0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart.   Posted by GM.Group: 0
Storyteller
 GM, 479 posts
Tue 18 Nov 2014
at 08:33
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
The expression of bewilderment on the earth woman's part turned to faint recognition, but even then she did not seem to understand every word Masumi said. If she did not speak the universal tongue either, then she was either from very far north or it had never been deemed important enough to teach her.

She frowned in concentration, but after a minute she shook her head, giving him a hopeless look. Since leaving her caravan she likely hadn't understood a word of what was going on around her.


While the earth country woman remained at a loss, the girl focused her eyes on Masumi's lips and listened carefully. It took a little effort, but she seemed to follow what he was saying.

"Your accent's good. The caravan only passed through today. They should still be in Maqart in the morning, shouldn't they? If you can find them, won't they take her back? It shouldn't take me long to find my brothers."


As if on cue their sensei returned, stalking through the dark and leaning across to pat the horses neck. Maduvanthi jumped - she had not seen him.

"We are not being followed," he announced in low tones. "How are the women?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:59, Tue 18 Nov 2014.

Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 390 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Mon 24 Nov 2014
at 13:41
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"Healthy enough," Masumi replied to his teacher, switching back to Sunan as he glanced at his teacher's approach.

"It seems they were left behind.  The older woman doesn't speak any language I know--not even Japanese.  If your Earth land language is any better than mine, perhaps you'll have more luck, Allamah."

Rising from his crouch, he straightened and took a few paces toward Arash.  It seems they were both separated from their caravans, but they were headed to Maqart.  If they arrive there in the morning, chances are good that they should be able to reunite with their escorts.  It might slow our pace slightly, but I would suggest we at least see them safely there since we have stepped in already.  Leaving them on their own is potentially dangerous.  We are headed their direction anyway."

This message was last edited by the GM at 15:21, Mon 24 Nov 2014.

Arash Asbahura
 NPC Sunagakure, 59 posts
 Jounin
 Suna
Thu 27 Nov 2014
at 12:40
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
Arash fixed both women with his trademark stern and stoic stare. The Earth woman glanced down demurely while the Govadstani girl impudently waved her fingers at him.

"We camp here. No fire. When we reach Maqart you will both need to take care of yourselves. There is an inn under the sign of a red half moon. You can trust the owner to look after you."
GM
 GM, 480 posts
Thu 27 Nov 2014
at 12:43
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"Red half moon. Got it." She gave the jounin half a bow and smiled at Masumi. "Who knew dudaenn could be so polite?"


Artapana stuck into the job of laying out camp straight away. He didn't do too badly, but he had a habit of putting things down and then forgetting where exactly he'd put them. Arash said nothing and watched the night in silence. The Earth woman continued to sit quietly, offering shy smiles to Masumi but otherwise keeping out of everyone's way.
Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 393 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Mon 5 Jan 2015
at 22:43
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
Leaving the two women to take care of themselves once they arrived at Maqart was something that did not sit quite well with Masumi, but he was aware that he was in no position to question Arash's instructions to their new charges.  Maqart could be a dangerous place, and the four of them alone would have a hard enough time taking care of themselves.  Still, what was the point of his training and strength if he could not use it to protect those who needed it right before his eyes?  How many times before he had become dudaenn did he wish he had the strength to fend off caravan raiders when he was traveling between villages in search of goods for his family's establishment?  What made them any different than the people in caravans who would sell off their own to continue their journey unmolested if he and the other shinobi left the two women to fend for themselves once they reached Maqart?  While he could not risk the other members of his team, he made an internal promise to check on the two women personally when they all arrived in Maqart just to make sure that nothing happened to them.  He was the only one who needed to be at risk for his own personal decisions.

Shifting his hazel gaze from his teacher to the two women, he returned the smile with one of his own that quirked upward into a crooked, boyish grin.  "Hey, we're people, too, you know," he teased the woman before he turned to Artapana to help him set up the camp.  He knew his teammate didn't have the same kind of experience setting up camps while traveling that he did, so he worked wordlessly, only pointing out things to help when it seemed like Artapana was struggling with something.  The last thing he wanted to do was inadvertently make his teammate feel like Masumi was lording over him with the experience he had.
GM
 GM, 498 posts
Tue 6 Jan 2015
at 16:27
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
The girl with the red dye in her hair gave him a knowing smile - like the kind Maduvanthi gave him when she knew he was up to mischief - and tapped her forehead where his village band would be if wore it properly.

Artapana didn't thank Masumi for helping him, but at least the Asbahura boy was capable of co-operating. If it had been Yahiro someone would have ended up on their rear with sand in their face.


It was decided that the girls would share one tent and the boys the other. Allamah-Arash put the three genin on two hour watches with Maduvanthi last and Masumi in the middle. That worked out with Arash not taking a watch. When Maduvanthi pointed that out he answered with his trademark silence.
Artapana Asbahura
 Sunagakure, 164 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Tue 6 Jan 2015
at 16:27
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
Artapana woke Masumi for his watch by flicking droplets of water onto his face. He crouched quietly by his team mate's side and took a sip from the flask after Masumi woke.

"It's cold out there."
Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 394 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Tue 6 Jan 2015
at 18:22
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
Half-expecting Artapana to react badly to being helped, Masumi was pleasantly surprised when his teammate was able to cooperate with him.  Perhaps the crimson-haired boy had grown accustomed to the idea that other male Genin would react to his efforts the same way Yahiro had acted when they had first met.  Cooperative effort and task completion was like a breath of fresh air to him.  Stopping for a moment to think about it, he was struck by a single, unnerving thought.  How long had he been training that the thought of something like cooperation between two people (a concept that was a normal occurrence in his regular life with his father as a civilian) had become such a foreign idea?  Had he become so indoctrinated into the way of a dudaenn that he had begun to think of such things as normal?  Silently, he resolved to keep a close eye on himself in this matter.  He never wanted to become a dudaenn that made bad decisions due to groupthink.  His mind was one of his better assets, so it would be a shame if he let the shinobi world influence him so easily.  It was thoughts like this that haunted him before he shut his eyes to sleep.

Feeling the flecks of water on his face, Masumi started awake.  Water?  In a desert?  Where had it come from?  What was it doing here?  The sleep fog that caused these thoughts dissipated in a few seconds as he came to his senses.  Reaching up with both hands, he wiped the water droplets into his face to help scrub it awake as he sat upright.  Leaning forward into a crouch, he smoothed out his long, loose t-shirt.  Even though they were traveling in a desert and should expect a certain amount of dishevelment, the young Genin disliked creases in his clothing.  It made him wish he was still back home in bed where he would have woken up in less clothing.  And clothing with the express purpose of sleeping at that.

"Temperatures in deserts can drop below freezing," Masumi replied, taking a cue to the appropriate voice volume from his teammate.  "Try to conserve body heat if you can.  It's terrible to be hot in the daytime, but it's even worse to be cold at night.  See anything out there worth mentioning?"  The last question was asked with a quirked eyebrow.  The crimson-haired boy was more awake than he was expecting to be considering how little sleep he had actually attained, but it was only the first or second night of such.  He could stand that much and still manage a certain level of alertness.  However, if they had too many more nights like this, he knew his focus would suffer as a result.

This message was last edited by the player at 18:23, Tue 06 Jan 2015.

Artapana Asbahura
 Sunagakure, 165 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Wed 7 Jan 2015
at 11:59
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
Artapana hesitated then nodded at Masumi's wise pronouncements. He already knew them to be true and had only thought to warn the red-head of night's creeping fingers, but he made a note not to do it again. He didn't want either of his team mates to mistake him for being ignorant.

"There's-" The genin paused to find and arrange the right words. It was important to phrase things the right way when Masumi was listening. "Nothing of note has happened. The girl is still awake though."
Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 395 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 19:07
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"Still?" the crimson-haired boy replied to his teammate with a puzzled expression.  That was something worth investigating when he went on watch.  Resting a hand behind Artapana's shoulder, Masumi smiled at his teammate warmly.  "Good job," he said, his hazel eyes shadowed due to the darkness around them.  "Get some sleep.  You've earned it.  We still have a long way to go."

Sitting up, he rose to his knees before leaning back to come to rest on the balls of his feet in a crouch.  Pushing off the ground, he rose to his feet silently.  Letting his arm drop from Artapana's shoulder, Masumi slipped through the crack that sufficed for the exit to the tent and out into the chill desert night air.  Raising his left hand to his hair, he pulled out the braid with his spread fingers, letting his hair loose to be played with in the breeze.  Slowly, he began to reweave it with his long, supple fingers as he walked across the camp to where the girl still was awake, making sure to keep his senses alert to his surroundings.  The braiding of his hair was something he did so often that it was a task running in the background of his mind.  Still, he did it slowly and methodically--a task that was of some comfort in such a foreign situation.
GM
 GM, 522 posts
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 19:20
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
The Govadistani girl lay in the sand, blanket pulled around her shoulders as she stared into the tapestry of stars above. The desert sang a different song at night, teasing winds a little quieter as heat bled from the earth below.

She hardly reacted to Masumi getting up.
Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 396 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 19:28
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
Sitting next to her, Masumi kept his hands busy by idly continuing to braid his hair.  The sand protested silently as he sat, the grains running over the folds of his pants as they parted for the lower half of his body.

"Are you not tired?" he whispered to the girl alongside him as he let his hazel eyes follow her gaze to the heavens above.  "After your ordeal today, you should probably rest.  We will watch over you.  There isn't anything to fear at the moment."

The odds of the bandits coming after them were altogether very low.  After all, if they were going to attack them before, they would have attacked while they could see their targets.  Attacking dudaenn in the dark was utter foolishness.  While Masumi himself could see fairly well at the moment in the night, most dudaenn could not.  However, they were not in the business of correcting hearsay.  After all, it could likely save the life of another of their kind one day.  No bandit would be foolish enough to try to surprise a person reputed to be trained for surprising others.
GM
 GM, 523 posts
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 19:49
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"Fear?" She sighed. "My aunt told me once that you can read history from the stars. She said each cluster was a story, of dudaenn and mebarez, of great heroes and great deeds, looking down on the world. If I ever get lost, I'm supposed to look up.

Do they tell stories like that in the Village Hidden in the Sand?"

Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 397 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 20:07
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
Masumi nodded in response.  "There are more than a few," he replied softly, remembering the stories passed around in his family's establishment.  The thought brought the memories of delicious scents of the kitchen followed by a pang of homesickness.  Letting the feeling linger with its sweet pain for a few moments, Masumi squelched it before continuing.  "Becoming a dudaenn is a great honor in our village in part because of the great deeds of those who have come before us.  Though, sometimes those stories serve a more practical purpose."

Smiling at the girl, the boy tied off his crimson hair and then laid his back against the ground to join the girl in looking up at the sky.  "For example, my parents often told me the same thing.  To look up at the sky if I got lost.  I eventually realized it's because the stars are consistent and can help guide us home.  In a way, our ancestors and heroes can guide us even to this day after they have long passed on."
GM
 GM, 524 posts
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 20:33
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"And is that what you think? Does looking at the stars help you find your way?"

The girl rolled onto her side, face only faintly lit by the faraway gleam of stars.

"My aunt said stupid things sometimes. The sky tells me nothing, except how small we are and how big the world is. She also said the night winds carried the voices of all the ghosts who starved in the desert unable to find their way home. Sometimes I can't tell which one is screaming: the wind or me."
Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 398 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 20:43
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"They've helped me find my way before," Masumi replied evenly.  It was impossible to travel the desert as a merchant without understanding the pathway they took.  Most people of that profession paid special attention to the charting of the stars unless they wished to get lost in the desert and die a long, painful death of dehydration and starvation.  To say nothing of the potential monetary loss.

The way the girl was talking about her aunt brought back memories of how he talked about his father.  It always seemed like Shahyare thought he knew everything, but often he just talked.  Maybe the "Old Man" was a bit wiser than Masumi gave him credit for.  Perhaps it was all a matter of perspective?  But, what the girl was saying didn't make much sense.  Which was screaming?

"Well, if your mouth isn't open, you can't be the one screaming, right?" he joked in reply with a charming grin.  What was he supposed to say to something like that?
GM
 GM, 525 posts
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 21:05
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
She smiled and reached up to shake sand out of her hair.

"You're kind of cute. What it is like? Being part of a ninja village? The way people talk about it, it sounds like the scariest, coolest place. You all have these amazing skills and discipline, as though you could make anything happen."

This message was last edited by the GM at 21:11, Mon 30 Mar 2015.

Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 399 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Mon 30 Mar 2015
at 21:27
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"You're not too bad yourself," he replied with a wink, his grin still on his lips.

Folding his hands behind his head he broke eye contact to return to laying there looking at the stars.  Masumi let his mind drift to thoughts of home to better answer the girl's question.   After a few moments, he finally spoke.  "Most of the other dudaenn would probably tell you that it was normal to them because they grew up in the village, but I didn't grow up in a family of ninja.  In fact, my family runs a restaurant.  Because of that, I've traveled out of the village quite a bit to visit different places in order to procure goods.  I know what it's like in other places.  Dudaenn can be scary people, but at the end of the day, all people are just that.  People.  They still laugh and drink and fall in love."

Letting his words hang on the air for a few moments, he continued on.

"Honestly, being a dudaenn is supposed to be something honorable, but that probably means more to the ones that come from a lineage of them.  I can't eat honor, and I'd rather not wind up in a casket.  But, I view it as an experience that can broaden my horizons.  I didn't originally join up of my free will. I was kind of...roped into it."  Somewhat literally, too.  Hirkani practically hog-tied him and dragged him before the Kage in order to get him to join.

"But, while dudaenn do have skills and abilities that can do certain things, we are all human.  The ability to make anything happen is a human ability.  Not a dudaenn one."
GM
 GM, 526 posts
Tue 31 Mar 2015
at 10:32
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
She fell silent for a while, digesting his comment or studying him perhaps.

"Then you think ninja are just as weak as everyone else? It's a strange opinion. I can't imagine a simple miner rescuing a princess or defeating a chimera.

My brothers are always looking for work. Sometimes they find some, sometimes they don't, and it can be a long hard time between jobs. For everything they do and can do, there's a limit to what they can make happen. Sometimes they can't even get food for the table."


She sat up, giving another lingering stare to the stars.

"But this is a stupid conversation. Aren't we supposed to be talking about our favourite foods and books?"

She smiled "That girl with the gold eyes, is she your girlfriend?"
Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 400 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Sat 4 Apr 2015
at 15:30
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
It wasn't that Masumi believed ninja were as weak as everyone else, but that they were, in fact, as strong as everyone else.  Humans had whole realms of possibility open to them.  Even the actions of the weakest of them could have indirect effects that could topple regimes.  But, since his conversation partner wanted to drop the subject, the boy decided it best to let the moment pass and continue with her in a different conversational direction.  However, he wasn't expecting the turn it took.  Following her movements with his hazel eyes as she sat up, Masumi took a few moments to let the question linger.

"You mean Madu?" he asked softly, purposefully using the shortened, more endearing form of his teammate's name.  "No.  I don't really have a girlfriend per se."  His words were purposefully chosen.  It seemed their guest held some kind of interest in him, though he wasn't sure whether it was purely attraction or possibly to get him off guard.  The crimson-haired boy had been trained to give just enough information to give an affirmation or negative response without closing the door entirely.  The hook was there if the girl wanted to bite.  It made very little sense to reject her outright.  He had told most of the truth as well.  While he had no girlfriend, Masumi had brushed lips with a few girls both within and outside the walls of Govadistan.

Slowly raising himself into a half-seated position with his palms planted in the sand behind him to help him more easily lean back, he quirked an eyebrow at the girl with a smile playing across his lips.  "Why do you ask?"
GM
 GM, 530 posts
Fri 17 Apr 2015
at 11:58
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
The girl rolled onto her front, propping her chin on her hand and swing her foot about in the air.

"She's pretty. You keep checking where the other one is. Are you sure she isn't your girlfriend? Seems like someone as cute as you would have one."
Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 414 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Sat 11 Jul 2015
at 16:05
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
”Part of being a dudaenn is being part of a team,” the young Genin replied with a whisper.  ”So, each of us check on the others when we are awake.  Since we trust one another, we rely on each other to make sure nothing happens to us in our sleep.  While each of us is individually strong in certain fields, dudaenn are stronger when they are together.  We compensate for each other’s weaknesses to become a stronger whole.”

Seeing that she was shifting conversation back to Maduvanthi, Masumi laughed softly—a short, whispered laugh that came out with a small audible hiss.  Laughter always sounded so much different when its volume was restrained.  ”I suppose Madu is quite beautiful,” he replied objectively with a glance in his teammate’s direction.  ”However, I do tend to prefer to know more about the people that I end up dating.  In the time we have spent together, she hasn’t really opened up about herself even though she is quite an amicable person.  It is hard to date someone without knowing who they are, after all.  Otherwise, you are dating your impression of them rather than the person themselves.”

Masumi was purposefully leaving the door open for the girl to talk about herself.  If she was interested in him, he was subtly inferring that she should tell him more about herself if she wanted to become more intimate.  Perhaps the information she related to him would give him an idea of what to expect when they got to Maqart.  Or even what she was really doing out here.  There were too many variables.  Variables were things he really didn’t care for when he was out on a mission.  The mission was supposed to be simple, but ever since the bandits, the Genin had gotten a bad feeling that he couldn’t shake.  The only way to rectify it was to eliminate as many variables as possible to get an idea of the bigger picture.  Maybe he was worrying for nothing.  For the sake of his team, he certainly hoped he was.
GM
 GM, 592 posts
Tue 27 Oct 2015
at 11:48
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"There are some people who say a man can never really understand a woman. But then it's hard enough understanding any other person anyway. Some people don't even understand themselves all that much."

She yawned, covering her mouth and closing her eyes.

"I should get some sleep. Watch out for scorpions. They'll be attracted to the heat."



Maqart looked much as Masumi remembered it: a rough town of rock with the warehouse and gaping mine mouth at the far end of the main street. The sand gave way to hard earth and patchy dry grasses some kilometers back from the edge town. Perhaps in another decade the desert would swallow Maqart too.

The road was busy: swarming with messengers, couriers, and tradesmen passing through. But Maqart was no trade hub. Most of these people would spend no more than a night in town before taking off with their money. For now the mine was still profitable, but production had declined in recent years and now the overseer had started supplementing the income of the jewels and metal recovered with selling the stone dug out from the ground. It was like the stirrings of a cough and Maqart knew it would break down into racking wheezes eventually.

Almost the second they set foot in town, Ensi took her leave and the earth village woman by the hand. Pointing out a red moon shingle hanging around a corner, they traipsed off into the crowd.

Arash watched them go in silence, then sighed. "We'll have to talk to the governor to get access to the storehouse."

"Masumi! Oyamada Masumi!"

A familiar figure crossed the street to meet them.

"And the honoured Arash Asbahura, of course." Haruno Kia, Sunagakure's most unsuccessful merchant and tinker, wiped his brow and re-adjusted his wide-brimmed hat. The young man seemed to have the most peculiar luck: he rarely made a wise investment, but he always kept his head above water so-to-speak.

"What a thing to see you here. It's always a thing to see an Asbahura of course, but Masumi, it's good to see you doing well. Are you on a mission? I'm probably not supposed to ask that."
Oyamada Masumi
 Sunagakure, 453 posts
 Genin
 Suna
Fri 30 Oct 2015
at 15:38
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"Probably not," the crimson-haired shinobi replied to the tinker with a wry grin.  Extending his hand for a handshake, he chuckled.  "Though, I have to wonder what brings you all the way out here?  Doing some trade?  I've got a few things I could part with if you want to mark them up to sell out here, but you probably know as well as I do that most trade in Maqart has all but dried up, Haruno."  And if the general knowledge of a merchant wasn't enough, the physical appearance of the surroundings all but emphasized the point as well.  There really wasn't much profit to be made in the town, and what little people made had a risk of being all but stolen by the locals.  There were far more ideal spots to do business.

Masumi was being polite to another merchant as he had been taught (after all, word of mouth was the currency by which a merchant really did live or die), but he shot a look to Arash that was a clear signal that he needed saving.  Haruno had a tendency to talk one's ear off, and he was well aware that they didn't have the time for that at this point.  After what had happened with the bandits in the desert and escorting the women to Maqart, he knew their team was already likely exhausted and in need of even an hour of downtime.  Plus, if they needed to see the governor, they needed to be on their way.  Higher level officials had a tendency to get very upset when kept waiting in his experience.
GM
 GM, 609 posts
Sun 8 Nov 2015
at 19:48
Re: 0.5 | Mayhem at Maqart
"I thought I might see what I could pick up while I was out this way. Maqart has all kinds of treasures. I even found-"

"Kia." Arash grunted. "We're working."

"Of course. Please excuse me. It's a pleasant surprise to run into you. I hope you are successful, but then how could you not be?"

Haruno noticed Maduvanthi then and for a second it looked like he might head off on another tangent, but he gave his farewells and left the team to their mission.


The governor's house was easy to spot: it stood two storeys up on high ground. This was as much splendour set aside for the building when the builders were busy constructing a whole town.

Arash introduced the team to a servant at the door and Team Storm was led into the house. The governor met them in a neat room full of subtle signs of Maqart's decline. Most of the sparse decorations were removable and starting to show age.

"The dudaenn. Welcome. I am Governor Davi. I hope your trip was not too arduous?"

"There are thieves in the pass again."

"You didn't deal with them on your way through? I wouldn't have thought simple thugs would pose much of a challenge to ninja of Rejinnqeshlāq. No matter. It will be seen to.

Will you have some tea? The air here is full of rock dust."