Chinese immigrant (Human)
Smarts d6 (1 for hind pts)
~ Skills ~
Knowledge-smz (Language: English) d4
Knowledge-smz (Language: Chinese) d4
Parry 2+½ fighting die = 6
Toughness 2+½ vigor = 5
~ Edges ~
You’ve trained in martial arts or boxing, or learned to street fight really dirty. Your character’s body is a finely honed weapon so, even when your hero fights unarmed, he is considered armed. In addition, opponents in melee combat never benefit from any gang-up bonus against your hero.
~ Hindrances ~
Vengeance Major (Saruwaka Nori)
Your character always attempts to right a wrong he feels was done to him. If this is a Minor Hindrance, he usually seeks vengeance legally. The type and immediacy of his vengeance varies by character, of course. Some plot and scheme for months to extract what they see as justice. Others demand immediate results.
If this is a Major Hindrance, your character will kill to rectify his perceived injustice.
In a society made up of only a few types of people, your hero isn’t one of them. An Indian in a Western town, an alien in a sci-fi game of human marines, or a half-orc in a party of elves, dwarves, and humans are all examples of outsiders. Locals are likely to raise prices on the Outsider, ignore pleas for help, and generally treat him as if he’s of a lower class than the rest of their society.
In addition to the roleplaying effects above, your hero’s Charisma suffers a –2 modifier among all but his own people.
Your character may not be a hero, but he’d give his life for his friends. This character can never leave a man behind if there’s any chance at all he could help.
~ Worst Nightmare ~
In Li Jing’s worst nightmares, Sakura is once again Noa, on the night of the fires. He is trying and trying to get to Fuji or his sisters but there is fire all around and he can’t save them. Then it shifts to smoking rubble and he sees the blackened body and face of Fuji and knows true terror when her eyes open and she look at him with anger and accusation.
Tatekawa Sakura (aka Tatekawa Nao, aka Li Jing)
It would only be the greater tragedy if she were to die young. The story is the thing. She can see it unfold within herself. But great betrayals require great revenge and the audience must have its close, by this or victory.
In Japan, in her family, the Kabuki was all. It was certainly her creator. Her father made it their life and being. Everything they did was in its praise and furtherance. As one of the greatest actors of his time, he strove – through focus and never-ending practice – to achieve the perfect performance. Inevitably, he was revered throughout Edo as legendary.
However, Sakura had no brothers, and there was no one to carry on the family tradition. Women no longer had a place in Kabuki.
It was surely at least partly to create plot points in his own life that her father chose to raise her as a boy, with the complete confidence of her carrying on his legacy, for he saw something within her that he saw on Edo’s greatest stages and knew the story of her would be his greatest work.
As her father’s son, the boy Nao learned to dance, he learned to sing, and he learned to be someone other than herself. Only Sakura always knew, even when the vision blurred at times for her father: Nao is not Sakura. Sakura is Nao.
As well, Nao learned to love.
Kimi Fuji was her friend from the start. The secret was so well-guarded by Sakura’s family that Fuji loved only the boy she knew. Sakura was drawn to Fuji with a fire previously carefully preserved for the stage. Sakura knew she could never reveal herself. The theater was all. But she began to imagine what could be.
Their first kiss would be their last, stolen in the summer moonlight, because there must be moonlight and the sweet smell of spring jasmine for such occasions. The story has its demands, after all.
Returning to their homes, both had fires in their eyes and a dream for the future, even if Sakura saw no way to merge her dream with reality.
That night, the great fires that had been sweeping Edo – and eventually allowed the Shogunate to put an end to the theater – took Fuji’s life and Sakura’s heart. Her parents and sisters also taken by the flames, she was left homeless and without family. She fled with the last of the troupe to Asakusa to thereafter perform only underground.
Rumors eventually came that someone had been deliberately setting the fires. The Shogun wanted the theater gone and, hoping for a favor, an obsequious follower had taken it upon himself to make it happen.
Sakura went back to Edo, disguising herself even further. Now she was a tattered beggar, or a street girl, or whatever she needed to be to get closer to the answer.
And she found it. In a saki house, serving as a maiko, she heard the words spoken by a young visitor, recently released by his master who was leaving on a long journey.
She got the name and she heard where he had gone. The name Saruwaka Nori, the greatest friend and supporter of the Kabuki, was revealed in a drunken moment. For betraying his former master, the young man lost his life to Sakura’s knife.
She quickly fled, as much in fear of her own loss of control as the possibility of being caught. For just a moment she had let Sakura’s rage show through and it terrified her.
She ended up in a small village taking on the role of a refugee from the fires, who was looking for work and a place to stay.
While defending herself from local boys in an alley fight, an old man spotted her and saw through her disguise. A master of deception himself, the old shinobi was observant to its craft. And, as her father before him, he saw her potential.
Iga Yoshikazu taught her the ways of shinobijutsu. He knew of the vengeance in her heart and did not dissuade her, for that was not his role in her story. They spent hours every day in training, discussing strategy, planning her eventual undertaking and listening closely for any news of Saruwaka.
Never Sakura now, except in the dark with her eyes closed and sometimes not even then, the script was written and the role became reality.
When he thought she was ready she began to take missions for the daimyo. She would not do an assassination until Yoshikazu decided she was ready but she honed her skills both as a spy and getting into places where she could do damage to the political enemies of her employer.
This path ended with the old man’s death for even the greatest cannot live forever, and must go to be with the spirits that went before.
Sakura took a job as Hiro, a sailor, and went to China. From there she joined the throngs going across the great sea to find work and a new life. It was hard to keep her femaleness hidden while packed into the ship, but she knew deception well and that the key was to make herself unnoticed in the first place.
Taking the name of the Chinese god, whose tower can capture any spirit, demon, or god, as surely as she herself carries all three within her, Li Jing was on his way to become a worker, carrying Sakura with him as spy and assassin, where he would direct her most perfect performance.
Jing is not Sakura. Sakura is Jing. When you understand this, you will also know:
A great spirit lies in wait.