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Kurosawa Ren

"I'd like to ask you one question. Do I have your attention?"

0 · 282 views · located in Edo Japan

a character in “The Nascent Shinsengumi”, originally authored by Yonbibuns, as played by RolePlayGateway




"What's that saying? Ah, yes. Business as usual."

Name: Kurosawa Ren || 黒澤 (Black Swamp) (Sacred Lotus)
Nickname: Kuro, Crow
Age: 197
Gender: Male
Species: Yōkai – Tengu

Height: 5'6”
Weight: 156lbs
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Greyish Black

Physical Description: If there was anyone reminiscent of a slithering snake, or callow eel, it would be Kurosawa Ren. He is all lean, slender shapes, sharp in places that make him appear far meaner than he actually is. Like any other traditional Japanese man, he's abysmally disappointed that he did not inherit anything other than a slightly above-average stature, and that's only if we're being generous here. Unneeded, in his case. He's aware of it already. He'd like to believe that he's built for quick, striking movements. As if he's composed of coiled springs, graceful and calculated. Being slightly smaller than his demon kinsmen is an advantage, in his eyes. Which are frequently exhausted and red-rimmed from lack of sleep.

If his personality was anything to go by, you might have been expecting someone with bright eyes. Something awfully similar to clear skies and endlessly blue, squint-eyed Hawaiian beaches. Or maybe the homespun blue of a cowboy's plaid shirt. His own are not so spectacular. They are misplaced puzzle pieces. Soft, black, subdued and flinty. It's the wooden color of ebony used for cabinets and piano keys. It's a tender mix of soot speckled with coffee grinds and patched dirt: melted chocolate smudged across your fingertips. His eyes belong to the teddy bear nestled across your pillows, so morose, so seldom satisfied with the results. They belong to the old hound with those drooping eyes you can't deny, curled across your patio steps. They're the most conflicting things he has to offer the world.

His cheekbones are high, bordering on catlike. Dew-drop eyebrows frame his narrowed, almond-shaped eyes: they absorb you, take you in, and pass you by, dismissing you utterly, having judged you and found you lacking. His bowed lips are perpetually set into a frown, bellying thoughts you could only guess at. A sloping nose gives way to hawkish features, which is only slightly ironic given the fact that he's a Tengu. His slender shoulders lead to shapely arms, capped with large hands and pianist fingers: soft from disuse. His soft black hair is kept meticulously trimmed and hardly sweeps past the nape of his neck, and right there in the middle of his forehead lies a horn the same colour as his skin. Besides his telltale horn, Ren has red markings below and to the sides of his eyes, and sharp canine fangs that sometimes poke past his lower lip.

Two distinct words: traditional clothes. Traditional Japanese clothes, to be specific. None of those Western wishy-washy things he's been seeing lately in the streets. Ren has an array of clothes at his disposal, and so he chooses whatever is appropriate. Long black fighting-style kimonos, cinched loosely, with a pair of wooden getas, and a white or gray scarf to finish the ensemble. His traditional Japanese wardrobe consists of a modified white kataginu with gray trimming, a red bandage-like obi, gray hand guards, and gray hakama. Also, all of the kimonos. He adores them so. Checkered prints, stripes, sakura petals, tree limbs, dragon patterns, fire patterns. Out of all the colours, however, Ren is most fond of reds and blacks.

Amorous View: Love. Love represents vulnerabilities. Chinks in your armour that you've put there yourself. A voluntary blade in your belly if you're stupid enough to plunge it in, and Ren will have none of it. Of course, there have been bygone days, and perhaps once he'd been stupid enough to open his heart to someone else, and most likely things had gone sour and stale and ruined parts of himself that he's too stubborn to repair. It's a fragile thing he's too proud to open himself to anymore, and so he decided that he would no longer subjugate himself to any weaknesses someone else may cause him. It's a lonely way to live, but he knows better. Now, he's a solid wall: a wielder of common sense, knowledge and biting sarcasm.

Hand to Hand While he's not so hardheaded to deny the use of weapons and blades and whatever else you've got hidden in your sleeves, Ren's walks a very different path. One where everything is permeated in a single movement. Where your body moves like a dragon and strikes like serpent. All joints and bones, enabling him to strike with all parts of his body. It focuses on discipline, breathing techniques, patience and agility. Exercises to obtain hardness, and lightness, as well as clenching arts and setting dislocations and bones. Toil and persistence is key in his pursuits.

Thought Projection This isn't as potent as Ren would like it to be, but in small increments, like a wheedling whisper in the crook of your ear—he's able to say influential things, which might make you believe whatever he wants you to believe. In different voices. A meek woman or a gruff, angry man. Sometimes, he'll use their own voice against them. Most of the time, he's trying to manipulate someone or intimidate them. Whatever the case, Ren whispers things whenever he can and sits back to watch the results.

Enhanced Agility Not all strength comes from brawn... as Ren can attest. He's a quick sonnuvagun. He can go from one motion to another effortlessly, effectively dodge attacks, swing from things easily, sprint, do back-flips and numerous other gymnastic, athletic and martial implements with little effort. If he's able to entirely avoid having his face pummeled, Ren would rather take that route, however cowardly it may be.

Natural Aptitude
Flight Nearly all Tengu's are capable of flight and Ren is no exception. While he may not don them everywhere he walks, because clipping his wings through door frames and knocking over paper lanterns is more trouble than he cares to deal with, Ren does have an exceptional set of black wings, more akin to crows and ravens than fanciful peacocks. Flight is about freedom. And freedom is something that Ren holds near and dear to his heart—flying is just about the only time he feels like he's in control of something.

Shapeshifting While not all Tengu's specialize in shape shifting, it is something that's always intrigued him. Mostly bird forms, though. He can imitate other mammals. Not as well, mind you. There's always plumage peeping through and beady black eyes peering out at you. Crows, hawks, ravens, tiny little songbirds. Of course, Ren is able to take human forms, as well. Usually in the form of effeminate men with slender wrists or beautiful women with striking eyes, and a with a vicious tongue. Always with the same crimson streaks rimming his eyes, and that horn of his.

Claw Retraction Nothing outside of the ordinary. His claws, thick and black, can retract back into his hands, much like a feline can.

Opportunistic Perfectionist Socially Awkward Witty
Disposition: Some people just ooze awkwardness, and it isn't specifically Ren's fault. It's not that he wasn't born with the ability to empathize, but he's composed of logical whirring gears, and certain things, certain emotions don't make any sense to him. If you want to become stronger and more reliable, they can be skimmed over and ignored. And so he does. At times, he skims over other people too. He's a naturally cautious person and this, combined with pride, stand-offishness and suspicion is usually enough to not get him in trouble. Slippery as a snake, and as opportunistic as any mouse might be, Ren snatches whatever he might find useful. While some people assume him to be callous, quite the opposite is the case. His promises are holy, therefore they tend to be rare. If there's something he's promised to do, he will see it to the end.

He's always given to brooding about something: maybe about the life he left behind, though nobody's quite sure what that might be. Maybe about his uncertain future, though given the amount of emotional abuse in his life that future's not going to be long in coming. Sometimes he disappears, too. Gone for a walk, he'll say when he shows up again. But, with each disappearance there's always another set of weights pressing against his shoulders, pushing him towards the ground. If there's one thing to say about Kurosawa Ren, its that he's a damned stubborn man. Despite his cold and heartless nature, the Tengu has his soft spots. But, they're more like bruises. Or weeping wounds, bandaged each night. And he's not willing to share them with you, not just yet. He will lie, cheat, blackmail, threaten to get out of a sticky situation and sometimes, to get others in one. He places himself first, but he will never betray his cause. He follows the "ends justify the means" rule of life. After all, it's the Kurosawa way.

People are troubling things. Always messing up your yard and pissing on all your hard work—and then leaving without a trace, leaving you to pick up the pieces. Now, Kurosawa is hardly sappy. Sentimentality doesn't run thick in his blood. He doesn't even particularly enjoy being around people, at least he doesn't enjoy being with people per se. It's unlikely that he'd go out of his way to socialize, but even he gets lonely. He's friendly, but distant. Polite, well-mannered from afar, and awfully blunt in conversation. Sometimes, it drives them away. No one likes the truth when it's ugly. And he doesn't understand why they can't simply appreciate it. There are so many inconsistencies, so many things he has trouble understanding when it comes to the nuances of social interactions: it's stifling to him. He's generally kind to everyone, if always aloof. Over the course of his business dealings, he's begun to develop preferences for people, but the criteria he applies are generally obscure.

Ren can be pretty protective and detached from the people he loves, even though his bonds run deep and he's dependent on them, he'd loathe to show it. His displays of affection are random and weird and not everyone can deal with them. He's a romantic, secretly. It's in the faraway gaze he sometimes has. Staring outside a window and letting his mind wander. As crude, and meticulous as he can be, he's a dreamer. It might just be a remnant of his childhood, clinging to the hem of his robes, but it's still there, and he hasn't had the heart to let them go. Small secrets he's had to bury over the years. And, being secretive by nature, he sure prefers it that way. He's also as passive-aggressive as they come. And, as soon as someone backs him up against the wall, he dares to be outright aggressive. He bottles things up. He's generally not great with feelings, being quite a loner, but human emotion is really his downfall. Want to talks about our feelings? No thank you. If possible, he'd rather take the obvious route, showing his affections in actions rather than speech.

Reminiscence: There are so many sayings about loneliness, and family values, and what holds people together—but sometimes, the meaning is lost along the way and it's little more than nice words, nice sayings bellying ugly truths. And the Kurosawa family stand for all of those traditional sayings, however cheaply they're said. How their family would stick together in the roughest storms, and how honor is placed before all else. Honor knows no birthright or so it goes. Honor does not dribble with lies and shady business, but the Kurosawa family orchestrate and conduct their business by unethical means, and it is allowed by the Yakuza it serves. They serve as callow weapons, poised in their benefactors hands. Whomever has the most to pay. They're snakes, foxes, slippery demons: Tengu. They represent a catalyst of whispers and threats, pulling strings in the background. Spiders spanning a long network of webs, casting their children as heirs to their own little productions.

And so, Kurosawa Ren was unfortunate enough to have been born the eldest son. Expected to carry on their legacy and continue to bring them fortune and favors, in return for their services. Children are one of the only viable reflections of innocence, born wide-eyed and curious. Grappling onto words, without any misconceptions. They aren't born with any inkling of what their parents want for them. Not at first anyhow, and Ren was a laughing, smiling babe who wanted nothing more than to discover everything around him. Kurosawa Hitomu was a hard man made up of harsh lines, sharp angles, and rough words: his father, an image of business. He'd built up their family with his own two hands, toiled to bring them prosperity, and was well known for doing anything to keep their feet on firm grounds. No work is too dirty. No lies too great and nothing too dishonorable. And his mother, Kurosawa Kaiya, was a weak-willed woman with soft hands and an even softer heart. Too weak to protect her children from their destinies, she could only blanket them with her love.

He had many brothers and sisters, but all younger then he was. They were allotted different responsibilities while Ren was groomed to take over the head of the Kurosawa family. A succession of sorts as soon as he was of age. He was in his fathers charge, though several individuals taught him differing subjects in their temple-home. Warmongering and politics, blackmailing and sociology, hand to hand combat and sword-arts, and the more basic things: reading and writing and mathematics. But Ren was strikingly disappointing—soft as his mother and stupidly curious, always asking questions that bared no meaning. He was subjected to punishments, in the hopes that it would harden his resolve enough to learn properly. To become molded into the man that Hitomu believed he could be, but it usually had the opposite effect. Ren curled himself against that loneliness, became more withdrawn, and sought freedom in the woodlands surrounding their house.

Years passed. Lessons continued. And Ren expected nothing would change. He would simply resign himself to it. Until he met her. It was not something he found that pulled him out of that loneliness, but rather, someone who found him. In those moments, there in the woods, everything changed. She was a bright eyed wonder who walked like a dancer. Red-haired and always, always laughing. Like bells chiming. The world tipped on its side, and the sun came out. Her name: Nozomi. It meant wish[ and he thought it was appropriate, because meeting her had been all he'd been hoping for. She brought out the best in him, and he hoped he could offer something in return. They spent much of their time together in between his lessons, sneaking to the outskirts of his home, and reflecting on it now, he supposed he should have been curious as to why his family allowed it. But he was blinded. For months, Ren was the happiest he'd ever been in his life.

He wished he knew more sayings about how happiness is eternal. Wished he could say that everything panned out in the end. That they were married and he escaped the destiny his family set out for him. But, there's a truer, uglier saying, “all good things come to an end.” Just when you want to hold onto them for as long as possible, it slipped from Ren's fingers when the Kurosawa family held a meeting in the temple. It was there that he was Nozomi. She had the decency to look guilty, still stricken with the same lightness he'd seen in the woods. It was there that his father explained how she'd been a ploy to teach him a lesson in deception. Paid off to seduce him. How he was at risk to falsehoods and betrayal. It would do them no good if he broke like a brittle branch. It was there that a new Ren was born. A much colder, meaner man who'd been forced to shed off the remnants of boyhood. They sent Nozomi away like a dog and he watched her go, too angry to say anything. Even so, hatred for his own family bloomed like hot coals, but he complied like a good son.

And in that moment, he felt nothing.

As his father wished, Kurosawa Ren assumed the role as head of the Kurosawa family. Adopted his crooked ways, garnished favors like treats, and prospered as a hoarder of secrets; expanding his network to aid Yukimura Toshirō's sordid organization. His Yakuza, his twisted desire to obtain everything he set his eyes on. And while Ren's personal opinions, and true intent, remain unknown... he continues his business.


So begins...

Kurosawa Ren's Story


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ImageKurosawa Ren
Yukimura Toshirō's Estate, Edo

Every single movement the Crow made was meticulous and practiced. It was learned. It was repeated until they flowed from his fingertips in impeccable strokes, as if magic could truly come from the tip of a quill. Kurosawa Ren was no painter. He did not recreate scenes from bygone days, nor did he address any such beauties he might have seen. Instead, the moulted feather pecked into the ink bottle and scrawled out secrets. Precious information that could be rightfully equated to pure, profitable gold. He sat cross-legged on pristine tatami mats, writing on an equally fabulous chabudai table. He paused in his scrawling and raked his fingernails across the wooden surface, mouth set into a hard line. Yukimura Toshirō's commandeered hovel reminded him too much of his own estate. So pure, and so seemingly virtuous, that it turned his stomach.

He continued scritch-scratching at the parchment paper: undisturbed. His only request had been absolute solitude. Having no one bother him while he wrote out his reports was imperative. Not for any conventional means, Ren could work very well with distractions, but he simply did not want to see anyone. In those moments, only the sound of the quill scrapping over parchment paper accompanied him. Forming curt letters, swirls that never strayed into frivolousness. Concise words, cleaving like a sword in the night. He did not mince words, and that was one reason why Yukimura had been so taken with his abilities, his connections. He did not ask questions. He did not speak out of turn. And he always delivered. Punctuality remained a high priority in his line of business, and besides, Yukimaru had never been a patient man.

A soft sigh puffed from between his lips as he finished writing the final word. He rubbed at his forehead, as if to ward away a creeping headache. The worst part would come next. He would conclude his business and return back to his estate, all in one piece. From what rumors he'd heard in the villages, leaving Yukimura's home was a victory in itself. At times, if he was lucky, he could simply pass off the letter to one of Yukimaru's assistants and have it all finished that way. Unfortunately, he liked being present when handling business. Never one for small talk or philosophical drabble, Ren often felt uncomfortable in whatever exchanges they had. He settled his ink back into its proper case, covered the ink bottle up and placed it in as well.

Any efforts to smooth the pinched expression from his face was met with abysmal annoyance. Yukimaru was often prone to bouts of angry paranoia. Fortunately, not directed towards him. But when one was in the line of business of discovering future betrayals, liars, and secrets, Ren could not afford to be too cautious. He was useful now, but everyone was disposable. A simple truth he'd learned as a child. At least he was appropriately attired. As always. Wearing his trademark black and red-accented kimono, parchment paper nestled safely in his sleeve. Of course, he wore no weapons here. He approached the sliding doors, and poised his hand across the handle. Voices coming from the hallway halted his movements, and it only took him a few moments to gather who, exactly, was speaking.

Itō and Nagamoto. A foolish girl and her hapless hound. Not so unlike the colorful koi fish swimming in their ponds, oblivious to what was happening around them. Tethered to a family she had no control of being born into, just like he was. Though her circumstances were far more dire. Eventually, he didn't doubt that Yukimura would tire of her presence. Either force her into some new type of torture that would smudge the innocence from her cheeks. Make her less than what she was: a purity circled by vultures. Perhaps, a worse fate. He wasn't sure what the kinder outcome would be. If he hadn't the better sense to feel guilty over her situation, he would have. Unfortunately for them both, Ren had little to say in the matter. And the hound who shadowed her steps? A pawn shuffling across the boards, just as he was. He stood in front of the doors, holding his breath lest he draw any attention to himself.

So, they were headed to the village on some sort of errand. Ren's fingers only closed around the handle when he heard the retreating footsteps plodding in the opposite direction. Confident that they had gone far enough to avoid bumping into him, he opened the door and took a few tentative steps into the hallway. Even though he had a reason to be here, he didn't want to explain himself. Nagamoto understood what his presence meant, but he doubted that Itō did. He was not a simple acquaintance visiting from another village. He did not regularly have tea with her father, either. Little lies kept him above the surface and away from those doe eyes of hers. What would he do if she confronted him about all the awful things he frequently did? It would be an awkward situation, at best. One he'd rather avoid entirely.

He walked down the hallway. Purposeful in his steps, already slipping the letter from in his sleeve. Ren paused in front of the sliding doors, and slowly hunkered down until he was on his knees, reaching up to draw one of the doors open. Just enough to reveal whom was announcing his presence. His bow was a low, practiced movement. One that basked and respected. Eyes down—because he was only worth his weight in competence, disposable. The same shrilling sickness twisted in his stomach. Disposable. Kurosawa Ren? Hardly.

“I've some information for you, Oyabun.”