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Eye of Heavens [Tombraiders, Project X-O, VI]

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  • LostLight
    started a topic Eye of Heavens [Tombraiders, Project X-O, VI]

    Eye of Heavens [Tombraiders, Project X-O, VI]

    Vultures and Serpents

    [a uraeus decorated with a spread wings vulture behind a cobra]

    "Everything is dust in the wind"

    Who is the one to become a king?

    It seems like there is no definite answer for that question- once, people have believed that those who become kings are born this way, as a part of a blessing bestowed upon a specific lineage by the divinities beyond the world. As long as those families kept the power in their hands, there was no problem with the answer- yet, eventually those legacies fell from grace, and others took their place either by claiming blood ties or by sword. That gave form to a new answer- that the king is the one currently granted the right to rule by the heavens, a temporary privilege which could be revoked at any time. Yet, as rightful kings were replaced by mad tyrants, the answer shifted once more- the strong is the one to rule. And than war has fallen, and the rich became the new kings. Or the lucky. Or the diplomats. Or the wise. Thousands of kings claimed a throne, and thousands of kings lost it. Even during the modern age, when it seems like there are no kings around us, they are still out there- people the rest watch with awe, and respect, and jealousy. All of those people are different, but they have two things in common- they all have power, and they all fall from grace, taking their believers with them.

    There is nothing you can do about it. This is the will of Heaven.

    Of course, that makes one to ask another question- what is "Heaven" exactly? Is it a great being who sits upon a throne in the skies, commanding countless souls with a blink of an eye? A pantheon of many small divinities, each rise its own champion in order to advance its own private agenda, mirroring the wars of the gods upon the wars of earth? Some ancient Fate which was written in the stars in the time before time? A Law of tyrants made to shape the world for some unknown purpose? Again, the answer changes in time, but the concept remains the same.

    Heaven is the one who rise kings.

    The Eye of Heaven are ancient- at least, if you believe their claims. They say to come from Ancient Egypt, from the days of the Old Kingdom if not before that. According to their stories, their origin is from the cults dedicated to the Two Ladies of Kemet- once, the two Lands were separated, and as such each was led by a different king, and each required a different patron to protect it. Lower Egypt was protected by Wadjet, the serpent whose poison brings death and revelation. Upper Egypt, on the other hand, worshiped Nekhbet, who carries the slain to the skies above the skies. For many years the Two Lands fought against each other, until Narmer rose and unified the two into one- that was what Heaven wished for, too.

    While the Old Kingdom was united and ruled by a single Dynasty, the two cults of the Serpent and the Vulture remained separated- the Mothers of the Upper land and the Poisoners of the Lower Land kept their practices for themselves, each offering their own version of prophesy and kept their own special rituals meant to guide the people of Kemet- and most importantly, their kings. Yet, two Suns can;t move on the same course, and while before the Pharaoh both cults bowed their head with unity, behind the scenes the birds hunted down the snakes, and the serpents slithered into the vulture's nests. Poisons and spells and swords were used against one another as the two fought against the right to "advice" the king.

    Until the star rose, and the king fell.

    The documents of the Eye don't have many details about the incident- something about a mad king who died with a lifeless heir, old gods returning to life and a darkness which rose from the desert to devour the sun. Whatever happened during those ancient era, eventually the Old Kingdom fell, and the two cults were shattered during the process. Yet, nothing stays forever buried in the desert- the wind blows, the sands shift, and new relics shine once more. A new Kingdom was establish, and the Eye of Heaven was born with it- a unification of the two cults, just as the uraeus united the Vulture and the Cobra upon the Pharaoh's crown. Together, they had a new goal- they were to choose the king of this world, be them mortal or gods.

    For many years, the Eye of Heaven has operated in the shadows- and more than once they were confused with other occult societies and conspiracy theories. As the ones to guide the gods to Heaven's will, they tracked down small cults dedicated to those powerful kings, infiltrating their ranks and rising slowly to key points in the organization. As they did so, they discovered important information about those "kings"- they while they were powerful, they were bound by divine mission and purpose. That they searched after items of power from an ancient civilization, almost as old as humanity itself. That they could burn the earth and shake the skies- yet each time they rose (which could be once in a thousand years unless they were summoned or disturbed) they seemed to... forget their past. That made them vulnerable, and useful. Sure, that wasn't an easy thing to accomplish- yet you can't win senet without being patient. Kings are not easily made, after all.

    Eventually, the Eye has managed to capture a number of such Undying Ones by overtaking their cults- either by word or by weapon- yet controlling such beings proved itself a bit hard to accomplish. The powers of those kings was not easily contained, and they could easily break away from their whispers and act by their own. It required training in order to discover the right words, in order to find what each such Arisen desired and pass on that legacy through the countless years which could have passed between one awakening and the other. The worst happened when the old star rose again, making all the graves around the world to open at once and spit their dead. Also, it looked like not all of the Undying were the same- some were more resistant to their manipulation, as they remembered more than the others, and others were twisted by old divinities which existed in the time before time. Subjecting such beings to the Will of Heaven looked almost like an impossible task, even for someone as patient as the Eye.

    Until one day, they were granted the Mandate to do so.

    No written scripture describes the event in which the Mandate was given- which is strange, considering the great libraries the Eye maintain in order to track the different cults in operate and the kings they supervise in their hidden "dungeons", gathered with the relics which helps them asleep. All that is known is that one night, a change in the hierarchic formation of the conspiracy was done, putting two scores and two at the top as they named themselves after divinities most won't recognize- for that was Heaven's will. That has given them a new gift, a proof they were truly chosen by Heaven to direct, choose and judge their kings.

    Today, the Eye is still a powerful group- while they currently contain no more than a few kings, they are able to influence dozens of cults and the Undying they worship. They also didn't forsake the human world, operating a number of political lobbies in Europe and the Americas and having themselves as business advisers and investors in a few important companies. Even as the groups they maintain control over fall, they endure- kings are easily replaced, even the immortal ones- especially now, that the star rise once more. So many new opportunities for the Eye to grasp with its claws and bite with their fangs. It may require spilling blood, it may require betraying old allies or letting old kings fall. In order for Heaven's will to be fulfilled, the right king must sit upon the throne in the right time, and by doing so he would serve the Heaven- and it doesn't matter if he knows it or not.

    It may be cruel, but this is what Heaven wish for- a servant, not a ruler. Everything to fulfill that goal is allowed, for eventually, at the end of the game, one does not wonder how many pawns were sacrificed in order to capture the king. Only the victory is important.

    Everything else- including the king itself- is just a dust in the wind.

    Status:
    0- you are a new member in the Eyes of Heaven, and you commit yourself to serve the Heavens while finding decent king vessels to achieve that goal. You may buy dots in the Mandate Endowment. You also choose your role as either a Serpent who infiltrate other cults (giving you +1 modifier for Social skills) or as a Vulture who maintains records of ancient relics and fight their enemies directly (giving you +1 for Mental skills)
    000- you have obeyed the hierarchy and worked as either a serpent to slither into enemy cults and poison them from the inside, or fought directly against your enemies and chose the best spoil as a vulture. If you are a Serpent, you gain a Craft (poisons) specialty. As a Vulture, you get Weaponry (khopesh) specialty. You modifier bonus also rise to +2.
    00000- you have drawn the respect of the 42 Eyes and have been judges and found worthy, reaching the highest pinnacle of your roll. As a Serpent, you are able to taste to after-flavor people leave behind, giving you the Psychometry merit for free. As a Vulture, your eyes cut through the lies of man to find their prey, giving you the Aura Reading for free. You bonus also rise to +3.

    Endowment: Mandate (0-00000)
    The gift of Heaven to the Eyes who watch the Earth is the ability to draw upon their authority in order to guide the kings to their rightful path. Mandate is a single 1-5 merit, which has the following uses- first, the hunter may treat the Endowment as a relevant Status merit when dealing with the cults of the Undying, and half as half of its value when dealing with the Undying Ones themselves. The other is forcing the will of Heaven upon the world- by choosing a specific Command and rolling [Endowment]+[Presence] against the target's Willpower, the hunter may force the target to fulfill a certain mission. As long as the target does not fulfill the mission as it was said, she may not regain Willpower at any possible way other than working toward that goal. While that power may effect any being, while it is used against the Undying Ones, the hunter may add her dots in Status [Eyes of Heaven] to the roll. When dealing with ephemeral beings, however, she suffer -2 modifier to the roll. In case the mission aligns with Heaven's will, the hunter also gain +2 modifier, while when working against it she suffer -3 (the ST is the one to decide whether a mission works with, against or with no relation to Heaven), +1 modifier in case it was preformed as suggestion and -1 in case it was an outright command.

    Also, Mandate has another interesting trait- it helps the hunter to use Vessels. As long as she use a Vessel with a rating equal or lower from her Mandate, she does not suffer from that Vessel's Curse. She may only carry one such Vessel at a time, and may only borrow them from the dungeons of the conspiracy. Losing a Vessel may result at loosing Status, and requires rolling a Social roll in order to convince the guardians of said Vessels to borrow them. While the hunter may acquire a Vessel by her own, doing so is against the laws of the conspiracy and may result with a punishment.

  • LostLight
    replied
    Stereotypes:
    Habibti Maa: "While their efforts disrupt our plans and put our kings to sleep- the path they follow is the path of justice, and as such they are to be respected"
    ​Barret Commission: "The kings of their age. Watch how their movements change history- and whisper in their ears to move it to the right direction"
    Faithful of Shulpae: "This is not how you should treat your king"
    Aegis Kai Doru: "Kingship is a right given by Heaven, not something to be taken by force. Those people are nothing more than thieves, and they should return the treasures they stole from us"
    Chasseurs de Tetes: "You can't have a country without a king, there is no history without a throne. They are the tyrants, not our kings- and if someone should lose his head, its them"

    "Who is the one to become a king?"
    Last edited by LostLight; 09-02-2016, 07:36 PM.

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  • LostLight
    replied
    Bonus Material- The Ever Watching Eye

    The highest among the members of the Eye are known for their keen senses and ability to see the souls of others. Many of the members of the group assume that those Aura piercing and psychometric abilities are what gave the conspiracy its ancient reputation as oracles and seers during the Old Kingdom of Kemet. They claim that the stories about great prophesies and similar acts of divination are just exaggerations, unique cases or the side effects of working so close near the sleeping kings and the dreams they spawn. After all, with the ability to force the commands of Heaven upon Earth, how does a long term planning to shape the future is so different from just seeing it and plan accordingly?

    There is nothing wrong in those explanations- except of the fact that they are completely false, that is.

    Once, the dual Oracle Cults were truly blessed with the sight of the future, and when they unified those different methods mixed together, giving them a gift of prophesy which could compete with the Awakened of Kemet. That ability predated the Mandate by many years, and no record details how it exactly worked. All that is known is that only the greatest of priests were blessed with that gift, and that one day, around the 4th century, they have all simply left- saying that they were "called to bring a brighter future" and that they would soon return. They were never seen again, and their secrets were taken with them, leaving the cults with broken shards of information used to help them regain the lesser forms of divination they now practice.

    Of course, nothing is meant to stay beneath the sands forever.

    Hidden in the oldest records, coded in Ancient Egyptian and mystical symbolism, the secret for prophesy stays hidden. Only the 42 Judges of the conspiracy know the code, and are able to use them in order to take a glimpse in what the future holds. They keep those abilities as a secret from the rest of the conspiracy, and swear by their own name to never reveal that technique to anyone outside the 42 seats of Heaven. While one may wonder why should they keep such a useful ability hidden, the answer is pretty simple- they are afraid. Once, the ones who knew those secrets were lured toward their own doom, and while many centuries has passed the threat is still out there. It is better not to draw attention- only to stay and watch, manipulating the future in small, almost unnoticeable ways while keep their existence hidden. In a way, their all conspiracy is a cover for those manipulations, as they step forward to bring their own vision forward. Only one future can be true, and they plan for it to be their own.

    The Eye is always watching- but little they know they are also being watched.

    Endowment: Chartomancy (1-5)
    That Endowment is open only for the members of the 42 Seats of Heaven, which requires (among many others) Conspiracy Status of 5 dots. Chartomancy is a technique instead of a power- it is a research field, a discipline, a specialty in understanding the world, and as such it is not considered to be a supernatural power (in the same way Advanced Armory is not supernatural). Chartomancy is a 1-5 merit, with each dot representing a deeper understanding of the technique and the way to use it. In order to use the Endowment, the hunter must have access to one of the conspiracy's dungeons, gaining access to the great libraries of the Eye and have freedom to explore its content. That means that even if an hunter were to learn the basis of the technique, the supervision the Eye has on its library would reveal any attempt to read the future in their book and capture the renegade. Plus, the hunter must have access to special ingredients used as a ceremonial make up, which require at least Resources of 3 to have (although being one of the 42 Judges substituted that requirement). That make up is not necessary, but grants +2 modifier for the rolls used to use the Endowment. Once the conditions are met, the hunter has to start preforming a research, decrypting the codes the ancients used in order to hide their visions of the future. The Endowment may be used for either predict a certain future event or scry for something which happened in the past, and takes 1 hour per century in the past and year in the future. for each century or years above [Endowment], the hunter suffer -2 modifier. The hunter may not conduct a research longer than her Resolve or spending a Willpower point, forcing her to take a new roll after a break, when the roll itself is made of [Occult]+[Intelligence]+[Chartomancy]. It takes only a single Failure to the whole prediction into a Failure, forcing the hunter to start the research again- although she won't know she failed until the research is finished. A Dramatic Failure would give her a wrong prediction she believes to be true. A Successes would give her the details of the even she looks after, while an Exceptional Success would even give some details about the events which lead or came from that event.

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