Ginyue of Chihi

 
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Names

History in Brief

How Humans may know of her

Current situation

Rank and Status

Appearance

Personality

Number of tails

Proficiencies

Family

Tree

 

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She was dressed head to toe in leathers, even her hair and ears were covered with a tightly tied leather cap. She had a still steaming forge hammer in one hand and her features were soot and sweat streaked in an impromptu camo. She was probably pretty, if she ever made the effort clean up and dress in anything that wasn't forge serviceable. The leather was supple enough to hint at regular wear, though, and she didn't wear a special apron over the jerkin, which meant she didn't usually bother with wearing anything else.

She jerked her chin at the other kitsune, "Sum laa?"

Koten didn't blink at the nasal, foreign phrase and instead answered the question directly, "Carriage hit a rut, and it looks like the axel or joint broke. Father wants to know if you would be willing to fix it? We brought the carriage to the central square."

She clicked her tongue, slid the hammer into a belt loop plainly meant for that purpose, and walked past them with no further comment. As she passed, even the human could smell the tang of hot metal. He stared for a moment at the mouth of the cave, wondering how hot it was back there for the smell to cling that strongly to her.

Koten grimaced and bowed apologetically to the yojimbo, "Please, do not mind her manner. She's really only polite to her adopted father."

The human looked at him in askance.

Koten shrugged amicably, "She's not without rank, and besides being able to break most people in half, she's the best kitsune blacksmith there is. She's just antisocial. If she can recover enough of the pieces to figure out exactly what you need, though, she'll be able to fix it even if the metal's warped."

"Ah. So she's very good."

Koten curved a slight smile and gave another short bow, "Indeed."

 

Names

Ginyue (silver moon) Chihi (blood flame) is in a sort of unusual predicament when it comes to names. While she resides in Chigonoha, she is the sole survivor of the Chihi and Moudoku (deadly poison) lines and is technically DenLord for both dens of the same names. As such, she is almost never introduced as "Ginyue of Chigonoha, line Chihi," instead she is nearly always introduced as merely, "Ginyue of Chihi." Despite this, most kitsune know that she lives in Chigohona, because she has lived there for some 300 years now.

Calling her "Ginyue of Moudoku" while technically just as correct as "Chihi no Ginyue," is really rather something she regards as an insult, since she considers most of her mother's family to be traitors and murderers. When she is in a particularly bloody mood, she might refer to herself thusly to warn other kitsune that she is in a foul - and deadly - mood.

She has almost always been called "Gin" for a nickname, though her birth name was not Ginyue, but rather Gin'an (lit. silver, apricot [normally read ichou], fig. Ginko, a tree commonly found in temples because they are naturally insect repellant and fire retardant. Though the Ginko fruit smells horrible, once skinned of its odiferous outer layer, the fruit proves to be very sweet and is considered something of a delicacy.)

 

History in Brief

Ginyue's parents were victims of politics. Lord Chihi was positively huge for a kitsune and renown for his skill with Chunqiu Dao (Kwan-Dao) spears [those big, big spears you see in some Chinese martial arts, especially those with the large blades]. Her mother was a more petite kitsune of a long line of herbalists and poison-makers. Training in her youth made the young Gin virtually immune to most poisons; this is the one gift she appreciates from her mother. Their arrangement was designed to try and get two of then stronger lines to come to a peace of sorts, but it was rather like trying to get the Lion and the Scorpion to play nice and have babies. Predictably, it ended badly, with the two clans fighting it out. Chihi went on defensive, but Lord Chihi was killed in the first wave of fighting by his mate, Ginyue's mother, who had imbued Chihi's spear haft with a poison that killed him as he touched it.

The fleeing lady took the young Gin and set out to return to her family. Gin went with her mother, not knowing what exactly was happening. However, she overheard conversation between her mother and the guards and discovered the plot. She was too late to save her father, and in her anger, she struck down her mother and their escort in a fight that all evidence suggested was a brutally short one.

In an even match, the two dens were well matched, and it was not long before they had virtually annihilated each other. There still remain a few students of the Chihi spear style that roam the lands, but they are few and far in between. Still, they survived the Moudoku, whose sole survivor is Ginyue (and she will cheerfully skin the person who refers to her as such to her face).

Gin wandered for a time, a little insane. She went to see the Wall, and stayed until wounded and ill from taint. Monks found her and managed to return her to the care of Silvers, who eventually brought her to Chigonoha, the nearest living Den to Chihi. Kaikahun took Gin under her wing, but it was Ki who managed to draw her out. Gin respects Kaikahun, but Ki is her second father.

While it was apparent that Gin must be a fantastic fighter - her mother might not have been the best of fighters but she'd had a full hand of guards that night who were no slackers - it quickly became just as apparent that Ginyue had no intention of unleashing the combined knowledge of the Chihi and Moudoku in combat. Indeed, her recalcitrance became something of a constant lament of her new teachers. Gin would rather be soundly beaten than pick up a staff or weapon, something she demonstrated more than once. Ki, in one of his very few acts of direct defiance against En'arashi and Kaikahun, removed her from training rounds and had her apprenticed to a blacksmith, where her knowledge of blades and her elemental mix of earth and fire served her well.

Gin took well to the blacksmithing and still enjoys it immensely. Though it takes her longer to smith something than it might take a larger male, those who frequent her smithy find that her work is high quality and, in appropriate situations, quite creative. She spent some time in her younger years sneaking about the Empire to observe human blacksmiths, but she has always returned back to Chigonoha. She still from time to time makes herself scarce, in order to go observe a given blacksmith that has gained himself a reputation.

Gin has remained jaded, however, and as early as her 300's began to show strands of gold in her fur - an unprecedentedly early start to golding. Several kitsune are quite enamored of her, but she does not make close friends quickly and prefers to be a touch of a hermit. These kits fear that she will never completely recover from the disassociation so strong that it has already begun to push her spirit to fading.

Her gold is developing slowly, however, with little more than a faint spider web of gold peppering her hair. In the past fifty years or so, there has been no noticeable change in the amount of gold in her hair and fur.

 

How humans may know of her

Gin is far from social. She takes her turn as one of the experienced scouts for the Chigonoha den, so she may be discovered as merely a scout. Some blacksmiths may be familiar with her illusioned form and may have some realization that she is not entirely human. This is especially true in one no-name hovel village, where she became indebted to a peasant metal worker. She returns to the village periodically to train the man's growing son. Most of the villagers quite know that she isn't human, but they have never pressed her for more than she does and they would be quite hostile to someone trying to threaten her. She is in the last year or so of visiting the village, as the boy is now an adult and good at his craft. Good enough, in fact, to raise a few eyebrows given that the boy is peasant. Ginyue saw no reason not to teach the boy more than the basics of blacksmithing, and the boy quite prudently decided to not annoy the fox by refusing to learn.

* In the RP storyline my group had going, she became the body guard of a Magistrate. She did not travel openly as a kitsune, instead she had several different skulls to create illusions with - a peasant woman, a brute of a man that is either a Crab throw off or an Oni throw off, and a prettier lady who could pass as Crane. Depending on the situation, she would trade skulls to keep her identity a secret as she helped the Magistrate. Eventually, of course, a Pheonix shugenja "catches" her at it and it becomes known that she's a kitsune. Even then, few know what she actually looks like.

 

Current situation

Technically, she is DenLord for both the Chihi and Moudoku dens, both of which are empty of anything greater than houses of ghosts. The Whites maintain the houses, keeping them clean and in good enough repair, as well as keeping illusions over the homes. She allows people to stay in them for emergencies, but most do not stay long. Some spirits do remain stubbornly entrenched in these homes, and can be quite dangerous to any but Ginyue, even the silvers take care not to tread too heavily in some of these places.

She works several miscellaneous jobs around the Den, two of which are sort of extended military duty. She is one of the rotation of cooks for the DenLord and any guests he may have, as well as pulling a regular scouting duty of the den. A greater majority of her work, however, is focused on her blacksmithing. She makes everything from weapons to fanciful jewelry.

* Later in the developed line of my game, Gin does actually open up the Chihi grounds again. She moves her forge back to her old home, and is followed by many artisans, several of her father's former students, and other kitsune who wish to be closer to the political grounds of the Chigonoha Den as the Chigohona develop into the contact point between humans and kitsune.

 

Rank and Status

As a *technical* DenLord, she can pull rank on most kitsune. In practice, it doesn't work well since she is Lord of herself; fortunately, she's not interested in doing so unless there is something truly ridiculous going on. More practically speaking, she ranks any of the trainees in the Den, and several of the younger long term residents. Her position of blacksmith is one of high honor as it is a very rare skill for kitsune to develop.

She can sit in on any meeting of the DenLords, and is in fact sometimes required to show up at Temple as such.

*At the point where she re-builds Chihi, she immediately gains some significant rank and status, because Chihi was one of the older, stronger Dens in its time. Most of the other kitsune give her deference for the realization that at any point in time, she is less than a year from being a ranking member of the Lords.

 

Appearance

In human form, Gin is perhaps about 5'5" with dark reddish-orange hair. She has a light spider web of golding hair in her bangs. Her eyes are a pale green, which tends to startle humans. She is lithe, but between spear work (which she does still practice in the confines of her own home) and her forge keeps a layer of muscle that makes her more solid than the average kitsune. She is more striking than pretty, but when she does manage to get around to being "pretty" she gets her share of admirers. She almost always has fox ears and a tail, and if she needs to go among humans incognito, tends to resort to skull illusions.

In fox form, she can be the size of a large dog. Her fur tends towards golding around any of the white portions of her fur, and the very tips of her fur is gold, giving her an odd aura in the light.

 

Personality

Gin is abrupt, antisocial, and grumpy as a measure of course. She doesn't like people; she doesn't like socializing; she doesn't like cuddling; she doesn't like noise; she doesn't like people. She's crotchety and easily annoyed.

This is all a front to keep other people away from her. She has an intense fear of being put in a similar situation to the one that ended up with her killing her mother. She doesn't trust people, and she figures the best way to stay "safe" is to just not be friendly with anyone.

It doesn't entirely work, of course. She does make friends - they are just all a result of a long, slow process. She has a couple of on again, off again lovers, but no one she spends a great deal of time with. For the most part, this is mutual, except for Heizan, who would dearly love to be able to court her seriously.

She has an abnormally strong sense of honor and duty for a kitsune. She regards Ki as her adopted father, and really sticks around Chigonoha because she's afraid he'll go completely gold soon and need someone to keep track of him. She still keeps track of the few remaining descent of Chihi, and if any of them or any of  her father's former students need anything, she finds a way to help them.

Her sense of honor would be hampered (as far as humans are concerned) by her sometimes ruthless worldview. Her mother was adept with poisons, and she sees nothing wrong with killing someone stronger than she by means that others might consider dishonorable, as long as the person needed killing. Similarly, she has no problem running away from a fight in order to regroup and attack again at a later point in time.

She is compassionate, actually, and if she can help someone, she usually will. Her shortcomings reside in a short temper and a dislike of change.

 

Number of tails

She tends to only show one in human form, and the minimum two in her fox form. She is a five-tailed fox, and could easily grow the sixth if she cared to try.

 

Proficiencies

Her forward element is earth, with a strong secondary in fire. She has combined these two in blacksmithing. She is nearly immune to most poisons and can recognize them if she can get a hold of whatever item was poisoned. She's not particularly good at diagnosing poisons unless she can taste or smell them, however. She also has a very high resistance to Taint and can bear to be around it much longer than most kitsune. Her resistance is not so high that she can avoid being ill if she interacts directly with Taint, but she can last through several minutes of direct contact before she becomes disoriented to the point that she cannot fight.

She is a very good cook.

She designs her own weapons sometimes, and is most proficient with a dagger and hand to hand style. If she is not being secretive, she prefers the large spears that her father taught her. She is especially good with these, though she uses a smaller version than her father did.

 

Family

Gin has no living blood relatives at all. She is adopted by Kaikahun as a matter of course, but she is also adopted by Ki, who she holds in much greater regard. She views Ash as something like a little brother, because Ash's older brother Yamashi [mountain record] was one of her father's students. Her father's surviving students regard her as a sister and as the Lord of Chihi, and she regards many of them as siblings as well.

 

Tree

Ginyue's tree is in the Chihi den, an ancient ginko tree on top of one of the lower mountain peaks. Sitting in the boughs of this tree, if one looks carefully, one can see the temple of Benten in the distance on a sister peak. Ginko are natural insect repellents and are resistant to flame, so large ginko especially are not prone to accidental injury. It is very easy for her to get leaves.

 

((Yeah, I just made that particular excerpt up. I may change it later. "Sum laa" is my [incorrect] attempt at sounding out a Chinese phrase that sort of means "What's wrong?" or "what do you want?" I tend to dissolve into Chinese or Japanese rather than make up an actual kitsune language, fyi))

 

 
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