Legend of the Five Rings Love Letter Releases on Monday, February 10, 2014, so now is a great time for you to meet the personalitlies involved in this new addition to the L5R universe. Check out the bio’s below!
The third child of the Divine Empress and her consort, Iweko Setai, underwent her gempukku ceremony a relatively short time ago. At fifteen years of age, Miaka has a romantic’s view of the world that has been formed by her shielded upbringing, and of course by a passion for pillow books and tragic plays. Many years younger than her brothers, both Seiken and Shibatsu had already begun training for their gempukku ceremonies when she was born, she has never had a particularly close relationship with either of them, though she does love them dearly.
Likewise her mother was always somewhat distant, an unfortunate reality that surrounds the relationship between any sitting Emperor or Empress and the children that may one day sit upon the throne. The only member of her family to whom Miaka is truly close is her father, the former Akodo Setai, who spoiled her as a child, knowing that he should not but unable to help himself. Miaka’s vision of what a devoted husband should be is in many ways shaped by her reverence for her father, and although she does not recognize that, it will make it difficult for her to ever find a husband who meets her expectations.
Miaka’s personality might best be described as effervescent. While most expect a child of the Empress to be haughty or at least reserved, Miaka is genuinely warm and accepting of everyone she meets. It is said that she has never met a stranger, for all those in Rokugan are the subjects of her mother, and the truth is that there is virtually no one who can dislike her once they have encountered her in person. Physically, she is as beautiful as she is within, ensuring she has no shortage of suitors.
The Divine Empress was once the daimyo of the Kitsuki family of the Dragon Clan, long before she was endorsed by the Celestial Heavens and filled with its radiance and divinity. It comes as little surprise, then, that for the personal sensei and advisor for her youngest child, the Empress selected a representative of the Dragon Clan.
What is somewhat surprising, however, is that she selected a representative of the Togashi order of tattooed men. Gozato is a typical member of the Togashi, or at least as typical as a Togashi can be, and as such is prone to bouts of nonsensical riddles or saying that make little to no sense outside of whatever internal context he has, which he rarely deigns to share with others. Miaka tends to find her advisor exasperating, but she has true affection for him. Likewise, he views her as the daughter he never had, although he is careful to maintain only appropriate interaction with her at all times out of respect and devotion to her parents, whom Gozato reveres above all others save his clan’s Champion.
As is customary for members of his order, Gozato shaves his head bald and much of his exposed torso is covered in tattoos. Some are mystical, but many are not, and no one is certain which is which until one of them is utilized by the old monk, an occurrence that is exceptionally rare save in extraordinary and very dangerous circumstances; in the six years that Gozato has served Miaka, she has only seen him utilize his tattoos twice, both times in defense of her well-being, although she does implore him to use them almost daily.
The very definition of dashing, Doji Takato is the object of desire for a great many beautiful young samurai women throughout the Empire. Takato has had his share of conquests, to be sure, but for him, nothing is better than the challenge of an unattainable target, and the princess Iweko Miaka is the ultimate prize. If he were to wed her, no one in the Empire would ever be able to question his charm and his wit. He would be untouchable forever. Or at least this is what Takato tells himself.
The notion that he could be hopelessly, overwhelmingly smitten with a girl five years his junior is preposterous… isn’t it? The fact that he privately writes poems in her honor and paints lavish pictures of her beauty is merely part of the process by which he will win her hand and achieve absolute supremacy over the courtiers of his generation. Again, this is at least what he tells himself.
There can be no question that Takato is one of the most handsome young men in the entirety of the Crane Clan, and perhaps the entire Empire, nor that he is charming beyond his years. He gets the largest number of compliments for his flawless skin and complexion, which he takes great pains to maintain. His wardrobe is impeccable, and he is never without a particularly ornate fan that he claims was once owned by Kakita Yoshi, one of his clan’s greatest heroes and a legend in the Imperial Court even decades after his death. He has taken to discreetly spreading several stories about the fan’s involvement in numerous tragic romances in hopes of attracting the princess’s attention.
Iweko Miaka’s doting father was once a member in good standing of the Lion Clan. More to the point, he was once a Deathseeker, a Lion who actively sought death in order to restore his honor, but was so skilled on the field of battle that he was reinstated with full honors and went on to ascend to the position of consort of the Divine Empress.
Although technically the well-being of his daughter falls to the capable and honorable Seppun family, Setai has never abandoned his connections to the Lion Clan and has insisted upon a Lion yojimbo to augment his daughter’s protection detail. This samurai travels with the princess at all times and, while the Seppun Guardsmen protect her wherever she goes, Misato oversees the security of whatever chambers she calls her home during her travels.
When she isn’t found spending time maintaining a painstakingly precise list of all those who request access to the princess’s chambers, who is actually granted access, and the times and durations of any visits they make, Misato is standing watch at the doorway. Miaka finds it rather inconvenient but she cannot bring herself to condemn her, as Misato reminds her too much of her father.
While Togashi Gozato is the teacher and general advisor of Iweko Miaka, he is not her only advisor. As befitting any Imperial personage of such rank, the Phoenix Clan have offered the services of a spiritual advisor, Isawa Tenkawa.
Because of the prestige associated with such a position, the Phoenix ensured that one of their most powerful shugenja was placed in the position, reasoning that his knowledge of the elements would be useful, as well as his ability to defend the princess should such a thing become necessary. Unfortunately, mystical knowledge and power are not always compatible with political savvy.
Tenkawa is a lean-faced man who trained with the Isawa Tensai in the element of fire. The negative stereotypes that are associated with fire shugenja are unfortunately present in Tenkawa, and he holds little regard for those who are unable to speak to the kami (save for Miaka, of course, whom even Tenkawa must admit seems as beloved by the spirits as her divine mother). Were it not for the prestige he enjoys as the appointed spiritual advisor of the Imperial princess, it is likely he would have been discreetly “uninvited” to court already.
Kaiu Akemi is an enormous presence in court, and not simply because of her prodigious physical abilities or her fame as a former sumai, but because her personality is easily a match for her form. Unfortunately, her personality is also confrontational and blunt, as well as outspoken.
She tends to intrude upon conversations that do not involve her, oftentimes frankly condemning one or even both parties in the conversation when they fail to meet her exacting standards. Akemi is one of only a handful of individuals who has ever spoken critically of Iweko Miaka publically. Normally this would have ended any career she might have had in the courts now that her career as a sumai wrestler is over, but her frank assessment of the young princess only intrigued Miaka, and she spent an evening in conversation with the former wrestler. This fact gained Akemi far more fame than her previous comments, and though she will never admit it, Akemi has succumbed to the young woman’s bright, cheerful mood just as everyone else has. No one can help but to love her.
As befitting a former sumai, Akemi has a significant physical presence. She wears her hair in a topknot without fail and dresses very plainly; she has never seen any point in embellishing her appearance when she knows very well that she has little chance of attracting a husband through her physical charms. Instead, she has devoted herself to ensuring that the Imperial princess ends up with a proper Crab husband.
Even among the Scorpion, Shosuro Yamazaki could be described as subtle, and that is no mean feat. He defers to others in virtually every instance, seeking only to avoid offense and gathering as much information as he can on those who are currently competing for the affections of the Imperial princess.
Yamazaki would enjoy very much seeing a member of the Scorpion Clan winning the hand of the princess, but he knows that there is little he can do to influence such a decision in his current position. Nevertheless, he has ensured that he is close at hand during the courting process because he knows better than most the lengths that desperate men will go to in order to acquire that upon which they have set their hearts. Desperate men are also foolish, prone to making mistakes or terrible failures of judgment, and when that happens, Yamazaki wants to be on hand to ensure that such precious currency is not lost to his beloved Scorpion.
Yamazaki presents himself as a simple man, and makes no effort to oppose others in almost any circumstance. He is quite self-effacing and deferential, although his mask, which is crafted in the image of a snarling demon, ensures that all who have reason to approach him do so in a defensive manner. Despite that he does not exploit this, Yamazaki enjoys the disquiet of those who seek his counsel. It is one of the only comforts he allows himself in a lifetime of duty to a cause greater than himself.
Brilliant and beloved though she is, there are still those who disgrace everything they have ever known by wishing ill upon the princess Iweko Miaka.
For that reason, and for the lesser reason of simple protocol, several members of the elite Seppun Guardsmen order known as the Miharu, the sacred warriors tasked with protecting the Empress and her Imperial families, are never far from her side.
She does not leave the Imperial Palace without them, and the eldest of them, Tasuke, has not been more than one hundred paces from her person in over three years. As the princess’s guardians, they have no concern over the courtship process, but instead merely regard every suitor as a potential assassin and watch them accordingly.
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