Break me with that truth. Take on my fractions; shaping something new out of the fragments. Light up this old soul. I was broken. Now I'm golden.
- Despite her public relationship with Ran Tash, Koto is actually married to a nobleman that has gone suspiciously missing. Many believe this to be the work of Ran Tash, but others speculate he was eaten by a dragon.
- Kotonaru’s affections are fleeting and she has left many a broken heart in her wake, including several high-ranking officials. Rumor has it that she keeps a scorecard under her pillow.
- Some say Kotonaru is a secret necromancer and communes with the dead. Hushed whispers are spoken about her strange other-worldliness and some even go so far to suggest she is an agent of the Ancient One in disguise.
- No one really knows where she came from before the Hands of Fate. A popular theory is that the kitsune is actually a star from the heavens, come to walk among humans. Another theory holds that she was just another commoner from Noxia in the right place at the right time.
- Koto was once approached to become a geisha after she was spotted playing the shamisen in a park but later proved to be too clumsy for the art. Some Noxians argue that this is a false rumor and that she was an excellent geisha but her reputation was sullied by a rejected client.
- Date of Birth
- 21st of Lahura, 5678
- Ice Blue
- Skin Tone
- 95 lbs
Kotonaru’s kitsune nature is at odds with her connection to the stars and spirits. She finds herself splitting into two as beings more powerful than she vie for her soul.
Koto's Character Sheet
She is short and has a slender frame, her eyes are ice blue with an inner light reminiscent of the stars. Her hair is long and black and often has colorful feathers attached to it with beads. In vulpine form, Kotonaru’s fur is pitch black on her legs and fades upwards into a dark silver on her chest and back while her stomach, neck and chin are white. She has four tails, all of them are black and tipped with white fur.
Apparel & Accessories
Kotonaru wears finely linked chain mail beneath leather coverings. Her skin or fur is exposed beneath her joints and the gloves are fingerless. She has leather bracers and leg covers attached by straps with buckles on them. While Kotonaru wears no shoes, her leg covers wrap down and around the padding of her feet to provide protection from the elements. The leather is finely engraved with patterns and a pearl is set in the chest piece for its enchantment. Her shoulder pads are made of fur and she wears a thick cowl upon her neck which has a hood on her back. She wears a finely crafted belt of the same type of leather with several pouches, spell components, and her spell book attached to it. On her right thumb is a druid focus ring, magically shaped from the wood of a Wyr Tree into a fox’s head. Tucked safely away under the cowl is an enchanted ruby amulet gifted to her by Ran Tash, which she wears at all times.
Kotonaru is a black voidkin kitsune from Noxia, founder of the Heralds of Light, and the previous leader of the Hands of Fate. She was a nomad, traveling from different regions and made gold as a courier of messages and deliveries before being thrust into events beyond her control. Rising up to the challenge, she took it upon herself to fight the growing darkness in the Free Lands and defend the lives of its inhabitants.
Koto's Chapter 1 Backstory
“...so then I convinced the poor girl that the honey on her arms would melt off her fur and she jumped into the river fully clothed!” Kotonaru exclaims while slapping her leg as she enjoys a good laugh.
“In all seriousness though, what was I talking about? Oh right, my childhood. I don’t normally talk about that, but this is as good a night as any,” she says while deeply inhaling the earthy, fresh air.
“Well, I’ll start from the beginning I suppose. My parents are white voidkin which comes with certain social expectations you understand. They took their religious duties to Daikitsu very seriously and were highly devoted servants. The fame and respect that came with it had nothing to do with their devotion I’m sure,” she says dryly.
“The story has it that their status damaged their piety and so Daikitsu cursed my mother while she swelled with my litter to teach them humility. Five kits were born; three white, and two black, including myself of course. The lady of foxes is clever indeed, my white furred siblings did not make it. If you don’t already know, black voidkin only exist if there’s some sort of impurity in their bloodline and are typically regarded as a… black spot of sorts in kitsune society.”
Kotonaru paused for a moment during her narration. Despite the sarcasm, her heart was heavy. She felt it may crash through the ground if it were not suspended inside her chest. Her companion shifted, patiently waiting for the rest of the story.
“They couldn’t just abandon us, they’d lose the respect of everyone around them. Maybe they loved us in their own way but, my childhood was horrible. They were horrible. At a tender young age before I had even become fully grown… I left.” The word hung in the air as if it had a corporeal presence.
“My home, my people, my family; I left everything behind. I ran out into the wilds and ran as far away as my legs would take me. It was rough at first, but eventually I figured out how to survive… with more than a little help. Eventually though, the solitude was just too much for me and I continued to feel drawn to other people. Nobody wants a talentless mouth to feed around, so I began to take up work as a messenger. It enabled me to travel far and wide, meet all sorts of people, and most importantly; never stick around for too long. For instance I once met a nice ratfolk! Her people needed a cure and I was hired by an alchemist to bring them one. It didn’t work so I set out with her and her friend to find one. I wonder if they ever cured their problem? There was also this one undine that I fell in love with. She almost had me but… it just wasn’t right for us,” she pauses again while she reminisces.
“Anyways, I never stuck around long, that is of course until I took some work in Teru-gai. It was such a big place that I found plenty of work and never even had to leave the city. I guess I’m not as stealthy as I thought though, because it wasn’t long before I was approached by other kitsune. At first I was extremely wary of them, they’d never treated me well in the past but I decided to give them a chance. I could always leave if things went poorly, right?” Kotonaru asks as she plucked a piece of grass and stuck it in between her lips, playing with it between her teeth and tongue as she talked.
“Well, turns out they were black voidkin too. There was a whole bunch of them, a whole clan’s worth! They called themselves Boidou-Oka, voidwalkers, and they had created a secret society for themselves. It was too much to hope that I could find a home with them, but the possibility drew me in. So I stayed, and for a long time too. I got attached. I found a place in their clan; made friends, found lovers, not all at once mind you. Everything was perfect, I had finally found a home. Until the morning I woke up with this.” She nods behind her, twitching her second black tail.
“Even many of the most famous, successful, clever kitsune never grow more than the tail they’re born with. It’s a rare thing indeed, and immediately elevated my status in kitsune society. My fellow voidkin brothers and sisters now looked at me with disdain. It wasn’t their fault. I understood their jealousy, but that didn’t stop it from hurting. Before long, the elders decided my presence was too disruptive and banished me from their clan. Outcasted by the outcasts,” she said as a tear slowly trickled down her face. Her sobs racked her voice, but she continued on.
“My parting was terrible but a true friend of mine, Hideno, came to say goodbye and gave me those,” she said while gesturing to her bag. Her clothes and armor were laid out near the bag with fourteen kunai laid on top. The metal looked ordinary, except for a slight purple sheen that bounced off the metal in the moonlight.
“I’m not supposed to have them, but I figure Bouido-Oka owed me at least that much before they tore my world apart. That seems to happen a lot in my life. So that’s why I’ve been out in this forest for so long.” She sighed heavily and tossed herself back onto the grass and leaves, looking up at the heavens.
“Enough with the pity party already. It’s not all bad, I’ve seen some amazing things. Been to so many places and met all sorts of wonderful folk. Being a messenger has its perks too, I happen to know a lot of secrets I probably shouldn’t.” She smiles as she boasts and wipes the tears off her fur.
“Oh why am I even bothering telling you this? You already know everything! Wow, I really need to take another job and get back to civilization.” Koto tosses her clawed hands up and flops them back down above her head while closing her eyes.
Her traveling companion hooted at her and bounced up onto her chest, wobbling to look Kotonaru face to face. The owl had very little weight to it, it was slightly whispy and transparent. Her feathers were inky black with pinpricks of light speckled all over them. Should she expand her wings, they would be a mirror image of the night sky. Koto opened her eyes and rather than seeing the stars, her vision was filled with the huge deep blue eyes of her spirit animal.
“You’re right Umbra, I’ll always have you by my side,” Kotonaru says as she tilts her head up to touch her head to the owl’s. Forehead to forehead, beak to snout. They laid like that for more than a quiet moment, the wind comfortably breezing around them.
Suddenly Kotonaru shifts and sits forward, while Umbra hops off her chest and settles to the side. Koto starts cleaning up the camp and preparing the bedroll for sleep.
“I’ll never forget when we first met. It wasn’t long after I had ran away from home. I had been in the wilderness for weeks and was starving. I knew I wasn’t going to make it so I found an open plains field with wheat and red wildflowers. It was night, not unlike this one. What a beautiful place to die in, was all I could think when my weary body collapsed onto the ground. I rolled over, looked to the night sky and pleaded with the stars to save me. And then they sent you.” She patted Umbra on the head, her gesture and her heart full of love and gratitude. “You weren't a spirit animal yet, but the heavens had already destined us to be together.”
“If there's anything I’ve learned during my short time on this earth, its twofold. One: humor and kindness are the absolute best traits a person could ever have. Two: the stars are a constant, powerful presence and are the best guides a lone kitsune could ever have .”
After preparing the camp, Koto stands up to her full height of 4’ 7” and casts her magic as she grows smaller and begins to stand on all four limbs. Now in fox form, Kotonaru’s nose tilts upwards as she smells the wind and checks her surroundings. She calmly walks onto the bedroll and lays down, curling into a circle. Umbra hops over, nestling herself against Kotonaru’s stomach as Koto lifts her tails to cover Umbra like a blanket. Then they slept as the stars watched over them.
Koto's Chapter 2 Backstory
The Grand Herald sat inside of her office in her short and slim human form, bent over a letter on her desk with a scowl on her face. Her black hair cascaded down her slender face, stray pieces of it covering her eyes and getting in her way. After her surprise from the owl’s “greeting”, she blows hot air out of her mouth causing the wispy hair to fly all about. With a grunt, she shoves the letter into a drawer.
Her ice blue vulpine eyes lazily look over the objects in her room. The bookshelves filled with books, artifacts and figurines from her travels. The artwork was meant to bring her peace. There were framed treaties, deeds of her accomplishments, and thank you letters from people all over the Free Lands; all of it was intended to remind her where she came from to instill her with strength for what was to come.
Of all of these objects, her eyes came to rest on one in particular. Three golden dragon scales rested in a frame above the doorway, well polished and looked after; most likely by the kitsune herself.
“Did you have any idea where your actions would lead that day?” Kotonaru spoke into the stillness.
The aimless question was meant for Vetra, the kobold that gave those scales to her, but easily could have been a question for herself too. That was when it had all started.
After receiving her first vision from Daikitsu and those scales outside of the Sleepy Giant’s Inn, Elexsa had been attacked by a powerful and dangerous necromancer. The likes of which Kotonaru had never seen or heard of before. As a wanderer at heart, Kotonaru never stayed in one place long enough to get attached. If something became too challenging, it was easy; she’d leave. This time though, this time she decided to stay and it changed her life. It changed her.
Using her cleverness and the kitsune magic imparted upon her by her second tail she had narrowly managed to stop the necromancer from raising the town’s dead. The same dead that had been slaughtered by the suspicious goblin army all during the very same attack. The stench of blood and burning wood was horrid; Kotonaru could recall the memory of it easily. The screams of the townspeople still rang in her ears along with the fear that had surged through her entire being.
She was not a soldier, she never had been and she still didn’t think of herself as one. And yet; she fought anyways. It had nearly cost her everything, her very soul which the necromancer would have eaten had it not been for the rescue of her fellow adventurers.
“I will find you and I will end you. You have claimed enough lives,” she speaks with determination about the necromancer that was still at large.
Just at that moment a red haired woman wearing plate mail and armed to the teeth stepped into the door’s threshold. She raises a brow curiously at Kotonaru who blinks in surprise and grins sheepishly after realizing what nasty expression must have been on her face.
“Thinking of old times and good friends?” Ran Tash asks sarcastically as she helps herself to Koto’s office and sits on her desk.
“Something like that…” Kotonaru responds dryly to the Commander of the Heralds of Light. The Commander of Elexsa. Councilmember of the Stone Guardians. Ran Tash the Cold. Ran leans over the desk and kisses Kotonaru gently on the forehead, who’s posture softens a bit at the affection of her partner.
In a much softer voice, Ran asks, “What is wrong my kuroi hoshi? Is it Solitude’s ambassador? They’re here by the way, waiting for you in the courtyard.”
Kotonaru sighs deeply in exaggeration. “Stars, no. I forgot about that.” Koto slides her desk drawer back open, grabbing the letter and tosses it onto the desk.
“It’s from the Council of Elders in Shizukesa. You know, the super secret Noxia city and authority on all things kitsune that you’re not supposed to know about. They’ve told me in less than polite terms to stop my foolishness and immediately send our voidkin back to Noxia. That our little farm and open kitsune society will bring about the destruction of our people and the downfall of Noxian politics during a time when the dynasty needs strength and secrecy from all of its citizens,” Kotonaru says in a huff. It was clear from the inflictions in her tone that the Council really only expected this of kitsune, the Heralds of Light’s black voidkin in particular.
Ran frowns at the news and looks over the letter even though she can’t read the yugai calligraphy. “The whole reason they’re here in the first place is because Noxia was no longer safe for them. The fools from the Bouidou-Oka are assassinating their own people over a disagreement about displaying their vulpine forms in front of humans. It’s ridiculous, you can’t possibly go along with this,” she says harshly.
“I’m not going to,” Kotonaru says while rubbing her temples. She looks up at the human woman with an exasperated expression, weariness heavy in her eyes.
Ran’s expression softens and she bites her lip, looking back over the letter. Her gaze falls down towards the bottom at the collection of what she assumed to be signatures.
“Your parents have signed this, haven’t they? Do they even know it’s you?” Ran asks in a quiet voice, knowing that Koto’s parents were religious figureheads to Daikitsu and leaders of the city Kotonaru fled from.
“Yes, they’ve signed and no. They don’t know I am their lost daughter. I left a long time ago and have long since changed my name. Not that it would matter even if they knew,” she said bitterly.
The pair stare off at nothing in silence for a few moments, their minds wandering over their numerous responsibilities. Once again a loud screech sounds from just outside the window causing Kotonaru to jump again and Ran to chuckle in amusement.
“You know I’m here because our advisors keep asking me to tell you to stop pranking our visitors. The last one ran off crying, they say it’s hurting our image. That and your increasing disappearances into the Shadowed Grove,” Ran says obviously not agreeing with the sentiment.
It was true, Kotonaru’s need to prank had gotten much stronger and her bouts of living off in the woods were getting longer and longer. The restless druid no longer used her room in the Citadel either. It was large and lavish, something befit for the leader of such a powerful organization. Kotonaru had grown to detest it and spent most of her nights sneaking off to sleep in her little cabin on the rice paddie farm.
“But I think you know how I feel about that. And this,” Ran says as she picks up the letter and rips it to shreds, letting the pieces fall onto the desk. “Keep shining, my kuro hoshi. This citadel would not be here if not for you.” Ran rests an affectionate hand on Koto’s shoulder who blinked water out of her eyes and took strength from Ran’s words.
Ran gives her another encouraging nod and stands to leave the office. At the doorway she stops, and looks back at Koto with love in her eyes.
“They wouldn’t have a reason to send you annoying visitors or nasty letters, because without you we’d all be dead. Don’t forget that.” With Ran’s words hanging in the air, the commander takes her leave.
Kotonaru stares at the space where Ran had been sitting on her desk long after she left. Despite everything, a slight smile curls at the corners of her lips. Ran always had a way of giving her exactly what she needed and when she needed it the most. It wasn’t that long ago when they were nothing more than strangers.
It was Ran who sat behind the desk then, and while their roles to the outside world had shifted greatly, the roles between them had largely remained unchanged. Elexsa was weakened from the goblin attack and while Kotonaru and the other adventurers had dealt with the goblins, a heaviness still hung about the air.
Not but a day later the (at the time) Commander of Stibewall, Edward Conthur, came marching upon Elexsa’s walls demanding absolute surrender of the city. The lives of everyone were at stake and once again Kotonaru had to choose between running or standing up to fight.
For the first time in her life, her role as a negotiator and diplomat would begin to develop when she assisted Ran Tash in the talks for Elexsa’s survival. Normally she had used her kitsune gift with words for mischief and selfish endeavors, but this time it was different. She was inspired by Ran’s steadfast demeanor in the face of annihilation and the woman’s passion for her people. Ultimately the negotiations had failed, Edward attacked anyways, but it bought Kotonaru and the adventurers which would become known as the Hands of Fate time to get help.
Kotonaru smiles fondly, thinking about the negotiations which had been such a pivotal moment for her. She rises from her seat and collects all of the paper shreds in her hands. Holding them out the window, she whispers a few words as flame erupts from her palms and turns the paper to ash. The ash flies on the wind and Kotonaru thought no more of the awful letter from Shizukesa.
Once that was resolved, Koto leaves her office and casually walks down the hallway. It doesn’t take her long before she’s in the main hall of the citadel. ‘You need to be accessible’, they told her when choosing a location for her office. Ran had a lot of connections; people who wanted to help and had far more experience than she did. Of course she listened (her office was next to the main hall after all), but now her mischievous nature was growing stronger and stronger without a real outlet.
Out in the main hall she stops before one of the statues of heroes past. Koto gazes up at the stone nine-tailed kitsune named Kagami. She was legend in Noxia, a hero of the people, but hadn’t been seen for many human lifetimes.
I hope I can live up to you, Kotonaru thinks. She too had been chosen by Daikitsu and was blessed with multiple tails. She had four now, but each one was always a surprise and was an omen of upheaval in her life. Some of her kin rejected her in jealousy over her tails, some said she was the next Kagami. At first Kotonaru hadn’t wanted any of it, but we all have a role to play and Kotonaru was becoming a master at fulfilling hers. Even if it made her spirit feel trapped and caged. That is the sacrifice of duty, is it not?
She subconsciously begins to spin the wooden ring on her thumb, a comforting habit that she had recently developed. The ring was a druidic focus, magically shaped to resemble a fox head and made out of wood from a Wyr Tree. This wasn’t the same Wyr Tree from Aviatra’s Edge, but it still held quite a bit of significance to her.
After the Hands of Fate had successfully negotiated time for Elexsa, they split off to seek help. Kotonaru’s group went to the forested city of druids and shamans where she bargained a deal with the chiefs. She immediately felt a connection with Elanil Wynnala, the shaman chieftain, and it’s also where she found Miki, the voidkin kitsune who would later become of one Koto’s closest confidants.
In exchange of an army for Elexsa, they agreed to end the blight of Aviatra’s forest even though none of them had a clue of how to go about that. One of their companions, Irina, had been cursed by the Ancient One with an amulet. The farther they traveled into the blight, the more dangerous and erratic Irina’s behavior became but Kotonaru’s concerns were not heeded.
Even still despite her instincts telling her to run yet again, Kotonaru traveled into the heart of the blight; finding the corrupted heart of the Wyr Tree and the wraith that protected it. They killed the wraith and Kotonaru did not hesitate for a mere second when they learned blood must be sacrificed to save the tree. She gave her lifeblood freely, the tree was restored to health and the blight was cured through the sentient tree’s power.
Kotonaru’s druidic focus gave her magical power to harness her spells, sure, but it connected her to that moment in her past where she truly felt like a hero for the first time. Emboldened with their success, cheered by the citizens of Aviatra Edge; Kotonaru marched towards Elexsa with an army.
Also for the first time, she displayed her true form proudly thanks to Miki’s encouragement and without knowing it, began to stir the political machinations back in Teru-gai. In part, she had started to share her vulpine form with the world to make a statement, but mostly she just wanted to be free.
Assisted with Aviatra Edge’s army and the Fremen Guard led by the dwarf, Vuld Whitepeak, Kotonaru and the Hands of Fate freed Elexsa from Stibewall’s siege. In an epic battle with Ran Tash, her guards, and the Hands of Fate; Edward was slain and the Ancient One’s hold over the city was relinquished. For the time being at least.
Someone clears their throat behind Kotonaru. She turns around and begrudgingly sees the face of Moren, one of her advisors. She smiles politely, too politely and slightly bows her head in greeting.
“The diplomat from Solitude is here, they’ve been waiting for-” Moren tries to say in an impatient voice before Koto cuts him off with a wave.
“I know Moren, thank you.” Koto bows her head again, more than she should, and leaves towards the exit before Moren can get another word in (though he tries). Solitude had been a thorn in her side for quite some time now. She knew this ambassador was only here to yell at and threaten her, just as all the others from the stubborn city had since the conception of the Heralds of Light.
Corralling all the cities of the Free Lands into the Stone Guardian Alliance had been like herding cats. Gratefully, most of them were too afraid of Ran to go against her and those that weren’t had been swayed by Kotonaru’s passionate words and dedication to the Free Lands. Even still there were a few straggler cities which had made it their mission to make Koto’s life hell.
Her work was extremely important, and she believed in it with every fiber of her being but she longed for the days of adventure and roaming the land. Her life lately had been nothing but dignitary meetings; arranging trade agreements, alliances, smoothing over concerns about the Heralds of Light’s power and even fears over Ran Tash’s growing influence over the Free Lands.
Kotonaru had secured a position for the Heralds of Light within the Stone Guardian Alliance which was now led by a council at Koto’s insistence, of which both she and Ran were members. It was strange to consider how much of a hand she had played in the current dynamics of Free Land’s politics. Kotonaru, just a lone little fox from a city in Noxia no one had ever heard of.
She reaches the large, imposing doors of the citadel and is about to step through before she thinks better of it and walks over to a window. People behave differently when they think they aren’t being watched. She spots Ran yelling orders at her guard, over exaggerating her hand gestures and making her words look really important. Kotonaru snorts in amusement with a smirk on her face. No doubt avoiding Solitude, she thinks fondly.
Her eyes flick across the courtyard where they spot her prey. It was a nobleman, of course. It was always some noble and she had learned to tell simply by his dress. The man stood there impatiently, staring daggers at Ran who had her back to him. His arms were crossed and he tapped his foot aggressively.
Kotonaru rolls her eyes and her mind quickly ran through several rude pranks she could unleash upon the impertinous diplomat. When she wanted to make people uncomfortable, she never had to work very hard at it. Her connection to the heavens; the stars, the moons, the sky and all of its celestial bodies gave her an otherworldly air that she could easily tap into when needed. In fact, sometimes she had to actively stop herself from appearing so detached.
Her love of the sky and connection to the earth was always a delicate walk to balance. That’s not even considering the magic bestowed upon her through her lineage. It required finesse and grace, and sometimes she erred but Kotonaru was confident she could manage all sources of her power as she grew in capability.
The wise and cunning shaman’s gaze moved back towards the gruff redheaded woman she had fallen so utterly in love with. In the past Kotonaru had never stuck with one partner for more than a month; her nomadic lifestyle lent easily to that and it meant never getting close enough to be hurt. That all slowly changed as Kotonaru became increasingly interested in Ran. It opened her up to a possibility of a new type of relationship, one of commitment and dedication. Unfortunately Ran was not the only lover that had gotten close to Kotonaru because of it.
Loren Edel was a member of the Hands of Fate and a nobleman from Despion. It was always some noble. It was his idea to purchase the land where the Starlight Citadel currently stood, though for less noble intentions. Kotonaru’s polyamorous nature opened up a strange dynamic between the three of them; an engagement between Kotonaru and Loren which almost destroyed the relationship between Kotonaru and Ran. Loren abandoned the Hands of Fate in the middle of an arduous journey, causing abandonment that nearly tore the whole Hands of Fate apart- and Koto’s spirit.
Through sheer stubbornness, will, and fire, Kotonaru continued forward anyways into the depths of the Agnol Mountains to help Vuld Whitepeak save the dwarven city of Bal Darul. It was one of the most difficult things she had ever accomplished in her life.
Through the use of political subterfuge, the Hands of Fate successfully infiltrated the monarchy of Bal Darul and unveiled the Ancient One’s corruption of King Boromir. Irina had reappeared, now as a full fledged servant of the Ancient One and in league with Elexsa’s necromancer, the very same one that had wanted Kotonaru’s soul.
At the summit meeting, through a display of political prowess Kotonaru convincingly shared evidence of Boromir’s corruption and would have turned the dwarven court around which is why Boromir tried to have them all murdered. The combat turned into their favor, the Hands of Fate gained the upper hand and though she was grievously wounded, Kotonaru ended the life of a king that day. Only a few hours after that, she ended the life of Irina; someone who was once her companion too. With Vuld’s help, they defended Bal Darul from a siege of orcs, drow, and goblins and paved the way for Vuld to sweep in and become King.
Kotonaru had committed regicide. Killed a friend. Fought in a war. Became a hero. Her experiences in Bal Darul had changed her forever, sometimes not for the better. Even still it made her into the stalwart Grand Herald that she is now; someone who not only wants to secure safety, peace, and power for the Free Lands but also someone who knows how to carry out those goals.
Her fellow adventurers had been pressuring her and referring to her as their leader since the siege in Elexsa, but it wasn’t until the events of Bal Darul that Kotonaru finally accepted her role. The Hands of Fate had served its purpose and most of the original members had already died or left. It was her decision to absolve the group, for she knew it would take a lot more than a band of misfits to stem the tide of oncoming darkness.
She managed to secure the Fremen Guard from Vuld and use them to become the Herald’s main force before the faction even had a name. Both Vuld and Ran thought each other were behind the arrangement when really Kotonaru had been the one to pull the strings from the shadows. That was one of her prouder moments; using her skills for the good and to hopefully heal old wounds between the stubborn commanders.
With Clicker, an unflappable kenku and member of the Hands of Fate at her side, she came back to Elexsa in victory. Together with Ran they began the long arduous process of building the Heralds of Light from nothing more than an idea into reality.
Kotonaru absentmindedly touches her right arm where a grisly scar remained from her fight with Boromir. Right now the summer sun blazed in the sky, but the cold of winter brought pain back to the old injury. Something to remember the sacrifice and cost of being a hero. Her eyes trail down to the scar and down her forearm.
Beginning in a slow fade at her elbow, a shimmering gold speckled her skin that became more condensed as it reached her hand. That was another mark from a memory, a gift from a heavens spirit named Nova. She had helped this little spirit ascend into the sky to become a star, which now twinkles directly above Starlight Citadel on the anniversary of it’s ascension.
Kotonaru looks up back to Solitude’s ambassador. She scowls impishly and the orange glow of her wandering flame spirit flares hotly behind her eyes. They built a statue of me, she thinks brazenly. Now look at me, at the beck and call of fools like this. Why don’t they understand what is at stake?
Faster than the blink of an eye, Kotonaru shifts into her fox shape and runs past Moren on all four paws, her four bushy tails waving around for balance. The black fox with white tipped tails darts past people in the crowded room, causing some to gasp in shock and another to drop a platter of food which clanged upon the ground. Old habits die hard, so they say.
Despite the large size of the citadel, she felt so claustrophobic that she would somehow burst into thousands of pieces of stardust if she didn’t see the sky right now. Ignoring her obligations, she speeds through the citadel up higher and higher towards her destination: the Garden of Sanctuary. It was located at the very top of the citadel, reaching out into the sky. Kotonaru had been adamant about it’s creation, one of the only selfish things she had requested during Starlight Citadel’s construction.
It was a nondenominational space dedicated for meditation and reflection. She often came here for respite when there wasn’t time to wander through the nearby forest. The finely cared for plants, trees, and flowers brought Koto a great amount of comfort but it was it’s proximity to the sky that really lifted her spirits.
When Koto reached the top, the owl from before was already there waiting for her. She barks at the owl playfully and shifts in mid stride to her vulpine form with her furred arm stretched outward. The owl’s feathers were pitch black and speckled with pinpricks of starlight, mirroring the night sky above.
“Oh, Umbra. What have I gotten myself into?” Kotonaru asks of her spirit animal. Deep, dark blue eyes stare back at the kitsune as the owl communicates her thoughts telepathically.
Their bond was unlike any other; the magic between them was strong and Koto owed her lifelong friend more than she owed anyone else in Kodaimo.
You are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to do, replies the sage owl.
Kotonaru smiles fondly and shakes her head at the vague answer. She looks to the bright blue sky and squints her eyes at the sunlight shining upon her face. The heavens spirit’s influence in her life was often unclear but it was ever present and comforting; particularly when Daikitsu hadn’t been.
She had last heard from the goddess of foxes only just three months ago. The Lady of the Night had warned her that communication between them would become non-existant and instructed her on the Proving.
Kotonaru can’t help but chuckle when she recalls the way Ran reacted after she had told her about the Proving. Ran had been very clear about her distrust and refusal in doing it, but Kotonaru could feel it in her bones that this was something that needed to happen. Testing the process on herself first, she set out towards Ru’an where they had received word about a growing blight.
She had not been surprised in the slightest when Ran Tash wordlessly left with her to partake in the strange new ritual alongside her. What did surprise her were the words Ran blurted out just before they underwent the ritual. I want to marry you, she had said believing they both may die.
Kotonaru had acted as if she didn’t remember what Ran said when they came to, knowing that Ran wouldn’t press it very far. Even with everything she had accomplished and set out to do there were some simple things that still terrified her.
The Proving had been quite the experience. Though it was strange, she knew it had made them stronger and given them boons against the Ancient One’s power. It wasn’t long before other members of the Heralds of Light were already volunteering to go through the proving themselves.
As Kotonaru looked up to the sky she felt the presence of her spirit strengthen her resolve. She knew that darkness was coming again, the Ancient One was hungry and had already waited for thousands of years for their opportunity. The year of peace since Bal Darul was nothing. Elexsa’s necromancer had not been defeated, and while Edward was gone a strong blight continued to grow out of Stibewall. It would take everything she had and more to defeat that necromancer. They were going to need help.
You are exactly where you need to be, doing exactly what you need to do, she thinks echoing Umbra’s words in her mind. She pats Umbra on the head affectionately and climbs up onto the stone wall of the garden.
Looking down at the courtyard below she spots her target and grins. Kotonaru leaps from the wall and gently begins to float down behind the courtyard. She knew in her heart that one day she would fly, but for now a feather fall ring would have to do. She gracefully reaches the ground, and silently pads up to the nobleman from Stibewall knowing that the sudden sound of her voice was sure to startle the man.
“Hello there! Welcome to Starlight Citadel and the Heralds of Light. My name is Kotonaru.”
Grand Herald of the Heralds of Light
Ambassador & Baroness of Elexsa
Leader of the Hands of Fate
Draconic, Celestial, Druidic, Sylvan
Virtues & Personality perks
Passionate, Clever, Playful, Selfless, Resilient
Vices & Personality flaws
Argumentative, Devious, Impatient, Self-doubting
Hobbies & Pets
Umbra - Heavens Spirit Familiar
Umbra was once an eastern screech owl before being blessed by the stars. She now has a whispy, transparent visage. Her feathers match the inky black depths of space and are speckled with pinpricks of starlight. When flying, Umbra becomes a small nimbus of light and the stars on her feathers shift to match that of the sky regardless of time or weather.
The major events and journals in Kotonaru's history, from the beginning to today.
The list of amazing people following the adventures of Kotonaru.