Komari

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Komari
Komari.png
Komari's bust, by Moira.
Creator The Observer
Information
Full name Komari Kurokawa (黒川 小毬)
Species Kitsuneyasha
Gender Female
Occupation Den Matron
Shrine Mother
Title Governor of the Western Imperial Colonies
Spouse Ryunosuke (long deceased)
Relatives Miko and Mai
Nakano
Hitoshi (great-great-grandchildren)
Kinu (granddaughter-in-law)
Kiyoko (liege)
Religion Kerosite
Nationality The Old Country

"I am Komari Kurokawa, shrine mother and matron attendant of this den, northerner. Since I'd like to think of myself as a reasonable woman, I'll give you one chance to explain exactly why you've broken into my house, caused such a ruckus, assaulted several of my charges and made my great-great-granddaughters cry. I've been in these parts long enough to know that this isn't some kind of strange custom you northerners have, so please don't take me for a fool."

Komari is the matron attendant of the Kurokawa kitsune den and also holds the offices of shrine mother and imperial governor. Once retainer to the High Lady Ōtomo, she has managed to live for five generations, transformed into a yasha as part of the penance laid upon her by Keros for allowing her liege to die on her watch. One way or the other, she eventually becomes Kinu's grandmother-in-law.

Appearance

Standing in front of said shrine is a diminutive golden-furred kitsune, her nine tails flicking irritatedly as Miko and Mai grab at her skirts in an attempt to hide behind them. Clothed in white robes on which various colourful sheens have been laid much like oil atop water, you realise that this is the first of her kind you've seen so far who could actually be considered older in appearance, if not outright elderly. Some of the gold in her hair and fur has faded to a bleached blonde, and though not actually infirm, she does walk with the aid of an ornately carved cane. Although she's clearly aged well, or at least better than most, she must have been quite the looker in her prime…

"Gra-nny!" Miko wails. "[pc.HeShe]'s comin'!"

"Do somethin'!"

History/Personality/Information of Note

Komari Kurokawa was born into a shinshoku clan in one of the provinces directly under the Ōtomo clan's control. At the time, it was local custom for the Kurokawa clan to send the second or third daughter of each generation of the head family into service of the Ōtomo clan — for many generations the latter had relied on the former to supply in-house spiritual advice, and the heir apparent, one Kiyoko Ōtomo, was also pursuing her own interests in matters of the divine. As such, it made sense for Komari to be sent into Kiyoko's service as her retainer; the two were less than a year apart in age with the former just slightly younger than the latter. Both houses agreed it would be good for the girls to cement the roles they would be expected to play in each others' lives, and for Komari to assist Kiyoko in her studies.

Two years after this arrangement was made, word came from the capital of ships filled with strange peoples who had made landfall upon the shores of the Old Country. Yet this mattered little to those in the provinces, far removed from the imperial court — after all, heaven is high and the emperor far away, as the saying goes. Komari thought little of it until her liege came in one day and ordered her to pack and make arrangements — the Trickster had descended from the heavens once more, that the people were being mobilised. They were going to support a war effort in a strange, faraway land across the ocean, to hold back a threat that left unchecked, could devour the entire world.

That was, of course, the ostensible reason. Given the events of the last year or so, coupled with the fact that these foreigners had originally intended to subjugate the Old Country and turn it into another vassal state of their empire, isolationism was no longer enough to protect this land and its peoples. Kiyoko Ōtomo would follow these sailors back to their homeland, make a survey of these peoples, and see what could be learned about the world far beyond the ocean. As her personal retainer, Komari was obligated to follow her liege unquestioningly, to the end of the world if need be — and that was exactly where they were going.

Hearing of this momentous task that was to fall upon the shoulders of one of their own, the Kurokawa clan entrusted Komari with their family treasure: the amulet of transference, to be used in the service of the lady Ōtomo in her endeavours to advance the interests of the Cherry Blossom Throne in this far-off land. With this artifact in hand, Komari faithfully followed her liege onto the waiting ships and across the ocean with the accompanying retinue and the Belharan sailors who were to guide them to their homeland.

The months that followed were tense. The Trickster himself welcomed the expedition upon landing on foreign shores, and they soon learned that the inhabitants of this land also worshipped the Seven, although they owed their primary allegiances to others rather than their own. The lady Ōtomo, with all her wisdom of twenty summers, quickly ordered a makeshift den established in the heart of an easily defensible crater within a patch of thick woods some distance inland from their landing spot. As no fox spoke any of the natives' language save what they'd picked up from the sailors, Keros himself served as their liaison with the other Gods, relaying what had to be done to advance the mutual front.

Three seasons after they first made landfall in this foreign land, disaster struck. After a foray behind enemy lines with the harpies — a strange race of flighty people not too unlike the tengu of their homeland — Komari returned with her own to find the den they had carved into the crater wall completely caved in, the bodies of slain kitsune strewn about the entrance. Of the lady Ōtomo and the amulet of transference which had been in her possession that day, there was no sign, and when searches proved futile she was presumed dead.

A retainer who allows her liege to perish on her watch is a terrible enough disgrace. For that liege to be the heir apparent to one of the twelve Divine Clans is a failure of the sort that is only whispered about in polite company, and spat on when spoken of aloud. Suddenly, Komari found herself the highest-ranked of the tatters that was left of the first expeditionary force, and had to pull what few survivors there were together. Penance could come later… that was what the lady Ōtomo would have wanted, was it not?

The war could not last forever, though, and in its aftermath Komari found herself back across the ocean before the Cherry Blossom Throne itself, recounting the events of her failure to the vulpine lords and ladies of the imperial court. Despite her victory and complete destruction of those who had slain her liege, only her clan would be protected from further shame. Propriety demanded that for allowing the lady Ōtomo to perish on her watch and the loss of the Kurokawa clan's treasure from ancient times, ritual suicide was the only way to cleanse the stain of shame from not just her family, but her spirit itself.

Keros, though, had other ideas. Despite her failures and transgressions, Komari was too useful to be allowed to simply perish — she deserved a far more terrible punishment. He would restore Kiyoko's younger sister, the second in line to the Ōtomo clan, to full status as a den mother, but in exchange they would give Kiyoko's retainer to him to punish as he saw fit. And as he related what he had in mind for Komari, perhaps an honourable death would have been preferable, but no one was about to argue with divinity itself about what should be done.

She would be exiled forever from her homeland, to put her talents to the task which her liege had begun. Tasked with carving out a colony from these now-vacated lands, Komari would serve her patron god forever, taken out of the usual power structure and placed directly under the purview of Keros himself. And by forever, he meant forever — transformed into a yasha by the Trickster himself, a lesser divinity in his service, Komari would never be allowed to die and be released from her burden that way. Instead, she was cursed to forever watch her own descendants, everything she ever loved, and her own humanity be consumed by time's fire in the same way she allowed Kiyoko Ōtomo to perish — until the day Keros deems her having performed sufficient penance for her failings and allows her to be one with the land she has carved out for the glory of the Cherry Blossom Throne.

Being a yasha, Komari stopped aging at roughly the equivalent of a human in her early fifties, and has been stuck like this ever since. While she can still do them, she doesn't need to eat (in either sense), drink, sleep, or do all the basic bodily processes that go with keeping your fleshy shell working; while she does still bruise and bleed slightly, it's unlikely that hacking her to pieces will actually achieve the desired end, if that were possible at all. Hard to think the Trickster wouldn't carefully cover up all loopholes. According to her, for the first century or so Evergreen kept on sending her poisons, transformatives, hexes and all manner of extremely lethal shenanigans, all of which had no effect, so the witch eventually settled down and the two have been at more or less a detente since.

Interactions

Komari is the final boss of the Kurokawa kitsune den; players will encounter her directly after facing down her great-great-granddaughters Miko and Mai. If the player has the amulet of union on their person, she will recognise it and immediately stand down without a fight. If the player does not have the amulet on their person, she will move to evict them from her home with utmost prejudice, provoking combat. Reaching and completing the dungeon in either of the above two fashions will reward the champion with the powerful Fox-Tail Charm for defeating the boss rush.

If the player falls at any time during their foray into the den with the amulet of union on their person, they will be saved from a bad end by her. Having being brought to her for judgement, Komari will have recognised the amulet on their person and spared them one of several possible bad ends. However, completing the dungeon and its associated quest this way will not reward the champion with the charm for beating or bypassing the entire boss rush.

Later when the den turns friendly to the champion, they may approach the venerable den matron for her opinion on several matters, most importantly of all appealing to her patron deity Keros to restore her liege Kiyoko.

Combat


[Redacted until later because I'm cruel that way]

Since simply possessing the amulet of union will preclude combat with Komari, losing to her will result in a bad end.

Trivia

  • Komari's name means "little ball", which is somewhat appropriate given that she was the original owner of the amulet of union.
  • A yaksha or yasha is a type of nature spirit found in Buddhism and Hinduism. They are usually benevolent, but sometimes mischievous or capricious, connected with water, fertility, trees, the forest, treasure and wilderness. Like other Buddhist concepts such as the dakini, belief in such spirits mutated with local animistic beliefs as Buddhism spread eastward across the orient to produce folklore unique to the locale.
    • Komari's character design is loosely based on the character Yaksha from the game The Ninja Warriors Once Again.