Enter the Blade Maiden
I. Basic Information» Name:
Kagayaku no Murasaki (輝くの紫)» Alias:
The Blade Maiden (or "Blaiden," as she sometimes says), Hanpakuto» Age:
226» Appearance Age:
Gotei United, 7th Division Captain» Appearance Written:
In many ways, Murasaki's appearance perfectly encapsulates who she is as a person. Her flowing green hair, kept in a ponytail in a nominal attempt to get it out of the way, immediately gives off the same atmosphere as a wide-open plain, and her strikingly green eyes can very well make one feel as though they have found themselves on the steppes. Her ever-present smile is almost infectious from how simply genuine it is, neither too wide nor too negligible to be anything else but a sign that she is quite happy with life. Between her relatively impressive height of 6' 2" tall, and her self-made blue dresses, decorated with all sorts of strange trinkets and patterns added over the years, Murasaki gives off the distinct impression of a more exotic beauty, only further enforced to anyone able to sense her reiatsu due to her unorthodox parentage. There is an undeniable practicality to her appearance as well, however. Apart from her kimonos, of which she owns several in order to minimize necessary laundry, much of Murasaki's attire is quite plain, most notably her unremarkable green fingerless gloves and brown boots.» Appearance Image:
I. Personality Traits» Carefree:
Murasaki is a woman that is immensely difficult to bother, primarily due to a profound lack of attachment to much of anything on her own end. It isn't so much that Murasaki dislikes anything in particular, or even that she is lazy. No, this sense of perpetual calm and cheerful detachment comes from a very simple state of mind, one that is focused on very little outside the things that she considers personally interesting or relevant. Murasaki is just as likely to enforce a law she believes in as she is to break one she doesn't care for, has few interpersonal relationships other than those she has immensely strong feelings toward, and is, plainly speaking, not willing to put any
effort into something unless she is willing to put all
of her effort into it.» Direct:
Murasaki doesn't pull punches, and that's all there is to it. If she thinks something, she says it, with no time for sidestepping an issue or talking in circles. That isn't to say she outright has no tact, far from it in fact, but she just doesn't see why she should waste her own time, or the time of others, by avoiding an issue. This ties in with the difficulty one might find in fazing her, as she is exceptionally difficult to catch off-guard in a conversation, for she just says what she thinks without any extraneous consideration. After all, why spend more time on an issue than you need to?» Honorable:
One of the few things that Murasaki does
care very much about is the weight of her own honor. This is not a typical, traditional idea of honor such as that held by many a warrior or knight of old, but is as clear and simple as much everything is in Murasaki's life. If she gives her word, then she will honor that oath to the death. She believes firmly in the mantra that "all anyone has is their word," and puts as much stock in others
keeping their word as she does in keeping her own. She does not tolerate liars, and refuses to deal in underhanded or roundabout ways in any situation.» "Pun"-loving:
Get it? Get it?
Jokes aside (or not, as jokes are never aside for her), Murasaki likes to enjoy herself, as most do, but to her it's more a case of that really being what she strives for in her day to day life. However, she isn't much for what might be called "mature" fun of any kind, whether that be the company of another or even just enjoying a few drinks. No, Murasaki's idea of fun is an innocent, almost child-like idea of fun, involving games, roughhousing, laughing at some jokes (be they good or bad), or even just having a nice chat. If she thinks you're fun, then you'll definitely be on her good side.» Nomadic:
In her quest to find some fun in life, Murasaki has taken to wandering from place to place, never staying in one place forever, but not moving so often as to qualify for "drifter" status, either (and if you call her that she'll probably get mad). Once she finds a place she likes, she tends to settle down there for anywhere from a month to a few years, depending mostly on how much opportunity there is for her to see new things. In the end, though, she always leaves, and it takes a tremendous amount of effort to talk her into staying even one day longer. Oftentimes she simply leaves without warning in the dead of night, simply to avoid the painful goodbyes and the wishes that she'll stay for just a bit longer. The truth of the matter is, finding somewhere to stay forever is exactly what she's looking for, and her departures are simply a sign that she never could have truly been happy there.» Sentimental:
Despite her wandering nature and lighthearted approach to life, one should never assume that Murasaki does not treasure every experience. The most obvious mark of her sentimentality would be, of course, the zanpakuto she carries which is not her own. Kagayaku, her mother's zanpakuto and her own father, has never once left her side, and she treats it (him?) with every bit as much care as she gives her own zanpakuto. However, even apart from Kagayaku, there are countless small giveaways as to how dearly Murasaki treasures those she has known. A vast collection of photos, letters, diaries, and assorted trinkets, each one with a story of its own that Murasaki is all too happy to regale a friend with, litter any abode she keeps. She would never lie and say that she remembers each and every one, but that is exactly why keeping them all is so important to her.» Optimistic:
Despite the rather poor reputation she has had since birth, Murasaki nevertheless believes that things will always turn out okay. The shunning she recieved, but she is legitimately glad for the opportunities it provided her, both the freedom to wander the world and the chance to become closer to her father. She is not an idealist, certainly, and one would never hear her claim that everything happens for a reason or that life is always good. She does, however, believe that it is always possible to reach somewhere better if one is simply willing to try for it.» Shortsighted:
Perhaps the other side of the same coin to her laid back worldview, one would be very hard-pressed to talk Murasaki into doing much of anything if she doesn't see the immediate benefit of it. This is, without a doubt, one of the biggest contributing factors to her wanderlust, as she becomes bored and seeks something new without ever considering that she might be happier if she were to take the time to settle down and build more solid relationships.» Hot-tempered:
One might not expect it from her appearance or usual demeanor, but Murasaki is one who responds both quickly and aggressively to insults about her own failings or the people she cares about. Genuine criticism she simply becomes slightly irritated by, but in the event of a pure, true insult, one can almost certainly expect a harsh word in return, if nor a zealous willingness to defend her honor with her very life.» Insecure:
Murasaki is a person who is fundamentally unhappy with who she is and the life she lives, plain and simple. She is a woman who feels rejected and unloved, and who desperately seeks a place she can truly belong. One thing is very key in all of this, however, and that is the fact that Murasaki denies any of this to be true. She wanders for fun, not out of a search for acceptance. She avoids putting much work into anything simply because that would be difficult, and certainly
not because she fears her effort all being for nothing. To point out these truths is, without a doubt, the fastest way to get on Murasaki's bad side, if not receive a blade to the throat.
I. Relationships» Tsubasa Unabara:
Murasaki's relationship with Tsubasa is one that could best be described, as many things involving her are, as “complicated.” In many ways she owes the life she has to him entirely, for it was not only by his intervention that her mother Midori was able to keep her position in the Gotei, but also that she herself was allowed to enter into Shin'o Academy. Though she has not often been liked or well-treated by her fellow shinigami, and her classmates and associates have often shunned her for her heritage, Tsubasa has always treated her with care and kindness. By the time her academy years had ended, and she had decided to simply wander about and enforce the balance wherever she went, her relationship with Tsubasa had come to resemble something closer to a father and daughter more than anything else. Even now, despite her nomadic ways, she writes him a letter every so often to ask how he is, and to let him know she's doing alright.» Tsubine Koezuka:
She's super cool, super pretty, and in a lot of ways, she's one of Murasaki's greatest role models in the world, even if she's never consciously considered that. There are a number of reasons for this, but chief among them is simply the fact that Tsubine has always been kind to her, and that goes a long way for Murasaki. She considers Tsubine one of her closest friends, and while that arguably speaks more toward the state of Murasaki's circle of friends than her relationship with Tsubine, she would take any insult toward Tsubine as seriously as she would an insult to herself. Truth be told, though, she isn't actually aware that Tsubine ever even went anywhere, as she doesn't tend to keep in touch as often as she would like to, and so she simply assumes that they haven't talked in a while.» Erenyata Nobumitsuki:
He's kind of a weirdo, and Murasaki feels pretty ambivalent about him. On one hand he's never treated her poorly or judged her for her parentage, and so she could never outright dislike him just on principle. But on the other hand, his experimentation on his zanpakuto frightens her on a very primal level. If he could do that to his own zanpakuto, then why not her father, or even her? That isn't something she likes to think about, and so she simply doesn't, content to just think of him as the quiet guy who's always at mom's dinner parties.
I. History» Birth:
The woman called Kagayaku no Murasaki has lived what can only be described as a profoundly unique life. This is not necessarily due to the experiences therein, though those are quite unique in their own right. No, to understand the nature of Murasaki's life first requires that one understand her parentage. She is a shinigami, but to call her "like any other" would be a blatant falsehood, as while her mother was a normal, if distinguished, shinigami, her father was none other than the spirit of her mother's zanpakuto.
Murasaki's mother, Akodo Midori, was by all accounts a model member of the Gotei. She had served as a low-ranking member of the Onmitsukido during the war against Aizen, but was generally unremarkable during that era. It was not until nearly a century later, after a career of distinguished service, that Midori was invited to the Zero Division. Her career was of course quite storied, and certainly quite exciting in its own right, but alas, not only is this not Midori's story, but many of the records of her work are either heavily redacted or simply missing entirely.
What we can say for certain, however, is that the timeless cliche of "love blooms on the battlefield" proved itself all too true for Midori. Of course, she had spent much of her time out on missions alone, and none could ever have realized who it was that she had fallen for: Kagayaku, the spirit of her own zanpakuto. Due to the incredibly close nature of shinigami and their zanpakuto, Midori knew all too well that their love would have to remain a secret, and for quite a while this proved entirely effective. However, complications eventually arose, as they always do, when Midori found that the truly unthinkable had happened: She had become pregnant by Kagayaku.
How was one even to react to such a revelation? It was simply such an unknown that neither Midori nor Kagayaku had even briefly considered what they might do in such a situation, much less actively discussed it with one another, and that was immediately apparent from their rather differing opinions on the matter. Kagayaku had little care for any of the consequences that the child might bring, more just curious to see what would happen than anything else, and Midori was almost exclusively concerned with the child's well-being, and hoped only that she would be able to give it the best possible life even in the coming days. As it turned out, it wouldn't be what one would call much of a life at all.
Midori immediately reported the matter to her division and to the Gotei, and their reactions were every bit as poor as one might have expected. This was improper, immoral, impossible
, outright appalling and a reflection of the lowest possible character. Midori accepted these accusations, worried only about her survival and that of her child. It seemed certain that Midori would be removed from her post, and likely the Gotei altogether, and in the end it was only the intervention of the Captain Commander at the time, Tsubasa Unabara that prevented her exile. Not only was she allowed to keep her position, but it was ensured that her child would be allowed to live a normal life, and it was here that Murasaki's close relationship with Tsubasa truly began.
While she did her absolute best to continue her work for Zero Divison every bit as effectively as she always had, Midori's pregnancy inevitably reached a point at which it was simply unfeasible for her to do much of anything without putting both herself and her child into serious danger. When this time finally came, she dedicated herself almost exclusively to mending her relationships with her fellow division members, knowing fully how far her reputation had fallen. Midori had always held dinners and tea parties for her comrades in the division, and while there were certainly those who refused to associate with her ever again, Midori was content even knowing that a few were willing to continue at least being cordial with her. Tsubine Koezuka had been a good friend of hers, and while she knew that their relationship would never be the same, she was happy enough to return to friendly terms with her. As for Erenyata Nobumitsuki...well, he didn't seem to have ever minded the whole ordeal in the first place, and for that Midori was always grateful.
Many days and many shared meals later, the time finally came for Midori to bring her child into the world. While a part of her hesitated, she knew all too well that no matter the name this child bore, she would face a great deal of hardship for who she was. Midori regretted doing such a thing to her daughter, but the least she could do was teach her to always be proud of herself and who she was, to never let others define her. So it was that she named the little girl not an Akodo, but after her father: Kagayaku no Murasaki.» Childhood:
Murasaki's early years were not what one would call “normal” by any means, though that can hardly be called much of a surprise. Nevertheless, Midori did her absolute best to ensure that her daughter had as normal an upbringing as possible, even if she was regarded by many as degenerate at best and an outright abomination at worst. Murasaki made the closest she had to friends in her mother's colleagues, particularly Miss Koezuka, who was very cool, very nice, and very pretty, and Mr. Nobumitsuki, who was kind of a weirdo but still seemed pretty neato.
As any young child would, Murasaki often asked Midori about her father. Who was he, where
was he, and why was he not part of their family like the fathers of all her friends? This was, needless to say, a rather complicated issue to touch upon, but Midori decided that, in spite of this, her daughter had the right to know the truth of who she was. Resigned to the fact that neither she nor Murasaki would never be able to deny this part of her, Midori told her young daughter the whole truth of her birth, of who her father really was and why it was that she had never met anyone her own age. Though she was certainly surprised to learn all of this, Murasaki's own youthful innocence perhaps prevented this from being a truly shocking revelation, and when all was said and done, she had only one question: “Can I talk to dad?”
This was something Midori had mentally prepared for, of course, but as she was about to explain why that was impossible, it occurred to her that perhaps it might not be after all. After a few moments in thought, she decided that, if nothing else, there was no harm in simply trying, and so she carefully drew Kagayaku and handed it to Murasaki. She explained the principles of how one speaks to the spirit of a zanpakuto, perhaps hoping in the back of her mind that it would be successful and that Murasaki might be able to speak with her father. With as calm a mind as she could muster, the young girl focused everything on Kagayaku, sitting still as a board for hours on end. She wished to see him, and just as she was on the brink of giving up on the idea altogether, she heard a voice that, though she had never heard it before, seemed strangely familiar. It was calm, incredibly relaxed, and while Murasaki might have imagined her father would say many things when they finally met, she had not imagined the truth of his first greeting, a lazy, unmotivated, “Heya, kiddo.”
Midori would have been quite content to simply let the two talk, but a part of her knew all too well that simply wouldn't be the case. Call it a woman's intuition, or just knowing Kagayaku all too well, but when young Murasaki stood and started holding Kagayaku herself, she could hardly say she was surprised. What did surprise her, however, was how naturally Murasaki seemed to take to it. While it was simply “messing around” to Murasaki, anyone would have been easily fooled into thinking that she had been learning swordplay from the moment she was born. What she thought of as just playful swings and silly little moves were the sort of natural motions typically only seen from those who had spent years, if not decades, with blade in hand. Yet here Murasaki was, replicating them as though it were the most natural thing in the world. One may well have been amazed at such a thing, but the truth of the matter was very simple: Murasaki's father was a zanpakuto, and so the sword was a fundamental part of her being.
Even as Murasaki swung Kagayaku about, however, she and her father talked for hours, as she explained all of the mundane little facts of her life to her father, and as that conversation went on ever longer, it became all too clear to Midori that her daughter would never be able to live a normal life. She was willing to accept that fact, however, and in many ways that was something she had already known for years. By the time Murasaki had finished her talk with Kagayaku and returned him, Midori was hardly surprised when her daughter asked to be trained in all of the shinigami arts she knew. Even less surprising was the fact that Kagayaku had apparently endorsed this decision wholeheartedly, and so with a resigned chuckle to herself, Midori agreed, and so Murasaki's earliest training began.» Academy:
While it was all well and good to be trained by one's mother (and father), it is certainly not the way to learn all one can
learn. Midori had taught Murasaki as much as she reasonably could in the past few years, but ultimately she knew that she would need to send her daughter off to the academy if she was to truly become a shinigami proper. Murasaki didn't especially relish this idea, or the thought of leaving her home and her friends behind, but Midori assured her that it would be fun, and that if nothing else, the Captain Commander would always be there for her. The prospect of new friends was enough to sway the young girl, and as long as she would still be able to visit her parents now and again, and of course Miss Koezuka and Mr. Nobumitsuki, Murasaki didn't think it could be too bad.
Thus it was that, after a few more weeks of final preparation and training, Midori sent her little girl off to Shin'o Academy, letting her make her way with only the sparsest of belongings. She had considered sending Kagayaku along with her, but that was only a fleeting thought, for not only would that just be burdening Murasaki with more of her heritage than necessary, Midori knew she ultimately needed him around for her own duties. So the little girl left her home in the Zero Division all alone, and she was introduced to the place that would not only shape her future, but would teach her a great deal about her place in the world. It would not be an endlessly miserable experience for her, all things considered, and it certainly had its high points, but it was not something that anyone would call “nice.”
Almost from the very moment she stepped onto the Academy grounds, Murasaki knew that things would be difficult for her, and that it likely wouldn't be anywhere near as fun as she'd have hoped. She hadn't even really thought about it, but her reiatsu was not only exceptional for a new student due to her training before hand, but it was markedly different from anyone else's, an effective note plastered to her back that read “half-zanpakuto.” This didn't dissuade her from trying to make friends, of course, because if they didn't like her from the get-go, then she would just show them why they should!
That didn't really work out like she'd wanted it to. She made a few acquaintances here and there, but any time she seemed to be getting close to someone, they seemed to get scared of how their reputation might end up if they hung around the half-breed, or they were talked out of it by someone else who was only thinking of their well-being, and Murasaki was inevitably sent back to square one. It was during these times that she tended to make her way to the Captain Commander for company, and as she failed more and more, it seemed that she spent nearly all of her free time there. Lunches, tea, even short little break periods, in all of them she found herself with Tsubasa simply because she knew nowhere else to go. What she didn't realize was that, honestly, this was just making her reputation worse. Was she just the Commander's pet project? Maybe there was even something scandalous going on! Murasaki, of course, never heard any of these rumors, and she just kept on trying to make friends.
Classes were not much better for her during this time. Classes were either a walk in the park, things such as zanjutsu and hakuda, or they were incredibly difficult, more scholarly courses and kido chief among them. Her classmates derided her for so effortlessly using a sword in training, out of envy and perhaps a bit of fear, or they simply mocked her total lack of understanding. These little things certainly stung, but she did her best to just ignore it and not let it bother her. But it came to a head eventually, during a zanjutsu class. She did well as she always did, until a snide comment came from the sidelines: “So, hanpakuto, that how your mom handles hers?” The name calling itself was nothing new. “Hanpakuto” was their idea of a clever little pun, combining zanpakuto with the word for “half.” But bringing her mother right into it was something for which Murasaki would not stand.
All at one, she was filled with an inner calm that she had genuinely never felt before, and her entire body tensed. She was furious, but it filled every corner of her body, and then it spread even beyond. It flowed into her arms, her hands, up into her fingertips, and then there it was, continuing up into her sword itself. She swung her blade at a nearly imperceptible speed then, an action she barely even registered, so instinctive it was in that moment. The blade had stopped only a hair's breadth away from her heckler's throat, and there was a purity in her gaze that seemed to drill right through the young man. “Don't say that again.” It was a simple statement, nothing fancy at all, and all at once Murasaki lowered the sword, handed it over to her instructor, and bowed, accepting the punishment that would come her way.
The rest of her time in the academy wasn't much worth talking about, to be frank. Murasaki never again got into any fights or altercations, never did make any friends, and by the end, she had accepted that she simply wouldn't ever be accepted as she was among the shinigami. To her, though, that was perfectly fine. She had her friends, and she had the people close to her, and that was all that mattered to her. When graduation finally came, Murasaki simply took her zanpakuto, said her farewells to Tsubasa, her teachers, to Miss Koezuka and Mr. Nobumitsuki, and finally to her mother. While she would have been content to go on her own, Midori insisted that she not travel alone, and entrusted Kagayaku into her care. With a final goodbye and her father at her side, Murasaki departed from the Soul Society, with no intention of returning.» Recent Years:
When she departed, Murasaki took to simply wandering. Where she she was going or how long it would take just seemed completely irrelevant in her mind. Honestly, anywhere seemed better than the Soul Society, and she figured she could pretend to just be a relatively normal girl if she hung around on Earth instead. So she grabbed a gigai and a few other assorted things, and just...went.
That was almost two centuries ago, though, and a great deal can happen in a girl's life in that time. She made friends and enemies, loved and had her heart broken, saw deserts, rainforests, tundras, and a thousand other beautiful sights all over the world. It was a beautiful life, all things considered, and there were a few times and places that she considered finally settling down. But the drive to keep going always won out in the end, and so she gave it all away every time to continue on her way.
But times change, and people change. The world isn't the same place that it was when Murasaki first left to explore it, and she is all too aware of that fact. Things have become far more heated than Murasaki is particularly comfortable with, and she would hate to see the world that's home to so many fond memories destroyed. However, she knows that the people she would seek out for help, or would offer her help to
, are not in the same place that they would have been when she first left. With that knowledge in mind, however, she is not deterred, and will find them however she must. If she cannot, then others will surely do.
I. Equipment» Kagayaku:
A complicated item to say the least, Kagayaku is Murasaki's father, the zanpakuto of her mother. Due to their direct relationship, Murasaki is able to utilize Kagayaku as if it were her own zanpakuto, though only at 50% of its power.
I. Racial Techniques/Abilities/Skills» Asauchi Soul:
The asauchi is the primal form of the zanpakuto, given to every new shinigami to mold through company and meditation. It has no abilities in itself, and is in many ways far weaker than a proper zanpakuto. However, the asauchi's one notable trait is its formless nature, as it has the potential to become anything based on the shinigami with which it bonds. The asauchi will eventually come to reflect the very being of this shinigami, and at that time it becomes a true zanpakuto, far stronger than it was before. However, Murasaki has never made anywhere near such an intimate bond with another, and so the zanpakuto nature of her being, while weak, is also volatile, shapeless, and filled with endless potential.
In practice, this means that Murasaki's soul cannot be corrupted, influenced, or otherwise interacted with except by all but the most extreme outside forces. Even relatively basic concerns, such as Hollow corruption or the purging effects of a quincy's spiritual weapon, will simply find no consistent soul to latch onto or influence. This entirely passive defense is arguably one of Murasaki's greatest strengths, as it would take a force substantially above herself to even begin influencing her soul.
Though she has never achieved the necessary sort of relationship with anyone, it would be entirely possible for Murasaki's soul to be permanently connected to another, and for it to shift from asauchi to zanpakuto proper. As there is hardly precedent for this sort of thing, it is unknown exactly what effect this would have both on Murasaki and on the other person in question, but it can be safely assumed that, at the very least, the two would gain a connection very much the same as that of any shinigami and their zanpakuto spirit.» Inborn Zanjutsu:
While some are born with talent for the sword, and others perfect the craft through years of practice, Murasaki has gone a step beyond both of these things simply by merit of her birth. She is a weapon herself, and so she is, put simply, perfectly comfortable with any sword that finds its way into her hands. Any way in which a sword might be used is already embedded into Murasaki's unconscious, no different to her than understanding how to flex one's fingers, and speaking purely in terms of raw talent with a sword, she is nearly unparalleled.
Her asauchi soul, however, elevates this even further. Because of the myriad forms a zanpakuto may take across its releases, Murasaki's innate understanding of weaponry extends beyond merely swords. Indeed, nearly any type of melee weapon she holds, while not as natural as a sword, still feels completely natural, and only the most truly alien of weapons would outright feel out of place were she to wield it.» Zanshintai (斬心体, “sword in mind and body”):
Invented by Murasaki's mother Midori almost as a secondary effect of her love for Kagayaku, zanshintai is a technique which, in many ways, shares the same basic principles as the far more illustrious (and far more powerful) shikōkai, wherein one focuses on becoming as close to their zanpakuto as possible. The key difference between them is that while shikōkai is about genuinely becoming one with your zanpakuto spirit, as well as requiring a huge amount of power and gaining a lot of power in turn from achieving it, zanshintai is only about getting on the same wavelength, so to speak, as your zanpakuto, striking a balance and bridging the mental gap between the two. While Midori achieved this due to her romantic relationship with Kagayaku, and Murasaki was able to due to her zanpakuto heritage, it would be entirely possible for anyone with a zanpakuto to learn this technique, though it would obviously require far more effort.
What exactly does zanshintai do, however? Simply put, if one were to compare the standard effortlessness of using a zanpakuto normally to using one with zanshintai, it would be like comparing swinging a blade underwater to using it on dry land. A person who has learned zanshintai has bridged the mental and spiritual gap between themselves and their zanpakuto, which elevates its usage from merely effortless to outright instinctive, as natural as breathing and as unconscious as the beating of one's heart. Upon achieving zanshintai, a person is able to feel and see through their zanpakuto, as well as speak with it, at any distance or even across realms. A practitioner of zanshintai is still fully capable of achieving any release, and though they may have a slightly easier time of discovering these releases upon reaching the proper level of power, zanshintai is not a shortcut to reaching that level in the first place.
Once a person has learned zanshintai, it will generally stay active forever, unless one actively chooses to end it or their spiritual status is drastically altered, such as by Hollowfication or outside effects. If this happens, the former zanshintai practitioner will find the simple act of using their zanpakuto to feel sluggish, almost alien, and while they are technically no less competent than they were before they learned zanshintai, the sudden relative disconnect from their zanpakuto will require several weeks of reacclimation.» Personal Techniques:
» Inborn Hoho:
- Senbandachi: Hitotsuzan (千万立: 一つ斬, "Ten Million Stances: Single Sword"): While Murasaki's swordsmanship is built upon a principle of instinctive understanding of her sword, it would be a truly deadly mistake to ever assume that she has no skill to accompany this talent. If anything, her natural affinity for the sword has only led to even further development, as practice is invariably how she fills what would otherwise be idle time. But “the sword” is a very vague thing, taking many forms and used in countless ways, untold shapes and styles across time and space. It is a daunting prospect to any fledgling swordsman, to know that at any time one might come across a style with which they are entirely unfamiliar.
To Murasaki, this belief is simply a distraction from the truth of the matter: The sword is the sword, and that is all one needs to know. If one style does not work, then another will do in its place. Senbandachi is a style defined only by the sword, and has no single stance or technique attached to it. Instead, it is an ever-shifting way of battle which reacts to every facet of a battle, changing even its very fundamentals in the blink of an eye in order to accommodate what is required. In Murasaki's eyes, this is how the sword was meant to be used, not to be constricted to any one style or technique, but to be allowed to be used as freely as the body itself. Therefore, while Murasaki knows untold numbers of ways to apply her blade simply on pure instinct, these are not what she would call true “techniques.” They are mere applications of the sword, never to be relied upon or used as anything more than a step toward victory and proper swordsmanship. The only things Murasaki knows that she genuinely calls “techniques” are a very, very small selection of things which she believes are elevated beyond any one stance or style. They are states of mind, fundamental ideas of swordplay made manifest through sheer technique.
Because of this incredible variance in her swordplay, it is nothing short of nearly impossible to truly predict Murasaki's actions in combat, for her style may well shift into something else entirely as soon as her foe becomes comfortable with her current approach. She thinks two or even three stances ahead, changing her approach as soon as she believes the current one has seen its use or at the slightest change in the winds of battle. This approach should never be mistaken for a form of trickery, however, and Murasaki would never apply it in such a way. Senbandachi is simply the only way she knows to fight, the embodiment of herself as the sword and the free spirit that she is to her very core.
- Musonzai (無存在, “Empty Existence”): The mind is filled with action at any given time, countless things taking place all at once within it. Filled with concerns and hopes, doubts and certainties, and these things are what shapes the existence of one's self. But in the mind of the sword, these things are but distractions, obstacles to be overcome. The greatest of these obstacles is the one that truly stands between the body and the sword, that even zanshintai cannot overcome: Self. Musonzai is a level of focus upon the self and the blade that lies beyond not only zanshintai, but beyond anything else. Consider the master artist, one who has truly perfected the craft. When he makes a brushstroke, he does not think about its existence. Nothing exists for him in that moment but himself and his painting, and all at once he simply creates it. This empty void is Musonzai, and it is not something to be trifled with.
The application of Musonzai is not this focus in itself, however impressive it may be. No, the true worth of Musonzai is in the ability to decide what exists in this empty void. To Murasaki, who is the sword itself, this means that nothing exists beyond that blade. Musonzai is a state of complete and total focus, and a denial of anything which exists outside the void created within. Because of this denial, Musonzai has no outside influence of any kind, nor do those things which are spawned from it. There is no spiritual power of any kind, no outside force, and so this total focus can only exist within those who have achieved an extreme level of self-actualization, and upon the things that they are able to influence through this state. Paradoxically, however, due to the completely independent nature of this focus, Musonzai is, at least in theory, achievable by anyone with the inner calm to reach it.
Those who see Musonzai as a martial technique, or something to be applied in battle, however, are those very same who cannot grasp it. Musonzai is not a state of combat, nor one of peace. It is not offense or defense, passivity or aggression, or even being or not being. By its very nature, Musonzai denies any classification at all. One must never simply enter into Musonzai lightly, for in that moment they are accepting that their very self will be all that there is to them, and if done improperly, it can very well destroy their ability to interact with the outside world forever. Within this state, the self is all of creation for its user, and from there, they may find ways in which this self becomes applied into the outside world, if only in the most minute of ways. For Murasaki, this way is through the sword, for it is her, and she is it. In her words, "the answer lies in the heart of battle," but no two people will ever find Musonzai in the same thing.
Musonzai is, unlike zanshintai, not a passive state of being, however. Murasaki must choose to enter into this state, and can only do so for one post per rank in Focus. The cutting off of one's being from the outside world also means that, when within Musonzai, Murasaki's ability to exude reiatsu becomes literally zero. This means that she cannot use any kido or hoho, and any releases she may have been in upon entering it are not ended, but have no further effect upon the outside world until she exits Musonzai. Furthermore, Murasaki must choose when first entering Musonzai how long she will use it, rather than ending it at her discretion. This is because if one does not have an exact ending in sight for Musonzai, it will simply consume the self and never end, leaving the user effectively comatose. Because of this, it is a technique around which she plans a great deal, and is generally only used in the most extreme of circumstances.
- Suzuran (鈴蘭, "lily of the valley"): The first of Murasaki's techniques developed from Musonzai, Suzuran was designed as the answer to a simple question: “What is the sword?” The answer, as it turns out, is rather simple, though in practice this technique is nothing short of Murasaki's most difficult, complex, and outright abstract usage of her sword and herself. It is the crux of swordplay in its absolute purest form, the removal of all extraneous detail. Simply put, Suzuran ignores anything which might stand in its way. There is no battle, no terrain, no weather or even gravity, nothing but Murasaki and her enemy in the moment that Suzuran is used. To many, this might be considered an “ultimate technique,” but Murasaki does not believe such things exist. Any stance, technique, strike, or style has within it strengths and weaknesses, and while Suzuran is certainly powerful, Murasaki sees no reason why she should simply shoehorn its usage into all possible circumstances. It may be good enough for most foes, but “good enough” would be disrespectful to the very nature of the sword.
In many ways, Suzuran is a technique that simply should not be possible, and to the average swordsman, that would be an entirely true statement. If Senbandachi is the versatility of the sword, then Suzuran is its purest essence: “To kill.” In order to use Suzuran, one must first have achieved Muzonsai, for one could never hope to achieve this level of absolute swordsmanship without such an absolute level of calm and emptiness. Murasaki must then focus all of their existence, every fiber of her place in the tapestry of creation itself, into her strike. The actual form of this attack does not matter, for the purity of Suzuran has no regard for technique or style. In that single stroke, the sword simply is. A recipient of this strike is given what could only be described as an unwilling shift into Muzonsai as well. They are severed from all things in existence, and are brought into the shared void created by Murasaki's Muzonsai. This is when the strike inflicts its damage, when the foe has been cut off from anything they might draw strength from, and this is how Suzuran is capable of truly ignoring all defense: If struck by Suzuran, no defense can exist in the first place.
- Botan (牡丹, "peony"): Suzuran may be the essence of the sword made manifest through Musonzai, but Botan is something much more chilling; the essence of denial. It is perhaps the greatest defense one could achieve through the direction of their self, to so completely refuse the outside world that anything, be it tangible or intangible, cannot intervene. This is hardly a universal technique, and is far from a defensive measure applicable in any situation. Much like Suzuran, it requires that Murasaki already be in Musonzai, and is simply impossible without that complete focus. While Suzuran directs that total void outward,however, Botan directs it inward.
When the nothingness of Musonzai is truly expressed in the self, one's every aspect of being is cut off from the outside world. In one fleeting moment, Murasaki does not exist as we know it. She cannot be touched seen, or interacted with in any way, nor can she do these things in turn. Even the forces of nature, in that instant, simply cannot find even a trace of her existence. This is, for Murasaki, the true pinnacle of Musonzai's application, an isolated void so total that one is truly cut off from the world entirely, but this level of totality is also the very reason it is so incredibly dangerous. If attempted with anything less than the most perfect focus, Murasaki will simply disappear forever, every trace of herself in the material world, and in her own mind, erased. This is not some looming threat, either, but a very tangible one, and the sheer risk involved means that Murasaki's own body and soul will not allow her to achieve this detachment from the world more than twice in a single thread, nor can she use it in back to back posts.
- Tsubaki (椿, "camellia"): The third and final application of Musonzai, Tsubaki is a branching development of Botan, which takes the principle of nonexistence and takes it in an alternate direction. If one does not exist in this reality, then their place in it has been rendered meaningless, and this particular void is where Tsubaki takes its place. It is a much quicker technique than Suzuran or Botan, and is in many ways the other side of the same coin to Botan. Where Botan says “I am not,” Tsubaki cries out, “I am.” It occurs in the briefest of moments, not within Musonzai, but as Murasaki exits it. When one returns to existence, they are not bound by its laws until their return is complete, and this lapse is the place Tsubaki capitalizes upon.
By directing the entirety of the self toward a specific place in reality, Murasaki is able to return from Musonzai in a place decidedly different from where she originally began. In fact, this place can be quite literally anywhere that Murasaki is completely aware of, somewhere close to her heart that she is able to imagine easily. This expends no energy, and leaves no trace, but the sheer focus required is such that she cannot use this technique more than once in a thread, and upon doing so, her next post must consist only of a reaffirmation of self, interacting with the world in order to remind oneself that it is, indeed, real.
Either less or more notable than her inborn zanjutsu depending on one's perspective, Murasaki has also received an incredible gift for hoho due to her father being a speed-oriented zanpakuto. Murasaki was further trained in hoho by her mother, an exceptionally gifted user in her own right, and while it has been a great many years since this training took place, she has never forgotten these lessons thanks to her heritage.» Hakuda:
While never a key aspect of her training, Murasaki's mother still taught her a great deal on the subject of hakuda before her death. While she has certainly not put nearly as much effort into this as she has into her zanjutsu, as well as lacking any affinity for it, it would be patently false to call Murasaki anything other than a skilled practitioner of hakuda, and is certainly not to be underestimated.» Kōzanmanshū (空斬満手, “empty sword, full hand”):
While zanshintai is best described as the mark of her mother's legacy, it is not the true outcome of Murasaki's pedigree. Zanshintai is a technique that comes naturally to Murasaki due to her parentage, but it is one that could truly be learned by anyone. What has truly arisen due exclusively to her heritage, and which could never be learned by any other, is kōzanmanshū. Kōzanmanshū is not only built upon the basis of being half-zanpakuto, it is fundamentally reliant upon it, and while it would theoretically be possible to teach to any zanpakuto spirit, Murasaki has never tried such a thing, and sees little reason why she would.
In practice, the effects of kōzanmanshū are relatively simple. It is an extremely personalized martial art, and while it is descended from hakuda, Murasaki does not call it such, instead referring to it as “zanjutsu without a zanpakuto.” In many ways the counterpoint to zanshintai, when Murasaki uses kōzanmanshū, her body becomes her zanpakuto in the most physical of senses. A strike with her hand is not only capable of inflicting every bit as deep a cut as her zanpakuto, but is even capable of conveying the effects of her shikai and bankai simply through her touch. Additionally, Murasaki is able to instinctively convert any of her zanjutsu techniques into kōzanmanshū, and when kōzanmanshū is active, her arms become every bit as resilient to blows as her zanpakuto.
Of course, such a technique is hardly without drawbacks, and chief among them is that Murasaki simply cannot use kōzanmanshū when holding her zanpakuto. This is because the connection shared between them through zanshintai conflicts with the basic principle of kōzanmanshū, as Murasaki's body cannot be that which she is clearly holding in her hand. Furthermore, due to the focus required to bring that aspect of herself to the forefront, particularly on her arms and hands, Murasaki is unable to use kido alongside kōzanmanshū. Finally, there is the simple fact that, for all of the potential this technique might have, Murasaki is a swordswoman through and through. While kōzanmanshū translates her techniques and abilities, it simply cannot translate actual skill, and so this is primarily used only when Murasaki is unable to use her zanpakuto.» Kido:
Though she has done her best, kido simply does not come naturally to Murasaki. At least, that's what she says. The truth of the matter is just that she has no particular interest in learning it, and therefore she has no skill in it. If she were to actually pursue it, she could likely become a fairly proficient user, but this is currently Murasaki's weakest facet by far.
I. Father and Child Zanpakuto » Zanpakutô Name:
Keifu (系譜, "Genealogy")» Zanpakutô Spirit Appearance:
Keifu resembles a tall, older looking man dressed in a very personalized take on the classical "samurai" look. Long silver hair is held in a high, tight ponytail, and any possible stray locks are kept back by a black mask that does not actually hide his face, though is adorned with a pair of small decorative horns and fangs. Keifu wears a long purple and gold coat, with a few bits of similarly colored armor covering the biceps and chest, and it appears as though his entire body barring his head is covered in a skintight purple outfit of some sort beneath everything else, though it is possible that is simply his body.» Zanpakutô Spirit Appearance Image:
» Inner World:
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» Zanpakutô Appearance:
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» Sealed Zanpakutô Power:
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When holding both Keifu and any other zanpakuto, Murasaki is able to speak with the spirit of said zanpakuto. Should said zanpakuto not wish to speak with her, however, she cannot force them to say anything.» Paternal Zanpakutô Name:
Kagayaku (輝く, "Glint")» Paternal Zanpakutô Spirit Appearance:
Kagayaku appears as a young, handsome man, sporting exceptionally long black hair that typically covers one of his piercing yellow eyes. He ears what one might call the antithesis of a proper warrior's clothes, seeming to have just tossed a blue coat on in lieu of a shirt, accompanied by a pair of plain white pants and well-worn brown boots, with a length of red cloth being used as an impromptu belt. His stance suggests quite the devil-may-care attitude, which is only further reinforced by his constant smirk.» Paternal Zanpakutô Spirit Appearance Image:
» Paternal Zanpakutô Inner World:
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» Paternal Zanpakutô Appearance:
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» Paternal Zanpakutô Sealed Power:
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Kagayaku is a zanpakuto defined by speed, and even when sealed this is abundantly clear. Simply by having Kagayaku on her person, Murasaki is able to perform a unique variation on shunpo called the kagayaki, which is fundamentally identical and is only differentiated by a flash of light upon activation, as well as by its exclusive use of Kagayaku's reiatsu to power it rather than Murasaki's.
I. Father and Child Shikai» Shikai Release Phrase:
"Trace, Keifu."» Shikai Appearance:
» Shikai Abilities:
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Upon releasing shikai, Murasaki's nature as a zanpakuto is truly brought to the forefront, as is her asauchi soul. It is, in many ways, the logical conclusion of her personality and her being itself, the idea of her versatility made manifest. When Keifu strikes an opponent, Murasaki's soul becomes attuned to them and, perhaps more importantly, their style of combat. When this happens, she gains a fundamental grasp of that person's current abilities, including a basic understanding of how they work and what they do. This shikai is not without its limits, though, and chief among them is that it cannot tell Murasaki the effects of any releases her foe might have, only that they have a release on standby. Furthermore, upon activating said release, Murasaki's connection to the person is severed, as they have changed enough that she must reattune her soul to theirs. Her shikai also cannot work against more than one person at a time, and as soon as Murasaki uses this ability against someone else, any knowledge of the previous target's abilities gained exclusively through her shikai is lost, as though wiped from her memory.» Paternal Shikai Release Phrase:
"Flash, Kagayaku."» Paternal Shikai Appearance:
» Paternal Shikai Abilities:
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When Kagayaku is released, Murasaki becomes unbelievably fast, even passively so and when not engaged in what would call “movement.” Put simply, every facet of Murasaki's speed is multiplied massively, from her basic senses to her actual bodily motions. Her reaction time becomes inhuman, her heart beats far faster than any heart should, and her movement itself is like lightning. When in shikai, Murasaki can move quickly enough in a small area, roughly 30', to effectively exist in 5 places at once. While this seems to function as though she creates clones or afterimages, all 5 of these are in fact the same Murasaki, and anyone with a speed of Master or higher is able to see through this illusion and discern her genuine position at any given moment.
I. Bankai» Bankai Name:
Keifu Bunki (系譜 分岐, "Branching Genealogy")» Bankai Appearance:
» Bankai Ability:
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As Murasaki is one with the zanpakuto, her bankai changes not only her sword, but her very self. Upon releasing bankai, Murasaki attunes her soul not only to the weapon of another, but to their very being, as her asauchi soul temporarily aligns itself with theirs. Upon achieving this harmony, Murasaki gains what might best be described as a form of battle precognition, as her body, mind, and soul all gain an instinctive understanding of her foe, and she gains a fundamental knowledge of what her enemy will do in battle. This is not a hard and fast map of everything the foe will do laid out in her mind, but rather an instinct which is almost never wrong. For example, if an opponent were to fire two projectile attacks from above and a melee strike from her left, Murasaki would not be able to tell that was exactly what was going to happen. Instead, she would simply have an awareness that something
would be coming from those directions, at those speeds, and with those trajectories, as if she had already seen it happen.
It should be noted that her bankai does not, in itself, grant Murasaki the ability to actually read how an ability will function, only where it will be. For example, were a downward slash of the sword, a blast of energy, and a simple thrown rock all used against her with the same speed and trajectory, Murasaki's bankai would not be able to discern the difference between the three. It is for this reason that Murasaki is reliant on the knowledge gained from her shikai to properly apply her bankai, as once she understands how a foe attacks and how their style of combat functions, she is able to much more reasonably deduce the full range of the attacks she senses through bankai.
There is also the simple fact that, while this bankai grants Murasaki an incredible ability to read her opponents and respond to their attacks,it cannot read more than one person at a time, and so it is substantially less useful, if not an outright hindrance, when fighting multiple foes, as her awareness of one's abilities may well make her much more prone to being caught off-guard by another. Finally, while this bankai makes Murasaki an exceptionally agile opponent, and one that is very difficult to strike, it simply cannot actually give her an escape from any attack which she genuinely has no way to avoid. Keifu Bunki is a warning system, as it were, and not a defense in itself.
I. Skill SheetSkill SheetGeneral Skills
- Durability: Adept
- General Speed: Advanced
- Strength: Adept
- Weapon Skill: Advanced
- Hoho: Advanced
- Kidō: Untrained
- Zanjutsu: Elite
- Hakuda: Advanced
- Willpower: Advanced
- Mental Deduction: Advanced
- Pain Endurance: Adept
- Focus: Elite