"Ser" (Bayushi) Nasako
Feral Rokugani Samurai/Knight
Nasako is a tall woman clearly of mixed Rokugani blood. She has a feral cast to her features with larger lower canines, prominent facial bones, and more claw like fingers. Her skin tone is reddish brown and her hair is a dark black that shows hints of purple. Her feral features lend her a strangely dangerous but exotic beauty.
She dresses in customized hide armor that includes lacquered wood in the samurai style. She wears a stylized horned samurai helmet with a half-mask that folds down over her eyes and nose. She keeps the mask part of the helm up to leave her face uncovered while in town or when interacting with Westerners. She carries a very large Katana and a Wakizashi, neither of which ever leaves her side.
Nasako seems more openly emotional than most samurai and she is quick to anger.
The story of the origins of “Ser” Nasako begins years before her birth with the ascension of two great men to positions of power in the Empress’s court. These two men, Isawa Nonami and Bayushi Jakuchu, were instrumental in shaping the circumstances that sculpted Nasoko’s childhood. Nonami as the powerful seer whose prophecies foretold the importance of Nasako and Jakuchu as the master duelist who raised and trained her.
Isawa Nonami was a secret prophet of unsurpassed power whom the Pheonix Clan had discovered as a boy and kept hidden away in a monastery. Nonami possessed the unique talent of not only being able to manipulate the Void as a shugenja but also to be able to see through the void into the future. Nonami ‘s existence was discovered by Scorpion Clan spies and he was summoned to the Imperial Court to serve as a seer and prophet for the Empress. Nonami was lavished with the luxuries of life at court and though, the young man soon grew decadent and gluttonous in his ways, his prophecies remained unerringly accurate.
Bayushi Jakuchu was born a second son, lacking in the dishonorable ruthlessness that characterizes the Scorpion Clan. Jakuchu was an honorable soul and was driven to prove himself a true samurai and to become the greatest swordsman and duelist in Rokugan. He had many successful adventures with an intrepid band of heroes and rose to power within his clan following these accomplishments. Jakuchu was tasked by his clan with founding and perfecting a new Scorpion Dueling Technique. Frustrated by the continued constraints to his honor of working within his clan Jakuchu maneuvered to be granted greater autonomy for himself and his household to form a more classically “honorable” corps of Scorpion Duelists.
Jakuchu was successful in perfecting his swordsmanship and began entering tournaments and became a fixture at the Imperial Court as a great duelist. Jakuchu remained undefeated as a duelist and his fame increased. He won many tournaments but in the Great Tournaments (those that were held to determine important ranks, titles, and positions) he always withdrew from the competitions (as ordered by his clan). Eventually the Empress took note of this fact and called together the Champions and notable duelists of the realm (each of which had been beaten at some point by Jakuchu in Iajitsu duels, many of them informal). A consensus was reached amongst the Empress and the various Champions that Jakuchu was the finest swordsman and duelist in Rokugan; though he continued to reject opportunities to win recognition as a Champion. After saving the life of the Imperial Heir, the Empress ordered Jakuchu to establish an Imperial dueling school. Jakuchu founded a dojo and soon withdrew from adventuring to focus exclusively on this project.
When the mysterious Cataclysmic event that sundered the sea between Rokugan and New Rokugan occurred the prophet Isawa Nonami entered into his deepest Void Trance yet and foretold a “convergence of the Void” and a “gathering of fate” at a yet-to-be-founded settlement with the Gaijin name of “Border Town”. Secondary to this prophecy Nonami foretold that a hero and Champion of the Kami had been born and had been cast into the Shadowlands by the power of the mysterious cataclysm. The strength of Nonami’s vision through the Void drove him mad and he became unable to retain an adequate link to the Void.
The call arose for noteworthy samurai around the Empire to follow the cryptic instructions of Nonami’s final prophecy and rescue this newborn “hero” from the Shadowlands before the taint of evil clamed him. Bayushi Jakuchu was unwillingly forced to join the hunt and so he ventured once again into the dreaded Shadowlands, masking his fear and paranoia with a near-suicidal recklessness. But luck smiled on Jakuchu as it had time and again and he had the honor of finding the prophesied child.
Jakuchu found her secreted in a mysterious box, marked strange runes that seemed to tell an important tale. He carried her from the Shadowlands before smashing the box to splinters with his magical sword (Jakuchu insisted to all who inquired that the box was “damn scary” and had been looking at him funny). While many had fought for the honor of raising the child, such enthusiasm dissipated when the Court gazed in horror upon the child for she not only part Gaijin but also clearly marked as not entirely human by small but vicious tusks and a reddish tint to her skin. The child was examined by Kuni Witchhunters, Pheonix Sages, and the Shosuro but none were able to detect any sign of the taint within the infant. When none would take the child the Empress commanded that Jakuchu take her to be raised within his household that he might keep an eye on her.
Reluctantly, Jakuchu took the child into his household and, after naming her Nasako, he gave her to the care of his great nephew- claiming he was too old to raise a child. Nasako was unwanted by this family and shunned by adults and peers alike and so she was mostly raised by the serving staff at the dojo. Jakuchu (being a man of exceeding paranoia) had Nasako secretly but closely watched. Nasako’s lonely childhood was often interrupted by shugenjas jumping out of the shadows and casting Jade Strike on her (in an attempt to smite any evil that may exist within her monstrous form).
Nasako took refuge from the drudgery of servitude and the her bitter ostracism by spying on the dueling classes at the dojo and practicing in secret. Jakuchu had continued to monitor her for signs of evil and was growing fond of her despite himself- especially once he noticed her innate talent for the sword. Nasako fought with a passionate rage unknown in Rokugan. Jakuchu began to train Nasako in secret and gradually entered more and more into her life. He commanded her proper integration into the household and insisted that she be allowed to attend his classes and that she be referred to as a Bayushi- her right per being adopted by a ranking samurai of the Clan. Over time Jakuchu taught Nasako to channel her rage and temper it into a cold hard clarity of passion.
Though Jakuchu was increasing crotchety as he aged, he also began to withdraw from active dueling (though he still remained undefeated). Despite this he became a popular fixture at Court and remained a favorite of the Empress (whose children all had trained with Jakuchu). Even with his influence and stature Jakuchu was reprimanded when he entered Nasako into an Imperial tournament for newly-of-age bushi. Nasako was banned from competing due to her appearance and a furious Jakuchu refused to attend the tournament that his star pupil had been barred from.
Nasako, however, refused to accept the mandate that she not compete. She dressed herself in heavy, form concealing armor and wore a helmet with a full mask, hiding her appearance entirely. She enrolled herself in the tournament as a ronin and demolished her competition- winning the tournament. Unfortunately she was commanded to remove her mask that the Empress might acknowledge her victor. Enraged at Nasako’s disobedience the Empress exiled Nasako from Rokugan proper and Nasako was sent to journey through Gaijin lands and reclaim her honor in battle.
Nasako accepted this challenge and angrily left Rokugan behind, enraged at their rejection of her. Nasako journeyed far into Gaijin lands where she found her appearance continued to startle and so she was driven to living mostly in the wilderness. Eventually Nasako ended up in the feudal western kingdom of Galles. Galles is a large kingdom made up of loosely allied warring lords and knights. It has a tumultuous relationship with the more powerful kingdom of Othonia.
Nasako found herself fascinated by the knights of Galles and their ideals of Chivalry. She found herself integrating the honor codes of Bushido and Chivalry into her own unique set of principles. Nasako believed that as a warrior it was her duty to protect the weak- the peasants, smallfolk, and ostracized loners that so reminded her of her own lonely childhood. So she began secretly hunting bandits and protecting villages, even going so far as to quietly hunt down the knights and lords whom she perceived as evil.
Eventually, of course, Nasako was discovered and thrust into the public eye. Panicked, Nasako expected the rejection she was accustomed to and attempted to flee. But much to her surprise the men of Galles referred to her as beautiful and many knights sought to woo her into marriage. Looking into a mirror for the first time in years, Nasako saw that her once monstrous visage and form had grown into a disturbingly exotic beauty. Nasako remained uninterested in the advances of suitors, however, and continued to strive to uphold her ideal of knighthood despite being a woman. Eventually, against the custom of Galles, she was knighted for her valor as the first woman knight of the realm of Galles.
When the nobility of Galles began to more seriously push Nasako for a betrothal, Nasako was forced to flee Galles. More specifically, to escape a particularly vile and foppish Duke by the name of Charlemund. Nasako joined a caravan of merchants and traveled with them as a guard. To her surprise, she discovered that this caravan included both Gaijin from Othonia and a Rokugani shugenja.
There were a few notable characters within the caravan. The first of which was the terribly strange Rokugani shugenja who seemed insane and went by the name of Nonami. The second notable member of the caravan was a mysterious young Gaijin merchant named Nicholai. Nonami and Nicholai were both fond of Nasako and she grew to know them well.
Nonami insisted that he be referred to as “uncle” and was constantly stalking and surprising her at the most inconvenient of times with tidbits of crazed “wisdom” or insane “quests”. He claimed to speak for the Kami and told Nasako that she was chosen by the Kami. He was a kind and mostly harmless soul who would spend days stacking rocks “to make them happy” and he seemed surpassingly fond of Nasako, acting like a doting grandfather. Though many of his visions and quests were nonsensical he seemed to have an uncanny ability to surprise everyone with occasional moments of true insight.
Nicholai also grew into a friend. He was reserved and acted as the mercantile representative of a powerful merchant in Othonia whom he refused to disclose the name of. Despite his secrets, he clearly had a kind heart and often engaged in acts of charity (and he was a passable warrior) which won him the respect of Nasako.
Nasako’s year of happiness with the caravan ended abruptly when she received a magical sending from the Imperial Court of Rokugan ordering her to seek out and find a place called “Border Town”. Nasako thought to refuse these orders but was swayed by an included message from Jakuchu urging her to accept. The message also contained an Imperial pardon. Somehow Nonami knew the details of the missive and persuaded the entire caravan to embark for the planned location of “Border Town”.
Nasako’s small caravan has only just met up with the Caravan from New Rokugan headed to Border Town and she rejoined the Rokugani contingent there (she was somewhat dismayed to find that the Rokugani also found her adult figure attractive). Many eligible bachelors amongst the different groups in camp began to court her, though always pleasantly after she ran a few suitors out of camp at sword point. Nasako was quite distressed when her most unwelcome acquaintance, Duke Charlemund, arrived in town as the lead representative of the distant kingdom of Galles. Somehow the leader of the contingent from New Rokugan, Master Phung, knows Nonami well and has taken Nasako under his wing. It seems Master Phung is an old friend of Jakuchu and he has hinted that he still has some form of communication with Jakuchu (possibly the only semi-solid form of communication back to Rokugan proper), though he refuses to disclose the specifics.
Nasako has few friends in the caravan. She relates most strongly to the Rokugani and secondly to those knights of Galles who are not fond of their evil Duke. The only people she counts on as friends are the mad shugenja Nonami and the increasingly mysterious but kind merchant Nicholai. She is also growing more attached to Master Phung.
Nasako has resigned herself to proving her mettle once again within a society of sorts. She wishes to prove herself as an honorable warrior and seeks to protect the downtrodden. As the caravan draws closer and closer to Border Town Nasako has felt charged with unusual energy and a nagging sense of purpose and belonging which bothers her to no small extent. Nasako finds herself seeing Kami out of the corners of her eyes and they surround her blade and her armor in times of conflict. She is deeply unsettled by this but at the same time feels deep reverence for and connection with these nature spirits.