| The False Heir
|| IX - The Hermit (Reversed)
|Date of Birth
|| February 14th, 1991 (Aquarius)
|| Blue Dragon
|| New World Order
|| Tetsuya Kakihara
"In the end, the only one you can truly know is yourself."
|Profile And Skills
Profile: As the presumptive heir to the Tokyo-based Saionji family and it's considerable financial, political and social clout Rei Saionji would seem to be an object of envy. With good looks, an incessant work ethic and bright future ahead of him at Fra Mauro University there is little about his life that not seem pre-determined for luxury, greatness and wealth. Yet beneath Rei's polite courtesy lies a deep misanthropic contempt for the world at large, and general nihilistic attitude to all the accolades and honors others would place on him. His presence in the area is far more than it seems, having been dispatched by the Saionjis to assist the NWO reaching it's goals for a reinvigorated, more powerful Japan. Although he does what is asked of him dutifully and to the utmost of his considerable ability, Rei shows no ideological commitment or true belief in much of anything he does. Seemingly content to to walk the path so many others seem intent on laying out for him, it's not until he hears of an organization called 'Kagutsuchi' that dreams of fire, blood and agony start to seem more like memories, and his wayward journey on the path of insubordination begins....
Skills:Memories of Ice, Aggressively Detached, Passively Judgmental, Danger Zone, Legend of Sword Guy, No I Was Addressing You As Help, Daaaaaanger Zone, Deconstructive Disassociative, EZ Rider, Unfortunate Coincidence Magnet, Because How Hard Is It To Poach A Goddamn Egg Properly, Mad Man, Deoccupy My Lawn Or Else, Swear To God I had Something For This, Jun Katsuragi
| Social Stats
|| Summa Cum Laude
Taruhime: Family sword. Said to have been wielded since the warring states era.
Three Piece Suit: An expensive designer suit, custom-tailored to fit.
Dress Shoes: Well-polished, professional shoes.
Designer Glasses: A pair of black-rimmed, trendy glasses.
| Regret Sin
The world ended on a clear, beautiful day.
I was down by the creek, getting water. For as long as I could remember it'd been just the three of us-my little brother, sister and I-living together in the big house uphill along with the old lady who took care of us. We didn't have a lot, but we had each other, and that was enough. Our days were carefree, spent playing and exploring whenever we were able to dodge the old hag's lessons. It was peaceful.
Only...our sister, Rin, had gotten sick lately. Her health had never been very good, but it had grown worse and worse this year. She spent less time outside and more in bed, sometimes not even having enough energy to get out. I spent more time with her, making sure she was eating when she could, encouraging her to be more active if she felt like it. Slowly, those peaceful days began to slip away...until that day.
Like I said, I was gathering water at a creek near our home. Rin had taken a fever, but the water from there seemed to make her feel a bit better. It ran by a shrine, so there was probably some legend or something about it healing folks like you always hear people always talk about, but I wouldn't know anything about that.
On the way back I heard a loud crash, and smoke rising over the last hill before our house. My feet were suddenly wet-I had dropped the bucket I had without realizing it-and I ran to see exactly what I feared, our home engulfed in flames. I didn't know how, when, or why, but none of that mattered. I ran in without even thinking and was greeted with a vision of hell. The furniture, the pictures Rin had drawn that we put up on the wall, all the countless little features of our life we had taken for granted were burning. I wasn't looking at any of those, though.
My eyes were on Rin herself, lying in the middle of the floor. Her flesh was paler than I'd ever seen before and covered with a sheen of sweat. I knew she was alive only because I could see the quick rise and fall of her chest as she took fast, tiny breaths.
"RIN!" I rushed to her side, uncertain if I should move her or not even as timber collapsed and the heat grew more oppressive than a furnace. I looked for our teacher, that old hag, but found no sign of her. About then, I knew someone was behind me and turned around. It was my younger brother, standing with a dull look in his eyes. At the time, I thought it was shock.
"Rei." I took hold of his shoulders, tried to shake him out of it, "Get Rin out of here, Rei. I need to find the old h-"
It happened fast. I didn't even see it, but I felt the out-of-place pinch of cold by my side, gone so soon I wasn't sure if I’d just imagined it. There was someone kind of behind Rei-a tall, beautiful woman with skin as white as snow and eyes like frozen crystals. She was dressed in one of those old-fashioned robes women would wear a long time ago, and her hair was as white as everything. She looked completely unaffected by the fire, or anything, and against all reason I began to feel cold. She seemed translucent, like she wasn't really there, and just as I opened my mouth to shout 'Ghost!' I heard a wet, dull thud. I begin to feel a tingle all over my body, and I looked down.
There in front of my was right arm, in a spreading pool of blood.
Everything becomes hazy after that. I looked at my arm, at Rei and the ghost woman, all back and forth. The delayed pain finally hit me, and I screamed like never before. I was on the ground, writing like a fish, baking in the heat of my own blood. The fact that Rin was in danger was the only thing that kept me from completely losing it.
"Rei..." I felt like I was speaking just above a whisper, but I knew he could hear me, "Take...Rin....go...."
But I couldn’t see Rei anymore. Instead there was a stranger standing in above me. Tall...shaped like a man...but completely dark, like a shadow come to life. It said nothing, did nothing, but I couldn't help the feeling that it was completely, utterly amused with what was happening. At my pain. At Rin's suffering.
"Looks like you're hurt pretty bad..." I think a saw a tinge of white hair. A bloody knife. "..Think you're gonna die?"
"You..." I clenched my remaining fist, tried to summon the will the rise to my feet, but all I felt was the encroach of darkness around my eyes, "You...bastard..." He..it...whatever it was, started laughing. The last thing I heard was Rei's voice, cold and distant as that woman.
"It's all your fault, brother."
| Pinky Promise
I'm not sure how I came to be with the Saionjis. There'd been a fire where I used to live, they said, and so I was brought here. The Head of the family says that only those who show potential to allowed to join his house, and that he would be watching me carefully. I would have to do everything on my own. I would have no help from my new brothers and sisters, nor should I offer them help in turn. It begets weakness. That's what I was told on the first day I remember.
Later I learned about the history of the family. They've been around a long time, since the Heian period. They don't work like a regular family, not many are actually related. Most of them are adopted children like me, kids from all over Japan. We're brought to the family headquarters in Tokyo and are expected to study hard and compete with each other to figure out who's the best. That's how the Saionjis have lived for over a hundred years now, by adopting lots of children with potential and training them to become great. I don't know what happens to the ones who don't make it, but I think they're sent away. I'm told a lot of important people in government, big companies and the army are members are Saionjis. So I have a family, even though it's kind of like I don't.
Right now i'm at a big meeting where all the other old families get together. I understand the names. They used to be called Kuge, a long time ago, before the samurai and their lords took over and they lost a lot of their power. When the samurai lords were overthrown they were back in power for a while as the Kazoku, but they lost it again after the Americans made them in the war. Now they don't have anything but their names, and they still control a lot of things people today don't really notice. The Emperor and his family are supposed to be here too, but I won't get to see them. Too young, they said, so I have to stay in the garden and behave myself while the adults talk.
There's another kid here, a little girl who might be younger than me. She won't stop staring at me, and it's starting to get annoying. I ask her if she needs something, remembering how i'm supposed to talk in order to sound polite even when i'm not really feeling like being polite.
"Um.." She doesn't look like she was expecting me to ever say anything to her, "I...what's your name?"
I don't think she's studied as much as I have yet. I recognize her face from some of the pictures I look at of the other families before today. I can't quite remember her name though, "My name is Rei, Rei Saionji. You're from the Minase family, right?" Their only child, I remember, their heir. I guess it's a good thing I was polite.
She nodded, bowed and smiled in the way girls are supposed to, "I'm Sayuri Minase. It's nice to meet you, Rei." The way she said my name bothered me a bit, and I told her. She tilted her head and asked, "But that's your name, isn't it? What else should I call you?"
"You're not speaking politely." I tried to correct her, but I was still learning a lot of this myself, "I'm older than you, so you need to show some respect when you say my name. Think of how you might address an older brother, if you had one." I must have said something right there, because she got really happy, but I didn't know what I was getting.
"So...Rei-niisama?" She was smiling wide, and said again, "Rei-niisama!" Like it was the only word she'd wanted to say. That wasn't exactly what I mean, but I could see there was no helping it at this point so I told her whatever she wanted to say was fine. She made me do a pinky promise to be her like her brother forever, and a really weird feeling came over me then, like this was something I had done before. I didn't say anything though, and we spent the rest of the time talking about each other's family's.
That's how I met Sayuri. It didn't seem important at the time, but she's still the only person I could ever really stand having around.
| Imperial Code
Eventually I was nominated to be the next head of the Saionji family. There was a good deal of debate and discussion but eventually the decision was made, earning me the hatred and envy of many of my 'siblings' over a position I cannot bring myself to remotely desire. Any compliments and accolades I receive seem as empty to me as the quips, barbs and veiled threats in the end. It was around my last semester of high school that the family head summoned me personally. He was a shriveled, wrinkled old man-no one was sure how old he was-with eyes as aware and dangerous as a hawk's. I'd only actually met him a few times, but received his sharp, yellow-tinged gaze with indifference nonetheless. Once the proper formalities were observed, the old man offered a terse nod and lowered his gaze to a prepared game of Go between his seat and mine. I mouthed a silent 'ah' and resigned myself to indulging and old man's eccentricities, wondering how he made it to his age in such a family, which I would soon learn.
"Do you know why you were selected to succeed me?" He murmured with creak of ages in his voice as we each began establishing our territories in a world of black and white, "There are many reasons, but one of them is more important than the others." There was a supsicious, sneering smile to the way he said it, and I considered. I had excelled, but there were others who had done as much, and I think many of them wanted to be the Head more than I. I had been accepted to every university i'd applied to, all prestigious, but something like that was incredible as breathing air in our house. As if sensing my confusion, the old man spoke again, "You must be wondering why I asked for you. Certainly not to styme you, hm?"
"I thought you might have heard how I have never lost a game of Go." I had just opened with a bold maneuver, capturing several territories in one fell swoop. Not a major blow, but I had already envisioned how this game would likely go, and planned to build upon those victories in later moves.
"You jest." He smiled, "Good. Your siblings seem to feel you are devoid of any emotion whatsoever. To skilled and too perfect they say, but I think we both know better." I offered no response at this, as I am not troubled by what others think of me. The Family Head continued to speak as old men do, "The Saionjis are well-familiar with the power of persona. Tradition holds that our forebear learned the secret in a game with a demon, and with it ingratiated himself with the Northern Fujiawaras to established our house." He did not respond to my bait on the board, regrouping his black pieces and solidifying defenses in response to my aggression, not unlike the tortoise that draws within it's shell at the serpent's strike, "Ever since, the Saionji family has held the secret, and fervently searched for those worthy enough to obtain power through it."
"The Saionjis have sought those with persona, then." He nodded and I don't know if he was trying to insult my intelligence, but I did not feel insulted. This was something about the family I had not known until now, after all, and suddenly my status made sense. I chipped away at his defenses with several minor moves and the game continued this way in silence for a time, a slow and boring war of attrition. I admit to having hoped it would be a little more exciting than this until he suddenly spoke again.
"You haven't declared which school you will attend yet, and it is nearly time. Why?" Pointed, he changed the subject. I began to grasp the outer boundaries of his intent on the board. The situation had subtly shifted against me, and the old man's defense became offense in way I had not anticipated. Several of my territories were gone in the blink of an eye, and I felt a heat in my face. Excitement, hm.
"I am still evaluating. There is much to consider." The truth was that I found it difficult to care enough about any one particular university to make a decision. If my course had already been decided, it hardly mattered where I decided to go. The multitude of choices was the opposite of liberating in my case. I made a small smile as I countered his sudden assault and reclaimed lost ground, reorganizing my defeated forces in a slow noose around his wrinkled neck and wondered what might happen if I simply let all the offers expire. Shame? Abandonment? At least it might be a change from the usual.
"Then I will make it simple for you." His lips pursed like two prunes, and my mounting ambition on the board was suddenly scattered, "Our quest for persona has met with scarce success. Only handful of family heads through all the centuries have managed to obtain it, and as they realized the potency of blood meant nothing in the success of the ritual the methods we use today slowly came into use." It began to make sense to me, how a noble house could begin such a strange tradition, "Our success was no greater, but we were satisfied with strength our meritorius ways gave us over the other houses for a time. Then, ten years ago I was approached by a certain man...one who said he could deliver a child with very qualities we prized." There was no doubt as to whom he was speaking of, "I have watched you closely, Rei, and determined our allies have been true to their word. The Saionjis shall be doubly as strong as before, and I shall now keep my end of the bargain. You will go to Fra Mauro University, in Sumaru City."
In spite of what I had said earlier, that kind of direction bothered me a bit. Fra Mauro was in a relatively remote location of Japan, and although presitigious I would have thought he'd want me to remain in Tokyo as the family heir, or perhaps attend in the family ancestral home at Kyoto. "You see, there is an organization, a New World Order that seeks to restore our nation to it's former glory. The Saionjis must have a place in this new world, and you will be our assurance." I found myself on the defensive, sweat beading on my brow as every move I made seemed to be predicted and countered handily, my frustration growing as I realized I had been toyed with, "There were several mysterious fires in the area ten years ago you know, among other strange incidents. The same time you joined the family, no?"
I said nothing, fixated on the board. I had never lost before, yet I was losing. I could care less about what the Head wanted to say, but he continued, "I've heard of more strange things happening there recently. Strange things in the night, queer rumors and the like. Look at me, Rei." He spoke my name for the first time, and I reluctantly looked up to stare into those stern, serious eyes once more, "If your hesitating on account of the Minase girl, she won't be going anywhere. Her father is a stubborn man, but help the Order achieve its goals and you'll have her and more at your pleasure." I don't think he realized I was more interested in our game, and realized he was another person just seeing what he wanted to see. My forces were in disarray, and his victory would be achieved shortly, "Is this acceptable?"
I bit back a well of hate I didn't even know I had, quickly reminding myself of the futility of it all. It mattered little, and this was just another course that had been decided for me. No alternative seemed much better, so I would navigate it as best I could. "Choice is the luxury of the common man." I answered with our family's motto, which seemd to please him.
"Good, then you can take this with you." He arose with surprisingly spry form and fetched an object that had earlier attracted my attention where it sat upon its mantle: The family sword, Taruhi-No-Tsurugi. Sheathed in a polished, white and wooden scabbard, he presented the blade to me with no small amount of ceremony. "Rank aside, your skill in the way of the sword alone makes you worthy." He surprised me again when his hand closed on my wrist like steel as I was about to draw the blade, "Careful. It has not been wielded since the Bakumatsu Wars, and i'll not see it done here." There was a chill in his voice, and all the strength he'd mustered seemed to drain away, "According to legend, he who wields Taruhi-no-Tsurugi is blessed with the power of winter." He managed one more greedy smile, "And in your hands, it shall be so."
The name invoked strange sentiments in me, ones I don't usually pay mind to. Strictly speaking, it's the name of a Japanese God of Fire. And fire...I seem to remember fire more often lately, since coming to this strange part of Japan, where rumors become reality, things prowl in the hidden hour after midnight, and men and women play their grand schemes out over a hapless populace. It's nothing to concern myself with. I hear, I listen, I dutifully obey the obligations of my position and report to Tokyo. My studies progress, and the indomitable power of routine makes even the strange and abnormal a boring occurrence.
Yet I hear of the name Kagutsuchi. An organization that declares nothing, claims no side but it's own. An existence that seems utterly devoid of meaning...something I can sympathize with. But it's outside the parameters of my assignment. I don't need to concern myself with it, and I should not.
I have recollected my dreams more often, though I guess some would term them nightmares. Everything is burning. I have a brother. He's hurt badly, asking me to do something, but I don't hear him. I don't remember his name. I /should/ but I don't, and when I try to think of it, when I try to remember him, I feel....like I want to kill him. Murder him. See him die in front of me. If he lived, if he's still out there somewhere, then...
I feel a presence both foreign and familiar. Unseen, dark. A shadowed smile haunting me in the darkness. It feels closer at this time of night, and I shudder at the feeling. I abandon my studies, tell myself I am imagining things, that my memories are not returning, that I never had a brother or any other family. I think a walk outside may do me well, but Taruhi catches my eye from its place in my room before I leave. I have seldom reason to bear it, yet I always keep the sword close by. Rumors do come true in this city, but I doubt it will be in a fashion the old man would like to see.
Kagutsuchi. Kagutsuchi. A shattered god. Flames and mayhem.
I walk the streets without intent or purpose, yet I seem guided by some force I cannot ascertain. More fate, more misdirection, more lies. If there's a thing I deplore it must be lies, especially those weaved to cover up some ugly truth. Better we live with the hideous realities than hide behind sanctimonies and pleasant dreams. These people I have joined claim to purify that sort of thing, but I find them no better. More lies over bald-faced ambition. It didn't matter.
I must go to Kagutsuchi.
A few words in the right places, and I have a name. I'm striking out on my own for once, after a life lived following orders. It's not about doing something liberating, or choosing my own fate or any sort of nonsense like that. I'm just tired of the boredom. Maybe doing this will cause something interesting to happen. Maybe i'll find something that will actually be worthwhile.
Maybe i'll find him if I go to Kagutsuchi.
I halt before the door of a non-descript building, the markings of 'Omoikane Investigations' partially obscured by a sign stating they were closed, and to come back later. Sighing out my disappointment, I entertain just breaking in and becoming a criminal while i'm at it, but resist the fancy and beat my path back home. Not today then, maybe tomorrow. A low wind blows through alley, and should bring with it a chill, but I feel only heat.
'Thou art I and I art thou...'
'Think you're gonna die?'
I stir, and don't falter. This city isn't just strange - it is ill.
But I am no cure.
| Calamity Trigger
I wait by the window. It's raining. There's no sign of my brother, yet.
"Do you see him?" Rin asks before descending into a coughing fit. I give her an annoyed look and shake my head. She was the whole reason he was out there, after all. "I tell him not to go, you know." I wasn't sure if she saw I was mad at her or not, "But he won't listen to me. Now i'm bored."
"Of course you are, you don't get to go outside." I leaned against the wall wishing she would either just get better or go away, not caring which, "And that means I don't get to go outside either, so we're both bored." I wasn't sick though. You're not supposed to be bored all the time if you're not sick, everyone knew that.
"We could play a game." She made a weak smile, and that made me feel a little more patient even if I thought it was a dumb idea, "There are a few in some of the old books he got me from the library."
"Games you play indoors are stupid." I guess I wasn't actually feeling that patient, "It's worse than being bored."
"Not this one." Rin was so adament she shook her head, her frayed hair tossing about with more effort than she'd ever try to make with our brother around, "Come on, look." She read over to the shelf and pulled of a weird book with symbols I didn't know, opened it to a certain point and started looking at a bunch of drawings with people in a room.
I looked over her shoulder, interested against my better nature, "What's it called?"
"Persona." She whispered back like it was some kind of secret, "It's called the Persona game."
There was a distant roar of thunder, and for a second I thought I saw someone in the window-someone with white hair and a weird smile. But it was just a second, and I decided I must not have seen anything at all. "Okay.." My shoulders shrugged, and I sat down next to her, "Let's play."
| Here There Be Dragons
- BIG MAN ON CAMPUS
- Rei is the consummate image of this, at least on the surface. He excels at the top of his classes, is active in extracurricular organizations and is well-regarded by his peers. The fact that he happens to come from a family name of significant clout and wealth only furthers the image, though it's one he makes no particular effort to maintain. From Rei's perspective he only does what comes naturally to him, or how he knows he is expected to act in regards to his position.
- Although Rei observes all the courtesies and politeness where it is proper, it might be a stretch to call him friendly. There is a distinct reserve that serves as buffer between the Saionji heir and his fellow human beings. A man with many acquaintances but few apparent friends, he quite prefers this state of affairs, disliking the unwanted obligations and troubles too many people often bring.
- In relation to the above trait, Rei often prefers to be by his lonesome. He studies alone, practices alone and lives alone. He pursues few social activities beyond those he deems necessary for any positions he may hold and often rejects invitations with the constant, convenienct excuse of always having something more important he must attend to. He does not particularly enjoy the presence of others, and knows exactly where his limits lie.
- EASILY IRRITATED
- Although he strives to be as pleasant as courtesy demands thanks to years of hard-won lessons in observing social niceties, Rei inwardly counts up all the different ways a person irritates him as soon as they walk into the room and any given social interaction is a waiting game of how long he can stand to hide it. In general it varies with personality types - he can easily suffer the presence of the quiet, the meek and those who respect boundaries. It's loud, outgoing, curious sorts who press his buttons with a fury. Such individuals burn through his patience like a box of kleenexes.
- Rei himself professes to have no particular desires or ambitions for life. He appears to do otherwise only because the of the demands on him as a member of the Saionji family and it's next presumptive head, having been raised in an environment that breeds a reliance on orders and directives. Yet has no sense of pride in his accomplishments, nor any ambition for his future. He does only what is expected of him because he has no wants of his own, and terms following the will of other people as 'better than nothing' though even that is being tested lately. He sees no point in existential despair over this fact, instead resenting the world for it's utter pointlessness, and the futile lives that fail to see it for what it is.
- Humans are by and large foolish, lazy, useless creatures seen by Rei. He considers few people worth knowing, and thus worth his time. He hides his general revulsions for the commonality as best he can, but that impatience and disgust for others always lurks near to the surface of his psyche. He's seen far too often the way people lie, mistrust and abuse one another and has largely written them collecvely as deserving the misfortunes and failings. Thus his ears are deaf to cries of injustice or pleas of mercy. Everyone has done something to deserve their misery, and he'll not indulge anyone's ego by pretending otherwise.
- While he has no particular care for what he does, Rei does care that it is done /well/. He holds himself to high standards that he doesn't expect others to meet, and dislike being surprised in this regard, especially if someone should happen to outperform him. Life in the viciouslt meritocracy of the Saionji household has bred and intense competetiveness and rivalry necessary for survival in Rei's own case, and there is no off switch to comparatively lower stakes of life outside the family's hallowed halls.
- While Rei does find most everyone equally insufferable regardless of social status, there is plenty he considers beneath him. Most pedestrian, 'common' activities are privately scoffed at and shunned. He is keenly aware of class boundaries and restrictions even in the modern day and tends to observe them most of the time. He certainly considers himself in the top social sphere, and even if it hold no particular meaning for him it unnerves him to see others intruding where they don't belong.
- MAN FROM TOKYO
- Although Sumaru is certainly not in the 'sticks' as it were, it is in a particular region of Japan that is sometimes portrayed in popular cultures as being a bit off-kilter, it's residents often stereotyped as one-off characterizations of a certain mold. The last ten years of Rei's life have been spent in Tokyo, where he considers himself having been born and raised. Combined this with his elite upbringing and the Saionji heir as general distaste for the city and it's inhabitants being somewhat beneath him and the capital city's superior regional culture. Don't even get him started on the legitimately rural areas like Inaba.
- Cold Shoulder: Rei busies himself with his phone, refusing to acknowledge the demon's existence.
- Exhibition: Rei performs a flawless technique of swordsmanship, either to impress or intimidate the demon with his skill
- Icy Stare: Rei gives the demon a chilling, soul-piercing glare to express how precisely unimpressed he is.
- Family History: Rei recites the long history of the Saionji family by rote in an attempt to bore it to death.
- Rei belongs to a fictionalized version of the Saionji family, whose history dates back to their origins among the kuge (court nobility) of Heian Japan and more recently as. Stripped of much power and influence during the reign of the military shoguns, they then regained some political as kazoku during the meiji restoration until the Japanese Aristocracy was formally abolished at the end of WW2.
- The Saionji name may be translated literally as 'Western Temple Garden', which may be seen as a reference to both their opulence and western affectations. This does not particularly fit with Rei's given name (Which essentially means 'cold'), a hint of his being adopted.
- Rei has a shinto talisman, an omamori, that he discretely keeps on his person. It was given to him by Sayuri before he left Tokyo for protection, good luck and success. He suspects he got two out of three.
- Just in case you thought he couldn't be more of a hipster, Rei's glasses are strictly cosmetic. In truth he has perfection vision and goes without them or any similar aid in kendo practice or actual battles.
- One of Rei's few hobbies is the collection and maintenance of vintage motorcycles. The model he currently uses is a 1972 Kawasaki Z1 900, extensively restored and customized to deliver high performance just shy of street legal.
- On top of his many other extracurricular activities, Rei also plays the violin. He's not a prodigy, but he treats it with the same rigor and and relentlessness he applies to any other skill, and is thus rather talented at it. He prefers not to play for others, though.
- Like any lawfully owned sword, Taruhime is registered with government. Due to its age, craftsmanship and history the registration tag designates the sword as one of the 122 kohoku (national treasures). This means it cannot lawfully leave Japan, and were it ever to be sold the government has first right of purchase.
Rei is a potent, precise fighter who focuses on finesse and technique over brute force. As a trained swordsman his speed in battle is considerable, compounded with a strong magical ability to enhance his physical skills, though he tends to suffer from poor luck (possibly karma-related). The katana is his weapon of choice.
Special: Winter is Coming - Rei executes a blend of swordsmanship and persona-use by performing a vertical cross-cut with sufficient speed and precision to create a split-second vacuum, whereupon the frigid power of his persona unleashes sub-zero gale that flash-freezes anything in its path.
|Persona Information and Resonance
"I am thou... thou art I. I am Oyuki. I neither forget nor forgive, and mercy is unknown to me. For my blade is winter's cold breath, which claims all life without exception..."
Oyuki is a named example of a well-known elemental spirit in Japanese folklore: The Yuki-Onna, formiddable yokai associated with the merciless winter, appearing most often as inhumanly beautiful women with skin pale as the snow, clad in white kimonos and eyes that strike terror into hearts of mortals. Although feared for leading mortals astray in the snow so they may die, Oyuki's tale is one of a yuki-onna who spared a farmer in a blizzard for his youth, allow him to leave on the condition that she would kill him if he ever told a soul about her. The farmer went on to wed a beautiful young woman and one day told her of the story, in which she revealed herself to him as the same yokai and scorned him for breaking his word, sparing him again for the children she had borne him and vanishing from the mortal realm.
Oyuki's hatred for her husband for breaking his promise and thereafter rejection of humans can be considered symbolic of humanity's continued vulnerability to the bitterness of winter. Her indifference to the suffering of most humans is fitting for a nature spirit of her aspect, her unnatural beauty ever a lure and a threat to those who cannot stifle their curiosity.
SENSE: Rei's persona is a subtle one and not casually detectable under most circumstances to most people with the ability to discern such. However, those who manage to make the connection would feel a terrible kind of chill around him, defined by absence and isolation from warmth not unlike a wanderer lost in an unending plain of undriven snow. Opaque, endless and inimical to life, his resonance invokes the indifferent kind of cruelty ascribed to the less kind side of nature and its lack of compassion for the beings that live and breathe within it. Not actively malicious, but utterly indifferent.
SMELL: The clean smell of a frozen lake. Condensed, crystallized moisture. The air on a clear winter day.
SOUND: The howl of frigid gale. The crack of fractured ice. The crunch of fresh-fallen snow beneath one's feet.
TALENT: Rei's persona grants him a particular gift - considerable resistance to the elements. This manifests as a terribly high, almost unsettling preference for the cold for which he is known to remain comfortable in even with comparatively light clothing. The same as true for hot weather, while the touch of Oyuki's chill keeps him cool and refresh in even the most sweltering summers, seldom seen to break a sweat. Having had his persona from a young age, Rei is intimately knowledgable of the more subtle ways in which to put it to use, most often in maintaining a stoic facade that is challenging for even the most empathic sorts to read.
|Notable Social Links
- O - THE FOOL
- Minako Arisato - A first year Rei recently met at Fra Mauro. His initial impression of her is 'talkative', 'annoying', and 'best avoided'. Nonetheless, she seemed rather taken with him despite his reserved indifference. He hopes this isn't the start of a /trend/ or anything.
- I - THE MAGICIAN
- Yuzuriha Hatsumi - Although Rei has not met Yuzuriha personally, he knows of the Hatsumi family by sheer reputation as ninja clan once cooperative with the Saionjis during Japan's tumultuous history. Dwindling into relative obscurity with the modern age, Rei is only cognizant of them now as rural yokels on the outskirts of civilization whom he'll probably be obligated to pay a visit to if he's ever by way of Inaba (hopefully never). Erroneous information has led him to believe the family has produced no viable heirs and is on the verge of dying out with no more than ancient old woman at it's head.
- III - THE EMPRESS
- Mitsuru Kirijo - Heiress of another powerful family with whom the Saionjis maintain friendly, but not close relations. After two years of keeping a relatively low profile at Fra Mauro, Rei wound up having to introduce himself to her through happenstance when they met in an exhibition match between the kendo and fencing clubs. Her reserve and intelligence were nothing less than to be expected of someone in her position, not to mention her skills with western fighting.
- IV - THE EMPEROR
- Daizen Saionji - The current head of the Saionji family, Daizen has maintained his position for the past forty years, training his 'children' as skilled pawns to apply and discard as their usefulness demands. Intelligent, crafty and utterly without remorse, the old man's only goal is to see the wealth and power of the Saionji family increase regardless of the cost to others. Rei is indifferent to Daizen's grand ambitions and his own place in them, but privately amused at the seeming blindness of his 'Father' to this fact.
- Yisa Taimiev - WATCH WHERE YOU OPEN DOORS YOU BITCH.
- V - THE HIEROPHANT
- Tatsuzou Sudou (Reverse) - Rei's benefactor in more ways than he is aware of. The Daizen Saionji bid Rei to Sumaru for the express purpose of serving as Tatsuzou's assistant and a direct representative of the Saionji family to ensure the fruition of the NWO's plans...once their goals are evaluated. Daizen is no fool, and Rei's presence is as much a double-edge sword as anything the Saionji do to benefit those other than themselves. At the moment, he serves all functions of his position dutifully until he has reason not to.
- VI - THE LOVERS
- Mikage Kohama (Reverse) - A nurse formerly affiliated with the NWO. Rei did not think anything in particular about her until he learned she was /that/ Mikage Kohama, the daughter of a senior government official regarded as an important ally by the Saionji family. That was enough spur a 'disagreement' between he and Mikiya Ryouhara over how she ought be treated after cutting ties with the organization in an encounter that left everyone worse for the wear. Rei thinks her foolish, personally, and is annoyed by having trouble himself so much on her account.
- VIII - JUSTICE
- Sayuri Minase - Rei's sole childhood friend, Sayuri is one of the few people whose presence he can be said to tolerate, if not welcome. A insistently socializing, positive influence in his life when around, it's no question he's become increasingly withdrawn and acerbic in the time since coming to Sumaru despite an incessantly old-fashioned letter writing campaign to be informed of all the miserable minutiae of his time away. Currently studies at Gakushuin University in Tokyo where she will /surely stay/.
- XIII - DEATH
- Seiichi Miyamoto - Another member of the NWO Rei met once and took a natural dislike for due to their polar opposite personalities. He heard someone took out one of his eyes recently, and was amused.
- XVI - TEMPERANCE
- Naomi Suzuno - Rei has been familiar with Spencer Heiress's family and has rubbed shoulders with her at various social events in Japan. Still, he did not have much direct interaction with her until a chance meeting on Fra Mauro's campus. Although their meeting was short, he has quickly assessed the fellow heir as intelligent, perceptive and dangerous. He intends to keep his guard up around her.
- Miwa Saitou - A girl Rei met in the early morning hours by a temple, and concurrently saved from a demon since it was trying to get him too anyways. He's not sure what she was doing out there, nor does he particularly care.
- XV - THE DEVIL
- Daisuke Itami - An information broker based in Okina City. Rei sought him out for more information on the then-mysterious organization of 'Kagutsuchi' and was granted access to it's message boards, but not before having to endure Daisuke's decidedly oddball personality. Not quite sure if he's a fool or a threat, Rei trends towards caution with the latter and prefers to avoid the other man unless strictly necessary. He has a habit of knowing too many things.
- Mariko Ohmukai (Reverse) - A bored-looking young woman who was also fairly bruised and busted when Rei chanced across her at the Irie estate. He believes Masahiko may have done this to her, filing 'temper problems' under one of several assumptions he has about the yakuza scion.
- XVI - THE TOWER
- Mikiya Ryouhara - The son of a clan you will find in no historical texts, knowledge of them passed from one head of the Saionji family to the next. Old feuds lie between their respective clans, the kind of thing Rei has no personal stake in despite being warned of the Ryouhara by Daizen before arriving in Sumaru. No, Mikiya's coy personality and idle threats against his person in broad daylight stoke Rei's ire far more than any old story could rouse. They recently clashed over the matter of Mikage Kohama, and Rei has resolved to re-hone his skills to give their next battle a proper conclusion.
- Thora Kobayashi (Reverse) - A step stool.
- XVII - THE STAR
- Yukio Fujii - Some half-baked puroresu star who's either up and coming or washed out, Rei can't bother to remember such pointless things. He's shown up inexplicably at a few of the same venues as the Saionji heir and has never failed to make a fool out of himself, seemingly even more out of favor with the fates than Rei himself.
- XIX - THE SUN
- Tatsuya Sudou - The son of Rei's employer, an incorrigible fop of a man who manages to possess a streak for both the dramatic and the violent that the Saionji heir finds distasteful. It's fortunate that Tatsuzou hate him, so he doesn't have to pretend to like him either. Still, there's something /else/ about the white-haired scion of the Sudou name, something about him that triggers an instinctive antipathy in Rei's gut...
- XX - JUDGMENT
- Rem Sakurazuki Hoshii - Another girl he met along with Minako, Rem's more subdued and less inquisitive nature made her far more preferable company by comparison. He knows little enough about her to make an assessment one way or the other, and prefers it that way. Still, he suspect she sees more than she says..