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Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori (Togabito; Finished)

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Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori (Togabito; Finished)

Post by Cat on Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:32 am

The Basics

Name: Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori
English Translation: Chrysanthemum Princess
Species: Human
Race: Togabito
Gender: Female
Date of Birth: April 1st, 1558
Date of Death: July 21st, 1570
Appearance Age: 11
Actual Age: 460
Organization and Rank: Sinner's Elementary

Height: 143cm
Weight: 32.5kg
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Green, cat-like


Hair: Shoulder-length, straight, dark, often tied back in a bob samurai-fashion; making her appear like a boy.

Eyes: Cat-like in form as well as function, Katsuyori's eyes glow in the dark and confer low-light vision. She can dilate her pupils like a cat to adapt from lighted to unlit environments, and identify rough heat-signatures around her(not as good as infra-red spectrum)

Complexion: tanned honey skin tones

General Appearance: Cat resembles a preteen girl, roughly 4.6 ft tall. She has oriental features and is lightly tanned, with the slender dainty physique that usually accompanies nobility or people unaccustomed to more than light labor all their lives. Waif-like without being overly skinny, her outward appearance seems otherworldly and 'elven' instead of something from the mortal world. Having not yet encountered puberty, her chest is flat. But her fingers are noticeably adroit and cunning, longer than average and resembling those of a surgeon or pianist. Each one is tipped with nails ending in a natural point; like cats' claws. The individual nails have an odd sheen and are unusually durable, almost as though constructed from metal rather than bone keratin.

Cat's skin comes with multiple dermal layers, allowing the topmost layer to be shed and discarded when necessary to expose the layer underneath. While 'alive' it is similar to mortal skin but when shed as a dead husk gains a papery, brittle texture not unlike an insect cocoon. While having no direct protective properties, skin-shedding allows Cat a rudimentary form of regeneration; since she can removed 'damaged' topmost layers to revert to an uninjured state underneath. This enables considerable control over her appearance--e.g she can give herself scars; tattoos, and various other 'permanent' modifications and remove them at will by shedding. Cat 'sheds' by using her own nails to rip away at her flesh--an act that causes physical pain; comparable to being skinned alive, which therefore renders her helpless until she regains her composure. Any shedding that happens requires Cat's own claws--if attempted via any other means (e.g with a knife-wielding enemy) her skin acts like 'normal' skin and is simply peeled to the muscle or bone. Each 'new' husk differs from the one before in subtle ways; including reiatsu trace and fingerprints. Essentially every time Cat sheds; she emerges as a new person who resembles the old in appearance, except with different prints and reiatsu signatures. At any one time, a new 'layer' of skin is growing within her, ready to replace the outer coating should she require it.

To allow easier access and make full use of her shedding capabilities, Cat prefers attire that maximizes skin exposure such as shorts and sleeveless tank tops. She wears a cloak if she can find one, hiding the fact that she only has indecent rags underneath or is in various states of undress. What clothes she has are all items she manages to scavenge since she has no tailoring ability of her own. As a result they are usually ripped and threadbare from being worn in Hell's environment. Cat is normally seen in tattered singlets held together by stray threads and a prayer, with torn shorts or--more frequently--strips of fabric leaving much of her midsection bare while keeping the lower body halfway decent. In all her incarnations Cat is barefoot, though her soles/feet aren't as callused as they should be thanks to her shedding ability.  Loose shackles that are a part of her Hell chains dangle from her wrists and ankles, chafing skin in those regions.

Cat's current state is also dependent on the amount of shedding she undergoes; with each 'new' layer leaving her thinner than the last due to expelled body mass. She has a natural 'limit' on the amount of layers she can shed in a given time period, and when reaching that limit has to recover or fuel up with food before being able to do so again. If necessary, she is able to resort to overeating binges to prepare herself for consecutive sheds; but such an action is traumatic and damaging to the psyche. This property of her skin is a manifestation of Cat's Hell Power: Masque, and unrelated to her former life as a human.

Being aware of the abnormality in her eyes, Kat keeps them half-closed or squints most of the time, only opening them when truly startled or focusing on something. She has a tendency to stare, giving others the impression of being combative or defiant.

The Psyche

Redeeming Qualities:

DETERMINATION: Cat is determined; disturbingly so. She will resort to any means of attaining a goal that she considers important. Not even death is an obstacle; given her Togabito nature. If the plan calls for her temporary death to put her one step closer to her objective, she will take her life without hesitation.

Passionate: Cat is an emotionally charged person, showing the full-range of her feelings towards those she encounters. She lives each day to the fullest, as though it could be her last--which as Togabito isn't too unlikely.

Inquisitive: Cat is a curious individual and always up for seeing something new. She is a fast learner and considers knowledge another tool which can aid in day to day survival.

Leadership: Cat is charismatic and a natural leader, very comfortable in ordering people about and telling them what to do.

Negative Qualities:

Blunt/Tactless: Cat speaks her mind, sometimes without thinking of the consequences. This is a carryover trait from her past life as a princess, where she was used to giving orders and not caring about the effects her words leave on others. If she dislikes something she will say so to its face, and does not comprehend the idea of temporary alliance with those she can't stand.

Vengeful: If she bore grudges in life; death has made Kiku even more unforgiving of those who offered even the smallest slight against her in the past. Her memory is long and she keeps account of everyone who has wronged her--a list that has lengthened considerably since her arrival in Hell. Bit by bit she commits herself to working her way down the list, taking revenge where possible and biding her time when it isn't. Her primary grudge is against the one she deems responsible for condemning her to Hell all those years ago and she will stop at nothing to see herself avenged.

Sociopath: Cat is a textbook sociopath, her experience of life as a noble tainting her worldview towards others. She feels nothing for people around her and cares nothing for them except on occasions where they become obstacles to or stepping stones leading to her goal. She sees herself as 'real', and everyone else as fabrications instead of actual people.

Stubborn: Once she has set her mind on something, it is very hard to convince Cat otherwise. This is the flip side of her determined nature and often results in getting her into trouble.

Lazy: Having lived as a noble she is still adapting to the real world and has to break the habit of expecting to be waited on hand and foot.

Likes:

Being in Control: Given experiences in Hell, it is important for Cat to feel in control of any situation she's in.

Chaos/Commotion: Cat enjoys commotion on principle; whether she is the one causing it or not. She likes watching those involved run about in panic like headless chickens trying to make sense of the situation, and especially loves it when their frantic efforts end up making everything worse. If she has nothing better to do, Kat enjoys spreading lies and rumors as gossip to break up social relationships.

Hurting Others: The child that Kikuhime once was delighted in petty cruelties such as pulling apart the wings of live insects and throwing sharp stones at starving strays. As a Togabito, these violent propensities translate into a love of hurting everyone she can physically or emotionally. While she hates being on the receiving end herself, for some reason she can't put herself into the shoes of the victim (despite being one more times than not) to empathize with their perspective. Nothing gives her more joy than to eviscerate helpless prey--preferably one that has been crippled or tied up so it can't fight back--piece by piece.

Being the center of attention: Another holdover from previous life; Cat remembers having been a princess and still enjoys the feeling of having everyone's eyes on her whenever she makes an appearance, basking in their feelings of envy and jealousy. Her expectation of being treated the same way lingers even now, though fellow Togabito are admittedly less impressed by her compared to her flunkies in life.

Dislikes:

Pain: Kat hates and fears pain dealt to her in any form; ironic given her hobby of inflicting it on others.

Authority Figures: self-explanatory, since she passed onto Hell as a child she finds herself mostly the lowest of the pecking order and can't stand being subservient to those above her. Cat hates being told what to do, and will sometimes do the complete opposite even if it makes no sense or is downright harmful; just to be stubborn.

A certain individual from her former life; whom she blames for her current situation in Hell.

Personal Habits: At times Cat lapses into noble 'patterns' of behavior or speech, especially when caught off guard or under stress. She is prone to rubbing her wrists and fiddling with the shackles there.


Goals: Revenge on all those who wronged her

Short-term Goals: Survive

Long-term Goals: Attain power in; or escape from, Hell

General Personality:

Cat by name and cat by nature; Kikuhime shares many traits with her namesake feline. She is aloof and holds herself with a certain arrogant elegance, having an air of nobility despite her shabby current state. Like the aforementioned animal, she enjoys her creature comforts (being pampered, respected, obeyed) but at the same time is not above getting her own hands dirty to secure those comforts. Cat puts her own well being foremost above all else, and will lie like a rug or make others take the fall for her if it gets her off the hook. To most people she comes across as snobby and standoffish, so she is often victimized by fellow Togabito in Hell. She is proud and not accustomed to teamwork or asking for help, viewing others as unwanted distractions. The people she meets she evaluates in terms of their ability to aid or hinder her; classifying them as enemies or 'everyone else'. She has natural charisma and a gift for leadership to take charge of others, using her words as tools to persuade or rally underlings in pursuit of a common goal or enemy. Although able to give rousing speeches and inspire, it is all a lie of course--Cat cares nothing for those she considers minions and will casually toss them aside once they outlive their usefulness.

Something Special: Cat's unique Hell Power also makes her a Master of Disguise, able to change her appearance at will to blend in a crowd or pass unnoticed. She abuses this power to learn secrets she normally would not hear and stay one step ahead of trouble.

The Power

Togabito
Former Race: Human
Previous Ability Name: (Spiritual Awareness)
Previous Ability Appearance: N.A

Hell Power Name: Masque
Hell Power Appearance: N.A
Hell Power Ability: Simply put; Masque renders Cat unnoticeable, unremarkable and not worth one's time. It manifests in the effect of her metal nails. Those she cuts with her nails immediately lose all memory of Cat up to that point, allowing her to make surprise attacks or flee from a dangerous situation. Furthermore, by scratching herself she causes her own skin to 'forget' and peel away from her, re-inventing herself each time with every shedding. By doing so she can 'cure' herself of disfigurements like burns, scars, tattooing etc just by tearing off the affected surface layer and keeping the one underneath. The 'new' Cat created each time via this process is marginally different from the old, possessing different fingerprints and reiatsu signatures though her appearance is the same. This makes her difficult to keep track of via conventional means.

The Past

Life:

In life Kikuhime was the daughter of the warlord Takeda Shingen; later known for his attempt to unify Tokugawa Japan in the 1500s. Being a warlord brought with it considerable responsibilities and benefits; but unfortunately the power to determine gender of one's offspring was not one of them. Deeply disappointed by the idea of possessing a female heir, warlord Shingen cut ties with Kiku's mother and put the wet-nurse to death lest she reveal the truth, swaddling the infant in boy's robes and naming her his Katsuyori: The Little Prince.

So complete was this deception that few ever realized the actual state of things, not even Kikuhime herself. She spent a large part of her childhood actually believing that she was a boy; being taught by Shingen's officers on how to shoot and ride at an early age. As their General's precious 'son', she was doted on by all and had her own retinue of camp followers: kids with lower-ranked parents who tailed her wherever she went and obeyed her every command. All this she took for granted as her divine right and she thought nothing of bossing people about. Takeda Shingen himself indulged her in all things, save one: she was never to undress in the presence of others, not even the other camp children.

Over time, Katsuyori amassed a devoted group of kids who never tired of hanging onto her every word. Among these was a boy named Umezawa 2 years her junior; whose parents served Shingen as scouts and spies. The Umezawa family had served Shingen all their lives and across generations; so Katsuyori naturally roped their son into her inner circle of sycophants, giving him the honor of being her personal attendant. The pair grew close; or as close as it was possible to be given the status gap between them--close enough for Kiku to forget her father's warning and reveal to the Umezawa boy who she really was.

Together they ran wild and made general nuisances of themselves in the camps, leaving confusion and mayhem in their wake. A tomboy by virtue of upbringing if not by birth, Katsuyori delighted in pushing boundaries and seeing how far her father's title could take her. Accompanied by her reluctant sidekick she eavesdropped on officer meetings, agitated the livestock and 'borrowed' anything left lying out in the open--antics that were tolerated; if not encouraged by those around her due to rank and station. Each new 'adventure' and 'victory' would spur her onto riskier things...from raiding the field kitchens to actual robbery of samurai belongings as they slept. Although many had their suspicions as to the culprit behind all this, nobody was inclined to say so out loud. So she became more daring and uncontrolled...once even going as far as to push her father's faction into conflict with a neighboring Warlord by interfering in a peace summit.

From Katsuyori's perspective, she and her father were invincible--a notion that stuck in her head after hearing recounts of Takeda Shingen's victories. Surely no one was more deserving than they to impose rule over Japan's territories? The current climate was one that the princeling disagreed with. Having just attained costly victory in capturing Fukashi in 1550, Shingen was content to rest on his laurels--especially now that he had been graced with an 'heir'. The great battles and stories that Katsuyori grew up hearing were merely that: tales from a recent past no longer relevant. It was not long before she decided she was no longer satisfied with only hearing stories of battle...she actually wanted to see real wars up close. Even at the early age of 9 Kiku staged battles: 'mock' fights between children on her side against the 'enemies'...battles which her group always won because few dared to risk her anger. Growing bored with the monotony, she moved to encourage more serious ones--a whispered rumor in one ear or another fanning flames of mistrust between samurai families in Shingen's faction; mistrust that sometimes flared to actual skirmishes within the warlord's ranks. All that this served to accomplish was to weaken her father's formerly tight hold on his own forces, causing him to look inward even more at the expanse of conquering outside territory. Which was the opposite of what Kiku wanted...

It would not be until her 11th year that an opportunity arose for the Katsuyori to obtain what she wanted: true war between Shingen and lord Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo. Daimyo Kenshin's territories were lush and ripe for the taking, easy pickings for mighty Shingen and his samurai. The fact that she was slowly approaching womanhood, and that the years between had graced Kiku with a brother was no doubt also on her mind. Ever more frequently Shingen appeared to be changing his opinions of her; from actual 'heir' to a bargaining chip he might cede to Kenshin's children by way of marriage to secure alliance between their factions. Such an insult to the Katsuyori simply could not stand. Her solution? Arrange for there to be no hope of peace between the two armies, no matter the cost. The lives of the common soldier did not matter, not when her inheritance and birthright were at stake.

And so the Katsuyori hatched a scheme with her loyal attendant Umezawa, both mere children who knew little of the horrors in war. She would dress up as one of Shingen's warriors, sneak onto the procession heading for the peace summit and offer insult great enough that no amount of reconciliation could unite both factions ever again. Doing so would force her father's army into outright war against Kenshin's, bringing an end to the dull stalemate peace and increasing their territories. To her this plan had no flaw, truly thinking she was acting in her father's best interests to stop him from brokering peace he would later regret. All this and more she explained to the Umezawa boy, demanding he help in her plan. And while Umezawa himself was less...naive...than Kikuhime in matters of life and death, Katsuyori could be persuasive if she put her mind to it. She claimed it would be all for the greater good, that a single decisive victory could unify all Japan for ages to come and improve the lives of everyone. More importantly, she promised to take responsibility and face the consequences alone.

Together they made preparations for that fateful day, consisting mostly of sword practice against each other. There was also the slight difficulty of obtaining and wearing a full set of samurai armor, even if one could be found in Kikuhime's size: dressing for battle was intended as a two-person affair after all, with the servant helping his samurai master. And so to pull the whole thing off, Kikuhime would not only have to obtain a convincing uniform but also require an accomplice to help her put it on. This was where her sidekick came in.
Umezawa was her loyal vassal after all; so there would be little harm in breaking Shingen's 'rule' sooner than later...or so Kiku's reasoning went. That was what she told herself on the fateful day that would change her life forever: Warlords did not don their own armor, of course--and so it fell to the Umezawa boy to adorn and dress her for battle: whereupon he would quickly learn the truth. For all that he was 9 years old, the boy wasn't stupid--and so he quickly grasped the nature of things when Kiku first disrobed before him for a practice rehearsal, realizing something that she was yet to know herself.

They were caught in the act of course, and the guilty parties punished. Those who had accompanied her on that ill-advised raid were summarily executed. Katsuyori herself; flagged as the main perpetrator, was left in the prison tent to face the weight of Shingen's justice. She still wore her unlawfully acquired armor however, since Shingen had insisted on being the one to unmask the criminal himself. Had her father known the truth, things might have gone much differently with nobody else having to die. But nobody knew, nobody except Umezawa, who snuck into the tent to see her at the end.

Never before had Kikuhime needed to deal with the consequences of her actions. Uneasy and afraid of punishment she played on the closeness of her relationship with the Umezawa boy one more time, convincing her sidekick to switch places with her in the tent before her father returned. All would be well; she told him. Shingen would be angry for sure, but she would make sure her dad spared his life. This was what she kept repeating even as he helped her undress one final time, then did the same to let Kiku strap the pieces on him one by one. She left wearing his commoner's clothes, still repeating assurances. Either to convince the friend she had made into a scapegoat...or to convince herself.

Things played out as well as one might expect. Takeda Shingen was furious. The peace he had sought so long to broker had been cast aside in ruins, all thanks to some bratty samurai kids with more brawn than brains. Nothing short of public execution would serve as an example to anyone else who thought of doing the same. Everything Kikuhime had rehearsed in her head; everything she had planned to say was swept aside by the full force of the warlord's rage. Confronted for the first time by her father's ire, the eleven year old 'princeling' lost her nerve and blamed everything on her accomplice Umezawa, sealing the boy's fate. Everything went wrong from there, with the boy appealing to her at his execution and crying out her real name: Kikuhime--not the Katsuyori title her father had insisted be used at all times.

That led to an inquiry of course, and an upheaval. Though the Umezawa boy was dead, that one careless word spoken to an uncaring princess had cost her everything. Their forces became embroiled in a civil war resulting Shingen's deception, for a girl could not be expected to rule in their General's place. And here the Umezawa family staged their revolution, in payment for Shingen's insult towards their innocent son. Their position as spies gave them the resources they needed to kidnap Kikuhime, then publicly expose her before the entire camp as a female unworthy of being the true heir.

And so collapsed Kikuhime's entire world. No longer favored, no longer worthy--she was cast out by a helpless Shingen to mollify his outraged army. Fallen from Katsuyori to camp urchin, she met her end not long after from an assassin's blade to the heart--which some say was clan Umezawa's final guarantee that she would not be able to claim a share of Shingen's empire ever again. Her passing was like a leaf in the wind: unremarkable. Of little consequence. Common. Nobody dug her a grave, nobody organized a funeral and nobody was there to point fingers at the culprits or bring them to justice.

Because in the long run, nobody even noticed a thing...

Hell:

She woke to pain: pain and chains. They were everywhere--weighing her down, restraining her, growing INTO her. A confusing mess of iron links and shackles. Already her memories were fading. But she clung onto them with a drowning swimmer's grip on a life buoy, because they were all she had left: names, half-remembered faces... A grudge unpunished. All these represented by two simple words: Obata Umezawa.

She repeated those words to herself over and over; stumbling from the pit and failing to stand as her body slowly regained its physical form. Would continue repeating those words to herself at the onset of each new death and rebirth. For that awakening; as agonizing as it was, would not be the last. She looked upon emptiness: a wasteland, not unlike the empty fields of slaughter her father's war caravans left behind. Her feet; still skeletal with tendons and flesh yet reforming around chains and bone, struggled to find firm footing on unstable sand. She fell, and the sight of her own unfinished hand trying to break her fall sent her into paroxysms of terror--a screaming that had no end.

That was when they found her: the Others. Not Kushinada, but other denizens of Hell like herself. She could not even see them at first; not even as hazy heat shimmers...and so was repeatedly slain without knowing from whence her death had come. It would be awhile before her eyes adapted, before she could even begin to identify and perceive any others. Being able to 'see' changed little, if at all. There were always disputes. Some skirmish or other over territory. Go-getters trying to earn names for themselves by making examples of those weaker. She did not know the details. Words were exchanged. Misconceptions made. And so Kikuhime died yet again; dispatched by a blade shoved casually through yet unshaped ribs to pierce a raw, pumping heart.

Like before, she awoke--only to die again. And again. And again. The Others were angry. They asked questions she did not have the answers to. Defiance was answered in death. Silence was answered with death. Everything here would be answered in death--a fact she was quickly starting to learn. But that was far from the end. Tiring of their sport, the Sinners staked her out as a warning to others with designs on their territory and went away. And so she dangled crucified, naked skin exposed to elements and sandstorms that ripped bleeding shreds from raw flesh. That last death had taken much longer than the others. It was the first time she looked forward to die.

She woke again to raw winds and biting sand. Each awakening was as painful as the last, but somehow easier at the same time. The girl knew what she had to do now, oozing as far away from the pit as possible even before her limbs had time to fully form. Territory. Territory was important. She could not share another's. She needed territory of her own. The changes were slow and tormenting but she pushed herself on. Crawling, then walking once legs rebuilt themselves to support her, looking for sanctuary. It was here she spied another Sinner--this one also staked out as she had been; and therefore not a threat. Possibly a victim of the Others who had done the same to her. It gibbered and shouted meaningless words in her ears. She did not understand them. She did not care. The Sinner wore clothes: torn and tattered but clothes nonetheless. That was really all that mattered. She tore out his throat with her own nails, ripping the outfit's fabric even more in her excitement to get it off the body and onto her own. What remained was barely wearable--frayed threads leaving much of her skin exposed. Nevertheless, it was a start.

A start. But there still was more to come. She kept herself moving across the dunes, jumping at noises and sticking close to the shadows. Avoiding groups of two or more, but stalking and preying upon weaker travelers alone. Her eyes grew used to the gloom and the storms, she started to keep them half-closed as protection against the blowing sand. She thought herself sufficient, the equal of any to challenge her alone.

The Kushinada proved her wrong. Shock had rooted her in place when what seemed like a living mountain lunged for her. Shock prevented further response as teeth in an enormous skull bit down... Here was a new threat, one that could not be overcome or reasoned with. So she ran. Perished. Ran again. Tried to find shelter in groups of other Sinners clinging together for safety of numbers. None of that worked. The Kushinada was undeterred. It existed only to feed, and that was what it did: Mechanically. Efficiently. Her only hope lay in outpacing it, or avoidance altogether...

--Until one day, at first not much unlike the others. A hunt. A chase. Familiar hands gripping and raising her to an enormous maw. Her legs and body were crushed in its grip, but for some reason her arms were free. She could not kick, but she could push. Could scratch--

And scratch she did, scrabbling uselessly with her own nails at the Kushinada's unyielding fist, over and over again. Until finally...inexplicably...it Let. Her. Go. She wasted no time in pondering this sudden stroke of good fortune, simply ran for it as fast as she could. Only later would she notice that her nails had taken on a peculiar sheen. Only later would she begin to fully understand her capabilities; to make herself momentarily forgettable to anything her talons marked. In a manner of speaking the Kushinada HAD indeed killed her that day. Kikuhime Katsuyori no longer existed. She saw nothing of herself in the red reflection of the spawning pit. Nothing of herself in the green, feline eyes and metal manicured claws.

Kikuhime was dead. And Cat was born.

Cat of the Crossroads:

If there was one defining constant that accompanied Cat into the afterlife, it would be her penchant for acting on impulse and making bad decisions. Her reawakening had been a rough one, setting a pattern for the years to follow. She spent her first century wandering the sands and staying out of sight, killing and being killed as fortune dictated. In this manner she mapped areas and landmarks, learnt which paths were safer and which ones were not. Considering herself 'too good' to mingle with the lowborn folk, Cat would miss out on benefits which came from teamwork and sharing information. Everything she learnt, she did so first-hand--many times after the fact had become common knowledge. This attitude would get her into trouble in many years to come.

Cat obtained some passing notoriety in the period between 1730 to 1800 as she began to experiment with her newfound powers. It became a favorite habit of her's to waylay unsuspecting Togabito at intersections and rob them of whatever they had. Her method of doing so was to pickpocket or mug a person directly, then scratch and cause her victim to forget having seen her while fleeing with the loot. Another of her signature habits was Kushinada baiting; where she was known to purposely lure Hell Guardians into crowds of Togabito minding their own business--usually at intersections as well since these were where travelers tended to congregate. More than a few knew her by face if not by name, cursing the one they called Cat of the Crossroads as a harbinger of bad luck. It became the norm for others to avoid or openly use threats and violence to chase her away; as over time her very presence was almost synonymous of lost valuables and Kushinada sightings in the immediate vicinity. In many Circles and communities Cat became a convenient scapegoat; one to be shunned or else hunted down and tortured on sight. She did nothing to improve her relations with them, instead nursing grudges and escalating her actions yet further--which set a vicious cycle of retribution in place.

One thing that she did possess in quantities however was a certain low cunning. Recognizing the shift in opinion towards her, Cat adjusted her actions accordingly--at times making use of her tormentors' hate and enmity to take others by surprise. She purposely sprang their traps, trespassed where she was not welcome, and invited punishment...only to win back her freedom with well-placed scratches soon after and absconding with whatever she could take before they realized what was going on. Sometimes she got away, leaving confused mobs scratching their heads and wondering who they were just about to lynch. Sometimes she did not. In either case, nothing they could do would leave a mark that shedding or a resurrection couldn't fix.

All of this was a start. She liked it when people talked about her, eavesdropped whenever they whispered in low tones about Cat of the Crossroads and warning others to beware. Never mind that the further her legend spread the more difficult it was for her to ply her trade. Never mind that with every person told, the danger to her own afterlife increased. It felt good to be the object of others' fears and uncertainty, it made her feel alive and in control. But it was not enough. She wanted more than just to be a fleeting phantom in the shadows, the subject of campfire tales and urban legends. What she wanted was Hell: and all of it.

Consort:

Doing that; however, required that one have an understanding on who was in charge...all the better to usurp their position. For Cat, this was no easy task. Hell was unlike no fiefdom or country she had ever known, nowhere resembling the territories her warlord father once controlled. Daimyo Shingen's land; whom once in life she would have considered vast, was little more than a postage stamp in the great expanse that was Hell. There were hundreds of Shingens here. Thousands. Rising and falling with every new day that dawned as they fought and died in hordes. Cat had no interest in being a petty warlord, ruling small holdings and always on the alert for border incursions. She wanted to be a power to which even warlords would bow. For centuries she searched, looking for a Togabito who fit this high criteria--one whom she could get close enough to achieve her will. She abused her powers to flee after trespassing to eavesdrop on conversations, to determine if such a person existed and what their name might be.

And finally her efforts paid off; in the form of a name shouted at her as a curse... A name she only half-heard through swollen ears at first, drowned out by such immediate distractions as the rack she was bound to and the irons branding her flesh. She had been caught once again, stole from someone whom she should not. Did she know how much trouble she was in? (She could guess). Did she know who they worked for? (She did not).

So they enlightened her; even as they 'corrected' their prisoner before death claimed the girl again: Merroseed.

When Cat restored herself after that disastrous encounter, it was with renewed purpose. She went about plying her trade, determined to learn who Merroseed was and who was closest to them. The strongest Togabito ever. Somebody who could destroy Kushinada at will. And of course, the fact that interested her much more than any other: Merroseed was a man. And if centuries in Hell had taught Cat anything, it was how to deal with Men.

That he was already married was a small detail, of no real consequence. She rode the coattails of his legend, tagging along with groups of ex-suitors and jilted lovers. She used her Power to access places that would otherwise be shut. Convinced Merroseed (not that it was hard or anything) to let her stay while his betrothed was away...

Where Cat was hate, Merroseed was desire: wild, savage, uncompromising. He valued not the conquest, but the sport of the Hunt. And that was something Cat could give. Every scratch from her claws wiped the slate clean, made his experience a new one with a fresh lover. She had something he needed, something his wife could never provide. Behind her back the pair made plans and looked ahead to a future which would never be.

Because once again, Cat had backed the wrong horse. Placed her eggs in the wrong basket. It was not Merroseed who held the power, but his wife. And her actions had earned that lady's lifelong enmity. Where once the world seemed open before her, now everything spiraled out of control. She and what remained of the dead Sinner's lovers (that he had lovers wasn't a fact that should've surprised her, but it did all the same) were rounded up and imprisoned by the new regime--arising from a coup enacted by his harpy of a wife.

Reparations:

Death would have been simple. Preferable. Instead, the fate that awaited her and many others of her ilk was to labor creating a monument dedicated to Merroseed's killer: A Palace to stoke their new emperor's vanity. Given a spot in the work crews she slathered mortar and helped lay stone on stone to erect not only the palace but what would be her new prison in a stroke of bitter irony--Sinner's Elementary.

With the last brick laid and final column topped to fence off that area she found herself deposited within those borders, lectured by an uppity Werewolf girl claiming to be something called a Horseman who warned her to stay put if she knew what was good for her. Cat; being Cat, swore back and attempted to start a fight before being subdued. That episode would set the tone for what would be many other arguments and consequences encountered in Sinner's Elementary. As one of that institution's first students, she gained a reputation for being brash and aloof to others; a figure of curiosity, scorn and awe.

After various attempted escapes--some successful; others not--Cat resigned herself to stay for the time being and learn whatever it was the 'teachers' could impart. She could not deny that some of what was taught might be useful to her, and it was better to have a skill than go without. But she never deviated much from her disdain of others, only content to wait for the time being until she found a way to avenge herself on those who had wronged her: starting with the one who got her into this mess in the first place and ending with the current emperor's head on a pike.

Or vice versa. It was all the same to her either way.

Major Events Timeline:

April 1, 1558: Birth
Unknown, 1569: Ousted as a girl, disgraced
July 21, 1570: Death
Unknown, 1700: Acquisition of Power(s)
1730-1800: Cat of the Crossroads
1967: Merroseed's Consort
1967-1975: Work crew involved in Palace construction and Sinner Elementary
1975-present: Sinner's Elementary, veteran student and troublemaker

Roleplaying Sample:

Takeda Kikuhime remembered the day she lost everything. She remembered the laughs. The jeers. The rocks and catcalls from fair-weather friends who had fought amongst themselves to win her favor just the week before. Even the passing of centuries had done little to ease the sting. The jeers had hurt worse than the rocks themselves. They always did.

Survive. Endure. Overcome.

She chanted that mantra to herself, over and over. Used it to drown out the sound of her clothes being ripped and torn away. Used it to distract herself from the sensation that followed; the momentary chill of cold steel on burning flesh before the blade/claw/club's impact and the familiar squelch of her innards spilling out in clotted ropes.

Survive. Endure. Overcome.

She chanted that mantra to while pulling herself together, piece by piece. Chanted it as she hid from the Kushinada in skin both her's yet not her own. Chanted it as she lucked into her first weapon: nothing more than a shard of Requiem broken off from a larger whole, no bigger than the width of her palm.

Chanted it again as she tracked down the spawning pit of a Sinner who had violated and murdered her, then camped that location with the singleminded purpose of a griefer; repeatedly stabbing the lowlife again and again as he reformed with that little shard...until the ooze no longer bothered to pull itself together and instead blew apart as more sands upon the wind. How long had it taken for that to happen--Days? Weeks? Years? It was easy to lose count in such a place. Nor did it matter. She would do the same to the next. And the next one after that.

Survive. Endure. Overcome.

After all, Cat had all the time in the world...
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Cat
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Re: Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori (Togabito; Finished)

Post by Azalea on Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:33 pm

I would like to give Captain Tier to this application, but I would like a secondary staff member's input as well before I give you your colors.

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The Mother of War
Lurks within the depths of Hell
Atoning forever
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Azalea
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Re: Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori (Togabito; Finished)

Post by Shiroki on Sun Feb 11, 2018 9:23 pm

You have been awarded the Captain Tier. You can post your chosen Skills, found here, and they'll be added to your profile.

As Captain, your base Skill level is Advanced and no skill may exceed Master. To increase a skill, you must lower one or more by an equal total amount.

Once your skills are done, you may post all the techniques your character knows here as well.

You may also learn the Togabito techniques Hellfire manipulation and Reiyoku sphere should you choose; or alternatively the Human techniques 'Hide In Sight' or 'Dual-Wielding'-- details of which can be found here

You may choose one or the other and mix-match, but not both

As a Human, you are eligible for a species perk and may increase Armed/Unarmed/Spirit Combat OR Reiatsu Perception by one level. For more information visit here
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Re: Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori (Togabito; Finished)

Post by Cat on Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:03 am

Unarmed Combat - Advanced
Spirit Combat - Expert (+1)
Reiatsu Perception - Expert (+1)
Hell Disguise - Master (+2)
Chain Mastery - Expert (+1)
Armed Combat - Beginner (-2)
Hoho - Untrained (-3)

I choose to increase Spirit Combat by one level; from Expert to Master.

And claim the Human Officer-tier Technique: Hide in Plain Sight,
As well as the Togabito Lt-tier Technique: Reiyoku Sphere.
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Cat
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Re: Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori (Togabito; Finished)

Post by Cat on Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:44 am

Go For The Throat - Combined with Human racial Hide In Plain Sight; Cat pounces and overbalances a target, ripping at throat with teeth or nails

Little Girl Lost - Cat uses her surface-age to fool targets and lull them into false complacency before robbing them blind or killing them.

Dirty Fighter - Not above using cheap shots like aiming for eyes and/or crotch in a fight, one of Cat's favorite tactics is to stun others with a kick to the groin before running off.

Masque

Guise - Cat can shed her skin by using her nails to tear away at the surface layer, exposing the layer underneath. Doing so reverts her appearance to its 'undamaged' state, removing any scars/burns/tattoos or markings that the previous layer had. It also subtly alters her reiatsu signatures and prints, making her seem like a completely different person to surveillance trackers. The act itself involves ripping the entire surface layer of skin from her body and so requires at least a full post. Half-measures (e.g only removing parts of the skin) do not have the full effect on changing her reiatsu. Due to the trauma involved, she also requires a recovery period after using in which she can't take any actions [Skill Duration: 1 post, Helpless for 1 post after using, Cooldown: 3 posts]

Forget - Targets scratched by Cat's nails must resist the effects of her Hell Power Masque; which causes them to forget any association with Cat up to a second after the scratch. Effects are temporary, and subsequent scratches are required to 'refresh' the timer. While affected by Forget, the target's subconscious 'fills-in' all incidences of Cat with random strangers and leaves other memories untouched. Forget not only affects sentient creatures, but also Cat's own skin as well. When used against targets lacking a thinking conscience (mindless beasts, non-living objects) Forget suffers a penalty and does not work as well as it should. [Duration of effect: 1 post (of target)]

Nothing to see here - Forget works to a lesser extent on objects as well, allowing Cat to temporarily remove traces of herself such as fingerprints, scent markers etc from items with a scratch. It works the same way as the above, with a limited effect duration.
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Cat
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Re: Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori (Togabito; Finished)

Post by Shiroki on Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:46 am

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Re: Kikuhime 'Cat' Katsuyori (Togabito; Finished)

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