Ijara do Nascimento• Titles:
Mãe-do-Santo (Priestess of the orixás), Egbomi (Elder, honorary title for years of service)• Gender:
Female• Appearance Age:
70-80 years• Age:
Around 500 years• Affiliation/Rank:
Rogue; a hermit that lives in the wilderness that borders Rukongai.• Appearance Description:
An old woman of brazilian complexion, with dark brown skin. She wears the traditional puffy white dress of the mães-dos-santos, now dirtied, muddy, the lower part nearly black. Heavy beads hang from her neck and her white hair is hidden under a headcloth of blue silk. The deep lines on her face show her age and experience, her mouth typically displays a skeptical half-smile, her eyes still glitter with youth, energy and mischief.
Ijara moves quite slowly and is hunched over a staff.• Appearance Picture:
• Stubborn: The old woman is firmly set in her ways and will not easily be made to see another point of view. After all, what do they know of life?
• Foul-Mouthed: You could call her blunt, but let's face it. Ijara just loves to curse and swear in the strongest language and will delight in learning new profanities.
• Disillusioned: Born into the candomblé religion, Ijara was trained to be a mother-of-saints from a very young age. She served the orixás (saints or deities) for many years; when she woke up in Soul Society it was quite a shock to her world view. First she went through a phase of deep depression, believing her former life of service to have been in vain. However, conversations with other Shinigami made her realize that her work in life was not too unlike the work of a shinigami: Being a bridge between the worlds. Conversations with Exú, the spirit of her Zan, have reinforced her newly found conviction, but she will never again take the things she is told as a given.
• Mischievous: Channeling the trickster-spirit Exú has left an impact on Ijara's personality. Contradictory and tricksy, Ijara can enjoy making fun of her peers and enemies alike. More often than not she does it to teach, rather than to humiliate.
• Caring: It's true, Ijara can come across as hard faced, but once she likes someone she will go to great lengths to protect them.
After her life of service, Ijara enjoys her unlife in solitude. A reclusive hermit, the old woman loves to smoke her pipe in her garden, dance to the rythms of her zan and get really drunk on her self-made rum. On the rare occasions that she does socialize with others, she usually plays tricks on them. Ijara respects knowledge and humility in people.• Dislikes:
Ijara really hates shoes and socks and will usually be seen barefoot, as evidenced by the muddy crust around her feet. She grew up in the firm belief that all people have an equally important destiny to fulfill and can't stand self-important and arrogant people, especially nobles. Ijara just can't get used to modern technology and hates the feeling of falling, both things at least partially related to her death.
Ijara was born in Brazil in the early 1920s and grew up as a lonely orphan and street child. Adopted into a candomblé community, she was from a young age chosen to be a future priestess and taught in the ways of the afro-brazilian religion. The old woman looks back on many years of faithful service to the gods and to her community, leading people in life and helping the dead cross the bridge between the world of men and what she believed was the world of the saints (or gods, or simply spirits, depending on certain mistranslations and interpretations of the old african words).
While still somewhat believing that "nothing can cross Yemanjás Ocean", Ijara let herself be persuaded to travel to Japan for a festival displaying different religious practices. Fearfully she fell asleep on the flight.
When she woke up, she had reached soul society. Her knowledge of medicinal herbs helped her carve out a life, but she soon grew tired of the many people in Rukongai. Having grown up in the reclusive community in the jungle, she left to find a place in the wilderness and began cultivating a beautiful garden.
One day she came across a deeply wounded Shinigami in the forest. She tried as hard as she could, but she just couldn't heal the man's wounds; this disappointment in herself still haunts her to this day. The man's zanpakutô seemed to call to her, and she made it her own.
In the years that followed, Ijara began building a relationship with her Zan. After hollows attacked her garden and she had to defend herself, the sword that had laid dormant for over a century began to speak to her.
After all the years of service, quite selfishly Ijara refused to take much part in the world around her and focused mostly on her vices and her own happiness. However, rumours of war have reached those old wrinkled ears, and there's a yearning in those old bones for some excitement and battle.
_________________________________• Reiatsu Color:
Grey• Personal Abilities:
Hakuda: Despite her fragile and slow appearance, Ijara can move surprisingly fast and is quite proficient at hand-to-hand combat. She employs a very agile, fluid style to dodge and redirect the enemy's attacks.• Zanpakutô Spirit Name:
Bakudo: Locking the enemy in place while Exú's entrancement slowly takes effect is Ijara's main combat strategy. Hence she strives to perfect her binding techniques (around #60).
Hadō: Ijara is focused on defense and redirection and has only limited offensive abilities (around #40).
Kaido: The great Captain Unohana once procured rare medicinal herbs from Ijara's garden. The women got along really well; to show her gratitude, Unohana began teaching Ijara the art of Kaido. While she relies on natural healing methods, she is making progress in Kaido, but grave injuries are still beyond her.
Exú• Zanpakutô Spirit Appearance:
A black man dressed in red, wearing a pointy hat made of red and white pearls and a skirt of black and red, smoking a heavy cigar, a gourd of cachaça rum on his hip, playing a rumpi drum. His look is absent, clouded, but there's a faint devious smile on his lips.• Zanpakutô Spirit Picture: • Inner World:
A sandy beach, the endless ocean, and the rainforest. Ijara carries within the blade echoes of all the people whose lives she ever touched, the people she helped or failed to help, a festival of voices and emotions. • Sealed Zanpakutô Apperance:
A small blade (短刀, tantou), concealed within a monk's staff (錫杖, shakujō).• Sealed Zanpakutô Abilities:
Exú the trickster loves to disguise himself and play pretend. As such, when Ijara is alone with someone, she can take the form of others or even made up people. However, Exú is also always drunk and loves to contradict himself. Counterplay: Ijara is forced to contradict herself at least once while speaking as another person. If the target notices and calls Ijara out on the contradiction, the Illusion is shattered.• Release:
Entrance, Exú!• Shikai Description:
Upon release, Exú appears as a ghostly figure, smoking and playing his drum. This release transforms the zan into a pointed trident.• Shikai Abilities:
The sounds of the drum and the heavy smoke from the ghostly figure begin to take their toll on all hostiles within earshot. The effects start out small, the drums barely audible. Invokes drunkenness in the enemy. Increased exposure to the aoe intensifies the effect, the drums begin to roar ever more loudly, until the enemy can barely stand or think straight.
The enemy suffers penalties towards their accuracy, speed and reiatsu concentration, while Ijara's fighting spirit is invigorated. Prolonged exposure to the drums can force the enemy into a deep trance and force them to dance, loosing control over their actions completely. Counterplay: Striking the ghostly image of Exú with enough reiatsu will break the effect, even if it can be hard to pull off since he is quite agile.
- Durability: Master/Advanced/Adept/Beginner
- General Speed: Master/Advanced/Adept/Beginner
- Strength: Master/Advanced/Adept/Beginner
- Weapon Skill: Master/Advanced/Adept/Beginner
- Hoho: Master/Advanced/Adept/Beginner
- Kidō: Master/Advanced/Adept/Beginner
- Zanjutsu: Master/Advanced/Adept/Beginner
- Hakuda: Master/Advanced/Adept/Beginner
- Willpower/Determination: Adept
- Mental Deduction: Adept
- Pain Endurance: Beginner
- Focus: Beginner
_______________________• Roleplay Sample:
(** I am posting an excerpt from a vampire: the masquerade storyline I GM'ed on forums for a friend. The player character Mackenzie was created as having somehow embraced herself by diablerizing Sergio Giovanni, and is now awaiting judgement. I'm leaving out most of the player posts, except when answers are necessary for the dialogue. **)
< What's going to await me behind this door? >
Making an effort to pull yourself together you put your fingers on the door, feel the cold, silvery metal under your fingertips,... and push.
The corridor opens into a hexagonal open space under the night sky, with one side opening towards the sea. A full moon shines through the missing roof and illuminates a ghastly and pale scenery:
A long-necked man stands lonely besides a blazing fire and is warming his hands. He looks at you with dark, button-like, curious eyes, then turns back towards the fire.
You stand there for a moment, then gather your strength and start walking up to him. Suddenly you realize that Isabella is standing next to him, her hands slowly and teasingly playing with the flames - but you had not seen her before.
Words are spoken in italian, the man sighs, then turns towards you.
"So, you are the figliare that killed my grandson Sergio." he intones in an accented, but nuanced and practiced english.
A coldness grips your heart, and you feel a range of emotions from anger to... gratitude? You recoil in horror as you get a feeling that Augustus has not quite made up his mind whether to rip your heart out of your chest or not.
[Player] - Yes, I am. Even though I don't know how.
Augustus nods slowly, and his expression turns to pity as his eyes soften.
"Only once in the history of our family have we allowed an outsider to join our ranks - and live. But Isabella here has told me you are not an ordinary case; AND you have rendered your new sire a valuable service."
He suddenly approaches you with an agility and speed you had not thought him capable of, grabs you by the neck and pierces your heart with a long wooden stake.
"I shall examine you to prove your worth, but first..." Augustus turns towards Isabella, and she instinctively kneels down.
"Isabella Giovanni! As a reward for your victory I shall allow you to keep this toy... [in your possesion, as well as retain control over the designated contested assets in Sicilly and Firenze.]"
Somehow you miss the end of the sentence, distracted you manage to turn your eyes downwards:
Your arm is twitching. Your muscles are moving slightly. The index finger on your right arm begins to twitch slowly and you experience a rush of euphoria while the potence in your veins strengthens your muscles. The terrible rage you had felt when you spoke with Isabella is rising in your body, swelling to a powerful hurricane.
The voice is talking to you again, clearer now, colder and deadlier. It is not the warm, caressing voice that had whispered those beautiful words to you earlier.
It is your own voice, but it talks to you in a rough, harsh but strangely seducing tone. < They are liars, both of them. They betray. They deserve it. Deserve... deserve... >
Your attention focuses back to the ancient Giovanni who is in the middle of saying "The feud ends by final death of Sergio Giovanni."
It is in this very instant that the rage becomes overwhelming. You bite your tongue, do everything to control yourself... you feel, would you hesitate, would you weaken your self-control for an instant and listen to it... terrible things would happen...
The alien will in your mind is almost unbearable to withstand,...
[Willpower x5 vs 7...]
[Player] That voice was hers, but she didn't feel familiar with it. It was unlike her, and soon she realized that it did neither suggest, nor did it ask politely. It demanded. She listened at first, but decided soon that she had heard enough. She didn't want to succumb to violence again. She didn't want to be a murderer. <"Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb. Mary had a little lamb, Whose fleece was white as snow...">
The moment Isabella squeezes your hand and looks into your eyes, the rage ebbs away, the voice is silent. She exchanges a quick glance with Augustus, and you see amazement and pride in his face.
"I told you she was special, and she has passed your test hasn't she?"
Augustus nods. "It is remarkable that you can muster the strength to keep the voice at bay, my progeny."
He turns to the shadowy man standing a few feet away, wearing a long skirt made of black silk, as well as earrings in the form of a cross with pointed edges. Just like with Isabella before, you had not noticed him at all ... it requires force of will just to look where he stands, and whenever your eyes look back to Isabella, you have to control yourself not to forget he is there.
"Your services are no longer required, Baro Adriano. The debt has been fulfilled, we are quite pleased." Augustus anounces. The ravnos elder nods and bows, at which moment the building, island, sky, sand and fire vanish before your eyes - along with the mysterious vampire himself. The remaining three of you are standing on a podest in a large room, and as you turn around you see at least twenty vampires sitting and watching the theatrical play that was all you have lived through until now. They applaud you, and cheer, welcoming you to the Giovanni family.