Blood Letter's Mark awakening
He was lost to the static of his mind, a jumble of disconnected thoughts and emotions that he knew were there just below the surface. In his current mindset, however, he couldn't feel them even if he tried. Only the barest echo of what should have been, but nothing that could hinder his ability to carry out the job he had been given. The Daimyo is the enemy.
The simple phrase held so much meeting for so little words, but that was the case with everything that Inoshi said. Whether it was to him or someone else. So many diverse meanings laced through the carefully chosen words that were so painfully vague. It was like trying to claw your way in to a bamboo box to the medical supplies it held. You could sit there and stare at it, knowing you were bleeding to death from the wounds his words gave you and that inside was your salvation. All that was needed to be done was to self inflict pain on yourself by prying the box open. What was a little more pain in comparison to dying? Falling prey to Inoshi had much the same effect, even if it was not a true death per say.
He would know by the account of having almost done just that during their second meeting. The red headed man had almost caved in the face of the poisonous snake of a man as he wore the skin of a wolf. Something he had thought himself more then capable handling, but had underestimated what taking a bite from it meant. Some twisted thread of fate had tied him to the blond to such an extreme he was willing to die for him. How had this all started? Yes, he was desperate for a true person. So long a loner with only the single duty to protect. Having cut down his self declared charge had left him with a hole in his soul that had not been able to be filled...until the day he came looking for a new purpose. Instead of that purpose having been to destroy the man who killed his last known relative whom he had never met, it had become his sole goal to thrive at his side. To be his sword or shield, it did not matter. This particular task Inoshi had set upon him was the ultimate test of his loyalty. Would he really die for this toxic man? The answer, seeing as he was running headfirst in to battle without a second thought, was yes.The most important part is that you stay safe, Akki-san.
Words played through his head, so contradictory to the man's actions. Even as he was within sensing range of the small caravan of people, he could not escape the image of the blond haired man standing before him. Those emotions sliding across the perfection of his face. It had made him reluctant to leave at first, then he realized he had to do this. As if I can say no.
He slowed his run until he was lightly trotting through the dense trees, the mist clinging to his shoulder in thin wisps like you would see from the surface of a lake in the early morning. Except it was fast approaching mid afternoon and the mist was almost burnt out. If he had not grown accustomed to the air in his time here, he would have been panting with the effort of so much physical action in the humid air for so long. Even in the standard issue special ops clothing he wore, clinging to every defined muscle and curve, was not enough to cause him to break out in a sweat. The mask he wore was also a standard besides the peculiar fangs added just below the line of the cat's mouth.
He slid soundlessly behind a tree, pressing his back up against it as he stared down the beaten path to the small group. Golden eyes staring out through the mask with cold intent. Akahari opened up that part of his mind, like loosening a fist made around a water hose, and let that sensor side of his brain see the scene. It was less 'see' as it was 'feel'. He could feel the colors of their auras pulsating from their skin, the many different elements that made them unique and the same as everyone else. In total there were 6 shinobi, all strong but not immensely so. All below him, lesser beings that his gaze flicked over until he came to the center of the caravan. This color was not so bright, in fact it hurt to look at it like squinting through the dark to read small text. It lacked the colors of elements, there was little to no flow, and the shades of the person's emotions swam in a dull color similar to grey. These colors were not true colors, they were not names, but sensations that were made easiest by envisioning them as such. He had found the Daimyo.
A breeze whispered through the trees, their branches swaying and restless as if with the anticipation as he crouched low to the ground. If one were to be looking at him head on, surely they would mistake him for a lion with such instinctual killing intent muted in those striking golden eyes. More beast then man, but yet a smart predator. It was just so easy to pinpoint the weakest light of the group, a young man near the back who walked with a small lean as if he hadn't always worn brightly colored clothing or had a shiny badge pinned to his chest proving him a noble guard. There was a distracted tilt to his head as he scanned to woods to his left, as if his heart just wasn't in it. They would have been walking for hours and being in the back of the line seemed to have made him restless and bored. Being closest to Akahari and in the very back of the guard line up had signed his warrant as the first.
He shone with an off-yellowish light, but that was it. Hindered by only having Raiton, what did he use to make up for it? Could he have gained his rank through a fluke? The red head did not intend to let him live long enough for him to find that out. He creeped up through the shrubbery and trees, grabbing up a small rock as he went, and waiting until he was going slightly faster then the boy. The rock rolled from his palm and in to the road until it bumped in to the dark red fabric of the man's shoe. Curious, he followed the direction of the assaulting object, but Akahari had taken cover off to the side of the bush he had thrown it from. The tangle of thorns and half dead wild roses was just enough to work with. A few words to his comrades and he was off to investigate alone. Without looking he could feel the man coming closer until he had worked through the small gap next to his tree. A small ray of light glinted off a kunai held tensely in the hand of the predator as it's prey came through and the vines fell back in to place as if to hide the event about to unfold from the light of the sun peeking through the clouds. This was a deed best done in the shadows anyway.
The last mistake the young man would ever make would have been not looking right before he looked left. Akahari slid behind him effortlessly, clamping a hand down over his mouth and pressing it in to his body as he ran the blade across the soft line of his throat. The hot, coppery scent assaulted his senses as he pulled the man to his knees as his breath escaped in a watery hiss. The kunai was temporarily discarded as the momentarily free hand held him to the ground. His thrashing made the process take moments instead of minutes, but the whole thing was silent. Like the murder of a mute. Assassinations had never been his strong suite, but he did not want to have to fight them all at once. Thinning out the crowd was his first priority, and the stupidly ignorant guards had not even waited for their comrade to check if the coast was clear before moving on. As he wiped his hands on the cooling body's clothing, he mentally searched for the other chakras he had scoped out earlier. None were even curious as to where the 6th member had wandered off to. It seemed he had picked the least favored of the group, or they were just that confident in his ability to handle himself. If that was the case, this would go rather quickly.
Retrieving the dirtied kunai, the man continued to followed the caravan. It was as he had caught up to them that the partner to the one he had just dispatched looked around curiously and called something to the others. They spoke for a moment before they all went quiet, and the man shouted, "Hanabi?
" No response. The dead don't talk. The man was now walking back down the path, his blue eyes glancing right over Akahari's hiding place. He was smarter, older, but too old for a shinobi. His hair was a black that had so much white dotting it that it was like someone had dumped bleach on him. Why would there be such an old person guarding the Daimyo? Let alone, such a young person that was dispatched so easily. Something was off here. Too late to think about it, the man had stopped at the treeline but pushed in with ease. He was a few feet from him, such a small distance and so easily crossed.
And then he was just there, upon the older man in the same fashion as the first. This one put up more of a fight and his blade missed it's mark in the struggle and tore a line across the bigger man's collar bone as he tried to turn and face him. No, too late for that. Akahari took him by the wrists and pulled them behind his back so high that the man's front was pushed down towards the ground. He forced his knee in to the center of his back so hard that it sent them both to the ground. A dull cracking sound seemed to echo off the trees as he released the man, grabbed one of the man's own slender blade from his belt, and sent it at an upward angle in to the back of his head. The weakly struggling man went still and moved no more.
Two down, but the other four would have heard the struggling. Indeed they did, and there were shouts and the scuff of feet against the packed earth of the road. The blade would take too long to remove, so he pushed himself off the body and retreated back in to the trees. He had been empty for the first contact, and even most of the second, but now there was something creeping at the edge of his conscious. Some feeling like being bitten by fire ants, a heat and itch that if left alone would grow to the point it drove him insane. His fingers twitched, and he had a moment to look down and realize that his grey vest was stained a murky brown color, barely able to see it's original coloring except in a few choice places. Pale skin his arm just above the murky brown painted defensive fabric stained a dazzling red that made him blink in confusion for a moment. Didn't he wipe the blood from the first man off? The second hadn't bled this much. It wasn't a logical spray pattern. Almost absently, he peeled the sleeves from his arms and let them drop to the ground.
The red had stained through to the skin underneath, and now there was a fine line of tingling running up his spine and over his skull. What was going on? Though no one would give him the time to contemplate this. Two guards were suddenly upon him, brandishing weak looking weapons that made him only blink. One swung from the left side, but he slapped the back of his hand against the flat of it so hard that the short sword flew from his grasp and stuck in to a tree nearby. There was a dazzled expression on his fast as the red head grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him in as if for a hug. It was clear though that he would instead be a shield. The second man was in his downward swing, unable to keep up with the heightened speed with which his comrade was placed before him. It was as if the world stood still as he completed the blow. Then the world exploded in a mist of red light and copper.
Sometime during watching the play of light off the blood, the man had lost his mind for a moment. It slipped out of his reach, and he was just moving. Hadn't he once told Inoshi taijutsu was mostly muscle memory? He could follow his own movements, but he didn't have to to know it was the right steps to music that played in his head. Some tune that was sweet and harsh, rapid yet slow to build to it's climax. The second man was down before he could ponder over the exact rhythm he moved to. More crimson rain fell from the sky, and he stepped in to a world of light. The road? It didn't matter where. He could see the cracks in the fabricated wall in his mind, an extension that had always been clouded over before. Out of reach, he had never had an interest in it before. Now though, red light shone through the cracks, and felt himself reach a hand deep in to the fragmented wall and pull with everything he had. The wall exploded in his hands, and hot light shone over him....only no, it wasn't light.
It was blood. He was standing in it, covered in it. It rolled in fat droplets down his bare arms, over his face. Where had the mask gone? As if answering his question, his head moved of it's own accord and his eyes fixated on the shards scattered on the ground. One such shard was not in the ground per say, but stuck an inch deep in to the skull of a Kirigakure ANBU. Through the blood and thicker things he he tell it was a woman, small in stature with her clothing torn from the wounds crisscrossing her like a failed checker board. He knew her. Wasn't he supposed to apologize to her the next time he saw her? Her single good eye stared utterly black and sightless at the sky. Another ANBU was laying broken a few feet away. Or, at least from the scraps of clothing clinging to the body and the vague shape of the pieces he deduced it being a male special ops ninja. He had murdered his comrades in cold blood, no time spent to mourn what might have been or what was lost.
No. No, these were not his people. They were Inoshi's
. Something had felt wrong from the moment he laid eyes on the group, and now he was realizing what that was. There was at least one other body laying on the ground. A woman dressed in noble men's clothing, or had been until Akahari had it torn it apart while doing the same to her. She was not royal, and the Daimyo was no female. This entire group was a decoy, and they had all paid the price their superiors had meant them to. Even the red head, as he fell to his knees in a cooling puddle of thick liquid, knew he had been played the fool. The twitch in his fingers, the red substance clinging to his skin, and the crimson haze at the farthest edges of his vision. Somehow, he just knew. Inoshi had planned him to murder these people, to put his life at risk to kill them, when they were just a decoy.
A pulse of pain shot through his body, starting at the ends of his messy hair to his toes. A burning line of agony that left him shivering and moaning with his head held in his hands. Such a terrible feeling, as if his body was going to suddenly pull itself apart from the inside. Starting with his mind. He tasted blood in his mouth, a fresh wave to the fading copper taste. It was like fire ants bit along his skin, and as his vision unfocused and refocused he could see the red forming patterns on his skin. They made no sense to him, letters with no shape or form of recognition, but they said things to him. They spoke without words. The substance seemed to bubble forth from his skin in a hot new wave of agony. All of his pale skin was being covered until only red remained, and he watched it trail up his arms and under the cloth of his outfit. Frantically tearing at it, he uttered distressed and slightly hysterical sounds that were caught between a sound like a laugh and a cry. Somewhere between these he managed to scream a name.