nWoD Vampire: Hitoshi’s Embrace (Chapter 2)

Chapter Two
The Embrace

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”


Hitoshi came to slowly. As his eyes gradually adjusted to the darkness, the room came into view. There were no windows, no lights, and no furniture. The only source of light was a small assortment of candles a few feet from his head. The air was dank and musty, but not altogether unpleasant. A scent like mold and dusty books.

The young man inhaled, and something peculiar occurred to him. His sinuses were clear, the itching in his throat was gone, and he felt…strong. He pulled himself to his feet, inching toward the door. The memories slowly started to flood back to him – the dark-eyed stranger, his sister’s desperate cries, and the fuzzy memories of blood and death and life. He didn’t know what happened, but he knew that he was somehow changed from the sick, frail boy he was before.

Hitoshi hesitantly opened the door. He was afraid, he realized. He was afraid, yet his pulse wasn’t racing, he wasn’t sweating, he wasn’t hyperventalating. It was a hollow feeling at the pit of his stomach, and it made him want to throw up. Was this Hell?

“Ah, good, you’re awake,” a smooth, deep voice mused, his voice tinged with an accent – Scottish, perhaps, or Irish. Hitoshi wasn’t sure. A pale man with disheveled red hair slid a worn tome back onto a wooden shelf. The only furniture in the room was the shelf and a set of red velveteen chairs so worn that the stuffing was poking out the sides. The only lights in the room were candles, as in his room.

The man carefully approached him, as if he were a wild rabbit or a deer. He smiled, reaching toward Hitoshi’s face. Hitoshi nimbly twisted out of his reach.

“Who the hell are you?” Hitoshi spat. “What do you want with me?”

“My name is Seanán,” he explained. “And you’re here because it was your sister’s wish.” He grinned, baring his glittering white teeth. “You’re one of us, now. You’re one of the Kindred.”

“Why?” he demanded, backing away from this monster. “Why would you do this to me? Why did you kill her?”

“Why, you ask?” He chuckled to himself, moving toward Hitoshi. “Your sister’s only wish was to keep you alive. I couldn’t refuse.” He sighed wistfully, running a hand through his hair. “It’s a shame, really, to waste her like that. I had hoped to take her instead, but I suppose you’ll do as well. You know, you do look almost identical to her, in the right light…” Seanán reached for Hitoshi’s face, dragging his fingers down the side of the young man’s neck.

“Don’t touch me, you creep!” Hitoshi hissed, smacking his hand away. He bolted down the hall, searching for a way out. His captor followed after him casually, chuckling to himself.

Hitoshi grabbed the front door, throwing it open and stumbling out. The shock of the morning light brought him to his knees, shielding his eyes behind his arm. He just needed a moment to adjust, just a few seconds… His skin grew hot, like he had been thrown in a fire, and he let out a piercing shriek. He had never felt pain like this before, and he knew that if he stayed like this much longer, it would kill him.

But life, even this miserable shell of a life, wasn’t something that Hitoshi was willing to let go of easily. He clawed his way back into the house, pulling the door closed behind him.

“Until the sun sets, you’re not going anywhere,” Seanán mused. “That is, unless you want to die.”

“What am I?” Hitoshi asked, struggling to his feet. He knew – of course he knew, how many things burned in the sunlight and drank blood? – but he needed to hear it himself.

“You’re a vampire,” Seanán explained. “More specifically, you’re a Mekhet.” He smirked.

“Mekhet?” Hitoshi echoed.

“Your clan,” Seanán replied. “They’re your family now. We’re like you, Hitoshi. When night falls, I’ll introduce you to my coterie. There are two other Mekhet, a Nosferatu, and two Ventrue. I think you’ll like them.”

Hitoshi looked at him with deep, gray eyes, bracing himself against the wall. All of this…it was too much for him. He wanted out. He wanted away. He wanted to see his uncle again. And more than anything, he wanted his sister back.

“I bet you’re wondering about your family,” Seanán said. “I checked on your uncle while you were asleep. I added some lacerations to your sister’s body. They think she was killed by a wild animal. They’ve reported you missing, but they’re going to declare you dead within a few days. If you like, I can arrange for you to see your family one last time. You can’t talk to them, of course, but you can see them.” He placed a hand on Hitoshi’s shoulder.

Hitoshi brushed him away, turning toward the floor and letting his black hair fall in front of his face.

“I can tell this is all a bit much for you.” Seanán looked at him sympathetically. “It’s always hard at first. Why don’t you get some sleep?”

The young man nodded, walking silently toward the room he woke up in. The other man watched him curiously.

“You’re a strong one, I’ll give you that,” Seanán thought aloud. “Who knows, you might turn out to be a better decision than I gave you credit for.”

Hitoshi closed the door to the tiny room, watching the candles flicker. He shuddered at the flame, remembering the feeling of the sun on his new skin. He leaned toward them, blowing out the candles before curling up on the hard wooden floor and staring into the darkness.

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nWoD Vampire: Hitoshi’s Embrace

Coming up soon, for the few months Greenling will be away, we will be playing a short Vampire: The Requiem campaign.  In order to get in the mood for it, I decided to begin writing up Hitoshi’s backstory.  Here’s chapter one.


Chapter One
The Childe

“Innocence plays in the backyard of ignorance.”

The night was chill and dank.  Thunder boomed in the distance, echoing ominously in the tiny mobile home.  The lights flickered rapidly, then returned to a dull, steady glow.  Hitomi shivered, pulling the blanket tighter around her shoulders.  More than anything, Hitomi hated thunderstorms – the flash of lightning, the icy rain, the cracking of the thunder.  Most of all, Hitomi hated the way she froze up when she heard the thunder, shaking and struggling to keep herself breathing.

A loud, violent cough brought her out of her daze.  Hitomi turned, rushing toward the couch.  A young man, almost her mirror image, lay curled up on old, hole-filled sofa beneath an Afghan blanket.  He gripped the blanket, bringing it up to his chin.  Hitomi rushed to his side, pressing one hand to his forehead.  It was almost searing to the touch, and she ripped her hand away quickly.  It came as no surprise – she had known he was sick for the past five days – but it distressed her to feel so useless.  She wished there were something she could do to help him.

“How are you feeling?” she asked kindly, sitting next to him on the couch.

He grunted something in response, then doubled over in a coughing fit.  He brought his hand to his mouth, and Hitomi’s eyes widened in horror.  Dark patches of red stained his hand, and not all of them looked fresh.

“Hitoshi,” she whispered, “how long have you been coughing up blood?”

“It’s nothing,” he hissed.  “I’ll – ”  Before he could finish, he began to convulse violently in another coughing fit.

“We need to call Tristan,” she replied quickly, jumping to her feet.  Almost in time with her exclamation, the lights flickered and thunder clapped somewhere far too close for Hitomi’s comfort.  For a moment, Hitomi thought, the fickle lights seemed like they might stay on.  Then something buzzed slightly, and the whole house went dark.

Hitomi trembled, grabbing the phone.  She knew it was probably futile, but she brought the phone to her ear, praying for a dial-tone.  Nothing.  And they needed a doctor badly.  The common cold shouldn’t be making him cough up blood.  Hitoshi had decidedly taken a turn for the worst.

“I’ll be back in just a second,” Hitomi murmured, running for the door.  “Don’t move.”

The incredulous look on Hitoshi’s face clearly implied that it was rather ridiculous to assume that he would be moving any time in the next few days, let alone the next few minutes.  Hitomi opened the door, shivering in the night air.

“I’ll have to make a note of this to remind Tristan that Hitoshi and I need a car,” Hitomi grumbled bitterly, racing to the nearest trailer and pounding on the door.  “Mrs. Baker!” she shouted.  “Mrs. Baker, are you home?”  There was no answer.  Hitomi stumbled to the window, rattling it.  “Mrs. Baker, if you’re there, please answer, it’s an emergency!”  The only answer was the bright flash of lightning, the violent strike of thunder.

After trying three more doors, Hitomi bolted back to run-down trailer and into the living room.  She trembled a bit, clutching the door for dear life.  She glanced back at her twin, gray eyes tinted with concern.

“It’s…  It’s going to be alright, Hitoshi,” she murmured.  “We need to get you to the hospital.  I think you might have pneumonia, and I don’t know how long it will be before Tristan gets back.  We’re going to have to try to get farther into town and flag down a car.”

Normally, Hitoshi would disapprove and complain that she was being reckless and could get herself killed, but even her stubborn brother could tell that they had no choice.  Hitoshi pulled himself up from the couch, the Afghan still wrapped tightly about his frail form as he slipped on his glasses.

Hitomi grabbed the tiny flower-covered umbrella hiding in the corner.  Being out in the rain certainly wasn’t going to help with pneumonia, but the electricity was out, Tristan was missing, and her brother needed to get to the doctor, and Hitomi would be damned if she didn’t do everything in her power to get him there.

She stepped out into the rain, holding the flimsy device over her head.  Her brother followed closely, keeping one hand on her shoulder.  It was ironic, in a way, that Hitoshi seemed so much calmer and in control than her when he was the one in trouble.

The rain soaked into her thin flannel pajamas, and Hitomi let out a quick series of sneezes.  She hadn’t had time to even consider putting on anything decent, let alone to actually change.  She felt something heavy and itchy fall on her shoulders.  The Afghan.  Hitoshi huddled closer, sharing it with her.

“I swear, Hitomi, one of these days you’re going to – ” Hitoshi couldn’t finish the sentence.  He coughed again, catching the mixture of blood and mucus on his sleeve.  His face twisted in disgust.

The twins walked along the road for several minutes, watching diligently for cars.  The rain grew increasingly more violent, roaring as it pounded the ground.  The lightning seemed to have mostly moved on, though the streetlights had yet to return.  In the distance, a bright yellowish light refracted through the rain.

“Headlights!” Hitomi exclaimed.  She handed the umbrella to Hitoshi, darting out into the street.  “Hey!”  Hitomi flailed her arms, getting herself soaked to the bone.  The flannel clung uncomfortably to her skin.  “Stop! Hey!”

The car honked, swerving into the wrong lane and passing her by, speeding.  Hitomi groaned, stomping the ground.

“Yell, well, screw you!” she shouted at the blip on the horizon.  “I hope you swerve and wreck that stupid Mercedes, Mr. I’m-too-important-to-help-someone-in-a-storm!”

Hitoshi let out another cough, more brutal than before.  The umbrella clattered onto the road.  Hitomi turned to see her brother nearly passed-out in a puddle, the Afghan pooled around him.  She rushed to his side, attempting to pull him to his feet.  He slumped against her.

“C’mon, Hitoshi,” she whimpered desperately.  “Someone will come, you’ll see.”  Hitomi was beginning to think that bringing her sick brother out into a thunderstorm at night in the hopes of flagging down a stranger had been a bad idea.  They were over ten minutes from home, and Tristan usually came home in the other direction.  And at night, in a storm, they had almost no chance of finding anyone to help them.  “I’m really sorry, Hitoshi…”

Hitomi sniffled, dropping to her knees in the puddle.  She didn’t care that she was soaked and muddy, or that her perfectly curled hair had gone flat in the rain, or that her mascara was running down her cheeks and into her mouth.  Her brother needed help, and she couldn’t even get him to a doctor.

Something in the bushes shifted.  Hitomi turned to face the woods, searching for any signs of life.

“Hello?  Is anyone there?” she called, her voice shaking.  “Please, my brother needs help!  If you can hear me, please, help me!”  She knew it wasn’t the best idea to call out to strange noises in the woods, but she was desperate, and Hitomi needed to help her brother.

A dark figure almost materialized in front of her.  No, he didn’t materialize, she thought.  He ran so quickly that it seemed like he materialized.  Hitomi wasn’t sure which was more alarming.  He was a young man of unassuming stature, with messy red hair and dark eyes that held her firmly in place.

“Are you sure you want me to help?” he asked darkly, moving slowly toward her.  There was something almost feline about him.  It was neither his movement nor his voice, but something in his eyes.  Everything about him screamed that he was a predator.  “Like all things in life, it comes with a price.  Nothing good is free.”

Hitoshi stirred, glaring at the intruder from behind thick-framed glasses.  There was something very wrong about this man, something Hitoshi couldn’t place.  “Stay away from my sister!” he spat.  He collapsed into the puddle, coughing up blood onto the street.  Hitoshi could swear the dark man’s pupils dilated.

“I’ll do whatever you want,” Hitomi whimpered, looked down at the road.  Hitoshi had a few guesses about what he wanted.

The stranger grabbed her and pulled her close.  Whether out of bravery or fear, Hitomi stayed completely silent as the man trailed his lips along the hollow of her throat.  Hitoshi felt the world begin to spin.  He bared his teeth, scraping them along her white neck.  The last thing Hitoshi remembered before the world went black was the stranger sinking his teeth into her soft skin, and that finally, Hitomi screamed.

nWoD Mage: Tristan Gilespi

Greenling asked me to write up this character for the Mage game that’s starting. Tristan is Hitoshi’s uncle and long-time legal guardian.

Real Name: Tristan Gilespi
Age: 49
Appearance: Average height (5’9″), athletic build (170 lbs), graying light brown hair, violet eyes, tan.
Personality: A bit gruff, sarcastic, and somewhat harsh.

Virtue: Fortitude
Vice: Pride

Attributes: Mental – Intelligence: 4, Wits: 2, Resolve: 2. Phyiscal – Strength: 2, Dexterity: 3, Stamina: 2. Social – Presence: 2, Manipulation: 2, Composure: 2.

Mental Skills: Academics: 2, Investigation: 3, Science: 2
Physical Skills: Athletics: 2, Brawl: 2, Firearms: 2, Larceny: 3, Stealth: 2
Social Skills: Intimidation: 2, Streetwise: 2

Merits: Ambidextrous (3), Gunslinger (3), Barfly (1)

Heath: 7
Willpower: 4
Morality: 7
Size: 5
Speed: 10
Defense: 2
Initiative Mod: 5

nWoD Innocents: Rudeth “Rudy” Volkova

This version of Rudeth was designed for an Innocents game which was going to be run by Greenling.  The game seems to have fallen by the wayside in favor of other things, but I still have a soft-spot for little Rudy.

Rudeth was once a kind, happy, popular young boy – the pride of the school.  But something strange happened during 5th grade.  His brother began acting strangely, lacking his usually spirit.  Rudeth began acting out, insisting to his mother and father that it wasn’t the real Thrall.  No one seemed to believe him…

No one, that is, but a handfull of other children: a mute young violinist named Yuuki, a close friend of Thrall’s named Carmen, a delinquint named Marty, and a child prodigy named Amy.

Name: Rudeth “Rudy” Volkova
Age:
10
Appearance:
Rudy is a healthy, attractive young boy with pretty dark blue, almost violet eyes.  He’s tall and thin, and somewhat gawky.  He has an almost angelic appearance, when he smiles.
Personality:
Rudeth is a brash, selfless boy who goes out of his way to help others.  He’s somewhat loud, happy, and friendly.
Asset: Kind
Fault: Brash

Attributes: Mental – Intelligence: 2, Wits: 3, Resolve: 2.  Physical – Strength: 3, Dexterity: 1, Stamina: 2.  Social – Presence: 4, Manipulation: 2, Composure: 2.

Mental Skills: Occult: 3, Study: 2.
Physical: Athletics: 3 (+1 specialty in climbing)
Social: Empathy: 3, Expression: 4 (+1 specialty in music), Socialize: 1

Merits: Guardian Angel: 4, Striking Looks: 2, Social Prodigy (Presence): 1
Flaws: Insomnia (Rudeth cannot sleep easily whenever Thrall’s fetch is in the same room)

Health: 6
Willpower: 4
Morality: 7
Size: 4
Speed: 8
Defense: 1
Initiative Mod: 3

L5R: Yogo Hoshi

This particular NPC is key to the backstory of the Mirumoto children, especially Hitoshi and Hitomi. (Hint hint.)  He’s one of the most powerful shugenja known to Rokugan.

Backstory to be revealed in plot.  Please to not be revealing yet?

Name: Yogo Hoshi
Age: 36
Appearance: Average height (5’6″), average build (150 lbs), shoulder-length black hair, cool gray-blue eyes.
Personality: Hoshi is quite arrogant, flashy, and a bit too flirtatious for his own good.  He has a roguish sort of charm.

Clan: Scorpion
School: Soshi Shugenja (rank 7), Kitsuki Courtier (rank 3)
Rank: 10
Insight: 300

Earth: 5 – Stamina: 5 – Willpower: 6
Water: 5 – Strength: 5 – Perception: 7
Fire: 5 – Agility: 5 – Intelligence: 6 (x2 for social rolls)
Air: 7 – Reflexes: 8 – Awareness: 7
Void: 4

Skills: Caligraphy: 3, Courtier (Manipulation, Political Maneuvering, Gossip): 5, Etiquette (Conversation, Beaurocracy): 5, Meditation: 3, Spellcraft (Spell Research): 5, Stealth (Spellcasting): 5, Theology: 3, Deceit (Seduction): 3, Sleight of Hand: 3, Anatomy: 5, Investigation (Notice, Interrogation): 5, Acting (Disguise): 3, Medicine (Disease): 5, Instruction (Shugenja): 5, Lore (History): 3, Storytelling (Oratory): 5, Defense (Unarmored): 3, Lore (Shugenja): 3
Advantages: Benten’s Blessing, Blessing of the Elements 4pt (Air), Dangerous Beauty, Quick Healer, Different School, Multiple Schools, Void Magic
Disadvantages: Lost Love, Black sheep, Driven (Defeat the shinobi group)

Heritage: ???

Techniques: Soshi’s Whisper, Affinity to Air, Deficiency to Fire, Kitsuki Method, Wisdom the Wind Brings, Finding the Path
Spells: Sense, Commune, Summon, Counterspell, Secrets on the Wing, By the Light of Lady Moon, Way of Deception, Yari of Air, Force of will, Path to Inner Peace, Purify Water, Hidden Visage, Essence of Air, False Realm, Walking Upon Waves, Whirlwind, Symbol of earth, Blessings of Jizo, Part Water, Heart of Inferno, Widom and Clarity, Words of the Kami, Earthquake, Tempest of Fire, Wrath of the Kaze-no-Kami

Attacks:
Wakizashi – 5k5, 7k2 damage
Daikyu – 8k8, 7k0 damage (9k2 Willow leaf, 8k2 Armor piercer, 8k1 Rope cutter, 7k1 Humming bulb)

Armor: +0
TN to Be Hit: 46
Initiative: 18k8

Glory: 4
Honor: 3.5
Status: 2

Didn’t bother keeping track of XP or Equipment, since there’s so much. Oi.

L5R: Toturi Ayame

This young lady is one of the key NPCs in the L5R game that is currently running, and currently 3rd in line for the empire.  This character sheet is missing some information because I don’t currently have access to the books to figure out what some of the things on her sheet mean.

Ayame was raised in the Dragon lands with her father, the emporer’s cousin, and her mother, a Kitsuki courtier.  Her parents were killed by invading shinobi, as was her retinue.  Currently she is traveling with the PC party, who are escorting her to a family friend living in the Mantis islands.

Name: Toturi Ayame
Age: 18
Appearance: Average height (5’5″), slight build (115 lbs), long silky black hair.  One eye is brown, the other is bright yellow.  She has soft features, and aside from the discolored eye, she is remarkably pretty.
Personality: She’s meek and quite sad, though this could easily be attributed to her circumstances.  She’s extremely sheltered, so the simplest of things fascinates her.  She’s well-mannered and sweet, and is extremely fascinated by swordplay and kenjutsu.

Clan: Imperial
School: Otomo Courtier
Rank: 1
Insight: 128

Earth: 2 – Stamina: 2 – Willpower: 2
Water: 2 – Strength: 2 – Perception: 3
Fire: 3 – Agility: 3 – Intelligence: 3
Air: 2 – Reflexes: 2 – Awareness: 4
Void: 2

Skills: Courtier (Manipulation, Political Maneuvering): 3, Storytelling (Rhetoric): 2, Defense: 1, Etiquette (Beaurocracy, Sincerity) 3, Investigation (Notice): 2, Lore (Law): 1, Kenjutsu (Wakizashi) 1, Animal Handling (Horses): 2, Tea Ceremony: 1, Calligraphy: 1, Lore (Shadowlands): 1
Advantages: Benten’s Blessing, Ally 8 pts (Family Friend in Mantis Isles), Social Position, Ally 6 pts (???)
Disadvantages: Can’t Lie, Gullible, Soft-hearted, Bad fortune (Discolored eye), Fascination (swordplay/kenjutsu)

Heritage: Battle of the Sleeping River, Killed in Battle (6 pt ally, +1 Lore (Shadowlands)); Ayame’s ancestor was one of the great heros of the Battle of the Sleeping River, losing his life in the process.

Techniques: Destiny Has No Secrets

Attacks:
Wakizashi – 4k3, 4k2 damage

Armor: +0
TN to Be Hit: 10
Initiative: 3k2

Glory: 2
Honor: 3.5
Status: 3

Equipment: Wakizashi, Badge of Office, Kimono and sandals, Steed, Traveling pack, 25 koku

L5R: Mirumoto Hitoshi

This DMPC/NPC is the original version of Hitoshi and varies a little from the other versions.  His original concept was to be a bit of a plot-inducer for Tenshi (Himmel), but I grew somewhat attached to the grouchy little fellow, and when Alex needed someone for his fate-bound advantage…well, Hitoshi quickly grew into a much more important role that I had originally anticipated.

Hitoshi is the youngest son of the Mirumoto family and a shugenja child prodigy.   At a young age, his mother died, leaving he and his siblings with only their father.  Hitoshi grew somewhat resentful of his older brother, who was steeped with the unwanted responsibilities of the family heir.  Tenshi had neither Hitoshi’s political mind nor thirst for power and seemed to take most of his privledges for granted, a fact that Hitoshi has never been able to overcome.

Name: Mirumoto Hitoshi
Age: 17
Appearance: Short (5’4″), lithe and thin (110 lbs), long black hair, intense gray eyes, sharp aquiline features.
Personality: Hitoshi is typically quite reserved.  When he does speak, he is quick-witted and sardonic, especially in conjunction with his brother and his twin sister.  He’s extremely pragmatic and quite disenchanted with the whole “bushido” business, which makes some of his actions appear less-than-honorable, even when done with good intentions.  He’s usually level-headed, with a tactical wisdom beyond his years, and tends to be somewhat suspicious of others.

Clan: Dragon
School: Tamori Shugenja
Rank: 1
Insight: 138

Earth: 3 – Stamina: 3 – Willpower: 3
Water: 2 – Strength: 2 – Perception: 2
Fire: 3 – Agility: 3 – Intelligence: 3
Air: 2 – Reflexes: 2 – Awareness: 2
Void: 2

Skills: Defense: 2, Divination: 3, Medicine (Wound Treatment): 3, Meditation: 2, Theology: 2, Spellcraft: 2, Acting: 1, Storytelling: 1, Games (Go): 2
Advantages: Wary, Social Position (+1 Status)
Disadvantages: Bitter Betrothal (Kitsuki Takara), Jealousy (Tenshi), Driven (Prove that he is more worthy than Tenshi), Elemental Imbalance 3pt (Earth)

Heritage: Artist’s Touch (+1 Acting, +1 Storytelling); Hitoshi bears a striking resemblance to a clan legend who allegedly saved his family’s lives from execution by entertaining the emperor with 100 different stories, and thus at an early age was made to learn the basics of entertainment.

Techniques: Affinity to Earth, Deficiancy to Water, Rooted in the Mountain (add Earth x2 to TN to be hit)
Spells: Sense, Commune, Counterspell, Summon, Cloak of Night, Extinguish, Ignite, Fires from the Forge, Force of will, Earth’s Stagnation

Attacks:
Katana – 3k3, 5k2 damage
Wakizashi – 3k3, 4k2 damage

Armor: +0
TN to Be Hit: 16
Initiative: 3k2

Glory: 1
Honor: 2.5
Status: 2

Equipment: Katana, Wakizashi, Kimono and sandals, Scroll satchel, Blanket, Chopsticks, Small tent, Tatami mat, Paper and sumi-e ink, Tea set, Fan, Pet snake, 7 days rations, 2 koku

Experience Points: 15 total, 15 remaining

L5R: Mirumoto Rinako (variant: Rivienne)

This particular variant of Rivienne, my first roleplaying character, is a Mirumoto bushi, and one of my GM PCs in our current L5R game. Rinako, as well as all the other PCs, started with only the base character creation package.

Rinako is the youngest daughter of Mirumoto Kei, the daimyo of the Mirumoto family.  Her mother, a gaijin woman, died when she was only a young child, leaving her mostly in the care of her older brother, Tenshi.  She’s a hopefuly girl, and in many ways is the glue keeping all her siblings together.

Name: Mirumoto Rinako
Age: 16
Appearance: Short (5’3″), somewhat thickly built (130 lbs), sharp aquiline features, blond wavy hair, blue eyes.
Personality: Rinako is a joyful, idealistic girl.  She’s remarkably gentle, despite being a bushi.  She’s incredily stubborn and has a romanticized idea of bushi life.

Clan: Dragon
School: Mirumoto Bushi
Rank: 1
Insight: 129

Earth: 2 – Stamina: 2 – Willpower: 2
Water:3 – Strength: 4 – Perception: 3
Fire: 3 – Agility: 3 – Intelligence: 3
Air: 2 – Reflexes: 2 – Awareness: 2
Void: 2

Skills: Defense: 2, Kenjutsu (Katana): 2, Kyujustu: 2, Lore (Shugenja): 1, Meditation: 1, Theology: 1
Advantages: Clear thinker, Social position (+1 status point)
Disadvantages: Idealistic, Soft-hearted, Spoiled, True love (Yaodensi)

Heritage: Famous Sensei (+3 glory points w/ Dragon clan); Rinako is known throughout the clan as being the star pupil of one of the clan’s great heroes.

Techniques: The Daisho Technique (add fire ring to damage rolls with Katana/Wakizashi)

Attacks:
Katana – 7k3+2, 7k2+3 damage
Wakizashi – 7k3, 6k2+3 damage
Daikyo – 4k2, 6k0 damage (8k2 Willow leaf, 7k2 Armor piercer, 7k1 Rope cutter, 6k1 Humming bulb)
War fan – 3k3, 4k1 damage

Armor: +5 TN bonus
TN to Be Hit: 19 (24 when wielding Katana/Wakizashi pair)
Initiative: 3k2

Glory: 1 (+3 w/ Dragon clan)
Honor: 2.5
Status: 2

Equipment: Katana, Wakisashi, Daijyo, War fan, Light armor, Kimono and sandals, Blanket, Chopsticks, Small tent, Tea set, Tatami mat, Wicker umbrella, Lantern, 7 days rations, Pet cat, 2 koku.

Experience Points: 15 total, 15 remaining

L5R: The Legend Thus Far

Preludes

Our legend began with a young Crane clan adoptee, Alex, returning to his birth home, the Mirumoto fief in the Dragon Clan, in order to reunite with his former family and, of course, to meet/wed his fiancee, Rinako – his cousin and the youngest daughter of the Mirumoto daimyo.  In his retinue, a Crab woman by the name of Ayeko made his acquaintance and took the liberty of drunkenly explaining the liberties of reproduction to the poor boy.  (Alex was sufficiently and justifiably disturbed and terrified.)  Upon reaching their destination, the Crab woman parted ways, heading off to Pheonix lands, where she planned to serve as a yojimbo to an up-and-coming shugenja.

Alex was promptly introduced to his uncle-slash-future-father-in-law, as well as cousins Hitomi, an enchanting traditionally Rokugan beauty, Rinako, a fiesty gaijin-looking girl and – incidentally – his fiancee, and Hitoshi, a somewhat effeminate and highly ambitious shugenja who seemed oddly familiar to Alex.  Afterward, Alex had the honor of meeting his birth father, a kind older gentleman, who made it clear that he only agreed to give him up because he believed it would be best for him.

Soon after, the eldest Mirumoto son, Tenshi, returned home, and a sparring match quickly broke out between him and Rinako.  In the scuffle, Tenshi ended up clipping Hitoshi with a bakken, which snowballed into a death-glare match.  Hitoshi’s elemental imbalance proceeded to cause the foundation to shake for a long couple of minutes, until Hitomi smacked them both with a fan and ushered them away.

On a hunting trip, Rinako and Hitoshi were surrounded by bandits, leaving Tenshi and Alex to come after them.  Tenshi and Alex, with some help from Rinako and Hitoshi, managed to hold them off long enough for the daimyo to arrive and sweep the rest of the bandits away.  However, enough game was collected for a sufficient feast.

Tenshi was graced with a surprise visit from his old schoolmate and good friend Yaeko, as well as her twin brother Yaodensi.  (Much to the changrin of his disgrunted young wife, Rein, of course.)  The group played Go for a while, resulting in Alex temporarily forgetting about his fiancee – who seemed, quite frankly, too preoccupied with the newcomer to care – in favor of flirting with speaking to Hitoshi.

Meanwhile, in the Phoenix lands, Ayeko was assigned to a young shugenja named Matsu as a yojimbo.  During the night, the village was attacked and burned to the ground, and Ayeko, Matsu, and Matsu’s family narrowly escaped by the power of a strange (and seemingly somewhat psychotic) shugenja, who whisked them away to his, erm, castle/cave/lair where he and his very disgruntled sister lived.  The man introduced himself as “Hoshi” and only gave some vague excuse of them being the chosen of the kami and insisting that they travel to Mirumoto at once for assistance in saving their village.

Upon arriving, the daimyo seemed somewhat perturbed by the news, agreeing to grant them shelter “as a favor to an old friend.”

Last week

The Mirumoto house awoke to screams of terror, fire, and chaos.  The fief was being attacked.  Tenshi rushed out to the back exit, intending to defend it with all his might, followed by Yaeko and Yaodensi.  They easily felled the first three shinobi, but upon realizing they were outnumbered vastly, even Tenshi had the sense to retreat.

Seeing that they were in a hopeless situation, the daimyo directed his son to lead the group of youths down through a secret passageway to safety, declaring that he would stay and defend his estate alone.  Reluctantly, Tenshi led them through the tunnels.  They were headed off by a small force, but through skillfull maneuvering and quick thinking – and some handy bow working – they managed to defeat them.  However, Rein ran back declaring that she “forgot something” and Hitomi ran after her to try and stop her, and in an instant, they disappeared in a whirlwind.  The scroll left behind stated that they were apprehended under suspicion of being a young woman named “Ayame-hime,” currently the third heir in line for the empire.

On the side of the road, Tenshi discovered a young woman passed out from exhaustion and clad in pure white.  Upon waking up, it became clear that one eye was discolored: while one was a dark brown, one was a bright yellow, a terribly unlucky phenomenon.  Feeling that she could trust these travelers, she introduced herself as Ayame.  Ayeko explained – relatively tactfully, for a Crab – that the shinobi that stole Tenshi’s sister and wife were after her and showed her the scroll.  (Tenshi would like it noted that he facepalmed.)  Horrified, the girl decided that they could help each other – she would ask for refuge, and they could get help in saving their friends, by traveling to the Mantis islands, where she had a god family friend.  Tenshi readily agreed.

Currently, they are camped somewhere on the southern edges of the Dragon territory.

nWoD Mage: Hitoshi “Kagero” Gilespi

This particular version of one of my signature roleplaying characters is a 0 XP character designed for a Mage: The Awakening game currently run by Greenling.

Hitoshi and his twin sister Hitomi were born to a woman named Cassandra, a young single mother, in Seattle, WA.  His childhood was relatively quiet, and – strangely enough for Hitoshi – rather happy.  He was a healthy and intelligent, yet quiet, young boy, whose main joys came from bedtime stories told to him by his mother.  His favorite stories tended to be Greek myths, especially the story of Hades and Persephone…

At age 11, however, Hitoshi’s mother died.  Doctors were unable to pinpoint any specific cause of her death aside from supposed “natural causes”, a fact that has haunted Hitoshi for years.  Hitoshi and Hitomi moved in with their uncle Tristan after their mother’s death, a gruff and somewhat disreputable man.  His career, which neither of the twins ever discovered, often kept Tristan out at strange hours of the night, leaving them to take care of themselves much of the time.  While his sister turned outward, latching onto everyone around her, Hitoshi withdrew into his own world.

Not long after his mother’s death, Hitoshi began having strange dreams.  Often he was searching for something unatainable, sometimes in a forest, sometimes in a city, but always something he could never quite grasp.  Other striking motifs in the dreams included stars, a darkened moon, and a boy with curly white hair.

Hitoshi’s Awakening occured when he was 18 years old, the summer before college.  Earthquakes, transmutation, and a decaying landscape featured prominently, among other things.  The final act of the Awakening dream, and the most notable event, was bringing the white haired boy back from the brink of death.

During his college years, Hitoshi stumbled upon a young man who bared a striking resemblence to the boy from his dreams, a young socialite named Alex.  Soon after Alex revealed that he, too, was an Awakened mage – a Mastigos – currently going by the shadow name Ozymandias.  During their time together, Alex developed quite a crush on Hitoshi, and through a peculiar series of events Alex ended up being Hitoshi’s kind-of-boyfriend and cabal member.  (Hitoshi doesn’t seem to have any significant problems with either of these.)

After graduation, Hitoshi and Alex relocated to a small town in the American midwest, where they ended up joining with the only other mages in the area: Robert and Theophanes, both Obrimos.

Real Name: Hitoshi Gilespi
Shadow Name: Kagero (“Shadow”)
Age: 22
Appearance: Short (5’4″), thin and slight (110 lbs), long black hair, glasses.  Hitoshi has aquiline, almost feminine features and slate-gray eyes.  His typical clothing ranges betwen business casual – slacks and polos, etc. – and classy, somewhat preppy attire in dark colors – button-up shirts and expensive jeans.  Hitoshi would hardly ever dare to be seen in a t-shirt or jeans with holes.
Personality: Hitoshi tends to be sarcastic, especially to Boreas (Theophanes), though he has a tendency to walk on eggshells around Alex for fear of saying something offensive or cruel.  He’s not especially compassionate and has a bit of a callous view regarding life, though he does have a strong sense of loyalty towards “those who matter” – a rather narrow category which he presently defines as Alex and blood relatives (his conspicuously absent father notwithstanding).  He tends to be rather manipulative when it comes to achieving his goals, and his motives are often rather selfish.  Fortunately for others, thirst for knowledge and the ability to excercise a few magical abilities seem to be high on his list, which makes it significantly easier to convince him to join in on an outing.  He’s extremely meticulous in everything, a bit of a neat freak, and has a very tactical thought process.

Virtue: Prudence
Vice: Envy
Path: Moros
Order: The Mysterium

Attributes: Mental – Intelligence: 3, Wits: 3, Resolve: 3. Phyiscal – Strength: 1, Dexterity: 3, Stamina: 2. Social – Presence: 2, Manipulation: 3, Composure: 2.

Mental Skills: Academics: 2 (+1 specialty in history), Crafts: 1, Investigation: 2*, Occult: 4* (+1 specialty in magic), Politics: 1, Science: 1
Physical Skills: Larceny: 2, Stealth: 2, Survival: 0*
Social Skills: Empathy: 2, Expression: 1, Persuasion: 2, Subterfuge: 2 (+1 specialty in spotting lies)
* Rote skill for The Mysterium.

Arcana: Death: 2, Matter: 3, Prime: 1
Merits: Resources: 3, Destiny: 4

Rotes: Grim Sight (Death 1, Wits+Occult+Death), Dark Matter (Matter 1, Intelligence+Occult+Matter), Supernal Vision (Prime 1, Wits+Ocult+Prime), Transmute Earth (Matter 3, Intelligence+Occult+Matter)

Heath: 7
Willpower: 5
Gnosis: 1
Mana: 7 (1 Point per turn)
Wisdom: 7
Size: 5
Speed: 9
Defense: 3
Initiative Mod: 6

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