Paranoid noble / historian
Riyeko is an incredibly smart young woman with an affinity for obscure history, politics, and the minutiae of Daisojin tea ceremonies. She is willing to get her hands dirty when necessary, but is far more comfortable in more of an organizing / planning role, often ending up incredibly overprepared when left to her own devices.
Riyeko grew up as an ir’Hana, but was labelled as a Kitanai by her sister Sayuri back in 243YK. At this point, both her accustomed lifestyle and network of contacts disappeared overnight, and she had to learn to make do. As such, she picked up a wide array of “less-principled” skills, in order to survive on her own living in the Depths of Sharin… at least, until Mr. Blank came and offered her a way out. For years, she was happy to work alongside other members of the Sharin Branch of Blank and Associates, offering her (often unsolicited) advice and critiques of various plans the group is working on.
Riyeko was born of the Daisojin noble clan Hana, in Versaito. Her sister, Sayuri, was 6 years older, and in line to be Daimyo when their mother passed. Riyeko was (eventually) slated to be the one who kept the wheels greased: while her sister would have all the actual power, Riyeko would keep tabs on any important people / daimyos and make sure that not too many feathers were ever ruffled. Because so much of Daisojin politics revolves around the tenuous balance of power needed to placate everyone, this meant that a lot of the “advisements” (and practically many of the actual decisions) were to fall to Riyeko, despite her lack of official title.
Riyeko and her sister never connected strongly. Their difference in age certainly didn’t help matters, but their interests, priorities, and attitudes towards people in general were also quite disparate. Sayuri threw herself wholeheartedly into samurai training, appearing largely uninterested in politics and content to leave any future decision making to advisors, while Riyeko was eager to learn as much about Daiso and noble culture as she could. At least in Riyeko’s opinion, Sayuri cared much less about actually being the best at anything, just so long as everyone treated her like she was — even with the samurai training she so enjoyed.
Riyeko had no real memories of her father, as he died only a few years after she was born. Her mother seemed like a kind enough woman, from all she could tell, but her busy schedule combined with the rigorous formality surrounding any appearances meant that Riyeko was effectively raised by a clan governess.
After only 8 months of rigorous etiquette training, she began attending official events at the age of 7. (Most children took upwards of a year or two to learn everything reliably enough to be trusted in formal noble settings.) During these events, she was encouraged to meet and chat with other important clan members directly, and had long discussions after the fact with existing advisors to compare their respective readings of the political climate. Riyeko didn’t enjoy these events for the longest time, since the strict Daisojin etiquette formalities prevented her from asking anything even approaching a direct question, and it took a long time for her to learn how other advisors could read so far into a slight tilt of someone’s head. However, after each of these events, trying to reconcile every new bit of knowledge into a comprehensive next course of action (however subtle or ineffectual it might be) was a chess-like problem she was always excited for, and she got surprisingly good at for her age.
It was this post-analysis piece that made her look forward to the formal dinners so much, even though they were only held once every 4-6 weeks or so. Whenever they did occur, the few days before were spent assuring her governess that she did, in fact, know all the guest’s names and appropriate vs. inappropriate topics of conversation, the morning and afternoon of was spent in extensive ceremony, the evening itself was reserved for the dinner, and the subsequent week or so spent in pedagogical discussion and analysis alongside her sister (with her sister acting thoroughly distracted and uninterested, and trying to skip out at every chance she got).
In the large swaths of time between these events, Riyeko was given relatively free reign over her own activities. Though she wasn’t technically required to spend any time in samurai training, it was fairly expected for girls of her age and stature, and her governess pursued her doggedly about giving it more time and attention. She would break down and comply for a few hours a week at most, but would give it just as much inattention as her sister gave to their political discussions. She much preferred to spend her time in the court’s libraries, where she would read up on nearly anything and everything (but favouring historical texts).
Riyeko left for Morgrave University at age 16, for the purposes of networking far more than education; many noble families in Daiso sent their second or third daughters to the University, so they could make connections they could later call on for favours. Riyeko’s family didn’t keep particularly close tabs on her while she was there, however, and she paid far more attention to her studies than to the people she was supposed to be making contacts with.
Although she focused mostly on theoretical and historical knowledge, she did learn some practical skills through expeditioning. When she signed up for her first practical classes (Depths expeditions), she met Tama Kazoku, an expedition partner who would later become her roommate. He was from a much more working class upbringing, and as such, had refreshing perspectives on people (uninfluenced by the alternately vague and shrewd conversational overtones common in her older political circles). On these trips, she was mostly excited to find and identify new artifacts (geeking out over forgotten empires), with little/no desire to actually use them or see them used (“artifacts belong in museums and/or for study”).
Post- Night of Jade Daggers
After the Night of Jade Daggers, Riyeko was called home to help reconsolidate family power. She was (understandably) somewhat unhappy about leaving behind her life at Morgrave, but of course went anyway with no complaints, understanding the gravity of the situation at hand. Nearly everyone from her past life had fallen victim to the attacks, including her mother and governess.
On arriving back home, she was greeted by Sayuri, who was manning, effectively, a war room — not only had she already taken over the Empress’ lands, she had detailed plans for military and political next steps to best take advantage (politically) of the fallout from the recent massacre. Even Riyeko, with her years of carefully trained political savviness, found it difficult to imagine putting together and enacting such a detailed plan so quickly, before even factoring in emotional distress clouding judgement. This, plus the fact that Sayuri didn’t seem the least bit upset by the deaths of those close to her, led Riyeko to be convinced of her culpability in the deaths of that evening.
Unfortunately, accusing a new Daimyo of treason goes about as predictably bad as one would expect. After a brief but furious argument between the two of them, Riyeko stormed back off to Morgrave, intending never to return home. However, it didn’t take long before Sayuri sent a sqrl to Morgrave to stamp Riyeko’s papers Kitanai, effectively removing her from the family and taking away any status in Daisojin society. Riyeko was given only one week’s notice to leave the school.
Life as a Kitanai
Left without a room at Morgrave, Tama tried to help Riyeko get settled in to an apartment in the lower city. Unfortunately, they couldn’t find anyone on such short notice who was desperate enough to lease or sell to a Kitanai (since associating with a Kitanai for business reasons is considered inauspicious). As a stopgap measure, Tama helped her setup at a safehouse they’d scouted in the Depths on several of their recent expeditions together, with a drop point for passing notes and small but useful supplies whenever Tama headed down.
Getting in to the depths is fairly easy — getting out, however, turns out to be considerably harder. With Kitanai papers, no employment, and no valid reason to be in the city, Riyeko found herself unable to leave the depths at all.
Tama tried to help support her, but he couldn’t affort to support her entirely, and couldn’t be seen diverting to the drop site every time he went down on an expedition (since his future at the University could be in jeopardy if he was found out). Riyeko managed to make up the difference for herself for quite some time through betting rings, especially given that she had a significant edge with her impressive knowledge of statistics, but since she never thought to intentionally lose to keep the spotlight off, she was soon forced to leave as people suspected her of cheating. She was forced to keep moving to more and more new areas, relying on more gambling and some other less-than-moral “odd jobs”, just to get enough coin for food and basic self-defense weaponry.
After about a year of this, she began to run out of areas in the depths she knew to be safe(ish) to turn to. Getting more and more desperate, she began considering drastically more dangerous ideas as money-making prospects. However, thankfully, she was prevented from ever having to act on these; around this time, Dover approached her on behalf of [[Mr. Blank]], and she agreed to join [[Blank & Associates.]] Mr. Blank then provided her with the fake papers she needed to get out of the depths safely. She then worked there for two years prior to the start of the campaign.
During the Campaign
Since the start of the campaign, Riyeko has come clean with the party about her noble background. She is seriously worried by Sayuri’s actions in the recent civil war, and has become hell-bent on stopping Sayuri from turning Daiso into her personal dictatorship — by any means necessary.