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a character in “Private Eye”, as played by blackrider

Description

Shimamoto “Jiu” Ni Zi

“Share a drink?”

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Age:
22

Appearance:
Not exactly handsome or ugly Jiu stands at about 5'10” with a solid muscular frame and sharp pointed facial features. His unkempt wild black hair juts out randomly in all directions as if it has never seen a comb (or water) and a rather pathetic looking goatee and mustache sit on his face. Somehow the wispy facial hair actually compliments the sharp corner of his chin.

Usually he wears a plain gray cloth undershirt with a faded red long sleeved gi on top, the way he wears the gi open almost gives it more of a jacket like appearance. He's also usually sporting a pair of rather unique looking hakama that have been cut off at the knee. Like many men he also wears a pair of wooden sandal. Three medium sized hollowed out gourds cling to the right side of his waist tied from a small white sash.

Likes:
-Alcohol: In Jui's opinion nothing loosens people up and brings them together quite like a hardy jug of spirits. Based on his constantly red cheeks and goofy smile some might even say he likes this wondrous substance a little to much.
-Music/Singing: Having grown up in a brothel of sorts many of Jiu's earliest memories were of the nights his adopted “family” had been lucky enough to have a musician grace their presence. To this day Jiu loves the sound of instruments and many a drunken night he can be found trying his best to play them.
-Confucius: Don't ask, its confusing.
-Food: Jiu will devour food regardless of type, flavor, and style with reckless abandon. Having long lived with the attitude of “Eat what you can when you can.” Jiu honestly thinks that the only thing that really makes a meal taste better (aside from wine of course) is whether or not he's paying for it.
-Friendly sparring: One never knows just what they might pick up sparring with another skilled opponent while at the same time you get the rush and excitement of testing your own abilities. Jiu loves it.
-Japan: He knows almost nothing of his culture but has been completely enamored with his glorious home since he was a child, most of his beliefs and ideas having been formed without ever even laying eyes on his beloved homeland.

Dislikes:
-Honor: Jiu's unique upbringing has caused him to form a rather adamant opinion that most honor codes are a little more then a cruel joke and a sure way to a quick death. “Honor has killed more men then the blade ever will.” his old Master often joked.
-Living well: A comfy bed and regular meals are an idea so foreign to Jiu that the mere thought of daily consistency makes him slightly cringe.
-Racism: Being Japanese raised in China one quickly learns of racism first hand. To this day it is one of Jiu's only “pet peeve's”, the subject being one of the few things able to actually anger the man. It is an anger made worse by questions of his own heritage.
-Reading: Only knowing a handful of words in both Chinese and Japanese makes proper reading all but impossible for Jiu in both languages, it is an extremely touchy subject and one Jiu does his best to hide.
-Heartless men: Be they warlords or adept men of the blade, those without mercy and compassion are, in Jiu's words, “lost souls.”
-Cowards: “To know what is right and not act is the worst cowardice.” -Confucius
-No alcohol: Whether to spend his last coin on food or spirits has never been a challenging choice.

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Personality:
Having been raised by whores, thieves, and drunkards it is somewhat amazing how seemingly well Jiu turned out to be. The most common first impression people get when meeting him however is that he is a useless young man already lost to the bottle, the fact however couldn't be further from the truth. In all honesty he normally isn’t even drunk but simply feigns a constant state of inebriation,a skill his old Master had instilled in him through several brutal surprise attacks. He seriously couldn’t recall just how many times he had gone to help his seemingly far to drunken Master only to have his mentor strike out ferociously with his flashy fighting style known as Zui Quan. It wasn't long before Jiu himself was walking along with a constant stumble and sway of his own.

Aside from his Master's world views and training the single most influential teacher in his life would be the revered Confucius. Many of the basic tenets of the philosophy are seen through his day to day actions and it is not unusual for him to spout a Confucius quote in response to a question, a habit that does nothing but reinforce his appearance as a drunk that should not be taken seriously. All teaching and philosophy aside when you get down to it Jiu is at his very core simply a good person, the type of man that somehow despite all the hardships of life still radiates the same pure genuine kindness of a child. In fact the very best way to describe his usual mood would be “merry”, an infectious grin almost always hanging on his face effortlessly as he jokes and bumbles about with anyone willing to share a drink.

It is not uncommon for Jiu to be treated like an idiot-something he does his best to bear with a smile but nonetheless wishes he could change. He is not stupid but merely extremely uneducated, especially when it comes to the vast customs and societal differences of Japan. On more then one occasion a fight has broken out due simply to Jiu's ignorance of the culture.

Other key personality traits that stand out range from his willingness to blindly believe those he trusts to his reluctance to kill and even his dealings with the poor. Having been raised by those far from what anyone would consider fortunate Jiu still holds strong ties to the lower class and is always quick to pass out a spare coin or offer a hand to those in need. He especially has a soft spot for the forgotten children of the streets, he himself still able to remember all to well just how it felt growing up in a society that had already written you off as the lowest of the low.

Relationships:
-Master Liu Qizan: Jiu had been lucky to meet Master Qizan at such a young age: a fact he realizes more and more the older he becomes. Friend, mentor, teacher, and disciplinarian-all these roles Qizan filled after their first meeting. To this day Jiu looks up to Master Qizan as if he were an actual father to the orphaned boy.

-Long Pei: A woman that was the closest thing to a mother Jiu would ever have, although her ideas of child rearing had been far from normal. He couldn’t complain though, after all he did survive childhood which was more then many could say. And besides she taught him things like how a smile usually wins out over a fist and that living an extra day is worth all the dishonor in the world, more importantly though she taught him how to cook.

She was also the one who revealed to Jiu the single greatest truth he would come to know in his childhood: He was, and always had been, a pure blooded samurai warrior. Yes, the blood of true warriors flowed through his veins and merely hearing these words as a small boy filled his frail body with an unfamiliar strength. Despite this startling revelation from Long Pei he was never able to pry any substantial details out of the woman, persistence and patience would occasionally add up however and let poor Jiu gleam a scrap of information from the tight lipped Long Pei. However on the handful of occasions he had been able to gather slivers of details they often didn’t piece together or outright contradicted each other.

Strengths:
Having been an ardent disciple of the martial arts his long years of training clearly show in his well defined muscular body. His true strength however comes not from brute force but the mastery of his Zui Quan style, the fact that he's willing to throw a dirty punch doesn't hurt either. His pain threshold is also next to none, especially after he has a couple of drinks in him.

Weaknesses:
Although skilled with the blade it was never a main focus in his training and to this day he has never truly fought with the intent to kill. In his mind killing is a conflicted idea like yin and yang there being both good and bad to the act. Up to this point in his life he has been fortunate enough to not have been forced into dealing with this internal conflict of taking a life; he tries his best to avoid it.

Another weakness is also one of Jiu's main strengths: alcohol itself. His sensei would often chide him for his reliance on alcohol while constantly reminding him that true masters of Zui Quan need not drink at all. Jiu however walks the razors edge between a true drunken Zui Quan master and a mere bumbling village drunk; alone in a foreign homeland he is finding it harder and harder to remain the former of the two.

Home:
Where ever he lays his head, he has been traveling across Japan for less then a month.

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History:

Thunder roared above as Jiu ran muddied and barefoot through the small fishing town he called home. The fresh bruises on his face were a clear give away that he was running away from something, or perhaps he was running towards something; its hard to tell in life. Either way his destination loomed up ahead, the old well built but worn tea house exuding an aura of safety and merriment. Standing out in the pouring rain Jiu still had no trouble making out the familiar sounds of drunken laughter, a harmonic twanging sound especially catching his attention. It sounded like a half decent Liuiqin player, a fact that brought a smile to the battered face of the small eight year old. Maybe if he hurried he could catch a song or two before the man became to drunk or unwilling to play.

Having learned the wrath of his adopted mother Long Pei long ago Jiu was positive that if he came inside tracking mud like a drunken ox she would have his head; or even worse his supper. It was for that reason he took off running towards the back of the building, intent on grabbing a dry pair of dirty clothes along the way. Entering through an almost unnoticeable back door Jiu was immediately met with the sights and sounds of the small kitchen that lay directly on the other side. Although the tea house wasn't necessarily that big it was a rather popular place among the local fishermen and kept the two old cooks who manned the kitchen constantly busy.

The older of the two looked up at Jiu's arrival, his wrinkled old face contorting into anger upon seeing him. “You boy!” The old man roared as he pointed a bloodied kitchen knife accusingly towards Jiu. “Where have you been? Off fighting again by the looks of it, eh?” Quickly he brought the knife down onto the wooden counter top he was working at, a loud 'kathunk' sounding in the air as a fish head literally flew off the table.

“Oh calm down Fuling, you old badger.” The other old cook chided kindheartedly as he continued rolling away at some soon to be noodles. “But Long Pei has been looking for you Jiu and you best not keep her waiting. Don't you agree?” he finished with his signature smile.

“Oh, thank you for the warning Guang.” Juis voice cracked as he gave a quick bow to his elder, his mind more focused on the pain of his bruised face and the cold from his dripping wet clothes. Turning to enter his room (which was an empty spare kitchen pantry) he was forced to turn around as angry old Fuling was shouting yet again.

“Boy!”

“Yes?” Jiu asked, concern clear in his voice that he had done something wrong yet again.

“Eat this dish I've ruined. To much salt.” He practically shoved a medium sized plate of rice and fish into Jiu's hands. “Normally id gave that to the dogs but the storm has scared them off. I guess you'll have to do.” Fuling spat grumpily as he returned to butchering more fish carcasses.

Jiu was so ecstatic to have a hot meal (and fish nonetheless!) that he literally bowed three times out of sheer excitement. “Thank you sir!” Jiu added with a large smile on his face as he hurried off into his room.

Sitting on the floor of his bedroom,which literally contained nothing except a few ratty blankets to sleep with, Jiu began to greedily down the warm meal with nothing but his dirty hands. Within minutes the plate was completely cleared, not even a single drop of rice having been spared.

For a brief moment the worldly delight of a full stomach had made Jiu forget he was still rather wet, a mistake he quickly rectified by changing into his one other spare outfit. He had long suspected his “hand me down” clothes were some form of old sack Long Pei had simply cut holes into and convinced him was clothing. Still though it was better then running around naked, even if the accursed fabric would endlessly itch.

Almost as soon as he was done changing his bedroom door flung open and there in the doorway stood one of the soul stealing demons of the wilds that so many folk tales spoke of.

Actually it was just Long Pei, but the furious look on the woman's face was just as frightening as any demon.

“Where have you been?!” The middle aged woman shrieked as she strut into the pantry room, her talon like hand striking out to grip Jiu's chin. Slowly she turned the boys head side to side as if to asses the damage from his most recent street fight. Finally she let go and with a wave of her hand and continued ranting, as if to wordlessly say his injuries weren't sever enough to warrant any attention. “After all I've done for you! Bah! Its enough to drive a woman mad! Now make yourself useful and take more wine to Mr. Qizan, he's at his usual table. Now hurry!”

“Yes Long Pei. Forgive me Long Pei.” Jiu said sincerely with another exceptionally low bow. Quickly he was off yet again, an old medium sized clay jug clutched in his hands as he made his way out into the heart of the tea house. Old but well kept the place wasn't much to look at, tables and cushions to sit on were seemingly placed anywhere they could be fit. Nonetheless men and woman filled the place, their bodies talking, laughing, and moving in a certain chaotic rhythm that gave the room an energy of its own. Against the wall on the far right side of the tea house was a small makeshift stage that was little more then a raised platform with a wooden stool. A rather good looking young man currently occupied the stool and was filling the room with an upbeat if somewhat off tune song played from his own Luiqin.

It only took Jiu seconds to locate Mr. Qizan, the old man sitting at his usual table furthest away from the music. Actually he wasn't sitting, instead he was sprawled out across three pillows, his old head propped up with his left hand. His right hand nursed a small wooden bowl of rice wine.

It took a moment for Mr. Qizan to notice the young boy, having actually been drunk for the first time in years his senses were much duller then he'd realized. “Jiu! How goes it? I'm so glad to see you.” He paused sitting upright, his left hand rubbing a bit of dirt off the old black Gi he wore. “But who wouldn't be glad to see someone bearing wine, eh?” he joked with a laugh, his toothy white grin causing Jiu to smile himself.

“But come, sit a moment.” Mr. Qizan demanded more then asked, his hand gesturing towards the table. Filled with curiosity Jiu quickly sat down and put the jug of wine between them. “Long Pei has told me much of you but we have never actually spoken, have we?” Mr. Qizan asked although he already new the answer.

“No sir.” Jiu spoke up feeling smaller then normal.

“Those are some bruises you have there. You like to pick fights, do you?”

Jiu bit his lip, unable to make eye contact with Qizan. Finally he replied. “Other boys don't like me.”

“And whys that?”

“Because I'm a samurai.” Jiu stated factually.

“Oh.” Mr. Qizan said as if this was a daily admission in china. “Aren't samurai supposed to win the fights though?”

“I didnt have a sword!” Jiu barked back a little more angrily then he intended.

This response made Mr. Qizan throw his head back in a deep hardy laugh as if the young boy had just told a finely crafted joke. After taking a moment to regain his breath he began to speak once more. “Well, then perhaps you should train to fight without a sword, yes?”

And train he did. As the years went by Jiu devoted him self entirely to honing each and every skill his master would impart on him and by the time he was twenty there was nothing more for his aging master Qizan to teach him, a fact that Jiu would deny despite his master's best attempts to tell him otherwise.
Everything changed on what seemed like an entirely normal day, Jiu having woken up early to greet the day with his morning routine of stretches and wine. Finally he'd made his way into the teahouse he called both home and dojo, finding his masters table empty in the back of the main lobby he took a seat on a rather particularly comfortable looking pillow-the older his master got the more and more he seemed to enjoy wandering around the village and country side, as if he preferred to be any place but where Jiu was. Knowing it could be hours before his master showed up Jiu was quick to make himself comfy, he'd even brought his pear shaped wooden pipa to stave off the boredom of waiting.

For the next several hours Jiu sat there drinking and absent mindidly playing his pipa, it wasn't until the sun had set for several hours that Jiu began to worry about his still absent master. Disregarding the danger of bandits and mother nature Jiu ventured off into the night with nothing more then a musical instrument and a haphazardly made torch, his destination the small hut on the hills overlooking the village.

It took about an hour of stumbling through familiar terrain for Jiu to find his masters home, the way no light shone from the windows made Jiu worry that the place would be abandoned, or perhaps worse. Opening the rickety wooden door of the hut his eyes were met with literally nothing but an empty room save for the dirt floor and a small looking package. Upon further inspection Jiu noticed a note atached to the left behind parcel, his free hand quickly snatching up the mysterious letter.

Despite his best effort to find more clues he found nothing, the small box that had been left behind containing nothing more then a small but substantial amount of money in Japanese currency and three hollowed out gourdes filled with wine (each with, oddly enough, a different kanji).

Returning home he immediately sought out Long Pei, explaining to his strange version of a step mother the events that had unfolded. Her long black thin eyebrows narrowed as her face contorted into its signature angry expression. Quickly she snatched the note from his hands, he eyes darting up and down the parchement before she finally tossed the letter aside with a loud overly exaggerated “Bah!”. Jiu scrambled to grab the fallen letter.

“The old fool has decieded to run. Says he is an anchor around your neck along with some more Confucuis nonsense.” Long Pei squawked as she began to turn to leave, as if the matter were closed.

“Wait!” Jiu called after her with an added pre-emptive bow of forgiveness. “Did it say where he went? Or what I should do?”

Long Pei took a step forward as she sucked her breath in, her chest puffed out slightly as she stared down the much larger Jiu. Waving her hand with a pointed index finger she began scolding him as if he were a child. “Maybe you should learn to read how bout that? Then maybe all my precious time wont be wasted reading and explaining the vast meanings in life to you.”

“But-” Jiu began only to have Long Pei leave the room mid sentence. Left alone in his pantry Jiu examined the last link he had to his master one last time, a painstakingly well done image of a rising sun catching his eye at the bottom of the page.

Perhaps this was his masters way of pointing him in the direction of his true homeland?

So begins...

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