Sokolova, Alexandra [SHINIGAMI] Jul 28, 2017 14:50:09 GMT -5
Post by Alexandra Sokolova on Jul 28, 2017 14:50:09 GMT -5
THE FALCON OF FIRST
[ AT A GLANCE ]
Nickname: Alexa, Alex
Actual Age: 55
Apparent Age: Early 20s
Weight: 150 lbs
Hair Color: Blonde
Eye Color: Blue
Loyalties: Friends, Gotei Leadership, Anyone Willing to Pay
- Birth of Alexandra Sokolova (1962)
- Learns Parents are Spies (1976)
- Recruited by KGB (1978)
- First Solo Assignment (1982)
- Obtains Teaching Position / Teacher Cover Identity (1985)
- Marries (1986)
- Death of Alexandra Sokolova (1987)
- Meets Dressmaker Sisters (1993)
- Enters the Academy (2008)
- Meets Zanpakuto Spirit, the Turtle God (2016)
- Graduates from the Academy (2017)
- Joins 1st Division (2017)
- Acquires Shikai Release (2017)
[ ON THE SURFACE ]
Physical Description: As far as the fairer sex is concerned, Alexandra is a tall lass. Standing an inch or two over six feet, she lords her towering height over men and women alike. Gifted a winning hand by her human parents, she is the clear winner in the genetic lottery. Athletic and lean rather overly muscular, she is built for speed and finesse over brute force, and when combined with her ample bosom and shapely bottom, she completes the total package, one which inspires intense, feminine jealousy.
At first blush, Alexandra fits the mold of the stereotypical blonde bombshell. She has the luscious golden locks that vary anywhere from shoulder blade to hip length while almost always freely flowing. The pair of brilliant blue eyes hint at exuberance and mischief in equal measure. Her small button-nose shouts adorable. All of this is set within a face that’s largely round in shape, but with a slightly pointed chin which accentuates her strong jawline. But if she had one complaint, it would be her rosy pale complexion which she sees as being too light.
More often than not, one is going to hear Alexandra coming. She is boisterous, loud, and prone to shouting at friends and strangers alike as soon as they’re within eyesight. Likewise, she’s also a fan of colorful language which borders on the vulgar when in the right company. Should you find her in one of her more musical moods, she will regale with a few bars of whatever song is on her mind at the time before launching into a sing-song conversation. If that weren’t enough to herald her arrival, then her companions would likely detect a floral scent moments before she announced herself. Fond of floral scented oils, soaps and shampoos, she has also been known to tuck an actual flower behind her ear.
Always ready with a smile or a laugh, Alex’s outward bearing is confident and relaxed. The long graceful strides, the whistled tune upon her pouty pink lips, or the playful glint in her azure eyes, all reveal a girl who is secure in who and what she is as she revels in all of the things which life has to offer. With her ever upright posture, she makes no secret about desiring center stage, and yet, she remains a joy to be around, at least most of the time.
When it’s time to get down to business, Alexa can be found wearing the customary Shinigami uniform. Taking pleasure in its loose relaxed fit, she’s not even bothered that it hides her curvaceous form. However, she hasn’t been able to deny herself one small alteration. The sash about her waist is bright blue instead of the normal bland white. This is meant to be her tiny rebellion against the stodginess of the Gotei. During off duty hours, she tends wear long dresses in vivid, primary colors and on those occasions when she’s alone and in a private setting, she prefers nothing at all.
Along with the uniform, Alexa boasts a pair of zanpakuto, one worn on each hip, so positioned to illustrate her ambidextrous skill with the blade. The weapons themselves are virtually identical. Both possess circular cross guards with four diamond cutaways, one for each cardinal direction. The hilts are a combination of blue and black cloth, wrapped in a way to display a line blue diamonds set within a black background. The sheaths are plain black affairs lacking any embellishment except for a thin blue chevron near the tips.
Spiritual Description: To the naked eye, Alexa’s reiatsu is expressed as a light blue hue. When she releases, her spiritual pressure exists in one of two forms. At low or normal levels, it feels like a slow moving current or soft falling rain that laps at the skin, cool to the touch and refreshing. At times of heightened emotion, those same running waters begin to rage. The rain becomes a downpour. What was once cool to the touch is now biting cold. Caught in the newly formed deluge, the strong undertow threatens to pull everything under, deeper and deeper.
[ BEHIND THE EYES ]
Personality: “Girls just wanna have fun.” This is Alexandra Sokolova in a nutshell and the sentiment which drives most of her actions. Taking little seriously and without strong opinions, she’s able to find pleasure in most things. The downside is that she also lacks any sense of moderation. When she drinks, she drinks too much. If she jokes with her peers, she takes the jests too far. When she fights, her glee borders on sadistic. Alexa is the antithesis of the half measure.
Boasting an average degree of intelligence, she’s no dummy, but neither is she a deep thinker. This leads to action without thought, having never heard of such a thing as the carefully laid plan. One of her mottos could be, “why wait until tomorrow for what could be done today.” Likewise, she pays no heed to the possibility of danger. On one hand, this can be a good thing as it allows her to avoid indecision. On the other, it leads to unnecessary risk-taking which not only puts her in harm’s way, but also anyone who is around her.
Part of the reason why she’s willing to take such risks is due to her supreme self-confidence. Regardless of the task, she thinks that there is nothing which she can’t do or accomplish. While this same sense confidence may extend to her peers, it isn’t freely given and therefore, must be earned. This ties into Alexa’s vanity where she believes that she alone is the deciding factor in any given situation. Though a more personal illustration would be her physical appearance. As one who desires to be the center of attention, she has to be the prettiest face in the crowd. On those rare occasions where she feels otherwise, she will try to knock them down a peg in order to reassert her dominance in the pecking order. However, her methods are more humbling than venomous.
Alexa is a friendly soul and a joy to be around. With a song in her heart and a bounce in her step, she is quick to smile or laugh, making friends without difficulty due to her ability to adapt to whatever is thrown her way. Easy-going and content by nature, she likes who she is and makes no attempt to hide it. Straightforward to fault, there are no attempts to pretend to be anything other than what she is. If you want to know how she thinks or feels about something, simply ask. Maybe she’ll exercise a degree tact with the response, but the truth will be forthcoming nonetheless.
Though despite her best intentions, she isn’t very reliable. This would be an easier pill for Alexa to swallow if her lack of dependability could be blamed on an absence care or concern for her fellow Shinigami. Rather it’s her agreeable and capricious temperament which is the problem. She winds up letting herself be pulled in so many directions, she winds up struggling to get things done. Nowhere is this more apparent than in her job with the Gotei. Does she struggle to complete her work? Yes. Does she spread herself too thin and lack focus? Yes. Though in this particular instance, she’s also simply bored and lazy which is a common response when something doesn’t hold her interest and why she winds up with hand in so many pies. In the end, she just wants to be happy and will find herself moving towards whatever provides it.
Achievements & Goals:
- Graduated from the Academy (barely)
- Joined 1st Division
- Obtained Shikai Release
- Stop Cursing
- Start a Band
- Develop Hoho Expertise
- Master Shikai and Obtain Bankai
- Earn a Seated Position
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest
[ GUARDIAN ANGEL ]
Zanpakutō Spirit: Alexa’s spirit, whom she affectionately calls the Turtle God, takes the form of a giant female tortoise. Standing somewhere between thirty and forty feet tall, the greenish-brown, lumbering creature is like a small moving house. Friendly and soft-spoken, she plays the role of wizened motherly figure, dispensing wisdom and chidings to Alexandra in equal measure. While the pair share a number of similarities, it’s the differences which dictate the course of their relationship.
As one might suspect, the concept of speed or the lack thereof, is one of the guiding principles or representations which the Turtle God attempts to use to impart to wisdom her ever jovial companion. Whereas Sokolova is impulsive, always acting without thought or care, the Turtle God is prudent, taking time to analyze things. While Alexa is loud and boisterous, bordering on vulgar, the tortoise’s voice is quiet and calm, her words spoken at a ponderous tempo.
Another point of contention occurs over Alexa’s actions. She takes things to the extreme, believing her excesses are perfectly reasonable in the pursuit of happiness. The Turtle God, on the other hand, preaches moderation. Alexa has continually failed to realize how her actions, or in this case the acceptance of excess, affects others. Similarly, the Turtle God has yet to teach the virtue of acceptance or simply taking what life provides. Instead, Alexa maintains a sense of entitlement. Though without ill intent, she remains oblivious to what she leaves in her wake. These are just a few of the lessons which the tortoise attempts to teach Alexandra, but each touches upon the theme of consequence.
Inner World: Alexandra’s inner world is a visual delight. At its center is a lake whose crystal clear waters are supplied by the waterfalls of a pair of raging rivers. On one side of these rivers as well as around much of the lake, is a voluminous mass of rocky crags dotted with vegetation. On the opposite side is more dense greenery in the form of a substantial forest. Near the lake’s edge is the beginnings of a stone path which winds its way amid the rocks to a temple. All of this rests beneath a cloudy sky and a muted sun, the day seemingly shifting constantly between dawn and dusk.
Like the fast moving waters of a river, in this world, Alex literally goes with the flow. However, she isn’t a singular creature, but multifaceted. She can be awash in emotions at one moment, angry and raging like the waterfall. At other times, she’s calm and at peace like the still waters of a lake. In the case of the temple, it represents her vanity. While Alexa doesn’t see herself as a god, she has an inflated sense of self-importance and a desire to be the center of attention, to be worshipped. Other aspects of her inner world reveal more general issues. For instance, the rocky crags hint at Alexa’s need to smooth out the rough edges of her personality.
Power: Alexandra’s power is water/ice manipulation. Water and ice are malleable, taking any form they need. At the same time, they can also be forces of destruction due to quantity or degree. This power represents her ability to adapt, both to people and situations, but also encompasses her reckless nature and propensity for excess which are uncontrolled and potentially damaging to herself and others.
Zanpakutō: Like most Shinigami, Alexandra’s zanpakuto takes the form of the standard katana. However, she wields two of them and they are virtually identical. Both bear circular tsuba with four equally spaced diamond shaped cutaways. The hilts have been intricately wrapped in blue and black cloth to form a line of blue diamonds on a black background. Finally, the hilts are black, lacking any adornment with the exception of the blue sageo and the thin blue chevron near the tip.
When released into the Shikai state, Alexa’s two zanpakuto change in slight ways. The blade’s width increases by an inch while the length is increased by twelve inches. The blades also manifest narrow cutaways, one to two centimeters in width, extending half of the blade’s length, starting at the guard. Within one groove is a film of water while the other appears to emit a current of air.
[ LEGACY CREATED ]
Origin: Alexandra Marie Sokolova was born in Moscow on January 24, 1962 during the height of the Cold War. The first and only child of the affluent Sokolov family, parents Josef and Irina would make certain that she wanted for nothing. However, the one thing which she was denied, was the presence of her parents. In order to maintain their wealth, Josef, a prominent businessman, and Irina, his confidant and advisor, were often away from the family estate on business for months at a time. Therefore, young Alexandra was mostly raised by Katrin, the Sokolov’s maid.
As a babe and young girl, the lack of parental presence and guidance was never a problem. The five year old Alexandra didn’t know any better and experienced what she believed to be a normal childhood. But as the years passed and she grew older, she came to see Katrin as more parent than maid and her real parents as little more than distant relatives and a bank account. Of course there was no denying her love for Katrin, the woman who had raised her, but she still yearned for the affection of her birth parents. So as one might expect, the girl entered her rebellious phase upon reaching her teenage years.
At home, her acting out often took the form of petty theft, money or perhaps a seemingly prized possession of her parents. While in public, she delved into vandalism or acts of violence with her peers, proving surprisingly adept at the latter. The odd thing about her many displays of mischief was the complete lack of consequences. Again, she seemed rather gifted when it came to evading capture, but on those occasions where she didn’t, she received a slap on the wrist at most. No one cared. Not the authorities. Not her parents. Katrin, on the other hand, had some harsh language, but even she wouldn’t raise her hand to the teenage girl. Something was wrong.
Alexandra would learn the answer to many questions a few months after her fourteenth birthday. While roaming the mansion in search of her latest bit of mischief, she noticed a red smudge on one the larger wall paintings. Upon closer inspection, she realized that it was blood. As she stumbled away and fell, Alexa knocked over wooden pedestal and the marble statue resting atop it. When the figurine struck the frame of the painting, the entire piece swung open on hinge. The picture had been hiding a metal door and a nine digit keypad. Jumping to her feet, she quickly flung the artwork closed and picked up the wooden stand. The sculpture though was a lost cause and so she stood staring at the pieces on the floor until Katrin arrived. The girl offered her apologies and then rushed to her room where she pondered her new find.
Alexa’s parents had been out of town on business when she found the hidden door, putting any further discoveries on hold until their return weeks later. But as soon as they entered the house, she began to watch them like a hawk in the hopes of witnessing the passcode to the door. Weeks passed with neither approaching the painting. Then one day, Josef announced that he and Irina would be traveling out of the country for a few months and needed to leave in the morning. Later in the evening after everyone had gone to bed, Alexa thought she heard someone walking through the house. Leaping to her feet, she moved quickly, but with as little noise as possible. Positioning herself around one corner of the hallway, she saw her mother with swing open the painting and with a flashlight, entered the code 2-1-9-4-7.
Having achieved success, she began to back away when a floorboard creaked. Her mother’s head swung around faster than the girl thought possible. Then came the sound of soft footballs moving along the corridor. Spinning on her heels, Alex moved down another hallway with as much speed as she could muster while remaining somewhat stealthy. She was heading toward the kitchen to grab a glass of milk. As soon as she her butt hit the seat the cup touched lips, her mother entered the room. She also poured herself a glass, but wine instead of milk and took a seat across from her daughter and proceeded to have a rare mother-daughter chat.
In the morning, her parents departed, seemingly none the wiser, but nearly being caught had stifled her enthusiasm slightly and made her more cautious. Thus, she waited for a week to pass before deciding to test the code. It was a Sunday afternoon and Katrin had left for the grocery store. The woman had routine and so Alexa knew she had at least one hour, maybe two, but would error on the side of caution. Walking down the hall, she stopped before the painting. She must have stared at the image for ten minutes before finally summoning up the courage. Swinging the painting open, she entered five digit code. The metallic impediment slid open and the girl was met with a set of stairs descending into the darkness. She hadn’t considered a lack of light and dashed through the house to find a flashlight. When she returned, she began to climb down the stairs, swinging the beam of light from left to right in search of a light switch. Finding it on the right wall at the bottom of the steps and turning it on, her eyes went wide with her illuminated sight.
Apparently, Alexa wasn’t the only one involved in mischief. Along the back wall was an array of guns and knives of various sizes and types. The left wall held a number of shelves which were lined with mannequin heads with wigs placed atop them as well as other items like glasses and pens. Below the shelves were two desks, side by side with documents spread on the surface. When Alexa took a glance, she knew them to fake. This wasn’t a comment of their quality. She merely knew that the information included within them was fake, like the names on the passports which had her parent’s photos. The right side of the room contained what she believed to be various forms of metalworking equipment. Finally, the center of the room had two racks of diverse clothing. Flabbergasted by what she had found, she almost lost track of the time. Thankfully, a clock on the wall told her that forty minutes had passed. Sparing one last look, the flipped off the light switch and bounded up the stairs to her room.
For the next two months, Alexandra pondered what she would do with her discovery. First, she could do nothing, but that wouldn’t solve anything. Next, she could tell Katrin, but that was potentially dangerous and Alex loved the woman too much to risk it. Maybe she could go to the authorities, but given the way she herself was treated, most likely nothing would happen. Finally, there was the option of confronting her parents, or at least one of them, probably her mother. Whatever she decided would need to be enacted quickly because from the window of her room, she could hear a car pull up, signalling the return of her parents. Walking down from her second floor room, she joined Katrin at the front door to welcome her family. Looking at the man and woman before her, she decided she catch her mother alone in the coming days.
These long business trips always left her parents tired and irritable. As such, it had been wise decision to wait a few days. Less than a week had passed and the woman was already in a much better mood. Alexa thought her ideal situation would be evening when her father turned in early, leaving her to speak to mother alone. Imagine the girl’s delight when Josef announced that he would be gone for two days on his own. When her father left the next morning, Alexa spoke to her mother asked her to give Katrin the day off for some mother-daughter time. After some brief cajoling, Irina acquiesced to her daughter’s wishes. Now that the two were alone and had taken seats side by side on the couch, Alexa said she had something important to discuss.
The conversation went better than she had expected. Her mother listened in silence and without displaying much of a reaction to the girl’s discovery. Though once she had said her piece, her mother hit her with a shocking revelation. Her parents were spies and had been since the day she was born. It was the reason why they were always coming and going for weeks and months at a time. It was also how her family had accumulated wealth and why her mischievous activities never resulted in serious trouble. Alexa was being protected. Her mother explained how quickly she could all of the good things in her life if she didn’t keep her mouth shut and protect the secret. Not only would her parents be killed, but also Katrin and herself. With that being said and Alexa swearing to secrecy, her mother asked if she would like to learn how to shoot a gun and fight. Apparently, the woman was more practical than Alexa realized.
For the next two years, Alexandra’s parents taught her a variety of skills. Gun play, knife play, various forms of hand to hand combat, she had been given a crash course in the things which would help her survive. Josef hadn’t been thrilled at first, but as his wife explained, they had little choice in the matter. Both parents still continued to take “business” trips, but they were often shorter in duration and almost always, one would remain with Alexa. In particular, Irina, seemed to like the new arrangement, appearing happier than at any point Alex could remember. Perhaps mother and daughter finally had something to share. And while the girl had no illusions that this was an odd childhood, she still relished having her parents finally taking an interest, something she had always wanted.
Nothing lasts forever and it’s probably more true in the case of good things, so Alexandra wasn’t surprised when at age sixteen, her mother introduced her to Mr. Max Volkov. The three sat around the living room, Alex in silence where her mother explained the situation. It wasn’t lost on her that her father was absent from this little gathering. Although he was never less than one hundred percent committed, he never warmed up to the idea of teaching his daughter the tools of the trade. The same couldn’t be said for Irina who took to the task with the same fervor that Alexandra showed while learning. Though perhaps now, she would need to question her mother’s motivations. In any case, it was clear by the end of the meeting that she was being indoctrinated into the family business. A pair of men and women would arrive days later to retrieve the girl.
After two years learning from her parents, she would be forced to undertake four more years of rigorous training in various disciplines. Whereas her parents only taught her how to shoot and fight, now she was being shown things like bomb making, language learning, blending into an environment, driving a car and much more. During this time, she only saw her parents a few times each year, but the encounters were often the same. Her mother would be proud, asking about her progress and how she was adjusting to her new life. Her father, on the other hand, just looked sad, asking how his daughter, specifically, was doing. It didn’t take long for her to realize the difference, but she nevertheless felt loved, though each displayed it in different ways. Maybe it wasn’t the ideal love which you read about in books, but it was still many times better than what she had experience before the secret.
Her training had concluded months ago, but as her superiors were often fond of saying, an individual’s training was never truly. So at twenty years old, she had been turned loose on the world or more accurately, placed in a fancy hotel to await her first assignment. After two weeks of living in luxury, frequenting nearby shops, and putting in the occasional appearances at the lounge, her handler had finally arrived. The job was straightforward. A man would be arriving at the hotel for a three day stay. During that time, she needed to recover some documents and kill the target. As soon as she had been properly briefed, she proceeded to the task at hand. The information indicated that the man liked his drink, so she began hanging about the bar lounge. It was day one of three and the target had checked in earlier that morning. If he hadn’t visited the bar by day three, she would simply stroll up to his room and kill him.
The opportunity presented itself in the evening of the second day. The man had just returned from dinner and had stopped at the bar prior to returning to his room for the night. Alex slid onto the bar stool, bumping his shoulder lightly. A shy apology, the batting of eyelashes, a ready smile and some casual conversation later, she was being led into his room. Once inside, she made each of them a drink, but with a little something extra in his. Minutes later, he had fallen to the floor, asleep. A hasty search of the room revealed a briefcase with the documents inside. It all seemed too easy, but perhaps this was just another test. In any event, she reached within her purse for the syringe, injected the contents into the base of his neck. He would be dead by the time she left the room, another victim of heart failure. Stopping by her own room, her luggage had already been gathered. A short ride down the elevator to the front desk and then she was out the front door. Perhaps someone would want to speak to Ms. Ilana Petrov in the next few days, but it was always tough finding people who don’t exist.
It was 1985 and Alexandra found herself in the midst of a second Cold War. Though to her neighbors, she was Patricia Sanders, twenty five year old widow and kindergarten school teacher of Thomas Jefferson Elementary in Baltimore, Maryland. Her current assignment was meant to be a reward of sorts after three years of exemplary service. Yet it certainly didn’t feel like a reward, being forced to leave one’s homeland and if things go well, wind up married to someone you don’t love. Surprisingly, the latter didn’t bother as much as she expected. Rather, it made her wonder if the cold demeanor she received growing up, especially from her mother, had been intentional or even preparation for what was seen as inevitable. She was still pondering the idea when the man walked into the coffee shop and sat across from her. His name was James DeWitt and this was their fourth improvised date. James was her target and some kind of technology expert, but that stuff flew right over her head. They had met during a parent-teacher conference for his daughter Lucy, one of the girls in her class. He was also a widower. It must have been fate, but then she knew that her superiors believed in no such thing.
Some people may have called it a whirlwind romance, but if they had known the truth, they would have seen that it was actually years in the making. So after less than a year of dating, Patricia Sanders and James DeWitt were married. In the days leading up to the wedding, she pondered the legality of such a union and how things would end in the future. Though she already knew the answer in the case of the latter. She even knew whose hand would end things. James was certainly pleasant enough, but there just wasn’t any love on her end. She had been too ingrained with duty. However, she did think she made a better mother than Irina even if she was faking it. For Alexandra, this was passed as marital bliss. In the meantime, she took photos and made copies of everything that James brought home and passed it along to her handlers. Everyone seemed happy, except her.
Alex had been a member of the KGB for nearly ten years. In the beginning, the job had been exciting, even fun. Yet with each passing year, it grew more and more tedious, especially these long term assignments which required her to do next nothing besides be present. As she drove home from another long day at work, her step-daughter Lucy in the backseat, she wondered how her parents had been able to do the job for so many years. Perhaps it was merely the nature of her current assignment. Her parents were certainly never gone for years a time. Maybe would she would call her mom again. Even if Irina had displayed questionable motives all those years, their relationship had only grown closer since Alexa became a full fledged agent. Distracted by these many thoughts, she didn’t notice the red light. As the pickup struck the driver side door, she was killed instantly.
Seemingly thrown from the car on impact, Alexandra picked herself up from the sidewalk. Glancing down at her person, she saw no wounds, but there was a chain affixed to her chest. She gave it a few good yanks before her eyes went wide upon noticing the car. Running over to the wreckage and looking inside, she knew she was dead. In the backseat, Lucy’s raspy breathing suggested that she wasn’t faring much better. Running around to the girl’s side, Alex was preparing to pry open the door, but her hands merely passed through the material. She fell to the ground in shock. After hours of sitting in the road as cars drove through her, did she finally rise to her feet and begin walking home. Upon arriving at her house, she passed through the front gate, but stopped on the porch. Before she could summon the strength to step inside, a voice called to her. Turning around, she saw a woman dressed in black robes with a sword at her left hip. “This isn’t your home anymore.” The woman then hopped over the fence and put an around the much taller woman. “But I can take you to a new one.” Alexa nodded as the robed woman pressed the base of the sword hilt against her forehead.
Then she awoke in a field of tall grass. How much time had passed, she didn’t know. Furthermore, when she tried to recall how she arrived in her current predicament, she realized she had no memory beyond her name. Lifting herself from the ground, she began looking all around. In the distance, she could see rows of housing. Maybe not the most impressive of structures, but they were the only ones which she could see for the time being. Thus, she started jogging in their direction. When she strolled into what passed for the village square, she found someone who appeared to be in charge and explained her situation. When other members of the community overheard their conversation, everyone began to gather around. Apparently, Alexandra was a new arrival in Soul Society, the afterlife. It was difficult to believe given her loss of memory, but she had this eerie feeling that something traumatic had happened to her. Amongst the many people milling about, a kindly man and woman of elderly years, offered her a place to stay for as long as she needed it.
What was originally meant to last days or weeks at most, eventually turned into years. The populace of her little village were good people, but she had been growing more and more restless with each passing day. So when the opportunity to travel to the lower numbered districts presented itself, she jumped at the chance. As they moved further and further from the village, fields gave way to more organized and better housing. These later transitioned to individual shops and then full blown markets. She had to admit that the hustle and bustle found here was far more exciting than her secluded village. After nearly a full day of wandering, she told her fellow villagers to pass along her thanks, but she had decided to stay. Absent any kind of plan, though she couldn’t explain it, she was confident that things would work out somehow.
For the next few weeks, she roamed the nearby districts, meeting various people and performing odd jobs. She still hadn’t latched on to anything more substantial, but she enjoyed the free time that having little or no responsibility availed her. However, her life took another turn for the better a few weeks later. Alexandra was strolling through the market of the Eleventh District, whistling the day away as she was prone to do when one of shop owners called out to her. He was conversing with a pair of middle-aged women when she stopped by, suspecting another random job. But while Alexandra was right about the job, she was wrong about the one offering. Apparently, one of the two ladies had seen the 6’1” girl walking and thought her suitable to model their clothing and perhaps apprentice with them. It was something new and sounded exciting and two hear their descriptions, they lived in an even more impressive location. Alexandra only gave it a few minutes of thought before she agreed.
Her next fifteen years would be spent modeling clothes during shop hours and learning the clothier craft after hours. With the former, she was a natural. Not only was she an attractive woman, but she had such a buoyant disposition that anyone who visited the shop always wanted to come back. As for the actual clothes-making, that was a more difficult proposition. Though in time, she was eventually able to develop a certain knack for the job. It just took longer than the sisters would have liked. Of course, Alexandra never saw understood the big deal. If this was the afterlife, then she had plenty of time to learn dressmaking or anything else for that matter. Thus, she paid little attention to time limits and was easily diverted.
Alexandra was having just such a day as she bounded out of the dress shop during her lunch break. The sisters had once again been giving her an earful about being more responsible. She couldn’t help but laugh. It was sweet that that cared about her so. Perhaps she would try to make a little more effort. As she walked along whistling happily, her mind elsewhere, she didn’t notice the tiny Shinigami in the midst of shopping and knocked them to the ground. Offering apologies, Alexa was quick to help the young girl to her feet, the smile never fading from her face. Wishing her a pleasant day, she continued in search of her friends before she had to return to work.
In the weeks following her encounter with the Shinigami, Alexa began to feel a bit off. On one hand, she seemed to have even more energy than normal which was saying a lot in her case. On the other, she also felt like someone had hit her in the stomach. The two differences were difficult to reconcile. To clear her head, Alexa took a long walk during one of her off days. Distracted and destination unknown, she hadn’t realized just how far she had traveled. As the sun began to set, she stopped to take in the view. Only after it fell beneath the horizon did she turn to leave. Nearing the residential area of the district, she thought she caught the scent of burning upon the wind. When she saw the smoke rise above the two story structures, she broke into a run. Upon reaching the scene, she found a home on fire with a child on the second floor and no one able or willing to brave the flames. Alexandra didn’t give matters a second thought and dove head first through window and raced up the stairs. As she bounded from the top step, the staircase fell away in a burning. Without any other options, she grabbed the child and leapt through a second story window. Cradling the kid against her chest, she was able to maneuver her body so that she hit the ground with her shoulder and continued into a roll. As she and the child lay on solid earth, no one saw the light blue aura wafting off her body, but the unblemished skin was a different story.
Rise to Power: Weeks after rescuing a small boy from a burning building, Alexandra found herself sitting in a classroom at the Spiritual Arts Academy. Her lack of injury during the incident had drawn the attention the Shinigami and after a few visits, she was invited to join the academy. As was the case with so many other decisions in her life, Alex agreed immediately. The Tanzo sisters beamed with pride when they heard the news. Their apprentice was going to become a Shinigami. Even though she had decided quickly and had no regrets, Alexa was still a bit saddened to part from the employ of the dress shop. It had been such a huge part of life since arriving in Soul Society, but in time, she grew to see it as just one step in her journey.
Alexandra had a blast at the academy. Almost everything about the experience was fun and exciting with nearly each day holding something new. Likewise, she met all kinds of people and made numerous friends. Then there was the power, her power. She was most definitely going to revel in it. She had only been at the academy for a few days when it was explained that she had the potential for greatness. Apparently, this internal power was the reason why she had walked away from the fire unscathed. She could remember everyone being shocked and perhaps even a little scared when they saw her unblemished skin. Alex didn’t know then, but it was a good thing that the Shinigami came calling. The people of her district would never look at her the same way again.
Out of the many skills taught, hoho was her favorite. Kido could be fun if she ever developed the patience for it. Who didn’t like setting stuff on fire. Likewise, swinging a sword made one feel powerful. However, being able to move fast, the wind in one’s hair, was beyond thrilling. The possibilities for mischievous were limitless. So imagine the girl’s disappointment when she finally made contact with her zanpakuto spirit, Zephyr, a giant turtle. This revelation left her pissed off for weeks. The lectures stated that zanpakuto spirits were part of Shinigami’s soul. As such, she couldn’t fathom how some slow, ungraceful entity was her spirit. She had even been flash stepping around Seireitei when they first spoke. Alexandra was merely thankful that a shikai wasn’t a requirement for graduation.
Despite how great she had things, she still had her problems. First, there was all of the classwork. She loved listening to the lectures and when the lessons turned to practical application, she was beyond enthusiastic. Problems arose when she failed to learn something quickly and study became necessary. The girl lacked consistent patience and a dedication to study. There was far too much to enjoy to waste her time studying. As a result, Alexandra required nine years to graduate whereas the average student only needed six. Seeing so many of her oldest friends leave her behind was a great sadness, but it was often mitigated by the new friendships that she formed each year.
When the time for Alexandra’s graduation finally arrived, she had a difficult decision to make. Try as she might, she didn’t seem to fit into any of the divisions. The members Second Division were too uptight. Her lack of patience for kido ruled out Third. Her disinterest in study ruled out Fourth. And while she liked a good fight as much as the next person, Fifth Division only thought about fighting. Alex believed that one could have too much of a good thing. This left First Division which wasn’t an ideal fit either, but at the end of the day, it seemed like the place where she would have the most free time. Thus, upon graduation, she welcomed into the ranks of Seireitei Administration and High Command. The latter at least appealed to Alex, who wouldn’t mind being the boss.
Alexandra’s greatest achievement as a member of First Division was the acquisition of her Shikai release. It occurred during an assignment to the living realm, nearly a year and a half after first learning the ability to speak with her zanpakuto spirit. She had been part of three person team tasked with eliminating a particularly troublesome hollow. She was the speed, a member of Fifth was the power and a member of Third was the support. Together, they should have had all bases covered, but things rarely go as planned. The team wound up having to contend with three hollows instead of one. As the situation turned dire, Alexandra jumped between the two remaining beasts and her comrades in order to buy time for them heal and recover. Apparently, the selfless act spoke volumes to Zephyr who provided her power to Alexandra, allowing her to purify the two hollow souls. From that moment forward, she no longer questioned the form of her spirit.
Call to Action: While the acquisition of the Shikai release was a revelatory moment for Alexandra, beyond the obvious increase in power, she remained unchanged in a more fundamental way. This revelation would occur months later. While visiting the village and the elderly couple who raised her upon first arriving in Soul Society, they were attacked by a six-legged insect-like hollow. A clear case of right place, right time, Alexandra’s presence would be their salvation. Ever confident, she leapt into the fray, engaging the beast without a moment’s thought. Together, they danced about, moving steadily closer to nearby forest. Once the fight had been taken into the trees, Alex, the smaller of the two combatants, believed her maneuverability provided a substantial edge. What she didn’t account for was the imperceptible strands which the hollow was leaving in its wake.
As Alexandra dropped down from one of the tallest trees, she expected to land on its carapace and cleave its head. Instead, she found herself held fast, the sticky threads grasping her from multiple angles. How had she missed what the hollow was doing? She replayed the fight in her head. Had she been overconfident? Impulsive? Wasn’t she a powerful Shinigami? The way that she did things had always worked in the past. Though now she wondered if she was ever going to have a future. In her final moments, she was struck by the strangest of feelings, strange because it was new to her. Regret. Most in her position would have probably felt fear, but not her. There so much still left which she had yet to do. She didn’t want to go. As the hollow advanced more quickly than she would have believed possibly on the thin cords of webbing, its pincers opened and closed continuously, poised to strike. She closed her eyes and braced for the killing blow, but it never came.
When Alexandra opened her eyes, she found herself seated on the ground. Standing next to her was a woman in robes similar to a Shinigami, but of a darker grey hue. Likewise, the woman wore a white hooded cloak, her red locks peeking out from underneath. Smiling down at Alexandra, the robed warrior nodded briefly at the hollow and then vanished from view. The woman’s flash step was beyond words. When Alex turned her head to the hollow, it was fallen on its stomach, the six legs strewn about and the woman stood on its back with sword in hand. Rising quickly to her feet, Alexa retrieved her zanpakuto from the ground. With a mere flick of the wrist, the insect-like head was severed. Sheathing her blade and after tossing Alex a casual two finger salute, she was gone. Who was she? Certainly a Shinigami, but Alexandra knew of no one like that. They were absolutely magnificent. For the first time, she caught a glimpse of everything that a Shinigami could be, what she could be.