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Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Tue Jun 27, 2023 11:50 am
Name: Stranger For Shore
Category: Episode
Player Participants: Yumiko (+0), Diana Melvi (+0)
Planned Location(s): Lvneel - North Blue
Planned Time Range: A single day between April 4th 1829 and April 10th 1829, taking place the morning after the events of Drowning Demons.

Summary: The infamous morning after is rarely a pleasant experience. A lonely soul far from home wakes up, with her mouth full of sand and only the haziest recollection of what happened last night. Feeling like a piece of flotsam tossed around by a storm, she shambles along a quiet shore in search of civilization. Along the way, she stumbles upon a peculiar stranger who might have more in common with her than she expects.

Unfortunately, a local gang of slavers just so happens to spot the two trespassers upon their private beach. They can think of at least 10,700,000 good reasons to give the precious ladies a warm welcome. Armed with confidence, courtesy and weapons, they offer the tourists a simple choice between servitude and death. It goes about as peacefully as could be expected.

In the heat of the moment, the lost travelers find a shared disdain for dishonorable slavers. For one of them, it’s a matter of personal code. For the other, it’s simply personal. A plan is made on the spot. They’ll crush this despicable operation and scatter it into the winds.

Combat Encounters


[discordthread=https://discord.com/channels/260564262446039064/1124473605279985687]Diana's combat encounter[/discordthread]

[discordthread=https://discord.com/channels/260564262446039064/1131879111351087175]Yumiko's combat encounter[/discordthread]


Lazy waves pushed against the shores of Lvneel Kingdom. The shrieking laughter of seagulls echoed in the salty sea breeze. Rolling green hills and cloudless blue sky painted the backdrop of a quiet, rocky beach. Upon said beach laid a dark, disheveled figure. Shallow breaths were the only sign the ragged silhouette was even breathing.

The rising morning sun prodded at the shape tentatively, tracing its beams against the furry features. Slowly, the light revealed a monstrous weasel, larger than most grown men. White markings decorated the coat of inky black fur. Claws resembling sickles and a tail as sharp as a scythe had scratched their marks on the stones. Wrapped in foreign garments and a layer of stained bandages, the strange creature wouldn’t have passed for a local even if one squinted.

Eventually, the peculiar weasel stirred. Beady, black eyes opened... Well, one of them did. The other one was pretty badly crusted shut. A weak cough escaped between the sharp teeth. Then another... Third... Followed by a mouthful of sand and... Other things best left unmentioned. We’ll just call them rainbows and gumdrops.

Yumiko was not having a good morning. Everything ached. Her head was pounding hard enough to make her ears ring. A foul stench of wasted booze assaulted her sensitive nose, until she realized it came from her. Growing thirst dragged her onto her feet. She crawled over to the splashing water, sipped a big mouthful...

...And promptly gagged.

Once the weasel wreck had emptied the rest of her stomach, she flopped over to her side. Several questions swirled in the addled mind. Where, when, why...? The last thing she remembered was going to a bar... Having some imp pour ale upon her... She had transformed and then... Aaand theeen... Nay, it was all a hazy blur. The pounding only got worse, when she struggled to remember.

Stubbornly, the samurai rolled back onto her feet, resolving to stay on all fours for now. She knew she couldn’t stay here. First, she needed water... To drink and to bathe in. Preferably a river. Then she could begin to consider other steps...

There was just one small problem.

The monstrous weasel had barely walked a couple of feet, before she realized she was hopelessly lost. Gone were the gaudy buildings of the port town. In their place was dull sand and gray stone, walled off by a rocky cliffside, which she was not going to be climbing in this state. Reluctantly she continued following the water’s edge. As a survivalist, she knew all rivers ended in the sea eventually. Thus, she would have to run into one sooner or later, or at least find a spot where the cliff wasn’t so steep.

Before finding any rivers though, the wanderer came across something odd. Something startling. From the distance, she spotted a strangely-carved giant statue. A very... life-like statue... Only upon reaching the figure did she realize that it was no statue at all. From the desert dry throat crawled a deep, masculine growl. “What manner of sorcery is this...?” In her defense, she was still waking up from last night’s poison coma.

Words: 524
Thread Total: 524
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[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Tue Jun 27, 2023 1:00 pm
@Yumiko
_______________

Some Hours Before Dawn~

Diana was adrift among an endless blue expanse stretching out as far as she could see. Not that it was particularly far, the fog that had settled in while she was adrift having all but stolen any visibility she could hope for. Well that, and the fact that one of her old scars had reopened. The lapping of the waves was pushing the blood into her eyes. Wrapping around the side of her neck and curling up to her cheek, the fresh cut had been caused when she tore a piece of the ship's hull from the railing and leapt into the water. The cut was aflame with the acrid bite of the salt water. Diana winced. "Well hopefully it'll knit faster. Don't know if I want a trail of blood in these waters," she muttered, gagging on the taste of seawater she received for opening her mouth.

But the burning cut was the least of her worries. She'd been floating for hours now, pressed down by the heavy weight of the sea. She swore she could almost feel the current leeching her strength away. If she lost hold of the wooden railing and hull, she was sure she was going to sink right to the bottom. Just then a gull swooped overhead, landing for a perch on the end of the railing. It looked at Diana, who stared back at it. The bird's beady eye seemed to encompass her in its entirety as it hopped closer curiously. Diana shifted slightly, pulling away. The bird tilted its head and gave a final, resounding cry in retort before springing deftly up from the platform and wheeling about. Finally, it headed northwards ahead of the wind.

Diana nearly wept as she saw the faint, irregular pattern of rockface jutting out from the water. An island? I finally made it to an island? She thought to herself as she saw she was in fact following behind the gull. The wind was ferrying her slowly towards the island. More specifically to a secluded cove nestled amongst the cliff faces. As Diana drew closer, she could make out the gently swaying palms upon a dull grey beach.

As the waves carried Diana's makeshift skiff into the shallow waters of the bay, the giant rolled off of it and landed with a thump in said shallow waves. Her luxurious, crimson braids spreading out like an enveloping blanket as the waves crashed over her. Seaweed draped amidst her hair, becoming stuck as she had disturbed the net of fibrous material floating on the surface of the water. Diana slowly hauled herself onto the sand, feeling it encrust her skin as she practically dragged herself to a sitting position against the cliff face. She stared down at her manacled hands. A solid length of chain stretched taut between them. Diana didn’t know exactly how she had freed herself on the ship. She had simply imagined being able to slip free of the restraining cage and it had parted around her like water. Closing her eyes, she pleaded. “Please work.” She thought of her hands slipping through the shackles. She was rewarded a moment later with a dull thump as they lay half submerged in the sand. They looked almost as if they had simply slipped from her hands. Exhausted and sand encrusted, Diana nevertheless felt a shiver of anxious anticipation course through her. I did it. I escaped. She thought, before drifting off to sleep.

Present~

No one could fault any observer for believing that Diana was in fact a giant sized statue resting against the cliff face. Sand encrusted, with matted hair tangled with a fresh net of seaweed, parched, and unmoving, Diana looked like a statue that had washed up to shore from a distance. But as the weasel drew closer, the steady rise and fall of Diana's chest became more apparent. As well as the life infused flush of her skin that was evident beneath the sand from this distance.

The sound of the deep masculine voice that hissed forth from the weasel caused Diana to stir. Diana's head came up slowly, languidly as emerald eyes opened sleepily. Diana flinched. Panic-stricken, she scrabbled back finding the cool, unyielding surface of stone pressing into her back. Her fingers and heels dug long furrows in the sand as she squeezed back against the rock. Finding a weasel standing before her and not the faces of the slavers, Diana's panic was mollified somewhat.

She groaned, pressing a palm into the side of her head. Pain had bloomed out of nowhere and Diana shielded her eyes from the "harsh" sunlight. "A weasel?" She asked seeing the figure by her right heel. Her voice croaking from her cracked lips and salt-worn throat. She really had swallowed too much seawater getting here. The long, furred body and tapering snout certainly reminded of the clever versions of the animal from her homeland. But if it is a weasel, it's not like any I've ever seen. Diana said, noting its unfamiliar markings and fearsome scythe like claws. And did it just talk? Or have I hit my head harder than I thought? Diana's hand landed with a thump on the sand in front of the weasel kicking up small clouds of dust. Shackles lay next to those hands, tugged at gently by the outgoing waves. "It's okay. I won't hurt you, little one. I'm too tired anyway." She said, coaxing the curious and fascinating weasel closer.

Thought
"Speech"

Word Count: 917
Total Count: 917


Last edited by Diana Melvi on Tue Jun 27, 2023 3:15 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : word count)
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Tue Jun 27, 2023 4:02 pm
Hearing the giant talk felt surreal, like looking at a mythical creature. As a country-bumpkin, the swordswoman had never encountered anyone like this. She had seen her fair share of large humans, certainly, but this woman easily dwarfed even the tallest of them.

When the huge hand landed against the ground, the startled weasel leapt back. The sharp claws dug into the sand, searching for a good grip. Her fur bristled and tail coiled threateningly. Whispering winds began to circle her, painting the air with swirling streaks of dust. The last encounter with the ‘friendly locals’ had left a mark...

After a moment of tense silence, Yumiko slowly relaxed her animalistic fighting stance. The wind fell silent. “Yes. A kamaitachi.” She clarified. “In the common tongue, it means ‘sickle weasel’.” She tentatively sniffed the hand before her, before carefully climbing on it. Despite the clear sharpness of her claws, they didn’t even leave marks. A true swordsman could cut anything... And nothing if they so wished. She still had her pride to uphold after all.

While the last night’s pain still lingered, just like the poison, the honorable woman still chose to believe the enormous stranger. After all, this person had promised she wouldn’t hurt her. Lying in such a blatant manner would’ve stained a warrior’s honor. Surely neither of them wanted that.

The mythical creature rose to her hindlegs and offered a deep bow. Good manners first and foremost. “Mine name is Yumiko. This one is a samurai.” Her mannerisms were as polite as they were old-fashioned. Even in her sorry state, she followed the traditions of her home country the best she could.

Giving the stranger a chance to introduce herself in turn, the samurai fell silent. She studied the giant’s features, the wild hair and the hefty armor. Despite the foul fumes burning her nose, she was fairly confident she didn’t smell the stinging stench of gunpowder or other dishonorable weaponry. Nay, this stranger smelled of steel, leather and seawater.

Soon, the traveler piped up with a curious question. “Thou are... an oni...?” She cocked her head, as if that might help the thoughts roll better. Nay, it didn’t seem quite right. Where were the horns? The red or blue skin? The mighty kanabō? Her attention was drawn to the seaweed clinging to the stranger’s frame. “Or... an umibōzu?” She continued to ponder.

Words: 396
Thread Total: 920
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[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Tue Jun 27, 2023 4:48 pm
@Yumiko
_____________


Diana started to pull her hand away, curling her fingers up to prevent them from being bitten. Having seen the weasel's reaction, she was in no mood to be bitten or cut today. She knew just how sharp those teeth could be, having at times had to trap Elbaf weasels to keep them from her fellow giant's farms or for food. "Okay, no need to feel threatened," she said hoping to placate the weasel before it pounced. This definitely isn't a normal weasel. Did I see it right? Was that wind stirring up around its haunches? Diana thought. She was surprised when the weasel sniffed at her hand before deciding to clamber into it.

"Oh, a sickle weasel?" Diana repeated, going wide eyed with awe as the weasel began talking. She definitely hadn't imagined it. The only proof she needed was that the weasel was using words from a language that Diana had never heard before. Slowly, so as to avoid startling her passenger, Diana lifted the weasel up in her cupped palm. Using her curled fingers to safely ensure that the weasel, who had introduced themselves as Yumiko and a samurai, stayed within her palm Diana brought them up to eye level in her sitting position. She was surprisingly gentle for being so massive, definitely abiding by her promise to avoid hurting the small weasel as she moved.

Diana tilted her head to one side as Yumiko asked her a question. Her crimson mane, tangled with seaweed swayed with the motion. Pieces of the seaweed that had dried out flaked away to the sandy beach below. The question itself was simple enough: what are you? But the choices that Yumiko gave her Diana had never heard of before. Not knowing what she could be called in the samurai's tongue, she didn't want to deny something she could end up being. "I...don't know those words. I would be a jotun, in my tongue. Or in the common tongue, I am better known as a giant," she said.

Diana then shook her head, staring sadly at the weasel perched on its hindlegs in her palm. Fresh welts burgeoned her wrists, evident of the manacles that had once grasped them. "Perhaps it would be better to say I am nothing," Diana said, dabbing away at the cut that even now trickled down her cheek. Patterned, cross work scarring could faintly be seen from underneath the giant's armor. "I haven't been anything in a long time," she said, before posing a question of her own, "What is a samurai? I have never heard the word before."

Word Counter (Post): 440
Word Total: 1357


Last edited by Diana Melvi on Fri Jun 30, 2023 6:13 pm; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Speech Color)
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Wed Jun 28, 2023 11:30 am
Both guesses turned out to be wrong. “Jo-tun...” Yumiko tasted the foreign word, rolling it on her tongue. She had heard fables of giants, but until now she had thought them to be exactly that. Merely fables. This huge world certainly had some peculiar creatures, she thought. Yes, the irony was lost on her.

However, the sudden claim snapped the samurai back into reality. “Nay, it would not be better.” Her rejection was quick and blunt, like getting bopped with a rolled up newspaper. “We all are something. Sometimes we merely lose sight of what we are.” She insisted. Her one good eye drifted between the injuries. Every scar carried a story. “If nothing else... At the very least we are still alive.” She assured the giant. And herself.

The weasel woman puffed her chest. A distinct spark of pride lit her eye and flared in her voice. “A samurai is a brave warrior from the country of Wano!” She declared with gusto. “We are beholden to a code of honor, sworn to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Like the blades by our side, we too are humble tools serving a worthy cause.” She could’ve filled the whole day talking about her country and chosen path.

But...

There was a bitter truth she had to face...

Yumiko lowered her head. “However, this one...” She hesitated, before dropping the peculiar honorific. I... am not a very good samurai...” Her proud posture deflated. “I try mine best and yet... Many times, I have been measured and found wanting... There is something important which I lack, thus I can never be a true samurai.” Admitting it stung worse than any of the actual wounds beneath her bandages.

After an awkward pause, the samurai shook her head. “Mine apologies. I didn’t mean to burden thee with mine worries.” She straightened her back and regained some of her confidence. “An inadequate samurai I may be, but a samurai nonetheless. Thus, if thou require any assistance, I am at thy service.” In her eyes, this wounded stranger seemed like she might need some help.

---

Meanwhile, in a distant thicket sitting on the very edge of the cliffside, sunlight glinted against a lens. A huge spyglass slowly swept the shore. Sand, rocks, more sand, blurry figures, more rocks... Hold on! The lens twitched back and twisted to focus on the figures.

The bushes rustled. One shadow nudged the other two next to it. “Larry, Curly, you seein’ what I’m seein’?” A deep, scratchy voice asked in hushed tones.

More rustling ensued. “Well gee, Moe... I’d say the chances are awfully slim since you have our only spyglass.” Another voice yawned lazily.

It wasn’t received well by the first one. “A wise guy, eh?” The growl was punctuated by a resounding slap and a pained yelp.

The exchange sparked a goofy laugh from the third shadow. “Nyuk nyuk nyuk~” ...Much to the first one’s annoyance. “Whadda ya chucklin’ at, chowderhead?” Another sharp slap silenced the laughter.

“Now listen up, idjits... Here’s what we’re doin’...”

Words: 507
Thread Total: 1427
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[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Wed Jun 28, 2023 10:58 pm
@Yumiko
_________


Diana stifled a chuckle as she heard the weasel experimentally sound out the word. It wasn't because of Yumiko's pronunciation at all. Diana had hesitated herself in even attempting to pronounce the new words that Yumiko had asked about. But the situation was almost surreal. Here she was, covered in sand and seaweed after having drifted ashore, having just escaped being sold as a slave. And she was listening to a talking weasel attempt to pronounce a giant word. In order to forestall any offense caused by any potential misunderstandings, Diana raised a placatory hand before covering her mouth.

"Sorry. I'm not laughing at you. It's just... talking to a weasel was not what I expected to be doing when I woke up today. Everything just sort of hit me all at once."
Diana said, still struggling to prevent a chuckle from escaping. Her mirth died almost instantly as she saw Yumiko running a critical eye over her scars. Diana pulled the hem of her tabard up higher shielding them from view. Shirking away from Yumiko's keen eyes, her only response was a slight twitch of the fingers when Yumiko spoke of losing sight of who you were. The slightest balling of Diana's free hand into a massive fist as sand slowly trickled out between her fingers.

"Or others try to take it from you." Diana muttered, shuddering slightly. Then her face creased into a small, sad smile. Diana's eyes, now hard pools of shining jade, no longer shined with full intensity. She wrapped her free arm around her knees, hugging them to her chest. Somehow, this had the effect of compressing her, as if she was trying to make herself smaller. Metal scales clinked softly against each other as her pauldron moved up and down in a one shouldered shrug. She spoke, "But you're right. I am alive. I should be thankful for that." Seeming to become aware of Yumiko in her hand anew, Diana turned her attention fully to the animated conversation about what it meant to be a samurai.

Diana listened attentively to Yumiko's explanation. She did not interrupt even as Yumiko unburdened herself of her anxieties. Diana listened to Yumiko admit to lacking something that the other samurai possessed, but still she did not interrupt Yumiko's self deprecation. Only when Yumiko had finished speaking did Diana decide to voice her input.

"It's no trouble. It reminded me of my mother's stories of her time as a warrior." Diana admitted with a chuckle.  "She sure could spin yarns. All about adventures she had been on." A soft note of longing crept into Diana's voice, before she shook it away. Squaring her shoulders, she faced the weasel cradled in her palm.  "I do not know anything about what makes one a worthy samurai, Yumiko. I am just a huntress' and smith's daughter far from home. I did not even know the word existed until I met you. But you were ready to help me, simply because I needed it. In spite of your doubts even." Diana paused for a moment before continuing,  "Perhaps you should think on that?" Thinking for a moment and plucking another strand of seaweed from her hair, Diana spoke. "...Maybe I should just cut it. I'm never getting all this out," she said.

________

A man was soon hurtling back down the dirt road from whence he had came. He rubbed at his left cheek gingerly. It was still smarting from where his boss had smacked it. Bright, red blotches were soon blooming over the scruffy man's cheek and bald pate. A coarse, variegated goatee clung to his chin. Larry shook his head, putting a little more speed into his step.

The plan was relatively simple. Nestled within the cliff-face on a cove just a little ways away from here was one of the locations the boss used to handle the distribution of illegal goods. It was an abandoned boathouse that the boss had discovered while patrolling around the island. Vacated because the saltwater was starting to lap away at the house's standing stilts and it wouldn't be long before they rotted, the tiny ferryhouse had never been well populated. There was one small skiff still moored to the dock with an ancient and fraying rope. In other words, the perfect location for the gang to stash their illegal goods and transport them. Larry had seen Moe snatch it up in a heartbeat.

Larry was to go there. Then he would grab a few more men and some heavy nets. He'd bring them back to back up the boss and Curly, who were going to remain crouched in the shrubbery there watching the pair. They'd be sure to follow them if they went anywhere. "Can't afford to lose them, so he says." Larry muttered.

Larry didn't quite understand what the boss wanted with the nets, but Moe had been very insistent. He'd sputtered something about not wanting any harm to come to the merchandise. "Said if he thinks it is who he thinks it is, it was very important she didn't bruise. Stupid if you ask me. We can always just loot them after we gut them. Much easier that way. Especially if they're rich," he said, before looking up to find the dingy little boathouse in front of him.

"Oi, Derren and Terry, get your lazy asses out here and bring the good nets. Boss found someone valuable. He's waiting for us on the next ridge," he called into the doorway, waving a hand before his face at the musty scent of waterlogged timbers.


Word Count(Post): 941
Word Count Total: 2298
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Jun 29, 2023 12:27 pm
The weasel’s ears flattened and she averted her gaze. “Thou have a kind heart, but I fear ‘tis not that simple.” She wanted to cling to the rising hope, she really did... But the painful truth kept her firmly rooted in reality. “To be a samurai, one needs more than a blade and good intentions.” All this time, she had been trying despite her shortcomings. Playing pretend. And what did that get her? Dishonor and suffering. Nothing more, nothing less.

Eager to change the subject, the solemn samurai shifted her attention onto the giant’s wild mane. “Oh? The seaweed does not simply grow on thy head?” She sounded -and was- genuinely surprised. All this time she had thought... Er, never mind what she thought.

After a brief, pondering pause, the mythical creature gestured at the unruly hair. “Have thou considered a top knot? ‘Tis a traditional warrior cut.” ...A traditional samurai warrior cut, she failed to mention. “Or perhaps a clean shave, like the warrior monks?” Her obsession with warriors was showing...

The weasel brandished her sharp claws. “I could cut it for thee, if thou so wish, Miss Giant.” She offered, scraping the natural sickles against each other like sharpening real blades. Her eyes -or the one open eye at least- was beginning to burn with peculiar excitement... On second thought, maybe it was a bad idea to let a mythical creature cut one’s hair.

---

At the cove just down the dirt road, the nest of rats was getting lively. As the shout echoed through the boathouse, two silhouettes stirred, lounging on a pair of hammocks. “Nets...?” One deep voice asked wearily. A long, long arm stretched, before looping back to rub a sleepy eye. “...Nets!” A second shrill voice agreed eagerly. Long, long legs kicked out and slapped against the creaky plank floor.

“Guess we have...”
“...A job to do!”

Both figures went to work. The long arms deftly rummaged through the many crates littering the disorganized room. Like a deranged juggler, he tossed various items into the air. The long legs danced in the equipment rain, stopping only to grab the essentials.

Before long, the chaotic silhouettes produced some chains, a couple of shackles... And a set of massive nets. Woven steel wires were connected to weights solid and heavy like cannon balls. Yet the duo handled the hefty traps with startling ease. “Here...” “...You go!” They unceremoniously dumped the entire load onto poor Larry.

...Who immediately buckled under the weight.

“Oops, sorry...”
“...About that!”

Wearing toothy grins, the mismatched shadows grabbed the equipment and helped their colleague onto his feet. “Maybe we should...” “...Come with you!” Their helpful offer was met with a breathless wheeze and a trembling thumbs up.

In nearby cages, several pairs of fearful eyes watched the ominous exchange. People old and young dressed in filthy rags clutched each other for comfort. Heavy chains and branded marks left no doubt of their fate. Soon, more unfortunate souls would join their ranks... Or so everyone here thought.

Words: 503
Thread Total: 1930
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[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Jun 29, 2023 2:38 pm
@Yumiko
__________

DIana gave that one shouldered shrug again. It was exactly as she had said. She had very little understanding of what a samurai was. She couldn't even begin to direct Yumiko on what it meant to be one. But Yumiko's status held little to sway Diana's words. In fact, it would not have mattered if Yumiko was in fact a samurai one way or the other. She had helped her and expected nothing in return. And in so doing, Diana saw someone more worthy than she knew. "Perhaps. Like I said, I have little understanding of what the title means to you," Diana admitted with a wave of her hand. "But it does not matter to me. I am still indebted to you," she said.

The gesture towards her unkempt mane caused Diana to twist her head as if to more closely examine her hair. Pieces of seaweed dislodged in the motion rained down in droves. "Hah, no. It simply likes me, I suspect," Diana replied to Yumiko's comment pausing at the register of genuine surprise in her voice. Did they think I was a sea creature? Diana wondered, glancing towards the sea. Are there those of my ilk then in the country of Wano she mentioned? Ones who live within the waves? Diana gave an almost imperceptible shake of her head. Well, even if there are, that route is closed to me, isn't it? The sea seems to hate me now.

The question of the style of her haircut drew Diana's attention back to the conversation. She shook her head slowly to the question of whether or not she had considered a topknot or a clean shave. When Diana heard that those were traditional styles of warrior cuts, she almost smacked her other fist into her palm instinctively. Realizing that Yumiko was there, Diana stopped herself short and instead snapped her fingers. "I will admit. I have seen those hairstyles before, though I personally haven't ever considered them myself. But that last one... I believe my people have a style of warrior's cut that is similar to that. It consisted of a short shave around the sides and back of the head. The top of the head is left in a short, but thick braid for women that ends just above the nape," she said.

Eyeing Yumiko's sharp claws, she smiled. "I would appreciate that, Yumiko. Let's see..." Diana said, scanning the surroundings for a suitable spot to deposit the weasel astride her palm. The soft crashing of the aquamarine waves against the shore doled out to Diana's left. Behind her, the sheer, gray rock of the cove's cliffside made it inhospitable to climbing. But to her right, Diana spotted a patterned ridge sticking out from the rocks. A path snaked along it, leading no doubt back towards the port town. The ridge was thicketed with shrubbery and small, spindly palm trees further away at the very edge of this cove. Closer to the pair however, the ridge grew flat as spires of stone seemed to poke away from the cliffs surrounding them.

"There!" Diana said triumphantly. "If I leave you there and sit down before one of those ridges, you should be able to reach without issue," she replied and had seemingly accepted Yumiko's offer despite the fire in their eyes. "Hold on!" She cautioned the weasel with a grin, as she began to crawl on all fours (on all threes) towards the ridge. She remained on all fours for two reasons truthfully. She was feeling a little woozy but more importantly, she wanted to avoid attention. Giants weren't exactly the most inconspicuous folk, and she knew now that the chances were good someone was going to see her soon. If they hadn't already.

If they were good people, they'd react like Yumiko. If they were bad people, they would surely see a potential payday in her capture. Worst still was if they knew who she was, and what her situation was. Her old captors had no doubt taken to looking for her by now. The possibility of a Noble's fury providing one with all sorts of motivation. Especially those with ill intentions. Diana had even heard that her scars were a result of said Noble asking her captors to make her more obedient. To God knows what end. Diana was glad that she never found out.

Diana moved quickly but carefully across the beach.  Her hand and knees avoided scraping on the sharp rocks jutting out from the sand where the water had worn them down. Dull tremors and plumes of sand kicked up where her limbs landed. She ferried her passenger towards the ledge, stretching out a hand to let Yumiko off if she chose.

"If you stand here, and I sit with my back to you..." Diana began before starting to turn around and sit down against the ridge, "...you can reach my head more easily." Almost immediately, her fingers burrowed into the fabric of her tabard and pulled it taut, trying to hide her mark and scars. Her fingers turned white as she focused on keeping her shame hidden from Yumiko, not enjoying that the position gave the other the vantage point to see... everything potentially. The tapestry of passionate cruelty and base desire that was her back. "Call me Diana. I feel a bit rude, seeing as you've given me your name and I haven't returned the courtesy," she said.

_________

While Larry fetched Derren and Terry from the boathouse, Moe continued to stare at the pair of figures on the opposite end of the beach. After all, he had to be very sure about the identity of the giant sized figure if he wanted to maximize his profits. A giant was certainly valuable in terms of labor, but if the person he suspected was who he thought she was, then she was worth her weight in gold. Literally.

Curly had stopped laughing after Moe's reprimand. Instead the short, stocky, almost bulbous man posed a question. "Well boss, you think she's who you think she is? Cause you said that if she is, we'll be swimming in Berries. Nyuk nyuk nyuk~" he said, hopping from side to side eagerly.

The question, whilst innocent enough, coaxed a groan of annoyance from Moe. Handing him the spyglass, Moe said. "I don't know, Curly. Do you see any other female giants out there? With flame-red hair and emerald eyes? If you do, let me know. We should grab them as well." Idjits. I'm surrounded by idjits. thought Moe, eyeing the path back towards their ferryhouse and the port town. Where the blast are Larry, Derren and Terry? They should be here any moment now, he asked himself.

Word Count(Post): 1120
Word Count Total: 3418
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
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Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Fri Jun 30, 2023 1:27 pm
Much to the samurai’s surprise, the giant agreed on the haircut. During her time in the Marines, her crewmates had always politely refused her offers. Deep down, she felt oddly giddy... Like -a mother- an older sister about to cut her child's sibling’s hair. Finally she could wield her blades in a way that helped rather than harmed.

“I have never seen the style thou speak of, but I shall do mine best!”

Deftly, the weasel jumped off and perched on the ledge. She turned to the giant expectantly. Her only complaint was that there seemed to be some ferocious mosquitoes up here. She could feel them needling her back even through her clothes... However, a true samurai did not feel pain, minor or otherwise. Thus she kept quiet. Although her tail did swish with annoyance, trying to shoo the pests away.

Yumiko brandished her claws and slashed the air a couple of times, as if testing something. Her open eye quietly measured the giant’s mane up and down. When she thought she spotted something beneath it, she quickly averted her attention. Nay, these secrets were not for her to see...

As Diana introduced herself at last, the samurai nodded. “Yes, in my country ‘tis considered rude to not introduce thyself.” She blurted out, bluntly honest as always. “But I forgive thee. I cannot fault thee for being wary, for thou clearly carry some manner of burden in thy heart.” The honest streak continued, for better or worse. She could tell the stranger was hiding something... But it was rude to pry. Diana would surely tell her, if and when she was worthy of hearing it.

“Nevertheless, thy secrets are-”

All of a sudden, the samurai fell silent. And forward. She tumbled down from the cliff, limp and lifeless like a rag doll. Her whole body was wrapped in a heavy steel net. She hit the sand with a heavy thud. Several feathered darts were stuck on her back.

Soon, a voice that had smoked a carton a day echoed from the nearby shrubbery. “Well, whadda ya know? At least some of you can get the job done.” Five figures stepped out onto the cliff, looking down on the giant and the weasel.

Leading the group was a short, surly man. Despite the silly bowl cut, he managed to seem plenty imposing. Granted, being flanked by the members of his posse played a big part in that. And the sharp suit certainly helped give him an air of authority. His friends called him Moe. ...His enemies called him Mister Moe, or else.

Next to Moe were Larry and Curly. The scruffy man stroked his goatee, trying to seem sinister rather than just relieved. His bulbous buddy hopped excitedly, clapping his hands and whooping. They looked more like traditional pirates, with their airy, tattered clothes.

Then there were the scarier two, looming behind the odd trio...

Derren was the shorter of the dynamic duo, though still rather tall. The wiry man’s arms were twice as long as an average person’s, with twice as many elbows to boot. Scowling, he brandished a second weighted net and began twirling it with a steady momentum.

Terry, on the other hand, had the exact opposite build. His body resembled a barrel on stilts. Ridiculously long legs held up a rotund body. He wielded a blowgun as long as a rifle. Grinning, he slipped another feathered dart into it and took aim.

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[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Jul 01, 2023 1:32 am
@Yumiko

Diana was sure that they made quite the odd pair. A black and white patterned weasel and a tall, crimson haired giant dressed in leather boots, britches, brigandine and a leather tabard. All adorned with various interlapping metallic buckles or plates that shone brilliantly in the sun. As the weasel deftly pounced from her palm to the ground, the giant shuffled into place. She hummed quietly, a soft lullaby her mother had sang for her all that time ago as she heard the testing swooshes of the long, sickle like claws beside her ear. She couldn't help the slight shiver that passed over her. As a smith's daughter, she had worked with blades before. She was very good at evaluating their potential and condition with enough glances. Yumiko's claws looked sharp, and they were about to be hovering about her nape in a moment.

Except that moment never came. Yumiko had been recounting how rude she had been by not introducing herself. Their blunt admission caused Diana to smile. Yet another way that she was reminded of home. Her mother had never been one to mince words either. She told Diana exactly what she thought, and if Diana needed a straightening out, one best be sure Diana got that straightening out. No matter who was listening. Then the topic of conversation turned to the fact that Diana had been hiding something.

Diana swallowed a lump in her throat as she heard Yumiko promise that she forgave Diana for hiding the details of her circumstances from her. It was suddenly very hard to breathe. A stitch seemed to have crept up Diana's spine, stealing away her breath. And with it the words Diana had wanted to say. "I-I'm sorry... I..." Diana faltered, struggling to mumble something out as a response.
___________

- Fight! -
___________

That was precisely when her companion fell face-first into the sand. The plume and dull thump of their collapse caused Diana to cock her head back, staring at Yumiko. Her brows furrowed in surprise as she saw the heavy net and feathered darts sticking out of the already battered and bruised weasel's back. Diana started to rise to her feet, propelling herself upwards by pushing on the stony ridge with both hands. Now standing at her full height, she took a careful look at Yumiko's bindings. Somehow this method of subjugation seemed familiar to her and Diana suppressed a shudder as she started to pluck the net and darts off Yumiko's back.

That was when her ears heard the croaking, guttural growl issue from the nearby shrubbery as figures stepped out into clear view. Diana identified the five of them, passing a keen eye over each. She could tell from the demeanor of the bowl-cut man, and the fact that he saw fit to issue praise regarding doing one's job, that he was the leader. Four other men were with him, flanking him in a sort of semi circle as they advanced towards Diana and Yumiko. And while the scruffy looking man and the whooping, clapping one certainly posed a problem, they weren't the true bulk of the enemy's forces. No, the true threat came from Moe and the duality of long limbed fellows behind him.

But that wasn't the only thing that Diana saw. Her keen eyes also saw that the long limbed fellow on the left had a scar just above his right knee. It was a long and diagonal smear that had never quite healed properly. Such spindly legs must be awful fragile. He's probably been injured there before. Diana realized, before casting her glance to the rest of the crew. The other one had a weighted net within his hands that he had started twirling. But Diana knew that such a weapon was cumbersome. It would take time to build to a sufficient momentum to cast the net. And he was also standing precariously close to the ridge edge. If she could manage to hit the ridge with a liquification effect like she did to the shackles, she could pull him down to the ground and leave him stuck there.

Moe began to gesture with a hand. He shook his head. "You shouldn't worry about your little pet. We're not here for it. Are we, boys?" He asked, to a general roar of agreement.

Curly was the only one who objected still chuckling, "I don't know boss. A talking weasel might draw a crowd. We could sell it to a zoo!"

Moe groaned with exasperation. "No, Curly. We're here for..." he said, pausing dramatically to float a finger through the air before letting it land on Diana, "...you. You're going to make us a lot of money, after all when we give you back to that Noble that so desperately wants you."

A sound like rocks grating against each other filled the air as Diana ground her teeth. "Slavers..." She said condemningly, before kneeling to the sand behind Yumiko. She couldn't trust these low-lives not to try and slit the downed weasel's throat to force her to submit to being captured. But then again, there wasn't anywhere she could put the weasel where she could keep both hands free to fight. Or was there? Diana removed her tabard and wrapped it snuggly around the weasel, creating a sort of protective nest or cocoon with the thickly plaited leather. Now if Diana could engage all of them quickly enough, they wouldn't be able to react. And Yumiko could still easily stand up whenever they shook off the sedatives.

Derren took the opportunity to throw the net at her legs, but Diana simply raised a hand. Willing it to pass over her, the net seemed to part around her hand and frame. Distorting as it pushed past her, it appeared as if the net was running all over DIana's body before sundering apart into little "droplets" that still appeared as if they were pieces of the net. By the time it landed with a thump to the sand behind Diana, it looked as if the net had been simultaneously blown apart and splattered across the sand without being shorn apart.

While she was doing that, Terry had finished loading his blowpipe and had raised it to his lips. There was the softest puff of air as the projectile launched from its tube and arced towards Diana's neck, where the neckline of the armor exposed some skin. Diana's movements caused her to shift and the projectile skidded across her pauldron. It corkscrewed through the air for a moment before impacting the sand below.

Shaking herself, Diana chastised herself mentally. Come on Diana, you know mother said victory goes to the one who takes initiative most often. Rather than replying to Moe's taunts or jives, she counter-attacked hoping to put the group of five on the back foot.

There's a common misconception around giants. People tend to think that their large size makes them ponderously slow. But Diana's long stride let her cover the distance quickly, bounding dozens of yards a single step as she rushed the other end of the ridge. Her hand scooped against some small boulders strewn by the ridge's edge. They liquified in her palm, as she hurtled them forward. The moment they left her palm, she solidified them again with a thought, peppering Terry with the barrage of small stones. Simultaneously, she pushed her hand through the liquefying stone to suck down Larry, Darren, and Moe who were nearest to the edge. Pulling them down through the sand, she threw them to the ground below and kicked at them with her booted foot sending them sprawling.

Moe was the first one to recover, pulling a pistol from his belt. He rolled as Diana's foot came down again, barely missing him by a hair's breadth as he tumbled down the slope of the dune. Laying at the bottom, he fired. A sharp, stabbing pain accompanied the sensation of searing warmth that suddenly spiked into Diana's foot, causing her to hiss with pain. It dulled after a moment as her wounds hardened, though Diana could feel the moist bloom of blood between her toes where it had seeped into her sock.

Her injury only prompted a fresh wave of fury to crash over her. Her outstretched hand dove into her belt, where her mace hung loosely from a loop of cord. Another shot ricocheted off her armor, causing Diana to grunt. The armor had mostly absorbed the wound but a thin line of blood had appeared from where the bullet had scraped along one of the metallic plates and barely grazed her. She could still feel the vibration throbbing in her chest. She was so thankful she had taken the time to wrestle free her armor and mace from the ship's hold before jumping away. As her fingers snagged over it, she pulled it free and brandished it high in the air.

Diana could tell she was screaming something, but the sound was completely inhuman-oid. It was also stung her throat raw, as she heaved in huge lungfuls of air It was also substantially muffled by the mace's repeated dull thumps into the ground. Soft criks, glurts and pops filled the air in addition to the plentiful sand, muffling all other sounds. 'Confetti' filled the air, leaving Diana standing amidst a fine red powder slowly being devoured by the encroaching water. A peppering of resisting slashes and cuts from the slaver's knives they had switched to in close quarters had torn up Diana's boots. Blood was freely flowing around her ankles now.

Curly and Terren, realizing that their jig was up and that it was time to get out of there, started to run for the path up the cliffside. Snapping her head up, Diana narrowed her eyes. Who knows how many more scum these two could bring in if they escape? Move. Now! Diana launched herself forwards, towards the ridge. One hand stretched out, catching the closest goon in the back with a mighty punch sending him flying into a tree. He hit his head and toppled sideways twitching all the way down. Diana's other hand landed with a crunch into ridge at waist height, sending Terry stumbling to the ground with showering scatter of pebbles from the ridge's lip as Diana's power ate away at it. Smooth teardrop shaped rocks accumulating at the bottom from where they had 'run-off' the deteriorating edge.


Thump Thump. Diana's heartbeat roared in her ears. Hearing the rush of her heartbeat brought a new sense of calm back to her mind and a new awakening to the numb pain in her body. Collapsing to her knees, Diana began concentrating on her wounds. Soon a trickle turned into a trailing line of iridescent ruby colored drops, completely hardening over as the blood solidified. All the while, Diana repeated a pair of words, "Never again. Never again. Never again." As if this simple mantra could banish the bile rising in the back of her throat. She had come this close to being dragged back to where she had started. Crawling back on hands and knees, she started to approach Yumiko's last position in hopes of checking on her.

Word Count: 1870
Word Count Total: 5262
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

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Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Jul 01, 2023 2:13 pm
Darkness. It swallowed Yumiko so quickly she didn’t even realize what happened. Now, she floated in the pitch-black pool of nothingness. There was no light, no sound, no sensations. In a way, it was strangely soothing. Peaceful. She had been so tired for so long... Maybe she could just let it all go and stay like this...

Forever.

When lost in dreamless sleep, time stretched in weird ways. A second felt like a small eternity. There was a distant tremor. It sent ripples across the inky lake. Slowly they passed, trailing around the lifeless woman. Someone was shouting somewhere far, far away. She couldn’t comprehend the words. More tremors followed. Their dull thumping was like a beating heart. Thump, thump, thump...

After several eternities, silence finally returned to the dark void. Like calm after a storm. Slowly, a white hot light carved the darkness apart. It painted the inky sky pure white. A piercing beam jabbed the weasel woman right in the eye. She tried to lift her claw to shield her face, but her body wasn’t listening.

Back in the real world, Yumiko’s eyes weakly fluttered open. The sun greeted her with its blinding love. Then, a looming shadow appeared over her. She recognized the silhouette only instinctively. “Di...a...na...” Even her hoarse voice struggled to get past her lips.

Reminiscent of some undead monstrosity, the groggy samurai dragged herself vaguely upright. Her claws pushed against the sand stiffly. She slumped like a broken marionette, as her knees buckled. “Wha happun...?” The ponderous words dripped from her lips one after another.

After some struggling -and perhaps a helping hand- the wounded warrior managed to find her bearings. Er, mostly. The world was still slowly swaying and twisting, but she was used to it. Honestly, this wasn’t all that different from last night. Or many, many similar nights before that.

Yumiko’s unfocused gaze wandered over the fresh wounds decorating Diana’s frame. Huh... Holes... And blood. ...Blood! Immediate concern sparked in her eyes. “Whyyy... arhe thou injurhed...?” She slurred weakly.

While waiting for an answer, the swordswoman grabbed one of her long kimono sleeves... And ripped it off. Her claws slashed it into uneven strips and scraps. She took the longest one and shambled over to the giant’s bleeding ankle. Stubbornly, she went to try and wrap it around the worst wounds, completely ignoring the impossible difference in size. “Hafta... Hafta shtop... the bleeding...” She muttered, struggling to summon her usual icy focus.

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[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sat Jul 01, 2023 3:32 pm
@Yumiko
___________

Tears welled up in Diana's eyes as she saw Yumiko stumble from the encapsulating fabric that surrounded them. Relieved, she practically bawled when Yumiko's hoarse throat croaked out her name. "Y-Yumiko. You're okay. That's good. I'm so h-happy," Diana wept, brushing tears from her eyes. "I wasn't sure if you would wake up. They could've used poison. I was so worried!" She stammered. She too was like a broken marionette, slumped over and heaving. Her arms had firmly latched themselves around her chest. Leather creaked softly as the waterlogged leather gloves she wore curled around her arms and squeezed tight. She was leaving handprints on her arms from the pressure.

Slowly rocking back and forth, Diana launched into an explanation of what had happened as Yumiko prompted her with her question. Only the explanation was as incoherent and rambling as the screaming before. "There were five of them... They were gonna take me back. They said I'd make them a lot of gold. They had nets and sleeping darts and they got you from behind. They were hiding in the bushes, waiting to surprise us you know? They tried to sedate me too but then I..." Diana paused, taking a deep shuddering breath. "...I killed them! I'm not ever going back there! Never!" If Yumiko was particularly versed in reading people, Diana seemed less upset by the prospect she had just killed five people than by the possibility of being dragged back to wherever the specter of the place she kept referring to was.

Feeling Yumiko trying to staunch the flow of blood was what finally snapped Diana back to lucidity. At first, Diana jerked her leg away. She didn't want to be touched right at the moment. But Yumiko's stubborn insistence would cause her to acquiesce to the gentle touch. Crimson seeped into the sleeve, staining it pink. There wasn't enough material to wrap the wound properly and stop the bleeding. But the samurai's gesture slowly got Diana to calm down. Yumiko was right. She had to stop the bleeding. Maybe if I solidify the blood, it will act like a patch. Diana thought, breathing steadily.

In. Out. In. Out, Diana concentrated, imagining the blood grow hard and sturdy in her mind. A solid patch of blood to completely dam up the wound, she thought. Yumiko would watch as the blood seemed to freeze in place, becoming hard to the touch as she ran the strips of cloth over them. Turning a cautious gaze to Yumiko, Diana asked. "Are you okay?" The weasel was still slurring their words. Diana wondered how much more of the sedative was still pumping through their system.

A thought suddenly occurred to Diana as she realized that she still technically had pieces of metal in her body. Solidifying the blood around her wounds only trapped the metal spheres of the bullets that had found their mark within her. "You don't happen to know a doctor in town, do you? Someone you trust? They...need to be able to keep my secret." The question was important for more than one reason. One, two injured souls showing up on someone's doorstep was bound to cause a scene that would attract attention. Diana had no doubt she was being pursued now. And two, if the doctor needed to operate on her, there was every chance they would see her back. And all that that entailed.

Word Count Post: 579
Word Count Total: 5841
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
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[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

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Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Sun Jul 02, 2023 11:20 am
The giant’s words bounced around inside the weasel’s head. She struggled to grasp them. “Poishon...” She echoed the most familiar word. “Not shurhe that would be enough anymorhe...” She shook her head with a solemn mutter.

Yumiko lifted her paw and stopped to stare at the sickle claws. This was the second time she had blacked out recently, yet the mythical form still persisted. Until now, maintaining it had taken focus. “The curhshe hash been... grhowing shtrhongerh...” Failing, or perhaps refusing, to elaborate, she promptly dropped the topic.

While performing the questionable first aid, the samurai listened to the warrior’s explanation. Even if she didn’t understand all of it, certain details sparked anger like steel against flint. “Shuchh cowarhdly tacticsh...” She spat with utter contempt. “Thou werhe in the rhight to defend thy honorh. No one hash the rhight to drhag thee back.” Despite her dislike towards bloodshed, she still understood the giant’s stance.

Except...

Go back where...?

The weasel opened her mouth, before falling silent. Nay, it was rude to pry. She had full faith the warrior would share her secret, if and when she was deemed worthy. And... Both of them had their shameful secrets... It was hardly fair to poke her snout into other people’s matters, when she was hiding something herself.

Yumiko was quick to try and wave Diana’s concern aside. “Am fine...” She insisted. A single claw rose to punctuate her point. “A trhue shamurhai doesh not... shomething shomething...” Unfortunately, she forgot the point she was trying to make. Her skull was sloshing with enough sedative to down a horse. Fortunately, she wasn’t a horse.

The first aid attempt stopped, when the samurai noticed the blood had suddenly turned solid. She hovered a hesitant claw over a wound, really wanting to poke it... Was it real or was she just imagining things...? Fortunately, she kept her intrusive thoughts in check.

Stepping away, the wanderer shook her head. “Nay, I do not... I am... ash new to thish ishland ash thou...” She sniffed the air inquisitively. Likewise, her round ears pivoted back and forth. “No good...” She muttered. Her nose was still overwhelmed by the alcohol and... other stains... clinging to her clothes. Similarly, her ears were still ringing from the splitting headache. It was no wonder those cowards had gotten the drop on her. How shameful.

Brushing the thoughts aside for now, the weasel woman turned to her companion. “Neverhthelessh, we cannot shtay herhe. Morhe might come.” Her eyes narrowed into a stern stare. “Whateverh heavy shecrhet thou carrhy, thou musht let go eventually... Lesht thou wishh to carrhy it into thy grhave.” And it might be an early grave, if they didn’t get her medical assistance.

“If thou cannot trhusht a doctorh... Then trhusht me. I, Kamaitachhi no Yumiko, vow to guarhd thy shecrhet with mine life!”

Yumiko pointed her claw at a nearby path up the cliffside. “Now, that path might lead back to the porht. Can thou shtill walk? If thou cannot, I shhall carrhy thee.” Yes, she was dead serious about that last part. Her stare told as much. No, she was nowhere near strong enough to actually do it. In her defense, the sedative was strong stuff.

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[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Wed Jul 05, 2023 7:42 pm
@Yumiko
_________

Diana quirked an eyebrow at the Yumiko's admission that poison wasn't likely to be enough. Could it be because of the sickle weasel's unique physiology? In any case, she was agreed with Yumiko with regards to poison. It was a cowardly tactic certainly. There was little pride to be had in waiting for your quarry to weaken and keel over. Moreover, it spat in the very face of tracking down said quarry. You had wasted its meat sickness. But she begrudgingly admitted that it was effective, at least under the circumstances. Perhaps if Yumiko wasn't so battered, it would've been another story entirely.

"Maybe, but you can never be too careful you know..." Diana started, trailing off as she heard Yumiko's statement about the curse growing stronger. She knew it was best not to pry. Heck, Yumiko had restrained themself multiple times about Diana's own situation. But she couldn't help herself. "Is it a curse that binds you to that form, Yumiko?" She asked evenly. When it became evident that Yumiko refused to elaborate, Diana acquiesced and let the point drop. Her expression clouded with concern, and she anxiously tugged on her armor straps as she refastened her tabard over her shoulders. It really isn't your place to pry. I mean, you still haven't shared your own secret with them, Diana thought. But maybe the opportunity was coming.

Diana acknowledged the admission of being similarly new to the island with a grunt and also swept the horizon with her own eyes and ears. What hope had she of picking up on something beyond the keen edge of weasel hearing, she had no idea. She heard nothing but the soft chirping of seaside birds flitting about in the small trees and shrubs dotting the cliffside. She saw a perfectly idyllic little cove, surrounded on three sides by steep, gray, mottled rock faces and lapped at by the wave's gentle rhythms.  

Diana knew the peace was fleeting. Yumiko is right. You need to move, and quickly, Diana thought. The comment of letting go of her secret caused some chagrin and she dipped her head shamefaced. She rubbed at her shoulder which had been shot in the melee. Sore and still bejeweled in red splotches, it reminded her that she still had metal debris in her skin. And you know that sealing that up is gambling with infection. It doesn't matter if it's just a splinter. Someone has to extract it, Diana chided herself, before nodding to Yumiko. "Very well. I can do nothing but trust your oath, Yumiko. But not here. It would land us further in the fire if my secret made its way back to prying eyes. I have no doubt some are already looking for us," Diana said.

A soft chuckle issued from the giant's lips as she propelled herself up to her feet. "I can still walk. Thank you for the offer though." She said, supporting herself on the haft of her mace. Like a walking stick, it allowed her to hobble after Yumiko when they eventually began up the cliffside path. The loping path swung back and forth as it traversed the hillside. "We should probably be careful. I think they came this way. If not originally, then certainly after they must have picked up the heavier equipment." Diana said, indicating some footprints which had sunk a little deeper into the mud than usual. Judging by the assortment, the differences in gait, and the position of the smaller set of prints being flanked by the two others, Diana would guess that it had been the two long limbed humans with one of the pirates as their smaller chaperone.

Word Count Post: 611
Word Count Total: 6452
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Jul 06, 2023 11:38 am
Yumiko nodded, accepting Diana’s bravery despite the gruesome wounds. “Verhy well. Jusht let me know if it becomesh too much.” She turned towards the path and headed upwards. “Yesh... Therhe arhe footprhintsh here... Wherhe do they lead...?” She pondered out loud. It was in her nature as a hunter to track down the prints, if only out of curiosity.

While walking, the silence slowly stretched its claws around the weasel, until it became unbearable. “I... did not alwaysh look like thish...” She started carefully, shooing the silence away. “Long ago, I wash curshed into the forhm of thish beasht. It took yearsh to merely regain mine human forhm.” She glanced down at her fearsome claws. “Yet in exchhange, the ocheansh rheject me. I cannot shwim, forh I shink like an anchorh. Even a merhe bath shapsh mine shtrhength if I allow mineshelf to shubmerhge.” Her shoulders sank with a solemn sigh.

“‘Tish a fate mosht crhuel in a worhld of sheash.”

The samurai had never asked to become a monster. Now, she could only try to make the most of it. Even then, she was failing miserably. Lashing out like an animal... Those words would haunt her for a long time.

Before long, the odd duo came across a beaten building. Some manner of seaside shack. The footsteps lead here. Yumiko was quick to peek inside, much like a curious rodent would. Her beady eyes squinted at the gloomy shadows. She was greeted by a grim sight and startled whimpers.

Stepping back out, the weasel woman looked up at her comrade. For the first time today, she seemed truly shaken. “‘Tish horrhible. Therhe arhe cagesh... Full of shlavesh... Thish musht be...” Before she could finish the thought, a cocked gun stopped her. It was strange how loud a simple click could sound when you weren’t expecting it.

A short, round fellow strutted into the scene, carrying a shotgun bigger than himself. “Ya’ll betta take a step back now. Keep yer hands off the goods.” He was even dressed like an outlaw from News Coo comics, donning jeans, a flannel shirt and several ammo bandoliers. A wide-brimmed hat shielded him from the sun. Beneath his rather impressive, crimson mustache gleamed a wicked grin.

Behind the bandit stood a small army of lesser crooks. There were at least ten of them, maybe more. More guns were cocked, blades were brandished and shackles were rattled just for good measure.

Yumiko stepped between the foes and her friend. “Arhe thou the mashter of thish cowarhdly lot...?” She asked with all the warmth of a winter storm. Winds were beginning to whisper, tracing circles of dust around her.

The girthy bandit mockingly tipped his hat. “Why yes sirree. Calamity Sam, slave hunter extraordinaire, at yer service.” He leveled his hefty gun at the duo. His lackeys followed suit. “And I thank ye kindly for returning my merchandise. For a giant, the gal’s been tough to track down. Hand her over and I just might let ya go.” Emphasis on 'might', apparently. The dirty laughter that followed didn’t inspire any confidence in his honesty.

Focusing on the foes, the samurai voiced a calm request. “Diana, I plead thee... Tearh that building down. Frhee the capturhed shoulsh. I entrhusht thish tashk to thee.” She marched forward with grim determination. “Now... I have a vow to uphold...” Her confidence got a laugh out of the slavers. “Hah, over my dead body.” She kept marching. “Sho be it.” The whispering winds were growing restless...

Words: 585
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Last edited by Yumiko on Fri Jul 21, 2023 6:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Thu Jul 20, 2023 4:26 pm
@Yumiko
-----------------

DIana winced with each step. The injury might have healed, but the pressure on her wounded feet still felt as sharp as it had when she'd been stabbed with the slavers' cutlasses. "Don't worry. I will," she said to Yumiko, and made a self deprecating wave with one hand. Sure, the weasel's point was a good one. You should always keep track of your injuries and inform others before the point of collapse. But their current priority had to be leaving the immediate vicinity. Idyllic as it might be, Diana was sure that they didn't have time to be worrying about her.

Perhaps it was an awareness of this fact, or a patience to have the other woman explain, but Diana let the silence stretch taut as she continued to hobble along after the weasel. Perhaps I want some insurance? Now that I've sworn to give up my darkest secret. Diana mentally critiqued, lowering her head. Diana peered at the ground, carefully gauging each step. The last thing either of them needed was for her to fall and wind up rolling down the hill or worse still, smothering Yumiko. As Yumiko broke the silence, Diana's head snapped up to focus on them.

Thick crimson brows knitted together as Yumiko described something that would befit an epic saga. Diana had heard of warriors who were able to transform themselves by wearing the skins of animals. At least that was what the stories said. Her eyes widened as Yumiko began to describe a very familiar sensation. "You too?" Diana whispered softly. Instantly her mouth curled as the sour taste of the strange fruit she had plucked flooded across her mouth at the memory. She hadn't spoken to anyone of the secret bounty she'd pilfered from the Elbafi woods.

There was no time to further examine the correlations between their circumstances as the pair came across a ramshackle building perched on the water's edge. Diana deferred to Yumiko as the latter crept inside, using the time to take the weight off her injured foot as much as she could. A sinking feeling accompanied Yumiko's words and Diana's lips set into a hard line. Unfortunately, she could all but imagine the picture Yumiko was greeted with from her own time in captivity. Hollow eyes and downcast faces, flinching if someone approached suddenly. Or perhaps if they were newly captured, a burning spark and a frantic sawing on the chains.

A sharp crack split the air and Diana flinched. It wasn't the gun's cocking hammer that brought to mind, but the fierce whistle of corded leather through the air as the whip laced a fresh, bloody tear across her back. She invertedly stumbled backwards a pace as the slave master stepped out and leveled a weapon at them. Diana grated her teeth. 'How about no? And geez, I thought the others were trying too hard.' She thought, in response to his offer of returning her, flicking a glance sidelong at Yumiko. Perhaps it was just paranoia, but Diana had learned to be cautious of other's kindness. All too often someone proffering kindness in the cages was only looking out for themselves. Usually, it meant they were informants for the guards hoping to expose a few troublemakers for better treatment.

In any case, Diana would soon learn if Yumiko intended to keep her word. She released a breath she hadn't been aware she was holding as Yumiko uttered her request. "...I can do that if you can clear me an opening... Thank you." She replied, and started to slowly circle around behind Yumiko. The closer she could be before someone took the initiative, the better for their plan.

Word Count Post: 613
Word Count Total: 7065
Yumiko
Yumiko
[tracker=/t1347-yumiko#7408]
Name : Yumiko
Epithet : Kamaitachi
Age : 28
Height : 5'5'' / 165 cm
Weight : 128 lbs. / 58 kg
Species : Human
Faction : Civilian
Devil Fruit : Ita Ita no Mi, Model: Kamaitachi
Quality Score : S
EXP Bonus : +0.20 (to all allies)
Balance : [bel] 2,278,965,048
[[baneoftheweak]][[dragonheart]][[childofdestiny]]
[[punchoutguru]][[dulcetvirtuoso]]

[[improviseadaptovercome]]
Posts : 466

[Episode] Stranger For Shore Empty Re: [Episode] Stranger For Shore

This post has in-line assessment comments.Fri Jul 21, 2023 8:32 am
The weasel didn’t even stop to acknowledge the giant’s thanks. Her piercing glare was locked on the rotund foe. Running away never crossed her mind. At the moment, she was all too busy trying to suppress the sickening way the world swam around her. The rocky ground was rippling like the surface of a pond. Trees and people swayed like reeds in the wind. Every step she felt as if she might topple over.

From the depths of the poison bubbled a foul hallucination. The grinning apparition before her brandished his gun, warbled something unintelligible... And pulled the trigger. The blast tore through her chest. Dead in an instant. She blinked, snapping back to reality. It was enough to stop her in her tracks. There was a seed of truth to it, of course. All enemies should be considered her equal. Or stronger. One slip-up... Just one foolish mistake...

...No. Not this time.

While the warrior stood still, the snickering goons slowly surrounded her. They waved their weapons much in the same way a belligerent crab would wave its pincers. Much with the same intention too. Someone made a tasteless comment about a new fur coat. Intimidation was one of the favorite pastimes of an average thug after all.

While the boys worked, their boss lazily lifted the gun over his shoulder. No need to get his hands dirty, he figured. See, he was more of a leader than a doer anyway. First, they would take care of this stupid rat, then the giant.

Yumiko turned her gaze towards the sky. It was such a beautiful shade of blue. Not a cloud in sight. The sun brushed her features warmly. It set a painful contrast against the headache pounding in her skull and the sickness churning in her stomach. “‘Tish a bad day to be fighting...” She muttered bitterly.

“Hah, too late for that, varmint!”

With a click of fat sausage fingers, the goons jumped at the lone warrior.

In the very next heartbeat, a wicked whirlwind erupted around the weasel. It tore through the startled crowd with countless unseen sickles. Blood and weapons went flying, stolen by the violent wind. “Today, I have neitherh the shkill norh the will to hold back.” She brought the full force of her glare onto the mouthy bandit boss. The wind followed her cold killing intent, clawing at him furiously.

Recoiling, the cowboy criminal scrambled to aim his gun. The whirling slashes were making it tough. Numerous cuts riddled his fat fingers. This was all going to Hell in a handbasket faster than he could say: “Now hold on a darn-!”

However, the samurai wouldn’t hear it. Nor would she hesitate. Her whole body coiled, tensed, reminiscent of a loaded spring. “Thou made thy choiche.” In a blink, she vanished. A chill wind blew along the rocky path. She appeared behind the slaver, as if she had taken just a single step.

The winds fell quiet and so did the vile man. A flower of crimson bloomed from his chest, wilting away in the very next second and painting the ground with its pedals. The gun slipped from his grasp, clattering against the ground. He himself collapsed without a sound.

Slowly, the mythical creature started to shrink. The black fur receded, revealing pale skin beneath. Only long, dark hair remained in its wake, cascading down her back. All animalistic features shifted into their human counterparts, or disappeared without a trace. Her paws turned into hands and her claws into nails. The whiskers and the tail retreated until they vanished.

Soon, the transformation faded completely. In place of the monstrous weasel now stood a short woman. Her figure was lithe and toned, fit for a warrior. Though sharp and cold, her fair features still were distinctly feminine. Touches of red make-up decorated the corners of her eyes, reminiscent of war paint.

Yumiko glanced at the bloody mess staining the ground. Her shoulders heaved with a heavy sigh. “I didn’t want to kill anyone today...” Even the masculine growl was gone. Her husky voice scratched at her throat, making her cough. She still desperately needed something to drink, alcoholic or otherwise.

Words: 696
Thread Total: 4732
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