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  • The Tecuanimeh [Cabal]

    Tecuanimeh

    Brotherhood of the Jaguar

    [Aztec style picture of a jaguar’s head, in front of a black sun]



    Five Sun has shed their light upon the Earth.

    The first was Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror. As the god of the night and sorcery, he was only half a sun, and his brother threw him out of heaven. The Mirror was angry, and he called upon the jaguars to devour the people and end the world.

    The second was Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent. Under his light the land prospered, but the people grew faithless and no longer respected the gods. As a punishment, the Mirror changed their reflection in the smoke into monkeys, and they became what they saw. Quetzalcoatl, who loved his people flawed as they were, grew upset and called upon the wind to blow the world away.

    The third sun was Tlaloc, the Buried One. He was meant to rule righteously, yet the Mirror went to his wife and reflected to her the image of her dreams, seducing her into his smoke. In his anger, Tlaloc withheld the rain from the people, and the Earth grew dry and barren. The people prayed and cried and begged, until the Buried One grew restless and gave them rain of fire, burning the world to ash.

    The fourth sun was Chalchiuhtlicue, She Who Wears Jade Skirt. She loved and cared for the people as the gentle goddess she was, until one night, Tezcatlipoca came to her. He showed her her reflection in the smoke, and the twisted image was one which only faked love and kindness in order to gain worship and praise. Believing that was the image all saw, the good hearted goddess cried, and her tears flooded the world, drowning the people.

    The fifth sun was Huitzilopochtli, the Hummingbird. Not willing to give up, Quetzalcoatl flew to the Underworld and stole the bones of the people from the Lord of the Dead. He shed upon them his own blood, and brought them to life in order to see the glorified sun which now took place in the sky. However, Huitzilopochtli was under constant attack- the stars were jealous of the new sun’s light, and they wished to devour it and put another in his place. In order to fight them, the Hummingbird required the blood of the divine, and demanded the people to sacrifice their own blood and hearts to give it power and banish the darkness.

    But it would not be enough.

    The Darkness would come. The world would end- the Earth would be torn asunder, the stars would dance in the eternal night and a Black Sun would rise in the new world, spitting blackness instead of night. Some wish to delay that end, spilling blood to feed the sun. We wish to survive it. Tezcatlipoca would be the one to end the world, as always, and he knows the paths of the night and darkness. He would lead us to the dark paths were we would survive, while others would perish. We were promised all of that and more as we watched our own reflection in his smoky blackness- but there is a price to pay. The blood of his brother, the blood of the one which stopped his age of the sun, the blood which flows in our veins and heart…

    But it does not need to be our own blood.

    Ask the members of the Tecuanimeh, and they’ll tell you that they are ancient- that they are the direct inheritors of a tradition as old as the Olmec Civilization. They would tell you that they maintain the old religion of the Aztecs by offering blood to their gods, by feeding life for the Smoking Mirror and the Hummingbird and the rest of their hungry gods. They would tell you that the world is doomed, and that one day- maybe soon, maybe sooner- the sun would set and never rise again. They would tell you all of that and more- for they like to talk. They want their victims to know why they have to die. They want them to know that their death is a glorified role, one they should be proud off- sure, they would live, but everyone have their own role to play.

    While the so called “Brotherhood of the Jaguar” may have an ancient origin just as they claim as the priests and followers of the Smoking Mirror, their current incarnation seems to be much more modern, going back to 1995, Mexico, with a man named Rafael Martinez. Being born to a middle class family, Rafael has discovered quite early in his life that he has a charming personality, ruthless attitude and a love for murder. His first kill was performed when he was only 16 years old- it was pretty messy (he learned since then), and he almost got caught: but he managed to turn things around and put the blame on someone else who was “accidently shot” during his arrest.

    The more that Rafael killed, the better he got with doing so- covering the evidence, choosing the right victims, exploiting chances when he had them. Slowly, he started to develop a deeper fascination in the act of the murder- he couldn’t just kill, he had to do it the right way. He studied the aztec culture, and was fascinated by their devotion for their gods, death and war. He started to try and replicate the ceremonies as he read them, from burning the victim’s heart to bathing in their blood. However, the more complicated ceremonies were harder to perform, especially since they required a teamwork in order to perform. As most slashers are, however, Rafael prefered to work alone- and by all chances, that’s how he should have ended.

    But then, during one of the rituals dedicated to Tezcatlipoca, he started to hear the voices.

    They were satisfied, the voices said. They saw his actions and found them worthy. They told him that humanity has forsaken their duty, and that just like the world has died for four time, it is soon to die at the fifth, for no longer blood fed the Sun. However, those who dare to look in their reflection in mirrors of smoke would see their image in the new world, and they would rule as its kings while all others would serve and die for their pleasure.

    Rafael was enchanted by the vision which was showed to him by the voices- a world of horror, death and darkness. He followed their orders and left his city behind, travelling to the depths of Lacandon Jungle, to ruins of pyramid hidden from ordinary men using powerful enchantments which still hold since the days of the Aztec Empire. He spent half a year in the ruins, even though that no one knew what happened there- Rafael never spoke about this time, saying it was “too holy”- but during his stay, others were led to the ruins, other people which heard whispers in the darkness and were lured by the promises of a dark, dead world. And then, after six months has passed, Rafael has finally went out of the ruins, discovering a whole cult waiting for his coming- and in his hands he held a shining, obsidian crafted mirror.

    That was the day when Rafael, for the first time in his life, saw the benefits of cooperation- not in killing, but in simple labor work, for the mirror was not the only item he found in the ruins. Many other relics were hidden in the temple, coming from all the different cultures which once ruled Mesoamerica- Aztecs, Maya, Olmecs. From obsidian daggers, through jade figurines and even up to a few mummified bodies, the archeological richness alone could have brought all the present members with a wealth for a lifetime- but there was something more in those artifacts. A inner darkness, a power which could be activated only when the price was met. The price of blood.

    That was the foundation of the Brotherhood of the Jaguar, later to be known as the Tecuanimeh- the savage beasts of the Smoking Mirror, meant to spill blood in the name of their dark god. Rafael, the chosen prophet of the cult, has spoke many times in the name of Tezcatlipoca, motivating the members to dedicate their life and soul to the Mirror which would lead them to the next world. While he was devoted to his god, he was far more devoted to himself- he used the Brotherhood in order to gain access to more victims, more resources and make his life more comfortable. Sure, that was fine as long as he followed the will of the voices- he kept maintaining the religious outlook and aesthetics, and performed terrible rituals which have not been seen since the day of the Aztec empire. However, he kept ignoring the whispers’ will to recruit new members to the cabal. Even after all the hard work, he still couldn’t have fully accept the concept of teamwork and cooperation. It is better to stay small, he told himself, and those who search for the dark world would find it. Eventually, the whispers stopped talking to him- but he didn’t noticed. The truth was, that he was too far away from humanity. He no longer needed a reason to kill, and the voices were more of an hassle than an asset.

    That, of course, didn’t stopped him for talking in their name. Using his position, he got everything he ever dreamed about using the cabal, living the life of a king and doing everything he wanted. That year was the best year of his life- and he was so consumed with drugs and alcohol and murder that he didn’t noticed that slowly, one by one, the Brotherhood started to grow, and that a new hierarchy has started to be established. And in the end of the year, just as it was the time for the monthly sacrifice, Rafael found himself in front of the Brotherhood’s top leaders, each of them holding an obsidian knife. Then, the voices returned- they told him that they were thankful for him to establishing back the ancient practices, and that as a gift, they have chosen him to take the lead role in Tezcatlipoca’s greatest ritual- the Feast of Toxcatl. During that ritual, all the members of the Brotherhood- including those not yet blessed with the sound of the voices- claim to have heard a shrieking, mocking laughter.

    In modern nights, the Tecuanimeh have grew stronger and stronger. Thanks to the gifts of the Mirror and the power of their members, the cabal has started to spread outside of Mexico, going north to the US and south to Latin America. They searched for those who were willing to murder, yet still were still able to learn the importance of why the killing was needed. People who simply murder just waste the precious blood, blood which could feed their god and lay the path to the new world which waits for them. Each year, the member which shows the greatest dedication for killing is chosen as a manifestation of Tezcatlipoca upon the face of earth, and each year the former vessel is butchered during the great Feast.

    One day, the Black Sun would come- and on that day, they would be ready. The Smoking Mirror has showed them the new world. Only those with darkness in their heart would survive- and all the rest are sacrifices meant to pave the way.

    Status
    0- you stood in front of the obsidian mirror and have saw the world which waits after this one. You gain access to the Cabal’s secret treasures, and may spend Merit dots on the Nextlahualli Endowment.
    000- you have proved your dedication to the Smoking Mirror and shed blood in its name. As a gift, the darkness in your heart takes life of its own. You get the Vice Ridden merit for free- but you also suffer under the effects of the Whispers Condition.
    00000- you have joined the Tecuanimeh’s inner circle, taking your place as a Jaguar in the service of the Mirror. You see the world through its reflection in the smoke, and the path that Tezcatlipoca lays to the next world. You gain the Omen Sensitivity merit for free.

    Endowment- Nextlahualli (0-00000)
    Humanity exist in a debt it must pay. The gods has brought us to life, but there is a price for living under the sun. The cost is to be paid in blood, and those who pay the debt are promised a place in the world under the new sun- and gifts in the world which they currently live in.

    Nextlahualli is not a single Endowment, but a name used for all the strange artifacts and relics the Cabal has found, stole or made during its years of existence. Each of those relics is bought as a separate Endowment, and represents one item which is found in the hands of the slasher. In case she lose the relic, she may gain a new one under the Sanctity of Merits rule, but if she wish for a new relic she has to first give an appropriate sacrifice to Tezcatlipoca.
    In general, Nextlahualli operates just as Relics- but with a twist. Instead of the usual conditions and costs required to operate the artifacts, the slasher must instead bath the relic in an amount of blood which is equivalent to one point of Lethal damage per dot of rating. The blood can come from animals, from yourself or from other people. In case it is activated by animal blood, the relic is useful only for 2 hours since the blood bathing. In case it is by your own blood, the relic works for 6 hours. In case the blood source was other people, it works for 12 hours. In case anyone died in order to get the blood, it lasts for 24 hours. If the blood came from the heart of the sacrifice, the relic may be used freely for 48 hours. The blood does not all need to come from the same source, and it is judges by the highest “quality” blood.

    In order to decide the powers for the relics themselves, use the Aegis Kai Doru’s Endowment as a base, together with any relics you find as appropriate from Reliquary or Mummy. Very few of the relics the Cabal has access too are positive in effect, however, so make sure to choose only relics which are connected to death, suffering, pain and all other negative aspects of existence.
    Last edited by LostLight; 09-08-2017, 05:40 PM.


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  • #2
    Smoking Mirror
    The most treasured artifact found in the hands of the Brotherhood is the obsidian mirror Rafael recovered from the ruins. Its frame is hand crafted from jade, showing the images of jaguars in the hunt, and people who are devoured by them. Its surface is made from polished obsidian, both reflecting the light and swallowing it in its smoky depths. It is cold to touch, as if it drains the warmth and life of all of those who are near it.

    No member may gain exclusive access to the mirror- it is the property of the whole group. Or, more exactly, the group is the property of the mirror. It is Tezcatlipoca's manifestation upon earth, an incarnation of the dark god of night and sorcery. It is present in all of the important rituals of the Cabal- such as the Feast of Toxcatl, of the meetings of the Ocelomeh Council, or the initiation of the new member. Before it, each member say their oaths and commit his life and soul to the Smoking Mirror, and in its dark reflection one could see their image in the new world which is waiting to come.

    There is no doubt that the mirror does seem to have its own, malevolent intelligence- those who are close enough to it can feel a presence touching their mind and soul, as they re-live the darkest moments of their life. They feel as if they are judged by it, their darkness and light found on some cosmic scales. They feel a similar, even if a lot weaker, presence in the relics they use- while they are deactivated, the presence in delicate, as if the relic is "asleep"- but once exposed to blood, the ravenous conscious touch the user's mind, motivating them to kill others and spill their blood.

    However, while all the artifacts has some sort of awareness, non is close to the one of the mirror- that relic, if it could truly be treated as such- is the only one which can speak, communicating with any new member as it promise him a way to survive in the new world. It tells them on the old debt which they need to pay, a debt to the gods so they won't destroy the world, a debt to death itself. Any oath taken before it is forever memorized, and those who break it would find themselves haunted by inhuman terrors, beings which are more shadow than flesh and animal than man. Those are the Jaguars, the cabal says, the messengers of Tezcatlipoca.

    The only way to stop the haunting (without getting killed by them, of course), is returning to the Smoking Mirror and begging to its mercy. It usually requires a form of sacrifice, too. However, the mirror is an harsh master to please. Those who fail it usually end dead- or worse. Some are just left alone with it, locked in the same room without a way out. Their screams fill the hidden chambers of the cabal, and thew agony is so terrible that even the most devoted murderers of the Ocelomeh feel a shiver down their spine. After a month, the screams stop and the doors are opened much more. There is no one to be found- the mirror is all alone. It is said that the oath breaker is devoured by Tezcatlipoca himself, a worthy punishment to those who defy the Smoking Mirror. The truth, of course, is much, much worse.

    For more information about blood thirsty artifacts which require an old debt to be paid, click here.

    The Three Ancient Ones
    Among the many weapons, amulets and figurines found in the Cabal's treasury, three relics stand out of the rest- three mummified bodies, all in an excellent condition. Each of those dead bodies sits on an obsidian pillar, in the middle of what looks like a huge Mayan calendar which was carved to the floor. The forehead of each of the mummies was marked with the sign of the jaguar, and strange incantations are written upon the pillars, a combination of Nahuatl with... something else. a language no living human knows how to decipher.

    They mummies are knows as the Three Ancient Ones, and they are said to be carriers of ancient wisdom coming from the ages past. It is said that when the stars are right and the sacrifices are given, voices come out of the dead throats, which sings in the language of the stars themselves. It is said that they are the messengers of the dark stars, chosen prophets of the black sun itself. While they are divine, they are not to be served- but to be contained, for all the occult symbols which surround the dead bodies are not made out of respect. They are made out of fear.

    It is said that the one to make the magic circle which traps the dead was Rafael himself, guided by the whispers of the Smoking Mirror. According to the stories, as long as the mummies stand upon the pillars, the shadow of Tezcatlipoca covers their eyes so they won't see the stars calling for them. Tezcatlipoca, after all, may be a dread god- but it is not in the side of the Black Sun either. It does not wish for the new age to come before it is ready- and so it stole the Ancient Ones and bound them in their place, using them in order to learn about the schemes of its enemies. The magic needed to work such an act is, of course, a powerful one- it requires a monthly sacrifice in order to work. In case the ritual would fail, the Ancient Ones would immediately awake- and bring their terrible curses upon those who trapped them for so, so long.

    The Cabal knows they are playing with fire, but it too late for them to do otherwise. They keep the Ancient Ones away from their main base, so if something were to go wrong the damage would be minimized. Making sacrifices for the Ancient Ones is the top priority of the cabal, even if it requires killing one of their own members to keep them asleep. However, there are benefits for having three dead gods bound in your basement- for every time a sacrifice is given, the one who made the sacrifice may ask a single question, and the Ancient Ones would answer with their deathless song. That is represented by gaining a single Clue for your Investigation, and takes the form of a vision seen through smoke and shadows.

    Form of the Jaguar
    Everyone knows that Tezcatlipoca's sacred animal, his Nagual, was the Jaguar- a great beast of hunt which can not be tamed, an enemy of man and creature of the night. It is said that those people who were born on the Mirror's sacred day are blessed with that supreme form, and are gifted with the ability to change their skin. Most agree that those stories are false, and usually, they are right- there is no connection between the day of your birth and your ability to become a shapeshifer.

    But it doesn't mean that the act itself is impossible.

    Skinwalking is not a common practice in the cabal- very few know the secret, and even fewer are willing to use it. The act requires, after all, killing a Jaguar and skin it, something which means killing their god's sacred animal and devoting too much effort and preserving the talisman. Some, however, believe that the outcome worth the price- after all, the body of the jaguar is the body of a killer, and wouldn't becoming the greatest killers in the name of the Mirror is the groups' goal?

    As the skin thieves of the conspiracy are pretty jealous to their secrets, the knowledge about how to take another's skin is not that prevalent ion the group. Those who do know it usually hide that from the rest of the members, keeping it as a secret weapon for a time of crises. The Ocelomeh themselves search for those who discover the secret in order to punish them. The gift of the Jaguar's Form is to be given by the gods, they say, not to be stolen like a common thief. Only those who are blessed by the Mirror are to have their reflection changed to a more superior one.

    While most members accept the words of the Council, the skin thieves themselves has another opinion in the subject- they say that the Ocelomeh does not despise the practice for some devotion for the god or any crap like that. The reason, they say, is much, much simpler.

    They simply fear the competition.

    The Serpent's Emissaries- the Bloodletters
    Here is the thing- while the Tecuanimeh are terrible people, there is nothing in their oaths to the Smoking Mirror which force them to, well, kill. The only thing that Tezcatlipoca demands from its faithful is to pay the debt and spill blood in his name. While most of the members of the cabal are more than willing to murder in the name of the god, they don't have to- their relics may operate on any kind of blood, after all, and the sacrifices require life- but not necessary the life of others. So, in theory, one may be a part of the Tecuanimeh without actually killing anyone, right?

    Right.

    They aren't common in the group- after all, most of the people who find themselves in the Brotherhood's clutches were not good people before joining the cabal- but some are not bad enough to commit themselves to serial murder. If it were up to the cabal itself, of course, those people would have been long dead, finding themselves on an altar as their heart is ripped from their body- but it doesn't. The Mirror frowns upon members of the cabal killing each other, and it actually finds those people- those who are willing to devout themselves to the darkness out of fear, but without actually lifting the knife- as amusing. He allows them to exist among its dark halls, shedding their own blood in his name, or the blood of others without actually killing them. Those Bloodletters, as they are known among the cabal, are seen as Quetzalcoatl's emissaries in the darkness of his brother, a shinning light which had to find escape in the terrible darkness.

    While they are allowed to live (for now, at least), it does not mean they are respected- no member of the Bloodletters may gain Status: [Cabal] of more than 2, and their are always seen as the servants and lowlife of the group. The question is, of course, why would someone who is not willing to devout himself to killing would join such a dark group. The answers themselves vary, but they all end up with one common aspect- fear. Some of them were potential sacrifices, who somehow managed to convince the cabal to let them live. Others were people of the lower class, who are willing to do whatever it takes to survive- other than murdering others. Few were even chosen by Tezcatlipoca himself, as he saw the darkness in their heart- but they are not yet ready to fully commit themselves to his cause.

    Not all Bloodletters stay as such for a long time- many of them eventually break, either fully embracing the cabal's principles or trying to escape its clutches (most fail, of course, but some do succeed, usually be getting help from other occult organization). But there is an hard nucleus of Bloodletters in the Cabal, and even though they self mutilate themselves on daily bases just in order to satisfy their god, they say that there are just lines you can't cross, no matter what, and that one day, their actions would be rewarded even more than those of the murderers. They say it was promised to them by the Smoking Mirror himself.

    Most of the cabal's members don't give them too much attention- they are fools, they say, and nothing more, and fools may believe in any lie they tell themselves.

    The Bloodletters, of course, say the same thing.

    Enemy of Both Sides
    Here is the thing- while the Tecuanimeh are a pretty modern organization, their foundation is actually old, maybe not as old as they claim but at least as old as the Aztec Empire. While in the Western Culture human sacrifice is something despised and evil, during the reign of the Aztecs it was a well accepted practice- it was a cultural built around such sacrifices, a warrior culture which captured enemy soldiers and sacrificed them to their gods as a proof of victory. A culture were all humans were born with a debt, and were needed to sacrifice themselves to pay it. A culture were the sun was in daily danger, and needed blood in order to stop the world from collapsing into the darkness. Even in that culture, Tezctlipoca was less worshiped than feared- a power of night and sorcery which has brought the destruction of the four previous worlds, and would destroy the fifth if it would be given a chance.

    In their own eyes, the aztecs were not bad people.

    But the monsters were.

    During the time of the Aztec Empire, the spiritual forefather of the Tecuanimeh may have done some terrible things in the name of their god, but they have also did their service by protecting their people from a much terrible darkness- they were hunters, searching for the dead beasts which hunted the forest or the blood drinking vampires which stole the sacrifice from the gods. They did it all in Tezcatlipoca's name- for while he was a dread god and enemy of humanity, he was also the enemy of the black sun and the horrors which lurked beneath its light. The Smoking Mirror may be evil, but sometimes it takes one to defeat one.

    While the majority of the Tecuanimeh is yet to recognize the Mirror's dual nature as both a monster and a protector, some have already saw the true will of their god in their reflection in the smoke. Most are Bloodletters, but even a few true killers of the group has managed to see beyond their everyday killing and grasp their deity's true will. Those hunters (no longer slashers), put much greater emphasis on sacrificing monsters to the Mirror instead of regular people- a practice which is a lot more dangerous, as the act require capturing the monster and dragging it to the nearest altar, so the ceremony could be preformed. The rituals themselves, of course, are still the same- cannibalism, heart burning, flying one's skin, etc- but they preform them on monsters instead on people, so there is no problem with that.

    While the group is small and is yet to get a representative among the Ocelomeh, it is rapidly growing, especially in the further reaches of the Brotherhood's influence. The Council frowns upon the practice, believing it to deviate from the true will of Tezcatlipoca, but for now they do nothing- fearing the Mirror's action even more. Still, as long as the old murderers of the Ocelomeh remain in control, the cabal would remain as such- a cabal, an organization of murderers who care nothing but themselves and who are united only through their devotion for their dark god and for killing.

    The next Feast of Toxcatl, however, may change a few things.

    Falling Into the Smoke
    here is the thing- slashers are not social creatures. While Rippers still maintain a semblance of their humanity and are capable for some level of teamwork, Scourges are already out of control. They only care about death and killing and nothing more. As an organization of devoted murderers, it only makes sense that at least some of their members would eventually end up as Scourges. In that case, what stops the group from disintegrating into a bunch of mad killers who only exist to see death and suffering?

    The Smoking Mirror, of course.

    That's what has happened to Rafael, after all, and he wasn't the only one. While Tezcatlipoca delights in killing, he knows that only murders committed in his name pay the debt. Once a slasher turns Scourge, they no longer commit the death to the Mirror, and as such they fall outside of its reach. Tezcatlipoca, of course, see it as a betrayal- it removes its protection from them, and starts making plans in order to get rid of the hassle as fast as possible.

    Once a member of the Cabal turns into Scourge, they immediately lose the Whispers Condition. They do maintain the rest of the Status benefits, and can still activate their Endowments as usual, even though they no longer feel the minds in the relics. Usually, they don't pay much attention to that- some no longer care about anything but killing, others keep hearing the voices, trapped in an hallucination formed from their own, sick minds. During that time, all other members of the cabal which do have the Whispers Condition start getting orders from the darkness to get rid of the potential threat to the group. Most of those Scourges are to be killed immediately. Others, especially the high ranked ones, get a year to survive- one which ends with the annual Feast.

    While some may see it is a betrayal from Tezcatlipoca's side- after all, he promised them to survive in the new world in exchange for killing- the Ocelomeh are quick to remind that those who die that way were the first to betray the Mirror, and this is simply their punishment. And besides, the Lord of Night is a trickster god- you can't fully trust his words on the subject, but only do your best to please him.

    Some slashers, of course, don't see it that way.


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    • #3
      Stereotypes:
      Aegis Kai Doru- "you can claim yourself as an inheritor of an ancient culture as much as you want- I'm not letting you to touch on any of our relics but the altar"
      Ashwood Abbey- "so much wasted potential. I could have been like them, if the Mirror wouldn't have found me in time"
      VASCU- "They may look modern, but be careful near them. There is something old lurking beneath the surface- like a reflection in black water. They know too much"
      Loyalists of Thule- "sometimes, one of us breaks under the stress, claiming they "regret everything they ever did" and such. Usually, we take to the Mirror and they get over it.. or die, it depends. Some of them, however, just vanish. We can't find them anymore, and I must say- that truly scares me"
      Cult of Moloch- "We are not the same- we kill out of divine duty to our god and lord. They... they just kill for their own selfish sake"
      Nemontemi- "our gods has lied to and forsaken us? Oh now- our gods are right here. They always were. You have just stopped listening"
      Pythian Oracles- "while we have increased our reach through the years, there are still some places we can't manage to enter- Europe, for example. Our members end up dead by them as soon as they set foot on the ground. They see their own vision when they watch the Smoking Mirror- but theirs won't survive the coming age, while us will"

      "Could you stop screaming, now? You should be joyed! Being flayed alive is a great honor!"
      Last edited by LostLight; 09-09-2017, 09:07 AM.


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