Zanpakutō Name: Seitōna (Rightful Path)
Zanpakutō Appearance: Akari’s blade, Seitōna, in its short time in the public eye, has already become a legend in the close-knit circles where scholars of the Zanpakutō ply their ancient trade. It is believed that a God-spirit is only ever created when the soul of a Shinigami and the spirit of the Zanpakutō are so perfectly forged together that they embody a fundamental principle of existence. It is finely penned in the recently written archives that Akari and Seitōna, bound together in the ties of fate, represent the very concept of Spirit. Just as the Captain-Commander embodies Metal and the exiled Veritas Junshin once stood for Blood, these God-spirits and those that wield them are forever studied and followed, their destinies tied to the unknowable and grand machinations of reality itself. Since it was only a few decades ago that Akari took to the public eye, there is still much to be learned about Seitōna, and many Shinigami historians have elected to dedicate their lives to its study. Each year brings with it a flood of theories that need to be confirmed or denied.
A now-famous Zanpakutō, Seitōna is average only in its length. In every respect, its overall design is that of a typical Shinigami katana. Its blade, kept razor-sharp through Akari’s meditations and through almost ritualistic traditional care, is just about as long as his outstretched arm. The single cutting edge glistens in the sun whenever it is unsheathed, as if to bask in the light that hid its wielder for so many years. It is this blade that defends the weak, and carries forth not only the wishes of the 4th Division, to uphold and protect the Gotei 13, but those of Soul Society as well; it is a defender of the balance between life and death; it is a guide for spirits who have lost their way. While it has tasted less blood than many of the other Captain-class Zanpakutō, due in no small part to the preferences of Akari, it is still an inherently deadly weapon that stands at the ready to fight back evil wherever it lurks. Its shape and size are the only things that do not betray its near-celestial nature.
Seitōna’s inherent beauty is one of its most transcendent qualities, and it is seen clearly in the pure white wrappings of its tsuka. The cloth is soft to the touch, yet offers enough friction to form a solid grip with Akari’s hand. Despite its comfortable feeling, it is almost impossible for him to be disarmed without significant force behind the blow. These wrapping are also resistant to virtually any kind of stain. Be it blood, sweat, or dirt, the clarity of the white cloth is never marred or sullied; such detritus simply slides off of its surface like droplets of water, or falls like grains of sand. No maintenence is required for this, although some of Akari’s personal time is spent taking care of the Zanpakutō regardless of the fact. It is as if the tsukamaki were composed out of condensed light. This is actually an outward sign of Seitōna’s purity of spirit, the bonding element between itself and Akari. So long as the two are pure of heart, the white can never be tarnished.
The tsuba of Akari’s Zanpakutō is the color of platinum, lighter than silver with a glimmering quality that blends well into its celestial appearance. The shape of the hand-guard has four tips, much like a cross, only with complete symmetry geometrically. Each tip is the same length away from the center, exactly two inches from the base of the blade. These tips are pointed, as if they were outstretched arms of a diamond, and their edges trail beautifully into one another in four identical concave curves. Within each quarter is a small triangular hole. These are decorative, and match the curves of the outside of the tsuba; the inner third of the triangle is perfectly straight, while the other two are concave. The ridges of the design trail the outside of these small holes and the border at large, creating a beautifully geometric design that can be used both as a handguard and a piercing weapon should the need arise. Like the tsuka, the metal can never be tarnished.
The saya that keeps Seitōna sealed while Akari is on normal duty is of typical black design, without fanfare or any unique features. This was done intentionally. Despite his legitimate claim to a God-spirit Zanpakutō, the Ivory Chemist has no interest in drawing extra attention to his blade or proclaiming it as something worthy of awe. Instead, he believes it to be a part of him. And as a humble servant of the Gotei 13, it is no more worthy of respect than any other blade. Unless he is on assignment or there are injured Shinigami who need the unique abilities of his Shikai, Akari keeps Seitōna safely sealed within a warded, specially guarded glass case on the top floor of the 4th Division Headquarters. A God-spirit Zanpakutō, it is considered a vital component to the safety of Soul Society. As such, it is guarded by elite members of the 1st and 2nd Divisions and may not be viewed without express written permission by a Captain.
Should a situation call for Koyuki to actively carry his Zanpakutō, he always does so with it slipped into the cloth around his waist. Having developed a style that requires only the use of his right arm, bearing similarities to the human form of ‘fencing’, the blade itself is always resting on the left side of his hip so that drawing it is easy and convenient. This location effectively hides the upper half of the Zanpakutō beneath the black haori that covers his left side, although the bottom portion of the saya can be easily seen, especially when the Captain is walking. This is not part of any reliable tactic, however; Captain Koyuki never attempts to conceal that he is drawing his blade.
Zanpakutō Spirit: The landscape within Koyuki Akari’s soul, a place assembled from the spirit of a man who spent most of his life confined away from the sun, is bathed in contrast to his history. It is a land of light and positivism, where every potential is seen to its finish and nothing, not even air, is taken for granted. For that is the very essence of who Akari is. He is a man who forged his own path out of the darkness and into the great world that lay beyond his horizons. He knows what it is to be without, and it has translated into a knowledge of what is important. He has broken through the boundaries that held him back for hundreds of years, and every inch of his soul reflects that in the grandest possible terms. The world crafted by these broken limits and sincere admissions of appreciation is the home to Seitōna, the God-spirit of Spirit itself. It is a place where the most learned men in Soul Society only wish they could see.
Seitōna’s domain is one of light and peace. It is an eternal field of both wildflowers and weeds, growing endlessly in all direction without a hill or valley in sight, intermingled with green grass that never grows too long. Although seemingly bland in its sheer endlessness and simple topography, it is a place where one can appreciate serenity. There is comfortable level of consistency in the field itself, yet variety in the plants that seem to call it home. This represents two very separate aspects of Akari’s soul: the hidden contentment that a part of him felt during his isolation, where all was safe and familiar, and the profound appreciation for the variety of everything else in the world. Before he had mustered the courage and ability to leave his familial grounds and become Captain of the Gotei 13, these fields were without flowers. Each now represents a new experience in his life.
The light radiating from the sky comes from what appears to be the sun, only instead of a blinding yellow, it emanates a soft white glow, and it is many times the size of the its natural cousin. This radiance illuminates the endless field as if it were a cloudless summer day, yet one can stare directly into it with no ill effects. In fact, the light is soothing, a stark contrast from the real sun and how Akari’s condition reacts to it. It is a comfortable place where nothing can conceivably cause any pain. Thorns on the rare rose bend against skin and the sweet scent of the flowers is amplified by the consistent warm breeze. There is no darkness, and that white sun always rests directly overhead, no matter how long a journey Akari may take across the endless fields. There is no center to be found, the expanse is limitless--no different from the experiences he may have in his lifetime.
Within the mellow light of the white sun rests Seitōna herself, ever cloaked by its radiance. The sun of the luminous inner world is as much a part of her as clothes would be to another, and its glow is her gift to her domain. The spirit appears as a woman blurred by the light, her form clearly feminine and nude but impossible to distinguish from the sun behind her. Looking upon her even in the calming light is to look at a mirage upon the edge of a lake. The gentle curves of her body are nothing more than an outline, shifting in the glimmer, and her long hair trails like rays of the same light that conceals her. Although she is always present in the inner world, she never comes down to the ground. Akari only need speak to the sky when he wishes to communicate with her.
Seitōna is a being of unbound spirit, the polar opposite of the stoic and self-controlling Chūsei, the God-spirit Zanpakutō of Harotaissen Tsuribakki. When she speaks, her light, calming voice emanates from the skies above, preaching the value of accepting oneself and appreciating all there is to life. She is a strong believer in the philosophy that nothing should be taken for granted. During their long conversations, she is quick to support Akari in his common goals to help others, and she happily lends her powers to him to not only heal his allies, but to cut down his enemies. To her, those who would seek to destroy life and taint the souls of others are to be pitied, but are ultimately deserving of being put down if there is no other way. She is a kind being, and would sacrifice her own existence in a heartbeat if it would safe the Shinigami in whom she resides. She values him as much as he values her.
Perhaps the only conflict in ideology that has yet to be resolved between Akari and Seitōna is one of fundamental value, and, aside from experience, is a major reason why the Righteous Light has yet to achieve Bankai. At his very core, while Akari values every experience he has and everyone he befriends, he often unconsciously forgets to appreciate himself. The same humility that caused him to place his haori over his shoulder also stifles his potential, and it is this hurdle of self-discovery that Seitōna hopes he can surmount. The God-spirit adamantly believes that she can only serve as a guide along the path, and will never teach Akari what he cannot learn himself. When he finally realizes the true depths of his own importance, and admits it to himself as openly as he admits the value of others, he will finally become more capable of bonding completely with Seitōna. On that day, the Bankai of a God-spirit will be one step closer to being unlocked.
Shikai Appearance: Because Captain Koyuki has a Shikai that can act both as a catalyst for incredible healing and as an offensive weapon capable of killing even Captain-class opponents, he can release it to great effect in a variety of situations. In general, he will do so if someone becomes too injured to be healed by normal means, or if his medical and martial skills do not suffice to end a fight as rapidly as required. How quickly he resorts to its use depends on a multitude of factors ranging from his remaining spiritual energy to how many of his chemicals are still primed and available for use. Some formidable opponents never get the chance to see the full capabilities of his God-spirit Zanpakutō in a released form, while others are doomed to perish by them.
Like all Captains, Koyuki Akari has achieved a level of mastery over his Zanpakutō that allows him to ignore the release command and enter Shikai abruptly and without warning. However, he most often chooses to honor Seitōna by exclaiming it in full. Because his release is not particularly dangerous to those in the immediate vicinity, he rarely feels the need to clear the area or retreat before he begins the ritual. Instead, he simply points his drawn sword towards the sky. If the sun is at all visible, the sword is always aimed towards it. Otherwise, it points straight up. He then recites:
“Never cease and never stall; the walk towards the light be everlasting and we at peace. Seitōna.”
With those words echoing in the air as if spoken from a preacher, thrumming through the waiting atmosphere to those chosen to hear it, the bone-white spiritual pressure that Akari exudes in spades amplifies itself by a magnitude of ten, washing over everyone and everything within a few thousand feet. The bathing light is not inherently dangerous to most, although it can be blinding and even burning hot to those who harbor aggression towards Akari and his allies. Still, it does not compare to some other Captains who can shatter army formations with their spiritual pressure alone. At his core, the Righteous Light is not so aggressive. Instead, the waves released upon Akari’s Shikai seem to instead bolster hope and strength in his allies. He becomes a shining light for others to follow, and a flag-bearer for the ideals and potential of the Gotei 13. This is a reflection of who he is as a person and as a leader.
Once the pressure is released, a fog-like glowing pulse of light traces its way along the entire length of Akari’s Zanpakutō, starting beneath the grip and making its way to the tip within moments. It is harmless, and phases through its wielder’s hand without sensation. As it moves, the form and shape of the weapon shifts within it, leaving behind the Shikai release of Seitōna as it finally passes the edge and disperses harmlessly into the atmosphere. In place of a katana, the blade is now a rapier, similar in design to those used in the World of the Living centuries ago. Its length remains roughly the same, only its blade becomes far thinner, ending at a hair’s width at its razor-sharp tip. With two cutting edges and a deadly thrust, the Zanpakutō immediately becomes an entirely different weapon of war.
Where once there was a tsuba, the grip of Akari’s Shikai now features an elaborate hand guard made of silver. Twisting and turning strands of centimeter-thick metal wrap around his hand in the same fashion as most traditional rapiers. The hand guard itself acts like a shield for his fingers. Fastened to the underside and protecting his hand, this larger, dome-like piece of silver metal is engraved with the same cross-like pattern that previously made up the tsuba of the Zanpakutō. A symbol of the sun that is Seitōna, it is a central piece to the functioning of the Shikai, and is incredibly durable and nigh-impervious to physical damage. This piece not only protects his hand, but the abilities of his Zanpakutō, as well.
With a weapon that now caters to Akari’s unique fighting style more readily than his unreleased Zanpakutō, his martial abilities become more formidable. The normal flourishes are easier with the thinner blade, and more precise and almost medical strikes become a simple matter for the master swordsman. Akari is capable of advancing upon opponents rapidly to either disarm them or run them through. The sharpness of the blade is immaculate, allowing for deep and fatal cuts that can incapacitate limbs or kill in their own right. However, it is not the increased martial capabilities that make Seitōna one of the most powerful Shikai in Soul Society history. The released weapon’s unique abilities are what allowed Captain Koyuki to claim his position without having achieved Bankai.
Reiraku Sense: The first and fundamental ability of Akari’s Shikai, the Reiraku Sense allows him to perceive the spiritual energies around him in the form of spirit ribbons so long as the symbol on his rapier stays intact. Like the high-level meditation technique after which the ability was named, Reiraku, these spirit ribbons are the coalesced essences of individuals. However, unlike its namesake, this ability is completely effortless. It takes no concentration for Akari to see these ribbons, and unless another individual is performing their own form of similar meditation, the sight is his alone. Through this ability, he can discover concealed opponents, flawlessly gauge the Reiryoku of his foes, and even tell the difference between regular souls (white ribbons), Shinigami (red ribbons), and derivatives of the Hollow races (black ribbons) no matter how they may mask themselves. He can also determine how injured an individual may be by the visual wear on the ribbons themselves, an ability unique to this sense and not accessible by traditional Reiraku. It is through this supreme sixth sense that the Ivory Chemist dominates as both a healer and a combatant.
Reiraku Healing: Akari’s innate ability to sense injury to both the spirit and the body through the condition of the spirit ribbons around him not only allows him to sense how close to death his enemies are, but how wounded his allies may be. The true power of his Shikai is not the ability to mimic Reiraku, but to manipulate the ribbons themselves, something far beyond the capabilities of any other Shinigami. Should he isolate a damaged one and wish to repair the person to whom the ribbon belongs, the Cleric can focus his Reiatsu through his weapon, creating a dull light around his hand. This glow then illuminates the cross-sun symbol on the hand-guard before traveling through the blade and into whatever ribbon it pierces, which quickly begins to mend itself as if countless skilled Koyuki clan craftsmen were repairing the silk. No matter the physical injury, disease, or poison, this technique can heal it within a matter of seconds so long as the subject is still alive. However, it cannot repair that which has marred the ribbon for more than a few days, as such things become part of the soul itself, and are up to the individual to overcome. And a ribbon cannot be affected in this way more than once per hour or so, else it lose its own strength permanently. Nevertheless, this is considered one of the most powerful healing techniques in the history of Soul Society.
Reiraku Binding: Seitōna is not limited to healing through the Reiraku. If an enemy is too powerful to be taken down peacefully or through weaponized Immritaxel, Akari can isolate their spirit ribbon and attempt to bind them through directly affecting their soul. This can be difficult when an enemy is pressing an attack, but the Ivory Chemist is adept at using feints to create opening in which to use his techniques. The act of stabbing the tip of his blade into a ribbon--without the healing light that assists his first technique--essentially binds the spiritual energies of the target. While this does little to normal humans, it can be devastating to Shinigami, Hollow, and other spiritual beings. Weaker individuals may be unable to move or even breathe. Stronger foes may lose the energy required to keep up their releases, returning their weapons to a sealed state. However, this technique only lasts as long as Akari keeps the point of his sword buried in the ribbon. Powerful enough opponents can press what advantage they have in an attempt to release the bindings on their abilities. It is in these cases where the Albino relies on the final and most lethal ability of his Shikai.
Reiraku Harming: The lethal culmination of Captain Koyuki’s Shikai is the ability to cut soul ribbons. In essence, he can kill an opponent by attacking a part of them that they cannot physically see, bypassing all forms of physical defense. This is done by literally slashing at the soul ribbon with the intent to damage it. Despite their appearance, the soul ribbons are not all equal. Captain-class individuals have so much spiritual energy at their disposal that it may take dozens or even hundreds of direct hits in order to successfully sever the cloth. However, once a ribbon is cut, its owner dies, regardless of their strength. Unless a unique opportunity presents itself, Akari will rarely attempt to cut a powerful foe’s ribbon in half; it often takes too long and is far too difficult to strike in the same place enough times to succeed. Instead, he swipes wherever on the soul ribbon that he can. Each nick and cut damages the body as well as the spirit. Over time, wearing down a ribbon may cause bones to break, blood vessels to rupture, and organs to fail. In extreme cases, limbs may be severed. The results are random, and even Akari cannot predict what will happen with each cut. However, weakening an enemy by striking at their soul ribbon makes them far more manageable for him to defeat with normal tactics, making it an ability on par with many Captain-class Bankai.