Tianxia: Hand of the Phoenix
Ghost of Five Demon Forest
Jianghu Rank: 1
High Concept: Ghost of Five Demon Forest
Trouble: Five Steps from Sorrow
Aspect: The Unbroken Blade
Aspect: Lover of Serpents
Aspect: “I will always come back to you”
Great (+4): Athletics
Good (+3): Fight, Stealth
Fair (+2): Chi, Rapport, Notice
Average (+1): Physique, Investigate, Will, Empathy
Mediocre (+0): Archery, Burglary, Contacts, Crafts, Lore, Provoke, Resources, Ride
Kung Fu Styles
The First Scroll: Ghost of Five Demon Forest
Once a little girl was born to a family of poor farmers in Jiangzhou. Her father and three brothers toiled for the city and her mother worked hard for her family. But no matter how hard they worked, the family never had much. Little Ivory, as her mother called her, learned to run before she knew how to walk. She learned to climb faster and higher than her brothers, and one day she ran away to the forest. She stayed there for many hours, playing amongst the trees, until she grew hungry and found her way home. Her father raged at her and her mother cried tears of joy. Both forbade her from returning to the forest, and her brothers told her stories of the bandits and demons which called it home.
That night Little Ivory slipped out of her bed and made her way in the dark to the woods. She played until the sun came out and she heard her family shouting for her to come home. When she grew hungry and tired, Ivory left the forest and found her way home. Her father tied her to the door post and forbade her food until she mended her ways. When night fell again she slipped out of her ropes and ran away to the woods. She plucked fruit from the trees and cracked open fallen nuts for her dinner. She roamed the forest until she became tired and lay down on a bed of soft grass.
When morning came and Little Ivory found her way out of the forest, her mother was waiting for her. Taking her daughter’s face in her hands, she looked deep into her eyes and smiled sadly.
“If I let you wander the Five Demon Forest whenever you wish, will you promise to always come back to me?”
Little Ivory nodded. “Yes, mother. I will always come back to you.”
Her mother smiled, kissed her forehead, and together they walked home. Though her father shouted loud enough to shake the dust from the rafters, her mother said this: “Can you stop the autumn leaves from falling? If not, let the wind bear them where it wishes.” Her father, purpled in the face, stormed off and did not speak for a week.
Every since that day, her mother called her Autumn Ivory.
Many years passed and Autumn Ivory grew tall and beautiful. Her skin was as pale as her name, thanks to the shadows of the trees where she spent each day. Many nearby families asked her father when she would let her be married, and he smiled thinking of the fat brideprice her could ask. Autumn Ivory cared nothing for this as she roamed the woods, sometimes not returning home for days. Though many bandits called the forest home, they learned not to chase after the girl lest she lead them into pits of vipers or dens of tigers. They called her a ghost for her pale appearance and the way she could vanish between the trees.
One year, when the tax collector came to take his toll of rice, he saw Autumn Ivory and was smitten with her. “I will give you a hundred pieces of jade when she comes of age.” Most men would have agreed on the spot, but her father smiled slyly. “Only one hundred? The House of Soft Sighs promised me twice that if she was still untouched in a year.” The tax collector immediately tripled his offer and her father accepted.
When Autumn Ivory next came home her brothers set on her and tied her down. Her father gloated at the money she would make the family. Her mother stayed quiet and said nothing. The men rejoiced and drank the wine her mother served with dinner to celebrate. When they slipped into stuporous sleep her mother took a knife from the kitchen and sliced her ropes. “Run into the forest and do not return. Not even if I call you.” Autumn Ivory turned to run, but hesitated and instead watched her mother slip into the night. “I will always come back to you,” she whispered.
She ran into the forest and no longer looked back.
The Third Scroll: The Unbroken Blade
The Fourth Scroll: Lover of Serpents
The Fifth Scroll: “I will always come back to you”