Red Jade Canyon has become a ghost town over the past year, since the collapse of the mines. Long ago, however, this was not the case. The mines here were some of the finest work of the early Scarlet Empire, using purely mechanical energy driven by metal windmills and steam from deep fissures in the mountainside. Thousands of engineers came over the decades to see such beautiful workmanship and careful planning. It was in this reverent admiration that Kushi was born.
Kushi is a goddess of engineers, of designers and mechanics, and she grew with the fame of her mines. When they were built, she was a young girl, no more than a toddler walking all unexpected through the palace. When they were open to visitors from the north, she was of courting age, and then an adult heavy with child. Then, as fewer and fewer people came to visit, she began to regress. She was an adult woman, then a young woman, then on the cusp of womanhood, and soon she will be simply young again. The mines remain as they are, partly working, partly abandoned, and Kushi, thirteen and yet seven hundred, wanders the mayoral palace and confuses visitors. Most people don’t even know what she’s the goddess of anymore. The maids think she’s the goddess of useless trinkets.
She looks behind curtains and under beds, ruffles through papers, sifts through the morning ash piles. She eavesdrops on conversations and speaks up unexpectedly. She wanders into the mines and fixes cart wheels or chain links. She examines at the ancient machinery and shakes her head sorrowfully. She builds strange, half-functional little things out of metal foil and silverware, then watches them spin sadly to the ground. The maids have a collection of the strangest and most beautiful ones in an unused shelf of the pantry. She is perhaps a little broken, perhaps just highly introverted. In any event, she’s clean and doesn’t endanger anyone, and can occasionally convince Ieska not to kill someone in a fit, so the servants tend to do as she asks. She is a goddess, after all, no matter how small.
Yu-shan has not noticed Kushi’s absence from the south. She was always somewhat quiet and local. As far as the few who remember her are concerned, she has merely become more so. A small shrine to her exists in the inhabited part of the canyon, where people leave small broken things and fried lotus buns. Both things disappear; the broken things are sometimes returned in better condition. The Guild leaves a great tithe for her when they pass through – repairs are vital to them.
Kushi is a slender youth with light brown skin and dark eyes. Her thick black hair cascades halfway down her back. She wears simple clothing and small diamond earrings.
Kushi is quiet and curious. She’ll inspect nearly anything without invitation or permission. When confronted, she stops doing what she’s doing and typically goes back to it later. She talks the most when approached respectfully and asked to share her thoughts. When asked about machinery she responds with highly technical language that takes an expert to understand.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, Kushi remembers being an adult, and is especially frustrated that she isn’t treated like one any more. She has no idea what she’s looking for in the palace. She can’t remember what she can’t remember, and it’s maddening – but entirely on an internal level.
Intimacies: “Build, design, and analyze” (Defining), “Ask Questions” (Major), “Being treated like a child” (Negative), “Tinkers and engineers” (Positive), “Find out why Ieska is always so mad”
As a goddess of engineers, Kushi is familiar with all manner of machines, from simple levers and pulleys to the construction of warstriders and airships. She can repair most of the devices of this fallen age in minutes or even seconds. She can also tell exactly how something was broken, and sometimes even glimpse the event itself. This and her keen intellect make her an excellent investigator.
The one thing Kushi can’t maintain is herself. Despite her spiritual nature, she too is a machine, and the spiritual circuitry within her is winding down.
Kushi flees combat. When she was older she might have constructed bizarre machinery out of nearby objects to defend herself and others, but she lacks both the confidence and the power to do so again.
- Therinja Toman, ex-Guild tinker staying in the canyon. Kind, introspective, clever.
- Shifata, a child about Kushi’s apparent age who finds her fascinating and follows her around. Questioning, observant, procrastinating.
- Faidan, god of the Tinker’s Road that once led engineers through the mountains to Red Jade Canyon in a beautiful glass-covered trek to the mines. Ancient, tired, fatalistic.
- What happened to Kushi’s child?
- How will Kushi react when she finds out that the mine collapse was sabotage?
- What will it take to repair Kushi? Will spreading her fame and worship be enough, or will she need something more?