Akeno (Ah-Kay-Noh) is a ronin shugenja with an affinity to horses.
|Character Quick Facts|
|Weapon of choice||Bo|
|Current Location||Black Lotus Camp|
Physical Description and Personality
Twenty years of age, average Silverstari height with the athletic build of an experienced horseman. Dark eyes, black hair (usually at least a little windblown and wild) that falls below the shoulder, and a closely trimmed moustache.
Akeno usually comes across as quiet and serious in social situations, smiling rarely. He is courteous and respectful, and doesn't seem to have a very developed sense of humour or sarcasm. He is also definitely a green adventurer.
His attitude changes completely when the subject is horses. Or when he's talking TO horses. Or riding. He is almost always happy and animated when doing anything related with the animals, and his smile is like the sun rising.
Akeno also has a wide streak of morality which is likely to be at odds with his current aim to improve his financial situation through adventuring, as he will almost inevitably err on the side of charity.
Born into a noble family in the Kingdom of Rei, Akeno was chosen by the kami at a young age and so was raised to learn the ways of the shugenja and the elements. His growth as a shugenja was surpassed only by his love for horses, and when he was not studying, meditating or praying he was out riding, or assisting grooms in the stables. He was fifteen by the time he had mastered simple healing techniques and was employing them to aid the recovery of injured horses, a practise that raised the clientele of the stable by a substantial degree once word got around.
That same year, a powerful Rei samurai lord en route to the capital brought in his prized war stallion. He had heard of the stable's good reputation while passing through, and put his horse into Akeno's sole and personal care. The stallion had been wounded in a skirmish, and while his owner had used mundane skills to treat the wound it was festering and foul when Akeno removed the bandages.
During his attempts to purge the sickened flesh, something went wrong. The horse's situation worsened. It became visibly distressed and ill for several seconds before it collapsed and died thrashing before the horrified boy's eyes.
It was deathly quiet after the golden stallion expired. Even the other horses were mute, as though stricken dumb. I don't know how long I stood there and stared, paralysed by incomprehension and disbelief. It had happened so quickly. What had I done wrong? What spirits had I displeased? Over and over I tried to make sense of it, but I could not.
An uncontrollable shaking invaded my limbs. I had killed the Rei lord's prize stallion. He would have my head. He would demand my life of the daimyo as recompense, and it was widely known that mercy was not one of the Rei king's virtues.
With hands that trembled despite my best efforts at calm, I took the wakizashi from my sash, complete with its saya , and lay the sheathed weapon by the dead stallion. My honour, forfeit.
I found a saddle unmarked by kingdom brands and chose the horse I judged to be the most swift and sure-footed. The gelding was one I had treated for the past week and was now awaiting its master to reclaim it, and it was familiar with me. Nevertheless, it took longer than usual to see to all the straps and buckles with my fingers shaking as they were. I had less difficulty leading the animal outside and riding it sedately through the streets. None who knew me and saw me remarked, as it was common for me or another at the stable to test a horse's paces to ensure it had fully recovered.
Once outside the city proper, I jogged the gelding into a trot, then a canter. As soon as I reached the first road that cut north towards the mountains, the canter became a full gallop. I left behind everything and everyone I knew. I had no idea how I would survive, but it would have to be for longer than if I'd remained.
I didn't want to die.
While travelling through the mountains, Akeno was found by a peasant girl, Mei Feng, who led him to the Black Lotus encampment and sponsored him. As a shugenja he was able to continue to follow his religion at the temple.
It was a few months shy of five years before he summoned the courage to start working with injured horses again, largely due to a lucky hand of cards with Keneng.
- Bo - Akeno's wooden staff is professionally crafted and perfectly balanced. There are shallow tracings for almost a quarter of its length on either side, like flowering vines. Akeno can sometimes be seen picking at the staff with his dagger, adding to the design.
- Bracers - Not easily seen beneath the sleeves of his robes, but when visible they are black lacquered creations with imprints that bear the remains of gold-leaf etchings.
- Kimono - When not hidden by the Shiftweave, Akeno's kimono is a plain-looking garment of dark blue, with faint patterns suggesting waves. Closer inspection would reveal the waves crest into shapes resembling equine heads. The weave is quite stiff, refusing to blow much even in a high wind.
- Obi - Akeno's obi is enchanted with healing properties to bolster his own skills.
- Ring - The only jewelry he wears, on the forefinger of his right hand. It bears a minor enchantment of protection.
- Shiftweave - Akeno possesses an enchanted shirt that changes the appearance of his kimono to a number of different outfits. He commonly alternates between riding clothes, simple shugenja robes and stable-working garments, all of which are quite non-descript and functional. While at the temple for the Bonding ritual, however, he shifted to a magnificent kimono that started a deep russet at the hem and shaded up to a silky gold, sashed by a black obi. Black silhouettes of horses decorated the breast and shoulder, looking like a herd cantering proudly through sunlit fields.
- Female Slaves - Kidding! Kidding!
Keneng - She thinks him something of a lucky charm due to a card game that went in Akeno's favour. Considering his past Akeno has doubts about how lucky he is, but Keneng's good-fortune moods are infectious and that one hand ended up with them becoming business partners in a stable venture. Akeno can't quite figure her out, but never forgets that his life at the camp took a more positive turn thanks to her.
Kyune - Akeno is aquainted with the flower spirit and respectul of her as any shugenja would be, but would not claim to know her well. The two of them have established a mutual bond and he will protect her as best he can in exchange. The kami will occasionally do or say something that reminds him sharply of how different they are from each other.
Mei Feng - She must have been nine years old when she found Akeno wandering in the mountains with his stolen horse, mere days after fleeing home. The girl led him to the Black Lotus camp and his new life, vouching for him to join the ronin. After He and Keneng established their stable, Mei Feng became a semi-regular worker there and often slept in a private area of the loft. She is another woman he owes quite a bit to.
Kei and Eira - Distantly related to Keneng? Cousins? She calls them 'Noisy' and 'Loud', but Akeno can't figure out which is which. They are indeed loud, not to mention disrespectful and uncouth. They don't seem to care about how they are viewed by others, which is baffling and not at all Silverstari. At least Eira cares for her horse—which is not only a truly magnificent animal, but much more well-mannered than his mistress.
Fu - Akeno's horse is a light-brown gelding with darker stripes across its hindquarters. It is fairly unremarkable in appearance, but while not large its size and bearing indicate it was trained for war. It looks fit and well cared for. Akeno stole Fu when he fled his home.