Exalted: Great Forks
Kage - Skygee - Shadow's Light
Night Cast - Plebian Protecting Rogue
It was a cold night with a new moon hidden somewhere in the sky. A hooded figure slipped through the darkest shadows in the northern alleyways of Great Forks. In a dark corner of two connected buildings, a beggar woman slept on a tattered but clean quilt – her offering basket left exposed and empty. At the break of dawn, the beggar woman woke to find a small bundle stirring in her basket. And thus did Great Forks birth Kage to be raised by her beggars and lesser merchants as one of her Alleykin.
For as long as he can remember, Kage had been passed from one caretaker to another. Some were individuals while others were families or groups. Each had something to teach and all expected Kage to do his best to learn and pull his weight to the best of his abilities. In his childhood, he was probably seen as more of a burden than anything. Most would only keep him for a few days at a time and none would take responsibility for more than a few weeks. But that was when he was very young. Kage proved to be a quick study on all subjects. Each caretaker had a different take how best to survive in the City of Temples. Some would beg, some would steal, a few crafted talismans and trinkets, while others would sell the same… and all the while Kage learned. Several years ago, Kage noticed the shift. His foster guardians began to vie for his time and service. When this lead to them arguing for rights to his time, he announced his independence. From then until now, he has chosen whom to help and whom seek out for guidance.
Soon after announcing his independence, Kage was formally introduced to Wei Ming. He will never forget the sense of surprise and gratitude in finding out that this mid-level city spirit had been guiding and protecting him in one way or another throughout his life. Still to this day, with all that has happened, Kage still sees Wei Ming a most trusted mentor and ally.
Some could say that Kage has been given a unique perspective on how the customs, rules, and laws of the City and her many Faiths apply to him. He has many friends, but little sense of Family. He appreciates utility, comfort, and a bit of decadence, but does not understand luxury for the sake of show. He considers the concept of Trespassing amusing and makes it a point to peruse those locations with higher security than one would expect – though rarely with intent to offend. Personal property is another grey area for Kage, as he has been known to redistribute wealth and items of interest to those more deserving or in need.
This attitude combined with an insatiable curiosity (and a pinch of teenage lust) lead Kage to his second life, his second breath. It was less than a year ago when Kage found himself drawn to elaborate private party at one of Great Forks more exclusive pleasure houses. A small party of House Cynis Dynasts were in the city under a writ of peace. The Opiate Pearl Pleasure House doubles as both an establishment of the flesh and temple to spirits of Lust, Pleasure, and all things associated with physical pleasures. The Dragonblooded guests pressed their hosts to satisfy appetites not planned for that night’s festivities, and not entirely permitted within the city. Not wanting to offend their honored guests, the masters of the house hastened to find what was asked for. This drew the attention of dark spirits forbidden to collect essence within City limits. As Kage skulked about the grounds and suites, he saw wonders that could make a South Seas Pirate blush. When he reached the private party, he saw things he could not accept. While his actions allowed for a young girl and two young boys escape untouched, they also got him caught. The masters of the house and the outcast spirits, not to mention visiting Dynasts, could not afford the embarrassment and potential punishment for their crimes. Kage immediately knew his life would be forfeit if he could not escape. Surrounded by Mortals, Spirits, and Dragonblooded, he drew upon all the varied skills he had learned through the years. All of his tutors flashed to memory, all the lessons learned, and while helpful, it was not enough. And there, at that time, in that place, for but a moment, Kage felt he was alone – to be swallowed by the darkness around him. But he was not in darkness, he was surrounded by shadow. His enemies closed in and time slowed to a crawl. Kage’s eyes darted all around. Darkness is nothingness, while shadows require light, and Kage realized that he was surrounded by light. Candles, lanterns, torches, fires, magical trinkets… Kage was surrounded by Light and he always had been. This Light, he could feel it, he could almost hear it. It protected, it concealed, it revealed… it was Family. In that moment did Kage take his Second Breath. Exalted by the Unconquered Sun to be his Light in the Darkness. Shadow’s Light could now see the gaps in his assailant’s defenses. Most were evaded, some where incapacitated, and a select few were punished. The chase and combat covered the entire expanse of the Opiate Pearl’s property for hours. People outside the walls assumed the light show and excessive volume were just overflow from excessive celebration. It was less than an hour before dawn when it all ended. The Shadow’s Light was nowhere to be found. It was less than a week later that The Three decreed punishment and the Pleasure Palace found itself under new management.