Sunset-On-Snow, Fair Folk Noble

Background

So many of those from beyond Creation see it as a terrible machine, an evil construct of law designed to rip the joy and beauty from the Wyld and turn it into dull and lifeless clay. Not so Sunset-on-Snow. In Sunset’s eyes, Creation is a diamond on a velvet cushion, a pearl on a necklace. It is the “I love you” in the rush of confused marriage vows that is the Wyld. Nothing is quite so beautiful or has such meaning to it. Nothing but those who live in Creation can “be” and “become” and “end” quite so definitively.

Sunset-on-Snow was one of the first Fair Folk – those from beyond who came to Creation, forced or not, to try to find a place within it. Sunset has gained fortunes and lost them, been a ruler and a slave, written songs and been the subject of them. Sunset has lived in many places in the North, but chose to settle in Snow’s Hand (now Slumber’s Grasp) for the past few hundred years. In a small pool of the Wyld known as the Glacier of Splendors, a delicate frozen palace impossibly maintains its place as the river of ice slides beneath it.

When King Thenor came to the Glacier of Splendors in in the summer of his fifty-ninth year, Sunset-on-Snow saw an image of a beautiful tragedy extending dozens of years into the future. The slow decline of ruler and kingdom! Wisdom laid low! Children at each other’s throats! The anguish and the ecstasy – such a feast for the soul. How could one refuse such an offer?

The cost to Sunset was great. Immortality, even of Thenor’s flawed sort, is not easily granted. In the intervening years, though, Sunset’s strength has recovered and redoubled. Light returned to the Glacier of Splendors, and the night skies in Slumber’s Grasp are lit by more than just the aurora. Fearing no harm from the citizens of the valley, Sunset often visits the towns and villages in the northern valley.

Sunset-on-snow is fascinated by Turning Wind. His presence is like a tiny symphony, or a looking at the world through a puddle where a stone has been dropped. Other Fair Folk might find it jarring or painful; Sunset finds it pleasantly discordant. So far the sun has only viewed the wind from afar, but who knows what romance might bloom?

Appearance

sunset on snow 500

Skin the color of desert sand. Indistinct eyes behind feather masks. Long and flowing hair somewhere between brown and blonde. A subtle and ever-present smile rests on lips that drip words like honey. A body slim and mid-sized, with neither strong male nor strong female features. The backdrop for Sunset-on-Snow is the very thing itself: a constantly changing display of brilliant colors that cannot be seen from behind.

Sunset-on-snow can wear many forms in Creation, but primarily appears as a myna bird, a wash of color, a feathered wolf in resplendent colors, or a masked human as described above.

Demeanor

Every person in Creation is a toy to Sunset, a beautiful and cleverly-made marionette with which wonderful games can be played. Part of the game is seeing how far things can be pushed before someone discovers that there is, in fact, a game. And then, after the realization comes, how will they react? Seeing such responses is a joy – after all, they are just another part of a longer and deeper game.

Intimacies: “I will always be free” (Defining), “Don’t break your toys” (Major), “Make drama” (Major), “Gossip” (Positive), “Attachments to others” (Negative)

Capabilities

Let the cataphracts wear their armor and ride their chargers into battle. Sunset-on-Snow is nimble and untouchable, clever and quick-witted, daring and charismatic. Why wave a sword when one can slip away from a battle? Why growl when one can laugh?

Regardless of gender or preference, all observers find Sunset-on-Snow stunningly beautiful. The fluidity of Wyld-born form accommodates any romance that might arise. Sunset’s very presence is addictive, though only lightly at first. Those unaccustomed to the Wyld might not even realize why they follow this strange person around like a puppy after its master.

Sunset-on-Snow can walk in Creation for much longer than most Fair Folk. The Wyld in the mountaintops is still preferable, but the feeling is like coming a home from a tavern, rather than from a war.

Supporting Characters

  • Beam of Truth, groundskeeper of the glacier. Meticulous, slow, irascible.
  • Softly Falling, palace guard. Dour, professional, loves sweets.
  • Fire Among the Stars, who grows flowers from sunlight and ice. Flighty, joyous, naive.
  • Seppo, who waits for Sunset to come to his village. Young, bright-eyed, needy.

Questions

  • How do the other citizens of the Glacier of Splendors react to Sunset’s coming and going? Do they scheme for power, or are they merely phantoms conjured by Sunset’s presence? How many are there here?
  • Sunset is hardly just “Fair Folk” any more. Creation’s influence has wrought change here. When that is pointed out, what is Sunset’s reaction – anger? Sadness? Joy?
  • Who is there in the valley that Sunset-on-snow might consider a threat?
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Serranos, the Ancient Evil

Background

Here on the shores of the Dreaming Sea, the Fair Folk invasion rewrote the fabric of the world like a tide. In its advancing and receding, the Wyld left pools behind. It was then, after the victory of the Scarlet Empress, as these last touches of chaos left the land and drifted back toward the Dreaming Sea, that Serranos rose to power among the Fair Folk of the Shores.

Power-hungry, charismatic, and desperate, Serranos led his people to a crafty assault on the Shores. Dozens of Fair Folk infiltrated the local population, taking on the form of refugees from distant lands. Within days they struck, murdering thousands and leaving hundreds more as dreamless drones before they were finally routed by local forces.

Serranos himself escaped… but he escaped alone. He lived, if one could call it that, huddled in a tiny pocket of Wyld beneath a broken manse in the northern Shores, too weak to survive on his own, too terrified of his ancient kinfolk to brave the Dreaming Sea. He created pale, weak shapes that were the shadows of those he had known before, and treated them as compatriots, the way a child might speak to a puppet.

Five years ago, Serranos made another bid to conquer the Shores, driving his puppets before him as if they were a great war-host. They were not. The effort was doomed to failure from the first; he may even have known that. Amilar Valna and her consort Ilsadoth scattered his pathetic forces and put an end to him in a shadowlands, and that was that.

Or it should have been.

Serranos’ shade rose five days later in the underworld. He struggled – oh, how his existence has been defined by strife and struggle – but his struggle has borne fruit. Ixar leads a cult that funnels him essence and the goods of the grave. He has followers and supplicants, such as Shimmering Hope, who allow his dark essence upon their souls all unknowing. Victory is all but assured. Now he need only watch from his lair beneath a crumbled manse and wait for the Shores to come tumbling down.

Appearance

Serranos

Serranos wears a silver mask with elaborate engravings that draw the eye. Some of his clothing is black; the rest displays all the range of a colorful bruise. His hair, constantly in motion, flies out wildly from behind the mask.

Demeanor

Serranos is, at heart, a walking stereotype. He is the cackling villain: plotting, pacing, ranting, lashing out. Those who would secretly observe him in his home would see a monster in human form. He cares for nothing but power over others, and it shows in how he treats those who serve him.

However, before Ixar, his other cultists, and any whom he feels might be a threat, he is a portrait of magnanimous reason. Soft yet firm, daring yet reasonable. He reveals his madness only when he grants power to his followers, a strange anima flaring around him and echoing his mad laughter. For this reason, he does this only in private, or when surrounded by loyal servants.

Serranos cannot abide mention of Ilsadoth by name. In his particular religion, that despised ruler is The Repulsive One, and his consort in the land of the living is The Murderess.

Intimatices: “I will rule Creation from a throne of pain” (Defining), “Ilsadoth and Amilar Valna shall be my slaves” (Negative), “None must know my of coming before I am ready” (Major), “Reward fools; they are easier to control” (Positive)

Abilities

Serranos is a master manipulator. His soft words and canny observations worm their way into his targets’ minds without the need for essence. He is physically weak and has little to no skill in combat, relying on his followers extensively for travel and protection. He believes that he understands much about the underworld, but in truth he has only power, not knowledge.

That power is enough, though. Serranos can “gift” individuals – both living and dead – with powerful mutations to their bodies and minds. Gifting power leaves Serranos weakened for an hour or so. Those whom he makes grow strong and swift often have visible manifestations of this power, such as bulging muscles and shimmering dark outlines behind them as they move. Those who are granted more esoteric capabilities, such as control over the elements of death (blood, bone, ash, pyre-flame, and void), show only the slightest physical indications of their new-found glory. Instead, the power twists their minds, letting Serranos nudge them in subtle ways, and eventually take over their minds in total. Even with Ixar he is far from this level of command, but only because she does not yet feel worthy to join with her god.

Serranos is not truly a ghost. Necromancy, at least at its lowest rank, has no hold on him. He is still more of the Wyld than of the underworld, though that may change in time if his existence continues.

Supporting Characters

  • Jun and Sav, the interchangeable footmen who carry him about on his litter. Silent, stoic, suicidally brave.
  • Kra, an undead raiton with a glimmer of human intelligence, who advises Serranos from atop his throne. Loud, sarcastic, cowardly.
  • Fu Efa, ash-breathing bodyguard. Suspicious, needy, brutal.
  • Zeni, swift ghostly messenger who brings Serranos’ word across the Shores. Confident, clever, laughing.

Questions

  • Where does the power than Serranos grants come from? Is he as powerful as he believes, or is he someone else’s puppet?
  • Is Ixar the only priestess of Serranos, or does he command others?
  • What treasures and artifacts has Serranos obtained from his cults?