Tears, Inari, and Items of Power

 
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Tears

Inari

Items of Power

Leaves

Tama

Fuda

Birth Tree Leaves

Birth tree leaves in place of void

Tears

Much like many other non-human creatures, the kitsune tears can have special properties. Depending on where the tear falls, the tear can become either a flower or a small pearl-like stone.

Tears that fall on soil flare briefly with a small shot of fox fire, then bloom almost immediately into a small flower. These flowers have no particular special properties other than they glow slightly, but they do not bloom on their own in the human realm. The flowers can be of many different colors, but the most common is a very pale yellow or blue. A single bloom will remain standing for a week or so if it is not picked or trampled. Often, other kitsune will take care to gather these flowers and use them as offerings in temples.

Tears that fall anywhere but soil transform into a pearl-like stone. It is plainly not pearl, and the depths of the stone usually appear to still be fluid. It is an optical illusion only, as attempts to cut open the stone will prove. Much like the flowers, these are often collected and left in temples by friends or family of the grieving kitsune.

Sometimes the kitsune in question will make special amulets, wherein the center is a carved item of some sort. They then cry over the item, each drop of tear slowly coating the carved center. Depending on how thick the layer of tears is, the item beneath may be recognizable or not. Either way, these are usually kept as mementos or given to others as a sign of their remorse. These are intensely personal gifts and are never given nor made lightly.

Inari

As the Fortune of Rice, Inari is considered a minor (if still important) Fortune. Inari is sometimes also considered a fortune of fertility and fortune, as the productivity of rice is central to the wealth of a region. However the humans look to Inari, the kitsune see him as their deity.

It is not entirely clear if the kitsune regard Inari as their deity in the way that the humans considered the godling siblings, but at the very least Inari is the most powerful, oldest kitsune there is. Period. And that deserves a certain amount of floor-kissing reverence.

Certainly that respect is also bestowed upon Inari's chosen group of kitsune, the Silvers, and also to those who are his direct line. At the moment, there are two descendants of Inari - Himitsu, Den Lord of Yagiri, a black vixen who holds more than her name a secret, and Yokaze, Himitsu's sole living heir, a half-black, half-red child with a disturbing dislike for politics in general. Both women are treated as the closest one might come to the princesses of the kitsune, though neither is particularly interested in being pampered. Himitsu's rank was hard-earned in her den, and Yokaze actively avoids politics as if it were the plague, though she often finds herself having to mediate between various clans.

Offerings to Inari by the kitsune population are varied and odd. There are traditional offerings, but they will also offer the stones or flowers that came from tears, or any small item that they have recently stolen. Sometime these items are later returned to the (original) owner afterwards, and sometimes the items are kept.

Inari does not keep a direct, active presence among the kitsune population. He sometimes visits Himitsu or Yokaze, but otherwise he generally only directly converses with the Head of Temple, Li, or with his chosen attendants. He seems to enjoy twitting Li, who can be heard muttering curses not at all appropriate for a leader of a temple, but otherwise he tends to keep his nose out of the daily lives of the kitsune.

Sometimes, the various dens will do something that especially annoys Inari or gets Inari's attention, like the den fighting that killed off several dens in the span of a few years. In those cases, Inari speaks directly to Li, who then passes on the messages of displeasure to the appropriate Lord.

 

Items of Power

Kitsune have a few items of power. Their skulls are considered one item, but skulls serve a very specific purpose. There are three types of more general items of power that any kitsune can use to strengthen their abilities or to focus their powers.

The most basic is a tree leaf - any will do for most spells. The next is a tama - a small stone ball that has been crafted and blessed in such a way that it helps focus a kitsune's abilities. The third is a fuda - a charm either drawn on a thick piece of paper or carved onto a stone or wood block. The final and most complex is a tree leaf from the tree the kitsune was born under.

For game mechanics remember that kitsune do not have a void ring. Leaves, however, can be used with limited effectiveness to help bolster them.

 

Leaves

Any leaf can be used as an impromptu focus for a spell. While the leaf helps focus the spell and gives a certain small amount of power to the spell, this is the weakest of the items. Because the leaf has no special connection to the kitsune other than it is a living plant to focus on, it has no special ability to do more than act as a quick base for spells or illusions. See the Illusion Page for illusion rules for regular tree leaves.

 

Tama

Tama are small stone balls that are crafted and blessed in such a way that they become trappings of power. While they are limited in power and scope, they are focused for a certain individual. Tama can help increase the stability of a single spell or illusion at a given time and can act as a sort of battery for energy.

Tama are only useful to weaker kitsune. Once a kitsune has reached their fourth or so tail, the tama is no longer an effective aid. Tama are most frequently used by kitsune who have lost their tree or whose tree is in another realm. Tama are not really interchangeable, as they have to be focused for an individual before they are truly effective.

The making of tama is not particularly an easy process, though anyone could make one with patience. Generally the DenMother/DenFather knows how to make them, but many will ask a local Silver to make and focus the tama for them.

 

Fuda

Fuda are used almost exclusively for illusions or security spells. They can be drawn on paper or carved in stone. These require a great deal of preparation by someone who is trained in the proper preparation techniques. Once the fuda is prepared, however, anyone can place and activate it. Each fuda generally has only one purpose, though that purpose can be complex. A single fuda might be crafted to make any room twice its normal size, or in a more complex form, it may be crafted specifically to work in one room only and to appoint that room with furniture, music, and light purfume.

Fuda can be carved in stone in order to make a set illusion or protection on a specific section of a house. They are then usually installed in archways, pillars, hearthways, and so forth as a permanent fixture of the house. These fuda, because of the amount of time they take to create and because they are set in one place and never moved, are the most stable and are the strongest of the fuda. The owner, however, must regularly expend time focusing energy into the fuda (once every couple of weeks is usually fine, unless the spell needs strengthened or is being strained in any way). Paper fuda, which are meant to be used in any general location, are the least strong and least stable. Paper fuda are sometimes enclosed in talismans, usually these are fuda meant to aid in a skill or for health (e.g. - good  luck, sound sleep, etc.). These are useful, but can be ruined by a good dousing in water, especially salt water. Despite this, they are relatively sound. Fuda are - very rarely - woven or embroidered directly into cloth. These are strong as long as the cloth that the fuda is actually on remains sound.

Fuda preparation is a specialized skill. While any kitsune might learn a general fuda to increase a room size, the more complex sets are made by masters of the skill. Few kitsune learn the offensive or restraining fuda on their own. Very few kitsune learn both the paper and the stone or wood fuda - though the two use the same general preparation, the differences in the general handling and use of paper versus wood or stone (or rather brush versus carving tools) is simply too great.

 

Birth Tree Leaves

Tree leaves from the Birth Tree can be used in place of Void points to full effectiveness. In any given day, Kitsune can only use the number of Birth Tree leaves in this manner equal to their lowest ranking ring (excluding void, of course). So if a character's weakest ring is rank 2, the kitsune can only use their birth tree leaves in this manner twice a day.

Once a leaf has been used in place of a void point, it is destroyed. Since most kitsune only keep a few of their birth tree leaves on them for emergencies, and since the leaves do not regenerate as void points do, this can be severely limiting. Kitsune can, of course, at any point go pick up more leaves, but how to explain to humans why one is carrying a bunch of leaves?

Birth tree leaves, as long as the leaf is on the kitsune, do not necessarily need to actually be touched by the kitsune to be used in this manner, but the kitsune does need to know where the leaf is physically located. Because of this, sometimes kitsune hide the leaves in specific pockets of their travel gear. The used leaf will crumble upon using it, though, so once a kitsune has used the leaf, they'll need to clean out the pocket.

See the Illusion Page for illusion rules for Birth tree leaves.

 

 
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