- Kikuko HayashiJouninSurvived 2021You've completed the Christmas Event of 2021 and qualified for the last reward, by partisan you are awarded this fancy badge!
- Stat Page : Link
Village : Kirigakure
Ryo : 161300
Sat Jun 12, 2021 5:06 am
- Missions Attempted:
The cycle of life requires both birth and death. In order for growth to occur, inevitably others must be consumed to facilitate such a process. Survival of the fittest, while in some ways overcome by humanity, is still a near omnipresent force across the entire planet. And so it is in this eternal race that the world has formed into the shape that it holds today. Some have attempted to beat it through force of arms. Others through force of numbers. Humanity did it via the power of wisdom.
And as for the weeds? Well, they did it through sheer tenacity. Take the dandelion for example- the yellow plant that appears almost inevitably at everyone’s doorstep. It grows its roots deep into the ground, even in the most arid of sand pits, and stays there- regrowing almost miraculously even if its upper body is completely destroyed. What’s more, its spores travel far and wide once the wind carries them away- starting the entire process once again in some different, hopefully distant patch of dirt. In a natural environment, these plants would be free to propagate as they wish with no fears save for those who feed upon them. In the realm of humanity, however, they were to be dispatched and thrown out of sight. Nobody liked a weed, after all.
In many ways, Kikuko found it to be a shame. The weed did not ask to be labelled as a disgusting or unwelcome thing. It only wishes to survive, and clung desperately to life even in the most hostile of environments. Still, they weren’t completely innocent. In their quest to survive, they would burrow their roots deep into the earth- those very roots choking the life out of nearby plants as it absorbed the bounties of the earth for itself. In that sense, the dandelion was a selfish plant. A plant that in its search for survival, finds itself becoming too greedy. Does that mean that the actions of the weeder, in this case, is a form of comeuppance? Is there such thing as a karmic cycle for even plantlife?
With a firm tug, the dandelion was sprung from the earth- flower, stem, and roots all together in an earthen clump. Shaking it out, she watched as the soil slowly returned to the ground below as she shook it from the roots. Throwing it onto the pile, she shifted a few feet in her squat- pulling up yet another fistful of weeds before adding it onto the pile. If it was any reassurance to her, it was the knowledge that they wouldn’t be wasted. Even weeds had their place in the cycle- whether it be through composting or usage in medicinal poultices. Maybe she would bring them to a local pharmacy and see if they weren’t opposed to some free ingredients? While that might not end up being the case, at least she would have tried. There was nothing wrong about earnest effort- even when said effort ends up falling upon deaf ears. Such movements were about the soul rather than result, the intention’s purity. Selflessness was a trait that many people lacked these days, even mistrusted, but was it such a bad thing? The spirit of giving should be nurtured, held, matured.
Wiping sweat from her brow, Kikuko grabbed ahold of yet another weed. The sun was harsh, and she would be at it still for quite some time. Best get to work, and perhaps she could award herself with some cold water for her hard work.
What is memory made of? Where does it reside? Where does it go? Is memory the soul? Where do memories go when they are forgotten? Can they die? Does a memory truly exist, if it is an intangible thing?
Many people try to preserve their memories by basing them in physical containers. These take many forms- mementos, keepsakes, photographs. It can be something as simple as a rock, or something more priceless such as a heirloom to be passed carefully from generation to generation. They were records, vessels of memories. As each person added their own meaning to it, eventually they would become something much grander and more beautiful than the original itself. Like a castle where is stone is laid upon by a different stone mason, creating a beautiful if not patchwork arrangement.
And yet there are some things where a truly ‘grand’ memory must be enshrined or appreciated. Those who came before and completed truly extraordinary events. Heroes, villains, gods. Enshrine them in stone, immortalize them in story, sing their praises to the heavens. Erect monuments and nail plaques to their feet, so that none may walk beneath their gaze and remain ignorant to who and what is remember here in this moment. More important- maintain such fixtures with fastidiousness and care. If they are to be vessels of memories, vessels of feelings so heartfelt, they must be treated with a pride that comes from deep within the soul. To do any less is to spit upon those same feels with cruelty, no matter how innocent or ignorant such an action might be characterized.
Gently soak the sponge in soaped water. Wring it until damp. You don’t want it to be sopping wet, but it still needs to be moist enough to easily absorb any impurities or dirtiness that had been impressed upon the stone. Does it meet your satisfactions? That’s good, that’s good. Come on then, up.
The cleansing sponge cuts through grime as a blade through grass. With nary a sound, filth is erased and the beauty beneath is only again allowed to shine through. The effort may seem small, compared to the remaining state of the statue, but wasn’t that the point? Through this combination of smalls efforts, what was once sullied can be made whole one again. Through a combination of minds and souls, this slab of stone was transformed from quarried stone into a symbol of the village itself. It was a monument to pride, blood, war, patriotism. A shrine unto itself, a god of martial ways made human and venerated by the people itself. In many ways, the Mizukage was also a sort of Kami- or perhaps an expression of their will? Either way, the respect they would be shown would always be heartfelt. She would assure herself of that. To lie about the intricacies of the heart- that was not her way. That was something she would not allow herself to do. She would not become the person.
So she scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed. Scrubbed until her hands pruned, until the sponge browned with filth and scum. Until the bucket was emptied of water. And once again, at an hour’s end, the Mizukage Monument was alive one more.
How does one express love for their birthplace? Is it to the nation, and its banner and walls? To the country, and the daimyo who sits upon his golden throne? Is it to the land itself, full of verdant life? Or is it to the planet itself, the great place from which all things sprout and eventually wither upon? The answer is myriad, unique to all living things- and learning ones unique answer is a fundamental part in the development of the ‘self’, the soul.
Kikuko loved the sea, loved the sky, loved the earth. Each was a blessing, each was a gift, from the world to her. She partook in it all, and gave back to it as often as she could. If something existed, surely it wished for company, for appreciation, for acknowledgement. Loneliness is a curse to which even the most vile creatures should be spared, and to deny the beauty of the world is to inflict loneliness upon it. Love and be loved in return, and the world itself shall surely in time notice your efforts.
Still, she found herself at a loss. It was an unusual feeling for her- the knot in her stomach that writhed and twisted like so many snakes into a tangle. Doubt was something that she had decided was not natural to her, and yet here it was niggling at the back of her mind. Left alone, there was no doubt it would consume just- as it did everyone else who allowed such negativity to fester. She would not let herself be such an individual. Face adversity with a smile, adapt to the situation. Overcome difficulty despite the odds, and then don’t forget to smile. Always show that smile. Look upon the bright side of life, and find that flame of passion within your soul. Otherwise, it is simply a human automaton performing your actions- and at that point, where is your life? What is it that defines you from the stone beneath your feet?
The crowd before her was a myriad bunch. An older couple, hands clasped hand in hand, enjoying their silvering years in these tropical lands. A mother and her young child, gently chastising him for picking at his nose in public. An overweight man in ornate clothing attended by two servants, fanning himself in the tropical sun. A harsh looking woman with thick rimmed spectacles, eyeing a local market stall with the gaze of somebody who crunches numbers for a living. All of them would be under her charge for the day, and all of them expected her service to be exemplary. All of them expected a tour of Kirigakure and its important sights. No, that was false. What they wanted to see wasn’t Kirigakure- but rather, the Kirigakure they wanted to see.
Inhale. Exhale. Catch your breathe. Surely, there was a way to do this without compromising yourself. Yes, certainly. Now, for starters. What do we say when greeting new clients?
“Good morning! My name is Hayashi Kikuko. I’ll be touring you around New Kirigakure today!” Bending at the wait, she held herself at a still ninety degree angle. It hurt, but it would have to do. “Pleased to meet your acquaintance!”
“As you can see, we are at the harbor. It may not be far from where we started, yet it’s no less important. Here is where we receive all sorts of important materials from far off lands- and export them as well for trade. It isn’t an overstatement to say that here is one of the most important functions of the village.”
Standing atop a stone pillar, she gestured out to the waters. Boats heading out to sea, beyond the storm barrier to ply at fishing. Others heading for distant lands, bearing precious cargo. Which among them, she wondered, was her father? Or was he already beyond the wall with his nets, scooping up the day’s fish? She had no way of knowing at this range.
For many, the idea of a wall of clouds, eternally raging, was that of a nightmare made reality. And yet, for the people of Kirigakure, it was a protecting of veil that safeguarded them from harm. So was it a matter of perspective, or purpose? While one could say that such a construct could only be used towards nefarious ends, she held out hope for goodness- that the Mizukage had created such a barrier with care in his heart. Through the water and lightning citizens would come home from their weary journey, and take rest in the gentle embrace of the seafoam and island sand. Enemies would find that these lands would fight fiercely in defense of its own. Hateful intention would not be suffered here. What sorts of intention, she wondered, did these people hold for the Land of Islands and Kirigakure? Some might say it wasn’t their concern- that such things were matters of rank, and that she would best focus herself on more pressing matters. Still, it wasn’t that easy. It would never be that easy, as long as she continued living. She cared too much. She knew that. And if caring too much hurt her in the end...then let it hurt her. She would rather live a life that was characterized by emotion than passivity. That was who she was.
Inhale. Exhale. Remember yourself. The salty breeze of the ocean and the arid scratchiness of the sand. Fish being boxed up for market, and the cry of seagulls in the distance. Is this not your home? Then do not despair. You are right where you need to be.
“Alright, everyone! We’re about to move on to the next stop of our tour. Next up is the Village Market. Here in Kirigakure, we pride ourselves on trade…”
The jingling of coins. Laughter, arguing, chatter. Emotions simmer, bubble, boil over. Fortunes are slowly made, over time, through the daily trade and haggle. This may not be a gambling den, but the question is asked in the back of every trader’s mind all the same. ‘Was the gamble I made today worth it’? She didn’t know. Nobody did, for that matter. Even the greatest of investors was at heart, a dreamer placing their fortune upon risk. Patterns can always be broken, odds defied, for better or worse. Still, she did her best to not dwell on it for too long. Focus on the present. The smell of fresh cooked beef, simmering in soy and barbecued. Pickled fish hanging with a thick aroma, being sold in open crates. A florist with their bouquets, enticing young women to perhaps bring home a bundle for themselves. The market was a place of many things, opportunities, people. And, perhaps…
Currency rattles against itself in her purse.A few ryo placed upon a market stalls counter. A gentle smile, and a cocked head. “Two pears, please.”
“Hmm? For a pretty young, I’ll give you three.” An older gentleman- shoulders hunched from a life of long labor, and his shirt stained with pulp. Still, that did nothing to steal from his vivacity. That, in itself, was a wonderful thing to see. What could possibly triumph in spectacle over the continuity of life despite the ages themselves?”
“Thank you very much.” Sweeping up the fruit, she juggled two into one hand. This would have to go well, otherwise...well, nothing. She just wanted it to go over well. And was that wrong of her? She didn’t think so, at least. Striding over to her tour group, slowly beginning to reconverge after their respective ventures, she made her move.
“Miss?” She waved her hand, grabbing the attention of the mother. Her child was currently marvelling at a toy vendor, tugging at her with one hand. “Please have these, courtesy of Kirigakure.”
The woman peered at the pear with curiosity- and a hint of suspicion, she noted. Were they not native to where she was from? Where were these people from? What had they seen that she had not? What did it mean to be a traveler, in this day and age? Was the world just as beautiful beyond the storm wall? It was a terribly lonely thought, and yet exciting all the same. An entire world beyond her homeland.
The child bit into the peach- juicy rind giving way to teeth. Succulent flesh being chewed, swallowed. Slowly, his face split into a grin. Yes, she decided. The world beyond was surely a beautiful place, full of beautiful smiles. Just like this one right in front of her. And one day, she would see them all.
It could be said that life was once great cycle, beginning with birth and ending with death. Much like the wheel of samsara, we go through our daily activities. Wakening to the sun, and becoming human once again. Fulfilling our tasks, completing our duties, being part of the world. And when the sun sets, we slumber- to dream, to rest, to begin once again. We complete the same cycle countless times, never tiring of it. It is simply how we are- beings who are part of the cycle and obey it with steadfastness.
Retrace your steps. Where are you? Have you found yourself in the same place you one were before? Ask yourself- is it truly so bad? Is here, where you are, the end? Or is it simply the beginning of something new? Perhaps you are where you are meant to be. Repetition is memory- and through memory, we define ourselves.
It had been a request of the affluent looking man- apparently looking for a place that ‘demonstrated the spirit and might of Kirigakure’. While she had considered bringing them to the Ninja Academy, or perhaps the Training Facility, ultimately they fell flat. Certainly, they would have fulfilled the purpose, and indeed satisfied the man. But it didn’t satisfy her. They were not places filled with memory. Or rather, filled with that which the man sought.
Staring at the statue which she had so meticulously cleaned only hours ago, she couldn’t help but feel a small modicum of pride in it. The Mizukage’s armor shone in the sunlight, as though he might spring to life at any moment in defense of the village. What sort of Kami might live within this statue, she wondered? Were they benevolent? Warlike? Surely, they were one that held some form of feeling for the village. Otherwise it would have crumpled away long before.
There was no need to introduce the statue. It was a personal experience- between person and monument. Approach the stone, so full of memories. Admire it, inspect it, approach it. Soon, you will add to it- just as it adds to you. We all effect each other, and are affected in turn. Would she have a legacy as he did, one day? She did not know. Even if she did- such grandeur was a concept greater than her. Still. That sort of thought was for the future, far ahead of the current ‘now’. She simply had to stay here, in the moment. With her charges, beneath the watchful gaze of the great leader. For a few moments longer, they would linger before she brought them to the appropriate lodgings.
‘Glory to you, Lord Mizukage. Please rest well.’
Claiming as follows:
+30 Stats, to be distributed towards-
Seal of Absorption [2750/2750]
Seal of Redirection [252/2750]
+6300 ryo [4000+1000+1000+100*3(Genin Pay)]
- IshikawaMissing-Nin (D-rank)
- Stat Page : The Silverfang
Clan Specialty : Ninjutsu
Village : Missing Ninja
Ryo : 7700
Sat Jun 12, 2021 5:08 am
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