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Xiao Lin Scrolls

Shataina, Maiden of Mirthful Remembrance, Lady of Legends, tells the tale:

The only demon's child ever allowed within Yu-Shan was Alamai (who, as her name suggests, was descended from the Soft and Restless River). In what some have characterized as a moment of complete, overconfident insanity, the Deliberative granted her passage through the Heavenly Gates based entirely on her apparent harmlessness, her claim of having severed all ties to her mother, and her friendship with Lord Last Loss. It is fair to note that Alamai was birthed from Lamaiya's fifty-second skin, Gentle and Mindless Persuasion; it is said that no one before or since has seemed so sweet and so very, very useless.

The Deliberative, of course, didn't take complete leave of its collective senses; it ordered that on those rare occasions that Alamai left Yu-Shan, her mind be blurred and confused so that she might report nothing of what she knew of the city. But they did not consider her parentage to the full extent that it deserved. Alamai had inherited the ability to shed and then regain her own skins, of which she had nine. While within Yu-Shan's sacred precincts, she would write upon the insides of her skins, then put them on again, hiding what she was learning within her very flesh. In this way she reported to Lamaiya; it was through her, for example, that Lamaiya learned of Lady Chopakta's children, the Erandyne, whom the First Chosen of Luna was desperate to protect. It was also due to Alamai that Lamaiya solved the Impossible Riddle of Xi Pou and gained the key to his heart.

When Lamaiya was destroyed, Alamai threw in her lot with Malfeas instead and began to do more overt -- and dangerous -- things. Her affiliation was at last discovered when she altered some Memory Stones which were key to a very important and public trial of the time. Unfortunately for the Deliberative, they once again failed to consider who they were dealing with; her death sentence was the normally-agonizing one of being flayed alive.

Of course, this did mean that the Executioners of the Deliberative gained her skins, upon which they noticed all the writing she had done. Having tanned Alamai's skins and made them into scrolls -- which, due to their origin, had the unique property of being capable of dissolving into water, then reforming -- they hawked the information the spy had so carefully gathered over the course of centuries. Trying to preserve their seller's market, they refused to allow any copies that even approached completeness. As a result, the fragments we have today of the Xiao Lin Scrolls do not come close to the length and complexity of the originals, which were stolen by the Enchantress of Nine Ice Swans during one year's Calibration Feast -- she seduced one Executioner long enough to dissolve the Scrolls, freeze them solid, and craft jewellery from the resultant ice, which she wore from Yu-Shan.

The Scrolls were therefore lost with the Enchantress's Manse, Terashem. As for Alamai herself, the foolishness of the method of her execution dawned on the Deliberative only after she was gone. It took her years to resurface; they say that her grotesque appearance made her shy, unwilling to expose her flayed body. Of course, the enormous and bloody hunt for her, led by the betrayed Last Loss, would have been a persuasive reason to keep hidden as well; and the references to her reappearances date from after his death.


~ Shataina

See also Shataina's other Lexicon entries