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Kurosawa Tsubaki

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

0 · 222 views · located in Japan: Sengoku Era

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

Description

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“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.”




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

Appearance
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.

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

Dislikes
- 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



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




Personality
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.

Relationships
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.

ImageEquipment
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.

Strengths
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.

Weaknesses
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.

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


ImageHistory
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.




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So begins...

Kurosawa Tsubaki's Story

Characters Present

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


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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, over the more practical and darker vestments of her work. To her knowledge, she wouldn’t be needing the more mobile clothes, at least not today, but she refused not to wear them.

Her present lack of assignment likely 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 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 long-lived mind drifted back over the spans she had already occupied, and tried to avoid thinking of the millennia that yet lay before her. 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.

…Or at least, she would have, had she not been interrupted by Yosuke’s attendant boy. Sasuke, his name was, though she would never admit to knowing it, and she certainly would not use it. She was not oblivious to the fact that the warlord actually commanded a fair amount of loyalty from some of the others who served him, and there was a certain logic to it. The youkai excepted (many of whom she’d been forced to trick into his service), he was a relatively fair person to those that served him. She could hardly be bothered to consider this a redeeming feature when her soul rested in his hands and he showed no inclination to give it back.

Nevertheless, she was bound to answer summonses, and this one was no exception. Waving the boy off to find the next of his assigned targets, Tsubaki flowed into a stand and made her way through several side corridors before she found the room she was looking for. Even if she had not been told where he was, she would have been able to find him without anything but the call of her essence to her body. A subtle twitch to the muscle in the right side of her jaw was smoothed out, and the face she wore today was a vaguely-disdainful neutrality. She did not announce her presence—he would know of her nearness just as surely as she knew of his. Instead she entered, ignoring everyone else and simply took a seat, utterly silent.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hirano Hiroki Character Portrait: matou Kotone Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Warlord Yousuke
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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?"