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Queen of Clubs

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AKA: The Matron of the Forests, The Queen Mother
Kingdom: Forests of Wen-Mung
Followers' Epithets: Wilds, Turtles
In any battle your greatest foe is yourself. You must ask yourself why you fight, what can you hope to gain and is it worth the risk of what you might lose? The enemy who says you cannot back down is none other than yourself, overcome it and look at the other options. You could surrender, often it costs you nothing but an apology and some pride. You could examine yourself, what did you do that lead up to this moment. Why couldn't you live here in peace? If you can learn to live in harmony with your surroundings, isn't that a better result than whatever you could win in a fight?
You can't fix the world by yourself, but the best place to start is within.

The Queen of Clubs leads those Nobles who seek balance and harmony, they believe that a better world can be achieved if we just learned to live peacefully with each other, with the world around us, and most importantly: with ourselves.

Tales of Wen-MungEdit

The Queen of Clubs has no palace and wears no crown. Her court travels at a slow walking pace through the forests of Wen-Mung. Wherever they rest their tired feet the trees grow to shelter her from the elements. With nothing but bare soil for a throne the Matron of the Forests welcomes her subjects. Of all the Queens she is the most intimately connected with the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth. She allows herself to age naturally beyond her early twenties and in her current iteration of the cycle has grown into a slightly plump middle aged woman who radiates warmth and kindness. She wears only clothes gifted to her by the working women of her kingdom and rejects all finery. When she speaks her words are plain but carry the wisdom and empathy of lifetimes.

A good way to describe a conversation with the Queen of Clubs is patient; protracted works too. The Matron of the Forests sees no need to hurry. She lets the Noble speak at her own pace and get to the end of her story before she replies. When presented with a tough problem she likes to work up to it, focusing first on a minor but easily solved parts of the issue. This usually includes coaching the Noble about the right attitude to a problem before fixing the problem itself; though it must be said that the Matron of the Forests sees the first as a vital part of the second.

PhilosophyEdit

The Queen of Clubs asks a question: "The world speaks to us. Have you ever stopped to listen?"

Through Harmony, LightEdit

The world is a place of conflict. Not just the obvious conflicts where nation fights nation but also the conflicts that arise from the simple act of existing. The Queen of Clubs teaches her daughters that they and everything in existence has a nature. It is from the struggle to be true to this nature within the confines life imposes that suffering arises. Through introspection and self discovery a Noble can find a way for her nature exist in harmony with the world and free herself from suffering.

Things Change, My DearEdit

Harmony is not a destination, it is a way of moving with the world. Everything has a nature and change is part of that nature: Water flows, plants grow and planets dance around the stars. With great effort a Noble can maintain a harmony by opposing negative change but this is a false path. The true harmony is effortless. A state of grace where every action moves with the world and every change creates a new harmony free from discord. When the world changes the court of Clubs must move with it, and they shall becomes greater from the experience.

Be The World You Wish ForEdit

To the Queen of Clubs the world is the lives and actions of every living being. From this simple truth she forms her final philosophy. Harmony cannot be won through conflict for the very act that claims to create a world free from conflict becomes part of the world. To create a better world a Noble must become a teacher and a mediator who lives a life of harmony and helps others achieve the same through her example and guidance.

DutiesEdit

A Turtle's Duties are to bring things together. People certainly but that's only a small part of it: Man and nature, reason and emotion, city and countryside. The Wilds dream of a world where what were once opposing opposites are now part of a balanced whole.

Champions of Clubs help people directly. They are park rangers and wilderness guides who help people brave the dangers of the natural world so that they may see it's beauty first hand. More than any other Calling it is the Champions of Clubs who earn the epithet of Turtles. In battle they favor defensive tactics and seek to gradually wear their opponents down with a minimum of harm.

Many Graces are environmentalists who seek to preserve natural world and preach the importance of living in balance with our surroundings. Other Graces are mediators without peer who work to bring conflicting parties togeather in a harmonious balance. The lessons of harmony are not limited to those with an external enemy. The Queen of Clubs teaches that harmony begins with inner balance and many of her Graces are teachers who help their students learn to live in harmony with themselves and the world around them.

In the Court of Clubs Menders are rarely simple healers. Under the Queen's philosophy the disease itself is often a symptom and her Menders teach their patients to live a lifestyle that avoids further sickness. The court's focus on the natural world attracts membership from vets and environmentalists who work to clean pollution. Partnerships between Menders and Graces are common, the Mender deals with the physical symptoms and the Grace teaches a way of life that removes root cause.

Seekers delve deep into the jungle seeking new herbs, undiscovered animals or just beautiful vistas while others travel beyond the borders of earth. Delving into the lore of the Spirit wilds, the hidden half of the natural world, and try and use the lore they find to shape and heal the spirit community around them. A few Seekers blur the lines between Clubs and Diamonds as they work on renewable energy and cleaner technology.

Troubadours are inspired by nature and paint magnificent scenes of the natural world, others work with nature directly as landscapers, flower arrangers or bonsai artists. A surprising number are architects and urban planners who attempt to reintegrate nature with cities in the most literal manner.

BackgroundEdit

Appropriately for a Court so focused on Harmony, the Wilds are often classified into two groups with little conflict or divisions between them. On the one hand you have the naturalists: Everyone from professional park rangers and conservationists to people who really love their pets. They are drawn by Clubs' belief in harmony with the natural world, and often leap for joy when they learn how Legno lets them talk to animals.

On the second hand you have the spiritualists: From gurus and philosophers to pacifistic hippies and suburbanites yearning for something with more meaning than materalism. That is not to say that every spiritual Noble is drawn to the Wilds. The Court of Clubs has its own philosophies which draw students interested in learning about harmony, balance and the quest for inner peace.

When the Court of Clubs gathers it is not rare for a laboratory biologist to talk long into the night with a self taught student of Taoism, each delighting seeing the world though eyes that on the first glance are so different from their own. The Queen herself knows that the two sides are both the inevitable result of each other, and smiles every time one of her sons or daughters experiences the joy of learning so for themselves.

Character CreationEdit

Composure is highly desired among the Turtles to examine their own feelings while it takes considerable Resolve to always keep striving for self improvement. Wilds always put at least some effort into keeping themselves fit, meaning that Physical Attributes are at least average. Most wilds make a point of familiarizing themselves with nature, so skills such as Survival and Animal Ken are common. Athletics come in handy during hiking, swimming, climbing, and otherwise navigating around in the wilderness (or at least the state park). Wilds who wish to convince others to embrace the natural world often pick up Persuasion and Expression, while those who have a theoretical understanding of nature often possess Science. Wilds interested in spirits often pick up Occult.

Socially the Court of Clubs tends to have fewer dots in Status than Contacts. It is the way of Clubs to coexist, not control. Circle however is often staggering as the Court's focus on coexistence brings them closer to whoever is around them. It is not unknown for a Wild to count an entire community as their Circle, whether that community is an ordinary suburban neighborhood or a commune built on principles of friendship and love seems to make little difference.

Heraldry: In their Transformed state, Wilds tend to be more subdued than other Nobles. White, green, and blue are common colors, although occasionally red, orange and yellow make appearances for those with an autumn theme. Ivy and leaf motifs are also common, with water themes being only slightly less popular. Outfits tend toward the elegant and practical, the Wilds favor tough clothes well suited for the outdoors, but also with a sense of balance that lends grace to their appearance.

Practical MagicEdit

The Queen Mother teaches her students to bend before force and redirect it, rather than stand against it and break. Once a scene, when a Wild is the target of a resisted or contested action, she may spend 1 Wisp to twist her opponent's action in her favor. Her resistance doesn't apply, or she gets no successes in the contest; but if her opponent succeeds, while the action has its normal effect, she imposes an improvised Condition [CofD 76] on him, or takes one herself. The Condition must flow naturally from the situation, and must be approved by the Storyteller, but it works to the Wild's benefit.

High Belief softens the blow from the force the Wild redirects. At Belief 8 she adds 1 to the successes her opponent needs for an exceptional success; at Belief 9 she adds 2, and at Belief 10 she adds 3.

Invocation: LegnoEdit

The Queen of Clubs teaches the principles of harmony and inner strength in the form of Legno and the Turtles find it easier to master than any other. Legno encourages a Noble to work with, not against. To find balance not overpower. To defend not attack. It also guides a Noble to seek inspiration in the natural world.

Legno applies at no cost when the target of a Noble's Charm is a living plant or wood, and when her Charm's target is a natural, non-sapient animal. It also applies without cost when a Noble intends to restore things to their natural state, to restrain the reckless and calm the fearful, to defend another from harm, to conserve and cultivate over time, and to influence without drawing attention to herself.

Those who would make use of Legno must live for harmony in all things. A Noble who attempts violence against someone not involved in combat, or who helps another to do so, may not apply the Invocation until the next sunrise. Self-defense, protecting a non-combatant, and using Charms to stop a fight without violence are unexceptionable, but if a Noble gives tactical support to an ally and the ally attacks one who has not begun to fight, she loses access to Legno just as if she had struck the blow herself.

StereotypesEdit

Diamonds: They seek knowledge only for the sake of knowledge. They build a future with no idea where it leads. Yet we must ask ourselves: Would we have time to contemplate without their agriculture? Would we understand the life of the butterfly without their tables of numbers? Ask them to free us from necessity, our work comes after.
Hearts: They are living in traditions built for the world of yesteryear. Either they can hold the world back or the world can trample them underfoot. It cannot end well.
Spades: Flexible, adaptable they can fit anywhere yet they lack the permanence to ask the same respect of the world. Somehow I don't think that matters to them.
Swords: If you are strong enough, you can move the world, but unless you teach the world to move itself it will always return when you remove your hands.
Tears: The world changed, until you can change with it you will suffer. I would like to help you, but only you have the power to help yourself.
Storms: When you learn to take every blow the Darkness throws at you, then you will learn to fight without falling to hate.
Mirrors: You claim that you shall solve every problem yourself by the virtue of your crown, but your claims of strength are to hide from a weakness within. It is an appropriate paradox, in a mirror everything is back to front.

Vampires: We've all heard the tales, that they are creatures of pure Darkness who run away from the Light's touch. I didn't want to believe them. Then I met one.
Werewolves: I have heard the howls and seen them from afar. Beware, some beast are rabid and may bite even a caring hand.
Mages: I met a man once, who could speak to the trees and sing storms unto stillness. When I tried to talk to him about how much he could help with his power he said: “We are all trapped in this broken world, child”. I have not seen him since, but I keep wondering what he meant.
Prometheans: I met one once. It's been the only time in my life were I was sure I had met something that couldn't belong in an harmonious world. It made me feel ashamed of myself.
Changelings: Once I walked into a party while walking the woods at night, the fairies were nice and their food nicer. I have dreamed of it every night since.
Sin-Eaters: Behind their denial of death is a clear understanding that death is a natural part of life.
Mad-Scientists: My biology teacher grew strange fungus-men in his basement. In the end we had to... we had to... I don't want to talk about it.
Leviathans: They say that there are thing that live in the deeps, things that don't belong in this day and age, living lives unchanging from ages past. I can't but hope that the Dreamlands haven't turned us into this.
Hunters: They came out of nowhere, armed to the teeth and called me witch. Had I not run away I don't know what would I have had to do... or what they would have done to me.
Mortals: We live the world we want for them so it may come to be. It's not easy, but I believe they are worth it.

You can't control the world, but you don't need to.

InspirationEdit

Nausicaä, conceptual green cities

Next: The Queen of Diamonds

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