Trials of the Shadow Walkers - 02/16/21

Early to Rise


Lami woke up early this morning. inhaling deeply as she opened the window overlooking Yanxia. It was this day. Blue's final trial and 'Baptism' into the ways of the shinobi. Lami looked over the land feeling, Guilty. “Did I have a right to teach her these things? What possessed me to pass this down? Well. I suppose no point in feeling that way now…Though I get the feeling this is going to be…an interesting day. I best get Mika and Edel prepared to flee incase the local clans decide they don't like the idea of Blue getting to participate in the official trials…” Shaking her head at the thought. “They let me. Why not her? Yet again…I did help free Doma so I suppose it was just a repayment of sorts…either way…Time to get going.”

Lami crept out of the house, Silent as a soft breeze. She'd packed her things and well, The things of Blue's she wouldn't notice had been removed. The Kart was ready to go. Stretching out she'd nod. “Guess I'll take a light jog over to the temple…maybe get some permission before hand…” Donning the garb given to her for her efforts and help with the past. She looked down at herself. “Feels weird every time I wear this…” Before setting off.

A few bells pass.

Lami returns to their hut sighing. “Went as well as I expected. But she may participate…With a few cheviot…I hope she can pass them.” Edel warking at Lami as she returned. Mika as well greeted her from above. Lami wandered into the house and started making breakfast. Deciding the best way to wake the Xaela from her slumber would be the smell of a hearty meal being cooked. Mika stuck her head into a nearby window. Seeming to beg for scraps. Which Lami buckled without much resistance and fed the Griffin a few pieces of lightly seared bacon.


Blue had had a nice, restful sleep for the past couple nights. It helped a great deal that she was practicing herself into exhaustion. She didn't exactly know what Lami had planned out for her with this final test, but the Xaela was going to try and prepare for it nonetheless with what time they had to spare.

Still, the smell of something cooking was more than enough to awaken Blue, who groaned and rolled over until she flopped out of the bed and onto the floor, the tip of her tail smacking against the wood in a slow wag.

A few minutes more and the door to the bedroom would creak open quietly, followed by inquisitive eyes peeking out at the scene before her. Oh good, it wasn't a burgler cooking breakfast. She slipped through the gap in the door and approached Lami and the hungry Mika with a smile and a groggy “G'moooorning…”.


Lami had finished up her a special breakfast this morning, Steamed white rice, A few eggs to be cracked and used atop the fresh rice. A cuts of a mixture of grilled and seared fish, Along with fired vegetables. “Goood mornin'!” She said cheerfully. “Sleep well, I hope?” Her ears cocked abit oddly atop her head as the various gusts of air wafting the smell of cooking food seemed to bother them more then it bothered Lami herself. “Made sumthin' abit different this mornin'…Since taday's the day. I got permission fer ya ta use the trial grounds…” She bit her tongue though. “With a few…additional tests…”


Blue flicked her ears, though it was less out of wafting steam and more out of pleasure as she took note of the meal being prepared and claimed a seat, near incapable of sitting still. She took another sniff before declaring pleasantly, “Smells yummy, Lami! And I slept good, you?”

She listened to the Seeker further, tail coiling around one of the chair legs as the Xaela leaned forward, elbows on the table and hands on her cheeks. Curious head tilt.

“Why did you need permission? Is not everybody allowed to learn what you've been teaching?”


Lami chuckled abit, scratching her head. “N-No actually…It's sorta a huge….BIG…Taboo…Ta train none doman's…with a few exceptions…” Ears fell flat. “BUT. Luckily fer us…Mostly me…Since I helped with Doma…they are goin' ta…look the other way so ta speak fer yer trials…As lon' as ya pass a few extra hoops.” Coughing abit. “Anyways. Eat. I'll explain after that…” Twiddling her thumbs nervously. The special meal may have also been a suck up attempt to Blue.


Blue gave Lami a stare and perhaps a bit of a squint, before she leaned forward just a little more to grab at a bowl and begin chowing down proper, easing back into her seat and letting all her worrisome thoughts circle around. What kind of extra hoops was she supposed to be doing? Still, good cooking was a most excellent distraction, and the Xaela was all radiant smiles by the time she emptied the bowl. She perked up again.

“I'm ready when you are Lami, do I need to bring anything with me?”


Lami tapped her chin. “Well. Yer gonna need a proper lunch…There's a good chance ya might spend a day…maybe more in there.” She turned and quickly made a few box lunches. And handed Blue a fairly lean, but sturdy, one strapped backpack. “Keep em in 'ere….Also…” She looked to Blue's claws. “Those gotta stay 'ere…IF ya use anythin' but stabbers er yer own body well…insult would be taken and I don't think it'd end well…”


Blue visibly pouted as she stared longingly at her claws that wouldn't be allowed to come. “Okay…” She was curious enough about possibly spending the entire day wherever they were going though, sifting through the backpack she was given curiously even though she knew it only contained a bunch of box lunchee. She scooted back in the chair and rose with the backpack at her shoulder, crouching down to make sure her daggers were still well within the holsters attached to either side of her boots.


Lami nodded. “Alright. Let's set out then.” Without a moments hesitation she was out the door. Looking at her birds, Both flying and not to stay as she waited outside for Blue to get ready with whatever else she'd want to bring. Not planning to pester her too much. This was her trial so the preparations outside of a meal where hers to make.


Blue blinked as Lami headed on out the door. All by her lonesome, she looked around a bit, wondering if there was anything else she wanted to bother bringing. Well maybe one thing..The Xaela hop-skipped back to her bedroom and straight for one of the dressers there and pulled out a small length of yellow ribbon. She tied it up in her hair alongside her ponytail. “Just some good luck. I know you want me to succeed too.” Blue glanced at her medical satchel nearby and also pulled a few vials from it, burying them in her backpack for the time being before heading out after the Seeker for whatever awaited next.


Lami waited outside, nodding at Blue. She rounded the corner and started to make the trip by foot. “Gives us time to talk…Because I'm not sure what ya are gonna be facin'. And I can't help ya…at all period…I wasn't originally gonna even have ya participate…But that would have ended far werse fer ya…and Tret. Down the road if they found out ya knew their secrets and just fucked off ta the West again…”


Blue followed Lami and nodded thoughtfully. “I didn't think you'd be able to help me. I'm not too worried. You're a good teacher, so I should be fine!” The Xaela was awfully cheerful about it. “And I wouldn't want you or me to get in trouble after all this either. We can follow the rules. It's fine!”


Lami sighed. Though Blue was willing to go along. Lami had the faintest feeling Blue didn't realize just how serious this whole ordeal was to the people of Doma. But, Lami pulled some strings. Perhaps her last string in this instance. To get Blue accepted. Now she just had to hope her boasting of Blue's skill earned her the respect of the associated Shinobi clan.

The rest of their trip went on without much excitment. A few Namazu caught sight of Blue and fled in terror. Before long, They pair arrived before a Large gate in the side of a mountain. A pair of what appeared to be normal guardsmen stood on either side of the gate.


Blue looked around, simply observing where they were heading with much interest. Truthfully the pair hadn't done that much exploring, and when they stopped in front of the large gate embedded in the mountain the Xaela tilted her head and looked to Lami. “This is where it starts then?”


Lami nodded. “Aye. I'll be waitin' here. It's all ya now.” She placed a hand on Blue's shoulder. “Good Luck. Make sure ta use yer head in there. I'm not sure what sorta tests they have fer ya…But they are sure ta test yer mind as well as yer body.” Giving her shoulder a tight squeeze.


Blue smiled and unsurprisingly at this point, pounced the woman to give her an affectionate hug in return. “I'll do my best!” The Xaela promised before hoisting her pack once more at her back. She made towards the guards and, uncertain as to whether she should just head in or not, Blue gave a polite little curtsy and informed them, “Hello. I'm here to take a test? May I go in?”


The pair of Doman's looked Blue up and down. Then down at Lami. Returning their gaze to the Xaela they scoffed. But none the less, They pushed the doors open and allowed Blue entry into their sacred halls. The Trials have begun

Through the Gates


Once Blue entered the halls she'd be in darkness for a few paces, Before candles lit a narrow passageway. The further Blue walked, The more candles lit. Blue seemed to walk…endlessly. Her footsteps her only companion. A voice slowly entered her head. “The more noise they make, The more the candles burn, The more the candles burn. The more noise they make.”


Blue didn't seem to mind the scoffing of the guards, merely beaming at them pleasantly when they finally allowed her inside. It took a moment for her eyes to adjust to the darkness only made slightly better by the candles lighting her way. As she continued on and realized that the hall seemed to keep going and going, she bit her lip and allowed herself to focus on the strange voice in her head. Uncertain as to whether this was a puzzle or not, Blue simply stopped walking and stood still and quiet.


The Voice returned once more.“Silent. Are the Shadows. Do you hear them? They dance to an unsung melody. Without air disturbed or Silence broken. Do you dance? Do you move without noise, nor air disturbed? Do you keep. The Silence?”The Voice faded. And all Blue was left with, Was the faint sound of burning wicks.


Blue wanted to speak back to the voice, feeling the temptation within her throat to respond. She stared down at the dimly lit ground instead, rubbing anxiously at her elbow. The Xaela didn't like the feeling of being alone and when the voice finally faded so too did her some bit of her confidence with it. Blue took a breath, ignoring the nervous tremor in her legs as she dipped down and focused on hiding herself proper. Just another skin. Just something nobody else can see. A quick intake of breath, and the Xaela was unseen, beginning to tread lightly forwards as soundlessly as she could manage.


As Blue did this. The candles went out. Blue maintained this for what felt like ages before, A seam of Light appeared before her. Opening Blindly like a pair of Gates. Showing Blue into a new chamber. The voice returns “Silent does this one walk. The Trial of Shadows. This one passes.” The voice seemed to almost rip out of Blue's back and returned to the dark Hallway from whence if came. The room before her was Large. Larger then any room inside a mountain had any right to be. Adorned with Red's and Golds. A pair of statues, One a man dressed in Garb that is similar to that which Lami had adorned a few times before Blue. And the other, In an odd style of eastern plate. A new voice finds her mind. “Welcome. Fledgling. Today you will earn your place among us. Or earn eternal shame. Knowing this. Would you continue? This will be your last chance.”


Blue waited until she had entered the new room and the voice from earlier had seemed to go away before she relinquished her focus and became visible again with a panting breath. The girl really needed to stop holding her breath whenever she moved unseen.

Taking a moment to gather her wits about her, Blue finally made to approach the two statues at either side of the door. Again, she curtsied for them both as a new voice spoke in her mind. Hoping that she was safe to speak again, the Xaela answered without hesitation.

“Yes! I'd like to continue if you don't mind!” Her words eager and genuine, if not a bit too polite.

The First Trial


The statues were silent for a moment. Before a door to the Xaela’s left slowly opened. “Then let the trials begin…” Before the voice left her mind again. And the giant hall grew silent.

Blue found herself in another hallways but this one had a slight bend. Stones and cloths with the Doman native tongue carved and weaved into the surfaces. They seemed to be paying homage to certain aspects of the life of a shinobi


Blue leaned forward, peeking out past the opening door to stare down the length of hallway.

“'s not as dark..” The Xaela found herself whispering before she stepped into the hall.

She observed the various materials and words etched into everything around her with gentle curiosity, wanting to reach out and feel the strange etchings but deciding against it and keeping her hands tucked at her back.


Blue continued down the hall. Round the corner before finding herself in a large room in the shape of an octagon, straight onward was a large door with four symbols that seemed familiar to Blue. At each inter cardinal corner, Rose a pillar to the ceiling. The height being unknown as they ascended into darkness.

At the base of these pillars, sat green colored stones. Four in total. One at the base of each of these four pillars. All engraved with different symbols but all of them looking, just as familiar and matching the symbols on the door. The room was silent. Save the faint sound of wind howling from above.


Blue wanders to the octagonal room, her ears twitching at the wind howling up above, earning a glance upwards thought she couldn't see anything but darkness.

She circles around the room once, before ducking down and beginning to take note of the strange symbols etched into the various pillars in the room.


The symbols on the Pillars. Seemed to be symbolic of something. Perhaps a gesture of some kind. The winds howling continued to echo through the chamber. Three of the symbols look oddly familiar. But one did not.


Blue observed the symbolic symbols curiously. She'd been training long into the night these past few days that the symbols were embedded into her brain whether she wanted them to be or not. Though the fourth one was..unfamiliar. Maybe she'd have to come back to that one.

The Xaela walked back to the center of the room, giving a once over to the pillars once more before making the hand gesture for Ten.


Blue could feel the jolt of energy that seemed to awaken from within with relative ease, and held out her palm. Within, a blue-hued shuriken had been formed, the entirety of which encased in water that constantly flowed and clashed against itself.

Teasing one end between two fingers, the girl launched her creation for the colored stone upon which the symbol she'd just formed herself was etched, hoping something might happen.


The stone began to glow. Shaking rapidly as it grew brighter, the corresponding symbol on the door began to join its twin. Before long the symbols began to glow in order. Ending with the unknown symbol. Spinning on the door before the stone slab of a door shook. And slowly rose. “Onward.” Whispered into Blues ears as if sung by the howling winds above.


The Xaela straightened when the corresponding stones began to glow, letting a smile reach her lips as she clasped her hands together with delight.

“Maybe I can do this after all..” The Xaela whispered to herself just before her whispers were interrupted by the one from above. With a nervous flick of her tail the determined Xaela continued deeper and onward through the door that had opened up for her.


Blue walked into a similar hallway as with the previous corridor this one followed the same pattern. Though the features that adorned the walls where different. The symbols remained but the actually stone and cloth drapes that adorned them seemed different.

There appeared to be cloaked figures painted into the shadows of various places such as houses, and in the dark places under rocks, places cloaked in shadow.

Blues walk continued uneventful, the flicker of candles lighting her way until she found herself in another room following the same form as before. This room however was different in two aspects. One. The floor hung loosely by chains. A small wooden bridge leading to the center. And a endless pitfall below, a small pit carved into the center of the floating slab that served as the center of the room.

And the second difference. While there where four stones with four different symbols, the colors had changed. Now brown stones with the symbols carved in Dark Red say at the base of their four respective pillars and the Door also held these symbols. “Show us growth.” Blue heard whispered from below


Blue observed the differences in this hallway as she had the last, though she had to stop and squint multiple times upon spying what she thought were figures hidden in the shadows. For some reason these figures made the Xaela nervous, as if they were watching her. She dug her fingers into her palms until she felt a brief spike of pain, shaking her head and hastening her pace over to the next room- and the massive pitfall in the center.

The Xaela pursed her lips and took a half-skip closer to the bridge before peering over the edge at the endless pit. “Doesn't seem very safe..” She murmured to herself before scratching at her cheek and wandering across the bridge to the floating slab to examine its significance further. Her ears flicked at the whispers from below.

“I will, promise! Just..gimme a moment..”


The most Blue might notice is the carved stones sat in the same places as before. The small pit in the middle of the room seemed charred. Possible from a fire. The rest of the room yielded little in terms of observation. The feeling of being watched would come over her and fade as quickly as it had come.


Blue hummed thoughtfully to herself as she took in what she could, though now she found both of her hands at her cheeks, rubbing nervously.

What if it wants fire?!? Or lightning?!? I just had to twist this stuff around till I was comfy..

She thunked herself in the side of the head with her knuckle and gave a little shrug, reaching out to test how secure the bridge behind her was. Worse case scenario she could just fall into the pit. Could be worse.

Stepping out till she was only a couple fulms away from the floating slab, the girl dropped into a crouch and prepared two mudra in succession - Ten, as before, and then Chi, once more feeling that spark of energy suddenly awaken and resonate within her body. She looked to the charred pit below the floating slab, and there would form a small, every growing puddle that would in the next instant form a substantial geyser that pushed up against the bottom of the slab with as much force as Blue could manage to make. She was trying to lift it above the chains that kept it dangling.


The room shook. The chains seemed to hold but Blue felt herself grow unsteady on her feet. After a few moments, all was still. The chains kept their hold and the Symbols representing the Mudra, Ten, And Chi, Both began to glow as Blue made the appropriate signs. Just as before, The doors matching symbols began to glow followed by the other too. The stone slab door slowly began to rise. She had passed the second test. But not before Blue left the room. A new voice found her mind. “Different. Interesting. Proceed.” Was all it said before Blue would be able to make her way out.


Blue started feeling the platform shift under her, forcing the Xaela to pop up and onto her feet as she watched the stones glow and the door soon to open for her once more. Peering over the edge of the pit with a nervous little huff, she ran the rest of the way to the door just in time to hear another voice echo inside her mind.

“Glad you liked it!” She replied cheerfully, glancing back at the pit briefly before heading through the next door.


Nothing more was said. Blue entered yet another passageway. This one however, Went straight on. Nothing adorned it's save a single stone. Hanging from the sealing it glowed with a dim golden light. It was the soul source of light. Traces of what was once covered walls remained. Cracks from nails, Dust free circles. Odd abnormalities showing this particular hallways was recently disturbed by whomever walked here before Blue.

As Blue continued on she'd enter a Third room. The same as the previous two. Four Pillars, And Octagon in shape, Save the stones, That where now made of gold, bared the same symbols as the previous rooms. The difference however, Was the room had a statues of men and women on ever flat wall, Totaling in eight. immediately to her left, a stone man that appeared to be in clothes of a peasant. And to her right, A women that was most obviously the Doman equivalent of Royalty. Along the left wall, Each statue of the men changed from Peasant men, To a man in Armor, to one in finer clothes. Ending next to the door. Was a man in fine robes that could bee seen as an Emperor. To her left, The women statues did the same, But in the reverse order. To the Queens side, Was a women dressed in a fine dress, Then Armor, Then a peasant women directly next to the door, Opposite the Emperor.

Each of these statues had smaller stones before them, Each a different color. Royalty had Purple. The knights adorned with Blue, Nobility with Green , and the Peasantry with White. In the center of this room, there was en elevated Octagon, the corners and faces matching that of the room, Sharing the stones of the statues in which they faced, And the corners baring the same gold stones, matching bother the ones below the pillars, And in the door.


Blue peeked out at the lack of things or interest down the long hallway. Had someone just come and pilfered everything? That seemed rude…she brushed her face with the back of her hand. Maybe she could bring back a nice landscape or something for them to hang…or maybe just hand it to one of the guards, the Xaela had a feeling that they wouldn't let her back in again.

As she entered this new room, familiarizing herself first with the placement of the pillars and then the statues on either side, the Xaela couldn't help but go from statue to statue, examining each one as thoroughly as she could.


Blue would find that each statue, was of the same person, But at different periods of their life or perhaps phases. The stones glowed with a warm glow, Power flowed in them, and if Blue used more then her eyes. Could feel this power pumped through the statues. As if the stones where their hearts, Pumping Aetherical energy into the statues. To what end? She couldn't tell.


While Blue did examine each statue, soon realizing that each belonged to the same person in a different period of time, she found herself naming each one she passed quietly, a gentle smile on her face as she rounded the room. There was a skip to her step.

“Lami, Luca, Luna, and Novine!” “Vinalo, Tret, Veldi, and Gair!”

Male or female statue didn't quite matter to the girl as she did her final sweep and went to the center, clasping her hands together.

“Lami said I'd be the closest to this mudra, but it's the hardest too. Maybe that's just cause it's so important.” She was talking to herself more than anything else really, closing her eyes and trying to focus.

You all are the reason I'm trying to learn these things. To be better and do more to help if you ever needed me.

Opening her eyes again, the Xaela took a breath and looked down at her hands briefly before performing Ten, Chi, and, with a bit of a nervous flick of her tail, Jin. Following those signs the little lizard swept her arms over her head and twirled around.

From Blue's feet, rivulets of water formed and became a shallow pool that continued to spread outwards across the floor. As the water touched the base of each statue, it began to slowly and steadily swirl in a clockwise motion around the Xaela. Another moment more and the water became a turbulent circling wave that crashed against pillar, statue, and wall.


As Blue did this, Each Statue began to pulse almost, With Aether. The King and Queen's eyes began to Glow the same Purple as their respective stones. The Nobility their Green, And the Knight and Peasant their respective Colors. Eight Voices filled her head. While at first none of it made sense and it was just painful noise. After a few moments. They melded and became something far less intrusive.

“Many have stood before us. But none, With such an abnormal affinity. You have displayed the necessary Knowledge of the Mudra, But do you know more then just their name? Tell us. What of the Heavens? Tell us, What of the Earth? Tell us. What of Man? What drives you to protect your King or Queen? Wife or Husband? Friend or Family? For what do you draw steel and shed blood?”

Blue felt the same eyes that had been watching her during this trial and she would recognize the voices in her head. As they where the Voices she had been hearing since entering the first trial.


Blue's eyes widened as the statue's eyes began to glow, though she cradled her head at the onslaught of voices, wincing until the jumbled sounds cleared. She plopped herself onto the still damp ground, tucking her legs beneath her and staring at each statue with a soft smile.

“I admit, I may not know much about the honored history these techniques were used for, though I can imagine they were used to protect the people and the things that mattered most- which is what I wish to use these abilities for as well.”

The little Xaela flicked her ears, casting her gaze about the room before she continued.

“My world is filled with people who make my life worth living. They make wealth or riches meaningless to me..make me feel like I belong when I feel like an odd little thing. I wish to be stronger for them, to keep those I love safe from whomever might try and take them away. For them I'll draw blood and do everything in my power to protect them from harm.”

Blue wasn't used to long-winded explanations, nor just pouring out her soul to a bunch of statues, but here she was.


The statues where silent. As if contemplating the Xaela’s response. Before she felt the room rumble to life. The statues eyes began to glow almost blindingly bright.

“We have weighted your answer. While we can not know the way the outside world is, your answer holds merit. To protect ones king, country and family is the noblest of goals.” The door slowly opened.

“Yet one last test for the Trial of Will remains.” Unlike the rooms previously, there was no hallway and before Blue knew it she was being sucked into a gaping Black Hole that was once the door

“Prove your worth. Or perish before the guardian of the grounds.” And as Blue was forcefully taken from the room, the lights went out and Blue was being tossed and turned through total darkness. Though it didn’t last long. For she found herself crashing into the floor. Though the forces that brought her here eased it just enough to not cause her more then a brief second of pain.


Blue was pleased that the statues liked her answer. She couldn't properly celebrate however as she was suddenly drawn into the not-door, the hole of darkness. A whimper escaped the Xaela in spite of herself, squeezing her eyes shut and making a very legitimate attempt to curl herself up into a ball as she was tossed about. A yelp when she finally felt something solid at her back. Painful or not, at least it was firm.

Carefully Blue opened one eye…and then the other, feeling around herself with her hands and thankful for the faint glow the markings around her face provided, even if it was too little to bring her comfort in the darkness.


The darkness started to fade as lights began to burn to life. Blue would quickly find she was in a pit, though it wasn’t tall and she could easily make her way out. Fires now burned around its edge, roughy 8 ft walls surrounded her and it looked to be stands… it they where full of statues. All shinobi seemingly from different periods. And as Blue would notice them. Their eyes would begin to glow. There needed up being thousands. Eyes glowing far above where the fires light reached, of every different shade of color. Though they did not move. Nor speak After Blue would take this in she’d find a giant statue that looked to be a stereotypical shinobi cloaked head and loose fitting clothing. Sat to her twelve o’clock. He appeared to be meditating. Now light emanating from him….yet.


The moment Blue realized she was in a pit surrounded by onlookers, no matter how stony they seemed was the moment the Xaela's bravery briefly shattered into bits and pieces.

“No…nonono….not again…” She mumbled and pressed herself against one of the walls, eyes wide. In her head, in the deepest recesses of her head, she knew this wasn't at all the same as before, this was just a test. Just a..

She looked at the giant Shinobi before her and tried to focus, but nonexistent jeering was echoing in her ears. Something deep inside the Xaela was reacting to the threat, and Blue dropped down on all fours, markings flaring brightly.

The girl growled and waited for the statue to make the first move.


As Blue took her stance the statue remained still. For now. Three orbs that had been dim and untraceable began to glow under Blue before the statue finally rose. It’s eyes shining a bright white. Before dulling quickly it slowly rose and folded its arms before Blue felt its voice in her mind.“Fear, Anger perhaps? I feel from you fledgling. Does being watched make you cower so quickly?” The tone gave off the feeling of being unimpressed with Blue’s initial reaction, though if Blue had the aptitude she might be able to spot that same mysterious symbol that had been present before.

Now stepping forward. The statue continued to speak. Though it remained unimpressed with the Xaela. “This is your final test. Before proving your skill with a blade. I would pose a question. You’ve proven you know the Mudra. But tell me. What do they mean to you? How do you see them? What do you think of the heavens and how the effect the Earth? Or how the Earth and Heavens effect the hearts of man and those that dwell on its surface?” The statue did not seem to care if Blue was panicked it would have its answers. The eyes all around her seemed to lock onto the Xaela as the exam began in earnest.


Blue bristled at the orbs swirling around her and resisted the urge to jump back and away from them. She knew she had to get it together but there was a flicker of abject terror in her mind. She tried to shake it off at the chastising words of the statue, scraping her fingernails against the ground before she slowly rose, spotting the familiar looking symbol and squinting at it while the statue continued to speak. When it was done, the Xaela started up slowly.

“To me…the Heavens are what we aspire for. Our hopes and desires that are always within reach no matter how high they might be. The Earth grounds our thoughts in reality but promises aid by becoming the hills and mountains that rise up to greet the heavens and bring us closer to our wishes. And man, that's us! We are the ones who can dream, and hope, and try to grow and learn from the whole world around us, heavens and earth both.”


The statue stood there for several moments. Processing what Blue had given as an answer. Stepping back abit, The fourth and Final Symbol would glow.“That answer is…acceptable.” It's once disapproving feeling felt almost like it was…Smiling. If that was possible. You have passed the Trial. However.“

The floor rumbled and Blue felt herself rising. Along with the statue. The eyes that had been observing Blue going out as their platform rose.”There is one thing that I now would Impart on you. Kassatsu, Life. Or. Death. It is a constant state of mind for a Shinobi. Your choices will either save or take life. Be it from your enemies. Your loved ones. Or even yourself. To know Kassatsu is to know that you hold the balance. And must keep this ideal in your mind when making choices. It is neither good. Nor Evil.“

Blue might felt a tingling in the back of her mind as the Statue spoke. But it was nothing more then that. After the statue's speech. Blue would find herself in a circle room. Full of light. Directly behind her was the Door she saw when she first entered the Trial.

“The Trial is over. Now, You are to embark on the next.” The statue stepped to the side an odd looking overly large golden pallet with a small blue gem floated there.”Once you are prepared. Take this to your next trial.“ Before sitting down and watching Blue. Saying nothing more.

The Second Trial


Blue flicked her earfins at the strange satisfied feeling emitting from the statue. The Xaela wagged her tail, pleased that her answer was good enough, but even more so as she felt the earth beneath her lift her out of the pit. It felt like a heavy weight had lifted from her mind, and her gaze flickered over hole she'd felt trapped in before her attention was drawn to the statue.

“Kassatsu.” The little lizard repeated in earnest, trying to keep it in her memory as the statue continued on. This particular lesson was one that didn't surprise Blue in the least, and though she in particular leaned a certain way, the unfortunate truth that taking life might be required was something she was slowly growing to accept.

She gave a solemn nod at the end of the statue's speech and curtsied to it before looking at the strange blue hued gem. With some small hesitation she grasped for the gem and…did not go for the next door.

Instead she plopped down beside the statue, rifled through her backpack, and pulled out some lunch.

“Thank you kindly for the lesson,” The girl said politely before munching on her food with relish.

“I'll be prepared soon!”


The statue said nothing as it watched. It seemed it had no qualms with her taking the time for a meal.


When Blue had finished, she rustled around in her pack, replacing the empty pack and pulling out another full container of lunch. She hopped over to the sitting statue and set that container in its lap before taking a step back to pick up her pack again and nod to the rock soldier.

“Okay..I'm ready!”


The statue looked at Blue,”I do not require sustenance…“Confusion is what Blue felt.I


Blue looked back at the statue and smiled. “Well even if you don't require it, it might be nice to look at, or try to eat!” She patted the statue fondly.


The statue froze the food.”Go.“ Still confused by Blues odd actions. She truly was an abnormality


Blue beams at the statue once more before hopping onto the pallet of golden destiny.


Blue was overcome with the sense she was being sucked away. But it wasn’t an unpleasant feeling. When she finally regained her senses she was deep under the sea. And a long glass hallway was before her. The sun came in through the glass lighting the hallway. The sea filled with life. Sharks and fish of many colors and species swam about the glass. Not paying Blue much mind. The hallways was long and roughy 12 feet across. Small long streams where at even intervals.

Blue would have a few moments to soak in this view before the new leaders of her trial would enter her mind.”Welcome, to the second Trial.“

As this was said water burst forth from the streams and washed down towards Blue with haste before crashing just a few feet away from her what was once sand was now white water rapids “The objective is simple. Show us what you’ve learned. Reach the cave at the other end by any means necessary. But be swift. The rapids are unforgiving. And will show you little mercy.”


Blue was less panicked by this particular method of sucking, mostly because it was much less dark, thanks in part to the area she was transported to being in part as blue as she was! Fascinated, the Xaela gawked at the fish swimming around and had to reluctantly tear her eyes away from the clear glass when the next set of voices appeared in her head. It was only then that she snapped to attention and noticed the hallway and the crashing water in full.

The hallway didn't seem that long to Blue but…it was better to be safe than sorry, and with no platforms or things to block the rapids, it was up to her to make a straight shot or bust. No, she'd observe the water patterns first, try to be smart about it. The Xaela hummed to herself and observed.


Blue would observe the rapids as they came crashing down. However, they seemed to run oddly at certain intervals. As if something might be attempting to Block the water but it’s might was keeping it from properly doing so.


Blue hummed and paced from one narrow side of the hallway to the next, occasionally distracted by the colorful fishes that drew near while she was trying to watch how the rapids flowed. There was definitely some kind of delay…but she couldn't tell any further than that.

With a little shrug, the Xaela dropped onto all fours as she had in the pit, though this time she focused on the space around her, willing it to push down against her form like an extra bit of gravity. Her fingers tapped against the floor as she waited for the rapids to dwindle down before she hit that aetherial switch that propelled her forward like a slingshot. She hoped she could make it straight to the other end of the hall with sheer momentum.


Blues plan was met with failure. A large wave of water spawning from one of the streams before her. She was blasted with water and tossed around like drift wood till she found herself right where she started. Now soaking wet and with a few extra bruises. Seems she hit something hard and it left it’s mark.


Blue shook herself free of water droplets with all the willful intention of a wet dog, though this wasn't met without little “Ow!” and “Ouch!” 's interspersed throughout the grueling process.

She rubbed at her sore spots and pouted. This was harder than she thought.


The water began to drain away again. Though this time Blue would notice another odd occurrence. In random places the water seemed to be held back by something unseen. Before tumbling past these spots. As if something was lowering in the spots with every crash of the waves, though these instances where few and far in between.


Blue stared out at the hallway, seeming to notice these strange large indents from where the water was flowing. Clearly there were maybe, what, walls? But they weren't there all the time..

Once she got her head together, she'd eye the indent that was closest to her, then the one immediately after, and make a mad dash to the former while the water was still. Rather than push her luck, the Xaela made two hand signs and a column of water rose in the space where she thought the wall to be for extra shelter against the rapids before darting to the next wall and repeating the process. It was slow, but maybe that was the better way to make it down the hall.


Blue’s attempt was met with minor success. She made some headway. Before her attempts at using the water Column falter making it 1/3 if the way towards the cave entrance Blue was thrown back as the water grew stronger the closer she got to her goal. Though if she was quick, she could return to the place she once was only being thrown back a few yalms instead of the full distance back.


Blue would end up being fast enough to get to her prior position before being launched backwards, to which the girl would have breathed a sigh of relief if she'd had the time to do so.

Instead she once more waited out the rapids before dashing for the second wall, another water column put in place for good measure. And then another attempt and running up this hill.


Blue made good headway. She was abit past the halfway point now. Though she felt the rapids change. Behind her dried up. And before her the entirety of the hall filled with water and came crashing down! Blue would have to think quickly if she didn’t want to be washed back to the beginning of the trial.


Blue made a panicked chirp as she took note of the too-dry floor behind her and the ONSLAUGHT of waves heading her way. She wasn't sure if even a well timed wall would help in this case. The Xaela rubbed her forehead and shook her head, not even sure if it would work. She scurried to the next wall in her trek, feeling around the edges before attempting to climb on top of the narrow ledge. Then she hand-signed once more, building a pillar of water directly beneath herself, hoping that she was light enough that enough water pressure would simply lift her up and well away from being swept away again. She actually had no clue if that would even work, but if it did, she'd attempt to get closer to the end of the hall by forming columns of water well above the troublesome tide.


Much to Blues surprise, it worked. Though it wasn’t exactly perfect as Blue felt herself tipping abit. Since she was quick she’d be able to make a great deal of progress. Only a few Yalms from the cave entrance. She would see a soft glow coming from within its black mouth.


Blue was definitely not the best at balancing on these shaky water pillars, but she scrambled forward with Determination and most excellent lizard reflexes. Hop, splash, hop, splash, toward her goal. Maybe she was part frog as well. Bright eyes looked at the glow of the cave mouth ahead, her goal just within reach…before she'd launch herself off one of her self-made pillars and try to make the jump into the cave and safety.


Blue found she made it past the test. The roar of the water behind her dying. She’d see a stone tablet similar to the one at the end of her previous test.”Different then anticipated. But passable none the less…. proceed.“ It would appear she had been watched and she was being waited.


Blue felt more exhausted than she had with the trial before, taking a moment to just sit in front of the stone tablet and recover. “Ugh…” Still, the Xaela felt rather proud of herself regardless, and it was only a matter of moments before she hopped up again and made to touch the stone tablet. “Proceeding!” She called out.

The Third Trial


Blue felt the same feeling as before being sucked into the second trial. Though however when she felt like she had control once again she was hit with a cold breeze the exit to the cave she found herself in was up an incline and the wind outside howled. Sunshine peaked into the mouth of the cave just enough to let her know she was outside. Around her was a small pit and some other various objects including wood. Likely left there to start a fire for any that made it this far but where as thoroughly soaked as Blue found herself. Giving the Xaela the option to warm herself before continuing to, as far as she knew, the last trial.


Blue found herself shuddering at the cold breeze permeating outside the exit of the cave, made worse by the fact that the lizard was sopping wet. No amount of shakes would reduce the chill, so when she spotted the small pit and the various tools there, the Xaela went over with delight. She set her pack nearby and dropped to her knees, carefully pulling one of the daggers from the holster at the top of her boot. All she needed was… there! Flint! Organizing the offered wood into better pile, the Xaela went to work using the side of her blade to strike at the flint and cause some sparks.

“I know I know, I could probably do this with the mudras too, but it's just..” She shook her head as she drifted off and instead clicked her tongue when a small little flame was lit. She'd have to thank Tret for showing her how to make a fire when they'd been out wandering the land.

Blue took ample time in just drying off, looking out across the way to see what path she was to take.


Blue saw just in the distance what look to be the peak of some sort of building or temple. But besides that she saw nothing I’d interest. The cave was bland and the wood seemed to have been there for a very long time. Being as it burned up rather quickly, she found she dried at least partially. It was up to Blue if and how she would dry out completely. No voices entered her mind.


Blue kicks at the wood and makes more sparks, not really intending on going anywhere till she got dry as she was not bringing a cold back with her.


Blue eventually managed to dry herself off. Now it was up to her to leave the cave or stay a while longer.


Blue leaves the cave, but tidies up the pit a little bit before she goes.


Outside the cave Blue find herself atop mountains. The clouds below her she’d just be able to make out the remnants of Kugane castle. The rest where little blobs to her. A path went out and road the crest of the mountain she found herself on. Trees lining the path at various intervals with birds nesting in them of various species. She’d see this path led to a temple, about the same distance as the previous hallway had been. Still. No voice. It did not appear this was part of her trial, thought the temple likely was


Blue put a hand over her eyes and peered about. Ever curious, the Xaela skipped over to the very edge to see how far up she was. Very far up as it turned out, savoring the view. She missed being able to get this high up, and took her time wandering up the path to the temple to listen to the birdsong.

When she finally got close enough to the temple. The Xaela called out.

“Okay, I'm here! What's next?”


Blue wouldn’t get a response but instead she’d find herself at the temple. No voices. As she ascended the stairs she’d find herself in a courtyard. And in the middle sat an old man. He looked fairly normal. Short white beard and long white hair. He sat cross legged with his hands on his knees as if her was meditating. He made no motion as Blue drew closer.

The courtyard was fairly large. Shaped like the now familiar octagons of her second trial. She’d see the same stones but instead of pillars there where temples in their own right. And directly behind the old man stood a fifth temple. That the entrance seemed shut. The other for also shared this as all of their doors where shut.


Blue spotted the man and ran right up to him, with a happy wave of her tail.

She stopped when she was a couple films away to stare at all the surrounding temples with interest before turning her pack upside down and foraging out another lunch container.

She skipped over to him and set it nearby without a word. Just, happy, excited wags.


With a burst of aether the old man’s eyes hit open. They had a soft purple glow to them as he look up at Blue and then down at the food. Without a moments hesitation he picked up the food and howled.

“OH KAMI BE PRAISED! I AWAKEN FROM MY MEDITATION TO BEAUTY AND A MEAL!” With a great fervor he set upon feasting on the food given to him before coughing abit as his haste cause him to choke abit. Coughing and slamming his fist into her chest to help force it down. After finished Blues offering he’d clasp his hands a few time and slowly rise to his feet. “I thank you, young one. I’ve been here a long long time. I almost started to think you weren’t coming!”

He hopped abit in place.”AND NOW FOR THE OFFICIAL PART!“ Doing a small twirl on his toes he’s strike a pose.”I AM JIRAYA! And this is my temple! Many have come here to be judged! Many have made it past my trial and just as many have failed! Now, Lady Blue. It is your turn to take my trial.“

He made the Mudra far faster then even Lami had shown. And a fierce wind overtook the arena.” You may take your time preparing. Once you are done!“ Blue found herself pushed back to the edge of the arena a circle began to glow.”Enter and we shall begin!“

Blue would have noticed the old mans clothes had changed from their robes to a standard shinobi battle attire. They where green, blue, and red in color


Blue simply smiled when the old man seemed to wake up from his reverie, partially out of politeness but also because she wasn't sure how else to react to this eccentric man who was more hyperactive than Blue when she was drunk on chocolate.

“Oooh, so you're the trial-giver. Not no statue this time.” She observes out loud, though she got little time to say her piece before he made his mudra and surrounded himself and the arena in harsh winds. She braced herself as she was pushed to the edge, but while he was in the middle of telling her to enter, the little Xaela hopped on in of her own accord, pulling the daggers from her boots and dropping into an attack stance. She beamed over at the man.

“Let's have some fun!”


The Shinobi smiles.”YES! LET US BEGIN!“ As Blue entered the arena. She felt a weird pull her vision went fuzzy. And before long. She found herself in the middle of an island, in the middle of a swampy area. And she say around her the eyes of thousands of Frogs. All sitting on Lillies.”The final trial! The Trial of Strength! OF PERSEVERANCE! HAS BEGUN! LET MY FRIENDS BEAR WITNESS TO OUR WONDERFUL CONFRONTATION!“Making the sign of a few Mudra and slamming his open palm into the ground, A wave of heat would wash over Blue as Jirayia now sat atop a Medium sized Frog.”Gama! let us introduce our guest. PROPERLY!“ Raising his hands the Hell Frog belched out a Huge Fireball at Blue.


Blue thought she might be used to being transported all over the place at this point, but this was not the case in the least, eyes widening in confusion as the arena changed to that of a swampy froggy paradise. The girl squealed with delight and ran over to the surrounding lily pads, making a grab for one of the smaller frogs to hug against her chest happily. She felt the flare of heat against her side before blinking up at the giant frog and its now-rider, unable to properly dodge in time to avoid being struck by the blast. It launched her to the side and into the swamp water proper, the frog at her chest pulling free from her grip as Blue scrambled to her feet.

“That's not very nice. What if you hurt the other frogs?” She dashed up to Gama's side and used the aether surrounding herself to boost herself up and onto the frog's back before forming a single mudra and throwing a water-fueled Shuriken for the old man's head.

HP- 17/18


Jirayia laughed. Hearily.”Oh a fire in this ones Belly!“ As the shuriken found his face he'd smile.”Oh worry not for them! They are far stronger then you or I! GAMA!“He'd cry out hearitly. Gama Leapt high into the air, 50 yalms or more and with a croak released a far larger Ball of Fire then before, Ability use, Frog Fire. Blue must roll over a 14 in defense to take half damage. If she fails the roll she will take the full 4 damage, Upon Landing Jirayia would hold a sign with his hands and begin to charge up what would feel like a devastating attack if he was not interrupted from his channel.

39/40 HP. Gama at full HP


Blue just stared up at the sky as man and frog launched themselves into the air so high the girl could just make out a big red speck before red colored the sky in flames that burst down towards the already toasty lizard. Unable to tell where the core of the fire was heading, she found herself blasted once again by the searing flames. She couched and sputtered, grateful for the water all around that helped to put any lingering flames out.

Bi-colored eyes flickered warily over the man when he'd landed, and, resolving not to let him get off another successful attack on her so soon, the Xaela darted towards him, two mudra cast this time, forming a pillar of water beneath the placement of his hands and aiming to separate his sign with the gushing onslaught before darting to his side and making a stab for the inner elbow of one arm.

HP - 13/18


Jirayia was holding his concentration. unable to really stop Blue from attack he'd gasp out, Rolling off the Frog.”A SMART ONE AS WELL! YOU MUST MAKE A WONDERFUL WIFE!“ He laughed as Gama lept away from the pair. Sending out one final ball of Fire before leaping into the air and bursting into the surrounding swamps. Joining his breathern. Jiraiya 38/40 HP Gama, ON CD for the next 4 turns.


Blue gave the man a bewildered stare at his comment, shaking her head, her attention veering from him to the giant frog as it hopped off- but not before leaving a departing fireball farewell! This time the little Xaela was ready to dodge the big burn and wasted little time in taking advantage of the man being on his lonesome once more. She pushed forward, swiping and slashing for Jiraiya, but interestingly enough seeming to focus only on nicking and stabbing at his hands, arms, and shoulders.

HP - 13/18


Jiraiya handily dodge the attack, Doing a fancy backflip away.”Oh hohoooo!“ Striking a one legged pose. Making a sign she hadn't seen before, Now there where TWO?! Both speaking.”Let us dance as lilies on the pond!“

While this was all going on, Blue felt a ping inside her chest. As if the waters around her seemed to crawl towards her, Awakening an ability she did not know she had. Waters danced around her as if warding her from danger. Before they fell around her. Blue however felt the connection deep within her soul.

Jiraiya saw this and his grin grew ever wider. Both of the clones speaking again.”AH! Wonderful! Magnificent even! Another child of water appears before me! Ah if only I could leave this temple! The things that could be taught!“ Both clones seemed to begin weeping.”ALAS! I AM HERE FOR TESTING NOT FOR TEACHING!“ Both Clones coming at Blue, Blue as being pincered by the elderly shinobi


Blue blinked as the old man went and made himself a copy, dropping her arms at her sides warily. She was already having a hard time with one and now there were two of them?

The Xaela felt disheartened, grip tightening on her blade handles. But then something happened..The Xaela felt strange. The markings around Blue's face were beginning to ebb and flow with the water that circled her.

She was flying. She was darting between the trees. She was swimming beneath the waves.

Blue stared at her hands, expecting the change though she knew she hadn't willed anything on her own, she hadn't shapeshifted since she went East to keep her secret safe. Where was this feeling coming from?

Blue only snapped to attention when the clones were too close for her to dart away from, taking a step back and bringing her arms up to shield her face when an onslaught of voices reached her head, little fragments of memory.

“Yeah….seems that way. Dont die.”
“It has to keep going. I'm not ready.”
“A dead healer can't help anyone else.”
“Me point is. Don't deny yer nature.”

The water on every side of Blue began to rise and surround the Xaela, forming into a see-through barrier. Glowing lines the same hue as Blue's markings manifested themselves upon the barrier in foreign symbols and abstract shapes.

The clones would find their attacks deflected with the barrier in place. Within, The Xaela could be seen crouched down and clinging to what looked like a large black wolf with markings that matched the protective walls surrounding them. It nuzzled her palm before becoming part of the water barrier, leaving Blue to her thoughts. She slowly rose to her feet and rubbed stray tears from her face with the back of her hand, the water barrier rippling around her in turn.

“I..think I can face you better now.”


HP - 13/18


Jiraiya was upon her but at the moment he saw this truly beautiful sight. Him and his clone bounced harmlessly off. He was frozen for a moment, And for once he did not seem to be trying to tease the Xaela. “Truely…Beautiful.”He said in awe. raising up his hands he'd make a sign aether flowing through him.”Truly the Kami bless me with the gift to test such a talented young lady as yourself. Our bout begins anew!“ The Frogs that had remained silent went loud with croaks as if applauding Blue. Jiraiya had the largest of smiles on his face. Truly overjoyed to be Blue's final test. His clone and him where back on the attack within moments, their onslaught was fierce and unrelenting. It appeared the old Shinobi had started to take Blue much more seriously. Him and his Clone weaving into each others attacks as they came up to Blue.


Blue tested the barrier around herself by moving a little bit and finding that it moved along with her. She couldn't take advantage of that before the clone and the real old shinobi was upon her once more. The onslaught of attacks by the first appeared to be enough to break the water barrier, but not without painful repercussions for the one who popped it. As the ward burst, the water barrier formed into a very angry water canine that launched itself at the shinobi, biting down on his arm before bursting into an explosion of water.

The girl just narrowly dodged the efforts of the clone that followed up on the attack soon after, sidestepping him as she formed two mudra together and cupped her hand to her mouth. A veritable array of bubbles of all shapes and sizes assaulted the clone, attempting to shove him backwards as the Xaela followed through by dashing through the bubbly smokescreen and slashing for his face.

SOUL WARD SPLODED- 5 damage to attacker.

HP - 13/18


Jiraiya was not expecting such an attack. Laughing as he fell back

“Ah! This is what it is to fight!” But not before Blue found her attack, Avoided, doing some form of awkward dance he slid by her defenses

Toad Dance- When a succesful attack roll is made. Jiraiya can slid by his attacker.

Spinning away he'd make a few Mudra of his own, Calling a Bolt of Water from the nearby swamp to spring forth and blast the Xaela. His Shadow clone following up quickly with an attack. Fading into nothing after it's final attack was made, Striking a pose. grinning like a fool.

“Oh how long it has been since I have been in such a wonderful bout!”

While the Old man drew back and struck his stance, Blue felt yet another connection occur. It began to beat against her like the sea does the hull of a ship lost in a sea storm, She felt undeniable power rising from within, Like the Rage of the Sea bubble from below, she felt the Rage of the Tide washing into her emboldening her for a time, Before it faded remaining dormant. Waiting for Blue's call.

As this feeling washed over her Jiraiya noticed it as well. Taking a more serious stance and Cycling his Mudra.”Now that looks dangerous!“ Slamming his open hand into the Ground he'd call.”GAMABUNTA! I CALL FOR YOUR AID!“

A giant Black and Brown Frog appeared from Below him. Wearing armor and a long Katana hoisted over his shoulder. “Truly a battle worthy of song!” As the swam land went from dark and Murky to sunny, The frogs numbered in the thousands maybe even Millions all watching the fight. A tall mountain that was not in sight before was plain as day.”Maybe the Frog King will grace us with his presence!“

Jiraiya HP 32


Blue dodges one bolt of water, dodging just in time, but not quite fast enough to avoid the one from the retreating clone. She sputtered and shook herself free of whatever water droplets she could, ears flicking at the compliments. She was about to respond when yet another odd sensation welled up within her body. This time, it seemed to come from the water itself and Blue flinched a little. There was anger and rage there, waiting to be used…but what if it got out of control? What if she couldn't weather the storm?

In spite of her worries, the appearance of yet another frog, larger this time and armed, prompted the Xaela to react accordingly and take a chance. The water had been good to her for this entire test and this rage felt different from the cold and senseless desires of the other. This rage she could target.

Calmly, Blue put her daggers away just as rivulets of water began running up her body and coiling around her hands before forming into what looked like claws at the end of each finger. More water wrapped and coiled around each arm like a serpent, in constant motion yet not seeming to impede or squeeze around the Xaela that hard.

Properly armed, Blue hardly noticed that it was now sunny, her concentration fully set upon lashing out at Jiraiya with a feral growl as she made directly for the man and thrust her newfound claws for his collar bone. These claws, though made of water, were completely solid if they struck, and would soon grow to scalding, boiling-over temperatures if embedded within.

ABILITY ACTIVATE - RAGE OF THE TIDE - 1/3 turn (+7 to ATT roll)

HP - 12/18


Jiraiya noticed this shift, Smiling as he found himself being set upon” Such FEROCITY! DARE I SAY I MIGHT BE IN LOOOOOVE!“

Feeling the pain he'd roll back futher on the Frog's back. Doing the sign of Mudra he'd blow a strong gust of wind at the Xaela. His attempt to Force her off the Frog's back. Now leaping away from the frog and on the ground he'd grin. Taking a stance he'd begin his channel from earlier.

“Let us see if you can handle the might of lily!”

The Aether growing thicker and Thicker around him STAGE ONE CHARGE BEGINS. JIRAIYA AT 29 HP


Blue tried to dig into the old man with her claws but the wind picked her up relatively easy and off she went off the frog's back and back into the water with a hearty splash.

She twisted about until she was upright before compressing the aether around her and bursting forward, clearly not intending to let him cast anything any long if she could help it. Though she closed the distance quite handily, rather than take another swipe with her claws, the tendrils of water formerly wrapped around Blue's arms loosened and snapped for Jiraiya's channeling hands, aiming to coil and wrap around them. Rather than becoming scolding hot, the temperature would drop and ice would begin to form, threatening some terrible frostbite if left on too long.

ABILITY ACTIVATE - RAGE OF THE TIDE - 2/3 turn (+7 to ATT roll)

HP - 11/18


Jiraiya had a reason for not wanting to atop this particular Frog. Moments before Blue's strike found purchase, A blade would appear before her, Wielded by the frog, Making a wall of metal just large enough to absorb the strike. In return the Large Frog Croaked loudly

Frog’s Ward: Gamabunta can protect Jirayia from an oncoming attack, So long as it’s not a crit or a LB. If it’s a Crit/LB, Gambunta takes the Brunt of the Damage, No attacks can be made in the same turn as this ability.

Jiraiya's aether denses once more. CHARGE SECOND STAGE HP 29


Blue glares up at the frog, the center of its sword completely frozen over, but doesn't waste another precious moment. She was starting to feel slightly sluggish in her motions, and wasn't sure how long she could last. Dipping around the frog with fancy footwork, the Xaela again attempts to make purchase on those magical channeling hands, hoping to break his concentration with a swinging kick to the side of his head. No water necessary for that bit. Just rage.

ABILITY ACTIVATE - RAGE OF THE TIDE - 3/3 turn (+7 to ATT roll)

HP - 11/18


Jiraiya Felt his head buckle to the side as he was sent tumbling a few feet. The aether was so incredibly dense Blue would be shocked he was standing there at all. Dispersing quickly he'd sigh sitting up and rubbing his head.

“And here I thought I might actually have you. your pretty strong little lady-”

The old man's glowing purple eyes became the size of Dish plates upon realizing how much of Blue was on display through her soaking wet form. An instantaneous nose bleed appears as he chuckles with nothing short of a perverts gaze. “I remember now why I loved frogs so much.” Clapping his hands together He'd scream out before their bout continued. “THANK THE KAMI FOR WATER AND HIGH ABSORPTION CLOTHS!” Jiraiya takes 6 DMG

While this went on the Giant Frog looked down and was clearly disturbed and a little annoyed by Jiraiya's stun if Frogs could sigh that was the sound that rumbled through it's throat. Before returning to the Pond he'd take a swing at Blue, Fulfilling his contract with the old fart he'd leave. Not bothering to see if Blue had even taken the hit. Way of the Frog. Blue must roll over a 10 to avoid Full damage

HP 23


Blue seemed to run out of energy not too long after kicking him in the head, dropping back into the water with a gasp as her claws became liquid once more and dripped back into the swamp.

Clearly needing some time to recover, the Xaela just sluggishly patted at the water, though her attention soon returned to Jiraiya upon spying out his lecherous gaze with confusion, looking from him to her damp clothing and back again. That was the look Tret usually gave her, but he didn't normally nosebleed..

“Uhm…” Blue answered awkwardly before flapping her arms in the water. She was indeed, completely soaked through. Nice, cozy adventuring clothing when dry was now hugging every inch of her body. Thinking that the clothing might actually impede her further endeavors, she makes to take off her shirt-

If only to be swung at by the large annoyed frog whilst in the midst of trying to undress and taking the full brunt of it, her reaction time zilch and zero. Blue skids to a halt with a painful “Uff..” Unfortunately too distracted with being beaten up to resume her state of undress.

HP- 10/18


Jiraiya stopped and almost started cheering when Blue started to Strip. Giving his toad summon a glare.”HEY!“ He'd shout stomping his feet abit.”I was watching that!“ He made a double handed gesture in Blue's general direction. Sighing and rubbing his face.

“WELL THEN! ANYWAYS TRIAL, TESTING YES.” Making a familiar hand sign. Once again, He grew a twin. Both speaking”You've done well! No let's see if you continue to do so!“

At this time, Blue felt something click. As if the Rage she felt earlier was just an initial handshake, Her body, After her exhaustion felt lighter. As if she sort of floated on the ground. She felt as if she could see the flow of Jiraiya's movements, Like when a sailor reads the tide before sailing out to sea.

Noticing this He smilied.”It apears me…appreciation for a good wet T-shirt has bought you time I shouldn't have allowed! You are growing as we speak! My word you are quite the interesting one!“


Blue straightened herself, thankful the water she kept finding herself in was shallow at least. Seemingly rested enough to get back onto her feet, the Xaela brought her hands to her hips upon the appearance of another clone. “Oooh…not again…”

As exhaustion subsided, it made way for yet another strange sensation to fill her. It wasn't unlike the water at her feet, the way the old man and his clone moved and positioned herself, her mismatched eyes took note. She found herself giddy at the feeling, as if she herself could match and mimic what she was seeing, not unlike taking on a new form, but adapting it to movement alone.

Another merry giggle, before the woman made three separate hand signs, and twisted around, the motion of the water in her immediate vicinity moving with her. While the area beneath Blue was thin and shallow, the water forming outside her circle was turbulent and dangerous, and spreading outwards to catch both shinobi and his clone in its onslaught.


HP - 10/18


The clones looked at each other and shrugged. Now keeping his eyes where they belonged Jiraiya took to the offense. While he used the water around Blue to try and launch her skywards, His Clone was darting in for a Melee attack.

HP 23


Blue probably needs to tone down a bit of her confidence, because she was absolutely not prepared to have the water be used against her, blasted into the air with relative ease while the clone got in to make the big slashy. The Xaela was just barely able to get back on her feet after the double attacks, realizing that she was starting to see small black dots line the corners of her vision. Well that wasn't a good sign. Rather than look to the clones, the girl twirled around, on the lookout for the small pack she'd carried in with her. When she spotted it floating in the water nearby, generously guarded by another frog, she made in that direction and pulled a trio of vials from it. Stashing two in her damp pockets for later, she swallows down the last one, the concoction slowly rejuvenating her.

+3 Health

Only when that was done did she dart forward again, eyes trained on the old man before she formed two mudra and tried to blast him into the air with her own burst of water.

Flow of the Tide (2/2) HP - 11/18


The Clone lands Behind Blue giving the original a thumbs up. They both grinned at each other and spoke in unison”Now for our final dance!“

Both of them darting at Blue with water spilling from their blades, Both striking at a distance, Slicing the air with two X's that traveled at a terrifying pace towards Blue.


Blue blinked at the pair of traveling X-shaped projectiles heading her way at high speed and stilled herself. Focus. It's okay. She looked to the first of the two, following its movement when it drew near. Just before it was going to collide head on with the Xaela, a powerful burst of water shot up to block the attack. Blue mimicked the motions the first had done and struck out at the air with a determined little huff, forming her own X-shaped flying blade of water shooting back at the old man.

Unfortunately all this concentration on the first attack left her unable to prepare for the second attack, only able to bring her arms up and take the brunt of it, her legs quaking underneath her with the effort.

“Haven't I proven myself yet?” Blue calls out to the clones. “You seem nice and I dun really want to hurt you that much more.”

She held out her hands to show there were no mudras to be made, though the water immediately around her began to circle gently.

HP - 10/18


Jiraiya stops and looks at her.

“Child. You know not what you ask of me…Are you sure you wish to finish the trial? I believe I have your measure…But did you think Strength was the only thing I was going to test?”

His Clone pausing Behind Blue striking a pondering pose before poofing. Jiraiya allowed the clone to desummon. “Answer carefully child….”

HP 18 Jiraiya does not attack this turn.


Blue flicks an ear as she listens before holding up a finger and once more retreating to her pack, hoisting it up out of the water. She thought she had a couple more containers left. Lami really did make a ton of lunches.

She brings them both over to Jiraiya, offering one to him and one to herself before sitting down and patting the wet ground before her in an invitation to sit with her.

“I can't answer that yet. You need to finish my trial first. I've been tried and tested but you might be the only one I can ask the few questions I have in my mind, the only things that can help me determine if…I should truly go down this path at all.”

“If we could pause briefly, I'd be very grateful.”


Jiraiya looked at her. Leaning down and handing the spare meal back.

“Despite enjoying the taste. I have no need for these things. I have not been a man in a very…very long time…While you are being tested and I should not allow this. You may ask one question. And then we must continue…”

He lept back a few fulms, but he remained standing.

“However, I will say this. You will not leave this place without passing…or failing my Trial. If you have such doubts. Perhaps you should never have entered these trials at all. Despite being a lovely young lady…You are not of Doma. Do not think I overlooked this detail.”

The old shinobi seemed to have lost his rather vocal gusto as he spoke.

“Despite this you where allowed in. Whomever afforded you this chance…Will pay a great debt, Of this I know. There are very few that can say they where not of Doma and saw these halls…Ask your question. Eat your meal. I should be attacking but I will give you a brief respite…Despite going against my very directive.”

“Now then. Pass my test. And I may answer more of your questions. That is the appropriate time to do so. Not while your theoretical enemy stands before you.”

Jiraiya does not attack this turn. Come his next turn. He will attack without hesitation. Blue has one question she may ask.


Blue simply smiles as the container is passed back and pops up onto her feet if only to scurry over to one edge of the arena and plop in down in front of some frogs. She'd return and sit, thinking over how to properly word the one question she could ask. She chewed her meal thoughtfully. Only when she was finished would she set it aside and rise to her feet again, clearly ready to begin engaging as soon as another attack was made on her.

“What are the reasons others have come before me to take these trials and this test?”


Jiraiya looked at Blue. Sighing heavily.

“So that is the question you deemed important enough to postpone this trial…How…Disappointing, The answer is simple. To become Shinobi and earn their place amongst their respective clan. While I was enjoying our bout it appears I do not need to test your strength further. You have proven you have the strength to continue on this path. However. I now doubt your will. Are you truly strong of heart? Or were your statements to those that came before me hollow and full of whimsical ideals? We shall test this…Now.”

Leaping back to the edge of the small Island, The sun shining down with intense heat. The goofy old man had vanished. Whatever was about to happen was something even he was going to take seriously.


He took a wide stance extending his arms out, Blue would feel a shift in the aether. The frogs that had been silently watching now scurried off, Croaking and fleeing. She could feel their fear. The mountain in the background seemed to rumble as it’s peak began to burn red. Blue would feel the strength of the sea leave her, As if joining the viewing frogs in their retreat from whatever was about to come.

The aether grew dense. Blue would almost struggle to stand as the Old shinobi’s purple eyes turned a fiery red, The glow bursting from his eyes, rising to the sky. The overcasting Sky turned red, as if the sun was setting on their fight. The heat began to rise. The swamps around them began to boil, The lilies the frogs had been watching on started to go ablaze, Blue would feel as if she had just stumbled into a sauna made far too hot the temperature only increasing every passing moment. The aether thickens again. Feeling almost crushing now. Jiraiya held his stance, The equivalent of Doman Runes crawled from his eyes and down his neck, Eventually they wrapped around all his visible skin. After only seconds the water had almost entirely evaporated. He called out again.


Clasping his hands together Blue would feel a wave of intense aether knock her back a few fulms. If during all this she could pay attention, she’d see a figure leap from the background mountain. Within seconds it landed. The water dissipating instantly, It felt as if a volcano had just landed right in front of Blue, Her pack burning to nothing along with whatever may have been inside. Blue has lost her ability to heal. All of her belongings are burning off. Her clothing is instantly dry, But could catch fire at any moment.

Before her, a Hellfrog Loomed. But nothing like the Shinobi’s first summon. It towered over her, blotting her view of the sky. She may have seen Garlean ships that were dwarfed by its enormous size. Eyes burning red, It’s skin was Red and Black, seeping out rivers of Black Tar and Lava. Above it’s head swirled lava rocks, connected by a ring of fire. It locked eyes on Blue.

Rex-Rana let out a Belch, a flood of Lava leaving it’s mouth, Luckily for Blue, It arced over her and quickly filled the now dry swamp with it’s burning liquid

Effect(s) Activated:

Frog King's Decree Belching out a river of flames, The Frog King reduces the surrounding area’s to a lava filled wasteland, any water based abilities become unusable due to the immense heat.

Hellfrog’s Paradise Rex-Rana’s body burns with such ferocity that anything that can melt, Will melt, Water evaporates and he summons lava to bring him peace of mind as he sit observe just how strong the will of the Shinobi to be is.

Settling down into it’s newly made home it looked at Blue again. Letting out a Croak that would be more appropriately called a bellow. Blue felt as if her Skull would burst and her bones shatter.

Effect activated: Bellow of the Frog King

Rex-Rana Bellows out announcing his arrival into the fray. Everything within 10 Malms takes half of their current hit points in Damage.


Standing withing 20 yalm’s of Rex-Rana causes 1 HP in Fire damage per turn.


Jiraiya during this held his stance. Though now he was held in a ring of fire.


Immunity to all forms of fire and water damage and physical attacks.

Blue felt this creature was ancient.


Blue did not find herself satisfied with Jiraiya's non-answer and she crossed her arms stubbornly thought she didn't have a terribly long amount of time to mope about before the entire landscape changed, frogs and water both departing in a near instant. The overflowing amount of aether surrounding the area felt suffocating, and try as she might to brace against the impact of the overly gigantic frog that crash landed in front of her, Blue felt herself knocked backwards, just barely scrambling out of the newly formed lava filling up the swamp. She missed her water already.

Though it didn't look at all like Blue was terrified of the large creature. Sure, it hurt to be around, but…it was cute. And massive. Massively cute! She smiled up at it, though had to bring her hands up to her face soon after for fear that the intense heat was going to start burning her further than it already was.

She manages to sputter out something along the lines of, “Hello friend!” Before wincing at the burning sensation upon merely saying anything. It hurt to breathe.

HP- 4/18


The old Frog king Spoke, It sounded like a rockslide.

“Hmmmm this one…does not…fear…”

Though Blue felt his eyes on her. She did not feel hostile intent. The frog simply was this way as a matter of being. So even though he was wise. He was ignorant of just what his presence does to the mortal races.

“I, am Rex-Rana, King of the Hellfrogs. And I have been summoned. To judge you for the strength of your will.”

While Blue felt the heat finally flat lined it was still unbearably hot.

“She does not fear…I like this one.”

The king said simply.


Blue took a seat before the large creature and blinked up at him. “It's nice to meet you, Mister Rex-Rana. I'm Blue.” Though the fire leveled out enough for the Xaela to talk more freely, she felt nearly on the verge of passing out, swaying from side to side in order to keep herself from dropping.

“How can I help you judge me? And course I don't fear you…you are what you are, and there's no better way to be!”

HP - 3/18


The King looked down and bellowed out a laugh.

“AH! An interesting one this one is.”

He shifted his mighty body sliding more into the Lava. Making himself comfortable. He let out a low grumbling sound.

“I like this one. Most certainly. JIRAIYA. Teach her my summoning. I would have conversation with this one.”

Jiraiya gave a look. Now loosening his stance he'd stumble over to Blue and with a quick strike she'd find a mark on her sternum. The heat left. And she felt as if she could breath normally.


“It is simple girl. You already have passed mine judgment. Many have been struck with awe at my vestige and fled, In fear their foul souls be burned to nothingness. You have proven your soul and will to be made of things that are required to walk the path full of strife and hardship. But come out ablaze!”


Blue kept her swaying motion up, her eyes on the verge of closing before blinking awake to observe the giant fire frog further, earfins flicking sluggishly as she processed what she could. Well, right up until she was suddenly smacked in the sternum, to which the Xaela sputtered and shook herself, seeming to slowly begin to recover from the oppressive heat.

She blinked as she was told she'd already passed, though rather than cheer at this victory, Blue frowned and tilted her head. “Why would they flee? You're quite impressive to look at! And super strong too!” She beamed warmly, tail giving a happy wag.

HP - 4/18


Rex-Rana Grumbled

“Because, Those that enter this final trial with nothing but words on their lips, But no will in their hearts falter at the sight of something that no amount of words could get them through. Only strength of Will. Many of you young ones have not grown enough to forge such wills. But I see it now. The anvil has been hard at work. Strengthening you since you where but a tadpole! Yes. I know those that have felt the Anvil well.”

The frog inhaled, it's massive throat expanding and then let out soot from it's nostrils.

“The task was simple. Stand before one that has seen eons, and not falter, You, Young one. Have done that and more even. Jiraiya here was the last to speak to me with such friendly words. And that was more then two hundred cycles ago.”

The King bellowed out laughter, Sounding like a nearby mountain had begun to collapse. While before the mark, This may have harmed Blue. It would only warm her heart to feel the Joy Rex-Rana felt being able to have a conversation.


Blue shrugs her shoulders a little and simply smiles. “That's just my way. I don't see anything scary in you, and if a bunch of people run away fleeing just cause they think you're some monster, well that's just not true! I hope you don't have to wait much longer for the next friendly face. You deserve a bunch more friends to play with!”

Clearly Blue was in her element, simply happy to make friends with the giant frog.


Rex-Rana seems to smile almost.

“Fear not small one. You now bear my mark. And with it, the right to summon my vestige. Al-bet in a much smaller fraction…Summon me whenever you are in need of my strength and I will gladly lend it to you. Blue.”

Rising up, The lava slowly riding off his back.

“I fear now we must part. For you have rewards to collect. And I slumber to keep…But while I have your ear, Tell that teacher of yours her excuses for not summoning me are disgraceful and I will have words with her…”

He coiled down and with a gust of wind, Bound towards the mountain which he came. making two large leaps before he was home, The sky, Lava and water all returned to as they once where. Not before Blue felt that odd Pull that called her here. Now finding herself in the courtyard. The temple that had been behind Jiraiya, Was now open.


Blue's eyes got as big as saucers. Clearly she had no idea summoning was even a thing she could learn, staring down at the mark she bore with a blink. “I…okay! I promise I'll take good care of you when you come n' visit!”

She did seem more that a fair bit surprised at Lami being mentioned, enough that the girl placed her hands on her hips followed by a gentle huff. “I'll tell her she needs to come talk to you, no worries. You be good, stay warm!”

She waved off the giant frog just before she felt that odd pulling sensation and found herself back in the courtyard, staring at the open temple. The girl looked around before drawing closer.


Jiraiya stood there, he watched her go.

“I am pleased to know I was wrong. Go well Blue.”

Now slowly sitting back down with a groan he'd go back into his meditative stance. Slowly closing his eyes he went still. Waiting. For his next initiate

Blue would find herself in a small room. IN the middle sat a chest. The room was bare save a single banner with the symbol of what she could summarize as that of Doma.


Blue noticed Jiraiya before she went into the room and bounced over to him in order to punch him in the shoulder lightly. “Think about my question n' give a better answer if someone asks!” She then hurries back to the room, eyes scanning the symbol of Doma and then the chest itself. With a little hum, she wandered over and opened the chest, taking a peek inside.


Blue would find a set of armor. Inside was written something.

“Welcome, sister.”

Blue has acquired shinobi armor.

Once she took the armor, if she chose to do so. A portal would appear. Ready to lead her out of the final testing zone


Blue squinted at the writing and imagined what it might be saying. Something positive probably. She picked up the armor, examining it with interest before smiling happily. Lami was gonna be so pleased! Was too bad about the backpack though…she was glad she'd rummaged out most of everything that had been inside it during that final test.

Spotting the portal that appeared, the Xaela took one more look around before taking a breath. She'd done it. She stepped inside the portal and was transported.


Blue found herself in the room that was the final stage of the second trial. The statue she gave the food too was waiting. Her meal was sitting inside of a magic circle on a pedestal.



Blue blinked at the statue and the food that had been frozen in time, apparently just for her return! A burst of bubbly laughter escaped the Xaela before she nodded. “Fine fine, thanks for keeping it for me.” She took the meal graciously and ate her fill before curtsying to the statue and making her way to the exit.

The Return


The statue nodded. And then slowly let the lights faded.

Blue was outside. She had passed. She was now a shadow walker.

Lami was nearby she saw Blue and bounced up to her.”Take it ya passed?“ She said with a cheery smile and a wiggle of her ears.


Blue took a deep breath as soon as she was outside. She wondered how long she'd actually been inside, peering around a bit before noticing Lami and smiling brightly at her. A happy nod was given. “Seems like it!” She wiggled the Shinobi armor she held rather proudly, then puffed out her cheeks playfully. “Kinda wish you woulda told me there'd possibly be a quiz on the mudras….or that there'd be so many frogs…so. many, frogs…”


Lami scratched the back of her head “Well… I did say there where… conditions right?” Clapped her hands together.”But ya passed! Even got the armor ta prove it! It’s quite comfortable actually.“Looking down at her own set “But I get the feelin’ ya won’t be usin’ it ta often…” She spun on her heals.”I’m sure yer tired though. I’ll get sumthin’ goin’. So just get back ta the cabin and ya can be a potato the rest of the day. Sound like a plan?“


Blue stuck her tongue out teasingly. “Also the cute big frog says you should talk to him. He sounded annoyed.” She followed after Lami with an eager nod as she mentioned heading back to the cabin. “Dun wanna do aaaaanything for the rest of the day. Nooooothing..” Yet with a smile she sidled up to the Seeker and tugged on her sleeve gently.

“I know you had to go through some hoops to get me in there…” Her voice softened. “I feel a little bit more whole now…so thank you.”


Lami seemed to jump abit at the mention of a big frog.”Ah fuck…. I havn’t really… I’m gonna get scolded.“ coughing abit as if trying to brush off the comment about Rex. “Anyways!” She gave Blue a pat on the shoulder”Glad ya found what ya came fer. Was worried ya’d come Fallin’ out the sky and I’d have ta catch ya…“


Blue shook her head. “Ahh, if they'd thrown me out, I prolly woukda been okay! Maybe..” She had been rather close to losing consciousness at the end there..

Blue perked up again and began to tell Lami all about the trials as they headed back, relaying each with a spark of excitement in her voice as she recalled them. When they finally reached their little hut, it was only then that the girl allowed her fatigue to show. She just barely made it to her own bed, collapsing into it before falling fast asleep.
From a small ripple formed, a mighty wave begins to manifest. Blue's potential has grown.


The trial has been completed. With their goals met Lami left blue a meal covered ready to be heated with a fire crystal. She packed Edel in earnest and sent Mika back to the ship with a note to meet thin in Onoboro. It was time to head home. But first, Lami wanted to have a small bit of fun in the shopping district of Kugane. Knowing Blue could simply teleport back home after that she made her preparations. When morning came. She’d coral Blue into the carriage and made their way back. After a few hours they’d find themselves on Lami’s ship. Sailing back to Kugane where this chapter would find its close.

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