L5R 1st Edition - Daidoji Takako
Takako is a Daidoji Crane, whose mother (a Hida Crab—Hida Yuukiko) entered into an arranged marriage with her Daidoji father (Daidoji Ichiro). Both of her parents are sensei at a prestigious Daidoji dojo in the southern Crane lands. Her mother is a resident sensei, offering training in Crab tactics to students, and often intimidating to those who don't know her. Takako is a bushi of the Daidoji bodyguard school of teaching, about 20 years old, and was trained at the same dojo that her parents teach at.
Her mother and father are both proud of her, seeing her as the perfect combination of Crab and Daidoji attitude. Her father is happy to bring her strength into the family, and her mother was simply relieved that she's managed to produce a child worthy of the Crab despite having come to the Crane (Yuukiko was a bit annoyed that she'd had to marry a Crane, even an Iron Crane... slowly, however, she grew to love her husband and child, and learned to respect the Daidoji for their differences—she still doesn't get along very well with other Crane families, however, and goes out of her way to terrorize Kakita and Doji children that visit her dojo).
Takako is very tall for a Rokugani woman, near to 5'10, though still a hair shorter than her mother. She has a firm Crab build, broad across theshoulders, and anyone who sees her would mistake her for nothing other than someone used to running around in armor, carrying heavy metal and wooden implements of destruction. Her hair is long, with a grey streak dyed in above her brow. She keeps her hair braided, with a ribbon braided in, and loops it up to tie at the base of her neck.
Her armor is the grey and light blue of the Crane, but with dark blue and red Crab accents and lacings. The Daidoji mon is emblazoned on her chest to protect her, while the Hida mon is carved into her greaves to help guide her might. Her eyes look black, but upon close inspection, contain silvery grey flecks; she often affects a stern, steely expression, but it softens easily. The katana at her hip is a simple, utilitarian one, given to her by her Crab relatives, and blessed by her father's mother, Asahina Sachiko, a quiet shugenja. Her naginata, on the other hand, is a bit more flashy, and much more often used. It trails three ribbons from the base of the blade—a white one of purity, a red and grey one for the Hida, and a blue and grey one for the Daidoji. The names of her ancestors for several generations are carved lightly into the staff, with her great great great great great great great great great grandfather's at the very base of the blade, Daidoji Yoshinoko, the original owner of the weapon. Her own name was only recently added, and her soul sings to see it there below her grandfather's.
I chose the Iron Cranes because they are outcasts, protector-warriors in a clan of courtiers, but they're secure in that protector role, and close to the pragmatic Crab clan.
Her main motivations : caregiving, protectiveness and the drive to protect. She identifies closely with the hawk of her name, a fierce bird that protects its young as vehemently as it kills.
Person she trusts most : her uncle on her mother's side, Hida Tsuyo, who is stationed on the Wall, but corresponds with her by letter often. He often visited their family when she was little, and has taken her on tours of the Wall without her parents' knowledge twice. She idolizes him for his strength and devotion to his duty as a protector of Rokugan, and sees him as the ultimate samurai. She idealizes his duty on the wall, seeing it as the definition of protection to be protecting their country. She prays to her Hida ancestors daily that when she leaves this world, it be defending the Wall from destruction. It was also from this unlikely source that she learned the art of origami—her uncle showed her how to fold small paper animals and oni, and would lay out miniature battles for her amusement as a girl.
She dreams of marrying a Crab samurai someday, someone like her uncle, with a stern exterior and gentle nature. She promises her ancestors that her children would marry back into the Daidoji, but often prays that she be allowed to join the Clan that she idealizes more than the one of her name, in her heart. She is however, currently unmarried, and has no children.
When Takako was a girl, her father's antique tanto fascinated her. It had cranes delicately inlaid in mother of pearl into the hilt, and the Daidoji mon carved in tiny detail. One day, when going into the city with her uncle on one of his visits, she was overcome with the desire to carry it, and "borrowed" it in secret. She felt wonderful with it at her side, cradled in the warmth of her ancestors' spirits. That is, until a street boy knocked her down as he ran past, and managed to steal it from her and run away. She bolted to an alley and put her arms against the wall, tears streaming down her face. Her uncle finally got her to calm down and tell him what had happened, then touched her face and told her not to worry. Leading her deep into the city, he brought her to a Asahina shugenja of his acquaintance (he wouldn't tell her how he knew the man). Calling in some mysterious favor, Tsuyo had the shugenja magically form another tanto into the exact image of the one that had been stolen. Tsuyo never told her parents what had happened, but Takako worries that someday the deception will be uncovered. She spent weeks that summer searching for the boy that had stolen the tanto, but he was not to be found, almost as if he'd never existed.
Her strengths and weaknesses : she has a great capability for self-sacrifice, but it partially stems from a lack of confidence in her own abilities and worth. She sees others as more important than herself, resulting in her passion to protect them even at cost to her. The letter of bushido, to Takako, is a guide for those who don't know their own way, and a support for those who do. Those secure in their own honor don't need a strict code of laws to guide them—their own heart should steer them the right way.
Takako sees her fellow Cranes (the non-Daidoji) as well-meaning but short-sighted children, in need of care. She's certain that they're doing something important for the country, but doesn't often understand what exactly it is that they're doing. Politics, they call it, but she decided long ago to let them do what they wanted and to simply ensure that they weren't knifed in the back while they were doing it. She carries that attitude further than where politics are concerned; she's a little shy, and often lets others speak until she's certain where she stands with the others around her.
She's very prejudiced against members of the Lion clan. She sees them as bullies, contemptible for their misuse of their strength. She won't tolerate bullying, and responds deeply to stories and thoughts of protection (especially ones with Lions in the villains's role). To Takako, Dragon are quiet, Phoenix are mysterious, the Unicorn oddities, Crab are protectors, Crane tend towards childishness, and the Scorpion are completely untrustworthy.
She feels that she owes the most loyalty to the Daidoji sensei who undertook most of her training—her father's sister, Daidoji Mamoko. Mamoko often took advice from both Takako's parents and her uncle, and Takako is intensely grateful to the woman for having funneled her the best of both Crab and Crane worlds, and for allowing her to train with her parents and uncle as well.
In the end, Takako wants to become a sensei as respected as her own teachers. Perhaps, she sometimes thinks, she could even start her own school, and have students travel from all over to learn from her, the most famous and respected Daidoji sensei ever (okay, sometimes she gets a little carried away). Regardless, she hopes someday to be considered worth of an appointment to a dojo. Takako's most prized possession is a ribbon her uncle wove for her. It has an abstract pattern, woven through with shades of both Crane and Crab blues and greys, edged with dark Crab blue and red, and with Crane white detail. He had it blessed by a Kuni witch-hunter, he told her, and she believes that should she ever be in danger, her ancestors from both clans would see the ribbon and come to her aid. It's what knots the bottom of her braid to the top, tying in to its own beginning, and it tints color to her dark hair.
She holds an intense belief in ancestors and ghosts, and feels that her family watches over her constantly. She believes in the gods, and is faithful about rituals to appease both them and both sides of her family. She despises mushrooms, and will go to any lengths to pick them (unobtrusively) out of her food. She often cracks her knuckles, despite her father admonishing her that it does her hands no good.
As for the peasants, she sees them as Rokugani as well, to be protected at all costs. Her ancestors were given the job of protecting the people from all manner of ill, and she feels there is no greater call than to continue their work. She has a habit of thinking of them as children, to be guided, protected, and punished as such.
What I would say to her—There's more out there than the past, girl, and it may not be just your ancestors that are looking at you. Pay attention to the forces of the present and the spirits around you.