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Pomegranate Deme [Graverobbers, Project O-X, IX]

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  • Pomegranate Deme [Graverobbers, Project O-X, IX]

    Memory Collectors

    [a sliced open pomegranate, with jewel like seeds]

    "There is no way out"

    Persephone has eaten from the fruit of the dead, damning herself to live half of her life in the Underworld. Orpheus has followed his loved one to the depths of Hades, yet returned empty handed. Zagreus has dies so Dionysus would be born. Those stories extend even outside of Greece, like the stories of Ishtar and Tammuz, Osiris and Isis, Izanagi and Izanami. Odin has hanged himself from the World's Tree to find wisdom. The Hero Twins rose from Xibalba toward the heavens. The names may be different, yet the narrative is the same- someone gets down to the underworld, someone tries to change what can not be changed, and someone is marked forever by his trail. They become gods. They are lost forever. Only few can escape the grasp of death- for the rest, there is no way out.

    Unlike certain death cults which rose in ancient Greece, the Fruit of the Dead didn't searched to open themselves a path to the underworld, gaining the gift of immortality or even the occult knowledge which grants power upon life and death. In fact, they look down on those kinds of necromancers, those who abuse their knowledge for personal gain. They miss the greater truth- that even those gods and heroes couldn't have defeated death. They are scarred by it, changed by it. Once you set a foot in the Underworld, it is "game over". As such, you should never enter it in the first place.

    Maybe it is that view which allowed them to survive where others fell. Maybe it was just luck. Still, those orphians and death cultists kept clinging to the world just like the dark shades which they walked among. Their goal also never changed- burying the dead and binding their souls, invoking ghosts and trapping their fetters. Doing what ever it takes in order to keep the dead lingering, to stop them from falling into the dark depths of Hades. There is no way out of the Underworld- but no one force you to go in.

    For the Pomegranate Deme, the Underworld is not a step in the way toward godhood- it is the destination. That complicated labyrinth of endless layers and countless rivers is where everyone ends up eventually- it is the endless potential of the universe, where everything has started and everything would end. Not everyone are worthy enough to join that collective of human history: not even the members of the group. For them, every ghost which is swallowed in its depths is lost forever, escaping toward its freedom in Lethe, abandoning both form and humanity. In order to protect those precious souls you must keep them near and never let them go. Only the worthy may walk through the Underworld and maintain their memory, harnessing that limitless potential and becoming the gods of the dead- yet, in order to decide who is worthy and who is not one should make an extensive research. Free the ghost too early, and it is lost forever, and it won't get a second chance.

    Usually.

    Some do manage to return- they claim a body of their own and make a pact: life for life, death for death. Those beings are not worthy- they are forever scarred by their experience, losing much of their former self and becoming.. something else, but that doesn't mean they don't have any hope. Like the heroes which they worship, those beings has escaped their prison- each is an Orpheus, each is Persephone. Those dead have touched the core of all life, gaining the potential for divinity.

    Just imagine how much knowledge you could get from them.

    While the Pomegranate Deme were originally a part of the Orphic Mysteries, now days they have lefts much of their old rituals behind- sure, they maintain a certain image of greco-roman aesthetics, but that's about it. They are museum treasurers and art collectors, antique traders and pawn shoppers. Every once and awhile, they meet to celebrate their ages old holidays in their secret Mausoleums, where the Great Undertakers maintain their macabre memorabilia and preserve their bound fetters. They record what the dead has to say, and determine whether the ghost has good enough chances to survive the Underworld's maddens or not. Those who have shown themselves worthy have their fetters buried and are freed to go on their way. Others are kept to serve the group. This was their way for centuries- giving the dead a good enough chance to survive in Hades.

    But it is not their endgame, of course.

    After all, the Underworld is the unlimited potential- and they seek to harness that power to themselves. When their higher ranked members are buried, they do so with dozens of fetters and memorabilia, giving them a good chance to fight against the forces of the Underworld. They want to walk pass the guardians of the Great Bellow unharmed, reaching into the depths of the Underworld and forcing their own name upon eternity. There are stories among them about those few Undertakers who managed to find a way out- the rest still serve the group as ghosts, until they'll show they are worthy enough. They'll be like Eurydice who turned into Izanami, never returning to the world of the living, never looking back.

    But what about Orpheus?

    The Bound fascinate the group- that is, they and their geists. They adore them and mock them in the same time- they were not worthy, yet escaped, and still they are destined to fall to the same black hell. They should get their help- which should mean they should be supervised until they show themselves worthy to a second chance in the Underworld. That means that just like how Orpheus was butchered in order to become god, so would they have to die when the time would come. Sometimes, the members prefer to kill the ghostwalkers earlier and bind their geists so it would be easier to protect them. On others, they hunt after unbound geists and force them into fetters. Even if they decide not to hunt the Bound down, they still do what they can in order to learn from them about the Underworld, the afterlife and the dangers which wait down there. Sure, those are mad beings with a flawed perception of truth and lies- but their false mythology is nothing more than another aspect of the Underworld's endless possibilities.

    They protect the dead. They collect their memories. They seek after the path to eternity.

    There is no way out- but you should make sure that when you enter, you do it with all of your glory.

    Status:
    0- you are a new member among the Memory Collectors, joining their quest after humanity's full potential. You may buy dots in the Fetters Endowment, and are considered to have an Honorary Rank of 1 among the dead
    000- you have learned the mystical rites of the Underworld and dealt with the restless shades. You gain the Hardened Exorcist merit for free and have an Honorary Rank of 2. Members of this level also always leave a ghost behind, which is manifested in the nearest Mausoleum.
    00000- you proved yourself worthy, and you are recognized as an Undertaker, starting to walk on your path to godhood by stealing the legend of others. You have access to a single Deathmask, and may carry a number of Deathmasks equal to your Honorary Rank (which is now 3). You can access the
    Plasm of you bound Deathmask which could be used for healing and opening gates as if you were a Sin Eater, and enjoy the Deathmasks' Skill bonus.

    Endowment: Fetters (0-00000, special)
    The Fruit of the Dead collects the memories of the restless shades and use them for their own benefit. They seek after existing Fetters when they could find them, and bind ghosts to artificial ones when they can't. Sometimes, they can even force a recently dead being to leave a ghost behind using a pre-made Fetter. Sometimes, they can even force a geist to leave its host and trap it in their little boxes.

    Fetters are 1-5 merits, each has its own rating. Each such item holds a ghost inside of it, and it may manifest a number of Numina equal to the dots of the Fetter. In order to activate said Numina, the hunter must spend a single Willpower point per use (or Plasm if he is an Undertaker). Usually, the ghost is bound to the memorabilia, unable to manifest directly and simply offering its power to the holder- yet by rolling [Occult]+[Presence]+[Rank], the hunter may force it to manifest in the Twilight, which could be used either for attack or in order to interrogate the ghost about its former life. Success allows the spirit to manifest and obey the hunter for a number of turns equal to the number of successes. For Failure the manifestation simply doesn't work, and you suffer a -2 modifier for the next 24 hours for forcing the ghost to manifest. Exceptional Success gives you +2 for the next manifestation of the ghost. Dramatic Failure would shut the relic down for the following 24 hours.

    There are 2 ways to get access to Fetters- either to loan them or to gain them by yourself. Any member can loan a certain Fetter for a number of days equal to their Status for the local Mausoleum, although you have to wait for a number of days equal to 10 - Status [Pomegranate Deme] + Fetter in order to access the same Fetter again. In order to acquire a new Fetter, you have 2 options- either to bind a ghost to a Fetter or forcing one to manifest after death. For the first path, there are two different ways to do so- either by using one of the ghost's exiting Fetters, or using an artificial one provided by the conspiracy, called pyxis (which traditionally take the form of a small box of some kind, like the vessel which contained Persephone's beauty). Using the ghost's actually Fetter gives you +2 to all rolls. In order to bind a ghost to a Fetter, the hunter must roll [Occult] + [Manipulation] + [Rank] vs the ghost's [Rank] + [destined Fetter rating]. On an Exceptional Success you also get a Willpower point or Plasm to your choice. On Dramatic Failure either the pyxis is ruined or that the ghost's might shakes you to the depths of your soul, getting the Spooked Condition (if using the ghost's own Fetter).

    In case of forcing a dead person to leave a ghost behind an trap it in a pyxis, you must roll [Occult] + [Presence] - [Every day since the death of the target]. The hunter gains +1 modifier in case he was in the funereal, +2 if he was to bury the body ,+3 if the funereal used Orphic rituals and -2 if the hunter didn't knew the person before her death. Exceptional Success gives a free Willpower point, while Dramatic Failure would mean the soul as escaped to the Underworld and no one may be able to call it back to the world. Regular Failure gives -1 accumulate modifier to any attempt to force the ghost of that dead to manifest. Members of the conspiracy may, however, bind their own ghosts into a pyxis freely if they hold such item before death and whisper their own name with their last breath. Also, any ghost who is willing to be bound by the pyxis may allow an automatic success.

    While the pyxides are usually meant to bind regular ghosts, an hunter may try to bind a geist using one, although such act would have a penalty of -2 modifier. In case of a bound geist, the cultist must kill the Sin Eater and try to preform the ceremony before the Sin Eater would resurrect, although doing so would be expressed as an additional penalty of -1*[number of Resurrections left for the Sin Eater]. In case of Success, the Ghostwalker would stay dead. While there is no recorded instance of an hunter pulling a geist out of still living Bound, there are many stories about such mythic cases. Geists are never willing to be bound in a pyxis.

    Stereotypes:
    Loyalists of Thule: "the souls of their past torments them, and they seek to wash them away. We can take that burden from their shoulders"
    Aegis Kai Doru: "more than once they broke into our shopes and galleries to steal our precious memories, and more than once they regretted it. Those souls are ours"
    Promethean Brotherhood: "our research has showed that they share certain amount of symbolism with us, which may hint of common origin. I don't mind- for wherever they go, our boxes fill up"
    Habibti Maa: "No, we are not a cult. Well, we are, but not that kind. No, I don't need your help- we have a greater fate in our hand. Stop bothering me!"
    Eye of Heavens: "They sit upon the graves of the dead and force them into life as their kings and masters. I wonder what secrets from the Beyond they hide in those graves.."

    "Move on? Why would you want to do that? To be forgotten and erased in Oblivion? I offer you something much better- a second chance. Now- into the box"
    Last edited by LostLight; 02-16-2017, 06:27 PM.


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