Shadowed Autumn Leaves
“One is not the singular. That is the most common misconception. One is plural. One is all.”
Appearance and Personality
Slender and with the shaved head of a holy man, Shiba Zao is a man without vanity or pretense. As he would say, he simply is. A talented swordsman and scholar, Zao walks the path of a true Phoenix; standing strong against adversity and needless violence and barbarity. Considered by many of his peers to be well on the way to enlightenment, Shiba Zao’s words are considered carefully when offered, though on most subjects he has very little to say. Though many of his clan’s adversaries discount the man, believing he has grown unwilling to draw steel, Zao believes that to keep the katana in it’s saya is the more difficult path.
As many Shiba before him, and many after him no doubt, Zao was raised from a young age to act as a yojimbo for his clan’s shugenja. Many are not cut out for such a path, however, he took to his work with an easy vigor. A yojimbo must be quiet and somber, and Zao had never been one for words. A yojimbo must be vigilant, and Zao saw more through mediation than most see with their eyes. Most importantly, a yojimbo must be free of vanity and of self-importance. Zao was apathetic when faced with death, seemingly unaware of himself when his charge was threatened. Whatever the cause, the man seemed perfectly chiseled from birth for such a duty. For a quarter century Zao has quietly safeguarded the shugenja of the Phoenix both in battle and in the courts, and felt completely at peace doing so. It is only after being discovered by the Master of Void as one close to enlightenment has Zao become troubled. Where once he was silent, following the winds and directions of his charges, now he is seen as a leader, mentor and teacher. Uncomfortable in the limelight, and for the first time in his life, unsure of himself and his place, Shiba Zao teeters on the edge of greatness or obscurity. He knows which side he would like to fall upon.