Thousand Gods, Thousand Graves
Veydoharrpan Starter- Shinobi
Growing up on the streets of Arapa was tough. It would have been even tougher had it not been for your street brothers.
Advick was the roughest with muscles to back it up. Most of the time he was able to scare off the other gangs just by threatening to break their bones. He only had to back his words with deeds a few times before your gang’s territory was undisputed. Rachit was crafty and the best at scrounging and fixing things. He always seemed to be able to pull together enough scraps to mend a shirt or fix a wheel on the rickshaw. Pranay was the one that could do any street trick-juggling, flips, handstands — anything for money or a dare or to have fun. He liked the challenge of gaining access to a mark through the upper stories and crossing on some hastily strung up rope over an alley. And last was Madhun, the wisest and in his way, the weirdest. Madhun was the best at begging, stealing food or picking pockets. Madhun was special because he could look like anyone, as in literally change his form. You really don’t know if Madhun was a boy or a girl, but (s)he always acted more like your brother than a sister…at least most of the time. Besides clothes, Madhun always had a soft spot for makeup and spices and other chemicals. Sometimes he could make powders create colored smoke or blinding flashes.
So, this was your family of youngsters out on the mean streets. You ran plenty of scams, stole and did your best to make a living bereft of any parents. You can’t really remember who came up with the idea to rob the Battle Princes of their idol during the festival of Marigolds… but all of that is history now.
It was a simple concept but complex in execution. The crowd provided the distraction. Rachit had modified the palanquin with a secret compartment beneath the statue. Pranay held up the whole parade with a series of cartwheels. Madhun was in the crowd disguised as a soldier. Advick was up high with the rope ready to lift you out of the palanquin and onto the rooftops. Your job was to hide in the compartment and at the right time put your hands on the fabled statue of Chuna — an idol said to give contact with a god — and then grab the rope, and zoom, up you go.
When you touched the idol it was special. You never felt so brave or so potent. Visions of glory and images of cheering crowds filling you with pride filled your mind. It was invigorating and distracting. Too distracting.
The distraction cost you time and you missed the mark. Your brothers scrambled to the backup plan. In the end you made it out, but barely. Your gang made it back to the hideout with the statue and celebrated well into the night. However, during the celebration you knew something was wrong. The statue was calling out. You could hear it.
Just after dinner the army arrived. The soldiers flooded through every opening both obvious and hidden. Your hideout was compromised. They rushed in like water and you were caught in their flood.
The Holy Elected Raja, Sayagi II, showed you and your brothers mercy… for a price. You and your brothers had talents that needed to be expounded upon. There was a war coming, he said, and there was an opportunity for every citizen to contribute to the cause.
The next few years were dramatically different from your youth. You had real teachers explaining pretty much everything. During the day you were taught how to walk, dance, sing and act like members of the society. During the night you were taught other skills. Your teachers expounded upon what you had picked up on the streets and showed you how to listen and how to kill. The school moved around since it was part of a traveling show during the dry seasons. During the wet season you were housed in the great stage of Arapa. Some nights you were part of a grand production, while other nights you were out honing your more subtle skills. Each of your brothers found a place within the halls as well.
The war against the Witch King and Queen was brutal. You worked alongside the Battle Princes, supplying them with information. You spied and skirmished against the Fey. However, no one could have seen just how far the Black Banner forces would go to achieve victory. That defeat and the loss of his Holiness nearly wiped out the Veydoharrapan army.
Her Elected Holiness Rani Jyoti personally instructed you to accompany the Battle Prince. The both of you are to learn more of the other displaced peoples. Perhaps you can find a way to defeat the Witch King and Queen, or perhaps you will be able to help the people of Veydoharrapa to their new home in the islands.