The Second Breath is the process during which a soul returns from Yomi and reclaims a dead body, becoming a Kuei-jin. Unlike the Embrace, it is not initiated by someone else.


The Second Breath is a perversion of the trials that the bygone Wan Xian once faced. While the future Wan Xian, for example, underwent a test of his wisdom and spiritual growth; the Second Breath is effectively a jailbreak from Hell. Various circumstances can lead a soul to escape Yomi: A particularly strong P’o, a defiled grave or a traumatic death. In all cases, high Willpower is needed to reinhabit the corpse. While the soul is usually drawn to its original body, there have been cases where another was inhabited (in most cases when the original body was destroyed or among several others like in a mass grave), resulting in a Yulan-jin. In general, a P’o has up to two months to take control over its corpse before the Hun part of the soul has faded away. The newly created Kuei-jin then awakens as a chih-mei, a flesh-eating monstrosity in thrall of its inner demon. The corpse takes on the appearance it had in life, reconstituting itself even from ashes.

The metaphysics that allow for the Second Breath are not well understood, even among the Wan Kuei. Common knowledge is that only inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom can take the Second Breath, but this is disproven by the existence of kànbujiàn, who arise from Asians that died abroad and Yulan-jin are known to be able to possess the corpses of people of non-asian descent. Research, however, is currently conducted. The Blood Court of Beijing has entered negotiations with the della Passaglia family of the Giovanni in order to find a way to weaken the Shroud in California to a degree that the Second Breath could take place in the New Promise Mandarinate, but it is unclear if the effect would have the desired result. It is interesting to note that San Francisco has already seen a surge in kànbujiàn since the Great Leap Outward. The appearance of Broken Mirrors in the cities of the new Mandarinate cause some to believe that the Kuei-jin carry a piece of the Yomi world with them, extending the reach of the Yama Kings. This, in turn, would expand the reach of fleeing P’o souls. Other places with a Kuei-jin population, like Vancouver, London or Brisbane, have so far not reported any rise in chih-mei.


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.