47.6 - Ika-ryū

How about a story introducing the JHHL member Ninjess? As usual, if this conflicts with anything already established (or an alternate origin people prefer), let me know.

Growing up as a half-breed in Japan wasn’t easy on Fuko. Her extended family was extremely traditional, on both sides. Even today, living in America, she gets messages telling her to be proper, to uphold her honor, to do this or that, make contact with expatriate relatives, whatever. She doesn’t mind too much. Despite the strictness of her training, her mother and father were always loving and kind to her. Even her bratty little brother is a sweetheart.

Japan used to have an emperor whose power meant something. Atlantis still does. Beneath these exalted rulers, warlords and aristocrats still scheme and struggle, much as they always did. They’ve traded their castles and armies for corporate boardrooms and stock trades, but the essentials are still the same. Fuko grew up having to learn the etiquette and nuance of two cultures, each so similar to the other, and yet both treating the other as an alien landscape. Neither had much use for her, until her family sent her to Ika-ryū.

“Yactadrelbh” is the closest approximation English has to her birth name. “Shinkai Hafuko” is only marginally easier for certain parts of the American South. She settled on “Fuko” for those few friends she’s managed to accumulate. “Ninjess”, by contrast, is a walk in the park. The Ika School taught her the skills to be a warrior in the battles fought by warlords and aristocrats. Infiltration, intelligence analysis, combat, and the development of her body and physical talents, would all compensate for her half-breed status, whether she fought above the waves or below.

When she was asked about her preference for assignment, Fuko knew immediately what she wanted: America. It was such a foreign concept! The idea of democracy, of the popular vote, of people free to speak their mind and go where they like, sounded ridiculous to her traditionalist mindset. How could it possibly work? And yet, America had been the undoing of both Traditional Atlantis and Imperial Japan. Japan at Midway and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with the American general MacArthur overseeing things after the war. Atlantis in the 20’s and 30’s, when its infiltration of American seaside towns such as Innsmouth and Dunwich had been discovered by the authorities and dealt with clandestinely.

And it’s as amazing as she thought! Amazing, and frustrating. Fuko can’t walk openly in America. She couldn’t in Japan, of course, but the family compound was large enough to give her the illusion of space. Here in Halcyon City, her eyes, tentacles, and other inhuman features would attract attention immediately, and attention is exactly what a ninja doesn’t want. Oh, certainly, she could unmask, be just another Halcyon City demi-human, but then her activities could be traced, correlated, analyzed.

She found a super-team to join, to use as a gateway to the human world. They don’t know everything about her, but she shares enough to stay in their good graces. And there are a few people, including an aquarium director and an old martial arts teacher, who know more than a little.

Sometimes, Fuko despairs of having a normal life. She’s surrounded by these happy-go-lucky Americans, and finds herself envying that freedom. She wants to blend in sometimes, be one of the crowd without merely using it for cover. But she’s a half-breed, a shinobi on a mission from her family, and a superhero. She doesn’t have a right to a normal life. Right?


author: Bill G.
url: Community Forums: 47.6 - Ika-ryū | Roll20: Online virtual tabletop

Keep this up, Bill, and we’ll be playing this game forever.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6641112