Haruko Mizushima is a kitsune member of the Band of the Fox as well as the mother of Jezebeth, Nozomi Mizushima and Zetsubou Kobayashi through her lovers Malakhia d'Zarnagon and Katsutoshi Kobayashi. She and the goddess Laverna, who ended up possessing her body, were trapped in a magic crystal where they remained for millennia until Haruko was released from stasis in Reign during the Day of the Damned in 1017 AE. Due to the interrupted awakening ritual, she became amnesiac with Laverna remaining trapped in her body until she finally managed to excise her during the Battle of Malperdy by giving birth to twins. Haruko is also the latest known Izanami-no-Mikoto, high cleric of Laverna.
A Curious SpiritEdit
- "I...I'd love to run away, though, to be with you. But...what about the grove? I can't just leave the priestess by herself in her condition. She may be harsh, but she's put her faith in me. I can't betray her or the clergy."
- "I don't want to force you, so think about this carefully. Do you want to do what others expect of you, or do you want to do what your heart truly desires?"
- —Haruko and Katsutoshi Kobayashi
Haruko lived in a forest with her kitsune family by a hot water spring in the First Age. At some point in time her father disappeared on a hunting trip, and her mother died of illness soon after. Young Haruko ended up adopted by Inari Okami, a local kitsune priestess of Gaea, who had gathered other orphans whom she would turn into her acolytes.
Haruko was trained as a cleric in Inari's secluded grove and was eventually chosen from the candidates to become the priestess's successor as Protector of the Grove and Guardian of the Yggdrasil World Tree. However, Haruko's desire to see the outside world and refusal to commit herself to living in seclusion made her and Inari fight against each other, which resulted in Inari's death as well as the beginning of the spreading of the Landpoison which would eventually corrupt Yggdrasil. Haruko ran away soon after with the dashing trickster Katsutoshi Kobayashi, who she was infatuated with, and followed a path to an uncertain but nevertheless exciting future.
Adventures with the BandEdit
- "You'll regret the day you separated a cub from her mother and for abusing a kitsune's love, Malakhia d'Zarnagon! No matter what it takes or how much I have to suffer, I'll find my daughter. And if any of your demon offspring or allies stand in my way, I'll cut them down one by one if I have to. Your name is now marked with death, as is all of your foul Clan d'Zarnagon!"
- "Such anger! It makes you feel so alive...that is why I chose you to become the mother of my herald. But then again, our daughter will inherit that anger too, and she'll become the perfect apprentice, the tool of my grand plan! Just like my other children will be when the time is right."
- —Haruko and Malakhia d'Zarnagon
Haruko and Katsutoshi became an outlaw couple who formed the Band of the Fox, a group of skilled rogues and con artists, with fellow thieves Koschei Dravaris and Arlen Finian who were known as Shark and Vulture, respectively. They pulled many dangerous heists which earned them infamy in the Kingdom of Barjassil and elsewhere. Haruko was initiated around this time into the Clergy of Laverna, the Goddess of Thieves, and eventually became the goddess's high cleric who held the title of Izanami-no-Mikoto.
Haruko, who was known as the Enchantress of the Spring in the Barjassil court where she charmed many nobles with her spells, manipulated King Anshar's feelings for her to become his queen. She did this in order to steal the famed Dragon Diamond from the king's secure vault. During this infiltration, she met the court's Oracle named Malakhia d'Zarnagon and eventually ended up falling in love with him and getting pregnant with his child. The two kept up the deception and claimed the child was Anshar's, and the king named her Princess Xezbeth although Haruko would keep calling her Midori Mizushima.
However, Malakhia betrayed Haruko eventually and made Anshar aware of her deception, forcing Haruko to flee from the palace but not before she swore she'd return to get her daughter back. Haruko's name as the rogue Enchantress became infamous throughout the kingdom over the following years.
She did eventually return to claim back not only her daughter but the Dragon Diamond as well. This act angered King Anshar who placed a bounty on her head while sending the royal guards led by Captain Gilgamesh after her and the Band of the Fox to retrieve not only the kidnapped princess and his sole heir but also the diamond. A record of these arrest warrants, written by the local judges, would survive for millennia to later shed light on Haruko's shrouded past to those seeking more information about her.
Farewells and PromisesEdit
- "No matter what happens, no matter how long it takes, I'll find you, my beloved. Not even death can do us part. I'll burn this world to ashes if I must to hold you in my arms again. That I promise, Haruko Mizushima...Spring Child of the Water Island!"
- "And no matter what happens, no matter how long it takes, I'll be waiting for you, my beloved. Not even life itself can keep us from reuniting. I'll relish the flames and roll in the ashes if I must to have you back in my arms again. That I promise, Katsutoshi Kobayashi, Clever Winner of the Small Forest!"
- —Katsutoshi Kobayashi and Haruko
Haruko kept her affair with Malakhia a secret, claiming Midori was Anshar's. She also used the time to get acquainted with her daughter who at first reacted in a hostile manner to her. However, over time she managed to break the ice, and a bond between mother and daughter was about to be formed until Gilgamesh suddenly appeared with his men. A battle ensued during which Midori was lost to the guards, and Katsutoshi declared the rest of the Band had to leave her behind or perish. Haruko thus left Midori behind but the event did emotionally scar her, and she couldn't forgive herself for leaving her daughter to the enemy.
Katsutoshi, seeing his loved one's sorrow, decided to ease her pain by marrying her in a Kitsune ceremony, and promised to give her all the cubs she wanted for the one she had lost. They only managed to spend one romantic night at a spring during their honeymoon before they had to flee once more from Gilgamesh's guards who were pursuing them through a forest. The constant chasing wore the Band out, and they began to suspect they had a traitor among them who was feeding information about their whereabouts to Gilgamesh. During a pivotal moment, it appeared that Vulture, one of their companions, was the traitor. Ultimately the real traitor turned out to be Shark, however, who had framed Vulture and thus divided the Band in order to let Gilgamesh's unit catch them off guard.
Gilgamesh arrived just in time to witness Vulture's death and came under a cloaking spell cast by the Oracle Malakhia who was accompanying the guards. During the confrontation the truth was finally revealed to Katsutoshi: it was Malakhia who had been Midori's father, not King Anshar. Katsutoshi was angered by Haruko's deception but had little time to dwell on the matter because a battle ensued soon after. The dying Vulture used his necromantic powers to briefly appear as a ghost to stall the guards while Katsutoshi helped Haruko flee to a hill where they'd meet with Laverna and Dionysus to carry out their plans and protect themselves from Malakhia's machinations.
Gilgamesh and Malakhia dealt with the ghost of Vulture, however, and soon caught up with the kitsune duo on the hill where magic crystals lay. Both Katsutoshi and Gilgamesh were injured in battle, and Laverna and Dionysus ended up hurting themselves too when they were hit by the Dragon Diamond's magic which was wielded by Malakhia...although the spell backfired and ended up teleporting both Malakhia and the diamond away from the location as a result.
Weakened from all the fighting and knowing that Shark would soon bring reinforcements to assist the vengeful and injured Gilgamesh, Haruko and Katsutoshi saw that their only way of escaping would be to seal themselves within the crystals with the gods' help. Laverna and Dionysus, both injured in the struggle, entered the kitsunes' bodies and would spend time trapped in the crystals until the time of awakening would come.
Before they were sealed, Haruko said tearful farewells to her beloved Katsutoshi. They promised to meet again someday, and Katsutoshi swore that he'd be willing to burn the whole world if that's what it took for him to hold Haruko in his arms again. They would remain trapped in the divine crystals for centuries.
Day of the DamnedEdit
- "Razravkar and I attempted to stop the summoning that...er, summoned you. It appears it had an effect after all. Our interference seems to be the cause of Laverna being sealed inside of you, with no way to contact you or the rest of the world. It may also, come to think of it, be the reason for your fuzzy memory about all this."
- "There's more, isn’t there? You wouldn't stop time like this to just tell me you're the one responsible some goddess being trapped in me."
- "Indeed. Shakkan seems to believe that there's only one way to free Laverna from inside of you, and ensure her power won't be abused. A very fatal way."
- —Javan al-Kassis and Haruko
Haruko was released from the magic crystal during a summoning in Reign in 1017 AE while the city was celebrating the Day of the Damned. Once she woke up, she realized she was in a location that was unfamiliar to her and was surrounded by people who either seemed protective of her or angry at her for reasons she wasn't quite sure. She was disoriented and couldn't remember much about herself at first other than her name. Although the people around her spoke a language unfamiliar to her, Haruko was able to understand them although at the time she didn't yet know why.
Raul Emmenson, a thief, was the first one to approach Haruko after her release from the crystal. The girl at first talked to him in Yamatian until she slowly switched to Common once she realized the people around here were more fluent with it. She learned that the Clergy of Artemicia had summoned her and that hooded people known as the Dwarven Triad wanted to take her away from the clergy because according to them she was the host of Laverna, the Goddess of Thieves, whose essence was hiding in her body. Something had seemingly gone wrong in the summoning, however, and the goddess didn't manifest herself, which some believed might've caused Haruko's amnesia.
Things took a turn for the worse when Jonathan Seneron, possessed by the god Shakkan, appeared and wanted to cleanse Haruko, a process which didn't sound all that pleasant. It seemed Shakkan wanted to free Laverna from Haruko's body, but in the process the girl might die. It was then that Thorn Stronghelm, a dwarf who had developed a crush on the young Yamatian damsel, decided to aid Haruko and took her in his arms while running away from the enraged Shakkan and clerics of Artemicia. Haruko was furious about this, thinking that all these men were trying to flirt at her, and she was quite angry at Thorn whom she saw as a pervert.
Thorn and Haruko eventually managed to elude pursuers and fled to the Crafty Crow inn where Thorn would meet with his underworld associates. The dwarf promised to keep Haruko safe much to the girl's surprise. Eventually other people caught up with them in the inn, and this group included Raul, Javan al-Kassis, Razravkar Dominus, Jason O'Harris and Jacob O'Harris. After some discussions, they were offered a temporary sanctuary in the Triad's hideout which they accessed via a tunnel beneath the inn. There they met Fox, an enigmatic mage who wore a fox mask and who was acting as the Triad's spokesperson in the meeting.
The Triadists talked with the group and suggested that Raul's associates in the Union Workers could help them protect Haruko and Laverna from hostile parties such as the Clergy of Artemicia. A deal was made, and Haruko would be taken to Hidefall, the Union's hidden base somewhere in Libaterra where she could recover in peace.
The group accessed the Void with elaborate shaman spells from Sinlarine pilgrims, but the trip through the etherrealm wasn't without danger. A pack of skeletal dire wolves led by the monstrous Faerfolc lord Curdardh attacked the group, and Haruko was caught in the crossfire. When she saw Thorn and the others being threatened, however, she had flashbacks of her former life and temporarily accessed the dormant power within her, keeping Curdardh's minions at bay until more pilgrims showed up to save them from the infernal assault.
Once Curdardh had been driven away, the group spent a while recovering among the pilgrims until the group split up: one group would be headed for Alent while the other group, which included Haruko, would head for Hidefall.
Javan said final words of wisdom in private to Haruko before the groups went their separate ways, reminding her to keep her wits with her and keep in mind that the Triad or other powers might try to use her for their own gain. The Sinlarine pilgrims then directed Haruko's group through a portal to the outskirts of the Union's territory, and Raul led the small group, which included Haruko, Thorn, the O'Harris brothers and two Triad members, to Hidefall.
A Cry in the DarkEdit
Haruko entered Hidefall with the rest of the party. Raul led the group to a nearby inn to get something to eat and drink after their long journey. The words Raul had said triggered a few cryptic flashbacks from Haruko's past, however, and the girl did her best to make sense of them. What she felt the most during these strange experiences was unspeakable sorrow about something that had happened to her and the people around her in the past.
Raul led the group to a fine Yamatian themed house where they would be staying at. Along the way Haruko heard the singing of the wandering bard Arcturius and asked Raul if the boy could be brought to her because the song Arc had been singing sounded familiar to the girl who wanted to find out if hearing the song again might trigger more of her memories. She had a brief discussion with Arc, and the two realized they were both looking for their loved ones. Arc swore he'd help Haruko who appreciated the bard's oath.
Haruko also learned from the Union thieves that the demons had invaded Yamato while she'd been asleep in the crystal before her awakening, and she worried that her family members might no longer be alive. Raul's Union friends would try to read through their annals to find out if any of Haruko's family members (or descendants depending on how long she'd been locked in the crystal) were still around. One of the loremasters, Anders, approached Haruko to ask specific questions just to narrow down the search, and Haruko obliged for the most part, leaving out only some of her more painful memories which she felt belonged to her alone.
She also encountered foxes in the city and learned that one of the Triadists who had accompanied her was in fact Fox, the leader of the Triad group she had met in Reign before the journey to Hidefall had begun. Illyria, the other Triadist who had accompanied her, tried to calm her down while offering cryptic advice, but Haruko became even more confused by these sudden developments. At that moment a boy appeared in the alley, singing a tune which Haruko responded to but before the boy could continue, Union thieves caught him and took him away.
Haruko, puzzled by these events, was eventually led to her apartment in Hidefall and decided to take a bath to clear her thoughts. She knew Fox's title from somewhere but had trouble placing it because her memories were still hazy. It was during the bath that she had another flashback of her past which disturbed her but before she could dwell on it, she met not only Raul but also a young bard named Arcturius, the same boy she had met in the alley earlier.
More info later.
Haruko was taken to Malperdy, the location she had once been in during her days in the Band of the Fox. She only recalled brief glimpses of her past but did her best to remember what she could. She didn't see Thorn or Izanagi anywhere and asked Irvin where they were. Irvin cryptically answered that both would return once they'd finished their mission. The shaman then took Haruko to meet an "old friend" who turned out to be the skeleton of Arlen Finian, Vulture, who had once saved Haruko from the grips of Gilgamesh and the Oracle. Reunion with Arlen's body made Haruko recall bits of those fateful moments before her sealing, and it was then that another person emerged from the shadows: it was none other than the god Dionysus possessing a boy's body.
Haruko quickly realized that the whole scheme didn't center around herself but around Laverna who was still trapped within her. Dionysus, Laverna's brother, wanted to release her but said that Haruko wouldn't have to worry one bit because she too had been in on the scheme all along. This confused Haruko even further, and she couldn't possibly understand what Dionysus and Laverna hoped to gain from all this deception. She felt like being a tool and ultimately rebelled, believing Dionysus and Irvin to work as lackeys for the Oracle. She fled from them, hoping to get as far away from Malperdy as possible even though she was in a labyrinth and surrounded by a horde of trolls.
More info later.
Heart of DarknessEdit
More info later.
Garden of FearEdit
Haruko worked as Adela's assistant as the latter was inspecting and treating patients and victims of a recent cave-in incident in one of the infirmaries in Trinity Gask. When they were approached by Earnan Finian who asked them to help heal Beira, Adela inspected Beira and then wanted to hear what Haruko thought of the girl's ailment.
Haruko's keen sense of smell revealed that Beira was suffering from symptoms caused by the pollen of Dreamshade, a special flower which put people it affected into a deep slumber. Pleased by Haruko's reply, Adela promised Earnan to look into brewing a cure and told him and Beira to stay in the infirmary while she'd finish treating the other patients first.
Aliases and NicknamesEdit
- Enchantress of the Spring
- Haruko's title in the Kingdom of Barjassil.
- What a few people call Haruko to her annoyance. The one who annoyed Haruko the most was Thorn Stronghelm who kept using the word repeatedly during their conversations although it was later revealed that Thorn was calling her that because he was in fact her mate Katsutoshi and knew she was a kitsune like himself. The name used in a more cryptic way by the likes of Serene and the Dwarven Triad who also knew Haruko's true identity as a kitsune.
A pretty young woman with pale skin, curious golden eyes, and raven-black hair tied in two buns. She's clad in a dark purple robe with some runic symbols, and the cloth is loose enough to let her move in an agile manner if necessary.
In her more beastly kitsune form, Haruko tends to either look like a silver fox but can also turn into a much more ferocious, demonic youko form which is bipedal, fox-like, has many pairs of furry breasts, and is capable of incredible feats and illusions while her tail can split into two tails to signify her status as a more experienced kitsune.
Personality and TraitsEdit
Confused after her long "nap", Haruko tried to make sense of the world around her. Despite some language difficulties, she's a fast learner but had a hard time knowing who to trust after her past experiences which came and went in flashbacks. She speaks her mind directly and can be somewhat tomboyish and sometimes ladylike depending on her mood. Once she recovered her memories and true identity in the Battle of Malperdy, she's become more ruthless and more calculating although she still feels some remorse over what she's made her former companions do and how they all ended up deceived by her. Her modus operandi is retrieving her children from those who would harm them, no matter the cost.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
She's agile and acrobatic, capable of performing fine feats and leaps. Also proficient in the use of daggers and has a keen sense of smell.
Since the battle in Malperdy, Haruko has ended up in the custody of Adela who is using her as an assistant. Although Adela has expressed sympathy over Haruko's recent barrenness due to her own condition, Haruko believes it's a ploy to manipulate her.
Over the time Haruko spent in the palace of Barjassil, Gilgamesh grew infatuated with her thanks to her beauty. Although Haruko was originally just manipulating Gilgamesh's feelings for her own sinister ends, she couldn't foresee how this obsession would end up shaping both of their lives for years to come. By the time Gilgamesh discovered how deceitful and ruthless Haruko really was, he ended up desiring her even more because he realized the two of them were alike and that she'd be the only one fit to be his queen. He still believes this but also likes to torment Haruko physically and psychologically to make her submit to him before he'll sleep with her. Haruko, on the other hand, despises Gilgamesh with all her heart although she's partially to blame for his obsession over her.
Haruko respected her mentor Inari a great deal, but when she had to choose between her duty to her and the world tree, and her love for Katsutoshi and the outside world, she chose the latter much to Inari's dismay. This led to a clash between master and student, and ultimately the darkness within Haruko stirred, which resulted in Inari's death. The shocked Haruko fled from the Grove soon after, and now that her memory are restored in the present age, she's coming to grips with what she's done to achieve her freedom.
When Haruko and Jezebeth met during the latter's childhood, Jezebeth at first wasn't aware she was interacting with her own mother and reacted in a hostile manner to her presence. It took lots of time and effort on Haruko's part to explain to her daughter, whom she called Midori, the details about her past and how she was half-kitsune. Their relationship seemed to take a turn for the better eventually until their bonding was interrupted by forces sent by Malakhia, Jezebeth's father. For a long time Jezebeth assumed Haruko had perished until the truth (that she had in fact survived) was revealed to her in Malperdy millennia later. However, she sees the hordes as her mother now and is trying to ignore Haruko's existence. Where their relationship goes from there remains to be seen.
Haruko and Thorn got off on the wrong foot as she took his affection for a perverted attempt at flirting. Despite Thorn's sudden infatuation with her, she doesn't seem to hold him in high regard. Once it was revealed that Thorn was actually Katsutoshi, Haruko's husband, it left Haruko confused. On the one hand she cared for him based on their past, complicated relationship, but on the other hand she was hurt that he didn't reveal the truth to her sooner, which led to needless misery even though she somewhat understand that it had to happen out of necessity in order to not break her then-fragile, still recovering mind.
Haruko and Malakhia had an affair which resulted in the birth of their child Midori who would later be known as Jezebeth. Although they seemed to be in love at first, Malakhia was only manipulating Haruko for his own ends. By the time Haruko realized this, she was understandably upset, especially after she found out that Malakhia was now using their daughter for some sinister goal. Haruko swore to put an end to Malakhia's schemes and any of his progeny even if took millennia for his plans to end in ruin.
- Band of the Fox
- Clergy of Laverna
- Inari Okami
- Katsutoshi Kobayashi
- Malakhia d'Zarnagon