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Blood, Sweat, and Paint. A visit from a loving mother.

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Wind
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PostSubject: Blood, Sweat, and Paint. A visit from a loving mother. Sun 17 Mar 2013, 6:48 am


From peaks above clouds well capped in pure snow down to the lowest valleys choked with verdant green flora and wild fauna, all know mountains to be filled with the most breath taking scenes in nature. Whether they are wind worn desert rock of a sultry red, ancient grey stones worn down my centuries of rain, or the slick moss covered lowlands which jungles permeate through out, their variety and varied altitudes make for panoramas of unthinkable serenity. There is one group of mountains, however, that no matter how high and no matter how old, which marks for some of the most dangerous terrain on the planet. Billowing columns of thick black smoke rise ever skywards, venting from cracks both narrow and wide. Soft tremors in the mountain side send trails of tumbling stone in Smokey heaps down wards, crashing through the ash grey remains of long dead trees and the still vibrant green of shrubs, vines, and a host of fern. The complexity of the landscape provided the eyes with so much to study that the place was unlike any other landscape Takado had ever seen.

All of this had been captured from her perch, a long day of painting laying thick bands of oil in overlapping lines. Grays and blues and greens were in abundance, and yet the central channel of her canvass was caked with slowly drying bands of luminous yellows and reds. They were spectacular, a lava flow dribbling slowly out of a great cleft in the mountain far below her. It appeared as some snaking hand, four separate paths carving steaming trails along the blackened stone, all emanating from a single central hole in the mountain. The volcano was amazing, and unlike any other mountain, this one seemed alive. Not alive only in the sense of the life it supported, but the rock itself seemed to heave with great breaths and bleed the fiery blood of the earth itself. It moved, it breathed, and it always spoke with the sound of large and small rocks crumbling along the sides, crushing and grinding their way down in the words of a language older than even the first humans.

Her painting was beautiful, not as peaceful as some, but one composed of fire and wrath and smoke. It was unique, as unique as her voyage up the mountain had been, and almost too precious to destroy. It still did not bare her signature, the single mark which was not only completion of her art, but the ensured destruction of the piece when the soft whistle on the wind caught her ear. It wasn’t the call of a song bird or the challenge from some bird of prey, but the unmistakable sound of sharpened steel parting the wind mid-fight. Instincts took over quickly, her lips tightening into a familiar pursed expression, her eyes hardening into steel. She shifts to the left just in time, a kunai narrowly missing her shoulder and planting its sharpened tip solidly in the central meeting point of the three legs of her easel. She had no time to calculate the trajectory, though the blade may have missed her even if she had not dodged, but central now was the piece of red ribbon binding a rectangle of paper to the ring on the end of the knife. It seemed she was not done moving just yet.

Quick as a whip she leaps aside, putting her shoulder into the ground as she lands and rolling forward. She put space between herself and her painting just in time for the sudden eruption of force and flame to which all her art was sacrificed, though this time the choice had not been her own. All around her was charred rock and billowing fumaroles, a sparse scrubland with trees only in the distance. There were large cracks in the stone, rocks both huge and small, and ash floating along the wind, all of which made locating a hidden shape all the more impossible. Even as the smoke was clearing from the explosion her eyes were already scanning the rocks in search of her attacker. Her hand rests gently on the handle of her katana, but the next thing to catch her attention is a blur of motion and another streak of steel. Three more kunai streak trough the air, and in a flash her katana is out and swinging through the air. Only one of the kunai was targeted at her and that one was easily cut down, deftly deflected to the side with a swing of her sword. Too late she seemed to notice the explosive notes, already glowing with power and chakra, erupting into a trio of explosions all around her.

Her world shook on all sides as the very ground beneath her feet began to crumble. The volcanic rock had been laden with cracks and crevices, and while often stable enough to stand upon, the explosions had al but powdered the fine sediment, and shattered the larger boulders into a crumbling, now fluid, rock slide. Standing atop it was certainly the worst place to be situated, and as gravity laid its irresistible fingers upon her, Kageru tumbled down into a loud, dust filled abyss which would lead to an almost certain death, broken and battered amongst the rocks. Downwards she fell, time seeming to slow as the world caved in upon her, stones and pebbles all sliding around her, beside her, and above her. It seemed to go on forever, her body rolling with the rockslide tumbling past the smoking cracks, narrowly missing a steaming smoke stack, and in the end coming to a rest only thirty feet below, but nearly 50 linear meters to the east. Upon landing she simply lay still, the taste of blood stronger in her mouth that it had ever been, and a severe pain burning in her tongue. Blood forced her right eye closed and her left arm felt as though it’d taken the full impact of the previous explosive notes.

It was misery, and yet misery was something she had grown used to in her years. Too soon she was already on her feet, pain racking through her body and bringing a short gasp from between her lips. The pain was horrendous, but at first assessment she couldn’t feel anything that was obviously broken, though the pain in her arm threatened to be a dislocation, or perhaps a half splintered bone.. Her eyes lift to the skyline above her, and things did not seem well. She was now trapped in a narrow crevice of rock some ten meters across, the cliff walls above reaching up thirty feet towards the sky. The climb out would be arduous with her arm in the condition it was, and the walls crumbling like the relic ashes of some burnt out ruin. While she had a never give up attitude, she had little time to shore up her resolve when a black cloaked figure suddenly appeared well above her. It took her only a moment to spot the tell tale sign which would reveal the origin of her assassin more clearly than a whispered confession. Through the smoke and haze she spied the woman’s mouth, one much like her own with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth, each filed to shark like points. She was Shigumo, and she’d spotted Takado in the act of creating art.

There were no words exchanged, the woman simply held up one hand, and with a flick of the wrist a pair of kunai with tags on them was sent further up the mountain. The two explosions rocked the top of the mountain. The world shook once more, however unlike last time, it didn’t seem to want to stop. The ground buckled beneath her, a crack opening in the ground and swallowing the rock she’d just been standing on. Everything seemed to dissolve into a black smoking abyss, consuming every stone she landed upon, keeping her hopping from stone to stone in an attempt to avoid being drawn down with the stones. Below there was a sure death amid rocks both crushing and molten, however it was from above the most dangerous aspect of her situation would suddenly manifest. Another rock slide, a hellish avalanche of lava rock and boulders was rushing for her, tumbling down the narrow ravine in which she was stuck, speeding along to crush all sense of life from her.
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Wind
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PostSubject: Re: Blood, Sweat, and Paint. A visit from a loving mother. Sun 17 Mar 2013, 6:49 am


With little time to react, Kageru quickly sheaths her blade and leaps backwards, giving herself just a few more precious seconds with which to react. Only seconds later the first of the larger boulders was upon her, dust, pebbles, and smaller rocks racing past her on both sides, though only the larger ones were threatening to crush her. Behind that single boulder lat an entire mountain in motion, larger and smaller boulders both bouncing and crashing down towards her. In an instant she leaps, not quite clearing the first boulder, but getting enough altitude to reach the top half of the ten foot wide rock. The instant her feet touch on the stone she forces chakra into them and dashes forward, racing to the top of the stone and rocketing skywards once more. Up there she could see for a moment, but even above her the dust and debris was consuming her area. There seemed like no way out of the onslaught, but even as she began to descend once more she wouldn’t give up. The rocks would have to bring her down fighting.

Back amid the rock slide the world was once more moving as a mass of chaos. No sooner had she landed atop a bouncing boulder, than some larger one was coming from the left to crush her. A leap to the side enables her escape just as the two rocks collide beside her, and no sooner was she safe, than two more rocks were baring down upon her. With no time to react she reaches for her blade, leaping even as she draws it, the blade flicking out with speed and power, the sharp edge impacting one stone and cleaving a clean line right through its center. The smaller half remaining impacts her shoulder, and though it hurts she gives it a shove and it bounces down past her. She leaps once more, moving from one rock to another to constantly keep herself off the ground, always escaping the crumbling pile of debris building and sliding and grounding beneath her. A rock from above and a rock from the left both bounce against their neighbors and careen towards Kageru, leading to another swift leap, though this time directly towards the one threatening to crush her from above.

Her feet stick like glue to the rotating surface, the rock rolling her down beneath and then up the backside of the tumbling stone, all the while a shower of pebbles and coarse dust blast her as if driven by some hot desert wind. Facing uphill she leaps again, her legs beginning to burn with the exertion, but driving her ever uphill into the face of the avalanche. Another rock meets her feet, though quickly she lowers to one knee, and presses her self against it, narrowly avoiding another rock as it bounces noisily over head. This was getting tough; the rocks were becoming more and more heated as boulders blasted from the inner crater of the volcano came crashing down past her. The rock she was on sears her flesh for a moment, but before anything more than surface damage is done, she’s back on her feet and kicking her way into the air once more. It’s a folly of a move, one sending her headlong into the rock above her, and she bounces off it gracelessly, the first cry of pain finally parting her blood stained lips. Thoughts that this might just be her end flash through her mind, tears well in her eyes, and somehow, in spite of it all, she continues to press onward. There’s another searing burn seeps through her robes and into her back, but she rolls back onto her shoulders and pushes up hard with her one good arm. Her feet impact the boulder above her and she pushes sideways, the anguish of the rock slide quickly becoming to much for her. There seemed to be no escape. Each evasion of one rock only brought her to face another two. Escaping those brought four, and it seemed only inevitable that she would fall. How could she ever keep up this pace?

Instinct alone was leading her now, leap after leap seeing her bounce swiftly through the onslaught of falling rocks. Faster than most could see she was maneuvering from one rock to the next, and yet they still just kept coming. Pain and blood loss were wearing down on her, her silk robes soaking through and turning a damp shade of black over a wet shade of not pink, but deep dark red. She simply couldn’t last, this was going to be death, and yet still her legs pushed onward. It’d felt like an hour as dozens of boulders beyond counting has tumbled past her, and rocks to small to dodge had either been swatted away with her sword, or simply managed to impact strongly on her torso, legs, and arms. Some handful had even hit her in the face or bounced off her head, and though she was worn out, almost empty on chakra, and dizzy, she pushed onward. Each of the larger rocks in turn had been evaded, and with one final jump she suddenly sky sky break.

The blue was magnificent, clear and cloudless with a sun shining like a blazing golden disc. Behind her the endless grinding sound of the rock slide seemed to simply die out. For a moment she was simply weightless, and all the pain in her body didn’t matter. None of it mattered, not her history, not her life, not a single moment of pain she had ever endured. It was all a memory, and one her mind simply pushed away at the sight of the tranquil blue above her. She longed to be a bird then, able to flap her wings and rise, rise higher and higher into the sky until it was only clouds beneath her, and not solid shifting stones. In the clear blue she found peace, peace enough to close her eyes, and simply fall. It wasn’t a long way down, but she knew it wouldn’t be the fall that killed her. The rocks below would consume her, roll atop her and crush her frail human body like so many grapes beneath a wine maker’s feet. Resigned at last she releases her blade, and she falls.

What had felt like an hour was over in less than 60 seconds, a minute of tumbling rocks and crushing stones churning around her until they’d created a new level coat of gravel within the narrow crevasse she’d been blasted into. When she landed there was pain. The impact hit her flat in the back as she landed on an uneven ground and sent new waves of pain all through her body. She cries out once more, her sword bouncing away from her and into the pile of stones now settled beneath her. Pebbles and small rocks still roll alongside her, but somehow she’d managed to survive the worst. Above her was still the blue sky, and though she was no bird, as consciousness began to seep out of her body, she felt as though she was flying. Blood loss and injuries turned from searing pain into euphoria as endorphin met with shock, and both faded away into a blissful haze of unconsciousness. It would be her own attacker who saw her first, laying there still alive among the spoil and the rubble of the rock slide. Takado would not see the face above her, nor how it shifted from an angry scowl into a somehow proud smile. She wouldn’t feel herself picked up and carried through the countryside, back down the volcano and across the mountain peaks back towards Kumo. She’d barely even remember the entire attack, or the simple painting which started it all. In truth, upon waking up in the hospital, all she would remember was explosions, rocks, and the fact that somehow she had survived it all.
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