The inane conversation with a friend from your small town upbringing inside the local pub took a turn for the worrisome as one Ichiro Yamada, who'd grown up to become a lawyer and work in Kumogakure. Evidently, some stuff about you and your family didn't quite check out in the background check required to work in the village. Thankfully, nothing so grand comes up in the remainder of the time. It's just inane things about how is life has been going. You thank him for paying for your meal, and head home. Serious thoughts fill your head as you walk outside the town proper and few hundred meters into the woods, along a well trodden path marked by pairs of red posts every dozen paces. The orange sun is already beginning to fall and you can hear some of the first creatures to rise of the nighttime forest rustling and chirping.
The estate consists of a series of interconnected cabins around a central rectangular courtyard. The construction resembles a mix of both the local style and something altogether foreign. You ring three times on a cast iron knocker in the shape of a demons' visage. The old doors creep slowly open, creaking all the way. It is your mother at the door! She throws her arms around you and squeezes you into a bonecrushing hug.
“When you wrote to me that you were in the hospital, I was so worried! I was worried that you were going to die, and I cried and cried for days thinking of my little boy bedridden in a distant land.”
You embrace her back, comforting her as she breaks into another round of tears.
“I don't know why I allowed your father to let you do this. We're wealthy enough that this family business has to stop.”
“Mother,” you say, “It's good to be back.”
She breaks the hug to glower at you.
“I'm sensing a 'but,' Mister.”
“But this is the only way to keep our great-grandfather's traditions alive.”
“This is the only way to keep the traditions of your great-grandfather alive. I don't understand the men of my family sometimes. Anyway, I have a bath drawn for you. Please wash up and make yourself presentable for dinner.”
The scene at the table is festive, in spite of your mother's admonitions. She and your sister worked very hard to make this a special occasion to celebrate your return. Out comes platter after platter of expensive, tasty food they must have prepared in anticipation of your return.
Your grandfather sits at the head of the table. He has little hair left on his head, and his green glass eye sits motionless in one socket. That injury was what took him out of the assassin's business. He wears green and brown robes. His wife sits at his left. On his right is your father, who has a boyish face and long hair. Only a few wrinkles and stress marks indicate that the is approaching his sixties. Your uncle also sits at the table, having come back from traveling around the Elemental countries and peddling the camera lenses and other optics made by the company started by your grandfather. Unlike your father, your uncle keeps his hair clipped short, but has a full beard around his face. You sit next to your grandmother, who still grabs your grandfather's arm as though it were as strong as it was fifty years ago. Your sister also sits next to you. She's almost eighteen and stunning, having both the thick raven hair of your mother and the your grandfather's unusual green eyes. Finally, at the end of the table is your mother.
“Welcome home, my boy,” says Grandfather, “How was your mission?”
And so you tell them much of the tale, leaving out some details so as not to offend your mother.
“Son,” your father says in the midst of the last course of sake and deserts, “We have been contacted for another mission.”
It's more of a tricked out Enfield with my scopefu, the Kahles 624i on top
Your mother huffs.
“I'll leave you men to yourselves for the moment, but please be sure to spend some time with your mother before you head out again.”
You and your father retire to the smoking room. In your great-grandfather's taste, the room is decorated with hunting trophies, paintings and charcoal drawings of the landscape, and leather upholstered armchairs which sit upon a bear skin rug. Your father goes to the miniature humidor and takes out a pair of long, dark cigars. Like a dutiful son, you light his for him with a wood match and he does the same for you. You fix two glasses of whiskey to enjoy with the cigars. The two of you sink into the chairs.
“So, tell me the whole story. Including the parts you left out for your mothers' sake.”
And so you do.
“I see. That was very lucky of you. I wish it could be like the good old days when everyone wanted people dead while they were out in the boonies. So you could leisurely set up and pop the noblemen from a thousand meters.”
“You always were the best wind-caller in the family. Grandpa talks about his father telling you that. I want to be a good two or three hundred closer than you would,” you say.
You share a moment of silence, enjoying the strong earthy taste of the cigars.
“So, our network has brought three requests to my attention. For one, the new owner of the Gato Corporation has a list of people he wants dead in Wave Country. Quite frankly, he'll pay the most. However, I don't like how long you'll have to remain in country. Our specialty has always been knocking off one individual out of the blue and disappearing. Another one is quite interesting. A yakuza leader here in the Land of Lightning is convinced that there are assassins after him. He wants you to serve as a ghostlike counter-sniper during a conference. If he does not die within the duration, you will be paid with a heft bounty for each assassin. Finally, a merchant from the Land of Wind wants you to sabotage a chariot race to ensure that a particular team wins. This one pays the least, but it's probably the safest.”
You sip the whiskey and scratch your stubble pensively. Which one seems most interesting to you?
[A] Wave of assassinations in Wave
[B] Countersnipe for the local yakuza
[C] Sabotage the Sand chariot races
[D] What else would you like to know about any of these requests?
“So tell me about the yakuza. I don't want to have to travel so far for a while.”
“It's actually a personal request from the Crab Clan.”
“Oh, I remember them,” you say, “We visited them once when I was a kid. They helped get your grandpa on his feet.”
“The very same. Their patriarch, 'Crane' Watanabe, has seen a string of targeted killings of his men. Other yakuza groups have seen similar. So, the bosses are coming together to try and work things out and find the moles. However, he's naturally quite worried about assassins when you have a half-dozen of the land most powerful crime bosses in one location. To minimize the risks of moles, we will get an additional dossier - basically a list of who not to shoot - if we accept and that will be it. No contact with the client: just popping the heads of any would-be assassin.”
You relight your cigar and ponder the scenario.
“It's going to be in a particular ski resort and hot springs in the province”
[A] What else would you like to know?
“So, how have his men been getting killed?” you ask.
“It's been a variety of ways. Stabbed, poisoned, strangled, clubbed, things like that from the dossier
"Let's switch tracks for a moment," you say, standing up and walking around the room, "When exactly is this conference?"
"In eleven weeks. Shall I continue?"
"Yes sir, please."
“If there isn't any other information, I want to know if there are any ninja trademakrs like shuriken. You practically have to be trained from childhood to use them effectively.”
“Son, I think you forget that we're alone in our gimmick, good at it as we may be. Washed out ninja are the go-to assassins of choice because of they provide a lot of bang, in terms of secret ninja techniques, for not a lot of your buck. It's an employers market, since rogue ninja are often chased and in a position of vulnerability,” your father lectures.
“So I should expect ninja. Well, they know that we can't do anything about poison.”
Your father puts on his reading glasses to look over the fine print of the proposed contract.
“No, they thought ahead. We still get paid if he gets poisoned, just less. We won't be the only assassins working for the Crab Clan; he has ninja for that.”
You sip some of the watered whiskey. It goes down quite smoothly. Your father must have gotten the good stuff for your homecoming.
“Wait, we?” you ask, suddenly erect and staring at your father.
“Yes. My wife doesn't want you to go alone, and I think we complement each other quite well. You're more athletic than me, but I'm better at wind calls in treacherous mountain crosswinds. However, I'll freely admit that you are a faster shot and are better at engaging multiple targets.”
[A] This is a terrible idea. What if Father got killed?
[B] It's always good to have a spotter and second pair of eyes
This was not always true. To give a good example, Soviet snipers in WW2 as well as Vietnamese snipers often operated alone. It was also my understanding that WW1 snipers tended to operate alone as well
“Let's make it a trip for two then. However, isn't that a common assassin combination.”
“Well, I'd risk a divorce if I brought my wife along. She doesn't like this business,” your father says.
“You must be exaggerating,” you say.
“A little, but she doesn't like it one bit.”
You finish your whiskey and sit back down. You put the last stub of the cigar into the ashtray.
“Well, I assume that you in, son,” he says.
“I am,” you say plainly.
“Excellent. Well, I'll get to that letter. What would you like to do tomorrow?”
[A] Do something with Mother
[B] Let's go for a hike
[C] Let's ring some steel out in the mountains
You head back to your room, change, and get into your futon. It's nice to sleep in your own bed again. It's as though you can release the tension that remained while you were away. When you wake up, sore parts from your injuries don't feel so bad anymore.
Breakfast is simpler than last night's dinner. Light soup, a salad, and a hard boiled egg. You make sure to help your mother clean up. It's not as though you're trying to suck up to her (much), but it wouldn't feel polite to not assist.
“Mother,” you say with an air of faux-ingratiation.
“What do you want?”
“What are you planning on doing today?”
“Not much. I wanted to work on the garden,” she says.
“May I help you?” you ask.
And that was how you found yourself weeding under the high sun, with dirt well under your fingertips. This garden was, over the course of many years, your mother's labor of love. Even your grandmother has remarked on her skill.
Unsolicited, your mother says, “Why do you always do this? This sniping thing.”
You come to sit next to her on the stairs leading into the courtyard.
“I suppose that there is an element of sport. It is very challenging. You saw my father teach me.”
“But why kill people for money?”
You have no good answer.
“Mom, I have something of a personal question,” you say, beating around the bush before getting to the heart of the matter, “I'm worried that you and Father might, well, uh, split.”
She exhales to calm herself.
“I love my husband very much. It's just that this secret assassin business doesn't sit well with me.”
You wrap a dirty arm around her shoulder.
“I'm going to keep coming back for you.”
“You think you're immortal at this age. Please be careful, alright?”
That's it for tonight. Going to hang out for a bit.
One of my goals for this thread was to provide some interesting and fairly open-ended mission choices, which I hope I succeeded at
Interestingly enough, we are currently at 17 single-spaced pages and 8100 words already.
I might make a Fanfiction.net account, switch it to First Person, and post results (e.g. - how many fanboy jimmies can I rustle?) back here on /tg/, perhaps including the most entertaining review in a given time period.
I liked how we're already skilled to a reasonable degree but can probably improve, along with having in-character options that are readonable based on what we'd know. The end of the discussion with the protagonist's father fell a bit flat (just something to work on and take your time with.