The Glorious Lie
The Tower of Treasures
|Date of arrival||Alongside or even before the first humans|
The Apple-of-the-Eye, also known as the the Glorious Lie, the Tower of Treasures, the Rood and the Eye-Closed is one of the Hours of the Fansus, created by Amets. It is a God-From-Light and resides in the Glassgarden. Its primary aspect is Lantern, with a secondary aspect of Moth. The Apple-of-the-Eye provides the Marks of Clarity.
It's tarot card is the Hermit. It had recently donned a crown, signifying a claim to royalty among the Hours. The widespread use of the headgear means it had long lost its significance in demarcating the children of the Great Serpent.
- 1 History
- 2 Description
- 3 Servants
- 4 Relationships
- 5 Tools
- 6 Ingredients
- 7 Books
- 8 Rites
- 9 See Also
[To be decided?]
The Apple-of-the-Eye normally manifests a grand tree of glass, crystal and/or silver, heavy with golden fruit. (Apples are traditional, but peaches have also featured upon the Apple's branches.) Each fruit is an eye, but each eye is closed. It is traditionally surrounded by Flowers - the jeweled emanations it creates for itself from particularly dedicated or interesting mortals - and a lake filled with water as clear as the inside of one's eye.
A group of Buddhists had known a different form of the Glorious Lie - the Tower of Treasures - a dwarfing structure of pure gold bedecked with gems and decorated with complex murals. The top of the Tower, when viewed from floor level, seems to reach up to the Glory itself.
The Glorious Lie has other forms - it had appeared as a renewed and gilded rood to Christians - but among its many shapes, it has never been human.
The Apple-of-the-Eye is the Hour of fascination and distant beauty. Of the feelings evoked by dancers and artists, of dedication guided by passion. It is the Hour of muses, and the Hour that drives one to madness. It is Moth, for the desires it stirs and the forests it grew in, and Lantern, for its mercilessness and its glory.
The Apple-of-the-Eye lives in the Glassgarden, the part of the Mansus open to the sight of the Glory. It guards the entrance to the garden with the Mirage Door, that demands you best yourself before you may proceed, for the Apple-of-the-Eye permits no equal.
Anybody who seeks beauty and perfection eventually crosses paths with the Glorious Lie. It is worshiped by artists and their muses, Buddhists, perfectionists and those who would wish to rise above humanity. The first step to getting the Apple's approval is the admission that you are beneath it - that the power you call upon is not yours.
The Tower of Treasures bestows great miracles unto those who respect its boundaries, but most wish to eventually be elevated from their position as an unwelcome guest - then they undertake the Marks of Clarity, shedding their every imperfection until only the most glorious parts of the soul remain. The resulting pseudo-Long join the Apple-of-the-Eye in the Glassgarden as Flowers.
The Names of the Tower of Treasures are objects of worship and myth. The English occultist and poetess Heron Maribelle wrote that all the jewels of the world were first given Name by the Tower. It might not be true, but the Tower’s name are as glorious as gems, no matter what we say.
‘I permit you to behold me. Briefly. I don’t want to be stained by human breath, you know.’
Aspects: , ; Phrygian Teacher; Devourer
Summon a seductive Name-emanation of the Apple-of-the-Eye: Jonquil will only come to those who know how he shed his old life, and will only humour those who can satisfy his new desires. Jonquil had remained a beautiful youth, with long, thrice-combed hair the colour of noontime sun or carved citrine, and the clear, transparent skin characteristic of the Names of the Apple-of-the-Eye. He is already demanding a hammock, alongside at least one bottle of red wine and complete ownership of half the building.
‘Come now: You have much to learn, and I have only more to learn from you!’
Aspects: , ; Vak Teacher; Deceiver
Summon a noble Name-emanation of the Tower of Treasures: Bishamonten demands knowledge of the Path, as well as knowledge of war and loss. He does not demand them in equal measure. He descends from the North, bearing gifts - his holy wisdom, and his experience in the arts of battle. His armour is golden with the emblazoned faces of the many monsters he slew or pushed back.
All who undertake the Marks of Clarity eventually become Flowers in the garden of the Apple-of-the-Eye. Of course, they aren’t usually actual flowers, but beautiful men and women, or wonder-maned animals, or deities given shape. There is one thing in common between all Flowers: Before anything, they are beautiful and careless.
When the Tower of Treasures requires emissaries - which is always - these Maidens are the first to serve. If all the Hours were killed at once, if their blood flooded the Wood, if the Glory was shattered into a thousands pinpricks of light, their facial expression would change only slightly. They make for excellent liars.
Aspects: , ; Deceiver
Summon an impervious servant of the Tower of Treasures: The Jaded Maiden! She might be as old as the first Hours, or she might measure her age in seconds. She will answer to Lantern, for what she had seen, and Heart, for what she had survived. The Maiden would be very easily mistaken for a statue, if statues were ever made with such detail (or with such verdant nephrite). She is quite content to stay like this.
The Architect does not eat nor drink nor breathe, but rather absorbs the sun's rays. Its eyes contain visions of the many glories it is to assemble.
Aspects: , ; Devourer
Summon an inherited servant of the Glorious Lie: The Gilded Architect was made to build. After its maker died, it had no purpose. Now it will build once again, if presented with a memory of its origin-Hour and a new task. The Architect numbers five arms, but not all of those arms end in fingers. Before the last of its onyx arms emerges, it will have begun to construct. Its toothless mouth is just complex enough to explain the intricacies of the Gilded Architect's plans.
Marks of Clarity
Those Know willing to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of perfection may shed all but the most glorious parts of their soul and form to become perfect, clear, cold and brittle.
- Temptation: Beauty - I could achieve artistry of an intensity few could imagine.
- Dedication: Beauty - I have dedicated myself to the immortal pursuit of perfection and beauty, no matter the cost.
- Ascension: Beauty - I have tasted the fruits of the Apple-in-the-Eye, known as the Glorious Lie. Every hour, I look upon myself in the mirror, and every hour I am brought to the edge of tears by my many imperfections. I know this to be the Third Mark.
- Ascension: Beauty - The Fourth Mark is a loss of colour and the beginning of transparency. I am growing paler by the day, and rainbows dance at the tip of my hair whenever I pass under the sun.
- Ascension: Beauty - At the Fifth Mark, the body is no longer wounded, but cracked. My blood is frozen crystal, and my eyes are the colour of gems. I can see my muscles through my skin. I long for compliments.
- Ascension: Beauty - The Sixth Mark is said to occur when one is more beautiful than the person they see in the mirror. In my reflection, I can see my heart plainly, alongside all the pathways of blood. I am no longer capable of tears nor laughter.
- The Flourishing of the Heart - Little of my nature remains. I will pass through the Tricuspid(?) Gate and rise higher still. The Apple-of-the-Eye awaits me. In Her gardens, I will find the Glory's light. The heart is a seed, and so the heart shall open. I will not be immortal: I will be more than that.
My humanity is at an end. My heart has cracked, and my new self, perfect as the sun, had blossomed from its seed. I can no longer dream, or I may no longer be awake. My resplendent flower-brethren have welcomed me to my rightful place at the footsteps of the Glory. Its light leaks through the fabric of the Sea-Dragon's Palace, and that light is dappled with the grandeur of the Tower of Treasures. I have flourished under that holiest of lights. I shall not grow old, and I shall never die. I am a window of stained glass, a pale mirror to perfection.
- The Architeuthian: If the Glorious Lie were proficient in the principles of combat, it would challenge the Squid for the rights to the Forge Principle, and the Maker's remains. Without those benefits, the Lie must work against him indirectly.
- The Anaconda: A respectable Hour that understands the value of Doors, if not the value in the Maker's return. Too merciful by half.
- Snake Tail with Appendages: Would shatter the Mirage Door with its gaze and forcibly enter the Glassgarden. Thankfully preoccupied.
- The Engine of Cycles: Humanity’s Bastard Son. Absorbed the Maker and now absorbing the Glory’s Light. Thoroughly and deeply loathed.
- The Peacock: Tried to poach the Apple's Long a few time. Successfully repelled by the Mirage Door. Confused thumbs up for that one time with the Liar?
- The Vizier: You were with the Peacock during the Assemblage business, weren't you? Are you a Name?
- Old Tarnished: The Apple was El Dorado before it was the Glorious Lie. It wants that part of itself back, and the human who stole it dead like scorched bone in sunlight.
- The Spark: Treasured ally, old as the Lie itself and remembers the Sea-Dragon’s Palace as it once was, sparks and fuels the desire and longing that the Apple-of-the-Eye lives off of.
- The Cuckoo: Keeps stealing the Apple’s stuff to make broken, destructive Hours! Troublesome enemy, looks like a beggar.
- The Silver Owl: A respectable Hour reconstructing the Mansus one door at a time. One of the last remnants of the Forge principle. Appreciated.
- The Watcher in the Window: Both the Watcher and the Apple long for the past, the Mansus that was, even if the Watcher does not altogether remember it. Good neighbours and allies.
- The Elder Sister: The Apple-of-the-Eye had long beckoned the Witch's attention. With the Maker's passing, the Witch had occasionally deigned to visit the Lie's gardens. The Lie is overjoyed at this fact.
- The Unmirror: The Glorious Lie would often argue about the nature of the Self with the Mirror. Where the Lie saw rivers, the Speculum saw lakes. It was one of the more pleasant inhabitants of the House, especially in comparison to some of the more resent members. All the more shame that the Lie slew it.
- The Archivist:
- The Bright-Delver: Cute. Wholesome. Blessed.
- The Harvester: No better than the Engine.
- The Ferryman: The Dolomedes' deal with the first humans indirectly benefited the Apple-of-the-Eye. When life is limited, Longhood becomes all the more awe-inspiring. Permitted to enter the Glassgarden, on the condition that it does not take anything.
- The Insidious:
- The Snow-Stained: Rude Hour living in the pipework. Wonder whether it can access the Glassgarden. Let's hope not.
- The Fanged Bramble: A child of the Apple-of-the-Eye. Somewhat disappointing, but vital in the conflict against the Engine of Cycles, and reminiscent of its parent. Periodically sends child support and/or troops.
- The Aged Bones: Ascended human. Unpleasant on principle.
- The Caladrius: Too practical, too simple-minded. The Maker was better at shaping Long.
- The Mendicant Without: Once permitted to the topmost parts of the House, now loathed and exiled for an unknown slight. Never again will the Apple permit him.
- The Void-In-Skins: Gross.
- The Anvil: One of the consumed Forge Hours. Once-friend to the Maker. He could rebuild the Mansus if he returns, but it would be frustrating if he were to become truly powerful.
- The Deceiver: Dangerous. Tried to present the Glorious Lie as a God-from-Nowhere. Noble effort, but dangerous.
- The Huntsman:
- The Maker: Once a treasured ally who created several emanations of the Tower of Treasures. Sorely missed.
The Jeweled Tantras, while about the Glorious Lie, have their own entry due to their nature and the fact there's seven of 'em.
Odes, &c. for certain occasions
Abysmal Invocation ()
The plausibly pseudonymous poetess and stargazer Heron Maribelle presents an epistolary romance between members of warring factions. The writing, while cliché, is heavy with occult undertones.
The conflict that drove the lovers apart is kept unclear, but both of them were adepts, if not even Long. Edward sends his paramour a rainbow of flowers, ‘one for each colour of the rainbow, as enumerated by the Apple-of-the-Eye’, which Samuel interprets as a rejection. There are hundreds of pages of this stuff.
Heron Maribelle possesses knowledge of apocryphal tantras uncharacteristic of an average englishwoman. Over the course of the Odes, Samuel recited seven, and Edward dismantles each one in turn. They are not married under the patronage of any one Hour, but their vows include a defensive invocation against the Apple-of-the-Eye, whom both lovers agree is a ‘most vain of gods’.
Notes on Travel Through Distant East
Bleaching Mantra (), Hearn’s Flat (A Vault)
The private journal of Samuel Shine’ his long-winded journey through Tibet, and the only eyewitness account of a nameless monk’s achievement of complete knowledge of the world in its essence, nature and power. A lot of the journal is made up of numbers - prices, mostly - and Samuel’s numerological observations.
The monk never mentions his name to Shine, nor does he ever speak about himself at all. What the hermit does mention, though, is the esoteric teachings he followed - the Seven Jewels School of Buddhism - and the encroachment of death and the afterlife. ‘Death Knocks Upon all the Doors of the Sea-Dragon’s Palace.’
Seven days after they met, the hermit falls to an unclear illness. Samuel writes that while the monk had always had an aura to him, it became all the more tangible with his passing - he describes the rainbow colours emanating from his corpse as the colours of jewels. Over the next seven days, the body of the monk shrinks and shrinks, until only his tool and the seven colours remain. ‘I should bring the vajra back with me, as proof of what happened. It’s not as if the man will need it anymore. I wonder what that paranoiac Hearn will make of it…’
On Bishamonten and the Amanojaku
The Alignments of Murder ()
A thorough account of the punishments administered by the wealthy guardian-god Bishamonten upon the heavenly demon - the amanojaku.
The amanojaku, wearing the human skin and likeness, came to a Buddhist temple claiming to seek enlightenment. It was permitted, but, unknowing and unwilling, the amanojaku broke a sacred rule of the temple. As punishment, Bishamonten stripped it of its skin and likeness, revealing its demonic nature. Angered at the deception, Bishamonten made the amanojaku suffer a thousand deaths. These deaths and their method are described in vivid and repulsive detail.
‘The amanojaku, being both heavenly and demonic, walks at the border. So, it is both living and dead. Bishamonten was unable to fell it, and so forbade the oni any and all entry into the temple. It is said that the amanojaku still waits at its gates.’
A Tempting Recipe ()
A series of poems encouraging frivolous delights in dire straits, by Earl Wilmot.
Each poem is more scabrous than the last, and the scenarios only get more absurd. There are pictures.
Earl Wilmot encourages eating caviar in a jungle, playing golf at the mountaintops, four-course dinners in the desert. The capstone is a poem about, against all odds, drinking vintage wine a hundred feet down in an ocean, to the great chagrin of 'all the dwellers of the sea'.
Sunspot Rite - The Glory rends the skin of any who would behold it, but even the Glory can be brought to mercy by the Apple-in-the-Eye, if presented with the right moment, the right companionship and the right sacrifice.