HWE Bakeneko Picture

Name: Bakeneko

Alias: Monster Cat, Ghost Cat, Demon Cat, etc.

Alignment: True Neutral (aka Neutral Zero-Fucks-To-'Givevil')

Rank: 1 Kaijin/Megafauna

Race: Yokai

Size:

Length: 2-13 ft.

Height: 7 inches, to 5ft at the shoulder, can stand upright equal to its length.

Weight: 8 to 1350 lbs.

Powers:

Face/Off - A Bakeneko can take the form of any human they eat seamlessly. Eating a person also gives a Bakeneko that person's knowledge and they can assimilate languages this way. They can take the form of a random human but not without minor mistakes or a greater chance for them to be found out. They can also disguise themselves as smaller, normal housecats without much difficulty. In either forms, they can speak whatever language they know.

Feline Flames - Bakeneko can manifest spiritual flames as both a distraction, a lure or to attack. They can cover their bodies in this flame and turn their tails into living torches to set fire to anything flammable nearby. Standard curses and misfortune are also the sorts of magic that Bakeneko can perform. Some advanced Bakeneko can even reanimate fresh corpses and manipulate them like puppets but when a Bakeneko can achieve this they are very close to becoming something much worse...

Extra Large, Extra Grumpy - Bakeneko have all the natural abilities of a feline of their size. Having great agility, senses and dangerous natural weaponry. They are as stealthy and fearsome as any panther. This is accentuated by also having human level intelligence .

Weaknesses:

Frivolous Dramacrats- Bakeneko can't help but take their pranking to competitive levels, often taking risks and doing things that would get other Yokai caught in a heartbeat. A common one is to assume human form and wrap a towel around their head while dancing merrily in circles, for seemingly no reason.

Because You Were Nice To Me - Bakeneko are fickle with both their goodwill and grudges. Often Bakeneko will go overboard in either direction, sadistically tormenting and ultimately killing those that harmed or wronged them and those they care about and going to extreme measures to help those who showed them a good turn. In a way a Bakeneko has a warped and extremely selfish sense of personal honor without actually being honorable in the slightest.

Tail of Pride - A Bakeneko's power is primarily stored in their very large and very long (comparably) tails. Should the tail be removed, the Bakeneko will return to being just a mortal housecat, albeit one with near human intelligence.

----

Day 14: Big Cats and Ghostly Whales

*continued from Tsuchi-Gumo*

"Cats? You mean cute fluffy kittens turn into horrible corpse stealing Yokai?" Ruki asked in disbelief. "You know Thero-Kun, I'm starting to think this is really unfair." The Miko groaned, her mind steadily imagining that everything remotely innocent in the world was some horrific monster that was out to either eat you, defile you, or kill you and defile your corpse.

"The Yokai family that most cats enter is not evil...per say. The truth is more complex than that and has a lot to do with human superstition being a self fulfilling prophecy." Kaitheros admitted, wanting to at least keep the impression factual.

"I thought most superstition is BECAUSE of Yokai."

"True, many stories and aspects of the supernatural in this hemisphere is because of actual encounters with Yokai or other creatures. But in the case of many Cat Yokai, it is a direct or indirect actions of humans and human culture."

"So humans thought they created cat Yokai?"

"Yes, but not in the manner they thought they did. You see from the Kamakura to the Edo Period there were many paranoid beliefs about the behaviors of cats that caused the common folk to believe that they had become demonic."

"Was there any basis in fact for the behaviors?"

"Not at first...but Yokai often have a way of making what is merely a story or human ignorance into a breeding ground for the supernatural wiles of the Toho Plane."

"I'm not liking the sound of this..." Ruki grumbled.

"In their foolishness, humans during that time in Japan came to think that certain Cats could speak human languages, and grew especially demonic if they fulfilled a few notable criteria."

"Which where-"

"Licking oil from lanterns, growing a long tail, living past seven years, and the assumption that it spoke human languages."

"That does sound sorta weird. And older animals are primary vessels for animal like Yokai right?"

"Yes, but the behaviors are natural with today's knowledge. The diet of many commoners during those times was primarily vegetables, the scraps of which were fed to the cats. The cat, being primarily a carnivore, desperately needed protein and because cheap lantern oil was often made from fish, cats would seek it out. Their wide eyes of longing for the substance giving the age old indication of 'supernatural activity' afoot. Over the years, many cats in Japan now have short tails, simply through natural selection induced by these superstitions. Cats, being drawn to movement and bright lights may do many unusual things...things that often got them killed by fearful villagers who were adamant that their cat would become something akin to one of the Shapeshifter Yokai and kill them."

"That's horrible! And backwards! And more horrible!" Ruki protested.

"In a society where the group is greater than the individual, such 'individualistic' creatures are seen as subversive and threatening. Such was the way of things back then. This is not unique to Asia."

"Right, I learned recently that black cats are bad omens in the west, especially on Halloween. I guess it's the reverse here."

"Especially if it had a white tail. Such a sign was again more fuel for the readily available abuse and systematic killing of cats that had simply lived too long. To the point where owners of cats would measure out how long they would keep them."

"So all that made cats turn into Yokai."

"It made them easily acquirable vessels for like Hitodama which of course turn such animals into Yokai. But the resulting Yokai is one that is entirely selfish and maligned against those that wrong it. While it may become one of two very dangerous and very desecration happy Yokai, all cat Yokai start out as Bakeneko."

"Monster Cat...I'm guessing it's just a really big cat."

"Bakeneko are unassuming creatures at first. Often appearing as just very old house cats. But over time they grow in size, eventually growing as large as a full grown man or even slightly larger. Their tails are long and carry a great deal of their power. Severing the tail severs their power which is a common aspect of many animal Yokai save for the Tanuki...who as we explained have more precious of a power source."

"At least a cat can live without a tail, does it just go back to normal then?"

"Mostly, but a cat that was a Bakeneko is still a fairly large and intelligent cat up to the day it draws its last mortal breath. Many wouldn't take the chance of letting it live even in its depowered state."

"These Bakeneko must get to be really mean creatures after all that."

"Especially if they were greatly mistreated when a normal cat. One of the first things a Bakeneko does upon manifesting from a normal cat is to hunt down the people that had wronged it and kill them. Devouring them and taking their form for its own. They also assimilate the knowledge of those they devour, allowing them to learn human languages or assimilate them outright."

"Well, maybe people should think twice before abusing animals. I'd say it serves them right." Ruki huffed.

"You're taking this rather personally~" Kaitheros noticed, smug expression in tow.

"From what you told me yourself, Bakeneko are mostly the result of humans being bastards."

"A precedent that is unfortunately more common than I would like in this era." Kaitheros agreed. "However, ignorance while not an excuse is nonetheless an unfortunate consequence of desire without empathy. Bakeneko are a result of that ignorance and the Bakeneko have been making mankind pay for it ever since they appeared. The problem is that Bakeneko do not stop at the person that wronged them before they were Yokai."

"Let me guess, they turn into vindictive murder monsters." Ruki pouted.

"That is what makes Bakeneko a rather complicated Yokai. They are neither truly malevolent or generous. They are the very definition of 'neutral' as they entirely devoted to their own interests and deal with others by their own rules and agendas. While of course a Bakeneko would curse and bring misfortune to those that abused or wronged them, they are also willing to extend that same paw on the behalf of those that were kind to them."

"So it's like they say, a cat doesn't want the whole world to love it, only those it chooses to." Ruki brightened up.

"Being a Yokai of course, Bakeneko often aid those similarly mistreated like themselves and their vengeance is disproportionate in the extreme. Bakeneko will sadistically play with and torment those they hate before finally killing and eating them. Their soul not moving on but instead being absorbed by the Bakeneko."

"Maybe jerks like that don't deserve to move on to wherever." Ruki offered.

"You ARE taking this personally!" Kaitheros exclaimed dramatically.

"You haven't explained why these Bakeneko don't fear ghosts or even Onryo." Ruki reminded him, deadpan.

"Well, Bakeneko have an assortment of supernatural powers. Not only can they turn humans they eat nearly perfectly and random humans with some notable flaws, they can also manifest spiritual fire. Fire that can be cast as fireballs, used to lure people into traps, or enshroud them in mantles of fire. Turning their tails into flaming torches that can alight nearly all flammable substances. In ancient times where many things were fashioned from wood by a vast majority, the antics of a Bakeneko simply experimenting with its powers could bring unprecedented disaster."

"So it would be the kind of fire that doesn't affect a Tsuchigumo."

"The actual spirit flames themselves yes. But the resulting inferno at it being waved or brushed around could very well level the playing field. Spiders and Cats have something of a rivalry where bodies are concerned."

"They both make use of them?"

"Exactly. While Tsuchigumo only use the skulls and devour the body for sustenance, the eldest of Bakeneko can reanimate the freshly dead and use them as one would a puppet."

"Okay...that's legitimately creepy. They make zombies?!"

"At this stage in a Cat Yokai's life, not for very long. Only for about a night or two. But that can change at the turn of a century...when it becomes something significantly worse."

"Do they try to breed with humans to shorten that time period like Kitsune?"

"No, Bakeneko have such aloof and fickle relationship with humans that they would not wish to be anything but what they are. If anything they become MORE CATTY with age."

"..."

"What?"

"That was a bad pun and you should feel bad for making it." Ruki groaned.

"Well it's not like I can make much material around fire throwing cats that eat people in the name of personal vendetta!" Kaitheros lamented. "And for the record they get along with ghosts and even Onryo because their interests often align and to such specters a Bakeneko and their...elder cousins can be very useful allies in perpetuating a grudge."

"Great, now I have to worry about Onryo that might be crazy cat ladies too."

"You're more likely to find Bakeneko in urban sprawls and in red light districts than in the company of a Onryo."

"So there are 'whore cats' huh? Should I serenade them with a biwa or throw a bag of catnip at them?"

"Not sure...if you're serious or mocking me but using catnip might actually be a good 'non violent' strategy." Kaitheros offered.

"I'm listening." Replied, intrigued.

"Bakeneko, outside of their more supernatural attributes are much like human sized cats. You've dealt with similar size predators before. A Bakeneko is not much different. Among themselves Bakeneko are not nearly so grim."

"Explain."

"Well, Bakenko among themselves are actively competitive when it comes to their pranks. Generally in how absurd the prank is along with the difficulty of getting away with it. Bakeneko perform the most outlandish pranks simply to see if they can get away with it. This is what lead to accounts of them standing on their hind legs and 'dancing' with a blanket or napkin on their head. Either in their cat form or as disguised as a human."

"Hihihi, that's actually kinda funny. Like some cat videos I saw one time. I wonder if the grumpy faced one was a Yokai..."

"I don't see why not, even if they look like animals at first glance a Yokai is still a Yokai and only get away with so much before it is exposed. Exposing the antics of a Bakeneko is actually fairly simply due to their penchant for the absurd."

"So I can deal with big scary cats by either treating it like a big housecat, purifying and sealing their fire and corpse puppetry and if I'm really desperate I can cut off the tail. Otherwise, they aren't the hardest shape shifters to figure out if they haven't eaten the person they are impersonating." Ruki summarized.

"And if all else fails you can appeal to their better nature. While Bakeneko are not honorable, they do have a warped sense of personal code that makes them protective or charitable to those that actually do them a good turn. A Bakeneko may be one of the few Yokai that are receptive to a 'kinder' breed of Miko." Kaitheros nodded. "I would discuss the various cat Yokai but I feel that we need a more positive topic before you head back."

"Oh? What should we go over next?"

"A likewise neutral and non malicious type of Yokai known as a Bake Kujira."

----


Continue Reading: Ages of Man