Paths of Glory
Rhai is a human monk, with vaguely Asian features, standing at about 5’8".
He appears very calm, with a slightly square face and a perpetual almost-sleepy expression.
He is of medium build, wearing loose, old brown robes, with heavily calloused knuckles and palms.
We meet him carrying boiling water out from the crowded and raucous bar outside, to make his tea. Beside him and his tea on the ground are a large rucksack and something heavy and flat wrapped in cloth, with a hilt protruding from the wrapping.
Rhai hails from a small human village of about 7,000 nestled deep in the mountains of Hangetsu, which survives the barren mountains thanks to a hidden plateau that, while almost invisible from the outside, is large enough to support the village’s farming. The plateau, and the village on it, also command another hidden treasure: a pass through the snowy mountains, which would have been invaluable in the old wars between the shogunates. To stay safe, the village keeps themselves and the pass secret, with their combat-trained denizens using their knowledge of the land and their sharp swords to kill any wayward elves that wander too far into the mountains.
The village once acquired many of its manufactured goods and tools by trading with a trustworthy dwarven mining colony and a single elven village nearby, but since the Emperor’s conquest, both the village and the mining colony are gone, and times are hard. While the elves don’t need to come as close to the village, since (for now) the shogunates are united, the villagers must now range farther from the village, to steal from the elves what they once traded for with the dwarves.
Recently, Rhai, one of the 33 greatest warriors of the village, and one of the current 17 guardians of the paths into the village, was summoned by the village’s grand masters. They had remained in contact with the dwarves, and had recently heard an odd rumor of a great power somewhere in Nordland, which could give its possessor an edge against the elves. Ten of the village’s 33 were send in pairs to the Fourfold Union, each to separate upon arrival and search for this power. After Rhai and his partner, his cousin, made it to their assignment, the only two assigned to Ostland, the least of the islands, they split up, with Rhai searching the main island and his couisin, Rutao, searching the smaller fishing villages for rumors, both in the guise of strange beggar-drifters.
They are to rendezvous with the captain of the ten in seven year’s time, in the northernmost island.
The oddly guileless Rhai is having a good time so far, as these odd fishing people seem rather simple as well, and are more than happy to tell him rumors. However, none have yet told him anything like that he seeks.
Of course, all ten brought lots of tea.