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L. Marcus

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  1. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Pariah in The Academics Thread   
    My six-year-old demonstrated the beginnings of an understanding of Algebra tonight. I asked him, "What is five Q plus five Q?"
     
    He just kind of looked at me funny, so I asked him again: "What is five Q plus five Q?"
     
    After a moment, he answered, "Ten Q."
     
    And I said, "You're welcome!"
     
    (True story.)
  2. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Chris Goodwin in Why NOT use a multipower for magic?   
    If I as GM have designed a magic system that assumes the use of Multipowers, but I've gated it off via additional point expenditures (via required Skills, Talents, Perks, etc.), I'm probably not going to have other characters with suites of special abilities also bought via Multipowers.  
     
    (Should we try to make a distinction between Fantasy Hero and Fantasy Champions?  I would say that Fantasy Champions implies higher power levels and more open, player driven power builds, while Fantasy Hero implies lower power levels and world/magic system design by the GM.)  
  3. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Bazza in Jokes   
    A triangle said to the square, I’m now moving in different circles. 
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    L. Marcus got a reaction from Lawnmower Boy in Musings on Random Musings   
    But where to get enough marmalade to bridge the Atlantic?
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    L. Marcus got a reaction from Pariah in The "Nice Happy" Thread   
    Last night, my bestie A. became a mom!
  6. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Cygnia in Order of the Stick   
    New one up!
     
    https://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots1203.html
  7. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Cygnia in And now, for your daily dose of cute...   
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    L. Marcus got a reaction from tkdguy in Complicate the Person Above   
    TKD's autobiography has inspired the vast majority of the works of the isekai genre.
  9. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to IndianaJoe3 in And now, for your daily dose of cute...   
    Moist owlettes
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    L. Marcus reacted to Cygnia in Coronavirus   
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    L. Marcus got a reaction from death tribble in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    Dragons ...
     
    The thing about dragons, is that dragons are all about power. Power, domination, wealth, any kind of one-up-manship -- you name it, they want a piece. Freedom, fraternity, equality? Bah! That's for those who can't make their own way.
     
    A wise man once said that the closest concept in a dragon's mind to "a friend" is an enemy who yet lives.
     
    That mindset is the only thing that dragons are alike in, though. Their body plans are all over the place -- four limbs, six limbs, two limbs, no limbs. Wings or no wings. Bulky or slim. Scale or fur or some kind of fluffy down. Horns, antlers, spikes all over like you wouldn't believe. Pocket size or lumbering mountains. Variety is the spice of life, eh?
     
    Oh -- another thing that most dragons have in common are a severe case of weaponized halitosis. But the kind of breath varies between dragons, too. Fire, wind, poison, pure cold -- if it's harmful, some dragon somewhere will spew it. I heard tell about this one dragon from the turn below, a big old one, a hundred feet long, two hundred feet between the wingtips, clothed in steel scales ... Its breath was a gas that made people laugh themselves silly. Poor dragon got no respect.
  12. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Bazza in Coronavirus   
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    L. Marcus reacted to tkdguy in A Thread for Random Videos   
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    L. Marcus reacted to Cancer in The Academics Thread   
    * Cancer contemplates giving a pop quiz on the last day of classes asking the students to estimate how many times he lectured without wearing pants *
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    L. Marcus reacted to Cygnia in "Neat" Pictures   
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    L. Marcus got a reaction from Old Man in Coronavirus   
    Back at work. Working tonight as a clean resource on the floor at the local intermediary Covid ward. Seems calm enough.
  17. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to DShomshak in More space news!   
    Heard on the BBC yesterday: the Paris Observatory reports that, using the Very Large Telescope, theyhave observed evidence of a protoplanet forming. Not the protoplanet itself, but a distinctive S-shaped kink in the dust cloud around a star. (I think they said AB Aurigae.)
     
    Dean Shomshak
  18. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to DShomshak in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    The End approaches...
     
    Final pick: Legendary Guardian/Mythic Monster: The Angel of cold Shadow, Kylvn’s Wrath.
     
    Monster. Definitely monster. Because a proper god needs something dark and terrible to trouble theologians.
     
    Before the world was cut from out the void,
    Cold Kylvn looked within his holy self,
    Beseeching Andrea and Augurie
    To show the worst that he could ever be.
    He saw he could succumb to deadly wrath,
    Illogical, unreasoning, malign,
    A curse released upon all mortal kind,
    Betrayal of his calm and ordered mind.
    And so he took Inscissivus’ blade,
    That cuts all things and cut into himself,
    Removing through this godly surgery
    The evil, raging possibility.
    Then locked it in an admantine box
    By Liminus anointed, boundary
    That nothing could then cross, eternal sealed.
    For ages as the world was shaped it sat,
    Unheeded, inoffensive, until Fox,
    The fool, discovered the dark box.
    “I wonder what’s inside it?” pondered he.
    “It must be wondrous, I shall set it free!”
    He stole the keys by which Eternus passes
    To any place, no matter how well guarded,
    And oped the box! While somewhere Malice laughed,
    As Fox felt from the depths a chilly draft…
    Then blast of ice, that froze him nose to tail!
    A frozen fury, thousand winters’ bite;
    Since when, the Fox has had a streak of white.
    The Angel of Cold Shadow was released,
    Its curse upon the world has never ceased.
    — from the Frozen Analects (generally considered apocryphal)
     
    No god can remember Kylvn losing his temper. Ever is he courteous. The most they’ve seen is mild pique, and an arch suggestion that certain actions are not logical. Kylvn’s worshippers say that while the Cold God’s actions may not be kind, they are necessary and ultimately for the benefit of mortals and the world.
     
    Except there’s the Angel of Cold Shadow. This figure of ice has six faces of silentiaries, merged in a ring to look full circle at once. Twelve arms, with fingers like long blades of ice. Six wings fledged with sleet and a body robed in blizzards. First seen, it stands about a hundred feet tall; but it can grow vastly larger. As it rises into the sky, its wings spread to overshadow a city, or an entire province. Its shadow brings snow and a deadly cold. Even frost elves and silentiaries might shiver; all other folk freeze in minutes, though the W'Brrm usually can thaw afterward and survive. For everyone else, the Angel’s shadow brings death. Only when everyone within its shadow is fled, dead or frozen stiff does the Angel vanish once more.
     
    The Angel of Shadow appeared over the city of Scalzaris when riots and civil war set it aflame. It appeared over the kingdom of Vallish-Miir after loyahs overran it, and over the bandit-wracked province of Zung. From such appearances, some speculate the Angel is Kylvn’s dread judgment upon chaos and evil. But the Angel also appeared over the peaceful island of Bonatha, slaying both the native humans and the high elf refugees they had succored.
     
    Another story says the angel is truly Kylvn’s wrath: that once, he did lose his temper and sent it forth as the Angel of Cold Shadow to destroy those who had offended him. He regretted this spasm of rage, but could not undo it, nor destroy the emanation of himself. He instead borrowed, or stole, the all-cutting blade of Inscissivus and cut the event from the chronicle of Time and the memory from all other creatures, even the other gods. But the priests of Kylvn condemn this tale as heretical; and anyway, if it were true who would know?
     
    Or maybe it's just that Kylvn, too, must sleep and dream on occasion... and the sleep of reason breeds monsters.
     
    Some say Malice is the Angel’s lover, and that she seduced it to serve Shayol; but other tales say the Angel is one of only five creatures that Malice fears, and it has nearly slain her.
     
    Kylvn refuses to dignify such tales with a response, saying that a logical mind restricts itself to facts; which, his fellow gods observe, is not a denial. They also see that Bestimm the Determinator and the Dragonslayer have both slain the Angel, yet it has returned, as if something truly deathless sustained its existence. Never have they see Kylvn direct the Angel; and indeed, he helped Nogrom guide a hero to the Man of Gold in time to stop the Void-Zealots from summoning it at the base of the Integral Tree.
     
    Because all bringers of death are known to Eternus, that god knows how the Angel is called. A mortal who is absolutely convinced that all hope is lost — believes this is proven beyond possibility of error — that there is no choice left between a horrible ending and horrors without end — can summon the Angel of Cold Shadow by freezing and starving to death. The mortal calls to the Angel with their last breath; and by Volcanis' gift, the Angel hears, in whatever cosmic adytum it waits. And the Angel delivers the ending they seek. An end in silence, and stillness, and the unity of a common grave.
    -----
    It is ended.
     
    Dean Shomshak
  19. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to DShomshak in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    Thus spake Kylvn:
     
    Concerning fire, My acolytes expect
    Commandment that they hold in enmity
    This shining element of heat and change,
    Destroyer of the handiwork of frost.
    Indeed, it contradicts much hat I am;
    But also serves My will in subtler ways.
    The hearth gives central order to a home,
    And lamp-light permits study into night,
    That thoughts be analyzed and fixed in ink.
    And if the fire destroys when uncontrolled,
    Then mortals learn to plan around that fear,
    With comfort, light and cooking as rewards,
    And safety from the dangers of the night.
    Besides, the world has holy symmetries:
    My logic for the madcap whims of Fox;
    Schemata to unite in ordered plan
    The diverse entities from Blade-God’s cuts;
    Hard fixity for dreams of Andrea.
    ‘Tis meet, then, that as cold doth crystallize
    All things into a hard and rigid form,
    The Helix should contain an opposite,
    That melts, consumes, releases into smoke
    To evanesce into the empty air!
    And as the fixéd purity of ice
    Is emblem of dispassioned reasoning,
    So fire is worthy emblem of the love
    You give to mortals, sibling Tasha — What?
    The fire is claimed by Shayol? Pardons, please,
    You know you look so very much alike!
     
    Dean Shomshak
     
  20. Thanks
    L. Marcus got a reaction from Hermit in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    Nefarious!
  21. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Hermit in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    Shoo, go away. There is absolutely nothing for you to see here! Shoo!
    Go play with the swamp that smells like Shayol's armpits or count pennies with Nogrom I...
    Yes yes, that's a book about worlds far beyond our own. Yes, ones shaped like donuts or even the exotic sphere! And...
    yes yes, they have gods too, some of them, others are about to be born and have gods and.... Fine, you got me, it's a guide to other creations!
     
    Yes yes, that's my 'intervention'. Should this world ever become too boring for too long and i can't change it, should I ever be about to truly die or ..well, not be... I have my magic, my last magic in this creation, to whisk me away...
    and start again in a new world with new gods.
     
    Maybe I'll be a spider gathering up the stories from the sky again
    maybe I'll be a Raven, swallowing the sun
    Maybe I'll be a Coyote using foolish wolves to place the stars
    I will trick and dance and laugh forever, making wise men look foolish and showing the wisdom in fools.  
    For now though, I am the Fox that Laughs! And, well, I may linger here for awhile yet bringing joy and frustration and challenges and wonder and a couple of messes others have to clean up...
     
    You're welcome!
     
    Interference: Fox himself has an escape clause by leaping to another creation draft (Even if it's as another trickster form or a different poster ;))
     
     

     
     
     
     
  22. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Cancer in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    Time for Our final act.
     
    The Fox created a pathway for temporary divinity, a way for a mortal to assume divine status and commit Acts of God as they see fit.  An interesting path.
     
    At times, though, there are Divine Visitations which mortals may wish to repel, chastise, or even destroy, rather than assume godhood themselves and then disappear from the cosmos forever.  Gods tend not to take criticism well, but by the same token they tend to be invulnerable to anything mortals can control.  With the short lives and limited perceptions of mortals, this is, perhaps, appropriate.
     
    Perhaps.
     
    Nogrom's Interference is to establish something by which the mortals can punish, injure, even destroy a god, should that god stick around long enough to receive lethal damage.  That last case is rather improbable, but not wholly outside the chances of the world.  Yet mortals are admittedly short-sighted, have limited means, and commit rather amazing acts of misjudgment.  So their means for harming in the Divine must be limited, and limited by the nature of mortals themselves.  It must be so expensive that no megalomaniac wicked fool can expunge a god merely on an insane whim, no matter how many deluded minions he may command.  Only vast populations, collectively allied by reason and deep outrage, can have the capacity to inflict life-threatening damage to a god.  Lesser groups, even individuals, should have the capacity inflict stinging hurts both physical and otherwise, if their grievance is deep enough and broad enough.  
     
    The knowledge that it could be done is enough to inspire some few mortals to transcend themselves, and reflect both on the possibility that a god must be pulled down, and on the consequences of losing a deity from the world forever; for the enormity of the act, and the nigh-incalculable cost of even attempting it, will be enough to make mortals think beyond themselves ... and that is truly the first steps towards apotheosis, and growing the cosmos beyond the imaginings of the gods themselves.
     
    So ... what could possibly be so dear that only the deepest, most unanimous sense of world-wide outrage could allow mortals collectively to destroy a god?
     
    In answer to that ... Nogrom knows, with a faint smile, and accepting the possibility that We Ourselves might suffer the fate that we introduce into the world, this is Our Interference.
     
    Money.  Real money itself will be a weapon against all things divine.  Shekels or pounds or dinars or dollars, wampum or Yapese Rai or cowrie shells or banknotes, when mortals create money that other mortals will accept and continue to accept as having value, then this money can be used as a weapon against a god, avatar, angel, etc., and that weapon will do real damage.  (That virtual crap like bitcoins etc. is worthless hooey, though, and through Our Aspect as God of Mathematics, Nogrom can expose whenever convenient the large prime numbers at exposes those as not even play money.)
     
    There is a culture where the phrase "throwing money at something" is a dismissive term for wasteful and ineffective spending.  Against the gods, though, throwing money at them in large quantities will hurt them, injure them, and destroy them, if enough is expended.
     
    And, one may ask, how much is needed?  
     
    To this the God of Money says -- and any hint of a smile fades away entirely -- only this: If you entertain any hopes of having any money remaining after the god is destroyed ... then you don't have enough money to perform the act.
  23. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to death tribble in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    Some ask with real trepidation 'What part of the world did Shayol create ?'
    There are the Rainbow Bridges that Tasha brought into being, Fox created an entire continent, Liminus created the world, Volcanis had made the travel shafts, Andrea and Nogram created rivers, Eternus the staircase, Kylvn The Ice Reefs, Inscissivus The Lacieriat and Avalon was created by Fair Star. You would think that something Shayol created would be dreadful and awful and would be right.
    Shayol is responsible for the creation of a swamp. Not just any swamp. It has a few names. The Father of all Swamps, The Mother of all Swamps, The Murder Morass, The Killer Quagmire, The Murky Mire and the Swamp of Slaughter. It is riddled with poison and disease. Foul creatures and plants thrive in abundance. Boiling mud, water that pulls a victim down and deadly quicksands are all features of the swamp. It is vast but as the river Lethe flows into it or through it people forget about it. That or the swamp can move which is really unnerving.
     
    And because it is so dangerous there are many myths concerning it. Only two gods can cross the swamp with impunity. Shayol and Volcanis. The former as its creator and the latter because being the God of Nature he cannot be denied. Although Shayol extracted a promise from him that if he provided help to anyone then they would have to do Volcanis a great service. And only two creatures can cross the swamp with impunity, or no difficulty, Volcanis's Water Dragon and Tasha's Flying Unicorn. It is easy to understand the former but why the Flying Unicorn can land and trot across it is a real conundrum.
    Everyone else takes their life in their own hand and this has made for several epic tales. Andrea and Eternus crossed it together although the reason is different depending on who you ask. As did Malice, Tasha and Inscissivus who found that a rainbow bridge deposited them there. Bestimm the Determinator crossed it with Kylvn after the Finity Blade was stolen and left in the heart of the mire.
    Nogram and Liminus crossed it after a dragon drowned there and the poisons and disease found there caused healers great concern. The two gods confronted Shayol who threatened retribution if they meddled in his affairs stating flatly that he would sink The Man of Gold in the swamp and would destroy all cereals if they did not cross the swamp. They managed it but the God of Evil still bears them animosity.
    Only one god has crossed the swamp on his own and that is Fair Star but he did it once and his people greeted him on the other side. As did Shayol who was impressed by the determination of the Lord of the Elves. It is certainly true that the elves have more success in surviving it than anyone else. The death tolls and stories of those who perish there are lengthy in the extreme.
     
    But the tales persist that one god has not even tried to cross the swamp and that is Fox. Although there is a spectacular disease or poison that exists there that makes the Reynardi blow up in flames. When Fox complained Shayol confronted him saying if they had not tried to cross the swamp then they would not have been hurt. But they had free choice, free will, independence, that they thought it would be a good story but overall that it would be FUN. Paradoxically several people who have achieved godhood have tried to cross the swamp. At lest two were successful but others ran straight into Shayol who killed them there which brings up the most disturbing legend about the swamp. For it is said that Shayol was not always evil and that the swamp is the result of him killing another God whose name and power have been lost in the mists of time. The flesh and the blood of the god so warped the land that it became the swamp and drove Shayol quite mad and into becoming the God of Evil. Shayol disputes this. He says he was never mad.......
     
     
    Geography: The Swamp.
     
    This pick was the one that I had first when I thought up last year in taking a God of Evil. And could one of you pick a city or major settlement as Geography ? No. Spoilsports the lot of you. 
  24. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to Hermit in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    "Give us a gift, o fox!" Some called and challenged.Heady and bold on wine.
     
    "It's as red as Fox, but how do you know it's not his?" One mortal  joked as he warmed by the fire playing a game of chess against a friend, "It's useful."
    That one had stung, it was good, damn it, but it stung! I had laid out kingdoms and nations, spread stories aplenty through out the world, and been the source of fun for many. It would appear Foxhair weed was ignored until it was needed. It riled me a bit, the ingratitude. 
     
    As if any of them could do a better job than...

    and that's when I thought of my gift.
     
    A gift that would be like no gift ever given!
     
     Inscissivus helped make it possible, carving whole chunks between the world, oh a severing, but there are cracks, there are grooves made. And I slipped between them and wandered old worlds and new before returning to our own creation which had many names. I tended to call it "Fox's Wonderful Playground with Dubious Playmates". Ah, but what had I returned with? 
     
    I had dug up sites of old power, and bubbling cauldrons of creation untapped. I had been to the lands where stories died half  said, where old tales had been undone because no one spoke of them anymore, and a story unspoken, unrecorded, and unremembered is a terrible thing, as if oblivion of all that it is was growing by increments never to yield up a fraction of it's empire. It takes a god, a master bard, or a madman to seize a story from Oblivion. 
     
    I've been all three.
     
    But I didn't just come back with stories. I came back with power.  The stories will tell how I seduced the widow of the greatest key smith of all time to use recreate her husband's work. Others that I used the sharpest Sevittrium to shape the strongest Adamantite key which I heated in the fires of Shayol's hidden forge and then laid into the coldest frost of the God of winter. There are tales that it is not metal at all, but the bones of a dozen dead gods fused together. SO many stories.
     
    But however I made it happen, I made it happen. I brought forth the Key of Divine Sorrow.
     
    Every hundred and sixty nine years, the key would appear somewhere in the world. Which ever mortal (Neither God, nor mythic) found the key first and took it in his or her grip would find bestowed upon them Godhood! Full of Divine power (and restraint) able to work miracles and calamity upon their fellow mortals and the world itself! 
    For what most would count as thirteen days (Whether the light came or not lest they try to get around the rule by causing an eclipse or the like) the new God would work his or her will! As immortal as any being. And each day, a small cut or scar appear on that god's otherwise perfect form until eventually 13 distinctive marks be upon them.
     
    And then, as that last hour clicked away, the new God's divinity would depart, and that now ex-god would become mortal again and is struck down dead for Eternus to sort out.. The gods can hold a vote on each miracle the 13 day god did. A majority can undo the worst of the changes and damages done, though never fully. Otherwise, it stands.
    Now, if the key isn't found, the cycle doesn't start again... the key just waits. To make things interesting, besides myself, Only I, and the Man of Gold know when the Key can be quested for... after all, if ever there was a time to save the world, it's when a villain might attain godhood, or a hero needs it. I send Faux out to either give parts of the story as a mad hermit or minstrel if I'm not going out in forms like that myself.
     
    Thirteen days of godhood, at the cost of a full life as a mortal! Not everyone who goes after it will no the price until it's too late.Some will know the price and decide it is worthwhile. I place the key. Some doomed lucky soul finds it, becomes a god, and can change the world.. maybe.
     
    Game on!
     
    Gift to Civilization: A Path to (Temporary) Divinity via the Key of Divine Sorrow
     

  25. Like
    L. Marcus reacted to DShomshak in World Creation Superdraft 4: May 2020   
    This is odd: My post on the Silentiaries seems cut off half way through. I'll re-post and hope the whole thing appears, because there was quite a bit more.
    -- DS
    --------------------
    Kylvn approves of the Frost Elves, but they are not truly his people. And so he created the Silentiaries. He sang them into existence from living frost, breathed souls into them, and finished the work with a great silence.
     
    Kylvn create hive insects and similar creatures as early attempts at orderly species, and the silentiaries build on those experiments. Silentiaries somewhat resemble oversized grasshoppers about six feet long, walking (or jumping) on four hind legs but with slender arms with three fingers each. They appear to be made of translucent, pale blue ice with glittering, crystalline compound eyes. Folk of other species find silentiaries very difficult to tell apart. They are cold as ice as well, and take no harm from even the greatest chill.
     
    One reason for their species name is that silentiaries cannot speak: They breathe through spiracles in their sides. They communicate through sign language. Their language can barely be managed at a crude level by creatures with only two arms; full fluency requires four. Though they have no voices, siloentiaries can make silences, and these flavor their sign-speech the way humans use gestures to emphasize their speech. They also love music. Their styles are intricate and contrapuntal, full of fugues and interlocking rhythms.
     
    These folk live in hives grown from living frost, labyrinthine and many-turreted, amid extensive ice-reefs. They mostly eat living ice, though they cannot survive for long without cold-tolerant ordinary crops such as turnips or rye. The farmland is of course tended collectively.
     
    Silentiaries rarely go far from their hives except in winter. Other seasons are at least unpleasant for them, and the hottest weather is deadly to them. In winter, though, silentiaries can travel far in vessels of living ice, animated and directed by music, that stride on a dozen jointed legs through the snow. They venture out to trade, to found new hives, or to perform special feats of ice-shaping for other folk. On rare occasions they are sought for their remarkable mental prowess, for every silentiary is highly trained at memory, observation and logic; or as musicians. But this is dangerous, and not just for the silentiaries.
     
    Silentiary society is divided into six ranked castes. Most silentiaries begin in the worker caste, with numerous subcastes for each occupation. Workers have a lifespan of 36 winters.
     
    A worker who shows the six disciplines of truthfulness, logic, equanimity, reciprocity, loyalty and perseverence and advances six degrees in their occupation is elevated to the supervisor caste and receives another 36 winters of lifespan along with greater responsibility.
     
    Supervisors of great diligence and sagacity can be promoted into the Gaon caste of lawgivers, judges and priests, responsible for maintaining the order of the hive and relations with the outside world. Gaons receive another 36 years of lifespan.
     
    But Kylvn paid attention to Shayol’s curse of god-addiction. He saw that, unchecked, order could become a mere fetish of homogeneity or pattern with no real use, rigid and self-destructive. So some supervisors are instead promoted into the Daimon caste of blasphemers, rebels and clowns, tasked with bringing a bit of Fox’s chaos into the hive to prevent complacency and create possibilities for new and better practices. They also receive a longer life.
     
    Either gaons and daimons can be promoted for merit into the fifth caste; but of this caste it is forbidden to speak, and no one below the rank of gaon or daimon is allowed even to know what it does.
     
    Finally, hives are ruled by a single silentiary of the sixth caste. These prophet-monarchs commune with Kylvn personally, and the Cold Lord is willing to make introductions to other gods if the need is proven. Prophet-monarchs can live up to 1,296 winters – no more. Then Kylvn gives them to Eternus.
     
    Kylvn finds Shayol and Tasha both tiresome, in their fashions, and so he did his utmost to insulate his people from their influence and their contest. Evil coming from The Female of the Species? Silentiaries are genderless; and as they reproduce asexually, they have no need or understanding of love. Three silentiaries can drain a bit of their cold, clear blood into an urn of ice filled with snow, which is sealed and quickened with music. After a turning of the year, the urn hatches as a young silentiary.
     
    Silentiaries can also reproduce by pure music. If five silentiaries play improvisationally and achieve a spontaneous moment of perfect harmony, a sixth silentiary appears, already adult, with knowledge gleaned from all five of its “parents.” These silentiaries, the Songborn, are gaon or daimon from birth.
     
    But gods are not balked. Tasha and Shayol both claim their due from the silentiaries. Shayol’s baleful power in the Helix made the silentiaries a plague unto all other intelligences – literally. Careless contact with a silentiary, especially with its blood, can induce a deadly disease in other folk. The victim gets colder and colder until he or she freezes. This is usually fatal, but about one in ten frozen victims crack to release a young silentiary with the person’s memories. Only the frost elves are immune, by the way the Fair Star made them.
     
    Tasha might say she levies no curses, but her influence likewise has a deadly effect. Mistletoe induces desire, but silentiaries cannot feel it. They go mad from the contradiction and probably die within a week if they do not kiss someone of another intelligent species… which merely triggers the second phase of the curse. The silentiary falls into a frozen coma, then splits several days later to release an individual of the kissed person’s species, retaining memories of his or her life as a silentiary but unable ever to return to the hive.
     
    As silentiaries largely keep to themselves, rumor about them flourishes. Tales say that silentiaries, playing in concert, have animated the surrounding reefs to massacre invaders with ten thousand blades and spears of ice – or even reshaped the hive as a titanic juggernaut that can crush dragons. Their leaders and magi are said to know strange magics as well, such as incarnating spirits in bodies of living frost. There are somewhat reliable stories of gaons extracting dreams and memories and storing them in ice-jewels… and daimons releasing those stored visions into the minds of other folk. It is even said, by those who claim to know more than other folk, that the silentiaries can control the curses of Tasha and Shayol to trap other folk in a chrysalis of ice and bring them forth as folk of another species – loyahs turned into cave elves, reynardi become humans.
     
    But few would dare to investigate these claims first-hand. The silentiaries are pariahs to most other folk, literally untouchable, for fear of their strange, icy contagion.
     
    Dean Shomshak
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