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Tsuchigumo (土蜘蛛) is the commonly known name for a mystical race in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de 4. They were once known as the Tsukuyomi Clan (月読の一族, Tsukuyomi no Ichizoku) in ancient times. Tsuchigumo are easily recognized by their dark complexion and the elaborate cloaks covering their entire bodies. Despite their close resemblance, they live on a different plane of existence than people in Nakatsu Kuni and have many supernatural powers.
They are one of three ancient clans who once dominated in Nakatsu Kuni's lore, the others being the Himuka Clan and the Star Clan. Tsuchigumo are associated with the moon and water. Since they aren't mentioned in later records or legends within the parallel world, it can be assumed that they fazed out of existence or were eventually forgotten.
Role in GameEdit
Coming from unknown origins, the Tsukuyomi Clan once lived in Nakatsu Kuni and prospered with people. One particular member of the clan became close to the first White Dragon Priestess. He helped her in the war against the "Bloodied Serpent" as her trusted guardian and healer. When she sacrificed her soul to summon the White Dragon to stop the Bloodied Serpent, the Tsukuyomi grieved for her. Returning to his clan, he told them his tale and her sacrifice. In her honor, they erected a painted memorial for her on the beaches of Kumano.
Once the Tsukuyomi realized that the populace in Nakatsu Kuni were ignorant of the truth and sang falsified praise for his beloved, he became embittered towards them. Inciting his people to fight against the royalty, the Tsukuyomi rebelled with other warring factions. Their war resulted in a severe loss for his people, as they were branded as heretics and exiled from their homes.
Fleeing from their pursuers, the Tsukuyomi were scattered. A portion of the clan remained hidden within the forests and mountains of Kumano in Nakatsu Kuni. Staying attached to their spiritual companions, these Tsukuyomi developed the ability to walk freely between the land of the living and dead. Their powers alienated themselves from the populace.
The other runaways set sail for the west to be as faraway as they could from their pursuers. Sailing for weeks at sea, they finally reached Tokoyo no Kuni. Since the lands were lush with greenery and natural resources, the Tsukuyomi settled peacefully. A majority of the Tsukuyomi who went to Tokoyo no Kuni eventually lost their spiritual powers and became human.
Although the clan dissolved with the split, their descendants lived on in both countries. The name of their clan was lost in legend, but they gained their current name as Tsuchigumo to distinguish themselves.
Powers and Other TraitsEdit
Tsuchigumo are renowned for their extraordinary healing powers. Only they can siphon their powers to create a special medicinal water called Ochimizu (変若水). With it they can heal grievous injuries, nullify toxins, and eliminate illness. The water's effects are so powerful that it's rumored to have the powers to revive the dead.
Aside from healing Tsuchigumo are also known for casting curses unique to their culture. One such curse is dubbed "Deficient Moon". It places the victim in agonizing pain and weakens their body significantly. Even their songs are enchanted, as they can lure spirits and wandering souls to them. If the Tsuchigumo so desires it, their melodies can calm them or direct them to attack whoever they desire. Only another Tsuchigumo can dispel their brethren.
Due to their supernatural dwellings, Tsuchigumo often have superhuman strength and speed. They can jump and drop from tall structures without being harmed and can easily crush hard objects with the slightest of effort. Tsuchigumo often aren't the strongest fighters in the world, but their natural strengths are enough to pose a threat to unprepared soldiers. In war, it's considered a blessing to have Tsuchigumo as an ally on the battlefield. Their abilities reach their peak after the sun sets so they are ideal units for night raids.
Their spiritual abilities come with a cost, however, as Tsuchigumo are destined to lose one of their senses at birth. It's expected for people to encounter Tsuchigumo who are mute, deaf, blind, show signs of anosmia, or so on. Each Tsuchigumo has their specific price for their powers, which varies on the individual. Stylized markings appear on their skin to indicate which body part is inhibited.
Like their ancestors before them, Tsuchigumo also risk losing their powers if they constantly remain in contact with people. To protect their supernatural senses, Tsuchigumo wear full bodied, enchanted cloaks called Hitsugi (棺). These robes additionally allow the Tsuchigumo to freely pass through barriers and enter the land of the dead. Tsuchigumo can wear them easily, but Hitsugi are drenched with spiritual curses and energy. A normal person can't wear them, and even those with strong spiritual capabilities experience problems if they wear it for too long.
When Tsuchigumo wants friends they can converse and interact with spirits normally invisible to the human eye. These spirits may rely on a Tsuchigumo for their healing powers and, in return, they reward them with gifts or gossip. If Tsuchigumo desire help, it's not odd for them to simply address the spirits floating around them.
In their culture they don't call themselves by personal names. They instead name each other with numbered ranks based on their primary abilities at birth. Tooya's real name is "eighteen" in his culture to note his singing abilities. Tsuchigumo with the strongest spiritual capabilities are called "one" or Eka. Their native speaking language is Sanskrit, but they have since adapted to learn Japanese in their interactions with people in the mortal realm.
Tsuchigumo's namesake is a supernatural spider-like creature of the same name in Japanese mythology. It is literally translated as "Earth Spider", though there is no spider in the world which resembles the beast. Alternatively the same spelling was used in Ancient Japan as a derogatory slur for someone who did not swear their allegiance to the imperial throne. Tsuchigumo weren't necessarily bandits or criminals –often being vagabonds or people without territory– but they were often persecuted as such. These Tsuchigumo suffered a bloody end if they were caught by the emperor's army and refused to prostrate themselves to the throne.
Characters used for their archaic name are lifted from the Japanese deity known as Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto (月読命, 月弓尊, 月讀尊 or 月夜見尊), Tsukutsumi-no-Mikoto (都久豆美命), or Tsukuyomi-Otoko (月読壮士 or 月人壮士); he was one of the Mihashira-no-Uzunomiko and often called Amaterasu's polar opposite. The Furukoto Fumi barely mentions him as a deity who blessed the world with night, but he is better known as an ordained moon deity within the Yamato Bumi. Although the prior texts briefly identify him to be the male middle child of the trio, Tsukuyomi is sometimes known as a female throughout literature due to the Chinese belief of the moon having strong yin implications (feminine traits).
The Izumo-no-Kuni Fudoki mentions that Tsukutsumi descended to Nakatsu Kuni and created Katsura-no-Sato at the spot which he/she landed, giving birth to the Japanese Judas tree. The same village became a beloved spot for the moon people and spirits. This particular tale is thought to have originated from Ancient India or China and was integrated into Japanese mythology and literature. Compositions within the Manyoushu often compare Tsukuyomi to the full moon and as a deity who could grant immortality with special, rejuvenating water called Wochimizu (変若水).