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5 days ago
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in the end i always feel alone

but the sun is also alone
and he still shines
so why not me

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TIME: Present, 5AM | LOCATION: Orphanage | INTERACTION:@Halvtand, @Solotros, @Vox, @Vexxed Vex

The rest of the diner went about as well as one would have expected. Frankly, Sadako felt a little out of place, but did her best to try and fit in. That said.. 'fitting in' for Sadako was a lot of awkward bursts of random yelling when her true self came out before realizing that it was out of place half the time. The other half were shy agreements with whatever the topic at hand was, with Sadako being too afraid to really interject for fear of scaring Masae and Hikari away. Ultimately, Sadako excused herself after a few hours, preparing to go back to the orphanage now that the prospective parents had all gone away.

When she returned, she quietly slipped into the orphanage to avoid rustling the elders, who would no doubt be on her case about missing 'adoption day,' and berate her for her careless attitude. In reality, they were probably mad that the adoption fees wouldn't go to them now. It was fine by Sadako, just a few more days and she'd never have to step foot in this ugly building again.

Over the next few weeks, Sadako spent her time lazying about, training, and going on 'dates' with Hikari, who made a point of it to spend time with Sadako (and seemed to not take Sadako's subtle 'no, it's fine, we don't have to!' for an answer). Truthfully, Sadako enjoyed Hikari's companionship, although her overbearing social skills made Sadako nervous more than once.

After a day of forced shopping with Hikari, Sadako was on her way back to the orphanage wearing a pair of brand new shinobi sandals, which she was forced to purchase on Hikari's dime, when the sudden thud of a kunai alerted her. Unfortunately, the kunai was sent low, and hit the wall close to Sadako's ankles, after which Sadako stepped forward just in time to catch her foot on the kunai impaled into the wall. “W-waah!” she yelled, promptly engaging her 'groundpound headbutt no jutsu.' Normally, she'd have fallen face flat on the floor and received a large bump on her forehead for her clumsiness, but with the new forehead protector firmly mounted on it's place on her forehead, she only received a heavy metal clank for her mistake. “Aiaiaiai..” she whispered to herself while grabbing her forehead.

Once she'd spent a few minutes laying there holding onto her head, she took the kunai out and read the message attached to it. “Hnggg.. sensei.. couldn't you find a better way to let us know..” she continued, getting up slowly and turning around, continuing her way to the orphanage while holding on to her head.

Three days after | Location: Lumine building

It was early, but Sadako was used to it. Her days in the orphanage prepared her for this kind of schedule, waking up early for forced training with the other kids. But now, she wasn't waking up for training, she was waking up to earn money and perform missions for the village. Finally something with an actual practical goal in mind for her to do! She was up by 4AM, doing her morning routine, such as getting breakfast, showering for five minutes, brushing her teeth and getting dressed. She probably triple, if not quadruple checked her gear. She patted down her pouches numerous times even as she was heading to the window to escape the orphanage once again, making sure she had everything she needed.

And then she leaped out of the window, the cold breeze hitting her skin before the rain did. Luckily it was a small drizzle today and not pouring like usual. Not yet, anyway. Trailing over the rooftops and industrial pipes going everywhere, she made her way to the Lumine building, an old industrial site that had been used for various purposes over the years. She wondered why the sensei had chosen this location, but didn't pay too much mind to it as she was to focused on not falling off the rooftops.

As she landed, she noticed she was the first to arrive, and waved hello to the sensei. “G-good morning, Unmei-sensei!” she proclaimed, but was met with a stoic silence. Sadako took this as a sign that her sensei wasn't really willing to talk, so she just stood around and waited for a while a distance away from the sensei.

When the rest came around, Unmei-sensei started questioning them after explaining that she was an inexperienced and new jonin. Frankly, Sadako hadn't put much mind to whether or not they'd get an experienced sensei. “A-ah... me first.. uhh, well, I'm Sakamachi Sadako, I'm from the orphanage, and uhh.. I don't have a clan, so I don't really know anything else about myself. Ummm, I like reading history books, and uhh.. that's it.” She stared around at the rest of her team rather blankly, knowing that Kyosuke's explanation would probably be sort of the same, but she still wondered what else he'd have to add. As for the other team member, Sadako had no real idea of what he'd say.

She waited a few more moments, not realizing that Unmei-sensei had asked another question. “O-oh! And I want to be a shinobi because I want to..” she said, trailing off a little bit, maybe pondering the question, although in reality she was looking for a way to frame it just right. “I want to be a shinobi so that I can make sacrifices so that others do not have to make them.”

Osuushi Akumako, 'Kuko'
The Borderlands Terror

TIME: 7 days ago | LOCATION: Academy Courtyard > Saito no Kareraisu | INTERACTION:@Vexxed Vex, @Vox

Sadako stared at Kyosuke as he spoke, knowing what he was talking about full well without really wanting to acknowledge it. Rather than huff and puff at his sudden dismissal, she only gave him a firm nod. She knew what he was going to do -- and she was doing the same in her own way. “Hm! I understand,” she told him as he hurried off, before she was forced to turn back to Hikari, who was blabbering on about having saved up. The truth was, Sadako really didn't have any money since the orphans didn't exactly receive an allowance, and being an academy student didn't pay.

But she wasn't going to make a point of that to Hikari. For all her virtues, she didn't exactly seem to understand the life of an orphan in Amegakure. And educating her on the matter wasn't something Sadako was going to do -- the hardships of the orphans were better left to themselves to process. Or at least, most orphans seemed to believe so, since all of them were adverse to the otherwise friendly showings of empathy that 'normal' people seemed to give them. It was then that Masae arrived on the scene, politely confirming Sadako's name, to which Sadako once again nodded to indeed confirm that that was her name.

“I see,” Sadako replied to her patting her pouch, smiling at the girl with a glimmer in her eye, “I won't say no to a free meal!” A-ah.. was that too callous? Was that rude of me to say? She played it off with a smile while her eyes trailed off into the distance as Hikari continued her little rant on Kyosuke. She really doesn't understand.. does she? Sadako pondered to herself, but she gave Hikari an empathetic smile regardless, understanding that Hikari didn't particularly dislike Kyosuke either. She was just ranting off about something, making small talk, something like that. A skill that Sadako had never seemed to master, or at least so she thought.

The inquiry towards Sadako's plans was unexpected, and surprised Sadako a little bit. Someone wanted to know about her? And her plans? “Uuh.. well, like Kyosuke said, it's graduation day.. so..” she slowly said, considering that maybe it was better to do the same as Kyosuke and just run away, hide in a corner and wait until the genin-auction was over. “So... I guess being an orphan means I have all the time in the world to celebrate with you, since I don't exactly have.. uhh.. parents.. to come home to. You know?” She said it like a joke, but it wasn't exactly funny. In order to mask her own idiocy, she laughed at her own joke like a madman, as if she thought it was the funniest thing in the world, before simmering down a little bit. “I mean.. I mean to say I'll come with you!”

Better to hide with a free meal than in a rainy corner somewhere doing nothing, right?

Talking about the teams made Sadako both nervous and excited. To be honest, being in a team with Hikari and Masae would be awesome -- the both of them seemed really nice from their short little interaction just now, although Sadako had tried to befriend them both a few times before, before isolating herself once again. Hopefully they hadn't held that against her, although it seemed like they didn't. Masae barely remembered her name. The compliments on her black rod release made her blush a little, raising a hand to wave the comment away while smiling at Hikari. “I-it's nothing, I wish I could use water like you do, that's way more versatile and cool! Besides, you look like a dancer when you use it! I just look like a weird girl with black poles coming out of her hands.”

The bell rinkled as they entered Saito no Kareraisu, a restaurant owned by the family of one of their peers. “HELLO!” Sadako blurted out, before realizing that that was totally uncalled for, and she rushed to cover her mouth in embarrassment with her one free hand. The other was still trapped in the confines of Hikari's potent elbow lock jutsu. “Ahh.. Hikari, why don't you.. take the word?”

Location: Uragiri Clan Compound [Koi Breeding Pond] | Time: 9AM [9:12] | Post Theme: GRILLABEATS - Kanji
Interaction: Unmei -- @Ephemeral

“Trespassing is illegal, and punishable by death, don't you know?” The voice came from behind, on one of the walls that surrounded the compound of the Uragiri clan, which was established in one of the middle class areas of the village. If Unmei were to look back, she'd see the same figure standing there in the shade of one of the nearby trees, rain falling down on him as if he were unbothered by it. Luckily for her, the area around the koi pond was covered by some roofing, with a gap where the pond was. The pond was massive, as there were easily a thousand or more koi in it. The pride of the Uragiri clan.. well, the pride besides Sakana, that was.

The young chunin set himself off from the wall, and landed behind Unmei, taking a few more steps forwards so that he stood besides her. “Although I suppose you come here so often you might as well bear the name of the clan. Unmei Uragiri,” he said, referencing the fact that he'd seen her sitting here more than a few times by now, although this would be the first time he'd said something about it. Had he been spying on her, or was he just very attentive?

He glanced over her shoulder at the paper folders in her lap, immediately making the connection. “Sakamachi Sadako, Shoma Kyosuke, and Ueda Tadasu,” he said to himself, slightly hushed. His dark, black eyes focused on the koi pond ahead, seeking for the characteristic prize koi that were in there -- the yin-yang koi.

He sat down on the edge of the pond, putting his hand into the water and swirling it around, instantly attracting several of the large koi. Strangely enough, any strangers that tried doing this always failed, as if the koi were only attracted to those of the Uragiri clan. “Interesting team,” he said to Unmei, “I've seen them around the academy. They look dirty.” How much did Sakana even know about random people? It was almost creepy, the way he managed to conjure up information so randomly.

“I suppose that's to be expected from orphans. They look average, and disgusting half the time. But the training they receive is pretty good. As for the Ueda, he's a nobody. Hmph. I suppose we'll see what comes of them,” he informed her, before standing up and shaking his hand to get rid of the water on it, shaking a few of the drops of muddy water in Unmei's direction. He turned around and jumped off towards the wall again, landing on it nonchalantly. “Tell them Uragiri Sakana says hi. Let's hope they survive their first mission.”

He jumped off in a random direction, before uttering his catchphrase to himself. “If the sage wills it.”
@FourthKing You've been accepted as well, and this completes our teams. Please move him into the char tab!
we are one, marya. you cannot stop us. you cannot control us. you can only join us.
@Solotros short on the jutsu's, but overall a solid enough character -- move him to the character tab and feel free to insert yourself into the IC! For reference, Tadasu is in team orphan (under Unmei) to break up the monotony in that team a little bit. That means that @FourthKing will be under team Amaya.

TIME: 4 days ago | LOCATION: Orphanage | INTERACTION:@Halvtand, @Vox

Sadako yawned, stretching her right arm up and over the top of her head while the left rested carelessly behind her head, before moving to the front to rub her eyes with her arm. Once she’d sufficiently caused her vision to go blurry and a hundred-and-one colors, she let her arms fall down onto her lap, staring blankly ahead in the girls barracks of the orphanage. Around her there were several empty beds of those unfortunate souls that had morning practice, who had to get up at 4AM and be on the field at 5.30 precisely to start their training. Other beds were still full, stuffed with tired bodies hiding under their blankets before they, too, had to get up and attend to chores. Luckily for Sadako, that time was past her now, and all she had to worry about was making it to the graduation ceremony on time. A beam of light cracked through one of the windows through the slit between the two curtains, shining directly in Sadako’s face. “Hngg..” she groaned, slowly getting up and turning herself to the side of the bed, slipping her feet into some slippers before getting up, shuffling her way past the other beds towards the door to enter the common room where she could have breakfast.

Breakfast was served by a moody man, late 50’s, who seemed to have no particular interest in helping poor sad orphans get a healthy meal before they were subdued to hours of rough training. “Hard labor produces hard shinobi,” was what the sensei’s told them. Probably true, in Sadako’s mind. That, too, was now over! At long last. She sat down with the plate of food, setting it down with a satisfying loud clack, and shovelled it down her throat. She was never one to mind her manners when she was in her own headspace, too preoccupied with other pressing matters such as wondering whether people liked her or not. Once she was done, she stood up and returned the plate, turned around and went to walk back to her bed to get dressed. She raised her arm again to rub her eyes some more, and while she half-assedly blinded herself, she bumped into someone. A cacophony of apologies was quick to burst forth, “Sorry, sorry! I didn’t see you, I apologize!”, quickly lowering her arm only to see a fellow graduate in front of her – Kyosuke, a genjutsu and medical expert – which prompted her to smile as wide as she could. “Goodmorning, Kyosuke! Are you ready for the big day? I heard the kage herself is coming to visit us! Oh, I’m so excited to…” She trailed off momentarily, caught in her own thoughts, completely forgetting that she was still in her pyjama.

Am I annoying him? Kyosuke really doesn’t like talking to people, much less me… I should probably just go…

“A-ah, well, I guess I’ll uhh.. see you at the academy!” She once again flashed the boy a smile, this time much less wide and much less sincere, before turning around the boy in an effort to get past him, before hurrying along to the girls barracks in a pace that only someone ashamed of themselves could match. Once she was inside, and had the door shut, she sighed at her pitiful attempt at making friends. Throughout the years at the academy, she’d often wandered from friend group to friend group, only to end up leaving them when she’d convinced herself that her new ‘friends’ didn’t really really like her. Why would this time be any different? She was an idiot for even thinking of talking to him.

Once she found her bed in the row of tens of bed, she quickly got dressed again, wearing the same outfit she always wore. A black sleeveless croptop that she’d cut herself out of a shirt, some beige-ish hand-me-downs from an orphan that graduated a few years ago, and her shoes, probably the only thing that she’d actually gotten to fit her. She strapped her pouches to her leg and to her waist, and then made ready to leave. “One.. two.. three.. one.. two.. three..” she murmured to herself, stretching herself from left to right with her hands above her head, before getting ready in a running position. She took off towards the other side of the hall, aiming at window, and once she got close enough, she grabbed the windowsill and hopped out, turning her body so that she’d be hanging off the edge. She let go with one hand to allow herself to rotate her body a bit, peering down at the entrance of the orphanage just in time to see Kyosuke make his exit out of the building. Sheesh, how long had she taken to get dressed? Well, no time to worry about that now. She leaped off from the windowsill, and landed on a nearby roof, with just enough space to take two steps and leap up towards a nearby platform attached to one of the many metal pipes that ran through Amegakure.

The actual ceremony went much like they’d practiced, and was about what Sadako expected. There was nobody there for her to cheer her on or celebrate with her, and when the assistant to the kage was speaking, her mind was focused on herself, wondering what this new change in her life would mean for her. Finally, she could be independent, and rent her own apartment, live alone without the rules of the orphanage. But, what else would it mean for her? She’d get to work in a team. What if they didn’t like her? What if she messed up and they started hating her for it? The sky broke open, momentarily, and the sun came through for once, the rain making way for it. But Sadako was still deep in her thought. What if I become a failure?

She was taken away from this train of thought when a shinobi headband was pressed into her hand by the assistant, forcing her to look up and acknowledge the man, nodding her head up and down to acknowledge his words, too. She understood what he was saying. When the assistant moved back, Sadako’s eyes were drawn to Kaguya Yogensha – the kage of the hidden Rain – watching her lips as she spoke. To Sadako, Yogensha might have well been the most beautiful woman alive. There were very few role models like her in the orphanage, someone that dressed and moved with grace. Let alone what her powers might be. But her words, her words were what resonated with Sadako. She repeated after the kage, speaking to herself, “to bear the burden of sacrifice so that others do not have to…” That was a nindo worth living for. And that, too, was the will of the Rain, perhaps not officially, but it was present in the hearts of the shinobi of the Rain. At least, Sadako hoped so.

The assistant gave a few closing words while Yogensha made her way out of the courtyard, and while they were meant to put on their headbands when the assistant spoke again, Sadako paused for a moment. She stared at the stripes on the headband, signifying Amegakure no Sato. So… this is it, huh? This is what we spent our time working for? A piece of cloth and some metal. With a shaking hand she raised her arm and tied the headband around her forehead, where it would temporarily rest for now. I guess cloth and metal is more than I ever had, she thought to herself as the rest around her cheered.

She was quick to droop off in a similar direction as Kyosuke would go, since the two of them would be heading back to the orphanage to prepare for their moving out – at least, presuming Kyosuke wanted to get out of there as much as Sadako wanted to. Being trapped there for even longer just to help with the orphanage’s chores was not something she was looking forward to. However, as she stood on the outskirts of the group, alone, a sudden touch from behind alerted her. Before she could react or even see who was there, she was dragged to the side towards where Kyosuke had been standing.

Sneaking out of an orphanage? Sneaking in to an orphanage? Saito no Kareraisu? Oh, shoot! She’d completely forgotten that Hikari had hand-delivered the invite to her in the orphanage, and estimating from Kyosuke’s presence, she’d done the same for him. She’d just assumed it was a pity-invite, guessing that someone as popular as Hikari had no wish to hang out with someone like Sadako, but maybe she was serious after all? Or was she just pulling a prank on her?

“A-ah… the restaurant…” she said, with a hint of insecurity in her voice. She looked down for a moment, staring at a puddle on the ground. Then she looked up to Hikari, flashing her the widest smile that anyone might’ve ever seen, before throwing up her hand and sticking up her thumb. “Of course! Wouldn’t wanna miss it for anything!” She smiled at Kyosuke as well, before a sudden realization set in. Her sudden cheerfulness made way for something else entirely. “Umm… Hikari-chan.. I forgot I don’t have any money. Maybe I can join you guys next time..?”

@Angry Ariel in exchange for legs? Probably not. I can write real gud.
Why is Ariel angry?

Today was the big day. The big day that years of hard work, training and getting beaten over the head during sparring matches lead to. Unmistakably the soft pitter patter of the rain made the courtyard of the ninja academy shine in that characteristic way, that way that only Amegakure rain could make pavement shine. This courtyard would be familiar to the students that were lined up now, standing in a neat row organized by the sensei in advance, awaiting the arrival of the leader of the rain – a woman shrouded in as much mystery as the hidden rain itself. Not much more was known than her name. Kaguya Yogensha. Any other information was reliant on vague rumors to those not privy to meeting her privately, from the way she dressed to the way she fought. She had observed the students once or twice, though not openly, so the students would likely also not be familiar with the woman.

The monotony of the sound of rain pouring down from the heavens was broken by the entrance of two guards wearing masks and long hoods, appearing from the gate leading to the academy. ANBU. Not surprising, considering the leader of the Rain was visiting. Unseen by the academy students were the myriad of other ANBU that were hidden in plain sight on the buildings around them. A moment of silence passed before a figure wearing a similar cloak, though beige in color and not black, passed in between the two ANBU standing at the gate. She was looking down, and continued walking until she stood in front of the students. She looked up then, looking over the line of shinobi left-to-right, and then back, before smiling at them. The woman, presumably the kage, had a peculiar style of makeup on her face, with red dots on her forehead and the edges of her eye, as well as one on the bottom part of her lip. Her hair had been carefully combed and parted, then pulled backwards behind her ears. Two tails hung down to her shoulders, draped along the front of her body.

There was something awkward about her smile. It wasn’t a genuine smile, and it did not take a genius of social interaction to know this much. It had a hint of sorrow in it, as if she was remorseful about the graduation of these students. Perhaps they had been deemed not good enough, and had been passed only to bolster the ranks of the shinobi armed forces in Amegakure.

Following shortly was a man, about a full head taller than the woman. He was much more well known, as he was the assistant to the kage, and did most of the public business that the kage did not attend. He was not wearing any cloak, but instead wore armor resembling that of a samurai perhaps – although modified to be more agile and stealthy. He was a known kenjutsu-genjutsu specialist, and a dangerous and formidable foe in any capacity otherwise. This face would be known to the students, as he had observed the classes openly more than once.

It was not the leader, this ‘Yogensha,’ that would speak up. Instead, it was the assistant. “Students,” he started, “if I may call you that still.” He raised his hand, furled into a fist clutching on to a large amount of shinobi headbands, marked with the stripes of the hidden rain village. A worthy prize for any shinobi that had proven themselves in the academy. And a source of pride for those who earned it.

“Unfortunately, you are not done learning just yet,” he continued, lowering his fist again. A few drops of water started running down the metal of the forehead protector. “In Amegakure no Sato, the rain never ends. Just like the rain, your road to shinobihood never ends. It is an everlasting path you must walk.”

As the assistant spoke, behind him Yogensha peered up into the sky and slowly formed the tiger seal, mumbling to herself, “Ukojizai no jutsu,”, barely audible to anyone, to which the rain offered a brief moment of respite and let up, allowing the sun to shine through only momentarily.

The assistant continued, stepping forward and beginning to hand out the headbands to everyone in the line.

“Now that you have passed your exams, you must remember; mistakes are no longer the difference between passing or failing an assignment, they are the difference between life and death. Not just for you, but for your comrades too. Your assignments, starting now, are going to be greater than you – greater than your own life.”

The students had been instructed prior to the event during the rehearsal with their sensei to not put the headband on until the command was given, so they were left standing there with the headband in their hand. The assistant did not seem to let up and only continued his speech, as boring as it may have been.

“Remember what it means to be a shinobi of Amegakure no Sato.” He stepped back, standing next to Yogensha once more. Before he could continue, she filled in the next line for him, letting the students hear her voice finally.

“Being a shinobi of Amegakure no Sato means you bear the burden of sacrifice so that others do not have to. Congratulations, shinobi,” she told the students in front of her, once again flashing them an ingenuine smile. This was the signal that the shinobi could put their headbands on, and probably the moment they had all been waiting for.

She turned around and mumbled to herself as she proceeded towards the gate where the two ANBU guards were waiting for her while she formed the tiger seal again. “The rain weeps for you, and the suffering you will cause and receive.” On cue, the sky darkened again and the gap that had allowed the sun to shine through closed, before a blast of thunder lauded the entry of more rain showering down on the fresh graduates.

The assistant carried on, continuing where Yogensha had left him off. “You will receive a week off to collect yourselves, enjoy time with your family, and spend a well-earned break with friends. After that week, you will receive notice from your sensei. Good luck, shinobi.” His address of the students as shinobi rather than students was specifically chosen, as he was no longer speaking to children, but to soldiers of Amegakure no Sato, part of the armed forces now that they had officially secured their ranks. And with that, he too marched off, leaving the new genin to celebrate with their peers and the family that might have shown up to celebrate with them.

Shinobi life.. begins!

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