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Kutari Uchiha
Kutari Uchiha
Vagabond (D-Rank)
Vagabond (D-Rank)
Stat Page : Stat Page
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Clan Specialty : Genjutsu
Village : Vagabonds
Ryo : 500

Kut lands within Moon Empty Kut lands within Moon

Thu Mar 07, 2024 12:47 am
As the sun casts its first golden rays over the vast, undulating dunes of the Land of Wind, Kutari sets out on his journey. The desert, with its relentless expanse of sand and wind, is a formidable challenge to any traveler, but Kutari is determined. His slender, yet resilient form is silhouetted against the rising sun, his dark hair and bronzed skin blending into the myriad of warm colors painting the sky. His gray eyes, reflective and deep, scan the horizon with a mix of anticipation and resolve.

Dressed in his pragmatic attire, a slate gray leather jacket shielding him from the early morning chill, Kutari is an emblem of determination. The desert wind tugs at his clothing, playing with the loose ends of his jacket and the few rings that adorn his fingers, a reminder of his love for accessories and personal expression. Despite the harshness of his surroundings, there's a softness in his demeanor, a gentle soul embarking on a quest not just for personal growth, but for connection and the pursuit of artistry in the form of Ren Kurosawa's music.

Kutari's journey through the desert is not just a physical one, but a passage through the memories and lessons of his past. The land of wind and sand, with its extreme conditions, has always been a tough teacher, honing his resilience and adaptability. As he moves forward, each step is a testament to his growth—from the young boy who reveled in the stories and teachings of his mother, to the aspiring ninja who seeks to protect and explore beyond the familiar.

The landscape around him shifts with the whims of the wind, never the same from one moment to the next, much like Kutari's own journey. He knows the road ahead will test him, not just in strength, but in spirit. The solitude of the desert, vast and overwhelming, could easily weigh on him, yet he finds solace in the beauty that surrounds him—the way the sunlight plays on the sand, creating a sea of gold; the clear, blue sky that promises endless possibilities; and the gentle whisper of the wind, carrying tales from distant lands.

As Kutari treks through this sea of sand, his thoughts drift to Ren Kurosawa, the wandering minstrel whose music has called to him across the landscapes. What stories might Ren share? What melodies could stir the soul? Kutari's journey is as much about discovering the music of the world as it is about understanding his place within it.

This beginning of Kutari's journey sets the stage for a tale of discovery, challenges, and growth. The Land of Wind, with its harsh beauty and unyielding conditions, serves as the perfect backdrop for Kutari's quest—a quest that will lead him through varied terrains, both external and internal, as he seeks out the minstrel in the Land of Mountains.

As Kutari makes his way across the vast and ever-shifting sands of the Land of Wind, he is bathed in the contrast of sun and shadow, the desert sun an unrelenting golden eye glaring down. At the same time, his soft and subtle gray hues reflect the dauntless determination and wide-eyed awe within the even wider expanse that surrounds him and that has stretched out before him thus far. A prisoner of tradition no longer, his thin frame, though now adorned with a simple tabard of simple design and the many pockets and trinkets of the road, moves along alone, driven on by instinct and the indomitable spirit. His will to survive, birthed by generations of a maternal lineage all but lost upon him to a volatile and treacherous motherland, with its whispers of the ancient spirit of the land ever swirling around him, guiding him through each unforgiving dune, through nights unfathomably cold and timeless, painted with a seemingly innumerable number of stars, each one another unnamed story or another mystery of the heavens, each a piece of a world he's come to love, yet to know barely.

And, even then, his thoughts are that of the wandering minstrel, of soulful and intoxicating melodies looming at the cusp of his path, with the desires they hide, to hear such tales or to follow these trails, to learn everything he can from this man that they call Ren Kurosawa, to see the world as he does, through eyes filled with music and stories and brotherhood, that kind of kinship he finds here and there in the desert regardless of its formidable capacity for life.And so the music — danced caress of every ebbing step on the far flight of every fleeing note — carries Kutari, lifting him from the unforgiving sand, pulling him through the oasis far beyond the sea of dunes.

But as the land is fickle, and in time it reveals a Land of fang far on the horizon, he finds that even the far-flung caravans and wanderers of the uncrossable desert seem to afford him only the bitter reflection, asked of or imagining his enigmatic home of whom Ren Kurosawa might be, what he might teach him, just plainly hoping and without any and all buried pride, he might glimpse the hidden path to his Clan hidden in all but a past and in every direction that he tried, but to leave behind him, rising partly upward and partly due north, with the stone and the deafening wind into the setting sun….And yet it is the monolithic and unsurpassable might of the Land of Mountains into which the Land of Wind and the deserts of this Rock all slowly transform before him.

The moment he crosses the invisible line that separates the Land of Wind from the Land of Fang is the moment the colors of the world transform. The golden dunes of sand and the endless expanse of the desert are swallowed whole by the untold stories of a land ruled by nature. It is as if he leaves behind the bitter, dry tang of the desert, the scent of the pine and the earth coats the air. The trees are old and watchful, secrets captured in the rustle of phantom leaves. The ground is softer here, lined with clumps of earth and jagged stones — a richer experience.

The Land of Fang is a vast wilderness; a world where nature is the law and civilization is little more than a whispered secret enclosed within the trees and hidden valleys; a world of secrets and predators. Or at least those are the stories that his mother had told him. It was an interesting thought, whether or not it was true. She spoke of ancient strengths and warns of unfathomed dangers, where neither foolish man nor weak beast dare tread.

He's not entirely sure when it shifts; the change in the energy of the world. The wilderness of the Land of Fang seems to pulse with an energy that beats against his very soul, and he moves cautiously, where crystal waters and untouched landscape mask untold challenges and secret threats.

It doesn't take very long until he finds the first challenge the Land of Fang presents him. Kutari is busy maneuvering through the dense part of the forest when he comes nose to nose with a pack of wolves. They were entirely, utterly, black of pelt and glittered like specters in the dimming light as they splayed themselves through the underbrush. They're waiting for him, a glint of curiosity mixed with a silent warning to frighten a lesser man. He knows better than to underestimate Nature's chosen. He stands very still: a picture of calm with every taut muscle reflecting a hidden lethal ness and betrays the respect he offers to what she's wrought.

Kutari stands, facing the wolves. The alpha wolf appears for a moment to acknowledge the spirit in which Kutari stands, then lets out a low rumble. The pack coalesces, and within seconds, they’re circling him. You can see Kutari knows that it’s time to watch his step — driven by hunger, or whatever bonding possesses wild wolves, they consider him a threat now.

His mind is racing. His training prepared him for combat against men and certain creatures, but a pack of wild wolves is a new kind of test. They’re too dangerous to meet head-on, and more to the point, his realizes that he needs to respect their nature. He has to try — he turns to leave, hoping to find a break in their line, but they keep pace with him, their eyes firmly upon their quarry.

Just when the circle seems tightest, the wolves nearest to him, teeth flashing, prepared to strike, a commotion occurs. From the trees, a figure hurtles out with an unholy speed, clutching a torch aloft and a flame that spits like the hatred of a jealous god. The hunter dressed in the motley garb of the woods swings the torch vigorously, with a confidence that Kutari certainly lacked. At the sudden intrusion, the wolves halt their approach, and they seem to think of their options. The remainder of their survival instinct emerges victorious, and with a single shared skeptical glance at the two humans, the pack withdraws into the serene and conspicuous nature.

Kutari could not move for a moment, his heart still racing from a cocktail of adrenaline and danger narrowly avoided. Then, he turns to his rescuer, where the hunter stands. The figure raises the torch so that Kutari might take a closer look. The hunter’s keen eyes tell the story of a person who has seen, lived, and survived years in this unforgiving wilderness. The hunter nods at Kutari.

“Careful, traveler,” the hunter’s voice is rough, though not unkind. “The wolves of the Land of Fang are not ones to be trifled with. They protect their territory with a damned fervor, I'll tell you. What brings you to these parts alone?”

Finally catching his breath, Kutari weaves the tale of needing to gather Ren Kurosawa, the wandering minstrel, and of his journey through the Land of Fang and hopefully to the land of Mountains. The hunter listens intently, nodding when he understands.

“I know of Ren Kurosawa,” the hunter says, lowering the torch and nodding. “Brave of you to scour these tenacious forests. For a song and for a man you've never met. Though you will not find that by wandering these woods alone. Come. You need a guide. I can help you navigate these damned woods. My camp is just up the way. We can talk more there.”

Kutari thanks the man profusely. He realizes that he would be no match to the true dangers of the forests alone. He was not very strong and his training was still in its infancy, so him being able to fight off anything was a bit of a stretch. He followed the man into his camp, where the two of them would sit and chat over the fire for a while.

The man would speak with Kutari, "Listen friend. I know that you are after this Ren Kurosawa. I had heard of the man in the land of Mountains, near some of the smaller villages. But trekking through the forest of the land of Fang may have been a bad choice. It is the straightest shot, but its certainly dangerous for someone that has no survival skills or means to protect themselves. I gotta understand just what you were thinking when you decided that coming out this way was the best choice.

Kutari listens to the man's words of wisdom with an open mind and responds, "I understand. Honestly I'm finding that out for myself. I've only really ever been to the land of Wind. The last two years have been mostly me bumming it from village to village. But I really wanted to meet this man. I've heard some of the stories when he had been in the land of wind, and really I just have nothing left for me in the land of wind, and haven't for a long time. So I wanted a change of scenery, ya know?"

Kutari's voice would stand strong as a beacon of positivity, even though he had faced near death only a few moments ago. The old hunter would smile, "You know kid? You seem to have a lot of love in you. I pray that this world won't tarnish that love you have and crap you out the way it did me. How about this. I can guide you over to the borders. It'll be a few days trip, but I think you and me can make it to the end and get you over to the land of mountain, how's that sound?"

Kutari would smile a huge smile and leap over to the man, giving him a big hug. "Thank you sir!" Kutari would yell as the man would pat Kutari on the back roughly. "You're welcome, youngin'. But you and me need to talk about just what we need to be doing when we are in the wilds. Because just walking around randomly will certainly get you killed. I had heard you coming from half a mile away, that's when I started coming your way as well. I was sure the wildlife wasn't going to take too kindly to you galavanting around the wolves' territory. So from now on, you listen to me and you listen to me well, got it?"

Kutari would excitedly nod his head, hanging on to every word that he would say. He was more than excited to get this journey going, even more now that he had a guide and a means of protection from the harsh world around him. Kutari would then give him a bit of a playful side eye. "Tell me, hunter. I got two questions for you and I want to have some good answers." The hunter would laugh and tell him to go for it. "First," Kutari would begin, "What's your name? Second, do you want a drink?" The hunter would look down into Kutari's knapsack where there was a nice tall bottle of liquor sitting within. He would answer in his gruff voice, "My name, young man, is Taro. But you can keep calling me the hunter, it's what I've been called for many years. As for the drink? I would gladly accept such an offer. It's been far too long since I have had a drink and I would think now is just a good a time as any truly." The two would then start drinking the night away.

As the night deepens, Kutari and Taro sit by the fire, sharing stories of their travels and experiences. Taro speaks of the land of Fang, its secrets and the dangers that lie in wake at almost every turn. He explains that he had been a part of the Fang wilderness for almost a decade now. How he was originally a monk of a monastary in the land of rivers, but he had since had a falling out with his bretheren within the practice. He was very cryptic and vague when it came to the particulars of the happening, but Kutari was not going to be the one to start digging into that situation too far.

Kutari would explain his earlier years, the traveling caravan that he and his family were a part of, he explained the raid that they had been under. He explained that when he left the one wagon that didn't get caught aflame, all of the bodies of his family and the larger Uchiha caravan were gone, not a single trace of the bodies were anywhere to be found. The hunter seemed to have a knowing look, the moment that he heard the name Uchiha, but he didn't speak of what he knew, lest it destroy the very mind of the poor boy that sat before him.

The two would continue to swap stories about their travels, and Kutari would explain his goal to find Ren Kurosawa. He had heard that Ren was a wandering orphan just like he was, and he wanted to have some sort of connection with someone. Plus he already had a knack for the musical aspects of what Ren could provide to the world, he just needed to find him and hopefully he would be able to make his own connections beyond. He would explain to the hunter that he was looking for a place where he could belong, and if it meant that he would be traveling to the land of Mountains for that, then it was worth the danger. He explained that he didn't want to simply be a bum any longer, but he truly wanted something larger than simply existing. The hunter took the words with understanding, he completely understood not wanting to simply exist and wanting to live for more than yourself.

The alcohol, combined with the exhaustion of the day's events, gradually takes its toll on the two and the conversation dwindles into comfortable silence. The fire frackles and pops, casting dancing shadows around the camp as both Kutari and Taro succumb to the embrace of sleep, passing out under the canopy of the forest, and the stars that hang above within the wide sky. The wilderness seemed to give them the space they required, as through the night they were not hassled by any creatures, nor predators. Instead, they both had a restful sleep.

Dawn broke and both Kutari and Taro awoken to continue their respective journies, enriched by both the encounter with the wolves, and the night of bonding between the two. For Kutari, the journey is far from over, but he would be sure to remember the night that the two of them had together as a viivd memory indeed. He was happy to know that even in a world where danger lurks around every corner and your death could come with the snap of a twig or a call of a beast, there was still happiness to be found and kindness abounding within some of the inhabitants of Fang.

Kutari and the hunter, no companions in their journey, set out through the dense wilderness together. The hunter is able to show his capabilities as a hunter and guide as they navigate through the countless trees, the boundless rivers, and the different species that lie in wait within the land of Fang.

The terrain that they encounter is a mosaic of breathtaking landscapes. Tower trees, their branchess interlocking high above, form the cathedral that they would be sharing their communion with the wilderness within. The air is alive with the sounds of the forest; the songs of birds weave through the rustling leaves, and a distant roar remind them the travelers that even larger beasts have their dominion in the wilds that surround them both.

As they travel, Taro shares his knowledge with Kutari, explaining him the different means of trailing and tracking different animals. He points out the different plants that they pass and explains the ones that are good to eat, the ones that are poisonous, and the ones that are somewhere in between the two. But the most important lesson that he was able to pass on to Kutari is the signs that the wilds produce for people to inform the travelers of just where water could be found within the depths of the trees.

Kumari, in return, for their breaks, plays his harmonica for Taro and even teaches him how to play with the spare harmonica that he has within his bag. The exchange of stories and skills between the two started forming a bond that Kutari thought impossible in such a place, but he was glad to have been wrong about that assumption. Taro begins to respect the boy for his ability to learn so quickly and his abundance of kindness within his soul.

Their path is with obstacles. They navigate steep inclines, where the heart seems to fall away beneath their feet, providing them views that are both beautiful but dangerous and nauseating to those of untraveled minds. They crossed streams that cut through the land with icy, rushing water. They must tread quietly at times, avoiding areas where dangerous creatures make their homes, relying on Taro's experience to guide them safely through.

But even through the complex challenges, a sense of adventure grows within Kutari. He had always been the type to want to see new things and sights. But he had always been far too scared to explore anything. He had just stayed in the confines of the sand dunes and oceans housed within the land of Wind. But now, he was expanding his horizons, wanting to see more things and even experience the dangerous sides of life.

The end of the day comes upon them, and the sun begins to dip below the horizon, painting the sky in shades of orange and pink; they find themselves only halfway to the land of the Mountains. They set up camp in a clearing, the forest around them coming alive. The fire crackles, casting a warm glow on their faces, and for a moment, the dangers of the wilderness seem far away. They talk about what awaits in the Land of Mountains, both filled with anticipation for the adventures to come. Yet, there's also a sense of contentment in this moment, under the vast canopy of stars, two travelers brought together by chance, sharing the road less traveled.

As they settle in for the night, the challenges of the journey ahead seem more bearable with a companion by their side. Kutari, with his dreams and aspirations, and Taro, with his knowledge of the land and its secrets, continue their trek through the Land of Fang, each step bringing them closer to their destination and the unknown adventures that await in the Land of Mountains.

As the stars blanket the night sky, a pair of wanderers gaze into the firelight, and let it cast shadows across the tales that they share. Together Kutari and the hunter Taro wander down a new trail together as they wander through the memories of each other. The wilderness seemed to be a mere backdrop to their new travels together into each other's minds.

Kutari would speak of his mother, and the caravan once more. But he would go into the depths of his memory to bring out a specific time that he had in his mind. "My family," He began, "We played in a rather rambunctious town in the land of wind. It was kilometers away from the village of Sunagakure, before all the problems had arisen there. My mother, father, myself and other members of my family had played music for many hours, through the night without breaks. We were simply aflame with the strongest of spirits with our music.

It was the first time I had ever played music in front of other people at a paid gig, I was probably only twelve. There was a girl in the crowd, she was slightly older than I was, but man did she know how to dance. She loved the music that we had played, and I loved to watch her dance. There was so much about that night that I could talk about."

Kutari painted a vivid picture of that night, describing how they had set up their modest stage in the heart of the town, under the open sky where the stars seemed to listen. With instruments in hand, they played music that wove through the streets like a living thing, drawing people from their homes with its magic. The melodies were a mix of traditional tunes and their own compositions, each note a testament to their deep love for the art.

As the night deepened, the space around them filled with the townspeople, their faces illuminated by lanterns and the joy of shared experience. The music created a bond between performer and audience, a connection that transcended words. Kutari spoke of the energy of that night, the feeling of unity and celebration that music could inspire.

Among the crowd, there was a woman whose eyes held stories yet to be told. She was drawn to the spirit of the music, and to Kutari in particular. Throughout the night, their paths crossed several times, their interactions marked by laughter and an easy camaraderie. She was captivated by Kutari's passion for music and his gentle soul, and he, in turn, was drawn to her warmth and the way she moved through the world with a grace all her own.

Kutari described the feeling of connection he felt with her, a spark that seemed to ignite in the space between notes and glances. For a moment, in the midst of the music and the mirth, they found a piece of themselves in each other. The night stretched on, and though their time together was brief, it left an indelible mark on Kutari's heart.

As the first light of dawn began to creep across the sky, signaling the end of their impromptu concert, the town slowly returned to its quiet slumber. Kutari and his family packed away their instruments, carrying with them the memories of a night where music had bridged the gap between souls.

As dawn breaks in the Land of Fang, Kutari and Taro awaken to find the first rays of sunlight piercing the forest's canopy. Around them, the forest stirs to life, the chorus of the morning growing louder as the air fills with the promise of a new day. The young friends break camp quickly, eager to hit the road; for the Land of Mountains awaits on the horizon, and with it, endless opportunities.

The trek through the last few leagues of the Land of Fang feels different to them today, almost as if the wilderness itself senses their anticipation and guides them through it. The terrain, they find, is no more forgiving than it was yesterday, but the experience, they both agree, has never been more exhilarating. Theirs is a silent camaraderie as they make their way, born of shared stories by the fire and shared travails upon the long road.

They find it difficult to put into words the strange sensation building in their hearts when the first signs of ascent appear on the landscape. It starts with a few scattered stands of pine before breaking through to the rows of rocky outcrops that signal the icy breath and brisk, clean air of higher altitudes. It happens slowly at first, then all at once; as they crest the next rise, the Land of Mountains appears before them in all its magnificent grandeur.

Rising above them, the last branches of the canopy trail off to reveal a shockingly blue sky, upon which a string of cobalt and white ocarinas begins to play. Cruelly serrated peaks rise up to join them as they march on, white caps reflecting the sun's golden rays like a sea of a thousand diamonds. Below, a littering of glacial valleys, carved by a thousand lifetimes of slow passages yield to thin air falling from true cliffs above. The valleys are lazy, languid in their pace, and the screams of eagles return to meet the night; stunning azure lakes dot this azure landscape, reflecting the sky above to serene duplicity. It is a region of stark contrast and vast extremes, where the hallowed touch of Nature's hand lays bare at once the delicate grace and awesome power of this sacred Earth.

Kutari and Taro pause, taking in the view. In the silence that hangs between them, they both find themselves in silent reverence for the natural wonder which lay spread before them. The journey through the Land of Fang, with all its trials and revelations, seems all but forgotten against the backdrop of the mountains’ timeless grandeur.

It is with a fierce determination that they finally descend into the valley below, for it is here that the true test of their journey will begin. The terrain of the Land of Mountains is as challenging as the secrets it keeps. Tales of old tell of ancient monasteries, tucked away in hidden valleys. Monasteries where mystic hermits reside, possessors of knowledge passed down for the ages. And of rare, mystical herbs that grow only in the embrace of the mountains.

For Kutari, this new landscape is a treasure trove of opportunities to learn, to grow, and to find the wandering minstrel whose music has called to him across the miles: Ren Kurosawa. For Taro, it is the chance to explore the deeper truths that may lay around the next corner…and perhaps to find a new purpose, beyond that of the shadow of his past.

Their passage into the heart of the Land of Mountains is a journey further and further into a world of mystery and majesty. Each step takes them deeper into the unknown. A journey of discovery that promises to be more than one of the land and its inhabitants, but one of themselves and the very souls who bind them to this ancient, sacred place.

The road is a twisting, meandering one that carries the pair ever forward, to new adventures and fresh challenges. And opportunities to carve new names for themselves into the annals of their lives. For the Land of Mountains, with its silent, watchful peaks, is about to behold the unfolding tale of two travelers brought together by destiny- to seek the secrets held within its stony embrace.

As Kutari and Taro continue their ascent through the Land of Mountains, the world about them begins to soften. The harsh, rugged slopes slacken, and the landscape becomes more gentle. In a valley, nestled amidst towering peaks, they come across their first town — a settlement that seems to have emerged straight from the pages of a storybook, awash in the pink and white of a thousand cherry blossom trees.

The town is a picturesque vision. Traditional wooden buildings, with complicated carvings adorning their every surface, are draped with paper lanterns made translucent by the mountain light. The cherry blossoms hang heavy and immaculate over the homes and shops, their petals gently floating to earth, covering everything in a soft, floral blanket.

The two travelers make their way into the settlement, struck by the overwhelming sense of peace that seems to reign here. The people go about their work with exemplary diligence, yet every face lights with a smile at the sight of the newcomers, a warm welcome in this far-flung corner of the world. Nearby, the sound of an unseen waterfall mingles with the rustling of the cherry blossom trees, the two melding into a melody that echoes the prevailing atmosphere of tranquility.

The pair make for the center of the town, where a small square opens up, the shops and homes that line it forming a bustling wall. At the heart of the square is a tree — a cherry blossom tree as perfect and lovely as the rest, but larger and older by far. Its branches stretch wide, spilling low over the cobblestones, and it is clear that this tree, older than the village itself, is more than a simple plant. It is the village's center, its community and its bridge to the life of nature, a living metaphor for the changing of the seasons.

They decide to rest here, to replenish their supplies and perhaps learn a bit more about the valley in the clouds. The duo soon finds a small inn. It's run by a kindly old couple, and from the moment the cats enter, they're treated like family. The warm meals and a place to rest are a welcome change, of course, but as they travel, the inn's halls are filled with something else. The walls are filled with paintings that tell a tale: the mountains, yes, and the cherry blossoms, but each new painting tells of the village and its history. More than any other place they've visited thus far, the village of cherry blossoms is a place that is utterly bound to its land.

It's in the evening when the village seems to come alive in a new way. Lanterns are lit, and the soft light shows off the blossoms as well as the smiling faces of the villagers. Music fills the space, a careful, gentle rhythm that seems to call to Kutari and Taro. They make their way to where the other villagers have gathered, all taking part in a nightly celebration of life nestled in the embrace of the mountains.

It's here when they learn more of the village and its people. Tales of the Land of Mountains, of the hidden valleys and ancient secrets that the peaks have kept. They hear of a man, a minstrel whose music once graced the village in the cherry blossoms. His name and his song have lasted there, and his story marks the quiet peak as well. The village in the cherry blossoms becomes a haven for the travelers as they gather their strength to move forward.

It's a moment of beauty, a moment that everyone is reminded of the joys the world has to offer, of the unending embrace of nature, and of the lines that take everyone in. Kutari and Taro lay awake under a blanket of blossoms, knowing only that their journey through the Land of Mountains is just beginning. They close their eyes in the village of cherry blossoms, and breathe deep in the quiet space, knowing that this is a warmth and a peace that will go with them no matter what awaits.

In the heart of the Land of Mountains, two sets of eyes eagerly take in the magnificent kaleidoscope of mountains and valleys unfurling beneath them. Wrapped in awe and the palpable bonds of friendship, Kutari and Taro arrive at their first village, a vision of loveliness nestled amidst the peaks and valleys of the great land. In a hue so delicate it seems impossible they could be real, its cherry blossom trees are in full bloom, their blossoms dancing joyfully in the temperate mountain air, while the sight of them against the craggy backdrop of the mountains’ crowns makes the place seem serene, even ethereal. As we look upon the village, we can see that each building and pathway seems to have sprung from the ground itself, nearly grown and not built, as if attempting to meld with the timeless beauty of the land around it.

Indeed, from their first glimpse of prosaic villagers going about their everyday business, the soft sounds of conversation and the clear, carefree laughter of children playing in a small field that lies beneath a grove of cherry trees can be heard. The spirit of this village is one of peace and timelessness, as though the cares of the greater world could not quite penetrate the world of such tranquil havens.

Among this tranquility, the wayfarer’s path of Kutari takes a most unusual turn. As he walks through the village, held rapt by the enchanting beauty of the cherry blossoms, he encounters a woman named Meio, one currently watching him with eyes wide with respectful curiosity. Meio possesses the same unspoken calm and knowing worldliness that Taro has, and is possessed of a countenance that can only be called as kind as her eyes are old. Her gaze warming, Meio speaks to the minstrel and tells of the reason why he has sought out one of her secluded hamlets.

Ren had, indeed, come this way several months before, and truth be told, he had left … perhaps. As Meio explains to him, Ren’s music had ripped the stillness from the bosom of this place, and when it found the ears of this country village, those who lived there found that they could not help but to have their hearts broken by the songs that they heard. Nevertheless, his stay was always meant to be that short one that all wandering souls adhere to, for his fate was to walk to the Land of Moon, a land across the mountains said to house ancient tomes of wisdom and perhaps muse enough for even his still fertile heart. And so it was that his path next took him to the caravan bound there.

Do ye see? And so says Meio, as she tells him of Ren’s last wanderings as they circle out behind him like ripples of water from a stone thrown in a still pond. Her eyes were slightly wet with a sad memory, and her smile was peaceful at his undoing as much as she could understand its hunger as it moved with the greater world’s pull.

Taken aback by the news, Kutari realizes that his journey is far from over and that his path to finding Ren Kurosawa stretches further than he knew. Yet there is no sense of defeat in his heart, only a renewed sense of purpose. His journey to the Land of Moon lies before him as the next chapter in his quest, a challenge accepted with determination born of his fervent passion for music and the lessons he hopes to learn.

Sensing Kutari's resolve, Meio offers words of encouragement, words of advice. She speaks of Land of Moon in a tone of great reverence, hinting at its beauty, at the mysteries that await. Her words are a beacon illuminating their path forward, and her faith in Kutari's quest is a fire that burns within.

As Kutari and Taro prepare to depart the village, the cherry blossoms seem to bid them farewell, their petals streaming in the wind, the beauty of life so brief. Though it lasted briefly, His encounter with Meio stays with Kutari, another reminder that every step of his journey is a step of growth, of understanding, of bringing his dreams closer to becoming reality.

With the Land of Moon as his destination, Kutari and Taro set forth once more. From the village among the cherry blossoms, they have been shown great kindness and wisdom, their spirits lifted as they take their first steps on this new path ahead. They cannot know where this path will lead, they can only know that their quest for discovery, a music that knows no boundaries, continues to carry them into the unfolding grand adventure.

Emboldened by his newfound destination and the wisdom of Meio echoing in his mind, Kutari watches as he and Taro shift their course for the Land of Haven. The Land of Mountains that is known, now in tales and song only, for the peace it's come to know and the bustling ports that signal a gateway north to the Land of Moon. The Land of Haven is a place where one passes not just from here to there, but through a countryside of deep forests, rolling hills and tranquil rivers. The journey from the village of cherry blossoms to the northern reaches of the Land of Mountains provides its own challenges, and its own moments of wonder. The landscape changes and the paths no longer call for rugged, mountain born-worn stone. As they venture north scent of pine carries on the breeze, the gentle whisper of as smooth, soft water rivers that weave through the land. With each step, the north calls to them and they answer its call in kind.

As they travel, they find their latest destination is a portrait of beauty all its own. A land covered in in so much green that its dense and wild forests become a place where no horizon can be seen. Rivers that run cold with clear waters that a teaming with the life beneath the surface of lands. Hamlets and communities, scattered and in little supply, where the people stop and see the two travelers pass. They tell of tales of what came before them, and just how welcome a place this new world is. And just how strange it is that travel would bring them two desert wanderers into their lives. He finds that the land holds a bond to the world around it that not unlike his own village of cherry blossoms. That there was a way of life here that was balanced and lived, a life of men that was created not over the needs and lands of others, but within the world that surrounded their lives. Till such happenings come and go, and Kutari's understanding of what the world was like grows with the each turn on the road.

Halfway through the Land of Haven, where the landscape begins to open up as they draw close to the coast, giving way to glimpses of the distant sea. A salty tang on the air, the sound of the waves battering the shoreline a constant companion. Kutari can see the sea now, keep it in front of his mind as the gift it is, the final barrier that separates him from the Land of Moon.

This late in the journey, they find delays aplenty. A thick fog rolls in from off the sea, wrapping the world around in an eerie haze, a reminder that even make familiar things utterly unknowable. The covert travellers take their time, blind wanderers with every step.

These are punctuated by a wide river, whose swift currents necessitate careful navigation to cross. They stop for a moment, Kutari and Taro perched at the water’s edge, to share a quiet reflection on the road they’ve walked so far, tales of the people they’ve met and the lessons they’ve learned. It’s a moment not just of companionship, but of gratitude for the experiences that have brought them together.

As they rise and continue half-way through the Land of Haven, caught suspended between the sea and the Land of Moon to which they walk, Kultrai is left with a mixture of anticipation and introspection. The journey wears on and the unexpected accumulates, and although their destination draws near, his mind lingers on where he’s been--their camp this evening finds the land's ceiling high and the sky unclouded, a fire-freckled tapestry overtop the Land of Haven that feels a little like the long road they’ve walked, and the long road ahead.

Kutari's path with Taro -- pilgrims walking within the Land of Haven. When will it end? He walks forward in pursuit of his passions through this pursuit of freedom and understanding -- confronting his quest for growth... His faint, sea-soaked visions -- a roar that gently rocks the ocean's distant shore.

As night falls on the Land of Haven and marks the halfway point of Kutari and Taro's journey, the two settle into a makeshift camp, an unspoken fog hanging between them almost as thick as the one they'd navigated earlier. It is a bittersweet realization that the shoreline is just within reach and that they will soon be heading into the Land of Moon, signaling that their journey together is coming to an end.

Under the vast sky, which was dotted with tiny, distant stars, the camp was reflective and tinged with sadness. There were no more fights to be had, no more hopes that the other would come to their senses about the ideals that they had given up on long ago that could ultimately save the world. The fire crackled in the crisp night air, casting a warm glow over their faces and illuminating the nothingness of the woods that surrounded them, and they knew that tonight was no different than countless others on the road, but tonight the air was thick with the reality that this had all been temporary.

Kutari finally broke the silence, an air of sadness creeping into his voice as he thanked Taro for the companionship, the guidance and the life lessons that he never could have hoped to learn with his tribe down in the Cocoon. Down here, with a monk who was friends with one of the biggest Zaruyas they'd seen and had failed to bring ruin to the world, the very thought was laughable. He spoke of hours upon hours of conversations over things he'd never put much thought into before, of the ways that they'd discovered how very different—and yet how very much the same—their lives and their homes really were.

From there, they fell into reminiscing about the road they’d left behind them. They talked about the threats that they’d seen and the ones that were to come, they shared stories about the beauty that they’d seen and the people that they’d met, and it seemed to Taro as if each moment of confession and laughter and contemplative silence tied the thighs that held the woman he loved more tightly around his heart. (I imagine them laughing, and Taro falls quiet simply from the contentedness of being around Kutari. He just gets lost in the feeling of holding Kutari around his arms and keep going, forgetting to say anything.)

The night passed smoothly, carried on by the two of them as they wasted the hours together until the fire had burned low and the first crack of light broke in the sky. When they were finished, when the last bit of life had gone out of the embers and Taro let himself sink languidly against the ground, looking up at the blue sky with the smile of a man who’d found a friend in a world that was filled with nothing if not travelers, Kutari tucked into the warm tent and fell as numbly into sleep.

As the two lay in their separate beds, the silence of the wood growing all around them, it was all they could have ever asked for, in the best way that travelers can hope for anything. What had been nothing more than a curious, reserved question mark of a once-monk, of a once-sorcerer, on their second night on the road so many nights ago, had become something that was—for better or worse—a wall, a shaping, glistening, labyrinthine stone wall; one that was as tall and as thick as the one they’d seen today towering before them. Though one thing was for sure, if they ever beat paths across one another’s trail, they decided that they would take the gamble, all over again.

As the sun begins to bring light to the horizon, on the edge of the First Light, Kutari and Taro barely get the chance to enjoy a moment of rest before noticing they are not alone. Bandits, who have come upon them suddenly and without warning, now have made their presence known. Their tranquil campsite, sheltered in the serene beauty of the Land of Haven, awakens again with all the tension and threat of potential violence. The bandits, drawn by the same invite to travelers, have done so quickly and quietly, sprawled around the camp and making no attempt to disguise their intentions under the posture of marauders and in the greed of their eyes.

Though caught off guard, Kutari and Taro react with a precision honed through countless such situations in their travels together and express experiences make them two parts of the same whole. The hunter in Taro quickly makes a combat assessment and he gestures over his shoulder, Kutari positioning himself back-to-back with his companion and covering each other’s vulnerabilities. Over confidence in their numbers has them demanding valuables and due underestimate the resolve and skill of the journeyed pair. Kutari, a traveler now wise in the ways of the road and his realization of the value of a measures response to the recent horrors they have seen, tries for a peaceable solution, only to glint in their eyes tells him they do not come to talk, but to plunder.

For a moment, all that can be heard is the sound of leaves rustled by the slight wind of the new morning breeze, and the shallow breaths of men about to make war. Then, with the silent nod of their shared names required, they burst into motion. Taro makes the whole terrain and training of a survivalist his own to their advantage, using daring and quick thinking turned to surprise the hunters now become the hunted. The terrain is used to create diversions, and the mist begins to fill with war cries and the backside charge of desperate men, and both scream for their freedom.

Meanwhile, Kutari is demonstrating the skills he’s learned during his travels. He moves with an economy of motion and grace that conflicts with his gentle nature. He his family's teachings he remembers at that moment and who stood for certain things for self-defense, to be sure, but also for sticking up for those who stood with you. As such, the two mount a formidable defense and soon turn what was essentially a heartless, greed-driven attack by bandits back into something that is much more regrettable.

The fight is intense, but it’s also relatively short, as Kutari and Taro’s strategy of divide and conquer plays out for to the hilt as their agility combined with the element of surprise turn the table in favor of the two men. One by one, the bandits falter as they realize too late that they have underestimated both their opponents and the nature of fair fights to start with. These are not the predators that they believed themselves to be, but are instead prey that was caught in a hunt gone horribly, horribly awry.

In the end, the bandits withdraw into the forest, leaving behind their ill-conceived venture, the lot of them demoralized and utterly defeated. And, as they stand by the campsite, weary but still with the adrenaline of combat coursing through their veins, the two friends discover that they are victorious. It is, indeed, a harsh reminder of the perils of the road, but also a testament to what they had survived together. And, as they gather up their camp and prepare to move on, it is with a renewed sense of vigilance born of the ambush, yes, but also a still deeper bond between two men who have faced adversity and emerged unbroken. Indeed, the incident at the camp was less a warning against the road ahead than it was a sure and certain reminder of the things that lay behind them. But such things, it seems, are to push each of them forward, for they are each moving toward separate destinies-that their fellowship on the road would forever link.

After the ordeal with the bandits at dawn, the Land of Haven provides an almost therapeutic change of pace. Kutari and Taro are in good spirits now as they continue on foot. The difficult circumstances they’ve endured since escaping the palace have pushed the pair of them to their limits, but the experience has also made them grow closer. During the day, the dense trees gradually thin out, making the ground less steep. They find themselves in a soft terrain of soil, plants, and trees under gentle sunlight. By mid-afternoon, the two reach the shore of a large body of water. This lake lies flat and vast, stretching at least three miles to the horizon.

Trees and wildflowers pepper its perimeter, and they can hear the voices of nature loud and clear. Everything about this setting is still and peaceful, a stark contrast to the morning. It seems to call for them to rest and take a moment to enjoy the world.After the day they’ve had, a place to rest and regain their strength is too good to pass up. They make camp early. They find a verdant patch of grass near the water’s edge. They lay down and are almost at once pulled into its soothing calm.They set up camp under the warm sun, its gentle light just short of too hot as it caresses their skin. They sit now at the water, watching the teem of life contained within. They’ve made some fishing tackle out of nearby resources with their break and are trying their luck. They mostly sit, cast and purvey the depths under silent contemplation.

They cast their lines into the water, the silence between them comfortable, each man lost in his thoughts. Taro, his experience of the wild, doles out pointers on the art of fishing, while Kutari, the ever-eager pupil, listens carefully, soaking up every piece of wisdom. Hours will pass this way, without their knowing, the stillness of the lake and the repetitive motion of casting and reeling acting as the balm to their weary spirits.

Their patience will be rewarded with a modest catch, enough to sustain them for the evening. With the sun setting, the sky alive with the pinks and orange of dusk, they set about preparing their fish over an open fire. It's a simple meal, seasoned with herbs from the land nearby, a testament to the enormity of the land and the cunning they've developed over the journey.

They will eat by a throttling sunset over the lake, the water turning to mirror the inferno sky as day becomes night. It's not lost on the duo, the beauty of the moment -- as a reminder of the world's wonders, as to some of the serendipitous delights of their adventure, or as to the friendship that has grown between them.

By the time they're done, the night has all but consumed the day and the fire's dying embers crackle as the stillness returns. What follows is hours of stillness, of their stories and laughter, and of the road's trailings – however momentary. In this lake, this evening, placid and restorative, they will have found a sanctuary -- saved a piece of this adventure, a moment of respite, from a world bursting with excitements and unknowns. In the morning, they'll head out, once more; Kutari through the coast, to the Land of Moon, and Taro, into possible new trails. But tonight, those are still just two travelers -- of the road, of the lake -- in the silence and each other.

Upon reaching the shores of the Land of Haven, Kutari and the hunter, Taro, are greeted by the boundless ocean that spans the horizon. The rhythmic crashing of the waves and the tang of salt in the air mark their journey’s end. With the forest and mountains behind them, they have walked the serene landscapes of their companionship for the last time. Before them, a flurry of ships and captained sails signal the beginning of Kutari’s search for Ren Kurosawa in the Land of Moon.

As if parting were a miasmic pall, the realization that their paths are about to diverge takes shape. They talk and laugh, as they have all these days on the open road, but there is a heavy sweetness to their last hours. As the time comes for them to finally part ways, Kutari turns to the hunter, a grateful light in his eyes. He speaks his thanks — for the man’s guidance and protection, but more than that, for the friendship that has been as integral as air. Taro’s wisdom, courage, and unyielding partnership have been like sunlight on the pale shoots. Without him, Kutari says, this journey would have been as cruel and lonely as it has been kind and wondrous.

Taro tells the young man of his spirit and resolve. He tells Kutari of the boy’s love of music, his compulsion to learn and to explore, of how he has reflected on his own journey with wisdom beyond his years. This meeting, Taro promises, has meant as much or more to him; it has made indelible marks on a life not yet done. For a short time there is no sound, as the fullness of each man’s words and the weight of the walk they have shared wash over them. This ending is no more an end than the friendship they have kindled, and they know it. They claim it.

One final time, they embrace — a farewell heavy with grief, appreciation, and deep recognition of the strength that has been forged in the crucible of their shared trial. They separate. Kutari’s eyes follow the hunter’s figure as it vanishes down Horiizon, into the heart of the land that will never forget his passing. And the man turns toward Home. Even as the clotted tears brim, there is the unknowable brightness of distant lands heavy in his breast and the one beside it. And taking his first step home, Kutari feels the weight of Taro in the leaden courage of his stride. The taste of salt becomes wet within himself, and he smells ship and brime and the open road once more. He enters that flotilla alone, carrying with him the strains that will see him through the next life-changing trial, and the memory of a friendship that has been rekindled in the quiet of affection and sacrifice.

The cacophony of sounds and the salty tang of the sea air envelop Kutari as he stands on the bustling docks of the Land of Haven. Sailors and merchants move with purpose, loading and unloading goods, shouting instructions, and bidding farewells. It is amidst this flurry of activity that Kutari spies his vessel — a sturdy ship that will carry him on the final leg of his journey, to the Land of Moon. Its sails flutter in the wind, as if eager to cut through the waves and begin its voyage.

As he boards the ship, Kutari is struck by a mixture of excitement and apprehension. The last footsteps he will take bring him closer to his quest. And with each passing mile, he draws nearer to finding Ren Kurosawa … to uncovering more about his own path, his own potential. He takes a moment to look back at the receding shoreline, contemplating the journey that has brought him here — from his home village in the Land of Wind, through the trials and friendships that marked every stop along the way.

As the ship departs, the land slowly fades from view, swallowed by the immense expanse of the ocean. Kutari finds himself surrounded by the endless blue of sea and sky — a vision at once daunting and awe-inspiring. The ship's rhythmic movement and the sound of waves crashing against the hull become a constant backdrop for his thoughts.

The passage across the sea is a time of reflection for Kutari. He thinks of Taro, the hunter who became his ally and friend; of the experiences they shared and the lessons they taught one another. He thinks of the ever-changing landscape out of which the Land of Haven rose — the challenges he faced, and the fleeting moments of beauty unearthed in the least likely places. Each recollection becomes a thread in the tapestry of a journey that has been woven from memories, bearing the story of growth, resilience and the unwavering quest to achieve one's dreams.

Out the days on the ship, hours are whiled away watching the horizon. Music is practiced continuously. Fellow travelers make conversation. Everyone has their own story. Each person their own destination. In the evenings, the ship is engulfed by a starry sky. Nighttime descends and the rocking movement of the ship provides an opportunity to ponder his heart’s content. This is when he feels the greatest sense of the continuity of the world. He feels the infinite possibilities that stretch out before him as he slowly approaches this foreign nation of the Land of Moon.

Secure in his belongings and after finding his quarters in the crammed bowels of the sailing ship, Kutari leans back in the creaking bunk which will be his space for the trip to the Land of Moon: its gentle rocking and the sound of the sea, a calming murmur against the hull, serve as an immediate contrast to the adventures and challenges he’s left behind.

Night grips the ship, and Kutari lies on his bunk, staring up at the wooden beams overhead as they groan and creak with the motion of the waves, the events of the day playing out behind his closed eyes: the earnest farewell with Taro, bustling port, the moment he stepped foot aboard the ship, where this final leg of his journey began—all his anticipation, excitement, and, if he’s honest, slight apprehension for the Land of Moon mingling with the memories that brought him here.

He thinks about the Land of Moon itself: a concept so far off, and now so very soon, with each breaking wave. What will he see there? Hear? Who will he meet there, and how will his quest to find Ren Kurosawa unfold—shaped by every piece of knowledge gleaned from the wandering minstrel, a life and its music and stories spun through and long after time and space to reach and inspire him?

And then, naturally, to where he’s been and who and what he’ll soon leave behind: Taro and the lessons of one who has been a virtual brother to him. Everyone he’s met. Everyone who’s story has touched him and wove its thread into the larger tapestry of his life here. Everything of the past that’s accumulated, layer by layer, within him, and surrounding him, into who he is, at this moment… looking out towards what may emerge accompanied by the dawn.

All the while, the ship continues its steady passage through the night, and eventually Kutari’s thoughts begin to blur into sleep as the sway of the ship lulls him into its embrace—a serenity not unlike what he’s come to discover of the rare nights when the silence within him might allow as much. What washes over him—the tapestry of past and hope and adventures behind and before… shifts in his consciousness and his vision to dream.

Solitary and quiet on the sea, through senses and solitude alike, Kutari tastes readiness and, yes, peace: the quest for deeper knowledge and inspiration to visit the Land of Moon on a voyage but also a search and journey of self to discover where he belongs in this long thread and world. Tomorrow dawns a day closer.

WC: 10,322
Continued
Kutari Uchiha
Kutari Uchiha
Vagabond (D-Rank)
Vagabond (D-Rank)
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Ryo : 500

Kut lands within Moon Empty Re: Kut lands within Moon

Thu Mar 07, 2024 12:48 am
A fine morning it may be for most, but it is an even finer morning for the beautiful Uchiha that felt the sea breeze blow across his cheek. There was much for him to learn, and he was dedicated to learning everything he could possibly learn from his journies.

As the boat slices through the beautiful and bountiful hues of blues and greens and excitement, with also a hint of tranquility. He was excited for what was to come on the new island and in the new place. The gentle sea breeze tugs at his short black hair and tousles the loose ends of his beautiful light gray leather jacket. He would, of course, be wearing the leather jacket to keep appearances despite the sun's warmth. The jacket was a bright sheen of gray, complementing the bronzed hue of his skin as it absorbed the sun's shine and shimmered across the surface.

As Kutari meanders across the deck, drawn forward by his endless wanderlust, he finds himself leaning on the railing as the expanse of ocean captures his full attention. The sun is now high in the sky; it’s brilliant shine casting the water into a breathtaking tapestry of sparkling lights. As Kutari gazes out upon the tranquil scene before him, he notices a soft stirring in water – a series of graceful shadows that glide just beneath the surface.

Leaning in a little closer, his sharp eyes make out a pod of whales. The massive, serene creatures move alongside the ship with such perfect tranquility that, for the moment, Kutari can’t help but be moved.

Kutari finds himself suddenly forgotten his contemplative demeanor, caught up for a moment in wonder. As the ship sails, the great whales glide and occasionally breach, sending great plumes of water flying which catch the sunlight and create myriad rainbows. It’s a masterful reminder of the beauty and the strange allure of the natural world which has always seemed very near to Kutari’s soul.

Softly, an almost hauntingly beautiful melody can be heard as Kutari’s fingers begin to move over the harmonica. At first the tune is hesitant, gently caressing the silence between the deep. Then it begins to take form and, before long, notes as timeless as the deep they float upon are mixing wistfully with the ever-changing sounds of the ocean. The tune is for the whales; it is for the massive creatures whose very company has moved the little otter to share the dance they took together through the deep.

Slowly the world slides away, the little, smiling otter thinking of home, and the road that has brought him here to this place and time. They’re so strong, he thinks, and so graceful! The whales! They are travelers of the deep; beings unbound by land and creatures of and in a way, perfect freedom. And just what he himself is striving for.

It’s more than a mere coincidence, more than just a pretty dance display. It’s connection and it’s thought and it’s a swift reminder of just where his path will lead him. It isn’t so different from anywhere now, if he’s only brave enough to find it. It’s a reminder to continue his training and he thinks finally tears streaming down his face softly, it’s a reminder that if he only follows his own path, the beauty will find him.

As Kutari plays, the sound of his harmonica only grows. The spellbinding music reaches out to the inhabitants of the ship, drawing them out of private contemplation or conversation. Rich with feeling and soul, the strains of his harmonica fill the air around the deck, and anyone nearby might find themselves pulled to a stop in order to listen.

The music draws everyone over, one by one until they create a semi-circle around Kutari. The music of his harmonica has a way of alienating the normal hustle and bustle. Instead, it creates a shared experience of just the melody and the hearts touched. Passengers from many walks of life and many countries — with many languages — all find common ground when the notes begin to flow.

Kutari responds to his growing audience. He builds the volume of the song, allows the harmonica to take over and then begins to play with a visible passion on his face. His music builds intricate rhythms around each other, feeling out the collective spirit of those who have joined him through his headphones.

The reaction is a simple one. Some sway with the rhythm. Others watch intently as the man tells a story just as clearly with the melody he plays as the music itself. Children sit cross-legged on the deck, the wonder evident on their faces while the nods and appreciation from many would-be too cool adults tell you all you need to know about the heart of the man with the harmonica.

The final piece builds to a point of both gratefulness and camaraderie over everything shared. Kutari’s final note gets a roar of applause from the passengers. Each of them are genuinely and deeply thankful for the music and the shared experience. But even outside of that, his passion and his music has united them in those few minutes of performance. That, he soon learns, will never change as he travels through the Land of Moon.

This is where Kutari’s first sense of belonging enters, where he starts to realize the magic of what he and his music can bring to the world. As the claps die out and the passengers wander off into the rest of the day, knowing they’ll take that shared memory with them from the bow of a ship with the Land of Moon still looming in the almost unseen distance, Kutari plods off, completely optimistic of the adventurers that lie in his future and the thought that this — this performance — is a beautiful part of an even more beautiful journey.

During his transition, Kutari contemplated his future in this new place. Would he see this Ren Kurosawa? Would he find others from his tribe? He continued to consider as he would pull out his harmonica. It was the perfect little instrument for his traveling ways, something he found most entertaining during his time in the wilderness. It was a habit that he had learned from his mother. She was a vagabond herself. Their traveling band was something to behold. His father would play the stand-up bass, his mother would play the violin, and he would often play his harmonica as part of their act.

His soft playing would radiate through the space around him, a soothing sound of the harmonica ringing through the air, bringing calm to his heart and soul. At his neck is a sleek but elegant necklace, each pendant or bead a reminder of the home he’s left behind and the journey he hopes to carry out. Rings clink softly at his fingers, a medley of baubles and metal, a collection of love letters and tokens of memories, gifts, and symbols of the passing of time, all of which speak fluently of his love for accessories.

He fiddles with his harmonica, thinking about how it’s more than just a keepsake, more than dead weight in his pack of traveling supplies. The instrument is a bridge to his past. His mother’s stories beat through him still. She had taught him the arched pipe and its tricks through practice alone, her melodic ballads of a harsher life coming as he learned them on poorly tuned night under clean stars. It was her first teachership, not just in the bulbed arts of honed slivers and harmonica throat, but in the sticky felted-heart music of living. Her notes graced his first bow by the hand of her soft-skinned path. Kutari remembered her lessons in moonlight, war paint on his podgy cheeks and a skinny harmonica cutting vengeance through wide bamboo.

Memories and emotions welled up unbidden as he studied the aged, lovingly worn exterior of the harmonica. His mother had been the first to teach him of the arts, of music and the instrument he’d held in every class he’d sat through today. She’d been a creative woman who cherished the harmony of beauty wherever it could be found. She’d been the one who’d given him his love of the arts and his desire to experience beauty in whatever form it took. Kutari knew that she was also the one who had taught him that it was sometimes courage, not cunning, that was needed to forge his own path, even when it diverged from what was expected.

Silently, Kutari allowed himself to ponder his thoughts of his mother and her tribe, the Uchiha. Despite herself, she’d always shared stories of the family whose latent potential and keen eyes she’d carried with her. In those tales, he found the proud, troubled history of the Uchiha painted with more detail than any he’d ever found on the brittle pages of history. His mother may have been long gone, but her link to her lineage had drawn her to the far corners of the Land of Moon, and the blood link he shared with her had drawn him as well. It was part of his very being, part of the fabric of his spirit and his legacy.

The thought struck him like a soft explosion when it danced its way through his mind. If there were other Uchiha in the Land of Moon and perhaps even Ame, more than his own heritage was waiting for him there. She’d spoken of Sharingan that pierced the very soul and their home, but she’d always danced around the potential he’d barely begun to understand. No, it wasn’t just an extended family that may have waited for him in the Land of Moon, it was a legacy. A chance to uncover the secrets of the very DNA that coursed through his veins.

Around these thoughts of hope, however, lingers a strand of apprehension. Kutari’s upbringing has been anything but traditional for an Uchiha of Konoha. His life as a caravan of musicians, his tight bond with his mother, his unorthodox training—how will all of these differences color his initiation? Will they mark him for fascination, or friction among other Uchihas?

He finds solace in his mother’s three teachings: that music can bear one’s soul to another, that one’s individuality is a form of beauty, and that to understand and accept the greatness in your blood gives you great strength. Over the Land of Moon, those same lessons pump as much as his heart, merging into one thread of resolve that fills him up like the heat of the sun. The Land of Moon approaches, and so does his spirit. He meets it face-forward, harmonica in-hand, that one last totem—handle of luggage, treasure-saint and toll—drifting toward the red of an Uchiha horizon where his journey can begin in the honesty of his un-flutter–ing heart. Onward, with passion.

The sun begins to set, casting a golden glow over the sea. Deep inside himself, Kutari feels calm. In the distance, the Land of Moon patiently awaits. And as the sun turns the world around him to flame, Kutari steps into an uncertain future, eager to connect, to uncover the greatness inside his blood and to carve his place at last… in the stars.

Very little is peacetime these days for Kutari. His mind’s never left to its own devices, and, at the moment, he’s lost in thought, pondering the skills he wants to hone and perfect once he reaches the Land of the Moon. He has been touched by the rich legends of the Uchiha and their blazing passionate fighting, and he wishes to unlock the potential of his sight and dreams about the day when he’ll master abilities that will keep his loved ones safe from any threat.

Kutari is also interested in the crew and passengers, and his curiosity about the other’s stories shines through his polite and friendly demeanor. Light banters and conversations follow, usually regarding his love for playing around with his music and different aspects of his art. His pleasantry usually turns into a way to gather information about the Land of Moon and its inhabitants with him.

When the sun begins to dip, and golden light washes over the sea, Kutari seeks an abandoned spot on the boat’s deck, where cozy shadows engulf him under the thin dress of stars that begins to decorate the sky above. Here, away from prying or undesired ears and eyes, Kutari heads off to practice his ninjutsu. Despite each step's power surge, his masterful skill and grace demonstrate a silent balance of poise and form. This routine is a form of physical discipline mixed with religious meditations and artistic creativity that keep him grounded in channeling his energies towards everything that may await on the Land of the Moon and beyond.

Leaning back into his canvas chair on the boat, Kutari eases his bowed shoulders towards his ears as the moon crests the western horizon. It is dark enough for him to join the other passengers and crew on deck, where a small group has gathered under the twinkling blanket of the night sky. Bottles of whisky pass hand to hand, and every passenger has a tale to tell as everyone shares and laughs. Even Kutari, who is often drinking, indulges now to retune his pulsing mind, ‘making a pact’ out of the experience. The trip will take at least two days, and he has to work to find the information he needs on his destination.

The wine unbuttons lips; the stories, too, begin to flow, the way a wave sweeps against the shore. Kutari listens, the silver of his long-lashed grey eyes reflecting the lantern’s sway, catching bits and pieces of conversation about the Land of Moon and its visitors, until the name of a particular guest is whispered into his ear: Ren Kurosawa. Yes, the crew said, the dark-haired singer had been spotted on the island, his songs echoing through the forests.

The talk soon turns to more exciting stuff: Kutari learns that others have made it to the island, not just travelers and nomads, but people and families who have decided to form a community there. A settlement has even formed, where people come together to see what they can create. It is, they say, a place where everything is shared.

But a settlement like this could be idyllic, Kutari contemplates. Not just to meet Ren Kurosawa, perhaps, but also to be part of a place where he won’t be judged by others, where he can witness a large community built around a set of values shared by him — values of beauty, nature, craftsmanship — where he can contribute some of his skills to the cause, and where he can practice the culinary arts passed down by his mother.

The discussions bolster Kutari’s desire to get to the Land of Moon to check out these new developments. He spends the rest of the night listening to as many substantive and anecdotal details as his fellow wayfarers have to offer. As the gathering breaks up and settlers retire for the night, Kutari finds a quiet space on deck. He gazes out at the sea, the moon shimmering like a silver pathway on the water, and feels newly connected to the purpose of his journey. He understands now that there might be more to the Land of Moon than the opportunity to meet a musical legend and that it might have something to offer him – a place to belong, contribute, and find people like himself.

Freshly motivated and galvanized by the stories of the night, Kutari retires to his cabin and falls to sleep, rocked to sleep, supported by the rhythmic movements of the sailboat. He dreams of music, people who know how to fight in form, and a community where differences are respected – the community he wants to create in the Land of Moon.

Kutari stirs sleepily, looking forward to his days in the Land of Moon, the boat about to finally enter. Sunshine from a porthole slices the room, a sign that another day will be ready and waiting, as he slips into consciousness over breakfast with the crew and passengers. He has work to do, work to occupy himself before the boat pulls into the island's shore.

Kutari decides to spend some time practicing ninjutsu – a skill he takes nearly as seriously as he does everything else he does. Standing on the deck and tilting his face to the sun, he goes through a series of graceful gestures in a sequence that speaks to his growing connection with chakra. With each motion, he reminds himself to sink his chakra into his eyes as he attempts to awaken them, remembering the powers he thinks wait dormant within them. His motions are a dance, his movements a meditation exercise.

Kutari is dedicated to his training more than most things to stay physically balanced and in the community with those around him. He also takes time to perform for his fellow travelers and listeners; pulling out his small harmonica, he sits and plays on a deck where the boat's chop and the wind's deep arm create an accompaniment to his makeshift concert.

Kutari plays a tune fit for the sea, a soulful tune with the blues seeping within each note. Before long, an audience begins to form. His soul-stirring music, a maze of twists and turns and joy, pulls at their hearts, and they smile back and nod in appreciation. For Kutari, these moments of giving create the space that the life-saving skills of rewiring scars leave out. They tell him that art and music – as disruptive as they can be – are as much a means to saving souls as is medical practice.

He switches between his training, which he does mainly on his own during the day, and his music in ways that mirror the tidal pattern of his environment. After some time, pas­sengers and crew would have learned that Kutari was as much a musician as a fighter, equally capable of entertaining them over dinner in the crew mess with a song on his harmonica.

As the sun begins to set, painting the sky orange and purple, Kutari sits silently while the others stand and stretch. With promises of arriving at the Land of Moon in the morning, the weary Kutari goes to bed. Alone in his quarters, he closes his eyes and dares to dream of the Land of Moon, Ren Kurosawa, and a village where he once more could belong.

Through the night, as the vessel rocks gently on the ocean, in the rare silence of the deep night, he thinks of his family, and the music plays on in his mind, surrounded by fond memories. Those nightly thoughts bring peace but make him miss home – the pleasant times he once spent with his family. It is hard to think of a better artifact than his harmonica to show the bond between a mother, father, and son and symbolize their happy times.

Is it just remembrance or an awakening of all those things that can no longer be? Kutari closes his eyes and conjures vivid recollections of those early days when his family was filling the caravan and making music together. He visualizes the feel of his father’s upright bass, its penetrating lead bones an anchor upon which the higher-pitched melody of his mother’s fiddle rode lightly but boldly. Kutari closes his eyes and returns to the home he grew up in. His own two parents fiddled with the homemade blues.

Kutari, too, as a boy, joined this domestic group, the voice of his harmonica doubling the melody and counterpoint his parents were already creating, the sound of his harmonica mingling with theirs. At the same time, alone, he spun his tales of joy, adventure, and melancholy as best he could. Learning to play it brought him something like a passage from childhood into adulthood, something like a state of being connected, enfolded, part of them, since the act of learning – hearing – was something they shared, and their sharing brought with it its rewards. It placed a solid, healthy love of music. It would seem so naturally and effortlessly in his path that it felt as automatic as breathing.

These memories and the meanings attached help to shape the course of his journey, guide him along the way, and anchor him wherever he goes. The tradecraft and the emotion, nostalgia, love, and music of that time still reverberate and power his forward motion profoundly. In this sense, the harmonica – embedded in his pocket like a beating heart – recapitulates the past, embodying his heritage and sense of origin. It also carries the strength of tradition to face whatever adventure may lie ahead.

Just as he falls asleep, the music begins – not just wafting in and around him, but flowing through him: a celebration of his past and present, a song for his future. Amid the tumult, Kutari is reunited with his family once again, and together, they play music for one another, their music convincing him of the power of love and shared experience, their sound defining the link that connects them all. As he ventures into the unknown, Kutari chooses not to abandon his dreams but to carry the memories and the music wherever he may go.

With the first rays of the sun, the seagulls mask up. As the salty sharpness in the air announces Kutari’s arrival in the Land of Moon, a pumping sound in the hull soon adds to the bangs of the sea waves. The sound of an awakening body as it stretches itself: Kutari’s mind is filled with expectation of the potential that awaits him in his next chapter of life. He emerges on the deck, and the Land of Moon spreads before him: craggy coasts and lush green lands towards the horizon.

Without a dock to greet them, she will need to go from ship to shore via a small rowboat, with a guide who will row her the short but significant distance to the waiting arms of the island itself. The idea that Kutari has steered ships and other boats to land to bring them to port is a big part of why she’s here. However, as the small boat nears the shore, she helps the guide push it off the ship and into the water, where he can take over the rowing and lead them toward land.

The trip to the shore is so tranquil that you can only hear the splashes against the rocker bottom of the rowboat or a gull’s cry from overhead. Kutari looks around, listens, and takes his observations inside himself. He hasn’t even managed to dock yet, but he knows that here, where the salty air bites his nostrils, and everything is untamed and different, where the Earth remains lit at night, and so few others dare to go, there is a myriad of stories waiting, like wild plums, ripe for picking.

Kutari climbs out of the rowboat at the shore, the toes of his sandals sinking a few inches in the soft, wet sand. He casts a last vivid look toward the glistening shores where the guide returned to the ship with practiced skill, and Kutari’s journey would truly begin. The scene's drama was powerful: it felt like he was stepping across the end of one stage of his life and into the beginning of a new one, with all the uncertainties and possibilities that entailed.

Kutari stands there alone on the shoreline, and then he sucks in a breath. The minted air of the Land of Moon is fine as spun silk in his throat and chest. The feeling of being alone is nothing. It's a psychic thing. It comes and passes. Here he is, and he is here. It is an exciting feeling, a buzzing wave of get-up-and-go. He has his dream. He can find the Ren Kurosawa he needs, hunt out the actual one, and have the powers to Get Out there and find a place where he can settle and come home.

Kutari turns away from the boat, which has disappeared on the horizon. He faces the core, the circular opening leading out to the sea. It is the gateway to the interior, a portal like a black hole where anything could happen. He straightens his jacket. Secures his possessions. Then, with his heart sunk low and his gaze opened wide to everything and nothing at once, the fuzzy-headed presence named Kutari steps into the Land of Moon at eyeball level and in a daze.

Kutari notices the stumps of monumental structures on the farthest horizon, barely noticeable for how they erupt from the Land of Moon, unblemished and cleanly etched by the morning light. Their rating and density escape only the most avid adventurer: from this distance, they circle into the sky as round, oval, and arrow-shaped silhouettes that awaken in him that same yearning for lost knowledge that the sea cannot suppress. Seas between continents can make a man an island as much as oceans can. But so can these structures at the end of the universe that disappoint the fear of the unknown.

This sense of not knowing what’s there gives Kutari the urge to continue. It makes him pick up and throw a stone. The further he gets from the shoreline, the more he can make out details of buildings in the distance, which means the more he can see. He quickens his pace, exhilarated by not knowing what he will find up there. Maybe he’ll be able to enter these structures. The structures in front of Kutari become more than that. They transform from mere buildings into clues to the customs, history, and people of the Land of the Moon, either present or past.

As he gets closer, what appeared at a distance as a testimony to habitation and activity is seen as something else entirely. The severe lines of these buildings soften, and the magnificence that seemed to mark them from a distance gives way to desolation and abandonment. Kutari realizes that he is not before home but a ruin – remains of a lost civilization and markers of long-past history.

That the majestic structure in which he is roaming is now little more than a crumbling ruin does not deter Kutari; if anything, it seems to invigorate him: the allure of the ruin, that space imbued with both the indistinct traces of the past as well as psychological decay, is paramount to his imagination.

Ruins are fundamentally sensuous spaces that stimulate the fetal activity of a more ancient brain housing primal, untamed desires. They awaken dormant memories and traumas and encourage present-day actors to recapture a vital connection with the distant past – still being played out. The prospect of leaving behind his current world, of departing otherwise familiar surroundings to venture into these remnants, was an intoxicating mix of humility and exhilaration.

Once the ruins are visible before him, his observation from the shore is transformed into a decision to investigate. What had been a visionary skyline is now a concrete challenge. Kutari no longer sees the ruins but imagines them as a portal that offers valuable knowledge, an opportunity for self-development, and the chance of a lifetime.

As Kutari furthers his journey into the Land of Moon, his eyes drift to these distant, towering forms, and he ponders their existence. The hollow sounds of the wind coming off that morning mist carry their voices, but he can’t hear them. His eyes can, and they tell him one thing and then another. The landscape radiates with light, and an azure world writhes into sight. He watches in awe as rocky crags and lofty walls of towering concrete stir and swirls into life, rising towards the heavens. They call him with the promise of a future filled with unimaginable secrets. Curiosity draws Kutari forward. There is a spark in his heart, and he’s overwhelmed by an urge to explore.

It is a path of discovery as the landscape gradually shifts from the unmediated wilderness of the shore to the ruins. Only as he approaches can Kutari discern what remains of those structures he so fervently searches through the jungle canopy of evergreen – not broken down dwellings but ruins, all the same, unnatural, weathered, their grand facades now just ghosts of an ancient past. If the right kami has steered his path in the forest, the stuff of legends hides inside these ruins. As he draws closer to the ruins, they come into focus. The clarity of light reflects on his eyes. The chance to find the people he seeks, possibly even Ren Kurosawa and his friends, galvanizes him. He deepens his resolve to see these people.

Kutari pushes deeper into the ruins than ever before – so deep that he begins to fear that he’s bitten off more than he can chew. In his search, Kutari stumbles onto a city plaza, a center where people once gathered and went to and fro, cordoning themselves off from the lonely streets. Barren, skeletal buildings surround the plaza; some toppled or missing walls, some caved in or crumbled. Some buildings have never been there at all. If the ruins have a heart, it must beat here, in this plaza that looks back on a time when the city still lived.

Despite this setback of failing to meet Ren and his companions there, Kutari remains undeterred. The fresh footprints of those who had passed through the ruins just some hours before go a long way to inspire his belief that out there in the wilderness, somewhere between the ancient ruins, the living have never really gone. Perhaps his journey has only just begun. The old city square has become a node for Kutari, not an endpoint, but a place for new beginnings. This story will be remembered with a sense of mystery and present-day echoes of the past.

For the first time, the silence of the square lets Kutari stop looking for a way out. He sees that these ruins are not a dead-end but still a place of life, of ongoing survival. When he looks again at the broken dome, the exposed steps of the colonnade, and the trees growing through holes in the pavement, he decides to keep looking. Perhaps Ren Kurosawa or someone else is still living amid the ruins. He knew that his search wasn't finished. Instead, he would keep searching, trying to find something or someone he could begin to interact with.

In the heart of the city square, his senses are finely tuned, and he hears long before he sees anyone. At first, Kutari wonders – could this group be the ones he is looking for? A few minutes later, he begins to hear the chatter of several individuals seeming to be searching for him, but they do not seem to be of the good guy sort. If Kutari continues, it must be in secrecy. He then realizes that he probably isn’t wanted in these ruins. He begins to listen to the chatter between the two shinobi; they speak about his presence and how their leader wants him to be captured.

But as the sounds became crisper and the voices cleared, his hope faded that he had found someone he had wanted to meet. The inflections and rhythms came across even though the conversation was obscured by meters of distance and air, and they carried an anxiety that suggested only hostility behind them. A chilling realization hit him just in time – these weren’t the friendly faces he’d hoped for, but rogue shinobi and their last-minute revelation gave a foreboding that they might not have come only to play.

Kutari has little time to make his last-second decision about where to attempt to hide. He instantly recognizes an open, primarily space against the square’s main street, an open area with supports anchored to partially collapsed walls of an adjacent building. If Kutari darts toward those walls and finds a place to crouch in the deepest shadows created by the foundations holding up what’s left of the remaining walls, he might not give his pursuer a clear view of where he ran right before disappearing.

Further, if he can position his body in a shadowed crevice between the building’s crumbling façade and foundation, he’ll almost certainly be seen as just a black outline in the shadows. He can hold his breath, stretch out his body to make himself a few inches longer, and become a shadow. He moves slowly and carefully to avoid losing his grip on the stone wall. As he stands perfectly still, he hears the sound of the rogue shinobi entering the square through the park. Kutari slides forward and tucks his body into the narrowest part of the aperture. He waits.

At last, they spread out, their manner deliberate, searching. It strikes Kutari that these rogue shinobi are looking for someone, and one brief heartbeat tells him this might be the target. His mind races with calculations, evaluations, and options. Fight or flight? Engage, or hide and run? He touches unthinkingly with one hand for the blades hidden in his clothing, even as he accepts that the smart move is not confrontation but stealth.

He keeps his eyes on the intruders from his hideout, noticing their clothes, marred with the sigils of orders that had ceased to be, and their countenances, apt and ominous as those of trained experts in shadows and bloodletting, possibly the last remnants of a once-powerful faction whose days of being masters of this field had long passed since the establishment of a ritually formal order in the numerous shinobi villages. The thought that he might have stumbled upon such a potentially dangerous group brings a tingle of heightened reflexes.

As a wanderer, Kutari was taught to be patient, take control through stealth, and learn the enemy's psychology from the inside – and here, his training had paid off. As the marauding shinobi fanned out, the coordination in their movements revealing them to be something other than mere bandits, Kutari stood motionless, a man in the shadows, and watched, waited, and considered because it was the element of surprise that was on his side now.

Minute after minute, his life in the balance, the rogue’s eyes dart this way and that, and his search grows desperate still, but he’s got nothing, nothing at all, and the longer he waits, the terser his communications, the more frantic his search becomes. With an eye and an ear on that rambunctious rogue, Kutari knows this desperate moment is his moment to fade away. He’s like a ghost now, creeping through the ruins, his movements carefully timed to maximum stealth, the rustle of his clothes dissipated in the wind, every step taken towards freedom.

Now faced by the rogue ninja for the first time, the prospect of life in the Land of Moon has been revealed to him in stark terms, and the beauty and promise of the land suddenly appear deadly – the very possibilities it had presented seem menacing, as, if Kutari is to survive his coming ordeal, he will have to put all of his reactivity and determination to the test. Slipping unseen through the ruins as an assassin would do. He realizes that, in any coming confrontation, the paths ahead might not be as clear as a tame forest, but instead, it'll be complicated, far more than he would prefer.

He moves stealthily through the dark corridors of the old ruins, dodging the scouts of the rogue shinobi. He had to be extra careful this time though, because when he looked for a moment at the source of the commotion, he saw … something else among the bandits. It was an imposing figure, substantially bigger than others, and its presence commanded an eerie respect. The person – if we can call it that – is big. Very big. It was not only his size that made him look unsettling: he had not only two arms and two legs, but multiple on each side, they all merged into one large, dominant body with one head in the middle.

This freakish ombre of appendages suggests a degree of brutish strength, a ruthlessness that Kutari can only imagine. With all those arms, there are so many weapons brandished, while each limb moves with such intent as if operated by a body of its own. This freak – its torso a kaleidoscope of limbs and flesh – has a stature to match its intimidation factor. Many legs surrounding its central hourglass-like body offer a sturdy stance, while its monstrous size suggests the capacity for swift movement.

Kutari stands by, hiding in the dark and seeing his piece of the Tree – this grafted giant – whom these bandits especially defer to, whose words fill space with command or warrant, seeking, like a dog’s ears perking, their leader looking from bandit to bandit, who return their twin expressions so stately and unbroken it seems a warrior-bug’s instinct. There is restrained tension in how the leader’s head shifts, fidgets, and his whole body is primed for action. He does not just look like a leader; like he was the Leader of these shinobi who had gone rogue – more than his muscled accoutrements and dark tunic, Kutari senses something around the man that reeks of strength, by terror, by skill; unknown, but the conscious of men and beasts knows it well.

He realizes that it is foolhardy to confront the leader on the spot, so he busies himself with information-gathering, studying the leader’s physicality and the populace’s interactions in detail, figuring that whatever information he could gather would be beneficial to knowing how he could escape. As the giant demonstrated, his bandits are trained not only in offence but also in defence. He knew that learning about the enemy and gathering information are paramount in battle. If one can carefully observe your enemy’s movements and deduce his ‘weak link’, then victory will be easier to obtain.

Kutari’s head began spinning with plans and counter-plans, how to fight or how to get away from this magical power in one formidable body. What is this strange rogue shinobi doing among the rogue shinobi? Where did he come from? What are his objectives? What’s the source of the power that allowed him to stitch together all those bodies? What is the Land of Moon, where old ruins and old powers ultimately convene, if not a cacophony of problems and possibilities? There were many quesitons that he had within his mind, and he had very little answers.

Kutari continues to stare from the shadows and makes a point not to cast himself thoughtlessly into the fray, but to find his bearings, to engage in subterfuge and stealth and to tail them to find out what’s next. His run-in with the grafted fiend and his shadowy band of rogue ninja stands as the most vivid metaphor yet for the treacherous and deadly world he has stumbled into, a world where the manifestations of what came before and an insatiable lust for power between shadow and sunlight are as real as they are savage.

With each thundering footfall, Kutari pictures himself a little closer to Ren Kurosawa, towards learning what he came to learn, what made the Land of Moon what it is, and how to escape the deep wilderness while avoiding yet another threat that lurks among its ruins. In his own way, Kutari arms himself with whatever skills he can arm himself with, but he journeys as an explorer too, in search of truths and perils that go together.

He desires nothing more to learn more, but he realizes that he is going to need to find himself safety. Kutari’s rendezvous with the rogue shinobi, The ghost of a soldier from ages past. The grafted giant with one head and a dozen arms and legs had put him at a crossroads of sorts. Part of him wanted to learn more, to understand this enemy. But the other part of him wanted to escape this situation with his life.

Recognising the menace this immobile hybrid represents, not just to himself but to the people of the Land of Moon, Kutari’s ninja training comes into its own. His natural prowess at stealth is no longer an added bonus but the key to his success, silently stalking the marauding shinobi and the giant’s men from behind, out of sight, closing in and bringing them into view for his king.

His wary investigation brings him to the verge of the ruins. There, the nature of the landscape changes abruptly. Here, where Kutari learns that the crevice he observed from a distance is actually a portent of the giant’s chamber — a hole torn through the earth itself, cloaked from casual view by both its siting and, perhaps, more villainous methods. The entryway is forboading: it seems clear that whatever awaits inside is not an affair for casual onlookers. The scale of the work, the care taken in concealment — these things say much about the giant’s means of production and the considered privacy that accompanied his activities.

But with confirmation from the lair, Kutari finally comprehends the threat. The shinobi gone rogue and their strange leader have built up a base of operations capable of inflicting damage on the realm around them, and the very knowledge that such a figure would come to rest in the Land of Moon would possibly meaning the upending of such harmony that there could be within the land of Moon. He did begin thinking about this menace, thinking that maybe he had already taken over the settlement. Maybe this was the settlement that Ren had settled, and he was destroyed by this giant of man. He pushed these thoughts out of his mind for the time, and refocused on the task at hand.

The raven-haired wanderer realizes that, if he answers only with brute force, his capture of the grafted giant seemingly stands little chance of success. Not only does the grafted giant present an abnormal amount of violent possibilities, he also – possibly even more importantly – there is little doubt that its followers are probably much larger, and stronger, and more powerful than Kutari ever will be. As a result, he makes it a much less risky proposition by playing for time and, notably, for information about the specific aims, strength and potential weaknesses of the objects of his anger.

Finally, he decides to go to the shadows to figure out his next step There he will find One, the longing to meet Ren Kurosawa and become the ninja he wants to be. But now, it’s reached a dangerously new stage, as he must face a threat that jeopardizes the fabric of the Land of Moon. Kutari’s mission unravels, taking on multiple shapes and levels. But it’s always demanding, requiring the skills and alliances he and his ninja friends can muster. But most importantly, it requires his unseen instinct for justice.

Under the shadow of the ruins of what seemed like a long forgotten society, Kutari resolves to plunge to its innermost depths in search of the fate of the grafted giant and his rogue ninja. Every step, every scrap of information, every action that he takes in the days to come will potentially mean the difference between life and death for the Land of Moon, and for everyone that lives within it. This is until he began to see the sheer nunbers that this grafted giant seemed to have at his disposal.

He neared the entrance of the lair, and he could simply hear the sheer volume of footsteps that happened below the surface, and fear shot through his spine. He began to slowly retreat from the gaping maw of the lair, and he ran away from it. Kutari's discovery of the grotesque figure that was leading the rogue shinobi, just added more intensity to the situation and he was realizing that he was far over his head at this point.

His observations lead him to the lair of the grafted giant; a wide, empty pit carved directly into the earth, serving as a physical testament to the rogue shinobi's intentions and their modifying capabilities. It's a place of mystery and potential strategic importance, even possibly central to their presence on the island, and they offer him invaluable glimpses of their workings. It also demonstrates how dangerously near he's come to the heart of the enemy.

As he takes this all in, he's alarmed to notice an influx of the rogue shinobi, who converge on his position from everywhere as he has his back turned. He weighs the numbers and decides that stealth won't help him when he's outnumbered to such a degree. His choice is clear and simple to make; he runs. He doesn't run away – he runs to somewhere on the other half of the island where he can again seek fresh allies; or at least catch his breath and perhaps revisit what he's learned, maybe he can spoil the plans that they may be formualting.

With agility befit his training, he weaves a reckless path through the ruins, smoothly – expertly – tapping the remnants for speed and to roll over collapse and flood-walls, his heart pounding in his chest as he flashes between the shadowed alley and crumbling wall and the warning cries of the dead and living ruins. The chase is long-lived and difficult; an endurance run and symphony of wit and skill where he employs all of his experience and the natural nimbleness of his flesh to stay free.

Under his moving feet, the island changes from the haunting sight of ruins to lush, virgin-wildswild that obscures his recovery and the end of the other side of the island. His mind races also: For with his sight of the grafted giant, and residence of the enemy, Kutari knows that whatever he can learn of this plague that is the rouge shinobi's in the Land of Moon – would only benefit those that he would aim to become friends with. So far this journey to find this wandering minstrel has proven to be far more difficult and full of danger than he had originally thought.

His running and determination had granted him a distance that was put between him and his death by the bandits. With growing hope he looks for and wishes for the other ally who can share and counter the true menace and the rogue shinobi of the island's ruins. Maybe this Ren and his people, or a hidden village who can notify and profit by the knowledge that now fuels his nimble body forward. If he can make it.These people on the other side of the island could benefit from knowing that he had a lair and where it was, or at least that was his hope. Hell his hope was that there was people on the island to begin with.

Whether by fortune or much-needed intervention, Kutari finally finds a degree of respite on the half way point of the island. Here, the towering trees, a dense covering of foliage above, provide a kind of natural hideout from the pursuit he so narrowly escaped. The forest is alive with the beating heart of nature, of chirruping and tweeting of a thousand hidden creatures and of water murmuring its way just out of sight and hearing away. His heart still threatens to beat a hole through his chest, but through deep, heavy breaths he forces himself to calm, his eyes closed and back against a tree as stable as he is weary.

Rejuvenated in some small way, Kutari forces himself to his feet and, gasping from whatever a brutal excursion of the island threatened to do to him, hastily looks to his wounds, cleaning and bandaging them with the remnants of a medical kit he’s carried. Then he plots. He understands that it is only a matter of time before he was spotted once more, so got himself moving once more, trudging through his exhaustion.

The first thing that's on his mind, is finding others that would be able to benefit from the information that he had gathered, first and foremost. Those who are threatened by the shinobi hunting him. fiercely as he and those who need warning of the threat for whom they might be unprepared. There is always a unity in knowledge and in intelligence, and though his reticence remains at the forefront of his mind he must silence them for now.

As the sun begins its descent, casting golden rays through the forest canopy, Kutari prepares to continue his journey. He knows that rest is a temporary luxury and that the mission ahead requires his immediate attention. With renewed vigor and a clear mind, he rises from his resting place, ready to navigate the challenges ahead. Kutari steps forward, each movement deliberate and purposeful, as he ventures deeper into the forest, seeking pathways that will lead him to allies, and ultimately, to the heart of the mystery that shrouds the Land of Moon.

Amidst the relentless pursuit and his daring escape, Kutari finds himself in a place that couldn’t be more different from the chaos he’s left behind. He’s deep in a lush forest, the peaceful silence punctuated only by the soft, ambient bustle of the forest. For a moment, Kutari is hidden from harm’s way and allowed to catch his breath and collect his thoughts. The cool shade and the soft, mossy ground beneath him offer a sanctuary for a body that’s long since grown weary, and a mind that’s still far from rested.

But Kutari won’t sit idle. His natural curiosity, his need to make a place for himself in the world around him soon pulls him deeper into the forest. Above him, the canopy filters the sunlight into a soft, dappled pattern, which guides his path through the rolling maze of underbrush. Danger and deception both lurk in equal measure beneath the forest’s serenity.

It doesn’t take long for the dense foliage to break, revealing a vast clearing. At its center, bathed in sunlight, he sees a figure. An uneasy ripple of trepidation echoes through the forest as Kutari’s eyes find them. Kneeling in the earth, their body was covered in blood. It’s a clear sign of recent violence, and possible danger.

Questions without end weave a riddle as unsettling as the scene before him. Who is this person? What could possibly have conspired to cover them with so much blood, and to leave them in such a state? There are so many questions, any one culture. Only Kutari’s instincts tell him that the bloodied figure is one mystery best left alone. There was a risk in engaging a man in such a dreadful state, and those same instincts, the wisdom of his training, call for caution. Avoid unnecessary confrontation. Unburden himself and his path from any more significant entanglements with unnecessary foes and their strife.

Nearly as fluidly as thought, Kutari moves away from the figure at the clearing’s center. He’d act alone to avoid them, appearing almost to coast through the forest instead. Pain and fatigue in tow, he melts into the shadows in an attempt to circumvent the clearing and the bloodied figure.

One he executed flawlessly, silently, without a thought for anything except the figure as he picked his way through the wilderness. There, as he sidestepped and bobbed through the trees that ringed the clearing, there was nothing else for Kutari. As his cautious trek pressed on, he’d feel the weight of that decision lift from him for a time. Yet, even then, it never left. Not while the moon’s light kissed the forest floor and carried him from that figure and the clearing. The weight of uncertain intersections, discoveries both welcome and dread, and the delicate balance of caution and opportunism that would guide his journey—a weight that felt long absent in the still night air.

Emerging from the forest after braving its hazards and enigmatic inhabitants in the light of day, Kutari’s journey takes him deeper into the island at night. The moon, a celestial guide in its own right, shines a silver light on the grassy terrain to illuminate the way. It’s a welcome sight as the traveler makes his way to safety and, perhaps, a few answers. More than simply guiding him on his way, the moon’s glow reveals Kutari’s perseverance. The dense foliage of the forest finally transitions to the sight of what lies beyond — a small village sits at the edge of the woods. The forest’s darkness is no match for the settlement, its watchful light beaming out into the night.

The relief is evident in Kutari’s eyes upon reaching the village. As welcome as the presence of homes and a community center in the ruin and a warm plume of smoke in the forest are not only a promise of relative safety but potential allies. The trim features of the village become apparent as he gets closer. Simple homes constructed from worn wood and stone, with the smoke of more than a few chimneys rising into the night, the quiet rhythm of distant conversation, and the slightest moving silhouette within each dwelling as the inhabitants continue about their business are all signs this village may not have known the danger of a rogue shinobi traveling their countryside, neither the unnatural threat of the grafted giant. But it’s as likely they were unaware of the confounding, enigmatic forces enclosing them.

With an air of cautious optimism, Kutari starts walking toward the village. His steps are measured so as not to alarm its inhabitants. There is a chance that his sudden appearance—a stranger emerging from the forest in the middle of the night—might be unsettling. Kutari is keenly aware of these concerns. He knows the candor will be on him to convince the village of his goodwill. Every step is carefully weighted, and although Kutari tries to blend into the village's nocturnal landscape, he is keenly observing, looking out for any traces of hostility or any hint of fear.

The village's initial reaction as Kutari makes his way through it is far from hostility. They are cautious, to begin with, but the villagers' curiosity gets the better of them, and they come forward, questions on their lips and concern writ large on their faces. The answers that they get from Kutari are straightforward and, for the most part, truthful; he explains why he is there, how he has come from the ruins at top speed through the forest, forgoing the danger in his path, in search of allies and information on the existence of the Island of Moon…

For Kutari, the village appears to be a sanctuary, and its inhabitants are warm-hearted. It is a relief to be offered shelter for the night, though it is a simple gesture that speaks volumes of the affection villagers have shown him. There, as he envelops himself in their company, Kutari feels he will be able to learn more about the Island of Moon, what he might find there, the inhabitants that populate it, and the dangers that might lie beyond the hills, threatening their peaceful community.

At the very least, it’s a respite, a resting place, a chance for healing or the regrouping of his thoughts. It ushers Kutari to what represents a pivotal moment for him—the crossing of roads, the telling of tales, the forging of allies. Amidst all the laughter and openness whipped up during a village night, Kutari is always alert, for he knows well that deep secrets of the Island will be revealed in the whispers shared with the villagers. Faces will have been put to the challenges that need to be and the obstacles that he will have to confront.

Deciding to immerse himself, if only for an evening, in the warmth and welcome of village life, Kutari ends up at a local restaurant. A modest building, this unassuming establishment is the hub of a tightly-knit group of villagers. Inside, the air is thick with the sounds of their conversation, a melodic symphony born from the friendships and camaraderie that power a typical day of the locals. And layered atop it, the mouth-watering aroma of home-cooked meals. He decides on dishes that appear to be popular among the villagers assembled alongside him.

The meal is explosively flavored, the product of careful preparation — with each bite, Kutari can feel the warmth and love of the village’s culture and traditions bottled within for their guests. More than anything, he looks around. He takes in the joviality of the patrons around him, the human wellspring of simplicity, joy and companionship that courses through the lifeblood of rural communities. It’s a brief, tenuous dip into the lifeblood of the villagers of this place, and a reminder — in the glow of his surroundings and without even the luxury of knowing their oral traditions — of their warmth, of their resilience.

Just a short time later, he makes his way a bit further down the road to a local inn. The structure of this building very much mirrors that of the restaurant he just dined at; here, too, the crackle and hiss of the fireplace and a warm smile from the owner serve as the final, unspoken confirmation of a community based around ideology that places a great deal of stock in the ideas of sustenance and refuge for their fellow travelers. Kutari is shown to a modest yet bed and room, and despite their veneer of simplicity, he knows that each is capable of proving to be the most comfortable, restful, necessary respite after the anguish, and confusion and shattered nerves of his journey.

As he settles in for the night, the events of the past days replay in his mind—a whirlwind of challenges, discoveries and escapes that have tested his resolve and skills. The peacefulness of the village, the easy camaraderie of the people he’s beginning to know—it’s all so different from the dangers he’s come to know. In the solitary, quiet moments before sleep, Kutari allows himself to truly rest, the ephemeral security of the inn allowing him peace from the dangers that await beyond the borders of the village.

The night passes without disturbance, a rarified pleasure in the face of the chaos that has defined so much of Kutari’s time in the Land of Moon. The next morning, he wakes refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready for the new day that stretches before him. The events of the previous night, of course delicious and welcoming food and the simple warmth of the people of the village pressed together for warmth within the inn’s common space—they’ve filled him, the value of connection, the strength found in the broader element of community and shared experience all coming back to him as he stands up and stretches.

As he prepares to leave the inn and continue his journey, Kutari carries with him more than the physical rest and small stores of food and drink that he learned are a timeless element of kindness across these people of the outer world. He carries with him as well a deeper understanding of the Land of Moon—of its people. The village, a world of simple pleasure and open heart raised up against a world of darkness, and of the elements of it all worth carving a world in which he wants to live—a place of belonging, of home, of hope.Turning to leave, he takes his first step into the dawn of the morrow, ready to progress further, to learn and know the mysteries left alone on the rest of his journey in the Land of Moon.

WC: 10,004
TWC: 20,326
EXIT
Claims in next post.
Kutari Uchiha
Kutari Uchiha
Vagabond (D-Rank)
Vagabond (D-Rank)
Stat Page : Stat Page
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ninjutsu Remove Remove Default
Remove Remove Remove Remove Fire Default
Clan Specialty : Genjutsu
Village : Vagabonds
Ryo : 500

Kut lands within Moon Empty Re: Kut lands within Moon

Thu Mar 07, 2024 1:40 am
Claims:

+95 towards Vigor (bringing it to 150)
+90 towards Chakra (bringing it to 100)
+15 towards Speed (bringing it to 40)
Obtaining max stats. But just barely so no claims here will have max stat discount

+2500 towards Great Fireball Jutsu (Complete)
+2750 towards Great Fire Annihilation (complete)
+2750 towards mastering this for half handseals
+2750 towards mastering for no handseals and removing the requirement to hold the hand seal
+2000 towards 1 Tomoe Sharingan (complete)
+2750 towards Fire Dragon Bullet
+2750 towards Blast Wave (Complete)
+2000 towards Ninshu (Complete)
Dumping remaining 76 WC


Marabelle Blossom
Marabelle Blossom
Vagabond (B-Rank)
Vagabond (B-Rank)
Stat Page : The Everbloom
Mission Record : Misson Log: Everbloom
Iryōjutsu Bukijutsu Kanjutsu Default
Remove Earth Water Lightning Remove Default
Village : Vagabonds
Ryo : 2500

Kut lands within Moon Empty Re: Kut lands within Moon

Mon Mar 11, 2024 4:41 pm
Kutari Uchiha wrote:Claims:

+95 towards Vigor (bringing it to 150)
+90 towards Chakra (bringing it to 100)
+15 towards Speed (bringing it to 40)
Obtaining max stats. But just barely so no claims here will have max stat discount

+2500 towards Great Fireball Jutsu (Complete)
+2750 towards Great Fire Annihilation (complete)
+2750 towards mastering this for half handseals
+2750 towards mastering for no handseals and removing the requirement to hold the hand seal
+2000 towards 1 Tomoe Sharingan (complete)
+2750 towards Fire Dragon Bullet
+2750 towards Blast Wave (Complete)
+2000 towards Ninshu (Complete)
Dumping remaining 76 WC



Approved!
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