- In his dreams he stands upon a plain covered in the legacies of war from all eras. Ruined buildings pockmarked by cannonfire and machine-gun bursts rise up beside ruined statues of Egyptian kings. Damaged arms and armor from a hundred centuries lie where they fell, tanks beside horse-barding and stone axes, trenches dug for crossbowmen. There are never any bodies, but the dried splatters of blood tell their own tale. Above it all is the Storm. The wind screams hymns to her rage. The lightning branches like fingers to pummel the ground. She cries out in a voice made of the screams of dying women and horses and the staccato beat of automatic weapons. She promises and demands vengeance, vengeance against the monsters who took his family.
Wherever the Darkness treads it creates its own enemies. The Darkness is cruel, it hurts, it tortures, and it leaves behind friends and loves weeping over broken bodies. Their tears turn to hate, their rage spurs them to action. All across the globe individuals take up arms against the Darkness and fight. They fight under the banner of the Seraphic General.
A Queen is more than just a person with immeasurable magical power. A Queen's power resonates in the heart of everyone who follows her ideals. Through this her followers unlock new potential: Princesses can apply Practical Magic and enhance their Charms with Invocations, Mortals can become Sworn and so unlock a measure of the Light's power.
Of the Queens none have demonstrated such a strong connection to their followers as the Queen of Storms. She goes beyond resonance, she exists in every heart that echoes the ideals of Tempesta, even those who have not learned her Invocation. To the Lady of Cleansing fire every feeling of hatred is a petition and she judges them all, if the anger is strong enough and directed at her ancient enemies she will ask those who feel it to fight in her name. In return she offers potent weapons.
No one knows why the Queen of Storms alone is able to do this. Perhaps it is because her transformation unlocked new abilities, maybe it's because she has no other way to interact or possibly the consolidation of many souls into a greater entity has made the Lady of Cleansing Fire stronger than the other Queens. Her followers of course don't care either way.
Those who have heard the Queen of Storms have a variation of Mystery Cult Initiation [CofD 53] although the mystery cult of the Seraphic General is not a singular monolithic organization. It's a loosely organized network united more in purpose than anything else, and for all that they all share the goal of destroying the Darkness their methods, customs, rituals and reasons all differ. Even in the same city where it's not unknown for multiple Stormwracked cells to operate at the same time each individual cell is likely to believe that they are the only ones fighting the Darkness in the service of the Storm.
Following Tempesta's ideals makes for an effective but short career as a hunter of all things Tainted; meaning that most die in battle before they have long enough to think about recruitment and long term strategy. The tactics used by the Stormwracked tend to be loud and noticeable, though a few small groups can blend into the background of crime statistics as Stormwracked cells grow in size they inevitably draw the attention of law enforcement and anti-terrorist task forces, effectively putting an upper limit on the size of Stormwracked organization.
• New recruits to the Seraphic General's cause gain one free dot in Stormwracked Dreams. This is a Merit similar to White Rabbits, but the prophecies and portents come from the Queen of Storms, not from the Dreamlands; and the Queen, being who she is, always sends information about Dark tainted monsters to be killed. The Stormwracked may buy more dots in Stormwracked Dreams if he wants, but it isn't required. They are also Resonant with Tempesta [CofD 135], which allows them to support a Goalenu if one is sent to them.
•• The Queen of Storms guides her servants in battle once they have proved themselves. The Stormwracked gains a free dot in the Improvised Weaponry Style [CofD 62] when they have the prerequisites for it.
Note that many Stormwracked of this rank are also Sworn; though they typically lack the Bequests and Hopeful support that the Sworn of the Radiant Queens and Alhambra enjoy they still have a few advantages over the average human. While it's not unknown for mundane people to serve the Seraphic General in some capacity, no mundane will ever gain greater authority than this without Swearing themselves into the Seraphic General's service as one of her soldiers.
••• The Sworn Guard has been fighting the War of Hope for millennia, and the Queen of Storms whispers in their ears how to find the Darkness so it may be purged. Those of the Guard find others who hear the voice of the Seraphic General can hear these shreds of sighs, screams and conversations lost in the fury of the Storm, granting them the Unseen Sense Merit [CofD 60] for the Darkness.
•••• Few Furies grow old and experienced enough to reach this rank, but those that have have grown very familiar with the Darkness, while also gaining a better understanding of the Queen of Storms and the advice she offers. Senior cell leaders gain a version of Encyclopedic Knowledge [CofD 44] related to creatures of the Darkness, the Queen of Tears, and the Goalenu, and automatically know how to summon one of the Chimerical Barons and what they require to sustain themselves.
Although some Furies of this rank have grown influential and well known among Hopeful society as the leaders of a large network of Stormwracked cells (and to the local government's anti-terrorism units), most simply lead a single cell that is more successful than usual.
••••• If any Stormwracked survived long enough to rise this high, the Queen of Storms would certainly take a personal interest in him. The most likely blessing for her to grant is to send him a Goalenu as a bodyguard and advisor; this Goalenu would act as a three-dot Mentor [CofD 53].
Finally, the Stormwracked may benefit from Royal Favors - the Queen of Storms herself works magic through them, burning their flesh to power it. Once per story, the player of a Stormwracked may ask for a Royal Favor. The Queen (represented by the Storyteller) responds by activating a Charm, either general or Tempesta-invoked, rated at dots no higher than the character's Stormwracked initiation. The Stormwracked does not pay the normal cost of the Charm or roll to activate it - instead, the Queen chooses the number of activation successes for the Charm, and the Stormwracked takes 1 resistant lethal damage for each success. If the Charm requires no roll to activate, the Queen inflicts 1 damage for each dot of the Charm. Yes, the Queen has killed Stormwracked who asked for her favor, when she thought truly potent magic was called for; it is no small risk to summon the personal attention of Tempesta's incarnation.
Ritual: Potter's SacrificeEdit
- Requires Stormwracked Initiation •, Sworn to Storms, or Princess following Storms
- Action: Extended, 1 minute/roll
- Dice pool: Dexterity + lower of Craft and Medicine
- Cost: 1 Wisp or Willpower, plus any damage transferred
- Duration: instant
The follower of Storms kneads a quantity of freshly dug clay with his bare hands in a bowl that has been consecrated to the Queen of Storms. (This bowl is made when learning the ritual, and no one can use another person's bowl. If it's destroyed, the follower cannot use Potter's Sacrifice until it is replaced.) As he works, his own blood and life pass into the clay, converting it into the raw stuff of a Goalenu's vessel, which is then molded into a vessel's wounds to cure them.
Before the kneading starts, the follower declares how much damage, and the type of damage, the clay is intended to heal. Aggravated damage to a vessel must be healed completely before any lethal damage, and all lethal damage must be healed before any bashing damage. The follower must accumulate successes equal to the amount of damage healed, of all types; for each success rolled, he takes 1 damage of the type being healed (first aggravated, then lethal, then bashing.) Aggravated and lethal damage appears as bleeding from hands and wrists; if the follower heals only bashing damage, it appears as bruises on hands and arms.
When this step is complete, the follower molds the clay into the vessel's body, represented by further rolls. He must accumulate successes equal to the Goalenu's Rank to complete the repair, over those that inflicted the damage. The vessel gains no benefit from the clay until the last success is earned. The follower does not take damage during this stage of repair.
Two or more people who know Potter's Sacrifice may use it cooperatively, as a teamwork action. The primary actor takes all damage; if he is incapacitated or killed by it, a secondary actor may take over as a new primary and finish the repair.