Kindred of the East: the Song of Lanterns
Her skin is so white it appears to be more porcelain than actual skin. She always carries with her a fan with a white crane depicted on it. She wears geisha sandals and a red kimono with blue waves and a white crane on either shoulder.
Nicknames/Alias: Undefeated Eyes in Glorius Repose
Age: 201 (apparent age: late twenties to early thirties)
Lineage: Way of the Resplendent Crane
Faction: New Promise Mandarinate
Appearance: Her skin is so white it appears to be more porcelain than actual skin. She always carries with her a fan with a white crane depicted on it. She wears geisha sandals and a red kimono with blue waves and a white crane on either shoulder.
In life, Setsuna had dark brown eyes to match her jet black hair, but have now become almost blank white, one’s that show an almost other-worldy understanding of the world when you look deeply into them. Her eyes are the only thing that keeps her from having an otherwise perfect face, which she dismisses as an eye condition.
Despite being an accomplished wushu master, Setsuna has no visible scars on her excellently toned body. Being a master of Piguaquan and other such styles that utilize the hands for more than just punches, means that Setsuna’s palms, wrists, and fingertips are as hard as steel. In addition to her heavily conditioned hands, Setsuna’s limbs in general have been calcified to cause more injury upon impact.
Choice of Clothing: Setsuna, like many of her peers, has decided to reject the increasingly popular “Westernized fashion”. In all but the rarest of occasions, Setsuna will be seen wearing a traditional kimono. It is made of the finest of red silk, the ends of the sleeves and collar being a elegant ice blue of the same extravagant material.
When not wearing her kimono, Setsuna wears one of several combat outfits, each one signifying whichever martial art she is practicing at the time. These all range from Japanese jujutsu robes to Shaolin monk robes.
Personality: Since taking the Second Breath, Setsuna has gained the calm that only the most experienced of sages can show. In almost every scenario, Setsuna can maintain her calm and collected disposition, bordering on stoic. Along with the calm, Setsuna is very cultured in the ways of Japanese traditions, acting as a warrior philosopher for her kind.
Even when being goaded into a fight, the unfortunate fool will usually be met by Setsuna’s icy stare. If that doesn’t work, which is somewhat rare nowadays, she will deal with said victim with brutal efficiency, not wasting time nor motion while doing so.
On the rarest of occasions in which Setsuna does indeed get angry, she never shouts, but becomes drastically quiet, almost to the point of not being audible when speaking. In these very terrifying situations, Setsuna almost completely forgoes speaking, opting to destroy her opponent in a most violent manner, striking her foes where it will cause the most pain possible.
Despite her seemingly detached persona, Setsuna isn’t a cruel or overly negative woman. There is a fair amount of things that make her smile. Of those include: playing shogi, playing othello, playing go, calligraphy, helping those in need with a lasting positive after effect, and sculpting.
Setsuna’s P’o is unlike many others, in the way that it isn’t nearly as outwardly destructive as many can be. Violence isn’t something that Setsuna’s P’o prefers, it instead revels in corruption and extreme hedonistic tendencies. At every chance she gets, the P’o will drink, smoke, and fuck anything and everything she can get her hands on, becoming a sadomasochist with as many sexual fetishes as any Thrashing Dragon or kin-jin Toreador. The P’o will and does go to very large extremes, including chain smoking, alcohol abuse, and rape to sate it’s desires. When the P’o is faced with Western Kindred, it takes every chance it can to interact and make dealings with the foreign devils, shaming Setsuna’s honor by befriending the very beings he loathes so much.
History: The year was 1811 and a brand new baby girl made her way into the world, not into a world of sunshine and rainbows but to one already soaked in blood and death. The unfortunate newborn was born to a rich merchant man and his wife, who, during the course of childbirth, died shortly after naming the girl Setsuna, after her mother.
From that moment on, Setsuna’s father, Tai Lin, blamed the girl for the death of his beloved wife and only tolerated her barely. The girl grew up in Kyoto and experienced a harsh childhood by her father, who, instead of loving the girl, showed her only resentment and detachment. Setsuna wasn’t able to have any friends, being forced daily to study diligently and work on her calligraphy and sculpting.
At 17 years of age, Setsuna had more than enough of the strict curriculum of his father and while in the market, witnessed a single man incapacitate 3 other men with seemingly no effort. It was jiujitsu and Setsuna was amazed from that day on, spending her evenings practicing various katas that he had learned slowly from a willing teacher some time later. It was during these nights of training and meditation that Setsuna found peace of mind, not during the rigorous days of nonstop studying.
A year past and Setsuna continued his martial arts training without any notice, the time for him to take the Imperial Examination coming closer and closer. On the day of the test, Setsuna did something unforgivable to his father, who, despite being a horrible man for the entirety of Setsuna’s life, had prepared to tell his daughter how proud he actually was. This act of dishonor was the neglect to show up that morning. The night before, the young girl packed up enough rations for a few days, and headed for the nearest Shorei-kempo temple, where she would stay for little over a decade masquerading as a man.
The 28 year old Setsuna was an accomplished monk, formally adopting Buddhism as well as Shintoism. With rising Western influence in Japan and China, Setsuna had decided that he would go back to his hometown of Kyoto, to further spread the word of Buddha and help ease the animosity between her fellow Japanese and the Dutch.
When Setsuna finally arrived, the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife. It took only an hour to find her father’s small estate, it hadn’t changed one bit since he had left, down to the four sakura blossom trees in the front yard. With a nervous half smile, Setsuna walked the long path to the large double doors, grasping the bronze knocker and tapping it lightly on the door.
Moments after announcing his presence, the door slide open a foot or two, the face of not his father, but of a young woman appeared and asked who Setsuna was. The monk introduced herself as well as giving the reason for her coming there. The young woman gave her a small frown and gave her rather unfortunate news, it was that her father had suffered a heart attack shortly after she discovered Setsuna’s absence and died on the spot.
A feeling of horrid regret fell onto Setsuna as she placed blame on himself for his fathers death, forgiving the woman for her intrusion and made her way to the large grave yard a few blocks away. As Setsuna approached the graveyard, the monk could hear shouting and gunfire in the distance.
With a calm look on her face, Setsuna quickly found his father’s grave, and began burning incense, praying while mumbling phrases. Before she could finish the prayer, there was a large series of explosions and gunshots that went off, shortly followed by screams of fright. Before Setsuna could get far, her chest went numb and her body got cold, blood started seeping through her robes and as the young monk fell to the ground, she was looking at the barrel of a rifle in the hands of a white demon. With one last gaze to her father’s grave, the scent of blood and incense still lingering as his vision finally blurred and her life was extinguished.
At the moment of death, Setsuna’s soul plummeted to the Yomi world, into the domain of the Yomi god Mikaboshi, where she was tormented continuously in the Wicked City. The suffering became overwhelming, the guilt of running away, not facing her father, and being brutally murdered by the Dutch proved enough for Setsuna’s P’o to come screaming to the forefront, tearing itself from the evils of the Wicked City and crashing back into her body.
From the depths of the local river, where the soldiers had dumped the bodies, came a vicious and very hungry Chih-mei. It didn’t take long for the P’o dominated Setsuna to find one of the many guards patrolling the river edge, allowing the chih-mei to drag the unfortunate man into the water, dragging her down and tearing him into digestible pieces. The hunger being far from sated, Setsuna tore into two more guards before she hopped the fortified wall and got into the district.
As Setsuna devoured more and more flesh, both from wayward soldier and Japanese corpse alike, he was approached by a small Wu of Resplendent Cranes. With quick analytical work, the Wu captured the chi-starved chih-mei and proceeded to spend many days drawing out Setsuna’s rational, higher self.
After a 4 nights of constant work, Setsuna’s Hun awoke, a single question was asked at that moment “What happened?” With a look of happy surprise, the Wu welcomed Setsuna back to the Middle Kingdom and immediately began educating the undead monk on the true reality of the world, the Kuei-jin, and everything else in between.
Days after becoming a fully sentient being again, Setsuna was brought to the Flame Court in Hong Kong. Once there, she was made part of her first Wu, comprised of other newly discovered Kuei-jin. Setsuna’s koa comprised of her attempted mastery and understanding of her Hun and P’o, as well as solving a single riddle from the imperial Ancestor of the court.
Within the course of 70 years, Setsuna became the only one left of her Wu. The others met their Final Deaths due to their P’os taking control and wreaking havoc. Setsuna herself had a child while Yang-imbalanced during this time,
Being the sole member of her Wu, Setsuna doubled her focus on mediation and clarity of mind by training her body and improving her martial arts skills. Five additional years went by , and the Heavens had smiled on Setsuna as the answer to her riddle was finally discovered. In addition to the answer of the 7 decade riddle, Setsuna managed to, through many nights of temptation, learned to harness her P’o with great efficiency. With the answer to her riddle, which was deceptively simple, as well as her vastly improved control over his demonic P’o, came her first Dên, drawing her closer to complete Dharmic enlightenment.
With this new found Dharmic progression, came an increase in rank, Setsuna became an accomplished Jina. Over the course of several decades, Setsuna became a part of a new Wu and traveled all over the mainland, finding countless Kuei-jin, stuck in the abominable and pitiable Chih-mei state. Over the five decades since becoming a Jina, her and his Wu left China and traveled to surrounding countries including Japan, Korea, India, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The year was 1970 and Setsuna found herself once more by herself, the rest of her Wu being destroyed by a group of Akuma three years prior. It was on her way back to Hong Kong that he discovered a demolished Shaolin temple, one of the many victims of the Cultural Revolution. In an act of respect and self imposed duty, Setsuna began the cleansing of the area’s warped Chi.
While roaming the ruins and slowly cleansing the defiled holy site, Setsuna came across a small hidden door, covered in dust and shattered remains of wall. After brushing the debris away, Setsuna opened the trapdoor and discovered a small room containing a heavily decorated shrine with small, ancient looking rectangular box on top.
Upon getting closer to inspect the box, Setsuna discovered that it was an ancient container filled with a single stick of incense. The chi in resonating from the box was completely pure and a rare bout of curiosity hit the Resplendent Crane, prompting her to light it while he prayed.
After her prayer was finished, Setsuna noticed that the stick of incense hadn’t gotten any shorter, continuing to burn it’s thick sky blue smoke without using any of it’s length. The moment after realizing that the incense was special, Setsuna was hit with another large epiphany, her enlightenment coming closer yet.
With her Dharmic path becoming more clear, the immortal pocketed the artifact and made her way back to Japan. Upon returning to the Tokyo Court, Setsuna was made a 5th Mistress of Calligraphy within a week.
One year later, Setsuna decided that, for the sake of becoming truly balanced, she would need further experience with both sides of yin and yang. So, with that train of thought in mind, the 5th Mistress of Calligraphy became Yin imbalanced, staying that way for 12 more years before balancing back out, only to become Yang imbalanced for yet another 7 years.
In 1990, Setsuna once again balanced herself out, deciding to leave for China yet again and traveled back to Japan and Korea in order to attempt a series of diplomatic deals with the native Kuei-jin of both countries.
Because of her business in other countries, Setsuna wasn’t able to be in China with the Flame Court during the Week of Nightmares in 1999. Because of this, his guilt brought forth the concept of going west to the United States to help get back Chinese authority, which, during the Great Leap Outward, was lost for the most part and past on to the Japanese Kuei-jin.
In order to get back at least an equal footing with his Japanese cousins, Setsuna has come to California to both cleanse the country of the tainted Kin-jin and also to form a diplomatic alliance with the Japanese. Now in California and Japan, she has started a small acupuncture/martial arts dojo/massage parlor in Los Angeles’ Chinatown to cover any extra expenses as well as serve to occupy his down time.
Only time will tell if the Mandarin’s efforts will have any effect…