Felk, the Seamless Shadow
A Night Caste from the quiet, black-timber arched streets of Thorns, Felk uses shadows, stealth and his quick wit & even quicker set of sais to handle some of the more “delicate” tasks in the name of the Unconquered Sun. Living amidst the darkness in no way hinders his devotion to his sovereign, or his desire to see the unbridled light of the Sun brought to even the darkest corners of Creation.
Need some bio info to go up here! Until then, here’s what the Compass of Terrestrial Directions Vol. 1 – The Scavenger Lands says in chapter 5 (p.95) about Thorns, the city you were thinking of using for a setting. Upon the southern shores of the Scavenger Lands, dark waves lap at bone-white cliffs, and a faded sun sets upon one of the great cities of Creation. Pale rays creep across the darkened bay and paint looming, black marble edifices in hues of silver and gray, casting long shadows across a slowly decaying city. Wide boulevards ring with iron-shod footfalls as silent, unliving soldiers slowly parade beneath the dead flowers that cling to black-timber arches. The wind sweeps along quiet streets, lifting stray leaves and carrying with it a heavy stench of rot and decay. Within hollowed-out ruins and empty-eyed houses, flashes of color appear and vanish as bright-eyed residents peek from their homes, the rustle of their furtive conversations, the scent of their cooking food and the slow beat of their still-living hearts subtly reminding the city that it too once lived. In the grandest square, beneath the towering walls of governmental palaces, a black-iron statue of a dictator raises falsely benevolent hands to support croaking rations, his smiling mask looking with pleasure upon his conquest.
Once, this city rivaled Lookshy’s prestige and Nexus’s might. It stood just beyond the simplistic barbarism of the Scavenger Lands and remembered its place in the Shogunate. When other nations turned their backs upon the Realm, it honored its debts and offered up tribute to the Scarlet Empire. As a reward for its civility and sophistication, it became a center for skilled artisans, thoughtful intellectuals and honorable warriors, and each lifted their hands to make their city beautiful. Their might grew so great that the city, with its Dynastic allies, threatened the Scavenger Lands itself with the greatest war in the city’s living memory. But with power came pride, and the city’s hubris made it vulnerable at a crucial moment. Almost literally overnight, the dead rose up to swallow the city in an apocalyptic storm of pain and horror. When a mountain of rotten flesh stopped at the city gates, it brought with it a new ruler, and the rest of Creation turned a blind eye. None speak the city’s name now, and it lies only upon the pages of scholarly tomes.
But Thorns is not dead. Although Creation has forgotten it, it has not forgotten Creation. Most shadowlands in Creation have existed for some time or formed slowly over the course of a tragic war or the spread of a plague, but a shadowland blossomed in Thorns in a matter of days, and only recently. The dead march through its streets and pull at the strings of its Puppet King, but the living still huddle and hide in the ruins of their once great city. They whisper to their children tales of the warm, golden rays of an unfiltered sun, they trade stories with one another of bygone glories, and they remember a time when the people of the city smiled and laughed. Many have fallen into the gray despair of the dead that surround them, submitting to the Mask of Winters’ rule, but a few hearts still beat with the pride that once made Thorns great. These few struggle quietly to find a way to free their city while their brothers and sisters slave in industrial pits or behind bureaucratic desks. They hope against hope that some hero will remember their city and their plight, and that a hand will reach out for Thorns before it drowns completely in the miasma of the Underworld.
When the Unconquered Sun sets, darkness claims the world. In the night, conspirators, criminals and foul spirits slink forth from their shadowy retreats. Exalted of the Night Caste defend Creation from these enemies and stalk their prey amidst a world of secrecy and lies. During the First Age, the Night Caste oversaw the safety and security of the Realm and its citizens. The Concealing Shadows brought swift justice to places the armies of the light could not reach. Where brute force failed, the Night Caste prevailed through stealth and trickery. After the Usurpation, the surviving Night Caste melted into the shadows and waged a bloody guerrilla war that lasted for centuries. With the Solars’ return, the Hidden Suns once again stalk evildoers and silently assassinate Creation’s enemies. No wall can keep them at bay, and no treachery escapes their gaze. Members of the Night Caste are chosen from those who excel in stealth and guile and those who formulate clever solutions to difficult problems. Some are thieves or assassins, others are secretive scholars, clever city constables, master woodsmen, sly courtesans, fast-talking merchants or devious nobles. Anyone who favors skill and cunning over raw power could be Exalted into this caste. Concealing Shadows frequently become their circles’ eyes and ears, gathering information for the good of their groups. When a situation calls for unconventional solutions, it is the Night Caste that a circle often looks to for aid.
Attributes: Strength 5, Dexterity 5, Stamina 3; Charisma 4, Manipulation 3, Appearance 2; Perception 5, Intelligence 3, Wits 3
Virtues: Compassion 3, Conviction 3, Temperance 1, Valor 2
Abilities: Athletics 5, Awareness 5, Dodge 5, Larceny 4, Martial Arts 5 (Baneclaw +2), Medicine 1, Resistance 2 (Extreme Temperatures +1), Ride 1, Socialize 1, Stealth 5 (Ambush +1)
Essence Pool: 14/24
Health Levels: -0/-1/-1/-1/-2/-2/-2/-2/-4/Incap
Join Battle: 8
Other Notes or Constant Effects:
- Because of the hearthstone “Stone of Resilient Bamboo”, Felk regenerates one level of lethal or bashing damage every hour. This stone does not speed the healing of aggravated damage.
He’s a martial arts practitioner of “Ebon Shadow Style”
Scroll of the Monk p.91
The Sidereal archives in Yu-Shan say a Night Caste Solar called Ebon Shadow’s Graceful Daughter—Shadow’s Grace for short—brought this martial art to Creation. Shadow’s Grace did not quite believe she deserved the power the Unconquered Sun gave her. She had not fought in the Primordial War, inheriting her power instead when a greater hero fell in that conflict’s final battle. Life as a spy and assassin, maintaining the peace of the fledgling Old Realm, did not suit her; she thought the Eclipse Caste better suited her temperament. She prayed daily, begging the Unconquered Sun to change either her caste or her spirit. He knew better and ignored her pleas: The needs of peace do not match those of war. He wanted an assassin who would not enjoy her job too much. Yet, someone heard the prayers of Shadow’s Grace. One Calibration, she rose from prayer to find a mighty figure before her: four-armed like the Unconquered Sun, but glittering in shades of darkness. Five Days Darkness, the first shadow cast by the Unconquered Sun, offered to teach her a regimen of exercises and meditations that would resolve her doubts and make her truly the Queen of Night. In return, she would share his teachings with other Exalted. She would also swear on her soul to perform one service in each incarnation at her divine sifu’s request without question. So desperate was Shadow’s Grace to quiet the turmoil within her heart that she accepted the dark god’s terms. She absorbed her sifu’s teachings before the end of that very Calibration and took the name by which she is remembered in Heaven. The archives say Shadow’s Grace became a paragon of her caste who taught evildoers to jump at shadows and gave restitution to their victims. Her service to Five Days Darkness is not known. She died before the Usurpation, trying to kill a mad Solar tyrant. The Sidereals are fairly sure the Solar who inherited her Exaltation perished in the Usurpation. Now, her Exaltation is free from the Jade Prison, but its current host is unknown. Where is the inheritor of Shadow’s Grace? And what will Five Days Darkness demand of her? Weapons and Armor: Characters who practice the Ebon Shadow style may use fighting chains or sais (and their artifact equivalents) freely with all Charms in the tree. The style is incompatible with the use of armor.