FACTIONS: THE QUIET
I grew up in the ‘burbs, more than an hour from the shadow of the nearest metropolis. In fact, we only went into the city on special occasions. Times when we were in search of rare foods or wondrous music. Those moments of taste and culture gave me a fondness for the incandescent sprawl. All that steel and concrete and glass climbing into the sky, it struck me with its magnificence.
That’s not to say cities can’t challenge me. I’ve found myself at odds with fear more than once in cities all over the world. Especially in places like Hong Kong which were forced to build up, the instant they could no longer build out. The kind of place where stepping off a glass elevator onto the swaying 102nd floor of a restaurant for dinner can be commonplace.
THE BECKONING BEAST
From the shore, Nine-Spires was a marvel. A shimmering feat of engineering. With its latticework of roadways crisscrossing from sea level into the neon-hued sky. For the Hidden living and dying just beyond the breakwater, land was where the work got done. It was never home. At best, a temporary dream that flashed and roared with life before it was gone.
For a curious few, though, that roar was a maddening siren – a liar’s song calling out in the deep hours. Its only refrain luring many from the comfort of their beds to venture inland and disappear into the thunder.
On the other side of the noise, the rich and powerful greeted them. Landmakers and Landkeepers eager to fill their Cohorts with the deadliest of men and women. Many even went so far as to recruit a fearsome few to stay behind, taking up positions of authority in their house guards, growing rich and fat in the capital’s embrace.
But being an ornament of the powerful grew tiresome. The Houses Noble had never rescued the Shadowborn from anything; never valued their lives when family had forsaken them. From within, Shadowborn seized power, leaving only puppets to rule by the light of day.
Despite the inevitable anxiety that can come with any bustling, vertically growing, metropolis, there is no mistaking their allure. Bright and shiny port cities that serve all manner of delicacies are fantastic. From deep within their stormy hearts they call to their bright-eyed rural neighbors, offering to make all their dreams come true, if only for the most modest of fees…
A SLEEPER AWAKENED
Unlike the Shadows of the Hidden, those Shadowborn living beyond the shore become Edgewise of the Quiet. Honing their talents and forgoing the wholesale slaughter of their seafaring cousins, they learn from their new masters and begin to evolve. No longer a hammer for any occasion, they become a scalpel, attacking only the highest value targets, immobilizing nearby threats telekinetically – a formidable new ability in their arsenal.
Unseen, Unheard, Unmourned…