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Upon the Rock of Tradition: Memorials [Upcoming Fan Splat]

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  • Kyeudo
    replied
    KINGDOMS OF AMBER

    When the dust finally settled and the Solars were gone, Creation was left with a giant power vacuum and the Dragon-Blooded fell into factional infighting in their haste to fill it. As a score of Terrestrial daimyos vied for control of the world, many of the Memorial Exalted saw a chance for themselves. Some offered their services to the daimyos as generals and advisers while others rebuilt or conquered cities to make their own.

    Those who claimed kingdoms of their own were soon dragged into the saga of wars and intrigues that dominated the Shogunate era. Some stayed independent, either through their own military strength or by playing their enemies against each other, while others were forced to be tributary states of one warlord or another. Many of the Memorial Kings tried to preserve or recreate the glories of the past, their successes making them targets for those hungry for First Age wonders.

    Those that found their place in the courts of the Dragon-Blooded daimyos formed a counterpoint to the Sidereals. Where the Chosen of the Stars advised in secret using their knowledge of the future, the Chosen of Lethe advised openly using their knowledge of the past. From their positions as trusted administrators, tacticians, and historians, the Memorial Exalted toppled empires, forged alliances, and organized more than a few coups.

    Those Memorials that didn't find a place in Creation as either a ruler or a servant retreated into the Underworld to the ancient bastion cities there, only to find their claims contested by the nascent Deathlords and their armies. These kingdoms of the living among the dead found the Underworld a different, much more inhospitable place without the support of Creation. Many crumbled, unable to secure food, fresh water, or allies in the barren kingdom, but others endured to become a thorn in the Deathlords' sides.

    THE AGE OF SORROWS

    When the Great Contagion struck Creation, it did not spare the duchies of the Memorials. Proud city-states in Creation died or were abandoned because of the plague, their rulers likewise dead or left to wander homeless. The bastion cities of the Underworld found themselves with the opposite problem. While their isolation within the Underworld shielded their living populations from the spread of the Contagion, the spirits of the dead flooded into their kingdoms in droves. Unprepared for the great influx of the dead, riots, rebellions, and other unrest broke out within the Underworld duchies, often provoked by the agents of one Deathlord or another. Those trying to help ghosts pass on to Lethe were overwhelmed by the sheer number of the dead. Specters proliferated, wars broke out across the lands of the dead, and shadowlands formed in increasing numbers.

    The Deathlords, their armies swelled by the ranks of the angry Contagion dead, used the state of panic and disarray as a time to strike at the surviving Memorial duchies and cement their control over the Underworld. Dukes were slain, driven from their lands, or forced to become tributary states. Only a handful were able to weather the assaults of the Deathlords and remain independent.

    The sudden invasion of the Balorian Crusade brought an end to the Contagion, but not to the carnage. Those slain by the Fair Folk still added to the chaos gripping the Underworld. Only those closest to Creation's center or bypassed by the armies of the Fair Folk escaped unscathed.

    The rise of the Scarlet Empress initially was seen as a blessing by what remained of the duchies of the Memorials, as she routed the armies of the fae with the Sword of Creation. However, much as had happened in the Shogunate, they soon found themselves either forced to submit to the Realm or to struggle to survive against its might.

    Those Memorials that were incorporated into the Realm slowly found their political power waning, as the more numerous Terrestrials vied for their positions. The Immaculate Order, in particular, was eager to get the Caretakers out of public eye, insisting that the Dragon-Blooded, as the most enlightened and most favored of Heaven, should be the only ones to rule. The Memorials are now little more than powerful curiosities in Realm society, not overtly shunned, but also not wholly welcomed either.

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  • Kyeudo
    replied

    THE FIRST AGE

    ​The end of the Primordial War did not bring rest to the Memorials, for they had to make sure the great many new and unusual restless denizens of the Underworld would not rise again; chief among them the corpses of the slain Primordials. With the help of the shades of their former comrades, they quieted these “Neverborn,” performing what rites they could conceive upon the tombs-corpses of the fallen Primordials. Somewhat placated, the dead titans slipped into a troubled sleep, freeing the Memorials to determine how best to tend to the rest of the Underworld and the countless ghosts that had now slipped free from the call of Lethe.

    ​With the aid of the Solar Deliberative, it was determined that it would be foolish to try to return the Underworld to its former state and that the presence of ghosts helped to stabilize the Underworld against the mad imaginings of the slumbering Neverborn. The necropolis of Stygia was built around the Mouth of the Void and its ghostly denizens charged with the maintenance of the city. Ghosts elsewhere would be helped to rejoin the cycle of reincarnation, a duty that fell to the Chosen of Mnemosyne now that their own patron had passed away. Bastion cities were built in the Underworld, bases of operation and places of refuge for the Memorial Exalted and their mortal followers.
    ​All seemed to be going smoothly in the Underworld. Then the Black Nadir Concordant, exploring what power might be gained by mastering the Void, tore open the tomb-corpses of the Neverborn and ripped from their minds the first secrets of necromancy.

    ​The Amber Order was furious, as the Neverborn stirred again and could not be coerced back to their slumber. Things stirred in the Labyrinth that had not been seen in ages. But the charismatic Solars and Lunars of the Concordant swayed the Deliberative to their side; after all, was not the power of the Yozi and their demons under their control? Would not power over the Void be much the same thing? The Amber Order could do nothing but bow to the desires of the Deliberative, but they resented their authority being circumvented without so much as a consultation on the matter.

    ​But time can change the hearts of all, and even the most stubborn Memorial could not deny the great power provided by necromancy. Those that were initiated into the dark art found they had a natural talents for it, the rituals of necromancy coming easily to their minds and hands. Not many years after the discovery of necromancy, many Memorials were practicing the very art they had once scorned.


    THE RESSURECTION OF MNEMOSYNE

    ​As the First Age progressed, the Primordials' death curse ate away at the souls of the Exalted. While the Solars were affected the most, slowly descending into paranoia and madness, the Memorials were not free from the Great Curse. They became entranced by things which had once been but were now no more. The Primordial War was so long ago, yet it held such great wonders lost to mankind, including their own lost goddess. If only they could bring such things back… yet it was just an idle wish.

    ​Then the Solars unlocked another, deeper, circle of necromancy. The Amber Order, which had been so recalcitrant about the discovery and practice of the dark art was first discovered, was among the first to support the Solars as they explored the limits of the Labyrinth Circle of Necromancy, for they saw glimmers of hope for their lost Patron in its macabre wonders.

    ​The greatest minds among the Chosen of Mnemosyne came together and designed a grand ritual that they believed would have the power to restore their patron to life. All that would be needed was the aid of the Solars to carry it out. They presented their plan to the Solar Deliberative and argued its merits before the assembled Exalts.
    ​The scope of their project caused much debate, both in the upper and lower houses of the Deliberative. The project's death blow came when one of the Sidereals, a Chosen of Endings, proclaimed a prophecy: Should the ritual be performed, death and tragedy would haunt all who were involved.
    ​The Memorials accused the Sidereals of lying, of using this supposed prophecy to murder their dreams, but the damage was done. The Solar Exalted, fearing for their own safety and power, sided with the Sidereals and ordered the Memorials to stop their pursuit.

    ​Outwardly, the Memorials begrudgingly abandoned the project, but inwardly they could not let go of the past. The Amber Order waited until the eyes of the Solar Deliberative turned from them to other projects and started to gather in secret. If the Solars would not help, they would be forced to stand on their own to bring their beloved Goddess back.

    ​It took time to make adjustments to the ritual to compensate for the lack of Solars, but eventually the Amber Order felt confident in their ritual. They assembled all of the Memorials together for their great working, each schooled in their place in the ritual, and began.

    ​As the ritual built to its climax, its power reverberated through the Loom of Fate. A shadowland opened around the ritual site, spreading outward like a pool of blood from the sheer amount of necromancy being performed. Strange events occurred across Creation – the dead rising from their graves, phantoms of fallen cities reappearing, monstrosities slinking out of the Labyrinth to terrorize the living, and more. No one with any occult training could mistake that a working of great power had just occurred.

    THE BREAKING OF
    THE AMBER ORDER

    ​The ritual's result was not what the Memorials expected. Their patron goddess was not restored to life. Instead, something cracked within their Exaltations, the strain of the energies they had attempted to harness too much for them to handle. The full extent of the damage would not be apparent for many years, but their previously flawless memories now could only reach back only a dozen lifetimes of so and their time as Exalts became only a tenth of what it once was. Weakened, exhausted, and despairing, they did not resist when the agents of the Deliberative came to arrest them.

    ​The Solars tried them all and found them to be dangers to Creation. The entire Amber Oder, both mortal and Exalt, was executed and their Catalysts confiscated. The Solars divided the Memorial Exaltations among themselves, to be dealt with as they saw fit. The care of the Underworld was left to a disorganized volunteer effort, mostly made up of bored necromancers, a few Chosen of Endings, and a smattering of priests looking for new peoples to convert. The Memorials were also stripped of their seats in the Deliberative, excluded from the rule of Creation until such a time the Deliberative deemed them “no longer a danger to the stability of the world.”

    ​The harsh punishment the Solars meted out to their fellow Celestial Exalts, especially the casual treatment they gave the Memorials' Exaltations, shocked some among the Sidereals and Terrestrials. They began to truly look at what the Solars were doing and noticed for the first time the excesses and indulgences of the Chosen of the Sun.

    THE SCATTERING OF THE MEMORIALS

    The future on the Memorial Exalted was now in the hands of the Chosen of the Unconquered Sun. A few took the confiscated Memorial Catalysts and tried to find those that would uphold the duties the Amber Order had previously carried out. Others gave them to friends and favored servants, using the Memorials to watch over their lands and interests. A handful put their Catalysts on display as curiosities. The most paranoid of Solars feared that new Memorials would seek revenge for their previous incarnations and so sealed them away in vaults and tombs.

    The new generation of Memorials took up existing traditions of service or founded their own, all in service to the Solars. Wardens strengthened martial orders, directed the fortification of cities, and trained soldiers. Scholars founded academies, took part in research programs, and mentored students. Wayfinders explored into the Wyld, arranged trade routes, and built diplomatic ties between nations. Founders forged wonders, managed the affairs of cities, and settled new towns. Revenants quieted the restless dead, judged the crimes of the living, and oversaw the burial rites of kings.

    They did not have many years before calamity befell them again. The Sidereals, convinced that the Solars were leading Creation to destruction, caused the Dragon-Blooded to rise up in rebellion against the Solar Exalted.

    The Solars did not go quietly and the short, but brutal war that raged spanned Creation. The Memorials were drafted by all sides, press-ganged into serving if they would not serve willingly. The cities they built were used as staging bases, the soldiers they trained marched to their deaths, the academies they founded turned to produce weapons, the trade routes they blazed used to supply armies on the march. For the Memorials, the war was a saga of struggle and tragedy as they tied to keep the things that they had built from being ground to dust beneath the legions of the Solars and Dragon-Blooded.

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