# A Lethal Masquerade
_**Ionia, Zhyun Countryside, Midnight, nearly 30 years ago.**_
The young man stood in the fields a few yards behind the house, perfectly still. From this distance, any who looked out into the moonless night would simply assume he was some statue or scarecrow. It was the perfect disguise, really. His eyes were closed and his head was down, his hands resting on the blades jutting from the earth in front of him. It was a meditative pose, and this was reflected in his breathing. In for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds. He was waiting patiently for his queue. In a few moments, the clouds would part like crimson curtains away from the full moon, his spotlight. Only then could he begin.
On the last exhale, he felt the breeze in his hair. He opened his eyes, sending his azure gaze skyward as he tilted his head back ever so slightly. The curtains had parted, and the moon’s gentle light illuminated the cruel smile that had crept upon his face. It was time.
He crept through the grass in the field, quiet as a Honeybee Mouse. His father had taught him well, perhaps too well. It had been a few years since that fateful night. Since then, he had been working as a stagehand at several traveling operas, pursuing his passion for the arts, under the name Khada Jhin. He had been learning so many things, but none were more important than the acting lessons. Those more than anything would be quite useful in the future. He was sure of it.
The back door of the home came into view, and the young Khada Jhin’s eyes lit up with anticipation. Yet, he had to wait. There was something that needed to be done first. He crouched down along the back wall to examine his blades. The tips had some dirt on them. An irritated sigh escaped his lips as he retrieved a rag from his pocket. He began to wipe down the blades, 4 times each. Afterward, he held them up to the moon. The silver metal shined brightly. There were no imperfections to be seen, as he expected. 4 times always makes them clean. He was ready to begin now. He placed his hand on the amber doorknob and turned it. The door was unlocked, as he expected it to be. Most out here could not afford locks, and if they could, they didn’t use them. After all, before he came, there was nothing for them to fear. However, in his excitement, he accidentally opened the door too quickly. He managed to stop it before it hit something, though, letting out a sigh of relief as he quietly made his way inside.
_**Ionia, Navori Countryside, Midnight, nearly 30 years later.**_
Khada Jhin was perched on the hill overlooking the small farmhouse, in the same meditative state he was always in before a performance. He was accompanied by a single cherry blossom tree, its soft, pink petals shining brightly in the full moon’s light. Some had fallen on his still form, and while he normally would have let them stay, today was a performance day. As he stood up, he brushed them off. It had been some time since he had last attempted a performance of this scale, but he had grown restless. The Cabal was yet to give him a new assignment, and he could not allow himself to get rusty. After thinking through the details, he decided it was time, and he made his way down the hill to the home.
The eel-skin bodysuit would normally allow for swift movement through the grass, if it weren’t for the Hextech Mass Accelerator on his right shoulder. While not terribly heavy, it certainly wasn’t comfortable. If he didn’t need it for his cloak to fit properly, he wouldn’t had brought it, as it was unnecessary for this performance. He didn’t even need his cane, really, but that was part of his casual outfit. He’d need it later when he was among his adoring crowd. All he really needed was Whisper.
The thrill of killing was one thing, but taking out an entire family was a completely different feeling all together. There were many aspects of the performance that needed to be accounted for. So many things that could go wrong. Jhin hoped he remembered the steps correctly.
As he came to the door, he stood upright for a moment to examine the damage done to his cloak and equipment. Surprising, everything came out unscathed for once. He let out a sigh of relief as a crouched back down. Then, he retrieved Whisper from his belt. He looked over the weapon for the 4th time that night. Still perfect, as he expected. He flicked open the chamber to make sure it was loaded. 4 bullets, just as he had placed them a few hours before. He was ready to begin. He went to turn the brass doorknob, but it stuck in place, locked. Luckily, Jhin came prepared. Among other skills he had learned after being released, Jhin had taken up lockpicking to help him get around easier. He retrieved those tools from the pouch on his belt and began working on the lock. Ionian locks were simple in design, but magical nonetheless, able to withstand several kicks from an armored boot or strikes from a heavy weapon. Not that the door would, though. He heard the lock click, and he turned the knob. The door opened slowly, but creaked slightly. Jhin winced beneath his mask as he entered the home, hoping that wasn’t loud enough to wake the sleeping family.
The young Khada Jhin crept through the dark, silent home. It was small as easy to navigate, as most homes in Zhyun were. Still, the inexperienced artist made a few missteps as he crept about. In the dark, he didn’t notice the root that was sticking up from the floor. His foot got caught on it, and if it weren’t for his quick reflexes, he would have surely broken his nose on the floor. He got back up, irritated by his own blindness. He’d have to be more vigilant in the future. As he came to the bedrooms, he caught his breath, the anticipation having built to the point where he needed a moment to compose himself. He finally released his breath and continued. Most homes in Zhyun lacked interior doors separating the rooms, as outside of inns, there wasn’t much need for serious privacy. Rather, rooms were separated by curtains of leaves or flowers, depending on what the home was made of. Jhin parted the curtain of the first room just enough to be able to see inside. It was the parent’s room, just as he expected. He slipped through the curtain and made his way inside.
The couple was sound asleep. Jhin could tell that the husband was sleeping the closest to the door. He needed to get him first. He stepped forward, but the floor creaked under his weight. His eye twitched in irritation.
_No… Again,_ he thought to himself.
He took a step back and tried again. He made it a few steps in, but again, the floor creaked. He sighed in frustration.
_It must be perfect. Again._
He went back to the starting point and tried again, this time placing his steps carefully and shifting his weight accordingly. Finally, he seemed to have gotten it right.
When he reached the bedside, his azure gaze fixated on the man’s neck. He needed to ensure that he stayed asleep for this next step. In one swift motion, Jhin struck the man in the throat with his palm, silencing him before he began applying pressure to the arteries in his neck to cut off the oxygen supply to his brain. The man awoke, but unable to yell or move, he quickly succumbed to the attack. Now that he was unconscious, Jhin dragged him from the bed, making his way to the home’s meditation room.
Once there, Jhin bound the man’s wrists and ankles with leather straps and rope, as well as gagging him. He then sat patiently, waiting for him to regain consciousness, as he needed to hear his voice. As he waited, he took the time to admire the man’s figure. He had the standard build of a farmer. Callused hands, medium build. He was a bit older than Jhin was hoping for, but he’d manage. After several minutes, the man finally awoke, and he found himself staring into the eyes of a young man. He immediately began to panic, trying to yell through his gag as he tried to move away from the stranger. Jhin calmly walked toward him and drew one of his blades, pointing it at the man’s throat.
“If you say anything besides your lines, you will only suffer more,” said the young man.
The man stopped struggling, his brown eyes seeming to beg for mercy. The young Jhin smiled and lowered his blade. “That’s the spirit. Now, I want you to say your wife’s name, as if you’re trying to wake her.”
Jhin moved slowly, removing the rag from the man’s mouth, but the man almost immediately tried to yell for help. Jhin struck him in the throat with his palm again before shoving the rag back in his mouth.
“No! Say your lines!” he said through clenched teeth as he stabbed the man in the knee with his blade. The man seemed to scream, but no sound came out as Jhin twisted the blade, causing the man’s leg to contort. The flesh split as bone shattered, and soon a flower emerged from the carnage.
“Now, again,” the young man said, removing the rag from the man’s mouth once more. This time, the man complied. After a few coughs, he managed to choke out his wife’s name.
“Jae,” he said through tears and agony.
The smile returned to Jhin’s face. “Good boy. Now…” he said as he pulled the blade from the man’s knee, “Hold still for me.”
He shoved the rag back in the man’s mouth as he stabbed him in the shoulder, making sure to twist as he did. He then drew a small dagger, holding it in one hand while he held the man’s head still with the other. The man’s muffled screams failed to reach the ears of his family as Jhin began to cut along his jawline.
Jhin crept through the home, his metal boots tapping ever so slightly against the wooden floor. It wasn’t too noticeable, but it wasn’t good. He noted several parts of the home that were in their rawest, natural state. Several branches stuck out from the walls and doorways, and several roots made the floor uneven in places. He was careful to avoid each one, not wanting to get his cloak caught or trip. This home was newer, most likely built after the invasion. Still, it differed little from homes elsewhere, and Jhin eventually found the bedrooms. He peeked into the first one, and there were the parents, fast asleep.
_Some things just never change_, he thought to himself.
He crept in the same way he always had, and subdued the husband in the same fashion. Though, removing him from the bedroom was far easier now, as he could simply pick him up rather than drag him through the house.
Jhin bound and gagged the man, as usual, though this one was quick to recover. He thrashed violently in a desperate attempt to free himself, but Jhin simply kicked him in the abdomen, the claws of his metal boot puncturing his flesh.
“Shhh…” he said, lowering himself to one knee. The man’s emerald eyes stared hatefully into Jhin’s single uncovered eye, which due to the mask’s magic, was now ruby rather than azure. “I just need to know your wife’s name.”
Jhin removed the man’s gag, only to have him spit at him. He caught the first few letters of a swear as he shoved the gag back into his mouth. He then presented Whisper to the man.
“This is a very precise tool meant to twist the body to my liking. If you do that again, I’ll let you see what it does to your wife and kids rather than sparing you the horror,” Jhin said in a cold, unemotional tone, almost seeming to chuckle at the end. If the man listened carefully enough, he could hear a faint chorus singing with Jhin’s voice.
He removed the man’s gag again, fully expecting him to not cooperate. Though, to Jhin’s surprise, he complied.
“Zi… Her name is Zi you fu-” Having heard what he needed to hear, Jhin shoved the gag back in the man’s mouth before he could assault him with such barbaric language. He then placed his hands around the man’s throat, and began to squeeze.
When he was younger, Jhin didn’t have a mask, be it his face or the one the Cabal gave him. He relied on his actors to supply them. Though, that was no longer necessary, nor was killing them all one by one. Now, he could leave the man here while he gathered his family. As the man lost consciousness, Jhin released his neck and stood up, ready to begin the next act.
The young Jhin stood over the pool of blood, using it as a mirror so he could adjust his mask. It needed to be perfect, otherwise the illusion wouldn’t work. Finally, he got it just right. He then began to pace, saying the woman’s name over and over again, trying to match her husband’s voice. He got it eventually. He had already cleaned his blades, so he was ready for the next act. He left the man in the meditation room behind as he returned to the couple’s bedroom. Though, the mask made it a bit difficult to see, and he nearly tripped again. He’d have to prepare it better next time.
Jhin acted frantic as he stumbled into the bedroom and over to the sleeping woman. He shook her in an attempt to wake her, “Jae! Wake up!”
The woman opened her eyes and looked around, confused. “Iseul? What is it?” she said to Jhin.
“I think there’s someone in the house. The kids are fine, but I need you to help me.” The woman known as Jae nodded and got out of bed, her husband by her side as they made their way through the home, eventually to the meditation room.
Jae went in first, and was horrified. There on the floor was her husband, Iseul, what looked like flowers blooming from his knee and shoulder. Though, the worst part was his face. It was bare muscle and bone, the flesh having been stripped from it. She was frozen in terror and in so much shock that she didn’t realize her critical mistake. From behind her, a voice she’d never heard before broke the stunned silence.
“Beautiful, isn’t he?”
She turned and realized just what was with her. It was a young man with Iseul’s face, his wild, azure eyes peering out from where his brown eyes should be. She could almost feel the twisted smile on his true face. She tried to scream, but he had already struck, hitting her in the throat with his palm just as he had with her husband. He then gagged her and forced her to the floor face down, his knee pressed firmly in her spine and his dagger placed gently on her jawline.
“You’ll be with him soon. Just tell me the names of your children, and I’ll make sure you don’t suffer as much as he did.” As he removed the gag, he could feel her trembling.
It took her a moment to recover from his strike, but eventually, she managed to choke out the names “Nari” and “Seok”. Jhin let out an almost content sigh. “Thank you, my dear.”
He then returned the gag to her mouth and drew one of his blades. He got off of her, but still held her down with his free hand.
“As promised, this shouldn’t hurt too bad,” he said as he plunged the blade down into her spine, right through her back and into her heart. Then, he twisted. She screamed for a moment, though she quickly fell silent. Jhin removed the blade from her and stepped back to admire his work and remove Iseul. He then knelt down, placing the dagger to her delicate face, and he began cutting.
As Jhin made his way to the bedroom, he whispered the woman’s name under his breath, trying to mimic her husband’s voice. It had been some time since he needed to do this, and he cursed himself for not practicing. Still, just as he reached the door, he got it. He parted the vine curtain and peeked inside just to make sure that his darling Zi was still asleep. She was, but she had rolled over so that she was now facing the door. Jhin hoped she wouldn’t notice the absence of her husband’s warmth.
He approached slower this time, taking care not to misstep and cause the floor to creek. The weight of his adult frame was one thing, but his equipment was another. He greatly considered removing his metal boots, as they made far too much noise for such a stealthy approach. But it was too late to stop now. He had to go through with it. He crept around to the other side of the bed so that he was behind her. He reached out with his left hand and firmly grabbed her by the shoulder, shaking her a bit.
“Zi, wake up,” he said in a voice that was not his own, just above a whisper.
Zi stirred, mumbling something Jhin couldn’t quite hear before she rolled over to face him. Even in her exhaustion, she almost immediately noticed that the man standing at her bedside was not her husband. Her eyes followed his cream cloak upward, briefly stopping on the hump on his right shoulder before coming to rest on his face. It was a cold, stagnant smile with a single crimson eye peering at her.
Zi tried to scream, to run, to hide, but even in his cumbersome outfit, Jhin was quick to act. He quickly threw his armored right hand over her mouth, jerking her back and off the bed. He pinned her to the floor with his knee before choking her with his right hand. She was struggling a bit, kicking her legs in desperation, though she failed to hit and vital points. She gnawed at Jhin’s hand, and he could swear he felt her teeth cracking as she tried to pierce his armor. Finally, she gave up the fight and fell unconscious. After it was over, he stopped to examine the damage done to his armor. Not a single scratch. He left out a sigh of relief as he began to bind and gag the woman, picking her up and carrying her to her husband.
By the time they reached the meditation room, Zi had recovered, violently thrashing to escape Jhin’s grasp. He tried to place her down gently, but she managed to throw herself from his arms, hitting the floor with a hard thud. He stared at her for a moment, both in irritation and amusement, before he knelt down next to her.
“You make for a rather interesting subject, my dear Zi,” he said, gently placing his left hand on her face and stroking it lovingly, noting how soft it was as he did.
“I need you to work with me. Otherwise, this production will be a disaster.” He gestured over to her husband, who now had a red stain on his shirt from the blood Jhin’s kick had produced when the metal pierced his skin. Zi let out a cry through her gag, as if calling out to him.
“Your husband was difficult, and I admit I am a bit irritated. It would be a shame for you to end up like him. All you have to do is tell me the names of your children, though, and I promise I’ll make it quick. Do you understand?”
Zi nodded, tears welling in her eyes.
Jhin removed her gag, and she gave him the names “Guo” and “Lian”. Though, before Jhin could gag her again, she spoke once more.
“Why are you doing this?”
Jhin sighed, the haunting chorus filling the air. “Because I must.”
As he put the gag back in her mouth, a single tear rolled down her cheek. Jhin wiped it away. Water only served to dilute the paints and clean the canvas. He then choked her, more forcefully than before so she lost consciousness quicker. After he was done, he stood up, ready for the final act.
It took some time to make Jae fit, as her face was smaller and more rounded than his. Though, Jhin was certain Nari and Seok wouldn’t be able to tell. It was her voice that was the problem. He no longer had the softer voice of a boy, and it would be difficult for him to mimic her. Though, after much practice, he managed to get something passable.
As he made his way back to the bedrooms, his anticipation built. The children were his favorite part. With the nearest neighbors miles away, and no one left in the house to wake, he could listen to their songs in all their glory. He looked forward to their chorus. As he approached the children’s room, he began to hum a lullaby. Having never heard his mother sing, he learned it by listening to Zhyun mothers sing it to calm their own children. He hummed a little softer as his entered the room.
The 2 children were still fast asleep, as Jhin expected them to be. He crept over to their bed as quietly as he could, sitting down on the edge of it and placing his hands gently on their shoulders. They were both no older than 6 years old.
“Nari. Seok. Its time,” he said in a feminine tone.
The 2 children stirred, groaning as if to complain about being woken up. They both turned to face him, tilting their heads curiously as they sat up.
“Come on,” Jhin said, taking a hand from each as the trio stood up.
“Where we going?” asked the tired young Nari as she rubbed her eyes with her free hand.
“To an opera,” Jhin replied.
It was then that Seok noticed the blades at Jhin’s hips and stopped walking. At this point, they were halfway to the meditation room. Jhin sighed, letting Jae’s voice fade away.
“I said come on.”
Seok tried to pull his hand away, but Jhin tightened his grip, nearly breaking the boy’s wrist. “Stop! Let go!” At this point, Nari was beginning to fight as well.
He dragged them both along to the meditation room, where he then threw them to the ground. The young pair looked around, terrified. It was then that they saw their beautiful parents, and they both screamed. It was then that Jhin removed Jae, letting her fall to the floor. The children looked up at him, sobbing. He smiled as he drew his blades.
“Don’t worry. You’ll be with them soon.”
Seok pushed his younger sister. “Nari, run!”
But before she could even move, Jhin struck, sinking both blades into her chest, twisting, then pulling them out to the sides. Her screams filled the air for a brief moment as her small, delicate form was torn in two, her blood splashing across the floor and her brother’s body.
Seok tore his eyes away from her as he tried to run, but Jhin slashed his Achilles tendons, and he fell to the floor in agony. He plunged one blade into his pelvis, twisting to create the flower. Seok screamed as he felt his bones shatter and his flesh tear, nearly dying of shock, but Jhin’s magic kept him alive through it all. It was only when he plunged the second blade into his chest that Seok finally fell silent, but not before he felt the final flower form. Jhin pulled the blades from Seok, backing away so that he could see his work clearly. There they were, in all their glory. He was proud of his work, letting out a joyful chuckle that morphed into a crazed, howling cackle. After he was done with his adoration, he cleaned his blades and exited the stage. He’d clean himself in the stream and change clothes later.
The next morning, Jhin was moving with the traveling opera he worked for at the moment. They were headed to the Blossom Festival in Jyom Pass, an event Jhin looked forward to every time. After all, it was there that he got his start. Sometimes, when he closed his eyes, he could still see her smile, and he swore he could detect the scent of lilac on the wind every time. As they passed a side road, Jhin let his eyes wander. Far off in the distance, he could barely make out the farmhouse. There was evidence in the dirt that they had already been found in all their glory several hours before. He smiled and sighed as he laid back down in the cart for a nap, looking forward to dreaming of last night’s performance.
As Jhin walked to the children’s room, he whispered their names to himself in a more feminine voice. Luckily for him, Zi’s voice was a bit deep, so it was easier for him to match her voice than it normally would be. Still, it wasn't perfect, and this irritated him greatly. He stopped as he reached the door, confident that he got it right. He then parted the curtain and entered.
The children were still asleep, and Jhin had no trouble sneaking up on them. He awoke the young Guo first, who couldn’t be more than 6 years old.
“Guo, my dear. Wake up.” The young boy yawned and stretched, hitting his older sister Lian in the face with his hand as he did. She grunted and rolled over, trying to seem like she was still asleep.
“You too, Lian,”’ Jhin said.
The young duo slowly got up, but quickly realized Jhin was not their mother. “Y-You’re not mommy,” Guo said, obviously afraid.
Jhin sighed, returning to his own voice. “You’re right, I’m not, but you can trust me. I know your parents quite well.”
Guo nervously looked at Lian, who was staring at Jhin. “Where are they?” she asked.
“Meditating. Come, let us join them,” Jhin replied.
And so, the trio walked to the home’s meditation room. It was quiet until they entered.
The mother and father were awake now, screaming through their gags as if begging for the children to run. But Jhin wouldn’t let go. He dragged the pair over to their parents and sat them down.
“W-What’s happening?” Guo asked as Jhin bound his wrist and ankles. Jhin was silent.
He was about to bind Lian when she hit him in the side of his head with a closed fist. Jhin barely moved from the hit, but he slowly turned to face the terrified girl. It was then that he drew Whisper.
“Don’t move again,” he said as he stood up, walking over to the mother and father, removing their gags.
He stood in front of the four, all of them talking at once. The father swearing, the mother begging, the children crying. Jhin loudly cleared his throat, turning his head to the father.
“Remember when I said I wouldn’t make you watch?”
He walked over to him, grabbing him with his free hand and dragging him out to the center of the room. He pried the man’s eyes open as he took aim and pulled the trigger.
The first bullet hit Lian in the shoulder, forcing her against the wall. Her flesh fused with the wood, and a tree branch grew from her bones and flesh as she screamed. The father thrashed, the mother and brother cried.
Jhin pulled the trigger again, the second bullet striking Guo in the abdomen. He cried as his flesh and intestines morphed into a rose, and his parents screamed.
Jhin then shifted to Zi.
“Please…” she cried.
Jhin nodded and pulled the trigger. The bullet struck her in the chest, right in the heart. For her, there was no pain. No splash of blood. Just a flock of white butterflies in the smoke.
Jhin then threw the man out in front of him. He stared up at him with tears and hatred in his eyes.
“You’re a fucking monster!” he yelled.
Jhin sighed. “No,” he said, raising Whisper. “I am an artist, and you will be one of my finest works.” He then pulled the trigger.
The 4th bullet tore through the man’s chest, the magic of the bullet sent coursing through his veins with his heart’s final beat. Every bone shattered and erupted from his flesh, growing and twisting into the shape of a tree as they lifted the man off the ground. The blood that coated them gave them a golden sheen. Finally, it was done, and Jhin stepped back to admire them. He let out a content sigh as he turned and left.
The next morning, a middle aged traveler passed by a lonely farmhouse, tapping his cane in front of him as he walked. One, two, three, four. He came to a stop when he noticed the crowd, taking in their terrified expressions as he changed his face to a more concerned one. It was a familiar feeling of disappointment. He longed to be understood, but he knew that day was far off. He sighed as he turned, leaving that scene behind to focus on the next performance.
((Welcome to Jhin’s AMA thread. I was given permission from the previous Jhin to have this thread be a continuation of theirs’, and that’s the plan. They brought a lot to Jhin’s character and story, and it would be a shame if it were to all go to waste. So, everything will be kept the same. The only thing changing is the RPer them self.
Per usual, please follow the rules for the Roleplay Boards. However, you should be aware of my personal rules as well.
* By posting in this thread, you accept the fact that your character/champion is risking potential injury or death, unless we discussed something beforehand.
* Respect me and my decisions.
* If you actually want to Roleplay, ask about it OOC first or in Discord(available upon request). If you want to ask something, just ask it.
* Enjoy the show!))