|“||I don't think you've got it, toaster. What makes me special? Everything. I don't need to justify myself to you or anyone else. I am better because I was born better. My existence is superior to everyone else's here, and that's the end of it.||”|
–Kanade to Guildenstern, outskirts of Gonair, Vegas
Kanade Orihara is among the original members of Axel Erachin's band of mercenaries. A hostile and haughty presence, Kanade is a difficult person to ignore and even harder to like. While willingly abandoning her life of royalty in the Kitsune League, she still clings onto her previous titles, insisting that she and everyone else refer to her as a princess and belittles her fellow mercenaries as often as she can. Her HMV, the Muramasa, is an extraordinarily swift mech with a strategy central to simply being faster than anything else on the battlefield. Outside her mech, she's an inexperienced fighter though competent in the art of sword-fighting.
An only child, Kanade was from birth, destined as the heiress to the mantle of head of the Orihara clan, the reigning house in the reclusive political arena that is the Kitsune League. She was born a princess and raised one, growing up with every possible need being attended to by legions of servants and completely isolated from the people outside the Orihara estate. There were few people she was legitimately close to, and despite the fact that she was kept under the constant and strict tutelage of her father, she never found herself particularly connected to him. The only two people that she had felt close growing up was her mother and a branch family's son that she had begun to associate as something akin to an older brother, Setsuo Orihara. Two people that she would eventually grow to resent over time.
Suffice to say, her childhood was far from difficult. Kanade grew up having every one of her whims tended to whilst remaining almost blissfully disconnected to any of the going-ons outside the estate. Every tale of rebellion that reached her ears was a tale of it's total disintegration, every tale of famine she'd picked up in the midst of an impossibly large meal. With this lack of contact or even a lack of meaning behind the tales of woes that seemed to occur outside the estate, her sense of empathy, limited as it was, dried up almost entirely. Her mother became the only one she could find herself connecting with, while she grew more and more resentful of Setsuo who was widely regarded as the "golden child" of the clan, despite his status as a branch family member. Kanade knew that most everyone in the clan would have much preferred to him to succeed the mantle of clan leader, rather than her, and because of this, she grew increasingly abrasive towards him, until completely writing him out of her life.
Kanade's life was otherwise static, with her being taught in the ways of the Orihara Family Code, the art of the sword, calligraphy, HMV piloting and court behavior daily. It was only until the abrupt and unforeseen suicide of her mother that most everything had changed for Kanade. She herself made the discovery, just days after her fourteenth birthday, and with the discovery of her mother's lifeless corpse hanging from the ceiling went the final kernel of empathy that she still fostered in her heart. Over time, her grief over her mother's death transitioned into contempt. She began to view it as tantamount to abandonment. This feeling wasn't helped along by the increasing control that her father was exerting over her life, which she began to associate as the direct result of her mother's suicide.
Life began to take on a different colour. Kanade was still almost exclusively limited to her estate, bar few closely monitored excursions to the outside, but the context seemed to take an entirely different direction. She found herself pigeonholed into a myriad of political schemes her father had apparently arranged. Schemes that she lacked almost any knowledge of, and frequently never even told about. Her tasks became increasingly more specific and she was being directly limited in what she could do with her life. Her resentment over the fact that she was apparently being used as some sort of political tool began to grow more and more over the years.
Kanade's tolerance of the vast amount of control that her father held over her life finally reached an untenable point when she was told that she would be wedded to the Kimigata clan's - second only to power to the Orihara family and a generations-old enemy - eldest son, a political move to ensure an unbreakable merge between the two clans and formally consolidate their power. This was the breaking point. She hadn't even been informed that the House Orihara and the House Kimigata had apparently defused it's long present tensions, let alone given any warning of how this would be done. To remain in her estate was to be shackled to another one of her father's demands, one that she refused to tolerate. She knew that she had to escape.
Over the next few days, she formulated the barebones of her plan to escape the estate. In the dead of the night, she gathered together her money, her umbrella, a few souvenirs, and her wardrobe and snuck into the hangar. Central to her plan was the hijacking of her father's prize HMV, the Muramasa. The only thing fast enough to get it away from the estate without being caught by it's many guards and sensors. The following night, she had followed through. She snuck into the estate's hangar, taking control of the Muramasa and making her escape. Unfortunately, the plan itself was ill thought through, and the central principle behind her escape attempt relied on her actual proficiency with the machine, of which she had little. Upon activating the Muramasa, she accidentally devastated the entire hangar, and in her escape, sent buildings and walls crumbling to the ground. For all intents and purposes, it looked as if they were attacked.
With Kanade's disappearance, the destruction of much of the outer grounds of the estate, the stealing of the Muramasa and the added context of the still lingering tension surrounding the Kimigata clan, who were incensed at Kanade's behavior in a meeting immediately prior to her escape, her father came to the conclusion that she was kidnapped by the Kimigata family, and that their attempts at peace were nothing more than an elaborate ploy. The clan demanded her safe return, of which the Kimigata did not seem to yield to, and in response her father began a genocidal war against the Kimigata clan and any city, town or village affiliated with them in some way. As the dust cleared, the near entirety of the House Kimigata was naught but ash and mass graves. That all didn't matter to Kanade though. She'd left behind the planet onboard a merchant frigate heading to Alpha Omega, and it was here where her plan lost steam. Onboard the massive fueling station, she wasn't sure where to go or what to do. She was used to having things simply done for her, and she was far too used to the control. She demanded obedience everywhere she went, and it wasn't long before this behavior got her in trouble. Soon enough, Kanade found herself cornered by a number of thugs when a man, who she was later told was a bounty hunter, came out of nowhere and gutted them, leaving without another word. She was saved, but that wasn't the part that Kanade was concerned about. It was that she was indebted to him. And without any way to pay him back, according to rulings of her Family Code, she was required to work in his same profession.
The only recourse for Kanade seemed to be fighting for money. Not just for her the sake of her integrity, but she quickly came to realize the massive amount of upkeep that came with keeping around the Muramasa. The contracts and the various odd jobs that came with working as a mercenary was the only way she was going to maintain a semblance of her previous livelihood. She remained on Alpha Omega for a spell, before heading off, her direction almost entirely arbitrary, heading to different places in the galaxy on a whim, and taking contracts to pay for it all.
It wasn't until Kanade took a job with the Empire and Axel Erachin that everything changed for her. It was the first contract she had taken that actually involved a team, but the pay was extraordinary. And despite her attitude towards the mission and her fellow mercenaries, she remained loyal to Axel in the Empire's betrayal, not out of any particular bond with him or his team, but because of her outrage that they would betray her in the first place. That, and it's easy to pick sides when one is shooting at you and the other is shooting back.
A subsequent job for the Paladins involving a heist of the LUNAR Transportation System and a vicious fight with Ray Shishigami left the Muramasa almost completely defunct. And despite surviving, Kanade was forced to leave the Muramasa behind on the industrial planet of Anvil, funneling almost all of the money that she had earned into it's repair and it's secrecy, remaining there for almost a year until she was able to retrieve it again.
In that time and since then, she, unlike many of her other mercenaries, remained with the Paladins. Not due to any particular loyalty towards them, but out of necessity. Without the Muramasa she lacked her livelihood. She couldn't survive without it, and thus she deigned to remain with the Paladins and the Deity until she could get it back. The Villa contract came just a month after she had taken back the Muramasa, and desperate for enough money to make it by without needing a crutch like the Paladins, she accepted without hesistance.
Personality and IdeologyEdit
Kanade is the very picture of a spoiled princess. Haughty, selfish, narcissistic, and petty. She's a caustic and hostile presence, making sure to constantly insult, disregard or belittle anyone around her. She sees the galaxy outside the Kitsune League as a land of idiocy and barbarianism, and her behavior and brand of insults to everyone else reflects that quite plainly. Her behavior has led her to to be identified as simply the "Princess", a title which she has no qualms with. She's quick to anger, quick to form a grudge and slow to let either go. Her judgements of people are formed upon simply looking at them and without fail are almost wholly negative, and adjusting her perception of anyone takes a significant amount of work.
Her childhood as a princess has done well to colour her perception of people and life. Kanade's sense of empathy is almost entirely non-existent, and she's a firm supporter of the top-down system of power she was raised knowing, that one can simply be born better than other people, and are thusly more deserving of power than other people. Not only that, she isn't hesitant in making this belief of hers quite clear, with herself as a central example.
Pride means almost everything to Kanade. Her ego is vast, but easily wounded. She hates the idea of losing face, and the concept of being evaluated at the same level as everyone else. She hates doing anything she views as an indignity, and makes her dissatisfaction very clear when it comes to that.
Kanade is almost inseparable from her umbrella, though there's a good reason why. The umbrella doubles as a sheath for a concealed high frequency sword. In the right hands, it's an exceptionally lethal weapon, capable of cuttitng through most armours with relative ease, though in untrained hands as dangerous to it's user as it is to their target, as the weapon lacks a guard separating the resonating blade and the handle. It's her first option for self-defense, though she laments not being able to utilize it more often. She's fairly skilled with the blade, if inexperienced in battle outside her HMV.
She also keeps around a pistol, though she's loathe to use it. Kanade views guns not as weapons, but as inelegant murdering tools, little more than a complex blunt instrument. However, in the past year as a fugitive from justice and her affiliation with the Paladins, she's come to realize that keeping one around would improve her chances of survival in a gunfight by a rather significant margin. Unfortunately, unlike her umbrella sword, she's rather unskilled with the pistol, preferring not to spend time to improve her skills with it.
- Main article: Muramasa
Stolen from her father in her escape, Muramasa is Kanade's personal mecha. While fragile and lacking a bit in the department of physical strength, it's extremely fast, capable of closing distances incredibly quickly and devastating enemies up close. It's her livelihood, and her most prized posession.
Connections to other CharactersEdit
The operative word in describing Kanade's relationship with the rest of Axel Erachin's team is paradoxial. Her perception and her team's perception of her is by and large a negative one, though at the same time, Kanade feels a strange kind of attachment to the team. Despite her disdain and dislike of them, they simultaneously remain the most familiar, the most secure aspect of her life. She can't stand them, yet can't stand to separate from them, and her tumultuous relationships she's made with her fellow mercenaries reflect this.
Among some of her most notable relationships is her long standing mutual animosity between Yvonne Dafoe and herself. From the very start, Kanade disliked the woman, as she made no secret of her ardent enthusiasm over the system of Communism, a clear ideological contrast between the two and a system that Kanade found repugnant. It stood completely at odds with her own beliefs regarding the aristocracy and priveleges given to you based near exclusively on birth. These tensions reached a breaking point on Vegas in the Osaku Penthouse, when a fight broke out between the two. A fight that Kanade lost. Since then, her relations with Yvonne have been troubled, and she's made it a policy of simply pretending she doesn'tt exist. When Kanade does speak to Yvonne, she refuses to acknowledge or think about her using her real name, deigning instead to replace it with whatever famous Communist that comes to mind (Stalin, Marx, Trotsky, Lenin, Mao, etc).
To say that her initial encounter between herself and Haruka Yoshimitsu were negative would be something of an understatement. When Kanade left her sheltered, rich lifestyle for the galaxy, she simply clung harder to the values she was raised with. When Haruka did the same, she embraced the seedy underbelly. Kanade found herself repulsed by the boisterous, brash and indecent nature of Haruka, who seemed equally disdainful of her haughty attitude. While Haruka adjusted her opinion of Kanade relatively quickly, Kanade simply found herself more disgusted. Nothing was more mortifying for Kanade than arriving to Osaku Penthouse to discover the uninhibited and wild nature of the party going on there. Since then, she's found herself in an odd sort of dynamic with Haruka, and largely ignorant to the woman's desires to corrupt her. It could be said that Haruka is the mercenary she's warmed up to the most, although that's not entirely saying much. Aside from that, Kanade insists on referring to Haruka as Blackbeard, as to make fun of her eyepatch and her behavior.
Initially almost completely disregarded by Kanade was Haken Wastia, who she saw as nothing more than an absolutely incompetent, talentless, gender confused idiot. And for the most part, still does. While she did her best to stay away from and ignore Haken during their first missions as a team, she found herself partnering with him in the mission on Villa, for lack of anyone else. Kanade quickly found herself hating his company more and more as the night went on, culminating in a ballroom dance between herself and Haken. A dance that she absolutely needed Haken to guide her through. Having to rely on him throughout the experience struck a rather significant blow to her self dignity. Since the dance though, she's found it considerably harder to simply write Haken off. She's somewhat charmed by his brand of bumbling sincerity, though she still can't honestly say she likes him. Kanade enjoys referring to him as a "she-man poet boy", which she sees as enormously clever.