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* Plot Information for Tacea

Tensions are rising in Tacea after the destruction of their Territory Court at the hands of its Queen. Unable to continue their traditional cycle of succession because of accusations of treason, Tacea must find a Queen capable of uniting the land while building bridges to the world outside its borders.
Overview of Tacea
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Author Topic: Kei no Zazen-ji  (Read 1210 times)

Description: Priest Warlord. Green to Red. Played by Leez.

Offline Kei no Zazen-ji

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Kei no Zazen-ji
« on: Dec 31, 18, 12:31:18 AM »
    The Basics

    Character Name:
    • Formal: Mother Night Has Twice Blessed Me With The Radiance Of The Cosmos
    • Common: Kei no Zazen-ji
    Nicknames:
    Age and Birth Year: 25 (169 AP)
    Race: Short-lived
    Caste: Priest Warlord
    Birth Territory: Tacea
    Home Territory: Tacea

    Birthright Jewel: cut Green
    Offering Jewel: uncut Red

    Role: Wandering Monk
    Faction: Zazen-ji

    Appearance

    Play By: Lee Soo Hyuk
    Distinguishing Features: Kei is exceptionally pretty and exceptionally androgynous. Born naturally dual-casted and quickly surrendered to the monastery, they were raised to understand themself as being neither male nor female but as embodying traits of both. They are tall and lithe and smooth of cheek but with a certain masculine strength of jaw, and they have been encouraged throughout their youth to experiment with the traditional markers of gender in Tacean society - they freely mix masculine and feminine styles of dress and cosmetics and accessorize as they please.

    Personality

    Personality:
    Kei is a former golden child grown into a somewhat anxious adult. They were raised to move through life with an air of calm detachment that comes off as grace in the best circumstances and aloofness in the worst, and are able to project a little bit less of this practiced calm with every passing year. They are thoughtful and highly imaginative, still young enough to be prone to overestimating their own profundity, but old enough and overeducated enough to overthink their actions. Still, given the position they were raised to fill, they mask their self-doubt with insights into faith, Mother Night, and the nature of the Darkness, and they like the sound of their own voice. It is clear and good, even when their thoughts are muddled. Kei speaks the most when trying to mask their nervousness.

    Kei is used to having a strong sense of self and forward momentum. Their eventual role inside the walls of Zazen-ji was determined the moment they were abandoned there as an infant, and they have never truly stopped to question their path - and at this point they are frankly afraid to. They have always assumed that their decisions are right by virtue of being their decisions, and that everyone should be so self-possessed and un-self-conscious. After all, Mother Night wouldn’t allow them to make a bad choice, would she? And if Kei cannot make a choice at all, that’s Mother Night’s will, too, isn’t it?

    Importantly, though, growing up within the walls of Zazen-ji has left Kei sheltered and wary of the outside world. Everyone at the monastery is there for a reason, and Kei’s reason is their mother’s rejection - and that hurts. Kei has understood from their earliest memories that their castes - and related gender-noncomformity - set them apart and put them at a disadvantage outside the monastery. This intolerance of something so intrinsic to their very being strikes them as a tremendous injustice - they are always ready to argue their way up to equal ground with outsiders, though so far most of these conversations have taken place inside Kei's head. They think they're ready to face down prejudice out in the world... but they're not actually sure.

    This readiness to argue extends outwards to Kei’s other opinions, and they scare themself with their own passion sometimes, especially when they catch themself digging trenches over petty differences. After all, disagreements are disharmonious and unbecoming of a priest… but shouldn’t other people know they’re right? Kei's usually pretty good a reigning themself in, but like one might expect of their Darkness, they are capable of rising to surprising fervor and loudness - and once the outburst ends, Kei is overcome by deep shame.

    Given their caste and the nature of their upbringing, Kei has been steeped in spiritualism their entire life. They take a thoughtful but deeply mystical approach to the Darkness and seek to learn what lessons they can from it, but they understand that it is fundamentally a mystery. They show restraint and careful respect in their communions with it - to wade too deep, too fast would be heretical, and the last thing Kei wants is to be heretical. They are convinced of the utter rectitude of their specific order’s teachings and look down on mainstream religion where it differs. This is particularly clear in the faiths’ understandings of gender - most Taceans are suspicious of naturally dual-casted males, while in the order, Kei’s caste has always been taken as a sign of their innate connection to Mother Night.

    This innate connection has, however, placed Kei under intense scrutiny. They have learned through careful practice and meditation to contain their feelings and swallow frustration and rage in the service of portraying serenity. After all, their feminine caste is meant to moderate their masculine nature, and acting out would be a betrayal of the tremendous gift they’ve been given. However, there is a limit to how much deep breathing one can do - when meditation stops working, Kei turns to an obsessive focus on ritual to stave off depression. When that runs out, there’s only carefully hidden self-harm left - like bleeding poison from a wound. Or that’s how they imagine it, anyway.


    Likes:
    • 1. Meditation - Kei devotes at least half an hour each night to meditation. They find the practice to be centering and helpful to deepening their connection to Mother Night and the Darkness. On particularly stressful days, they look forward to returning to their room and sinking into a trance. Not having time to properly unwind often leaves them feeling out-of-sorts and off-kilter the next day.
    • 2. The Big City - Oh, everything is so exciting in Ito! It’s not like home at all. Nervous as Kei is about all the warnings they’ve been given before venturing out into the world, they’re also surprised by how excited they are to be there and ready to take in all it has to offer. They are up for anything, at any time of the day - trips to the theater, tea ceremonies at okiyas, long, rambling walks in the public gardens, or finding somewhere good to eat (especially that).
    • 3. Preening - Kei takes great pride in their appearance and works hard to appear beautiful. Their unique position within their order has given them more time to devote to vanity, and they take enjoyment in applying a perfect face of makeup or adding the perfect accessory to an outfit. They know they are beautiful and like to be reminded of the fact.
    Dislikes:
    • 1. The Gender Binary - Kei never had their identity questioned until they left the monastery, but laypeople in Tacea proper don’t seem to grasp how someone can be neither male nor female. They find Tacean culture’s insistence on rigid gender stereotypes to be stifling and reductive and think that it prevents adherents from reaching a deeper connection with Mother Night and their own inner truths.
    • 2. Being Lonely - True, Kei likes to retreat to their own space and collect their thoughts, but always with the understanding that whenever they’re ready, they can leave their room and have their pick of people to interact with. What they don’t like is when solitude is enforced, because all their friends are busy or there’s no one around. Just knowing that people exist and can be interacted with should they so choose is comforting enough - but being forced to be alone can make any already-bad mood worse.
    • 3. Disharmony - Kei has been taught to seek peace and enlightenment all their life, and they find it distressing when things around them do not behave as such. They feel called to mediate, settle arguments, and calm rage wherever they can and no matter how personally exhausting they might find it to do so.
    Fears:
    • 1. Failing to Live Up to the Burden of their Caste - To whom much is given, much is expected, and Kei feels this keenly. They are under tremendous pressure to be a perfect representative of their faith and to one day assume leadership of their order. They want to do these things, really - but they fear the responsibility will come to them before they are ready, or they will somehow inevitably muck it up. There are no older naturally-born priests in the order for Kei to model themself after, so they often feel as though they are flying blind in their pursuit of some higher power.
    • 2. Rejection - Some part of Kei still feels their mother’s abandonment, even all these years later. They like their life, but that has never stopped them from wondering what their natal family is like. Do they have a nose like their grandmother? Is their height from their father? Do they have siblings? Their caste, a thing they have no control over, denied them the possibility of knowing. Though their Priestness was always prized at the monastery, they are now taking their first steps outside its walls and, having been warned about the challenges their caste will pose among mainstream Taceans, fear that everything they have been warned about is true.
    • 3. Losing their Faith - Kei is devoted to Mother Night but feels tested by their inability to reach enlightenment regarding their second vow. Though they still feel they will find the answers they seek, Kei has seen many brothers before them leave the monastery when their belief was tried to its breaking point. They fear that, should their sojourn into the outside world fail to lead them to their next Vow, they will be cast out from the only world they have ever known.
    Craft Strengths:
    • 1. Communion Craft - Kei has been extensively trained in the use of communion craft, whether to lead others into the Darkness or venture there themself. They are comfortable with their own strength, skilled at mediation, and and confident enough to descend into their well of power with ease, and are a patient, steady hand when it comes to guiding others into the Darkness.
    • 2. Calming Rage - Kei has learned over time to have excellent, although not necessarily healthy, control over their emotions. Growing up in an almost entirely male environment, they have had plenty of practice in sharing this sense of peace with others and are skilled at breaking up an argument or easing frustration with a brief touch.

      Craft Weaknesses:
    • 1. Combat Craft - Though novices at Zazen-ji typically learn martial arts and combat craft, Kei was not a typical novice. They were ushered away from sparring lessons in order to take additional classes on all of the Priest craft they were expected to know. They’re a lover, not a fighter.
    • 2. Emotional Projection - Kei is not skilled at presenting a false face, which is why they must devote so much time to meditation. They have not been given any formal education in hiding their emotions, as the brotherhood values honesty before Mother Night, and it is not a skill they have picked up on their own.
    Life Story

    Family:
    Foster Father: Lung-tan, Opal to Sapphire Warlord Prince, b. 140 AP.

    History:


    As Kei understands their infancy, they were left at Zazen-ji during the night, swaddled in a plain cotton blanket and so new that their umbilical cord was still attached - and their Priest caste was already so strong that the brother who retrieved them could sense them from across the courtyard. Whoever abandoned them was long gone by then and left no identifying trinkets behind - only a small purse of gold coins. Kei has no knowledge of their birth family and no one has ever come looking for them.

    Though it was not uncommon for children to be left at the monastery, Kei’s caste set them apart from their peers and earmarked them for greatness. From the time they were three or four, they were taken to shadow the older monks walking through the rituals. While the other foundlings received a more generalized course of study, Kei tackled religious texts far above their grade level. By the time they reached their birthright, they were familiar with the theory behind the ritual and confident in their ability to take their first steps into the Darkness - perhaps this confidence is how they were able to manage so dark a Jewel.

    Their Green Birthright in hand, Kei’s training only grew more rigorous. In particular, they discovered their natural penchant for communion craft and devoted themself to daily meditation. As they grew more confident with their new Jewel, they were able to explore to the depths of their power - and one day, found someone waiting there. Amaterasu was a Queen from Tacea’s distant past, who claimed that she slumbered within the mountain of Black Immortal. Kei thought it was more likely that they’d made her up… but she was nice, and she taught them things about craft, and though she did not appear every time Kei meditated, they often looked forward to the possibility she might.

    True to custom for children raised at the monastery, Kei took their first vow - renouncing any family ties outside the order - at fifteen. When the time was right, the abbot Lung-Tan made it clear to them that they would one day be expected to succeed him in leading the monastery, and Kei took the responsibility very seriously. They could not imagine a life outside of Zazen-ji, and though they felt tremendous pressure at the prospect of one day leading the whole order… they were certain that if they were devoted enough to Mother Night, anything was possible.

    At twenty, Kei made their offering and descended to the Red. As an adult member of the monastery, they were expected to take on additional vows. Kei meditated on which to take next, and no answer came to them, so they meditated some more and recommitted themself to their faith, and still no answer appeared. Not wanting to force the process along, Kei decided that perhaps the answer would come to them if they turned their attention elsewhere - they worked in the creche and at the altar and in the fields and vineyards and at the printing press. They practiced their calligraphy and tutored younger brothers and learned animal husbandry and supposed that, perhaps, if they bettered themself enough, the answer would come - and at night they turned their thoughts inward and searched the Darkness for answers... and this went on for five years without Kei taking even the second of the order’s six vows.

    They were running out of ideas. Each month that passed unavowed made Kei fear more for their future. Their destiny was clear, their first vow had come so easily - so why was this so difficult? They could be decisive in all other matters of life - why not here? This was their destiny, and destiny couldn't be wrong. Self-doubt sprouted in Kei like a cancer that, try as they might, they could not cut out.

    At last, Lung-Tan gave Kei a directive - since the grounds of the monastery were not helping them reach the enlightenment they sought, they should go out into the secular world of Tacea to find it. Though rightly anxious about leaving Zazen-ji, Kei respected the abbot's wisdom above anything else - including their own fears. If Lung-Tan thought time away would do them well, then time away would do Kei well.

    Feeling... cautiously optimistic, Kei set off for Ito.


    Show Us What You've Got

    Character in Play:
    The heavy wooden gates swung shut behind Kei. They did not look back to watch the exact moment that they closed, but they heard it, deep like thunder, resonating in their bones. It echoed off through the woods and then was gone. The air grew still, moist with morning fog, and as Kei listened they became aware of crickets in the underbrush and birds in the branches.

    The path down the mountain stretched out before them. Kei had walked it before, but never alone, and never quite like this, with the gates of home closed at their back. They had been left here, in the little heated box in the wall. They’d been new then.

    They were less new now.

    Shouldering their pack, Kei set off down the path. Perhaps, they thought optimistically, by the time they reached the village they would have had a revelation about which vow to take next. They would be back at Zazen-ji by evening prayers. But if it were so simple as taking a hike, they knew, they would have their answer by now - and Lung-tan would be disappointed if they came back so soon. After all, his instruction had been to go out and see the secular world, and the little village at the base of the mountain hardly counted.

    Kei’s optimism quickly faded after that. The sun rose and the fog burned away, and they felt no closer to epiphany than they had been. Not only that, but they were now miles from home and miles still from the base of the mountain. Try as they might to to think of this walk meditatively, they could not - it was not bringing them peace. Rather, with every step they felt more and more conflicted - and more and more alone.

    Kei allowed themself to look back for the first time. The forest stretched for as far as the eye could see, climbing ever up the mountainside. They could not see the gates or walls of Zazen-ji, nor had they expected to - but they half-wished that they’d turned back and taken one last look, one last impression of home to hold within their heart.

    It was far too late for that now, thought Kei, and fought back a hiccuping sort of sob. There could be no tears at this parting; it would spoil the whole exercise. They closed their eyes and tried, very hard, to find their emotional center and hold it still, but no matter how many times they repeated the meditation, it slipped from their fingers.

    Kei swallowed down another sob. This was undignified! One day they would lead the whole order, and it wasn’t as though they’d been excommunicated! This was no anathema. Monks went on pilgrimages all the time, and so what if they’d failed to take a second vow in all the time since their offering? It couldn’t be rushed! Lung-tan understood that. Everyone understood that. Kei was devout.

    Wiping their eyes, they turned back down the mountain. The path was sunlit. Inviting. There was no reason not to take it, and there was certainly no reason to keep on standing in the woods crying like a lost child.

    Kei sucked a breath through their teeth. No, they thought, just a little bit miserably. No reason at all.


    Petitions (if any): 
    Caste Requesting: Priest (natural male dual-caste)
    Plot point(s) requiring this caste: Kei's dual caste is required to give them context within the monastery, where their nature makes them a favored golden child, and Tacea as a whole, where their nature puts them at a natural disadvantage. Kei's priest caste is inextricable from their upbringing and how they have developed as a person, but their Warlord side and male sex are also essential to who they are as a person - a natal priestess would not have been abandoned as Kei was or raised as Kei was, would not be under the same pressure as Kei is, and would not fear rejection but crave acceptance as Kei does.

    Kei will arrive in Ito as an outsider, and their castes and gender will enforce this status. They will find their way into the orbit of Queen Xiong Teng, who is similarly an outsider to mainland Tacean politics but slated to take the throne. Their involvement with Xiong will draw them into the volcano plot, where both their Priest caste as well as their Dark Jewels and even their childhood meditations (Amaterasu long dismissed as an imaginary friend) will all be vital to saving Tacea from certain doom.

    Their role in saving the territory will give Kei a limited amount of social currency, though certainly more than someone of their castes would have otherwise, and they will use this newfound influence (and their sway with the territory Queen) to try to advance Tacea’s view of dual-casted males and sexual/gender minorities.

    Wanted Ad Fulfillment (if any): 
    (Use below for character fulfilling a Wanted Ad, otherwise remove)
    Wanted Ad Link: Anyone your heart desires
    Wanted Ad Sponsor: Reid

    Player Name: Leez

    Offline Leez

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #1 on: Dec 31, 18, 12:38:06 AM »
    I am redeeming my BO-G-S-R birthright roll from the silent auctions and would also like a descent roll and five ally rolls. :)




    Offline phinneas

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #2 on: Dec 31, 18, 08:31:49 AM »
    Weighed by Mother Night...

    You've risen from the Darkness twice blessed with a cut Green Birthright Jewel, and were gifted with an uncut Red Jewel at your Offering.

    &

    Congratulations!



    1. Summer Sky - Purple Dusk
    2. Rose - Purple Dusk
    3. Summer Sky - Opal
    4. Summer Sky - Opal
    5. Summer Sky - Purple Dusk
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    Offline Reid

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #3 on: Jan 10, 19, 12:58:46 AM »
    Approval for Tacea >:3 I love you Keiby





    Offline Sol

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #4 on: Jan 10, 19, 09:15:42 AM »
    Lung mentions are good!




    Offline Leez

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #5 on: Jan 10, 19, 09:41:36 AM »
    Ready for review!




    Offline phinneas

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #6 on: Jan 11, 19, 02:42:06 PM »
    Added to the queue.
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    Offline Dash

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #7 on: Jan 25, 19, 01:10:13 PM »
    Thank you for your patience Leez!


    This application has been reviewed!

    Check your private messages for feedback. When you have made the requested changes please reply to this post and let us know you are ready for the next round!

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #8 on: Jan 25, 19, 07:17:43 PM »
    Re-stamp for Tacea!





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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #9 on: Jan 26, 19, 01:04:50 AM »
    Ready for Round 2.




    Offline Dash

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #10 on: Jan 26, 19, 05:44:08 PM »

    This application has been reviewed!

    Check your private messages for feedback. When you have made the requested changes please reply to this post and let us know you are ready for the next round!

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    Offline Leez

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #11 on: Feb 07, 19, 12:44:44 PM »
    Ready for another round.




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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #12 on: Feb 07, 19, 01:41:05 PM »

    ...but not yet accepted. As a dual-caste, Kei needs two approvals for play.
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    Offline phinneas

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    Re: Kei no Zazen-ji
    « Reply #13 on: Feb 13, 19, 10:34:20 AM »
    phinneas@bloodrites.net  •  Discord: phinn#0798  •  Writer Tracker


     

     

    anything