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Katsu

"So very troublesome, aren't we, mother?"

0 · 616 views · located in The Universe

a character in “Sit, boy!”, as played by SlayerofYaks

Description

Name: Katsu

Nickname: N/A

Image

Gender: Male

Age: 18

Role: The Half-breed

Species: Half-Winter Wolf

Personality: Katsu wasn’t a particularly happy child. He wasn’t always so distant, but he had a strange melancholy about him ever since he was a small child. The death of his mother and his father’s abandonment left him barren and bitter for most of his early teen years. He frequently has traumatic nightmares, which he refuses to share with others; however the effects of them show plainly on his otherwise relatively emotionless face. He tends to keep to himself, preferring to travel alone, but is often drawn to small groups for reasons he can’t entirely explain. He feels pity for most humans, seeing them as weak, defenseless creatures, which he relates with every month. Conversely, he fears most powerful demons, seeing no reason to trouble them as they may slaughter him where he stands if he disturbs the wrong demon. This too he relates with once a month. His bloodlines force him to keep people at arms-length to avoid either killing them or exposing his soft underbelly.
Katsu has a kind streak, despite his inner conflicts. While he usually attributes it to pity or insanity, he often finds himself helping those in need where he can, unsure of where he lies in society. While he has no qualms with butchering innocent people to get where he needs to go, he refuses to harm a child, regardless whether it is demonic or human.

Appearance description: Katsu is of average height and build for a male his age. White canine-like ears poke out from short-cut black hair. He sports a red stripe underneath each grey eye and a circle of red upon his forehead, markings he was born with and was likely inherited from his demonic father. A long, bushy black and white tail hangs down from the small of his back, the tip brushes against the tops of his calves. He is typically garbed in a white kimono top tied with a patterned fold and purple sash, along with black pants and bound sandals. He hauls about an onyx multi-handled buster sword, which he uses as a highly inefficient weapon, as he hasn’t trained to use it and it is impractically heavy. He also uses his long claws to rend through his victims and enemies. Upon the evening of the new moon, his white ears and tail vanish and he is left with his dark hair and eyes, appearing to be human. On the rise of the full moon, his hair turns shock white and his eyes adopt a deep red color. His fangs and claws elongate and he is overcome with a gleeful bloodlust.

So begins...

Katsu's Story

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Character Portrait: Katsu
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Crimson spread slowly across the ground, collecting flecks of dirt and following the jagged cracks left from an unknown source. As the dawn approached, tiny palms are raised forward to a tall shadow. Whispers of faded words echoed as if they were distant, despite being so clearly in front of the small kneeling figure. A swift force brought the hands to the crimson-stained ground and the shadow turned away.

"I didn't mean it! I'm sorry!" The cries of a child broke through the muted silence as the figure faded into a misty background. "Papa! Don't go!"


Jolting awake, Katsu panted heavily, sitting up from his lying position in the sunshine. He cradled his face in his palms as he regained his composure. The nightmare, a memory from far too long ago. He rubbed his eyes and yawned, blinking the restless sleep from his grey eyes before stretching and dragging himself to his feet. Absently, his hand slid through his hair to brush it out of his vision as he took stock of his surroundings. The half-demon had fallen asleep in a patch of soft grass just outside of the village at some point during the late evening. His white ears swiveled to catch the sounds nearby. "What a beautiful day." He yawned, spotting his current weapon of choice.

He groaned, tugging the wide onix blade out of a nearby tree. It was the easiest way to keep it from getting stolen, considering he doubted any human was strong enough to lift the unwieldy weapon, let alone pull it from being wedged in an old tree. Not that he was fond of the massive sword, considering it was incredibly difficult to wield and uselessly heavy, but he went through a considerable series of trials to drag the thing from the depths of a haunted crypt. The legends from which he learned of the sword had lost its name over time, making it worthless to him until he could manage to uncover it. These legends described it as a weapon that reshaped itself to the needs of its wielder. But until he could get the thing to work with him, it was a heavy slab of stone with an impractical amount of handles to grip it with.

A strange scent danced upon the wind. It was different from the small fox and the demon hunter he was familiar with. It was strong mix of smoke, sweat, something sour, and something sweet. He tilted his head, his long white tail swishing with an anticipation. "I smell something troublesome on the wind. I shouldn't investigate." He stated, straightening his top before sighing heavily. "Of course, I'm to investigate against my better judgement. I should just go and avoid all this trouble." He grumbled under his breath, unable to bring himself to simply leave. With a thick leather strap, he tied the massive blade to his back and took off in the direction of the bizarre new scent.

The half-breed leaned over a rooftop, looking down upon the small fox-demon and the demon slayer as a small handful of human-looking people approached the village from the direction of the well in the forest. He sat down, folding his legs and leaning his head against his palm. "They smell mostly human." He muttered, content to simply watch and avoid interacting. He didn't like the demon slayer much, considering his better half was in fact demonic. His feelings toward the small fox demon weren't particularly fond ones either, however, out of the acquaintances he had made over the previous six months, he found that she was the least likely to attempt to murder him. "This is going to ruin my day, I can just tell."

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Katsu's grey eyes narrowed slightly as Jin acknowledged his presence on the rooftop. He didn't exactly make an effort to conceal himself, plainly sitting on the rooftop to get a decent enough view of the outlandish people without having to introduce himself if he found they bored him however, he wasn't overly fond of the demon slayer as it was and had hoped he wouldn't draw too much attention to himself in the first place. As the villagers began to gather, whispering in panicked voices, Katsu sighed. He frequently forgot exactly how stupid and paranoid some humans could be. He knew the difference immediately between a human and a demon because of his acute sense of smell, but humans weren't blessed with any sort of ability to tell the more powerful demons from their ilk. As he pondered how humans managed to survive in the world for so long without any sort of smarts or senses, he spotted an all-too-familiar figure in the treeline. He started, more surprised that he hadn't caught scent of his brother before he saw him. Perhaps the scent of the strange humans had confused his nose. Yes, it must have been the strangers throwing him off. Otherwise, it would be a sign that he had gone soft from hanging around the ungrateful little village for far too long. The half-breed pushed himself to his feet, deciding to play the observer no more. If his brother was interested in these creatures, it was sure to be trouble for him and the village. Better to solve the problem sooner than let it get more trouble than it is worth.

He hopped down from the roof, startling a pair of yammering old women who were whispering their theories about the strange group of humans. The two of them fled, more frightened by Katsu's sudden drop than by his presence. He sighed, knowing they would demand an apology when they calmed down, something he would not look forward to. Apologizing to humans seemed like such a waste of time. Half-blooded creatures never really did anything right in either community of creature. He could save the village from certain destruction and they would likely ask him to drop to his knees over the damage he did doing so.

The half-breed allowed his attention to first be drawn to the bleeding girl. She seemed to be the most willing to interact with the fox and the demon slayer, although the one male with them seemed the most polite. The male also seemed the most worried about her wound. He approached, appearing more annoyed than interested. "What have we told you about adopting the troubles of strangers, fox?" He mused, hardly acknowledging Jin as he passed the demon slayer. "I always end up cleaning up your mess." He hand reached out and he touched Deirdre's wound, pulling his hand back to examine the crimson fluid on his fingertips. It was a gentler gesture than he had anticipated it to be. His ears lied back against his head and he wiped his fingers upon his pants. "You stink of blood. You'll draw unwanted attention if you don't clean yourself up." He said, his voice cold, but soft, as if he was scolding a younger sibling for being careless. He turned away from her to address a now hiding figure. "Isn't that right, Bisha-nii?" He stood away from the group, but didn't approach the trees where his elder sibling had stashed himself away. "Don't you have someone to terrorize? Or have you come to visit?" He called out to the trees. The half-breed was hoping that his sibling would take offence and leave rather than start an altercation. He would prefer not to have to clean up after a squabble with his sibling, especially over something stupid, like a handful of strangers in bizarre clothing that the little fox decided to keep.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tahra Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Molly McCloud Character Portrait: Jin Character Portrait: Deirdre
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Jin noticed Katsu's brothers arrival, but said nothing...........even after Katsu began to engage him. He never was a fan of Bishamon, and chose not to bother with him if he didn't have to......so instead, he just kept a watchful eye on the situation. But when he caught a glimpse of the wound atop the strangely dressed womans head, his attention switched to that. However before he could do much, Tahra sprung into action and he let her be....before inconspicuously stepping back from everyone so that he could make his way around the strangers, to study everything about them.



"What do you say? We talk to their leader, make a break for it, wait and see what happens? What?" he heard one of the girls say to the only male in the group. to which he responded [i]"Molly, try to relax some, we'll wait and see what happens first. It looks like these two guys are going to sart fighting and when they do we might be able to slip away unnoticed"

Jin would slip his hands into his pocket, before walking up behind the small group of friends.
"I'm afraid there's a couple of problems with your plan." he said, suddenly speaking up behind them "First, we have no leader........the village might, but we're travelers....not really permanent residents. Second, you could get a long head start, and Katsu or Bishamon there would still be able to catch up to you with ease."

He stepped from behind the small group to beside them.........so he could once again keep an eye on Katsu and Bishamon .
"Besides, do you know where you are? You appear, pretty lost....what good would running do you?" he began again "And I can seal the wound on your friends head there if you'll just wait a moment for Tahra to clean it."
After finishing his second statement, Jin pulled out a small container filled with a clay-like herbal mixture used to seal small wounds.......he dipped his pointer finger in it and swiped out just the right amount. He'd wait for Tahra to finish cleaning the wound before holding out his finger to the small fox demon, so she could take the medicine from it when ready.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tahra Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Molly McCloud Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Jin
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The half-blood bristled; visibly upset that Bishamon had yet to respond. A thought crossed his mind, and he wondered if his brother had actually just run off and his scent was simply lingering among the trees. If his elder sibling decided to fight and cause trouble, Katsu wasn’t entirely sure how it would end. Lord Bishamon was considerably stronger, faster, and better with his weapons than he was. The only thing Katsu really had going for him in a fight was his ability to keep a level head on most days of the month. His brother, however, was relatively hot-headed, where most of the mistakes in battle were made. Out of the few encounters the two of them had, few of them had been violent, and none of them Katsu actually won on his own. Granted, at this time he had the demon slayer Jin with him. The two were tentative allies for the time being, although Katsu was not sure how long that would last. They had few reasons to work together, aside from the fact that Katsu generally didn’t cause trouble for humans and preferred to be left alone. That and he had recently developed a ‘helpful’ reputation among the local human villages. It wasn’t that he went out of his way to help; it was simply more troublesome to have the people around him suffer while he was around. It made his stays in villages much more comfortable, considering that despite his demonic appearance, those he helped were more than happy to provide him with a little bit of food and shelter. Although, as often as someone was happy to help, there was an equal amount of people who were displeased with his methods or still quite perturbed that a demon—even if it was only a half-breed—was anywhere near their village.

He drew the onyx blade from his back and drove it into the soft earth before him. It would simply slow him down as it was and it wasn’t like it was particularly sharp or worthwhile as a weapon at the moment. Eventually he intended to find the name of the blade to bend its sealed power to his will. But until then, it was mostly dead weight. His claws could handle most adversaries. With the silence from his brother, his attention was drawn once more to the cluster of strange people. Tahra was busy attempting to tend to the wounded one, whose blood was toying with his sense of smell. When she addressed the fact that they had seemingly appeared from the bottom of the well with no previous scent, he scoffed, shaking his head. Obviously humans couldn’t do that. He took the lull in his ‘conversation’ with his sibling to examine the group more closely. He didn’t move from his spot as the male lashed out at Jin, holding back a laugh of amusement. To think the strangely dressed human could even touch the demon slayer. From what Katsu had observed, he would have trouble hitting Jin if he tried. And he was a half-demon. Then again, Katsu was more than capable of ripping through the demon slayer apart if he really wanted to. He was unable to keep back a chortle as Jin put the human in his place, on the ground. One of the human girls seemed to freak out, which caught Katsu off guard. The male on the ground pleaded for space and he gave the lot of them a skeptical look.

Troublesome. How very troublesome they are. What have you done, fox? He thought, frowning as he sighed heavily. He gave Jin a bitter look, but managed to hold his tongue. The monk approaching was a strange development. What is this? A show? How many more humans are going to disturb my lovely day? He tilted his head, remaining silent for the time being. It was becoming less and less amusing, this day. The monk seemed to be more interested in the ladies than the others around, leaving Katsu with a bad taste in his mouth. Not that he cared all too much. He wanted to lie down and go back to his vivid nightmares. They seemed more preferable than the panicked humans that stank of strange smells. He blinked slowly as the monk offered to take the lot of them away from the half-breed and his two ‘companions.’

Tch. They’ve got even less of a reason to trust you than us. Not that I care much. Go with him if you want. Less trouble for me.” He scoffed, turning his attention back to the tree line. “They’re too jumpy anyway. The fox should have left them in the forest where they came from.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tahra Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Molly McCloud Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Jin Character Portrait: Deirdre
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"They’re too jumpy anyway. The fox should have left them in the forest where they came from.”

Jin couldn't of agreed more w/ the first part of the statement. He didn't dislike his own kind like Katsu seemed to half the time, but the erratic behavior of these newcomers was just too strange for his liking.......and besides, their manic-state could bring unwanted attention to the group during outdoor travels......as demons would likely view the foursome as easy targets.

The monks arrival onto the scene just threw another dramatic wrench into everything, as the sun begun to set. It was rather obvious the man had more than just "helping" on his mind, but the girls appeared to be able to handle themselves against the mans advances quite well........which made him smirk.


As the supposed holy-man made his offer and then walked away. Jin softly shook his head from side to side.

"I wouldn't follow him. He may be a monk, but he's a lecherous one." Tahra chimed in with.
"She's right........but then again-" Jin paused for a moment to pick up the medicine bottle from the ground and place it in his pocket. "-you have free will. Leave if you wish.....i just wouldn't waste time thumbing it over for too long if i was you. Once it's dark, as you should know, you'll make easy victims."


Lord Bishamon didn't seem to be making a move, and the weight of his swords on his side was becoming a bit annoying.........but he'd wait for this odd standoff of sorts to come to an end, and the four to make up their mind as to where they'd be going for night, before he'd walk back inside the small hut the group had been staying in for the last few days......anxious to sit by the small fire set in the middle, with his weapons close beside him.

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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As Kiske makes his planned exit from the group he picks up a sudden tingling at the edge of his senses and his eyes begin searching all around attempting to pinpoint the source of this...strange energy. The weapons master? No, not the human. The demons? No they each have an individual aura about them and its not that powerful anyways. The half-demon? The youkai's aura itself was interesting but nothing too unique but wait...what was that aura coming from him? Its not his own no its that sword of his!

Kiske quickly pivots and begins to make a beeline for the youkai, his eyes firmly affixed to the blade as the aura he was picking up got stronger and stronger as he got closer. There was something...sinister about that blade that he hadn't sensed in a very long time. The last time I sensed an aura like this was many moons ago when I was fighting this full blooded demon...

Several Months ago and many miles away

That codger of an old man had promised me there was a village of beautiful women up this path but I've been walking for hours and yet I still haven't seen any sign of habitation. I doubt that old man could even walk this far much less be in any condition to entertain the ladies once he got there... Kiske's mind returned to the stories the old man had told him of the secluded village of women who had come together as refugees from the wars when they lost their families. Just the thought of a village filled completely with women was enough to steady Kiske's resolve to find that village.

After trudging for another mile his resolve was beginning to wane again and he was just about to turn back when he found a beautiful clearing with enough shade to get him out of the sun. "I think a nice rest is in order, and then I'll decide if I should continue or not." he said to no one in particular as he settled himself down comfortably under the trees and quickly fell into a doze.

Kiske was suddenly awoken by a loud scream from not too far away. He quickly sat up in the now dusky daylight and began searching around for the source of the scream. A second scream came followed quickly by a cry of anguish. He began sprinting towards the location of the noise and could eventually hear more screams and the sound of someone laughing all the while a strong demonic aura was getting stronger and stronger. Kiske eventually broke through the forest wall and out into a clearing where he saw a secluded village and the only inhabitants he could see were beautiful young women. Kiske's eyes shot open and his mouth opened as he just stared at his own personal paradise until another scream brought him back to the more urgent concern of a nearby enemy. He eventually saw a dust cloud from the south side of the village and sensed the strongest demonic aura concentration there.

"There you are!" he called out and quickly began running in that direction, dodging through the streets of the village until he turned the last corner and saw the source of the commotion: a humanoid full-blooded demon carrying a small sword. As Kiske watched the demon swung out with the blade and suddenly the blade was ten feet long, cutting a nearby house completely in half. Kiske dived to the ground as the sword whistled back over his head and sliced through a house on the other side of the street, scrambling back to his feet and sending a surge of power into his gauntlet.

The demon's sword shrunk back to its original size as it sized up Kiske. "And what are you? You smell like a monk but you don't carry the staff of one so are you trying to be smart or are you just unarmed?"

Kiske grinned, "If you think I'm unarmed why are you not simply attacking me like everyone else here?"

"Simple curiosity. It gets boring simply killing everything without any sport. Maybe you'll be some..." and with that the demon lunges at Kiske, the sword gripped in his right hand. Kiske connects his right fist and left palm and begins cycling energy through his body, creating a solid barrier around himself as the demon slashes out with its sword, colliding and deflecting off the barrier. The demon snarls and lunges again, but this time the sword turns into a thin line, creating a needle sharp point which drives into Kiske's barrier and through it.

Kiske's eyes shoot wide open as the blade doesn't break his barrier, but seems to simply ignore it as it passes through. He only has time to lean out of the way far enough for the sword to pierce his left shoulder with a small prick when suddenly the sword grows in size, slicing up through his shoulder and leaving a deep gash. Kiske cries out in pain as his barrier dissolves and he falls over, almost passing out with the pain. As he falls he sticks his right hand out and catches himself, sending a wave of explosive energy through his gauntlet which propels him back up into the air about 10 feet with his head pointed down and his feet in the air.

The demon looks up and snarls as Kiske sails overhead, right arm extended with open palm facing the demon. "Sunbeam Strike!" A beam of white hot light builds up in his hand before exploding out and creating a pillar of light several feet in diameter that pierces through the demon who's cries of pain are cut short as its body disintegrates in the blaze of heat from Kiske's gauntlet.

Kiske ungracefully lands on his side a few seconds later and simply lays there for a few moments as the pain in his right arm begins to spread. "Well that isn't something I want to have to repeat..." he mutters to himself as he struggles back to his feet. Suddenly he senses the aura from before again and his weary body quickly scouts the surrounding area but doesn't see the demon anywhere around. Slowly he realizes that next to the scorched spot on the ground where the demon had been laid the sword, pulsing as an evil aura emanated from it. That can't be good...so it was the sword that had all the power not the demon himself. No wonder he was so easy to destroy. Kiske turns away from the sword and then a thought hits him, That kind of powerful demonic aura is going to attract more demons to it. I can't simply leave it here to terrorize this village again...

Kiske returns to the sword and bends down to pick it up but as soon as his hand touches it the sword sends a surge of energy into him and Kiske can feel it almost clawing at the seal in his back. "No! Not that again! Not ever again!" he yells as he realizes the sword is trying to unlock the sealed energy inside him. He tries releasing the sword but his hand refuses to listen to him and it continues to firmly grasp the hilt. His own spiritual energy fires back to life and begins pushing the sword's energy back into itself but the sword itself fought back almost as if it had a mind of its own leaving Kiske no choice but to put all his energy into removing the swords clasp on his soul and to bind it back into its own shell.

Eventually the last vestige of the sword is removed from Kiske's body and he is able to release his grip on the blade. In his final act he summons spiritual energy into his gauntlet again and drives it into the blade of the sword, smashing the demonic blade into pieces that go flying in all directions. As the demonic aura finally dissipates Kiske allows himself to sit down and slowly he realizes he has fallen onto his back. I guess the loss of blood is getting to me more than I thought..." Kiske looks over at his shoulder and realizes that his entire arm is covered in blood and its leaking out into a pool around him. He tries to reach over with his good hand to put pressure on the wound but before he can he sees people coming in from all sides. As his vision slowly fades to black he can feel something being pressed down on his shoulder and several mumors of female voices calling for a doctor. Well there are worse ways to die then surrounded by beautiful women... Kiske thinks before he looses consciousness.

A few days later Kiske wakes up in an unfamiliar house but with the kindly feel of an old ladies house, lovingly maintained and cared for. Kiske tries to sit up but realizes putting pressure on his right arm to sit up is almost impossible and even raising his head up brings a bout of dizziness. "Oh my dear you shouldn't be up yet! You're still recovering!" a clear voice comes from just out of his sight range, the voice of an elderly yet still strong women.

Kiske turns his head to the side and smiles at the old women. "My good lady I assume I have you to thank for my returned good health? I deeply appreciate it ma'm and if I must say simply the sight of your kind face returns strength to my body. Might I ask what happened?"

The old lady chuckles, "You almost died defending that women's village from that demon and you probably should have but luckily for you one of the women there was a trained priestess and managed to stop the flow of blood from your shoulder allowing you to be transported to my humble house a ways away from the village where more serious medical attention could be given." the old lady frowned, "It was still a close call though. If you hadn't have had such a strong will to live I doubt you would have made it. Even so I'm glad you did and you are more than welcome to stay in my house while you recover."

Kiske nodded, "Thank you my good lady. You have saved my life and for that I shall be eternally grateful. However I do believe I should rest a bit more...I seem to be having trouble keeping my eyes open..." Kiske's voice trails off as his eyes close and he returns to a much more restful sleep. The days go by as he slowly recovers and as his strength returns he helps the old lady about the house, chopping firewood, doing repair work, or doing whatever was needed to help the old lady. They grew to become great friends, sharing jokes at meal times and simply enjoying having a chat every once in a while. The old lady even taught Kiske some of the healing arts and he was surprised to find out that the old lady was actually a fairly competent priestess who mixed holy sutras with healing remedies to increase their potency.

Eventually the day came where Kiske decided he needed to return to his travels, but not before he checked out that village of women who were sure to see him as a returning hero. "Oh I'm sorry Kiske, but that village was so damaged by the demon that they all returned to their homes or found new ones in the surrounding villages. That area's a ghost town now." the old lady said when he mentioned his plan.

Kiske's face simply locked in a distraught appearance and he hung his head in defeat. "Well that makes sense...thank you for the information. I guess I'll be on my way then." he said and he bowed to the old priestess and turned on his heels to head back down the road that he had come in on, only to realize that in all the time they'd spent together they'd never exchanged names yet she had somehow picked up on his. He turned around to correct this injustice but he stopped with his mouth half open as he stared at a completely empty clearing, devoid of any form of habitation except for the tree stump he had used to cut firewood on. He thought he heard a faint laugh on the wind that sounded just like the old priestess but he couldn't pinpoint where it was coming from so he simply smiled and shook his head as he returned to his previous path to continue his travels.

Present time

Kiske's left shoulder throbbed in remembrance of the last fight he had with a demonic blade and he approached Katsu with trepidation. "Excuse me my good half-demon, but might I inquire where you got that blade of yours? Or should I call it that lump of rock that holds a semblance of a blade?" he asks in a nonchalant manner even while his insides are boiling with questions.

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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Katsu’s eyes narrowed as the monk approached him, seemingly more interested in the onyx blade rammed into the earth than the half-demon. He wasn’t particularly keen on interacting with the monk at all, but if he was going to come say ‘hello,’ there wasn’t much he could do to stop him. Something in the back of his spine bristled as he was once again addressed as a half-demon. If the fox had kept her large mouth shut, the human would have likely mistaken him for a full-blooded youkai. Humans surely couldn’t tell the difference and even most demons had trouble telling the difference between a half-breed and a true youkai. The only real way to tell was usually to ask nicely or spend a full month with one, as all half-breeds had a night on which they lost their abilities.

This useless lump of stone happens to be mine, holy man.” He scowled, shifting to stand partially between his blade and the strange monk. “And unless you think you can take it from me, I suggest you back up. I don’t like the smell of you, much less the look of you. What makes you think you’re entitled to know where I got it from?” While the frustration in his voice was misplaced and better suited to be aimed at his elder sibling, who had still managed to avoid bursting through the trees spouting in fury, he spent a great deal of time and effort sniffing out his blade and wasn’t about to let some strange monk get his full story. He had barely shared it with Tahra and Jin, for that matter. When it was clear they had no idea what his sword was supposed to be, let alone its name, he stopped talking about it altogether, except to periodically complain about how very worthless it happened to be.

The blade was quite the trouble to retrieve, as the crypt he dragged it from two months ago had been crawling with a dark energy that disturbed the corpses in the burial grounds around it. These disturbed corpses seemed fond of animating when someone laid their hands upon the blade and tearing them limb from limb. While Katsu had little trouble defeating them individually, the mob posed quite a bit of a problem and was a tax on his stamina. With the added weight of his newfound and currently unusable sword, he found himself struggling a great deal, only to barely escape the mass of dead. By the time he had left the burial grounds, the undead had returned to their sleep, presumably waiting until the sword was returned by some unknown force and aside from the fact that Katsu could barely carry the monstrous sword, there were no real incidents involving the blade’s power. In fact, Katsu couldn’t even call upon it. While he could smell the almost recent blood on the blade and could practically feel the power locked inside, the sword had become little more than dead weight, an unfair trade considering what he went through on his own to fetch it. Since then he met the fox and the demon slayer, less concerned about their travels and troubles than he was about figuring out how to use the blade as the stories he heard had said.

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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Well apparently that was NOT the right thing to address him as... the monk realized when Katsu bristled when he was referred to as a half-demon. Should probably stick to calling him youkai for now...

The monks eyes continue searching the blade for clues as more and more things connect and all point to only one conclusion. The sheer size and weight of the blade, the multiple handles, the strange aura emanating from it, this blade could only be one thing, the seven bladed weapon once used by a swordsman of great skill who became corrupted by his own blade..

Kiske turned his eyes to the youkai for the first time. "How you came across the blade is obvious, you stole it from a grave but that knowledge is really of no consequence. What I want to know is how have you managed to wield it at all? Surely in its current form it isn't much use and I was told that this particular blade had been sealed to prevent use by anyone other then the true owner which leads me to ask how did you break the seal." Kiske searches Katsu's face and then a realization hits him as the youkai's face betrays him. "Ah...I see. You HAVEN'T unsealed it and have been wielding it around like a lump of rock. Well I guess if your strength holds up wielding a club is better then your bare hands but if you wish I may be able to help you unseal its true potential. Ah..." Kiske closes his eyes and shakes his head. "I almost forgot you don't like the "smell" of me. Well forget I offered any help since I'm sure you wouldn't want any from a lowly human such as myself even if it did mean increasing your own power."

Kiske pauses to peruse the half demon's face again. "But if you are interested in hearing what I know I'll be more then happy in sharing my knowledge and helping you unlock that blade of yours if for no other reason then because I have a particular fascination with powerful objects, be they sacred or demonic, and I would much enjoy finding out if that blade is a form of evil, neutrality, or good because I've seen all forms before." Kiske retreats into his thoughts, And evil weapons and objects have only one possible end, destruction. Every evil, tainted object I remove from this world is one less that will be around to terrorize the people for I have seen how much damage an evil blade can wreck with even a lowly demon. Allowing a lord of demons to posses a blade of pure evil would bring about a swath of destruction I don't even want to think about.

Kiske's eyes return to their usual happy appearance, "But if your blade can be harnessed and controlled then I would be more than happy to leave it be and simply study it to better understand its construction as I am also a designer of enchanted objects and in fact use them to harness my own energy when needed. As such every new trick I learn increases my own abilities and that is an invaluable chance to pass up."

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Character Portrait: Tahra Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Jin
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The monk had an odd interest in Katsus sword, and Jin quickly took notice.
Katsu had shared only but so much with him about how he found it. But Jin had heard a story from his father long ago about the powers of a unique demon sword, but over the time they've traveled together the sword hadn't shown itself to be the one from the legends. However Jin knew it could simply be a matter of time, and was always on watch for the power to truly show itself.


A breeze suddenly brushed by the group, and Jin closed his eyes momentarily............but they shot open again at the sound of his name being called out from the crowd.
At first he thought it was just his mind playing tricks on him, but when the soft feminine voice could be heard again calling out his name, he quickly pushed himself off the hut he had been leaning against and stepped a few feet forward......just as a young girl, who appeared no older than twelve or thirteen, stepped out from the crowd.

The moment she locked eyes with Jin her face went from uncertainty, to pure relief. "Jin! It really is you!!" she said before running up and hugging him. "I have been searching all over, trying to find Kirara & you....it's been nearly a week!"
He was completely caught off guard, and didn't have much time to look at the girls face before she buried it into his chest........so since he was unsure of who she was, he didn't return the hug, and instead looked down at her, befuddled.
"I'm sorry, but who are you??" he asked......causing the girl to suddenly jerk herself back a foot or so - a look of great disappointment written all over her face. "It's me Jin.....Megu-" Jin suddenly cut her off and finished her statement, as her face was all of a sudden recognizable. "mi! Kojio's sister, Megumi! Oh my, I um, apologize.....it's just been so long.....i didn't recognize you." Jins voice trailed off as the girl once again perked up, and Kirara jumped up into her arms.



When the village of Demon Slayers was decimated by an unknown demon, and Jins entire family was wiped out in one horrible day, there were only three survivors.........him, his friend Kojio, and Kojio's sister Megumi. Him and Kojio had been in the fields when the village was attacked, and Megumi had successfully made it out of village and to the two boys without being killed.

While the anger inside of him, and the burning need for revenge - his whole reason he has been traveling in the first place - , prevented Jin from staying in his village after the tragedy, Kojio and his sister, who weren't trained in the art of demon slaying, didn't wish to leave. So after months of cleaning up the village and completing the proper burial ceremonies, Jin parted ways with his friends......but would always visit at least once a month.
But as he now stared at the young girl, he realized that it had been nearly two years since he had seen her.......and she had grown quite a bit.



"How could i not.....recognize you?" he whispered to himself, suddenly feeling guilty.
"It's okay Jin, you just-"
"-It's not okay......i should have visited you two, i just.......i guess, i just lost track of time..."

Megumi placed Kirara on her shoulder and took a few steps towards Jin - grabbing his hands in hers. "It's okay. Your journey is an important one, we understand. But...." she'd pause for a second to look at the awkward bunch of people nearby, before turning back towards Jin. "....i'm hoping you can part from your, new friends?, for a few days......because we need you and Kirara back in the village. A demon has taken refuge in the fields......it prevents us from framing for food. And every night it moves closer in towards the village gates. Once there, we won't be able to stop it from fully intruding. We've taken in a few random wanderers over the past couple of years, but they too aren't trained to slay such a fearsome demon. We need you, please. Can you come back with me and-"

[;color=Red]"-of course Megumi, i will do what i can. We should leave now, before it gets darker. Kirara!"[/color]

The small demon cat grew into it's normal large size, and Jin helped the young girl atop it's back..before turning to face Katsu and Tahra.
He wasn't really sure what to say at first........it's not like he HAD to give them any explanation for his leaving.........but in some strange way, the two of them had become his close travel companions over the last several months........so he felt he had to say something.

"My friends......need me back home. I have appreciated your companionship, and occasional help in battle, on my journey........but i must leave now. Good luck with your further travels.........be safe."
Jin wouldn't wait for a response, before jumping atop Kirara's back, with his Hiraikotsu firm in his hand, and his swords at his side. He'd nod at Katsu and then the others.........before taking off into the darkening sky.

He figured it doubtful he'd ever see any of them again.....

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Character Portrait: Tahra Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Jin
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Kiske’s words stabbed straight through Katsu’s pride. He bit his tongue, holding back what could have been a long string of poorly chosen insults. While he prided himself on his patience, this monk seemed to know exactly where to strike to make it hurt. It was true that he had absolutely no idea how to use the blade and it was his personal mission to wield it for his own means. He hadn’t considered for what end he would use the sword of legend, however. He didn’t much care for helping people out, nor did he wish to ruffle the feathers of powerful demons. However, he held little malice for humans and didn’t see himself bringing it down upon innocent people. He couldn’t even recall why he wanted to find it so badly in the first place. He had spent over a year trying to find the damn blade, and even heard rumors that someone had already robbed the grave and was wielding it to butcher people where they stood. While the crypt had shown signs of previous intrusion, Katsu had assumed that the undead creatures had overwhelmed the last robber and it was returned to its rightful place.

My bare hands could tear you limb from limb if you don’t watch your mouth.” He scowled, visibly upset at the monk’s words. It was bad enough to have his brother think he was worthless and incapable of handling simple tasks, such as wielding a demonic sword, but a mere human monk was just too insulting. He may have only been a half-breed, but he still maintained the pride of a full-blooded youkai. “And I don’t even bother to wield the worthless piece of junk. I know what I’m missing to command the sword. I don’t need any help from you.” He caught himself a moment¸ trying to figure out how to recover from the lie his pride had pushed through his mouth. The name of the sword was scratched out of every version of the legend he could find—though not being able to read made that considerably more difficult to discern—and any assistance he could find regarding the blade’s true nature would have been more helpful than following around a fox and a demon slayer in hopes that they stumble across it in their journeys. He inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly, pressing back everything in his body that screamed to punch the monk into the next town.

However…” He began, his face returning to his standard look of mild annoyance. “If you would like to look at it or whatever, be my guest. I doubt you can hurt it any more than I have. Let’s sort these morons out first, though. I’m getting sick of looking at that panicked look on their faces.” He huffed, returning his gaze to the four strange humans. His eyes darted to the treeline and back again. “It appears my dear brother isn’t going to bother with us. He’s not the type to attack us while we’re sleeping either.” He mused, pulling the onyx blade up from the earth and strapping it to his back. He frowned at the cluster of people, and then exhaled another heavy sigh. “I suppose we should feed you or something. The Fox seems hell-bent on keeping you around.” He paused and bristled at the appearance of yet another human. I need to stop hanging around human villages. It’s getting tedious. Do I have to accommodate her as well? He thought bitterly. As the two of them talked, he fidgeted, smelling something strange in the air. He considered going to investigate it when Jin hopped aboard his over-sized cat, the new girl perched atop it as well.

"My friends......need me back home. I have appreciated your companionship, and occasional help in battle, on my journey........but i must leave now. Good luck with your further travels.........be safe."

Katsu blinked as they took off. “H-hey! Don’t just leave me with this mess!” He barked into the night sky. “What am I supposed to do with them?” He was counting on Jin to take care of the excitable humans if they were going to stay. He didn’t particularly trust Tahra to make good decisions on a whole and he wasn’t good at handling human problems that didn’t involve killing something. Did he call me a friend? He was likely just being polite. He turned to the others and heaved a third heavy sigh. “My beautiful day... I knew it would be ruined. Fine, let’s get you lot inside. The local youkai like to eat stray humans after dark.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Saeko Matsushita Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Molly McCloud Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Deirdre
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Kiske chuckled inwardly when Katsu made his aggressive claim. He was more than welcome to try but the monk had trained most of his entire life to prevent demons from tearing him and others around him apart. He'd at the very least make it a challenge for the youkai and besides that he doubted the half demon really meant his words. But at his acceptance of help Kiske could hardly contain his excitement. This was just the chance he had been looking for ever since he had started designing enchanted weaponry. A close up look of a legendary weapon and a chance to study it in depth. True he only had rumors of stories to go on but he was sure with the actual object within reach he would be able to unravel the mystery much quicker then just reading the stories.

"Oh I'm glad to hear you say that and I would be more than happy to assist you." Kiske said but then turned his attention back to the strange humans who seemed to be frozen in place, not moving and not speaking. "But you are right, we need to take care of these humans first as they are sure to attract attention from the nearby youkai..."

As the half demon turned to call to the humans Kiske cringed when he mentioned that bit about the youkai. You just had to mention that to an already half terrified group of strangers, didn't you...Something tells me your people skills are a bit on the lacking side. Kiske thought to himself as he stepped forward to place a hand on the youkai's shoulder. "Do you have a house in mind, my good youkai? Is there a large enough residence that you have access to? If not might I suggest we find a nice inn where we can rent some rooms for the night? Assuming of course this village has such a location."

Kiske paused to address the group of humans as a thought occurred to him. "It just occurred to me that not a single one of us has asked what the group of you wish to do so I do believe now is as good a time as any to find out wouldn't you say? So how about it? Would you like to stay with this odd group of friendly people until we get this whole mess straightened out or would you rather strike out on your own and hope to find your way?"

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Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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The monk blinked a few times before looking first at the half demon and then back at the boy, surprise written clearly on his face. Trusting a demon over a holy man? That's simply unheard of and frankly I'm insulted! the monk thinks to himself as he hangs his head and lifts his hands up in a sign of befuddlement, Can't a guy simply show a little concern for the well being of an attractive female without being instantly branded anymore? It usually takes a few days at the very least...

The monk looks back up at the humans. "Well I'm sure we'll come to an understanding eventually but until that time you are more than welcome to count on the good youkai here to...protect you from the various dangers of this world." he says with a slight chuckle. "That being said, I will be accompanying this demon myself for a spell myself so we will have plenty of time to get over this distrust and I'm sure we'll all become fast friends."

Kiske takes a sidelong look at Katsu's stony face, Although with this one's disposition that might be a bit harder then originally advertized...

Setting

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Character Portrait: Saeko Matsushita Character Portrait: Tahra Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Molly McCloud Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Deirdre
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The half-demon was taken aback by the young male human’s willingness to trust him over the monk. While neither of them had done anything that would earn a great amount of trust, the typical response was ‘die, demon, die,’ and ‘save us, holy man.’ Not a polite, ‘I’d rather follow the demon, thanks.’ Not one person he’d ever met had essentially complimented him on his honesty. He was greeted more with malice and sarcasm for it. He blinked, confused a moment, and then shook it off, addressing something that had been grinding upon his nerves for quite some time. “Tsk. Half-youkai, youkai, canine-man, I have a name you know. I’d appreciate it if you lot’d use it for once.” Katsu scowled. It took him a moment to realize that he had not introduced himself properly to the group, as he was more concerned with his brother’s presence and the Tahra’s jabbering mouth. He ran a hand through his hair and let it rest upon his neck for a moment. “My name is Katsu. Nothing more, nothing less.” He said simply, not caring much to find out what the others were called. Although he knew their names, he still addressed Tahra as ‘Fox’ and Jin as ‘Demon Slayer.’ He was uncomfortable being familiar enough with a person to refer to them by name. It meant being attached, and being attached often meant weakness or coming despair. This he learned the hard way many times in his early years. Keeping them at an arms length was much easier to deal with than having to suffer someone he was fond of. Why he felt obligated to keep them out of trouble at this point was beyond his comprehension.

There is a small shack you all can stay in. I think the demon slayer left some food behind, it should be enough to hold you off until tomorrow.” He stated simply, turning heel and expecting the others to follow. “I’ve traded one human for five. Bisha-nii will surely believe I’ve gone soft.” He muttered under his breath. “We won’t all fit in there comfortably, but I prefer sleeping outside anyway. It’s really only built for two or three people.” He paused, mulling over his options and what the monk had said earlier. “I’m not going to baby-sit you all. If you wander off, I will let you die. If you’re not happy with that, I suggest you go look for someone else to cry to.” He slid the door open to the small shack-like house, revealing it to be mostly empty, save for a fire pit and a bit of travelling food. Katsu frowned, and looked over the group of six. “You can fight over the space yourselves. I’ll be on the roof if you need me. But I suggest not needing me.

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Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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The monk silently watched as the humans slowly trekked into the one room shack which quickly filled up the small space. Once the last one entered the room he stepped up to the door but didn't enter, expecting their distrust to make them uncomfortable with so many people in such close quarters. Besides he was sure they needed time to talk about what the group of them was going to do without an outsider intruding. "I do believe I shall sleep under the beautiful stars myself tonight and let the four of you keep your own company to make certain decisions that you need to make. However do not hesitate to ask if you need any assistance as I will not be far from the residence myself." Kiske paused and then took a step inside just far enough to provide Keisuke a flint and tinder set. "There is some firewood stacked in the corner over there it seems. Feel free to use this to start yourselves a cozy fire if you get cold or desire more light." He stepped back outside the doorway and bowed back to the group as he shut the door behind him.

Once done Kiske looked at the slowly descending sun and wondered when those beautiful women from earlier would be returning to the village. He had just about decided to go look for them when he remembered his promise to stay near the residence and with a mental sigh he resigned himself to staying near the shack for the night. He looked up to the roof of the shack and saw Katsu sitting alone and decided it wouldn't hurt to get to know his new traveling companion better. He nimbly clambered up the side of the shack, lifting himself up seemingly without effort and then walking across the roof until he reached the apex and took a seat a few feet from the youkai.

For several minutes the monk simply sat in silence, meditating on the events of the day and what possible futures might be coming their way. Eventually he addressed Katsu while keeping his eyes closed in meditation, "Well Katsu, I'm not sure if I ever introduced myself to you so allow me to do so now. My name is Harin Kiske, a traveling monk of the order and it is my pleasure to make your acquaintance. If I might be so bold as to say, you are not like most other youkai I've ever met. The majority of the Full-Blooded demons I've met have been for the most part bloodthirsty monsters, and the half-demons only one step short of that, most desiring nothing more then to cleanse themselves of their hated human side that they saw as weak." At this Kiske turned to look at the demon, his grey-blue eyes questioning, searching the half demon's face for answers. "How is it then, that I managed to find one such as yourself? Who seems to actually have a soft spot for us lowly humans? Are we not seen as inferior in your eyes? Also, why do I have a feeling that you're more...protective then your seemingly callus comments lead us to believe?"

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Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Molly McCloud Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Deirdre
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It’s um, nice to meet you, I suppose.” The half-breed smiled slightly, although more out of a hesitant politeness than out of genuine interest. He nodded slightly at the humans as they headed inside the shack and then climbed up to the rooftop to make himself comfortable, laying his blade across the rooftop beside him. The stars began peeking out from amongst the clouds in the blackening sky and torches were being lit and put out around the village. The half-breed glanced around, testing the scent of the air. The strange smell still lingered, but was faint, and nearly indescribable. Similar to the scents that poured off the four strange humans, different and impossible to describe in words. He glanced to the monk as he was joined on the roof, but decided to take little notice of him until Kiske opened his mouth.

Katsu’s eyes narrowed and he resisted the urge to shove the monk off the side of the roof, resigning himself to lying back with his arms behind his head. “I don’t have a soft spot.” He said simply, watching the night sky absently. “Humans are mostly weak, worthless creatures, incapable of keeping themselves from falling over tree roots. Killing humans is like crushing insects, a waste of time and effort.” He shifted his weight to examine one of his hands and pick at his nails with his thumb. “I hold no malice toward humans either. They pose little to no threat to me, so why should I bother? It’s not like humans can really prevent me from doing anything I want, so what does it matter that they dislike my kind? As for trying to become more demonic, I don’t have the time to waste trying to purge the human blood from my veins. It is who I am, and what I must live with.” He paused, looking over to Kiske. “You haven’t tried to kill me. I haven’t met a single holy man or priestess who gave me a second thought. I guess you must have a soft spot for youkai.” He remarked, closing his eyes. His thoughts turned to the beautiful human woman he could remember from his darkest nightmares. Perhaps he did harbor some soft spot for his human half. After what he did, perhaps it was guilt that kept him from abandoning the group of humans. Either way, he wasn't particularly ready to admit he was unlikely to leave them stranded to die.

I don’t hate humans… they’re just bothersome. Youkai aren’t much better, you know. Just because they are stronger doesn’t mean they are any less insipid.” He said simply, sliding his hand back behind his head, his eyes remaining closed.

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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Kiske chuckled, genuinely amused. "Soft spot for youkai? It could possibly be seen that way. But to me it is more I simply don't judge a being based on their lineage. A youkai could be a good and honest person and a human could be a horrible and murderous being in which case I would attempt to destroy the human while helping the youkai if I could. Simply because MOST beings of a certain species may act one way doesn't mean they all do and that includes humans." he chuckled again, "And you're right, most of us ARE hardly able to keep ourselves from falling over roots. But that's one of the wonderful things about humans. If one of us trips, there will almost always be another one nearby willing to help you back to your feet. We watch out for each other and that's what makes us strong."

Kiske looked at his gauntleted hand questioningly, "But there are always those of us who strike out on their own and have to rely on their own strength. These select few probably become more like youkai then they would care to admit. Most youkai desire strength not in numbers but in themselves and as such go searching for means to that end. The weak always look for a way to make themselves stronger while the strong continue to maintain their superiority by feeding on the weak. I myself must admit to expending my energy fighting off youkai and yes even humans through my troubles and I'd be a fool if I said that those encounters did not make me stronger. Does that make me a good man? Or a bad one?" Kiske asks, not expecting an answer, as he closes his gauntlet into a fist.

He turns to look back at Katsu, "However if humans are as weak as you say, why did you spend so much time and energy gathering up that sword that was wielded by a human and was made by humans? At least according to the stories I have read."

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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I think it makes you terribly boring.” Katsu remarked, wishing to doze. Despite spending most of his day napping in the sun, it felt as if the encounter with the strange humans had drained the life out of him. “Good and bad is all subjective. I don’t make it a habit on dwelling on it. If I did, I fear what I may find about myself.” He sighed and sat up, bringing his knees to his chest and wrapping his white tail around his ankles. “Weak and strong doesn’t matter in the long run, it is how you choose to live a life you did not choose. A very beautiful human told me that once.” His expression fell and he stretched out to lie back down once more. His thoughts returned to the beautiful human woman from his dreams. How she would simply smile reassuringly amongst the crimson. It was almost too painful to recall. He glanced to his sword as Kiske turned the conversation toward the stone blade. He frowned and rolled over to face the monk as he lay.

And it was made by demons… who were slain by a human. That’s what I came to understand. Although, every story is a little different. What I know for certain is the sword smells like a youkai itself, while the crypt I dragged it out of stank of human.” He huffed, shaking his head. “I even heard rumors that some youkai had dug it out and was using it while I was still hunting down the crypt, but I found it where it was supposed to be.” He wanted to dodge the real question, but figured the monk would only press the issue, keeping sleep from the half-demon. “I fetched it from its resting place because it gave me a purpose. I don’t currently have one, you see. I haven’t had one for years.” He sighed, rolling over once more to face away from the monk. “I haven’t figured out how I want to live this life. I hope the blade will give me something to do while I decide.

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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The monk didn't say anything for a time as he mulled over Katsu's words. The belief that strength didn't matter wasn't often seen in a youkai or even a half-youkai. This was one strange being indeed and Kiske was glad he had decided to hang around. His curiosity was already killing him about the sword but now even the blade's wielder was becoming an object of much interest himself.

"Well that explains why you took the humans in. It gave you a purpose beyond that of your sword although the two purposes might soon be clashing." Kiske stood up and dusted himself off. "Anyways, it was good to get to know you a little better and I for one believe we will become friends one of these days. Might just take a little bit of time." he said with a chuckle as he climbed back down from the roof. Before jumping off and returning to the ground level Kiske turned and said "Something tells me that on this adventure we're going to have to rely on each other more then either of us is used to. We're both normally solitary fighters but from this point forward I'll be counting on you to watch my back and I hope I can expect the same in return."

With that Kiske jumped off the roof and returned to the ground. He slowly wandered over to the side of the shack and sat down, leaning his back against the wood as he settled himself in for the night.

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Character Portrait: Tahra Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Meiiri Oshiro
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I haven’t ‘taken in’ anyone, Holy man.” Katsu barked over his shoulder, refusing to roll over to face the monk as he left the half-demon to sleep on the rooftop. “They’ve intruded upon my little world, I haven’t adopted their troubles. And I won’t make any promises to keep you safe.” His ears swiveled, picking up the sounds from within the small shack. He sighed slightly as he listened to Tahra chat with the humans within. So long as he let the fox follow him about, he had pretty much taken in the lost souls. He could simply abandon them all, leave and find somewhere else to go. However, it seemed more troublesome to have to sneak off in the middle of the night than to stick around and suffer the company of the strange people. Then again, suffering their company was already beginning to try his patience. Six humans and a fox, perfect company for a lazy half-youkai. He sighed heavily, rolling over onto his back and closing his eyes. “Forget it, Fox. Go to sleep. Nothing will get you while I’m on the roof anyway.” He remarked loudly, talking toward the sky, though the thin walls of the shack would allow his voice inside. “I don’t want you tired and cranky in the morning. You’re insufferable when you’re tired.” He glanced upward at the waning moon and closed his eyes. He still had several days before the new moon. Keeping the humans around wouldn’t be a problem until then. Perhaps they could read. That would surely give him reason to keep them around. His eyes snapped open at the strange scent returning to the wind. He sat upright, glancing around in the dark. A figure wandered into town from the forest, a strange low jingling emanating from it each time it took a step. He hopped up to his feet to get a better look. The figure was small for an adult human, although not nearly to Tahra’s scale, which was sized like a small child. The scent drifted across the breeze once more and he recognized the scent.

That person… smells like a corpse.” He muttered under his breath, watching the figure pause at a doorway. The door opened and the figure and the occupant seemed to speak for a moment before the occupant disappeared inside, returning with a small bundle. The figure bowed repeatedly and turned to return to the forest. “Strange…” He hopped down from the rooftop as the jingling figure vanished among the trees. He tapped his fingers against the doorway of the house and the occupant opened the door once more. “What did that person want?” He questioned.

“Ah, Youkai.” The elderly man who answered the door mused, smiling gently. “The young lass wished for some food is all. I gave her a bit I could spare.” Katsu was regarded as an unofficial resident of the village by several of the locals, including this particular old man and his three granddaughters. The half-demon had once saved the youngest from a vermin Youkai, earning the trust of the man. He had only done so because her screams had interrupted his nap, but he wouldn’t actively admit that to what could be a friendly face.

Have you ever seen her before?” Katsu questioned, sniffing the air before him. The smell of a dead body lingered, but the scent of an unfamiliar live human over-powered it greatly. Was she carrying something on her?

“No, Youkai.” He replied. “But she was strange. Poor child had shackles on her wrists, like she escaped from some place. Her cloak was covered in dirt and blood as well.”

Don’t open your door for strangers anymore.” Katsu huffed, shaking his head. “Go to sleep.

“You too, Youkai.” Katsu paced a moment, unsure of what to do. When it seemed that the strange figure wasn’t to return, he walked back to the shack, hopping up onto the rooftop once more.

Too many strange humans at once. This is bothersome. Now I’ll never get to sleep.

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin
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Katsu’s eyes traced the tree-line, wondering if his sibling would run into the strange human. The scent still lingered on the wind but was fading fast. The strange girl must have been moving quickly to get so far away so fast. He glanced at monk and shook his head. “I wasn’t. I thought I smelled something I didn’t. Just a bit edgy, I guess.” He remarked, sitting down upon the edge of the roof and allowing his feet to dangle over the edge. His gaze returned to tree-line. “Humans are just troublesome. Maybe I should consider living as a hermit.” He mused, sighing heavily as he lied back, using his arms as pillows. His eyes turned to the moon and he exhaled slowly, allowing his eyelids to close. “Go to sleep. There’s nothing to worry about. You’ll be more useful well-rested anyway.” He assured, positive that he would not be sleeping that evening. He was unexpectedly wrong. Perhaps the exhaustion from the previous nights had finally gotten to him, for he found himself in the same dream he suffered each time he managed to close his eyes.

Crimson painted the ground and palms of a small child. Through its eyes he could see a tall, shadowy figure looming over the painted ground. “Look what I did!” A familiar voice crawled out of the child’s mouth. It seemed to echo in the stilted silence around him. It was hard to see the scenery around the two. The child lifted its hands to the taller figure, as if to show off the sticky mess. A sharp pain shocked through the side of the child’s head as the view was forced to the ground by the taller figure’s clawed hand. It turned to leave, whispers filling the silence. “I didn’t mean it! I’m sorry!” The child cried out in despair.

Katsu’s eyes snapped open and he sat up, the sun still hiding behind the curtain of night. He stretched and rubbed his face, trying to wash the images from his mind. It had been awhile since he had taken the point of view of the child in his dreams. “Ne, mother, aren’t we being troublesome today? It’s not even dawn yet.” He muttered, pulling himself up to stand on the rooftop.

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Deirdre
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Kiske let out a sound halfway between a grunt and a chuckle, almost a snort. Like hell. Whether this youkai wants to admit it or not he has concern for humans, a long with the curiosity of a cat. Strange in a dog demon. Kiske shrugs and gets back to his feet. "Well ok then. If you say so. I'll just go back to my corner and catch some sleep. Good night, my good youkai." Kiske says as he jumps back off the roof and to the ground.

Before he manages to actually get to sleep one of the humans, Deirdre if he heard correctly, comes out of the shack and looks around. He watches curiously as she slightly clumsily climbed the nearby tree and leaped onto the roof. Not hearing any sound of conversation Kiske wondered what exactly the girl had in mind but decided to simply stay where he was and listen rather then intrude on something else.

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Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Deirdre
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Katsu’s eyes moved from their skyward gaze to the long-haired human attempting to climb up onto the roof. He couldn’t think of an instance where a human was less graceful, trying to clamber up onto the rooftop to join him. He couldn’t keep a small smile from tugging at the corners of his mouth, the first time it had happened in a while. “You’ll fall.” He remarked, more amused with the awkward display than worried for her safety. It would be quite a sight if she did actually fall, but he figured she wouldn’t get hurt if he bothered to help her when she did. “Can’t sleep, human?” He questioned, giving in to the gentle voice in the back of his mind and moving forward so Deirdre wouldn’t have to move so far across the rooftop. He held out a hand to help her sit down. “You shouldn’t get up on rooftops if you’re so unsteady on your feet. You hurt yourself once already; you want to risk it again?” He took a couple steps back to give her space. He thought it would be best considering two of the four strange humans already had some semblance of a panic attack. If she panicked, he would prefer not to have her lash out at him. He sat down on the rooftop, allowing his feet to dangle over the edge. He shifted the onyx blade so it would lie flat out of the way. He considered throwing it into the ground, but the likelihood of something strange happening had skyrocketed since the appearance of the bizarre-smelling humans. "How is that? Your injury. You smell a little less like blood."

His ears swiveled at the sound of a splash in the distance. He turned his head, unsure whether to investigate or not. On the one hand, the strange corpse-smelling human could still be about. Maybe having a bath. On the other hand, it could be nothing and he would be abandoning the small shack and leaving the village vulnerable. Not to mention leaving the human up on the roof would simply be rude. He decided he would wait for the time being. If whatever it was managed to wander toward the village, he could intervene as necessary.

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Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Deirdre
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More rustling at the front door to the shack pulled Kiske's attention once again. Well well. Yet another of the strange humans is out and about. Wonder who it is this time... Kiske leaned around the corner and saw Keisuke wondering away from the shack in the general direction of the river. As Katsu began talking to the girl who had made it to the roof the monk was torn between staying and listening to their conversation and following the boy to see what he was up to. His first reaction was to stay in case the girl needed assistance getting down but decided Katsu could more than handle that bit.

So with a few silent movements Kiske got up and followed Keisuke at a distance, being sure to keep far enough back to not draw any attention to himself. Unfortunately this caused him to lose track of the boy in the woods until he heard a familiar sound: the sound of unarmed combat practice. A sound he had heard for years ever since his time training with the half demon monk in the mountains.

Kiske moved closer and found the boy completely engrossed in his stances, moving between different techniques with surprising skill. Kiske found a seat next to a tree and watched, recognizing some of the boy's movements as slight variations of techniques he used himself. Kiske sensed something off about the young man as he became more and more engrossed in the movements it became apparent that there was something deep inside troubling him. The sudden leap into the river surprised even Kiske and he almost let out a sound of surprise himself.

When the boy climbed back out and began changing out of his now sopping wet clothes Kiske saw what could possibly be the cause of the young man's troubles as burns and scars became apparent across the entirety of the boy's body. As Keisuke returned to the water Kiske backed a ways away from the clearing where the boy had been and then returned, letting himself stumble over an exposed root and letting out a sound of annoyance to let Keisuke know he was in the vicinity before he revealed himself at the edge of the river. "Oh. Hello young master. What brings you out this far this late at night?" he asked nonchalantly.

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Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Deirdre
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Katsu paused, scanning the trees a moment. “Nothing. The monk seems to have it handled, judging from the smell. I told you all that I wasn’t going to come to your rescue if you wandered off.” He shook his head, catching the scent of one of the other strange girls on the evening wind. “You humans aren’t really all that smart.” He turned his back to the trees to lie down on the rooftop, using his arms for pillows, his face exposed to the sky above. He closed an eye as he considered continuing the conversation with the strange human girl. He could have simply ignored her until she whined to get down. It would teach her to keep off places she couldn’t get down from. However, it wasn’t like he was going to sleep any time soon and she was there, might as well learn more about her while she was around. Maybe their talk would expose the origin of the strange smoky smell that emanated from her clothing.

They treat everyone like that. Believe me, I know. It doesn’t help that you’re dressed strangely.” Katsu remarked, one of his ears still turned toward the river. His mind turned to how most humans treated him. This one seemed more curious than afraid of him. It was refreshing and worrying all at the same time. Was she ignorant or simply brave? Was she hiding a power that might bolster her courage? The monk didn’t fear him simply because he could likely kill the half-Youkai if he wanted to. At least she seemed more interested in the safety of her friends than the exorcism of the half-breed. He closed his other eye and exhaled. “I don’t sleep much. It’s something I’ve gotten used to.” He shrugged half-heartedly. He didn’t seem to mind at all that she was a bit snippy at the beginning of their conversation, as if he had expected it from her. He learned to be patient with humans at an early age, but it didn’t stop him from disliking most of them. This one was okay for now. “I’m glad you’re not too hurt. It’d panic your excitable friends and that would be troublesome. The villagers would likely drive you out, thinking you’re all possessed or something. Sure they’re more comfortable with the monk around you all. They’d be even more comfortable if that demon slayer stuck around. Ah, well. I can keep them off your back. I hate it when humans get all upidy.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Keisuke Fukuyama Character Portrait: Katsu Character Portrait: Molly McCloud Character Portrait: Kiske Harin Character Portrait: Deirdre
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Kiske returned to his spot at the side of the shack and sat back down on the ground, leaning back against the shack's wall with a sigh. It had been a long, and very, interesting, day and he was more than happy to simply relax and let the night pass in comfortable silence. His plan was interrupted however when another of the human female's exited the shack to approach Keisuke. Kiske was once again tempted to approach but mentally reigned himself in. Better to not alienate this strange group of people with his bad habits so soon if he ever wanted his curiosity about their appearance to be sated. Besides there were other women around who were probably more amiable to a monk of his stature.

Kiske let his thoughts drift back to his earlier encounter with the two women on the road and wondered where they had gotten to. Mayhaps they had not yet returned which could be a sign they were in trouble but even if they were he didn't have any way to follow them. Although the half demon did seem to have a keen nose. Maybe he would assist? Kiske shook his head to get that ridiculous thought out of his head. There was no way he could convince the demon to go hunting down two people he had never met much less simply for the monk to meet them again.

Keisuke and the other girl's conversation was only mumbles to the monk from where he sat but he could hear the conversation going on the roof quite clearly although it also seemed to be going no where. With another sigh Kiske closed his eyes while leaving his other senses open until he entered a type of meditative doze state. Not fully asleep but not fully awake either. It was how he spent his nights when he was alone on the road to avoid being attacked while he slept and it would work admirable for allowing him to maintain attention to those around him without giving away he was listening.