Shirai, Ai [ARRANCAR] Dec 10, 2016 16:25:15 GMT -5 Benjamin de la Cruz and Marco del Castillo like this
Post by Ai Shirai on Dec 10, 2016 16:25:15 GMT -5
[ AT A GLANCE ]Age / Apparent Age: 246 [15 human, 231 Hollow, ~6 months Arrancar ] / 15
Height & Weight: 5' & 113 lbs || 152.4 cm & 51.25 kg
Hair & Eye Color: Short black hair in a bob & brown eyes
-Born in Japan near modern day Fukushima [July 16, 1770]
-Killed during the Great Tenmei famine and became a Hollow [January 1, 1785]
-Evolves to Gillian [May 10, 1900]
-Evolves to Adjuchas [August 29, 2001]
-Transforms into an Arrancar [June 22, 2016]
[ ON THE SURFACE ]
There isn’t much to Ai. With a mildly emancipated body lacking any appreciable muscle development one can just barely count each of her ribs. Her arms and legs are little more than skin and bone though not so much so that specific bones can be seen. It is perhaps a wonder that she does not blow away in the wind.
Despite her slightly malnourished physique, Ai has a certain fairy-like presence owing in part to her delicate face. Framing her face on either side are curtains of jet black hair cut into a bob reaching down to her jawline. While her snow white complexion compliments her soft oriental features and offsets her dark mahogany eyes which always seem to have a mischievous light behind them. However, the focal point of her face is undoubtedly her thin lips often highlighted with a cherry-blossom-pink color.
Truthfully, she would look quite normal were it not for her more hollow-based features. In her life as a lesser hollow Ai once looked much like a fox and when her mask shattered a fragment of her left ear drifted down to where it remains today. The fragment is a porcelain white triangle which now sits slightly askew on her forehead over her hair and above her left eye. Her hollow hole, on the other hand, can be found at the base of her throat just above the clavicle.
Interestingly, she will often wear clothes that cover up her small hollow hole with a preference for Japanese festival attire. One of her favorite outfits is a white kimono layered over a red undergarment which shows around her neck and the cuffs of the sleeves, which allows for surprising mobility. Tying off the kimono is a red and black striped obi, which also serves to affix her blade to her left hip. Completing her outfit is a pair of lightweight Zori sandals.
Beyond static appearances, Ai is still very much a child. Her voice fluctuates from high to low and communicating the boundless energy she has while preferring to speak with simple and matter of fact language. Furthermore, her movements tend towards the erratic due to her less than perfect attention span. So, yes, often times she will move needlessly, but never without a feline grace.
Bright and playful, Ai’s Reiastu dances all around her like a lavender flame in accordance with her ever-fluctuating emotions from wildfire to waning flame. And, much like a flame, her aura is warm at first blush. But as one spends more time near her the warmth becomes increasingly malevolent as if it were attempting to overtake those around it and use them as fuel for the ethereal flame surrounding Ai. As you’d expect her Reiastu has a smoky smell that mingles with her normally fresh floral scent to create a juxtaposition of life and death smelling vaguely like burning incense.
[ BEHIND THE EYES ]Personality:
Despite living for nearly two and half centuries, Ai is still as childish as they come. To her each day is a new one with possibilities and experiences waiting for her. More importantly, instead of simply recognizing said possibilities and experiences, she pursues them actively. She craves adventure and abhors the mundane.
While adventure is all well and good she does struggle with ‘staying the path’ in the long term. To combat such monotony, like any good kid would, she will often make the steps on an adventure into a game of some sort. The trade-off here is that she gives up efficiency in completing a task for actual enjoyment of said task. Moreover, she has a tendency to follow tangents on a whim with no thought of the ‘bigger picture’.
As one might expect, Ai also lacks a mature worldview. She possesses a childlike arrogance firmly believing that she is the center of the universe and that her way is the only way. When coupled with her distinct lack of life experience beyond devouring souls it is easy to see why she fails to emphasize with others. To put it bluntly, she struggles to recognize others around her as complex beings like herself.
That said, Ai wants nothing more than to be recognized by others. She does not so much want praise but rather raw attention, good or bad, and she can never seem to get enough. Such attention serves to nourish her feeling of self-worth and, more importantly, helps her to understand her place in the world, her identity. While she cannot entirely articulate it herself she tends to view others as tools to shelter herself from the isolation of her own mind.
As a result of her need for others, she is exceedingly loyal to those she befriends in hopes of keeping them with her while becoming the embodiment of that itch you just can’t scratch in her foes so as to always be present in someone's life beyond her own. That is all there is in Ai’s world, friends and foes, black and white, good and bad. The idea of there being a gray area somewhere simply does not register with her.
While on the topic of good and bad let’s look at race relations:
Shinigami: There is no such thing as a good intentioned Shinigami. No matter their angle all Shinigami are bad and should be avoided or eliminated, simple as that. All Shinigami are met with some level of contempt.
Hollow Breeds: As a general rule she is friendly towards other hollows regardless of their position in the evolutionary line. She recognizes them as ‘brother and sisters’, family and affords them a level of politeness one would expect from such relations.
Humans/Quincy: One and the same in her eyes, both are equally tasty. That said, her experience with both Quincy and gifted humans is limited at best. Honestly, she probably couldn’t pick a Quincy out of a crowd even if he or she manifested a spirit weapon right in front of her.
The last aspect of her personality is perhaps the most interesting: the tendency towards emotional outbursts and breakdowns. Of course, such a trait has its ups and down. One positive is the Arrancar is quite genuine as she finds it difficult to suppress her true emotions. However, on the flip-side, she can also descend into tantrums when she does not get her way. During said tantrums, she tends towards acting irrationally and lashing out at those around her, which often times leads to what the girl fears most: people leaving her. In the end, controlling emotions is hard, so Ai doesn't even try.
Goals & Achievements:
At the moment Ai’s interests lie in Hueco Mundo and nowhere else. More specifically they lie in Las Noches with others of her kind. On one level, she wants to go there for the adventure having never been there herself and on another level she hopes to find a place among her peers, the other Arrancar of Las Noches.
[ GUARDIAN ANGEL ]Aspect of Death:
Ai’s aspect of death is loneliness. Her mortal life ended in an attempt save her family from starvation and thereby not have to live out her life alone and without parents. Since her foray into the world of hollows, Ai's aspect of loneliness has become more refined as it drives her to associate with others in any way possible best highlighted by how she surrounded herself with a pack of hollows in her adjuchas years.To distance herself from a solitary existence she pulls from the world around seeking attention, adventure, and fun. Ai is a reflection of the company she keeps and is unwilling to search for personal meaning if it means losing connections with those around her. Ultimately, she has become a being defined by her fear of being left alone thereby forcing her into a life of constant motion to prevent ever falling into said state.
--(Captive) Audience of the Hungry Ghost--
Manifested from her want to capture and hold the attention of others, Ai has the ability to create barriers in the shape of translucent skulls, with the same color and qualities of her reiatsu, around herself and others. These barriers can only be cast from a surface of some sort and appear with an open mouth as if to 'eat' those who Ai wishes to protect or imprison.
Ai’s blade, Pata, is fitting considering its wielder’s size. The blade itself is quite short at 40 cm (15.75 in) in length with a single sharp edge and a slight curve traditional in Japanese blades. The blade itself erupts from a bone white hilt, which takes the form of the elongated body of a single spinal vertebra making it look much like a cylinder that has been squeezed in the center thereby causing either end to splay out creating both the Tsuba (the guard) and Kashira (the butt) of the blade. Complimenting its hilt Pata's sheath is the same off-white bone color and vertebra shape only longer thereby creating the illusion of a rather abbreviated spinal cord when the blade is sheathed.
[ LEGACY CREATED ]
Our story begins on July 16, 1770, in the Iwakitaira domain of Tokugawa controlled Japan. In the early morning, Rei and Akio Shirai welcomed their first and only child into the world naming her Ai in honor of their love for each other. Ai lived a comfortable life despite her parent's status as peasant farmers. Rei and Akio gave all they could: food, shelter and unconditional love. Ai reciprocated this love and when she was about eight began to help in the family endeavor of farming. She also received a rudimentary education from her mother in the evenings after playing with the other children in the small village she called home. Simply put, Ai lived a charmed and contented life growing up, which was enough; she didn't ask for anything more nor want it.
When the weather cooled and crops failed in 1782 farmers-the Shirai family included-chalked it up to a one-off instance of bad luck. Crops sometimes failed nothing new there. So, they simply said their prayers, made their offerings and fell back on their stockpiles. However, when the next year brought the same dismal harvest it became clear Japan's bad luck was only just beginning. Thus started the Great Tenmei famine which would take countless thousands of lives before removing its foot from Japan's throat.
The first year of famine did not impact the Shirai household too heavily. Sure, they found themselves having to ration their meals, but they were by no means going hungry. The trio, Ai, Akio, and Rei, would routinely joke about how a bit less food would do Akio's waistline some good. Naturally, such humor dwindled away with their stockpiles.
By the end of the second year, the famine had laid waste to Ai's home village. Family friends fell asleep never to awaken and rice had to be rationed by the grain. Times were getting harder and harder each day with no end in sight.
Many of the villagers survived only on the kindness of others after pooling resources. The Shirais were one such family yet still it was clear in their emancipated frames that it was not enough. Akio and Rei regularly forwent meals opting to give their already small portions to their daughter. Ai, of course, ate anything and everything given to her, but still went to sleep to the chorus of low grumbles and pained moaning. Even at her young age, she could see that her family was on a dangerous road with but one end, the overcrowded cemetery.
The thought that scared her most of all, however, was what would happen if her parents died before her leaving her alone in the world. She had watched firsthand as a childhood friend lost both parents. The boy's cries of grief and fear echoed through the village for nights until they too were snuffed out. Even if villagers had wanted to help the boy they'd have done so at the risk of their own family, thus they simply didn't help. Taking such a cruel lesson to heart Ai looked for every chance to help her fast withering mother and father.
Late in the second year of famine, she saw her chance when a caravan bound for a local lord's estate stopped to water its animals in Ai's village. She had heard the adults talking about how each of the three wagons was laden with more than enough rice to feed a family for a year. In her eyes it would be simple: take some rice for her mother and father. The lord of the land was just one man and didn't need all that rice. It all made perfect sense, her parents would be happy and the family could stay together.
While the teamsters saw to the care of their animals Ai seized her chance. Moving with all the speed and silence of a shadow in the night she crept up to last wagon. Boosting herself up soundlessly into the bed of the wagon, she found herself salivating at the sight of sacks upon sacks of rice. Wrestling one of the sacks up onto her shoulder she dropped to the ground with a dull thud. A dull thud which brought one of the teamsters running to investigate the disturbance only to find nothing. Nothing, Ai had slipped into a nearby home of a recently deceased neighbor without being seen.
She was home free. Her family could eat; her parents would live.
No more moaning stomachs. No more!
Her silent exaltations found themselves cut short by an all too human thought, if one sack of rice is good wouldn't two be better?
Before she could even think it through she had slipped out of the house and towards the caravan once again. Mantling the back of the wagon she once more found herself among a sea of rice. Gripping tightly to the closest sack, she turned to leave only to find herself face to face with a teamster with a ruddy complexion and an unsettling grin.
Pulled from the wagon and thrown to the ground like a ragdoll Ai's whole world went black.
That evening Rei and Akira found their daughter dead on the road, not from starvation, but human cruelty and countless heel marks.
--The Animal Years--
Encroachment came quickly for Ai Shirai. Perhaps Japan was so stricken by death that a shinigami could not find her in the masses or maybe she was simply forgotten. One cannot be sure in matters such as these. The only sure thing was that Ai found herself trying in vain to communicate with her parents about the rice she had hidden away. Tears streamed down her face as both her mother and father ignored her. For some reason, neither of them could hear her. She didn't understand; she couldn't understand. All she craved was their attention, their praise. She had done so well, why couldn't they see that? Without the praise, she felt empty as if something were missing.
In the universe's twisted sense of mercy Ai's confused sorrow soon gave way to a pain unlike any she had ever felt before. The broken chain sprouting from her chest began to devour itself like some wild animal. Paralyzed by pain and fear Ai did the only thing that came naturally at this point, cry. She cried and cried until the pain came again. Then again and again and again. Her thoughts began to blur and vision went fuzzy. No one could hear her and no one cared; she was alone.
In one last defiant snivel, the young girl lost her mind. As her body blackened and face whitened her fear and pain gave way to an all too familiar sensation, hunger. Pushing herself from the ground she was Ai Shirai no longer. In her place stood a hollow by the name of Pata. With a mask resembling the sly countenance of a fox and visible spinal cord, Pata looked like something out of a nightmare.
Walking on all fours she proceeded to fill her aching stomach with the remaining inhabitants of her former home. Did she kill her parents? Probably, though she wouldn't have cared either way; she didn't discriminate in the slightest. People were now nothing more than food. She couldn't ask for more in a land stalked by death, but she did. Now she always wanted more and Japan provided precisely that. The void in her demanded it.
--The Sea of Souls--
Over the course of one hundred years, Japan had been changed irrecoverably, but Pata remained the same. She still mindlessly pursued souls in hopes of filling the perpetual emptiness in her stomach to no avail. As a matter of principle, she avoided larger cities instead preferring to prey on the lone traveler or small villages. Early in her life as a hollow she learned that mysterious men and women in black watched over most urban areas making the hunt all the more difficult. Yet, early in April of 1900, she found herself drawn to the large bustling city of Tokyo.
A city of burgeoning modernism, Tokyo looked like nothing the hollow had ever seen before. The buildings were a far cry from the traditional architecture and skies were crisscrossed by wires. It was truly a new world, but Pata was not much of a tourist. No, she was much more interested in the large mass of souls. As of late, her hunger had become more insatiable than normal and no matter how many people she plucked from their travels she still felt the same uncomfortable emptiness that had dogged her since her last years of mortal life. Her hastily reasoned solution? Eat more souls faster. Makes sense, right?
Things were going swimmingly, Pata stalked parks, waited in alleyways, and stayed in the shadows. Her hunger had not abated, but her animal reasoning told her just to eat more. Unfortunately, on her third day in the city, Pata came across that which she had tried to avoid a person clad in black and wielding a devilishly sharp sword. The encounter was short as the shinigami was skilled. With her body sporting wounds of all sizes and facing death, Pata did what came naturally in the face of a superior force: run. Squeezing through the dimensions she escaped death and took her first steps in Hueco Mundo.
It was here in Hueco Mundo where the hollow recuperated her strength and licked her wounds. Still wracked by hunger, Pata gained a taste for her own kind, other hollows. At first, it was desperation that drove her to cannibalism, but desperation soon evolved into a perverse love. In two short months, having gorged herself on countless other hollow, Pata's slim foxish form swelled into that of a black monolithic creature, a gillian, and the soul once named Ai Shirai was lost in an endless sea of many.
No longer the dominant mind, Pata fell by the wayside and into obscurity. As other souls fought tooth and nail for control Pata remained a lonesome spectator in the war for control. None of the other souls cared about her or paid her any mind; she was just a rung on the ladder to control and for many years she accepted her place. Then, perhaps having reached her lowest point, Pata began to overtake the souls around her. If others didn't take notice of her then she would make them if only to assuage the horrible feeling of isolation.
Time, as it is prone to do, crawled on and Pata gathered souls beneath her. Eventually, she floated atop the sea of souls below her with no one as her equal. Every soul acknowledged her and for a while she was content. Content to ride out her life in the spotlight of her own captive audience. Fate, however, has a tendency to dislike contentedness and near the end of August 2001 Pata evolved once more taking on the form of an adjuchas.
Rise to Power:
Coming to prowl the quartz forest below the sprawling desert of Hueco Mundo, Pata found herself seemingly alone. Periodically, the subjugated souls within her would murmur incomprehensible words, but even then they sounded far off like a distant shout echoing into the abyss. Beyond that lesser hollow would scatter in her presence. The only beasts that would not run from her were the skyscraper-esque gillian.
And so Pata's process of subjugating lesser beings began anew as she gathered a pack of gillians and brave base hollows. From time to time, she would come into contact with other packs, but they fell with ease. Certainly, she lost members of her pack though they were easily replaced; she made no connections. So, for a while, it seemed to the young adjuchas that she was invincible. No one could stand in her way, she was the best. She didn't lose.
Midway through 2016 she lost.
Traveling through a particularly dense portion of the quartz forest, Pata and her battle-hardened pack were ambushed. Coming from the upper branches and below the ground, the opposing pack quickly encircled their prey and so the battle begin. All around her Pata's pack fell only to be devoured until it was only her. She had fought hard and long, but the battle was nearing its conclusion. This time there was no running and the denizens of Hueco Mundo were not known for their mercy.
In a whirlwind of fangs and claws, Pata made her last stand. Bodies of the dead slowly accumulated around her, but she was only one against many. Halfway through eviscerating a weaker hollow a pain unlike any other shot through the adjuchas. A pair of claws raked across her back and sent her spiraling to the ground. There was no time to react as the claws continued their assault for what felt like an eternity.
Then nothing. The attacks stopped. The triumphant roars dulled. Everything was quiet.
Hazarding a glance up at her would be killers, Pata was shocked to see that the opposing pack had seemingly disappeared as if compelled by some other worldly force. In a moment she knew why or rather she felt why. Pulling at her mind like putty was an idea or was it an obsession? She was drawn to a certain point far from Hueco Mundo, a place she had never been before. Yet she wanted to go there. No, she had to go there.
Her mind was willing, but her body resisted. Badly battered and bleeding every muscle in her body cried in rebellion as she forced herself up onto four feet. She had to go and go she would have if a sound like cracking ice did not stop her dead in her tracks. Falling to the ground in white shards were the remains of her mask shattered in the melee. With each shard that hit the sand, a coldness gripped Pata's heart until she blacked out both from fatigue and the massive rush of souls leaving her.
Afloat on a dark sea of unconsciousness, a single name from long ago floated to her, Ai.
Call to Action:
She awoke alone with nothing save for the cold white sand beneath her body to keep her company. Somehow she had survived. Moreover, she felt different. The vast mass of souls that had so often pressed on her mind was gone and even the obsession had left her perhaps cleansed by her fortuitous transformation. She had only herself now. The sensation was so odd it took Ai going to scratch her nose to realize what was once a clawed paw was now a small white hand. Perhaps she was dreaming?
Laying against the sand for a while long she came to the conclusion that she was not dreaming and began to get a feel for her new body. She started by walking on fours, but it felt wrong and hurt the palms of her newly minted hands. So, with a bit of effort, she forced herself up onto a pair of wobbly legs and took her first step only to return to the welcoming embrace of the sand as her legs failed her.
In fact, she had tripped over a smooth spinal cord; her spinal cord or what was once her spinal cord as an adjuchas. Curiously pulling at the spine it came apart with ease to reveal a blade within. It really didn't make a bit of sense, but Ai accepted it. If her life had taught her one thing it was that being armed didn't hurt especially considering her new fragile body. Plus the blade would make for a great crutch.
Not one to be deterred by adversity, Hueco Mundo's newest arrancar struggled through the process of bipedal locomotion until she could walk with relative ease. The rest fell into place as she went from walking to running followed by jumping and skipping. She felt free.
The price of freedom, however, was a lack of direction and Ai fell back on what she knew, the creation of a pack. Unfortunately, she quickly discovered the lesser hollow, gillian included this time, either wanted nothing to do with her or wanted to attack her. She put those who attacked her down with considerable force but could find no one who would follow her or even pay attention. It was maddening, she had become an outsider in a world she once inhabited.
With nothing for her below ground, Ai climbed out of the quartz forest to the unending plains of Hueco Mundo's desert. Wandering about for longer than was probably healthy she finally spotted something in the distance, the outline of Las Noches. Perhaps she should have been more cautious but in the face of new prospects and company of some sort her curiosity got the better of her. She had come this far and, in her eyes, nothing could go wrong.
Time will tell.