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Custodes Ignis [Vigil for Rome]

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  • Custodes Ignis [Vigil for Rome]

    Managers of Harmony

    [a burning flame surrounding an hand, which in its center there's an open eye]

    Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Empires are big social constructs. They require charismatic leaders, brave warriors, uniting nations, fighting wars and gaining the favor of the gods. The rising of a nation to the status of an empire is a long and exhausting process which may take a lifetime to make. It requires making both war and peace, finding allies and crushing rivals in and without the land, showing power yet not encouraging potential enemies. So many potential empires has fallen to ruin without achieving their goal- for not every nation can withstand the process, and not every leader can guide it.

    It would be a shame to let all that effort to go to waste.

    After all, creating the empire is the easy part- maintaining it, well, it is an whole other story. It is possible for a single person to guide a single nation, yet no one lives forever. More than once, empires has died together with their makers, like a star which shines only for a moment. A good leader would establish a legacy which would carry on, make it so even after his passing his name would be immortalized and the laws which helped the empire to grow would remain so it could also prosper. If you wish an eternal empire, you must create a great mechanism which would make it move on, a principle which would guide all of the nation's future leaders.

    And the Keepers of the Sacred Flame are such a mechanism.

    The Custodes Sacrae Ignis (or the Custodes Ignis for sort) are an old order, as old as Rome itself. They track their origin to the first holy warriors who protected and guided the small gods of the land to make sure it would prosper- the Genius Loci, the Lares and the rest of the Numen. For many years they were shamans and hunters, and like many of their kind they have soon fell under the influence of those small gods, becoming their servants and pawns who preformed terrible deeds in their name. Yet, just as Rome has evolved from wild tribes into a great civilization, so does did the wise men and women moved their sight from the earth and toward the stars. There, they have saw something only few has witnessed- a great power of light and heat, burning with ever lasting passion to move the wheels of heaven and earth.

    The Fornacis. The Furnace.

    The Keepers whisper the story about their revelation- how they met a being made out of light and fire, who told them the truth. How they made contact with the Immortal Fire and gained their mission: to make sure their empire would prosper and deal with the anomalies who destroy it perfect harmony. How they made a great tribute to the Furnace and in exchange burned its marks to their skin, carrying the sparks of the fire in their body and soul. The reason for the secrecy is that as Rome has united, many dark beings has infiltrated its structure- vampires who claimed the blood of the ancients walked the streets, wild shapeshifters from the west have been absorbed as slaves and gladiators. Witches whispered dark spells in the night. People worshiped gods and have let themselves becoming their playthings. They, who sought to bring harmony to their land, would have quickly become victims of those beings who tried to make the empire as their own. Yet, those creatures, as dark as they may be, were not truly the enemies of the empire- they were needed as part of the harmony of the land, just like the small gods who walked down the streets.

    In order to operate better without being influenced by those monsters, the group has hidden inside the ranks of the priests. Many have joined the faith of Vesta, especially the women of the group, although they had agents through all the different shrines. Hiding their true faith from their peers, they used their connections within the priesthoods to gain information about the different anomalies which has threatened the land- those who were caused by misguided sparks of the Furnace.

    Using the gifts given to them, they worked hard in order to maintain their empire- they tracked down Wastelands, purified Firestorms, managed Disquiets. They searched for those who have manipulated the stolen sparks and punished them, destroying their alchemist formulas and burning the disfigured beings they created. They tracked down the luminous Numen who threatened to ruin their empire and made sure they would judge which of their "missions" truly served the empire. In their pride, they came of think about themselves as the true will of the Furnace, and that their empire would survive forever.

    Only that it did not.

    Rome has fell, and its peace was shattered. After long years of inner rebellions and wars against invaders, the great empire was no more. The Dark Ages came, and with them came sickness and poverty. Many small wars and terrible disasters has happened during that time, and for many years the very concept of harmony looked like a far away dream.

    Yet, the Custodes survived.

    Seeing the destruction which came upon their lands, they hid. They went underground, creating mystery cults and hermetic orders. They infiltrated the new church, maintaining the spark of hope in the darkness of despair. They left the faith entirely, joining the ranks of nobles, of soldiers, of criminals. The only thing which connected them together was their common faith- that one day, they would be united again, and they could once more look in the face of the Furnace.

    And eventually they did- a number of times, actually.

    They did so when Napoleon turned France into the greatest empire in the world. They did it when Britain ruled the seas with awe. They did it when the United States rose to greatness. Every time a new empire came to be, the Keepers were there- making sure that it would grow and prosper while fulfilling their ancient obligation to the Holy Light. Third mystery cult, third holy warriors, third business men, the Custodes followed the will of the Furnace, sure that this time, their empire would last forever...

    Only to watch it fall again. That's the rule of heavens- and no matter how much they'll try to stop the change, it would come. After years of stasis, of perfect harmony and tuned society, eventually, the fire of the Furnace descends upon the earth.

    And after that, the world would be changed forever.

    0- you are a new member of the Keepers and have took an oath to stop the anomalies of the world. You may buy dots in the Scorch Marks Endowment.
    000- you have served your land for a long time and stopped all kinds of anomalies which disturbed the world. The order gives you connections in all of the important places. Get Contacts for 3 dots for any governmental office.
    00000- you have learned how to feel the warmth of the Fire and the disturbances it creates. Get Unseen Senses (Divine Fire)

    Endowment- Scorch Marks (1-5)
    You can't touch the Fire without getting burned- but the members of the Keepers have learned how to use those burns for power. That Endowment has a number of effects- first, add it to a dicepool when you have to resist the effects of a Disquiet. Second, you may roll Endowment+Occult in order to "turn off" sources of Divine Fire- meaning, stopping any active power which is fulled by Pyros for working. Doing so is contested as a Clash of Wills against the source of the power. Third, the Endowment allows you to turn the stage of Wasteland or Disquiet backward, which requires rolling Endowment+Presence against the Azoth of the Promethean in question. Fourth, you can buy Transmutations which their total value is no more than your dots in the Endowment, and in order to activate them you must scorch yourself and draw a certain mark upon your skin- which is represented as suffering from one level Bashing damage. Finally, your dots in the Endowment are counted as an Honorary Rank when dealing with the messengers of the Furnace (out of the assumption that qashamalim would have proper Rank in 2nd ed)
    Last edited by LostLight; 08-24-2015, 12:48 PM.

    Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

    "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

    I now blog in here

  • #2
    Cainte Heresy- "in our records there is a description of a group similar to theirs- the same blood magics, the same hate toward the vampires, the same shadow which covers them, yet they fell so low. I wonder if that happened to us, too"
    Barrett Commission- "they are like us, in that they seek to balance their nation and stop its corruption. They are unlike us in that they put themselves before those they protect. Who am I to judge a king, however"
    Malleus Maleficarum-"We sought refuge among their ranks once, so we can't deny that they have touched the truth- yet their faith blinds them. There is no Father, no Son and Holy Spirit- there is only Fire, and their saints are just the sparks of those consumed in it"
    Keepers of the Source-"their desire to protect the harmony of the world is admirable, too bad they don't do it from the right angle. Instead of attacking witches and dealing with magics, they should work with us and purify the corruption of the world"

    "The fires of heaven burn from inside of you. It ruins the world and turns it to ash. You know it needs to be stopped- and I may help you with that."

    Check my STV content, Or My Homebrew

    "And all our knowledge is, Ourselves to know"- An Essay on Man

    I now blog in here