Founding Member, Paozi Wulong.

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Post by Paozi on Wed May 21, 2014 10:25 am

Founding Member, Paozi Wulong. 10-49

Paozi Wulong.
Founding Member of the Band of the Brave
(Retired) Mistweaver Monk of the Shado-pan and Master of the Ways.

Paozi Wulong is a pandaren of many faces. Drafted as a Shado-pan recruit at a very early age and send to the wall for stealing a sack of uncooked rice, Paozi was forced to undergo a series of rituals and practice meditational techniques that wiped out his original personality so that, as an infiltrator, he may easily don any one mask and change into any personality that might suit the mission.

As such, not much is known about Paozi's youth; he shared his childhood with all other pandaren he shared masks with. His past is multiple-choice: he could have been a merry child, or he could have been a dour child; he could have been assertive, or he could have been docile; he could have enjoyed reading and hated sports, or he could have loathed reading and reveled in exercise. There is no longer any way of knowing; not even the name 'Paozi Wulong' is his by birth and was manufactured by the Shado-pan. The red mask of the Shado-pan, a visage he shared with all his brethren making them all the same, became his only true face; any other he wore, he wore as a disguise. There was no Paozi outside of the Shado-pan.

Then, everything changed when the Horde and the Alliance attacked. During the first year of the invasion, Paozi spend much time discussing on what the best strategy would be to deal with these strange invaders. He fought against the Horde with the Alliance; he fought against the Alliance with the Horde; and he fought against their mutual enemies alongside both. Sometimes, to prevent greater Sha infestations amongst these highly emotional warriors, he had to undertake drastic measures. As a Shado-pan veteran, Paozi did not shy away from intimidation and, when necessary, lethal force.

As the war escalated, Paozi and the Shado-pan were pushed to the brink of their capabilities and beyond. Though highly skilled, they were few in numbers and unable to prevent Hellscream's war-machine from seizing assets from Pandaria that would threaten the whole of Azeroth. In trying to deal with these domestic issues alone unaided, the seventh and final Sha - the most dangerous and sinister of all - surfaced. Pride. Like their name-sake Emperor, the Shado-pan realized that they had been in the dread grip of Pride for all these thousands of years, and the land had payed a very dear cost for their folly. The ancient seat of the Mogu and Pandaren emperors, the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, was decimated by the Sha. During these distressing times, Paozi traveled to Kalimdor to help parley between Alliance and Horde forces, to ensure they would work together against a common foe and not turn on one another before Hellscream, and more importantly, Y'shaarj was defeated. Paozi himself contributed his fair share to the war-effort, using his unique talents and training to attain valuable intelligence for the Rebellion.

Hellscream fell.

What followed was silence. A silence so absolute, the likes Pandaria had not heard since the mythical age of Shaohao.

The fighting in Pandaria mostly stopped; the Thunder King had been slain for a second and definite time; the dread Warchief Garrosh had been brought to justice, to be trialled in Pandaria; but, most important of all, the source of all Sha manifestations of Pandaria, the heart of Y'shaarj, had been destroyed. At last the true reason for Shaohao dispersing the mists had been revealed: though it had cost her dearly, Pandaria had finally been able to rid herself of the shadow of the Sha. Maimed and scarred, she looked towards a brighter age in the sun. The future looked bright. Too bright for the darkness of the Shado-pan.

It was the Last Emperor's most profound desire that his people would find the same enlightenment he attained; that they would live a life unburdened in harmony with the land. In these times of crises, the Pandaren people had shown themselves to finally be ready to live up to their Emperor's expectations. They had overcome Doubt and Despair with Wisdom and Hope; they faced their Fears with Courage; they tempered their Violence, Hatred and Anger with true Strength; and finally they discarded their Pride by accepting the help of the other races from beyond the Mists with Humility. This new Pandaria, with an enlightened and unburdened people, had no more need for the Shado-pan. The Shado-pan had been a band-aid to cover up the festering wound of Pandaria's weakness; now that it had been cauterized by the flames of war and the Pandaren people had come out healed, the age of the Shado-pan had come to a close.

Paozi had become superfluous.

Realising that he had become a relic of a bygone age, Paozi decided that he would try to live up to his Emperor's expectations by discarding his Shado-pan mask and embracing the Wanderer's life. He adopted a goofy, carefree personality of the like of Chen Stormstout and other traveling brewmasters. It is in this guise that Paozi joined the Band of the Brave, in the hopes that the spark of adventure so prominently shining in the heart of Theadore would light his own.

Yet, it was not to be. After a life of fighting, Paozi's soul had become too stained by the Sha to genuinely adopt a carefree persona. He could not completely surrender himself to the thrills of adventure; he was too cynical of heart, too dour of demeanor. Realizing the folly of his designs, Paozi abandoned the Band to wander trough the mountains of Kun Lai, to meditate and seek solace under the understanding eye of the Emperor.

It was at the Shrine at the summit of Mount Neverest that Paozi came to have an epiphany. While sacrificing some dumplings to the Emperor and laying out his woes for the wind to hear, Shaohao spoke to him in his own voice. He told him that while he was right that the age of the Shado-pan had come to a close, there may still be a part to play for him, Paozi Wulong of the Shado-pan; but certainly not for any other Wulongs. Paozi had indeed gotten rid of his armor and his scarf, but he still carried the ways of the Shado-pan in his heart; he was still trying to masquerade as a man that he was not. If he was to carve out a place in this new world for himself, it would have to be as himself. He had to discover his true personality. No more deceptions; least of all to himself.

With this insight, Paozi gathered his courage and returned to Stormwind. He unmasked in the only way he knew how; by donning a different mask, this time a long collar that exposed his tired gray face clearly. He confessed to Theadore that he had been deceiving her, and offered her the services and loyalty of his true self. She accepted.

Though the Paozi Wulong that now stands behind his Glorious Leader might not be the same that signed the original Guild Charter alongside the other five, he is still as devoted to Wellsworth as he ever was. Beyond the Wall, they used to say that a platoon is only as strong as the fellowship that ties it together; it is no different with the Band. As he was once loyal to the Shado-pan, Paozi is now dedicated to the Band of the Brave and his fellows. Not the Alliance, not the Horde, not the Shado-pan or Pandaria, but the Band has his total devotion. Though Paozi is usually subtle and calm, he will descend upon anyone who forms a threat to the Band with the full fury his years of martial arts mastery can muster. Terrible to his foes and warm and friendly to his friends, Paozi Wulong is ready for this new and exciting age; an age without masks.

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