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 The Pale Song [CLOSED]

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Subject Post 1PostSubject: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:00 pm




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For a couple weeks Tsubasa had been demonstrating his technique. He carried a Bokken in his hand. Tsubasa in his free hand held a kiseru pipe smoking a bit. Slowly his lips met it as he inhaled slightly. Turning his head away he blew smoke away now. His eyes were calm despite being outnumbered by five people. Wielding real swords as the crowd gathered. He waited calmly and let his demeanor show no signs of concern. Numbers were meaningless in some situations as were tools. His eyes scanned the crowds as his assassins were specialists and blended into the crowd. Though they weren't needed despite wearing Gigai that eliminated spiritual pressure. Not in the long run as he'd worked on the system. This was the only way to protect and keep them safe. Mongolia was crowded as rumors of his swordplay was quite a spectacle. Tsubasa didn't bring any less or anything more as he handed his pipe off slowly moving. His movement was slow and steady something like a flowing current. He took a stance that seemed normal for now.

The stance seemed like a middle stance as he slowly turned himself around. Putting an arm behind his back now as he seemed to be in a fencing form. Tsubasa would wait now as every took in what he was doing. He wondered how many would understand this wasn't fencing. What he was about to do was a combination of both forms. Basic techniques he would defeat these five relatively quickly. Swordplay like in his book he said was a lifestyle. Something you chose and did with everything you had. One had to put faith in themselves and the blade. For they were the blade eventually and needed to master themselves. Once that was done they became something entirely different. He'd read a report on Tsubine, aware of the person's record and interest. They held a fascination in swordplay and this was a gamble on his part. But one he believed that would pay off in the long run. Tsubine was intelligent and smart, able to hide for this long. Tsubasa breathed softly as he got ready to begin.

It was fast as he moved with excellent footwork nothing too quick. Instead of a straight attack or piercing his attack was a swipe sideways. The blade met the wood with a metal thunk upon the Bokken. What happened next was a skilled footwork move as he stepped back almost pulling the man down. As the male's sword was putting it's weight Tsubasa spun and smacked him in the back. Switching stances quickly he brought his Bokken low and smacked a sword out of one man's hand. His swing wasn't wide as he controlled it and quickly used the hilt to smack the man in the jaw in a single motion. Two down his eyes turned towards the last three as he stepped out of the way of a swing. It was a good attack but he hit the man on the neck. Turning quickly he smacked the next in the rib cage as his sword was high. One remaining and he came blocking the blow with the bokken. The demonstration, for the most part, was going well now. He smiled as he did something motion wise that caught the male off guard. He stepped to the side quickly and as the male responded to block. There was no blow present for him to catch with his blade.

Two strikes sundered against his rib cage on both sides as he fell. Tsubasa sheathed his Bokken in his belt walking over to his attendant holding his pipe. He took it back as his golden hair blew in the breeze. Sand slowly blew along the ground over the five beaten men. Nothing but sword skills were shown with a Bokken, no Flash Step or use of even his spiritual pressure.



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Subject Post 2PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:57 pm





Tsubine Koezuka

Three nights prior...
Tsubine stood alone as the night's breeze chilled her. She had walked across the desert, and every night seemingly got worse rather than better. She was lucky for finding the remnants of a small road before the desert swallowed it whole. Along every path was two things—a beginning and an end. There would always be something at one of those points. A path had to stop for a reason, and it would not be called one if it had no start. Tsubine was just lucky that this path had more than just a beginning and an end. It never branched and the curves were gentle if they even existed. The only deviation for hundreds of miles was a small, one-story building. The flickering of open flame illuminated the singular east-facing window. Something was in there.

It wasn't long before Tsubine could read the sign outside. Well, if only it were in one of the four languages she read. She walked through the front door—a slab with the only English on the exterior read "OPEN FOREVER." It was a quaint saloon. It looked more akin to something out of the Wild West rather than Mongolia's desert. An older man dressed in traditional garb beckoned her inside. "Get here, young miss. It is much cold night tonight." He spoke in accented, broken English. It was cute in its own way. She wished he had the life left in him to learn proper English and then come back and speak to her without the broken grammar. Tsubine nodded and thanked him with a deep bow.

They spoke after Tsubine ordered something hot. He insisted on her getting a meal too. Who was she to argue? It was hours before Tsubine decided to leave. He pleaded with her to stay, as the night was too cold for her to survive. Her next words chilled the night which once did the same to her, "You are implying I want to survive." She left him with enough money to buy half of the road she was about to travel. Gold and silver stamped from the Ashikaga shogunate would be worth a lot, after all.

Along her travels across the desert, a story kept cropping up. There was someone showing a sword art like never seen before. It intrigued her, of course. But, she had no time for dilly-dallying around to see every impressive swordsman. It wasn't until her talks with the old man that she decided to go. When the old man, so far from society, had even heard of this mysterious swordsman, she had to find out more about him. This warrior was of the highest quality—so perhaps he could teach her a thing a two. Or perhaps, she could teach him. Pride overrode reason.

Tsubine arrived well before the spectacle started, but she kept herself hidden. Perhaps she could catch a glimpse of him warming up. That is usually the best way to gauge someone's skill outside of fighting them. However, she could not find it. Calls and cries came from a street as the demonstration began. Still cloaked, Tsubine edged through the crowd to find a spot to dutifully observe. Tsubine knew this was a master the moment she saw the bokken. From a glance, she could tell the balance and length of it. It was an odd balance job—meaning it was personalized. No one used another man's bokken. Another man's sword, yes. But a bokken wasn't good for much outside of training.

Tsubine saw the swordplay almost frame-by-frame. The first movements showed that he was at least near her level. An amazed smile crossed her face as she mouthed words with each counter strike. Sen-no-sen. Attacking while the opponent is unprepared. The first strike was an excellent demonstration of it. Sen. Attacking while the opponent is focusing on starting an attack. The second strike, again a perfect demonstration. Sen-no-go. Attacking while the opponent is attacking, leaving themselves defenseless. Tsubine's smile widened as he showed a mastery of the second-most difficult way to strike. Go-no-sen. Attacking after an attack, meaning the brief moment before an opponent recovers. This was, by far, the most difficult of the four ways of striking. And he was damn-near perfect. Tsubine's eyes met his from a hundred feet away. It was almost like looking at a reflection of herself—someone who was one with their blade. If she had not known what Mukō looked like for herself, she would swear that he was an exemplar of it. He was only one step or so away.




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Subject Post 3PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Sat Jun 24, 2017 5:16 pm




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Tsubasa's attendant took the weapon from him and handed him a sword. A skilled user would notice the weight was bad. Tsubasa looked at the weapon keenly his eye checking it. He pulled it free only slightly of its sheath as candles were readied. Tsubasa's plan was to cut the top and keep it lit. He was giving himself a challenge by using a poor sword. He sheathed the weapon as he exhaled softly. His crimson eyes stared at Tsubine's orbs. Someone decided to announce what he was going to do and his name. "Master Unabara will be cutting the tops of these candles without extinguishing the flame." It was one of his attendants. While others began to clear the wounded people out of the area. Tsubasa's mind began to tranquil itself as he became like the stream. Flowing slowly His mind began calculating angle and trajectory. Thinking about how this unweighted weapon would move. Could it survive a little power from him? No that was unlikely he needed to make it clear. This demonstration did have a cause as he exhaled slowly.

Iaido an art form of drawing the sword at rapid speeds. This was how he practiced but in this occasion, adjustments were needed. He would keep his movements visible for a second he sped up a bit. Drawing the katana in an extremely precise and fast motion. Cutting across five candles. His blade stopped not swinging wide as he controlled his swing entirely. Weight was poor on this katana so he adjusted it carefully. He spoke his voice was calm and relaxed as he decided to make something clear. "Someone good with a blade from the crowd please come forward. So everyone knows I didn't cheat or trick them. This blade is very poor in its weight and balance, but it matters little when one becomes the blade." on the blade's edge lingered the lit candle tips. He didn't extinguish them as he held the sword out for whoever came to claim it. He suspected by now Tsubine may have figured out who he was. The question was did she want to talk this was her chance for such.

Only people who were any good with a blade aside from him here. Was her as far as he was concerned. Tsubasa didn't play at words or pretend to be a master. People called him that at their own leisure. It was something they would do without his consent most times. But one thing was true on what he said. A poor sword or a good sword didn't matter in the hands of a skilled swordsman. He could even fight with this sword for a short time to prove it. Giving others good weapons against a bokken. Sure the bokken was tailor made for him. So it felt comfortable in his grasp. Tsubasa couldn't deny this fact nor would he in the long run. Having finished his demonstration, the only thing left to do was wait. Today wasn't the last day he'd perform either to try and get her to come forward. He stood holding the sword out with the candles still on it. None seemed to move from the crowd, did no skilled swordsman exist within it? Perhaps it was merely his imagination, he thought he'd locked eyes with her for a moment.



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Subject Post 4PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:50 pm





Tsubine Koezuka

Tsubine knew better than this. She knew how stupid it was to show up at an event almost specifically targeted at her. Half of the signs around her probably said "SET UP TRAP HERE" and yet... she still went in. There was a part of her that wished to be caught. Not that she could face punishment, but that she could go back. Tsubine could return at any time with the Ouken she had still within her, but she never wished to. The giant sky-elevator never would come down. This was, however, her primal, baser side taking its toll on her outer self. She wanted to see someone with a sword who wasn't an amateur. She wanted to see someone who could cleave a specific leaf down in Autumn. That type of skill was her weakness. Someone just happened to know it.

Tsubine could not take her eyes away from the swordsman. It wasn't like her was particularly dashing to her. The way he could move his body entranced her more than his appearance. Handsome or not, a good swordsman was a good swordsman. He showed skill with kenjutsu, but now with a sword—sheathed at that—it was obvious to her iaijutsu would be his next show. Unfortunately, iai had quickly been dilluted in her mind. So many wanted a battle to end in one stroke they would use iai for that. Iai was never meant for that, or at least the schools she studied under were not for that. No, iai was for when you did not have a chance for a proper duel. When you were surprised is when iai's practice became reality, not to start a combat.

Tsubine noticed that the blade was, while decently-made, off-balance. Something in the forging or its time-tested use forced the center of balance elsewhere. She was bored with the show he put on for iaijutsu. It was a good parlor trick, but that was about it. She wanted to see real skill with a blade again, not that. As he spoke, Tsubine caught more of his voice. It was familiar. It wasn't until well after his final words left his mouth and hung on empty air that she placed it. No one else had spoken up. Tsubine removed the cloak from her head as she approached the golden-haired man. "I will judge the blade." Her voice had somewhat of am emptiness to it. Although lively, there was obviously a hollow center to it. Inside that center was a bitter cold, biting as she breathed.

Tsubine stepped up to Tsubasa, taking the blade if proferred. She leaned in, inspecting it with overdone dramaticism. Her mouth was turned away from the crowd as she whispered where only Tsubasa could hear her. "It's at least obvious who you're here for." There was genuine amusement and sarcasm as she spoke. She knew this man was at least looking for her—and he was from the Gotei, or at least had been part of it in her past. "But what would someone like you want with me?" Tsubine held the blade to the sun, inspecting it for the flaw. She could see it. It was a repair from a bending. Very faint, but the blade had bent long ago. "I'm not important... not anymore at least." It was once a good sword. Now? Now it was a broken blade.





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Subject Post 5PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Sat Jun 24, 2017 11:56 pm




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Tsubasa surrendered the blade to her merely to pass on a message. "Your slate is clean, free to do as you wish. I am merely the messenger. Come back when you please." He made sure his words were hidden for only here to see them. Tsubasa tapped his shoulders with the back of his hand softly. "Thank you all for coming, this ends my demonstration. I will show again sometime in the near future..what it looks like when I really use my sword." He said smiling giving them a bit to hope for as the crowd began leaving. But some remained as they slowly exited towards the Unabara home. Part of the crowd, in fact, most of them were clan members. The nature of a bait was to set it up as such. "Forgive my lack of manners, I am Tsubasa Unabara." He said offering a polite greeting and bow. Ending his demonstration because what he desired was here. There was little point in demonstrating what he could truly do for those here. He wouldn't bore her with long winded details or explanations. He merely handed a letter addressed to her, the contents he knew not.

He was Captain of the Stealth force at present and did own the majority of Mongolia. Having claimed it as his settlement and home. Tsubasa sighed softly as it seemed the lively display was over. 'If I may, you are welcome for tea within my peach garden." He said calmly heading offer towards his home. The choice to follow was up to her now. He slowly took hold of the parchment handed off. It was noted on the situation in the surrounding area. Tsubasa looked through it as he drummed his digits across his zanpakuto's hilts. He stopped for a moment thinking about something himself. He turned and handed off the parchment as he turned to face her before she could move. "I occur's to me I have been rude, I have many material things I could offer you. But to a woman of your character perhaps the best thing I can offer is a sparring match between swordsman. "

He waited for her response to make any movement of his own. Tsubasa could give her many things she asked in return for his rudeness. But as he stated he doubted such possessions would amuse her or befit her. This wasn't an attempt to beguile her or anything of the like. Tsubasa was offering the best thing he could in this situation. A heartfelt gift that he had was his skill with a sword. She was far too good for a bokken to be used against her. In terms of how she moved and carried herself. The air around her was that of a swordsman. Tsubasa believed fully in his practice and study of the blade. Introducing himself was one key of manners. But he suspected she'd deduced his name some time ago. The only question remained of what Tsubine would make of it. That mysterious letter was questionable as well. It drew some questions from him that he couldn't ignore yet. The ball was in her court now, for her to do with as she pleased. She was kind for not calling him a Charlton in front of everyone.

Not as though an assassin had much respect or reputation to speak of. But both fo them had once served within the capacity of the Zero Division. That letter came from within that place, but as to who made it, he had no idea. The letter was left to him and he agreed to give it to the one in question. The Gotei didn't mind her return nor did he in any station or situation.




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Subject Post 6PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Sun Jun 25, 2017 7:00 am





Tsubine Koezuka

Come back when you please. Tsubine frowned at that statement. It wasn't because the offer was horrid. A clean slate. Her desertion—forgotten. For most, that offer was too good to pass up. Tsubine, however, didn't know if returning was what she wished to do. There were many reasons as to why. She didn't give Tsubasa an answer immediately. She went on inspecting the blade. She handed it back, nodding. "The blade does indeed have a balance issue, but that does not matter when someone is... one with the blade." A small smile crossed her face as she played with his words. That phrase was something she once saw as a far-off goal. Now, it was a milepost equally far off in her past. She didn't care to be one with a blade—for she felt she could be one with anything, everything, and nothing at the same time. That was Mukou—a flowing emptiness ready to be filled with one, many, or none at all.

Tsubine noticed the crowd that remained as Tsubasa declared the event over—bodyguards or hired muscle to assist in taking her down perhaps. There wasn't much these men and women could do to her. Tsubasa was the only one who could even hold a candle to her skill. That was, of course, undervaluing him. Tsubasa was more than just a skilled swordsman. He truly was at the point of being one with the blade. Tsubine bowed in respect to him, remembering the name from sometime in her past. He was a... Captain-Commander at one point, right? "There is no need to share your name with a crowd, so I do not feel as though you slighted me." A wan curve spread across her face. "Although you know who I am, I am Tsubine Koezuka. It's an honor to meet you, Unabara-san." He was not her senpai nor her kouhai—san was the only honorific she could justify giving him.

Tsubine took the proferred letter, keeping it in hand. It was rude to read such a thing in front of the host. There were many things this letter could be. She was hoping it was a check for severance or even backpay. Oh, she'd love that. Of course, it wasn't going to be that. Tsubasa offered her a two-faced proposition. A tour of someone's peace garden was an honor. It showed the host trusted and respected the guest. And yet, that was obviously not the main intention. "I would love to share some tea." The talks she now craved to have would take place over hot beverages.

The walk towards Tsubasa's home was abruptly halted by the homeowner himself. His offer made her smile genuinely. A duel would be extraordinary at the moment. It would let her get out so much stress. However, she shook her head. "So you may know for the future, material gifts are not always what a woman wants." There was a tiny laugh before she explained. "A duel, while lovely, is not what I'd want right now. I'd rather simply talk. Perhaps after the talks we could test one another. And if not then, I would definitely be honored to have a... 'rain check' as they say." The honor would taken at a later time. Right now, speaking is all she wished to do.

Tsubine took a seat across from Tsubasa after they arrived at his home. It was almost as she expected. It was less decorated than she expected, which is not to say that was a bad thing. Too much decoration was worse than too little. "If I remember correctly, you were once a Captain-Commander, is that correct? How are things in the Soul Society? Someone with your... clout would know how long I've been gone, so you can understand why I wish to know."




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Subject Post 7PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Sun Jun 25, 2017 11:21 am




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If the woman ever desired to go into show business she had a bright future ahead of her. Not that he was one for such things either. [color=red]" Indeed, it is an honor to meet you as well Koezuka-san. In a similar situation, this was the best case he could use for her. At her declared desire for tea and conversation, he understood a bit better. He chuckled at the discussion fo what a woman wanted. "You will have to teach me further in such, I am rather lacking in knowledge of that field." Tsubasa didn't often make jests so this was a welcome one. Though some people did struggle to know if the male was serious. Tsubine carried herself as expected, confident and clear in motivation. The question of how the Gotei was doing was welcome.
"Yes, I was one at one point. Currently, it's lead by my friend Ibiki Suika, the place is doing well under her guidance." Tsubasa resumed his walk towards the gates opened for him. Within she'd find a traditional setting of a Koi Pound and garden.

Tsubasa's set up had a rock garden among other things. Showing his leaning towards traditional things. Walking over to a table that sat under a peach blossom tree he slowly sat down. Removing both swords from his belt and setting them beside him. Wagashi awaited the female among other Asian cuisines he had prepared. Tsubasa gestured for the place across from him. "As you are no doubt aware, my family was named one of the noble houses. We were charged with the Soul King's Will and watching over the Balance. We ended up inheriting the Stealth Force from the Shihouin clan." He said pausing now as he prepared the Matcha. He was educated in Tea Ceremony and didn't mind it. Tsubasa prepared the plants himself to show honor to his guest. Upon finishing he made sure the green tea was poured into her cup. Embracing the tradition and the past was part of the legacy. One didn't move forward without acknowledging their past and who they were.

"You may remain here as long as you please. I've had lodgings prepared for your arrival, along with a warm bath in the springs prepared." He knew her life and things must have been hard on her. Aches of the world seemed to flow upon the mind like an ever-flowing river. Tsubasa's attendants seemed to leave them to business and prepare things. They were trained and well taught on Japanese customs and beliefs. Tsubasa was brought up in such a belief and setting. Though his education remained within the outskirts in Zaraki. He learned far more than just Tea Ceremony from his time aboard. The Unabara Clan held to Japanese practice and belief. But as of late he'd had little reason to reveal the cultured side of him. This was but a product of his life and prosperity his skills brought. Tsubine was welcome to have what she pleased. He made sure to give off that air as the two would converse in this setting. Tsubasa often times found himself lounging beneath this tree. Resting from the ardors of this world. It's people and the duties he was required to fulfill.




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Subject Post 8PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Sun Jun 25, 2017 1:22 pm





Tsubine Koezuka

Tsubine, surprisingly, did not care much for a tea ceremony. She understood that such a thing had its place... The honor between two warlords was to be done proper and sober. There was no room for mistake, as it would dishonor one of the two parties. Perhaps that is what Tsubasa was going for. If he was treating her like an equal warlord, then this would be the right reception. Maybe that was what he was used to. Tsubine wouldn't treat him like this. Rigidity was meant to be shown for when honor was on the line. These two had no need to do such a thing. She'd rather share a pitcher of sake over reminiscences. That was how she'd show respect. No honor, just two people being people—bonding because they knew they didn't have to put their honor on the line.

Tsubine's smile turned into concern. "Oh? Have the Shihouin fully fallen then?" The former Captain-Commander sighed, drawing out the breath. "And they produced such pretty boys too..." Tsubine didn't mind that she let that slip. It was intentional, trying to soften the mood. Perhaps she had come on as too rigid. Given the circumstances, however, who could blame her? Tsubasa offered her more than she could ask for. It was hard to tell if this was an offer of goodwill or something to easy her into accepting the offer to return. She stared into the cup of tea, focusing her thoughts. "I always expected a group of people I could match one-on-one, but not with such insurmountable odds. That's who I thought would bring me in. I knew, or at least have known for almost a year now, that this would not last."

Tsubine tilted her head back. Again, their eyes met. Discomforting as it was, she had to stare him down to get her point across. "Unabara-san... I am not sure the Gotei Thirteen is the right place for me anymore, nor is the Zero Division." As she spoke, Tsubine's voice hardened. It was never rude or dismissive. Anger from past mistakes from both her and others grew between each syllable. "I do not know what your friend is like as a leader, and at this moment I have no intentions of meeting her to understand it. When I was a Captain-Commander, politics kept me from acting when there should have been action. When I was a member of Zero Division, orders prevented me from doing the same. There are many instances in which our deployment could have averted a crisis. We are amongst the strongest Shinigami the Gotei could offer. Yet, we cannot act when our strength is most needed." Tsubine's words finally became the stone outlining the koi pond. Her next point was firm. No leeway was possible. "I have not been galavanting around, acting on my own for the past five years... but there is a part of me that wished I had. I do not wish to return if I am going to be bound to inaction."




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Subject Post 9PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:40 pm




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Tsubasa's expression hardened as he thought of them. That clan was once praised as a pinnacle of the Gotei. Yoruichi and so many things had happened to make them fall. Tsubasa decided to listen and merely let her speak her piece. She was a strong woman and figure which stood tall above man. She'd seen the injustice and inaction that many politics and things brought. A chain of command and leaders who walked for their own greed or merit. The act of defending your fellow man and protecting them gone. Society had truly fallen further into the age of chaos than he'd imagined. Once she was done he began to speak with his respect and honesty ready to be shown. "Please don't misunderstand Koezuka-san. I've no intention of bringing you in or anything of the like. My last action as Captain long ended, I did this of my own accord with my own family. Mongolia is where I intend to begin my dream. I've always despised the politics and inaction that cost lives. Chains of command that go nowhere.

He said pausing as he reflected on how poorly things had gone. The Guild of Heroes though it existed still answered to certain things. Elements of its creation were amidst something that he felt harmed it. "As a Captain Commander, I was helpless to help those I wanted, as Leader of the Zero Division I was even more helpless. It dawned on me because I let shackles of politics and things like that bind me. My clan and I were unable to aid those in need or provide efficient succor. So in Mongolia, I decided to begin building and maybe someday in the future make a gathering. A gathering of all peoples to perform a singular purpose. To do truly good works in this world, be it helping starving children or battling the hordes that come. " Tsubasa said chuckling at himself as he shook his head left to right. "Forgive me for prattling on so, I shouldn't bore you with my endeavors." Power wasn't something one obtained for no reason. Purpose and meaning where behind every second.

The simple truth was that he had a dream and maybe an ambition. "Don't misunderstand though, I have no desire to lead such an organization. I believe it should be a Democratic function of the sort, where key members vote. But all opinions and voices matter, but in the end we are but wanderers and this place are somewhere we can rest our souls for a time or provide succor to those in need." Tsubasa said merely sipping his tea softly. Tsubasa was a brilliant mind in his own way. He didn't care if the Gotei no longer desired his company. He would defend the ideals and values he always had. Truth and Justice would prevail to this day. But Tsubasa wouldn't just help those that politics deemed worthy of it. He would help Outcasts and all alike, his candle was lit for this long ago. Bearing the burden of leadership several times. Tsubasa began to understand and comb through the world. Founding such a faction would take time and effort. Making a name for themselves wouldn't happen overnight.

Some would say the Vanguard did this, but Vanguard's political nature made them falter and stay in action. Tsubasa was making a proposal of an entirely new venture altogether. They would fight for their friends and those in need. Not because of money or some political gain. Because it was the right thing to do in the end.



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Subject Post 10PostSubject: Re: The Pale Song [CLOSED]   Fri Jul 07, 2017 8:43 pm





Tsubine Koezuka

Tsubine understood more than Tsubasa may have realized. At the very least, she knew his goal as well as he did. The want to form a group like that... it was something that had briefly crossed her mind. She didn't know how to go about it. Tsubasa, however, seemed to have some ideas. Most of them were even good ideas. Hearing someone else speak the words she was once so afraid to say made her mind open. Thoughts that were once foolish and short-sighted came back. She smiled briefly. "Unabara-san... That idea is very noble, but..." Tsubine's mouth drew to a tight line. "I don't know if the way you're going about it is right."

Tsubine spoke like the keynote at an address for peace. Her words, while filled with hard desire for peace, were gentle and soothing. In a way, it was also like she was rejecting him for a date. She spoke with improvement in mind, not what didn't work. "You have the right idea for a key group of people who would make decisions, but... At the moment, you'd have a major logistics nightmare on your hands. You make it seem like this group is protected by a sturdy, rigid tent. It can weather some storms, but it can be blown away in a strong enough gust. What you need is something concrete and immovable. You have to have something that people will feel safe coming to. Think of it... like a bird's nest. It is sturdy and does not break on its own. It takes a lot to break one down. Most importantly, the chicks feel safe there. Yet, the birds know they can rebuild if need be. That is what you'd need—not a rigid tent, but a nest."





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