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Fang Xiaodan

"Wei wu wei--action without action. A twig cannot dam a river, but it can change the flow. If you're after that sort of thing, anyway."

0 · 328 views · located in Edo Japan

a character in “The Seven Samurai”, as played by Chrysalis

Description

ImageImageImageImageImageFang Xiaodan 》

◙◙◙◙* Female...◙◙◙◙* 19...◙◙◙◙* 5'0"...◙◙◙◙* 98 lbs....◙◙◙◙* Human

AASTR 」x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌ AAACON 」x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AASPD 」x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌ AAAPWR 」x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AAINT 」x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌ AAACNG 」x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌
AAWPN 」x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌ AAACHA 」x ▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌▌


Image◈ ALCHEMY ┋ mix and ingest self-enhancing tonics
◈ MEDICINE ┋ treat injuries
◈ TAOIST MAGIC ┋ energy manipulation through spells, chi
◈ FLEXIBILITY ┋ capable of advanced contortions



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PERSONALITY 》
Xiaodan—Xiao, to her nonexistent friends—is quite the strange little woman. Eccentric is almost too mild a word, but crazy doesn't seem quite the right flavor, either, at least not to anyone who spends much time thinking about it. Most people don't, of course, so she gets called that a lot. It's not entirely without justification—those looking for a traditional, reserved and demure woman are certainly best served looking elsewhere. She doesn't rebel against the expectations most people have in mind for ladies just because; on the contrary, she doesn't quite seem to be aware she's in violation of any social mores, most of the time. Nevertheless, she very much is.

Given to speaking freely and with very little by the way of mental filter, she is quite direct—to the point of being blunt, even. It's not usually easy to predict what's going to come out of her mouth, for better or worse. Her mind moves a thousand miles an hour and on at least three different trains of thought at any one time, which has the effect of making her sort of out-of-touch with the world around her. She sometimes fails to notice things right in front of her face, is terrible at remembering mundane things like names and the date, and really can't be relied upon to do anything anyone tells her unless they've definitely impressed its importance upon her. She is the sort to go out on an errand, forget what she wanted or needed, and wander aimlessly for a while instead.

Those inclined to attribute this tendency to stupidity are both right and wrong: her practical, functional intelligence, "street smarts" as one might call it, is near to nil. On the other hand, when it comes to the profound and complex truths of her trade, there is scarcely a more towering (or terrifying) intellect to be found. It is not for nothing that she was hailed as a genius in the Emperor's court, and also not for nothing that she found herself needing to flee it. She can learn things very quickly, and is able to understand even the most complex and abstract concepts with a facile ease that has frustrated many a teacher in the past. Xiao is accustomed to using her intelligence to compensate for shortcomings in other areas, and for the most part she is very effective at this.

She certainly appears to be the sort of woman who would be quite accustomed to attention—red hair is an extremely unusual trait, even among yōkai, who tend to have blond or white hair if they deviate from standard Japanese coloration at all. Equally strange is the fact that her eyes are blue. Both, she might admit, are genetic mutations brought about as a result of ancestral alchemic meddling. She is indeed quite used to being stared at, or even treated with suspicion, because of how odd she appears. But she hasn't really found any way to make such things less awkward than they are—mostly due to her rather poor grasp of typical social skills and etiquette.

At her core, Xiaodan is not that different from anyone else. She generally tries to do the right thing, and tends towards compassion more than violence. But she's certainly not perfect, and there's a great deal about the world her sheltered upbringing has not yet exposed her to. She has considerable difficulty forming friendships or bonds with others; partly due to others' aversion towards her peculiarities and partly from a rather sad lack of practice in doing so. Really, the truth is she has one friend, and that's it. She can actually end up on the melancholy or mopey side from time to time because of a pervasive—but unacknowledged—loneliness.

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HISTORY 》
Fang Xiaodan (方 晓淡) is actually distantly related to the current Chinese Emperor, being the daughter of one of his own daughters via in turn one of his wives. As one might expect, he has quite a lot of grandchildren, and being both female and the child of a daughter instead of a son, it stands to reason that there was never much risk of her coming into any kind of political power simply in virtue of her birth. Her father, on the other hand, was an alchemist of the Ministry of Rites, a highly-respected one within the Imperial Court, and as such more than qualified to marry into the lower echelons of the Ming dynastic structure.

There really wasn't anything especially unusual about Xiaodan's birth, save of course that she came into the world with exceedingly unusual coloration. Noting the irregularity as a possible sign, Xiaodan's father consulted the I Ching and decided that he would teach her his craft as she grew. It is not unheard of for women to be practitioners of the alchemic arts; indeed the first such woman was also a Fang, one of Xiaodan's very distant ancestors, or so she is told. So while it wasn't exactly a conventional upbringing, there was nothing particularly objectionable about it, either, and Xiaodan settled into her role as her father's apprentice quite easily.

She proved to be unexpectedly gifted in the art, as well as in the more esoteric Taoist practices surrounding it. Only a few have ever actually succeeded in learning to manifest their qi in the outside world; those that have guard their secrets carefully. Like her father before her, Xiaodan is one of those few. Having placed careful emphasis on both her Waidan (outer alchemy, like elixirs and so on) and Neidan (inner alchemy, qi, jing, and shen control, and the martial practice of t'ai chi ch'uan), Xiaodan exists in a rather harmonious internal state that looks to a lot of people like a sort of vacant passivity.

It was this early mastery of her father's teachings, combined with her rather staggering intellect, that allowed them to achieve what had long been sought but never in practice accomplished: Xiaodan and her father successfully created the elixir of life, sometimes called the immortality elixir. The costs were not inconsiderable, and when the implications of what they'd done fully struck home, they knew they could never share the secret with the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, the Emperor somehow discovered what they were hiding from him, and demanded that they give up the secret to immortality. They refused, and Xiaodan's father was executed. She herself was deemed easier to control, but eventually escaped from captivity without having given away her secret. With the death of her father, she is now the only person left who knows the secret to the elixir's creation, and as one might expect, she is constantly pursued by agents of the country she left behind. Choosing to go east instead of west, Xiaodan fled to Japan, where she started calling herself Kata Hikari, and getting by peddling her medicine or offering her services as exorcist where they were needed. She knows she's still being chased, but until a more permanent solution for protection comes along, she knows it's best just to keep her head down.

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*Character sheet inspired by Maccotango, and Aethyia.
*All Credit belongs to them.


So begins...

Fang Xiaodan's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Fang Xiaodan Character Portrait: Fang Yun

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Yún trailed dutifully behind the woman in front of him, tracking her erratic motions with his eyes but offering no comment. She moved around like she was blown on a breeze he could not feel, dressed in an overlarge and ragged yukata, a string tied around her waist in addition to the obi. The twine supported several small pouches and tools, which occasionally clinked together as she skipped about.

Whenever she diverted too far off the path to crouch and examine or collect some plant or patch of soil, he drew to a stop. Yún had no particular interest in such gathering himself, and he knew much less of plants than she did, but he could at least make sure nothing untoward happened to her while she was so diverted. Nothing short of a charging warhorse would draw Xiaodan's attention while she was absorbed in her work. It was doubtful the horse would even succeed, in truth.

He watched her brown headscarf disappear from his line of sight; she'd chosen a section of tall grasses to inspect this time. Casting his eyes out over the road, he reached up with his free hand and tugged the hood a little further down over his head. Neither of them had very many options for remaining beneath notice, but they'd done what they could: drab clothes, cloth covering their hair, and one of her alchemic concoctions to dull the colors of their eyes. His were a ruddy brown now, hers a dark grey. His other hand adjusted the lay of the strap over his torso. The medicine chest was not difficult for him to carry; more than anything the bulk of it was inconvenient. That was why he was carrying it instead of her, though.

A bread of sweat rolled down the back of his neck, sliding beneath the collar of his shitagi. The clothing styles here weren't yet familiar, but they worked well enough for their purposes. Not much would do for staving off the heat of full summer, though; that was going to be oppressive in the middle of the day like this regardless. A breeze picked up from the west; it was a subtle relief, stirring the grasses. Yún resisted the urge to turn into it so that it would hit at least some of his skin directly, instead simply shifting his balance.

Xiaodan's head-covering reappeared; he wasn't sure how, but she'd managed to get dirt on her face. A big streak of it, right over her left cheek. He sighed through his nose. She scanned for him; as soon as their eyes met, she was wading through the grass, a half-smile pulling at the edge of her mouth. His shoulders released a small bit of their near-permanent tension. She'd found what she was looking for, then.

"Guess what?" Her voice was light, always light. Like a gust could carry it away, and her as well. The tinkling of glass, the drift of ash ascending from a fire, a petal dropping onto the surface of a pond. Yún didn't know why he always thought in metaphors like that, but he conceded that the comparisons had merit.

He tilted his head at her. "I take it you located your elusive flowers?" His eyes fell pointedly to the small cluster of white blossoms in her hand.

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Well, you're no fun at all."

Yún sighed. "Xiaodan—"

"Hikari." She blinked slowly at him, then turned her attention back to the road. He read her thoughts off her face and followed her back onto it. "I'm Hikari now. And you're Kirigumo."

He felt his mouth pull down into a frown. "No one is going to believe that is my name. I am not certain it is anybody's name."

But she was already not listening to him, drifting down the road ahead at her usual surprisingly-quick flitting pace. Yún ignored the threatening headache behind his eyes and trailed after her. At least she was still pointing them toward Edo. He'd asked around in the last village and heard of a bathhouse out this way... one where they might not have to go to such lengths to appear to be other than what they were. Perhaps all he needed to feel better about this was to be clean and sleep somewhere other than in the dirt for a night.

He really doubted it.