A FANTASY ROLEPLAY
"Two hundred years ago, the Jade Emperor, the immortal ruler of the land of Shambala and founder of its most magnificent city Shangdi, sealed his twin brother, the Demon Lord, away in the Spirit Realm beyond the Heavenly Gate, and his lands have known no war ever since. With that peace finally secured, the Jade Emperor retreated into his palace, leaving the mortal world to turn without his guidance for a time until the promised hour of his return."
"The artifact of all that has been and shall be, its knowledge spanning centuries of historia between our nations."
01. THE WORLD AT A GLANCE
Shambala takes place across three regions on an earth-like world: the Jade Empire, Shambala, is in the central region with the cold and darkly-forested coastal lands of Mag Mell to the north and the warm, rocky deserts of Nibiru to the east. Shambala itself sits in a temperate basin by the sea with tropical climates along its southern and western shores and drier, cooler areas up the mountains to the north and east.
The time-period and technology levels range across the world. In Mag Mell, it is about the late 1920s (give or take some intense magic), so you’ll find telephones, automobiles, airplanes, elevated trains, and giant urban elevators. This technology has spread over to the Kells and other rural places of Mag Mell. All technology is sourced in industrialized magic, often from a magic item exploited for science.
Shambala, however, has slammed its gates shut against the creep of Northern technology. They rely primarily on rickshaw and carriage travel. There is an old-fashioned automobile or two in the neighborhoods of the especially upper class, though they are mostly owned by foreigners (along with other incidences of technology). In all of the Empire, there is only a single rail yard very far to the North that sends off and receives trains from Mag Mell and the Kells.
GENDER ROLES AND SOCIAL TENSIONS
To be brief, there's plenty of sexist fantasy out there already. So, while we were hashing out the world-building for Shambala, we decided to ditch the “sexism is more realistic!” view that is so very vogue in fantasy right now.
Female characters in Shambala are not questioned over their power or decisions on the basis of their gender. They may be questioned over their age, their class level, their ethnicity, but it is considered a move that invites the anger of great goddesses to argue that a female person is deficient in some way due to their gender.
All and all, sexism never got good traction in this world. Shambala, the Kells, and Nibiru, in particular, are home to very powerful, very reactive female deities who could and would stomp (literally) on people making the argument for the superiority of one sex over the other.
But while Shambala is more egalitarian in its gender roles, they are clan-like and more likely to discriminate based on ethnicity. The well-developed cities of Shangdi and Mag Mell have long histories of prejudice between their upper, urban-dwelling classes and their lower, rural classes. Shambala itself is an empire combined of four old kingdoms that still have problems with each other. Their internal prejudices can outweigh their problems with cultures abroad but foreigners can find themselves ostracized if they are unable to blend.
But more than the living, Shambala does not get along with any dead unmoored from the underworld—and the Sidhe and Unseelie ghosts from Mag Mell will encounter trouble no matter where in the world they go.
There are eight races in Shambala. The first five races here are playable by all. The last three races (indicated by an (*) asterisk) require Mod permission or have died out. Members of the first five races all receive boxes at birth. Members of the last two do not.
Mortals, or humans, who live and die as humans do.
There are also Unblessed mortals, though the Unblessed are not a true race. They are mortals whose boxes have cursed them for one reason or another. They may also be mixed-race individuals. They have a universal Zodiac: the Cat.
Demi-mortals, these mortals are the children of Gods and Great Animals in Shambala. In Shambala, there are many demimortals related distantly to the Jade Emperor (though he has been away from the world for 200 years and not contributing to as many children). So, any demimortals related to the Jade Emperor should be some generations removed.
Spirits, or human-like creatures with parents in ‘nature’—these people are always part human and part some other—that some other can be elemental, ghostly, demonic, or animalistic. Their true nature will ‘show’ by varying degrees (decided by the player).
Djinni, immortal genies found exclusively in Nibiru. Because the Djinn bred liberally with Nibiri mortals, pretty much everybody in Nibiru is a bit Djinn. Being a bit Djinn is pretty identical to being mortal. There are practically no full-blooded Djinn left in the world, but those that are have tremendous power over one elemental force. Demi-mortals in Nibiru are almost always part-Djinn and related to Nebu.
Sidhe, Sidhe are the ghostly fairy people that appeared in Mag Mell after a cataclysm called the ‘Green Dawn’ sank the city beneath the earth. They do not live and nor do they die—they live eternal and unchanging. They travel under the cover of darkness and are especially vulnerable to sunlight. If trapped in sunlight, their bodies dissolve into mist—a ‘will-o-wisp’—and can be captured in bottles.
Sidhe look somewhat different from mortals. Their skin can glow with a light of its own. This light intensifies and appears in wildly different colors if they are weakened and turning into wisps.
Humans can become Sidhe by eating contaminated food from Mag Mell.
Mortals from the North live in the Kells. Mortals do not live in Mag Mell unless they have a wish for a fate worse than death.
While Sidhe most often live in Mag Mell, they do move to other places. In Shambala, they are shunned and forced into the ghettos of the city where they live alongside Unblessed.
Unseelie*, Unseelie are dark ghosts that appeared alongside the Sidhe in Mag Mell—to eat them. They are raving and cannibalistic, and just a few Unseelie nearly decimated Mag Mell following the Green Dawn. They were hunted and trapped, and only a few are left in the world now. Unseelie are very rare and very dangerous (so please speak to a Mod if you want to play one).
Gods*, a ‘God’ is a region’s protective, immortal spirit. There are a limited number of these since a given country tends to have one or two depending on its size. (Gods never have boxes.)
In Shambala, there is the Jade Emperor and the Demon Lord.
In Nibiru, there is Nebu, the woman of the Sun.
In Mag Mell, there is Talisin, an owlish mage lord who fell with his city.
In the islands of the Kells, there is Ferganda, a horse goddess who still guards the isle. There are no demi-mortals in the Kells because Ferganda does not care for people.
Guardian Beasts*, or Great Animals*. These are protective, immortal spirits a step down from Gods—they usually do not have a region or nation to guard of their own. Most of the Great Animals were killed during a feud between the Jade Emperor and the Demon Lord two-hundred years before present day.
Guardian Beasts may only have boxes if they have been killed and reincarnated as mortals or spirits.
03. RULES OF MAGICK AND BOXES
‘Magick’ is the manifestation of destiny—and everyone in the world shares in destiny through a unique magick all their own.
This piece of destiny and what hope or despair it promises lies always at the bottom of a dark box.
THE FIRST RULE
One magical ability per item—one item per character.
The magical ability should be specific in nature but able to be used in a lot of different ways. For example, a character whose item allows them to become invisible has a useful item, indeed, with many ways to use it even though this item may only turn its owner invisible.
This item is received in a box, or another container, shortly after your character is born.
Different countries have different traditions about boxes:
In Shambala, boxes are typically made of carved or painted lacquer. They are delivered by astrologers.
In Mag Mell, they are made of leaded metal and cloudy glass. They are delivered by witches.
In the Kells, boxes were made of carved, pure wood before the Emerald Dawn, and after it, fully metal or mixed metal and wood designs appeared in the Latter or “Morning” style (since it came after dawn). In the Far Mell, boxes are still made of a dark, dense wood common to their region. They are delivered by druids.
In Nibiru, fate containers are lamps, made of bright metals and cloudy glass. They are delivered by spirit doctors.
THE SECOND RULE
This box is to be opened at a specific, predetermined time. If that moment is missed, whether the box is opened too early or too late or by someone other than the box’s owner, the item inside will curse its owner.
The box may be opened at any point during the owner’s lifetime. This does not always mean the owner will live to see the box opened. Any box unopened before its owner dies will open an hour after death, empty.
The size of the item does not have to match the size of the box. Fate containers are bigger on the inside—sometimes, much bigger (since longbows and spears have come out of these boxes).
Some items are gaudy; some items are plain.
Items of Fate can be stolen, given away, lost, broken, and after all that, still return mysteriously to their owners as if nothing has happened.
Whether cursed or not, a character’s Item of Fate is meant to challenge them and help them grow as people. The Item of Fate’s ability is based around the character’s personality and meant to assist with, reveal, solve, or create personal struggles.
THE THIRD RULE
Item use comes at a cost:
For Cursed Items, these costs are often heavy and unfair. The price of cursed magick may be transacted in blood or something dearer.
For Blessed Items, costs may be nonexistent, light, or at most, equivalent—the owner will get from the item what they give. The only ‘risk’ is losing or breaking the item due to overuse—or plain, old unintended consequences.
The ability of a Blessed Item is balanced with helpful and harmful traits in equal turns, while a Cursed Item is often more harmful than helpful to its owner.
Owners of Blessed Items have more control over what their item does, can do, and how much that use costs them than owners of Cursed items.
Cursed owners may be at the mercy of their items and unable to control how the item is used. The item may bring on a Cursed state or be the only thing that can relieve one—temporarily. Curses inflicted by fate can even end lives if they go unbroken.
Not all curses break.
04. NATIONS OF THE WORLD
There are three major countries in the principal part of the world. Though other lands may lay beyond the mists at the edge of the sea, the staff hasn't thought of them yet.
Note on Descriptive Names:
Someone or something from Shambala is “Shambalan”. The plural form is Shambalans.
Someone or something from Nibiru is “Nibiri”. The plural form is still Nibiri.
Someone from Mag Mell is “Mellic”, and the plural form is still Mellic. Something from Mag Mell is often just a “Mag Mell” object.
Generally, someone or something from the Kells is “Kellan”. The plural form is “Kellans” or “Kellan,” depending on the speaker. (International people are more likely to use “Kellans,” while native Kellan drop the ‘s’.)
SHAMBALA, ALL UNDER HEAVEN
The land of Shambala is of myth and fairy tale. The hills and valleys it belongs to are old, green, adrift in mist, and yet somehow familiar. In it is the legendary city Shangdi, which sits on the border between the world of the living—humans—and of the spirits. To the East lies the cursed Kingdom of the Mag Mell and to the West the lands of Nibiru, both sisters to Shangdi that have existed, or so they say, long before even time began.
Governed by the Jade Emperor, named for him, the city is one torn by two desires: pleasing the spirits that live beyond the veil, and controlling the magick that seeps through to both sides. The architecture is sweeping and grand, much of it done in royal reds, golds, blacks, and built to frame the towering Jade Palace that looms in the city's center. It is known for an entertainment district that caters to the spirits after night falls; wisps of smoke curling around the soft-glow of paper lanterns; incidents where men and women are spirited away to other worlds.
And, since the first written records appeared in the official libraries of the council, rumors whirl around the Heavenly Gate—the doorway that allows for spirits to escape into Shambala, left behind when the Jade Emperor first called upon twelve animal spirits to gift his magic to. Supposedly, it is these twelve animals, immortalized in stars and custom, that have the strongest influence over the country of Shambala and every man, woman, and child is possessed by one of them from the day they are born.
THE GREAT CLANS OF SHAMBALA
In the ancient times before the Jade Emperor came, the lands of Shambala, then unnamed, lay divided into four kingdoms: the Highlands and the Lowlands, the island nation, and the coastal kingdom.
One morning in the Highlands, the Jade Emperor was born in an icy spring high on the crown of the northern-most mountain. At the very same moment, the Demon Lord was born in a vein of burning stone buried deep in the breast of the northern-most mountain. Though far away from each other, they were born from the same Mother Mountain and were both her sons. They grew and when one brother found the other, they decided to conquer the world leave their mountain and make their way in the world.
To do this, the two brothers set out to best the gods currently claiming the lands under heaven. They bested them, and after this war:
The conquered territories were united under the banner of the Jade Empire, Shambala.
The Highlands became the Northern Dukedom.
The Lowlands became the Eastern Dukedom.
The Coastal Kingdom became the Southern Dukedom.
The Island Nation became the Western Dukedom.
The Jade Emperor and the Demon Lord decided to rule the realms of life and death together. The Jade Emperor chose to rule Life, and the Demon Lord chose to rule Death.
The Jade Emperor selected clans to rule his mortal empire and to stand in memorial for the fallen lands of old. Four Great Clans would rule above all:
Shionoya in the West
Ruan in the East
Namgung in the South
Long in the North
The Great Clans are massive and count thousands of people in their 'families'. Great Clans are not made by blood. New members, which can include whole families, typically join a Great Clan by adoption or marriage. The Great Clans do prefer adopting or marrying people from their own region.
Not everybody living in a region of Shambala is part of that region’s ruling Great Clan.
Invitation is not open to foreigners.
Names in the Ruan and Long clans should be Chinese, if possible.
Names in the Shionoya should be Japanese, if possible.
Names in the Namgung should be Korean, if possible.
The leader of a Great Clan is a Grand Duke or Duchess of Shambala, but inside their own clans, they are called a Clan Prince or Clan Princess.
Clan leaders are playable.
NIBIRU, THE FLOATING DIADEM
MAG MELL, THE CINDERLANDS
"The Gentleman's Guide to the Culture and Company in Carneval."
A once-flourishing country that capitalized on the innovation of steam, coal, and magick industrialization, the Mag Mell—buried deep underground and cursed for two centuries—is a land caught in the upswing of time. Although her citizens walk the typewire between the living and the dead, it earned its name for its behemoths of steel-webbed fences and train-smoke under the massive grandfather clock in the grand station.
With its humble beginnings credited to the Kells, pockets of farmland and country-side cottages sit comfortably alongside hissing drawbridges and white-brick buildings trimmed in gold in Carneval. The city is dark, completely lightless after the cataclysm sank the country, and a long hill of black dirt leads to an open cave mouth surrounded by the empty, abandoned husks of buildings and factories. The outermost ring—named the Ashes because "it fades to gray against the heavy contrast, the bright neon glow of the Mag Mell"—long ago was ravaged by Unseelie creatures in the chaos of the city's collapse, and remains largely an empty place beyond the main road that leads in and out of Mag Mell.
Because Carneval's expansion is hindered by the width of the cairn, engineers designed two raised platforms that serve as second and third rings. These are both bathed with artificial light, strong enough to keep the Ashes dimly lit at any and all times. Connected by a complex system of elevators and cable cars, moving from each ring has been made efficient, but leaves traces of pollution and can be difficult to maintain because the ghostly citizens of the Mag Mell resist change. They have an ethereal attachment to the past they belong to, and the city's structure reveals that. The uppermost ring is a thing of complex and newly created machinery, glowing neon signs, tracks laid for trains threading the roads, night clubs and brilliance; the middle a bridge between the two, crowded with closely-knotted apartments and fire escapes; the lowest is quiet and slummy, a broken-down cog in the machine that is in need of repair.
Culture in the Mag Mell follows the trends of the upper elite, a high class society that survived from the original Seelie Court—what once were the aristocrats and nobles of the Mag Mell. The Unseelie Court was the result of a division between the government, an oligarchy that developed from a constitutional monarchy and was centered in Carneval. Unseelie being smoked out in the political realm—long after the Unseelie were thought to have disappeared from the world—shook the city to the core and regular citizens insisted that they be represented by only true Sidhe; not wolves in sheep's clothing.
Clothing can range from the bizarrely Victorian-eqsue to flowing ball gowns, tailored suits, and posh hats the further you travel upwards. The entire culture is a mixture of time periods—the dead have no concept of time, after all—but there is a clear preference to the standoffish and polite for the middle and upper class. It is, in two words, fast-paced and completely business with entertainment hidden in red light districts or squirreled-away neighborhoods.
The Mag Mell is a steam-punk inspired nation that borrows both heavy Victorian elements and aspects of the Jazz Age.
It is always dark because they have no natural light; Sidhe are only able to endure artificial light, all of which are imbued with magick.
Carneval is broken into three rings, which are built on top of one another. The Ashes is the lowermost, and is largely abandoned because of stories of prowling Unseelie and other horrors that lurk there.
They have phone lines, black and white film, and a large technology focus in the uppermost and middle ring.
Cars are very rare, found only in the highest ring, and transportation is largely limited to trains, elevators, and cable cars. Some of them can be very luxurious.
The Seelie Court is the name of an oligarchy that reflects the old monarchy, which never entirely removed itself.
Etiquette predominates. Politeness, appearance, and a generally removed persona is valued by the Sidhe—citizens are often quite learned, thanks to their long lives, and they are not interested in outside politics or most foreigners.
THE KELLS, THE DAWN ISLE
The Kells is a green, hilly island off the coast of Mag Mell with a rocky, mountain's heart. (Characters who are from Mag Mell's part of the world and still human are predominately from the Kells.) In modern times, the coastal towns support strong fishing and shipping industries while industrial, mining, and engineering commerce lies inward. But before the fall of Mag Mell, the Kells were weaker, smaller, and part of one nation with the city of Mag Mell, one kingdom connected by shifting land-bridges carved from the ponderous movements of sand and ocean between the west shore of the island and the inland.
The aristocrats ruled the rural island towns from the center of their city, and so the strike of the Black Cup’s curse brought the Kellan people a swift and unexpected independence. Their distant government crumbled, and in the absence of Mag Mell aristocrats, the mayors of the Kells pulled together to reestablish stability and protect their people in the new age of sunken Mag Mell through the first Mayoral Councils. The relationship between the two regions had soured quickly as predatory Sidhe from Mag Mell crossed the land-bridges and trawled Kellan villages for victims. Many of the Sidhe now living in Mag Mell were originally stolen from the Kells.
The Mayoral councils, assemblies of every village mayor from across the island, founded the Bridge-walker’s Brigade to patrol the land-bridges nightly for illegal Sidhe passage to and from Mag Mell. Meanwhile, the mountain villages, already home to gifted engineers and gunsmiths, industrialized further to produce more accurate firearms and small cannons to arm the Brigade and stop unauthorized passage into the Kells. While Sidhe could not be killed, their bodies could be temporarily dismantled by Kellan guns, and their ships could be sunk by cannon-fire. With the western shore fortified, the kidnappings in the night decreased, and the people of the Kells began to live in relative peace.
There are several major villages in the Kells:
Strangford – A sizable village in the north Kells, between the mountains and sea, so its merchants, smiths, and textile-workers manages a bit of everything—artisan metal work, fishing, logging, and a touch of mining while its women are famous for the swan’s feather-inspired look of their carefully crocheted lace.
Ahiohill – A village of engineers, mechanical artisans, and mineral refiners in the lowlands of Mount Cnoc Lochtair. They refine the soft metals and black coals mined in the bowels of Cnoc Lochtair, and the newly sleek, shining metals they shape into delicate clocks, glittering engines, and the finest firearms in the world.
Gowran – The largest port of the Kells, located on the eastern shore where it greets ferries, traders, and merchant ships from the inland. A steam-train, with its station built under the clock-tower in the center of town, carries all incoming and outgoing traffic and product across all parts of the island.
Bridgend – The only inland Kellan settlement, this scrape of a town sits on the far shore, between the island, the bridges, and the land. Traders moving into the Kells board ferries here and cross the water. Because of its proximity to Mag Mell, the town goes absolutely quiet after nightfall.
05. WEAVERS OF WORLD'S END
Existence is tentative in Shambala, though this world turns on unaware. Three major events contribute to this halpless and uncertain state.
THE WELL UNDER BA'AL
THE FEUD BETWEEN THE JADE EMPEROR AND HIS BROTHER, THE DEMON LORD
The Jade Emperor and the Demon Lord, despite graceful ruling and skillful collaboration at the start of their joint venture, began to pick and quarrel with each other over the centuries. Soon, they are estranged and difficult with each other. At that time, two hundred and fifty years before the presence:
The Jade Emperor married the last Imperial Princess, Lady Yu Liling.
Lady Yu bore the Jade Emperor only one son. This Imperial Prince was not the Emperor’s only child living at the time, but he was the Jade Emperor’s youngest child for his entire life. Perhaps more noteworthy about him than anything else is that the young prince could have been the Jade Emperor’s mortal double, they were so alike in form, face, and character. The likeness affected the Jade Emperor deeply.
The feud fever-pitches over the sudden death of the Jade Emperor’s youngest son.
On his 19th birthday, the young Prince Yu is granted free run of his father’s lands. This includes the site of a sacred Spirit Gate guarded by a holy bird who attacks the prince when he unknowingly comes near. The prince, in ignorance and wounded pride, shoots the guardian bird which opens the gate long enough for thirteen demons to escape, possess the young man, and battle together for control of his body. During the skirmish, the Prince is bitten by a holy serpent guarding the sacred gate, killing him instantly, and the ambitious demons become trapped in the corpse.
With the young prince dead, his soul and flesh enter Hell’s jurisdiction, and the Demon Lord decides to seal the prince’s body and soul for safekeeping. The Jade Emperor cannot handle the loss and demands that his brother return his son to life. The Jade Emperor refuses to hear of the disturbance at the Spirit Gate, denies it even happened, which provokes the Demon Lord to send the dead prince back as he is—possessed, wretchedly immortal, and violently maddened by the thirteen demons inside him. After some destruction, the Jade Emperor seals his son beneath his palace and then goes after his brother with a vengeance.
The Jade Emperor and the Demon Lord go to war—the Jade Emperor with the Guardian Beasts whose allegiance he won centuries ago in war and the Demon Lord with his Judges and other Civil Servants of Hell.
To leave mortals out of the feud completely, the Jade Emperor attacks the Demon Lord in the Spirit realm. Their final confrontation ends in a stalemate with both gods sealed in the Spirit Realm.
Many are slain, and their bodies and souls left to rot in the Spirit Realm—fodder for devouring demons as the divine souls splinter apart and fall into reincarnation cycles of lesser beings.
After the feud, the Jade Emperor is declared as ‘in repose’ with the grief of his son as the throne in Hell sits empty. (Nobody alive hears about that.)
The Dragon Maidens are founded by Lady Yu to keep communication with the Jade Emperor while in repose, represent him in his absence, orchestrate his holiday appearances, and keep secret what little is known to mortals about the feud. The leader of this political/spiritual cult is called the High Dragon Maiden. Otherwise, little in Shambala changes—life goes on.
Hell degenerates without its King as its political system corrupts. Power plays worsen the situation as many wise and powerful Judges were killed in the feud and are replaced by greedy spirits and demons.
The Spirit Gate, with its guardian murdered and its Kings of Life and Death absent, is left open to human passage, and some decades later, a research team from Mag Mell crosses the forbidden barrier and discovers the black stone that will be cut into the Black Cup.
THE GREEN DAWN
Two hundred years ago, the Mag Mell College of Science and Religion sent an expedition to Shangdi. Undaunted by the sacred and intrigued by the profane, the team sought to see the other side of the Heavenly Gate. Their goal met with resistance in Shangdi, its people more familiar with (and glad of) the mysteries of the Gate than these Western scientists. Eventually, the team managed to find a local mystic, and her apprentices, interested in helping them.
‘To enter the gate is a cosmic certainty, and simplicity,’ the mystic told them, ‘But to leave?’ Therein lay the challenge, the mystic told them without speaking, and her apprentices wove a rope of human hair, and ancient protective magic, to tie around the waist of just one man sent under the Gate. The operation commenced, and the space beneath the gate rippled like thick water as the single man broke the threshold. The party waited -for hours- until he returned, cradling a black and shining stone in his arms.
“It’s a cup,” their comrade told them, darkness dragging round his eyes, before he passed out.
The Mag Mell team took this rock back with them—as time would tell, it would be a cup, a fate-changing cup, in whose waters rust brightened into gold and mortals tasted immortality. It would unfortunately be too late by the time the scientists wondered on the origins of these strange ideas, and when they dropped an ordinary lump of metal into the black cup, the cup shattered, and the world tore and sucked Mag Mell down, cursing every man, woman, and child inside. The calamity created two races of deathless spirits, the Sidhe, the pale lights, and the Unseelie, the hungry shadows.
When the Black Cup shattered, it released a storm of emerald fire, what would come to call the ‘Green Dawn,’ and divided the people of Mag Mell into two phantom races: the Sidhe, the pale spirits, and the Unseelie, the hungry ghosts. Once touched by the light of the Cup, these men and women became immortal ghosts who wilted in the sunlight and preferred to lurk in cool darkness. Most mortals touched by the Green Dawn became only Sidhe but a handful, for reasons unknown, became something darker: the Unseelie. Unlike the Sidhe who drink in atmospheric energy from humans at their whim, Unseelie devour their victims directly, and they prey on Sidhe.
In the early weeks and months of the curse, gangs of Unseelie roamed the deserted streets of the city, devouring any unlucky Sidhe left in their paths. They ravaged the city, and the Sidhe, facing mass-murder, contracted with a spiritual exorcist from Shangdi and a reluctant engineer along with a squad of Bridge-walker riflemen from the Kells. Together, these parties constructed the Demon Jars, spiritual vessels designed to contain many Unseelie spirits in hopes that the dozens of spirits trapped in each jar would kill off their own numbers as they starved inside the trap.
Slowly, the rampaging Unseelie were lured into the jars, and the jars were sealed and abandoned. Most were buried under a poured slab of a recent Kellan concoction, called ‘liquid stone,’ to ensure their prisoners never escaped. One jar was sailed to the Kells to be disposed of in forges of hot, molten metal. The jar never arrived, the boat sinking in the Kellan sea, and this method was never undertaken, for fear of ‘bad luck’. Though the work of those in the Sidhe Initiative was slow, it was thorough, and only a handful of Unseelie are left in the world. Mortal men remain suspicious of Sidhe as rumor tells that Sidhe spirits who commit enough dark deeds will corrupt into Unseelie ghosts.
THE BLACK CUP
When complete, the Black Cup is a stone cup, deep and shining like polished jet, but when broken, its fragments appear matte and veined, like emery. The complete form of the cup depicts a bowl born up on the shoulders and backs of three maidens with bowed heads whose hands interlock by way of a thread traveling around the stem. Each lady carries a tool for interacting with this thread:
One lady holds a drop spindle with which to spin the thread.
Another lady carries a mystical rule to measure the thread.
The final lady carries a pair of scissors to cut the thread.
And from the tatters of the cut thread, the first sister is implied to spin a new thread and thus carry on their cycle.
The Black Cup is currently broken into an unknown number of pieces.
All fragments have a sharp or rough edge to enact a fate spell triggered by spilt blood.
The Black Cup pieces confer special magic that affects fate. They accomplish this mostly by interacting with items and mortal souls.
When the Black Cup is complete, it commands immortality, granting eternity or taking it away. An embossment of the mother of the stem ladies, a veiled shadow woman, will appear in the bottom of the bowl.