Silver Python, seer and Lunar, foresaw the coming of a new circle, a new prophecy. But the threads were darkened, tangled, unlike any she had witnessed before. Something laid in the dark, already on the hunt. A circle gathered, well on the path set by this dark shadow. But who or what was it?
Their journey took the circle through the world of the East, down into ancient cities and tombs, and finally the greatest journey through the Underworld. They believed the end had come...
...how wrong they were. They entered a new era with the coming of Calibration, memories lost as it ended. Every risen sun and moon depended on their choices. They fought and searched, to understand the needs of Demestrius, seeing it through to a bitter end in the Underworld. And he loosened the hold of Sidereal to become something new.
Characters in the Circle
Theon of Nexus
Lunar, Changing Moon, Nexus
Born humble folk in Nexus, Theon lived a life among the middle class merchants of the world. Nothing kept him from the streets, running with a crowd that gambled and lived life within the bounds the Guild allowed. No matter the shadey deal or quick buck scheme, he made sure never to break those strong rules.
He had little interest in the past of his parents, but knew they came from the far west or had family from the west. Touches of blue hue his dark hair, but it has been his bright eyes and wit that gained him entry into every business and lady's bed. Eventually he entered into the world of business into an area few would have guessed, literature.
Quickly his small shop became a mainstay in the book trade, funding small expiditions and making deals to receive books and finding buyers. It was during these trades and investigations that he learned of a most prized book, one considered older than the bones of the world.
Gathering jade and making connections to claim this famed book was nearly impossible. When finally he had the required amounts, he met the man who brought the book in exchange within the streets of Nexus. So aggitated, he dropped the book, forgot the jade, and left Theon completely baffled. The book proved far more dangerous than he ever once thought. Exaltation as a Lunar took him by complete surprise.
Since his awakening, his business continued but rarely does he find himself in Nexus. Now he searches for the next great project of a flying citadel, home for his circle, and a life with his lady love.
Journal of Fate - Artifact 4 - A finely wrought journal, of ancient leather and filigree of a strange metal, seems unassuming. The pages are thicker than any parchment normally found, pressed from some strange weave of threads from a spider never seen by those in Creation. A perfect journal for someone like Theon. Unlike many journals, this one is born literally from the Loom of Fate. This journal was gifted to Demetrius, second of the Maiden of Secrets.
Ivory Storm Hunter
Lunar, No Moon, Haslanti League, North
Ivory Storm Hunter began her life as one of many wayward children running the streets of Whitewall in the far north. Her life remained hand to mouth, constantly breaking into businesses and thieving from any she could. For years this continued, always working hard to stay ahead of the city guard, the Dragon Blooded, and the Cyndics.
When nearing her midteens, this life got harder as she couldn't easily hide her feminity and kept coming across the law. One job too many, and she ended up captured and tossed into the jails. The sentence passed left her screaming and afraid. Within the week, she and her fellow criminals were thrown into the bowels of ships to be given to the Fair Folk for ravaging and selling as a slave.
Harsh weather slammed into the ship, and the fight for survival changed from escaping the Dragon Blooded to warmth in the frigid north. Weary and pained, she slowly wandered into the snows until attacked and plucked from the earth into the air. A chorus of harsh cries woke her right before attack. What happened next brought the power of the moon and a mother's love rushing through her, exalting and consuming one of the drakes wishing to eat her.
Time passed among the clutch of drakes when a great old bear came around with lessons and knowledge. When she finished her lessons, she left on another ship to find adventure!
Lunar, No Moon, Chaunta, East
Deep in the east, the trees hold many small tribes and villages. Archimedes was born in one of these small villages. A curmudgeon, he tended to remain apart from others through his young life, spending most of it by the side of old wizened men and cookfires. Nearing an age of apprenticeship, he took work with those same men, learning of the forest spirits, of potions and rememdies, to aid the village. One by one, they grew older and taught him all they knew.
The years passed, the men reached ages beyond life. To the mortals, they had become venerable in their forties and fifties. Naturtally they died from sickness or the world around them, painfully dangerous and filled with the fair folk. And as they passed, the village sought Archimedes far more for support and wisdom.
Yet for this life of need, he remained unwed and without lover. His sarcasm and bitterness sent away every possible woman except one. During his twenties, a woman visited their village, aching from travels and enduring a wound along her side. After passing out, the villagers contacted Archimedes to aid her. All through the procedures, they bickered and barked at each other. She left a week later, glaring at the man. And a month later, she returned. Another week passed, but not spent in bickering, but in lovemaking. They were both annoying, frustrating, and terribly lonely. In time, they became the perfect match.
Archimedes remained in his village, eager for the random visits from this woman called Nialle. Years and years, they played this game, Nialle visiting and Archimedes enjoying every moment of their time together. Yet the older he got, she never seemed to age. And remarkably, he lived on and on. Fifty. Sixty. So many families were born and died, yet he never did. Some days became painful, others a rush as new folk were rumored to arrive.
Finally, Nialle returned as he entered his seventieth year. Sitting on the edge of his bed, the still young woman revealed she was a solar and wanted to keep him as her own forever and ever. She would be leaving on a dangerous mission to find an item to keep them together. Reluctantly, he allowed her to leave only after she gave him a token to sense her. So many years passed by, and one night the token faded and destroyed. Her death ended any sense of need to live, as he held to the poison and contemplated his end. Yet some strength in him held away the poison, kept himself from dying from heartache, and the mother moon Luna embraced him.
Exalted by the moon, he rushed to consume a spider. Within days a woman with bright silver tattoos and hair found him. Gathered into her hands, he bit her repeatedly, yet she only smiled and whispered softly that he was safe. Taken into the treetops of Chaunta, he learned of his new path and sought to his this new life to find Nialle one way or another. In this quest he joined the new circle, and continues on with Theon.
Solar, Twilight, Nexus
Keth is a young woman born under a poor woman's household with few options for a true future. Eager for a few coins, her mother sold the girl into the whore houses of Nexus. Many a lowly woman can make her way through the skin trade. But those with something special to lose, be it a lovely face, virginity, or youth, could find themselves in a morge far too early in their lives.
A Dragon Blooded noble paid to enjoy a fresh young girl, taking what innocence she had left, and killing her. Never once did Keth or the noble believe she would not only live but exalt. The sun filled her mind and body, transforming her into a small god. Melodies and memories tugged at her thoughts, wending her with strength, and a burning need for vengeance. Rushing from the halls, a couple offered a room to the girl, never once asking questions or making demands. Yet small symbols laid upon their door sill and windows, that of the Unconquered Sun. Through them, Keth found a moment to breath, get her bearings, and make her way through the city.
Over the coming year, she found a teacher, learned of magic, and took up a curio shop from an elderly woman leaving the life of merchant's work for something quieter. The work held a sharp interest, and the travels for such fine pieces led her into a strange set of journeys that brought a minstel to her side, Sinclair.
If ever she found herself in trouble, Sinclair seemed to appear and aided her to run away. If a tale was needed to lift her spirits, his fiddle was quick to answer. And the few times she desperately needed a shoulder, his supported for as long as she needed. Through his recent chats, he spoke of a small group of lunars with a solar that seemed to travel deep into the east that could find great support in her talents. And perhaps they could travel together again.
Friends Met Along the Way
Lunar No Moon (mystic) | Chanta, Halta | Allied with Silver Python | Wardens of Gaia
In mere days before the Usurpation (killing of all solars and lunars), a young man exalted in the light of Luna. Apprentice to a solar twilight, he stayed with his master unto his death. The Wyld Hunt, free in numbers and carried by the fanaticism of many successes fell upon the elderly solar and his apprentice. The man fought until burnt to cinders by a cabal of dragonblooded and their army. And then they laid into the apprentice. Blinding one eye, laying acids and destructive magics into his flesh. They tortured him before the dead eyes of his master. In that moment, Luna appeared and exalted him.
What life he had is not as important as the fight to live during those years. He was caught in the wars of the Dragon Blooded during the Usurpation. He was marred, hurt, burnt with magics, fighting to escape from the clutches of the Wyld Hunt. Another Lunar recognized the hawk as a lunar, just exalted, not in his right mind. Fleeing for his own life, Silver Python took the fledgling with her into the deepest wyld of the east, where trees moved, sang, and changed without need of seasons.
It was here during these years Rain Deathflyer became a No Moon, learning mystical arts under his savior become friend and lover. Together, they have sought to understand the mysteries of the life they experienced in the east. They witnessed and received some of the first moonsilver markings.
Unlike other lunars, these two are oddities in that they embrace civilization. For reasons only they know, they have taken up residence among the Chauntans, protecting the city, and minging their offspring (hawkmen and snakemen) with them. Lunars and humans live in harmony in this place, far different than others. They revere their lunar keepers.
Rain never leaves deadly beastman. If he ever did, the glory of his Lunar self would seem so painful compared to the ruin of his human self. Stunted, blinded, maimed. If left to his own devices, Rain can be morose and reflective. Yet by Silver, he is a man with a deeply turning past, with an abiding love for those around him.
He fears the dead and ghosts, more than anything else in this world. Being bound also terrifies him, leaves him manic beyond reason. Demons are something to be respected and hated, something he is terrible at entirely.
Lunar No Moon (mystic) | Chanta, Halta | Allied with Rain Deathflyer | Wardens of Gaia
In the first days of the Usurpation, Silver Python was becoming a learned elder. She was young in mind, ambitious, filled with ideas, and ready to seek them on her own. With the call to leave the realm and seek the wyld, Silver Python seemed to find comfort in this as some grand experiment.
In escaping, she found Rain Deathflyer, still in his first change. Intrigued, she kept him close, and taught him as a mentor. Soon they became friends, and kindred in their designs and desires for knowledge. Together they built Chanta, founded new races of godmen, created a civilization, and even laid the treaties with the fair folk to protect the very people that once tried to kill them.
Silver Python shifts often, sometimes while standing before you. She enjoys taking the forms of men and women, beasts on occasion, and seems to enjoy procreation. It is more science than passion. She is an enigma wrapped in a conundrum touched with a smile and a wink. She loves all men and women around her, this geneticist in the wyld.
A secret somewhat kept, she is also a seer. Lilith believes she inherited the gift from Brigette, the greatest of Solar Twilights.
Lunar Changing Moon | Ancient of the First Age
It is a testament to the versatility of Lunar Exaltation that a Waning Moon, whose caste was associated with stealth and misdirection, became one of the deadliest hand-to-hand combatants Creation has ever seen. Lilith is a peerless spy and infiltrator as befits a Changing Moon. but she also remains one of Creation's greatest non-Sidereal martial artists. Lunars who hear her tale are surprised, then, that this deadly combatant meekly accepted abuse and near-torture at the hands of her own husband. When they met, Desus of the Eclipse Caste was a witty gallant who matched her trick for trick. Centuries later, he became a crazed sadist armed with mind-bending charms.
In the First Age, Lilith supported the Sun King Seneschals. Her fellow travelers in that faction saw her loyalty to her mate as merely an acceptance of the natural order of things. If any Seneschals ever noticed that Lilith bore more wounds from relaxing with her mate than she ever did after battles, no one ever found it socially proper to mention it. And so, Lilith suffered for centuries, cursed with undeniable passion and implacable hatred or the same man. When the Usurpation came and Lilith saw her mate die before her eyes, her response was an earthshattering howl that somehow combined unutterable grief and indescribable joy. Then, she fled into the Wyld and gave herself to the beast within her, becoming an animal in body and mind.
Only the merest luck saved Lilith from becoming a chimera. Old allies among the No Moons, loathe to put down such a peerless warrior, captured her and worked to restore her mind, even as they forced the tattoos upon her. No trials were necessary for Lilith, whose renown was already legendary. Wen they finished their work, the No Moons released Lilith to her fate. She fled further into the Wyld, sparing a look to her saviors that could have been either gratitude or contempt.
In the centuries since, Lilith moved into and out of Creation at whim. Her skills at stealth remain unsurpassed, no Wyld Hunt ever interfered with her passage through Creation. Unfortunately, her forays did not good for other Lunars. Only with the return of the Solars has Lilith snapped from her centuries long reverie. Rumors spread among the Lunars of the Northeast - Lilith is on the move, the Owl Woman has met the Mammoth Avatar, Golden-Eyed Jorst was torn asunder by a moonsilver clad warrior of ancient power.
Thus far, Lilith has not deigned to meet her fellow Lunars, least of all any members of the Sun King Seneschals. While the Seneschals themselves still claim her as a member, the leaders of this faction wonder exactly what Lilith shall for about the returning Solars. For yet another rumor that Lilith spent months pursuing the heir to her former mate's Exaltation, and none can say what Lilith will do when they meet.
In the second age, she has resurfaced, hearing the return of the Solars. And her entire world is bent upon revenge. No one will control her destiny. But her time with Theon have changed some thinking on that.
Lunar Changing Moon | Ancient of the First Age | Lair of Ma-Ha-Suchi
The Wolf of Red Roses is infamous as the terror of bedchambers across the Blessed Isle. The Solar Temen Ambereyes issued public chastisements of his platonic Lunar mate while privately encouraging Ma-Ha-Suchi's recreation. Despite the rare negative feeling the Wolf's habit engenders (and the Dreagon-Blooded assassins that often accompany such feelings), it is sharp and versatile political weapon for Ambereyes - and it delays the day that the Ma-Ha-Suchi seeks entrance into Ambereyes' bed.
Ma-Ha-Suchi is indiscriminate in partners, apart from his ambition to sleep with every Celestial Exalt, though few mortals intrigue him enough to attract his lust. He sleeps with few people more than once, and his only recurrent lover is Odovacar of Rust, husband-wife to a neighboring Lawgiver on the Blessed Isle. Odovacar's mate is jealous and unforgiving of affairs tat reach beyond that of convenience, so their trysts remain secret lest Odovacar, Ma-Ha-Suchi, and Ambereyes suffer large personal and political consequences.
Some people consider Ma-Ha-Suchi an irredeemable rascal, others an enemy, but none deny him admission into their principalities or their homes. He is too charming a guest and too pleasant a companion. He is not the oldest, most powerful or most socially convincing of the Exalted, but he uses that to his advantage. When Ma-Ha-Suchi cannot overwhelm potential hosts with his personality, he disarms them with his youth. Only the Sideral Hadeon avoids the Wolf with the Red Roses without respite. Ma-Ha-Suchi is confident that they will meet, because he prowls Meru and the Blessed Isles for the very reason that all Celestial Exalted come there eventually.
The Lunar has estates in the Threshold, some personal, some shared with Ambereyes and one for secret meetings with Odovacar. He rarely visits them. Everything in the world if in Meru, so why would he spend his time in barbarism? Ma-Ha-Suchi feels the same way about the dominion he and Abereyes administer on the Isle. While Ambereyes enjoys the arenas of political and economic combat. Ma-Ha-Suchi leaves the busywork to his Terrestrial (dragon blooded) exalted and aids his bonded mate as an afterthought. I AM conveys no messages left for him regarding his duties in the prefecture, by longstanding command. This would cause trouble, but I AM intelligently selects messages to share messages to share based on content and originator and has never been chastised by Ma-Ha-Suchi on the matter.
Solar Eclipse | Prince of the West | Wandering Maiden
Jakou earned one title alone in the First Age: Prince of the West. In truth, he was just that. The seas sang in his blood, those of water and sky. Despite his one sole desire to adventure, his mind is that of a keen tactician. When pressed to it, he can wheel and deal better than most. The problem...he doesn't want to.
After gaining a foothold in the west, settling all of the terrors that threatened in the deep, the Admiral earned a Kingship...that he never wanted. Stealing one of the grand flying ships, the Wandering Maiden, he left the continued rule of those islands and waters to other solars, and lunars, including Leviathan. And where did he go? Seeking adventure! No expectations, no wagging fingers. The pirate attacked everyone and anyone, aiding people from the horrors of the fae and demons while thieving from the rich solars.
So it was during his travels he learned of Mahasuchi, and other such playboys. Finally...someone to truly set his skills against! What better war than that of love, eh? So it was a woman stole his ship, leaving him stranded in Sal'maneth. Wow, did he fail. Utterly.
As the city was attacked, he seemed the best choice for saving. So he stole a safe spot from someone else. The circle found and woke him centuries later, aiding the pirate to simply continue where he left off. He has shown an incredible spirit as their greatest friend and compatriot in misadventures. Despite his constant wanderings, when set on a task, Jakaou's will is as strong as orichalcum.
Abyssal Daybreak | Mask of Winters
The beginings of Vile were painfully simple. A young man with the mind of a broken child, Michael was considered a simpleton. Something about his mind would never age to adulthood, and could not concieve of adult things. His mother was a drug addict, father a butcher. He wanted to earn a place by his father, so he cooked his mother into the finest pie he ever ate. And his father was impressed, though he had no notion he ate his wife. While getting rid of the bones, he was knocked into the waters with a head wound from a crate smacking his head at the docks. Rats ate at the bleeding man, as the Mask of Winters made a deal with him.
The rats consumed his flesh, destroyed his throat which took years to heal. Infernal magic from the neverborn awoke his flesh and tragically gave him the intelligence he never could have had! Vile realized the demented actions of his parents, leading him to massacre his father before seeking the Mask of Winters. There he flourished under a new master, with a new circle of destructive children.
Taking up the orders of his Death Lord, Vile sought out the circle. He intended to kill them. Instead, he found a family he never expected to find. Archimedes has become his dearest friend, lover in a way. At some point, this may become an issue.
Incognito Raksha Ally | Bard of the Realm | The Once King
What the world knows of Sinclair is the tale of a bard wandering to learn of humanity. His mind is filled with song and poetic verse, from ballads to dirges. The life of ordinary men far more attracts his interest than that of the Exalted. Perhaps for good reason! For thousands of years, since his coming of being, Sinclair has wandered the world, singing songs and telling tales. Many peoples have legends of the strange never-aging bard. None have tales of love or children of his, any death, or where he originated. The closest truths are held by the Firewarder district of Nexus and a few elder ghosts in Sijan.
The circle has learned this seemingly simple man is not mortal but Raksha in one of the cleverest shaped disguises of all time. He parted ways from the deep wyld, where exactly remains a mystery. He took up the Sword of the King, revealing his true nature to his friends. This event led to a great transformation, bringing the bard to their saving when seeking the lost goddess Luna. Thereafter, they came to respect and welcome the bard fully as a member of their group, and Keth embraced him as a lover.
Enemies at the Gate
Sidereal Maiden of Secrets | Yu'Shan
He goes by many names, many guises. In the world of exalts, he has been known since the coming of the first age. An adviser to generals. A tactician for kings. A comrade in arms. He has never deigned to take a simple face, or at least, no one recalls when he has.
His history entwines with that of the eldest, Chejop. Many requests and deeds were issued by the maiden's favored, all of which Demetrius completed in his own special way. Every mess and every request had a flawless conclusion, and a slight advantage given to himself.
Despite the power he held, he wanted one thing. A simple thing. A life his own, no longer bound to absolute secrecy or watched by the gods above. In these missions he took steps, and now the end of his life nears. And with it the grand design of his plans.
The circle has been plagued by his machinations, finding themselves caught up owing him like so many others. They have learned much of his past, his love of Aysel, the killing and gathering of Solar souls, and binding so many lives to torturous designs. He has offered them freedom of his hold over them and their closest friends. The cost? Escort him into the underworld to a specific location for the final transformation.