Hi, and thanks for reading my story. I apologize for the introduction being so long, but please bear with me. Before I forget, I DO NOT OWN OKAMI, NOR DO I OWN THE DIALOGUE USED. Any questions, talk to me about them. If the first part seems slow, again, I’m sorry. As the game progresses, so shall the characterization. Thank you for reading!
Part One: Acceptance
…When the night of the sacrifice drew near a mysterious white wolf appeared outside the village. This wolf, its coat as brilliant as snow, was dubbed Shiranui. The wolf kept a watchful eye on anyone who ventured outside the village, and made a habit of patrolling the streets at night. People assumed the wolf to be a familiar of Orochi.
One villager took it upon himself to face the fearsome Shiranui. The warrior Nagi attempted many times to challenge the wolf. But his attempts were thwarted by Shiranui’s swift movements. Before long, the night of the accursed festival had arrived. A white plumed arrow heralded the coming sacrifice. Piercing the sky, the arrow sunk its shaft squarely into the home of Nami, the village’s most beautiful maiden. Nagi, harboring a secret love for Nami, was enraged by this sign. Determined to put an end to Orochi once and for all, Nagi traveled to the beast’s cave in place of his beloved.
The Moon Cave, a place as dark as evil itself, served as Orochi’s home. As Nagi stood bravely before the entrance… A beast appeared, eyes glowing crimson upon 8 thrashing necks. Orochi stood tall before him, anxious for another sacrifice. Nagi leapt with incredible grace, swinging his blade valiantly. On and on he sliced, well into the moonless night… but Orochi’s hide was like steel. The blade left nary a scratch. At long last, Nagi, his energy spent from the intense battle, dropped to his knees, fatigued and gasping for breath. He knew he was staring death in the face. It was then that the wolf appeared.
As if to protect Nagi, it stood its ground before Orochi. In the darkness of the cave, the wolf’s coat shone brilliantly. Alas, it was Shiranui, the wolf that dwelled outside the village. Baring its fearsome claws, Shiranui leapt toward Orochi. Orochi reared its terrifying heads, readying its fangs for battle. The two beasts struggled wildly, thrashing in the darkness. Mysterious and terrifying, the spectacle continued. Shiranui summoned gusts of divine wind to counter Orochi’s flames. As Orochi closed in on Shiranui, sharpened claws glistening… A gigantic tree suddenly sprouted forth, shielding the wolf. Shiranui fought gallantly to gain the upper hand.
However… Orochi, protected by a mystical power, was not easily bested. Shiranui, covered in gashes, majestic coat dyed crimson, stood exhausted before the mighty Orochi. Orochi saw a chance to strike what would be the final blow. But Shiranui refused to give in. With its last ounce of strength, the majestic wolf gazed heavenward and unleashed a mighty howl. Suddenly, the black clouds overhead dissipated. The light from above glinted off Nagi’s sword as a beacon of hope. Guided by his sword, Nagi, who had been taking shelter in the shadows, stood proudly to face his adversary. Channeling all his strength into his scarred and battered arms, he leapt ferociously toward Orochi, his sword poised high.
The golden sword danced in his hands like a puppet on a string. One by one, Orochi’s fearsome heads separated from their owner. Orochi’s broken body collapsed in a lake of its own blood. In that instant, the curse that plagued the villagers was lifted. As the battle subsided, the sun shone once again in the sky. Shiranui had succumbed to Orochi’s poison and struggled to breathe. Nagi scooped the beast into his arms and returned to Kamiki. When they reached the village, Shiranui was no longer moving. The village elder gently stroked the wolf’s head. In response, Shiranui let out a hoarse and pitiful bark… Then closed its eyes and drifted off as if into slumber.
Peace had at last returned to Kamiki Village. In honor of Shiranui’s heroic exploits, the villagers erected a shrine and placed a statue of the wolf within it. Nagi’s sword was christened “Tsukuyomi” and placed inside the Moon Cave. The villagers all looked forward to an age of endless peace…
However, this is not the end of the story… There is more to this tale than most people know. 100 years had passed since Nagi and Shiranui’s heroic exploits. It happened so quickly that no one in the village even took notice…
And just like that, he awoke again. Lately, he’d been surfacing in and out of his slumber, but either way, darkness surrounded him. Silence entombed him. By her sacrifice, he’d been placed in this purgatory, yet with no way to atone for his sins and no way to suffer for them. Shiranui sighed, and settled again for another dip into oblivion.
Had I known, would I still have resisted? He thought.
He thought he heard a voice just outside of his resting place. Impossible, but his hopes raised a bit; he wished it could be her, the lovely Amaterasu. The stern goddess had come to him some time ago. He had been afraid for he was but a lowly wolf, a corrupted animal. His master often told him that he’d given Shiranui the ability to think just so he could regret. Amaterasu had taught him about valor and duty and trust, just so she could demolish all she’d edified.
Just so I could suffer for her.
A fire suddenly bloomed on his back. Shiranui panicked as the rock tomb around him crumbled away. Confused and achy, he stretched his body and leapt down from the shrine. Shiranui looked around. A sprite hovered above him.
“Ah! Such divine white light! Such beauty and grace!” she said. Shiranui narrowed his eyes. He thought he recognized her. “The only one capable of such a wondrous spectacle is none other than our mother and the origin of all that is, Amaterasu!”
Shiranui looked around and behind himself. He saw no one who looked even remotely like the goddess.
She can’t mean me, can she? He whined and lay down; though in slumber for many years, he’d gotten no sleep. The sprite waited for him to say or do something. He looked at her with one eye and said, Leave me; I crossed my master as a servant never should. Stay if you enjoy traitors in your midst. Sprites could usually pick up on his thoughts and feelings. This one, however, was determined to pester Shiranui.
“Amaterasu… Gaze above you and take in the condition of the sky,” she said. For the first time, he noticed the dark presence surrounding the area. He knew the cataclysmic style well. Shuddering at the thought of his former master, he returned his attention to the wood sprite.
“Since your untimely departure from our midst, the world has succumbed to devious and vicious beasts. They have ravaged our fine and bountiful country of Nippon… But never have the circumstances been worse than they are at this very moment.”
My departure wasn’t exactly voluntary, he thought. And the woman who so graciously helped is not here! Quit calling out to-
“Please use your powers to banish the darkness and punish those who would do us harm. …Hm?” Her bodice jiggled. Shiranui cocked his head. “Has something stolen its way into my robe? A ha ha ha ha ha ha!”
The beautiful laugh could not distract from the green projectile. It landed in front of Shiranui, who sniffed it. The green aura around it changed to red as the little person hopped up and yelled upward to the girl. Shiranui peered closely at him.
“Ow ow ow ow ow! Are you nuts? Boy, for a little thing, you sure make a big fuss! I was just tryin’ to make the conversation a bit more interesting, that’s all.”
“Were you napping in my clothes again, bug?”
“Bug? I told you a thousand times not to call me that! I’m a wandering artist. The name’s Issun!”
Shiranui settled back, slightly disappointed. He’d hoped that it’d be that other man, Isharru, Kishuku, or whatever his name had been. Now that he thought about it, he didn’t remember a lot of the names from way back when. Shiranui was looking back to the sprite again when a scroll bearing her image smacked him across the snout. It was a good painting, but his level of agitation couldn’t get any higher.
“Well, whaddya think? Even cuter than the real thing, no?” Issun asked, jumping onto his nose. “What’s with you, furball? You look kinda down in the dumps. Actually… You look kinda familiar… Got it! You look just like that statue of Shiranui!”
Shiranui growled. I am Shiranui! He flipped his muzzle, catching the inch-high sprite in his mouth. He meant to swallow, but a sharp prick to his tongue made him spit Issun back up. The Poncle was not impressed. As Issun yelled at Shiranui, a roar from the north drowned him out. Shiranui cringed involuntarily at the sound.
“Wh-Wh-What’s that growling sound? And why’s it so dark, anyway?” Issun stammered.
I can see you’re going to be a lot of help. He snorted in the artist’s direction. The swirling air above them seemed to churn faster. He looked up and sighed, but then noticed the wood sprite was fading.
“O, great god Amaterasu… I’ve used all the power I have to protect Kamiki Village.” He didn’t bother correcting her this time. She sounded extremely weak, and sprites tended to get irritated when tired. “The village lives on. Their spirits lie encased in my fruit. Cut it free, and the village will be reborn! I trust in you. I know that you will lead us down the right path. Only your awesome power can restore life to the world.”
Shiranui cocked his head a bit. I’ll pretend you didn’t say it that way, sprite. I’ll pretend you didn’t say it at all. The giant cherry tree reappeared in its place. He looked up and down the leafless limbs, as did Issun.
“That Sakuya girl sure said some weird stuff. …That’s the fruit. That girl said that if you cut it down, the village will be restored.” He shook his head. “But it’s awfully high up there. This darkness is really gettin’ to me, too. A lot can happen while you’re taking a nap.”
A light shined forth from the base of the tree. Shiranui’s eyes weren’t used to such splendor; even witnessing Amaterasu had been painful. Calm came from the entrance. It unnerved him, for he’d only witnessed such peace with the goddess long ago.
Why is it, he wondered as he ran in the opposite direction, that I cannot escape her since I have reawakened?
He hit a wall. The jolt bolted down his stiff bones to his tail. Issun nearly fell off of his back.
“What in the world?” he said “There’s something blocking the road leading back to the village! Am I still dreaming?”
Shiranui tried again, but was forced back, resulting in clever commentary from his… companion: ” Ouch! Is there a wall here or something?” Sighing, Shiranui turned and walked through the glowing portal.
Inside, all sounds of menace were cut off. Flowers and grass littered the entrance, a breeze scratched the air. Shiranui had never felt more at ease, yet more terrified. He started when Issun spoke.
“Where are we? I don’t remember any place like this in the village. Well, we better keep our eyes peeled.”
Shiranui just kept his eyes open for a blade to cut down the fruit, but Issun had other things on his mind. At almost every corner was another chest or pot to examine— to make sure he missed not one yen of treasure. The wolf wished that the Poncle would have taken up with someone else when they came across a broken bridge. From the looks of it, it had been abandoned for decades.
“Looks like the bridge is out,” Issun said. Shiranui glanced back him and rolled his eyes.
Your wisdom no doubt impresses the masses, bug, he thought. If Issun understood, he didn’t say.
“This shouldn’t be so hard, um… Amaterasu, was it? That’s kinda long. Mind if I call ya ‘Ammy’?” Go ahead. I doubt anyone knows me anymore. “Listen, Ammy… Ever heard of the spirits of the brush? Good brushwork has its own soul, ‘least that’s what they say. Just watch. It’d take all day to explain… A picture’s worth a thousand words, right?”
Familiarity crept into Shiranui’s mind once again as a slight pause in the world around him happened. Suddenly, before his eyes, the bridge repaired itself. He started to pant and whine softly; she’d used that many times on her journey.
“Nice, huh? Just a little technique I’ve mastered called—” Rejuvenation! “—Rejuvenation. It’s a brush god power that can restore broken or missing things. I’ve practiced really hard just to master this one technique. But there are 13!” Issun sighed. He sounded impressed and overwhelmed to Shiranui. “Originally, all 13 were a single powerful deity. God or no god, how could anyone have the power to master all 13!?”
Shiranui smiled. I’ve seen that power, he thought as he ran across the bridge to the next monument. She wears robes as brilliant white as you are dull.