...in Feudal Japan at the hands of an ambitious young shinobi. His appetite for power was unrivaled, and he was willing to give anything to achieve his goals. Whispers were spoken that he lacked a soul, selling it to demons and devils for their aid in his rise to power. This young man soon acquired a vicious following of other ninja, tearing through clans and gaining numbers through turncoats out to save their own hides. Their ranks were known as the Grey Lotus, feared throughout Japan as wraiths and assassins, despite their misleading and peaceful name.
Eventually, those who feared his rising influence ceased fighting back, instead attempting to appease this unstoppable murderer with gifts. The aging leader was never usurped, seemingly invulnerable and undying, but cursed to an unhappy existence, always craving more, never satisfied. Some gifts he refused simply out of spite, and a desire to cause discontent and bloodshed. As he grew older, and unable to fight battles on his own, he sought to turn leadership of the clan over to his son. Unfortunately, the vile young man and his wife both died young, leaving the elderly leader with a grandson by the name of Tai Xien.
As he grew into his youthful and handsome features, his demeanor maintained a light kindness that his grandfather deeply disapproved of. This was not what he wanted in the man who would later succeed him as leader of the Grey Lotus. On the other hand, the clan was awaiting the pleasant day that their fearful lord no longer led them, envisioning peace on the horizon under Tai’s gentle hand.
A rival clan leader, in an attempt to herald this peace, offered his beautiful daughter to the Grand Lotus as Tai’s bride, in exchange for a cease to the bloodshed. He wanted no more of his family to be slain, and pleaded for his daughter’s safety. Indeed she was a flower, beautiful beyond comparison, with a certain air of intelligence that pleased the old man. He agreed to the union, under the condition that her people came under the hand of the Lotus’ rule. The rival clan leader accepted these terms for the sake of his family, and his daughter Misaki Ren became betrothed to Tai Xien.
Despite their family’s agreement, neither Tai nor Misaki was fond of the situation. While she was indeed a pretty face to gaze upon, Tai had no wish to marry a fragile blossom over a decade younger than himself. She was but a child, and certainly of no interest to him. Even so, he adhered to his grandfather’s wishes to unite the two clans, and found himself with a young bride. Once married, their union found unexpected love and happiness. A forward thinking young woman, Misaki was not the fragile princess he’d expected, but a kunoichi of no small skill in battle, well-versed in the pressure point fighting of Kyusho Jitsu, and skilled in stealth as he had never seen before.
Pleased that he’d been given a partner on par with himself, he and his beloved lived a fairly happy existence as Tai began to take control of the clan right out from under his grandfather. While no formal ceremony had passed leadership on to the younger man, the people had begun to turn to him for advice and permissions, much more willing to adhere to Tai’s wise words than the dark, sadistic wishes of his hellish relative.
Angered by this sudden shift in power, the older man sent his grandson away, demanding that besides his martial arts training, he need take up swordplay as well. Assigning him a harsh master in a distant province, the young man was sentenced to training. As always, regardless of apprehensions, he adhered to his grandfather's wishes. Tai Xien kissed his young bride goodbye with a tender smile, unaware that this would be their last blissful moment together, as the family curse would begin to take its toll.
In his absence, his confident young bride would be subjugated back into a proper, silent role as a beautiful, fragile flower, there only to serve the whims of the old man, to be observed and not heard, more like a pet than an actual human being. Anxiously awaiting the return of her husband, years passed as her psyche deteriorated, weary of this role she had been shoved down into. When he finally arrived, though, Tai Xien was no longer the man she remembered and loved.
His short hair had grown quite long, pulled back into a tight ponytail at the nape of his neck, and his eyes were no longer the soft brown she remembered, but hard and cruel like the rest of his face. Scars riddled his skin from the swordplay he had learned and mastered. Worn by his studies, his youthful optimism was now crushed under the weight of all he had experienced while away, his katana an ever-present reminder of the horrors of war.
He had become harsh, like his father and grandfather before him, and left his once beloved in her oppressed position. Ignored, the previously bold, opinionated woman was strained to the point of breaking, her nerves and sanity shot when all hope of things ever being the way they were vanished with her husband’s return. The first time he struck her was the last time she tried to reason, and instead, decided to prove her worth.
If he was no longer willing to give his respect, she would demand it, and leave him unable to refuse. Lost and broken, she immersed herself in the dark arts, learning spells and magic that would help her regain control of her life and help her mold the world back into what she wanted it to be. Eventually, she grew enough in power that she seduced her husband, using the trick to kill him in his sleep and perform the ritual that would bind his soul to a special candle, which she would then use to control him. As long as she held this dark item, his life’s flame was hers to do with what she will, and he could not disobey a direct command from his darling wife.
Once more, Misaki had the relationship that she had yearned for all the years he’d been gone. Crazed and giddy with this new-found power and the reverence it demanded from her abusive husband, she failed to think her plan through entirely. With what little freedom he had left, the horrified Tai Xien fled to the mystic elders of the clan, informing them of Misaki’s abuse of forbidden magic.
Swiftly, their people rose up against the witch, ending her life without qualms. An infant daughter was discovered as well, which surprised even Tai. Despite his pleading, the elders grimly dispatched the child, and then turned on the man who had once been their hope. His soulless existence was also the work of the deranged young woman, and therefore, he should not be left to exist. Terrified and infuriated, Tai did the best he could defending himself, but to escape the wrath and distrust of so many people was not in his ability. Eventually, he was slain as well. His “death” found him rematerialized next to his candle, shocked at what had occurred. His soul-binding would not let him die. As long as his life-source was bound to the mortal plane by the candle, his body would be drawn out of death to it in the same state as it had been the night Misaki had murdered him.
Once more whole, he took the artifact and fled, gradually enacting revenge upon the clan that had ostracized him and slaughtered his innocent child, assassinating them one by one. Torn by bloodshed and fear, the shattered clan disbanded. Those who did not fall under Tai’s hand scattered for fear of his ghostly blade, hiding in different clans, or taking up new lives entirely.
Within all of this chaos, Tai’s grandfather vanished into this air, no one sure of whether he was killed by the vengeful phantom, or simply fled his grandson’s wrath, and was in hiding somewhere.
Immortality followed an ever-grim Tai Xien through the centuries. He continued his assassinations until he believed every single member of his family to have fallen. The completion of this quest found him in Paragon city, in modern times, following a sword-fighter by the name of Honor Moon. For a time, it was his goal to defeat this hero and relieve him of his powerful, mystic blade. His plans fell short, however, when Honor Moon, his sidekick Valor Sun, and their friend IronKipup defeated him, leaving the ancient ninja without purpose or goal to wander the streets of Paragon and the Rogue Isles, attempting assassinations at random to entertain himself.
During this time, around Halloween of 2010, Misaki stirred in her eternal underworld torment, following the dead back into the mortal realms through the strange upheaval of magic that occurred. Now risen, an eternal ghost like her partner, she was determined to have what had been stolen from her. Her daughter, her beloved, her family… her clan was once more within her grasp.
Centuries in Hell didn’t daunt her; she dragged the shadowy powers of the underworld into the mortal plane with her. Upon reuniting with Tai (who was shocked and terrified to see his wife again), she destroyed his candle and took his soul into herself, satisfied that her powers had grown beyond the petty rituals and artifacts that she’d been bound to before. Souls were now hers to control at will, and the Grey Lotus Clan would rise again under her hand, more powerful than ever.
While Tai Xien was onces the actual leader of the clan, his soul belongs to his beloved, and she now rules as queen, above her darling, puppet husband. Under Misaki, her lieutenants are the Shogun, then followed by the Sensei, assisting in teaching and bringing up the lower ranking ninja.
The next normal rank down would be the Jonin ("upper man"). These Lotus are the highest ranking, representing the guild and able to command small groups of lower members. Usually, they are also devoid of souls... having completely given themselves to their mistress, and proven their talents worthy of such an illustrious rank. This is not always the rule, depending on how one proves their loyalty, but Misaki will not let any close to her that she does not trust explicitly. When in possession of the Jonin's soul, Misaki has no fear of ever being betrayed. Even if proven extraordinarily loyal, those who still maintain their free will are a liability, and the Soul-binder is not as willing to take the risk of intimacy.
The Chunin are one rank lower, the "middle man" and assistants to the Jonin. While powerful, they do not quite have the honor of being so close to their leader and her beloved, instead still learning the tricks of the trade from the upper Jonin. Those among the Chunin who are willing to give their souls for another rank will sometimes find a place within Misaki's tight inner circle, but this is not always an absolute. If she finds you loyal without needing to bind you, the rank of Jonin is still achievable.
Easily overlooked, Genin are the "lower man", field agents drawn in perhaps by chance, proven somewhat worthy by a few missions with the upper-ranking Clan members, but not quite worthy to be among the elite. Their path is long and hard from here, but if Genin is achievable, you have caught the eye of Misaki somewhat, and she will not overlook you in the long run. Even the most powerful of warriors start somewhere, and to have advanced past the rank of Inductee is a feat in itself.
Besides the actual ranking of the clan members, sometimes one may choose to take on a specific task or role within the clan. Shinobi can be spies (kancho), scouts (teisatsu), surprise attackers (kishu), or agitators (konran). Whichever role fits the personality best is usually the role a member of the clan may find themselves in, and depending on your personality, Misaki may take notice and assign you to a specific role.
- NOTE: Besides the regular members of the clan, there are also the "Soulbound". These Lotus are the ones deep within Misaki's circle, her most trusted warriors and allies. To become one of these elite, your soul must be sacrificed to the mistress, and your battle-prowess well proven. While being soul-slave to Misaki sounds rather daunting to most, it does not come without its benefits. Despite the inability to disobey a direct order form the Clan leader, immortality is bestowed upon the soulless, just as it was upon Tai. These unkillable and ageless warriors are Misaki's greatest weapon, for even as they fall in battle, she has the power to bring them back.
- NOTE 2: Despite being undead like her husband, Misaki is not bound to the mortal plane. The more souls she collects, the more grounded and more powerful she becomes, but she is still able to be slain. If destroyed, Misaki has the ability to crawl back out of Hell as she did the first time, but... that may take her another few centuries. Also, once Misaki is dead, the souls of those bound to her return to their bodies, and they become once more mortal, vulerable to injury and death.
- NOTE 3: As was pointed out in the black and white box above, we don't tolerate godmodding, and we don't godmod. Despite the fact that Misaki has the power to 'command' her Soulbound, soulbinding is never a REQUIREMENT for being part of the VG, and neither will Misaki make you do anything unreasonable while you are under her influence. We will work extensively to make your stay with us the most pleasant experience possible without encroaching upon your characters. Really, we're here to have fun. :)