AKA: The Rose Bride, The Gentle Patroness, The Queen Regnant
Followers' Epithets: Jewels, Flowers (female), Gallants (male), Rocks (often derogatory)
Once upon a time, the world was happy and at peace. In the ages when the Light shone clearly, the people trusted their governors the Queens, and the Queens were worthy of that trust; in those ages, the cities blossomed into gardens, and the people sang in joy as they worked; in those ages champions fought bravely, scholars gave wise counsel, judges blended justice with mercy. The world forgot it long ago, but I remember.
You're looking skeptical - naturally, these days. People fear and mistrust each other, and become what they fear; one threatens violence because he fears violence, another lies because he doesn't believe in honesty, a third steals because he cannot face poverty. I don't expect you to trust me, right this minute. And yet ... haven't you always wished there was someone you could trust? Someone who knows how we ought to live with each other?
Listen, as I tell you how it was, and you'll see how it can be that way again. We have only forgotten the Kingdom - we haven't lost the Light, and as long as we have Light, the Kingdom is not lost forever.
The Queen of Hearts bids her subjects to restore the Kingdom's spirit to the modern world. The followers of Hearts believe a better world has already been built on the back of principles of civilisation and by serving the people as judges, leaders and lawmakers the Jewels believe they can make it better yet.
Tales of the KingdomEdit
The Queen of Hearts rules the city states of the Andarta plains from her palatial estate. Within the Queen presides over her court from a throne of red granite and gold. She is everything a Queen could be. Regal, dignified, just, kind, possessed of a gentle sense of humour and easy upon the eye. Her skin is delicately adorned with ointments and perfume. She is clad in elegant and extravagant styles drawn by the royal tailors from all across the world and history to show the reach of their lieges influence. However she presents herself she is as composed as a flawless diamond, every word and action is deliberate. When she hears the request of her petitioners her court fills with the rustle of paper as an army of clerks search through scrolls and tomes for precedent of similar problems long since solved.
It is easy for a Princess of Hearts to talk with her Queen. She can learn the protocols in advance and use their predictability for reassurance. She will call the Queen by her title, and the Queen will call the Princess with her title. It helps that the Queen of Hearts can spot nervousness or awe a mile away and deftly puts the Princess at her ease. When the Princess speaks the Queen is an active listener, guiding the Princess with short questions but never taking the conversation until it is her time. In turn she expects the same courtesy from the Princess. While the formality and protocol can make it hard for a Princess to connect with the women beneath the crown; as two crowns talking for the good of their peoples it could not be more ideal.
The Queen of Hearts is a Queen wearing a mask. She is not a woman wearing the mask of a Queen, the few people who have seen her in private all agree she is a queen through and through. No, the Gentle Patroness is a Queen with a crown for every occasion. In times of peace she is a public speaker without peer and a patron of charities and the arts. In times of uncertainty she is a diplomat, a peacemaker and a rock of stability. In times of war she is a warrior-queen, the first to charge and the last to retreat.
Among her titles is The Rose Bride. How the Queen of Hearts gave her own heart to another is a tale sung by bards throughout her kingdom. In her very first life, many many incarnations before she became a Queen, she married a young Prince. Their devotion to each other was so strong that in every life that followed the two fell in love and wed anew. Not once in any of their lives has either been unfaithful to their marriage. Though a diplomat by nature he is known as the Queen's Champion. He does not defend his' wife's life, for any foe that can threaten a Queen has nothing to fear from a Noble. He defends the Queen's honour, for in the court of Hearts it is considered proper that the stronger fighter in any duel takes a handicap. When one is as powerful as a Queen the only possible handicap is to send a Champion to fight in your place.
At the core of the Queen of Hearts' creed is the virtue of trust, and of faithfulness to a trust. The principles of her creed express the need to inspire trust, and to keep intact what has been entrusted.
Flourish in CommunityEdit
No one can stand alone against all the Dark, and survive; but people who trust each other prevail against anything evil can do. The Jewels take it upon themselves to weave webs of trust, standing with friends and allies, obeying rulers, and guiding followers; in these webs they hope to catch the fitful gleams of Light that fall into the world and collect them into eternal beacons. They build and tend communities, write codes of law and establish customs for people who have none of their own, or have abandoned the societies they were born in. The ordered community, in which everyone has a role and no one is an exile, is the strongest possible bastion the Light can have.
Tradition is a trust - a store of wisdom laid in by past generations, to guide us in the present, and be handed on to the future. More than that, traditions are also our shared social identity. The Jewels do their best to breathe life into the rules and customs of the societies they find themselves in, especially the one they're born to. They are reluctant to flout a convention, especially when they don't know the reasons for it. However, the Radiant are here to improve the world, not preserve it as it is, and when the Flowers see a Tradition they cannot condone they seek to replace it rather than remove it. The Gallants often use those Traditions they remember from past lives in the Kingdom when they need a substitute, but they can just as easily borrow something from the neighbouring culture (especially if they wish to bring them together) or formalise that awesome party their friends repeat every year.
Authority Must Be EarnedEdit
A Princess of Hearts, by her nature and training, becomes the keeper of many people's trust; therefore she must be worthy of it, both in her own conduct and in the behavior she tolerates. More than any other Hopeful, Jewels are expected to hold authority and wield it responsibly. When a threat to a whole society appears, Flowers are the ones who rouse its members to action, coordinate their responses, and ensure everyone does what's needed. In ordinary times, Gallants are courteous, friendly and compassionate to all, lest they give anyone pain; but they have their burden, heavier than most, and don't allow themselves to forget it. Moreover, they must not take their position for granted. If her society rejects a Jewel's rule, or deposes her from it, the fault is hers not theirs; and if they proceed to disaster that she would have avoided, her failure to gain their trust is all the more grevious.
A Jewel's duties can be to build societies, to guard the traditions of the past, or even to stand vigilant at the border, but they always share one common theme. A Jewel's duties revolve around people.
Champions of Hearts lead from the front, they specialise in inspiring and leading their troops. On the battlefield tactical acumen and a strong commanding voice are as important as a good sword arm. Off the battlefield a Gallants must know how to keep moral high and foster a spirit of brotherhood among her troops. If she is skilled at her tasks a Gallants' fighting prowess shows itself through every one of her companions.
Graces of Hearts are sometimes called Hearts of Hearts for the Queen and Calling fit together hand in glove. A Heart of Hearts builds societies, they lay down and exemplify the virtues people aspire too. They are both diplomats and leaders. It's a huge amount of work, but you are expected to have help from your friends.
Menders of Hearts focus on human problems. They are more likely to be councillors and therapists than doctors or nurses. The tools of a Mender are a good common sense understanding of people, words of encouragement and a winning smile.
Seekers of Hearts seek to understand their societies from tip to toe. They can be historians unearthing long forgotten traditions, reporters and bloggers who speak about the lives of their fellows. Yet to the Gallants understanding is not for it's own sake, it is for a purpose. They understand not only the unwritten rules of society, but the purpose of those rules and they use that understanding to purge corruption and fight abuses of the system in all their forms.
Troubadours of Hearts incorporate the themes and virtues of their society into their work. They honour the heroes of old and create monuments to the ideals people aspire to. But at heart their work is simple, through their art the Troubadours bind people together with a strong group identity.
Even before they Blossomed the followers of Hearts often had a lot of respect for the institutions of society. They (or at least their parents) have backgrounds in politics or law. Others cut their teath with the codes and institutions of the playground or come from tight knit communities whose values fit neatly into the Court of Hearts. A lot of Princesses are attracted to the court because they wish to be one of the glamourous leaders they see amoung the Gallants, but the Court's belief that leadership is hard work and duty means few stay. However the Court of Hearts does have a number of converts from the other Courts who felt working with Mortals and building societies provided a way to work on the big picture their own Courts had lacked.
Regardless of their Background Flowers are always ok with the idea of others depending on them. Nearly all have some prior experience in being the responsible one, even if only to a younger brother or sister. While the Court doesn't exactly reject introverts or the socally unskilled it does expect them to work hard to overcome these limitations. Even the Gallants who have prior experience in taking responsibility for another have rarely held another's life in their hands, and they better start preparing for that first time.
Flowers and Gallants try to involve themselves in the lives of people around them, so many have above average Social Attributes. Those who actively strive to lead people emphasize Presence, while those who prefer more low-key or personal means focus on Manipulation. Empathy is a vital skill in order to notice the feelings, undercurrents, and motives of the people a Gallant wishes to help. Socialize and Persuasion are common, allowing a Flower to integrate herself into a group and sway others into doing the right thing and upholding the ideals of the Kingdom (whether they know of the Kingdom or not). Politics is also a common skill, used to improve the local political situation or simply use existing bureaucracies to their own ends. Subterfuge sees occasional use, mainly to keep important information from people who would use it selfishly or to protect the identities of a Noble’s allies from those who would persecute them.
Gallants who see merit in the society and political structure of the Kingdom frequently lean Academics to better understand both the society of the Kingdom and the modern world. Many old traditions generally involve art or music of one kind or another, so Expression is fairly common even for non- Troubadours. A Flower often places Mental attributes over Physical ones in order to better understand society and guide the people around her; Champions are the exception here, who emphasize their Physical attributes in order to fulfill their roles as protectors.
Of all the Courts Flowers are the most likely to have social Merits. Allies, Contacts and even Status are common, as are Circle and Mandate, for the Flowers do their best work among existing social structures.
Heraldry: Regalia for the Nobles of Hearts strongly favors clothing in traditional styles, particularly formal dress. Elegant ball gowns and elaborate jewelry for phylacteries are very common among the Flowers, as are flowers or flower designs (roses especially) as accents, and pastels, rose-pink or -red, and shades of white. (It’s not unknown for this sort of regalia to be mistaken for a wedding dress.) Many Gallants follow the complementary mode of mens’ formal wear, appearing in tuxedos, or in white tie, top hat and tails. The more practically minded (usually Champions) go back farther, and model their regalia on styles more archaic but less confining; the swashbuckling Cavalier, the wuxia hero, the knight in shining armor. These turn up on both sexes. In all cases, a Jewel is dressed well, showing off the best appearance of a high and civilized age.
The Queen Regnant teaches that excellence comes of playing one’s part within society. When a Jewel is carrying out her duties to an organization, or actively performing a role which her social context recognizes as hers, she may spend 1 Wisp to achieve an exceptional success on an action with 3 successes instead of 5.
High Belief grants extra dice to her dice pool for the affected action: at Belief 8 the Wisp adds a +1 bonus, at Belief 9 it adds +2, and at Belief 10 it adds +3.
The principles of the Queen of Hearts find their magical expression in the Invocation of Terra, and her Flowers and Gallants learn it more easily than any other. It is bound up with the things the Queen values: mutual trust and peace, the responsible use of authority, sensitive compassion, and punctilious courtesies. It is also tied to earth and stone, especially when it has been refined and property constructed for human service, as proud cathedrals, elegant jewelry or solid stone walls.
Terra applies at no cost when the target of a Noble’s Charm is earth or stone, including all forms of gemstones; and when her target is a non-supernatural human being who gives informed consent to the Charm. It also applies without cost when a Noble intends to resolve a conflict without violence, to make someone or something beautiful, to give requested aid without expecting any return, to coordinate the efforts of several people in a project, or to help a lawful authority in their mandated duties.
Terra requires both decorum and consideration for others. A Noble who is rude or insensitive to another person without cause, or who knowingly breaks a rule of formal etiquette, cannot apply the Invocation for the rest of the scene.
Clubs: Rough and unmannerly, but their hearts are in the right place.
Diamonds: Those towers of abstract reasoning leave me cold. You can't keep faith with real people by a theorem.
Spades: Yes, I suppose the mayor does deserve to have something happen to him ... why are you giggling?
Swords: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.
Tears: I don't care about their provenance - the Kingdom was not about bleeding the world to save yourself.
Storms: At least the Swords only risk themselves ...
Mirrors: For the Light's sake, grow up and be responsible for once.
Vampires: Not all traditions are worth preserving.
Werewolves:Herd? Damn right I'm part of the herd. A herd billions strong who've claimed this whole earth. Now tell me, what is your little pack going to do about that?
Mages: You talk about Atlantis a lot but you only ever talk about it's magic. What were the people like? Were the citizens content, the rulers just and the judges fair?
Prometheans: They share a culture, even when they haven’t met another of their kind. There's something we're not seeing, something important.
Changelings: They had nothing to work with but scars and they built it into a society. Respect them for that if nothing else.
Sin-Eaters: You don't snub death by laughing in it's face. You snub death by building something that will last long after you're gone.
Mad Scientists: How did you convince him to turn himself in... An equation for the human mind? That can't be right, I don't believe it! I won't believe it!
Leviathans: Every city you build eats itself alive, you can't even live with your own family and that's why I'm not afraid of you!
Hunters: If you claim to serve the Light then work in the Light not the shadows.
Mortals: It's their world, they just need someone to teach them that.
- We're not calling ourselves Princesses because our childhood fantasies came true. Nobility means something.
Next: The Queen of Spades