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Shiori Miyamoto

"There's no hope on the battlefield. It has nothing but unspeakable despair. Just a crime we call victory, paid for by the pain of the defeated."

0 · 439 views · located in sengoku period, japan

a character in “The Ways of Samurai”, as played by Clarent

Description





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“My eyes grow heavy;
As blackened storm clouds grow near;
Engulfing the sun.”

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Age

"I have lived far longer than I would like to speak of...let us leave it at that."

If Shiori were to be truthful she has long since tossed aside most memories of her birth the one can make rough estimates to how long she has lived in speaking with her about events past. This while a very challenging task as she is not much a talker to begin with can give you the idea of how long she's been alive just from her accounts of history alone. That being said the best guess on her age is that she has at least been around for the past eight hundred years or so give or take which to a demon is not the longest period of time, but none to less impressive. For the most part however Shiori shows little care for her age, referring to it as not being an issue to one like her.

Another reason of the lack of clarity revolving around her age is the fact that she always seems to hide her features behind her attires with the only feature showing being the of her hair. By most estimates based on her personality one could consider her to have the mindset of a young adult which is the closest guess one could make to her actual age as it is easier to call her simply an adult rather than to pry into the details of it all. Now technically if one wished to go that far into her age one could collect all of her sheddings and begin to count those up to get an idea on how old she is, but to be fair that task is almost impossible and even if completed it would take many years to reach that state.

Appearance

"I am simply the blade of my master, I require only the image he wishes of me."

Shiori's appearance seems match her personality all too well. It is a simple garb though at the same time seemingly strange and unnatural as if it were forged by no mortal smith's hands as it is truly something one could see only from the demon realm. The Lamellar armor that makes up its form is interwoven with black cloth as to shroud the entire body from view, as if hiding its wearer away from the world. The armor seems to be kept in neat condition, it's paint seemingly untouched and its designs seemingly fresh from scratching as well as the wear and tear of battle. This facet makes the attire something to admire for its simple beauty, as to call it as a work of fine craftsmanship is an honest statement. It's gold inlays suggest a good deal of prestige from the wearer while providing more or at least a sort of an appealing look to it.

This gold design runs throughout the dark black armor like veins carrying blood through the human body as the gold and black painted iron and leather are very much intertwined together. However what is not covered by the lamellar is covered by a silk cloth dyed black as the sky on a starless night. This cloth makes up the form of the body even under the armor coming from her feet to the start of her neck. It offers full coverage of the body and conceals the body of the individual wearing it allowing very few features to be made out of it. Another interesting feature of it is that it seems to soak up blood quite well and its black coloration prevents the stains left by the blood from being seen giving the wearer in these times a seemingly invincible air about them as it seems that they cannot bleed. However while wearing the armor it should be noted you can indeed bleed and one should not try and charge straight into a Yari pike wall thinking those spears will not impale you...THEY WILL. Also this bit of mind games can be nullified if the wound is clearly visible or is large enough to tear the cloth heavily.

Another interesting feature of this comes in the form of its helm. The helm is the same blue and gold coloration as the rest of the armor, it strange shape being able to deflect glancing blows that come down upon it. Underneath the helm is the same black cloth that intertwines the armor that is form fitting around the skull, as it comes down to wear the armor leaves open on her neck and above revealing her face as well her hair. The helms design in general seems to share most of the armors designs making it a matching set. To conceal her face she wears what appears to be a blank Noh mask. Its shape is form fitting to her face before dropping down to narrow around her chin to provide an almost sealing effect to the face so it can offer concealment with a sort of mouth design near where her mouth would be giving a disturbingly blank humanoid appearance. It's eyes are shaped in a slit like fashion giving the mask a dangerous sort of look to it that only becomes more disturbing as one gazes upon its lack of features as there is no emotion shown. The armor finally seems to have a blue cloth like martial draped around it along with the golden spikes at the mid upper armor and on the heel of each sabaton.

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(Extra Stuff)

("True" Hebi Form)





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Likes

+ Watching the Rising and Setting of the Sun | "I-I do not know why I find such a thing in enthralling, I simply just do. I'm afraid I can explain such things no further."

+ Tea | "I have become very fond of this liquid that the humans ingest..."

+ Reading | "I do enjoy a good piece of writing and could possibly be lost to the world if I were to get to reading something I truly adore."

+ Purpose | "I simply wish to have some sort of purpose in this world so alien to me, even if in the end I am simply just a weapon to my Lord."

+ The Sights and Scenes of The Human World | "This world is filled with many wondrous things I had never seen while in the demon world..."

Dislikes

+ Humans | "These humans are conceited creatures to the point of being quite presumptuious, so no I would not keep one in my company by choice"

+ Annoying Questions | "Do you have any business with me? If not I suggest you leave this place before I grow tired of your presence."

+ Touching What Is "Hers" | "If you touch my things again I will begin removing your fingers one by one...please keep that in mind."

+ Nosy Neighbors | "My matters are no business of yours..."

+ Lacking A Purpose | "Idle hands bring the downfall of Empires."





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Personality

"What do you mean? I am completely amiable."

Shiori from a first glance is not the most pleasant woman to be around and the way she acts certainly doesn't help debunk this image. Aloofness is a key one of these traits that Shiori seems to hold in spades as she certainly is not the most forthcoming or even welcoming of people. Rather she tends to remain quiet though does tend to speak up when she feels she needs to be heard or when she is spoken to. While seemingly lacking emotion herself she can be moved to anger or sadness by things though this is usually behind closed doors as otherwise she tends to try her best at remaining detached from most situations. This has given her a disturbing air to her to the point of being intimidating as you can never quite know what is going on inside her head.

She is if anything at this point however can be considered ruthlessly efficient and if pushed to it is willing to kill without hesitation to accomplish the goals of herself, her family and her lord. She also sadly does tend like most Youkai to have strong dislike of humans to the point of condescension at times stemming mostly from her upbringing. The treatment she gives them is quite harsh at times as she finds them to be nothing more than dishonorable and conceited creatures though she will bear their presence at times so long as she finds them to be reasonable. However even through all this there is still some good in her. She for one is loyal at times to a fault to those she cares about, her ideals and to her families honor to the point of showing willingness to die to preserve such things and is someone one can trust. She also does truly care for those who are close to though she isn't the best at showing it, though in her own warped way she does try.

Relationships

The most notable relation to mention is one that Shiori has with the man who raised her after her mother passing due to illness when she was young. Makiri Miyamoto was a elderly Youkai who did not necessarily enjoy Shiori's presence and rather thought of her as a sort of pest only to go on later to see her as a tool to the families rise to power and nothing more. Shiori on the other hand only spoke well of the man though most who got glimpses into exactly how he raised Shiori would remark on just the extent on how they were disgusted by the way he treated her. Now with him bartering her off like cattle to the slaughterhouse Shiori has come to despise the man with a sort of venomous hatred that she has built up over the years on what he forced her to do to become what she is now. Yet deep down in the end Shiori is simply looking for the man's acceptance by going through this servitude, but that is something that deep down she knows she probably will never achieve. It is still a slightly tense relationship to this day with long, but tense silence being the most normal thing about it and it makes most uncomfortable to even share the same room with the two when they come in contact with one another.


Equipment

"And once again I see we return to weapons of war."

Yoake No Piasubureido (夜明けのピアスブレイド) | The twin of the second sword and literally translating into "The Blade That Pierced The Dawn" this o-wakizashi styled blade serves much likes its twin blade as part her deadly primary pair of weaponry.

Yūgure No Piasubureido (夕暮れのピアスブレイド) | The twin of the the first sword, named in similar fashion as "The Blade That Pierced The Dusk" the o-wakizashi blade serves as her second blade and is used in unison with its twin.

Tantō | Used a sort of a secondary weapon after expending the primary pair, however usually like her primary weapons she tends to carry a pair of these weapons. She will however carry only one if she is attempting to travel light for any one occasion.

Kaiken | A true last resort weapon, one does not usually see Shiori have to draw it. It is usually instead for self defense out of her armor or as easily concealable weapon that can be hidden in her clothes.

Assorted Ninja Equipment | Depending on the situation at hand Shiori usually carries an assortment of tools of the trade so to speak. This assortment varies on what her Lord has supplied her for the current action she is going to undertake, but usually includes a mix of throwing knives and shuriken along with other items for the task.


Strengths

The Blade of Her Lord | Shiori is as most would call her a ruthlessly efficient and highly trained weapon of her master at this point. The years of grooming her into a killer from her childhood have come to fruition now in her adulthood. She is now a veteran of the battlefield with a good deal of blood on her hands at this point in her life, as well as being considered a lethal swordsman in her own right. All this along with her sheer Youkai abilities and instinct it is safe to say Shiori can rightfully be called highly dangerous.

The Serpent In The Skin of A Woman | Shiori like most youkai takes on many traits from her race. Shiori gains of number of combat boons from her heritage, though in the end however it is were her other senses come into form that makes things interesting. While she has no advanced hearing or eyesight such things are not really needed for her kind. Instead she comes to bat with an incredible acute sense of smell and taste. The last and probably the most drastic of the differences coming from remarkable system inside her body. These "Pits" as humans would later call them give her a unique perspective on the world giving her a thermal view of the world even while blinded (Think Predator like vision). However this has its flaws in that fact that if one were able to coceal their body heat it would render this trait completely useless. Finally the most notable feature about her is her true form as a hebi which is quite literally a massive snake.

Education | Wanting her to be unlike most simple killers her family took the time to make sure they educated their daughter before they sold her off to the Warlord. Shiori has a good deal of knowledge about many things that would be taught during the period with many of her lessons coming from a human EMpire across the sea. She knows of things such as mathematics, astronomy (Which she secretly enjoys quite a bit) and politics of the human lands to name three of the many avalible example though she really finds interest in that later of the three. That being said she is quite a intelligent person who can argue her points well if need be and out think a good deal of people.

Weaknesses

Socially Inept | Shiori just isn't good at being social, call it her tendency to come off either very aloof or highly insulting it really isn't a win-win situation. Not only this but because of the fact that she quite literally avoids most conversations its easy to say she won't be winning a public speaker award anytime soon nor win the hearts and minds of those who work alongside her.

To A Families Honor | Shiori is first and foremost loyal to her family over most other people. This being put into light one can assume that Shiori is willing to do anything to obtain their wishes even if it means throwing her own life away and being bound into doing things she usually would not if only in a misguided attempt to try and obtain the love of the man who raised her...if only she knew he could care less.

Soul Bound | To put this in simplest terms the Warlord Yousuke quite literally owns her or the manifestation soul to be more exact. She is eternally bound by this due to the arrangements of the deal that was struck some time ago and will serve him until both sides of the agreement are met to the best of her ability. While she may resist his wishes in the end his will is to be her will and if he is to give a command it is usually absolute.

Human Relations | Unfortunately like most Youkai in their impression on Humans, Shiori tends to share the ideals and mindset of those who raised her which is that humans are pitiful creatures. This can tend to put a strain on relations with human allies and at times even her half demon half human allies. It is indeed a narrow minded view point, but one that she was molding into undertaking. Sad thing is behind this story is that at one point Shiori actually was enthralled by humans...how things have changed.






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Home

"It is humorous in the fact that I am more welcome here than in my place of ancestry..."

Is currently residing in what was formerly the Kobayashi's Castle now that it has been seized by Yousuke, however she at one point was a resident in the House of the Sea.

History

Like many of the Shinobi under the employ of the Warlord Yousuke, Shiori's past has been kept under the tightest veils of secrecy with the hopes that such things will never see the light of day as after all some things are better left buried from the light. Shiori entered this world to Akira Miyamoto, a kind and generally well liked woman of Miyamoto Clan. Akira while sheltered most of her life due to being a sickly child seemed to have a sense of kindness and innocence to her in her adulthood that tended to draw people to her and one fatefully day she would draw in the battle weary Hiroto Kimura. Hiroto was a samurai in the armies of the House of The Sea and served under one of its noble houses as a warrior and a vanguard for the family. The would first meet one day in the market place and from there it would become something much deeper then a friendship with Akira saying she admired him for his stubbornness and valor, while he admired her for her kindness.

They would wed in the traditional custom though such a wedding would be if anything but overshadowed by the changing tides within the Miyamoto household. In truth the Miyamoto family had once held great splendor among the courts of old, but had fallen from grace in the last millennium leaving nothing but a hollowed out shell of what it once was. However within the family one man sought to shed the skin of was and to achieve what they had before and so Mikiri Miyomoto self appointed himself head of the clan and began to set in motion what would begin the domino effect.

However to Akira and Hiroto these were nothing, but words and they ignored the red flags being raised. It would be two winters later in which Shiori was born and the catalyst of it would be ignited. You see Akira knew she was going to die, she could feel death beginning to creep up on her as her sickness worsened and it scared her she would leave Hiroto a man who had left his own hellish life and had finally achieved peace with nothing. So she made the decision of what should be done, and it was one that would cost her own life. She would go on to have Shiori knowing fully well she would not survive long after the birth of her own child, but yet she was at peace with herself knowing she would at least be leaving behind something for Hiroto to live for. Akira would die the next morning clutching her child in her arms with a smile faintly crossing her face as if to say she had found some peace in the end. However Hiroto would never see his child as Miriki's ambitions would find their way to the child first. Swept away to parts of the Youkai seas far from others Miriki would raise Shiori as his own child though his intents for her would be a wholly different matter.

Not much is known about Shiori's childhood and if one were to ask Shiori herself she would simply reply with the fact that she did not have one and rather all it was in the end was just her being groomed to serve her eventual purpose. In any case these were the years in which Shiori was slowly transformed from an innocent child into what she is now. It was during this time period Shiori's views on humans were altered from an interest into the belief that they were beneath her as Youkai. From this void in her history Shiori emerged as a highly competent killer with the scars and blood stains of her families battles to prove her worth in the trade. However it is after the period she would come into contact with those who shared a similar fate. It would all start during summer festivities in which she would be attending the festival in place to celebrate the visitation of the Royal Family of The House of The Moon. While attending festivities she would bump into the pairing Takahiro and Kimiko Tennō of which not knowing who they were at the time and the fact that they seemed insistent on conversing struck up friendship with the pair. It was here for one of the first times in her life Shiori did not feel alone in the world, though this blissful feeling would be stripped away once they had left and she had to return to what awaited her at home.

It would be a number of years however before her day of judgement would arrive. The day itself had started normally enough before she was called into her fathers chambers only to find what horrid thing that had awaited her. There in the room with her father stood a woman who provided her with the news of the contract at hand...A return of service for assistance and the turning over of the Youkai Shiori Miyamoto into the care of Yousuke Haru as a gift. In truth she had just been bartered away and her suffering would most certainly not end there.

So begins...

Shiori Miyamoto's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Shiori Miyamoto Character Portrait: Yousuke Haru Character Portrait: Amaya
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The Demon Realm had a unique sort of feel to it, one she could not fully describe as impressing any of the mundane five senses. She supposed that had she not been attuned to anything outside of those, she would not have felt much different at all. But, being what she was, Amaya was aware of it, and it grated a little. This was belied by the way she kept flexing her hands more than anything, though she didn’t bother to hide the traces of irritation on her face, either. With the negotiations complete and no longer distracting her, she had more attention to devote to this unnamable itch, the strange crawling sensation under her skin. The distinctive makeup of this world was trying to expel her spirit from her flesh, to leave behind the husk, and she was forced to suppress it. She needed the husk, back in the human world. It would not do to leave it here.

Glancing to her side, she noted that her companion was still silent. This didn’t bother her at all, though she was still a little off-put by the ease with which the woman’s father had bartered her away as part of this deal, as though he’d been eager to do it the whole time. Well, it worked fine for Amaya’s purposes—her lord’s army could use another yōkai, especially one trained to combat. It was no challenge to see that Miyamoto-san had this attribute—it was in the fluid way she moved.

Amaya wasn’t sure what experience the hebi woman had with inter-world travel, so she took a moment to explain, her footsteps drawing to a stop once they reached a clearing. It was formerly a grassy knoll of some sort, slightly raised above the surrounding forest, but whatever grasses had grown here were long since singed away, a ring of perhaps ten feet in any direction scorched and blackened to barrenness by the very rare event of world-shifting. It was not an easy thing to do, and required a certain kind of knowledge as well as the right ki-based powers, and that was merely to open a gate. Stabilizing one, or aiming the exit, were even more difficult tasks. Thankfully, the old knowledge was not lost to everyone.

“This is the spot we’ll be going through. Once I open the gate, you’ll have to enter first. If I’m doing this properly, it should open just behind Yousuke-dono’s estate. Wait for me when you land, and I’ll take you to him.” Pursing her lips together, Amaya frowned, seemingly at nothing but the air, for several slow seconds. She didn’t wave her hands or incant anything or any such nonsense as that, and indeed the only hint that anything was about to happen was that her eyes slipped into the middle distance a little, as though she were somehow looking beyond what was right in front of them.

A small breeze picked up from behind them, stirring the unbound little hairs at the sides of her head like so many stalks of rice in the paddies, and slowly, the air in front of them began to shimmer, almost as if heat were radiating from the ground. Their visual fields warped, curving as though there were a giant telescopic lens in front of them, and then, slowly, space tore apart. The rift appeared to be entirely two-dimensional, open before them like an elliptical mirror, only they could see through it, to what looked to be an expansive garden. The smell of wisteria filtered through, something not present on their side of the gate.

Flicking black eyes to Shiori, Amaya nodded slightly, to indicate that the other woman could pass through first. As she did, the diminutive strategist regulated her breathing, watching the edges of the gate waver—perhaps alarming, but ultimately harmless. When the masked woman was through, Amaya followed, letting the gate shut behind her when she was sure all of her important body parts and articles of clothing were through, plus of course the satchel she was carrying, the terms of the treaty inside laid out in neat, crisp handwriting and signed by both herself, as relevant proxy to Yousuke-dono, and Miyamoto Makiri.

A quick ki sweep of the area revealed that most of Yousuke’s shinobi and kunoichi were either with him or on their way there, and she could only assume he had called for a meeting of some kind. Either her timing was exceptionally good, or his was. Upon feeling something wet sliding down her face, Amaya reached her free hand up to her nose, thin fingers coming away with red droplets at their tips. Damned gates. Reaching into the space between her gi and kosode, she tugged out a scrap of cloth and used it to blot away the blood, the wound it came from already healing, doubtlessly. “It’s this way. I suspect you’ll be introduced, then given the opportunity to settle in and rest, if you need it. Someone should explain everything you need to know, which honestly isn’t much. Don’t worry too much about being formal with Yousuke-dono; he doesn’t really care for all that.” It went without saying, of course, that formality or not, some amount of respect was expected.

The gate had spit them out a little closer to the house than planned, but that wasn’t at all a problem, and Amaya entered, occasionally nodding to acknowledge the shallow bows of passing servants and the like. Very few people here were much for standing on all the ceremony, which was something she appreciated. Less wasted time that way.

She knocked sharply on the door before pushing it aside to admit herself and her charge. “Yousuke-dono. I have returned from the demon world, as promised.” He’d expect a fuller report later, of course, and she would give it, but not presently. Kurosawa-san was already in the room, her face a mask of neutrality, though she wasn’t especially inclined to hide her disdain for being here most of the time. The fox-woman’s brows drew together slightly as she spotted their new guest over Amaya’s shoulder, but she was otherwise unreactive.

“This is Miyamoto Shiori. I’ll let her explain why she’s here.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Shiori Miyamoto Character Portrait: Yousuke Haru Character Portrait: Amaya
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#, as written by Clarent


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"The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight and the only reason a warrior fights is to win."




Five strokes... each one so delicate and filled with precision one could assume the action had been practiced. This was all it took to sign away her very soul. Shiori had watched the event transpire as she had sat at the very table were her life would be bartered off like some good that were to be sold in a marketplace. Silence had reigned only for a moment after that before Shiori was dismissed by her father to collect her things and go from the house of her childhood. To the hebi who even knew this day would come this would rend her in two, damaging her more than any blade ever could.

The woman however held her tongue as she was taught to do so long ago, pushing the sadness, the rage and the hatred to the farthest reaches of her mind were they would trouble her no more. It would take only a moment to retrieve her belongings from the small empty space she had called a room for the past few years though in reality the walk there felt like an eternity, her legs acting more so like lead blocks than anything else. The hallway finally would come to an end in front of a small sliding door, its surface decorated with the waves of the ocean crashing against a harbor. The woman reached out with a gentle grip and slid the door open to reveal the space beyond. The room was a blank space other than the cot on the floor on which she had slept on, and what was left of her things were all neatly packed the foot of her sleeping area along with the small bonsai tree in its little pot.

The woman allowed her eyes to sweep over the room from behind the blank featureless mask one last time before she knelt down to begin collecting what little she had. The task was done in silence as once done she stood gasping a package of what looked to be letters and stuffing them in the small sack she would carry her belongings in. With that she picked up her potted plant and with a quick turn of the heel began to leave the room before pausing as if to take on last look at the place she had grown up in. The room seemed almost peaceful as the light from its one window drifted down to stretch across the floor letting the shadows of the place begin to slither across the floor. Shiori seemed to take in this view before slowly she exited, sliding shut the painted door behind her as the light in the room seemed to fade.





The start of trip to the human world was accompanied by a veil of silence, as neither traveler seemed to be in any true hurry to speak to one another as they went on their way. The journey would not be long however as they would come to the stop in clearing in which the other woman who had introduced herself as "Amaya" from earlier turned to her. Shiori look at the woman as if waiting to hear what she had to say, her serpentine eyes finding a focus on the one who stood before her. The tactician began to explain what she was about to do, her words flowing forth on how she was to create a portal to the human world.

“This is the spot we’ll be going through. Once I open the gate, you’ll have to enter first. If I’m doing this properly, it should open just behind Yousuke-dono’s estate. Wait for me when you land, and I’ll take you to him.”

To this Shiori simply gave her a curt nod before moving into position to await the portal to be opened. She had been to this human world twice before though neither visit was exactly a peaceful pleasure trip though that in her mind was a story for another day. The sounds of the ritual brought Shiori back to reality as right before her eyes the rift between the demon world and the human world began to take shape. Shiori moved closer to the portal eyeing the edges as they expanded outwards to form the almost human size hole in the fabric of the two worlds they'd have to travel through.

The view at the end of this tunnel seemed to take is form in a swirling mass of color before finally it came into focus for what it truly was. On the other side of the rift lay what appeared to be some sort of lavish garden, it's scents drifting through as if carried on the spring breeze. The woman watched the scene with great interest as she almost sub-consciously slide her pack of item's strap up on her shoulder to prevent it from falling off with a free hand. The was a brief silence as Amaya seemed to check the portal for stability before with a slight nod the other woman signaled the portal was ready for use.

The hebi seemed to take a slight breath as her fingers wrapped tightly around the small bonsai tree she held in a death grip that suggested she feared losing the plant. With that small preparation being done the youkai took as step into the void as the scenery that awaited her grew nearer with every step. Finally she breached the other side of the gate, her feet coming down hard on the ground that awaited her. She soon as expect began to slowly but surely began to regain her bearings as she gave herself a once over with her eyes to make sure the gate did not leave anything behind, as it would be humiliating to her to arrive in the company of her new Lord in the nude.

Luckily however the gate had seemed to do its job without fault and soon after Amaya was through the fissure sealing it behind her. Shiori took the moment of silence as her companion seemed to do the thing she had done only a few seconds earlier to get any idea of were she was allowing her eyes to scan the world around her. The gardens were a sight to behold, their radiant colors and the ever pleasant smell of the flowers in bloom almost hid the foul human stench that hung in the air.

Around the gardens sat the Castle which she could only suppose was owned by Warlord Yousuke, its towering structure like the many other castles in the province being some of the only things Shiori about this world she had entered was genuinely impressed by these days as otherwise the human world was nothing new to her. It was the scent of blood hitting the air however that caused Shiori to turn as her eyes focused on Amaya as the human seemed to be dealing with a slight nose bleed though she dealt with it in a quick and professional manner. Then with that Shiori's attention was once again grabbed by the woman who began to give out the rest of the briefing that the serpent woman could only nod to.

“It’s this way. I suspect you’ll be introduced, then given the opportunity to settle in and rest, if you need it. Someone should explain everything you need to know, which honestly isn’t much. Don’t worry too much about being formal with Yousuke-dono; he doesn’t really care for all that.”

Soon however she would find herself standing in the shadow of the doors that had look since tormented her dreams. This was were her last bit of freedom would now truly wither and die. The woman grimaced slightly under her mask as the Tactician pushed open the doors to the room to enter giving her a clear view of what awaited her. There in the room sat the man who she was now subservient to. The woman said nothing as she followed Amaya inside, her yellow irises darting around the room as if to take in all the figures who now stood in it, her eyes settling strangely not on the Warlord but on the one next to him as if she was straining to put a name to the woman's face.

The silence afterwards seemed to hang in the air like a suspended blade before it was dispersed once again by Amaya who gave a greeting before promptly turning things over to Shiori who promptly gave a seemingly practiced bow of greeting to both the Warlord and one she could only assume was one of his Shinobi. "It is an honor Yousuke-dono." She mustered in a quiet greeting though her voice left no hint of emotion as she rose from her bow setting the bonsai tree along with her things to the side as she slowly lowered herself down to kneel in front of the Warlord, lowering herself in another bow as if to address him on a matter of importance. "I as the daughter of Mikiri Miyamoto send you his best regards and wishes on your endeavors as well as offer you myself in service. I am but your blade, use me as you wish." Shiori finished before rising up out of the bow and locking her eyes on him, the yellow irises cutting at the man who sat before them as if awaiting some sort of reaction out of him to this.

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Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Shiori Miyamoto Character Portrait: Yousuke Haru Character Portrait: Amaya
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Yousuke did not bother to budge as Tsubaki entered the room. As far as the youkai under his enslavement went she was by far his most useful, she was as comfortable being charming as she was slitting a throat.Tsubaki was responsible for all of the youkai he owned. And he knew that was a harsh way of putting it, owning another being, but it was very accurate and Yousuke at the very least didn't want to make light of what it was he was doing. It was an evil, a necessary one, but at least he would not mask it as something else.

She had a great deal of quiet dignity this one, even in the face of hardship. She made her displeasure known in subtle ways, which was highly amusing to observe. Today he was not in the best of moods however, and her silence was her saving grace from being told to shut up. Anyone that knew Yousuke would know he was anxious, while he exuded calm he was unable to get comfortable and his lack of movement or eating attested to his tense state of mind.

The rest of the Shinobi gathered, he didn't shift until he felt a relieving presence. He had expected to send them off himself but now that Amaya was finally back she could take care of the matter herself. Yousuke let out a breath he didn't know he was holding, he groaned, cracking neck and stretching his tense shoulders. Damn her, he remembered a time when he had no one to worry about. It was easier on him certainly, but lonely.

His body was more relaxed by the time she arrived, a youkai trailing after her. Unexpected as far as company went, he nodded at her as she gave way to this newcomer, Miyamoto Shiori. He would speak more with Amaya later, and ask why it was she smelled like blood.

Such formality, from what he had been told the house of the sea was extremely concerned with it, and this poor youkai, he met her cutting gaze with ease, had formality beaten into her very bones, he could tell.

Yousuke threw his head back into a booming laugh, "Of all the unexpected things, the house of the sea sends me one of its people as though it were nothing. Tell me Shiori, who did you piss off to get sent here?" Yousuke began his debriefing, a process he went through with every youkai he took into his service. He needed to assess them, get them to speak, get them both comfortable and uncomfortable, and then he made clear what it was he expected of them.

Yousuke nodded to Amaya, holding out Inoue's letter for her to take.

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Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Shiori Miyamoto Character Portrait: Yousuke Haru Character Portrait: Amaya
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While Yousuke-dono conducted his debriefing of the new agent, Amaya read over the documents he had handed to her. She didn’t need to ask to understand what was expected of her here—if he was drawing this matter to her attention, that meant he wanted her to design and implement a strategy to deal with it. Inoue, their embedded agent in Edo, had ties to a member of Kobayashi-ue’s household, ties that she was clearly putting to very effective use. Whomever she’d found must have been remarkably loose-lipped; either that, or Inoue-san was better than Amaya had initially assessed. Either option was interesting, but ultimately inconsequential at present.

Settling in front of the assembled shinobi without looking up from her reading, Amaya finished the rest, a small furrow forming in her brow. Hiring ronin for a vengeance quest, was it? Well, it wasn’t exactly unexpected, but Amaya could hardly formulate an accurate strategy knowing only that they were ronin. Such people came in many types, with many different levels of skill and character, and though it arguably took a certain amount of stupidity to want to take on Yousuke-dono, intelligence and skill at warfare were unfortunately not always directly correlated. Worst case scenario, Kobayashi-ue would manage to secure herself a small army of very talented idiots. It was certainly not impossible.

Fortunately, the means to gather the information she now required sat silently assembled in front of her at this very moment, and she waited for Miyamoto-san to join the lot before she spoke. Doubtless, her lord’s idea of appropriate response would be something along the lines of just go kill them already, but Amaya wasn’t going to do that without more detailed intelligence. Some things required the needle rather than the hammer.

“Kurosawa-san. Take Miyamoto-san and three others—I want you to go to Edo and locate one Kohaku Souji-san. Inoue says he is gathering a rebel force on behalf of the Kobayashi. Discover how many number in this force, and how strong they are. Do not engage if you can avoid it. We are after information here, nothing more. It goes without saying that you should go undetected if you can, undercover if you can’t. Make contact with Inoue—I will write a new set of orders for her that you will deliver. You should leave tonight, at dusk.”

She paused a moment, letting the words settle, and in that time, Kurosawa-san inclined her head slightly, an indication that the orders were received, though she did not bow, as most subordinates would have. Amaya simply didn’t care. “Understood, Amaya-san.” There was usually a slightly awkward hitch in the speech of people who addressed the strategist by name—even if they didn’t particularly respect her, it was still odd to refer to another by what was clearly a given name. But the monk who raised Amaya had given her none, and she saw no need for one. Amaya was all she was, and it was enough. Kurosawa seemed to be used to it, anyway.

Their orders delivered, the assembled shinobi stood, bowed, and departed, leaving Amaya alone with her thoughts. Well, and Yousuke-dono, but that wasn’t terribly unusual. It wasn’t like his so-called ‘bodyguard’ actually cared for the duty, and really, the idea that he needed one was laughable. She actually may have laughed, when he mentioned to what use he intended to put Muga.

“I think we should start assembling a strike squad,” she mused, partly to him, and partly just to herself. He gave her a great deal of leeway when it came to planning—really, the fact that she couched her strategies as suggestions still was more an idiosyncrasy of her own preference than any demand of his. “Which means, of course, that I’ll have to spend the rest of the afternoon combat testing some of the soldiers…” She arched an eyebrow at him. Watching her do that seemed to be a particularly-amusing pastime, for him. She didn’t really understand why, though perhaps there was some entertainment value to watching her spar with people nearly half again her size.