Beidou is the leader of The Crux — an armed crew based in Liyue Harbor.
An armed crew means exactly what it sounds like: a crew of sailors armed to the teeth.
Without getting into too many details, everything The Crux does is approved by the Qixing… more or less.
Beidou is a trusted leader, so much so that her crew believe her capable of taming the storms and billows on the sea.
“It’s Beidou! Even the mightiest of storms must bow its head to her might!”
Character Story 1
Beidou is something of a cultural icon in Liyue.
Though her fame does not quite reach the same lofty heights as that of the Liyue Qixing, one can be certain that every merchant in the city knows her name — and that of her crew, The Crux.
Naturally, there are rumors abound regarding someone of her status. People love to tell epic tales of her earth-shattering (or rather, sea-splitting) feats; tales in which her abilities are exaggerated to almost superhuman levels.
One rumor is that she can channel Electro energy with her sword. It is said that she once used it to cut a formidable sea monster from the depths of the ocean abyss in half with just one hit.
Bystanders who overhear such tales generally dismiss them as drunken ramblings. But to any who have ever voyaged with Beidou themselves, these stories are no joke. In their view, if this world really were home to a giant sea monster from the ocean abyss… Beidou would certainly be capable of cutting it in half.
In summary, Beidou’s abilities are every bit as impressive as her reputation in business circles. So if you hear her lauded as the Uncrowned Lord of the Ocean — suffice to say that there is no smoke without fire.
Character Story 2
Business people tend to put profit before their humanity. This is just accepted as the way of the world; at most, it makes for some light verbal sparring at the dinner table.
But things are different in Liyue, where everyone is involved in business. They reject the notion entirely, claiming that Liyue Harbor is a special place where humanity is sacred.
Foreign merchants will retort that the only thing special about Liyue is that “They’ve managed to commodify humanity, too!” To this, Liyue locals respond, “Then how do you explain The Crux?”
With The Crux having made a name for itself over many years, their services are extremely expensive to charter. And yet, on one voyage when The Crux encountered a strong storm, Beidou noticed a small private boat nearby. Seeing the way it was tossed about by the waves, she ordered her crew to tow the boat to safety — despite the risk that her ship’s keel might give way. What little food and water the fleet had left, Beidou shared with the rescued crew as she navigated her vessel onward through the raging storm.
Finally, after several days, The Crux delivered the rescued boat to a safe mooring spot. Grateful to Beidou for saving their lives, the crew of the rescued boat became her loyal trade partners thereafter.
After Liyue locals recount this story, they smile and insist, “When you have someone risking their life like that, you can be sure that it takes far more than commodification to explain their actions! Would you really dare to look Beidou in the eyes and talk about the commodification of humanity?”
Character Story 3
Word has it that The Crux’s boss behind the curtains is none other than the Qixing’s Tianquan, Ningguang, herself.
Both of the people involved deny this outright, though they do so for different reasons.
As a member of the Qixing, Ningguang often needs someone else to do her dirty work for her. Of the many candidates available, she picked Beidou.
Ningguang would emphasize that she picked Beidou, not The Crux; Ningguang’s collaboration with The Crux is, therefore, purely incidental.
Meanwhile, when Beidou hears the rumors about her dealings with Ningguang, she furiously insists that she collaborates with Ningguang on an equal footing: Beidou is her own boss and no one, not even Ningguang, is sitting in the background pulling the strings for her.
Beidou is certainly unique among Ningguang’s collaborators.
She does not tread carefully or show reverence in the way that most of them do. In fact, one could even say Beidou is sometimes at odds with Ningguang.
Ningguang’s advisers worry constantly that Beidou is too unpredictable and too much of a maverick. But Ningguang simply smiles and dismisses their concerns.
“On the contrary, Beidou is the most reliable person in Liyue,” she replies. “Just tell her the truth, as well as what’s in it for her, and she’ll come around in her own time.”
Character Story 4
Once, after disembarking from a long voyage, The Crux held its customary three-day celebratory banquet. It was a fall like any other before it — except for the new chef in town. This was Xiangling, the head chef-to-be of the Wanmin Restaurant.
Looking to keep costs down, they lured Xiangling onboard after meeting her on the streets, by hook and by crook. When she saw Beidou, Xiangling was dismayed, and let Beidou know this in no uncertain terms: “If you want to have Yue-style seafood, then I can’t agree to help you. I’ll have you know that I intend to transcend Liyue’s two warring culinary styles with my cooking…”
Beidou merely smiled and gestured to the chest of gold coins beside her: “Just do what you’re good at. We made quite a bit on our last run. How does a retainer of fifty thousand Mora sound?”
Not one to shy away for a chance to prove the worth of her cooking, Xiangling took the job.
When the day was done, Beidou was indeed won over by Xiangling’s skill. She declared in front of her crew that Xiangling would soon be a renowned chef throughout Liyue. She also insisted that they refer to her as “Madam Xiangling.”
Having only begun to make her name, Xiangling admired Beidou for her generosity with money and her direct personality. Thereafter, Xiangling would sail with Beidou often, looking for new and exotic seafood ingredients. She found herself surprised by Beidou’s vast knowledge of seafood and their culinary preparation, given how far she usually was from any kitchen.
Of course, that didn’t mean Xiangling would necessarily heed Beidou’s advice on whether something was edible or not…but that is a story for another time.
Character Story 5
Some say an object takes after its master.
Though it may not be a suitable description, The Crux crew does indeed take after Beidou, exhibiting the same qualities.
However, there are still secrets among the crew, spreading in places unnoticed by Beidou.
Her First Mate always takes new sailors out after their first safe return for drinks and fills them in on the details of an old story:
In the past, the crew went on a journey to brave the unknown seas and found itself at death’s door in a horrific storm.
At that time, Beidou stood on the deck behind the wheel, singing a Liyue fishermen’s song in the storm.
“…all the way until the waves died down and dawn broke on the far horizon…”
The First Mate often ends the story with this final line and a look of longing on his face.
As business grew and the crew expanded, more and more outrageously incredible details were added to the story, making the rookies worship Beidou like a goddess.
Pier Laborers’ Gossip
1. Facing a three-headed hydra of unrivaled girth, Beidou hurled forth her greatsword. Spinning in the air, it sliced clean through all three of the hydra’s vertebrae, before returning to her waiting hand.
2. Beidou has beaten Ningguang at chess. Twice. The important part is not so much that she did win Ningguang’s money, but more that she dared to.
3. Since the day she slew the sea monster Haishan, Beidou has never sung a fishermen’s shanty ever again.
4. Yes, Beidou knows shanties. But don’t you dare ask her that to her face. I mean, you know how that hydra ended up, don’t you…
Liyue and Inazuma share a common saying: “Its fins formed the ocean deep, its tail the mountains high.” The fishermen learned this phrase while ashore long ago, and sang it over and over, spreading the tune far and wide till it became the much-loved song people know today. Whenever the mists gather over the sea’s surface, one can hear the distant song of the fishermen hidden in the white shroud: “its fins formed the oceans deep, its tail the mountains high…”
This was Beidou’s childhood lullaby. The tale of Rex Lapis smiting the sea monsters had become legendary among the people of Liyue. As a child, Beidou loved tales like this, and in her dreams, she thought: One day, I want to see this big fish too.
This day, however, she sang this song with a different emotion in her heart. Her entire crew sang along as they sailed.
Haishan was in the waters with them — at once like a dragon and a fish, it was larger than any could have imagined in their worst nightmares, and mighty as a deity, raising waves dozens of meters high with ease.
All who ply their trade on the high seas are destined to meet Haishan eventually. Beidou had longed to do so since she was nine, dreaming of slicing its head off in a single blow.
Many times she had challenged the creature, and many times she had failed. But this day was different. This day she charged at Haishan with her best greatsword in hand, and crack sailors at her back.
The battle would rage fiercely for four days. With cannons and harpoons, arrows and ropes the fleet would assail Haishan, while Beidou battled the thusly tied-down creature for ten hours, well into the night.
Now, nighttime was when Haishan was in its element, and in their vigilance not a single member of the fleet dared sleep a wink. Beidou stood upon the prow, listening to the wind.
One strike. Just one strike. That was all she needed. And so she waited, unmoving, in the freezing wind.
Then, at the crack of dawn, having neither eaten nor drank throughout the night, Beidou heard a change in the sound of the waves.
With one almighty strike that sounded as if it could have sliced the moon in two or ripped a mountain from the face of the world, she chopped the leviathan’s head clean off!
The sound of thunder filled the heavens, and a single bolt of purple lightning struck the ocean right in front of Beidou, even as she bathed in the blood of her nemesis.
Thus descended a Vision to the slayer of the sea monster, its violet glow as stunning as lightning, and its immaculate, jeweled form a treasure more precious than dragon blood. A suitably divine gift for the hero who subdued Haishan.