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The Tempest of Inward Focus

Is the eye of the storm any less for its peace?
Is the emptiness not defined by its surroundings?
In the wind, be still.
In the calm, be free.

- So-i Wenli, Tempest chronicler

Virtue: Balance

Pull and twist, push and tear: The fire of Yang and the void of Yin thrash at the Kuei-jin, even as the drive for redemption fights the Hell-winds of Yomi. The Tempests understand all too well the forces that spin through every vampire; pitting these forces against each other, the Tempests seek the calm in the midst of the chaos.

Driven by the warp and woof of soul and Chi, the first bodhisattva of this Dharma supposedly crystallized enlightenment through the principles of negation. Unable to find solace in any of the manifold teachings of Xue, she sought exotic learning from distant lands. Gathering knowledge revealed by both spirits and demons, she fought for an understanding that always eluded her grasp. At last, she abandoned all Dharmas, existing only as her needs dictated, reacting to the world around her. Confronted by demons who taunted her with the emptiness of her soul, she recognized the void at the center of all of her learning and experience, and she awakened.

Surrounded by swirling chaos, the Tempests bask in the calm within. Every carefully placed element becomes part of a circle; the circle holds all of creation. No one truth leads to enlightenment; illumination throws shadows that bring understanding. By watching the synergy of opposing forces, the Tempests learn what lies outside of those forces. Yin flows into Yang and twin souls war, but in the spaces between them, the Tempests find solace.

A Tempest exerts moderation and learning. All things are worth study, but only in forbearance. To follow the straightened path completely is to fail in the pursuit of diversity. As a result, Tempests dabble in many things, seeking to find the contradictions and paradoxes of existence. Through such conundrums, they develop a detached point of view, seeing the truths in disparate parts.

This is not to say that Tempests are dilettantes without dedication. Finding the center point from which all of creation is visible certainly taxes endurance. Indeed, Tempests strive to master many arts at once, since only the highest excellence brings full knowledge. However, a practitioner of the Inward Focus always moves deliberately, seeking to internalize every component of study completely (along with its complements and opposites) before moving on. Thus, the Tempests manifest skill and knowledge in many fields and endeavors, but only the truly ancient ever become adept.

Broad study requires suitable instruction. Tempests move from teacher to teacher, always seeking new mentors. Anyone who brings a new perspective or an opposing philosophy, whether human spirit or vampire, may be an instructor. Once a new skill or art is learned, it is never discarded. Instead, the Tempest seeks out more differences and opposites, adding to the tumultuous whirlwind of conflicting ideologies that lend a viewpoint above them all. Mundane abilities, occult knowledge, and varied Disciplines are all keys to passing through the illusion of conflicting truths.

Spirits and men are opposite sides of the same world. Shadow and wind compete for dominance, but both teach important lessons. Instead of focusing on any of the elemental powers of the Kuei-jin, Tempests turn their attentions to arts that move mind and soul. Ultimately, the storm tossed seek to become more than man or vampire, spirit or flesh. What lies beyond the gateway of enlightenment, they say, is nothing short of the universe itself - and so they seek to become the universe.

Training: Tempests seek to tame their fiery demon natures with meditation, physical exertion and discipline. Flagellation and self-mortification are common on this path, though excesses are discouraged. Conversely, the Tempests try to understand their demon natures even while cultivating the Hun; they recognize the need to unify all parts of their unliving souls. Yin and Yang energy in equal measure seethe through the flesh and bones of the Tempests, who seek to balance the clashing opposites, bringing each to greater heights of counterstriking energy. Moderation is the watchword of the Tempests: Tightly bound and controlled, they indulge in all experiences, but drink deeply of none. Some outsiders consider such dalliances shallow, but the Tempests know that any excess leads eventually to weakness and, thence, to corruption, as exemplified by the fall of the Wan Xian due to their lust for Chi. Additionally, Many Tempests learn the Discipline of Chi'iu Muh, using the Dragon Tears to douse the flames of the Demon.

Weakness: Pulled in many directions at once, the Tempests pull inward and refuse to commit to any. While this moderation serves its purpose, the Tempests often find themselves indecisive or wanting in conviction. Instead of embracing change and extremes, the Tempests fight for stability and tranquillity - but at the cost of true inspiration. In truth, the Tempests lack dynamism. Unable to fully embrace anything new, different or visionary, they remain a step behind the rest of the world; their ascetic practices and primitive lifestyles are simply outward manifestations of this problem. Playing off opposing energies prevents mastery of any one force. Without focus and drive, the Tempests cannot evolve.

Railing against the extremes espoused by the radically different Path of a Thousand Whispers, the Tempests seek an alternate form of balance. Unfortunately for them, this form is handicapped by the fact that true, world-shaking vision is disdained by the demands of Inward Focus. The Centipedes express themselves eloquently and with force; the Temper can only assert themselves with minimalism and negation.

Affiliations: The material world, the color gray and the center point direction

Auspicious Omens and Symbols: Cyclones, mandala spiral helixes, exploding fireworks, ripples in water

Concepts: Ascetic, monk, teacher, servant, philosopher laborer, poet, lunatic

Quote: I am the calm of the monsoon and its greatest gale.

Tenets

1. Pull all things near and make them part of yourself.
2. Balance the needs and desires on all poles, that they strive against each other.
3. Never stray from the core of your nature.
4. Realize the potential to learn from all people.
5. Remember the lessons of the past; apply them to the future.
6. Be consistent in your rewards and punishments.
7. Teach others the virtues of peace and moderation.
8. Bring harmony to the spirit worlds through balancing the living realm.

Rival Path

Devil-Tiger:
Their indulgence in damnation is eternal.
Resplendent Crane: A path so narrow cannot include the beauty of the wilderness.
Song of the Shadow: Once dead, twice fooled.
Thousand Whispers: Extremes of change bring only chaos. A life without a past contains no lessons.
Thrashing Dragon: The fire embraced is the fire that bums.
Kindred: Their very blood cries out with imbalance; spill it forth to return it to the cycle. Then bring them to awareness.

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