Xiao Fa Follower Notes
Notes on the followers of Xiao Fa.
The Resurrected Ghost Guard
Pai Yee & Idane Heiji
Like most infantry, they were both draftees; Pai Yee is from the Plains of Honor, where army service is nearly universal, and Idane Heiji is from the Shrouded Isle, where it's quite a bit more disliked, but both of them seem to have fit into the mold of "try to keep the officers from noticing you, keep a friend at your back, and stay safe." They had been in the same company for about a year when they were killed.
They seem to have built a joint fiction around the whole thing. You're born, you live, you die, then after some time in the bureaucracy, sometimes you get born again. But that got messed up because they died in the north, so it wasn't bureaucracy, and "they" forgot to make them forget their old lives and start out as babies. Trust the Northerners to screw that sort of thing up! Operating under this fiction, they don't seem to find talking about their past lives, or deaths, very traumatic. They do think that the whole "Let's start invading the North using the same tactics you would use standing on the Wall" is typical officer foolishness; exactly how much that is actually true and how much it is the infantry disregard for the officer is not clear.
They thought the circus was a lot of fun to watch when they were around it; they also both like the ~monthlyish raucous beer house expedition. Yee will put spicy pepper oil on everything, if left to his own devices, and other than that defaults to 'plentiful and hearty' as a preference. Heiji likes fish and thinks that pepper oil ruins it. Yee has the inland-native suspicion of fish, while Heiji has the islander belief that nobody who can't see the ocean from their house knows what actual fish tastes like.
In the Circus
Recently: He's doing okay. The circus pretty quickly stopped expecting him to be a junior version of Merit, and started expecting him to be the guy who keeps the props and stuff organized, and is the general assistant to the Ringmaster and Melina and Mondo. Melina and Mondo have kind of stepped up as the Circus Grownups in a way that Merit and Ringmaster Te were the Circus Grownups before, so there's not so much a Merit-sized hole left.
He's being kept busy enough that he isn't really thinking about: if he isn't growing into a Merit, who or what 'is' he growing into? At the moment, the answer is probably a good actual Props Master, but it won't be a secret cover for something else.
THe holes in his education is that he really didn't have much of one. He was one the more goofy of Shanxi's street thugs when you got him. His 'thug' dex has done a fair bit of being polished into 'acrobat' dex just from hanging around here, but there is a fair bit of overlap between 'props master' instincts and 'thief' instincts, which is possibly the most Merit-like thing about him.
Immediately Post-Propsmaster: Rubberlegs admits he was hoping Merit would be training him for more than the first third of the circuit, but he's doing his best. Melina mostly has things in hand, and everyone is stepping up to do things that need doing. (You think that under Rubberlegs's tenure, "Props master" is turning more into a job of dealing with the props, and less into being the job of knowing all the things and organizing all the thing; Melina is doing more of the "organizing all the things" part and Mondo is doing more of the "knowing all the things" part.)
Pre-Propsmaster, as a Circus Roustabout: He hasn't come to your attention a lot - he's been a random circus hand, which means that he gets to carry boxes and set up tents and clean up elephant dung and the like. He hasn't come to your attention as causing trouble, nor as the Most Enthusiastic Doer of Things. Mostly, he comes across as a young man who has been told that he has to get a job because that'll be much better for him than playing video games all summer, so he's maybe a little sullen about it, but he's not doing the job *badly*. There's not a ton of showman to him, but there is a definite hint of nose-to-the-glass envy of the performers that might blossom into showmanship eventually if encouraged.
He's not a diamond in the rough just waiting to be brushed off to become the Awesome Acrobat; he's a rock that someone could put in effort to turn into something polished.
Rubberlegs is definitely better at the Body side than the Mind side; he's a bit of a goof, but not actively stupid. He has not really embraced the "manners of the circus", but that pretty much par for the course for circus hands and roustabouts, who tend to be not-totally-mannerly goofs in their own right. At the moment, he's "Johnny Fiamma, coming through", but you don't think anyone has really 'tried' to push him to another paradigm yet.
History & Mindset
So, the thing to understand about Rubberlegs is that (kind of like Shanxi but less so), he wants to feel important. He doesn't want a peasant job or a peasant life, and that's probably why he got into a gang in the first place. He wants any one of the many varieties that respect comes in - fear, acclaim, envy, general impressedness, etc.
So, circus *performer*, cool. Circus hand, less cool. Shanxi black ops team, cool. House of Exuberant Interference gardener, not so cool. Kuan-Xi's rickshaw driver, not cool. Kuan-Xi's personal herald, possibly cool. But (unlike Shanxi, or the new circus performers), he's not already awesome. He's more of a junior scrub with a medium amount of dex-type skill, who could probably be trained into being good at something, but he doesn't have the sheer epicness to march up to an awesome job and demonstrate that he is the One True Guy for it.
Nothing yet, but Xiao Fa is sitting down to chat with them soon.
He could certainly be an apprentice assigned to your supervision - that's kind of what he is already. However, you think Master Tranh was sort of hoping to have him sent back so that his epic Geomancy talents could be used more directly for the House rather than on Xiao Fa's adventures. You might want to send him back and then borrow him once in a while for particularly geomancy-ish plots; that would probably also fit with his "doesn't want quite as much excitement as a PC after all".
He (kind of grudgingly) admits that he doesn't want to apprentice to a sorcerer any more. He had thought that sorcerers went on adventures, and feng shui practicioners stay home and draw lines on paper, and he's kind of starting to think that sorcerers shoot people and set them on fire, and feng shui practicioners go on advnetures.
(You think that he will not be happy being a Master Tranh style guy who is mostly at home, but being a guy who gets sent on projects elsewhere will be okay. He seems to have decided that he doesn't need *quite* so much adrenaline as a PC, though he seems a little reluctant to admit that, as if it is admitting to being wussy after all...)
Ban Ke Huy
He's the first one of the journeymen to take Xiao Fa's overtures as trying to be friends rather than trying to score points, and causes a bit of a stir when he invites you out to the winehouse with the others one evening. His particular interest is "real places for real people", which he most notably thinks that zen rock gardens are not.
She's smart, and she puts her trust in the recommendations from books rather than her own instincts, but she has read all the books. She prefers designing towards an intent (the garden should be refreshing, or invigorating, or good for meditation), rather than beauty for its own sake, and takes particular care with how things smell (which is not something Xiao Fa has perhaps thought as much about as sight and sound).