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Name: Hou Shuren. Also known as Blight of Huangjing, Great Divider, Empire Feller, Hou the Soul Eater, Sorceress Eternal.....being over thousand years old, she collected lot of titles. Sex: Female Age: Extremely ancient, being older then alicorn-ruled Equestria. Biologically she's a young mare, keeping herself 'fresh' due to her soul-stealing MO. Species: Unicorn Eye colour: Orchid Character Colour: White Mane/Tail/Other: Midnight black and kept long. Shuren takes great care to grooming and keeping them clean. She also incorporates golden jewellery that she embrangles into her hair. Physique: Lean but athletic. At the same time Hou appears almost ephemeral, moving with almost nonchalant grace. Residence: Wūyún Island - which is known to move along the seas surrounding Neighpon and Long Guo. Occupation: Ex-Fenghuang Monk, alchemist and evil sorceress. Cutie Mark: Black and gold cobra, sitting in the shadow of mercury symbol. Unique Traits: Dark Magic: Hou is known master of forbidden arts of arcane and is counted among the 'Seven Shadows', a known practitioners of foul sorcery. While she is known to posses considerable skill in blood magic and necromancy, her true speciality is soul stealing and manipulating wizardry. By ripping out the souls of others, she's able to halt or even reverse her ageing, which is how she keeps her youthful appearance. The stolen souls can be also used to cast other spells, like the one that made Wūyún Island mobile, or the other that made it impossible to be set hoof on it by the unwelcome. Each stolen soul also empowers Shuren a little. Seeing that she consumed well beyond thousands of them over her unnaturally long life, her raw arcane powers rival that Sunset Shimmer or Starlight Glimmer, while being far more versatile then either. The capabilities of the individual reflects on the quality of the soul in question. While the sorceress isn't above gorging herself on the large amounts of them when giving the chance (She really likes old battlefields to give an example), these days she's valuing quality over quantity. When not enjoying herself on her island or plotting another scheme, she often goes on the trips, searching for exceptional individuals to add to her collection. Shuren is also well versed in curses - placing, creating and dispelling them. From time to time she offers her services in the later...at a price. On top of that, Hou is very skilled in illusion magic - being one of the world's finest - using it to mess with ponies heads, often in very nightmarish ways. When her dark arts aren't fit for the job, illusions are what she falls back to, alongside with flame magic. Stylish Clothing: The sorceress goes a great lengths in keeping her appearance respectable. As such she takes care in what she wears. She's equally comfortable when sporting garbs from both west and east. Hou especially prides herself in possessing leather longcoat made from the hide of long (rumours being that it comes from great grandmother of current His Most Heavenly Serpent King). Martial Arts Mastery: As a former monk from Fenghuang Monastery, Shuren is extremely well versed when it comes to martial arts and weaponry used in Long Guo. Unlike most monks however, she had many, many lifetimes to practice her craft, which makes her deadly adversary at all rages and able to engage even multiply opponents with ease. Also, she actively enhances her fighting skills with her soul magic, allowing her to hit faster and harder then expected from an unicorn and inflicting rather unpleasant effects on her opponents. Because of her longevity, it's very possible that she added other skills to her martial repertoire, however her secretive nature and tendency to avoid direct confrontations makes it hard to confirm this. Information Network: Hou Shuren has numerous agents planted around the globe at her disposal, some of them aware of their role, and some not. Shuren has gone extra mile and played eugenics, to create whole bloodlines of oblivious sleeper agents, before planting them all over the world. Neighpon Corporations? Manehattan Police Department? Imperial Watchers? She has moles in them all and many, many others. Alchemy: Shuren is also a incredibly skilled alchemist, which is actually her special talent. Seeing that she had access to both wealth and basically eternal life anyway, her studies brought her to find more...practical uses for this craft. Having all the time she needs, and lacking any moral qualms when it comes to experiments, allowed her to be far ahead in the field before anypony else. Hou also studied how to incorporate her dark magic to enhance her creations, making weapons, tools and poisons that are so much harder to deal with, because neutralizing them requires extensive knowledge in both arts. History: Like most of vile sorcerers, Hou Shuren didn't start as evil incarnate. Born during the the tail end of Long Dynasty, young Hou was one of many children orphaned by the droughts brought by Emperor's hubris. At first she resorted to mendicancy - but only ones who could help were Imperial Officials - and they turned the deaf ears on the plight of the population. Young Shuren however, was a survivor, and smarter then most kids her age. The crafty filly quickly moved from countryside to the capital city itself. Realizing that you can't ask for things - you have to take them for yourself - turned her towards thievery. Hou she became pickpocket, and very good one at that. However one day she tried to steal from quilin she shouldn't. The stallion in question caught her in an attempt with ease - for he was at the time, current abbot of Fenghuang Monastery - Li Jing, visiting Huangjing to try mending the conflict between the Emperor and the Longri La. While obviously displeased with what she has tried to do, Li recognized filly raw talent.. After prodding her about her life story, Jing realized that circumstances that tuned her to such life were beyond her control - or so he thought. Li took Hou to Fenghuang Valley, and made her another of his students. Because the monks refused to obey Imperial decree of withholding from contacting Longri La - their valley was spared from famine that plagued the rest of the Empire - and as such number of aspiring monks was higher then ever. Young Hou was grateful for this decision, and so dedicated her effort into the best warrior monk she could be. As years passed, it became clear that Shuren was a prodigy, more gifted in magic and intelligence the her peers. However her efforts to please her benefactor with her progress were taken as sign of ambition, a trait frowned upon in the monastery. Hou was often lectured about virtues of patience, that she was progressing too fast. Those talks left Shuren confused, and sometimes a little bitter - after all Li Jing was gaining on years. How else she could make him proud, then succeeding him when his age forces him to step down form his role as Abbot of Fenghuang Monastery? Desperate to prove herself before her teacher, Hou pushed herself to her limits in both mind and body - rigorously tempering her martial arts skills during the day, and studying the ancient scrolls during the long evenings. Hou appetite for knowledge was insatiable, but it wasn't enough. The only thing that could put her ahead of her fellow students were the contents of the Forbidden Chamber. The lessons form her early life still resounded strongly in her heart - if you denied something, you have to take it yourself. As such the unicorn began to visit the Chamber in secret. At first nothing seemed amiss. The elder monks soon noticed how wiser Shuren became in short order, and that her diligence was finally been tempered by patience - which only became more obvious by her fresh Cutie Mark - a cobra, which was interpreted as a symbol of grace, wisdom and protectiveness within Hou. And so she soon became full fledged warrior monk. In truth however, the dark tomes and scrolls in the Forbidden Chamber slowly started to poison young mare's mind. The writings left by such 'superstars' of evil like as King Direstius, Grogar and most important of all Tyrant King Faba soon changed Shuren's perception of her superiors. She realized that they both feared and envied her capabilities, her boldness towards reaching what they themselves wouldn't dare touch. It was in this private Sanctuary of hers that Huo first started to practice the vile magic she will in future be famous for.... Not only that, she started in secret turning the other young monks towards her way of thinking. The elder monks were obvious to this, blaming the unrest among their students on the situation in the Empire - which was truthfully not great. And so Hou gathered her future followers unopposed, still being viewed as a paragon of Harmonious Path - after all, former thief had to be a good actor. When Imperial Army came to the borders of the valley, to deliver retribution on the Monastery for it's contact with the dragons, this act sparked uprising in whole Empire. Most of the older monks left to protect border of the valley, along with the teachers of Tai Shi Academy, leaving only one fifth of their numbers among them the abbot Li Jiang. With only skeleton crew to oppose them, Hou decided to reveal herself, emerging from the Forbidden Chamber at dusk. Her Cutie Mark was now changed - the serpent on her flank becoming black and gold, and behind it alchemical symbol of mercury - another art frowned upon in the monastery. Renouncing publicly the Harmonious Path, Hou sicked her followers on their former superiors - with her ponysonaly confronting her teacher in a mortal combat. The old abbot fought valiantly, but was no match for his student's youth, raw talent and dark arts she came to wield. In the end Hou Shuren killed the stallion she owed everything - by ripping his soul from his chest - her teacher becoming her first victim. Hou's first order of business after her victory was leaving now desolated monastery, taking all contents of the Forbidden Chamber with her. Shuren and her followers were free to roam Long Guo, now plunged into bitter civil war. Fallen Monks took advantage of the many battlefields that ensued in the struggle, visiting one after another and collecting still lingering souls of the slain soldiers, while conscripting many bandits into their ranks. They even desecrated the tomb of King Shelong's grandmother. Their strength finally grew to the point that Shuren and her followers could attack the capital city itself. Her dark magic felled the city walls, and soon Hou added the soul of last Emperor of Long dynasty to her collection. Her triumph didn't lasted long however. The very same day the rebel forces lead by Leader Ye, aided by Serpent King Ao Shenlong and monks of Harmonious Path appeared. In ensuing battle Hou was forced to defend herself from the great dragon, set on inflicting punishment on Shuren for her vile deeds. Unable to focus on battle, Hou couldn't directly lead her followers, and soon Fallen Monks were forced to retreat from the capital. The battle was indecisive. Ye and Seprent King pursued the evil sorceress, eventually cornering her on Wūyún Peninsula. Aware that her soldiers are tired, and not numerous enough to break the envelopment, and that Shelong will soon receive reinforcements from the Longri La, Hou performed one of the most impressive feats of dark magic in recorded history. Using large part of souls collected in course of the war as a fuel, Shuren waved the spell the broke the Wūyún from the continent, turning it into wandering isle. The fountains of molten rock and aether from depths of the world shielded sorceress from further pursuit. Using spirits gathered from this engagement Hou cast another spell - one the made her undisputed ruler of Wūyún until both sun and the moon will fall from the sky, preventing undesirables from setting hoof, or even seeing the islands. Her deeds so terrible, King Ao and Ye - now Emperor - and new abbot of Monastery agreed that any records of Hou's schism and rampage had to be erased from history. to limit possibility of anypony else from following her hoovesteps. Shuren however - while not present in any of Empire's history texts - was constantly reminding others about her existance. Soon seas around Long Gou and Neighpon became almost completely devoid of any piracy. Any aspiring corsair had to be aware that he and his crew soon can become victims of the wandering island and it's inhabitants. But unicorn sorceress wasn't idle on dry land either. Seeing that now she all the time that she needed, Shuren started to build network of agents across the continent. One that steadily grew and is active to this day. Some centuries after her rampage, sorceress attention turned to the west. For years she ignored this landmass - the prospect of contesting it with it's chaotic overlord wasn't exactly encouraging. That is until it came to her ears that two sisters - one's who were a ponies unlike those seen before - stood against him. Seeing an opportunity to play something for herself, Hou traveled to Equestria, attempting to ally with those strange new ponies. Her hopes were soon dashed, for two mares turned out to be pillars of moral character. After a short confrontation Shuren was forced to flee - for despite holding her ground, she underestimated the strength of the siblings. The sorceress didn't however returned to her island just yet. Feeling that Discord's reign was soon at it's end, she recruited agents that would serve as her eyes and ears in the nation that will come after. Next, she traveled north, to the realm she knew was ruled by the other practitioner of the dark arts, King Sombra. Although wary of each other - and not without reason - the visit turned to be quite cordial, exchanging some knowledge about the arcane, and Hou even warning the king about Celestia and Luna. Hou was also somewhat involved in crisis presented by Tirek. Since evil centaur absorbing all magic would be more then inconvenient for her, this time she sided with the Royal Sisters. While Shuren didn't participated directly, she gave some precious advice about how to deal with some of Tirek's abilities. Since then news of Hou's activities only came periodically - she remained in shadows, steadily increasing her wealth, influence and power - only appearing to test both Long Guo and Equestria whenever it suited her - mostly to clash with Celestia for her own amusement. With the Royals Sisters gone leaving the Celestia's student in charge, and new Empress siting on the Dragon's Throne, the Great Divider plans to test the mettle of both young sovereigns.... Character Personality: Hou is often likened to a snake - slithering, scheming, ambitious and traitorous. But also having magnetic, almost hypnotizing presence, charmingly intelligent, and witty in the conversation. Cunning by nature, this mare is known for spinning intricate webs to ensure she gets what she wants. Learning long ago that direct confrontation - or even control - often result in opposite of what she aimed for, she prefers to be an invisible hoof that controls all sides. Hou also came to value patience and diligence, never taking more then she can get away with at a time - this trait allowed her to survive many meetings with Long Guo heroes, and even Princess Celestia herself. Shuren's experiences also made her more....pragmatic. Combined with her longevity, this made unicorn graduate from puppy-kicking evil long ago. Mind you, she will still strangle the foal in it's cradle - but ONLY if this serves some purpose. While not coward by any means, unicorn's calculating nature makes her rarely resort to direct confrontation, unless she's sure the odds are stacked in her favor. In combat or an stand-off the sorceress will pull every dirty trick at her disposal to get on top. Honour for her, is only something that she can exploit in others. Surprisingly for a former street urchin, Shuren is infallibly 'polite', possibly her only remaining trait as former student of Master Li Jing. The sorceress wouldn't be caught dead with profanity on her lips. However this image of affability serves to make her that much more creepy, and this doesn't save one from her sarcastic remarks. To go with picture of a cultured mare, she always makes sure to look presentable and chic. She would rather drink a vial of mercury then get herself seen in rags - especially since she knows all too well how it is to wear some, back from her childhood days. Hou isn't above working with others to reach what she desires, as long as the proposed goals aren't mutually exclusive. Even then, her untrustworthy nature makes her unfit for long term alliances. One should be even more wary when she's the originator of the possible team-up - Shuren will throw her 'partners' under the bus without the second thought, if it's pragmatic enough to gain some advantage by doing so. Character Summary: The vile Long Guo sorceress aiming to dominate the world as the shadowy puppeteer. Possesses incredible skill in arcane, martial arts, practically unreachable base of operations and many servants around the world.