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Posted: Jan 31 2016, 10:04 PM
Narasaki Village, Japan
Sunday, 2:30 p.m.
It was the night of the Plum Festival, a special night where the locals believed the spirits of their ancestors as well as the many benevolent spirits of the surrounding forest would visit them and bestow their thanks and blessings upon those who kept to the old ways and honored the long-standing traditions laid out before them, but mostly paid tribute to the forest and its life-giving presence. Indeed, the peoples of the Narasaki village maintained a deep, devout relationship with the land of their birth, giving thanks to it for its firm, reliable earth and fresh, pure waters. And, on such a night of celebration and thanks, it would be nothing short of blasphemy to ignore the centerpiece of it all. Yet, however near and dear, mankind will never truly know the ways of the spirit world.
Mankind often discovers the hard way when nature is unhappy with Him... Elsewhere, in the bamboo groves surrounding the forest.
"Come on; we have to hurry. The festival is almost over and we'll miss our chance..."
"...I don't know, Uncle; the stories I hear..."
"Are just that, Saji: stories."
"And you can be so sure? Gen and Tshu have yet to return..."
"Heathens. They did not show respect as they should have. They angered the Kami. Let that be a lesson to you, boy. Your father and I - my brother - we walked every inch of this grove when we were boys, paying homage all the way and never once did any harm befall us. Not so much as a hungry wolf or poacher; and do you know why, Saji?"
"Respect. In this world, that is all that matters. We be but mere men; for all our so-called 'might', man is nothing without they that watch over him. And when we forget that and try to claim heaven as our own, they remind us how small we truly are..."
"...Uncle? Will this really work? I mean ever since the lagoon..." As the pair conversed, their dialog is interrupted by the sudden quieting of the woods around them; the boy, inexperienced, knew not what this omen foretold yet the older of them - an experienced hunter and outdoorsman - knew it well: something was coming. Something that reigned above all else in the woods, whose very presence stifled all sound and shushed the forest whole. Saji - a manchild of only fourteen - looked to his uncle for guidance.
He was surprised to find him not hold his bow at the ready, but knelt down in solemn prayer. "U-uncle...??!" "Respect, boy." The silence was all consuming; the only sound the mumbling prayers of his kneeling elder. And as if sensing his plea to heaven, the forest floor began shaking in time. Trees could be heard being shoved aside and uprooted. And yet the man did not budge though his young nephew seemed to have given up the ghost. Before long the darkness was split by a pair of hovering opals, a sickly sort of yellow fashioned in such a way as to resemble eyes.
And, still the man would not move, his faith in the old ways unshakable.
Yet, faith without foundation was a poor ally. Something like darkness snatched the man's body whole from where he knelt, the swiftness of it knocked the young Saji to the floor where the wind was partially stricken from him. With a head full of haze, the agonizing cries of what sounded like his faithful uncle tore the silence from him. He could not see...but, did not need to for the reality was all to apparent.
His uncle was dead.
Faced with the reality his elder had failed to appease the Kami, Saji fled into the night, too frightened too look back, to terrified to even think. He simply ran. And ran. And ran. All while a single voice whispered just behind his ear.
Tell Your Tribe. Tell Them All. Enter The Forest... And Die!!!
And yet another victim is claimed by the 'Spirit of the Lagoon'...
Queen Hera Bar
Lower East Side, NYC
Tuesday, 1:01 p.m.
Elsewhere, on the other side of the world, at a certain 'dive spot' bar in the Lower East Side of New York, things were pretty much going as they often did. "Huh...! Well, come on, pretty Ricky, this ain't a beauty contest!" Halo - kendo stick in hand - taunted his 'foe' for this evening who happened to be none other than Blake, a fellow Mongrel and brother-in-arm. The other Mongrels were out tending to their affairs and left the bar partially empty save for Blake, Halo...and judging by the leafy smell, Liam was about somewhere.
Where, though, he didn't much care at the moment, the walking Christmas tree could do whatever he wished.
The two swung and traded blows as they practiced their swordsmanship with each other; it was better to stay fresh than get stale out there and this way the two of them could do just that. Though from even back there the sound of the bar door opening and closing wasn't missed by his keen Lycan ears. Someone had just entered and from what he overheard, Liam greeted this person - whoever they were - before they left out again. "Hey, hold on a sec... think we got company..." Halo tosses his kendo stick at Blake so he can put it away for him [and, no he didn't even ask!] before heading out into the main area where Liam was.
"Hey, Bushroot, who was that...?" Though taking one look at Liam told the tale; the young prince stood there holding a package, a long, narrow item wrapped neatly like a gift. Halo took it for safety reasons [if it were a bomb or poison his healing factor would be a boon] and looked it over before unwrapping it to find within...was a katana. And, not just some bought-off-the-internet knockoff, but an authentic Edo period 'samurai sword'. These days, something like this would have been work a cool half mil on the collectors market; even more on the black market. Really, they were looking at a tried and true work of history, a piece of samurai culture thought lost to the world.
Someone somewhere basically sent them a big bag of money... And as Halo traded glances with Liam and Blake, he was pretty sure why. Further inspection reveals the package to also have a note inside, written in Japanese: '、ブレイブファイターズは、NARASAKI村はあなたのマイトが必要てください。あなたの崇高なパワーの支払いとしてこのハンブル剣を受け入れてください。' (Please, Brave Fighters, Narasaki Village Needs Your Might. Do Accept This Humble Sword As Payment For Your Sublime Power)
Thankfully, Halo spoke Japanese. "Looks like we got another case, B." He gave Liam a thoughtful look before continuing. "And let's take Bushroot, too; can't leave him here alone, anywayz. He'll wilt." Halo scoffed, studying the katana; something so priceless... as a form of payment, it was perhaps worth two jobs, maybe three... and here he had it without even setting foot on a plane. Whatever was bugging the people in Narasaki, it was worth their weight in gold.
"Ever been to Japan, Christmas tree?"
This post has been edited by Halo Kincaid: Jan 31 2016, 10:18 PM
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