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Conspiracy Theory: Circle of Bones

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  • LostLight
    started a topic Conspiracy Theory: Circle of Bones

    Conspiracy Theory: Circle of Bones

    Ok, let's see what I can do with this one.

    Here is the thing- the CoB is the newest conspiracy in Hunter's canon, being added in 2e and being presented only in the Core (as well as one Geist fiction). Even by the standards of less prominent conspiracies, such as the Faithful of Shulpae, we don't have much lore about of Council- especially not when compared to the previous organizations we explored, which not only got featured in many books but have also got their own special expansion in C&C- which, seriously, in an ideal world should have covered all of Hunter's orgs, because it was, IMO, an excellent book and a source upon which I drew a lot in the previous writeups. However, this is also very fitting for the Council- considering that they themselves are still emerging, and are very secretive about their nature, which means that we probably know about them as much as the conspiracy knows about itself. That, more or less, sums up with the following- the CoB was founded when Death granting His mark to a human to avenge the dead, that the Mark of the Scythe is the basis of the conspiracy, that the conspiracy repeatedly dies and is being reborn through the age, that it is very decentralized, that it is obsessed with collecting knowledge in all of its incarnations as well serving as mediums (even if not for personal gain), that they are very secretive, cryptic and arrogant, that they fear the supernatural and see the darkness as infectious (except of their own Endowments of course), that they hate the undead first and foremost and *sight*... they are old....

    Ok, seriously? Another "older than time" organization? I mean, I KNOW that conspiracies are generally old, and that not all of them are ancient titans, but come on- I'm getting tired of saying "this organization is as old as humanity/history/time itself". I know that it is a Illuminati Trope of "we were always around in the shadows" blah blah blah, but I'm getting tired of this. Thankfully, it seems that most of the other conspiracies are, at least officially, more modern (who would have thought that the Medieval period would be called "modern"), but still- it kinda makes envisioning a conspiracy which WASN'T as old as time or serving as an incarnation of an ancient organization difficult.

    Aaaaaaanyway, back to the Council.

    Now, on the surface, it is very easy to think about the CoB as the "spiritualist conspiracy". After all, their members are mediums, they use all kinds of séance methods in order to commune with the dead (not that they need to, not that they know they don't need to), and they do draw a lot from spiritual aesthetics. But here is the thing- it is only (or mainly) aesthetics- Spiritism may be one of the largest religions in the world according to wikipedia, but the Council does not really embody the concepts of spiritualism- something which I detailed before, but I am going to repeat here again briefly. First, the Council is not allowed to use their abilities for their own personal gain or for benefits outside of the Vigil. Second, they are not allowed to use their abilities before outsiders (punishment is death). Third, they view the supernatural in general is evil, and are afraid of its influence. Fourth, they have no relation to the Age of Spiritualism or any other appropriate period, relating more for massive disasters and catastrophes. Fifth- they are very secretive about their existence in general, hiding their presence from others. All of that clashes with classical Spiritualism/Spiritism- mediums should connect the living and the dead, and as such should not hide their abilities and should use them even outside the Vigil, the knowledge of Spiritism (unlike occultism) should be widespread and open for anyone interested in learning it, mediums should be interested in understanding the supernatural instead of fearing it and overall, mediums exist to help the living, support them in their hard times and speak for their lost loved ones. All of that is not covered by the Council- even though it is covered by a certain type of monster with which they probably often clash. The Bound.

    Bu what does cover all of those aspects, you ask?

    Death Cults. That's what.

    Thinking of Death as a "pure" entity and the gifts ranted by Him as natural is already a telltale that something is fishy about the Council- their all behavior- mysteries upon mysteries, hidden secrets and initiations, obsession with knowledge relating to death and the dead, hiding their practices from outsiders even at the cost of killing their own members, all of this is much more common with ancient mystery cults such as Orphism or the Elysian Mysteries than modern Spiritualism. Now, it could very well, be that it is only their modern incarnation, and that previous forms of the CoB were much more open and sharing, but I don't think it is the case- conspiracies, after all, are already a paranoid bunch, the Council just takes it for new heights. We also know that even during the Golden Age of Islam they were interested in archiving lore and other occult practices. As such, seeking wisdom among the dead seems to be a recurring theme for the Council, and together with secrecy we gain a concept of a ancient death cult, which have survived for ages and ages...

    Only that it is wrong.

    The CoB didn't "survived". It dies- countless times, again and again and again. Every once and awhile, the powers beyond the grave come on and destroy the conspiracy. Joining the Council is very much like suicide- there is no hope for "this time we'll survive". There is acceptance that Death is coming, but that Death will also bring rebirth. It is a cyclic existence, one which ends with death and starts with death. Now, you could say that joining the Vigil at the first place is also suicidal, and you will be right- very few hunters reach old age, but part of joining a larger organizations is that you believe that your sacrifice will matter something. That the goal you are working for will advance, just a little bit, thanks for your sacrifice. That you are leaving behind more light than shadows- something which is represented by the survivability of large organizations such as compacts or conspiracies. Is that hope always justified? No, but it is still there. And here is the thing- the CoB don't have that hope. What they have, instead, is certainty- they KNOW that they will be destroyed, they KNOW that they will die, but they also KNOW that they will be reborn, that Death will come and rebuild their organization from the ashes, if and when it will be needed.

    And this is they key difference between the Council and most other orgs- the CoB is not about hope, not about change, but about inevitability. The cycles of life and death will be maintained, the balance will be kept, death is part of life which is part of death. They will die, and they will return, for they are inevitable, purified by Death when they are killed and when they'll return. And ain't that all so very cultic?

    That, of course, doesn't answer the main question.

    Why do they keep return?

    I mean, they are not the first organization we cover here that had numerous incarnations in the past- Cheiron is also famous for doing so. However, Cheiron is very centralized, and as such it is less about Cheiron getting destroyed and reborn as much as the Board deciding on changing their Brand to fit the new age and breaking ties with the older, useless form. The heart of the conspiracy is well known- the Board, and you know that no matter how the conspiracy will call itself, the heart will remain all the same. The Council, however, is very decentralized- different chapters work almost independently from each other, and it is clear that they don't really know what they are dealing with some times, like helping a Reaper because what is the difference between a ghost with a mask and without a mask? The Council is all high and mighty and acts like they know their sh**, but they don't. There is no heart for the conspiracy, nothing which binds them together... besides the ghosts, of course.

    Let's get back for their origin story for a moment- according to their own mythology, the Council of Bones was founded when the first ghost raised after getting killed by a monster and demanded vengeance, and Death in return gave the Mark for a living hunter so they may avenge them. That means that the Council, and each of their members, does not hunt for the living- they hunt for the dead. They are chosen by the dead, for the dead. Their Vigil is means to avenge those who fell for the darkness, and they exist only as vessels for the ghosts to demand their due from their killers. That is an inversion of spiritualism in the most radical way- for not only that the Council does not try to connect the two worlds, they exist for the ghosts first and foremost. You asked why they aren't allowed to use their talents for the living? Because they are meant to serve the dead. The myth itself also doesn't say that the first hunter wanted or agreed for the pact- it was enforced upon them, much like the common hunters don't know that they are being Marked during the initiation. Choice is irrelevant. Understanding is not important. The Council operates well while being decentralized and through hundreds of years because it is not ruled by the living- it is ruled by the dead. They have no control over their rise and fall because their choice is irrelevant- the Council rises when the dead demands they will rise and would fall when they no longer have need for it- that's why they rise when there are massive amounts of deaths and fall by the hands of the dead. That's all.

    And the Council knows it.

    At least, they suspect it. That's why they keep on searching for knowledge, and why some of their members are very suspicious towards ghosts or even try to actively exorcise them. They know that the ghosts try to manipulate them, and they don't trust them- so they try to learn about them, or use tools of divination which do not relay on ghosts. On which it was said Holy Simplicity- for while the Diviners think that they don't use the dead, in fact they do. The Mark, after all, is a link between the living and the dead- a mark for ghosts to see and understand that those humans are there for them. A diviner may think they gain their powers through crystal balls and tarot cards, but the dead are still there, whispering, lending their power through the Mark, that small parasitic ghost which gives the hunters the illusion of choice, the illusion of control, while being totally unaware that they are being manipulated and used. And that only works because the averaged councilor have no idea that the Mark truly exist- even though this is contested with the Endowment's writeup, where it is stated that as part of the initiation ceremony, the member is branded with the Mark, even though they don't know its true nature or why do they have it- which is a weird contradiction, I assume? Maybe they just don't believe that the Mark they use is the Mark of Death from the story, and that the tattoo is only a replica or symbolic or something? Is the Mark the reason that the Council avoids using its abilities around others is to hide the Mark's existence? After all, we know that people who can see into the Twilight, like the Bound, can see the Mark. What is the Mark in the first place?

    My guess? It is a ghost.

    I mean, we certainly know it is "ghost stuff"- it is some ectoplasmic product of some kind which allows the hunter to interact with the Twilight, write messages, see ghosts and use Perispiritism. But could it, perhaps, carry its own will? After all, we do know that according to the legend, the entity which the Council claims as Death have granted the Mark, and that it allows the hunter to reach out to the Twilight. Perhaps the Mark serves as some sort of a "caul" which connects the hunter to the Twilight, resembling in many ways how the Geist can connect the Bound to that semi-realm. Also, while we have stated that the Council is probably being made and destroyed by the dead, one thing this theory ignores that by all likeliness, it is very unreasonable that those are the same ghosts which keep the conspiracy going- unlike the spirits with which the Les Mysteres work, ghosts have a much lower survivability rate, being constantly in danger of getting pulled into the Underworld and devoured by it. Sure, if they were Reapers it may have made sense- but it seems that while the CoB can't really differentiate a ghost from a Reaper, once they understand that it is a "bad ghost" they are very likely to try and destroy it. That removes the concept of Death being a Chthonic God or something along those lines- the conspiracy does not try, as a rule, to destroy ghosts or send them to the Underworld. Their actions do not align with the will of the Great Bellow, and they don't know much about the Underworld as a rule. On the other hand, each of them have this ectoplasmic thing injected into their body, which allows them to interact with the Twilight and can only be placed on living people. Basically, it is a "reversed geist"- and if Death is indeed a powerful and very much dead ghost or other power of the Underworld and/or the Twilight (Anpu I'm looking at you), it could very well contain the will of the entity from which it derives- or at least, allow it to enact its influence. Now, the conspiracy is terrified of the dead because they are sure that they are going to destroy them- and here we have something which is basically a personal beacon worn by every Councilmember which calls the dead that don't like the conspiracy and says "KILL ME". Even if we were to exclude the idea that Death, through the Mark, may summon ghosts to destroy the conspiracy every once and awhile, the Mark allows the enemies of the conspiracy to see recognize them- which makes it easier to destroy them.

    So what does it mean? Is it merely a side effect, or was it planned? Is the Mark just a double edged sword, or is it something else? Something... darker? What exactly do the hunters of the Council are "marked" as?

    Could it be that they are marked as sacrifices?

    I mean, think about it- every few years, when there is a high enough population of the dead, people start getting Marked- we know that some of those people had a brash or two with the supernatural before being marked, either communing with the dead, having some psychic talent or whatever. Once the amount of dead (especially those created by supernatural afflictions and murder) reaches a critical point, they can demand justice from... something. Death, whatever its true nature may be- maybe it is Anpu, maybe it is an ancient geist, could even be the Goetia of Death, a Supernal entity or even some very, very, VERY old Absent which have survived for countless years. Heck, it could be the Angel of Death from the Pain Prophet's Testament as far as we know. Whatever Death may be, it seems like ghosts can draw its attention and demand to be avenged. Death answers- and Marks the living, starting the current incarnation of the conspiracy. Now the Council starts to form, and works hard to rebuild, fight against undead and necromancers and slashers and murderous horrors and whatever else. They gather the knowledge of their previous incarnations, they understand that the ghosts may manipulate them- but unaware of the Mark itself, a little sliver of Death's will, a parasitic ghost which binds to their body and allows them to interact with the Twilight. Eventually, the conspiracy starts drawing attention- the other powers of the Underworld start noticing their activities. They try to use them. They try to manipulate them. The Council understands that and fights back- but they can't stand against the Underworld with all of its power. The Council, after all, does its best to hide- but they can't hide from the darkness. They are shining to those who know for what to search, and the Mark draws their attention. Then, they are killed- whole chapters getting slaughtered all at once... and every death of a Marked serves as a sacrifice to Death, allowing it to draw power from the act until the next time its name will be invoked by the dead, for the dead.

    If that's the truth- if the Council is indeed a mechanism of cyclic sacrifice done by the dead, for the dead, what is the endgame? What is the true goal towards this conspiracy is working for?

    There are two, actually.

    One for the living, and one for the dead.

    The endgame for the dead is very clear- Death needs something. It maintains the conspiracy's cyclic existence of ritualistic suicide for countless years. It lends some parts of its power, and eventually demands them back- with interest. As a Twilight based entity, it could be that Death have managed to grow in power and maintain its existence thanks to that sacrifice, and its goal is probably related to the Underworld. I won't say that it seeks to become a Chthonic God, as it is clearly a powerful entity by its own right. The exact nature of its plan may vary depending on its true nature- but if we were to assume it as a powerful ghost which have transcended the call of the grave by becoming a conglomeration of thoughts and memories of all the ghosts which served the conspiracy and which were created from the conspiracy's members, their goal should be very simple- close shut the gates of the Underworld. Leave the Below to starve and die, free the dead from its pull and become a path of Ascension for the dead. A true symbol of humanity's Death, a power which does not fear the end but serves as part of the path, where people serve their ancestors, where there is no fear of death, and where the dead ghost of humanity challenges the gods themselves by being connected to the living. That great monolith of every human memory, desire, hope and fear would serve as humanity's new afterlife, one to which people are born and to which they are join, an eternal memory bound by the Mark for all eternity.

    This, of course, is the Council's worst nightmare.

    Here is the thing- the Council's perfect world is one in which their services are not needed. The world that they are working for is one where ghosts do not rise, so the living will not be burden with serving them. A world without the supernatural, a world without tainted darkness. Such a perfect world without monsters, where the dead just move on and don't linger behind to demand vengeance, and do not crawl from their graves to torment the living. A peaceful world, a quiet world- a world of silence. For that, they seek knowledge, For that, they work with the dead. It could very well that every once and awhile, the leaders of the conspiracy start piecing out the endgame of their dead "friends", and start working on a ritual to stop that- they collect secrets, artifacts and other tools meant to create a ceremony which would still shut the gates of the Below, but which would also severe the dead from the living, or perhaps cut down the flow of supernatural energies which taint the world. A massive purification ritual, a globe wide Abjuration which would echo among the living and the dead, forever freeing them from the chains of servitude. Now, here is the thing- Death probably also wants them to have that ceremony, and probably also encourages them to collect information and piece the ritual together, only to invert its influence so it would block the Underworld alone, but would not affect the living and their bond to ghosts. And it could be that every time that the members of the conspiracy manage to piece enough of the ritual together and get a glimpse of Death's true plans, that the Marks are ignited and start the destruction of the conspiracy.

    Here is a thing- this whole thing is a gamble. The dead need the living in order to piece out the ritual and activate it, as only the living can reach between worlds and shut down the Underworld, for this large scale Abjuration demands a living soul. The living also need the dead, because they need the powers of the Mark and the help of the ghosts in order to both protect themselves from enemy factions and to find the knowledge they seek. Each side needs the other, but they can't let the other side to win- either the living would be bound for the dead to all eternity, or that the dead will be banished and forever gone, with perhaps the whole supernatural fabric of the world changing in the process so no death will produce a ghost. The question is which side would win- and as it seems, Death has the advantage. Every time that things start to become dangerous, it can just bring down the conspiracy and start anew, gaining power from the sacrifices. Yet if Death wants to win, it has to let the conspiracy reach the power in which they could foil its plans. Its only bet is the bring them to a reach large enough where they could enact the rite, yet while being ignorant of the ritual's true nature, while being strong enough to support them in the process. Death can try countless times to win- but it knows that the Council needs only one shot, one success at the most critical part of the plan, and reaching that exact point of balance is a very, very difficult mission, as you play the game with pawns which can at any moment turn against you.

    Or maybe it is not the case. Maybe there is indeed only one endgame- the Council is a symbiotic entity, after all. Perhaps both the living and the dead work towards the same goal- a world without ghosts. Maybe Death is indeed not a desperate ghost but Anpu or a similar entity which seeks to cleanse the world from dark influence. Maybe together, Death and the Council work to piece out the ritual through countless incarnations, yet every time they get close to find the key to close the Underworld, purify the Twilight and cut down the flow of supernatural energy which allows ghosts to rise, the ghosts start to panic. They are obsessives entities, after all. They are afraid of the lack of existence which could come upon them by the actions of the Council. They may be the ones to demand the rising of the conspiracy for their service, but when the Council starts getting near the endgame, collecting and piecing the knowledge of previous incarnations and understanding the plans of their ancestors, they panic, and in their panic they turn against their own members and kill them out of fear. But Death is patient, and when needed will form the conspiracy once more, sending them again to follow in the trail of the past, to learn from their own mistakes and return to the same path of the rite which would bring an end to the darkness once and for all.

    So- what do you think? Are the living and the dead work towards a common goal, or are they secretly working against each other? Does Death seeks to bring end to all ghosts, or perhaps to become a new path of ascension through death? Considering how little do we know about the conspiracy, I think that both situations are valid, and even though I can assume you can get what I favor, but I wanted to be fair- and besides, without any more lore it is indeed hard to understand what is the true endgame, and because people didn't had a lot of time theorizing about this conspiracy, I thought I should provide more than one way things could unfold. Still, I hope you have and reading this piece!

  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    In the "Death as a Secret Villain" scenario, the assumption is that, indeed, it tries to "outwit" the Council- the Council is not aware of Death's true intentions, and their realization that their are following a lie and turning against their patron is the cause for the cyclic rise and fall of the conspiracy.

    On the other hand, the more I think about it, I start to prefer the "Three Parties" scenario- where you have the Council and the dead each trying to rpomote their own vision for the future, and Death merely sits in the sidelines and maintains the cycle. That way, you don't get the "THE COUNCIL ARE DUPES HAHA" angle that most people dislike about conspiracies and keep the "Death as Benevolent Figure" which is important for the Council's writeup, while still keeping the tensions between the living and the dead and the reason for the cyclic destruction, where the Council tries to end the existence of ghosts and the Conglomeration/Anti Death seeks to subvert the Mark to defy the Underworld. You can also call that archghost "Bones", and then you have a fun play on the conspiracy's name- the Council and its Bones locked in a struggle watched by Death.
    Personally, I dislike them as mere dupes too, but yours has merit as it's much, MUCH more of a gamble. Your original proposed end game makes the Council itself feel like it could figure out their "true" purpose and turn the tides, and really, Death being forced to kill them off is a temporary loss for both sides. (Really what I'm saying is that the endgame did not remind me of my annoyance when C&C made it to where TFV would be immediately obsolete if vampires decided to stop funding them and that they basically are able to control all their missions)

    But that and the three sides scenario have their merits and faults. I think both are great to use. I honestly think I'd have to do a coin toss for what endgame I decided for if I GM'd for one.

    EDIT: looking forward to the Lucifuge writeup! Oh, and also, a cyclical death and rebirth of the Council with special rules to follow? That is seemingly almost like a dead dominion in the living world. If one were to take that direction, of course
    Last edited by Primordial newcomer; 01-12-2022, 05:47 PM.

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  • LostLight
    replied
    In the "Death as a Secret Villain" scenario, the assumption is that, indeed, it tries to "outwit" the Council- the Council is not aware of Death's true intentions, and their realization that their are following a lie and turning against their patron is the cause for the cyclic rise and fall of the conspiracy.

    On the other hand, the more I think about it, I start to prefer the "Three Parties" scenario- where you have the Council and the dead each trying to rpomote their own vision for the future, and Death merely sits in the sidelines and maintains the cycle. That way, you don't get the "THE COUNCIL ARE DUPES HAHA" angle that most people dislike about conspiracies and keep the "Death as Benevolent Figure" which is important for the Council's writeup, while still keeping the tensions between the living and the dead and the reason for the cyclic destruction, where the Council tries to end the existence of ghosts and the Conglomeration/Anti Death seeks to subvert the Mark to defy the Underworld. You can also call that archghost "Bones", and then you have a fun play on the conspiracy's name- the Council and its Bones locked in a struggle watched by Death.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    Originally posted by LostLight View Post
    The way I played it, it is less about distrust and more about obsession with the past- the knowledge of the previous forms of the Council and search after it is a motivating power for the conspiracy, as they believe (at least partially) that everything that can happen have already happened, and that the past is the key for the future. As such, the monolith of knowledge serves as the "dark endgame" of the conspiracy, and seeking after old secrets is motivated by Death as it is what would allow them, in theory, achieve his goal- the problem is that it would also achieve the opposite of its goal, so the Council must uncover their own secrets, but not while the conspiracy is able to disrupt the 0plan.


    The way I play it is that the CoB is, well, hypocrites- there is nothing "pure" about Perispiritism any more than other Endowments. It is a lie which the conspiracy believes in, because it helps serving the plans of Death. If Death is indeed benevolent, as offered by the alternative, than there is no issue and Perispiritism would indeed be deemed as "pure" (by the Council's standards, of course).

    Now, there is a third alternative- that Death is benevolent, but that the dead aren't. That conglomeration of dead knowledge which haunts the conspiracy still exists and still tries to manipulate the Council to achieve its new Ascension, but it is not Death- Death is Anpu/Other Demigod of the Twilight which seeks to bring end to the cycle as much as the Council does, and it is the one which provides the Marks to the conspiracy as they work towards bringing a world without ghosts. The ghosts which demand the formation of the Council, however, don't want that world, and join together into creating the "Anti-Death" which, when the conspiracy starts getting near the endgame, storm in and destroy them- but after a while, they need them again, and as such invoke Death to rebuild the conspiracy.

    So instead of two factions, you have three- you have the Council, which seeks to bring a world without ghosts while uncovering the secrets of the past, the dead, which seek to become an alternative to the Underworld and need the same rite the Council is working on but modified, and Death, the impartial judge which answers the dead and choose the living. Death creates the Council, the Anti-Death destroys it when it reaches too far as it fears being gone, and the Council is the cycle itself. That way, you keep Death as pure, while still have the constant tension between the living and the dead- the dead need the living yet fear their success, the living serve the dead but want to end the cycle. If compromise could be found, it would serve as the "True Path of Death", the one which will end the cycle as both the dead and the living will agree on the correct path for human death- but how such compromise could happen and what kind of world it would create would require further, deeper discussion.
    For the part about knowledge they seek, that's about what I was assuming you meant. The story hook potential is amazing utilizing the their pursuit of old knowledge though, finding out about past incarnations and how they were different.

    As for the part concerning Death, I realize Death isn't truly pure, but what I mean is if the Council really thinks Death is pure, why would they stop it's plans? Unless this is playing with their general ignorance and the fact Death has basically allowed then to come up with their own conclusions

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Originally posted by Primordial newcomer View Post
    I notice you mention for the end game that Death wold have life be where the living help their ancestors, and the afterlife being a monolith to all the past thoughts, feeling, and memory.

    Is this a deliberate connection to their distrust of "new" information? I feel its an important theme to touch on in their search for the end goal. Why does conspiracy prefer dusty tomes over other things? Does Death approve of this? It certainly seems possible this a bias to the fact they lose a lot of information between the conspiracy's death and resurrection, and what they are actually doing is uncovering info from past incarnations.

    Or perhaps there really is something metaphysically important here. Say what one will about new info. What about all the old that has been lost to time and death itself, where all answers are truly gone in the void. Unless one can reach into twilight, of course.
    The way I played it, it is less about distrust and more about obsession with the past- the knowledge of the previous forms of the Council and search after it is a motivating power for the conspiracy, as they believe (at least partially) that everything that can happen have already happened, and that the past is the key for the future. As such, the monolith of knowledge serves as the "dark endgame" of the conspiracy, and seeking after old secrets is motivated by Death as it is what would allow them, in theory, achieve his goal- the problem is that it would also achieve the opposite of its goal, so the Council must uncover their own secrets, but not while the conspiracy is able to disrupt the 0plan.

    Also, I find the conflicting end games extremely unique, though it must be stressed as you earlier said that we don't know what past incarnations were like. But I do see one issue with it.

    All the powers of Death are seen as pure. Better than any other Endowments. While the council is weary of even the dead it hopes to serve, wouldn't they see no issue with Death enacting its own plans?
    The way I play it is that the CoB is, well, hypocrites- there is nothing "pure" about Perispiritism any more than other Endowments. It is a lie which the conspiracy believes in, because it helps serving the plans of Death. If Death is indeed benevolent, as offered by the alternative, than there is no issue and Perispiritism would indeed be deemed as "pure" (by the Council's standards, of course).

    Now, there is a third alternative- that Death is benevolent, but that the dead aren't. That conglomeration of dead knowledge which haunts the conspiracy still exists and still tries to manipulate the Council to achieve its new Ascension, but it is not Death- Death is Anpu/Other Demigod of the Twilight which seeks to bring end to the cycle as much as the Council does, and it is the one which provides the Marks to the conspiracy as they work towards bringing a world without ghosts. The ghosts which demand the formation of the Council, however, don't want that world, and join together into creating the "Anti-Death" which, when the conspiracy starts getting near the endgame, storm in and destroy them- but after a while, they need them again, and as such invoke Death to rebuild the conspiracy.

    So instead of two factions, you have three- you have the Council, which seeks to bring a world without ghosts while uncovering the secrets of the past, the dead, which seek to become an alternative to the Underworld and need the same rite the Council is working on but modified, and Death, the impartial judge which answers the dead and choose the living. Death creates the Council, the Anti-Death destroys it when it reaches too far as it fears being gone, and the Council is the cycle itself. That way, you keep Death as pure, while still have the constant tension between the living and the dead- the dead need the living yet fear their success, the living serve the dead but want to end the cycle. If compromise could be found, it would serve as the "True Path of Death", the one which will end the cycle as both the dead and the living will agree on the correct path for human death- but how such compromise could happen and what kind of world it would create would require further, deeper discussion.

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  • Primordial newcomer
    replied
    I notice you mention for the end game that Death wold have life be where the living help their ancestors, and the afterlife being a monolith to all the past thoughts, feeling, and memory.

    Is this a deliberate connection to their distrust of "new" information? I feel its an important theme to touch on in their search for the end goal. Why does conspiracy prefer dusty tomes over other things? Does Death approve of this? It certainly seems possible this a bias to the fact they lose a lot of information between the conspiracy's death and resurrection, and what they are actually doing is uncovering info from past incarnations.

    Or perhaps there really is something metaphysically important here. Say what one will about new info. What about all the old that has been lost to time and death itself, where all answers are truly gone in the void. Unless one can reach into twilight, of course.

    Also, I find the conflicting end games extremely unique, though it must be stressed as you earlier said that we don't know what past incarnations were like. But I do see one issue with it.

    All the powers of Death are seen as pure. Better than any other Endowments. While the council is weary of even the dead it hopes to serve, wouldn't they see no issue with Death enacting its own plans?

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Also, I ran out of Youtuber theory references as I don't know many of those and I am not sure anyone even gets those, so no more weird endings for those posts :P

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