The Thousand Oceans
An old sailor who is much tougher than he appears to be.
Human Male, Aged 60, 5’8"
Zhou is a man of great internal discipline, but is relatively relaxed in social situations. A combination of calm monk and raucous sailor, he likes to sit quietly and meditate on the stars, but also enjoys the simple pleasures of good song, cheap ale and female company (despite his age, there are no vows of abstinence or chastity in his future). He is charming and wise; and is glad to teach anything he knows, including fighting techniques, as long as the person is willing to accept the philosophy that comes with the lessons.
He believes that everyone has some good in them, and does his best to draw it out of them, so that they can see it as well. He sees life as being inherently precious, and so is loathe to kill a man (or woman) who might one day be able to call a friend. More than anything else, he believes that everyone has the right, nay, the obligation to enjoy life and discover the good in it, lest they die without having really lived.
Though they restrict his behavior, he does not see his vows as a weakness, and does not believe in imposing them on others, though he might encourage a thug to be less violent or a prince to be more generous.
Eto Zhou has led a largely typical life. The son of a sailor from the east, he started sailing when he was thirteen and never stopped. He got married and had two children in his twenties, but was out at sea most of the time, and rarely saw them. Like most sailors, he was freelance, but worked for the Sea Princes more often than not. Zhou’s father taught him the martial arts of the sublime way, and he used them during the many conflicts that arose at sea, totaling more than a hundred battles, skirmishes and brawls over forty years.
He was quite successful as a sailor (meaning he survived), but his wife his died when he was forty, while he was away at sea. Two years later, his children both moved away while he was at sea, without leaving any indication of where they were going. He was sad, but continued to sail without giving it much thought, until one day he arrived home to an empty house filled with a lifetime of wealth, and nothing of value (if you’ll forgive the metaphor).
Then, well into middle age and a good career, Zhou fell into depression. He left his post where he had been first mate on a Drommond vessel, and tried to take measure of his life. He had spent years sailing, fighting, and watching his friends die, and after all that had nothing that he felt was meaningful to show for it.
Despite never being much of a religious man, he felt that there was a distinct ‘force’ of goodness in the world, and on an empty night he appealed silently to this force of good, and felt it respond. The next day, his spirits were uplifted. He sold all his possessions, collected all the gold into a chest, buried the chest in the woods, and boarded the first boat going to somewhere civilized.
He traveled for few years, and eventually stumbled upon a monastery of Crescent Moon monks who were more than willing to take him in. He studied their philosophy, took their vows, and learned their Crescent Moon style while he taught them (the more adventurous of them, at least) his own Shadow Hand style. He considered staying with the monks forever, but felt that his life wasn’t over yet, and he still had things to teach and an obligation to do good out in the world.
He returned to his hometown, and dug up his chest of gold, determined to put it to use. He has taken his gold to Sasserine, and is looking for a noble house of good character who may take it and use it to found an orphanage or home for the ill. He would also like some of it set aside for a ‘halfway house’ sort of place, for ex-rogues, criminals and sailors looking for a place to be at peace, since he figures that it can be hard to turn your life around when you can’t get a job or place to live anywhere respectable.