the breaking of wujian
There is a story, told to the children of Yeung and Odun and Nero, of a false history and mythic heroes. Its popularity has grown in these dark times, everyone wanting heroes to once again arise and save Wujian. It is a simple little tale and begins with a simple little phrase.
In the time before time...
In the time before time, Wujian was not as it is today. In those misty days, the five lands were one and filled with warring tribes and endless blood feuds. It was during this time that the people of the cold Northern Wastes first descended upon Wujian, raping and plundering our home's lush, unguarded coasts. Thus began the years of Fire and Fear, of famine and plague and death, of wild chaos.
These were times of great darkness and great evil.
But this darkness birthed five great men, sons of the earth, brothers in bloodshed and thought and deed. There was Pizhendao, Earth-Shaker, from the fertile East; Kyama Ippis, Wave-rider, hero of the Western islands; Hartholz, the Silent, as tall and strong as the trees of his southern home; Eagle-eyed Aceris, the wise bowman of the Northern mountains; and Gekijou, Beloved, the son of the hot Central lands, passionate leader of men.
The people of Wujian flocked to their banners, putting aside their wars and feuds for the greater good. United, they fought back against barbarians. The war was long and bitter, and there were many a time when it seemed as though Wujian would fall beneath the hoards of the North. But each time the line of men faltered, one of the Five would appear and throw themselves into the battle with wild abandon, giving a new life to the flagging warriors. And the tide would turn and hope would be rekindled in the breasts of Wujian's people.
Many seasons turned while Wujian warred. Spring became Summer two score times before the Northerners returned to their frozen homelands to lick their wounds and count themselves lucky to have escaped with their lives. The Five who had saved Wujian were now old and battle weary. But their work was not yet done. They had seen their people through war; now they had to see their people through peace.
Knowing their fellow men, they rightly feared that the camaraderie of the battlefield would not last long during the happy days of peace. And so greathearted Gekijou proposed a pact: To each of the Five and their followers a section of Wujian would belong, theirs to do with as they pleased, to rule as they pleased. In return, there would be peace between the lands forevermore. And should marauders ever again threaten the shores of Wujian, the great army would rise once more.
Seeing the wisdom of his words and knowing, in the dark quiet of their most secret hearts, that they were too enamored of war to let peace grow, the other four agreed to this plan. But Aceris foresaw that the five kingdoms couldn't remain separate; as the time of war fled further into the past, the old blood feuds would again arise and Wujian would become divided. And so he proposed that Gekijou become the head of the Five, keeping the peace and mediating disputes between their kingdoms during this tumultuous phase. A hard task, to be sure, but a task only Gekijou was capable of taking on for, it is said, Gekijou was a simple man who desire not the trappings of power; he had taken up his twin swords and donned his fire-red armor only out of grave necessity. Pizhendao, Kyama and Hartholz were much taken with this proposition, agreeing in their hard-won wisdom that this was the best course for peace. And so they thrust the heavy role of Eirini Pacem, Peacekeeper, upon their aged Gekijou's shoulders trusting him with the task of watching over his quarrelsome brothers and their followers. Gekijou sighed and agreed, but only after he extracted the promise that his brothers and their progeny heed and obey he and his forevermore; he knew peace would not come in his lifetime. So the four swore the oath and sealed their pact in blood, and that site where the brothers made peace is An Pidur, the holiest of holy places.
Then Phizendao took up his great spear and struck the ground and rent the earth, which shook and trembled for many days. And when the earth stilled Wujian was as we know it now. Then the Five parted, taking their followers to the lands they had claimed, and they made peace.
All things must die, even great heroes such as the Five. But the Five lived long and prosperous lives, seeing their progeny keep the peace they had forged with sweat and blood. When they died, within hours of each other, all of Wujian wept and mourned, and then took up the plowshare and kept peace with each other. But it is said that as each of the Five died, a great, blinding light took their bodies and armor disappeared and left a marble appeared in the place of their corporeal forms.
But this is only a story, and one that no thinking man would ever believe. For we all know that there are only four kingdoms, and there have always been only four. The land of Varme is as real as the Garden of the Gods, and it's laughable to pretend that the tiny kingdom of Makanai was every anything more than a rotting castle on a cliff and a blood line traced out on a piece of paper. The legendary armors, so common in old scrollwork, are fanciful images but contain no more substance than the paper on which they're drawn, or the doors over which they're carved.
Still, the tale puts little children to sleep and gives the masses hope, lets them have something to believe in, even as eternal darkness descends.