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[Quest] Please Don't Eat Me ( Dwarfholm Faction Quest; Closed )

#1
"Of course these are well made as well."

Trying his restraints once more, the intricate knots preventing him from achieving the correct angle to release himself with his techniques. It was clear that he was safely their prisoner now, otherwise they would have just slit his throat in his sleep. Hardly reassuring but a prisoner is still in the same category as the rest of the living, so that was something. Probably wasn't the greatest idea to sleep here. In fact, it almost didn't feel like his idea at all. So confusing.

He must have been snoring loudly because the fact he was awake was beginning to be discussed down the hall, from what he could hear. 

"Well, I suppose we better go give our regards to the chef."

One voice commented while the others laughed raucously. This was reassuring, they seemed at least well humored. 

Torchlight flared into the room as the first of the group walked in. It was a short and hearty-looking humanoid. Bearded and covered in leather and furs. The others were similar looking and totaled at three, following behind with weapons already drawn. 

"Alright... I assume you can understand that you are an intruder here."

Setsu nodded affirmative, smiling and making sure to hold the gaze of each dwarf, briefly.

"...and, despite the food you left out for us, have forced us to take you prisoner."

Setsu nodded affirmative again. All this made sense to him.

"Ok... Well, we don't really have much desire to carry you to a dungeon given that we just ate. So if you have some way to verify that you are not an agent of Zul'gurand, the Kingdom or Coruscant, that'd be greatly appreciated."

Setsu tilted his head to the side, clearly curious.

"I can't say I'm an agent of anything other than myself. Especially, given that I don't know what these things you listed are."

He paused, eyeing the Omnillium orb in one of the Dwarves behind the one in charge's hands. 

"That orb there is perhaps the only proof I could offer that I'm not from here. I traveled directly from the Fountain with that orb there to where we are now. Since arriving in this world I've not seen a soul. You four are the first living creatures I've seen."

He said, just feet from the spike trap that could have killed a less wary traveler. The Dwarves exchanged glances and the one carrying the orb stared into it, mesmerized. They didn't have many options here, clearly each one had overeaten and no one among them seemed to offer a way that could more easily verify the stranger's story. So they shrugged and nodded to one another. It was time to simply follow protocol.

"Listen stranger, I've no interest in any more stories than need be heard, and since we don't know you we can't verify anything. So I'll just put it to you straight. We of the mountain city of Dwarfholm don't suffer fools, and stumbling around in our game traps is very foolish. We Dwarves have an open door policy to you sorts of travelers, however, this situation is the sort of thing one must be cautious of. You unknowingly cooked a good meal for my men and I, we don't wish you harm, but we cannot allow you to go further into the mountain."

Setsu followed this train of thought, nodding throughtout. This definitely sounded better than being put back up on the slide into the spikes or having his head caved by a hammer. 

"Here's what is gonna happen. We're gonna walk you out of another entry to our tunnel network, blindfolded. We'll return your belongings and send you on your way."

Setsu spoke, beginning to feel some measure of hope. "How wonderfully reasonable you are! I sincerely appreciate it and I hope you did enj- hey! Hmm!!

The dwarves had shoved a rag in his mouth, followed by a black bag and rope over his head. 

- -

Sometime later Setsu was tossed out into the snow, restraints and bag and all. He heard his board and the orb land next to him. 

"If you'd like to return to Dwarfholm for any reason, we, the Dwarven citizenry, will require you to demonstrate a degree of fealty to our kind and our Monarch. That means we will need to see a chunk of Cobalt, a Wompa hide and, if you think you can manage it, a Troll tusk. Assuming you can manage this, you will be welcomed in. Good luck, if you choose to proceed, and stay warm.

A fluttering of material could be heard and another object landed next to Setsu. The cloth bag over his head began to dampen as the sounds of his former captors disappeared. 

Struggling to break free he managed to draw his hands far enough apart to activate Oniyuri, tearing the rope apart that bound his legs and arms. Removing the bag from his head, Setsu's eyes were greeted with more darkness. It had become evening, of course, having slept through the day. The other object turned out to be a heavy cloak that would have to work as a blanket. 

He wasn't sure he would survive this night inside a shallow cave and had no option to yet return to the Dwarven tunnels, which supposedly led to a city. He could take the chance and hope for a better welcoming party, but it made more sense to stay active at night so as to be able to comfortably and safely sleep in the daytime. His best bet it seemed at radically improving his lot here was to do as he had been instructed by the Dwarf. 

"Well, I guess it's time to find a Wampatroll or whatever."

Setsu said to himself, hoping he could remember exactly what he was supposed to collect.
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#2
What was clear to Setsu was that this was a hunt. He would need to find a fur coated animal for it's pelt and the tusk, well that would likely be obvious. The cobalt was where he was most concerned. Clearly this challenge was more than just a test of loyalty but also something of a mountain dweller's right of passage. Fine by Setsu, he had no intention of going back the way he had come nor did he intend to die out here in the cold.

He tucked his Omnillium orb into his vest, wrapping the cloak and scarf around his shivering frame. That helped considerably to fight the frigid chill and the wicked wind that wielded it.

This Wompa beast may have been one of the creatures that had been pierced on the spike trap, in which case they seemed to be more plains creatures that would be towards the base of the slopes. The troll sounded more like a predator and likely reigned over the colder areas. It may have occurred to some in this situation that it was time to leave the mountain and pursue the plains animals, but Setsu wasn't just "some". This wasn't a pride thing. It was as cold an instinct as one might have. There were so many unknowns in play that it was time to. establish some high ground.

With that in mind Setsu squated low, looking up. And off he was, jumping higher than any normal human could hope to. The angle he traveled paralleled the slope and so when his upward momentum stopped, he landed. Bounding in this way up the slopes.

The mountain range certainly was awe inspiring. How strange to suddenly be among the highest things visible in this place. This Omniverse.

Setsu crested a minor peak, severely winded, and flipped his board out onto the snow. With a running start he jumped on and dropped into the valley that bridged this peak and it's continuing ridge that rose up wildly into the sky above. Breathing heavy, Setsu enjoyed the ride and shook his torso as if he was breaking icicles forming inside his lungs. So bloody cold.

Without needing much, Setsu was filled with abundant hope by the sight of a tree line. And so he began bounding up the hill as fast as he could with those high leaps.

Having reached this tree line, he rested against the trunk of a massive fir. All too quickly it became apparent, even over the sound of his own breathing, that he wasn't alone up here.

"I wonder what Troll tastes like." Setsu whispered to himself.
[Image: kuroji%20setsu_zps44rbwwd8.png]
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#3
Smoothing out the edges. Setsu breathed deep the cold mountain air. The air so cold that his eyes began to water. Typically this was his go to before diving into combat.

Rolling around the large tree he had been braced against he began quietly running towards the area of the sound of branches breaking. In the light of the moon Setsu caught a glint of light in his periphery and there it was, poking out from the side of a tree.

A Troll Tusk!!

How lucky! Sure it was attached to a Troll, but he back was turned.

Thwack!!

The Troll was now unconscious and Setsu needed a new snowboard! That's ok though, at least this hadn't been a violent showdown where someone would have had to likely die. Setsu punted the Troll's face, knocking the Tusk flying out and skittering across the frozen snow. Setsu scrapped some very cold snow and packed it into the resulting opening where the tusk had been and lay his cloak out over the fallen form.

Clearly Trolls weren't meant to be eaten, they appeared nearly civilized. This one had been gathering firewood. That was good to know.

Heart still racing Setsu quickly cut himself a new board and headed back towards the tree line. As he neared it he heard loud exclamations coming from where he had left the Troll slumped over frozen tree roots. This made sense to Setsu. It had been sort of surreal how calmly and quickly he had popped that things tusk out. Now he knew why, he had known instinctively that camp was nearby and might be looking for the poor guy.

Well, that was good that he was already gone with the tusk in his pocket. He tossed the board on the ground and rewrapped his scarf and rubbed his exposed arms.

With a running start he was moving again, this time down a very exposed and steep pitch. The snow was all frozen and so he had difficulty killing his speed or turning at all. Luckily this slope was extremely long, like had the potential to take him back to just above where he found the tunnel. Sadly he could not steer the course to aim that way and caught an angle and so tumbled out into the lower tree line.
[Image: kuroji%20setsu_zps44rbwwd8.png]
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#4
Setsu rolled to a stop, laughing already.

"Whew, what a rush."

Peaking back up the slope, the veteran ninja practically thrilled at the idea of being chased. He wasn't here to wreak havoc. Still. There was something about this type of situation that lit him up.

And lo' in very soft moonlight there was sign that the pair of trolls were at least peaking out. Had this been a full on infiltration mission, they'd have been lit up by Setsu. In his proper form of course.

"sigh."

The thought ruined the feeling he had been savoring. It was back down to the colder, more rational aim of finding some sort of a rock and some sort of a furry beast. 

Not being able to resist, Setsu tossed a rock from nearby as far he could chuck it, causing the shadowy figures atop the slope to give chase in the direction of where it landed. They didn't have as graceful an approach without boards and began tumbling on and off down the slope. 

"Oh boy. Classic."

Turning, he was off again. Into the air, keeping his leaping arc beneath the treetops and primarily horizontally oriented. Catching a branch he swung, and leapt as he could to go flying straight downhill towards the flatter base of the mountain. Already he could see something resembling a flock, though that he could already see these beasts was concerning. Still, he had no other option and he had to keep moving. Sailing through the air, he dipped low enough to swing his wooden board back down beneath his feet and begin to tear back up the cold snow. 

Carving left and whipping back right, his speed began to rise. By this point the trail of his efforts were visible to the trolls pursuing the rock, even through the trees between them. Annoyed, they began to give chase, it had been their leader whose tusk had been nabbed. This disagreed with them personally as subordinates and sought to repay the "favor" Setsu had done. 

There was a good case to make that Setsu deserved this. He'd maybe be interested in hearing this case. Maybe. Maybe it was so cold out here that the sound wouldn't carry, so to speak.

"WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"

Setsu meanwhile was seriously enjoying himself. His turns becoming more dramatic as his speed and the slope increased. His eyes starting to  pour out water. Luckily the slope dipped and leveled, sending him rocketing out into the flat tundra. While airborn, Setsu's eyes squeezed open enough to spot that he was upon this flock he had spotted. 

Literally. He was passing over these rather surprised long necked bipedal creatures, while white knuckling his poor wooden board. 

Sorry old friend. He dropped his board and rotated from his core till he was flying foot first into the least lucky of these horned, bird-like creature's throats. The remainder of the flock scrambled. Wasting little time, Setsu formed a single chakra blade 6 inches from his index finger.

Making short work of the basic cuts, the animal was quickly reduced to its essential cuts of meat and it's fur set aside. Peaking back he noted the pursuing Trolls who had taken clear note of his obvious movements. Maybe they'd like a free meal. 


Slicing up his newly wrecked wooden board into blocks and then further into frayed bits for starter, Setsu made a reasonably sized fire. Grabbing a select bunch of the longer bones from the Wompa carcass Setsu stabbed several of the larger pieces of meat and set them by the fire to cook through. Hopefully, his Troll friends would appreciate this. 

The fur would appreciate time by the fire to cure and dry, but Setsu was far too impatient for this. Partially due to the likely imposition by the pursuers he had acquired, but mainly because this errand was only exciting for the pace. so far had been pretty good, but Setsu still wanted things to go a little louder. A little more chaotic was perhaps the right word. 

There was still a rather large carcass remaining that was uncooked and still warm. Maybe it was time to play some fireside question time.
[Image: kuroji%20setsu_zps44rbwwd8.png]
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#5
Words: 420 / 2967

Part and parcel of being a troll is eating large amounts of meat. Especially when it's presented to you on essentially a platter. There were no more signs of life at what resembled a camp in the middle of the tundra. There was a single tree and the two downed Wompas. One was skinned and made into the cuts that surrounded the fire.

The troup of trolls paraded into the little area, having stalked the location thoroughly. The three of them were clueless to the location of the assailant who had run off with one of their tusks. It was at least nice of him to have prepared this soon to be feast for the group.

Each picked up a skewer from next to the fire and began to munch.

Setsu crept out from hid hiding place, inside the second Wompa, and, in a fluid motion, severed the straps on a back on the nearest troll's back using Oniyuri. The three turned, startled, finding nobody there. Still, the bag was now missing.

Setsu watched their confusion from above, having lept quickly with the newly acquired bag into the tree nearest the troup.

It was heavy and it seemed the only thing that was of any value was a hunk of blue, crystaline stone. Perhaps this was the Cobalt material he had been tasked with finding. Setsu tossed the bag aside and added the cobalt to the wrap of valuables he had under his arm. The bag landed with a thud and cleared any confusion in the minds of the trolls where the thief and assailant, Setsu, was.

One had a bow and promptly fit an arrow to the weapon, loosing it as soon as it was ready straight into the wood of the tree next Setsu's head. A lucky miss, for the shinobi.

"Time to move, I suppose."

Setsu squated and lept towards the nearest mountain treeline, landing 40 feet out from the campfire and still a ways from the destination. The trolls began to pursue on foot. Their snarls reaching Setsu's ears and needing no translation. He was dinner if he was caught, and likely to be cooked in a way that was utterly torturous. Couldn't have that.

There is another arrow loosed and Setsu makes evasive movements to let it strike the hard snow well past him.  He hadn't been certain of their capabilities, but it was no longer in his interest to cause excess harm. It was time to leave now.
[Image: kuroji%20setsu_zps44rbwwd8.png]
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#6
Words: 279 / 3246

Having made it well past the treeline, Setsu paused behind a tree. It was clear that he could be dealing with this longer than he would otherwise want. The trolls were at home in this terrain and had no problem tracking him in the way he was moving, having shown them his ability to jump great distances. He dearly desired to no longer be followed despite the thrill he had enjoyed.

Desire... That reminded him of something he had been carrying all along. The omnillium orb. He had just a bit of time before he needed to move again. Maybe there was a way out using this thing. It's delivery had come with a hefty promise, it was time to test this.

Setsu held it in his hands and began to breath, deepening with every breath. His eyes were closed, otherwise he would have seen the regular rainbow glow of the orb begin to increase till his whole body was bathed in it's light. Within, Setsu was focused on a feeling he didn't yet trust, which somehow felt like a type of home. Having had a deep connection to the chakra nature of wind for his whole life as a shinobi, the new feeling of this altered nature of earth within his chakra system was hopelessly alien despite being his.

Still, intuition called him to embrace it as best he could. As he tried, a memory of one of his early instructor's techniques popped solidly into focus. Something about that technique connected with what Setsu felt. Outside, the light flashed from the orb briefly and then was returned to it's normal level of brilliance.
[Image: kuroji%20setsu_zps44rbwwd8.png]
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#7
Words: 359 / 3605
The troupe of trolls cleared the remainder of the forest that Setsu had fled to. They had expected to find him there, but there wasn't much for cover past the last trees. And so they spied the shinobi at the edge of a fissure crag that they knew to be very deep and too wide for him to easily jump across even with his demonstrated skill at leaping. 

They had already decided to eat him, so they didn't want to down him with the chance that he'd fall and lowered their bows.

He was precariously perched on the ledge, threatening to fall at any moment. 

The leader, who was now missing a tusk, stepped forward. He held his bow at the ready but seemed keen to engage in something of a closer range. 

Setsu smiled and held his hands in front of him, and placed his hands together in what he understood was a handseal but was utterly foreign to the trolls. And with that, and nothing more, he stepped back and off the cliff. Gone.

Earth Release: Light-Weight Rock technique.

The trolls were confused, running to the ledge. Their eyes and ears confirming what they assumed which was that the shinobi was in freefall. However, as the ninja fell he began to angle out of a straight free fall, and began to arc upwards again. Completing the dramatic loop, Setsu popped back up onto the opposite ledge. Landing smartly with a salute and a smile to the troupe before running running further out of their range. They knew they were beat. The crag cut off their ability to pursue the troublemaker efficiently. 

They stood there in dismay, momentarily. After standing there for a few minutes in silence, they dejectedly turned back towards where the cooked Wompa meat was. Poor trolls. 
[Image: kuroji%20setsu_zps44rbwwd8.png]
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#8
Words: 607 / 4212

Time to redeem these objects for some manner of reward.

Having departed the company of those hapless trolls, Setsu landed and released the Light Weight Rock technique once more this time in front of the hidden entrance he had been tossed out of. This time it was open and two of dwarves stood solidly in front of it as guardians of the mountain labyrinth.

"I assume you've returned with the materials we require for admittance into the sanctum of our mountain?"

The voice was not familiar, but Setsu had faith they were expecting him.

"Yes."

Setsu said with a grin. He unrolled the Wompa fur, revealing the chunch of cobalt and large troll tusk. The dwarves eyed him silently for a moment eventually turning without a word. Setsu leapt up to the entrance, and was immediately grabbed from the dark. His head was wrapped again and his movement restrained by rope.

He hardly resisted, accepting his capture and led into the unknown.

- -
( FLASHBACK )

Setsu sat quietly in the forest outside of the village academy.

"You really enjoy pushing the envelope don't you."

Setsu whipped around with a start, seeing no source for the voice.

"Up here."

"Ahh!..", Setsu started again, falling over and scrambling to look up.

"She really seemed to be trying there. You didn't need to go all out."

Said the smiling face of Kagami, floating like the rest of him horizontally and as casually as if he was standing on solid ground. "She looked like she was crying when she left."

Already frustrated, Setsu fired back. "It's not my fault she doesn't take the idea of sparring seriously. If she did she wouldn't have anything to be sad about. It was a good loss."

"Hahahaha. I don't think she's sad she lost." Kagami rotated like he was a puppet on strings and landed without a sound in the same standing position in front of the young genin.

Setsu rose to his feet. "Oh, I get it. You think teasing me is gonna be good for rounding me out for your squad?" Setsu smiled. "I just get a bit intense when I use those techniques. They're my family's." Already beginning to see his error.

Kagami walked forward and paused in front of the lad before aggressively ruffling the kid's hair with both hands. "How dare you scorn those youthful feelings with such a stupid reason!!" Setsu squirmed vigorously to no avail to try and get away. "How could I call myself your instructor if all I teach you is basic ninjutsu! A real instructor knows nurturing the correct character is the most important thing!! For that you get an F-, you fool!!"

Setsu finally freed himself from the hold. "Nozomi is just my teammate! Feelings like you're talking about have no business in a team."

"IDIOT!!" Kagami cried, striking the genin on the head. "You can't control people that way, Setsu. You believing that is only convenient to you."

"Whatever." Setsu said, rubbing his head. He turned away from the smiling Jonin, retreating back to the academy and away from further abuse.

"That kid is trouble." Kagami said to no one.

(FLASHBACK END)
- -

The silent darkness abruptly filled with sound and light as the hood was removed and Setsu was dumped into a loud and bright room. The ropes removed and the door closed behind him. He was in an arena across from a muscle wrapped dwarf with light armor and weaponry.

"sigh..... Let's get this over with."

Setsu turned his body and readied his hands in front of him.
[Image: kuroji%20setsu_zps44rbwwd8.png]
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#9
Words: 687 / 4899
The little gladiator held Setsu's shaky gaze, stepping forward and emotionlessly loosed his boomerang with a wicked backspin. The blade of the weapon cut through the air loudly like it was in water and carved a steady path towards the Shinobi. 

Setsu's eyes were still adjusting and finding difficulty in acquiring the scenery.

"Oni.. yuri.."

Batting, still, the swooping weapon out of the air with a wave of his hand with his body, Setsu's body received no recoil for the action. Even in the state of confusion, his ability to accurately move his own body and form his deadly blades wasn't sacrificed.

However, he made no attempts to follow up. The dwarf nodded, expecting some manner of trick. Reasonably, he was already steps away from Setsu and throwing a haymaker of an iron hammer swing. Bringing every pound he could down on his target.

Setsu stumbled away from the approaching figure which saw his opponent correct his swing to compensate. However, Setsu's eyes finally grasped the full picture and turned his body sharly. Wickedly allowing the heavy hammer to slam into the hard floor. 

Setsu stepped in towards his target and a clawed hand down the blades seeking his exposed target. They passed through air.

The shorter fighter was perhaps lacking in a comparison of mass, but not in speed. In that he maybe had a leg up on the tired and discombobulated shinobi. 

Making space as Setsu pursued and retrieving his boomerang and having seen the technique of his opponent, the dwarf fired the boomerang with another wicked spin. This time the unique weapon rotated as it flew, making a difficult flight pattern for Setsu to predict and at much shorter range. 

Setsu held up his hands and spread them from each other with his straightened fingers conjuring the effervescent blades of the Oniyuri technique to crush the weapon and kill it's momentum. Rather than waiting for it to fall and pick it up, Setsu spun and kicked the weapon back towards the dwarf. 

It wasn't expected and forced the fighter to contend with it, at least. Moving nimbly, the fighter hopped to the side and allowed the weapon to skitter across the arena. Somewhat winded the smaller fighter paused, which allowed Setsu enough time to take a deep breath.

He'd been fighting from a defensive position the enter fight due to his needing of adjustment to the arena. Now acclimated the shinobi could relax his posture. He stood up taller and towered over the shorter opponent. It was subtle, but being looked down one's nose from that height was a clear insult to the dwarf.

"Raaa...

He charged towards his insultingly relaxed opponent. Setsu made a handseal.

Thrusting his hammer's head towards Setsu's face, the shinobi leaned jump flipped while spinning, like an acrobat. The dwarf spun around thinking that he'd capitalize on his lower center of gravity to throughly assault his landing opponent rather than to remain stupefied by the acrobatics.

He was greeted by no acrobat, and then the all too sudden of a foot. Then black. The shinobi had utilized his newly learned Light Weight Rock technique in order to suspend his momentum and hold himself unnaturally right above the dwarf in the air. This allowed him to casually line up a dipping soccer kick straight into the bridge of the poor, unsuspecting dwarven gladiator. 

The crowd was now completely silent, all faces visible looking on with a mix of shock and feigned indifference. Up until their fighter had lost the thread in the fight completely, the cheers had been excited. There was however a small section of the audience that looked on with silent interest. 

Setsu landed a few feet from his unconscious opponent, turning to face that particular and clearly royal section of the audience.

"What is your name, wanderer?"

The voice rang out from the most decorated of the officials in the royal box of the arena. 

The shinobi trained his eye on the bearded mountain leader. "Kuroji Setsu."
[Image: kuroji%20setsu_zps44rbwwd8.png]
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#10
Words: 154/5056
From there things happened in a blur like fashion. Setsu was ushered into another room after a brief exchange with the ruler where he was able to take a breather and ask about what was happening. The nature of his quest and what he had earned was made clear to him.

He would be allowed in at a ceremonial banquet and a seat at the head table.

This sounded promising to Setsu, however, he made it clear to the group helping him that he really only wanted a nice place to rest and relax. Maybe he could put off this banquet.

They insisted otherwise. And so, Setsu was brought to this banquet and fell into many a drunken conversation and ate and drank and danced all night.

- -

Setsu woke up remembering a fragment of what had transpired and was shocked to find a box with his name on it at the foot of his bed in his private quarters.


QUEST OVER: 5056/5000 - 10,000
Will submit "Ceremonial Weapon or Armament in Move Approval"
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