Naruhi Ziha

19th Seat of the 9th Division

Family Name Ziha
Given Name Naruhi
Aliases None
Race Shinigami
Gender Female
Age 123
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Appearance

Naruhi is a lithe young woman with a body corded with lean muscle. At 5’ tall she is unusually short, and this tends to be the first (and only) thing that anyone notices about her. She has a thin build, and the body of a gymnast, yet still has a proportionally large bust. Her skin is unusually fair, and burns badly in the sun. Her face is a delicate oval with a pointed chin, high cheekbones and narrow jaw. Her cheeks are full and have a slight natural blush to them, which can become a shocking scarlet when she is embarrassed. Her nose is slightly upturned, and a bit too long to be considered feminine. She has eyebrows that arch in a perpetually curious expression, and frame impossibly large, round hazel eyes that are highly expressive and serve as an indicator of her emotions. These eyes are usually underscored by dark rings from a lack of sleep. Her naturally white hair is fairly long, falling to halfway down her spine, and is perpetually messy and unwieldy, causing her no small amount of frustration. She often braids narrow strands of her hair on either side of her face and pins them behind her head to restrain the rest in an unobtrusive fashion. Strangely for someone who appears little older than seventeen, Naruhi has a broad streak of greying hair on the left side of her face only, which seems to be becoming slightly darker with each passing year. She herself has no explanation for this anomaly aside from “stress”. Naruhi has a tattoo of a heart with skeletal wings on her lower back, and the kanji for ‘Mind’ in black ink on her right breast.

Naruhi wears the standard black Shinigami robes carelessly, and with little respect. The robes are often rumpled, and appear slept-in, and have fraying seams and the marks of battle damage. The top of her uniform is usually open enough to reveal a modest amount of cleavage, and the sleeves are too long, falling nearly an inch past her fingertips. She has torn a slit down the outer side of the right leg of her hakama for ‘manoeuvrability’, and to allow access to the worn, faded leather pouch which she has belted around her mid-thigh. Within this pouch is a jet-black shuriken, roughly three and a half inches in diameter and inscribed with spiralling silver designs, that is in fact her true Zanpakto. Rather than the usual belt, Naruhi secures her uniform with an overly-long white silk sash, which is embroidered with a feather pattern in pale grey thread and seems out of place given the shabby nature of the rest of her uniform. A dual-edged tanto dagger is carefully concealed in the folds of the sash. A plain katana with a hilt wrapped in black fabric, much like the sword of an unseated, is also secured by this sash, and is covered by an unadorned grey sheath. Many assume that this is her Zanpakto, given that she often uses it as a primary weapon, but it has no powers whatsoever, and is simply a plain, cheap and shoddily made sword. She wears her leather sandals on bare feet, and they are a great deal too small for her. Within a hidden pocket in her kimono is a delicate silver chain with a miniature silver and sapphire shuriken charm. Another, similar pocket is used for mundane items such as currency, another holds bandages and salve, and the fourth is generally empty, to be used whenever suitable need arises. Naruhi often has bloodstained bandages wrapped around some part of her anatomy or another, and she wears a black, fingerless leather glove on her left hand, which has a concealed metal plate over her knuckle area that makes it an effective blunt punching weapon.

Personality

Most everything about Naruhi’s personality reflects her Rukongai upbringing. When she trains, she does so as rigorously and for as long as her body will allow; When she eats, she will eat anything and everything, and as much as is on hand; and when she sleeps, she will do so for as long as she can, until someone wakes her (usually with irate shouting). She has a mischievous spirit, and is an avid trickster with a sarcastic note in her speech that hints at her blatant disrespect of authority and those who possess it. Though she is considerably intelligent, her instinct-driven actions often negate this, as she often acts rashly and does things that could best be described as insanely risky without so much as a second thought. Her short attention span is also notorious – her upbringing has led her to expect and require constant stimuli to maintain any coherent degree of focus, and if this is not provided, she rapidly loses interest and focuses on more interesting things. This is not to say that she cannot focus when it suits her, but she merely chooses, in most cases, not to go against her nature. She has very little in the way of an honour code, and is not above fighting dirty or incapacitating a fellow or ranking officer if she feels that it is to her benefit in some way. Most notable about Naruhi, however, is her emotional instability. A manic-depressive, Naruhi’s emotions fluctuate wildly, and she can go from joyful to depressed in a matter of moments. She occasionally entertains suicidal thoughts, has been known to burst into fits of hysterical laughter or inexplicable tears. Her emotions are rendered more unstable when she is tired, but exhaustion also serves to subdue her mischievous side, and bring out a rarely-seen childish vulnerability. Naruhi has occasionally entertained romantic notions, but has found most prospective partners to be overly protective, self-centered or both. Overall, however, Naruhi’s personality is one of a young woman hardened by life in the Rukon, who still retains the ways of an urchin despite having been trained as a Shinigami and made to focus on her more ‘disciplined’ side.

Rank

Naruhi is the 19th seat of the 9th division, a position about which she is not altogether thrilled. Naruhi is not the ambitious type, and had hoped to remain an unseated, but her inability to conceal the achievement of her Shikai from her superiors led to her being all but forced into the position of 20th seat. Not a year later, the former 19th seat of the division was killed by a rogue Hollow, and Naruhi was called upon to fill the position until a replacement was found – The issue of a replacement was promptly forgotten, leaving Naruhi as an unwilling seated and creating a gap in the seating roster of the Division for her former position. In her current position, Naruhi has a greater degree of freedom than she once did, as there are fewer people to scrutinise her work and question her comings and goings, but the one thing that she despises has also increased exponentially: Paperwork. As a 19th seat, she has a great deal of lower-priority paperwork to complete, reports to file and basic requisitions to make. She can also be heard griping that her marginally higher salary does nothing to make up for this “torture”, and in a sense, it is true – Her salary is still minimal, and she has the same living quarters that she had as an unseated.

Division

Naruhi is a member of the 9th division, and so far, seems content there. Though the abilities of her Zanpakto are definitely more in line with stealth than reconnaissance, she was recommended to the 9th division upon her completion of the Academy, and saw no reason to apply for a transfer when the abilities that her Zanpakto manifested ended up being… less than fitting. Besides, Naruhi has always had a penchant for the dark, and has easily adapted to the strange pattern of night missions and days napping and doing paperwork – Her specialty is, after all, nocturnal reconnaissance. This does not mean that Naruhi has a nocturnal lifestyle, however. Aside from some occasional naps, Naruhi just gets by with less sleep than average, and ignores consequences. One final note on her choice of division is that, given her tendency to trip over her own feet, it is lucky that she has stayed with the 9th division – If she had transferred to the 2nd as her superior officers had advised upon her reaching Shikai, it is likely that she would be dead of her own clumsiness long before now.

Abilities

Perhaps Naruhi’s most notable ability is her incredible acrobatic skill. She is capable of performing complex flips, cartwheels, splits and other displays of gravity-defying agility. Having trained in these manoeuvres since childhood, she is capable of executing them easily and flawlessly even in the heat of combat. She rarely injures herself while practicing acrobatics, and can chain them together with split-second timing and decision-making for a display that is aesthetically incredible and seemingly impossible to the casual observer. Of course, Naruhi makes full use of her Shinigami strength in combination with her acrobatics, meaning that she can perform manoeuvres that would be impossible for a mortal and require far more strength than her thin frame seems to possess. She also has a knack for using her environment for leverage and support while performing, which is particularly useful in close quarters and unusual situations. Surprisingly, for one who is such a talented acrobat, Naruhi is rather clumsy at other times. When she is not focusing on the act of movement, she frequently trips over her own feet, drops and knocks over objects, and inadvertently injures herself.

Naruhi has a degree of Riatsu which is roughly average given her rank, and it has an unpleasant cloying feel and dank, musty smell when she manifests it. It is a deep bluish-grey, much like the shadows which she controls, and she rarely manifests it, feeling it to be a waste of time and effort, as it is not powerful enough to have any serious detrimental effect on any but the weakest foes. Naruhi’s skills in Hado and Bakudo are mediocre at best, mainly due to a lack of practice and caring. She can cast Hado up to Level 11, and Bakudo up to Level 9 at full power with incantation, though they are reduced to two-thirds power if she does not use said incantation. She is highly proficient at healing Kido, however, and is competent at healing most minor and moderate wounds, though she does not have sufficient strength to do anything beyond this. Naruhi is proficient at Shunpo, and can use approximately 20 consecutive flash steps before becoming exhausted. Due to her short stature, however, she cannot move as great a distance with each step as the average Shinigami. Still, in combination with her acrobatics, Naruhi uses her Shunpo to make herself a decidedly irritating and elusive target in combat.

When it comes to combat tactics, Naruhi prefers to fight offensively, while simultaneously evading and eluding the attacks of her opponent. She vastly prefers unarmed combat, as it reduces her chance of acquiring severe and/or lethal wounds, and grants her a better chance to demonstrate her cunning by fight dirty in a scenario that is unhampered by the restrictive nature of sword combat. Of course, it need not be said that Naruhi is incredibly skilled at unarmed combat, and that it is her area of specialty (albeit with the occasional dagger or set of brass knuckles to grant her an additional ‘edge’).When fighting while armed, Naruhi demonstrates a reasonable degree of sword proficiency, but tends to spend more of her time evading her attacker and parrying blows than actually attacking. Her main weakness in sword combat is her inability to predict the actions of her opponent, leaving her constantly on-edge. Unlike a true swordsman, she does not easily fall into the rhythm of combat when fighting with a katana. With her (released) shuriken, Naruhi demonstrates very limited combat abilities, proof that she does not train with it to the extent that she should given that it is her Zanpakto. Her movements, while consistent with her attack-and-evade style, are jerky, hesitant and even less fluid than when she utilizes her Katana. Something of her uncomfortable relations with her Zanpakto spirit seem to be reflected in this type of combat, and Naruhi and her shuriken remain as two separate entities, rather than cooperating to become a single cohesive and fluid being. Suffice to say that Naruhi prefers to fight without the restrictions of a weapon, even against an armed opponent. All the better to utilize her full range of ‘tricks’, after all.

Zanpakuto: Akoku Setsunai

Sealed state

Naruhi’s Zanpakto is Akoku Setsunai, which translates to mean Suffocating Shadow. This is appropriate as Akoku Setsunai grants Naruhi the ability to control areas of shadow in it’s released form. The weapon from which Akoku is summoned appears to be an ordinary shuriken, roughly three and a half inches in diameter, but is jet black and patterned with a strange design of silver spirals and scintillating silver designs that never seem to remain constant, but never seem to visibly change either. It has four bladed points, and can be thrown as is normal for such a weapon, but when the phrase “Shimeru! Akoku Setsunai!” (Strangle! Suffocating Darkness!) is uttered, Akoku is summoned forth. It is possible for Naruhi to perform Soul Burial with her shuriken, however unlikely it may seem, as one of the points has the smaller version of the seal inscribed upon it’s surface. Thus, by pressing the flat of this one blade to the forehead of a soul, Naruhi is able to perform a Konso that functions in the same manner as that of any Shinigami with a more orthodox sealed Zanpakto.

Inner World

The spirit of Akoku appears as a tall, unnaturally thin woman made of the essence of shadow. Her form is quite similar to that of Naruhi in terms of endowments, but towers over Naruhi by several inches. Her hair is stick-straight and jet black, falling almost to her knees, and her bangs, which obscure her eyebrows and nearly brush her eyelashes are likewise straight and perfect. Her skin is a pale, deathly white, which contrasts sharply with her black gown. Her gown has a high collar and a plunging wide neckline that reaches to her bellybutton before dissolving into the writhing mass of shadow stuff that constitutes her lower body. Her sleeves are belled, though they too dissolve into shadow near the cuffs. Her upper body is the only part of her that remains constant in form, as the rest is fluid and ever-changing darkness. Tendrils of shadow, ethereal and insubstantial, float around her entire form, creating an aura of darkness around her, and thick cords of shadow sometimes form from the constantly-shifting mass of her ‘skirt’, twining around themselves and nearby objects in a disturbing and sensual manner. She wears a jet black shuriken, the twin of Naruhi’s own, around her neck on a simple black cord, which upon closer inspection is also composed of shadowstuff. Her eyes are strange, alluring and yet somehow lacking in the expression and emotion that characterizes her master’s eyes. Akoku’s irises are a shocking shade of violet and her pupils are colorless. Her mouth is expressionless at all times, and her lips are so pale as to be nearly the same deathly shade as her skin.

Akoku is highly opinionated spirit who seems to disapprove of nearly every aspect of Naruhi and her behaviour. Akoku has sadistic tendencies, and often acts in a disturbingly seductive manner, loving to watch the discomfort of others, and her master in particular. She believes that Naruhi should be a more orthodox Shinigami, and that she should have a greater propensity towards following the rules, which Akoku herself glorifies and upholds on a regular and consistent basis. Akoku is more methodical and calculating than her master, but sees no reason to aid Naruhi in any way when these types of perception are required. If anything, she believes that she would be better as a Soul Reaper herself, rather than her impulsive and unstable master. Suffice to say that Akoku is vain, proud, full of herself and believes that she is superior to Naruhi in every way, granting her power for the sole reason that seeing Naruhi exhausted and suffering as a result of the use of this power is amusing. Their relationship is twisted, spiteful and shows the extent to which opposing personalities can conflict. It begs the question whether Akoku is not partially responsible for Naruhi’s mental instabilities, given that she is a ‘part’ of Naruhi and yet is so radically and cruelly different.

Shikai: "Shimeru, Akoku Setsunai"

When Naruhi utters the release command “Shimeru, Akoku Setsunai,” the diminutive shuriken form of her Zanpakto seems to resonate with a dark aura which pulses in a sinister fashion as the shuriken rapidly expands. When at full size, the shuriken is approximately three feet in diameter. The jet-black metal that composes it seems to writhe and shift like the shadows for which the weapon is named, and the silver tracery becomes far more elaborate and intricate. Contrasted against the stark background, these designs seem to glow, though this is of course nothing more than an illusion. The four blades of the large shuriken grow wicked serrations on their edges, and shadowstuff seems to drip from the tips of these razor-sharp points. The central point at which the four blades converge, which is flat and circular in the Zanpakto’s sealed form, is hollowed out in the released form, with two perpendicular metal rods running across this hole in a cross shape. This allows Naruhi to easily grip the weapon in a way that allows it to be balanced and controlled, and also allows her to spin the oversized shuriken in one hand with relative ease. The shuriken is still remarkably heavy, and difficult to wield as can be expected given its unusual shape, but it can serve dual purpose in combat as both a melee weapon and an oversized thrown weapon.

This unusual Zanpakto grants Naruhi the ability to control the cast shadows of objects and animals that are within her line of sight and are no more than thirty meters from her current location. This range has a leeway of a meter or two in either direction depending on the current state of her spiritual energy: if she is tired and her riatsu is weak, her range will shrink, and if she is at full power, her range may expand to a slight degree. Naruhi can command the shadows through mental commands or spoken word, though mental commands require a great deal of careful concentration, while the spoken word requires a lesser degree of concentration but more detailed and specific commands. These shadows are highly versatile tools, and can be used for a variety of ends, limited only by the size of the available shadows, Naruhi’s creativity and her spiritual energy while commanding the shadows. Small patches of shadow may be transformed into restraints for an enemy, which could be broken by a sufficient degree of strength or a concentrated outburst of spiritual pressure from an individual whose riatsu is equal to or greater than her own in terms of strength. Small shadows may also be used as blades, which can be deflected and engaged as normal blades, and can be destroyed by an energy burst or physical blow that exceeds the limits of her resistance as a low-ranking seated Shinigami. She can control more than one ‘auxiliary blade’ at one time, but their numbers and effectiveness are limited by her concentration, as are the actions of all shadows that Naruhi controls. Larger shadows can be used to strangle, crush or suffocate victim, or simply be used as full-body encasements. When used in these way, the restraining shadows can be broken in the same way as those that are used for smaller-scale restraints. Shadows of a sufficient size can also be made into shields of varying shapes and sizes that can move independently of Naruhi. The strength of these shields is directly linked to the degree to which she concentrates, and can be broken by any energy attack at seated strength or higher, or a particularly powerful sword strike. Finally, all of the shadows that Naruhi controls can be used as a sort of ‘warning system’, because Naruhi can sense the touch of an object or individual other than herself on any of the shadows to which she has a connection. This ability cannot cause her to feel pain – any touch to her shadows, no matter how powerful or gentle causes her to feel only a slight twinge.

The shadows can become corporeal or incorporeal in accordance with her will, but it severely drains her energy to maintain shadows in a corporeal state for any length of time upwards of a few seconds. Also, she cannot choose to make only portions of a shadow corporeal or incorporeal, as the entire shadow must exist in the same state. She can cause certain portions of a shadow to break away, or control only a small portion of a larger shadow, however. When controlling the movements of shadows, Naruhi can cause them to defy gravity, but this drains her spiritual energy continuously at a rate equivalent to the amount of energy she would require to hold a corporeal object of moderate density in the air by physical means. The shadows can be controlled so long as there are any shadows at all, including those cast by an animal or human in Naruhi’s line of sight. She can even command her own shadow, but while using it, any sensations that it experiences are felt acutely by her, likely due to the fact that Naruhi’s shadow is essentially an extension of herself. The shadows under Naruhi’s control can be dispelled if Naruhi looses her concentration, at which time they will return back to their original, static state. The shadows may also be dispelled by the introduction of a direct source of intense light, if Naruhi is knocked unconscious or killed, or if Akoku Setsunai is resealed, forcibly or otherwise.

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