First things' first: Character Sheet.
Yu Qiu is a young woman of Manchu descent. Her looks are unremarkable save for her paleness, but she has an expressive face and a cooingly sweet voice. Unless she's deemed you deserve otherwise, she actually comes across as a pretty nice girl, which only makes her capacity for violence and cruelty more unnerving. On a typical night, she keeps her long hair tied simply back and favors loose dresses in dark colors, but always includes among them something in white. Wherever she can get away with it, she carries a jian (sword) with a pair of crimson tassels hanging from the hilt. Wherever she can't get away with it... who knows what she keeps in the folds of her dress.
Qiu's demon form is a bestial thing, with tar-black skin stretched taut over sinewy muscles and blood red eyes on a nearly featureless face. She stands on two legs, but often runs on all fours. Her voice is a hissing whisper, and her "hair" is a wild mass of fleshy strands that writhe of their own accord. Appearing with her form is a fearsome-looking dao that glows and crackles with a vile energy. Aside from its scabbard, she wears no clothing.
Qiu did not have a very good mortal life. She was a young teenager and her elder brother a promising student when illness struck the house and took both her parents. While her brother swore to look after her and her surviving younger sister, they struggled to make ends meet on their own. It wasn't long before the two budding young girls caught the attention of someone willing to offer her brother a hefty sum in exchange for letting the girls work for him - which he could pay back in the future, of course, to release his sisters from servanthood. And so the girls ended up in a brothel.
Trapped against her will, Qiu became embittered by the endless stream of sleazy men and ever-hovering bouncers as eager to beat her as her customers if anyone got too unruly. She lost herself in drink and took out her resentment by stealing from and playing games with her customers. When she got caught, she got beaten, and the cycle continued. The only thing that really held her together was hope that her brother would come for her one day, and taking care of her sister in the meantime.
When her sister caught a nasty disease from one of her customers, Qiu got to watch her waste away. When she died, she did not hear a word nor catch a glimpse of her brother. When she finally did learn of him, it was from a customer who worked with him. Her brother had a fine job, and a fine wife, and had apparently forgotten all about his little sisters. It would just have been too bad a mark against his promising career if what he'd done with them had been discovered.
The betrayal, mixed with healthy doses of grief and resentment, finally pushed Qiu out of her self-pity. She had nothing to lose but a worthless life, and years of anger boiling over, so early one morning as everyone else slept, she snuck out, pawned her best jewelry, and bought a knife.
Come to think of it, she probably shouldn't have killed her brother's wife, or his servant, but that's just how it happened. She got him, though. When she returned to the brothel, they knew something was amiss. Runaway girls don't usually come back. She only managed to get one of them before they overwhelmed her, killed her, and dumped her body in a ravine.
She didn't stay dead very long. And when she returned, she went right back to finish where she left off. At least that made her an easy target for the kuei-jin out to catch her.
She came back to her senses in the care of the Cranes, but had no taste for their discipline. It did not give her a sense of calm and something to cling to, just a profound feeling that this is not what she came all the way back from Hell for. As soon as she heard of the Devil-tigers and what they were, she knew she'd found her calling.
Qiu is a woman who loves what she is. In life, she was a pitiful thing locked in a cage and deprived of a chance for a proper life. It transformed her into a creature of thunderous wrath against evil, and she's at home with the idea of being a Heavenly Devil. That she is also marked as one to commune with the dead and the spirits suits her fine - they, also, are often blocked from vengeance by the Wall, and she's all too happy to become their intermediary.
She needs only to refine her skills - and herself. Agreeing with this new way and actually *walking* it are very different things.
Opinions of other Dharmas:
Resplendant Cranes: A commitment to righteousness is admirable, but going about it through such rigidity and denial feels.... hollow.
Bone Flowers: I will find myself crossing paths with them time and again, but I am sure they find me as maddening as I find them. They are an interesting challenge - the more directly you approach them, the less accessible they become.
Thrashing Dragons: Life is beautiful. Life is fascinating. But we are not alive. They also call themselves rainbows... I wonder if part of the trick for them is to realize the illusion they make of themselves.
Thousand Whispers: I'm not quite sure what to make of them, yet. Considering that one may be my best friend one day and my enemy the next, it's quite possible that they prefer it that way.