HWE Baku Picture

HWE Baku

Alias: “Tapir Yokai”, Dream-Eater

Alignment: Neutral Good

Rank: 1 – 2

Race: Yokai

Size:

Length: Ranges from Seven Feet in Length to Fifteen feet in length

Height: Ranges from Four Feet to Nine Feet in Height.

Weight: Up to Two Tons.

Powers:

Banisher of Evil: A Baku’s mere presence wards off lesser Yokai and those of more malicious intent. This is due to its aura of “holy smoke” that accompanies a Baku which purifies the area around it, dispelling Hitodama (and other ghosts) and driving off lesser Yokai in fear that they could be utterly purified and destroyed by the Baku. This also dispels other Yokai magic such as Kasha Fire rendering a Baku the ultimate anti-evil Yokai.

Symbol of Luck: A Baku’s presence or even depictions of Baku in holy places can bring good luck and fortune to the area it is present.

Devourer of Nightmares: The Baku’s most famous ability is the ability to “devour” nightmares, like a walking dream catcher. This is actually done by absorbing and alleviating the person on a subconscious level. Anxiety, mental illness, post-traumatic stress, fear, triggers, etc., all things that result in Nightmares undergo a sort of subconscious invisible therapy in the presence of a Baku as the Baku quite literally manifests those things into a sort of mist which it absorbs and purifies allowing the persons mind and body to be ‘at peace’. This ability makes it one of the holiest of all Yokai. Depictions of Baku also ward off nightmares and bring subconscious peace of mind to those who are present.

Tusks, Trunk and Trampling: A Baku, much like its cousin the Hakutaku, can also be quite a monster to contend with if for some reason you end up on its bad side. Its tusks, claws and trunk are most assuredly not for show and can be quite deadly to any pour soul who strokes a Baku’s ire.

Speak of the Baku, and it shall appear: A Baku is very receptive of prayers, chants and human desire and Baku often get drawn to where they are wished for most, often in places like shrines or those with the most severe night terrors.

Ethereal Transference: No obstacle can deter a Baku. No Castle too fortified, no expanse of water to wide, no mountain too high, etc. That is because a Baku travels in an ethereal mist, allowing it to appear and reappear anywhere be it indoors or in the wilderness. Baku appear, do their duty, and vanish in a very short amount of time.

Weaknesses:

Defiler Aggression: A Baku takes great offense to people, Yokai or other creatures which defile holy grounds or the dead. As such, a Baku is often considered the worst nightmare of Kasha, as a Baku who comes across a Kasha would immediately gain aggression towards the cat demon.

Insult Detector: A Baku’s penchant for being lured to where it is desired has a side effect of also luring it to where a Baku is insulted, often out of curiosity as to why a good natured beast such as it is being spoken about in such a fashion. It is often summoned this way to funerals so to ward off Kasha. This can also be used for more nefarious purposes if one, for whatever reason, wishes to destroy a Baku.

Benevolent Beast: A Baku for the most part is quite benevolent and only shows aggression to defilers like Kasha or the like. For the most part, if scorned or insulted, the Baku simply leaves, denying the location or person whatever good it intended to bring.

Nomadic Beast: A Baku seldom stays in one location before moving onto the next place making it a sort of wandering priest of sorts in regards to the Yokai. A Baku only stays so long as it’s needed, then it moves on after it finishes its duty, heading to the next place that is in most need of its presence.

Solitary: Baku rarely are seen together in the Material Plane, preferring to travel alone. As one Baku is all that is needed to carry out its task, and two Baku together mean that one of the Baku cannot do what needs be done elsewhere, hence why Baku travel alone. While most Yokai steer clear of Baku, this solitary nature could, theoretically, be used against a Baku.

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Day 28: Into the Holy Beasts

The sun was clear and the weather unusually chilly for the City of Yamatai. Kaitheros felt a chill run over his body, while he particular despised the thought of feathery plumage, he did see some of the perks and benefits some theropods had in that regard…warding off the cold was one, not that it ever really bothered him in any reasonable fashion… the said could not be said of humans…

“How can you put up with this cold? You’re a giant lizard!”

“It’s not THAT cold. It’s rather normal for this time of year, besides it doesn’t get any colder in this corner of the Den.”

“Easy for you to say! I had to sleep sitting down at a Kotatsu all night! It was comfortable, but my back was sore in the morning!”

“Oh no the miko had a sore back, the world is coming to an end~” Kaitheros snarked.

“That and I had some really weird dreams too! I mean, there was a chicken…the size of a T-rex, playing a Biwa! And it was chasing me!”

Kaitheros chuckled. “I still cannot get over that name. T-Rex? Western paleontologists sure had vivid imaginations.”

“Yeah, apparently now they are saying that all dinosaurs had feathers or something… which given here, I think is kind of stupid…well, they used to say it.”

“Dinosaurs still existing in the world apparently had more of a culture shock then the fact there were giant monsters existing at all in the world.” Kaitheros mused satisfied with that irony.

“No kidding, that Lerna-lady came here what? Two times? She hangs out with a giant t-rex monster! You would think living Dinosaurs would be something she is desensitized too…”

“Dinosaurs apparently had a large grip on the human imagination as they are so far different to anything man was used too, while Giant monsters had some presence in mythology and traditions, Dinosaurs by and large were something of modern myths that actually existed. As you can imagine, the thought of these modern myths of sorts still existing in the world made a lot of happy.”

“I can see it. But thats not all, last night…well…”

“You had a nightmare didn’t you?”

“Well, yeah.” Ruki admitted, trying to dance around the topic.

“And pray tell what was it about?”

“It was about…when I first came into here.” Ruki was silent, that distant painful memory

Kaitheros was silent, and simply nodded in understanding.

“Do you ever have them? Nightmares, I mean.”

“Rarely. With my age, most dreams simply remain a blur, but every now and again I do get a painful, distant memory in the form of a dream. Such things can never truly be forgotten, not even in dreams. Although there is a particular Holy Yokai that can ease the pain.”

“What sort of Yokai?”

“I speak of course, of the chimeric Baku. A Yokai bearing the head of an elephant, legs of a tiger, body of bear, eyes of a Rhinoceros and tail of an Ox. A rather bizarre Yokai which the humble Tapir was mistaken for when discovered by the Japanese, hence why the Japanese word for Tapir is, well Baku.”

“Baku? Oh you mean those animals which scare away Kasha?”

“Correct. A Baku can be considered a relative to a Hakutaku in that they are large, benevolent holy beasts of which bring good fortune wherever they appear. However, unlike a Hakutaku, a Baku is far less picky on when to appear or who to appear too.”

“That’s not hard.” Ruki snarked. “Hakutaku are kind of pretentious about that.”

“Not nearly as much as the creatures they serve…bunch of pompous pricks.” Kaitheros snided. “However, yes. Hakutaku are indeed very…picky to who they choose to appear to. Baku are not, making them more common and thus far more revered to the people for what good a Baku brings.”

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Baku do a lot more than scare away bad Yokai.”

“Correct, but one thing at a time, little Miko. A Baku is a creature of whome carries with them a sort of purification mist of sorts. This smoke or mist that appears with a Baku dispels Hitodama as well as any sort of Yokai magic. Weaker ghosts and undead get instantly exorcised in the presence of a Baku, and Yokai arts like Kasha Fire, Curses, or hexes get dispelled.”

“Wow! It’s like an all in one banisher of evil!”

“That is a rather apt way of describing a Baku, yes. Due to this particular trait, most Yokai in an area flee from a Baku, fearing the very real possibility that they too could get purified and destroyed by a Baku. As such amongst Yokai, a Baku is one of the things no Yokai bearing ill intent ever wishes to cross.”

“So why does badmouthing them lure a Baku? Do they have insult senses or something?”

“You are…not wrong.” Kaitheros explained. “A Baku is one of the handful of entirely benevolent Yokai in the world in that Baku go were their needed most and provide their services and then mozy on to next place in need, no matter where that place may be, the Baku makes a beeline for it.”

“Thats all sorts of mystical, I mean how does the Baku know where it’s needed next?”

Patience, little Miko. This is where the “insult senses” somewhat comes into play. For you see, a Baku is in a ways, partially omniscient in that a Baku is instantly made aware of when a Baku is prayed too, mentioned, and so on. As well as being made aware of any place where its other services are most needed, of course it won’t always work, given that Baku are understandably a very active Yokai, however when one insults a Baku…well…”

“It takes offense?”

“Not necessarily. As mentioned insulting a Baku makes any local Baku curious as to why a creature of its benevolence is mocked in such a fashion, which is why during funerals, it is often chanted ‘go away Baku’ so that the Baku would instead be lured to the location so that it could theoretically intercept a Yokai like a Kasha.”

“Huh, you mentioned back with the Kasha that Kasha don’t wish an altercation with a Baku, but given that its benevolent, can’t a Kasha do what it wants to do and run away?”

“I guess benevolent is a loose term, as Baku can get their ire stoked, and Kasha do it more often than not. A Baku takes an incredibly aggressive stance against those creatures who defile the sanctity of shrines or that of the dead, like a Kasha. As such a Baku will relentlessly run down and pursue a Kasha until the Kasha somehow gets away, or the Kasha is utterly destroyed for its blasphemy. A Baku’s tusks and claws are not for show, which in conjunction with its purification mist, makes a Kasha easily run down and destroyed by a particularly furious Baku. Outside of that single caveat, however, Baku are some of the most benevolent Yokai out there.”

“Huh, so Baku run out other Yokai? I can see why that would be really helpful for the people.”

“But that’s not all a Baku does, in fact, we haven’t even covered the Baku’s most famous ability.”

“So running out Yokai isn’t enough?”

“Nope, that’s just an additional perk to the Baku. No, what those pray for a Baku for is simple: it devours nightmares.”

“Wha?” Ruki gasped flabbergasted.

“Silly sounding, isn’t it?” Kaitheros chuckled.

“How--, How---, How does that even work?! Is it a walking sleeping aid or something?” Ruki’s face gave a sense of total utter bafflement.

“It’s a bit more complicated than ‘devouring dreams’. Given that for the longest time no one knew what dreams or nightmares even were, that was the best summation the Japanese people could give. But in actuality, a Baku’s presence causes a therapeutic effect on the mind. Rampant nightmares and night terrors are often symptoms of human subconscious desires or mental illness, not always, mind you, but often. This subconscious sphere of the human mind is not something that one can amend easily, stress, illness, fever, memory, fear, all things can result in nightmares… a Baku’s presence helps soothe that.”

“So a Baku is a walking sleep therapist?”

“Interesting terminology, but not far off. A Baku often appears suddenly to those in need of its services, often when said person is in the thralls of a nightmare or night terror. The Baku then exhales a smoke like substance which envelops the person. This purification smoke then begins to have a rather adverse effect on the human mind, things like fever, mental illness or the like begin to slowly…remedy themselves to a point where the person in question can live a relatively normal life. Granted this doesn’t fix the illness and there are some that get ignored entirely, but the illness in question gets remedied to an extent where it’s not hampering the person as much. Nightmares and Night Terrors often resulted in the person in question being severely sleep deprived, which can be a major health issue, so naturally a Baku goes to those people. When a Baku is finished, it inhales, absorbing the smoke back into its body…”

“So some scientific babble that makes more sense by saying it just eats nightmares?”

“Strictly speaking. And even then that is just a theory, I much prefer just ‘eating nightmares’ as well.” Kaitheros admitted. “However, that is not all.”

“What more is there to a Baku? It’s already like the ultimate good guy Yokai!”

“A Baku’s presence or even a simple depiction of a Baku, be it art, sculpture, amulet, what have you, can bring good fortune to the wearer and be used to help ward off lesser Yokai as well as preventing nightmares as if the real thing was there with you.”

“Wow, no wonder why people like Baku so much…. So a Baku goes anywhere its needed most, so what happens if said place is high in the mountains or across a large body of water?”

“And that is where the Baku’s last major trait comes into play.”

“You’re kidding! These things are already cool enough!”

“Can’t say I am. A Baku’s final major trait is its method of travel, in that it can take on an ethereal state which allows it to fade through or float above any obstacle that may hinder its travel to its mission. No castle to fortified nor mountain too high can deter a Baku, in fact, most Baku have a tendency to suddenly appear with your bedroom if you are in need of its services, there are limits of course as it can only do this within the influence sphere of the Toho plane, but other than that limit, there is no reasonable way to deter a Baku outside of being truly wicked in which the Baku ignores your plights entirely.”

“Huh, so there really is no negative downside to this Yokai is there?”

“Outside of its fearsome chimeric appearance and the rare off chance of someone getting a Baku’s ire, there is no real downside no. It subsists off of human subconscious emotions such as dreams or nightmares, so it doesn’t eat people outside of that, theres not more to say about the Baku.”

“I guess the next Yokai will not be so nice, huh?”

“Wrong again. This next group of Yokai is another Holy Beast Guardian Yokai. A Yokai which is seen guarding temples and shrines all over eastern Asia….”


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