All Kuei-jin know of the akuma, the servants of the Yama Kings – and all righteous Kuei-jin despise and fear them. As servants of the ones the Kuei-jin have sworn to oppose, the akuma are the basest traitors and vilest evil known to the Cathayans, for they have sold their darkling birthright to the powers of the Yomi World and betrayed their responsibilities.
In his great work, The Iron Book of the Red Bridge, the mad Kuei-jin poet O describes thousands of the realms of the Yomi World. What few Kuei-jin know, however, is that there is a second part to it, one rarely seen in the modern nights. For centuries, mandarins and ancestors have censored, banned or suppressed that part of the Iron book, which describes Hell weaving - the powers granted to the akuma by their demonic lords. The leaders of the Kuei-jin feared that knowledge of the so-called “Yomi powers” would tempt far too many Kuei-jin to swear fealty to the Yama Kings, so they outlawed it as best they could.
Despite the efforts of the mandarins, the word of the Yomi powers occasionally trickles out to some Kuei-jin or other, and so knowledge of them spreads in a slow and insidious fashion. While most Kuei-jin remain ignorant of them, far too many are aware of them - sometimes from personal experience. Known colloquially as Hellweaving, these abilities represent gifts of power to select Kuei-jin from the Yama Kings and other demonic entities. Typically these powers involve terror, corruption, infusing the Kuei-jin's body with powerful Yomi energy, and the like. However, they come with a price: Each one requires a sacrifice by the Kuei-jin whenever it is used to whichever Yomi entity granted him the power. These sacrifices range from simple gold or incense to the Kuei-jin’s personal Chi or the performance of some service. The burden that the akuma bear for their powers is, thankfully, not a light one.
Included below are the official powers described in Kindred of the East Companion. Sources are described below in the order they were printed.
- Glimpse of Yomi: This power allows the akuma to infuse a victim’s mind with images of the Yomi World and what occurs within it. It is a brave soul indeed that can withstand such an assault without running screaming into the night. The sacrifice for this power is at least one coin's worth of gold.
- Favour of The Yama Kings: To their more powerful servants the Yama Kings and their greater vassals grant this power: a warping of joss to bring good fortune to those who work the Kings’ evil will. The sacrifice for this power is one point of Demon Chi in addition to the amount needed to activate this power.
- Remembrance of Yomi: All Kuei-jin have a recollection of the time their P’o spent in the Yomi World - and that recollection is never pleasant. This power allows an akuma to bring those memories to the forefront of a Kuei-jin’s mind and accentuate them, forcing him into depraved acts. The sacrifice for this power is jade.
- Weaving the Yomi World: This powerful ability allows an akuma to corrupt a dragon nest, defiling it and rendering it a source of dark, evil power and woe. Instead of being a source of power for all shen, it becomes an outpost of the Yama Kings, a font of energy that only akuma and others like them can tap.
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