This is a character I created earlier tonight for a proposed Rokugan (Legend of the Five Rings d20) game. I have always said that in a Rokugan game I would play either an Isawa Shugenja with the fire element focus or a Kakita Iaijutsu Master. I was close.
Name: Isawa Mizuka
Clan: Phoenix, Isawa family
Class: Shugenja 2 (Water)
Background: Tadaka wandered away from home one day as a young boy. His impromptu poetry had enticed a water kami from its nearby stream and, when the kami startled the boy and silenced his musings, it retreated back to its home. Tadaka followed, hugging the banks and watching for the unusual bobs and swells that marked the novice shugenja's sight of the kami amidst the gently rolling water. The chase and the mystery banished any sense of time from his mind and he realized only hours later that he had pursued a series of kami through the forest, losing sight of the water kami as an air kami passed before him and later a trio of earth kami lying none to far apart in the rocky soil at the base of a cliff. Lost and alone, Tadaka wearily made his way up the twisting paths of the cliff in the hopes of seeing the river that would lead home, as the earth kami refused to speak to him and, in fact, bullied him with jeers of "pretender". At the top of the cliff, Tadaka sighted not the river he had followed hours ago but Yobanjin Mura, the secret trading post of the Phoenix and the Yobanjin barbarians.
Since that day, Tadaka showed an insatiable interest in the dealings of Yobanjin Mura and the barbarians. This proved to be a great difficulty for his parents and teachers as the outpost ranked among the Isawa family's most closely held secrets. His persistence, however, won out and he has since paid two more visits to the city, both on market day.
At his gempukku, Tadaka shamed his family in choosing the name Mizuka, or "water practitioner." In doing so, he all but dishonored his ancestors by shunning their names and creating his own. And this after bearing the name of Isawa Tadaka, the great Master of Earth who sacrificed himself to defeat Fu Leng and save the Empire. The arrival of an Imperial messenger seeking audience with Isawa Mizuka thus came as an incredible surprise to the Isawa and the riddle posed by this turn of events delighted the water kami in the garden pond to no end.
Personality: Mizuka is a dichotomy of childlike wonder, innocence, and spontaneity contrasted with the wisdom, gravity, and onerous responsibility of an Isawa shugenja. He harbors an intense curiosity for the world around him and the worlds just out of his sight (both the kami and the barbarians) and sometimes allows it to get the better of him. On the other hand, he has learned from his past mistakes and exercises immense restraint, especially when he remembers he represents the Phoenix and the Isawa to those outside the clan.
Description: Mizuka is typical for a Phoenix - smaller and thinner than most Rokugani, he nevertheless possesses a quick, athletic build from years of swimming and physical conditioning as prescribed by the Tao of Shinsei. Unlike most Isawa, who either wear their hair long or shave themselves bald, Mizuka cuts his hair short and gathers some into a topknot in imitation of the Yobanjin barbarians. He favors the yellow and orange clothing of the Phoenix but often accentuates it with blue and green embroidery or ribbons.
I chose the water element focus because it provided the best support spells for a party that was almost entirely samurai charged with exploring the lands outside the Empire. The other applicants proposed a Hida (Crab) samurai, an Akodo (Lion) samurai, a Daidoji (Crane/Scorpion) samurai, an Otomo (imperial family) courtier, and a Nezumi ninja. The water schools offer healing and movement. Even at second level, Mizuka could cast multiple Cure Light Wounds to heal the party and Speed of the Waterfall to triple its movement rate. Castle of Water is an excellent self-defense spell, offering cover, immunity to missile weapons, and pushing nearby attackers away and outside the wall.
That last paragraph was as much for my own benefit in consolidating my spell choices and potential party members as anyone else reading this.