2016/03/03

Legends and Folk Tales

Yan Jun and the First Demonic Portal Opening
"Yan Jun was born with a mark on his forehead that granted him Buddha-like powers, such as curing the sick and purifying spirits. When he was only fourteen years old, the demonic portal was opened by a man who called himself the Black Emperor. Out poured demons and evil spirits who destroyed and killed many in their rampage. Martial artist sects and monasteries joined forces to protect the populace. Yet even with our good Emperor’s armies, we were not able to withstand the might of the demonic power, until Yan Jun and his followers appeared. Yan had found these followers from various parts of the world. They had abilities similar to the Users but they did not necessarily utilize the power of the elements. Together they were able to perform the ritual to close the portal. This gave the imperial armies the chance to overwhelm the Black Emperor’s hideout and capture many of his followers and his family, but the Black Emperor escaped their clutches.
For months, Yan and his followers searched until they captured him while trying to escape by sea to another land. The Black Emperor was charged before the imperial court among various witnesses from the martial artist sects and monasteries. His spiritual power was sealed by Venerable Daishin, and he was sentenced to prison for life. He was strictly guarded and no visitors were allowed. Four years into his sentence his body mysteriously disappeared one night. The guards, who were on duty, swore that they did not allow any to pass but the Emperor was displeased and they were executed. Since the incident, no evil befell them but the Emperor felt uneasy and asked that the monasteries serve as guardians of spiritual centers to ensure no evil befell the kingdom. Yan founded the Eagle Peak Monastery... and since then his knowledge has been passed down to us through the generations. Under the monasteries’ strict guidance, most sightings of evil spirits and demons were quelled and peace reigned until now." - Venerable Dong Guan, present head (zhuchi) of Eagle Peak Monastery
2016/01/21

Glossary

0 Family and Forms of Address
* Fù​qīn (or bà​ba): father (2nd term is informal)
* Mǔ​qīn (or mā​ma): mother (2nd term is informal)
* Jie or jiejie: older sister
* Mei or meimei: younger sister
* Ge or gege: older brother
* Pó​po: grandmother
* Gōng​gong: grandfather
* Ér (儿): child
* Xiao: informal term to address the younger person of a specific family name
* Lao: informal term to address the older person of a specific family name
* Laoban: owner of a business
* Laoshi: teacher
* Furen: Mrs, lady, or married woman (formal)
* Xiansheng: Mister
* Xiaojie: Young lady, miss
* Shàoye: Young master, son of the master
* Shifu: master
* Daren: a title respect
* Zhuzi: master (usually of a house or a place)
* Fashi: Title for Buddhist monks

0 Food
* Jiaozi: dumplings
* Liu sha bao (流沙包): molten salted egg custard steamed bun
* Mantou: steamed bun
* Nuomiji: northern version of the Cantonese dim sum dish, lo mai gai (a lotus leaf wrap consisting of steamed sticky rice and chicken)
* Qingjiangcai: bok choy

0 Places
* Baoxing Village: the village that was devastated by a severe famine. Thanks to Official Zhang and his group's efforts, the village was revived.
* Eagle Peak Monastery: home to a group of secluded monks that practice a secret form of martial art. Rumors say maybe sorcery as well. Founded by legendary Yan Jun 200 years ago.
* Lao Tong's Bakery: a family-owned bakery known for liu sha bao and other delicacies.
* Meihua Chaguan: a well-known gathering place for literati and small groups to discuss, recite poetry, or exchange information. Admission requires identifying oneself by the family jade pendant. The owner, Teacher Huang Zhiyuan, hopes that this will be the birthplace for radical ideas.
* Ren-shifu's academy: a temple of martial arts found in the woods northeast of Dong Ying. It is located beyond the Jinyu River-- the eastern tributary of Shuilong River, which brings down glacier water from Eagle Peak down to the villages in Anhu Prefecture.

0 Terms
* Chaguan (茶馆): teahouse
* Cheng feng ao xiang: Soar, carried by the wind
* Chi (尺): a distance about equal to a foot
* Dàodéjīng (道德经): The Book of Dao written by Laozi, the founder of Daoism
* Guai (枴): a weapon similar to what the Japanese call a "tonfa"; literally can be translated to a "crutch"
* Guanyin (觀音): East Asian bodhisattva of compassion; also known as the Goddess of Mercy
* Jianzi (毽子): a dexterity game that involves kicking a shuttlecock from foot to foot
* Jianghu (江湖): literally "rivers and lakes;" usually used to describe the community of generally nomadic, anti-establishment martial artists of ancient China
* Jingshu (经书): a scripture or manual
* Li (里): a distance of approximately 500 meters.
* Neigong (內功): inner power
* Nü gui (女鬼): vengeful female ghost
* Qì (气): vital energy
* Qìdān/Khitan (契丹): an ethnic group skilled in falconry and horsemanship. Historically they lived in Mongolia (modern Manchuria).
* Qigong (气功): a healing system of deep breathing exercises and movement that is used to harness one's qi for health and martial arts
* Qīng​gōng (轻工): the ability to glide across rooftops, scale trees, etc. but not flying.
* Shagua (傻瓜): silly person
* Sheng li gui lai: come back victorious
* Tàijíjiàn (太极剑): a kind of traditional Chinese sword-play
* Wenren (文人): literati, scholars or poets
* Xishi (喜事): a happy occasion, e.g. weddings
* Yāoguài (妖怪): a demon or monster
* Yuanzhang (院長): overseer of a facility
* Zhuchi (住持): abbot or head monk of a monastery
* Ziran (自然): the state of naturalness achieved after using qigong to harness one's qi
2016/01/03

Cast of Minor Characters

Civilians
* Tong, owner of Lao Tong's Bakery
* Physician Qu, personal physician of Zhang Huizhong
* Teacher Ming, a kindly monk who runs a school for disadvantaged children

Meihua Chaguan
* Jiang, errand boy
- The Literati Girls
* Huang Meilin, the youngest (not related to Huang Zhiyuan), daughter of a lesser noble family
* Fang Lihua, the most opinionated (same age as Zhang Huiliang), daughter of a local magistrate and granddaughter of Governor Yu
* Ren Wenling, the kindest and oldest of the group, daughter of the supervisor of records in the court office and niece to a certain martial artist

Zhang Household and Extended Family
* Lady Zhang, wife of Official Zhang and Huizhong's mother
* Liang Mu, Huizhong's uncle and oldest brother of Lady Zhang who resides in the capital
* Kang, head maid of Zhang Huizhong's mother
* Mei, one of the maids at the Zhang household

Shen Household
* Lady Shen, wife of Official Shen
* Shen Yang, daughter of Official Shen

Slum Dwellers
* Wu, the owner of a hostel near New Market Street
* Zhao, a blacksmith
* The orphans: Xiaoxing(F), Xiaoyue(F), Xiaoyang(M)

Gang Members
* Those originally part of Li's gang: Hongmei(F), Lvhu(F), Tingshan(M)
* Those originally part of Guan's gang: Shunfeng (M), Liulang(M), Shunzi(M), Fanfan(F)

Ren-shifu's Academy
* Lao Ma, a middle-aged man who is the steward of Ren-shifu's household. He, his wife, and his son manage the household affairs while the shifu is busy making money off his students.

Eagle Peak Monastery
* Venerable Dong Guan, the zhuchi (abbot) of the monastery
* Yi Jian, a monk who performed rites at Zhang Huiliang's funeral and a Wood User
* Zhi Guan, a teacher of the beginning class at the monastery
* Fuxin, a loyal acolyte who has a penchant for mischief at times

Mercenaries
* Choejor, a friendly sentry
2015/12/21

Cast of Characters

Main Characters
Zhang Huizhong
Eldest daughter of Official Zhang Chanming. She wields dual blades following the Ren style but her stubbornness may be the stronger weapon.

Li Chunfeng
A fiery-tempered sorceress of the slums. She leads a rag-tag band of beggars, bandits, and outcasts from the high society.

Pao Qiqiang
A high-ranking official in the Emperor's court whose influence is greater than one can imagine.

Li Tiexin
A mysterious young man capable of wielding the element Metal. He wears a white owl mask.

Supporting Cast
Zhang Household
* Official Zhang Chanming, father of Huizhong and Huiliang & head of treasury, taxation and agriculture
* Zhang Huiliang, youngest daughter of Official Zhang
* Wei Lanfang, loyal servant of Huizhong since childhood

Li Chunfeng's Household/Gang
* Chen Qiuhuo, Li's most trusted friend and "little sister."
* Zhu Xiaolong, a rather chubby child who happens to be talented at manipulating Earth. His left eye is an odd silvery white, which had caused him to be abandoned by his parents at a young age for fear that he was possessed.
* Jiang Jiedao, a thief who has been rehabilitated. Now serves as an errand boy. Has considerable skill with knife-play.
* Guan Jintou, a former rival gang leader that came to respect Li. His gang and Li's get along well, and most of the slum-dwellers can't even tell that they were once two separate gangs. He and his wife, Yinguang, run the inn in the city.
* Yu Jianning, Guan Jintou's best friend.
* Huang Shenlin & Lanlan, a couple who were saved from bandits a few years before the beginning of the story. No one ever inquired where they were from or where they were going, but Li has accepted them as part of the gang. They are skilled in medicinal arts and run the traditional medicine shop adjacent to the inn. They have an older daughter, Meiyu, and a younger son, Gaoan.

High Society
* Shen Mingzhi, son of Official Shen & likely suitor to Zhang Huizhong

Antagonists
* Black Owl, leader of the Imperial Owls who wears a black owl mask
* Imperial Owls, a group of skilled individuals wearing black robes and owl masks

Masters & Teachers
* Ren Hongqi, master swordsman of the Ren style of swordscraft (Dancing Sparrows)
* Teacher Huang Zhiyuan, owner of the Meihua Chaguan and a man of radical ideas

Ren-shifu's Disciples
* Liu Gangzhuolige (冈卓力格)/Liu Ganzorig ("steel courage"), a young man of Khitan descent who specializes in falconry, horsemanship, archery, and the use of sabers. He has a hunting eagle named Gerel.
* Xuan An, a young woman from the neighboring prefecture who wields hu tou gou (hook swords)

Others
* Lin Hongye, a leader of the bamboo gang
* Tianying, acting leader of the mercenaries
* Qingyu, a beautiful, exotic-looking woman who seems to have strong ties to Xiaolong's past.
* Yuwen Xiang, a nobleman from the capital

Trait Holders
1) Tiexin
2) Huiliang/Qiuhuo
3) a male monk, who is also a Water User (Kong Zhenkang)
4) an American Indian guy (Teeto Quispe)
5) a European guy (Borek Zeptal)
6) an African gal (Mekyla Joubert)
7) an Indian gal (to be retrieved/recruited by the European guy and African gal) (Ramdeep Kalan)