Mizha va Naza
“I’m not helpless. I’m not. I can do this. I’m a Dreamer.”
Mizha’s always been told that what everyone else wants is more important than what she wants. Even when it comes to her own life. So while she has the ability make her dreams into real things and places, she only uses it to create fantasy worlds to escape into.
However, when the Rainbow Goddess appears to Mizha and asks her for help, everything changes. For the first time, Mizha has something she cares about so much she’s not willing to compromise it for anyone. In the pursuit of this quest, Mizha will realize that her desires, her thoughts, and her actions do matter, and if she sets her mind to it, she can change the world.
Tama va Naza
“How can I be expected to lead a whole country when I don’t even know their troubles?”
The Scion to his father, Koruval, the current High Sage. In theory, at least. Tama shows little interest in ruling, or anything else his father would like him to do. Nursing resentments against Koruval for being a cold and distant father, not to mention a source of intense pressure to perform, Tama became rebellious and inclined to mischief. Deep down, he’s always wanted to be an adventurer. When assassins attack him and his siblings, it looks like he might finally get his wish!
Zhiro (unofficially va Naza)
“This humble servant offers his mind as tribute. Lord Dream Eater, grant me the knowledge I desire.”
When Zhiro was a baby, the va Naza family adopted him. Ever since, he’s striven to be the ideal son, but the one thing he can’t overcome is the scorn and prejudice towards his race, the Timu. His foster mother and father treated him more as a servant than a son. The only person that embraces him unconditionally as a member of the family is Tama. As for Mizha, things are…complicated.
Zhiro left the capital five years ago to become a shadow monk, which gives him the ability to summon Dream Eater into his own body and ask for knowledge. However, the answers to all questions come with a price, and when it comes to extremely rare information, the cost can be very high. Normally, Zhiro’s a cautious sort when it comes to making bargains, but for his family? No price is ever too high.
“I shouldn’t always have to be the brave one.”
A no-nonsense sharp-shooter, Kali’s blunt and practical behaviors mask feelings of doubt and dissatisfaction. She has never met her father and yearns to travel the world to find him, but is bound by her responsibilities to her tribe. Using a power long thought to be lost, Kali can call on an ancient goddess to create rain and storms. The villagers that took in Kali, her mother, and Ravazhi were once nomadic, but when they discovered Kali’s ability, they settled in a temple dedicated to another lost god. They rely on Kali to provide them with the water needed to grow crops and survive in the harsh, desert environment. A form of worship has been created around her, which Kali is deeply uncomfortable with, but feels she has no choice but to accept.
Pakku va Wulka, Auditor
“Is it so much to ask for basic competence?”
Pakku is a brilliant Auditor, an inspector for the Merchant Guilds to investigate corruption and bring crooked merchants to justice. He has a keen mind for detail, to the point of obsession, which makes him really good at his job…and really terrible at everything else.
Perpetually misunderstood, Pakku prefers his own company to dealing with other people who, at best, view him as an eccentric and at worst, as an idiot.
Warren va Zhimaki, Captain of the Guard
“I always despised the Scion…Yet I have no choice, but to serve him.”
The va Zhimaki family has been the traditional Head of the Guard for the va Naza family for generations. Warren has only recently inherited the post, and is driven to live up to the high standards of his family and prove that he’s just as good as his older brothers…even if he had a different mother.
The Order of Eclipse
“I will not let a spoiled child destroy my country.”
Dr. Milan is a journey-man physician that values precision and professionalism. That much is true. The part he keeps to himself is that he’s an expert assassin, particularly skilled with poisons. Dr. Milan seems to have a personal stake in this mission against the Scion. At least, enough to let his temper get the better of him. Although Dr. Milan is far younger than Lu Pai and with much less field experience, he’s the officer in charge of this operation for the Order. And he doesn’t handle failure well.
“The High Sage may think his peace treaty ended the war, but it will never be over.”
Lu Pai is a veteran from the Pwama-Itsuri War and spent two years in a Prisoner of War Camp…at least, that’s what he claims. The only thing you can be sure of with Lu Pai is he’s a liar, and while many of his lies are based on truth, you can never be sure you’re getting the full story. An expert at playing on the emotions of others, this dangerous fighter hides his skills beneath a mask of incompetence and cowardice.
Una, aka The Crimson Hand
“Money is money, Lu. You believe all the Pwama are scum. I believe everyone is.”
Una is a master of disguise, infiltration, and forgery. Not an official member of the Order, The Crimson Hand is a mercenary that has worked with Lu Pai on a few jobs in the past. Una has a love for pranks and an irreverence that drives Dr. Milan crazy, but even the uptight doctor can’t deny that Una gets the job done. Provided the coin is good, that is. Although her taste in bright colors might give you the impression of a forthright character, Una keeps her past buried beneath half-truths and flat-out lies.
Leaders and Legends
Koruval va Naza, High Sage
“As High Sage, I ended the war, but as a politician, I’ve made more enemies inside my own country than outside of it. And as a father…in that regard, I failed completely.”
Koruval is the father of Mizha and Tama by blood, and Zhiro by adoption. He is also the High Sage, religious and political leader of the Itsuri nation. His rein has been fraught with major, and often unpopular, decisions. This includes the end of slavery and the peace between Pwama and Itsuri, who have been enemies at war for generations. Koruval was the second son, and became High Sage later in life after his elder brother was assassinated. After the loss of both his brother and now wife under suspicious circumstances, he is terrified that he will lose his children the same way. He sent them away in the hopes that he could protect them, but unwittingly flung them headlong into danger.
The Late Naiome va Naza
“I’d be so lost without my Mizha. She’s my precious little Moon Beam. So she’ll stay with me forever, and everyone else will leave her far behind.”
Lady Naiome married Koruval va Naza twenty-four years ago to cement the peace treaty signed between the Itsuri and Pwama nations. She was soft spoken, kind, and demure. In the past few years, she become mentally ill, and it is rumored that this sickness lead to her recent demise.
At least, that’s what the public knows. The darker side of the Lady Naiome now lives on as a ghost, haunting Mizha’s nightmares.
Nikel, Chief of the Raviki Village
“Please, Raviki, Sun God that sees all, grant me light. Is this the right choice?”
Nikel is a harsh man, with both a quick temper and an uncompromising personality, but ensuring the survival of his tribe has left him little room for leniency. When their tribe was still nomadic, any free Timu that was found by Light Bringers was killed or enslaved. Only constant vigilance and mobility kept the tribe safe and free. When Kali allowed them to settle deep in the desert canyons, she was seen as a gift from the old gods to reward them for their unwavering faith.
Nikel is also the religious leader of the village, and they worship the ancient god Raviki. While the rest of Itsuri knows Raviki as a laughable, irritable character, this lost tribe knows the Sun Bird’s true form. They have preserved it, despite being hunted by the Visionary Church, for two hundred years. Now that Kali has brought these outsiders to their hidden home, Nikel is gripped with fear for his people. Not only from the threat the Light Bringers pose, but also the Shadow Monk, who worships what Nikel believes is a false and evil god.
Ravazhi the Wanderer
“Not every path is the same straight line.”
The name of Ravazhi the Wanderer is both famous and infamous in Itsuri. Tales of his adventures inspired Tama’s wild ways. He spent most of his life traveling the world, uncovering ruins. As an old man, he set out to discover the final legendary lost temple. He was never heard from again, and many assumed he had perished on his quest. Imagine Tama’s surprise to discover his childhood hero here, as an informal member of a lost desert tribe! Ravazhi is the closest person to a father that Kali has, as he took care of her after her mother died. Unlike the members of the village, Ravazhi treats Kali as a person, not a gift from the gods, and is her only confidant.
Ottika va Ulvaima, Head Priest of the Visionary Faith
“It’s my job, you know. Comes with the fancy hat.”
Ottika, or “Otti” to those that know him well, was the childhood friend of Koruval. When Koruval became High Sage, he appointed Ottika as Head Priest, hoping that they could continue their friendship even in new roles. However, Koruval was soon overwhelmed by the new and unexpected duties and responsibilities he was burdened with. Koruval’s world was becoming more muddy and complex by the day, while Ottika created a space of enforced, spiritual simplicity. Their debates became more heated, their respective realms of influence more disconnected. They became distant from one another, and now their strained friendship may be on the verge of shattering completely.
“I know your heart was in the right place, Zhiro…but those laws are not just for your protection. You dont know the danger you may have put us all in!”
The Keepers are the monks with the rare ability to speak with Dream Eater. Zhiro is their apprentice, and will likely become a Keeper himself one day. As the head of the Shadow Monks, they are entrusted with secret knowledge. This includes the location of a hidden library that dates back before va Naza’s Visionary armies scoured the lands and subjugated the gods and their peoples. They are a cautious group, having to serve the Visionaries, as dictated by the bargain made centuries ago to keep the temple intact. They survive only as long as the Head Priest and High Sage allow them to.
Gods and Goddesses
The Rainbow Goddess
A light goddess of dreams. She is a mysterious being that has no mouth, and can communicate only in the language of dreams. Symbols, metaphors, feelings, and cryptic gibberish spoken through ciphers is how she communicates with her followers. Mizha is a Dreamer and has the rare ability to call upon the powers of the Rainbow Goddess, a talent she inherited from her mother. She can create pockets of dream space in the real world. However, the price for this gift is that the user slowly loses the ability to distinguish the real world from the dream world. How long will Mizha be able to escape into dreams before they become her reality?
“I was so vast. The world came to me for answers. I’d give riddles to find truth within. I was neither wicked nor saintly. Only myself. Until HE un-named me.”
A dark god of knowledge, and a trickster as well! Dream Eater knows everything that has been, and for a price he’ll tell you about it. However, while he usually tells the truth, he’ll rarely tell you the whole story. He delights in riddles and it’s a rare day indeed when he gives a straight answer to anything. Of the shadow monks that worship him at the Dream Eater temple, Zhiro is his favorite. Not that his fondness for the boy will stop him from taking advantage of a dire situation to push his own agenda forward.
Renar va Zhimaki, Zakalola Steward
“Don’t discount your instincts. Remember, our family is the High Sage’s first and last defense.”
Renar is the eldest brother of Warren va Zhimaki, and serves as the Steward of the Zakalola province. Renar is known for being both charming and ruthless in manner. Prior to becoming the Zakalola Seward, he served in the military, distinguishing himself during some of the worst unrest in the Zhumowelo and Vilazozhu provinces. Renar is widely known as a tactful diplomat who always gets the best side of the deal by cleverness and an unyielding force of will.
Vekken va Kapo, Kuzopa Steward
“Pirates, you mean. It’s practically a family tradition.”
Vekken is the Steward of the Kuzopa Province. Born decades after unification with Itsuri, he has never known a time when Kuzopa was not part of the Empire. However, the loyalty of his Province is frequently questioned, particularly by the older Itsuri families, even though Vekken is a staunch supporter of the High Sage. As the youngest member of the Council of Elders, he does not get much respect. However, his greatest challenge, more so than even Itsuri politics, is his own family. Vekken is trying to change the reputation of the Kuzopa Province, but his elder brother Noren, the Governor of Kuzopa, believes that if the other Provinces are going to treat them like thieves and bandits, they may as well act the part.
Koa va Momuru, Momuru Steward
“I think us old-timers should finally get to know our youngest member. Join us for a drink?”
Koa is the jolly patriarch of the Momuru family. His favorite pastimes are enjoying a good meal with his many children and grandchildren, sipping coffee in a quiet garden, or enjoying a therapeutic soak in the famous Momuru hot springs. Koa makes a point to enjoy life, and doesn’t let things ruffle him easily. He’s typically content to observe events and let them unfold naturally, with perhaps only a gentle nudge here or there to influence the outcome. The people of the Momuru province remember when their clan was nearly wiped out for the sake of pride. A common phrase among them is “Better to be thought a fool and live well, than stand for the sake of pride and die an idiot.” It is a saying Koa has taken to heart as he navigates the treacherous Itsuri political landscape.