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++ Chapter 2: The Changing Wind

UserPost

3:30 pm
April 19, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

41
  The warmth of the day was slowly fading as the cool mountain breeze tumbled down from the green slopes to their east. Zakuro looked at the orange and pinkish painted sky that greeted the three men as the exited the farmers homestead back into the clearing which was home to many lean-tos an other makeshift shelters all circling the large center fire that was now blazing and dancing as the sun dipped below the western horizon, obscured by the forest that surrounded them.
  ” We have an old woman with us who can surely make you something to help with your bruising and the pain, I will have her prepare some for you while we eat. ” Adachi said as he motioned for them to join the group of thirty or so who were crowding around the fire, taking sticks with pieces of charred meat or whole fish from the flames.
  ”  We are honored ” Zakuro said with a bow before taking the smallest kabob he could find, he was unsure how often these people had meat, they appeared to be skilled hunters, but even then he did not want to presume.
Zakuro ate in silence, listening to the people of this camp talk of things they had seen in the mori. Demons, infected beasts, a fog that seemed to creep into low places and taint things. There appeared to be much the could learn from Adachi and his people after all, and he would be eager to do so. After the meal Adachi had brought Riku a bowl of thick smelly paste which he was to apply to his wounds with wrappings, after which he led them back to the lone prebuilt structure where they had met with Adachi before. Bedrolls had be made for them in the same room, Adachi claiming he would sleep under the stars that night. Zakuro thanked him and after allowing for enough time to pass he broke his silence.

  ”  The wind seems to have led us in the right direction, these people know far more about what is happening then I would have suspected. ” Zakuro spoke in a low tone to Riku through the dark. ”  Perhaps we can convince them to take us deeper into the forest so we can see what they speak of with our own eyes. ” He continued as he began to feel the weight of the day on him, tiredness starting to take over, his mind still wondering whether he could trust Adachi or not.
 

12:53 pm
April 22, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

42

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku bowed his head,
“You have my thanks.” Riku spoke in response to the offer of salve and with the pain accounted for, his stomach began to rumble as his next need was thought of, “As well as my stomach's.” Riku smiled as he watched Zakuro grab one of the smaller pieces of meat. The monk followed suit grabbing another of the smaller pieces and eating it with much thanks. 

The tales of what the band has seen troubled Riku greatly. The corruption was much worse than he had thought and seems to have taken a stronger hold in the surrounding area. He could only think that there must be a connection between it's strengthening and the assassination. Riku's eyes darted towards Zakuro as the stories continued trying to convey his worry. 

Riku took the salve, again with a thankfully nod, and applied to his wounds before following Adachi back to the structure where he now found two bedrolls made for them. Riku's weary body found comfort in the bedrolls as soon as he laid on them.
“We must see what they spoke about before for ourselves if we wish to bring nature back….I only hope word of the assassination doesn't find it's way here before they begin to trust us.” Riku allowed his words to hang as his mind drifted towards sleep.



 
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6:07 am
July 1, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

43
  A faint flicker of orange light drew Zakuro from the depths of the mori. He stood alone on the edge of the wood looking down the rolling grassy slopes that glided effortlessly towards Akita. The sky overhead he noticed was like morning twilight but the moon was draped in orange light and below him the city burned quietly in the still, windless, morning.

Zakuro's eyes shot open and instinctively he reached to his right where his blade had been laid before. Shadows of dancing flames moved across the far wall, cast through the small long horizontal window that let fresh air into the farm dwelling. There were suddenly screams from outside, and the smell of smoke drifting in. Zakuro shook off the visions and started to rise.
  ” Come Riku, it seems we will be having another restless night. ” Zakuro said calmly, sure that his friend had also been stirred from sleep. Zakuro moved through the sliding doorway into the main room of the house, the coals from the fireplace glowing and illuminating the way to the main door.

Zakuro slid the door open, wide and looked out onto the forest clearing that was now ablaze, the lean-tos of Adachi's people burning in the night. The outcasts were panicked and confused, but at the edge of the wood where they had emerged hours before he saw Adachi and two others shouting.
 ” It seems that we were followed. ” Zakuro said to Riku as he stepped from the doorway and started towards the the source.
 

6:22 pm
July 2, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

44

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku's eyes opened as Zakuro moved to grab his sword. The monk reached for the reassuring feel of his connection to the wind that moved around him and felt nothing. He scrambled to reach out with his awareness as his body moved to its feet. He could feel nothing beyond his own body, he felt blind and alone. Riku gripped his shakkou, a reassuring chill, to ground himself and watched Zakuro moved. Riku forced his body to move as to keep Zakuro in sight. His head moving all around trying to replicate his sense with just sight.
“There's Adachi.” Riku said more to himself than to Zakuro, the sight of those familiar was reassuring.



 
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7:33 pm
July 3, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

45
  Things around him seemed to move in slow motion as the people of Adachi's makeshift camp moved chaotically around their burning structures, attempting to fan the flames to no avail. Zakuro however had is eyes locked into the distance where the light of torches from Adachi and his two followers were moving quickly into the darkness of the mori.
  ” Yes, we need to follow him. This was an attack. ” Zakuro said as he started from the entrance of the dwelling, picking up his pace to a near run as he weaves through the camp towards the tree line. He slowed as he reached that threshold and looked back for Riku.  What does the wind tell you my friend? ” Zakuro asked as he felt the odd stillness coming from the woods.
 

8:29 am
July 5, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

46

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku nodded towards Zakuro as he forced himself to follow close by to him. The monk had never felt so disconnected for as long as he could remember. Rikue reminded himself that this feeling would be temporary and put himself to reestablishing a connection. His breathing slowed into a rythme, his hand tighted on the shakkou, and his presence began to extend into the space around him. The extension was no far, around six inches, but Riku felt determined to fight back against this stillness that was taking control.

His postured straightened with conviction as Zakuro looked back towards him,
“There is none.” With his own struggled assured, Riku looked beyond for any clues, “There is a presence stiffling the wind.” Riku waved the top of his shakkou around the area looking for a deviation in the void, “Over there!” Riku felt an abnormal stillness in uncomfortable quiet and pointed his shakkou towards it.



 
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8:22 pm
July 10, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

47
  Zakuro took in a long deep breath and released it calmly as he listened to Riku speak, already knowing what the answer to his question would be, but somehow hoping his intuition had been wrong. Zakuro let his eyes follow Riku's direction and it led inwards, though not in the direction that Adachi had gone with the others. The samurai looked into the darkness, feeling it drawing them towards it, into the depths of the mori.
  ” I guess we go towards the stillness. ” Zakuro said aloud after a few moments, now completely unaware of the fires and chaos that had engulfed the small encampment. “  Are you well enough to fight? If so, lead the way. ” He asked before taking his first step, knowing that Riku's wounds must still be sore, but also knowing that his friend would never back down in the face of this danger.
 


7:09 pm
July 11, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

48

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


With a nod, Riku took steps forward towards the stillness,
“Yes, salves and rest has healed much of the wounds.” A dull ache still permeated Riku's body, but it was bareable. Not enough that he would let it get in their way. Riku focused his senses towards his immediate surroundings while keep aware of any changes in the stagnant aura they approached. His personal aura attempted to extended further as he connected again to his surroundings, though as he grew closer he could feel the aura around him crushing against him. His aura reached back towards Zakuro. The connection to something familiar strengthened his resolve as his mind went blank to all other things except his immediate surroundings and the voice they moved towards.



 
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7:55 pm
July 12, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

49
  Zakuro was relieved to hear that Riku would be ready to do battle, because he knew there was something lurking just ahead of them through the tree line that would probably once agin require everything they had between the two of them to face. Stepping forward, he focused his mind and followed the stillness in the wind, moving around trees and over the rough landscape as quickly as he could toward whatever it was that drew them inwards. Ahead the stream they had initially been following to the camp carved it's way through a small clearing, even through the dark he could see via the moonlight the figures that stood before them. There were three of them, not hulking beasts like the thing they had faced the night before, but smaller, man sized, and with a flicker of sudden flame they all lit their arrows and brought them up to eye level.
  ” GET DOWN! ” Zakuro yelled to Riku as he let gravity swiftly pull him to the leafy ground below, hitting with a thud as a streak of flame arrows streaked over head. He had quick rolled on to his back, freeing his blade in a streak of gleaming firelight as he moved, ready to quickly regain his footing and plan their next move
 


5:05 pm
July 13, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

50

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku kept focus on his surroundings, keep his breathing as set pace and expanding his presence as he and Zakuro walked deeper into the forest. While he could feel his connection to his surroundings growing stronger, so did the force pushing back against it. His presence now extended roughly a foot around him, the air moving more freely around him and Zakuro. Due to this concentration, his eyes did not pick up on the assault until he felt Zakuro begin to drop to the ground. He moved instinctly with Zakuro's sudden movement as he noticed the flaming arrows shoot right over their heads. Following the path back from the arrow, Riku could make out the sight of three figures. The subtle breeze that flowed around them allowed Riku to think clearer as he looked towards Zakuro,
“Stick close as he move forward. I won't have much time to push the arrows, but I can throw them off their intended path.” Riku jumped to his feet and began running towards the figures looking for cover alone the way as he quickened the speed of the wind around them.



 
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5:23 pm
July 14, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

51
  Zakuro's blade gleamed in the firelight, the arrows having missed their targets but already started a small blaze behind them. The wind seemed to kick up all of a sudden and the flames danced higher, grabbing at everything they could. Riku had moved past him in a flash, surprising speed, as he moved towards the edge of the clearing trying to use the trees for cover. Zakuro's own eyes flickered with excitement when two of the archers bows moved away from him towards Riku. He was one on one now, much better odds. The arrows flew again, and with a flash of speed Zakuro had deflected his and then with equally swift movement of his feet he was on the archer, arcing his blade from the under hand upwards across the torso, cutting the foe down.
  ” We now have the advantage! ” Zakuro shouted again as he tried to find Riku at the periphery of the clearing, hoping he had been able to dodge the arrows fired at him.
 


11:39 am
July 15, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

52

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku lost the presence of Zakuro as he made his move to the trees, but had faith that his ally could hold his own. Riku left behind two swirls of wind that turned in his wake as he continued running. His eyes caught sight of the flames moving towards him. Riku accelerated the wind that moved around him. The wind caught one arrows sending it varing off safely away from him. Riku brought his shakkou around and smacked down to the ground just before he rounded behind a tree.
“When did we ever not?!” Riku shouted towards Zakuro. The two swirls of wind left behind formed into wind arrows and began to fly towards the archers, each taking a wind route. One to the left and one to the right. Both wind arrows arched in towards Riku's enemies, going for the archer opposite their original trajectory.



 
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6:26 pm
July 16, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

53
  Zakuro's eyes searched through the trees for Riku as he moved from trunk to trunk before going on the offensive with a retort of confidence. The samurai could feel the change around them as the wind seemed to swell to Riku and then with lightning quickness became a weapon aimed at the two remaining archers. Zakuro watched as the first of the archers was unable to react fast enough and was struck down with the pinpoint force of Riku's wind control and began to ready himself to go on the offensive again as he sensed the remaining archer moving laterally in a way to avoid Riku's attack. Zakuro had readied his blade and with an attempted lunge he found his attention suddenly diverted. Below on the ground the body of his slain foe had begun to dissolve into the fallen dead leaves around him. The smaurai was stunned as a dark ash puffed in a wave upwards and the corpse vanished in a haze.
  ” What is this?! ” Zakuro muttered in astonishment as he turned back towards the final archer whose arrow was already drawn and fired towards him, in a firey blaze.
 


7:24 pm
July 17, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

54

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku watched through the trees as he made his way towards the archers as saw one of the archers dropped while the other moved and was aiming in another direction. Riku saw the gleam of the fire off Zakuro's blade and could tell the archer had changed targets. The monk acted as could as he could summoning the fastest wind he could and sent it out wide in front of Zakuro between him and the archer. The wind was quick, but not with much force.
“Watch out.” Riku shouted hoping to at least extinguish the flame and alter the trajectory by a little.



 
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6:00 pm
July 18, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

55
  Time seemed to slow down as Zakuro watched the flaming arrow leave the archers bow, he felt Riku's push and did his best to also lunge to the right but the distance between himself and the archer was just too short and he felt the sting and burn of the arrow piercing his armor into his left shoulder. Zakuro stumbled backwards, holding the hilt of his blade tightly as his eyes shifted down to the shaft of the arrow protruding from his shoulder, the flames starting to jump to his clothing and armor. He shifted the blade to his left hand, the weight of it pulling it down to the ground with pain rushing through his arm as his right hand began to instinctively pat out the flame. WIth the fire extinguished the samurai's eyes had once again moved back to the archer who had readied another arrow and was preparing to fire.
  ” I've got to move. ” Zakuro said to himself as he leapt to his right, hoping he and acted fast enough to avoid another arrow.
 


7:29 pm
July 19, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

56

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku caught out the side of his eye the sight of a light, the flame on the arrow, move deeper into the forest until out leaving his sight. The distance between the archer and Zakuro was too short for Riku to assist, what he needed to do was stop the threat. Riku stopped behind a tree as he moved up and took a deep breath, gathering his energy. Murmuring a soft prayer to his kami, Riku summoned three swirls of wind that arched over his head. One over each shoulder and the last further above his head. Riku focused on the one above his head as it began to glow green with his energy. With conviction, Riku moved out from the cover of the tree and ran towards the archer. The three swirls converged on themsleves creating one bright green dart above his head and two clear over his shoulder. The green headed straight towards the archer with the ones on his shoulders went wide then arched towards the archer.


 
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2:21 pm
July 21, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

57
  The Samurai's eyes caught Riku's movement on the archer's flank, coming from the darkness of the tree line with a weapon made of wind itself. Zakuro let out a sigh of relief as the archer turned it's focus attempting to change targets but without the speed to do so, as Riku's projectile had already struck the archer down before he could do so. The arrow was still released and arced into the darkness where it's flame would surely spark more fire in the mori. Like the other archers the third quickly seemed to turn to ash at Riku's feet. The forest around them was now much darker but the light from the camp's fires illuminated the way back, Zakuro felt the arrow in his left shoulder, knowing it would need to be removed by someone other than himself, and the wound cleaned.
  ” We should get back to camp and help put out the fires. ” Zakuro said as he silently returned his blade to it's sheath, doing his best to ignore the burning pain in his shoulder as he started back for Adachi's camp.
 


6:36 pm
July 21, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

58

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku watched as the third archer dissolved away without a trace of where they came from. More assassins and still no clue of where they came from.
“Still no sign of who sent them.” Riku said as he walked towards Zakuro. “Stay still.” Said Riku as he examined the arrow wound. “The arrow's not too deep, but it's keeping the wound closed.” Riku gripped towards the base of the shaft and focused the wind around his other hand. The wind revolved around and around his hand, creating a sharp blade. Riku moved quickly and removed some of the excess shaft, keeping just enough to allow it to be removed later. Riku ripped a part of his shirt and began wrapping the should and securing the arrow so it wouldn't be easily dislodged. “This should hold it for now.” Riku turned back towards the mori and began heading back


 
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6:34 pm
July 22, 2021

dystopia
Admin

posts 82

59
  The was something about Zakuro as he stepped through the dark forest towards the burning campsite, his shoulder on fire itself even after Riku had done what he could to make it bearable until he could have the arrow extracted. His mind, it was focused on the archers, everything had happened so fast, they had seemed normal but clearly they were not. He couldn't place what it was about their form, but they had just evaporated into ash upon defeat. They were getting closer to something, he could feel it, and somehow Adachi was the key.
  ” Here they are! Quickly go get the old woman, she'll know what to do. ” Adachi's voice cut through the chaos that was still permeating the camp as Zakuro and Riku exited the tree line.
  ”  Old woman? ” Zakuro sensed something had changed, he looked over to Riku hoping he too had felt the shift in this place, whatever it was they were keeping from them seemed at hand now, if they played everything right. Without speaking Zakuro gave Riku a stern look that he knew he would recognize, they were about to meet the person that could show them the way.
 


6:38 pm
July 24, 2021

griff
Member

posts 75

60

Sengoku ~ Chapter 2  
  


Riku moved quickly alongside Zakuro as they moved through the forest. As they moved closer to the clearing, Riku could feel his awareness spread further and further away from him. His surroundings still pushed back against his presence, but the force was getting weaker or he was regaining his strength. Riku began to wonder if it was because due to his location in the forest or due to them killing those archers. His thoughts were cut short due to Adachi's words. 

Riku nodded in understanding to Zakuro's look,
“Let's get some answers.” Riku turned his eyes around the camp for any signs of the old woman. His eyes stopped on a hut. He felt no pushed back against his awareness coming from that direction, though it was too far for him to feel into it, “That hut.” Said Riku as he began moving through the camp.


 
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