The Wan Xian (literally Ten Thousand Immortals) were allegedly the original form of the modern Kuei-jin.
Kindred of the East
According to the legends of the Middle Kingdom, the Wan Xian were the 10,000 heroes of the Middle Kingdom. They originally protected the Middle Kingdom from the depredations of the Yama Kings and other threats. Chosen by the August Personage In Jade, they were mortals who passed various tests and acquired the ability to feed off of chi, granting them great power. During their tenure on earth, the Wan Xian learned and amassed power, until they become enlightened enough to enter Heaven. The Ebon Dragon and the Scarlet Phoenix would then appoint a replacement from the mortal population.
The Wan Xian took it upon themselves to shepherd humanity and bring it civilization. Some annals, like the Annals of a Bygone Age, suggest that the Three Sovereign Ones of Chinese legend were actually Wan Xian. Even then, the Wan Xian were a confrontational and passionate lot. Early legends that survive from the Third Age tell of feuds during which stars were extinguished and the very rivers of the Middle Kingdom used as weapons. Most often, these conflicts were about the most effective ways in which to fight demons and what Wan Xian would have the honor to destroy said demon. It even came so far that the Wan Xian decimated themselves to the point that the Ebon Dragon and the Scarlet Phoenix barely managed to follow in their appointment of new Wan Xian. To avoid further depletion, the non-lethal tradition of the tiaozhan ye, a forerunner of the later gansheze, were introduced. During this time, the tradition of the wu did not exist, although some Wan Xian entered sworn brotherhoods of mutual loyalty and trust.
Though valiant, the Wan Xian were not beyond corruption. Legends tell that Mahanaga Visparakti became the very first akuma. The influence of the Yama Kings eventually taught the Wan Xian how to absorb chi from other lifeforms for themselves. In time, the Wan Xian became tyrants, exploiting their mortal subjects and draining them of their chi to make war with each other. Elaborate plotting resulted in the War of Shame, in which the Xiong Ren turned against each other and decimated themselves, while the Wan Xian overtook their sacred sites to feed on them. They twisted the tests that would create new Wan Xian so that unethical, but clever and powerful mortals managed to violate the spirit of these tests and achieve immortality. It is said that their children, the Jin Hai, tried to stop the excesses of their parents, and were slaughtered in return.
When the August Personage finally levied His curse upon them, only four were spared. Three ventured into Heaven, while one traveled into Yomi Wan. It is rumored that the three in Heaven became a part of the Eight Immortals. The rest lost the ability to breathe, forcing them to subside from stolen chi. The tests that resulted in rebirth were incorporated into the torments of Yomi, so that only those with wickedness in their heart would arise. The Wan Xian became the Wan Kuei, the Ten Thousand Demons. Thus ended the Third Age and the Fourth Age began.
Following this, the Wan Xian parted ways. Some sought to retain their sanity by clinging to the old ways of the original Wan Xian, trying to fulfill Heaven's mandate. Others pledged themselves to the Yama Kings, while the third group proudly refused to change their ways, eventually degenerating into colossal chih-mei.
Werewolf: The Apocalypse
The Fera, too, remember the Wan Xian. In their version, the original Wan Xian were not ordained by a higher authority. Instead, the took the power of the Mountain-That-Was-Not, which they called Meru, into themselves to master the elemental energies of the world around them. While resonating with the power of the Weaver, the early Fera saw in them no threat, since the Ten Thousand Immortals respected their territory and fought against Wyrm creatures that threatened human civilization.
Over the centuries, the kumo werespiders corrupted the Ten Thousand Immortals by teaching them to feed off blood to gain chi. While at first abhorred, the intoxicating feeling that is feeding off another slowly managed to addict several Wan Xian to the taste of befouled chi. These Wan Xian sowed dissent among the Changing Breeds, marginalizing those that could have uncovered their true nature like the Camazotz, the Grondr and the Apis. Their corruption defiled the Mountain Realm, forever changing the Immortals into demons. Following that, they instigated the War of Shame to steal dragon nests for themselves. The Changing Breeds, having trusted the Immortals for several centuries, fell for their trick and slaughter each other, until Ignorant-Worm managed to unite the remaining Fera against them under the mandate of the Emerald Mother. Since then, the former Immortals are known as demons among the changing breeds.
- The siddhitizayya (Divine Chosen) mentioned in the Karalavishna Vrana of the Ravnos Clan as the failed precursors of the asuratizayya were likely the Wan Xian.
- The story of the Wan Xian's fall is intended to echo the story of the Exalted, with the Wan Xian being some kind of Exalted - possibly Solar Exalted (in terms of power) or Terrestrial Exalted (in terms of number). The Wan Xian are further echoed in the modern era by Hunters, which are an intentionally constrained reformation of the ancient heroes.
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