There is life, there is death and there is the bridge between the two. The Midnight Jewel (an important Dharmic sutra, from which the name "Bone Flowers" comes) compares the spirit realm to a glittering web and the living world to the dew upon its strands. Drifting across that web like spiders, the followers of the Shadow Song Dharma taste the dew, pluck the strands and occasionally feed on unwary flies. Like the Dragon, the so-called "Bone Flowers" learn from the song of mortality. Wreathed in the dust of death and the wind of life, they dance slowly to the rhythms of both. Like autumn leaves, these Kuei-jin glide between the Jade Kingdom and the living world. Along the way, they comfort the grieving, shepherd the ghosts and punish disrespectful mortals. In the Middle Kingdom, there are plenty of all three.
Aware of their immortality, these Kuei-jin share a thirst for discovery. From libraries and mass media, they gather stories about the living world; from the spirits, they collect memories and news. To bind the two together, the vampires record their insights in works of art or scholarship. The Second Breath stimulates their curiosity, and the hunger to learn rivals the hunger to consume.
Learning seems to be the only passion these creatures have. In all other matters, Bone Flowers seem distant and precise. Every fact must be dissected for significance, and each event becomes a symbol for a much grander thing. This curiosity brings them into the company of other shen; there, they act as ambassadors, mystics and lore keepers. With their talent for enigmas, such vampires understand the spirit paths as well; an elder makes an excellent guide to Yin and Yomi Worlds alike. During her instruction, the average Bone Flower visits both.
Training: Following Xue's legacy demands a certain detachment. To stand at the doorway between life and death, one must grow immune to the torments of both. Still, to rise from dust, one must feel the tears of living things. Some vampires take that literally, while others try to overcome the cold void.
Mandarins of the Shadow Song Dharma stress learning and meditation. All lessons come in symbolic terms, leaving the disciple to figure out the meanings. Most Bone Flowers prefer to be left alone, but gather into troupes to create grand artworks. These performances feature elaborate rites, haunting music and stylized dancing. Through these plays, the vampire try to capture insights and pass them on. Not surprisingly, few patrons understand, but the Bone Flowers keep trying.
Weakness: Bone Flowers are cold and dispassionate, flowing through the darkness like silent kites. White as corpses, skin stretched across their bones, they seem fragile, almost girlish. The winds of death whisk their voices away, and they speak in eunuchs' whispers. There's something both abhorrent and beautiful in a Bone Flower's face and faraway gaze, and she never seems to care about anything that happens. The shadows' song drown out mortal concerns.
While many vampires (and some mortals) find the bone-song bewitching, others are appalled. Most hengeyokai bristle when a Bone Flower draws near. Mortals run in one of two directions; either they fly away screaming or fall hopelessly in love. The Bone Flower never seems to care on way or another.
As romantic as they might seem, Bone Flowers are known for their cold cruelty. Familiarity with the Hells and the fleeting nature of creation makes them callous to suffering of any kind. Where the Devil-Tigers teach through pain, the Flowers dismiss it. Like all things, agony is short-lived and therefore irrelevant.
Affiliations: Metal, the color black, the number 4 and the west direction.
Auspicious Omens and Symbols: Bones, cool springs of water, autumn leaves, theater masks, chill breezes, withering plants, dead flowers, funerals
- Bathe in the breath of the Ebon Dragon, but hold fast to the Scarlet Queen's teardrop.
- Behold the pillar of the family and safeguard it against vandals and thieves.
- Kiss the spirits in their houses and the ghosts in their shrouds. Both are lonely and adore the healing touch.
- Gather what you can from the falling leaves of knowledge.
- Press the truth like fine paper and ink it with the visions you have seen
- Give freely of your knowledge, but wrap it up like a precious gift.
- Look beyond the obvious and discern a deeper meaning.
- Console the grieving and remind them to respect the dead.