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Kurosawa Ryuunosuke

"There is no victory where honor cannot be found."

0 · 187 views · located in Japan- Sengoki era

a character in “Ways of the Samurai: Journey”, originally authored by Ion, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

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“Each of us has a choice: to do what is right, or to do what is easy. I have made mine, and though it be difficult, I shall not falter.”




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Age
Visually in his mid to late twenties. How old he actually is is anybody’s guess. He certainly is not divulging.

Appearance
Ryuunosuke is a man of two very distinct faces. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that he is a youkai with a human face for particular occasions. The human guise is, in fact, the one he seems to prefer, or at least he chooses not to advertise the fact that he is a demon. In this form, Ryuunosuke is a tall man, particularly for the country and era, standing at a solid 6’2”, practically a skyscraper among those he most frequently interacts with. His build is solid, well-muscled, but due to his height he appears quite lean rather than bulky. His musculature is defined, covered in near-flawless skin of a pale, but sun exposed hue.

His facial features are strong and sharp, a defined nose and angular jaw accompanied by straight brows set over glittering, intelligent eyes, the amethyst color of them the only hint that something about his genetics isn’t quite human, though it is the faintest one. He most often wears an expression of solemnity and seriousness, but on the rare occasions that he smiles, there is mischief in it, and something a little dangerous. One might call it lupine, or perhaps even foxlike.

His clothing is simple, but immaculate: the dark grey gi and black hakama accompanied by a white kosode and dark blue warrior’s obi, which contains the standard arrangement of weapons for a samurai: katana, wakizashi, and tanto, all on the right side, as he is in fact slightly left-hand dominant. Actually, he most frequently holds the katana in his left and the wakizashi in his right at the same time, though you’d not know it to simply look at him, which is the goal.

Only very rarely is someone of Ryuunosuke’s strength forced to revert to his more powerful youkai self, but when he does, the changes are obvious. Though his eyes and general facial structure remain the same, his features sharpen further, he gains another two inches of height, and his long black hair turns an exotic shade of silver-white. This is in addition to the white, furred ears of some kind of canine that replace the ordinary rounded flesh-ones. He also grows a tail, of the same color, and his complexion loses what scars it managed to acquire and any hint of tan as well, marking him as a nocturnal creature by choice. Iron-hard claws sprout from the ends of his fingers, their color almost pearlescent, and his canine teeth sharpen to wicked points.


Likes
+ Clear nights with a visible moon
+ Art and poetry
+ People with a sense of honor and justice
+ Intelligence
+ Sake
+ Sakura blossoms in spring


Dislikes
- His more demonic instincts, as well as they serve him
- Being forced to transform
- His father
- The purely self-interested
- Chatter
- Needless or dishonorable killing



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“The measure of the man is in what he leaves behind. No one passes invisibly through history.”



Personality
Ryuunosuke is a man who holds himself to immaculate standards of behavior, in both formal and informal settings. He is not one to relax his moral standards for any situation, and truly endeavors to do what he feels is right regardless of the cost. So he was taught by his mentor, and so he will always be, perhaps. At least he thinks he will; he’s managed to survive this long without having to significantly compromise, so that might be a hint as to the truth of things. Unfailingly a good person, he endeavors always to aid those with justice on their side, regardless of how well they can pay or who they are. Oftentimes, this leads to him putting himself at considerable risk, when a more self-interested person would work for the highest bidder or one lord only or just avoid the situation altogether. He can’t bring himself to be like that, however.

Generally patient, tolerant, and even-tempered, Ryuunosuke is quite difficult to rile from his seemingly preternatural calm. At times, this can make him seem distant or cold, and many people have misinterpreted him as being uncaring, since he tends to display so little emotion. Most of the time, he seems to move with unconscious grace, and great control. This is actually a strictly-enforced trait, and if he ever forgot, he might accidentally move too quickly and break something. Over the years, he has found several things about adjusting to human society difficult, and curbing his abilities in this way has always been one such thing. He often seems to be looking into the middle distance or not paying attention, but he doesn’t particularly need to be looking at something to be observing it, as his senses of hearing and smell are both quite attuned, part of his youkai heritage.

Unfortunately, he is also a creature of brutal predatory instinct, and what is so carefully-contained in his human state is much harder to contend with in his natural form. His senses sharpen, his speed increases to superhuman levels, and he becomes a much more… free creature: more violent, more emotional, and even more sensual, though no less intelligent, which makes him quite dangerous indeed.

Among his youkai abilities are a level of chi/ki control, accelerated healing and durability, and increased strength and speed. He lacks the mind-magic that some of his kind have, but makes up for it with enhanced physical capabilities above the norm even for youkai. The downside is that he is far more indiscriminate in his killing, and cannot be trusted not to turn on his allies. He fights his own nature, preferring his human form immensely, weaker though it is. As such, he is fundamentally conflicted as a whole person, and difficult to predict, even for himself.

Relationships
At present, Ryuunosuke has only two living relatives with whom he is concerned—his father and his sister. His father, he despises with a passion uncommon in him. His sister, he cares for deeply, though he is currently unsure of her location. He once had a human teacher, who taught him much of both human styles of combat and also morality. The man has long since passed away, but Ryuunosuke still carries his lessons and his unique two-blade sword style.

ImageEquipment
Katana—slightly longer than standard length, perhaps approaching odachi-length, though not quite.

Wakizashi—an intermediate-length blade, often used as a samurai’s secondary weapon. Ryuu wields it in his off-hand quite frequently.

Tanto—a shorter, straight-bladed knife, with more durability than a standard dagger. Worn as the third part of the standard three-blade set and used as needed.

Strengths
Put simply, Ryuunosuke is the quintessential combatant. He’s had centuries to refine his skills and his talent, and the natural boost from his demonic heritage is also a boon. Additionally, he is skilled in the areas of art and conversation—when he wants to be. He wouldn’t make a bad leader, but he’s not inclined to take such roles for himself. He will act as such if it is requested of him, but he would not volunteer for command.

Weaknesses
As a being essentially at war with himself, Ryuunosuke can sometimes feel conflicted about what he does, and there are times when he entertains great doubt as to the validity of his methods. Additionally, he dreads being revealed, particularly to humans, who seem universally to fear him, something he hates about himself. He struggles to find his place in the world, and this is reflected in his interactions with others—his humility drives him to address nearly anyone else as though they were his superiors, and he uses quite debasing first-person pronouns as a rule of thumb. He is, as a kitsune, possessed of an external manifestation of his soul-- a "star ball," which, if possessed by another, would to a large degree put him under their control. His is well-hidden, but if one knows youkai lore, they know that kitsune must keep such things close by...

Also note that if his demon form is released against his will, his instincts may take hold of his body, and they rarely bother to distinguish friend from foe.


Home
His home is where he lays his head; he has needed no other for a very long time.

History
ImageThe demon realm is a place hidden from human access, where youkai reign supreme, ruled over by the four noble houses. It was into one of these houses, the House of the Moon, that Ryuunosuke was born. Called then Takahiro, he was the oldest son of the house, and as such, a prince among youkai, if one wishes for a comparison with a human concept. His father, like many youkai, held the human world in contempt, as little more than a playground for youkai to terrorize as they saw fit, as long as the secret of their world remained hidden from the ningen.

It was in fact a rather common blood sport centuries ago to take small groups of young youkai and teach them how to kill by practicing on the humans. It was an ugly, instinctive sport, and death was not the only horror they wrought. Half-demon children were common back then, and indeed, this was the reason for the Edict, imposed later upon all of demonkind, naming the hanyou as abominations that should be killed on sight. Like every young lord of that time, Takahiro participated in these hunts, though something always troubled him about them. He had been taught from birth that he was a superior being, that ningen were worth less than nothing, not even worthy of licking the dust from his feet, and yet… he could not help but feel something in his heart, when he watched them band together to defend one another against the scourge of the youkai.

In time, this led to a decision on his part: unauthorized and alone, Takahiro entered the human world, to see what he could without destroying it. For this, he asked his sister’s aid, and she helped him learn to fashion a human form, though he never did get the eyes quite right. Entering the other world, he came upon many people, young and old rich and poor, righteous and despicable, and he found that they were not so different from the youkai he knew. One among them recognized him for what he was, an older man, carrying three weapons at his waist. Curious about this human who had recognized him, Takahiro had a conversation with the man, which ended with his return to his own world.

He came back many times, though, and his sympathies for the ningen only grew with time. The old man taught him to fight not with tooth and claw and ki, but with steel and finesse and grace, and he took to the lessons well, helped along by his natural talents in such matters. More than this though, the old man taught him about honor and justice and what these things meant for humans—something quite different than they meant for youkai. He found that he preferred these ways to the ones he’d always been taught, and in the end, they resulted in an even t most irregular—a son defied his lord father.

Indeed, Takahiro spoke out against his father in councils and refused to participate in further hunts, discouraging his allies from doing so as well. He was becoming a major nuisance and a shame upon the House of the Moon, so he was given a choice: repent his ningen sympathies and kill a thousand of them to prove it, or else face exile from the lands of his forefathers. He didn’t even need to think about it, and he has been a wandering exile since. His mentor renamed him Ryuunosuke, a name that he has used since. As he puts it, Takahiro is dead, and reemerges only when Ryuunosuke loses himself.

His sister was exiled also in a separate incident, and though the two do care for each other, they are presently somewhat estranged due to tension left over from the days of his initial exile. He does not know where she is, though he does keep an ear to the ground for news of her. Stil, he knows she’s more than capable of looking out for herself. He himself is ronin these days, and works largely as a mercenary, though occasionally he’ll sell a piece of art as well. He has a reputation for being a man who will take on tasks without regard for their difficulty, as long as they are just. Ironically, despite his great skill and ferocity on the field of battle, he is never identified with a demon poetically, and instead those disposed to such flights of imagination fancy him a saint.



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So begins...

Kurosawa Ryuunosuke's Story

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#, as written by Ion


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The small town in which he’d been making his home for the past decade or so always rose even before the sun. Ryuunosuke, nocturnal by nature, had had some trouble adjusting to this at first, but with time and the application of his will to the task, he had trained himself to waken in the hours before dawn. As he couldn’t quite give up the sight of the moon high in the sky, however, he was yet glad he did not require so much sleep as the average ningen seemed to.

The bamboo pole over his shoulders bowed only slightly under the weight of the water-laden buckets dangling from either end of it, and his footsteps made little noise along the dirt road. They were about a day’s travel outside of Edo, here, and hardly ever received visitors of the well-intentioned kind. Though he had found that the blossoms were of a most remarkable shade here in spring, sadly the only folk who ever seemed to deign to visit the little place were bandits, and those soon found themselves most unceremoniously… dead. Or at least chased well away.

The ronin reached the house he was looking for, knocking politely on the door and stepping over the threshold only when bidden to enter. This humble dwelling, constructed as it was of wood and thatch, was well made, as were most of those that had been erected in the last ten years. Even so, there was only so much one person could do to alleviate the pain of poverty, as evidenced by the interior, clean but spare. The young woman within had two small children at her feet and another harnessed to her back, looking just about as overburdened as one would expect of a lady whose husband had left for the fortunes of the city and abandoned his family to get by without him. He personally found it despicable, but there was little to be done about it now, except perhaps help the woman in some small way.

“Ah, Kurosawa-san,” she greeted, dipping into a small bow as the little one on her back allowed. He smiled slightly and returned the gesture.

“Enemoto-san. You look well.” She shook her head slightly and rested a hand on the crown of her oldest son, just now four years old. The boy looked up (quite far up) at him with wide brown eyes, but then, he was usually like that. A soft-spoken, patient child. His three-year-old sister, on the other hand, at once attached herself to his hakama-clad leg, wrapping the limb in her tiny arms in a hug.

“Kuro-chan!” she said, though the ‘ro’ sounded more as a ‘wo’ in the way children sometimes had. Setting down the buckets of well-water, he crouched beside her and held out his arms, which the child interpreted correctly as permission to crawl her way onto his back. “Up!” she demanded with all the imperiousness of a queen, and he chuckled quietly, obliging the order.

“Of course, Sachiko-hime,” he replied gravely, “your loyal samurai can only obey.” Her too-thin arms wound round his neck, and Ryuunosuke’s smile disappeared entirely. He hated that, what he couldn’t do for them. He glanced back over at their mother, Enemoto Mariko, and there was something in her expression that he was instinctively wary of.

“I remember when you did that for me,” she said quietly, and he averted his eyes, choosing to survey the small interior of the home as though he had not seen it before. He really had been here too long; when he’d arrived, Enemoto-san had been a child of no more than ten or eleven, and he knew that he hadn’t changed a bit in all that time. For now, it was simple enough to pass off as good health, but soon, people would begin to suspect something. Good people, who had no business knowing about such unworthy things as youkai and the burden of centuries .

“You’ve always been there for me, haven’t you, Kurosawa-san?” she asked, though it was more to the air than to himself, and he sighed. Over the many years he’d spent wandering the human world, this occasionally happened. He could understand; it was difficult for a ningen woman to make her way in the world without the support of a husband, especially if she happened to have children already. He was no wealthy daimyo, but he did have a steady income, a valuable skill, and a proclivity to look after people. He had no illusions that any of these women were in love with him—they didn’t even know who he was, not really. But it was distressing to have this conversation over and over again.

“The past and the future are often different, Enemoto-san,” he replied, tone heavy with regret. He truly did need to leave, he decided. Sooner rather than later. Sensing the change in atmosphere, Sachiko squirmed, and he gently let her down back onto the floor, tousling her raven-colored hair with a hand before regaining his full height. "Your forgiveness, Enemoto-san, but I should not linger.” He continued. “Kaito-ojiisama needs his garden weeded.” The old man was hardly well enough to be doing so on his own, village headman or no. With a deep bow, half apology and half farewell, he exited the home through the same doorway he’d used to enter.

He would leave tonight. He had to.

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Character Portrait: Sazaname Ryo Character Portrait: Korin Baisotei Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion


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Three days’ leisurely walk after leaving the village he’d called home for the last ten years, Ryuunosuke came at last to Edo, his temporary destination. The leaving had been rather simple—though he grew to care deeply for the people at each new place he lived, he was simply a transient being by necessity. When one lived as long as he had, one learned not to put down too many roots, not to place too much value in the bonds one formed—never get too close to tear yourself away. It was a sad thing, and lonely, but born from need and inescapable.

The day was dawning warm and sunny, the scents of summer pungent on the light breeze. It teased gently at the ends of his hair and the edges of his dark clothing, creating a picture of serenity that was somewhat at odds with the permanent disquiet in his heart. Across his back, he carried only the barest necessities of life, plus two scrolls, sealed in waterproof containers, upon which he had painted his latest pair of works. He had been meaning to make a trip into the city to sell them, anyway, so it had seemed the most natural destination upon his departure. The ronin’s geta made only the softest of scuffling sounds on the dirt road before him, for he knew that to pass in silence was utterly suspicious, and had no wish to draw such unwelcome feelings upon himself. It was better to be thought humble and left be than to be thought mighty and constantly forced to prove it one more time.

Gradually, the road led into the city itself, the cultivated landscapes of rice paddies transitioning into the wooden buildings of residences, and then of a large marketplace. Edo was as bustling as ever, and he supposed it would never be otherwise, unless it met with some great calamity that even he could not foresee. He found himself hoping that it would not—for all their imperfections and cruelties, humans were generally worthy beings. Fragile, yes, and ephemeral, but for all that worthy.

His steps carried him eventually to his art dealer, a middle-aged man who seemed to be perpetually smoking a pipe, and after a few moments of admiring the scrolls and bargaining over the price they would fetch, Ryuunosuke left rather enriched, tucking the new purse of ryo into the space between his gi and his kosode. It was at this point that something caught his attention: affixed to the front wall of a tavern was a notice. Diverting from his arrow-straight course, the violet-eyed fellow approached it, tilting his head slightly to one side as he read the script thereupon. A contest for ronin? Apparently with the ultimate aim of selecting them for a dangerous job.

It was the family name of the requestor that drew his attention, however. Kobayashi. It was a name he’d heard before, on a few sparse occasions. More than that, however, he had known a Kobayashi, several centuries ago now. To suppose that this Kobayashi might be a descendant of his was a bit improbable, but he owed the name enough to check and see if the cause for which they were assembling so many men was something he could stand behind.

Acquiring directions to the dojo from a passerby, he walked for another twenty or so minutes, finding himself at last where he sought to be. The locale was not one he knew, and he surmised it probably belonged to the Kobayashi in question, as he was aware of the family having attained the status necessary to procure such a homestead. But perhaps they were yet vassals to some noble house, and this property belonged to such as was their lord or lady.

Between twenty and twenty-five other people were assembled, some already engaging in practice bouts under the eye of the one he assumed must be Kobayashi, an older man of regal disposition and bearing—though he looked little like his predecessor if so. Perhaps he was a relative from another family or something of that nature. Casting his glance about the room, Ryuunosuke occupied himself with feeling out the ki signatures in the room with his magic. There were a few of considerable strength, which he supposed would be heartening to the assessor, but from the looks of things the majority were poorly-suited, and nothing was yet properly underway regardless.

Folding his arms into his sleeves, he approached the man nearest him—a fellow in a purple kimono with what appeared to be quite the assortment of weapons on his person. Inclining himself somewhat at the waist, as one should upon meeting a stranger, he inquired. “It appears as though the trials are yet to begin in earnest. Is it clear for what we wait?”




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At the approach of the puppet-creature, Tsubaki’s eyes slanted sideways, to glance at it disdainfully from the corners. Despite the fact that she was sitting and it was not, she still managed to convey a very deliberate sense of looking down upon it, the particular brand of haughtiness that only a noblewoman or a very high-class oiran could even manage fitting as smoothly to her delicate face as a second skin would.

The vessel addressed her first, which was most irregular, earning itself a vaguely-disturbing retribution from the puppet-who-was youkai. Low-class, base youkai hardly worthy of her time, but youkai nonetheless. “Do not presume to address me so,” She said, the words so soft and cold one could almost feel a thin layer of ice forming upon their surface. “You, maggot, are not the one that holds my strings.” she had not thus far moved to look at the creature she was addressing at all, and indeed after the first glance, her eyes had shifted dismissively back to the front.

Now, though, she turned, just a tiny bit, causing a little waver in thin chains of silver flowers that hung from the ends of her hair ornaments, and the softest whisper of silk fabric. “You seem to have enough trouble holding a maddened human in your sway. You could not master a creature such as I.” And he shall not, either. Her eyes narrowed to obsidian slits, but then she turned away again, clearly a gesture of dismissal.

She was not here to entertain fools, and she did not have to indulge this thing that believed it held some form of sway over her. If so, it was sorely misguided. It took more than a few stray words, spoken of the obvious, to stir her passions, of any sort. Not that she knew any of them but anger, these days.

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Character Portrait: Korin Baisotei Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Korin Baisotei


Korin turned slightly as the stranger approach him, he returned the bow he was given as he looked the man over. The man who stood before him was by far one of the tallest men Korin had ever seen, the dark clothing made him seem even larger than he probably actually was. Unlike many of the other men their Korin had no doubts that this one would be able to handle the blades he had with him. The man resembled

The giant spoke then, a sound that had the barest hint of something being off about it though Korin had no skill to place it and it was only the barest of sense of something beneath it; not something that he even gave a passing though. “It appears as though the trials are yet to begin in earnest. Is it clear for what we wait?”
Turning back towards the field before him Korin regarded the gathered crowd of ronin, many seemed to be in no rush and more importantly the person who seemed to be in charge had yet to direct or do anything of note. The few people practicing on the field were kicking up a bit of dust, clouding the air around them. Even these ones though didn’t seem to know exactly what it was that they were doing. Turning back to the giant Korin spoke in a low voice that would carry between the two of them but no farther. “I do not know for certain, I have only just arrived here myself. To my eyes it seems as though no one knows what it is that they should be doing. “

Korin paused then; he himself didn’t know exactly what it was that he was doing there. He had only ended up here on a whim and it was simply another win that had kept him here. He held in a small sigh before speaking once more, curious about the giant who stood beside him as he did not seem to fit into his previous thoughts about the other ronin here. “I take it you are also here to sell your blade then, is money what you are seeking?

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Character Portrait: Korin Baisotei Character Portrait: Maeda Nariko Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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The sun rose and with it, so did Maeda Nariko. She had a nasty habit of rising early, much like her father, but her preference would have been to sleep in. Unfortunately, her body wouldn't allow her to be lazy, a trait that was drilled into her by her father. The first thing she did after sitting up from her small makeshift bed was to pull her purse from inside her robes. She let the money fall into the palm of her hand. She had only ten coppers to her name. Sighing she placed the paltry amount back into the purse and slipped it back into her kimono. She shouldn't have gambled her last ryo away last night playing dice but at the time it called her name, begging her, convincing her that she would win this time. In the end, she lost it to a man named Chiguma.

She picked herself from the floor, folded the bedsheets and placed them in a corner. She was nothing if not neat. She didn't have the money to pay the innkeep. She could make a very easy escape through the window, though her father would frown upon the action, but what else was she to do? She wrote a note, explaining to the innkeep that she had no money with which to pay him, but she would be sure to come back and do so once she gained some. Leaving the simple note in the middle of the floor so that it would be easily found, she slipped through the window moving slowly across the rooftop of the bar next door. She lowered herself carefully from the rooftop onto the hard packed soil and brushed herself off. Thankful that she had remembered her straw sandals, she pulled them on her feet and walked the alley way until it let out onto a busy street.

She was strolling leisurely along the street, drawing looks left and right from men and women alike when she glanced at a poster. This certain poster made her take pause and as she studied the elegant script, it revealed a possible work opportunity for her. One which she was desperate for.

She followed the directions presented on the poster to a rather well-built estate, belonging to the infamous Lady Chinatsu. Everybody knew of the Massacre in the Mountains, as it was being called. It would seem she was rallying warriors so that she could exact her revenge on the Warlord Yousuke. Whatever the cause, it did not matter to Nariko. All that concerned her was whether she gained coin or not for her services.

As she set foot onto the practice yard, she surveyed her competitors. It was unsurprising to see that she was the only female present. Some Ronin were already sparring in the yard, most likely getting in some well needed practice before the actual trials begin. She spotted a place where others were sitting and waiting for further instructions. She decided that was where she needed to be and sat next to a rather tall man who in turn was seated next to a young man with strange brown hair and a purple kimono. They were having a discussion about when the trial's would actually begin. She sat quietly for a moment or tow, listening in, when she could no longer hold her tongue. "Pardon the intrusion, but do either of you know where the host of this little gathering is? I grow more anxious the longer we wait."