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It is said that evil has walked the surface of Earth since the beginning of time. This is true. Evil has clouded the sky and the minds of Earth’s inhabitants for centuries. But just as ever present as these evil forces is the goodness that resides in every living thing, awake and fighting or slumbering. The battle is eternal, but there is no predestined ending of this war. Every combat matters.
For as long as pandas have existed they have been well known for their courage and their loyalty, but most of all for their peacefulness. They have always been respected for this and thus remained outside the quarrels between other species. Pandas have been living in harmony with nature, well hidden in the deepest forests, passing on the wisdom of their elders from generation to generation. There are ways to focus the energy surrounding and filling all creatures in this world and pandas are practising this skill, though it takes a lifetime to become a true master. This energy is known by many names; Qi, The Great Spirit, Prana, but pandas call it the Breath of the World, or simply energy. The energy is what makes the difference between a corpse and a living creature. When a panda can control the flow of it in his own body he gains healing powers. Pandas will never become immortal, but thanks to their control over the energy they may live for hundreds of years. Older than all other is Sensei; knowledge and kindness personified. He is the grandmaster and main teacher of his tribe.
Control of the energy is of course an immense power to possess and with all powers comes both goodness and evil. As well as healing, the energy control can cause severe damage if used with hate. Some of the more quarrelsome species in the world have yearned for this ability for decades. However, pandas are the only true servants of the Breath of the World and therefore the only ones able to use its power. The serpents especially have a long history of war and manipulation in attempts to rule over other species, and crave to control the energy more than anything else. After numerous battles and countless fallen warriors on all sides, Sensei banned the serpents from the forest and the sun. The serpents fled to the dark mountains, where they have been slithering through the dripping caves, hiding in the shadows ever since. Having nothing else, they worship hate and no one hates more intensely than Vess. Now, Vess is not only furious, he is vengeful and has spent years trying to obtain the same control over the energy as the pandas have. Attempting and failing to do so he became damaged by backfiring energy on the inside as well as the outside. He contracted wounds that eventually healed superficially, but rendered bleeding in his mind, where energy is constantly leaking out. Vess’ mind is a vacuum, a black hole that draws in the energy of other’s thoughts and then spits it out, slightly altered. Vess is no mind-reader, he is a mind-converter.
Time passes, painfully so at times, and has left us today in the midst of a rising war. What happened among the once so tranquil pandas is impossible to understand. Has malevolence finally found a way into the well-barricaded hearts of the pandas? Two tribes are currently competing in armaments, desperately struggling to produce the deadliest warriors. At a very young age, pandas are put in training and must eventually fight each other to the death to guarantee that only the most skilled will leave their education. Only the best will be sent to war and any price will be paid to achieve that. Only the best can protect the tribe’s territory from invaders and darkness. War is inevitable and darkness is closer than ever before. Death is coming - in black and white.