The Lakes District provides many foods to the Realm, and none of them are more important than the long-grained wild rice that grows in its streams and on the shores of the lakes. The hard, black seeds of this grass travel well, and even the stalks are edible. Those accustomed to the short, lighter grains grown elsewhere in the world may be taken aback by its appearance, but there are many who come to prefer it, and the Pearl’s rice is in high demand across the Realm.
Where there is value and desire in Creation, there is a god. Ten Thousand Verdant Shoots is the goddess of the wild rice, and perhaps the most powerful god in the Pearl. She has watched over and fed her people for thousands of years. She has led the spirit court here since before the Fair Folk invasion. It is her political acumen (and, from time to time, her battle staff) that has kept that court orderly and productive.
Verdant Shoots has seen dozens of rulers come and go in the Pearl. During the Shogunate this land was independent, and practically ignored by the rulers of Creation. After the invasion, the Realm prioritized securing every inch of coastline in Threshold. That included traveling up the lakes. Verdant Shoots made promises to the newborn Realm, and followed through on them, giving her the respect and support she needed to rise to prominence. She has encouraged, bargained, and occasionally browbeaten the other gods in the region into making this place a peaceful and beautiful land where the entire pantheon is supported by the population.
When the dragon lines over the lakes weakened, Verdant Shoots was the first to notice. She grilled her spirit court intensely on the matter. Many of them would have preferred to keep the matter secret, fearing an inquisition from Yu-Shan. Instead, Verdant Shoots made the fact public, and demanded an inquisition. She brought the question to the Court of Seasons, who set Sky Touches Earth to investigating the matter. She brought it to V’neef Kharavi and questioned her about the new sorceress she had adopted. She left no stone unturned in her quest – and came up empty.
Verdant Shoot’s primary rivals are the nearby lake gods. She has long played them against one another so that they cannot form an alliance against her. Bakdan-O is the strongest among them, and she worries that he may be the one stealing the worship that is due to the entire pantheon. With that power, he could dominate the other lake gods and come to threaten her position as the leader of the spirit court.
The first thing people notice about Verdant Shoots is her magnificent headdress, covered with rubies, gold, and feathers. She wears primarily green, and carries a long green staff. Her skin is tanned; her eyes, dark; her hair, black. Her face looks painted, but this is simply who she is.
Like most gods, Verdant Shoots has several alternate forms: a long-legged green heron, a cloud of pollen, and a brilliantly-colored water snake. She appears in these forms mostly to make a point, rather than to gain a tactical advantage.
Commanding, intense, and unrelenting. Even when she appears amongst the population, watching a ballet performance or walking through the marketplace to bless the rice vendors, Verdant Shoots has an unimpeachable air of importance. Her every act makes it clear that she is here, now, because she considers this very moment consequential. Now that she is being investigated by Heaven, Verdant Shoots is also noticeably agitated. She stops short of snapping at people, but not by much. Some people even whisper that she has seemed distracted and preoccupied.
Verdant Shoots sees V’neef Kharavi as a potential ally, but one with more time to spend before she has truly paid her dues. Twenty-plus years is not so much time to a god. The two have a tacit agreement: Kharavi leads and legitmates the prayers that keep essence flowing to the spirit court, and Verdant Shoots shows her the public respect that allows Kharavi to keep doing her job.
If there is one group that Verdant Shoots treats with unfailing respect, it is the young and the weak. She herself was once the patron of just a single river and the rice in it. She knows well how quickly fortunes can be reversed in Creation.
Intimacies: “I lead the spirit court in the Pearl” (Defining), “Peace in this land” (Major), “Bakdan-O” (Major, Negative), “The other lake-gods” (Negative), “V’neef Kharavi” (Positive), “The ballet-house on the shore in Sandpiper” (Positive)
Ten Thousand Verdant Shoots has two fairly narrow areas of expertise. Naturally, she knows about her crop: growing and harvesting, buying and selling, storing and preparing. Some of this transfers to other fields – for instance, she knows when a merchant is trying to cheat her by overpricing merchandise or offloading goods that are about to spoil. She is also a savvy politician with centuries of experience. Her maneuvers are deft and subtle. She knows how to handle both gods and mortals. Though the Chosen still manage to surprise her from time to time, her support base is large and loyal enough that even they have difficulty outfoxing her. Her personal presence and sharp wit only add to this.
Beyond rice and politics, she has many interests, but few skills. She enjoys taking in artistic performances, but can’t dance or create sand mandalas herself. She appreciates the applications of mathematics and geomancy, but has never taken the time to study them. Like most gods, she is highly focused on her specialized field.
When confronted with belligerent young gods or Chosen, Verdant Shoots strikes with a long green staff. She moves quickly and directly, with all the power that befits her position, but without much grace. Her targets must contend with a rotting fungus imparted by the staff (treat as snake venom) that can be passed from the targets to those who touch them. The mantle of her authority makes it difficult for the weak-willed to attack her in the first place.
- Chanapta, God of the spring, when the rice shoots begin to grow. Frantic, gullible, aspiring.
- Xaxaxa, God of the harvest. Genial, ambitious, realistic.
- Bakak-autl, Goddess of storms. Pretentious, adventurous, remorseful.
- Obatlak, Goddess of travel and time. Refined, pushy, accepting.
- Is Verdant Shoots honest in her demands for an investigation, or is she doing this in order to frame someone? Did she actually divert the dragon lines herself?
- Does Verdant Shoots know about Vatli Butterfly and her future?
- Does she know that Peacebringer and her servants are in the Pearl, and what their goals are?