Kiri grew up on the city-ship of Denzik. She was a fisher-woman, using spear and harpoon to catch the swift-swimming giant gar. Her daring made her a local hero. Many are the times this young woman was hauled out of the water, coughing up salt but victorious, with her knife buried behind a fish’s head.
When Denzik left the northern Inland Sea, it picked up a tagalong: a group of Fair Folk. They picked off outlying craft, and seduced people into jumping into the sea at night. They fancied themselves hunters. Zeraata, Western Goddess of the Hunt, took great offense. She sought a champion to defeat them, and chose Kiri. Before long the Fair Folk retreated, deciding to take their chances with easier prey.
They didn’t realize yet that they didn’t have that option. Kiri harried them to a barren rock in the sea and pinned them to the ground with cold iron, to be picked at by the gulls.
For the past twenty years Kiri has kept the holy hunt free from corruption. So long as she seeks out dishonest and degenerate hunters, she doesn’t age – and she is quite zealous about her job. From unscrupulous bounty hunters in Skullstone to vice-ridden investigators on the Blessed Isle, Kiri has tracked down dozens of whom Zeraata would disapprove. Her favorite method is by depriving them of their prey. When the hunt is unjust, she stops the hunter by force. When the hunt is just but the hunter corrupt, she finishes the quarry herself and deprives the hunter of the reward.
Recently she has made her home in Wu Jian, where currents bring many distasteful elements together. A band of mercenaries and bounty hunters known as the Red Teeth hunted for pay and fame, which is not considered unholy by Zeraata – but they released their catch if they paid, and sometimes by sheer incompetence. Kiri confronted their master Nikau, who tried to assault her. She wounded him and escaped rather than face his pack of mongrels alone.
For a time she led the Red Teeth. They approached her in Nikau’s absence, seeking the leader they lacked. She has tried to reform them, or at least to focus them into a weapon for Zeraata, but even the greatest blacksmith cannot work with clay, and Kiri was never trained to lead. They followed her for her power alone until she fled from a fight with a dynast named Peleps Rithra. (Not all Dragon-Blooded are easy to spot, she now knows, nor are they grateful when you kill their prey.) Then she felt them begin to turn against her as they had Nikau. She took a few that were more loyal and sailed to the West.
Those soldiers now lie at the bottom of the ocean. The ship was caught in a storm north of Athanor. Red lightning struck the mast. Kiri alone survived – and she knows that she is now both hunter and prey.
Kiri’s family is originally from the North, and she has the typical pale skin and blonde hair of the northerners. She typically wears heavy eyeblack to keep the sun from her eyes, and light clothing to allow her greater mobility. She has jewelry taken from some of her quarries. Whether she is hunting or not, she is never far from her spear, the Last Leaf of Fall, a simple and light amalgam of black and white jade.
Kiri was chosen to uphold the True Hunt. Damn the thrill – the important part is the quarry and its capture. She is blunt and pragmatic. She doesn’t brag to her targets or waste time talking to them. She is polite to others, but distantly, and without much conviction. Matters that could distract her from her work are put aside. Those who might aid her are accepted without long consideration and without truly making them into friends. Even those who have worked with her before rarely know where she went between the hunts.
And yet, there is a part of her that does thrill to the hunt – that feels a fierce, almost joyous rush of adrenaline when her goddess selects a target for her and the chase begins. Zeraata does not approve of this, but she keeps her tongue silent. Kiri has been her best ally in centuries.
Intimacies: “All quarries are mine” (Defining), “Nikau and his mercenaries defile the hunt” (Major, Negative), “I hate being cooped up” (Negative), “I will become powerful enough for the big game”
Kiri can swim and climb with the best of them. She is fast and accurate with both spear and knife. Years and years of practice have honed these skills to perfection. She is comfortable with a bow, but not an expert. Her native language is Wavetongue, but she also speaks a smattering of Low Realm, Firetongue, and Skytongue – just enough to get by in any port where Denzik might make landfall. She is comfortable with maps and charts. Since many of her targets hide in ancient manses, she can also recognize the most common of First Age glyphs, such as those for danger. She doesn’t give or take orders very well.
Once she has chosen her quarry (or been given it by Zeraata), Kiri can follow it to the ends of Creation and beyond. The same way that a migrating bird knows its path, she knows how to find her target. Once the prey is cornered, unfortunately, her essence gives her little advantage in a fight, so she sets traps and snares to even the odds. If she is wounded, she heals incredibly quickly – bones reform overnight and bruises heal in minutes. Kiri takes full advantage of this, fighting to maneuver an opponent into a trap, and then escaping to heal while their wounds fester.
The Last Leaf of Fall was created at the height of the Shogunate. Its simple appearance conceals a powerful set of elemental evocations. One allows Kiri to fight without impairment in inclement or hazardous environments – even underwater. Another surrounds her with a tempest of wind that deflects arrows and other projectiles. The third calls to the water within her targets, making their wounds bleed profusely. The last (that she knows of) makes the spear immensely heavy, trapping her opponent as she slams its head through their foot. When she connects with this strike, she leaves the spear in place to impair her opponent while she draws her knives and slices into their back.
- Zeraata, Western Goddess of the Hunt. Righteous, decisive, shameless.
- Aarostrometi, a god-blood whom Kiri caught and imprisoned years ago, and who wants revenge. Blustering, apologetic, compulsive.
- What exactly does Zeraata consider “holy” when it comes to the hunt?
- Where did Kiri find the Last Leaf? Did she take it from someone she was hunting? If so, who?