The Nobility are really good at community; in the short time since the Release a sprawling culture has grown across a network of blogs, forums and social networking sites. The Hopeful community covers more than just Princesses, Beacons and Sworn are welcome and even ordinary people can often be found on the comment threads. The online Radiant community is hardly a walled garden, it spills forth onto related subjects. Princesses can often be found blogging about and arguing in forums related to politics, current affairs, activism and social justice. Many blogs or forums are considered to be both hubs of the Radiant community – for the author or prominent members are Princesses – and considered to be ordinary websites by their mundane viewers – for the Princesses are still in the closet (at least under this username).
Many Princesses eagerly flock to debates about occult theory or magical phenomena, but on this subject the Nobility often retreat to their own private communities, for a Princess talking about her emotional variety of magic often causes her to clash with both mortals – who eagerly latch onto occult principles (accurate or otherwise) to make up for the fact they cannot perform magic – and actual magicians – for whom occult principles form the foundation of their power. Some young and naive princesses have caught the attention of experienced magicians, who simply recognised the way they talk and think about magic.
Inevitably debates between so many young, passionate ideologues – on the internet, no less! – often descends into a morass of arguments often about the most pointless things, if only because it's easier to join an argument when you don't need to have read about the subject. At least most Princesses are socially competent and able to spell. People often wonder how Princesses, a group who live by the maxim "School, friends, royal duties, sleep, choose three" ever find the time to argue on the internet. In truth it's common for Princesses to vanish entirely from their online community when an actual problem comes to their town, lives have even been saved because somebody decided to check up why someone stopped posting.
Perhaps the most practical use of the Princess' online culture is when it move offline; regional meet ups are common enough and even international get togethers can be held in an easily reached location within the Dreamlands. These events help build a Princess' collection of emergency phone numbers and can lead to the formation of Nakamas. The internet is in fact one of the most common ways for a lone Princess to find herself a Nakama, often beginning with a message like "Looking for Nakama in San Francisco"
The word nakama means a group of friends, translated into English you might say "buddies" or "gang" in the playful kids use of the word.
Princesses use the word "Nakama" no differently to ordinary humans. A Nakama is first and foremost a group of friends. They go shopping, see movies, plait each other's hair or compete in fun magic contests. The primary purpose of a Nakama is to help Princesses destress after the pressures of the job, by providing friends who understand what it means to be a princess, and occasionally forcing a Princess to get a good night's sleep – no ands, ifs or buts – while another member covers her responsibilities. For the most part it is rare for a Nakama to sit down and create elaborate plans for improving the world. Most Princesses have strong convictions on the subject and would rather have a supportive friend than long arguments with coworkers. However when Princesses are reacting to a problem, be it the Darkness, the Twilight Queens or something mundane like an earthquake, a Princess' first call to form a team or a task force is often her Nakama. They trust each other, know each other well enough to work well together, and of course they all have each other's phone numbers.
The Hopeful are for the most part a young culture, and even the parts of it that regularly communicate haven't got any formal body to standardise language. While there is a linguistic legacy that predates the Release, two in fact, one is the Royal Tongue (which many Princesses find cumbersome, or just annoying) and the other is Alhambran (which many Radiant refuse to use on principle). Consequently the Radiant use a fast changing system of slang, memes and technical terms that vary across geographical regions and even parts of the internet. The language of the Radiant is young enough that most words can easily be traced back to their origin. The following terms are usually used by Princesses in the anglosphere, having been spread across that portion of the internet. Some of the more specific terms are unique to American Princesses.
Terms in Japanese originate from Bonnie Getsuei, an American (and complete japanophile) who forged much of the Radiant community in San Francisco and even provided a common entry point to the online Radiant community for English speaking princesses (presumably actual Japanese Princesses also use their native tongue).
Italian words can often trace their origin to the Queen of Hearts' earliest followers in the United Kingdoms (The Court of Hearts had a late start in America, as the first impressions of that court often clash with America's national ideals. Today few Princesses even remember what the fuss was about) influenced by Andartan culture those Princesses chose to use a romance language, and since they didn't want to use French; Princesses everywhere sprinkle their magic with Italian terms.
Greek and Latin words both share origins in the Court of Diamonds, the early Lights were the first to attempt to begin classifying and studying hopeful magic and related phenomena. This project was split between those who were more influenced by their Queen and wanted to use Greek, and those who were more influenced by human academia and wanted to use Latin. The argument was never settled and various words from both languages have become part of the Princess lexicon, mostly for things a Princess can go a while without encountering as everything else was named through informal, and therefore faster, channels. Exceptionally nerdy Princesses sometimes use Greek instead of the Latin terms or Latin instead of the Greek, and Latin or Greek instead of English, Italian and Japanese terms.
The Embassy to the Dreamlands, perhaps the only lasting Radiant organisation to exist through the Long Night, tended to use names taken from people both living, Dreamlander and even fictional (note that the three are rarely distinct categories). Few of these terms are still in use.
Finally English is, obviously, the de-facto language of English speaking Princesses. Anything that did not get a catchy enough name quickly enough is likely to be in English. One unusual, and uniquely American, fact about English is that many Princesses adopt a more "royal" manner of speaking in their Transformed identity, which is to say a British accent ranging from "BBC English" to "not even The Queen lays it on that thick". Princesses who are actually from the United Kingdom usually use their natural accent, though as the British will parody anything some have been known to play up, or adopt, incomprehensible regional accents when around Americans.
Some Princesses say that in a better world everyone would be a Beacon. Some (usually the same people) say that in the Kingdom everyone was a Beacon. Pretty much all Princesses like Beacons, but then most people do.
A Beacon is a person with a strong sense of hope, morality and idealism that radiates outwards. Their presence encourages people to make the best of themselves. The effect is subtle enough that it could be taken as nothing more than the force of personality, if a Princess' magical sight did not show that Beacons carry a tiny spark of the Light.
Princesses usually keep an eye out for Beacons. If they seem in trouble they'll offer help before the Beacon's light is crushed. There is another reason to keep an eye on Beacons, they are disproportionately likely to Blossom and being ready to ease a new Princess into her role can make the world of difference.
Wouldn't it be nice if everyone was a Princess? If nobody could commit cruelty without suffering from Sensitivity? If encroachment of the Darkness could be beaten back by the magic of billions? If wishes were Blossomings then everyone would be a Princess already, but the Nobility know it's no good wishing for a better world. You have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Even if there is no way to force a Blossoming, a skilled Princess can create a Sworn.
The Sworn fill many roles. Sometimes a Princess is impressed by a Mortal (or a Beacon) and offers them magic. This is an significant investment: not only must the Princess invest a portion of her power to create a Sworn, but she must make Bequests to provide the Sworn with Wisps and any Charms she wishes to offer. Other Sworn work closely with the Nobility. A team of Princesses who notice a gap in their skills could seek out a new member who has the mundane abilities. The powers of a Sworn and a few Bequests can provide the magical skills.
Some Princesses create Sworn for special tasks. Consider if you will a Princess who creates Bequests that grant intuative insights into the workng of legal codes and hands them out to a think tank drafting a complex new social justice law. If it works a simple investment could have an enormous long term payoff but such plans are risky. The Princess usually ends up running against one or more of the vested power groups within the World of Darkness.
Other Princesses just like to share their magic with people. Granting the powers of a Sworn to a beloved friend or family member can help another understand the Princess' new life and preserve the bond between them. It is unfortunately not that uncommon for a friend or family member to be jealous and giving them some power can help smooth things over. A Princess who worries for her loved one's safety can do worse than giving them the power to run away at superhuman speeds, or to work the magical defences around their shared home.
In Alhambra Sworn have served as a vital and prestigious pillar of society. The kingdom of Tears possesses vaults filled with Bequests, some dating back to the Kingdom itself. As they reuse old Bequests it requires a far smaller investment to equip a new Sworn and so Alhambra depends on Sworn, Bequests and magic much as we depend on technology.
The armies of Storms also make much use of Sworn, who seem to form spontaneously from ordinary people who hold Tempesta's fury in their hearts. These Sworn seem to be self sufficent, but lacking Bequests their powers are limited.
The rarest kind of Sworn is an deliberate attempt to redeem someone by using Sensitivity to show them the truth of their actions. This is rare not only because creating a Sworn is a significant effort, but also because no one can become a Sworn without giving full and informed consent. Still people who believe their actions to be just may well consent to Sensitivity.
In the years since the Release, when the Nobility Blossom often enough that a small high school may easily have a nakama of three or four attending at once, it’s a common thing for the first Princess of a future nakama to meet an unusual creature in the days before they Blossom - commonly an animal that’s clearly tame but not obviously owned, and is more intelligent than other beasts of its kind. The creature will follow or lead the Noble-to-be to a private place, where he speaks, introduces himself, warns her of the new world she is soon to enter, and offers himself as a guide. In the loose network of the Hopeful community these magical teachers and companions are named Shikigami. Once a Shikigami has arrived and befriended his first Noble, he usually becomes something between a boon companion and a mentor to her, and to several other Hopeful in the area who Blossom at about the same time; experienced Hopeful, indeed, have come to expect that, where a new Shikigami appears, multiple Blossomings will soon follow.
As no one has heard of Shikigami appearing during the Long Night, the Nobility have every reason to believe that all Shikigami come from the Dreamlands. Many of them, indeed, were explicitly sent from the Dreamlands, with a mission from a Radiant court to convene a new nakama and teach them what the Light’s servants most need to know. Other Shikigami lived normally, for Dreamlanders, until they saw visions and portents that showed them people in a distant land who needed them; when they followed the visions they found themselves in the waking world, near the Hopeful the visions showed them. And there are some Shikigami who were made that way by magic - a Princess in her full power journeyed to the Dreamlands, made a friend there, and used a Charm to bring that friend into her waking life. All of these Dreamlanders, once they arrive in waking life, anchor themselves to the animal or doll which they thenceforth animate, and vow themselves to one or several Hopeful. There are a few Shikigami who say nothing of their origins, but no one seriously believes that they’re anything but Dreamlanders.
All Shikigami can speak intelligibly, move about, and grasp and carry objects, even if their vessels could not. They all possess to some degree an oracular gift that grants flashes of insight relevant to their companions’ problems; the ones who followed visions of their nakama are strongest in that gift. They can transform to a more potent shape and learn Practical Magic; and while they’re usually smaller and weaker than their companions, a fair number have learned Charms equal to those a just-Blossomed Princess can command. Though the Hopeful reach greater heights in their magic as they gain in years and experience, a Shikigami with a decade or two under his pelt is nothing for a Darkspawn to sneeze at. But the most significant ability of the Shikigami is a subtle thing: merely by existing, he creates a strong mystical link among all of his nakama, through which a Noble’s magic can travel.
A Princess' power comes from within, it comes from her hopes, her emotions and her Beliefs. This has its advantages, and its disadvantages, just as any other source of power you could care to name. A Princess who believes in the rule of law might be unable to use magic that works outside the system. A Princess who belives in careful thought and planned action might be unable to call upon magical intuition. Not everybody has a power deep within them, Beacons and Sworn do not.
When Princesses wish to circumvent some of the disadvantages of their particular style of magic they make Bequests. They go deep within their own souls or quest through the Dreamlands to find a source of magic and forge it into an item of power. With Bequests Princesses are able to trade Charms, pass their powers on to the next generation, use magic in their mundane identity and even equip teams of trained Sworn with potent magics.