Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'neko'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


  • Welcome to Freedom City
    • Campaign Discussion
    • Character Building
    • Character Bank
    • Freedom City News
  • The City of Freedom
    • Downtown Freedom
    • North Freedom
    • South Freedom
    • West Freedom
    • Other Areas Around Freedom
  • The World of Freedom
    • The Lands Beyond
    • The Worlds Beyond
    • The Realms Beyond
    • Non-Canon Tales
  • Out of Character Discussion
    • Off-Panel
    • Archives


  • Getting Started
    • Templates
    • About the Site
  • People of Freedom
    • Player Characters
    • Non-Player Characters
    • Super-Teams and Organizations
    • Reputations in Freedom
  • Places of Freedom
    • Freedom City Places
    • Earth Prime Places
    • Interstellar Places
    • Multiversal Places
  • History of Freedom
    • Events
    • Timelines
    • People
  • Objects of Freedom
    • Items
    • Ideas


  • Player Guide
  • House Rules
  • Sample Characters

Find results in...

Find results that contain...

Date Created

  • Start


Last Updated

  • Start


Filter by number of...


  • Start





Website URL







Found 22 results

  1. Neko hadn't asked if Leon could visit the home of her foster parents, not when there were children and witches around. So instead she, Leon, and Erik had set up a meeting at one of the many West End cafes whose owner owed their life and sanity to their local hero team. That meant a private party room and discreet service. Once they got there, anyway. In the back of Erik's car (which gave them privacy for the trip to the cafe), she took a few pictures with her phone, smiling at herself in a way that showed just a little bit of her pointed front teeth. She hadn't loosened up as such in the space of the last few years - not really - but she'd let down the mask that she'd spent her first year at Claremont hiding behind. Owain had been the same, right down to admitting to Erik the summer before that he thought he might be gay. But Neko certainly wasn't that, despite what was apparently an active and voluble queer fanbase. She'd talked about her Claremont boyfriend a few times and Erik had seen pictures, but she'd never actually brought him home. But they'd been together for the last two years, and now that he had graduated - well, now was a good time. She wasn't bothering with illusions in the privacy of the car. Her tail was curled up behind her and expressive ears up and perky atop her head, eyes glowing a little in the light as she looked up at the rearview mirror. She was wearing a bright floral yukata and would have looked a creature from another world if she hadn't been living in Erik's house for two years - or typing on her phone with one hand. She hadn't always been able to do that!
  2. Kord Dormitories, Fifth Floor Claremont Academy, Freedom City, New Jersey Monday, September 4, 2023 Like the rest of the dormitories, the third floor of Kord was a similar scene of controlled chaos involving students and parents. Three eighteen year old girls emerged from the stairwell into the hall of the third floor. The three were all identical in appearance, the same, long red hair and dressed in matching jean shorts and green tank-tops. The only difference between them was what each was carrying, with one having a backpack and suitcase, the next only had a large suitcase (which she seemed to lift with minimal effort) and the last carrying a box. Bernadette O'Connell led two of her duplicates down the hall toward her room for her last year at Claremont, excited to see her friend again. It had been an interesting summer, not the least of which had been her experience at a band competition in Boston. The sooner she got her stuff to her new room, the sooner she could go find her friends and catch up….
  3. Kaidan A possible future Vibora Bay Reclamation Area With great dignity, the old Japanese woman walked up the steps of the Vibora Bay Carapace Corps Security Station, her heavy wooden cane striking the stone steps in front of her like a metronome as she went. She was the subject of some attention as she went, lacking as she did the cybernetic gewgaws that even old people in the United States usually wore in their clothing these days; and her clothing itself - a high-collared shirt, kimono, and hakama - looked more suited to a costumed drama than a denizen of Vibora Bay in the late 21st century. But she was not the only eccentric old person in Florida, not by any means. The hexagonal automatic doors swung open as she approached, seeming to stutter as they said “Welcome, Unk-Obaasan,” She walked inside the station and slowly, carefully made her way to a nearby bench, mindful to place herself in between the nubbed spikes that discouraged any sleepers. She sat there, leaned on her cane, and closed her eyes behind her heavy glasses. She tuned out the screens selling Carapace products she didn’t need, ignored warnings about criminals, and let herself see. The cats moved quickly through the station, finding it a familiar pattern. Here were the biometric sensor controls, here were the humans that read them; here were the armored security suits, here were the humans that wore them. Here were the cells, there was Koneko, asleep on her bunk. She pushed it, perhaps longer than she should have - and sensed a heightened alertness in the Carapace Corps soldiers as she joined the line waiting for service. Things weren’t as easy as they had been in her youth. There were no stray cats in America anymore. - When Heikin Otoko heard the loud, firm elderly voice, for a moment he didn’t quite believe it - it had been a long time since he’d heard anyone speaking Japanese without an automatic interpreter. He set aside his game and stepped out behind the service desk, where he found an AutoHelper being shouted at by an angry Japanese woman who immediately reminded him of his great-grandmother. She was short and bent, with white hair and wrinkled skin, and her voice was loud. “<I don’t want to talk to a stupid machine! I want to talk to a person!>” A typical disorderly person was liable to be quietly put in a soft room until they calmed down but physical force with an elderly person was against company policy - and frankly tasteless to Heikin’s mind. He stepped up next to the AutoHelper, its hexagonal face downcast as it sensed the mood of its subject. “Hello, madam!” Heikin said respectfully, letting his accent color his words. “<I am sorry, the AutoHelper doesn’t speak Japanese - unless you use the translator.>” He pointed to the touch screen the old woman was striking her gnarled fist against. He checked the biometrics in her cybernetics when they made eye contact and found it a standard Model 2; the sort that many older people had gotten when the wearable devices (‘now as small as an contact lens’!) were new and found who she was easily enough; this was Hokama Nanako of Sapporo. The name coded a file and he nodded, guessing why she was there. “I speak English,” Nanako finally said, her voice thickly accented. Most people didn’t really bother learning new languages these days, not when innovations by Carapace and its competitors meant that everyone had access to portable visual and audio translators. “I am Hokama Nanako. I am here for my granddaughter, Hokama Koneko!” - The young man led Neko down the corridor off the waiting room, her cane striking the tile in front of her like a metronome as she went. She’d been surprised to see a Japanese face here, and wondered if that would make things more difficult - but from his atrocious accent and Carapace jumpsuit, she judged him an American Japanese. It was so hard to tell who was from where any more - everything had all blended together. “You know,” he was chattering easily, “This would be much easier if you carried a Carapace Card! They’re good in any country and if you link to your biometrics, you never have to worry about losing them.” “American dollars are best,” Neko said coldly. “I changed them at the airport myself.” This was actually not entirely true; she’d stopped at several dealers in oddities in Tokyo before she found American currency of the old school, the sort where the Presidents inside never spoke and that lacked sensors that could track you. “Real gold. Not like now.” Heikin smiled the way one did with an elder who was not quite in their right mind; well he was polite at least, even if he was unsubtle. He led her to a machine where she could input her hundred dollar coins and even kept smiling as she slowly, deliberately fed the coins into the machine, clink-clink-clink, until it produced the amount of money necessary for Koneko’s bail. It took some time. “I’m glad we’re the ones holding Koneko,” Heikin commented, obviously trying to make conversation. “The local authorities, the regular American police, are very strict. They wouldn’t let her out even on lease bail.” Neko turned and stared at the young man, an eyebrow raising as she said, “What exactly what she charged with?” - Koneko jumped awake in her cell when she heard her grandmother’s cane hit the energized barrier at its edge. “<Koneko! Wake up! We are leaving!>” Obaasan Musume did not look happy. “Nyeah! Obaasan!” She leaped out of the cot and onto her feet, automatically running her fingers through her thick white hair. She wasn’t particularly tall herself but she had inches on her grandmother; the young woman was closer in height to the Carapace Corp goon who was holding the keycard. “...you made it.” “And you are lucky I did!” declared Obaasan. “What did I tell you about getting mixed up in American trouble?” “I did not get mixed up in American trouble!” declared Koneko, yowling at her grandmother in a tone that would have gotten her a smack if the hexagonal barrier wasn’t still up. “I just came here to get some sun!” “Aiding and abetting terrorism is some sun!?” declared Neko, striking her cane against the ground again. “What about your work?” “All I did was organize a bail fund while I was on holiday! That’s not aiding and abetting-” Koneko looked at Heikin, who was looking properly mortified to be witnessing this kind of family argument in person rather than behind a screen, and declared “Are you going to let me out or what?” - Murmuring an apology, too polite to comment that of course a bail fund to support economic terrorists trying to stop necessary and vital lumbering operations counted as aiding and abetting, Heikin slipped in the keycard and watched as the shapely young prisoner strode out, the electric force field closing behind her with a snap - that made her leap in the air and yowl! Heikin watched, his heart in his throat, as the air seemed to ripple around Koneko - a singed white tail protruding from her backside, two tufted cat ears on top of her head, her big eyes yellow as she cradled her injured limb. “B-biomod!” he yelled, his voice cracking with surprise. “Biomod alert!” The guards further down the corridor came running, hands reaching for their weapons as he distinctly heard Koneko say “Sorry Obaasan…” There were flashes of light as stun charges rippled past him - and past Koneko, and past Nanako. What are they - what are they shooting at? He thought wildly as he looked at friends, colleagues, a lover, who were firing at nothing at all despite the holographic targeting sensors over their eyes. He looked from them to Nanako, thinking wildly that perhaps he should shield the old woman from the wild stunfire - when he saw she was no old woman. The age seemed to bleed away from her form, revealing a lean, graceful body that seemed hewn down to sharp edges of muscle and bone, white-brown hair that streamed down her back and not one, not two, not three, but a full seven writhing cat-tails behind her. He knew who this was; he followed meta-crime in Japan as a hobby, and gasped “Neko Musume!” a moment before he suddenly seemed to feel an invisible fist closing around his throat. - “Americans are fools,” said Neko thoughtfully as she stared at the choking young man - well, the man who thought he was choking anyway. “This would be impossible in Europe. They have chosen steel there, you know?” From the heart of her cane she pulled out a sword, a katana that burned with three impossible flames, and held to Heikin’s face. “But Americans think you can have steel and flesh; giving you the weaknesses of both.” There was a crash and boom as the armored troopers arrived straight through the wall, firing charges designed to take down a metahuman at their allies down the way. Of course they were, she thought with satisfaction. They could see their enemies with their human minds; minds that were still the same even if they built new eyes for themselves. She looked to Koneko and was relieved to see her grand-daughter in action, leaping from suit to suit, ripping away vital components that would keep them from being pursued in case anyone out there was more clever than she thought. The girl didn’t actually need to be told what to do most of the time, which was why her silly lapse into sentimentality here had been so frustrating. Across nearly two centuries of life, Neko mused that young people never changed. “Your father is liberating your silly boyfriend!” she added as she casually bisected an autonomous drone that had understood she was the danger but not understood all of it. “You should buy him a card!” - “I will, Obaasan!” said Koneko, pulling away a guidance system that would make for a fine profit on the black market back home. “I will buy him a card and a whole origami box!” She landed at her grandmother’s side, tucking her loot into a bag Neko helpfully provided her. “Now are we going to leave?” she asked, waving around the scene of carnage as cybernetic armored troopers cut each other down in flashes of laser and electric light, making her fur stand on end. “My tail hurts,” she admitted. “Silly girl,” said Obaasan with that grandmotherly confidence as she carved the characters of her name into the wall with the katana in between beheading another impertinent drone, “we already have.” They were just about to head out the hole left by the arriving armored group when Koneko elbowed her grandmother and said “isn’t that a little much?” “I suppose - “ Koneko was relieved to see her grandmother end the illusion that made the Carapace guard think he was choking to death, and even more relieved when his bug eyes faded and his normal breathing actually resumed without vomiting or crapping his pants. It was really disgusting when they did that. - Heikin looked up at the infamous metahuman terrorist, the living embodiment of the savage world his generation had long since hoped to leave behind, and realized his life had been spared. “...why did you come here?” he asked, his voice shaky only because he half-still-believed his trachea had been crushed. “I told you. I came here for my granddaughter.” The old woman smiled, showing her teeth as she sheathed her sword back into her cane. “I would say America can burn - but it already has. Now we are going home.” She leaned down over Heikin and he could smell the oil of the drones she’d cut apart, see the glowing yellow of her eyes, and could tell she’d eaten fish recently. “Remember - when you forget magic - you forget yourself. <Don’t let the Americans fool you, Heikin-san.>” She stood up - and suddenly a heavy anti-personnel charge tore through her chest and out the back. Heikin froze in terror and shock as he saw and smelled the blood, the gore of the gigantic, surely mortal wound, saw the old woman flinch - and then suddenly heard Koneko’s laughter. Neko smiled too; and then both women were gone like figures from a dream, leaving him clean and bloodless in a corridor full of very expensive hardware and well-trained personnel that had just torn each other to pieces. The escape of Neko Musume and her granddaughter Koneko Musume cost Carapace Corps hundreds of hours of drone work in architectural repair, psychological counseling, and hospital bills. It could have been much worse.
  4. GM Friday, December 17th 7PM Riverside The Benedict Sans Office Tower 25th Floor The Benedict Sans Officer Tower was a newer addition to the Riverside skyline. It towered over its neighbors as an collection of office floors. Importers liked its proximity to the river and as did start up tech firms like to distinguish themselves from their Hanover counterparts. Representatives from numerous technological and import companies, both local and from outside the city, gathered for a pre-holiday party at the offices of Dumass and Prude Imports. The offices occupy most of the 25th floor. Networking and deal-making was done under the veil of festive cheer. Everyone knew the party was a thinly disguised ploy at gaining favor with key companies. Everything was going fine. Champagne flowed, hors d’oeuvres were nibbled, and schmoozing abound through out the large room where the party was being held. Offices lined two walls of the party room, while floor to ceiling widows encompassed the exterior wall, overlooking the courtyard and offering a magnificent view of the river in the distance. Suddenly, gunfire pierces the evening cheer as armed goons dressed in black stand aside from the open doors of the party room. Five men, one a large man with a thick red mustache and bear paws for hands, another scrawny man with large fly-like wings, bug eyes and arms. A bald, heavyset man in wrestling pants and a long grey/black hair man with glowing eyes flanked them. Finally, another man, obviously younger then the others stood to one side, with a drawn out nose and mouth that gave him a shark like resemblance to match the sharp white teeth his grin shows off. The red-haired man steps forward and spoke up. “Listen here ya prissy, walking checkbooks. This here’s a robbery, you’re gonna cough up whatcha got while we rummage through your offices for pretties, or I’ll know why.” “Now see here!” An older man in a expensive suit steps forward from the terrified guests. Mr. Russell Dumass. The co-owner of Dumass and Pride Imports and the man hosting the party. “You would do well to leave before you face trouble.” Mr. Dumass glanced over at large, suited man with an earpiece and nodded. As if on cue the man and several others around the room draw pistols on the intruders. The party crashers laugh as the armed guards aim there weapons at them in return. The black clad goons aimed small assault rifles and the tension in the room thickened until the red-haired man raised a bear paw of a hand and the goons relaxed some. What happened next was swift and vicious. Four of the men moved with purpose while the one with glowing eyes simply watched. The guards quickly fell under the assault of the villains. Some knock unconscious while others were less fortunate. With the shark faced man being the least restrained. The man he took a bite out of bled profusely and this seemed to only drive him into a frenzy. The other villains only watched as the shark man bite the man over and over until in a rage he picked the bloodied guard up like a rag doll and tossed him through one of the floor to ceiling widows to have him land in a blood mess in the building’s courtyard 25 floors below. The speed and ferocity of the attack cowed any further resistance in the crowd as they began to comply with the men and their goons. Satchel carrying goons began to move through the crowd as the villains regrouped. They spoke in hushed tones before splitting up. The bald villain in wrestling pants and boots took several goons and left the party room as the bear-handed man turned his attention to Mr. Dumass. “You.” He commanded. “Your office, now.” The frighten businessman followed the command and lead the villain into his office. The villain closing the door behind him for privacy. The remaining three villains watched the goons moving through the party guests like vultures waiting on their next meal.
  5. Winter 2023 The elderly Asian man in the jean jacket and denim slacks might have attracted attention if he'd come into the liquor store any earlier, but it was late at night and the middle-aged clerk was obviously ready for his shift to end. He smiled at the clerk and placed the liquor and cigarettes on the counter. "Nice weather, we are having today." The man grunted, looked at his ID 'sorry sir, gotsta check everybody these days', then glanced at his security camera feed suspiciously for a moment before shrugging and accepting the older man's money. Still smiling, he walked outside with his bags under one arm, then walked out of view of the liquor store and into the darkness of the poorly lit streets of Greenbank. In between one step and the next, he blended away and vanished, replaced by a petite Japanese teenager whose ears and tail weren't visible at the moment, her clothes now a warm wool jacket and too-large slacks. She found her friends waiting for her at the edge of a nearby alley. "It was easy," she said, cooly handing her bags to Leon. They'd wound up bringing a curious bunch along for this evening out, Leon and Luke, the best of friends, Multi-Girl who she hadn't really gotten to know well despite the year they'd spent in each other's company, and of course - Carmen. "Nobody around here," she added confidently.
  6. @Avenger Assembled, @Dr Archeville, @Spacefurry ooc for this. You can choose for your character to be among the crowd, or being one of the fighters. In the latter case, if you want, you can write the Mistress of Mayhem introducing the character to the arena in some playful and bombastic way. Showing off in front of the crowd, is of course very much welcome.
  7. “Ladies and Gentleman! The Tiger's Den Welcomes you to this Evening Entertainment.” The voice boomed through the abandoned warehouse, shutting down the hushed conversation and the drunken laughers that, up to then, had filled the room and alerting the patrons that it was time to flood around the makeshift arena. They were a colorful bunch, most of them thugs, gangsters and other shady figures from Southside, cheerfully spending the night out and enjoying the fights to come. However, any observer could easily spot that common criminals were not the only kind of attendees, as among the crowd one could see individuals whose attire would have been more appropriate in a soiree among the mansions of Bayview rather than a violent night in a rusty warehouse. All of them wearing elaborate animal masks concealing their features and appeared no less hungry for the entertainment provided than the rest of the crowd. “Tonight. I will be your Mistress of Mayhem. Queen of the Arena. Voice of god.” It was a tall blond woman talking, clad in the sumptuous attire of a circus ringleader, a golden cat-mask concealing her eyes, but leaving her smile uncovered. A grin that any watcher that focused on it for more than a moment could be left with the uneasy feeling that it sported too many teeth. She was standing on a makeshift stage, overlooking a pit where the fighting was going to take place, the scene was illuminated only by roaring bonfires with the orange glow giving the ambience of the place an almost infernal vibe. The patrons crowded around the pit and began to shout, ready for blood, all under the watchful eyes of the Tiger Den’s goons, tall, sharply dressed, figures with powerfully built, their expressions concealed by gorilla masks and their hands covered in white gloves. “Fresh Blood Awaits! Proud. Young. Ready for Battle.” The woman continued, raising her hands as if to welcome the fighters into the arena. “Or so they think.” She smirked, malevolently as her eyes surveyed the crowd. “The Tiger will welcome the victors among us. Brave Brothers! Baptized in Battle!” She proclaimed “And as for the losers… well...” She visibly shrugged as a cruel laughter echoed in the room. By the side of the makeshift arena, a portion of the crowd has already began to swarm closer to another one of the organizers, a thin, blond man whose clothing matched the Mistress of Mayhem, with the exception only of the mask, that instead of a cat depicted a red fox. “I am sure that my brother would be eager to take all of your bets, but now, please… It is time! For! Our! Warriors!” --- Finding out about the activities of the Tiger’s Den hadn’t been an impossible task, even for a group of young, or in the case of some among them, time displaced heroes. Sure, the underground fighting ring was new in Freedom City and operated outside the boundaries of the law, but their 'show' had quickly earned enough renown, or infamy perhaps, that information about it was not hard to come by, given enough legwork at least. Unfortunately, from what they had discovered, the kind of bouts like the one planned for that night, were just the tip of the iceberg. There were other, more secretive events whose location and timing were much better guarded. It was on that kind of occasions where the Tyger, leader of the organization, showed up, dark deals were discussed and shady plots formed, frequented by the crème de la crème of the criminal underworld. Now of course, one would need an invitation to participate and those were hard to come by, unless, one could join the Tiger's Den League. And some spots spots were at stake that very night...
  8. When the last of the one hundred drops from the sacred vessel splashed home, the bowl was again filled to the brim, reflecting the stars and Moon above. Neko rose to her feet and began to chant in an eerie caterwaul of a voice that was the only thing about her that actually sounded like a woman nearly a hundred years old, her yellow eyes cast up to the night sky as she turned in a slow, deliberate circle, her tail twitching behind her the way it would if she was about to spring. She called to the goddess of the Moon. “Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto!” She called out their purpose. “Silent night; moon bright! Calling down its magic power! Gentle glow, all hour!” She called out their plans for the evening: “Strength beyond measure; protected by magic’s might! No one can harm us!” She called out their plans for the future. “Elegant and strong; crowned with wisdom and beauty! Queen of all we survey!” When the bowl dumped its contents out on the sacred circle between them, she knelt down again with a smooth, economical grace and spread her hands, rejoining the mystic circle she and Raina had made for what Americans called the Wolf Moon - the full moon in January. - Neko had proved to be a good housemate for Raina because Neko knew how to do magic. Oh, Owain knew how to do magic too, with a command of dusty old Hermetic tomes that would surely have brought about envy from some of the stuffier mages who had never stopped judging Raina even after her parents had been put away in warded cells on her testimony. Neko knew the good stuff. She knew the names of things you weren’t supposed to say and would never admit knowing around anyone else. She knew how to snap a pigeon’s neck so the tiny soul would power the sort of spell you didn’t admit to casting; even if Raina had had to tell her early on that biting off the pigeon’s head was not something she was ever going to try and not something that Neko had better do in front of her again either. She knew how to summon the essence of fire; not the stuff Raina shot at people who had it coming but the pure stuff, and bask in it, the light in her eyes and her belly in the air, for hours at a time. - Neko had appreciated someone who didn’t pretend to love her. Oh the affection she got from the adults in the Espadas household was all fine and good, the sort of thing she’d have gotten from the aunts and uncles in her home village. (Owain was the brother who had lived, the one piece left from the girl who had never come home from going off to war.) The feelings she had for her classmates, her peers in some ways, were all fine too. Raina was a friend who didn’t try to be a sister. That had been right - that had been what she needed. And besides bringing her business partner Merlin into her life, Raina also knew things that non-magic users didn’t know. She knew the names of the spirits in America, the ones that didn’t respond to Japanese but had English or Indian names, and she even knew the machine-things that sometimes came out to trouble her. And most importantly, at least for this conversation, she had a solid knowledge of the nature of American teens - and post-teens. 17… “Things are all right. No one digs too deep.” She shrugged her shoulders fractionally. “It was a nice New Year. Luke’s family should be fat with how much they eat.” The host of Neko’s new year, Luke was the friend of Leon, who with a little advice from Raina, Neko had figured out how to make her boyfriend. He was by all accounts nice to look at and did what Neko wanted him to do, which was all she really wanted. “I thought the boys would fight the other day, but-” She made a small noise as she felt the power of the circle growing, and there was a faint crackle as of static electricity when she shifted her position. Looking annoyed, she pulled one hand out of the circle and licked it. “Careful,” Raina murmured, not even looking Neko’s way at the small commotion. She had both hands still in the circle, manipulating the power between her fingers with the sure focus of a master weaver setting a weft, not even looking as she worked. Her whole attention was turned to the moon itself, its light making her blue eyes almost luminescent in her upturned face. “This would be a bad night to make a mistake.” Another few twists, knots in a line Neko could feel but not see, and the circle settled down with a sigh of power, humming peacefully instead of crackling. It was still very powerful, but more like a sleeping lion than one pacing its cage. Raina settled back on her heels. “You know boys and their hormones,” she told Neko, which at least proved she’d been listening some. “If they’re not fighting over dumb shit, it’s only because they’re figuring out something else dumb to do.” Scrubbing the back of her hand through her hair and assuming a distinct ‘I meant to do that’ air, Neko resumed her place in the circle. “They are easy, like you said,” she agreed, having found Raina’s relationship advice remarkably useful in negotiating both male friendships and male interest around Claremont. There were rude boys and nice boys, and boys who liked boys and boys who were from other places or other times, but boys were boys. “And the girls too.” She’d been worried about the mind reader but that girl didn’t go where she wasn’t wanted; which frankly put her ahead of several of her classmates when it came to courtesy. “I was afraid of leaving,” she said out loud, “but if everyone is so - easy, it will not be so bad.” Certainly she was doing well out of her online presence; from what Merlin had told Raina, Neko had successfully monetized herself to a degree unusual for a high school student. “They are all - babies anyway,” she added. 24… “”They haven’t seen what you have,” Raina agreed, spreading her fingers wide and letting the power flow through them. It rippled blue in the air, making her hands look like starfish in a tropical tide pool. “They haven’t had to do what you had to do, so they got to stay kids a lot longer.” She turned her hands, pulled the power like taffy, braided it like dough. “You can pretend though, if you want to.” Raina glanced up and caught Neko’s eye for a moment. “Try to act like they do, just for a night or a weekend. Throw caution to the wind. Dare to be stupid.” She grinned. “You might get in trouble, but you’ll probably have a good time.” Neko smirked at Raina’s words, obviously thinking it over. “Will Erik give me a lecture?” She rolled her eyes, though not with any particular malice. The older women of the household could be stern taskmasters when the situation called for it, but Erik tended to be a softer touch. The key, as she’d learned from Raina, was to make sure he found out about it first. “They talk about some things. Leon and Luke know places.” She stretched her fingers like claws and pulled slightly at the power, loosening it so it could spool quickly up her arms. “If we bring costumes, it is…patrolling…” She fell silent, concentrating on a particular fiddly point of magic, a glowing crimson dot that hovered between her fingers for long seconds as she leaned her face closer and closer. No! With a palpable effort, her fingers almost trembling, she pulled her face back and let the dot fade away. It wasn’t that long ago that she’d have tried to eat it, with disastrous consequences for the evening. I’ll get that crimson power yet! With an exhale, she said, “Can you cover, if they ask?” 42… “I never know where anybody is unless there are lives at stake, it’s my personal policy.” Raina cupped the magic in one hand, stirred it with one finger from the opposite hand. “Just make sure to have guardrails on your stupidity at least. Keep the tracker on your phone, don’t go anywhere alone. Stupidity in groups is more fun anyway. Make it a date night and drag Luke along.” She tilted her hand, spilling the magic from one palm to the other. “Okay, this is about ready. I’m going to start prepping the talisman so we can charge it up.” Neko was all business for a little while, rising to her feet to help control the gathered magic while Raina prepared the silvery-bright moon talisman. She paced around the still-filling bowl, her hands outstretched and tail twitching heavily behind her, careful to keep it out of the way of the falling drops. She seriously considered inviting Raina along, but the older girl had been quite vocal about having no interest in hanging around with “a bunch of high school kids” in the past despite the fact that their age gap wasn’t that big. It had been frustrating at the time but now, with significant exposure to them, Neko could see where Raina was coming from. 62… It didn’t do to vocalize specific intent around so much magic, not when one’s words could become real, so instead she bounced lightly on the balls of her feet before whispering, “And then, spring.” She was already thinking ahead to what the two of them had planned for the equinox. “We will have so much.” she added excitedly. 87… “Sounds like a good time,” Raina murmured absently. She wasn’t talking much now, instead humming and singing under her breath. Whatever Raina’s school of magic was, and she’d always been a bit cagey about that around Neko, it was tied up intricately with music and rhythm. Most of her spells seemed like doggerel, nursery rhymes with power behind them, but for complex spells like this one she had entire songs that had to be completed for the power to grow. Neko had occasionally seen even the pragmatic Merlin participating in the music that helped power the magic. He couldn’t sing, of course, but he could keep time with claps or a small drum and chant along, after a fashion. Having a familiar with hands was convenient. Raina’s song trailed off finally, and she lifted the amulet in cupped palms as the last notes faded away. Moonlight began to pour down from the sky, covering them both but concentrating itself in the charmed jewelry. It glowed like a small moon itself, throwing Raina’s upturned face into shadows. Neko closed her eyes, raising her wrists in front of her with hands pointing down, and gave a soft, almost inaudible nya from low in her throat as the crescendo of the song and spell came at the same glorious moment. This was the kind of magical power she could hardly ever get in the safe, secular confines of Claremont, the kind of thing she generally could only get through her friendship with Raina. She hadn’t sung during the casting because this wasn’t her spell, not really - but as her power grew under Raina’s tutelage, she knew her time would come. When she opened her eyes, they were glowing from the reflected moonlight, and she watched with great interest as the amulet shone. She folded her hands, ears twitching and tail lashing behind her, obviously eager for the power that lay in the twin amulet but clever enough to avoid breaking the circle until Raina could give her share to her. In a soft voice, she whispered excitedly, <“feline now with power, whiskers aglow, spells take form, mystic cat now reigns.”> The Moon, Raina knew well, was a common source of illusion and misdirection - one reason why she’d brought Neko along with her natural talent for illusory magic. Thus it wasn’t too surprising when the power bound into the amulet fluctuated and squirmed as Raina bound it, seeming to speak in half-whispers that a less experienced witch might have tried to listen to. When it was quiet, it was Neko who broke the new silence, distracted from her hunger for the power by a question. “Out there,” she said with a wave towards the city, “they…they think this is not real. Even though there is…very much in Freedom City. Why don’t they?” “Because they can’t feel it.” Raina’s voice had an absent quality, preoccupied as she was with handling the powerful trinket safely. “If you can’t feel the magic around you, then you don’t know what’s real magic and what’s bullshit. Even worse if you learn confused and messed up stuff about gods and magic and reality when you’re little, you grow up with no idea what to believe. Easier for them to just say no to all of it. Plus then they don’t have to feel bad when they can’t touch it or use it. Here, gimme your hands.” When Neko extended her hands, Raina carefully tipped the amulet into them, her face intent. “Drop it right away if it starts to burn,” she warned. “Should be okay, though. Cats and the moon get along.” Neko clung to the amulet excitedly, chittering in her delight, and held the amulet up to her face, where the magical glow was reflected behind her eyes. For a moment, it looked like she was going to try and pop the thing in her mouth, before she put it around her neck, grateful that Raina had put it on a chain with a clasp so she didn’t have to try and fit it over the top of her head. With the amulet on, her eyes glowed for just a moment before her body adjusted to the magic. “T-thank you,” she stuttered briefly, obviously trying to remember her English in her excitement. “Verry good. Good.” Raina reached forward and put the tips of three fingers against Neko’s forehead, her face serious and solemn in a way she almost never was. “The gifts of the Moon: safety and strength, light in dark places, and protection from the evil that lurks in shadow. May you use these gifts to protect others and bring light in your turn. Blessed be.” Neko closed her eyes, flushing briefly as she fought embarrassment at being so overcome in a sacred moment. But when no tart comments from Raina followed, she relaxed. I will remember this always! She thought. This is one of the most special gifts I’ve ever gotten. I must find some way to repay her for this boon. “Tsukuyomi remembers, because she sees all,” she murmured softly, then opened her eyes to look at Raina. “Thank you,” she whispered reverently. Raina nodded. “Now close the circle by yourself,” she instructed. “I’m going to watch you to make sure you do it right.” She said nothing else as Neko extinguished the candles and erased the lines they’d drawn while murmuring the ritual words, so apparently she’d done it right. When it was finished, they stood together in the clearing, Neko’s new amulet gleaming in the light of the moon. “You feeling okay?” Raina asked, giving the girl a close look-over. “Don’t feel like you’re going to collapse or barf or anything? No sudden evil impulses that you didn’t have before?” Neko took the questions seriously - all of them. “Here,” she said, running her hands along her arms and through the fluffy white hair on top of her head, which seemed to be sticking up slightly, the way it did when she was especially nervous or on particular cold, dry autumn days. “Not here,” she clarified, pointing to her stomach. “I am okay. Just brighter,” she added, hand resting on the amulet. When she did so, her eyes shone briefly, but it was more like light reflecting behind her eyes rather than actually emitting it. “I will wait. It is very late,” she added, removing her hand from the magically empowered gem. “You?” “Fine,” Raina told her briskly, putting away the ritual gear into an embroidered backpack. Neko could recognize a few of the designs on it as magically significant, power woven into the very fabric. “This is pretty basic stuff, you’ll probably do this again dozens of times during your practice. It’s a good way to gather energy for big work, or just to recharge.” Raina’s fingertips were glowing slightly after handling the amulet, but she otherwise seemed unchanged. “The amulet will be attuned from now on, you’ll have an easier time putting energy into it and it’ll resonate to your power. Don’t give it to anybody you don’t want having a key to your heart,” she warned. A few faces flashed behind Neko’s eyes - and she dismissed them just as quickly. “It is mine.” she said firmly. She smiled, points of her teeth showing. “They will not have it.” It wasn’t as if any of her friends would understand how to use it, anyway. Neko’s aura was already charged by the amulet to Raina’s eyes, though subtly enough that she probably only saw it there because she knew to look for it. Just as planned. For her part, Neko gave into temptation and tried a small magic backed by the power of the Moon. With one hand on the amulet, she raised her other hand. For a moment a spectral white fiery cat with huge eyes and grinning teeth circled them in the air, leaving behind the smell of brimstone and the sound of a distant miaow when it vanished. Neko looked very pleased with herself.
  9. Fall 2022 Ethics 102 Mr. Hawke had given the big class their instructions. Break into groups, go down the list of 'real world' superheroic ethical questions, and discuss what they thought was the right solution. When everyone had finished, they would write down their solution on paper, then look at what the actual heroes (or villains) had done in their place. Matching their solution wasn't necessarily the key to a good grade, but it was good to know why your solution differed. Neko had managed to pair off with Leon and gave him a soft smile as they listened to Holly Cline, with the poise and slight melodrama of a born showbiz kid, read the prompt. "You have subdued a notorious supervillain when she tells you that if you don't free her, she will send her agents from prison to attack your loved ones. She names enough details that you can tell she isn't bluffing." Holly laughed a little. "Good luck versus my loved ones!" Everyone knew about the exceptionally pretty brunette's Hollywood parents, the villain-turned-heroes Fast-Forward and Hologram. "But, honestly, you find out how she got this information and make sure she can't use it. I'd just go rooting around in her head until I found it. But not everyone can do that, so we need more..." she added, trailing off. Neko looked hopefully at Leon, or maybe one of the other students, her hands folded neatly before her, not trusting herself to speak, only her twitching tail showing her nerves. - Over in his own group, Owain didn't need to think before he spoke after reading their prompt. "A grim foe indeed! I would recommend she be placed in the darkest dungeon one might find, and increase my watchfulness around those I love.
  10. Spring 2022 AnimeCon Riverside Hilton In the relative privacy of the women's bathroom, Neko took a moment to inspect herself and her companions. She was dressed in one of her prize possessions, a brightly-colored red and white kimono that Talya had acquired for her, something that wasn't a Westerner's stage prop or fashion choice but something old enough that it had actually been a working garment. Her hair was behind her back in a neat plait, her ears curled above her head, her tail poking out the kimono's back thanks to some artful modifications to the fabric. (Nobody in the bathroom was looking at her; nobody could see her at all.) On her left shoulder was Merlin, her erstwhile 'manager' having come along for her live debut once it was clear, and on her right was a bright red mechanical insect whose color scheme was a near mirror of her kimono. "Come on, Red," she whispered, and sure enough the small insect-bot buzzed and hummed and began flying around her head. She smiled at the pretty bug and whispered, "You are so pretty! Everyone will be watching you if I am not careful!" With that, she checked Merlin's phone, nodded in satisfaction as it showed the success of the livestream, then checked with her manager one more time before she turned and exited the women's room. As she exited, she let herself be seen for the first time as she was (Merlin staying discreetly hidden), heading out into the crowd. "Hiiii!" she declared to her hovering bug-drone, smiling as she twirled a red umbrella over her head that was a costume prop. "Welcome to Catgirl Reacts to...AnimeCon! Make sure to like and subscribe!" She was by no means the only person in a costume, but so far she was the only person whose unusual appearance was natural. The room was crowded with people, more than could have fit into her whole village, all of them with unusual sounds and smells. She wasn't even the only person doing a livestream in the crowd, but she seemed to be attracting attention. Good, good! "Today I am going to see other catgirls, watch anime, and play video games! Come on!" With a smile for the hovering camera-bot and a girlish wink, she headed into the crowd, her sensitive ears catching the mostly-admiring comments about her appearance. People know Catgirl Reacts! This is actually...working!
  11. Fall 2022 Neko brought a swirl of leaves with her when she entered the bookstore, red and gold that matched the apparent color of her hair. Dressed in a second-hand sweater that hung loose and long on her small frame over baggy jeans, her shoes scraped lightly against the floormat as she walked inside and wrinkled her nose. The place certainly smelled like it might have what she wanted; and of old books, too. Running her hands through her hair, she walked inside, wrapped in an ever-present swirl of magic that made her look like any other Asian teen out on the town. She looked around briefly, smiled at the clerk behind the desk, then immediately disappeared into the stacks. She kept her eyes out, looking for sections helpfully labeled "Oriental" or "Asian" or "Japanese", knowing they might be her best bet. There were sections about the Second World War, of course, but she didn't want to look at those unless she had to.
  12. Sharaf found the picture near the end of the school year, a steady black and white photograph in a book about the Hinomaru. The Hinomaru had been Imperial Japan's version of the Ubersoldaten of World War II; cruel agents of empire who had mostly come to a sticky end at the hands of American, British, and Chinese super-agents during and after the Second World War. This particular book had been put together by the US National Archives just after the war, a murderer's row of assassins, terrorists, and killers of various stripes. (Socotra of course hadn't been involved in World War II; the first Typhoon had been just a boy living under British rule off the Arabian coast in those days.) He found the girl near the end of the book. Akuma no Neko, aka "Devil Cat" had fought several Allied incursions on the mainland of Japan at the side of Crimson Katana, and had vanished in engagement against British heroes during the campaign in Burma just as the war was entering its final stages. There was an image like an identification picture; a pale-eyed girl with shockingly white hair, standing modestly in a schoolgirl uniform like a sailor suit, one of her standing at a podium, standing on a stack of books so she could address a small unit of IJA troops, and an artist's rendition of the girl surrounded by illusory devils. She was by all accounts a black magician, an infernal sorceress of the Green Dragon Society, and - well he had seen that girl before, walking around the halls at Claremont, sitting silently in most of her classes, her accent thick and English often uncertain. There really could not be that many young Japanese women with white, fuzzy hair and big visible cat-ears atop her head, or a tail visible in the rear shot at the podium. This was Neko Musume.
  13. Little Kyoto, The West End, Freedom City 14th April 2022, Butsumetsu This little slice of Japan in Freedom city, if not the oldest it was close, was particularly quiet today as among the more superstitious it was the unluckiest of days. For on this day the Buddha had died and hence nothing important should be embarked upon. The day had definitely been unlucky for poor Mr Chishio who had been found dead in the courtyard of his home, under the shadow of an ancient Cherry Tree. With nothing suspicious about the death, the man was quite old after all (and no one ever remembered seeing him as a young man), he’d been carted away to the morgue. Someone knew something was amiss however...
  14. October 2021 Southside Serbian Orthodox Church (formerly) The Southside Serbian Orthodox Church had been a center for the Serbian community in this part of Freedom City since the turn of the last century. But though the Southside was still the working-class neighborhood it had been in 1900, now it was a neighborhood full of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, immigrants who had their own community centers and own churches. The SSOC (or St. Stephen's if you wanted to get technical) had stood vacant and abandoned for over a decade, a remnant of what had once been a thriving place. But now good times had come. The long-abandoned building had been sold to a local organization and was about to be refit into a community center and skatepark. In a few months, skilled artisans would come in and carefully remove the art that long-dead craftspeople had laid down on the walls and ceilings to a Serbian-American museum across town. But in the meantime, ten years of neglect means plenty of time for a lot of cruft to accumulate, cruft that a group of young metahumans were just right to handle discreetly. So it was that early one Saturday morning, the teenagers had been dropped off outside St. Stephen's with empty dumpsters, gloves and cleaning equipment, and all anyone could need to clean the place. They had permission to use their powers, even wear their costumes, albeit discreetly. "This is such a shame," said Owain, his usually-jovial face solemn as he stood outside the church's side entrance. "A house of God left abandoned for so long, and to lose what it was even if they save the bones of the place. I wot not wither to go with such a task," he admitted. "At least you don't have to smell it," commented Neko in Japanese, wrinkling her nose as she looked at the long-abandoned church. She had actually fallen asleep leaning against Owain on the ride over, which meant her ears and tail had been visible the whole time as they were dropped off and given their instructions.
  15. Spring 2022 They had all said she was crazy at the school. Oh no one had said it in so many words, but Neko knew what they meant when they spoke about transference and false memories; false memories when she knew what she had seen and heard, with eyes and ears better than most of them put together. But who could she tell? It was a thorny problem. While Danica was a good friend, the tortoise kami in human flesh was someone Neko talked about the future with - not the past. Owain was a good friend too, to whom she owed a debt she could never repay, but at the end of the day, Neko knew she couldn't add to his burden. Erik and Talya and Min were all fine people who had taken her in when they never had to, and truly seemed to want nothing in return for the boon - but in the end they were not like her. A year in the Hinomaru, maybe more, maybe less, and sometimes it defined her as much as being a girl from a village so isolated that it had only ever been "the village" to her people. And besides, they had babies to deal with now, and needed nothing from the past. And so it was that one Sunday night, when neither she nor Raina were on babysitting duty, Neko presented herself at the older girl's door with a firm knock. She'd been here before, mostly to talk about computers with Merlin, but today she had come just for herself, tail puffed behind her and ears pointed high, wearing a purple and red dress she'd found at the 'second-hand store.'
  16. Fall 2021 It was a nice fall day, cool and crisp, the sort of day where you can still go outside but you should wear sweaters to do it. Leon and Luke had taken their lunch period outside under the fiercely blue sky of a cool autumn day when suddenly a large black raven descended from the sky and landed between them. "Fellows!" it declared in what was clearly Owain's voice, booming out as clearly as if he was with them in human flesh. "Have you see my friend Neko?" (There had been no sign of Claremont's cat girl that morning, not that the boys had spotted anyway.)
  17. Gizmo

    Out of the Bag

    The Espadas School of Self-Defence and Swordsmanship! Afternoon of Friday, October 22, 2021 Erik Espadas reflected that secret identities and half-truths had seemed a lot less bothersome when he hadn't been the one having to juggle them between other people. It was straightforward enough to respect the privacy and often complicated circumstances of the young people who came to train with him or his wives at the dojo but it was entirely thornier when those circumstances started to intersect with each other. Trickier still with a significant language barrier. He'd been putting it off for that reason but Utsuwa Ranaga has a session scheduled in about half an hour and when it came down to it he wasn't willing to let the quiet girl staying with his family get walk in on a reminder of her long dead abuser without fair warning. "Damn creepy tattoo sword," he muttered under his breath as he walked from room to room in the second floor apartment above the training space looking for Neko.
  18. November 3, 2021 Claremont Academy Casper hadn't exactly volounteered for the whole meet-a-mentor gig at Claremont. He had sworn that he didn't do well with kids, that he wasn't the mentor type or anything like that, but hey, that was how it went, and as one of the newest members of Freedom League Auxillary, well... he had to put in the hours, somehow. Sure, he had plenty of experience, but he really wasn't sure it was the kind of experience that he should share with these kids... But, here he was, hanging around in the middle of it all, looking around Claremont, trying to do his best to seem like the kind of guy that these kids shouldn't go to ask questions.
  19. Fall 2021 Neko and Danica's room "Falling in love at first sight is less common in Japan than in the West; party because of the - peculiar constitution of Eastern society, and partly because much sorrow is prevented by early marriages which parents arrange. Love suicides, on the other hand, are not infrequent; but they have the particularity of being nearly always double. Moreover, they must be considered, in the majority of instances, the results of improper relationships." Having been speaking in a low whisper as she read the Hearn book, Neko closed the book with a sigh and set it on her desk, the largest piece of furniture on her side of the room. With much more care in picking out her words, she said, "Enough for today." Turning in her seat, she said to Danica, "Can you want to buy some food?"
  20. Fall 2021 The Espadas School of Self Defence and Swordsmanship! Things were changing in the Espadas household this year between Min's twins, Raina's recent 21st birthday, and now the arrival of the two timelost teens from Burma. Owain and Neko had, in their first weekend, been consciously perfect guests - both ready to volunteer for any task around the house that was asked of them, neither of them in much mood to get into detail about their lives before they came here. (Neko had her own obstacles there, for that matter.) When they returned, they had a little more to say; or at least Owain did. "And so between the two of us, James, and Simon, it seems fele of the class is from some age other than this one!" He was gesturing with his knife as he spoke, thrusting vigorously and speaking loudly. "Who knew this would be the year of people wrested from another age to come to this one? Withal, to answer your question, sir, it goes well. Haven't seen any carrying any particularly fine weapons, but when I do, I'll see what fires their heart." For her part, Neko simply nodded, catching the buckwheat soba noodles around her chopsticks and popping them in her mouth. These were a fair approximation of the food she'd eaten back home, but not quite the same. Her ears and tail were seemingly out of view at the table, though the hair on her head was still a mixed patch of white and brown and was obviously cat hair rather than human. It was nearing the end of dinner; it was almost time for the younger children to head for bed. "It is okay," she agreed after Owain was finished speaking. "My roommate is very nice."
  21. Thevshi

    The Third Act

    Kord Dormitories, Third Floor Claremont Academy, Freedom City, New Jersey Saturday, September 4, 2021 The start of another school year was only a few days away, so unsurprisingly the Claremont Academy campus was abuzz with activity as parents and students descended on the school's dormitories. Amid this activity, a pair of teenage girls with bright red hair made their way from the parking lot toward the Rita Kord Dormitory. At first glance, one might have assumed the two girls were twins, except it was not just their features that were completely identical, they were both dressed in the exact same grey and black plaid skirt and white top. In fact, the only difference between the two was that one was carrying a suitcase and had a backpack over one shoulder, while the other was carrying a box. Bernadette O'Connell glanced back at her duplicate that was carrying the box behind her, letting out a slight sigh at the unintended display of her powers. The teen was glad that her older brothers had stayed up in Boston when her parents had driven her down for the start of the year at her new school, as there had been a few times where the family mini-van had gotten a bit too crowded. Hopefully this new school would help her learn to prevent things like that. Reaching the entrance of the building, the redhead glanced up towards the upper floors a moment before looking back down at the letter from the school that had her room assignment. "Alright, third floor, Room 308." She stated to her duplicate with a slight Irish accent, even though it was entirely unnecessary to communicate that out loud. Her other duplicate that was still back at the car with her parents also knew where the floor was located and could guide them up there when with the remainder of Bernadette's things.
  22. Power Level: PL 8 (164/166PP) Trade-Offs: +4 Def/-4 Tough Unspent Power Points: 2 In Brief: Timelost Japanese supersoldier and her best friend, a timelost kid from Camelot Alternate Identity: Neko Musume (she prefers just 'Neko') Birthplace: Iya Valley, Japan Residence: The Espadas residence, for now Base of Operations: Claremont Academy during the school year Occupation: Student Affiliation: Claremont Academy, the Black Dragon Society (formerly) Family: all dead, I'm afraid Description: Age: 16/92 Apparent Age: 16 Gender: Female Ethnicity: Asian Height: 5’ 1" Weight: 110 lbs Eyes: Yellow Hair: White Neko is short and slight, with big eyes that are distinctly yellow and fluffy white hair speckled by brown, crowned by what are clearly two big boofy cat ears. She has slightly pointed front teeth and nails that grow in sharp. She has a tail that curls behind her, white speckled with brown spots. She has a lot of borrowed clothes but actually prefers to wear kiminos and bare feet, usually bright Art Deco colors. Neko has lived in the present long enough to adopt a superhero costume - finally. What she wears is a sleek, form-fitting bodysuit made of stretchy, breathable fabric in a dark navy blue color. The suit has long sleeves and pants, with a high collar and a full-zip front that can be easily opened and closed. Over the bodysuit, Neko wears a bright red and gold kimono-style robe with flowing sleeves and a wide obi sash tied around her waist. The robe is adorned with intricate gold and silver embroidery and bold, stylized Japanese characters that spell out "CAT" and "MAGIC" and "IYA VALLEY". The kimono and suit are both cut to give her tail freedom. To complete the costume, Neko wears a pair of tall, laced-up boots in a matching navy blue color, with thick soles to provide stability and support for her acrobatic movements. The boots have a slight heel, and are made of a durable, lightweight material that allows Neko to move quickly and easily. History: Neko was born in 1929 in the Iya Valley on the Japanese island of Shikoku. Even today the Iya Valley is remote, tucked away beneath sheer mountain slopes on either side, and in 1929 it was even more so. Neko's family had come to the region sixty years earlier in their grandfather's time, when their forebears realized that the new Meiji government would be hostile to their way of life. For Neko's family were the children of nekomata and bakeneko, cats imbued with fantastic supernatural powers, and carried that magic in their very veins! She learned some of that ancestral magic as a small girl, how to change her form and other fantastic abilities, and lived the relatively simple life of a peasant girl, carefully adopting human mannerisms and appearance when the government inspectors came by to study the local school. Though she heard about things like Japan's righteous war to liberate the oppressed people of China, their bold attack against the forces of the Americans in December of 1941, and their war against the wicked foreign foe, it didn't really mean anything to her. Until June of 1944, when American bombs began falling on Japan in large quantities thanks to Operation Matterhorn. Though civilian casualties were few compared to what would come later, she would learn much later that this had been a terrible insult to the Black Dragon Society, proof that their magics were not so great and powerful after all, but what it meant for her was that a small delegation of the Crimson Katana's elite troops arrived in her home village and announced that they were recruiting volunteers to defend Nippon against the hated enemies who had brought death to their shores. Neko looked around, saw older siblings and cousins debating what to do, and stepped forward with a cat's boldness. "I volunteer!" And so, at fifteen, she was taken away for training. She remembers the look in her parents's eyes still. "Bootcamp" was not easy but she was quick and clever enough to pass her trials, and the sheer gaping size of nearby Nagasaki was terrifying enough that she slept in her bed every night despite her fears of the Crimson Katana and his magic. She knew better than to risk his wrath, and she knew full well what they might do to her home village if she did flee. In late summer of 1944, having passed her trials, she was sent away to war, specifically to Burma, where the recent failure of Operation U-Go meant that Japanese forces were now on the defensive. It was supposed to be a minor, even inconsequential posting for the youngest piece on the Crimson Katana's shogi board, the latter being focused entirely on his American rivals. Until the Allies attacked in December of that year, and she found herself in the midst of her first battle. It was terrible. Any hopes she might have had that her fellow Japanese really were righteous defenders of justice faded when she saw what they did to those they captured, and any hopes she might have had that her enemies were really friends faded when she saw what they did to the Japanese. She might have fallen into grief and faked her own death, or something even more drastic, had she not met Kid Gawain, attached with his master to the British forces in Burma. Gawain was an enemy and so they fought, but they realized quickly how displaced they both were. Burma was as far from Camelot as it was from the Iya Valley, and Kid Gawain's dreams of knightly honor had faded before the reality of 20th century war. They began meeting occasionally, having the kinds of conversations that neither of them could have with any of the adults in their lives - and then came the mission in February 1945. A powerful American cryonic weapon had been stolen by a Japanese agent who had himself been killed in a bombing run. In a cave near Mandalay, the Crimson Katana (who had himself arrived to supervise the evacuation of Green Dragon assets from Burma), the Green Knight, Kid Gawain, and Neko no Akuma fought to the last. The Green Knight's ax and magical healing powers proved stronger than the Katana's blade, and the Katana (who never really believed in bushido, as convenient as it was) fled after triggering the cryonic device while ordering Neko no Akuma to cover his retreat. Thinking of her village, she stood between the knights and the way out; only to be pinned under a rock when bombs struck the roof of the cave mouth. She remembers Gawain and the Green Knight shouting at each other, namae o age rarenai uragiri, then Kid Gawain kneeling at her side in prayer, hensai dekinai shakkin, then a terrible feeling of cold - and then she remembers nothing for a long time. Until today. Personality & Motivation: Neko has had a lot of trauma. She misses her home and hopes desperately to see it again. Failing that, she wants to settle down somewhere and learn about all that was taken from her, and the true nature of what she is. In general she is quiet and reserved, particularly since her English is still not very good (and outmoded anyway, since she learned it from Owain), but more voluble when speaking to another Japanese speaker. She very much wishes to have friends, the way people do on American television, even if she doesn't want to act like those people. She cares about loyalty. Powers & Tactics: Neko's illusory abilities are vast, enough that she could easily dominate a WW2 battlefield in which she mostly fought mundane targets. She will mostly prefer to try and drive off foes, or fool them into doing something rash or self-destructive. If really and truly angry, she will pour down a terrible curse on their head, striking them with a powerful weapon pulled from her own sub-conscious. When using her powers, her eyes glow bright yellow and her ears and tail seem particularly obvious. She has has something of a cat's physicality, enough to escape from some though not all crises. Complications: Out of Time: Neko is from almost seventy years ago, and had an isolated, rural childhood in a rustic region before that. There's a lot she still doesn't know. Ghosts: Spirits and ghosts are drawn to the children of cats, often for ill. My Enemy: There is much left undone from that great and terrible war, and wounds left deep in her psyche. My Language: Neko's English is still not great; the GM is welcome to tell her she has lost the thread of a conversation or misunderstood something, especially if spoken loudly and at some volume. My Friend: Kid Gawain was subject of the ultimate betrayal for her, and so is subject to the debt that can never be repaid. She would literally do anything he asked of her. That is loyalty. Abilities: 0 + 8 + 8 + 0 + 4 + 8 = 28PP STR 10 (+0) DEX 18 (+4) CON 18 (+4) INT 10 (+0) WIS 14 (+2) CHA 18 (+4) Combat: 8 + 8 = 16PP Init: +8 ATK: +4 DEF: +12 (+8 Dodge Focus, +2 flat-footed) Grapple: +4 Saves: 3 + 2 + 4 = 9PP TOU +4 (+4 Con) FORT +6 (+4 Con, +2) REF +7 (+4 Dex, +3) WILL +6 (+2 Wis, +4) Skills: 56R=14PP Acrobatics 1 (+5) Bluff 8 (+12) Climb 6 (+6) Concentration 4 (+6) Knowledge (Arcane Lore) 5 (+5) Intimidate 8 (+12) Handle Animal 1 (+5) Languages 1 (English, Base: Japanese) Notice 6 (+8) Sense Motive 6 (+8) Sleight of Hand 1 (+5) Stealth 8 (+12) Survival 1 (+3) Feats: 43PP Challenge (Fast Taunt) Dodge Focus 8 Fascinate 2 (Bluff, Intimidate) Elusive Target Evasion Improved Initiative Luck Quick Change Ritualist Second Chance (Concentration checks) Sidekick 24 (Kid Gawain) Taunt Powers: 2 + 5 + 1 + 1 + 4 + 6 + 35 = 54PP all powers (except Cybernetics) have the 'magic' and 'cat' descriptor Comprehend 2 (animals, Flaw: Limited [felines]) [2PP] Cybernetics (5 pp Container) [5PP] Features 2 (Audiovisual Recording, Internet Connection) [3PP] Super-Senses 2 (Infravision, Radio) [2PP] Leaping 1 (x2) [1PP] Speed 1 (10MPH/100FPM) [1PP] Super-Movement 2 (Slow Fall, Sure-Footed) [4PP] Super-Senses 6 (Acute Scent, Detect Magic 3 [olfactory], Low-Light Vision, Uncanny Dodge [Mental]) [6PP] Yokai Array 16 (32PP, PFs: Alternate Powers 3) [35PP] BE: Illusion 8 (all senses; Flaw: Phantasm, PFs: Progression 8 [1000 ft radius]) {32/32} AP: ESP 4 (cats; Auditory + Olfactory + Visual Senses, 1 mile, DC 24 Notice; Extras: No Conduit; Simultaneous, Feats: Fast Task 4 [Full Action to search 1-mile-diameter area]) {32/32} AP: Damage 8 (illusory weapon, Extra: Alternate Save [Will], Range 2 [Perception]) {32/32} AP: Obscure 6 (summoned storm of illusions; all senses; 250 ft, Extras: Duration [Continuous], Selective, Flaw: Phantasm) {32/32} DC Table: Illusion (DC 18 Will save) Illusion broken Damage (DC 23 Will save) bruised/injured TOTALS abilities 28 + combat 16 + saves 9 + skills 14/56 + feats 43 + powers 54 = 164 / 166 pts
  • Create New...