Name: Rika Sanjuro
Concept: Grumpy, Ass Kickin' Old Fox Lady
Appearance: Languid. Slothful. Lazy. All of these words could be and probably have been used to describe the God-Kin Rika Sanjuro. One looks upon her and cannot help but wonder how this drowsy one-armed figure nestled into a mountain of pillows could possibly be the feared and respected swordswoman her reputation makes her out to be. No matter the time of day, she looks as though she had just crawled out of bed. Every muscle has the look of warm relaxation, her entire posture so limply comfortable it seems amazing she could move at all. Her hair and clothing are always in disarray, the kimono which is her staple article of clothing often half opened in careless disregard for modesty or propriety, and her single good eye hangs sleepily half-closed.
In spite of her awkward appearance, Rika is still a handsome older woman. Even with her mystical longevity and seeming habit of misplacing pieces of herself, she has aged well. There are vestiges of the Realm in her full lips and long black hair, but her mixed heritage also grants her an aristocratic face, somewhat spoiled by it's usual worn-out expression. While short in statue, her body is voluptuous. There is yet only a hint of sagging in her breasts and her scarred skin only wrinkling around her eyes and the corners of her mouth when she smiles. Well toned muscles move bellow her pale skin, kept firm by a daily regime of exercise that would seem impossible for one with her apparent dislike for physical strain, and a wealth of pale scars crisscross her body, though none more visible than the one which runs from her brow to her chin and over her missing right eye. Long and lustrously black in spite of any apparent attempts to take care of it, her hair is beginning to show signs of graying at the temples and along her bangs.
Taking after her father, her ears are not human, but rather pointed and fox-like and, an admittance which is one of the few things in the world to make her blush, extremely ‘sensitive.’ The right one is clipped neatly in half and the left bares a row of earrings adorned with attractive, but only semi-precious stones. A soft layer of black fur covers each, though the still intact left ear also bares a stark white tip. So, too, does she possess a fox-tail, large and bushy, the same sable fur as her ear and ending with the same silver-white tip.
Demeanor: Seemingly caught in a state of perpetual half-awake and astounding boredom, Rika has the aura of someone who has seen it all, done it all, and finally just gotten tired of it. Nothing surprises or impresses her anymore. Demon-lords and Elemental Dragons striding into her inn and proclaiming her Queen of Creation will be lucky to get more than a disinterested glance, never mind the rest of you. While quiet gruff at times and fearsome to look at though, Rika is good natured at heart, favoring the fox to the hounds, and has a self-deprecating sense of humor that goes out of it’s way to knock her down to the same level as everyone else. Full of physical contact for her friends, touches both subtle and plain, and praise masked with a grumbling tone for her employees, to those who know her best, Rika can be read like a book and her bark far worse her bite.
History: As popular myth goes, Rika Sanjuro was born from dragon-fire with a sword in her hand and a demon fused onto her back. While the truth of that is doubtful, the legacy Rika has left upon the world has been a bloody one. From a Lookshy Ranger, to an Imperial agent, to the crowned champion of churches and kings, to a member of countless secret alliances and mercenary companies; the entirety of her youth was spent in one conflict after another. She proved skilled at the arts of war in excess, as deadly and dangerous as the Dragon-Blooded themselves.
Her reputation earned her custodianship of numerous artifacts of power, titles and honorifics by the cart load, and endless challenges of skill from other warriors seeking to prove themselves to the world by defeating the now legendary Rika “Whatever-This-Week.” Undefeatable, they called her, and did so much to her chagrin, as there were any number of others who had stained their blades with her blood and left her half-dead on the battlefield, but the reputation proved impossible to shake no matter how many could justly claim victory over her.
As the years rolled on, Rika began to find herself less and less frightened by the trials she faced till eventually they became routine, till eventually it became outright boring. Finally, when at long last it became clear that the challenges would never end as long as she continued to involve herself in the affairs of the world, Rika retired. Using the small wealth she had accumulated to purchase a large parcel of land long the trade routes where an ancient castle once stood, she turned the fort into an inn, dubbing it the ‘Hourglass,’ and has happily watched as she faded from the history of the world.
Merits and Flaws
Merit: Prodigy x 4
With an Lunar Exalt who was also one of Lookshy’s elite Rangers as her father and the patron Goddess of the city as her mother, Rika would never be allowed to be anything but the best whether she had wanted to be or not. Military training and weapons practice were her breakfast. Books on tactics and strategy her only companions for months at a time. Other children were permitted to run and play on their own – Rika was thrown into the same courses of physical conditioning as her father.
Merit: God-Body, Awakened Essence, Magical Attunement, Longevity, Essence 2
Rika’s mother was a powerful Goddess and a surprising amount of that strength filtered down into her daughter. The fox-woman is able to heal from wounds that would have killed a mortal fencer and ages at a rate far slower than mortal kind, only scarcely showing her age after more than a life time of years. She can see and manipulate her inner Essence, as well as employ it to attuning herself to artifacts and Manses. Rika Sanjuro stands on the very edge of matching the power and prowess of the Exalted, wanting only for that one last push to shove her into their ranks.
Merit: Specialization [Melee]
Rika has always favored the sword. She had been a skilled archer while she possessed both arms, earning the nick name ‘Rika of the Divine Bow’ for a time, but the blade had always been her preferred tool of war. With the loss of her arm preventing her from ever drawing a bow again and many who knew her believing it to be the end of her mercenary career all together, Rika became determined instead to focus herself into mastering the sword.
Merit: Legendary Attribute [Dexterity]
Even from an early age, Rika’s physical reflexes were astounding. Her tutors were constantly put in awe of the little fox-girls ability to outmaneuver and gain the first strike on more skilled opponents. By the time she was a teenager, only her mother could still out fight Rika in a duel without being hard pressed to keep pace with her. As her life wore on and the God-Kin began traveling the world, away from Lookshy’s military and her parents oppressive desires, her reflexes only matured further. By the present, she is perhaps at her peek. Certainly few among the unExalted could ever hope to match her.
Flaw: Amputee [Right Arm], One Eye [Right Eye]
Won and lost, Rika has seen more war than many of the Terrestrial Exalted. The scars of her battles mark her body and peers jokingly speak of how pieces of Rika can be found from the blue seas of the west to the twisting corridors of Nexus. They are not too far from the truth. Rika’s right arm was lost near Nexus, during an engagement early in her career against a group of bandits who sought to rob the scavenger lords she had been hired to protect. The loss of her eye took place no where near the Western Seas however. It’s loss can be claimed by the man who now styles himself as the Disciple of Ivory Blossoms, cut from her in a duel which ended in stalemate before the man had been claimed by the Malfens and still called her his lover.
Flaw: Unusual Appearance [Fox Ears and Tail]
Born of a God and a Lunar, Rika takes after her Moon-Touched father in two unusual ways. His totem had been the fox and his Tells became her own after birth. The bushy black tail and long, fury ears are both the only physical heritage she gained from the Lunar officer who sired her. To those who know her well, both are surprisingly accurate methods of gauging her moods and the staff of both her inns share a sign language known as ‘Tailinese’ to silently broadcast to one another their managers current state. A few have even discovered that her ears are a powerful tool for pacifying the God-Blooded warrior. A thorough rubbing will often be all it takes to sooth her anger and send her into a blushing retreat.
Flaw: Disciple [Martin]
Rika has come to know many followers over the years, wither she wanted them or not. Few had made as lasting an impression upon her as the young man known as Martin Alconforado. A distant cousin hailing from her own home city of Lookshy, Martin came baring a letter of introduction from her mother and a demand from the Goddess that the wayward Rika teach the boy, the first of such a demand her mother had made of her in years. While hesitant to give in to any demand her mother makes of her, Rika was unwillingly taken with the soft-spoken and polite young adventurer and took him on as her disciple.
Martin has proven somewhat troublesome. It is not so much as that the boy is ill-disciplined or mischievous himself. To the contrary, he is an apt and willing student. Rather, Martin seems to have been cursed by Fate to become a nexus of dangerous events. Every alley he heads down seems certain to be filled with thugs. Every ox cart that snaps free and rolls down a hill is unerringly headed towards him. If one of the Rika’s old foes comes into town, it’s Martin they will kidnap. If a local deity demands a blood sacrifice, it will undoubtly be the pure-hearted Martin they want tied to their altar.
Bewilderingly, he also seems to be blessed with incredible luck as well – most any event he ends up twisting Rika and himself up in, he manages to walk away from unscathed.
The same cannot be said for Rika.
Flaw: Enemy [The Disciple of Ivory Blossoms]
Someone of Rika’s age and reputation does not go unharassed in the world. From mortal kings and warlords fearful of what her very presence could mean to lesser gods seething in anger at the up-start child’s fortune, success breeds jealousy and Rika has been far too successful in the eyes of some.
These spiteful men and women are the least of her worries. The only person whom Rika Sanjuro truly looks upon as a foe is the Disciple of Ivory Blossoms. At once both a bitter rival and a fiery lover while he was still fully mortal, the two had met in clashes of steel and tore into one another with their desperate love making on numerous occasions. Yet the man she once fought against for pride and took to her bed with heat never known to her before vanished from the world. To her, only his shell remains, a perfect, pale skin wrapped over something black and twisted. The Blade of Misra and the Disciple of Ivory Blossoms have only met in combat once since his Exaltation as the Bishop’s dark champion, a skirmish which left no doubts for Rika as to how suddenly her former rival’s prowess had risen with his acceptance of his dark fate. The Disciple has come to taunt her from time to time, in his own quiet way; murdering her employees and even once slaughtering an entire patrol of the Hourglass’s milita, ways to let her know how powerless she is now to stop him or even stand against him, the bitterness of their rivalry seeming to be the only thing he remembers of her anymore.
Flaw: Addiction [Tobacco and Alcohol]
She describes them as her two greatest joys in life. Wither this is true or not is open to debate, but Rika an ardent drinker and smoker. Rare is the time she won’t be found with her long stemmed pipe in one hand and often a glass occupies the other. Just as rare are the times when she is inebriated. The fox-woman possess a capacity for drink which boarders on supernatural. She has yet to meet the mortal who she cannot drink under the table and any number of Exalted would be lucky to remain upright after challenging her to a drinking contest.
Strength 4, Dexterity 6, Stamina 4
Charisma 2, Manipulation 2, Appearance 3
Perception 2, Intelligence 3, Wits 4<
Brawl 2, Bureaucracy 1, Dodge 5, Endurance 5, Linguistics 3 (Riverspeak, Low Realm, Forest Tongue, Skytongue), Larceny 1, Lore 3 (Military History +1), Melee 5 (Iaijustsu +3), Presence 3 (Training Troops + 2)Resistance 4 (Alcohol +3)
Backgrounds: Inheritance 3, Artifact 4, Manse 1, Resources 3, Reputation 3, Command 4
Compassion 4, Conviction 2, Temperance 4, Valor 4
Essence pool: 42
Temperance: Host of Spirits
Temperance: Donning Spiritual Armor
Valor: Essence-Gathering Temper
Valor: Principle of Motion
Valor: Uncanny Prowess
Equipment: Well-worn kimono, wooden sandles, and wooden pipe, Blade of Misra (disguised as bokken)
Base initiative: 10
Soak: 4B/2L/0A (unarmored)
Blade of Misra (Slashing Sword Form): Spd 15, Acc 16, Dmg 10L, Def 14
Bare Hands: Spd 10, Acc 8, Dmg 4B, Def 8
Inheritance 3 - Daughter of Tien Yu
Tiameng Tsuki was an officer in Lookshy’s elite Ranger battalion. While only reasonably handsome, he was dashing, courageous, clever, and level-headed; virtues of confidence and sensibility which seemed to draw women to him in swarms. Yet while mortal women longed to wed the handsome officer and Lookshy’s Dragon-Blooded Gens sought him out for their beds, Tiameng remained free and celibate. Rumors spread of battle injury that prevented him from performing the office of a man or of late night trysts with young boys. The true fact of the matter was nothing more than a lack of desire to tie himself to any woman until the right one turned up and the moral fortitude to keep himself in check against often very clever seductions.
Tien Yu is not known for her mortal indiscretions. What drew her to Tiameng over the other officers of Lookshy is a mystery even to her at first. Truly, he was skilled and heroic, clever and sly. A man worthy of praise among countless men who should have been just as worthy, yet the ebony-skinned goddess found herself longing for the touch of his flesh as she had for no other. For a time, she resisted the urge, unwilling to give in to a sensation she did not wholly understand. Yet he became an obsession for her. The Goddesses eyes followed his every movement. She read of his latest exploit in near rapture. She quietly undercut several attempted seductions by Dragon-Blooded women. She moaned his name as she lay twisting in the sheets of her bed in Yu-Shan and embarrassed several godly lovers by doing the same in the midst of their congregation. Until she finally realized what it was – his purity. For all his heroics and as skilled a soldier as he was, the naiveté he held towards matters of the flesh and the puritan desire to bed no woman he would not marry made him an impossible catch and all the more desirable for it.
When she realized this, the patron Goddess of Lookshy could take no more of his unknowingly innocent appeal and tracked him down with the righteous need to sully him and turn him into a proper soldier. Their first encounter and still lasting affair that has followed has been spoken of in Lookshy for years. Stalking ominously into the well protected barracks of the Rangers, Tien Yu grabbed Tiameng, threw the confused man to the ground, and simply took him. A virtual public rape of the man ensued on the floor of his barracks, while his troops stood staring in stunned silence.
The violence of her passion could have well killed him had Luna not came at that moment and touched Tiameng. Reborn as a Chosen of the Moon.
Rika was the result of that first violent mating, though far from the only child the two would come to bare. Tien Yu had hoped that a single encounter would have cured her of the desire for the now Exalted officer, yet if anything his Exaltation and the birth of their child only made her desire him more. It took Lookshy some time to figure out just what to do with their fox-tailed officer, but his loyalty to his home city had not changed in his Exaltation and his new ties of blood to it’s patron deity made them realize what a useful tool they now possessed. He was promoted within the Ranger battalion and fended for against agents of the Silver Pact who came to claim him. Though still unwed, Tien Yu and Tiameng have lived together since, the Lunar Exalt even being allowed the honor of a very limited access into the goddesses Yu-Shan home.
Artifact 4 - Misra
The Goddess-Blade, Misra is both the name of the sword and the name of a Goddess, though the two are not one in the same. The goddess Misra is a northern spirit of blades, a retainer and lover of the northern god of War. She encompasses the blade in all it's aspect - from the heavy swords of war to the simple cutting tools, and strongly represents skill with a sword. The sword Misra has passed from hand to hand in Creation for a great deal of time and any number of famous duelists and fencers are known to have wielded it at least briefly. It is not entirely certain if the sword was crafted by the Goddess herself or simply named in her honor, but it is a powerful tool of war. Rika gained a hold of the blade by killing it's previous owner, the Eastern swordmaster Jaiwex the Invincible, who had defeated one hundred opponents prior and traveled with a small army of disciples. She did so by ambushing swordmaster and his entourage with fifty men armed with bows and firedust grenades. As Jaiwex and his disciples were clad only in cloth robes and armed only with swords, it was a very brief encounter. Rika personally shot Jaiwex in the back and considers it one of her most stunning victories as no pieces of her body were forcefully removed.
Misera - Artifact Level 4
Requirements: Melee 5, Dexterity 3
Speed: +2, Accuracy: +4, Damage: +3L, Defense: +2
- So long as the requirements are met, Misera requires no attunement. Even a mortal swords-master with unawakened Essence could pick up Misera and wield the full extent of it’s power, but should the wielder be incapable of channeling Essence, they must burn a great deal of Willpower to activate it's abilities.
- Through focus and concentration, Misera can be made to transform between several styles of sword. These include: Straight Sword, Slashing Sword, Chopping Sword, Short Sword and Great Swords. Employ the relevant stats for the style of the blade with Misera’s base stats as modifiers. Transformation takes a full turn in combat and no attacks can be made with Misra for that turn.
- For 3 motes or 1 Willpower, Misera is capable of striking dematerialized spirits on a normal (Dexterity + Melee or Martial Arts) roll.
- For 5 motes or 3 Willpower, Misera can make the wielder like unto the Goddess of the Blade herself for a single attack, converting a number of Melee dice equal to the wielders Valor into automatic successes. This ability can be evoked a number of times equal to the wielders Valor and is specifically compatable with Extra-Action Charms.
- For 5 motes or 3 Willpower, Misera can transform the wielder into a whirling dervish of death, granting a number of damage dice equal to the wielders current Willpower to a single attack. This ability can only be evoked once a scene, but is specifically compatable with any Charm that does not add damage to an attack.
- For 10 motes or 5 Willpower, Misera can guide the hand of it’s wielder to deflect any incoming attacks they are anticipating. For the remainder of the scene, the wielder can roll to parry any incoming attack they are aware of at their full relevant pool. The attack must have a physical element to be parried.
- Has one Hearthstone socket.
Manse 1 - The Hourglass
Gray stone and wooden walls rarely speak of true grandeur, even in the frozen north. Yet, if the Hourglass is proof of anything, it is what is inside those walls which counts for more than what they look like. Built over the crumbled ruins of a Terrestrial manse, while most savor the warmth and comforting atmosphere few realize the magical nature of the original Hourglass. Rika chose her site well, picking an almost unclaimed foundation of a manse built during the Shogunnate (there was a group of bandits who had been operating, but she had a long discussion with them over the wisdom of turning over the former manse to her. Then she had them buried as part of the basement paid for their hungry ghosts to be bound as guardians to her private vault). Though she could not hire an architect with a mind for the construction of manses, a virtual accident of design allowed the Hourglass to function as one regardless, though it’s a haphazard function and the inn channels essence from the demanse linked to it far less effectively than it might.
The Hourglass is capable of producing the following Hearthstone:
Stone of Healing - level 1 Wood: Adds +3 to all Medicine Rolls
While she has a long string of successful military adventures behind her, the true source of Rika’s wealth is the Hourglass. Practically an accident of success, the fortress inn on Windia’s boarder has become nearly as famous as the proprietor herself. With tall wooden walls and a militia of it’s own to protect the caravan roads around it, the inn’s reputation for safety and comfort will often drawn travelers far out of their way to visit. The earnings from the Hourglass have been so much as to allow the God-Kin to open a second inn within Windia proper. Displaying Rika’s keen imagination, this inn is also known as The Hourglass, (often spoken with the footer “the other one”) and is slowly gaining the reputation as being one of the better inns in the city.
Were Rika more keen on it, she could be personally making far more than she already does from her two inns. The swordswoman insists her own needs are relatively small however and channels most of her personal earnings back into the inns and her employees.
Reputation 3 - Best of the Best
Whether she wants it or not (and she doesn't) Rika retains her reputation as being one of the best duelists and military campaigners in Creation. The former is not so difficult to deal with, as the claim she is retired has generally been respected by most would-be employers. The latter, however, has proven difficult in her old age. A seemingly endless stream of young toughs, local champions, and wandering masters are always showing up at her door to demand the right to prove themselves against the "Lady of the Blade." The only boon in this is that it provides her with a fairly regular pool of talent to recruit into the militia, once she's finished beating them over the head or talking them out of their decision over drinks.
Command 4 - The Hourglass Militia
They are not one of the most renown fighting forces in the world. They could not stand before the might of the Legions of the Realm. They would not turn back the tides of the Fair Folk. They could not halt a Deathlord’s advance.
But they could make them all pay for every inch.
The small army Rika employs to guard the Hourglass and the surrounding country side is arguably one of the finest independent fighting forces in the world. Recruited not from a mercenary company or a gathering of bravos, but out of the ranks of her own employees, Rika has seen to it the Hourglass Militia has received the best training, conditioning, and equipment she could provide. More than it’s walls and it’s reputation for cheer and luxury, it is the militia who have helped make the Hourglass the bastion for travelers it has become. Their regular patrols along the roads and kind assistance towards those in duress have built them a reputation that stands apart from the inn itself, marking them as an able and willing police force as well as a well-drilled military entity.
They are disciplined troops, well paid and very dedicated to the task of protecting the inn and the roads near by from danger. Drilled on an almost daily basis by Rika in the art of swordsmanship, the fighting men and women of the Hourglass possess almost a reverence for their aged God-blooded employer and many would not hesitate to lay down their lives for her.
There are 125 members of the Hourglass Militia at any time and no shortage of volunteers ready to take their place. Hourglass Militia count as elite troops, rather than militia as their name implies. Due to intense training in swordsmanship, Hourglass Militia have a Melee specialty of +2 in Chopping or Slashing Swords. Hourglass Militia possess Ride 2 and count an average horse among their equipment, as most are mounted for patrol. Finally, Hourglass Militia possess a Survival specialty +1 in Winter Conditions.
Rika was made for the Dance of Angels campaign, which gave large pools of starting bonus-points rather than experience to simulate it being a high-powered campaign. Thus, Rika was made with 74 bonus points (out of a maximum number of possible bonus points that boardered on criminal). Dance of Angels also offered God-Blooded characters a "starting package" of free merits so they could keep up with the largely Celestial group. Prodigy x 4, God-Body, Awakened Essence, Magical Attunement, Longevity, Essence 2 were all assigned merits and cost her nothing.
Rika was inspired by (and took a great chunk of her appearance from) the Guilty Gears character Baiken.