Species: Human (tainted)
- Akahoshi Clan
Children, kimonos, martial arts, melon bread, swords
Liars, paladins, undead
Tainted Blood ~ A Backstory
Several generations ago, the then head of the Akahoshi clan, Makihisa Akahoshi, ran several experiments in order to strengthen himself artificially. By mixing up blood of several demons with his own, he slowly transformed himself and achieved his goal, but it ultimately proved to be too much for his body to handle. When he could no longer control the influence of his tainted body, he soon perished.
While he would’ve been long forgotten as a shameful samurai that had lost his honor, he left his wife pregnant before his premature death. The tainted demonic blood carried on to the next generation, and the ones after that, its genes remaining dominant in every passing generation. With no way of preventing the birth of a normal human within the clan, the Akahoshi instead learned to embrace this side of them, while doing their best to overcome the bad reputation that this brought to the clan. Currently, the clan is led by Kaede Akahoshi, Kana’s mother.
Children born in the Akahoshi clan have a high mortality rate. Unless they’re strong enough to adapt to the blood’s strength within the first years, it’s likely that they won’t live past the age of five. Since children start training in the arts of war at the age of 3, this usually helps strengthening their bodies enough to improve their resistance. This becomes a non-issue in later stages of development, but even then, an Akahoshi’s natural lifespan is still shorter than a regular human’s. Rarely does an Akahoshi live past the age of 60. At the age of 12, by the time their training ends and they’re full-fledged samurai, an Akahoshi can typically control their body so that they don’t awaken their blood accidentally.
By choosing to awaken their blood, an Akahoshi goes through a transformation: their hair glows and turns bright red, also growing a few inches in length. Their eyes also glow and change colors (light blue for the main house, red or purple in the secondary houses; Makihisa himself supposedly had golden eyes when transformed). Transforming this way grants the Akahoshi an increase in their strength and makes their attacks especially deadly, but the transformation is limited to a few moments, and can only be done a certain number of times per day (training can increase the number of daily transformations an Akahoshi can handle), as it places a lot of strain in their bodies.
Transforming also carries an added risk. As they use their blood repeatedly, an Akahoshi can display certain changes in their behavior (while their blood is activated) as the demonic blood’s concentration increases: greater disposition towards violence, bloodlust, and sadism. In a worst case scenario, as the demonic blood’s concentration increases, it also increases the odds of the Akahoshi berserking upon transforming. In this state, the Akahoshi loses its ability to speak and acts on primal instincts alone, actively pursuing the deaths of any living creature they set their eyes on, using whatever means necessary, and disregarding their own safety or body condition. This is primarily the main cause for the clan’s bad name, as they became known for being demons who turn on their allies without warning.
The increases in blood concentration are not permanent, however, and can lowered in certain ways. Soon after the transformation’s duration expires, if the Akahoshi was berserking, the demonic blood concentration will be reduced to negligible levels, where the risk of berserking again is non-existent. Drinking pure human blood will also reduce the concentration levels, and due to this, the Akahoshi can recognize by taste if someone’s a pure-blooded human, or if there’s something unnatural in their blood (like a curse, poison, or disease). Another method consists in transforming the concentration into pure energy and releasing it as a ranged attack (Sekishuu Hensei), although this method carries an increased risk of berserking in the process due to them tapping into that demonic part and isolating it on purpose.
Being born in the main house, Kana was made aware of the cruelty of her clan’s curse from an early age, having heard several stories and even witnessed casualties caused by temporary madness from berserking family members. As a child, she never made many friends outside of the clan, because other children feared her due to stories told by their parents. She eventually dated a boy she’d call her first boyfriend when she turned 11, but even that didn’t last long. After being verbally abused by the boy’s father, Kana activated her blood accidentally and almost killed him, causing not only a break-up, but a change in her demeanor as well. Kana grew cold and distrustful towards people outside of the clan, avoiding any friendships that might bring her pain one day, and began seeing herself as a monster no one should associate with.
4 years later, there was an event that started a change in Kana’s life. Her older brother and heir of the clan, Michio Akahoshi, suddenly berserked and slew their father before Kana’s eyes, running away from home afterwards. With this shocking event, Kana took it upon herself to chase after her brother, with the goal of bringing him back safely, or should it turn out that he could no longer control his blood, she’d end his life herself to prevent further victims. Steeling her own mind for this task, Kana left the house despite her mother’s protests, and followed her brother’s trail away from her home continent, and into Faerûn.
In Faerûn, Kana found a valuable source of information and supplies in Okinage, whom she ended up befriended due to him being a half-fiend, as she could relate to him, even putting up with his less-than-legal trade. With time, she slowly opened up and warmed up to other people who allied with her in her quest to find her brother, and others that came afterwards, and healed the wounds from her past. Her greatest support came from Hisagi, who is now her fiancé. She still remains distrustful towards paladins, for obvious reasons, even if she made allies with at least one paladin order before.
While a teenager, Kana has always shown a great sense of responsibility, in part due to her education and being self-conscious about the dangers of using her blood around others. However, she was also quick to anger, which often led her to become reckless in the worst times possible. When annoyed or angered, Kana will display it, often unwillingly, as her hair flashes in a red color, akin to when her blood is awakened, but quickly returning to it’s natural color in a second.
As the years passed, Kana grew to become more serene. She’s well-spoken and a good negotiator, and was recently entrusted with taking over her mother’s duties, acting as a representative in diplomatic meetings when she couldn’t otherwise be available. Such meetings contributed to make Kana more levelheaded and help control her temper. She takes the teachings of the bushido code to heart, and she’s incapable of telling a lie (though she’s alright with circumventing the truth at times). She’s mostly fearless when it comes to fighting, no matter how large or powerful her foe is, though it was only recently that she overcame her irrational fear of the undead, which made her unable to even pick up her weapons when faced with a zombie or ghost (less dead-looking undead like vampires never bothered her much, on the other hand).
Like all samurai from her clan, Kana has mastered the use of Nitou Ichi (“Two swords as one”), Iaijutsu, and several other sword techniques, as well as being trained in unarmed combat and using the longbow. She also received training to use a spear or naginata, but she never favored those weapons. When it comes to swords, Kana is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. She has also adapted new techniques into her own style, outside of the Akahoshi’s formal training.
- Kurenai Sekishuu: The Akahoshi’s transformation ability. In this state, Kana’s hair lengthens, glows, and becomes bright red, while her eyes glow and turn light blue.
- Ryakudatsu Jyukai Origami: Only useable while the blood is activated. After grappling an enemy, part of Kana’s hair wraps around him, lengthening further as necessary. On the next turn, Kana releases a torrent of energy through her hair, causing the grappled enemy to spontaneously combust, causing serious damage. The enemy’s belongings aren’t affected. This is a forbidden technique of the Akahoshi, as it increases the demonic blood concentration rapidly and carries a risk of berserking.
- Sekishuu Hensei: Only useable while the blood is activated. The Akahoshi focus the energy from their blood’s concentration and release it to the outside, in the form of a raw energy beam. The greater their blood concentration is at the time, the more damaging the beam will be. This is a restricted technique of the Akahoshi, because while it offers a method for lowering the blood’s concentration, it carries a risk of berserking even greater than with Origami.