|Full Name:||Nori Ankou|
|Aliases:||La Sirene de Diamant, formerly la Sirene du Nord, Akai Mirai|
|Age/Birthdate:||14 (March 2)|
|Eye Colour:||Midnight Blue|
|Favorite Food:||Grilled marine snails|
|Least Favorite Food:||Super-sweet things|
|Least Favorite Subjects:||Knitting|
|School:||Ohtori Academy (Grade 10)|
|Source:||Sirens of Sorrow's Sea (OC)|
Nori Ankou is a fashion model by night and a high school student at Ohtori by day. In both places she presents herself as a young woman of few words and striking appearances, whether in the social whirl of the Academy or the glamorous heat of "Akai Mirai." Those who know her beneath this exterior know someone a little tentative, a little sad, and deeply caring. It was not long ago that she was stuck-up, with her nose in the air, nursing a hurt that her parents seemed to choose an infant brother over her as the recipient of their affections... but now she has friends and confidants of whom she is quite fond. She is also fond of otters... she would have to be, for one is her cousin, Batiste, an emissary from the distant Sea of Tears. For Nori Ankou is also la Sirene de Diamant, a glittering beacon in an imperfect world and one of the Sirens of that far-off sea, pursuing the heights of queenship. With Batiste's guidance, she draws on the alien abyssal light of the Sea of Tears to guide the innocent and scourge the wicked, protecting Tokyo (well, parts of Tokyo) from interlopers and malefactors.
Nori's main pursuit in life at the moment is not the educational studies that befit a school-lady of her age. That would be the obvious thing, even at Ohtori, but instead she has, despite her young age, become one of the leading lights of a rising fashion house, representing Akai Mirai - the darker, glamorous, night-time side of the AoAka label. Akai Mirai can be anything and everything except blue.
Nori has also developed as a person. While standing in defense of Tsuru, the creator of AoAka, a cruel stroke from Shizuru Fujino, la Sirene du Nord perished, in a way: the cold winter winds of the north dying like a dream denied. And yet, whether through the strength of a secret promise or the enigmatic truth that "We Only Live To Be Born Again," someone new rose from the dry husk of du Nord: la Sirene de Diamant, glittering and splendid.
Other than her fashion career and desultory efforts towards schoolwork, Nori was also given the mantle of leadership of the Chevaliers when Sayaka Miki left in order to pursue her vendetta against Eri Shimanouchi. Thus far, Nori has been too racked by grief to guide the Chevaliers to anything more ambitious than protecting a portion of Tokyo and trying to stop Sayaka from murdering Shimanouchi in the street. However, this is the sort of thing that draws the eyes of the Mother of Sorrows.
Nori Ankou was a child with problems. No, they were not problems of misbehavior or foolishness; she was insightful and intelligent, an early reader and a thoughtful person. Her problem was much simpler: She had regular and frequent storms of a crippling, intractable depression. Even in an ideal situation this might have been less than positive. As it was, she was largely subject to displeasure from her parents, who had hoped for something more outgoing in a daughter... someone who could live up to the family's habits of being outgoing, go-getters, even a little ruthless at times. This disapproval didn't come with beatings, it just was an atmosphere of cold isolation.
Nori learned to fake it. It was an amazing power. Her parents, evidently relieved at the sudden brashness and outgoing nature of their child, didn't question too much that she still spent lots of time alone, by herself. ("I need to think!" "I'm tired of seeing other people!" "Other people are dumb, gosh!!") After all, at school, when she wasn't having a fit, she was fine. It was a relief to those parents, especially when they had a second child on their way - a son, too! Nori did not really like faking it, but it did, initially at least, seem to work. She did feel better... somewhat better... sometimes... However, after years of doing this, she began to despise herself for her false face, while not being able to put it down for long. When her parents informed her that, in light of both her academic irregularity and her penchant for periodically kicking her peers in their pouty pastry-holes, she would be going to a boarding school for her middle school years, she broke down in tears.
That, too, wasn't unusual. They let her run off to the dockside boathouse near the ocean on their seaside estate where she hid. They did not expect that this time, she would take a rowboat - and begin travelling out, as far as she could, tears in her eyes. A storm rose. The boat hit a far shore. As rain pelted down on her, she looked up at a gray eminence: someone who had come and waited, holding a lantern. The woman kissed her brow, bore her up the craggy path to a sheltered lighthouse, and fed her a meal of fish. She introduced herself as the Mother of Sorrows, and told Nori that she was in a home that had been prepared for her long ago. She could stay - forever, if she wished - and would learn many mysteries, and things she had not known she missed. She was a child of the Mother, at whatever remove, and she was not the first to come, nor would she be the last.
Nori ate her supper, and then said, But I have to go back; I'm to attend school soon.
Do you mean that? the Mother asked her. You do not have to.
Nori was silent for a long time. The Mother waited; she poured tea, served a small cake for dessert. Nori answered, finally: I don't know.
The Mother smiled, and congratulated her for her honesty. Come back tomorrow, she said: Take the same boat. Come after breakfast, and stay the day.
Nori left; came back the next day; and here the two of them spoke at length. Nori's ears burned to hear the strange woman praise her for her strength and the force of her will. But I'm awful, Nori said. I decided to lie to everyone so that Mother and Father would not be sad. What's strong about that?
Because, the Mother said, you did not lie. You performed, and you have kept the knowledge of yourself. Such strong will is worthy of a Queen. Return to me on this day, next year, and we will speak again.
Nori went to Ohtori then, and forgot about that entire conversation. She nearly forgot - if she hadn't looked in her old journal, she would have thought it was a dream. But on that day, a clear and blue day, she snuck away from her parents as they cossetted her infant brother, and sailed out of sight of land. Had it been a dream? She thought so, but when she turned around, she found the Mother sitting there. The Mother told her something of the history of the Sea of Tears, and how in time the sorrows of the world came there; how her children had filled the Earth, mingling with the races of mortal man, but how in time they would feel weighed upon by the passage of time. Those who could return to the Sea found themselves growing into strange and wonderful new powers and potencies... but most, in the end, did not. The Mother taught Nori a charm then, and told her to use it, not from here, but at Ohtori, in thirteen months, no more and more less. That charm was to sail away from land, however accomplished, steering without sight and with tears in her eyes.
But... Nori thought Ohtori was great fun. Her feelings were lighter, though she still had dark and gloomy spells. She remembered what day it was when the news spoke of storms at sea and storms on land. She slipped off the school grounds, desperately taking a paddleboat; steering it away, trying to make headway against the surging waves. Futility and black depression lay upon her - and then she awoke in that familiar lighthouse, tucked into a warm if spartan bed. The Mother was there, and she was told then of her real purpose.
She could stay if she wished, as many others had, but she held the strength and the will to pursue the course needed. Become a Siren, the Mother said; gather the sorrows of the world and bring them here. In time, you will grow, and should you grow enough, you shall be Queen, as she who rules now under my watch grows old and weary of the task.
She was then told, of course, that she was not alone, but...
Tsuru - Tsuru has made promises and told Nori secret things, and in some ways is thus the most precious person in the whole wide world to her. (There are, of course, other worlds, but we leave that aside for now.)
Madoka - Sweet, kind and brave, Madoka may lack some of the advantages that Nori knows that she has had, but the strength of her heart is something that awes and shames Nori when she considers it. One of her fondest memories is watching pilot whales in the early-March cold - the happiest birthday she's ever had. (So far.)
Sayaka - Sayaka would have been a step below if she did not have the singular misfortune of being someone who Nori bled to defend. Nori was already charmed by her bravery and the simple sincerity of Sayaka's passion, which struck a resonant chord in the blackwood resonant chamber that is her heart. But now Sayaka nearly died. Nori may cool down a little eventually.
Garnet - This towering woman is stern, silent, brave and strong. Nori likes her, even if they haven't really spoken much. But at least Nori feels that these things aren't unusual, when it comes to Garnet.
THOSE FOR WHOM NEUTRALITY BURNS
Fuu Hououji - The Magic Knight and her alter ego are a curious study in contrasts. On the one hand Nori has appreciated her aid in many forms, and on the other hand she did not much enjoy her expedition into the realm of Cephiro to aid Fuu. Their personalities are also not really compatible, or incompatible. And so, Nori knows that when it comes to the question - is Fuu a precious person to you? - her heart says... Maybe.
Eri - Eri Shimanouchi is not someone Nori has ever really gotten along with, although there was a period where she was gentler, more sincere. She would hate her more for what she does were it not for the tragic fact that... Well: While Nori cannot concur with Eri's actions, she can comprehend not wanting to die. It may not be good, but it isn't evil, either.
KOZUE - She thought that Kozue was a dear friend, perhaps her best friend. Now she knows otherwise. How could she have not seen it? There's a bleeding hole in her heart now. Maybe that has its advantages, but...