Ghula M’shatha is a martial scholar from the finest traditions of the Southern coast. He travels the world, masterless, seeking new styles to learn. He was chosen by the Sun several years ago for his peerless dedication to his art.
Unfortunately, the Unconquered was not the only sun to shine on Ghula that year. In Malfeas, there are rumors of a martial arts style that can kill any demon. Most consider the idea to be mere fiction, but apparently the demon world’s green sun sees a kernel of truth. Ghula was made a simple offer: learn that style and teach it to Ligier, and he would be remade as the perfect warrior. He accepted.
Ghula has traveled quietly and secretly throughout Creation, seeking those willing to pass on the knowledge of esoteric styles. He especially seeks out aged masters about to die, who may be unwilling to let their knowledge die with them. He presents himself as a humble and earnest student. That isn’t entirely wrong. He just doesn’t let them see the part of him that traded his soul to the demons for power.
Having exhausted his leads in the South, Ghula has been traveling through the West for the past year, planning to eventually chart a circuit around the Blessed Isle. There are only two individuals who have spotted him for what he truly is. Luckily, neither of them is likely to reveal his secret… yet.
The first time was in Onyx, where he sought a style manual said to have been taken from the Coral Archipelago years earlier. There he ran into a deathknight named Pain. She discovered him communing with the servants of Ligier, revealing himself as akuma. She ordered him to surrender in the name of her deathlord, the Bodhisattva. He initially laughed, but quickly learned better. He had not tested himself against such an opponent before, and was unprepared for the challenge. He retreated in humiliation.
The second time was in Wavecrest, where a demon cult on an isolated island led him to communion with one of the Green Sun’s souls. He learned important secrets to bring him farther along his quest, but paid quite literally in blood. In his weakness, he was caught by Sapadi Am’beta, who had witnessed the ceremony. She blackmailed him, stole his vessel, and stranded him on the island. He knows that a few whispers from her would make him anathema beyond anathema, hunted even by other Solars.
It was only luck that the cult rallied their courage and returned to check on him the next day. He escaped with them, and eventually came to a city where he could beg passage north. The ship came within sight of an ever-changing city, and he dove overboard and swam to shore. The hints Ghula received from his patron and other sources have led him here. Unlike most of the others trapped on the island, he came here knowingly. He didn’t expect to be caught in this vicious tournament, but now that he is, he’s not looking to escape. He believes that someone here knows of the style he seeks, and he’ll learn what he can from them… before he kills them all.
Ghula is a young-looking monk. He is short but strong-bodied. His dark hair is close-shaved. His eyes are dark, with the typical shape of the Blessed Isle, and his skin is the color of light red clay. He wears orange robes and carries a set of prayer beads that help him focus when his urges become too strong.
Ghula has the calm, peaceful demeanor one expects from a martial arts master. He is amiable, happy to share his food and water with others on this deserted isle. He seems wise beyond his years. Even in battle, he retains a slight smile on his face and a look of relaxation.
Beneath his friendly demeanor, Ghula has a singular focus in his life that makes everything else seem small and easily managed in comparison. He can still be driven by other wants and needs – he’d certainly like revenge on a few people – but he can easily put those aside to pursue the one thing that gives his life meaning. It’s when someone tries to get in the way of this urge that he becomes agitated. His eyes will start darting around; he’ll lick his lips and repeat himself. If he feels like someone is intentionally keeping him from a secret of Demon-Slaying Style, he won’t hesitate to kill them (though he’ll wait for the right moment rather than face overwhelming odds).
When Ghula sold his soul to the green sun, Ligier reshaped his body and mind. The other experiences of his life, and all the skills and joys there might have been, were trimmed away. These scraps were reforged in the viridian fires of the Malfean forges for the sole purpose of making Ghula a more potent martial artist. Only things since that event truly matter to him.
Intimacies: “I must learn Demon-Slaying Style and deliver it to the Green Sun” (Akuma Urge), “Attain enlightenment through perfection” (Defining), “Sapadi must not reveal my secret” (Major), “I will repay Pain for the way she humiliated me” (Major, Negative), “Small birds and animals” (Positive)
Ghula is a well-trained and widely-proficient martial artist. Most of his other skills are related to his training: meditation, running and leaping, balance and grace, enduring pain and the elements. He’s incredibly strong-minded – not a brilliant man, but a dedicated one. He also learned to sail as a child on the southern coast, and can handle small vessels even over large distances. He speaks Flametongue and High Realm.
Since his exaltation as one of the Dawn caste, Ghula’s power has been bent almost entirely toward awakening his martial training and enhancing it. He knows the entirety of Tiger Style, as well as the introductory levels of Black Claw Style and Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style. His breath empowers his techniques, grounds him, and strengthens his skin and his muscles. The techniques of Tiger Style let him launch assaults with deadly speed and power. His foes find him so terrifying that they may be frozen in place, unable to run. Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Style provides him with graceful self-defense, and turns his robes into deadly weapons. Black Claw Style is perhaps his most potent asset in this contest, making him seem fragile and defenseless against his attackers while simultaneously counterattacking and poisoning them. All three of them combine to make his mobility in combat unparalleled.
- Sixteen Claws, Ghula’s original martial arts master. Calm, wise, disappointed.
- Paka Desi, who refused to keep teaching Ghula a hidden style. Stubborn, sweet, judgemental.
- Why does Ghula want to win the tournament? Does he think that Eight Eyes Ending has the secret he desires? Is it somewhere else on the island? Does he want the immortality she promises in order to pursue martial perfection?
- Does the Green Sun or any of his servants know that Ghula is here? Would they lift a finger to rescue him? If so, would it matter, or is Eight Eyes Ending’s grasp on the island too tight?