Human - Rumiko Yukibara - B-1 May 29, 2015 22:01:38 GMT -5
Post by Rumiko on May 29, 2015 22:01:38 GMT -5
Name: Rumiko "Ru" Yukibara.
Despite lacking any impressive height at only 5'5", Rumiko carries herself with an air and confidence that gives the feeling that she's taller than she really is. She's a sturdy young woman who is more muscular than petite, her body strong from dedicated yoga and Bagua practice. Her brown hair is kept neat (most of the time) and often worn down with decorative clips to keep it out of her face. While she can get it into a ponytail by herself, she finds the task tedious and not worth the effort since she can't make it even or straight. Trendy jewelry is a passion and a love affair that always makes its way onto her person and into her shopping bags, often at the expense of her savings account, but to her it's more than worth it because she's worth it.
Rumiko firmly believes in dressing to impress, and even though she will wear things more traditionally associated with being an exorcist, she shies away from it, preferring instead to be herself and indulge in her love of fashion and vivid colors. She sees herself as the ultimate canvas of expression. When meeting clients, Rumiko aims to dazzle and keep them focused on her as a person and what she's saying as opposed to what she lacks as once people see the differences they often become uncomfortable, somehow feeling that a physical handicap reflects how well she can do what she says she can do. Seeing a confident and assertive woman wearing bold colors, rich textures, and spot-on makeup make people notice less what she's missing, and certainly make Ru feel that much more at ease.
On the job, her style is still bold, but more relaxed as she focuses on being able to move quickly, quietly, and without getting tangled in anything. Every advantage she can find, she will take, and easy-access pockets are her friends. Magnetic closures are even better friends, especially to keep her prayer beads and charms (and credit card) within speedy reach. In her studio, however, is where Rumiko will essentially "let her hair down" and chill in long skirts, comfy pants, and sleeveless shirts that make no effort to hide the stump where her left arm was. Rumiko only covers it up really for the comfort of those who don't know her, as she herself has adjusted over the years. The scars around the stump are a white, faded U-shape that lines the curve where the bone was removed from the socket and the flesh and skin stitched down.
Of all things that describe Rumiko Yukibara, two words stand out above all others: fiercely independent. The hurdles in her life have shaped who she grew up to be, and thankfully because her brother insisted on pushing her not to give up, Rumiko has adapted a very healthy perspective of facing storms head on, being told repeatedly that the only way to get to the other side is to push through it. She believes in being accountable for her actions and their outcomes, knowing fully now that it's up to her to decide to either run from things, resent the things that stand in our way or hurt us, or to rise to the challenge.
Despite being easily annoyed, Ru is a very warm and giving individual, and knows she often takes on "cases" that she won't get paid for. By all means, she prefers being paid, and insists on it, but knows that sometimes that's just not how the chips fall; living or dead, sometimes people are just assholes. It isn't even that she minds the spirits, but they do get on her nerves, especially when they're too persistent, getting underfoot when she's trying to work with them and people who can't see them, or the most typical case of when they show up outside of "normal business hours" and interrupt her sleep cycles. There are few things in life Rumiko loves as much as a good night's sleep: retail therapy, even more sleep, sake and karaoke, and the rare great date.
Her go-get-em attitude and stubborn pride help her to be at least a decent business woman as Rumiko's income is a two-fold project as both a "psychic painter" and as an exorcist; the fact that she can easily see and converse with the spirits to have them pose for her or simply answer questions just happens to be her little secret. Her pride does get in the way, however, especially since Rumiko hates asking for help. Being different is hard enough without being pitied for it and treated like some delicate creature. Because the world wouldn't adapt for her, she's had to adapt for the world, and as such values being able to fend for herself no matter how much it sucks, and depending on what's going on may not ask for help until she's deep in the thick of something.
Ru pushes herself hard, knowing very well that in a lot of ways her brother's right when he calls her a "Fraidy Cat;" she works hard to push and take things boldly, but usually that's done while telling herself not to run like hell. She's lost her fear of ghosts, but is still afraid of so much in the world, and without her brother handy as the fearless face of the company Ru has to work twice as hard to tackle problems that she'd ordinarily back away from. Because she grew up so isolated from her peers, opening up in any real way tends to be a problem as she deflects with jokes or changes the subject to keep the focus off of her or whatever she's really feeling or thinking. Leaving a small world where you have all the answers for something vastly bigger to face the unknown is terrifying, especially when you're still learning how to rely on others or be yourself.
On the job Rumiko can be tenacious as she wracks her brain for solutions. She's an excellent communicator and as such, sees herself as a mediator between the living and dead, and typically is called on to exorcise a disgruntled ghost from a residence where they can't seem to get attention any other way than acting up. Off the job is Rumiko's time to shop, unwind, and let go of all the negativity from her work. It's emotionally and psychologically exhausting and without healthy outlets, she knows herself well enough that she'll pick herself apart. Yoga, Bagua, shopping, going out and partying in town, and even her non-client paintings are how she releases so that things don't all stay bottled up. If you push her she will push back, but there is a definite limit to how much she can withstand all at once before her walls crumble.
The train ride there is far slower than it is to most other, more populated areas, and is the very last stop before reversing to head back and rejoin civilization. The train rides far, far north into Hokkaido, to a place so remote and far-removed that the area's founders must have been out of their minds or really needed somewhere to hide. When the train arrives, the town itself is small but tries to present itself with all modern conveniences and necessities, though a quick glance around can easily answer why the train doesn't bother going any further. This is the End of the World. This is Bifuka. But out past where the streets of Bifuka end, there are vast fields populated with fat, grazing sheep and little else. At the far end of town where the roads have all ended lies a vast field with a worn and muddy dirt road that is miles long but must often be followed on foot lest cars get stuck in the muck. This path, like many others in similar fields, leads to a low, wide house in the middle of a cleared plot like a scab in the middle of the grasses. The house and shrine attached are very old, the family residing there living lives dictated by tradition as they serve their purpose to the community at the End of the World: calming the fears of the living and easing the problems of the dead. This is the home of the family of traditional Shinto priests that have been there since the area was settled so long ago. This is where Rumiko Yukibara was born and raised, destined to be an exorcist like so many before her, and where she longed more than anything to escape.
For generations, the Yukibara family birthed people who could easily see and hear the spirits, and as such were a highly-valued need in the past when possessions were far more common. Typically Yukibara children began seeing and conversing with spirits as toddlers and began training to assist and exorcise them when they were very young in order to prepare them for the road ahead. Rumiko, however, seemed to be the queer exception to this age-old rule as she showed no signs of even noticing spirits staring straight at her. She was trained regardless, forms, prayers, and meditations drilled in day in and day out, her parents and grandmother hoping that someday she would fall into place within the family as they always had. Rumiko was restless and fidgety, finding no peace in meditation and unhappy with how much of an outsider to her own family she felt. They talked to people she couldn't, effortlessly, and her inability to do so was often the subject of debate, as though she were some defective puppy from a litter of show dogs. As Rumiko grew and still showed no signs of even the slightest hint of being aware, she became more lazy and distant, and for a time stopped training with her family entirely. Why bother learning something you can never use? So often you could hear the Yukibara's family chants, smell their fires and incenses burning, and at the same time you could so often see a little girl by herself in the forests and fields, trying to get the sheep to play with her or having imaginary samurai battles with sticks. So often there was an older brother watching from the distance to keep an eye safely on the little girl, unsure of how even he could reach out to her. So often there was a little girl who didn't even know how to be a part of her family and wished every night to grow wings and fly as far away as possible.
Just as Grandmother insisted there was a spirit world outside and beside our own, Rumiko knew there was a world outside of Bifuka. A world with bustling, shining cities and endless new faces to see. Gladly Rumiko would give up all the spirits the universe could toss at her to see if it meant finally seeing the world and being a part of it. She was tired of musty traditions and a daily sameness that made days and seasons blur together almost pointlessly. Change was needed, and suddenly, change was granted. Rumiko had just turned 11 a few days prior, the seasons still lingering in the last of the summer warmth that was rapidly cooling. Rumiko sat alone on the porch, staring out into the clouds as she brushed her hair, wondering if her wish would come true. Wishing, hoping, and praying for change, she wanted something different, and all day long, she'd felt different. Despite the warmth she constantly walked into spots in their sunny home that felt cold and damp in a way that made the hairs on her arms stand upright. She would shiver in the sunlight as chills ran up and down her back, giving her the distinct feeling someone was behind her when she was entirely alone. Whispers that seemed from another room and went silent as soon as she focused on them drifted in and out of her ears for days, making Rumiko feel more and more uneasy and restless. For days she couldn't sleep and only picked at her food, unable to keep still or calm her mind; even the gentle coaxing of her brother Hideto proved useless to comfort her.
That cold, wet feeling rose up again as Rumiko decided she'd go run around in the trees and warm up when she'd noticed she had misplaced the hair tie she was planning to use. When she asked aloud where it had gone, Rumiko hadn't expected an answer. When Rumiko looked beside her to see the transparent form of an ancient, toothless old man with shriveled features and loose, draping skin and hollow, sunken eyes, she was more than a little surprised. Despite the years of family traditions and training and prayers and mantras, the last thing Rumiko had ever expected to see was a ghost sitting beside her and honestly looking like he had begun to decay before he died, resembling the Crypt Keeper. Rumiko should have bowed, thanked, and welcomed her guest, and fully intended to do so as she opened her mouth. What erupted from her being, however, was a scream whose shrill pitch startled the birds and sheep and echoed behind her as Rumiko ran as though the Devil himself were after her.
Suddenly everything seemed feel cold and tingly, distant whispers following the child through the trees, the onset of teenage years opening her family-born talents like a breaking dam. She didn’t want to feel them, hear them, or see them. This wasn’t the life she wanted, already so decided for her, already so filled with things that would set her further apart from the world she wanted to be a part of. It didn’t matter where Rumiko ran to; the feelings clung to her and even at the End of the World, you could only run so far before you were back where you started. An old house on a property adjoined to the Yukibara land, its residents long-since moved into something newer, leaving this old condemned one to rot. Rumiko pushed through the gap in the fence and ran to the house, crawling under the open space where the side of the porch had rotted away. The hiding spot was dark but still warm, holding onto the last of summer’s heat as she curled into herself, crying and trying to will away the abilities that had caught up to her.
Apart from having nowhere to run to, at the End of the World it doesn’t take long to be found, especially when there are bodiless people willing to say which way a little girl ran to. It wasn’t long before footsteps casually caught up, pushed the broken gate open more, and then stopped at the decaying steps of the porch. Hideto could have scolded her for running away, yanked her out and dragged her home to apologize. He could have lectured about how Grandmother would have told Rumiko to handle her first meeting and that she should have known better, and worked to make her feel guilty. He could have even come all the way there, told her what a little brat she was, and that she’d never really be a part of the family or the world. But he didn’t. Instead he only leaned against the remnants of the porch and folded over to poke his head in upside-down.
“Planning to stay in there long?” Hideto asked casually. “Dinner will be ready soon.” Rumiko didn’t lift up her head at all, her face still buried in her arms that were wrapped tightly around her knees. Long brown hair formed a curtain as she tried to disappear into herself even more.
“I’m not coming out,” Rumiko answered, her voice edged with hurt and childish mumbles. “Ever.”
Rumiko sniffled before lifting her head to wipe at her face with her bare arms. “Ever! Not until things go back to the way they were!” Aha. So there was the heart of the problem. Poor Ru-ru, Hideto thought. The rest of us had an earlier start and just got used to things; you got it all at once. Hideto sighed lightly.
“Sorry to tell you kiddo, that’s just not happening. Our family sees stuff, it’s what we do. But if you really plan to stay in there and hide from it the rest of your life, I’d better run home and tell mom. Grab you a blanket, a flashlight, your bunny…” Hideto straightened up and stepped away, stepping a few feet from where he’d been as though preparing to leave when he changed his tone. “Dad will miss you at the house, though, and me too. And who will feed the chickens like you do? Ahh, but you’ll have new friends here! You won’t get lonely!”
Ru looked up and over at her brother, confused and a little suspicious. “New friends?”
Hideto nodded, lifting a finger to point where she could see. “That big silver blob in the corner beside you is a spider nest full of eggs. Soon as the weather warms up again in spring, there’ll be hundreds of little spider babies for you to play with! But don’t bug the nest until then, the mommy spider is right behind you!”
If Rumiko had flown out of her precious hiding place any faster she would have broken the sound barrier. Hideto only stood there laughing as his little sister bolted out from under the porch and climbed up his body, clinging to him as she put a safe distance between herself and the spiders, only to hop down and call him a jerk once she realized he’d done that on purpose. It was silly that she was just as afraid of spiders as she was spirits of the dead, neither of which were really any threat to her being or had any intention of hurting her. The spiders just wanted a warm place to live, and the spirits and humans that approached their family with spirit problems just wanted help in some way. Running from it wouldn’t change it, he explained, and ignoring it wouldn’t change her. But if she worked at it with an open heart she could find a balance to be both what she wanted to be and be who she was at the same time. Hideto had held her hand the whole walk home, finally bridging that gap between them with an understanding as he made her a deal: if she promised to take the family training seriously and learn everything she was supposed to do and do it right, he would help her venture out into the world so she could go live the way she wanted when she was older.
That agreement was never mentioned to their parents, but Rumiko knew her brother would keep his word; he wanted to leave, too, and there were universities he wanted to study at far, far away from Hokkaido. Rumiko kept her end of the agreement, training faithfully and spending more time assisting her parents with blessings and exorcisms, though spirits still made her uncomfortable. Even though she knew that generally the dead wouldn’t hurt her, the feelings they carried with them lingered on with her, making it harder to tell her feelings apart from those that came to her from others and pushed her even further away from others her own age. She just simply couldn’t relate in any real way, and most students kept their distance since they all knew her family’s reputation very well. It wasn’t fair. Rumiko just wanted to be like everyone else, hang out, have a good time and actually enjoy high school as she embarked on being a teenager. She pushed herself along if only for the sake of keeping her parents happy and knowing that someday she’d leave with her brother.
Life has a habit of throwing a wildcard to see how you’ll handle it, and as Rumiko’s 15th birthday approached, the ultimate curve ball came her way. She and Hideto had grown very close since Ru’s first encounter with the ghost and he became the only person she could honestly confide in without being afraid of rejection or punishment. They had been in town that day, doing some shopping when it began to rain much harder than anyone had expected. Their bicycles were hard to control to control on the sidewalks as the rain poured down and made it difficult to see; the downpour made it that much harder to control a car as it swerved to miss another car turning and then spun out as the brakes were slammed. It happened so fast that to this day Rumiko hardly remembers what happened exactly. There was the sound of rain and thunder, and the deep swish of wet tires roaring past. There was a damp screech as brakes failed, bumps as the car hit the sidewalk and then… pain. The world spinning in circles. Confusion. People yelling. Hideto was screaming. Pain from everywhere all at once. Brown eyes staring straight up into the sky and falling rain as her conscious mind resisted going into shock.
Pain… Pressure. Hideto was beside her, pushing against her body, hurting her as he tried to pull broken and warped metal from her bike from her body, hurting more as he pushed his coat into his sister’s left arm and side to try and stop the bleeding. His lips were moving as though he were in slow motion. He was yelling and upset, trying to keep her awake and focused on him. Words sounded like they were under water as Hideto pushed tightly against Ru’s bleeding body, begging her to hold on until help arrived and yelling at her to fight it and not go to sleep. ”Whatever happens, don’t close your eyes! Ru-ru, DON'T GO TO SLEEP!!” Pain was ebbing. Voices fading. Colors blurring. The world finally went quiet for Rumiko as it all faded to black. The dark was warm and soft, silent, and Rumiko was neither lost nor found, painless and floating until something caught her attention and disturbed the nothing. Emerging from the dark, she stirred, pain prickling everywhere and urging her to open her eyes once more, but when they opened the world had changed again. Rumiko wasn’t downtown anymore, or outside in the rain, but every inch of her hurt beyond anything she’d ever known. Slowly, gingerly, Rumiko looked around the dreary hospital room and then at herself, long plastic lines and tubes connecting to beeping machines and bags of liquid pumping in. If pain were an earthquake, her left arm was the epicenter, and then horror sank in as shaking fingers drifted to where it hurt so badly only to find that the arm that hurt so badly wasn’t there anymore. Bandages. Hard plaster. Cotton gauze. No arm.
The arm had been badly mangled, the bones shattered and the flesh nearly torn off completely from the car crashing into her and then dragging her body with it, the doctors explained. It was too badly destroyed to have any hope of repairing it, and so it was removed completely. She would have to adapt. Everything would be different, and every little task she’d ever done alone and taken for granted would have to be relearned a different way. "Be glad you’re still alive," they said. "You’ll figure it out. You’ll be okay." Despite her family trying to comfort their youngest and try to figure out how best to help her, Rumiko was devastated, lost, and only felt more trapped than ever before. It had been days and Rumiko was stable, but still not allowed to leave the hospital as they monitored her broken and mending body. Her family didn’t need to be there full time, leaving the girl alone with those who entered the hospital and never left. Unable to run, hide, or ignore them, the spirits roaming the hospital halls kept her company, offering advice and comfort as they were able, Rumiko listening to their problems in exchange.
She sat wondering how she’d manage or figure out her life now that she wasn’t even a whole person anymore when the sound of crying caught her attention. Her room had been shared with a woman who wasn’t much older than Rumiko’s own mother, and the woman had died suddenly. Family members in that corner of the room had come too late to say goodbye and were told that the body was already taken to the morgue, unaware that the spirit of the woman was right there, trying desperately to communicate with them. Awkward but wanting to help, Rumiko talked to them from her bed, and said she’d like to give them something. Balancing was difficult and sitting up was a little painful, but she pulled out the large paper pad her brother had brought for her and began to sketch. The ghost of the woman sat still, posing gracefully, and transposed herself onto paper for her family, brought back to life by the little girl who’d lost her arm. Affectionate nicknames were whispered in Ru’s ear and written down on the page. Messages of love displayed themselves in pencil and ink. And then, the moment came. They found that last connection to their family member who’d left them, and she had found a voice to give her final messages. There was warmth, and light, and a feeling of contentment as the woman dissipated from the room.
Rehab was a slow and painful process as Rumiko learned how to maneuver the world in her changed body, every wall of tears and frustration met with her brother gently prodding her forward. At the doctor’s advice, yoga and Bagua were taken up as a means of improving her strength and endurance, and especially her balance since she’d had to find a new way to center herself without her other arm as counter-balance. Slowly, things began to change as Rumiko found a power in the confidence from doing for herself, and from the emotional satisfaction she gained from helping those who’d died and lost the ability to really help themselves effectively. Steadily Rumiko began to bloom, and as she graduated high school Hideto made his move for the both of them, announcing he’d been offered an impressive internship in Tokyo. With some creative arguments and agreements in place, Rumiko was allowed to go with him, their parents satisfied that she’d be under constant supervision and cared for.
Finally allowed to join the world, Ru threw herself into everything enthusiastically as she studied business classes and worked at the Hanazono shrine as both a miko and a freelance medium. The fact that Rumiko could clearly hear and see the spirits made her much more effective at her job, and slowly she built a small but steady clientele until one day her brother suggested they simply go into business and put talent to use. They already had had a lifetime of family training to assist the spirits, and Tokyo was restless with energy of the unseen. Using his name as the legal official, Snow Rose Cleansers, LLC was born. Around his internship, they both offered consultations for exorcisms, spiritual contact and advice, and traditional blessings and ritual work. Rumiko exclusively offered paintings of the spirits, a service that has since then built up quite an interesting reputation. Satisfied that their children were both doing well, Ru’s parents have found no reason to leave Hokkaido or urge either of their children to close up shop over the years.
When Hideto’s company decided to send him to San Francisco to oversee and manage new operations, the money and opportunity were too good to pass up, and the company was then left in his sister’s hands to handle. Even though once a month he insists on looking over the ledger and his name is the first on all legal documents, they both know that the company really is and always was Rumiko’s. Upon leaving, Hideto left a box with a Balinese kitten inside, to give her living company and something to care for so that she wouldn’t become lazy. Ru has been running the company solo for two years now in Shinjuku, exorcising spirits and selling her services as a spiritual consultant and psychic painter. She's not rich, but she's happy and finally feels like it's where she's meant to be most helpful.
- Martial Arts - Intermediate
- Swimming - Beginner
- Painting - Advanced
- Spirit Sensing - Intermediate
- Speed - Advanced
- Power - Intermediate
- Stamina - Intermediate
- Intelligence - Advanced
Rumiko comes from a long family line of traditional exorcists, so her ability to commune with spirits was said to be inevitable. She was a "late-bloomer," however, and didn't see her first spirit until she was 11, and spent several years prior insisting she'd never be like the rest of the family and see them. What started as whispers and chills became a full apparition when she was 11, and even though the spirit was harmless and only trying to help, seeing the spirit of such an old person scared her half to death. While she ran away from that first face to face encounter, she ended up returning to apologize, even though she still wanted to find a way to "turn it off."
Discovery of PowersSince Rumiko's innate abilities were inherited from her family and trained by them to be used properly, Rumiko didn't discover her powers so much as discover herself and a purpose for those talents. The first hint came after her accident when she helped a grieving family and stranded ghost simultaneously by bridging the gap for them; it underlined itself when as a young adult she began working as a miko at a shrine in Shinjuku and would offer to communicate with spirits to help both their families and the spirits find comfort.
Contrary to how highly energetic and enthusiastic Ru is, the focus of her training and work comes simply to a baseline of calm. Because she is so sensitive to the presence of spirits and their feelings, Rumiko's abilities show themselves in her dedication to bring the energy to a calm and neutral state because it is then that she has found that the problems of the spirits can be most easily resolved. The singing whistle, mantras, and incense Rumiko uses help replicate the tone and feelings of being at a temple; at their core, people and their souls want serenity and she's found that her methods resonate with that want. Once calm, it's much easier to help the spirit find their peace and move along with a prayer and a blessing.
The less welcome end of Rumiko's inherited abilities come by way of feeling. Spirits have a definite energy, as do feelings, and Ru's sensitivities pick up on those feelings quite well even when the spirit or person isn't necessarily there. She can't always tell who or what those feelings belong to, however, and many times they're simply echoes of things from long before that seeped in deeply (much like the overwhelming sense of silence and despair in the Aokigahara Forest; people go there with broken hearts and souls to kill themselves and the feelings they brought remain and add on with the feelings that were there before them). Rumiko can sometimes immerse herself in the feelings embedded in places or objects and get an impression of what may have happened or felt at the time. Particularly strong (mostly negative) feelings can overwhelm Ru's own feelings and senses, but it's a skill she uses for her living clients when she's asked to step in and try to backtrack something that might have happened before and the spirits of those involved may not be present.
Other Specialty Items
Omamori - A paper charm with a special family seal to calm energy so she can work, as well as what she leaves with clients after an exorcism to leave as a blessing.
Prayer Beads - Jade prayer beads Ru uses for exorcisms, typically wrapped around her wrist.
Singing Whistle - A cylindrical wooden whistle with multiple holes that make the sound of several of the Tibetan singing bowls. The whistle is roughly the size of a softball and has a long string attached to it, and it produces noise best when swung. The singing bowl tones are very calming and help focus energy and attention when performing an exorcism or trying to get a spirit's undivided attention. Since traditional singing bowls are heavy, expensive, and take two hands, this whistle is a great alternative.
Abilities, First Stage
- Description of Attack - Rumiko spins her whistle until all the holes make the tones of the singing bowls, which are then combined with meditative chants, incense (if she has time), and calm suggestions to help calm a spirit enough to work with them and help them cross over. This is meant primarily for normal spirits and hasn't been used on a Hollow, however, its effectiveness against Hollows would depend on how strong the Hollow was and how angry. Generally it wouldn't do much to them other than confuse or distract them, but if the Hollow's emotions had been wanting peace before they were corrupted, it may calm them slightly. Certainly wouldn't hurt it, but may catch its attention and calm it a little.
- Type - Defense
- Range - Close and can only focus on one spirit at a time
- Limitation - It can last several minutes with full focus and concentration but requires a bit of multitasking. Breaking her concentration and making her cease the whistle can break the connection she was building and can force her to start over, depending on the spirit.
- Description of Attack - Using her omamori, Rumiko invokes a small protective shield around her person or a small area with multiple charms. This requires a fair amount of concentration and energy on her part, and is typically only used to stave off something dangerous from getting in or out of a confined area, or from having a direct go at her. It gives her a moment to catch her breath and come up with Plan B or begin the process for exorcism. (Example, vengeful spirit causing a ruckus and won't calm down long enough for Ru to work with it one on one, she pegs it to a room so she can focus on it in an easier space, or to keep said angry spirit from attacking her directly.) Rumiko doesn't really like using this because she feels it's very impersonal and that if she can talk the spirit down they can resolve the heart of the matter, but sometimes she simply has to get them to hold still long enough to do that.
- Type - Defensive
- Range - Close-range and can only focus on one person/place at a time. She can either defend herself or confine a spirit to an area, but not both. At maximum, with charms placed to make a border, the ward could hold a 10x10 room with enough concentration and energy, the space created being no more than four feet from her physical body.
- Limitation - In the larger scheme of things the ward is fairly weak and only lasts short bursts, growing weaker each time. Protecting just herself is easier than containing a whole room. While she's used it on angrier spirits and poltergeists, it would be useless against something as strong as a typical Hollow. When used for a room (say the size of a bedroom) the ward can last about five minutes max with a lot of concentration, giving her time to perform the exorcism.
Abilities, Second Stage
Name of Ability
- Description of Attack -
- Type -
- Range -
- Limitation -
A perfect, velvety black spanned out before Rumiko. Soft, warm, and completely unmarred, ready for life itself to explode onto the scene and interrupt the zen-like nothingness with its equally zen-like chaos. Funny how those two total opposites worked to create the whole of zen, and not just the still-half that everyone thought of first. They needed each other to create the perfect balance, and it was within that chaos that one found stillness, and more importantly, release. Today was a day off, entirely. The phone and pager were off. Appointments had been shuffled around Rumiko’s schedule and not the other way around. The sign on the front door of both her office and art studio politely read “Closed,” next to the other, more important sign that was plastered to the door:Friends WELCOME.
Enemies by APPOINTMENT ONLY.
Today was Rumiko’s day to work inward and release all the pent-up tension and frustration, and shake off all the negative vibes that had been sticking to her lately, making her feel clogged, heavy, and dank. It was the unpleasant and unspoken side effect of her work, and simply a fact of life. The dead carried the energy and feelings they had in life, only more intensely because they were no longer bound by a body or the restrictions of needing to be wholly rational persons. Rumiko’d never say no to helping, but good gods sometimes the bitterness and ick that clung to them was just too much, and exactly why they became ghosts instead of simply pleasantly crossing over. Internalizing that much negativity ate at a person’s soul and made them rot from the inside-out, and after enough years of getting the hang of herself, twice a month was the bare minimum needed to shed it any way she could. Some days she sweat it out with hot yoga and dancing all day. Others it was meditated out and carried away on the fumes of incense and mantras. Today? Today, it was coming out much more expressively.
The deep black stretched out into the form of a long, wide rectangle, stapled neatly in place along every side. A lot of people found using black canvases as a base of a painting was tacky and art nouveau; a lot of people could kiss where the sun didn’t shine. Rumiko smiled, raising her arm with a plastic claw clip as she stretched her fingers and pulled her hair into a loose, somewhat crooked clipped ponytail. Her tanktop and jeans were old and stained with paintstrokes past, and today would again enter the frantic battle between she and her canvas as it had before many times, her soul exploding through her and transposing onto fabric and paint. With the quick jab of a button, the music from her stereo began to play and increased in volume as the CD warmed up. The heavy baseline from the European techno began to pump as Rumiko let out a deep, cleansing breath. Inhale through the nose for five, hold for seven, out through the mouth for eight. Repeat. Repeat. Feel the music synchronize with your soul and the feelings you wish to shed. Feel your soul resound and seek an exit. The brush dipped gracefully into the first pristine glob of paint on the palate and lifted upward as Rumiko’s eyes closed, the brush hovering, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
Seeming out of nowhere and out of rhythm with the music, the brush darted forward and plunged downward, smearing shining black onto the already black canvas. The first few strokes seemed slow and elegant, only to speed up. Black. White. Red. More red. Swirls and lines. Eyes. Large, frightening eyes, hunting for prey. Teeth. Gnashing, shining teeth waiting to tear you apart. Long arms and too many hands that weren’t hands, all reaching out, climbing, clawing, searching for both salvation and destruction. Beautiful revenge. Echoes of an angry soul of a life unfulfilled. Bitterness. Jealous resentment. The strokes of the brush ceased to be strokes or dashes and became frantic and urgent, colors mixing into pure emotion as Rumiko fell into the trance-like “zone” where her darker work came from. There had been many paintings of monsters like these over the years, and many more would certainly follow, but better to be there on canvas where they couldn’t hurt anyone than left inside to haunt Rumiko’s nightmares and nip at her heels in the darkness of sleep.
She didn’t dare move and gods help the poor bastard that interrupted her while she was so entranced, and before the Saltatio Mortis CD could finish its last song, Rumiko put her brush down, panting slightly. The hollow in front of her was terrifying and beautiful in its own grotesque way. It was in the mists and the dark, searching, and terrifying, but at the same time, there was a second feeling surrounding the beast. Something unexpected. Sadness. Longing. Needing. It would inevitably hurt and destroy, but it was attempting to feed and quell the emptiness it felt. It wanted peace. It wanted something it had lost, or had never had. And it was reaching out, blocked forever by the end of the canvas where its world ended. “The end of the world,” Rumiko said gently. Home. Rumiko sighed and backed away from her painting, her eyes lingering on the beast whose freshly-painted eyes were locked onto hers in a way that felt more than a little disconcerting. Painting typically cleansed her of the feelings, but this one… This one stirred them and frightened her and she couldn’t fully explain it. “I’ll burn an extra stick of incense for both of us.” Rumiko gave a soft bow to her painting’s captive guest before she dropped her brush into the water can and left the room, needing to get away from her what she could only wonder if it wasn’t her own reflection from deep within.
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