Shadowed Autumn Leaves
Appearance and Personality
For a samurai-ko there is a delicate balancing act. One must be both the delicate flower and the deadly warrior, and few can manage to be both. Matsu Sayumi realized at a young age that she could only choose one path, the domestic or the martial, and she choose without a moment’s hesitation. Sayumi dresses in plain kimonos, and wears her hair long and unkempt, seldom even tying it back. In battle she looks as if a woman possessed, wild and untamed as the lion of the prairies. In court she appears as though she were a caged beast, her brutal nature barely veiled beneath a thin veneer of samurai courtesy. Though the savagery is as real a part of Sayumi as is the nature of the autumn leaves to fall, she does have another temperament. She is tender, vulnerable even, beneath her hard exterior. Few would know her well-hidden softness, however, since she keeps it locked away for all but the closest of her confidants.
After the burning of Shiro Moto, the Unicorn and Lion, for the time being satisfied with one another’s blood reluctantly went to sleep. Among both clans it was their fierce female bushi which were most hesitant to sheath their blades. Akodo Shigetoshi and Moto Chen, the new champions of the two Great Clans, orchestrated a system by which to keep the peace. Under this system young children of both the Matsu and the Utaku were sent to live as honored guests with the other family during the summer season, the traditional season of war. Matsu Sayumi, at that time named Sakura, was one such hostage fostered to the Unicorn during the summers of her youth. Though her Utaku hosts treated her with the utmost honor and dignity, she understood, even at a young age, the truth behind her situation. Early on she took to memorizing the lands of the Utaku Plains, daydreaming of putting them to the torch. She was a problem child in those early summers. As time went on and she grew older, she became friends with a young Utaku named Tomo, and her attitudes towards the Unicorn slowly shifted. Hatred was replaced by a respect, and following that admiration. As her last summer with them came to a close she privately wept for what she knew she might one day be forced to do to these lands she now knew more so than her own.