"Waxing, waning, re-arranging; they see us as ever changing
when the fact is they're the ones who never can be still."
Tell to me, father;
What is love in your own words?
For I do not know.
Listen well, daughter mine;
For love is miraculous
and it is promise.
You will know it soon,
when comes along the husband's moon
and your hand is wed.
But I did not wish
to be wed to some unknown,
who I could not love,
Tell to me, mother;
What is love in your own words?
For I do not know.
Listen well, dearest;
For love is spontaneous
and t'is magical.
You will know it once
when your heart pounds drumlike tunes
to the Moon's white light.
Only once, in all time?
Born of passion's fire, ne'er relit?
This answer sounds wrong.
Tell to me, o' Moon;
What is love in your own words?
For I do not know.
Lord of the Moonlit Heavens
Thirdborn precious child,
Come with me, my child;
and discover mysteries
you have searched for long.
Tell to me, o' Child;
Are you strong of form and mind,
and unfaltering soul?
Lord Moonreader, sir
I am youth, blessed and bright
Soul, form, and mind pure.
Then come 'long, Miko
and over the years you shall learn
the answer you have sought.
And so I came along; a merry, made-new Shrine Maiden, and I do know love.
T'is bitter, sometimes and othertimes, true ecstasy or sorrowful echoes.
Love is a promise, not an emotion nor feel: that's infatuation.
You will not know it until you have made that promise and kept it at cost.
Heed me, iljn reader; I have made that oath to my Lord.
Do not intercede.
I can clear your mind - of lust, of passion, lies; So you can know love.
Maybe I will make a promise to you one day, and we will know love.
A dream of a gentle place in the beating heart of the world, ringed in spears.
Excorcisms, sanctuary, and spiritualism of the brightest sort; the role of Kannushi is inextricably bound with the needs of the kami both nascent and true - and though her shrine might be reduced to naught but ash, her spirit still rages in inferno-like faith.
The bell tolls a warning and the tide is on the turn; and She without her shintai.
Ring twice, thrice, with each step a challenge and herald of her will. A sword in the deepest markets of the underworld which cuts all and all it cuts. A shield whose defense is impregnable, the beating heart of an engine of war. How tight the spider weaves its web; and how determined the butterfly to find its enraptured kin...
The moon's first and last argument, engendered, fecund.
"The ears are just for show when we communicate through pure vibration; why sense through the body when the power is in information?"
Standing at a measly 5'2", she generally is on the taller side for Raen - and the abominably short side of everyone else. Her face is ivory and pale, though it doesn't seem to be paint or dust and seems to be her natural.
The Raen otherwise is a slight, petite girl with deceptively lithe musculature and striking rolanberry eyes. Her scales are incandescent and border on the line between white and yellow.
Natsuki is almost perpetually cursed with a gaze that seems utterly disinterested and distant, as if she were staring a thousand yalms away at any given time, and almost never actually looks /at/ someone seemingly directly.
The Auri girl moves deliberately and slowly - no snapping eyes, no sudden motions - at least not in her day to day, or where people might see her. One might mistake it for military if it wasn't so lazy - one might mistake it for lethargy if it wasn't so precise. She treats every action as if it was a ritual... or a military demonstration. Every blink of her eyes is slow, like a hunter pacifying a panicked animal, and sometimes she blinks out of sync. It's due to add that she never trembles or shows visible effort in her careful motions, and by default is statue-esque unless otherwise stated.
Even when directly addressed, or in conversation with her, she takes a moment to respond to any given question, and never barks out an answer instantly - or seems to register it at all. Her voice is gentle and soft, and an odd, tinny chime underlines her voice, adding a musical quality to even spoken word.
It is a fair assumption - and the most common one - to take the above and think that she is on frankly prodigious and insulting amounts of chemical drugs, probably illegal ones. That said, she has never triggered a test for these substances by chiurgeons... though most wouldn't know that.
Natsuki's gaze is utterly distant. She spends most of her time staring into the distance, and very rarely looks at people.
The Raen has a monstrously long, prehensile tail - somewhere in the ballpark of three to four feet.
Natsuki's motions are slow and precise - not labored, but rather as if she were conscious of every movement. It might be lethargic if not so deliberate, or military if it wasn't so lazy.
She blinks slowly, as if she were pacifying a frightened animal - not always in sync. Her slow motions never show signs of strain, and when passive she's as still as a wax sculpture.
When she spends an extended period underground, her skin trends toward grey and blue hues, while if she stays above ground her flesh is tanned instead.
|Name:||Shinshoku no Natsuki no Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto, Blessed Right-Eyed-Tear, Second-of-Three Noble Children of Izanagi-no-Mikoto, Moon-reader, Moon-bow, Lord of Love, Fate, Honour, Night, and Other Myriad Spheres Alternatively, just Natsuki. Like a sane person.|
|Class:||神職/神主|Kannushi/Shinshoku: 'Priestess' However, that said, most people don't know what this is and won't look it up, so for the sake of a very loose analogue a Dungeons and Dragons 5e Cleric is loosely analogous.|
|Subclass:||巫女|Miko/Fujo: 'Shrine Maiden' See 'Class'. Not a TouHou reference. She is both Miko and Kannushi. If that seems weird, good. It is.|
|Race:||アウラ|Au Ra A.K.A 'LIZZER GORL'|
|Clan:||レン|Raen A.K.A 'Slightly less murder-y lizzer'|
|Height:||Five fulms, two ilms (5'2") A.K.A played 'are you taller than a fifth grader' and lost|
|Weight:||One hundred and fourteen ponze(114 lbs, 51.7kgs) How she swings a mace or sword is frankly beyond science.|
|Eyes:||Rolanberry Red Varies, but this unless stated elsewise.|
|Age:||Thirties but I guarantee you you'll card her.|
|Nameday:||25th Sun of the 1st Umbral Moon|
|Patron:||Menphina, the Lover No, not that kind of love.|
|Deity:||月読命|Tsukiyomi-no-Mikoto, Blessed Right-Eyed Tear... you know what, we've already done this spiel. See 'Name'.|
|Alignment:||Lawful Good, but not the insufferable kind... hopefully.|
Kannushi and Shinto
So... a KANNUSHI (神主). What does that actually entail? Well, in short, Natsuki is a kami-worshipper/Shrine Maiden/priestess who is the sworn enemy of the unnatural yokai and a maintainer of the balance of nature through upkeep and worship of the omnipresent kami spirits.
First, let's go over the time period that Final Fantasy's parallels to Japan are set in. It has been very explicitly stated that the Raen and Xaela are explicitly medieval (16th-18th century) east-Asian in nomenclature and culture. This is important for Natsuki, since this is pre-Meiji-period Christianization of Shinto (Meaning, I'll be using the versions practiced in the Edo era or earlier. This means that there's not a standardized system of religion and no religious canon or founder, aside from the fact that most people have a similar understanding of what kami are, though it is highly likely that it varies from shrine to shrine or family to family, as do worship, rituals, etc (which means basically: this is a guideline to Natsuki's specific version of beliefs and not canonical fact. Your spin-off may vary and that's 100% okay and valid. This does not account for the 'yokai' crossover event and is an entirely separate classification of entities.)
So, that said, what /does/ Natsuki do as a kannushi? Well, to understand that, we first have to understand miko.
Like, this is a /gross/ oversimplification and an adaptation, not a completely accurate rendition, of the most basic functions of Shinto beliefs. In addition, in interacting with the West, Natsuki has amalgamated her own traditions and, instead of believing other spiritualists are 'wrong' or 'misguided', instead augments and expands her own beliefs with techniques learned elsewhere. After all, it's all the same moon.
MUSUBI (結び) 'Aether': The living network of energy which flows through and connects all things.
Manifestations of the MUSUBI are known as KAMI (神) which is the catch-all term for spirits/souls of every declension, from nascent to-be kami such as mortals to mortal kami to Kami of Mortals to actual godlike Kami who embody natural phenomena. Kami is NOT exclusively used to refer to gods; in Shinto, it more or less means 'spirit' generally. Kami are believed to be "hidden" from this world, and inhabit a complementary otherworld that mirrors our own: SHINKAI (神界, "the world of the kami") (in some definitions, heaven, hell, or somewhere else), Natsuki follows a lifestyle of kami-service known as KANNAGARA NO MICHI (随神の道) which is effectively being spiritually 'awake' to the miraculousness and awe-inspiring aspects of nature and actively choosing to maintain balance, which in turn brings one closer in tune to the Shinkai. (not to be confused with SHINTAI, which is the VESSEL the kami dwells in and is kept hidden on mikoshi when festivals roll around and otherwise is locked away in a special 'kami-house'.)
Everyone has a kami, and everything and everywhere /has/ a kami associated with it. People have kami, as do animals in the same capacity (in literal life force/spirit/souls) and primals (the idea that they embody). Kami are traditionally defined by five traits:
1: Possession of four mostly independent souls;
A: ARAMITAMA (荒御霊・荒御魂)
The soul of anger/rejection/wrath. When not appeased, a kami is ruled by this soul and uses it to wreak vengeance on those who slighted or insulted it.
B: NIGIMITAMA (和御霊・和御魂)
The soul of contentedness/satisfiedness. When appeased, a kami is ruled by this soul and performs its function in nature.
C: SAKIMITAMA (幸御魂)
The soul of happiness; what governs the things the kami likes and the kinds of worship it accepts for appeasement. Also controls overly content kami or lazy ones.
D: KUSHIMITAMA (奇御霊・奇御魂)
The soul of mystery; what governs the kinds of signs and divination used to interpret a kami.
2: Kami are not visible to the human realm. Instead, they inhabit sacred places, natural phenomena, or people during rituals that ask for their blessing.
3: They are mobile, visiting their places of worship, of which there can be several, but never staying forever.
4: There are many different varieties of kami. There are well over 300 different classifications, and they all have different functions, such as the kami of wind, kami of entryways, and kami of roads.
5: Lastly, all kami have a different guardianship or duty to the people around them. Just as the people have an obligation to keep the kami happy, the kami have to perform the specific function of the object, place, or idea they inhabit.
Miko, as a servant of the kami, are trained to interpret their mysteries, quell the aramitama (and prevent it through regular worship and ritual, through offerings, dance, song, communion, clean and maintained shrine, etc) and invoke the blessings of the nigimitama for the general populace, as well as be sacred spirit bridges to their hosted kami and interpreters of both the Kushimitama (future, divine signs, dreams, etc) and the Shinkai.
When a kami goes into an uncontrollable rage-state of aramitama, above and beyond the normal appeasement procedures, as a miko, Natsuki is called in to perform a CHINKON (鎮魂) to try and forcibly calm a spirit or exorcise it to give it time to cool off. If this fails due to the kami rejecting it, or if the kami skips this step by just saying 'screw it' for any reason, it becomes a YOKAI (妖怪).
A YOKAI (妖怪) is a phantom, apparition, aberration, supernatural, unexplained phenomenon or unnatural catch-all for spirits that act in ways that are distinctly not according to how nature ought to work, or physically invade the material realm. Unlike kami, these do physically manifest, and sometimes this is the only separation between the two. While not universally malignant (stereotypical interpretations of 'helpful fae folk', would be yokai) the main thing is that they don't occur in nature and inherently mess with the rules of reality.
As a part of keeping balance in nature and being spiritually 'awake', a miko is trained to exorcise, contain, or banish these yokai - either by forcing them back into their place, or by outright destroying them entirely, or by imprisoning them.
As a KANNUSHI, (神主, "god master", originally pronounced kamunushi), also called SHINSHOKU (神職, meaning "god's employee"), Natsuki does exactly what she did as a miko, except that she is no longer an assistant or secondary performer - she is 100% responsible for her practice and independent save the graces of her Lord.
The kannushi, serving the kami and the natural order, thus are bound to more or less 'handle' yokai as a part of their lifestyle. While generally preferring to serve the kami and prevent yokai by not encouraging the creation of yokai (and to conveniently ignore the yokai who became yokai to do good, like a spirit who defies nature in order to save people's lives), Natsuki is 100% trained to handle yokai, and is not nearly as helpless as she might come off.
She is the mortal enemy of those who actively serve malignant yokai, which basically includes almost all forms of hostile soulkin, all Voidsent, all Dalamiq cultists, et cetera.
TL;DR: have shide, will exorcise demons with rice and paper
|Voidsent/Sin Eaters||"I'm so sorry... please, stay still. I'll make this quick." Hostile||Voidsent/Sin Eaters are uniformly and non-negotiably irredeemable. They are incredibly hyperaspected and do not occur in nature. In her beliefs, a Voidsent has hatched its kami from its shell before it is ready - which is incredibly dangerous, making them unnatural entities that live only to consume innocents into their mass. The only cure is death, to her knowledge - and they're much too dangerous to let live in the interim it would take to find one if there is.|
|Elementals||Varied||Elemental is a big classification in taxonomy. The /normal/ elementals - the ephemeral kami in the forces of nature - she serves. When the elementals grow vengeful and reciprocate through the Greenwrath, it's just aramitama. If they manifest physical forms or supernatural influence, however, beyond their normal sphere, they have become supernatural yokai by interfering with the natural order of things. Hostile fairies, raising treants, illusions - these are the work of yokai.|
|Soulkin (Arcanima)||Friendly||Technically a form of life. Arguably yokai, but she generally ignores this because her job isn't to 'destroy all yokai' but rather 'defend the natural world from the supernatural'.|
|Soulkin (Ghosts)||Neutral (Friendly intent, hostile actions)||Not to be confused with invoked ancestor spirits, which are kami. Ghosts and similar manifestations are unnatural 'mistakes' in the Cycle of Life. The ghosts can hardly be considered at fault, and for that they should be given to finish their unfinished business... and then go in peace.|
|Soulkin (Demons/Yokai)||Hostile||The main culprits. Hostile, supernatural forces are her primary charge; to defend the Shinkai and mundane world alike from their unnatural effects. Poltergeists, revenants, shades, oni, demons - name them, she's fought it, and she'll do it again on sight.|
|Magitek||Disapproval||Generally considered similarly to how arcanima is, but she disapproves that man /deliberately/ makes yokai out of otherwise innocent spirits to run his engines. At least arcanima is just ascendence - magitek is just torture, by draining the musubi into the mundane realm - and carrying however many kami with it, amalgamating them into sickly cyan fuel.|
|Dalamud Cultists/Dalamiq Xaela||Hostile||Dalamud was considered to be unnatural long before it fell; however, once it fell and its pieces were discovered as unnatural magitek, this formerly 'presumed yokai moon' became a confirmed enemy of nature.|
|Primals/Eikons||Hostile||Primals are kami yet - at least in the ideas that are invoked when their mundane vessels are summoned forth. The physical manifestation of a primal, however, is the same as a supernatural yokai on a massive scale. Again, man-made yokai = extra gross. Given their very nature is destructive, regardless of intent, she will absolutely put these down on sight.|
|The Tempered||Neutral||While their masters are kill on sight, their servants can now be cured. Natsuki will always try to avoid killing the Tempered, and will instead try to capture and forcibly deliver them to a Grand Company.|
|Witches/Warlocks||Hostile||Those who make deals with yokai are no better than yokai themselves. Some exceptions exist, but not many - most of these cultists are only in it for power and domination.|
|Void Mages||Hostile||See 'Voidsent' and 'Witches/Warlocks'. This is the worst of the lot.|
|Necromancers||Hostile||See 'Witches/Warlocks' and 'Soulkin (Ghosts)'. She actually has no problems with the concept of corpse-raising, but the corruption and forced binding of kami? Again, man-made yokai, see magitek.|
|Alternate Beliefs||Receptive||A good Kannushi knows that the moon is the moon no matter your name or worship. She considers seeking other points of view to intooduce to her own a pursuit of truth so that she might truly appreciate the magnum opus of nature.|