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|Featured In||The Emperor's Soul|
Appearance and Personality
Shai is small of stature like the rest of MaiPon people. She has dark hair that lays straight and long. She wears spectacles because of her bad eyesight. Her arms are layered with shallow cuts from the Bloodsealer Weedfingers, who needs her blood to keep her imprisoned.
She loves the thrill, the accomplishment and the wonder of Forgery. However, at times, she is tempted by a simple life where she doesn't have to hide or lie. She constantly quotes her Uncle Won and Aunt Sol although they don't really exist. They are figments of her imagination created for one of her Essence Marks. She believes her Forgeries are works of art and she gets angry when contradicted on that.
Attributes and Abilities
Shai is a very talented artist, but generally uses her ability to make forgeries of paintings. She reads people very well and is a master manipulator. She has good control of her emotions. She is very knowledgeable in art history and has a very good understanding of Realmatic Theory.
Shai is one of the best Forgers ever to live, especially in Soul Forgery. Flesh Forgery is one of the few branches of Forgery she hasn't studied in depth because getting a Flesh Forgery wrong usually means the subject dying.
- Shaizan, translated Shai of the Fist, is an extremely skilled warrior who spent the last fifteen years among the Teullu people, who adopted and trained her in their martial arts. They also gave her the name Shaizan. Gaining access to Teullu training was very difficult. Shaizan was nearly killed a dozen times while training. She has a lean, hard body, short hair, and a scar that stretches from her nose down around her right cheek. Unlike Shai, she doesn't need spectacles. She doesn't know how to create soulstamps and doesn't have scholarly inclinations. She also doesn't have the patience for witticisms or gibes. She is a creature of instinct and thrives on a challenge. It took Shai two years to create this Essence Mark.
- The Scholar
- Using this Essence Mark, she can speak a dozen languages, from Fen to Mulla'dil and a few from Opelon as well. She knows dozens of cultures and how to move in them. She knows science, mathematics, and many major political factions of the world.
- The Beggar
- Using this Essence Mark, she knows the ways of the streets and how to survive in a city's underworld. She is an incomparable lockpick and has years of experience as a contortionist. She is emaciated, with lost hair and scarred skin. Shai finds thinking like a beggar uncomfortable.
- The Survivalist
- This Essence Mark gives her keen skills as a woodsman and a hunter as well as many others useful for surviving in the wilderness.
- The Way Out
- She knows cooking, farmwork, and sewing. She visited a resealer and was given a remedy, which is actually the soulstamp for this Essence Mark, for an illness. She believes she will die unless she applies the soulstamp every morning. Her Aunt Sol and Uncle Won will send her letters, hundreds of which Shai already wrote and will give to a delivery service before using the soulstamp. She is afraid of traveling, thinking a trip to visit her relatives is too dangerous. Unlike Shai's other Essence Marks, this one doesn't know she is a Forger. She is Shai's way out to a simpler life. The Mark rewrites her years as a Forger and removes all knowledge of Forgery from her mind. Later, Shai promises to add Gaotona as "a kindly grandfather... who I respected very much" to the Essence Mark.
Shai first started inquiring about being a Forger when she was eight years old.
Han ShuXen, an old painter who had tutored Shai as a child, asked her to destroy his masterpiece Lily of the Spring Pond. ShuXen hated the Rose Empire and didn't want his painting, which he had painted for a woman he once loved, at their hands. He helped Shai create a counterfeit.
Shai managed to destroy the original painting in the Arbiter Frava's office near the Imperial Gallery, replaced it with a fake and planted another lower-quality counterfeit in her room in order to hide to theft. With the help of the Imperial Fool, she also broke into the Rose Palace's Imperial Gallery by impersonating a noblewoman to steal the Moon Scepter. However The Fool betrayed her. He stole Shai's copy of the Moon Scepter, swapped it for the original, then escaped after giving Shai up to the palace guards. Shai was captured and charged with public execution for theft.
The Emperor's Soul
A day before her execution, she is asked by the council of five arbiters to Forge a soul in exchange for her freedom. Shai doesn't think it is possible to create a soulstamp for an entire person's soul in the hundred days they give her at first, but accepts their offer in the hope that it will give her time to escape. She is taken before the Emperor Ashravan and told that he took a crossbow bolt in the head from the assassins sent by the Glory Faction and despite surgeons resealing the wound, he is in a vegetative state. She is told to replace the emperor's soul with a Forgery.
She is given a room barely better than a cell which, over time, she transforms into the finest room in the whole palace with Forgery. She receives her Forgery tools except for her Essence Marks. Gaotona volunteers to being her test subject for the soulstamps she creates for Emperor Ashravan. The arbiters hire a Bloodsealer to make sure of her cooperation. As they work together, Gaotona and Shai grow fond of each other and eventually become friends. Shai starts to collect information on Ashravan's personality and memory to use for the soulstamp.
Shai concluded that the arbiters were planning to kill her, even if she fulfills their agreement, a little while before the soulstamp is done and have another Forger finish her work. She started lacing her notes with subtext about the arduousness of the task to deter the other Forger. All the arbiters except Gaotona proposed that she create a backdoor to the emperor's soul that would allow him to be controlled by the arbiters. Shai played along but eventually refrained from doing it, even for herself.
As her hundred days pass, Shai was constantly tempted to escape but was driven by the challenge of the task. On day ninety-seven, just before she finishes the soulstamp, she enacts her plan to get past the Bloodsealer. The next day, Captain Zu tries to kill her, a move she had expected from some of the guards and managed to evade by Forging traps into her room. She escaped and made her way to Ashravan's chambers, desperate to see if she had managed to Forge a soul from nothing. When it succeeds, Gaotona gave her back her Essence Marks and she used them to escape the palace. It later turns out that she didn't reForge Ashravan's soul exactly the way it was and made small changes, nudging him on the path to being a better ruler.
- In one of The Emperor's Soul deleted scenes, Hoid visits her in prison and discusses the thing she stole and how he stole it first.
- She will probably have a role, or at least a cameo, in future Elantris books.
- If she had joined the Knights Radiant, she would most likely have been in the Order of Edgedancers.
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 98#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 76#
- The Emperor's Soul Prologue#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 2#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 5#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 3#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 70#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 12#
- The Emperor's Soul Epilogue#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 30#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 58#
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 17#
- Arcanum Unbounded release party
— Arcanum - 2016-11-22#
- Deleted prologue from The Emperor's Soul
— Brandon's website - 2014-03-31#
- Paris signing
— Arcanum - 2016-10-22#
- FanX 2018
— Arcanum - 2018-09-08#
|The Emperor's Soul (Sel)|
|Characters||Wan ShaiLu · Gaotona · Ashravan · Frava · Zu · Han ShuXen · Kurshina · Imperial Fool|
|Places||Rose Empire · Mulla'dil · MaiPon · Dzhamar · Ukurgi · Sogdian Forest · Rose Palace · Imperial Seat|
|Magic||Forgery · Bloodsealing · Soulstamp · Soulstone · Skeletal · Essence Mark|