A Watchful Eye
The Disciple of the Seven Forbidden Wisdoms
The Cold-Blooded Killer
Quote: My story isn’t pleasant, my dear. I don’t intend to tell it to anyone. Ever.
Those who have seen the Disciple at work in the Underworld often imagine he was a great and talented assassin in his living days—his cool gaze, handsome features and snide, superior bearing all suggest either noble birth or predatory living. Those who admire or fear the deathknight would be surprised to learn that he was once simply a boy called Rat.
The Disciple’s earliest memories are of picking through a burned village, nameless in its ruin by some army or another. The boy raised himself, wandering from village to village, subsisting on scraps and garbage. Rat was ill throughout his childhood, a series of diseases permanently marking him with the deathly pallor that is common to the Abyssal Exalted long before he ever drew a Deathlord’s notice. But against all likelihood, he never died and never starved, and by the time he was nine, Rat had become an accomplished thief.
Unlike most thieves, Rat didn’t rob the living. Having no illusions about what the living would do to a nine-year-old thief, Rat became a grave robber, and as he grew into his teenage years, an occasional murderer as well.
In time, the small and sickly boy grew up into a tall and coldly beautiful youth. At first, he shut away the sudden attention of those around him with sneers and silence, but he soon came to realize that his aloofness made him more desirable, and that he could control and manipulate others using only his looks and their lust. Slowly, he picked up the art of socializing.
The sudden attention of wealthy men and women did not deter Rat from his traditional practices. If anything, he took even greater pleasure in his robberies. Relaxing in his latest patron’s bed while watching snow or rain howl outside, he would sometimes wonder if the wealthy tradesman or spoiled noblewoman next to him would be so eager to handle his body and taste his skin if they knew he had been waist-deep in a grave the night before, sifting through bones for bits of jewelry.
In the end, it was the dead, rather than the living, that ended him. Hungry ghosts tore him open and left him bleeding out an offering on the ground to appease them. As his body cooled, the youth felt some indescribable dark presence standing behind him. When it spoke, he knew it was no petty ghost. “Your hands are nimble, your mind quick, your soul cold. Serve me, and neither ghost nor man will ever be able to touch you again.”
The Disciple never hesitated. A year of education in the arts of stealth and murder followed, and he took to them readily.
Now, he is the scourge of the Underworld, a silent assassin doing the bidding of his master… and yet, his new strength has changed him. Having power at last over the living and the dead, exercising it no longer satisfies him. The more targets who fall helplessly beneath his arrows, the less pleasure the Disciple takes in his work. When he dreams, he is a man named Nasuno Jumong, living in a golden age wrought by the hands of his brethren, and he is strong and good and loved. When he wakes, he always finds himself briefly wishing he could still be Nasuno Jumong, for Jumong is a better man than the Disciple of the Seven Forbidden Wisdoms has ever been. While on a job in Nexus not too long ago, the Disciple ran into another Exalt, a face from a previous life—a life in which the two had been lovers. He wonders if he could resume that life in these dark and tumultuous days.
The Disciple continues to serve his master, for now…but his indecision throws unpredictable ripples through the destiny of both Creation and the Underworld. If he does not choose to dive into the darkness or set his bow against it soon, the strain of attempting to be two men at once is likely to destroy him.