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The Eternal Echoes (2E)

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  • The Eternal Echoes (2E)

    "I will remember, so that the past may be learned from. I will remember, so that mistakes shall not be repeated. I will remember, so that our glories will live on. I will remember, this I swear, and should I fail, may I myself be forgotten."

    Many Lost fight their way out of Arcadia and struggle through the Hedge, only to discover themselves all but forgotten by their friends and loved ones. Whether a changeling has been replaced by a fetch, is believed long-dead, or simply has changed enough that his former family and companions can no longer recognize him, returning to claim a life and being treated as a stranger is a terrible plight to endure.

    Once they have begun to come to some sort of terms with their new existences, however, some of the Lost set out to do what they can to ensure that they, and those like them, do not have to face such a fate again. By dedicating themselves to serving as a living memory for those around them, the Eternal Echoes hope to keep themselves and other Lost from being forgotten.

    Throughout the centuries, many methods of recording important events in various cultures' histories have been used. From cave painting and illuminated books of hours to video documentaries and blogs, each means has advantages and disadvantages depending on the needs and intent of those using them. For people such as the Lost, whose entire culture is built around avoiding detection and recapture by their Keepers, there is inherent danger in recording any information which might fall into Gentry hands and thus be used to track down not just individual members of changeling society but entire freeholds. In the early 1920s, the Valley of Gold, an Ohio River Valley freehold was utterly decimated after an enteising Magistrate of the Wax Mage took it upon himself to create an encompassing census of every freehold member (including name, seeming and kith, Court and known locations). The Magistrate's intentions were good; after a high-ranking member of the Summer Court was slighted by not receiving an invitation to a cross-court gathering, the host hoped that the census would prevent such mishaps from happening again.

    Unfortunately, the census book fell into the hands of a Loyalist, who turned it over to the Others (reportedly for a hefty reward). In a single night, the entire freehold was dragged kicking and screaming back into the Hedge, leaving behind nothing but bloodstains to show that it had ever existed. The area is now known as the Valley of Nightmares, and reportedly any changeling who spends the night in the vicinity of location the former-freehold once held their gatherings will wake to find his own Keeper standing over him, ready to pull him back into Arcadia.

    Because of the dangers of recording any pertinent information about their population, word of mouth and oral tradition is generally held to be the safest way to document the lives, trials and triumphs of the Lost. Unfortunately, such stories inevitably change from telling to telling, either unintentionally due to misremembering or "creative license" on the part of the storyteller or due to intentional modifications designed to give a tale particular social or political meaning that it may not have originally had. To serve the need for an accurate history of the Lost, unlikely to fall into the Others' hands or to be corrupted by false remembrances or political machinations, The Eternal Echoes came into being. For centuries, this entitlement has dedicated itself to bearing witness to the major and minor triumphs and tribulations of Lost society, and ensuring that a true and accurate memory of events exists for future generations to learn from.

    A member of the Eternal Echoes may, by focusing his attention to it, remember any scene he witnesses first hand in complete detail. Later, each scene may be "replayed" simply by turning his attention to it, and he may glean from it any minute details to which he was witness, no matter how long ago the incident happened. These dedicated memories are multi-sensory and undiluted by time or distance; for the remembering Echo, it is as if he was once again witnessing the scene in full, complete with sights, smells, sounds and any other sensory details, undiluted by time or distance.

    As well, an Eternal can pass these memories on to other members of the Echoes. Since the original witness loses all memories of the witnessed situation (including normal memories involved with the scene) such transferences are normally only completed on the Echo's deathbed, but Echoes have been known to give up their witnessed memories to another Echo in other dire circumstances as well.

    Titles: Lord/Lady of Echoes, The Eternals (collectively)
    Prerequisites: Wyrd 3, Intelligence 3, Eidetic Memory

    Joining: Potential recruits for the Eternal Echoes often come to the entitlement's attention by listening. A changeling with a deep interest in the history and legends of the Lost tends to seek out people to tell her more, which may bring her into contact with either a Lord of Echoes or someone who provides a Lord with information.

    Some even come to the Eternals' attention by following, watching and remembering without any assistance from the entitlement. When the Eternal Echoes begin to gather information on a recent bloody battle, and are told they should really talk to one of the participants who remembered it all and preserves the whole story, they know they've found a kindred soul.

    Approach: A Lord of Echoes' Approach is through his memories. Huntsmen and True Fae who exploit it can attack through a variety of means. Some choose to make the Echo believe that a memory of an event is missing key details, while others attempt to lure him out with the memories of an important individual. Direct attempts at altering or erasing the changeling's memories are also not unheard of.

    Mien: The Eternals are constantly on the alert for those things and individuals which are either most deserving of being remembered or most in danger of being forgotten. As an Eternal witnesses and remembers more and more, their pupils grow larger, until eventually their eyes are entirely dark, showing no white or color at all. As well, their ears become more pronounced. In some, this may manifest as pointed humanoid ears. For others, their ears may take on feral attributes, perking and twitching at the slightest sound like those of an alert beast.

    Perhaps the most disturbing attribute of The Eternal Echoes' mien, however, is not physical at all. An aura of attentiveness surrounds the Eternals. Those who are in the company of one of the Echoes frequently report that they constantly sense that they are being watched or eavesdropped upon. As well, the susurration of whispers just quiet enough to be unintelligible haunts the area where a Lord or Lady of Echoes is present.

    Background: The Echoes are often those who have extremely strong positive memories of their lives before Faerie, and who have found themselves forgotten by people they remembered so strongly. Those who return from Faerie to find that their spouses have remarried and their children now call another "Mommy", or who return after what seems to be a short Durance in Arcadia, only to find everyone they loved have died of old age, are frequently candidates for the Echoes. More importantly than past history, however, is a willingness to put ones' self in danger, both in the immediate time while acting as a witness and long-term by serving as a storehouse for the culture's memories.

    Those who are selfish, self-centered, or insist on being in the spotlight themselves rarely make successful Echoes. Being always a watcher and never the watched is rarely a satisfying role for those who crave the limelight themselves. On the other hand, shy, timid or easily intimidated individuals are not well suited to the Echoes either. Echoes often "ride into battle" (proverbially or literally) alongside those who risk their lives and souls to battle the True Fae or other direct threats to Lost populations, serving as witness to the victory or loss. Other Echoes accompany those who explore the intricacies of the Hedge, gleaning whatever information they can which might prove useful about the mercurial and dangerous borderlands.

    Organization: Publicly, the Echoes purport to be organized as less of a hierarchy and more a communication and information network. In day to day life, most Echoes set themselves to remembering those things which they feel a calling to witness, rather than being assigned duties by others. This results in several different "types" of Echoes, who may refer to themselves (or be referred to by others) in terms related to their preferred roles.

    Echoes who prefer to witness court and political related events may serve a freehold (or an individual Lost of political power) as a Court Attestant. These individuals are held to extreme standards of truthfulness and are assumed to speak only the facts about that which they have witnessed. An Attestant who is found to have lied in the line of duty about a witnessed situation is frequently shunned and rarely recovers socially from the failure in his perceived duties.

    Other Echoes continually place themselves in positions of peril, riding out with adventurers, accompanying guard or sentry posts in areas known to be frequented by the Others, or serving on the "front line" of battles in the Hedge. These Martial Correspondents are frequently battle-ready themselves, but their primary duty is not offense or defense, but serving as witness to the glories of others. Changelings of the Sacred Band of the Golden Standard frequently hire, influence or coerce Echoes to serve as witness to their activities, thus ensuring that their prowess, bravery and victories are remembered for all time to come. Mal Coleche, a noted member of the Sacred Band, was said to have employed a full half-dozen Echo Correspondents, at least one of which accompanied him at all times. Because of this, three witnesses were present on the day that a Huntsman opened a gateway out of the Hedge and abducted the Stonebones through it. Although Mal was taken by suise, his hired witnesses were not, and the Ogre's last known living moments were remembered for posterity by his Echo hirelings.

    Those Echoes who specialize in accompanying exploring parties in the Hedge are often referred to as Navigators, although this is a somewhat inaccurate term. The constantly mutable nature of the Hedge makes anything but the most firmly established trods all but impossible to map. This means that even though those Navigators who witness a particular expedition's progress may have a completely clear memory of what path they came in on, they are not necessarily going to be helpful in aiding the party to find their way back. However many explorers still will invite an Echo to accompany them on long or treacherous journeys in the Hedge, as much for the purted luck they bring an expedition as for their perfect memories of the trip.

    Other Echoes may specialize in a freehold's important events (Historians), may follow the life or lineage of a particular individual, motley or kith (Biographers) or may travel from area to area witnessing a particular rite or ceremony as celebrated by Lost from different locations (Sacramentists).

    To the public, Echoes claim to be of one rank within the entitlement. In some areas, however, small hierarchies have developed within the entitlement, with one or more socially or politically powerful members organizing their fellow Echoes. In most cases this organization is, at least nominally, for the benefit of Lost society; by suggesting particular Echoes play witness to particular events, an organizer can prevent one situation from being witnessed multiple times while another goes unremembered. Information is power, however, and power corrupts. Some Echo organizers reportedly trade favors to have an Echo under their direction assigned to a certain politically important situation -- or to ensure that no Echo is present there.

    Privilege: Keeper of Memories
    An Eternal Echo receives the Eidetic Memory [Advanced] Merit. He also has access to the following abilities.

    Perfected Memory
    A member of the Eternal Echoes may spend a point of Willpower and a point of Glamour during any scene in order to store the scene in memory. The remainder of that scene is etched into the Echo's mind and can be recalled at will for the rest of the Echo's life with no degeneration of detail or muddling of memory. Supernatural effects which normally erase, change or steal a memory cannot affect scenes remembered with the Perfected Memory ability. As well, the Echo receives a +5 bonus to protect against all attempts of any sort to coerce her into revealing details of scenes which she has used Perfected Memory to remember. She does not have to use this bonus, and can share the details at will if she chooses, but the bonus is available at will to use on resisted attempts to wheedle, intimidate or bribe the information out of her.

    Perfected Memory is limited to those things within the scene which the Echo personally witnesses (through any one or more of her senses). She cannot use this ability to recall things which happened outside of her sensory perceptions at the time, although supernatural enhancements to her perception at the time of the memorization allow her to access those perceptions at a later time as well. If, for example, an Echo activates the Contract of Fang and Talon Clause "Beast's Keen Senses" and takes on the eyesight of an eagle for a scene and then uses Perfected Memory to witness a vast crowded scene, she will be able to later recall every aspect of the earlier scene that was apparent to her at the time of memorizing it, even if she does not have the keen senses when she is remembering it later on.

    An Echo may remember up to Wyrd x5 in scenes using Perfected Memory at any given time. Thus with 3 dots of Wyrd she may remember 15 scenes, and when she gains another dot of Wyrd, she may remember an additional 5, bringing the total number to 20. However, if an Echo has remembered her maximum number of scenes at any given time and wishes to remember another, she must purge one of her previously remembered scenes in order to make room for the new one.

    (Players of Echo characters should note on their character sheet, on index cards, or a journal which scenes the character has committed to Perfected Memory, and scratch out any which are later purged.)

    Purging a scene that has been committed to memory by use of Perfected Memory can be done one of two ways. An Echo can spend a point of Willpower to choose to instantly flush a memory from her mind, or she can use the Perfected Memory Transferal ability to give it to another willing Echo. Regardless of which method is used, the formerly Perfected Memory is gone from the Echo's mind entirely. She can no longer recall any aspect associated with that scene. It is as if she was never present during it. No amount of "filling in" by outside sources will allow her to remember being there.

    Perfected Memory Transferal
    Any scene which has been memorized by an Echo through the use of Perfected Memory can be transferred to another Echo, assuming the original Echo is willing to give it and the receiving Echo is willing to take on the burden. This transfer happens by way of a ritual, where the original Echo makes skin-to-skin contact with the receiving Echo and allows him to enter her mind, where she gifts him with the Perfected Memory. No harm may come to either side in this mental-sharing scenario, and either may end it at any time. The mind-environment and representation of the dream varies from individual to individual. An Antiquarian Echo may visualize his store of Perfected Memories as shelf after shelf of ancient leather bound tomes and may bequeath one of them (and its associated scene) to the other Echo. A Gristlegrinder, on the other hand, may inhabit a mind-cave lit only by sputtering torches, with her Perfected Memories represented by a spit of roasting meat of an indeterminable nature. She tears forth a gobbet of still-bloody meat and offers it to the intended recipient, who must consume the morsel to gain the Memory it symbolizes.

    The original Echo must spend a point of Willpower to purge the memory at the same time the receiving Echo spends a point of Willpower and a point of Glamour to accept his new memory. When both have been spent, the Perfected Memory transfers from the original to the receiving Echo who now can recall the scene as if he had been present. The Perfected Memory includes not only what the original Echo witnessed, but her thought processes, emotions and reactions to the things she saw and encountered, which makes this a very personal exchange. Few Echoes are willing to use the Perfected Memory Transferal other than at the end of their lives; giving others access to their unfiltered innermost thoughts and reactions is simply too intimate a gift.

    For 24 hours after an Echo has died, it is possible for her to still give her memories to other Echoes. If another Echo or Echoes make physical contact with her body, she can go through the process of giving her memories to them. No Willpower expenditure is necessary by the original now-dead Echo, although receiving Echoes must still spend the Willpower and Glamour to take on her gifted memories. No other communication between the dead Echo and the receiving ones is possible during this ritual. The scene takes place in silence, with the original Echo appearing as an emotionless automaton version of herself in the dream. Conjecture has been made as to whether it is truly the Echo herself who is giving the memories away or some automated function of the entitlement that is working to ensure that the committed memories are not lost with the Echo's death.

    Rumors of the Eternal Echoes:

    • Rumors exist of a small group of Echoes who have turned themselves over entirely to the upper echelon of the order, serving as a repository for the memories which are too horrific, too important or too dangerous to entrust to those who are still interacting with the outside world. These few, called the Silent Echoes, reportedly enter willingly into a long, coma-like sleep wherein they spend their time in dreams constantly maintaining and re-witnessing the events which other members of the Echoes bring to them to be protected. The Silent Echoes are rumored to possess memories dating back to the earliest years of Lost history, as well as those of witnessed events of particular political import, such as the trial (and execution) of Banished Fae Jacobe LaVigne who had infiltrated a French freehold in the early 16th century, or the assassination of a South American hermaphrodite King-Queen of the Spring Court in the 1990s.

    • Higher ranking Echoes don't even remember their own lives anymore; they're consumed with the tales they've memorized of other people's deeds and accomplishments. Some take on the persona of one of the individuals whose stories they've memorized. Others build an amalgam of partial lives based on the significant events they've witnessed over time.

    • Anything that one of the Eternal Echoes knows, they all know. Joining the Entitlement is giving up some of your sense of self-identity and attaching yourself to a hive-mind. They don't tell you that to start, though. Not until you're already locked in, and then it's too late.
    Last edited by Deionscribe; 10-12-2016, 12:28 PM.


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