Kudzu is DragonSage1331's character. Please don't plagiarize or copy.
This character is in the Nightcry-verse.
With a father whose fall from grace made the news, a mother who hides in her room and pretends things she doesn't like aren't happening, and a sister who is rapidly following her father's path, this RainWing hybrid has a lot on her plate. But she's come too far to fail now. As the youngest head of Ascension Industries in history, she's turned the tech company her father ran into the ground into a force to be reckoned with at the stock market. Now if only she could get that pesky SkyWing reporter to stop snooping around...
|"Appearance is a weapon that I plan to use to the best of my ability."|
She is noticeable. Not through beauty, for though she possesses many qualities that is not one of them. Her face is sharp and angular, her nose wide and curved, her paws too large and her tail too long. In terms of beauty, she is rather plain.
No, Kudzu is noticeable because she makes others sit up and take notice. She keeps her scales gray-green, eschewing the loud and bright patterns typical of her father's tribe, to send a message. I will not be overlooked. I will not fade quietly into the background. I am not your average RainWing.
Her photophores are a bright mint green, the ones that she does have trailing down her neck and back in a haphazard line. They glow as bright as she can make them when she is in a meeting, making all eyes turn to her as she spells out what the company needs and how they can get it.
Piercing yellow eyes notice details others overlook, put the pieces together with speed and finesse, and deliver glares worthy of her late father. Though of course her employees never say that to her face. They know full well her disdain for Bufeo, and even mentioning him could very well get them fired before the day is out.
Though she is not beautiful, her attire certainly is. Kudzu only wears the finest suits, tailored to her hybrid frame without an inch of sagging fabric. They are varying shades of gray, green, and black, complimenting the shade of her scales and drawing attention away from parts of her body that she'd rather not have others notice. Her shoes are polished until they shine, the heels clacking on the floor as she goes about her business. A touch of makeup completes the look, outlining her already formidable gaze and enhancing the austere quality of her facial features.
There is a silver chain around her neck, an intricate locket dangling from the end. Inside is the only touch of sentimentality she allows herself to have, a token of respect for a sibling who gives her nothing but scorn.
Of course, she'd die before she lets her sister know of her flicker of admiration. Her sister got herself into her own mess, and it is her own fault that she is continuing down such a dangerous path. Kudzu owes her nothing, yet still she keeps the necklace. Even her remarkable acumen cannot tell her why.
|"I want what is mine by right. Either you give it to me willingly or I shall take it from you."|
Kudzu is ruthless, willful, cold, ambitious, and cunning, though not without cause. There is always a rationale for her actions, however awful she may seem to others. The defining event that shaped her childhood also shaped her personality, giving her several traits that she carries with her to this day.
Watching her father turn from a confident, charismatic, and clever CEO into a raging drunkard who threw his principles to the wind was life-changing for Kudzu. To her eyes, he had it all. He had power, fame, influence, prestige, and a large amount of money. Then he lost it all because he trusted dragons who would sooner turn him into an alcoholic than help him. She began to see his kindness as naivete. How could he have been that stupid? Didn't he know that doing things that gave him no benefit and aided his rivals would only hurt him? Trust had to be earned. It couldn't be given away apropos of nothing. In the end, he had lost his company because of his generosity. She would not make that same mistake.
Kudzu never gives away anything for free. If you want her help, be prepared to pay a price. If you can't pay it, too bad. She won't give out handouts to dragons who haven't done anything to earn it, and trying to sway her from that mindset will only cause her to resent you. She is the same way with trust, only placing her faith in those that have succeeded again and again in their endeavors. Even then, it is not blind faith that she gives to them. If they fail at a task she has set for them, she will not hesitate to throw them under the bus.
She possesses great ambition, willing to lie, cheat, steal, and blackmail to get what she wants. Yet she is not unreasonably cruel, only striking back against those who have wronged her or refuse to bow down. She never makes the first move, yet she is willing to finish a fight by any means necessary.
Though she will use underhanded means to pull ahead, that does not mean that she is unwilling to work. Kudzu built her company from the ground up, begging, borrowing, and stealing to raise Ascension Industries from the ashes. She has not forgotten that a company needs work, and whatever her flaws it is clear that she does a great portion of that labor. She has pulled many an all-nighter sending out memos or arranging meetings, regularly skips meals, and forgoes any friends or fun interactions in favor of long hours at her computer. Coffee is her friend, and woe betide the poor soul that interrupts the five minutes every morning she has set aside for it.
She desires many things, her rivals claiming that her avarice and ambition far exceeds the queens of old. While that is not entirely wrong, it is not entirely correct either. There are many things she desires, but there are three things that she covets with a lust that is well past unhealthy.
First on the list is power. Kudzu had very little control over a large portion of her own life, her mother manipulating her and her sister over the course of her separation from her husband. She never wants to feel that way again, and as such takes great pleasure in manipulating the lives of others to aid in her rise to the top of the heap and so they can feel the pain she once did. Ruining reputations, bribing rivals, and crushing dreams is addictive to her, and she has fallen so far under its spell that she likely couldn't run an honest company or engage in normal social interaction even if she wanted to.
The second thing she will do anything to get is fame. Kudzu knows full well the dark side of the press, having been hounded over her father's fall from grace and her family's private life even before she was old enough to understand, and for a long while after she did. She's been slandered, mocked, and scorned by papers from Ayto to Shardtown, and she is sick to death of it. She wants everydragon to know her not as the daughter of the failed CEO, but as the successful head of Ascension Industries. And if that means suing every reporter that tries to drag her name through the mud, especially that one reporter who has a knack for poking at old wounds and hidden grudges, then so be it.
Next, she covets the wealth her father once had, believing it is her inheritance as his daughter. The fact that it has been divided up and given to other companies does not deter her, for she holds a grudge for a very long time. The names of those who played a part in Buteo's fall are ever present in her mind, and she will do whatever is necessary to get what she wants from them. Her sense of revenge is extremely well developed, and she knows it. What she doesn't know, and what she asks herself quite often, is why. Why does she seek her father's money when she could just as well make her own? Why does she feel utter revulsion when she looks at the dragons who ruined him, and not when she looks at the RainWing who divorced her mother for no good reason?
Oh, she knows why. She'd die before she admits it, but she knows. Deep down, in her heart of hearts, Kudzu genuinely cares for her family. That's why she wants to avenge her father's fall. That's why she still sends money to her mother, even though the checks remain unopened. That's why she's risking everything to pull her sister out of the self-destructive spiral that killed their father. It is the one redeeming quality that she has, and one that she will make sure never sees the light of day.
|"Bring that up again and I'll see you in court for defamation of character. Oh, and while we're at it, you're fired."|
For all intents and purposes, Bufeo and Lotus were a happy couple, greeting the press with a smile, arm in arm at charity functions and grand openings, being cute with each other even when the cameras were flashing. So when the RainWing positively beamed with pride when he announced that his wife was with egg, there was rejoicing all over Pyrrhia.
Kudzu was born on a lovely spring day, introduced to the press barely after she could open her eyes for the first time. The hybrid dragonet graced front pages everywhere, and for a while things were perfect.
That's the thing about perfection, though. It takes a whole lot to achieve it, and it never lasts for long.
Three years after his second daughter was born, and his first had started elementary school, Bufeo became acquainted with several other CEOs. They congratulated him on his newfound fatherhood, then asked him for his aid. Their companies were floundering, you see, and perhaps a small loan from the most famous dragon on the continent would save them from bankruptcy? They'd compensate him fully, of course, and if he still had reservations, that was understandable. Would he be open to discussing the matter further over drinks?
Bufeo, though kind, generous, and absolutely brilliant with software and coding, was not the brightest bulb in terms of common sense or social skills. He handed over the money even before the CEOs had finished talking, and gladly accepted their offer of drinks. Even though he'd never tried alcohol before, he couldn't be so rude as to disappoint his new friends.
One drink became two, and two became many, and before long the onetime outing became a nightly trip with his friends to the nearest bar. They'd order their drinks, then each dragon would air their company issues, oddly similar in terms of consistently needing Bufeo's help. He'd hand them the money and promise to do whatever he could, they would smile and pat him on the back, and they would continue drinking for a while before engaging in drunken shenanigans a sober Bufeo would deem flagrantly illegal, not to mention immoral. Drunk Bufeo, however, was another story.
The first time her father's actions made the news happened the night after Kudzu's twelfth birthday. Lotus was watching late-night TV when a breaking news report scrolled across the bottom of the screen, followed shortly by a mug shot of Bufeo. Pausing the TV to shoo her children out of the room, Lotus took a deep breath before clicking play.
Apparently, Bufeo and his friends had stolen a car and were going at speeds of up to 100 on the freeway. When pulled over, he had spat his venom on two cops before being tased into submission.
The SeaWing hit the off button, told Kudzu to watch Duckweed, and shrugged on her coat. The sky was just turning light when she dragged Bufeo in by his ear, mostly sober yet still in a horrible mood.
Their yelling shook the rafters, going on for hours and hours as Kudzu listened while covering her sister's ears. Finally, Bufeo stormed out of the room, having promised never to do such a thing again, at least not if it made the news.
Kudzu and Duckweed then made their own promise, still shaken by what had happened. Since their mom and dad had their own problems, Kudzu would watch out for Duckweed, and Duckweed would watch out for Kudzu.
After that night, their father's behavior only got worse. His exploits grew bigger and bigger, guaranteeing that he would always be front-page news the following morning. This was torture to his daughters, who faced bullying and ridicule over whatever he had done. When Duckweed came home with a black eye, Kudzu decided to take matters into her own talons. She knew she couldn't take them all on in a physical fight, so she had to find another way to defend her sister.
The following day, sheets of paper were posted all over the school with the bullies' most private secrets laid bare for all to see. Jacaranda was having an affair with the principal. Fletcher's brother sold drugs behind the school. Gharial was taking steroids and had thrown the last three football games he was in.
As the school erupted with shock and condemnation, nobody suspected the gray-green hybrid quietly eating her lunch with her sister while chaos reigned around her.
And so it went, throughout all of middle and high school. If anyone teased her, or moons forbid, Duckweed, Kudzu would ruin their reputations with a smile. Of course, she was too clever to get caught, yet rumors started to swirl about the dragoness who knew every dirty little secret you tried to hide. By the time the sisters were in ninth and seventh grade, the bullying had all but stopped.
Unfortunately, something else was about to stop, something that would change both sisters' lives forever.
The night before Kudzu was due to graduate ninth grade, her father stumbled home in a rare lucid moment, whiskey on his breath, blood on his shirt, and eyes wide with fear. He grabbed his daughter by the shoulders and shook her, making sure that she was looking directly at him.
Bit by bit, the whole story spilled out of him. He had stumbled to the lot behind the bar to relieve himself, only to find his accountant waiting for him, a sharply dressed SandWing who took no guff from anyone, no matter how high up they were. Gobi confronted him about the money he'd lent, about how they were nearly bankrupt and his friends hadn't returned a cent of it to him. Furthermore, his best friend, a drug company CEO named Walrus, was filing an off-the-books motion to dismiss Bufeo from his company on the grounds of mental unfitness, legally stealing his company out from under him.
That was all that Gobi said before a shot rang out. Bufeo's accountant fell to the ground dead, blood gushing from his neck. Out of the shadows stepped Walrus, still holding the smoking gun.