: Kotaro Kuragari, Kotaro tries to keep his last name a secret unless to those who have gained his trust. So far, no one outside has gained the privilege.Nickname
: Shadowsong. Inside Kotaro's 'family', a second name is given to an adult when he has reach maturity. The maturity they speak of is not in the sense of age but of proving that one has the necessary qualities of achieving it. Therefore, it sometimes takes years after reaching adulthood for a Kuragari to gain his/her second name. Before that, the family member is placed under the watchful eyes of the elders and always in observation. Kotaro's title was given to him at the age of twenty-one, somewhat earlier than the usual ages, for his talent in music and mastering the Kuragari family's magic made more than a good impression. It is rarely known to others however, since the name can only be given to others that belong to his species or relate by blood.Age
: Inugami 鬼犬
- A very distant cousin of the Kitsune species, Inugamis are more fond of keeping to themselves and rarely contribute to or gain the opportunity to interact with others of the same blood with their tendency to never leave their birthplace. If one were to call Kitsune foxes and Ookami wolves, then Inugami would be dogs. That being said, they're not the sort of cute, cuddly puppies you'd expect them to be (although a fair amount of their offspring do often shapeshift into one). Characterized by large animalistic ears that have an extremely keen sense of hearing set on top of their heads, long tails protruding from the end of the spine, canine teeth that's noticeably much sharper than a human's and retractable claws capable of ripping a man's throat out, they aren't the sorts to be messed with. Their physical capabilities are higher in comparison to the average human, especially their dexterity and speed. Luckily for the people however, Inugamis are mostly friendly and very loyal to anyone they seem to be indebted to. In fact, Inugamis are usually regarded to be faithful guardians and magical beings in the few stories that mention them. Mess with one however and you'll soon regret barking up the wrong tree.Likes
: Meeting new Inugamis, meeting people of the same species, music, loyalty, humbleness, traveling, learning new cultures and seeing new places, festivities, dancing, good food, salt air, adventure, general mischief, good humor, challenges.Dislikes
: Not being able to complete his task, cheating, dishonor, betrayal, cowards, short-tempered people, people who can't take a joke, smoke, chocolate, pure sugar, wet fur.Appearance
: Like all Inugamis, Kotaro has the ability to shapeshift into multiple forms to gain an edge in certain situations. There are in total five forms all which are described and spoken in a language understood only by Inugamis with a knowledge more ancient than instinct buried within each of their minds. The first form is known as Hi, the human form. As a human, Kotaro looks nothing like an Inugami. He has short, messy hair of an odd shade of dark olive green, much like the color of leaves covered in shadows. Kotaro's eyes have the same color as his hair and are usually fixed with a calm, lazy stare at nothing. His body is tall at a height of slightly above six feet with a well-built frame, although looking slightly thin, as a result of his many years of training. The man's face is exactly like your average human's, with a slight resemblance to those of Asian descent, with a slightly pointed chin and eyebrows that resemble the heavy strokes of a paintbrush.
For clothing, Kotaro's attire seems to reflect his image as an animal. The colors of what he wears seem to favor the darker side on the color scale, with shades of black, gray and dark. On the inside, Kotaro wears a simple, collared, long-sleeved cotton shirt. He has on a dark jacket of a gunmetal green on the outside and a pair of black pants, both made of a sturdy animal leather and comfortable cloth on the inside. For protecting himself against weathers, Kotaro was given a large, brown duster by his 'family' as a parting gift which is made of the same animal leather as the rest of his clothing. The extremely long-sleeved duster is almost on him whenever he is outdoors, leaving only his dark, almost military by appearance and quality resistance, boots to be seen on his feet. From the perspective of random passerbys, he appears to look like any average nomad or traveler with the large bag hanging on his back and his distant behavior.
In his second form, called Das or the near-human in English, Kotaro's features become slightly more animal with a pair of black, pointed ears appearing on top of his head, slightly longer, sharper canines which almost reach his bottom lip, sharper elongated fingernails and a long, bushy, black tail with a white tip growing behind him. His body hair is slightly thicker, facial features become angular and Kotaro may start to exhibit more of his animal behavior such as baring his teeth if angered. Das adds around an inch or two to Kotaro's height and increases muscle mass slightly to a degree enough for him to overpower certain enemies. The senses are significantly heightened but far from an animal's and he becomes much faster than his human form.
The third form is called Rah, the beastman form of war rarely used by Inugamis, let alone controlled. Any Inugami who shapeshifts into Rah is immediately consumed by pure, animalistic rage and becomes nothing more than an angry, unstoppable berserker. It is said that not even the elders of the Kuragari family, centuries older than Kotaro himself, dare to use the form lest they spill blood. Kotaro has never crossed the boundaries between himself and his beastman's transformation, afraid of the nightmarish consequences.
The forth and fifth are called the Has and Hun, near-animal and animal. Both forms are very similar to each other, where the first transforms Kotaro into something of a huge, wolf-like dog and the other changes him into the average specimen of man's best friend. In near-animal form, Kotaro appears to be a black, somewhat ferocious and very intimidating canine which reaches almost four and half feet in height when he stands on all fours. The head is massive and the shoulders stocky, giving him more strength in biting and tearing off flesh. In animal form, Kotaro becomes smaller and carries many similarities in his appearance when compared to a fully-grown German Sheperd. In both forms, Kotaro's fur is of a pure, solid black, his tail is tipped with a little white and his belly is of a dark gray with an odd tint of the olive green all over him whenever the light shines from certain angles and degrees. As a dog, Kotaro's speed and perception are much better compared to his other forms, an advantage and disadvantage in different circumstances.Blood Type
Kotaro was born and bred in what he refers to as his 'home', which by his descriptions was a large forest somewhere in a land which had seasonal weather and a fine view of the sea. His childhood was fairly normal like all his other relatives. At a young age, he played with the other pups but as he grew, the elders observed an interesting change in his behavior. The old ones saw that as time passed, Kotaro became more distanced from his friends and relatives.
The Inugami preferred to spend his time alone and busied himself with tasks in the forest, it seemed as if he was seeking for more responsibility for his own enjoyment. His parents saw this as a sign of early maturity, happy that Kotaro knew his place and his morals but somewhat depressed of his lack of company. The elders on the other hand had their interest piqued and only saw an early candidate for the Forest of Shadows, the realm where all Inugami journeyed for an answer on their purposes in life.
When he was at the age of twenty-three, Kotaro was finally introduced to the one thing that would eventually carry him to his own destiny ; music. It was a day like any other when it happened, the elders instructed Kotaro's parents to ask for their son to search for some common materials in the forest. As Kotaro bid a few goodbyes and took a knife with him for safety, the elders watched in expectant hopes. They plunged him into the Forest of Shadows when young Kotaro was alone, without a single doubt of their plans.
Kotaro remembers only vague details of how it happened, his entrance into the Forest of Shadows felt like a hard to grasp dream but he remembered the details of what he did inside with an unmatched clarity. In the forest, Kotaro heard a faint whisper as he squatted down for some growing mushrooms at the roots of a tree. The whisper was brief, but loud enough to make Kotaro turn around and notice his situation. All around him, a ring of unfamiliar trees trapped him like an animal. He walked up to one and noticed its solid black skin and how its branches, dead and without any leaf, twisted and wrapped around with each other to form an impenetrable barrier above him.
For almost six days, Kotaro was there. He ate whatever he could find around him, occasionally paced around and slept the days away. But in all these six days, Kotaro never cried not wept. The boy was expecting something important and he was unnaturally absent of fear. On the seventh day of his waking, Kotaro saw movement somewhere behind his black cage. It was a brief movement, but noticeable and he could not help but remember the whisper from a week ago. Stumbling out of his broken reverie towards where he had seen the sign of something living besides himself, he saw a small, brown stick of wood with tiny holes carved into its body. Kotaro picked it up and as if driven by instinct, he placed his lips on the tip and blew.
Slowly, Kotaro's fingers danced on the flute and changed the sound that was emitted in result. The notes were jumbled at first but then, it fused and melted together into a song. All around him, Kotaro could see the shadows dance. Wolf-like dogs paced around him in a circle, stopping one moment and jumping at another to his little tune. Kotaro blew on the flute until his energy was spent, collapsing when his lungs were on the edge of exploding from overuse.
Kotaro returned to his home a day later, walking in a dazed manner and almost unconscious of how he had even managed to find his way back. The elders were already waiting there at the time, sitting in a circle inside his house and drinking tea. When he walked in, their old, wizened faces turned to face him. They told him he had found his fate and was given the name of Shadowsong. They also told him of his mission for the 'family', his mission of using his gift to bring the others of their blood together. Kotaro said nothing, only nodding in response.
What follows is almost nothing but vague recollections and ghostly memories, Kotaro found himself walking around the streets of Rapscord shortly afterwards without any knowledge of how he had even gotten there in the first place. For the next few years, Kotaro journeyed around on ships as a deck-hand, mercenary, musician and whatever employment he could find. Wherever he went, he had only one goal in mind : to meet his kin and someday, reunite with his family.
Now at the age of thirty, Kotaro has seen his fair share of worlds and experiences. But after all this time, Kotaro has not lost sight of his goal and still struggles to accomplish it. Working at various jobs in order to support himself, Kotaro continues to journey whenever he is able to and hopes to find a ship willing to do so.Weapons
: The Persuader
- A simple steam-powered revolver obtained from his brief five days and four nights in Rapscord, the Persuader is Kotaro's last resort to settle disputes before it evolves into anything worse. Slightly advanced if compared to the average flintlock weapon, the Persuader is a six-shot revolver with a capslock mechanism powered by the small cylindrical can of compressed gas attached behind the magazine. Due to its steam-powered nature, it needs to gunpowder for its use but it is weaker in comparison to the average gun. Each shot consists of a metal ball traveling at a speed fast enough to pierce flesh and thin wood, taking at least a few seconds for Kotaro to turn the 'wheel' and ready the firearm again. Reloading the weapon is a lengthy chore, taking half an hour at most for a full, complete loading of an empty magazine. Kotaro usually keeps a few bullets handy inside his pocketbelt for a quicker reload.Hunting Knife
- Not really much of a weapon as it is a tool, Kotaro has a small hunting knife for cases when he has to find his own food for survival. Measuring no more than the length from his wrist to his longest finger, the knife is designed for cutting and has a wooden handle of a dark brown color.Whistle
- Although nothing more than a gift from his brother on the day before he left his 'family', it is far from anything harmless. If in a tight spot and in need of some quick retaliation, Kotaro will use the instrument to wreak as much havoc as he can with its high-pitched sound. The whistle resembles an average tube-shaped police whistle which is made entire of a metallic material, silver in color and very resistant despite its appearance. A red string is tied into a knot at the metal loop on the whistle, usually used to keep around Kotaro's neck similarly to a necklace. The Kuragari symbol is etched onto the top, the image of a wolf-like dog baring its sharp teeth.Flute
- Resembling a Chinese Dizi bamboo flute, Kotaro constantly carries with him the instrument he was give after his journey into the Forest of Shadows in a long leather pocket on his waist and is his favorite one to use. The flute is made entirely of wood and has green rings painted on both ends as a pattern. With more than fifteen holes, it can produce a variety of sounds to suit the needs of Kotaro's Kangen. The Kuragari symbol is seen carved into the mouth of the flute, painted black in its lines to make it more noticeable.Guitar
- Something he bought before he left his hometown on his journey, Kotaro has been practicing with the instrument whenever he has the free time. The sounds produced are harmonious, soft and calming which serves as something useful in stressful situations if combined with his Kangen. Its appearance is nothing special, made of brown solid wood, metal and string. Kotaro scratched out a small 'K' on the back with a claw, for claims of ownership. Fairly large, it is always kept in a black bag and always hangs on Kotaro's back along with his luggage.Powers
Kaimei 黑影 - What distinguishes the Kuragari family from the other Inugamis is their magic and attunement with the shadows. It has been said that the eldest of Kuragaris are able to create golems and large, maze-like illusions with their magic of molding the darkness. This would easily explain why there have been so little evidence and signs of their existence after so many years. Kotaro is considered to be fairly experienced in using Kaimei, able to mold objects and simple illusions through intense concentration and mental stress. Due to how tiring it can get, the most Kotaro can do with Kaimei is create a small sword for fighting and 'shadowing' a person's sight for as little as a few seconds for escape. Weaknesses
Kangen 黑音 - Kotaro's 'gift' after he entered the Forest of Shadows, Kangen literally translates into 'dark sound'. The music he makes carries with it the influence of shadows and darkness, influencing the shadows and darkness within others to bring out a variety of effects. The magic itself is something even Kotaro cannot fully comprehend, despite the fact that he invented it. The 'influence' is somewhat vague, ranging from amplified fear to strengthened resolve for survival. What it truly does from what Kotaro understands, is that it reaches into the darkness of people and manipulates it to his advantage in a rather simple fashion. On a much more powerful scale, Kotaro can turn his music and sound into weapons of his own to deafen his enemies with a sonic screech. However, Kangen is far from turning people into zombies and unwilling servants. It only serves to amplify his music, not willpower.
: Like any other Inugami, shapeshifting has its own consequences for Kotaro. When in Das, Has and Hun, Kotaro's metabolism and biology is changed significantly. As a human, he may seem full after the average meal, whereas his appetite increases as he becomes more animal. Chocolate, sugar and any form of drugs is almost lethal to him if he shifts in Has and Hun which is why he usually takes pains in avoiding consumption of any of it. There's also the crazy urge he gains as a dog to do the things they will always want to do, especially chasing down any cat within sight.
Kotaro's magic is also quite useless if he cannot concentrate enough to control it, a slap to the face is more than sufficient to disable any of his powers. Another weakness in his magic is its natural aversion to pure, magical light. Although sunlight does no harm to his abilities, his shadows are useless if they are hit by light of magical origin.Quirks
: Oddly enough, Inugamis have nothing against cats. Kotaro even finds them good company as a human, but his other forms seem to have some other ideas. He is also prone to whistling whenever he is comfortable or bored, much to the annoyance to some who can't stand it.Pets(optional)
: Musician, although Kotaro isn't even the least against giving a hand in the fight when all heck breaks loose.Note
: Due to the mission entrusted to him by his 'family', Kotaro will always list finding other Inugamis as a priority in his mind. As a result, it won't be much of a surprise of he runs off the moment he steps on new land to search for the nearest kin or any who belongs to the same, if not similar, species.