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 Paving the Path to War *training + travel*

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PostSubject: Paving the Path to War *training + travel*   2nd February 2015, 3:41 pm

Back on the West Continent:

Cyrus walked along the ramparts of the northern choke point in Eden and gazed down at the rolling waves that crashed along the massive stone cliff face nearly five hundred feet below. Behind him, and beneath the wall he now walked along were dozens of troops training and milling about the choke point performing various jobs to keep the place running. Beside him was the leader of this particular choke point, a middle-aged man with slightly greying hair. Tall, lean and wiry, he stood at attention beside Cyrus as the Blade of the Shogunate gazed over the angry sea for a long minute. The man's name was Kaito, he was a capable Tokubetsu Jonin, Cyrus had faith in his abilities to watch over and defend the West Continent's northern most point. My apologies for not having a more prepared welcoming for a Blade of the Shogunate, my lord. We were not anticipating your arrival, next time please send word ahead of time so we might prepare a true welcoming. Kaito spoke and Cyrus just smiled to himself, not taking his eyes off the ocean as he spoke, Please Kaito, you have nothing to be sorry for. In truth I wasn't entirely planning on stopping here before I departed, but my ship has been delayed and you were only a short few miles away. It gives me peace of mind to know that I'm leaving this fort in such capable hands, you've done very well. When this war is over, if we both make it out alive, I promise a hearty reward for your services if you keep up the good work. Kaito stood perfectly straight and saluted Cyrus, My men and I will defend the north to the last sword. If they take an inch, we'll push them back a foot. Cyrus nodded and placed a hand on the man's shoulder, That's good to hear my friend, truthfully it is. I'll be on my way now, thank you for your hospitality. Kaito continued his salute as Cyrus walked down the stairs leading up to the ramparts, it was a bit much in Cyrus's eyes, he never liked being so singled out by the lower ranks, but that was the price you pay when you're a Blade of the Shogunate and a general in this upcoming war.

As Cyrus departed the northern choke point and made his way down the rolling hills that it sat upon to the ship launch, he reflected on these past few months. In a way, Cyrus himself had organized his country for war and will be sending thousands to their deaths in the not so distant future. To the people it will look as though the Blades had decided this, possibly even the Shogun since they are supposed to work through the Shogun's will, but Cyrus knew the truth. Sure the other Blades had agreed with him, but he was the one that brought it up in the first place. He was the one that craved this war, to slaughter the Dobutsu and later conquer the Allied Shinobi Nation if necessary. He wanted them united on all fronts, he wanted things to go back to the way they were before the Dobutsu invaded. No Allied Shinobi Nations, no Dobutsu Badlands, and certainly no Pandora with their new false god. The rumors circling around that place were horrifying to say the least, but he had other fish to fry before he could worry about Carmen and her merry band of immortals. As Cyrus walked he played with the rubber band fastened around his wrist, pulling it and letting it snap back on his skin. Since the war talks and everything started happening he had picked up this habit as a way to tell that he was still very much alive and moving forward. Things were happening in such a blur that he needed a constant, something to anchor him to reality, especially since he started delving into the Kekkai dimensions. His new powers were manifesting much faster and much more violently than he had ever anticipated. At night his dreams would blend with the various realities and dimensions that existed out there. He'd wake up sweating profusely in his bed, a true night terror overtaking him only to find he was actually IN his bed, having slipped out of the physical dimension for a moment. He would be forced to float back up to his bed before suddenly popping out of the dimension. At one point he hadn't floated up and the mattress literally exploded as Cyrus suddenly became a part of the physical plain once again. So, he had decided that on this long voyage he would take the time to master at least a few of these dimensions, to get control over them before they could cause any problems during his next few meetings in the East Continent.

As Cyrus stepped onto the docks, his large passenger vessel tied to the posts that lined the wooden walkway, he thought about one last thing; Rika. He had been too busy to say goodbye to her. No. That was a lie. He could have stopped by, made time to see her before he left, but he made up every excuse not to. Rika was beautiful, he fully enjoyed her company. Not to mention she was one of the most dangerous women he had ever met, which, for some unexplainable reason to him was terribly desirable. However, there was so much going on, Cyrus wasn't prepared for an emotional burden. Kami forbid if one of them were to die in this war. No, he'd figure out the Rika situation after he was done remapping the world. One massive problem at a time. Cyrus stepped onto the ship and nodded towards the captain, Oi, welcome aboard young master Taki. We'll be under way shortly so feel free to make yourself comfortable about the ship. A portly man with a thick, red handle-bar mustache called down to Cyrus from the wheel of the ship. Aye Captain Greenwood, thank you kindly. I will be retiring to my quarters for a time, please make sure I'm not disturbed. I'll see you tomorrow morning for breakfast if it's quite alright. The portly man, Greenwood, just smiled and shook his head, You're the boss mi lord, have it however way you like it. I'm just here to make sure you get where you need gettin to. Cyrus smiled, he had selected Greenwood himself and liked the man very much. He was kind and had quite the sense of humor. Truthfully Cyrus greatly enjoyed his company and was even a bit dismayed that he'd be locked in his room for the remainder of the afternoon and night, but he had business to attend to before he was safe around anyone. Cyrus strode across the deck of the ship and opened the large mahogany doors at the front of the ship that lead down a flight of stairs to his quarters. Greenwood had of course offered Cyrus the Captain's quarters at the back of the ship, beneath the wheel house, but Cyrus had politely declined. For the type of training he was going to do, he didn't need much space. This would be nothing but a mental struggle to understand the workings of the universe...in his brain...all in one sitting. Awesome.

Cyrus stepped into his quarters and closed the door silently behind him, locking it before taking in his surroundings. It was a modest 12x12 room, a bed in one corner with a lamp and nightstand. A desk was in another corner, simple wood with a chair tucked in beneath it. An ornate rug was laid out on the floor, attempting to give it a homier feel but truthfully failing miserably. Regardless, Cyrus dropped his travel pack on the bed and stretched out on the old rug, it’d have to do. He looked out the porthole in the back wall of the room, he was on the left side, or whatever sea-fairing folk called that of a boat. The keel? Stern? Port…maybe bow…he wasn’t a sailor, he was a soldier and a leader. He’d lead his men to death and die for each and every one of them. Oh, there he goes again, focusing on the war instead of the task at hand. Cyrus sighed and left the porthole as they pushed off from the dock. It was a few days journey to the Land of Madness, time to make himself comfortable. He dropped into a lotus position on the rug, closing his eyes and focusing on his breathing. When Cyrus had awakened, he had felt a massive increase in power, particularly his natural Inkan abilities. His fuinjutsu was top notch now and he could do things he never knew possible. The problem with being a Kekkai however was as far as Cyrus knew, he was one of the first in recorded history. There had been rumors of some over the centuries, but none had ever been prominent members of history as far as he could tell. He had spent weeks in the imperial library searching for information on Kekkai and had come up with nothing but the bare basics which, thanks to Awakening, had already been inscribed in his genetic code. Everything the books had to offer, he already knew on some basic, instinctual level. The librarian only laughed when Cyrus asked for books and scrolls on Kekkai. The old man had wheezed a reply and shook his head, Sorry sonny, but you’re chasing a dying breed, if not already dead. The kekkai are master of the universe, traveling between dimensions, space, time and everything in between. They exist in the space between dimensions, constantly moving about. You want to know why there’s no recorded history of them? They’ve taken themselves out of the ole slip stream so to speak. They float about the plains of reality, detaching themselves from past, present, and future, along with all possible memory of anyone in existence. At least, that’s what I’ve heard. The old man flashed a toothless smile, his eyes sad as he looked at Cyrus. Cyrus knew the look of empty sympathy when he saw it. The man pitied Cyrus and in a way Cyrus pitied himself, for a time anyway. From what the old librarian had said, it sounded as though Cyrus was about to lead a very long, very sad existence and terribly lonely existence. As a Kekkai he would travel about time and space, bending them to his will, but never being able to fully interact with the world for any period of time. With great power came great responsibility. Cyrus was determined however, he was determined to not let himself become like that. He would find a balance, to use the dimensions but stay anchored here. He’d find something to keep him in reality. If not, then he’d do everything he could before the time came that he’d be compelled to be a space-time wandering nomad. He’d leave a mark on this world before disappearing from it.

So, as he sat in that dank cabin, the waves rolling against the hull of the ship as it sliced through the roiling tide, Cyrus closed his eyes and simply let himself go. His mind, his conscious began to wander. A sixth sense of sorts extended itself out from his body and enveloped the ship. They started as whispers, before growing louder and louder. Words quickly flashed through his mind, moving faster with each second. It took him a long minute before he realized he was listening to the thoughts of the six sailors on board, along with Captain Greenwood. He had extended his mind into the mental realm and now, as he focused more closely, images began to appear in his mind. They appeared far off, in silhouettes but as he focused on a dot in the distance, it came closer to him and suddenly appeared as block letters directly in front of him. An entire thought, a sentence, materialized directly in front of him before flashing away back into the distance. This was the mental plain of existence. As Cyrus stayed there, in the back of his mind, literally his brain, he felt a slight tinge of pain. A pinch really, but it was easily ignorable and he decided to press on to the next dimension. The next dimension on his list was Limbo, the in-between dimension where chakra exists fully and rules. Cyrus opened his eyes, finding his anchor in this world and stood up before looking down at himself. His entire being was completely composed of golden chakra, flowing loosely down him like water. Unlike water however, this chakra was him, not just covering him. He walked about the room before testing something and fully disappeared through the wall. Taking the stairs he stepped up onto the deck in the dying sunlight and looked about the ship. All around him were no longer people, no longer sailors, but flames of chakra. They were tiny fires, baby fires even, compared to his roaring being they were but embers next to his inferno. Still, they were there, Cyrus could fully see them as they were, manifestations of pure chakra. He stood on the deck of the ship for several minutes, watching the sailors go about their business as they pleased, completely oblivious to the chakra specter among them. He inspected himself again, still so confused as to how he was alive in this state. It appeared he lacked any organs of sort, simply comprised entirely of ambient chakra shaped to his form. It was an odd sensation, almost ticklish really, yet that pain still persisted in the back of his skull, perhaps even worsening. Still, he shrugged it off and returned to his cabin where he sat down in the lotus position once more. He closed his eyes and pushed his consciousness further into the dimensional line.

For a moment Cyrus was very confused as he opened his eyes and looked about. There was nothing new in this dimension, he attempted to extend his senses for anything out of the ordinary, but nothing came to him. He stood up and walked over to the porthole, no plains of burning children or massive monsters rolling about. Chakra specters didn’t float through the air around the ship. Cyrus frowned, slightly puzzled and stepped over to the chair and the desk, resting his hands on them. Well, he didn’t drop through them or the floor, so that was a good sign he supposed. Still, what was the secret to this dimension? Then he thought about it, the third dimension…it was his dimension. This was the physical plain of existence where the majority of people and creatures lived and survived, where his entire world was anchored. Cyrus actually began to laugh, he had been so foolish and hadn’t even considered the reality that the third dimension was of course this dimension. He sat down once more with a heavy sigh, scratching his head as the pain suddenly spiked. He cringed, but just as quickly as it had come, it left as well. Oddly he felt a little light headed and didn’t a mental check of his bodily functions. He converted a bit of his chakra back into blood, replenishing his reserves and making sure everything was still functioning correctly before diving into the next dimension. Now this one was an odd one as he opened his eyes and looked about. The room itself was mostly the same, but he himself was glowing a pale green aura, much different than the chakra phantom he had been earlier. This was smaller as well, more acute and less wild. He stood up, looking out the window at the rolling sea and noticed a certain power rising from it as he watched. Not only that but he could see the creatures far beneath the ocean swimming about. They too took on different pale shades of colors, representing their natural energy. Cyrus was seeing these creatures very energy, the power that comprised them and gave them life. This was even more powerful than chakra, this was natural energy. Suddenly a wave of pain hit him and he stumbled backwards a bit, catching himself on the desk and backing away from the porthole. He looked down at the wood of the desk, catching his breath as the pain subsided and frowned as a drop of blood dropped onto the desk. Cyrus brought his hand up to his nose and dabbed underneath, pulling away bloodied fingers. When had that happened? He rubbed the fingers together, obliterating the blood and shook off the strange feeling. He had come this far, it was time to push on.

This time, when Cyrus opened his eyes, everything was different. The world around him was dark, not like night dark, but grey and lifeless. Everything was a different shade of grey, as if the life of the world through color had been completely drained out of it. What are you doing here boy? A voice suddenly spoke behind him, rattling Cyrus. No one was supposed to disturb him, he knew the crew would respect his wishes, so who was this person. He turned slowly and faced a man in very old, ornate battle armor. A long uchigatana hung from his back, and the man, like the rest of the world was varying shades of grey. I should be asking you the same thing. You're not one of the crew...you don't even seem to be of this time. Cyrus said, his hand going towards Samehada's hilt on his back. What was this intruder doing here and how had he gotten aboard in the first place? Yeah, no shit I'm not of this time, I died over two centuries ago. Been stuck on this boat ever since I denied the reaper. The man said flatly, seemingly losing interest in Cyrus by the second. Cyrus's hand dropped from the hilt of his sword as he stared at the man, Two...centuries? What do you mean you've been stuck on this boat ever since? This boat was commissioned twenty years ago, that's impossible. The man shook his head, Boy you are new to this whole being dead thing aren't you. Seem young too, what got ya? Regardless it isn't this boat exactly, the boat I got killed on and my soul is attached to was ripped apart decades ago, but pieces of it were salvaged and used to build this beauty. So here I am. Your reaper should be around shortly to ferry you off to the Shinigami, I highly suggest you go with it so you don't end up like this poor bastard. The man finished, inspecting his nails before raising an eyebrow at Cyrus who stood motionless, his mouth slightly crooked open in sheer disbelief. Yes? The man asked, not hiding the annoyance in his voice at Cyrus's complete ignorance. What do you mean dead? I'm not dead. Where are we? Cyrus asked incredulously but the man just laughed and shook his head, Oh boy, they're so stupid when they're first killed. This is the afterlife...sort of. It's the plain you pass through, or rather your soul passes through, on its way to the Shinigami. So yeah, you're- The man paused, suddenly truly looking at Cyrus and, for what Cyrus could tell, staring at his eyes. In truth the man was looking just below Cyrus's eyes, at the tattooed lines beneath them, Oh bloody hell, you're one of them space-time travelers aren't you? A K-Kekkai or something or other, right? You're "just visiting," Kami above I hate you people. Well on with you now, before I get annoyed. Cyrus smiled for the first time since arriving in this dimension, You seem pretty annoyed to me. The man shot him a very pissed off glance and Cyrus held up his hands in mock defense before an intense wave of pain struck him in the back of the skull and he went down to one knee. The ghost-warrior approached him but before he could touch Cyrus, Cyrus dropped back into his own reality and out of the afterlife. He was breathing hard and the room was spinning around him but after a few seconds he regained his composure and stood up as more chakra was converted to blood, replenishing his reserves. Well...that wasn't fun. Cyrus frowned, speaking to himself and the empty room about him.

He stood up, checking the port hole again to see darkness, but a comforting darkness. The sounds of the sea filled the night air and he decided that he had danced through the dimensions enough for one night, it was time for a nice, well-deserved rest. So, without even changing out of his clothes he dropped into bed and within seconds was fast asleep. Hours later Cyrus awoke to sunlight streaming in through his small window in the cabin. He rolled out of bed, stretching before standing up and changing out of his clothes from the day before. A few minutes later he stepped up onto the deck where a table had been set up and several crew members, including Captain Greenwood sat about it eating merrily. The feasted on eggs and sausage, bagels and jam. Cyrus hadn't realized it until he came up on deck, but his stomach was louder than the crashing sea around them; he was absolutely famished. He walked towards the crew and sat opposite the captain at the head of the table where a place was laid out for him. Cyrus took a generous portion of eggs, sausage and half a bagel before nodding to the captain, Good morning Captain, how are we doing for time this morning? He asked before taking a mouthful of glorious, truly delicious eggs. We're several dozen miles off the coast of the Land of Shadows, Pandoran territory. I have my look out ever vigilant, though there haven't been reports of Pandoran movement outside of their borders for months now. I doubt we have much to fear. As it is we should circle around the Land of Ash by mid day and land in port in the Land of Madness around this time tomorrow. The winds are with us and the sea has behaved thus far, I'm hoping for an easy journey. Cyrus nodded, Good to hear captain, as am I. He raised his glass full of juice in acknowledgement to Captain Greenwood before downing it. So laddy, will you be joining us up here for most of the day or heading below deck again for more of that training of yours? Which, by the way, were you even training or was it a farce so you could sleep the day away? You were quiet as a church mouse down there. The portly man said before erupting into a round of hearty guffaws. Cyrus chuckled and shook his head, Captain if I even tried to explain what I was doing down there last night you wouldn't believe me. The captain shrugged and smiled, Have it your way then, but I strongly suggest you catch some sun today, lookin a bit pale from over here. Can't go riding into battle lookin like a ghost, the enemy will think they ready won, boy-o. Another round of outrageous laughter followed this latest joke and Cyrus found himself once again greatly enjoying this man's company. Perhaps you're right captain, maybe I'll spend some time up in the sunlight, might do me some good, you know. The captain raised his glass before downing it and wiping away the residue with the back of his sleeve, That's the spirit laddy. Sides, it'll be nice to have some company sides these sad sods. Cyrus smiled as some of the sailors gathered around threw their own playful insults back at the captain and for a moment Cyrus truly did feel transported elsewhere, more than he ever had last night as he went dimension hopping. For a moment he didn't have to worry about Dobutsu, Allied Shinobi Councils, or even Rika. He didn't have to face the harsh reality of a bloody war and for a time he could just exist with these people, enjoying himself and their company. So that's what he did, for the remainder of the day and deep into the night, Cyrus chatted with Captain Greenwood and other sailors for hours. They drank, they sang, and Cyrus truly enjoyed himself. The next morning, docked in the Land of Madness, Cyrus said his goodbyes. Thank you for the safe travel and everything else. I truly enjoyed it, I can't express to you how important that is to me. Cyrus said to the portly captain. The man's thick hand clasped Cyrus on the shoulder, It was my pleasure sonny, truly it was. You have a long road ahead of you, a dangerous and bloody one at that. If I could I'd keep you here on this boat and travel the world with you, we'd make merry and drink heartily. But tis not the way of the world right now, so alas I must bid you adieu and wish you luck on your coming conquests. Make sure you keep that head on your shoulders boy, both figuratively and literally, I expect to pick you up here some day to bring you back home in one piece. Cyrus smiled warmly as a tear rolled down the captain's thick cheek. He shook the man's hand and said, You'll be the first one I call when it's time to go home, don't you worry about that. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a war to start. With that, Cyrus turned and walked down the plank and onto the creaky old dock. Oi, boy-o! Captain Greenwood called after him and Cyrus turned, Give 'em hell! Cyrus smiled from ear to ear, turned, and stepped into the Land of Madness. From the docks he'd have to make his way to the old abandoned village in the Land of Madness. His scouts reported the Mishura had made camp there several months earlier. Whether he'd find Asura there or not was a mystery to him, but it was a place to start. He fastened his cloak tightly around his neck, pulling up the hood and pulling the rubber band high above his wrist before letting it smack back down. He was here. He was Cyrus Taki and he was here to not only start a war, but end it as well.

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PostSubject: Re: Paving the Path to War *training + travel*   2nd February 2015, 4:14 pm

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