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Ulrich Gora walked along a forested path towards a clear lake. Ken had told him to meet another Jounin, the Jounin that had removed the demon seal from him. Victor, by name. It was also his knowledge that the lake was one Victor frequented for one reason or another. Prancing around by his side was the little puppy Fenrir, who was also a gift from Ken.
Fenrir seemed off in his own little world, chasing butterflies, or barking at flowers, but making sure to stay close to Ulrich. Dressed in his customary Tuxedo, he came to a clearing with the lake, looking around curiously. It was a bright sunny day, Ulrich glad for his had which cast a shadow across his eyes as he looked around. How often did Victor frequent this Lake anyways? Well, Ken was dead now, so it probably wasn't going to be easy to ask that question. But maybe he could get lucky.
'I know this place!" Fenrir barked out suddenly, dashing forward, before making a motion that looked like tripping as he rolled onto his back and squirmed across the grass 'The grass is so soft here!"
Victor visited the lake quite often. Often enough that he was going to build himself a base there once this whole big demon invasion thing got done with. But that was in the future. For now, this was still just a pristine lake with a recently rebuilt dock.
And a new Gora.
Victor took a seat at the dock. He was not always the only person at the lake; others came and went, sometimes fishing, sometimes just passing by. So to see another person there was not unusual, and since Victor had not met Ulrich before, he paid him no mind, instead staring blankly into the water and considering the results of the past day's adventures.
He and Hikaru had killed the leader of the Sato demonic invasion together. That kid had talent, and Victor quite enjoyed working beside him.
The thought had Just occured to him that he didn't have any idea what Victor looked like. this was indeed a very public lake. So who was this person at the lake? "Thats the guy!" Ulrich turned around to see the puppy looking right at him.
"yeah! That was the guy who took away the thingy from Ken's belly!"
That was easier than expected. With his hands in his pockets, Ulrich walked up the dock to the end, standing a short distance away from Victor, taking a moment to decide what the most appropriate thing to say was, before he just decided to go with the most generic thing he could think of.
"Victor? I'm Ulrich Gora." A simple introduction... Awkward in almost every possible social setting, but a simple introduction nonetheless. Fenrir pranced up the dock behind Ulrich, hiding behind his legs, peeking his head out from around his shins. The pup wasn't afraid, just being a silly puppy. "I was wanting to know if you would be willing to answer a few questions."
A man approached Victor. A man who claimed to be the brother of Ken Gora, another Gora who wanted something to do with Victor. Not that he minded particularly, especially now that Ken's seal had been removed.
"I see. It's a pleasure to meet you, Ulrich Gora."
Victor rose and took the man's hand in his own, giving him a firm handshake. The man looked vaguely similar to Ken, but had a much less... intimidating demeanor. Rather, he seemed very businesslike and professional. A good way to start things off when first meeting Victor.
"I will answer what I can. What would you ask of me?"
Ulrich smiled as he shook victors hand, taking a moment to decide on what to say. "Well... To start, what did you know about him? When I last saw him, he told me to find you. Why he asked me that, I don't know... I guess I should have asked him then. Too late now." The last part he mumbled to himself. Fenrir heard him, bringing up bad memories, the puppy lowered his head and slid behind Ulrich, whimpering to himself.
"To be honest, I don't know why my brother told me to find you, but he did." He explained, semi-pathetically with a helpless shrug. Maybe Victor could offer some insite into... something. He didn't even know what he should be asking.
Victor regarded Ulrich with a sense of faded interest. Ken had sent his brother to speak with him. A decent start, since that opened up a line of communication between the two of them.
"Well, I would imagine he wanted a way of contacting me. But you say it's too late now. What do you mean by that? Has something happened to Ken? I was the one who removed the seal the demons had placed on him. As his brother, I can only assume you know what I'm talking about. I feel some sense of responsibility for him because of it."
Victor had hoped to get more information out of Ken Gora, but the man had scurried off before he had the chance to. Now his brother was here, and Victor intended to pick the man's brain as much as possible.
Ulrich listened to him, nodding. What he said made sense. "Ken Gora is Dead." He told him with all seriousness. "I don't know exactly when... but when I last saw him, he told me his plan... He was going to the heart of Silence... He was going to kill some demon named... Page or something. But then he was going to keep killing until... Well, until he died with a thousand demonic corpses littered around his body, I think was his choice of words." He explained.
"So my question is... what question is... why? Why does a dead Missing Nin want communication with the man who freed him? Is there something that I'm missing? " Ulrich tried to figure out the paradox of talking with a dead man. But then again, he could just be trying to figure out a math problem when you don't have all of the intergers.
"Dying in a blaze of glory, eh? Well, I guess if he's dead, he wont' be needing to talk with me."
Victor sat back, then flashed through a few handseals, creating a single kage bunshin. The bunshin bowed to Ulrich, and then stood and faced him. The real Victor spoke again.
"Ulrich, I'd like you to meet Victor. He's me. Like, literally. He'll finish our dealings together, as I have elsewhere to be. Try to play nice, he may be me, but he's not quite as resilient as I am. Understand?"
The bunshin scratched the back of his head nervously as he glanced between Victor and Ulrich, as Victor stood and used shunshin, with a quick "ta-ta" before he left.
"So... your brother told you to find me. Perhaps he wanted me to... ah, but that can wait. Tell me, Ulrich Gora. What do you value? As a shinobi, why do you train as hard as you do?"
[Exit real Victor, leave kage bunshin behind]
Ulrich nodded as the real victor sunshined away "I know about Kage bunshins." he said simply as he took half a step back as he looked at the bunshin "Don't worry, I'm not going to attack you." he said with a smile as he listened to him.
"what do I value? Thats an odd question... I suppose to protect Satokagure. To keep people like my brother from hurting those I love, those who care about me, and those who do the same as I do." He said, feeling like he was talking abstractly. "I train to be better than everyone else, so I can protect them from people better than them, if that makes any sense." Ulrich slid his hands into his pockets as he looked over at Victor "What about you? Why do you value?
"I value people like you."
Victor stomped his foot, and out of the ground popped a set of concealed ping rings. Victor had stashed a set here in case he needed a spare. His bunshin couldn't very well give his, since they'd poof away, so now Ulrich was getting Victor's spare set.
As the bunshin handed the necklace with the rings on it to Ulrich, he spoke of their purpose.
"These rings are the symbol of membership in a group known as the Kinsmen of the Shadow. Our purpose is to preserve peace across all villages, and unite them to end wars. And right now, our main goal is to prevent the demons from winning.
Your brother was there with us when we fought against the demons to try and stop the invasion. Nothing came of it. The kages did not listen to my warning, and did not send support. Now we face the current crisis. What do you say? Would you care to join? If so, take the rings. A pigeon will arrive later to fill you in on the details of the organization."
Ulrich couldn't help but smile as he listened to him. but then he saw the ping rings come out of the dock. Victor started speaking about the Kinsmen of the Shadows. He liked the sound of it. Apparently it was a lot of people just like him, trying to protect other people.
"I think i would like to join." He said, reaching up to take the rings, examining the sets as he heard him continuing to explain... but then he froze and looked up at him. "Ken was there?" That seemed odd to him. "If Ken joined the demons... Why was he there trying to stop the invasion?"
"Ken was indeed there. I have no clue as to why, though I can guess from his comment to me when we last met. He had some sort of connection to my genin team, and they were in the chuunin exams. Still, he ended up getting dragged into matters, and then got forced into slavery to the demons."
Victor then handed off the ping rings, giving Ulrich a quick display of their powers by sending him a white ping.
"The pigeon will have more detailed instructions about these. For now, welcome to the Kinsmen, Ulrich Gora. Now, was there anything further you wished to discuss?
"Doesn't seem like Ken to be captured or forced into anything... But I guess anythings possible." He mumbled to himself. He took the rings appreciatively, looking at them curiously as they pinged. For the moment, he just slid them into the breast pocket of his jacket.
"What do the Kinsmen do, exactly? I would assume they are a group of people such as you and myself... but the name seems... I don't know... like what they do is under the radar, so to speak." He admitted weakly. But then again, ninja were all about the shadows, right?
Under the radar, eh? Those were the days...
Victor's mind wandered back to the days when no one knew of the Kinsmen, when they were not so publicly known to so many different people. Before demons forced them into the light. Life was simple back then, and the Kinsmen were just a group of allied shinobi agreeing to help one another out. But Victor's reminiscing cut itself short as Victor realized he still needed to reply.
"We used to be. The Kinsmen of the Shadow started as a simple band of shinobi who all agreed to watch each other's backs. Slowly, we expanded our ranks. The goal was to get representatives into each village, so that no matter where one of us went, there were always allies to be called upon.
The demon invasion changed all that. I am the founder, and I felt that an invasion of such proportions was more than sufficient reason to mobilize every member into an organized defense. The result has been the salvation of many villages from attack, and the construction of safehouses that can house the refugees from any village that falls."
A deep sigh escaped Victor's lips. The Kinsmen were always meant to become a political force, but never quite in this manner.
"We've been gathering intel on the demons, but our initial efforts bought the villages time to organize themselves. Now the war is in their hands, and the Kinsmen focus their efforts on finding a way to reseal the demons. Not what I had intended or imagined when I created this group, but reality sometimes forces us into roles we did not desire."
Ulrich thought about what he said, listening to him. "Brilliant... Even if villages are in conflict, they have allies from every nation..." He said as he heard it. It was a genius Idea that... well, apparently it hadn't gotten quite to the power it needed to before coming out in the opening. it fact, to Ulrich, it sounded like it was supposed to be one of those organizations that were always declared urban myth, yet still existed.
"So what will happen to the Kinsmen after the Demon apocalypse? Will you return to the shadows to complete the origional goal?" He asked, tilting his head "Or will you remain out in the open as you are, continuing as you are?" it was really a curious scenario... But reguardless, Ulrich felt like he would be proud to work for such an organization.
Victor had thought a good deal about how he wanted to handle post-demon invasion Kinsmen activities. They could hardly return to the shadows; that was no longer possible. Every village knew of their existence. It was Victor himself that brought the invasion to the attention of the Kage of each village, as well as the existence of the Kinsmen. No doubt ANBU had been gathering intelligence as well.
"We will remain a public entity. Our political sway has grown extensively with the actions we've taken during this invasion. The public knows of us, and largely seems to approve, as we have saved many lives. We can improve intervillage relations in the light as easily as in the dark. The method of doing so will simply be different."
Ulrich nodded as he listened to his. "I guess that is true as well. But then again, the problem may not be with the public, but with the private. While it may be easy to do what you need to do in the light as well as in the dark, in the light, those who are still in the dark can much easier monitor your actions, and enemies of the Kinsmen would be able to more easily target you, would they not? In the shadows, nobody knowing your actions can still be a benefit, for, although allies will not know what they are, neither will your enemies." Ulrich said, though shortly after saying it, he blinked his eyes with an empty stare upon his face. "Sorry, thinking out loud... Its your organization. You should run it as you see fit." He quickly apologized.
Victor laughed slightly. Ulrich understood how the world worked, that much was clear enough. Ken's brother wasn't some idealistic fool, which made him all the more ideal for membership.
"Indeed, but I can't exactly make the Kinsmen vanish, and disbanding them and abandoning the influence they've gained would be foolish as well."
Victor slid his hands into his pockets, looking evenly at Ulrich as he continued to speak.
"Don't assume the Kinsmen were my only sphere of influence in the shadows. You'll find me to be a more prudent man than that."
A grin came to Ulrich's face. "Ah... So the Kinsmen are only a shoot off of a tree... Clever... Even more so that you were able to expose such shoot without revealing that it was really merely a branch of a much much grander tree..." he said, using a Herbological metaphor, as was common of his brother, who was more obsessed with trees than anyone else. "But at the moment, I think that I only really need to know about the Kinsmen then, no? Is there anything else that I need to know about the Kinsmen?" He asked. One of his hands slid up to his head and tilted his hat slightly, adjusting the location of the brim to keep his eyes shaded from the sun as it moved across the sky.
Victor was glad Ulrich got it. The tree metaphor wasn't quite on target, but it was close enough to suffice. Victor certainly didn't feel like exposing his underground information networks any more than he had to.
"No, I think you've got it all. Like I said, the details on the ping rings, base locations, and other such things will be delivered by carrier pigeon. Is there anything else you would care to know about the Kinsmen, then?
Victor would wait to hear a reply. Ulrich seemed to be the curious type, so Victor was willing to answer his questions until the man was satisfied. Victor had all day, after all.
Ulrich thought for a moment, rubbing his pale chin with his hand, covered by a white glove. "Is there anything I should know? At the current, my curiosity has been satisfied for now." He said simply with a shrug. There was a lot to think about... but looking at Victor... He was glad that he had decided to listen to Ken and tell him to find him out. It was, surely, a different reason that he expected his brother had in mind, but he was still glad he did so.
He turned to look around at the scenery... Of the lake, the soft grass, and the trees. The dock which he was standing on, the breeze in the leaves... This was why he existed... to keep places like this safe... to make more like them... And he knew that he was not the only person like him, but the Kinsmen were nothing more than people with similar goals... This made Ulrich Gora happy.
At the mention that he was satisfied with the conversation, the Victor bunshin nodded his approval as well. Victor had a new ally. His Kinsmen members were hardly minions; they were each their own person. Allied to him only out of mutual interest, and equally invested as himself. His role was less a leader, and more an organizer when it came to the Kinsmen, and Victor was ok with that.
"Well then, Ulrich Gora. It has been a pleasure meeting you. If I see any work that looks interesting, I'll be sure to send it your way."
With that, the bunshin bowed deeply, before severing its own chakra supply and vanishing in a small puff of smoke back to the oblivion from which it had been formed. It's accumulated memories would instantly transfer back to Victor, allowing the jounin to recall the events that had taken place as well.
Ulrich was now a Kinsman.
Ulrich nodded and smiled. "Thank you." And with that, Victor's bunshin was gone. He took a moment as he thought about what has just transpired. It was interesting to say the least, but he was rather happy with what happened. Reaching down, he picked up the pup, holding fenrir in his arms and stroking the pups ears as he walked forwards, right off the dock, right across the lake, towards the horizon. The sun was setting, ending this day, and leading to a new one. A new day for everyone everywhere.
[Exit Ulrich gora]
OOC: Wrong thread, Yakuza. (http://www.theninja-forum.com/Vbulletin/showthread.php?t=45234)
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