This is Sanyo news! The warmth of summer has just arrived, the odd chill that was spring is now gone! We got some strange news for you rumor mongers though. It seems that there is a cherry blossom tree atop the Bubble. All attempts to have it taken down seem to have failed. For now it still seems to be under investigation.
Basics Full Name: Ren Fujiwara Nickname(s): N/A Age, D.O.B.: 43, April 1 Gender: Male Class: Devil Summoner Arcana: Temperance Grade/Career: Owner & Manager of Kitsune no Yomeiri Ethnicity: Japanese Family:
Ryosuke Fujiwara (father, deceased)
Fumiko Fujiwara née Yukimura (mother, deceased)
Claire Fujiwara née Landau (ex-wife, 45)
Takahiro Fujiwara (older brother, deceased)
Shirou Fujiwara (younger brother, 37)
Itsuki Fujiwara (son, 23)
Noa Fujiwara (daughter, 23)
Chiyuki Fujiwara (daughter, 17)
Souji Fujiwara (nephew, 19)
Appearance Face Claim: Kasen Kanesada, Touken Ranbu
Ren admittedly looks much younger than his age would suggest, which seems to be a common trend in the Fujiwara family genetics. Whether this is purely genetics, or even has something to do with the more supernatural properties they've long been involved with, would be hard to discern. Either way, he retains a general outlook on life as youthful as his appearance, and tends to wear a relaxed smile, his facial features soft and delicately defined, almost doll-like. Slightly wavy, long purple hair often falls around his face, one strand swept back often being particularly unruly.
He usually wears more traditional Japanese clothing, a product of his upbringing and what has thus become most familiar and comfortable to him. When he dons more standard, modern clothing, it's usually simple and ranging anything from v-necked shirts, straight-legged pants and blazers, to sweats.
Personality Likes: Flowers, foxes, sunshowers, bubble tea, ikebana, inarizushi. Dislikes: Keeping secrets, anything that would threaten his family, having to put in more effort than he initially anticipated. Hobbies: Tending to the shop, visiting temples and shrines, ikebana, going to festivals. Goals: To ensure the happiness and safety of his family.
Gentle-spirited and soft-spoken, Ren has always been a kind soul, albeit a little oblivious at times. Nevertheless, he genuinely cares for others, and is generally decent at picking up on the feelings of people around him for better or worse - though he has at times ignored this and chosen to try to remain ignorant, or not dig deeper, to protect himself or others.
Though he at times displays a sharp wit, there are others at which he seems to blithely forget both the simplest and most onerous of details. Though friendly and agreeable, and not exactly socially awkward, certain conversations have a tendency to go right over his head, and potentially make a situation awkward.
Normally relaxed sometimes to the point of being called lazy, if anything threatens his family, he can become as cold and sharp as a blade, and will not yield until the threat is dealt with to one end or another.
History The Fujiwara name is an old one, and this particular branch has always had a peculiarity to it, and a penchant for trouble. It is said in olden times they sold many herbal remedies in their native homelands, and that the eldest sons would go on journeys across the land to expand their knowledge and sell their wares. In those times, however, there were also whispers that the medicine sellers were 'spirit-touched'; that they possessed an ethereal quality that sometimes invited bounty and abundance, and other times ill misfortune.
Whatever the truth behind these rumors might have been, the Fujiwara in more decades settled in Asahikawa, and opened a simple flower shop, 'Kitsune no Yomeiri' (The Kitsune's Wedding, a folkloric name for a sunshower). It was here and to this life Ren was born, the second son of Ryosuke and Fumiko. Theirs was an arranged, but happy marriage - Ryosuke was the heir to the Fujiwara legacy, and Fumiko's was an equally old bloodline of similar stock; a small but well-off family, steeped in tradition. Ren's older brother, Takahiro, was likewise often called such, 'the heir to the Fujiwara legacy', a title the younger boy couldn't quite comprehend. Traditional and a bit strict and secluded at times, yes, but for the most part, theirs was a simple and ordinary lifestyle. There was nothing extraordinary about the school they went to, they went grocery shopping on the weekends with their mother, sometimes visited the park to play. Apart from the flower shop and their small estate, there wasn't anything he could understand that required such a stuffy title, except for the case of tradition.
Yet the title was only words, the thing that most perplexed him about it were the even stricter lessons his father demanded of his brother. Often, these were private things not even he or his mother were allowed audience to. His father and Takahiro would go into the mountains for what Ryosuke called 'training', but in Ren's juvenile mind, he was simply being left behind for father-son camping trips, or at the very least, something special. Instead he had to sit at home with his mother and new baby brother, Shirou, and all Shirou did was poop and drool. On the other hand, his mother taught him her own beloved past-time; ikebana. If nothing else, Ren had a deep and profound love for the flowers his family grew and sold, and for the art of flower arrangement his mother taught him. It took his focus, and gave him a sense of peace. Meanwhile though, Takahiro always returned from the camping trips looking tired, but exhilarated just the same, with a gleam in his eyes and a skip in his step he would tell Ren 'It's me and dad's secret.'
Ren was seven when his brother died. The elder boy had gone off into the mountains alone after an argument with their father, and went missing for days. After a week, the search parties brought him back cold. Despite the overwhelming grief in their family, Fumiko did everything in her power to shield Ren and Shirou from the rumors that began to circulate town in whispers; that the oldest Fujiwara boy had been mutilated by some beast in the mountains. A bear maybe? Others argued it didn't look like any creature native to these parts. Hunters began sending regular parties out searching for whatever might have been behind it, but found nothing out of the ordinary.
The family spent a year in grief, before Ryosuke turned his attention on Ren. Always a stoic and taciturn man, there was something far more grim about his father now. Late one night he took Ren into the mountains - it was to be a secret from mother, if she knew, after all, she would have raised hell. Ren, though fearful, tried his best to trust in his father, and when he quietly questioned about the dangers of the mountains he'd heard in whispers Ryosuke told him only that his brother had made a foolish mistake. Something in those words ran bitter cold through Ren's heart, and his voice fell silent under the clouded dark skies.
He still does not quite remember what happened that night. Part of him, after all these years, believes he never will because some subconscious part of him knows better - knows he should never remember. But since that night his life was forever altered. What he does remember is all in flashes: a nondescript clearing in the woods (they probably camped here), the sound of distant screams? howls? (foxes, lots of them, but not normal. foxes don't laugh like that.) His fathers hand slips away, is gone. There is something like pain for a moment, sharp and myriad, at his throat. It's wet, and it burns. Then comes cold. Then the moon peaking between clouds - though he was sure the night had been moonless.
He's had years to reflect on it, try to assign meaning to it, or deny what could have been. What he remembers clearly, though, is waking a week later in the hospital, his mother pale and underfed beside him crying tears of joy and relief. Bandages around his neck told a story, but he didn't want to hear it, and the doctors chalked it up to trauma. In the blur of it all, a story was laid-out around him: He had snuck out in the middle of the night, desperately sad and missing his brother he went into the mountains. Fortunately, his father had noticed him missing and went out to search for him, not bothering to wake and worry his wife as he didn't think he could have gotten far. Something attacked him in the woods, though they were still unable to determine just what. The bite marks were marred and unnatural to any native species, and so the theory was that perhaps a small wild cat of some sort, or someones exotic pet that had long run wild. In the end, the doctors declared it a miracle he survived: he had lost so much blood, and was barely clinging to life when his father had carried him in. His mother, sobbing, asked what he could have possibly been thinking, and under the steady weight of his fathers gaze, he could only apologize to her.
For several weeks, normalcy tried to re-assert itself. Fumiko hovered over both of her children almost constantly, refusing to let another tragedy strike their family. Her relationship with Ryosuke began to fray as they butted heads over talks of 'tradition' and those silly, disgusting words; 'heir to the Fujiwara legacy'. Meanwhile, Ren felt detached from the world. His younger brother attempted to draw him out of the shell he was withdrawing into, hoping that he could make up for the loss of their elder brother, but Ren proved unresponsive to Shirou's efforts. To Ren, his surroundings felt somehow sharper, more vivid, not outright painful, but uncomfortable like a pebble in ones shoe, or clothes that were just a bit too snug. He felt claustrophobic and overwhelmed, but did everything in his ability to hold it in, to keep from worrying his mother further.
As anyone can tell you, however, bottling such things up is hardly good or healthy for anyone. The increasingly negative feelings of confusion, betrayal, and uncertainty had begun to swell violently within him, drawing the attention of hungry, mischievous spirits. Late one night Ren had a nightmare of fiendish little creatures drawing him away from the comfort of his bed and the safety of his home. They pushed and pulled on his arms and legs, and his body moved as if it were nothing more than a puppet on their strings. An ice-cold terror felt as though it should have paralyzed him, but still the spirits marched him onward, through the hilly fields around his home and towards the mountain forests he'd so come to fear.
Then came a melting warmth, as a voice washed over him and drew all fear and tension away. Something like moonlight danced down around him from overhead, and the fiends screeched and fled - were they not otherwise obliterated on the spot. The world shifted, and the dark, foreboding night around Ren became something peaceful, and gently inviting. Before him a figure appeared, floating in mid-air, one leg folded idly over the other, a hand leaned against mid-air as if he were sat lazily on the engawa in the afternoon. In his other hand was a long pipe, and he drew off of it idly as he regarded Ren, the smoke trailing from his lips curling in far-too-perfect swirls to be natural. Covering the better part of his face was a kitsune's mask, and the moment Ren saw this, he knew he recognized the man - if only in a vague sort of way.
What they spoke on then in the den of dreams was of the bond they now shared. Going forward, Ren would take his place as the head of the Fujiwara family, and would be made to know the greater ways in which their clan lived and thrived over the years. Like onmyoji of lore, they cleansed the land of evil spirits with the aide of Oinari and his kitsune servants. When, in wide-eyed awe, Ren questioned if the being before him was really Inari Okami, the figure drew on his pipe again and exhaled slowly, before answering that like a kitsune, the truth had many forms. The Fujiwara had, for centuries, sacrificed and prayed to Oinari for protection, power, and guidance, and so, for all intents and purposes, Oinari he was. He spoke of myriad things that Ren would never remember straight-away, but nevertheless became engraved into his soul. Talk of the human conscious, of the things, places, and entities that overlapped and intertwined, and Ren's place in all this.
Yet as Oinari spoke, Ren slowly became increasingly aware of one thing above all: This role was originally intended for his brother, and pursuing that role, his brother was now dead. Fear and indignation began to fill the boy, but also the frightening realization that there seemed to be nothing he could do about it. In wisps of sweet-smelling smoke, the dream subsided to morning light.
At fourteen, Ryosuke's health began to decline - despite all else, his grief for the loss of his eldest son had struck him hard, and the effects of trying to perform his duties had put such stress on him as to wear his health thin. He and Fumiko, their relationship so strained for so long, united once more in their difficult decision to move to the new and upcoming city of Sanyo. There, they hoped doubtlessly, there would be no end to the influx of new and fresh-minded doctors, as well as a place with great potential to open their shop. Ren and Shirou attended school here, and for nearly a decade there was no talk of heirs, or tradition. Sometimes Ren glimpsed the occasional rogue or wandering spirit, but he became just as accustomed to that as he did life in the swelling city, or the constant gentle thrum of Oinari's guiding presence. The guardian, meanwhile, said little and intervened in less, but seemed assured that, as he said, in life there were many more than four simple seasons.
Ren was sixteen when his father passed away. Though modern medicine had helped him live a while longer, his illness proved more serious than anticipated, and eventually wore him down - nevertheless, his final days were peaceful. While he had never been an outright cruel, or neglectful parent or husband, he showed his family much more affection and kindness in those times. In private he made a confession to Ren; that as the head of family, he had never been able to pursue his own dreams and desires, but instead had, from an early age, made himself belief that his duties were his dreams. He acknowledged that he had never been a perfect father - perhaps not even a really good one, but that he hoped he had done better than his father had. He hoped, that even with the bond he now carried with Oinari, Ren would be able to pursue his own dreams. In their final moments together, Ren made his own quiet confession to his father; that his dream was simply to grow flowers, to sell them and make people smile. To live quietly, and keep his family safe and happy - including his brother, mother, and his father. To this, Ryosuke smiled as he closed his eyes; "A good dream, not always an easy one, but a good one... A good dream."
At eighteen and fresh in college pursuing the arts and business, Ren met Claire, a young American woman majoring in environmental studies who had a sharp eye for the supernatural. She became nigh-obsessed with Ren, doggedly following him around - though he, admittedly, never quite noticed. Instead, it was always Oinari who pointed out that 'that strange foreign girl' was watching him again, that she'd oddly shown up at the same fast food joint, or the cinema he and his friends were visiting. Ren, while thinking Oinari's input was a bit odd, hand-waved the rest. That was, at least, until one night on an abandoned street Claire confronted him, brandishing not a weapon, but the monstrous form of some bird-like creature that looked reminiscent of the spirits he sometimes saw, and yet -like her- was utterly foreign. Prepared for a confrontation, Oinari showed himself, confirming Claire's suspicions; "You're a devil summoner too." Oinari scoffed, taking it for an insult - though he supposed there were indeed a number of similarities in what the Fujiwara's did.
Following some clarification, Ren and Claire began spending much more time together. With less of his childhood apprehension -and due in no small part to a growing attraction and affection- he became enamored with stories of Claire's exploits and the wider world he'd long been hiding himself away from. The two began to work together on small jobs Claire would take on, and Oinari seemed all-too-pleased to at last begin to train Ren and fulfill their duties. Balancing college classes, and devil hunting, the two grew closer and began dating. Alas, all the education and battle hadn't quite prepared either of them for unfortunate malfunctions and an ensuing unexpected pregnancy. While both were ultimately happy and even found the prospect of children exciting, Ren was at wits end and wanted to go about things more properly, while Claire saw no need to hark on about traditions at this point. They had a quick and quiet ceremony before the first children, twins, Itsuki and Noa, were born.
From there, Ren put many of his own aspirations on hold - which were admittedly far and few between. He had always been comfortable with inheriting the families shop, and his college courses were only taken to further his ability to manage and keep up with modern trends, and he could easily enough do that at home. Claire continued attending courses and sometimes traveled to other parts of Japan to meet with other professors and students, but a happy enough balance was maintained between them for a time. When the twins were three, however, Claire's work and studies called her back home to America, and while reluctant, Ren packed up with the children and went with her. The prime object of her studies were environmental conservation, and undoing the horrific effects pollution had wrought; she told him now more than ever she wanted to do something truly meaningful for the good of their home - of their children's home.
Ren recalled when he'd first made his bond with Oinari while he lived in America. Similarly, he felt disjointed, unconnected to the world around him. Likewise, Oinari's presence, while there the same as ever, seemed almost muted to him, as if they had both left something very important back in Japan. He focused primarily on raising the children, every bit the doting, guiding father his own father had sometimes failed to be. Meanwhile Claire climbed in her field - both in fame and workload, and the yawning chasm between them only grew. After their third child, Chiyuki was born, he sometimes took the children back home to visit his mother for holidays, but rarely did Claire ever find the time to join them.
A few years after Chiyuki's birth, Fumiko passed away suddenly, leaving the family property and business to Ren. His mothers passing came out of no where - she went peacefully in her sleep one night, with no real indications as to why. Claire, seeing how blind-sided Ren was by this grief, cut off all her ongoing projects for the family to head back to Japan together for the funeral services. She had not quite anticipated the fervor with which Ren soon sought to take over the family business; she went along with it, believing this was part of his grieving process, but soon enough realized he had never truly lost his old dream of taking over the shop. Furthermore, Ren himself felt renewed again, both he and Oinari felt it deep within the core of themselves - they were home. Brighter colors flooded the world once again.
Acknowledging how much he had given up for the family and for the sake of her own dreams, she agreed to the move. When his brother, Shirou came around hoping to persuade them into leaving their home and back to America, Claire put her foot down; though she was perhaps not always the most involved mother, she refused to let her children be uprooted yet again - furthermore she was always too proud and strong-willed to let someone deceive or strong-arm her or her loved ones around.
While initially Claire simply began to work online, eventually she began flying abroad again, and finally, to the point that she was rarely ever home at all. It was only a matter of time before they were living apart, with Claire taking residence in Europe. The kids had comfortably enough settled into their school lives, and were long used to their mothers absentee-ism. Ren, on the other hand, seemed to make efforts to spend as little time as possible thinking about their estranged marriage. He had plenty of work to see to with the shop, occasional calls to family meetings back in Asahikawa, and being a full-time father, but quiet moments would always find him no matter how much he tried to avoid them.
It has now been three years since he and Claire filed and finalized a divorce. It was she who brought the matter up, and for the first time in a long time, Ren finally felt something so bright and red and strong - anger. How much he had sacrificed, how much he had waited, but deep down he knew it had always been the ending that awaited them. With bitter indignation, he accepted, and despite all else, they remain on good terms, especially for the sake of their kids whenever Claire visits, or calls. In these three years since, he's slowly allowed himself to find and accept a greater sense of peace within himself, acknowledging the twisted ball of regrets and silenced emotions he'd been denying for so long.
Equipment Kogitsunemaru - (Slash Damage) Tachi passed down through the family for generations, regularly regarded as a replica of the original. Fake or no, it's blade is well-maintained and fight-worthy. Before Ren, however, it has not been used for such in many long years.
Notes -If not obvious, yes, he died momentarily on the mountain as a boy when his father invoked a pact with Oinari. There is something similar to a "Devil Summoner"-like tendency in the Fujiwara history, and though they are aware of Devil Summoners, they don't entirely consider their path entirely the same (even if in most ways barring a few family traditions, it is.) It involves the sacrifice of ones life, or the life of the next head of house, to invoke the initial pact. Part of his lost memories are meeting Oinari for the first time, but he understands that is what indeed happened. -Something that will perhaps be covered more in-depth in actual roleplay is the actual size of this branch of the Fujiwara family. Under different names, there are similar flower shops across Japan under the stewardship of family members. They are not a particularly huge family, and considering how common the Fujiwara name is there is little to suspect on the surface of their dealings. -I was definitely trying to shorthand stuff a bit more the further I went but needing a footnote: Ren, while smitten, was also entirely oblivious to a lot of Claire's subtler flirting, and she pretty much had to hit him over the head with it for him to put the pieces together. -Since the bio is obviously more Ren-centered, I failed to mention that while him and Shirou were never really at odds with one another, they were never really close either (as evident by the lack of his presence in much of Ren's life, something an older Ren regrets). Shirou worked in the Sanyo flower shop while he was growing up too, but when Ren packed up and moved to America with his new wife and kids, he became truly disdainful of his older brother and bears a grudge to this day. -He has begun pursuing one of his earliest fond hobbies, ikebana, more seriously in recent months.
Description Depicted as male, female, or simply androgynous, Inari Okami is a major shinto kami and employs pure white kitsune as Inari's messengers. Most widely regarded as the kami of rice, foxes, fertility, tea, sake, agriculture, and industry, Oinari was also a patron of warriors, blacksmiths, and merchants.
As Oinari himself has said, whether he is the ancient kami himself, or simply the shape of the Fujiwara's ancient wish, matters little. While capable of shapeshifting, he most commonly appears as a kitsune-masked young man with long white hair and a single black tail wearing traditional garb, and he is often seen with a folding fan or a pipe in hand. When in battle he generally holds a giant paper scroll which he unfurls with the characters for 'kitsune' (attacks), 'fertility' (buffs), 'tea' (healing), sake (debuffs) - in relation to his magical-based attacks.
Though he and Ren have been together for decades now, it's been a very long time since they've done any serious sort of fighting and thus such skills are more than a little rusty, to Oinari's chagrin. Likewise, though Oinari knows everything about Ren, the latter still somewhat regards Oinari as a something of a 'fond acquaintance', unsure of how much one can 'grow close' to such an entity.
[attr="class","infoBody"] - Don't think we can pass the idea for Ren with his father summoning a Demon and then it becoming a Guardian Spirit. You are going to have to either change Ren to be a Devil Summoner and have that contract save him or re-write to more accommodate the later.