P R O F I L E
I N V E N T O R Y
When the story starts, Bashira is in the middle of a duel. The only inventory she has is her equipment and a few gold coins. If she has time to run home before adventuring, she might grab a bit more money, a flask, and a bag of small necessities (bed roll, rope, etc.).
E Q U I P M E N T
- Miao Dao / “Sprout Saber” / Two-handed Saber
- Leather Whip
- Dueling Armor: as much for spectacle as it is protection, Bashira’s dueling armor is lamellar in red and black, featuring a demonic half-mask.
A T T R I B U T E S
M I S C
-Has a large tattoo of a dragon battling a tiger (Yin vs. Yang)
-Shinxi is the name of a tiger dragon (according to one questionable source)
-Bashira means "bright" or "joy" LOL
A P P E A R A N C E
Tall, muscular, and bad-tempered, Bashira can come off as intimidating. She's got a mass of dark hair, black eyes, high cheekbones, and fine features.
P E R S O N A L I T Y
Brash, bold, irreverent, cynical, indignant, loyal, determined.
B A C K S T O R Y
Shinxi Bashira woke and reached for the bottle. Her hands were shaking, the vestiges of a formless terror-dream still clinging to the corners of her mind like the last strands of spider silk falling from a careless wanderer. She couldn’t quite remember what it had been about, but there had been fire, she thought. Screams. Her mouth still tasted of iron, and her head throbbed beautifully.
Bashira pulled a long draught from the bottle but missed the table when she tried to set it down, and it shattered over pale wooden floor, spilling rice wine in rivers. It caught the light of the coming morning, sparkling like a sword edge. A few small sounds of protest came from the pallet behind her, but Bashira ignored the soft figure lying there.
It was an exhibition day. There were forms to observe.
The room wobbled as Bashira hauled herself up, trying to balance over the mess seeping across the planks. Her belly heaved, though unearnestly. She’d hold onto its contents for a little while longer at least.
Bashira closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to slow the spinning, but when she opened them again, it still coiled around her, as unreal as smoke dreams. Gray light spilled over a sparse space: sleeping mat, paper curtain, zither. A small writing desk leaned against the wall nearest the street-facing windows, and in the center of the opposite wall, a full set of red and black dueling armor was on display below a long, slightly curved sword—the only thing in the room worth anything to Bashira.
She stumbled forward, slipped, sliced her right heel on a shard of wine-slick pottery. The floor came up in a white-blur-rush, and pain erupted again from her forehead. The girl in the bed giggled, and Bashira groaned. She was naked, and the wine pooling beneath her calves was cold and sticky. This time, when her stomach heaved, it nearly won out.
The Demon of Bianwei! Daughter of a War Hero! Duelist Extraordinaire!
Bashira pushed herself up from the floor and staggered to a waiting basin behind the paper screen, the eyes of its painted tiger dragon watching her with evident disgust. She ignored it and went about her ablutions, scrubbing her body with cold water and clove-scented bean powder, mopping up the blood from her foot. Half a pitcher of water later, all the various lines of Bashira’s vision were running straight, so she lifted the two-handed saber from its place of prominence on the wall and slipped down to the bottom floor to prepare, wrapping a stained silk robe about her shoulders as she went.
It began without the weapon— stretches to pull and strengthen the muscles of her arms and back, lunges to test her legs. She fell at first. Swayed. But sweating cleared her head. She didn’t think about how long it’d been since she had a fight to prepare for, how the townhouse was eating through what had once felt like an endless supply of coin. She resolutely didn’t notice the dust, feather-soft and horrible, that had been building up since she’d dismissed her servants, how the main floor of her home escaped the distinction of messy only by the virtue of being gloriously empty. Whatever. It was easier to practice that way.
Bashira reached for her sword, and a knock sounded at the door. Fuck. There were only a few people she hadn’t managed to run off yet. The landlord, maybe. Her agent. The twin prophets of bad fucking news. She could just… not answer it. Leave whoever it was in the dew and last night’s festival leavings, but damn her if she wasn’t a little bit curious. It was an odd time to go knocking down someone's front door.
Just please, gods, let the woman in her bed not have an angry husband. It was too early in the morning for murder.
When she swung open the door, a middle-aged man stood framed in the portal. He wore his hair slicked back—an unfortunate choice with his receding hairline, and he carried all his gold in the bags under his eyes. Incongruously, he wore a navy dress uniform with general’s knots that Bashira couldn’t quite wrap her head around, considering that the last time she’d seen him, he’d been face-down in a pool of his own vomit, forgotten beer soaking into a straw mattress three years past needing a re-stuffing. She could still smell the lovely mix of sugar, yeast, and bile.
“Hello, Dad!” she said cheerfully and slammed the door closed.
He came in anyway. Rats, well, she supposed she’d gotten that lovely tenacity somewhere. Maybe mom hadn’t been the only stubborn one.
“Do you always answer your door in a robe?”
Bashira looked down at herself. She was clean but sweaty, the robe a little loose from the exercise. She’d rather be more clothed in front of a guest, but tightening it now would feel like giving in, so she left it alone. “Wow, first visit in twelve years, and that’s how you open?”
“You left, not the way around. Just like your good-for-noth—“
“Better that than let you drag us down with you. Looks like you landed on your feet, anyway. Drowned yourself in alcohol, gambled away our home, and you still get to be a general! Guess that’s what a few months of battle sixteen years ago gets a man these days.”
“That war took everything!”
“Not us. You lost us yourself.” She didn’t say that she’d lost her mother too, though he seemed to have forgotten about that. Bashira had managed to stick it out with him a couple of years longer than her mother had, not that she’d gotten anything for the trouble other than a few black eyes.
The General—she wasn’t going to start calling him father now— stood just in front of the door, his face red and his forehead slick with sweat. Bashira could see a bit of herself in the black of his eyes and the breadth of his shoulders, but she had an inch on him now, like those first few years after the war had left him cowed. “I haven’t come to discuss the past. It’s time you paid your debts, gave back to your empire rather than wasting your life to disgusting hedonism.”
Bashira just blinked at him because —and this is the absolutely fucking insane bit— he actually believed it. That man, the one who’d crumbled after the war and left his wife and daughter to deal with his rage, his debts, his perfect disregard for anything but himself, believed that she was such a disgrace to her empire that he could charge into her home and demand that she step away from the only godsdamned thing she cared about to pay it back.
“And if I don’t?”
“Then you won’t duel again."
Well. They say you can’t argue with crazy people. Bashira stepped past him to open the door. “Yeah, sure, Dad. Won’t duel again. If you want to visit, send a note so I can plan to be out of town.”
He tried a bit longer. Cajoled. Threatened a bit. But eventually, he did leave, and Bashira lifted her sword, settling into the slow, meditative stances she used as a warm-up, the weight of her blade heavy and familiar in her hands.
It was an exhibition day, after all. There were forms to observe.