The Shadow Above
Yanagi – 柳
Yanagi was a gentle and calm woman and a loving mother to her children. A source of tranquillity in the household, she easily pacified any disputes and disagreements within the family. Yanagi was truly the opposite of Nara; she was well-mannered and collected, while he was passionate; she was delicate and frail, while he was a warrior by nature. She admired his skill, as she did all the skill of all sarumai, but she disliked violence and saw it only as a last resort. Since her youth, Yanagi always had a fragile constitution, and bouts of illness plagued her throughout her life. Due her delicate nature, she mainly stayed in the home; reading was her favourite pastime, and she was known for being an exceptionally knowledgeable woman. And although Yanagi was quiet and reserved, on the occasions she chose to speak everyone listened intently, for she always had words of great wisdom and kindness. As her illness left her somewhat sedated at times, when she roused in objection to something it was all the more stunning. Unfortunately, Yanagi’s health only continued to fail as time passed, until eventually it was more than she could take and she succumbed to a fever. Yanagi rested peacefully in death, until her son Natsuki disrupted her grave in order to retrieve Nara’s wakizashi. Fearing for Natsuki’s fate she now follows him through life, trying to counsel and protect her son. Relieved of her ailing mortal body, Yanagi is ironically far more outspoken and animated in death than she ever was in life.