Pyrrhic Victory takes place in a vast world constantly at war. Yet across the war-torn lands exist those trying to survive each day. There are still natural gems of beauty scattered around the world, little pockets of untouched landscape rarely encountered but always treasured. Let us take a tour of the world Pyrrhic Victory is set in and see what remains when war is over.
During our tour we saw several ships anchored in the ports of Ilia, Beih’go Bao and Shuicheng, and saw many of the oldest and most impressive sights of Rupani
Welcome back everyone – now I know you must be wondering, what could best the marvels of Ilia or the impressiveness of Beih’go Bao? Well, I welcome you to my favourite part of the Kingdom, Shui Jintou. Shui Jintou, or the Lonely Grove, is a five century old grove of trees and plants which has remained untouched – be it by war or any other encroaching danger.
As even young Rupani know, when we die we are reincarnated; those that live bad lives reincarnate as a chou hong yu, but otherwise we reincarnate as a new person. Those of us that lived truly well in service of Rupani will remember our past lives, especially our Yundoh Lun’wui, our water casters. As we remember our past lives, we can relearn the skills, which is particularly important for Yundoh Lun’wui as they can quickly re-master even advanced techniques through their memories. However it isn’t uncommon for especially skilled soldiers to remaster the skill with their bow or sword.
Thusly then, our homeshrines are where we pay respect to our ancestors – every family household has a temple where we keep a token of memory for our ancestors. Usually we keep a lock of hair tied with a leather ribbon, but if we were unable to claim the body of the fallen then we use seaweed or hay instead. Of course, for those with Yundoh Lun’wui in our family, we keep those ancestors separate to pay special respect to these mighty ancestors. We typically keep a bowl of water by a Yundoh Lun’wui resting place within the shrine so that each Yundoh Lun’wui can still watercast from the afterlife.
Excuse me while I pay my respects to the fallen.
Thank you for waiting. Shui Jintou was once a memorial to a single fallen warrior, but has long since been a place to remember all of your fallen. I’ve had several close friends including my wife perish in wars with Slahor and Kosekya; I find it easier to remember fond memories of them when I sit in this beautiful grove. It is common for families to make a trip to Shui Jintou yearly to pay respects to fallen comrades, mothers, fathers, siblings, children – to remember them beyond the homeshrines.
Shui Jintou was originally to be the large blue leafed tree before you. Five hundred years ago, a mighty Yundoh Lun’wui died on that spot from dozens of wounds received while defending the King’s only daughter Jing’yi. Even the mightiest of casters cannot cheat death alas, for while he killed every single assailant he collapsed after the battle and never awoke. Shortly afterwards the King’s personal guard arrived and found the Jing’yi unharmed next to the fallen Yundoh Lun’wui. Around the two of them were more than two score Narsput warriors, dead. The King’s daughter was returned safely to the palace as her father declared war upon Narsput for this attack. A few years later the King stepped down and his replacement continued the war against Narsput. When the new King was killed in battle the old King’s daughter was elected and was the first King to finally crush the Narsput resistance; we’ve had peace since.
As for the fallen Yundoh Lun’wui? It was decided that in honour of his sacrifice and bravery in the face of such long odds, and in respect for his skill, that he would be buried where he fell. Upon his grave the King personally planted a seed from the Royal Gardens, the first ever occurrence of these beautiful trees being planted outside of the Royal Gardens. At the same time many soldiers whom had fought with him and family members planted other trees around his Lonely Grove creating what you see today. When the King’s daughter became King, she began a new tradition. Every year on the anniversary of the Yundoh Lun’wui’s death she would travel to the grove to pay her respects. Since her death, many Kings have respected the tradition and have continued to personally visit the tree and lay flowers upon the stone marking his grave. After many years the stone has shattered from the growth of the tree but the split pieces have wedged themselves, making the tree truly one with the fallen Watercaster.
The most amazing thing about the grove however is that every year upon the same day in the spring, all of the trees in the grove bloom. Likewise, all of the leaves on the trees change colour upon the same day in the autumn – as you can see now.
Artwork By: Patryk Kowalik