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[CofD] Sir Night Compiles Night Horrors: The Unbidden (In-Character Let's Read)

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
To maybe brighten your outlook, or at least give you another bit of data to contemplate, reincarnation is real at least for some individuals. There is a type of immortal called the Reborn. The name is self explanatory. They are born, live and die like everyone else, except they do so continuously, retaining their skills and memories from incarnation to incarnation. I've personally have encountered two in my lifetime and know other immortals who have encountered others. Whether reincarnation is a cycle only they under go or something universal that only they manage to weather with memory intact I can't say. But that it is a phenomena that exists for multiple individuals is a confirmed fact.
a_discussion_of_Iremite_occultism.zip

{While Sir Night is currently indisposed due to security fears, I will put my own hat into the ring and state in the Iremite view of things, that 'ball of magic' is only part of the soul. My mistress, and most of her contemporaries, believe the soul is in five parts, Ab, Ba, Ka, Ren, and Sheut. While I'm sure others can explain it better than I can, probably including Prospero, it is the belief of Lady Neferyah that soul theft is really theft of the Ab, the Heart; the seat of emotions and self-will. I can only imagine the magical fuel that is contained within the seat of what is in essentia the very capacity to feel the full range of emotions, but also the loss that comes from no longer having it. For a ghost, it is not so critical, as the engorged Ba that allows them to walk the world is an eternal self-reminder of who they are, and as the Wildcat herself shows, enough mystical force behind the Ba can replace the Ab. But for a living person, who still has a Ka as well, life force? Without the ability to feel strong emotions or self-will, one would already need to rely on base pleasures and selfishness to define oneself, but the Ka is also the seat of living instinct; without even subconscious will to feel, subconscious instincts gradually dominate, and without self-will, all of those instincts are based fundamentally the social instinct - the will to be a follower, not a leader. Which is why Thralls, those unfortunates for whom soul loss has entered its final stages, are so pliable; meat puppets incapable of emotion or even the ability to motivate themselves, only do what anyone commands of them. They are, in mundane medical terms, catatonically depressed and incapable of consent. That is a fate I wish on no one. - Kaden, Second of the Walker}
 

ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
From: Dingbat@FontsByThePound
To: Group

I'm not personally depressed about the prospect of a final death, but suffice it to say a lot of people don't like my hypotheses, or the added weight that comes from someone who's visited the underworld. There are a few too many people who discover the supernatural and expect it to have the potential to solve any problem. Not that I can blame them. I am an Autumn Courtier, so I'm vulnerable to thinking I can bargain with some aspect of reality to give me a pass.

I'm not a religious person, but I have to admit the fact that Iremite culture produced a number of people who've accumulated a wealth of frequent dier miles does suggest they knew a thing or two about preserving a person I've missed out on. I don't have that many giant shoulders to stand on, myself. In any case, reality does have that tendency to be more complicated than we typically expect, so a multi-part soul isn't exactly surprising. Even when we've got verification of souls being a thing, the homunculus fallacy still looks like a fallacy.

--Ziggy Zapf
 

The Watcher

Cosmic Observer
Validated User
From: Jacob@TheIsland.net
To: Group
Subject: The Nature Of The Tremere

From what I've been able to look into regarding the vampires the Tremere claim... would relation be the best phrase (?), they seem almost a ghost-presence themselves. I've seen some connections to the vampires of ancient Rome, a clan officially erased and known as traitors or the sixth. But it's largely as if they only existed in order for mages to subvert them and then, their role finished, disappear. In a way, this means Catarine's true value is as a link to this master of hers.
The connections to the rumored extinct clan of Kindred from ancient Rome has inspired me to consider the possibility that the original Tremere that inspired or infected the current Awakened legacy might not have been vampires at all. Or at least not fully vampires. Some legends of the Sixth Clan associate their destruction with the Birds of Dis, otherwise known as the Strix. Most of those here should be familiar with them already from a previous project of our mutual host but for those who aren't in short the Strix are supernatural entities of unknown origin that have the shape of owls and the substance of smoke, shadow and ash in their natural form. Predatory and malevolent in nature, they most commonly resort to possessing corpses to gain the advantages of corporeal existence. This can include Kindred. In fact, the Strix claim to be related to the Kindred in nebulous and often conflicting ways.

If the original Tremere were actually Strix who were possessing Kindred hosts it could explain why they're so elusive.
a_discussion_of_Iremite_occultism.zip

{While Sir Night is currently indisposed due to security fears, I will put my own hat into the ring and state in the Iremite view of things, that 'ball of magic' is only part of the soul. My mistress, and most of her contemporaries, believe the soul is in five parts, Ab, Ba, Ka, Ren, and Sheut. While I'm sure others can explain it better than I can, probably including Prospero, it is the belief of Lady Neferyah that soul theft is really theft of the Ab, the Heart; the seat of emotions and self-will. I can only imagine the magical fuel that is contained within the seat of what is in essentia the very capacity to feel the full range of emotions, but also the loss that comes from no longer having it.
One thing I learned from interrogating a Strix I managed to capture and imprison within a ward against otherwordly entities is that they can not feed off the breath (as is their habit in their natural form) of those rendered soulless. This suggests that the Ab is somehow the source of their sustenance. Considering that the Ab is the portion of the soul consumed by the Tremere, this lends further credence to the possibility the original Tremere vampires were in fact Strix-Ridden.

--Prospero
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Private Message
From: Prospero
To: Sir Night
Subject: A Mutually Beneficial Proposal

I understand you are currently preoccupied with security issues. As I previously mentioned on the forum, I would be willing to lend my occult talents such as ward creation to supplement your security as part of a mutually beneficial exchange. What I would like from you and your associates in return is cooperation in eliminating a mutual opponent who you have already come into conflict with, namely Theo Cadere. I believe my mystical abilities regarding spirits should enable me to neutralize his familiar Pellax's ability to assist him, negating at one advantage of his that he enjoyed in your previous encounter with him. In fact, I believe we could use the means I take him off the table to lure our quarry into a trap.

If you are interested in my proposal let me know and I will begin making immediate arrangements to travel to the site you wish protected to lay down the wards desired.

--Prospero
 
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Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
From: Jacob@TheIsland.net
To: Group
Subject: The Nature Of The Tremere


The connections to the rumored extinct clan of Kindred from ancient Rome has inspired me to consider the possibility that the original Tremere that inspired or infected the current Awakened legacy might not have been vampires at all. Or at least not fully vampires. Some legends of the Sixth Clan associate their destruction with the Birds of Dis, otherwise known as the Strix. Most of those here should be familiar with them already from a previous project of our mutual host but for those who aren't in short the Strix are supernatural entities of unknown origin that have the shape of owls and the substance of smoke, shadow and ash in their natural form. Predatory and malevolent in nature, they most commonly resort to possessing corpses to gain the advantages of corporeal existence. This can include Kindred. In fact, the Strix claim to be related to the Kindred in nebulous and often conflicting ways.

If the original Tremere were actually Strix who were possessing Kindred hosts it could explain why they're so elusive.


One thing I learned from interrogating a Strix I managed to capture and imprison within a ward against otherwordly entities is that they can not feed off the breath (as is their habit in their natural form) of those rendered soulless. This suggests that the Ab is somehow the source of their sustenance. Considering that the Ab is the portion of the soul consumed by the Tremere, this lends further credence to the possibility the original Tremere vampires were in fact Strix-Ridden.

--Prospero
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Private Message
From: Prospero
To: Sir Night
Subject: A Mutually Beneficial Proposal

I understand you are currently preoccupied with security issues. As I previously mentioned on the forum, I would be willing to lend my occult talents such as ward creation to supplement your security as part of a mutually beneficial exchange. What I would like from you and your associates in return is cooperation in eliminating a mutual opponent who you have already come into conflict with, namely Theo Cadere. I believe my mystical abilities regarding spirits should enable me to neutralize his familiar Pellax's ability to assist him, negating at one advantage of his that he enjoyed in your previous encounter with him. In fact, I believe we could use the means I take him off the table to lure our quarry into a trap.

If you are interested in my proposal let me know and I will begin making immediate arrangements to travel to the site you wish protected to lay down the wards desired.

--Prospero
Private Message
From: Sir Night
To: Prospero
Subject: Re: A Mutually Beneficial Proposal

You don't need to haggle. I will be more than happy to assist you in return for countering this latest likely opponent.

Which I am fighting right now. I don't want to bring this up on the official files until I'm certain of the link, but a lot of the people I'm going to overview were actually set against me. I would not know half of them were it not for them, apparently randomly, showing up in my business to intrude. Almost like probing operations by a rival.

Cichol has noticed a buildup of Fate magics that seem like they were deliberately attempted to be hidden around the two sites they've shown up. I have my suspicions, but I will only comission the ward when I am certain of the likely threat.

- Sir Night
 
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ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
(Somewhere on the wrong side of Buena Vista)

Ziggy strode towards the "condemned" warehouse, arms folded behind his back. He could feel the Winter Court's wards trying to shove his mind off its course, but he refused to take his eyes off the building. A car alarm sounded nearby, as he expected, in an attempt to get him to glance away, and he resisted the impulse. He walked up to the door, "I know you're in there. I'm here to discuss your recent acquisition." He held up a card. "And by discuss, I mean examine without opening. If some idiot does open your little Pandora's Box, it'd be helpful to know more about it."

He could hear murmurs on the other side of the door. He quietly concentrated on his Mantle, adding a few intimidating touches. His coat of glitches and dread shadows spread out its squared edges further out, crawling on the ground around him. Reality's seams opened just a little bit more, pouring Wingdings and Zapf Dingbats like Matrix code. All the while, he stood silently still, holding up the ominous card.

He heard a "whisper" that grew too loud to be called such, "Do you want to say 'no' to the Magister of Nightmares?"

A supposedly boarded up window slid open. He pocketed the card and calmly climbed inside, letting his Mantle return to its slightly less foreboding mode. "So where's the box?" He turned to look at the guards. Michael O'Nyd, a fungal elemental with a parted mushroom cap obscuring most of his face. His Mask probably made it look like a bowl cut. Shay 'D' Black, a Darkling Palewraith in a black hoodie slid the board back over the window. Punny names were a mildly irritating part of the freehold culture, but at least they were easy to remember. Knowing the Winter Court, they probably had much blander names on their drivers' licenses.

Mike hesitated a moment before gesturing to a nearby room, "In there. Whatever you do, just don't open it. No idea what kind of bad stuff is in there... And sometimes, I think it moves. So we're afraid it'll eat our faces off if we open it. Whoever made the box put some warnings on it, too."

Ziggy smiled, "A rational fear. Guess that means my Contract won't analyze the contents, but at least I can examine the box. This is going to take a while."

The mushroom man raised his visible eyebrow, "How long?"

The rabbit frowned slightly, handing over a handwritten list of restaurants and menu items, along with cash, "I'm going to need takeout."

He blinked. "Well, at least the water's still running in here, so you can use the bathroom."

Ziggy nodded, and got to work. The box resembled a classic 'treasure chest' in its general shape, with an elaborate lock set on the latch. He set it in his lap and his Mantle's sigils began swirling around it, 'scanning' it. It was all nonsense text, like in a sci-fi game, but it's not like he'd want dangerous knowledge to be readily visible to other fae as he worked.
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
the_best_mole_is_unknowing.zip

(OOC: Because the hell that is Cell Biology is now over, I can get back to this.)
[MENTION=11512]prospero[/MENTION]: That is honestly a theory that had not occurred to me, but the more I roll it in my head with what little lore of the Tremere liches I have, the more sense it makes. An intriguing line of study. [Preferably one studied from far away, in the middle of the Antarctic during summer, with flamethrowers at the ready.]

On the soul: I honestly am not sure if I have a similar spiritual organ or not, much less if it is similar enough to the soul for me to have an afterlife like humanity's. Yes, I can develop a doppleganger, which Iremite lore states is the result of a parasite taking advantage of a soul turned against itself, but then again, that is still just myth. I have to take things on faith. [Never an easy task when he's a literal fallen angel; he had to give up on some elements of faith to even type here now.] (Though not to the degree some of my esteemed colleagues have - or possibly cursed colleagues, depending on how positive I am feeling about them).

But, after much digging into places that were really, really not meant for anyone not Awakened, much less my kind {You're welcome, Night - Cichol}, I think I have pieced together the tragedy of Ab Ia Mu. I would also like to revise an implication I left; they are not a curio or even a useful asset like I implied. They are a vessel for a curse that has long outlived its original targets and now forces them any anyone they get close to into an endless cycle of tragedy. And to be frank, proof that no matter how justified revenge is, there is a reason that it is tempered into justice, with strict legal guidelines; otherwise it turns your legacy into something utterly vile. [Remember his title? He thinks himself a knight, and well...let's just say he has strong opinions on the curse.]

First, it should be noted; Ab Ia Mu is both a spirit, and a living relic of the ever-enigmatic Time Before, that mythical state in which the Supernal was visible to all, not just mages. [Until the Exarchs literally erased it from time and made the world so much harder to find something amazing in. I think I'd fit in great.] {Welcome to the club. - Cichol} It is also not a spirit's name, which I'm sure anyone who has ever even heard First Tongue can probably guess; it's the names of their creators, a trademark throughout eternity. [Yes, their name is a copyright symbol. This should indicate how worthy their creators were of retribution.] Ab, Ia, and Mu were luminaries of the Awakened at the time, powerful in both magic and political acumen - and even more amoral. The three of them developed no small amount of mortal enemies, and so they sought a sanctum guardian to protect them, a warding spirit - except the three did not trust any spirit from the Shadow (which, given what I know of Pellax, is not something I fault them for). But they desired a spirit guardian anyway, so they made one - by all but strip-mining the Shadow and sacrificing dozens of spirits to serve as raw material. [One honestly wonders if Father Wolf existed in their continuity, because seriously, that should have resulted in god-wolves sniffing around faster than I'm-pretty-sure-any-analogy-would-be-racist-here.]

Ab Ia Mu, a spirit whose only purpose, whose only Influence, is protecting sanctums, was the result. [To an outright gender-altering extent; the reason we're using "they" pronouns is that Ab Ia Mu's appearance is always a gestalt of their current masters, or if currently unemployed a distant cousin of whoever's looking at them. Kinda confusing.] The Ill-Fated Guardian, as Cichol likes to call them, has no greater purpose or dream in life than ensuring their current home is kept safe and their masters are happy and free of intruders. They are also very competent at it, being able to create new defenses out of raw spiritual potential, and the very act of their job recharges their reserves of Essence. And if that was all Ab Ia Mu was, they would probably have been long been permanently bound to a generational cabal or some sort.

Unfortunately for them and any potential clients of the same, there was one more mage that had an influence. Called Fe in the records, he was no welcome assistant either - in fact, he had a list of grievances so long against the cabal it would take too long to recount them. [We can say, given the court records of things that Mu forced him to settle out of court? I can't say I feel that sympathetic towards his victims.] He was also every bit the equal as a mage to his nemeses, a peerless diviner able to not just speak prophecies, but decide whether or not any prophecy was true or not, at least in the poetic language of the records we found. And just as with any modern Acanthus, he was also an extremely cunning man with a finely tuned sense of poetic irony. More importantly, he knew more than enough about the principle of contagion to realize that Ab Ia Mu's own devotion towards their masters made them an ideal vector for a Fate-based curse.

If Ab, Ia, and Mu's cabal could not be broken by outside forces, Fe declared to the world, then they themselves would tear it apart. Hence, their creation's other title: the Witness of Betrayal.

Really, it's quite ingenious, if so sadistic and involves so much collateral damage I am only able to appreciate it academically; Fe's curse takes something any sane mage is concerned for, security, and simply ensures that they will find things that provoke suspicion. After Ab Ia Mu is contracted, the curse incubates for a month or two to avoid suspicion, then starts provoking eerie coincidences and other events that provoke a feeling of danger. Then, it starts interfering with Mage Sight and other magic meant to divine the intents of others to seem more malevolent, especially those its program to sense fated interconnections (not the hardest task for a Fate spell) tells it are strong emotional bonds. {Subtle alterations, mind; it doesn't actually forge evidence, as its victims might spot oversights caused by what's in essence a mindless "be afraid" spreadsheet not realizing when it's contradicting itself. Instead, it "flavors" the information to give the appearance of hostile intent, and the fact we're all a bunch of bloody conspiracy theorists does the rest. - Cichol} On occasion, it will invert this for an enemy, making them seem friendlier or less hostile, knowing said enemy will most likely exploit that trust and aggravate the paranoia. Once the cabal is socially and emotionally isolated, the curse then turns its power on the internal bonds between cabalmates, with the end goal being that the cabal will murder each other until there is only one survivor - at which point it is no longer a cabal and due to Ab Ia Mu's Ban, they can no longer be a guardian of the cabal. The survivor is left utterly alone in a world that he or she has likely driven away. [And given how mages act when paranoid, likely with a lot of people who want to finish the job.]

The worst part is, and why I made that moral proclamation in the beginning, is that Fe's curse does not seem at all malfunctioning; it's supposed to afflict all of Ab Ia Mu's employers, not just the original cabal. [My guess is that he thought that their apprentices would inherit our hapless spirit pal, and decided he wanted to poison their legacy as well. Behold, spite made flesh.] The final stage of the curse, after its current targets are destroyed, are to ensure that the Ill-Fated Guardian never realizes they are the source of their master's troubles; it scrambles their memory, tearing out chunks and encrypting others, so that Ab Ia Mu isn't even fully aware they had a previous set of masters. It's quite a horrible thing to do, even without taking the poor thing's loyal personality into account; their Ban prevents them from restricting or attacking their masters in any way (even to save them from themselves), and even beyond that I feel the spirit is almost motherly in their protective nature. They are forced to watch the self-destruction of their friends again and again, and the curse ensures that not only is it guaranteed to occur, but that the wounds are fresh each time. No one suspects anything, because there is nothing to suspect; it is not Ab Ia Mu's fault that it is the vessel of vengeance by a long-dead madman. {It doesn't help that we're already paranoid and cynical as all hell; we see a cabal going mad from fear, we think it's just normal work stress, and when the athames come out, we start looking for the guy who managed to buy one or more member's loyalty, and for what reason.} And the spirit wants so desperately to be employed; we only saved Cichol's cabal from a similar fate because the curse has trouble with Unchained; it mistook me for a normal human and so I sensed a similar effect to my own ability to lie to mystical perceptions, then Nita was able to convince them to submit to intrusive examination. [Good news is that they are serious about being maternal; as soon as they realized the truth they broke the binding themself and went into mystical hibernation until we could find a cure.]

From my own experiences with their combat abilities, Ab Ia Mu is an extremely potent spirit, an Ensahim with, as mentioned, potent control over the very concept of defending a sanctum. Beyond that, however, they are fairly limited, lacking many manifestations and only having one Numina, the ability to invoke countermagic against hostile magic cast at them or their current clients - any magic, mind. And from any distance. Quite simply, one needs other ways to fight their current cabal than magic to save them from themselves. [Or, at least, means other than direct hostile magic. Wouldn't it be ironic to counter Fe's bullshit with your own bullshit?]

Next, another example of a damaged construct who has become an impediment to her own mission, and unlike Ab Ia Mu, Alecto the Fury is not at all polite enough to be fixed.
 

ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
From: Dingbat@FontsByThePound
To: Group
Subject: Familiar spirits and the like

I can understand why a mage cabal would want to cobble together their own familiar spirit, rather than trust just anything they can fish out of the Shadow. I wanted to get some 'followers' for the sake of strengthening my motif, but decided against tweaking a familiar spirit, thanks in part to Chrometooth's warnings. As much as I'd like to dip in another flavor of the supernatural, I decided on a different experiment. [Don't you know it's rude to talk about someone who's listening? Ha. Ha. -Goner.exe]

So, anyway, make sure you have ways to contain any supposedly servile beings you create or summon. And generally be kind to them. Turnabout is fair play, at least as far as the Wyrd is concerned. [Ha. Ha. Hey, Boss, your Steam Library needs another wing! Just saying. Ha. Ha.]

Meanwhile, I've got a possible entry for this thing that washed up on shore and got picked up by the local Winter Court. I'll tell you more after I've gotten some more robust containment in place. Seems someone took the rational course of action and tried to dump a dangerous artifact in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, it wanted to be found.

--Ziggy Zapf
 

Leliel

SJ Road Warrior
Validated User
a_sad_sliver.zip
[MENTION=56749]Mr. Z[/MENTION]apf: Very true, though given my records, I still don't view the creation of Ab Ia Mu an ethical thing, given how much of their corpus was built from Essence extracted from other spirits. [It's not their fault, but we don't like the violation of agency that implies.] And yes, I would be fascinated. This site is a clearinghouse for lore of all stripes, after all.

But enough of that, let's talk about an entity I find horrifyingly familiar, Alecto the Fury.

First, it behooves me to explain what an ananke is. In summary, they are spirits similar to Ab Ia Mu, being artificial creations of powerful Time and Fate mages native to one of the Time Before's many cultures. ["Era of Atlantis" my talon, there is more to the world than Greece!] When the Exarchs broke the Celestial Ladder and erased those cultures from the timeline itself, the ananke survived, often due to their creators foreseeing the Fall and ensuring their personal teachings and worldview would survive as a "repairman" of Destiny, setting the lines of causality in such a way that favors the believes and philosophy of their creators. {That, and there's a theory that modern archmasters make them, but I'm skeptical about anything regarding modern archmasters. They exist, but far as I know they aren't keen to mess with us lowly mortals, and are all liars. - Cichol} This makes them sound rather manipulative (they are), but they're honestly no more so than most mentors in Awakened society, at least according to Cichol. They earnestly believe the prophecy their creators had in mind is the best solution, and they mostly act to support mages who embrace their fates. This still unnerves me, mind, because it reminds me of the Temple, but I can trust that their creators had the best of intentions.

Also like the Temple, sometimes the mechanisms behind a specific ananke go...wrong. My people call angels who come into being so damaged they can't understand their own missions [As opposed to not having one they can succeed or fail at, which is an Exile.] slivers, and that is the best way I can describe Alecto. Even worse, unlike most slivers, she hasn't noticed.

Really, it's a testament to how uncommon ananke are that nobody figured out there is something wrong with Alecto. Given how intimidating ananke can be, I can see why many Awakened scholars think the fact that it appears her eyes were scooped out of her skull in her true form (leaving the eyes in her wings intact) is simply a sign that the destiny she caretakes is a grim one (and as far as I know she's supposed to be missing eyes in a bit of "prophet" symbolism), but most seem to forget that of her six wings, one is obviously badly damaged, and she doesn't even register it. This is theme is repeated across all her forms; while she always appears as an attractive, powerful female out of what seems to be preference, all of her forms posses a disability in some way, whether it be an uneven leg, a bad scar, or severe skin conditions. [And if you point it out to her, she literally does not register what you just said.] "Alecto" is not her name either, which is presumably some word in High Speech - but unlike other Ananke who will at least write a pictogram of their original name if asked, Alecto legitimately does not understand she may have had a pre-Greek name. The most blatant sign of her fundamental damage, however, is that she lacks any ability to remember what her original program was; based on tests I've managed to do of her through means that would endanger my knights if I explained them, I've figured out the fact she's even vaguer than many ananke when it comes to their ultimate purpose is because she honestly doesn't have an answer; she knows her purpose is to maintain Destiny, but she has no idea for what goal or even what the long-term effect of her actions will be. In medical terms, she suffers from agnosia as it relates to her ability to perceive Fate; she can see tangles of destiny, as Cichol puts them, but she cannot consciously process them. Worse, as mentioned, she also seems to be anosognosic; deluded that all things are working in order, to an insane degree. [Thinking you can walk when you're bound to a wheelchair, stuff like that.] Not only can she not answer, she's convinced she is. And that's how she ruins lives.

What happens, as far as I can tell, is that once the Fury finds a person with a destiny she thinks is important, she stalks that person for a while and observes their place in the intersecting probabilities for a while before she becomes sure of how the events in that person's life should proceed from then on. Because she has no program to check against, and cannot actually make anything more than surface-level observations of such a "knot" of Fate, this is a loftier way of saying that she picks a likely future are random and declares that particular eventuality is what must be. {Sad part is, most people with "knots" really are the kind of people ananke are interested in, with vital roles to play in prophecies and the like, so Alecto gives them the full experience of "random fecking chance." - Cichol} A marital trouble might mean that she thinks this couple is destined to divorce, that a recovering addict must relapse, or as Cichol discovered, a mage involved with one of the Unchained is fated to be turned into a pawn of the Temple and found a Legacy dedicated to becoming ever more like loyalists, devoid of the chaos of free will or emotion. {In fact that's what tipped me off that Alecto isn't all she thinks she is; since when has the Time Before ever given a hoot about what the God-Machine's latest bolloxology is? - Cichol} Once there, though, she shows that her mind is actually fully and unfortunately functional when it comes to things not directly related to her damaged program; she's a skilled oneriomancer, capable of inserting messages and subliminal persuasions in dreams while she disguises herself in the real world to influence things directly. Besides being extremely socially adroit and a skilled actress, she is also highly skilled with use of the Fate Arcanum to curse or bless courses of actions she finds favorable. [Presumably it's instinctive for her, none of that "can't actually read" stuff getting in the way, or maybe it's Fate spirit-golem aphasia.] When dealing with mages she can be more blatant about it, and since she actually does have fairly clear (if occasionally contradictory) memories of the Time Before, she has extra carrots to go with her sticks, as it were.

While we did manage to seal her in a splinter, where presumably her manipulations will cause no harm as time loops in one of those odd pocket timelines {It also pisses off the God-Machine, which is more than enough reason for me - The Saboteur in Night's Ring}, should she escape I will advise she is a potent spirit, an Ensih I'd imagine [ie, at a point where a spirit really comes into their own and becomes a real force to reckon with.], with a great deal of raw force behind her abilities, though only average finesse. {I suspect it might be due to her damage; who knows what she's like when working properly. - Cichol} In addition to her expertise with Fate, roughly equivalent to a mortal Master, and like most anankes can and does use Countermagic against that which impacts her mission (ie, stops whatever impulse she's on) reflexively and liberally. Her damage has mutated both her Ban and Bane, however; from my observation, she has no ability to use the Knowing Practice, the art of using magic to find information, at all [Which given how that's a basic ability of all Supernal beings including mages really grinds in just how much she needs that wing back.], and symbols of perfection and purity serve as her Bane, as they counter the fact that she is fundamentally damaged and corrupted.

Which begs the question; she, unlike my slivers, was probably not summoned into being this way. Who broke her, why, and if some way of repairing her is found - what new wisdoms could she reveal?

Next, I examine a creation who, while equally sad, was doomed from the start precisely because he worked as intended; Gnomon.

----

Private Message
From: Sir Night
To: Prospero
Subject: Calling in that favor

I know what hunts me now. It wasn't a coincidence that Alecto menaced Cichol; why we could stop her and imprison her was because the knot she was attracted to was something completely artificial and forged. Cichol prides himself on the fact he lacks any blatant Destiny at all, and Neferyah's cult confirms it; he does not figure into any prophecies, or patterns, or even particularly portentous events. He is an observer and occasional supporting character only, and he's quite fine with that, it means he has free will (his words, not mine). Someone who could manipulate Fate itself to fool her, and more than that know precisely how she (mal)functions. This requires a lot more familiarity with arcane (no pun intended) Awakened lore than any of my usual suspects.

Perhaps due to genuine fate, however, when I brought a certain clockwork box to Neferyah and relayed my story even after my patience ran out with it, she recognized its former owner - and her trademark of steering "coincidental" dangers in the path of her enemies, to wear them down and to probe something she does not yet understand (thank you, fully fledged Endowment - and they said ephemeral-infused prosthetics was the wrong way to take my original findings). Also, an old friend of hers from a previous waking cycle, before she (Neferyah) and the Seers of the Throne went their separate ways forever.

Does the Shadow Name "Oikia Foetia" ring a bell? Or does the pieces of the goddess she seeks, the Architekton?

Whatever the case is, I know she's a lich, an at least moderately old one who modeled her immortality on that of her former companion and fellow scholar; periods of sleep followed by furious activity, dictated by Fate. I still don't know what she is now, what kind of post-human she's become, but given how I suspect she understands my current client a lot more than we understand her. She knew her quite intimately after all - and from what I know of the box, I think I may have triggered a trap she left specifically for Neferyah and her own network. Clockwork has long been a fascination of hers, and the particular clockmaker of the box was, in her words, "beloved by the Judges."

- Sir Night

(OOC: Foetia, it should be noted, is an OC. Meet the BBEG for this arc and possibly longer, also feel free to add details to her - so long as the basic idea of an Acanthus Seer lich fascinated with other supernatural beings and Irem as a relic of the Time Before remains intact, I'm fascinated to see others brainstorm her and create something the thread loves to hate.)
 
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ZiggyZapf

Sorcerer of Autumn
Validated User
From: Dingbat@FontsByThePound
To: Group

No shortage of ways for someone's mind to malfunction. Anosognosia happens when a mind can't self-diagnose errors, likely because whatever made it didn't anticipate such a problem. I can tell you as a programmer, there are always going to be bugs, so mark the errors you can anticipate. That said, I can tell you that doubting your perceptions can lead to other problems. Like not paying attention to the things going bump in the night because only kids are scared of the dark, or believing that everyone trying to earn your trust is actually a fox in a nearly perfect disguise. (I'm sure you can guess what my Keeper's huntsmen have as their motif, down to being called her Nine Tails.)

One of the things I've had to get used to when working with magic of various types: Things will go wrong the instant you think you've got it figured out or take things too lightly. Know your limits, and have contingency plans. But I'm probably not the best source of advice on that. Half the time, I wonder if stuff only works because I act like I know what I'm doing. Especially when I improvise stuff.

--Ziggy Zapf
 

Patkin

ougikawa
Validated User
Ab Ia Mu has not only been the ruin of a cabal here or there. I've seen records wherein an Mysterium archive or censorium have been undone after taking in a construct through backbiting, in-fighting and betrayal. Some didn't even utilize the construct, which suggests that the curse is more wily a thing than thought. It is difficult for me to come to a conclusion as to the best way to handle it as a result, without contradicting my society's belief structure.

Gemini.
 
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