Unicorn Clan Archer * Crane Clan Limericker * Jade Hand
A middling-short woman with short black hair, brown eyes, and I'm going to indulge wish-fulfillment here to say that she's *not* nearsighted. ^_^ Her usual dress tends toward the practical, Moto-style, though she will avoid egregiously offensive/barbaric dress (that nice leather jacket...) in "polite company." (A few years with the Crane will even teach a Moto.) If she needs to dress formally, she does own a white/blue/violet kimono with cranes and unicorns on it (after I get a couple quasi-commissions out of the way, I plan to sketch the kimono itself--given enough time and locating my !@#$ silk dyes, I hope to *produce* the thing). Otherwise, she's an unremarkable-looking specimen. The katana she owns is a mere formality, and the only reason she has a passable one at all is that it was a gift from a Crane friend.
Cursed with a quirky sense of humor (my concession to the Limericker in me), and impulsive, a trait that has only partly been tempered by events in her life, including time spent among the Crane. She is very quietly disapproving of the Celestial Order--the egalitarian streak comes from her Clan and her not-quite-samurai father--and generally friendly, but not outgoing, with an inferiority complex where other ("real") Crane are concerned.
Skills of interest:
Horse-archer, though she is merely competent rather than exceptional at horsemanship or archery. Her father, who has peasant blood in his background, taught her some *small* use of the sai, and she does own a pair but generally keeps them out of sight. She trained as a poet and musician with the Crane for several years, due to Crane connections on her mother's side, and is grudgingly accepted as a Crane. Like many a Unicorn, she also has a keen interest in gaijin technology and engineering in particular, which is what is most fascinating to her in her stay with the Jade Hand.
Both parents are deceased; her father was born of farmers who, in the typically loose hierarchy of the Unicorn, went somewhat militant during the Spirit Wars. Her mother was the daughter of a Burning Sands Moto who fell in love with a Crane magistrate after she lost her leg; it's highly likely Maratai's mother is the Crane's (illegitimate) daughter. Maratai has a younger sister, Moto Arioki. Both of them went to Crane lands after their parents died, Maratai to study music and Arioki to study iaijutsu and courtly ways. Arioki disappeared under circumstances that suggested Shadowlands involvement, and Maratai has been looking for her ever since. However, she rarely mentions her family, and if asked about them, tends to answer obliquely if at all.
During her musical training, Maratai had a brief almost-romance with a Crane poet and duellist--a Daidoji to boot. He died in a duel involving political ickiness shortly before she learned about her sister's disappearance. These two events propelled Maratai to go off wandering on her own for a while, and *after* the Crab-Crane war reached its resolution, she reappeared in Crab lands, seeking the Jade Hand in hopes of contributing to the cause, pursuing her music and poetry in a slightly less *Formal* environment, and continuing her increasingly-hopeless quest for her sister. It didn't hurt that she met a certain Hiruma, even though it complicates her political situation no end. :-)