RUNNING TIDE LIST OF CLANS
Daigo, Juntoku, Kameyama, Kazan
Murakami, Montoku, Nimmyoh, Ohgimachi
Reizei, Saga, Sanjoh, Seiwa
Kawachi, Hitachi, Ishikawa, Kai
Settsu, Yamato, Uda, Yohzei
Hokke, Kyohkke, Nanke, Shikike
1) Know how the minds in your story work.
Imagery of the mind:
Deep depths (id/unconscious)
Shallow waters (super-ego/subconscious)
Sandy beaches (ego/conscious)
Tides (opinions, perceptions)
Imagery of controlling the mind:
METHOD ONE (The Narrows):
Infestation of/changes in the deeps
The changes rise to the shallows
And wash ashore.
METHOD TWO (The Pushes):
Infestation of/changes in the deeps
Causing subtle changes in the tides
Which change the shape of the beaches
Causing more changes in the tides
Which further changes the beaches...
Causing a cycle.
METHOD THREE (The Gullies):
Infestation as rain or a river
Pours into the shallows first
Changes waves and tides, which changes beaches
Sinks to the bottom
METHOD FOUR (The Clashes):
Infestation as a storm.
Temporarily changes tides,
which affects the deep,
which permanently affects tides.
METHOD FIVE (The Tsunami):
In the bottom, cause a tsunami
Draws all the water away from the beach
Negates all tides
And then pours it straight back on the beach.
2) Remember not to make any means of control infallible.
It is possible but difficult to fight mind control off. People who can use mind control have minds like streams/rivers/rain, not like oceans/lakes. Either way, they do not have the same mental anatomy.
3) Decide their place in the “ecology” of magic.
Firstly, world is divided up into several "classes" of mages, depending on what sort of water their minds mimic. Those who have oceans are considered best suited for "war" work, and are often thought to be more powerful than they actually are. They attend academies for the Ocean Born.
Those who have lakes are considered best for "life" work. Fertility spells, potions, ghosts, that sort of thing. They go to the academies of Still Water.
And the last two types are the ones who have minds like streams, rivers, rain. They attend academies of Running Tides, and they are best-suited for emotional control, short term mental control, and total mental and emotional domination.
4) Know how you intend to depict mental battles.
Mental battles are the interplay of different types of water.
Alternates between endless desert, grassy, well-watered fertile plains, and endless ocean. Some mountains, but they're dry and dusty and don't get cold until the very, very top.
Water is often at a high premium.
Normal people who don't cast magic, turn themselves into animals, or have beastly strength. Are soft, squishy, and have no defenses save what they can think up. Don't much like mages or bestials, but there are lots of supernatural nasties out there, and mage+beast teams protect them from those, so they tolerate them. 'Thropes, however, are utterly despised.
Cast magic. Woot woot. Are soft and squishy and most vulnerable when they are casting spells. Absolutely LOVE bestials and don't mind 'thropes too much. DO mind Running Tides, as those people are fucking scary.
Are the counterpoint/antithesis of the mage. Cast no magic, but have crazy insane powers regarding muscular strength and near invulnerability. Have a real love/hate relationship with mages. On the one hand, they make them feel needed, which is cool. On the other hand, they are so needy and shit.
Are only human part of the time. At a certain phase of the moon--it depends on the 'thrope--they become an animal form, of which they retain no control. At any other time, they take a half-man, half-beast form. The cause of lycanthropy is mostly-unknown. However, most research indicates that it has to do with touching or being bitten by an animal at night, when they are very young.
Half-Yohkai, half-human. Whether they turn out beautiful and silver-haired... or hideous and deformed is rather hit-or-miss.
Dragons. Capable of taking human form... or of being big furry flying scaled serpent-dogs with TEETH and WHISKERS.
GIANT WOLVES. WHO OCCASIONALLY ASSUME HUMAN FORM. AND ARE VERY WISE. AND EAT YOU.
The Empire of 
BIG BIG EMPIRE, WORLD-SPANNING, so big it can't all be ruled by the same people.
Actual system works like this:
Daimyoh (who is a glorified clan head, literally) runs an area as he pleases,
but nominally answers to to a continental Warlord
who answers to the Emperor.
Also, as in Japan, women are Emperors. And are only called Empresses if they recieved that title by marriage. Basically, an Empress has zero power. A female Emperor, however, owns the universe. And is also unmarried. The instant she gets married, she becomes an Empress. If her husband were to die at the hands of her lesbian lover, however, she would become an Emperor again. Provided there were no children.
Only a Mage or a Bestial can actually SIT the Sun's Throne. The family works like this:
WAY long ago, the First Goddess-Emperor, Amaterasu, was a mage. She married a Dragon Yohkai, and had three children. A mundane, a Mage, and a Bestial.
The Mage would be the next to sit the Sun Throne, while the Bestial would go on to sit at the Mage's feet. (The most valued position.)
And THEIR children, she blessed so that they would always produce at least one Mage, one Bestial, and one mundane.
The Mage is always the Sun Emperor, while the Bestial is always the Moon/Guardian.
And the mundanes do the actual world-ruling.
It's not very public that the world is actually headed by a Mage+Beast pair. And yes, there have been plenty of female Moon/Guardians in the past. Female Bestials are just as fucking scary as male ones.
The Current Emperor:
Ashitaka no Tenmaru, husband of "Chiyo"
Akakawa Sohsuke, Warlord of Rohkuni
Warlord of a continent that has lots and lots of Ookami.
Head of the Akakawa clan.
Aomizu Ichiro, Warlord of Ryuukuni
Warlord of a continent that is full of Dragons.
Head of the Aomizu clan.
Byakuroh Makoto, Warlord of Tankuni
Warlord of a Continent that has lots and lots of Tanuki.
Head of the Byakuroh clan.
Kurokaze Tomoji, Warlord of Akakuni
Warlord of a continent that has lots and lots of Kitsune.
Head of the Kurokaze clan.
GENERAL LIST OF MAJOR CLANS, WITH ALLIANCES:
classifications listed in order of priority.
(Hence, Ashitaka are WHE because being 3p is a stepping-stone.)
Akakawa, btw 3p
Byakuroh, fwf 3p
Kurokaze, btw 3p
Akamatsu, glb, fwf 3p
Shiba, tsb, fwf 5m
Kiyohara, glb, btw 3p
Ikeda, glb, fwf 3p
Ashitaka *, whe, btw 3p
Shinomori * btw 5m, glb,
Ishida, glb, fwf 5m
Hachisuka, glb, btw 5m
Asakura, tsb, ttb, btw 3p
Honma, btw 5m, glb
Niwa, ttb, whe, tsb, btw 3p
Yamana, ttb, whe, tsb, fwf 3p
Anayama, tsb, fwf 5m
Hatakeyama, glb, btw 3p,
Kikuchi * ttb, whe, tsb, fwf 5m
Kodama, tsb, fwf 5m
Inoue, tsb, btw 5m, ttb
Sanzu, tsb, btw 5m, ttb
Ishikawa, glb, fwf 3p
Sohma, glb, fwf 3p
Sakuma * tsb, btw 5m
WHO WAS ALLIED WITH WHO
3p, 3-party alliance: Akakawa, Byakuroh, Kurokaze against Aomizu
5m, 5-moron contingent: Shinomori, Honma, Inoue, Sanzu, Sakuma supporting Aomizu
btw, balls to wall: would go balls-to-wall for their party
fwf, fair-weather friend: would NOT go balls to wall for their position or are not in direct opposition to their liege
glb, good little boys: any vassal clan with the same loyalties as its liege
pdd, poor dead dude: Aomizu
tsb, those scheming bastards: any vassal clan in league with a major clan that is NOT its liege
ttb, those traitorous bastards: any vassal clan in direct opposition to its liege
whe, we hate everybody: vassal clan that wants to become a major clan and therefore opposes EVERYBODY.
WITH vassal clans, Byakuroh &v, Kurokaze &v, Asakura
VERSUS Aomizu &v, Sanzu, Inoue, Shiba
WITH vassal clans, Sanzu, Inoue, Shiba
VERSUS Akakawa, Byakuroh &v, Kurokaze &v, Asakura
WITH vassal clans, Akakawa &v, Kurokaze &v, Asakura,
I. Major Characters:
01. Sanzu Yurime, 32, F, Running Tide.
Narrator, chapter 1.
02. Empress Chiyo, 40, F, Ocean Born.
03. Ashitaka no Tenmaru, 44, M, Beast.???
The Sun Clan has always called on the Sanzu for help with minds. In fact, several years before the book begins, the just-anointed Emperor has Yurime's mother, Sanzu Kanau, run through the titled aristocracy and brainwash them into total loyalty to the Empire. The Emperor is about 14 at the time. Then she has Kanau brainwash herself into not remembering, which effectively destroys her mind.
It works for about ten years, long enough for Yurime to hit about sixteen and start her earnest, THIS IS HOW YOU PUT EVERYTHING WE TAUGHT YOU TO PRACTICAL, PROFITABLE USE training. And, in trying to help her daughter, Kanau starts having flashbacks to messing over the minds of Daimyou. It's only because of her talent that Yurime manages to get anything out of practical training. Because she finds a way to patch up her mother's mind.
Not a permanent solution, but it works long enough to get the entire clan to have a go at her and actually FIX her.
And the young Emperor, who is 24 and being constantly told that the only way to make new alliances is to marry, decides that she needs to meet this girl and have her services for Herself. What should have been business turns into a one-night stand. Which turns into near-slavish loyalty on Yurime's part.
Yurime is genuinely disappointed when the Emperor marries and becomes an Empress. But as she spends most of her time brainwashing the new Emperor and being "rewarded" by the Empress anyway, it winds up not mattering as much. For example, the Emperor spends the first two weeks of his reign thinking he wants heirs. Within two days of Yurime's re-arrival in the Sun Palace, heirs have ceased to matter. In fact, the Emperor loathes the thought of being a father, or even touching the Empress.
Eventually, though, the Emperor must die. Chiyo requests it of Yurime, and Yurime kills him. For multiple reasons, but largely because Chiyo asked.
A hard-to-find, exclusive bar.
The owner is a woman. Black eyes, black hair. But when she's angry, those eyes turn red, start spinning like pinwheels. She's a were-lion, maybe? When her eyes turn red, she can predict moves, gets crazy strength, and plays with fire.
The bouncer for the back area is a man. White eyes, black hair. His forehead is tattooed. Ability to pulverize internal organs. When his twin gets angry, he turns into a giant furry monster, vaguely wolf-like, and runs immediately to his side. May or may not be married to the owner.
The main hostess/entertainer in the front is a gorgeous blonde with icy blue, pupil-less eyes. When she drops her human guise, the rim of her iris turns pure black, and she uses her love for her current flame to violently protect them. Think water spirit.
The secondary hostess/entertainer in the front is a gorgeous brunette with very normal brown eyes. Her primary skills consist of serving drinks, participating in cage matches, and immolating demons. Also, she may or may not have the main hostess as her girlfriend.
Front-area bouncer is a man, black hair in a bowl cut, really round eyes, tendency to wear dark green. Also utterly normal, with the exception of trained strength that almost supercedes that of any demon.
Bartender is a man with red-black hair, white eyes, the ability to liquify internal organs just by punching somebody in the stomach, and the tendency to turn into a wolf-monster whenever his cousin gets pissed.
Also usually sighted here:
A brown-haired man, often in sunglasses, who has a nasty tendency to summon loads and loads of insects when he's pissed.
A brown-haired man, often in a black leather jacket, with an enormous dog. Both dog and man get bigger, hairier, and toothier when threatened.
A black-haired, white-eyed woman who may or may not be related to the bartender.
There is no bartending done in the back. Its furnishings consist of a bunch of bleachers, chairs, and tables. In the center of the room is a pit with a chain-link cage. Here, people of demonic or near-demonic strength fight until KO.
Apparently, my first confession wasn't enough for you, was not enough to spare myself a trial. You don't believe that I killed your precious Emperor, your precious male Emperor, whose entire life should have been devoted to the protection of the rightful female Emperor but instead was devoted to the pursuit of power.
What is a beast for, if not to protect a magus?
And that is part of why you cannot believe that I killed him. Beasts protect magi, it is in their nature. They are so much stronger than magi. And so close to physically invulnerable.
But mostly, you cannot believe because I am a woman. And you all have oceans too small to conceive of a woman overpowering or overmastering a man in any fashion. And that is sad on so very many levels.
Did you know that it is much easier for me to overmaster the tides of a man's mind than a woman's? In fact, most Running Tide will tell you that women are harder to control by guile. They are more in touch with the contents of their lakes and rivers. The presence of rain or new water will almost never go overlooked if the owner of a mind is a woman.
Yet, why are female Emperors so rare? Why is it so hard to believe that a woman could beguile a man into lying still for his death?
That is a question someone must answer, someday. And the asking must be answered for.
In any case, how I killed Ashitaka no Tenmaru.
It is very simple.
Two weeks before I killed him, I swam into his mind and convinced him that he needed no guards. I remember the way his eyes, clear the way every Beast's eyes are, staring so deeply into mine. He looked as if he were trying to find fish or sunken ships in my gaze.
I remember wondering how such a silly, selfish creature could rise so far.
I remember remembering that I made him that way. He was always selfish, but he had not always been silly. I had been the one to make him silly. I drained him of intellect. Evaporated it, actually, on a series of warm summer days.
I waited a fortnight after he dismissed his guard. Oh, how hard it was to wait. I cannot express how much I longed to kill him. It was more than some petty itching of the hand for the blade. It was an all-consuming, endless, tide. It pulled me as strongly as the moon pulls the water, in an endless tug and yield, ebb and flow.
I was always aware of the tide's presence. Many times in that hideous fortnight did I wonder if some other Running Tide had gained access to my mind.
At last, the night came.
I put on my brother's outgrown clothing. All his possessions were mine, as he had been my beast, once. It seemed fitting to wear something of his when I took vengeance for him, for my father.
It did not hurt that his were the only hakama I owned, and I knew I would need hakama for this task.
After years of my presence in his inner ocean, he was used to my uninvited presence in his chambers. He remained still as I approached him. He was not asleep. What samurai could sleep if his chamber had been invaded?
If by some perverse miracle he had been asleep, he did not stay that way.
I stabbed him as soon as he was within reach. He had his back turned to me. I buried my brother's dagger in his waist. I think I struck his kidney, but I am no physician.
After that, I stabbed him nineteen more times.
It is very easy to stab a beast. You simply lift the blade and drop it back down, not stopping until you feel it break through the skin. And trust me, you know when you have stabbed him.
Once you get past the skin-veiled exoskeleton, beasts are every bit as soft and warm and full of blood and vital organs as humans or magi are.
Does that satisfy?
Dust. Darkness. Decay. It surrounds her, invades her every breath, tainting every word spoken in the room. This house is ancient, its tenant older, the city oldest of all (or at least older than most). So mold and ruin have spread like some sort of infectious disease.
The woman who renamed herself Bella Mythen sits in one dark corner, listening half-heartedly to the words passed by the inhabitants of other corners. The wineglass sits next to her like some sort of offering made to mad gods, but the mad gods have deemed her offering unfit and so it still sits there. So, she supposes, nine out of ten insane deities dislikes wine when fermented in blood-soaked casks. The tenth declined to answer.
"I swear I will aid thee as I may," Vinseth says. Amongst the old kind, such an oath is more than bond. Those who swear anythign The more common term is "geas". The Vabren word for it is fihal.
Bella bites down swearwords at the thought of her partner binding himself with blood and magic to do the bidding of a ghoul. It's just like him. Reckless. Strange. Very likely to put her immortal soul in peril.
"You're doing this alone, Roth." The quiet, firm notes in her voice surprise her.
She doesn't feel adamant in her decision against this.
Those bony white hands drift along her shoulder, slide effortlessly through her hair. He's being gentle and everybody knows it.
"Two spells thou give to me, Bella, and I shall let thee keep thy secret."
July 03 : Everybody knows the frog gets the girl in the end.
There are three insurmountable facts that govern the alchemies and magics of the Kailoan priestesses.
One: Feelings can be exaggerated, can be enhanced, can be swayed from one side to another--but only Kailo Herself could create love where neither friendship or hatred resided.
It is possible, if ethically lacking, to take someone from black to white, or a negative to a positive. But making a woman love a man whose name she doesn't even know is closer to turning a knife into next week than working love magic.
There is, of course, a work-around for this. The spell is an uncommon one, a taxing one. Few priestesses use it, but it does make the impossible possible.
Because of it, Bellatrix Monteqiel (or Bella Mythen, as the modern world knows her) has spent years dreaming of a black-robed priest, of serpents and black ribbons and a scarred, frightening man who loves the ruins.
Because of it, Vinseth Roth cannot remember a time he did not dream of a villa in the desert, of strong silent stone and a windswept garden.
The first thing she notices about the apartment is the five-metre snake that has twined itself around the coat rack in the foyer. Its scales are black, just this side of matte. The slitted eyes blink slower than the moon's changing phases but the fluttering tongue as it tastes her scent is faster than fire.
Then she realises how bare the place is. Silvery walls, sleek, ultra-modern furniture, just a few pieces of art (black-and-white photos, mostly, often of strange subjects, such as a pickle jar in the middle of a laundromat, but there are a few full-colour still lifes of the desert).
It is only then that she sees the medical equipment. The IV stand. The syringes laid out on an end table. The bottles and bottles of pills and medications. The scent of antibacterial cream.
There is a nurse standing next to the couch. She frowns at her patient, whom Bella cannot see, and looks away from the invisble person with something like hope in her face. "Are you Bellona Mythen?"
"Call me Bella," she says, thinking not of Bellona but of Bellatrix.
"Went through the training?"
"I have, yes."
And that's that. The nurse hands over her clipboard, briefs Bella on which treatments happen when, gathers her things, and is gone.
Two: What laws Kailo sets down or gifts She gives, only Kailo can change or take away.
Kailoan dogma does not believe in destiny or law or a Great Plan. Their goddess is whimsical as wind, ineffable as the whispering of dry grass, as fleeting and mutable as the desert sand. But there is no reversing Her will, there is no interfering with whatever she sets in motion. Not even the most powerful of Her priestesses can destroy one love to create another.
Love is whimsical, love is frightening, love is delicate, a knife-edge, such a fragile place to be. A terrifying and dizzying whirl. Love warms and burns and freezes and hiss, love ages and blossoms and in the end love dies.
And Kailo holds it sacred above all else.
Because of this, Zintzne's carefully-laid plans must wait until after Bella Mythen abandons her near-husband. The only man she has ever come so close to marrying.
Because of this, Bellatrix Monteqiel will never hold the entirety of Vinseth's heart. Some part of him will always belong to his past life, and being in love with a ghost is just as real as being in love with a woman of flesh and blood.
Three: Human nature is shallow.
Princesses do not kiss frogs unless they think they will turn into princes. The sweet, kind-hearted, unquestioning boy who has loved her from the day they met will always rank a distant second against the dark-eyed, mysterious man whose words are flickering candleflames, whose every step hints at the claws of a predator.
Of course, this can be changed. The very basic principle of Kailoan magic is to use human nature against itself. But there is no deepening the shallow heart, and there is no denying it.
The trick is to find something attractive about the prospective suitor.
Bella's sense of humour, her intelligence, her pride.
July 13 : God - 1. You - 0.
- - - - -
This is what the yearbook says about him: Rosencrantz in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead alongside Will Stronghold (who took the Guildenstern role), partnered with Will Stronghold in Save the Citizen and ranked undefeated, dated Selene Ramirez and then Layla Williams, voted Prom King with Layla Williams as Prom Queen in Senior year, voted cutest couple... and voted most likely to become a super-villain.
This is the truth.
He only tried out to be in R&G because Will and the others made him, and had no intentions of accepting the Rosencrantz role until Magenta shamed him into taking it.
He and Stronghold made a good team in Save the Citizen, but that didn't mean they made good college room mates, or were the kind of people to stay best friends for life. Not that Will didn't try; he did try. Warren looks back sometimes and thinks Will tried too hard.
Things never worked out with Selene Ramirez. Two asocial people do not make a good couple. And, in the end, he just wasn't cut out for somebody he constantly had to melt--literally and figuratively. The Ice Girl, who would go on to become the Ice Queen in fact and not just nature, just wasn't a good match for him.
Layla Williams, hippy moonchild of a pro-communist animal rights activist, her equally pro-communist