Sample Application: Iku Nagae

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Sample Application: Iku Nagae

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 07 Jul 2013 00:46

1. How would you describe your character's personality? What are their motivations, their usual activities, and how do they act by themselves and around others?

Iku is rather laid-back compared to most other youkai in Gensokyo, not one for involving herself in random danmaku battles or for causing trouble. Neither will she be solving any incidents unless it pertains to her position as the Water Dragon God’s messenger, or she has a personal stake at risk. Most of her time is spent high up in the clouds, observing and recording the weather patterns as part of her job. She is very dedicated to her position as messenger of the Water Dragon God, and makes it a priority to maintain her professional appearance towards others. Rarely will she show her true emotions with strangers, preferring to keep a cool façade until she becomes properly acquainted. When she’s by herself and not running errands or on the job, Iku tends to sit at home and relax. She also is quite messy when she can get away with it, such as in her room. However, it might be better described as chaotically organized, for Iku has no problem finding whatever she needs when the moment arises.

2. How would you describe your character's background? What is your view on the origins of this character, and what part have they played in official games and print works?

Shortly before the 1707 Hōei earthquake the Water Dragon God decided that he needed a messenger. After some deliberation, the Dragon God took a century-old oarfish and fed it a small piece of black jade from his own palace. Bestowing the name “Nagae Iku” upon the newly-formed youkai, the Water God then gave her the task to warn the mortals below about the impending catastrophe. To aid in her mission he provided Iku with a white and carmine shawl imbued with a tiny portion of his divine power. With it, Iku would be able to soar through the skies effortlessly, a bridge between the heavens and the mortal world below. This initial debt to the Water God caused Iku to develop an intense devotion over the centuries. Not servitude, but her own feelings of gratitude and thankfulness motivate Iku to continue to serve the Water Dragon God to the best of her abilities, even with the limited contact due to the Hakurei Barrier.

3. What are your character's magical powers and other noteworthy abilities? How do they use their powers, and what are their limitations?

The ability to call down lightning is Iku’s most well-known and flamboyant power. She accomplishes this by manipulating the charge of the atoms in a specific area to guide a lightning strike. Typically this is accomplished by absorbing electrons from the ground and transferring them into the air, using her shawl as a conduit. However, this technique works best if there are at least some clouds already present in the area. Iku can summon clouds if necessary but this takes much more energy than any of her lightning-related abilities of the same strength. She can also manipulate the charges of clouds in order to create storm conditions, though once a storm has begun it is much more difficult to restore the atmosphere to a calm state.

Perhaps Iku’s most interesting power is a very particular brand of empathy. She can innately understand weather patterns, including its intensity, type of precipitation, approximate duration, and (if the circumstances remain relatively constant) how it moves across the landscape. Iku is also able to sense the charge and intensity of a sentient being as an extension of her power to understand the weather’s mood, along with a combination of an oarfish’s lateral line and her powers over electricity. This is different from traditional empaths, who can tell the exact mood of their subject (ex- sad, happy, angry, guilty, ect.) Subtle electrical signals created by muscle contractions and brain activity allow the oarfish youkai to tell if an individual is stressed or excited by means of the lateral line. Because of Iku’s domain over both electricity and detecting moods, she adds another axis to this scale; positive and negative.

[chart omitted]

As demonstrated by the diagram above, multiple emotions can fall under the same category, thus distinguishing Iku Nagae’s ability from true empathy. This skill is not affected by any other senses, does not need visual contact or prior knowledge of the detected individual. Throughout the centuries Iku became adept at understanding the unspoken language of body posture and facial expressions through practice and her empathy. Those who have studied meditation and are practiced in the art of deceit are capable of fooling this sense, and can catch Iku off-guard due to her implicit trust in her empathic abilities. Another drawback of this power is that when there are more than four of five people in a small area Iku is cannot tell one individual’s emotions from one another. Instead it blends into one general mood, much like how one cloud in a storm is indistinguishable from those surrounding it.

4. Write a short scene of your character interacting with another character. There must be at least one spoken line coming from your character.

Mackerel skies have always been her favorite. Gently soaring through the air, the oarfish youkai playfully dipped beneath the closely-lumped clouds, scanning the ground for fog before rising once more into the thick layer of condensation. The damp of the cloud didn’t bother Iku; centuries of flying in all sorts of storms had hardened her to the cold, clammy conditions far above the ground. Carmine and ivory fabric fluttered as a brisk wind kicked up from the east, blowing her back a few hundred feet before she regained her balance. Iku muttered softly in irritation at the sudden gust, just as a rapidly accelerating familiar blur of boredom entered her emotional radar. She barely had time to brush stray bits of ice crystals off her shawl before a large hunk of rock hurtled into her sights. The oarfish didn’t need to see the thin shimenawa encircling the keystone to know the identity of the celestial perched precariously upon it.
“Meeesengeeeeeeeer~” the melodious voice of Tenshi Hinanawi reached the Water Dragon’s emissary. Steeling herself for yet another one-sided monologue, Iku curtsied politely to the troublesome blue-haired child.
“Eldest Daughter, what a surprise to see you here,” greeted the oarfish youkai, carefully keeping mild irritation out of her voice. Few knew or cared that Iku resented interruptions to her daily work, tolerated but unappreciated. “Is there something I can help you with?” A gracious smile hid the youkai’s exasperation, but there was a slight glint of annoyance visible in her ruby eyes.

Tenshi pouted, sticking out her lower lip in what she must have thought was an innocent and cute fashion. “I’m so bored!” the celestial whined pitifully. “There’s nothing to do in Heaven except lounge around and fish! I wanna do something else, don’t you have anything interesting to do Naga?”

Iku suppressed a wince at the blatantly wrong name, opting instead to press her fingertips to her temple in a futile attempt to stifle her rapidly developing headache. “Nagae, Nagae Iku is my name, Eldest Daughter,” the oarfish gently corrected. “I’ve just finished my duties for today, maybe you’d like to accompany me on my way back to Heaven?” Behind her calm façade, Iku desperately hoped that the taxing child would refuse her offer, but this sentiment was quickly crushed as she sensed the celestial’s mood brightened considerably.
Excitement shone through on the not-so-angelic Tenshi’s face. She did a quick pirouette on her keystone, multicolored skirt flaring out daintily before sitting down cross-legged on the rough stone. No empathic abilities were necessary to see this celestial’s state of mind as she leaned forward eagerly. Releasing a quick breath, the now-weary oarfish resigned herself to a tedious flight home, filled with banal chatter. “Just out of curiosity, how did you know I was in this area, Eldest?” Iku queried with a demure glance.
Tenshi simply pointed at the nearest cloud. “Fish scales.”
A puzzling statement. Iku turned to face the other girl, confused. Her politely disinterested mask unconsciously morphed into a perplexed expression, crimson eyes questioning.
“They look like fish scales today. You like this type of weather, don’t you?” Child-like sincerity in the celestial’s voice rang true, slowly bringing about a warm smile from the normally reserved oarfish. Iku quietly stated, “You are correct, mackerel skies are my favorite pattern of clouds.” Her former irritation melting away, the dragon’s messenger gently sang “Mackerel sky, Mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry,” as she fluffed out her flowing shawl, allowing the wind to catch in the scarlet and snow folds.
“Shall we go? I could try to teach you about some unique fishing techniques I’ve heard over the years,” Iku said as she flashed a small smile at the eldest Hinanai child.
Tenshi gave a small unlady-like squeak of excitement, propelling her keystone along at a swift pace. A small spin later, and the dragon’s messenger was hurtling along beside the celestial. “Have you ever heard of catfish noodling?”

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