The Time After Darkness Fell
Akodo Saburo Twenty Questions
What clan does your character belong to?
What family does your character belong to?
Is your character a bushi, a shugenja, or a courtier?
How would others describe your character’s appearance?
A calm looking young man, average height, average build. He is well-groomed and dresses appropriately at all times, although perhaps out of fashion. He is of a darker complexion than most Rokugani and has long ears. He sports a small beard.
What is your character’s primary motivation?
To be a true samurai, to fulfill the wishes of his lord and maintain the honor of his ancestors and clan. He has borrowed the Akodo name from his ancestors and wishes to leave that honorable name intact for his descendants.
Who is the person your character trusts most in the world?
While he’d like to say his lord, in truth he has never met him. Kitsuki Naoto is who he trusts most in the world. The two grew up together and Naoto has proven himself to be a true friend and someone who selflessly helps others. Saburo knows he can depend on Naoto if need be.
What is your character’s greatest strength and weakness?
Saburo’s greatest strength is his strong sense of honor, he believes that great deeds are accomplished through following the seven tenets of bushido. His greatest weakness is that he is too proper, he will go out of his way to not offend others and is often confined in what he can and can’t do because of his morals.
What does your character think of bushido?
Bushido is the code in which all men and women should follow. The seven tenets of Compassion, Courage, Courtesy, Duty, Honesty, Honor, and Sincerity must be followed equally if one is to attain a balance and meaning in their life. To follow one tenet above the others or to disregard one or more tenets is foolish, as a samurai must strive to follow them all if he is to truly dedicate his life to his daimyo.
What is your character’s opinion of his clan?
Saburo appreciates that he was raised in a clan that valued Bushido and its ancestors as much as the Lion Clan does. In many ways he falls in sync with the values of his clan. However, Saburo believes that there is one quality that keeps many Lion from attaining the balance needed to be a true samurai, pride. The Lion allow their own personal pride to oftentimes overrule their duty to their lord. Saburo believes that a samurai should be proud of one thing, his service to his lord, and that all of his personal accomplishments should be attributed to this.
Is your character married?
No, he is not married. He shall marry if and when his lord chooses, to who he chooses, and he will have no complaints so long as it does not hinder his service to his clan.
Does your character have any prejudices?
Saburo believes that others should be judged based on their actions and words rather than their reputation. He has heard stories of treacherous Scorpions and hypocritical Crane, but until he sees someone act out this way himself, Saburo assumes that all follow Bushido and serve the Emperor loyally, its the only polite thing to do. He is strongly prejudiced against those who knowingly betray their lord, no matter the cause. Seppuku is the only proper way for a samurai to dissent from his lord, and so any living rebels cannot be called honorable men.
To whom does your character owe the most loyalty?
This is a difficult question for Saburo, who has been told that he must honor and serve three lords, the Emperor, his Clan Champion, and the Akodo daimyo. If the time came when he had to make a choice between them, Saburo would perform the three cuts and end his life.
What are your character’s favorite and least favorite things?
Saburo likes studying Bushido, reading ancient history, practicing swordsmanship, hunting, zen gardens, feng shui, incense, visiting home, horseback riding, spicy noodles, ancient architecture, shrines, and sake.
Saburo dislikes rudeness, being a political hostage, tofu, advanced technology, unlawful activities, insubordination, and pillow books.
Does your character have any recurring mannerisms?
Saburo attempts to keep his movements precise and practiced, so that he is always appropriate. However, he is also prone to unintended mannerisms. He tends to have a confident smile on his face, oftentimes even when angry or upset. He also has a tendency to begin his sentences with “Ah…” as he considers his words. He always raises his eyebrows when surprised, though he has attempted to correct this.
What about your character’s emotions?
Saburo keeps his emotions in check as much as he can. In most cases his calm and pleasant demeanor is present for all of his emotions whether he be happy, sad, or angry. Because of this when he shows genuine emotions it is more noticeable, because it seems out of character. He usually only shows strong emotions when dealing with someone he cares deeply about, and even then only when he loses himself in the moment.
How would your character handle a subordinate’s improper behavior?
Saburo has a forgiving nature, but there are some insults that he will not tolerate. If a subordinate were to insult or offend his lord, his family, or someone he cares about he would very likely order their execution (or seppuku if samurai), however if it is something that only offends or insults himself he is much more likely to forgive the offense. To learn from mistakes, one must first make mistakes, and so Saburo is very forgiving of a subordinate’s failures so long as he shows a willingness to improve from it.
How would your character’s parents describe him?
Saburo’s parents are proud of him. Throughout his life he has shown an unnatural amount of filial piety towards them. They know that Saburo can be depended upon and will take care of them in their old age, visiting them often if they choose to retire to a monastery, and giving sacrifices to their shrines after their death. They expect great things from him and know that he is dedicated to Bushido. Saburo’s father and he have an odd relationship, they are much more like lord and subordinate than they are father and son. Saburo’s mother is warmer, but she wishes that Saburo would open up more to others rather than tucking his personality away behind Bushido and a pleasant demeanor.
What is your character’s highest ambition?
Saburo secretly dreams of accomplishing great things in the name of his Clan, they are always vague goals, bringing honor, glory, and power to himself and his clan. He is ashamed of these secret desires, however, and is determined to abandon them. Perhaps his greatest ambition is to have no ambitions, to truly live every facet of his life for his lord and to one lay down his life for him. Saburo would be lying if he said he has already achieved that level of dedication to Bushido.
How religious is your character?
Saburo is a deeply religious person. He prays to his ancestors daily for guidance in his actions and carries a makeshift shrine of the Akodo with him everywhere he goes. He believes that all samurai must honor the celestial hierarchy and so also occasionally pays homage to the gods and spirits. He appreciates the Tao of Shinsei more so than most Lion, he attributes this to his Dragon upbringing where he was made to read his teachings. Saburo has his own ideas of enlightenment, however, and believes it can only be achieved through honoring your lord, your ancestors, and the gods in your actions. Saburo is more superstitious than your average Lion. His favorite phrase from the Tao of Shinsei is, “Man plans, Heaven ordains”, meaning that no matter what men plan, the heavens ultimately decide their fate.
How will your character die?
It is very possible that Saburo will one day commit the ancient act of “seppuku”. Saburo has prescribed himself to a high standard of conduct, and has set impossible goals for himself. When he inevitably cannot live up to such lofty standards it may be accompanied with the decision to cleanse his honor through ritual suicide.