jueves, 16 de marzo de 2017

CRYSTAL HERIL - BEFORE THE FALL

Chapter One: The Pre-Twilight Courts

Nightfall
The Kingdom is good. The Kingdom is the Light. Should it fall, then so too does light…for a time. The Light’s ability is unique, the ability to create anew when nothing else is left. Perhaps the same goes for the Kingdoms too, that they can be remade and make the world shine brilliantly.

At least, that’s what they were supposed to do.


The Darkness knew of the Light’s nature, and constructed a trap in the Dreamlands with the help of three beings who were once intimate to the Light. These avatars of the darkness were the gods amongst the tides of Darkspawn. Although not all light can be devoured by a black hole, and in the same way did some light escape the Fall. They have survived the Fall and existed through the Long Night.


Now how did these courts live in the Kingdom’s time?


The Road of Twilight
The Twilight Courts have existed since time immemorial, defying the Fall by escaping or fighting through it. The Queen of Storms had ripped her own body apart before doing the same unto the Darkness, becoming her own Invocation and gestalt soul by the virtue of her dead soldiers. The Queen of Mirrors ran from the Fall, unable to bear a nation’s burdens on her shoulders, instead pursuing a vision of the True Heir: the one who can save everyone and restore the Kingdom.

But this still doesn’t answer how these Queens existed in the Kingdom, or even if they were always like this. Would the Queen of Tears' actions be truly necessary in the World of Lightt?



The Court of Mirrors
Finally, the Court of Mirrors. The Hierophant Queen searches onward for the True Heir, someone to save everyone and restore the Kingdom. The Invocation she holds is Specchio, the magic of the True Heir that drives her Nobles to the greatest of heights and has also lead to their cackling downfall to madness.

Simply put, everything about the Queen of Mirrors is enigmatic. Her Kingdom, her Court, everything known of her is but a fairy tale she tells of crystal towers and looking glasses. Even whether she is a Twilight Queen or not is a subject of debate and division in the Radiant. Perhaps the most stunning and signature of Specchio’s charms is the ability to predict the future with crystal clear accuracy. It also carries the ability to bend space and time, an aspect that intrigues members of Diamonds. However, what is known for sure is that deep lie bequests of mirrors and spyglasses, enchanted with the Lost Invocation of Pentacolo. Their charms lead you down the right path. There have been attempts to bring forth the Queen of Mirrors to answer these queries, but she never picks up the call. After all, the only ones qualified to speak to her are her prospective True Heirs.

The Road to Dawn
There are so many questions to the Twilight Courts. How they’ve existed during the Kingdom, what precious bits of lore they have of what was before the Fall.
In short, many of the lucky who were able to find some lore of the subjects,
could easily piece together that the Twilight Courts were once Radiant Courts in the time of the Fall. But during it, they became Twilight and thus their Invocations changed to reflect that. This is the telling of the Twilight Courts’ precursors: the Pre-Twilight Courts.

Queen of Pentacles

AKA: The Hierophant Queen, The Quicksilver Regent, The Gazer of the Beyond
Follower’s Epithets: Priest, Priestess, Prophets, Judges
Kingdom: Crystal Heril
People aren’t afraid of the future. Yes, the future is uncertain and little speaks of what it holds. However, despite that uncertainty, people are not afraid of the future. More appropriately, they’re afraid of the past.
See, it goes like this: People make their mistakes in the past, which leads to them regretting them and they stop themselves from making the same mistakes again. Even though the past was different circumstances, that was enough to leave scars that clouds their judgment and makes people miss opportunities because they’re afraid as they were then. When the same event happens, it’s not the circumstances that creates failure, but rather the person is making the notion preconceived by default.
So, ready to break from the chains of the past and look to the bright future?

The Queen of Pentacles believes that the Light is present already within humanity, but she believes that it can be found by those who look down the right path. Her nobles follow suit, looking in all directions for gleams of information that can better the world and set it down the right path wherever it goes.

Tales of the Kingdom
The Queen of Pentacles looks out from the crystal towers and palaces of spyglass from the temple of Crystal Heril. On a throne of Silver does the Hierophant Queen sit upon, listening to the disputes of her Kingdom and advisor to the Queens of other Kingdoms. The Queen sees far and wide and with the help of a jury of her Priestesses, she finds the guilty and works out the truth to the problem. She dresses in appropriate clothings for any time, always having a sense of “right place, right time” for such events in her Kingdom.

A conversation with the Queen of Pentacles often sounds out easily like a dispute. It can take from hours to minutes depending on how much time is on the Princess’s hands. Both sides come up with their factors and positions as well as the circumstances of the trial. Sometimes these do become a bit emotional, but these are only within limits and if the Queen senses it clouds the Princess’s judgment, then she says such and leads back to normal conversation. She normally doesn’t stand outbursts and either patiently waits until the Princess cools down or leaves.

In all forms of the word, the Queen of Pentacles is a peerless ruler to her Kingdom, fixing most, if not all of the problems that would plague it. As such, she often joins her Princesses and other scholars of the Kingdom not to dispute the fates of the material world, but rather to dispute the definition of the Light and Good, to find out what that is in the world. They are as much Philosophers and Theologians as they are Judges.

Philosophy
The Queen of Pentacles calls for understanding and wisdom as well as judgment to carry out what the princess believes is good for the situation.

Eyes Like a Clear Sky
Perhaps the most invaluable tool to judgment is nothing more than a clear head and mind. After All, if prejudice or worry clouds a Princess’s thoughts, then there’s no way that she can make an unbiased and just decision. Therefore, should a time come that she is required to make her decisions, then she shouldn’t be biased or else her decision is pretty much already made for her.

Clarity of Consequence
It’s a simple thing, Consequentialism. That the ends serve to justify the means. If a bad consequence should come along due to someone else, then the princess should be able to do what needs to be done or find how it should be done for a good outcome.
That’s not to say that you should murder willy-nilly if you foresaw ten future Hitlers. The ends are not an excuse. Princesses are empowered of hopes and magic, and like everyone else they have a will. Where there is a will, there is a way. And where there is magic in a Princess and belief in this philosophy, the Princess is capable of magical solutions and prophecy to figure out a better solution.

The Nature of Good
Perhaps the simplest philosophy of Pentacles is the factor that behind everyone’s lenses lies a different meaning for “good”. It is hard to make a completely objective society because of the matter that “Good” is subjective to each person. What does good mean to a poor person with good friends or a lonely man with all of the world’s riches? To a priest who has lived a virtuous life or the addict who thrives on heroin and prostitutes? It is up to each individual to attach meaning to what good is, and nobody should need to decide for another what that is, nor for any meaning of any subjective matter.

Duties
A Prophet’s duty is to be wise and to make judgments. Often this leads them to take up positions where it is the hardest to make decisions, yet thanks to their power of precognition can they can make them with near crystal clear accuracy.

Champions of Pentacles often work to practice the best policies and often end up in the line of fire as much as they stand outside of it. With their magic, they hit from far away or even before a problem has a chance to become one. Lines of work often set them up in law enforcement, such as working as policemen and women.

Graces of the Court of Pentacles often live up to the emphasis of Judgment, finding most of their work as judges with the ability to lead their courtroom and make crystal clear judgments as well as to inspire those in the room to keep their heads clear of nothing but the facts. Another tendency of Graces in this court is to work as Priests or Priestesses, spreading the light through sermons and teachings.

Menders of Pentacles tend to work with more than just unhealthy bodies. More often than not do they help those with broken minds and sickened consciences, finding work within mental institutions and centers for criminal rehabilitation.

If the Seekers of Diamonds are Engineers, then perhaps the Seekers of Pentacles are the Theologians to that statement, as given the powers of Vuoto they can see far along the future as well as venturing into parts unknown before to man. They also debate on “what is good” rather than “what will work”.

The Troubadours of Pentacles seek to envision clarity of sight in their artwork, helping people look to the future with a brightened mind and to destroy the chains of the past.

Background
The people who have joined the Court of Pentacles tend to have known the values of caution and wisdom. Some have formed it from the simple sense of decency whereas others have often had a sense of the predestined or of mystic proportion, always on the edge of the supernatural but never actually getting through until they have blossomed and finding the Court of Pentacles much to their liking. Often those of religious upbringing find themselves in this court the most as it helps them make sense of the world now through the lenses of the Hopeful.

Character Creation
The Court of Pentacles values insight and clarity, and as such many tend to form or have high ratings in Composure, Wits and Intelligence, as they are often the most used traits in precision decision-making and to review facts and details as well as noticing minute changes. Academics and Investigation are similarly practiced, as well as Occult for those who study planes or beings beyond the normal mortal realm. Expression and Subterfuge are practiced to spread their wisdom as well as hiding knowledge lest it fall into the wrong hands.

The Court of Pentacles tends to use Mental Merits such as Common Sense, Eye for the Strange and Trained Observer, even Eidetic Memory and Encyclopedic Knowledge. However, perhaps more so than other courts the Court of Pentacles tends to practice Princess only merits if it means to understand the nature and forms of the Light even better than before.

Heraldry
The Court of Pentacles Regalia tends to have an air of dignity and precognition to it, looking sage-like in its manifestation. Religious-like regalia is common as are, if almost stereotypical looking, Princess clothing throughout the ages. What a “Princess” denotes tends to vary with each Judge. The more historically minded tend to draw from the likes of the Dark Ages and fashions of royalty from the Long Night. Those more intimate to the themes of Princesses and their powers tend to draw from the themes of Magical Girls, looking with more pomp and style. All colors are present, but often Black, White and Grey are a common theme when it comes to them.

Echo
The Priestess’s Echo helps clear thoughts to focus on problems without any distractions.

Practical Magic
A Princess of Pentacles is ready for any endeavor she might face. In either the Mundane or Transformed State, Priests and Priestesses may spend wisps to negate penalties on her rolls on a one for one basis. One wisp cancels one -1 modifier. Normally, each wisp takes out one -1 modifier from her roll; High Belief increases the potency.

Invocation: Vuoto
The Queen of Pentacles value of clarity and foresight is emphasized within the invocation of Vuoto, through which her Priests and Priestesses learn better than any other. It is the invocation that emphasizes contemplation, cognition, the clarity of insight as well as the Element of Void. Unlike the Lacrima invocation, the Element of Void isn’t the Darkness that takes Light from the world, but rather it is the emptiness that constricts reality into a form and that can be passed through, where Space expands for eternity and Time runs out forever.
Vuoto applies at no cost if the Princess is standing below a star filled sky or a full moon without any sort of obstruction to it. It also applies for free if the Princess’s target is a device or form of ritual that she does to help herself decide on a conflict, or even a tool she uses for scrying, if the Princess is trying to clear her mind, to stop distractions from a cause or to aid her in judgment. It also applies at no cost if she’s trying to stop a bad action from being taken.
Vuoto does not appreciate those who let bias do their thinking for them. Should the princess let herself be swayed by someone else’s preconceived notion on a subject or let herself be kept by her own biased opinions stopping someone else from doing an action, Vuoto is banned for the rest of the scene.
Several Vuoto charms distort time and space, and while the latter is much easier to use or withstand, Time is always running and unyielding, the farther along one wishes to affect the more it’ll stand in the way of the Princess. Consult this table when it comes to Vuoto charms that deal with Temporal Flux. This deals with both pulling from the past as well as from the future. Pentacles Practical Magic can negate these modifiers.
    
Temporal Flux
Penalties Applied
Within a Day
0
Within a Week
-1
Within a Month
-2
Within a Year
-3
Within 5 Years
-4
Within a Decade
-5
Every Additional Ten Years
An additional -1

\
Quote
The light can only shine if the ways showing it are unclouded.

Pentacles Stereotypes on Others
Clubs: They are willing to stay blind to the future if they can change along with the present as well, yet they shall still prosper.
Diamonds: Relying on equations can only lead you so far, how shall you explain the nature of the Light? Take as much time as you need, I would enjoy a debate any time.
Hearts: The future is constantly changing unlike the past, but they are right in the sense that history repeats itself.
Spades: Such uncertain factors, maybe just by standing outside of events they are capable of acting as they please, almost like us without our charms.
Swords: Without love, what can be seen? Beware should the flame’s light blind your eyes.
Cups: I can show you the end of your journey, but of course I doubt you’d want spoilers. A journey without understanding is a hollow one indeed.
Wands: Manual labor only clears the way so much, but it does help.
Tears: You already know how bleak your future is. Why not just let it go?
Storms: They take their duty as Judge, Jury, and Executioner all at once without even listening to any of the defendant's testimony.
Mirrors: A parent has the right to making decisions for the child should the child’s decisions prove to be…obviously flawed.
Vampires: There’s simply no easy answer, these beings are bound to the past by their nature.
Werewolves: Be wary of what lives beyond your fields.
Mages: To be able to touch a higher world and return with its power…if only the Light were as simple.
Prometheans: Can we do your scrying over the phone? I don’t mean to insult but your aura alone is kind of…yeah, please do.
Changelings: There are absolute monsters beyond the boundaries of earth…they have reasons to hide.
Sin-Eaters: If you share a bond with something that’s dead, then you really haven’t escaped death, haven’t you?
Mummies: I know for a fact that I would be a better judge than whatever is behind you.
Mad Scientists: Tread lightly and warily, ye who enter here.
Leviathans: …There are just some things I’d like to forget I saw too.
Hunters: Do any of you ever carry out a fair trial?
Mortals: The past has passed, that’s why it’s called as such.

Inspiration
Princess Zelda, Eiki Shiki

Other Courts on Pentacles
Clubs: Looking deep into the future has its benefits, yet the flashes they gain is but a single spark from the whirling maelstrom of the future.
Diamonds: They’re the theory, we’re the practice.
Hearts: Maybe they view too much into the future and too little into the present; yet I must profess their traditions one worth preserving.
Spades: I’ll get right on that when I get home, mom!
Swords: Nothing can be seen without love.
Storms: Point where the next batch of Darkspawn is or fuck off.
Mirrors: Don’t tell me what to do! I’m the True Heir! The True Queen told me so!

Chapter Two: The Forgotten Powers of Love

The powers of the Pre-Twilight Courts is very much like the powers of the Hopeful. In this chapter, the charms and Practical Magic they’ve held shall be reviewed.

Practical Magic
The Practical Magic of the Pre-Twilight Courts are the same format as all other Courts, perhaps better related to the Radiant rather than Twilight.

The Court of Pentacles
The Court of Pentacles can use their Practical Magic to negate any penalties for a single roll. They may spend up to their maximum wisps per turn on any penalties. Normally, each wisp spent takes a -1 penalty from a roll the Princess makes. High Belief increases this effect: At Belief 8 the first Wisp takes away a -2 Penalty on a roll instead of -1 per wisp. At Belief 9, the first 2 wisps takes away a -2 Penalty each; and at Belief 10, the first wisp takes away a -3 Penalty, and the second takes away a -2 penalty.

Chapter 3: Kingdoms

The Kingdoms
Crystal Heril - One of the three missing Kingdoms that have vanished completely in the Fall.

The Ecclesia Crystal Heril, Domain of the Queen of Pentacles

The Kingdom of Crystal Heril is a mix of deciduous forests that holds the palace of spyglass and crystal towers that is the Queen’s castle. The cities often pile atop of each other, steadily reaching outward from the center. Beyond these cities lies the plains that constitutes the farmlands. It’s a true fact that the Court of Pentacles makes wise use of their charms, and their lands reflect this by being one of the Kingdoms least beset by any troubles from events, natural or otherwise, and thus needing few emergency resources for living in their conditions..
There is an even mixture of farming villages and the minor aristocracies that make up the bigger communities. Those in power are often chosen by the Queen of Pentacles or one of her highest Priestesses and are graded not by their power or influence, but by what they can or will do with it by judging on their character as well. People within the domain have a good discerning eye for quality, and don’t often fret when it comes to minor problems that were simply unavoidable, such as a storm that cuts off the power and the like.
Ultimately, despite the foremost duties of Pentacles Kingdom matching that of inquisitors, judges and investigators, there is no paranoia of “Big Sister Pentacles” watching. The farthest that anyone in the service of the Kingdom would look is only for the biggest events towards the Kingdom as a whole. If a plague is killing off the crops for example, they will stockpile beforehand or import if worst comes to worst. Invasion of privacy is only tolerated when it comes to major disputes.
The Court of Pentacles is an oddity when it comes to its introversion. They are known to try to grasp the uncertainty that is the Light, and debate on what is good or just. These nightly sessions often attract a great audience from across the kingdoms when it comes to these discussions, and sometimes they are part of a case the Kingdom has been dealing with. Sometimes these disputes carry out amongst the kingdoms on the bands of knights, who are as much evangelists as they are crusaders. They carry them to the ears of those unable to attend but desiring to be a part of.

The Foundation - Some More Examples
The Foundation looks different even to the Radiant Queens before Twilight.
The Queen of Wands sees the Foundation as the lands her Kingdom was before she settled upon it, badlands with dried up grasses and few living things under the sun. The Beyond appears as a great crevice at the edge of the Foundation, where it leads quite easily into pitch blackness. The sight unnerves the Queen, if nothing else.
The Queen of Pentacles views the Foundation as a crystal spire jutting up into the night sky, where it’s decorated by constellations upon constellations of stars. The Beyond appears as the full moon in the sky, shining eternally without the radiance of a Sun to draw upon.

apter 4: The Road to Twilight and Dawn


“I can’t go back to yesterday - because I was a different person then.”
Alice

Even though the Queens have certainly changed, one thing remains certain about the Light. Even if something is touched by Darkness and corrupted, if it is cared for, then it can be redeemed back to what it once was. It is very possible for a Princess to take these Philosophies into herself and recreate the courts of old from them, although the Queen of Tears would understandably be pissed at the notion of someone taking the Mantle of Cups, her rightful mantle, away from her.

Although despite all of this information on the Twilight Courts’ Precursors, it still doesn’t explain one crucial detail amongst all of them that any Princess in the know would desire the answer to. Perhaps the one detail that perverts the Light and fractures it with Darkness. “How did these courts turn into what they are today?”

Indeed. How does a Radiant Court turn to Twilight? And inversely, can a Twilight Court be turned back to Radiant? Like so many disputes amongst the Hopeful, there’s many theories and ideas, but not one definite answer as of yet.

Invocation
One thing for certain is that in all respects, a Twilight Court seems to be created and function almost exactly the same as a Radiant Court does. No matter whether it follows the vague processes that follows Queens within the Vocation Version, or the outline that the Dream version provides. One thing though that is definite within both versions is that an Invocation is influenced by its Queen’s beliefs. And of course, the more one lives, the greater possibility there is for the beliefs of a Queen to shift. If an Invocation changes, then it could mean that it was influenced by a change in behavior by the Queen herself.

Invocation Drawback
Perhaps a peculiar sentiment of the Twilight Courts is that their powers demand something extra to be paid in accordance of their powers. Something that hurts the user. These take the form of the Twilight Invocations Drawbacks. Respectively, Tempesta holds Resistant Damage, and Specchio calls madness. The peculiarity of these is that none of the Radiant Invocations hold these drawbacks, they are Twilight Invocation only. How exactly is such a thing possible?

Fall and Redemption
If you can be tormented by the Darkness, then you can fall. But if someone else cares for you, then you can be redeemed. This is a simple part of the cycle of Light and Darkness. Does the same go for a Twilight Court? It sure can, but it depends on how it fell in the first place to see how it redeems.

You Cannot Spell “Twilight” Without “Light”
In truth, these three theories are simply that amongst the Radiant - theories. What is known is that the
Queen of Mirrors has shown interest in recreating the Kingdom, and the Queen of Storms directs her attentions against the Darkness and cleansing it from everything. Even if the Queens’ methods are divided from the Light, they still follow its ways, never falling completely to the Darkness. As such, if your game focuses on the redemption of a Twilight Queen, these theories are simply just that - theories. Which one is true is up to the ST to devise.


The Grieving Process Theory
Perhaps less common as a theory is the Grieving Process theory. It is true that the Fall has changed the Queens and that the Invocations are a product of them. However, it claims that the change didn’t happen because the Queens themselves had changed. No, it’s believed that the Fall killing off the Kingdoms afflicted them with being unable to move past its death. This is most obvious with Tears, however the Queen of Mirrors looks for those who would bring it back while proclaiming her standards of the True Heir and the Queen of Storms has raged for millennia past the Fall’s end, screaming for vengeance against the Darkness all the while.

For those who ascribe to this theory, the Queens are simply stuck at different standpoints of the grieving process, making the problem purely psychological and thus able to deal with. The Queen of Storms is stuck within Anger, raging past the end of the world and into the new one, striking against everything that is amongst her enemies that took everything away before. The Queen of Mirrors could be seen as some odd mix of Bargaining and Denial. She calls out to others to reign as the True Heir, when by all means she could do so herself and yet she never does.

Their grief then could strike out as their Invocations Drawbacks. Storm’s Anger rages against everything: friend, foe, ally, enemy, the world, the Darkness and even the Light. Mirror’s Denial coalesces into Madness, denying loss of Belief with Madness and the True Heirs failures.

Therefore, the problem here is simply psychological and could be solved as such. Queens, despite being demigods and rulers of nations, are still human in the end, and as such need the same comforts and needs for respite as people do. G
etting the Queen of Storms to take a breather, making the Queen of Mirrors look upon what she’s doing and acknowledge that she’s not helping anything could potentially help them move back to Radiance.

The Darkness/Dark Avatar Theory
While nothing more than conjecture, this theory is perhaps the most unpopular theory present and is mostly kept in the privacy of Radiant individuals. The reason for its unpopularity isn’t because of its possible relevance, but more due to that any belief in it would undoubtedly sever connections with, or even outright create loads of hostility between the Radiant and Twilight.  
Some do contend that there’s still a glimmer of truth in the morsels leftover from the Fall. From this text it would seem that in the days of the Fall, many Kings and Queens were tempted by the Darkness and consequently used it or even controlled it, if to only ultimately become corrupted by it. One thing though is still to note, that out of the many Kings and Queens who might’ve once existed, they do not now. Even the ones that were supposedly welcomed to Alhambra.

The belief behind this theory is that the Twilight Queens had struck some sort of Pact with the Darkness itself somehow. Based on how normal mortals pact with the Darkness, for a Queen to do so is perhaps so great a deal that something great had to be offered in return to the Darkness.
For the Queen of Storms, if it is believed that when she was surrounded by Darkness as the story goes, she made her deal in the midst of it to perhaps be able to rage forever without losing herself to the darkness. The Queen of Mirrors is unknown as all things go. Maybe she bargained for safety, and the catch was that all those who she would seek out to succeed for her would eventually fail.

Quite honestly, this theory is known as both “The Darkness Theory” and “The Dark Avatar Theory”, as the Darkness could carry out on it’s own. However, Alhambra’s records speak of three other beings, masterminds behind the Fall and the Trap that were gods amongst the Darkness. Two of them were the Red Queen of Violence and the White Queen of Self Loathing. The existence of the Dark Avatars are simply too suspicious to be avoided when it comes to the three Twilight Queens and that their invocations do bear the flaw presented by the Dark Avatar. Indeed, if the Avatars did ever exist, there isn’t any information that they exist today.

Through this, it’s believed that the Invocation Drawbacks are caused from a clause in the pact made, or perhaps an additional term in exchange for what the Queens bargained for.
Tempesta creates violence upon everything. And Specchio demands perfection and chides flaws.

As for changing the Queens back to Radiant, it then becomes a form of wordplay or seeking for the terms of the Pacts made and trying to void them. How to void them may vary. It may require trying to find a loophole in the pact that the Queen can use to get out of it. It may require the death of the Darkness (or the respective Avatar if they’re used). Or perhaps it can simply be voided by the Queen’s death. All of these are bound to be extremely hard, and with what this theory supports, it is both the most shunned and least talked about, for it describes the possibility of betraying the Light to the Darkness.

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