The First Age

Full Version: Zixin Kao
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Singapore, 1604

The Kao family of Singapore were rich long before the CCD swallowed up Malaysia. They already owned ships back when the Dutch East Indies Company seized their first merchant carrack. Their ancestors weren’t dumb. They recognized when they were outpowered and outmanned. They followed the money, and for two-hundred years, Kao served to line the pockets of a whiter merchant: they captained the ships that ran between Jayakarta (modern Jakarta) in West Java all the way to China. When the Dutch company was driven from Southeast Asia, the Kao family continued to sail. Such was the beginning of what would become one of the great organized crime syndicates of southeast Asia four-hundred years later.

Singapore, 2024

The Kao family was one of the wealthiest in Singapore. Social media had grown by then, and with it, prestige and mystery, and a more than a little bit of danger. Just enough that their last name all but ruled a city that still bowed to a royal family. Their branches of power operated shipyards, shipping containers, and merchant trade, but the first tsunami of the 2020’s exacted irreparable damage that the Kao Clan and the Syndicate was determined to overcome. They invested in their roots, then, and the next ten years was transformative.

Organized crime was in their blood. Only rather than smuggle and ship product manufactured in the jungle, they turned to the people themselves. Indonesia and Vietnam were swollen with displaced refugees. Many of them hid on the very shipping containers that Kao navigated. Of course, once they landed, their fates were in Kao hands.

Human trafficking had already been a booming business. More than supplying laborers for dangerous jobs or filling the grueling factory positions, they hand picked those with potential for one of their many “Casinos” and “clubs” peppered around southeast Asia. These were little oases where the straight-laced wealth from classier, cleaner cities like Tokyo or Hong Kong flew for the weekend to get wasted, screw around, or generally dance with the devil. They fly home on Sunday night and none are the wiser come breakfast at a Monday morning conference table. The workers for those casinos had to come from somewhere, and Kao was in the business.

Ho Chi Mihn City, 2045

They met on what was deemed to be neutral territory. Ho Chi Mihn City was something of triangle landing pad of organized crime. There were Chinese Triads, Japanese Yakuza, and Singapore Syndicate all working together. Ho Chi MInh had even become something of a relay for American continental drugs. The CCD legal stuff was too expensive for the poorest parts of southeast Asia, and where demand lurked, supply would always show itself. Business had been stable for more than a decade. They had the CCD to thank for that. It was time to consider expansion, and the Ascedancy’s own words were famous. Sheep followed the grass…. Or in this case, the crime lords followed the money, and there was a new type of cargo coming into demand: those with powers out of their control. Exotic pets on leashes and mythical beasts in cages were one thing, but showing off your prized channeler raised the stakes. A wild one was incredible valuable.

There was no where richer than Moscow. The Kao’s had a distant cousin there. She was the granddaughter of their Patriarch’s younger brother, Yung Kao, a man who tried to get out, but never really got out. The family lore said that Yung split fifty years ago, but the falling out that happened between the two Kao brothers was never shared. He tried to make a straight life, and maybe he had. Apparently he had a family, and for one reason or another, yeye let him have the dream. Until the day came that the family needed something. That’s when the granddaughter came in. Her name was Yun Kao, and she worked as a detective, buried in Moscow up to her eyeballs in Russians and contacts and already connected to organized crime. Seemed it was in her blood.

Yun Kao fed them intel, movements of the competition, and felt out the prospects. With Yun’s presence, they were already positioned to make a move in the Custody capital. It was all related through an intermediary known as Sheng Lo, a Syndicate man through and through. The city was proudly white Moscovites and modern or not, Asians were still lesser-class citizens. The type of human powered- and nonpowered-cargo that Kao could supply this new venture would be overlooked. They just needed a landing pad. That’s where the Yakuza came in. The Japanese representatives flew south, landing in Ho Chi Minh City to make the deal with Kao. They were going to supply the clubs, Kao supplied the cargo.

Together, they could slice out a small piece of Moscow. There was plenty of money to go around. The problem was after a year of negotiations and planning, by 2046, the Edenokoji-gumi in Moscow were alienated. Tensions were tight as cords, and the first movement threatened to snap the deal on all of them. Which was why by summer, 2046, someone landed in Moscow to get things back on track.

Moscow, 2046

Zixin Kao was 31 years old when he was sent to Moscow. Heir to the Kao kingdom, so to say, his grandfather (yeye) was patriarch in Singapore and very much involved in the business. Of all his grandfather’s sons, only Zixin’s father was still alive. It was a dangerous business, after all, and with his uncles already dead, a line of aunties and cousins remained behind. His mother was a celebrity in the city, a modern day royal herself, and his younger sister was following in their mother’s footsteps, proudly circulating the social networks that kept Kao in the forefront of fashion and media. His little sister was a ruthless social assassin though. One sleight and she could destroy lives with an army of internet followers. Zixin was more serious in comparison. He was glad to not darken her glamorous life with the brutality he handled. The burden of upholding the entire family legacy was going to fall to him one day. His cousins were either playboys or middle men across the empire, but none of them had what it took to lead. He felt it was his duty to make sure the kingdom advanced into the next century, and if their future hinged on success in Moscow, he would do anything to make sure that happened. And prove that he was worthy of the role.

Moscow, current day

The jetway let him out at a private airport. Zixin was followed by mountainous carts stacked with Louis Vuitton luggage that had to be piled into a second truck to fit it all. He slipped into the back of a limousine and checked the time. Having slept, showered, shaved, changed and ate on the jet, he instructed the driver to take him to an apartment in some district that Zixin used the Wallet translator to pronounce. His Russian was atrocious, English language laws not with standing, the addresses were still in that awful alphabet, so he wasn’t going to bother twisting his tongue on it. The luggage would be delivered, and with any luck, be unpacked and stowed away in the hotel suite by the time he arrived. This shouldn’t take too long.

He told the driver to park down the street and wait.

He wore a khaki trench coat over his suit, buttoned up and tied at the waist. Black gloves were tucked tight on his hands. Sunglasses set on the bridge of his nose, the collar turned up around his neck. Zixin was handsome and he knew it. His hair styled slick and neat, jaw square and clean-shaven. He knocked on the door. It was about 6:30 in the morning. The sun had just risen.

Yun Kao opened it. If she recognized the man on her doorstep, it would only be because she followed the Kao’s social media accounts. Given their distant familial relations, he waited to see if a flicker of recognition crossed her face.

She was older in person than he expected. Older than himself, certainly, by a decade at least.

“Going to invite me in?” he asked in English.

She rolled her eyes and turned away, leaving the door open behind her.

He followed and made sure the door was latched behind him before he tucked the Ray-Bans into the pocket of the coat.

“You want a coffee?” she called from the next room.

“No,” he said, looking around. Her apartment was a shit hole, he thought, and retrieved a knife from a pocket as he walked. He was doing her a favor.

He passed a dining table, approaching the sound of dishes rustling in the kitchen. The second he stepped over the threshold, a chef’s knife flashed in front of his face.

He ducked, throwing out one arm to block hers. She was a good fighter, and she was quick. She spun, thinking to kick his feet out from under him, but Zixin side stepped out of the way in time. They circled one another then. Both were clearly skilled. With every swing, both guarded their abdomens and kept their chests squared on the front. They stayed in a defensive stance, holding their free forearm out like a shield. Cuts there would hurt, but they were hardly deadly.

Circling each other in the kitchen, Zixin suddenly stepped in to swing a punch at her face, but it was a move to get her to lean back. The shift in balance forced her to take a step else fall on her ass, and the kitchen wasn’t that large. She did exactly that, and he swept her feet out as she did. A nasty swing dragged the knife along her inner thigh- down the femoral artery.

She screamed, balling up herself on the leg pouring red all over the floor. He kicked the knife from her hand, then, knowing her to be deadly until the moment she was really dead.

It only took a minute.

He wiped his shoes with paper towels to get the blood cleaned off. Then he grabbed a trash bag from a closet. He shrugged off his trench coat, wrapped both knives in it, along with the gloves, and balled it up in the trash bag.

He carried the bag out with him when he left, depositing it in the front seat with the driver of the car, then climbed in the back.

The Ray-Bans were broken, so he immediately ordered a new pair then he sent a message home that the deed was done.


He was dropped at the hotel an hour later.

A reborn soul of serpents, dragons and monsters

Zixin has a latent channeler ability but would only qualify as a learner, and a weaker one at that in the present life. It won’t be something he pursues. As a soul, he is strongly inclined toward evil, and his legends are usually retold as the deeds of some sort of serpent, dragon or demon.

2nd Age - He would have been a contributor to the Collapse, the hundred years prior to the War of Shadow broke when society became sick and twisted. He ran the gladiatorial rings that saw people fight to the death, usually profiting off the money earned. If he survives long enough, he would have joined the Shadow in the war.

3rd Age - A darkfriend loyal to the Dreadlord Arikan who survived the persecution of Arikan’s followers after the defeat at Tar Valon.

4th Age - This would be the rebirth in which he is at his most powerful. A channeler serving the Emperor of Seanchan, his name goes down in legend as a demon that inspires future Hebrew mythologies of the following Ages. He was depicted with a lion's head and a serpentine body with eagle wings.

5th AgeAži Dahāka (Persian), depicted as a three-headed dragon with a body filled with lizards and snakes that could infect the world when released, and wings that can darken the skies when fully spread. He was a servant of Ahriman, the father of lies and personification of evil in Persian mythology.

6th AgeJörmungandr (Norse), the monstrous son of Loki depicted in myth as the world-serpent, whose travels circumvented the globe carrying destruction, mayhem, carnage and terror along the way. 

7th Age - Beowulf’s Bane (Germanic). He is the final enemy of the hero, Beowulf and described as a nocturnal, treasure-hoarding, inquisitive, vengeful, fire-breathing creature that mortally wounds Beowulf just before being slain himself.