An Exalted Empire
Pale Heartbeat Wind
Eclipse Spirit-slave Courier
Sporting jet black hair, and striking pale skin, Pale Heartbeat Wind hails from the South. He has a somewhat wiry frame yet is somehow well accustomed to his hot and unforgiving environment.
SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER***
Dakai, was only a small child of seven years when he was taken from his family in Champoor. He doesn’t remember
much and has few memories of that time in his life. He was taken during that year’s Calibration, at night when his
parents had gone to celebrate and ask for blessings in the new year. He has a baby brother, but he wasn’t kidnapped
that night when he was taken.
His kidnapper was a slaving merchant and ended up selling him to a slave master known as, One Scorched by
Triumphant Dunes. Dunes was one of many slave masters that worked in the employ of a greater spirit known as He
Who Burns Unstained Repose. He Who Burns Unstained Repose was one of many greater spirits of the South that
was involved in the trade and shipping of all types of illicit materials. He, and his fellow spirit brothers and sisters had
formed a large criminal cabal that was widely known throughout the South as the “Unrepentant Jasper League”. The
first words Unstained Repose said to Dakai were, “You belong to me now, mortal. Outside of this domain, you no
Spirits are an odd bunch and are widely misunderstood or studied by mortals. They crave different things than man.
They use different means than man does. They have different motivations than man. Because of their unpredictable
and wild nature, the vast majority of mortal response (both formal and criminal) to the UJL has failed to rid the league
from their lands or even keep them at bay in certain places. As such, their hold over the South and South-East has
grown in the last century. There is little that cannot be purchased from these spirit lords. Not only do many go to the
agents of the great spirits, but many work for the UJL as well. They employ other lesser spirits, mortals, and beastmen.
Thousands are in the employ of the league and their grasp and realm of influence is said to extend from Dajaz to
Ember, and to the Chiaroscuro on the coast of the Inland Sea. The realms where the spirit kings live are not collocated
in the major cities but it is rumored that they are never far from them either.
After he came into the involuntary service of Unstained Repose, Dakai started a life in a new world which he did not
know. It took a few years but he started to understand some of the makings and constructs of his new life. Dakai was
a slave but he was identified as showing a certain inclination towards learning and academic studies. While he was
never really given what he needed to shine, he was taught to read and write. After that, he was taught to ride. His
teachings were all based on what his owner, Unstained Repose wanted him to know. Simply put, whatever would
benefit the spirit lord’s schemes and plans the most. These languages usually had to do with trade or the local region
(the South), and of course, the language of the spirits as he had to bow and cater to the league’s wishes whenever
they called. Years passed and Dakai became quite talented in the field of riding, writing, and calligraphy. This made
him an excellent courier and that is what he is continued to do for the spirit king. He practiced his skills whenever he
was allowed and eventually he was even allowed very limited access to a portion of the spirit kings library. Life,
however, was usually quite dull and very often painful. The pain of hunger, torture, reprisal, and even emotion all
afflicted those who served the spirit lord.
There were some benefits to serving the spirit kings though. Occasionally a great work or service would be rewarded
with a token or a gift. Again, proving that the spirit kings did not act or behave like a normal slaver would in the lands
of Creation. Dakai had been working on a series of documents for three months almost without stop. Apparently, the
project was quite important to Unstained Repose and he could tell due to the amount of oversight that was constantly
monitoring Dakai. When the young slave delivered the documents to the customer, an elemental spirit (Zhoulaon,
Thoughtful Cradle of the Mountains) in the hills south west of The Lap, he was given what seemed to be a small token
at the time. A sand cricket. The sand cricket was a little bigger than his hand at the time. Yapa, as Dakai named him
soon came to be an affectionate and intelligent companion. He grew in size too. As Dakai aged and grew, so did the
cricket! A decade late, Dakai was riding the beautifully marked sand cricket. Yapa and Dakai carried messages all
around the South. Now that he had a trustworthy mount, the spirit lord ordered Dakai to be taught some sort of
fighting skill. It was decided for the teen, that he would be trained in yabusame (mounted archery). Though he was
able to understand, and he practiced, he really didn’t think he needed it, nor did he ever become all that great at it.
This, would lead to an unfortunate situation in the future.
While out couriering a set of documents and tomes on the smelting/working of a newly found desert metal to
Resplendent Flame Lily, he and Yapa came under attack by a small group of bandits, who were most likely hired by a
local trade lord to try and kill off competition. Dakai tried to talk himself out of the unfortunate scenario but the
thieves were unsatisfied with bounty they had captured and decided they would try to take it out on the courier and
his companion. Dakai was being beaten, when he caught a glimpse of a couple of bandits that pulled out razor sharp
spears and started talking of how good a meal of desert cockroach would be. They tried to skewer Yapa, but the sand
cricket was still able to dodge their attacks though being partially tied down. Dakai, became enraged and immediately
tumbled out of the group of his attackers, and ran towards his friend. Just as he reached Yapa, a spear came flying
towards the creature’s abdomen. Dakai had to make a split second choice. It was this choice that would end up
forever changing his life. Dakai dove and took the spear to his body. He fell to the ground in agonizing pain. The pain
however, started to wither. At first he did not notice it. Only the massive amount of blood pouring out of the wound.
It was all over his shirt, his hands, his chest, and the ground. He did however start to take notice as the blood started
to sear around the wound. Dakai went to pull the spear out, thinking he would not be able to budge it. To his
surprise, he was able to pull it free with a single try. His teeth gritted in anticipation of a pain that did not come. His
wound started rapidly closing, cauterizing itself as it did so. A strange glow emanated from his forehead and from all
around him. He realized he had the power to stand up. He did so and grabbed the spear which had just pierced him.
He stood resolute and in a fire of light, in front of a group of thieves who now had formed a circle around him. The
thieves looked at each other, not knowing what they had just witnessed. Their mouths were slack with amazement
and eyes showed signs of bewilderment at the sight of man who should surely be dead or bleeding out momentarily.
They all attacked Dakai, but that would be their downfall for he had received a gift from the Unconquered Sun. After
the skirmish, Yapa carried Dakai quickly to their destination, the palace and sanctuary of Resplendent Flame Lily. The
spirit lord did not know how he survived the ambush but was pleased that her shipment was not stolen. She saw to it
that Dakai was nourished back to full health. Before Dakai left, she mentioned the fact that had he been more
practiced in his archery endeavors, he probably would have gotten through the ordeal without a scratch. The Flame
Lily ordered him to practice for a week every time he made a delivery to her. She made one of her many personal war
trainers available to him. She apparently saw this as a way to protect her investments. Dakai quickly became an
amazing shot with the bow. His new energy and powers gave him an accelerated advantage like he’d never seen or
experienced. However, he could feel and see the memories of someone else. It was clear that whatever this new
power was, it had a cost associated it with. Though, Dakai would not fully know its real cost for quite some time.
The spirit lord known as He Who Burns Unstained Repose, sensed that something had changed in Dakai upon his
return but he could not put his finger on what it was exactly. He kept his eye on the young slave, and even hired a
couple of watchers to follow him. Though, they never caught him doing anything out of the ordinary. Dakai continued
his courier duties and still practiced at Flame Lily’s whenever he was there. One day, he went out to practice and
noticed a strikingly beautiful female who was practicing her archery skills with another of the spirit lord’s instructors.
After the instructor finished the session, Dakai went over and introduced himself. She was Flowing Alizarin Orchid, a
courier two years younger than Dakai. She, however, was enslaved to Resplendent Flame Lily and lived a somewhat
different life. From that day on, the two continued to talk and agreed to practice together whenever they could. They
became good friends.
A couple of years passed. Though, life as a slave was still all that Dakai knew, it was not meant to be as Dakai
continued to learn and see more of the world every time he’d courier a message for the spirit lords. His thirst to be
free continued to grow and grow. For him to be free, though, he’d have to figure a way out of his service. A plan was
hatched. He would use his skills and aptitude to pit the spirit lords’ customers against his owner. It would take time to
set everything up, but if he executed his plan flawlessly, he could finally be free.
Dakai continued riding all over the South, and occasionally into the South East. For the spirit lords were greedy and
started expanding their territory. They had recently set their sights on gaining valuable contracts with the nation of
the Three Streams Province. Their largest clients were a group of fanatical priests and sorcerers, known colloquially as
“The White Faces” who lived in the hills and forests West of Kamthahar. They cared little for any outsiders unless they
were converts coming to repent and join their militaristic clan. Dakai learned of their plans to attack Kamthahar in the
coming years, which is why they had a contract for weapons and metal workers (slaves). Although they never
mistreated Dakai, he could never shake the feeling that they were always one step away from trying to kill him. They
were an unsettling group, to say at the least.
Not all of his experiences were bad or ominous. While traveling through TSP, Dakai met a benevolent spirit in the Blue
Forest who introduced him to a being known Kuroshima, Forgotten Prince of Petals. Though Kuroshima was initially
quite guarded, (and he probably would be too after going through what the Forgotten Prince of Petals had gone
through…he told Dakai stories of betrayal and banishment from his home land) he eventually opened up to Dakai. The
young solar exalt would stop in from time to time when he was in the area. Dakai really enjoyed the quiet days spent
studying in Kuroshima’s home, The Budding Palace (which is hidden deep in the Blue Forest). Besides Orchid and
Yapa, Dakai had no other good friends.
He also had odd experiences when he had delivered letters and contracts to Jaded Indigo, Last Sovereign of the
Enervated Coven. She was a bipolar witch, and her mood swings made her quite frightening. Even after everything
Dakai had seen in short life thus far, including spirits lesser and greater, elementals, and beasts, she still was the worst
customer that he would deliver to. He never knew how she would take the news of a denied contract or unfavorable
letter sent from a spirit lord of the UJL. He came to loathe his trips to the grounds of the coven, even if the other
witches weren’t as crazy and unhinged as she could be. He did, however, identify his mark for his plan. The coven was
small, but their connections were quite powerful for their sorcerous works fueled and empowered many events across
the South East. If a new king was to rise to power, chances are they had something to do with it. If a nation ran into a
famine during the harvest season, they probably were behind it. Though they did have great power, the spirit lord
Unstained Repose did not care for the coven one bit. He only allowed the continued trade with the witches because
of the large amount of ambrosia that would come back to him. It was all a delicate game of power, manipulation,
greed, and veiled mistrust. The perfect setting for Dakai to finally free himself.
When the plan finally was executed, Dakai had just reached the domain of Flame Lily. It was a special occasion that
was quite exciting for the young exalt not only because the plan was happening but because he had planned to secure
the freedom of Orchid as well. Unfortunately she was away couriering a letter from Dajaz to Gem, and then back to
her master’s domain. The plan had already been set in motion and there was no undoing it. Amongst all of the letters
and notes that were written by his skilled hand, one was a declaration from Jaded Indigo to Resplendent Flame Lily
demanding that the spirit lord handover all over her magical metals from her workshops and in her stores. The
witches promised that they would bring destruction and the grimmest of fates for all who did not obey their
demands. Flame Lily, being a spirit lord, was naturally unphased by such a threat. She did, however, fear that the
messenger would never come back from carrying the response she was to send. Flame Lily gave Dakai an artifact of
great power. A short bow he could use while mounted or on foot. It was from a time long past. The bow was called
the Suspension of Legacy. After receiving the great artifact and the letter that would go to the coven witches, he set
off to TSP to finish the last piece of his plan. After delivering another forged letter, he would be free.