The Blood Lotus Company is a large mercantile guild based out of what was once the Pohakula Military Training Center on the big island of Hawaii. Leading up to the war the training camp was converted into an internment camp for Asian-Americans suspected of being spies, and in fact, any American suspected of being a communist sympathizer. As is the story with much of Pre-War America, most of the people in the Pohakula camp were innocent and simply accused wrongfully of being a Red. Years later those who were left to die in Pohakula have made a killing selling arms, supplies, parts, anything to any and everyone.
Flying a crimson banner, the Blood Lotus Company is one of the largest guilds in Hawaii. Every war in the wasteland is fought with weapons, and there are only so many Pre-War bullets and guns. That's where the Blood Lotus come in. Using salvaged parts from Pohakula and nearby Hilo, they are able to manufacture arms and armaments to keep Hawaii's factions at war. Fallen Heaven gets an upper hand against the pirates? Lower the prices of weapons for the pirates. Perpetual conflict propagated by greed, the perfect business model for generating massive amounts of wealth.
The wasteland corrupts the hearts of men in different ways, and where some see desolation others will see opportunity. Vulture-like as they are, the Blood Lotus do not trade in slaves. For one thing, it's rather difficult to traffic cargo that wants to jump overboard. Morals aren't exactly something Lotus merchants... well have. The deep resentment harbored for the people who put Asian-Americans away so many years ago has bled into the culture and lifestyle of the Blood Lotus company, and they are raised to be cynical and sharp-minded.
Operating without morals in such close proximity to a group like Fallen Heaven, however, offers quite a few issues. Seeing as the Burnt Angels run on their deep spirituality and faith in humanity, the Blood Lotus Company view them as an annoyance at best and dangerous guerrilla warfare extremists at worst. The Angels' policies of charity and peace through superior firepower are directly opposed to the Blood Lotus' goals of making as much money off combat as possible.
Current State of Affairs
In current times, the Blood Lotus Company continues trade weapons, chems, and other products to the wastelanders of Hawaii while also supporting the present status-quo of instability. This mostly extends to a mostly half-hearted support of the Black Fleet who cause opportune chaos for the Blood Lotus Company. Pohakula is thriving as a settlement, and Blood Lotus merchants are killing it in terms of profits. This prosperity however masks a growing division within the community and a growing hatred of the company by outsiders. Year by year, more and more residents of Pohakula are beginning to grow sympathetic to the Burnt Angels’ humanitarian message, though this sympathy is tempered somewhat by their violent guerrilla tactics. Also, many Blood Lotus merchants are also beginning to view the Internal Treasury as somewhat corrupt in their “allocation of profits” to the community and desire to be able to keep more of their own money. These twin internal threats pale in comparison to the reckoning coming to the company from the outside though. Many Blood Lotus merchants’ visible support for the Black Fleet has caused many in Hawaii to hate the company and its community with a passion with this especially being true on Kauai where, as a mercenary, Smokes killed hundreds of Native Hawaiians. Whether this hatred will dog the Blood Lotus Company for long is to be seen, but it does not bode well for their immediate future.
The structure of Blood Lotus society can be traced back to communist roots spliced with the ideas of the Asian-Americans who were imprisoned in Pohakula wrongly. Class structure is extremely fluid, and the role you are born into does not always stay your role for your entire life. However, most members of The Blood Lotus are born to merchants and become merchants. The whole of their way of life, no matter where they sit on the totem pole, is based on trade. Farmers are free to grow whatever they please and unskilled laborers are free to work wherever they wish, and most importantly, traders are free to deal in anything they want. This is most often weapons, as war is the number one export of the Blood Lotus Company. There is also a rather successful market for Tobacco, as the plant can still grown in Hawaii.
The freedom of their economy is offset by the fact that all profits are collected by the internal treasury, and rations are sent back to members of the Company. The internal treasury is something of the central government, controlling the capital the Blood Lotus generates. Using farms and purifiers owned by the treasury, they are able to supply their people with just about enough food, water, and clothing to live semi-comfortably. There is no abundance of farmable land in Hawaii, but being located on the volcanic big island does help a little bit. Treasury owned land is worked mainly by people captured by the Company, raiders who tried hitting supply warehouses or Burnt Angels snooping about.
The ruling body of the Blood Lotus Company is the Internal Treasury, a group of six treasurers who control the flow of money and supplies running through the entire society. The current head of the Internal Treasury is a woman named Kido Homura, aged forty-two. She was the child of a previous treasurer and assumed his spot when he passed. Eventually she was voted to stay on as head due to displaying a certain ruthlessness that lies atop a bit of genuine concern for her people. The treasury is basically the center of all trade in the Company, and it took years upon years of trial and error to arrive at the current system of government displayed today.
Equipment and Stock
The Blood Lotus being mainly mercantile can leave their traders somewhat exposed to Burnt Angel and Tribal raids. To counteract assaults from the denizens of Hawaii, the Company will hire pirates and mercs to act as bodyguards. These bodyguards are supplied with ample resources to keep Company traders safe. These guards are mostly equipped with either old pre-War Type 93 Chinese Assault Rifles, or submachine guns constructed post war from parts scrounged around Pohakula.
The base of operations for the Company at Pohakula houses most of their arms and ammo, as well as rations and such. The soil on Hawai'i is still very fertile, being a volcanic island, so their food reserves are grown directly outside the walls of the compound. A healthy stock of Mutfruit and domestic painapples are kept in storage under the yard for emergencies, and whatever the treasury doesn't need to feed it's people is sold off for profit.
The most devastating weapon of the Blood Lotus, however, is worn by Head of Security Ho Li Fuk. The Yin Long (or "silver dragon") power armor was cooked up by the R&D team at Pohakula. The base frame is T45d dredged up from the ocean floor that was stripped of all steel plating and re-tuned. For protection, the Yin Long is plated with ballistic ceramic plaques salvaged from derelict pre-war combat armor. The resulting custom power armor is much lighter than standard T45d, and thus offers a great deal more finesse when operating. The reduced weight also means the frame is able to strain itself less on simply supporting the armor. The rest of the Security squad stationed at Pohakula Military Base are clad in similar suits of Yin Long Power Armor. Head officer Ho and his eight security operatives account for the bulk of the Company's power armor.
Security Head Ho Fuk
- "Let those Mary-sue bastards come, I got a surprise for em."
- ―Ho Li Fuk
Security Head Ho Li Fuk is a hardened veteran of Pohakula's security force and its current leader. A boisterous if bloodthirsty personality, Ho Fuk is well-liked by many in the Blood Lotus Company for his gregarious nature, his effectiveness in eliminating the company's enemies, and being more reliable than any mercenary. Ho Fuk is most well-known for acquiring the power armor that the entire security squad of Pohakula now wears.
Fuk's childhood was surprisingly calm for a man with such bloodlust. He was born in 2257 in Pohakula to Ho Cai and Ho Xinyue. They were merchants who more or less just operated within the boundaries of Pohakula. They mostly traded in painapples and other foodstuffs as middlemen between Blood Lotus merchants and outsiders. Fuk carefully observed his parents' business while also getting a community education. However, Fuk did not have his eye on becoming a merchant. Instead, Fuk wanted to fight. He did not care who it was against, he just wanted to. That led to Fuk being overly aggressive a lot of the time and getting frequently disciplined by both his teachers and his parents. Nevertheless, Fuk's determination to fight continued even as his parents still expected him to become a merchant. Willing to compromise, Fuk as a teenager decided to shift the focus of his potential trade from food to something closer to his interests: guns. Fuk's fascination with firearms began in his teenage years when he would occasionally bring a pistol to his schoolhouse to tinker with. He trained to shoot every weekend, eventually educating himself to become a decent shot. Fuk also learned how to extensively modify guns and electronics along the way. Fuk's skills soon attracted the attention of Pohakula's R&D team, and they approached him to join their team. Fuk asked two questions: would they make weapons and would he be able to use them? The R&D team answered affirmative to both questions. At that, Fuk took the opportunity to avoid be shoehorned into being a merchant and hopefully get to make some sweet weapons.
In his years in R&D, Fuk stood out starkly from his peers. While most of the R&D team seemed like weeds and mostly took their time pouring over terminals, Fuk was a brawny hunk of a man who exercised whenever he was not actively working on research. This won Fuk the admiration and envy of his teammates. Fuk became something of maverick to his peers, not only because of his physique but also because of his drive to innovate and create new technologies for Blood Lotus. This was usually some new trap or gun, but things really kicked into the next gear when the Blood Lotus handed the R&D team the find of a lifetime: a collection of waterlogged power armor suits dragged up from a pre-War shipwreck. The power armor was originally almost completely inoperable and thought to be lost. However, Ho Fuk worked tirelessly for all of 2278 to get the suits working, and he did. By that time, the suits had also been modified extensively, and Fuk had tested them out numerous times. The armor, christened Yin Long Power Armor by Head Treasurer Kain Homura, was then sent off to the security squad of Pohakula along with Fuk. Fuk was only supposed to instruct the security team on how to use the new power armor, but soon, he saw that R&D had lost its appeal to him and wanted something new. Ho Li Fuk joined the security team in 2279 and has stayed there ever since, rising to become head of security in 2286 after the previous one was disgraced due to a scandal involving a Jet den, a brahmin, and dead prostitute. Fuk has competently led as the security team since becoming their leader and attempts to avoid getting caught up in petty politics or events going on outside of Pohakula in general. He just eliminates however the company wants him to and goes back to base for a drink. Fuk's most notable actions include saving Kido Homura's life on multiple occasions and fighting off numerous raider parties.
Ho Li Fuk has never left Pohakula and never intends to. Though an intelligent and gregarious person, Fuk always holds a certain level of suspicion for outsiders. He has little in the way of self-discipline except in the realm of fitness and indulges himself with things such as sex, chems, and alcohol. Fuk is always eager to get into a fight and his hair-trigger temper makes fights not that uncommon for him. Regardless of his recklessness and instability, Fuk’s loyalty, bloodlust, and relentless have earned him high praise from the Company and his future looks bright.
Head Treasurer Kido Homura
- "Everybody needs to calm down, I can assure you that rumors of food shortages are false."
- ―Kido Homura
Head Treasurer Kido Homura is the head of the Internal Treasury, the organization that runs the Blood Lotus Company. She is a member of the merchant class in Pohakula and was raised to be on the Internal Treasury by her father, the previous Head Treasurer. Kido Homura has a certain arrogance about her but is competent enough to back up her own words. Nevertheless, many in the Blood Lotus Company still resent Kido Homura's leadership for her conceit, her lies, and her recent actions in relation to Kim Park.
The Homura Family is still one of the wealthiest in Pohakula and unsurprisingly very influential within the Blood Lotus Company. This has been a fact ever since the late 2100s and continues today. So as to be expected, Kido Homura was born into a life of privilege and comfort. Kido was her parent's only child, but she often interacted with her numerous cousins, treating them as her siblings. Kido was tutored extensively as a child by both parents and private tutors. As she entered her teenage years, Kido became something of a snobby rich kid. She became well known to many of her generation for constantly being followed around by a posse of sycophants. That was until Kido was finally introduced to the family business at sixteen and learned an important life lesson: wealth cannot earn respect. This was shown to her numerous times in her early career when she was ripped off by smugglers and later hammered home by her father when he earned his place as head of the Internal Treasury. Kido's father Kain saw his daughter as an embarrassment and chided her for her lack of success as a merchant. Kido tried to point out that she had only made mistake, big as it was, but that did not help matters. From then on, Kido's supply of money was severely limited until she actually proved her competence, and that she did in time. Her mother tried to assist her, but Kido refused her help to show her father that she was worth something. Kido worked her ass off for four years across Hawaii to redeem herself. After a particularly good business deal in relation to the Black Fleet's operations on Lana'i, Kido's father offered her back a place in his home. Kido initially considered refusing as a message that she did not need her controlling father or her doormat of a mother anymore. However, Kido could ultimately not bring herself to do that, and she came back to her family after years on the open water.
Kido's first years after her return to Pohakula were mostly spent on the water as merchant, far away but close enough to home that she could make a quick journey back if necessary. Kido felt attached to her old home but at the same time, she did not want to face her parents everyday like she once did. It just was not the same. This situation went on for much of the late 2260s until Kain Homura finally came to the realization that his work of the Internal Treasury was not the only legacy he wanted to leave behind. With that, Kain began treating both his wife and Kido with more kindness. Around the same time, Kido was in a budding relationship with a young Black Fleet captain named Bulletproof and looking to finally get away from Pohakula. Two events brought an end to that idea: the death of Bulletproof and Kain Homura's renewed interest in his daughter's well-being. Bulletproof died in an encounter with an Abaddon and left Kido heartbroken. Unable to just keep on working her merchant job, Kido returned to her parents' home in distress. Neither Kido's mother nor her father knew the full extent of her situation but they tried to help out where they could. It took years, but Kido got over her sadness eventually. She did by throwing herself into work, specifically assisting her father in running the Internal Treasury as he grew old.
Kain Homura died in 2279 to heart disease, and Kido Homura took over as head treasurer the Internal Treasury in his stead. The other members of the Internal Treaury at the time luckily had no ambitions to become head treasurer themselves so a vote was not even held. She has carried on the status quo her father started and led the Blood Lotus Company with little controversy until she had to appoint a new secondary treasurer when the previous one died. Instead of appointing another member of the Internal Treasury or uplifting a more experienced merchant within the Blood Lotus Company, Kido chose a child prodigy named Kim Park as her new secondary treasurer. This instantly caused controversy that has continued ever since within the Blood Lotus Company, though Kido has stood by her decision ever since. The Blood Lotus Company has prospered despite this internal conflict with Pohakula flourishing. Kido oversees all of this with a unflinching vigor, but a specter has hung over her head for years, ever since she became head treasurer. Kido knows the Blood Lotus Company’s reputation is currently in the gutter, and she is unsure of the sustainability of the company’s relationship with the Black Fleet. Kido is constantly at odds with the Black Fleet’s representative in Pohakula, Erickson, though she usually comes to an accord with him.
Kido Homura is a workaholic who has thrown herself into her job wholesale. She has no love for her the work, but it takes her mind off of other more unpleasant things. Kido did not take her father’s mindset on family to heart and works for hereself and the company. Meritocracy is how Kido operates, and she sees it as a good alternative to the corrupt loyalty nepotism brings. Kido’s work ethic gives her a sort of arrogance towards underlings in the Blood Lotus Company while still affording the proper respect towards more exprienced Company members. The general view of Kido within the company is that she is a cold-stone bitch who gets shit done, whether those in the company like it or not.
Secondary Treasurer Kim Park
- "Seems we've filled our quota this quarter. In a week, no less."
- ―Kim Park
Secondary Treasurer Kim Park is the second in command of the Internal Treasury and its most controversial member for a variety of reasons. The youngest member of the Internal Treasury ever, Kim Park is a fifteen year old prodigy who initially was a temporary replacement for an outgoing member. Over the first year she was on the Internal Treasury, Kim Park proved herself to the other members and was allowed to stay on, which outraged many in the Blood Lotus Company who felt entitled to the seat for their years of service. Kim is largely unaware of this controversy due to her social ineptitude and youthful innocence.
Kim Park was born around 2272 to wealthy parents and grew up quite privileged. The Park Family has a reputation to keep and Kim was the youngest of four. However, Kim was special compared to her other siblings, and she showed herself quickly to be a prodigy with numbers. She was shown to excel by her early successes in her schooling. Her abilities soon surpassed the abilities of her teachers, and Kim was placed under the supervision of her tutors. It was then that Kim caught the attention of Kido Homura.
It was 2285 when Kido Homura came across Kim while she was visiting her tutor, an old friend from her days working with the Black Fleet. At the time, Kido was looking for a new Secondary Treasurer for the Internal Treasury. Kido observed Kim’s skills with math and instantly took an interest in her. Kido scouted Kim for a couple more weeks and then made her decision: she wanted Kim to be her temporary Secondary Treasurer, at least until she found a proper one. The girl was obviously a prodigy and would be a great asset to the Blood Lotus Company.
This pick for Secondary Treasurer caused a great deal of controversy up to the present day. The initial effort of working things out with Kim’s parents was relatively easy while the confirmation process with the rest of the Internal Treasury was harder. Only the promise that the position would be temporary brought them to confirm Kim. It took well over a year, but by that time, Kim was already hard at work for Kido Homura. She has been diligently at work ever since, even though the job is not paid and takes away from any further education for Kim.
Kim Park is a quiet but surprising pugnacious teenager. Having more of a head for numbers rather than words, Kim nonetheless works hard to fit into society in Pohakula. This effort towards conformity is somewhat blunted however by her stubbornness and quick temper. Her parents see her as a little angel, but her schoolmates and Kido Homura know otherwise. Kim’s parents would know too if they ever pushed her a little too hard. Kim is also unaware of the extent her position as Secondary Treasurer makes her a target, but she will no doubt learn soon.
- "I’ve been dealing in chems and weapons for decades. If you want it, we have it. That is, if you can pay..."
- ―Shi Lang
Shi Lang is a prominent merchant within the Blood Lotus Company who is well-known throughout Hawaii. He and his ship Huánglóng are a common sight in the many ports of Hawaii selling chems and weapons to whoever who needs them, whether they are Fallen Heaven, the Black Fleet, pirates, or wastelanders. Shi Lang is the epitome of the stereotype many people hold of Blood Lotus merchants, being both quick-witted and cynical. He is renowned for his envy and the lengths he will go to get what he wants.
A dyed in the wool merchant, Shi Lang has been plying the waves of Hawaii for well over forty years. He was born in Pohakula but has rarely stayed there for long since then. Raised on the high seas, Shi Lang became savvy at a young age to the practices of the Blood Lotus Company. He made friends across the Hawaiian Islands and connections that would benefit him for years to come. Some of these friends include Morley (a future Black Fleet captain), Hilda Page (a reclusive philosopher), and Mapuana Shunsho (an unaffiliated but powerful merchant). Over the years, Shi Land has run guns for the Black Fleet on a consistent basis but also throws a bone to Fallen Heaven on occasion. He is on speaking terms with Quartermaster Ray Daughters, but their relationship is tenuous at best. He participated heavily in the Black Fleet efforts to subsume Lana'i and Kauai but also has covertly assisted Fallen Heaven all over Hawaii in exchange for various favors. Overall, Shi Lang is probably the richest of the merchants within the Blood Lotus Company, but you could not tell by his appearance or actions. He dresses very sparingly, lives in Spartan conditions, and always acts niggardly in his business dealings. Shi Lang believes this lifestyle improves his work ethic though his family often laments the disuse of his fortune. The one driving force in Shi Lang's mind is envy, first of the wealthy Blood Lotus merchants who were above him and those who sit on the Internal Treasury he now considers beneath him. Shi Lang's primary goal currently is to get on the Internal Treasury and accumulate more power.
Shi Lang is a skillful merchant with a good work ethic but his own greed and envy gives him a rather bad reputation within the company. Most merchants in the Blood Lotus Company know for a fact that Shi Lang thinks only for himself and has no care for the community. However, Shi Lang is no critic of Blood Lotus's system unlike Yi and would be perfectly willing to head the Internal Treasury if given the opportunity. Unlike Yi, Shi Lang is obsessed with power, not with money. Also, Shi Lang holds relationships, even with relatives, in a strictly business sense and tries to be a rather impersonal person most of the time.
- "The blood of my peoples’ ancestors soaked these islands red before the Great Calamity. Now, I work towards their retribution."
Smokes is an important mercenary and sometimes warlord who is only loosely affiliated with the Blood Lotus Company. An experienced warrior who has fought all across the Hawaiian Islands against various, Smokes has mostly worked for the Black Fleet in wreaking havoc across the archipelago. However, Smokes stands out from other common mercs in his belief in a sort of New Confucian philosophy, his ancestor worship, and his spirituality.
Born in the 2240s on a merchant ship, Smokes lived most of his early life at sea away from Pohakula. He was the third child of five, named for his father’s smoking habit, and mostly neglectful parents. Smokes was forced to make his own fun on the hardscrabble piers of Hawaii and learned how to survive (and fight) from the people he met on his parents travels. However, Smokes’s real education came from books in the small library on his parents’ boats. There, the young man was introduced to philosophers such as Kant, Hegel, and most importantly Confucius. Smokes soon enough began to ardently desire the harmonious society described by Confucius and his successors. Around the same time Smokes came to this conclusion, he was also becoming more independent from his parents and decided to become a mercenary working ostensibly for the Blood Lotus Company. Although Smokes desired a harmonious society and order, that was only for his home in Pohakula. He had no qualms about ruining the peaceful existences of others on the Hawaiian Islands. Smokes’s early years were spent being muscle for the Black Fleet and beefing up his own reputation. By the time Smokes was thirty, he had fought in several wars and gathered a small army of mercs around him. He was possibly most well-known in his early years for his assistance in the Battle of Mau'lan'olawe Basin when, with his help, the Black Fleet torched the settlement of Fort Solomon.
Smokes returned to Pohakula in 2276 with his army of mercenaries, causing quite a hubbub among the locals as he tried to settle down and set up shop. It turned out that Smokes’s New Confucianism was not very popular among the Blood Lotus Company, and also, many saw Smokes as a hypocrite for advocating for a harmonious society while working as a mercenary with destruction following him everywhere he went. Smokes felt hurt by this, but he did not change his beliefs because of others. Instead, Smokes looked for a women who shared his outlook on life and started a family. That would be his community, even if Pohakula rejected him for now. He was introduced to ancestor worship around that time and has done so ever since. Smokes went back to work after starting his family and emerged as an even more noteworthy mercenary when he entered into a multi-sided war in Kauai on the behalf of the Black Fleet and the Blood Lotus Company. Smokes committed unspeakable crimes against the Native Hawaiians as a warlord during the Dragon War of Kauai, but he eventually did win the war with the other factions becoming too exhausted to keep on fighting. This won Smokes a lot of prestige and indebted the haole settlers of Kauai to him, many of whom now follow his New Confucianism philosophy. This is in spite of of the fact that they are mostly still under the thumb of the Black Fleet. After the Dragon War of Kauai ended in 2281, Smokes moved on to stamping out unaffiliated pirates through Hawaii on the behalf of various wasteland groups for a couple of years. Currently in 2287, Smokes has changed his focus from pirates to the ruins of Honolulu. Whispers from the Black Fleet and the Blood Lotus Company say that Smokes is marshaling an army to throw his hat into the ring of people attempting overtake the former capital of Hawaii. Why Smokes is doing this and whether he will succeed or fail is to be seen. As always though, Smokes does not seem necessarily motivated by mindless violence or money but an obtuse pursuit of a more harmonious society. His black football armor and his Ruger Blackhawk are feared throughout the islands as symbols of chaos and entropy wherever they appear.
The personality of Smokes is quite interesting, as he holds a couple of contradictory viewpoints. He holds peace and harmony to be very important while also engaging in unspeakable acts of violence. Smokes mostly justifies this by saying that his community should be harmonious, but others don’t necessarily have to be as they inflicted suffering upon his people in the past. Smokes also holds family, tradition, and rationality to be of the uptmost importance which sometimes conflict with his spirituality and belief in ancestor worship. Another contradiction in Smokes’s life is his beliefs on security versus freedom as he thinks security is more important while maintaining his own freedom outside of the General power structure of the Blood Lotus Company. His good working relationship with the Black Fleet affords him this freedom, even though the Black Fleet are more similar to the people that oppressed Smokes’s ancestors than any harmonious society. On the other hand, Smokes has come to blows numerous times against those who could perhaps make a more harmonious society for all, Fallen Heaven.
- "Have you heard about what the Internal Treasury did recently with our money? It’s like they’re giving it away!"
Yi is a middling merchant of the Blood Lotus Company who is determined to make something of himself and to improve his family’s situation. Abandoned by his parents, Yi fought hard to get where he is currently and has little sympathy for those unwilling to do the same. Yi is conservative in both the fiscal and social sense, and he is an frequent critic of the Internal Treasury due to their “confiscation” of profits and their stance of slavery (which Yi sees as potentially very profitable). In his ship Imperial, Yi plies the waters of Hawaii trading with just about anyone though he favors the Black Fleet since they pay well.
Yi was born away from Pohakula to Blood Lotus merchants living among the Black Fleet. However, Yi’s parents quickly returned to their home soon after their son’s birth to raise among their own people. That stay lasted only about for a year until Yi’s merchant parents went back to work with him along for the ride. That came to an abrupt halt when Yi’s parents left him behind on Kauai in the face of a pirate raid. Yi was left behind and was forced to fend for himself. He waited for parents to return for years and asked Blood Lotus merchants constantly about them for a while, but nothing ever came of it. No Blood Lotus merchants took Yi back to Pohakula, believing him to be some whore’s bastard produced by a Blood Lotus merchant’s visit. In Yi’s teenage years, he worked hard to gain employment from anyone he could, especially from merchants. Over time, Yi became less like the Blood Lotus merchants he had born into and more like the more cutthroat unaffiliated merchants scattered among the Hawaiian Islands. One of Yi’s primary influences was from a rather immoral merchant by the name of Mordechai Altman. Altman was a bit of an old miser but held a soft spot for the inquisitive boy. After a while, Altman decided to take on Yi as a sort of apprentice and made sure to teach the boy all his tricks and tricks of the trade. In the process, Altman also imparted Yi with a vicious brand of capitalism that would prove to set him apart from other Blood Lotus merchants.
At the age of twenty-one, Yi made the decision to rejoin the Blood Lotus even though he still resented them for never taking him back to his parents. By that time, Yi already had his own ship and a business separate from his mentor Altman’s. The Blood Lotus Company accepted Yi back into their ranks when he arrived back in Pohakula, confirming his legitimacy and the deaths of both his parents. Blaming his bad luck for this event, Yi did not let his parents’ deaths keep him down for long. He settled down in Pohakula and got himself a wife within a year of his arrival. His business success has steadily climbed through his close cooperation with the Black Fleet with numerous arms deals. Things seem all right for Yi on the surface level, but they are not in truth. The community-based approach to capitalism of the Blood Lotus Company has always annoyed Yi intensely, and he intensely hates the concept of the Internal Treasury. Yi likes the culture and the prosperity of the Blood Lotus Company, but there is definitely room for improvement. Why divert money to leeches? Why not sell slaves as long as they’re not your people? Yi is probably the most vocal internal critic of the Blood Lotus Company and will continue to be as long as long as he sees problems. Yi always muses, “If I was in charge...”
Yi is an ambitious amoral man who cares only for his family and his bottom line. He is a boon to the Blood Lotus Company for his business acumen while also being a liability for his outspokenness and hunger for power. His rigid individuality sets him apart even when compared to Smokes, as he sees the community the Blood Lotus Company provides as beneficial to his family while ultimately being a hindrance to further profit. Though he may be somewhat socially conservative, Yi would be quite willing to compromise tradition for ambition, whether that be for selfish or somewhat altruistic purposes.
- "Here kid, have some beans. No caps, it looks like you need it."
- ―Zhi Ruo
Zhi Ruo is a minor merchant within the Blood Lotus Company who fell well below the expectations set for her. Born to wealthy merchants in Pohakula, Zhi Ruo proved to be a quick learner of her parents' trading secrets but proved a disappointment when it turned out she was too moral for her own good. Now, Ruo struggles to make ends meet through merchant work while trying to retain a bit of her humanity. This is made even more difficult by Ruo's support of Fallen Heaven, who most of Blood Lotus are hostile to at the very least.
Ruo's parents were merchants who acted as middlemen between the outside and merchants in Pokahula in the 2260s. Zhi Ruo was born in 2267, and she was her family's second child of three. The Zhi family was often on the water in Ruo's childhood, and they ranged all across the Hawaiian Islands. On these journeys, Ruo met many different people, some friends and some foes. She learned the trade of the Blood Lotus merchants and how the people of Hawaii regarded her people. Ruo could recognize at an early age that her parents and the other merchant of Blood Lotus Company were exploiting people rather than even just trading in an amoral manner. This troubled Ruo greatly and even as she learned to be a merchant, the young woman became conflicted.
Ruo's internal conflict was further intensified by her contact over the years with Fallen Heaven, an organization ideologically opposed to the company and its Black Fleet allies. She only heard about them or met members briefly but their ideals attracted Ruo greatly. This came to head after Ruo became independent from her parents and began to work on another Blood Lotus ship. It was on Kauai where Ruo was formally introduced to Fallen Heaven by a small group of Burnt Angel guerrillas led by Captain John Heron. The two nearly killed each other at first contact, but they calmed down shortly afterwards. The Burnt Angel then proceeded to explain to Ruo the effects the Blood Lotus Company and the Black Fleet had on the people of Kauai from the recent "Dragon War". It was that day that Ruo decided she would be an ally to Fallen Heaven as they seem to have the greater good in mind instead of greed. Ruo has since gained her own small boat, the Bone of Contention, and she now runs odd jobs across with a close-knit crew. She mostly does small jobs, ones that don't pay well but also don't hurt people. Although she tries to be discreet, Ruo is a rather well-known Fallen Heaven sympathizer within Blood Lotus Company and only the actions of her parents have saved Ruo from banishment or worse. As expected, Ruo is not on good terms with her family bith because she has not marred and because of her sympathies with the company's enemies.
Zhi Ruo is a woman at war with herself. Her loyalties are solidly with Fallen Heaven, but she is still a Blood Lotus merchant with all the benefits and drawbacks that entail. Ruo is a decent person, but she is ultimately too indecisive to outright join Fallen Heaven, instead acting as a supporter by selling them supplies and equipment. Though this has come at high personal cost to Ruo, many within Fallen Heaven feel that she has not done enough, and that could cause problems in the future.