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Hirano Hiroki

"I do not hate you, warrior who stands before me, but I must stand here, between you and my home."

0 · 376 views · located in Japan: Sengoku Era

a character in “Ways of The Samurai: Revenge”, as played by Lifecharacter


⌈This gentle breeze is my farewell to you.⌋





Hiroki is, honestly, an above average Japanese man, which has served him rather well in life. He stands at not too intimidating 5'7 and has an athletic build, but lacks any large or bulky muscles that might be found on warriors. His young looking skin and slightly angular features were to the liking of several women including his wife, though the neutral face and lack of expression discouraged most of them. He says that he owes his good appearance to his family and to his lord, as he's seen what a consistently stressful life can do to one's face, and he prefers to go as long as possible without extra lines being added to it. In addition to the shape and feel of his face are the two gray eyes that he inherited from his father and that never seem to be completely open, giving him anything from a bored to an agitated look. Atop this face of his is his long black hair that he keeps devoid of bindings most of the time, liking the feel of his hair being free to move as it pleases, though he is sure to keep it out of his face during combat. And, as with many warriors, he has a number of scars from the many battles and arduous training he's gone through, though his style of fighting have kept them to a minimum.

As for the clothing Hiroki wears, he generally dons one of three outfits. The first would be that of his armor, which he only wears for battle for reasons that are rather obvious. The second is an officer's uniform to identify himself as a commander amongst the forces of Yousuke. This consists of a black gi and divided hakama with a white kataginu with golden trim and tassles, all of which is kept on him through the use of a thin, white obi. The last outfit that one might find him in is the one he wears amongst his family, a purple yukata and yellow obi, with a kosode thrown over his shoulders if it is cold enough.

Archery: Hiroki's loved archery since he was a child and has taken part in numerous competitions and spontaneous challenges to his skill.

Children: He's always found it fun to be around young children, with their naive understanding of the world and optimistic outlook on life. They're good at distracting him from the realities of his current lifestyle and his past.

Winter: Winter is a time of little traveling, little fighting, and generally staying indoors around a few sources of warmth with your family, making it Hiroki's favorite season. The scenery of the land coated in white also provides him and his family with something lovely to look at.

Dogs: Loyal, protective, and amusing, dogs have always served as great companions for Hiroki whether he was traveling on the road, hunting in the wilderness, or relaxing at home.

Music: There's not much to dislike about the pleasant melodies instruments and talented singers are capable of producing.

Alcohol: He used to actually be an average drinker, but he fell down a flight of stairs once when he was drunk and has decided not to risk doing it again.

Fighting: He spent his youth taking part in many skirmishes with bandits and the warriors of other Daimyo, and he has discovered that he doesn't like the taste violence leaves in his mouth. If possible, he'd like to live a life without fighting, but such a life likely doesn't await him now.

Traveling: He doesn't like being away from his family.

Swords: He doesn't like fighting with swords. The personal nature of killing someone so close to yourself while you look them in the eyes and watch their life slip away is just not a pleasant experience for him and he avoids it as much as he can.

Cicadas: He's pretty sure cicadas hate him. Every time he listens to music in the summer, they rile themselves up to disrupt his enjoyment and it seems like every other night he has to sit in bed listening to their obnoxious noise for hours.

One of the best words to described Hiroki's demeanor is subdued. This can best be shown through his overly proper posture, and through his soft-spoken manner, rarely raising his voice or speaking with malice or anger. He is also slow to anger or upset, giving him a reputation as a calm, almost tranquil, individual whose patience and stoicism shows the makings of a prudent and wise official. Unfortunately, these respectable attributes of his are the result of his own conscious, constant effort to meet expectations. He puts effort into every step to maintain a stiff, almost mechanical, stride, and restrains himself from expressing any sort of overt emotion through his appearance or tone of voice. Really, only his manner of speaking is exempt from these artificial traits, as that developed naturally throughout his strict upbringing.

With that said, though, one must know that such artificiality only extends to his public life, to the courts, officials, campaigns, and battles, and has yet to intrude upon his private life. When he is amongst his friends and family and away from the troublesome life of expectations, he brightens up and his posture loosens to great degrees. He smiles and laughs and engages in all manner of acts that would be deemed foolish or prideful amongst the stiff officials of the world, all to the delight of those he holds close. It is no surprise that it is the times he spends amongst these people, where he can put aside the expectations for a moment, that he treasures most. And, as with most treasures, these are fiercely protected to the point of dishonor, disloyalty, mockery, sin, and damnation, for none of it truly matters to him so long as he'd be able to at least know that the people who gave him this treasure are safe and happy.

But, regardless of how much he enjoys breaking a few social mores in the company of those who enjoy such displays of petty moral depravity, he was still raised in the ways of his father, in the traditional ways of Japan and of the Samurai. He holds himself to be the better and superior of those born to a lesser class than him and subservient to those born to a greater class than him. He considers a peasant addressing him with anything other than deep respect to be an insult and, though he will maintain his calm demeanor, will scold such a person for their actions, all while bowing in deep respect of his own to a lord. He also believes in Confucian ideals, making him believe that his children and his wife are to be obedient, and that one should hold great respect for their elders and ancestors, and that women should be submissive to men. Since betraying his lord and swearing allegiance to Yousuke, though, many of these traditional beliefs have begun to fade as he adjusts to all the women and lower-class men holding positions alongside him in Yousuke's forces. He's rather awkward about it, and still falls into old habits, but has been trying to adapt to his new situation.

The people closest to Hiroki are his wife, Koume, and his twin children, Hiroko and Kouki. Whenever he hasn't been called away for some reason he spends his time lounging about with his wife, instilling his children with a proper education alongside numerous tutors, or simply playing along with one of their games. Of his other family, he hasn't spoken to any of them since swearing allegiance to his new Daimyo, Yousuke Haru, who earned such a devout follower by making assurances for the future of the aforementioned family. Of his new compatriots amongst Yousuke's forces, he has made numerous friends and earned the respect and loyalty of those who serve under him, making him feel welcome in his new home.

Yumi: Over six feet long and constructed from a mix of wood and bamboo, this is his prized weapon and the one that accounts for most of his success. It is painted with the green and yellow colors of his family and undergoes constant maintenance to make sure it's always in top condition.

Daisho: The katana and wakizashi pair that Hiroki possesses is newly forged from high quality steel with square crossguards and black and white diamond cloth patterns on the hilt. The sheaths are white and have the crudely drawn names of his children written on them in black ink, Hiroko and Kouki.

Hotoke Dou: With iron armguards, greaves, and cuirass and lamellar shoulder guards and skirts, this serves as the standard panoply of a modern samurai. It is painted in the yellow, orange, and green colors of the Hirano family and tended to with great care so as to avoid a fatal failing of such an important defense.

⌈Strengths, for now⌋
Hiroki was raised as a samurai and has shown himself to be quite adept at such a life. He was trained in Kenjutsu, Jujutsu, and Kyujutsu, along with the standard education in art and literature the elite were given. While he's adept at the use of the sword and martial arts, mainly relying on defensive techniques and the use of the environment, his true skill shined in the use of the yumi. He is able to hit far off moving targets with supreme accuracy that earned him a great deal of renown and prestige in his former life and he wasn't too bad at growing accustomed to shooting from horseback. Along with his martial prowess, he has also learned to be an adequate leader of other men and applies the philosophy of his martial techniques to battlefield strategy and tactics.

⌈Weaknesses, for now⌋
As learned as he is in the use of most weaponry in current use, he hasn't come anywhere close to mastering anything other than Kyujutsu, which is why he always tries to end fights from a distance with a few well placed arrows. If his opponent manages to close the distance between them, the fight becomes much harder as he is forced to rely on the standard, overly defensive techniques that he's polished throughout his life. His age, while not too much of a detriment, also puts him at a slight disadvantage against younger people in prolonged fights as he isn't capable of calling upon as much energy as he used to.

He currently resides in a rather nice estate found within Yousuke Haru's territory with his family.

He is a loyal retainer of Yousuke Haru and serves him as a warrior and a commander.

Hiroki was born the second child of the Hirano family, loyal retainers of the Yamono family in Edo, a lower ranking lord who ruled over a small amount of territory for the Daimyo. He spent his childhood in the same way most noble children spent theirs, being strictly educated and trained to be a good servant to their lord and an honorable member of their family, and he enjoyed it very much. Despite the harshness of his educators, he liked practicing with wooden swords and riding around on horses, learning how to read and write, and especially how to shoot targets with child sized bows.

He's still not sure he can put why he likes archery so much. Is it the sound of the strings and wood being stretched under his power? That subtle wind that caresses his face when he looses an arrow? The "thunk" of hitting a target? Or maybe it was the feeling of being bigger than you were to do damage to something so far away? While he's sure it's absolutely every one of those things and several other incomprehensible feelings, it didn't really matter why he enjoyed it, because after showing promise in the use of a yumi, he was rigorously trained in its use whether he liked it or not. Hiroki learned to master the stances, the form, aiming, breathing, firing, predicting the flight path and movement of targets, and then how to do all of these things while on horseback. As he continued to show promise as a future marksman, he was named a samurai and given his own arms and armor, as well as tasks befitting a warrior.

Hiroki, while he never really enjoyed taking part in the skirmishes with rebellious peasants or bandit groups, proved himself to be effective as he struck down enemies from a distance. When they got closer, it didn't work out so well as he was hesitant to deal a lethal blow with a sword, the closeness of using a sword for such things greatly affected him. That said, he did eventually bring himself to use his katana against the enemy after merely defending against blows was no longer working. Those men he killed that day still have their faces emblazoned in his memory, as are those of any he's killed up close.

Regardless of his reluctance to use a sword to end people's lives, his success in the field was met with unanimous praise and he was given his own place amongst his lord's retainers. This was also the time when his lord arranged a marriage between him and the daughter of another samurai family, Uzai Koume. She was a very pretty and intelligent woman just a few years Hiroki's junior and, while the beginning wasn't the greatest considering they were both being wed to strangers, they eventually came to have a love and appreciation for each other. They lived in a small estate close to their lord's and Hiroki enjoyed a peaceful few years with his wife where they conceived two children, the twins Hiroko and Kouki. The next few years were mostly spent raising their children, with the occasional break to answer the lord's call to fend off some rebels or to win glory in some archery competition. He played with them when they were infants and toddlers, and took part in their rather rigorous education as they grew older. While Hiroko was resting after learning this or that from her mother, she walked in on him training Kouki in martial arts and wanted to join in. Not seeing the harm in teaching the daughter of a samurai martial arts, he did so and she enjoyed it along with the things she learned from her mother.

These rather relaxing days came to an end one day shortly after the twins had turned thirteen when a fire broke out at the estate. Everyone from Koume to the twins to the servants managed to make it out with only a single sprained ankle between the lot of them, but their home burnt to the ground. When his lord heard that his prized marksman was homeless, he proposed giving them room and board at his own estate until he could have a new home built. Considering it an insult to refuse and preferred over his parents' home, he accepted the offer and moved his family into the Yamono estate. His life remained relatively unchanged, just that he was now demonstrating his skills with a bow more often than he did before for his lord's guests (he even developed several trick shots to entertain them), and he was content waiting for the construction to finish.

This would prove to be detrimental for all involved when he found two men escorting his daughter in the evening out of her room. When asked what they were doing, they said they were taking her to the lord and that wasn't really the answer Hiroki was looking for, which resulted in him drawing his sword and running them both through. He told Hiroko to run to her mother and gather their things while he entered his room and quickly adorned his armor before anyone could notice the two large bloodstains in the hallway. He walked through the hall surprising every guard he met with his attire and answering their curious looks with either an arrow or a slash of his sword until he came to his lord. He emptied his entire quiver into, starting by pinning his feet to the floor and ending with two shafts sticking out of his eyes.

With his bloody task completed, he set fire to the Yamono estate and hastened his escape from the place, taking his family and a number of horses and household treasures with him. Before news of his dishonorable betrayal could spread, he and his family made their way into the territory occupied by the violent warlord Yousuke Haru. Hiroki had little choice now that he was a wanted man, so he knelt before the upstart warlord and pledged his allegiance in exchange for his family's safety and prosperity, which he was given. He now serves amongst the forces Yousuke has gathered and has defended his small expanse of territory for several years now, dedicating his life to his family and the man who gave them sanctuary from the world.

So begins...

Hirano Hiroki's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hirano Hiroki Character Portrait: matou Kotone Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Warlord Yousuke Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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The former Kobayashi estate, for all its history as a place where an entire family and their servants were brutally slaughtered, was a rather beautiful place. New servants went about maintaining all the walls and the paper of the shoji, though the designs depicted on them made them more reminiscent of artwork than parts of a building. And then there was the gardens, several of them, all filled with beautiful trees that seemed to constantly await the spring and flowers of all colors. Hiroki had not expected his new lord to be one for the preservation of such expensive beauty--he always came across as someone with a more pragmatic worldview--but he was happy to be surprised by such a thing. He was still wary of the parts of the estate that he had yet to explore, thinking that behind this door or around that corner he might find a corridor stained with the dried blood of the previous inhabitants, but that did not stop him or his family from enjoying the gardens.

While Hiroki was certainly grateful for his new home and considered it more than a criminal in exile could ever expect, it was rather modest in comparison to his last few abodes and not currently fit for the task of spoiling his family. He had commissioned several expanses to his new estate and it was well on its way to becoming a lovely home, but it was not quite there yet. In addition a simple desire to be amongst the luxury of a daimyo's home, these visits also provided him with a twofold service. The first was that his family would grow more acquainted to the generous lord that they would loyally serve in a few years. The second, and the one that enthused his children the most, was that Yousuke-sama's home also happened to be the home to several masters of martial arts who were open to training the younger followers.

And so, Hiroki sat in his white captain's garb beside his kimono-clad wife and watched his son and daughter swing their wooden swords around to the orders of Akakawa Gendo, a disgraced samurai from southern Satsuma. Yousuke-sama was apparently deep in contemplation elsewhere on the estate, leaving training and the view the only benefit from this visit, or, at least, that was what Hiroki though before he caught sight of someone moving about at the other side of the courtyard. On closer inspection it turned out to be Sasuke the page, who was currently scanning the rooftops for those who would normally be found perched upon them. Instinctively, Hiroki did the same, growing a bit tired of the ninja's perverse pleasure of appearing out of nowhere and awing his children. Before he could examine each and every tile to his satisfaction, though, the page turned his attention to the visiting family and approached them, bowing before the guests of his lord.

Hiroki rose and gave a bow of his own before the page relayed his lord's summoning. After he received the acknowledgement that his message had been received and understood, Sasuke bowed once again to the samurai and quickly took his leave--likely to go find a shinobi up a tree or a kunoichi hanging from the ceiling somewhere. Hiroki touched his wife's hand and smiled before stepping off the veranda and interrupting his children's training. He explained to them that he was going to go meet with the esteemed Yousuke-sama, and exchanged a few departing pleasantries with his subordinate and their instructor. Gendo gave the order for Hiroko and Kouki to bow to their father and future commander and, as they did so, he, with a proud smile on his face, returned their bow before departing and leaving them under the supervision of their mother.

Navigating his way through the hallways, Hiroki sidestepped busy servants carrying food and tools and nodded towards the guards and officers he passed on his way to his lord's office. He was now away from his family, which meant that his posture became rigid and every movement was done with conscious effort; he might be amongst a bunch of misfits and demons, but lifelong habits didn't yield that easily. When he reached the paper divide between the hall and the room his lord supposedly occupied, he took a deep breath, made sure everything about him was in order, and slowly slid the door to the side.

Already inside the room were two of the kunoichi that Hiroki had seen about the estate, one Matou Kotone and Kurosawa Tsubaki. Matou seemed to be a commoner, as were most of those who fought from the shadows, but Kurosawa had a much more refined air about her and she always did. As he was not aware of any family by that name, how she came to be such was completely unknown, but she seemed to serve the daimyo well, as did Matou, though that didn't make the sight of armed women any less unusual for the traditional man. Female warriors weren't something unheard of, especially amongst samurai women or assassins, but their regularity and openness in Yousuke's territory was what made them odd.

Regardless of this, it was only a moment before Hiroki took a few steps inside the room and took his place on the floor, with his legs underneath him and perfectly parallel and his hands placed on the floor before him. He bowed sincerely before his casually-placed lord, as one was supposed to do. After a moment, he raised his head to look at his lord and returned his hands to his lap. His posture was perfect, his face was stoic and unwavering, and his voice was devoid of any intonation of emotion. "You called for me, Yousuke-sama?"