As the tale of the Exalted Continues
Saiten, The Fallen
He's a hero for fun.
Saiten’s story begins at the age of 24. Before then, he was an average lower middle class guy living in the city of Nexus. He wasn’t very good at many things. Saiten couldn’t cook, he couldn’t hunt, he couldn’t build. He did as best he could, always hoping to make a difference with his family’s small trading business. His best wasn’t of much help however.
His family would often criticize him for failing at even the most basic tasks. Some days, they would send Saiten on long errands to simply have a rest of him. It was on one such of these days, where his life would take a turn for the worse.
His family had embarked on a long journey towards Palanquin several months ago to sell stock of newly acquired silks and brightly dyed leathers. The morning started off as usual. Wake up, break down the camp, prepare morning meal, then continue on their way. At mid day, they stopped to water the horses, and eat a simple meal. His mother had prepared a stew the night before, enough to last the next few days. Saiten loves his mother’s stew.
As soon as his mother announced the meal’s readiness, Siaten excitedly dashed over, and immediately tripped over the stew, spilling it everywhere. Curses and shouts of anger soon followed, and Saiten was sent away to the river to fetch water.
After a short while, Saiten reached the river. It was muddy and shallow. The water here would be of no use to his family. Seeing some rapids slightly downstream, he waded through the muck to try to get some clean water. As soon as he reached the rapids however, he was swept off his feet. Scrambling to regain his footing, he quickly realized he had dropped his bucket. He could see it in the distance, getting smaller and smaller as it quickly floated down the river.
Tired, hungry, wet, muddy and defeated, Saiten headed back to camp. Maybe his family would take pity on him and not chastise him for losing their bucket. When he got to camp however, the scene before him was even worse than he feared.
His family had been murdered. Robbed, and stripped of anything remotely valuable, he saw them covered in blood on the floor of the camp. The robbers must have heard him cry out in grief, because they were soon jumping out of Saiten’s family wagon. There were only two of them, but they looked tough. The first man had blazingly red hair, with a long beard to match. He had a scar above his right eye in the shape of a cross. The second had a long tattoo of a bird descending his left arm.
Stricken with madness at the loss of his family, Saiten charged at them. He had taken all of four paces towards them when his boot was caught in the mud. He tripped and loudly slammed into the ground. The pair of murderous robbers laughed uproariously. “This one isn’t worth the trouble. Burn the wagon, and take the horses.They should fetch a fair price in Palanquin. Leave him to the elements. It shouldn’t take long.” And just like that, they were gone.
Saiten was a wreck. He couldn’t survive without his family. He knew that he had to though. He had to survive, and more importantly, he had to avenge his family’s death. Even if it killed him.
He buried his family as best he could however, without a shovel, he couldn’t put them down very far.
Over the next month, he continued on his way to Palanquin. It wasn’t easy, but he managed to scrape by. He ate mostly foraged berries. Sometimes he would get lucky and manage to catch a squirrel. He slept wherever he could find a dry patch of ground, and would try to start a fire whenever he stopped to sleep. Very infrequently did he succeed at this.
Finally he arrived at Palanquin. The city towered above him. Four Colossal statues holding it to the sky. He remembered his mother talking about their contact at the city. A man named “Flute of the cloud.” Hopefully Saiten could convince him to bring him into Palanquin. For the next several days, he wandered the feet of the city. He finally found Flute at a small tavern by one of the gondolas. Saiten explained to Flute, who he was, and how he came to be here. Flute agreed to take Saiten in. If only for a couple of weeks while he recovers from his ordeal.
And so, Saiten moved in with Flute of the cloud. He helped Flute around the house, and around the shop to offset the cost of him staying. Saiten found himself surprised at how competent he had become at things that had challenged him before. Perhaps his time in the wilderness had done him well.
Before long, Saiten had recovered, and was ready to look for his vengeance. He thanked Flute for his hospitality, and left his home, unsure if he would return.
Soon enough, Saiten had found what he was looking for. He had learned though describing his butchers, that the bearded man was named Mithras Red, and the tattoo’d man was his lacky, Hannus.
The pair would spend their day and nights in local taverns, getting drunk with their ill gotten gains. Saiten had followed them enough to know their routine. Long after night had descended, Saiten watched the pair stumble out of their favored bar. He followed them until they crossed one of the many sky bridges through out the city. He ran at them with unrelenting speed, and punched Hannus square in the jaw. The force of the blow took him by surprise, and he quickly and quietly fell over the railing.
Mithras could not believe what had happened. He shouted at the loss of his companion and swung at Saiten. In his drunken stupor however, he missed. Saiten quickly tackled Mithras into the railing, hoping to beat him into a pulp. Unfortunately, the railing could not take the force of the two men slamming into it. The railing broke, and the men fell from the city in the clouds. Mithras panicked. He didn’t want to die. He was flailing in the air, when Saiten’s first hit him. Saiten had long given up on life. He only wanted this man to feel the pain that Saiten felt within him. And so, Saiten punched him. Again, and again he punched Mithras as they both fell towards their death.
They were nearing the ground. Saiten could see the lights of the camp fires that surrounded the city’s feet. He geared up for one final punch before accepting his fate. It was then when he felt it. Essence flowed into him, and he began to glow brightly. Every part of him felt on fire, and his fists were of no exception. With all his might, he punched Mithras one last time. With the force of the unconquered sun, Mithras exploded downward, leaving a giant bloody crater. Saiten had punched him with so much force, that he seemed to float for a moment before landing safely on his feet.
Saiten was bewildered. How could he have survived such a fall! How could he have punched Mithras that hard!? How is it that he could see so clearly in the dead of night!?
It was that last thought that shook Saiten back to reality. It must have been close to midnight, but he could see as clear as day! He ran over to a near by stream, faster than he ever had before. He could not believe what he saw in his reflection. What stared back someone who looked similar to him, except he was completely bald and had a giant, flaming fist glowing above him for all the world to see.
Fearing what this meant, he dashed into the forest. He did not wish to explain what this light was, especially because he did not know himself! It wasn’t too long before the glow began to dim, and eventually fade. He slept that night with a peace that he didn’t think he would ever again be able to obtain again.
Once day broke, he decided try to make his way home. He went to the feet of the city, and found passage with a caravan heading in the general direction of Nexus. The first weeks of the trip was uneventful. Saiten helped the caravan with varying tasks. He’d set up camp faster and easier than he had ever thought possible. The other members of the caravan were surprised as well.
It was on the third week, that the caravan was attacked by bandits. This time however, Saiten was there, and he was ready. He charged at the robbers, heading straight for the man who had just demanded their coins. A single punch was all it took before their leader fell to the ground, motionless. He didn’t even hit him that hard!
Saiten bellowed at the remaining robbers. “Get out of here! Nobody else has to get hurt today!” The robbers were stunned by what just transpired. They dragged their leader away and fled.
Saiten beamed in victory. He had saved the day! He was a hero! As he turned to face his traveling companions, he found them to not be as amused.
“I suppose now you’re going to want a reward for ‘rescuing’ us, huh?” One quipped. “I saw you hit that guy. One punch and he’s down! That was too easy! You’re probably in league with them!”
Saiten didn’t know what to say. He had just saved everyone in the caravan from being robbed, or worse. He tried to explain to them, but it fell on deaf ears. The wagon driver tossed his pack on the ground. “Find your own way to wherever it is you’re going. We won’t be fooled again.” he said.
Saiten watched in disbelief as the caravan continued on without him. “I guess even heros can have hard times.” he thought to himself. The thought calmed him. He was a hero. Whether they admitted it or not, he had saved them from those bandits, and it felt good. “Thats what i’m going to do then. I’m going to be a hero. Even if I don’t get recognition for it. Even if i’m just a hero for fun. That’s what i’m going to do.”
And so, Saiten set forth on his own, ready to face the world, and the challenges that it brings with it.