The First Age

Full Version: Eidolon (Chihiro Matsumoto)
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[Image: Chihiro.png] [Image: kota-2.jpg]
Chihiro & Kōta

• C H I L D H O O D •

Born Chihiro Matsumoto (松本千尋) in Kyoto, Japan, 2021, to an old blood clan of Atharim steeped in Samurai tradition, who train and operate outside of the neighbouring city of Osaka. Chihiro’s education was strict and comprehensive, indoctrinating her from the cradle to the Atharim’s beliefs. She was a willing and bright student, keen to learn, and keen to impress.

Alongside her brother, Kōta, she learned to care for the birds her family used for takagari; the Matsumoto’s public face being the conservation, breeding, and training of great birds of prey, including hawks, eagles, and owls. Chihiro loved the creatures dearly, dangerous as they were, and devoted much of her spare time to them -- and likewise to the creatures Kōta sometimes snuck home, usually because they were injured. 

At almost ten years her senior, Chihiro was still a child when Kōta took his oaths. She has fond memories of patiently awaiting his return from hunts. Sometimes she would watch the skies on the city outskirts instead, searching for his beloved goshawk, Yua, and wondering what he would bring home next.

• A T H A R I M • 

Both their lives changed in 2040, when a member of the clan was revealed as a reborn god during a hunt for oni in caves near a debased Shinto shrine. The young man, Katsu, was dispatched quickly and cleanly by Yoshimura Ichiro, while Kōta watched on. That evening, the entire clan was gathered to witness Katsu’s older brother, Yoshiro, perform the rite of seppuku.

It was honour to the code of bushido and atharim both, to end the line of the gods.

Yet afterwards Kōta began to associate with gokudō in Osaka, and became more reckless in his hunts. Chihiro had only made her own oaths the year before, and she was worried for her brother’s foolishness. No one had before considered that the gods’ blood might be found within the Remnant itself, and it disturbed them all. The purging was difficult, but it was what they were trained for. Neither Katsu or Yoshiro fought their fate. They died with honour.

Only months later, when she and Kōta were on a trail in Mount Atago seeking signs of a rumoured onmoraki, did Chihiro discover that same taint in herself. Yua’s warning cry pierced only moments before the claws fell from behind; not an onmoraki at all, but the far more dangerous tengu. Kōta roared as the talons sank hard, crushing him to the ground. Ahead Yua’s broken body plummeted. Chihiro stabbed out with the spear of her naginata, impaling the creature from behind. As the weight lifted, Kōta hurled to his feet. Between them, they slayed the beast.

Afterwards, chest heaving, Chihiro crawled to where the goshawk lay in a flurry of bloodied feathers, fearing the worst. Something pushed out of her as her fingers met the bird’s body, and a moment later the hawk suddenly shifted. With a shrill cry, she burst back into the air.

Kōta sucked in a breath.

Chihiro’s eyes widened in horror the moment they both realised what had happened.

Kōta did not move.

When he refused to kill her she reached for her own tantō, but he caught the blade before it reached her neck. Taken off guard by the interference, he disarmed her easily, and in alarm she struggled against him. Yet he was too strong. As the shadows fell around them, he would not let her leave, nor allow her the right to end her life. The Sickness came upon her faster than it should. As she later burned up, all she could think was that she would die in dishonour. Kōta had taken her kaiken.

• D E A T H • 

The Sickness passed in a blur of memory, punctuated by her brother’s concerned face and the shadows of the cave he left her in. Somewhere in the midst of that fever she realised with surprise that it was not the first time she had experienced the symptoms, just the worst. In her absence she was mourned, for Kōta had already passed on the grave news of her death to family and clan. When her shivering body cooled, he was there once more, belongings packed in haste. 

Chihiro was horrified by the proposal.

They fought once more, though he was stronger, and she was weak from recovery. He spoke of blasphemy. He spoke of a cure.

She did not believe him. And it did not matter.

It is our duty to die, she told him. Over and over.

But he refused to listen.

• E I D O L O N • 

Legally, Chihiro is dead. In the years since, they have travelled extensively; in part because Kōta rarely manages to stay out of trouble, and in part for fear of their discovery by the Atharim. In those early days he watched her like a hawk, as though expecting her to slash her guts at any moment. At first she presumed the Sickness would take her, and that perhaps Kōta would finally do his own duty once she was gone, but it never happened. In fact she rarely feels the power, and has never touched it since. Sometimes she wonders if it was all an ill dream, and that she is not tainted, though she knows this for a lie.

The first time she was asked for her name Kōta stole the choice, and introduced her as Eidolon. That was much to her chagrin, since it seemed a flagrant nod to their exile, but she said nothing despite the way he grinned at her afterwards. These days she usually goes by Eido.

Eventually Kōta returned her weapon, but she has yet to use it. Honour is ash, and death will not absolve the crime of delay. First, she seeks redemption -- for them both.

• A B O U T • 

Her manner is gentle, unassuming, and distant. She avoids unnecessary eye contact and dislikes unsolicited touch or over familiarity, particularly from strangers. Most presume her to be meek, though this is not the case. She carries herself with quiet confidence, but nonetheless a demeanour that does not invite the eye to linger. Her manner of dress is simple -- clean lines, plain colours, and clothes that do not accentuate her form. Her hair is worn long and straight, not cut into any style, and she does not use cosmetics. Barely any accent lingers upon her English, for she has spent effort purging herself of old ties and associations, which she finds a painful reminder. 

Chihiro is inherently mistrustful of channelers, preferring to avoid their company, particularly women who will recognise her in turn. She enjoys the company of animals, and desperately misses the birds of her youth and the mountains of home. Though Kōta still hunts when the opportunity arises, Chihiro does not. She is trained in the use of naginata, kaiken, and the art of tantojutsu, and is a competent archer of the hankyū also, but shuns these practises now; all but the kaiken, which she still carries on her person.

• T E R M S • & • T R A N S L A T I O N S •

Gokudō -- term for yakuza.

Takagari -- falconry.

Naginata -- a weapon consisting of a wooden or metal pole with a curved single-edged blade on the end; similar to a glaive.

Kaiken -- a 20–25 cm (8–10 in) long, single or double-edged dagger, without ornamental fittings housed in a plain mount. A type of tantō. Carried for for self-defense and for ritual suicide by slashing the veins in the left side of the neck.

Tantojutsu -- Japanese term for a variety of traditional Japanese knife fighting systems that used the tantō, a short knife or dagger.

Hankyū -- Japanese short bow.

Onmoraki -- A bird-demon created from the spirits of freshly dead corpses.

Tengu -- mountain demon with avian characteristics.

Eidolon -- In ancient Greek literature, an eidolon (plural: eidola or eidolons; Greek εἴδωλον: "image, idol, double, apparition, phantom, ghost") is a spirit-image of a living or dead person; a shade or phantom look-alike of the human form.

• S O U L • 

She is possessed of a gentle soul, always desiring of peace and simplicity, which she either spends her life protecting or in search of. In each rebirth she is born with a sibling, usually a brother, and with an affinity for animals.

1st Age: Born as Chihiro Matsumoto, a former Atharim hunter.

3rd Age: Born amongst the Seanchan, she spends much of her youth collared as a damane trained for battle, before emancipation leads her to the White Tower. Following the Last Battle, she is instrumental in organising refuge for those displaced by the devastation, and ultimately ends her days in peace.

6th Age: Born a huntress in the wilds, preferring the company of animals over most people. She offers sanctuary to escaped slaves at her refuge of Lake Nemi. In myth she is remembered as the Roman deity, Diana.

• G O D D E S S • 

Diana is a Roman goddess of the hunt, wild animals, the moon, chastity, and childbirth. She was the patron of slaves, who could find sanctuary in her temples, and also of women seeking to conceive healthy children. Much of her history has been erroneously conflated with the Greek goddess Artemis, and thus little is known. Even her Roman myth is likely a reinterpretation of an earlier Sabine goddess.

She is a twin, though the identity of this counterpart fluxes. Depending on the source, it is sometimes credited to be Apollo or Lucifer. Occasionally she is associated with Janus.

In Roman art Diana usually appears as a huntress with bow and quiver, accompanied by a hound or deer.