Sample Application: Seiga Kaku

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Sample Application: Seiga Kaku

Postby Kogasa Tatara » 07 Jul 2013 00:41

Name: Seiga Kaku
Canon Appearances: Ten Desires (Stage 4 boss)
Species: ("Wicked") Hermit

-Your interpretation of the character-

What interests you about this character? Is there anything specific you would like to do with them? Examples include exploring their relationship with specific characters, hold a drinking contest with one of the oni or hosting a grand party for all of Gensokyo.

I was looking at applying for Tenshi for a while, but recently, that slot was filled, so I decided to take a good look through the character list. I had some choices in mind after a few glances, but a most them had the disadvantage of being generally too uptight or subservient for what I wanted to roleplay consistently or being re-considered by old players. I actually got kind of distraught for a while... until I actually took a good look at the Ten Desires section and found Seiga was free. Enigmatic, freely-wandering, (somewhat, with a little bit of implication anyway, it seems) motivated solely by self-pleasure and with what appears to be a fondness for trolling? Yes, please.

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?

Seiga is... quite the card, really, in terms of personality. Where some people look out for #1 and no-one else, Seiga seems to-for the most part-see herself as the only real number. Oh, other people are numbers, sure, but they are more things like number of things that interest her, number of important contacts, number of problems they could potentially solve for her or number of intrinsically valuable possessions. Living as long as she has tends to do that-indeed, most of the time, when she actually kills someone, her justification is along the lines of "it would happen eventually". Such a long life also tends to lend itself to both excessive boredom and hedonistic behaviour-Seiga basically works to no visible end beyond her own immediate satisfaction and entertainment, up to the point of "latching on" to people, following them to the point of stalking and murdering and then reanimating them on account of their short (comparative) lifespan.

However, the keyword here is "no visible end"-despite her otherwise vile reputation, Seiga seems to be a very welcoming character, operating on an open door policy in her own home and apparently gladly assisting anyone who goes straight to her with a problem-a practice which, given her power, age and knowledge, is actually fairly common-without even charging a single yen. However, she is quick to remind her clients that they owe her. And in most cases, they owe her big time.

In fact, if one was to show these debts graphically, she has a colossal network of favours and IOUs, reaching from the highest nobles to the basest peasants. Why she maintains this network is a mystery to all but herself-security? The feeling of power? Just to remind people that they really do owe her? The best answer is probably all three. In fact, while she does not openly claim power, it is worth keeping in mind that at one point, Prince Shotoku himself (herself? I would assume that Shotoku and Miko were different genders on account of one "reincarnating" into the other) was in her debt. And on the topic of Miko... Despite all Seiga does, she does legitimately seem to care for a few select people, such as her father, Miko or Yoshika. Very much so, in fact, given that she personally guarded Miko's mausoleum for probably the best part of 800 years, became a hermit solely because of her father doing so and... you know, let's not even get into what she says about Yoshika.

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?

Most of Seiga's early life is hidden behind a-possibly intentional, on her part-curtain of enigma and mystery. Basically nothing is known of her life before meeting Miko, and even less about her life before becoming a hermit. Essentially all of what is known about her is just speculation or myth-or, even more unreliable than any of that, information from Seiga herself-but maybe, if she's feeling particularly honest when you ask her, she'd tell you about how she lived as a nobleman's daughter in a far-off prefecture of China, spending her time wrapped in finest silk and, later on, political intrigue under that. She'd tell you about her father, whom she deeply admired, was a very devoted Taoist, and although for a long time the creeds of the religion didn't matter all that much to her, the man did see to it that her daughter had a respect for the religion-though his studies left little time for him to care for Seiga or, say, try to curb her already apparent sociopathic tendencies. That is, until his sudden departure to become a hermit just before Seiga came of age. The knowledge that Taoism essentially took her father from her was deeply traumatic, to the point that when she did reach marriage age, she near-instantly married herself away from her religious household into the Kaku family, and from there pursued a life of hedonism and court intrigue, turned away from the principles of Taoism...

Until the day when a hermit from the mountains appeared before her household to preach. She'd tell you about how despite her lingering distaste for the Tao, curiosity led her to question the hermit about her father... a hermit who, surprisingly, knew him personally. In fact, this hermit was personally training her father and, although he was uncomfortable with letting Seiga's father leave his training in the mountains so early, he was still more than happy to meet personally with Seiga, even causing her to reconsider her stance on Taoism and to once again take up the religion. She'd say that it was at this point that she apparently went into a deep depression over her previous forsaking of Taoism, locking herself in her room, but this was but a ruse. Instead, she began practicing Taoist magic and meeting secretly with the hermit she had met earlier. Eventually, years later, she elected to fake her own death and join the ranks of the hermits, hopefully to meet her father again...

But no such luck. Outraged, she left the province and began to wander China, initially spreading the word of Taoism, but more and more her callous pre-hermit nature crept back and, especially after defeating her Kishin assassins several times, she eventually came to the conclusion that trying so desperately to adhere to sacred principles as most hermits do was a waste of time, so long as she could dispose of the Kishin, and now with the powers of a hermit at her disposal, she resumed a life of worldly pleasures, at this point essentially paying lip service to Taoism as a religion. This was around about when she was branded a wicked hermit. This went on for several centuries longer, during which time she "acquired", amongst other things, the infamous Wall-Passing Chiel, before the hermits of China finally grew tired of her hedonism and began trying to kill her themselves. Though she was able to deal with any that came her way, more and more she realized that she would not be able to keep up these constant engagements with other hermits, and decided to flee to Japan, a land essentially devoid of Taoist teachings, to escape pursuit. Soon afterwards, following the political ebb and flow of her new home, she met with one Prince Umayado-better known later as Prince Shotoku, and... well, the rest is history. Or so she'd say. And even then you would have to wonder how honest she was really being.

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

Seiga's main abilities, going purely from what has been stated outright in canon, include magically cutting through walls-a feat which bizarrely becomes easier when digging through harder walls-, reanimation of the dead as jiang-shi and the control of said jiang-shi, creating elixirs of immortality (which would probably include regenerative or body-fortifying effects, otherwise Seiga's comment in Reimu's storyline seems a little bizzare) and some form of transmutation or illusion, demonstrated in her backstory when she "used a technique she'd read about in her book to make a bamboo rod take the form of her own body, making her appear to be dead". (The quote is a little unclear as to which, but given that they buried the body and everything without the alarm being raised, it's most likely the former.)

This list, however, isn't that long in terms of variety, and even though her SoPM article rather nebulously stated that she doesn't have the drive to train in any other hermit arts, I would assume she does still have rather substantial skill with Daoist magic, given that she wouldn't have had the Chisel forever and the article only really states that she isn't driven to do so. Even one day of practice a year really, really adds up when you're at least 1400 years old. Which possibly puts abilities such as healing, draining life, the brewing of poisons along with elixirs (one's really just the other seen through a mirror, more or less) alchemy and a kind of self induced demonic possession-a form of which, tongji, is actually named outright in one of her spellcards. Given how long she has lived, her probable travels and her generally non-hermit-y nature, non-Daoist magic is also a rather more tenuous possibility-though mainly for things like illusions. I imagine that her usage of her abilities and powers would be first and foremost based on misdirection or manipulation, in or out of combat. Direct and flashy isn't exactly Seiga's style, aside from those occasions when she's actually trying to show off.

And as for limitations... the very same sentence her SoPM article that talks about her lack of drive to train also mentions that she has at least enough power to fight off the assassins from Hell, a fact which is noted to be terrifying in itself which, coupled with her defeat dialogue in TD and the fact that, as far as I know, said assassins are supposed to be able to instantly send a hermit to Hell if they deviate even slightly from the pursuit of enlightenment or righteousness or nice things like that, this seems to firmly place her in "going easy on you so you at least have a chance of victory" territory. So I would say her main limitation is the fact that she's actively trying to enjoy herself even during combat, or at least in some way play fair and so intentionally limits herself a la Yuugi or Kanako. Maybe she'd even pull out a pipe in the middle of the fight, just for a quick fix, and in the process provide 2chan with weapons-grade meme material.

(Apologies if this seems like plumbing for more power/a greater variety of powers, as I know that's not really approved of in applications. Actually, my apologies if anything beyond this point doesn't seem up to scratch, I'm a little bit more comfortable with in-character writing than all this biographical stuff.)

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

The woman's slow applause straddled the line between genuine and sarcastic, each loud, rhythmic clap shaking the young monk's thoughts like a church bell. She should be dead. She is dead. Her corpse is right here in front of me, so she is dead. She is standing right there applauding me, but she is dead. Why is she applauding me if she is dead? He was still staring at the dead body in front of him, a sharp, dark wood baton covered in shinto amulets jutting out of her abdomen like a monument commemorating the death of a wicked hermit and yet... she was standing right there. Congratulating him."

"Really, nice work. You have a good arm on you, I must say. A quick, efficient blow-and you even knew not to try and go through the ribcage! Believe me, I can count the number of people who do that on one hand..."

The villager went pale. She was reaching down casually towards the stake buried in her dead body-her own corpse, the would-be assassin mentally added with a note of both squeamishness and despair. His head spun like a leaf caught in a tornado-in fact, his whole life was starting to feel like that leaf. "I feel I must comment on the weapon, however. Who tries to kill someone with a piece of wood? Oh, but I'll admit, taking it from an onbashira was a nice touch, and-" The young man almost vomited, she is reaching down and pulling it out of her own corpse but she is dead how why "Are these ofuda? Oh, my, I've always hated these things." She is just peeling them off they should be burning her skin she should be dead "You know how they-OW!" The monk's heart leapt for a moment, one glorious moment in which he was convinced he may have succeeded. That is, until he saw that the extent of the shikaisen's injury seemed to consist of her sucking dejectedly on her fingertip. "Papercuts. Now you see why I loathe these things." And then it began to fall like a stone. He stared at the hermit with all the dejection of an old man watching his life's work torn down. Why is she not dead?

"Oh, what are you gawking at? Have you never seen someone fake their own death before? It's a parlour trick, really, but you people seem to treat it like turning lead to gold-which isn't that hard in itself either, I might add... or do you perhaps see something you like?" She winked at him. The monk's legs buckled under him, haphazardly depositing him into what must be called a sitting position in front of a low mahogany table. He had just tried to kill her-succeeding once-and now she was flirting with him. Who was this woman?

"Oh, good, I was about to ask you to take a seat. I hate having to tell people to act like guests, you know, it's really shocking how many people need to be told to make themselves feel at home. Here, let me get you some tea," she said, and with the practice and timing of an actor on the umpteenth take bringing up two small, full teacups from underneath the table, offering one to the monk who was presently wondering if they had even been there a few minutes ago.

"I don't believe we've been properly introduced. My name is Seiga Kaku. You must have heard so much about me, but I am about to tell you how much of it is absolute trash-talk, how much of it is the truth and how much of it is completely false but nonetheless very flattering folktale. I hope you're comfortable, this is a long story."

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"... So maybe I have made some poor choices, what does it matter? We-or at least most of us-are only human. Or something close to it, anyway. And it's not as if I've never done anything for anyone. I mean, I am essentially the reason you're pursuing enlightenment instead of dancing around in a mask to appease ghosts, aren't I? You and thousands of others, I might add." The hermit, Seiga, looked wistfully over her guest's shoulder, more than a hint of pride in her expression-although whether it was pride over her actions or over telling someone about them, the monk could not tell. She was... certainly a character. She looked barely old enough to be called a woman and yet she was old enough to have seen Buddhism brought to his homeland-and he had certainly expected someone so old to be far more... severe, or at least not acting like some kind of young diva. Mostly, though, we wasn't quite sure how much he even wanted to kill her anymore, even if he could. His head spun, his breath felt uncomfortably warm in his throat. He really should get going.

"Ah ah ah, I don't just tell everyone the story of my life, you know. I do expect some payment in return." She interrupted his staggering to his feet, in a tone somewhere between a mother's scold and a daughter's pout. The monk reached for the small pouch at his side-outwardly, he renounced materialism, but even ascetics needed to eat-until that earned him only a scowl from the blue-haired hermit.

"Oh put that away. What use do I have for money, exactly? Money is money and nothing else. Ten years from now, a boy will be a man, a woman will be a crone, a village could be a city, a palace a ruin, a kingdom a memory, but money will still be money. Trust me, I have my own methods of payment. And I'll collect soon enough, don't you worry."

Apparently satisfied, the monk began to dawdle off towards the door-dawdle being the right word, as his legs felt oddly unresponsive and moved out of time with his commands. At least, he did until he noticed that there was no door. "Oh, my apologies, I do sometimes forget that there are people who still need those..." She said, somehow making basic architecture seem like an afterthought as she slowly and deliberately stood up. The young monk could feel sweat beading on his forehead. His arms twitched at his side, and even his thoughts began to feel sluggish-he barely even noticed his legs simply refusing to carry him any longer, or his hermit host rushing over to support him as he fell-with frankly inhuman speed, most would think. His vision was blurry, every sound and sight so far away to him, but he still heard the hermit clearly; "Goodness, are you alright? Did you eat or drink anything unusual lately?" The concern in her voice was genuine... too genuine. It was like a honey trap; that amount of goodwill was never found with honesty behind it. He squinted. Deteriorated though his vision was, he could still make out the hermit's expression.

She was grinning. Grinning like a mouser that has cornered its next meal. She knew. She wanted him to know that she knew. She had poisoned him.

"Oh don't pout like that. Accepting tea from a woman you just tried to kill? You deserve this, really. You monk types are always so naive, so quick to forgive-it's embarrassing for all of us." She almost spat as she spoke, although apparently deciding midway through that such an action would be 'unladylike', before reverting to that honey trap of a cooing whisper, "But don't worry, I take good care of the dead..."

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"...nd done. Yoshika dear, come hither, there is someone I would like you to meet..."
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