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Kurosawa Tsubaki

"Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."

0 · 309 views · located in Japan- Sengoki era

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




“The two primary drives of any sentient being are sex and death. So-called love, honor, and devotion are just means to those ends… and when all is said and done, they are not so different.”

Visually in her early twenties. Well, at least when not disguising herself.

Tsubaki is a woman of many faces—an adept disguise artist, she can appear as old or young, beautiful or ugly, male or female as she wishes. That said, she generally keeps to two forms for the most part, and these could be considered her “human” form and her true or youkai form.

As a human, Tsubaki is rather small, perhaps at a height of 5’2” in total, and appears, though fit, to be a rather delicate individual. What some may refer to as ‘fox-faced,’ she has almond-shaped eyes of deepest black, a narrow face, high cheekbones, and a delicate, slightly curved nose with full, but small, pink lips, often painted red. Her dress is varied with the task, but overall it can be said that she understands something quite well: allure is often just as much about covering up as it is about exposing skin. She maintains a delicate balance of mystery and temptation about her, trained as she is in the delicate arts of seduction and manipulation. Her garments are always flattering to her voluptuous figure, but never gaudy or tasteless.

Her hair, most often black with a bit of a blue shine to it, is kept long, though as with her clothes, the styling of it varies between a number of things, including elaborate knots, a simple ponytail, or simply cascading about her freely in glossy sheets. She is trim and toned from the rigors of her profession, but far from boyish for all that. Her face is most often neutral in set with the faintest hint of disdain, though her mischievous smile could be said to be a strong point of resemblance between herself and her brother, Ryuunosuke.

As a youkai, she shares his distinctive violet irises and silver-white hair and ears, as well as the moon-colored claws and sharp white teeth. Her tail is the same hue, but where the distinctive facial stripes marking Ryuunosuke’s cheekbones are blue, Tsubaki’s are red. Long considered the loveliest of the daughters of the House of the Moon, she comports herself with a certain predatory dignity not found in human females.

+ Full Moons
+ Sweets
+ Witty conversation
+ Her brother… sometimes.
+ Pulling one over on someone
+ Sparring

- Humans generally (this is something she’s trying to work on)
- Her father and sisters
- Yousuke
- Foolish ideals like love and justice for the weak
- Heated summers


“Ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies.”

As one would perhaps expect, Tsubaki’s predominant personality traits are a certain kind of sly cleverness, wit, and the tendency to adapt to her environment. She has lost most of her affection for tricking humans, as after a while, such activities become almost formulaic in their application, and while it is an ability that can be honed to a certain studied perfection, it tends to lose all amusement when there is no longer any risk of being caught. She has not lost her instinctual love of the hunt, nor her more sensual side.

Raised to view humans as less than nothing, she still does not hold them in the highest regard, unlike her more sympathetic brother. She tries to set her prejudice aside, but she has spent far less time with them than he has, and finds the wisdom of her culture and her people to be difficult to abandon, especially when the ningen so often prove to her their baseness and lack of refinement: robbing, murdering, raping… the list is quite long. Higher-order youkai like her people hunt. Humans simply murder. Not that she’s any better these days, and she’s come to see that maybe this distinction is not so sharp as she once believed. Even so, erasing hundreds of years of personal history and ages of cultural development is not an easy task, and she did not have the assistance of a worthy human mentor like Ryuunosuke did.

In her dealings with others, Tsubaki could be said to be cold, uncaring, and manipulative, but to do this would be to understand only part of what is going on. She professes not to believe in things like love or honor or altruism, but yet she can sometimes be found displaying these qualities. She loves her brother, follows her own internal code of conduct, and treats those she comes to care about with kindness and loyalty, though such people are few and far between.

Her adaptability allows her to slip into many different personas, from shy shrine maiden to confident, lovely geisha to competent, flinty kunoichi, and in each of these guises there dwells a small kernel of what she really is. When transformed, she does not change nearly so much as her brother, being more used to her youkai side and lacking the aggressive instinct of kitsune males. She is, however, wily and without much care for the lives of others, making her dangerous in her own way.

Rather new to her current employment arrangement, Tsubaki does not yet know the other shinobi very well, nor does she particularly desire to. They work for Yosuke, and that’s enough to make them contemptible to her. Also, she doesn’t hold humans in very high regard. In terms of family, she has a father, a brother, and three sisters still living. The youngest of her line, it was her birth that killed her mother, and as a result, she and her sisters have always had bitterness between them. It is also she, however, that most strongly resembles her mother, supposedly the most lovely youkai in a thousand years. Naturally, those were always pretty big shoes to fill. Currently, she is estranged from her father and her relationship with her brother, though good, is somewhat strained, and they have not seen each other for many years.

Kodachi- a shortsword, of similar length to a wakizashi. Many shinobi fight with two, but Tsubaki only uses one.

Bow and Arrows- an excellent shot even from improbable distances, this is Tsubaki’s combat specialty.

Kunai and Shuriken- for mid-range lengths, Tsubaki has an array of throwing knives and stars, with which she is proficient. These are the weapons she most often uses on missions, as they are easily concealable beneath a kimono or haori.

Poisons and Needles- quite the adept alchemist, Tsubaki often mixes her own poisons, and will sometimes coat special, four-inch steel throwing needles with them, for striking vital points.

Tsubaki is stealthy, clever, flexible, and quick. All of the traits serve her well as a shinobi, but her edge comes from her youkai blood. She is capable of switching her form to suit the occasion, though most often she limits this to changing her hair and eye color, and uses costuming for the rest, as she does not want anyone to know what she is. Over time, through the ritual ingestion of small amounts of poison, she has become immune to most varieties of it, and her ki control means that she has a particularly deadly talent: she can manipulate the toxins in her body, causing, if she wishes, her own blood, saliva, or other bodily fluids to become toxic to others. Like her brother, she has general kitsune magic, such as foxfire, but prefers not to use it, as it makes her supernatural nature rather obvious.

In human form, she is quite weak physically, and even as a yokai, she could be overpowered by a sufficiently strong human without much difficulty. Also, her star ball, a manifestation of her soul, is currently in the possession of Yosuke, meaning that until he decides he’s made enough use of her, she is under his control and unable to assume her youkai form. This would hold for anyone who possessed the star ball, a small, lovely, perfectly spherical gem that the warlord presently keeps about his neck.

Currently the newest shinobi in the employ of Yosuke Haru, she lives where and how he directs.

Much of Tsubaki’s history is shared with her brother. Like him, her name and face are different now from what they once were, and her own first name was once Kimiko. She was born the youngest child of the Lord of the House of the Moon, and she would be the last, as her birth resulted in the unexpected death of her mother. Growing up, she had three older sisters and an older brother, the last of whom she was closest to of her siblings.

Takahiro was always a bit different from other youkai, and she recognized this in him from an early age. When he decided he wanted to make unauthorized trips to the human world, she aided him by teaching him to disguise himself using his magic, something at which she had been very skilled from an early age. She had not known that his observations would turn him into a human sympathizer, and at the time, she probably would have refused if this had been apparent to her.

When he was exiled, she was sent to kill him as punishment for her part in his “misdeeds.” Hunting him down, she came upon him at last outside a human village he had been living in for a year and a half or so. Seeing him, she hardened her heart and attacked, but he staved her off with his unexpected human-learned skills, and instead of killing her, he disarmed her and then made her a deal: he wanted an afternoon to show her what he saw, and if at the end of it all she still wanted to kill him, he would let her. Thinking him a fool, she agreed.

What he showed her was the village itself. In her human form, she watched as he interacted with the humans, all of whom seemed to love him (and each other). She saw children playing with wooden swords, occasionally guided by a word from her brother, and wives and husbands out in the fields. They were peaceful people, and they clearly relied upon the goodness of her brother for protection. In return, they fed him and gave him a house at the edge of town, and furnished it with all they could spare.

More than this, though, she was affected by how much he seemed to care for them. When the time came to make her choice, she could not kill her only brother, but she knew what it meant. She too would be exiled. Unable to stay in that village with him and those humans, she wandered about for a while, eventually falling in with a distinguished clan of shinobi. These taught her of combat and amplified her talents for poison making and disguise, but like all humans, they were mortal and died in the end, and when there were no more left, she abandoned the settlement for the open road once more.

In an incident she does not care to repeat, her star-ball, the manifestation of her soul for as long as she retains human form, was stolen from her, and found its way into the hands of Lord Yosuke, who with it effectively has Tsubaki collared and leashed to do his bidding. It is not a position she appreciates being in.


So begins...

Kurosawa Tsubaki's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Warlord Yousuke Harada Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Ion


Another day, another pointless exercise in the futility of struggle. And yet here she was, prepared to struggle all the same. She blamed him, and his seemingly perennial ability to convince her of things she knew to be false. But believe him she did, and she knew without having to ask that he would fight his fate, would fight this damnable man that held her in chains, tooth and claw… though perhaps not literally. That option was closed to her for the moment, and everyone involved was well aware of this. Her power was to be exercised at his leisure, and in the meantime, she was reduced to what this frail human-shape could do for her.

It was nothing, she was nothing, compared to what she could be in the full glory of her existence, and this rankled her. The warlord knew that too, and she suspected it amused him.

Tsubaki’s nostrils flared just slightly, the only sign of her discomfort, and a muscle in her jaw ticked. The shinobi that had taken her in, so long ago now, had advocated daily meditations as a way to begin one’s tasks with a clear mind and a solid foundation, but she had ever preferred skating by on the agility of her wit and adaptability. She was too fluid to be solid, and that was just her nature. So she abandoned the effort to be other than she was, and stood instead, crossing to the armoire standing in the corner of her room. The simple sleeping yukata she wore slid to the ground in a whisper of blue silk, and instead, she donned a kimono of deep purple, the distended sleeves exaggerated even for such a garment, paired with an embroidered gold obi. It was not the most practical of vestments, but she was not permitted anything else unless she was training or deployed on a mission. To her knowledge, neither of these things was included in her itinerary for the day.

Which meant she would be forced to wander about as a useless ornament to this palatial estate, commanded as ever by a base creature that she despised. Tsubaki knew quite well that the warlord thought of her as his very own particularly exotic pet, and some of his hirelings were not so different. Had she her strength, she would show them all exactly who deserved to bow to whom in this relationship, but presently her soul lay tied to the damnable man’s neck, and she therefore held by the thinnest, most unbreakable of tethers, a red thread binding their fates together for as long as he willed it.

The kitsune woman’s eyes darkened, her grip tightening on the ornamental fan that was the only thing she was allowed to carry that was even capable of damage. Out there, in the field, he could arm her, assured that she would always return. But here, in his house, surrounded by his servants and hired hands, she was too wily to trust with deadly implements. Fool. Anything was a deadly implement when used correctly, but she would not tell him this, lest she find the walls of her gilded cage close in tightly enough to truly suffocate her. She already struggled with her confinement, though to her credit, traces of her predicament were difficult to see on her face.

The woman pinned her hair up into a simple mage ornamented only with a pair of inlaid sticks. It was far from the most expensive ensemble she could have donned, but she was not the kind of woman that preferred nor needed excessive decoration. Also, she detested that none of the things she was granted were hers, and this was a small, subtle showing of her disapproval. Sliding open the painted shoji screen that led out into the main hallway, she wended her way down the labyrinthine corridors to the garden, which tended to be her preferred dwelling place. It was close enough that she did not feel the ache of separation from her star ball, but distant enough that she usually didn’t have to see Yosuke Harada, much less interact with him.

It was too late in the year for cherry blossoms, but the garden was lovely anyway, and she settled with as much contentment as she ever felt anymore into seiza, enjoying the fragrance and the colors. If she stayed like this long enough, her thoughts would eventually quiet, as her immortal mind drifted back over the spans she had already lived. There were mistakes to be found there, certainly, but also happiness, and it was to this that she held most dearly. Tsubaki held no faith that she would find any in the near future, and so she found it in the past instead.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sazaname Ryo Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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#, as written by Eskay

"Ah, there she is. We will approach her now, if you please." Okashii whispered into Ryo's ear.

Though it was very much against Ryo's will, it felt a refreshing sense of ease whenever it was in Kurasawa-san's presence. Like itself, she was held captive against her will- a marionette forced to dance to the whims of a power-hungry puppeteer. As it stalked towards the now-relaxing Tsubaki, Ryo could feel the torment welling up inside of it. Okashii and Tsubaki recognized each other as youkai within seconds of meeting each other, and Okashii made it a point to readily taunt her for her forced servitude.

"No..." Ryo pondered, "It is I who am the tormentor..."

There was no solace for Ryo, not even in its mind. Ryo's will was Okashii's will- the youkai had done nothing but ignite dormant flames of insanity within the hapless puppet. The inner turmoil extinguished about as quickly as it began, however, as Ryo had approached Tsubaki, looming over her in her meditative state.

"Kurasawa-san..." Ryo began, before promptly bashing itself in the head with its puppet.

"You must never, never, EVER utter a word without my leave, worm!" Okashii tormented in a hoarse, gravelly belt, "Pay no heed to my vassal, Kurasawa-kun; your time need only be spent with one of your own. I trust the day finds you as indentured as ever, Puppet?"

It was a rather ironic nickname, given that Okashii himself was indeed sealed inside of a puppet, further accentuated by the fact that it was indeed the puppet itself that took advantage of the hapless Ryo. Okashii's only goal is to incite fervor and madness, something he tended to do quite well with Lady Kurasawa.

Characters Present

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


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?”


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.