The Bluebird and the Magpie:
An attractive young woman from the streets of Jayou, Lan Ying is dressed in a mixture of stylish and common clothes. Her long black hair is often pulled back in a ponytail by a red braided cord or whatever she has on hand at the moment. Dark eyes with a glimmer of mischief dart about above a cheeky smile. Her manners aren't ladylike and her attitude is carefree, accompanied by a talkative mouth. Excitable, friendly, and quite the chatterbox–Lan Ying lives up to her nickname 'Magpie'. Living on the streets in a place like Jayou taught her to be clever while keeping an optimistic outlook on life. She shares the river city's love of color and curiosity towards the unusual and strange, getting her into interesting situations from sticking her nose where it didn't belong.
She isn't one for staying in a single place for long or making big plans. As long as she has a warm place to sleep, good company, and a few swigs of wine–she can call anywhere 'home'. Like a bird, she is a free spirit bound only by her ideals and a wanderlust for adventure. She doesn't hold grudges and thinks others should do the same. After all, holding resentment and anger is pretty tiring. No matter how bad things might seem, surely the bluebird of happiness will come to you.Happiness Will Surely Arrive for You:
Lan Ying (嵐英) was an orphan as far as she could remember. One of the many street urchins living in the prosperous river city, life wasn't easy for a child without parents or a guardian. She'd dress as a boy for her own safety and followed other groups of abandoned kids to scavenge off what the wealthy threw out. Sometimes they would swipe little things like food or a few coins, but nothing valuable enough to draw attention. It was a hard life in such a beautiful city, but she kept a smile on her face. If today wasn't a good day, then tomorrow would be better. On the colder nights she'd huddle with the other children as the older ones would tell stories to help them fall asleep. One of her favorites was about a child who had a sick mother who went to find a magical blue bird who could grant wishes. In the story the child faced many hardships, but in the end they found the bird who gave them a single feather to help the mother get well. That bit of hope was what kept her going when times were tough.
While others dreamed of being kings, princes, and princesses–she dreamed of finding that blue bird and asking it for a wish. And one fateful day, a strange turn of events would change her life forever. Living in Jayou it's easy to tell if someone isn't a local. The street urchins would often target tourists since there was less risk of being caught than picking the pockets of a resident. One lazy summer afternoon, she and a few kids spied a group exorcists stepping off a barge. One of them was holding something large wrapped up in cloth bound by beads. Lanying wondered what it was, and she followed them to the inn they stayed in for the night. In the quiet lull of the early hours of the morning, she slipped in and went to take a peek at the bundle. Tucked within the folds of the silk cloth was a beautiful lute, smooth and white like polished jade. The moment she touched its strings, a burst of spectral energy was released–knocking her unconscious.
When she finally came to, faces of the exorcists were staring down at her. The leader of the exorcists informed her that she had been out cold for three days after being possessed by the bewitched instrument. They had planned to conduct a ritual to separate it from her spirit when she suddenly awoke, and at that moment the elder believed this to be an auspicious sign from the stars. Lanying was adopted into the sect where she was taught the basics of exorcism. She then developed her own unique style, channeling her power through a variety of instruments to purify and expel evil. Leaving the sect, she traveled as a wandering exorcist for hire while playing music as a minstrel on the side. Soon being an entertainer became her full-time job as she had little renown, but if there was a chance for her to show her skills, she'd jump at it. That chance came when she heard a rumor on the street about the heir of a merchant family being cursed.
She found the house and convinced the family to hire her, promising to find the source of the problem. It wasn't uncommon for families to sabotage their rivals through underhanded methods, curses being one of them. She began her investigation, forcing her way into the room where the Yang family's eldest son had isolated himself. At the time Mingyi had fallen into a deep depression after the symptoms of the curse manifested. His appearance began to gradually change and he became unable to stand in daylight. Fearful of losing their reputation, the family of his arranged fiancee broke off the engagement and people were voicing their concerns about the Yang family's succession. This combined with the pressure he had endured as the family's heir led to outbursts of anger as he felt the world had abandoned him. His family kept their distance as he was moved out of the main house and soon even his own servants were afraid of coming near him. That was when he met Lanying.
Though she was a novice, she knew right away he wasn't a monster. Using her lute, she performed a rite of purification and his appearance became human. All seemed well until the next day the effects returned. Finding it strange, Lanying began searching for more clues on the nature of the curse. It wasn't overtly malicious as his life wasn't in danger, but it was unusually persistent. Every day she would pay the Yang family's scion a visit to play her music and the curse would lessen for a while, however the family was growing impatient at her lack of progress. On the seventh day of being hired as an exorcist, the family's guards barred her from entry when she came to check on the son. They told her she had been dismissed and that the Yang family had hired someone else to do the job. Unable to bargain, she used her magic to sneak in through a blind spot and found the doors and windows to Mingyi's house had been boarded up. Sensing something was afoot, she climbed her way in through a high window they had missed to find Mingyi angry at her. He believe she had abandoned him thinking he was a lost cause while Lanying was desperately trying to get him to listen.
In a last ditch effort to get through to him, she told Mingyi what had happened to her at the gate. She told him of how she had been turned away and that the outside of his house was now nailed shut with planks. Then she told him the awful truth–his family had hired another exorcist to kill him. Gathering whatever valuables and keepsakes in the room that she could carry, Lanying helped him escape before a group of Yang family guards set fire to the house. Before they left she threw together a decoy talisman in his place. Once the embers died down the new exorcist that was hired purged the area, pronouncing the eldest son of the house dead. The two fled into the night, and they have been on the road ever since.Talents and Abilities:
Despite being almost illiterate, the power Lanying obtained upon being possessed makes her a talented exorcist in her own right. She can channel her spiritual energy through instruments, using them to cast spells. Being a possessed human, her sensitivity to magic is greater than the average person. In addition the enchanted lute has granted her mastery over sound itself, giving her acute hearing and the ability to manipulate its intensity. She can make her footsteps completely silent and weaponize her music to create sonic attacks. Each instrument in her repertoire has unique abilities and she switches between them depending on the situation.Instruments:
- Pipa Lute (Ianorin's Sitar)
- Erhu (Ianorin's Sitar)
- Dizi Flute
- Guqin Zither (Mother's Harp/Skyshard Lyrebow)
- Yang Mingyi (楊明毅) - Close friend, 'Assistant'
Human Appearance (Day):
Spirit Appearance (Night):Ballad of the Bluebird: