A Contest of Nisse and Release
Zaiku, The Sword Without a Master
A wandering yojimbo trying to leave behind his past. Bob Mackie's character when he played.
Zaiku is a wanderings swordsman and bodyguard who has little desire to speak of his past.
He is wary (in the extreme) of Solar Exalted, and seems to distrust his own power.
He has a deep hatred for the Dragon-Blooded, and for the Realm in particular.
He practices a distinctive form of sword combat that utilizes a slashing sword. It may be an important clue to his identity.
Although Zaiku is a sellsword, he has a strong sense of justice. Should he ever determine that his employer is acting without honor, his coin bought loyalty will quickly vanish. He will not abuse the weak, or stand by idle while the powerful abuse the defenseless. This is at odds with his desire to live a quiet life and not become involved in major incidents, but ultimately his sense of duty and honor will win out, especially if innocent lives are at risk.
The Manse he found in Great Forks is called The Rampart of Obsidian.
He discovered that his previous incarnation was Chiruha, the Shadow of Heaven
Full name: Cathak Giren Zaiku
Zaiku received the best teachers that could be provided for him. And while he dutifully attended his scholarly sessions, it was in his martial training that he excelled. Even prior to his exaltation, he astonished his teachers by mastering two of the seven basics of the Falling Blossom Style.
With this, and his other notable achievements, his future was all but assured. An arranged marriage was set up for him, and a position of honor in the Satrapies awaited him. Both were contingent on his Exaltation, of course. But few had any doubt he would take his rightful palace in due time. All that was left was his Exaltation.
Years went by, and still Zaiku had not Exalted. A grown man, now, his family began to despair that he would never join their full potential, as had his brothers and father. Zaiku trained his body, mind, and nascent stores of Essence daily. He underwent grueling training surrounded by heat and fire and steam, in an effort to channel and release the hidden essence within him.
One day, his sword master, Fu Zeng Sung, came to visit him in his family’s villa in The Lap. Unknown to Zaiku, Fu Zeng had made an arrangement with Cathak Giren. It had been agreed that if Zaiku would not Exalted, it would be best for all involved if he died in a training accident. To that end, Fu Zeng Sung would push his student to the brink of death, and if he did not Exalt, he would push him the rest of the way.
And their treacherous plan worked. Just not in the way anyone would have expected.
Zaiku’s Solar Exaltation brought along with it a memory of another betrayal: his First Age Death at the hands of his most trusted Dragon Blooded lieutenants and hundreds of their followers, all armed with wicked spears. The shock of Exaltation combined with the traumatic memory temporarily disoriented Zaiku, and seeing a Dragon-Blooded attacker closing in for the kill, he defended himself ferociously, severing his master’s arm before either of them understood what was happening. Then, hearing the sounds of more attackers coming up the stairs, Zaiku fled.
Since then, Zaiku has spent almost a year on the run. He has trained his sword arm, and kept his Solar power in check, not wanting to rely on the power of the Anathama within him to survive. But with each passing day, he feels it growing stronger. At the same time, the memories carried along in the Essence Shard he inherited have fueled his own feelings of mistrust and betrayal for all Dragon-Blooded, resulting in a deep resentment and hatred for their kind.
Zaiku makes his living as a bounty hunter, yojimbo, or sword for hire. He never stays in one place for long. And thus far, he has managed to stay one step ahead of the Realm, but he knows they will find him eventually. In order to save face, his family has declared him dead, saying that an Anathema snuck in to the villa in the night and slew him in his sleep. A tragedy, to be sure, but no where near the scandal having an Anathema born of the House would be.
His former family now hunts him, with the aid of his one-time Master, to erase the stain of shame created by his continued existence.
Father, Cathak Giren (Fire DB)
Fiance, Tepet Yumi (Air DB) – Raised to be a dutiful daughter, to be married off as political capital. Suprised a great many people when she joined the Wyld Hunt. Held genuine affection for Zaiku, and prayed for his Exaltation. Now sees him as a betrayer, and will show him no mercy.
Siblings, Wen, Shu, Te, Xing, Hong, Fon, and Zao. 7 elder brothers. (All Fire DB, save one, Water DB. Bastard son?)
House Cathak, (Believe him to be Anathema murderer of Zaiku. Only a very few people within the house know the full truth.
Master Fu Zeng Sung and his students.
Recently, the current Grand Master of the style, Master Fu Zeng Sung, lost an arm in combat. It has been rumored that he lost it to an Anathema, and has since called up his most trusted students to join him in a hunt for the demon that maimed him.
Secrets -1 The character has a dark secret that could embarrass or endanger them. The more dangerous the Secret, the more points this Flaw is worth.
Enemy – 4 The character has a nemesis of scaling power to the rank of the flaw, who often meddles in your long term goals.
Tactical Instincts – 3 This merit represents an innate understanding of tactics, letting them use their knowledge in war. Dawn Castes, Dusk Castes, and Chosen of Battles have a discount.
Past Lives – 1 The person can remember pieces and emotional moments of their past incarnations. Mortals and Dragon-blooded only are able to take low levels of this, and it only applies to the last life.
Terrestrial Bloodline – 1 The character has a bloodline with the potential to Exalt their children as Dragon-blooded.
Resources – 3
Artifact – 3 (Silk Armor)
Reputation – 2 (Only as Cathak Giren Zaiku)
This Background represents the character’s renown for their notable exploits. It may grant a bonus to social situations or garner a penalty, depending on the reputation and the situation.
Primary Virtue: Valor
Virtue Flaw: Berserk Anger
The Solar attacks everything around them, stopping only when there is no one left to kill.
Partial Control: The Solar may avoid attacking allies and scenery.
Duration: One scene.
Condition: Being insulted.
Radiant Cherry Blossom Sword: Excellent Strike, Peony Blossom Attack
Autumn Leaf Turns Red: Iron Whirlwind Attack, Golden Essence Block, Excellent Strike, Hungry Tiger Technique, Fire and Stones Strike
The Valor Trait is one of the four Virtues. It represents a characters courage, bravery, and capacity for heroism and self-sacrifice. Valor is used to resist natural fear, as well as magical effects that cause fear. Valor also allows a character to face up to powerful foes and overwhelming odds without flinching.
However, Valor also represents a foolhardy streak and a character’s thirst for glory. Valor prevents a character from surrendering, begging for mercy, or fleeing from overwhelming odds. Characters with high Valor have trouble refusing challenges, and are often unapologetic and arrogant.
A Character with a Valor of 1 is a prudent coward, a character with a Valor of 3 will face down superior foes, and a character with a Valor of 5 will face any odds without thought of retreat or personal safety.
Willpower can be spent to channel Valor into acts of great heroism, daring gambles, and resisting unnatural terror.
Character’s with high Valor may have to fail a Valor check in order to flee from a fight, refuse challenges, walk away from wild risks, or ignore an enemy’s taunts and insults.
Zaiku’s Manse The Rampart of Obsidian
Located in the sewers of Great Forks. It is currently the home of Glimmering Perfect Rainbow Star. This manse will be found while pursuing the Fair Folk in search of Mara and Naka.
Hearthstone of the Hidden Suns
This clear stone has a center of moving shadow that gets darker in the center. This hearthstone grants the wielder a +2 to all Caste Abilities. However a Night Caste gains only a +1 die to all Caste Abilities in addition when using the Anima Ability to hide their Anima flare they get to reduce the essence cost by 2 motes (to a minimum of 1) and when hiding themselves they add an additional 2 to the difficulty for others to track them.
Glance of the Unconquered Sun
This inconspicuous clear gem only shows its true worth when the bearer looks through it into a darkened place. For a few moments, she can see everything as if it was illuminated by the sun’s light at midday, allowing her to clearly assess what lies ahead of her.
Source: Savant and Sorcerer, p. 67