AKA: The Brightly Burning One, The Faithful Marshal, The Queen Errant
Followers' Epithets: Adventurers, Heroes, Martyrs
- Fire, fire gets a bit of a bad name these days, but fire is really life. Almost every living thing on the planet owes its life to the sun, and we owe everything that makes life worth living to the fire inside us. Life is meaningless if we don't feel anything from it, laughter, hope, wonder, even sadness. Without them what's the point?
- I guess, what I'm trying to say is. I love you, won't you come on an adventure with me? We'll see the world, try new things and maybe get into a few scrapes on the way. Even if we get burnt, pain is part of life and I wouldn't miss it for the world.
Just as their magic lets them master the fire without, those who follow the Queen of Swords are consumed by the fire within. They are blazing heroic figures, driven by their passions. They will follow their hearts wherever it leads, even to their own deaths.
Tales of the KingdomEdit
In the jungles of Aztallan the Queen of Swords dwells in her capital built upon an artificial plateau atop a mighty pyramid. Here The Faithful Marshal rules from an obsidian throne and burns through the royal itinerary in bored and clipped, but supremely competent tones. She is a powerful looking woman, beneath her skin lie defined wiry muscles, her eyes positively smoulder with power. Outside the excitement of a crisis the Queen Errant makes little attempt to pretend she wouldn't rather be digging up new insects in the jungle, usually she appears before her court in rugged outdoor wear. The Queen of Swords is skilled at managing her image, she just usually doesn’t care; but when it is required (and she always knows when it's required) she'll appear before her court dressed in anything from formal robes to full military uniform. Her household servants quickly follow suit, decorating the palace and statues of past heroes to match. Visiting Princesses are expected to dress and act with appropriate formalities until things return to normal.
The Faithful Marshal treats her Princesses with the same unpolished honesty she treats her court. Though she is never actually rude she wont hide her emotions if she feels the Princess' petition to be uninteresting or something that the Princess should have been able to solve on her own. If the Queen comes to befriend a Princess it colours her public interactions just as much as her private interactions. The Queen of Swords has the unique ability to simultaneously be running her kingdom and relaxing with her friends (or even canoodling on the throne).
Whenever the opportunity presents itself The Queen Errant leaves her throne and wanders her kingdom. Righting wrongs, doing odd jobs and exploring the jungles which she claims dominion over. She Sleeps rough, or in whichever subject's house is close at hand. While her people are never quite comfortable with their Queen asking for a job, how does one give orders to his own Queen, they have at least had plenty of time to get used to her habits. When she can't get out the palace she enjoys study, gymnastics or spending time with one of her many consorts. It is said that long time residents of Aztallan can tell when the Queen falls in love anew from cities away by watching the wheels of government slowing down. Famously she will not kiss a man or woman unless she is deeply in love.
The Queen of Swords only ever gave one order. “Whatever you do, do it out of love”.
In the End, Only People MatterEdit
The Queen of Swords is not one for abstract morality and long Socratic debates about what is good and what is evil. Nor is she fond of formal systems of morality, duty or obligation, referring to them as either training wheels or a crutch. To the Queen of Swords morality can be reduced to a simple idea that everyone with Light in their hearts knows intuitively: If it hurts people then it is wrong. So don't do that. Furthermore The Queen believes that if one does not hold this truth in their heart then no amount of rules or regulations can make them good, but if a person is at heart good forcing them into an inappropriate social construct can crush their light. And so she teaches her followers to do what's right regardless of the rules, and she trusts them to know what's right.
Specialisation is for InsectsEdit
A Princess of Swords should be able to: Compose a sonnet, survive a shipwreck, design an aircraft, recite the epic poems, win her true love's heart, set a bone, clean a building, cook dinner, give orders, take orders, fight like a gentleman in the arena, fight dirty in the streets. The Philosophy is a lot more complicated than just saying you should be able to do everything, rather it consists of two related ideas. The first and simpler is simply to always be broadening your horizons, try new things, learn new skills. The second, like all The Brightly Burning One's Philosophies is about people. While she has nothing against relying on another, Queen of Swords teaches that dependence must always be a matter of convenience not necessity. True dependency is a chain, it allows others to force you away from being true to yourself. That path leads away from the light.
Love Like a FlameEdit
The Brightly Burning One teaches her followers that they should always have somebody in their life that they love. Weather it is their one True Love, a lesser romantic love, bromantic love, brotherly love, sisterly love, parental love or any other form of love. Furthermore she teaches that their love should be like a flame, it should light the way and bring warmth to the Princess and those around her, but she must be aware that like a flame if unattended her love will consume all before dying. The Princess should always know when it is time to let go lest she consumer herself. Yet when something threatens her love before it's natural time her efforts to protect her love should burn everything in her path, even herself – like a flame.
The followers of Swords are defined not so much by common duties but by a common approach to duties. They seek positions where they are free to follow their own methods and their own moral compasses rather than toe the line. Many see their duties as much about growing themselves as a person as it is about helping others and so seek to always find a new approach or a tougher challenge to stretch their limits.
Champions tend to find jobs outside of the normal social structures. They're more likely to be a private detective than a policewoman. More likely to specialise in deep sea rescue than be a fire fighter. They boast the most full time Darkspawn hunters of any Court. Champions of Swords are often trained to work independently, having the intelligence to plan, the strength to fight and the charisma to turn whoever is around them into an ally.
Graces often mentor on an individual level, seeking the maladjusted or the outcasts and helping them find where they can belong even if it's just a space within themselves. While often less versed in diplomacy than the other Courts Graces of Swords have some of the best connections to a verity of different cultures on a personal level thanks to the courts wanderlust and tendency to go adventuring. In more than a few cases they have turned someone's life around simply by encouraging them to move to a culture to which they are better suited. Graces who focus on larger scale projects are often exceptional at inspiring the public, but often they lack the skills to direct the passion and energy they provoke.
Menders are more likely to volunteer in a small African village than a major, regulated, hospital, those who work with machines often do the same working in oil rigs or digging wells, or they specialise in obscure but still important technology where their unique skills let them demand to work their way. In both cases they are likely to become experts at doing more without much resources.
Seekers often specialise in fields that blend academic learning with either demanding physical or social requirements. Archaeology in war torn parts of the world, private detectives knowledgeable in both forensic science and the seedy underworld, botanical trips through the Amazon rainforest or they are successors to the great and dangerous explorations of the past delving deep into the Underworld or the Shadow. More social exploits can include living with remote tribes for years or finding other cultures closer to home, no few Seekers of Swords have spent time living with dangerous criminals or supernatural predators simply to learn of their lives.
Troubadours of Swords are like a change on the wind. They breeze into town smelling of foreign and exotic ideas – if you travel enough you can be foreign and exotic everywhere. Their art challenges norms but rarely opposes them (though some do take a delight in finding and shaking up repressed societies). She isn't saying the status qou is bad, only that it isn't the only way. Most take the effort to leave behind at least a few people who'll continue in the styles she teaches.
Many members of Swords were adventurers before they Blossomed; they may not have faced terrible danger or performed heroic deeds but from backpacking across Europe to teaching English in China they showed the Court's spirit of adventure and self reliance. Others tapped into a confidence they never had before their Blossoming, when you gain magical powers and a new body that's stronger and smarter than your old one confidence is a natural result. Regardless of when they discovered it, Heroes are comfortable living on their own abilities and often eager for new experiences or just to push themselves further.
Just as the Swords are the most adventurous of the Radiant, they are also the most passionate of the Radiant. Even before Blossoming they thought with their emotions, or really wished they had the confidence to do so. The court is overflowing with incurable romantics and people who are confident enough to follow their hearts into adventure, danger and whirlwind romances. While the Heroes are hardly stupid, they put little emphasis on personal safety when the alternative is an adventure.
Swords favor Intelligence, Strength and Presence equally and most are skilled at combining them in unusual ways to solve unusual problems. Heroes often have one or two dots in a wide variety of Skills to be self sufficient and because of their unusual, transient lifestyles. Survival is common among members who take the title of adventurer literally, as is Streetwise to find one's way around cities from London to Hong Kong. Many Heroes know how to fight, and Persuasion is often favored for finding allies or peaceful solutions.
The Martyrs often favor physical Merits, social and even mental Merits are harder to cultivate with an independent lifestyle. The Retainer Merit is surprisingly common, often representing a Sworn travelling companion. The philosophy of Swords makes it easy to form attachments. However it also teaches that one cannot live forever in another's shadow so Princesses of Swords see this time as almost an apprenticeship where they teach and broaden their companion's horizons with a grand adventure before parting ways.
Heraldry: The Court of Swords tend to favor blazing Regalia. Reds, golds and whites are common. While it would not be accurate to call them flamboyant the Heroes wear their hearts on their sleeves. Their Regalia often contains iconography that boasts of virtues they uphold and heroic deeds in their past.
The Queen Errant teaches that passion overcomes all obstacles. When a Martyr spends Willpower to add dice to a roll, she may also spend 1 Wisp to achieve an exceptional success with 3 successes.
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 Queen of Swords raises passionate devotion into magic in the Invocation of Fuoco, and the Adventurers learn it more easily than any other. Love, heroism and sacrifice are its fuel, the noblest things the Queen Errant knows. It is equally bound to literal fire, heat and light.
Fuoco applies at no cost when the target of a Princess’ Charm is a flame, on fire, or hot enough to burn; and when the target is someone or something the Princess loves. It also applies without cost when a Princess intends to aid a person she loves, to strike at enemies with her full force, to take great risks for great gains, to inspire others to heroic endeavors, and at the culmination of a major campaign.
The Invocation abandons Princesses who abandon their beloved. A Princess who betrays or otherwise injures a person she loves or has loved cannot apply Fuoco until the one she has hurt forgives her for the injury, or until a full lunar month has passed.
Several Fuoco Charms create flames out of the love one person feels for another. The nature of the love determines the color of these flames, and the love’s strength fuels their heat. See the Heartfire Condition when a Princess uses these Charms.
Clubs: I think after spending so much time trying to be part of everyone else, they've forgotten who they are.
Diamonds: Good at writing a theory, but unable to take it out of the ivory tower and into the real world.
Hearts: Sometimes traditions and etiquette are just a crutch. If you really know who you are and what mattered to you then you wouldn't need them. Not like they do.
Spades: Great for a laugh, just wish they cared more deeply
Tears: There's no love in what they do, it's nothing but fear.
Storms: Find something to love, then fight for it. If you do it the other way around you'll end like these girls.
Mirrors: You're not supposed to only love yourself.
Vampires: I think the reason fire hurts them so much is that it reminds them what they've lost. They really are dead. On the Inside.
Werewolves: If I was sure they wouldn't rage and splatter my intestines everywhere, I'd be their closest friend.
Mages: I don't care how long your theory is, it's still wrong. If anything is real it's what's in your heart, not magic.
Prometheans: See! I told you, it all comes down to the same thing. Fire and Humanity.
Changelings: You loved something so much it let you defeat gods and escape hell. You can't give up now!
Sin-Eaters: Keeping the flame alive in the face of death; I'd respect that, if I thought it meant anything to them.
Mad Scientists: I think they are missing something. I think that they became what they are to try and find it and they're still looking.
Leviathans: Everyone changes other people just by being near them. If we're all like beautiful stars orbiting each other then these are black holes drawing in and giving nothing back. Pure perfect evil.
Hunters: HEY! Why the hell are you shooting at me!? I'm on your side, here!
Mortals: I'm going to take you on an adventure and break you out of that shell. Just you watch me.
- I have no regrets, I'm doing this because I love you.
Next: Creating a Princess