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White Elephant for Isator Levi

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  • White Elephant for Isator Levi

    Isator Levi

    "I would like a write-up for a fallen Great House. Go for one that hasn't been given a name yet, and write it from the perspective of when it was still alive; that is to say, set earlier in the timeline than RY 768*. It can be at whatever stage takes the fancy of the writer: brand new, in its heyday, on the verge of falling, whichever. It doesn't need to be as detailed as the write-ups in What Fire Has Wrought, but preferably would have the structure; it doesn't need to have more detailed territories than its headquarters, or personages than its founder, but those ones are kind of essential.

    * Unless one has a really nifty idea for where it could fit in an alternative landscape for the Time of Tumult."
    Thorek - Water Thicker Than Blood
    Thorek is a house perpetually on the brink of extinction. Some unknown curse has befallen the bloodline, shattering the progenitive essence of its scions. A bare handful of Exalted are born in each generation, and even those small numbers dwindle with time. In truth, they owe much of their continued existence to their exclusive control over Western trade and a large share of the Realm’s fleet.
    Social Standing

    Thorek’s near inability to pass on their Exaltation makes them very unfavored in inter-House marriages. Few Houses are willing to throw away well bred scions to a marriage unlikely to produce even a single Exalt. Indeed, it is whispered that the curse on House Thorek stretches beyond their progenitive essence, and that the House itself is doomed to die.
    Thorek makes up for their own lack of Exalted offspring, as well as their lack of fresh blood from outside the House, by aggressively recruiting Lost Eggs. More than half of their numbers were not born to the House, but Thorek cannot afford to discriminate against adopted kin.
    House Economics

    The House remains an economic power due to their complete control of Western trade. Granted by the Empress for Thorek’s service, it has been their lifeline ever since. Wu-Jian serves as the house’s gateway to the West, and all trade must go through House Thorek’s offices on the island chain. All manner of exotic goods flow to the Realm from the West, from spices to unique materials to slaves.
    House Military

    House Thorek has the second largest navy in the Realm, after only Peleps in size. Thorek uses this fleet to protect its trading interests. The Admirals of Thorek are engaged in a generations-long war of extermination against the pirates of the West, and are actually making headway. However, their triumphs at sea mask turmoil on land. Many of the Western pirates were not killed, but have instead taken up criminal enterprise on Wu Jian, right under Thorek’s nose. The house is ill-prepared to deal with this new wave of crime, and unless they can adapt quickly Wu Jian is threatened to fall into lawlessness.
    Originally, House Thorek controlled much of the West directly. However, such an extremely far-flung land proved impossible to control. Bit by bit, House Thorek has ceded direct control to Satrapies, or allowed Satrapies to lapse into mere tributaries. Every so often, a Thorek Matriarch will decide to reclaim lands, but their success is inevitably short lived.
    Enemies and Alliances

    House Thorek has few true allies, stemming from other Houses reluctance to form bonds of marriage. House Ragara is the closest they have to an ally, and Thorek works hard to maintain that tie. House Thorek and House Ragara have many trade deals, often slightly more favorable to Ragara, securing markets on the Blessed Isle for Thorek’s Western imports. As Throek’s influence dwindles, however, Ragara insists on ever more favorable terms.
    House Cynis looks favorably upon House Thorek as well. Western spice and slaves feed Cynis’s hunger, and many of the slaves Thorek imports end up at Cynis markets. House Cynis balks at outright alliance, however, not wishing to be tied to the fate of a House so clearly in decline.
    House Peleps is Thorek’s major rival, with Peleps resenting Thorek’s control over the West and their rivalry for naval supremacy. House Peleps works to oppose Thorek’s attempts to adopt Lost Eggs, and undermines their trade by funding and supporting smugglers who bypass Wu Jian. Peleps eagerly awaits the day Thorek falls, and already has plans in place to seize control of its navy.
    Major Holdings

    Motano Prefecture is the House’s only real holding on the Blessed Isle. A small prefecture on the Northwestern shore of the Isle, it houses several natural harbors that protect both trading ports and drydocks. Thorek the founder is buried in her manse here, a glass castle that juts out over the sea.
    Wu Jian is House Thorek’s lifeline, their portal to the West. All trade passes through here, allowing Thorek to collect fees and tariffs with ease. Much of Thorek’s land forces are here, ensuring that Wu Jian remains a pristine, disciplined city. However, a recent rise in organized crime pushed by displaced pirates threatens all of that in a way the House is ill prepared to deal with.
    The Wavecrest Archipelago provides much of the wealth that flows through Wu Jian. The islands’ rich black volcanic soil supports harvests of breadfruit, mangos, guavas, taro root, and bananas, exotic luxuries in high demand at Dynastic dinner tables. The Archipelago is also home to Thorek’s Western shipyards, using the islands’ fine wood to support rapid production.
    Scions of Note

    The founder Thorek was a famous Admiral in the days of the Shogunate. When the Empress proclaimed her new reign, she went before her and offered to secure the West for the fledgling Empire. Thorek sailed away, and was not heard from for twenty years. Upon her return, she laid dominion over much of the West at the Empress’s feet and pledged loyalty. As a reward, the Empress granted Thorek a Great House, and allowed her to oversee the newly conquered lands. However, riches and land were not all Thorek returned with. Though she never spoke of it, during her conquests her bloodline was cursed by a power even a mighty Exalt like Thorek could not defeat.
    Thorek Jiyala is the current House Matriarch, and is a military-minded woman every bit Thorek’s heir. She looks to the West, and sees the opportunity for greater expansion. Why be content with satrapies and a handful of outposts, she asks, when House Thorek could conquer and rule directly. She has begun a buildup of the House navy on Wavecrest, but also an increase in standing soldiers stationed out there. She hopes that by raising and keeping the new legions in the far West, she can avoid the Empress’s eye and sanction.
    Thorek Yan is the House’s greatest hope. Somehow, he has managed to avoid the curse, for his progenitive essence remains intact. Already, he has sired two Exalted children, and the optimists in the House see him as a sign that the curse is dissipating at last. More than one Exalt will be needed to replenish the House’s numbers, and the rest of the House waits with excitement and fear to see if his children will carry the curse or not.

    Sidebar: What is the Curse?

    The exact nature of the Curse is left vague, however three possibilities are provided here for storytellers to use or take inspiration from as needed.
    God’s Curse One of the mightiest Gods of the West consumed its power to lay a bloodline curse on Thorek in revenge for the devastation she wrought. Perhaps this curse may be lifted by placating the god, or by seeking intervention from a mightier spirit.
    Heaven’s Wrath The Sidereal Exalted placed the curse upon Thorek’s fate, empowered to continue beyond the initial target, in order to ensure the House could not grow to its full potential. This sort of curse could be lifted by another Sidereal, or by a powerful Celestial diety or sorcerous working.
    Ancient Hazard Thorek stumbled across a lost relic or ruin of the first age, but failed to identify the warning signs before she triggered something from that Age. Perhaps a sorcerous working left unfinished, or a twisted product of Anathema manse design. But just as artifice created the curse, so could it undo it. A sufficiently powerful artifact or sorcerous working may lift the curse from the family - or perhaps just a single member.

    World’s Edge (Black Jade Daiklave, Artifact ***)

    During her conquest of the West, Thorek fought her way through to the furthest shore and stood for a full day and night contemplating the endless ocean. There were no more lands to see, no more people to subjugate or conquer. She threw down her sword, and left.
    A hundred years later, with Thorek’s grip on the west slipping, her grandson Thorek Imobis returned to the spot. The sea had risen and covered the sword. Its steel darkened to black jade, its surface reflected the endless horizon like finely polished obsidian. Imobis took up the sword once again and swore to never allow his House’s conquests to fall from their hands.
    Attunement: 5m; Type: Medium (+3 ACC, +12 DMG, +1 DEF, OVW 5)
    Tags: Lethal, Melee, Balanced
    Hearthstone slot(s): 2
    Era: Reign of the Scarlet Empress

    Evocations of World’s Edge

    Anyone attuned to World’s Edge has a Dominion, being lands that she has conquered or controls. The wielder’s perception of the matter matters more than legal standing, but anywhere she has personally conquered, or is governed by her or her House automatically qualifies.
    Any attuned wielder not dissonant with Jade gains 2 bonus dice to Command actions while in her Dominion.

    Conqueror's Line

    Cost: 2m; Mins: Essence 1
    Type: Supplemental
    Keywords: Uniform
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisites: None
    World’s Edge can be used to defend the wielder’s land - or expand it. This evocation enhances an attack roll against a battle group, negating its Defense bonus from drill. Against a group with Poor drill, this attack will trigger a rout check if it inflicts at least one magnitude of damage. While in her Dominion, she also gains double 9s on the attack roll.
    Special Activation Rules: A Thorek scion who attunes to World’s Edge awakens Conqueror’s Line for free

    Clash of Champions

    Cost: 5m 1wp; Mins: Essence 1
    Type: Reflexive
    Keywords: Counterattack, Withering-Only, Dissonant
    Duration: Instant
    Prerequisites: None
    While armies wage war, the champions and generals truly decide the outcome of the battle. This evocation creates a reflexive withering clash. If she wins, after rolling damage, apply the damage and penalties for losing a clash to a battle group within Short range instead of against the clash opponent.
    If she is in her Dominion, she inflicts 3 initiative damage on her clash opponent if she wins the clash.
    Dissonant: A wielder Dissonant with jade may only use this evocation once per scene

    Hold This Land

    Cost: 8m 1wp; Mins: Essence 2
    Type: Simple
    Keywords: Resonant
    Duration: Scene
    Prerequisites: Conqueror's Line, Clash of Champions
    Raising World’s Edge aloft, the wielder puts hope into the hearts of her soldiers. All allied battle groups within Short range of her immediately stop routing and recover one magnitude of damage. For the rest of the scene, affected battle groups add her (Essence) to all rout checks. She may reflexively reactivate this charm later in the scene for 4m to add additional battle groups to the effect or prevent additional routs.
    Waive the Willpower cost while in her Dominion.
    Resonant: A wielder Resonant with Jade may affect battle groups out to Medium range by paying an additional 2m.

    Bound Hearts

    Cost: -; Mins: Essence 3
    Type: Permanent
    Keywords: None
    Duration: Permanent
    Prerequisites: Hold This Land
    With World’s Edge at hand, its wielder does not simply conquer new lands, she binds and breaks their people. After conquering a new land, this evocation creates a minor tie of Obedient Fear towards her in the conquered populace. This tie cannot be changed, weakened or removed while the land remains part of her Dominion.

    No More

    Cost: 10m; Mins: Essence 4
    Type: Simple
    Keywords: Resonant
    Duration: Indefinite
    Prerequisites: Bound Hearts
    Just as Thorek saw at the edge of the world, so too must every conqueror realize that they cannot continue their expansion forever. This evocation may be activated after conquering a new land. No more land may be added to her Dominion while this evocation is active, and all land currently part of her Dominion will always be considered part of her Dominion while this evocation is active. Strengthen all Ties created by Bound Hearts one level.
    While this evocation is active, she may reflexively spend two motes to be treated as being in her Dominion for one tick.
    Should she deactivate this evocation, all Ties created by Bound Hearts immediately break and she cannot reactivate this evocation for the rest of the Story.
    Resonant: A wielder Resonant with Jade recovers two motes from the attunement of this evocation at the end of every Story. This can reduce the attuned cost to 0m, but not further.
    Last edited by SaintedPhysician; 12-31-2018, 01:57 PM. Reason: Adding a ping notice for isator levi