Snake Tail with Appendages
|The Snake Tail With Appendages|
The Snake Tail With Appendages|
The Feckless Opener
|Date of arrival||c. 960 .C.E.|
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Principles
- 3 Fansus Location
- 4 Worship
- 4.1 Servants
- 4.1.1 'Alexander'
- 4.1.2 Calliope, the Nameless
- 4.1.3 Al-Avaz, Deadener
- 4.1.4 The Deep-Venturer
- 4.1.5 A Visitor from Nowhere
- 4.1.6 Unravellers
- 4.1.7 Voyagers and Not-Voyagers
- 4.1.8 The Shattered
- 4.1.9 Chantry of Truth
- 4.1.10 Librarians Radiant
- 4.2 Cults
- 4.3 Marks
- 4.1 Servants
- 5 Items
- 6 Relationships
How would one describe something like this? A creature almost designed to not be described. "A jerk," the Anaconda would describe, and some, may would agree. It shifts and twists and seems almost painful to watch, but sometimes it settles into a form like a severed snake tail, dripping blood, with several long black sinuous limbs growing from it. Thus its name. This form, however, is but the average of the bell curve. Rarely, it has appeared as something as even an ordinary human, or something similar to it. It is the Snake-Tail with Appendages. It does not suffer the constraint of common form.
Snakes are the quintessential creature of Knock. The Tail… is more. There are many aspects to the Knock, the quiet slipping in in the middle of the night, the persuasion of a guardsman to open the door… Or, as the Tail represents, the cackling, insane smashing of the door and grinding it into pieces. Knock and Lantern are the main aspects of this Hour, the Hour of terrible, impossible openings, both in the mind and in the world. The shattering of all constraints are its domain, doors, walls, roofs, even floors. Ideas, weapons, schemes… Reality itself. This Hour was born from Nothing, and reality, to it, is a hissing pain. To the Tail, to kick down doors and break constraints is to break the constraint of reality. After all, is what happened not just a constraint upon what might have happened? Is what could never have happened just another door to be kicked down? To break all doors is the desire of this Hour, all doors, no matter what hides behind it. Doors of the mind, as horrible truths tear through the minds of those who encounter it, and doors of the world, as reality itself warps and twists and rends. There are many gods of Knock, and this is not one you wish to invoke but in the direst, direst circumstances… or if you are the most ambitious, nay, mad of cultists.
The Anterior Opening: The Tail created the Anterior Opening, which one would not find this were they not looking. Nothing... Well, little lies in this corner of the Mansus, far away from the light of the Glory as it is possible to be. It is said that the Mansus has no walls. So, perhaps this is no-opening. Perhaps it is an opening anyway. But what is undeniable that if you descend to the darkest depths of the Mansus, there will be something. Perhaps it’s an opening, perhaps it’s a not-opening. The ambiguity, after all, is but another of the openings the Tail so loves. Step out of it and breathe the dark, cold air of Nowhere, the first home of the Tail. It is the one safe exit and entrance to Nowhere, for every now and then, the Tail desires a brief vacation back to its home. Perhaps, oh the jest, perhaps it might even be safe for you.
- Last night, I stumbled upon the Anterior Opening, that wound in the Mansus sacred to the Wrong-Serpent. Three serpents were there that night. The Anaconda, full of conviction, the head of the ouroboros striking at its tail; The Wrong-Serpent, jeering and laughing at the maw that seeks to constrain it; The Bright-Delver, her coils wrapped around her siblings, the peacekeeper for the eternal conflict. She spoke to them, and while I do not remember the words, her voice was a chiming melody that even now stirs my blood.
- Provides Imminence
- I was a fool last night. I stumbled closer and ever-closer to the Opening and when my feet fell stepped into Nowhere I thought I was dead. But the Tail was there, and from it’s laugh, its awful, horrendous laugh, I could tell it was amused by me. “Not yet,” it laughed, “May you open this Door later, but not yet, you fool.” It sent something to guide me out and it remains with me still. Maybe it will obey me.
- Provides A Visitor from Nowhere, but with a 20s only timer.
The Highest Clearing: FNORD
- Now, now, you stumble through the wood. Lashing branches and weeds drag across the skin of your dreams. Where are you going? Why do you go this way? Do you even know? But now, here you are. The Wood constrained, did it not? All the suffocating trees. But now, a clearing... A clearing. Unlike anything you have ever seen before. It pulses with an elder, ancient light. Breathe, and taste nothing of the Wood. This place is opened, with permanence. If even the Wood can be cleared, opened.... What cannot? You wake, your eyes open, as if they had always been open.
- Provides Knock-Influence
- I stumbled through the Wood blindly till I found an especial place. Special, for it was not of the wood. A clearing, bound by no trees. I breathed in the air and tasted not a hint of the leafy chlorophyll. One would not think the Tail brings peace, yet it was peaceful that night as I lay on the floor of the field and stared upwards at the light of the Glory, so dim down here.
- Provides Contentment
Temptations: Now where did you hear of this? The rite, the details themselves, hurt your mind to think. You could summon an awful wrongness into the world, another opening of reality. You will need to open all the doors. The windows, walls, ceiling, floor and roof, too. Then lay a little Glory to tempt it in and stand very far back (, to shatter everything, and ( , for he seeks the truths that when known, burn
Welcoming Words: It… it is human. Then again… It is not. Light bounces off it in impossible, awful ways and its smile, its dreadful, dreadful smile… It promises me secrets, secrets for free! All I have to do is hear them… Description: “Hello. Would you like to listen to my stories?” Do not. Do not…
Special Things Slotting him into Speak and feeding it reason: “Good, good, now… Listen closely…” His voice is sharp like knives and bright as silver and already your mind burns. What have you done, what have you done?” Spits out 1 high level lore, and 3 dread. Does this continuously until you slot in another reason to stop it. Does not return the Reason "Shut it up, quickly. The needles will suffice." Slotting him into Speak and feeding it a High-level location “A curious place. Words for words, secrets for secrets, places for places.” Your head spins, your ears bleed. You do not remember what you told him, but you remember what he told you, where to go.
Note: Alexander is a probability-curve of a person. It modifies possibility and time, rewriting what he did in the past at a whim.
Calliope, the Nameless
They say that there was a Name of the Great Serpent who made many enemies; an assassin or warrior of the Snake. When her master disappeared, they say that those enemies took their opportunity and hunted her, but she evaded them all one by one. Still they persevered and still they continued. Until one day, as she burned down a workshop of the Maker she had been hiding in to cover her tracks, she met a different master, but the same master. That being told her that it could help her. It could make it so that she could never be properly remembered, except by it and its associates. Her enemies would forget what she truly was. Their minds would fill with misinformation and misconceptions, and she could wreak her horrible, horrible vengeance. All it desired was her services. Gleefully, she accepted, and so Calliope, the Nameless, was born.
But that of course, is just a possible tale. Probably, it is a lie. Probably, Calliope is not even really her name. She cannot be recorded; words viscerally refused to describe her, and she cannot be remembered; memories rearrange and reshape themselves if they relate to her. Only the Tail knows now. She slays as she did as a Name of the Great Serpent, simply with rapier and poison. Probably. But what is almost certain is that many enemies of the Tail have been slain in broad daylight, butchered horribly, while bystanders squabble and dispute over what happened with almost no agreement...
Law and Glory is poison to the Tail, and the Tail is wise enough to practice Mithridatism, at least in one of its servants. Al-Avaz was once a scholar in Baghdad's golden age who dreamed of the Glory, and dreamed too hard. He did not ascend in service of an Hour, but to the Glory, and immediately regretted that as the law seared him and tore him apart. But the Tail took notice, and sacrificed a hundred Visitors to reach into the heart of the Glory, the heart of Anathema and drag him out. With Nowhere, it rebuilt the scholar's form, Glory and Nowhere intermixed within itself. When he returned to consciousness, he was different. Both law and unlaw lived and churned within him, and expressed itself in him.
Now, Al-Avaz is one of the least strange Names of the Tail. He too is a being of Law, but of a different Law. This law permits no opposition against the Tail. He can nullify and deaden aspects, invocations become nothing than hollow words when said against the Tail's interests, artifacts nothing more than their physical force. Though Tail despises any law, it somewhat happily tolerates this, one of its most interesting powers, but uses him sparingly. When he manifests, it represents the Tail being very, very invested in an outcome.
Even more strange in its identity and radical in its goal than the Tail is the Deep-Venturer. Its envoy to Temple Nil, it looks like a human, but is nothing like, being not even physical, but rather just an error in space and time. Its source is a mystery, but the Tail claims that it was once a Name of the Great Serpent who delved far, far too deep into Temple Nil. As a distortion in space, it can twist and pull, making distances appear near infinite or almost nothing, depending on its whim. It is sometimes vast, sometimes tiny. Space is no constraint to this thing.
A Visitor from Nowhere
Temptations: The Tail may be an Hour of the Mansus but it frequents its true home in Nowhere. Its truest servants lurk there, outside the walls of the House without Walls. Perhaps I can call it here with a taste of the Glory it is so frequently denied, and outmaster it with greater Winter. (, for a taste of Glory, and ( , to conquer it
Welcoming Words: Creatures from Nowhere do not easily suffer the constraints of the Mansus, let alone the pain of a History. You’re not quite sure what you’re seeing. It comes in with a hiss of warm ice and crisp dark air.
Description: It seems to be doing something like smiling. And smiling. And smiling. Somewhere new to open? New things to visit? It'd be delighted...
Note: Tail emanations. Drags people into not-being.
After the Engine betrayed it, the Tail did not take such a thing lightly. When the war ended, it asked its erstwhile allies for only one thing. The corpses and wrecks of the destroyed Names and machines of the Engine, strewn across the carcass of the Fifth History. With its spoils, it experimented and poked the machines, attempting to restore some sort of life to them, to perhaps create a Nowhere-tainted twisted mirror to the Engine. It did not succeed. Not completely. But it made these. Nowhere-corrupted machines, not an Hour, but monstrous creatures restored to a facsimile of their former function. Not great automata bristling with glowing energy like the Engine's children, but shattered cogs and gears and ruined pistons and scraps of machinery twisting and writhing in a ghost of function, but blessed with an almost terrifying determination and the ability to with just a handful of them, assemble from nearly anything thousands and thousands more. They nibble away at the structure of the Mansus, their exponential growth only impeded by the efforts of many Hours, and at the Engine's innards, seeking to usurp its place. Hours slay them delicately. Too many and the Engine's attentions will be turned away from preserving itself from the Unravellers, too few and the Mansus may collapse...
Voyagers and Not-Voyagers
Sometimes someone spurns the attention of normal Hours. Perhaps they have unusual desires. Perhaps they were touched by something strange. Perhaps they understood too much. Sometimes, those people acquire the attention of the Hour that destroys doors, that opens all possibilities, that is the yawning maw of enlightenment. Sometimes, they ascend high enough, sometimes, they stand on a precipice by the Anterior Opening. Sometimes, they step through, shed the constraints of form, drink the power of Nowhere, and become Voyagers. Sometimes, the step back, content upon their status, to serve the Tail in a more mundane manner, not shedding their physical forms and continuing to coexist with reality and do not-voyage. Usually, both happen.
Most Long of the Tail are Not-Voyagers, the possibility that stepped back from the precipice. They are the least strange of the Tail's servants, usually in possession of proper human form at least upon the surface. The doors they shatter are simply that of psychology. Their minds are as inhuman as any Visitor, simply pressed into a human shape. To hear them talk is to invite madness. Their very presence brings madness and chaos, as law unravels around them. Their power is quite possibly the least controllable of all the Tail's minions, as they have little control over how Law unmakes around it, but that is not to say that these Long are not powerful as well.
The common Name of the Tail is the Voyager. The possibility that did step into Nowhere. They manifest misty and intangible, having shed all their form, but normally wield a single strange, tangible weapon, crossbows, swords, lances, but also macuahuitl, shuriken, and the like; convention is no limit. They serve as the shock-troopers of the Tail, when it, oh-so-rarely go to war. Although intangible, their lack of form and inability to easily adopt new ones renders them particularly vulnerable to law, requiring much Nowhere to sustain them. Their weapons distort material chemistry and physics, requiring only the minimal amount of force to move and shearing through anything without resistance. Formidable, their fragility renders them rarely seen outside Nowhere.
First among the Voyagers, the Twice-Navigator is favored of the Tail among the Voyagers. Few enough occultists dedicate themselves towards the Tail. Fewer yet take the plunge and become both Voyagers and Not-Voyagers. Only one both fell from high into Nowhere and walked away, only for the latter possibility to return anyway and also plunge into Nowhere's colourful embrace. Once one of the explorers to venture forth with Cortez, then the first to be seduced by the gods of the new land, the Twice-Navigator now is the strangest and mightiest of the Voyagers. More a torching, burning plasma than a mist, it is not merely the burning flesh of the creature that singles it out, but its dual nature. Every act it does twice, each of the twinned selves of it acting with all vigour.
Sometimes someone spurns the attention of normal Hours. Perhaps they have unusual desires. Perhaps they were touched by something strange. Perhaps they understood too much. Sometimes, those people acquire the attention of the Hour that destroys doors, that opens all possibilities, that is the yawning maw of enlightenment. Sometimes they do not and cast themselves into Nowhere before they are ready. The Shattered never find a possibility where they are sane or coherent again. They endure, perpetual, for they quintessentially are-not, but never again have stability or full existence and thus are quite harmless besides. The Tail keeps a small court of them, it favours these mad fools who sought to kick down doors that they really, really should not have. They serve as little more than meat-shields and gateways for more powerful creatures of the Tail. Individually, they are quite benign, but their presence means that the Tail has taken an interest, and greater beings will follow through it...
Chantry of Truth
Led by Ioannes, the Chantry of Truth are Long of the Tail that embody its other aspect: That of enlightenment and horrible truths that must anyway be acknowledged. More like adepts and mortals, every part of them, everything they do serves that horrible enlightenment. Their flesh is inked with ancient script and terrible lore, each word, even a request for more tea, is a burning incantation. To merely be in their presence is to know, and sometimes, you do not survive that knowledge.
The Glory is enlightenment, but sometimes the Glory is not as it was. The Tail claims to possess a different enlightenment, a superior enlightenment, and sometimes, flecks of the Glory do not precisely defect. These beings are Glory turned sour and given mind, knowledge knowing itself.
The Impossible Circle
Very few seek the Tail's patronage. Those that do find some of the fastest, most volatile paths to power. They rise high very quickly. Sometimes they do not fall as quickly. The Impossible Circle advances the cause of Nowhere, of the wild, mad liberty of un-being. With this cause so anathema to many Hours, they usually do not survive long, but if they do, they can grow immensely powerful.
Ascension: FNORD As I followed the un-darkness of the Tail and the shattered doors it left in its wake, a little of its savage, senseless opening lingered in me. I cannot forget now, I cannot refuse to acknowledge any awful truth, and one truth I acknowledge: The first mark is what I have known, the second what I have done. The Third is what I am within.
Ascension: FNORD It lies deeper now, but the strange nature of the Tail means that there is but more to open, and so it shines darker. I am alien to look at now. My limbs bend in all the wrong directions and my voice echoes and resounds in all the wrong ways. The fourth mark is what I am without.
Ascension: FNORD They think I am human. A long time ago, they might have been right, and in fact they quite, still are. Yet that really doesn’t matter, does it? Your flesh is chitinous yet silken, your heart pumps tungsten and wine, your limbs are tentacles and sabres, your mind ripples like that of an ocean. The fifth mark is what I am not.
Ascension: FNORD It fills my mind now, things I never experienced, never could have experienced, never knew, never could have known. Some are dark secrets, some are rank nonsense, to the Hour of heedless openings, they are the same. The Sixth Mark is what I was not
Ascension: FNORD I stand now at the precipice. All things are possible, yet not everything will happen. This is the Tail’s anathema, the closing of possibilities, the end of potential, the sealing of what could be. Not yet anyway. But it could be. The possibility that is all the possibilities burns in you. The Seventh Mark sears me. It is what I will never be
Ascension: FNORD It is an opening like no other. It is me, now. I do not pass through a door to go Nowhere for I am an opening. The Tail has made me something that could never be, that in many possibilities is better than what I was. In many futures I will help the Tail make everything that could be, be. But many, in no futures, means all...
Tools and Ingredients
- A small pinch of white, fine powder that when simply breathed on, spontaneously burns, shattering, opening, searing, and devouring all in the little blaze's way and opening all that should not be. Knock 6
- The Mirror of Impossibility
- A small hand-mirror that when looked into, shows that which should not be understood, not truths, not truths, but possibilities and probabilities, things which may never be and cannot be. Knock 8, Lantern 8
- Madman’s Candle
- Burn it. It will give off no flame, but it will speak. It will tell you what you do not wish to know. What you should not know. What you cannot know. When it bubbles into ash, blink, and find again a whole candle. Lantern 10, Knock 2
- It is said that nobody can exist in the conditions of absolute sanity. This, a fluid said to drip from the very severed-edge of the Tail itself, brings such. There is no succor, no protection, no barrier between one who consumes this and the most awful truths.
- Melange of Glory
- A mix of the light of the Glory with something from Nowhere. It has curdled mysterious and sour but no less bright, no less merciless. Don’t look at it for too long. It’s a question whether you will first go blind from the light or mad from the Nowhere.
- The Opening of the Shattered Gate
- Chinese, giving high-tier Knock lore and the Rite of the Doubly-Broken Door.
- Whoever wrote this... Whatever wrote this, it did not use ink. The ink hurts to touch and burns to see. It describes a rite that might be used to break the Mansus's boundaries. The Mansus, it is said, has no walls, but it still is bound. Perhaps this might open it once and for all, to whatever lies beyond. Or perhaps it is a fever dream of a madman. What is undeniable, is that it it haunts your dreams and nightmares, opening doors in the mind that should be closed
- A Lie
- Gives high-tier Lantern lore and high-tier Secret Histories lore that has a 50/50 chance of producing nothing or producing a Port Noon Anecdote-level location
- A bewilderingly entertaining book of lies, lies of all sorts. False Histories, nonexistent Names of fraudulent Hours, countries that could not even begin to be. Of course they have to be lies, don’t they? They contradict everything you know. But… Perhaps…
- The Soot-Forge, the Sun-of-Blood, the Haruspex, curious names, but not names of any Hours. But you can learn much from what is untrue, as much as from what is true. Perhaps you have a clue now, perhaps it is nothing.
- Alchemy, a Death to Laws
- Proto-Sinitic, giving high
- The mad ramblings of the Scholarch of the Impossible Laboratory, wherein he describes how the arrangement of certain chemistries and invocations could cause what he refers to as a ‘Delightful Wrongness.’
- “But this, of course, is but a key. Your visitor will still need something to make it use the key…”
- The Great Vast: Proto-Germanic, giving high-tier Knock lore as well as Fascination. Its reading will devour 1 low level Winter lore. It also reveals the path to the Blackened Grove.
- The diary of a Vinlandic expedition captain. It begins with triumph as he lands quietly upon the shores of a New World, but slowly descends into reflections upon questions upon what lies beyond the shores, what lies beyond the great wall that are the plains and mountains of the new continent. First with poetry, then with desperation. It ends with resolution, a firm goal to take his people and venture forth, and an incantation he hopes might open the way to parts unknown.
- The Architeuthian: My not-dear sister does have quite poor taste in friends. Despotic, boring monarch. Perhaps temptable, however...
- The Anaconda: A rivalry, an enemy-ship. Some would say friendly, some of the dearly deceased that is
- The Engine of Cycles: The Engine was once its... not friend, ally. But then it ate the Tail. As it can be imagined, the Tail is not to pleased about that
- The Peacock: Sibling! Dear dear friend! Strangely attached to the dead Forge-Hours. If I have to bring down the gate... Well, he will thank me later!
- Old Tarnished: Not so easily malleable a tool, then, unfortunately. Needs more Nowhere
- The Spark: FNORD
- The Cuckoo: Weirdo. Quite, quite nasty.
- The Silver Owl: FNORD
- The Watcher in the Window: FNORD
- The Elder Sister: FNORD
- The Apple-of-the-Eye: FNORD
- The Diagram: Curious! Very curious! Enlightenment? Needs more Nowhere.
- The Bright-Delver: Dear sister! If only she enjoyed the not-being more. Still good to meet for a cup of tea and cake every now and then
- The Harvester: FNORD
- The Insidious: Quite possibly the dullest of our family. Needs more sentience.
- The Snow-Stained: FNORD
- The Fanged Bramble: FNORD
- The Aged Bones: FNORD
- The Mendicant Without: Oh, dear sibling, you do need to learn how to be more properly of our homeland
- The Anvil: FNORD
- The Maker: FNORD
- The Deceiver: FNORD
- The Huntsman: FNORD
- The Great Serpent: Me! Absolutely me!