Kuei-jin

Kuei-jin are the vampires of East and Southeast Asia, the karmically cursed outcasts dwelling on the Middle Kingdom's fringes. Other terms to describe them include Wan Kuei, Wan Xian, Gui Ren, asuratizayya (in India), or simply the "Hungry Dead".

The term "Kuei-jin" is a neologistic portmanteau consisting of the Mandarin word for ghost (鬼, kuei in Wade–Giles, guǐ in Pinyin) and the Japanese word for person (人, jin). It is a relatively recent construction designed to indicate the commonality of the undead condition throughout the Middle Kingdom. The term Cathayan is often used by Western Cainites to refer to the Kuei-jin. The word is borrowed from the classic name for China, Cathay. It is perceived as offensive by the Kuei-jin themselves.

It is said that the Kuei-jin are the corrupted descendants of the Wan Xian, the "Ten Thousand Heroes" chosen by the August Personage of Jade to guide and protect the universe in ancient history (and the predecessor to the Exalted). The Wan Xian were originally chosen by tests of skill and courage, and fed on the ambient chi of the universe. However, they fell from grace, learning to feed off of the chi of living beings and corrupting the tests of worthiness. Their children, the Jin Hai tried to keep them on the path of righteousness, but were eventually killed for their presumption.

As the blood of the Golden Children cooled, the August Personage pronounced judgement on His former champions. He cursed them to live as undead, unable to acquire chi except from drinking the blood of the living, and to exist in a brutal mockery of their former state. He revised the tests so that the former heroes and champions were replaced by criminals and murderers who escaped from Hell itself. Then He left the Wan Kuei alone to contemplate their crimes.

Since that time, the Wan Kuei, the fallen Wan Xian, have developed a redemptory religion while occupying an ecological niche akin to Western vampires. There are many paths initially ascribed to Xue, the Grand Arhat of the dead. However, the road to the Hundred Clouds is long, and the Kuei-jin are ultimately forced to stay on the Wheel of Ages as history slowly grinds towards the inevitable victory of hell and the rise of the Demon Emperor.

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