- Charismatic, Articulate
- Clear, strong voice
- Adaptable in all social situations
- A Leader
Vasker grew up in a northwestern town of the Empire of the Clouds, the second youngest of five kids. His father was a respected businessman, and his mother a quiet artist and homemaker.
At 17, he rode east to the great city to join the military academy. With a letter of recommendation from his elder brother, Captain Bruni Raiden, his entrance was virtually assured and he excelled for his required four years of duty.
Vasker was assigned guard duty at the Temple of the Spider, that venerable and mysterious institution of virgin female soothsayers responsible for advising the Emperor on matters of Fate and Destiny. Years passed, and Vasker became the head of security for the temple.
His temple related duties were interspersed with missions as part of a security force accompanying Dark Templars. He rarely saw combat, but soaked in the breadth of experiences across the Empire.
For years, Vasker was assigned hazardous and classified duties under the pseudonym Vasker Hashimoto. These missions took him deep into rebel-held regions.
Then, after Leaving Nouchi with Inarra, he made the long journey with Esme Harrington to Cormire. In that great city, his new home, he works for General Connery in a security/intelligence/operations/management role.
Vasker's Dreams (from Shadow of the Colossus)
When you awaken you are confused, because what seems like moments ago you were drifting to sleep on satin pillows having just made forbidden yet sweet love to Inarra after she discussed with you the need for you to rendezvous with a Gray Coat in the Dulso Forest to get the other gem. She told you of the great gem being smuggled from the emperor's treasury in order to be returned to the great guardian. The prophetesses saw great doom being cast about the empire if the gem were to remain in Shuto, but she knew not why. Your recent actions with the gem's twin gave her insight, so she and others worked in haste to secret away the emperor's gem.
(enter second dream here from July 2010 session)
Friends & Relatives
Bruni Raiden, Vasker's oldest brother, is an instructor in an Imperial archery academy.
Sikkim Raiden, Vasker's other older brother, is known as something of a rogue, and Vasker rarely hears of his whereabouts.
Vasker Raiden grew up as the second-youngest of 3 sons and 2 daughters in the town of Orpanhir. His father was a well-respected and articulate middle-class businessman, his mother a thoughtful, quiet artist and home-maker. While the middle brother, Sikkim, is a vagabond and con artist, the eldest brother Brunir is a duty-driven, stoic archery instructor within the military academy in Shuto.
His sisters, Akimi and Suki, married at young ages into into well-to-do (and obedient to the Emperor) land-holding families, but his younger and more tempestuous sister Suki ran away from her husband (who was twice her age and nearly three times her weight) and hasn't been seen since. Some say she started a new life among the rebels in the south. Meanwhile, a domesticated Akami has produced a plethora of children, and Vasker enjoys visiting with them when the chance arises.
So with that sort of diversity of personalities in his family, Vasker learned to operate in all sorts of social circumstances. Despite all their differences, Vasker gets along well with and is beloved by all of them.
At 17, Vasker set off for the capital upon the urging of his eldest brother and parents. With a letter of recommendation from his brother, he was accepted into the military academy. He excelled, and after the mandatory four years of training in all matters of military import, he was assigned a leadership position, that of coordinating and monitoring the security of the Temple of Spider, that venerable and mysterious institution of virgin female soothsayers responsible for advising the Emperor on matters of Fate and Destiny.
For a decade, those relatively tame duties were interspersed with the occasional missions leading a squad of soldiers to provide backup for Dark Templars in rebel-held regions. Only once did Vasker need to swing a sword, when a horde of wild-eyed rebels ambushed the group. The emperor's men's superior weapons and training rendered the ambush utterly unsuccessful, and Vasker was able to disable and detain his attacker, who was subsequently publicly executed by the Templar.
At 30, on one such mission, Vasker witnessed something that changed his world view. In a remote village, while accompanying a group of Dark Templars set upon arresting those responsible for a tax shortfall, a review of food store records revealed that the villager responsible for maintaining the records and controlling access to the granary had willfully forged some records to conceal the provisioning of 300 lbs of wheat for a known rebel leader.
One of the Templars, half a head taller than everyone else, dragged the skinny, elderly man from his home, and commanded his middle-aged wife and 3 teenage children to follow. A crowd of impoverished villagers gathered around and listened to the Templar condemn all who would aid the rebels.
The old man's wife protested that there was enough grain to share, and that the rebel leader had said that the cold winter was causing people to starve to death, and he begged, not demanded the grain, offering to pay for it in the spring. The Templar responded by smashing her face with the butt of his sword, several times in rapid succession, before she fell heavily, permanently disfigured.
As the children rushed in to aid their unconscious mother, the Templar then beheaded the father and kicked the still-standing corpse over to fall bloodily on the mother's prone form, causing shrieks of horror all around.
The Templar then instructed Vasker to seize the comely teenage daughter and bring her back as a gift for the Emperor.
Shocked at the Templar's brutality, Vasker nevertheless did as commanded.
Upon return to his duties at the Temple of the Spider, a priestess for whom Vasker felt some fondness detected his distress, inquired if she could help, and a deep friendship thus began. Months later, it had become more than that, and on one hot summer night the priestess Inarra broke her vow of celibacy. The two felt as though they are spiritually joined, as if their destinies were intertwined, though their relationship was utterly forbidden and both risked death in pursuing it.
On Inarra's advice, Vasker petitioned his superiors to be given some other set of duties other than backup muscle for Templars. Detecting his earnest desire and his natural social talents, they selected him for a hazardous duty: to join a rebel cell and report back key information that would help the Emperor crush the rebels.
A background story was concocted about Vasker Hashimoto, the raw recruit who was beaten and thrown out of training for flirting with a sergeant's wife, and now has ridden into the hills far from the imperial coastal cities in search of a meaningful cause to join.
The rebels, eager to add another sword-arm to their ranks, are easily fooled by Vasker's considerable talents at social subterfuge, and in just a few months, Vasker has a seat in the leadership tent with 20 other squad leaders and their assistants.
The life of a "rebel" is relatively calm and pastoral, and consists mostly of traveling game trails and back roads from village to village, gathering information and donated food & supplies from sympathetic villagers. It surprises Vasker that most of the villagers seem to love the rebels and fear the emperor's men. There is not a hint of bloodthirstiness in the rebels, just a deep sense of moral outrage at what they feel is mistreatment of innocent villagers via exorbitant taxes and unbridled brutality.
From time to time, the rebels identify a supplies depot or wagon heavy with tax monies and attack, through the goal is to seize the goods, not kill those who transport them. However, Vasker only hears of these operations, and gains no first hand experience with them.
Vasker is torn. At the time set by his imperial colonel though, he explains to his new rebel friends that he must return to the city for his mother's 70th birthday.
Vasker rode back slowly, mulling over what information to reveal to the emperor, conflicted by his sworn duty to do everything in his power to destroy the rebels and aid the emperor. If he was caught lying to the empire, he would be publicly beheaded and disgrace his family name. If he gives up crucial information about the rebels' patterns of operation, he will never be able to return to them and would live forever in regret; his personal honor would be irreparably sullied.
In the end, he divulged a small part of the rebel operation, a recurring springtime visit to a small village in a hilly wildland where the rebels should be able to escape an imperial ambush with relative ease.
It was not known that this village contained any rebel sympathizers, and so Vasker was commended for returning with important information, and given a bonus of six months salary in gold. Rather than wait to ambush the rebels however, a crew of Templars and soldiers was immediately dispatched to make a example of the village, to Vasker's great chagrin as he imagined the innocents who would be beaten and slain.
He confided in his beloved Priestess Inarra, who, while genuinely sympathetic to Vasker's moral distress, urged him to remember his duties and get himself back on track. Perhaps, she said, espionage is not the right department for you. Then they laughed and cried together at the ironies of their forbidden relationship and Vasker's torn loyalties.
Over the next two years, Vasker was sent on two additional undercover missions to infiltrate other rebel cells, in which he had similar experiences. Last year, he aborted the second mission early when a visiting group from another rebel cell included his sister Suki, with red warpaint on her face and a gleaming saber at her side. Shocked, Vasker made his exit that very night.
Again, he provided scant information to the emperor's intelligence analysts, but enough to make sure they believed the mission was a success.
With his sister now in the mix, Vasker was less conflicted than ever, and a sense of relative calm has now come over him. He must help the rebels, while maintaining appearances within the Empire, and Inarra.
He casually and smoothly asked around among low-level dungeon guards for recently released rebel sympathizers, reviewed their files, and identified an ally.
Vasker has been awaiting his next mission to visit the hill-dwelling rebels for several months, with a plan to help them decode the cipher he created, while claiming to simply have a knack for it. He is not yet ready to drop his veil and inform the rebels he is not in fact an ejected recruit, but a respected captain of the empire.