Adelaide Jade Regent
Ameiko's Tales of the Fallen
Every person deserves their story to be told. Every person, creature and enemy was once a child, a parent or had once noble purpose. As my companions and I continue our march towards Minkai, a terrible army and horrifying enemies plot our demise, yet they too are part of the great wheel of life. The stories below are of those who have fallen on my quest for destiny. Enemies or not, they have shaped us and the world around them.
Kikonu, the Wayward Storm General
Least of the Storm Generals, Kikonu decided to cut ties with his brethren and stayed at Brinewall Castle to become Lord over the corbies and other monstrous denizens.
Overtime, the Yamabashi Tengu Oni grew to feel pride in his monstrous kingdom and even accepted the troll-kin who came for he knew that his greatest defence was secrecy. Whenever treasure hunters would arrive, he would use magic and his beasts to make the place seem haunted or lure them into the depths where the Sin-spawn lurked.
Kikonu loved literature and live performances but was cursed to never be able to create even a mediocre piece in either. His rage in this was felt by all his minions except his wife, a mute siren . He restored her voice with magic but knew that if she ever betrayed him, he would make sure the world would never hear her angelic voice again.
His hubris would lead to his downfall, his desire to re-create the great works of Minkai culture led to both neglect of ancient duties, his minions and his wife. Without this hubris, the former Storm General would have detected the presence of a Amatatsu heir much earlier and may extinguished Minkai’s last hope before it was ever aware.
Kikonu was slain in battle in his throne room by the party. Betrayed by his wife who had grown hateful of his ways, the Wayward Storm General was vanquished and in doing so, allowed the ancient secret of Minkai’s past re-surface.
Goti Runecaster, Kimandatsu’s Fist
Goti Runecaster was born in the First World, the unwanted get of an unfortunate union between a spriggan and a troll. Claimed by neither parent, he was left on the doorstep of an Irrisen hermit-witch who lived near a rift between the First World and Golarion. Growing up in the frigid barrens of the northlands, Goti embraced the innate talent for magic that ran in his blood and reached deep into the earth. Under the old crone’s tutelage, he matured to become a formidable sorcerer in his own right, often setting out on his own to explore the frozen hinterlands of his winter-bound home.
After a time, Goti’s adoptive mother ran afoul of the White Witches and was forced to f lee Irrisen with her young ward in tow. They made their way into the wilds of the northeast corner of the Lands of the Linnorm Kings and there eked out a meager living among the rocks and lichens of the tundra. Eventually Goti fell in with a group of Ulfen raiders, slavers who struck into the Nolands and even the northern reaches of Varisia to take captives for the markets of Jol and Bildt. Although Goti worked hard to conceal the location of his foster mother’s home in the wilds, some of his “partners” followed him as he trekked back to his home after one of their raids. The raiders surprised their erstwhile compatriot and took both Goti and his mother captive, hoping to extract riches and magicfrom the witch and sell her blood and bones to disreputable alchemists and other purveyors of such grisly items.
Captured, beaten, and humiliated, Goti and his mother were marched in chains across the hills and moors of the Linnorm Kingdoms toward the market of Jol. But one night, as the slavers and their prisoners camped near Skalsbridge, figures materialized out of the darkness and fog and with silent blades made short work of the raiders. The slavers had run afoul of the Frozen Shadows, who were beginning to stretch their presence out of Kalsgard and into the surrounding lands, and wanted no interference from rival criminal groups.
The Frozen Shadows brought Goti and the witch before Kimandatsu in her hideout in Kalsgard’s Jade Quarter. The ogre mage instantly sensed the potential in the halftroll sorcerer and elected not to sell the two captives into slavery. Instead, Kimandatsu granted them their freedom, allowing Goti’s adoptive mother to return to her home on the tundra. In addition, the Frozen Shadows made sure that every slaver once associated with Goti’s previous employers was eliminated, further securing the safety and secrecy of her lair. In exchange, Goti agreed to serve Kimandatsu for a year to work off his debt to the Frozen Shadows for their intervention.
Kimandatsu soon learned to rely on the sorcerer’s counsel, and also his magic. One year became 20, and Goti Runecaster became Kimandatsu’s most trusted advisor. Even when the ogre mage assumed the public identity of Thorborg Silverskorr, she was often seen in consultation with the strange sorcerer, further enhancing her reputation as a personage of
great power and inf luence. His friendship with the powerful merchant factor has also helped Goti, for his monstrous appearance would likely have otherwise resulted in his expulsion from Kalsgard, or worse, his death at the hands of Sveinn Blood-Eagle’s huscarls. But as a trusted ally of Thorborg Silverskorr, Goti enjoys a position of influence and status that would otherwise be closed to him.
In the decades since joining the Frozen Shadows, Goti has served Kimandatsu well. He creates most of the poisons used by the guild’s assassins, and his sorcery has supported the guild’s agents on numerous missions. Goti also recruited Wodes, the blood-feather raven druid— another First World outcast—into the service of the Frozen Shadows, whose use of ravens as messengers and spies has revolutionized the guild’s communication network.
Goti usually remains at the Frozen Shadows’ headquarters of Ravenscraeg, where the sorcerer indulges his passion for research into death and the infernal. His adoptive mother, now known in tales of the north as the Witch of the Frozen Fen, occasionally sends him spell
scrolls and other magical boons to aid in his research. So far, Goti has created several zombies to help guard Ravenscraeg, and has even acquired a swarm of hellwasps that he hopes to utilize at some future date.
Kimandatsu, Storm General of the Frozen Shadows
The ogre mage Kimandatsu is a member of the Five Storms, a powerful group of oni in far-off Minkai, and leader of the Frozen Shadows, the Five Storms’ guild of ninja and assassins in Kalsgard in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. In her human guise as Thorborg Silverskorr, a powerful and inf luential merchant factor of Kalsgard’s Rimerunners Guild, Kimandatsu has increased the power and underground inf luence of the Frozen Shadows, as well as her own personal status. In fact, the Rimerunners Guild is now little more than a front for the Frozen Shadows, its coffers bankrolling the assassin’s guild and furthering the ogre mage’s personal ambitions.
In Minkai, Kimandatsu served as the Five Storms’ chief hunter, chasing down any enemies that the oni marked as targets. From her twisted pagoda hidden deep in the Forest of Spirits north of Minkai, Kimandatsu raised and trained tigers to hunt and track the Five Storms’ prey and either kill them or bring them to her unharmed. When the presence of the Amatatsu Seal was revealed in Brinewall but the oni found no trace of the Amatatsus themselves, the Five Storms sent Kimandatsu over the Crown of the World to take command of the Frozen Shadows and renew the chase of the Amatatsu family.
Arriving in Kalsgard, Kimandatsu disguised herself as a Tian silk merchant and began involving herself in the mercantile interests of Kalsgard as she slowly marshalled her forces and reorganized the Frozen Shadows. Focusing her attentions on Kalsgard’s merchant guilds and the wealth and inf luence they possessed, Kimandatsu slowly worked her way up through the ranks of the Rimerunners Guild, one of Kalsgard’s most powerful trading concerns.
Kimandatsu soon wormed her way into the confidences of the up-and-coming merchant factor Thorborg Silverskorr, an inf luential and charismatic leader on the guild’s board of shareholders. Under Thorborg’s guidance, Kimandatsu gained a firm grasp of the business world of Kalsgard and the political climate in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings. At the same time, Kimandatsu exerted her subtle inf luence to help guide Silverskorr to successful business ventures. Using secret intelligence gathered by her ninja in the Frozen Shadows, Kimandatsu manipulated Silverskorr’s business rivals into a number of tactical mistakes, as well as orchestrating seemingly innocent—through often deadly—mishaps to befall them. As Silverskorr grew in wealth and power, she gained greater and greater inf luence within the Rimerunners Guild.
It was a sorrowful day in the guild when Thorborg returned from a trading voyage south only to report that Kimandatsu, who had accompanied her on the trip, had been lost at sea during a storm. Fortunately, Kimandatsu had left her shares in the Rimerunners in Thorborg’s capable hands, so the Ulfen factor was able to continue the Tian merchant’s trade with barely a hiccup. Within a year of Kimandatsu’s
disappearance, Thorborg Silverskorr was appointed factotum of the guild by the board of shareholders. The power and profitability of the Rimerunners has only continued to grow under the skillful management of Thorborg, a popular public figure and favored daughter of Kalsgard.
Unfortunately for the Rimerunners, however, it was the real Thorborg Silverskorr who died during that fateful voyage, brutally murdered by the shapechanging Kimandatsu, who
assumed the Ulfen’s identity and now runs the Rimerunners as another branch of the Frozen Shadows.
Kimandatsu has continued this charade for years, increasing the wealth and power of the Rimerunners Guild as well as her own. She has insinuated herself into the elite of the city and is above suspicion or reproach in the eyes of Linnorm King Sveinn Blood-Eagle (to whom she has made several lucrative loans). After acquiring the remote fortress of Ravenscraeg a few years ago from Snorri Stone-Eye, Kimandatsu was able to construct a true secret headquarters from which to expand the Frozen Shadows’ inf luence beyond Kalsgard and to continue the pursuit of the Amatatsu family wherever in Avistan they might be.
If Kimandatsu’s plans are not stopped, it will not be long until the Frozen Shadows move unseen among the cities of the south as well as in Kalsgard.
Tanuak, Betrayer of the Erutaki
Tunuak has been the oracular shaman of the Erutaki village of Iqaliat for two generations, since his mentor fell victim to a fever while still in her middle years. It was considered an ill omen for a shaman to ascend to the post before his hair had turned white, and the villagers were uneasy at the disturbing, incomprehensible language Tunuak reverted to in times of stress, but the young shaman had proved himself capable as a student of the mysteries and devoted to the ancient ways, erecting and maintaining the inukshuk wind altars that watch over the high cliffs of the Alasek Ridge. The chief and hearthmistress confirmed Tunuak’s appointment, and he soon became invaluable to the settlement, ministering to the physical and material needs of the people of Iqaliat and helping to maintain the community in times of both plenty and desperate want.
But as the years passed and Tunuak grew older, he found himself withdrawing from the spirits he had always served. When Iqaliat truly needed the spirits’ help, they were rarely there, and it took all of Tunuak’s power to keep the village safe and secure. And for what? He had served the spirits and the village for over half a century, and what had he gotten in return? Had he not given enough of his service? Could not someone else be found to replace him? But among the Erutaki, shamans served their people until they died; retirement was not an option, and Tunuak grew increasingly bitter.
Tunuak prayed and sacrificed and developed the spirits’ gift of wind sight, using it to eavesdrop on the conversations of others, but this only increased his bitterness and frustration, for to his dismay, he found that others in the village thought that he was too old and infirm, and no longer served the people as he once did. His heart darkened once more, especially when he heard Iqaliat’s chief and hearthmistress joking about their aged shaman with visitors from another village.
His resentment growing, Tunuak decided the only solution was a true vision quest. The shaman set out for the Nameless Spires, the home of the spirits at the top of the world, to beg their favor. The journey was long and arduous, but Tunuak at last arrived at the legendary Nameless Spires. To his surprise, Tunuak found the ruins overrun with the frozen, walking dead, but before he fell prey to their icy claws, he encountered the half-fiend sylph Katiyana, who brought him to her Storm Tower. Entranced by the sylph’s beauty and believing that she had saved him from the embrace of the walking dead, Tunuak soon came to believe that Katiyana was one of the very wind spirits he sought. Tunuak stayed in the Storm Tower for many days, questioning and being questioned by Katiyana. The sylph soon convinced him that she was but a servant of a greater master of storms, who required Tunuak’s service as well. Playing upon the bitterness and resentment in Tunuak’s soul, Katiyana corrupted him into the service of the demon lord Sithhud, the Frozen Lord, and instructed Tunuak to erect one of the basalt monoliths for controlling the morozkos in the very heart of Iqaliat.
Knowing he would never be allowed to place a monolith in the village, Tunuak and Katiyana devised a plan to trick the white dragon Vegsundvaag into attacking Iqaliat. When the dragon had finished its work, the village would be empty, the monolith could be erected, and the deaths of the villagers would serve as a grand sacrifice to Sithhud that would bring Tunuak great favor.
When the morozkos finally came to Iqaliat and the endless winter of Sithhud’s return took hold over the Crown of the World, any surviving villagers in Iqaliat would look to Tunuak for aid, and he would give none. Oh, how they would suffer, not even realizing they had brought their doom upon themselves. Perhaps if they had treated Tunuak better, he would have been merciful, but cold bitterness they gave, and so they would receive, and Tunuak would sit at the right hand of his new demonic god.
Vegsundvaag, Rage of the Polar Wind
Vegsundvaag is a white dragon of the Crown of the World, born nearly a century ago in the high glaciers of the Whitefang Peninsula. As a wyrmling, she was taught how to recognize prey from above and below, f lying in the sky high above or burrowing deep beneath the ice as she hunted across the polar plateau. Vegsundvaag was a skilled hunter, and she led her clutchmates on many hunting forays; however, she frequently returned to the family’s ice caves alone, well sated from her latest kill. It was not long before Vegsundvaag turned her lessons upon her siblings, until through the work of her own claws she became an only child. Her last surviving brother proved more clever than his siblings and suspected her treachery, even trying to set up a rudimentary ambush of his own, but he was no match for Vegsundvaag’s savage counterstroke, and that he saw his doom coming only made her final victory feast the sweeter.
Vegsundvaag’s mother, who had betrayed and devoured more than one rival dragon during her youth, could not help but admire her daughter’s naked aggression and ambition. While she had high hopes for each of her hatchlings, she thought it far better that one strong scion should arise than for a clutch of weaklings to struggle and scrabble for the leavings of those more powerful and ruthless than they. Vegsundvaag’s mother took her down from the High Ice to the richer hunting grounds of the summer melt, where the two-legs came up the wide water in their bobbing boats, and mother and daughter alike grew fat. Whether it was underwater, digging through ice and earth, or swooping out of the polar sky, Vegsundvaag soon mastered every form of hunting, and darkling thoughts of advancing her position in the family began to awaken in her heart again.
Before Vegsundvaag could add matricide to her list of crimes, however, her mother taught her that she still had much to learn. Binding her daughter in her sleep with iron chains she had taken from a human ship, Vegsundvaag’s mother dragged the young dragon to the bottom of Whitefang Bay, and told her that if she could free herself, she must f ly far from there and establish her own hunting ground. Her mother would brook no rivals, and if Vegsundvaag ever showed herself in Whitefang Bay and the glaciers above, she would not live to regret it. As a reminder, her mother tore Vegsundvaag’s glorious frill, leaving only a tattered remnant. Seething at her defeat, Vegsundvaag nonetheless saw the threat of death in her mother’s eyes before she departed, and after gnawing through the chains and dragging herself out of the bay, she chose the path of caution. She went not to the smoking mountains of the west, nor to the desolate heart of the High Ice to the north, nor even to the fertile lands and waters of the south. Instead, she claimed her territory in the east, along the high cliffs at the edge of the ice.
In time, Vegsundvaag established her own lair and hunted both the ice and the riverlands to the south, marking out the boundaries of her territory. Few rivals dared enter her domain, but as she matured, her lustful urges began to awaken and she roamed in search of a mate worthy of her. Encountering a male named Narmurvik, Vegsundvaag began a violent courtship. After several years of running battles, boasting, and taunting, she won his favor and they merged their hunting grounds and carved out a suitable lair. Vegsundvaag made a nest and laid half a dozen eggs, but her natural jealousy and aggression soon rose to the surface. She began to suspect Narmurvik of unwholesome designs upon her eggs, and one evening when he returned to their lair from a long hunt, Vegsundvaag ambushed him and slew her erstwhile mate in cold-hearted murder.
Before her eggs could hatch, however, they fell victim not to another dragon, but to the humans who lived beneath the ice cliffs, who violated her lair and smashed her beloved eggs to shards. Vegsundvaag swore terrible vengeance against the humans of Iqaliat, and she will not rest until every sniveling two-leg has tasted the frozen fire of her undying hatred. But she will drag out her revenge, taking them one by one and dismantling their pitiful village stone by stone, until the bones of the last few survivors crunch in her jaws and their hot, red blood stains the snow. A mother’s love for her children is no small thing, even for a mother such as Vegsundvaag, and those who took them from her will learn the true meaning of vengeance.
Katiyana, Queen of the Morozkos
Katiyana is a sylph of the Alabastrine Peaks, one of the few sylphs that inhabit those frozen peaks at the farthest polar reaches of Golarion. Her father, Tornaq, was a wizard, and often traveled through the gates to and from the Plane of Air at the Crown of the World, visiting with relations among the djinn who marveled at his stories of the starkly beautiful lands at the top of the world. The most wondrous tales of that realm were of the mysterious, phosphorescent blue Nameless Spires that lay to the north of the Alabastrine Peaks, from which he brought back unfathomable crystal devices. On one such visit to the ruins, Tornaq encountered a strange woman from the south, who appeared to be a scholar from her robes and books. Curious, Tornaq drew near the visitor. His heart pounded as the woman slipped off her robes to reveal her demonic horns, wings, and tail, but Tornaq’s mind was already no longer his own, enslaved to the succubus’s will. The demon carried him off by magic to parts unknown, and his few remaining years were a blur of misery and torment at the hands of his demonic captor as she interrogated the wizard to learn what he knew of the lost city and the secrets of the Crown of the World; in the end, his violation was total—mental, physical, spiritual, and carnal. It was not until the succubus showed Tornaq the cambion daughter she had begotten through his lustful compulsion that she finally granted him the release of death, and with his dying breath he named the demon-child Katiyana.
Katiyana’s mother, the succubus Croicu, gave her to the cult of Sithhud, and the young half-fiend sylph proved a keen study with an affinity for necromancy and magical compulsions. Sly and duplicitous, with a clever mouth and an easy, mocking laugh, Katiyana was raised in the surety that the world wished her dead as an abomination, that none would or could ever love her but her true family in the cult, who had saved her from the father who abandoned her. Her hope of salvation was in the redemption and return of their forgotten master, the Frozen Lord, who had likewise been betrayed. Like Sithhud, Katiyana would endure and survive, and when Sithhud finally reclaimed his power and became a true demon lord once more, she would become his beloved handmaiden.
Returning north, Katiyana began preparing for her demonic lord’s return, erecting basalt monoliths in Sithhud’s name to control the powerful morozkos that rage across the Crown of the World. Once the monoliths are in place, she plans to send the morozkos south into more populated regions, where the frozen storms will slay enough mortals to fuel Sithhud’s return to prominence as a true demon lord. To aid her in this task, Katiyana has allied with fell creatures of the icy north, raised frozen undead servants, and corrupted others to assist her, including the Erutaki shaman Tunuak. Those she cannot corrupt, Katiyana destroys, as remorseless as a polar winter.
Katiyana is a lithe and graceful woman with pale blue skin marked with white whorls. Her lustrous midnight blue hair drifts about her head like wisps of storm clouds, and wings of blue-black feathers spread from her back. Her silvery fingernails glint like razors.
Munasukaru, the Betrayed
Long ago, the ja noi oni Munasukaru wandered the Forest of Spirits, leading a small band of goblinoid followers in hunting and slaughtering the wood’s inhabitants, while avoiding the kami that patrolled the forest looking for her kind to eradicate. Eventually, she learned of other oni in the forest, including the powerful wind yai named Anamurumon who held court in the House of Withered Blossoms. Rather than fight an endless—and Munasukaru suspected, ultimately futile battle against the kami, Munasukaru resolved to find Anamurumon and join forces with him.
Leading her hobgoblin followers to the House of Withered Blossoms, Munasukaru discovered that Anamurumon had more than enough allies and troops of his own, and her own pitiful band was just that. Nevertheless, in exchange for her fealty, Anamurumon made Munasukaru a commander in the Five Storms, though she was the least of his officers.
In the great halls of the oni palace beneath the House of Withered Blossoms, Munasukaru loyally served Anamurumon and the Five Storms. Over time, and always from afar, Munasukaru began to desire her beloved leader. If not love—for such emotions are unknown to the oni—it was lust, or desire, and Munasukaru did everything she could to please Anamurumon.
When the time came to harvest souls to power the kimon, the demon gate that would allow the oni to escape their imprisonment, it was Munasukaru’s hobgoblins who first began the search, whispering to the other goblinoids in the Forest of Spirits of the living gods who needed mortal hands to assist them. Such helpers, they said, would be greatly rewarded when these “gods” turned Minkai into a playground of sin, lust, and wanton destruction.
And when the souls had been harvested and the kimon opened, Anamurumon repaid Munasukaru’s loyalty and devotion by abandoning her and ordering her to remain behind in the House of Withered Blossoms to further his own ends.
The long, lonely years in the company of only lesser beings such as her hobgoblin followers have driven Munasukaru to madness. In her boredom, she has tried to lift her spirits by using her followers and their aranea captives as playthings—both for breeding, and for tortures—but they are never more than a temporary diversion. And so Munasukaru sought a different outlet for madness and anger, a record of her experiments and amusements that became her Penance, an ongoing work of art that reflects the twisted, monstrous mind of its creator.
Akinosa, Opiate Addled Scholar
Once, Akinosa was content to roam the Forest of Spirits with his band of aranea followers and his precious f lask of endless sake. A sorcerer with far greater talent than most of his kind, Akinosa has always been fascinated with the arcane, but his desire to learn more has become his undoing. The rumors of dark secrets and forbidden texts hidden beneath the House of Withered Blossoms proved too much for him to ignore, and when news reached him that the Five Storms had escaped their prison, Akinosa led his followers to the pagoda to claim the oni’s knowledge for himself. Unfortunately, Akinosa, a lazy drunkard at the best of times, was unable to defeat Munasukaru’s forces, and his obsession with the wealth of arcana that he still believes is hidden in the House of Withered Blossoms has driven him to carry on his war for the past 60 years. During that time, a stalemate has existed between the aranea and the oni, with neither able to gain the advantage over the other, and Akinosa has added opium to his list of vices.
The endless stalemate has worn on the aranea’s nerves,however, and his days are now long. In his drug- and alcohol-induced torpor, Akinosa is often unaware of what is reality and what is dream. He spends his days scrying on his enemy and making endless demands of his followers for preparations of attack. Of late, Akinosa has spent more time in indulgence than in strategy, and his addiction to opium and endless supply of sake has dulled his senses.
In hybrid form, Akinosa looks like a vast spider with a distended body and multi-jointed legs, topped with a humanoid torso wearing soiled robes. A disturbing cluster of arachnid eyes and mandibles mar his only vaguely human head. Swarms of spiders and insects crawl in and
out of the folds in his robes and skin.
An august member of the landed gentry of Minkai and the governor of Enganoka Province, Sikutsu Sennaka is the epitome of honor, but he has sacrificed his last glimmer of compassion to his duty to the Jade Regent.
Sikutsu Sennaka is one of the most powerful daimyo and generals in Minkai, and the current head of the Sikutsu clan. He has seen much action in countless petty conflicts against lesser daimyo as well as other Tian nations, and is an accomplished naval commander as well. Like many of his forebears, Sennaka is also the governor of Enganoka Province. After Emperor Higashiyama Shigure went into hiding, the Jade Regent ordered Sennaka to maintain order in the northwestern provinces at all costs. Sennaka keeps a particularly sharp eye on the merchant class, considered to be the most likely source of unrest, but also closely watches the oppressed peasants and miners of the prosperous hills that surround the towns of Sakakabe and Enganoka, which play a decisive role in the empire’s economy—especially so now, given the current trade crisis between Minkai and the rest of Tian Xia.
Although officially responsible only for Enganoka, Sennaka also exerts a noticeable influence on the neighboring province of Sakakabe, whose governor is weak and irresolute in comparison. Sennaka even enjoys significant authority in the large port of Akafuto to the south, where the city’s complacent bureaucracy traditionally favors his family’s business. Sennaka usually spends only half his time in the provincial capital, for he has set a schedule of frequent inspections in the surrounding castles, which he carries out in person with a large escort of loyal samurai.
In recent years, the people of Enganoka have begun subtly resisting their haughty ruler, whose energies have always been focused more on warfare than on maritime commerce and good administration of the territory. When Sennaka levied extra taxes to support the Jade Regent’s new government and his private mercenary army, the Typhoon Guard, many villages refused to pay. The village chiefs, with the unspoken support of the local gentry, instead spent the funds to develop and improve their land. When Sennaka learned of this, he ignored the good that had been done to his own lands and took it as an offense to his honor, triggering a chain of violent episodes. Several prominent members of local noble families were forced to commit seppuku for betraying the trust of their daimyo, and many tax collectors, only some of whom were actually guilty of malicious embezzlement, were beheaded. Sennaka now sends his daikan tetsuku, or rural police, throughout the countryside as well, and the persecution continues, in even the smallest of villages.
After his appointment as governor, Sennaka had to leave his beloved family castle in the hands of his younger brother, Sikutsu Itsuru. Sennaka considers Itsuru an unruly, useless sentimentalist. But Itsuru is stronger than Sennaka knows, and seeks to remove Sennaka and right the governor’s many injustices, provided he can find a way to do so honorably.
A middle-aged man of tall stature and gracious manners, Sikutsu Sennaka is the ideal image of the honorable samurai, but his decorous exterior conceals a cruel heart and naked lust for power. Since becoming governor, Sennaka has adopted a much more lavish and extravagant lifestyle. Sennaka specially commissioned a suit of jadegreen o-yoroi in honor of his lord, the Jade Regent, complete with a horned helmet and a scowling, demonic faceplate.
Slimly built and of below average stature, with short, fuzzy gray hair, Kaibuninsho is hardly impressive physically. An attentive observer, however, might notice an unusual, almost inhuman agility in his every move.
When in the vicinity of others, Kaibuninsho is always sharp and attentive. He tends, however, to alternate between moments of lucidity and periods of melancholy. During these latter periods, he embraces seclusion as a form of defense, and can hide away from the world for weeks.
Kaibuninsho was born in the hills near the coastal town of Sakakabe, and trained in the arts of the ninja by one of the minor clans there. He soon gained fame as a talented spy and imaginative assassin, and was eventually recruited into the Oni’s Mask clan.
Since he discovered the artifact called the shinobi fuhonsen, however, Kaibuninsho has become a solitary figure. Aff licted with an incurable form of psychosis by the ancient coin, Kaibuninsho was driven to murder many of his former associates, which has led to a rift between the ninja and his clan, but the leader of the Oni’s Mask has thus far not taken action against his wayward follower, likely because of Kaibuninsho’s current patron, the Jade Regent.
Now an agent of the forces of chaos, Kaibuninsho follows a sinister personal agenda and supports the rise of the oni in Minkai as just another means to spread anarchy in the world, a tragic prelude to the transformation of the human race through a new, radical cycle of natural selection.
The Emperors and Empress of the Well of Demons
Shogun Teikoku Sokai
In life, he ruled the First Kingdom of Minkai, known as the Teikoku Shogunate, taking the title of shogun rather than emperor. Sokai ushered in an age of unparalleled eugenics in Minkai, attempting to elevate certain bloodlines above all others— specifically, the five imperial families of Minkai, but most especially the Teikoku line. He subjugated lesser noble lines by seizing their property and enslaving their scions to enrich himself and his cronies.
After Sokai lost his life in a violent uprising against his decadent rule, his most loyal followers transported his remains to the Imperial Shrine. When his soul passed into the Great Beyond, the powers of the Abyss welcomed him and reforged him into a nalfeshnee. Since then, Sokai has focused his efforts on returning to Minkai with the help of his demonic allies.
Empress Amatatsu Maemi
Empress Amatatsu Maemi sat on the Jade Throne of Minkai for over 200 years, though she remained childless for the entirety of her reign. She lobbied the powers of Hell to extend her life and beauty as long as possible, pledging her soul to them in return. Eventually, Maemi died childless and alone, and the Amatatsu Seal and the Jade Throne passed to another branch of the Amatatsu line. The devils of Hell held her to her contract, and accepted Maemi into their ranks, transforming her into a gylou, or handmaiden devil. Now granted a true eternity to perpetuate her evil, Maemi has gathered more handmaidens to her side, intent on returning to Kasai and retaking the Jade Throne for her own selfish pursuits.
In life, Empress Amatatsu Maemi eschewed the company of men, always preferring women as her closest confidantes. Since becoming a handmaiden devil in Hell, Maemi has continued that trend, taking an evil outsider named Shiori Heikkaki as her own handmaiden and consort. Heikkaki is a shiko me, a Tian fiend personifying the corruption of death, and serves her empress as bodyguard, assassin, and lover.
Emperor Sugimatu Nobinoru
In life, Emperor Sugimatu Nobinoru survived to the venerable age of 110, resembling a withered ghoul more than a man when he finally passed away. His last act as emperor was to command his loyal samurai to put every remaining member of his family to death so none could ever surpass his accomplishments. Before all of his kindred were slain, one of the other imperial families stepped in and stopped the slaughter, but so decimated was the family line that it would be several centuries before another Sugimatu again sat upon the Jade Throne. Nevertheless, Nobinoru almost succeeded in destroying his family, and his heinous crime brought his soul to Abaddon, where the fell powers of that realm both rewarded and punished him by transforming his soul into a thanadaemon.
Nobinoru appears as a horned skeletal figure wearing a dark kimono and carrying an ornate staff. He is accompanied by his majordomo, a piscodaemon named Ikku.
Emperor Shojinawa Ito
Emperor Shojinawa Ito represents one of the greatest of Minkai’s evil rulers. Descended from a bloodline steeped in necromancy and dark magics, his reign mars the history of the Jade Throne, prompting the keepers of imperial records in Kasai to all but purge his name from their scrolls. Only a handful of historians know that Emperor Ito unnaturally extended his life by becoming a lich, disguising himself with magic so no one would realize his undead nature. He even formed an undead army to defend him and expand Minkai’s borders. Eventually, however, his people questioned his unnaturally long lifespan, and Ito finally met his end when the ancient sovereign dragon Daidorei, disguised as a peasant, traveled to the Imperial Palace and slew the undead emperor in a conf lagration of magical fire. Daidorei also correctly divined the location of Ito’s phylactery on the Mount of Seven Shrines, and destroyed it as well.
But Ito’s legacy did not end with the destruction of his body and phylactery. Rather than craft a single phylactery, Ito had harnessed the energies of the Imperial Shrine to craft a second phylactery, splitting his soul as a safeguard against those who would try to remove him from the Jade Throne. The second phylactery could not return him as a lich, however, and his physical remains crumbled to ash, leaving only his spirit intact.
Usurpers of the Jade Throne
Anamuramon, the Leader of the Five Storms
Nearly 500 years old, the wind yai Anamurumon was born as a human in 4219 ar (6719 ic) and raised among the savage brigands of northern Minkai. A powerful warlord, Anamurumon eventually sought to defy the divine laws of Minkai and place himself on the Jade Throne, and even slew Emperor Shojinawa Kenshiro, but not before the emperor used the power of the Shojinawa Seal to call down a terrible curse upon the warlord. Anamurumon’s soul was ripped from his body, only to be reborn as a hideous wind yai.
Anamurumon’s transformation ensured that he would never claim the Jade Throne, but ever savvy, he spent the next 3 centuries contemplating how to skirt the Laws of Golden Perfection so he could strike back at the empire in a way the gods would be powerless to deny. Anamurumon carefully orchestrated the eradication of Minkai’s imperial families and enacted a plot to sire oni-blooded offspring capable of bypassing the divine laws. Eventually, Anamurumon was rewarded with a tiefling grandson named Soto Takahiro, who could pass as human and seize the throne in his stead. Positioning Takahiro as one of Emperor Higashiyama Shigure’s bodyguards, grandfather and grandson succeeded in betraying the emperor and Takahiro became the Jade Regent of Minkai.
Anamurumon wields his power like a blade, having commanded the trust and loyalty of the Five Storms oni for over 3 centuries. In his human guise, Anamurumon publicly acts as a middle-aged, imperial magistrate and close advisor to the Jade Regent. Anamurumon is the true villain of “The Empty Throne,” serving as the mastermind behind the rise of the Jade Regent and perhaps the single biggest threat of the campaign. The rest of the Five Storms look to him for leadership, and if he is slain, the coalition of oni crumbles.
Renshii Meida, Seer, Lover, Adviser and Betrayer
Renshii clan goes back several centuries. But when Anamurumon’s barbarian army was defeated, the victors put most of the Renshiis to the sword. Only a handful of women managed to f lee the emperor’s samurai, escaping vengeance by marrying into other families, until the hidden clan all but disappeared. Renshii Meida was 20 years old when the spirits of her ancestors contacted her and whispered of her origins, and their desire to take vengeance on the imperial families who had erased all memory of them from Minkai. To this end, Meida offered her services to the Higashiyama family as a seer and advisor to interpret the will of the gods and ancestral spirits alike.
Behind Renshii Meida’s outward demeanor of a tradition-bound geisha hides the soul of a deceitful snake, ready to lash out at the merest slight. In truth, there’s a measured intelligence behind her submissive eyes—something others only discover long after falling victim to her schemes and machinations, if at all.
She and Soto Takahiro, the Jade Regent, developed a lasting love affair with each other, but regardless of her feelings for him, Meida is aggressively opportunistic, constantly plotting and scheming to gain further influence over Takahiro while secretly undermining Anamurumon’s control over him. Now that she’s pregnant with Takahiro’s child (a secret she has only shared with her handmaiden), Meida is determined to establish a new dynasty, and will stop at nothing to place her own child on the Jade Throne.
The Raven Prince
Few know the true identity of the tengu Giras Notori, but everyone in Minkai recognizes his handiwork. Those with secrets to hide or debts to repay simply refer to him as the
Raven Prince, a renowned ninja employed by commoners and emperors alike to retrieve lost goods or assassinate their greatest enemies. He works for anyone capable of meeting his price—whether they pay in coin or by piquing his interest with a task deemed worthy of his skill. People rarely see Notori on such missions, but they always know his visits by the shiny brass coins stamped with the image of a crowned raven that he leaves behind to mark his victims.
Giras Notori studied with several prestigious ninja clans, excelling in the arts of deception and assassination, but never joining their ranks as a full member. Nevertheless, he soon began accepting assignments from both the ninja who trained him and members of Minkai’s noble and imperial families. These contracts were often against enemies of the Jade Throne, both within Minkai’s borders and without. As Notori’s legend grew, so too did his skills, and eventually he found fewer and fewer challenges worthy of his talents.
Not long after, Anamurumon contacted Notori with an especially intriguing idea—nothing less than the
assassination of each imperial bloodline down to the last remaining heir to the Jade Throne. Seeing this as a crowning achievement for any ninja, Notori took the oni’s coin and accepted the contract, and as a result, nearly a hundred members of Minkai’s imperial families have met their ends at his hands.
Now the Jade Regent sits upon the Jade Throne and the Raven Prince enjoys a steady supply of challenges, thanks to his position as the Jade Regent’s royal assassin. As the inquisitors of the Typhoon Guard identify possible enemies to the throne, the Jade Regent sends Notori to either eliminate them or deliver a message to ensure their continued intimidation. While the tengu excels in this role, he is beginning to find such tasks routine, but he has found a new distraction in the tales and rumors of the approaching Amatatsu heir. Notori looks forward to the day when he can either test his skills against her or offer up his services to Minkai’s new emperor, following her ascension.
The Jade Regent
At the young age of 26, Soto Takahiro rules over one of the most powerful empires of Tian Xia. His short reign as Jade Regent has already ushered in an age of excess and debauchery almost unrivaled by the emperors preceding him, and whispers of rebellion and civil uprising spread throughout the streets.
Once just a member of the Imperial Guard, Takahiro now has everything his heart desires—but the power and prestige of his success has fully corrupted him, and he chafes under his grandfather’s control. No longer satisfied as Anamurumon’s puppet, Takahiro plans to rule Minkai at his own direction.
Considered heavy-handed at best and rapacious at worst, the Jade Regent cuts a tall, imposing figure, standing almost 7 feet tall. His glamered o-yoroi of imperial rule, seemingly crafted of heavy sheets of jade, only enhances his imperious image.