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Old 05-21-2018, 11:41 PM   #1
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Default [Calamity] In Too Deep

In Too Deep

The library of the abbey was impressive both in scope and in design, the twisting circular hallway that seemed to go on and on in ways Ren couldn’t wrap his head around. Many of the shelves were too tall for even he to properly browse, and twisted into sub-compartments and miniature rooms all to themselves. As he walked with the steady plop of his heavy boots through the hallway, occasionally ducking under protruding furniture or overhanging shelves, he was bemused to see subjects and languages he couldn’t even start to comprehend stacked next to books that seemed to be purely elementary. The system here was atypical at best, an arcane sort of matters that were beyond the man himself.

Not that it took much. Literacy was, to put it gently, not one of Gushiken Ren’s strong points.

Most of his personal extracurricular studies had been illegally smuggled jutsu scrolls, which while they had their own ciphers and runes about them, had become familiar to someone steeped in the arcane arts of the shinobi. However, the books of the grand library were beyond him entirely. More than once, he started to pull a book off the shelf, tracing his finger on a leather spine, before grimacing when he realized he couldn’t make out the full title. Rolled scroll cases might be more his style – more familiar, anyway – but while he had seen some on his way in, he quickly became lost as he wandered the halls.

His effects had been stowed elsewhere, so he wandered in a simple white tunic and rich blue pants. He felt completely out of his element, not swinging a sword or kitted in gear, trying to understand the rituals and mysticism of the library. More than once he came across someone deep in study, and since he wasn’t sure how to phrase his question, he didn’t stop to ask for direction. Instead, he steadily plopped his way through, becoming more and more lost, on an errant quest for answers to malformed understanding.
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:50 AM   #2
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Shipori had left the oracle meeting early. He doubted that the oracles were willing or able to answer the questions he had, and his brief time in the chamber had shown everyone else's questions to not be worth his time. If anything truly earth-shattering was revealed, he trusted that Ryosuke had the sense to relay it to him – just as he would if their positions were reversed. Shipori stood outside the chamber with cane in both hands and watched the valley below for some time.

But, he had other matters to attend to.

He hobbled along through the wardens' nest. While he had done some preliminary research on the mountain and its shepherds, he suspected that the oracles kept actual useful information close at hand and far from the outside world. Shipori made his way to the library, where he hoped to find something helpful for the battles to come. He thought he might see Keiko as part of their quest to restore the blade and save the world, but he hadn't read up on her, given that he didn't know she existed until he arrived.

So, he perused the shelves for some time until he found something like what he wanted, a brief history of Bird Country. Shipori knew the unfortunate truth here, that Bird Country's history was primarily war and largely lost faster than it could be written down. But, he settled at a reading table with his chosen volume for now, and spread his journal up next to him so he could take some notes. He kept one hand settled in the pages of his notebook while the other turned the pages of the library's copy.

Some young shinobi wandered around looking lost. Shipori spoke without looking up.

Out for a stroll?
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Old 05-23-2018, 12:41 PM   #3
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Ren’s back suddenly straightened to his full height in a moment of startled shock as the man spoke. He was so caught up in wandering the library he hadn’t noticed that he had gotten into the man’s personal space, and – particularly since he was an older man – started to apologize, holding up a single hand parallel to the bridge of his nose in a quick gesture. Then recognition morphed his face into an embarrassed smile and he let out a soft ah-ha before grabbing the chair across from Shipori, spinning it around so he could lean his arms across the back rest.

Hey – you’re that rich dude bankrolling the operation. I’m Gushiken Ren, a swordsman from Kirigakure. I’ll be working for you during this whole end of the world nonsense.” He kept his voice low, respecting the rules of libraries, but his voice tilted onto excitement and wonder. “Did you have weird dreams, too? Alternate pasts and potential futures? Do you think these people’ve been runnin’ around drugging folks or something?

He let out a soft whistle. “Seriously, though, enough money to pay off a bunch of ninja. Normally a whole little town has to come together to afford mercenaries. What do you even do for money?

His face twisted into one of embarrassment and he held up a hand. “Sorry, I know better than most that’s a rude question. Listen, you’re obviously the scholarly type. You can read, anyway.

He gestured at the books in front of Shipori, then circled the air with his hand next to his head and offered a half-cocked grin, carefully filed shark’s teeth revealed behind his lips. “I’m not much of a reader. Kanji and that. Always have to use a reference. It would take me forever to pour through this stuff, yanno? Listen, listen - - I want to know more about the make up of this Calamity sword. There was some weird etchings on the diagram. That might be important, right? And these blacksmiths – someone had to make the thing the first time, but how? And who’s this guy that can restore it? What’s the special technique? There’s a lot of questions.

He rolled his eyes. “I know it's a chore, right? I can offer services, too. You're -- uh, with a cane, and all. I've got a strong swordarm and I'm pretty unparalleled at taking threats out. Normally, anyway.

He circled his hand in the air again. "Lots of really strong guys this time around. But I'm no slouch. You need muscle, you need spies, you need any of that, I'm your best bro. I just need a nerd--er, uh--a scholar. An intelligent type. Less smashy more --"

He pointed down at the books. "Can ya help me, dude?"
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Old 05-23-2018, 11:05 PM   #4
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Shipori looked up from his texts to look at Ren and make it obvious he was listening. Paying attention. The Mist nin was young, but he wasn't so young – not shockingly young, like some of the others the oracles had gathered to play hero. Still, he seemed excitable. Shipori wondered if perhaps he should show a bit more enthusiasm or wonder. While he sat and read about the exceedingly normal Bird Country and its history of nothing, he could be learning about Calamity Mountain and its mysterious oracular cult, an cataclysmic eclipse, lost swords and legends stirring back to life.

Aizawa Shipori.” He didn't wear any symbol of his village, and he had been born too early for the eighth note tattoos all the former Nomads bore. “I work with all manner of peculiarities and oddities in Iron Country – you could call me a general specialist. There's a lot of money to be hand in information. And, I'm a scholar in the unusual, so this,” Shipori waves a hand at the library and then down to the books, “is all very familiar.

Shipori drums his fingers in sequence over his chin. “I think you're right, the forging of the sword will be key to this whole puzzle. Whether the sword can be reforged back to its original strength, that seems like a bigger obstacle than finding a suitable wielder. I'm sure the oracles have some text about the history of the blade itself here...I was planning to visit Keiko, the woman the oracles here referred to as a witch.

He fans through the rest of the Bird Country volume and closes it. Shipori rests his hand on the cover as if he'd finished reading it, and his own journal continues to fill ink into pages in illegible notes.

I appreciate the offer, Ren-kun, I'm afraid I'm not much use in a fight, and I expect there to be plenty of them. If you'd like to come with me to see Keiko, I'd be glad for it. And if you could ask the librarian to track down anything about the witch herself, I'll thank you for not having to stand up again.” Shipori tapped his bad leg.
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Old 05-24-2018, 11:21 AM   #5
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Takeda Ryosuke wandered down to the library after most of the meeting was over. He didn't want to stick around too long, hearing from that shinobi from leaf was starting to give him a headache and he didn't exactly have time to wander around and find something to take care of that. Whiskey would do the trick, he was sure. No one liked it when their priest started drinking whiskey though.

He needed to look up any details he could find on the merchant and his family. The library would be useful, hopefully, but so far his cursory glances kept finding empty holes where books on his topic should have been. Someone else was already researching, which was impressive since only a few people left before him.

Ryosuke rounded a corner, and there at a table was the old man. He was talking to some ruffian looking guy, which probably means someone was imposing on him. That would just be Shipori's luck, he was already stuck in someone else's problem. Ryosuke smiled and walked over to their table.

"So this is where you're hiding," Ryosuke started with a jingle of his staff, "Mind if I join this little study session? It is a little hard to navigate this place."

He asked, but he didn't exactly wait for an answer. He pulled his robes aside and sat down in the nearest chair. He scanned the texts in front of them, it looked like they were mostly focused on Bird country, and some on artifacts. It made sense, that whole situation did sound like something Shipori would want to investigate. It sounded a little familiar, but not quite.

"Bird country, really looking to go after the witch?"

As much as the term offended some of their allies in this endeavor, it didn't bother Ryosuke any. He had been called worse, and if the only thing fellow priests were noticing about his energy was the taint of dark energy, then he was doing his job right.

"What about you, Mr. Smiley?" Ryosuke said to Ren.

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Old 05-24-2018, 03:36 PM   #6
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Ren. Gushiken Ren.

He smiled broadly at the newcomer, dirty jagged teeth and all, and extended a “clean” hand to the priest after carefully wiping it away on his pants leg. “I don’t care much about this witch or whoever, no offense. I wanna keep in good with the gods or whatever, but most I find, most people are just people. Her friend, though – a blacksmith capable of working with arcane bladeworks is something I’m hella interested in. If I can get what I need from him or discover his secrets for Kirigakure, this whole adventure will make me look real good, right?

There was a steady rhythm as he drummed his fingers against the tabletop in his excitement. “Saving the world and sealing fate and that is probably better suited for more, uh...pious men.

His drumming ceased as quickly as it started, tenting his fingers together in a way cuter than should be allowed for a six foot tall greasy man with filed teeth, and tilted his head slightly at Ryosuke. “Since you guys know each other, I’ll let you catch up while I go find this librarian. Can’t let the bossman here scramble too much on his bad leg, respectin’ elders and that.

With that, he made a show of remembering the landmarks of the studying table before disappearing around the corner back the way he had originally came - - a few moments later there was a clattering noise, books falling from their shelves, followed by a whispered swear and the frantic noises of a man desperately putting everything back into order. He poked his head back out to the two men with a soft salute, and started off again.
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Old 05-24-2018, 07:06 PM   #7
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Ryosuke let Ren have his full attention while he explained himself, shook his hand, and then watched with a straight face as he walked away into some other part of the library.

Then he lifted an eyebrow, and looked back at Shipori. That was something special, not that he hadn't met any people who were rough around the edges. He talked to them all the time when moving through less than reputable cities. But there was something about Ren that just seemed grimier than usual.

"You really know how to find friends," Ryosuke said as he pulled a random book over and cracked it to a random page, "Considering the motivations of the average shinobi, who you so graciously bankrolled, I can't imagine anyone who on your journey to Bird will have any ulterior motives."

He didn't know exactly what he was expecting out of Shipori, after everything. Still, he felt like they had a lot to talk about. The problem was how to breach the subject.

"And a bad leg? Really?" Ryosuke whispered as he leaned forward, "Though I guess it fits better on an old man, doesn't it?"

He sat up again, but his eyes stayed focus on Shipori. There was one thing he knew about the man, that he doubt would change no matter what the circumstances. He didn't do anything without getting something out of it for himself. Which meant that Shipori had some kind of plan.
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Old 05-24-2018, 07:32 PM   #8
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Ho?

Shipori gave Ryosuke that one note of mock confusion, his haughty impression of what it must be like to feel clueless. After everything and even faced with this new challenge, Shipori remained ever the same. He looked older than he ever had with Ryosuke, but he had the same still, perfect, crystallized soul. Shipori looked from the table to his leg and back to Ryosuke. After a glance over his shoulder to confirm that Ren had wandered away, he gave Ryosuke an uncharacteristic shrug.

The leg's not new, just a little worse. No reason to pretend to be young here, so why bother?

If Ryosuke had anything about him pinned correctly, Shipori rarely did anything without reason. A good reason, too, not charity or sympathy. His long masquerade as a child had come to an end, but the new guise had its benefits. Shipori lifted a hand to indicate the space where Ren had been standing just moments before. Both forms provided one advantage – the illusion of weakness. Shipori knew how to feign helplessness.

You look to be doing well, too, Ryosuke. Better than the last time we met, that's for sure.” People changed, that was their way. But not Shipori. “It'd be foolish to think that everyone who was called here is here because they want to do the right thing for its own sake. If I need to sell off some trinkets to make sure everyone plays their part, then I'll gladly lose the coin.

And buy his way into directing.

At any rate, the trip to Bird Country sounded the most fitting. I've had quite enough of fat merchants and pitched combat, and I think Keiko may be more able to answer some questions than the oracles here. I doubt the others would ask the right ones on their own.
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Old 05-25-2018, 10:47 PM   #9
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Ren appeared again, walking carefully under the weight of a stack of books and scrolls ever so slightly more than he should be able to handle on his own. Carefully and meticulously, he made his way back to the table and dropped the pile down with a single, solid thumping sound – expertly catching a few that fell of the top and placing them in a second, smaller pile.

Everything I could find about Bird Country, Golden Oracles, Magical Blacksmiths, and so on.” He explained, poking his head out from behind the pile. “I think this here’s like a miko Bingo Book, too - - “ He held up a scroll case that was clearly labeled as a list of blasphemers and idolizers. “But I can’t figure out how to open the case to make sure.

He sat back down on his reversed chair and hopped the whole thing over a few spaces closer to Ryosuke so he could see the two men despite the pile of books, and held up a small paperback volume that lacked the majesty of the rest of the items he had procured – it looked positively mundane compared to the leatherbound volumes, ofuda sealed cases, and heavy wooden chests containing scrips and curses. “Yo, they had the latest in that series about teens falling in love with supernatural beasts. By that lady in River Country, you know? This one –

He patted it against the table proudly. “This one got banned all over, especially in Water Country! She gets with a jinchuuriki. Apparently it gets real weird and real explicit. I’ve been looking forever for this! Librarian said it’s not hers and I can keep it.

A cackle and a growling guffaw all at once – “Their collection of information is a beautiful thing. If they have this volume here, I can’t imagine what good stuff is in this stack. Probably stuff you can’t find anywhere else.

Whoops, was he showing a sign of being clever there? As he gleefully flipped open his copy of Bite me, Curse me, Bakemono-san with the same reverence one would a religious text, probably not.
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Old 05-31-2018, 12:04 AM   #10
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Ryosuke smiled, of course Shipori had questions for someone like Keiko, it only made sense. That said, he couldn't help but be a little curious exactly what the two of them would discuss. It was a shame he would be far away from there at that point. Especially considering everything he had heard about the Siren shrine.

"I'm doing fine, though money doesn't flow quite as freely these days. That said, I might be able to rectify that while on this little venture. That is, if the shinobi that come along don't burn everything down to slag. They really seem enthusiastic about destruction at times."

He flipped through the books in front of him, looking at little factoids that Shipori had probably already gone over. It was all so weird, and he had to assume a powerful magic was at work. The power of sufficiently strong spirits was dangerous indeed, as they both knew, as did many others on the mountain.

"Still, you should be careful. I feel like many of the shinobi here are underestimating their cousins on the spiritual side of things. Many of the shinobi here have dabbled to a strong degree, and that woman from Sand is... powerful. This whole mess, and it is a mess, shouldn't be taken lightly."

Then Ren returned, and Ryosuke watched as he plopped down a pile of books in front of them. It was quite the find, considering he had trouble getting a lot of books for his own research. That was good work.

There was talk of a 'list of blasphemers', and Ryosuke ignored everything else coming out of Ren's mouth and grabbed the scroll for himself. It had an arcane lock, not something impossible for a shinobi to open, but it wasn't the usual set up. It was more similar to the ofuda sealing methods used by many Miko.

"Interesting," Ryosuke said to himself. It was quite possible he was on it, depending on when it was updated. Plus it was something to keep him busy while they continued to talk about golden oracles.
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