Shadowed Autumn Leaves
The Burned Man
“Three sins… three magistrates. Seven virtues… seven yoriki. No coincidences, Bayushi-san.”
Appearance and Personality
The Burned Man’s manner does not live up to his reputation. Though he is spoken of with awe by the yakuza , kajinin, and other low-lifes he has collected, he seems more a cripple than a dangerous oyabun. He is shorter than average, and his back is always bent exacerbating his small stature. He is polite, but, the menace of power creeps into his cracked and frog-like speech. He coughs often; deep coughs which rock his frail looking body. He wears the robes of a monk, black and flowing, as well as fresh white bandages covering his face and arms. Though the bandages are clean, one can see where they curl or twist the hint of the yellowish medicinal paste and dried blood beneath. Wherever he goes the strong smell of sage, incense, and pungent herbs follow. Beneath those heady odors lies a hint of the sickening stench of charred flesh, not too dissimilar to an eta’s mortuary. He always carries a monk’s staff with him, tapping it as he walks or speaks, emphasizing his points with the crashing tones of clanking metal rings. Despite his feeble appearance, the Burned Man speaks with confidence in a calm and controlled manner. Even while his voice remains measured, his eyes burn. Whether they burn with fire, hatred, or determination, none know but the Burned Man himself.
An enigmatic figure, little is known for certain about the person now known as the Burned Man. Rumors among the lower classes run the gamut from the mundane to the outlandish. Some say he was a samurai burned during the War of Fire and Thunder, none agree from which side. Others claim he is a kenku who’s wings were sliced off by a cruel member of the Third Storm. Others still say he is a former student of Kokujin who has burned the impure tattoos from his own flesh. Still others claim he is a gaki spirit come to consume the over-fat merchants of a wayward city. The tales are too numerous to recount. What is known for certain is that the Burned Man has united the majority of the disparate yakuza, kajinin, smugglers, and street gangsters under a single boss. He commands loyalty and respect from those in the underworld, and in most cases receives it.
A most unusual alliance developed between the Emerald Magistrate, Bayushi Shinichiro and the Burned Man when the two discovered they shared mutual goals. Chiefly, the destruction of the pirate lords Hunger and Thirst, and justice for the slain Yasuki Shishinza. Over the course of discussions and negotiations with the magistrates and their yoriki a theory emerged. The idea grew from mere suspicion into a firmly held belief as the Magistrature’s investigations bore fruit. The Burned Man was what remained of former yoriki, Pious, saved from certain death by his powerful command of the kami’s magic and a fiery determination to survive. Though he was hesitant to admit his true identity, eventually the Burned Man gave his personal account of Shishinza’s murder in hopes that his testimony would bring about a break in the case. The Emerald Magistrates, and the yoriki they trusted with this secret are the only people on Kaigen’s Island who know the truth about the Burned Man’s identity, besides the man himself and the yojimbo twins, the Brothers Yamazaki.