Blood of the Empire
Ashida is a beautiful courtier and merchant of the Crab Clan. Her family languishes under Daikoku's curse, and the driven young woman seeks a way to appease the Fortune before it is too late.
School/Rank: Yasuki Courtier 2 (Insight Rank 3)
Honor: 3.7 Glory: 3.3 Status: 1.0 Infamy: 0.3
Skills: Calligraphy 1, Commerce (Appraisal) 4, Courtier 3, Craft: Farming 1, Defense 1, Etiquette 2, Intimidation 2, Investigation 1, Lore: Shadowlands 1, Medicine 1, Sincerity (Deceit) 2, Tea Ceremony 1, Temptation 2
Advantages: Dangerous Beauty, Hero of the People, Languages (Mekhem, Rokugani Sign), Servant (Ozaru)
Disadvantages: Daikoku’s Curse, Driven (break Daikoku’s curse), Fascination (pageantry)
Spent Exp: 167
Unspent Exp: 0
Possessions: Calligraphy set, dairy of Yasuki Noroi, extravagant gaijin necklace, extravagant kimono, knife, traditional clothing, traveling pack, wakizashi, 12 koku, 3 bu, 5 zeni.
Ashida is poised and confident, with all the demure grace expected of a lady of the court. She is extremely devout and always has a charming smile on her face.
Ashida’s family has been cursed by Daikoku ever since her paternal great-grandfather, Yasuki Noroi, attempted to swindle the Daidoji family Daimyo over the shipping of raw materials from Crab lands. He believed he was getting the better end of the deal, but his greed caused the construction of a temple to Daikoku to be canceled. The fortune’s anger caused much of Noroi and his descendant’s financial ventures to fail utterly, a disastrous fate for those among the Yasuki family. Ashida’s family has fallen from prominence as each generation has failed to placate Daikoku’s wrath. Now at the brink of disappearing, Ashida and her father are the last of her family.
Ashida grew up the youngest daughter of Yasuki Masato and Yasuki Chikako. Her family was poor but still retained some of its former prestige. Her father had managed to gain some acclaim as an artisan, and Ashida often accompanied him on his trips to the courts of noble lords. She chaffed under the protectiveness of her two older brothers, Sadao and Tsutomi, and grew into a willful young woman.
It was during the winter of her 13th year when Ashida met the young scion of a prestigious branch of the Yasuki family, Hiroki, and the two fell madly in love as only teenagers can. Unfortunately, at the end of the winter season Hiroki was sent to study with the Crane and Ashida returned home with her father.
Masato believed that Daikoku’s curse could not be lifted and the only way for her to achieve prominence for herself was to abandon the family’s traditional role as merchants and pursue other endeavors. He had encouraged his sons to do the same. Sadao inherited his mother’s gift of speaking to the kami and took the Kuni name while Tsutomi trained amongst the Kaiu. Ashida, however, would not be dissuaded. She was drawn to social interaction and the pageantry of court settings and her willful nature refused to accept her father’s conclusion that their family was destined to remain cursed. She studied with her father, but never showed much lasting interest in artistic pursuits. Eventually her father relented and sent her to study amongst the Yasuki merchants where she excelled. Her quick wit and determination, along with a keen social insight allowed her to manipulate her peers and engage in ruthless economic warfare that consistently left her the last woman standing. Her methods made her few friends but impressed her sensei, and she was allowed to pass her gempukku in only a few short years.
From a young age Ashida felt drawn to the stories of her ancestors, especially Noroi, and possess a Lion-like devotion to them. Upon her gempukku her father presented her with a scroll containing the dairy of Noroi, claiming that if she were to attempt to undo his mistakes she must learn from them. She reads it religiously and believes she can now feel his spirit answering her prayers. She takes this as a sign that she is destined to be the one to free her family from Daikoku’s unjust wrath.
1. What clan does your character belong to?
Yasuki Ashida belongs to the Crab Clan.
2. How would others describe your character’s appearance?
Ashida is an extremely beautiful woman who dresses in simple but well-kept clothes. She dresses to the best of her ability, trying to hide that her family is quite poor and, in part because she cannot afford it, she does not dress in a manner that overly emphasizes her beauty and instead gives the impression that she is unaware of it.
3. Is your character a bushi, shegenja, monk, or courtier?
Ashida is a courtier. She was trained in the traditional techniques of her family, which gives her a significant understanding of mercantilism as well as a keen understanding of human nature. She is naturally talented at both aspects of her training, yet like the rest of her immediate family, she has great difficulty bringing any of her mercantile efforts to fruition.
4. What family does your character belong to?
Ashida belongs to the Yasuki family. Her family branch is one of the oldest in the Yasuki family but for the past several generations her family has languished under the curse of Daikoku. She is among the last of her family branch, and fears she will see the end of her line in her lifetime.
5. What is your character’s main motivation?
Ashida is obsessed with breaking Daikoku’s curse on her family. She views the Fortune’s displeasure as unjust, and feels her own potential has been greatly inhibited solely due to the influence of a celestial agency. She would be willing to do just about anything to restore her family to prominence, but does she have the piety to earn Daikoku’s forgiveness?
6. Who is the person your character trusts most?
Ashida has the closest relationship with her brother Tsutomi who is six years older than her. They share much in common as they both take more after their father than mother. While she resented his protectiveness as a younger woman, the two grew extremely close when he left to study amongst the Kaiu.
7. What is your character’s greatest strength? Greatest weakness?
Ashida’s greatest strength is her intelligence. She has inherited the craftiness of the Yasuki in spades and is ambitious and determined enough to put it to use solving problems. She is creative, fearless, and observant and examines obstacles from multiple angles before deciding on a course of action. Her greatest weakness is her selfishness. She grew up the youngest daughter of a doting father and with her beauty became accustomed to men being eager to please her. Her mother retired while she was very young and was raised by servants whom she could command. She accepts very little authority as legitimate, and although she would be quick to pledge her life and honor to her lord and the Empress… it is an interesting question if she truly believes she owes them her service.
8. What does your character think of Bushido?
Ashida believes that Bushido is what separates humans from beasts. While she is too practical and ambitious to live its principles at all times, she strongly believes civilized people should at least maintain the appearance that they do.
9. What is your character’s opinion of her own clan?
Ashida believes that the Crab are the backbone of the empire. She reflexively (and perhaps naively) respects Crab samurai out of a sense of loyalty to her clan and the stories her father has told her. She has never seen the horrors other Crab experience, but she knows of them and she believes that gives her an understand the rest of the Empire lacks. She has a great deal of respect for the Kaiu as her family also studies engineering and construction but finds them overly stuffy and with little imagination outside their specialization. She finds the Kuni ugly (both in appearance and method), but understands and respects their practical purpose.
10. Is your character married?
Ashida is currently unmarried, and her father hopes that she will distinguish herself enough to attract a match that will ensure the future of the family. Ashida herself hopes that she can live up to her father’s hopes.
11. Does your character have any prejudices?
Ashida carries the typical Rokuganni prejudices toward gaijin and a personal bias against those that are ugly or lazy. She is also slightly resentful towards extremely fortunate samurai who have not had to struggle with hardship of any kind.
12. To whom does your character owe the most loyalty?
Ashida owes the most loyalty to her father first, and her brothers second. She was not particularly close with her mother since she retired when Ashida was so young.
13. What are your character’s favorite and least favorite things?
Ashida’s favorite things are things that blend the line between performance and ritual and have lots of color. Plays, festivals, court are examples. Her least favorite things are physical games like kemari, as she appreciates the expression of the mind and spirit over the physical.
14. Does your character have any recurring mannerisms?
Ashida tends to speak with her hands when excited. This is in part because she finds the motion adds additional drama to her words, and in the case of men, many male samurai find her wrists attractive.
15. What about your character’s emotions?
Ashida has difficulty controlling her resentment towards those who abuse their power over others. This probably stems from her resentment toward Daikoku, but she sees it as an extension of her devotion to Compassion. She can be quite fiery (by Rokugani standards) when roused, and is unafraid to act on her displeasure. She can also become very excited by pageants and festivals, becoming very much like a young girl.
16. How would your character handle a subordinates improper behavior?
Ashida would tend to be very forgiving of those from the lower classes, because she has very little true respect for them. They do not understand Bushido, and thus are not truly civilized and thus not truly people. She would be very harsh on samurai who fail to behave according to Bushido because they should know better. While her actions would be motivated by an honest compassion for the circumstances of others, she cares less about the other person than she does about the principles which govern their lives.
17. How would your character’s parents describe her?
Ashida’s father dotes on his daughter and is quite proud of her. He hopes she will accomplish great things, but also longs for her happiness. He encouraged her to take up studies beyond the Yasuki’s traditional mastery of commerce for he does not believe the family can survive in that field. Ashida’s mother retired when she was 4. There was little love between the parents, and she viewed giving birth to Ashida as a duty.
18. What is your character’s highest ambition?
Ashida wishes to achieve an appointment in the Imperial Court. She believes she is more capable than her peers and would love the environment. Her family is no where near distinguished enough and has little in the way of political influence/contacts. She knows her dream is lofty, but she believes she can succeed.
19. How religious is your character?
Ashida is outwardly devout, but privately her resentment toward Daikoku spills over to a belief that the Fortunes are uncaring beings who meddle in the affairs of mortals without justice or purpose. She does not deny their power or existence, but believes she would be better off without their influence over her life. Toward her ancestors, however, Ashida is sincerely devout. She often dreams of her ancestors and often prays to them for guidance.
20. If you could, what advice would you give your character?
I would give her the advice that her resentment toward the fortunes is tantamount to resentment toward the celestial order, which is blasphemous and runs counter to her belief in Bushido. I would advice her to seek peace in the matter, and to get over herself and accept the guidance of monks.