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Kumorimaru

"If thou so wish- I shall condemn eternal hell unto the one thou thus hate."

0 · 1,578 views · located in Edo Japan

a character in “Tsukiakari”, as played by aarondalea

Description

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Everything always comes with a price.


Normal || The Blue Spirit | The Track Team ||
Angry || YuYan Capture Aang | The Track Team ||
Emotional || Last Agni Kai | The Track Team ||






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|| Name ||
Kumorimaru

|| Nickname(s) ||
None

|| Race ||
Demon

|| Specializes In ||
Demon of the Dead and the Wind

|| Age ||
"I myself do not remember when I came to exist..."

|| Gender ||
Male

|| Sexuality ||
Pansexual
“Humans, demons, spirits...all have great vices that irk me so.”

|| Face Claim ||
Kusuriuri||Ayakashi- Japanese Classic Horror





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|| Height ||
187cm||6’1

|| Weight ||
68kg||150lbs

|| Hair Color ||
Human|| Greyish-Blonde
Demon|| Platinum Blonde/White

|| Eye Color ||
Human|| Brown irises, white sclera
Demon|| Yellow irises circled with a large ring of red, black sclera

♔ || Skin Tone || ♔
Human|| Pale, sickly
Demon|| Brown

|| Build/Appearance/Preferred Clothing ||
•Human Appearance|| Kumorimaru doesn’t try much to pass off as a human. His pointed ears, his tattoos, and his purple colored lips tend to give him off when compared to any human-born person. What also makes Kumorimaru stand out is his flamboyantly colored kimonos and the purple bandana that he wears all the time. These kimonos tend to be of clashing colors, covered with many weird patterns- mainly those of circles and geometric patterns. Much to the intrigue of many, these patterns sometimes seem to move, though they should be stationary, as they are but prints on cloth. Underneath his kimono, Kumorimaru tends to wear black pants. He is of lithe build and tends to look slightly undernourished and sickly.

•Demon Appearance|| When in his demon form, Kumorimaru’s skin color changes to a dark brown, and his eyes taken on a bright red and yellow scheme. He gains more muscle mass and seems- at times- a bit taller than he usually is. His body is covered with bright golden tattoos that form circles on the back of his hands, face, and back. These tattoos are not stationary- rather, based on Kumorimaru’s movements, they move along with him. His normal, human-form yukata falls off to reveal a bright golden colored dress up, with red cloth holding it together around his waist and purple pants underneath. It shines with a sort of iridescence, yet at the same time many claim that the gold is but a dull, ‘hopeless’ gold though they themselves do not know why.






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|| Weapon ||
•Dagger|| Kumorimaru uses this while in the human world. It is a simple dagger with an extremely ornate handle and sheath. The blade itself is sharp and strong, made of a bright, shining material unlike any sort of metal. It is double-sided, and rather than looking like a dagger, the dagger itself looks more like a miniature sword. A carved head rests at the edge of the sword, it’s smile grotesquely twisted and warped.
• “Long Sword”| Nameless|| This weapon is unique to those similar to Kumorimaru. It is shapeless, weightless, and intangible to others except for Kumorimaru. It does not take shape in the real world, nor can anyone see it besides Kumorimaru and his kin. It is his nameless long sword- a representation of his own inner being. The blade of the sword is nonexistent, and appears as a red and gold mist. The wounds that Kumorimaru make, however, are deeper than that of the flesh.
• Paper|| Many people who come across Kumorimaru tend to think that these papers are spells and protection seals of some kinds. However, this is far from true. With his wind manipulation abilities, these papers become lethal weapons, able to deal as much damage as a dagger or sword made of the finest quality by the hands of the best blacksmith alive.

|| Abilities ||
• Wind|| Kumorimaru has considerable control of the wind while in the corporeal world. This is his main means of fighting while not in Yomi-no-kuni. Using his mind to direct the wind, Kumorimaru can control it and create almost anything he wants, from large winds to small gusts of comfortable breezes. While fighting, Kumorimaru tends to use his nails as guidance for the wind, and controls it so that sharp gusts of air blast at his opponents, fast and strong enough to cut into flesh. Other times, he uses it as an intangible umbrella, blowing rain away from where he stands both in the air and on the ground. Kumorimaru has thought of many ingenious ways of using his wind-manipulating abilities over the past centuries.
• Divine Punishment|| Kumorimaru is, in the most succinct terms, just like a shinigami- except he isn’t. Rather, shinigami only take souls to Narakara- the land of return and redemption. Kumorimaru serves for Enma Dai-O, ruler of Jigoku, the last level of Yomi-no-kuni. He drags people from the living realm to the deepest levels of Earth, invoking illusions of their darkest fears before sending them to Jigoku himself. Here, he reveals his demon form, his eyes invoking visions that no human nor spirit can shake off. The pass to Jigoku is none other than a stab in the heart by his long sword- a symbol that the humans’ soul itself has also come to an end. This power cannot be used based on Kumorimaru’s will, though. Unless requested by another human, unless pushed by great hatred, unless requested from Enma Dai-O, Kumorimaru’s demon powers are ineffective. They stay dormant unless of utter need, and this has occurred much more frequently over the past few centuries.




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|| Personality ||
{Cold | Distant | Apathetic | Harsh | Direct | Intelligent | Jaded | Pragmatic}
Seven thousand years has left Kumorimaru with barely any personality anymore. Rather, he has grown extremely jaded and distasteful towards the world as a whole. His job has left Kumorimaru with less hope with the human race- and the frequent visits he makes to Jigoku weekly has left a numbness within his heart. He himself cannot pinpoint exactly what this feeling is, as he has long since forgotten many of the feelings he once felt in the past, at one point or another. Due to his circumstances, Kumorimaru has developed an extremely apathetic personality and outlook towards life and others. He holds no compassion for the living- especially the ones he sometimes interacts with to drag to Jigoku. His interactions with souls has defined how Kumorimaru interacts with the living as well, and he hasn’t been able to shake off his taciturn, serious personality ever since.

Many years of studying books, scrolls and people have left Kumorimaru with a sharp mind and a wealth of knowledge. Much that once was has been lost by the human race- but not by Kumorimaru’s memory. His studies have left Kumorimaru extremely intelligent and quick-minded in terms of dangerous situations and problems. However, his studies seem to stop in terms of interacting with other spirits, demons or humans. This is because Kumorimaru is extremely harsh and direct towards everyone he meets, and most people avoid him not just because of his weird appearance but also due to his stinging tongue. This has led Kumorimaru to develop a distance, silent attitude with talking with others. His mind, however, teems with comments and sentences whenever he listens to others though this does not show on his face. Kumorimaru does speak though- obviously- and what comes out of his mouth tends to be criticisms, or cold observations. He himself doesn’t feel one bit sorry or guilty about how he speaks. Once more, Kumorimaru feels as if talking and human emotions are only fickle details of life itself. The many centuries Kumorimaru has been alive has eroded his interest in the human race, and in the spirit race as well.

Kumorimaru has marked his entry into the Tsukiakari as a sort of change. Probably he is ready and willing to change for the better. Otherwise- Kumorimaru is not sure himself either- this is just another simplified way for finding more corrupt souls.


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|| Likes ||
• Solitude|| Though Kumorimaru does not mind the companionship of others, he still leans more towards a silent, quiet life. He tends to move around alone, and likes to live by himself, as this, he claims, makes it easier for him to meditate and complete his job as a demon of Jigoku.
• The Dark| Night|| Obviously, as a yokai, Kumorimaru prefers the quiet darkness of the night. It is his abode- he was born from darkness. Kumorimaru has grown used to the dark, and now believes that it suits him much more than the bright day during which spirits and humans roam. As he cannot interact with the two species much, Kumorimaru likes the night during which he can interact with those of his own kind, or no one at all.
• Hikaru|| A small cat. Kumorimaru picked him up on the streets, alone, freezing and starving, right after Kumorimaru had signed up to join the Tsukiakari. Though Kumorimaru doesn’t understand why either, he picked up the young kitten and has taken care of it since then. Hikaru has been with Kumorimaru for around 2 years now, and is extremely docile and good-natured. Kumorimaru has also developed the habit of making clothes for Hikaru to wear on an almost daily basis. “He is like…a ray of light in my life.”
Nature || Walking ||His Demon Form || Writing || Poems || Drawing || Tea || Flower Appreciation || Animals || Noh || Sake || Kabuki || Yukatas || Meditation || Travelling || Smoking || Music

|| Dislikes ||
• Fighting|| This is a rather paradoxical for Kumorimaru. Fighting is one of the main components of his being- he was born to fight, torment and torture. But he himself dislikes fighting and feels distasteful towards anyone who indulges in the heat of fighting- as he did when he was a much younger, foolhardy newborn demon. To convince himself, Kumorimaru has tried to equate fighting with art, but it hasn’t helped him much, and he still continues to dislike fighting in its most basic form.
• Jigoku|| Though this is Kumorimaru’s home- though he was born and conceived here- Kumorimaru still harbors dislike towards the place. It is no wonder that he does, though, as the incessant screams of torment and hopelessness rage throughout the endless landscape of darkness and lava. He doesn’t feel any pity, nor does Kumorimaru hate Jigoku out of any sort of feeling within his heart- rather, it is a blatant annoyance that leaves Kumorimaru with nothing but dislike towards the place. Though over the past centuries he has grown used to Jigoku and his ill-feelings have died down compared to before, there is still an underlying feeling of annoyance whenever the echoing wails and screams of mercy reach his ears.
• Samurai|| “The age of the samurai is done. Thy kind hath filled itself with ranks of scoundrels, absent-minded devils- nevermore shall it return to it’s former glory.”
Thieves || the Sea || Lowly yokai || Temptresses || Hatred || Politics || News || Fanatics || Drunkards || Flamboyancy || Mandarines

|| Talents ||
• Medicine|| Kumorimaru is something like a traveling medicine maker. Rather than having a shop, he tends to just place his supplies in a wooden box, strap it to his back with cloth, and set off, walking throughout Edo. Not many tend to employ him for this use, however, since Kumorimaru has no sign on him to show that he is actually a travelling doctor. Few know this occupation of his- and they only know out of coincidence.
• Flower Assortment|| This is a particular habit of Kumorimaru, and he tends to leave an hour of his day out for flower assorting. His pieces can sell for rather high prices, and many nobles love to commission him to arrange a few pieces during large events or just as a centerpiece at home. The flowers that Kumorimaru uses for his pieces tend to be grown and picked by himself, though he tends to frequent a particular flower shop in the outskirts of Edo for any other flower he cannot grow or find.
• Xun|| Kumorimaru can not only play the Xun very well, but also creates and sells his own Xuns as well. Whenever he has time, Kumorimaru tends to roam Edo, a large wooden box on his back, in which he lines many beautifully colored and painted Xuns. Many people know Kumorimaru due to his widely popular Xun collection, and also his skill in playing the simple instrument as well.

|| Flaws ||
• Anger|| Kumorimaru is hard to move to anger. He tends to be in a constant state of mildness, walking around with nothing in his heart. However, when he is angered, it is rarely a ‘small anger’. Rather, Kumorimaru’s anger tantrums tend to be extremely long and destructive, as he tends to let his wind powers loose, wrecking havoc on everything near him. He himself cannot control his anger whenever he is moved into heat,
• Blunt|| He rarely keeps his comments to himself. Kumorimaru is extremely direct and straightforward with his words, rarely covering up whatever ill feelings or negative sentiments he has towards anyone, even Enma Dai-O. This bluntness with his speech also links to Kumorimaru’s ability to lie, which is, basically, zero. Thus, many people place Kumorimaru’s words at high value, as they know that he would not warp what he sees and what is true to please others, though this has also gotten him into considerable trouble in the past.
• Remorseless|| This has been one of Kumorimaru’s main aspects for the past centuries. He feels no remorse towards the souls he drags down to Hell, and less for the people who suffer due to his actions back on Earth. He does not feel anything to the cries of humans, demons and spirits alike. However, this seems to have been changing over the past few years, especially after he joined Tsukiakari- Kumorimaru cannot pinpoint why, but it is happening, or at least he feels as if it is.

|| Fears ||
Kumorimaru does not fear anything; His position within Jigoku, just like for all of his other kin, has crushed any sense of fear Kumorimaru may have had in his heart. When he was still human- for Kumorimaru was made from a soul- Kumorimaru feared many things, or so he believes and so he has heard. However, that time has long since passed. As the conjurer of many fears, as a messenger of the worst place imaginable, Kumorimaru feels unfazed by near everything and anything. The sights of tortured bodies and decapitated heads bring nothing to his heart; separated families and killed children do not stir anything within Kumorimaru. He is empty- an empty shell with no fears.




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|| Family ||
None.
Kumorimaru is all alone. He does not live with anyone, nor does he wish to at all. His solitude has become a normal part of his life- though Kumorimaru’s joining of the Tsukiakari has sort of broke his long trend of living and working alone. To an extent, Kumorimaru has tried to force himself to view the other members of Tsukiakari as distant relatives, but the human concept of ‘family’ has evaded him for many years. He finds it hard to conceptualize the idea of ‘kinship’ and wonders how relationships can be different, one way or another, just based on one’s own personal feelings and blood- something which Kumorimaru does not have.

|| Romantic Interest ||
“All that I have met…were crying for mercy, begging on their knees pleading to my 'consciousness'. None were of great value; none held any inner beauty.”
None.






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|| Bio ||
“Life was…never kind to me.”
Kumorimaru remembers that he was created from a soul, but who’s soul he cannot remember. No one from Jigoku can tell him either, as within the contract of becoming a ‘soul reaper’, all past information of the soul is erased from all history. By this means, Kumorimaru never existed before he became a damned member of Jigoku, confined to a life of dragging people to the lowest level of Hell. When he came to exist, Kumorimaru only remembers opening his eyes to see nothing but the black and red caverns of Jigoku, the wails of the damned resounding in his new ears. A dread had filled him then- but had suddenly vanished as his soul was fully mutated into a member of Jigoku and a serf of Enma Dai-O.

From there on, his years blur together to form an incoherent mass of pictures and fragmented memories. Kumorimaru cannot really remember his life from before, and tends to rely more so on the scrolls and texts he comes across throughout his life. His lack of memories instills a sort of fear within Kumorimaru, a sense of loss within himself, and he cannot place his finger on the reason why he feels this way. Within his own mind, he believes that the inevitable erasing of memories within one’s mind is normal- but at the same time, he cannot say if this explanation makes him feel comfortable or not. Though his memories are lost, Kumorimaru has definitely grown over the years, perfecting the powers he controls to their finest level. He cannot say exactly how many souls he has dragged down to Hell, nor can he exactly say how many prices he has taken from people, but he can only be certain that the number is within the millions, if not billions, for human hatred and vice stay strong through Time passes by faster than water in a river.

Three centuries ago, Kumorimaru came across the then members of the Tsukiakari. Interested in what they were doing, sneaking around Edo in the lights of nothing but the moon, Kumorimaru had followed the three figures to their base and had revealed his presence quickly. “How farest thee, Good men and women.” He had started out, his eyes flashing in the light as he surveyed the mixture of yokai, human and spirit sitting before him. They had tried to subdue him, but Kumorimaru was fast, and had evaded their attacks. “I all but wish to join thine…gathering.” Though there had been much muttering and many doubtful glances, Kumorimaru was allowed into the group.

Since then, he started to settle in different cities, mainly within Edo. Whenever he felt like the time had come, Kumorimaru would leave the City and travel to another, staying there until whispers and weird glances started to show once more. However, after two centuries of such moving around, Kumorimaru finally decided to settle down in Edo, building his own hut in a rather secluded area before finally creating his Xun and flower arrangement selling businesses. Since then, he has claimed that he is his own son- with the help of some other friends from Jigoku- and has been living undercover ever since. Through mail and through prayer, Kumorimaru is summoned to his other job of dragging people down to eternal punishment. By bird, however, he is notified about his jobs for Tsukiakari. He now lives peacefully with Hikaru in his small hut, claiming that he is now the fifth generation within the ‘Tsubame’ family.

|| Other ||
Kumorimaru is also pretty good at making food- including udon and sushi- and tends to find jobs from time to time in famous restaurants within and outside of Edo.

So begins...

Kumorimaru's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Amaiko Soranagi Character Portrait: Misaki Akhito Character Portrait: Hiruko Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsushita Character Portrait: Hachiro Takeaki Character Portrait: Kasumi Character Portrait: Akiko Character Portrait: Kiba Bayushi Character Portrait: Zalenetsu Character Portrait: Rin Fukushima Character Portrait: Kichirou Matsumoto Character Portrait: Kanika Character Portrait: Naomi Asai Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru Character Portrait: Tsukiko
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Demon | of | Revenge




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Laying, bored as usual, in the center of the Tsukiakari shrine, Ankoku, the demon of revenge, stared stultifyingly at the tree's slowly beginning to lose their charm, blossoms, and leaves. Fall was approaching along with winter following afterwards. Not that she cared. Ankoku hardly paid attention to the seasons. In fact, she was quite apathetic about many things after all the years she's lived her dull life, 'It's always the same thing, over and over again.'
She thought tiredly to herself. Lately, the individual prayers that she had gotten were all stories about how someone's loved one was killed by a demon or another human, and she, Ankoku, had to go hunt down the killer and take care of them herself. She was named the demon of revenge for a good reason, but sometimes, she wanted a more interesting request than the same stories over and over again.

Ankoku glanced over at the donation boxes, ones where people tossed any extra money in hopes that their luck of their wishes being granted would be increased. Out of boredom, and curiosity, she got up, walking barefoot, as usual, on the smooth wooden floors of the Tsukiakari housing until she reached the front of the shrine. It was no surprise how quiet it was and how no one was in sight of the shrine. They were, even during the war, still quite unpopular.

She walked by every single demon, spirit, and their great god's boxes until she reached her own. A few coins, as expected. Ankoku was still quite a minor demon, hardly known, hardly powerful. But what told her that she was still there and remembered was when she got prayers. Of course, they were mostly from bad people. What good person would want revenge? No one.

Just as she scoffed at how poor Tsukiakari really was, she realized that she was getting another prayer, 'My brother was killed in this war. A demon killed him on the battle field, one with a large head and a tiny body. It was tall and intimidating. Please take revenge for me, Ankoku.' Ankoku frowned with annoyance at this and wiped the memory clear from her head, deciding not to take that job. As unsatisfied as she was, she'd rather be that than have to replay the same story all over again for the hundredth time.

'It's just another damn prayer. Who the hell cares if I don't take revenge for them either? Honestly... humans are so tiring... We don't have to do all their work. If they really wanted revenge, they wouldn't call on a demon to do their bidding.' Just like the gods who had unleashed hell, Ankoku, too, despised most humans.

Ankoku was orignally about to walk away, seeing as there was nothing of interest to her there until there was a chime of the bell; the bell belonging to Tsukiakari's shrine. That meant that there was a prayer for the whole entire group. The whole entire Tsukiakari group. Quickly, she ran back to the largest saisen, the donation box, which obviously was for the Tsukiakari group, and found a prayer written across the board, how they are usually written for the group.

''The demons are spreading to my village lately, and they're terrorizing everyone. It started with just a few pranks, like breaking pots or tripping the kids, but it's gotten more violent. People are dying and we can see them clearly now. They're wiping out the whole entire village. Our men, including myself, can't stop them, and the women and children are being killed. Please, Tsukiakari, help us.'

It was from an adult male villager, and this made Ankoku grow eager. Rudely, as usual, she called throughout to those who were still in the area of the shrine, "Off your asses, fools! Get over here! We finally got a prayer." She felt the excitement rush through her while she yelled. Hell, she could care less if anyone was bothered by her yelling at this point.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru
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Time: A Week Ago




Cough.

“Xun- anyone want a beautiful Xun?” Kumorimaru was a strange sight indeed, his kimono a vibrant color compared to the dark blues and greys that moved around him. The wooden box on his back clinked, its wares inside bumped lightly against one another as Kumorimaru walked, the paper umbrella blocking the sun standing out like a pink spot amongst the dark masses. A cat sat on top of the box, swaying around with a pink glow resting on its white fur, cast on it by the umbrella. It swayed with each step, listening to the clinks of clay hitting on another, listening to the shouts of the market that raged around them. To the children screaming into the air, and to the selling of wares that Kumorimaru’s weak voice joined in. The cat closed its eyes, the light blue irises vanishing from sight, the look on its face serene, human-like; a serene, happy look that no one else carried on their face. But it suddenly opened its eyes, pupils dilated and fur on edge, a purr rippling through its throat, through the crowd and back again, resounding loudly in Kumorimaru’s left ear. A loud thudding-thud-thud of a tail thumping on hollow wood, but the clink-a-clink gone from the crowd.

“Kill him for me! Kill him for me, oh yokai of Jigoku! Drag my son’s killer to the lowest level of the Underworld and place him under the punishing hands of Enma Dai-O!” A woman’s frenzied yell cut through the crowd, as if splitting it in half, the people moving in circles, in frenzies, colors bursting forth and colors splitting into the air. The box was gone- so was the cat. Where is the cat? The cat is gone- not in this world, this was a different world, a world of darkness. Kumorimaru stepped out of his kimono, out of his skin, watching them disintegrate into the darkness, swirling in fast circles, away from sight, away into the darkness. A clench of the fist and the flash of the eyes- tattoos swirled alive on Kumorimaru’s arms, bright gold on brown skin, mingling with the gold kimono, as if of one singular substance. A sword- Is this a sword?- attached to his hip and another step forward; A room consolidated in front of Kumorimaru, a weeping woman begging and kneeling, hands on the floor. “Savior! Oh- oh, savior!” The crying woman burst out, foam forming on the corners of her mouth, spittle tip-tapping and meeting their end. “Bring justice to my boy! My poor dead boy, he was but five!” Sightless eyes, his thoughts formed, watching the mother wail, her trembling hands holding up her 500 yen. Sightless eyes for a sightless fool.

Down the coin went, down his pocket, down the gold satin pocket that adorned his gold satin kimono. “It is done- but thou must giveth in return what thy holds closest to thine wretched heart.” Swirls adorned the room again, bright swirls of dim red and grey, and then- nothing. Nothing adorned the sky and nothing sounded in the distance; nothing surrounded Kumorimaru and nothing happened to his mind.

Until his next victim appeared. A quick ghost- a quick step. No more did Edo surround the two, but the swirling colors of mirth and filth- vanity and anger, lust and gluttony. “For thine sins that thou hath commit within thine life,” the walls shimmered, transferring word after word to the ears of the shuddering man, words bouncing between the two figures that stood in the no man’s land. “Thou shalt repent for all eternity.” A step- a thud. The sword handle drawn, a red mist burst forth, surrounding the man in but a form of a drum. A step- a thud. The hilt of the sword hit the drum, a vibration echoing through the room as the man’s scream filled the din.

Thump thump thump thump.

The drum was no more- a ball of shadow laid in its place. “Silence, human. No scream shall set thou free. Repent in the depths of Jigoku; repent with thine nightmares cursing thee.” A wave of the hand- the man appeared, paralyzed, hovering in air, drool drip-dropping to the floor below, eyes rolled up to see his screaming brain. “I taketh thine life for eternity, oh Human. But thou shalt not be alone- others await thou with their screams, too.” A flash and a rip, the red mist went through the man’s chest. His heart stopped thumping- it stopped working, as the red mist disappeared along with the man and his silent screams. Darkness once more- swirls of mist- nothing could be seen, through the clouds of death. “W-where am I?” Came a voice from below, below his feet, near the filth of the lake. A flick of the eye and no responding sound- only for the man to start screaming, his nightmares coming back once more. Splish- splash, the oar made against the black water; the mist moved away, tendrils reaching for the man , as if trying to hold onto his soul, his damned soul, the soul he wished he never would have had- the one he wished was alive but was now nothing but dead. “DEAD!” The man’s voice echoed, choking and screaming, whistling high in the air before dying once more just like he had with the red mist, but the red mist was gone.

Thud.

A jump, off went Kumorimaru, as the sounds of a waterfall suddenly came to ear. “Thou hast arrived at thine final destination, human. Pray that my Lord treats thou well.” A flip of the boat right above the waterfall, the soul fell to the darkest pits of Hell. Screams filled the air- screaming at the new arrival, but Kumorimaru was not finished with his work. A release of the boat, a new step forward, colors swirled and the woman appeared once more, her eyes transfixed with anger- an anger that looked like paper. Time elapsed again, his tattoos swaying as Kumorimaru moved, away from the woman- towards the woman. “Thank you! Thank you! Bless you, yokai of Jigoku! No! Lord of Jigoku!” Babble passed through the room, babble passed through Kumorimaru. His hand grabbed her forehead, his eyes as bare as the air itself. “For thine wish, I must taketh more than just 500 yen.” A whimper. Moans- womanly moans of pain and fear circled around the room, fixing itself into every crook, into every cranny. “No, no, no- I thought that 500 yen was all that was in the payment!” A laugh- a cold laugh, a predator-like laugh. “Thou hath been misinformed. I must take something more- and in this case, thou did not set the rules, did not inform me of mine reward. I taketh from thee-,” Loud screams, agonized tears, flew down to the ground, flew down to Enma Dai-O’s ears. “Thine memories of thy son, and-,” a crackle resounded through the room, the mark of one cursed appearing momentarily on the woman’s head, “thy sanity and thy soul.”

Thump the lady’s body sounded, hitting the floor of despair and vomit. Darkness once more enveloped the world, till the cat opened its eyes. The red eyes surveyed the humans around them, bustling, yelling, shouting. Cough.

“Xun- anyone want a beautiful Xun?”



Time: Present



Kumorimaru lounged in his room; a cherry blossom branch draped over his arm and a chrysanthemum in his other. The cat sat in his lap, purring loudly, it’s eyes closed and it’s conscious away in a dream. As he slowly stuck the cherry blossom branch into the vase that sat in front of him, Kumorimaru assessed the stones that kept the branch from deviating the calculated stance his hand gave it. A quick flick there and a quick snip there, Kumorimaru looked at his piece with much pride. The chrysanthemum was cut to the flower and stuck in the bottom, a symbol of Kumorimaru’s handiwork- a symbol that would raise the piece’s price to one very high.

“ "Off your asses, fools! Get over here! We finally got a prayer." A very amused look passed over Kumorimaru’s face as he got up from his seat in a hall. The hall was dim- but the voices were not so. Slow shuffling down the hall, slow shuffling down the stairs, Kumorimaru carried himself to the Shrine, his hands covered with the scent of flowers- and he, the smell of wind and death. Looking up at the words scrawled on the board- Such tattered handwriting, indeed- Kumorimaru chuckled, but not with glee. “It would seem that there is an interesting task ahead, does it not, Ankoku?” He asked, his eyes flickering to the younger demon along with the circles on his kimono. They flickered back and then flickered around, as if a whole new set of eyes- watching, sensing, warning. “I myself do not have much to do. Alas, the main box has been relatively empty, has it not?” A flashing smile, and then nothing more once more. “This task does sound interesting- I shall help, if I am allowed.”

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Character Portrait: Kichirou Matsumoto Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru
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Kichirou quietly sat in his room smoking some very good quality leaves he had bought not too long ago. He didn't necessarily like smoking, there just really wasn't anything better to do at the moment. The young man stood up, inspecting a pouch full of dried leaves that he'd picked himself. It hadn't been long since he'd begun to sell these...strange greens. The idea was to just make enough to keep himself well clothed and fed.

However, this...substance had been quite the money-maker. There were no such thing as one-time customers for these leaves. Kichirou had tried them himself, and hardly managed to keep himself from "trying" it again. Now he took a closer look at the leaves. They were just about ready for selling now.

"Better find a good time to meet up with my customers soon." he thought. "Or perhaps they'll be the one's trying to find me." Opening the door, the man strolled through the hall, a Katana attached to his hip. He gently fanned himself with a tessen as he made his way towards his brothers' quarters, holding a large sum of coins.

Now even though Kichirou had a rough past with his two older brothers, the three had...mended over the years. His brothers were quite the foils to his build and personality. They were both about half a head shorter than he, but made up for it with their very powerful build. Unlike Kichirou, they were often roudy and made rash decisions.

Coming to a stop in front of their quarters, Kichirou took a deep breath before opening his mouth to speak. "Hello older brethren, it is I Kichirou. May I come in?" His formal and humble request was replied to in the most inappropriate way.

"Yeah sure, go ahead." Kichirou opened the door to his brothers’ room and stepped inside. His two siblings looked up from their meal.

“My apologies, I did not mean to interrupt your mealtime.” he said bowing. Kichirou’s brothers had settled for irregular meal times ever since they were young. Breakfast would often be skipped and replaced with a sort of “brunch.” Dinner would often be skipped also, being substituted by a late night meal. The main thing that bothered Kichirou the most however, was the inconsistency of their meal times. There really wasn’t any way to predict when, or even where his siblings would be enjoying their meal.

“It’s fine.” it was Daiki. Daiki was the oldest and first-born of the family. He was even larger, muscle-mass wise, than Ken, the second oldest.
“So,” Ken inquired. “what’s up? Kichirou kneeled offering the large amount of coins to the two. Now this was never part of the plan, however those “leaves” were making so much, that Kichirou felt that it would only be right to share some of his income with family.

The two men’s eyes went wide. “Kichi…” Ken trailed off.

“Where the hell did you get all of this?!” Kichirou smiled, the look on their faces would be imbedded in his mind forevermore.

“I only obtained a new job.” he replied calmly. “Luckily one that pays quite well.” The look of shock slowly subsided from his brothers’ faces after they finally comprehended the fact that this was real.

“So, what’s the job?”

"Oh my," the younger sibling thought. "This is when it gets a little more exciting." But before he could answer, he was interrupted by the chime of a bell. The bell of the Tsukiakari's shrine. As the trio got up and made their way towards the shrine, Ankoku's yells to urge them could be heard. "Must such rash language be used? Kishirou thought as he became able to hear Ankoku's "urgings" more clearly.

The new task sounded boring. Not only boring, but dangerous, and dirty, and bloody. Not Kichirou's kind of thing. Of course his brother's were quick to volunteer however. "My deepest apologies." Kichirou put on his best look of shame and regret. "I have a bit of a...business meeting to attend to shortly. I hope you understand." He stared at the ground maintaining the look of sadness in his eyes, and grasped his hands in front of himself.

"Kichirou, you are an expert artist."

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Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru Character Portrait: Tsukiko
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Time: Two Days Ago



Leave me in peace.

The faint stir in the water roused the large form lying on the river bed, its large eyes opening as its head rose out of its sleeping position. Although the river no doubt surged with tides, the unfamiliar the dragon felt was not created by nature itself, but rather… Humans. That was enough for the dragon’s icy blue eyes to suddenly blaze with anger. Humans. How dare they tread upon my waters. It has surely been a long period of peace for Tsuki, the myth of the dragon tested the courage of many sailors that dared to even think about journeying into Tsuki-ko. But humans will be humans.

The dragon’s eyes flitted toward the direction of the unfamiliar stir, its body traveling swiftly through the surging waters of the river, toward the dark form that lingered on its surface. Out of my river. Its blue eyes lighted with anger, the calm surface of the river suddenly morphing, tides rose as the smooth surface was suddenly wrought with large raindrops forming from the clouds above. I’ll show you what happens when you play with storms. Yells and panicked voices rang from the dark shadow that was now identified as that of a ship as the temperature of the air above the water lowered, the mere change in atmosphere was able to alert the sailors to attention. The large eyes of the dragon narrowed with slight mischievousness. Tsuki didn’t want anything to do with humans, their existence nearly nonexistent to her outside of the river. However, when these humans decide to test their courage against the raging storms that wrought Tsuki-ko…

The large pieces of hail wrecked the river’s calm exterior, the once calm waters suddenly blazing with the spirit’s anger. Leave. The large ship, however, did not pause, its course unchanged against the raging storm. The spirit did not relieve its fury though, the dragon curling up its body against the river, its head rising to push at the ship. LEAVE. The sailors should have known better than to test the wrath of the spirit, the entire river bed shaking with the force of her anger as the hail storm worsened.

“Release the sails!” The voices above the waters were clear to the dragon, its ears perking up at the panicked yells of the humans that dared to disturb its waters. “Cap’n, the wind’s too strong! She’s going down, Cap’n!” Perhaps she was going too far, but Tsuki was determined to frighten those that believed their bravery was going to work against the stormy waters of the sacred river. “Dump the cargo! Keep her steady, boys.” The dragon’s eyes suddenly flickered with alarm as the waters were once again disturbed, but what floated down from the small shadow was even more disturbing. N-No… The sight sent a chill down her spine, the sudden tiny shimmering spots floating down toward the large mass of the dragon. The buckets of fish dumped straight back into the home in which they were taken from. No… The water was shimmering now, a silver shimmer, glowing from the icy scales of the dragon as its blue eyes blazed with anger that hasn’t been seen in years. The mass of glowing body shrunk by the second, twisting and turning as the body of silver light formed into a streak, the small streak of light maintained its glow at the bed of the river.

“How dare you…” The young woman’s icy voice rang throughout the waters, much like the sound of ice clanging against each other in a musical tone, but nothing of it suggested harmony. The light dimmed as the white kimono formed onto the girl’s body, untouched by the freezing waters that swirled around her. “How dare you taint my river…” The body of the girl drifted onto the surface of the water, her silver hair blowing in the blasting wind that seemed to howl with each passing second. “How dare you eat away at its life!” The icy fury of the dragon was reflected in Tsuki’s eyes, the white katana laying with adamancy across her hands, her fingers tightening around the hilt. “Cap’n… It’s a girl…” She could hardly care less for their shock, the anger mingling with the horror at her river’s destruction. “So the legends were true… The princess that guards the dragon. Hah! What irony! No signs of humor reflected in her cold posture as the silver blade emerged from behind the sheath of the katana. This was the bottom line. These humans were going to pay.

If only they knew the “princess” was the dragon.

Flash. Lightning streaked across the cloud-covered sky, as if splitting it in half. Thunder roared as it shook the grounds, the tides of the river suddenly bursting into a dance of fury. Screams were heard, then all was silent.



Time: Present Times




Won’t you all simply leave me in peace…?

“Off your asses, fools! Get over here! We finally got a prayer.” Obviously not, the dragon’s eyes opening with a slight hint of annoyance as the girl’s voice travelled through the shrine, the sound bouncing off of the surface of the river that lied beside it. The water stirred slightly with the rousing of the dragon, the icy blue much calmer than it had been two days ago, but also wrought with a sense of fatigue. What is the meaning of this… The icy scales morphed into the fabric of the kimono, the faint glow of it was heightened by the sun that hunt itself high in the clouds.

“Is there a need to yell?” The long sleeves of her kimono was pulled up slightly as she stepped out of the freezing waters of the river, pulling the bangs of her hair back out of her eyes to show the now calm blue of her irises. Her eyes did not show a hint of surprise as they flickered toward the Demon of Revenge, shaking her head in a slight hint of annoyance. However, curiosity overwhelmed her annoyance at being awoken from her sleep, her arms raising lazily in a small stretch as she walked forward, the movements slightly hesitant as she is still rather not comfortable with walking on land. “I myself do not have much to do. Alas, the main box has been relatively empty, has it not?” Her eyes flitted toward the demon whose presence she did not detect at first, following his gaze toward the words that now registered into her sight. “What in the name of the moon is this?” She was still relatively new to the Tsukiakari, not that she hasn’t been watching them silently from the waters for years, but truly she didn’t give too much of a care to what it was that they did. However, the words caught her attention, and a harsh look flashed across her face. Humans. She has had quite enough of humans these days, now holding no sense but distaste for these vile creatures. However, the words were what intrigued her, the events described was looked upon with a slight hint of interest in her eyes. “This task does sound interesting- I shall help, if I am allowed.” A faint smile rose on her lips before disappearing, the strange appearance of the demon not bothering her in the slightest as she turned her head away from the board. “My assistance will be provided.” Her voice was mellow, but it was also harsh, each word sharp like jagged pieces of ice. “Join me for tea, won’t you, Kumorimaru? Her tone did not tie her words together as a question, more or so like a demand. However, his manners were something she has at least taken a neutral stance, if not a hint of friendliness to.

This shall be an amusing ride.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Kiba Bayushi Character Portrait: Kichirou Matsumoto Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru Character Portrait: Tsukiko
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The intricacies of the duel were often lost to those who weren't trained in the art of iajutsu dueling. Iajutsu masters could strike their opponent down with only their gaze, without even having to lift a finger. A master, he was not, so Kiba dare not even move to wipe the sweat dripping from his brow and stinging his eyes. Could he feel paralysis creeping into his bones as he locked his blue and green gaze with his opponent's disconcerting amber one, or was he imagining it? His opponent's thumb twitched, sending a jolt of electricity down his spine.

He must have flinched involuntarily, since he could feel the weight of her intent now crushing down upon his shoulders. Her piercing gaze widened, and a tattooed hand darted with lightning quickness to her belt. That was the moment he knew it was over, even before he felt here eyes lock straight onto his weakest point.

"Check," she intoned gravely, snapping a knight which she had taken from him earlier onto the board. It clacked down with finality, and Kiba knew he only had one or two moves before all was lost. He mustered the fiercest gaze he could under the circumstances and locked eyes with her once again. Try as he might, however, she was unreadable, even after they sat for what felt like hours in unblinking contest.

"Well?" She asked.

"I'm thinking," he replied.

"You're stalling," she accused, twisting one corner of her plush red lips into a sly little grin. That was all it took to smite the weakest link in his armor and send his fierce exterior crumbling. "Watch your mouth," she commanded afterwards, right as he was about to open it to swear.

"How did I end up like this again?"

"You made a bet," she informed gravely, her eyes narrowing as if she knew where this conversation was headed.

"I think I've sweat out most of the booze and come to my senses by now... besides, you can't hold a drunk man to his word..."

She didn't reply, only held out her tattooed hand palm up to him, the light glinting off the tips of her blue painted nails.

"Dammit, Zahn..." Kiba swore, deflating like a balloon. He dug one of his weathered hands into a pouch hanging from his belt. "One of these days I will beat you," he promised as he slapped a shiny rock into her hand.

He felt her amber gaze slice through him once again for a fraction of a second, but she held the rock up, and as the light hit it just-so, it shimmered brilliantly and projected a rainbow onto her face. After a long, tense minute she broke out into a big smile, exposing her pointed canines and closed her fist around the rock.

"When you have something else shiny, feel free to come back and try again," she sang merrily. "By the way, your babysitter is calling."

"What?" He raised an eyebrow at her, but after a moment off in the distance he could hear the bell from the Tsukiaki shrine give a single tone. He couldn't help but look over his shoulder in the direction of the shrine. It didn't seem to matter how far away he was from that place, he could hear whenever that bell chimed... rarely as it did. He turned back to spear Zahn with a suspicious look. She'd already vanished with nary a sound, though he could feel her giggling at him from... someplace.

"Don't meddle in the affairs..." Kiba trailed off, noting some words of wisdom his father used to tell him with some chagrin, and yet whenever he found a shiny trinket to gamble (emphasis on shiny and not necessarily valuable), he always made his way to Zahn's Shogi board.

Kiba used his last few yen to buy a bottle of saki for the road with an air of disappointment and made the long trek back to the Tsukiakari shrine. He passed Kichirou in the hall talking to his brothers on the way. Kiba usually greeted him with a hearty hello and a stiff shoulder slap... that is except when he returned from one of Zahn's thorough lashings. He unhooked a skin of wine sealed with wax that he'd "bartered for from a travelling merchant" (read: stolen, probably from highwaymen who'd taken it from said merchant) and thrust it into Kichirou's hands as he passed.

"Not to my taste," he grunted sullenly and tromped heavily up the steps into the shrine where he leaned his considerable weight against the frame in the entrance and listened to the announcement. He didn't reply: the steely look in his eyes at the mention of demons causing trouble was enough for Ankoku to know he was in... when it concerned demons, he always was.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsushita Character Portrait: Kiba Bayushi Character Portrait: Kichirou Matsumoto Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru Character Portrait: Tsukiko
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Demon | of | Revenge




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Not too long later after Ankoku's rude remark came the first person who heard her shouting across the shrine of the Tsukiakari; Kumorimaru, the demon of the dead and wind. Fellow demons, ones who Ankoku found to be wise, were always a good thing, to her, since now days, all the demons were just killing machines with less than a brain, “It would seem that there is an interesting task ahead, does it not, Ankoku? I myself do not have much to do. Alas, the main box has been relatively empty, has it not? This task does sound interesting- I shall help, if I am allowed.”

A smirk spread across Ankoku's face. Perhaps she wasn't the friendliest person or politest person at all times, after all, she was a demon, but she never turned down company when it was offered openly to her, "Doesn't it? Killing my own kind is a taboo, but they're all such idiots. Its because of demons like them that my people are degraded to be such low lives." She scowled a bit, but brought composure back to herself and responded, "The more the merrier, I suppose."

Soon afterwards, in fact, less than a mere few seconds from their small conversation entered the human, Kichirou Matsumodo. He was one of the few humans in that world, besides the others in Tsukiakari, that Ankoku could deal with, as she despised humans. He passed over, and said, "My deepest apologies. I have a bit of a...business meeting to attend to shortly. I hope you understand."

Ankoku stared at him blankly, then suspiciously but shrugged, "Too bad. You'd be missing out on a mission, seeing as this place hardly gets any prayers, even in this time of war..." Ankoku turned back to reread the prayer on the board behind Tsukiakari's saisen, "Well, if this business meeting is really as important as you make it to be, do what you wish." What exactly was a business meeting? Ankoku surely didn't know, even after all those years of being alive.

“Is there a need to yell?” Ankoku turned around to the cold and icy voice of Tsukiko, spirit of storms. If Ankoku were concerned with her appearance, she'd be jealous of the girl. However, she wasn't, "What in the name of the moon is this?” She questioned.

"Prayer." Ankoku said, not wavering her eyes away from the slowly fading words. She chuckled a bit when she added, "Surprising, isn't it? It'd been ages since someone's actually requested our help."

“My assistance will be provided.” Tsukiko said.

"Good, we'll be at a full-house in no time. That'll make this a little easier, since it is, after all, a whole village of demons we'll be taking care of." Honestly, Ankoku could care less if it were a pack of wolves, or taking place as a soldier in the war, or something as silly was trying to find a lost cat. She'd been used and called upon far too many times for revenge, each having the same story, that she was sick of it. All she wanted to do now was to take a new request, and luckily for her, the one she was staring at now had arrived to her ennui. Once more, she glanced over at Kichirou and muttered, "Shame."

There was a small crack in the wooden floors behind the group which Ankoku had caught with her sensitive ears. She turned, and there was Kiba Bayushi, another one of the few humans Ankoku didn't mind. In fact, he may have been her favorite of the few in Tsukiakari. Then again, what exactly was a favorite? "Not drunk are you, Bayushi?" Ankoku snickered.

Ankoku didn't speak for a bit, just looking at him silently. There was a look in his eyes which Ankoku easily saw through and said, "I guess that means you'll be joining us as well then, am I correct?" When she looked back at the board, the message had already faded to words that one could only see if they squinted hard enough. Ankoku moved her black hair out of her face and said, "The sooner we finish this, the better it is for the few remaining survivors of that village. I suggest we all get ready now before departure." She stated, then paused, "And someone find Matsushita. I'm concerned that girl's getting her nose in those books again... She, too, may miss out on this opportunity." Ankoku sighed and began her walk behind the Tsukiakari shrine to get to her own room, "I'll be fetching my sword in the mean time."

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Character Portrait: Kiba Bayushi Character Portrait: Kichirou Matsumoto Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru Character Portrait: Tsukiko
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The world tilts; his head tilts, a wind blows, annoyance grows. “My deepest apologies. I have a bit of a...business meeting to attend to shortly. I hope you understand." Darkness- and then the figures come back to focus. Irritation flows, teaming in the air as death streamed from Kumorimaru. A shake of the head, a sigh from the mouth, another step backward for a better view. "Too bad. You'd be missing out on a mission, seeing as this place hardly gets any prayers, even in this time of war.. .Well, if this business meeting is really as important as you make it to be, do what you wish." Eyes flicker to and fro, distrust filled the air, from demon to human. “Thou,” He started, death filling the air. “Thou must learn that thy…” Colors dull down, spin around. “Thou must learn that thine attitude-“ The swish of cloth, a nonchalant look from Kumorimaru to Matsumodo. “-could earn thee thine death, human.” No more was the conversation, breath stilled and hearts pounding. His heart did not pound; a wind pounded against the doors.

Thump thump thump- A voice pierced through the wind- pierced through Kumorimaru’s fake heart. A twist, a turn, a white figure appeared ice cold- cold as ice. Frosted wind from the river, from the sky- no, from Tsukiko. His eyes flash, mirroring the coldness that flashed in hers. What had she said- the wind had blown too hard- what did she say? Tea? What tea? “Tea. Doth thou wisheth to have some tea?” Did she ask? No, no- colors swirled, a prayer appeared in Kumorimaru’s blank mind. “Drag my shop rival to Jigoku- oh demon! Drag him down!” A step, a thump. Nothing more. A shake of his head and the voice was no more. Foolish humans. He exclaimed, exclaimed in his head. Hath the race of humans fallen to a state- A figure in the doorstep, a drunken figure, falling over, falling towards the floor. Another step back, a jingle, a shake of the head; flowers fall to the ground, petals float to the ground. "Not drunk are you, Bayushi?" A shared glance with Tsukiko, a shake of the head.

Ankoku was gone. Revenge was gone- off to fetch its sword of death and anger. A wind blows- away with the drunken smell! A step forward back to corridor of darkness, a beckoning of the hand for the cold to follow. “Tea. Didst thou not want tea? Feet on the floor- cold, cold- slow paces leading towards a hidden room. Hidden in a corner right above the lake, right next to the lake. The slide of a shoji, the light steps on tatami floors- a soft gust of wind to blow flowers to the sides of the room, a beautiful path for a beautiful guest. Petals dance in the air as a pot flashes in the air then out of the room, into the cold waters of Tsuki-ko. “But is there time for tea, is there?” Swishes of color, his kimono patterns dance around before settling down, the question now spelled across the light fabric. Is there time for tea? Is there time for tea? Is- The pattern folds, a fire is struck, the pot placed not over the fire but on a drawer. “Doth thou wish to drink gyokuro? Sencha? Bancha? Matcha?”

Drawers opened, bags pulled out. Lined up on the ground, carried by a soft breeze. Another flick, another fold, two seats appear on the ground in place for the lady of the storm. “Or dost thou wish to drink Konacha? Hojicha? Genmaicha? Kocha? Or Oolongcha that hath come from China, the land of the Earth?” More bags of colors varying, fly into the air and down in front of the- was she there?- the lady. Cat cries, cat scratches, a sudden leap and bound onto Kumorimaru’s back did Hikaru do, sniffing his hair and licking his cheeks. A quick scratch under the chin, but Kumorimaru went back to his tea, his dearly prized tea. “Or Kocha? Sanpincha? Mugicha? Kombucha? Which doth thou wish to brew, fair Tsukiko, old friend of mine?” Big and small, colored with all colors, the small bags lined the ground. Fragrances filled the room; the pot still was held in Kumorimaru’s arms. His eyes shined, his smile faint and small- but another prayer hailed him once more, forcing colors to swirl once more and his skin to shed halfway. “Oh, youkai! O-,” A shake of his head- a jingle of a bell- Kumorimaru was back again. Hikaru glared at him with red eyes that changed back to black, claws sheathed, fangs hidden. Quickly, he was a flash as he sat on the ground, the chair creaking under the sudden force. “Which shall it be, hath thou made up thine mind?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsushita Character Portrait: Kiba Bayushi Character Portrait: Kichirou Matsumoto Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru Character Portrait: Tsukiko
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Kichirou's response was met with a suspicous stare, but he kept his complexion. "Too bad. You'd be missing out on a mission, seeing as this place hardly gets any prayers, even in this time of war...Well, if this business meeting is really as important as you make it to be, do what you wish." As the demon finished, another supernatural being approached the group gathered. “Is there a need to yell?” it was Tsukiko. Her icy presence all but overwhelmed his sixth sense. After the spirit understood the quest, despite her hatred of humans, she accepted. The spirit then ran off with Kumorimaru, another demon. Which was the result of Ankoku leaving to retrieve her weapon.

Ankoku glanced at Kichirou once more. "Shame" The demon's disappointment was interrupted by the entrance of yet another member of the Tsukiakari. Kichirou had already passed Kiba on his way to the shrine and expected the man to arrive shortly. "Not drunk are you, Bayushi?" Now Kichirou glanced down at the bottle of sake in his hand. Kiba had handed it to him earlier when they met on the way here. Making the decision of giving sake another try to impress his taste buds, Kichirou lifted the bottle to his lips. As the vile substance entered his mouth, he could feel the buds on his tongue recoil and express their revolt to his brain. It took but all of his self control not to spit the disgusting liquid onto the ground. The sting of the sake running down his throat to Kichirou's embarrassment made him cringe in a most embarrassing way.

Kichirou then made his exit, going to find the girl who wasn't present with them. "Like Ankoku stated, reading, no doubt." The man walked towards the dwelling of the younger female. "Surely she had heard the chime of the bell... he thought. "But however powerful her love of books is, that is no excuse for completely ignoring the more important task at hand." Kichirou approached the room that Mizuki dwelled in and paused for a moment in front of the door. "And of course, she acts 'mature' all of the time." With that thought, Kichirou swung open the door without bothering to warn the girl of his presence.

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Character Portrait: Kichirou Matsumoto Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru Character Portrait: Tsukiko
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Noisy. Noisy.

Her eyes were squeezed shut, her fingers making soft motions on her temples as the chaos ensued. ”Good, we’ll be at a full-house in no time. That’ll make this a little easier, since it is, after all, a whole village of demons we’ll be taking care of.” Tsukiko gave a glance to Ankoku at her comment. It wasn’t common for spirits to meddle in such affairs, but even so… It will be the first major prayer that she has seen ever since she joined the group. While she was reserved about the violence this quest promised, it nonetheless promised something interesting for once. Sleeping in the river for hundreds of years to come becomes dull at times…

”Thou. Thou must learn that thy… Thou must learn that thine attitude could earn thee thine death, human.” An unfamiliar sound rang in the air, much like the sound of ice clanging against glass. The laughter that chimed out of Tsukiko’s throat was one that could be heard perhaps once every century, but at Kumorimaru’s comment to the human, the spirit couldn’t help herself, especially given the distaste she already had toward Kichirou. However, the sound was blown away by the wind within a split second, its evanescent nature made it seem as if it had not existed simply a moment ago.

”Not drunk are you, Bayushi?” A cold glance from her matched the glance in Kumorimaru’s eyes, and with a few steps backwards, they were off away from the noisy group. ”Tea. Doth thou wisheth to have some tea?” A slight nod from the spirit confirmed the question, but the two were already pacing toward the hidden room. ”Tea. Didst thou not want tea? This time, the question gained him no response from the young woman, her eyes lingering on the patterns the waves formed as the soft petals blew onto the reflecting surface of the river. Its usually chaotic waters now unnaturally placid. Unnaturally… Her icy blue eyes flickered over the surface of the water, and a wave of her hand was followed by a faint stir in the cold waters, which rose to meet her outstretched hand. However, within seconds, the water of the river fell back to its depth, and a darkened gaze flashed across her face. I’ve overstepped my boundaries.

”Mercy!” The sudden scream that flashed across her mind forced Tsukiko to hold up her hand against her ear, the phantom sound forcing a hint of anger to catch in her gaze. ”Mercy will not be shown to those who tread upon my waters.” A flash, then another. The phantom screams refusing to relent as the blue in her eyes appear to grow icier by the second.

”….Bancha? Matcha?” She had barely even noticed the words that suddenly spewed out of the demon’s mouth, nor did she notice the dark clouds that formed above the river at her moment’s distraction. ”Or dost thou wish to drink Konacha? Hojicha? Genmaicha? Kocha? Or Oolongcha that hath come from China, the land of the Earth?” Perhaps if Kumorimaru had heard the faint rumbling of an incoming storm, he would have ceased his words, but nonetheless, it continued on. ”Or Kocha? Sanpincha? Mugicha? Kombucha?” A breath of cold air, and the icy blue eyes flickered to meet his brown eyes, her gaze showing no sense of humor. ”Enough!” It wasn’t like her to raise her voice, but something about the monotonous words tested her patience. ”Which doth thou wish to brew, fair Tsukiko, old friend of mine?” Another sigh was heard, but not one of annoyance, instead one of exasperation. My mistake. The faint screams that rang in the back of her mind pushed her patience toward the edges of its limits, and the fatigue that has clung to her since her morning awakening did nothing to ease the bitterness that lingered in her words. It has been too long since she has pushed her powers, and the tranquil waters of Tsuki-ko reflected the spirit’s weakened state. ”Which shall it be, hath thou made up thine mind?”

A faint smile, one that reflected more hints of mock exasperation than sincerity played at the corner of her lips. "Apologies. Gracious host, Kumorimaru," Her voice softened slightly at his insistence, finding her fault in her uncalled for impatience, "Oolongcha will do nicely, thank you." Only then did her gaze flicker down to the katana that has been flickering with a faint silver glow by her kimono. What has gotten into me? Her steady hand was placed onto the katana, and the rumbling of thunder ceased above the river. "Perhaps this can be brought along the trip," Gentle hands, so different from the ones that held the katana at the humans two days ago, took the pot from the demon's arms. A faint swoosh of the kimono against the floor, and Tsukiko's light steps carried her out of the doorway, motioning with a nod of her head for Kumorimaru to follow.

There was a disturbance in the river, a slight one, but one that caught her eyes. The wave patterns that formed swallowed the flower petals into its depth. When was the last time I left Tsuki-ko? The river called out to her, promising the usual comfort its chilly waters brought. However, she turned her glance, away from its waters. The faint glow of her katana returned, the call of the river especially strong under the darkness of the gray clouds that surged to cover the sky. Hush Tsuki-ko... The river has never called so strongly to the spirit, and a faint silver glow flickered around her kimono as the dragon form struggled to force itself into appearance. A quick motion pushed the pot back into Kumorimaru's hands as she grasped onto her katana, her grip tight against the hilt. Why the disturbance...? There was something about this prayer that the river feared, and its call pushed Tsukiko's steps quicker into the vicinity of the shrine.

The storm is brewing... That, she knew for sure. But it wasn't her storm. Another one was promised, one much more dangerous to her. As her steps stopped, the silver katana made one last flash of silver, one that forced her eyes shut. Then all was silent. Why do you wish to stop me, Tsuki-ko? Her own river was pulling itself out of her control, calling her back to its comforting depths. Whatever that foreshadowed...

A storm is coming.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mizuki Matsushita Character Portrait: Kiba Bayushi Character Portrait: Kichirou Matsumoto Character Portrait: Ankoku Character Portrait: Kumorimaru Character Portrait: Tsukiko
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”Not drunk are you, Bayushi?” Ankoku asked him. He noted the very slight snicker in her voice, which just caused him to loft an eyebrow.

"If you've got to ask, you must not know me very well by now," he answered haughtily. "I've had plenty long enough to walk it off, so no I'm not drunk... not drunk enough at any rate, considering there's a whole village teeming with filthy demons to slay," he laughed, digging a small skin from his belt and taking a draft of what smelled potent enough to be shochu before capping it and hanging it back on his belt. He smacked his lips with satisfaction.

"Aaah... there's the sauce. Amiright?" He grinned broadly around the room before it started to falter... considering the present company was made up of mainly spirits and demons. Kiba pressed his lips shut and did his best not to say anything else, although he knew it was inevitable: he was going to say something stupid before this was all over, and he'd probably end up in a fight with someone.

Ankoku probably wouldn't care, in fact she was probably the only demon he regularly got along with aside from Zahn. Although he couldn't quite peg Zahn for being a demon, he knew she wasn't quite human. A weaker minded individual might have called it "divine providence" that he met Ankoku, but Kiba didn't believe in all that supernatural hullabaloo. He made his own destiny: that's why it was completely coincidental, non-suspicious happenstance that Ankoku appeared in his life with the means to facilitate his revenge right after he prayed to someone, anyone who would listen for the strength to carry it out himself.

Yep... flukish stroke of luck. Something like that will probably never happen again.

Then there was Kichirou. Kiba held in wicked smirk as he glanced back in time to see the kid try and choke down a swallow of the "gift" he'd received. Priceless. Kiba never got tired of that, and instead flashed the "I got that just for you" smile. Kichirou immediately fell into the "little brother" catagory as quickly as they had met, not that the poor kid needed any more of that with the two oafish larger brothers he already had. But, as the closest thing he had to a friend, Kiba would move mountains to come to Kichirou's aid. Not that it mattered, since Kichirou routinely used that wicked tongue to talk him into doing all kinds of ridiculous stunts. How do you think he ended up taking "dueling" lessons from Zahn?

More like repeated, grueling, and agonizing defeat at Shogi, since she refused to instruct him until he could beat her at that silly game. Now he had to find another shiny bauble to pay her with... since his pride wouldn't let him back out.

Kiba flicked his blue eye over towards Kumorimaru and sucked air through his teeth (as quietly as possible). He couldn't help but think the guy was a wierdo in addition to his usual prejudices against demons. To say he was creepy would be something of an understatement... but then again maybe that was the point. And of course Tsukiko was as frosty as ever. The two made a perfect couple.

He didn't really have an opinion about Mizuki, who had yet to show up but somehow Kiba knew she would be coming. Mainly he couldn't shake the nagging feeling that, for some reason, she really didn't like him. Couldn't be his personality... she probably just didn't like guys that were overtly masculine, he thought, as he rapped his belly once with the palm of his hand. He felt the booze slosh to one side, which made the room feel like it was tilting for just one moment. Afterward his stomach uttered something that could have been mistaken for the howl of an enraged beast, or the savage growling of some dragon.

"Guess I better eat something before we go..." he muttered with some slight embarrassment and shuffled towards his room.