Valentin Severinov (Rong Senxing)
- Martial arts level: 5/5
- Fighting style: Way of the Divine Dragon
- Weapon's name: 千鹤 / Qianhe
- likes to walk to walk around the city by himself as just "some old man"
- has like... 26 kids
- carries around a sword but it's mainly for show, his preferred weapon is a guandao
荣 森 星
Senxing (under the title Emperor Xingzong) is the reigning emperor of the Xi Empire. The old folks down at the mahjong tables know him as "Laohe," for his crane-patterned robes.
Despite being the Son of Heaven, Senxing is rather down-to-earth. Outside of ceremonies that demand traditional attire, he is prefers wearing relatively simple outfits that can be purchased from any local tailor. He is concerned, sometimes overly so, for the happiness of his subjects, often leading to him neglecting his own happiness. He places great value on honesty and accountability and loathes those who lie to hide their own mistakes.
Though he's beloved by his subjects, his personal life is a bit of a disaster. He has a bad track record with both platonic and romantic relationships and is estranged from several of his children. While it hasn't necessarily dissuaded him from trying to connect with people, it's left him with a lot of regrets that keep him up at night.
Senxing isn't sure what to think about the struggle for inheritance between his sons. While he agrees that Sihua is the rightful heir to the throne, he feels like Ruiyang would be a better ruler.
- Playing mahjong with the fellas
- Black nail polish
- Formal wear
- Unsolicited gifts
- Shitty calligraphy ink
As the firstborn son of Emperor Shizong and Empress Yuan, Senxing had always known that he would the next emperor of Xi, and so did everything in his power to become a model crown prince. Even as a young child, he was described as "overly responsible" and "surprisingly mature" for his age by the adults around him. Instead of socializing with his siblings or other nobles his age, Senxing was always studying in preparation for taking over the kingdom one day. However, that day came sooner than expected, when his parents perished under mysterious circumstances during a trip to his mother's hometown. Thus, Senxing ascended the Dragon Throne at age 22, becoming the seventh emperor of Xi.
The land was in shambles at the start of Senxing's reign. Though his father had been a kind man, he had no understanding of how to properly manage an empire and left all the work to his subordinates, resulting in high levels of corruption. The incompetent leadership, combined with a series of natural disasters, left the populace on the very edge of revolt.
To prevent a full-scale uprising, Senxing made it his priority to improve the lives of his people. He quickly arrested corrupt officials and redistributed their assests among the suffering commoners, then replaced them with capable individuals selected via rigorous examinations. He even created a policy that allows anyone, regardless of social status, to come to his court to lodge complaints against government officials.
Under his rule, the empire quickly returned to prosperity. However, his heavy-handed rule had some drawbacks. While appealing to the commoners had won him the support of his people, it lost him the support of the nobility. Several aristocratic clans were dissatified with their new ruler and were plotting to replace him with one of his relatives. Fortunately, neither of his two brothers were interested in taking the throne, and one of them even reported the transgression to Senxing. After the peasants dealt with the opposers themselves, the nobility seemed to begrudgingly accept his reign and stopped trying to replace him.
So instead, they manipulated his sons so their favored prince would become the next heir.
Senxing had been so focused on people trying to influence him, the current emperor, that he didn't really think about people influencing his children, the future emperor. And so, he fell for the plot that led to the exile of his second son, the one originally destined for the throne. Even though he has since recognized his mistake and tried to make things right by pardoning said son, it seems to have only exacerbated the political tension in the capitol.
While he can easily deal with others fighting him for the throne, he's having a hard time dealing with his children fighting each other for the throne.
Rong Sihua second son
Senxing's second son, born to Empress Xiang. Exiled at age thirteen for treason and recently pardoned.
Sihua had previously been Senxing's favorite child, but eleven years of bad blood has tainted their relationship beyond repair. While he desperately wants to make amends with his son, Senxing has no idea where to even start, or if Sihua would even accept his apologies.
Xiang Yunyun wife + empress
Senxing's first wife, whom he has known since he was thirteen. His best friend and closest confidant.
An intelligent and powerful woman in her own right, Senxing trusts Yunyun's judgment when it comes to political affairs. He will freely admit that some of his most impactful policies were her ideas. Though he loves her unconditionally, he is not in love with her.
Zhang Lizui it's complicated
One of Senxing's exes, who he still has feeligns for. A skilled jianghu fighter from the north of the empire.
Though Lizui had been branded a criminal and arrived at the imperial palace under the servitude of a viscount, Senxing admired his dedication and found his aggressive bluntness rather refreshing. Senxing had hoped that he would be different from all those other men that had only claimed to love him, but judging from Lizui's sudden disappearance, that hadn't been the case at all...
Erzhu Xienan it's also complicated
Senxing's friend but maybe also something more? Hails from the same village as Lizui.
Senxing can tell that Xienan is a wonderful person by how the menagerie animals act so calm and trusting around him, though his penchant for disappearing whenever any visitors arrive makes it hard spend time with him. While Senxing feels a special connection to Xienan, he has been afraid to pursue anything further after what happened with Lizui.
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