The Harbinger and the Fountain
Looks like the crazy old guy in Avatar who teaches the Last Airbender (Aang) about chakras. Personality mixes Aang, Yoda and the little old dude. In a fight, he's like all of them with a little Gambit thrown in for fun.
Yada Character Sheet
Archetype: Adept, Guardian of the (ambiguous) Age- Basically, he is compelled to struggle with decisions and direction, and is prone to wandering. This is a big-picture compulsion thing (contrasting with “evil I see”, which is more immediate).
Social Class: Under Class, Shirt off his back- While he moves in all classes of society, his vow of poverty (to only own his robe and staff, and never carry more than one day’s cash for food) leaves him very vulnerable. And barefoot. Has someone in the Club taken over an account that finds are diverted into without his knowledge so he is secretly wealthy? Not sure. Could be fun to mess with this. Again, his reality is not necessarily factual.
Conviction: The Evil I See- He must address “wrongs” he sees in one way or another. Is literally compelled to. Almost OCD about this. If he walked by a building on fire, he would have to investigate to make sure ppl are safe.
Free Aspect: Strength from within- Meditation is part of his regimen…what happens when he doesn’t get it? Yada draws his power from deep in his soul, not from external contexts or conditions. Things that trouble his soul might mess with this. He also falls back on his training as a child in stressful situations. Maybe he has trained with masters in other places, too?
Conviction Aspect (from Guardian skill): Ripples in the Pond- unintended consequences abound with this dude. Collateral damage is a very real possibility when he is focused on the Evil he can see. How might the pebble change the course of the river? He has no clue (most of the time).
Minor Complication Aspect: Carry-on baggage- He’s been around for a looooong time. And his soul feels even older than his body looks (Yoda when Luke trains with him or returns to complete his training) in his day-to-day life. In combat, he is far more agile and strong than he looks, but most of the time, he just seems ancient. And that has issues. Who from his past might show up? This one might be doubled down with Ripples sometimes as a ripple from his past comes back to haunt him.
Major Complication Aspect (from Sight skill): Haunted by Visions- When Yada meditates to do astral projection, sometimes he gets things he wasn’t looking for. London Bridge is falling down?
Conviction Aspect: Chi-Master- TBA (mwahahahah)
Free gift: Guardian Staff
Aspect: Chi Focus- If this gets taken away, its easy to see how this gets compelled against him, might be used in his favor in other circumstances
Well-made: Guardian Skill (costs 2 improvements, grants plus 1 to guardian skill when staff is used with it)
Additional gift: Robe of the Chosen One
Protective +3 armor to health
Resolve: stress capacity [composure] +1 armor, extraordinary tier
Notice: Defend normally when surprised, superhuman tier
Networking: +2 weapon damage when making social attacks, superhuman tier
spent: 2 (sight), 2 (guardian), 1 (resolve), 1 (Robe of the Chosen One)
Health armor 3, resist 1
O O O O O
Composure armor 1
O O O O O O
O O O O O
Trifling (+1 tier benefit: resolve)
Great (3): Guardian (Superhuman Tier), Endurance, Athletics
Fair (1): Survival, Stealth, Academics, Art, Deceit, Occultism
3 Climb (athletics, mundane)
2 Conversation (presence, mundane)
2 Convince (presence, mundane)
1 Craft (art, mundane)
1 Dexterity (deceit, mundane)
1 Disguise (deceit, mundane)
3 Dodge (athletics, mundane…may be duplicated by Guardian skill?)
1 Environment [wilderness] (survival, mundane)
4s Examine (Sight, superhuman)
1 Guile (deceit, mundane)
1 Hide (stealth, mundane)
4s Information (Sight, superhuman…also 1 academics, mundane and 1 Survival, mundane and 1 occultism, mundane)
2 Initiative [physical] (alertness, mundane)
4e Initiative [mental] (resolve, extraordinary…also 2 empathy, mundane)
2 Insight (empathy, mundane)
2 Inspire (presence, mundane, also 1 art, mundane)
1 Languages [english] (academics, mundane)
3 Leap (athletics, mundane)
3 Move (athletics, mundane)
4s Networking (Sight, superhuman, also 1 art, mundane, 1 occultism, mundane)
4s Notice (Sight, superhuman…also 2 alertness, mundane)
3-4s Parry (Guardian, superhuman…4 when used with staff)
0 Physical Force
1 Repair (art, mundane)
1 Research (academics, mundane, 1 occultism, mundane)
0 Resist Damage (resist damage, mundane)
1 Skulk (stealth, mundane)
3 Stress Capacity [health] (endurance, mundane)
4e Stress Capacity [composure] (resolve, extraordinary)
2 Stress Capacity [Reputation] (presence, mundane)
3-4s Strike (Guardian, superhuman…4 when used with staff)
1 Treatment [physical] (survival, mundane)
2 Treatment [mental] (empathy, mundane)
4e Willpower (resolve, extraordinary)
Yada, Yada, Yada
The day of Smoke and Blood began like any other at the quiet monastery. Although some of the monks had families they lived with in the nearby village, most lived within the walls and rose early for morning prayer, shuffling into the dining area as a huddled mass of unnatural silence. Nameless sat amongst the other 4 boys on the verge of their coming of age ceremonies. Twelve was an auspicious age for the local people, and today Nameless was going to be inducted formally into the priesthood. Maybe he would even finally be named! Most boys on their day would simply be apprenticed to one monk or another, but something about Nameless had always been different.
He certainly wasn’t the first child to be left on the doorstep of the monastery, nor was he the last. High in the Himalayas, there were always families who for monetary, religious, or just plain apathetic reasons left their children in the care of the monks. But the scrawling on the fabric wrapped around the nameless baby told a different story. A story of signs, marks appearing and fading, and a figure on horseback cutting down entire neighboring villages with his flaming sword, looking for a baby boy, born on a certain day, with certain marks on his upper belly, just below his ribcage. The monks had inspected the baby carefully, found no such marks, and attributed the entire episode to guilty, if lively, imaginations.
His hand unconsciously moved under the table to his solar plexus, as if he could feel the fiery lotus that had appeared in that spot during a visit from a violent pretender several years ago.
Only eight at the time, Nameless watched as the man talked his way into the monastery as one in need of food. The monks gave, as was their tradition. The man’s true motives did not become clear until later, when he failed to talk one of the boys into leaving with him to work in his home, and instead forcefully grabbed the child. Nameless had risen without thinking, his gut burning, and commanded the man leave their sacred ground with a voice that ground the stones in the walls together, leaving a fine dust in the air. The man’s twisted smirk faltered, but his reaction was to drag the child in his grip from the room. A glow from Nameless’s skin filled the room, exposing the intentions of the man. The would-be kidnapper’s entire soul was laid bare before those present, and Nameless saw every stain of the man’s wretched life as he glided to the doorway and struck the intruder’s chest. Nameless could still feel the crunch of the bones before his palm and the final beat of the man’s heart before it was pulverized. The screams of the boys brought monks to the scene, and the shock on their faces in the moment before they knelt and bowed, muttering prayers, told the story of what they saw on the stomach of the boy with glowing skin who stood before them.
That same day, in addition to his usual the study of Kanjyur and Tenjyur, Nameless was subjected to meditation training beyond what children his age were practicing. Brought to a cave deep within the walls, he was taught the Bardo Thodol by the head monk himself. The cave was the seat of the sacred for the monastery. Accessible only by treacherous stairs of crumbling stone (really just the mountain itself), it was the place where the founder of their monastery came as a missionary thousands of years before. The walls shone with natural light that emerged unnaturally from a rounded, conical rock in the center of the single room. Even in the dark of the mountain nights when no moon shown, the room was lit as day, the light dancing on the stream that emerged from one side of the cavern, bisected the space, encircled the shining stone in the center, and flowed on through the rock wall opposite its origins. Perhaps the light was the reason the monks through the ages chose to adorn the concave walls with mandalas and other most sacred depictions of their faith. Color and beauty gave their own glow to the room, save one bare spot above the emergence of the spring. The characters carved there, יָדַע, were not of their language. The story of these marks were as strange to his ears as the marks themselves. A wise man, really only a boy, from the west, had come to practice with the Buddhist missionary who made his home in the cave. It is said by some that the paintings and decorations that surrounded the space had all been in response to that original mark left by the stranger, called Yeshwa by some in the stories. It was said that Yeshwa attained enlightenment in that very cave, under the missionary’s instruction, before setting out on his own journey.
Those stories inspired work after work to emerge on the sacred walls, images of life and creation on one half of the room, looking across the spring flow at the depictions of death, destruction, and even evil that inevitably made way for more life and creation. The fullness of the cycle of life, writ large in color and symbol.
Nameless stared at the 12 grains of rice in his breakfast bowl. One for each year of life. A generous and extravagant gift for his birth-day and coming of age. The other boys glanced from the single grain of rice in their own bowls to his and struggled to hide their jealousy. Finding satisfaction in such meager fortification was the start of the day normally, but today was not a normal day. It would prove to be full of surprises. None of them wanted. Most of them not good, or more precisely: evil.
As his bare feet found their way up the mountain of their own accord, Nameless was tempted to clutch his robe around him. The whistling wind drove snow down the back and front of his cloth arraignment, the shock of the icy crystals threatening to shake his balance and topple him from the narrow path, whose twists and turns were already invisible from ground level. Bowing his head to enter the low tunnel opening behind a rocky outcropping, Nameless crouched smoothly, embarking on a squat, shuffling journey through the tunnel that was the only access to the cave. The stance and pace that the tube required made the path seem far longer than it was. It also left the traveler with plenty of time to contemplate the illuminations on the walls. In contrast with the images in the cave, depicting the transcendent and ultimate, the walls of the tunnel were decorated with the far more mundane history of the monastery. Beginning many feet into the tunnel, the most recent events started the tale, so that by the time one entered the sacred room deep in the cave, the founder’s story of finding the cave opened the room in welcome. One of these most recent images depicted a baby bundled on the stairs before the great entrance door of the monastery, his chest and belly exposed to show the fiery lotus that glowed on his skin. Nameless paused a moment, reaching out to the image, as though by touching it, he might be able to make it real, and see his parents for the first time. He had long since let go of the grief of the loss, but the desire to know was a habit that still held sway for him.
Deeper into the mountain, the depictions of battles to preserve the holy walls, visiting dignitaries, even the young Yeshwa (Nameless shuddered as he realized the face of the boy mirrored his own), and finally the founder’s image bade him enter.
Nameless blinked, expecting to be greeted by the familiar colors and symbols, now obscured by the thick incense smoke that hung in the room almost to the floor. Breathing slowly, he crawled to the spring’s emergence, and sat facing the strange characters Yeshwa left behind, the strangely warm water flowing around him just as the images of the room wrapped him. He heard the low voice of the head monk begin the now familiar prayers marking the start of the ceremony.
The space had always been disorienting, but today, especially so. At times during the silence of meditation, Nameless could swear he heard cries and crashes, even an impact or two that shook the mountain itself. Brushing it off as mere distractions, he settled back into the light and warmth of the nothingness that was everything. When a voice from the entrance of the room spoke, “At last, I’ve found you” in a low screech, Nameless almost didn’t notice.
The voice of his master, urging the newcomer to leave, struck an incongruent chord in him and he turned to face the interloper. How the strange being had gotten a horse into the room was the first point of disbelief to occur to Nameless. The tip of the thing’s flaming sword brushed the 20 foot tall ceiling. Wings emerging from the horse’s sides seemed less significant, somehow, than the myriad of other thoughts racing through his brain. Nameless recognized the image of the avatar Kalki, the destroyer of filth, from the stories he had been told throughout his time at the monastery. It was he who was to usher in the new age, to change the tide for good or evil. Shaking his head in wonder, Nameless rose to see the dim image of his master slouch over the light rock, the flaming sword withdrawing from his back. He hadn’t even seen the sword strike.
But he did see the room grow smaller as his stomach began to burn and the room grew brighter…
Pulling his face from the water, Nameless sputtered and looked around. A pile of ash shifted in the breeze from the tunnel entrance. His master sat before him, placing the head monk’s staff, a pole from the original monastery millennia old, in his hands. As his master leaned over, touching the staff and robe, white energy, like lightning, wriggled through them, empowered by the blessing of the ancient man. The monk then pointed to Nameless, and to the plain characters on the wall, and back to the boy. “Yada,” he toned, his bell-like voice belying none of the weakness that was quickly overtaking him. “You are yada.”
Yada glanced at the strange characters written on the wall before turning back to his master, meaning to object, but instead catching his master’s corpse as it fell.
Yada had always expected that when he attained enlightenment, the world would somehow be different. It was unfortunately much the same, although he himself was drastically changed. At first, as he drove the pillaging army from the now burned out monastery, scattering them quickly in the absence of their leader, he believed he had simply become a Dharma Protector. The truth was far more grey and muddled. Or not necessarily grey. More like black and white oscillating on a kaleidoscope, alternating so fast he couldn’t tell right from wrong sometimes because a good deed done in one place produced evil one town over. As it turned out, the leader of the zealots that destroyed his monastery home and killed everyone in it was (probably) not the avatar Kalki, but rather one of many impostors that had risen to cleanse the world of whatever they thought needed cleansing. Although that man was an impostor, he was seeking a boy that truly existed. That boy was, in fact the guardian of current age, a Chi-master. As the embodiment of the current age, Yada was supposed to be its protector, reigning either good or evil down. Yada was, of course, sure he was a force for good in the world, but as he traveled the world for more than 200 years, that security was proving to be thin. Though already enlightened, Yada could not answer the call to release mortality until he knew whether his parting would usher in 1000 years of light or dark.
And so he wanders, seeking answers to his deepest question, compelled as much by his need to thwart evil as his fear that every good he does might be twisted to serve that which he cannot see.