Hoshimoto Kenshin (Sadanobu)
Born: May 24th, 1549 (Year of the Rooster, Month of Snake, Day of Tiger, Hour of Dragon)
Physical Age: 26
Faction/Occupation: Insurgent Artisan.
Kenshin considered joining the Insurgents, and had a long period of rumination. But rumors ultimately made him back off from becoming more involved: one, that a woman took over leadership, and two, that the Insurgency might use him against innocent people in attempts to root out spies or confirm loyalty. Kenshin has seen the horrors of war, and the idea that Sybal Heim's people could be destroyed by it has bothered him more and more. Kenshin fears being used by both sides, and has removed himself as much as he can. He wishes to escape the city, but not at the cost of the lives of its peaceful citizens.
Kenshin works in various metals, woods, gems, and materials to make pots, bows, decorations, and jewelry. After so many years, he does what catches his fancy at the time. Kenshin has made several katanas and tachis, but only for himself. He does not sell his wares himself; he has made deals with vendors to take a percentage of what sells at market.
Sybal Form: Ankylosaurid dragon. Kenshin becomes a four-legged creature similar to an armored dinosaur, with influences of an Eastern dragon. A hovering pearl burns between his horns and he has whiskers. He is a large and dangerous creature, 15 feet in length and weighing 8,000 pounds, with a heavy club tail. Spines and ossicles armor him all over.
Kenshin's sight is terrible in his Sybal form. His sense of smell is greatly improved, and becomes his primary sense.
Sybal Power: True sight.
Kenshin has the simple ability to tell whether someone is lying or not. A lie appears to him as a flash of light: the greater the lie, the brighter the flash. His ability is strictly within the realm of "yes" or "no"; he can't say "he's lying; the gold is hidden under a stone in his fireplace." He can merely confirm or deny someone is lying; the specifics of the question would have to be up to the inquirer. Kenshin cannot lie himself when answering a question, nor can he refuse to answer the question.
Kenshin is in no way interested in playing a part in interrogation, and would have to be heavily convinced to do so. He hides up in the forest at night, and his Feral leanings make him difficult to locate and approach. He knows that while many people say they want the truth, many cannot handle it and have their lives destroyed. Even simple things such as "Is my lover cheating on me?" would make Kenshin incredibly uncomfortable.
Rumor has gotten out that Kenshin is a truth oracle, but he does not advertise it in the least. As a Sybal, He will run away or fight before a question can be asked; it's the only way he can avoid being forced to answer whether something is true or not.
Docile or Feral: Circumstantial Feral.
Upon initial transformation, Kenshin's feral exists in an animalistic state. He is motivated by the desire to eat and drink, and, if necessary, defend his territory. He has all the basic intelligence of a prey animal. With bad eyesight and cranky temper, Kenshin reacts with instinctive behavior, like a charging rhino, until someone can reach his human side with speech, kinship, or by touching the glowing pearl between his horns. Left alone, Kenshin spends his night browsing the forest and grazing.
Kenshin becomes very different from his quiet self in his Sybal form. He becomes much more arrogant and aggressive, but also more emotional, showing everything that he cannot when in his human state. Kenshin is more likely to speak his mind in Sybal form, without mincing words. All his formal politeness drops, and he is often scornful or sarcastic. However, he fears truth, just as he fears himself, represented by the heavy, defensive armor of his Sybal.
Personality: Kenshin is very polite and formal, to the point of being stiff. It is very easy to become uncomfortable in Kenshin's presence; he does not smile or laugh easily. He keeps his feelings to himself, and while he never says it, he disapproves of strong emotional displays. They are the height of rudeness where he comes from.
Kenshin does not like lies, and the reality that everyone at some point or another lies is tiresome to him. It's made him lose quite a bit of faith in humanity. While he has no particular interest in rooting out lies in his human form (his Sybal does that quite enough, thank you) Kenshin is adept at picking up cues despite himself. Kenshin would make a very good poker player, if he could ever be convinced to play.
Kenshin stays cool under pressure; he is a trained samurai. He is also kind and considerate to his neighbors, often bringing housewarming gifts to newcomers. He has a soft spot for those who appear as youngsters, although knowing the truth about Sybal Heim disturbs him. Kenshin likes children and wants them, and the idea of marrying without the possibility of children is a perversion of nature to him.
Kenshin does not take teasing, insult, or disrespect well, although he never shows it. Anyone being harassed or bothered doesn't need to wait for a guard if Kenshin is around. He will throw drunkards and roustabouts out into the street if they are bothering others. He did not stop studying swordsmanship, archery, or martial arts just because he came to Sybal Heim. Anyone who insults Kenshin can defend themselves, or be beaten like a coward.
History: Born in a brothel during the Sengoku period of Japan, Kenshin was sired by a feudal lord who wished to have him as a son. Kenshin's mother was paid for him and never saw her son again. Kenshin was raised alongside his four half-brothers, overseen by his stepmother, who resented his half-breed birth. Kenshin's child name was Greasy Pig (note: a common naming tradition
among the Japanese was to name a child after something disgusting so evil spirits would leave them alone.)
A fat and clumsy child, Kenshin was bullied and tormented by his older brothers. His stepmother would often shower her real sons with gifts and ignore Kenshin. When he cried to his father at six years old he was beaten for being greedy. His older brother Taro later drowned Kenshin's favorite cat in the koi pond while his younger brothers held him down.
Kenshin practiced swordsmanship and riding, burning for the approval of his father, who trained him personally. During the Sengoku period, the social strata of becoming samurai began to loosen, and at the age of 14 Kenshin became a samurai. He took the name Kenshin, "modest truth."
Kenshin first saw battle at 15, and the brutality of it terrified him. He vomited in private after his first skirmish to avoid humiliation, and redoubled his efforts to become like stone, unafraid of death. He deeply admired his father and fought to make him proud. His brothers undermined him at every turn, often calling Kenshin "Greasy Pig" in front of the men Kenshin commanded.
Kenshin retained a remarkable cool-headedness in combat, but he lacked the zeal for battle. The saying among samurai was "a man should risk his life at least once in service to his lord", and Kenshin was reserved, careful in battle. When he made the mistake of saying it was to keep his men safe, his brother Taro accused Kenshin's favorite servant of theft on a march. Rather than take the matter to his father, Kenshin allowed his servant to be executed. Later, Taro mocked Kenshin that he had only done it to familiarize Kenshin with death and make him stronger.
Although Kenshin's stepmother was ordered to find him a suitable wife, she never did. Kenshin knew it was due to spite, never mind that a wife would take care of his stepmother. He was still unmarried at 26 when he took part in the battle of Nagashino in 1575.
Kenshin defended Nagashino Castle against far superior tactics. When the castle was taken, Kenshin was approached by Taro, who told that he needed to commit seppuku for the sake of their father's peace agreement.
Kenshin could not.
Although he had been trained his entire life not to fear death, Kenshin ran, abandoning everything he knew. Instead of confronting his father to receive the order, he galloped on his horse, escaping the castle, but fell from his mount in a forest. When he emerged from the forest, he was in Sybal Heim.
Kenshin could not shake a gnawing doubt: Taro had played a cruel trick on him because of simple hatred. Perhaps the order was not so. But if the order was true, Kenshin had burdened himself with unshakable dishonor. A samurai's first and only duty was to his lord, and Kenshin owed his father everything.
Kenshin was frightened by his first transformation, seeing Sybal Heim as a place filled with shadow people from a spirit realm. He was being punished by the gods for his failure, although time tempered this with the idea that perhaps he was being taught a lesson. What exactly that lesson is, Kenshin has not figured out yet.
Kenshin first sought a way out of the city, joining with the Insurgents. He wanted to return to his choice, vowing that he would die if that was what his father asked of him. But he has had plenty of time to doubt, berate himself, and commit himself again. He is stuck in a shadow land, not truly living, tormented by questions he cannot answer, in search of the truth about himself and who he is.
And whatever that truth may be, Kenshin fears it more thoroughly and completely than anything else.
Additional Info: One of Kenshin's greatest fears is being asked about himself in his Sybal form. He cannot lie, and would be trapped by his own honesty into revealing things about himself he would never freely give up. And there is always the possibility that Kenshin himself could start grilling you for the truth!
Kenshin is quite good at outmaneuvering his own magic. "What is your name?" gives him the ability to say what he wants. "Are you telling the truth that that is your name?" traps him, but he's only required to say "yes" or "no". If you want the truth from Kenshin, it HAS to be a "yes or no" question.
Kenshin's name is his given name, or courtesy name. Hoshimoto is his surname or occupation name. His given name, or true name, is Sadanobu, but among samurai such names were only given to and used by family. The only person who ever, EVER called Kenshin by his real name was his father. Samurai culture declared anyone who knows one's given name as having control over your life and will. (Even famous samurai in recorded history are only known by their courtesy names!) Therefore, Kenshin would only ever give his real name to a married love interest, if even then. If someone discovered Kenshin's real name and used it would upset him very much.
Kenshin is a Shintoist, and believes Sybal Heim to be a god or spirit realm he was brought to. He has never sought an audience with Basileus, too fearful that the head of the god realm would judge or destroy him for his cowardice.
Kenshin has written a number of "death poems" in preparation for killing himself, and prepared the ritual for seppuku numerous times. He has never gone through with it, but he keeps the writings under lock and key in his bedroom.
Kenshin is very awkward around women. He had no sisters growing up, feared his stepmother, and his culture had very strict ideas about female behavior. The idea of women using weapons is not odd to him: women in his time period practiced naginata. Rather, the idea of women in leadership roles, speaking loudly, etc. is strange to him. He has relaxed somewhat since his time in Sybal Heim, but he is still painfully shy.
Kenshin likes cats. He actually had a tough little tabby that traveled with him on his last campaign, tucked into the front of his jacket. Ever since he was young, he sympathized with the Cat, who was kicked out of the Zodiac because of a cruel trick.
Kenshin keeps and maintains his battle armor, and practices fighting in it at least once a week. He does not ever wear it outside of this; he would have to actually be going to full-on war to do so. He also does not walk around with his swords, peace-tied or otherwise. It would be the height of stupidity and arrogance as far as Kenshin is concerned.
Kenshin is very much an isolated introvert. He works on his swordmanship, archery, martial arts, meditation, poetry, writing, and crafts during the day, then walks to the forest in preparation for his transformation. He often visits gardens or libraries in Sybal Heim if he is so inclined. Kenshin avoids other Sybals in the forest and keeps to himself. Kenshin is very predictable in where he can be found, but not a welcoming presence at all.