The following character write-up is the for the Savage Worlds game, Rippers.
- – - -
Father Cain kept his one good eye closed as he lay in his own blood – there was less pain that way. The side of his face was cold. Strange, the blood coming from his empty eye socket should have felt warm on his face. “Perhaps, God, you have forsaken me to become cold-blooded…?” He tried to get up, but exhaustion and pain made him think it better to try later. For now, he decided to just try to catch his breath on the cold, dark cellar floor. Years earlier, he would have called it meditation, or focusing his Chi – “Lord, that seems so long ago.”
As Father Cain lay there, blood escaping steadily from his gashing wounds, he contemplated his impendingly probable death, and all the years leading up to this moment. “Ha. Funny how these Londoners can never understand how to say my name correctly…”
- – - – 10 years old – - – -
“Kiang, you will go with Master Cho to the island of London.”
“The island of London? Is it far?”
“Yes, it is far.”
“What will we do there?”
“YOU – will serve Master Cho. [sigh] Master Cho travels to the Island of London every ten years. He’s been doing this since well-before you were born… He instructs that you accompany him on this journey, and it should last a full year.”
“Why does he travel there every ten years? What will we do there? He’s getting very old, will this be his last trip? What are the peo…”
“Quiet your words, and your mind. Be mindful of Master Cho. And remember to continue your studies.”
- – - – 11 years old – - – -
Young Kiang sat quietly in the back of the room, and thought to himself… [A very strange building, this is. And the roads… why do these people lay such stones in the road? And their hats – why such tall hats? [groan] Although, I think it’s not so bad compared to the boat that brought us here.] Even in his chair, on solid ground, he still felt the sway of the boat in the ocean. [This is a feeling I can’t part with soon enough.]
Kiang sat quietly, though uncomfortably, for quite awhile. In this room was also Master Cho and a strange Londoner, talking in hushed tones. [I didn’t know that Master Cho spoke London so well. I wish I knew what he was saying.]
He could follow along enough to know that the strange man was named Nicodemus, though.
- – - – 12 years old – - – -
Kiang sat with Nicodemus at breakfast at the porch table, a place where Master Cho sat every morning since their arrival. “Missah Nik-d-mus, wat hahpahn now?”
“Cain… ah, by the lord. It’s ‘Cain,’ right? I can never say your name right. Cain, I’m not going to lie to you. I can’t arrange for you to go back – I don’t have the resources. Master Cho’s passing is unfortunate, but at least it was peaceful, in his sleep – I mean. There are so many worse ways to go.”
Kiang could barely understand Nicodemus… but he understood enough.
“[sigh] Cain, why don’t you come with me to the church. You’re no Master Cho, but perhaps you can sit for him, at this meeting, anyway. Everyone will be speaking Latin, and you won’t understand anything, but at least you can sit in for Master Cho.”
- – - – 20 years old – - – -
“Hah! FATHER Cain. Kind of has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it, lad? I’m proud of you, son. You’re a fine priest, and a fine son.”
Even though Kiang was a foreigner, he still knew that he was too old to be called a lad, but he loved to hear it anyway. He never knew his real father, and was grateful for the one sitting across the porch table. Nicodemus taught him, as any father should, and he loved him.
“It warms these old bones that you’ve stayed in London, here, with me, and taken to Christ, and that you’ve joined us in the fight. You didn’t have Christ in that Shaolin Temple, did you, Cain?”
“No, Nick. We didn’t.” [Father’s mind is going, we’ve had this conversation twice already.]
“Well, Cain, I’m glad you do now.”
[It’s funny. Everyone calls me Cain, and not Kiang. I think them stupid for this, and yet I still can’t say father’s name properly. Nicko… Nickoday… daymiss… muss. I give up.]
Nicodemus was old, too old to be hunting demons in the night, but he had a fervor for it that rivaled men a third his age. “Cain, Master Cho died in his sleep – and I envy him for it – for the horrors we face in the night can turn a bloke to stone, but this is in my blood. I’ve been hunting for six decades, and I’ll be damned if, when I go, I’m not doing some damage while at it.
“I’m sure when it’s your time, Nick, you’ll have the blood of demons spilled all around you, and you can breathe your last breath knowing it is a good death, yes?
“Aye. Cain, when I do go, I want you to take my claws. I suppose you’ll be able to put them to better use than I ever did.”
“Yes, Nick. And I promise to try.”
- – - – 26 years old – - – -
Kiang screamed from exhaustion and cold – the cold coming from – no doubt – a lack of blood. These vampires were relentless in their torture. “Why don’t they just kill me? Why don’t they turn me into one of them?” Night… after night… after night… the vampires would drink of his blood – not enough to kill him, but enough to take him almost there. The wounds from the bites were infected, he was weak, and powerless. One night he didn’t do as he was commanded, and his left eye was plucked out of the socket. After Kiang’s screaming subsided, they handed his eye back to him. “Lord, this pain is too much. I fear I will end my life, even knowing that doing so will damn me to Hell. Perhaps I have already done so, and this is my Hell? Can I end my life if I’m already dead?”
- – - – 3 months later – - – -
“It’s ok, Slayer, try not to get up just yet.”
Kiang lay there, wondering why he didn’t hurt as much. He had a covering over his left eye. He took a breath, “I’m thirsty.” Kiang opened his one eye and sat up. He had a sense of something, some power, some energy, some drive. He felt… good. He felt strong… He felt… powerful. And he liked it.
“Take it easy, lad. We just sewed you up this morning.”
Kiang looked at the man, and around the room. This was a doctor, but not just any doctor, a doctor who knew. There they were, all around the room, blatant clues that showed the doctor to be a slayer. Wards against demons, crosses, holy water, silver blades, it was all there, and he felt safe. The doctor opened the curtains, and the room filled with light. It was so bright that Kiang had to shy away from it.
“You’ve been underground for some time, yes?”
“I guess so.” Kiang slowly sat up in his bed, trying not to be blinded by the light.
“What faction you with? Crusaders? Slayers?”
“Order of St. George.” There was a tense pause. Kiang could feel it. “What?”
The doctor stammered… “I-I-I’m sorry. I just… we just thought… well… your eye – it was ripped out…”
Kiang sprang up to his feet faster than ever before. He stared across the room at a mirror. One would normally walk up to a mirror to see their reflection, but Kiang took no steps. He slowly unraveled the bandage around his left eye and head. From the mirror across the room stared back at him a Chinese man with two eyes, one of them colored a demon-black pitch. Kiang started slowly for the door, but each step took him faster and faster until he was at a full sprint down the stairs.
“We thought they ripped out your Rippertech!”
But Kiang couldn’t hear him.
- – - – 2 hours later – - – -
Kiang got to the house and ran inside. “Nick! Nick! I need your help!” Kiang knew right where Nick would be – in the cellar, topping off yet another bottle of wine. It was his daily tradition, and he sure knew how to be a mean drunk. “Nick… “
Of course, Nicodemus was overjoyed to see Kiang, his adopted son, come home alive. Tears of love ran down his face and onto those of Kiang’s. But when he finally pulled back, he finally noticed the demon eye, the Rippertech. Some rippers use Rippertech to help them gain the edge in the fight against demons, but not the Order of St. George – they despised it. All Nicodemus could see in his drunken stupor was a demon’s eye, and reflexively swung his bottle of wine into Kiang’s head, knocking him down. Nicodemus went into an evil drunken rage, bashing at Kiang over and over with his fists and the broken bottle, until out of nowhere, he reached down and plucked that evil eye right out of Kiang’s head. The pain was enough to render Kiang unconscious.
Nicodemus stood up, fumbled over to his famous pair of claws, and hastily and clumsily buckled up the straps. He fought with dual claws… expensive claws… claws that retracted under the sleeves for hiding. It’s what made him famous among the faction so many years ago. And he was going to use them to end Kiang’s life. The traitor. The Devil.
Kiang woke up just in time to grab the broken wine bottle and put a stop to Nicodemus. It didn’t take much – Nicodemus was horribly drunk – and Kiang didn’t even get up to do it – he couldn’t. As Nicodemus stooped down to end Kiang’s life, Kiang limply reached up and slashed Nicodemus in the throat, spilling blood everywhere.
- – - -
Kiang kept his one good eye closed as he lay in their pool of blood – there was less pain that way.
- – - -
After some time, he found the strength to slowly turn onto his side, where he could begin to carefully unbuckle the claws from Nicodemus’ lifeless arms. His one good eye remained closed. Slowly, one by one, the buckles were unlatched, and the claws were softly pulled off.
“Yes, father. It was a glorious fight. You killed all the demons. You were amazing.”
Kiang finally found the strength to get to his knees, and then to his feet. He walked ever so slowly to the door of the cellar when he stopped for a long, quiet moment. A few tears ran down his right cheek.
He turned to the side and whispered, “Yes father, you’ve always said my name right.”