Age of Emperors
School: Isawa Shugenja
Rank: 1 Sex: Male
Born: 1254 Height: 5’5" Weight: 125
Hair: Black, cut short Eyes: Brown
Air: 2; Awareness: 3 Earth: 3 Fire: 3 Water: 2 Void: 2
Advantages: Fukurokujin’s Blessing (Shadowlands), Great Destiny, Irreproachable
Disadvantages: Bitter Betrothal (Kakita Mayumi), Can’t Lie, Driven, Idealistic, Lost Love (Isawa Reijiro)
Calligraphy 1 (Cipher), Lore (Theology) 1, Lore (Shadowlands) 3, Medicine 1, Meditation 1, Spellcraft 1, Courtier 2, Etiquette 2, Investigation 1, Sincerity 2, Defense 1, Athletics 1, Kenjutsu 1, Lore (Bushido) 1
Sense, Commune, Summon, Fires of Purity, Katana of Fire, The Fires from Within, Armor of Earth, Jade Strike, Blessed Wind, Path to Inner Peace
Allies: Hiruma Januku, Koan
Enemies: Otomo Bunzo
Hiraku is not your typical Isawa shugenja of the Phoenix Clan. He had three great influences in his life that created such an unusual Phoenix. There was his father, his brother Rijiro, and then his friends.
His father has always been a man of duty and so rarely spent time with any of his children. The only time they received attention from him was when a task needed to be completed. Due to this, each of his brothers, including himself, are men of duty and honor. The task at hand must be completed beyond expectations while failure brings about shame and embarrassment. He thinks his father loves him and expects great things from him and so he gives him duties to perform that others could not complete adequately. His father will give his children as little help as possible to help them to push themselves. So, due to his absence, they learned that duty was very important, if not the most important, duty of the samurai.*
His favorite brother was Rijiro. He was a maho-tsuki inquisitor. He was born blessed by the kami just as Rijiro except that he is more proficient in fire and not earth. He has a courtier and a bushi brother as well. Rijiro would either send letters to him or visit him and speak of his adventures. He greatly enjoyed it when his brother spoke of the Shadowlands and the creatures found there. It appeared Hiraku was gifted in learning Shadowlands lore because he picked it up so quickly and probably knew things Rijiro did not know. Although his brother told him of the other clans, he mostly stuck with telling him of the people he worked with since he knew them best. Rijiro spoke of the Crab that performed her duty admirably; the Scorpion that was lazy and enjoyed chasing kimonos more than his duty, but would perform his duties when it was necessary; and lastly there was the Crane that would rather day dream and change the subject rather than learn. His misses his brother greatly but is proud to know that his brother was not only a successful maho-tsuki inquisitor, but that he chose to die bravely and with honor on the wall so that others could live.
The last great influence he had growing up was his friends. There were those that came to the school to learn, parents there for business, visiting family, several different reasons. Due to his father’s status, he was able to interact with several of those children from the different clans. As a result, he learned early on what other clans thought of the Phoenix and why, and his father was not around to correct them. He has been most influenced by the Dragon and hopes to take a Dragon wife. The idea of sincerity, along with the Phoenix embrace of honesty, made sense to him: that one should have their own personal code of honor and live by it, that everyone in the empire has a role to fill, including peasants, and since a samurai’s duty is to protect, that would include peasants. He learned why clans act the way they do and thus he does not judge them, but accepts and respects them.
There are two clans though that he likes the least. The first, like most, is the Scorpion. It is the lying and manipulating they do that he dislikes the most. He understands that the Empire needs a clan that is willing to do the more underhanded jobs, but to relish in the way they do their duty appalls him. He is willing to respect the duties they must perform, but he does not have to like it, and he will never trust one. The other would be the Crane. He does not hate them, but he dislikes them. To him, they are nothing more than social bullies. They were given the best lands and therefore have the best economy. If a Crane wants something, they better get it or they can socially and economically ruin you, but at least they are up front about it rather than hiding behind lies like the Scorpion. Although the Crane can ruin you, it is much more difficult to ruin them in that it is near impossible to march on their lands and do to them physically what they can do to you in their way. Because of this monopoly on the other clans, they are able to create the styles and culture of Rogukan, all the while mocking the other clans behind their backs and teasing them with the carrot they must pursue. He will give anyone a chance from any clan because not everyone in a clan is the same, after all, he is different from the Phoenix and it makes sense that there are others like him in other clans, but the Scorpion and Crane have further to go before he likes them. He has a favorable opinion of the other clans, both major and minor.
He got the idea of expanding the Empire while in school. He had learned of the dangers of the Shadowlands, but he never discovered a solution. The only solution was the Crab and the Wall. This was a hot topic in school and led to many fights. It is one reason he decided to become a fire shugenja He does not think the Crab want to defend the wall forever. They die young and many are unable to have children. Perhaps there is a life out there for them besides the Wall and then being mocked for it. The loss of his brother only makes that desire that much stronger because he does not want others to experience the same loss, especially the Crab, when they lose whole families, not just a favorite brother. Due to it being of low status to discuss and the inherit dangers of the Shadowlands, he does not think he or anyone else will find a solution to stop the Shadowlands. So instead, he wants to make sure there is a backup plan. He will never say it out load, especially around a Crab, but to him, it is not if the Wall falls, but when.
Hiraku has his own idealistic version of bushido that he holds of himself. He cares much for honor, glory, and status, but his goal of ensuring the survival of the Empire when the Wall falls is far more important to him than any of that. He will always show respect to everyone. If they are a great clan, minor clan, and even a peasant, he will show them the respect they deserve. His particular opinions and code of honesty do not go together very well and led to many fights growing up. Now he has learned to be quite and observant and only voice his opinions politely when asked rather than openly. He also thinks his view of honesty should be more wide spread. When people are trying to serve the Empire, it does not help when they are working off of false information. How many would die if someone spread the rumor that precious gems protect from the taint too just so that their value will go up? So to him, honesty is not only the best policy, but the only policy. He also does not have a yojimbo and will only accept one when it is a requirement. He does not want one because he is responsible for his actions and thus, a yojimbo should not be punished for his actions. He also does not see how their death, especially through seppuku, helps the Empire. A mistake should not result in their death. If they are to be punished, send them to the Wall so that their death is an honorable one in that it protects all of Rogukan. He wants to be able to carry his own katana when he is able to do it honor and not get himself killed, as well has to be able to fight his own battles rather than have someone else fight it for him. Hiraku is confidant in his skills, but his influences made sure he was not arrogant like other Phoenix, but he is still only 16 and has moments of immaturity from time to time.