Shinjo Kuriko

Utaku Battle Maiden of the Unicorn Clan

Description:

Rank 1 Utaku Battle Maiden

Insight: 129 (XP: 2)
Honor: 6.5
Glory: 1.2 (2.2 while in Stone Hop Village, lasts up to one year)
Status: 1.0

Rings
  • Air: 2 (Reflexes 4)
  • Earth: 2
  • Fire: 2
  • Water: 3
  • Void: 2
Skills
  • Animal Handling: 2
  • Battle: 1
  • Defense: 2
  • Etiquette: 1
  • Horsemanship: 2
  • Investigation: 2
  • Kenjutsu: 2
  • Kyujutsu: 2
  • Lore (Heraldry): 2
  • Sincerity: 3
Advantages
  • Hero of the People
Disadvantages
  • Bad Fortune (Moto’s Curse)
  • Overconfident
Equipment
  • Daisho
  • Dai-Kyu Bow and 20 arrows (Willow Leaf)
  • Riding Armor
  • Utaku Warhorse
  • 10 Koku

Rank 1 Technique: Riding in Harmony
The Utaku Battle Maidens value honor above all. You gain a bonus equal to your Honor Rank to one attack roll per Round. While mounted, you may instead choose to apply this bonus to one damage roll if you choose. You gain a bonus equal to your Honor Rank to the total of all Horsemanship rolls.

Bio:

Every samurai is asked what Bushido means to them, and though that very question has been answered a thousand times a thousand different ways, I have two different responses I carry with me everywhere I go (copies, of course; the original scrolls are locked in their respective clan vaults). They are as follows:

Doji Kurohito, who answered in the form of a haiku:

Water pours on stone,
Stone is told it must erode,
Still the stone remains

Akodo Daisuke, who in his famous answer, said simply “strength.”

I like Kurohito-san’s response because it so sweetly speaks to the beautiful nature of every tenet of Bushido. I have never had the chance to truly analyze his response with those more wisely versed in such things, but I feel that by “water,” he meant the trials and tribulations that test every samurai’s convictions, and the “stone” he references is their will, or their sense of honor to Bushido. I find it impressive because in that response, you feel the strength of the Crane, yet the individuality of Kurohito-san himself. It is a response that is spoken as much from the honor of his ancestors as it is from the depths of his own heart; a truly poetic display.

I also enjoy Daisuke-san’s response for much the same reason. I know his response is well over 800 years old, now, but it was the first time that I can find that a samurai responded to the question of what Bushido means to them so earnestly. At the time, I know he was called “simple” and “narrow-minded” for giving so succinct an answer, especially considering every other samurai interviewed at that years Emerald Tournament gave very flowery and descriptive responses, but I felt that of all the responses catalogued that day, Daisuke-san’s was the most honest. Like Kurohito-san’s response nearly a millennia later, Daisuke-san’s answer so beautifully mirrored that of his clan, yet at the same time, perfectly exemplified who he was as a samurai.

I mention all this because it relates to my own answer on what Bushido means to me. I am not a descendant of a Kami that invented etiquette and civility, nor the poetry used to so aptly describe it as Doji Kurohito did. I am not a descendant of a Kami that invented warfare, nor the strength of mind and heart to display it so expertly both on the battlefield and in the courts. What I am is a descendant of a Kami who reached out to those less fortunate than herself, even when doing so was to her own disadvantage. I am a descendent of a Kami who purjed the ranks of her own namesake when they became too corrupt, and allowed a gaijin family to control her clan. I am the descendant of a Kami who is equal parts paradox and paragon. How does such a samurai, descended as she is from such noble yet curious stock, answer the question of what Bushido means to her?

The answer is in the deeds I perform for those less fortunate than myself. Ask any Moto and they will undoubtedly say that our Cavalry is the strength of the Unicorn, but I believe our greatest asset is our compassion; the very compassion that led Lady Shinjo, and Lady Shinjo alone, to confront her fallen brother at the time of the nine Kami in an effort to reconcile with him. That the others told her of the futility of her efforts did nothing to sway her, and though failure seemed certain, still she pressed on. That loyalty to her brother, that striving sense of duty to struggle on in the face of such overwhelming adversity is the true legacy of the Unicorn. We do not judge others because of their circumstances. That is what Bushido means to me; it means giving everybody the chance to be great, for greatness lies in everybody. We are more than just an empire of samurai, we are an empire of people. Bushido is not a thing people practice. No, Bushido IS the people. The people I serve, the people I protect, the people I love, the people I do not yet know, they are all Bushido. They are my strength, and I would do anything to protect them from the evils of this world.

Shinjo Kuriko

Torii no Meido CrankyPelican