok, and tried unsuccessfully to get the other to crack a smile or something. The three of them, not so much the twins as they tended to keep a distance and just kinda be stoic scenery, embraced and for a short second you’d have thought maybe their sensei’s plan had worked. It was only a short second though; they backed off, remembering whatever it was that had driven them apart, and if anything the brief reminder of how things had once been had just made how things were now hurt even worse and they went back to standing far apart, only with a shade more sorrow in their eyes.

Still, even if it hadn’t healed whatever was eating them, they’d done good by us. Showed they were good shinobi, but more than that good kids, with good hearts. Well, that short one could be a bit of a -, but overall good kids. Like I said, they hadn’t any obligation to help us, but they had. Bunch of us, we thought that deserved something. You know? Now, we don’t really have any say as such, in who gets what wares we dig up here, but we can sometimes bend the ear of those who do; this was before all the gems got scarce, you see, and they were held in pretty high esteem by all the shinobi, so next time they were considering who was and wasn’t worthy, maybe remember these kids all did good. And you know what, they did just that. The big lad ended up with a yellow, the other with a blue, and the girl? Well, you know, if I were a betting man I’d have put a years wages on her ending up with a white gem; everyone I ever spoke to said the same things about her: shy, quiet, kind, gentle, thoughtful… she’d have been a shoe in for white by anyone's measure. But, some dark thoughts inside of her, I don’t know if they were doubts or fears she had for herself; or pain, sadness, even anger or something like that regarding whatever had driven such a huge wedge between her and her friends. Whatever it was, the black gem, the worst gem grabbed onto it and took root.

If only we’d known. If only she weren’t so damned quiet, she’d told someone, opened up about the pain she was in instead of bottling it up, we could have waited till she’d gotten past it before putting her on that damned table and letting it get its hooks into her. The poor girl, the… things that come from the black gems, they’re just wrong. Lead people into dark places, and she was so young too… Just, damnit all to hell. She’d deserved better.
--- Coal City Foreman. Now retired

“Oh yes, that little trinket they put in was certainly a source of great trouble for the young girl. While her old friends soared, Masami was left to stumble. They say the black jewels are insane, but very few truly understand what that means; insanity isn’t always obvious maniacal laughter and rabid antics like it is in the stories. No, true insanity in insidious, subtle, hidden until it’s far too late. All it takes is the right doubt placed there, an inhibition removed here, and you can turn a whole person’s world upside-down, ruin a life. Fear grows into paranoia, recklessness pretends to be confidence. You end up alone, a danger to yourself, and having pushed away anyone who could have helped you. That is what insanity is, and that is what had begun to take root in the girl’s mind. Still, she was a bright one, she could see how her work, her life, was slipping, spiralling out of her control. She didn’t understand why, of course, not yet, but she knew that something was going wrong inside of her. She returned to the Miko she’d seen so many years before, her friends mother I believe, the one who had helped her come to terms with her childhood struggles; she wanted to believe that there was a chance she could be helped again. Regrettably, she was unable to provide any assistance herself, it was a complex matter needing the resources of the shrine itself, and besides; she had just taken on a secret student, one who certainly wouldn’t have provided any solace to Masami if she’d seen him. She did at least make the time to escort the girl to the temple and explain to the sitting priestess what was wrong. I wonder if she would have guessed that when she next saw the girl, she’d be a witch.

Yes, you heard correctly; a witch, or black Miko if you prefer. I sensed her toiling at the shrine and even though I technically was barred from entering at the time, rules aren’t exactly something we’re known for following, I sought her out and offered my services. Why? Why, it’s simple, the girl was clearly struggling against a demon. And understanding demons is what we do. That’s right, a demon. Its ignorance, and a dose of human arrogance to assume that because the avatars take the form of a human that they must therefore be of humans. Mysterious beings, granting power, linked to a specific talisman of sorts; they fit the very definition of small gods and Kami. And a dark figure intent on harm, mischief, or malice, features obscured and with a known thirst for blood? I know demons, and that, my friend, is a demon. A twisted, tortured Kami from whom all nobility has long since been ripped. So why then, did I intervene instead of letting the priestess do what it is they do: bind, seal, or destroy the creature? That should be obvious, even to those who don’t follow the path, the devil and the girl were inextricably linked by the ceremony that had taken place. You couldn’t harm one without doing so the other. No, what you need in cases like that, is common ground, a way to align the demons intentions toward your own; a deal if you will. And trust me, you don’t send a saint to make a deal with a devil. So yes, I taught the girl what she needed, not to sweep the devil under the rug, but to control it and to live with it.

Do I regret it? How foolish, of course not. Do I feel bad for putting her on a path that has such a negative reputation, not at all. Our reputation, though well earned, is no be all or end all. Things are not always so, heh, black or white. Good and evil, darkness and light, these things are not always linked as we think we are. You think love is good and hatred evil; what of the murderer who strikes because of a love for destruction, or the public servant who changes laws because they hate injustice. Which of them is good, and which is evil? In her case, darkness had always been her friend; it had kept her safe, both from danger on the battlefield, and from her own insecurity and fear when she had been but a small child. And now too, the darkness they'd forced inside of her could also be a friend, if she let it. But that wasn't all; on top of Keiseki, the spirit of the jewel, she learned to commune with other dark Kami, conjure spirits and familiars of her own. And in doing so resolved a problem she didn't even realise she'd had. She was lonely

I know, it sounds ridiculous, a Kiyama lonely. And I don't just mean she missed her friends, even if she didn't dare admit it, instead her loneliness was more profound, more personal than that. Her subjects had been feeling less and less part of herself the more she and they had grown; she had quite liked her first subject, the one that had been cut down, as she'd had it her whole life. To her it was ok that that one looked how it did, as it came from a time before; but every new one that grew from her felt like a betrayal, a reminder of things past, some sort of very false statement about what she was inside. Oh and how she'd grown to resent them, she'd still use them certainly, but there was no care involved, no connection. They were they, and she was she. But as she learned the dark arts, learned to bond, sympathise, and find rapport with things that anyone else would dismiss as abhorrent, she too began to find it within herself to mend bridges with those parts of herself that she had felt so strongly about as well. Of course, such an issue is not solved overnight and it may be years still before she really learns to accept them, but the process had at least begun.

Her life was in her own hands again, if nothing else"
--- Anonymous Black Miko

“We’d had an eye on Masami for quite a while. Sure, there had been a time when people were questioning whether it had been right to promote her at the same time as her peers, but after she took that sabbatical to sort herself out, damn was she worth keeping a lookout for. Her timing was equal parts fortuitous and completely terrible though; while she’d been taking time out to deal with whatever was messing her up, the whole country had gone to shit. The earthquake had stolen a whole city from us, and worse stolen the heart of the people; they didn’t turn to us anymore, they had someone else to turn to now, and damn were their new protectors bloody good at what they did. Which is where the fortuitous part of her timing comes in; so she’d missed the start of the uprising, big whoop, in a way we’d all missed it in one way or another, that was kind of the problem. But when she came back, rapidly making up the ground she’d lost compared to her peers with all that unorthodox training she’d done… As much as some people were now wary of all gem users, and heck I can’t blame them, it was good to have ones our side willing to hit the front lines and stand up as both a defender, and statement, against the rebellions own.

As for why we’d been watching her in particular, compared to the myriad other gem shinobi we had out there, well she’d been showing a knack for skills we like to cultivate in our potential recruits. The girl was like a bomb; if you could get her in a place unnoticed, and she was damn good at that, she could go on to create one hell of a deadly commotion, and then be gone like she’d never even existed. Plus, the idea of dropping a single agent into a hot-zone, and in doing so have a whole dedicated strike team land there, and I mean a real team not just one hit wonders like a bunshin squad’d be, not to mention all the monsters and shit she could conjure up along side her other selves; damn, it was a tantalising prospect. Still, she wasn’t quite our grade yet, or at least not in a way that had been proved. Sure, she could get in and out quietly, but she sure made a ruckus when was finally where she needed to be; our work also involves a fair amount of subtlety, you gotta know how to get the job done as silently as possible as well. She had the mindset for it, that we could tell, just wasn’t getting much of a chance to prove she could walk the walk as well, while on the front lines. Someone in command had a good feeling though, so we had her taken off the front for a little behind the scenes work as a test. Let her show us what she could do, and if she could play by other rules.

We laid out what we needed done, made sure to emphasise the nature of how we wanted it handled, without saying how it should be handled, if you catch my drift. The point was to see if she’d recognise what we needed, and so she was getting a lot of operational freedom in how she wanted to set up the job. She surprised me though, first thing she did after the brief was over; she sat quiet, contemplating her options, looked around the room at a lot of experienced vets, recognised her own inexperience by comparison and asked for advice. Sounds small, maybe even counter-intuitive when you’re being tested for your own ability, not that she knew she was, but I respected it. I’ll take a shinobi able to recognise their depth and take advice, over a headstrong kid who’ll rush in anyway and wing it; so I gave her some extra knowledge I’d picked up in my time, nothing that would ruin the evaluation, mind, just a couple lessons we usually have to learn the hard way. And her plan itself, damn that was a left field move. Never would have come up with it myself, but then again I don’t have access to the resources she has at her disposal. This was as the height of the gem problem, damn it feels good to say that. The height. Was a time when we thought it was going to keep escalating for an age more before things turned around, being past that now is a blessing. Anyway, so we’d gotten intel on one of the mooks who had been running jewels for those arseholes, we wanted everything he knew, and we wanted him out the picture. He was a weak link in the chain, something we’d been looking for for a long while, his reputation for being a bit of a Lothario, and his inability to resist taking what wasn’t his, meant he drew a little more attention as he moved than their other marks, and we had a time limited fix on where he was going to be.

She moved in and made contact with him at a particularly seedy establishment he liked to frequent. Well, I say she moved in, but like I said, she’d gone with a particularly novel approach. Her subjects made the initial contact, posing like they were the chief brains of a Kiyama, interested in acquiring our mark’s product because of the rumours about what it could do for those even without the ability to shape chakra. The subject acting as faux-king pretended to represent a subset of Kiyama that wanted to see if that ability of the pure gems would extend to being able to power up their normally powerless subjects. The mark was interested in the deal of course, a bunch of fully powered up Kiyama owing the rebels their gratitude would certainly be a pleasing thing to bring back to his boss; but what most interested him about the deal was Masami. While she’d been directing her subjects to act as their own little group, she’d tagged along all done and dressed up to act like… well, is weird to say, but as her own girlfriend. And the target, well after a few of the right suggestions and hidden intentions, certainly couldn’t resist the idea of being able to satisfy both his vices at once, womanising and taking something, someone, valuable from someone else.

He kept working with her faux-king, but night after night he dedicated his time to trying to win Masami herself; she played the game well though, never quite giving in until he finally slipped up and in a bid to impress let on just a little too much. After that it was just a matter of pulling on the loose thread to learn the rest; who was his main contact, how was he moving the gems, where was he headed next, she got it all. And when she was done she convinced him to send his guards away, told them where to find the king they’d been doing business with to take care of them in case they got ‘angry’ at what she implied was going to happen next, the prize the target had been working for. Of course, he never got so lucky. Soon as she was alone with him, he was done. His mooks arrived to find all her subjects waiting and poised for the supposed ambush and were mown down by a storm of bolts before they could turn back and run. Not long after, Masami reunited with her subjects, having disposed of any evidence at her previous crime scene, and set them to work doing the same with theirs as she, well… She’ll forgive me for tarnishing her dignity here I hope, but while she herself went and was violently sick in the bathroom. I’m not sure what had disgusted her more, having to have gotten so close to such a slime-ball and humour him up until the very last moment, or the fact she’d had to act like she was them instead of herself. It’s not something I quite got, but that had been hard for her, very hard, in a way most folk just couldn’t wrap their head around. Still, job done, pretty elegantly too. She clearly had the capacity to think and work like us in the shadows as well as to be as deadly as we need to be in the light. I had a couple of lingering doubts from a few of the details I’d observed while evaluating her performance from afar, that was, till I heard a clearing of a throat behind me. One of her subjects. Damn girl must have had one shadow-step to my vantage point while I was so focused watching her; They just looked at me with a shrug, and said “You could have stepped in to help at any time, you know.” Heh, she’d known I was around for a while it seemed, but still hadn’t let it change or distract her from the mission. Yeah, she was rough around the edges, sure, but she was one of us.

It’s just too bad though that despite it all going so well on her part, that eventually that trail eventually lead to a dead end. A team was sent to where the guys contacts were said to meet, and the info was good, they were there. Just there was also one of those damn Gem monsters, one of the Lieutenants of the uprising. Squad we sent did not make it back, and they’d moved it from that locale before we could amass the kind of force needed to handle it properly. She was always kinda sad she’d not been allowed to go with them, felt it was her responsibility to do it since she got the intel, and maybe felt just a little too responsible for the deaths of those who’d acted on it. Agents are always a bit too sympathetic when they’re still green… But as fate would have it, seems now the wars simmering down she’s had a second chance. We got wind of an operation in the regular divisions to hunt down some of the leftover Lieutenants, sending a bunch of gem’s of our own to take them down. We got her name added to that initiative, with two main directives to follow while she’s there; one, report back to us on how it all goes down; and two, make sure to get everyone involved out of there if and when it becomes necessary to do so, no matter what it takes. Lost so many good people to those bastards, not gonna lose any more if we can help it.

Now, I can’t tell you yet how it all went down for them. Folk’s upstairs are still deciding how much of the story we want to disseminate to the rank and file, but I can tell you this; oh man did those three earn their promotions that day. Damn, girl."
--- [Redacted] SNS Agent


Other Info:
-Gem Name: Keiseki [Meaning: Black Fluorite]
-Scent: Passion Fruit + Vanilla
-[Tai Savant Used]
-[Unlimited AP Breaker] - 61 Stats, 21 Jutsu, 3 Item


Thread Ratings
Party ROCKers - 6 inv points

Last edited by Bass; 05-12-2018 at 05:45 PM.. Reason: I can't grammar. Or Tag. Or spell. Or Math
Bass is offline