Village: Kirigakure no Sato
Size: Small (10-15 Families), 65% Military 35% Merchant
Traits: As the Tsukino is a smaller and much younger House than many of it’s contemporaries, very few unifying physical traits have managed to solidify themselves yet. Some individual members of the same direct relation obviously share features, but the majority are diverse. To add to this diversity, all Tsukino shinobi, active or retired, undergo a special ritual which directly fuses the body and essence of the unique foxes the Tsukino tend and keep. This results in a number of vulpine features, including but not limited to tails, ears, claws, fangs and other permanent changes to the body. Whatever traits they acquire, they are as unique as the foxes themselves and this often comes down to a combination of spirit, the recipient’s own personal makeup and even the skill of the Tsukino who merges them.
The merging process is not always perfect, however, especially if there is an incompatibility or a failure during it and as such, abnormalities and deformities can occur even outside the broad guidelines of the Tsukino’s appearance.
As a note, those not merged with a fox are no different from ordinary shinobi and even after sealing, House-specific resemblances or traits may still exist separately from the Tsukino’s own.
Traditions: The Tsukino are a primarily concerned with raising and empowering shinobi, though they are not necessarily all shinobi to any degree and typically only merged Tsukino are shinobi though highly rare exceptions are apparent, but conversely no Tsukino who is not, or has not been a shinobi, is merged. Merging with a Fox spirit happens after graduation from the Academy and though those retired or off active duty are present, they still perform what shinobi services they can for the House in times of need or defense.
Tsukino traditions start first and foremost with their connection to the water-dwelling spiritual foxes they have essentially formed a partnership with. This not only results in the shinobi members having the kitsune features they possess but also gives the entire bloodline an atmosphere of playfulness and coy enigma they cultivate, keeping much of themselves hidden from others as both a defense mechanism and a way to retain their influence which comes as much from their shinobi as it does their accessory uses.
Tsukino shinobi have a history of utilizing chakra sensory techniques as it naturally complements their nature, but there are few defining guidelines aside from this and shinobi are free to pursue their own strengths and techniques outside this structure. Most of their unifying shinobi traditions come from their kitsune appearance and nature, and as such a fair few identify with or attempt to emulate foxes. Most Tsukino also train for or gain the Suiton affinity from their merged foxes.
Tsukino members who are not shinobi often run small entertainment or relaxation venues, especially popular being taverns or onsen-style springs they maintain. Though they are but a single part of a Noble family, they have an ancestry that traces them back to operating such establishments in their formative generations and they uphold that tradition today, but many of the more attractive or energetic Tsukino supply workers and attendants for events, celebrations or village festivals, many spending their time learning and practicing hospitality services.
Shinobi or civilian, most Tsukino have a heavy traditional dress that emphasizes kimono and yukata as well as accompaniments, but this has plenty of room for personal touches and though it is encouraged in mission wear, it is also completely non-mandatory and many Tsukino wear the shinobi uniform provided by Kirigakure, though the nature of the clan means any outfit they wear tends to be heavily customized and somewhat flashier than normal, though obviously not to the extent of ruining their stealth or combat capabilities.
Tsukino are a part of the Muramasa Family and are subordinate directly to them. This means that much of their influence and gains directly relate to the Muramasa as well as reflect on them and they spend much of their time working alongside the Family as a whole. Though many Tsukino naturally fit into the field of hospitality and entertainment, it is not entirely uncommon to find a Tsukino working in other fields alongside other Muramasa because of their connection, nor it is uncommon to see gambling parlors, onsen or other venues operated by the Muramasa separately from the Tsukino. Most Tsukino, like all Muramasa, worship and revere Mizuki the Lunar Goddess and as their professions dictate, many Tsukino provide ceremony and ritual towards Mizuki for the rest of the Family.
Influence: As a part of the Muramasa family, the Tsukino are well established and taken care of internally but outwardly, their actions and glory more directly relates to the Muramasa than themselves and, unsurprisingly given their nature and secrecy, the Tsukino seem to prefer this and deliberately foster a small presence inside the Muramasa’s own ranks. Aside from it’s Shinobi and their respective honors, they do not make attempts to stand out or be recognized outside of their family.
While their shinobi earn the House it’s main honors and prestige, it’s non-shinobi members provide necessary hospitality services and casual venues that are popular in a village like Kirigakure. They run small onsen houses in the center ring of the village and in the outer rim, as well as a variety of drinking and celebratory establishments. Some Tsukino have even opened gambling houses as allowed, essentially creating a niche for themselves as relief and relaxation for the hardworking of Kirigakure.
Tsukino often seek out popular shinobi to endorse their establishments and many cater to shinobi-themed festivities and activities, down to drinks named after shinobi or respected techniques and when a shinobi falls out of favor, they are quick to break down this connection and restructure it as soon as possible. Similarly where possible they include Tsukino shinobi prominent where merited and warranted, but are careful to walk the fine line between capitalizing on their House connection and ultimately coming off as self-promoting and stealing spotlight from other shinobi who may retaliate. As part of the Muramasa, they tend to have a higher ratio of Muramasa endorsements versus those related to or connected to other Families.
History During Kirigakure’s expansionist period, several shinobi teams were sent out as surveyors to islands near and far in Water Country to probe for vital resources or new lands to claim. During one of these surveys, a small island surrounded by rough currents was found and though it took the shinobi some time to access it, what they found was worth the efforts. Though small, it was a treasure trove of thick tree groves and natural springs, but the island was also inhabited. The creatures were foxes, but not natural ones; Their almost arctic colors may have been odd, but not entirely off-putting, but each one bearing more than one tail was enough to convince the survey team they had found something unique. Especially when The Elder appeared, a large fox-like being with seven tails whirling behind him and a deep, booming voice. Words were exchanged and at first hostilities flared and the shinobi attempted to strike first, but their weapons were batted away and their techniques countered by the foxes’ own, who so having proved their dominance now re-initiated diplomacy.
This diplomacy quickly fell to the man who would become the head of the Tsukino House, and through these discussions a simple story emerged. These foxes were natural and yet not, tainted by chakra and had come to dwell on the island for years, perhaps generations, unwilling to subject themselves to the outside world. These discussions turned into tales between two groups, and eventually emerged a budding friendship between the lead negotiator and the Elder. This turned into an agreement, a contract signed between them and so the foxes left the island to Kirigakure and became the first Tsukino’s partners.
This lead the man to become famous for his partners and their unique abilities, an asset to Kirigakure in a limited sense. The man would grow, become a respected shinobi and have a family in short order, but fate chose a moment to strike that created the birth of the Tsukino. His daughter, a young girl, grew incredibly sick and over time began to struggle even to move, to breathe, until finally she seemed on death’s door. Though he tried to accept it as fate for her and his family, he still tried everything to break the grip of the disease on her. Medics tried, yet the disease was too virulent and she was too weak, too young. All they could do was prolong her suffering.
With his daughter dying, the man turned to the Elder and asked him if he could find a cure; To the man’s surprise, the Elder replied that he was the cure. The process of sealing a spirit inside of a host, to tap into it’s power, had been around for centuries, but what the Elder spoke of now was something much more crude; Physical joining. One being fused permanently with another, not stored inside them but a part of them. Elder would teach the shinobi, on the condition that the shinobi was the one to perform the technique...And then volunteered himself.
The first merging was performed in that night and with it, the birth of the first true Tsukino. Human, yet not, and with the Elder’s vitality suffusing her own the child grew healthy and happy, but with each passing day discovered more and more gifts of the merging. She herself would grow into a powerful shinobi, but she hide and disguised her new features to the best of her ability...The Tsukino did not want the attention, not yet.
A new agreement was struck. In return for taking care of the pack and protecting them, the Tsukino would merge those foxes who allowed it into shinobi. Slowly, this merging became a common practice and when enough Tsukino shinobi had established themselves, the disguises and hiding ended. The entire family became part of the Muramasa and established themselves, it’s popular members as well as unique appearance led them to be popular in the village many times over. This establishment led to the solidification of their traditions, and they established the guidelines of their House soon after. Cementing themselves quickly and taking an active place in the village, they worked in two realms at once to ensure their success. Though they remain small for now, the Tsukino are strong and dedicated to Kirigakure, as well as it’s growth.
Shinobi Information Definitions:
Merging:The Tsukino merging process is not something done like Genma or Spirit sealing, and does not require the same process. It is a physical merging of both bodies, the human and the fox, into one form. The fox is essentially consumed by the process and does not exist, linger on or in any way continue to have it’s own form or identity. It’s chakra does not remain and only certain abilities (the Kekkei Genkai) are passed during the process.
The merging takes place via chakra techniques that resemble Iijutsu and piece-by-piece they break the fox down into the recipient Tsukino, altering them on a genetic level. When the process is over, the Tsukino is placed inside a dark room under watch to ensure the merging takes and before long, the physical attributes become apparent, often with drastic changes and pain. When it is over, the Tsukino typically spend a few days adjusting and recovering before they return to their lives.
Tsukino shinobi are merged post-academy graduation, right before they are assigned to a team.
Kitsune no Kao:Requirements: One Ability SlotAfter merging with a fox, a Tsukino inherits many of the fox’s own physical features and potential. This takes the form of a small amount of the fox's features, namely a pair of fox-like ears and fox-like tails which multiply as their own powers grow (3 tails at Chuunin, 5 at Jounin, 9 at Bannin or Kage).
The main ability of these foxes however are their extrasensory systems. A Tsukino’s ears are laced with vibration sensitive fur that forms the basis of a network of sensory paths in their brain, allowing them to feel nearby vibration as a form of sonar-sight. This works only in a small space around them but is greatly enhanced by nearby water as the liquid vibrations carry cleanly to their ears, allowing them to hear disturbances to water especially well. Even masses of vapor such as mist transmit such vibrations well.
Without adequate water a Tsukino’s sense extends around them for (Stat Total/10) meters and can form rudimentary shapes and images in that radius but no further. Vibrations caused by water being interacted with, or vibrations traveling through water, can project much further and more clearly, up to (Stat total/5) meters out.
This advantage comes with it's own downside. Much as a normal person can be blinded with intense light a Tsukino’s sense can be temporarily shorted out by intense noises. Techniques that cause conflicting vibration can also dampen their senses, but these can be overcome using techniques.