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you can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won't back down


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#1
Kagetora

Kagetora
  • Ohu
  • 69 posts

ooc: private, for Chutora.

The storms had been raging lately, the rainy season beginning its firm grip over the land just a short time before. It was a double edged sword of a thing. It brought a lessening to the heat that had gripped them for quite some time and it provided life, filling the river and the lakes around them. Yet it made patrolling much harder and, in some cases, impossible to do when it became too dangerous to adventure out. If it rained too much those same rivers and lakes could flood and things such as mudslides were definitely not uncommon when you lived so high up in the mountains as they did. It was a tenuous sort of time, at least for those that worried about the safety of their stronghold and of the denizens that dwelled here.

Almost against his will, the brindle dog turned his head up and back a little, craning to look up at the outcropping of rock that was sheltering from the pitter patter of the rain. His golden brown eyes stared up at it as if they could pierce through it and look further upwards at the rest of the great stone monument. How many years had it held against the onslaught of rain and snow, wind, of the sun baking down upon it? And how many years did it have before it began to weaken further? Would it all just come crashing down upon them one day? It had, after all, gotten creakier and there had been the whole incident with Kaibutsu and then Hougen that had caused a few cave ins. Kagetora wondered if the other dogs even thought about it. Probably not, since he had hardly even given it a scant thought before. Maybe the rain was stirring up all sorts of worrisome thoughts simply because he had been cooped inside for too long.

As if to chastise him for his uncharitable thoughts about its structural integrity, a drop of rain dripped down from the outcropping and splashed right on the tip of his nose. He shook his head viciously with a great snort. Well, that ought to teach him to just sit around and think about all the bad things that could possibly happen. The Kai ken lifted himself from his seated position and gave his entire body a brisk shake, working off the drops of water that had collected there from rain that had splashed into his area or had misted onto his coat. The problem with the rainy season was that it was so damn boring. No fool would attack when mud made the footing so treacherous and when you might be swept away by a flood, patrols were limited - especially when some of the more spectacular displays of lightning in the sky began to show themselves - and for a soldier like him the inactivity was maddening.

Well, there was no sense just standing here and watching the rain. It had been raining all night and all morning. It was likely going to just keep doing it until it had fully rained itself out and who knew when that would be? With a grumble, the gray-striped dog gave himself another quick shake. Maybe he could find Sabin or Shaka... or maybe he could go try and knock some sense into the young dogs that thought they had what it took to be soldiers. Or maybe something would come up and alleviate the tension and the boredom.



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#2
Chutora

Chutora
  • Outsider
  • 4 posts

He had promised himself not to come back here. He told himself again and again that this place was forbidden, it lead only to sadness and misery, and yet...here he was. Chutora couldn't see it, really, through the rain that decided to make traveling a misery. However, for one like him, finding Gajou was a bitter sort of sadness. Yes, he had fought alongside hundreds of others against Akakabuto, had been there when Gajou was raised as the castle of the dogs' paradise. Yet for him, it was a grave marker, a great big statue like a mocking, molded angel. For the grave of his brother Akatora lay in its shadow, alongside the corpses - whatever remained of them - of his sons. With the ground as soft as it was between his paws, Chutora felt that he would be sucked up, pulled down to their graves where he could at least see them again. Yes, he distrusted Ohu with all his soul, but the fact still remained that his family was laid to rest here, and to forget them or to put them alongside the shadows of those he hated was unfair. Akatora had been their leader for so long, Chutora had looked up to him. It was not his fault that he died against Akakabuto, and nor, was it his sons fault that they had to commit suicide against an army much larger than they were. His sons believed him to be dead, and as far as the mud gripping his paws, well, he might as well had been.

Taking a moment to force his paws out of the mud, he approached Gajou - he was far enough away not to notice his nephew, but close enough that his figure must have stood out. He was drenched, cold, and alone. Not one soul had stopped him on his way toward Gajou; they must have mistook him for one of the many Kai dogs that were a part of the Ohu army. He'd like to think he was mistaken for one of his sons, but he knew all too well that, had that been true, he'd be rotting. He didn't remember that one of his sons still lived, for the sadness that those who had died, and the anger toward his brother, clouded his mind. He was always the soft spoken Kai, and even when he was angry, it was hard to tell. Kurotora might have had the gift of hot headed insults, and Akatora might have carried the responsibilities of the eldest brother, but the forgotten Chutora learned that it was, like this weather, a double edged sword to be the quiet one. Sure, he was often put in the background, but being in the background gave him time to see things how they were. Shuffling his paws out of the mud, he continued forward, pausing only when he heard a snort.

His eyes locked onto where he supposed the sound came from. He couldn't make out Kagetora as Kage, but he saw a dog about his size. His tail raised, dripping with the rain's water. he squinted his eyes, trying to tell who it was - someone he knew from the days of old, or someone else? The fur of this fellow, as far as Chutora could tell, was black, shadowy. His eyes widened as he was hit with the realization that this dog must have been no one other than his younger brother. "Kurotora?" Chutora called out, his paws digging into the mud, his ears erect. He did not know that Kagetora was who he was addressing, his own nephew who must have been taught that his uncle had been dead for some time. Chutora didn't even remember his brother's sons - they were all a mixed up blur amongst the deaths of his own.



"I won't die from the likes of you! I, Chutora, am not pathetic!"

#3
Kagetora

Kagetora
  • Ohu
  • 69 posts

The pitter-patter of the the rain landed on the rocks and on the muddy ground could be deceptive. The harder it fell, the more noise it made until everything just seemed to blend together. It was quite easy for one's senses to get lulled by the sound of the rain, so easy to miss sounds that you might have normally heard. Particularly when a rumble of thunder rolled through over the land. The gray-striped dog's ears twitched at that, listening to the sound of it, listening to the rocks as the lose ones skittered across the ground, felt the earth shake just a little beneath his paws. A few more like that and Gajou just might fall down on them all. But maybe the rain and the idleness was just making him overly pessimistic today, spoiling for some kind of distraction, some kind of action before he went stir crazy from all of the enforced idleness.

As if to yet again chastise him for his thoughts, another drop of water landed directly on his nose. He gave another snort and shook his head, which turned his gaze away from where it had been staring. It was only then that he realized the rain and his own general thoughts had hidden the approach of someone else. Angered with himself for missing something so obvious, he felt his hackles rise up along his neck and his shoulders some. "Oi!" The word was out of his mouth before he even had a chance to think about it, before he had even fully seen the stranger, before he even heard him speak. Kagetora wouldn't exactly say he was spoiling for a fight, but he was definitely on edge and not in the best of tempers. Put that together with the fact that most of the Kai dogs were known to have hot tempers and to leap into the fray without bothering to sit back and think about it and it was just asking for trouble of some sort.

As the figure in the rain materialized into a more solid shape than that of a quick glimpse, Kagetora took in the sight of him. It was a Kai dog, like himself, but a much older one. He looked like he was weighed down by his age and by the burdens that those years of life had put upon him. In a cliquish sort of way, Kagetora was predisposed to almost automatically trust those of his breed, those like him, and yet he knew he couldn't truly do that. There was quite a lot riding on not always giving someone the benefit of the doubt just because they were tora-ge. When he realized the old dog had spoken, he supposed it didn't surprise him that he spoke his father's name. It didn't even occur to Kagetora that the dog was before him might be his uncle. For most of his life, Chutora had been dead and presumably buried and he was only a vague sort of memory for him. Shigure or his father might have recognized the features and the voice, but Kagetora didn't have enough to go on to identify him in the way that they would have.

"What do you want with him, old man?" Kagetora asked, his hackles still raised, tone guarded and more than a bit of a bite to his words. He might not always show it, but Kagetora was as loyal as the rest of them and his father had long ago earned his respect and his trust even if they sometimes had their spats. He had vowed to protect this place from all sorts of things and had lived up to that vow so far. He certainly wasn't going to let some strange dog waltz in here and do anything to one of Ohu's members - particularly one that was of his own blood and heritage. Then again, maybe he was being too quick to judge (something Weed always chided them for). It might just be an old friend of his father's come to pay respects at the grave site of so many old warriors.



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#4
Chutora

Chutora
  • Outsider
  • 4 posts

The rumbling thunder overhead only served to make the tension and darkness in Chutora's heart swerve around more. Before him was his brother, the one who had promised to keep his sons safe, the one who pleaded with him to stay in Ohu – only to lead his sons off to their deaths. Chutora didn't like being alone, he hated it, in fact, but there was nothing he could do. Kurotora might have been able to find peace after Akatora's death in Gin and Ben, but Chutora...his sadness was unrepairable. None of Kurotora's sons were dead! Gin's son, Weed, was a national treasure! So what if Chutora was not exactly the most well known of the soldiers? He would have given his life to protect Ohu, and now, he would like nothing more than to give his life to make sure the others knew his pain. Ohu had broken one too many of his families.

”Oi!"

His single ear flicked, and he watched the Kai, his old eyes unable to see that this dog was young, much younger than the brother he was looking for. All Chutora saw was the blackened fur, the trademark of his brother. Kage's scent was far too muddled by the rain to provide a clear answer, either. Chutora paused in his grueling walk through the mud. His ear flicked forward and his eyes focused as best as they could, on who he believed to be Kurotora. He didn't care that he wasn't recognized, he didn't expect to be – he knew well that Kurotora had lied to his sons and nephews in an effort to protect them from trying to follow him, in an effort to protet their reputation. They were bastards, all four of them, and though Chutora might have been selfish, any father would have cried his soul, given his life, in order to bring back all of them. Shouji may have been alive, but what Chutora know? What did Chutora know of Kurotora's sadness?

Unlike Kagetora, Chutora did not feel a kindred spirit in the likes of other tiger striped individuals. In fact, it was all the more likely that he felt a sort of hatred for them. Those that he knew best; Gin and Kurotora, had only caused him pain. He did not have the luxury of meeting Weed, did not have the luxury of meeting his nephews. He grudged forward, yanking his paws out of the mud with some effort, the thundering above only making him wish to run at Kurotora. He wanted revenge, he wanted to split the pain he felt, he wanted...to resurrect the sons he never got to know, and the brother he wished was still with them. Akatora was always the more liked of the three, anyway.

What do you want with him, old man?

He paused, and tilted his head, allowing his 'good' ear to focus on the sound. It still sounded enough like Kurotora, to Chutora's old senses. “Old man? Speak for yourself.” Chutora growled, “you know exactly what I want with you!” He barked, his tail whipping anxiously back and forth, his eyes narrowing and fangs bared. He didn't run at Kagetora, however – it was hard for him to run in all this mud, but he wanted to. But more than that, he wanted to see Kurotora face to face, he wanted to see the realization grow in his eye, wanted to hear his sadness and pleads and lies. Chutora moved forward, unable to run in the mud, partly due to his age and partly because part of him wasn't sure he wanted to fight. He was old, very old, he wasn't sure if his body could take the energy neded to fight. Wasn't sure if he could even kill his brother, even now. But he wanted to show his brother pain. If all else failed, he could kill his brother later, or perhaps, time itself would be on his side and would kill his brother for him.



"I won't die from the likes of you! I, Chutora, am not pathetic!"

#5
Kagetora

Kagetora
  • Ohu
  • 69 posts

The other dog hardly paused in his steps, although the trek towards the rock monolith was not easy. He could see the mud that had been building up over the days of rain as it grasped the brown dog's paws and held them before he tugged them free. If a fight came down to it, Kagetora would have to try and avoid that mess - a difficulty considering that Gajou was currently surrounded by murky pools of water and mud everywhere. The only moderately dry areas were within the twisting paths inside of Gajou and he didn't want the trespasser, if that was what he was, to get within them. That was further than Kagetora wanted any invader getting and the maneuverability within the confines were limited. It was a protection if no one else got inside past you but once you were inside it could hamper you. Better to keep his feet dry and find a way to block the interior rather than surrendering his maneuverability to either potential hazard.

Finally the other dog paused just a few scant feet away. Kagetora's golden eyes burned with an intensity as he watched every little move of muscle, just waiting for the dog to give off the wrong (or right) signals. His tongue darted out to lick just a little at the edge of his muzzle, but his line of sight never wavered. For a moment, however, his ears went up just a little as the dog spoke. His voice was full of age and a heaviness, but that wasn't what surprised him. He had scented and seen the age on the other Kai dog immediately. No, it was the words that he spoke that surprised him. Was he blind? Was he senile? Or was he just stupid? "The hell are you talking about, old man?" Thoughts of perhaps respecting the other dog for his age or for his breed were dwindling fast in face of the other dog throwing his words back at him in a familiar sort of dance. That was the way things started; your hackles went up, you and your words started circling, and then you attacked.

"Who do you think you are?" Kagetora snapped the words out. The real question here was who did this old man think he was? The answer was obvious, though. He thought he was his father. Kagetora knew they looked fairly similar, but he thought there were at least enough similarities that someone should be bale to tell the difference between the two of them; eye color, for one, and a different coat pattern. Not to mention he still had both of his eyes, thank you very much. He didn't particularly want to trounce this old man in the mud but the shouted words and the snarling pretty much decided him that he couldn't go on ignoring an obvious threat being made towards him. Not just because of Ohu, although that was the major reason, but because his pride as a soldier and as a Kai ken could not be squashed down so easily. What kind of fighting spirit would he be said to have if he just let someone insult him and snarl at him like that?

He still didn't venture out past the stone that he was standing on, but the hackles along the back of his neck bristled, his tail held high with confidence and the edges of his muzzles lifted to reveal the glint of his own teeth. "You want a fight, old man? I'll take you on!" Kagetora was not exactly discriminatory in his fighting habits. He would fight a female if they were threatening Ohu. He would fight a pup or an old dog. He wouldn't bully them or seek them out to cause harm, but if they challenged him, if they threatened what he loved, well, he would not hold back. That was his version of being a kind member of Ohu, anyways, his own brand of honor. He held his ground, though, despite his words. The other Kai dog might back down. Mostly, though, he just waited for the other to make the first move. Lumbering and slow, held down by age and sucking mud, he might very well present an easy target if Kagetora just waited a few moments for his move.



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#6
Chutora

Chutora
  • Outsider
  • 4 posts

Perhaps Chutora did not wish to see, to hear, the younger Kai. The golden eyes that flickered at him hardly told him anything. It had been so long since the brothers had met - been so long since Chutora had seen his nephews, that he never even thought that this dog could be his nephew. Perhaps he did see it, in the back of his mind where he could speak rationally - but he could not admit it. Forcing his paws to approach the Kai, his tail straight up into the sky like a lightning rod, the browning, more like graying, Kai approached Kagetora. His claws were drenched in mud, he wasn't even sure he could jump or run at this point. It felt like he was in quick sand, and yet he, too, locked onto Kage. His brown eyes, filled with cataracts that dotted his vision, met Kage's gaze. Met the gaze of his brother, met the gaze of the one he had surived with. The one he had...his ears flicked. They realized the flaw in this. They realized the Kai in front had two eyes. But Chutora marched forward, spending precious time and energy to lift his paws out of the mud.

"The hell are you talking about, old man. Who do you think you are? You want a fight, old man? I'll take you on!"

Fangs bared, his hair on end, the old Kai's spirit was egged on by this simple banter. His raitonal brain tried to remind him, tried to warn him, but all he heard were the threats from the other dog. All he heard was that his pride and his power were at stake - had his brother forgotten him?! Then he would make sure he left with the remaining eye as his prize! If Kurotora could not see his older brother, why should he see at all? "Have you forgotten your brother, Kurotora!? Chutora's voice rang out like thunder, and the words enunciated like lightning. His yell, his yowl, his howl, carried the sort of crazed anger that had not been heard since Hougen. But this anger, this madness was not the madness driven from insanity and isolation. Was not the insanity driven by trusting no one. It was the insanity of sadness, drive by the absense of family. Driven by the broken pieces of the devils of Kai. "If you do not remember me, I'll fight you to the death! You will go blind before I'm dead - if you can't see me, feel my fangs instead!" He ran - or at least, walked and yanked his legs out with great power. One would fear he would break his legs and continue to walk along with stubs. His ears, the voice of reason, flattend against his head. His growling, his snarling, like that of the storm and rains itself. He charged, as best as he could, at Kagetora. His aged fangs still sharp, his mobility lestend but still hiw power deadly.

The flattend ears drummed against his skull, and the closer he got - thirty, twenty, ten, five - the more he saw. The more he was forced to see. Mouth agape as he tried to launch himself at Kurotra, his brain voiced its concerns, and suddenly he stopped, his paws sliding into the mud next to Kagetora. Two eyes. Two eyes. His paws almost failed him as he slid to a stop within biting range of Kagetora. He turned his head, seeing Kage's shoulders. They were not the same sort of black as his brother's. He could see the veins of brindling. "You are not Kurotora... who are you?!" His brown, wild eyes darted over the younger Kai's shape. Trying to figure out who he was. Trying to remember his sons' appearances. None of them were this dark, all were as light as he was. Could this be one of Kurotora's sons? Or was he mistaken? He waited for the other dog to explain himself, and for the moment his snarls and growls retreated into heavy breathing.



"I won't die from the likes of you! I, Chutora, am not pathetic!"

#7
Kagetora

Kagetora
  • Ohu
  • 69 posts

The older dog didn't answer any of his questions, which just rankled Kagetora. This was a stranger coming into their land, demanding things, spoiling for a fight and causing a general ruckus. Well, Kagetora would give him that fight. He didn't even have to ask nicely. The Kai dog would gladly thrash this old man around a bit before he made him see reason. Kagetora narrowed his eyes somewhat as the older dog slogged through the muck and the mud, hackles raised and fangs bared. His ears twitched somewhat as the other Kai dog demanded to know if he had forgotten his brother, the words carried through the area by an emotion that made the younger Kai pause if only for a brief moment. He'd heard enough things before. He well remembered the sound of the very land, the ghosts of the dead, howling around them during the battle with Hougen. Things like that never left you. "You want to fight me, you go ahead and try!" He snapped the words back as the older dog said he would fight him to the death, would blind him. And then the older dog tried his best to charge.

It was a slow sort of thing, which gave Kagetora all the time in the world to prepare. No one could run so fast through mud that sucked and held at your feet. Even if you gained some speed, it still held you slower than you would go, still gave you plenty of opportunities to trip up. That was good, so far as he was concerned. The rain pelted down around them and there was another flash of lightning and a crack of thunder. The gray-striped Kai dog folded his ears down and back, his fangs flashing in the light of from the electricity that traveled through the sky. He crouched somewhat as he waited to receive the attack from the other dog, to make his own move and teach this interloper a lesson. It was as the other Kai dog was almost upon him that it happened, though. There was a widening of the eyes, a sudden backwards motion and the other dog was skipping through the mud in a full on stop, sliding right up to Kagetora, right within striking distance for the both of them, spraying mud every which way.

His instincts said to forget being confused and to just strike. The fact that this dog had stopped however, told him to hold his own fangs. The older dog stared at him and Kagetora took a few deliberate steps backwards - not out of fear, never out of fear, but out of simple good tactics. This stranger was far too close for his liking. He could lash out at any second and if he wasn't prepared for that he could be caught. He was determined to not be caught like that if he could help it. The other dog wasn't attacking though. He wasn't doing anything but staring at him in a kind of disappointed and befuddled way. When he spoke, Kagetora actually snorted in derision at the words. "Anyone with eyes in their head could see I ain't the old man!" He snapped the words out, still angry at being challenged, at having his day disturbed by an interloper who had been spoiling for a fight and then decided to call it off right within striking range. "I'm Kagetora, son of Kurotora and a tried and tested soldier of Ohu. You want to keep fighting, you just try me! Now," he said, dropping his head somewhat, a low growl rumbling up from deep within his throat. "Who the hell are you?"



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