During the last Splintered States War, Izumi’s family paid dearly. Her family had long held allegiance to the Takani Empire during its height, and such allegiances were not tolerated among the successor nations like Chinsai and Uikku. The Akaneko were forced to flee their home in Chinsai’s capital of Shitaka after their estate was engulfed in flames. They could not flee to Takani however, for it meant many days of travel through the rest of Chinsai, pursued by those who had torched their home.
So her father’s solution was press north into Uikku, where they would not be recognised and their pursuers would not follow for fear of encountering an enemy war party. So Izumi, her mother and her two sisters followed in their father’s footsteps as he pressed north. It seemed to work for a time, and as they hugged the Butaro river westward they came to a shrine of the Feline, Izumi asked if they might stop to pray. The Feline was said to be the ancestral guardian of their family and often her parents would tell her stories of the creature and how it was the unseen helper and servant of the family: she hoped it might answer their prayers and give them safe passage all the way to Takani.
But this proved to be the folly that would see his family’s demise instead: for the Feline could help them pass unseen, if they were not already trailed by retainers of Shitaka’s governor who pressed on despite the dangers of following the family into a warzone – the price on their heads was too high to give up. When they finally caught up, Izumi’s father made a valiant stand defending them as her sisters and mother fled. But Izumi would not let her father die alone. She had been carrying a kama from their home until now, and wielded it against her foes. Not expecting such animalistic ferocity from the young girl, she was able to cut down two men before ultimately falling herself as a sword pierced her chest. She lay dying next to her father, and watched in horror as his head was rent from his corpse
She felt the cold press of the blade against the back of her neck, and then blackness. She found herself standing in cold water, face to face with the Feline. It spoke to her, admiring her braveness in the face of certain death and her respect to her ancestors. The Feline gave her a chance to return if she would dedicate herself to the service of her ancestors, to which Izumi agreed. In the form of her spirit she watched as the men buried their comrades while her and her father’s heads were strapped to their waists.
Each of the swords of the fallen had been laid over their graves. Anguish boiled within Izumi’s spirit form, amplified by the sight of swords laid upon her slayers’ fallen comrades. In a gust of spectral wind, the weapons levitated, controlled by her ethereal fury. They darted among the men, leaving trails of terror and blood. Their screams echoed briefly, then fell silent, silenced by the ethereal justice Izumi exacted. Her vengeance fulfilled, a strange tug yanked her back to her severed head. Unseen by mortal eyes, flesh and bone regrow from her neck. Pain, yet also rebirth. Eyes once closed in death fluttered open, revealing a newly reformed Izumi.
Now she stood, not just as the daughter of the Akaneko family, but as a spirit warrior, servant of her ancestors, reborn by the Feline’s hand. It had promised it would be watchful and vigilant over her sisters and mother, and ensure them a safe journey to Takani. Meanwhile, Izumi was to join the Seirei no Samurai, becoming renowned as a warm and loving figure to her companions, but cold and calculating to their foes. Her ethereal powers never left either, and her ability to project herself into the spiritual realm and act as a poltergeist often came into play during their missions.