martes, 10 de enero de 2017

THE NOVICE LIGHTBEARER'S COMPANION I

THE NOVICE LIGHTBEARER'S COMPANION
adapted from reliable sources by
DOUCELINE DE RABUTIN,
aka
SASHA MARGRAVIATI


CHAPTER ZERO
or,
ON THE POWER OF DREAMING

No matter how old we may be now, all of us were once young. The world was unexplored and exciting, full
of possibility. What we lacked in experience and wisdom, we made up for in possibility and enthusiasm.
We dreamed of fame, fortune, wealth, glory, respect. We wanted to be astronauts, cowboys, firemen,
doctors, singers, rock stars, or all of the above at once. After all, we didn’t know what was possible
– and that meant ANYTHING was possible. We looked at the world through guileless eyes, felt it as
fully and intensely as anyone ever could. When we came to a new idea, we embraced it zealously and
whole-heartedly, convinced we’d found the secret that would change the world. When we loved, we were
convinced it was the most passionate ever felt; when we hurt, we thought it was a tragedy the likes of
which had never been seen. We were convinced that we had the whole thing figured out, that we could
make everything perfect if we just had a chance, if the grown-ups would just listen. After all, we could
do anything if we put our mind to it. We were fearless. We couldn’t wait to grow up so we could grab
life by the horns.
And as we mature, we realize the follies of our youth. We learn that our love and pain are not unique,
that everyone in the world has gone through the same; this was comforting, but it was also disappointing.
We found out that there are no more cowboys, that we didn’t have the money or determination for medical
school, that we couldn’t pass the physical to be an astronaut or that becoming a famous musician is just
a matter of luck and we’d probably have to get a job doing something boring, even worse, something
LAME. We learned that growing up isn’t about suddenly being able to do everything you ever wanted;
it’s mostly about learning how stupid you were when you were young. We learned from our mistakes
and shook our heads, wondering how we could ever be dumb enough to make them in the first place.
Our potential was replaced with reality. We found out that no, life wasn’t going to be an open book for
us. We become jaded, we figure out we’re not that special, that the things we love aren’t really the best
things in the universe, that our fresh new ideas had been tried before a thousand times. Our fearlessness
turned out to be recklessness, so we cast it aside. We weren’t going to change the world, we were just
going to live in it.
Yet even after learning this, we still long for the fire and passion of our youths. Yes, we know that
we’re not that special and yes, we know the things we believed were silly... but wouldn’t it be nice if
they weren’t? The promises of our youth could never be fulfilled... but it still felt good to think they
could, right?
They can. We didn’t get wiser when we grew up, we just became more cynical. We weren’t stupid
back then, and our greatest mistake, our only mistake, was telling ourselves that we were. We stopped
putting all of our selves into everything we did because we became too afraid of failing, of letting ourselves
get hurt by the effort. So we told ourselves that trying was silly. We abandoneabandoned the dreams we had
rather than see them fail. We gave in to our fears.
And now it’s time to overcome them.


A Game of Fighting Fear
Princess: The Hopeful is a game about the promises of our youth fulfilled, inspired by the “maho shoujo”
or “magical girl” genre of Japanese anime and manga. Princes and Princesses are those who haven’t
given in to that fear of inadequacy and failure. They come from a world unlike the World of Darkness,
a better world, a kinder world, a just world. They come from the world we all wished we could make
before we knew it was impossible – and they seek to prove us wrong. A better world wasn’t impossible,
and it still isn’t. As a Princess, power isn’t a gift to you, it’s a responsibility.

You can fix problems
There’s too much we just resign ourselves to. We say, “That’s just the way it is,” and live with the pain.
You don’t have to. You can do things, real things, to solve people’s problems. You don’t have to feel
frustrated. You can be their white knight against the cruel world. Few people have the power to do this
and the chance to see the world work the way we think it should is too tempting to pass up.

But some problems don't want to be fixed
Life is a Gordian knot. There’s not always an easy way to do things, even against apparently supernatural
threats. People are complicated and confused. They will often act against their best interests without
thinking. Many insist on the Status Quo because they know how to live with the Status Quo, and
something new makes all of their supposed wisdom worthless.

Because doing good can be terrifying
An angel is another kind of monster. Those who do what they believe is right, relentlessly, unapologetic,
frequently frightening those around them. It’s understandable – you have power and they don’t. No
matter how kind you try and be, you’re taking the decision out of their hands. Not everybody will be
thankful. Many will try to destroy you or chain you down. They might be right. They might be wrong.
To act, you need the resolution to decide what is what and many will call that inhuman.

And sometimes the good guys can't win
You’re powerful, but you aren’t all powerful. You can’t be every where at once. You can’t account for
simple bad luck. No matter how much you want to believe otherwise, you can and will fail. People will
die. People will suffer. And because you’re in the thick of it, you’re going to feel their pain worse than
if you stayed at home and turned on the TV. Doing the right thing can be a trial without end.

But you can't walk away. Because sometimes they do
Blissful ignorance is no longer an option. You can’t hide behind the excuse that there’s nothing you
can do. And sensitive to the hearts of others, you can’t shut out their pain – or their joy. Those rare
moments of beauty and happiness are what make the fight worth it. You need to protect that, because
without those occasions of hope, life is not worth living. Once your eyes are open to that fact, it’s hard to shut them again.

Nothing will be the same
The world will never be the same after you. You are going to change things, even if you’re too small for
the cosmos to notice just yet. You’re a force of chaos, shaking people from the sleep they’ve been in.
Once you start performing your little miracles, people will take notice. Living with and for others means
you can’t always be discreet. You’re different. You’re not playing by the rules anymore. You’re laying
down new rules and once people understand them, they’ll try and exploit them, like they did with the
old rules. You are a revolutionary force.

You'll just have to find out for yourself
In the end, a world of darkness is a world of possibilities. Many of them are not pleasant – we’ve spent
millennia creating societies of light expressly out of fear of them. Under the blanket of night lies an
undiscovered country. It might be empty, waiting for you to build your own palaces. It might be flush
with danger, patiently lying just out of sight. And it might be hiding the very treasures we’ve thought
were impossible. The darkness, the shadows, the occult – it is like Pandora’s box. In it might lay evils
we can’t imagine. But slam the lid too fast and you lock away Hope forever.

Theme: Fighting Fear
Princess is a game about making a difference. A Princess can defeat the monster, she can win the
election and start instituting reforms, she can rescue the cute boy. However to do it she’s going to have
to face her fears. The monster isn’t a harmless creature from a Saturday morning cartoon: death is a
real possibility, serious injuries are likely, nightmares are almost inevitable. The election isn’t won with
a short speech about hope, it’s a dirty campaign where her good name is viscously dragged through the
mud. Sometimes the hardest part about being a hero is just ignoring how embarrassing it is to stand
up for what you believe in when everyone says you’re wrong. A Princess can save the day, but she’s
probably going to have to stare down her own nightmares to do it.


CHAPTER THE FIRST:
NOBLESSE OBLIGE
or,
IN WHICH WE BREAK THE ICE A LITTLE AT A TIME

The Light and the Dark
That’s the thing about morality, it’s complicated. Sages and philosophers have debated for thousands of
years to answer the simplest of questions. “What is good?”, “What is evil?” But is morality always so
complicated? Are there not easier questions to ask? For every tough question like “Is it justified to kill
one to save five?” is there not an easier question like “Is it justified to kill another for your own personal
profit?”
Ask any of the Nobility and they will tell you that of course there is such a thing as objective good
and evil. To the Radiant the world they inhabit makes this as clear as daylight. A Princess draws her
magic from the Light. A force created by love, friendship, by effort to improve the world or just effort to
help a stranger out. The Light probably isn’t the absolute axis for all that is good but if it could think
you could say it’s making a sincere effort to reach that exalted height. For the Nobility this is enough to
point at for proof that good really does exist, because what Princesses compare the Light to is the Dark.
The Dark is the Light’s opposite in every way. It is a force of banal corruption; it festers where
people commit acts of cruelty and inflict suffering on each other. Everything it touches is tainted with
its own nature. If left unchecked it would cause an unending torrent of corruption until the Dark finally
succumbed to its own nature and starved upon an empty wasteland. The scholars among the Nobility
are divided upon one key question about the Dark. Its origins. Some say that it is a dreadful alien being
attacking our world through humanity’s cruelties for it’s own sustenance. Others say that we ourselves
are the Dark’s true origin, our sins created it and we shall forever be haunted by our crimes until such
a day as we rise above them.
The contrast between Light and Dark is something every Noble is glad for. For as much as she looks
to the Light, even the Nobility live somewhere between Light and Dark. Sooner or later every Princess
will have to make some tough moral choices; it comes with the job. On a bad day a Princess could find
herself trapped for an unconscionable time with no clear answers. Struggling to stitch together some
semblance of a moral solution to an impossible problem. On those days the existence of the Light can
be the only thing reminding them that good exists and it is worth fighting for.

The Kingdom's Fall
When the Nobility speak of the Kingdom they refer to at least eight sovereign nations: Crystal Heril was one of them. There are others, but their names, histories and even their existence are debated with little consensus.
Each lived the ideals of the Light in their own way, guided by the Queen who ruled them. None were
perfect but by all accounts they were fantastic places to live. Prosperous, just, kind, and peaceful.
Yet for all its Light the Kingdom did not last forever. Even in a world of Light some things are
universal, one is the necessity of compromise. A land of individual freedom must accept a lack of organisation as its due. Each of the Queens chose what they deemed to be good and accepted the cost.
In time they forgot that this was a choice of preference and believed they alone had chosen the one true
way. In their own way each turned rigid and dogmatic; from this simple Vice the Darkness gained its
first foothold in its eternal war against the Kingdom.
The Kingdoms rallied and drove the Darkness back to whatever terrible domain it came from as they
had done countless times before but this time they were blinded by their dogma. Small traces of Taint
were overlooked, festering as “inevitable drawbacks” of the Light’s civilisation. Rotting away in secret
the Darkness began to grow within the heart of the Kingdom. Its attacks became more frequent, more
destructive, and every time it was defeated the same growing rot remained unnoticed. In the end the
Darkness broke over the Kingdom like a tidal wave, the armies were routed and the nations fell, still trying
to understand how the Darkness’ presence was even possible.
Today little remains of the Kingdom. The domains of the five Radiant Queens live on in the
Dreamlands, but the warping Gales make it hard to tell how accurate a portrayal those dreams are.

The Long Night and the Dream
The Darkness cannot create, it can only corrupt. This was always its greatest weakness. Among those
who were Tainted by the Darkness during the Fall were three mighty creatures, one of them known as the White Queen: the avatar of self-loathing.
These creatures knew the Light intimately, they knew that even as the Darkness turned upon itself the
Light would ready itself to build something new and wonderful to reclaim its place.
Guided by the Darkness’ instinctive opposition to the Light the three constructed a trap deep
within the Dreamlands: A mirror to reflect the Light of the world. The trap tricked the souls of the
Nobility travelling towards reincarnation and drew them away from Earth. They incarnated within the
Dreamlands where wonderful and elabourate illusions clouded their minds; letting them believe they
lived and did their duties on Earth even while the centuries ticked away.
The Radiant call this period of history “The Long Night”and the trap that held them is simply called
“The Dream”. For much of human history the Radiant hardly had any presence at all. Reincarnations
have always formed the vast majority of the Nobility and with the reincarnations locked away anyone
who Blossomed was most likely alone and untrained. If they were lucky a group of friends might Blossom
togeather. They would do what they can, but standing alone there was little chance of changing the
world.
Only the Twilight Queens created any form of continuity for the Nobility during the Long Night. The Queen of Mirrors searched for her True Heir. The Twilight Queens were a temptation to the Princesses who Blossomed during the Long Night, but they were a
temptation because they were so vital. The only constant source of support a young Princess could turn
to.

The War of Hope
In July 1969 mankind first set foot on the moon. The hope released by this single event was so great
that for the briefest instant the Light shone brighter on Earth than it did in the Dreamlands. In a flash
every soul trapped within knew that they were not on Earth as they believed. The five Queens mustered
their armies against their jailors and shattered the machinery of their prison. Their victory was swift
and brutal; after millennia of imprisonment the Kingdom was once again free.
The effects were far from instantaneous. The first reincarnated Princess to once again Blossom was
in 1987 and the second was not until 1994. No one is even sure if the commoners of the Kingdom
reincarnate at all but no one has turned up with accurate memories of a past life in the Kingdom so far.
Today the Nobility are still small in number but they’re growing fast with multiple Blossomings a
year. At this point they are a minor force in the world but have had some noticeable successes in areas
where Princesses are common; Blossomings have shown a tendency towards geographical clustering. The
first generation of Princesses have now reached middle age and many have gained positions of prestige
and influence. In doing so they have caused a backlash from established power blocks, both mortal and
otherwise. The Twilight Queens have also experienced a renaissance; each was active through the Long
Night and were perfectly placed to take advantage of the release. New and vulnerable Princesses have
been eagerly snapped up by all three sides, including that of Mirrors, which happens to have recruited yours truly as well as the dear reader of this text.
As the saying goes, we live in interesting times.

Blossoming
The majority of Blossomings occur in times of great stress and change in one’s life. The youngest age
that it has been observed is the onset of puberty, but this is rare, and many consider this a mercy,
because one so young is ill-equipped, mentally and physically, to deal with the stresses of the life of a
Noble. Perhaps the Light is aware that its warriors require a certain maturity to handle the powers it
grants, or perhaps one must have a clear enough conceptualisation of one’s self to be able to transform.
Whatever the reason, there are several broad age-bands in which Blossoming commonly occurs. The
first of these is from the mid-to-late teens as the individual establishes their own social identity and
goes through the stresses of education. Such Princesses frequently (though, sadly, not always) have their
parents as passive support but must suffer problems with their task and how it interacts with their youth
and the demands that society places upon them. Not too many people are pleased with their teenage
children sneaking out, whether we're talking about mother hens or education papas like the parents of yours truly. At a slightly older age there are the young adults, typically at university or just entering
the workplace (Yours truly is part of this group, being a university student at twenty-four). In some ways they are luckier, because they do not have to face the fact that they’re not legally adults; on the other hand, many a Princess has lost her job or been forced to drop out of university due to the stresses and demands of her calling, and unlike younger ones, they don’t have the same safety net of family, which means that the issue of rent and bills starts to come up. In recent years, though, there have started to crop up the first few cases of elder Blossoming. The causes of these Blossomings appear to be diverse indeed and can be anywhere from moving to a new place, falling in love, a messy divorce, pregnancy or becoming a parent, and onsets of mental sickness. Such older individuals frequently have other responsibilities, and try hard to try to cling onto their old life.
And as for the traits that prompt a Blossoming? The Hopeful are even less sure. The individual
must not be a creature of the Darkness - but, then again, a few spontaneous Blossomings have been
noted among individuals who, of their own free will, managed to cast off the taint. Individuals with
the Virtue of Hope, despite the name, do not Blossom in noticeably more numbers than individuals
with other Virtues; nor do the Vices seem to have an overall effect. A common theme among Nobles
interviewed has been this: when faced with adversity they chose to respond in a way that reaffirmed their
conscience or faced down something which would have threatened either themselves or others. Many
report a feeling that they could ”never forgive themselves” if they had acted any other way, as if they
would be very disappointed in themselves. In almost all cases, the Blossoming can be linked back to
a single ”stress point”, a single reaction which either immediately, or over the course of days or weeks,
led to the Blossoming, although among some of the youngest of the Enlightened appear to lack such a
critical event. Such a point is usually linked to their Calling; a Troubadour might inspire her friends to
stand up to bullies and over the next few weeks, start to have odd dreams, or might be beaten up
while trying to rally their fellow immigrant workers against oppressive employers, and in a flare of blinding
light suddenly straighten up in the garb of a knight of old (Yours truly became a Troubadour while getting through an intense personal crisis). No matter the precise trigger, though, Princesses are frequently idealistic or visionaries in some way, although that does not necessarily correlate with naivety; one can be aware of the flaws of the world and still want to improve it. In the end, all that the Hopeful have been able to detect among the circumstances which granted their powers are broad trends and patterns. Almost inevitably, there will be an exception to any rule they devise.

Transformation
From the moment she Blossoms every Princess has the ability to Transform. With the simplest effort she
pushes her dreams and aspirations outwards from her soul. They flow through her body, transforming
her into the woman she always wanted to be.
The Nobility often tell each other that Princesses don’t do magic; they are magical and Transformation
is the proof. In her mundane identity a Princess is hardly recognisable as having any magic at all, but
in her transformed identity... Ah, what a difference that is. Magic flows through her body; it is on the
level of blood or bone. Her magic makes her stronger, more charismatic, or smarter.
Even her personality is different, but not by much. Part of it is the just the natural result of her
magic: She is more confident because she is more capable, she makes more witty remarks because she
can think of them faster. Other changes come from the Transformation itself though nothing important
changes. Both of her two selves are fundamentally Her. The changes are little things, she uses different
phrases and expressions to say the same concepts, her mannerisms are different. Like the changes to her
physical body these changes are an expression of the person she wishes to be, drawn from her innermost
hopes and made physical by her magic.

Belief
The mind of a Princess is at heart not so different from that of any other person. Yet there are important
differences, one of the most important is how a Princess relates to morality.
For a Princess morality is not just a question of knowing what is right or wrong. The burden of
Sensitivity forces every Princess to confront the world’s ills. Faced with ugly underbelly of humanity, all
that is immoral, a Princess needs more than just an awareness of what is right and what is wrong. She
needs a strengh of conviction, that the world can imporvoe, that she can help the world improve.
This is Belief and it is from Belief that a Princess’ power flows.
Sensitivity
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. It tosses and turns in the dark of night, weighed down by
all the worlds ills. All power comes with a price and for a Princess that price is Sensitivity.
Sensitivity is at heart nothing more than a supercharged form of simple empathy. We all react to
other people’s emotions; when someone is happy, or angry, or hurt we feel something in ourselves. Among
Princesses this reaction is stronger, but it’s more than that. To a Princess emotions are magic. When a
princess basks in friendship or gratitude her magic replenishes, and when she is exposed to the worst of
human emotions, to wilful cruelty, her own magic turns against her.
As a Princess’ magic grows her Sensitivity can quite literally make life unbearable. Simply walking
among people batters her with every cruelty, each and every one becomes her personal responsibility. If
she is strong enough she can bear the weight, helping to undo the damage she feels makes it all bearable
and perhaps one day she will find relief in a brigher future. And as for those who cannot bear the weight,
their only choice is to run and hide. Stick to the quiet hours, find a nice walled palace or quiet village
somewhere away from all the pain and cruelty.

Belief
The mind of a Princess is at heart not so different from that of any other person. Yet there are important
differences, one of the most important is how a Princess relates to morality.
For a Princess morality is not just a question of knowing what is right or wrong. The burden of
Sensitivity forces every Princess to confront the world’s ills. Faced with ugly underbelly of humanity, all
that is immoral, a Princess needs more than just an awareness of what is right and what is wrong. She
needs a strengh of conviction, that the world can imporvoe, that she can help the world improve.
This is Belief and it is from Belief that a Princess’ power flows.
Sensitivity
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. It tosses and turns in the dark of night, weighed down by
all the worlds ills. All power comes with a price and for a Princess that price is Sensitivity.
Sensitivity is at heart nothing more than a supercharged form of simple empathy. We all react to
other people’s emotions; when someone is happy, or angry, or hurt we feel something in ourselves. Among
Princesses this reaction is stronger, but it’s more than that. To a Princess emotions are magic. When a
princess basks in friendship or gratitude her magic replenishes, and when she is exposed to the worst of
human emotions, to wilful cruelty, her own magic turns against her.
As a Princess’s magic grows, her Sensitivity can quite literally make life unbearable. Simply walking
among people batters her with every cruelty, each and every one becomes her personal responsibility. If
she is strong enough she can bear the weight, helping to undo the damage she feels makes it all bearable
and perhaps one day she will find relief in a brigher future. And as for those who cannot bear the weight,
their only choice is to run and hide. Stick to the quiet hours, find a nice walled palace or quiet village
somewhere away from all the pain and cruelty.

Shadows
Shadows are the painful product of Sensitivity. The result of a Princess not merely seeing cruelties, but
taking them into one’s own heart. A cancerous train of thought that can grow and spread its tendrils through her mind. A Princess with Shadows upon her soul not only feels sympathy for the cruelties she
witnesses, but internalises them. She suffers flashbacks; at the worst moments she remembers the event
that created shadows and feels her confidence fade. If she couldn’t help then, why should she expect
to do better now? These thoughts become self fufilling: Because she feels lesser, her magic becomes
lesser. It can too easily become the beginning of a vicious cycle: The Princess believes she cannot help,
therefore her magic weakens, therefore she has trouble helping people, therefore she believes she cannot
help.
It is fortunate then, that so many Princesses cultivate friendships and allies who can help them
recover.

Wisps
A Wisp is a physical measure of magic, a feeling, and emotional energy. To a Princess the three can
sometimes be hard to tell apart. At heart the purpose of a Wisp is a simple one; it is the fuel she burns
to power her magic. When a Princess is full of Wisps she is raring to go, and when she is out of Wisps
she feels empty. There’s a hollow gap in her soul, her emotions are distant and muted.
By connecting with what’s important: her friends, her family, her calling, a Princess can create new
Wisps deep within herself. She remembers why life matters, what she fights for, and that feeling fills the
gap in her soul. Her emotions return, pure, bright and beautiful. She’s ready to face the new day.

Invocations
Every Princesses makes use of Invocations. So long as a Queen exists, her philosophies resonate through
the souls of everybody who shares her ideals. Through their connection to the Light this resonance
allows Princesses draw upon a measure of the Queen’s magic. Through their shared values she feels
the reassurance of knowing a trusted authority supports her actions and through her shared values
she channels the magical power of the Queen. Both emotionally and magically her Invocation forges a
stronger Charm.
For the Sworn the importance of an Invocation is even greater. With no Inner Light of their own the
Sworn draw upon their Queen’s magical power as a substitute. The magic of a Queen resonating within
the Sworn who share her Philosophies is enough to, well, make the difference between a Mortal and a
Sworn.

Invoking Charms
What does it feel like for a Princess to use her Charms or draw power from her Invocation? The first
thing to say is that to the Radiant magic does not feel fundamentally different to their mundane talents.
A Charm that lets her take on another’s appearance might feel like she’s an actress getting into character.
A Charm that unlocks new ways of seeing doesn’t feel like she’s gotten a sixth or seventh sense, but
that she’s started to notice things she never paid attention to before. Even blatant magical effects like
learning to fly don’t feel that different to, say, learning to swim.
A Charm can feel like a mental trick she performs in her own head, an attitude she applies to a
problem, a new physical ability that came with practice like learning to cross your middle and index fingers. It
could feel like anything; the only constant is that there is always some emotion behind her Charm (though
truth be told there’s nearly always an emotion behind anything a Princess does), it’s not always the same
emotion behind the same Charm. Simply that, a Princess must Believe and Feel in her actions for the
magic to flow. A Charm that will cause vines to burst forth and entwine her foes will only function if
she wants to trap her foes on an emotional level. Which emotions she feels will flavour the Charm: The
vines will be more vicious and visibly threatening against a foe she hates and wishes to entwine in battle
than when she Invokes the charm with the excitement of a tough but enjoyable practice match.
As for the Invocations, they are a magnification of something we’ve all felt. Of how our Beliefs and
conviction give us strength. When we fight to save someone we love our love gives us strength, and when a Princess fights to save someone she loves the Invocation focuses those same feelings
into her magic making her strength all the greater.

Learning New Charms
One of the first things a Princess learns is that she does not do magic. She is Magical. In their
Transformed identity the Nobility do not experience a clear separation between their magical and
mundane abilities. An observer might see a Princess jump to avoid a blade then throw a fireball, and
conclude that the jump was mundane while the fireball was magical. Yet to the Princess they wouldn’t
feel that different. She chose to jump and her body reacted, she chose to throw fire and her body
reacted. No speaking in Enochian, no need to memorise arcane principles of correspondence or chant
spells in her head. The observer might even be wrong; if the Princess put all her hopes and Belief into
that jump it could be a more magical action than throwing fire.
So, if magic is not a skill what does it feel like to learn a new Charm? A new magical ability already
exists within the Princess as raw potential; she only has to discover it and practice it until it becomes
second nature. All of us have the potential to read a foreign language if we practice then, over time, we
no longer see meaningless symbols. We look at the page and see meaning. Even if that’s not actually
supernatural it is amazing enough that it deserves to be called magical.
Learning a Charm is much the same. A Princess might have the ability to sense Ghosts but not to
see them, so she practices interpreting her senses until she no longer feels a ghost as a picking on the
back of her neck. The symbols are now meaning, she sees the Ghost as clear as you or me. Charms often
don’t come from a deliberate attempt to produce a specific effect either. A Princess comes across a new
problem and tries to solve it, sometimes the solution she reaches is a new Charm: She cannot defeat a
Darkspawn in combat so she returns to her Palace to practice her swordsmanship. As she experiments
and tries new things she might realise that the deft twist of her wrist she just stumbled upon will slip
under her opponents guard, or she might come upon a strike that sets her blade alight.

The Dreamlands
Within her dreams a Princess travels beyond her mind and into the very soul of humanity. Within
the Dreamlands the hopes and aspirations of mankind take life, and they form beautiful vistas
with all the incomprehensible forms of a dream. The Dreamlands are more than just a metaphor; they
are a true world. The inhabitants have lives, hopes and dwell in functional societies. Many Princesses
are surprised to discover something so ordinary amongst dreams and flights of fancy, but is it really so
surprising than a Princess’ dreams would form after how she sees the world? For the Princess who cares
so much about friendship and community when she is awake, what else would she dream about?
Travelling to the Dreamlands offers many practical advantages to a Princess; she can find friends
and mentors among the population including the Radiant Queens. Objects of power, often created and
traded by Dreamlanders, can be formed into Bequests. However the Dreamlands is not just frolicking
and sunshine; it contains all of humankind’s anxieties as well as its hopes and dreams; and it was once
used by the Darkness to construct a trap for the souls of the Kingdom. Though the trap is broken it’s
creaky machinery and the remnant of the prison’s old wardens still seek to imprison the Enlightened in
a blissful dream.

Culture
The Nobility are really good at community; in the short time since the Release a sprawling culture has
grown across a network of blogs, forums and social networking sites. The Hopeful community covers
more than just Princesses; Beacons and Sworn are welcome and even ordinary people can often be found
on the comment threads. The online Radiant community is hardly a walled garden; it spills forth onto
related subjects. Princesses can often be found blogging about and arguing in forums related to politics,
current affairs, activism and social justice. Many blogs or forums are considered to be both hubs of the Radiant community – for the author or prominent members are Princesses – and considered to be
ordinary websites by their mundane viewers – for the Princesses are still in the closet (at least under
this username).
Many Princesses eagerly flock to debates about occult theory or magical phenomena, but on this
subject the Nobility often retreat to their own private communities for a Princess talking about her
emotional variety of magic often causes her to clash with both mortals – who eagerly latch onto occult
principles (accurate or otherwise) to make up for the fact they cannot perform magic – and actual
magicians – for whom occult principles form the foundation of their power – some young and naive
princesses have caught the attention of experienced magicians who simply recognised the way they talk
and think about magic.
Inevitably debates between so many young, passionate ideologues often descends into a morass of
arguments. Since Princesses are almost invariably socially competent these arguments are, if not
productive, at least good at getting Princesses to think from multiple points of view. People often
wonder how Princesses, a group who live by the maxim “School, friends, royal duties, sleep, choose
three” ever find the time to argue on the internet. In truth it’s common for Princesses to vanish
entirely from their online community when an actual problem comes to their town; lives have even been
saved because somebody decided check up why a someone stopped posting.
Perhaps the most practical use of the Princess’ online culture is when it move offline; regional meet
ups are common enough and even international get togethers can be held in an easily reached location
within the Dreamlands. These events help build a Princess’ collection of emergency phone numbers.

Queens
It is not known exactly how many Queens and Kings once ruled the Kingdom, of this unknown number
only eight still have the power to affect the world. Of these eight, five are dead (the Radiant), and one is presumed to be living (our own one and only HIEROPHANT QUEEN). Collectively the five dead Queens are known as the Radiant, for they remain loyal to the light in spirit as well as in word, for centuries the Radiant Queens were trapped deep within the Dreamlands, but now their trap has fallen. From their Palaces within the Dreamlands they call out to Princesses, seeking Hopeful agents who will restore the Light upon Earth.
Queens are as far beyond Princesses as a Princess is beyond a mortal. Each Queen is a living (or
otherwise, these days) font of magic. Her Beliefs have become a coloured mirror that shines additional
Light onto the world; everyone who shares her ideals can draw upon the Queen’s Invocation to gain
greater power or unlock new abilities that they would not otherwise have been possible.
But Queens are more than a source of magic. They are people who have built and won the hearts of
nations. As governors and politicians they were perhaps the very best in all of history; their Kingdoms
may have fallen but all kingdoms fall in time, few were utopias at their apex. As mentors and teachers
Queens have more to often than a young Princess could imagine.

Campaigns
Princesses may spend most of their time disagreeing with each other about how to improve the world,
and even about what a better world would even look like, but in the face to a true emergency they are
quick to put their differences aside and unite behind a Campaign.
A Campaign always starts when Princesses face a large problem where the solution is obvious and
unambiguous to the Radiant. In a long career a Princess might see Campaigns against large Darkspawn
incursions or to rebuild after natural disasters but not for more complicated problems where every
political ideology has it’s own mutually opposing solution.
The concept of a Campaign is well known, and most begin deliberately. Princesses announce that
there will be a meeting in a Queen’s palace (usually the Queen of Hearts) at a certain time and see if
enough people turn up. It is generally considered a bad sign if only one Noble starts trying to arrange a
Campaign, if a problem doesn’t convince several Nobles they need to start a campaign it is unlikely to
convince a large group of Nobles they should join a campaign.

A Queen’s palace not chosen just because it’s a convenient meeting point, the gathered Radiant ask
the Queen to select a Campaign’s leader and officers. Even Princesses with an ideological commitment to
democracy, and there are a lot of them, usually agree that if a Queen can’t pick a leader who’s acceptable
to everyone then this issue isn’t the sort of direct problem suitable for a campaign and it would be better
for Nobles to work on solving the issue in their own way than spend their time arguing about how to
solve the issue.
A Campaign rarely formally end when it achieves it’s aim. Usually the leader begin expanding the
Campaign’s scope and ideology, after the Darkspawn are chased out she turns to improving things to
prevent new Taint forming. Once this happens Princesses who disagree with the new direction quickly
depart, usually the Court of Spades leave first and serve as the proverbial canary in the coal mine. This
happens so often that it’s a running joke among the Radiant. Campaigns that do formally disband
after achieving their aims often announce their end with a bombastic speech announcing the radical new
direction they’ll take. It’s not unusual for the Princesses who didn’t depart a completed Campaign to
become a Nakama, but it’s a worrying sign when a Princess insists she is still the leader after everyone’s
departed or tries to prevent people from leaving
Principalities
In the slang of the Nobility a Principality once refereed to organisations run by a Princess, over time this
definition has become looser and can now be used to refer to any organisation where the Princess has
notable status or influence, or even an organisation where a Princess is working hard to acquire influence.
As Princesses consider themselves human and part of human society rather than any secret Noble
society Principalities are most commonly regular mortal institutions: Any type of organisation can be
a Principality. They include public corporations with a charitable ethos, voluntary groups, government
bodies, law enforcement, music producers, and more.
In size Principalities range just as widely as they do in structure. At their smallest you’ll find groups
with less than ten members such as Champions more interested in leading a cell of mortal monster
hunters against the Darkness than performing with the local Troubadours or a pub that serves as the
hub of the local community. At their largest Principalities can work on an international scale. However
despite speculation that every popular public figure is the mundane identity of a Princess most large
Principalities are of the “working hard to acquire influence ” verity.
While acquiring a Principality is a common Aspiration for Princesses of any Court or Calling Graces
are notably the most likely Calling to seek out their own Principality. Among the Queens it is unsurprisingly
the Court of Hearts who are most interested. A Heart of any Calling is as likely to be involved in a
Principality as a Grace of any other Court. After the Court of Hearts, the Court of Diamonds is the
second most interested
Typically the membership of a Principality skewed heavily towards the mundane members, this is
not because Princesses avoid Noble rivals for influence, quite the contrary, it is simply because regular
mortals are far more common than Princesses, Sworn and Beacons combined. To the Nobility (remark that the author is referring to the Radiant Nobility) a bias towards fellow Princesses is seen as low behaviour befitting only the Court of Mirrors, and so even though most Princesses do have such a bias (from a moral perspective Blossoming is a very accurate judge of character though Princesses may fall from grace later in life, and magical abilities are a useful advantage to any organisation) they still gladly accept mortals into their employment. After that numbers alone ensure that all but the smallest Principality where it’s feasible to make the entire Membership Sworn will soon be full of regular mortals.
Conflict between Principalities is inevitable. They often compete for resources or have fundamentally
opposed methods or goals.

Language
The Hopeful are for the most part a young culture and even the parts of it that regularly communicate
don’t have any formal body to standardise language. While there is a linguistic legacy that predates
the Release, three in fact: One is in the Royal Tongue (which many Princesses find cumbersome, or just
annoying) another is in Alhambran (which many Radiant refuse to use on principle), the third comes
from the Embassy to the Dreamlands (which is specialised and relatively obscure). Consequently the
Radiant use a fast changing system of slang, memes and technical terms that vary across geographical
regions and even parts of the internet. The language of the Radiant is young enough that most words
can easily be traced back to their origin. The following terms are usually used by Princesses in the
anglosphere, having been spread across that portion of the internet. Some of the more specific terms are
unique to American Princesses.
The tradition of naming Queens after playing cards came early after Princesses searched for an
alternative to the Queen’s titles in the Royal Tongue. The Queen of Diamonds suggested “The Queen of
Diamonds” (as well as “The Crystal-Eyed One”) as a two very rough summaries of her most important
titles. One of the Princesses present at the time started referring to the other Queens with different
playing cards, since none of the other Queens had made English suggestions yet (or been asked yet,
this happened quite early) it stuck. There are actually several alternative card based naming schemes,
most attempt to try and match the Queens to card based symbolism. Either through their invocation’s
element or by trying to match their character to a feudal class. Neither are popular, partly because
the symbolism doesn’t work too well, partly because if the symbolism of playing cards has any useful
magical property it’s for non-Princess magic, and partly because the Queen of Diamonds prefers to be
called the Queen of Diamonds. The common system is found throughout the English speaking world.
Different naming schemes can be found elsewhere, but it is more common for each Queen to offer a set
of unrelated rough translations into the local language.
Italian words can often trace their origin to the Queen of Heart’s earliest followers in the United
Kingdom; Influenced by Andartan culture those Princesses chose to use a romance language, and since they didn’t
want to use French; Princesses everywhere sprinkle their magic with Italian terms.
Greek and Latin words both share origins in the Court of Diamonds; the early Lights were the first
to attempt to begin classifying and studying hopeful magic and related phenomena. This project was
split between those who were more influenced by their Queen and wanted to use Greek and those who
were more influenced by human academia and wanted to use Latin. The argument was never settled and various words from both languages have become part of the Princess lexicon, mostly for things
a Princess can go a while without encountering as everything else was named through informal, and
therefore faster, channels. Exceptionally nerdy Princesses sometimes use Greek instead of the Latin
terms or Latin instead of the Greek, and Latin or Greek instead of English, Italian and Japanese terms.
The Embassy to the Dreamlands, perhaps the only lasting Radiant organisation to exist through the
Long Night, tended to use names taken from people both living, Dreamlander and even fictional (note
that the three are rarely distinct categories). Few of these terms are still in use.
Finally English is, obviously, the de-facto language of English-speaking Princesses. Anything that
did not get a catchy enough name quickly enough is likely to be in English. One unusual fact about English is that many Princesses adopt a more “royal” manner of speaking in their Transformed identity, which is to say a British accent ranging from “BBC English” to “not even The Queen lays it on that thick”. Princesses who are actually from the United Kingdom usually use their natural accent, though as the British will parody anything some have been known to play up, or adopt, incomprehensible regional accents.
Given that yours truly speaks RP untransformed, she has adopted a French accent for her transformed English, as well as a Scanian accent to replace her usual Gothenburg Swedish, and another French accent for her RTVE Spanish and Catalan...





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