by Alexander Nanitchkov
|Featured In||The Emperor's Soul|
Appearance and Personality
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.
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 thinks arbiters will kill her even if she fulfills their agreement little before the soulstamp is done and have another Forger finish her work. So she keeps her notes in code. Arbiter Frava comes and takes her notes to show it to her Forger a few times but she always comes back. All the arbiters except Gaotona proposes that she create a backdoor to the emperor's soul that would allow him to be controlled by the arbiters. Shai plays along but eventually doesn't do it.
As her hundreds days pass, Shai is constantly tempted to escape but she wants to complete the emperor's soul as well. In day ninety-seven, little before she finishes the soulstamp, she enacts her plan to get past the Bloodsealer. Next day, Captain Zu tries to kill her. She has been expecting the attack from one of the guards, so she manages to survive it with the help of the traps she has created. She escapes from her room and makes her way to where Ashravan is staying. She applies the soulstamp to him and finds out it works, a feat the likes of which has never been done according to Shai. Gaotona comes and gives back her Essence Marks back to her. Using them, she escapes from the palace. It later turns out that she didn't Forge Ashravan's soul exactly the way it was and made small changes.
Shai gets away and plans to go after the Imperial Fool who betrayed her.
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 the 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 the 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, farm work, sewing. She visited a resealer and were 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 Forgery. 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.
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 26
- The Emperor's Soul Prologue
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 2
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 76
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 3
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 30
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 5
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 58
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 17
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 98
- The Emperor's Soul Epilogue
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 70
- The Emperor's Soul - Day 12
- Hoid is the Imperial Fool
— Writing Excuses - 2012-11-11
|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|