Death is not the end, not any more. God has punished us and taken the grace and gift of swift death and its release from the earth, or at least prolonged man’s suffering, leaving evil to fester in the heart of every man. What role does an assassin play in a world in which the dead refuse to move on, to rest peacefully?
What role do any of us play?
This is the question that those who follow the patron angel Cyaniel must answer, and many fear their conclusions. These priests are known in ghost stories and legends as feared assassins, whose killing strikes are done in worship. In the stories of old, it is they who were sent after the untouchable to remind them that the hand of god can still reach them. But the world is different now, and our deliverance from evil brought by death is often only temporary…until it isn’t.
The Cyanites follow the words of St. Decimus, beloved of Cyaniel, who taught that the nature of mankind is evil, and that it is impossible for god to see us any longer, having to avert the divine gaze from us. Mankind has become so twisted and contorted from its original shape and design, so fallen from the blessings and beauty that was intended for us, that we are now left to our own. They believe that through the nigh impossible task of destroying all evil in the hearts of men and fundamentally changing who we are, that we may once more show god that we are worthy of favor and the reward of peace and eternal contentment. As a parent punishes a disappointing and unruly child, so too are we being chastened with the state of the world, and like that child, we must prove that we have learned from our mistakes and clean the mess we have made.
In order to set things right on the path to redemption, the Cyanites believe that the world must be purged of the wicked, preferably starting with the worst of the lot – for they also believe that god judges humanity as a whole by the most iniquitous of us. Thus, if the scale can be shifted – the truly evil undone and the lesser evils stopped in their tracks before we worsen, perhaps the world as a whole can be set to rights. Among the Cyanites there are different interpretations of what constitutes punishable wickedness, but all agree that action must be taken to place fear in the hearts of wrongdoers and remove the irredeemable from the human race. In addition, their targets are not random, nor clouded by their own biases, for Cyanites do not consider their targets for elimination to be their choice. Instead, they perform a vision-seeking ritual to obtain the names of their targets, which they believe are chosen by god. If the death they inflict is not final, then perhaps it will make the sinner think twice before committing wrong again. And if it is final, there is one less wicked soul upon the earth.
However, the nigh impossible task of shifting the morality of mankind cannot be done through simple assassination any more – the world is more complex than that, and a complex web must be drawn to see how the influence of corruption and depravity touches the lives of nearly every human. But every web has its spiders, and the Cyanites must patiently wait and watch, understanding what secrets, deceits, and conspiracies lay beneath them, so that they may first undermine and discourage those in power from abuse, and then ultimately put an end to immorality once they determine who truly pulls the strings. Sometimes, a whispered word is as effective as a knife in the dark. Sometimes, a terrifying memory is more powerful than the threat of death when death no longer carries the same sting. The priests of Cyaniel keep intimate track of the secrets of those around them, allowing them to monitor grand conspiracies and anticipate the actions and decisions of others in order to force them into a trap from which they can never re-emerge.
It is important to the Cyanites that they remain anonymous in order to preserve what they consider to be their source of strength and power – their ability to bring uncertainty and fear. Better that they be thought of as a many-eyed predator in the shadows, capable of being anyone, rather than a single hero fighting against evil. A man can be stopped, but a nameless redeemer is a symbol – a monster under the bed of the wicked. As such, priests of Cyaniel perform the work of their archangel fully masked or covered and hidden, and do not tell others who they are when they are not wearing the mask. Thus, no individual priest gains power or recognition, and they may move more freely through the populace.
Vow: The Vow of Silence: Never Speak Unless Spoken To First
This vow applies to the Cyanite’s relationship with others, and does not apply to rituals of their faith.
Anoint Blessed Candle of Cyaniel
Craft a candle bearing the blessings of Cyaniel
“Oh holy god, lend us your light,
that pierces the shadow’s malevolent haze,
Cyaniel, grant us your sight,
No evil can hide from your vigilant gaze.”
~Hymn of Cyaniel
Offering – Linen is cut into 4 strips and braided together.
Offering – An iron pot is placed above a bed of coal or charcoal and set alight.
Offering – Beeswax is placed into the pot and allowed to melt.
Act – The ends of the braid are dipped into the melted wax, lifted out to allow the clinging wax to cool before they are dipped into the wax again and again. This should slowly form two candles, connected by the linen wick in the center. While doing this, the priest performs the Liturgy, repeating the appropriate phrase as a chant until they are satisfied with the size of the candle.
Liturgy – “My hands need guidance, for as a man I am weak. I cannot see as the archangels see, I can not know the nature of man. Shadow me that I might know their heart. In Veritate”.
Offering – The candles are covered with holy water, allowing them to cool.
Act – The Sigil of Cyaniel is carved into the side of each candle.
This Rite creates 2 Blessed Candles of Cyaniel. Candles created in this way are activated by being lit, and once lit are considered to be used and may not be lit for mechanical effect again, even if they are used again for the purpose of shedding light. Once lit, any person that is Faith in Higher Power may blow out, snuff, or otherwise put out the candle to gain a one-time effect.
The target may immediately enter the Stealth condition, even if they do not have the appropriate skill such as Hide. This may be used even if they are being observed, so long as they still meet the darkness or cover requirements. Should the darkness or cover be removed, the target may be revealed.
Dedicate Shrine of Cyaniel
Create a shrine to the archangel, Cyaniel
The stars above blazed with intent and understanding came to me. Fate was at work in my life, and in the Throne, and I was a chosen piece.
Offering – A touchstone memory that has been lost through death is written upon a piece of paper
Act – The touchstone memory is read aloud before a representation of a hooded figure and a large flat bowl or stone
Act – The parchment with the touchstone memory is lit aflame while the following liturgy is repeated
Liturgy – “St. Decimus, the shadowed one, the weaver of the threads of fate, guide us in our blessing of this- a shrine to your archangel. Cyaniel, archangel of the stars, of fate, of unity- look upon this offering of a secret loss and of the essence of the heart and hear our prayers.”
Offering– The flame of the memory is extinguished with one Human Sanguine Essence
The Priest will now be able to conduct rituals that require a shrine of Cyaniel to complete.
Additionally, when anyone uses the Prayer ability at the shrine, while giving an offering of a black star moss, a royal jelly, a Cordyceps Moth, Albino Toad’s Hide, lead, or an enemy’s weapon inscribed with a secret, presented with prayer, they are able to get a rare item tag from staff with a tag “See staff when you attempt to use this item.” When the item is used, or when the Hopeful condition gained by this prayer is expended, it disappears- as it does not truly exist.
Read the Web of Fate
Find those who deserve your attention.
As I stood in the bathing pool beneath the palace garden, blade red in hand, I looked up past my hood to the sky above. My victim’s words had confused me, and I found myself out of leads and answers. As I stared at the moon, reflected in the bloodied waters of the pool, I knew what I must do next.
Act – The participants are gathered at a shrine of Cyaniel at midnight
Offering – At least two herbs with the hallucinogenic effect are placed in a bowl
Focus – The bowl is placed in front of a shrine of Cyaniel and lit aflame.
Act – The Priest prays before the shrine, sharing that which they know of a troubling situation with the archangel, for no less than least ten minutes.
Liturgy – “Guide us, Cyaniel, we beseech you for your guidance in the darkness. Lead us to your will, and let us understand that which you would have us do!”
Consult staff when this ritual is being conducted.
The ashes left in the bowl after the ritual is complete will fall in a symbol to represent a person or persons of interest to the archangel. The next time they see the person or persons of interest they gain the Hopeful state, which if not used expires at the end of the scene.
Book of Secrets
Encode or decode a message of power.
I knew then, that those who I beheld had secrets deeper than any I had ever encountered. They had plans within plans, and so too then would I need to plot my own web of intrigue.
Focus – A bound book with notes written within it is carried to a Shrine of Cyaniel
Offering – A candle is lit before the shrine
Focus – A blade that has killed is heated in the flame of the candle for several minutes
Offering – The blade is then dipped in a Human sanguine essence
Act – The Sigil of Cyaniel is drawn upon the book with the blade
This ritual allows one of two effects:
- A book may be encoded it in a way that cannot be read. It must be marked with a tag. This suppresses any divine, arcane, or malefic effects of the book so long as it is encoded.
- A Cyanite book of secrets may be decoded so that it can be read. The book becomes decoded for any to see, and the ritual must be performed again to encode it.
Eyes of Cyaniel
Bless an object beneath the gaze of holy eyes.
“The shadows of night conceal many a sin,
Corrupting all manner of men,
But evil will find no more shelter within,
When the knives of the faithful descend.”
~Hymn of Cyaniel
Offering – At a place cloaked in darkness, charcoal is crushed into a bowl.
Offering – Holy water is added slowly to the charcoal while the Priest stirs it with their fingers.
Offering – Iron shavings are mixed in. The Priest then turns to those gathered and makes the sign of Cyaniel with their stained hands (cupped hands atop one another, with fingers facing opposite directions, as if to make the shape of an eye) as they repeat the following Liturgy:
Liturgy – “The divine sees all and knows all. To see through such eyes is to be everywhere. Cyaniel’s protection upon all his gaze falls upon. Come forth to receive his blessing.”
Act – The mixture in the bowl is used to paint the Sigil of the Eye of Cyaniel on the foreheads of those who approach.
All anointed gain a +1 Resolve effect equal to half the Priest rank (rounded up) for the next hour, and for that time may entirely resist their most severe Insanity.
The Shrouded Eyes
Escape those who would block your way.
A lifetime of misdeeds had given me skill, but at times I asked even Cyaniel to turn his gaze from me, not for shame, but in mercy, and at these times I drew strength knowing I still acted in accordance with his wishes.
Offering– They then return to a shrine of Cyaniel and place a small amount of chalk before the shrine.
Act – The prayer and objective are restated while the Priest begs Cyaniel to look away for the task they must do next.
Focus – The symbolic eye of Cyaniel’s Work to be Done is drawn in chalk upon a piece of clothing with a hood: the spider with an eye for an abdomen.
Act – The hood is donned.
So long as no one is looking directly at them within oration distance, the Priest may use the Stealth gesture and immediately vanish from the area, as per the Escape ability. This power may only be used once in the pursuit of their task and it disappears at sunrise or if their hood is removed.
Kill with a righteous hand so that no stain is upon your soul.
My hate for the man was real. It blinded me, burned me, consumed me. I begged for fate to bring him death, to punish him so that he would not violate another. Cyaniel answered me, put my hate inside my blade instead of my heart. Cyaniel made my hatred clean. I, like my blade, am but the tool of fate.
Offering – Ink is prayed over by the Priest.
Offering- A human essence is poured into the ink.
Focus – The Priest writes the real name of the target of their ritual upon a light melee weapon using the ink while praying to Cyaniel
Act – The Priest then reads the name aloud and lists the crimes that the target has committed against mankind and god.
Act – The blade is then used to wound the dominant arm of the Priest to tie the fates of the target and the Priest together.
Cutting the limb causes a wound as normal that must be dealt with. The Priest who kills the individual named in this ritual with this blade does not gain the Mortal sin of Violence for doing so. This ritual may only be used to kill someone once before it must be cast again.
Whispers from Beyond
Learn secrets from your victim’s dying breaths
I waited in the shadows until it was time to strike, and then, with the spilling of his heart blood, I learned all.
Focus – A bell, or other device that makes a clean pure sound is brought before a representation of Cyaniel at night along with the target
Offering – Sanguine essence is poured upon the bell and rubbed into its metal
Offering – The Priest then bathes the bell, slowly, in holy water while repeating the following liturgy:
Liturgy – “Cyaniel! Hear us, your followers of fate, your Order of Silence and Shadow. We seek that which cannot be given- that which must be taken as one walks beyond the body and towards the door.”
Act – The Priest then asks the target of the ritual to kneel before them and rings the bell above their head while repeating the following liturgy. If the priest themselves is the target of the ritual then they kneel and ring the bell above their own head.
Liturgy – “Help us to know that which is true, that which we must know, to do your will.”
If the target of this ritual delivers a killing blow to another, they may ring this bell loudly once in order to ask one question of the ghost of the character that they have killed. The ghost must answer truly in as straightforward a manner as is possible. Any character who manages to remember their death will remember this interaction.
Weave your fate’s thread along with your allies
My brethren had done as I asked, believing the prophecy of the Archangel and their place in fate. They had spread across the Throne and killed in the name of the Lord, had ended the threat of these mysterious men and their Order. But the threat had not truly ended – too many had escaped into the shadows, too many loose ends left untied. My time was almost over; in seven days, the Knights Fenris would have me. I swore my followers to the service of fate to continue the vigil in my stead.
Act – All who would participate in the ritual gather together and clasp hands in a circle around the Priest.
Focus – A silver dagger is used to cut the symbolic eye of Cyaniel’s Work to be Done (the spider with an eye for an abdomen) into the earth.
Act – The Priest states the goal of the group once.
Act – Each member repeats the goal once in turn.
Act – As each member speaks the goal, the Priest cuts the palm of each speaking member’s hand with a silver knife and allows their blood to fall into the symbol cut into the earth below.
Act – At the end, the Priest repeats the goal themselves and cuts their own hand.
All of the group conspirators gain a new, additional Order or Chaos Devotion for the long-term goal that they set themselves toward, and it functions as a new Devotion in every way including for Personal Achievements. This group must include the cultist as a target, who must also take on the new Devotion.
Be the blade that cannot be seen
The shadows hide truth, but it is not a comforting truth that they hide. It is a truth that shies away from the light and that all who look upon will regret.
Offering – Fresh water from a local stream, river, or rainfall is collected.
Offering – Two grams of salt are placed within a vessel.
Offering – The salt is mixed with ink while the Priest says, “I bless this salt by the merits of its ingredients and the rightful benedictions of Cyaniel, may the archangel infuse it with the shadows of the night.”
Act – The salted ink is mixed together in the fresh water while the Priest announces, “I bless this water with my words, as clarity is taken from it so too may clarity be taken from those who would behold the deeds of our order.”
Offering – A light melee weapon is placed in the mixture and the Priest says, “He who would weave the threads of fate into a raiment of truth and forces our eyes to see, protect this blade and keep it hidden from those who would seek its wielder.”
The blade comes out of the water dark and shadowed, with no gleam of metal to betray it. If the priest of this ritual uses the knife to strike someone while in complete stealth they may call a Powerstrike, and can immediately re-enter stealth afterwards. This knife can only be used once before the ritual must be cast again.
Lower the defenses of those you successfully attack.
There are those who fear the brightness of the blade, but one blessed by Cyaniel can turn any sharp object to their service, and their wit is surely not least among their weapons.
Offering – A shortblade or light weapon that has never been used in violence is brought before a shrine of Cyaniel.
Act – It is then used by the Priest to stab the target of this ritual through the heart to down them.
Offering – The target is then bandaged with a bandage before they bleed out.
Act – After being bandaged, the target of the ritual must lick the blade that has tasted their own heart’s blood clean.
Act – The blade is then buried beneath the shrine in the dark of night.
When next the target of the ritual successfully lands a social offense call on someone else, they may also call Divine Traumatized on the recipient of their social call in addition to the normal effects of their social call. The cultist may cast this ritual upon themselves, though it will only succeed if they are successfully bandaged before they bleed out.
Align the Web
Strengthen your compatriots against social pressures
My brothers and sisters of the Order of Silence spread out over the land, and established safe houses wherever they could for the aid and support of one another. And all the while I watched and waited for my moment to strike.
Offering – The Priest walks into the woods with the target of the ritual.
Focus – The Priest then wounds the target with a Shadow’s Knife or Knife blessed in the Vindicated Ritual
Offering – Silver shavings are sprinkled upon the bloodied blade.
Offering – Wool or Furs are then used to clean the blade.
Act – The Priest then uses the blade to shred the wool and furs and, while praying, wraps them into a tightly wrapped ball with the blood stains facing inward. The Priest then gives the target a task to complete as they hold the orb. If the priest is themselves a target of the ritual, they must announce the task loudly to the surrounding woods.
The target of the ritual gains one free Divine Disregard to use against any social call, as long as they are working on the task they were given. Sleep or quiet hours will disrupt this ritual, and will not count as actively working on the given task. The orb disintegrates after the disregard is used, or when they are no longer working on the task.
Give the dead a revelation.
Death is only the beginning. To unravel that which stretches eons, one must do more than be a blade in the dark- they must be the nightmare that lurks within their dreams.
Offering – The Priest builds a fire and throws an herb with the euphoric effect upon it.
Offering – Silver shavings are then added to the fire and are allowed to be consumed.
Act – A light weapon is then held over the smoke.
Focus – While still being held in the smoke, the Priest runs a mirror or other reflective surface over the blade on all sides.
Act – Breathing in the smoke, the Priest then drives the weapon into one of their limbs and removes it while naming an individual to be the target of the ritual.
Offering – The symbolic eye of Cyaniel’s Work to be Done (the spider with an eye for an abdomen) is drawn over the handle of the blade in chalk.
After dealing the death blow on the named target with a weapon marked in such a way, the Priest may whisper to them a new memory. This memory replaces a Touchstone Memory that the target loses in their death and is clearly and vividly recalled by the deceased target upon returning. The Priest may choose to add a Mild Insanity to the target associated with this new memory. The Insanity will last for a season.
Those that are marked by Cyaniel cannot flee his gaze. They feel it upon their heart at all times, the mark of his attention. But by being thus marked, they ensure that they can be trusted.
Act – A willing subject kneels before the Priest.
Offering – The target then drinks a unit of hard liquor while being blessed by the Priest.
Act – A blade is dipped into ink or another dark substance.
Offering – The Priest tattoos the Sigil of Cyaniel over their heart using the shortblade and the ink over the space of several minutes.
Offering – The blood is cleaned from the tattoo with a sheaf of paper.
Act – The true name of the tattooed target is then written upon the stained paper.
If the Priest chooses to ever burn that paper on a shrine to Cyaniel, that target will die within the hour. They may suffer terrible luck, take their own life, or otherwise fall dead to the ground. This death is treated the same way as dying while working against your devotion and costs four touchstone memories. This ritual is a common way for Cyanites to bring sinners to heel without destroying them.
Wrap your enemies in a web of their own making
There is no sin of a master not shared by his servant. Each man bears the personal responsibility to act against evil with every measure of force than they can muster. When a man acts against evil, he acts in accordance with god and adds the power of the Lord to his act of righteousness. Nothing can stand against the might of the Lord. No man can put asunder what god’s fate has decreed.
Act – The Priest or one of his conspirators in the conspiracy created by Strands of Fate kill the current leader of an organization in a way that is dramatic and obvious to all.
Act – The Sigil of Cyaniel is cut into the head of the victim with a Shadow’s Knife or Knife blessed in the Vindicated Ritual
Act – The murder is then discovered within an hour in a dramatic fashion.
Any Organizations that the target belongs to cannot use their Organizational Downtimes for the downtime after this game. Any Organizations that the target leads immediately dissolve.