- "You are a very, very ancient woman and you have been setting children against their own parents, and parents against children across the world because you envy the children's youth. You have even come to envy Shinichi and Misao, and let them be hurt, as revenge. You've even pretended to have entered a 'second childhood' to behave girlishly. But none of it satisfies you, because the plain, sad truth is that you have come to the end of your long, long lifetime - no matter how great your Power."
- —Theophilia Flowers[src]
Inari Saitou (also known as Orime Saitou; d. August, 1992) was a powerful and ancient kitsune. As her great Power dwindled over millennia, she became envious of others' youth, and recruited Shinichi and Misao to assist her in causing children and their parents to turn against each other, with deadly culminations. Setting her sights on Fell's Church, Virginia, Inari posed as Orime Saitou's mother, banishing her husband, and planned to destroy the town, possibly using Katarina von Swartzschild, Klaus, and Tyler Smallwood to this end. However, she was killed in battle with Theophilia Flowers after Elena Gilbert destroyed her star ball.
Inari was a powerful kitsune born in ancient times. She claimed that her star ball was the largest in the worlds, and that all kitsune were her servants. She forced herself on human families over the centuries.
Saitou family legendEdit
- "And while it is true that we make mischief, we repay you by eating the rats and mice and insects that really spoil the crops. Won't you agree to take your anger out just on me and execute me alone instead of all the foxes? I will come at dawn to hear your answer."
- —The female kitsune[src]
Inari told a story about how, between 1192 and 1867, the kitsune living on a Shogun's estate, who generally partook in small pranks, were accused of ruining the crops in the fields. Angered, the Shogun rallied those of his household to flush out and kill the kitsune. However, the night before the plan was to take place, a beautiful woman appeared to the Shogun in a dream and claimed responsibility for each of the kitsune, asking that he kill her and spare the rest of her people and arranging to meet him at dawn for his answer.
The female kitsune visited him at dawn, with twelve kitsune maidens as attendants. The Shogun could not bring himself to kill her, and instead asked her to marry him. She accepted, and the twelve attendants were also married to twelve of his most loyal servants. The female kitsune bore him many children.
However, while on a journey, the Shogun accidentally killed a fox, and, upon returning home, found his household in mourning as his wife and all but one of his children had left him. His youngest daughter stayed, choosing to live a human life to be remain with him. She was an ancestor of the Saitous.
It is possible that the female kitsune was Inari.
Plaguing the SaitousEdit
As she grew old, Inari came to envy the youth of children, and spent her time turning children against their parents, culminating in bloody massacres. However, she gained no lasting satisfaction from these massacres, as it was her own imminent death that she feared.
At some point, Shinichi and Misao were freed from two jars kept at the temple on Unmei no Shima, and the pair destroyed the town there by turning the children against the adults under Inari's orders. It is possible that Inari was the one who freed them. In them, she gained two bond-servants. However, she communicated only with Shinichi, with Misao being unaware as to whom she was serving.
Plan to destroy Fell's ChurchEdit
- "Ten years ago, I didn't know what made Orime Saitou suddenly so diffident and quiet. Now I realise that it began just around the time her ‘mother’ moved in with her. I was quite fond of young Isobel, but she suddenly became – aloof – in an unchildlike way. Now I understand."
- —Theophilia Flowers[src]
Inari forced herself onto Orime Saitou and her family around 1982, making Orime reclusive and quiet and her daughter Isobel to become aloof and more mature. Orime's husband tried to defy Inari at some point after his second daughter's conception, leading to his disappearance. Orime believed that he had been banished to Japan, while Theophilia Flowers would later theorise that she may have killed him. She usually stayed in her room.
In August, 1992, Isobel tried to reach out to her boyfriend, Jim Bryce. In response, Inari infected her with a malach. When Meredith Sulez and Bonnie McCullough visited her, she mocked them, telling them that the house was possessed and that there was a kitsune involved. She told them what kitsune were, and terrified them by distracting them while a possessed Isobel, who had forked her own tongue, sneaked behind them and caused Bonnie to faint. Sophia Alpert was called, and Inari removed from the house.
The malach placed in Isobel went on to infect Jim and Tamra Bryce, Caroline Forbes, Kristin Dunstan and Ava Zarinski. Inari employed Shinichi and Misao to assist with the destruction of the town. Misao shapeshifted into Inari's form in order to terrorise Meredith, Bonnie and their friends, who later found Inari at home and believed that she was dead. However, she claimed to have been in a trance, reaching out to them.
Inari later pretended to bless bullets for Meredith. While she introduced herself to Meredith as "Inari", she told Matt Honeycutt that her name was Orime, and that her "daughter" had been named for her. She also pretended to create amulets and charms for him, and wrote incorrect characters for the jars that would hold Shinichi and Misao, which Isobel later corrected. Inari also told Matt the Saitou family legend.
Meredith and Matt later pieced together that Inari was Shinichi and Misao's mistress. Inari set the Saitou house alight in a bid to kill Orime and Isobel, and used a huge amount of power from her star ball to take a youthful form to combat Theophilia Flowers. The two fought while Meredith and Matt rescued the Saitous.
Inari died after Elena Gilbert destroyed her star ball.
- "For a moment they could only stare, fascinated, at this woman who was dressed all in black. She was fully as tall as Theo, fully as slender and graceful, and she was floating equally high off the ground. But what Meredith and Matt were staring at was the fact that her hair was like Misao's or Shinichi's – but reversed. Whereas they had black hair with a crimson fringe on the bottom, this woman had crimson hair – yards and yards of it, with a black fringe all around it. Not only that, but she had delicate black fox ears emerging from the crimson hair, and a long sleek crimson tail, tipped with black."
Using a great amount of Power from her star ball, Inari managed to take the form of a woman similar in stature and grace to the youthful Theophilia Flowers, with incredibly long crimson hair with a black fringe, delicate black fox ears, and a long fox tail, crimson and tipped with black. This was the form she took when fighting Theo Flowers.
Behind the scenesEdit
- It is uncertain whether or not Inari is the female kitsune that she spoke of in the Saitou family legend. Given how Idola referred to her as "Inari Saitou", and how knowledgeable Inari was with regards to the story, it is possible that the two are, indeed, the same person.
- Theophilia Flowers suggested that Inari may have been behind Katarina von Swartzschild, Klaus, and Tyler Smallwood, although she claimed that she did not need "pawns". If Flowers was correct, this would likely make Inari the true antagonist of the first two story arcs.
- The Return: Nightfall (First appearance)
- The Return: Shadow Souls
- The Return: Midnight (First identified as Inari Saitou)
- Evensong: Paradise Lost (Mentioned only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 The Return: Shadow Souls - Chapter 30
- ↑ The Return: Nightfall - Chapter 21
- ↑ "Whereas they had black hair with a crimson fringe on the bottom, this woman had crimson hair - yards and yards of it, with a black fringe all around it. Not only that, but she had delicate black fox ears emerging from the crimson hair, and a long sleek crimson tail, tipped with black." (The Return: Midnight - Chapter 36)
- ↑ Idola: As for the person who gave orders to Shinichi and Misao: It was Inari Saitou - (The Return: Midnight - Chapter 42)
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 The Return: Midnight - Chapter 36
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 Orime Saitou: For hundreds of years, that ancient kitsune – oh, yes, I've always known what she was – has been forcing herself upon innocent humans. And for the last three centuries it has been my family line of samurai mikos that she has terrorised. (The Return: Midnight - Chapter 37)
- ↑ Shogun - Encyclopaedia Britannica
- ↑ The Return: Midnight - Chapter 16
- ↑ Stefan Salvatore: An order? From who? / Misao: I... don't... know! Shinichi gets the orders. Then he tells me what to do. But whoever it is should be happy by now. The town is almost destroyed. (The Return: Midnight - Chapter 24)
- ↑ Theophilia Flowers: Ten years ago, I didn't know what made Orime Saitou suddenly so diffident and quiet. Now I realise that it began just around the time her ‘mother’ moved in with her. I was quite fond of young Isobel, but she suddenly became – aloof – in an unchildlike way. Now I understand. (The Return: Midnight - Chapter 36)
- ↑ Orime Saitou: Now my husband can come home at last. He tried to defy her and she banished him from the house. (The Return: Midnight - Chapter 37)
- ↑ Theophilia Flowers: Then perhaps some demonstration of power - what happened to Orime's husband, I wonder, to make him go back to Japan - if indeed he went there? He may well be dead. (The Return: Midnight - Chapter 34)
- ↑ Jim Bryce: Well, Isa-chan only has her grandma, and Grandma Saitou doesn't even come downstairs much. I made her lunch a while ago and she thought I was Isobel's father. (The Return: Nightfall - Chapter 20)
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 The Return: Nightfall - Chapter 21
- ↑ The Return: Nightfall - Chapter 22
- ↑ The Return: Nightfall - Chapter 39
- ↑ Theophilia Flowers: I think you have dwindled so that at last you need to use a great deal of Power from your star ball – wherever it is – to appear this way. (The Return: Midnight - Chapter 36)