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Ida Tsume

(What do I put here?) (WiP)

0 · 353 views · located in Japan

a character in “Onikiri - The Demon Slayers”, as played by Silkythecat

Description

Name: Ida Tsume
Face Claim: N/A
Age: 74, but appears to be 20 in human form.
Gender: Female
Character Concept: Cat Yokai

Main weapon: human- Small handheld dagger, or unarmed combat, cat- claws
Secondary weapon: human- Kunai cat- igniting the ethereal fire on her tails to confuse and bewilder. The fire can't actually burn anything physical (it burns spirits though)

Fighting style: Would rather avoid fighting, either through bluffing and intimidating, or by avoiding and evading enemies and attacks.

Guardian Ability: N/A

[b]Special Skills:[/b] In cat form, everything a cat has, balance, agility, night vision and heightened senses. Can ignite the ends of her tails with spirit fire (eyes glow with the tails). Has learnt to take the form of a human.
In human form: Can actually talk in this form, and can perform all the stuff humans can do, with the addition of her cat-like traits mentioned above (minus spirit fire, that's cat form only)

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Appearance: cat form- a black, short haired cat with a silky pelt and two tails that split 15cm from the base. Has bright green eyes with distinct rectangular pupils (like goats). Wears a simple banded necklace, looser than a collar, with a blue stone in the centre.
Human form- Silky black hair that falls just above her shoulder. Sharp facial features, with the same green eyes with rectangular pupils. Thin, with little chest at all. Surprisingly tall. Her human form wears a tight black cotton tunic and black wraps around her arms and legs with mobility and movement in mind. Also, the band found around her neck in cat form has moved to her temple and sits snuggly on her head, just on her forehead.

Personality:
Good points, Loyal, follows a strong code of honour, determined and thoughtful. Can be bright and enthusiastic.
Bad points, blunt, judgemental, sees little value in the life of those who she isn't close to, and will happily toy with them, sadistic to a degree, views herself above humans, will blatantly ignore someone she doesn't like. Sly and a very good liar (unless she's asked a direct question, in which case she would be honour-bound to reply truthfully.

She's smart, and knows can gauge the strength of the challenge ahead, or the opponent, and choose an easier way around it than just powering through it head first. Will only fight if it's 100% in her favour, or if it is 100% necessary.

Bio: Was a normal cat, living a normal life, learning and getting cleverer and wiser, until she gained enough experience and knowledge and her tail split in two. By this time, her original owners had passed away and she wasn't as attached to her new ones, so she just left and developed her powers. She learnt to take the form of a lowly human after finding and living with one in an isolated forest, but got driven out when she finally shifted form. Has basically just lived using her wits and agility to get by. Was attacked by some well-prepared human hunters when the immortal sorcerer Abe no Seimei saved her hide, invoking the age old code of honour of life debts.
Image

So begins...

Ida Tsume's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Abe no Seimei Character Portrait: Ida Tsume
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COLLAB POST WITH TSUME AND SEIMEI

Rain. That's all as far as the eye could see. Some days it became hard to tell if it was day or night with the storm clouds over head. The rainy season just started and it already felt never ending. There were tiny pools of water in the road and in the grass, trees leaves dripped waterfalls of water, while some held a bit inside.Anyone who was outside was hiding underneath an umbrella.

Under the shadows of the rainclouds and behind a veil of downpour, a being of perception may have noticed a swift black cat making its way down a emptied cobbled path. An even keener eye would have spotted twin tails following the shadow, and bright green eyes.
Tsume hissed as she ran through the rain, feeling it cut right through her cold skin to freeze her insides. The band around her neck thumped agaisnt her chest in time with her quick paws as she ran through squall.
"Why would Master Seimei summon me anywhere in this weather," she thought bitterly. He better have a good reason."

Under some soggy bushes that dripped rain, Seimei was waiting, standing with great elegance underneath a giant butterbur leaf, as though it were a parasol. He stood upright and wore kimono, but otherwise, he was in the form of a silver fox. Keen eyes penetrated through the rain, and his six tails waved behind him, Under the dryness of the leaves, his tails and fur retained a shimmering fluffiness, that made the rain-bedraggled cat look even wetter in comparison. "Tsume," he greeted her, without stepping out from the bushes, and beckoned her forward. "Enter my palace," he said with a sly smile, stepping aside so that the cat could pass into the safety of the bushes without her wet fur brushing against him. "Really, in your human form, you could carry an umbrella," he suggested with a raised eyebrow.

Upon seeing her master, Tsume doubled her speed towards the bush. Upon reaching the shelter, she shook as much of the water cling to her fur off, before changing to her human form and squeezing rain our her sodden, shoulder length hair. Seeing her Master edge away from the water, she nonchalantly flicked a wet hand in his direction. Once she was satisfied that she wasn't going to make a puddle where she stood, she gave a pointed look to Seimei; one of her fine eyebrows raised in return. "You fully well know why. My cat paws are much faster and lighter than these big flat things humans call feet." She looked at her feet in distaste, now wrapped in tight black fabric around the middle and her ankle, leaving as much of her soles in contact with the ground as sensibility would allow.
Suddenly feeling uncomfortable in her human form, and wishing to be back in cat form as soon as she could, she got right to the point. "So, what did you summon me through this rainy season for. It had better be good or I'm taking a piece of your silver fur with me back to my nice dry home." The threat was that, only a threat, as both of them knew that she could never hurt those whom she was honour bound to serve, but that didn't stop her saying it with an incredibly feral grin.

Seimei lowered the butterbur leaf to fend off her playful water flick, which not only shielded him, but sent a trickle of water from the leaf's surface pouring directly down at the cat. Seimei acted like he hadn't noticed the water pouring in her direction, but he gave a brief snicker as she flicked him. She had never acted upon any of her idle threats and Seimei didn't think she would now, he just smiled a cold, fox like smile at her, as though indulging her antics. Reaching behind him he pulled out a simple kimono which he draped over her shoulders in case she was cold from the weather and her sudden lack of fur. "Yes, I find it disagreeable as well... however, we need to talk, as no doubt my shikigami mentioned."

"Tsume, I have a mission for you. It's very important. I need you as a scout. To use that whiskery little nose of yours to root out some oni... you;ll be working on a team. A team of humans," he added significantly, watching for her reaction.

Suprised by the act of thoughtfulness, Tsume decided against changing back into a cat and rubbing her damp fur all across his shins.
She was onboard for hunting down oni until her master mentioned humans. Her green eyes narrowed. She wanted to protest, but partly because she didn't to sound like a whining kit, and partly because she owed her life to this man, she just settled with a hiss of displeasure.

"It had to be humans" she thought bitterly. "Now I will have to spend even more time in this unbecoming form."
She fidgeted within the kimono, thankful for the extra layer, even though she didn't say so. Another weakeness of these silly humans. They are naked! Not extra layers or fur or anything!

"Yes, you will," replied Seimei. "It will be good practice for you. I think you will find these humans a little more interesting than the usual kind, anyway." If Sadamitsu wasn't so elusive, he would have no reason to order Tsume in to assist the guardians. "They lack in a certain specific area ... stealth." Seimei sighed. "Which is where you come in. You can not only walk the old paths of our kind, but you can help to find oni and gather information. Your native form will no doubt come in handy for that. But you will need your human voice too."

While she was still irked at the thought of spending her next portion of her life with a group of loud humans, she still enjoyed feeling valued. "I can guide them, yes; and I owe a few oni some claw marks or two." she sneered, picking at her nails, wishing they were claws.
Suddenly she was done with being a human. She cast off the kimono, letting it fall gracelessly around her feet, as she turned back into her original form. Satisfied and comfortable on the kimono, she sat washing herself, while waiting for her Master to continue giving details.

"Would you mind?" he sighed, tapping a foxy finger on to her upraised back leg. "It seems you still have a few matters of etiquette that need to be dealt with. Namely that it is considered impolite to start licking your parts mid-conversation. You'll notice I am refraining from such behaviour. Please try to pay attention, young cat." Seimei held out a hand into the air, it seemed the rain was slackening off. "You will come with me, as my page. My human page," he raised an eyebrow, and gave her a significant look, "to the Hana no Gosho, it's the residence of the second highest human in the land, so if you can't be absolutely trusted to be on your very best behaviour this may prove difficult. There you will meet the four Guardians, humans who have abilities rather above and beyond what a normal human can do, and you will be required to do nothing but observe for the time being, and to refrain from acting like a cat. And when I say observe I do expect you to be taking note, not just thinking of where your next portion of fish scraps is coming from."

Tsume spluttered indignantly at the mention of her craving fish scraps and quickly changed back to human just to protest. "I am far above fish scraps! I will do as you wish, as accompany you in this- " She shuddered, "-form, and behave as I know you want me to. I can observe as you ask, but I can't make any promises about denying my true nature." She teasingly suck out a tongue and ran the back of her hand across her face, then back along where her ears felt like they should be.

"I guess I will be traveling with you to Hana no Gosho then? Do I have to spend the entire journey as your 'human' page."?
She re-wrapped the kimono around herself, feeling the cold just that little bit too much through the tight black fabric of her mid wrap.

"Of course you are," he said with a kind tone and a grin. "No one is asking you to deny your nature, far from it. Your nature will be your best asset I'm sure. But in the humans' houses, in human form, just try to act human for politeness's sake." When asked if she would have to journey in her human form, Seimei replied, "you may go as either human or cat. It is not far. Just remember to be one or the other."

"Tsume," he said, in all seriousness, "It isn't just at the meeting that I want you to observe my human Guardians. Since I cannot be with them on their missions and must stay close to the Emperor, you will be my eyes and ears. Keep watch on them closely, little cat," he said, before dropping his giant butterbur leaf, and shifting his form, transforming into the shape of a silver fox. He too found the animal form better for swiftness and stealth.

Tsume readily copied her Master and turned back into her cat form. She nodded sincerely, understanding the seriousness of her mission. She enjoyed the silence as eight paws drummed along the wet path. The rain was easing up, just a little now, it seamed; and visibility was gradually improving as light filtered through the semi-dense mist and reflected interestingly off the puddles.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenshin Character Portrait: Hajime Character Portrait: Abe no Seimei Character Portrait: Kiyoyori Character Portrait: Shimoto Ikari Character Portrait: Ida Tsume
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Tsume followed Seimei and the Shogun as they filed in after the pageboy into the room where her travel companions for the next few weeks were waiting. She felt the fabric of the dark blue kimono her master had lent her itch a little on her human skin, but resisted the urge to scratch it, fearing the action would come across too feline. Instead,she just knelt next to Seimei and folded her hands neatly on her lap. Although her head was bowed, she was carefully watching the four.

Although all four of them were sitting perfectly calm, the one with black hair tied up, the emperor had called him "Kiyoyori",seemed to be the most at ease, like he was familiar with this sort of scenario. As he rose to collect his weapon, a bow, she could see he walked with the grace and control of a trained fighter. "Serious,focused and respectful... he doesn't seem too bad." she thought to herself, silently judging them. On the contrary, the one sat next to him,the child, was struggling to stay still as it was. She could practically feel his uncontrolled energy and curiosity rolling off him in waves. She cringed at the thought of spending the next few weeks with him. Human children were the worst, loud, irritating and inexperienced,and she couldn't even relate because human adults are so overprotective if their young! If he were a kitten, she'd be able to teach him how to behave properly with a well timed and well deserved thump.

The white haired woman, who rose to the name"Ikari" felt standoffish. There was something about her that put heart an instant distaste in Tsume's opinion. She wasn't even sure where it came from, and was even a little surprised that someone could rub her up the wrong way just with their presence. As she stepped closer to receive her weapons, two swords, Tsume was sure that if she had hackles in this form, they would be raised.

Last in her judging was the other black haired male with enchanting eyes, that she could tell saw more than what was of simply this world. From his appearance,even though it was as fine as Kiyoyori's, she deduced that he was more finicky about his appearance. This, she admired. Far too often, humans were just happy to prance about however they happened to wake up that day. Any cat would hold themselves with more pride in spirit and appearance than most humans, although she bet this "Kenshin" could give even her a run for her money in that department. He carried himself with confidence and Tsume decided that he would be tolerable company. Then she sensed a layer of uncertainty,or unhappiness under his outer shell of emotions as he got closer to receive his weapon, a staff, and vaguely wondered what it was he was unhappy with.

All in all, she mentally concluded, she was going to spending the next few weeks with a two humans just about worthy of her company, a little brat and some woman who managed to raise her hackles every time she saw her. Although resigned to her fate, as her Master had ordered it, she made her mind up to get this quest over and done with as soon as possible so she could go back to her nice, soft abode and never have to take this itchy human form again. At least til Seimei summoned her again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenshin Character Portrait: Hajime Character Portrait: Abe no Seimei Character Portrait: Kiyoyori Character Portrait: Shimoto Ikari Character Portrait: Ida Tsume
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#, as written by Kato
Kiyoyori watched the others receive their weapons, each one giving him a small flash of recognition as they were put into the hands of his companions. His and Kenshin’s guesses were confirmed as the Shogun revealed their identities to each other and in some cases, to themselves. Holding the bow in his hands somehow anchored him to the reality of their position, a physical link to the past life he had been so sceptical of. Ah, so I really have to lead them to battle, he thought to himself as he passed his gaze over the group of guardians and the one empty seat that was yet to be filled. Lucky them.

Ikari’s vision blurred and a new scene overlaid itself on to the one in front of her eyes. Where the Shogun Yoshiharu sat, another figure took form. An old man, in court robes, his hair grey, his beard and moustache pointed, which added to the gravitas of his features, looking like nothing moreso than a civilised wolf, dressed in clothing too large for him. Sleeves draped over the hands, as was the style for nobles in those days. A tall black hat sat upon his head. The Minister of the Right, Fujiwara no Morotada, Tsuna recognised him, and though she tried to follow the words she saw forming on his lips, she couldn’t hear him. The others, Ikari saw clearly now, as they retrieved their weapons. Urabe, the shaven-headed monk, superimposed over the long-haired Kenshin, the wild boy Sakata almost exactly mirrored his counterpart in Hajime, as he took hold of the skull-bedecked axe. As for Kiyoyori, she saw Raiko’s form only vaguely – so feint as to be like smoke, the large-eyed yet determined looking girl warrior dressed as a man. While the pages and assistants seemed to fade into the background, Seimei stood out as much as any of them, the ghostly image of himself was exactly the same as the man she saw before her. In five hundred years he hasn’t changed.He seemed to smile knowingly at her as though he realised what she was seeing. Some other time when the guardians had been gathered, briefed, taking their orders from Morotada, on behalf of the Emperor, while Seimei subtly nudged him in the right direction. This Shogun was specifically not giving them orders, and Tsuna understood that Seimei had managed to find a way to cut out the middle man this time. Good, she thought, although she felt this came from Tsuna rather than herself, Fewer politicians, fewer lies.

The Shogun had one last item he needed to bestow, and summoned Kiyoyori once more. “There is one more artefact that belonged to you in your former life, Raiko-sama,” said Yoshiharu, and with a small gesture summoned forth one of his samurai who passed a long black lacquer box to Kiyoyori. Inside was a brocade bag with Minamoto crests woven into it in gold. He loosened the ancient drawstring and gave an audible sharp intake of breath as he took out the item inside. A bamboo flute, a komabue, wrapped in cherry bark and lacquered in black with the subtlest of gold bands at both ends and between the mouth and finger holes. Once again, he felt close to tears, a strange pulling at his heart, as he had when he laid eyes upon Ikari. An expression of deep gratitude crossed his face that the Shogun nodded to, and Seimei smiled at softly, and he bowed once again to the floor and said in a voice thick with emotion, “thank you.” He stayed for a few moments with his face on the floor, not daring to move until he had mastered himself. Kiyoyori had never played the flute, nor had any aptitude or particular interest in music, but then … he had never held this flute.

Seimei took the opportunity to quietly whisper, “It would be proper for you to address your companions.” Eventually he sat back up, and turned to face his companions. “I realise perhaps I’m not what you expected or wanted in a leader. Maybe to some of you, I’m even an enemy. I hadn’t thought I’d be capable of such a thing, it’s rather big boots to fill. Maybe I won’t even come close to doing this well – that’s what I thought until just now. But I know, I can feel, the spirit of Raiko-sama is with me, and that her wisdom will guide me, even though it will have to fight all the way against my foolishness. I am not your lord, and you aren’t my vassals. I have no right to expect you to follow me or do my bidding. But I hope you’ll accept me as your leader, and will be my valued comrades and brothers in arms. Will you all join me?”

The evening inevitably wound down, and the Guardians were taken to their sleeping quarters to spend the night. Their rooms were in a small building which was to be theirs alone for the time they would stay here, separated from the main palace by a covered walkway. The building looked out one way onto a small courtyard, and to the other onto a large open area used for training in martial arts and archery. While Kenshin, Hajime and Kiyoyori were to sleep together in one room, Ikari was surprised to learn that she would be sharing a room with Seimei’s page, the black haired girl who had sat beside him and looked over them all with great intensity during their meeting with Yoshiharu. She attempted to ask the girl a few friendly questions about herself, but ended up falling asleep rather quickly. It had been an extremely eventful day.

During the night, the summer rains started in earnest, and in the morning sheets of water poured from the grey sky as though the gods were throwing out their bath water. The air was humid and sticky. The Guardians were all made sure to be properly equipped, with the Shogun’s men providing them with armour and clothing, all with a special crest for their new unit. Five tomoe that circled clockwise, in a gold colour. Abe no Seimei strode across the walkway from the main house at mid-morning, carrying an umbrella, and asking the Guardians if they liked the new crest, explaining that he had designed it especially for them, with a rather self-satisfied and knowing smile. By midday the rains still hadn’t stopped and Kiyoyori sat on the veranda, looking over at the practice field at the archery targets wistfully as he waited. Even if he didn’t mind getting soaked, there was no way to keep a bowstring dry in this weather. From time to time he pulled the flute out from the inside of his kimono and turned it over in his fingers, before putting it bak again. Ikari came out and sat down, dressed in impressive set of armour, silver grey plates and lacing, with the cloth sleeves and trousers in dark red with silver figured dragons. She gave Kiyoyori a nod, still not really sure what to make of him, and Kiyoyori acknowledged her greeting. Then they sat in silence, the rain making more than enough noise as it turned the practice field into a muddy lake. Kiyoyori had many things he wanted to ask her, he needed to talk to her, but found that he couldn’t. Instead Ikari could feel him staring at her from time to time. She tried to ignore it but eventually she turned around to glare at him, and snapped roughly, “What is it?”

It was unusual for him to feel tongue tied around anyone, but even when she confronted him, he had no idea what to say. “Um, Ikari-san, do you – I mean –“ his expression took on a sort of intensity as he turned towards her to meet her gaze, his black eyes searching hers, as her expression turned from a frown of annoyance to one of mere confusion. “Do you remember –? “

Whatever his question was, it was cut off by the voice of Seimei, as the onmyouji poked his head around the door frame. “Anyone would think you two didn’t want to receive your first mission! Aren’t you coming?” he said, disappearing mysteriously and expecting them to follow. The rain continued to clatter down on the roof as the group were assembled in one of the small rooms. “First I should introduce you to Tsume. She will be your scout. Her eyes and ears are very sharp, her claws too. She is my servant, which means no using her for odd jobs, fetching you new sandals or making tea. She will be able to help you sniff out the Oni, and find information you need.”

“As for this mission,” he said, folding his long sleeves into his lap, and taking on a rather more serious demeanour. “The summer rains often bring sickness to the city, but this year it has begun in earnest more quickly than usual. It makes me suspect, more than suspect for I am almost certain of it, that this illness is not of a natural origin, and that Oni are responsible. Some nobles in the palace have already fallen gravely ill, and I suspect his Majesty the Emperor is the true target. I am doing all I can with my magic to protect him, but the source must be removed. This is where you come in, Guardians.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenshin Character Portrait: Hajime Character Portrait: Abe no Seimei Character Portrait: Kiyoyori Character Portrait: Shimoto Ikari Character Portrait: Ida Tsume
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Tsume wanted to fidget. She had an itch right by her ear, and another on her side, and was beggining to think that seimei asked Kiyoyori to adress his new comrades just to test her patience.
Having decided that she had judged the group sufficiently, she specifically made a point to let her mind wander to her next meal. She sniffed haughtily- Fish scraps indeed! No, she would dine in luxury. Fish itself could be rather slimy and had a very pungent and overbearing taste, but if it was prepared in some well prepared garnish by a seasoned cook, it could be delicious. Pork, lamb, beef; a little chewy and plain if unaccompanied by something else but delicious when roasted. But Chicken! That was the meat she was made to eat. So perfectly textured, could be enjoyed hot or cold.
She hoped that Seimei hadn't spotted her licking her lips.

At last, the meeting and greeting came to an end, and Tsume couldn't wait to dissapear, get out of this body and go find a warm, shadowed corner to spend the night, but her master, as quick as ever, struck her with a look that she knew that wouldn't be happeneing. She sighed inwardly, as she dutifuly followed Seimei, as a human page would.
The building she and the group were led to by some castle servants was a comfortable distance from the noise of the main palace. There was room for weapon practice and when Tsume found she would be sharing a room with the white haired girl, she decided that one of the well kept trees she saw on the way here would make for a comfy bed, with her black fur to keep her warm. As if he could read her mind, Seimei shot her a look.
Fine. Futons and night clothes it was then.

Much to her annoyance, the feeling of hate towards Ikari didn't decrease one bit, and Tsume sat and sulked till she stopped making sounds with her vocal chords and started breathing deeply and evenly. After checking Ikari was truly sleeping, Tsume stepped to the window, light as a feather and shivered a sigh of relief as she turn back to her feline form. She sat on the window ledge, looking up at the currently clear skies, admiring the way the moonlight shone on her silky black fur. Grateful for her keen vision, she navigated her way to ground level down the outside of the building.

The following morning, Tsume sourly regretted her choice to sleep outside under the stars in the safe cradle of an Ume tree, as she woke in the pre-dawn grey light to rainfall. She jumped down from her temporary bed and streaked across the courtyard, back up to her room through the window, where she shook off the loose droplets and crawled beneath her discarded blankets to warm up and dry off.

When Tsume woke again, she yawned and stretched, feeling warm and satisfied. Grey daylight lit the room, with a background chorus of rainfall on tiles, and thankfully, no white haired females to bother her. There was, however, some new clothes, folded neatly at the foot of her futon, <i>human</i> clothes. Sighing, she understood Seimei's message and guessed she should be grateful he let her sleep in till whatever time it was.
Changing back into her human form, Tsume quickly donned the new clothes, noting the new gold crest that was emblazoned on the cloth. Once dressed, she scented the air for food, thankfully her feline sense of smell carried over to her human form.
Following her nose, she found her way to the kitchen, where she politely requested for some dried meats and fruit. A few minuets later, she was happily walking back to her room holding a plate of brunch. She heard Kiyoyori and Ikari's voices float up through the window but chose to ignore what was being said in favor of munching happily. Though humble in choice, the quality of food was certainly fit for the emperor. What Obaasama would have done if she could taste this...
Before she could loose herself in memories of a time long gone, Seimei knocked politely before entereing. Tsume nodded at him and lowered her eyes respectfully. "Follow me, we have important things to discuss with the Guardians".
Tsume nodded and quickly stuffed the last morsel in her mouth and followed Seimei out the room. After a brief walk, they entered one of the small rooms and Tsume dutifully took a seat to the side of Seimei.

The meeting started once Seimei had collected the two outside. Even Tsume had to admit they looked quite orderly in matching armour. He started by introducing her as his servant and their scout. She pulled a sly feral grin when he mentioned her claws, and noted a small look of disappointment on Kenshin's face when her master said she wasn't for petty tasks. She didn't say anything but she felt eyes on her as Seimei continued.
Her eyes narrowed sightly at the mention of Oni, particularly sickness and rain ones. They were always tricky, as their scent would be everywhere, in every rain cloud, every sick persons cough. She usually avoided both if possible; being soaked was not fun, but this time, she guessed she's be tracking one, or more, down.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Kenshin Character Portrait: Hajime Character Portrait: Abe no Seimei Character Portrait: Kiyoyori Character Portrait: Shimoto Ikari Character Portrait: Ida Tsume Character Portrait: Midori
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#, as written by KameJLa
MIDORI


The clouds were overhead before Midori reached the outer parts of the Hana no Gosho. This part seemed almost abandoned with the limited activity that went on within the walls. Perhaps it was reserved for only those of extreme high importance, leaving it rarely used if ever. This place was where the voice screamed from the loudest, and Midori was exhausted from pushing herself to the limits with the screamer and the eyes.

Midori found herself drawn by the faint smell of food. Climbing over the wall with the help of a tree, she used her hearing to pin point where people were so she could maneuver through the halls undetected. What seemed like an hour, Midori found herself just outside the kitchens were some servants were bringing back trays of finished food, and what appeared to be a tray of food that was spilled. It smelt good. Really good. It had been a long time since Midori had anything but the food she hunted, or occasionally stole to pass the winter months.

“Those two were really going at it, pulling at each other’s collars.”
“That long haired guy is pretty handsome huh?”
“Yeah and that guy with the black looking eyes. He looks especially fun!”


While the girls continued to discuss which of the men they believed were the most handsome, and the boy who clearly liked to cause a scene, they made their way out of the kitchen and onto their next duties, leaving the food to sit out for the servants dinner. Midori slipped through the door, and grabbed a basin of rice, filling it up with left overs before slipping right back out, sliding under the floors and in the dirt outside to stay hidden so she could eat to her fill.

Once her stomach was full, Midori found that she had drifted off to sleep. It wasn’t clear how much time passed, but she was awakened by voices extremely close by. They were headed the way Midori came into the Hana no Gosho. Servants, and those that were in a secret meeting with the Shogun. Those that were called for. The reborn guardians. It peaked Midori’s interest, so she listened, and waited. When the familiar voice from before spoke, she kept her ears tuned into the voices location, while moving swiftly through the halls, using the roof, and even hiding to not be seen. Once the voice holder was on his own, Midori rolled off the roof, hung on with her right hand, and using all her weight to swing towards the inside of the Gosho, letting go and landing right in front of Seimei himself, who seemed a little surprised. The rain had drenched her, her hair stuck to her face in all sorts of weird patterns, the rain running clean streaks down her skin through the caked on dirt, her worn and torn kimono stuck to her skin. “Seimei Loud. Too Loud.” Midori narrowed her eyes at him. “No more screaming. Hurts.” Midori pointed to her ears when she said ‘hurts’.

Seimei was indeed surprised, and more than a little. He wasn't sure if he was irked by this or pleased, since he liked to think he was on top of things at all times. His eyes narrowed as a fox-like grin spread over his face. "Oh," he raised an eyebrow, "Perhaps I am too loud, or perhaps it is you who is too quiet. How did you get in without my noticing? Please, why don't you sit," he said lowering his voice to a whisper and pointing with a closed fan at the tatami mat directly facing him. Through the mud and dirt it was hard to see what the woman looked like ... if anything she looked more like a vengeful ghost than a living human, but Seimei could sense what she really was, and she was no more a ghost than he was. "Are you hungry? Thirsty?" he asked her, tipping his head a little to the side.

Withthe way he responded, Midori guessed that Seimei was his name. What identified him. How did I know that? The thought was only a mere moment, shaking her head back and forth to say no when he asked about food and drink. She had eaten only a few hours prior. She didn’t take his offer to sit. “What want?”Midori asked, using a hand to flip the wet strands of hair back behind her head. “You been screaming since Hokkaido. Why have you been looking for Midori?What is special about Midori and Usui no Sadamitsu?” She outright asked,throwing caution to the wind. Midori made sure to keep a bit of a distance between Seimei and herself. Just enough so that she could react if he came at her.

"Ah, Sadamitsu. Did you know I've been trying to track you down for months, if not years, then you turn up here, just late enough to be a nuisance, but early enough that you're still technically on time. You really have more in common with your former incarnation than you're probably aware." Seimei asked her to sit down again, and explained to her about the Guardians and their special role whether she did or not. "If you heard me all this time, then why didn't you respond?" he asked.

“Che.” Midori clicked her tongue in a displeased manner. “Seimei forget I arrive on time. Always.” Midori spoke, but it was like Usui was speaking. Subconsciously, Midori knew things she shouldn’t. Knew things about the past but didn’t understand. This time, she took his offer to sit, but stillkept a bit of distance. Midori knew who Seimei was, but didn’t. This frightened her. She enjoyed being in a familiar presence, but it was not one thatshe knew. It was one that Usui knew. “Many came for Midori.” She began, “People,Samurai, and Oni. Midori used power to survive. Midori fled into the Hokkaido Forest. One was very annoying. The voice was soft at first, then louder and louder. More that Midori went south, the louder it got. Midori hear this voice before.Then eyes came. Looked for Midori at night. Midori stayed up, running from the eyes that looked for her.”

Seimei listened. "The auguries were imprecise," he said, with a small frown. What was the point in learning such arts a reading the future and mapping the transmigration of souls if such obvious information went awry. He liked to have his net cast wide and to know everything - impossible as this was even for him - and it vexed him when there were blind spots. "I sent shikigami after you. They did not return. I expect you destroyed them." He leaned closer. "Who's eyes were these? Were they mine? The dreamwalkers? Or an Oni's?" He sat back. "Midori, please tell me about what happened, and how much you remember of your former life."
Midori nodded, finally taking a seat directly in front of Seimei, but keeping a small amount of distance between the two. Lightening lit up the night sky, the thunder booming life into the sky, the rains falling harder. “Midori did.” She said in reply. Midori instinctively leaned back when he leaned closer asking about the eyes. When he mentioned dream walker, Midori nodded. “Makes sense.Midori hear you talking to him..K-Ke-nn-tin? Ki-n-she?..” Midori tilted her head in thought at her own words, unsure of the actual name.
Midori shrugged her shoulders at his next question about her former life. “Don’t know. Midori never seen Seimei before, but knew his name when Midori hear it.”Then she added, “Midori want to smack you for being loud.” She narrowed her eyes at him. It was hard to sleep when she could when he screamed so loud inher ears for months. Now, it was quiet, except for the faint sounds of servants in the distance helping, and cleaning up after a boy who kept getting sick from too much sake.



KENSHIN, HAJIME AND MIDORI


During Kiyoyori’s speech, Kenshin just gave a bow with a tilt of his head to the leader of the mission. Of course Kenshin would stand together with Kiyoyori, because it was expected of him. Of course Kenshin would stand together with Kiyoyori, because it was what was needed. He knew the threat of the Oni was real, and not fake. There wasn’t much that a dream gazer couldn’t do aside of dream of the future if he wanted to know what was going on in Japan. Kenshin was privy to all sorts of information. Hajime, with much vigor and eagerness nodded his head up and down multiple times and so fast, Kenshin thought his head would pop off. “I’m with Yoyo! Hic!” The hiccup was loud, and Kenshin knew what was going to come next. After all, the boy did down almost an entire bottle of sake.

Once Kenshin and Hajime were able to leave the room, Hajime ran as fast as he could to the outer door, sliding it open in haste and letting his supper go. The nerves from the Shogun meeting, and the sake didn’t mix well with Hajime, his body letting him know this. Kenshin gave a clear ‘I knew that would happen,’ laugh, making his way past the boy without a single thought. He had the dream walker staff in one hand, and Suetake’s staff in the other. Once he had both in hand, both hands got extremely warm. Kenshin chalked it up to nothing more than coincidence, before giving orders to the servants to draw him a bath, and to have another brush out his hair during, and after. Tonight, he would not try to find the other missing guardian. Tonight, he wanted sleep. Once Kenshin and Hajime were shown to the room they would share with Kiyoyori, Kenshin placed both staffs in the same corner of the room, leaning up against the wooden post.

The bath was relaxing for Kenshin, and it was even more relaxing to have his hair taken care of. It was embarrassing for him to be present in front of the others with small remnants of food caught in his hair, and his robes wrinkled. Honestly that boy was going to try his patience at every turn.

Hajime, after emptying his supper he fought so hard to eat, was scrubbed down by a few servants in his own bath, and put right to bed ahead of everyone else. At least the evening would be peaceful. Once Kenshins hair was done, his night time kimono on, Kenshin settled down into the futon, falling asleep rather fast.

The rain continued into the morning, and it seemed like the rainy season was going to start. Hajime was up before the others, and down in the kitchen where he was eating his fill with his ax straped to his back. He wore a red top with the crest sewn into the left sleeve. The servants had learned after last night to make the boy a five course meal. Kenshin was the last to wake up, his eyes blurry and clouded over. A figure loomed over him, which he assumed was Hajime. “Go bother Kiyoyori. I’m not done sleeping yet.”

“Eyes looking. You.” A female voice said. Kenshin didn’t recognize the voice, and sat up a little startled using a hand to rub the sleepiness from his eyes so he could get a better picture on who was speaking to him. Kenshin knew of every one of his actions last night, so he would have remembered bringing a woman into the bed with him. A small womans face became clear with green eyes, and long black hair that seemed to shine in the morning rays. “And? You are?” Kenshin asked, surprised that he was being glared at by someone who he didn’t even know. Midori lifted her hand, and used her middle finger to flick Kenshin square between the eyes. “Fly annoying.” Kenshin landed right back laying down, a red mark beginning to make its appearance where he was flicked. “Itai! What the hell was that for?!”

“So you two finally met? Good. Kenshin, this is Midori, Usui no Sadamitsu’s current vassal.” Seimei’s voice came through the open shobi door. “Hurry up and get dressed. At mid-day we have our first meeting, and it’s well past dawn already.”

“Che..” Kenshin gave a sound of disproval, rubbing the sore spot between his eyes. “Damn woman..” He muttered very low so no one could hear, only to have that woman throw his staff at him. “Hear you I can.” Kenshin stretched out his arm, catching the staff before it could belt him in the face. Kenshin was going to yell back at the woman, until the look of the staff came into view. The Dream Walker Staff was a simple staff with a hole between the wood, separating the colors where the blue circle would appear if he was walking in dreams. Urabe no Suetake’s staff was clearly a monk’s staff with three rings on either side each, and either shrines or bosatsu figures inside. This staff was completely different. The brown and black of his old staff seemed to have wrapped around Suetake’s staff like an outer layer, merging and melting and reshaping the look of both staffs into one. Is this because I am the dream walker in this life? Kenshin thought, trying to figure out why the staffs merged. The golden brown twisted around the staff until to came up to the top where it merged and completely made a new staff head. The blue jewel in the center of the staff head pulsed the blue color like it would, recognizing it’s owner. Gone were the three rings, and it’s its place a circular pattern wrapping around the single ring while holding the blue jewel in place. Along the inner part of the circular pattern was dream walker symbols. The staff in height was the exact same as Suetake’s staff was.

“Oi Onigiri hurry it up!” Hajime’s voice came from behind the closed door. “Hai Hai!” Kenshin replied in an annoyed tone. He knew better than to keep Seimei waiting for long. He signaled the servants to begin his morning routine of hair being brushed and well dressed. Kenshin was offered a grey kimono in place of his black one, the grey one having the special crest sewn onto the sleeve. His obi sash was the same as before as was his hair tie. After about 30 minutes, Kenshin made his way to the designated meeting place, running into Hajime and Midori outside. “Where’d you get the new staff Onigiri?” Hajime asked curiously. Kenshin sighed, not really knowing the answer himself. “That…I can’t say..”

“On..i..giri..” Midori repeated slowly, tilting her head to the side with a confused look at Hajime. “Hai! Onigiri!” Hajime said, beginning to tell Midori the story.

Hajime and Midori met in the early morning hours while he was stuffing his face. Hajime’s head pulsed loudly but that didn’t stop him from feeding his hunger. Seimei had come in and introduced them, leaving Hajime and Midori alone in the kitchen for breakfast. Midori didn’t say much but a few words, and it was hard to understand what she was saying when it was backwards, but the subject was there. Midori had on a colorful Kimono of greens and blues and pinks with a long green haori coat. The crest was sewn into the back side instead of the sleeve. It clashed with her kimono look, but Midori liked the look of it, and she could curl up inside with her small body. Very useful for when it’s cold.

Kenshin and Hajime gave nodded greetings to the others as they entered the room and took their seats, while Midori just strode right on it and took the seat beside Ikari, ignoring the whispers of servants on her manners. She placed the Naginata she received from Seimei just this morning down behind her with a low, but vibrating thud on the tatami mat. It definitely had some weight to it. Midori looked over at Kiyoyori and Ikari, blinked a few times, then looked back straight ahead at Seimei and the young Tsume. Midori had yet to meet these two.

“First I should introduce you to Tsume. She will be your scout. Her eyes and ears are very sharp, her claws too. She is my servant, which means no using her for odd jobs, fetching you new sandals or making tea. She will be able to help you sniff out the Oni, and find information you need.”

Kenshin snapped open his fan, giving a small throat hmph when Seimei looked directly at him when he spoke his sentence of Tsume. There goes his fun, and someone to permanently look after his hair. Perhaps he could talk one of the other members into it.

What Seimei was saying about the rain was true. It had started much sooner than expected. And for an Oni to be behind it, well that just made matters worse. Hajime didn’t like what he was hearing one bit. People often got sick when the weather turned colder. The elderly and young children were at the highest risk from his experience at Futoki-sensei’s clinic. “Where do we start Seimei?”

(OOC NOTE – For Naginata picture, omit the brown string part hanging from the blade.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kenshin Character Portrait: Hajime Character Portrait: Abe no Seimei Character Portrait: Kiyoyori Character Portrait: Shimoto Ikari Character Portrait: Ida Tsume Character Portrait: Midori
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#, as written by Kato
Tsume sniffed as a new scent entered the room, accompanied by a new girl. From Seimei's lack of alarm, she deduced that this new girl was meant to be here, and was probably the final guardian that he mentioned was absent at the initial meeting in the shoguns palace. She looked presentable enough, but Tsume could sense something feral, untamed, inside. She decided that this new person could be tolerated.


Kiyoyori entered the room along with Ikari, both having taken the opportunity to follow Seimei without hesitation, glad to have the awkward moment bewteen them ended. Like Ikari, he was dressed in new armour bearing the five tomoe crest, but unlike the full suit that made Ikari's entrance to the room most impressive, Kiyorori's was more similar to an ashigaru's in style, though of the same high quality, discarding any“unnecessary” pieces and stripped down to just a cuirass, armoured sleeves and leg guards. The plates were lacquered black, and the lacing was blue and pale wheat yellow. The cloth parts dark and light blue figured with a carp pattern in gold. He took a seat next to Kenshin. So, Seimei's page was coming with them. Obviously she was more than she seemed, which wasn't unusual for something connected toSeimei. On hearing the little “hmph” from Kenshin on Seimei's forbidding the group to use her as a servant, Kiyoyori smirked and suppressed a laugh. “Looks like you'll have to train Hajime for that,” he said, his eyes narrowing mischievously as he passed a glance to Kenshin.

Kenshin flipped open his fan, fanning himself rather quickly as he pondered the thought. Hajime was annoying and a brat, ignorant and ill mannered, but Kiyoyori had a point. Kenshin could bribe Hajime with food, and the kid would most likely do it. But would it be worth the complaints Hajime would say, while doing it? Kenshin was weighing the pros and cons.

Kiyoyori smirked, watching Kenshin actually taking his suggestion seriously. The thought that people might be taking him more seriously than usual, now he was the leader of the Guardians, never really occurred to him. “So, that accountsfor the one new face here,” Kiyoyori spoke up to Seimei. “Butwhat about this person -” he nodded towards Midori, who frankly looked like she had been dredged up from a swamp. “Or are you goingto introduce yourself? At a guess I'd say … Sadamitsu.”

Midori glanced to Kiyoyori with a blank expression, tilting her head to the side at his guess. “Introduce? Why? You know already who Midori is.” She stated the obvious from his guess. After all, she was the last to arrive.

"Not necessarily. You could be another of Seimei's assistants," he replied."But if you are Sadamitsu, you have a lot to catch up on even just from last night. You missed some truly great entertainment." He passed a sidelong look at Kenshin and Hajime.

Ikari was a little astonished at the new woman who took a seat beside her. Trying not to look too hard at her, she couldn't help but wonder at her story, and how she came to be here. Hoping they would get a moment to talk later, Ikari greeted her quietly. “I'm Shimoto Ikari, how do you do.” Although Ikari had spent a lot of time among men, and could handle them well enough, she was glad of another female face in the group, and one that was potential less hostile than Tsume. Ikari didn't understand why the girl had taken a dislike to her, despite her trying to to befriend her, and she felt a little hurt by it despite herself.

Midori turned her attention to Ikari, and finally noticed the girls hair for the first time. Amazed at it, Midori probably stared at it longer than Ikari was comfortable with. “White.” She stated the complete obvious. Kenshin resisted slapping his forehead with his palm. “Are you sure it’s her?” he muttered under his breath,glancing over at Seimei. It was the exact same thing he said when they first saw Hajime. And just like then, Kenshin already knew the answer. Midori shot Kenshin a glare, and muttered something under her breath. Using her power, she enhanced it so only Kenshin could hear, but with Tsume here, might have picked up on it.Kenshin cleared his throat.

Humans didn't like others speaking over them, and since no-one else was speaking, Tsume assumed it wouldn't be rude if she started now. "Rain and sickness onis... I have... encountered these before. They can be tricky as every breeze, every squall and cough carreis their scent, but we can try and use this to our advantage. Even though the chance of them being in the city itself is low, their scent will be all over it, and once I have that, I can try to track it to where it is the densest. You can just follow and do the actual fighting though, when I find them. That's your job right?" She raised an eyebrow, challenging anyone to deny it. She was clothed in the comfortable fabrics Seimei had managed to secure for her, matt black in colour, and made from a thick, but breathable material. He had even taken into account her general disliking for being unable to feel the air and floor, as her attire consisted of a tight mid wrap with folded fabric over her shoulders for modesty. Her legs were covered up to her knees, first by practical tight shorts, then a shorter wrap skirt, for appearances. Her calfs, forearms and ankles were similarly wrapped in the fabric, and the bridge of her human feet were wrapped, but not the important toes or heels. The design Seimei had been so proud of was sat neatly in the centre of the chest wrap but other than that, they were plain black, with a prestigious white gold trim.

Kiyoyori's expression had seemed to darken as Seimei spoke of the sickness that had begun to take an insidious grip on the city. “I have too,” he spoke up after Tsume said she had encountered them before. He exchanged a quick glance with Seimei. “If you can track them down, I'll be gladto meet them face to face. The very nature of them is that they don't like to show themselves, if they did, they'd fight properly not like this … cowardice.”

Ikari nodded. She had been through many towns and villages where a sickness had taken hold and ravaged the people, always feeling powerless to help, as well as fear of infection herself. “Indeed, it's difficult to protect a city from illness normally, but if there's an oni causing it, at least that makes it possible.”

Kenshin snapped his fan closed, looking directly at Tsume. “You won’t be much help on this one will you? With the rain everywhere, are you sure you can pickup the scent?” He challenged, slightly irritated at the events that were unfolding that were out of his control, something he didn’t run into very often. “I propose that we should lure the oni out of hiding by using Hajime’s healing powers. If he is an evil oni, seeing his powers have no effect may drive him out.”

Hajime nodded. The idea in it self didn’t sound to bad. “We could try it that way.Actually,” Hajime began. “Either way I want- no, I need to go out there and help them heal. It will take a long time, and if he go that route, we will need to bring a huge supply of food with us.”

Andjust when I thought he was maturing through his speech, he went right back to being a glutton. Kenshin thought. He wasn’t aware of the real reason Hajime needed all that food.

"From my experience, an oni won't give up so easily," said Kiyoyori. "But if Hajime uses his healing powers on someone afflicted, maybe he can fnd out something about the Oni that did it. And perhaps Kenshin ... could go and look at that person's dreams. Sometimes in a fever you see the demons that cause the illness. It might give us some clues anyway."

Tsume narrowed her eyes at Kenshin. To think she might have been able to tolerate this one. "With the rain everywhere, how could I not pick up the scent? It's just a case of finding where it is strongest. You can do your healing things anyway, while I do the real tracking down."

A little disgruntled at having her skills put down, she turned back into a cat there and then. Her human clothes fell to the seat and nestled around her feline form. She curled up and closed her eyes, giving the appearance of ignoring everyone and going to sleep. She was still listening sharply to the discussion though.

Ikari suddenly stood up and pointed at Tsume. "A cat!" she exclaimed rather stating the obvious. "She's a bakeneko, or a nekomata, or some kind of Oni, right here among us." Tsume being some kind of Oni made sense given how hostile the girl had been. "It seems you have been decieved, Master Seimei!" She looked to Seimei as if to get his go ahead to draw her sword and kill it.

Seimei sighed, waved his hand at Ikari. "No, no, no. You can sit down. Please. Shimoto-san." All he asked was that Tsume acted like a human in human form, a cat in cat form, and didn't switch between the two in public. Three simple rules, but of course a cat had no concern for such things. He found himself a little irritated, and Ikari, sitting back down, blushed a little, thinking that irritation was aimed at her. "Yes, Tsume is a cat. But she is not any more an Oni than I am. There is no evil in her, though there is more of quantity of willfull selfishness. Still, she will assist you all, in her own way."

“Dream walking is an option.” Kenshin replied to Kiyoyori.“But depending on the type of sickness inflicted I could..affect the brain.”Kenshin had paused momentarily, almost like he didn’t want to admit that his power had limits. “This could affect what I see. It may take longer to sortthrough all the images and scenarios.” Kenshin let go of a deep breath. That was too easy.. he thought on Tsume’s easy back down. When Tsume turned backinto a cat, Kenshin was entertained. The squeaks that came from Ikari were amusing, while Hajime was talking about wanting to keep Tsume as a pet was predictable.

Midori on the other hand, readied her weapon. An oni was present. It rubbed herthe wrong way. She had been running from Oni now for 2 years, and Seimei expected her to work along side one? Midori was fuming. How dare he do this toher of all people. But something inside was pushing her to go despite thebetrayal, like a mental pull in a different direction. Despite her anger, her arm lowered her weapon as if ordered to do so, and Midori sat back down slowly,a free hand moving up to rub her temples.

Tsume cracked open one of her bright green eyes, half hidden by her tail as it was curled round her front. Seimei expected her to work with these closed minded fools... The hostility from the two girls was slightly amusing, but the wary confusion mixed with a burst of victorious amusement from the dream walker was even more so. Were she in human form, she would have cracked a crooked smile that promised nothing but suggested everything.

Half of her was tempted to ignite her tail, just to mess with the girls who were still jumpy despite her Master's assurances, but she decided that she didn't feel like dodging blades and let the mood settle into an uneasy mist that clouded the room.