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> Your Writing Process, And/Or Problems with Same
SubRosa
post Jan 15 2020, 01:55 AM
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QUOTE(treydog @ Jan 14 2020, 07:15 AM) *

The human sacrifice by family member is the strongest story line- to me. And what it allows you to do is show (once more) January's strength of character. In my head, she will not dodge the "association"- but will simply say words to the effect of "Yes, that is true. And...?" Force the issue. If someone wants to imply that she (and perhaps other metas) is/are fatally flawed (bad pun, sorry)- they are going to have to come up with something better than- "Well- ya know- your relative did these awful things, so doesn't that mean you are awful too?"

She can point out that George Washington was called "The Town Burner" by the Native Americans because of his punitive (and possibly genocidal?) expeditions prior to the American Revolution- just as one example.

Anyway, in my mind, this story has been about Jan facing and overcoming adversity. This is another chance to show that.

The way I see this working out, only January and Blood Raven will know that the family member was the Conjurer. Blood Raven will not reveal that. Which means that it comes down to January, either as Stormcrow or as herself. She has to decide whether their family member is known as a victim, or as the murderer.

She could say nothing, but then their family member will be listed as missing. She would not put the rest of her family through not knowing why that person disappeared. So in the end, she has to come forward and say something.

Right now, I am most strongly leaning toward her taking Blood Raven's advice and saying their family member was the victim.

I could go another route and have a third person there who sees it all and implicates the family member. Then it would play out exactly as you said above. With Jan saying "yeah, he did it," and not trying to argue it or make excuses. But that puts me in a place I'd rather not go, with January's literary career being derailed.

Unless a third person says the family member did it. Then Blood Raven testifies that family member was being mind controlled. But how many people will believe that? Given that Blood Raven is a polarizing figure, not everyone. Especially not the police. Which puts me right back to January's livelihood (and dreams) being lost.

Granted, maybe I could roll with that. January's career as a writer is destroyed, the final act of collateral damage caused by the family member. Lots of people have their dreams forever crushed. She could work as a martial arts instructor for the rest of her life. Or maybe be a technical writer, for things like manuals and pamphlets. But I'd rather not go there. It's just too depressing.


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Acadian
post Jan 15 2020, 02:18 AM
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QUOTE(SubRosa @ Jan 14 2020, 04:55 PM) *
... Right now, I am most strongly leaning toward her taking Blood Raven's advice and saying their family member was the victim. ...
I think this is not only the most humane approach for Jan to take but it also, conveniently, does not necessarily close literary doors to her.

And if it all doesn't work out, she can join chorrol, open a martial arts studio with Uleni and write fanfic. tongue.gif


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Kazaera
post Mar 13 2020, 11:04 PM
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So there's a plot point in Adryn which is coming up soon which I've planned on from the start and am now shamelessly going to spoil for you because it has suddenly taken on weight from real life I wasn't planning on and I'm not sure what to do about it.

The plot point is this:

In the game, you cannot leave Vvardenfell (because there is no mainland). I remember reading some...where... years ago that the in-game reason was because Vvardenfell was under quarantine due to the Blight and corprus. I don't actually think it's true but either way it caught my imagination. I'd already started writing SitC then and the island very clearly wasn't quarantined, so I decided it'd be a cool way to raise tensions to have it occur part of the way through the story. It is scheduled to happen end of next chapter.

...er.

The good news is, it looks like I'll be getting exciting real-life experience on unknown contagious diseases and quarantines which will let me make the following chapters significantly more accurate.

The bad news is that if I manage my editing OK/that last gd scene that refuses to be written, that part will probably be posted in the next few months. I don't want to come off as tasteless, or as offering some sort of commentary on current events. This wasn't actually meant to be reflecting real life, but given current events I'm not sure how it can NOT be seen that way.

Now I'm wondering if I should delay this plot point (although I really don't want to - I *already* wanted to have it chapters ago, it just never quite worked out) or even get rid of it entirely. There's nothing vital that depends on it, it's mainly about heightening tension and narrowing Adryn's options. At the same time it's really woven into the next few chapters so I'd have to scramble to rework chunks of them, and it's a lovely dangling plot thread with a lot of potential that I'd be very sad to lose.

...someone tell me I'm overthinking this.


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SubRosa
post Mar 13 2020, 11:12 PM
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I think you are overthinking this. Corprus is a central part of Morrowind. There is no way to avoid it if you are including the events of the main quest. Sure you could not talk about Vvardenfell being quarantined (though if it is quarantined, then why did a ship drop you off there?), but that does not remove the disease or its effects on people. Acknowledging/deciding that there is no way off the island is just a drop in that bucket.

I can certainly see how a quarantine could push the plot forward. Like in Doom, the only way out, is through. The only way off the island, is by defeating Dagoth. That might spur Adryn into action that she might otherwise avoid taking. Or at least be one of many straws on her camel's back.

So I say keep it.


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Kazaera
post Mar 13 2020, 11:26 PM
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Thanks! That was exactly what I wanted to hear. smile.gif And yeah, you're right, corprus and the Blight are very central parts of Morrowind, and a big part of my writing is trying to make things like that realistic. So we're going to see the Empire taking measures and we're going to see the impact that has on daily life, parallels unfortunate but unintended.

Like in Doom, the only way out, is through. The only way off the island, is by defeating Dagoth.

Yes, this is one big reason for it. Adryn's big character arc at the moment is relearning how to stand her ground. Certain events in her past mean the first tool she reaches for when dealing with problems is run away. That is... not an ideal trait for the Nerevarine, so it needs to be addressed. Part of that is bolstering her, giving her a support network, and pushing her slowly in the direction of addressing the trauma she's repressing... but part of it is simply closing off her escape routes. If I leave travel to the mainland open, I am always, always going to have to figure out how to keep Adryn on the island when things really start getting tough for her. It's annoying, it's repetitive, and she can be a lot more interesting with her back to the wall. Ergo, I really do need this quarantine in place.


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SubRosa
post Mar 13 2020, 11:54 PM
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Well you could always go another route entirely.

After crime rates increase 400%, the once great island of Vvardenfell becomes the one maximum security prison for the entire Empire. A 50 foot containment wall is erected along the Morrowind shoreline. It completely surrounds Vvardenfell island. All bridges and waterways are mined. The Imperial Police Force, like an army, is encamped around the island. There are no guards inside the prison. Only prisoners, and the worlds they have made. The rules are simple: Once you go in, you don't come out.

Of course Adryn will need an eye patch and a scoped Mac 10. And everyone will think she is dead...


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treydog
post Mar 14 2020, 12:58 AM
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Second most strongly what Sage Rosa said.... well, maybe not the eye-patch.....

But the Blight and corprus and also the quarantine are so central to the main quest that you would have to do a lot of adjusting to avoid those themes. And the thing of it is- even if it IS "topical" at the moment.... well, your story is far more than just that.

As to the ship dropping Adryn (or whatever Player to be Named Later) at Seyda Neen.... I always took it to be a "one-way blockade," a sort of "Hotel Vvardenfellia"- "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave." The Empire, in its magnanimous humanity, dumps "problem people" that it can't quite afford to just execute onto an island that very well may "solve" the problem for them.

It also explains the incredible profusion of smugglers, and their homicidal tendencies.

Anyway- continue as you have begun, Kaz. It is well worth the doing.


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ghastley
post Mar 14 2020, 03:49 AM
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Yes, but ... If the whole island is quarantined, why is there a ghost fence?

I suppose there's a case for two levels of containment. Those who are fully infected inside the ghost fence, those who might just be carriers on the island. Except that the ghost fence hasn't worked, and the diseases are outside, too. I blame the cliff-racers. Ok, now it's on to plan B.

Go for it.


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Kazaera
post Mar 14 2020, 10:46 AM
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Thanks everyone! It seems I was definitely overthinking this, whew. Full steam ahead, quarantine and all.

@SubRosa - biggrin.gif I think the genre switch would take a few readers aback! And I'm not sure if Adryn is more appalled at the idea of the gun or the eyepatch.

@treydog - thanks! The confusing thing for me is that in-game, there's one quest in which someone pretends to have gone to the mainland and this seems to be treated as reasonable. But I'm generally happy to explain that away because the quarantine makes a lot of sense. As you say, it also explains the many, many smugglers. Re: the Empire's dumping ground... that is actually going down slightly differently in Adrynverse, and is another plot point that's getting picked up again in the next few chapters! But it does also make sense in general.

@ghastley - your explanation is definitely part of it! In fact, one of the foreshadowing scenes for the quarantine was in Interlude I - wherein lo, the caravan Adryn and Varvur were travelling with on their way to Balmora reaches Ebonheart and reports in. This being the caravan where they encountered a Blighted guar, and much worry was had about the fact that it was outside the Ghostfence and even the Ashlands. That was one of several incidents where it was made clear to the Imperial authorities that the Ghostfence was not quite doing its job, and we're now seeing their response.

...which is the other half of the equation: the Ghostfence is a Temple quarantine, Vvardenfell is an Imperial quarantine. The resulting politics are going to be... interesting.


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haute ecole rider
post Mar 14 2020, 02:38 PM
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You've been writing this story long enough, Kazaera, that I doubt your readers will consider your introduction of a quarantine into this story line will be seen as tasteless or offensive. After all, this is not a for-profit venture on your part, nor does it run counter to game lore. As others have already pointed out, the game has the disease and the "quarantine" already in it, so it makes sense to bring it up at this point in the story.

And like you said, it adds fuel to the fire, so to speak, in terms of storytelling. After all, what's a story without some tension?


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SubRosa
post Apr 3 2020, 07:13 PM
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I need two super names. One is for a male Chinese-American villain who uses density control. He can go from being intangible, to harder than diamond. He might use some melee weapons too. Which he would also be able to alter the density of. As villains go, he is a thief, and spy for hire, going intangible to get into vaults and the like, and using high-density only to fight off the cops or superheros. He has never killed anyone.

The other also uses phasing. But he is a hero. He is Japanese-American. He is a zen swordsman, using a katana, and possibly a bokken (wooden sword). This one is like January, in that he is a magician, and is unconsciously using his magic to phase, camouflage himself, and amp up his fighting abilities. I figure he uses his magic to improve the strength of his sword, so it can cut through anything, and withstand any blow. He might also uses his magic to make his sword dull, so it acts like a club rather than a cutting weapon (stun damage instead of lethal). He's basically half-ninja, half-samurai.

Having an ethnic bend to both or either would be nice, but not a requirement. The Villain is a first generation immigrant from China, so has really strong ties to Chinese culture. The Hero is fifth generation, all he knows about Japan is from what he reads in books. So he is more likely to have a 'generic' American identity. He will be working with January, Gadget, Blood Raven, and company, and they will probably be the ones to actually give him a super name.

Given their phasing/intangibility powers, I have been thinking of maybe Ghost-based names. Like a type of Chinese ghost for the villain, and type of Japanese ghost for the hero.

Come to think of it, the Villain has a daughter named Hannah who will eventually need a supername too. She is a meta like he is, but with completely different powers. She can sense into higher spatial dimensions, and since her powers awoke she sees the world in terms of geometry, angles, degrees, and so forth, without even trying. She can tap into the dimensions (not alternate worlds, but up/down, right/left, forward/back, kind of dimensions). This gives her telekinesis, and allows her to create force fields. She can also fold space-time and teleport.

And of course, January, Blood Raven, and company are going to need a name for their super team as well. There is going to be an actual team beyond Jan and Blood Raven's partnership, so the Blackbirds will only work as a name for so long. Most of them are kind of black sheep, not out and out villains, but gray hats like Blood Raven, who are not highly thought of by the authorities. We have met several of them already, and the Japanese American Phaser above and Hannah will be members as well. There will probably be about 7 members total, but some will only be part time.

Since most will be based in the Metro Detroit area, a Detroit-based name would be nice. But I keep striking out on that. The Big Tires does not cut it. Detroit Wheels reminds me of a old radio station. Not to mention Mitch Ryder's band from the 60s. Unfortunately most historical Detroit names have been used by businesses, like Cadillac or Pontiac.

I do have a list of ideas for the team name worked up.

The Covenant / Covenanters (this is from upcoming dialogue, when Blood Raven suggests that she and Jan form a covenant)
Wolverines (sounds too much like the U of M football team)
The Iron Brigade (the 24th Michigan regiment was part of the Iron Brigade. Blood Raven was a member)
The Arsenal of Democracy (kind of a mouthful)
Implacables
Irresistibles
Defiants
Resolutes
Dragons
Invincibles
The Outsiders
The Outcasts
The Losers Club (might get sued by Stephen King though)
The Black Sheep
The Unwanted
The Rejects

I find myself liking the Iron Brigade best of all the 'cool' names, and the Black Sheep of the self-deprecating ones. Yes, looking at you Pappy Boyington. Jan would probably pick the Iron Brigade, knowing Blood Raven's past. If the name comes from an outsider like Gilda Gadfly, it might be something like the Black Sheep. Especially if they go from being the Blackbirds to the Black Sheep.


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Acadian
post Apr 3 2020, 07:55 PM
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I'm sorry I'm probably not too much help on the individual superhero names. With a character named Buffy what do you expect? biggrin.gif That is, unless you want to call your villain a very Renee-esque 'Sum Ting Wong'. wink.gif

For your group, however, you have some good names on your list and I do like Iron Brigade. Most Naval Aviation units carry informal callsigns and some of them are pretty cool. To this day, the Black Sheep squadron still calls themselves that. The coolest such call sign I encountered during my career was the one used by the aircraft carrier USS Independence: Guntrain. I've never been able to use it in TES due to anachronism concerns but it might fit into your fiction. The Guntrain as a band of supers. Maybe not. That all said, here is a three page link. The final two pages have quite a collection of such names and you might find something of interest. http://skyhawk.org/article/navy-tail-codes-call-signs


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SubRosa
post Apr 3 2020, 08:13 PM
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Guntrain might work for Isaac, when he finally suits up in a mecha and comes stomping to the rescue in the big final showdown battle where team really comes together.

The Proud Pelicans! I love that. I like the Saints too. Someone like January might make a remark to the press that they might not be saints, and then Gilda might take that and deliberately name them the Saints. But that might lead to confusion with New Orlean's football team.

The Fighting Redcocks? ohmy.gif Umm, nope.

I remember back in my tabletop rpg days, in our Champions/Fuzion game we had a super team set in Detroit called the Detroit Knights / Detroit Nights. We really were not picky about the "K" in there. It sounds kind of hokey though.

TBH, Jan would also really like The Super Friends. But she would not want to get sued... laugh.gif


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SubRosa
post Apr 3 2020, 11:17 PM
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I just did some digging into Japanese mythological creatures, and found some ideas for the Japanese phaser:

Yūrei (ghost of a dead human)
Yōkai (transformed ones, supernatural beings)
Prince Mononoke (this would probably be a joke, not something serious).
Ikiryō, or shōryō, seirei, ikisudama "Living Ghost" = the soul of a living person that leaves their body, like astral projection
Kunekune (scarecrow-like ghost figure only seen from a distance).
Komainu = "lion-dog" statues that guard Japanese temples, guardian spirits.
Ôkami = "wolf" messenger of the kami and protector spirit.

I kind of like the last two, especially Okami. If I go that route I might make him more werewolfy? Or give him some wolf motifs? Apparently there was a video game by the same name too. Which might be where his name actually comes from.

Okay, I am really liking Okami now that I read more


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Acadian
post Apr 3 2020, 11:47 PM
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Okami sounds perfect!


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treydog
post Apr 4 2020, 01:18 AM
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I was riffing off of the characters in "Samurai Cat"

Tamanojo Neko (the cat)

Madura the Demon (the samurai)

Thinking an Americanized name like "Tom".... but with a more Nipponese throwback for the alter....


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SubRosa
post Apr 4 2020, 04:41 AM
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I did some digging into Chinese mythology, and it looks like the Villain will be Hungry Ghost. There are some Chinese and Sanskrit terms, but I think I will just stick with the English version.

He will know Shaolin Kung Fu (pretty much every form of Chinese martial arts is Kung Fu), and uses a staff as both a weapon and perhaps a tool in his robberies. Maybe it has some anti-electronics gizmos built into it?


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treydog
post Apr 4 2020, 11:18 AM
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I can see the staff having some sort of "Field generator" built into it. And ... possibly it could be taken down into segments (3 or 4)? With the various components having specific properties? Too much? kvright.gif


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haute ecole rider
post Apr 4 2020, 03:58 PM
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So sorry I haven't been reading the January fiction (I find following superhero tales a struggle for me somehow - can't explain why) but I have to admit I've been enjoying this discussion.

I loved the list of callsigns Acadian posted. Good ol Black Sheep! And I also liked Sidewinders (reminds me of my favorite historical US flag) and Bumblebees (reminds me of the Seabees, which my Dad was part of).

Would your Chinese American, being a first gen immigrant, have ties to the Chinese organized crime families? Just throwing that up there, being curious on your thought processes.

Knowing several third and fourth gen Asian Americans, I would imagine your Japanese American hero would be pretty American, not much Japanese except for the family name.

As for going with Okami, I wouldn't make him a werewolf per se. I know, I'm biased, but I feel that horse has been pretty much beaten to death in recent years. Instead, I would look at the traits of the Japanese wolf and use that instead - agility, quickness, the ability to hide (invisibility? cloaking?) in plain sight, the sense of guardianship, and so on. I'd suggest incorporating these into this character in such a way that anyone familiar with Japanese folklore will recognize him as an okami spirit.

I really should sit down and read through your January fiction and see what this is all about biggrin.gif


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SubRosa
post Apr 4 2020, 06:28 PM
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QUOTE(treydog @ Apr 4 2020, 06:18 AM) *

I can see the staff having some sort of "Field generator" built into it. And ... possibly it could be taken down into segments (3 or 4)? With the various components having specific properties? Too much? kvright.gif

Both those things are exactly what I was thinking. The staff might have an anti-video field it generates, so he cannot be filmed. And/or something that disables alarms and other security systems. He can literally walk through walls and float over the floor, so standard door locks and alarms and pressure places won't trouble him. But something more passive like motion or heat sensors, or lasers, might pick him up and trigger an alarm. He also can't become invisible, so he can be seen on cameras. So maybe the staff can counter that? He's not a meta-inventor himself, so he probably bought it from someone who is on the black market. He probably had it built specially for him, and paid for with his ill-gotten gains.

I was also thinking something that telescopes, or breaks down into multiple parts. Simply due to the inconvenience of carting around a 6 foot stick everywhere (I remember when Athlain had his silver staff). It might work as separate billy clubs too.




QUOTE(haute ecole rider @ Apr 4 2020, 10:58 AM) *

So sorry I haven't been reading the January fiction (I find following superhero tales a struggle for me somehow - can't explain why) but I have to admit I've been enjoying this discussion.

I loved the list of callsigns Acadian posted. Good ol Black Sheep! And I also liked Sidewinders (reminds me of my favorite historical US flag) and Bumblebees (reminds me of the Seabees, which my Dad was part of).

Would your Chinese American, being a first gen immigrant, have ties to the Chinese organized crime families? Just throwing that up there, being curious on your thought processes.

Knowing several third and fourth gen Asian Americans, I would imagine your Japanese American hero would be pretty American, not much Japanese except for the family name.

As for going with Okami, I wouldn't make him a werewolf per se. I know, I'm biased, but I feel that horse has been pretty much beaten to death in recent years. Instead, I would look at the traits of the Japanese wolf and use that instead - agility, quickness, the ability to hide (invisibility? cloaking?) in plain sight, the sense of guardianship, and so on. I'd suggest incorporating these into this character in such a way that anyone familiar with Japanese folklore will recognize him as an okami spirit.

I really should sit down and read through your January fiction and see what this is all about biggrin.gif

Well, I would be remiss at shameless self-promotion if I did not say you should try reading Jan's fic. I tried to make it both fun and dramatic, while keeping it grounded in real people facing real issues. A lot of it is what I see happening right now in the world. Like people videotaping everything they see on their phones. It is also a chance for me to brag on Detroit, since that is where it is set. January literally lives across the street from me.

It started out with the idea of what if Aela and Loria were superheros. Once I dropped them in the setting, they almost completely changed to fit the new world. The only major thing that remains is that January and Avery are true ride or die friends. And they are trans/gay respectively. They are also both major nerds, which is a pure joy to write. They even swear with Battlestar Galactica and Farscape words.

I had not thought of the Triads with the Hungry Ghost. But that makes such perfect sense. He is from San Francisco, and probably started out in a Chinese-American gang there as a teen, and worked his way up the ladder. Until he finally went solo. But he probably still has really strong ties back there, and does a lot of work for them as an independent contractor.

You and I are of similar minds about the werewolf aspects. I already have a werewolf NPC (well, supporting character we have not met yet), who will get name-dropped in Chapter 5. She is named White Fell, and is entirely inspired by the story The Were-Wolf from the late 1800s. She is a member of the Sentinels super team in the Chicago. I know she has an arch enemy named Varg, who is another werewolf. Finally, a Werebear villian is coming up in Chapter 5. I would really rather not go more lycanthrope than that.

So like you say, I am thinking it would be better to stick more with the traits of the Japanese Wolf, rather than its actual powers. Okami is already really good at hiding, and fading into the shadows. He's also a master of kenjutsu and judo, so speed, agility, right there. Personality-wise he has some issues due to Asperger's. But those few friends he has, he is absolutely loyal to. And he probably played the video game Okami when he was a child.


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