Born to a minor branch of the Isawa family, Shinzui was a quiet and studious child. She had a fascination with tales of spirits and ghosts, and often wandered in the haunted woods of the Phoenix lands. Like many of her kin, she was blessed with the friendship of the kami, and was trained as an Isawa Shugenja.
She was sent to the far south to compete in the Topaz Championship, and to maintain the ties of friendship between the Isawa and the Crane family of the Daidoji, and lodged in the home of Daidoji Dajan. While visiting Ryoko Owari, she becames friends with Bayushi Isakamiko, better known in the city as "Bayushi Isawa". Isakamiko was a noblewoman married to a local lord, who missed the forests and gentle hills of her home.
When Isakamiko fell to the Taint, Shinzui took care of her friend's duties and posessions. She stayed for some time with Isakamiko's widower, Bayushi Suko, before helping the Crane destroy the Bloodspeakers who had secretly constructed a fortress. During the war with the Bloodspeakers, she met the young daimyo of the Yogo family, Yogo Junzo.
In exchange for teaching in a new Crane school for shugenja, the Crane daimyo gave the Phoenix clan permission to build a tower to investigate the Shadowlands. The Elemental Council had grown concerned at certain omens and portents, and intended to discover the truth. The shugenja of the tower discovered mysterious "negative chi flows" emanating from the Shadowlands. However, while Shinzui was attempting to negociate a truce with a Crab noble who claimed the land on which the tower stood, the tower was attacked by Kuni Yori.
The Crab destroyed the tower, but Shinzui and the research were rescued - by Yogo Junzo. At Shiro no Yogo, Junzo explained his plan to save the Empire by killing the Hantei. Overwhelmed by horror, Shinzui stole the Black Scroll she had helped Junzo retrieve from the Bloodspeakers, and walked between the stars to her homeland - carrying with her a twelfth part of the Soul of Fu Leng...
Appearance: A small, pale woman, dressed in fine silk robes. She is rarely without her jade belt and scrollcases. She speaks softly, like snow falling on a quiet wood.
GM's Commentary: Shinzui proved something of a problem for the campaign. All the other characters had at least some connection to the city, she didn't. Motivating Shinzui proved tricky on occasion, and she actively avoided politics at times...
She is easily the most classically honourable of the characters. She's never put a foot wrong, despite temptation. Her honour is a far better protection than her jade belt against the Taint and the disapproval of the ancestors.
Using Shinzui in your game: She's spent a lot of time as a tutor, so she could work as a character's sensei, especially if they've got the Different or Multiple Schools advantage. Phoenix tutors are highly sought after.
Shinzui's high level of knowledge of the Shadowlands and other evils means she could be the first to discover plots or dangers. She could uncover the tomb of a sleeping Oni left over from Fu Leng's war on the Empire, or a bloodspeaker fortress. She could then be used as a patron to bring your game's characters in.
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