The Journey of the Daring Condor
Nao Qiang Hue
Human Warrior Princess
Nao Hue was born Nao Chao-xing, the illegitimate daughter of Ai Chao-xing, a courtesan and Jin Xing, crown prince of the Khitani empire. As a member of the royal bloodline, young Nao grew up in a life of privilege and little want, and was provided one of the best educations in the land. But Nao was a rebellious tomboy, spending more time playing soldier with the boys and watching the guards train then attending her studies. As she grew older the rift between Nao and her mother deepend, culminating with Nao eloping with a hapless guard, Xin Hue at the young age of sixteen. This was destined to be the last time she saw her mother and her homeland for 10 years.
Nao and Xi lives were happy, if tough. Nao had little marketables skills, having a half-completed royal education and rudimentary knowledge combat skills. Xi was able to provide for them both however, and Nao enjoyed the chance to see the world outside the Imperial palace. Life had other plans for Nao than a sweet domestic life with her beloved. After barely a year together misfortune struck. The village they were living in was hit by Yallock slavers, and they were both captured and forced into slavery. Xi was cruelly tortured and killed, male human slaves not being in much demand at the moment, while Nao was transferred to the slave pits of Yallock.
In the slave pits Nao’s rudimentary fighting skills underwent a dramatic crash course. Forced to fight against her fellow slaves to survive, Nao learned became a ruthless and frightening effective combatant. Many a superior opponent underestimated her due to her beauty and sex, to their determinant, and Nao quickly rose to be one of the most popular combatants. Here she also met Asim ur-Khalil a beastman and fellow slave. Despite their radically different upbringings, the two became fast friends and plotted their escape. Teamed up in the annual battle royal, the two emerged victorious, bodies scattered in piles around them. Their prowess so impressed the crowd that they were granted their freedom.
Nao emerged from the crucible of the slave pits a very different person than the one she entered as. Gone was the happy go lucky schoolgirl, and in her place was a merciless warrior, who treated her beauty and sex as just another weapon in her arsenal. Unknown to Nao at the time, her departure from Khitani was well timed. In her absence the Khitani emperor offended the gods, who struck the dynasty with a horrible curse which caused all females of the Xing bloodline to die in childbirth. Absent from the nation, Nao was spared this fate, though she would not learn of the curse for some time.
After their emancipation, Nao and Asim teamed up and worked as adventurers for some time. Their wanderings were of little import until they encountered Nestor, a Jinn raising forces to go against the Black Tower. Due to some of the colossal magics present during the Great Darkness, Nao’s memory of this time is fuzzy, but she can clearly recall the binding of the Great Demon Baal. The titanic nature of the conflict left Nao stunned and humbled, and perhaps purged some of the arrogance from her character.
After the conflict, Asim settling down with another Anubim, one Hafseh. Finding Hafseh distasteful, and still desiring a life of adventure, Asim and Nao parted ways amicably. Unknown to Asim, seeing her best friend of the last several years married shook Nao deeply. Was she secretly jealous of their apparent happiness, which seemed so similar to that of her and Xi? Or was it something more? Her feelings in turmoil, she signed left with Nestor in order to see more of the world.
The next few years passed uneventfully, from Nao’s perspective at least. While Nao and Nestor’s travels put them through many exciting encounters, Nao barely noticed, her heart and mind still in turmoil over the past events. Over time she became increasingly detached from reality. Even during their great clash with the pirates of the Saharan seas, where Nao and Nestor threw down a whole slew of pirates, Nao was barely engaged. Which proved ironic as tales soon spread of that climactic encounter, eventually inflating Nao’s role until it was said she slew 10 men with a single thrust. Her cold yet aimless expression during the time only adding to the telling of the tale.
Nao’s wanderings finally came to an end when she once again found herself upon the shores of her homeland, Khitai. Her increasing detachment with reality had left Nestor no choice but to leave her here, in the hope that here in her homeland she might rediscover herself. The land itself had not changed much in her absence, but the people had changed drastically. Finding her mother and father both dead, and the royal succession in turmoil, Nao decided to conceal her identity, taking the surname of her long lost Husband, becoming “Nao ‘Qiang’ Hue”, the honest spear.
The news of her family’s fate threw Nao into depression, and for a time, she abandoned her spear entirely and took up with the monks of Tzu. Here in this simple life Nao finally found an anchor to slowly connect her back with reality. She began to reforge her personality which had bleed out in her years of aimless wandering, this time one encompassing both the kindness of her youth with the steel she had acquired over years of battle.
Fate had at least one more curve to throw Nao however. Not long after regaining her grounding, the monastery was visited by one of the last loyal retainers of the Chao-xing dynasty, a noble by the name of Cao Xueqin. He came to the monastery because a sacred vision had told him he could find an answer to the riddle which had haunted the Khitai people for over a decade, “How could the Chao-xing dynasty be reforged?” Much as Nao would have liked to, the divine providence of this encounter could not be ignored, and Nao stepped forward and offered herself in answer to this riddle.
The revelation of her origins was a shock to all present, but magical confirmations of her bloodline quickly proved the truth of her tale. However her presence as one of the last surviving females of the Chao-xing dynasty was only half of the answer to the riddle, in order to fulfil the other half Nao had to prove her ability to bear offspring, and survive.
The union between Nao and Cao was loveless, but soon proved fruitful as Nao gave birth to Xin Hue, a healthy boy, and survived the process. With the succession to the throne of Khitai still in turmoil and the child still an infant, Nao and Cao decided to separate for the child’s safety. Cao would work building up support for Xin’s return to the throne while Nao would raise the child and see to its protection. Among the monks of Tzu, Xin had a comfortable and enlightened upbringing.
When the child reached the age of six, and the threat of his early demise due to childhood diseases was much diminished, Cao made the decision to formally proclaim Nao and Xin’s existence and claim to the throne, making her a Khitai noble. The proclamation was perhaps premature, as Cao proved to still lack the necessary forces to claim the throne and assassin’s soon came in an attempt to claim the child’s life, forcing Nao to take up her spear once again.
For the safety of both her and her child, as well as the monks of Tzu, Nao decided to leave Khitai for a while. Adventuring would be an excellent chance for the child to get a larger view of the world and an opportunity for her to build up her own support for his eventual coronation. The fates smiled upon her, and she found her old friend Nestor back in port again. But even more surprising was the reunion of her and Asim, a face she never thought to see again.